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[Alt RIGHTS MSMTtDtJ NO ROBBERY. St HENRY FRITH, •Juthot 9f "The Mystery of Moor Farm" "On tht Wings of the Wind," •» Through Flood, Through Fire," #c., &c, CHAPTER XXVII. LADY DEANE MEETS LUCY LAYTON. Wa must now endeavour to explain how it happened that Minnie had arrived at the Hall, and to do this we Must go back to the morning before her arrival. Mar- JBMtduke Deane did not accept the punishment he had Received in a manner at all befitting the high station an Ufe he had to support. He was obliged to nurse bis revenge, though, and that he would be revenged, thole who knew him best were ooxjyiflced, — JLady Deane had reasojjjd with Ma upon'the sin $f pugilifQi; had. enueavotired to show him how very jjaoecoming his whole behaviour had been. ? u The idea,' she said, of your wishing to marry a rjilage girl. Your father will be home in a few dap, and to him we will appeal." I Marmaduke had never seen this terrible father, orho had been so often held up to him as a pattern; and felt rather awed at the near approach of the meeting. A boy like you thinking of marrying at all is fidiculous," continued Lady Deane. Time enough pften you are of age to think of such things." t. "I suppose Watson thinks of it all men think of getting married, don't they?" asked the young røan. I'm old enough." 1, II All men, yes-not boys like you. I will call flpon this Mrs. Layton and advise her about her Child. I cannot have this girl thrown at your head, II the phrase goes. She is no companion for you." g, "Lily Watson knows her," muttered the invalid. v Miss Watson is quite different. If you had any lute you would have preferred her. S.1 is a lady and will have plenty of money. No one could possibly object to Lily Watson," said Lady Deane. 1*11 go and spoon' her if you like," said the elegant youth. I don't care a pin for her, but She might like me, and if the governor doesn't come And spoil sport it might come off." u You are really incorrigible, Marmaduke. I cannot listen to such remarks. Where you have got juch ideas I cannot understand. Not from me- and certainly not from your dear father. I will see Ulis woman Layton to day." Lady Deane had made up her mind to speak to JjUCy and endeavour to induce her to keep her daughter out of Marmaduke's way, but when it came to the point there was a delicacy about the question which Lady Deane could not break through. Under the circumstances, her ladyship thought she would go up and call upon Lady Watson, and ex- plain her views to her sympathising friend. This would also be a good opportunity to find out whether there was any likelihood of any feeling for her Mar- Oiaduke existing in Lily's heart. So Lady Deane went up to the Towers," and toped to be fortunate enough to find Lady Watson jat home. •. Lady Deane determined on this occasion to dis pense with the carriage, and took her way across the fields and through the lane to consult the chair- man's wife. She did not reach "the Towers," though, upon that Occasion. While crossing the park she encountered Lucy Layton, who respectfully, if boldly, greeted her, and then it occurred to Lady Deane to make her remarks concerning Minnie to her mother, as 4e thought her. « Good morning, Mrs. Layton. I am glad to meet you; for I wish to speak to you. My son, as you are aware, has been injured in defending your daughter." Mrs. Layton was understood to say it was in 4efending himself, while he had offended her daughter; but she did not insist upon this view of the case. No matter," said Lady Deane but I wish it to be understood that Marmaduke must not be en- couraged to associate with your daughter. It is always best on these occasions to speak frankly, and you must excuse me when I say that the gisj^ought Ilot to encourage him." "0 She does not encourage him," said Lucy Layton. If she did not tolerate his visits the boy would not go so often; you know that as well as I do. The young girl (her ladyship would not call her lady) is doubtless very winning, and were she in a proper sphere, of life it might be permitted, but as it As it is, Lady Deane, things must take their chance. My daughter is quite capable of taking care of herself, and, I think, Mr. Marmaduke is likely enough to have his own way. I shall not Interfere." You take very high ground in this, Mrs. Jjayton. I have befriended you in some respects, and was not prepared for any resistance on your part to such a very obvious arrangement.. I will forbid my sou to go up to your cottage in future, and when Sir William returns J "Ele will see' me righted," said Lucy. I can depend upon him at any rate. He will re- cognise She suddenly stopped. Her reason for thus dis- tilling a drop of poison into Lady Deane's heart was not dear even to herself, The failure of her plans for her son's marriage to the heiress, or the chances of his succession at all, were becoming faint. Sir Wmiam was on his way home, and if by any chance her husband ever returned, and lie knew their Child was Am/what would become of her then? Her apparently well-planned edifice was crumb- ling slowly away, and would soon leave her home- less and unsheltered after all her care, and, notwith- itanding the well-arranged meshes to catch others, her own feet were not to be tripped up. t "-Sir William will recognise what ?" inquired XadyD eane, after a. pause, during which she strove to repress her anger. Have you seen Sir William ■Jjefore ? "Yes," replied Lucy, boldly, I have-in Sfcdia, and he will r< ro^-ni=e me- and my—claims." "I do not woman," said Lady t))eane. <> Tt ,ble that Sir ,WIUiam Can in any w r x n by'such ^s^rHona any more than I can. You are onlvalh'ig n-cult to injury, JUTS. Layton, and I would suggest, the pro- priety of your leaving your present" abode. We canuot have our son brought into contact with your The intimacy must.cegse," un.,J W¡'I: .ririting of every Description v—xotf win entirely æ-iipon c-ifdumsraiicfitlv,, replied Lucy Layton. My child is quite as dean to me as yours is to you. If such a marriage weri to take place,, you would not be ashamed of my hild." "It is no use speaking to you," said Lady De&n$. The'subject cannot be further discussed between lis. Whe)-e is your daughter?" fe Minnie has gone down to the railway to hit 'uttble,' as we call the inspector." j I will endeavour lo see her and inform her that her meetings with Marmaduke must cease." You will, I trust, do no such thing, Lady Deane. I am quite able to manage my own affairs and hers. If you do so far forget yourself ] Mrs. Layton checked herself in time. She very nearly had told all. I fef 411 cannot submit fo threats. I will act as seemt best to myself. Good morning. You will not tippet to see me agaain, nor shall I permit Marina-' duke—my son-to meet your daughter." bp ''Are you sure he is yoyr soil ?" said Lucy Layton, IS' WSSo ?" eS§u$ed ladyship. You have more than once thrown out mysterious hints. Explain yourself." gg. Lucy Layton vouchsafed no reply, but, turning t),way, proceeded homewards. Lady Deane, who re- traced her steps, with very mingled feelings. J Neither had got very far upon their homeward ways when a man overtook Mrs. Layton with a message that caused her to proceed at once towards the railway station; and a telegram, which had arrived an hour before, was at length delivered to Lady Deane. She opened it as she went along. It was from Sir William announcing his speedy arrival by special train with Captain Rushleigh. The message to Lucy Layton was to the effect that Minnie was going down the line with her Uncle George," and would not be back till dark. This arrangement did not suit Mrs. Layton, and she made up her mind to bring Minnie home. She was half inclined to take the girl to the Hall, and tell the whole truth. She was getting very tired of planning, and at present things looked very badly for her. But when she got to the station she discovered that Minnie and Collier had gone away some dis- tance. His business was to inspect the line, and he had taken the girl with him. It was a very fortunate thing that he did so, for an accident happened, which would have cost many lives had not Minnie been present. It was this occurrence which led to Minnie's sud- den and unexpected,"appearance at the Halljas already related, after Marmaduke's interview with Mrs. Layton, which took place after Lady Deane had, as a more vulgar person would have expressed it, givon Mrs.Layton a piece of her mind. ii We will now proceed to relate the very extraor- dinary circumstances attending the arrival of Sir William Deane and Captain Rushleigh from India, with the subsequent and concluding event* whiell will bring this history to a conclusion. ,A CHAPTER XXVIIL A BRAVE RESCUE. COME along, uncle," said Minnie, who was Wait- ing anxiously for George Collier to accompany her. Come along. We shall not have time to reach the next station unless you make haste." Plenty of time, my dear. Don't you hurry. I never knew such a girl for the railways. No wonder they call you The Signalman's Daughter.' You are as fond of the line as if you you had been born on it." Mother says I was born at sea," replied Minnie; u but I am not a bit fond of the water." All Britons should be fond of the sea," remarked Collier. But I can't be English if I was born at sea. Can I, unde ? Yes, my dear. Stepney is your parish. In London it is All people born at se.1 belongs; so I am told, to Stepney pari-h." Who -was my father, uncle P Did you ever see him ? I suppose not, though." "Ye?, I did," replied Collier, grimly. He was about hexe a good deal before he and your mother went to India. Yes, I know'd him." lIe was an officer, wasn't he—in the army—like Sir Wilham Deane r Very like I should say," replied Collier; "but never mind, my dear, he's dead, poor gentleman." Gentleman Was poor papa a gent'eman r" Yes; ofacers arc gentlemen, I suppose," said the signalman at least, they say so." Am I like him, uncle ?" asked the girl. Not a bit, my dear-not in face, I mean; and I don't know as you are like him. in any other way, either." I like you to to me," continued Minnie; you always tell me what I want..Mother never will say anything about me when I was a bahy. She thinks me unkind if I ask her, and I am sure I don't mean to be." She em't l1 i k you unkind, deary. It is only natural, after a 1, that you should want to know all about yourself. There's many a one of us who doesn't know any more about himself than you, or not as much. It's a weary world, and I'm a-gettin' tired of it all." "Oh, uncle; you getting tired of living? Non- sense cried. Minnie, Ms arm. You are talking like an old man. Ton will live a long time yet, you ti-iow." Who can'tell thatF" replied Collier. "I've had many narrow escapes, Minnie, on this very lino, when I was signalman, parti ularly; but I never had what people call warnings till last niih' "Warnings, Uncle George! Warnings of what ?" Of death, my dear. Belt you are too young to be talked to like this. Never mind. We'll do our business an'l come home as qui::k as we can. I. don't feel over happy." Minnie pulled his face down to hers and kissed him. There's a special one for you," she said, and a warning you'll have no more if you talk so sadly." Talkin' of specials," said the ex signalman. "There's a coming down to-day with Sir William Deane, the groit soldier, and his friends. So we. mu t remember th Tl < rooda train; leok how his drop There's- something -krt l "•••• c • j •• ^n, I e-qict." In fact the orgine a > t a;ci oachc.djwas 'lettrn fill i *•< h t ccais, which i,i11y¡1ted away and 'the -l 1 rns as they fell. Colher shouted t.o the driver, who made some answer and seemed aware of the fault in the machine, probably intending to remedy it at the next station. .There were, many incidents in that str ,,1_- ..Ao=- Executed at the Chronicle Office, Penarth. the Kne wMcIi jVT/nnfe remembered for many i. day. The platelayers all gave them a cheerful greeting, the engine men as they passed waved their hands and caps to the girl and her companion, and when they reached the cutting a gang of men with pitch and tar (with which they had been lately tarring the wooden viaduct over the gully previously mentioned in connection with the strike) entered intor an animated conversation with the inspector cou- cerning the permanent way and its defects. 14; The birds gang and fluttered across the line,. hopping familiarly upon the wires of the telegraph till Minnie in her ignorance wondered they didn't fall down dead from the electric shock. Her simple observation reminded the inspector of the trick he had played upon Sandy Sam, and he told Minnie all about it, and how the man had tried to wreck the trains on the bridge they were now approaching. We must mind the special does not catch us on that viaduct, Minnie. There is not much room to stand up, I can tell you," We can lie down," replied Minnie, half smiliag; then remembering the anxiety she had caused, sh added, I will never play any more tricks on the railway. I am so very sorry, Uncle George." He assured her that all was forgiven; and at length they turned the curve and came in sight of a very pretty bit of the line—the limit of Colliero inspection. In front the line ran, gently into the midst of ft grove of trees which sheltered it on both sides, the foliage meeting overhead, and forming quite a natural tunnel of leaves. Just in front of this bower, so to speak, the white timbers of the viaduct were plainly visible where it spanned the little ravine leading to the canal and the sea. The canal passed across it at the end, and beyond that again at some distance the seashore was distinctly visible through the space, for the trees hid the view on the light, and the embankment topped with more trees on the left quite enclosed the- line for one or two miles. It was a very charming place, and quite like a forest through which the; railway had been laid. But there was no forest- only an extensive belt of foliage, chiefly pines and. other coniferous trees. In this spot the signalman and his" daughter" sat down and rested, chatting of many things and people. "What is that smoke there, under" asked Minnie, suddenly. How curious that there should be any here!" Someone may have lighted a fire for the pitch- ing, but they ought to have put it out," replied the L signalman. We'll see to it presently." But look round, it is getting worse. The sum nas set fire to the grass, perhaps," said Minnie. "Not likely, my dear; it is that careless pitch- gang--depend upon it. They have left the fire smouldering upon the line. We'll go and put it out." The signalman and his young companion advanced towards the viaduct, but as they approached, it was evident that the fire was not on the line but upon the bridge itself. As soon as this became evident to Collier he hurried forward, and as he came'nearer the danger became very evident. Why the bridge is burning, Minnie. Good heavens the timbers are already on fire! Who has done this ? Look. My God, the tar is alight! The whole thing will blaze up soon. Come, hurry up, and help me to put the fire out. Quick. Quick I see," cried Minnie. Here is the worst place. It must have been a coal from that engine that dropped and burned it first." Very likely," assented Collier, who was busy throwing gravel and beating the fire with a branch of a tree. "Very likely. What are you doing he shouted to his companion. UiiAF Minnie paid no attention to him. Alongside the line ran just there a tiny rivulet, which hurried along, and finally trickled through a drain-pipe down into the ravine. Minnie had taken off a light shawl she wore, and had steeped it in the water before the inspector could stop her. She ran back to the bridge, and, by pressing the wet shawl upon the nearly blazing wood, managed, after a> time, to subdue a very dangerous outbreak. There was one beam—quite a small one which, had it remained burning, would £ oon have blazed out- and endangered the whole structure. But, notwithstamrng all their exertions, the fire would have gained had not assistance arrived. 'Seeing that, unless George Collier could succeed in checking the flames, the whole structure would be charred, and dangerous, and perhaps give way when a train passed over it, Minnie hurried forward up the line, iDcitedby Collier. Run along, girl; take this red handkerchief and meet the special. Get round this corner as quick as you can. The line is straight then for a good bit,. and they will see you. Tell them to come slowly up to the bridge." Minnie needed no second bidding. She hurried along, and soon after she had tarned the corner she perceived the cloud or steam and smoke in the dis- tance. The special train bearing Sir William Deane and his tried companion-in-arms, Captain Rushleigh, was rapidly approaching. The young girl still advanced,^waving her red handkerchief with all her might. The train still approached, and the engine was distinctly visible. Just as Minnie began to feel that the train would not pull up, the steam was shut off, and floated aside; and then a .series of whistles told her practised eye that her signal had been seen and recognised. The tram was pulling up But another train which had eome in the opposite direction also pulled up and stopped close to where Minnie, with her red handkerchief fully' displayed, was waiting to tell her news. Tb& up express train and the down special i-n&ved together, and Minnie was eagerly questioned. It might have been a deal worse," said the driver of the up-train, "and it's a mercy it I couldn't pull up sooner, could we, Fred ?" No, we did all we could. Let us get back again. You needn't come, miss. He aoddedpsignificantly as he spoke to'the drivel Of the special train, wUo nodded in reply. "You come in here, Miss," said the guard, take ye on the viaduct. 'J'he company ought to reward ye well." ."George Collier deserves the reward," said Minnie he told me to come I must see him, for a minute." "You ..needn't go now," said the guard.» The gentlemen in the train wifh to speak to you. Come in here, we will carry yon' safely tack to she station. Minnie, of course, could not refuse. The door of the reserved saloon carriage was opened, and she was greeted very kindly by two gentlemen. One of the^occi^ant^vininiediaieiy attracted her attention,