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At this moment there was heard the 佛山桑拿我爱桑拿网sound of foot-steps coming rapidly nearer. Scarse, with an angry and terrified expression, appeared on the scene. Close behind him came Van Zwieten, who seemed, as ever, quite undisturbed and master of himself. Brenda caught sight of him, and darting forward, seized the man by the lapels of his coat. “Harold!” she cried, “you have killed my Harold!”

“Harold–Burton!” replied Scarse, aghast. “Is he dead?”

“Dead–murdered! Oh, I am certain of it. And you killed him. You! You!”

Van Zwieten said not a word, but remained perfectly calm. He saw that the girl was beside herself with terror and grief, that she knew not what she was saying or doing. Without a word he picked her up in his strong arms and carried her moaning and weeping into the drawing-room. Scarse rated Mrs. Daw and Tilda sharply for so losing their heads, and followed the Dutchman. But before leaving the kitchen he was 佛山夜生活论坛邀请码 careful to take with him the key of the back door. “No one leaves this house to-night,” he said sharply “I must inquire into this. Give me that spirit-stand. Now go to bed, you fools.”

“Bed!” wailed Mrs. Daw, as her master left the room. “Lor’, I’ll never sleep again–not for weeks any’ow. I daren’t lie alone. Oh, what an ‘orful night. I’ll give notice to-morrow, that for sure!”

“So’ll I,” squeaked Tilda. With this the two went shivering to a common couch, full of prayers and terror, and prepared to die–if die they must–in company.

In the drawing-room Brenda was huddled up in a chair, terrified out of her wits. Van Zwieten, calm and masterful, stood before the fireplace with his big hands clasped loosely before him. His trousers were turned up, his boots were soaking, and there were raindrops in his curly hair. For the rest he was dry, and the storm had not made the slightest impress on his strong nerves. When Scarse entered 佛山桑拿0757 he threw a steely and inquisitive glance at the old man, who winced and shrank back with an expression of fear on his face. Van Zwieten, ever on the alert for the signs of a guilty conscience, noted this with secret satisfaction.

“Now then, Brenda,” said her father, recovering at last some of his presence of mind, “what is all this about? You say that Burton is dead–that Mr. van Zwieten killed him.”

“Ah!” interposed the Dutchman, stroking his beard, “I should like to know how I managed that.”

“You hated him!” cried Brenda, sitting up straight with a sudden access of vigor. “You told me so to-night at dinner!”

“Pardon me; I said I did not like Captain Burton. But as to hating him–” Van Zwieten shrugged his shoulders; “that is an extreme word to use. But even if I did hate him you can hardly deduce from that that I should kill him!”

“He was shot, shot in the orchards, not far from the Manor gates. You were out—-”

“That is scant evidence to justify a charge of murder,” interposed Scarce, angrily. “You are unstrung and 佛山夜生活luntan hysterical, Brenda. How did you come to be out yourself in such a storm?”

“I went to see Lady Jenny at the Manor, about–about Harold’s money. She was not in, so I came back by the short cut through the orchards. A flash of lightning showed him to me there, standing under a tree. Then there was a shot and a cry, and I ran forward, and fell over his


“Whose body?”

“I don’t know–at least, I think it was Harold’s 佛山桑拿全套一条龙服务 body. Mr. van Zwieten hated him.”

“It may not be Harold at all,” said her father, impatiently; “you are jumping to conclusions–the wildest conclusions, Brenda. Did you see his face?”

“No; how could I? It was dark.”

“Then how on earth do you know it was Captain Burton?”

“I am not sure, of course; but I think so. Oh, father, do you think—- Oh, perhaps, after all, it may not have been Harold.”

Scarse shook off her clinging hands. “I think you’re a fool,” he said sharply, “and this wild talk of Burton’s being dead is pure imagination on your part.”

“I hope so–oh, how I hope so!” and Brenda shivered.

Van Zwieten, who had been listening with a cynical smile on his face, burst into a laugh, at which Brenda looked angrily at him. “Excuse me,

Miss Scarse,” he said politely, “but it is my opinion no one is dead at all. The shot 佛山桑拿按摩全套qq and cry were no doubt the outcome of a thundercrash. You were upset by the storm, and it seemed to you like–what you say.”

“But a man is dead,” protested Brenda, rising. “In my anxiety for Harold I may have been mistaken in thinking it was he. Still, some one was shot–I fell over the body and fainted.”

“The man may have fainted also,” suggested her father.

“If I may make a suggestion,” said Van Zwieten, with strong common sense, “we are all talking without any reasonable sort of basis. Before we assume that a crime has been committed, I would suggest that we go to the orchards and see if we can find the body.”

“No, no,” cried Scarse, shrinking back. “Impossible at this hour, and on such a night.”

“The storm is dying away,”

said the Dutchman, derisively. “However, if you don’t care to come, I can go myself.”

“I will go 佛山桑拿按摩飞机场 with you,” cried Brenda, springing to her feet.

“For you, Miss Scarse, I think it is hardly wise. You are very much upset. Had you not better go to bed?”

“I couldn’t sleep with this on my mind. I must know if it is Harold or not. If it is, I am certain you shot him, and until I know the truth I don’t let you out of my sight.”

“Very good.” Van Zwieten bowed and smiled. “Come, then, and guide me.”

“Brenda, you can’t go out now. I forbid you–it is not fit or proper.”佛山桑拿按摩论坛网

“What do I care for propriety in such a case as this?” cried Brenda, in a passion. “Come with me then, father.”

“No, I can’t–I am too ill.”

Van Zwieten cast an amused look at Scarse, and the old man winced again. He turned away and poured himself out a glass of brandy. Without taking any further notice of him, Brenda put on her wet cloak and left the room, followed almost immediately by the Dutchman. Van Zwieten had many questions to ask his host, for he knew a good deal, and guessed more; but this was not the time for cross-examination. It was imperative that the identity of the deceased should be ascertained, and Van Zwieten wished to be on the spot when the discovery was made. As he left the room he heard the glass in Scarse’s trembling hand clink against the decanter, and the sound made him smile. He guessed the cause 南海桑拿按摩论坛 of such perturbation.

The rain had ceased for the moment, but the wind was still high, and dense black clouds hurtled across the sky. A pale moon showed herself every now and then from behind the flying wrack, and fitfully lighted the midnight darkness.

As she was with Van Zwieten, Brenda took a wide circle through the village street. There were many people about in spite of the bad weather–some with lanterns–but Brenda could not gather from the scraps of conversation she heard whether the report of the dead man lying in the orchards had got abroad.

In silence Van Zwieten strode along beside her, apparently indifferent to anything. His attitude irritated the girl, and when the wind lulled for a moment she demanded sharply where he had been on that night.

“You will be surprised to hear, Miss Scarse, that I went to see Captain Burton.”