Imatges de pÓgina

“Thank you, sir,” said Gillman, taking that sort of thing. Now, my course is up the note and folding it away in a recess pretty plain before me. There are three of his greasy pocket-book. “You have kept persons possessed of information, by disyour word in this. I look to you to keep it closing which they could, if they chose, in the other matter."

prevent my marriage, or annul it after it " What other matter ?"

had taken place, and get me two years' “Regarding keeping it from our governor hard labour. One of these, and the most that I have been working for you in this dangerous, is Delabole ; but I have squared matter. I would not have it known to him, and closed his mouth by-doing what Mr. D. for ten times ten pounds. It is not he wished. The other two are Madge 50 much the “sack,” which I should receive and the parson. And of these, I look upon prompt; but it is the unforgiving nature Madge as far the most important. When of that man which I know, and the harm he the parson confronted me the other day, would do me throughout the rest of my he was evidently acting on Madge's belife.”

half, not, I should say, under instructions * You need not fear. It suited our friend from her, but in that sort of chivalrous to employ you to make inquiries respecting spirit which influences such men. Any a certain portion of my family history; it appeal I make must be made to Madge snited me to pay you to issue a second edi- direct, and must not come through him. tion of your discoveries for my especial be- He would not hear of any compromise, and hoof. I am not likely to see much of Mr. D., it would be impossible for him in his posias you call him, for some time to come, tion not to take notice of a direct infracand I certainly should not think of saying tion of the law. He is but a poor creature anything which would render your position mentally, if one may judge from the manwith him less confidential than it is. And ner in which he was hoodwinked by my now I don't think I need detain you any sudden penitence on the only occasion of longer."

our meeting. When I go to Springside Business being thus pronounced to be to-morrow, my first inquiry must be for at an end, Mr. Gillman thought himself at him. I must ask him where Madge is to liberty to drink the ale, which he did at be found, leading him to think that I am one long draught, and putting on a very thoroughly sorry for having been a naughty shiny and napless hat, took his leave of his boy, and wish to come back to her and to patron and departed.

live happy ever after. When I find out “ That was ten pounds well spent,” said where Madge is, and get her by herself Philip Vane, as he started on his return to out of Mr. Drage's range, there will not, I town in the hansom cab which had brought think, be much difficulty in dealing with him down, and had been waiting for him her. Whatever affection she may have some little distance up the road. “The had for me—and there is no doubt she information picked up by that fellow com- was deuced fond of me at one time-must pletely coincides with what flashed into my have passed away, so that will be no obmind about Madge, directly her name stacle to her going abroad. She was always was mentioned by the parson at Spring- ambitious, and if I agree to give her a side. Springside-how curiously that place handsome allowance, or the money downhas become associated with me! First, in that's a better plan-and she hears that connexion with that old Heriot, and now she can live in luxury and comfort, on conwith Madge. Bah !” he continued, re- dition that she does not allow herself to be pressing a shudder, “I hate to think of betrayed in making any more confidences that business. So long as the old man is such as she made to her clerical friend, and alive, the merest allusion to him, to the place keeps herself thoroughly to herself, I think where he lives, or to the infernal company, there is very little doubt that she will sends a shiver through me. If Asprey had agree. At all events, as Mrs. Bendixen is not given such an account of him, I would within a very few days to become Mrs. never-there, it's no use dwelling on that. Philip Vane, it is quite time some steps It is easy enough now to understand were taken in regard to the lady who now how this parson had established such an holds that title. influence over Madge as to induce her to confide that neat little episode in her life The autumnal sun, without much warmth to him. It seems that he obtained for her in it to be sure, but doing its best to make the position by which she was enabled to things look bright and cheerful, was shining make her living ; so there is no wonder in over Springside in the early afternoon of her being grateful and confiding, and all the next day, and tempting the strongest of the invalids, who had made it their that he had brought the mare into town. head-quarters for the winter, into the Instead of going straight home to the streets. There was a little more excite- Bungalow, he would take a stiffish ride ment than usual in Springside, for it was round the country in the hope of thus “mail morning,” and nearly all the inha- driving away this attack of low spirits. bitants of the Indian colony there located So the captain, admirably got up after had received letters, the generally interest- his neat, trim, soldierly fashion, and looking news of which they were anxious to ing infinitely better and sounder than discuss with their common friends. On many a youngster of half his age, went such occasions the club was certain to be riding through the streets, jauntily returnfilled, and it was incumbent on every ing the salutations which showered upon Springside settler to take down his budget him from right and left. He had passed of gossip and contribute it to the general the boundary of the town, and was crossstock.

ing the road near a little sub-station of the Captain Cleethorpe, in whom long years railway, within some three miles of the of home residence had not in the least cooled principal terminus, when a man, suddenly his love for the East and his interest in emerging from the narrow lane leading to Indian affairs, had long taken the lead in the station, caused the mare to swerve, and the discussions which cropped up on such her owner to be grateful for the possession occasions. But when Sir Geoffry Heriot of an excellent cavalry seat. It did not joined the colony, the captain, with a good take the captain an instant to recover him. grace, yielded to his senior officer the posi- self, and as he patted the mare's neck and tion which the latter's age, experience, and soothed her, he looked round for the cause clear-headed common sense enabled him to of the commotion. hold against all comers. Indeed, after a This was a tall, bright-looking young very short time, the old general's impe- man, well set up, and of springy, active tuosity of manner, and sharp caustic style step, who advanced towards the horseman, of conversation, grew to be so much re- and was raising his hat, apparently about lished, that the chance of his attendance at to apologise for the disturbance which he the club was held up as an attraction, and had involuntarily created. As soon, howmany an invalid, whom nothing else would ever, as he approached near enough to ever have induced to venture out, wrapped discern the features of the gentleman himself in wondrous mufflers, and braved whom he was about to address, he hesithe night air, on the chance of hearing tated, stopped, and then, without saying “old Heriot tackle a griff.”

a word, pulled his hat over his eyes and The news that the old general was strode rapidly away. seriously ill had spread a gloom over this The captain gazed after him in extreme day's meeting, and even those who had wonderment, not unmixed with disgust. He been most opposed to him in argument was very punctilious in his notions of on social and political questions joined in breeding and behaviour, and though there lamenting his absence and its cause, ac- had been no necessity for an apology, yet knowledging, as they did, that, though for the young man to come forward merely censorious and irritating, he was always a to scowl and disappear, was a breach of perfectly honourable and gentlemanly op- manners of which Captain Cleethorpe did ponent. True it was that the arrival of not at all

approve. Captain Cleethorpe, who had come straight “The man must be mad,” Cleethorpe from Wheatcroft, with the news that there muttered to himself, looking after the was a decided improvement in Sir Geoffry's rapidly retreating figure,“ or what on condition that day, had a cheering influence earth can have induced him to rush away on the assemblage. But the old man's ab- like that, as soon as he recognised me? For sence was most noticeable; a dozen occa- he did recognise me, I am sure of that, and sions arose on which, as it was felt by most that was the cause of his trouble. Couldn't present, he would have dashed in with be one of my quarter-sessions friends ? some trenchant remarks, which would have That young fellow was too well-looking, had the effect of changing the whole line too frank and bright for a jail-bird. Too of the argument. On Captain Cleethorpe, - stay - where have I seen especially, this feeling fell with fullest before ? somewhere, I'll be sworn. That force'; he owned to himself that he was expression of pain and trouble which flitted dull and dispirited, and impressed with a across it for an instant seemed quite consciousness of an impending something familiar to me. Now let me think this which he could not explain. He was glad out quietly.”

And the captain turned round easily in quiring somewhat later on the same afterhis saddle, and checking the mare to a noon at the rectory gate.

6. I'm not sure, walk, fell into a train of reflection which sir, but I think he's gone up to Wheatlasted some little time. At last he seemed to croft." find the sought for clue, he raised his head, “Wheatcroft, eh ?" said the stranger. brought his whip-hand down upon his “Sir Geoffry Heriot's place, isn't it?" thigh with a smack that startled the mare “Yes, if you please, sir," said the little into a canter, and never drew rein until maid, half awed, half fascinated by the he overtook a lady walking along the road, great black beard and brilliant teeth on who, turning quickly round as Captain Clee- which she was gazing. “Sir Geoffry's thorpe palled up beside her, proved to be much better to-day, sir, and I heard Mr. Mrs. Pickering.

Drage say he should go up and have a chat " The very person of all others I most with him." wished to see,

said the captain, raising “Thank you ; good day," said the his hat. “Will you permit me, my dear stranger, turning away. “Much better is Mrs. Pickering, to walk beside you for a he? That's not good hearing. However, I short distance, for I have something of real suppose Asprey could not be wrong in his importance to talk to you about."

diagnosis, and this sudden improvement As he spoke he jumped nimbly from the in the old gentleman is but one of saddle, and hanging the bridle over his arm, those flashes which so frequently precede commenced walking by her side.

total extinction. What confounded “Your manner is somewhat alarming, nuisance that this parson should be away Captain Cleethorpe,” said Madge, with a from home just when I wanted him. I sad smile. “I trust you have no further must see him, for I must learn from him bad news to tell me of. Sir Geoffry's illness where to find Madge.

find Madge. He is probably the is about as much as we can bear just now.” only person who could give me that infor

“No, I won't say bad news, but some- mation, and even if she were still in this thing odd and strange has happened which place, which I very much doubt, it would you ought to hear of. You recollect your not do for me to be poking about and askasking me some time ago whether our old ing questions which might elicit unpleasant friend Sir Geoffry had any family ?” inquiries. The old gentleman would not “Yes ! yes!”

be up to much conversation, and I should * And my mentioning that he had a boy think that he and Drage must have had it who had—who had—in point of fact gone all out by this time. I'll walk up towards to grief? Well, Mrs. Pickering, that boy, Wheatcroft and meet the parson on his now grown into a young man, I saw not way

back." ten minutes ago.”

So Mr. Philip Vane, for it was he, strode " Here ?" said Madge, faintly. "You leisurely away.

The rectory was situate in saw him here in this place ?”

the outskirts of the town, and on that “ Here !" repeated the captain, “ coming autumnal evening there were few chance down from the railway close by Abbott's passers-by. Yet Mr. Philip Vane thought Farm."

it advisable to diverge from the high road, Oh, Captain Cleethorpe !" cried Madge, and climbing a gate to proceed along a laying her hand upon his arm, would you narrow-beaten track on the other side of mind riding back and seeing if you can the edge, keeping at the same time a sharp overtake this young man? He is doubt- look-out for the person whom he expected less down here with the intention of seeing to meet. He was annoyed when he found his father, and it is all-important that any himself getting close to Wheatcroft, withmeeting between them should be prevented, out having seen any sign of Mr. Drage. at all events just now. You will help me The train by which he was to return to in trying to stop this ?”

London would start in an hour, and unless “My dear Mrs. Pickering, I would do he made good use of his time now, his exanything in the world to serve you or Sir pedition would have been in vain. He Geoffry, only I should like to know- thought he would go up to the house, where

“Don't wait an instant now, you shall Mr. Drage had probably been detained. know all some other time."

There was no chance of his seeing Sir And the captain raised his hat in adieu, Geoffry, who would doubtless be confined jumped on to the mare, and cantered off. to his room, nor was it probable that any

of the servants, even if they saw him, “No, sir, Mr. Drage has not returned,” would recognise him in the dusk. said the neat little maid to a stranger, in- He leaped a light fence, which separated Hallo, you

the field he had been traversing from the relaxed, and with a groan he fell backWheatcroft grounds, and passing through wards. a young and struggling plantation, came Shaking himself free, Vane darted toupon the lawn in front of the house. The wards the window, but recoiled in horror blinds were all down, and no light shone as he saw his wife standing in the open air, from any window. All was dull, and blank, and looking on with terror-stricken eyes. and deathlike. Philip Vane shrugged his His hesitation, however, was but for an shoulders, and muttering, “ Cheerful this" instant, and he rushed straight at the to himself, stole quietly round the angle of window, pushing Madge aside and flinging the house.

her to the ground with stunning force, and In an instant he found himself in the tore across the lawn to the point at which full blaze of a moderator-lamp standing he had entered the plantation. So far no on a table in the window. In an instant he one had followed him. While crossing the heard a thin, querulous voice call out: lawn he had seen the dim outline of a

“Hallo, you sir! Come here !” figure making its way up the carriage

Philip_Vane looked up and saw Sir sweep; but it had taken no notice of him, Geoffry Heriot sitting in an easy-chair by and probably, indeed, not seen him. So the French window, one-half of which was far, then, he was safe. open. The old man's face was very pale, but his eyes were blazing, and his out- The man whom Philip Vane had noticed stretched hand trembled visibly.

in the carriage sweep strode steadily on sir ! Come here,” he re- until he reached the plateau on which the peated.

house stood, when he paused and looked “What's the matter, Sir Geoffry ?” said round. The flood of light from the open Vane, stepping into the room. “ You window attracted his attention, and he must have forgotten whom you are ad- crept towards it. Suddenly he came upon dressing, by your tone."

the prostrate figure of a woman, and look. “ Not at all, I know who you are, and I ing beyond saw a sight calculated to am glad you have come, for you have saved frighten a stouter heart than his. Springme the trouble of sending for you." ing into the room, he gently raised Sir

Sending for me? Did you want me, Geoffry's body in his arms, and was about Sir Geoffry "

to attempt to lay it on the couch, when the “ Not I, sir, but the police, whom I was door behind him was thrown open. He about to instruct to arrest you."

heard the shouting of

men and the “ The police! You're an old man, Sir screaming of women, felt himself suddenly Geoffry, and an invalid, but if you recover pinioned, and a strong rough hand at his you shall answer for this insult.",

neck. The lamp had been overturned in “Not I, sir; no code will compel me to the hubbub, but some of the servants had go out with a swindler and a forger! Here candles with them, and one of the men is Irving's letter, here—no, you shall not called for a light to look at the ruffian. escape if I can only reach the bell.” But after he had raised the candle up to

Weak and shattered as he was, the old man his captive's face, he let it drop to the staggered from his seat and threw himself ground, as he cried in heart-piercing ! upon Vane, who had turned to the tones :

open window. The remains of those nerves of “Ah, wirra, wirra, Masther George !" steel, which had gained him so much renown in the old days, and enabled him to undergo so many hardsdips, had not en- EXTRA DOUBLE NUMBER FOR tirely deserted Sir Geoffry, for his grasp

CHRISTMAS, 1871, was riveted on his antagonist, and Vane found it impossible to shake it off. Twice

SLAVES OF THE LAMP. Vane struck the upturned face with his clenched fist, until it was streaming with

Now ready, price 5s.6d., bound in green cloth, blood ; but the old man still held on. At length Vane, freeing one hand, seized Sir

THE SIXTH VOLUME Geoffry's loose neckcloth and twisted it

OF THE NEW SERIES OP round and round. At the first motion of ALL THE YEAR ROUND. his wrist the old man's strength suddenly

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