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victor. This was getting well known honour. Alas for Welter's honour, and now. Since he had left Oxford and William's folly in believing him ! had been living in London, he had Poor Ellen! Lord Welter had thought been engaged in two or three personal that she would have left the house, and encounters in the terribly fast society to had good reason for thinking so. But, which he had betaken himself, and men when he got home, there she was. All were getting afraid of him. Another her finery cast away, dressed plainly and thing was, that, drink as he would, he quietly! And there she stayed, waiting never played the worse for it.
on Adelaide, demure and quiet as a a lucky player. Sometimes, after win- waiting-woman should be. Adelaide ning money of a man, he would ask him had never been at Ravenshoe, and did home to have his revenge. That man not know her. Lord Welter had calcugenerally went again and again to Lord lated on her going; but she stayed on. Welter's house, in St. John's Wood, and Why? did not find himself any the richer. You must bear with me, indeed you It was the most beautiful little gambling must, at such times as these. I touch den in London, and it was presided over as lightly as I can; but I have underby one of the most beautiful, witty, taken to tell a story, and I must tell it. fascinating women ever seen. A woman These things are going on about us, and with whom all the men fell in love; so we try to ignore them, till they are staid, so respectable, and charmingly thrust rudely upon us, as they are behaved. Lord Welter always used to twenty times a year.
twenty times a year. No English story call her Lady Welter : so they all called about young men could be complete her Lady Welter too, and treated her as without bringing in subjects which though she were.
think best left alone. Let us But this Lady Welter was soon to be comfort ourselves with one great, undethroned to make room for Adelaide. deniable fact, the immense improveA day or two before they went off ment in morals which has taken place together, this poor woman got a note in the last ten years. The very outcry from Welter to tell her to prepare for a which is now raised against such relanew mistress. It was no blow to her. tions shows plainly one thing at least He had prepared her for it for some that undeniable facts are being winked time. There might have been tears, at no longer, and that some reform is wild tears, in private; but what cared coming. Every younger son who can he for the tears of such an one? When command 2001. a year, ought to be Welter and Adelaide came home, and allowed to marry in his own rank in Adelaide came with Welter into the life, whatever that may be. They will hall, she advanced towards her, dressed be uncomfortable, and have to save and as a waiting-woman, and said quietly, push ; and a very good thing for them!
“You are welcome home, madame." They won't lose caste. There are some
It was Ellen, and Lord Welter was the things worse than mere discomfort. Let delinquent, as you have guessed already. us look at bare facts, which no one dare When she fled from Ravenshoe, she was deny. There is in the great world, and flying from the anger of her supposed the upper middle-class world too, a brother William ; for he knew, or crowd of young men, younger sons, guessed, all about it; and, when Charles clerks, officers in the army, and so on; and Marston saw her passing round the non-marrying men, as the slang goes, cliff, she was making her weary way on who are asked out to dine and dance 'foot towards Exeter to join him in with girls who are their equals in rank, London. After she was missed, William and who have every opportunity of fallhad written to Lord Welter, earnestlying in love with them. And yet if one begging him to tell him if he had heard of this numerous crowd were to dare to of her. And Welter had written back fall in love with, and to propose to, one to him that he knew nothing, on his of these girls, he would be denied the
house. It is the fathers and mothers persuasion, was induced to come there
Ellen's presence was, of course, a great
know everything. I am very sorry to say, together at But the consequence of Ellen's stayG-n-ch F-r, were accosted in the ing on as servant to Adelaide brought park by a skittle-sharper, and that this with it, that Hornby determined Hornby (who would, like Faust, have that he would have the entrée of the played chess with Old Gooseberry) al- house
house in St. John's Wood, at any price. lowed himself to be taken into a skittle Welter guessed this, and guessed that ground, from which he came out in half Hornby would be inclined to lose a an hour victorious over the skittle little money in order to gain it. When sharper, beating him easily.
he brushed Charles's knee in Piccadilly In the heyday of his fame, Lord he was deliberating whether or no he Welter was told of him, and saying, should ask him back there again. As “Give me the daggers,” got introduced he stood unconsciously almost touching to him. They. had a tournament at Charles, he came to the determination écarté, or billiards, or something or that he would try what bargain he could another of that sort, it don't matter; make in his sister's honour, whom he and Lord Welter asked him up to had so shamefully injured already. And St. John's Wood, where he saw Ellen. Charles saw them make the appoint
He lost that night liberally, as he ment together in the balcony. How could afford to; and, with very little little he guessed for what!
Lord Hainault was right. Welter longer. Three hours afterwards, a fierce was a scoundrel. But Hornby was not, eager woman, plainly dressed, with a as we shall see.
dark veil, was taking apartments in the Hornby loved play for play's sake. Bridge Hotel, London Bridge, for Mr. And, extravagant dandy though he was, and Mrs. Staunton, who were going the attorney blood of his father came abroad in a few days; and was overout sometimes so strong in him that seeing, with her confidential servant, a although he would have paid any price staid man in black, the safe stowage of to be near, and speak to Ellen, yet he numerous hasped oak boxes, the most could not help winning, to Welter's remarkable thing about which, was their great disgust, and his own great great weight. The lady was Lady amusement. Their game, I believe, Welter, and the man was Lord Welter's was generally picquet or écarté, and at confidential scoundrel. The landlord both these he was Welter's master. thought they had robbed Hunt and What with his luck and his superior Roskell's, and were off with the plunplay, it was very hard to lose decently der, till he overheard the man say, "I sometimes; and sometimes, as I said, he think that is all, my lady;" after which would cast his plans to the winds, and he was quite satisfied. The fact was win terribly. But he always repented that all the Ascot race plate, gold when he saw Welter get savage, and salvers and épergnes, silver cups rough lost dutifully, though at times he could with designs of the chase, and possibly barely keep his countenance. Never also some of the Ascot family jewels, theless the balance he allowed to Welter were so disgusted with the state of made a very important item in that things in England, that they were gentleman's somewhat precarious in thinking of going for a little trip on come.
the Continent. What should a dutiful But, in spite of all his sacrifices, he wife do but see to their safe stowage ? but rarely got even a glimpse of Ellen. If any enterprising burglar had taken it And, to complicate matters, Adelaide, into his head to "crack” that particular who sat by and watched the play, and “crib” known as the Bridge Hotel, and saw Hornby purposely losing at times, got clear off with the "swag," he might got it into her silly head that he was in have retired on the hard-earned fruits love with her. She liked the man ; of a well-spent life, into happier lands— who did not? But she had honour might have been "run" for M.L.C., or enough left to be rude to him. Hornby possibly for Congress in a year or two. saw all this, and was amused. I often Who can tell ? think that it must have been a fine And, also, if Lord Welter's confidenspectacle, to see the honourable man tial scoundrel had taken it into his head playing with the scoundrel, and giving to waylay and rob his lordship's noble him just as much line as he chose. And, consort on her
home-which he was when I call Hornby an honourable quite capable of doing—and if he also man, I mean what I say, as you will had got clear off, he would have found
himself a better man by seven hundred This was the state of things when the and ninety-four pounds, three halfDerby crash came. At half-past five on crowns, and a three-penny piece; that that day the Viscountess Welter dashed is, if he had done it before her ladyup to her elegant residence in St. John's ship had paid the cabman. But both Wood, in a splendid barouche, drawn by the burglars and the valet missed the four horses, and when “her people” tide, and the latter regrets it to this came and opened the door and let down day. the steps, lazily descended, and, followed At eleven o'clock that night Lady by her footman bearing her fal-lals, Welter was lolling leisurely on her lounged up the steps as if life were drawing-room sofa, quite bored to death. really too ennuyant to be borne any When Welter, and Hornby, and Sir
Robert Ferrers, and some Dragoons came were asleep. Don't let yourself be seen. in, she was yawning, as if life was really No one will notice you." too much of a plague to be endured. Charles little thought where he was Would she play loo? Oh, yes; any- going. thing after such a wretched, lonely evening. That was the game where
CHAPTER XXXVIII. you had three cards, wasn't it, and you
THE HOUSE FULL OF GHOSTS. needn't go on unless
liked ? Would Welter or someone lend her some money? CHARLES had really no idea where he She had got a three-penny piece and a was going. Although he knew that shilling somewhere or another, but that Hornby had been playing with Welter, would not be enough, she supposed yet he thought, from what Hornby had Where was Sir Robert's little brother? said, that he would not bring him into Gone to bed ? How tiresome; she had collision with Welter; and indeed he fallen in love with him, and had set did not-only taking Charles with him her heart on seeing him to-night; and as a reserve in case of accidents, for he
thoroughly distrusted his lordship. Welter gave her a key, and told her At half-past six in the evening Hornby there was some money in his dressing- rode slowly away, followed by Charles.
As she left the room, Hornby, He had told Charles that he should dine who was watching them, saw a quick in St. John's Wood at seven, and should look of intelligence pass between them, ride there, and Charles was to wait with and laughed in his sleeve.
the horses. But it was nearly seven, I have been given to understand that and yet Hornby loitered, and seemed guinea unlimited loo is a charming pur
undetermined. It was a wild, gusty suit, soothing to the feelings, and highly evening, threatening rain. There were improving to the moral tone. I speak very few people abroad, and those who from hearsay, as circunstances over which were rode or walked rapidly. And yet I have no control have prevented my Hornby dawdled irresolute, as though ever trying it. But this I know-that, if his determination were hardly strong Welter's valet had robbed his master enough yet. and mistress when they went to bed that At first he rode quite away from his night, instead of netting seven hundred destination, but by degrees his horse's and ninety-four, seven, nine, he would head got changed into the right direchave netted eleven hundred and forty- tion; then he made another detour, but six, eight, six, leaving out the three a shorter one ; at last he put spurs to penny-piece. But he didn't do it; and his horse, and rode resolutely up the Lord and Lady Welter slept that sleep short carriage-drive before the door, and, which is the peculiar reward of a quiet giving the reins to Charles, walked conscience, undisturbed.
firmly in. But, next morning, when Charles Charles put up the horses, and went waited on Hornby in his dressing-room, into the servants' hall, or the room which the latter said,
answered that end in the rather small “I shall want you to-night, lad. I house of Lord Welter. No one was thought I might have last night; but, there. All the servants were busy with seeing the other fellows went, I left you the dinner, and Charles was left unat home. Be ready at half-past six. I noticed. lost a hundred and twenty pounds last By and by a page, noticing a strange night. I don't mean to afford it any servant in passing the door, brought longer. I shall stop it."
him some beer, and a volume of the " Where are we to go to, sir ?” Newgate Calendar. This young gentle
“To St. John's Wood. We shall be man called his attention to a print of a up late. Leave the servants' hall, and lady cutting up the body of her huscome up and lie in the ball as if you band with a chopper, assisted by a young
Jew, who was depicted “walking off He felt his way out of the room and with a leg,” while the woman was pre- along a passage. The darkness was inparing for another effort. After having tense, and the silence perfect. Sudrecommended Charles to read the letter- denly a dull red light gleamed in his press thereof, as he would find it tolerably eyes, and made him start. It was the spicy, he departed, and left him alone. light of the kitchen fire. A cricket
The dinner was got over in time; and would have been company, but there after a time there was silence in the house—a silence so great that Charles He continued to advance cautiously. rose and left the room. He soon found
Soon a ghostly square very
grey his way to another; but all was dark and light on his left showed him where silent, though it was not more than half was a long narrow window. It was past nine.
barred with iron bars. He was just He stood in the dark passage, won
thinking of this, and how very queer dering where to go, and determined to it was, when he uttered a loud oath, and turn back to the room from which he came crashing down. He had fallen uphad come. There was a light there, at all stairs. events!
He had made noise enough to waken There was a light, and the Newgate the seven sleepers; but those gentlemen Calendar. The wild wind, that had did not seem to be in the neighboureddied and whirled the dust at the hood, or, at all events, if awakened, gave street corners, and swept across the park no sign of it. Dead silence! He sat on all day, had gone down, and the rain the bottom stair and rubbed his shins, had come on.
He could hear it, drip, and, in spite of a strong suspicion that drip, outside ; it was very melancholy. he had got into a scrape, laughed to Confound the Newgate Calendar ! himself at the absurdity of his position.
He was in a very queer house, he “Would it be worth while, I wonder," knew. What did Hornby mean by he said to himself, "to go back to the asking him the night before whether or kitchen and get the poker? I'd better no he could fight, and whether he would not, I suppose. It would be so deuced stick to him? Drip, drip; otherwise a awkward to be caught in the dark with dead silence ! Charles's heart began to a poker in your hand. Being on the beat a little faster.
premises for the purpose of committing Where were all the servants? He a felony—that is what they would say; had heard plenty of them half an hour and then they would be sure to say that ago. He had heard a French cook you were the companion of thieves, and swearing at English kitchen-girls, and had been convicted before. No. Under had heard plenty of other voices; and this staircase, in the nature of things, now—the silence of the grave !
is the housemaid's cupboard. What He remembered now that Hornby should I find there as a weapon of dehad said, “Come and lie in the hall as fence? A dust-pan. A great deal might if asleep; no one will notice you." He be done with a dust-pan, mind you, at determined to do so. But where was
close quarters. How would it do to it? His candle was flickering in its arrange all her paraphernalia on the socket, and, as he tried to move it, it stairs, and cry fire, so that mine enemies, went out.
rushing forth, might stumble and fall, He could scarcely keep from mutter and be taken unawares ? But that would ing an oath, but he did. His situation be acting on the offensive, and I have was very uncomfortable. He did not no safe grounds for pitching into anyone know in what house he was-only that yet.” he was in a quarter of the town in Though Charles tried to comfort himwhich there were not a few uncommonly self by talking nonsense, he was very queer houses. He determined to grope uncomfortable. Staying where he was his way to the light.
was intolerable, and he hardly dared