|Newspaper Title||Mercury and Weekly Courier (Vic. : 1878 - 1903)|
CHIAPTER V. (oncluded)-, .- Come in !" he called.in'such: a cheer ful voice.. that the butler, who ;had heard o! the claimant through Mrs: Fanshaw,- looked.- at his master in amazement as he `presentea t'o him a letter just arrivreaby po't. Itr.as marked' "Private,'" and ran i4 as "HaveBJnt hador, .letter.. See the.gameais nip.. sors'hobi nmy'?-hyand.: Have no notion to be cross-examined by your'sdlicitor 'and'sid se f perjury, ,Tichborne fashion. I am nood Frederick Strahan, but his mate at the diggings, Fired Sampson. I was with him whhen he died of the fever, and' knew all the ins;and outs of, his history 1I was'a not 'ireparred to pass for him publicly, but, being remarkabry hard up just now, owing to a run of ill-luck at Baden, it struck me that I .mightpersonate him' pri'afely as old, Stiahan's, heir, anci stand a chfance for some plump, pickings. . Thanks-for the twochequjsxa; 'fe6ariI can iit:arlt-i npromires `to' repay. Write this from_Paris, but am off to night, so the police will have a good lodng searcbh,if you. 'mean to set them on my track. Baut I don't think .youi will.; you'll be-glad. to get rid of me, .and I don't think you're the sort to prosecute. "So good night."' Strahan read and re-read this note before he could -believe its contents. The reaction seemed too sudden and joyous to be reality; when he re membered Sampson's disinclination to come forward publicly and claim the property, he wondered he had been so unsuspicious. Whilst he still held the letter in his hand Mr. Sharpe arrived, entering with a--cheerfnl bustle,::abd saying he had come: expressi from Loffdoini. ' _. SWe'll, never idinit the fellow's claim," eaid 'he decidedly ; " we'll contest the money to the last shilling. I have proofs of Fred Strahan's -death, confirmed since his father ma-de his will." Ivor,showed-himr, the- letter,: which did not'at all' astonish- him. " I congratulate you, however," said he, "that you iare spared .thei aiionb aiices of a law-suit ; and now, my .dear eir, 'with your permission, .I willreturn to town, for busidess ::i very heavy just now'." ".I :emphatically refuse my. per mission, Mr. Sharpe," answered Ivor 'decidedy. " You have .beea.. a .niost val'iablie'friend to my father aInd- 'iiy self, and you must stay over Easter at Suiithro'i~ks ." . . ,: '" Well," said the lawyer, "you will perhaps need me'tob prevent you from feelipgrjolitaryi for,- from the'-number oCf'ariages_ th?it; passed. ,Mia..1 tha avenue, I judge your visitors have deemed themnselves de -trop in 'your perplexity." e , . .. " Have they ieally gone ?" asked Strahan ; and he, proceeded 'to- the dcaiwing-room with MriiSharie. ,1f 'It'was"'true en-oughl. Lady Ducie and her daughtdr, wishing . to) discuiEs the matter privately, had retired up stairs; but the others, making various apologies to Clare had left the house. Even her mother and elder brother, feeling awkward and ill at ease, had gone in the Bisliop's :car?iage to the Palace. The housekeeper, compared. the-eneral exbd??s to " rats'..leaving': sinking ship;" ~yet the splendid drawing-ibom, bright 'with ax-candleis, presented a very pretty scene. Alggrnon and Nelliie were standing together by the piano; he looked handsomer than ever in, his proud triunphi. and !she, 'half-friglitened, but secretly admiring her soldier'with cling ing adoration, exhibited a reasonable excuse for his gladness. Ivor looked at them and smiled; - but the light in his eyes grew radiant as he saw his-beautiful wife on the couch, holding his mother's hands: in hers, and speaking cheering words of comfort.,s "Clare looked up :at him with vivid blush and joyful smile, )and welcomed Mr: Sha?i3e in.her own graceful way. Captain Alge'inon eg erly drew N~ellie forwad: :' rd . S"I :ay Strahan,";' said he, " you'll lave a pretty quiet ho'se ; b'ut'we'll .have a jolly;time, old iniin.' Cheer up! And I say;,ive~is -yo~ lessingo while iyou're about it.'n"'?- " . ; Ivor stooped doJ ° and kissed N~ellie. then his.:mother, ?.and'after that ,he sat :down beside Clare; §puttidig.: his 'arm around her... ' ' '. ?. " There,. mother,? sais ,bhe; :now ypu will loe your daughter too. Bnt she will bein good hands. Long life and happiness to you both." . - S" You don't deser.ve. heir, :.Ai ," observed Clare, smiling up at Nellie. '?Anyway, I have her," he answered; " and I deserve her quite as much as -yo~i deserved your husband, my lady. lisiay, Clare.-I was proid of you just :ow-; you dismissed those people as grandly as if you hadjust conme into: ai fortune instead of lost one." Si Her :'husbaunl's arm held her tightly a?s he said ,Ha.d theyr ,waited. a little' "longer.. there would have been as fresh sirprise foriithem. . The cl'iniiit 'hiis cofifessekd'i himself an impostor, and admitted'his knowledge of Fred Strahan's death, so the money i stillz mine, anid likely to renmain so. Well my beiress' sister, are y-ou..?-E.?n to Jkeep .your-conftract now ?: declardi you never, ag'uri never would maf-~ Wie'l Cptai? iunless you were. p~enniless.". ' :-,. ' . !'"Oh Ivor I" she'cried, ':ci?isoning: " How.can you say. 'I: ever' t.ialked about hilm toyoyu 'at ial"? Algy :' did not :" Anyways," said Mr. Str alan senior, "she's cared for .yo~ qpCaptaui1 this' 1o"ti iie, so dl~dt:you let her of S1 o" 'Neli--i'fel' f b elieve yo.iu now. " N?obody asked you sir, she re turned;. and,'then- there ,wasa' , pre- '" cipitate reeat' into;the ferniery?i : I "Well, my dear,'??aidJEvor~ Strahan to Clare, "you -are -still- mistress ofI " And neverr,,had i-place.la fairer mistress," putin the lawyer gallantly" "Or'r a' sweeter,"" said'" 'olI' "Mi'I Strahlin, with proud aeffction. "Or a dearer," supplemented Ivor, I as, regardless of lawyer and mother, he I rained kisses, upon the ahyr tende1;'i perfect lips.
"Ivor, don't !"' said, she ; but she made no resistance, 'yielding passively to his careaes"i. "