Imatges de pÓgina
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“ Because she is poor?” asked Angelo, pate an offer of marriage from you? You with a marked elevation of his eyebrows. have not concealed this from your own

“ Because she is a mystery—because we father and mother?” have nothing but her word as to all this.” “I have not kept anything from you," “It is enough,” replied Angelo.

said Angelo, moodily;“I have not had the “ It is not sufficient for me," said Mr. chance. Salmon sharply. He was an irritable man,

“ Bless me! and the short quick responses of his son “I have not had the chance of winning aggravated as well as perplexed him. the heart of a good woman like Mabel West

“Miss Westbrook is a guest in your brook,” Angelo continued ;“ I am too weak house, father," Angelo remarked, "and to and poor a fellow-I have nothing to rebe treated, I hope;

with

respect so long as commend me but my money." she remains there."

“That is everything to a woman looking “Of course, of course," answered the for a husband.”

as long as she remains, I am not “ Which she is not." likely to forget the courtesy due to a lady “She would not have you if she were who has been invited to my home. There rich," said Mr. Salmon, seeing his advanhas certainly been an error of judgment, and tage; "she is too brilliant and sharp a girlI take my share of blame. I have been 'go-ahead' they call it in the country from credulous, Angelo—I have believed every which she has come. She would have had word of your statement as to her position hundreds of admirers if she had been in life, just as you believed it before me, wealthy. You know she would not have had and without seeking one atom's worth of you.” proof, and now we are both trembling on “Yes,” said Angelo very sadly, “I know the brink of an abyss !

that." Angelo shook his head as he walked on "And if she accept you for the sake of by his father's side.

position-if she has known all along of this “I don't understand you,” he said. blow to her fortune, and has played her

Mr. Salmon fancied that he had impressed cards accordingly, what a miserable life lies his son at last.

before
you:

The world will not only laugh
" Suppose-I merely say suppose, for the at you," said the father, “but she will laugh
sake of the argument, Angelo—that Miss at you too.
Westbrook is a shrewd, long-headed, far- I have been laughed at so often in my
seeing woman of the world,” he continued ; | life,” replied Angelo, “that one more jest
“she meets you in America, hears you are will not affect me much. And if it comes
rich, discovers you to be credulous, and from her, I can forgive it.”
lays her plan accordingly. Could she have “ Not afterwards. Not when time has
acted in a cleverer way to enlist our proved to you what a dupe you have
sympathy and gain our admiration?" been."

“You know I admire her,” said Angelo ; “She will not make a dupe of me," said “ I have not attempted to disguise even a Angelo ;“I wish she would.” deeper feeling than admiration for her, and 1-1-1--" he began to grow confused, “I “But I have received your warning, sir," object to any supposition that attempts, for said Angelo, interrupting him, “and will a single moment, to lower Mabel Westbrook consider it. I do not think there is anyin my estimation. There !” he concluded, thing more for you to say, and I am quite with an emphatic stamp of his foot upon the certain there is nothing more which I can grass.

hear with any patience.' “If I put a mild supposition before you, "Angelo !" Angelo, you need not fly at me like a bull- “ Therefore you will kindly leave me.” dog," said the father, reprovingly.

Certainly. But you are weak, you know. "I beg your pardon. But-don't say You will do nothing rashly?" anything against her just now, please.” “ I will do nothing rashly," was the echo

“Surely, it has not gone so far as this. here. My dear boy, you have not been weak “Or without consulting me?" enough to allow Miss Westbrook to antici- “I will not promise so much as that,"

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said Angelo, "and after all that you have Mr. Salmon passed into the house, and said against her."

found Mabel Westbrook equipped for tra"I have merely surmised—I know novelling, and sitting by the side of his better thing against Miss Westbrook. Until this half, who had been evidently weeping. morning I have never suspected her for an Mabel met him with a bright smile as he instant.

entered. This was as it should be. She "She should have been above suspicion was parting amicably. Mrs. Salmon had always.”

managed a delicate piece of business with Angelo turned abruptly from his father, more judgment than he had given her credit and went on across the meadows to the for. country road lying beyond the hedge-rows “I could not leave St. Lazarus without in the distance. He had promised Mabel bidding you good-bye, Mr. Salmon, and that he would take a walk--she had wished thanking you for all your hospitality," said to get rid of him that morning, and thought Mabel as he entered. that a stroll would do him good, and he “Going to leave us !” replied Mr. Salwould set about it at once. He wanted mon with an affectation of surprise that was time to consider the new position of affairs very badly done. before Mabel left St. Lazarus, and he want- “Somewhat unceremoniously, perhaps," ed that time to himself, and away from his said Mabel ; " but I have been here under father, whom he left looking after him. Mr. false pretences, as I have been telling this Gregory Salmon made no attempt to follow; good friend of mine, who begs me to rehe was wise enough to see the futility of main.” pressing his arguments more closely on his “Does she, though ?-dear me," ejaculatson that day. They would have their weight ed the Master. "Well, we shall have lunin due course, for Angelo was mild and tract-cheon in half an hour,” he added with a dash; able, and there was no necessity for haste "you will not go till then ? " now. Angelo was walking steadily from “I should have waited till your return, home and Mabel Westbrook, and was com- Mr. Salmon, and only till your return,” was paratively safe in consequence. What might Mabel's answer. “I have said good-bye to happen before he was back to luncheon, this lady and your son.” who could tell ?

Have you seen Angelo ?" exclaimed the If the Master of St. Lazarus had already Master. sketched forth a programme in his mind, it “Mine was a farewell in disguise to him," was disposed of by a prompter course of ac- said Mabel, “and I think it was as well. tion on the part of the lady principally con- He would not judge me harshly for leaving cerned. As he walked across the quad- without the formality of an adieu. Rememrangle, he saw that Mabel's boxes were at ber me to him, please,” she added, as she the front door, and that Hodsman the por- turned to the mother and rested her hand ter was bringing round a barrow for them. upon her shoulder. The Brethren of the Noble Poor, interested “I wish you would not go away so sudin the flitting, had collected in a group upon denly—as if—as if we had done something the grass to talk of it-like a wheezy chorus to offend you," said the Master's wife. “Mr. in an ancient play. Much of the history of Salmon, this is quite a voluntary act of Adam Halfday's life and death had found Mabel's; I have not said a word to her.” its way to his old companions, and the “Why should you?" answered Mabel. American girl's connection with the story "Is it likely that you would so quickly after had afforded food for comment here. The my misfortunes, as the world will term loss of her fortune was not known to these them presently. No, no; I give you credit old men, who had learned to regard Mabel for more kindness and charity, although it is with awe and admiration, as a guardian my duty none the less to take the initiative." genius of St. Lazarus, who might benefit “You have acted with great decision each brother in his turn. At the outer gates, of character, Miss Westbrook," said Mr. Miss Westbrook's hired carriage stopped Salmon, “and have certainly surprised us. the way, and in the carriage Dorcas—who had But it may be for the best. Considering all accompanied Mabel to the Hospital-waited things, I cannot blame you very much for for her patroness, and was dull and stolid. the step you have taken.”

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ANGELO SEEKS ADVICE.

you."

“Considering all things, no," said Mabel sively; "it may be very soon. Will you thoughtfully.

read this as you go along, please ?" Mr. Gregory Salmon blushed; but she was He thrust a torn scrap of paper into her not thinking of him.

hands, and tottered away under the archway “Had I been prepared for so complete a of the Cardinal's Tower, like a man in great collapse of my property,” added Mabel in haste to get from her. Mabel entered the conclusion, “I should have stayed away carriage and turned her back upon the from a place which you were kind enough to Hospital of St. Lazarus for good. Her new press me to call home. But I was waiting life lay beyond it-strange and unknown and for some portion of the wreck to drift to incomprehensible—but there was no shadow shore.”

of it on her fair young face. 'It is a very terrible blow to you,” said Mr. Salmon.

Mabel laughed so pleasantly that Mr. Salmon regarded her for a moment with

CHAPTER IV. amazement.

“Not at all,” she said ;“ I never cared for money. It would not have done me any good, or brought me one true friend. Good- The Penton Museum had been closed to bye, Mr. Salmon, and once more-thank the general public some two hours or more,

and its curator had dismissed the last official Gregory Salmon felt a small-souled indi- -a certain Mrs. Ironbrace, whose mission vidual as he took the little hand of his guest was to dust and wash and scrub at the corin his and bowed over it politely. He was porate expense, and to do generally for Mr. glad she was going, but he was more glad Halfday-when the noisy bell of the estabthat it was of her own free will, and at no lishment announced a visitor. On that hint from his wife.

particular evening Brian had settled down “Good-bye, Miss Westbrook, if you are to work; there were more papers than usual really determined to depart so hastily," he on the table of his room, the lamp had been said.

carefully trimmed and set on the right side “Yes, quite determined."

of his desk, the desk was open and Brian “And you will return to--Penton, per- was writing busily, covering many pages of haps ?" he asked.

foolscap with a thick and almost illegible “I don't know," answered Mabel; “I scrawl, when the summons from without shall make up my mind as I go along. disturbed the flow of his ideas. Brian Half

She stooped and kissed Mrs. Salmon, and day set his pen aside and listened. He was then went away from St. Lazarus ; and the unprepared for visitors ; he had considered brethren doffed their caps in mute respect himself a man without any friends beyond to her as she passed them with a smile and his bookshelves before Mabel Westbrook friendly nod of farewell.

came to England; he had been reserved, One brother of the Noble Poor, who had austere, and studious to a degree that had held aloof from the rest, Mabel discovered aged and ossified him, and there had at the carriage door, talking energetically to been so few calls at the museum after busiDorcas, and shaking his head with more ness hours that a ringing of the bell came as vehemence than seemed necessary. This a novelty and a surprise. Still, he was a was Peter Scone, the senior member of the man who had been long ago prepared for fraternity

emergencies, one who knew the value of “She is a cross-grained vixen, my lady, time, and had made his arrangements acHeaven knows that,” he said, as if in ex-cordingly. Servantless, with a horror of planation of his excitement.

office-keepers and charwomen, he had ar"I don't believe it, Mr. Scone,” answered ranged, after Dorcas had resigned her post Mabel cheerfully.

as housekeeper to him and gone to St. Laza“She will not tell me where you both are rus to nurse her grandfather, a system of going," he said.

communication with the outside world when "Is it necessary?

occasions like the present necessitated a “It may be some day,” he replied eva. parley with it. He did not move from his

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seat, but blew an inquiry as to who was there about than such a bad-tempered fellow as I down a pipe which passed from his room to am ?” asked Brian thoughtfully, and yet the side of the street door, a few inches gratefully. above the bell. By means of this acoustic “She misunderstood you cruelly, she tells arrangement the gentleman waiting on the me—and she has so high an opinion of you top step for admittance was suddenly sur- at present, that I am in duty bound to prised by a hoarse bellowing close to his follow suit.” ears.

"You are extremely obliging," said Brian “Who is it? What do you want ?” were drily. “Miss Westbrook's opinions influthe muffled words that came through the ence yours, then ?” mouthpiece.

“I am proud to say

so." The gentleman regained his composure, “Haven't you any opinions of your own ?" and called forth the nature of his business “Not any-worth mentioning," Angelo up the tube in reply.

added, after a moment's consideration. “My name is Angelo Salmon. I wish to “Is that why you have come for mine?" speak to Mr. Halfday for a few minutes.” asked Brian in his usual quick manner of

** All right,"answered Brian, "I will come pitching one question after another at a lisdown.”

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came on the step and glared into the young beginning to consider," said Brian bitterly; man's face with eagerness.

my knowledge of the world is a snare, and " Is anything the matter ?” he exclaimed. my estimate of human character a delusion. “ I have news for you, Mr. Halfday.” You must not rely on me in any way.” “ Bad news ?"

“Mabel Westbrook said, only a little " It is bad news to me, at all events.” while ago, to me—the day before yesterday,

Oh! that doesn't matter," said Brian in fact that if I ever was beset by doubt abruptly;“ I was afraid Miss Westbrook had or difficulty, I could not do a better or a sent you."

wiser act than come to you for advice. So “No-but Miss Westbrook left us this I have come !" morning."

“The lady does me a high honour," mur"Where has she gone? Why have I not mured Brian ; " but she has proceeded to been told of this before? What is the reason extremes in her kind estimate of me. This of it?" asked Brian.

is a mental reaction for thinking me a scamp. "I shall be most happy to explain-but Presently she will judge me as I am. it is rather a long story, and I have come for you follow me?" your advice, Mr. Halfday.”

“I thank you." “Well-well,” said Brian impatiently, Brian Halfday led the way to his room, " begin, please."

as a few weeks ago he had led the way for “On the door-step? You will excuse me, her who had been lately speaking in his Mr. Halfday, but I thought that—" praise. His irritable mood had vanished as “Will you step inside ?”

if by magic, beneath the spell of the few “Thank you—I think I will."

words that Angelo Salmon had addressed “I am busy to-night-I had set myself a to him without any thought of flattery. He long task," said Brian, “and you interfere was glad to receive his visitor now; he with it. There, I am discourteous—but should hear a great deal of Mabel Westdon't mind me.''

brook, and of all that had happened during “Oh! I don't mind you in the least now, the last ten days; and work was not so Mr. Halfday,” said Angelo as he stepped pleasant a thing as it had seemed half an into the hall. Brian closed the door, and hour ago. He placed a chair for his guest, turned around sharply with his hand on the packed away his papers in the desk, and lock.

then sat down with his hands clasped upon “Why not now ?he asked.

it, after a habit of his when awakening to “I have heard so much about you lately interest in passing things. from Miss Westbrook.”

“In what way can I be of use to you, “Has she not had anything better to talk | Mr. Salmon ?" he asked.

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“ You will give me a little time to collect again,” said Angelo. “ The news myself, I hope," said Angelo, as he seated to-dayhimself, and put his hat on the table at his “Ha! to-day?" side. “I have not the gift of dashing off- “Yes, I said to-day,” Angelo continued, hand at a subject, which appears to distin-" that the news came of the total loss of her guish you, Mr. Halfday. I am very slow. property; and she bore up like the brave Excuse me.”

woman that she is. My own private opinion, “Take your own time," said our hero ; Mr. Halfday, is, that she does not care a I am in no hurry.”

bit.” “ Thank you,” said Angelo again.

“She is careless as regards money," said Brian Halfday watched his visitor atten- Brian. “Indeed, a more reckless woman tively, whilst he waited for the communica in money matters I have never met.

If she tion that Angelo had resolved to give him had been less hasty-if-but I interrupt you at his leisure. He even regarded Angelo again." Salmon with a strange, pitying kind of in- “Yes, you do,” said Angelo, in assent. terest, as if the young man's' weakness or “Let me see—what was I saying last? Oh, nervousness had aroused his sympathy as the news came of the loss of her property, well as his curiosity. He thought, even, in a bank of which her father was a principal that it was not difficult to guess what was at shareholder. I was deeply distressed, Mr. the bottom of Angelo's thoughts to unnerve Halfday.”. him in this way. He had sketched that “Very likely." idea faintly in his mind a few weeks since, " And I think Miss Mabel saw it," he and thought that something of the kind continued ; "she advised me to take a walk would come to pass some day; still, not so —she gave me a little silk purse which she soon as this, or in this odd fashion.

had been making for me at the time, but I Angelo thought out the position at his -I did not think it was a parting gift.” leisure. He took his time, as Brian Half- His voice broke suddenly, and went off day had suggested ; and it was a quarter of into a cracked falsetto. an hour at least before he burst forth I am very childish," he said, apologetiwith

cally. “ Mr. Halfday, I have had a few words “Not a doubt of it," replied Brian; "go with my father."

on.' Brian's face, which had certainly betrayed “When I returned from my walk she had anxiety, brightened up

left St. Lazarus ever,. ** SØns have done so before you, and been. They had sent her'away—your people," sorry for it," answered the curator. “When said Brian, scornfully, “or they had said the father is a good man, and the son honest something hurtful to her pride, and she reand straightforward, the difference between sented it by leaving them at once.

I do not them is easily adjusted."

blame her." “He says he will not forgive me. He—" Nothing was said, Mr. Halfday,” said “For what offence ?"

Angelo; "they gave me their word of “You will excuse me, I know, Mr. Half-honour that Miss Westbrook left of her own day; but I shall never get on unless you free will, and with many thanks and best allow me to tell the story in my own way," wishes to them both.” remonstrated Angelo. "You pull me up “What did you and your father quarrel suddenly, and disturb my ideas.”

about?" asked Brian, doubtfully. “Go on,” said Brian. “I will try and “ That is the question I am coming tonot interrupt you again. But you are ter- though it was hardly a quarrel. A few ribly slow," he muttered.

words I said, if you remember?” “Father and I quarrelled about Miss “Yes—I remember," said Brian, wearily. Westbrook.”

“I was overcome at Miss Westbrook's “About her! Then she-Pray proceed,” sudden departure-I even shed a few tears said Brian, as Angelo raised his hand depre- in my distress—and I told them, what they catingly.

knew before, and what they had seemed “She has left the Hospital for good, as I glad to know then ; what I am too proud to was about to explain when you broke in disguise in any way from any living man,

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