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i <. ■ > ■ .... i rA DARING…

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i <. ■ > ■ i r A DARING GAME. Î By HARRIET LEWIS. 1 Author of "The Secret of His History," "Tlte I Old Iiite s Shadows, Sundered Hearts," Darkwood, A.c. CHAPTER XL I. THE DESPAIR OF KUKC8 AND LALLY. CHAPTER XL I. THE DESPAIR OF RUFUS AND LALLY. A" the grim and warlike announcement of Vim. Peters's identity, delivered in Mrs. Peters s grimmest and most, warlike manner, ■j Stifns Black rfccotifd involuntarily, his face J wpre'Fing his utter -wruazement 1 He had felt confident that this angular and ( woman was AI.iss Wroat, aud that kis deserted young wife was in the woman's •mplt.y, under the assumed name of Mrs. FeWs. In his astonishment and disappoint- i went, he stood pale and speechless. | "You may go down, Mary," said Mrs. Peters to the housemaid. "The gentleman came to see sne, tui hear. The housemaid, being in awe of Mrs. < Peters, precipitately retired to the servants' ball | "And now, sir," said Mra. Peters, in such a | foice us she might have employed in uttering s Piiihis fli»ck struggled to rejrsin his self- thall,nge, "what may yon want with me ? Piiihis fli»ck struggled to rejrsin his self- "Tl ere is some mistake," he gasped. MI I r,, i- omber you. I saw you .in the Regent Street pict'.u 4-shop the other day, with—with a young lady. I thought she called herself Mrs. Peters. I am come to see her." "Come in," said Mra. Peters, who was in toward terror of Lally's appearance upon the scene and -vho had made up her mind te prevent an interview between the young pair at all rests. "Come in, sir, and I'll hear what you have to say." She conducted him ti the library, which was acro-s the hall from the drawing-rooms. • It was lighted by a pendetit chandelier, in which were a dro?-en wax candles which burnt with mellow light. A great circular bay-window took up one side of the apartment, the opposite side con- taining a great fireplace, in which logs were burning. The angles on either side the chimney were fitted with tall book-cases, and one end of the room was also lined with rows of shelves ..11 filled with books, and protected by plate- flass doors. At the opposite end of t&e room was a glazed garden door, opening upon the grassy terrace. This room already bade fair to become a favourite resort of Lally's. She had ordered it to be warmed and lighted at the same time with the drawing-room, and was likely to visit it during the evening. Mrs. Peters locked the door, therefore, as she motioned Rufus to a seat. He declined the civility, however, and remained standing, his hat in his hand. "I remember vou very well now," said Mrs. Peters, pretending to search her memory, now that you have mentioned the picture-shop. You •» the young gentleman who annoyed the young jBfly with me. Yes, I remember you. What an you doing here ? Why have you followed to Scotland ? Why have you come to Heather Hills ? "I am come, madam," cried Rufus, white and agitated, "to Me the young lady who was in your company at Benson's the other day. It is imperative that I should see her." "I think not," said Mrs. Peters gravelv. "In • the first place, how can you be sure that the young lady is in this house ? "I have traced her aadyou. all the way from London," cried Ruflis. "I saw the card you nve to Benson, with the name upon it of Miss roat. Mount Street,' with the number. I went to Mount Street twioe, and the second time dis- covered that you had left town. I hurried to the station of the Great Northern, and found that the express had gone. And then-" "And then?" *"5 went to my hotel.. I had not money enough for such a toip as this," said Rufus frankly, "and so I could not come in the worning train. I had to sell my watch, a fecent present from my father, and as I had then all day on.my hand* before I could start for the north, I went to Mount Street again. In one of the stret-te near, I inquired at a shop about Miss Wroat, and there learnt that she jras an eccentric old lady—excuse me, madam, Dut I received a very accurate description of you. And so I knew that you were Miss Wroat, 'and that I^lly is Mrs. Peters. I took the night • jTa,n for Edinburgh, twenty-four hours later than yourself. I reached Inverness this after- Boon and discovered the names of Miss Wroat and Mrs. Peters registered at the Caledonian. A servant of the, house told me that you were at neather Hills, and a cabman brought me here. 1 know that L&ilj. is in this house, madam, and I must see her." Mrs. Peters smiled grimly as a full compre- hension of Rufus Black's mistake dawned upon her. She understood readily that the shopman whom Rufus had interrogated had not known of Mr*. Wroat's death, and had confounded the names of Mrs. Wroat and Miss Wroat, and that Rufus very naturally thought her the eccentric old lady of whom he had heard. And so you don't believe that I am Mrs. Peters ? she asked. "No, madam," said Rufus bluntlv. "I have traced an elderly ladv-yourself-and a young tid-Lally-all the way from London, and under the names of Miss Wroat and Mrs. Peters. You are not Mrs. Peters, and I demand to-see her." "You cannot eee W," said Mrs. Peters "aTe heard the young lady's story, *od I shall protect her from the persecutions of, a man who deserted her in the most cowardly fashion,, and who, believing her to be dead, «* £ Teermade one movement to save her supposed nhliw from intercept m a pauper's grave. You havf -is M:»-: Inrd. ALr i'v-fui Black; you have yourself declared that she Is not your wife." "Lally has told you all ? cried Rufus, in a low, heart-broken voice. "Not all, though, for even she does not know all—the sleepless nights I've passed, the days of anguish. I've hated myself, and despised myself. I have been on the point again and again of committing suicide. Her poor young face, as I fancied it, mutilated and dead, has haunted me sleeping and waking. God alone know* my anguish, my remorse. If Lallv only knew all! "She knows more than you think, said Mrs. Peters significantly. How ? What ? I do not understand." "Miss Bird has a shelter under this roof now, and while I live jhe shall never want a friend," said Mrs. Peters, purposely confirming Rufus Black's impression that Lally was a dependant, but she has known Men extremes of poverty an would make you shudder. She left her lodgings in New Brompton, turned out by an insolent landlady, having only the clothes she stood ia. She went out upon Waterloo Bridge in her despair, to commit suicide. An unfortunate girl did commit auieide, springing from Lally's very side, and Lally's handkerchief fluttering after the poor lost cseature fixed upon her Lally's identity. Lally fled from the terrible scene, and that night she slept upon Hampstead Heath, under the open sky, with tramps and thieves all around her in the darkness, and she knowing it tot-homeless, houeelesfi. penniless." 0 Heaven cried Rufus Black, in an un- controllable agitation. "You thintit .terril;ie for a girl so young and beautiful? Listen. Worse was to come. She went to a poor old seamstress she had known when teaching music in a school. This seamstress gave her shelter and protection, but she was dying of oonaumption, and IAlly had soon to work, for-her and nurse her, and after a little to bury her. When the poor woman died, Lally was once more homeless, and without work. She was newly starved, and her one great desire was to look upon your face again, herself unseen.. And so she wandered down into Kent-" "Into Kent ? Oh, my poor girl! She was ;ragged and tattered, hungry and forlorn. She worked in the hop-gardens for food and shelter. She saw you Rufus uttered & cry of incredulity. "She did not see iae! ha ejaculated. "I ihpnld hqye known her in any guise* I should r- mm. II j 11 ————. II .p have It her ner.rnras, naa sin oeen on tne opposite side of the street." Mrs. Peters's lip curled. "You think so ? she said drily. "Let me tell you that your wronged and deserted young wife was-nearer to you than that, and yet you did not know it. Do you remember a certain September evening when you sat beside the heiress of Hawkhurst upon a wayside bank, in the shadow of Hawkhurst Park ? Do vou re- member your passionate tovri of love to Miss Wynde ? Do you remember telling Miss Wyndt that your very life here and beyond depended upon herapswer to your suit? Well, there was one listening to those passionate vows whom you thought dead. In the thicket, almost within an arm's length of you, a poor, worn- out, ragged tramp was lying for a brief rest —a hungry, houseless, tattered tramp, Mr. Black—and that tramp was your disowned young wife! 0 my God Impossible "You passed on with your beautiful new love in all her pride and her beauty, and the old love rose up from her thorny bed and crept after yon like a shadow; and when you stood in the light upon the Hawkhurst terrace, with the hand of your new love pressed to your lips, the old love stood outside the great gates a long way off, and with her face against the bars looked in upon you both, as a lost soul might I look in upon Paradise." "0 Lally, Lally I" cried Rufus, in a wild anguish, utterly losing his self-control. "Lally I Was she there ? My poor, poor darling I "When you turned to come back down the avenue, she Bed moaning. She had seen you, and it seemed as if she must die. But she was young and strong, and life clung to her, although her heart was breaking. She wandered on for hours, and flnally lay down under a I wayside hedge. The next day she worked in the hop-gardens, and the next night she slept in a barn with the hop-pickers, many of whom are tramps and thieves out of London for a holiday. She earned a little money, and went to Canterbury and advertised for a situation, which she obtained——" "As your companion, madam ? May God in Heaven bless you for your goodi e s to my poor forsaken girl! And she lived and suffered while I mourned her as dead. 0 madam, I can explain all that seems so strange to you and her. I never loved Miss Wynde as I loved Lally. I believed Lally dead, and that I was her murderer. I was consumed with remorse and anguish. I was desperate, and going to the bad, and I prayed Miss Wynde to save me. But I loved only Lally. I pray you to let me see her. She will believe me- "That is the very reason I shall not permit you to see her. She is getting to take an interest in life, and I will not have her growing peace disturbed. You are engaged to this heiress." Oh, no, I am not. And if I were I would not marry her, now that I know that Lally lives. My father threatened me with arrest and imprisonment if I did not give Lally up. He assured me that the marriage was null and void, and that he would provide for my poor girl. I'm a coward, Miss Wroat, a poor, pitiful coward, and I have had all my life long a deadly fear of my father. You cannot understand that, fear; perhaps no one can but I shall fling off that awe and terror of him, and be henceforth my own master. I was one- and-twenty yesterday, madam, and I am now accountable alone to God and to the laws of my country. I love Lally, and Lally alone, in all the world. I am going to try to be worthy of her. She is poor, and I am poor; but if she will take me back again," said Rufus humbly, we will begin life anew, and I will try to be a better man. I will work for her, and I'll try to be a great painter, so that she may be proud of me. And At I can't be that, I'll be anything that is honest and manly to earn our support. I know you have a poor opinion of me, madam, and I know I deserve it. I don't amount to much from any point of view; but if you would intercede for me with Lally, and beg her to try me again and marry me, I will bless you always as my benefactress and saviour." The young man's humility and anguished pleading touched the heart of Mrs. Peters, but she steeled herself against him, and said: "Mr. Black, I am sorry for you. I believe that you mean what you say now, but if you were once to got under your father's influence again, Miss Lally would be as unhappy as eves. advise tou to go back to Miss Wynde, and leave Lally here. In time she may marry an honourable and upright gentleman, with whom she will be far happier than she could be with you." A quick flush of jealousy overspread the- youth's face. His eyes glared at Mrs. Peters. with a hunted expression. "She won't marry again untrl I die, or th. law baa freed her from me! he exclaimed. "1 would never have proposed marriage to Miss Wynde, had I not supposed Lally to be dead. She is my wife, madam, and I'll declare her to be such until she herself forbids me t do co. If she marries any other man, I'll kill him! The young man's jealous fury was sucoeeded by an instant and terrible despair. "Forgive me," he said humbly. "What am I, to talk of controlling Lally's movements? I have forfeited all claim upon her, and upon her forgiveness. If she refuses to take me back, I can only go to perdition. If she will stretch out her hand to save me, I will be her slave. Will you not take a brief message to her from me, madam—only a few words ? Mrs. Peters fancied she heard a light step in the hall. She listened, but, convinced of her mistake, said nervously and hastily I cannot convey your message, sir. I entreat you to leave Miss Bird in peace. I repeat that you cannot see her under this roof." "How summarily you dispose of the happi- ness and the very destiny of a fellow-being. It said Rufus despairingly and reproachfully. "I would her ir rour pww* 'You vn. ral. "V ,u iiSY," prolonged this interview beyond bounds, air. Take my advice and go back to Miss Wynde. I ;nnst bid you • good-evening, Mr. Black. You can go out at tins garden door, if you pleaae." Mrs. Peters threw open the garden door, and, a gust of chill windswept in, nearly extinguish- ing the lights. Rufus hesitated, but the door remained open, and Mrs. Peters looked so grim and stern that ha obeyed her without a mur- mur, and went out in a dead silence, his wild eyes giving her a last look of reproach and, despair. A minute later, she heard his cab roll away from the house. "I wonder if I have done right," the womaw. mutt-ered uneasily, as ahe closed the door- "I have taken a great responsibility upoa myself in deciding the fate of my young mistress. I almost wish that I had let him see her, but she is so young and tender and pitiful, she would be sure to take. him back agaip. His eyes will haunt me. He looked as a man might look on his way to execution." At that moment the library door was tried from the hall, and an imperious little kiteck sounded upon the panels. "Peters," cried Lally from without, ia an agitated voice, "let me in I let me in! Peters calmed het fuce, and hastened to unlock the door. Lally swept in impetuously, her gipsj face aglow, her bluck eyes full of fire, her chest heaving. She held in one band a gentleman's glove, which she fead just picked up from the hall floor. Her keen eyes swept the room, and er countenance fell with disappointment at finding Mre. Peters alone. "I heard a carriage go away just now, Peters, she cried. Who Jia» been here ? W as it not the wind, tais/ ? eried Peters, flushing. N o I heard wheels going down the drive. And here is something I found in the hall, Peter«—a man's glove. Whose is it ? "It might be Toppen's, miss." "It might be, but.it isn't!" said Lally, full of suppressed excitement, that made her slriujgdgr beautiful. "This is a gentleman's glove. See. how soft nnd fine the kid is. The colour is just the shade of lavender Rufus used to wear when he wore gloves, and it has just the jasmine scent lie used to drop always into his gloves. And-tnd Lxero is one of the very glove buttons he used to ¡¡!i.:) from one pair ol gloves to another. 1 should know tiiat small fold knob, with its chased edge, anywhere.^ 'efcers, he has been here! Rufus has been here" The flushing, agitated face of Mrs. Peters confessed the truth. I n "He has followed as up from London! cried Lallv, her eyes glowing lixo suns. "He has come after me, and traced me to this place. He loves me still—he must love me, Peters I He must love me better than Miss Wynde I "He said so, Miss Lally." Ah, then it is true! But why 'did he go away without seeing me ? Why did you not call me ? Perhaps he will give up all for me, thinking me still poor like hii-iself ? "He said he would, Miss Lally," said poor, honest Mrs. Peters, dri\eii to full confession. "He thinks that I am Miss Wroat, and that 'ou are Mrs. Peters, my poor companion. And lie says he loves you, ana wants to marry you; but he is so unstable and cowardly, and I knew you ought to make a grand marriage, with your face and your fortune; and so-and so, Miss Lally, I sent him off, and he's gona back to England and to Miss Wynde.' Poor Lally stared at her maid with dilating eyes and horror-stricken countenance. Then she said, in a wniling voice: "O Peters, you meant well, J k -.ow; but but you've broken my heart! And, with a low, wild moan, Lallv fell forward in a dead swoon. CHAPTER XLII. SIR HAROLD'S RETCRX That night upon which Rufus Blaok visited Heather Hills, and was sent away again in despair, was a wild night throughout Great Britain and upon its coasts. Ships were wrecked upon the Goodwin Sands, and upon the south and west coasts. Over the open moors and heaths of the country the winds went roaring like unloosed demons, bent upon terrible mischief. Women with husbands at sea cowered before their blazing fires that night, and children in their beds snuggled closer and held their breaths with very fear. floutse-i were unroofed in many places, chimneys were blown down, and lives were lost upon bridges and country roads through falling timbers and uprooted trees. The gale that night 11 was one long to be remem- bered for its wild violence, one so severe not having been experienced in Great Britain for years. Mr. Atkins, the Canterbury solicitor, sat In his office until a late hour that night. His house was in a pleasant, quiet street, in a good neighbourhood, and the lower floor w.o occupied by him as his office, the drawing-room being upon the first floor, and the family rooms I above. The main office had an independent entrance from the street, with a door opening directly into the office-a convenient arrangement duly appreciated by Mrs. Atkins, as it left the house entrance free to her family and guests. Xhe solicitor had changed somewhat since his first introduction to the reader. His honest face had grown thin and sallow, his hair was streaked with grey, and there were anxious lines about his mouth and eyes that told of unrest and trouble. He sat in a lounging chair before the fire, his feet on the fender. His family had long since retired, and the hour was wearing on towards eleven o'clock. His fire flamed up in a wild glow, the gas burnt brightly, the red flre-gleants lighted the dull office carpet aad the well-polished furniture, making the room seem especially easy and delightful. The shutters were closed, but no care could shut out the sound of the mad winds careering through the streets, clutching at resisting OUTAJLW4NDSJ and bearing along DOW and then. sornW.attering sign board or other estray. "An awful night! sighed the solicitor. "I have a strange feeling, as if something were- going to happen f He shifted uneasily in his chair, and bent forward and laid fresh coals upon the flre. Then he leant back again and thought. The office citwk struck eleven, and the loud' clangour struck npon Mr. Atkins in his nervous mood with singuiar unpleasantness. Before the- echo of the last stroke had died out, footsteps. were heard in the, street, unsteady and waver- ing, as if the pedestrian were battling with the storm, and found A difficult to advance against it. Some poor feviow," thought Mr. Atkins. 'He must be hameless to be out at this* hour, and in such a gale." The steps came nearer still, and nearer, their sound being now and then lost in the tumult, of the wind. They paused at the foot of the solicitor's ofllce steps, and then slowly mounted to the door. Who can it be at this time of night?" muttered Mr. Atkins. "Some vagabond who means to sleep on my eteps ? Or it it soma- homeless wanderer who sees my light through j the shutters, and is come to beg of me ? It all-ii,s" seemed as if it were the latter, for lbs 'fffi. j :11 did gleam out into the back d lighted up a patch of pavement. A knock, low and' unsteady, was rung upon the k nocker. ° Mr. Atkins hesitated. He was not a timid l man, but he had no client who found it neces- sary W visit mm at that hour, and his visitor, he thought, was as likely to be scmo desperate vagrant or professional thief as an honest man. I he knock, low and faint and imploring, sounded again. It seemed to the solicitor as if there was something (specially guarded aad secret in the manner of it. He rose and took fron his office desk a loadedi pistol, and placed it ia his breast pocket. Then. me went to the door and undid the ban and? bolts, throwing it half-way open, and peering out. A man stood upon the steps, muffled in a, thick long overcoat, whose fur collar was turned: up above his ears. A slouched hat was drawn- over his face, and Mr. Atkins could not dis- tinguish a feature ofi his face. c ik o, solicitor, his !1I1.. Uxjiuig fur uis piaioi. "An old friend," was the reply, in a hoarse whisper. I must see you. Let me in, Atkina." He stepped forward, with an air of commaed that impressed Atkims, who involuntarily stepped aside, giving the stranger admittance. The new-comer qpnetlv turned the key in the lock. Atkins clutched! his pistol, quietly upon, his guard. "Who are you,?' he demanded. "What do you want ?" The stranger took off his hat, revealing the upper portion of a noble head, crowned, with grizzled hair. Then slowly he turned down uis greatcoat sailar, and stood before Atkins Face whh v gUit\ d'*Pla-vlDS a 8randly nan/L j n » bronzed aounte- nance, and sternly-get lips above a grey beard. •fi j dropped to his side. With a w.ld and sttflod shri £ he staggered to a chair? Urf! T>^uWildly at stranger. "s» Sir Harold-for it was fadeed fc* returned that day to England, after a prolonged journey from India-smiled his old warm smile, and held out his hand. "Sir Harold Wynde repeated Atkins, not taking the band-" w:io-who died——" I can give you the best of proofs, Atkins, that I did not die in India," said the baronet, with a cheery little laugh. "You look at me as at a ghost, but I'm no ghost. Feel my hand. Is not that real flesh and blood ? Atkins, you are giving me but a sorry welcome, my old friend." Atkins still stared with a wild incredulity at his old friend and employer. He could not yet comprehend the glad truth. "I—I must be dreaming ho muttered. t felt queer to-night. I Sir Harold advanced and, pulling off his glove, laid his hand on that of Atkins. Its touch was chill, but unmistakably human. "What!" cried the baronet. "Do you believe in ghosts, my friend ? I wouldn't have believed a oona-fide wraith could have so startled the hard-headed Atkins I once knew. I was not eaten by the tiger, Atkins, but I have been kept a prisoner in the hands 'of human tigers until I managed to escape last month. You know me now, and that I am no ghost ? Atkins rose up, pale and trembling still, but with an unutterable joy on his face. "-It is Sir Harold alive.and. in the tlesa."

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i <. ■ > ■ .... i rA DARING…