"Did you expect it would be as a merchant, or a banker, or perhaps as secretary to one of her majesty's ministers--or that I was a gentleman at large, living on my fortune?" retorted Richard Hare, in a tone of chafed anguish, painful to hear. "I get twelve shillings a week, and that has to find me in everything!"
"Poor Richard, poor Richard!" she wailed, caressing his hand and weeping over it. "Oh, what a miserable night's work that was! Our only comfort is, Richard, that you must have committed the deed in madness."
"I did not commit it at all," he replied.
"Barbara, I swear that I am innocent; I swear I was not present when the man was murdered; I swear that from my own positive knowledge, my eyesight, I know no more who did it than you. The guessing at it is enough for me; and my guess is as sure and true a one as that the moon is in the heavens."
Barbara shivered as she drew close to him. It was a shivering subject. "You surely do not mean to throw the guilt on Bethel?"
"Bethel!" lightly returned Richard Hare. "He had nothing to do with it. He was after his gins and his snares, that night, though, poacher as he is!"
"Bethel is no poacher, Richard."
"Is he not?" rejoined Richard Hare, significantly. "The truth as to what he is may come out, some time. Not that I wish it to come out; the man has done no harm to me, and he may go on poaching with impunity till doomsday for all I care. He and Locksley--"