The Lair of the White Worm HTML version

18. Exit Oolanga
The woman turned sharply as Adam touched her shoulder.
"One moment whilst we are alone. You had better not trust that nigger!" he whispered.
Her answer was crisp and concise:
"I don't."
"Forewarned is forearmed. Tell me if you will--it is for your own protection. Why do you
mistrust him?"
"My friend, you have no idea of that man's impudence. Would you believe that he wants
me to marry him?"
"No!" said Adam incredulously, amused in spite of himself.
"Yes, and wanted to bribe me to do it by sharing a chest of treasure--at least, he thought it
was--stolen from Mr. Caswall. Why do you distrust him, Mr. Salton?"
"Did you notice that box he had slung on his shoulder? That belongs to me. I left it in the
gun-room when I went to lunch. He must have crept in and stolen it. Doubtless he thinks
that it, too, is full of treasure."
"He does!"
"How on earth do you know?" asked Adam.
"A little while ago he offered to give it to me--another bribe to accept him. Faugh! I am
ashamed to tell you such a thing. The beast!"
Whilst they had been speaking, she had opened the door, a narrow iron one, well hung,
for it opened easily and closed tightly without any creaking or sound of any kind. Within
all was dark; but she entered as freely and with as little misgiving or restraint as if it had
been broad daylight. For Adam, there was just sufficient green light from somewhere for
him to see that there was a broad flight of heavy stone steps leading upward; but Lady
Arabella, after shutting the door behind her, when it closed tightly without a clang,
tripped up the steps lightly and swiftly. For an instant all was dark, but there came again
the faint green light which enabled him to see the outlines of things. Another iron door,
narrow like the first and fairly high, led into another large room, the walls of which were
of massive stones, so closely joined together as to exhibit only one smooth surface. This
presented the appearance of having at one time been polished. On the far side, also
smooth like the walls, was the reverse of a wide, but not high, iron door. Here there was a
little more light, for the high-up aperture over the door opened to the air.