Page:The King's Men (1884).djvu/37

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and devoted to the royal cause when the outlook was darkest. I shall find him the same noble, ardent soul as ever, I have not a doubt. Like enough his zeal will be the needful spur to my flagging spirit."

They had been wandering through the spacious mansion as they talked, but so absorbed were they in the conversation that the changes in the arrangement of the ancient heirlooms of the once illustrious house of Ripon made but little impression upon Lord Brompton. Weary at last with their wanderings the twain seated themselves upon a broad leather couch, from which they could command a view of a magnificent stained-glass mullioned window, which dated back to the days of George the First. The half light of the apartment was perhaps a begetter of remembrances, for they began to talk of the past, if indeed so short a period back as two summers deserves to be so entitled. Through Lord Brompton's thoughts floated an inquiry as to whether he was not in love with his companion, for, if not, why this joyous sense of re-acquisition on his part? He had never forgotten the pleasant, happy hours passed in La Belle France, and here they were come again, and he was visiting side by side with her whose smile had been their harbinger.

"But I am forgetting, Lord Brompton, the object of our coming here," she exclaimed at last. "I want to know the secrets of Ripon House. Where is the haunted chamber?"

Geoffrey smiled, and rising from his seat walked to the other side of the room and touched a spring in the wainscot. A panel flew to one side and revealed a narrow aperture.

"Follow me if you have a brave heart," he cried, looking back.