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he has lived for centuries past, though not thought, to tell Mr. Drage that she intended perhaps so entirely unquestioned. Shake to keep herself concealed during the time speare mentions him in As You Like It, her husband was at Wheatcroft; and, by where the duke and his followers live in every means in her power, to prevent him the Forest of Arden,“ like the old Robin having the slightest idea of her connexion Hood of England.” Sir Walter Scott, in with Sir Geoffry's establishment. Ivanhoe, brings in a bold archer, named She found the rector taking his morning Locksley the Yeoman, as one of the cha- walk round the garden, with little Bertha racters. Richard Cænr de Lion pardons trotting by his side. Directly she caught Locksley for some misdeeds, and addresses sight of Madge, the child rushed towards

her, putting up her face to be kissed, and And thou, brave Locksley

clinging to Madge's gown with both hands. "Call me no longer Locksley, my liege, “We were talking about you just now, but know me under the name which, I fear, Mrs. Pickering,” said the child. “I was fame hath blown too widely not to have asking papa why you did not come back reached even your royal ears. I am Robin and live here. We should like it so much, Hood, of Sherwood Forest."

pa and I would, and it would be so much "King of outlaws, prince of good fel. more cheerful for you than staying with lows,” said Richard, who declared that the that cross old gentleman at Wheatcroft." name was well known, even as far as “My dear Bertha,” said Madge, with a Palestine ; " be assured, brave outlaw, that grave smile, “I should like to be with you no deed done in our absence, and in the very much, but I cannot come.” turbulent times to which it has given rise,

So papa said,” cried the child, turning shall be remembered to thy disadvantage." to Mr. Drage, who had just come up.

“İ Meanwhile we have many local names to suppose as papa cannot have you here, that refresh the memory : such as Robin Hood's is the reason he has bought a portrait of Well, near Locksley, or Loxley ; the Robin you a ?” Hood and Little John hostelry at Sheffield; "A portrait of me !" cried Madge, look. Robin Hood's Spring, Robin Hood's Moss, ing towards the rector with uplifted eyeRobin Hood's Wood, Robin Hood's Bow, brows. at Fountains Abbey; Robin Hood's Cap * Bertha, my darling, how can you be so and Slippers, at St. Anne's Well; Robin ridiculous," said the rector. “ The fact is, Hood's Bay, on the Yorkshire coast; Mrs. Pickering, that when at Bircester the Robin Hood's Hill, in Derbyshire; Robin other day, I saw in a shop window a print Hood's Stride, in the same county; and of a saint's head, by some German artist

, Robin Hood's Wind, in Lancashire—where and I was so struck with it, that I could this name is given to thaw wind, a wind not resist purchasing it.” blowing during the thawing of snow, which “Yes, and he has had it nailed up over Robin is said to have declared was the only the mantelpiece in his bedroom, Mrs. wind which he could not withstand. Pickering; and when I told him the other

day that I thought it was like you, his face

grew quite red. Didn't it, papa ?" CASTAWAY.

Now run away, darling, and don't talk

nonsense, said the rector, whose cheeks PORT," &c. &c.

were burning; then as the child darted off,

he turned to his visitor and said, “ Have BOOK III.

you any news, Mrs. Pickering, as you are

away from home so early ?” ALTHOUGH her mind was sufficiently made “I have indeed," she replied, “and up as to the course which she would pur- strange news. Philip Vane is coming to sue, Madge thought it would be advisable Wheatcroft !" to take counsel with Mr. Drage, and accord- “Good Heavens!" cried the rector. “That ingly, early the next morning, she set off woman has told him of your visit to her.” for the rectory. She intended to tell Mr. “Oh, no,” said Madge, with a smile, Drage that Philip Vane was coming to she has not told him ; she will not tell Wheatcroft on a matter of business, but did him. She has determined to play the game not think it necessary to explain what that out in her own way, and to run the risk. business was, nor to acquaint the rector No, Mr. Vane is coming with another genwith the information which she had gleaned tleman from London to see Sir Geoffry on by unravelling the mysteries of the cipher business.” telegram. It would be sufficient, she The rector gave a sudden start, and a

BY THE AUTHOR OF "BLACK SHEEP, " "WRECKED IN

CHAPTER IV. VISITORS.

bright eager look crossed his face, but died quite foreign to his nature, and half put away immediately.

forth his hand, as though about to wish He will be at Wheatcroft, then, some her good-bye. It was evident that he was little time?" he said.

anxious for her departure, so Madge, won“He will pass one night there,” replied dering much what could have so strangely Madge. “The distance from London is moved her friend, took her leave. The too great for them to return the same day. rector accompanied her to the gate, and Besides, they have business to discuss with then, returning to his study, turned the Sir Geoffry which will probably take some key in the lock, and, falling upon his knees, hours."

prayed long and fervently. “What do you intend to do ?”

When Madge arrived at Wheatcroft she “I intend asking Sir Geoffry's permis- found Sir Geoffry in a state of great exsion to remain in my room. In the ordi- citement. nary course of events, a person in my posi- “I have received a letter from these tion would not be brought into contact with gentlemen, Mrs. Pickering,” he said, “and company remaining for so short a period they will be here at mid-day to-morrow. in the house; and it is only through Sir Very luxurious fellows for men of business Geoffry's courtesy and consideration that I they seem to be too. Springside is too far take a more prominent place in the house- distant from London for them to complete hold. I shall retire to my room when they the journey in one day; they must sleep at arrive, and remain there until after their Bircester forsooth. Deuced easy style this departure. The name of Mrs. Pickering, Mr. Delabole writes in too; says he has no the housekeeper, will doubtless be men doubt that, after I have perused the private tioned occasionally, but it is one which Mr. papers which he intends bringing with him, Vane has never heard of in connexion with and listened to all he has to say, I shall be me, and will convey to his mind no idea of convinced of the excellence of the undertakme whatsoever. Do you approve of what ing, and that he shall carry away the deed I propose doing ?"

duly inscribed with my name. He speaks so ** Perfectly," said Mr. Drage, with a confidently that the investment which he nervous and excited air. “It is most im- proposes must be a very sound one, or else he portant that your husband should not know must have but a poor opinion of my business of your presence in this place. You feel qualifications. I dare say he thinks it will tolerably certain that Mrs. Bendixen has be easy enough, with specious words and not acquainted him with your visit?” cooked accounts, to get over an old soldier ;

"I feel quite certain of it,” said Madge. however, that will remain to be proved. “Her last words to me were convincing on You will be quite ready for the reception of that point."

these gentlemen, Mrs. Pickering, and will " Then Mr. Vane will stay over the night make them comfortable, I am sure.' at Wheatcroft. Who is the other gentle- "You may depend upon their being made man who is coming down with him ?” perfectly comfortable, Sir Geoffry," said

“The chairman of the company of which Madge. “ There will, I presume, be no Mr. Vane is the general manager.

occasion for my being in attendance when “ The chairman! Oh, then it is through they are here ?” him that the business will principally be “None in the world,” said Sir Geoffry, conducted ; and Mr. Vane is probably only promptly. coming down to be referred to on points “I mean that I shall not be called upon of detail. Is he a man likely to walk out to see them, and that I may keep to my much while he is here ?"

room during their stay ?” "What an extraordinary question !" said Certainly, if you wish it,” said Sir Madge. "I can scarcely understand what Geoffry. “But you know, Mrs. Pickering, you mean."

that I am rather proud of you, and* I meant was he fond of exercise ? Some “I am a little over-fatigued by my men whose lives are passed in the City are journey, and I dread any introduction to delighted at every chance of getting into strangers, fearing I might absolutely break the fresh air. However, I only asked for down. Ithe sake of something to say. I think you “Don't say another word about it; you are perfectly right in what you propose, shall do exactly as you please, and no stress my dear Mrs. Pickering, and I would re- shall be laid upon you. Sensitive woman commend you to take every precaution that that," said the old general to himself, lookyour intentions are not frustrated.”

ing after Madge's retreating figure," highHe spoke in a nervous, jerky manner, spirited, and all that kind of thing. Does

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not mind the people about here, but doesn't temper. The promptitude which his com- . like strangers. Is afraid, I suppose, of panion displayed in seizing upon every meeting people who knew her in better word uttered by their host as a personal days, and who would be ashamed of recog- matter was not without its effect upon Mr. nising her in her present position. Now I Delabole. When Sir Geoffry pushed his must once more look through the papers chair back from the table and suggested which Irving sent to me, and coach my- that they should adjourn to the library, self up in readiness to meet these gentle there to discuss the object of their visit

. men from the City.”

Mr. Delabole said : Punctual to its time, the train containing “If you have no objection, Sir Geoffry, the two gentlemen arrived at the Spring, I think that this question will be more side station the following morning, and likely to be brought to a speedy conclusion Mr. Delabole, hopping briskly out, called a if it is left to you and me. My friend Mr. fly, then turned back to assist his com- Vane is invaluable in all matters of detail, panion in extricating their luggage from and when we come to them we can request the carriage. There were but few persons him to favour as with his presence ; for on the platform, for it was an early and un- the old saying of two being better company fashionable train; but amongst them was than three holds good in business discusa tall, thin man, of stooping figure, dressed sions as well as in social life, and if you in a long clergyman's coat, who hovered have no objection, I think the basis of any round the two strangers, and seemed to arguments which are to be made between take particular notice of them-such par- our friend Irving, represented by you, and ticular notice as to attract Mr. Vane's at the company represented by me, would tention, and induce him to inquire jocularly better be settled by us alone.” of Mr. Delabole “Who was his friend ?" Sir Geoffry bowed stiffly enough. "WhatWhereupon Mr. Delabole stared with easy ever Mr. Delabole thought he should be assurance at the tall gentleman, and told happy to agree to. From the position Mr. Vane “ that their friend was probably which Mr. Delabole held in the City

, it a parson who had got wind of the rich was quite evident that in such a talk as marriage Mr. Vane was about to make, and they proposed to have, he, by himself, had come there to draw him of a little would be more than a match for an old money for the local charities."

retired Indian officer." They drove straight to Wheatcroft, and Mr. Delabole smiled at this speech. on their arrival were received with much “ There was, he hoped, no question of formality and politeness by Sir Geoffry, who brains or ingenuity in it. If the stability told them that luncheon was awaiting and excellence of the investment did not by them. During the discussion of this meal, themselves persuade Sir Geoffry to advise at which the three gentlemen alone were his friend to embark in it-and he hoped to present, the conversation was entirely of a embark in it a little himself--no blandishsocial character; Springside, its natural ments of his should be brought forward to beauties and its mineral waters; the style bring about that end. It was simply a of persons frequenting it; the differences question of confidence and figures, not of between a town and country life-were listening to compliments and blarney. He all lightly touched upon. The talk then would willingly retire with the general drifted into a discussion on the speculative into the library, while his good friend Mr. mania which had recently laid sach hold Vane would perhaps stroll about the upon English society, then filtering off into grounds, taking care to be within call if a narrow channel of admiration for Mr. his valuable services were required.” Irving and his Midas-like power, worked His good friend, Mr. Vane, who during back into the broad stream of joint-stock luncheon had been paying particular atcompanies and rapid fortune-making, and tention to some old and remarkable Madeira finally settled down upon the Terra del which was on the table, did not seem a Fuegos mine. During this conversation, all to relish this plan. At first, he seemed Sir Geoffry had given utterance to various inclined to make some open remonstrauce

, caustic remarks, and what he imagined but a glance from underneath Mr. Delswere unpleasant truths, all of which, bole's bushy eyebrows dissuaded him though somewhat chafed at by Mr. Vane, therefrom, and he contented himself by were received by Mr. Delabole, who acted shrugging his shoulders and indulging as spokesman for himself and his friend, other mild signs of dissent and objection

. with the greatest suavity, and were replied Previously to retiring with Mr. Delabole

: to with the utmost coolness and good | Sir Geoffry, with punctilious courtesy,

66

companied Mr. Vane to the hall-door; curled up his feet beneath him on the pointed out to him where were the plea- | bench, pulled out a cigar, and was just santest walks in the grounds, how best to about to light it, when, glancing up from reach the spots from whence the favourite under the brim of his hat, he saw the views were to be obtained, and handed him clergyman standing beside him. the keys of the conservatory and the gates Philip Vane dropped the cigar, and opening into the home park. Mr. Vane sprang to his feet. received all this politeness very coolly, “Who are you?” he cried, “and what inwardly determining to take the first op- are you doing here ?" portunity of revenging himself on Mr. De- “There is no occasion for you to disturb labole for the unceremonious treatment yourself,” said the new comer, quietly liftreceived at that gentleman's hands. ing his hat. ‘My name is Drage, and I

Left to himself, Mr. Vane strolled idly am rector of one of the parishes in Springabout the grounds switching the heads off side. I am speaking to Mr. Philip Vane, the flowers with his cane, and cursing Dela- I believe ?” bole's impudence for having relegated him “That's my name," said Vane, shortly, to the duties of the second fiddle.

and resuming his seat," though I cannot Make the best of your time, my good imagine how you knew it, unless you

read friend,” said he, stretching himself upon a it off my portmanteau, when you were bench shaded by the overhanging branches dodging about the station this morning." of a large tree,

make the best of your I knew it before I was dodging about time, to swagger and give yourself airs, the station, as you are politely pleased to and show that you are the head of the say,” said Mr. Drage; “ I know a great concern ; while I am, or am supposed to deal more about you, as you will find out, be, only one of its paid officers; for within before this interview is at an end !" a week, or ten days at the outside, I shall “ The deuce you do!” said Philip Vane, be my ogrn master, and if you attempt with a cynical smile; I did not know my anything of that kind with me then, I fame had extended to these parts. And shall be in a position to tell you my what do you know about me, pray, Mr.opinion of you in the very plainest lan. I forget your name. guage. Don't think I have not noticed of

“My name, I repeat, is Drage !" late how very tightly you have drawn "Drage-Drage," muttered Vane. “Any the rope which binds me to you! Tele- relation of Drage, of Abchurch-lane ?” graphed for when I am away, told to go

“ His son.” here and there, to find out this and that, "A most respectable man, holding a brought down here and shunted on one leading position in the City. My dear Mr. side, as though I were a mere clerk, whose Drage, I am delighted to make your acbusiness it is to make memoranda of what quaintance." And he held out his hand. may pass between their excellencies! Oh, “I do not think,” said Mr. Drage, my good friend Delabole, you may take taking no notice of the movement; “I do your oath I will not forget this. When not think that you will be quite so pleased once my marriage with Mrs. Bendixen is to make my acquaintance when you have an accomplished fact, and I have the know- heard all I have to say !” ledge that I am beyond any harm which you Philip Vane looked hard at his comcould do me, then you shall taste the leek panion, and noted with astonishment the which you have compelled me so frequently hectic flush in his cheeks, the brightness of of late to swallow. I will put my foot on

I will put my foot on his eyes, the mobile working of his mouth. . your neck, as you have put yours on mine, “You may say what you please,” he said, I will Hallo, who's this coming this shortly. “It is a matter of perfect inway? One of the gardeners, I suppose. difference to me. If you were in the City, No, by Jove! the parson who was at the your father or your father's clerks could station, and who seemed to take such in- tell you what position I hold there. City terest in us and our movements. What men are careful of what they say of each can he want? He must be a friend of Sir other; but you are a parson, and are Geoffry's, and makes his way through the privileged, I suppose ?” grounds as a short cut from one part of “I am a parson. It was in that capacity his parish to the other. He will see I am I became acquainted with the circuma friend of the general's, and will want to stances, the knowledge of which has inenter into conversation. I hate parsons, duced me to seek you out. You are about and shan't take any notice of him.” to be married, Mr. Vane?”

With this amiable resolve, Mr. Vane “The dullest of laymen could have told

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me that,” said Mr. Vane, again with a " You shall find one at least who scorns cynical smile; “ the report was in the to discuss even the possibility of such an newspapers."

arrangement. Let us bring this interview Exactly; but the point I am coming to a close; you will clearly understand my to has not yet found its way into the news- object in seeking it. I came to warn you papers, though it will probably be published that if you persevered in carrying out this ere long."

marriage, I will most assuredly hand you “ And it is?"

over to the law !" “ It is that you are married already!” “And I warn you that if you

interfere As Mr. Drage pronounced these words, in my business, I will kill you !" said Philip a chill crept over Philip Vane, and for an Vane, savagely. instant he felt stupefied. But he speedily Such a threat has no terrors for me,” recovered himself, and looking his com- said the rector. panion straight in the face, said:

“Perhaps not,” said Vane, with a con“Either you have been befooled yourself, temptuous glance at his companion's feeble or you are trying to make a fool of me. In frame; “however, I will find some means the latter case a hopeless and dangerous of bringing you and your client to reason." experiment."

Stay,” cried Mr. Drage, “I did not "I should not attempt to put my wits come here to bandy threats, but simply to in antagonism to yours," said the rector, discharge a duty. I will take no answer quictly, “ but facts have been said to be from you now, irritated as you are by the stubborn things, and the marriage register discovery that your position is known to of Chepstow Church, with the signature of me. Think over what I have said, and Philip Vane and Margaret Pierrepoint in save yourself from the commission of this one of its pages, is still extant !"

great sin. If you have occasion to write to Who told

you of this ?” asked Vane, me you know where I am to be found.” breathing hard and speaking low.

Philip Vane hesitated, then bowing his “Your injured and deserted wife !" head, he said in a low tone:

“Is the woman who once passed under “You are right. Do not think any more that name still alive ?" inquired Vane, of the wild words I uttered in my rage; anxiously.

leave me to think over the circumstances “ The lady who has the terrible misfor- in which I am placed, and the manner in tune to hold that position,” said the rector, which I can best extricate myself from the drawing himself up and looking at his com- danger into which I was about to plunge. panion with disgust, “is alive and well.” Leave me and Heaven bless

you
for

your And you come from her ?”

kindness.” “No, I am here on her behalf, but not Mr. Drage looked at him with brimming with her knowledge."

eyes, and lifting his hat slowly walked off. There was a momentary silence, broken “That was the best way of settling him,” by Vane, who said: “And what is your ob- said Philip Vane to himself

, as he watched ject in seeking this interview with me?” the rector down the path. “I must push

“ To warn you that I am cognisant of this marriage on at once, and make some the position in which you stand; to warn excuse for its being perfectly quiet.” you against the commission of the crime which you contemplate

“And to ask for a round sum to buy off the opposition of yourself and your interest- EXTRA DOUBLE NUMBER FOR ing accomplice. Is not that it, Mr. Drage?”

CHRISTMAS, 1871, “You scoundrel !" said Mr. Drage. "Do you dare to address such language to me- SLAVES OF THE LAMP. a clergyman?”

“If it comes to a question of language,” said Vane, with a laugh, “I believe that

Now ready, price 5s.6d., bound in green cloth, 'scoundrel' is scarcely a term much bandied

THE SIXTH VOLUME about in clerical society. As a matter of fact, I have found many gentlemen of your cloth not less open to a bribe than the rest

ALL THE YEAR ROUND. of the world."

To be had of all Booksellers.

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JUST PUBLISHED, THE

ENTITLED

OF THE NEW SERIES OP

The light of Translating Articles from ALL THE YEAR ROUND is reserred by the Authors.

Published at the Office. 26, Wellington St Strand.

Printed by C. WRITING, Beautor: llouse. Duko St., Lincoln's Inn Fiolde

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