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alarming nature, His temper, his about in his coffin. Mark has no cofcraft, his impetus, were always driv- fin; it is all marble steps; and a ing him into projects and situations wicked seraph received him, and blessmore or less critical. Sometimes he ed him till his hair stood up. Let won, sometimes he failed; but his me whisper you.' audacious energy hitherto had extri No, not just at this moment, cated him. The difficulties of his pre- please," said Lake, drawing away,

dissent situation were, however, ap- gusted, from the maniacal leer and palling, and almost daunted his semi- titter of the gigantic old man. diabolical energies.

"Ay, ay—another time--some night From Rachel to Dorcas, from Dor- there's aurora borealis in the sky. cas to the Attorney, and from him to You know this goes under ground all Dutton, and back again, he rambled the way to Vallambrosa ?” in the infernal litany he muttered over “ Thank you ; I was not aware ; the inauspicious tarn, among the en that's very convenient. Had you not closing banks and undulations, and better go down and speak to your solitary and lonely woods.

friend in the water ??? “Lake Avernus,” said a hollow “Young man, I bless you for rememvoice behind him, and a long grizzly bering," said Uncle Lorne, solemnly. claw was laid on his shoulder. “What was Mark Wylder's religion,

A cold breath of horror crept from that I may speak to him comforthis brain to his heel, as he turned ably ?" about, and saw the large, blanched "An Anabaptist, I conjecture, from features and glassy eyes of Uncle his present situation,” replied Lake. Lorne bent over him.

“No, that's in the lake of fire, “Oh! Lake Avernus, is it ?” said where the wicked seraphim and cheruLake, with an angry sneer, and rais- bim baptize, and anabaptize, and hold

his hat with a mock reverence. them under with a great stone laid

Ay! it is the window of hell, and across their breasts. I only know two the spirits in prison come up to see of their clergy--the African vicar, the light of it. Did you see him quite a gentleman, and speaks through looking up ?” said Uncle Lorne, with his nose ; and the archbishop with his pallid smile.

wings; his face is so burnt, he's all “Oh! of course-Napoleon Bona- eyes and mouth, and on one hand has parte leaning on old Dr. Simcock's only one finger, and he tickles me arm," answered Lake.

with it till I almost give up the ghost. It was odd, in the sort of ghastly The ghost of Miss Baily is a lie, he banter in which he played off this old said, by my soul; and he likes youman, how much hatred was percept- he loves you. Shall I write it all in ible.

a book, and give it you? I meet Mark “No-pot he. It is Mark Wylder,” Wylder in three places sometimes. said Uncle Lorne ; “ his face comes up Don't move, till I go down ; he's as like a white fish within a fathom of the easily frightened as a fish.” top,-it makes me laugh. That's the And Uncle Lorne crept down the way they keep holiday. Can you tell bank, tacking, and dodging, and all by the sky when it is holiday in hell ? the time laughing softly to himself; I can.”

and sometimes winking with a horrid, And he laughed, and rubbed his wily grimace at Stanley, who ferlong fingers together softly.

vently wished him at the bottom of Look! ha! ha!-Look! ha! ha! the tarn. ha!-Look !” he resumed, pointing “I say," said Stanley, addressing with his cadaverous forefinger toward the keeper, whom by a beck he had the middle of the pool.

brought to his side, you don't allow “ I told you this morning it was a him, surely, to go alone now ? holiday,” and he laughed very quietly “No, sir-since your order, sir,” to himself.

said the stern, reserved official. “Look how his nostrils go like a “Nor to come into any place but fish's gills. It is a funny way for a this--the park, I mean ?” gentleman, and he's a gentleman.

No, sir." Every fool knows the Wylders are “And do you mind, try and get hini gentlemen-all gentlemen in misfor- home always before nightfall. It is tune. He has a brother that is walking easy to frighten him. Find out what

frightens him, and do it, or say it. It after his fashion, into the dark pool. is dangerous, don't you see? and he And Stanley Lake-a general in diffimight break his d neck any time culties--retraced his steps toward the among those rocks and gullies, or get park gate through which he had come, away altogether from you in the dark.” ruminating on his situation and re

So the keeper, at the water's brink, sources. joined Uncle Lorne, who was talking,



So soon as the letter which had so pale, “I feared it. I thought yoii surprised and incensed Stanley Lake might be troubled about money. I were despatched, and beyond recall, was not sure, but I was afraid ; and, Rachel, who had been indescribably to say truth, it was partly to try your agitated before, grew all at once friendship with a question on that calm. She knew that she had done very point that I came here, and not right. She was glad the die was cast, indeed, Dolly, dear, from impertinent and that it was out of her power to curiosity, but in the hope that maybe retract.

you might allow me to be of some She kneeled at her bedside, and use. wept and prayed, and then went down “How wonderfully good you are ! and talked with old Tamar, who was How friends are raised up!” and knitting in the shade by the porch. with a smile that shone like an April

Then the young lady put on her sun through her tears, she stood on bonnet and cloak, and walked down tiptoe, and kissed the tall young lady, to Gylingden, with an anxious, but who-not smiling, but with a palé still a lighter heart, to see her friend, and very troubled face-bowed down Dolly Wylder.

and returned her kiss. Dolly received her in a glad sort of “You know, dear, before he went, fuss.

Mark promised to lend dear Willie a “I'm so glad to see you, Miss Lake,” large sum of money. Well, he went

“Call me Rachel; and you must away in such a hurry, that he never let me call you Dolly."

thought of it; and though he con“Well, Rachel, dear,” replied Dolly, stantly wrote to Mr. Larkin-you laughing, "I'm delighted you're come; have no idea, my dear Miss Lake, I have such good news-but I can't what a blessed angel that man istell it till I think for a minute-I oh! such a friend as has been raised must begin at the beginning." up to us in that holy and wise man,

Any where, every where, only if words cannot express ; but what was it is good news, let me hear it at once. I saying 1-oh, yes-Mark, you know I'll be sure to understand.”

-it was very kind, but he has so “Well, Miss-I mean Rachel, dear, many things on his mind it quite es-you know-I may tell you now caped him—and he keeps, you know, the Vicar-my dear Willie-he and I wandering about on the Continent, -we've been in great trouble-oh, and never gives his address ; so he such trouble-Heaven only knows” can't, you see, be written to ; and --and she dried her eyes quickly, the delay-but, Rachel, darling, are

money, my dear” -and she smiled you ill ? with a bewildered shrug-“some She rang the bell, and opened the debts at Cambridge-no fault of his window, and got some water. -you can't imagine what a saving “My darling, you walked too fast darling he is—but these were a few here. You were very near fainting." old things that mounted up, with in “No, dear--nothing-I am quite terest, my dear--you understand— well now-go on.” and law costs-oh, you can't think But she did not go on immediately, and indeed, dear Miss-well

, Rachel for Rachel was trembling in a kind of -I forgot-I sometimes thought we shivering fit, which did not pass must be quite ruined.”

away till after poor Dolly, who had Oh, Dolly, dear,” said Rachel, very no other stimulant at command,

made her drink a cup of very hot at the window to that long and milk.

natty apparition, who glided to the “Thank you, darling: You are too hall-door with a sad smile, raising good to me, Dolly.. Oh! Dolly, you his well-brushed hat as he passed, and are too good to me.'

with one grim glance beyond Mrs. Rachel's eyes were looking into Wylder, for his sharp eye half dehers with a careworn, earnest gaze, tected another presence in the room. and her cold hand was pressed on the He was followed, not accompanied back of Dolly's.

—for Mr. Larkin knew what a Nearly ten minutes passed before gentleman he was - by a young and the talk was renewed.

bilious clerk, with black hair and a “Well, now, what do you think – melancholy countenance, and by old that good man, Mr. Larkin, just as Buggs—his conducting man-always things were at the worst, found a way grinning, whose red face glared in the to make everything -- oh, blessed little garden like a great red hollyhock. mercy! - the hand of Heaven, my He was sober as a judge all the morndear-quite right again-and we'll ing, and proceeded strictly on the be so happy. Like a bird I could principle of business first, and pleasure sing, and fly almost—a foolish old afterward. But his orgies, when off thing-ha! ha! ha!-such an old duty, were such as to cause the good goose !" as she wiped her eyes again. Attorney, when complaints reached

“ Hush! is that Fairy? Oh, no, it him, to shake his head, and sigh prois only Anne singing. Little man foundly, and sometimes to lift up his has not been well yesterday and to- mild eyes and long hands; and, inday. He won't eat, and looks pale, deed, so scandalous an appendage was but he slept very weil, my darling Buggs, that if he had been less useman; and Doctor Buddle-I met him ful, I believe the pure Attorney who, this morning-so kindly took him in the uncomfortable words of John into his room, and examined him, and Bunyan,“ had found a cleaner road says it may be nothing at all, please to hell,” would have cashiered him Heaven," and she sighed, smiling long ago. still.

“There is that awful Mr. Buggs,' “Dear little Fairy=where is he?” said Dolly, with a look of honest asked Rachel, her sad eyes looking alarm. “ I often wonder so christian toward the door.

a man as Mr. Larkin can countenIn the study with his Wapsie. ance him. He is hardly ever without Mrs. Woolastou, she is such a kind a black eye. He has been three soul, lent him such a beautiful old pic- nights together without once putture book, Woodward's Eccentrici- ting off his clothes-think of that; ties' it is called-and he's quite happy and, my dear, on Friday week -little Fairy, on his little stool at the he fell_through the window of the window."

Fancy Emporium, at two o'clock in “No head-ache or fever ?” asked the morning; and Doctor Buddle Miss Lake cheerfully, though, she says if the cut on his jaw had been knew not why, there seemed some- half an inch lower, he would have thing ominous in this little ailment. cut some artery, and lost his life

“None at all ; oh, none, thank wretched man ?" you ; none in the world. I'd be so “They have come about law busifrightened if there was. But, thank ness, Dolly ?" inquired the young Heaven, Doctor Buddle says there's lady, who had a profound, instinctive nothing to make us at all uneasy. dread of Mr. Larkin. My blessed little man! And he has “Yes, my dear; a most important his canary in the cage in the window, windfalí. Only for Mr. Larkin, it and his kitten to play with in the never could have been accomplished, study. He's quite happy.”

and, indeed, I don't think it would “ Please Heaven, he'll be quite well ever have been thought of.” to-morrow—the darling little man,' “I hope he has some one to advise said Rachel, all the more fondly for him,” said Miss Lake, anxiously. “I that vague omen that seemed to say, I think Mr. Larkin a very cun“He's gone.”

ning person ; and you know your “Here's Mr. Larkin !" cried Dolly, husband does not understand busijumping up, and smiling and nodding ness."

“ If


“Is it Mr. Larkin, my dear? Mr. row in the thick paper with the seal Larkin! Why, my dear, if you knew end of his pencil. him as we do, you'd trust your life in “Stop, William Wylder, don't sign his hands."

I've a word to say-you must pause. But there are people who know

affects our business, Miss him still better; and I think they Lake, I do request that you address fancy he is a very crafty man. I do yourself to me ; if not, may I beg, not like him myself, and Dorcas Miss Lake, that you will defer it for Brandon dislikes him too; and, a moment.” though I don't think we could either “ William Wylder, lay down that give a reason-I don't know, Dolly, pen; as you love your little boy, lay but I should not like to trust him."* it down, and hear me,” continued Miss

“But, my dear, he is an excellent Lake. man, and such a friend, and he has The Vicar looked at her with his managed all this most troublesome eyes wide open, puzzled, like a man business so delightfully. It is what who is not quite sure whether he may they call a reversion.”

not be doing something wrong; William Wylder is not selling his “I---really, Miss Lake--pardon me, reversion ?” said Rachel, fixing a wild but this is very irregular, and, in fact, and startled look on her companion. unprecedented !” said Jos Larkin. “I “Yes, reversion, I am sure, is the think-I suppose, you can hardly be

And why not, dear ? It is aware, ma’am, that I am here as the most unlikely we should ever get a Rev. Mr. Wylder's confidential solifarthing of it any other way, and it citor, acting solely for him, in a matwill give us enough to make us quite ter of a strictly private nature.' happy.”

The Attorney stood erect, a little But, my darling, don't you know flushed, with that peculiar contracthe reversion under the will is a great tion, mean and dangerous, in his eyes. fortune. He must not think of it ;" “Of course, Mr. Wylder, if you, sir, and up started Rachel, and before desire me to leave, I shall instanDolly could interpose or remonstrate, taneously do so; and, indeed, unless she had crossed the little hall, and you proceed to sign, I had better go, entered the homely study, where the as my time is generally, I may say, a gentlemen were conferring.

little pressed upon, and I have, in fact, William Wylder was sitting at his some business elsewhere to attend to.” desk, and a large sheet of law “ What is this law-paper ?" descrivenery, on thick paper, with a manded Rachel, laying the tips of her stamp in the corner, was before him. slender fingers upon it. The bald head of the Attorney, as he “Am I to conclude that you withleaned over him, and indicated an draw from your engagement ?” asked imaginary line with his gold pencil- Mr. Larkin. "I had better, then, comcase, was presented toward Miss municate with Burlington and Smith Lake as she entered.

by this post; as also with the sheriff, The Attorney had just said “ there, who has been very kind.” please,” in reply to the Vicar's ques Oh, no !--oh, no, Larkin !-pray, tion, “Where do I write my name ?" I'm quite rearly to sign." and red Buggs, grinning, with his “Now, William Wylder, you shan't mouth open, like an over-heated dog, sign until you tell me whether this is and the sad and bilious young gentle- a sale of your

reversion.' man, stood by to witness the execu The young lady had her white hand tion of the cleric's autograph. firmly pressed upon the spot where he

Tall Jos Larkin looked up, smiling was to sign, and the ring that glitwith his mouth also a little open, as tered on her finger looked like a taliswas his wont when he was particu- man interposing between the poor larly affable. But the rat's eyes were Vicar and the momentous act and looking at her with a hungry suspi- deed. cion, and smiled not.

“I think, Miss Lake, it is pretty “William Wylder, I am so glad plain you are not acting for yourself I'm in time,” said Rachel, rustling here--you have been sent, ma'am,” across the room.

said the Attorney, looking very vicious, There,” said the Attorney, very and speaking a little huskily and hurperemptorily, and making a little fur- riedly; "I quite conceive by whom.”'

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"I don't know what you mean, sir,” sideration of honourand of conscience, replied Miss Lake, with grave disdain. 'and of the highly prejudicial position

*You've been cominissioned, ma'am, in which you would place me as a I venture to think, to come here to man of business, by taking the very watch the interests of another party. short turn which this young lady,

“I say, sir, I don't, in the least, Miss Lake, suggests - your letters comprehend you."

amount to an equitable agreement to “I think it is pretty obvious, ma'am sell, which, on petition, the court -Miss Lake, I beg pardon--you have would compel you to do.” had some conversation with your bro “So you see, my dear Miss Lake, ther," answered the Attorney, with a there is no more to be said,” said the significant sneer.

Vicar, with a careworn smile, look“I don't know what you mean, sir, ing upon Rachel's handsome face. I repeat. I've just heard, in the other Now, now, we are all friends, room, from your wife, William Wyl- aren't we?” said poor Dolly, whó der, that you were about selling your could not make anything of the dereversion in the estates, and I want bate, and was staring with open mouth to know whether that is so ; for if it from one speaker to another. “We be, it is the act of a madman, and I'll are all agreed, are not we? You are prevent it, if I possibly can.

all so good, and fond of Willie, that “Upon my word! possibly”--said · you are actually ready almost to quarthe Vicar, his eyes very wide open, rel for him.” But her little laugh and looking with a hesitating gaze produced no echo, except a very joyfrom Rachel to the Attorney—there less and flushed effort from the Attormay be something in it which neither ney, as he looked up from consulting you nor I know, does it not strike his watch. you-had we not better consider ?” “Eleven minutes past three,” said

“Consider what, sir ?" said the At- he, “ and I've a meeting at my house torney, with a snap, and losing his at half-past; so, unless you complete temper somewhat. " It is simply, sir, that instrument now, I regret to say that this young lady represents Cap- I must take it back unfinished, and tain Lake, who wishes to get the re- the result may be to defeat the arversion for himself.”

rangement altogether, and if the con" That is utterly false, sir !” said sequences should prove serious, I, at Miss Lake, flashing and blushing with least, am not to blame.” indignation. “ You, William, are a "Don't sign, I entreat, I implore gentleman, and such inconceivable of you. William Wylder, you shan't." meanness cannot enter your mind.” But, my dear Miss Lake, we have

The Attorney, with what he meant considered everything, and Mr. Larto be a polished sarcasm, bowed and kin and I agree that my circumstances smiled toward Miss Lake.

are such as to make it inevitable." Pale little Fairy, sitting before his “Really, this is child's play ; there, “ picture-book, was watching the if you please," said the Attorney, once scene with round eyes and round more. mouth, and that mixture of interest, Rachel Lake, during the discussion, awe, and distress, with which children had removed her hand. The faintly witness the uncomprehended excite- traced line on which the Vicar was to ment and collision of their elders. sign was now fairly presented to him.

“My dear Miss Lake, I respect and " Just in your usual way,” muresteem you ; you quite mistake, I am mured Mr. Larkin. persuaded, my good friend Mr. Lar So the Vicar's pen was applied, but kin; and, indeed, I don't quite com- before he had time to trace the first prehend; but if it were so, and that letter of his name, Rachel Lake resoyour brother really wished---do you lutely snatched the thick, bluish sheet think he does, Mr. Larkin ?-to buy of scrivenery, with its handsome marthe reversion, he might think it more gins, and red ink lines, from before valuable, perhaps.”

him, and tore it across and across, “I can say with certainty, sir, that with the quickness of terror, and in from that quarter you would get no- fewer seconds than one could fancy, thing like what you have agreed to it lay about the floor and grate in take ; and I must say, once for all, pieces little bigger than dominoes. sir, that, quite setting aside every con The Attorney made a hungry snatch

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