[ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 1 NO ROBBERY. BY HENRY FRITH. ',Author o/ Me ]If.1jsteI'Jf o/ 310op Fa;'m," On the Wi2ims of the Wind," I'Izi-oieylz Flood, l'hrough li'il f," fc., &c. CHAPTER XI. t. MIGHTY, ],fJWNIFICENT, THREE-TAILED BASHAV/. "DEAR me, how very extraordinary!" exclaimed Sir Walter Watson as he sat at breakfast—"dear me! Nothing- cotdd have fallen out better. It seems almost as if Providence had arranged matters for us." Don't talk nonsense, Walter," replied his lady and very lady-like wife; "you ought to know better. As if Providence would think of interfering ;n——" "My dear, hush! Remember the servants, and ililst after prayers, too Really I must—1 really must MMM'i;———" "What is the matter? "inquired Lady Watson, fOterrupting her spouse. What made you ex- claim just now? Anything in the Railroad Market ?" No, no; certainly not. Dear me! You re- member our arrangement—jokingly put, of course— respecting Captain—I mean Colonel DeaneF" "Oh, yes; about the childi\n. 7 was quite serious, I assure you. The Deanes are an old family, and you are not of a very ancient One——" "Look here, Maria, I must say thit you are speaking in a very unbecoming' manner. My father—— Yes, yes; we know all about the hte contractor. Sir Edwnrd was a good and a very worthy man, but (toarcely—well not quite the equal of Colonel Dc'ane. When my dear mother first mot him she thought him very provincial indeed. Now what has made you so ('1'0'.$ r" "Cross! You are enough to vex a saint, Maria. No wonder I'm eros 1. But listen; here's an announce- ment in the paper: Mrs. Deane, wife of Colonel Deane, V.C., and all the rest of it, a son and heir I Don't you see, Lily and he are just of an age. She is two days old. r/' remarked Ladv Watson, gimeiug at the paper her husband banded to her. To be sure that is no great matter. But it'is uso- ess speculating on such children." "However, the :ur.'mgement would be a. very good one for both sides. Deane has always been very civil to me, and I must say I think I am not behindhand in courtesy. Yos it will do—very cicely indeed." I wonder when Mrs. Deane is coming back ? There have been rumours of shipwreck and acci- dent, but she must have returned, else this an- nouncement could not Inve been insetted in the y?tM. Shall we caU f asked Lady Watson. Yes: it would be as well to inquire at any rate. Let us arrange to do so to-morrow if you arc dis- engaged," ieplied her submissive husband. And then the meal proceeded without any further special conversation, Sir Walter being buried in the news- paper and Lady Watson sitting gazing from the window waiting until her housekeeper came to &ay that certain domestic concerns needed her authority. We must not imagine from the glimpse of Sir Walter Watson that he was alvnys as quiet and submissive as he appeared at home. There were few people who did not nnd out the rough side of his tongue. He was a really great man in the neighbourhood of—————. The village inhabited by the workpeople at the shops as the engine factory was called—belonged to him. He had instituted a church and forbade anyone to go to chapel in pain of his high displeasure, but many went all the same. He had a post-oQice, a school, a publichouse—only one-a reading- foom, and a recre;tii"ii room, with all mcdern amusements laid on for the leisure hours of the tenantry who voted for him in the election to a man- or nC:'1rly so-.for Sir Walter never bribed anyone, nor would he per- mit any apparent interference with a voter. But it was generally understood that Mr Walter ought to be supported as a Liberal member, and he was, until he was oSended at. some Parlhnnentary inter- ference, and then he changed his politics and gained 0. baronetcv. This gave rise to some little discussion; and when the next general election came. Sir Walter put up as Conservative, and was duly returned A petition was lodged, but not a tittle of evidence was forthcoming respecting any act'of intimidation o bribery, and the commissioner returned a, "cL an bill of health to the new member. Thus Sir W:dt- r retained his seat and his Inuuence like a modern Vicar of Bray. From these few particulars it may be gathered that this railway magnate was really and trulv a great man—that is a great man Lcally, and In a business sense not physically. Personally, tho baronet was short and incHned to stoutn',s He had a nrm-set countenance and a clear head. He was generally well dressed as became a. magnate, and rather prided himself upon bis short stature, for he remembered that all gn.at men in history were physically small. But to see him at his greatest you should attend a meeting at which he was chairman. Then he came out in his, truest and most dazzling colours. He literally sat upon the Board. Not a direct) r, not a shareholder, dared to ask any question as to accounts or procedure. Sir Walter was quite equal to any emergency, and resented inquiry as ft personal insult. The unfortunate man who ventured Within reach of the lion's paw was severely handled and sarcastic remarks with angry repartee or retort was usually the lot of the enterprising bondholder or shareholder in any con ern iu which the "many- headed chairman held a prominent position. Yet with al] this he was a kind]yman,veryfondof }us son and heir, Edward, who had been destined for the Church from infancy, but whose talents lay more in the engineering line." He was still quite a lad, and had Colonel Deane's chHd been a girl, Sir Walter would have brought about, the match equally, for he was fond of the aristocracy, particularly Fjnee he had b come ft. Conservative, and had serious thoughts of Stgning himself -Watson." like a p-cr ?The Towers," where he lived, wa.s'e!egantlv fur? ptshed and appointed. W?hy it had been'called the Towers nobody-not even the oldest inhabitant .-could tell. Not a turret was viable, and nothing *)roachrngtothe outward .semMa-uce of a tower < within a mile of the house, and that was ony a Rut Sir Walter hked
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f the Towers, and' no body 'not even his wife, had succeeded in changing his nom nclature. Sir Walter was now hppy. The estates of the Deanes and his own (by purchase) would be united in the family. He could run a line throus.h the estate and double the value. His son should be a. millionaire and rume it with the best. Be should go to Harrow, or Eton and Oxford, and ester the Church. He should have the living in the neigh- bourhood, for Sir Walter had influence, and the cosv corner was in the gift of the lo;d of the manor. These p:ans were all made, and when Sir Walter Watsjn took the trouble to make plans, nobody (except L'tdy Watson) ever induced him to unmake them, or to turn away from his object. Where is Walter ? inquired he of his wife. I want him." Down at those horrid workshops, I suppose," replied her ladyship, whose father had been in the meat line, and, having accumulated much cash, had got knighted for assisting the Queen from her car- riage when she opened a new People's Park, and who had then cut the shop and never come again. So Lady W&t.'?on—once Mar'a Copping—was extremely grand and aristocratic. Knew the peerage by heait, and felt extremely uncomfortable whm she was alone in society. At home she peeked at her husband, and worried him not a. little. "Those horrid workpeople were really too great a trial for her nerves. We have been particular in describing the Watsons, because in the course of this narrative we shall see a good deal of them. The Towers was beautifully situated in a commanding eminence, and the view, when not obscured by the "moke from the terrible shops, was lovely and of considerable extent, the sea being a beautiful background to a really charmi)g picture in nature's best style. I will go down to the works and see whether the boy is there. He ought to be better employed." said Sir Walter. It is his holiday time, and I am sure the child I is not doing any harm, replied Lady Watson, somewhat inconsistently, though the association with workpeople and railroad stokers is not the best for him, I allow." TMs gentle rap at the patient husband, whoga father had been a great railway foreman and con- tractor, and who had actually made his great fortune out of the very line of which his son was chairman, did not produce any reply at the moment, unless some nearly inaudible murmurings concerning butchers and beggars on horseback," concluding I with a word which possibly had reference to some Holland capital stock, could be called a reply. Then Sir Walter left the room, and banged the door behind him. He made his way on foot to the great workshops by a private path through the domain whith led him across the railway. He was about to cross it when a loud whistling arrested him. He stopped in obedience to the signal, and as the enormous 11 expres locomotive went past, without a tra'.n, he re''ognised, perched upon the foot- plate, his son !.nd heir, his hand on the whistle, de- lighted at the idea of "funking the governor" a3 Ire said to his friend, Robert Cooper, the driver of tl.e engine. "(he &hook his walking-stick at the lad, and the engiiie-drh'er touched bis hat in acknow- ledgment as the engine passed on to the next station. Sir Walter 1hrm crossed the rails, and, skirting the canal, came to a under-pafh which led him to a gate in a hi?h walL Insidu this wall were the shops, and he entered, scarcely heeding the admonition that stared him in the face as he passed in, BEWARE OF THE SHUNTINfr ]NRIKT' With the knowledge of the locality, begotten of custom, the great nun threaced his way through a labyrinth of superannuated waggons without wheels, and wheels without anything to support except themselves, and seemingly almost inca; able of that, for they were 1 corner ve paupers thrust into the rail- way på, r-house ;'nd fo:poLt.n by their connections. pi)ed in another pb),ce—"s rap" it is called—and it v'il! be sold some day at a good price. Beyond were lines f.'a.rri;)ges waiting repairs, for there WetS a carnage attached to the j o Jr-h, u<o." and hero the "cars" vere carefully repaired and overhauled. All kinds or trucks were v.s;blc farther o:), some..laden with ccal, other. ofipty and a whol; line of tender.?, without engine?, looking very ru.-ty and fors:tken: and engines with- out tend' rs, look'ngfor all the world like birds which had had their tails polled out. Across more sidings where o'd locomotives had come t) a stop for over; their ra. e was Dm. No more shall that swift-running Lightning nash along'the rails withh8r Majesty's m:ÜI, no more shall that great-driving-whaol, six feet six inches in diameter, revolve at express speed to carry the news of a b tttle into the country with the papers.. Its day is dom-; its sun basset. The rust Hi-on the wheels, the open !urna e door, the pipes in front all choked with dnst aud bi',s of stone, and the open man hole," where a enturesome bi: d h .d made hf'r nest and reared her young, all told the secret of decay. "Unto' scrap' shalt thou return.' Passing ilie.,ic skeletons and the unconnected wheels—the chimney pensioners of the locomo- tive department—Sir Walter Watson made hia way to the erecting shop, where some new engines are being built, and here he .finds a perfectly new loco- motive, all brave in brass and paint, and c'oan as rubbing and oil can make her. This is Ins pet vanity. We are all mortal; and Sir Walter had a weak place. This beautiful piece of machinery was nearly ready to come out. Her name had been put on that morning. She was called Walter Watson, by way of a delicate ompliment t) the chairman; and she was the one thousandth engine the company had n aile. We will leave him to contemplate and examine h's namesake, and turn to th<; r'uiway for a few moments, and take up the thread of the narrative at the signal-box. CHAPTER XII. AN EXPLANATION HETWJEEN J'JtrENDS—A SURPRISE WE must go back to the evening when Lucy Ray- mond ran away, and bring the tale up to the later date. When the train had passed on, the mangled re- mains of poor Raymond were co lected and carried to the hospital to await a formal inquiry, and Bill Bostley was the bearer of the news of Lucy's elope- ment to George Collier as already related in the first chapter. He did not mention the death of Jack Raymond, believing tint Collier would be as good as hia word, and strangle h'm. For such a fate Bostley the. Breman had no taste.
f£'«>¡¡AIÐ _0.- Put of course the f-errible intelligence very soon c&me to Gaorge's ears, and he was greatly troubled. Lucy had played him faise. After all that had passed; after all the long summer days they had' spent together; aftera'l the pleasant winter evenings and homely pastimes Lucy had played him fal&e! He would never forgive her—nor forget her Bill Bostley and George Collier had many a con- versation concerning Lucy Raymond and her ulti- mate fate in India, for her Jas-'t 1 tter, written from Portsmouth, had come to its destination, but never reached her father, for whom it was intended. George had opened it, knowing he had the right to do so, and being likewise urged thereto by <urioua gossips, who were as anxious from the mere love ot scandal as he was for love of Lucy Layton. One evening George and his friend Bill were sitting chatting together in ths room rented by the former in the village. A bond of sympathy now united the young men. There appeared a tie between them since Lucy's elopement, and they could now speak of her w hout bitterness. Well, well," said George after a pause in the conversation, during which both smoked audibly. Perhaps it's all for the best; but I don't believe anybody ever loved Lucy as I did. Never! Maybe not," replied Bill but I think, George, there was a man as worshipped the very ground sh& walked upon, and would have tied up her sandals,. as parson s.iys." Bostley had not got the idea quite right, but his friend understood him. Who was he then ? None of the fellows in these parts, I'll be bound. Ko one ever said so to her, did he r" No; no one ever,sii(I anything—leastways not the man I mean; but when you began to talk about suiciding and cross-road stakes—which Is the end of the self-murderer I'm told-then th-'nks I to myself,. some people can go on never minding and suffer too." C, A P 11 What on earth d'ye mean, Bill ? Who was the man as could do that ? Love Lucy and never say aught to her Tain't'human natur' No, George, it was against natur'. But lie did. it, and I'll toil ye who did it, mate. It was we "You, Bill' You loved Lucy, and never said a word Why, dash my wig, but.")hat's impossible. "No it ain't," replied the nrcman, doggedly. It's possible, and more than that—its ?-Mf. I loved Lucy dear, and if you hadn't been her lad I'd a had a try, I would, upon my soul." Bill Bostley," cjied George Collier, standing- up .ind clapping his friend upon the shoulder in high appreciation, y. u'ro a Ne:o Maybe I am," replic B!ll. I don't know what, it is rightly. They called the General yonder in India a Nero for killing some blacks. I've done nothing but my duty to my neighbour, and if I loved Ao- better than mysrif ''t was only her due. Aye, mate, and I believe I love her still." "S) do T, Bill; so do 1. When I thinks of her, po:.r girl, a.,ittin' with me yond r by the sea-shore, or even up in the box, I used to think her an orna- ment to any cabin. I can't help feeding spooney- like all over me. She used to come so pretty and winnin', and pretend to ring the bells and frighten my life out for fear she would try to pull a lever off. Ah, she was a witch, and no mistake." She was, George, and now you know my secret, I know now what I didn't know afore. She caused Jack's death." What:" exclaimed Collier. Killed her own father; No, Bill; no murder for the girl we loves." No actual cut and come kitim—not that—— but ye know Jack saw ghosts and appearances. Well they was her and her soldier chap on the line -crossin' and crossin' together, and .also separate to meet and court on the sly." 0' course, o' course. I can see it all clear as & headlamp now, and to think I never suspected her! Dear, dear! Poor Lucy! But if ever I come across her h usband——" If so be he is her husband," put in Bill. If so be as you say he is," continued Collier then I'll shake his good-for-nothing head off, and throw it in his face-by Jingo I will He meant it too, and in his excitement the an-?ry man forgot the physical impossibility of the feat?he was so anxious to perform at Layton's expense. So will I, mate," and the men shook hands upon Ther(was another pause, and. then the firdr4Aii- taid, ?f?'? Did ye hear that Mrs. Dea.ne is comm' home t<? Rie hall ? What, the captain's wife, d'ye mean? Him aa is in India?" 4 "Aye, he's something else now; an admiral or something higher up." CriAfr.- -4 "Don't think it's a admiral, replied the other;: they're fellows in ships. My chum, Bob—ye mind Bob Windstay—well, he is a. sailor on the canal yonder, and he told me admirals were gentlemen in the Seet somewhere in London." ? Wel!, he's not a captain. Dio: told me he was a commander of troops in the East, and couldn't be in London. Anyway, she's written to say she is comin' h'mie again, and the hor.s" is to be got ready. There's a Aeir!" ?'; Where ?" said the signalman, rising. In tha 'garden? Drat it, I wish I'd got Spot here." "No, not here," replied his mate, smilmg. "I mean a child—a heir to the property—that's what I mean." T The commandin' lad ? Oh, I see. Well, and good luck to him. When is she coming'?" Very soon. The painters is all at work, and the furniture is bein' polished up and carpets beat, and their linen is washing jLit. be bcx,4 iu & few days now I'm told." "There'll be great doings then, I suppose, and maybe we'll get a. pickin' up of something with the rest. Here's long life to her she is a brave lady." So she is, and we'U go down to the Maid' and drink her health, and confusion to the man that robbed Lucy Raymond. Come along, mate," said Biil. "Wait a minute," said Coll!or; "I'm not quite ready. I must be in at ton, and I've only an hour. But we'll go across." In -a few minutes the pair quitted the house, and made for the inn which had for its sign the head of a girl, and was calle 1 the Village Maid." The evening was rather dark, and the road, shel- tered by trees, was gloomy. As they proceeded, their conversation turned upon thj never-failing theme that had served them when no other topic would have drawn forth an answer—Lucy. They met a few people, and exchanged a Good- night with some women and children, and now and then a man alone, and not quite able to take- caje of himself.