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spoke—and who evidently knew Roger better than Roger knew himwho replied, coolly
“Thank you, you seem to know me, so I'll take your offer of cash ; I can get what I want at Liverpool, a fiver will do me now, and I'll give you an IO U on my card. You can take it to Cox and Co.—"
"Just so, sir ; but take ten, you may want it.”
No, I only want to know what I've to pay for the accommodation." “Do have a bracelet, sir !" and the man lifted a handsome emerald bracelet out of its case.
“It's very pretty, and worth double what I'll ask; or look here, sir, here's a ring I bought a bargain the other day.”
“My good friend, I really don't intend to invest in anything of the kind.”
"Then givejme the odds on the Derby. Come, that's fair."
And then the conversation took a form which savoured too strongly of “Ruff's Guide" and the Sporting Calendar, to prove interesting or even intelligible to general readers, and in the midst of which they stopped at Farnham, where the gentleman, who had finally succeeded in doing a good stroke of business, got out, stating that he had an engagement at
“That's a sharp cove, sir,” began the captain, when they were fairly on their way again ; “I suppose you know him ?”
“I know his face and appearance, and I know his trade, but I cannot remember his name; he knew me, so that was enough, and it's a great accommodation.”
“I would have lent you the money without diddling you out of a bad bet; that fellow's a blackguard ; I wish I had him on board the 'Tiger,' we'd show you some fun. I once caught a fellow doing the money lending business on board ; I mast-headed him, sir, and, as he couldn't come down, being too frightened, kept him there until he threw down every I 0 U in his pocket-book. The fellow knew my name as well as yours, how the deuce was that ?”
“ It's his trade, and it's not a very difficult trade after all—a man like that never forgets a face, name, or history. I daresay he belongs to this part—there are plenty of his kind in Portsmouth—and, as I do, he might easily know me.”
“ I think he would have done me out of the watch, if you had not come in the way; he seemed to shut up directly he recognised
“Well it's an ill wind-you know the rest. I have got what was worth a good deal to me, and I was willing to pay heavy for the saving of time.” “You seem anxious, sir, perhaps I can help you ?” said the captain,
I who was beginning to feel curious as to Roger's business, and could not but see that the matter, whatever its nature was, was one of intense interest. For a few minutes no notice was taken of his overture. Roger was debating in his own mind, as to the prudence of taking the man into his confidence or running his chance. Harry could hardly elude him ; but if he did would it not be wise to have some one at hand
2 to keep up and supply the clue to his further movements, or, indeed, make it sure that Harry was really on board !. He was still meditating, when the captain pulled out a written list of his passengers, thus supplying one important evidence, for there, half-way down the cabin list, was the dear name, Harry Fielding.
"You are sure he is there now?” began Butler, who had kept his eyes open, and found Roger's face not difficult to read.
“Yes, his name is here.”
“Well! so far so well ; but that's not everything ; I have booked passengers who never sailed. Ay! and I have seen passengers into their berths, all snug; and when I've turned out next morning for breakfast, devil a one was there—nothing but a portmanteau and a change of garments. There's many folks glad to get off to America, you see ; and, though I suppose I ought not to say so, I'd sooner they wasn't taken back, when they'd taken passage with me.
I've had runaway couples in my ship, too; regular swells, too; I have done chaperone, too, in my time.”
“ How was that ?"
“Well, it's a rum story rather. But I'll tell it to pass away the time, if you care to listen. Our passengers were all on board, we were on the point of starting, outward bound, when a lady came on bringing her daughter and a maid. 'Oh, captain !' says she, 'I am going to put my child under your care; we ought to have gone to America together, but I cannot, and she must; and if you will kindly take charge of her, her father will meet her, and we shall never forget your kindness.' I often had such charges, so it did not strike me as anything out of the usual, except that the mother made it so particular that I was to be very careful not to let the young lady be much with the other passengers, and that her father was sure to meet her. Her mother left her with me, and just as she did so, a gentleman and lady came, in a regular fluster. 'My sister is going out alone,' said the gent; 'you'll look after her, captain, she's a very quiet girl, but timid; haven't you a young lady passenger who'd share her cabin with her ?' 'We're choke full,' I said, “but I suppose I must find room ; there's a young lady
2 already under my care, I'll just ask her if she's any objection.' So I
went, tapped at the door, and asked. Not in the least, indeed quite pleased, the maid could get in with some other servant. So there was an introduction, the brother made a great many pretty speeches, and finally had to be sent off, and the girls retired to their cabin. I ought to have told you that the last comer was a very tall handsome girl, and if her brother had not told me she was so timid, I would certainly not have found it out. Well the days slipped by; my duties as chaperone were light, neither girls showing at all for three days ; very seasick they were, so said the maid, who, however, managed to carry off a fair share of food; then they came out in the evening, and sat on deck until midnight, always together, and avoiding the rest of the passengers. There was no flirting, so my mind, which had been somewhat uneasy when I thought of the lovely face and wicked eyes of lady number one, was set at rest. We did our voyage within the time, by nearly twentyfour hours; you know there always is a confusion on reaching port; friends will come off in boats, and some clamber up the sides. Well ! I had been busy with the master, and, going back to the salon, saw a young gentleman seated at the table ; he got up and bowed. Surely I knew him, and ransacked my brain for his name—I'm come,' said he, ' from my father, General — he is ill, and sent me to meet my sister, and thank you for your kindness.' Well, that seemed square ; I remembered the mother's anxiety, however, and hesitated, till, the lady's maid coming out of the cabin, the gentleman addressed her by name, seemed delighted to see her, and told her to tell his sister he was waiting to take her on shore, that she must make no delay; presently out tripped the sister, looking rosy and happy-Good-bye, Captain Butler,' and she held out her hand; you've been the kindest chaperone I ever had, I shall never forget you ; here is a little present, but promise not to open it until to-morrow; good-bye, lake care of poor Miss Smith (the tall girl) she has a bad headache, and wants to stay quiet until her friends come for her; good-bye,' and away they went. A couple of hours later, a pompous old gentleman comes to me; 'I am General —, come to relieve you of your charge, sir, and express my gratitude ; please tell my daughter I am here. I stared, and grew hot, then cold-his daughter-he had not sent for her, then ; I had fallen into a snare, a clever one, no doubt, but I didn't like it, and when he heard what had happened, he swore and stormed like fifty madmen ;' Search her cabin,' was the cry; I rapped, apologised to Miss Smith, and opened the door, the berths were both empty, but on the table lay a letter addressed to me. 'Dear Captain,' it said, 'in case you feel uncomfortable about me, I enclose you a copy of the certificate of my marriage, a week before sailing. My husband managed it all, we were married one day when I went to ride, mamma thought she had put a stop to it all, and brought me to Liverpool to send me to papa, but Walter (Miss Smith!) heard, and came down by the next train under charge of his brother ; did he not do the unprotected female well? We shall never forget you, or the dear old ship.””
Roger laughed—the captain, like most of his profession, told his story well, and it was not a bad story either; one or two others
llowed, and by the time they were over the train had reached its destination, and Roger, bidding the captain good-night, jumped into a hansom, promising double fare if he caught the train. The horse was good, the driver honest; besides, catching a glimpse of Roger's tops and pinks, and taking it into his head that the young gentleman was bolting from the bailiffs--a supposition which brought all the cabby's sympathies into play-the distance was accomplished, and Roger found time to have a glass of brandy and a sandwich before the last rush was made.
"Now for a sleep,” was his thought, as, pulling a rug he had invested in round his legs, he got himself wedged into a corner ; but sleep would not come, the brandy taken upon an empty stomach had got up into his brain, and a strange medley of thoughts began to distract and torment him.
The events of the day; the strange close to the anticipated day's hunting; the luck of falling in with the skipper ; and the certainty coming nearer every moment of his finding Harry—of their return; and of the end.
And then a strong inclination to jump out of the window and plunge headlong into the black gulf he saw yawning there came over him, but the carriage was full of people, who would have taken such an act as a personal insult. So he had to clench the arms of the seat and be still, courting sleep with a pertinacity which at last met its reward ; nor was the sleep broken, until a rough demand for tickets, accompanied by a blast of icy air, broke in upon his dreams, and he saw the cold, dim light of day-dawn shining in upon his fellow-travellers' faces, who, in various stages of demi-sleep, were making frantic searches after their tickets.
Liverpool is an early place; the people do not seem to think it necessary to go to bed, and start at whatever hour in the early morning you like, dawn or dark, you'll find the streets alive ; people tramping on, evidently intent upon money-making in some shape or other ; cabs and hansoms rattling cheerily along; and dining-room windows displaying well-spread breakfast-tables, with bright fires and candles setting them off.
“To the Albion, sir? Yes, sir. Thank'ee, sir. Gent's going to the Albion !” roared the porter, banging the cab door. And Roger began for the sixtieth time to try to shake off the relics of his sleep and collect his senses.
"Is Mr. Fielding here?” he asked of a half-withered looking waiter, evidently up all night.
“Don't know, sir—go and see. Yes, sir,” he replied, returning from a consultation in the bar; "expecting a party, sir-ordered No. 9. Will you go to the coffee-room, sir, or upstairs at once ?"
“This is the room, sir, gent engaged ; you was to be shown there : he's-yes, sir :"
The waiter's explanation was broken in upon by a door on ihe right opening, and a voice asking “Who he was putting into that room!"
Roger's heart gave a bound; he turned, and the brothers stood face to face.
“God bless my soul!" ejaculated the waiter, as the door banged; “what's up now ? that is a rum start, for they ain't Frenchmen; that 'ere Fielding's a runaway-one of them advertisements from disconserlate parents, Come back, unhappy boy, and all will be forgiven.' Well ! we've many queer things goes on here, and these blessed old walls could tell a tale or two, couldn't you, now? Young gent was a horsy one, too, travelling in tops, though I don't seem to remember his face among the gents who come down for the meeting ;' got no luggage neither; rum start, surely."
He paused, and listened attentively, his face assuming a still greater appearance of perplexity; then, walking away on tiptoe, he muttered
“I do believe he's a-crying ! perhaps it's a young woman, though the moustache and tops did look uncommon natural--but they does get themselves up clever now-a-days; and he said he expected of a ladypoor young thing! what a handsome young feller she made, too! and her sweetheart—well, maybe he's worth the risk, for he's a regular gentleman, and good-looking, too."
So soliloquising the waiter retired to get his well-earned sleep, and dreamt of young damsels riding on telegraph wires, adorned with tops and moustaches.
“It was a deuced close shave, Ro,” said Harry, as they galloped down to the railway station a couple of hours afterwards ; "and that telegram—what a'fright it put me into! I'd half a mind to forfeit my passage and take her home again. And my mother, Ro, who was to tell her ? Lilly, again—what a determined little woman it is !”
"I was half inclined to envy you, Hal, at one time.”
“How did that come about-you don't mean that you fell in love with her ?” and Harry looked graver.
“Something uncommonly like it, dear boy. That was the way I found you out. Do you remember the day I came upon you in the