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“An' is that the way your par't tahks, bering that she had left that part of Mrs. Hopkins ?”

her costume at home. Automatic “Talks, bless you, Kitty! why, that movements, curious. parrot has n't said a word this ten year. Mistress Kitty began telling in an He used to say Poor Poll! when we first unde ne of the meeting between Mr. had him, but he found it was easier to Bradshaw and Miss Badlam, and of the squawk, and that 's all he ever does arrangements she made for herself as now-a-days, except bite once in a the reporter of the occasion. She then while."

repeated to him, in her own way, that “Well, an' to be sure,” Kitty an- part of the conversation which has swered, radiant as she rose from her been already laid before the reader. defeats, “if you 'll kape a cat that does There is no need of going over the n't know a mouse when she sees it, an' whole of this again in Kitty's version, a dog that only barks for his livin', and but we may fit what followed into the a part that only squawks an' bites and joints of what has been already told. niver spakes a word, ye must be the “He cabled her Cynthy, d'ye see, best-hearted woman that 's alive, an' Mr. Gridley, an’tahked to her jist as bliss ye, if ye was only a good Catholic, asy as if they was two rogues, and she the Holy Father 'd make a saint of ye knowed it as well as he did. An' so, in less than no time."

says he, I 'm goin' away, says he, an' So Mistress Kitty Fagan got in her I'm goin to be gahn siveral days, or bit of Celtic flattery, in spite of her perhaps longer, says he, an' you 'd betthree successive discomfitures.

ter kape it, says he.” “ You may come up now, Kitty,” said “Keep what, Kitty ? What was it Mr. Gridley, over the stairs. He had he wanted her to keep?” said Mr. just finished and sealed a letter. Gridley, who no longer doubted that he

“Well, Kitty, how are things going was on the trail of a plot, and meant to on up at The Poplars ? And how does follow it. He was getting impatient our young lady seem to be of late ?" with the “says he's” with which Kitty

“Whisht! whisht ! your honor.” double-leaded her discourse.

Mr. Bradshaw's lessons had not been “ An' to be sure ain't I tellin' you, Mr. thrown away on his attentive listener. Gridley, jist as fast as my breath will She opened every door in the room, let me ? An' so, says he, you 'd bet“ by your lave,” as she said. She ter kape it, says he, mixed up with your looked all over the walls to see if other paäpers, says he,” (Mr. Gridley there was any old stove - pipe hole started,) “an' thin we can find it in the or other avenue to eye or ear. Then garret, says he, whinever we want it, she went, in her excess of caution, to says he. An' if it ahl goes right out the window. She saw nothing note- there, says he, it won't be lahng before worthy except Mr. Gifted Hopkins and we shall want to find it, says he. And the charge he convoyed, large and I can dipind on you, says he, for we 're small, in the distance. The whole liv- both in the same boat, says he, an' you ing fleet was stationary for the moment, knows what I knows, says he, an' I he leaning on the fence with his cheek knows what you knows, says he. And on his hand, in one of the attitudes of thin he taks a stack o'papers out of his the late Lord Byron; she, very near pocket, an' he pulls out one of 'em, an' him, listening, apparently, in the pose he says to her, says he, that 's the of Mignon aspirant au ciel, as ren- paper, says he, an’ if you die, says he, dered by Carlo Dolce Scheffer. niver lose sight of that day or night,

Kitty came back, apparently satisfied, says he, for its life an' dith to both of and stood close to Mr. Gridley, who us, says he. An' then he asks her if told her to sit down, which she did, she has n't got one o' them paäpers first making a catch at her apron to what is 't they cahls 'em ? — divilops, dust the chair with, and then remem- or some sich kind of a name that

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they wraps up their letters in ; an' she whole, he arrived at the following con-
says no, she has n't got none that 's clusion, — that Miss Cynthia Badlam
big enough to hold it. So he says, give was the depositary of a secret involv-
me a shate o paäper says he. An' ing interests which he felt it his busi-
thin he takes the paäper that she giveness to defend, and of a document
him, an'he folds it up like one o' them which was fraudulently withheld and
- divilops, if that 's the name of 'em; meant to be used for some unfair pur-
and then he pulls a stick o' salin'-wax pose. And most assuredly, Master
out of his pocket, an' a stamp, an' he Gridley said to himself, he held a mas-
takes the paäper an' puts it into th' ter-key, which, just so certainly as he
other paäper, along with the rest of the could make up his mind to use it, would
paäpers, an’thin he folds th' other paäper open any secret in the keeping of Miss
over the paäpers, and thin he lights a Cynthia Badlam.
candle, an' he milts the salin'-wax, and He proceeded, therefore, without de-
he sales up the paäper that was outside lay, to get ready for a visit to that lady,
th' other paäpers, an' he writes on the at The Poplars. He meant to go thor-
back of the paäper, and thin he hands oughly armed, for he was a very provi-
it to Miss Badlam.'

dent old gentleman. His weapons were “ Did you see the paper that he not exactly of the kind which a houseshowed her before he fastened it up breaker would provide himself with, with the others, Kitty ?”

but of a somewhat peculiar nature. “I did see it, indade, Mr. Gridley, Weapon number one was a slip of and it's the truth I 'm tellin' ye.” paper with a date and a few words

“ Did you happen to notice anything written upon it. " I think this will fetch about it, Kitty.”

the document,” he said to himself, “ if “I did, indade, Mr. Gridley. It was it comes to the worst. — Not if I can a longish kind of a paäper, and there help it, not if I can help it. But if I was some blotches of ink on the back cannot get at the heart of this thing of it, - an' they looked like a face otherwise, why, I must come to this. without any mouth, for, says I, there 's Poor woman ! — Poor woman !" two spots for the eyes, says I, and Weapon number two was a small there 's a spot for the nose, says I, and phial containing spirits of hartshorn, there's niver a spot for the mouth, sal volatile, very strong, that would stab

through the nostrils, like a stiletto, deep This was the substance of what into the gray kernels that lie in the core Master Byles Gridley got out of Kitty of the brain. Excellent in cases of sudFagan. . It was enough, - yes, it was den syncope or fainting, such as sometoo much. There was some deep-laid times require the opening of windows, plot between Murray Bradshaw and the dashing on of cold water, the cutCynthia Badlam, involving the inter- ting of stays, perhaps, with a scene of ests of some of the persons connected more or less tumultuous perturbation with the late Malachi Withers; for that and afflux of clamorous womanhood. the paper described by Kitty was the So armed, Byles Gridley, A. M., same that he had seen the young man champion of unprotected innocence, conceal in the Corpus Juris Civilis

, it grasped his ivory-handled cane and salwas impossible to doubt. If it had lied forth on his way to The Poplars. been a single spot on the back of it, or two, he might have doubted. But three large spots — “blotches” she had

CHAPTER XXX. called them, disposed thus .,.- would not have happened to be on two differ

MASTER BYLES GRIDLEY CALLS ON MISS ent papers, in all human probability.

After grave consultation of all his Miss CYxTHIA BADLAM was seated mental faculties in committee of the in a small parlor which she was accus

says I.

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CYNTHIA BADLAM.

tomed to consider her own during her errand, his heart secure, as he thought, long residences at The Poplars. The against all blandishments, his will entry stove warmed it but imperfectly, steeled to break down all resistance. and she looked pinched and cold, for the He had come armed with an instrument evenings were still pretty sharp, and the of torture worse than the thumb-screw, old house let in the chill blasts, as old worse than the pulleys which attempt houses are in the habit of doing. She the miracle of adding a cubit to the was sitting at her table with a little stature, worse than the brazier of live trunk open before her. She had taken coals brought close to the naked soles some papers from it, which she was of the feet, - an instrument which, inlooking over, when a knock at her door stead of trilling with the nerves, would announced a visitor, and Master Byles clutch all the nerve-centres and the Gridley entered the parlor.

heart itself in its gripe, and hold them As he came into the room, she gath: until it got its answer, if the white lips ered the papers together and replaced had life enough left to shape one. And them in the trunk, which she locked, here was this unfortunate maiden lady throwing an unfinished piece of needle- smiling at him, setting her limited atwork over it, putting the key in her tractions in their best light, pleading pocket, and gathering herself up for with him in that natural language which company. Something of all this Mas- makes any contumacious bachelor feel ter Gridley saw through his round as guilty as Cain before any single wospectacles, but seemed not to see, and man. If Mr. Gridley had been alone, took his seat like a visitor making a he would have taken a good sniff at his call of politeness.

own bottle of sal volatile; for his kind A visitor at such an hour, of the heart sunk within him as he thought of male sex, without special provocation, the errand upon which he had come. without social pretext, was an event It would not do to leave the subject of in the life of the desolate spinster. his vivisection under any illusion as to Could it be — No, it could not — and the nature of his designs. yet — and yet! Miss Cynthia threw “Good evening, Miss Badlam," he back the rather common-looking but said, “I have come to visit you on a comfortable shawl which covered her matter of business." shoulders, and showed her quite pre- What was the internal panorama sentable figure, arrayed with a still which had unrolled itself at the instant lingering thought of that remote con- of his entrance, and which rolled up as tingency which might yet offer itself at suddenly at the sound of his serious some unexpected moment; she adjust- voice and the look of his grave feaed the carefully plaited cap, which tures ? It cannot be reproduced, though was not yet of the lasciate ogni spe- pages were given to it; for some of the ranza pattern, and as she obeyed these pictures were near, and some were disinstincts of her sex, she smiled a wel- tant; some were clearly seen, and some come to the respectable, learned, and were only hinted; some were not recindependent bachelor. Mr. Gridley ognized in the intellect at all, and yet had a frosty but kindly age before him, they were implied, as it were, behind with a score or so of years to run, the others. Many times we have all which it was after all not strange to found ourselves glad or sorry, and yet fancy might be rendered more cheerful we could not tell what thought it was by the companionship of a well-con- that reflected the sunbeam or cast the served and amiably disposed woman, shadow. Look into Cynthia's suddenif any such should happen to fall in his ly exalted consciousness and see the way.

picture, actual and potential, unroll itThat smile came very near discon- self in all its details of the natural, the certing the plot of Master Byles Grid- ridiculous, the selfish, the pitiful, the

, ley. He had come on an inquisitor's human. Glimpses, hints, echoes, sug

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arms.

she answered. She felt the hook now, soon after that as you feel ready, I and her spines were rising, partly with will ask the same question again." apprehension, partly with irritation. Master Gridley took out from his

“ Has that young gentleman ever de pocket-book a scrap of paper, and livered into your hands any papers re- handed it to Cynthia Badlam.

Her lating to the affairs of the late Malachi hand shook as she received it, for she Withers, for your safe keeping ?” was frightened as well as enraged, and

“What do you mean by asking me she saw that Mr. Gridley was in earthese questions, Mr. Gridley? I don't nest and knew what he was doing. choose to be catechised about Mur- She read the six words, he looking ray Bradshaw's business. Go to him, at her steadily all the time, and watchif you please, if you want to find out ing her as if he had just given her a about it.”

drop of prussic acid. “Excuse my persistence, Miss Bad- No cry. No sound from her lips. lam, but I must prevail upon you to She stared as if half stunned for one answer my question. Has Mr. William moment, then turned her head and Murray Bradshaw ever delivered into glared at Mr. Gridley as if she would your hands any papers relating to the have murdered him if she dared. In affairs of the late Malachi Withers, for another instant her face whitened, the your safe keeping ?”

scrap of paper fluttered to the floor, “Do you suppose I am going to an- and she would have followed it but swer such questions as you are putting for the support of both Mr. Gridley's me because you repeat them over, Mr.

He disengaged one of them Gridley? Indeed I sha'n't. Ask him, presently, and felt in his pocket for if you please, whatever you wish to the sal volatile. It served him excelknow about his doings.”

lently well, and stung her back again She drew herself up and looked sav- to her senses very quickly. All her agely at him. She had talked herself defiant aspect had gone. into her courage. There was a color “ Look !” he said, as he lighted the in her cheeks and a sparkle in her eye; scrap of paper in the flame. “ You she looked dangerous as a cobra. understand me, and you see that I

“Miss Cynthia Badlam,” Master must be answered the next time I ask Gridley said, very deliberately, "I am my question.” afraid we do not entirely understand She opened her lips as if to speak. each other. You must answer my It was as when a bell is rung in a question precisely, categorically, point

vacuum,

no words came from them, blank, and on the instant. Will you do only a faint gasping sound, an efthis at once, or will you compel me to fort at speech. She was caught tight show you the absolute necessity of your in the heart-screw. doing it, at the expense of pain to both “Don't hurry yourself, Miss Cynof us? Six words from me will make thia,” he said, with a certain relenting you answer all my questions."

tenderness of manner. “Here, take “ You can't say six words, nor sixty, another sniff of the smelling-salts. Be Mr. Gridley, that will make me answer calm, be quiet, - I am well disposed one question I do not choose to. I towards you, - I don't like to give you defy you!”

trouble. There, now, I must have the "I will not say one, Miss Cynthia answer to that question ; but take your Badlam. There are some things one time, – take your time." does not like to speak in words. But “Give me some water, — some waI will show you a scrap of paper, con- ter !” she said, in a strange hoarse taining just six words and a date, – whisper. There was a pitcher of water not one more nor one less. You shall and a tumbler on an old marble sideread them. Then I will burn the pa- board near by. He filled the tumbler, per in the flame of your lamp. As and Cynthia emptied it as if she had

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