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|The Lair of the White Worm||Bram Stoker|
The Lady Arabella March
|Page 4 of 5||
Adam spoke to his own man, Davenport, who was standing by, having arrived with the bailiff of Lesser Hill, who had followed Mr. Salton in a pony trap. As he spoke, he pointed to an attentive ship's steward, and presently the two men were conversing.
"I think we ought to be moving," Mr. Salton said to Adam. "I have some things to do in Liverpool, and I am sure that both Mr. Caswall and Lady Arabella would like to get under weigh for Castra Regis."
"I too, sir, would like to do something," replied Adam. "I want to find out where Ross, the animal merchant, lives--I want to take a small animal home with me, if you don't mind. He is only a little thing, and will be no trouble."
"Of course not, my boy. What kind of animal is it that you want?"
"A mongoose! What on earth do you want it for?"
"To kill snakes."
"Good!" The old man remembered the mound of stones. No explanation was needed.
When Ross heard what was wanted, he asked:
"Do you want something special, or will an ordinary mongoose do?"
"Well, of course I want a good one. But I see no need for anything special. It is for ordinary use."
"I can let you have a choice of ordinary ones. I only asked, because I have in stock a very special one which I got lately from Nepaul. He has a record of his own. He killed a king cobra that had been seen in the Rajah's garden. But I don't suppose we have any snakes of the kind in this cold climate--I daresay an ordinary one will do."
When Adam got back to the carriage, carefully carrying the box with the mongoose, Sir Nathaniel said: "Hullo! what have you got there?"
"To kill snakes!"
Sir Nathaniel laughed.
"I heard Lady Arabella's invitation to you to come to Diana's Grove."
"Well, what on earth has that got to do with it?"
"Nothing directly that I know of. But we shall see." Adam waited, and the old man went on: "Have you by any chance heard the other name which was given long ago to that place."
"It was called-- Look here, this subject wants a lot of talking over. Suppose we wait till we are alone and have lots of time before us."
"All right, sir." Adam was filled with curiosity, but he thought it better not to hurry matters. All would come in good time. Then the three men returned home, leaving Mr. Caswall to spend the night in Liverpool.
The following day the Lesser Hill party set out for Castra Regis, and for the time Adam thought no more of Diana's Grove or of what mysteries it had contained--or might still contain.
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