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•••J? I «*n but help you now," hl rtp&pd softly, "I must be confer*. It is as much good fortune Ib. 3 i«v to hope for."

* t suppose I had better go at /,»,v and see the lawyer?"

«• Decidedly. Why lose any time? You have a lawyer whom you can trust?"

"My husband has always gone to Mr Stodgers—you have heard of him?"

"Oh yes; everybody is familiar with that name. You will be in safe hands, if he is faithful to you — and that no one could help being."

The name of Abraham Stodgers was, indeed, a well known one: no man in his profession was held in greater fear, for no man was acquainted with so many personaland family secrets. A letter signed by him was often quite sufficient to put a stop to a threatened action, or to induce an obstinate and troublesome claimant to "come down," like the famous coon, without waiting to be shot at. There had been a time when the firm of which Stodgers was the head had found its chief source of profit in defending interesting clients who were accused—falsely, no doubt— of mistaking other people's property was not a disci ients, but it on paid well. Of late years the firm had soared into higher, and perhaps purr^!''eIiable you to make your purer, regions, and the name of .. ,•'' rtononrl iir,<-.n it. mn Stodgers was as much esteemed in

the fashionable world as formerly it had been in Field Lane and Saffron Hill. The solicitor could at least boast that he saved more cases than he lost; and, after all, a fashionable physician does no more, and very frequently he cannot do as much.

Mrs Tiltoff went herself to see Mr Stodgers, for she knew how little would be gained by sending

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Phlog is right, we may yet be the owners of the Grange."

Decidedly it was the most pleasant prospect which had opened itself to the expectant eyes of the worthy captain for some months past. Instantly it occurred to his mind that there were several little plans which he would be able to carry out with the suggested alteration in his circumstances, in some of which his wife would not necessarily be called upon to take a part.

"I shall be sorry for Margrave and his daughter," said he, "although they have not been over civil to us. I believe he was poor when he returned to England, and no one could be expected to save much out of the Grange property. What would they do if they were turned out 1"

"Is that our business? Do you not think it quite hard enough to manage our own affairs 1 I have found it so, and so perhaps would you, if you had paid more attention to them."

"I know when I am well off, Beatrice. Other fellows make their lives miserable by worrying over their homes, and how to keep them going. I never bother my head about such matters — they are a woman's business."

"I wish you had made it a woman's business when we had some means to boast of. At any rate, if we ever get another start, I hope you will keep to your present theory."

"Yes, you shall have the chequebook," said the captain, with a coarse laugh, "and I will go upon an allowance. Will that suit you? Now I must say good morning, or I shall be late for the shop." He stooped down to kiss her, and she turned her cheek to him, and the captain sallied forth to his arduous duties in Pall Mall.

VOL. CXXXIV.—NO. DCCCXIH.

His wife's brain was busy with all sorts of projects, but although much might be thought of, nothing of moment could be done until the news arrived for which she waited so impatiently. If it were good, she would open her campaign without delay; if bad — but at this thought she found her fortitude slipping away from her. She had been patient and strong when no hope for the better appeared in the vista of the future; but to be doomed now to a continuance of the old dreary life would be a fate too hard to be borne. She did not realise till that moment how great a strain she had passed through during the last few years.

It was nearly a month after Baron Phlog had disclosed what was known to him concerning Richard Margrave's history before he returned to the little house in Mayfair, with a letter which he had received from his friend Count Schomberg, who was still, much against his inclination, an exile at Washington. There was nothing for him to do there, for his Government had fortunately never had a difference of any kind with tho Americans; perhaps because the two nations did not speak the "same language," and were not connected by "ties of blood."

The Baron translated the letter for his fair friend's benefit, and read the following passage to her with particular care :—

"Margrave had many friends here, as you are aware; among them Senator Blower, who knew him when he first came to America, more than twenty years ago. The Senator says he remembers Mrs Margrave perfectly—a very handsome woman, who was brought up as a child in the house of some friends of her mother, who had adopted her on the death of that mother. Margrave went away some

B

where to the West, and about two years after the marriage he returned—without his wife. What became of her I have been unable to find out. As for her parents, Senator Blower is quite convinced they were Americans, and that Mrs Margrave herself was born in New York. He mentioned rather mysteriously the name of the celebrated Dexter File as an authority on that point. Blower is supposed to have a good understanding with File, especially on all legislative matters in which File is interested. I followed up his hint, therefore, but Mr Dexter File would tell us nothing. At last, however, I hit upon the traces of the minister who married Margrave—an Episcopalian, now settled in Albany. From him I obtained a copy of the marriage certificate, and you will find it enclosed. You will see that the woman is described as an American citizen, the man as an English subject. There is no doubt as to the genuineness of this document. I thought it would probably be sufficient for you; but if it is not, we must try again to get at Mr Dexter File, although I fear it would be a waste of time. But we will do our best."

"There is no doubt," said the Baron, as he folded up the letter, "that, as my good friend says, this will be quite sufficient for your purpose, at least for the present. It will enable you to make your first move. Depend upon it, you will be able to prove that Mr Margrave married an American, if that is all you require."

"You do not know how happy you have made me," said Mrs Tiltoff, holding out her hand. Baron Phlog pressed it gently, and sat down by her side. "If there had always been some one like you to advise me, how much misery I should have escaped."

"If I can but help you now," he replied softly, "I must be content. It is as much good fortune as I dare to hope for."

"I suppose I had better go at once and see the lawyer 1"

"Decidedly. Why lose any time? You have a lawyer whom you can trust?"

"My husband has always gone to Mr Stodgers—you have heard of him?"

"Oh yes; everybody is familiar with that name. You will be in safe hands, if he is faithful to you — and that no one could help being."

The name of Abraham Stodgers was, indeed, a well known one: no man in his profession was held in greater fear, for no man was acquainted with so many personal and family secrets. A letter signed by him was often quite sufficient to put a stop to a threatened action, or to induce an obstinate and troublesome claimant to "come down," like the famous coon, without waiting to be shot at. There had been a time when the firm of which Stodgers was the head had found its chief source of profit in defending interesting clients who were accused—falsely, no doubt— of mistaking other people's property for their own. It was not a distinguished circle of clients, but it paid well. Of late years the firm had soared into higher, and perhaps purer, regions, and the name of Stodgers was as much esteemed in the fashionable world as formerly it had been in Field Lane and Saflron Hill. The solicitor could at least boast that he saved more cases than he lost; and, after all, a fashionable physician does no more, and very frequently he cannot do as much.

Mrs Tiltoff went herself to see Mr Stodgers, for she knew how little would be gained by sending her husband, or even by taking him with her. In the one case, he would have confused and bungled the whole business; in the other, he would have been in the way. Hence she preferred to go alone, though as she went she could not but dwell upon the thought which had already found partial expression that day—that is, how great an advantage it would have been to her if she had chanced to have had at this crisis in her life the help of so ready, prompt, and cool an adviser as Baron Phlog. He invariably smoothed away all difficulties. In talking with him, there was never any necessity to lose time in explaining one's meaning. He saw it at once; whereas the genius of the War Office was slow of comprehension, and generally managed to get hold of every question submitted to him upside down. After one had been talking to him for some little time, it was usually discovered that he had somehow or other managed to misunderstand every word that had been said; nor was he in the least degree disconcerted when this was pointed out to him. He was merely satisfied that his own way of looking at the matter was the best.

Mr Stodgers received his client with the politeness which he invariably displayed to young and pretty women. There were seven or eight clients fidgeting about on the anxious seat in the next room, but none of them were so attractive as Mrs Tiltoff, nor were they at all connected with the social world in which Mr Stodgers now moved. Therefore he had no hesitation in keeping them waiting, especially as they were not likely to run away. Mr Stodgers was well aware that he could do without them far better than they could do without him.

He heard the story through with

quiet attention, and saw at a glance all that there was in it to be seen. Then he asked for the marriage certificate, and looked at that. Then he inquired for his client's husband, who, it has been intimated was an old acquaintance; in fact, many things were known to Mr Stodgers about him which would have exceedingly surprised Mrs Tiltoff, little as she thought there was left for her to learn. Lastly, the lawyer mentioned the interesting fact that he had dined the night before with the Duke of Dartford, who had been exceedingly amusing, and who had even promised to pay Mr Stodgers a visit during the summer at his little place on the Thames.

"And what do you advise me to do?" asked Mrs Tiltoff at length, not so much interested in the Duke of Dartford as Mr Stodgers was.

"I advise you to do nothing," replied the lawyer, resuming his business - like manner. "I will write a note in a day or two to Mr Margrave's lawyer, whose name is Morgan. A clever fellow, but I do not think he will be able to make very much out of this case. The fact is, I knew something of all these circumstances before you came here to-day. I never express an opinion as to the issue of a contest of this kind; but this I will say—I would rather be on your side than on the other. Leave it all to me, and I will do the best I can. Does the captain know of this?"

"Only in part."

"Exactly; that is all he need know about it at present. If we win, I hope some arrangement can be made in your interest, my dear Mrs Tiltoff, otherwise much of this money will go where all the other has gone." Mr Stodgers spoke plainly, but he had a right to do so; and Mrs Tiltoff was not at all offended. The lawyer had undertaken the task of extricating her husband from the difficulties connected with his brief and checkered career on the turf, and he had done his work with his usual skill; but the facts which had come to his knowledge then and subsequently, had not caused him to form a favourable opinion of TiltofFs common-sense or morals. And Stodgers himself was a thoroughly moral man. He had passed the greater part of his life among people who were not, and perhaps that had something to do with his own attachment to the domestic virtues.

"The property is a handsome one," said he, as he rose to open the door, "and I sincerely hope you will come into it without having to endure the anxiety of a protracted suit. I never like going into court."

"And yet no man in London goes so successfully."

"You are very kind to say so; but, I assure you, I always dislike going there. I almost invariably advise people who come to me not to try the risks of the law. But in this instance I really cannot bring myself to give that advice, because I think you have a strong

case, as well as a good cause—and they do not often go together. Good day. I must see a woman who is waiting in the next room. Perhaps you noticed her?"

"A woman in a black dress? Poor thing! she was crying bitterly as I passed through."

"Very likely; her husband is in trouble."

"Is it anything serious, Mr Stodgers?"

"Rather so," replied the lawyer, coolly. "The fact is he has been convicted of murder, and is to be hanged next Monday."

"How very shocking!" cried Mrs Tiltoff, with a look of genuine horror.

"No doubt; but nothing more can be done. His wife there thoroughly believes in his innocence. Women generally take that view."

"And what is your opinion?"

"Mine? Well, mine does not much matter; but I happen to know that he committed the murder, and that he is a most desperate villain. He well deserves his fate. But I cannot tell his wife that. It does not do to tell wives all that we know about their husbands," said Mr Stodgers, as he made a low bow to the captain's wife, and watched her out of the door.

CHAPTER XIV.-—THE MIKE EXPLODES.

In the course of forty-eight hours, the letter which Mr Stodgers promised to write to Margrave's solicitor was duly received by Mr William Morgan, who knew as soon as he had read it that the aflair was serious. These two men had so often been concerned in cases of more or less intricacy and difficulty, that they understood one another's ways without the necessity of explanation ^ and Morgan felt sure that his professional brother and

old antagonist would never have taken up this business unless he had felt very certain of his ground. Instead, therefore, of communicating the purport of Stodgers's letter to his client, he wrote a note to him, begging him to come to town at once on a matter of great importance.

Margrave obeyed the summons; and indeed, even in the absence of any such call, he would have presented himself at that very time at

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