תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

carefully indexed. He turned over the leaves, “Certainly: that the forger was Anthony found what he wanted, and laid it before his Hamblin.” She nodded, and set her thin lips partner, and one of Miss Nethersole's receipts firm. beside it, without saying a word.

“As you please. I think my partner agrees William looked, compared, nodded.

with me that we ought to buy back these reAugustus returned the receipt.

ceipts.” “ Thank you, Miss Nethersole,” he said ; “we “At compound interest,” said the lady. are satisfied that your statement is correct. The “At compound interest. We are ready to papers are forged."

buy them of you to prevent a scandal. We can “ Anthony Hamblin was the forger.”

not allow our late partner and cousin to be ac“Pardon me; that is quite another affair. cused or suspected of such a crime. Besides, How are you going to prove that?”

there are others to consider. We will buy these How am I going to prove that?” She sat papers of you, Miss Nethersole." bolt upright and stared him full in the face. “Did “Thank you,” she said. “Of course the I not pay the money?'

money will be useful to me. It is a large sum to “ Doubtless it was paid for you—but who re- lose. At the same time, if I give up the papers, ceived it ?"

I give up the proofs of that man's abominable “Who should, except Anthony Hamblin him- perfidy and wickedness.” self?

“Not at all," Augustus replied. “These pa“ But you forget, or perhaps you do not know, pers are not proofs at all. You would find it as that Anthony Hamblin at that time was in the impossible to prove that it was he who drew the enjoyment of at least twenty thousand pounds a money as that it was he who forged the signayear."

tures." Rachel Nethersole was staggered.

She was silent, but not convinced. She rose, “Twenty thousand pounds a year? and he and put the papers back into her bag. refused my sister more than two pounds a week! “I will not sell them, then,” she said. “I And when I saw him last, and taxed him with will keep them. You would not want to buy the crime, he did not deny it. I went to Clapham them unless it was to screen your late partner. on purpose to see him; it was the day before he You are deceiving me; I shall keep them. And was drowned. I showed him these papers. I I shall bide my time." informed him that my purpose was to prosecute “We are not deceiving you, Miss Nethersole. him criminally. He did not, he could not, deny Remember, however, that our offer is always his guilt; he had not the impudence to deny it, open. We will buy the papers whenever you though he tried to brazen it out.”

please to sell them.” “He did not deny it?”

“Then I will go," she said, “ as I came. At “No; on the contrary, he implored me to least, you know the truth." pause. He said that consequences, of which I “One moment,” said Augustus. “We may knew nothing, but which I should regret all my wish to correspond with you. Your address is on life, would follow if I persevered. I left him un- this card-Olivet Lodge, Newbury. That will repentant, yet troubled. In this awful attitude always find you? Thank you. It occurs to me of convicted guilt he was called away the next -perhaps a foolish doubt-that, while you were day.”

not informed of your sister's place of marriage, “This is the most extraordinary statement I you were wrongly informed of her death." ever heard,” said Augustus. “We do not disbe- “No," said Miss Nethersole. “ There, at lieve you, Miss Nethersole, but we are convinced least, I am on firm ground. Because I have seen that you are mistaken. Anthony Hamblin could her grave. She is buried in Bournemouth cemenot have acknowledged his guilt.”

tery. At her head is a cross with her initials, “He did not say, in so many words, ‘I did ‘D. H.,' and the date of her escape from the forge those signatures,' it is true," said Miss Neth- tyranny and neglect of a SEDUCER, a LIAR, a ersole; “but he acknowledged that he had done FORGER, and a THIEF!" it by implication. What did he mean by saying She shook all over with the vehemence of her that I did not understand the consequences which wrath. Then she gathered up her bag and would follow ?”

her umbrella, laid over her arm the black “I do not know," said Augustus. “Come, shawl which completed her costume, and which Miss Nethersole, you have clearly been defrauded she always carried as if she were a waiter of this money. It matters nothing now whether and the shawl a napkin, and went away withthis dead man did the thing or not. We feel out a word of adieu, slamming the door after certain that he did not. You will keep your own her. conclusions."

“What a woman!” cried Augustus, with a liam.

sigh of relief.—“And now, William, what are “Use your own judgment there as well,” he we to make of it?”.

said at length; “but she is to tell no one, not “No doubt about the handwriting," said Wil- even Mrs. Cridland.”

This permission granted, Gilbert hastened to Clapham Common with his news. Here, indeed,

was a clew. Let Mr. Theodore Bragge follow CHAPTER XXVI.

up his clews; let Alderney Codd run down one HOW ALISON REMEMBERED A MANUSCRIPT.

Hamblin after another; he had the name of the

wife; he knew where she was buried. Alison's RACHEL NETHERSOLE was gone, and the mother was found. partners, left alone, held long and serious counsel. He found her in the garden among the flowIt seemed best, on the whole, to send for Gilbert ers. It was a quiet morning in very early June. Yorke and tell him everything, except one thing. The lilacs and laburnums were still in full bloswhich the cousins kept to themselves, the secret som; the earlier and old-fashioned flowers—the of the handwriting. Mr. Theodore Bragge was wallflowers, London pride, polyanthus, columbine busy“ following up a clew" of his own. In fact, were in their first pride and glory; the turf he was at the moment exchanging ideas on cur- was crisp and fresh. The garden was quiet, rent politics with a friend in a Fleet Street tav- young Nick having not yet returned from school, ern. Alderney Codd, the most diligent of work. Not far off a man was sharpening something on ers, was hunting down strange Hamblins, no re- a wheel, and the monotonous sound made one lations at all, into queer dens and cribs, where think of the roadside and the country. Overthey generally assailed him with demands of head larks sang; in the trees there was a blackbacksheesh. Gilbert Yorke was the most trust- bird, a thrush, and a chiff-chaff, besides all sorts worthy agent, and they sent for him and told of other songsters-a whole choir of songsters, him all that they had learned from Miss Nether- as Addison would have called them. sole.

“You here, and so early, Gilbert ?" Alison “What we have actually learned,” said Au- cried, as her lover sprang across the lawn to greet gustus, “is the name of Anthony's wife, the her. statement made by her of an actual marriage, “Yes, Alison; I have news for you-good the place where she lived, and the place and date news, my dear—the best news—the news you of her death. It will be your duty to visit these have long wanted to hear." places, to find out anything that can be learned “Gilbert!”-she clutched his arm with her further, and if possible to ascertain the place of two hands; her cheek was very pale, but her lips marriage, whether under a false name or not. were firm—" you know what I want most. Is it Should you like Alderney Codd to go with you, -is it that?or instead of you?”

“ It is, Alison. Courage, dear; we have but The young man blushed ingenuously. Should one step to take, and all will be cleared up. he surrender to Alderney Codd any portion of Meantime, we are certain-mind, we are certain the glory and pride of recovering Alison's name? -for we have found your mother."

“There is another thing. Miss Nethersole “My mother,” she murmured, with a strange does not seem to know that there was any issue smile; "what does not that mean to most girls ? of the marriage. You may call upon her, after But to me it means more for it means my fayour investigations, and tell her of the child, of ther, too." Alison. You will find her bitter against the “We know,” said Gilbert, “ that he was marmemory of Anthony, and she will show you some ried; we have his wife's statement to that effect, receipts. I think that Yorke should know about the day after they eloped. Yes—one reason why the receipts?" He turned to his partner, who your father wished to keep the marriage secret nodded." She gave her sister a sum of a hun- was, I suppose, because it was a runaway mardred and fifty pounds a year; the sister died two riage ; and why it was runaway I can not tell years after marriage; the money was drawn for you. I am going to-day to visit your mother's eight years."

grave." " But not by Mr. Hamblin.”

“My mother's grave," she repeated, her dark “Certainly not,” Augustus replied with deci- eyes filling with tears; " where is it, Gilbert ? sion—“certainly not. The receipts are forgeries, Surely I may go along with you.” but the forging is not his; of that you may, if Why should she not? But it was at Bourneyou please—but use your own judgment in the mouth. matter-assure Miss Nethersole.”

“Mrs. Duncombe will come with me,” Alison “I may tell Alison ?".

went on. “I can be ready in half an hour. Let Augustus Hamblin hesitated.

me go with you, Gilbert.”

Her preparations took her less than half an she had given him. I took it, and laid it in my hour, and they had time to talk before they start- own desk, and I forgot all about it till this moed for the train.

ment. Wait ! it may tell us all that we want to “Are you happier, dear Alison ?" asked Gil- know." bert.

She ran up stairs, and opened her desk, which “Yes,” she said ; “at least I feel as if I am was full of the little things accumulated by the going to be happier. My faith has been sorely girl in her progress through life : photographs of tried, at times, Gilbert. The sky has been dark, her friends, mementos of the places she had visindeed. I have had sometimes to school myself ited, the elementary jewels of her childhood, the not to think of him as dishonored, and yet I silver crosses and little golden lockets given her have never been able to think of him as dead. It by her father. Lying on the top of all these always seems as if one day-some day—the old things there was the manuscript. As she took familiar step will be heard in the hall, and I shall it out, her finger caught in a string, and drew be in his arms again." Her eyes filled again out with the paper a little red coral necklace. It with the tears that were now so ready to spring. was the one thing which connected her with

“ And you know, Alison, what this discovery babyhood, the one ornament which Mrs. Dunmeans to me?"

combe had found upon her neck when Mr. Ham“Hush, Gilbert! I know,” she said, with her blin brought her, a child of two years old, to sweet, grave way. “I know, but I must not Brighton. The necklace, too, was old, and some think of those things now. I have to restore my of the beads were broken. It could not have father's name, to show my cousins, those who been bought for her, a baby. She carried down would persuade me to make a compromise, that stairs both manuscript and coral. he was no hypocrite, skulking behind a fair repu- “Here is the manuscript,” she said. “It is tation. That is what I must think about for the marked Private,' but you may read it. And present—that, and the memory of my unknown see—here is the one thing which I have received mother."

from my mother. You may take it, to show my “She is known now," said Gilbert. “Your aunt-Miss Nethersole.” mother is known; you shall stand beside her Gilbert took both and placed them in his grave; you shall see her sister."

pocket. “Who is her sister?” asked Alison, with “If these are secrets,” he said, “they shall be sudden interest. A dead mother whom she safely kept by me. There can be nothing of could not remember was like some pale and sor- which your father has cause to be ashamed." rowful shade of the past, to be contemplated He spoke stoutly, but he had misgivings. with pity, but yet without suffering; but a moth- What was the meaning of this sudden melaner's sister-that was tangible ; that was something choly, caused by a simple visit from his dead to bring home to her the reality of a mother. wife's sister? And what were the contents of Perhaps, as she was now, so her mother might the paper headed “Private and confidential" ? have been, in the old time. “Who is her sis- Whatever they were, he put them away for ter?” she asked.

the present. They could wait. Meanwhile he “Her name is Miss Rachel Nethersole," said was going to travel with Alison ; to sit beside he. “What is the matter, Alison ?”

her for three short hours, to see her for the first For the girl started to her feet with a cry. time since the day of disaster bright and ani

“Rachel Nethersole!" she repeated, “Olivet mated, to find great joy for himself, in the fact Lodge? She is the lady who called the night that it was himself who had been the messenger before—it happened—while we were all singing. of glad tidings. Gilbert was only five-and-twenty Do you remember, Gilbert ? Ah! no. You or so, he was in love, and since the fatal 4th would not have noticed it. They brought a card of January, there had been no passages of love to him, which he dropped when he went out to possible, only protestations on the maiden's part see her. I picked it up, and gave it to him after- that, unless she could bring her lover an unsullied ward. Her visit troubled him. He said she re- name, she would never come to him at all. These vived old and painful memories—they must have protestations did not present love in its most been those of his married life and early loss. No cheerful and most favorable aspect. wonder he was sad next morning, and strange in Mrs. Duncombe was good enough to drop his manner."

off into a comfortable and easy sleep in her own "Only the night before ?” asked Gilbert. corner. She was a lady who “did ” with a good “ And she has never been here since ?

deal of sleep; the rumble of the carriage soothed “ Never; but I remember-O Gilbert, how her; and there was a young man with her young foolish I have been !-that when my father went lady to take good care of her. away he left a manuscript on the table, which He did ; he took such good care of her that

he held her by the hand the whole way; he never ing 'maidens to look for the tree of life in that lost sight of her face for a moment, and he had garden, and to breathe those airs. They do not so much to say that long before he came to the find that tree, but the air revives them for a end of his confidences the train had left South- while, and they linger on a little longer, and have ampton far behind, and was running through the time to lie in the sunshine and see the flowers green glades of the New Forest ; past the hoary come again before they die. This is the city of oaks and stretches of coarse grass where the Youth and Death. Every house amid these pines ponies find a rude and rough pasture; past rural is sacred to the memory of some long agony, stations planted lonely among the coppice; past some bitter wrench of parting, some ruthless the wild hills and barren heaths of Ringwood; trampling down of hope and joy. From every past the stately minster of Christ Church, and house has been poured the gloomy pageant of gliding softly into the station of Bournemouth. death, with mourners who followed the bier of

“It has been such a short journey!” said Gil- the widow's only son, the father's cherished bert, sighing.

daughter. Alison laughed happily. It was delicious to Then that great genius who laid out the garhear her laugh again; her spirits had come back den said: “They come here to die: let us make to her: away from the old house, so full of sad death beautiful.” And they did so. They built associations, so troubled with fears, it was possi- a church upon a hill; they left the pines to stand ble to remember that one was young, that there as cypresses; they ran winding walks and plantwas still sunshine in the world, and that one had ed flowering shrubs; they put up marble crosses a lover. Moreover, the cloud which had so long on the graves of the youthful dead; they brought hung over her soul had lifted; her self-abase- flowers of every season, and all sorts of trees ment and shame were gone, because she had which are sweet and graceful to look upon; they found her mother, even though she found her dead. refused to have any rude and vulgar monuments;

She waited at the hotel while Gilbert went to they would have nothing but white-marble crossmake search for the first thing, the grave of Dora es. Some stand in rows all together on an open Hamblin. Presently, he came back with a grave, slope, bounded and sheltered by the whispering set face, very different from that with which he pines with saffron-colored cones; some stand had looked in her eyes all the way from Water- each in its own little oblong, surrounded by loo Station.

plants and trees, shaded and guarded for ever. “I have found it, Alison," he said. “Come, They bear the names of those who lie beneath ; a surprise awaits you!”

they are all of young men and girls: one is She walked with him, trembling. What was twenty - four, one is eighteen, one is twenty. the surprise ?

Here and there you find an old man who has Of all seaside cities, watering-places, retreats, stumbled into the graveyard by accident. It jars hospitals, convalescent-houses, or bathing-places, upon the sense of right; it is a disgrace for him Bournemouth is the most remarkable. There was to have lived till seventy; he ought not to be once a forest of pines. Somebody made a clear- here; he should have been carried five miles ing and built a house, just as if he was in Can- away, to the acre where the venerable pile of ada. Then another man made another clearing Christ Church guards the heaped-up dust of and built another house, and so on. The pines thirty generations, and the river runs swiftly bestand still between the houses, along the roads, low; but not here, not among the weeping girls in the gardens, on the hills, and round the town. and sad-faced boys. Let them all rise together, The air is heavy with the breath of the pine. at the end, this army of young martyrs, with The sea is nothing ; you are on the seashore, never an old man among them, to find with joybut there is no fierce sea-breeze, no curling line ful eyes a fuller life than that from which they of waves, no dash of foam and spray. The wa- were so soon snatched away. ters creep lazily along the beach, and on the sier Thither Gilbert brought Alison. He said nothe fragrance of the pines crushes out the smell thing, for, in truth, his own heart was filled with of the salt sea.

the sadness and beauty of the place. He led When the settlements were cleared, and the her up the slope to the most retired part of the houses built, and rows of shops run up, there churchyard, where the graves, those of twenty arose a great unknown genius who said: “We years back, were not so close together, and where have slopes, streams, and woods; we have a each had its generous space, with amplitude of town planted in a forest by the seaside ; let us breadth, such as is accorded to abbots and bishmake a garden in our midst.” And they did so; ops in cathedrals. Quite at the farthest bouna garden of Eden. Hither come, when the rest dary, where the pines are the thickest, surroundof the world is still battling with the east wind ed, too, by silver beeches, stripling oaks, and and frost, hollow-cheeked young men and droop- rhododendrons, stood the cross they came to see; and behind it were the flowers of summer, “But that was all over now," she said. “No tended and cared for as if the poor young moth- one henceforth would dare to whisper a word er had never been forgotten by her child. There against his sacred memory.were only the initials “ D. H.," with the date of And then she sat and tried to realize that, like her death and her age.

other girls, she could now speak and think of her Alison sank at the foot of the grave, and Gil- own mother lying dead at her feet. bert left her there.

Presently she returned to the hotel, and they It was a solemn moment, the most solemn in passed a quiet, silent evening, walking on the her life. To kneel beside that grave was in itself seashore, or the pier, while the summer sun an act of thanksgiving and gratitude. For in it went down in splendor, and in the opal breadths lay not only her mother, but the honor of her of twilight sky they saw the silver curve of the father. She thought of him more than of the new moon. mother whom she had never seen. Her tears It was no time for love. Alison talked in fell for him more than for the young life cut off whispers of her mother; what she was like ; so early. Was there ever a father so kind, so why her father had kept silence about her. Gilthoughtful, so untiring in generous and self-de- bert listened. The place was very quiet ; in June nying actions ? Was there ever one so entirely most of the people have left Bournemouth; they to be loved by a daughter? And for four months were alone on the pier; there was a weight upon she had been bearing about with her the bitter both their hearts, and yet the heart of one, at thought that perhaps this man—this good, reli- least, was full of gratitude and joy. But needs gious, and Christian man—was what she never must that he who stays in the City of Death dared to put to herself in words.

feels the solemn presence of Azrael. (To be continued.)

WHAT IS RELIGION?

TN Professor Max Müller's “ Lectures on the religion. His nearest approach to this is a for1 Science of Religion," * the best part of the mula which would cause physicists peremptorily book is its title. This suggests that religion may to reject religion from the category of science. be treated scientifically, after the same method “ As there is a faculty of speech, independent of of induction and classification which has been all the historical forms of language, so there is a applied so successfully to the study of language, faculty of faith in man independent of all historiand which is in use in the physical sciences. In- cal religions; ... that faculty which, independeed, Müller would associate comparative the- dent of, nay, in spite of sense and reason (!), ology with comparative philology not only in enables man to apprehend the Infinite under difmethod, but also in material. He finds “the ferent names, and under varying disguises. ... outward framework of the incipient religions of In German we can distinguish that third faculty antiquity” in a few words—such as names of by the name of Vernunft, as opposed to Verthe Deity, and in certain spiritual and technical stand, reason, and Sinne, sense. In English I terms—which were substantially the same among know no better name for it than the faculty of all earlier peoples. “If we look at this simple faith, though it will have to be guarded by caremanifestation of religion, we see at once why re- ful definition, in order to confine it to those obligion, during those early ages of which we are jects only which can not be supplied either by here speaking, may really and truly be called the evidence of the senses or by the evidence of a sacred dialect of human speech ; how, at all reason. No simply historical fact can ever fall events, early religion and early language are most under the cognizance of faith." * intimately connected, religion depending entirely T he phrase we have italicized above would for its outward expression on the more or less bar the claim of religion to a place among the adequate resources of language." + But while sciences; for though the physical sciences themfinding in words the key to religions, Müller fur- selves employ faith as a prelude and guide to nishes no terms by which to define or describe discovery, science could never admit an hypo

- thetical belief “in spite of sense and reason." *“Introduction to the Science of Religion.” Four And, on the other hand, the Christian faith does Lectures delivered at the Royal Institution. By F. Max Müller, M. A. London: Longmans, Green & Co. * "Introduction to the Science of Religion," pp. 16,

† Ibid., p. 153.

17.

« הקודםהמשך »