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our persons have become strange, and gloom. He was hidden by the curtain, out of date. And yet I, strange to say, and presently he heard the door open, don't want to go yet. I want to see and a light footstep stealthily approachthat Ravenshoe boy again. Gad ! how ing over the Turkey carpet. There was I love that boy. He has just Barkham's a rustle of a woman's dress, and a sweet, gentle, foolish way with him. I moving of books on the centre table, determined to make him my heir from by some hand which evidently feared the first time I saw him at Ranford, if detection. Lord Saltire stepped from. he turned out well. If I had announced behind his curtain, and confronted Mary it, everything would have gone right. Corby. What an endless series of unlucky accidents that poor boy has had. “Just like Barkham. The same idle,
CHAPTER LIII. foolish, lovable creature, with anger for
A VERY STUPID CHAPTER, BUT A VERY nothing; only furious, blind indigna
IMPORTANT ONE NEVERTHELESS. tion for injustice and wrong. I wish he would come back. I am getting “Do not betray me, my lord,” said aweary of waiting.
Mary, from out of the gloom. “I wonder if I shall see Barkham “I will declare your malpractices to again, just to sit with my arm on his the four winds of heaven, Miss Corby, shoulder, as I used to on the terrace in as soon as I know what they are. Why, old times. Only for one short half- why do you come rustling into the
room like a mouse in the dark? Tell I shall leave off here. I don't want me at once what this hole and corner to follow the kind old heathen through work means.” his vague speculations about a future “I will not, unless you promise not state. You see how he had loved his to betray me, Lord Saltire." son. You see why he loved Charles. “Now just think how foolish you That is all I wished to show you. are. How can I possibly make myself
“And if Charles don't come back? By particeps of what is evidently a most dark Gad! I am very much afraid the chances and nefarious business, without knowing are against it. Well, I suppose, if the beforehand what benefit I am to receive? poor lad dies, I must leave the money to You offer me no share of booty; you Welter and his wife, if it is only for offer me no advantage, direct or indirect, the sake of poor Ascot, who was a good in exchange for my silence, except that fellow. I wonder if we shall ever get of being put in possession of facts to the bottom of this matter about the which it is probably dangerous to know marriage. I fancy not, unless Charles anything about. How can you expect dies, in which case Ellen will be rein- to buy me on such terms as these ?" stated by the priest.
“Well, then, I will throw myself on “I hope William will make haste your generosity. I want Blackwood. back with him. Old fellows like me If I can find Blackwood now, I shall are apt to go off in a minute. And, if get a full hour at it to myself while you he dies, and I have not time to make a are all at dinner. Do you know where new will, the whole goes to the Crown, it is ?” which will be a bore. I would sooner “Yes," said Lord Saltire. Welter had it than that."
“Do tell me, please. I do so want to Lord Saltire stood looking out of the finish a story in it. Please to tell me library window, until the river looked where it is." like a chain of crimson pools, stretching “I won't." westward towards the sinking sun. The “Why not? How very unkind. room behind him grew dark, and the We have been friends eight months marble pillars, which divided it in un- now, and you are just beginning to be
breeds contempt; you used to be so She did not know what to say, or what polite."
to think. She had had long night “I shan't tell you where Blackwood thoughts about poverty, old age, a life is,” said Lord Saltire, “ because I don't in a garret as a needlewoman, and had choose. I don't want you to have it. I many a good cry over them, and had want you to sit here in the dark and talk never found any remedy for them except to me, instead of reading it."
saying her prayers, which she always . “I will sit and talk to you in the found a perfect specific. And here, all dark; only you must not tell ghost of a sudden, was the question solved ! stories."
She would have liked to thank Lord “I want you to sit in the dark,” said Saltire. She would have liked to kiss Lord Saltire, “because I want to be his hand ; but words were rather defi
vox et præterea nihil.' You will see cient. She tried to keep her tears back, why, directly. My dear Mary Corby, and she in a way succeeded; then in I want to have some very serious talk the honesty of her soul she spoke. with you. Let us joke no more."
“I will thank you more heartily, my Mary settled herself at once into the lord, than if I went down on my knees arm-chair opposite Lord Saltire, and, and kissed your feet. All my present resting her cheek on her hand, turned has been darkened by a great cloud of her face towards the empty fire-place. old age and poverty in the distance. “Now, my dear Lord Saltire," she said, You have swept that cloud away. Can “go on. I think I can anticipate what I say more?" you are going to talk of.”
“On your life, not another word. I “You mean about Charles.'
could have overburdened you with “ Yes."
wealth, but I have chosen not to do so. “Ah, that is only a part of what I Twenty thousand pounds will enable have to say. I want to consult you you to live as you have been brought there, certainly ; but that is but a small up. Believe an old man when he says: part of the business."
that more would be a plague to you." “Then I am curious."
“Twenty thousand pounds !” “Do you know, then, I am between “Yes. That will bring you in, you eighty and ninety years old ?”.
will find, about six hundred a-year. “I have heard so, my lord.”
Take my word for it, it is quite enough. “Well then, I think that the voice to, You will be able to keep your brougham, which you are now listening will soon and all that sort of thing. Believe me, be silent for ever; and do not take you would not be so happy with more. offence-consider it as a dead man's “More !” said Mary quietly. “My voice, if you will.”
lord, look here, and see what you have "I will listen to it as the voice of a done. When the children are going to kind loving friend,” said Mary. “A sleep, I sit, and sew, and sing, and, when friend who has always treated me as a they are gone to sleep, I still sit, and reasonable being and an equal."
sew, and think. Then I build my “That is true, Mary; you are so Spanish castles ; but the highest tower gentle and so clever, that is no wonder. of my castle has risen to this—that in See here; you have no private fortune." my old age I should have ten shillings
“I have my profession," said Mary, a-week left me by some one, and be laughing.
able to keep a canary bird, and have “Yes, but your profession is one in some old woman as pensioner. And which it is difficult to rise," said Lord now-now-now. Oh! I'll be quiet Saltire, "and so I have thought it in a moment. Don't speak to me for a necessary to provide for you in my will. moment. God is very good.” For I must make a new one."
I hope Lord Saltire enjoyed his snuff. Poor Mary gave a start. The an- Think that, if he did not, he deserved nouncement was so utterly unexper
se Mary began again.
“Have I left on you the impression they were nearly drowned out fishing. that I am selfish ? I am almost afraid I Then there is no hope of a reconsiderahave. Is it not so? I have one favour tion there?” to ask of you. Will you grant it?” “Not the least,” said Mary. “My “Certainly I will."
lord, I will never marry.” “On your honour, my Lord.”
“I have not distressed you." 6 On my honour."
“Certainly not. You have a right to “Reduce the sum you have mentioned speak as you have. I am not a silly to one fourth. I have bound you by hysterical girl either, that I cannot talk your honour. Oh, don't make me a on such subjects without affectation. great heiress ; I am not fit for it.”
But I will never marry; I will be an Lord Saltire said, “Pish! If you say old maid. I will write novels, or someanother word, I will leave you ten thou thing of that sort. I will not even sand more. To the deuce with my marry Captain Archer, charm he never honour; don't talk nonsense.
so wisely." “ You said you were going to be quiet “Captain Archer! Who on earth is in a moment,” he resumed presently. Captain Archer ?” “Are you quiet now?”.
« Don't you know Captain Archer, “Yes, my lord ; quiet and happy." my lord ?” replied Mary, laughing hear-"Are you glad I spoke to you in the tily, but ending her laugh with a short dark ?”
sob. “Avast heaving ! Bear a hand, " Yes."
my hearties, and let us light this taper. - “You will be more glad that it was I think you ought to read his letter. in the dark directly. Is Charles Ra- He is the man who swam with me out venshoe quite the saine to you as other of the cruel sea, when the Warren
Hastings went down. That is who he "No," said Mary; "that he most cer is, Lord Saltire." And at this point, tainly is not. I could have answered little Mary, thoroughly unhinged by that question in the brightest daylight." this strange conversation, broke down,
“Humph !” said Lord Saltire. “I and began erying her eyes out, and, wish I could see you and him comfortably putting a letter into his hand, rose to married, do you know? I hope I speak leave the room. plain enough. If I don't, perhaps you He held the door open for her. “My will be so good as to mention it, and I'll dear Mary," he said, “if I have been try to speak a little plainer.”
coarse or rude, you must try to forgive “ Nay; I quite understand you. I me." wonder if you will understand me, when “Your straightforward kindness," she I say that such a thing is utterly and said, “is less confusing than the most totally out of the question.”
delicate finesse.” And so she went. “I was afraid so. He is a fool. My Captain Archer is one of the very dear daughter (you must let me call you best men I know. If you and I, reader, so), you must contemplate the contin continue our acquaintance, you will soon gency I have hinted at in the dark. I know more of him than you have been know that the best way to get a man able to gather from the pages of Rarejected, is to recommend him; I, venshoe. He was in person perhaps therefore, only say, that John Marston the grandest and handsomest fellow you loves you with his whole heart and soul, ever saw. He was gentle, brave, and and that he is a protege of mine." courteous. In short, the best example
“I am speaking to you as I would to I have ever seen of the best class of my own father. John Marston asked sailor. In heart he was born a gentleme to be his wife last Christmas, and I man, and he had carefully made himself refused him.”
a gentleman in manners. Neither from “Oh, yes. I knew all about that the his dress, which was always scrupulously
conversation, would you guess that he source of great anxiety to me, who love was a sailor, unless in a very select cir- you so dearly-you little know how cle, where he would, if he thought it dearly.” pleased or amused, talk salt water by I appeal to any young lady to say the yard. The reason why he had whether or no dear Mary was to blame written to Mary in the following style if she thought good, blundering Archer, was, that he knew she loved it, and he was going to propose to her. If they give wished to make her laugh. Lord Saltire it against her, and declare that there is set him down for a mad seaman, and nothing in the above letter leading to nothing more. You will see that he such a conclusion, I can only say that had so thoroughly obscured what he Lord Saltire went with her and with meant to say that he left Mary with the me, and regarded the letter as written very natural impression that he was preparatory to a proposal. Archer's disgoing to propose to her.
may, when we afterwards let him know He had done it, he said, from Port this, was delightful to behold. His Philip Heads, in sixty-four days at last, wife was put in possession of the fact, in consequence of one of his young gen- by some one who shall be nameless, and tlemen (merchant midshipmen) having I have heard that jolly soul use her instole a black cat in Flinder's-lane, and formation against him in the most tellbrought her aboard. He had caught the ing manner on critical occasions. westerly wind off the Leuwin and carried But, before Captain Archer came, there down to 62o, through the ice, and round came a letter from William, from Varna, the Horn, where he had met a cyclone, announcing Charles's death of cholera. by special appointment, and carried the There are melancholy scenes, more than outside edge of it past the Auroras. enough, in this book, and alas ! one more That during this time it had blown so to come; so I may spare you the dehard, that it was necessary for three scription of their woe at the intelligence, midshipmen to be on deck with him which we know to be false. The letter night and day, to hold his hair on. That was closely followed by William himgetting too near the centre, he had found self, who showed them the grass from it necessary to lay her to, which he had his grave. This helped to confirm their successfully done, by tying one of his impression of its truth, however unreafalse collars in the fore weather-rigging. sonable. Lord Saltire had a corresponAnd so on. Giving an absurd account dence with the Horse Guards, long and of his whole voyage, evidently with the windy, which resulted, after months, in intention of making her laugh.
discovering that no man had enlisted in He concluded thus : “And now, mythe 140th under the name of Horton. dear Mary, I am going to surprise you. This proved nothing, for Charles might I am getting rich, and I am thinking of have enlisted under a false name, and getting married. Have you ever thought yet might have been known by his real of such a thing? Your present depen- name to an intimate comrade. dence must be irksome. Begin to contem- Lord Saltire wrote to General Mainplate a change to a happier and freer waring. But, by the time his letter mode of life. I will explain more fully reached him, that had happened which when I come to you. I shall have much to made it easy for a fool to count on his tell you which will surprise you; but you fingers the number of men left in the know I love you, and only study your hap- 140th. Among the dead or among the piness. When the first pang of breaking living, no signs of Charles Ravenshoe. off old associations is over, the new life, General Mainwaring was, as we all to such a quiet spirit as yours, becomes know, wounded on Cathcart's Hill, and at first bearable, then happy. A past is came home. The news which he soon created. Think of what I have said brought about the doings of the 140th before I come to you. Your future, my we shall have from first hand. But he dear, is not a very bright one. It is a gave them no hope about Charles.
Lord Saltire and General Mainwaring in mind, it would be just as well if had a long interview, and a long consul- there had been no Lord Welter at all in tation. Lord Hainault and the General the story. witnessed his will. There were some Ravenshoe and its poor twelve thoulegacies to servants ; twenty thousand sand a-year begin to sink into insignifipounds to Miss Corby ; ten thousand to cance, you see. But still we must attend John Marston ; fifty thousand pounds to it. How did Charles's death affect to Lady Ascot; and the rest, amount- Mackworth? Rather favourably. The ing in one way or another, to nearly property could not come into the hands four hundred thousand pounds, was of a Protestant now. William was a left to Lord Ascot (our old acquaint staunch Catholic, though rebellious and ance, Lord Welter) and his heirs for ever. disagreeable. If anything happened to
There was another clause in the will, him, why, then there was Ellen to be carefully worded—carefully guarded produced. Things might have been about by every legal fence which could better, certainly, but they were decidedly be erected by law, and by money to improved by that young cub's death, and buy that law-to the effect that, if by the cessation of all search for the Charles should reappear, he was to marriage register. And so on. If you come into a fortune of eighty thousand care to waste time on it, you may think pounds, funded property.
it all through for yourselves, as did not Now please to mark this. Lord Ascot Father Mackworth. was informed by General Mainwaring And I'll tell you why. Father that, the death of Charles Ravenshoe Mackworth had had a stroke of parabeing determined on as being a fact, lysis, as men will have, who lead, as he Lord Saltire had made his will in his did, a life of worry and excitement, (Lord Ascot's) favour. I pray you to without taking proper nourishment; and remember this. Lord Ascot knew no he was lying, half idiotic, in the priest's particulars, but only that the will was tower at Ravenshoe. in his favour. If you do not keep this
To be continued.
THE URAL MOUNTAINS : A NEW PARLOUR GAME The Romans in the time of Horatius, or hitherto but partially known. Still, a in the time of Lord Macaulay, used to gap remains to be filled in the enteramuse themselves in the winter evenings tainments of an English evening; and by roasting chesnuts, telling stories from this article will be an attempt to fill it modern history, and broiling pieces of by the suggestion of a parlour game not kid's flesh. Our present civilization de- as yet popular in this country, and not putes part of these operations to the cook; depending on combinations of kings and it is not generally found that his and knaves for its success. toric narratives are sufficiently vivid in The “Ural Mountains is a game their interest to amuse ladies and gen- which has been played certainly for tlemen from dinner to bed-time con- more than a hundred years among a tinuously. So little is this the case, large tribe of Kafirs in South African that in quest of the playful they weary The Orula race is one of the most intelthemselves to death with games of ver- ligent of the warlike nations situated at sification, or make believe to be pleased the back of the great Frang-Li chain in with the slow torture of “proverbs." latitude 35° 31' S.; and they have long Games of cards are, of course, an un- been known as the originators of that failing resource; and some space has peculiar form of cross-bow which was so lately been given in these pages to the fatal to our troops in the expedition of