The Half-Open Door

The Poison of Lying Denunciation is Overcome by a Drastic Remedy

C. N.,A. M, WILLIAMSON January 1 1914

The Half-Open Door

The Poison of Lying Denunciation is Overcome by a Drastic Remedy

C. N.,A. M, WILLIAMSON January 1 1914

The Half-Open Door

The Poison of Lying Denunciation is Overcome by a Drastic Remedy

C. N.

A. M, WILLIAMSON

AS THE market carts began to rumble into Covent Garden, Jack Talbot turned up Wellington Street from the Strand. He had been walking the streets of London all night, since at eight o’clock the evening before he had gone out of Knightsbridge Barracks a broken man. He did not know where he had been; his whole consciousness was shadowed by the one crushing, horrible fact that he was for ever ruined, that all was over for him on earth. He could see now, pictured in the broken sky of the raw London dawn, the icy face of his Colonel, who had stung with cruel words that bit like a steel-lashed whip; the incredulous lifting of the eyebrews that followed his attempt to explain, to justify himself. If his Colonel would not believe him, what chance was there with anyone elset Last night, in Piccadilly (it came to him like a forgotten dream) he had met two men he knew well, and they had cut him dead. In his pocket he carried a letter from the secretary of his club, calling upon him forthwith to send in his resignation. The poison of a lying denunciation had run through the veins of London society like the virus of a snakebite.

A desperate man, crushed by a bludgeon-blow of fate, is 'like one hypnotized; his mind is filled with a single idea. Therefore Jack Talbot did not know that he had walked far and fast through the great desert of London, out to leafy Dulwich, and back again in a great curve through unknown southern suburbs of whose very existence he had barely heard, to Waterloo Bridge and the Strand. In Wellington Street, the crushing pressure on his brain relaxed a little, and he came to a consciousness of his surroundings. Flaring gas jets illuminated the flower market. He wandered in, inhaling with an almost childish sense of pleasure the scent of the fresh blossoms. Many eyes followed his tall figure, as he passed in and out among the banks of flowers; market porters winked at one another to indicate a “gent” out for the night; flower-girls, bargaining for their day’s stock, stopped to throw a glance of admiration at the “swell.” with his pale, set face, his perfectly fitting coat and gloves; his muddy boots and splashed trousers, a strange contrast in the faultless costume.

Jack Talhot passpd by unheeding. He walked out into the street, and saw a public-house open, ablaze with lijjlit. the swintr-doors opening and shutting cease-

A detective case in which the hero is commissioned to find and entrap himself would in itself promise a tale of novel interest. Where the adventure is complicated with love and a question of honor we have a strikingly original and thrilling story. The clever plot and the direct simplicity of the author’s style will make this piece of fiction decidedly entertaining for every reader.— Editor.

lessly like valves in an engine. He had never in bis life been in sueh a place. He went in almost without thinking, and walked down a long passage. A man behind the bar pulled back a private bolt, and he entered a thronged room, where a crowd of men were eating, drinking, smoking and talking. He ordered coffee and took a seat in a corner. Close to him two journalista were discussing threadbare polities; three noisy young barristers in evening dresa had come in for rum and milk on their way home to the Temple from a dance; the rest were Jew fruit-brokers, a disrespectable assemblage of night-birds. Talbot sipped his coffee, looked on, and wondered at a sight so new to him. The heavy mill-stones of his brain began anew to revolve, putting to him the same questions that he had been unable to answer during this endless night: “What will you dot How can you stay in London and face it outt Did you ever know a man to live down sneh a charge? Would it not be better to end it in the rivert What will you dot What can you dot

Stung almost to madness, he jumped

up. and went out again into the streets. A clock struck nine. He had sat three hours in the public house. Aimlessly he wandered again about the market, then up to Oxford Street, then back again to Covent Garden. Those terrible questions were beating in his brain, and he had no answer. Suddenly his roving eyes rested on a sign-board that projected from above an office door: “Uriah Heseltine:—Private enquiry agent. Information obtained for divorce, etc. Secrecy guaranteed.” He stopped. A maniac suggestion flashed into his mind, the outcome of frenzy. Society had turned upon him, and thrown him from his place; he would retaliate on society. He would be a private enquiry agent; he would make n living, nnd earn a niche in

the world, by prying into the rottennesses of our social life. He rolled the bitter suggestion on his tongue, and in his diseased condition, with all hia wholesome blood turned to gall, it seemed sweet to him. He crossed the road, and mounted a dark, creaking stair to an office on the first floor.

“Mr. Heseltine!” he demanded of a clerk, who was adjusting pieces of paper over his cuffs.

“Have you an appointmentf Not What namet”

Some intelligence that seemed for the moment to have usurped the seat of hia own, seized Talbot’s tongue, and promptly answered for him: “Mr. Terence Oa-

mond.”

Next moment he was facing a ferreteyed man, with a head that bulged above his ears, like a walnut, and the dark was discreetly closing the door.

“Do you want a spyt” the worda came raspingly, as Talbot stood hia fall six feet two, looking down defiantly at the other, whose ferret-eyes played over him like summer lightning.

The private detective jumped from hia chair, and shook a dirty forefinger in the air. “My clerk brought in your name, and said you were a gentleman, Mr. Terence Osmond. If you bave any bnaineaa with me, out with it; but if yon’re only a swell trying to take a rise oat of me after a night out, you’ve come to the wrong shop. I’m busy!”

“I have business. I offer you my services as a spy, upon your staff. Sorely you must have an opening for a man like me—good manners, well dressed, gentlemanly appearance t” Talbot spoke in a tone of perfect commonplace, and the detective, perhaps for the first time in his sordid life, was completely puzzled. He opened his mouth to speak, snapped his lips together, took a quick look up and down the room, glanced out of the dingy windows to the crowds in Wellington Street, then faced his visitor.

“What's your garnet” he demanded. “Speak out. You’re an officer of conree; but what in the name of thunder bring* you beret Are you broke, cashieredf Is it cards, women or racingt Wbo’re your references?”

“Oh, references,” Raid Talbot with a deprecating gesture; “I had not thought of them—surely unnecessary in my case. Terence Osmond, my name; lineage of the most ancient in Irclnnd.” He changed his tone and leaned across the leathertopped ink-stained table, fixing the

other’s shifty eyes with his own blue one’s that burned now with a glint of red, like a bull-dog’s in the dark. “I’m broke, ruined; desperate; ready for anything; even to take your ugly body and drop you through the window into the street.”

Uriah Heseltine fell back a hurried step, and plumped into his chair. “None of that,” he cried sharply. “Sit down and talk sense.”

“I have.” said Talbot grimly, as he took a chair.

“Look here,” broke out the enquiry

agent, after a full minute’s pause, “there’s a matter—a piece of business— just put into my bands — bah! What folly! How do I know that I can trust youT Yet you are the kind of man I want.”

(Continued on page 99.)

The Half-open Door

(Continued from page 10.)

“You are a judge of character; you must be in this business; it’s part of your stock-in-trade. Look me in the face. Criticise me. Take me feature by feature. Ask your own intelligence if I am a man to betray his employer.”

The enquiry agent smoothed with an uncertain hand his pomatumed hair, and making gimlet points of his eyes, focused them on Talbot’s face. Then he puffed up his cheeks, and emitted a long, sibilant blast of air. “Blow me, if I know what to make of you,” he said at length.

“Regard me,” said Talbot, “ as a tool that Providence has placed unexpectedly in your hands. I gather that you have some unusually delicate matter of business which you are half inclined to commission me to undertake; something too delicate for the clumsy fingers of the ordinary members of your staff? Am I not right? Then trust me and out with it!”

“Well, I will. Mind you, I’m a cautious man, or I shouldn’t have built up the best business of this kind in London ; and this is the first time I’ve ever taken on a stranger. But there’s something about you, and your devil-may-care way, that tells me you’re the man for the job; and I’m going to trust to my instinct.”

“Excellent!” murmured Talbot.

Heseltine looked down, and played with an ink-spotted paper-knife on his desk. Then lie coughed, and suddenly raised bis eyes. “It’s out of my usual line altogether,” he said apologetically; “that’s why I’m the more willing to entrust it to a new man, not one of my regular staff. It’s a —removal.”

“A removal? Isn’t that an affair for Pickford ?

“Go on! You know what I mean.” There was incredible cunning in the eyes that looked into Talbot’s

“Ah, I see! I didn’t quite understand.” Talbot paused for a moment. The desperate mood of despair and revenge that had blackened all his nature, and led him into this strange venture while his better part slept, was on him still; and he wouldn’t stay to think or reason. At least he might hear what this scoundrel had to say. He need not act unless he liked. “Give us the particulars,” he said quietly.

“Now this is plain, hard business.” answered the detective, drumming bis fingers on the table in emphasis. “Listen and take it in. There’s a client of mine, for whom I’ve done a lot in different ways, who is troubled by a certain person. It’s a question of one thousand sovereigns.”

“Paid in specie when the trouble’s at an end?”

“Precisely. My client, of course, must have proof with his own eyes.”

“A reasonable stipulation. I won’t ask what share you get; but I understand the thousand is for me without deduction?”’

“That’s so.”

“And I look to you for payment? In the nature of the case there can’t be a

“Not much!” chuckled the detective. “I shan’t pay; he will. The business is too risky for me to appear in. I’ve done my part when I’ve brought you and him together.”

“Well, give me the particulars.” Talbot was experiencing a strange fascination in the deadily enterprize on which he had stumbled. After all, whispered the worst part of him, which had him in its grasp, why should he hesitate to turn assassin ? At a word, he would use his sword, if his country called, against any poor Fuzzy Wuzzy, with whom he had not a trace of personal quarrel; why not wage private war as ruthlessly?

The enquiry agent leaned forward across his table, with lowered voice: “I needn’t go into reasons. There’s a woman in it, you may be sure. The obnoxious person is an officer. He’s broke, like you: but that’s not enough. He’s still dangerous.”

“Well, well; out with it all. I must know everything before I can work.” Talbot’s voice was husky.

“He’s broke, right enough. That was managed very cleverly. My client put it about that he’d cheated at cards, and had him fairly on toast.” The man’s face fell into dry wrinkles, which was his nearest approach to a smile.

“I see,” said Talbot quietly. “A conspiracy to ruin him?”

“Not exactly a conspiracy, for my client was the only one in it. It worked well; quite well enough to do for Captain Talbot.”

“Talbot! Then that’s the name of the—subject?” Only a slight narrowing of the eyes, and a hardening of the lips, betrayed the speaker’s personal interest in what he had heard.

“That’s the name, John Talbot—12 Life Guards. The thing happened two days ago; yesterday it was all over town; and he had to send in his papers; to-day it’s in the press. Where he’ll go, what he’ll do, we don’t know; that’s for you to find out. You see if anything happens to him, there’ll be no suspicion, as people will be sure to think that it was felo de se.”

“Naturally. That reduces the risk on my part. But where am I to begin? What’s his address? How am I to know the man when I see him? Have you his portrait?”

“All that’s your business. I have no photograph. All I can suggest to give you a start is that you go up to Knightsbridge Barracks, where he had his quarters—and start from there. Get his servant to describe him. You’re certain to pick up a clue.”

“Thanks for your hint. I think I see my way. I’ll go now and set to work at once. Later in the day, you’ll see me again, to report progress. I shall not lose an instant.”

Talbot walked dazedly into dingy Wellington Street, like a man who shakes off a terrifying nightmare. The horror of the last few hours still possessed his mind, but in memory only; not as a controlling emotion of the moment.

The better part of him had leaped suddenly into activity, chasing away the baser, which had held him in chains, as a ghost vanishes before the sunlight. Though he had not known it, he realized now that Providence had walked with him, hand in hand, all through the night. Justice, then did live in the world after all! Man was not merely the plaything of malicious devils! With the thought, his eyes lost their glare, and softened into a mellow light. His lips moved in such earnest thankfulness as he had scarcely known since he was a little boy.

He went to Charing Cross station, washed, made his toilet with clean linen, which he bought near by, and had the mud brushed from his boots and trousers.. Then he sent off a telegram, and walked slowly to the Hotel Cecil for breakfast. He lingered long over the meal, looking out to the trees of the Embankment Gardens, and the wonderful view of the curving Thames. An hour had scarcely passed, before there came a quick, boyish step, and his hand was warmly clasping that of a young man.

“Jack! Jack, old fellow!” It was all the boy could say at first, as he wrung the other’s fingers. His eyes were suspiciously bright; his breath choked a little in his throat. “I gave the cabbie half a sovereign to bring me here, and we just flew. I thought the bobbies would have stopped us—yet it seemed hours since I had your wire.99

Talbot covered him with a look of affection. “I knew at least I could depend on you, Charlie!”

. “Rather! I’ve been through an awful time these last two days, Jack. I’ll never touch a card again; that I’ve sworn. You’ve cured me; and saved me, I truly believe, from going utterly to the dogs. You’ve been my good angel! And only to think what you’ve got in return. That snake Porziano! I’d like to have my fingers round his yellow throat!”

Talbot did not speak for a moment or two; he was looking out over the trees with a stern, set look on his clear-cut, determined profile, which contrasted with the irresolute mouth and uncertain chin of his companion. “What does Lesley say?” he asked at length, with a quiver of the voice.

“Lesley!” cried the youth. “She’s as true as steel. She never doubted you for an instant, of course; bow could she? She told me only three days ago how sad she was to see me so fond of play, leading an ignoble life; ruining myself with companions who only cared to bleed me; and Jack—she said, that it would make our mother unhappy in Heaven.” The young man gulped and blew his nose. “She talked like an angel to me; and I gave her my promise that I’d never touch another card after that night; but that I must give their revenge to some fellows at the club. After the row, after that blackguard Porziano had got the others to watch you, and denounced you as a cheat, Lesley was waiting up for me when I got home at four in the mornng. I could scarcely bear to tell her what had happened; and

when at last I did, she tottered, Jack, as | if I had struck her; and then she cried out the whole thing to me—how she had put you up to cheat me with those American tricks, just to show how easy it was, and that Porziano was in the secret, too. We had an awful scene when she heard how that devil had turned against you, and when she realized what the consequences would be to you. In the midst of it all the Governor came down in his dressing-gown; and kicked up a row at finding me just come home. He saw Lesley crying, and had the whole story out of me. Would you believe it, Jack—I’m ashamed to tell it of my own father, yet you must know—he said he believed you did cheat! He said Porziano was an honorable man, and he’d take his word before yours. You should have seen Lesley then! I didn’t know she had it in her. She faced the governor like a young empress. It was splendid! But you know the Governor’s not to be trifled with. He told her there and then that she was to consider her engagement to you at an end, that she wasn’t to think of you, or write to you again, for even if you were innocent, nobody’d believe it; and yesterday he hurried her off to Rome, afraid she’d try and stand up for you in public. She couldn’t write, but she begged me to tell you that she should never change, and would love you to the end.”

The two men were alone now in the long gallery of the hotel. Talbot rose and stood for awhile looking out over the river with his back to Charlie Seaton. The boy respected his emotion; and presently Jack turned, and sat down again, with eyes that shone.

“I hardly like to say it, Jack,” Charlie went on, “but I believe the governor owes money to Porziano. You know he’s stinkingly rich, and the governor’s in several of his confounded companies.

I believe he’s a swindler myself, and that one day he’ll go bust for millions; meanwhile, as you know, he’s one of the rulers of the City. Of course the Governor’s title is much to him on the boards of his companies—these fellows always run after a viscount; but anyone can see that he’s after Lesley, too. Oh, you needn’t fear, Jack, she loathes the yellow brute.”

“I know, I know, Charlie! The thing is quite clear to me. I mistook Porziano for a gentleman, though I never liked him; and knowing that he was intimate at your house, I told him of the scheme arranged between Lesley and me to open your eyes to the simple ways in which you might be robbed. He promised to stand by me, the devil! You saw what he did. Well, it wasn’t to talk of this that I asked yon to come and see me. I’ve Something else to say, something to tell you, in which I shall have to rely on your help.” Captain Talbot spoke in a low, impressive voice, and as he went on, Charlie Seaton’s face expressed at first surprise, then unbounded pleasure. “Do you quite understand? At eleven o’clock I shall expect you without fail. This is the address. You know your part?*’ Seaton nodded.

“It’s grand, Jack; simply grand. You

may count on me positively,” and with a warm shake of the hand the youth was

gone.

Talbot paid his bill, and went out of the hotel by the Embankment entrance, walking to the Temple. There he entered an old-fashioned suite of offices, and was shut up for half an hour with Stephen Armytage, a very old school friend, as well as his solicitor. When he left, he strolled along the Strand, and into Dane’s Inn, where he paid a brief visit to the porter’s lodge, afterwards visiting a shop in Covent Garden noted for theatrical costumes and “make-up” boxes. It was now nearly one; but having breakfasted so late, he had no need of luncheon. He turned into the National Gallery, spent a long time in examining the pictures and towards five o’clock appeared again at the office of the enquiry agent in Wellington Street.

He was at once admitted to the inner room.

“Well?” queried Heseltine sharply, screwing up his eyes.

“I have just looked into to say that the whole thing is arranged,” said Talbot, quietly.

“Arranged! What the deuce do you

mean?”

“I mean that the commission with which you entrusted me will be carried out to-night. Attend to what I say. Your client must call at midnight at this address. You see it is close by. The rooms are on the second floor. He need not knock or ring. The outer door will be left open, the gas burning. He has only to walk straight through the passage into the large front room, and there he will find what he wants. He can satisfy himself with touch and sight. He must bring the thousand in gold. I shall be there to receive him.”

The detective tilted his chair till it balanced on its back legs and whistled low and long. His shrewd eyes had nqt left Talbot’s face since he came into the room.

“Well, Mr. Terence Osmond (if that’s your real name) I don’t mind saying that you’re the coolest hand I ever came across in this business.” ;

“I take a pride,” said Talbot bowing slightly, “in executing with punctuality and despatch any commission entrusted to me.”

“How am I to know that it’s not a plant, and that you aren’t playing some game at my expense?”

“Isn’t it a little late to doubt me, when you’ve told me so much? Your scruples might have been in place this morning; they are ridiculous now that you have taken me so deeply into your confidence.”

“I doubt if my client will consent to the conditions. To go to rooms in Dane’s Inn with a thousand pounds in his pocket. How’s he to know that he won’t be knocked on the head and robbed?”

“I presume he has confidence in you; therefore he will do as you tell him. He must go somewhere to be satisfied; he can’t expect his enemy’s body to be brought to this office in a cab, can he?

tou entrusted me with the task; I am jrepared to carry it out under the condi;ions I have named, which are the best [ could arrange. It must be clear to ¡mu that it is I who am taking by far ;he greatest risk; your client must take some. Am I to understand that you want to go back on the bargain?”

“N-o-o,” replied the detective, doubtfully. “No, I don’t. But I can’t think—”

“There’s no need to think; act. Go immediately to your client and tell him what he has to do. I shall expect him without fail at midnight.”

****•••

It was nearing midnight in Dane’s Inn. From the Strand rose a confused rumble of traffic; in the Inn itself an occasional footfall resounded on the flagstones. Suddenly the clock of the Law Courts bobmed twelve, and with the dying vibrations of the last stroke came a footstep, down in the silent well of the stone staircase. A lithe, quick, foreignlooking man, with a long head, like a hawk’s, advanced like a man scouting in an enemy’s country: every nerve alert, each muscle on the stretch. Without a pause, he passed up the steps, lightly, springily, until he reached the closed door on the second landing. For an instant he stood, with nostrils that contracted and dilated, like those of a horse after a race. Then, clasping a portfolio to his left side by the pressure of the muscles of the arm, he used the left hand to turn the handle of the door, j and push it from him. As it swung open, he took a swift step backwards, as though he feared an ambush. The right hand had not left the pocket of his overcoat.

Within the small square hall that was disclosed by the opening of the outer door, there burned a lowered gas-jet, and to right and left were the half-shut doors of dark rooms.

With four noiseless strides he moved suddenly forward, crossed the hall, and stood in the lighted doorway. One swift look over the right shoulder, another over the left, showed him that nothing had moved in the dark rooms on either side of him. Next instant he pushed open the door, and stared into the lighted room.

It was in a state of wild confusion. The table was overturned, the cloth dragged across the floor, which was encumbered with a disordered litter of playing cards. Not a single chair stood in its place. Some were upside down, two had broken legs. From a sideboard in a recess, plates and glasses had been swept to the floor, where they lay in fragments; the flowers in an overturned vase filled the air with an odour sickly sweet. All this the stranger’s eyes took in at a comprehensive, sweeping glance: then they darted hack, and focussed themselves on the sofa and an object that it bore.

There lay his enemy, the man whose death he desired beyond anything on earth, save one other thing which he believed that this man’s death would bring him. The young guardsman was on his hack, one leg supported by the

sofa, the other trailing limply on th floor. His coat was off, and on the whit surface of his shirt there was a crimso: gash above the heart, whence a rudd; stream had flowed down to the carpei His hands were clenched, his white fae turned upwards to the ceiling. On th floor near by lay a revolver.

The stranger’s eyes dilated; a erne smile curved the red lips, lifting the tuf of imperial. With the same quick noiseless step, he crossed the room, am stood looking down on the body of hi enemy—the man who had dared to lovi the girl on whom he, Gabriel Porziano had set his heart.

“Ah, my friend,” he murmured “Miss Laizlai would not care to lool upon you now. Yon are not pretty witl your teeth clenched like that, that dis agreeable greenish complexion, and thaï ugly hole in your chest.” He stooped i little, and dipped a yellow forefinger ir the blood that had flowed from the wound. “Yes; your blood is very red You lived strongly, Captain Talbot; but you have not escaped me! Money car do most things; even bring a man liki you to this !” He wiped his finger on tht table-cloth, and let his glance hovel round the room. “There has been t struggle—about cards. My unknown agent has been clever. But he is wise tc keep out of the way. No doubt he wil) come back when I am gone. It is better that we should not look into each other’* faces. I will leave him his rewardA‘1 He opened the portfolio, and shook its contents in a jingling, glittering pile on to the floor. “Goodbye, John Talbot! Ah! I will make quite sure of you before

I go!”

The right hand that had been hidden in the overcoat pocket was suddenly withdrawn; it whirled upwards, holding a flashing blade; but before it could descend, the corpse of John Talbot leaped into strenuous life. It bounded from the sofa, gripped the dagger-wrist of his opponent with a terrible grasp, twisted the knife from his hand, and sent him staggering backwards across the room. At the same instant a sereen was flnng noisily to the floor, disclosing the exeited face of Charlie Seaton; and the tall figure of a grave, bearded man stood in the doorway.

Porziano’s lips drew back, like a wolf’s, disclosing long, yellow teeth. His thin, moist hands clenched and unclenched themselves spasmodically. With a sudden sound, like the breaking of a fiddle-string, he spat towards Talbot.

“So I am trapped1” he snarled.

“Completely,” was Talbot’s quie! answer. “Mr. Seaton you know; this i* Mr. Armytage, my solicitor. He ha* drafted a document for you to sign, which he will witness. It is a confession on your part that you falsely and maliciously, for purposes of your own, and knowing it to be a lie, spread the story that I had cheated at cards; whereas you quite well knew that I was simply playing tricks on Mr. Seaton to show him

DW easily sharps eould cheat him. You ireservedly withdraw this charge, deare it to be baseless and humbly apolose for having made it.”

“I refuse to sign anything of the ind,” snapped Porziano.

“Then I shall immediately telephone ) Scotland Yard telling the'police that ou and your agent have conspired to mrder me, and ask them to send here at nee to arrest you.”

Porziano passed a trembling hand cross his forehead. “Either way I’m uined!” he cried.

“Exactly! And a jolly good thing oo!” put in Charlie Seaton; but Talbot hecked him with a gesture. Armytage landed him an open paper. He took it, mt did not look at it. “I don’t underhand,” he said, thickly. “Has Heseline given me awayt”

“Heseltine has nothing to do with his. You can best say whether he’ll itand by you, or whether he’ll turn Jueen’s evidence when I have you arrested.”

Porziano rubbed his eyes and read the japer. “But if I sign this, it’s the end îor me,” he said.

Talbot shrugged his shoulders. “Nepesis has overtaken you,” he answered. ‘You either sign at once, or go to Portland. Sign, and pick up your gold, and jo ; then you have nothing to fear from me.”

Armytage turned the table right side up, and handed him a pen. Porziano took it, and dashed his signature upon the document. Then in silence he stooped, picked up all the sovereigns and put them back in his portfolio. He staggered when he had finished, as if he were giddy, and fell back towards the sidehoard. In an instant he seized a heavy glass carafe and sent it crashing at Taibot’s head. Charlie Seaton shouted; Talbot ducked; the carafe flew over him, land smashed into little pieces a large mirror over the fireplace. There was a great noise of jangling glass.

“You cowardly brute!” ejaculated Talbot, his knuckles white with the tight clenching of his fists.

“Give it him hot, Jack!” called Charlie Seaton.

“No, no; I should disgrace myself to touch him,” said Talbot. “Out, you scoundrel!” He pointed to the door which Armytage had set open, and Porziano ran like a hare. They heard him leap down the stairs, and patter with speed down the echoing Inn. Thus London saw the last of the adventurer whose hollow schemes came crashing to the ground, involving thousands in their ruin.

Society opened its arms again to Jack Talbot; his regiment gave him a welcoming dinner; and Armytage was best man at the marriage with Lesley Seaton, which took place a month later. If Uriah Heseltine carries on business in London, it is under another name, and in another quarter, for his office in Wellington Street was suddenly closed.