Part 4 out of 12
"Oh shall I, though!" returned young Galloway, not relishing it either.
"You precious rebel! Take the keys, and do as I order you!"
Young Galloway was under Hurst. He no more dared to disobey him than he
could have disobeyed the head-master. Had Hurst ordered him to jump
into the river he must have done it. He took the keys tendered him by
Hurst, and was raising them for the pitch, when Bywater laid his hand
upon them and struck them down with a sudden movement, clutching them
"You little wretch, you are as deaf as a donkey!" he uttered. "There's
somebody coming up. Turn your head, and look who it is."
It proved to be Fordham, the dean's servant. He was accidentally
passing. The boys did not fear him; nevertheless, it was only prudent
to remain still, until he had gone by. They stood, all five, leaning
upon the wall, soiling their waistcoats and jackets, in apparent
contemplation of the view beyond. A pleasant view! The river wound
peacefully between its green banks; meadows and cornfields were
stretched out beyond; while an opening afforded a glimpse of that
lovely chain of hills, and the white houses nestled at their base. A
barge, drawn by a horse, was appearing slowly from underneath the city
bridge, blue smoke ascending from its chimney. A woman on board was
hanging out linen to dry--a shirt, a pair of stockings, and a
handkerchief--her husband's change for the coming Sunday. A young girl
was scraping potatoes beside her; and a man, probably the husband, sat
steering, his pipe in his mouth. The boys fixed their eyes upon the
"I shouldn't mind such a life as that fellow's yonder!" exclaimed young
Berkeley, who was fonder of idleness than he was of Latin. "I'll turn
bargeman when other trades fail. It must be rather jolly to sit
steering a boat all day, and do nothing but smoke."
"Fordham's gone, and be hanged to him! Now for it, Galloway!"
"Stop a bit," said Bywater. "They must be wrapped up, or else tied
close together. Better wrap them up, and then no matter who sees. They
can't swear there are keys inside. Who has any paper about him?"
One of the boys, Hall, had his exercise-book with him. They tore a
sheet or two out of it, and folded it round the keys, Hurst producing
some string. "I'll fling them in," said Bywater.
"Make haste, then, or we shall have to wait till the barge has gone
Bywater took a cautious look round, saw nobody, and flung the parcel
into the middle of the river. "_Rari nantes in gurgite vasto_!"
"Now, you gents, what be you throwing into the river?"
The words came from Hudson, the porter to the Boundaries, who appeared
to have sprung up from the ground. In reality, he had been standing on
the steps leading to the river, but the boat-house had hidden him from
their view. He was a very different man from the cloister porter; was
afraid of the college boys, rather than otherwise, and addressed them
individually as "sir." The keeper of the boat-house heard this, and
came up the steps.
"If you gentlemen have been throwing anything into the river you know
that it's against the rules."
"Don't bother!" returned Hurst, to the keeper.
"But you know it _is_ wrong, gentlemen," remonstrated the keeper. "What
was it you threw in? It made a dreadful splash."
"Ah! what was it?" coolly answered Hurst. "What should you say to a
dead cat? Hudson, have the goodness to mind _your_ business, unless you
would like to get reported for interfering with what does not concern
"There's a quarter to ten!" exclaimed Bywater, as the college clock
chimed the three-quarters. "We shall be marked late, every soul of us!"
They flew away, their feet scarcely touching the ground, clattered up
the schoolroom stairs, and took their places. Gaunt was only beginning
to call over the roll, and they escaped the "late" mark.
"It's better to be born lucky than rich," said saucy Bywater.
MUCH TO ALTER.
At the same moment Constance Channing was traversing the Boundaries, on
her way to Lady Augusta Yorke's, where she had, some days since,
commenced her duties. It took her scarcely two minutes to get there,
for the houses were almost within view of each other. Constance would
willingly have commenced the daily routine at an earlier hour. Lady
Augusta freely confessed that to come earlier would be useless, for she
could not get her daughters up. Strictly speaking, Lady Augusta did not
personally try to get them up, for she generally lay in bed herself.
"That is one of the habits I must alter in the children," thought
She entered, took off her things in the room appropriated to her, and
passed into the schoolroom. It was empty, though the children ought to
have been there, preparing their lessons. Fanny came running in, her
hair in curl-papers, some bread and butter in her hand.
"Carry has not finished her breakfast, Miss Channing," quoth she. "She
was lazy this morning!"
"I think some one else was lazy also," said Constance, gently drawing
the child to her. "Why did you come down half-dressed, my dear?"
"I am quite dressed," responded Fanny. "My frock's on, and so is my
"And these?" said Constance, touching the curl-papers.
"Oh, Martha got up late, and said she had no time to take them out. It
will keep in curl all the better, Miss Channing; and perhaps I am going
to the missionary meeting with mamma."
Constance rang the bell. Martha, who was the only maid kept, except the
cook, appeared in answer to it. Lady Augusta was wont to say that she
had too much expense with her boys to keep many servants; and the
argument was a true one.
"Be so kind as to take the papers out of Miss Fanny's hair. And let it
be done in future, Martha, before she comes to me."
Gently as the words were spoken, there was no mistaking that the tone
was one of authority, and not to be trifled with. Martha withdrew with
the child. And, just then, Caroline came in, full of eagerness.
"Miss Channing, mamma says she shall take one of us to the missionary
meeting, whichever you choose to fix upon. Mind you fix upon me! What
does that little chit, Fanny, want at a missionary meeting? She is too
young to go."
"It is expected to be a very interesting meeting," observed Constance,
making no reply to Miss Caroline's special request. "A gentleman who
has lived for some years amongst the poor heathens is to give a history
of his personal experiences. Some of the anecdotes are beautiful."
"Who told you they were?" asked Caroline.
"Mr. Yorke," replied Constance, a pretty blush rising to her cheek. "He
knows the lecturer well. You would be pleased to hear them."
"It is not for that I wish to go," said Caroline. "I think meetings,
where there's nothing but talking, are the dullest things in the world.
If I were to listen, it would send me to sleep."
"Then why do you wish so much to attend this one?"
"Because I shall wear my new dress. I have not had it on yet. It rained
last Sunday, and mamma would not let me put it on for college. I was in
such a passion."
Constance wondered where she should begin. There was so much to do; so
much to alter in so many ways. To set to work abruptly would never
answer. It must be commenced gradually, almost imperceptibly, little by
"Caroline, do you know that you have disobeyed me?"
"In what way, Miss Channing?"
"Did I not request you to have that exercise written out?"
"I know," said Caroline, with some contrition. "I intended to write it
out this morning before you came; but somehow I lay in bed."
"If I were to come to you every morning at seven o'clock, would you
undertake to get up and be ready for me?" asked Constance.
Caroline drew a long face. She did not speak.
"My dear, you are fifteen."
"Well?" responded Caroline.
"And you must not feel hurt if I tell you that I should think no other
young lady of that age and in your position is half so deficient as you
are. Deficient in many ways, Caroline: in goodness, in thoughtfulness,
and in other desirable qualities; and greatly so in education. Annabel,
who is a year younger than you, is twice as advanced."
"Annabel says you worry her into learning."
"Annabel is fond of talking nonsense; but she is a good, loving child
at heart. You would be surprised at the little trouble she really gives
me while she makes a show of giving me a great deal. I have _so much_
to teach you, Caroline--to your mind and heart, as well as to your
intellect--that I feel the hours as at present arranged, will be
insufficient for me. My dear, when you grow up to womanhood, I am sure
you will wish to be loving and loved."
Caroline burst into tears. "I should do better if mamma were not so
cross with me, Miss Channing. I always do anything that William Yorke
asks me; and I will do anything for you."
Constance kissed her. "Then will you begin by rising early, and being
ready for me at seven?"
"Yes, I will," answered Caroline. "But Martha must be sure to call me.
Are you going to the meeting this afternoon?"
"Of course not," said Constance. "My time now belongs to you."
"But I think mamma wishes you to go with us. She said something about
"Does she? I should very much like to go."
Lady Augusta came in and proffered the invitation to Constance to
accompany them. Constance then spoke of giving the children the extra
two hours, from seven to nine: it was really necessary, she said, if
she was to do her duty by them.
"How very conscientious you are!" laughed Lady Augusta, her tone
savouring of ridicule.
Constance coloured almost to tears with her emotion. "I am responsible
to One always, Lady Augusta. I may not make mine only eye-service."
"You will never put up with our scrambling breakfast, Miss Channing.
The boys are so unruly; and I do not get up to it half my time."
"I will return home to breakfast. I should prefer to do so. And I will
be here again at ten."
"Whatever time do you get up?"
"Not very early," answered Constance. "Hitherto I have risen at seven,
summer and winter. Dressing and reading takes me just an hour; for the
other hour I find plenty of occupation. We do not breakfast until nine,
on account of Tom and Charley. I shall rise at six now, and come here
"Very well," said Lady Augusta. "I suppose this will only apply to the
summer months. One of the girls shall go with us to-day; whichever
deserves it best."
"You are not leaving one of them at home to make room for me, I hope,
"Not at all," answered Lady Augusta. "I never _chaperon_ two children
to a crowded meeting. People might say they took up the room of
"You will let me go--not Caroline, Miss Channing?" pleaded Fanny, when
her mother had quitted them.
"No," said Caroline, sharply; "Miss Channing will fix upon me."
"I shall obey Lady Augusta, and decide upon the one who shall best
merit it," smiled Constance. "It will be only right to do so."
"Suppose we are both good, and merit it equally?" suggested Fanny.
"Then, my dear little girl, you must not be disappointed if, in that
case, I give the privilege to Caroline, as being the elder of the two.
But I will make it up to you in some other way."
Alas for poor Caroline's resolution! For a short time, an hour or so,
she did strive to do her best; but then good resolutions were
forgotten, and idleness followed. Not only idleness, temper also. Never
had she been so troublesome to Constance as on this day; she even
forgot herself so far as to be insolent. Fanny was taken to the
meeting--you saw her in the carriage when Lady Augusta drove to Mr.
Galloway's office, and persuaded Hamish to join them--Caroline was left
at home, in a state of open rebellion, with the lessons to learn which
she had _not_ learnt in the day.
"How shall you get on with them, Constance?" the Rev. William Yorke
inquired of her that same evening. "Have the weeds destroyed the good
"Not quite destroyed it," replied Constance, though she sighed sadly as
she spoke, as if nearly losing heart for the task she had undertaken.
"There is so much ill to undo. Caroline is the worst; the weeds, with
her, have had longer time to get ahead. I think, perhaps, if I could
keep her wholly with me for a twelvemonth or so, watching over her
constantly, a great deal might be effected."
"If that anticipated living would fall in, which seems very far away in
the clouds, and you were wholly mine, we might have Caroline with us
for a time," laughed Mr. Yorke.
Constance laughed too. "Do not be impatient, or it will seem to be
further off still. It will come, William."
They had been speaking in an undertone, standing together at a window,
apart from the rest. Mr. Channing was lying on his sofa underneath the
other window, and now spoke to Mr. Yorke.
"You had a treat, I hear, at the meeting to-day?"
"We had, indeed, sir," replied Mr. Yorke, advancing to take a seat near
him. "It is not often we have the privilege of listening to so eloquent
a speaker as Dr. Lamb. His experience is great, and his whole heart was
in his subject. I should like to bring him here to call upon you."
"I should be pleased to receive him," replied Mr. Channing.
"I think it is possible that his experience in another line may be of
service to you," continued Mr. Yorke. "You are aware that ill health
drove him home?"
"I have heard so."
"His complaint was rheumatism, very much, as I fancy, the same sort of
rheumatism that afflicts you. He told me he came to Europe with very
little hope: he feared his complaint had become chronic and incurable.
But he has been restored in a wonderful manner, and is in sound health
"And what remedies did he use?" eagerly asked Mr. Channing.
"A three months' residence at some medicinal springs in Germany.
Nothing else. When I say nothing else, of course I must imply that he
was under medical treatment there. It is the very thing, you see, sir,
that has been ordered for you."
"Ay!" sighed Mr. Channing, feeling how very faint appeared to be the
hope that he should have the opportunity of trying it.
"I was mentioning your case to him," observed Mr. Yorke. "He said he
had no doubt the baths would do you equal good. He is a doctor, you
know. I will bring him here to talk it over with you."
At that moment Mr. Galloway entered: the subject was continued. Mr.
Yorke and Mr. Galloway were eloquent on it, telling Mr. Channing that
he _must_ go to Germany, as a point of duty. The Channings themselves
were silent; they could not see the way at all clear. When Mr. Yorke
was leaving, he beckoned Constance and Arthur into the hall.
"Mr. Channing must go," he whispered to them. "Think of all that is at
stake! Renewed health, exertion, happiness! Arthur, you did not urge it
by a single word."
Arthur did not feel hopeful; indeed his heart sank within him the whole
time that they were talking. Hamish and his difficulties were the dark
shadow; though he could not tell this to Mr. Yorke. Were Mr. Channing
to go abroad, and the arrest of Hamish to follow upon it, the post they
held, and its emoluments, might be taken from them at once and for
"Dr. Lamb says the cost was so trifling as scarcely to be credited,"
continued Mr. Yorke in a tone of remonstrance. "Arthur, _don't_ you
care to help--to save him?"
"I would move heaven and earth to save my father!" impulsively spoke
Arthur, stung by the implied reproof. "I should not care what labour it
cost me to procure the money, so that I succeeded."
"We all would," said Constance; "you must know we would, William. From
"Who is that, making free with Hamish's name?" demanded that gentleman
himself, entering the house with a free step and merry countenance.
"Did you think I was lost? I was seduced into joining your
missionary-meeting people, and have had to stop late at the office, to
make up for it."
"We have been talking about papa, Hamish," said Constance. "Fresh hope
seems to arise daily that those German baths would restore him to
health. They cured Dr. Lamb."
"I say, Hamish, that the money must be found for it somehow," added Mr.
"Found! of course it shall be found," cried gay Hamish. "I intend to be
a chief contributor to it myself." But his joking words and careless
manner jarred at that moment upon the spirit both of Arthur and
Why? Could there have been any unconscious foreshadowing of evil to
SUNDAY MORNING AT MR. CHANNING'S, AND AT LADY AUGUSTA'S.
The day of rest came round in due course. A day of rest it is in truth
to those who have learnt to make it such; a pleasant time of peace; a
privileged season of commune with God; a loving day of social happiness
for home and home ties. And yet, strange to say, it is, to some, the
most hurried, uncomfortable, disagreeable day of all the seven.
Mrs. Channing's breakfast hour was nine o'clock on ordinary days, made
thus late for the sake of convenience. On Sundays it was half-past
eight. Discipline and training had rendered it easy to observe rules at
Mr. Channing's; or, it may be better to say, it had rendered them
difficult to be disobeyed. At half-past eight all were in the
breakfast-room, dressed for the day. When the hour for divine service
arrived, they had only to put on their hats and bonnets to be ready for
it. Even old Judy was grand on a Sunday morning. Her mob-cap was of
spotted, instead of plain net, and her check apron was replaced by a
With great personal inconvenience, and some pain--for he was always
worse in the morning--Mr. Channing would on that day rise to breakfast.
It had been his invariable custom to take the reading himself on
Sunday--the little time he devoted to religion--and he was unwilling to
break through it. Breakfast over, it was immediately entered upon, and
would be finished by ten o'clock. He did not preach a sermon; he did
not give them much reading; it was only a little homely preparation for
the day and the services they were about to enter upon. Very unwise had
it been of Mr. Channing, to tire his children with a private service
before the public service began.
Breakfast, on these mornings, was always a longer meal than usual.
There was no necessity to hurry over it, in order to hasten to the
various occupations of every-day life. It was taken leisurely, amidst
much pleasant, social converse.
As they were assembling for breakfast on this morning, Arthur came in.
It was so unusual for them to leave the house early on a Sunday, that
Mr. Channing looked at him with surprise.
"I have been to see Jenkins, sir," he explained. "In coming home last
night, I met Mr. Hurst, who told me he feared Jenkins was getting
worse. I would not go to see him then; it might have been late to
disturb him, so I have been now."
"And how is he?" inquired Mr. Channing.
"A great deal better," replied Arthur. "So much better that: Mr. Hurst
says he may come to the office to-morrow should there be no relapse. He
enjoins strict quiet for to-day. And Mrs. Jenkins is determined that he
shall have quiet; therefore I am sure, he will," Arthur added,
laughing. "She says he appeared ill last night only from the number of
visitors he had seen. They were coming in all day long; and on Friday
"Why should people flock to see Jenkins?" exclaimed Tom. "He is
"That is just what Mrs. Jenkins said this morning," returned Arthur. "I
believe they go out of curiosity to hear the truth of the locking-up in
the cloisters. The bishop's having been one of the sufferers has
aroused the interest of Helstonleigh."
"I am very glad that Jenkins is better," observed Mr. Charming.
"So am I," emphatically answered Arthur. He was pretty sure Tom had had
no share in the exploit; but he did not know about Charley.
"The dean preaches to-day," suddenly called out Tom.
"How do you know?" demanded Annabel.
"Because I do," oracularly spoke Tom.
"Will you condescend to inform me how you know it, Tom, if you will not
inform Annabel?" asked Mr. Channing.
Tom laughed. "The dean began his close residence yesterday, papa.
Therefore we know he will preach to-day."
Mr. Channing sighed. He was debarred from attending the services, and
he felt the deprivation keenly when he found that any particularly
eminent man was to fill the cathedral pulpit. The dean of Helstonleigh
was an admirable preacher.
"Oh!" exclaimed Mr. Channing, in the uncontrollable impulse of the
moment, "if I could only regain health and strength!"
"It will come, James; God willing," said Mrs. Channing, looking up
hopefully from the cups she was filling. "What I have heard of Dr.
Lamb's restoration has put new confidence into me."
"I think Mr. Yorke intends to bring Dr. Lamb to see you this afternoon,
papa," said Constance.
"I shall be glad to see him; I shall be glad to hear the particulars of
his case and its cure," exclaimed Mr. Channing, with all conscious
eagerness. "Did Mr. Yorke tell you he should bring him to-day,
"Yes, papa. Dr. Lamb intends to be at the cathedral for afternoon
service, and Mr. Yorke said he would bring him here afterwards."
"You must get him to take tea with us, Mary."
"Certainly," answered Mrs. Channing. "In six months from this, James,
you may be as well and active as ever."
Mr. Channing raised his hands, as if warding off the words. Not of the
words was he afraid, but of the hopes they whispered. "I think too much
about it, already, Mary. It is not as though I were sure of getting to
the medicinal baths."
"We will take care that you do that, sir," said Hamish, with his sunny
"_You_ cannot help in it, you know, Hamish," interposed saucy Annabel.
"It will be Arthur and Constance who will help--not you. I heard you
"But I have changed my mind, and intend to help," returned Hamish.
"And, if you will allow me the remark, young lady, I think it would
better become a certain little girl, not to chatter quite so much!"
Was Hamish speaking in jest, or earnest, with regard to the _helping_
point of the affair? A peculiar tone in his voice, in spite of its
lightness, had struck both Constance and Arthur, each being in the
secret of his more than want of funds.
The second bell was beginning to chime as the Channings entered the
cloister gates. Tom and Charles had gone on before. Panting,
breathless, almost knocking down Annabel, came Tod Yorke, terribly
afraid of being marked late.
"Take care, Tod!" exclaimed Hamish. "Are you running for a wager?"
"Don't keep me, Mr. Hamish Channing! Those incapable servants of ours
never called us till the bell began. I have had no breakfast, and
Gerald couldn't find his shirt. He has had to come off in his dirty
one, with his waistcoat buttoned up. Won't my lady be in a rage when
she sees him?"
Getting up and breakfasting were generally bustling affairs at Lady
Augusta's; but the confusion of every day was as nothing compared with
that of Sunday. Master Tod was wrong when he complained that he had not
been called. The servants had called both him and Gerald, who shared
the same room, but the young gentlemen had gone to sleep again. The
breakfast hour was the same as other mornings, nine o'clock; but, for
all the observance it obtained, it might as well have been nine at
night. To give the servants their due, breakfast, on this morning, was
on the table at nine--that is, the cloth, the cups and saucers: and
there it remained until ten. The maids meanwhile enjoyed their own
leisurely breakfast in the kitchen, regaling themselves with hot
coffee, poached eggs, buttered toast, and a dish of gossip. At ten,
Lady Augusta, who made a merit of always rising to breakfast on a
Sunday, entered the breakfast-room in a dirty morning wrapper, and rang
"Is nobody down?" cried she, sharply.
"I think not, my lady," was Martha's reply. "I have not heard them. I
have been three times in the young ladies' room, but they would not get
This was not quite true. Martha had been in _once_, and had been
scolded for her pains. "None of them ever will get up on a Sunday
morning," added Martha; "they say, 'where's the good?'"
"Bring in breakfast," crossly responded Lady Augusta. "And then go to
the young ladies, and see whether the rest are getting up. What has the
cook been at with this coffee?" Lady Augusta added, when she began to
pour it out. "It is cold. Her coffee is always cold."
"It has been made half an hour, I know, my lady."
The first to appear was the youngest child of all, little Frank; the
next his brother, a year older; they wore dirty collars, and their hair
was uncombed. Then came the girls--Caroline without a frock, a shawl
thrown on, instead, and Fanny in curl papers. Lady Augusta scolded them
for their late appearance, forgetting, possibly, that she herself set
"It is not much past ten," said Caroline. "We shall be in time for
"It is nearly upon half-past," replied Lady Augusta. "Why do you come
down in a petticoat, Caroline?"
"That stupid dressmaker has put no tape to my dress," fretfully
responded Caroline. "Martha is sewing it on."
Roland lounged in, not more presentable than the rest. Why had Lady
Augusta not brought them up to better habits? Why should they come down
on a Sunday morning more untidy than on other mornings? They would have
told you, had you asked the question, that on other mornings they must
be ready to hasten to their daily occupations. Had _Sunday_ no
occupation, then? Did it deserve no marked deference? Had I been Lady
Augusta Yorke, I should have said to Roland that morning, when I saw
his slip-shod slippers and his collarless neck, "If you can show no
respect for me, show it for the day."
Half-past ten struck, and Lady Augusta started up to fly to her own
room. She had still much to do, ere she could be presentable for
college. Caroline followed. Fanny wondered what Gerald and Tod would
do. Not yet down!
"Those boys will get a tanning, to-morrow, from old Pye!" exclaimed
Roland, remembering the time when "tannings" had been his portion for
the same fault. "Go and see what they are after, Martha."
They were "after" jumping up in alarm, aroused by the college bell.
Amidst wild confusion, for nothing seemed to be at hand, with harsh
reproaches to Martha, touching their shirts and socks, and other
articles of attire, they scrambled downstairs, somehow, and flew out of
the house on their way to the college schoolroom; Gerald drinking a
freshly made scalding cup of coffee; Tod cramming a thick piece of
bread and butter into his pocket, and trusting to some spare moment to
eat it in. All this was the usual scramble of Sunday morning. The
Yorkes did get to college, somehow, and there was an end of it.
After the conclusion of the service, as the congregation were
dispersing, Mr. Galloway came up to Arthur Channing in the cloisters,
and drew him aside.
"Do you recollect taking the letters to the post, on Friday afternoon?"
"On Friday?" mused Arthur, who could not at the moment recollect much
about that particular day's letters; it was he who generally posted
them for the office. "Oh yes, I do remember, sir," he replied, as the
relative circumstances flashed across him.
Mr. Galloway looked at him, possibly doubting whether he really did
remember. "How many letters were there for the post that afternoon?" he
"Three," promptly rejoined Arthur. "Two were for London, and one was
"Just so," assented Mr. Galloway. "Now, then, to whom did you intrust
the posting of those letters?"
"I did not intrust them to any one," replied Arthur; "I posted them
"You are sure?"
"Quite sure, sir," answered Arthur, in some surprise. But Mr. Galloway
said no more, and gave no reason for his inquiry. He turned into his
own house, which was situated near the cloister gates, and Arthur went
Had you been attending worship in Helstonleigh Cathedral that same
afternoon, you might have observed, as one of the congregation, a tall
stout man, with a dark, sallow face, and grey hair. He sat in a stall
near to the Reverend William Yorke, who was the chanter for the
afternoon. It was Dr. Lamb. A somewhat peculiar history was his.
Brought up to the medical profession, and taking his physician's degree
early, he went out to settle in New Zealand, where he had friends.
Circumstances brought him into frequent contact with the natives there.
A benevolent, thoughtful man, gifted with much Christian grace, the sad
spiritual state of these poor heathens gave the deepest concern to Dr.
Lamb. He did what he could for them in his leisure hours, but his
profession took up most of his time: often did he wish he had more time
at his command. A few years of hard work, and then the wish was
realized. A small patrimony was bequeathed him, sufficient to enable
him to live without work. From that time he applied himself to the
arduous duties of a missionary, and his labours were crowned with
marked success. Next came illness. He was attacked with rheumatism in
the joints; and after many useless remedies had been tried, he came
home in search of health, which he found, as you have heard, in certain
Mr. Channing watched the clock eagerly. Unless it has been your
portion, my reader, to undergo long and apparently hopeless affliction,
and to find yourself at length unexpectedly told that there _may_ be a
cure for you; that another, afflicted in a similar manner, has been
restored to health by simple means, and will call upon you and describe
to you what they were--you could scarcely understand the nervous
expectancy of Mr. Channing on this afternoon. Four o'clock! they would
soon be here now.
A very little time longer, and they were with him--his family, Mr.
Yorke, and Dr. Lamb. The chief subject of anxiety was soon entered
upon, Dr. Lamb describing his illness at great length.
"But were you as helpless as I am?" inquired Mr. Channing.
"Quite as helpless. I was carried on board, and carried to a bed at an
hotel when I reached England. From what I have heard of your case, and
from what you say, I should judge the nature of your malady to be
precisely similar to mine."
"And now tell me about the healing process."
Dr. Lamb paused. "You must promise to put faith in my prescription."
Mr. Channing raised his eyes in surprise. "Why should I not do so?"
"Because it will appear to you so very simple. I consulted a medical
man in London, one skilled in rheumatic cases, and he gave it as his
opinion that a month or two passed at one of the continental springs
might restore me. I laughed at him."
"You did not believe him?"
"I did not, indeed. Shall I confess to you that I felt _vexed_ with
him? There was I, a poor afflicted man, lying helpless, racked with
pain; and to be gravely assured that a short sojourn at a pleasant
foreign watering-place would, in all probability, _cure_ me, sounded
very like mockery. I knew something of the disease, its ordinary
treatment, and its various phases. It was true I had left Europe for
many years, and strange changes had been taking place in medical
science. Still, I had no faith in what he said, as being applicable to
my own case; and for a whole month, week after week, day after day, I
declined to entertain his views. I considered that it would be so much
time and money wasted."
Dr. Lamb paused. Mr. Channing did not interrupt him.
"One Sunday evening, I was on my solitary sofa--lying in pain--as I can
see you are lying now. The bells were ringing out for evening service.
I lay thinking of my distressed condition; wishing I could be healed.
By-and-by, after the bells had ceased, and the worshippers had
assembled within the walls of the sanctuary, from which privilege I was
excluded, I took up my Bible. It opened at the fifth chapter of the
second book of Kings. I began to read, somewhat listlessly, I
fear--listlessly, at any rate, compared with the strange enthusiasm
which grew upon me as I read, 'Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and
thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. And Naaman
was wroth.... And his servants spake unto him and said, My father, if
the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have
done it? how much rather then, when he saith unto thee, Wash, and be
"Mr. Channing," Dr. Lamb continued in a deeper tone, "the words sounded
in my ear, fell upon my heart, as a very message sent direct from God.
All the folly of my own obstinate disbelief came full upon me; the
scales seemed to fall from my eyes, and I said, 'Shall I not try that
simple thing?' A firm conviction that the chapter had been directed to
me that night as a warning, seated itself within me; and, from that
hour, I never entertained a shadow of doubt but that the baths would be
"And you journeyed to them?"
"Instantly. Within a week I was there. I seemed to _know_ that I was
going to my cure. You will not, probably, understand this."
"I understand it perfectly," was Mr. Channing's answer. "I believe that
a merciful Providence does vouchsafe, at rare times, to move us by
these direct interpositions. I need not ask you if you were cured. I
have heard that you were. I see you are. Can you tell me aught of the
"I was ordered to a small place in the neighbourhood of
Aix-la-Chapelle; a quiet, unpretending place, where there are
ever-rising springs of boiling, sulphuric water. The precise course of
treatment I will come in another day and describe to you. I had to
drink a great deal of the water, warm--six or eight half-pints of it a
day; I had to bathe regularly in this water; and I had to take what are
called douche baths every other day." "I have heard of the douche
baths," said Mr. Channing. "Rather fierce, are they not?"
"Fierce!" echoed the doctor. "The first time I tried one, I thought I
should never come out alive. The water was dashed upon me, through a
tube, with what seemed alarming force until I grew used to it; whilst
an attendant rubbed and turned and twisted my limbs about, as if they
had been so many straws in his strong hand. So violent is the action of
the water that my face had to be protected by a board, lest it should
come into contact with it."
"Strong treatment!" remarked Mr. Channing.
"Strong, but effectual. Effectual, so far as my case was concerned.
Whether it was drinking the water, or the sulphur baths, the douches,
the pure air, or the Prussian doctor's medicine, or all combined, I
was, under God's goodness, restored to health. I entertain no doubt
that you may be restored in like manner."
"And the cost?" asked Mr. Channing, with a sigh he could not wholly
"There's the beauty of it! the advantage to us poor folks, who possess
a shallow purse, and that only half filled," laughed Dr. Lamb. "Had it
been costly, _I_ could not have afforded it. These baths, mind you, are
in the hotel, which is the greatest possible accommodation to invalids;
the warm baths cost a franc each, the douche two francs, the water you
drink, nothing. The doctor's fee is four and sixpence, and you need not
consult him often. Ascertain the proper course, and go on with it."
"But the hotel expenses?"
"That cost me four shillings a day, everything included, except a
trifle for servants. Candles alone were extras, and I did not burn them
very much, for I was glad to go to bed early. Wine I do not take, or
that also would have been an extra. You could not live very much
cheaper at home."
"How I should like to go!" broke from the lips of Mr. Channing.
Hamish came forward. "You must go, my dear father! It shall be
"You speak hopefully, Hamish."
Hamish smiled. "I feel so, sir."
"Do you feel so, also, my friend!" said Dr. Lamb, fervently. "Go forth
to the remedy as I did, in the full confidence that God can, and will,
send His blessing upon it."
MR. JENKINS ALIVE AGAIN.
The quiet of Sunday was over, and Helstonleigh awoke on the Monday
morning to the bustle of every-day life. Mr. Jenkins awoke, with
others, and got up--not Jenkins the old bedesman, but his son Joseph,
who had the grey mare for his wife. It was Mr. Jenkins's intention to
resume his occupation that day, with Mr. Hurst's and Mrs. Jenkins's
permission: the former he might have defied; the latter he dared not.
However, he was on the safe side, for both had accorded it.
Mrs. Jenkins was making breakfast in the small parlour behind her
hosiery shop, when her husband appeared. He looked all the worse for
his accident. Poor Joe was one whom a little illness told upon. Thin,
pale, and lantern-jawed at the best of times--indeed he was not
infrequently honoured with the nickname of "scare-crow"--he now looked
thinner and paler than ever. His tall, shadowy form seemed bent with
the weakness induced by lying a few days in bed; while his hair had
been cut off in three places at the top of his head, to give way to as
many patches of white plaster.
"A nice figure you'll cut in the office, to-day, with those ornaments
on your crown!" was Mrs. Jenkins's salutation.
"I am thinking to fold this broadly upon my head, and tie it under my
chin," said he, meekly, holding out a square, black silk handkerchief
which he had brought down in his hand.
"That would not hide the patch upon your forehead, stupid!" responded
Mrs. Jenkins. "I believe you must have bumped upon the edge of every
stair in the organ-loft, as you came down, to get so many wounds!" she
continued crossly. "If you ever do such a senseless trick again, you
shan't stir abroad without me or the maid at your back, to take care of
you; I promise you that!"
"I have combed my hair over the place on my forehead!" civilly replied
Mr. Jenkins. "I don't think it shows much."
"And made yourself look like an owl! I thought it was nothing less than
a stuffed owl coming in. Why can't you wear your hat? That would hide
your crown and your forehead too."
"I did think of that; and I dare say Mr. Galloway would allow me to do
it, and overlook the disrespect in consideration of the circumstances,"
answered Jenkins. "But then, I thought again, suppose the dean should
chance to come into the office to-day?--or any of the canons? There's
no telling but they may. I could not keep my hat on in their presence;
and I should not like to take it off, and expose the plasters."
"You'd frighten them away, if you did," said Mrs. Jenkins, dashing some
water into the teapot.
"Therefore," he added, when she had finished speaking, "I think it will
be better to put on this handkerchief. People do wear them, when
suffering from neuralgia, or from toothache."
"Law! wear it, if you like! what a fuss you make about nothing! If you
chose to go with your head wrapped up in a blanket, nobody would look
"Very true," meekly coughed Mr. Jenkins.
"What are you doing?" irascibly demanded Mrs. Jenkins, perceiving that
of two slices of bacon which she had put upon his plate, one had been
surreptitiously conveyed back to the dish.
"I am not hungry this morning. I cannot eat it."
"I say you shall eat it. What next? Do you think you are going to
"My appetite will come back to me in a morning or two," he
"It is back quite enough for that bacon," was the answer. "Come! I'll
have it eaten."
She ruled him in everything as she would a child; and, appetite or no
appetite, Mr. Jenkins had to obey. Then he prepared for his departure.
The black silk square was tied on, so as to cover the damages; the hat
was well drawn over the brows, and Mr. Jenkins started. When Mr.
Galloway entered his office that morning, which he did earlier than
usual, there sat Mr. Jenkins in his usual place, copying a lease.
He looked glad to see his old clerk. It is pleasant to welcome a
familiar face after an absence. "Are you sure you are equal to work,
"Quite so, sir, thank you. I had a little fever at first, and Mr. Hurst
was afraid of that; but it has quite subsided. Beyond being a trifle
sore on the head, and stiff at the elbows and one hip, I am quite
"I was sorry to hear of the accident, Jenkins," Mr. Galloway resumed.
"I was as vexed at it as I could be, sir. When I first came to myself,
I hardly knew what damage was done; and the uncertainty of getting to
business, perhaps for weeks, did worry me much. I don't deny, too, that
I have been in a little pain. But oh, sir! it was worth happening! it
was indeed; only to experience the kindness and good fellowship that
have been shown me. I am sure half the town has been to see me, or to
ask after me."
"I hear you have had your share of visitors."
"The bishop himself came," said poor Jenkins, tears of gratitude rising
to his eyes in the intensity of his emotion. "He did, indeed, sir. He
came on the Friday, and groped his way up our dark stairs (for very
dark they are when Mr. Harper's sitting-room door is shut), and sat
down by my bedside, and chatted, just as plainly and familiarly as if
he had been no better than one of my own acquaintances. Mr. Arthur
Channing found him there when he came with your kind message, sir."
"So I heard," said Mr. Galloway. "You and the bishop were both in the
same boat. I cannot, for my part, get at the mystery of that locking-up
"The bishop as good as said so, sir--that we had both been in it. I was
trying to express my acknowledgments to his lordship for his
condescension, apologizing for my plain bedroom, and the dark stairs,
and all that, and saying, as well as I knew how, that the like of me
was not worthy of a visit from him, when he laughed, in his affable
way, and said, 'We were both caught in the same trap, Jenkins. Had I
been the one to receive personal injury, I make no doubt that you would
have come the next day to inquire after me.' What a great thing it is,
to be blessed with a benevolent heart, like the Bishop of
Arthur Channing came in and interrupted the conversation. He was
settling to his occupation, when Mr. Galloway drew his attention; in an
abrupt and angry manner, as it struck Arthur.
"Channing, you told me, yesterday, that you posted that letter for
Ventnor on Friday"
"So I did, sir."
"It has been robbed."
"Robbed!" returned Arthur, in surprise, scarcely realizing immediately
the meaning of the word.
"You know that it contained money--a twenty-pound note. You saw me put
"Yes--I--know--that," hesitated Arthur.
"What are you stammering at?"
In good truth, Arthur could not have told, except that he hesitated in
surprise. He had cast his thoughts into the past, and was lost in them.
"The fact is, you did _not_ post the letters yourself," resumed Mr.
Galloway. "You gave them to somebody else to post, in a fit of
idleness, and the result is, that the letter was rifled, and I have
lost twenty pounds."
"Sir, I assure you, that I did post them myself," replied Arthur, with
firmness. "I went straight from this door to the post-office. In coming
back, I called on Jenkins"--turning to him--"as you bade me, and
afterwards I returned here. I mentioned to you, then, sir, that the
bishop was with Jenkins."
Mr. Jenkins glanced up from his desk, a streak of colour illumining his
thin cheek, half hidden by the black handkerchief. "I was just saying,
sir, to Mr. Galloway, that you found his lordship at my bedside," he
said to Arthur.
"Has the note been taken out of the letter, sir?" demanded Arthur. "Did
the letter reach its destination without it?"
"Yes," replied Mr. Galloway, in answer to both questions. "I had a few
lines from Mr. Robert Galloway yesterday morning, stating that the
letter had arrived, but no bank-note was enclosed in it. Now, where is
"Where can it be?" reiterated Arthur. "The letter must have been opened
on the road. I declare to you, sir, that I put it myself into the
"It is a crying shame for this civilized country, that one cannot send
a bank-note across the kingdom in a letter, but it must get taken out
of it!" exclaimed Mr. Galloway, in his vexation. "The puzzle to me is,
how those letter-carriers happen just to pitch upon the right letters
to open--those letters that contain money!"
He went into his private room as he spoke, banging the door after him,
a sure symptom that his temper was not in a state of serenity, and not
hearing or seeing Roland Yorke, who had entered, and was wishing him
"What's amiss? he seems in a tantrum," ejaculated Mr. Roland, with his
usual want of ceremony. "Hallo, Jenkins; is it really you? By the
accounts brought here, I thought you were not going to have a head on
your shoulders for six months to come. Glad to see you."
"Thank you, sir. I am thankful to say I have got pretty well over the
"Roland," said Arthur, in a half-whisper, bringing his head close to
his friend's, as they leaned together over the desk, "you remember that
Ventnor letter, sent on Friday, with the money in it--"
"Ventnor letter!" interrupted Roland. "What Ventnor letter?"
"The one for Robert Galloway. Hamish was looking at it. It had a
twenty-pound note in it."
"For Ventnor, was it? I did not notice what place it was bound for.
That fellow, the cousin Galloway, changes his place of abode like the
Wandering Jew. What of the letter?"
"It has been robbed of the note."
"No!" uttered Roland.
"It has. The cousin says the letter reached him, but the note did not.
Mr. Galloway seems uncommonly put out. He accused me, at first, of not
taking it myself to the post. As if I should confide letters of value
to any one not worthy of trust!"
"Did you post it yourself?" asked Roland.
"Of course I did. When you were coming in, after playing truant on
Friday afternoon, I was then going. You might have seen the letters in
Roland shook his head. "I was in too great a stew to notice letters, or
anything else. This will cure Galloway of sending bank-notes in
letters. Have the post-office people had news of the loss sent to them?
They must hunt up the thief."
"Mr. Galloway is sure to do all that's necessary," remarked Arthur.
"For my part, if I sent bank-notes across the country in letters, I
should expect them to be taken. I wonder at Galloway. He is cautious in
Others had wondered at Mr. Galloway, besides Roland Yorke. A man of
caution, generally, he yet persisted in the practice of enclosing
bank-notes in letters. Persons cognizant of this habit had remonstrated
with him; not his clerks--of course they had not presumed to do so. Mr.
Galloway, who liked his own way, had become somewhat testy upon the
point, and, not a week before the present time, had answered in a sort
of contradictory spirit that his money-letters had always gone safely
hitherto, and he made no doubt they always would go safely. The present
loss, therefore, coming as it were, to check his obstinacy, vexed him
more than it would otherwise have done. He did not care for the loss of
the money half so much as he did for the tacit reproof to himself.
"I wonder if Galloway took the number of the note?" cried Roland.
"Whether or not, though, it would not serve him much: bank-notes lost
in transit never come to light."
"Don't they, though!" retorted Arthur. "Look at the many convictions
for post-office robbery!"
"I do not suppose that one case in ten is tracked home," disputed
Roland. "They are regular thieves, those letter-carriers. But, then,
the fellows are paid so badly."
"Do not be so sweeping in your assertions, Roland Yorke," interposed
Mr. Galloway, coming forward from his own room. "How dare you so
asperse the letter-carriers? They are a hard-working, quiet, honest
body of men. Yes, sir; honest--I repeat it. Where one has yielded to
temptation, fingering what was not his own, hundreds rise superior to
it, retaining their integrity. I would advise you not to be so free
with your tongue."
Not to be free with his tongue would have been hard to Roland.
"Lady Augusta was sending a box of camomile pills to some friend in
Ireland, the other day, sir, but it was never heard of again, after she
put it into the post-office, here," cried he to Mr. Galloway. "The
fellow who appropriated it no doubt thought he had a prize of jewels. I
should like to have seen his mortification when he opened the parcel
and found it contained pills! Lady Augusta said she hoped he had liver
complaint, and then they might be of service to him."
Mr. Galloway made no response. He had caught up a lease that was lying
on Jenkins's desk, and stood looking at it with no pleasant expression
of countenance. On went that undaunted Roland:
"The next thing Lady Augusta had occasion to send by post was a gold
cameo pin. It was enclosed in a pasteboard box, and, when packed,
looked just like the parcel of pills. I wrote PILLS on it, in great
round text-hand. That reached its destination safely enough, sir."
"More safely than you would, if it depended upon your pursuing your
business steadily," retorted Mr. Galloway to Roland. "Fill in that
As Roland, with a suppressed yawn, and in his usual lazy manner, set
himself to work, there came a clatter at the office-door, and a man
entered in the uniform of a telegraphic official, bearing a despatch in
his hand. Mr. Galloway had then turned to his room, and Roland, ever
ready for anything but work, started up and received the packet from
"Where's it from?" asked he, in his curiosity.
"Southampton," replied the messenger.
"A telegram from Southampton, sir," announced Roland to Mr. Galloway.
The latter took the despatch, and opened it, directing Jenkins to sign
the paper. This done, the messenger departed. The words of the message
were few, but Mr. Galloway's eye was bending upon them sternly, and his
brow had knitted, as if in perplexity.
"Young gentlemen, you must look to this," he said, coming forward, and
standing before Roland and Arthur. "I find that the post-office is not
to blame for this loss; it must have occurred in this room, before the
letter went to the post-office."
They both looked up, both coloured, as if with inward consternation.
Thoughts, we all know, are quick as lightning: what was each thinking
of, that it should give rise to emotion? Arthur was the first to speak.
"Do you allude to the loss of the bank-note, sir?"
"What else should I allude to?" sharply answered Mr. Galloway.
"But the post-office must be cheeky to deny it off-hand!" flashed
Roland. "How is it possible that they can answer for the honesty of
every man whose hands that letter passed through?"
"Pray who told you they had denied it, Mr. Roland Yorke?" demanded his
Roland felt a little checked. "I inferred it, sir."
"I dare say. Then allow me to tell you that they have not denied it.
And one very cogent reason why they have not, is, that they are not yet
cognizant of the loss. I do not jump at conclusions as you do, Roland
Yorke, and I thought it necessary to make a little private inquiry
before accusing the post-office, lest the post-office might not be in
fault, you know."
"Quite right, I have no doubt, sir," replied Roland, in a chafed
accent, for Mr. Galloway was speaking satirically, and Roland never
liked to have ridicule cast upon him. Like old Ketch, it affected his
"By this communication," touching the telegraphic despatch, "I learn
that the letter was not opened after it left this office," resumed Mr.
Galloway. "Consequently, the note must have been abstracted from it
while the letter lay here. Who has been guilty of it?"
Neither Arthur nor Roland spoke. It was not a pleasant accusation--if
you can call it an accusation--and their faces deepened to scarlet;
while Mr. Jenkins looked up half terrified, and began to think, what a
mercy it was that he had broken his head, just that last particular
Thursday night, on the marble flags of the cathedral.
When money is lost out of an office, suspicion very frequently falls
upon one or more of that office's _employes_. Mr. Galloway's doubts,
however, had not yet extended to those employed in his. The letter
containing the bank-note had been despatched to Mr. Robert Galloway, at
Ventnor, on the Friday. On the Sunday morning, while Mr. Galloway was
at breakfast, a short answer was delivered to him from his
cousin:--"Your letter has reached me, but not the note; you must have
omitted to enclose it," was the news it contained relative to that
particular point. Mr. Galloway knew that he had enclosed the note;
there was little doubt that both his clerks could testify that he had
done so, for it was done in their presence. How could it have been
taken out again? Had it been abstracted while the letter was still in
his office?--or on its way to the post?--or in its transmission to
Ventnor? "If in the office," argued Mr. Galloway, "it must have been
done before I sealed it; if afterwards, that seal must have been
tampered with, probably broken. I'll drop a note to Robert, and ask the
question." He rose from his breakfast and penned a line to Southampton,
where, as he had reason to believe, Mr. Robert Galloway would be on the
Monday. It was not Mr. Galloway's habit to write letters on a Sunday,
but he considered that the present occasion justified the act. "I
certainly enclosed the note in my letter," he wrote. "Send me word
instantly whether the seal had been tampered with. I stamped it with my
private seal." Mr. Robert Galloway received this on the Monday morning.
He did not wait for the post, but forwarded the reply by
telegraph--"The seal had not been broken. Will send you back the
envelope by first post." This was the despatch which you saw Mr.
Galloway receive in his office.
He went back into his private room, carrying the despatch with him, and
there he sat down to think. From the very first, he had not believed
the fraud to lie with the post-office--for this reason: had the note
been taken out by one of its servants, the letter would almost
certainly not have reached its destination; it would have disappeared
with the note. He had cast a doubt upon whether Arthur Channing had
posted the letters himself. Arthur assured him that he had done so, and
Mr. Galloway believed him; the information that the seal of the letter
was unbroken was now a further confirmation, had he needed it. At
least, it confirmed that the letter had not been opened after it left
the office. Mr. Galloway perfectly remembered fastening down the
letter. He probably would have sealed it then, but for the commotion
that arose at the same moment in the street caused by Mad Nance. There
could be no shadow of doubt, so far as Mr. Galloway could see, and so
far as he believed, that the abstraction had taken place between the
time of his fastening down the envelope and of his sealing it. Who had
"I'll lay a guinea I know how it happened!" he exclaimed to himself.
"Channing was at college--I must have given him permission in a soft
moment to take that organ, or I should never have done it, quitting the
office daily!--and, Yorke, in his indolent carelessness, must have got
gossiping outside, leaving, it is hard to say who, in the office! This
comes of poor Jenkins's fall!"
Mr. Galloway rang his bell. It was answered by Jenkins. "Send Mr.
Arthur Channing in," said Mr. Galloway.
Arthur entered, in obedience. Mr. Galloway signed to him to close the
door, and then spoke.
"This is an awkward business, Channing."
"Very awkward, indeed, sir," replied Arthur, at no loss to understand
what Mr. Galloway alluded to. "I do not see that it was possible for
the note to have been taken from the letter, except in its transmission
through the post."
"I tell you it was taken from it before it left this office," tartly
returned Mr. Galloway. "I have my reasons for the assertion. Did you
see me put the bank-note into the letter?"
"Of course I did, sir. I was standing by when you did it: I remained by
you after bringing you the note from this room."
"I enclosed the note, and fastened down the envelope," said Mr.
Galloway, pointing the feather of his quill pen at each proposition. "I
did not seal it then, because looking at Mad Nance hindered me, and I
went out, leaving the letter on Jenkins's desk, in your charge and
"Yes, sir. I placed the letter in the rack in your room, immediately
"And, pray, what loose acquaintances did you and Yorke receive here
"Not any," replied Arthur. "I do not know when the office has been so
free from callers. No person whatever entered it, except my brother
"That's all nonsense," said Mr. Galloway. "You are getting to speak as
incautiously as Yorke. How can you tell who came here when you were at
college? Yorke would be alone, then."
"No, Yorke was not," Arthur was beginning. But he stopped suddenly and
hesitated. He did not care to tell Mr. Galloway that Yorke had played
truant all that afternoon. Mr. Galloway saw his hesitation, and did not
"Come, what have you to conceal? You and Yorke held a levee here, I
suppose? That's the fact. You had so many fellows in here, gossiping,
that you don't know who may have meddled with the letter; and when you
were off to college, they stayed on with Yorke."
"No, sir. For one thing, I did not take the organ that afternoon. I
went, as usual, but Mr. Williams was there himself, so I came back at
once. I was only away about ten minutes."
"And how many did you find with Yorke?"
"Yorke stepped out to speak to some one just before I went to college,"
replied Arthur, obliged to allude to it, but determined to say as
little as possible. "Hamish was here, sir; you met him coming in as you
were going out, and I got him to stay in the office till I returned."
"Pretty doings!" retorted Mr. Galloway. "Hindering the time of Mr.
Hamish Channing, that you and Yorke may kick up your heels elsewhere!
Nice trustworthy clerks, both of you!"
"I was obliged to go to college, sir," said Arthur, in a tone of
"Was Yorke obliged to go out?"
"I was back again very shortly, I assure you, sir," said Arthur,
passing over the remark. "And I did not leave the office again until
you sent me to the post."
"Stop!" said Mr. Galloway; "let me clearly understand. As I went out,
Hamish came in. Then, you say, Yorke went out; and you, to get to
college, left Hamish keeping office! Did any one else come in besides
"Not any one. When I returned from college I inquired of Hamish who had
called, and he said no one had called. Then Lady Augusta Yorke drove
up, and Hamish went away with her. She was going to the missionary
"And you persist in saying that no one came in, after that?"
"No one did come in, sir."
"Very well. Send Yorke to me."
Roland made his appearance, a pen behind his ear, and a ruler in his
"More show than work!" sarcastically exclaimed Mr. Galloway. "Now, sir,
I have been questioning Mr. Arthur Channing about this unpleasant
business, for I am determined to come to the bottom of it. I can get
nothing satisfactory from him; so I must try what I can do with you.
Have the goodness to tell me how you spent your time on Friday
"On Friday?--let's see," began Roland, out of his wits with perplexity
as to how he should conceal his afternoon's absence from Mr. Galloway.
"It's difficult to recollect what one does on one particular day more
than another, sir."
"Oh, indeed! Perhaps, to begin with, you can remember the circumstances
of my enclosing the bank-note in the letter, I went into the other room
to consult a 'Bradshaw'--"
"I remember that quite well, sir," interrupted Roland. "Channing
fetched the bank-note from this room, and you put it into the envelope.
It was just before we were all called to the window by Mad Nance."
"After that?" pursued Mr. Galloway.
"After that? I think, sir, you went out after that, and Hamish Channing
"Who else came in?"
"I don't remember any one else," answered Roland, wishing some one
would come in _then_, and stop the questioning. No such luck, however.
"How many people called in, while Channing was at college, and you were
keeping office?" demanded Mr. Galloway.
Roland fidgeted, first on one leg, then on the other. He felt that it
must all come out. "What a passion he'll go into with me!" thought
Roland. "It is certain that no one can have touched the bank-note in
this office, sir," he said aloud. "Those poor, half-starved postmen
must have helped themselves to it."
"When I ask for your opinion upon 'who has helped themselves to it,' it
will be time enough to give it me," returned Mr. Galloway, drily. "I
say that the money was taken from the letter before it left this
office, when it was under the charge of you and Channing."
"I hope you do not suspect us of taking it, sir!" said Roland, going
into a heat.
"I suspect that you have been guilty of negligence in some way, Mr.
Roland. Could the bank-note drop out of the letter of itself?"
"I suppose it could not, sir."
"Good! Then it is my business to ascertain, if I can, how it did get
out of it. You have not answered my question. Who came into this
office, while Channing was at the cathedral, on Friday afternoon?"
"I declare nobody ever had such luck as I," burst forth Roland, in a
tone half comic, half defiant, as he felt he must make a merit of
necessity, and confess. "If I get into the smallest scrape in the
world, it is safe to come out. The fact is, sir, I was not here, last
Friday afternoon, during Channing's hour for college."
"What! not at all?" exclaimed Mr. Galloway, who had not suspected that
Yorke was absent so long.
"As I say, it's my luck to be found out!" grumbled Roland. "I can't
lift a finger to-day, if it ought not to be lifted, but it is known
to-morrow. I saw one of my chums going past the end of the street, sir,
and I ran after him. And I am sorry to say I was seduced into stopping
out with him longer than I ought to have done."
Mr. Galloway stared at Roland. "At what time did you go out?" he asked.
"Just after you did, sir. The bell was going for college."
"And pray what time did you come in again?"
"Well, sir, you saw me come in. It was getting on for five o'clock."
"Do you mean to say you had not been in at all, between those hours!"
"It was Knivett's fault," grumbled Roland. "He kept me."
Mr. Galloway sat drumming on his desk, apparently gazing at Roland; in
reality thinking. To hear that Mr. Roland Yorke had taken French leave
for nearly a whole afternoon, just on the especial afternoon that he
ought not to have taken it--Jenkins being away--did not surprise him in
the least; it was very much in the line of the Yorkes to do so. To
scold or punish Roland for it, would have been productive of little
good, since he was sure to do it again the very next time the
temptation offered itself. Failing temptation, he would remain at his
post steadily enough. No; it was not Roland's escapade that Mr.
Galloway was considering; but the very narrow radius that the affair of
the letter appeared to be drawing itself into. If Roland was absent, he
could not have had half the town in, to chatter; and if Arthur Channing
asserted that none had been in, Mr. Galloway could give credence to
Arthur. But then--how had the money disappeared? Who had taken it?
"Channing!" he called out, loudly and sharply.
Arthur, who was preparing to attend the cathedral, for the bell had
rung out, hastened in.
"How came you not to tell me when we were speaking of Roland Yorke's
absence, that he remained away all the afternoon?" questioned Mr.
Arthur was silent. He glanced once at Roland.
"Well?" cried Mr. Galloway.
"It was better for him to tell you himself, sir; as I conclude he has
"The fact is, you are two birds of a feather," stormed Mr. Galloway,
who, when once roused, which was not often, would say anything that
came uppermost, just or unjust. "The one won't tell tales of the other.
If the one set my office on fire, and then said it was the cat did it,
the other would stick to it. Is it true, sir, that he was not at the
office during my absence from it on Friday afternoon?" he continued to
"That is true."
"Then who can have taken the money?" uttered Mr. Galloway, speaking
what was uppermost in his thoughts.
"Which is as much as to say that I took it," burst from haughty Roland.
"Mr. Galloway, I--"
"Keep quiet, Roland Yorke," interrupted that gentleman. "I do not
suspect you of taking it. I did suspect that you might have got some
idlers in here, _mauvais sujets_, you know, for you call plenty of them
friends; but, if you were absent yourself, that suspicion falls to the
ground. Again I say, who can have taken the money?"
"It is an utter impossibility that Yorke could have taken it, even were
he capable of such a thing," generously spoke Arthur. "From the time
you left the office yourself, sir, until after the letters were taken
out of it to be posted, he was away from it."
"Just like him!" exclaimed Mr. Galloway. "It must have been done while
your brother Hamish was waiting in the office. We must ascertain from
him who came in."
"He told me no one came in," repeated Arthur.
"Rubbish!" testily observed Mr. Galloway. "Some one must have come in;
some one with light fingers, too! the money could not go without hands.
You are off to college now, I suppose, Channing?"
"When service is over, just go down as far as your brother's office,
and ask him about it."
"He is as obstinate as any old adder!" exclaimed Roland Yorke to
Arthur, when they left Mr. Galloway alone. "The only possible way in
which it can have gone, is through that post-office. The men have
forked it; as they did Lady Augusta's pills."
"He says it was not the post-office," mused Arthur. "He said--as I
understood--that the telegraphic despatch proved to him that it had
been taken out here."
"What an idiot you are!" ejaculated Roland. "How _could_ a despatch
tell him who took it, or who did not?--unless it was a despatch from
those spirit-rappers--mesmerists, or whatever they call themselves.
They profess to show you who your grandmother was, if you don't know!"
Roland laughed as he spoke. Arthur was not inclined for joking; the
affair perplexed him in no ordinary degree. "I wish Mr. Galloway would
mention his grounds for thinking the note was taken before it went to
the post!" he said.
"He ought to mention them," cried Roland fiercely. "He says he learns,
by the despatch, that the letter was not opened after it left this
office. Now, it is impossible that any despatch could tell him that. He
talks to me about broad assertions! That's a pretty broad one. What did
the despatch say? who sent it?"
"Would it afford you satisfaction to know, Mr. Roland?" and Roland
wheeled round with a start, for it was the voice of Mr. Galloway. He
had followed them into the front office, and caught the latter part of
the conversation. "Come, sir," he added, "I will teach you a lesson in
caution. When I have sealed letters that contained money after they
were previously fastened down with gum, I have seen you throw your head
back, Mr. Roland, with that favourite scornful movement of yours. 'As
if gum did not stick them fast enough!' you have said in your heart.
But now, the fact of my having sealed this letter in question, enables
me to say that the letter was not opened after it left my hands. The
despatch you are so curious about was from my cousin, telling me that
the seal reached him intact."
"I did not know the letter was sealed," remarked Roland. "But that
proves nothing, sir. They might melt the wax, and seal it up again.
Every one keeps a stamp of this sort," he added, stretching his hand
out for the seal usually used in the office--an ordinary cross-barred
"Ah," said Mr. Galloway, "you are very clever, Master Roland. But I
happened to stamp that letter with my own private seal."
"That alters the case, of course," said Roland, after a pause. "Sir, I
wish you would set me to work to find out," he impulsively continued.
"I'd go to the post-office, and--"
"And there make enough noise for ten, and defeat your own ends,"
interrupted Mr. Galloway. "Channing, you will be late. Do not forget to
"Yes, I must be off," said Arthur, coming out of his reverie with a
start. He had waited to hear about the seal. And now flew towards the
"I wish it had not happened!" he ejaculated. "I know Galloway does not
suspect me or Yorke: but still I wish it had never happened!"
THE LOOMING OF AN AWFUL FEAR.
Hamish Channing sat in his private room; his now; for, in the absence
of Mr. Channing, Hamish was master. The insurance office was situated
in Guild Street, a principal street, near to the Town Hall. It
consisted of an entrance hall, two rooms, and a closet for hanging up
coats, and for washing hands. The room on the left of the hall, as you
entered, was the principal office; the room on the right, was the
private room of Mr. Channing; now used, I say, by Hamish. The upper
part of the house was occupied as a dwelling; the people renting it
having nothing to do with the office. It was a large, roomy house, and
possessed a separate entrance.
Hamish--gay, good-tempered, careless, though he was--ruled the office
with a firm hand. There was no familiarity of manner there; the clerks
liked him, but they had to defer to him and obey him. He was seated at
his desk, deep in some accounts, on this same morning--the one
mentioned in the last chapter--when one of the clerks entered, and said
that Mr. Arthur Channing was asking to speak to him: for it was Mr.
Hamish Channing's good pleasure not to be interrupted indiscriminately,
unless a clerk first ascertained whether he was at liberty to be seen.
Possibly Hamish feared treachery might be abroad.
Arthur entered. Hamish pushed his books from him, and stretched
himself. "Well, old fellow! you seem out of breath."
"I came down at a pace," rejoined Arthur. "College is just over. I say,
Hamish, a disagreeable thing has happened at Galloway's. I have never
seen him put out as he is now."
"Has his hair taken a change again, and come out a lovely rose colour?"
"I _wish_ you would not turn everything into joke," cried Arthur, who
was really troubled, and the words vexed him. "You saw a letter on
Jenkins's desk last Friday--the afternoon, you know, that Yorke went
off, and you remained while I went to college? There was a twenty-pound
note in it. Well, the note has, in some mysterious manner, been
abstracted from it."
Hamish lifted his eyebrows. "What can Galloway expect, if he sends
bank-notes in letters?"
"Yes, but this was taken before it left our office. Galloway says so.
He sealed it with his private seal, and the letter arrived at his
cousin's intact, the seal unbroken--a pretty sure proof that the note
could not have been in it when it was sealed."
"Who took it out?" asked Hamish.
"That's the question. There was not a soul near the place, that I can
find out, except you and I. Yorke was away, Jenkins was away, and Mr.
Galloway was away. He says some one must have come in while you were in
"Not so much as a ghost came in," said Hamish.
"Are you sure, Hamish?"
"Sure! I am sure they did not, unless I dropped asleep. _That_ was not
an unlikely catastrophe to happen; shut up by myself in that dull
office, amidst musty parchments, with nothing to do."
"Hamish, can you be serious for once? This is a serious matter."
"Mr. Martin Pope wants you, sir," said the clerk again, interrupting at
this juncture. Martin Pope's face came in also, over the clerk's
shoulder. It was red, and he looked in a hurry.
"Hamish, he has had a letter, and is off by the half-past eleven
train," spoke Martin Pope, in some excitement. "You must rush up to the
station, if you want a last word with him. You will hardly catch him,
running your best."
Up jumped Hamish, in excitement as great as his friend's. He closed and
locked the desk, caught his hat, and was speeding out of the office,
when Arthur, to whom the words had been a puzzle, seized his arm.
"Hamish, _did_ any one come in? It was Mr. Galloway sent me here to
"No, they did not. Should I not tell you if they had? Take care,
Arthur. I must fly like the wind. Come away, Pope!"
Arthur walked back to Mr. Galloway's. That gentleman was out. Roland
Yorke was out. But Jenkins, upon whom the unfortunate affair had taken
great hold, lifted his face to Arthur, his eyes asking the question
that his tongue scarcely presumed to do.
"My brother says no one came in while he was here. It is very strange!"
"Mr. Arthur, sir, if I had repined at all at that accident, and felt it
as a misfortune, how this would have reproved me!" spoke Jenkins, in
his simple faith. "Why, sir, it must have come to me as a mercy, a
blessing; to take me away out of this office at the very time."
"What do you mean, Jenkins?"
"There's no telling, sir, but Mr. Galloway might have suspected me. It
is the first loss we have had since I have been here, all these years;
"Nonsense!" interrupted Arthur. "You may as well fear that Mr. Galloway
will suspect me, or Mr. Yorke."
"No, sir, you and Mr. Yorke are different; you are gentlemen. Mr.
Galloway would no more suspect you, than he would suspect himself. I am
thankful I was absent."
"Be easy, Jenkins," smiled Arthur. "Absent or present, every one can
Mr. Galloway did not return until nearly one o'clock. He went straight
to his own room. Arthur followed him.
"I have seen Hamish, sir. He says no person whatever entered on Friday,
while he was here alone."
Mr. Galloway paused, apparently revolving the news. "Hamish must be
mistaken," he answered.
"He told me at the time, last Friday, that no one had been in," resumed
Arthur. "I asked the question when I returned from college, thinking
people might have called on business. He said they had not done so; and
he says the same now."
"But look you here, Arthur," debated Mr. Galloway, in a tone of
reasoning. "I suspect neither you nor Yorke; indeed, as it seems, Yorke
put himself out of suspicion's way, by walking off; but if no one came
to the office, and yet the note _went_, remember the position in which
you place yourself. I say I don't blame you, I don't suspect you; but I
do say that the mystery must be cleared up. Are you certain no person
came into the office during your presence in it?"
"I am quite certain of that, sir. I have told you so."
"And is Hamish equally certain--that no one entered while he was here
"He says so." But Arthur's words bore a sound of hesitation, which Mr.
Galloway may or may not have observed. He would have spoken far more
positively had Hamish not joked about it.
"'Says' will not do for me," retorted Mr. Galloway. "I should like to
see Hamish. You have nothing particular to finish before one o'clock;
suppose you run up to Guild Street, and request him to come round this
way, as he goes home to dinner? It will not take him two minutes out of
Arthur departed; choosing the nearest way to Guild Street. It led him
through the street Hamish had been careful to avoid on account of a
troublesome creditor. Arthur had no such fear. One o'clock struck as he
turned into it. About midway down it, what was his astonishment at
encountering Hamish! Not hurrying along, dreading to be seen, but
flourishing leisurely at his ease, nodding to every one he knew, his
sweet smile in full play, and his cane whirling circlets in the air.
"Hamish! I thought this was forbidden ground!"
"So it was, until a day or two ago," laughed Hamish; "but I have
managed to charm the enemy."
He spoke in his usual light, careless, half-mocking style, and passed
his arm within Arthur's. At that moment a shopkeeper came to his door,
and respectfully touched his hat to Hamish. Hamish nodded in return,
and laughed again as he walked on with Arthur.
"That was the fiercest enemy in all this street of Philistines, Arthur.
See how civil he is now."
"How did you 'charm' him?"
"Oh, by a process known to myself. Did you come down on purpose to
escort me home to dinner? Very polite of you!"
"I came to ask you to go round by Mr. Galloway's office, and to call in
and see him. He will not take your word at second hand."
"Take my word about what?" asked Hamish.
"That the office had no visitors while you were in it the other day.
That money matter grows more mysterious every hour."
"Then I have not time to go round," exclaimed Hamish, in--for
him--quite an impatient accent. "I don't know anything about the money
or the letter. Why should I be bothered?"
"Hamish, you _must_ go," said Arthur, impressively. "Do you know
that--so far as can be ascertained--no human being was in the office
alone with the letter, except you and I. Were we to shun inquiry,
suspicion might fall upon us."
Hamish drew himself up haughtily, somewhat after the fashion of Roland
Yorke. "What absurdity, Arthur! steal a twenty-pound note!" But when
they came to the turning where two roads met, one of which led to Close
Street, Hamish had apparently reconsidered his determination.
"I suppose I must go, or the old fellow will be offended. You can tell
them at home that I shall be in directly; don't let them wait dinner."
He walked away quickly. Arthur pursued the path which would take him
round the cathedral to the Boundaries. He bent his head in thought. He
was lost in perplexity; in spite of what Mr. Galloway urged, with
regard to the seal, he could not believe but that the money had gone
safely to the post-office, and was stolen afterwards. Thus busied
within himself, he had reached the elm-trees, when he ran up against
Hopper, the bailiff. Arthur looked up, and the man's features relaxed
into a smile.
"We shut the door when the steed's stolen, Mr. Arthur," was his
salutation. "Now that my pockets are emptied of what would have done no
good to your brother, I come here to meet him at the right time. Just
to show folks--should any be about--that I did know my way here;
although it unfortunately fell out that I always missed him."
He nodded and winked. Arthur, completely at sea as to his meaning, made
some trifling remark in answer.
"He did well to come to terms with them," continued Hopper, dropping
his voice. "Though it was only a five pound, as I hear, and a promise
for the rest, you see they took it. Ten times over, they said to me,
'We don't want to proceed to extremities with Hamish Channing.' I was
as glad as could be when they withdrew the writ. I do hope he will go
on smooth and straight now that he has begun paying up a bit. Tell him
old Hopper says it, Mr. Arthur."
Hopper glided on, leaving Arthur glued to the spot. Begun to pay up!
Paid five pounds off one debt! Paid (there could be no doubt of it)
partially, or wholly, the "enemy" in the proscribed street! What did it
mean? Every drop of blood in Arthur Channing's body stood still, and
then coursed on fiercely. Had he seen the cathedral tower toppling down
upon his head, he had feared it less than the awful dread which was
dawning upon him.
He went home to dinner. Hamish went home. Hamish was more gay and
talkative than usual--Arthur was silent as the grave. What was the
matter, some one asked him. His head ached, was the answer; and,
indeed, it was no false plea. Hamish did not say a syllable about the
loss at table; neither did Arthur. Arthur was silenced now.
It is useless to attempt to disguise the fear that had fallen upon him.
You, my reader, will probably have glanced at it as suspiciously as did
Arthur Channing. Until this loophole had appeared, the facts had been
to Arthur's mind utterly mysterious; they now shone out all too
clearly, in glaring colours. He knew that he himself had not touched
the money, and no one else had been left with it, except Hamish. Debt!
what had the paltry fear of debt and its consequences been compared
Mr. Galloway talked much of the mystery that afternoon; Yorke talked of
it; Jenkins talked of it. Arthur barely answered; never, except when
obliged to do so; and his manner, confused at times, for he could not
help its being so, excited the attention of Mr. Galloway. "One would
think you had helped yourself to the money, Channing!" he crossly
exclaimed to him once, when they were alone in the private room.
"No, sir, I did not," Arthur answered, in a low tone; but his face
flushed scarlet, and then grew deadly pale. If a Channing, his brother,
had done it--why, he felt himself almost equally guilty; and it dyed
his brow with shame. Mr. Galloway noticed the signs, and attributed
them to the pain caused by his question.
"Don't be foolish, Arthur. I feel sure of you and Yorke. Though, with
Yorke's carelessness and his spendthrift habits, I do not know that I
should have been so sure of him, had he been left alone with the
"Sir!" exclaimed Arthur, in a tone of pain, "Yorke did not touch it. I
would answer for his innocence with my life."
"Don't I say I do not suspect him, or you either?" testily returned Mr.
Galloway. "It is the mystery of the affair that worries me. If no
elucidation turns up between now and to-morrow morning, I shall place
it in the hands of the police."
The announcement scared away Arthur's caution; almost scared away his
senses. "Oh! pray, pray, Mr. Galloway, do not let the police become
cognizant of it!" he uttered, in an accent of wild alarm. And Mr.
Galloway stared at him in very amazement; and Jenkins, who had come in
to ask a question, stared too.
"It might not produce any good result, and would cause us no end of
trouble," Arthur added, striving to assign some plausible explanation
to his words.
"That is my affair," said Mr. Galloway.
When Arthur reached home, the news had penetrated there also. Mrs.
Channing's tea-table was absorbed with it. Tom and Charles gave the
school version of it, and the Rev. Mr. Yorke, who was taking tea with
them, gave his. Both accounts were increased by sundry embellishments,
which had never taken place in reality.
"Not a soul was ever near the letter," exclaimed Tom, "except Arthur
and Jenkins, and Roland Yorke."
"The post-office must be to blame for this," observed Mr. Channing.
"But you are wrong, Tom, with regard to Jenkins. He could not have been
"Mark Galloway says his uncle had a telegraphic despatch, to say the
post-office knew nothing about it," exclaimed Charles.
"Much you know about it, Miss Charley!" quoth Tom. "The despatch was
about the seal: it was not from the post-office at all. They have not
accused the post-office yet."
Arthur let them talk on; headache the excuse for his own silence. It
did ache, in no measured degree. When appealed to, "Was it this way,
Arthur?" "Was it the other?" he was obliged to speak, so that an
accurate version of the affair was arrived at before tea was over.
Constance alone saw that something unusual was the matter with him. She
attributed it to fears at the absence of Hamish, who had been expected
home to tea, and did not come in. Constance's own fears at this absence
grew to a terrific height. Had he been _arrested_?
She beckoned Arthur from the room, for she could no longer control
herself. Her lips were white, as she drew him into the study, and
spoke. "Arthur, what has become of Hamish? Has anything happened to
"Happened to him!" repeated Arthur, vaguely, too absorbed in his own
sad thoughts to reply at once.
"Taken! Hamish? Oh, you mean for debt!" he continued, his heart
beating, and fully aroused now. "There is no further fear, I believe.
He has managed to arrange with the people."
"How has he contrived it?" exclaimed Constance, in wonder.
Arthur turned his face away. "Hamish does not make me his confidant."
Constance stole her hand into his. "Arthur, what is the matter with you
this evening? Is it that unpleasant affair at Mr. Galloway's?"
He turned from her. He laid his face upon the table and groaned in
anguish. "Be still, Constance! You can do no good."
"But _what_ is it?" uttered Constance in alarm. "You surely do not fear
that suspicion should be cast on you, or on Hamish--although, as it
appears, you and he were alone in the office with the letter?"
"Be still, I say, Constance," he wailed. "There is nothing for it but
to--to--to bear. You will do well to ask no more about it."
A faint dread began to dawn upon her. "You and Hamish were alone with
the letter!" the echo of the words came thumping against her brain. But
she beat it off. Suspect a Channing! "Arthur, I need not ask if you are
innocent; it would be a gratuitous insult to you."
"No," he quietly said, "you need not ask that."
"And--Hamish?" she would have continued, but the words would not come.
She changed them for others.
"How do you know that he has paid any of his debts, Arthur?"
"I heard it. I--"
At that moment they heard something else--Hamish's voice in the hall.
In the impulse of the moment, in the glad revulsion of feeling--for, if
Hamish were safe in the hall, he could not be in prison--Constance flew
to him, and clasped her hands round his neck. "Oh, Hamish, Hamish!
thank Heaven that you are here!"
Hamish was surprised. He went with Constance into the study, where
Arthur had remained. "What do you mean, Constance? What is the matter?"
"I am always fearful," she whispered; "always fearful; I know you owe
money, and that they might put you in prison. Hamish, I think of it by
night and by day."
"My pretty sister!" cried Hamish, caressingly, as he smoothed her hair,
just as Constance sometimes smoothed Annabel's: "that danger has passed
for the present."
"If you were arrested, papa might lose his post," she murmured.
"I know it; it is that which has worried me. I have been doing what I
could to avert it. Constance, these things are not for you. Who told
you anything about them?"
"Never mind. I--"
"What will you give me for something I have found?" exclaimed Annabel,
bursting in upon them, her hands behind her, and her eyes dancing. "It
is one of your treasures, Hamish."
"Then give it me, Annabel. Come! I am tired; I cannot play with you
"I won't give it you until you guess what it is."
Hamish was evidently in no mood for play. Annabel danced round and
about him, provokingly eluding his grasp. He caught her suddenly, and
laid his hands upon hers. With a shriek of laughing defiance, she flung
something on the floor, and four or five sovereigns rolled about.
It was Hamish's purse. She had found it on the hall table, by the side
of his hat and gloves, left there most probably inadvertently. Hamish
stooped to pick up the money.
"See how rich he is!" danced Annabel; "after telling us he was as poor
as a church mouse! Where has it all come from?"
Never had they seen Hamish more annoyed. When he had secured the money,
he gave a pretty sharp tap to Annabel, and ordered her, in a ringing
tone of command, not to meddle with his things again. He quitted the
room, and Annabel ran after him, laughing and defiant still.
"_Where has it all come from_?" The words, spoken in innocence by the
child, rang as a knell on the ears of Constance and Arthur Channing.
Constance's very heart turned sick--sick as Arthur's had been since the
meeting with Hopper under the elm-trees.
The clock of Helstonleigh Cathedral was striking eight, and the postman
was going his rounds through the Boundaries. Formerly, nothing so
common as a regular postman, when on duty, was admitted within the pale
of that exclusive place. The Boundaries, chiefly occupied by the higher
order of the clergy, did not condescend to have its letters delivered
in the ordinary way, and by the ordinary hands. It was the custom for
the postman to take them to the Boundary-gate, and there put them into
the porter's great box, just as if he had been posting letters at the
town post-office; and the porter forthwith delivered them at their
several destinations. The late porter, however, had grown, with years,
half blind and wholly stupid. Some letters he dropped; some he lost;
some he delivered at wrong houses; some, he persisted in declaring,
when questioned, had never been delivered to him at all. In short,
mistakes and confusion were incessant; so, the porter was exonerated
from that portion of his duty, and the postman entered upon it. There
was a fresh porter now, but the old custom had not been resumed.
Ring--ring--ring--ring--for one peculiarity of the Boundaries was, that
most of its doors possessed no knockers, only bells--on he went, the
man, on this morning, leaving letters almost everywhere. At length he
came to Mr. Galloway's, and rang there a peal that it is the delight of
a postman to ring; but when the door was opened, he delivered in only
one letter and a newspaper. The business letters were generally
directed to the office.
Mr. Galloway was half-way through his breakfast. He was no sluggard;
and he liked to devote the whole hour, from eight to nine, to his
breakfast and his Times. Occasionally, as on this morning, he would sit
down before eight, in order that he might have nearly finished
breakfast before the letters arrived. His servants knew by experience