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At that moment, Thomas happened to enter with a letter, and the question was put to him. Who knocked ? His answer was ready.
“Sir George Danvers, my lady. When I said the colonel was at dinner, Sir George began to apologise for calling, but I explained that you were dining earlier than usual, because of the opera.”
“Nobody else called ?"
“A covert answer,” thought Alice; “but I am glad he is true to Gerard."
“What an untruth!” thought Lady Frances, as she remembered the visit of Alice's sister. “ Thomas's memory must be short.”
All the talk-and it was much prolonged-did not tend to throw any light upon the matter, and Alice, unhappy and ill, retired to her own room. The agitation had brought on a nervous and violent headache, and she sat down in a low chair, and bent her forehead on to her hands. One belief alone possessed her: that the unfortunate Gerard Hope had stolen the bracelet. Do as she would, she could not put it from her: she kept repeating that he was a gentleman, that he was honourable, that he would never place her in so painful a position. Common sense replied that the temptation was laid before him, and he had confessed his pecuniary difficulties to be great: nay, had he not wished for this very bracelet, that he might make money.
A knock at the door. Alice lifted her sickly countenance, and bade the intruder enter. It was Lady Frances Chenevix.
“I came to -Alice, how wretched you look! You will torment yourself into a fever."
“Can you wonder at my looking wretched ?” returned Alice.“ Place yourself in my position, Frances: it must appear to Lady Sarah as if Iİ—had made away with the bracelet. I am sure Hughes thinks so."
“ Don't say unorthodox things, Alice. They would rather think that I had done it, of the two, for I have more use for diamond bracelets than you.'
“It is kind of you to try to cheer me," sighed Alice.
“Just the thing I came to do. And to have a bit of chat with you as well. If you will let me.”
“Of course I will let you." 6 I wish to tell
you I will not mention that your sister was here last evening. I promise you I will not.”
Alice did not immediately reply. The words and their hushed tone caused a new trouble to arise within her, one which she had not glanced at. Was it possible that Lady Frances could imagine her sister to be the
“ Lady Frances Chenevix !" burst forth Alice, "you cannot think it! She! my sister-guilty of a despicable theft! Have you forgotten that she moves in your own position in the world ? that our family is scarcely inferior to yours?"
“ Alice, I forgive your so misjudging me, because you are not yourself just now. Of course
your sister cannot be suspected; I know that. But you did not mention her when they were talking of who had been here, I supposed you did not wish her name dragged into so unpleasant
an affair, and I hastened up to say there was no danger from me that it would be.”
“ Believe me, she is not the guilty party,” returned Alice, " and I have more cause to say so than you
think for. “What do you mean by that?" briskly cried Lady Frances. surely have no clue ?”
Alice shook her head, and her companion's eagerness was lulled again. “ It is well that Thomas was forgetful,” remarked Lady Frances. “Was it really forgetfulness, Alice, or did you contrive to telegraph him to be silent ?"
“ Thomas only spoke truth. At least, as regards my sister,” she hastily added, “ for he did not let her in."
“ Then it is all quite easy; and you and I can keep our own counsel.”
Quite easy, possibly, to the mind of Frances Chenevix, but anything but easy to Alice: for the words of Lady Frances had introduced an idea more repulsive, and terrifying even, than the one which cast the guilt to the door of Gerard Hope. Her sister acknowledged that she was in deed of money, “a hundred pounds, or so,” and Alice had seen her coming from the back room where the jewels lay. Still-she take a bracelet! it was preposterous.
Preposterous or not, Alice's torment was doubled. Which of the two had been the black sheep? One of them it must have been. Instinct, sisterly relationship, reason, and common sense, all combined to turn the scale against Gerard But that there should be a doubt at all was not pleasant, and Alice started up impulsively and put her bonnet on.
“ Where now?” cried Lady Frances.
“ I will go to my sister's and ask her-and ask her—if—she saw any stranger here—any suspicious person in the hall or on the stairs, stammered Alice, making the best excuse she could.
“But you know you were in the drawing-rooms all the time, and no one came in to them, suspicious or unsuspicious; so how will that aid
“ True,” murmured Alice, “ but it will be a relief to go somewhere or do something."
Alice found her sister at home. The latter instantly detected that something was wrong, for the suspense, illness, and agitation, had taken every vestige of colour from her cheeks and lips. “'Whatever is the matter, Alice ?” was her greeting; "you
look just like a walking ghost."
“I felt that I did,” breathed poor Alice, " and I kept my veil down in the street, lest I might be taken for one, and scare the people. A great misfortune has fallen upon me. You saw those bracelets last night, spread out on the table ?” “ Yes.”
They were in my charge, and one of them has been abstracted. It was of great value: gold links, holding diamonds."
“ Abstracted!” uttered the elder sister, in both concern and surprise, but certainly without the smallest indications of a guilty knowledge. “ How?"
“ It is a mystery. I only left the room when I met you on the stair
case, and when I went up-stairs to fetch the letter for you. Directly after you left, Lady Sarah came up from dinner, and the bracelet was not there."
“It is incredible, Alice. And no one else entered the room at all, you say? No servant? no
“Not any one," interrupted Alice, determined not to speak of Gerard Hope.
• Then, child, it is simply impossible,” was the calm rejoinder. must have fallen on the ground, or been mislaid in some way.”
“It is hopelessly gone. Do you remember seeing it ?"
“I do remember seeing, amidst the rest, a bracelet set with diamonds, but only on the clasp, I think. It
“ That was another; that is all safe. This was of fine gold links interspersed with brilliants. Did you see it ?”
“Not that I remember. I was there scarcely a mi te, for I had only strolled into the back room just before you came down. To tell you
the truth, Alice, my mind was too fully occupied with other things, to take much notice even of jewels. Do not look so perplexed: it will be all right. Only you and I were in the room, you say, and we could not take it."
“Oh!” exclaimed Alice, clasping her hands, and lifting her white beseeching face to her sister's, “ did you take it? In—in sport; or inOh, surely you were not tempted to take it for anything else? You said you had need of money."
“ Alice, are we going to liave one of your old scenes of excitement ? Strive for calmness. I am sure you do not know what you are implying. My poor child, I would rather help you to jewels than take them from you."
“ But look at the mystery.”
“ It does appear to be a mystery, but it will no doubt be cleared up. Alice, what could you have been dreaming of, to suspect me? Have we not grown up together in our honourable home? You ought to know me, if any one does.”
“And you really know nothing of it?” moaned Alice, with a sobbing catching of the breath.
“ Indeed I do not. In truth I do not. If I could help you out of your perplexity I would thankfully do it. Shall I return with you and assist you to search for the bracelet?”
“No, thank you. Every search has been made.”
Not only was the denial of her sister fervent and calm, but her manner and countenance conveyed the impression of truth. Alice left her, inexpressibly relieved ; but the conviction, that it must have been Gerard, returned to her in full force. “I wish I could see him !” was her mental exclamation.
And for once fortune favoured her wish. As she was dragging her weary limbs along, he came right upon her at the corner of a street. In her eagerness, she clasped his arm with both her hands.
“ I am so thankful,” she uttered. “I wanted to see you." “I think you most want to see a doctor, Alice. How ill you look !" “ I have cause,” she returned. “That bracelet, the diamond, that you
"I met a
were admiring last evening, it has been stolen ; it was taken from the room.”
“ Taken when?" echoed Mr. Hope, looking her full in the face-as a guilty man would scarcely dare to look.
“ Then, or within a few minutes. When Lady Sarah came up from dinner, it was not there."
" Who took it ?” he repeated, not yet recovering his surprise.
“I don't know,” she faintly said. “It was under my charge. No one else was there."
“ You do not wish me to understand that you are suspected ?” he burst forth, with genuine feeling. “ Their unjust meanness cannot have gone to that length!"
“I trust not, but I am very unhappy. Who could have done it? How could it have gone ? I left the room when you did, but I only lingered outside on the stairs, watching—if I may tell the truth-whether you got out safely, and then I returned to it. Yet when Lady Sarah came up from dinner, it was gone.”
“And did no one else go into the room ?” he repeated. lady at the door, who asked for you ; I sent her up-stairs."
“She went in for a minute. It was my sister, Gerard.” “Oh indeed, was that your
sister? Then she counts as we do, for nobody, in this. It is strange. The bracelet was in the room when I left it
“ You are sure of it?” interrupted Alice, drawing a long breath of suspense.
“ I am. When I reached the door, I turned round to take a last look at you, and the diamonds of that particular bracelet gleamed at me from its place on the table."
Oh, Gerard ! is this the truth ?” “It is the truth, on my sacred word of honour," he replied, looking at her agitated face and wondering at her words. “Why else should I say it? Good-by, Alice, I can't stay another moment, for there's somebody coming I don't want to meet.”
He was off like a shot, but his words and manner, like her sister's, had conveyed their conviction of innocence to the mind of Alice. She stood still, "looking after him in her dreamy wonderment, and was jostled by the passers-by. Which of the two was the real delinquent? one of them it must have been.
REMAINS OF JOHN BYROM*
This, the last volume of Dr. Byrom's “Remains”—and relating to the last twenty years of his life (1742-63)—has been looked forward to with an extra degree of interest, from the announcement that it would contain some account of the state of things at Manchester, during the sojourn of the Young Pretender and his forces in that town, in 1745. The account in question is derived from a Journal, found amongst the papers at Kersall Cell, and written by the Doctor's eldest daughter, Elizabeth-at that time a young lady of two or three-and-twenty, apparently of a lively spirit, Jacobite and constitutional. In the middle of September she reports in her diary, “great talk of the Pretender coming.” Ten days later : “the gentlemen are gone to subscribe at Preston ; news is come that the rebels have beat Sir John Cope on the 21st.” Miss Byrom uses the Hanoverian phraseology, and talks of the Pretender and the rebels as in present duty bound; but it is pretty manifest that she could enter into the spirit, if not yet abide by the letter of her father's epigram, “But who Pretender is, or who is King,” &c. Early in October we hear of “everybody in hiding for fear of the rebels; two regiments gone through this town.” “ The Presbyterians are sending everything that's valuable away, wives, children, and all
, for fear of the rebels." Nov. 12. “Yesterday was at the concert, but two Presbyterians.” “Dr. Mainwaring goes about frightening folks, viz. my uncle and aunt :” (was their niece Lizzy frightened ? not a whit :)
an express come that the rebels are coming, and another that they are not, and so on."
Lord Derby is arrived to get the militia ready. News comes to him that Carlisle is lost. General Wade and his men make no way, and lack food and fire: “they are so numbed with cold,” she hears “that their limbs mortify, and they die very fast.” Meanwhile the rebels are advancing, and contradictory rumours are afloat as to their strength : some make them seven thousand strong, others five-and-twenty thousand, others thirty thousand. Now they are at Lancaster; next day at Preston, “behaving very civilly.” But Manchester is, like London after the season, going out of town—disinclined to test the Highlanders' powers of civility : "everybody is going out of town and sending all their effects away; there is hardly any family left but ours and our kin.” The shops are shut up, the warehouses empty, and the bellman is going about to forbid anybody sending provision out of town. As for the rebels, Miss Byrom continues to report progress : - The postmaster is gone to London to-day [27 Nov.], we suppose to secure the money from falling into the hands of the rebels ; we expect a party of them here to-morrow.” Miss Elizabeth, who had been laughing, she tells us, at the Reverend Mr. Lewthwaite, the day before, for preaching more than once lately on significant texts, appears to “expect a party” of rebels “to-morrow," much as any other young lady might
expect a party" of friends. She continues : " The P[rince]”-not Pre
* The Private Journal and Literary Remains of John Byrom. Edited by Richard Parkinson, D.D., F.S.A., Principal of St. Bees College, and Canon of Manchester. Vol. II.-Part II. Printed for the Chetham Society.