The Haunted Hotel
'Now, my good creature, whatever you have to say to me, out with it at once! I don't want
to hurry you needlessly; but these are business hours, and I have other people's affairs to
attend to besides yours.'
Addressing Ferrari's wife, with his usual blunt good-humour, in these terms, Mr. Troy
registered the lapse of time by a glance at the watch on his desk, and then waited to hear
what his client had to say to him.
'It's something more, sir, about the letter with the thousand-pound note,' Mrs. Ferrari
began. 'I have found out who sent it to me.'
Mr. Troy started. 'This is news indeed!' he said. 'Who sent you the letter?'
'Lord Montbarry sent it, sir.'
It was not easy to take Mr. Troy by surprise. But Mrs. Ferrari threw him completely off
his balance. For a while he could only look at her in silent surprise. 'Nonsense!' he said,
as soon as he had recovered himself. 'There is some mistake-- it can't be!'
'There is no mistake,' Mrs. Ferrari rejoined, in her most positive manner. 'Two gentlemen
from the insurance offices called on me this morning, to see the letter. They were
completely puzzled--especially when they heard of the bank-note inside. But they know
who sent the letter. His lordship's doctor in Venice posted it at his lordship's request. Go
to the gentlemen yourself, sir, if you don't believe me. They were polite enough to ask if I
could account for Lord Montbarry's writing to me and sending me the money. I gave
them my opinion directly-- I said it was like his lordship's kindness.'
'Like his lordship's kindness?' Mr. Troy repeated, in blank amazement.
'Yes, sir! Lord Montbarry knew me, like all the other members of his family, when I was
at school on the estate in Ireland. If he could have done it, he would have protected my
poor dear husband. But he was helpless himself in the hands of my lady and the Baron--
and the only kind thing he could do was to provide for me in my widowhood, like the
true nobleman he was!'
'A very pretty explanation!' said Mr. Troy. 'What did your visitors from the insurance
offices think of it?'
'They asked if I had any proof of my husband's death.'
'And what did you say?'
'I said, "I give you better than proof, gentlemen; I give you my positive opinion."'