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pale, and was excited in manner. He said, I had the gratification of speaking to her; at the “Look sharp, Mr. Field; the old man may die archery féte at Cardington Castle." while you are dawdling.” He remembered Mr. “Where was Witham to take the yacht, Mr. Grant Wainwright said "dawdling;” but he Devonshire?" was the next question asked by was not slow in his proceedings; only cautious, Mr. Mainwaring. as it was his duty to be when making up a pre- "To Kingstown. The cabins were to be rescription. It gave him the impression that Mr. fitted, under superintendence of a friend of my Grant Wainwright was in great anxiety about brother's.” his uncle's safety.
“ It is clear, then, that Grant Wainwright and Another Marsham gentleman said that, pass- Witham were bound in different directions. Is ing Mr. Field's shop while this occurred, he there positively no evidence of the complicity had seen Mr. Grant Wainwright's horse before of the latter, save that he has been seen frethe door, and observed that it was in a foam, as quently with Grant Wainwright?" if it had been hard galloped. He went in to No one could allege any. Only Alfred Merask Mr. Field if anyone was ill at Darliston; rivale observed that although last night he had having a respect for the family, though he was denied being a suitor of Miss Dalziel's, he had not intimate. “The person calling himself on his former visit to the neighbourhood priWitham has, I understand, been secured,” vately said to him that love for Miss Dalziel was Mr. Mainwaring next said; “I should like to the principal inducement of his tarrying there. know how it was effected.”
Alfred also mentioned the attempts made to Alfred Merrivale spoke in answer to this : identify himself with Mr. Carlton Witham, and “When Mrs. Gainsborough’s note arrived, late their subsequent exposure through the family last evening, I showed it to General Wetheral, solicitor. and he enjoined me to take the best horse in bis Mr. Ainslie now entering brought informastables, and ride_to Culverly Yews_Captain i tion that a small trading-vessel called the Ashton's place. I spoke to that gentleman, and Chaffinch was missing from the coast. She though he repudiated the idea of his guest being could have taken no cargo. What made it apin any way concerned in the outrage at Dar- pear more likely she was concerned was, that liston, he admitted that that person had spoken | the master, named John Malone, had been the of sleeping on board the Olive, and that he was person to come forward in favour of the horse. about leaving. I said his doing so would give dealer Benson; having sworn that he had slept him a chance of immediate evasion, as, once on on board his vessel on the night of the burglary board and in command, he need not wait till at Harby Hall. morning. Captain Ashton said his guest should Most of the gentlemen concurring that it was be free to do as he pleased. I said General more likely Helen had been taken to Ireland Wetheral had told me I must stop him at all than to Scotland, a telegraphic message was risks, and that I meant to do so. Fortunately, despatched to Mr. Harvey, requesting inforat this juncture Mr. Devonshire appeared, and, mation as to where Mr. Carlton Witham's Irish entering the room where Mr. Witham was just estates lay. In regard to Grant Wainwright, rising from a card-table, told him of what he Merton observed that if he discovered he had was suspected, and that consequently he could been deceived by his pretended friend, he not leave in the Olive.
might be willing to give assistance in exposing “Mr. Witham certainly took the matter very his conduct and recovering Helen from his coolly. He said he was not surprised at hearing hands. Grant Wainwright had carried off Miss Dalziel, “ I will go after him," he said, " and try to but could not conceive why anyone should bring him to reason. You, Arden, may be attach suspicion to bimself. Young Wainwright wanted to follow that keener villain Witham.". was known as a reckless dare-devil, who bad In a low tone, Mr. Ainslie here interposed. long been desperately in love. For his own “You must consider, Mr. Mainwaring,” he part he was exceedingly distressed that such an said, "there exists decided objection to your occurrence should have taken place, and would being personally engaged in the pursuit.” join with bis whole heart in following up the “ How so, Ainslie?" search for the missing lady; but he had never "A London detective arrived by the same been a suitor himself, and his sympathies had train as yourself, and will be here in a few not been with Grant Wainwright, who he was minutes. . In such a chase the police are by far sure was not calculated to make Miss Dalziel the most likely to succeed. But the task is not bappy; they were with another gentleman." merely needless; it is one in which you ought Mr. Boradaile here spoke:
not to appear. Your wrong is great enough as “I do not mind admitting that he meant me. the matter stands, but you are not compromised I have been a very sincere admirer of Miss so far as you might have been. Though legally Dalziel's. Mr. Mainwaring I am sure will not contracted, if need be you can be freed; theretake umbrage at my saying 80; for as I did not fore to put yourself forward—” know he was in the field, he must acquit me of "Mr. Ainslie," interrupted Arden, " there are any intention of rivalling him. Miss Dalziel's different ways of looking at the matter. As the courage, on occasion of the robbery at Darliston legal adviser of my family you have done your Hall, compelled my admiration. Once only have duty in presenting this one. Now, see mine, My engagement with Mr. Wainwright (and, to the utmost for her rescue is every true man's mark you, his part is fulfilled) was this : that duty.” I was to be the protector of his grand-daughter All present responded very heartily to this when he was no longer competent. To this I appeal, and those among them who had had pledged my honour, and she shall never want personal acquaintance with Helen were very for protection that I can afford.”
ready to declare their faith in her loyalty. “You can make use of the services of others; I need not follow the differing views and but I am certain your relatives would insist on arguments that were presented. Mr. Harding the view of the matter I have taken.”
said he felt doubtful if it would be possible to “ I should escape the infliction of the world's detain Witham. There was, in fact, nothing pity; be thought, perhaps, rather fortunate in but suspicion of anything criminal to be laid to having received an advantage without being his charge; and Captain Ashton, and some one called upon to give an equivalent. I understand or two other gentlemen of the neighbourhood, it all. Had I been capable of entering on were so favourably impressed by him, that he marriage entirely as a money bargain, this might would have no difficulty in procuring bail. have been good reasoning. My marriage was Mr. Collins, the detective officer, coming in, more than a legal contract to me.
I took vows
his opinions were a good deal deferred to by all. before Heaven and before men, and my will is, He requested that for the present Mr. Mainas far as I can, to fulfil them. Give up the idea waring would keep in the background. He in. of restraining me in this. I will be foremost." tended himself to be present, but unseen, when
Turning from Mr. Ainslie to the assemblage, Witham was brought up for examination. "I he continued :
have no doubt it can be managed," he said, Gentlemen, though hitherto withheld from "and would advise you, sir, to take the same claiming my rights as a husband, I claim them course. Do not let it be known you bave yet now. There is my marriage certificate. Three arrived. It is keeping back a court-card. Better of the witnesses are present; Mr. Grey, who say nothing about your marriage until it is more united us, among them."
clearly an advantage to publish the fact. If the The announcement had a strange effect: 80 man Witham has stolen the lady for himself—if habitual is it to offer congratulation on such he is, in fact the sort of character you suspect occasions; so impossible it was on this. Only he may be too far compromised to withdraw. Mr. Boradaile, carried away by the immediate Failing to keep him prisoner we shall have to impression, began, “I am glad;" then, keep close to his heels; and it may be as well pausing, looked distressed, and rose to offer his he should be unaware that either the lady's hand to Mr. Mainwaring:
husband or Collins the detective is after him." Mr. Harding took up the certificate, glancing Alfred Merrivale promised to acquaint me at Mr. Grey; who gravely inclined his head with the result of Witham’s examination, and, with a gesture of assent. He read aloud the the gentlemen separating, I went back to Dardate: "The seventeenth of April."
liston; tired and weary, but a little more hope. “The same day,” Mr. Grey observed, " that ful than when I had left it. I gave dear Alice Mr. Mainwaring departed for Vienna." an account of the morning's proceedings, in
There was a momentary silence, and Mr. cluding Mr. Mainwaring's announcement of his Mainwaring again spoke:
marriage. Her companionship was a real com“ Although I have thought it needful to assert fort to me at such a time; and also, I am sure, my right to be foremost in the pursuit, I do to poor Nanny, whose duties beside her master urgently entreat the assistance of every one of she freely shared. you. I ask it not for my own sake, for I know In the course of the afternoon I received a not that I have much claim on any here, but written account from Alfred. Witham bad befor the sake of the innocent girl who has been haved with much prudence, he said ; and acted torn from her home at a time when her heart very well the part of one who was wronged, but was full of anxiety for her grandfather's condi- could make excuses for the severity of those tion. You all know how much her affection for who misjudged him. He claimed his immediate him led her to dare on occasion of the burglary release, however, on the plea that his engageat Darliston; and when that is fairly taken ment in Dublin was of importance to him, his into consideration I hope the foolish rumour presence being necessary at a consultation inthat met me on the road will be silenced for volving family business. ever. She is too bright-minded a woman to be On his being questioned concerning his asthe slave of a lawless passion; too earnest in suming the identity of Mr. Carlton Witham, her affections to forsake the friend who cherished then abroad, Captain Ashton said that the whole her from infancy while he lay stricken, perhaps affair arose out of a mistake. The late Mr. to the death."
Witham was twice married; had many sons; He paused a moment, and then continued, and niore than one was named Carlton Witban. with some effort:
Another gentleman came forward to declare that “Of my own share in her affections I will if either Carlton Witham were an imposter, it not speak; but did you know, as I do, how was the one abroad. noble is the heart that dwells in her slight frame, you would declare with me that to strive “After the conversation I had with Mr. Harvey
[Alfred wrote], such statements as these failed, as far | I reminded him he had something to show me.
Grey Randal was at his stable door that
dressing Helen in the old silk ber ingenuity had made to look so pretty. The pattern of the lace I could still recognize, but its rent condi
tion struck my mind so painfully, that I was CHAP. L.
scarce capable of listening further to the ram
bling ideas of the poor lad. I only gathered TURNED BACK.
that he conceived his master had given Helen
to the charge of this servant Maclean and his Early on the following morning I was told by supposed wife, and that consequently he inferred Mrs. Cargill that a man from the Rood Farm that the Black Band had no part in the matter. had asked to speak to me. “ You need not be On talking over the possibilities with Alice afraid of bim, ma'am.” she said, "though he and her uncle, Mr. Littington, who came to see has a bit of a craze, he is quite harmless.” us the same morning, we recalled that this
It was Joe Barnes, whom I had before heard fortune-telling woman was most likely to be the spoken of as "half an idiot." I found a great one already under suspicion of connection with fellow with a stoop in the shoulders, and a silly the Black Band; and though the absence of face, who stared hard at me and shuffed with the servant Maclean argued that Grant bad his feet: I told him to follow me into the desired some one he had trust in should be parlour, and closed the door.
with Helen, it was very probable such trust was "You don't know me, ma'am," he began. mistaken. “I'ın called Joe Barnes; and I've got something Mrs. Wellwood and many other friends and I'm going to show you presently: did you know neighbours called to make inquiries after Mr. Sandy Maclean, as has gone off?”
Wainright's health, and to cheer our spirits I had heard that Grant's servant—the same with hopeful language, but no new light was man who had been set to watch Mr. Brown on thrown by any of them on the subject of our his first coming to Dingleton-had been miss- anxieties; only Mr. Ainslie's occasional mes. ing since Thursday evening, and I asked if he sages gave us the comfort of knowing that was not an Irishman.
neither Witham nor Grant Wainwright had Joe nodded several times. “I said so my succeeded in evading pursuit. self, ma’am, and I see you're knowing. Master Alice's self-assumed duties were certainly hired him in Scotland, and took him for a Scot; numerous for one so young, and her mamma you and I is more knowing. Hasn't he been having expressed some fear that she would over. a courting your young woman, Barbara | task her strength, I had promised she should Charnley ?”
not be confined too closely to the invalid's room, “ Not with my leave," I answered.
but have every day a walk towards the sea. On "He don't ask leave, bless your heart ma'am. this evening I sent Peggy with her, with injuncHe's been a courting Peggy at the Hall this tions not to go far from a certain field, where long while; and what I say is, they'll find that I was told some of the farm labourers were woman as was always coming after him is bis likely to be still at work. wife. She had'nt much of a sweetheart-look Mr. Wainwright had fallen asleep, and I was about her, the old fortune-telling tramp; she reading, when I heard Mrs. Cargill's name promised to bring me a lucky sixpence on called from the hall. The voice was Sarah's, Friday, but she's gone off too, I'm thinking." and had a tone of alarm in it, which, nervous as
It did not occur to me until afterwards that I was from recent events, sent me speedily down this might be the woman we had twice met in stairs. Here I found Nanny wringing her the neighbourhood. I was impatient to see hands and uttering ejaculations of terror and what thing he had brought to show me.
One despair. of the bed-room candlesticks was missing, and “Oh Mrs. Gainsborough, he'll shoot himI had ordered a search for it in the lane in front self! I'm sure he's gone to do it!
I'll stop my of the Hall, but hitherto without result. I ears or I shall hear the gun.” thought it might be that.
“What; Grant returned ?" I asked. A wandering look came over his face when Yes, ma'am,” said Sarah, who was looking
pale and scared herself. “He's been and took | Shut up, and burning, burning, without help or the double-barrelled gun from over the house- comfort from human sympathy. Had that fire chimney; and he spoke to nobody; and if ever of passions consumed all humanity within him? I saw a man as looked like shooting himself, it's Had he a heart yet to touch ? The heart that Grant Wainwright !"
is utterly, irremediably hopeless, has ceased to “Which direction did he take ?"
be human-and so he looked. "Along the orchard wall. He has maybe But he had come back to Darliston. What gone to the rocks, or the cop~"
had driven him there? Instinct or hope ? I hastily followed in the direction indicated, If I could but speak to him : if I could but choosing the shorter way by the orchard. From lift him out of this perilous state. But what thence I could see he was walking quickly could I say? What did he deserve that I should towards the embankment bounding the farm- say? What claim had he on the sympathy of land on the sea-side, and I rightly judged he any? Only this : though he deserved none, he was making for a particular spot; that where greatly needed it. the trampled grass bad indicated a boat's crew He looked, indeed, dangerous to approach. I had landed on the night of the event.
could not see the gun; it was probably on the He never looked back. I hurried on with ground beside him. I changed my position; all the speed I could command, but the distance running under cover of the embankment till I was not inconsiderable, and he had passed from was able to cross it without being perceived by my sight over the embankment many minutes him. Alice saw me, but wisely did not show it. before I could commence its ascent.
I now saw where his gun rested ; it was within All the way between the higher rocks, which his arms length, but a little behind him. To I have been accustomed to call Helen's, and reach this without his being aware of my the cleft, there are low ridges and spurs of rocks approach was now my aim. Treading carefully jutting towards the sea. These have been in every step I drew near. The breeze rustling soine places used as foundation for the embank- among the tufts of grass, aided in concealing ment which protects the land from the tide. the sound of my approach ; only when within Between these spurs of rocks, when the water two paces he heard me, and then, fortunately, is highest, there appear many little bays along his first impulse was to start to his feet, the the shore, but no boat of ordinary draught could next thought to seize bis gun. He was too approach the embankment, although here and late for that; I had hurled it into a pit of water there are holes deep enough to float a large one.
at the back of the rock we stood on. It had been conjectured that a spur of rock pro. Oh, the look with which he regarded me! jecting from the embankment near the spot II was prepared for mad wrath, but it was more have alluded to, served as a sort of jetty; since the wildness of fear. There was recognition it was possible to proceed along it to a depth of in his look; recognition not merely of myself, water sufficient for a boat to put off in, when, but of the past; of the evil he had wrought. as was then the case, the lide favoured.
For a moment be glanced round as if he would I had been so full of poor Nanny's fear-that have fled, but the sound of voices told him others I should hear the gun—that only when I had were approaching, and throwing easily off the reached the bank was I conscious of any other. weak resistance of my grasp on his arm, be Now the idea of possible danger to myself dashed himself headlong down the rock. Not occurring, I ascended cautiously; and, taking the depth to which he had fallen, but the desadvantage of some long tufts of sea-grass, and perate violence with which he had Aung himself, bending to my knees, I looked over the top of gave those who witnessed it fears for his life. the bank.
Alice screamed, and clambered down to assist To my surprise I beheld two figures; for, me to raise him. Fortunally stronger help was while on my right hand Grant sat on the rock, at hand. Will Harper, Richard Wilcox, and looking indeed an image of gloomy despair, Peggy, had appeared over the bank. there stood facing him at a little distance, not He lay partly in the water. Blood was flowmore than twelve yards, but across a steep of ing from his head : his right arm was broken. rugged rock, the dear girl Alice. She was Together we bore him over the embankment steadying herself on one of the boulders of rock and laid him on the grass, while with our handwith her eyes intently fixed upon him; and oh, kerchiefs I bound his head. Old Wilcox meanwhat a contrast her fresh, fair looks presented! while ran to the Hall, sent his son thence to That she should look pityingly upon him I did Dingleton for Doctor Crutchley, and brought a not wonder, but that she should have found litter, on which Grant was carried to the house, courage to take up and maintain such a posi- and laid on the bed Dick Wilcox had occupied. tion, did surprise me: for I never saw a man The room was on the ground-floor at the back with so fearful an aspect. What dread thoughts of the house, and adjoining that which was must have passed in the world within to have called Mrs. Cargill's. brought Grant Wainwright to such a strange Poor Nanny had shut herself in the parlour stillness? From under his brows a stony gaze in a very hysterical state, and the only nurse in was fixed on Alice, but his eyes looked as the attendance on her master was the eyes of a wild animal, devoid of human recog. who came daily from one of the cottages to nition.
assist in the house duties. It was as if his soul were shut up within him. Doctor Crutchley soon came, bringing an
assistant with him. I waited in the parlour to a thing is man's will when it dares to oppose receive the report. He had not a very clear itself to the will of the Highest. Think of way of stating it, but I understood that the arm others, Grant: your mother is living—" was badly fracturerl, and no other very serious “Yes, she's got Harry and Jack to care for, hurt apparent, the wounds of his head not being and they're good boys. There are no black of a dangerous character. “If bis mind were sheep wanted in my father's house. It shows at rest,” he said, "I should not doubt to bring what you know about the matter !" bim through safely, but as it evidently is “ Your sister in London?" with him, inflammatory action is much to be “And her husband, the proud doctor. He dreaded. You must do all you can to soothe will take care she has nothing to do with such him. He will require constant watching. I am as I. Better a short disgrace than a long—" inclined to think there is something in the pre- “Oh, Grant, life is precious, even though sence of Mrs. Cargill that is irritating to him. we suffer in it. Is it not an awful thought to It is certainly expedient that one of the men you that you have been so near to losing the should be in attendance, but I should re- hope of Heaven? You are not a heathen, commend that he sit in the next room, and that Grint; you know what your danger has been: yourself, or some other person capable of talking be thankful that you are spared.”. with him, should be as much beside him as pos- After a short silence he said, “You are a sibie."
kind woman, Mrs. Gainsborough, but you bad "Do you apprehend brain-fever?" I asked. better go : you don't know what I am: you
"It does seem to me that something like would not come near me if you did. Go; leave brain-fever menaces him,” he replied, “but not as a result of the injuries his head has received ; “No, no, you shall not send me away. You on the contrary, the severe loss of blood he has have need of some one to be with you. I will sustained may prove beneficial.”
not think of what you have done : I will only “Is he quite in his senses, do you think?” remember that you are my poor Helen's cousin ;
"I incline to say he is ; but his mind seems and as you lie there you have a look of her : I indeed in a very troubled state. No doubt the saw it directly I came in.” recent unfortunate affair has induced it. If you “Oh, would that I had died !” he cried could get him to speak of it, possibly, some re. vehemently, Why stop me shooting myself ? lief might result. He will surely work himself You should have been glad to see me do it ! into fever unless some relief does come; You should have shot me yourself! Oh, and it is impossible to say how imminent a fatal Helen; my dear little Helen!" and he burst result might prove to be."
into passionate tears. Thoughts of Helen had been busy about my What could I do but weep too? I told him head as I sat alone in the twilight. There was I knew he had taken her; I knew who a feeling of aversion to the presence of Grant had led him on, tempted him, betrayed him. Wainwright which made my steps slow in ap. He acknowledged that it was so. He said proaching the room wherein he lay; but pity Witham had long before suggested to him that gained the mastery when I saw him. The bed, a it would be a better thing to take her by force wretched pallet enough, had been drawn under than to suffer ber to be married to one who had the window, for the better convenience of the no love for her.
“He fooled me every way,', surgeon, and the evening light fell upon his pale poor Grant continued, “and I trusted him." I features now relaxed in weakness. Haggard gave her, I betrayed her into his hands. I and woe-begone he looked; but he looked I would rather have been hacked limb from limb human again. He turned his head on the than have done it! What devil possessed me? pillow with a quick, nervous movement as I And the poor girl would not believe I could drew near, and opened his eyes upon me. be such a villain : to the last she thought I
“What have you to do here? What do you must relent and bring her back.” want with me? Speak !" be cried. His voice. "Grant, did she tell you she was married ?” was weak from physical exhaustion, but there He was silent: I answered for him. was a tone of passion in it.
"She told you: Oh, Grant, you were far “Grant Wainwright," I said, "you have gone on the same road as that wretch, Witham, done very wickedly, but I want to tell you that if even that could not stay you!" even for you there is hope. Once you told me “If I had known it earlier it must. Why was you would have sbot yourself if—"
I kept in the dark? Why did not your friend “Oh, would that I had !” he interrupted. Brown tell me?" "Better, a thousand times better for me, for “ He did not know it: I went as far as I her!”
could towards revealing it. Helen was very “You cannot tell," I replied ; "there is yet desirous you should be told, but Mr. Wainhope for Helen : there is yet hope for you. wright feared your violence, and would not Was it not even then in your heart to do the permit it.” evil you have done, sooner than bend
will “ He should have written when I was in to the will of Heaven? Nay, you talked of London. He has not acted well to me. You murder as if it were right in your eyes. I do will say I have no right to complain : I have not think it had been better you had shot acted worse towards him? I know it. Even yourself ther. You have lived to see how poor | Witham, scoundrel as he is, looks clean beside