Chapter 94762553

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Full Date1888-09-08
Page Number18
Word Count6417
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleSouth Australian Weekly Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1881 - 1889)
Trove TitleThe Legacy of Cain
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By WILKIE COLI/IKS, Anther of' *'The Woman in White,' ' The EnHaeains,',. &c, &c

Published by special arrangement with the author. All lights reserved.] SECOND PERIOD (Contested) : EVENTS IN THE FAMILY, RELATED BY THE GOV&RNOB, Chatter XLIV. — Belated by the GOVEBHOR.

After having identified my handwriting I -waited with some curiosity to see whether Helena would let her anger honestly show itself, or whether she would keep it down. Her hand trembled as she took up the letter from the table ; the expression of her brilliant eyes hardened until they looked' absolutely hideous, bat she kept it down. 'Allow me to return ffocd for evil.'

(The evil was uppermost, nevertheless, when Miss Gracedieu expressed herself in these self-denying terms.) ' Yon are so doubt anxious to know if Philip's father has been won over to serve your purpose. There is Philip's own account of it ; the last of his letters that I shall trouble you to read.' I looked ib over. . An eccentric philosopher is as capable as the niOBt commonplace human being in existence of behaving like an honorable mac. Mr. Danboyne read the letter which bore the minister's signature and handed it to his son. ' Can you answer that ?' was all he said. Philip's silence confessed that he was unable to answer it — and Philip himself, I may add, rose accordingly in my estimation. Bis father pointed to the writing-desk. 'I must spare my cramped hand,' the philosopher resumed, ' and I must answer Mr. Grace dieu's letter. Write, and leave a place for my signature.' He began to dictate his reply. ' Sir — My son Philip haslseen your letter and has no defence to make. In this respect he has set a good example, which I propose to follow. There is no excuse for mm. What I can do to show that I feel for you, and agree with you, shall be done. At the age which this young man has reached the laws of Eng land abolish the authority of Ms father. If he Is sufficiently infatuated to place his honor and his happiness at the mercy of a lady who has behaved to her sister as your daughter has behaved to Miss Eunice I warn the married couple nob to expect a farthing of my money either daring my lifetime or after my death. — Your faith ful servant, Dchboyse Senior. ' Having performed Mb duty as secretary Philip re ceived his dismissal. ' You may send my reply to the post,' his father said, ' and you may keep Mr. Gracedieu's letter. Morally speaking, I regard this last document as a species of mirror, in which a young gentleman like yourself may see how ogly he looks.' This, Philip de clared, was his father's form of farewell, literally reported. He also considerately enclosed the correspondence — that ia to say, the original letter composed by me and signed by the minister, and a copy of Mr: Dunboyne's reply. ' What we are to do next,' the helpless lover confessed, 'Is, I regret to say, more than I can tell you — Affectionately yours, P.' I handed back to Helena the letter and the enclosures. Not a word passed between us. In sinister silence she opened the door and left me alone in the loom. That Mrs. Gracedieu and I had met in the bygone time, and — Hub was the only serious part of it— had met in secret, would now be made known to the minis ter. Was I to blame for having shrank from distressing my good friend by telling him that his wife had privately consulted me on the means of removing his adopted child from his house ? And, even if I had been cruel enough to do this, would he have believed my statement against the positive denial with which the woman whom he loved and trusted would have certainly met It? No 3 let the conse quences of the coming disclosure be .what they might, I failed to see any valid reason for regretting my conduct in the past time. I found Miss Jillgall waiting in the

passage to tee me come out. ' Helena frightens me,' she said. ' I met her on her way upstairs. Oh, dear, sir, what dreadful thing have you done ?' I told her how Mr. Danboyne had answered the minister's letter, and how I had been discovered as the writer of It. No characteristic outbreak of rejoicing over the obstacle to Philip's marriage fol lowed on this occasion. The little woman trembled as she confided her fears to me in a whisper. Helena was bent on re venge. Had I any idea of what she would do? I availed myself of Mr. Danbayne's system of philosophy and only answered — ' Let as wait and see.' There was a sharp ring of the bell at the house door. Miss Jillgall informed me that it was only the doctor. I told her I was anxious to speak to him on the subject of Mr. Gracedleu'a health. She introduced me to Mr. Wellwood as an old and dear Mend of the minister, and left us together in the dining-room. I was disappointed In the doctor. His face was lumpish j his ? clothes were badly made; his big hands looked as if they had been employed in manual labor at some former time. I had often seen such a man in the streets super intending workmen employed on building . a house.

'What do I think of Mr. Gracedieu?' he said, repeating the first question that I nut. ''Well, sir, I think badly of him.' Enteringinto'details after that ominous reply, Mr. Wellwood did not hesitate to say that his patient's nerres were com pletely shattered. Disease of the brain had, as he feared, been already set up, 'As to* the causes which have produced this lamentable breakdown,' the doctor continued, ' they seem to me to be plain enough. Remember that Mr. Gracedieu doesn't read hie sermons from manuscript. He has been iu the li&oit of preaching ex

ieflopore, twice a day on Sundays, and ! sometimes, in the week as well. If you have. ever attended his chapel you have seen a man in a state of fiery enthusiasm, feeling intensely every word that he utters. Think of such exhaustion 88 that Implies going on for years together, and accumulating its wasting influences on a sensltively orgaiiieed constitution. Add that ha is tormented by personal anxieties. I don't know, and I don't wish to know, what they are ; a doctor's duty, as I understand it, is to keep strictly within his profes sional limits. I only allude to Mr, Grace dieu'B anxieties because they have largely increased the mischief ; and the sum of it all is that a worse case it its kind, I ana fcrn'y grieved to gay. has never occurred in my fcxper'e&ee.' Was it poBt»'»l)le that I had been foolish enough to fbrni an unfavorable opinion of thia mar. inertly because his personal ap had failed to please me ? It -.o*«ild have been a relief to my feelings to have btgged his pardon if I could have ventured to confess how rashly I had judged him. Before he left me to goto his patfeiit I asked leave to occupy a niinute more o! hia time. My object was, of course, to epeak about Eunice. The change of subject seemed to be agreeable to Mr. Wellwood. He smiled good- humoredly. 'You need feel no alarm about the health of that interesting girl,' he said. ' When Bhe complained tome— at her age — of not being able to sleep, I should have taken It more seriously if I had been told that she too had her troubles, poor little souL* liove troubles, most likely — but don't forget that my professional limits Vppn m« in t.hfi dark ! Have von heard

that she took some composing medicine which I had prescribed for her father ? The effect (certain in any case to be Inju rious to a young girl) was considerably aggravated 'by the state of her mind at the time. A dream that frightened her and something resembling delirium seems to have followed. And she made matters worse, poor child, by writing in her diary about the visions and supernatural appearances that had tenlfied her. I was afraid of fever on the day when they first sent forme. We escaped that complication, and I was at liberty to try the best of all remedies — quiet and change of air. I have no fears for Misa Eunice.' With that cheering reply he went up to the minister's room. All that I had found perplexing in Eunice was now made clear. I under stood how her agony at the loss of her lover, and her keen Bense of the wrong that she had suffered, had been strengthened in their disastrous influence by her experiment on the sleeping draught intended for her father. In mind and body both the poor girl was in the condition which offered its opportunity to the lurk Ing hereditary taint. Could the education of which Mr. ' Gracedien was so proud, could the abstract ideas which it is the office of morality to instil have saved that suffering young creature from sinking under trial and temptation that were mysteries to her ? No ! Women act on personal impreBBlone, and on the motive of the moment. Teachers and books mean well, but can never be their best friends. . Their one invincible ally when defeat threatens them in the battle of life is the woman's guardian angel — love, I had not been long alone when the servant-maid came in and said the doctor wanted to see me. Mr. Wellwood was waiting in the passage outside the minister's, bedchamber. He asked if he could speak to me without interrupts n and without the fear of being overheard. 1 led him at once to the room which I occupied as a guest. 'At the very time when it is moBt important to keep Mr. Gracedieu quiet,' he said, 'something has happened to excite — I might almost say to infuriate him. He has left hiB bed and is walking up and down the room, and I don't scruple to say he is on the verge of madness. He insists on seeing you, Being wholly unable to control him in any otter way X have consented to this. Snt I must not allow you to place yourself in what may be a disagreeable position with out a word of warning. Judging by his tones and looks he seems to have no very friendly motive for wishing to see you.' Knowing perfectly well what had happened, and being one of those im patient people who can never endure sus pense, I offered to go at once to Mr. Gracedieu's room. The doctor asked leave to say one word more. ' Pray be careful that you neither say nor do anything to thwart him,' Mr. Wellwood resumed. ' If he expresses an opinion, agree with him. H he is insolent and overbearing, don't answer him. In the ttate of his brain the one hopeful course to take is to let Mmiave his own way. Pray remember that. I will be within call in case of your wanting me. Chapter XLV. I knocked at the bedroom door. ' Who's there?' Only two words— but the voice that ottered them, hoarse and peremptory, was altered almost beyond recognition. If I had not known whose room it was I might have doubted whether the minister had really spoken to me. At the instant when I answered him, I was allowed to pass In. ' Having admitted me he closed the door and placed him self with his back against it. The cus tomary pallor of his face had darkened to a deep red ; there was an expression of ferocious mockery in his eyes. Helena's vengeance had hurt her unhappy father far more severely than it seemed likely to hurt me. The doctor had said he was on the verge of madness. To my think ing, he had already passed the boundary line. He received me with a boisterous affec tation of cordiality. 'My excellent friend — my admirable, honorable, welcome guest — you don't know how glad I am to see you 3 Stand a little nearer to the light ;? I want to ad mire yon.' Remembering the doctor's advice I obeyed him In silence. ' 'An, you were a handsome fellow when I first knew you,' he said ; ' and yon have some remains of it stall left. Do you re member the time when you were a favorite with the ladles 2 Oh, don't pre tend to be modeBt ; don't turn, your back now yon are old on what you were In the prime of your life. Do you own that I am right ?' What his object might be in saying this — if indeed he had an object — it was im possible to guess. The doctor's advice left me no alternative ; I hastened go own that he was right. As I made that answer I observed that he held something in ids hand which was half hidden np the sleeve of hlB dressing-gown. What the nature of the object was 1 failed to discover. ' And when I happened to speak of you somewhere,' he went on, 'I forget where— a member of my congregation — I don't recollect who it was— told me you were connected with the aristocracy. How were you connected ?' He surprised me ; but, however he had got bis information he had not been deceived. I told him that I was con nected through my mother with the family to which he had alluded. ' The aristocracy I' he repeated. ' A race of people who are rich without earn ing their money, and noble because their great - grandfathers were noble before them. They live in Idleness and luxury — profligates who gratify their passions without shame and without remorse. Deny, if you dare, that this is a true description of them.' It was really pitiable. Heartily sorry for him I pacitied him again. '* And don't spppoBe I forget that you are one of them. Do you hear me, my soble friend ?' There waa no help for it — I nude another conciliatory reply.

' So far,' he resumed, ** I don't com plain of you. You have not attempted to deceive me — yet. Absolute silence is what I require next. Though you may net euepect it, my mind is in a fer^c^j*. I nmBt try to think.' To some extent sA isast Ms thoup'&ts bttrayed themselves ia his actions. *He put the object that I had dlscov £re(j in hiB hand into the pocket of his liresslng gefirn atd moved to the t-jjiet- table. Opening one of the drawer.^, he took from it a folded sheet of ps,per and came back to me. 'A minister of the Oospel,' he said, 'is a sacred man, ai,-i has a horror of ciime. You are safe r,o far — provided you obey mo. 1 havej & solemn and terrible duty to perform. This is uot the right place for it. F ollow me downstairs.' He led the ^ay oufc. The doctor, wait ing in the Passage, was not near the stairs, and so ( scaped notice, ' What is it?' Mr. W^li wood whispered. Ia the same guarded way, I said, c ' He has not told me yet- ; I have been careful not to irritate trim.' When we descended the staira the doctor followed us at a safe distance. He mended his pace when the minister opened the door of 'the study, and when he saw us both pass in. Before he could folio w the door was clcmed and locked in his face. Mr. Gracedieu took out the key and threw ft through the open windoar iafco the garden below. Turning back into the room he laid the folded sheet of paper on the table. That done, he spoke to me. ' I distrust my own weakness,' he said. ' A dreadful necessity confronts me — I might shrink from the horrid ordeal, and if I could open the door might try to get away. Escape Is impossible now. We are prieoners together. Bat don't suppose that we are alone. There is a third person present who will judge between you and me. Look there !' He pointed solemnly to the portrait of his wife. It was a small picture, very simply framed, representing the face in a *' three-quarter' view, and part of the figure only. As a work of art it was con temptible ; but as a likeness it answered its purpose. My unhappy friend. stood before it in an attitude of dejection, cover ing his face with his hands. In the interval of silence that followed I was reminded that an unseen friend waa keeping watch, outside. Alarmed by having heard the key turned in the lock, and realising the embarass ment of the position In which I was placed, the doctor had discovered a discreet way of communicating with me. He slipped one of his visiting cards under the door with these words written on It — 'Hjw can I help you ?' I took the pencil from my pocketbook and wrote on the blank side of the card — ' He has thrown the key into the garden ; look for it under the window.' A glance at the minister before I returned my reply showed that his attitude was un changed. Without being seen or suspected I in my turn slipped the card under the door. , The elow minutes followed each other — acd still nothing happened. My anxiety to see how the doctor's search for the key was succeeding tempted me to approach the window. On my way to it the tail of my coat threw down a little tray containing pens and pencils which had been left close to the edge of the table. Slight as the noise of the fall was, it dis turbed. Mr.Gracedieu.. He looked round vacantly. ' 1 have been comforted by prayer,' he told me. 'The weakness of poor hu manity has fonnd strength in the Lord.' He pointed to the portrait once more. 'My, 'hands must not presume to touch It while I am still in doubt. Take it down.' I removed the picture and placed it, by his directions on a chair that stood midway between ns. To my surprise his tones fal tered ; I saw tears rising In his eyes. ' You may think you see a picture there,' he said. ' You are wrong7 You see my wife herself. Stand here, and look at her with me.' We stood together with our eyes fixed on the portrait. Without anything said or done on my part to irritate him he suddenly turned to me In a state of furious rage. ' Not a sign of sorrow!' he burst out. 'Not a blnah of shame ! Wretch, you stand condemned by the atroclouB composure that I see In your face. A first discovery of the odious suspicion of which I was the object dawned on my mind at that moment. My capacity for re straining myself completely failed me. I spoke to him as if he had been an ac countable being. ' Once for all,' I said, ' tell me what I have a right to know. You suspect me of something. What is It?' Instead of directly replying he seized my arm and led me to the table. '* Take up that paper,' he said. 'There is writing on it. Head — and let her judge between us. Your life depends on how yon answer me.' Was there a weapon concealed In the room ? or had he got it In the pocket of bis dressing-grown ? I listened for the sound of the doctor's returning footsteps in the passage outside, and heard nothing. My life had once depended, years since, on my EUCceBH in heading the arrest of an escaped prisoner. I was not conscious then of feeling my energies weakened by fear. But Hwi man was not mad ; and I was younger in those days by agood twenty years or more. At my later time of life I could chow my old friend that I was not afraid of him — but I was conscious of an effort in doing it. I opened the paper. 'Am I to read thiB to myself ?' I asked. ' Or am 1 to read it aloud ? 'Read it aloud.' In these terms*hlB daughter addressed him:— 'I have been so unfortunate, dearest father, as to displease you, and I dare not hope that you will consent to receive me. wiat it is my painful duty to tell you must be told in writing.' Grieved as I am to distress you in your present state of health I must not hesitate to reveal what it has been my misfortune —I may even Bay my misery, when I think of my mother — to discover. But let me make sure, in such a serious matter as this is, that I am not mistaken. In those happy past days, when I was still dear to my father, you eaid you thought of writing to invite a dearly valued friend to pay a visit to this house. You had first known him, as I understood, when my mother was still living. Many interesting things you told me about this old friend, but you never mentioned that he knew, or that he had ever seen, my mother. I was left to suppose that those two had remained strangers to each other to the day of her death. If there is any misinterpretation here of what you said, or perhaps of what you meant to say, pray destroy what I have written without turning to the next page, and forgive me for having innocently startled* you by a false alarm.' Mr. Gracedieu interrupted me. 'Put it down,' he cried; 'I won't wait till yon have got to the end — I shall question you now. Give ine the paper ; it will help to keep this mystery of ini quity clear in my own mind.' I gave him the paper. He hesitated— jand looked at the portrait once more, ? ' Turn her away from me,' he safd ; ' I can'c face my wife.' I placed the picture with its back to liim. He consulted the paper, reading It with but little of the confusion and hesitation which my experience of him had induced me to anticipate. Had the mad excite ment that possessed him exercised an in fluence in clearing his mind, resembling in some degree the influence exercised by a storm in clearing the air ? Whatever the right explanation may be I can only report what I saw. I could hardly have mastered what bis daughter had written more readily if I had been reading { itrojeelf.

'Helr^ tells me,' he began, 'that you f^jsj yoa jjnew ner jjy jjer lifceaggg to he.*- mother. Is that true ?' 'Quite true.' | ' And you made an excuse for leaving her — gee ! here it is, written dorm. You made an excuse ar.d left her when aha . asked for an explanation,?' ' I did.' ! He coneulted the paper again. | ? ' 3f y daughter eays — No! I won't ha hvrxled and I won't be interrupted — 3h8 says you wtre confused. Is than so V ' It is so. Let your questions wait for a moment. I wish to tell you why I waa confused.' ' Haven't I said I won't be interrupted ? Po you think you can shake my resola tion f He referred to the paper again, 41 1 hare lo^t tue place. It's your fault — find it for roe.' The evidence rvhieh waa intended to convict tne was ihe erideuce which I was expected to fine ! 1 pointed it out to him His natural courtesy asserted itself in spire of his auger. He said ' Thank you,' and questioned me the moment after as fiercely as ever. 'Go back to the time, sir, when we met in your rooms at the prison. Did you know my wife then 1 'Certainly not.' ' Did you and she see each other — ha ! I've got it now — did you see each other after 1 had left the town ? No prevarica tion ! You own to telling Helena that you knew her by her likeness to her mother. You must have seen her mother. Where ?' 1 made another effort to defand myself. He again refused furiously to hear ma. It was useless to peraist. Whatever the danger that threatened me might be, the sooner It showed itself the easier I should feel. I told him that Mrs. Gracedieu had called on me after he had been appointed to a new circuit. ' Do you mean to tell me,' he cried, ' that she came to you ?' 'I do.' After that answer he no longer required the paper to help him. He threw iB from him on the floor. 'And you received her,' he said, ' without enquiring whether I knew of her vieit or cot ? Guilty deception on your part. Oh, the hideous wickedness of it !' When his mad suepicEon that I hod been his wife's lover betrayed itself in this way 1 made a last attempt, in the face of my own conviction thatjit was hopeless, to place my conduct arid his wife's conduct before him in the true light. 'Mrs. Gracedieu's object w?.^ to coi euI me — ' Before I could zz.j the next ; words I saw him put his hand into the ! pocket of his dressing-gown. I 'An innocent man,' he sternly de clared, ' would have told me that my wife bad been to see him — yon kept it a secret. An Innocent woman would have given me a reason for wishing to go to you— she kept it a secret when she left my house ; she kept it a secret when she came back.' j 'Mr. Gracedieu, I Insist on being heard. j Your wife's motive ? ' I He drew from his pocket the thing that I he had hidden from me. This time there was no concealment ; he let me see that he waB opening a razor. It was no time for asserting my innocence ; I had to think of preserving my life. When a man 1% ' without firearms what defence can avail J against a razor In the hands of a mad man ? A chair was at my side ; it offered the one poor means of guarding myself that I could see. I laid my hand on it and kept my eye on him. He paused, looking backwards and for wards between the picture and me. ' Which of them shall I kill first ?' he said to himself. ' The man who was my trusted friend, or the woman whom I be lieved to be an angel on earth?' Hestopped once more in a state of fierce concentra tion, debating what he should do. ' The woman,' he decided 'Wretch! I1 lend! Harlot 1 How I loved her !'J With a yell of f ory he pounced on the picture — ripped the canvas out of the frame — and cut it malignantly into frag ments. A e they dropped from the razor on the floor he stamped on them, and ground them under his foot. ' Go, wife of. my bosom,', he cried, with a dreadful mockery of voice and look — 'go, and burn everlastingly In the place of torment ! His eyes glared at me. 'Your turn now,' he said, and rushed at me with his weapon ready In his hand. I hurled the chair at his right arm. Tine razor dropped on the floor. I caught him by the wrist. Like a wild animal he tried to bite me. With my free hand — if I had known how to defend myself in any other way, I would have taken that way— with my free hand I seized him by the throat, forced him back, and held him against the wall. My grasp on his throat kept him quiet. Bat the dread of seriously injuring him so completely overcame me that I forgot I was a prisoner in the room, and was on the point of alarming the household by a cry for help. I was still struggling to preserve my self-control when the sound of footsteps broke the silence outside. I heard the key turn In the lock, and saw the doctor at the open door. CHAITER XLVL I cannot prevail upon myself to dwell at any length on the events that followed. We secured my unhappy friend and carried him to his bed. It was necessary to have men in attendance who could per form the duty of watching him. The doctor sent for them, while I went down stairs to make the best I could of the miserable news which It was impossible entirely to conceal. All that I could do to spare Miss Jillgall I did. I was obliged to acknowledge that there had been an outbreak of violence, and that the portrait of the minister's wife had been destroyed by the minister himself . Of Helena's revenge on me I said nothing. It had led to consequences which even her merciless malice could not have contemplated. There were no obstacles in the way of keeping secret the attempt on my life ; but I was compelled to own that Mr. Gracedieu had taken a dislike to ma, which rendered it necessary that my visit should be brought to an end. I hastened to add that I should go to the hotel, and should wait there until the next day in the hope of hearing better news. Of the multitude of questions with which poor Mies JUlgall overwhelmed me— of the wild words of sorrow and alarm that escaped her — of the desperate manner in which she held by my arm and Implored me not to go away when I must see for myself that 'she was a person entirely destitute of presence of mind' — I shall say nothing. The undeserved Buffering that is inflicted on innocent persons by the sins of others demands sifent sympathy, and to that extent at least I can Bay that I honestly felt for out quaint and pleasant little friend. In the evening the doctor called on me at the hotel. The medical treatment of his patient had succeeded in calming the maddened brain under the Influence of sleep. If the night passed quietly better news might be hoped for in the j morning. I On the next day I had arranged to drive I to the farm, being resolved not to dis appoint Eunice; bat I shrank from the prospect of having to-distreas her as I had already distressed Miss Jillgall. The ; only alternative left was to repeat the sad ! story in writing, subjected to the conceal- { ? ments which I had already observed, j This 1 did, and sent the letter by ! 1 messenger overnight, so that Eunice j might know when to expect me. ! The medical report in the morning, : i justified some hope, Mr. Gracedieu had i slept well and there had been no reappear ; ance of insane violence on his waking. i But the doctor'e opinion waa far from en j couraging when we Bpoke of the future. ; He did not anticipate the cruel necessity of placing the minister under restraint nnless some new provocation led to a new : outbreak. The misfortune to be feared w&e imbecility.

I was just leaving the hotel to keep my appointment with Eunice when the waiter announced the arrival of a young^ady who wished to speak with me. Before I could ask if she had mentioned her name the youi'g lady herself walked in— Helena Gracedieu. the explained her object in calling on . me with the exasperating composure which was peculiarly her own. No parallel to it ocenra to me in my official experience of shameless women. '' I don't wish to speak of what hap pened yesterday, so far as I know any thing about it,' she began. 'It is quite enough for me that you have been obliged to leave the house and to take refage in this hotel. I have come to say a word about the future. Are you honoring me ivith your attention ?' I signed to her to go on. If I had answered in words I should have told her to leave the room. 'At first,' she resumed, 'IthDUghfc of writing ; but it occurred to me that you might keep my letter and show it ta Philip by way of lowering me In his good opinion, as you have lowered me in the good opinion of his father. My object in coming here is to give you a word of warning. If you attempt to make mischief next between Philip and myself I shall hear of it — and you know what to expect when you have me for an enemy. It ia not worth while to say any more. We understand each other, I hope T She was determined to have a reply, and she got it. ** Not quite yet,' I said. ' I have been hitherto, as becomes a gentleman, always mindful of a woman's claims to forbearance. You will do Troll not to tempt me into forgetting thac you are a woman by prolonging your visit. Now, Miss Helena Gracedieu, we understand each other.' She made a low courtesy, aud answered in her finest tone of irony — ' I only desire to wish you a pleasant journey home.' I rarg for the waiter. ' Show this lady out,' I eaid. Even this failed to have the slightest effect on her. She sauntered to the door, a& perfectly at her ease as if the room had been hers — not mine. I had thought of driving to the farm. Shall I confess it 1 My temper waa so completely upset that active movement of some kind offered the one means of relief in which I could find refuge. The farm was not more than five miles distant, and 1 had been a good walker all my life. After making the needful enquiries I set forth to visit Eunice on foot. My way through the town led me past the minister's house. I had left the door some fifty yards behind me when I saw two ladies approaching. They were walk ing in the friendliest manner arm in arm. As they came nearer I discovered Miss Jillgall. Her companion was the middle aged lady who had declined to give her name when we met accidentally at Mr. Gracedieu's door. Hysterically impuleive, Miss Jillgall seized both my hands and overwhelmed me with entreaties that I would go back with her to the house. I listened rather absently, 'ihe middle-aged lady happened to be nearer to me now than on either of the former occasions on which I had seen her. There was something in the expression of her 3yes which seemed to be familiar to me. Bat the effort of my memory was not helped by what I observed in the other parts of her face. The iron grey hair, the baggy lower eyelidB, the fat cheeks, the coaree complexion, and the double chin were features, and very disagreeable features too, which I had never seen at any former time. 'Do pray, come back with us,' Miss Jillgall pleaded. ' We were just talking of you. I and my friend ? ' There she stopped, evidently on the point of blurting out the name which she had been forbidden to utter In my hearing. The lady smiled ; her provokingly fami liar eyes reBted on me with a humorous enjoyment of the scene. 'My dear,' she said to Miss Jillgall, 'caution ceases to be a virtue when it ceases to be of any use. The governor Is beginning to remember me, and the in evitable recognition— with his quickness of perception — Is likely to be a matter of minutes now.' 'She turned to me, ' In more ways than one, sir, women are hardly used by nature. As they advance in years they lose more in personal appearance than the men do. You are white-haired, and, pray excuse me, you are too fat; and, allow me to take another liberty, you Btoop at the shoulders— but you have not en tirely lost your good looks. J am no longer recognisable. Allow me to prompt you, as they say oh the stage. I am Mrs. Tenbruggen.' As a man of the world I ought to have been capable of concealing my astonish ment and dismay. She struck me dumb. Mrs. Tenbruggen in the town ! The one woman whose appearance Mr. Grace dieu dreaded, and justly dreaded, stood before me — free, as a friend of his kins woman, to enter his house at the very time when he was a helpless man guarded by watchers at his bedside. My first clear idea waa to get away from both the women and consider seriously what was to be done next. I bowed and begged to be excused and said I was In a hurry— all in a breath. Hearing this, the best of genial old maids was unable to restrain her curiosity. ' Where are you going ?' she asked. Too confused to think of an excuse I said I was going to the farm. 'To see my dear Euneece?' Miss Jillgfill burat out. ' Oh, we will go with you.' Mrs. Tenbruggen's politeness added immediately, ' With the greatest pleasure.' (To be continued.)