Imatges de pÓgina
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A Nitted man, but he looked up as "Mahim," said Angelo.

7

“Yes,” said Angelo for the third time. “And win me !” said Mabel, her voice

Mabel clasped her hands together, and sinking very low, “as if it were an easy task leaned forwards, full of interest in the sub- for you." ject.

“No-he did not imply that.” “Tell me what he said," asked Mabel As if I were an easy conquest to any Westbrook, almost sharply.

man with money enough to keep me."

"I have already told you, Miss Westbrook, that he cautioned me against mentioning

money in your presence," answered Angelo. CHAPTER VIII.

“Ah! so you have," was the reply. “He

sketched out quite a plan of the campaign “PUMPING."

I hope you have followed his in

structions." NGELO was not a quick- “You are vexed with me for going to bel's voice changed. There was something “It does not matter in the least,” replied in the tones, and in her manner, that struck Mabel. “No, I am not vexed—but you acted him as peculiar, and Mabel saw that he per- foolishly in going to him, that is all. Shall ceived it.

you return and tell him that his advice has “I am only curious to learn how so hard been vanity and vexation, and you have not and strange a man as Brian Halfday would secured me?” consider a matter of this kind, and in a light " I don't know what I shall do now," reencouraging to you," said Mabel as if in ex- sponded Angelo, helplessly. planation.

“He will be surprised at the result of “Yes-exactly."

your mission," said Mabel. “ It is no secret, I suppose ?'

“He may be. I can't tell.” “No—but why should I embarrass you

“Women, in his estimation, are easily capfurther by all this?” he replied.

tured, it is evident,” she continued thought“ Don't mind me, Angelo," she said. fully; "although wise men make mis“Mr. Halfday, I should have imagined, takes at times, when women are in question.” would have been angry at your intruding on “You are offended with me for not acthis studies—would have laughed at your ing on my own judgment," cried Angelo, romance, even if he had finally warned you “and yet I should have come here with the of the folly of fostering it."

same words on my lips—the same feelings in “I have said, Miss Westbrook, that he my breast.” did nothing of the kind," replied Angelo; “I am not offended with you," she "he received me favourably—and listened replied. patiently—after a time.”

“With him, then ?” he said shrewdly. “And what did he advise you to do- "No, certainly not.” and say? This man,” she added angrily, "Not for encouraging me, and wishing “who had no right to advise you concerning me God-speed ? " myself—who knows less of me than you do, “In wishing you God-speed,” she repeatand cares a great deal less too. Why will ed, "he must have been deeply interested you not tell me what he said ? "

in this case, and I am very much surprised." " It is no use,” said Angelo shaking his

“He would be naturally interested," said head, “it is only prolonging my pain. Angelo.

"Prolonging your fiddlestick," cried Ma- “Why ?” bel, with more energy and less sentiment. “He is interested in you." I

suppose you did not follow his advice, “ Yes—so it seems!” and don't like to confess as much to me. " You did not doubt that?" He told you to keep away-you know he “I did not think much about it,” replied did !”

Mabel carelessly ; "I came to England in “Upon my honour he did not,” said search of his grandfather,--of himself and Angelo, lured into the relation of the facts sister-of any one of his kin, and that probat last ; "he told me to persevere—to tell ably aroused a certain amount of interest in the truth of my love, and win you."

me in return—such interest as it was. But

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there, there, do not let us talk about it any And go away from you ? "
more. It is not worth the waste of words we “ Yes—for awhile.”
have given to it, Angelo."

“It might be for ever. You will disap"If you remember, it is not my fault that pear, and never tell me where you are we have dwelt upon it so long.” said Angelo. again.”

“ Is it not?” she answered absently. “No, I will not. Although it would be " Ah ! well—perhaps I was curious a little. as well, perhaps,” she answered. And now, you will promise me never to “I will go," he said, rising ; "I am sorry speak of this again—to take my answer as I have troubled you so much this evening, final—to accept my thanks once more for but I felt I should like to explain the true the honouryou have done me—and to remain state of my feelings, and I have done somy friend for the little while longer I am on with a vengeance,” he added in so dismal a English ground."

tone, and with so odd a look, that Mabel Are you thinking of leaving England, Westbrook might have laughed pleasantly then ?” he faltered forth.

under different circumstances. Yes, I shall go back to America very She was in no laughing mood that evensoon.”

ing, however ; Angelo had said much to “ You have not said anything of this be- disturb her, and there remained food for fore to me," he said, half reproachfully. thought in his confession. She was sorry

“I have not had much time," answered now that he had come wooing to her. Only Mabel with a smile ; " but there are many a little while ago it had seemed better for friends over there who can help me—and him and her that they should clearly underwill help me.”

stand each other, but she was scarcely cer“I fancied you had no very intimate tain now of the wisdom of the step he had friends there. I-I thought you said it was undertaken. It had been done in a hurry, your grandfather's wish you should remain and there was confusion in consequence. here in England," remarked Angelo. She was glad when he had shaken hands

“He thought I should be a rich woman. with her, and quitted the house ; there was In England there is not much sympathy a sense of relief in his absence—in the lonefor a poor one.”

liness that seemed to come to her by way of “Oh! Miss Westbrook !"

comfort after he had gone. “ What is the matter !

She did not move from the seat where he “I did not think you could speak so bit- had left her, but drifted at once into thoughts terly as that."

born of the interview and of her stay in Mabel laughed.

England, and both strangely intermixed. “You see, I am not perfection,” she said, Life had been a whirl of events with her “ but a cross-grained female whom a little since she had acted for herself in it, and there puts out.

You will find me my own self had ensued much responsibility, some mysto-morrow if you care to call."

tery, and more mistakes. All her girlish “If I care!” exclaimed Angelo ; “ of thoughts, her girlish happiness even, seemed course I care—although I am awfully dis- to have vanished in these latter days, and tracted in mind, and dare hardly see you to have left her a cold, hard, matter-of-fact yet."

woman. She had looked for peace and rest His voice shook a little with its old feeble in England, but they had not come to her ; ness, and Mabel looked critically at she had dreamed of friends here, and she him.

was only surrounded by people whom it was “No; upon second thoughts, don't come, impossible to comprehend. "The world had Angelo, to-morrow.”

been full of sudden changes, and it was Very well—if

you

wish me not.” natural that she should change with it ; but “ Take a holiday. Go to your chambers she was not growing more content. in London-or to the sea-side, where a A soft pressure of two folded hands upon change will do you good. I am sure of it,” her shoulder aroused her from thought at added Mabel.

last, and to the consciousness of the night's “ I am not."

being an hour older since her guest had with“ You have taken Mr. Halfday's advice-drawn. now, do me a favour and try mine."

“You are very sad, my mistress," said the

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low voice of Dorcas in her ears, “and it is “ No!” unlike you."

"And he spoke outright all that was in “I am only thoughtful."

his heart, as a man should who cares for a “There are tears upon your cheeks.” woman,

and “I did not know that," said Mabel, hastily Dorcas, you have been listening !” brushing them away.

“1-1

began Dorcas. "Is it because of the money you have “I did not think you could have acted so lost, after all ?"

meanly as that,” said Mabel with a severity “No--no, Dorcas.”

of tone that surprised and depressed her “I am glad of that. I have heard so companion. much of money in my life-there have been “I was afraid he was going to separate such struggles for it in my family– I see the us—that you were going to accept himvalue and the power of it myself so clearly, and—and I did not listen long,” said Dorcas that it was natural to think you should by way of extenuation ; Igrieve for its loss."

Dorcas paused, for there was a sudden Mabel shook her head and smiled faintly. crash of glass in the window of the room,

“When it loses me my friends, it will be and both women were taken off their guard, time to grieve," said Mabel.

and not too heroic to scream. A window “I am to be one of your friends—do you had been broken from without, and before think you will lose me?" inquired Dorcas. Dorcas and Mabel had crossed the room,

" I hope not; and yet you may not like and torn aside the curtains to look into the to go to America !” said Mabel.

front garden and the high road, a second “To America ! You have not spoken of window followed the first to destruction. that journey before ? "

“What is it ?—who is it?" exclaimed the “No—I have just made up my mind.” inmates.

“To America l" repeated Dorcas; "that “Let me in,” said a feeble voice from is a long way, and -and Brian may not like without; " I am ill—I have news for youme to go."

and there's no time to lose.” “We will not discuss the question to- Mabel opened the window and looked night,” said Mabel, wearily; “I am tired of down from it some three feet to the grass discussion."

lawn, whereon was a human figure that had “I thought you had come to England to been endeavouring to attract attention by live," continued Dorcas, despite this pro- demolishing the window-glass with the test ; "I thought you had told me so, or Brian handle of a heavy walking-stick. had said so—but oh! don't go yet awhile, “Who are you?” inquired Mabel. please, Miss Mabel. Don't leave me yet

“ Peter

cone, of St. Lazarus,” was the don't take away the better thoughts which reply. have come to me since I have known how good you are !"

Mabel was astonished at this outburst, and replied

CHAPTER IX. “Why, Dorcas, you are as upset to-night as I am, and both without much reason for

PETER CONFESSES. it.”

“ But when shall you go to America ? ” "EN minutes after the question and said Dorcas.

answer with which our last chapter “I am in no hurry," was the reply ; “I closed, Peter Scone was seated in an armhave learned my lesson in life, never to act chair in the room, with Mabel and Dorcas in too great haste again.”

bending over him. They had brought him “Will that man go with you?”.

into the house with difficulty. When he had “ What man?”

first arrived he had been too weak to reach “ That Mr. Salmon-as your husband.” the front steps, and had plunged madly at Why, Dorcas !-is it likely ?"

the windows with his stick to attract atten“He is a man very fond of you. And he tion, which having secured, he had dropped is rich-independent of his hateful father, on the lawn like a stone. and you don't care for anybody else."

In Mabel's room he had come back slowly

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to himself, and was now sipping some spirit us any news. What of this William
and water, and glaring over the glass at the Halfday?"
fair Samaritans who had befriended him. “He must be followed and found out
His natural colour had not returned to his at once. It's for your sake, Dorcas, for you
face, which was greenish-grey, instead of are a rich lady."
yellow parchment-otherwise, at first sight, “A rich lady!”
there did not seem to be any marked dif- “I make no terms with you—but you
ference in his personal appearance.

won't forget me," he entreated; “I always “Now, will you tell us, Mr. Scone, what liked you very much, Dorcas--I persuaded has happened to bring you here in so much your grandfather to do this for you—but all haste and excitement ? " asked Mabel. I want is to foil that wretch, and see him,

You wanted me to call to-night.” before I die, begging for bread in Penton

“I answered your letter, which was full of streets." mystery," was the reply; "I expected you "He is raving mad," said Dorcas, “or, earlier in the evening, but I was certainly un- yes-he is drunk !" prepared for the way in which you an- I'm as sane and sober as you are, you nounced your presence. You have given young cat-you unkind child, I mean!” me and Dorcas a great fright.”

cried Peter Scone; " but you will not listen “ If you had had such a fright as I have, to me. There's a will; I tell

you

there's a I doubt if you would have survived it,” will-drawn up by your grandfather

, and said Peter ; "just feel the left side of my leaving all his money to you—and that head, ma'am."

means the twenty thousand pounds which Mabel did so, and found a lump as large this lady paid away.” as a walnut very speedily.

“ Where is the will ?" asked Mabel. “ You have had fall.”

“Go on, Peter, go on. Oh! great “I have had a blow. I believe it has Heaven, if this man should die before he been done by a small crowbar, but it will tells us where it is,” exclaimed Dorcas, as not be easy to prove that.”

excited as the old man now. “Who has done it ?

“ Ah! I thought I should interest you “ That girl's father-William Halfday." presently," said Peter Scone. " William Halfday!

“Go on," cried Dorcas, "you don't know “But I'll have the law of him—I'll have —you can't imagine—what all this means my revenge of him—I'll let him know what to me. Go on, Peter-I will make you it is to attack an honest man whose age rich, too, if you will tell me where to find should have brought him reverence, not the will.' violence. If I had my way," he hissed Patience, Dorcas, patience,” said Mabel. between his closed gums, “I'd hang "Madame, I have no patience," answered that devil. He deserves it—he meant to Dorcas peevishly. kill me—he meant to leave me in the Close “ Your father wanted to bribe me,” but I for dead-he tried to kill me--he did, he wouldn't have it," said the mendacious did-I'll swear it!"

Peter. “I was for justice to the orphan. Peter's excitement was great now; he When he found I was not to be talked over, hammered his stick upon the floor, he he offered me two thousand pounds, as true stamped his feet, his eyes blazed in their as I'm sitting here—and he knocked me sockets, and his whole face was convulsed down with an iron crowbar when I wouldn't

take it." “To think I should be served like this “Had you the will with you ?” at my time of life,” he cried, when he had “No-but in my pocket-book, which he recovered a sufficient amount of breath to stole along with my key—I'll get him two speak again ; “to think I might have been years for that too !—there is a memorandum murdered and nobody the wiser. The man where the will is,” said Peter. "I don't who picked me up in the Close would not know for an absolute certainty, of course, believe me, and told me I was drunk. Drunk but I fancy the will's there. He was fond -1, Peter Scone !-think of that now !” of hiding things away from Dorcas.”

we do?” asked Mabel ; “In the old church ? behind the panel "you do not explain to us—you do not give and under the oaken seat where he used to

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“ What can

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sit,” cried Dorcas; "I know-I know; I “ I can wake Hodsman, the porter." could find it in the dark.”

" That's no use.

Dorcas will have failed “Yes—that's the place—and William or succeeded long before you are at the Halfday is hunting for it now, or I'm no Cardinal's Tower, young lady." judge of what a blackguard he is."

“But that dreadful man, her father ? ” “ He cannot tell where my grandfather “A dreadful rascal,—don't call him a used to sit at church."

man,” said Peter, with supreme disgust.

1" “It is all explained in the pocket-book," “They will meet perhaps in the church,” said Peter ; “I thought if I died suddenly said Mabel ;“ he may have found the docuit ought to be found and

ment before she reaches there, and what “ Tell her the rest,” interrupted Dorcas ; may follow then? I cannot wait till she “think what is best to be done till I come returns." back-don't follow me, for I am safe enough. “There's no use in going, I keep telling

I I cannot stop another moment."

you, but you're very obstinate," he mut“Where are you going?”

tered. "To St. Lazarus—by the cross cut over “I can't rest here," said Mabel. the meads," she cried ; “ don't stop me- “What is to become of me?” he asked ; don't ask me any questions—my whole life's “is anybody going to take care of me, or happiness is at stake."

am I to be sent away now there's nothing Dorcas dashed out of the room, and the more to be got out of me, and with this instant afterwards the front door was heard lump on my head, too ? By Gosh,” he addto slam noisily behind her. Mabel ran ed, as he passed his hand carefully over it, to the window and called to her stop, to “it's growing like a wursel.” wait for her, but Dorcas only looked back “Would you like to see a doctor ?” and shook her head and hands, and went on “No, I should not," he replied ; " I have bareheaded like a wild thing.

done all my life without one, and I am not The night was warm but dark, and the going to begin now.' stars had disappeared as she turned in the “I will ask the landlady to prepare a bed direction of St. Lazarus, and ran, with ex- for you.” traordinary swiftness for a woman, along the “I shall sit up till Dorcas comes back dusty high-road.

from St. Lazarus.”

You are tired-you have gone through much excitement to-day,” said Mabel.

“I would have gone through fire and waCHAPTER X.

ter to do Dorcas Halfday a service.”

" You are very kind,” said Mabel. AN ESCORT ON THE ROAD.

“She was a girl I always liked-—"

“You have said so before." EFT alone with the senior member of “ Though we had our little quarrels at

the Brotherhood of the Noble Poor, the Hospital, for a more aggravating girl I Mabel Westbrook remained for a while un- don't know. Where are you going now?” certain how to act. She was not disposed "To get my hat and cloak. I must folto wait patiently for the return of Dorcas, low her.' as that excitable young woman had enjoin- Mabel hastened from the room, and the ed her to do ; the mission was too full of old man crossed his hands upon his stick, mystery and danger.

and thought of all his wrongs, and all his Mr. Scone watched Mabel with his blink-chances of reward for this last noble action ing eyes, as if doubtful of her purpose, and of his life. He was dozing before Mabel when she suddenly started to her feet, he Westbrook returned, but his small eyes glitsaid,

tered from beneath his shaggy brows as she “What's the matter? What are you go- came into the room. ing to do?”

“You are wasting your time—you don't “I must follow Dorcas to St. Lazarus." know where to find her-you will put Wil

“You had better not!” warned Peter; liam Halfday on his guard, if he is prowling, "you can't get into the place now she has about the church,” said Peter Scone. the start of you."

I shall die of suspense if I stay here.".

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