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creditor “Anton" had seized them. letters written by other infatuated Taking the opportunity of a few women. Most of these he threw undisturbed moments which lay back into the cabinet : Laura's before him, he went straight to were in a bundle by themselves ; Yriarte's bed room, and looked their preservation was evidently around him. There was a writing due to some special value set upon table with a half-open drawer full them. of notes and letters—some not Mr. Lingen went triumphantly opened—that was not the place. home with his spoil, satisfied that Turning from that, his eye fell so far he had done the utmost to upon the old black cabinet, where further Laura's plans. Yriarte kept his religion. He Yriarte meanwhile was busily smiled a peculiar subdued smile engaged in despatching messengers of intense amusement as he crossed to his friends. the room to look at it. He opened The result of this was that the the doors of the shrine-yes, there next day — when the case was a light burning before the almost due to be called on at BowVirgin and Child. He wondered street; when the defendant was to himself how long the slender taking his ease in a cell at Newtaper would last, for, thought he,
the prosecutrix was when that candle is exhausted, the growing handsomer than ever in shrine will be left desolate; and, the sunshine of Sir Percy Flaxen's doubtless, its desolation will be less attentions-Dr. Doldy received a of an insult and a mockery to the caller. His acquaintance was a Catholic Church than its perpetual wide one; but he was surprised illumination has been.
when he looked at the card handed This thought passed quickly
passed quickly to him : through his mind, and almost “Why, this is a grandee in the simultaneously he was engaged in Spanish diplomatic service!” he examining the cleverly contrived exclaimed. “What on earth can he drawers and recesses of the quaint want with me? I have no Spanish old cabinet. Secret
springs- connection.' whether of human character, or of Laura was in the drawing-room, mechanism — offered little
as it happened. She was still plexity to him. But there was staying with Mrs. Honiton, but difference in his mode of approach. her visits to her uncle had become To closely examine the secret much more frequent. The necessity springs of mechanism he dropped for joint action with regard to his eye-glass, and directed the un- Yriarte had suddenly reawakened veiled glance of those keen eyes the distinctness of their longupon them. He was not so much standing partnership of interest. of a Berkeleyan as to be afraid of Dr. Doldy was relieved, also, to scaring into reticence the spirit of find Laura making a reasonable matter.
marriage ; he was far too genuine In this case he conquered-the a lover of comfortable living to cabinet yielded its secrets to him, feel anything but genuine anxiety He left the room-after a parting that Laura's fortune should follow glance at the shrine which had a its proper course, and avert the strange psychological attraction for ruin which must otherwise fall him as the visible outcome of a
Circumstances thus part of the Spaniard's character brought Laura into much more --with a box containing Laura's intimate and sympathetic relations letters. There were quantities of with him than she had held since
his marriage-or, indeed, since his gone, she opened the door and engagement.
came in, flushed and eager. At Ernestine meanwhile had become the same moment Ernestine, who almost invisible. He scarcely ever had just entered the house, and saw her, and, as nothing further had met the portly Spaniard on had passed between them since the stairs, paused at the open the interview which Laura had drawing-room door as if hesitating interrupted, he scarcely knew how whether to enter, or pass on.
A to approach her. It was one of thirst for loneliness had come upon those temporary dumbnesses of the her as it comes upon a wounded heart which most lovers experience animal; but she doubted whether at some period or other of their she were wise in yielding to it. histories. In Dr. Doldy's present She paused, and then went in and state the emotions had neither sat down quietly. The others changed nor lost their innate hardly noticed her presence, they vigour; but they were paralysed were absorbed in their own affairs. by the perplexities of the mind. Laura was excited—Dr. Doldy grave He needed time to think his way through the difficulties which pre- “ Was it really Don Gonzales sented themselves to his intellect; himself?"exclaimed Laura, in a low and he entered the more warmly into Laura's affairs because they Yes,”
,” said her uncle. occupied him and granted him an “And was it about that little excuse for taking this time.
wretch that he came ?" she went Thus it happened that Laura on, her hands clasped, and her eyes found him a more ready counsellor fixed intently upon Dr. Doldy's and support than she anticipated. face.
And so it was Laura who was “He came to entreat me not to sitting beside him in the drawing- prosecute," said Dr. Doldy, angrily. room when the
of the . He talks about the cur's connecSpanish dignitary was announced. tions—I don't believe they care
“I can't imagine what he can about his punishment; but it want of me, if he does not come seems they have been putting presfor physic. Shall I receive him sure on this old fool to come to me here, Laura ?”
about it because they want to avoid “If I didn't know you of old, I the scandal.” should hardly understand that to He began to walk irritably up mean 'go away,'” replied Laura. and down, evidently full of annoy. She rose, and passed through into ance; and he was arrested by the small drawing-room, which simple surprise when Laura burst opened out of the one in which out laughing they had been sitting. Dr. Doldy “I had no idea little Jose was shut the door behind her;—which, such an important person," she as it seemed to her, unnecessary exclaimed, gleefully, “Oh! this is act of politeness, made her close grand, uncle, really grand! Fancy her fan with a sudden snap of
the whole Spanish Embassy trying vexation. She had an idea that to beg him off !” the visit of this Spaniard must “I
would not withdraw from the have some. connection with her prosecution,” exclaimed Dr. Doldy, affairs; but how, was the puzzle. pursuing his own vein of thought,
She could hear a little-enough “if the Queen herself came to ask to excite her curiosity powerfully; and the moment the visitor had Ernestine, finding herself un
noticed, went quietly away to her “No," sobbed Dorothy; "that's own room, and left them to finish the worst of it.” their conversation. These things “Oh, she'll come to us," said disturbed her less to-day, for she Coventry; “I daresay we shall see had planned her own course of her to-day.” action, and had but to carry it out. Dorothy swallowed a sob, wiped
her eyes, and answered irrele
vantly: CHAPTER XXX.
“I am quite sure Nature is a A BIRD ESCAPED.
woman: I always thought so, “COVENTRY, I must be dreaming, because she is cruel and sulky, as or else I am mad,” said Mrs. well as beautiful. Now I know Silburn, very soberly. She was it; because after a good cry I feel interrupting her husband in the so exactly like the sky when it's throes of composition. At first he done raining—cleared and ready looked up at her blankly; but, for action. Miss Armine is ill, I after a moment's vacant contem- hear; Ernestine will not neglect plation of her face, he became her patient, you may be sure. I'll aware of its unwonted serious- just go and see if I can hear any
thing of her there." “My dear little woman, what is “I'll come with you,” said the matter?” he exclaimed, throw Coventry; “you've chased every ing down his pen so suddenly as productive power out of my brain. to startle one of his pet kittens Why has she done this ?” who had curled herself among his “Dr. Doldy wishes us to under
stand that their disagreement was # I have been round to see solely upon medical matters: they Ernestine—the servants told me have clashed professionally.”
he was not at home; I was coming Coventry burst out laughing, a vay when the man ran after me: and continued to laugh for some Dr. Doldy had heard my voice, and moments, notwithstanding the would like to speak to me.”
scared and horrified gaze which She paused. “Do go on!” cried Dorothy fixed upon him. Coventry, full of consternation at “We're in for a comedy," he her manner.
said at last; “I thought it was a “Well, he said he thought I tragedy." ought to be told at once ". “And so it is,” said Dorothy.
“My dear little woman, I never “I wish you could have seen Dr. knew you so slow over a piece of Doldy's face. It would have cured news before !"
you of laughing for a while.” "Ernestine has left him; she “My dear little woman, who went away last night: there, now ever heard of husband and wife you've got it.” And Dorothy separating for such a cause? The flung herself into a chair, and fell thing is absurd, viewed as a into a passion of tears.
tragedy; as a comedy, it is lovely." Coventry went round to console "Well,” said Dorothy indig. her, with rather a bewildered ex- nantly, “ you'll not find much of pression on his face; it was not comedy about either of the princioften that Dorothy was overcome pals in this case. You can stop at like this by the feminine weakness home and laugh ; I'm going to of tears.
Miss Arinine's.” “Did she leave no letter for Coventry took her advice, and you?” he asked.
stayed at home to laugh: he could
not regard the matter seriously. “She went round to you this With a face of amusement, he morning and saw Dr. Doldy,” said walked about his study, full of Coventry quietly. conjecture. He could not take up “ Did he tell her," said Ernesthe disturbed track of thought; he tine, with sudden calmness, “ that must speculate about this quaint I had left the house yesterday, not affair.
to return ?” A hesitating knock came to his “ Yes ; and he also told her he door while he was thus perambu- wished us to know that the cause lating. His writing room was held of the disagreement between you sacred; when the door was closed was a professional one.” none but Dorothy dared approach Coventry got up, walked round it. Therefore he much wondered the room, and came back to her what the new interruption might side. She watched him in silence. be.
Surely," he said, "you don't He went to the door-and there love medicine more than your stood Ernestine.
husband ?" “ They told me Dorothy had Ernestine's hand, which lay on gone out, and you were not to be the arm of her chair, began to disturbed," she said timidly; "and tremble violently. I have been waiting in the drawing- "No," she answered, “but I
But I ventured to knock. have annoyed him by following the If you are busy, I will come in this course which seemed to me right. evening.”
I am sorry for that I am indeed; He had never seen Ernestine but we could never carry on our like this. She was pale, trembling, double practice under one roof. I with dark lines beneath her eyes. should sin again, I fear.” He took her hand, and drew her " It seems strange,” said Coven. into the room.
not try, in a perplexed voice, “that comedy to him now. Looking such a union as yours should be into her face, he saw that not only affected by mere
professional were there dark lines under her jealousy." eyes, but the lower lids were twice The words stung Ernestine. their wonted size. She had been “ That is not all," she cried pascrying all night—that was very sionately ; “I have not left my plain to him. And this was the home and my husband because I cold Ernestine, whom people called an interfering woman, and hard, stern, unapproachable. cannot leave his patients alone.
“ Don't let me disturb you,” Don't think that of me! she repeated; “I only wanted to
Coventry looked at her in surleave a message for Dorothy, which prise. I couldn't quite leave with the “He thinks it is all," she went servant."
on ; “but it is not, and I must let For answer he drew her to a low him think so, I must bear that; chair, and made her sit down. only don't you think so!”
“ What does it all mean?” he She had buried her face in her said.
hands, and Coventry only just “Has Dorothy heard, then ?" heard these words. He left her said she, putting her hand to her side and sat down in his writing side. The long hours of the past chair, looking at her in wonder. night had made havoc of her What did all this mean? He tried strength. “I thought I should to look at the matter from each tell her first."
side, and all manner of fancies
passed through his brain. He at “No, I shall not do that,” anonce rejected the idea that Ernes- swered Ernestine, confidently. "I tine had left her husband from am nervous this morning, I know, any cause in her own heart; no one but I have work before me which could hear her speak of him and will not allow of nervousness; so I look in her face without knowing am sure to be all right before the that her love was still absolutely day is out. I shall have my hands his. Was it, then, the old story of
full with little Miss Armine soon, a high-spirited woman's jealousy? I fear.”
Ernestine looked up into his “Miss Armine !” cried Dorothy; face, and her quick intuitions told “I saw her just now; surely she her something of his thoughts. is not going to be seriously ill
“Now you are drawing conclu. again? sions in your own mind,” she ex- “I hope not; but her eyes are claimed ; “ don't do that! You too bright, and she looks as if she will be wrong. You will think I had rouged inartistically. I have am jealous, or some such thing; persuaded her to leave the rooms and you will be wrong. No!.my she is in. The landlord has no tongue is tied—to him, to everyone respect for sanitary laws. I want --but my soul revolted against her to leave at once.” the position I was placed in. I “ Do you?” cried Dorothy. could not endure it, and so I left “Has she anywhere to go ? Shall it; that is all.”
I look for some rooms for her ? At this moment the door was Poor child, she can't afford to be opened unceremoniously, and a ill so often.” second after Dorothy was on her knees at Ernestine's side, crying
CHAPTER XXXI. again. Coventry got up and shut the door, and then turned and
THE POLICE COURT. looked at the two women. It was WHEN Laura found that she would a sight fit for a poet's eyes.
have to appear in the police court Dorothy's first articulate utter- and give her evidence against ance was a very decided one. Yriarte, she immediately paid a
“You must come and live here— private visit to Mr. Lingen, and you must and you shall. You shall asked him to advise her as to how not go into lodgings all alone.” much and how little she was to “ I have got lodgings close by," say:
He had made her mind easy said Ernestine; “ I could not go as to the task before her, and she far away from you. But I should arose as fresh as a daisy on the worry you out of your two dear morning of the day which was to lives if I came here. Why, I mean see Yriarte in the prisoner's dock. to set up a night bell!”
She dressed herself with skill, “It should ring into your room," and put on a veil which seemed persisted Dorothy. But Ernestine intended to conceal her face, but only smiled and shook her head, really only set off its especial and thanked her.
charms; and then, accompanied “My lodgings are taken," she by her maid-Mrs. Honiton being said; “I shall be very near you.' altogether unable to endure the
Dorothy rose slowly to her feet, sights and odours of a police court and stood by Ernestine's side, look- -drove to Bow-street. ing very seriously at her.
She had never been there before; " Don't make yourself ill,” she the horrible aspect of that thoroughsaid.
fare was new to her, and she looked