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CHAP. XLVII.

| Mr. Ainslie requested me to take one of them

into Miss Dalziel's room to demonstrate that IS SHORT, BUT MAKES ONE PERSON HAPPY. | she had made no preparation for fight. Her

watch and chain were in a little basket on the Restlessly I wandered up and down the stair- table, with a ring which had been her mother's case. Sarah, the dairymaid, had posted herself and one or two other trinkets. All her out-door at an upper window, to listen, not to see, for the apparel was there. Her writing case lay open night was dark. Sooner than I could expect on a chest of drawers, with a note commenced the police, she called to me that something was to Miss Ainslie giving account of her grandcoming from Marsham.

| father's illness. " It sounds very like the gig," she presently Inspector Kean followed with two more men. announced, and ran down to open the hall door. They had been searching the ruined huts. Two

Mr. Ainslie bad met Dick Wilcox on the of the farm labourers came also, having been way and been made acquainted with the evil roused by the inquiries of the police. The news news. He listened to the details of what I had had spread through Dingleton, and Mr. Grey done and those attending the circumstances of arrived with the chief constable of the village, Helen's disappearance, and presently questioned : Next appeared two gentlemen from Mar

“How could he have taken her by force out sham, strangers to me. One, a Mr. West, had of the house without the servants hearing any to say that he had been roused up by Mr. thing ?”

Grant Wainwright knocking at his door and "I cannot account for it. The lad Dick Wil. requesting he would send the police to Dar. cox says Grant bad his horse saddled and wait. liston Hall. He had a handkerchief bound ing in the lane for an hour before he left. Helen about his face and said he had been thrown by had to give him a prescription; Dick heard her the black mare while in pursuit of some charge him not to lose it. Who can say how ruffians. The gentleman had spoken to him he may have beguiled her out of the hall ?” from an upper window, and had rather a con.

“I am glad your impression is so positive fused impression of what he had heard. Mr. that she did not go willingly,” Mr. Ainslie said. Grant Wainwright, he said, was evidently in

"Oh, bow could you think it possible !" Ihaste to be gone, and said something about cried impatiently; "and with Mr. Wainwright having a clue which he must follow up. in a dying state! She was full of distress for It was impossible where each one in the him; in the most unlikely mood even if she had house was under painful excitement, and so been free from all engagement."

many were coming and going, to keep the quiet "I am quite convinced she could not have that seemed desirable on account of old Mr. premeditated such an act; but there is such a | Wainwright's critical condition. thing as giving way to a gentle compulsion. If Nanny Cargill sat in his room and closed in her heart she regretted her ties and gave the door, but she could not resist the temptation preference to her cousin, the very fact of Mr. to open it and listen. I went up to give her Wainwright's impending death, implying that this report concerning Grant, and she said "I Mr. Mainwaring would immediately claim her, think now he'll bring her back.” might tend to the result.”

There was a fresh arrival, some fresh intelli. “No, no, Mr. Ainslie,” I said ; “because you gence. I ran down in haste and Nanny had much hand in bringing about Helen's followed, leaving Peggy in charge. marriage, you are more nervous than you need Some policemen searching with lanterns near be concerning it. Two strong objections stand the marsh embankment had come upon a part in the way of such a probability. Helen hates recently trampled. They said men must have disloyalty, and she loves Mr. Mainwaring.” landed from a boat before the tide bad been at

Lance arrived; two of the police arrived. I the full, for there were traces of sea-sand on the grass. There was some dispute about the Grant's course, as Witham was known not to description of marks seen, and in the midst a have sailed and was probably now in the hands carriage came up to the gate.

of the police. It was very dark outside, but several people When they had gone I went up to the drawcarried lanterns, and one being raised to the ing-room, and persuading Alice to take off her carriage window, a voice in the hall proclaimed, pretty dress and go to bed, I lay down on the “ There's a lady inside !” “ Is it her?" cried sofa till five in the morning, when I took Nanny another, and the cry was repeated. Some even Cargill's charge over her sleeping master, said “ She's come back!”

I was near the ball door as they approached, and soon recognized Alice and Mr. Brown. “ It is my daughter,” Mr. Ainslie said aloud.

CHAP. XLVIII. I took her in my arms; and, the parlour being full of gentlemen, was about to lead her

THE HEART ON THE LIPS. upstairs, when, to my utter astonishment, I be. held facing us on the lower landing the old Squire!

I had not been quite well since the excitement Pale, half dressed, wildly excited ; but more occasioned by Harry Markland's letter. Hurryapparently with delight than any other feeling, ing about London in the warm season, and the he extended his hands towards us, crying, anxiety attending recent occurrences, bad kept “ Come at last. I knew you would come, Carrie, up the feverishness of my nerves, and I was my dear, I've wanted you so long."

| alternately sensible of great restlessness or Alice ran up and kissed him, she only under- languor. All through this dreadfnl night I had stood that he looked to her for comfort. had to fight against a tendency to stupor which

Nanny Cargill was standing petrified with continually asserted itself. Whether it may have surprise. Mr. Ainslie and Merton Brown ran tended to blunt the poignancy of my feelings I up and supported the old man, who evidently I cannot say; they were keen enough. had scarce power to stand. A chair was handed When I arrived at my own house I felt almost to the landing and they placed him on it. Alice incapable of speaking to Barbara, I heard and knelt, stroking his hand and looking pityingly saw, but it seemed that I scarce could reflect. in his face.

| Her presence worried me. She spoke of I stood at the foot of the staircase, like Nanny, making me some coffee, and it reminded me to utterly amazed, when one of the elder men cried : tell her there were many people coming, so she

“Good Lord! He thinks it's his daughter! must make plenty. I told her also to have my And she's like her too!".

dining-table placed in the hall and as many “Like Miss Helen? Oh, not a bit !” said chairs as possible. So I was rid of her. another.

Mr. Mainwaring would be the first to arrive; "Like Miss Helen's mother, Miss Caroline that I felt almost sure of that. What would he was. She went off with Captain Dalziel twenty look like? Oh, to think of the glow of happi. years ago, and there was just this hunt for her.” ness over his handsome face when I parted from

" I remember it well,” said Mr. West; "she him. went to a party at Mrs. Prendergast's. Mr. Wheels already! yes, Mr. Mainwaring alight, Wainwright sat up all night expecting her ing. In a moment he was in my parlour. home, and when he found how it was, he took Not pale, he was flushed; but there was that an oath he would never ask her to come back. I look on his face I knew so well, and it was A rash oath, but he kept to it; and it is plain even more distressing to witness now, for that it cost him dear."

something of the resolute will to conquer He was borne upstairs to his room still hold- suffering was wanting. “This is very dread. ing Alice by the hand. Poor Peggy, a well. ful,” he said ; " you have no news for me, I intentioned but very unfit nurse, was in so see—no hope!" sound a sleep that even their entrance failed to “Nothing-nothing yet," I answered. arouse her. Alice gave her entire attention to He had come away from some entertainment, soothing the invalid, until, Mrs. Cargill having his dress told that. administered some of the medicine prescribed Sinking into a chair he gazed at me, as silent by Dr. Meredith, he fell into a quiet sleep. I stood before him. When he commenced talk

A stillness fell over the assemblage downstairs ing he spoke rapidly, almost wildly. after this startling appearance of the old Squire. " Surely he had had enough of such misery Voices spoke under breath, and it was agreed before, he said, and this had come upon him there should be a meeting at Fairclough in the more overwhelmingly than anything yet. morning. Mr. Ainslie said he would provide I was powerless to speak word of comfort, a carriage to meet Mr. Mainwaring at Marsham so truly was I overcome by the sense of his station, and bring him on to me there. It grief; but tongue-tied as I felt, I knew that to seemed best, and as he might be expected to have me to speak to was probably a relief after arrive at half past eight, I engaged to be at the long journey he had had, with such intense home before that time.

anxiety at heart and only strangers around him. Merton Brown left with the rest, he said he He seemed indeed scarcely to expect reply, should for the present make it his task to trace' scarcely to address me; but from the fulness of his heart outspoke the bitter feelings roused by | nothing now ; but I hope, for I pray. Pray this heavy and sudden stroke.

| too, and you may find hope.” “Child, to be so weak that I must love some- “Pray? Do you know what it is to have the where! Shall I have this weakness all my thought of prayer turned bitter to you? Had life? Most men have some safe channel for I not prayed that I might love Helen, prayed affection, I think. My mother? Oh, loving for her daily as I have done, I had not loved her her has cost me too dear. It cost me very so well. I seem to be punished for right doing nearly honour ; it has cost me this. No, she as if it were a sin. Had I followed the instinct would ruin me again.

| of my nature and taken her away with me on “ That girl seemed to cling about my very Tuesday night I might have shielded her; she heart ; to claim the support it was happiness to might have become attached to me; all might give. That was it, I suppose, the happiness have been well. But I was scrupulous; I did tempted me! What shall I do with myself? not think it right towards Mr. Wainwright; Perhaps if I were ten years older I might do and see my reward !" better; might work, as I have seen men work, “Oh hush, hush! you should not talk 80. without thought beyond the achievement of It is better to suffer for well-doing than for success. Shall I hope to do this?

evil-doing.” "I wish I had been brought up as my father Go on; speak to me. You think me very was; such discipline might have hardened my wicked. I daresay I am. I know I am very character. But he was loving in his home. | nearly mad.” He ruled my mother in kindness and felt pain “ I could almost think you believed--but you in having to stand firm ; I know he did. And cannot. You rave so. Men are selfish and will he loved me tenderly. Oh, if he were now think of their own interests first. Have you living!

been talking the pain away?" "It seems so long a way stretching before me “ Poor Mrs. Gainsborough, I ought not to to walk alone. And then to be weighted with pain you. Forgive me. If you knew what a these memories; to be haunted with them as journey I have had. It is no fault of yours; I with a bad conscience. Which is worst, I won- know you have done your best.” der? I suppose I may prove it if I go the way “You seemed to me as if-almost as if you most men at my age would. Change one for were hard upon poor Helen." the other; easy enough I daresay; and then rid “No, I may not be that. I know that women me of both perchance.

have noble and beautiful impulses, though they “My conscience has been light enough may be weak and easily swayed by a strong will hitherto; yet some I know will say this only and a strong passion in the lover nearest them. serves me right. Tell me truly what you think, Yet-oh, Mrs. Gainsborough, I had not Mrs. Gainsborough; have I been to blame to- thought it possible, so short a time ago that she wards her in any way? Could I have done looked love into my eyes, that she could give otherwise ?"

way. She doubtless loved him best all the “ Who should blame you ?”

time, but some fancy or impulse swayed her " It is true she was hurried into the marriage, towards me." but could I help it ? She made not a shadow “Mr. Mainwaring, are you thinking all the of opposition.' Mr. Wainwright may have time that Helen, my Helen, your Helen, could persuaded her, but he said he had not. I used forsake us willingly? Forsake her dying grandno words of inducement; I only said it was father, her duty, her love ? For shame, for necessary she should love me if she accepted shame!" my hand; and I believed -oh, I could have “I hear it on all sides that she has fled with sworn that she loved me! It was weak, lament Grant Wainwright.” ably weak, to throw off one yoke and bend my “Do they say she fled with him ?” neck to the next that offered. I could have “Yes, with her cousin.” fulfilled my pledge without that. Ab, you were “Oh, Mr. Mainwaring, Grant Wainwright very anxious I should love her, very solicitous has stolen her; joined in with a gang of villains I should believe in her. And I did love her, and carried her by force away," from my very heart I loved her. She seemed “Are you sure? Are you sure she did not 80 confiding, so truthful ; her love had such an go willingly ?" appearance of reality. It seemed not to spring *“Sureas that I am true to my own husfrom vanity or self-gratulation in my subjection ; band.” I could not think it mere fanciful inclination. It | He took my hands in his. “You are speakseemed a sort of minor religion; so earnest, and ing the truth," he said; “ you must know. She holy, and real. And I meant to deserve it; I is true ; she is true to me." did deserve it if sincere affection and earnest “Oh, I do pity you if you could think that endeavour could.

she was not." : "You stand there looking at me, Mrs. He looked in my face for a moment longer, Gainsborough ; tell me what I must do, turn turned, and pacing the room threw himself on stoic or epicurean pus

| tlie sofa and buried his face in his arms. I went “ You are talking very wildly, Why give up to him presently and rested my hand on his up all hope? Trust in heaven. I can do shoulder,

“ You must not let this overwhelm you now,” |

CHAP. XLIX. I said, “There is hope, and we want your best aid. Try and calm yourself. Merton and A CONSULTATION AT FAIRCLOUGH. HELEN'S other friends will be here presently."

HUSBAND. He was pale now, but there was a softened look on his countenance. “Tell me what you The two magistrates and Merton Brown arknow," he said.

rived together. I admitted the latter into the I told him briefly. I had no further suspicion parlour. Immediately afterwards a carriage to argue away. He said he had not known that drew up, bringing Mr. Boradaile and Mr. DeMr. Wainwright's illness preceded the event. vonshire. Then a party of gentlemen from He had heard by telegraph simply that Helen Marsham came, including Mr. West, and Mr. had disappeared and that he was wanted. At Field the chemist. Mr. Hawkins followed, and Liverpool he had overheard conversation on the Alfred Merrivale. platform which first possessed him of the idea! The gentlemen were talking in groups, in a that she had filed with Grant Wainwright. I desultory manner, when Mr. Harding proposed Some way further on two gentlemen entering they should sit down and endeavour to gather the carriage had conversed freely of the matter; | the facts of the case in some sort of order. and, alighting at Marsham, it was on every “The first question," he said, “ which it aptongue. Concerning the manner of the occur pears necessary to set at rest is, whether we are rence there seemed diversity of opinion; but all, to regard this as an elopement or an abduction, with one exception, a porter at the station, who | Remembering that Miss Dalziel recently leapt said it was the Black Band's doing, agreed that her horse acrose the Cleft, under the fear of Miss Dalziel bad gone off with her cousin, and capture, I incline to the latter view." that old Mr. Wainwright had fallen into one of Mr. Boradaile submitted that no mere mer. his passions in consequence, and was dying or cenary aim could be served by stealing Miss dead.

Dalziel, since Mr. Wainwright, in such a case, I advised Mr. Mainwaring to go upstairs and would doubtless alter the disposition of his probathe his forehead ; he had complained of a perty. racking headache. When he returned to the "It is believed he is dying," said Mr. Grey. parlour he looked more collected. Barbara had | “ It is too certain now, and might hare been a brought in some coffee and he took it eagerly. question before the affair at the Cleft, that no

“I wanted some at Marsham," he said; "but new will of his making would be likely to bold none was to be had. They bronght me wine, good in law.” wretched stuff. I was obliged to take it for I “Still I do not see why suspicion should fall thought I must have fainted. I took all they on Mr. Witham," continued Mr. Boradaile, gave me, how much I hardly know. It mounted “when Mr. Grant Wainwright appears so much to my head, and, I hope you can make excuses more likely to have won the lady's favour." for me, Mrs. Gainsborough. I know I have “As Miss Dalziel's intimate friend," I interbeen talking like a fool. This coffee is good, is rupted, “I can give you my fullest assurance revives me. I hope to be a reasonable being that her inclinations are all in favour of the again presently. Another cup if you please.” gentleman to whom, with Mr. Wainwright's

He drank it in silence; then said, “Mrs. sanction, she was engaged. Mr. Arden MainGainsborough, I dare not talk to you about waring, her affianced husband, was telegraphed Helen. I must keep feeling under or I shall | for last night, and is now here." be hindered in giving the entire attention I | It was a great surprise to most of those ought to the facts of the event. But I want to present. say to you that, you shall not find me selfish I opened the parlour door. Mr. Mainwaring

and Mr. Merton Brown came into the hall, and, “ The last words she spoke to me," I said; being duly introduced, took places at the table. were that your love was her support in her The sensation among the gentlemen caused by sorrow."

this announcement and appearance was suc“ Hush, hush!” he interrupted : “not now." | ceeded by a silence, till Mr. Mainwaring

I was sorry indeed I had said it. I felt I had (stating he had just been informed that Mr. not sufficiently appreciated the necessity he had Giant Wainwright, watched by a detective, was spoken of and I was so vexed with myself, so journeying in Scotland) asked for information subdued by witnessing the struggle he had to l concerning his previous movements. maintain composure, that I could not keep the Mr. West then repeated what had occurred tears from falling. He had walked to the win. at his house. Being questioned by Mr. Harding, dow but returned, took my hand and kissed it. he said he certainly did not understand that

“How much you have suffered," he said. | Miss Dalziel was missing. He thought Dar. “ Be hopeful. Heaven will watch over her. It liston Hall had been broken into again, and would be wicked to despair.” I heard the hall door opened ; and, requesting

asked, “Is it the Black Band ?" To which Mr. Mr. Mainwaring to remain in the parlour until

Wainwright replied, “Very likely."

Mr. Field said that when Mr. Grant WainI had ascertained who were the comers, I went wright had brought the prescription he was in to meet them.

great haste to have it made up. He looked very

now."

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