The Lair of the White Worm HTML version

15. On The Track
Those who had seen Edgar Caswall familiarly since his arrival, and had already estimated
his cold-blooded nature at something of its true value, were surprised that he took so to
heart the death of old Chester. The fact was that not one of them had guessed correctly at
his character. They thought, naturally enough, that the concern which he felt was that of a
master for a faithful old servant of his family. They little thought that it was merely the
selfish expression of his disappointment, that he had thus lost the only remaining clue to
an interesting piece of family history--one which was now and would be for ever
wrapped in mystery. Caswall knew enough about the life of his ancestor in Paris to wish
to know more fully and more thoroughly all that had been. The period covered by that
ancestor's life in Paris was one inviting every form of curiosity.
Lady Arabella, who had her own game to play, saw in the METIER of sympathetic
friend, a series of meetings with the man she wanted to secure. She made the first use of
the opportunity the day after old Chester's death; indeed, as soon as the news had filtered
in through the back door of Diana's Grove. At that meeting, she played her part so well
that even Caswall's cold nature was impressed.
Oolanga was the only one who did not credit her with at least some sense of fine feeling
in the matter. In emotional, as in other matters, Oolanga was distinctly a utilitarian, and
as he could not understand anyone feeling grief except for his own suffering, pain, or for
the loss of money, he could not understand anyone simulating such an emotion except for
show intended to deceive. He thought that she had come to Castra Regis again for the
opportunity of stealing something, and was determined that on this occasion the chance
of pressing his advantage over her should not pass. He felt, therefore, that the occasion
was one for extra carefulness in the watching of all that went on. Ever since he had come
to the conclusion that Lady Arabella was trying to steal the treasure- chest, he suspected
nearly everyone of the same design, and made it a point to watch all suspicious persons
and places. As Adam was engaged on his own researches regarding Lady Arabella, it was
only natural that there should be some crossing of each other's tracks. This is what did
actually happen.
Adam had gone for an early morning survey of the place in which he was interested,
taking with him the mongoose in its box. He arrived at the gate of Diana's Grove just as
Lady Arabella was preparing to set out for Castra Regis on what she considered her
mission of comfort. Seeing Adam from her window going through the shadows of the
trees round the gate, she thought that he must be engaged on some purpose similar to her
own. So, quickly making her toilet, she quietly left the house, and, taking advantage of
every shadow and substance which could hide her, followed him on his walk.
Oolanga, the experienced tracker, followed her, but succeeded in hiding his movements
better than she did. He saw that Adam had on his shoulder a mysterious box, which he
took to contain something valuable. Seeing that Lady Arabella was secretly following