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Foul Play

Part 10 out of 10

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Her majesty pardoned this scholar, hero, and worthy, the crime he had
never committed.

Nancy Rouse took the penitent Wylie without the 2,000 pounds. But old
Penfold, who knew the whole story, lent the money at three per cent; so
the Wylies pay a ground-rent of 60 pounds a year for a property which, by
Mrs. Wylie's industry and judgment, is worth at least 400 pounds. She
pays this very cheerfully, and appeals to Joe whether that is not better
than the other way.

"Why, Joe," says she, "to a woman like me, that's a-foot all day, 'tis
worth sixty pounds a year to be a good sleeper; and I shouldn't be that
if I had wronged my neighbor."

Arthur Wardlaw is in a private lunatic asylum, and is taken great care
of. In his lucid intervals he suffers horrible distress of mind; but,
though sad to see, these agonies furnish the one hope of his ultimate
recovery. When not troubled by these returns of reason, he is contented
enough. His favorite employment is to get Mr. Undercliff's fac-similes,
and to write love-letters to Helen Rolleston which are duly deposited in
the post-office _of the establishment._ These letters are in the
handwriting of Charles I., Paoli, Lord Bacon, Alexander Pope, Lord
Chesterfield, Nelson, Lord Shaftesbury, Addison, the late Duke of
Wellington, and so on. And, strange to say, the Greek e never appears in
any of them. They are admirably like, though the matter is not always
equally consistent with the characters of those personages.

Helen Rolleston married Robert Penfold. On the wedding-day, the presents
were laid out, and among them there was a silver box incrusted with
coral. Female curiosity demanded that this box should be opened. Helen
objected, but her bridesmaids rebelled; the whole company sided with
them, and Robert smiled a careless assent. A blacksmith and carpenter
were both enlisted, and with infinite difficulty the poor box was riven

Inside was another box, locked, but with no key. That was opened with
comparative ease, and then handed to the bride. It contained nothing but
Papal indulgences and rough stones, and fair throats were opened in some
disappointment. A lady, however, of more experience, examined the
contents, and said, that, in her opinion, many of them were uncut gems of
great price; there was certainly a quantity of jaspers and blood-stones,
and others of no value at all. "But look at these two pearl-shaped
diamonds," said she; "why, they are a little fortune! and oh!" The stone
that struck this fair creature dumb was a rough ruby as big as a
blackbird's egg, and of amazing depth and fire. "No lady in England,"
said she, "has a ruby to compare with this."

The information proved correct. The box furnished Helen with diamonds and
emeralds of great thickness and quality. But the huge ruby placed her on
a level with sovereigns. She wears it now and then in London, but not
often. It attracts too much attention, blazing on her fair forehead like
a star, and eclipses everything.

Well, what her ruby is among stones she is among wives. And he is worthy
of her. Through much injustice, suffering, danger, and trouble, they have
passed to health, happiness, and peace, and that entire union of two
noble hearts, in loyal friendship and wedded love, which is the truest
bliss this earth affords.

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