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,TORD WALDEITAR'S HEIR

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(Copyright.) ,TORD WALDEITAR'S HEIR By MRS. HARRIET LEWIS, ,.author of "The Hampton Mystery" "The Bailiff's Scheme," "The Lady of KiMare," "The Old Life'a Shadows," "A Daring Game, &c., &c. CHAPTER XLIII. A NEW VIKW or THE CASK. The Waldcmn r town house was v.—>ed in ailence. The hour was past midnight. The lights burnt dimly in hall and library, for Lord Waldemar had not returned from Westminster, and would probably yet. be absent for some faoors. The hall porter hnd retired from his post for the nitdir. Dnrrel Moer was in his own room, his thoughts busy with the past and the future. Many p-ave problems were pressing heavily upon hi? mind, but he was well content with his prospects. I In Miss Floyd's chamber the heiress and ¥ISa Yv Mlie-V awaited lhe Promised visit of Lord \\aldem;.r s business manager. Miss Jfloyd B fair luce wore a sullen Z t tc expression. She was in a rebellir 1 Netful •mood, Mrs. W,tcl,!ov and lecture her llp, }ler overtaken to Lord Waldemar and li->r conduct towards •ffectually quelle ho, 0Jtburst,'f wrath had Weeping'anI reLrill wh° 8at gtaL'of S-l with furtive nint^r. ^f'rei,s' a dressing-gown of pale P as lmere embroidered with white silk daIsIes, and with her hair half-escaped from ar.c band, stood before the bright fire, her *rkening face half turned towards Mrs. Watchlej. Why should Mr. Grimrod come to my rOom at this hour ? exclaimed Miss Floyd, •fitting her brows. "I dismissed my maid an "Our since, and yet he keeps me waiting. How *j*Ted he speak to mo in that manner in the *wing-rootn to-night ? I am nearly determined *0 refuse to see him if he comes! "You dare rot refuse to see him, Hilda," said AIr". Watchley grimly. "He has a good Mason for all he does or says, you may be You h.rre had your own way all your life long, but in Grimrod you've found your Blaster." The girl's face reddened as if she had been struck a blow. She was about to reply angrily, "hen a low and cautious rap was heard, the door opened gently, and the manager stole into the room, turning the key in the lock behind him. ,¡ He was dressed in his usual close-fitting black garb, and now wore list slippers and a foug little black skull-cap. His face was as Wipaseive r,s usual, cool, calm, and inscrutable, but there was a red glint in his eyes that •hewed Mrs. Watchley that he was in no pleasant mood. He addressed himself to the elder lady Without preliminary, and without taking any notice Of Miss Flovd. I am surprised, madam," he said,"at the of yuur training. Is this girl the gentle feature you used to write me about in such ^'ong terms of praise? Is this girl the high- refined, and cultured lady of whom you ote with such enthusiasm ? Whatever she •|by nature, you have spoilt her." •obV^' ^atchley broke out into hysterical #h while Hilda looked the astonishment felt at the terms applied to herself by '^rod. I have petted and humoured her," said Mrs. it atchley, in a broken, incoherent voice, "but 1raa because she never could bear to be crossed 111 anything. She always would have her own 4Y from babyhood. Sho was born wilful and heådstror.cr and sclfiah, and what is born in one cannot be easily eradicated even by as- aiduous training. And-and I have loved her, With all her faults." "A pretty creature you have made of her! "id Grimrod, his lip curling. "Is it for such a result as this that I have toiled and 8chemed all these long years ? One might say, Ifra. Watchley. that you have done your best to involve all three of us in a common ruin, with your doting fondness and your foolish •ubmiasion to this foolish girl's whims. If we are mined, remember to take a fair share of credit to yourself." .1 abruptly towards the girl. Hilda! he said, in the tone of a master, rj** 'ed spark in hia eyes flickering, "what did ^ean kj your insane conduct below this l'ng ? Why did you break out upon Lord tjj in that manner, when you knew to-morrow would set you free from his « j0rity for ever ? Fool! Little miserable 0011 Could you not have restrained your ^or once His taunting words, his tone and manner, atirred up all the evil in the girl's nature. MHow dare you speak to me in that way ? the Sashed. I will summon the household I "ill have you ejected from my room! Lord Waldemar shall dismiss you from his service She bounded towards the bell-pull. Grimrod there before her, and he tossed the Umlled cord over an adjacent picture-frame, placing it beyond her reach. At least, I can scream," Baid the girl, •literally learning with rage. "I will Grimrod seized her arm in a rough grip and •Orced her into a chair, standing over her "ith a face that awed her into sudden calmness. "You will make an outcry at your peril," he "Girl, you are in my power! I come to your room to-night to teach you that I am vour master, and that you are only Puppet in my hands to obey my will! Do you Understand ?"' "You think, perhaps, that the possession of those eight liters which I wrote to Antonio ~r»Toli place? me in your power," said Miss FloYd, iii a choking voice. Frivoli is dead, and the letters are not worth the paper they are Written on. Grandpapa would think you a P'tiful sneak if pu were to bring those letters 0 him. I don't care if you publish them in paper in i. Grandpapa could not t be more angrv at ;:>e than he is now, but as I •uould tell him the whole story, he would *"»oiiss you on the spot, like a unfaithful Servant as you are. 1hh I'm not afraid of you and her voice "rev/ stronger, and her ^y«s began to thudi nC»w. "Let go my arm! your band .,ff iiu- Grimrod obeyed. The girl sprang again to feet. She hesan to think that she had in turn awed Lim. 'You are rigm. in your remarks about the letters, "said the manager coolly. "I cannot them without injuring myself. Lord Wal- emar would never 'loi-'ive me for publishing l *jn", true I c;in t''d;e the loiters to his ordship and teil him lint I bought them of a adventurer, b-.t it is nor. my purpose ur iei incense the Uai-< n against you. We And J |1at t',e are useless to me. -i| u j~ la>e :i hiiiti upon vou which Will bend you to my wii]_" 1 ■, i^°l\ /ete' secret, which Frivoli ^dared fo me7that I am no. the real Hilda Jloyd? sa u J.e girl, unconsciously lowering her voice to a whisper. The ,it, assented. t "I don't care the snao of my finger for that, said Miss I ioyd. "If I am not the real fceiress, who is ever to know the fact ? The *«al Hilda is c-ad, or «♦ lost ti.at she will a*ter Lo found. You will never daro to declare truth. You will never dare to go to Lord ■•lc.emar and say Mv lord, this young lady III not vour cran.tdall¡ltt:!r.' lo,u liavo aOirined that lam his lordship's descendant. You told that the proofs of my identity are over- whelming. If you were to make such a state- ment to him, he would turn upon you and liiiii, ll(, wolli(I tljl*fl US9 you—not it.e-of the imposition. Grimrod seemed surprised at this display of *een reasoning j'arulties. M "You are bv no means stuj.ia, girl," he -id, not ill pleased. 'I rather think not," observed Miss Floyd, *J|th growing complacency. "But I believe *t story of Frivoli to be false. You think to *de upon the lie. I am not a child in intel- ect, Mr. Grimrod. I have the peculiar marks jP°n tl'ai distinguish the rtal Hilda Floyd, ow did I come by the dagger-shaped birth- Illark, and th.) scar on my wrist, if they are legitiumter You see that you cannot pose upon me, nor trade upon my fears. 'Voli frigi tened me that, night, and iu u»y a, 0 Enc» itement 1 !>elieved his words. I vin* f'u>u3"t them over enough since to con- .|.vse'f hut he spoke talselv, tliinkiiiij to "•■Jtoidate n:e." It wlllJ look so," said the manager. ••ssi'84 °-v 3 sp'r't-s ro,e at the apparent con- a"^ *lcr iace rmuiutj its su^etcilioiw _r_- ''You came in her<> oaiiih- yourself mj nnster she exclaimed. "You have reckoned without your host, Mr. Griml"od. By tbis time you must have discovered that I am your mis- tress. If you haven't, allow me to remind you that 1 can oorourcce you any day as the murderer oi; Ant. iu Ft-ivoii, who died so mysteriously at the little inn in Yorkshire. And I am per- fectly willing to so denounce you, if you pre- igain. I will write to the coroner at YVol vert on and cause Frivoli'at odv to be ex- humed and examined by medical experts, and I myself will testify, if I um driven to it, that lie left my rcxnu lo go with you to your house upon that n;ght :n w hich he died. that you poisoned him to death; I know this as if I had seen it,and I am not afraid to so testify." Grim rod's (are became covered with a Tivid pallor, but the Hickering spark in his eyes burnt now steadily and fiercely, and his countenance w, s impassive as ever. "Hilda! Hilda!" moaned Mrs. Watchley. "You (i(,Ilt, kiioiv what you -Inv "Let her talk, madam," said the manager, with his Mephistophelean smile. "The babble of the voung is always pleasant to me. and even babble like This is hardly tiresome. The girl's spirit is fine her sense perhaps not so good." Miss Flovd coloured. -kt seI is too keeii to perinit me tO become the prey of a schemer like yon," she said sharp]v. "I have got, the upper hand, and I mean to keep it. You dared not say anything to Lord Waldemnr against me, and I dare denounce you as Frivoli's murderer! Who is master now ? I desire you to relieve me of vour presence immediately. When I become Biironess Walclemar I'll dismiss you—I'll have you kicked out like some troublesome dog. Now go She pointed imperiously towards the door. One moment, my dear young lady," said the manager coolly. "Before you summon the iienants to expel me from your room, and before you decide irrevocably upon having me kicked out like some troublesome dog,' when you become Lady Waldemar, I have a few words to say to you. In the first place, when I told you that there was a flaw in your claims upon Lord Wraldemar, I told you the truth. Frivoli was right. You are not the real Hilda Floyd." "I don't believe you." "You will, before I hall have finished. The real Hilda Floyd, if alive, is living out a jieasant existence somewhere. She may be already married; she may be a domestic ser- vant, a hewer of wood and drawer of water, all unconscious of her claims to a wealthy and ancient barony. But you are a usurper, an impostor, and no Floyd at all." His tones impressed Hilda. Who then am I ? she asked involuntarily. A strange smile curled the manager's lips. He glowered at her as lie said slowly "Your real name is da Grimrod. You are my daughter!" The girl uttered a cry of rage and incredulity. "It is true," affirmed the manager calmly. "You are my daughter, the sole fruit of my marriage to a lady who died at your birth." "It is impossible. I won't believe it—I won't!" "When my wife died," continued Grimrod, unheeding her wild exclamation, "i took you to Leeds myself, your nurse being ill, and con- i^ned you to the care of your aunt, your mother's sister, a widow lady just then in infirm health." -Aly-iny aunt! "Yes, your aunt, Mrs. Watchley." The girl seemed paralysed. "Mrs. Watchley had never visited at my house," said Grimrod, "owing to the state of her health, which at that time was somewhat precarious. She assumed the whole charge of you, however, and I rerurned to the Manor. When you were about a year old, there arrived from Wallace Floyd's young widow a letter addressed to Squire Floyd, stating the fact that she had a child, with certain marks upon its person, and that this child was a girl; and it happened by a singular coincidence that the child was nearly of the same age with my daughter. I copied the letter, and hid the original in Squire Floyd's safe. Six months later came the letter ann uncing Mrs. Floyd's death. I hid that letter also, not destroying it, as the Squire had commanded me to do with all letters coming from his son or his son's wife. I gave these letters the appearance of having been unopened. I pretended about that time that my child had died. I went to Leeds, told Mrs. Watchley of a plan I had conceived, and secured her co-operation. I remembered the dagger-shaped birth-mark on Wallace Floyd's arm, having seen it more than once, and I inflicted a wound wi .h a knife upon my child's arm that would br ikely to correspond with that birth-mark. 1 also inflicted a wound upon your wrist answering to the description of the wound on the arm of little Hilda Floyd." "It is all true," groaned Mrs. Watchley. "Every word is true." Miss Floyd sat motionless and speechless, merely staring from one to the other of htr relatives. "I sent Mrs. Watchley with my child to Innsbruck," continued the manager, "with instructions to bring you up as a lady, calling you Hilda Floyd, and teaching you from your earliest childhood that you were the grand- daughter of a rich Yorkshire squire, to whose fortune you would some day succeed. I gave Mrs. Watchley a liberal allowance of money. You were provided with the best teachers and governesses. I never went near you in all those years, contenting myself with your aunt's account of my progress, and with the photo- graphs of you whicli she frequently sent m<i. If th. real Hilda Floyd had been brought, to Ei 'and by her nurse, I should have found me ns to send the woman away without per- mitting her to see the Squire, and I would have assumed charge of the child. But she never came. She probably died at Malta, or on the Mediterranean. When my lord sent me abroad in search of his granddaughter this year, I c pretended to make a thorough search for her everywhere. In truth, I did search for some trace of the real Hilda. Finding none, I went to Innsbruck, and brought you and your aunt home to England. I never intended to tell all this, but you have forced me to speak I have told you the exact truth, and I swear to it Hilda could no longer affect a doubt she did not feel. She knew that Grimrod had told her the truth—that he was her own father. A change as deep as it was sudden manifested itself in her manners. "Do—do you suppose Lord Waldemar sus- pects the imposttire ? she whispered. "Certainly not. How should lie? You do not look like me. He thinks that you resemble the .Arlyns-ha, lift If he did suspect the impos- ture, vou may be sure that this house would not be big" enough to hold him in his wrath." "Does Darrel Mocr suspect it ? "No, indeed. No one suspects it but we three. The suspicion of it was fatal to Frivoli. Darrel Moer would not marry you if he had the faintest suspicion of the truth. He is the true heir. I am satisfied that the real Hilda is dead. I have schemed all your life to make you Baroness Waldemar. To make your position secure beyond all peradventure, you must, marry the heir. Once Darrel Moor's wife, you will be doubly the heiress. Now you comprehend why I have urged on your marriage with liiin." "Yes, I comprehend." "Should the true nurse employed by Mrs. Floyd ever turn up, she could not barm you if you were entrenched as Darrel Moer's wife," said the manager. "I have thought of every- thing. All will be secure when you are once safely married io Moer. Mv father was manager to the Floyds before me. He was never tired of rehearsing to me the glories of the family. He taught me t.liat to serve them was next to being a 1'loyd. Who;! I grew up and took his place at his deatil, and knew the wealth of the family my soul was filled with bitterness and envy that they should have all, and that, I should he. their servant. L would have sold my soul to be owner of Floyd Manor. And when an oppor- tunity occurred to foist a child of mine in the ?lace of the real heiress, I wp.s readv to do it. ou know my success. My lord trus's me as his one faithlul friend in all the world. He could not even dream of my treachery to him. Nelson Grimrod is to him the incarnation of dog-like fidelity." The manager's lip curled in a sneer as ho ooncluded. "I can hardly realise all tliii- murmured Hilda. "No verv likely. You see now, Hilda, that your interests and mine are identical. We can Stand by each other. I will befriend you in this marriage, and if Lord Waldemar remains 11caused against you, I will support you and Hlr husband until you come into the barony. shall find my happiness in your exalted ^iUojj. Shall we be friends, Hilda f The girl hesitated. She felt, at that moment as if she hated Grimrod w th all lier She felt inclined to defy Iikii. knowing thaf although he had exalted her to her present J position, he could not. abase her without ruin- 1 ing himself. But she knew also that she might need hia aid, pecuniary or otherwise, ami poiicv and selfishness conquered passion, and she said "Yes, we will be friends. Let what, I hive mid be forgotten." She held out her hand to it i IU. lIe pressed it in his. "You must apologise to-morrow to L< Waldemar," he remarke I. "Make }"our pe with him, if possible. Humble yourself him, Hilda, ami it' you can "ek" let; so much the belter. Ilis frien.lrhip is ^reat v to he desired by you, for he m.iy .i\e thir; yearsyet." Uiiies.- li(- (iie fly I vl:,it.tion or videncc, ac Frivoli did, said the girl, with furtive glance up into his face. ,¡ Dut, I course, that, would not be possible. Waldemar is a m.-re conspicuous ppr on1. tnan was the foreign adventurer. l' I make rny peace with his lord hip to-mornm. Having caught a glimpse of the si: ke, I'll phn every winning card I You can trust me to re-tore myseli to his lordship's favour." CHAPTER XLIV, HILDA ANI) MOEIt MA)u:rnn It was two o'clock in the morning when Grimrod stole back to his own room its silentiv as ho had stolen from it two hours earlier. The lights still burnt dimly in the lower rooms. Lord Walde-nar had not yet come home. Daml Moer was tsleet) in his room, and the mana.iet believed that his midnight, viit to the rooms o1' the heiress was a secret from all save Hilda and Mrs. Watchley. At the usual hour the next morning. Dai-rel Moer and Grimrod joined the ladies in the breakfast-room. Lord Waldemar would not rise until noon, and Hilda was therefore obliged to defer her apologies to his lordship until after her At nine o'clock Grimrod left the house to visit a solicitor who attended to certain invest- ments of his funds, but promised Moer to Lc present at the to give awav the bride. At ten o'clock Darrel Moer, faultlessh attired, also went out, after enjoining Hilda to meet him at St. Jude's punctually at eleven. Almost immediately after his departure, Mrs. Watchley announced to the housekeeper in a casual way that she should not be in at luncheon; the day being so fine, she had decided to take her charge to Sydenham upon a little "Miss Floyd has not yet seen the Crystal Palace, Mrs. IV.ss," she condescended to explain, "and there is a fine flower-show there to-day, I see by the morning papers. We shall be home to dinner, ho good enough to say to Lord Waldemar. And now order the carriage for Miss Floyd, please, to convey us to Victoria Station." iVlrs. Poss hastened to comply. At half-past ten the carriage was at (he door, and Miss Floyd and Mrs. Watchley swept down the grand staircase and made their way to the vehicle. The April day was unusually fine, there being bright sunshine, and an atmosphere unusually mild and clear for London. Miss Floyd was attired in in clegint oiirriago dress of heavy pale blue silk, richly ornamented with lace. She wore a cape of pale hi tie Velvet, also trimmed with lace and a coquettish little white lace hrtt, enwreathed with blue forget-me-nots, crowned the wonderful structure of her fair hair. Boots and gloves, alike of pale blue kid, with white buttons completed her toilet, "SIlO do look like a bride," murmured Mrs. Poss, peeping out at her basement window, in a glow of admiration, "though of course a bride do wear white. I should thInk she would spoil all her nice clothes in the railway, though, to be sure, what is expense to the quality ? Mrs. Watchley was dressed in a mauve- rmluured moire, and wore an Indian shawl. She followed Miss Floyd into the carriage, settling her voluminous draperies to her satis- faction, the footman put up the steps and mounted to his place, and drove to the Victoria Station. Here the ladies alighted. The footman piloted the ladies into the waiting-room, procured their tickets, and conducted them to a first-class carriage. "Train starts in seven minutes, ma'am," he observed, as he closed the door. "You will have this to yourselves. At what hour will you have the qarriage come for you this evening ? "At. six, James. You need not wait now. The horses were restive," said Hilda. The footman bowed and retreated. He had scarcely disappeared when Mrs. Watchley summoned a guard to open the door. "I do believe I have forgotten my pocket- book," she exclaimed. "How provoking! We shall have to take a later train. Come, Hilda." The two ladies alighted and walked along the platform. "That was cleverly managed." said Mrs. Watchley, as they passed the waiting-room and gained the street. "The carriage is gone. No one can inform Lord Waldemar of our move- ments, Hilda, and consequently he can't appear at the church to stop the wedding." She signalled a passing cab and gave the order, "To St. Jude's," assisted Hilda into the vehicle, herself following. They arrived at. the church in good time, ordered the cabman to wait, and passed in alone beneatli the stone archway, through the vestibule, into the great, dim church, with its grand memorial window-, its quaint carved puloit, and reading-desk, its ornamented chancel-rail, and its tender flood of rosy lights contrasting with dusky shadows. Grimrod and Darrel Moer were in waiting near the door. The former offered his arm to Hilda, who walked beside him up the aisle, her Iong dress sweeping the carpet with silken rustle. Moor gave hia support to Mrs. Watchley, and they also marched up towards the chancel. The rector and curate were in waiting. The former, in the robes of his office, was reading the marriage licence, which Moer had just placed in his hands. He looked up in some apparent surprise at the smallness of the bridal party, but resumed his reading, perusing the document to its close. Moer was secretly anxious and uneasy..J.e feared at this last moment tllat the beautiful Hungarian Countess might, appear to stop his marriage, albeit she could know nothing of his present purpose. He feared that Sir Hugh Tregaron might burst in upon him and forbid the marriage, and avow his—Moer's—real char- acter to Miss Flovd and Grimrod. "Once let either Hilda or the manager sus- pect the Glint marriage, or the fact that Car- mine Rorf is my lawful and living wife, and my game is up," he :aid to himself desperately. "I wish the words were said that bind Hilda Floyd to me. I am impatient to secure my heiress." The curate motioned to the two principal nctors to take their proper places. The im- pressive marriage ceremony was commenced. Grimrod, when called upon, gave away the bride. Moer produced the wedding-ring. Mrs. Watchley cried softly behind her lace hand- kerchief, as was proper and fashionable. The lontracting pair knelt at the right moment, made the responses at the right moment, and rose, after the clergyman's prayer—man and wife. 4s the benediction of the clergyman fell upon t.he wedded pair, Darrel Moer's heart gave a great leap of exultation. He had had grand dreams all his life of wedding some titled and wealthy lady, he believod that lie had now reached their fulfil- ment. "I am secure," tie thought, as he rose to his feet—"perfectly secure. I can manage Honor, in one way or another. As to the Countess, 3he may not dare to expose me. I am sure now to succeed to the barony of Waldemar, in right of my wife, if not in my own right, and I am sure of wealth unlimited. After all, I've done well." The thoughts of his bride, as she shook out the folds of her dress, were not less pleasing. "I am Re,-itrtg," she said in her own heart delightedly. "If I do not succeed to the barony of Waldemar in my own right, I shall d,, -o in right, of my husband. Let what will hai'iK'n, my fortune is assured The hr¡,ia! party adjourned to the vestry, and api ended their name* to the official entry of t.lieir marriage in the church register. Then Grimrod and Mrs. Watchley congratulated the bridegroom, and wished all happiness to the bride Moer having paid a handsome fee to t.he officiating clergyman, there was nothing to cause tlrun to linger, and Grimrod conducted kim As the manager glanced back, and a flood of ruddy light fell full upon his face, Hilda. noticed that he looked ill. His face was actually haggard, even while, with the force of his powerful will, he shewed a smile upon his I lips. He looked, indeed, as if some great trouble had suddenly come upon him, and Hilda's thoughts flew to her great secret. Was exposure of her false position threatened ? Where are we to go now ? asked Grimrod, halting at the church door. "To Victoria Station," said Mrs. Watchley promptly, not having observed the change in Grimrod. "We must go to the Crystal Pabice and have a whole day to ourselves. I have telegraphed to have an elegant dinner in a pri- vate room." "I wish we had chosen some more retired place in which to spend the day," said the manager. "So many bridal parties go to Svdenham that I fear we shall be mistaken for one. And to-day there is a and all the West End will be there. Still, if we have a private room and keep to ourselves, there may be no harm done." "There's to be a concert and fireworks this evening," said Mrs. Watchley, but we cannot stay for them. We shall get away from the Palace before the crowd arrives." They entered the cab and drove to Victoria station. A train was on the point of departure. They ■ecured a compartment of a first-class carriage, and steamed swiftly down to Sydenham, alight- ing in the Palace grounds. They did not immediately go into the Palace, but wandered about the lawns and gardens, surveying the ponds and the stone facsimiles of antediluvian monsters, and finally made their way up the long avenue, and into the cool building. Grimrod had been very silent since leaving London. Even Moer saw that there was some- thing amiss with him, and his guilty soul gave a great throb of apprehension. "Suppose we go to our private room," he said. "We are all tired, and the exhibition rooms are crow ded already." The others agreed, and the party proceeded to the dining-rooms, gave their names, and were ushered into a cosy little parlour which had been specially prepared for their reception. "We will retain the room until six o'clock," said Moer, giving the waiter a handsome gratuity. "Let dinner be served at three." The waiter withdrew. Moer locked the door after him. Mrs. Watchley and Hilda removed their bonnets tii(I wrappings. Gi-iiiirod walked to the window. Moer followed him. "What's the matter, Grimrod?" he asked, tapping the manager on the shoulder. "You act as if you were in serious trouble." Hilda, and Mrs. Watchley, each in secret perturbation, and each wearing false smiles, drew near. "I am in trouble," said Grimrod, "and I may as well own the fact to you, particularly as my trouble concerns you both equally with myself." Moer and Hilda alike started. Eaph thought of his and her terrible secret. "I have needed all mv strength of will to keep my distress to myself until this moment," continued the manager. "I kept it from you at church because you were so absorbed in each other you had no glances for me. But you must know the truth now. I have employed a solicitor, doing business near the Temple Gardens, to invest my money for me—the savings of many years as Squire Floyd's and Lord Waldemar's business agent, and the result of successful speculations upon my own part. He embarked my money in two enterprises, one in India, one in Australia, guaranteeing me twenty per cent. profit. Yesterday came letters to him from both quarters. The two bubbles had burst. The diamond mine in India con- tains no diamonds; the railway company in Australia, in which my money was invested, after paying handsome dividends last year, has just failed, paying not one penny in the pound. "I am surprised!" exclaimed Moer. "I don't see how you could have been so taken in, Grimrod." "I was in too great haste to increase my fortune, and so lost all, said the manager. "I am not the first to be taken in. The enter- prises seemed genuine and conducted by well- known, honest men. I have now only my salary as Lord Waldemar's business manager." There was a grave silence, finally broken by Moer. "Then you can't keep us in luxury as you promised ? he inquired. "No my money is gone." "What then, are we to. do ? "You must make friends with your uncle. All your dependence is upon Lord Waldemar. If he casts you off, you must share the fate of Wallace Floyd, or live from hand to mouth until his lordship dies," said the manager gloomily. The others looked appalled at this prospect. "My uncle will fly into a ray when he learns that we are married, said Moer. He will declare that we have cheated and mocked him. I own, Grimrod, my chief dependence has been '.¡pon you and your money. I shall not dare go to my uncle this evening and tell him that Hilda and I have been to church to- gether, after his absolute refusal to allow us to marry under three years. What are we to do, th,-n I said Hilda, repeating Aloer's question of the previous moment. "You must, apologise to your grandfather to-day, Hilda," said the manager, with decision. We are in no condition now to dictate terms. You liiiiril)ie vourself to him, and try to win is is affcctiun. That is the first step. The announcement of your marriage to Darrel Moer must, not be made until you shall have ingratiated yourself with Lord Waldemar, even if you are obliged to keep the secret a month or more." "That looks reasonable," said Moer. "lain willing to wait a month for my bride, if the delay is necessary. Lntil we can wm his lord- ship to some expression of kindly feeling for you, Hilda, you shall be to mo still Miss Floyd and nothing more. Tho consciousness that you are really my wife is an inexpressible comfort to me. Knowing that you are bound to me by ties that Lord Waldemar cannot break, I am willing to allow you the largest liberty." "Everything now depends upon Hilda," said Grimrod. "She must win Lord Waldemar's affection. It cannot be too late. The feat cannot be impossible. Be careful not. to betray your secret until the proper moment. This very evening Hilda must practise her arts of fascination upon her grandfather." They ate their dinner at the appointed hour, and rot half-past. five, or a little later, took the train back to town. They all returned to the house in Park Lane in the Waldemar carriage, which was iu waiting. "You must, make your appeal to his lord- ship this very evening," said Moer, assisting Hilda from the carriage. Iteriiember, as Grimrod says, our fortunes now hang upon you." CHAPTER XLV. AN UNFOllESEES INTERVENTION. While the events which we have chronicled were transpiring in London, other events were occurring down in Huntingdonshire which mpfprially affected'the fortunes of Darrel Moer nd Hilda Floyd. -Lhese events were of the most important and staitiing character, and their result was to render the marriage of Moer to Miss Floyd perfectly. legal and valid, and to free Honor Glint from all legal or other association with Moer's fortunes. These t,vents we will now hasten to narrate. Upon the evening in which Hilda Floyd had so recklessly insulted and defied Lord Wal- demar—the evening before the clandestine mar- riage in the parish church of St. Jude's—Miss Bing made doors and windows all secure at the lonely house of The Cypresses down among the fens, and sat down upnn a tall- backed splint-seated chair before the broad hearth. A bright wood fire wits blazing, tjie great black-log burnt slowly, a faintly resinous odour filled the air, and the ruddy light streamed out beyond the tiled fireplace over the red brick floor and into the distant corners. A single caivdlo burnt on the deal table. The hour was about ten. The tea-kettle was beginning to hum p-nri to emit a light steam from its crooked spout as it swung gently above the blaze. Mins Bing's hands were laid idly uj on her knees; Out although her hands were idle her brain was bus. as was evidenced by her nervous tremours, and by her frequent at-art-, and glances over her shoulder. She was thinking of the "ghost that devoured her stores, and flitt-jd through her house- whispering through keyholes and rustliaf through tho hail. or- Only the night and a aa-ted duck liatt iti,(l entirely dis- froiti her pant«-y, in company with a bottle oi ale which v.us <uio «■! a dozen which -he had procured to solace l-er lonely hours, l he tem; ting bait of toasted cheese in her rat- :rap had remained ul:luIWi,d, a convincing proof that the midnight depredator was no •nnorent mouse. "Bats are not in the habit of lugging oft ottles of ale and provisions in quantity, uused the spinster, "and leaving not so much is a crumb behind them. I've searched the tit ire house to-v.- for the fiftieth time. I ■.now the thief is h _ii<i t. hen I s.j'oke to the t urner to-day, when I e brought motv provi»i ms 'o me, lie said it was the srii it, of the man who It in this house and cannot \è.t ill tla' gn:It', If I\( (';1I" Ie'" /10 L,¡ilWW'S CMIIP \\orn! il1: lIle, 1 never harmed him. was out of the house. I ,:n't stand it much ion .er. She looked qi.;ek!y and sharply behind her. ancying the shadows in the corners peopled villi lurking f.j¡o>t. But not one revealing his presence, siie wert. to the pantiy and brought lit a bottle ha t-f.llcd with brandy, and pro- •eeded to ci.-nc-.ct a drink with hot water, sugar .nd liquor. Having imbibe i this, hut feeling i'e s. litude uni eirr.uly oppress ve, she resolved I) carry up a little pot of tea to her young prisoner, muttering: "Any company is better than nore. And I'm hat leered th::t 1 don't .are io go io mv own loom. 1 keep^ expecting tlu ghost, to poui.ce out upon me She made the tea in a small black eirthen ot, toasted a piece of bread, ar.d with this simple refreshment as an excuse for seeking HOIK r's companionship, she went upstairs and admitted herself into Honor's room. lbe young girl was still up. Her fire was burning, and she was half-crouching before it, her lace in her hands, tier elbows leaning on t r knees, her eyes fixed intently upon the bed "f couls. She had not removed her garment* or the n glit, and was dressed in iicrgrey !ravelling suit, worn and shabby now. "I've brought you up some tea, miss," said the spinster, depositing the tray on a table and j iifh ng the latter towards Honor. 'lhe girl looked up in surprise at the un- voiced attention. "I was lonely downstairs, said Miss Bing, '.al'-ashaiaed cf her superstition, "and anv com (any when one is lonely is better than "Perhaps so," said Honor, "but I don't I'm t the lea. I have eaten my regular meals e. ithc lit suspicion, Ali-s Ding, but I have reason distrust any especial kindness from you." "The tea isn't drugged, if yon mean that" aid the woman sharply. "I brought it up to I:H' the excuse of 8,kin: your company for few moments. The home is haunted, that's w I at it is, and I don't like to be in them great ( ms aJone." "J don't believe in --iii(i Honor. 'Are you sure that you don't get up in your deep, Miss Bing ? Last night, and every night oi.ee I have been here, someone has whistled hrough the keyhole of my door, and tried r.iy atch, and muttered "Lor sakes ejaculated Miss Ping, in terror. "V-. by didn't, yon speak of it beforo ? stii,,I)ozned it t pii-t of -roiir plan to terrify me into submission to Darrel Moer's will," declared the girl. "And I am not sure now that such is not the case." "Put I vow," said Miss Bing, shuddering, J it was not I. I don't walk in mv sleep. A nd I have heard the same noises at my door ;\1:(\ in tile hall. It's tll(1 ¡!host. Her terror was unmistakably genuine. "These sounds may be susceptible of a very s n pie explanation," said Honor. "I don't believe that they aro supernatural." ] hell w hnt do ,"on think of coolterl read d isaj ], earing from my pantry every night?" demanded Aliss Bing. "Of alti and butter and milk being carried off by the quantity—of my new Witney blankets disappearing bodily without leaving so much as a thread of lint? Who took 'em 'i "Some tramp, perhaps "Some tramp! When I've searched the house rl'OJU top to bottom every day, and the windows and doors all shut! Some tramp indeed rc,« ffed Mist Bing. "I tell: ou, miss, it's a eho.-l Honor offered no further objections to Aliss Bing's theory, but. her own opinion remained uneban ed. Inot itt-,it the fet, Bing, she obseriej, pushing the table from her. "I should ..ke a ciip of,w:tter. I am thirsty to-night." "I'll get the water, miss, and if you feel wakefullike, which I do, I'll make bold to sit with you -in hour or more," said Miss Bing. "1 urn not sleepy, and L don't like to go to bed. Honor assented to the proposed visit, and Miss Bing took up tho tray, with the lighted candle upon it, and went out, into the passage. The key was in tha outside of the lock of Honor's room. Aliss Bing merely turned the key, shooting the bolt home, but without with- drawing the key, as she was to return imnie- dntely. Honor heard her crose to the staircase Undine. Then II. slIddpn shriek of horror in Miss. Bing's voice rent the air, the tray and dish< s went, clattering down the stairs, and there followed the sound of two heavy falling bodies, I nmping at every step, and landing with a dull t111:! upon the brick floor of the hall. lIoncr comprehended that Miss Bing had hdhn downstairs. She flew to her door and li tened. There came up to her a series of arpilling shrieks from the throat of Bing, i; t'!mingled with horrible groans, apparently >.i! mi nting frcm another person. What had happened ? The vigour of Mil's Bing's screams attested that she was not seri- ously injured, or she was in a state of mortal terror. lvil,, was in the house besides tie girl and her gaoler? Honor heat her small fists upon her door, raiding a tattoo tluc resounded through the ITut passage oms; ,i-„ Her first impression was that Sir Hugh 'Iretaron l ad coim- to her rescue, and that it it s the sight of h;, i that had terrified Aliss Ling. f.'l.e kept up her tattoo with energy under !iii,.q conviction. "Here I um I" File cried. "Let me out I let i..e out! There was n of a struggle in the hall e'ow, a sound of steps on the stairs, and a .-wilt rush in the i without, and then a whistling was heard through the keyhole ■ f tiie door, a wh.nhng like that Honor had iiurd for so many m-ht.s. The girl shrank back in disappointment- a-.<l a vague alarm. A low, Fort of Muttering followed, thrs kev v; s turned in the !< ck, and the door was flung oi en. Honor Glint etc. d face to face with the "ghost" of Tho Cyiressts! ".t %i-ns no ,I)ape that confronted i rr, no Fpirir. t-ii( It us Aliss Bing' s heated ¡I' :Igintt ion had CUI ('p,ed, Jut it was scarcely strange, wild, and terrifying. I vas a living woman, yet one who seemed re like a ghost than a living, breathing ciensure! She was tall and emaciated, and wore woollen blanket folded round her like a toga. Her fair hair, ragged ttnd uneven, and dabbled iu WRIm wet blood, strayed over her shoulders. Her 1 ig l lue eyes stood out from the dead ",cd nwful whiteness of her face, burning like c, I f'- J i:: hI. Upon her foreheud was a fright- -I from which the blood dripped j ;lowly, and she clutched her chest as if a urri!. e agony were raging within. II she were not a ghost, she seemed a dying yet there was all aspect, of faded liei-, a look (if decan ithaiti cf foimer beauty. iilf could not have been over thirty years of a; f. I ut she looked fifty. Wot) -,ti-c N,(Ili ? all(-, regarding the :-rl wimderingly, and coming into the room. hi are you doing licre ? This house is nr. ■ e. li sf Ling had gathered herself up from the I nek hall floor, and now came up the stairs nui stood in Honor's doorway. The conviction that her ?i»itor was hrn an had forced itself upon her mind, and sh» drew from her bosom r. pis-wd with which Moer's valet had armed "1, and prepared to stand guard over her rapt ive. Miss Bing lind been more frightened than hi it. On learning the landing, a grotesque f ore all in white—in one of the stolen Witney b idets—l ad arisen from a crouching position i tool g the shadows and jounced upon the all tvilli mutterings of menace. In her j error and alarm Miss Bing had lort her footing, and fallen down the stair- hurling cr assailant- before her. The intruder had iiLiiud tlo lull force oi the fail, Aliss Bmg coming heavily upon her, but in Alf-s Bing's fright the singular intruder escaped from her and up the stars, being attracted to the prisoner s door by Honor's call. The young girl had seen at a glance that the intruder w&s a lunatic. The restless glare of the big burning eyes testified that the brain behind the n was diseased. She deemed it best to soothe the terrible-looking being. "I am Honor Glint," she answered calmly, slowly retreating. Who are you ? The woman uttered a wild, discordant laugh, and glanced towards 'he mirror on the wall. "I?" she said. "I am the beautiful queen of tragedy. Ha, Î'a! I am La belle Carmine! La belie Carmine for ewr Vite ia bagatelle The last words were spoken gaspingly. She sank down in a chair, clutching frantically at her breast. Miss Hit! started a3 the n:vi « fell on her ear. Siie had 1 c ard from Moer's valet years before that his master, Darrel Moer, h»d" wedded a beautiful young actress named Carmine Roff, • and known as La belle Carmine. She advanced j into the room, locking the door on the inner side, and pmting the key in her pocket. "So you art- the ghost who haunts The Cypresses ? she demanded, approaching the madwoman. "Yes," and a gleam of cunning sparkled in the woman's fading eyes. "I took your bread and meat, Oh, yes! And the blankets. Oil, it was erv c(-I(i iip in the little close stable loft where i hid all the day, and I grew hungry too. I crepe in at one of the cellar windows, where the catch was loose. You were keen, but not so keen as 1. Why, I have sharpened wits with my enpmies for all these years. Thev call me mad. I am not mad. Parfitt and the | rest are mad-not T "What is your name ? cried Miss Bing. "'What's in a name? muttered the mad- woman. "All, tl:a paiii in here! and slie caught at her breast. "The pain the pain "She received some internal injury," said Aliss Bing, turning to Honor. "She attacked me on the stairs, and we fell down together, and I fell full upon her. I dare say she has crushed in her ribs. She louks as if she were d in. "She must have escaped from some place of confinement recently." said Honor, "and she has hidden in the stable loft at The Cypresses. Her words explain how she has procured her sustenance. She must have arrived at about the time wecame." The woman interrupted with a tragic gesture. The red drops of blood were dripping slowly down her face, and her wild, weird eves were fast losing their terrible brilliancy. "I am La belle Carmine!" she said, as if uttering a refrain often upon her lips. "They called me Carmine lioff, but I was not.. I tell you I was legally married to him. If he denies it, let the traitor die! You'll find the register of the marriage at Somerset House, and in the books at St. Helen's. I am his wife. Who calls me Carmine Roff? She raised her drooping head with a defiant air. "No one—no one!" said Honor pityingly, kneeling by the woman's side and taking in hers the fluttering hand. "Miss Bing, her pulse is failing. She must have received some terrible internal injury. We will lay her upon my bed, and look to her wounds." They did so. The wound upon the woman's head was dressed by Honor s own hands, with gentleness and even tenderness. They examined her breast. Several of her ribs were broken, and Miss Bing declared that, one of them had been driven into the woman's heart. "We can do nothing for her," said the gaoler. "She is already dying. She'll last but a few minutes longer. See how grey her face is, how pinched her nose; and she is picking at the blanket. That's a sure sign of death." "Poor thing! sighed Honor, bending over her and stroking the damp white brows softly. •'Whoever she is, someone has loved her. The woman looked up with a pitiful and fleeting smile. "Ah, yes," she whispered. "Darrel loved me once! How he praised my fair hair and mv blue eves Darrel loved me Darrel ? "Yes—my iiusband, you know. He IS my husband even if he denies it. How dared they look down upon me at Baden-Baden ? I tell you, 1 was—I am—his lawful wife. He grew tired of me. He is very fickle. It's his nature, but he is very handsome, and I loved him. He told me he should never acknowledge our mar- riage, but he will-be must. I'll go to the old squire myself—I'll get on my knees to him and plead for my Darrel. What! shall our two lives be ruined for the sake of that old man's pride ? Darrel shall love me again— Darrel Darrel!" Her voice rose to a shrill scream. "Don't talk! commanded Miss Bing. "Oh, yes, speak!" cried Honor Glint, falling on her knees beside the bed. "Who ia this Darrel, who is your husband ? The dying woman stroked the girl's golden head as she answered "Ali, he's nothing to yon, girl. ITe belongs to me. \Ve were married in the church at Brighton. He took me with him to Germany, but you think, perhaps, because lie allowed the impression to go out, that he was not married to me. I say he was. 1 can prove it. Look for the registry at Somerset House. I am his lawful, honest wife. But he is cruel, terrible. He hates me. Is—is that old Parfitt ? She seemed to hearken for a footstep on the tairs. "It's no one," said Aliss Bing. "You must to sleep." "I'm sleepy," the woman murmured. "Mv head is tetter. The pain is easing. I want to rest." She was silent for some minutes, clinging to Honor's hand, and seeming to doze. Suddenly she opened her eyes, and her glances wandered. Those big blue eyes had lost their restless glare now, but were strangely staring. The expression of her face had changed. A softness and sweetness seemed to mantle the worn, pinched features. In her last moments, at ieast a fragment of her reason had come back to her. "I tliiiik I'm dying," she said softly. Where's Darrel? Call my husband." "He is not here," said Honor. "Not here! Oh, I remember now. He savs that he will not own me for his wife. He is afraid of his uncle. He repents our mar- riage. His short-lived infatuation is over. ..Javp I been ill long ? "Yes, some time, bink," said Honor gently. "I don't remember our faces. Do you think I'm dying ? "Yes, dear, answered Honor pitifully. Shall I pray for you ? "There is not time," said the dying woman. But it's all right. I've always prayed for myself, you know, and I'm not afraid to die. I don't remtiubf-" somehow—how did I get, hurt? Never mind. The time is short. Teil Darrel that he need never appeal to old Squire f lovd now. Give Darrel mv last message——" The voice faltered, Lr. belle Carmine seemed to drowse again. "What shjill I tell iiiiii ? asked Honor. "Who is he ?s' The heavy lids lifted again, disclosing the glaring eyes. The white and rigid lips parted, v.nd the dying voice slowly fluttered out the w or lis: "Tell--Darrel 2-Toer-his wife-is dead. lie is free." The eyelids closed again, a quick breath came from the still parted lips, and the soul of Dllrrd Moer's wronged wife was gone to God. The stormy life was over the weary heart had ceased its beatings for ever. The blue eye* Darrel Moer had once loved were hidden by the marble lids, and would never open more. The pinched lips, so long compressed in pain and anguish, relaxed now in a heavenly smile, and upon the poor dead face Death set the seal of peace. At peace at last! (To bo contisuid.)

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