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her reputation is a terrible thing of this, she had seen and guessed the blow, if it did come, would be enough to puzzle her and make greatly softened by the possession her walk home in a half dream. of her fortune. But as usual, She was filled with admiration of with all her shallow acuteness, this woman's heroism and endu. Laura misjudged those whom she rance. What right had she to say knew best. She could not com- that these high qualities were prehend that, the evils done and wrongly used ? Are not general no redress obtainable, there would ideas of right and wrong merely be no satisfaction to either Dr. arbitrary? Do
Do not the words Doldy or Ernestine in exposing mean something totally different, her.
as regards the reality they convey, But Ernestine found a great in different phases of human life? satisfaction in
Her honest mind was perplexing which she took upon her that itself with this question, as she afternoon. Knowing that on this stood on the curbstone, waiting for day the power would become theirs a block of carriages to move on to provide for Laura's child, she and enable her to cross the road. went to see the lady who was now It happened that she stood very supporting it.
She came away near to a cab containing some from the interview bewildered, gentlemen, which stood in the amazed. She had a met a beau. midst of the block. One of them tiful, elegant, and accomplished leaned forward and put his head woman: a woman, as Lingen had out at the window. The man was said, able to hold a high place in ugly-a grin upon his face showed society. Yet this
cruel teeth; a leer in his eyes added Yriarte's slave ; not only loving to the unpleasantness of his exhis faults, but worshipping his pression, yet Ernestine stared vices. Ernestine was sufficiently into it with wide eyes. A likeness, astonished at the glimpse she had a familiarity, so startled her that obtained of a side of human she did not shrink or turn aside nature which was new to her; yet from the insolence of his gaze,
but she had not heard the most extra- seemed unable to remove her eyes ordinary part of the affair. She from his. One of the other gentledid not know that this woman was men suddenly leaned forward, Yriarte's wife, and would have speaking quickly some words which died rather than reveal the secret, Ernestine did not catch, and, because Yriarte had persuaded her pushing back his companion, drew that, though he loved her, and up the window of the cab. But, would never desert her, it was just as the window was closing, absolutely necessary that he must Ernestine heard the words, run all risks and marry for money, “ Deuced fine woman.” as (after drawing upon her to an She shivered and flushed at once. extent only short of ruin) he Those words, that voice-yes, they found it impossible to secure ease were all part of the same personin any other way; and neither did ality. She remembered the voice Ernestine know that this woman well now, though it was only once had been using every influence she that she had heard it, when the possessed, and backing up every same words were used in just the efforts his connections had been same way. making to effect his acquittal and It was the leer and the voice of release.
the man that she had been told Yet, though she knew nothing was José Yriarte.
Could she be mistaken? She tried to catch another glimpse, but the carriage had driven on and was now getting out of the block.
But she was not mistaken, she felt assured. Every instant's reflection made her the more positive that the man whom she had seen was the same who at one time used to follow her home from the hospital, and had tried to fascinate her with his leer. And Dorothy had told her that this was Yriarte. And Yriarte was supposed to be in prison.
What could it mean? Bewildered and shaken, she hurried home, hoping to find Dr. Doldy. Surely the wedding breakfast would be over now: and he had said that as soon as Sir Percy and his wife left, he should return straight home.
He was not there when she entered. She went and sat in her especial corner in her own roomthe corner in which that infatuated lover, Dr. Doldy, had declared her to appear like a picture in a shrine. For he had fulfilled his old dream, and made her room full of the colours which harmonised perfectly with her hair and her face.
He soon came in, going straight to her room, as he always did now (to make certain that she had not run away again, so he told her), and pausing a moment at the door to look at her. Yes, there was no longer an empty window seat, in. habited only by a shadow, and the peculiar darkness that comes when light is suddenly withdrawn-there was love, warmth, and home for him, for there sat his perfect woman—a woman, as he thought, worthy of Shakespeare in her vivid life, her pure honesty, her errors which were born of love.
She looked up at him, her face full of perplexity.
“Arthur,” she said gravely, “it is very strange-very unaccount
able—I am afraid you will hardly believe me, but I have seen Yriarte to-day-in the street, in a cab.”
"My dear child," responded Dr. Doldy, sitting down comfortably beside her, "much learning hath made thee mad.”
“There is a large query to the cause, and what are the symptoms ?
said she with a smile upon her sweet puzzled face.
“You are dreaming-you don't even know the scoundrel — you never saw him."
Yes,” said Ernestine, colouring faintly, “I know him by sight.”
“And how, pray ? ” asked Dr. Doldy, still incredulous; "I did my best to prevent your having to meet such a fellow."
“ He used to meet me sometimes on my way from the hospital to Aunt Vavasour's,” she said, hesitating a little, “ and once took it into his head to follow me home. Dorothy was with me
one time afterwards, and told me that he was Mr. Yriarte, and he really is unmistakable.”
“Oh!” said Dr. Doldy, wrathfully; "this is what comes of women like you having to walk about the streets. I wish I had the cur here—he must needs not only insult my niece, but make eyes at my Ernestine!”
Well," said she, laughing a little at his wrath, “that doesn't matter now, that I see.
The great question is, how can he be driving about London a fortnight after he has been sentenced to penal servitude ?"
“ You must have been mistaken, child,” said Dr. Doldy," the thing is absurd.”
not mistaken," said Ernestine positively.
Stay! what was he wearing ? perhaps he was being conveyed from one prison to another? Was there a policeman ?”
“No. And now that you speak of
clothes I remember his hat and protect, however angry he might coat looked rather new. I have be. never seen prison dress, but surely Ernestine felt strangely indisit does not include a tall hat. And posed to mention Laura's name the men with him were foreigners, now that she was at liberty to do and not a bit like policemen. I Her soul revolted from letting wonder, I wonder"
her husband understand the labysuddenly, and walked about rinth of small deceits in the midst
room, twisting her hands of which he had so unconsciously together as she thought aloud, moved. She felt, too, that he had “can Laura have been playing a been made something of a puppet. double part? Has her cunning dis- The thing was over; she hated to covered some mode of appearing to
speak of it.
“ Go to Mr. Lingen," punish the man who insults her she said ; “ he will tell you so much while preventing the punishment better than I can.” At the same from falling upon the man who has time she could not help letting been her lover? It is possible ! enough fall in answer to his quesShe is very clever. Oh, I hope it tions to make the vein start on his is so! I could almost like her forehead blue and distinct. again if she has done this; if she “ Do you mean that Laura was has enough love in her to carry out ashamed of those letters ? — that such a plan, why, how unjust I the man had some hold over hershall have been to her!”
nonsense! It is all of a piece with "Ernestine," said Dr. Doldy, Yriarte's driving in the streetsgravely, “you seem to me to be you are dreaming, dear.” talking very wildly. People cannot “Go to Mr. Lingen,” said Ernesplay with law. But do you know tine again.
“ You will soon learn that you promised to explain to-day whether the mystery that has been some expressions which you once hanging-oh! so black a cloud !used about Laura ? Now, instead over me, is my own madness or not. of mystifying me any further, come I have no wish to tell you anything sit down, and explain yourself. I of this intrigue which has forced shall begin to think you are going itself upon my life against my will. mad when you talk enigmas about And, as Laura once reminded me, my niece, and at the same time one has no right to gossip of things declare that you see convicts driv- one may have seen professionally. ing at large in the streets."
Keeping secrets and telling them “I am positive about Yriarte,” seem to be equally part of a law. said Ernestine. “As to explana yer's business. tions," said she, a little wearily, “ Then I will go to Lingen,” ex“you had better go to Mr. Lingen.” claimed Dr. Doldy, standing up to But, all the same, she came and sat go on the instant. Ernestine debeside him. Her pledge of secrecy tained him. expired to-day. Laura knew very “Remember,” she said, “the well that Dr. Doldy's utmost wrath condition I made on returning would do her no harm when once home about Laura's money. I could Sir Percy and Lady Flaxen had never bear that a single penny of driven off to that mighty Charing- it should be used in the house in cross station, which a great writer which I live. I will not give Laura was once heard to describe, in a the triumph of supposing that I poetic moment, as the gateway of kept her secrets in order to obtain the Continent. Her money was
You wished to be safe; her reputation he would satisfied that there was a reason for
this. Ask Mr. Lingen to satisfy “Let the dog go, if he is outyou; he will understand. Tell him I can't stop to speculate on it also that I have been this morning now; what I want to know is, what to see about the purpose to which reason has my wife to say that it I wish to devote that money. Yes, is more just he should be let out you are amazed; I have made nó than not ? She has referred me promises, for that I could not do ; to you; just tell me what she but I have satisfied myself that the means. money is needed.
Yes, without Lingen pushed his papers aside. your knowledge I have taken the Dr. Doldy was an important client. means of satisfying myself ! I have He let the gentlemen cool their
heels relied on your chivalrous tempera- in the ante-room, while Dr. Doldy ment; you will carry out the plan. walked up and down his sanctum, Now go, ask Mr. Lingen anything asking questions and getting moyou choose. I am too weary of mentarily into a whiter heat. Mr. it all to talk any more."
Lingen took out his smelling bottle She sat down again, and throw- and prepared himself to be called a ing back her wandering curls, took scoundrel. a bowl of white flowers into her And he was called that-and lap and let her eyes feast on them. more. She craved the rest of beauty and He sniffed his scent and shrugged purity. Her cloud was passing his shoulders. over in reality ; but the blackness “ What else could I have done?” of it was yet visible.
said he. “I have tried to do the Dr. Doldy gave her one look- best for all. By helping you, I saw the wave of abstraction coming have lost thousands of pounds by over her face—and decided within Yriarte. The scoundrel pledged himself that he was likely to get his properties twice over. If he is
satisfactory explanations at large, I should be glad to get from Mr. Lingen. So he went out hold of him. But London will and left her with her flowers. never see him again. I have to be
He found several clients waiting calm ; won't you try and be the in Mr. Lingen's outer office. He
same?” pushed through them and walked in unceremoniously. Mr. Lingen,
CHAPTER XLI. airy and cool, was looking over SHOULD AULD ACQUAINTANCE BE the papers concerning which one
FORGOT.” of the impatient gentlemen outside That same evening in one of the was waiting to see him.
largest hotels in Boulogne two Dr. Doldy took off his hat, and men sat at a small table in the Lingen, looking up blandly, saw coffee-room drinking. the vein on his forehead:
The windows opened wide upon " Oh, Lord,” thought he, the harbour; the sweet sea breeze “ there's a storm brewing.
entered and called people out to My wife declares,” began Dr. admire the calm, beautiful night. Doldy, abruptly, “that she saw But these two men, though they that cur Yriarte looking out of a had but that day escaped from cab window to-day. He can't have foggy London, were not to be escaped !"
attracted by the sea in its mood of “ Already ?” said Mr. Lingen, sweetness, or the sky with its face “strange things do happen some- full of stars. The beautiful and times; but that would be quick the picturesque were alike without work.”
charm for them. Both were accus
tomed to gravitate to a ordered “ Dinner, some dry chamexhausted of air and filled with pagne—and be quick." mingled perfume and cigar smoke. “ In the coffee-room, sir ?” asked They were only chance travelling the polite landlord, who was a companions, drawn' together by stout Englishman. that odd attraction which makes The gentleman to whom the such men invariably find each languid English voice belonged other amid a crowd. Community looked into the coffee-room. of tastes is soon discovered when 'No, in a private room. I the tastes are as simple as drink- can't take a lady in there; there ing, gambling, and telling very are fellahs gambling." doubtful stories.
Gambling, sir ! Oh, imposThese two newly-made friends sible," exclaimed the landlord ; and, over their wine told each other handing the English visitors over several racy and charming stories, to his chattering French wife to be which got them into a delightful shown upstairs, he hastened to the state of mirth and good humour. coffee-room. And then, when that form of There he found a scene worthy amusement slackened, one of them of a more artistic appreciation than -a small, dark man, with teeth he could give it. The two men that flashed ominously when he leaning across the table, gesticulaughed-produced a new pack of lating, talking any language which cards from his pocket.
came first — French, English, panion, a stout Frenchman, with Spanish-or, perhaps, selecting the dirty hands and many rings upon strongest expressions of all to them, welcomed the sight with mingle in one concentrated jargon enthusiasm. In a few moments of oaths, exhibited certain classes they were deeply plunged in their of French and Spanish character to
amusement. The stakes perfection. became heavier with every fresh But the landlord found nothing game, the excitement more ent'ıral- to admire in the scene. He soon ling. The Frenchman lost money made his voice heard above theirs, rapidly, and grew more furious and and, in a language as mixed as suspicious with every fresh deal. their own, informed them that his They were undisturbed, it was was not a gambling house, that late, the coffee-room was empty. they were in a public room, that he The waiters were standing outside would not allow this conduct for the hotel taking the air and watch- an instant. He repeated this so ing for any arrivals from the last often and so loudly that the two Folkestone boat, which was behind men stopped at last and gave him its time.
their attention. There soon were several arrivals, “Very well,” cried the Spaniard and then the hotel people were too
in shrill and infuriated English; busy showing bed-rooms and fetch- “ if we can't do what we choose in ing luggage to notice the raised this abominable hotel of yours, voices and mingled execrations in we'll go to another. Make out French and Spanish in the coffee- the bill, sir, and be careful about room. The Frenchman's
it. I know very well what the picions had come to a climax. He items should be-very well I know. was calling his companion a cheat Make out the bills, sir; we'll go in every manner which his voluble the first thing in the morning.” tongue admitted.
* Very well, sir, do as you like, A languid English voice outside sir-very well, sir," responded the