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"I knew that would be your answer, and besides your hand and seal I shall have your word of honour.”
"You have all the guarantees a gentleman can give," said his lordship
“Gentleman and nobleman,” said Cuffing. “Well, then, you will kindly do me thejhonour to come here at four o'clock to-morrow; you shall see the document signed, and you shall then meet us at the Cuttle Fish Hotel on the river, where you will bring the money in Bank of England notes—a few hundreds in gold—and Mr. Ransford will hand you the document. That will enable him to take a steamer in the river and at once leave the country. He does not desire this through any fear that you will not keep your word, but in order that he may at once act upon the contract between you, and give you as good evidence of his bona fides as you give of yours.”
“Do you think all this precaution necessary?" asked Lord St. Barnard.
"Desirable, if not exactly necessary-and I will ask your lordship not to object,” said Cuffing. “ The Cuttle Fish Hotel,” repeated Lord St. Barnard, reflectively.
* Yes,” said Cuffing; " it stands in the reach, nearly opposite Purfleet, and about a mile by boat from the new hotel at Erith.”
“I know it. My friend Northbrooks has a yacht lying off Erith at this very moment,” said his lordship. “I have no doubt he would allow the captain to weigh and take you wherever you wished.”
“No, thank you; we have made our own arrangements, both for Mr. Ransford's safety and your own peace and comfort, if your lordship will kindly agree to them.”
“Be it so," said his lordship.
" Then to-morrow, your lordship, to sign-here at four o'clock ; at nine o'clock we meet at the Cuttle Fish to receive the money and exchange documents. Take the train at Charing Cross for Erith; a boat from the pier, and the landlord will expect you. There is another way-by train from the City to Purfleet, but Erith is our route ; we can explain more fully tomorrow.
We quite understand each other?”
“Quite," said Lord St. Barnard, “ quite."
" Then we will say good evening to your lordship,” said Cuffing, opening the door.
Lord St. Barnard bowed stiffly and left the room. Cuffing and Ransford listened to his footsteps. "Dick," said Cuffing, quickly tapping at the wall, a signal which VOL. XII., N.S. 1874.
was answered at once by a young ferret-eyed clerk a little out at elbows, "Dick, watch him till he goes to his hotel."
“Right,” said Dick, gliding out of the room like a shadow.
Cuffing went to the window and saw Lord St. Barnard turn into Holborn on the right with Dick following warily in his wake.
FROM THE GOLDEN GATES OF THE SUNNY WEST,
On the report of the physician, Kalmat felt bound to postpone his departure from Boulogne until the afternoon. Lady St. Barnard was seriously ill. The doctors pronounced the malady to be brain fever ; the symptoms, however, were not more than usually alarming. Arranging for bulletins to be telegraphed to him at his Covent Garden Hotel, he left the lady in the hands of the doctors and arrived in London at midnight. Driving to his quarters, he took his portmanteau and went to the Westminster Palace Hotel.
“Is Lord St. Barnard staying here?” “ Yes," said the porter. “I am a friend of his. Is he up?” “Yes, sir.” “ Take my luggage—I want a sitting room and bed room en suite.”
Having made a rapid (toilette, Kalmat sent a message to Lord St. Barnard.
“Say that a traveller who has just arrived from the Continent wishes to see him on very important business."
“His lordship will see you," was the reply.
When the stranger was ushered into the room Lord St. Barnard rose and looked at him inquiringly.
“ I fear I disturb you at this late hour; but the bearer of good news is never unwelcome, come when he may.”
There was a hearty cheeriness in the speaker's manner which roused Lord St. Barnard like the sound of a trumpet in the ear of the soldier.
“Sir," said his lordship," there is the ring of hope and comfort in your voice. Who have I the honour of addressing?'
“ You have seen me before ?"
“; think I have had that pleasure, but where I cannot at the moment
“ In the police court-every day until to-day.”
Lord St. Barnard put out his hand. It was grasped heartily.
“I come from your wife," said Kalmat, his great blue eyes opening wide with sympathy.
"Indeed," exclaimed his lordship eagerly; "where is she? how is she?"
“Safe and in good hands.” “ Thank God.”
“Not only safe, but innocent ; the true noble wife you believe her to be?” said Kalmat warmly, but not without inquiring looks.
"Believed," said his lordship sadly. “I do not know what I think, what I believe to-day."
“Her flight has troubled you ; it looks like guilt; it is not—it is brain fever, St. Barnard. She is as innocent of the foul charges brought against her as she was when first I knew her as Mary Waller, the best and loveliest of girls in that old city of the north, of which she was the light, the sunshine.”
“You are indeed a welcome visitor; you set my heart beating with new hope, new life ; you make me long to see my children for the first time to-day. Who are you?”
“During this trial,” said Kalmat, "you have heard of a Dunelm student, who ”
“Yes, yes,” said his lordship eagerly.
"I am that Dunelm student–Tom Mayfield,” said Kalmat, drawing himself up to his full height.
“My God!" exclaimed Lord St. Barnard. “This is indeed a day of surprises. Give me your hand, sir. You are truly a welcome visitor."
The two men shook hands warmly and Lord St. Barnard pointed to a chair.
"Pray be seated," said his lordship. “ There is something in your manner which tells me that you do bring good news, that the first gleam of daylight comes with you. Do you believe in instinct?"
? “I fear it is my chief belief,” said Kalmat. “My only mistakes in life have been made when I have disregarded what is erroneously called instinct. The only injury that comes from intellectuai cultivation is that book-learning makes us mistrust our instincts.”
“ Listening to your voice, looking at your earnest face,” said his lordship, “something whispers to me that you will restore the happiness of Grassnook; but I dare not hope so much—it is impossible.”
"I do not know,” said Kalmat, “but I have great news for you. I have watched the case at Bow Street from the first. Arriving in
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England after long years of exile in the western wilds of America, my first greeting was an account in the newspapers of the statutory declaration made by that scoundrel Ransford. I came to have my title to some sort of fame endorsed by the great capital of civilisation, as the author of some poor but earnest verses inspired by the sunlands of the Golden West."
“Then,” said his lordship, “your nom de plume is Kalmat; you are the new poet; we know you well at Grassnook:”
'Yes, I am Kalmat,” said the visitor sadly, “but dismiss me in your mind and on your tongue in that character. I am unknown to a soul. My arrival in London was my own secret until this moment. Keep it religiously—I have reasons for asking this."
“My dear sir, you have my word.”
“To return to my arrival in England. It seemed as if Fate had brought me here with a purpose, as if I had been led homewards by an unseen hand. And when I read the newspaper, before I had been in London half an hour I saw the situation and accepted the challenge. I maintained my incognito ; I was late's detective, the great Arbiter's
I instrument; my instinct told me so. Day after day I stood in court, waiting for my instructions, waiting the mysterious but certain direction which I felt sure would come to me. I saw your wife breaking down, I was present when the last blow was struck, I did not, for her sake, for yours, shoot her traducer where he stood, because his time
I saw the persecuted woman leave the Westminster Palace Hotel on Sunday. I noticed the wild expression of her eyes."
“I thought there was something peculiar in her face and manner, but"
“ Indians and dogs are good physiognomists,” said Kalmat. “I have learnt their trick of observation."
“I ought not to have let her go,” said his lordship in a tone of deep regret, “but I had very important business with my lawyers and with Mr. Holland ; it was absolutely necessary that I should remain in town. I despatched White and another detective to trace her, but have been unable to move myself, having had negotiations in hand in connection with the case."
“ You did not doubt her?”
“I fear I did. Even now I hardly know what to think,” said his lordship, rising from his seat and pacing the room; “but proceed, Mr. Mayfield, with your statement.”
“I followed her to the station; I never lost sight of her. I travelled by the same train to Folkestone, by the same boat to Boulogne; I rested at the same hotel. I could see that she was
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suffering from the first symptoms of brain fever. Yesterday morning she was really ill. Having secured for her the best medical attendance in Boulogne and telegraphed for a physician from Paris, and made other arrangements befitting her rank and necessary to her condition, I came direct to you."
Lord St. Barnard laid his hand upon Kalmat's shoulder and thanked him in broken utterances.
“No thanks, Barnard, no thanks, and excuse my familiarity ; it means no disrespect; we had no lords out in the West, and I cannot bring myself as yet down to the commonplaces of civilisation.”
"You have earned the right to equality with the noblest,” said his lordship, “as a poet, as a man. I cannot tell you how deeply I feel your great kindness. And is she progressing well, do you think? Is she in any danger ?”
“No, she will recover," said Kalmat; “ you must write to her, and if she is well enough to read the letter the doctors will give it to her -I so directed before I left.”
“I will write at once,” said Lord St. Barnard.
“Presently--there is time enough. I was about to say that I regretted leaving London at the moment when your wife's flight took me away, because I was on the eve of discovering the woman who was in attendance on that wretched night at the Piccadilly Chambers. I have no doubt in my own mind, not a shadow of doubt, that I shall clear up the most malicious of the charges brought against your wife. It was I who sent you the documents from Boulogne.”
“You amaze as much as you delight me,” said his lordship. “ Those documents gave us a decided victory over the principal attack in the statutory declaration. And shall we be indebted to you for the final triumph ?”
“I do not say that, so far as the world is concerned, but I can clear up your doubts; but, my dear friend, whatever we may do, however much of the matter we may put straight, and in spite of the lady's perfect innocence, which I can illustrate to you in a thousand ways, we must not disguise from ourselves that your position for years to come in this country will be unbearable. Oblivion for a century could not efface from my memory the petty annoyances of society as I saw the system at work in my young days at Dunelm. I have lived on the happy borderland of civilisation, outside the pale of even so-called religious influences, and have learnt to despise your narrow lessons of society ; but you who are a nobleman, a belted earl, a pillar of the State, you who have been educated in the rosewater atmosphere of aristocratic manners, you who breathe the rarefied