The earl had halted in his walk and drawn near to Mr. Carlyle, his mouth open, his face a marvel of consternation. "By George!" was all Mr. Warburton uttered, and snatched off his glasses.
"Mr. Carlyle, do I understand you aright--that the body of the late earl has been seized for a debt?" demanded the peer, solemnly. "Seize a dead body! Am I awake or dreaming?"
"It is what they have done. They got into the room by stratagem."
"Is it possible that transactions so infamous are permitted by our law?" ejaculated the earl. "Arrest a dead man! I never heard of such a thing. I am shocked beyond expression. Isabel said something about two men, I remember; but she was so full of grief and agitation altogether, that I but half comprehended what she did say upon the subject. Why, what will be done? Can't we bury him?"
"I fancy not. The housekeeper told me, this morning, she feared they would not even suffer the coffin to be closed down. And that ought to be done with all convenient speed."
"It is perfectly horrible!" uttered the earl.
"Who has done it--do you know?" inquired Mr. Warburton.
"Somebody of the name of Anstey," replied Mr. Carlyle. "In the absence of any member of the family, I took upon myself to pay the chamber a visit and examine into the men's authority. The claim is about three thousand pounds."