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pensated the doctor for all the hard words he had berne. She sprang lightly into the box-seat of the dog-cart and took the reins, while her father elimbed up more stiffly on the other side.
"Then we'll see you the morn aboot three, Dr Seaton," he cried, as they drove off into the darkness.
Mine was a very strained and uncomfortable welcome to Hopeton. The Laird himself was in a transition state between fury and civility, which rendered his conversation stilted and unnatural, besides which he must have been more or less annoyed with me for siding, however mildly, with his enemy.
It was when I turned to greet Marigold, however, that I had the greatest shook of this surprising evening. So greatly was she changed that I could hardly believe it was she, and not some invalid sister. Her beautiful cheeks were pale and sunken, and her dark eyes seemed unnaturally large and brilliant. If ever eyes spoke, Marigold Tanish's oried fear that night. There was something further in her expression that I could not fathom, as if she was trying to speak to me personally and warn me-but of what?
Even her voice, as she welcomed me, seemed altered in some subtle way. There was little in it of the music that had pleased me so much on board the Sphinx.
"Wherever have you been to?" demanded the Laird when the usual greetings had
Well, you must be hungry. Marigold, show the doctor his room, and where he can get a wash, and let's get to supper."
It was a gloomy house, panelled in dark oak that reflected little of the light of the oil lamps. Taking candle in either hand from a table in the hall, Marigold led me up the wide staircase and along a dark corridor. When she reached the door of what was to be my bedroom she did not stop to let me pass in, but preceded me into the room, and then, turning upon me suddenly, with her strange wild eyes reflecting the flickering flames of the candles, she whispered
"I must warn you! Make no mention of my brother. Do not ask where he is, or show that you have any knowledge that Roy exists. I have not time to explain now, but please be very oareful. The mere mention of Roy throws him into rage."
She left me without awaiting an answer, and I felt pleased to think that she trusted me to that extent.
Supper was a gloomy meal.
Marigold hardly spoke, and I was compelled to earry
on a conversation with Laird Tanish, with whom, after what I had seen and heard that evening, I did not feel at all comfortable. We talked mainly of the little boy, Duncan, whom I had not yet seen.
According to the account given me by his father, there was little the matter with him.
"You'll see him for yourself to-morrow," he said. "In my opinion it is stubbornness, more than anything else, that's wrong with him. He won't eat-but just plays with his food, and no amount of talk ing will influence him. I've thrashed the young mule until he howled-time and again but there seems to be no way of getting the better of him."
I looked across at Marigold as her father gave me this view of the upbringing of a delicate child, but she kept her eyes lowered and refused to meet mine.
I could foresee plainly enough that my position in this strange household was going to be a difficult one. The father was an autocrat, and, in addition, a man of uncontrolled passion. How far would I dare to run counter to his will without bringing things to such a orisis that I must either leave or be dismissed. Certainly, from a merely commercial point of view, I did not care how soon I lost my employment; but having accepted Tanish's offer, I felt that my pride was in
volved in the satisfactory fulfilment of my duties.
"I suppose it's too late for chess to-night," said Tanish doubtfully, looking his watch when supper was over.
"I am afraid I am too tired and sleepy to do myself justice," I replied. "If you will excuse me, I shall go early to bed."
I heaved an immense sigh of relief when I was at last alone in the security of my bedroom and free to recall the incidents of the evening. My mind was in a perfect muddle with all that I had seen and heard, and I sat down on the edge of my bed to try to straighten things out.
Who was this mysterious young man whom I had stumbled upon in the wood? As she recovered consciousness his wife had called him Roy, and Roy was the name of Tanish's son-and this son must not be mentioned in his presence under pain of an outburst of rage!
But the young man of the wood certainly bore an extraordinary resemblance to Jabez Morgan-a fact that I could not reconcile with the former being Roy Tanish,
There was something, too, that was very strange in the wounding of that beautiful girl. Was it an accident? I felt certain that her husband had spoken the truth, and that he was as ignorant as myself of the facts. This, again, reminded me of the paper that I had taken from her bosom-the paper upon
which I had read the name Tanish,
Altogether, the mere I recalled the events of the evening, the more muddled did I become; nor was my condition improved by a gentle tap upon my door, followed immediately after by the appearance of a slip of paper which was pushed underneath from without.
I picked it up and read it by the dim light of my candle.
Wait until you hear a second "I must see you to-night. tap upon your door. You will and I shall guide you to where we can talk safely.
then find me in the corridor,
So I was not yet through with the night's adventures.
I waited nearly an hour before the expected summons came. By that time all sound had died down in the house, and one could safely assume that every one had retired for the night. Then the signal was given, and I slipped noiselessly out into the corridor. I could see nothing, but a small hand took mine and I was led along in the darkness to a sitting-room lit by a single candle.
Marigold Tanish turned and faced me.
"Forgive me for asking you to meet me in this surreptitious way," she said in a low voice. "It seemed the only thing to do. You must be told something of how we are situated here, or you may say things to my father which will start all our troubles afresh. So I asked you to meet me now, because it might be days before I found an opportunity to talk to you alone. I hope you don't mind, and that you don't think it . . . indiscreet ... of me to meet you in this
"I think I know you well enough, Miss Tanish, to have the utmost confidence in your discretion. It is enough for me that you think it necessary to speak to me alene. I should also like to say, before you tell me anything, that whatever I can do to help you will be done with my whole heart."
"Thank you. I must say what has to be said as quickly as possible and bring this anconventional interview to a close. My father, as you saw even on board the Sphinx, is a very hot-tempered man, and it has always been found best to avoid irritating him as much as possible. When we arrived home from America, he found that all his plans for the future had been upset.
"About a year ago my father engaged a girl of about my age as a governess for Dunean, and also to some extent as a companion to me. She was & Belgian girl of good family, an orphan, who had been compelled to come out into the world to earn her living. She
was very good-looking and very clever in her conversation, but I must admit that I never cared for her very much, and that for all the time she was here we were never more than mere acquaintances.
"It was different, however, with my father and with my brother Roy. Marie seemed to fascinate them both, and yet she was so clever that for some time she was able to prevent them from getting at loggerheads. Roy, you must know, is just about as hotheaded as his father, and both of them are very very obstinate. Perhaps," she added with a wan smile, "as it is a family trait, I am not entirely free from it myself.
"There were many old family papers which at that time my father was very much interested in, and he used to have Marie help him sort them over and arrange them. He had some idea, I think, of writing a history of the family. We go back a long time, you know, and in the days of the Jacobites we were hot and strong for the Stewarts.
"There was a lot of correspondence dating back to that time, some of it in French, and Marie used to translate these letters and make fair copies of them. There was also an old illegible scrawl which was was written in Flemish, and this also Marie managed to decipher and translate.
"The secret of that document is not mine to disclose. It is enough to say that my father became wildly excited over it. It was the cause of our visit
to America and the ill-feeling that arose between Mr Morgan and my father.
"It was about that time that Roy and my father became estranged. Roy had fallen in love with Marie, and he did not take any pains to hide the fact. How far she encouraged him I cannot say, but I think she played a not very honourable part, although one must admit that her position was difficult.
"My father, although he never directly told me so, had made up his mind that Marie should be his third wife.
"The climax came one day when father surprised Roy and Marie in the garden. I was never told what happened, but Roy left the house the same day after a dreadful scene with his father.
There is a small
farm about two miles away which belongs to Roy. It was left to him by our mother, who died when we were children. It happened to be unoccupied at this time, and Roy went off there and started to farm the land. We have both got small incomes of our own, so that he was quite able to support himself.
been so anxious to engage you house and set out in the direcas Duncan's tutor. tion of Blackdykes as soon as he had collected himself sufficiently to take any action at all.
"Our excursion to America did not succeed, and we returned home to find that in our absence Roy and Marie had been married, and were living at Blackdykes-the farm I told you of.
"There was a terrible scene, I was afraid that my father in his rage would have a seizure or lose his reason. Later I feared that there would be bloodshed.
"He had talked so much of Marie on the journey north, and had become so excited and fidgety, that I knew he was looking forward with unusual pleasure to seeing her again,
"We had wired the hour of our arrival, and the car was at the station to meet us. It was a great disappointment to father when he found that Marie had not come with it. He made no remark, however. "It was when we arrived here, and old Mrs Cunningham, the housekeeper, met us on the doorstep, that he first began to have an idea that something was wrong. The poor woman was in a state of terror. She had never summoned up courage to write and tell us what had happened, and now her cowardice was recoiling on her own head.
"She stammered her news as best she could, poor thing, and it was then that I thought my father would have a seizure. His rage was terrible. It was evening when we arrived home, and already beginning to get dark, but he rushed out of the
"I dared not let him go alone. Heaven knew what awful thing would happen when he and Roy met. I ran after him and entreated him to wait until morning-to give himself time to think things over. . . . He - he struck me across the face!"
So far Marigold had told me her story clearly and without emotion, but at this point she broke down and wept softly. I made no attempt to comfort her, but silently awaited her recovery. My feelings towards Laird Tanish would not bear words-certainly not in the presence of his daughter.
"I S&W then," continued Marigold, when she had dried her tears and ceased to sob"I saw then that it was useless to attempt to dissuade him. I fell behind, but followed at a little distance to Blackdykes. Evidently Roy had been warned of our home-coming and had anticipated trouble, for his house was carefully closed and he himself awaited us by the gate of the farmyard.
"Without a word spoken, my father strode up to him as he sat upon the gate and struck him a blow full on the mouth that knocked him flying into the yard beyond.
"Roy behaved splendidly. I know that he is no coward, for I have seen him do many daring deeds in the years we have spent together, yet when he rose to his feet he made no