The Lair of the White Worm HTML version
28. The Breaking Of The Storm
When Lady Arabella had crept away in her usual noiseless fashion, the two others
remained for a while in their places on the turret roof: Caswall because he had nothing to
say, Mimi because she had much to say and wished to put her thoughts in order. For quite
a while--which seemed interminable--silence reigned between them. At last Mimi made a
beginning--she had made up her mind how to act.
"Mr. Caswall," she said loudly, so as to make sure of being heard through the blustering
of the wind and the perpetual cracking of the electricity.
Caswall said something in reply, but his words were carried away on the storm. However,
one of her objects was effected: she knew now exactly whereabout on the roof he was. So
she moved close to the spot before she spoke again, raising her voice almost to a shout.
"The wicket is shut. Please to open it. I can't get out."
As she spoke, she was quietly fingering a revolver which Adam had given to her in case
of emergency and which now lay in her breast. She felt that she was caged like a rat in a
trap, but did not mean to be taken at a disadvantage, whatever happened. Caswall also felt
trapped, and all the brute in him rose to the emergency. In a voice which was raucous and
brutal--much like that which is heard when a wife is being beaten by her husband in a
slum--he hissed out, his syllables cutting through the roaring of the storm:
"You came of your own accord--without permission, or even asking it. Now you can stay
or go as you choose. But you must manage it for yourself; I'll have nothing to do with it."
Her answer was spoken with dangerous suavity
"I am going. Blame yourself if you do not like the time and manner of it. I daresay
Adam--my husband--will have a word to say to you about it!"
"Let him say, and be damned to him, and to you too! I'll show you a light. You shan't be
able to say that you could not see what you were doing."
As he spoke, he was lighting another piece of the magnesium ribbon, which made a
blinding glare in which everything was plainly discernible, down to the smallest detail.
This exactly suited Mimi. She took accurate note of the wicket and its fastening before
the glare had died away. She took her revolver out and fired into the lock, which was
shivered on the instant, the pieces flying round in all directions, but happily without
causing hurt to anyone. Then she pushed the wicket open and ran down the narrow stair,
and so to the hall door. Opening this also, she ran down the avenue, never lessening her
speed till she stood outside the door of Lesser Hill. The door was opened at once on her