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      Biblos; that was it. And she never seemed to think how time was flying, for she never once alluded to her husbands being so late. To be sure she might have; she might perhaps have said she was afraid she was keeping me from my occupations, for I could have assured her very handsomely that I was more than pleased to sit and talk to her. And it is all quite true, Thomas, about the Princesss visit next month. You may be sure I asked about that. She is coming down to spend three days with them, very quietly, Lady Inverbroom said; yes, she said that twice now I come to think of it, though I caught it perfectly the first time. But I shall be very much surprised if I dont get a note asking us to dine and sleep, with Alice as well perhaps, for I said what a pleasure it would be to Alice to see her beautiful house and grounds some day. But I shall quite understand after what she said about the visit being very quiet, why there will be no party. After all, it was a very pleasant evening we spent there before when there were no guests at all. I said how much we enjoyed quiet visits with no ceremony.{281}

      "A very pretty method, truly! You know not the miners and forgers of Dean Forest!why I would stake a noble to a silver-penny, that if you had discovered he was hidden there, and legally demanded him, he would be popped down in a bucket, to the bottom of some mine, where, even the art of Master Calverley could not have dragged him to the light of day until the Forest was clear of the pack:but, however, to speak to the point," perceiving that the steward's patience was well nigh exhausted"I saw Stephen Holgrave yesterday, in the Forest."

      On arrival, his errand was made known to Neville, the deputy constable of St. Briavel's, who readily attended him with his men. As they rode towards the foundry, which had been indicated as the place of Holgrave's employment, a suppressed murmur from the trees by the road side attracted the constable's attention, and it was said by those nearest, that he gave a significant smile as he passed. The party dismounted at the foundry, and on entering, Holgrave was observed standing close to the forge, surrounded by about a dozen smiths. Neville smiled as he addressed Holgrave.

      The nondescript individual whom we saw among the passengers early in the voyage had joined the party, and heard the story of Captain Hunting's[Pg 68] whale. When it was ended, he ventured to say something on the subject of whaling."How can I help it?they're all gone now save one ... my boys...."

      Pete fetched a jug, which he held awkwardly to Albert's lips. Then he helped him to a chair, and began to unlace his boots."Mary Byles, how did this happen?" asked Calverley, eagerly.

      Dont remind me of that affair over my book-plate, he said. You are putting me into an odious position. It isnt generous of you.

      A little hope sustained him till the Inspector's visitthe vet. might have been mistaken, the Inspector might not order a wholesale destruction. But these faint sparks were soon extinguished. The loathed epidemic had undoubtedly lifted up its head at Odiam, and Reuben's entire herd of Jersey, Welsh, and Sussex cattle was doomed to slaughter."I thought I had read about an island where the steamers intended to stop," Fred remarked.


      "Margaret!" said Holgrave fiercely, "can this be true? answer me! Has Calverley spoken of marriage to you?why do you not answer? Have I loved a false one?"


      "I obtained that paper," said he, "from the great house of Blank & Company. I paid a thousand dollars for it, but it is made in pounds sterling because the drafts are to be drawn on London, and you know that pounds, shillings, and pence are the currency of England."


      "But," returned Horton, losing his temper at such scepticism, "this monk was lodged in the palace of his Grace of Canterbury; and, at the very hour of his departure, his Grace spoke as if the surrender of the woman were already accomplished. Would he have spoken thus had the writ been recalled?"This was what his forty years of struggle had brought him to. He saw himself in the midst of a huge [Pg 328]ambitious ruin. He had failed, his hopes were blightedwhat could he expect to pull out of this wreck. It would be far better and wiser if he gave up the dreary uncertain battle, and took the sure rest at hand. If he sold some of the more fruitful part of his land he would be able to divorce Rose, then he could marry Alice and live with her a quiet, shorn, unambitious life. No one would buy the new ground on Boarzell, but he could easily sell the low fields by the Glotten brook; that would leave him with twenty or thirty acres of fairly good land round the farm, and all his useless encroachments on Boarzell which he would allow to relapse into their former state. He would have enough to live upon, to support his children and his delicate wifehe would be able to take no risks and make no ventures, but he would be comfortable.