The clergyman's face became very serious as Mr. Harmer addressed him, and the latter saw at once by his unmistakable start of surprise, and by the look of distress which came across his face, that he not only knew such a person, but that he was very well aware why the question was asked.
When we had sat down Lord Holmeskirk said, "So you do not think you will be missed, Miss Ashleigh? Now I can assure you that at least by me your absence will be keenly felt." And then without further introduction, he made me an honest straightforward offer.
Ada laughed. She had often been there before, and was accustomed to it.
"The proper persons to go are certainly Agnes and I. It is our property for which the search is made, and it is our place to make it. I think that the best plan will be for Sarah to get up some morning an hour earlier than usual. We will be waiting outside for her to open the doors; papa will be with us, and will stay there while we go inside, examine the room, and bring out the box in which the will is kept, if it is not too heavy for us to carry. What do you say, Agnes?"
"This, gentlemen, is perfectly conclusive proof that Mr. Robert Harmer survived his brother, and would be held so in any court of law. It is, I have no question, a surprise to you, as it is to my client, Mr. Harmer; indeed, it is only within the last hour that I have been put in possession of the fact; I am sure, therefore, that Mr. Harmer will not wish to force upon you any sudden decision; but I would submit to you that no question can arise either in the point of law or fact. I would suggest to him that he should retire for an hour and then return for your answer. In the meantime, merely as a matter of form, I have placed a person in the hall to keep possession of the place in the name of Mr. Herbert Harmer, as heir-at-law to his brother the late Mr. Robert Harmer. The sailor will remain here, and you can interrogate him further on the subject."