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better if it concerned himself, and the others were in the grounds, but did not think of intrudwere not slow to acquiesce.
ing on your party until this made it expedient. When, as soon appeared, Mr. Witham was Fortunately I had a good look at the man before introduced as a character in the narration, the he saw me. When he did I was prepared to interest of all became lively. He mentioned seem as if he were unknown to me, and I the manner of their mutual acquaintance thought my turning back and asking to speak through Mr. M'Kinnom, the fact of Mr. Wi-with General Witheral would rouse his sustham's knowledge of perspective and his kind- picions." Desss towards himsell. Without entering into “You say,” said Mr. Littington, “that it is all that Helen and myself had informed him of, your first fact of importance: this is raising our he intimated that I had warned him Mr. Wi- expectations for something equally strange. tham was a dangerous acquaintance.
Pray proceed. "Mrs. Gainsborough" will remember," he I felt certain Alfred would now revert to Mr. continued, “ that the following afternoon I Witham, and he did so, mentioning the news. called at Fairclough for a book she was kind paper he had received from Vienna and the enough to lend me. On my return thence, recent commission dated from Paris. Then he about six o'clock, I fell in with Mr. Witham spoke of the Dulwich difficulty, of receiving the near the spot where we had been practising telegraphic message I had sent, and of acting archery the day previous. I found him in con- immediately upon it. Fersation with a strange man of very inferior Yesterday morning," he went on, “I reappearance, and my suspicions having been ceived a reply from Chamberi; here it is.” awakened, I took especial notice of this He produced a letter and read as follows: stranger. Mr. Witham told me he was the son “DEAR SIR,-You are under some mistake, for I of one of his tenants, but had ruined himself by do not remember your name, and certainly have sent a rash marriage and become poor and negligent neither money nor commission for a picture to England of appearances. About a fortnight after Mr. Wir since I left it. Take this note and show it to Mr. tham left, Mr. M'Kinnom asked me if I had seen a Harvey, New-Square, Lincoln's Inn. He may possibly man loitering about the lanes, and, taking a paper give you some information.—“Yours truly, from his pocket, read to me a very clear discrip
“ Carlton Witham." tion of this-tenant of Mr. Witham's. I heard he had been taken by the police in company
“Of course,” continued Alfred, “I obeyed with one of the noted Black Band; but no the direction and went immediately to Lincoln's charge having been as yet made against him, he Inn. The gentleman, who is a solicitor, cast his was likely to be set at liberty. Mr. M'Kinnom eyes over the note I tendered, and questioned. bad heard from one of our labourers that he had banded the letter from the other Carlton Wiseen this man more than once, and had been questioned by him concerning our affairs." tham, and explained the impediment I had met
“We know the man, Helen-do we not?” I with in carrying out the commission which had said, when Alfred had proceeded thus far. “Is led to my writing to Savoy. "He appeared rather he not a pale-faced man, about thirty years of amused, and said, “You've got the money age, five feet eight inches in height, with a light “ Yes,' I replied; but you perceive I cannot sandy beard and thin hair?”
rightly execute the commission ?'”
• Well, "The very description read to me; a good but you are safe," he said ; do it as well as you description too: and yet I have taken his por- can,' and he added, 'What on earth couldinduce trait more minutely, and should like to know if him to turn patron of art? Ten guineas ? He you recognize some peculiarities not there indi- must be flush of cash. “Do you know him, cated. His eyes are sunken and devoid of eye- sir?' I enquired with anxiety. "I have seen lashes; there is a sly look in them, and they this handwriting before,” he said, 'but have are seldom steady. Some of the muscles on the heard nothing of the person for the last twelve left side of his face have sunk near the jaw, months. Perhaps you will not object to tell but perhaps that would not strike you as it did me where and when you last met him?'" myself."
I knew I was willing to tell, and I had to be on I cannot say I observed it, but what you my guard, or this skilful gentleman would have before described I think quite correct.”
extracted from me also what others had suspected. " It gave me a feeling of his face being out I was afraid, too, I was to receive no requital, of drawing,” resumed "Alfred. “However, I but as Mr. Harvey refulded and handed over will now give you my first important fact. That the Paris letter, he said, 'I congratulate you, man, with his pale face tinged with colour, young sir, that you stand on the safe side in his hair cut close and dyed, and his beard regard to this correspondent, and if you will shared, is serving in the stables yonder. He take my advice you will be very careful in all has been for the last ten days an out-door your transactions with him. One observation I servant at Harby Hall.”
feel called upon to make on the part of my Mrs. Wellwood uttered an exclamation of client, Mr. Carlton Witham-it is going a little alarm, and asked if he had informed the too far to have letters sent from abroad in his General.
name. I do not discern from anything you “I was leaving the Hall when I saw the have related what purpose was to be served by man," Alfred eplied ; ad been told you I taking so much pains ; possibly time may dis
close it to you. Can there be any reason for once escaped for want of evidence. He would wishing to get you away from your home?!" like to know General Wetheral's opinion of the “None but a kind one, that I can perceive,' I matter. answered.” He elevated his eyebrows: 'Have Mrs. Wellwood rose, and said: you been of any use to him?"" None what- “ I will go quietly to the General and tell him ever,” I answered. “ If you rest in the idea all. You will please, Mr. Littington, to send that he is so soft as to do you a disinterested my carriage, when it comes, to the Hall, and kindness, you must have very little knowledge excuse my withdrawal
. I ordered it for halfof the world in general or of this man in par- past nine. Could you send anyone in it to reticular ;' so the lawyer spoke. 'I suppose this inforce my uncle's garrison?" is your first visit to London. Take my advice, Might I come p” asked Alfred. go back again. Ten to one the fellow is after Mrs. Wellwood said she would answer for some mischief."” “Am I to understand, then, his welcome. We watched her proceed along that he is an imposter ?' I asked. Mr. the way leading to the Hall, and then took ours Harvey's answer was this. He told you he was towards the door by which we had entered, the eldest son of the late Carlton Witham, talking in low tones with much earnest interest. Esquire, first cousin to the Earl of Clondace. Mr Littington stood in front of the door, and So far he told you true. Nevertheless he has before opening it said : no right to the name of Witham. His proper “Come girls, this won't do. Get up some designation is Cornelius Carlton: his mother was fun. We may be observed. Willie, set about a laundress. This is not the first time he has some mischief directly, sir! Mr. Merrivale, say endeavoured to pass himself off for Mr. Carlton something gallant, here's choice of ladies to Witham, and he has been altogether a source speak it to." of great annoyance to my client, who, if he Willie at all events was both prompt and were not one of the kindest-hearted of men, practical in acting on the advice given. would have done with him long ago. As it is, Mr. Littington allowed us to be in a decent he allows him residence on one of his estates, state to appear before the public. That and makes him a liberal allowance. I certainly "public" met us in the person of the same old shall counsel Witham to withhold the latter for woman who at St. Bride's had been introduced the future if he does not refrain from taking in the sketches taken. Alfred had seen her besuch liberties with his identity. Should you fore, but to the others she was quite a stranger, meet your correspondent it may be friendly to and, inclining to be suspicious, I determined on give him this warning from me. Good-day.' giving her a sixpence and engaging her attention. I have little more to say; I started early this I bade her give the moneys-worth in good morning from London, and finding on my fortune to my friend Helen. and she was tolearrival a note from you, Mr. Littington, rably liberal with the usual farrago. Helen had apprising me that General Wetheral bad given the discretion not to evince any special amuseleave for my copying a certain picture, I repaired ment when told that, though there were many to Harby Hall to measure the size for a canvas. handsome young gentlemen seeking her hand, Had Mr. MʻKinnom been at home I should have the one who should be her husband was gone first to him; but he left yesterday for furthest from her thoughts. Scotland, and I am told is not likely to return “ And nearest to her elbow-do say that !" for a week. Mrs. Gainsborough knows I had added Willie ; he being in that position. some special reasons for being solicitous about Once within the walls of Mr. Littington's the safety of Harby Hall, and having heard garden we held a counsel.
decided another robbery hall been effected in the neigh- that Willie should go in search of his father and bourhood, I took occasion to mention it to Trus- put him in possession of the facts. To do my cot, and asked some questions which led to my little cousin justice, he was as ready for this imhearing that a new groom had been engaged, portant task as he had been for fun. He was and that he slept in the stables. I purposely also charged to send a messenger in my name left the Hall by the back way, that I might see to Mrs. Merrivale, promising hereafter to explain if the man looked like a serviceable defender, Alfred's absence. little expecting so to recognize him."
Bearing in mind Mr. Wainwright's injuncYou are quite positive then in regard to the tion, Helen and I departed early. Mr. Littingidentity ?” asked Mr. Littington.
ton sent his man-servant to escort us on horse"I feel perfectly convinced.”
back. There was silence among us for a few mo- Saturday passed quietly. Next morning, on ments, each member of our party looking serious my return from church, I found a note on my enough. Helen whispered to me, and I then table from Alfred Merrivale. It told that, in announced wbat her suspicions had been in compliance with General Wetheral's wishes, he regard to Mr. Witham; and mentioned the had taken up his abode at Harby Hall until Mr. affair of the drawings, and his sudden de- M‘Kinnom should return from Scotland. The parture.
upper servants alone were aware of his being Mr. Littington said the police must be in there at night. He had received a letter from formed. The new groom could of course be Mr. Witham, dated from London. It stated he immediately arrested, but it might be more had called at the Dulwich Gallery, hoping to find desirable to watch him, since he had already him, and had heard from the gentleman in
charge there of the anxiety he had felt concern- where the tide runs up on the far side of the ing the commission. Mr. Witham promised marsh?" shortly to see him, and arrange in some way “Where you took me to have a good view of that should be satisfactory to both; and the sea?” requested a few lines from Alfred, to be “ Yes. You remember how narrow the way addressed to a hotel at Liverpool, as he should was for the horses?" be coming north in a few days, and desired to “ I remember it well; we had to go one beknow if he were willing to undertake to copy a fore the other. A horrid place for riding, the small oil painting belonging to a friend in that rocks are so rugged on either side.” town.
“Well, I had not gone far along that path “I see no need to reply to this at present," when I heard a horse's heels after me-coming Alfred wrote. “Mr. Littington saw my brother at a smart trot, too, considering the sort of Valentine yesterday, and gave him the necessary place it is for a trot. "Grant has come back' I particulars about me ; and he took care I should thought; and of course I was the same moment have the letter which had arrived without delay. I considering what I ought to do. The tide was The answer to all enquiries for me at home is running in fast along the Channel on my right, that I am executing a commission for Mr. the sea not far distant in front. Further on to Littington, and may not return for some days.” my left I could hope to pick my way by what
was once a bridle-path, leading past the ruined fishing huts; but on looking in that direction I
saw two men near the buildings, and a third, Chap. XXXIII.
who had the appearance of a sturdy beggar, ad
vancing towards me. I looked round then, CROSSING THE CLEFT. MRS. GAINSBOROUGH’s and should have been almost glad to have seen WONDERS.
" It was not your cousin, then?” Thursday, July 1st.-I sat all this morning No; a coarse-looking middle-aged man. I in my garden embroidering, directing Lance's had checked my mare's pace, and he came on labours among my flowers, and enjoying the more slowly, so completely filling the narrow midsummer weather. At such times I am way that, had I turned, I could not have passed happy enough; but evenings alone seem more him. Oh, if it had not been for my good little trying to my spirits now than in more winterly Prossy—the beauty she is!” And Helen patted times. Perhaps it is this: that, with summer her pretty arching neck. around me, I am apt to dreain over certain days “My dear girl, what were the men ?” passed with my good husband in the tropics, “ I don't know what they were-beggars or and then it follows that I fret for news of him. thieves; but I am sure they were acting in conIt is quite time now to begin to expect. Hope cert, or else that shabby, ugly cavalier took springs, and anxiety follows. There are other pleasure in trying to frighten me. I should hopes and fears, it is possible, may be affected have been frightened if I had not felt in spirits by his letter ; but no; I do not allow myself to with my ride~in spirits to do a daring thing, write on that subject-it is not good to dwell on. and enjoy it. I really did think the case was
Rather let my memory go back a few years, serious though, or I should not have considered and recal my summer walks in London, at the it right to incur the risk. I have given Grant head of a regiment of young girls. Oh, those more than one scolding for doing the same dusty, wall-enclosed walks! Could I, seven thing out of daring and bravado; that was when years ago, bave pictured myself as I was this he was a boy.” afternoon, standing with my riding-skirt over “I remember your pointing out a leap he my arm, waiting for dear loving Helen to come took on a horse, which afterwards won a cup. cantering to join me on a ride through this Surely you did not venture that?" beautiful country?
“Yes,” said Helen, laughing at my alarmed Helen had something to tell me.
expression. “ We did; did we not, Prossy ? “Ah, you would not come with me yesterday, We crossed the Cleft, and did it beautifully, to ride on the marsh, naughty woman! and i Oh, it was capital; it took them so by surprise !" might have been run away with. There would “The horseman, as he came near, said, with have been a pretty subject for you to write upon an impudent tone of familiarity: *The roads to the continent !"
are very bad about here, Miss. I am afraid we “Very well, madame; if you remind me of two can't pass each other without coming ng responsibilities I shall not permit you to go rather closer than seems pretty, though I don't rambling rides by yourself. Pray, what hand object.” some young gentleman did you meet? Was “I went on a little faster. The beggarman the one furthest from your heart any nearer stood at the head of the path to the huts. your elbow?”
Fearing he might catch my rein, I gave Prossy a “It's very difficult to say who is furthest hint, and passed him at a bound. The man I from my heart; but there were some men-not think made some effort of the kind; and, as if handsome ones—disposed to be nearer my elbow angered at failing, uttered a smothered exclamathan I at all approved. You know the channel tion.
• Will you
"All right,' I heard the horseman say. I those paths, at all events, nor on any where Glancing over my shoulder I perceived he had there is danger of being trapped. On the open halted, and showed no intention of proceeding road I have no fear. They'll have fleet steeds by the path to the left, but continued in the that follow!" way I wished to return by. Having a little "Did you tell your grandfather?” more space now I wheeled round and faced I avoided making the matter_seem serious, them. The beggar began, in a tone between but told him something of it. I think of calla threatening and whining, to ask if I had not ing at the police station now, and mentioning something better than kicks to bestow on a the circumstance, if you do not mind going poor man. The horseman looked as if he re- with me.” garded the whole rather as a good joke. This Of course I was willing. We alighted there, made me more indignant, and more determined. and asked for one of the inspectors Helen
take your way, sir; or is it your pur- already was acquainted with. She related in pose to hinder mine?' I asked. He burst into few words the occurrence, and then proceeded a rude laugh, asked what was the matter, said to Cedar Lawn, while I went to make some the path was here quite side enough for me to purchases at Messrs. Smith and Mullins. I pass, and I had only to give the poor fellow a had not been long there when Alice Ainslie copper, and he would be civil enough.
Such a little sedate, business-like "I shall do as I please about that,' I said. woman she was over her shoppings, showing no Will you move out of my path?'
want of either discernment or decision. I “He showed no inclination. • You can begin to find Alice bas more character than at hardly ride me down,' he said ; ' but don't be first I gave her credit for. She is one of those afraid of close quarters, young lady, I'm a civil gentle creatures who love shelter, and are conman.'
tent in shadow. Happy in the affections of her “ I turned again and cantered towards the home, full of veneration for the dear ones
The tide was coming in rapidly, there, she has had, I should think, little need for but I was on the plateau of rock, self-assertion, and remains a child to them. I which affords better footing than the rugged, accompanied her to another shop, to order a broken ground. Both men followed, and the cap for her mamma. The master, who was one on horseback cried, in the same coarse, speaking in a very brutal tone to the young laughing way: ‘Hillo, my lady, you are going woman behind the counter, came forward, into the sea. You will want me to take you in bowing in the blandest manner to us. I saw tow presently. And again he shouted, She's Alice's fair face flush to the temples, and her going to commit suicide. It's against the law little dimpled mouth curl very much-as of the land, and we can't see her do it!' Laura's is apt to do. To his honied address she
"I spurred on, and he after me. Once I replied, " Send some caps to Cedar Lawn tolooked back, to see if there were any chance in morrow, before cwelve. "Miss Selby," she conretreating. That glance made me all the more tinued, looking towards the young girl, "will, certain they were bent on detaining me. The I hope, be kind enough to select some, as she two men from the huts had advanced, and were knows mamma's taste." posted at the turn of the path. Each moment And she walked hastily out. She saw me seemed to pen me closer in between the channel, smile, and smiled herself, ng, “I do dislike the sea, and my pursuers.
that man so! I am quite afraid I shall show it “ The horse the man rode was a good one, some day." but no more fit to follow Prossy where I was Certainly,” I said : "he spoke like a tyrant taking her than a mastiff to leap with a deer- to his shopwoman." hound. I had to make a little circuit, in order “Yes,” Alice answered, “he often does, and to leap to advantage. The fellow was within then comes grimacing towards his customers; three yards of me, and thought me fairly at bay, and I feel as if I should like to give his head a when I dashed before him and crossed the cleft. good push when he brings it down so low.
Prossy cleared it beautifully, but the dear Don't you think, Mrs. Gainsborough, we can creature was in a tremble after. I heard a shout best tell what people really are by considering as I leapt. My hat flew back, but held on by what they are to others rather than to ourthe elastic, and, as I put it on, and looked at the selves ?” state of discomfited astonishment the men on the other side of the water appeared to be in, I Helen had had the French lesson from Miss could not refrain from laughing. Answering Ainslie, and was narrating her adventure of the the horseman's last speech to me, I said, “Many previous evening when we arrived. There was thanks to you, sir. You see I can take care some discussion as to whether Mr. Witham of myself! And, dear Mrs. Gainsborough,” | could have had any part in it; but Helen Helen said in conclusion, “it was well you were thought it more probable her new watch and not with me, for you could not have taken the chain had attracted notice from some of the bad leap on Paddy, and I could not have left you be characters going about. hind."
Mrs. Ainslie told me her brother had seen " My dear Helen," I said, "you must not Alfred Merrivale, who had commenced copying iide alone again !"
the picture, and seemed very contented. The "I do not intend," she replied; "not on old general was quite on the alert, and even ex
pressed disappointment that, as yet, he had not , he would make! He is so cool upon the subreceived a visit from the Black Band. How- ject now. I do not exactly think the worse of ever, as the groom continued at his post, he him for preferring to strive for himself rather thought there was still a chance.
than accept the bounty of this generous lady, Laura, who had been engaged in the garden, but, if affection were in the case, I think he entered together with a certain Mr. Coalburst. would not hesitate; for, surely, he might live to The latter said he was going along the dusty as much good purpose here as in Oxford ! road, when he saw an open gate, and all within Laura seemed to infer that Alice was as much looked so irresistibly refreshing that he entered concerned as herself in the matter - I suppose and now could only crave pardon for tres- because he carried her about that evening; but passing. Mrs. Ainslie seemed very willing to be only considered her as a child. accord it. Laura stood, with a bouquet in her I wonder if-- I wonder what Watch is barkhand, looking very handsome, and slightly de- ing at now? I do believe it is the alarm-bell at fiant, as though she would say, “Don't think I Harby Hall! wanted him!” Presently she asked if I had I was right. Barbara came next moment to heard any news from Oxford.
tell me she believed Harby Hall was “a-fire!" I answered, “Nothing of late.”
And, as we stood to listen at the back-door, "Well, then, you will be glad to learn- Lance came up to ask if I would be afraid at though I mean to have a good cry about it, and being left-he wanted to go with his brother. Alice is bound to go into hysterics——that dear Of course he had my leave. I could hear the Mr. Brown of yours has passed through his ex- village was all astir. By-and-bye the bell aminations gloriously, and obtained a fellow- ceased : sometimes a distant shout came borne ship-a fellowship, Miss Dalziel," she repeated, on the air; but, before midnight, all seemed "and won't be able to marry any of us! I'assure still, and I was fain to go to bed without intimayou, Mrs. Wellwood, when she told me of it, was tion of what had befallen. as Dear being in a pet as such an angel could be. She wanted him to settle in these parts; and offered to take him as her son and heir if he would: so what a chance we have lost!”
“May I ask,” said Mr. Coalhurst, “if the gentleman is worth crying about on his own
SISTERS. account, or only on the supposition of his being Mrs. Wellwood's adopted ?”
“Both-oh, both !" cried Laura, dramatically.
"I am very sorry for you all, young ladies," I was ten years old when she was born. I said, “but you had better take things philoso- I it was who first with cautious love phically. He has, I suppose, fallen in love with Pressed a kiss upon her rose-leaf cheekthe classics, or with independence: but, after Taught her, older grown, to walk and speak-all, it might have been worse; he might have
Prized her dawning charms all gifts above. married some dear friend of his sisters in Derbyshire. I hope we shall still have him here Ah! her smile was such a sunny one, sometimes."
Lighting in a moment all her face : "Treat him as he deserves, Miss Laura," said And her sweet eyes were so blue and bright, Mr. Coalhurst. “Since he has the bad taste to That she was my pride and darling quite prefer musty old books to ladies' smiles, do not First in honour, as in bloom and grace. waste your precious tears on such an undeserving subject.
I was twenty-eight when she was wed: “Well, since it seems Allie can be calm
Her choice brought me bitterness of soul ; under it, perhaps I may. But he was a delight
But she was so fair and glad a bride, fal man to quarrel with; and I had not yet got I strove hard the truth from her to hide, the better of him !"
I had lost she might possess the whole. I think Mrs. Wellwood had expressed her persuasion that there was no particular attachment between Mr. Merton Brown and Helen,
No: we often wrote, but did not meet; or Laura would not have spoken so fearlessly
I was prematurely grave and old,
And I should have marred her happiness. before her. I wonder if Mrs. Wellwood really
Soon I fancied that she loved me less, 'has entertained such views towards that gentle- That he made her think me changed and cold, man! He is the son of one of her early friends, and can be spared at home. If I were in Mrs. Wellwood's case, I should like very much to
Three years we were severed--then she died, appropriate him. I suppose, unless he marries,
Yes, I came in time to say farewell ;
And I kissed her lips and closed her eyes. she hardly can do so with full assurance. Sbe likes Laura. I wonder if Laura would have
Was she happy for my sacritice? accepted him if he had fallen in with Mrs. Well
Do not ask me--only God can tell. food's views ? I wonder what sort of a lover Ramsgate, 1865.