Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

2 articles on this Page

---------'fitt mshts iisnrziv]

CHAPTER XXXII.

News
Cite
Share

CHAPTER XXXII. The consternation at the captain's avowal may Do imagiLed, The only one of the party who retained his presence of mind was Rushleigh himself or Layton, as he may be called. He raised the fainting woman, and did all he could to restore animation, but for a time without suecms. Edward rang the bell for one of tlit female servants, and Mrs. Layton was carried into the library, where her husband joined her im s. diately. i » » • f* need not follow them thither. We will intrude upon that re-union. There was much to tell, and the clock had struck twelve before anyone ventured to knock at the door of the library. y But Edward lost no time. As soon as he per- ceived that the General and his father, with the remainder of the household, were deeply engaged in speculation and reminiscence, then he hurried out to the stables, and, saddling his mare, rode quickly through the village. As he passed through it he nearly ran over a man. (14 A 0 Curse you, stupid head said the fellow can't you look where you are going to ? I know that voice," muttered Edward. Come, I didn't huit you. he said, aloud; you needn't be so savage, Sandy Sam! Who are you that knows me in the dark. If ye have such good eyes, I wonder ye didn't see me on the road." "I am in a hurry. But, I say Sam, I wouldn't advise you to remain long about here: the governor has his eye upon you. A nod is as good as a wink. eh? Thankye, Master Ed'ard; now I know ye. I'll take your advice. I'd a been away long ago, only I hadn't the ready.' I was cruel ill-used." "Here's live shillings for you; and now tell me, have you seen Minnie Layton this evening ? What—me ? How should I see the girl P Who told ye I had ? (Oh, SalT, Sam, you are a very small villain, after all. Conscience betrays you at once!) Edward W itson was immediately struck with the tone and manner of the reply, and, catching the man by the collar, he said: Look here, Sam-no nonsense. When did you see Minnie Lay', on last? Tell the truth, and I'll give you ten pounds down to-night. Tell me a falsehood, and I'll get you a month with hard labour very soon. I know something too! Ye wouldn't be so hard, Master Ed'ard. Ye wouldn't crush a pore wounded worm like me." "Yes I would," replied Edward. Some worms ought to be killed. Now the truth, or, by heaven, I'll put the constabulary upon you to-morrow." You'll swear you'll never tell I told you." I will—I do. Goon." | Well then, young Marmaduke Deane he tried I' to take her away. I was in the job too. He drove her insensib'e to Bishop's Creek, and there put her into a boat Edward gave vent to a wish concerning Marma- duke's future welfare which shall not be set down here. Sandy Sam proceeded- He put her into the boat, but he left her for a minute to fasten up the horse. She got up and pulled away in the boat out to sea, and there she is." Thank God. She is at any rate safer than in Dcane's power. "Sandy" Sam, I'm your debtor. The money shall be yours. Can you pull an oar ?' Yes, sir, a little bit." Come on, then catch- my bridle. There's another ten pounds waiting for you at home. Now run along at your best pace." Edward started, and Sandy Sam feeling really honest for once, kept pace manfully. Before long the pair h:ld arrived at the creek. Here Sandy quickly found a punt, into which he and Edward stepped, and pulled away in the direction they fancied Minnie had gone. After a while they lay on their oars, and listened for any sound or signal that might intimate where Minnie was drifting. But for*a long time nothing could be distinguished but the restless "lapping" of the ripples against the sides of the boat. "What became of that brute r" inquired Edward at last. "Which? Mr. Al-.trmaduke inquired "Sandy" Sam, or your horse?" Of course I meant Deane; but I wonder what has become of her-the mare, I mean." ,e He nut out- in a skiff after Miss Minnie»" jaid Executed at the Chronicle Office, Penarth. ■••fJandy?"" "'TiTaC^ Iie*Li_never~her £ iiiSeda* V., He can't pull as well as she can." "Listen; didn't you hear something?" said Edward, suddenly. Hush! surely I heard the plash of oars. Pull, you." The boat's head was turned, and after a few powerful strokes the men sat still and again listened. Nothing could be, heard. Edward then went forward into the bow of the 'boat, and after whispering to Sandy Sam to scuU Very gently, and with as little noise as possible, he sat on the watch, leaning over, almost touching the water. At length he caught sight of a dark object a little to the right of h m. Pull your right," he said to his companion, and the boat's head turned in the required direction, yet they seemed not to gain much upon it. Go on, Sam, full speed; we must catch her rrp. Perhaps it is Minnie." Perhaps it's the other one," muttered Sand Sam. "If it is, I shall catch it nicely. I hope he U kill him!" Edward Watson did not utter a word as the boat sped onwards. It was rapidly overtaking the float- ing object now. In a few minutes it would be alongside. He was in a fever of expectation. Three minutes more and the boats were alongside each other. Seated, pulling wearily a pair of heavy sculls, was Minnie Layton. Lying at the end of the boat, in a h huddled up condition, dripping with sea water, and apparently insensible, was a figure of a man. Minnie, my darl'ng Minnie," exclaimed Edward Watson, as-he sprang into the boat and clasped her in his arms. Are you safe and well ? "Quite well, dear," she replied, returning his caress. But look at him! Is he dead?" She po:nted to the heap at the end of the boat, and Watson stepped across the thwarts, turned the body over, and found it was Marmaduke Deane himself. How came this scoundrel here ? Get up ComSj rouse your-elf, you pitiful eaward He saluted Marmaduke with a kick as he spoke, and felt almost inclined to thiow him into the sea. I can't get up. I'm half frozen here in my wet clothes," replied the recunv cnt youth, now com- pletely cowed. Miss Layton h'"s t. rgiven me, and you may as well. I am quite ready to make any amends. Let me be." How did he come in lipre ? asked Edward, turning to Minnie again. He had come up with me in ano her boat. and offered to take me back. He was apparently sincere, but I wouldn't tru-st him," replied Minnie. I pulled away. and son ehow he stood up in his own skiff and fell over. I helped to pull him out, for he can't swiin much, and ttun I tried to reach the shore. I was pulling away frum it when I heard you call." What a splen did girl you areexclaimed Edward, admiringly. P^ncv you saving that cur's life aiter all. I think 1 should have let him drown." Vengeance is Mine,' quotod Minnie, "and he was so hclplo-'s. Pesidrs, I am not afraid of him now. I believe he is (¡uite ashamed of himself, and very penitent." u So he ought to be. Here, Sum. Take out your yotiug mast r. and pull hiui ashore. We don't want him in th s bo.it." But before Sam could execute this order, Marma- duke ot up, and >a d "I'll sa\e him 1he trouble. Watson, I can apologise to you mor.i readily than I can to Miss Minnie. T have behaved like a th trough scoundrel. I confers. But will reform in future. She haa tau ht me a lesson T shall never forget. I have only one favour to ask. Try to keep this evening's work quiet. I will secure Sam's silence," he continued; "and as I am indeed really s irry—and I wish I could prove it-I will leave here directly, and never trouble you again. Miss Minnie, 'I did love you very much. I help it, now. But I was carried away by pas>L»n ami icalousy. Good-bye. Good- bye. Watson. You will to happy. Farewell! .I here was, after all, a kin,1 of dignity in the manner in which he bade his former friends good- bye They resumed his farewell, and g-ave him their hinds in token of forgiveness', and in a minute or two he had. with Sandy Sam, disappeared in the direction of the shore. Watson, putting Minnie carefully in the stern sheets of the boat, sculled back to the creek. The mare wa, there, a cart was procured, and the animal was harnessed. In this rough and-ready convey- ance the voting people arrived at the "Towers" about midnight, where some startling news awaited them. CHAPTER XXXIII. the LAST OF THE STORY. Lucy LAYTON had been seated with her restored husband for some time, until at last the long inter- view was ended. She had told him all. She had related her hopes and fears, her determination to pay out" the General for his interference, and had at length confessed how Nature had beaten her. She gave up the game, and had already determined to make a clean breast of the matter when the sudden discovery of her husband's identity precipi., tated events. i The General, his wife, and Sir Walter and Lady Watson, with Lily, were in the drawing-room when Captain and Mrs. Layton, as we must call them entered it. OA. General Deane had had for the moment a struggle with himself. When he heard the distinguished officer Rushleigh rise and proclaim himself as Frank Layton, all the circumstances of the siege of Delhi ancUmany other incidents came again before him. It was Layton, then, who had piloted him to the cara^, and who had afterwards saved his life. He fancied faat Layton was ignorant of all the circum- stances preceding the court-martial, and the exem- tion. He had been in the ranks—he was now a distinguished officer. How could the General meet him, after all he had done, without fearing that Layton might in his turn betray him ? For he had strong reasons, as we shall see, for this belief. U ;A,, There was nothing but congratulation for husband and wife. Lady Deane forgot all animosity, and of all the party the only uncomfortable and gloomy ones were Captain Layton, alias Rushleigh, and his wife. A great cloud weighed upon them both, and a terrible confession had to be made-a confession more humilating than even Lucy Layton fancied, for she had been endeavouring to injure the man who had, fit the risk of Ids professional reputation saved her husband. i Little by 1'ftlo Lucv told her .stor.v with shame-