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(Copyright.) HIS GRACE. By MRS. C. N. WILLIAMSON, Author of "The Barn Stormcrs," "The Woman in Grey," "Fortune's Sport," "The House by the Lock," "A Man From the Dark," "Lady Mary of the Dark House," "Her Royal Highness," &c.. SYNOPSIS OF PRECEDING CHAPTERS: Lord Wareham had been brought home from the hunting field with his neck broken. The consequence was that Lady Wareham also lay in peril of her life, while another life, still more precious to the family fortune and futare, was trembling in the balance. Should death occur the man whom Lady Mary Blandon-the spinster sister of the Duke of Leicester —despised above all other men would soon come into the title and estates. Sho and Mr. Savernake, who acted as a sort of confidential clerk to the Duke, concoct a scheme to frustrate this. A certain docu- ment which Savernake extracted frcm the pockets of Lord Wareham revealed that a woman, who claims to be his wife, has come to live in the neighbour- hood to ascertain whether the reports of his second marriage are true, and acquainting him of the birth of twins—two boys. Whilst this story is discredited by Savernake and Lady Mary, they conspire together to effect out of it a way out of the difficulty which lies before them. This is nothing less than the exchange of the young Lord Wareham the moment he should die for one of the infants of this strange woman. This is accomplished by Savernake, the woman consenting, with various stipulations. To the amazement of all, and especi- ally of the doctor, whom Lady Mary ingeniously got out of the way, little Lord Wareham got better in a remarkably short time. We are next introduced to Randal Palgrave, at the coming of age of the Duke, when a grand ball is given at Lurlworth Towers. His mind is full of bitter thoughts as he paces the picture gallery, and inwardly comments upon how nearly he had come into the dukedom. Maurice, the Duke, becomes acquainted at college with young Blandon, and Randal has a good reason for en- couraging the friendship. Blandon belongs to a rapid, card-playing, hard-drinking of young men, most of them much older than he, and through his and his father's influence the Duke had been drawn into it as well. With such a feeble consti- tution as Leicester's, no way of life could have been more injurious, and upon., 8 fact Randal Palgrave had calculated. If tIle young man married, all his efforts of the last ten years would have been in vain. History would repeat itse'f. There would be an heir, and whether the Duke lived or died, Randal Palgrave's fato would be tho same. This fear of Randal's was well founded. The attentions which the Duke bestowed upon the "Princess"—Lady Ann O'Neill—called up all tho bitterness in his nature. The Princess promises to In the wife of Maurice, not because she loves the Duke, but because she is poor, and sees in such a marriage a way of helping the poor people of Kil- daragh, for whom she would have given her life. The Duke takes her upon these terms. The effect of this upon Palgrave is to suddenly bring to his mind his possession of the "Moated Grange," a dilapidated house on the banks of the Thames, which had been left him by the departed Duke. This he seeks to have furnished and renovated, tho money for which he borrows from the Duke himself. Some time after Henley Week the Duke goes in his dinghy up the river to keep an appointment with his fiancee, who is staying with her guardians at the Moated Grange, and takes note of a particularly dangerous part of the river, where, he observes to himself, a man coming home late at night might have a nasty accident, and he decided to beware. > CHAPTER V. Next morning, Anne was ready to laugh at her superstitious terrors of the night before. The candles on the dressing-table had little crimson silk shades. It must have been the reflection of these which had lent to the opal the blood-red look that—after all the Duke had said regarding it—had so startled and dismayed her. Owing to her disturbed night, she had slept later than usual, and almost everyone had finished breakfast when she went downstairs. Blandon was there, of course. He always contrived to be either early or late for this meal, as he ascertained that Anne was likely to be. His father was ill—had a touch of rheumatism, the young man explained, and was keeping his room. The girl remembered that her host had not looked well the night before, and now she thought that his son did not appear to be in his normally brisk state of health. His skin was yellow, and there wero dark circles under his restless eyes. He had no appetite-an unusual phenomenon where he was concerned—and was inclined to glance up with a nervous start whenever the door opened or shut. The sun on the river had been too hot for him yesterday, he said, when somebody inquired sympathetically after his bodily state. I was afraid," said Lady Clancarden, smiling, "there had been another of those poker parties on the Mischief. Ever since my husband went there with you one night, Mr. Palgrave, and didn't come back till five o'clock, I have fancied I knew to what cause heavy eyes and pale faces might be attributed in the morning." "I assure you there was nothing going on on board the Mischief last night," Blandon returned, somewhat eagerly. "Maurice never asked us, the unsociable beggar He said he was going to have a good night's rest for once, and be fit for the picnic to-day. Isn't that so, Sir James? You were with me in the boat-house, when we saw him off, and know how decently early it was." "Yes, I was there," answered Sir James Clan- carden, looking up from his letters. He did not approve the poker parties given by the Duke, as the fianct, of his ward, and had only remained so late at the one which he had attended, in the hope that his presence might prove something of a check upon the younger men. "Maurice said he'd be up y half-past ten," Blandon went on, hastily, "to finish the picnic arrangements, which were left a bit undecided last night. He ought to be along presently if he hasn't overslept himself." The servants had been dismissed during the slow conclusion of the informal meal, but as Blandon completed his sentence the butler appeared on the threshold, his eyes looking very large and frightened, nnd his face as white as though he had belonged to the class which indulges in emotion. "Oh, sir—Mr. Palgrave!" he stammered. "May I take the liberty of asking to see you—to speak with you a moment outside. I wouldn't disturb you. but—I'm afraid it's something serious, sir." Blandon jumped up from the table and hurried out, after a word of excuse, closing the door behind him. Nobody spoke, though all looked vaguely troubled. The butler's sensation would probably prove to be of the most ordinary kind still, the expression of the well-trained and elderly countenance had undeniably been ominous. Five minutes passed, and then a footman entered to inquire if Sir James Clancarden would kindly go to Mr. Blandon Palgrave in his father's study. The picnic arrangements are upset—or perhaps poor [r. Palgrave's rheumatism is worse," sug- gested Lady Clancarden. "It can't be anything very dreadful, you know, in this quiet place. Come, Anne, shall we step out into the garden ? They were now alone at the table, and Anne obeyed, half reluctantly. Slowly they strolled down to the summer-house, where the girl had sat the evening before with the Duke. As they entered, under the curtain of trailing creepers that fell over the door, she thought of the "evil eye," with the red gleam at its heart. She had placed it in her pocket, gathering it, with its gold chain, hastily from the dressing-table when she had left her room half-an-hour ago. She had been unwilling to wear it round her neck, under her gown, as the Duke had requested her to do, yet had hesitated to leave it lying in its case. Now a strong curiosity suddenly seized her as to how the opal was looking. Of course, the red light had been a mere matter of reflection, and yet She put her hand in her pocket, and touching the jewel, was ready to draw it forth, when an exclamation from Lady Clancarden arrested the impulse. "0 Anne!" she ejaculated. "I'm afraid some- thing really is the matter, after all James is looking for us—he has bad news, I can tell by his face." She moved hastily from the window of the summer-house where she had been sitting, and stood in the doorway, that her husband might see her. "What has happened, James ? she asked, before he had time to join her. "What are you going to tell me ? Nothing wrong at home ?—oh, don't say that the boys "No, no," he answered, almost impatiently. "Anne, my poor girl—I don't know how to say what I must say—how to break it to you." The rich, scarlet colour faded from the girl's lips, as it invariably did with any emotion which sho strove to hide but, she held herself bravely, and her voice was under absolute control as she answered: "Don't try to break it to me at all, please, Sir James. Whatever it is, I can bear it better if it is told quickly." "The Duke he l-egan, stammeringly. "News has just come which—which gives us cause to fear-" "Well, Sir James ? It hurts me if you keep me in suspense." I know-I know I'm getting through it clumsily, my poor child. But the truth is, his boat, the dinghy in which he came over here, and was to have gone back in to the Mischief last night, haa been found floating bottom upwards, below the Weir. Of course, there's hope yet—but, there's only too much reason to fear that a terrible accident happened to him on the way home." Anne had been standing when the story was begun, but at the last, she sank down upon tho rustic seat. Drowned!" she said, beneath her breath, her eyes looking strained and far away. "Drowned! Had she been another type of woman, her mind might have flown to her own disappointment—the downfall of the brilliant hopes which ought to have centred in this match. Yet she thought only how they had sat together here, but a few hours ago, and he had begged her for one kiss, in return for all his vast love and many kindnesses to her, and she had refused it, with a heart of ice. She had not loved him living. She could not now suddenly force herself to love him dead. But there was a cold weight of remorse, and a strange, impersonal feeling of regret for a young life ended, lying heavy upon her breast. "His hat, and a cigarette-case, with his mono- gram and coronet, have been picked up, it seems, Sir James was proceeding, but Anne only heard his voice as though it spoke in a dream. "The bod that is, nothing else has been found as yet. But, of course, steps will be taken—oh, you need not hear all these gruesome details, child. Try to keep up a little hope till the last. Yes, I suppose that will be best," Anne said, mechanically, hating herself because her grief was not more keen, more spontaneous. "Has word been sent yet to Lurlworth Towers ? Poor, poor Lady Marv What a terrible blow it will be for her I Her guardian and his wife heard her with sur- prise and sorrow. They had not realised the true nature of her feeling for the Duke, for Anne had no confidants (save the dog and the horse which she loved, at far-away Kildaragh), and they believed that she had either been making a love match, or else that the marriage would have satisfied her ambition. In either case she should have been plunged in despair, and the half-dazed calmness of her manner seemed abnormal, almost frightful, to their simple hearts. Tears sounded in the girl's voice at last, yet they had come, not for herself, but for the woman who had acted the part of a mother to the Duke, A telegram will be sent immediately, preparing Lady Mary for the worst," said Sir James Clan- carden, gravely. "No doubt Mr. Savernake will come on at once—it appears that he stands in the place of private adviser to the family. As for us-" Yes what shall we do, James ? questioned his wife, womanlike, breaking in before he could finish. "We can't stay on here." "We will stay until something more definite is known," Sir James answered. "Presently we can decide. Anne, dear, you will let us take you to the house." He said nothing of what was in his mind but when Anne had been escorted to her room, un- willingly to be kissed and cried over there, by Lady Clancarden, he allowed himself to dwell upon a new thought. If poor Maurice had really been drowned, as seemed almost certain, Randal Palgrave was already the Duke of Leicester, and Blandon was the only heir. It had been apparent to his wife's shrewd eyes long ago (if not to his, until the fact was ostentatiously laid before his notice) that Blandon Palgrave was in love with Anne, and would have given his right hand to step into his fortunate cousin's place. Strange if now, at some decorously distant date, he should step into it after all In the afternoon, as soon as it was possible to arrive from Lurlworth Towers, Sir James Clan- carden's prophecy was fulfilled, and Gilbert Savernake appeared at the Moated Grange. First of all, he had gone to the Duke's house- boat, the Mischief, which looked mockingly bright and gay with her white paint, her awnings, and pink flowers, in the little backwater where she lay. There he could find out from Maurice's servants little that Blandon Palgrave's telegram had not told him. The river was not to be dragged till he should arrive, and meanwhile nothing save tho overturned dinghy, the sculls, the hat and the stranded cigarette-case had been found. The Duke had gone out in the best of spirits the night before to dine at the Moated Grange, and had left word that he would be back by twelve, or soon after. As he often stayed later, no anxiety was felt, however, and even in the morning, when it was ascertained that he was still absent, it was only supposed that he had been prevailed upon by his relatives to remain at the Grange over night. It was not until a boy who had been fishing had come to say he had found the Mischief's boat floating bottom upwards, that they had been alarmed, and then the Duke's valet had run as fast as he could go by the land way to the Moated Grange. Gilbert Savernake's dark, sallow face had changed little with the years, but he looked an old man to- day, as he strode off by the wood path which wound away from the river. Failure The word seemed to be written in letters of fire before his gloomy eyes. The day had been long delayed, but it had come at last. Eren at this moment, Randal Palgrave was perhaps being addressed as "Duke of Leicester," and the scheme which he and Mary Blandon had so successfully carried out might almost as well never have been materialised. What had twenty-one years' triumph been, since they were now to lose all they had worked for—sinned for, too, if one cho. e to look upon it in a conven- tional light ? Savernake felt that he had not been born for failure, and the thought that he must face it was like beating his head upon a rock. He had been fond of the poor young fellow who was gone in a mild and tolerating way, and had heart enough to regret the loss of him, but grief for the Duke's death alone would not have reduced him to his present mental depths. The one bright spot in the darkness for him (and it was but a red and lurid brightness) was the [>rospect of the coming quarter of an hour, which le intended should be an uncommonly bad one for his old enemy, Randal Palgrave. r sually, Savernake had no difficulty in fixing his mind upon any certain course to be pursued, but now he was unable to decide what he should say to Palgrave. His words should be trenchant, but the occasion must suggest them—they would have to arrange themselves. It was a very grim-looking apparition which presented itself at the low-studded door of the Moated Grange, and having asked for the master of the house, gave the name of Mr. Savernake. "Mr. Palgrave is indisposed, sir," announced the footmnn, glibly, "but directions have been given that Mr. Blandon "Hanf Mr. Blandon," remarked the visitor, savagely. "Tell your master that disposed or indis- posed, Mr. Savernake insists upon seeing him. This is a matter of life or death." The servant, too deeply appalled by the grim guest's saturnine personality even to be insolent, conducted Mr. Savernake to the bow-windowed drawing-room, where he was welcome to sit among the ghosts of the dead past, until Mr. Palgrave could be informed of his importunate demands. Father and son had been closeted together, and the elder man had not left his room that day. Randal flushed with anger at Save make's message, but Blandon was ready with advice that the visitor should have his will. "Let him see how ill you are, governor," said the young man. "Best satisfy him in every way you can. Shew your forgiving spirit—refuse to be annoyed. You can afford to be saintly now, you know. And after all, it's but a disagreeable half- hour to face." "I suppose you think I should be ready to face anything now," growled Randal from his bed—for his "indisposition "was genuine enough, whether the cause was what he alleged or no. "You may bring Mr. up, commanded Blandon, speaking to the footman who had awaited the decision on the other side of the door. In less than five minutes more the hated name was sonorously sounded by the automaton in livery, and Palgrave sat up to receive his guest. There was a hypocritical look of meek suffering upon the face (which appeared like a crude woodcut following an engraving of Napoleon), and Saver- nake's hot, blood rose in rebellion against it. Suddenly, his mood had changed. He had come with the stalk of tragedy, menace in his eyes, and trembling on his tongue. But the sight of the man among the bedclothes was to him like the smell of gunpowder to the old war-horse. As though the words had been whispered in his ears, he heard: "You can beat him yet." Once before, twenty-one years and more ago, the lightning of inspiration had flashed across his mind, throwing a weird gleam which had guided him down the precipitous path of the future. Now such another electric ray had shot athwart his brain. Had he not seen that feigned look of grief on the face he fcated, it might never have come to him. That he could not tell—but as he met the eyes of Randal Palgrave, a warm cordial seemed to Bow revivingly through his veins. He straightened himself, and flung up his grizzled head. Within a second's space, he had become a different man. It had been his intention to begin the battle with a.n accusation — to fling the javelin word, Murderer," at his adversary, and watch it draw blood. But his quiet change of policy dictated another Course. He allowed Palgrave to speak first, and then responded with a certain lightness of manner which dumbfounded the enemy. 0 "A terrible shock ?" he echoed. "Well, yes, the telegram your son sent was certainly injudicious, considering what poor Lady Mary has been forced to endure, and the circumstances under which it was despatched. Now, however, I suppose you ar9 both quite prepared to admit that you were alarmists ? "Alarmists ? repeated Palgrave, warily watching his opponent's eye, like the skilled fencer that he was, "I fear, Mr. Savernake, I don't quite-" The new-comer sat down in the chair that had been offered him, with an air of comparative cheer- fulness. "Of course, "he drawled, "you don't, in th» light of later events, believe that the Duke has actually been drowsed ? For an instant there was silence, and Savernako could hear the breathing of the man in the bed. "I grieve to say that I can come to no other conclusion," Palgrave uttered at last. "Naturally you would be grieved it would be so deuced awkward for you if it should actually be proved that our poor Maurice was d"ad. "I can't say that I follow your deduction there." Palgrave's pallor was a very sickly yellow, and Blandon stood as still as a statue, leaning against the mantel. "Your physical condition would account for an unusual dulness of perception," indulgently admitted Savernake. "But is it really necessary for me to explain ? "rrav do so. The old diplomatist shrugged his shoulders. "When a man has everything 71 in the world to gain by the death of another, and that death takes place not only within a stone's throw of his own house, but immediately upon departure therefrom, gossip has unpleasant comments to make. Only men of the most spotless reputation can pass through such a fiery ordeal unscathed. And, unfortunately, so few of us are spotless." "So far, my personal regrets have kept me from dwelling upon so sordid a phase of the affliction that has fallen on us all," said Palgrave, moi-tening his lips, and shewing his teeth a little. "But now that you condescend to suggest it to me, I can assure you on that point. No possible suspicion can attach to Blandon or myself. Several witnesses can be called up who will testify that neither I nor my son saw poor Maurice after lie left our boat- -house in his dinghy last night a little after twelve." "No doubt all those dramatic effects would have been arranged for, with your well-known tact and thought fulness where family matters are con- cerned," murmured Savernake, reflectively. This was too much, palgrave fat up majestically among his pillows and glared bleakly upon the supine figure in the chair. "Do you mean to say, he demanded, in righteous indignation, "that you actually suspect me pill it is too I I will not lower myself by finishing the sentence." "I wouldn't," advised Savernake. "It is never well to put oneself to useless trouble especially when, for some reason or other, one is feeling slightly below par. Permit, me to finish the sentence. I don't mind (very nonchalantly) lowering you at all. You were about to inquire, if I mistake not, whether I suspected you of having a hand in the accident last night. Frankly, I suspect you of no such thing, for the one and sufficient reason- in fact, the only reason—that I do not believe any accident took place. It is my opinion that the whole thing is a gigantic hoax." Blandon started indignantly forward from his place at the mantel, but Savernake waved him with a magnificent gesture. "I do not attribute the hoax to yon or your father," he finished. "I would not have you think that for a moment, but to Maurice himself. He is but a lad still—and a whimsical lad, at that. Randal Palgrave threw himself back upon the pillows, limp with anger and disgust. Monstrous fie ejaculated. "Cold-blooded nonsense—or mad- ness, one or the other it must be The poor boy lies dead under the water out there, and you can look me in the face and accuse him of hoaxing those who love him best. What possible motive could there be, I ask you—what possible motive for such conduct ? Oh, the thing has been frequently tried before, on much the same lines," smiled Savernake. "A young 11 man wishes to watch from a convenient distance the antics of his relatives who believe they will have a finger in the pie he has left. Or, lie takes it into his head to test his fiancec'* faith. There are plenty of motives. We needn't take up each other's valuable time by discussing them all. As for me, I know Maurice, and I should not be greatly surprised at anything he chose to do, except turn over a dinghy on a calm summer's night, in mid-Thames, and drown himself. That, I should, indeed, hesitate long to believe of him. "You would scarcely hesitate after the—the body was found, I suppose," hissed Palgrave. "The chances are that it will be, sooner or later, when the river is dragged." "Sooner or later," sneered Savernake, in his most aggravating way. "But even when a body is found, it is not always indubitably recognised, you know. Lady Mary and I, believing so firmly in the theory of the hoax, would not identify such a body without the very strongest possible proof. Meanwhile, until such proof is brought forward, I should not advise you, my dear friend, to indulge a natural desire to hear yourself called "Duke." It would be so very humiliating after- wards, if it turned out that there had been a slight mistake." "There can be rno such mistake, thundered Palgrave, losing his head and his self-control. "How' very sure of that you seem to be ? Ah, well, fortunately, only I have heard you say it." Savernake ro.'e, and daintily flicked a tiny piece of lint from the lappel of his coat. It was really extremely friendly in you to let me come up, and it is most satisfactory to have had this little con- versation with you. e shall each "-a significant pause—"see our way the better for it, perhaps." Palfrave's heavy eyebrows were drawn together, and an odd twitching of the nerves in the centre of his forehead, which was a peculiarity of his when greatly excited, became noticeable. "I delayed the police in dragging the river until you should come," he said, "out of consideration for your feelings, and in the belief that you would wish to be present. Now I regret my mis- taken kindness. 1 wish that I had allowed the thing to be done at once, and perhaps by this time the waters would have given up their dead." "Or perhaps they would have refii-ed to do so," Savernake added. "While thanking you for your care of my feelings, I venture to fancy that you constrained the police in their duty quite as much, if not mon, for reasons of your own. It would be exceedingly incoi venient. for you if the river should be dragged and the body not found." "Not more so. possibly, than for jou if the c mtrary proved the case." Savernake laughed. "When the Duke of Leicester's body is discovered," ho answered, "mark my words, my dear Palgrave, his spirit will still be on the most intimate terms with it. Now, I will not fatigue you any longer by my presence, except to remind you of one fact, which should be obvious. Don't try to claim any dignities till you are quite sure you are entitled to them. If you do your claims" will t)e hotly disputed, disputed till a bitter end arrives for one (>•. us, and I give you fair warning that from the moment I leave you I shall make it my business to imbue everyone I meet with my own views. I have even and the eagle-faced old man spoke as calmly as though he were not cloaking the bitterest disappointment of a lifetime with his debonair lies—"several particu- larly valid reasons for believing Maurice to be alive -reasons which I am not at liberty to mention at present." This last sentence was a distinct score, exactly why, or how, it was impossible for even Savernaka to guess, but he was satisfied to note the effect. In his heart rage and grief seethed together, though he was making a bold show. He did believe that the Duke was dead—done to death in some way. if not actually murdered by his cousin's own bni IAs. But his indomitable will even now refused to accept defeat from such enemies as these. He would yet bring them to confusion, and the thought of the way in which—if the gods were with him— he might do this, inflamed his brain like new wine. From the ashes of these men's villainy a phcenix would perchance arise, the very sight of which would utterly confound them. But the presentment of success hung above his head suspended, like the sword of Damocles, by a single hair. If he could grasp it, it was his. If it felfbefore his hand could reach it, it was success no longer, but failure, dire and complete. All depended upon what came out of the water. There was, perhaps, one chance in ten, at the best, but of that one chance he would make the most by disappearing before the river was dragged. Lady Mary would be prostrated by grief, unable to identify such fad treasure-trove as might be brought from the waters, and he would be where he could not be recalled for the purpose. When ho came back—ah, then ír, whole face of affairs might well be changed Delay and uncertainty meant every- thing to him now. "Let the farce of dragging the river go on when- ever you choose," he continued, smiling a smile which seemed to say: "You know as well as I do that it will come to nothing." "As for me, despite your consideration, I shall be unable to preside over the ceremony. I have another and most pressing engagement, which, in my humble opinion, far more nearly concerns the Duke than stirring up Thames mud in search of something that, for obvious reasons, can't be there. So I shall take pains to inform the police, as well as Sir James Clancarden and his charming ward. Ta-ta, Pal- grave ta-ta, Blandon. Don't have your ducal coronets embroidered on your linen or stamped on your paper yet awhile." He bowed himself away with an insufferable smile, and when the door had closed upon him the two men looked at each other. "I say, governor, do you think the old rascal means anything particular?" whispered Blandon. "One or two things he said rather pointed that way, eh ? "Impossible," returned the elder. "He can know nothing. He can prove nothing." "Something'll have to be found though—some- thing unmistakable. He means mischief, and that's the only way to block his game. I begin to think we've been too squeamish. But it isn't too late yet." Palgrave's lips drew awry from his teeth in "a ppecies of silent shudder. "There's no hurry," he said. "Such things are often days or weeks in being discovered, and then turn up in some little backwater miles away from the place where—any- thing happened. In a fortnight or three weeks tt would be easy enough to manage a find in tno i way we discussed when—when I first decided to 1 take you into my confidence. Nobody could expect to recognise the face then." "And a jolly good thing for you that you did take me into your confidence," boasted Blandon. "Finely you would have got on without me." "It was for your sake I he-itated," said his father, gloomily. "You are young, and it was 0 hardly fair that your life should be darkened by the keeping of such a secret as from last night you and I must hold in our hearts. Still, the whole thing is done for you, when it coiiie., down to first principles." "I'm not so sure of that, governor," laughed Bliiiidon-for he could laugh with little or no effort. "You're good for twenty years yet, I shouldn't wonder. And as Duke of Leicester you'll get a tidy lot of nice pickings out of life in that time. I'm inclined to think you're not quite so deuced unselfish as you'd try to make yourself appear. "For Heaven's sake, let's begin with no recrimi- nations sighed ralgrave, restlessly turning his sallow face to the wall. When Savernake left the room and there were none but his own eyes to see, lie drew his hand- kerchief across his forehead, wiping away a moisture, for the strain under which he had laboured during the scene had been not inconsiderable. One thing had led to another, and already his course lay mapped out definitely before him, though when he had entered Palgrave's bedchamber no faintest gleam of light had shone upon it. He had not waited for Palgrave to ring and have him shewn out, but he knew the old house, despite the years that had passed since he had visited it. Finding a servant lie requested to see Sir James Clancarden, and endeavoured to impress upon the baronet something of the confidence which he so glibly professed. "Tell Lady Anne I will bring her lover back to her, never fear, he said, lightly. "Circumstances over which I have no control compel reticence at present—that is all, I assure you." Sir James shook his head when Savernake had gone. lie could sec no foundation to build hope upon, and he believed that poor Savernake was half-dazed by the sudden force of the blow he had received. Still, Sir James gave the message to Anne, and even-as the wily Savernake had expected—offered the suggestion for what it was worth, to others. It is thus that out of gossip theories are reared. As for him who had set the ball rolling, he lost no time in seeing the local police authorities, and further advancing his own interests—or, at least, making strenuous efforts so to do. He could not wait to watch the effect, though he would have been thankful even to hear the whispers that began going round before nightfall, when nothing came out of the river: "They say his friends think he isn't drowned after all." "Nonsense 1 Well, you can't tell. Things begin to look queer." He did not hear the whispers, but his fancy gave them to him, as he hurried Londonwards. lie had meant to go immediately back to Lurlworth, carry- ing the body with him, if it had been found, but the time when that obvious and conventional course had appeared tolerable to him seemed now very long ago. Tho whole universe had taken a somersault- in Savernake's eyv since then. He went to town, and to cvtain offices near tho Strand. Having made such inquiries as he thought neces arv and conducted a purcha-e which-though he obtained but a slip of paper—cost him fifty pounds, lie lost, no time in hurrying to Waterloo Station and taking train for Lurlworth. Savernake could be a self-indulgent man, and no one had more luxurious tastes than he. He was fond of his ease, fond of good wine, and a well- ordered dinner, especially at a certain London club, of which he had once been among the most distinguished members. But when occasion rose, like an old campaigner of many battlefields, lie could deny himself rest and food with impunity. To-day ho had eaten since the late break- fast interrupted by the fatal telegram from Blandon Palgrave, but lie had no thought of stopping in London to satisfy his hunger. He took the first train, which had no dining-room accommodation, and arrived at Lurlworth Towers after a furious drive from the station at something after midnight. Lady Mary was waiting up for him. He had known that this would be so, hence his unsparing haste. Q She came to meet him in the great hall, haggard, and dressed as she had been in the morning, but with the courteous respect in which lie never failed in his relations with her, he gently drew her into the sanctity of her own boudoir before he would answer her quick, impatient questioning. "Courage!" he said at last, pressing tho cold hand that she held out to him. "What!" she ejaculated, almost in a shriek. "Isn't Maurice dead after all ? "I'm afraid there's not much doubt that they'vo worked their wicked will on him, Savernako answered, grimly. "But there's hope yet, of a kind. I sail for America to-morrow." ( To he continued. )