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Customs alter and fashions change; ornaments once valued are thrown aside as antiquated; the toys that pleased the child are neglected by the boy; and youth's delights are scorned by sober manhood. But love-gifts never grow old-fashioned or out of date; they are always fresh from the golden age. Old people die, and desks and drawers are ransacked by their heirs. Take up tenderly the withered petals, the lock of hair, the quaint ring hidden away in some secret recess; for hearts have once thrilled and eyes moistened at their touch. Precious gems and rare objects there may be in casket and cabinet, but none preserved with such jealous care as these, for these were

love gifts.

The Landlord of “The Sun."

BY WILLIAM GILBERT,
AUTHOR OF “SHIRLEY HALL Asylum," "DE PROFUNDIS," ETC.

CHAPTER XXII.

THE PURSUIT. NOTWITHSTANDING Gideon Harcourt's assumed coldness to his friend, he felt deeply for his unfortunate position, and determined to do all in his power to assist him. To this he was stimulated still more by his disgust at Mr. Desbrow's conduct, for he felt assured that he was the individual setting Skidmore and the detective to work. It was not till after his return from the dinner-party that Gideon told his wife of Christian's visit, and its cause.

“And what do you intend doing to help the poor fellow ?" asked Mrs. Harcourt, who, since she had noticed Christian's emotion when, at their late interview, his little daughter spoke of the doctor as her father, had felt considerable interest for him.

“My dear, what can I do ?” said Gideon. "I assure you I do not lack the will to assist him if I could ; for, although he has grossly misconducted himself, and committed a great crime, I cannot forget old times.”

“But do you really think he is not mistaken in imagining Mr. Desbrow to be the principal agent in the matter ?" said Mrs. Harcourt. “What cause of personal offence has Mr. Brandon ever given him?"

“I strongly suspect the reverse is the case, and that Mr. Desbrow, who I now begin to think is a great scoundrel, has acted towards the poor fellow with great dishonesty in the matter of the lease of his house. But, beyond that, I am fully convinced he has deeply injured him in some other way, though how I cannot make out.”

“And even if you are right in your suspicions, what cause or excuse could he have for persecuting Mr. Brandon in the manner he appears to be doing ?"

“ None whatever, my dear," replied Gideon. He is actuated, no doubt, by that feeling which frequently induces a bad man, possibly as a salve to his own conscience, to persecute those he has injured.”

“Then, Gideon, there is a double reason why you should exert yourself to assist Mr. Brandon.”

Granted, my dear; and, as I said before, I will do it if possible, though I am unable to perceive how I can be of any use to him.”

“Never mind, dear, think well over the matter, and I am sure you will succeed," said Mrs. Harcourt, who had unlimited faith in her husband's ability and energy.

So strong was the interest Mrs. Harcourt bore for Christian Brandon, and her sympathy for the unfortunate position he was in, that at breakfast the next morning she again spoke to her husband on the subject, and asked what he intended doing.

“I am sorry to say,” he replied, “ although I have thought a good deal about the matter, I am not much more advanced than I was last night. As far as I can perceive at present, little more can be done than to keep silence on everything connected with him, so as not to give the detective any clue to his whereabouts. I almost think the better plan will be for me to call upon the little doctor this evening, and talk the matter over with him. I could then put him on his guard, not only to use great caution himself in speaking of Brandon, but to make the different members of his household do the same ; and if we can keep the matter in abeyance for a few days, it is more than probable that Mr. Desbrow's animosity against his old client may

die a natural death, or, at any rate, he will get tired of paying the detective for his services, without any benefit resulting from them.”

Mrs. Harcourt now left her husband to attend to her household duties, and Gideon retired to a small back room he was in the habit of occupying, in order to think over, undisturbed, in what manner he could further the interests of Christian Brandon. Look at it from any light he would, the same result presented itself to him, that he would do well to call on Mr. McNeil that evening, and talk the subject over. He could then learn more specifically what were the inquiries the detective had made, and whether he had called again, as well as to caution him not to allow the members of his houschold to answer any questions respecting him. Gideon even began to consider whether it would not be better to tell the doctor candidly who Christian Brandon really was, and the relationship he stood in with regard to the child. He could easily perceive that the doctor was a very kind little man, and would be much more likely to use caution in the matter if he knew the real facts of the case, than if only partially acquainted with them. After reflecting over the subject for some time, he determined that

, as it could do no possible injury to Christian Brandon, he would make known his history to Mr. McNeil

, and thereby induce the little doctor to take a warmer interest in the matter than he at present might do.

Harcourt had hardly come to this decision, when a ring was heard at the bell, and to his great satisfaction, when the door was opened, he recognised Mr. McNeil's voice asking if he were at home. As Harcourt had given orders to the servant to deny him to any one who called, he immediately went to the door, just in time to prevent Mr.

McNeil from going away, and they returned together to the little back room. As soon as they were seated, the doctor said :

“I dare say, Mr. Harcourt, you are surprised to see me; but I much want to speak to you about Mr. Christian. A very unpleasant circumstance has occurred respecting him, and there is an amount of mystery altogether about him which I should much like to clear up. As you appear to know something of him, I thought you would, perhaps, kindly advise me what to do.”

“Any advice or information I can give you,” said Harcourt, “is perfectly at your service. But what is the unpleasant circumstance to which you allude ?"

The doctor then related the visit of the two men in the morning, and their interview with his boy Jackson, although he did not hear of the circumstance for some hours afterwards.

“In the evening,” continued McNeil, “they called again. 'I am very glad to find you at home at last, sir,' said the man whom I suspect was the detective officer. 'I have been wanting particularly to see you.' As I had not then heard from Jackson of their former visit, I told him I was not aware he had wanted to see me. ‘Oh, yes,' said the man, we called this morning, and left word with the shop-boy that we wanted to speak to you, and of course we thought he would have told you as soon as you returned from Highgate.' 'I think you must have made some mistake,' I replied, “I have not been to Highgate, nor, in fact, absent from the house for an hour at a time during the whole of the day. The man made no reply; but, turning to Jackson, who was behind the counter, said to him, 'I tell you what it is, young fellow, you'll get yourself into trouble if you don't mind. It would be a deal better for you to lend me a helping hand than to stand in my way.""

My boy," continued the little doctor, “said nothing, but coloured deeply ; and the detective then said to him in a cajoling tone, ' You may as well loosen your tongue and tell the whole truth at once.' 'I have nothing to tell,' said the lad, doggedly. The man then turned to me, and told me he was a detective officer in search of an escaped convict, whose name was Brandon, and that he had reason to suspect I know something of him. At that moment it did not occur to me that it might be my patient, and I replied that I knew no one of that

The detective, with a look of doubt on his countenance, said, * Just as you please, doctor. Only remember that the law does not like any one concealing a runaway convict. It always goes against & man, you know. “Tell me your company, and I'll tell you what you are.' You know that old proverb, sir.'”

“I was so angry," said McNeil, “ with the man that I ordered him out of my house. Well, I hope you'll think better of it,' he said, moving towards the door. 'I dare say you will when you've slept

name.

over it. I'll come and see you to-morrow, and hope I shall find you more reasonable. And you too, young fellow,' he continued to Jackson, as he left the house, I hope you'll wake up to your own interest before long.'

Gideon remained silent, listening patiently for the doctor to proceed with any further information he might have to give him on the subject. Mr. McNeil then told him that the detective and his companion had hardly been gone five minutes when a woman came into the shop, with a letter from his old patient, Mr. Christian.

-* To my great surprise,” he continued, " in it he told me he was obliged to leave London immediately,—indeed, the notice was so short, he could not even come round and bid me 'good-bye;' but that he would write to me as soon as he was settled. This letter fairly puzzled me, and involuntarily I began to mix up the cause of his departure with the visit of the detective officer, though without having any particular reason for doing so. Still, the idea haunted me, and I took out the letter to read it again, thinking perhaps there might be a postscript or something added to it, when the idea crossed my mind that I had seen the handwriting before, and then I remembered it strongly resembled the two letters which had been in the possession of poor Mrs. Brandon, which I showed you, and which since have been left with me, as the woman, when I took them back, told me I might keep them. I then took them out and examined them, and I am fully convinced the handwriting is the same. There they are, sir,” he continued, “what is your opinion ?”

Gideon examined the letters carefully for a few minutes, and then returning them to the doctor, he said :

“There is no doubt on the subject, Mr. McNeil. I will not conceal from you that I know the same man wrote the three letters; and further, that he is the escaped convict the detective is looking for. But before I go more particularly into his history, let me know how you became acquainted with him ?”

The doctor then gave Harcourt an account of his being called in to attend Brandon when suffering under an attack of delirium tremens, the strong aversion he had taken to him at the time, which had gradually diminished as his health improved, till at last he began to entertain for him a positive friendship.

"You say you attended him for a case of delirium tremens," said Gideon, “is he then a drunkard ?”

“ He was,” replied the doctor, “and during the time, judging from the language he made use of in his illness, he must have been about as great a blackguard when in his drunken fits as could be met with. More horrible language than he used in his delirium I never heard in my life, and I have resided in Kent Street for some years.'

"Are you sure he does not drink now?” asked Gideon,

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