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me into the estate"
years, and can afford a little loss. They take the As he went out he passed, in the door, Miss risk and share the profits. I don't grumble, why Hamblin. He took off his hat as she passed up should they?”
the stairs to her uncle's chambers. Her face was He sat down and hurled this question at Ste- pale and anxious. phen as if he was personally concerned in the “Ah," thought Jack, “she has found out by success of the Bank.
this time, and she's going to make things square “I knew there would be a smash some day,” with her uncle. Well, she'll find him in good he went on; "at least, I thought there might be. temper. And now I think she'll begin to be I went for big things, and they came off one after sorry that she didn't have me! Laughed at me, the other, beautiful; and for bigger, and they by Gad!” came off; and then I went for the very biggest He turned as he passed through the door, to thing possible, and it hasn't come off. Very look once more at the tall and graceful figure of well, then. You can let me have that thousand the most splendid girl he had ever known. back, Hamblin, can you?”
Alison mounted the stairs, and found herself “You remember, Jack, the conditions on for the first time knocking at Stephen Hamblin's which it was borrowed ?".
door. “Hang the conditions !"
He had lit a cigar, and was making a few cal“ By no means. You were to have three culations in pencil, when she opened the door and thousand when I came into the estate. Very timidly stole in. good; I have come into the estate."
He put down the cigar, and rose with sur“Nonsense!” This was something like news. prise, and a feeling of pain and shame, Before
"It has been ascertained that my brother him, with crossed hands and down-dropped eyes, never married. Do not ask me any questions, stood-his daughter. because the rest is family business. My brother “You here, Alison, of all places in the world? never married, as I always told you. There- I thought at least I should have been spared this.” fore—"
"I have just now learned the truth," she “Therefore, the three thousand are mine," said, with trembling voice; “my cousin Auguscried Jack with great delight, clapping Stephen tus told me—what you know—what they have on the shoulder. “When shall you be ready to found out.” part ?"
“Did they invite you to come here and see “That I can not say. But I suppose there me?" will be no further opposition to my raising money “No; I thought you would like to see me, on the estate. Meantime, my dear boy, I can and say something—if only that you may forgive not let you have your original thousand back, me for the hard things I have said and thought because it is all spent." Stephen looked quite about you." youthful and expansive as he uttered this genial “Oh, come, Alison !” cried the man, impastring of falsehoods. “However, as I suppose a tiently, “we do not want sentiment, you and I. little ready money would be handy just now—" Be reasonable. You don't suppose I jump for " It would,” said Jack; “lend me what you joy because you are my daughter. You don't
suppose that I expect you to fly into my arms "I will give you," replied Stephen, taking his because they say I am your father. Don't let us check-book, "seventy-five. That will be some- be fools.” thing for you to go on with. Another hundred, The tears came into the girl's eyes. She had if you want it, in a week or two. You can de- been a fool; she had deluded herself into the pend upon me, my dear fellow. Stephen Ham- belief, as she drove into town, that he would be blin never forgets a friend.”
touched by the discovery; she thought they would They shook hands warmly. That was the exchange words of regret and reconciliation ; she sort of sentiment which went home to the heart looked for some words of endearment; and this of Jack.
was the way in which she was met. “No more," he said, “ does J. Double B., “Sit down, then, and talk. But don't begin especially," pocketing the check, “ when he's got to cry, and don't talk sentiment. First of all, some of the ready to remember him by." what did Augustus tell you ?".
Fully satisfied with the advance, and the “That you are my father, and that you did assurance of further help, Jack took his leave. not know that you had a child at all.” After all, he had done pretty well with his ven- "Good—that is true. What else did he tell ture. Three thousand to come in after he had you?" made his composition with creditors was not a “Nothing else-yes : he said that you had bad sum to begin again upon. And he always renounced your claim to the estate and were gohad his reputation for luck to fall back upon. ing away. I came to ask you"
“He did not tell you why?" Stephen inter- that she was to blame. Let all the blame, if there rupted.
is any, fall on me. Some, perhaps, on my broth“ No."
er, but not much. No doubt, poor Anthony acted “Since he did not, I shall not,” he said, with for the best, and persuaded himself that the wisest the air of a man who had been doing good by thing for you was to bring you up in ignorance of stealth. “Sufficient that it is so. I am going to your parentage ; later on, he became fond of you, travel, and to forget in travel, if possible, all the and grew more unwilling still to part with you. annoyances I have had in this business. I hard- So he invented the fiction of your being his daughly blame you, Alison. It would be absurd to ter. It was clever of him, but it has led us all blame you, altogether, for the attitude you as- into strange paths. Things would have been sumed. When I became quite certain that my different with me, and with you, too, if we had brother had never married, I resolved to befriend known all along what we were to each other." you. I made two distinct offers to you, which “And now," asked Alison, “ can there never you refused with scorn and contumely. You re- be anything between us but formal friendship?" member that—I do not, I say, reproach you ; that “Never,” said Stephen, shaking his head and is all over. Now that I learn the truth, I recog- putting his hands into his pockets, as if he was nize the fact that my brother desired that you afraid that his daughter might offer to fondle should never find it out, and that he wished you them. “Never. Do not let us pretend to try. to inherit his property. Therefore, I retire." Why, we could not begin ail at once to bill and
This was very grand, and Alison was greatly coo to each other. I could never endure, for inaffected.
stance, such endearments as you used to lavish “But it is all yours," she said.
on your supposed father.” “ It is all mine, until I have signed a deed of “No,” said Alison, sadly, " that would be imtransfer—to you,” he replied, waving his hand as possible. But kindness of thought—" one who confers a kingdom.
“Rubbish, Alison! You will marry some She could not reply.
day, I suppose—" “I will tell you more,” her father went on. “I am going to marry Gilbert Yorke.” “I believe the reason why my brother kept this “Ah!" He started. Gilbert Yorke was the thing a secret was, that I married the girl with young man who had been present at the family whom he was in love. He spoke to her sister, council. “Ah! you will marry him! That Miss Nethersole, about her: I, meantime, spoke makes it doubly impossible for us ever to be to the young lady herself. As Miss Nethersole friends. You are going to marry a man-well, refused to listen to the match proposed by the never mind. No more sentiment, Alison. You elder brother, on some religious ground, I be- have got a father, and I have got a daughter. It lieve, the younger brother thought it was no use is a relationship which begins to-day. Let it end for him to try that way. So he persuaded the to-day." girl into a secret marriage, and the day after they I t was harsh, but Alison, somehow, felt a little were married they eloped.
relieved. She would have liked a few words of “Well"-he went on, carefully folding up the sympathy, of hope, of kindness. She could not “ Journal of a Deserted Wife," and putting it into contemplate without a shudder the simple operahis breast-pocket, to prevent the chance of her tion of kissing her “uncle,” Stephen the Black. seeing it—" we were not suited to each other. And she was humiliated to find that one whom Put it, if you please, that I was too young to be she had always regarded as the Awful Example married—that I have never been what is called a was actually her father. marrying man: we were unhappy together. I “By the way,” he went on pleasantly, “I said that it would be well to part for a time: I think I have got one or two things here which left her—it was by her own wish and choice—at you might like to have." He opened a desk and the seaside: you were born: she told me nothing began to rummage among the papers. “I know about it: she fell ill : she wrote to my brother that Anthony sent the things to me when Dora when she became worse : she died : he told me died. I put them away, and I haven't looked at of the death, but not of the birth: I forgot all them since. Ah! here they are." about my marriage: it was just exactly as if I He handed to Alison a small packet containhad never been married at all."
ing a portrait of a sweet-faced girl, with light This was a rendering of the history which hair and blue eyes, very different from her own; had, somehow, a false ring about it; it was too and another containing one or two books of desmooth and specious. But Alison tried to be- votion: this was all that remained of Dora Hamlieve it.
blin. “Mind," he said, “I do not attach any blame "Now go, Alison," said Stephen. “You may to my wife; I should be unwilling for you to think cry over them at home if you like. Good-by. You will not see me again for a very long time H e rapidly reviewed the arguments for im-perhaps never."
mediate action, and then, resolved to lose no time, Alison took them tearfully.
he slipped cautiously out of the room, passed with "Now go, Alison," repeated Stephen, in his noiseless step by the doors of the two partners, harshest voice—"go, I say; cry over them at and ran down the broad staircase. home as much as you please. Have you any in the doorway he found Gilbert Yorke, who thing more to tell me?".
was waiting for a cab to take him to Clapham. “No," she replied. “Stay, I have a message “Well?" asked young Nick, with his usual from my aunt Rachel."
twinkle, “have you found anything? Have you “From Rachel Nethersole?" Stephen became got the marriage ?" suddenly and deeply interested. “She is with Gilbert laughed, and nodded. you, is she? She knows? What does that ex- “You shall hear all about it,” he said, “ in cellent lady say? What did she tell you ?" good time.”
“When I told her what I had learned, she “Ah!” replied the boy, “now you think cried, and said that she wanted nothing now but you've been mighty deep, I suppose. Mark my to ask pardon of my father-I mean, your brother. words, Gilbert Yorke. You'll own, before long, When I said I was coming here, she kissed me, that there's one who has been deeper. Where and bade me tell you that for my sake she would are you going now?" forgive you all. *All,' she told me to say.”
“I am going to Clapham, to tell Alison some“Did she?" cried Stephen, as a new light thing." came into his eyes. “Did she? She will for- "Oh, very good. Yes; your exertions have give all, will she? A brave old girl. That is been creditable, I'm sure. But my turn will come right-and-and--Alison, I think I shall recon- later on, and then, if you find your nose out of sider that question of the transfer.” He looked joint, don't say I did not warn you." his daughter in the face with a sudden change of Gilbert laughed again. manner which startled and terrified her. “Per- “What did I say once?" the boy went on, haps it will be best to arrange things differently. folding his arms, and leaning against the doorI shall see. I shall think things over. Go now.” post; “Just when you think everything is cleared
He almost pushed her out of his room. up, you turn to me and I will astonish you.' That
Then, left quite alone, he gave way to every is what I said. Now, is everything cleared up?" external sign of joy. These signs were undigni- “It is. I can tell you so much. Alison will fied, and we therefore pass them over.
learn all from me in half an hour. This evening “I've done them again !” he cried. “By there is going to be a sort of family council at Gad! I've done them again! And I shall have the House." the handling, all to myself, of the whole big pile.” “Ah! Please tell the partners, with my com
pliments-Mr. Nicolas Cridland's compliments
that, if they think everything is cleared up, they CHAPTER XXXV.
are mightily mistaken. And as for Alison, remind her that the writing-master leads a happy
life. Now don't botch that message, young man. HOW YOUNG NICK FETCHED THE WRITING
Give it her in full, just as I have told you." He MASTER.
began to look positively demoniac, dancing on The boy remained behind the screen, as we the pavement, and twinkling with his pink eyes have seen, until the footsteps in the passage were under his white eyebrows. “Oh, ah! Yes; all silent. Then he emerged from his hiding-place. cleared up. Ha! ha! ho! ho! what a jolly game His face was scared, though his movements, as it will be, to be sure !” we have seen, indicated joy. The occasion had Gilbert began to think young Nick was off come, then, at last. This was the day, the very his head. There could be nothing more to know. day, for which he had so longed—the day of “I'm the man in the play who turns up at greatness. On no other occasion could Anthony the last moment, and pardons the conspirator Hamblin be so dramatically, so usefully restored for love of the lady he wants to marry. I'm the to his own people; in no other way could the man who comes home with a pocket full of discomfiture of Stephen be so complete. He had money, and pays off the wicked lawyer. I'm been proved to be a forger ; that would be a blow the man who draws aside the curtain with a to Alison, should the fact be told her: by An- 'Houp-la! Hooray! There-you-are-and-who'dthony's intervention the thing might be hidden. a-thought-it?'". He was to be the heir to the whole estate ; he Then the cab came up. was to go away on a large annuity: very good, “If you want to see larks—if you want to be he would have to go on nothing.
taken aback as you never were so taken aback in
all your born days before—if you want to see ME “ I've been waiting for you all the afternoon,' in the proudest moment of my life-you turn up he cried, reproachfully. “Where have you been at the house to-night about nine o'clock or there- idling about ?" abouts. Oh! and if you are going there now, “ I've been keeping punishment school," you may tell the old lady that I've got important said Anthony humbly; “my turn comes once a business in the City, and shall not come home to month." tea—that's all. Tata!"
"O Lord !" the boy ejaculated, with infinite He pulled his hat farther over his forehead disgust ; " he's been keeping punishment school, and strode out of Great Saint Simon Apostle while I've been looking for him. However, with as much noise and importance as boots at you've come at last—sit down. Have you had fourteen can produce. When he got to the end your tea?" of Carmel Friars, he turned to see if by any “I've had some tea and bread and butter chance Gilbert was following him. He was not. with the boys," replied his uncle.
Then he pursued his way as rapidly as possi- “Well ! you shall have some champagne and ble down Gracechurch Street, Eastcheap, to Tow- grilled chicken for your supper," the boy told er Hill, past the entrance to the docks, through him encouragingly. “A spread eagle and chamCable Street to Jubilee Road, where he knocked pagne for supper you shall have, or I'll know the at the door of the house in whose window was reason why." the advertisement of Mr. Hampton, Writing- “What on earth do you mean?". master.
“Exactly what I say. The game's finished ; · Mr. Hampton was not in. He would return, it is all found out, and you may put on your hat perhaps, at five or so, but the woman could not tell. and come home with me as soon as ever you
This was extremely annoying, because, all like.” the way along, Nicolas had been arranging in his “All found out ? " own head a little drama between himself and “Part ferreted out, part made out. Gilbert Anthony. He was to assume the Grand Style Yorke had a lot of things told him by Miss Nethwhich Mr. Matthew Arnold so much admires; ersole, and fished up the rest. He's not a bad he was to be calmly, impressively judicial : he sort, that young man, if he didn't fancy himself was not to argue, but to command. And An- too much. I suppose I ought not to grumble thony was not to argue either, but to obey the because he's cut me out with Alison. What a superior will of the boy. Young Nick possessed donkey you've been, Uncle Anthony, to be sure ! a lively imagination, and really worked up a very What a donkey! Fancy wanting to screen Unfine scene, something on the lines of a well-known cle Stephen! You see I know the whole storysituation in " Athalie," which he had been read- forged receipts, runaway marriage-all. So don't ing lately at school.
pretend any more. WHAT A DONKEY!” All this was completely spoiled, because the “ It was for Alison's sake," pleaded the dondrama was incomplete without two performers, key. “I wanted to save her.” and one of them was away.
“And the end of it is, that you haven't saved Nicolas haunted the hot street all the after- her. She knows who her father is by this time, noon, growing every moment more impatient, and might just as well have known before. A and continually losing more of the Grand Style, pretty father for a young woman who respects till at last there was none of it left at all. the fifth commandment !” He looked at his
At five o'clock the writing-master had not watch. “A quarter-past eight,” he said ; “plenreturned. Then the boy went to the coffee-house ty of time. I told him about nine o'clock." where he had first made his wonderful discovery, “You told whom?" and ordered tea, with shrimps and watercresses. “Gilbert Yorke. Told him to look out for He had great joy in the independence of this games of a most surprising kind at nine o'clock. meal, but he was anxious to bring off his grand Now, just you listen, and don't say a word till I coup, and could not linger. After it he went tell you to speak." If it was not the Grand Style, again to the house, and, being tired of walking it was the Cocky style, which has been overup and down on the shady side of the pavement, looked by critics, and is yet sometimes extremely asked permission to wait in Mr. Hampton's room. effective. “All you've got to do is to listen to
He sat down in Anthony's arm-chair, and me, and behave accordingly. Sit down.” presently, being tired, went fast asleep. When The writing-master humbly took a chair. By he awoke it was nearly eight o'clock, and already this time he had got disreputably shabby, and it in the badly-lighted room it was growing dark. was not so dark but that the condition of his Before him stood his uncle.
boots was apparent, though the shininess of his Young Nick sprang to his feet, and clutched coat-sleeves was partly hidden. The heels had him by the arm.
long been down. Now they were gone at the toes, and chinks in the leather revealed on either They'd found out where Alison's mother was foot a patch of white.
buried, and taken her to see the grave. That “ You don't look as if your salary was paid was why she was crying. The reason why she regularly " said the boy sternly, pointing to the laughed was because Gilbert Yorke had begun boots.
the kissing all over again. However, as Alison “It's such a very small salary," replied the wouldn't wait for me, I can't object. There's a poor man ; "and eating costs such a lot. One mighty lot of kissing going on now, down at the must eat, you know. It is not altogether the House. The old lady and Alison are at it all profession one would choose for a son, that of the morning, with a—'Oh, my dear! how glad writing-master in a private academy."
I am!' and 'O auntie ! how happy I am!' “No,” said Nicolas, with severity ; “it cer- And in the afternoon it's Aunt Rachel's turn; I tainly is not. However, you can get your hat, shouldn't care much about kissing Aunt Rachel and come away to Clapham with me, because myself, but girls will kiss anything." that fooling is all over."
“Aunt Rachel?” “Nonsense!” said Mr. Hampton ; "what Anthony Hamblin began to feel in a dream. should I do that for? Clapham ? I never heard “Why, of course, Miss Nethersole. It's of that place. All that to me is gone and for- raining uncles and aunts. Do be quiet, and gotten. I am nothing now but a half-starved don't interrupt ; time's getting very short." The usher, and I shall never be anything else.” boy considered a minute—“Oh! about the kiss
"And Alison, is she forgotten too? What ing. Aunt Rachel meets Alison and takes her you did for her sake, Uncle Anthony, five months hand gingerly, as if she was something that ago, you will have to undo for her sake." must be handled, for fear of breaking, like a “ Boy! tell me what has happened !"
Richmond maid-of-honor. My niece,' she says Young Nick laughed. He was entire master - that's all-and kisses her on the forehead. In of the whole situation. It belonged to him. He the evening Gilbert arrives, and Alison and he held the strings of Destiny. He was the Deus go into the garden and kiss each other in the ex machind whose functions he had that very conservatories. I know where I can stand and morning, with contempt for the mercantile use- see them, and they don't know. Then they lessness of Latin, painfully construed.
come back and pretend they haven't had their He looked at his watch again.
arms round each other. And to think of the “We've got a few minutes to spare." Then way that girl used to pound away about truth he began his narrative, of which he delivered and fibs, when I was a boy!" himself slowly and with importance, reflecting “I suppose," said Anthony, presently, “that that this would certainly be regarded ever after we shall get something coherent in time.” as the greatest day of his life, and desirous of “It's coming,” replied Nick ; " where shall I leaving nothing to regret in its history, no short- begin? After the Bournemouth expedition, letcoming, no failure, no lack of power to rise to ters and telegrams came thick from Gilbert, and the dignity of the situation.
Alison carried on in a most agitating way. Meals “ It began last week, when Alison took Mrs. went anyhow. Several times I had to order the Duncombe”
pudding myself. We knew she'd got a new “Mrs. Duncombe?”.
aunt, and we made as much fuss over her as if “Oh, yes ! she's been staying with us since we it was a new baby. found her out. But she was no good, and knew “Very good. Gilbert came back, and there nothing; you took care of that. Your craft and was a tremendous talking. It was then that subtlety about that baby, Uncle Anthony, aston- kissing set in with such vigor. And one evening ished every one. Nobody more than myself, I I heard him tell Alison that he had kept back must own, though perhaps į ought to know the part of the story, and would tell her afterward. world by this time.
He has told her, I suppose, by this time, for I " However,” he went on, after a little pause, left him on his way to Clapham Common-in a during which he shook his head in a modest de- hansom cab, if you please! I've got to travel on preciation of himself, “that is nothing. Alison the knife-board. The day after, he came back; and Mrs. Duncombe went off to Bournemouth. it was in the evening. Alison was playing, and Of course, Gilbert Yorke went with them. I Gilbert was sitting by her whispering soft things was not invited to go, so I staid at home and in her ear: my mother was asleep : I was begintook care of the old lady. We had Normandy ning one of those exercises : The letters which I pippins. Of course I suspected that something have received. The letters which my cousin was up, and when Alison came back, two days (feminine) says she has burned '—you knowlater, crying and laughing both together, I was when the door opened, and a lady appeared. quite certain. Well, I listened, and I made out. She just marched in, without being announced.