|Chapter Number||XXXVII CONCLUSION|
|Newspaper Title||The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)|
|Trove Title||Roland Yorke|
CHAPTER XXXVII. CONCLUSION.
BY THE AUTHOR OF "EAST LYNNE."
THE summer and the day were alike on the wane. It was the end of July, and a dull even-
ing. Mr. Greatorex was sitting alone in the coming twilight, in the large and handsome
dining-room, where we first saw him at the be- ginning of this history. Haggard he had looked then, waiting to hear the particulars of his favo rite nephew's death; far more haggard he looked now, for the truth in regard to it was at length disclosed to him. He wore deep mourning. The son, whose ap- pearance of ill-health had of late given him so much concern, was dead: Bede. Alas! it was not illness of body that had ailed Bede Greatorex, and turned his days to one ever-moving, never- ceasing tumultuous sea of misery, but that far worse affliction, illness of mind. In bodily sick ness there may arise intervals of light, when the suffering is not felt so keenly, or the heavenly help is nearer for support; in such mental sick- ness, grave as Bede's was, such intervals never come. After quitting home at the turn of Christmas, and travelling for a month or two hither and thither, Bede settled down in a remote French town. There was a very small colony of Eng- lish in it, and an English chaplain, who did the duty for nothing. Bede had not intended to make it a permanent halting-place, but his weak- ness increased greatly, and he seemed never willing to attempt another move onwards. Mrs. Bede grumbled woefully: she called the town a desert and their lodgings a barn; truth to say, the rooms were spacious and had as good as no- thing in them. She amused herself—such amusement as it was—by taking drives in the early spring freshness, and talking French, for improvement, with a fashionable Parisian femme de chambre, whom she had found herself lucky enough to engage. In June Bede died: and the date of his death happened, by a rather singular coincidence, to be that of Roland Yorke's wed- ding-day. But that can pass. With Bede's death, a month ago now, things in the office had undergone some fresh arrange- ments. Frank Greatorex was his father's sole partner in the practice. Frank was soon to bring home his wife, and it was to be hoped she would make a happier home of the dwelling than its late mistress had done. There could be little doubt of it, and Mr. Greatorex stood a fair chance of regaining some of his domestic com- fort. The prospects of Bede's widow were not flourishing. Bede had not left a shilling behind him; a little debt, in fact, instead; that is, she was in debt: and the bills for his funeral and other incidental expenses had come over to Mr. Greatorex. There had been no married settle- ment on Louisa Joliffe: she was now left to the mercy of her father-in-law; and though a gene- rous man by nature and habit, Mr. Greatorex was not showing himself generous in this. In a cool, business-like letter, conveyed to her per- sonally by a trustworthy clerk, Mr. Greatorex had informed her that henceforward she would be allowed two hundred pounds a year. One hundred pounds in addition he made her a pre- sent gift of. The clerk dispatched with the let- ter and money was Mr. Brown, who had entirely resumed his name of Winter; the office, not getting into the new habit readily, usually called him Mr. Brown Winter. Mr. Winter was com- missioned to discharge the above-mentioned bills, and, to see a stone placed over the grave, the in- scription for which had been written down by Mr. Greatorex. It was short as might be: only the following words, with the date of death:— BEDE GREATOREX. AGED THIRTY-NINE. "Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden." Mr. Winter had executed his charges, and was back again. The clerks heard with very little surprise that he was to be promoted amidst them: the confidential manager in future under Mr. Greatorex and his son; one to whom the office would have to look up to as a master. Rumor went that Mr. Winter was about to be come a qualified solicitor: not from any view of setting up for himself, but that he might be more efficient for his duties in the house of Greatorex and Greatorex. His salary would be handsome: it had been already considerably augmented since the month of January last. Mr. Winter had taken a small, pretty house, and would soon bring a wife home to it: Alletha Rye was to exchange her name to Alletha Win- ter. The clerks in general looked upon it that Mr. Winter's promotion took its rise in his un- doubted business merit and capacity; but, in point of fact, it was owing to a few lines written by Bede to his father. "The man is of ster- ling merit: he has forgotten self in striving patiently to benefit and shield me; reward him for my sake. I am sure he will repay in faith- fulness all you can do for him." Little more than this did Bede say: not a word as to the nature of what the benefit or the shielding had been. Mr. Greatorex knew now, for a revelation had been made to him through Judge Kene. Bede, only the day before his death, had posted a letter to Sir Thomas Kene, one that he had spent a week in writing, getting to it at intervals. The anguish that communication, and other things, brought to Mr. Greatorex, was very sharp still. He was feeling it as he sat there in the evening twilight. Bede's death he had, in one sense, almost ceased to mourn, knowing now what a happy release from mental pain it must have been. But he could not think with the smallest patience of Bede's wife: never again, never again. She bad been the primary author of all the misery; but for her his son—ay, and some one else, dear to him as a son—had been, in all human probability, living now, happy, peaceful, and playing a good and busy part on the world's stage. "Will you admit visitors, sir?" "Eh! what!"—and Mr. Greatorex started up half in alarm as the servant spoke, so deeply had be been buried in far-away thoughts. "Visi- tors this evening !—no. Stay, Philip. Who are they?" "Sir Roland and Lady Yorke, sir." "Oh, l'll see them," said Mr. Greatorex. "Ask them to walk up." Roland and his wife, passing through London from their wedding tour, part of which had been spent in Ireland, at Lord Carrick's, had halted for a night at one of the hotels. "To see old friends," said Roland. Not that he had many to see: Mrs. J. and Mr. Greatorex nearly comprised them. Winny Yorke and her chil- dren were in Wales with her mother. Gerald had sent them, "as a temporary thing," till he could get "a bit straight." When that desir able epoch might be expected to dawn, was hid- den in the mystery of the future. Gerald had been a good month in Whitecross-street prison, done to death pretty nearly with his creditors' reproaches, who used to go down in a body to abuse him, when they found there was no chance of their getting a farthing. He and his cham- bers had been sold up; and altogether Gerald had come to considerable grief. Just now he was in Paris, enjoying himself on a sum of money that Lord Carrick had been induced to give him, and on the proceeds from an article that he supplied twice a week to a London news- paper. He thought himself terribly hard- worked; and slightly relieved his bile by telling everybody that his brother Roland was the greatest villain under the sun. Roland meant to find him a post if he could, and meanwhile took care of Winny and the little ones: Gerald quietly ignored that. "Sir Roland and Lady Yorke." Mr. Greatorex met them with out-stretched hands, giving Annabel a fatherly kiss on her blushing face. He quite forgot her new eleva- tion, remembering her only as the sweet and simple girl who had made sunshine in his house at odd moments. She looked sweet and simple, still quite unaltered. Roland, on his part, had not attained the smallest additional dignity: he clattered in just as of yore. They were going to Sunny Mead on the morrow, and be began telling of his future plans for the happy home life. Mr. Greatorex smiled as he listened. "I don't fancy you will give us much work, Sir Roland, in the way of incurring debts and trouble, and coming to us to get you clear of them."
"No, thank you; I leave that to Gerald, Mr. Greatorex," added Roland, his eyes shining with honest light, his face meeting that of his ex- master. "I promised Vincent when he was dying that I'd keep clear of trouble: I as good as promised Hamish: I'd not go from my word to them, you know. And, what's more, I shall never wish to." "I see. You will be a dead loss to us. The Yorkes in general have been profitable clients." Roland took the words seriously, and his mouth fell a little. "I'm very sorry, sir, I—I'll give you a pre- sent every year to make up for the deficiency, if you'll accept it. A golden inkstand, or some- thing of that sort." Mr. Greatorex looked at him with a smile, never speaking. Roland resumed, thoroughly in earnest, his voice low. "It's such an awful deal of money, you see, four thousand a year, besides a house and lots of other things. Two people could never spend it, and if we could we don't think it would be doing right. Annabel and I see things alike. We mean to put aside half of our income against a rainy day, say; or—there are so many people who want help. You see, Mr. Greatorex, we had both learnt to live on little. But I'm sure I shall be sorry if you look upon me as a loss." "You can repay me, Roland, better than by a golden inkstand," said Mr. Greatorex, laying his hand on the young man's shoulder. "Let me come to you for a week annually when the summer roses are in bloom; and do you tell me, year by year, that you have adhered to your proposed simple mode of life." Roland was in the skies at once. "It is a bargain, mind that," he said. "You will come to us always with the summer roses. As to a week only, we'll talk about that." "And Jane shall meet you, sir," interposed Annabel with shy joy. "She is very happy at her school; I often have letters from her. Ro- land and I were thinking of having her at Christmas, if you don't mind." "And Nelly Channing too, if her mother will spare her," put in Roland. "And we have talked about those three little mites in Wales. It would be good to have the lot together, and give them a bit of pleasure. They should have a jolly Christmas tree; and we'd get over some boxes of lumps of delight from Turkey, by one of the P. and O. steamers, and I'd bring them up to the wax-work. Annabel and I both love children." "And I hope to my heart you may have some of your own to bless you!" rejoined Mr. Great- orex with unaccountable emotion. "To bless you when they are young; bless you when they —when they—shall be grown. God grant you may never have cause to weep for them in tears of blood! Many of earth's sorrows are hard to bear, but that is the weightiest that Heaven can inflict upon us." Roland stared a little. The thing seemed nearly as incomprehensible to his view of social life, as that he should have to weep for some defect in the moon. "We'd bring them up in the best way, Mr. Greatorex," was the simple answer. "Annabel, would, you may be sure, and I'd try to. I don't think I got brought up in the best way myself: there was too much scuffling and scrambling. Mrs. J. once said—l beg your pardon, Annabel." For Annabel was trying to express to Mr. Greatorex their regret at his son's death. The strange emotion that had shaken him she knew must be felt for Bede. "We are both of us very sorry, sir, for him and for you." "My dear, you need not be," spoke Mr. Greatorex, in a low, sad tone. "His life had grown weary; and death, to him, must have been like a welcome rest at the close of day. A little sooner, a little later—what does it matter?" "And for the muffs of doctors not to be able to cure him! Mr. Greatorex, when I remember him, and Vincent Yorke, and Hamish Channing, my respect for the medical profession does not go up. Halloa! who's this?" broke off Roland. Philip was coming in with a cloud of surprise on his face, while a rustle as of extensive petti- coats might be heard in his ears. He addressed his master with deprecation, conscious of some- thing to tell that might not be very agreeable. "It is Mrs. Bede Greatorex, sir." "Who?" hurriedly exclaimed Mr. Greatorex. "Mr. Bede's widow, sir. She has arrived with a French maid and a cab full of boxes." No need to reiterate the news, for Mrs. Bede stood in view. Mr. Greatorex seized his servant by the coat like one in alarm, and gave a private order. "Keep the cab. Don't unload the boxes. Mrs. Bede Greatorex will not remain here." Mrs. Bede Greatorex, a widow of a month, was not less fashionable in appearance than when she was a wife. Rather more so of the two. Her dress of rich silk and crape was a model for the mode-books, her hair was wonder- ful to behold. A small hob of something white peeped out atop of the chignon; looking close it might be discovered to be an inch of quilled net: and its wearer called it a widow's cap with all the brass in life. She held out her hand to Mr. Greatorex, but he seemed not to see it. That his resentment against this woman was one of bitterness, could not be mistaken. Mrs. Bede did not appear to notice the coldness of the greeting. Brushing past Annabel, she cast a rather contemptuous look towards her, and said some slightiug words. "What! are you here again? I thought the house was rid of you." "This is my wife; Lady Yorke." spoke Ro- land, in as haughty a tone as it was possible for him to assume. "Don't forget it, if you please, Mrs. Bede Greatorex." She looked from one to the other of them. That Roland had succeeded to the family honors, she knew, but she had not heard of his marriage. The poor young governess she had put upon and made unhappy, Lady Yorke! A moment's pause: Mrs. Bede's manner changed as if by magic, and she kissed Annabel on both cheeks, French fashion. Nobody knew better than she on which side her bread was buttered. "Ah, dear me, it's fine to be you, Annabel! What changes since we last met. You a wife and I a widow." Mr. Greatorex took an impatient step forward, as if to speed her departure. She turned to him, speaking of her husband. "I think Bede might have got well if he would. I used to tell him so. The doctors made an examination afterwards, and found, as you have heard, that there was no specific dis- ease. He wasted away, wasted and wasted, it was like as though there were a consuming fire ever within him, burning him away to death." "My goodness!" cried Roland. "Poor Bede!" "It was most unsatisfactory: I never saw any- thing like it in my life before," tartly retorted Mrs. Bede, for her husband's death had not pleased her, and she resented it openly. Not for the loss or love of him, but for the loss of his means. "I think he might have got well had be struggled for it. If you'll believe me, only the day before he died, he went out in a carriage to the post office, that he might post a letter himself to Sir Thomas Kene." No one answered her or made any comment. "Is my old room ready for me?" Mr. Greatorex, to whom the question was more particularly put, motioned her towards the door, and moved thither himself. "I wish to speak with you in private for a minute, he said. "Pardon me, Sir Roland, I will be back directly." That Mrs. Bede Greatorex had come to take the house by storm, hoping thereby to resume her late footing in it, Mr. Greatorex knew just as well as she. His letter to her, delivered by George Winter, was unmistakeably plain; and he did wonder at the hardihood which had brought her hither, after its receipt. "You cannot have misunderstood my letter," he said to her, as they turned into the room that had once been her boudoir. "I must beg to refer you to it. This house can never shelter you again." "But it must," she answered. "Never again; never again." "At least, I must stay here for some days, until I can decide where my residence shall be," she persisted, her voice taking the unpleasant shriek that it always took in anger. "You can't deny me that." Mr. Greatorex raised his hand as if to waive off the argument and the words. "Philip shall see you to an hotel, if you feel incompetent to drive to one with your maid," he said, slightly sarcastic. "But under my roof —it once sheltered in happiness my poor son —you may not remain."
"I was your son's wife," she passionately said. "I will tell you what you were to him, if you wish. I don't press it." "Well ?" "His curse." "Thank you." "His curse before marriage; his curse after it." As he stood there, with his face of pain, speaking not in an angry tone, but one mourn- fully subdued, certain items connected with the past rose up to fill the mind of Mrs. Bede Greatorex. She was aware then that he knew all; she had some little shame left in her, and her very brow grew crimson. "I cannot imagine what you may have heard, or be suspecting," she said, falteringly. "The past is past. I did nothing very wrong: no- thing but what plenty of other girls do." "May God forgive you, Louisa Greatorex, as I know He has forgiven him." It was surging up in her mind like angry waves, that far gone-by time, one event replac- ing another. During her prolonged visit to this very house as Louisa Joliffe, she had suf- fered Bede to become passionately attached to her. Suffered?—it was she who drew him and drew him on. She engaged herself to him pri- vately—a solemn engagement—and Bede ac- ceded to her request that it should be kept secret for a time. She did not like Bede; she was playing an utterly false part; she coveted the good income and position that would be hers as his wife; but she rather disliked him. Her motive in demanding that their engagement should be concealed, was a hope that some offer more desirable might turn up. Oh that Bede had suspected it! He looked for her to be his wife as surely as he looked for Heaven. After her return home from her visit—and John Olli vera was sojourning at Helstonleigh, she played exactly the same game over with him, drawing him on to love her, and engaging herself to him in private. She liked him, but she did not like to have to wait an indefinite number of years, until the young barrister should find himself in a position to marry. Which of the two she would eventually have chosen, was a matter that must remain in uncertainty for ever; most likely (she acknowledged so herself) Bede and his wealth. Things went on smoothly enough, she corresponding ardently with both of them in secret, until the time of the March assizes— so often told of—and the fatal night when Bede Greatorex came down to Helstonleigh, on a mission to his cousin. The contretemps, the almost certainty of discovery, the very probable fear that she should lose both her lovers, nearly drove Louisa out of her senses. That some- thing in connection with it had passed between Bede and his cousin, she knew from Bede's manner that evening at her mother's; how much, she did not dare to ask. The following morning, when the news was brought to her that Mr. Ollivera had destroyed himself, she felt like a guilty woman. Whatever might have been the mystery of the death; whether he had really committed suicide, or whether Bede had shot him in the passion of his hot Spanish blood—and it was impossible but that she should have her latent doubts—she was the primary cause, and she knew it, and felt it. Had she gone and killed him herself she could not have felt it more. Sho became aware of another thing—that Bede Greatorox, searching amidst the effects of the dead on the following day, must have found her love-letters—more impassioned letters than she was wont to write to him. Bede did not visit her again during his stay at Helstonleigh, and she would not have dared to seek him. Some months later they met by accident in London: were thrown to- gether three or four times. Bede renewed his offer of marriage, and she accepted him at once; the doubt in her mind as to the part he might have taken in John Ollivera's death never hav- ing been solved. She conveniently ignored it, for the glowing prospect of an establishment was all in all. But what sort of a wife did she make him?—how much did Bede, in his chi- valric devotion, have to bear?—she alone knew; she knew it now as she stood there, and her at- tempt to carry it off with a high hand to Mr. Greatorex failed signally. If ever the true sense of her sin should be brought home by heaven to Louisa Greatorox, its weight, as con- nected with the treatment of her husband, would be well-nigh greater than she could bear. A curse to him before marriage: a curse to him after, Mr. Greatorex had well said it. "Am I to starve in future, that you won't give me a home?" she burst forth, driving other thoughts away from her. "What's two hundred a year? How am I to live?" "My recommendation to you was, that you should live in Boulogne: with or near your mother," Mr. Greatorex answered, calmly. "The two hundred pounds will be amply suffi- cient for that." "Two hundred pounds!" she retorted, rudely. "I shall spend that on my dress." "As you please, of course. It is the sum that will be paid you in quarterly instalments of fifty pounds, as long as I live. At my death, the half of it only would be secured to you. Should you marry again, the payments would altogether cease. All this I stated to you in my letter: I repeat it now. Not another shilling will you receive from me—in life or after death." She saw her future; saw it all laid out before her as on a map; and her face took a blank look, betraying mortification and despair. No more ravishing toilettes or French waiting-maids; no more costly dinner-givings, or magnificent kettle drums. Mrs. Bede and society must henceforth live tolerably far apart. The home she had so despised, this that she was now being turned from, would be a very palace compared to the lodgings in Boulogne. "To prolong this interview will not be pro- ductive of further result," spoke Mr. Greatorex, taking a step towards the door. "I must beg to remind you that friends are waiting for me." "And my clothes, that I left here? And the ornaments that were mine?" "Everything belonging to you has been packed ready for removal. The cases shall be all sent to whatever place you may name." She turned away without another word. Mr. Greatorex rung the bell. Outside, sitting underneath one of the white statues, near the small conservatory, was the French maid, in- wardly railing against the want of politeness of these miserable Anglishe. Trusty Philip had warned her that she need not go up higher. The cab drove away with them, and Mr. Greatorex returned to the dining-room with a relieved heart. "She is done with at last, thank heaven! Let us have tea together, Roland," he added, with a hearty smile. "Lady Yorke will take off her bonnet, and make it for us; as she did when she was my little friend Annabel Chan- ning." Copy of the Letter received by Judge Kene from Bede Greatorex: "As you know so much, Sir Thomas, I owe it to you and to myself to afford some further explanation. You have shown yourself a true friend: add to the obligation by imparting the details I now write to Henry William Ollivera. "When I was despatched to Helstonleigh on that fatal mission, I was engaged to be married to Louisa Jolille, and loved her passionately. The engagement had existed several months, but it was at her request kept a secret to ourselves. After delivering the message and business I was charged with to John, we sat on in his room talking of indifferent matters. I said that I should spend the evening at the Joliffes': John laughed a little, and said perhaps he should. One word led to another, and at last he told me, premising it must be in confidence, that he was engaged to Louisa. I thought he was joking; my answer annoyed him; and he went on to say things about Louisa's love for him, and their future marriage. That nearly drove me wild. What, I hardly know now. It seemed to me that he had treacherously stepped in to strive to take my bride from me, to win her for himself, my own little ewe-lamb. We recriminated on each other: she had deceived us both, but neither of us suspected it then; and we felt something like rival tiger-cats: at least, I know I did. Whenever my Spanish blood got up I was a madman—us you may remember, Kene, for you saw me once or twice in earlier days—I was nothing else that wicked evening. At some taunt of his, or it sounded like one to me, I took up the pistol that lay on the table under- neath my hand, and fired it at him. Before heaven, where I shall so soon stand, I declare that I had no deliberate intention of killing him. I did not know whether the pistol was loaded
or not. I do not even think I knew what I was doing, or that I had caught up the pistol; in my mad rage I was conscious of nothing. The shot killed him instantaneously, even in the midst of his cry. I cried out, too, with horror at what I had done; my passion faded, and I stood still as he was. Before I crossed the step or two to his succour, I saw that he was dead. How horribly I hre repented since that I did not fling open the door and call out for assist- ance, none save myself can know. Self-preser- vation lies instinctively within us all, and I sup- pose that stopped me. Oh, the false coward that I have since ever called myself!—the years of concealment and misery it would have saved! All I thought of then was to get away. A short while I listened, but no sound told that any one had been within earshot. I softly opened the door to escape, putting out my head first to reconnoitre, and—found myself nearly face to face with a man. He stood on the stairs in an attitude of listening, and our eyes met in the gas-light. I never forgot his: they seemed to shine out from a mass of black hair! those same eyes puzzled my memory for years. When the eyes of my subsequent clerk, Mr. Brown, had used to strike some unpleasant chord on my memory, but what I could not fathom, I never connected them with those other eyes: for Brown had put off his disguise then, and looked entirely another person. Ah, Kene! don't you see the obligation I lie under to this man, George Winter? Not at that moment did he know I had committed murder; but in a short period of time, as soon as the newspapers sup- plied details of the night's doings, he could but become aware of it. Had a doubt remained on his mind, when he entered our office and knew me for Bede Greatorex, the thing must have been made clear to him as daylight. To shield me he has remained under a cloud himself. I hope my father will reward him. Even when he was giving his evidence before you and the rest, he told a lie to save me. For he said when he saw the face at the door it was after the de- parture of Mr. Bede Greatorex. It was my face he saw, Kene: no other. All through these years he has watched my misery; and in his great compassion for what he knew my suf- fering must be, has been silently lightening life to me where he could. But to go back to the time. "I should think we gazed at each other for the space of half a minute—the man on the stairs and I. The fright of seeing some one there nearly paralysed me, and then I went in again and shut the door. It was perhaps the sight of him that caused me to attempt to throw the suspicion off myself; certainly I had not thought of it before. I put the pistol on the carpet, by the chair, as if it had fallen from John's right hand; and next, looking about on the table, I found the unfinished letter, and added the lines you know of. I seemed to be doing it in a dream; that it was not myself, but somebody else, and all in a hurry, for I grew afraid of stopping. Then it occurred to me to put out the lamp—I don't know why: and upon that I went out resolutely, for I did not like the dark. Such seemed to be against me. As I opened the door this second time, some young man (not the first) was passing by. In- stinct caused me to turn round and make be- lieve to be speaking to John. What words I said I should never have remembered, but for hearing the young man, Alfred Jones, repeat them at the coroner's inquest. They served me more than I thought; for Alfred Jones un- consciously took up the natural supposition that John was also speaking to me. This ver- sion went forth to the public, and it was as- sumed that what happened happened after my departure. There's no doubt that it was the chief element in throwing suspicion off me. He showed me out of the house, and thencefor- ward I had to act the part of an innocent man. I went to the "Star and Garter," and drank some brandy and water. I went thence to Mrs. Joliffe's. How I did it all, with that horrible thing upon me, I have never known. I said a few cautious words to Louisa, and by her an- swers I felt sure that John's boast had been (at least, in part) a vain one. As I returned up High-street, some tradesman was standing within his side-door. He did not know I saw him. Halting, I looked at John Ollivera's windows, just opposite, and said something to the effect that John must have gone to bed—all for the man to hear me. Just afterwards I met you, Kene—do you remember it? You were going to call on John; but I said he had gone to bed, and the people of the house too, I sup- posed, as there was no light to be seen. I shrunk from the discovery, and would fain have put it off forever. What a night that was for me! As I had stirred the tea at Mrs. Joliffe's, as I stirred the brandy and water at the hotel, John's face seemed to be in the liquor, staring at me. In the dark of the bed-room, after the candle had burnt out, I saw him in the chair, just as I had left him. I had not dared to ask for a night light, lest it might excite suspicion. How could I answer for it that the hotel would not get to learn I was not in the habit of burn ing one? "You know the rest; the discovery and the inquest. Did I act my part well, Kene? I suppose so, by the result. That day—the first —you were with me when we examined John's desk, it was advised that I should look over his letters for any clue that perhaps they might show to the motive of his self-inflicted death. The large bundle of letters, Kene, came, I found, from Louisa Joliffe, and poor John's was no vain boast: she had been all to him that she had professed to be to me, and a traitor to both. "Why did I marry her? you will naturally ask. Ah, why! why! Because my love for her fooled me into it: because, if you will, I was mad. When we met again, months afterwards, the passion that I thought I had killed within me rose up with tenfold force, and I yielded to it. To do so was not much less sinful (looking at it as I look now) than the other and greater crime. I saw it even as I stood with her be- fore the altar; I saw it afterwards clearer and clearer. But I loved her even in spite of my better judgment; I love her even yet: and I have striven to do my duty by her in all in dulgence, to shield her from the cares of the world. "And there's my life's history. Oh, Kene, if I have been more sinful than other men, my merciful God knows what my expiation has been! Can you even faintly picture it to your- self? From a few minutes after the breath went out of poor John's body, my punishment set in. It was only fear just at first; it was the bitterest remorse afterwards that ever made a wreck of mortal man. I am not a murderer by nature, and John and I were dear friends. My days have been one long, wearing penance: regret for him and his shortened life—dread of my crime's discovery—one or the other filling every moment; remorse and repentance—re- pentance and remorse; and that it has been so is owing to heaven's mercy. Not an hour of the day or night but I would gladly have given up my own life to restore his. After the first confused horror had passed, I should have de- clared the truth at the time but for my mother's sake. In her state of health it would have killed her. When she died, the time had gone by for it, and I had my father and my wife to consider still, and remained perforce silent. My father has thought my bodily health failed. In one sense, so it did; for I have been wast- ing away from the first, dying slowly, inch by inch. "And that's all, Kene. When you shall have heard news of my death—it will be with you very close upon this letter—disclose the whole to Henry William Ollivera. With re- gard to my father, I leave the matter to you. lf he in the slightest degree suspects me—and I can but think he must, after Winter's con- fession, and from the easy acquiescence he gave to my coming on the continent for an indefinite period—then tell him the whole. Heaven bless you all, and grant you the peace that can spring alone of Jesus Christ's atonement! I have dared to think it mine for some little time now. "BEDE GREATOREX." When the tidings of Bede's death reached him, Mr Thomas Kene went out to seek an interview with Mr. Ollivera. The clergyman read the letter, and bent his head in prolonged silence. "After all, I suppose John's grave will have to remain undisturbed," spoke the Judge. "Winter cleared his memory." "Yes; better so perhaps," was the slow, thoughtful reply. "If I had never before been thaukful that I read the burial service over him, I should be so now. You see I was right, Kene. God be merciful to us all; for we are miserable sinners!" [THE END.]