"robin hood's treasure?" arboreta stared blankly at the diminutive journalist seated on the divan across from her. "sir, i think you must have madwood confused with some other " - she groped for words - "some other out of the way estate here in the hinterlands."
wallace laughed. "well, miss, other people may have confused it - but they have indeed confused it for i have heard from several sources that deeds, and maps, and wills, and the discoveries of long lost cousins have excited numerous persons - including those suspect on the grounds of both sanity and legality - to take a decided interest."
"no one here - here where boredom reigns supreme and fancy has full play - has ever spoken of such a thing."
night has fallen over madwood. all the inhabitants and visitors are asleep except two - garland. and wallace.
after a fruitless discussion, in which arboreta could give him no enlightenment at all on the reputed treasure, the self-styled journalist wallace has been invited to stay the night and on the morning, ask the other members of the family if they know anything of it.
wallace has so far declined the use of the guest room offered him, and sits on the divan, staring at the very low fire, and occasionally lighting a cigarette.
the orphan has accepted the hospitality offered her of a tiny garret room on the top floor, and is fast in a dreamless sleep. too embarrassed to mention her interest in the estate and the treasure, she has, per agreement with wallace, passed herself off as his assistant - a fiction accepted by the unworldly arboreta.
incapable of sleep, garland roams the hallways.
outside, the rain, which had abated, picks up again and lashes the windows.
garland steals downstairs and peers into the drawing room in which the journalist sits smoking. somehow he does not interest her or arouse her curiosity, and she steals away without making her presence known.
making her way to the top floor, she notices the door of a small empty room, usually closed tight, slightly ajar.
cautiously opening it, she sees a form on the bed. she stares at it, letting her eyes adjust to the darkness in the room.
the orphan looks familiar to her, but whether from this life or a previous one, garland is unsure.
suddenly awake, the orphan feels garland's eyes on her.
she is terrified. too terrified to move, or cry out.
when she finally summons the nerve to move her head, garland is gone.
the rain beats.
wallace's questions are met with indifference and incomprehension by the cousins. on another day they might have been a welcome diversion, but the cousins are all preoccupied by the prospect of the will being read later that day.
the ride back to the city is silent, neither wallace nor the orphan having anything to say.
later the orphan learns that the sentinel-trumpet, the newspaper wallace claimed to represent, does not exist.
no further enquiries as to the existence of robin hood's treasure are recorded.
grandmother fotherinton's will contained no surprises.
the murderers of mr barbourforth were never apprehended.
the grounds and inhabitants of madwood continued their irreversible decomposition.