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Chapter NumberII
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1884-02-16
Page Number0
Word Count1020
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleMercury and Weekly Courier (Vic. : 1878 - 1903)
Trove TitleHow He was Thwarted
article text CHAPTER II. I went home in wonderful blithe spirits that evening. A great load was lifted from my mind. That fate might ultimately write failure on my own suit likewise (that is, if I ever dared to test it) I knew surely enough. But, at all events, one haunting fear had been removed, one danger averted. Youth is sanguine, and quickly elated. The morrow was destined to be a busy day. One of Mr. Brindley's largest vessels had arrived in port from a lengthened voyage. The crew of the SHelena had to be pail off. This was a task invariably fulfilled by the old merchant in person. I think he liked to see the gleam of satisfaction steal over the bronzed faces. Other pay ments were due, and the amount of f gold sent for from the Stowport bank was abnormally large. It was Frank Sollar's duty, as senior clerk, to go for this, punctually at the stroke of nine. The messenger had been despatched about half-an-hour, and I was sitting. at my desk, awaiting both his return and the entry of Mr. Brindley from the rear, when a town acquaintance sighted me. He crossed the street and stepped in. " All alone, Johnny Ryle, and chew ing the sweet cud of reflection ?" he said. "Alone certainly, just now, Marsh," I answered ; " but with very. little time for meditating on much except figures." " Aud if they are of g od round thousands, what could be better ?" "That they should be honestly your humble servant's." He laughed merrily, and went on with his light-hearted banter. Suddenly the vision of Sollar's vacant desk seemed to give him an idea-as it chanced, an important one. "Anything special afoot with your office chum, this morning ?" he asked.. "I met him tearing down Bridge-street in a tremendous hurry." I stared in bewildered surprise. Down Bridge-street towards the rail way station, and away from both bank and office. Frank Sollar could have no lawful business in that direction on his present errant. And then what I must always con sider a flash of sheer intuition crossed my mind. I linked this revelation with the repulse Frank had suffered with Amice Brindley, and with the charac ters on the accidentally dropped note. I read meditated crime and flight in this singular conduct, There was scanty time in which to baffle it ; and I fancy my friend thought I had gone suddenly mad, as he saw me fling to, and lock a safe, seize my hat, and, with out a syllable of explanation, dash at full speed down the road. A police-station was directly on my route, and I had sufficient presence of mind tocall there, hurriedly convey my suspicions, and take an inspector with me. " We shall be five minutes too late," he said, as we both panted under the railway bridge. "The express for Liverpool leaves at 9.40; it is five minutes beyond that now." The same fear was in my own brain. " We can but see." I answered. A shrill whistle was heard. Wait ing-rooms and ticket office were alike deserted. We reached the platform, and the express was in the very act of moving out. She had been delayed by a leakage of the engine, and an in sufficiency of water. Inspector Geyworth gesticulated wildly to the small army of railway officials, and they in their turn attract ed the attention of the driver. Power was reversed, and slowly toe serpent like mass crawled down the line again. I held my breath in intense excite ment. What a fool I should appear if my surmise were unfounded ! Many heads were put out of the carriage windows to detect the cause of this fresh stoppage, and one of these belonged to Frank Sollar. Our eyes met, and his change of color was startling and pitiful. The poor doubly defeated wretch knew that the game was up. He had made an attempt at disguise even in the few minutes that had been at his disposal, but the false moustache and the alster buttoned close up to his chin, were ineffectual. Had he been suffered to reach Liverpool, he would, no doubt, have gone on board the Queen Scotia in an assumed name, and in outward semblance quite a different man. " This is Mr. Sollar, I believe?" said the inspector calmy. I nodded an affirmative. " Sorry to trouble you to put your journey off for a few hours, Mr. Sollar," Frank's teeth chattered in his head. He stepped out in blank silence, and his hopes disappeared with the released train. The case was very clear against him, and a committal followed. He had become heavily involved in so called debts of honor, some of them madly incurred on the representation that he was about to marry the ship owner's daughter. After Amice had refused him, every honorable avenue of escape seemed closed. He decided for theft-and a prison. Mr. Brindley warmly thanked me when the whole story had been made plain. "And my daughter tells me that, actually, the villian dared to make her an offer of marriage, a few days before," he said; his insolence must have been unbounded." I:felt a warm wave of color surging to my very temples. I had saved the old man probably a thousand pounds. Now, or never, was my opportunity. "I do not wonder that any one should fall in love with Mise Brindley, sir," I gasped ; "I myself have done it." The merchant was not taken aback nearly so much as I had feared. "Eh I another of them ?" he said drily. "Well, John Ryle, you've served me honestly enough ;I know nothing against you, Take your ckance.' That evening I had a lengthly con sultation with Amice, and, if I had never before known the height of earthly happiness, it seemed to me that she taught it me. To-day, " Brindley and Ryle," is the name of the North Nelson-street firm, and my rich uncle may do with his wealth exactly what he pleases.