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TALL RIGHTS RESERVED.} "A CONQUEST OF FORTMIf" BY GEORGE GRIFFITH. BEGIN THE STORY HERE. ] I CHAPTER L-Th storr ccens with th» romantic retarn to Dudley from Ame-tica after twelve years' absence of Mr. Bryan Endicot. who. as a bev, left school and I went awav after his father's tragic death. His father was an in n master supposed to be wealthy, but all young Endicot ^received from Lucas Starkey, a. lawyer, was £100. and he came home to find the latter, U1 possession of the works During nis stay in America Endicot gained wealth and fame as Frank Tynan, an inventor. When be reached home he was invitel by Mr. Heathcote. an old friend, who was also an ironmaster to ioin his firm in order to avoid opposition. but Endicot said he was determisecf to rsgain the works' once held by his a -her- CHAPTER II.-Brian, after leaving Mr Heathcote, wandered to a spot where years before he used to meet Vivien Lenox, his little sweetheart, daughter of the classicat master at King Edward's School. and to hii surprise discovered a letter in the tree which they had used for depositing m--s R?gee to each other It was from Vivien. I and was e--dent', written in the to?E: ago. She expressed surprise that he had not called upon her. Later he 'earned that Mr. I Lenox was dead from the shock cf receiving a fortune, and that Vivien had left, and was supposed to have married. CHAPTER III.—Bryan visited Mr. Starkey. and waa greeted with outstretched hand. lie took away the lawyer's breath when he t<?d him he was prepared to buy back the works a&ordin ? to the ?v7er's promisa to E;eU beore Bryan Wen# away, and that he could do so without financial assistance, ae he could himself realise half a. million sterling. CHAPTER IV.—In the chat which followed i ."— — — "I am half in love with her myeelf. Bryan learned that Starkey. who was sup- posed to have paid £ 20,000 for the works. now wanted £ 150,000 for them, but would not hand them over. if sold, until after the Parliamentary election, as he wanted the Tote6 of labour. Bryan offered £ 5,000 above the valuation for them. The negotiations broke off by Bryan saying he was off to Mr. Heat h cote's to dinner, and he openly coll- feaeed that he was the lawyer's enemy CHAPTER V.—In leaving B"yan paused before the next house, where the Tyldesleys, relatives of Vivien, dwelt, and he. then heard from her cousin that Vivien was about to marry Starkey. This bolt from the blue was scarcely delivered ere Starkey PA seen approaching the house, and about the same inet&nt Bnen heard Vivien out- side tbo door of the room to which he had been taken. She called out. "I most have a look at my hair, and I've got » new smile in training for my darling old Icvsr." Wtth that ehe came face to face with Bryan, and greeted hIm wth delight. CHAPTER VI-Vlnen confessed to Bryan that Starkey had obtained a magnetic influence over fer, tnjt she was determined to cast him off for Bryan, and she told Yr. TyTdefilfty. her oouein. so. The lattef said that if she did she would have to pay his debts to Starkey. Vivien also informed Starkey of her intention, but he expressed confidence that he would make her his wife, and said he did not love her for her ZIO,OW a year. CHAJPTEB VIl.-Bryan left the be use just before Starkey entered, and he was now ftlled with the idea of marrvinjr Vivien, if only to defeat Starkey. He then visited Mr. Heathcote, and was introduced to the lafcter's daughter. Dolly. whom, of course, he had known years before. Bryan scon grew to like Dtllly. ard at dinner a scheme was evolved to make Bryan a Dartner in the firm of Mr. Heathcote. so as to crush Starkey. CHAPTERS VITI. AND IX.-Mr. Heathcote's works, with Brvan as partner, were re- modelled. and orders simply poured in. One day a, Miss Edith Bell" answered the firm's advertisement for a typist, and was engaged by Mr. Luatley. chief clerk. She. unknown to Bryan. was the real Vivien Lenox. Meanwhile Starkey was working up discontent amongst the workmen of wryan's Arm. CHAPTER X. sees Starkey and Dick Tyldes- Jey, Vivien a cousin, ordered away from the lOuee of Lord Rosenby by the latter in erson, Vivien making the request. This Vivien, of course, is not "Miss Bell." the typiat. CHAPTER XI. "IF HE SHOULD MEET HER." "I am so glad that it is all over, Miss Lenox said while they were at lunch, "and you can t think how much I admire you. Lord Rozenby." Bozenby smiled. Tt was a pleasure, I assure you. I have wanted to quarrel with Starkey for a long while, you know. "But I had an idea that you were so • wittily indolent and inoffensive! "And so I am' The life I live is sadlv 1 •nervatmg, He glanced at Endicot with a SIB lie Sow I can imagine you pitching Starkejsfeok and crop back into his motor." "I ana Wbt blessed with your coolness, Rozenby, Bryan laughed. "I never saw ftnvthing better done in mv life; no noise, no fuss, only simple annihilation." "I cultivated that sort of thing when I was in the diplomatic service. I have fought a duel or two. and kilted my tiger." He yacwned. But that was years ago in India. Now, tny dear Miss Lenox. I suppose that I can leave your future movements to be di«cw«se4 with Enfticot. Starkey wilt have to be ,w«tch«d. and 1 ihould imagine that yoiy home with the Tydesleys will now be tmtx?'ble!' friends. Vivien answered, "I have other friends," Vivien answered, tushin? Rozenbv checked the words that rose to his line. 1 shall telegraph to my maid to pack up e-perythlng belonging to me, and leave at o-n-,e," the girl continued, I can find a warm weleome almost anywhere, because I am rich." Roajmby yawned again. I am sure that you will excuse me." he said. rising, I must have a cigar and forty "i n ks. while you two arrange the immediate future." He qiiittk-d the room, and Endicot looked at NfiV Lenox in silence tor a full minute. Shsll we ha, a F-troll in the grounds?" he asked presently. "Yes." she assented. He led the way through a French window that opened into a verandah festooned with sweet-smelling creepers and flowers. It is delightful here," Vivien said. "What a glorion* view! What an ideal spot, and yet Lord Rozenby is not satisfied-iq not happy. If he is determined to sell, Bryan, you must not let the chance be lost. To possess a home like this would be the crown of my ambition." Her eyes were shining. and her heart throbbed tumultously. Bryan understood. I have no objection," he said quietly, "and you will need someone to protect you from the persecutions of Starkey. He brieves himself to be an injured man. You are quite sure that you are making no mis- take. Vivien?" he added, gently. How can I possibly make a mistake, Bryan ?" They left the verandah, and were crossing the lawli in the direction of a. secluded walk in a. well-wooded part of the grounds. The girl was looking up at him with shining eyes, "Ijt I have any regrets at ail they are caused by your ooldness." "Yes. I am afraid that there is little of the gushing lover about me. I hardly under- stated myself at times. And yet the fragrance of the paet is very sweet. The world has giv4)n me so many hard knocks. Vivien." "But you have returned them with interest. Bryan." "X"ee." he answered grimly. There w" a. brief silence, and she nestled closer to him. "Why will you make me say everything?" she jtfeked rep rfeactjfullt.* "I am suite thait your mind is away in those old worke again, or, perhaps, you are thinking of Blackpool and Miss Dorothy Heathcote. Do you know, Bryan, that I am awfully jealous of Miss Heathcote3' He frowned a. little. "She is a. good and beautiful woman. You must not he jealous of her." Then he said banteringK. "There is only one being of whom you need be jealous, Vivien, and that, is yourself lyself she affected amazement. The little Vivien of my boyhood." "I understand. You are disappointed in the Vivien of to-day. But Bryan, mv dear one. I could not always remain little and good. You looked at me then with different eyes. You were an enthusiastic, sentimental boy—probably steepened in Tennyson as-as I was. The stolen interviews—the stolen kisses "There were no kisses. Vivien!" "Then there should be now" He pressed his lips to her cheek, and she sighed. "One would think that "ou were my parent or elderly guarå¡aro." she laughed shortly 'Oh. I know that the disillusionment must hava been shocking when you came home to f,, n Iine engaged to be married to an Old wolf like Starkev." "It was," admitted Bryan, "and I had that very day discovered your last letter written in the long ago, still lying in the hollow of our trysting tree. It was all stained, but perfectly legible." I "And you have it now, Bryan?" "It is next to my heart." "I should like to see it." II "You shall some day, as soon as I can associate yon with my boyish love-dream! I will not deceive you, Vivien. I believe that [ you care for me. but I do not love you in the i way that a man ought to love the woman he is to marry. I don't think that I should have looked upon you a second time had it not b'1 for our little romance in the past. I h?e felt it a, duty. too. to take you from I SUi rky." "You are brutally blnnt." she -aid. rather bitterly. But I will make you rare for me yet. Br37 an I Sijence fell between them for a while. At 1 length Bryan spoke again. r have defeated Shrkfoy at every point. and I am satined. Indeed, if he were not such an out-and-out rogue I could find it in my heart to pity him. But let us dismiss the man from our minds, once and for all." He shrugged his shoulders contemptuously. The home of the Tyldesleys is impossible for you now. I understand." I am afraid so. I hate being so near to Mr. Starkey. It would not matter if I could trust my cousin." She clasped her hands tightly, and a frightened look crept into her eyes. I will not act hastily. My aunt is a good soul. and I will speak to Dick. He may have meant no harm in bringing Mr. Starkey here. "And in the meantime. Vivien, you can hurry the wedding arrangements. It makes no difference to me how soon. I must go to America next month, and perhaps I can take my wife with me." Oh. Bryan! Genuine tears sprang into her eyes. "You have made me Bo happy, and I am not the sort of girl that cries very often. I kpow that I am not half good enough for yon. but I will love you as no other woman can, If I have made you happy I am satisfied." he answered gently. "You can be ready in a monfhl" Oh. yes." She spoke eagerly, ffu, hing warmly the while. • Then we will consider it settled." He glanced at his watch. "I must not forget my run to Blackpool." They walked back to the house slowly. and a. great triumph shone in Vivien Lenox's eves. Bryan's manner was almost inclif- ferent. He had saved his sweetheart of the long ago from a man wtiom he loathed. He had regarded it as a duty. and he had done it. Lord Rozenby met them on the verandah, a keen glwnce from one to the other. then looked quickly away, '.r am afraid that I make a very poor host." he apologised, "but two are company. &c.. you know," he smiled drearily- "1 hope > that Miss Lenox has decided upon a haven of refugs." 'We have decided to get married," Endicot answered bluntly "Then I may be able to get rid of Grev st(y.ke! ROTenbv said. "Allow me to con- gratulate you." There will be a wedding within a month, then we shall go to America, where I have rather pressing business In the meanwhile. Miss Lenox will stay at Tyldesley's; perhaps you will undertake the duties of beet man. j Rozenby?" Sorrv. old boy; but I am going abroad myself almost immediately. Three o'clock ? So it is. by Jove! And you must leave in half an hour?" I "Ye&. I must see Miss Lenox safely home .j before I go away." 'Good' I will order the carriage. and some black coffee and cigarettes *at the same tine," Then he whispered in Eridicot's ear "I could not endure Being at the wedding. for I am half in love with Vivien Lenox Bivself," He turned abruptly and quitted the room Ten minutes later the coffee was served, and Rozenby was chatting gaily to Miss Lenox. You love Greystoke. he was saying; "and you shall have it. If I were a very wealthy man it should be my wedding present to the most beautiful of women. I have wondered if T could afford it several times of late." • Dont be ridiculous!" Taaghed Vivien. There was a. mixture of incredulity and amazement on her face. "It is selfish of me even to wish you to pell Greystoke. You will want to settle down some day." "Never!" he answered shortly. "Wha.t a delightfully singular man ycfti arer, *a&-bcT, careless rejoinder.  I am 4^ry to have to hurry YOU." Bryan said entering the room by way of the French window. "The ctt-rriage is waiting. Good-bye, Rozenbv. for a day or two, anyway. "I rather like that fellow upon a closer acquaintance." he told Vivien as the carriage bore them in the direction of Stourbridge. "At first I regarded him as an empty- headed noodle, but he has been so ueed to playing parts in hie diplomatic career that the habit has become second nature." (TO BE CONTINUED TO-MORROW).




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