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“ If that is all you have to tell me you might have spared yourself the trouble you have been at to bring me here. I am glad to learn my guardian lives; but, as you would have known, if you were not the most depraved of men, I have no longer any desire to meet him."

Mr. Moss burst into an amused laugh.

“My heart is not so black as you think, nor my brain so addled,” he answered. “ Have I not followed you and studied you and worshipped you ever since you were a child, and can you suppose I do not yet understand your beautiful and modest nature ? No; you loved this old man, revered him, and would sooner meet the devil in your present-may I venture to say, questionable position ? "

“Beware!” cried his fair visitor, with an impatient stamp of her little foot, as she advanced a step, as if about to spring on him. Mr. Moss thought he had gone a trifle too far, and was not quite comfortable over it. The little vixen would as soon murder me as look at me," he thought. He changed his tone, and said, pleadingly,

“Now, pray don't get into a passion ; you know I only desire to learn your wishes and to consult your pleasure. But I am a business man. You observe this apartment is simply an office, let us proceed in a business-like manner. You do not want to see this old man, because he loved you and you loved him. He believes you dead. Now suppose some person, we will not say an evil-disposed person, possess the means of convincing him that you live, and have lived, how you best know-would it not break the good old man's heart?"

"Fiend!” hissed Pearl.

"By no means; I am simply a man of business, driving a bargain with one whom I regard as a friend. How much would it be worth to you to let the old man die in the peaceful belief that you are resting in the unsullied grave that will never be yours or mine ?”

This last pathetic touch, which Mr. Moss meant for a gentle hint of his own ready sympathy, had quite a contrary effect. Pearl's great eyes flashed on him with their old lightning that he had trembled at more than once, and she sprang forward within reach of his arm.

God be my


“I say,” he gasped ; "no more of that, you know. None of your melodramatic tricks, or the negotiations must break off at once." There was something so cringing and curish in his manner that Pearl felt ashamed of having been angry with such a thing.

"What is your price, man ? I know you would sell your soul for money. I have rich friends yet ; name the price of your silence, and you shall have it."

“ You mistake me, Pearl ; indeed you do. witness I would give you everything I possess to win your

I favour."

He spoke so earnestly that for the first time Pearl awoke to the knowledge of the depth of his passion. This ma had spent a fortune during years of persistent endeavour to gain her regard, and she had hated him so blindly that she had never perceived the sincerity of the passion that prompted his loathsome attentions. The terrible cloud that was gathering on her pale face melted away, and a wild light played in the depths of l'er beautiful eyes, as she flung herself gracefully into a chair, and regarded him so curiously and yieldingly that his whole frame trembled with intoxicating delight at the apparent success of his appeal, “ You have often told me you love me.

What would you do to prove your love ?”

Anything." “ You do not love me—you love Emily Aldair.” “Your protégé has told you that. It is a lie. I despise her." “ But you are going to marry her ? "

“ Ask your own experience what marriage has to do with love."

“ Pearl brooks no rival-you have heard that. When you are willing to break irreparably your engagement with Emily Aldair Iļwill see you again.”

“ I will do it now, to-night. Pearl, darling, only stay."

Pearl was already at the door ; he touched her hand, she shuddering, drew it away, and was gone.

Mr. Moss watched her out of sight gloatingly. Then he drew a bottle from his iron safe and drank.

“ By Heaven, I have touched her proud heart at last. And I will have her, though it cost me fifty Emily Aldairs. There will be heiresses as long as the world lasts, but never such another Pearl as this."

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that night.

It was in the middle of September. The day had been brok and cloudy, and in the evening a heavy thunderstorm burst over the village. So loud was the roll of the thunder, so vivid was the lightning, so incessant the downpour of the rain, that no less than seven horses, in shafts and saddle, stood reeking under the outhouses and skittle shed of Otley Greyhound.

By this you perceive that Otley on Surf was an agricultural village of that good old style now fast disappearing, by which the land was divided into many farms, and every farmer drove his own nag, and showed his familiar face at the parlour fire of the village inn on a market night. How cheerful it looked,

old-fashioned, low-roofed hostelry! How the firelight gleamed through the windows, in the trembling windstirred pools of water in the dreary road! Right glad might the reverendest denouncer of such unhallowed resorts of the dissipated villager be of the cheer and shelter offered there

Seated round the blazing fire the belated villagers betrayed no great concern. For the weather had been fine, and the harvest was reaped and garnered. Nevertheless, something had cast a gloom over the company, which even the steaming glasses and the first autumn fire failed to dispel.

John Dunder sat brooding over his taproom fire; and though several people were talking and drinking round him the landlord gazed vacantly at the glowing coals, oblivious of all but them. It was because he was accustomed to sit thus, and because his guests were accustomed to his habits, that no one disturbed hirn when the opening door announced a fresh customer.

He was a tall, graceful, young fellow, of about one-andtwenty, rather poorly but not inelegantly dressed, and when he spoke his musical voice started the most apathetic into attention, as only the voice of Philip Celini could.

“Is this Otley Greyhound ?” he asked.

“Yes, it be the Greyhound,” said half-a-dozen in chorus ; and the landlord, removing his pipe a moment, added, with a hazy suggestiveness,

Good accommodation for travellers, well-aired beds, and fishing in the neighbourhood."

Philip refrained from asking explanation of that well-aired fishing, and, shaking the wet from his hat, and from his long curly hair, he coolly took the nearest seat to the fire, and requested that a cup of coffee and a bed might be prepared as expeditiously as possible.

As coffee was a somewhat unwonted beverage in the village of Otley, it was not speedily forthcoming, and Philip sat dreamily looking into the fire, quite oblivious of the curious eyes that were watching him, and the whispered speculations as to the nature of the business or pleasure which had brought the young stranger to the Greyhound.

But the greater number were too busy talking about some wonderful apparition which it seemed had recently disturbed the bucolic apathy of the village.

Philip at length, happening to overhear something of this, asked, wonderingly, if there really were any ghosts in the neighbourhood.

“Why, I can't swear there are, and I guess you can't swear there aint; but there was an old fellow about here 'nation like one. So they say, I didn't see 'im. We are having all sorts of visitors just now, and shouldn't be surprised to meet the devil with the rest,” replied the most talkative of the group.

This was considered a very telling hit at the stranger, and provoked a general laugh, at that young gentleman's expense.

“Look ye here, Tom Watts,” interposed the landlord in a solemn voice. "If I were you, I wouldn't talk about ghosts, some of you have a long way to go home in the dark.”

This was taken in so very bad part that most of the men drank up their liquor in silence, and called for more, that probably being their conception of the proper manner evincing displeasure with the landlord.

This disaffection towards their host perhaps served to create a diversion in favour of the traveller, for one of the men,

whom Philip had already noted for his appearance of pompous pig-headedness, patronizingly remarked into his glass.

You're a stranger in these parts, sir, and must be excused; but I assure you that if you had been here as long as I have you would have no doubt about Hubert Maitland's wraith."

“ I beg your pardon. I did not express any doubt, my good friend,” said Philip, with a smile.

“May be not; but we know you Lunnon gentry afore today,” returned he of the pig-headed propensity. Like most English rustics, he perhaps considered he condoned his servility to local landlords, squires, and parsons, by his insolence to strangers.

Philip turned away with a slight gesture of contempt. He was so much an Italian that errors of ignorance and superstition seemed to him small matters, compared with the brutal incivility, which he had yet to learn was in this country almost invariably associated with them.

“And these are the men, he thought sadly, with whom my father lived and worked. Ah me!”

He drank up his coffee dejectedly, and, wishing host and guests good night, proceeded to follow Mrs. Dunder to his chamber.

Just then a fierce gust of rain rattled on the window, and at the moment the street door suddenly opened, letting in the wind and the storm. The candles went out simultaneously, even the light from the dying embers for a moment ceased to shine. And lo! on the threshold of the half-open door, a tall weird figure stood out darkly against the sky.

An inarticulate cry of surprise and horror broke the awful silence. When, the next instant, the fire blazing fitfully up illumined the ghastly faces of the men, the door was open still, , letting in the storm, but the tall old man who had darkened it was no longer visible. And, when again the candles were lighted, and the men, crowding together, peered into the night, no living thing could be seen between them and the distant horizon.

“Who was that ?" asked the landlord, awaking from his habitual apathy.

No one answered ; every man stood staring at his fellow

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