The Lair of the White Worm
21. Green Light
When old Mr. Salton had retired for the night, Adam and Sir Nathaniel returned to the
study. Things went with great regularity at Lesser Hill, so they knew that there would be
no interruption to their talk.
When their cigars were lighted, Sir Nathaniel began.
"I hope, Adam, that you do not think me either slack or changeable of purpose. I mean to
go through this business to the bitter end-- whatever it may be. Be satisfied that my first
care is, and shall be, the protection of Mimi Watford. To that I am pledged; my dear boy,
we who are interested are all in the same danger. That semi- human monster out of the pit
hates and means to destroy us all--you and me certainly, and probably your uncle. I
wanted especially to talk with you to-night, for I cannot help thinking that the time is fast
coming--if it has not come already--when we must take your uncle into our confidence. It
was one thing when fancied evils threatened, but now he is probably marked for death,
and it is only right that he should know all."
"I am with you, sir. Things have changed since we agreed to keep him out of the trouble.
Now we dare not; consideration for his feelings might cost his life. It is a duty--and no
light or pleasant one, either. I have not a shadow of doubt that he will want to be one with
us in this. But remember, we are his guests; his name, his honour, have to be thought of
as well as his safety."
"All shall be as you wish, Adam. And now as to what we are to do? We cannot murder
Lady Arabella off-hand. Therefore we shall have to put things in order for the killing, and
in such a way that we cannot be taxed with a crime."
"It seems to me, sir, that we are in an exceedingly tight place. Our first difficulty is to
know where to begin. I never thought this fighting an antediluvian monster would be
such a complicated job. This one is a woman, with all a woman's wit, combined with the
heartlessness of a COCOTTE. She has the strength and impregnability of a diplodocus.
We may be sure that in the fight that is before us there will be no semblance of fair-play.
Also that our unscrupulous opponent will not betray herself!"
"That is so--but being feminine, she will probably over-reach herself. Now, Adam, it
strikes me that, as we have to protect ourselves and others against feminine nature, our
strong game will be to play our masculine against her feminine. Perhaps we had better
sleep on it. She is a thing of the night; and the night may give us some ideas."
So they both turned in.
Adam knocked at Sir Nathaniel's door in the grey of the morning, and, on being bidden,
came into the room. He had several letters in his hand. Sir Nathaniel sat up in bed.