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“ You are very
and what I don't care who knows !” cried “I should be sorry to think I could,” anAngelo, enthusiastically.
swered Angelo. “What is that?"
“What do you want with me?” asked “Oh! Mr. Halfday, can't you guess ? " | Brian, after a few minutes' silence, during said Angelo, colouring.
which he had been brooding very deeply; “ That you love the American lady.” "in what way do you imagine I can help “ Yes, that's it.”
“Ah!” said Brian, mournfully, “that's “She has great faith in you." it!”
Brian shook his head. “ You cannot imagine what a dear, tender- “I scarcely believe it,” he said, “and at hearted, clever, lovable girl she is,” Angelo the best, faith is quickly disturbed in a man continued.
like me.” “ Yes I think I can," was the response. “She has said so often that I needed " What a
such a friend as you to keep me strong by “And Mr. Gregory Salmon ?—he was his advice and example, that missing her sudsurprised at your confession. Go on with denly, I came to you at once.” your love story. It is becoming interesting.”
kind.” “My father was very much surprised and “For you are strong, and I-I can't help shocked, he said,” replied Angelo. “He being weak.” had no idea that my feelings had become “ Your love for Mabel Westbrook is not engaged so seriously, he said too.
weak ?" amazed at my thinking deeply of a young “Oh, no.” person-he called her a young person—who, “ 'That should give you strength and teach upon her own showing, was not worth a you the right way to act, without coming penny in the world, and of whose character here for advice that I do not care to offer and antecedents I had not had a fair oppor- you. That I will not offer you," he shouted tunity of judging. He said—”
at his visitor. "Yes, yes, I know what a careful man “God bless me—why not?" exclaimed like him would say,” interrupted Brian again, Angelo. “and he is right enough after the fashion of The astonishment on the face of the the world to which he belongs. What did last speaker recalled Brian Halfday to him
. you say, who are less conventional ? ” self.
“That I would marry Miss Westbrook “My advice brings ill-luck," he replied in 10-morrow, if she would have me,” replied a different and calmer tone; "I can't look Angelo ; “that I felt it my duty to seek her back and see where it has been of profit to out at once, and offer her my hand and my fellow-creatures, where it has been often heart, so that she should not think her loss followed or cared for. I have a hard way of fortune had in any way made a difference of telling plain truths, a rough manner of in me.”
pointing out what I may consider the right “What did Mr. Salmon senior say to course—and hence I have made many enethat?"
mies and not one friend." “ That I was a fool,” answered Angelo, “ Miss Westbrook is your friend, I am with excitement, “and that my grandmother sure.” was a fool that is his own mother, mind “I am grateful for her good opinion of you !to leave me all this money to throw me, but I cannot consider her my friend," away on the first woman who chose to flatter said Brian, “and I dare not think of
As if money had ever done me any her too much," he added in a lower tone. good-as if I would not be only too happy “I do not follow you,” said Angelo, poto lay it at Mabel's feet, and beg her to take litely. care of it and me!”
“As for my advice, unless it suited with “Yes, yes—but don't talk of your money," your inclination, you would not follow it," said Brian, “especially to so proud a woman Brian continued. as Mabel Westbrook. Money has been “I am sure you would advise me for the her trouble up to this day's date, and not best.” her consolation. You cannot bribe her “I might say, 'Give up all thought of into marriage with you."
Mabel Westbrook ;' what then?"
his papers ;
• Win her,' you
"I could not do that,” said Angelo, Suddenly Angelo started to his feet, and alarmed ; " you would never advise me to do put his hat on the back of his head. that, surely ?"
“If you don't mind my leaving you, I “ You are not good enough for her.” will go to her at once.” “I own it, I am proud to own it.”
" I don't mind," said Brian, sarcastically, “ You have scarcely an idea in common again. with her,”'Brian went on ; "she is above you “I had better strike whilst the iron is hot ; in mind and education, and must infallibly tell her the whole truth simply and plainly, look down upon you. She is strong and and that I never thought for an instant of you are weak-she is a woman and you are her money when my heart turned towards a child."
her, as a flower to the sun." “I do not wish to be anything but her Brian gave a spasmodic laugh at this. slave. And I shall love her all my life, “Poor sunflower!” he said, arranging sir.”
“ if you can find
down Angelo's voice broke again, and he leaned stairs without an escort I shall be obliged forwards eagerly, as if to reason down to you." Brian's estimate of the position which he * I shall be able to let myself out,” said had set before him. There were tears in Angelo; "and you will allow me to say the weak man's eyes, but the strength of the again that I am extremely indebted to you. passion at his heart had forced them there “ For what?" to make the child of him which Brian had “For your encouragement to perseverejust said that he was. He had only one to tell her my love outright, and win her. excuse, his love. That was pure and child
said.” like, and beat down the hard logic of his “Have I said as much as that ? " returncompanion.
ed Brian, half absently. “Have I told you “You can do no more than love her all to save her with your wealth from the povyour life," said Brian, sorrowfully; "tell erty of which she does not dream-to give her so, and win her. A woman is only un- an honest man's love, home, and protection grateful to true affection when she is no true to a woman who is singularly alone, and woman.”
who has met with singular misfortunes ? I “I am extremely obliged to you for that have said all this—advised all this, then, advice, Mr. Halfday—and you really think after all ?” I may win her for a wife ? »
“Yes. Don't you think I" “It is possible," answered Brian.
“ There, there, seek her out and prove to “I was afraid I had not half a chance, her that friends are not eager to desert her but you give me courage somehow. I am because the money is flown,” said Brian, irso very glad,” he added, " that I have called ritably; " under any circumstances, your upon you."
friendship or love will not do her any harm. “ Have you any clue wherewith to find Stay.” Miss Westbrook ?"
Angelo paused at the door. “ I think I can find her very easily.” “Would her rejection of your suit do any “My sister Dorcas is with her still ? " harm to you ?” asked Brian. “ You are
not a strong man, and that is to be consi“ Dorcas will have to return here, and be dered.” housekeeper once more,” murmured Brian; "I hardly expect to be accepted all at “the old life, and the old quarrels from once,” said Angelo, modestly. which M Westbrook might hav saved “To be taken by instalments, instead, as her, perhaps, at some cost to herself. the robbers took her grandfather's bank Though I did not advise her—though I shares ?” said Brian. warned her in every way in my power." “I am not going to act rashly," replied
Angelo Salmon did not reply to this—Angelo, shivering at the idea of any undue the words were not intended for his hearing, precipitation ; “I am going to ask for hope and he took no heed of them. He had no --to tell her the state of my feelings, and to interest in anything that did not immediate- leave hers to-to-to grow towards me in ly refer to Mabel Westbrook, with whom good tiine; as they will, I trust, when she is his thoughts were bound up heart and soul. convinced that mine are deep and lasting.
How dreadfully close your room is, Mr. “But as you grow olderHalfday! I declare I feel faint with the “Good-night-it is getting late," said heat !"
Brian. "You have been talking yourself into a Angelo Salmon took the hint, and went fever, like a fool !" said Brian, roughly down the steps after shaking hands with the again ; “upon second considerations, I will curator of the Museum, who lingered at the see you safe to the street.”
door watching him until his figure was lost . I might in the rooms below~1—would you mind my take " - And I have let him go to her—with his ing your arm?” said Angelo.
simple heart, his truth, and his money—I “No. Lean on me. Have you dined ?” have wished him God speed !” muttered “ Yes."
Brian. “Well, well, it is surely for the best, “ Have you drunk much wine at dinner?" and if she thinks so too, I shall not Brian asked, curiously.
mind.” “I have drunk nothing but water to-day. He stepped back with his hand upon the Why, you don't think-_"
door, which he was closing softly, when “No, I don't think that now ; excuse the some one from without pushed it gently inquestions,” said Brian, “but your legs are wards. Brian stood aside, offering no opunsteady,”
position, and a man whom he recognised “It's my natural emotion. My knees are immediately shrank rather than came into perfectly uncontrollable when anything se. the hall, and glanced furtively from beneath rious affects me, and this, you see, is a crisis his hat at the curator. It was the man who in my life. A great crisis, which you do not had broken his word to him at Datchet seem to understand."
Bridge-the father who had betrayed him “Yes, yes, I understand you very clearly," on that night, as he had betrayed him years answered Brian ; “but, after all, it is no ago, when Dorcas and he were little chilbusiness of mine."
dren. " And does not affect you. I know that, “Brian," said the newcomer, in a husky Mr. Halfday; but still I thought you would voice. be interested, in some degree, in the step I “ “ You are not wanted here. You have no thought of taking.”
business with honest men," said Brian, “ In some degree, I am. This way.”
sternly. “Your way lies beyond this house, Brian and his visitor went down stairs to where I will not have you stay." the great hall, where Brian opened the door “Pray, let me come in. Don't treat me and let in the night air and the light of the badly. I don't mean badly by you; I don't, stars.
indeed," urged Mr. Halfday, senior. "It's a beautiful night," said Angelo; *
“I have done with you," was the firm • will start pou wish me God speed before I reply.
“I have come on particular business"If for the best-and for Miss West- private and confidential, Brian, and I want brook's sake-I wish it,” answered Brian. your advice very badly.”
“ Thank you. And if, before I go, you “ More advice !” said Brian, shrugging will let me call you friend—and consider his shoulders. you my friend from this hour, I should be “ It's about that money of Miss Westglad,” Angelo said with great earnest- brook's. Something has happened since I ness.
saw you last. I don't know what to do !! "I never make friends," said Brian, more gloomily than churlishly.
“I am not a bad companion when I am understood thoroughly."
CHAPTER V. "Probably not-but I shall be always companionless."
BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION." “It must be dull work for you,” was the quaint response.
ISS WESTBROOK'S name acted "I have my studies, my books; I am
like a charm upon Brian Halfday. never alone.”
In all that appertained to her, or seemed
likely to affect her, he set aside his sterner care of me, I dare say, until I had had time self, or that sterner will belonging to him. to turn round. I did not like to feel deAs long as she lived, this ill-treated lady, pendent upon you, Brian, for I am naturally beggared by error and miscalculation, should a proud man. It is in our family, that kind have his sympathy and watchful care at of feeling—your poor grandfather was proud every hazard. He closed the door, and re--but though you have misjudged me, I garded his father with a greater scrutiny. acted with the best of motives. I was not Mr. Halfday senior was not looking much going to desert you, or Dorcas—my own better in health ; he was still waxen and children. God forbid that such a thought angular of face and feature, and that palsied should have entered my head !” movement of the hands to which attention “What brings you here?" asked Brian, has been directed was strikingly apparent unmoved by this half protest and half in the first moments of the interview. He apology. had been uncertain of the nature of his wel. “I kept you in remembrance, Brian. I come; he had been afraid of Brian, and it sent you a letter.” had been a struggle with his nerves—forti- "A lawyer's letter----yes." fied even with pale brandy—to face him “ It was formal, but it was my solicitor's again, despite the necessity which had taken wish that it should be so, and I was entirely his steps to the Museum.
in the hands of my solicitor. I hope, my “What has happened that you come to dear boy,” he said with extreme anxiety, me?” asked Brian; “what of this money for which you cast me off for ever ? "
y " you have not taken offence at it.”
Tell me what you want with me?” said “Not for ever, Brian. Don't speak so Brian; “these papers may give you a hint cruelly to your own father ; I can't bear it, that I am pressed for time to-night.” really.”
“I have no wish to take up your time “Yes—the man is my own father," mut- unnecessarily," answered the father, “only tered Brian. “Heaven help him and me, I thought a few preliminary remarks might in its good time."
set us on a better footing. For you are “Amen to that, Brian. For if we stand aggrieved." by each other, and help each other—" Yes."
“What do you want?” cried Brian, “I am sorry—it is not my fault. I could fiercely. "State your business, and be as not trust you all at once ; it was not natural. brief as you can.
And remember this,” he Comparatively speaking, you were a stranger added, advancing so quickly towards his to me, and we met in the dark, and in a father that Mr. Halfday senior backed to high wind. To expect a sudden burst of wards the door, " that I do not trust you, confidence under those conditions was and that nothing you can say or do will scarcely to be expected.” make me trust you again.”
Brian sat down before his desk and took “ Not when I have placed my whole con-up his old position, with his thin hands fidence in you?” said the father.
clasped together on the papers with which “ No."
it was covered. He did not interrupt his “Yes, you will. You will see then that I father in the profuse explanation which was mean well, and have always meant well by proffered him, but when it was completed, my fellow-creatures. But are we going to his sole reply was a fixed stare that was not talk in this place ?"
pleasant to encounter. Mr. Halfday looked Brian reflected for a moment.
away and coughed behind his claw-like “You can follow me to my room, if you fingers; he writhed pe otibly on his like," said he.
chair, and began to shake with his old “I think it will be better."
nervousness. They went upstairs to the curator's apart- “ But these are mere words, not deeds, ment, where for the second time that night you will think,” he continued, after waiting a visitor was shown.
that never came, “and “You have a snug berth here, Brian,” we are not getting on rapidly with the said Mr. Halfday, seating himself in the business of the evening.' chair which Angelo Salmon had previously “We are not," assented his son. occupied, “and here you would have taken "Concerning this money, then, which
was deposited by Miss Westbrook to the lose time in arriving at the motive for this account of Adam Halfday, you are angry man's visit to him. with me because I claim it as heir-at-law." "My solicitor thought it would be wise
“It was deposited by mistake. It was of me to prosecute a few investigations, and not money belonging to my grandfather, I he instituted inquiries on his own account, have told you,” said Brian.
and in the interest of his client." “Had I not come back to England, you Brian nodded again, as if he admired would have claimed the money?"
his father's caution, and had nothing to say “Yes—and restored it to its rightful | against the means which had been adopted owner.”
to discover his true character. “I am a man of the world and understand “And we have heard nothing to your dishuman nature—you would have been its advantage, Brian,” said Mr. Halfday; "you rightful owner, and no one else,” said Mr. are known all over Penton as a long-headed Halfday. “ Miss Westbrook must have man with a faculty for figures, and as hard a been pretty sure to whom the cash belonged fellow at driving a bargain as any in the when she paid it into Penton Bank.” city. You have saved money and invested
" Will you oblige me by not mentioning money cleverly-you are fond of money." Miss Westbrook's name again ?” said Brian "I am fond of money," echoed Brian, emphatically
breaking silence at last; "yes.” “You began it; not I. I have no wish “All right, then. We shall get on fato mention it."
mously together. Suppose now," he leaned “And will you tell me what you want forward, and began to shake more vigorwith me?"
ously as he approached the subject which "Certainly; I have come for that ex- had brought him thither, “I offer to share press purpose ; but the matter is a delicate this legacy with you—to give you one fair one, and should be approached by degrees, half of all we may obtain by acting together as we do not seem to understand each in concert-shoulder to shoulder, you know ! other."
-would you not say I was honest in the “ We do not. We never shall."
matter?” “If I knew you a little better," said the “If you could do without my help, I father, regretfully, “we should get on com- should say you were liberal,” replied Brian, fortably together. Over a glass or two of somewhat enigmatically, “and if you regrog now, and a good cigar, we might sink quire it, I should think you were politic. our small differences, and become father and Mr. Halfday considered the reply before son in real earnest. I don't want to run in he said, suddenly : opposition to you—I want to work with “Yes I require it.” you; upon my soul I do!”
“I thought so.” This William Halfday was not a deep “Without we help each other," said Mr. man—and the little cunning that was in him Halfday, this money will be lost to the was of a flimsy type, that lowered him with two of us—we shall not get a penny of itout concealing his real nature. He had been and I may be a clog upon you for the reunsuccessful all his life, from sheer lack of mainder of your days.” brains—which failed him in the present “I see,” said Brian with another of his crisis as they had many times before. emphatic nods, “it is halves, or nothing."
“Proceed," said Brian, as he paused. “That is exactly the position.” “I am listening attentively to your argu- “ Did your solicitor suggest this amicments.”
arrangement between us?” asked “Since we parted, I have been making Brian. inquiries about you," the father continued, “He has not the slightest idea there is as it was my duty to do before I acted any hitch in the matter. He believes everyblindly on the various instructions which thing is going on smoothly and successfully you gave me at Datchet Bridge. You asked towards my prosperity—and I dare not tell for my whole confidence too quickly—too him a single word.” peremptorily, if you remember?"
“He would be shocked, perhaps ? ” Brian nodded his head. To have an- “He would pretend to be shocked," was wered the question would have been to the reply ; “I don't believe in the fine feel