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LONDON LETTER. I

HARRY SEYMOUR; OR Incidents…

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HARRY SEYMOUR; OR Incidents in the Life of a Cardiff Clerk. -0 CHAPTER IV. Bat all this time during which we have been following the fortunes of Louie and Blanche, we have lost sight of Lizzie Morton and Nellie Bur- bidge, the other two young ladies whom we intro- duced to our readers at the commencement of this story. Time had brought no changes to them. Lizzie Morton was still unwedded—still engaged and often wondered why her lover never broached the subject of their marriage. But she knew, he felt he was true to her, and though she was begin- ning to be tired of home life, and would gladly have gone out again,' in other words, gone as a shop girl, yet knowing that her affianced, Charlie Thornton, did not like the idea, she made herself as contented as it was possible for her to be. Her friends Louie Randell and Blanche Aubrey haviug married, were removed out of her sphere, but gentle Nellie Burbidge and Lizzie were still friendly. It was during the time that Blanche and her husband were separated that one fine evening in the early days of January, Lizzie and Nellie met by appointment near the Sophia Gardens. Charlie Thornton had told Lizzie the previous evening that he should be away to Newport on business, and Lizzie, having heard of Blanche's flight from her husband, was desirous of talking it over with Nellie. But to her extreme chagrin, Nellie reso- lutely, but quietly, refused to talk of Blanche's misfortunes, as Nellie termed them, and so ex- asperated was scandal-loving Lizzie, that she inconsistently left Nellie, and marched off hjnie indignantly. Nellie, grieved at Lizzie's disposition to gloat over other folks troubles, started off home again. She was walking along just beneath the Castle Tower, when a highly-dressed, eye- glassed, rakish-looking individual stopped in front of her, and said— Good evening, Miss, sorry to see a handsome young iady like yon, all alone. Shall I have the pleasure," offering his arm. Nellie .-aid nothing, but tried to pius him. N'.t so fast, my pretty girl; I don't have such a chance every day," and the reilow insolently tried to raise her veil. Just then another gentleman came on the scene, an i IS eilie excitedly appealed to him for protec- tien. The foppish rake insolently stared at ;-he gentle- nun appealed to,ana ixtdn him go "a :t!P: mind his own busiiii.-s. Oh, sir," said Ne:lie. prtv don't -eavs me; this man hps grossly aiaulte i me, and I never saw him before in my life." You had better be off," said corner, "or I'll give you ii charg The rakish-looking iadui.bui! m--ide a b:"W at the speaker, out the iatter avoided it. and laid nis stick smartly across the shoulder* d the ag- gressor, sending him away. Nellie warmly thanked her cLamp^n, who, however, ii t leave her until he had seen inr safely home. He wa, very yoiite and considerate to tier, asked her no unpertin ->it questions, and altogether made a favourable ..npression apon her. Next evening Nellie was invited to a private party, and was, it must be confessed, very agree- ably surprised TO tinJ herselt introduced to her champion cf the evening before. They were n.uurally attracteu towards each other, and de the night wa, over Nellie had promised Mr Roberts to meet him again. The acquaint- ance rapidly ripened into love, and they became engaged. Mr Roberts was nine years her senior, and had a house ready for her, for he had kepi a home for his widowed mother, and ilice she died he had been very lonely, and had been debating the idea of hulling a wife. i\>r a time all went smoothly with them. One day, about six weeks after Nellie's intro- duction to Mr Roberts, she meu Lizzie Morten. They had often met since their estrangemen, out hitherto Lizzie had appeared not to know Nellie, though the latter bore no malice, and grieved over Lizzie's apparent enmity. Now, however, she accosted Nellie with- Ali, Nellie, dear, I've heard some news. Is it true you're going to be married? I know your inteuded Mr Roberts, he's a nice young man, and in a good position, but — ".IJut what Lizzie?" NVell, if you don't know, it is right you should. I daresay you have found out that he is fond of music." Yes." said Nellie, I know that, because he goes to practise on the chapel organ sometimes." "But do you know he often ,i.-eti Nor- ton there, and they practise together ? Miss Norton has boasted in my hearing that Mr Roberts is her beau, :1nd-" A look at Nellie's white face stopped her. "There I'll say no more, I did not want to vex you, but one cannot help hearing such thillS." No, but you can avoid making mischief, Lizzie. Do you remember when Blanche tried to set you against Charlie, how indignant you were? And I must do as you resolved to do, I'll ask Mr Roberts about it. v Good day, Miss Morton." Miss Morton, indeed well I've put my foot in it this time, it seems, and no mistake. But who would have thought that gentle Nellie Bur- as she used to be called, would turn round on one like that. Mr Roberts is well-to-do, though, and I must make friends again with Nellie. They will be nice visiting acquaintances when we are both married." That evening Nellie told Mr Roberts what Lizzie had said. It is true, Nellie, that Miss Norton practices sometimes when L am there, but quite untrue that any thought of her as my wife ever entered by breast. She is far too young, and too silly but being the niece of the organist, I am on friendly c terms with her." But you will not leave me in the evenings when—after we-are married, to go practising?" No, Nellie, I am troing to purchase a har- L monium at Thompson and Shackell's, and we might as well go now, I don't think the shop is shut." They were politely received by the junior part- ner of the firm, and on requesting to be shown some harmoniums, were ushered intc the spacious show-room. Nellie soon picked out one, the ap- pearance of which she liked very much. Upon her affianced trying it, however, he pronounced it too loud for a parlour. At length an instru- ment which combined sweetness of tone with beauty of appearance was chosen, half-a-guinea was paid as the first monthly instalment, and the next day it was safely deposited in Nellie's home. t You will be able to take better care of it than I shall, my dear," said her lover, there are too many children at my lodging, How much more will you have to pay for it than if you had paid the whole cost now ?" asked Nelly. Only a guinea, Nelly, and I can better afford to pay that extra guinea in the course of the two years it will take to pay it all than I can pay the amount now." It became Nelly's delight to pass their evenings at her home. Sitting at her needle, she was con- tent to listen for hours to the harmony brought forth by the skilful fingers of her lover, occasion- ally accompanying with hersweet voice. "Surely," she thought to herself at such times, this is a foretaste of a happy life in store for us." CHAPTER V. The meeting between Blanche and her husband was a very affecting une. When Blanche was fit to be removed home, Harry Seymour went again to Newport, Will Aylwin accompanying him. The latter, however, remained in the waiting-room at the station, whilst Harry went to the workhouse to fetch Blanche. She was very much agitated, but decidedly improved in ap- pearance. Her illness had imparted a delicacy and refinement to her countenance which it had never worn before and the thought of her husband's love and tenderness had impressed a softened gentle look upon her features that charmed Harry. Why Blanche—Mrs Aylwin, I mean, you are looking better than ever I have seen you Will y u will be delighted to see his beautiful wife." But has he quite forgiven me ? Will our life be as happy in the future as it might have been in the past ?" Never fear, Will has resolved to begin afresh, and to regard you as he did on tha morning of your marriage.' "Then we shall indeed be happy. Oh Mr Seymour, words fail me to express the gratitude I owe you for the prospect of a life's happiness, instead of Come, Blanche—you will not be offended with me for so calli,.i, you—we are nearing tha station; put on a smiling countenance—Ah there is Will." Mr Aylwin could not wait at the station, and had come to meet them. As ifarry got out of the cab one side, Will jumped in on tile other. My darling wife," he began—but the death- like pallor that overspread Blanche's features stopped him. He was prepared, however, for such an emergency, and taking a smallbottle of sherry from his pocket, he made Blanche drink. This brought back the colour to her cheek. She hid her face in his bosom and wept-but they were tears of joy. Cheer up, my dear, dear wife we will begin life afresh, and nothing but death shall again separate us." By this time the station Was reached, and they were joined by Harry. The ride to Cardiff was a happy one, and when Blanche reached her new home, she was touched by her husband's kindly consideration. Mr Aylwin had taken a new house, in a neighbourhood where Blanche was not known, and not very far from Harry's home. He had furnished it even more elegantly than his first home, desiring to reconcile Blanche to the absence of the luxury and semi-splendour of her father's house. But he need have had no fear of the thorough change that had been wrought in Blanche. The first evening of their reunion Harry and Louie wisely resolved to leave them alone; and the happy young couple were glad of it. They sat up that evening in their cosy sitting-room, talking of the future, until Will began to fear Blanche would be weary, and insisted on retiring po rest. But long after they had done so, their conversation turned to Harry and his devoted wife. But for Harry Seymour I should still be un- forgiving, a hard stony-hearted, misanthropical monster, not fit to be called a husband." "Ah, Will, but for Harry I should have pro- bably been in my grave; for I should not have' left that workhouse alive-" Hush, Blanche, do not grieve me by referring to the past. Let us blot out from our life all reference to it, and only remember it in order to be thankful for present happiness." Next morning a letter, containing news of a surprising character was delivered to Mr Avlwin. An old bachelor uncle of his was dead", and had bequeathed him the sum of £ 10,000. Whilst Will and his wife were building castles in the air as to the disposal of the money, a boy brought a note from Louie. Come to me at once, if you care for poor Harry," it ran, he has been arrested for embez- zlement. I am sure he is innocent, but I want your help." Oh Willy, you must go to poor Louie at once." Aye, Blanche, thank God this money has came now, for we can afford to spend a part of it in behalf of Harry, who has done so much for us." Mr Ahvyn set out at once for Harry's abode, and found poor Louie in the greatest azonv of moid. The firm had discovered that one of their employes had been tampering with the banker's pass book and the cash book, and it lay between Harry and a fellow clerk, figures had been altered, and the alterations were generally testified to as being in Harry's handwriting. This was all that Mr Aylwin could learn from Louie but on making enquiries at the office where Harry had been employed, AV ill learnt that Harry was suspected more because he had lately lent another clerk, and he could not account for one of the notes which made up that amount, and which note ought to have been paid by Harry, being part of a sum he had received at the bank, in exchange for a bill. But the cash-book showed that the whole of the amount had been paid in, and this further com- plicated the matter. Mr Aylwin at once paid a vi.-it to a respectable solicitor, and bade him spare no cost in prosecuting a search for the real delin- quent, for Aylwin believed Harry was innocent. The solicitor, accompanied by Mr Aylwin, went to the office of Harry's employer, and requested to see the altered book. A close scutiny enabled him to detect a difference in the shade of the ink used in the erasures, compared with the rest of the writing. Who has access to these books besides Mr Seymour ?" the lawyer asked the manager. "No one ought to have but it is possible for Mr Dixon to get to them in Mr Seymour's absence." Mr Seymour was absent on leave for two separate days lately; who had charge of these books then?" Mr Dixon." Is it he to) wiinm Mr Seymour lent the R20." "Yes, but you don't surely siispect "I suspect nothing, but I'll get a warrant— ah, what's this," said the solicitor, suddenly opening the door. Oh, Mr Dixon," said the manager, what are you doing outside the door?" It sfoms to me he is playing the eaves- dropper," sarcastically answered the lawyer, "but he will not be si.'iirp enough this time. Mr Dixon, you bad charge of this pass book for two separate days late!}7, Did yuu take it out of the office ?" "N—no," stammered Dixon. "Are you sure? Pi-iky be c-treful. "Y uU have no right to ask me such a ques- Oil sce all -,tbout t'Liat. Will you ac- company us?" Where to?" "To the police-station." No, I won't. You are not justified in asking me to do that." Will you, then, see that he does not leave the office f,)t" ;m i!onr?" If he doe said the manager, I shall be justified in discharging him." And I shall give him into custody," said the solicitor. Mr Aylwin and the solicitor thn left, and were barely outside the door when Dixon rushed out, and wa-i starting off at full speed. A constable was coming down Bute-road. Stop that man," shouted the solicitor. Dixon ran right into the constable's arms. What have I done ? Why do you stop me ? l'il make you pay for this." All right, constable, you know me," said the solicitor. I will be responsible for what I am doing now. Take Mr Dixon to the station, and keep him there till I get a search warrant from the magistrates." A search warrant ? What for ?" asked Dixon. To search your lodgings, my good man." What do you expect to find ? I am not justified in telling you." Dixon here tried to make a bolt, but only suc- ceeded in the policeman's taking him by the coat- cuffs, and threatening to hand-cuff him if he tried again to escape. He was safely lodged in a private room in the police-station, the constable explaining to the inspector on duty that the solicitor had requested hiui to be taken care of whilst a search warrant was procured and his lodgings searched. This was carried into effect, and a bottle of ink was found of the identical tint used by the person who made the erasures in the pass book and cash book. The ink was taken possession of. Dixon's landlady was in a terrible state of excitement. Can you tell me, Mrs Davis, if your lodger ever brought home any large office books ?" No, I cannot, but my daughter can; I'll fetch her." The daughter, it was soon apparent, was Dixon's sweetheart, but not knowing why she was questioned the girl readily answered that he had brought home a big book one evening. Asked to describe it, she accurately described the cash book. The solicitor, the police-sergeant and Aylwin then left and were back at the police- court in time to see Harry brought before the magistrates. The evidence produced was deemed sufficient by the magistrates to clear Harry, and Dixon took his place in the dock. His employers, however, though satisfied of Harry's innocence, were not sure of Dixon's guilt, at least this was the reason given for their refusing to prosecute, though it was afterwards whispered that Dixon's betrothed had been to see the senior partner, and had so worked on his feelings as to obtain Dixon's discharge. A few evenings after Harry's trouble was over, a social party took place at his residence. Only the four friends we introduced to our readers at the commencement of this short story with their husbands, for it was uot deemed expedient, for Blanche's sake, to ask strangers. There was Lizzie Morton, now Mrs Charles Thornton, Mr and Mrs Roberts, and Blanche and her husband. Louie was still suffering from the shock consequent on Harry s arrest, but she strove to appear cheer- ful, and succeeded in making her guests enjoy themselves. After tea, music was called for. Louie's piano was much admired, and was played by Louie, Blanche, and Mr Roberts. "Did you procure this at Thompson and Shackell's ? Ah I thought so. I saw one like it the other day when we selected a harmonium." "Yes, the firm has become celebrated for the quality of the instruments they sell, and their system of doing business is a great boon to those who would never dream of purchasing a piano or harmonium had they to pay cash down." Ere they parted at eleven o'clock everyone de- clared they had never spent a happier evening. How true," said Mr Roberts, are the words of the pCbt- Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast. Yes," said Harry, did the working men of England only comprehend its power, the country would not pay such enormous taxes for its drink- ing habits." The party shortly afterwards separated, and within two months from that night were scattered over the world. Blanche and her husband, with their little fortune, went to Australizi; Harry Seymour and Louie to Spain, where he had been appointed representative of an English firm Mr Roberts and Nellie to Loudon, only Charlie Thornton and his wife staying in Cardiff. [THE KND.]

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