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A Coin of Edward VII - A Detective Story
by Fergus Hume
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"How do you know it will ever take place?" asked Giles sadly.

"Because I am sure we shall find Miss Anne in the Priory. I shall arrest Denham, and you can place the lady in charge of some friend, or send her up to her mother, the Princess Karacsay. By the way, how does she come to be the mother?"

"It's a long story. The Princess was married twice, first to George Franklin, of Jamaica, and secondly to Prince Karacsay. But how do you know that when Morley arrived with Anne that Denham did not take fright and fly?"

"I don't think Morley would let him do that. It is probable that Miss Anne would tell him what she knew, and there would be quite enough suspicion excited in Morley's mind to induce him to communicate with me."

"Has he done so?"

"Well, no, he hasn't. But then, he's a detective also, you see, and his professional jealousy, even although he has retired, may induce him to engineer this business himself. But he shan't have the credit of it after all my work," cried Steel vehemently.

Then the detective began to turn over his notes, so as to prepare for the coming interview with Denham. Giles gave himself up to his own thoughts, and rejoiced that he would soon see Anne again. Her character would be cleared, and then she would become his wife. Ware was much relieved that Olga had overcome her foolish fancy for him, but he could not be sure if her cure was permanent. When she excused herself, she was weak and exhausted, and he dreaded lest when she recovered she should begin to persecute him again. But after all, as he reflected, it really did not much matter. The future of Anne was taken out of her hands, and the Princess Karacsay would not permit Olga to play fast and loose with Anne's happiness.

Giles remembered how Olga had told him that Anne was at school at Hampstead, but had not said a word about the convent at Milan. No doubt Anne, when she first came to England, had gone for a few finishing lessons to the Hampstead school, for there she had met Mrs. Cairns. Still, Olga all the time had known much more of Anne's history than she had chosen to tell. And if the Princess Karacsay had not been so candid, Ware doubted very much if Olga would have confessed her relationship with Anne. Yet on second thought he fancied he might be doing the Hungarian sister wrong. In spite of her proposed treachery, she was really fond of Anne, and perhaps would not have delivered her up to the police. In fact, after she brought her mother over to unmask Denham, and had thus made her aware of Anne's existence, she could not do that without provoking her mother's undying enmity. On the whole, Olga was something of a problem, and although Giles wished to think of her as kindly as he could, he determined to see as little of her as was possible after the marriage. He did not trust her. There was too much of the untamed tigress about the girl.

When the train arrived at Barnham, a trap ordered by Giles was waiting to take them to Rickwell. On the platform Steel was met by a local policeman who seemed to be much excited. "I have acted according to your instructions, sir," he said, touching his helmet.

"Well," said Steel sharply while Giles lingered to listen—for everything the detective said was interesting to him; he still doubted his intentions regarding Anne—"did Mr. Morley bring down Miss Denham?"

"No, sir," was the unexpected answer. "Mr. Morley has not come back since he went up to town two nights ago. He went by the nine train."

"The same train as I went by," interposed Giles.

"Are you sure?" said Steel, and Giles fancied he saw a smile play round his rather full lips.

"Yes, sir. Mr. Morley on the evening he went away called at the Priory and had a quarrel with Mr. Franklin, sir. They came to blows, sir, and Mr. Franklin's leg is broken."

"Then he has not left Rickwell?"

"No, sir. He's laid up with the broken leg and his daughter is nursing him. He's awful bad, I've been told, sir, by Mrs. Parry."

Giles could not help laughing at the introduction of the good lady's name. She seemed to be mixed up with everything. He could not be sorry for Denham, as he was only meeting with his deserts. "But Anne—where can she be?" he asked Steel, as they stepped into the cart.

"I wish I knew," said Steel gloomily. "I had an idea that Morley was playing me false."

"Do you think he is in league with Denham?"

"I am sure of it. That is the portion of the case of which I have not spoken to you. You'll hear what Denham says. Now that Morley has left him in the lurch Denham will reveal Morley's connection with these matters. But Morley has secured a hostage in the person of Miss Anne. He has taken her away somewhere. His wife may know of his whereabouts. After we have seen Denham we'll speak of her."

"Since when have you had suspicions of Morley?"

"Since I investigated this Scarlet Cross case. I have found one or two of the gang who, like Dane, are willing to turn King's evidence to save themselves. It was one of them called Scott who told me of Dane's coming on the motor-bicycle to Rickwell. But later on you shall hear all. Let me round off the case by arresting Denham." Here Steel scratched his head and smiled ruefully. "But I fear the case will not be finished till Morley is caught, and where am I to look for him? I wish I had had him watched. He has been too clever for me. I might have known. As Joe Bart he was one of the smartest detectives in London."

After this speech Steel began to think, and as he seemed impatient of interruption, Giles said nothing. In due time they arrived at the door of the Priory. It was close on five o'clock. Steel rang the bell, and as he did so a couple of policemen came round the corner for orders. Steel told them to wait in the hall while he saw Denham. "I don't think he can show fight with a broken leg," said Steel grimly.

As he spoke the door opened. Portia with her freckled face swollen with weeping appeared. She did not seem astonished at the sight of the men in uniform. Perhaps she had seen them lurking in the neighborhood and knew what to expect.

"Come in," she said sullenly to Steel and his companion. "My father expects you."

"Who told him I was coming?" asked Steel.

"I don't know," she answered, and led the way up the stairs. On the landing she turned viciously. "If father had not broken his leg, you would not have found us here," she declared.

"I quite believe that," retorted Steel.

"And you needn't have brought those beasts of men," continued the girl, with a glance at the police in the hall. "We are all alone. Dowse and his wife and daughter ran away whenever they heard there was trouble."

"Oh, they are mixed up in this affair also."

"I don't know. I shan't say anything, for I don't know nothing."

She sullenly led the way through a long corridor and opened the door of a sitting-room. Here on a sofa with a small table at his elbow lay Denham. His leg was swathed in bandages, and he wore a loose dressing-gown. As they entered he laid down a book and looked at them. His face was worn, his hair was quite grey, but the brilliance of his eyes were undimmed, and he spoke in a masterful manner.

"Here you are, Steel," he said coolly. "Got the warrant?"

"How do you know I have a warrant?" asked the other, taken aback.

"I knew you would find out the truth the moment Mrs. Franklin, or rather, I should say the Princess Karacsay, discovered me. She has told you all and has put you on my track."

"Dane put me on your track."

"Dane? Well, I'm not surprised. He's a scoundrel. King's evidence, I suppose? I'll defeat him, Steel. Take a seat and I'll tell you all about myself."

Very much surprised at this calmness the two men sat down. Denham waved his daughter out of the room. She was unwilling to go, but a glance sent her away. When she closed the door Denham turned to Giles.

"When you marry Anne, Mr. Ware," said he, "ask her to look after my poor daughter."

"How do you know I shall ever marry Anne?"

"Because you are a determined man. Men like you usually do get their own way. You intend to marry Anne Franklin and you will. But Portia has been good to Anne, and when I am in prison I hope Anne will take care of her."

"I'll see to that," said Giles. "I don't believe that the sins of the father should be visited on the children. Do you know where Anne has got to? She went away with Morley."

At the sound of this name Denham's face grew black. "I wish I knew where Morley is," he said vehemently. "I would give him up to the police with pleasure. On the evening of the day Anne escaped he came here with his wife. When she left he had a quarrel with me, saying I had done wrong in letting Anne go. We fought, and he threw me down the stairs. My leg is broken, and so I could not get away from the police. Well, I give myself up. It is rather hard after I have done so much to get the money I wanted."

"Even to committing a murder," said Steel.

"No," said Denham decisively; "I did not kill Daisy Kent. She was murdered by—but I'll tell you that later. In the meantime, Mr. Ware, tell me what the Princess told you, and I'll supply the details she doubtless has omitted. Then Steel can follow with his tale."

Giles had no hesitation in complying with this request. He narrated his connection with Olga and the story told by her mother. Also he detailed how he had confided in Morley, thinking him an honorable man. This was the only time when Denham smiled, and he did smile derisively. However, he did not interrupt, but when Giles was finished looked at Steel. That gentleman gave a history of his doings and discoveries. He omitted all mention of Morley. Denham noted this.

"I see you have left something for me to tell," he said. "Well, as I am like a rat in a corner, I must give in. The end has come, and I don't know that I am sorry. I have had a very uneasy life of it since I left Jamaica. And, as usual, it was a woman who ruined me."

"Not the Princess Karacsay," said Giles quickly.

"Yes. You heard her version of the story, now hear mine. She led me on, she behaved badly, she——"

"I don't believe you. I won't listen."

"Very good. Then we will take up the story from the time I came to Milan," replied Denham coolly. "Anne was with me, and I treated her well. She never knew anything of my inner life, and always thought me a good man. I rather prided myself in keeping her in that belief."

"Dane said that you behaved very well," said Steel.

Denham nodded ironically. "I am much obliged for the good opinion of such a scoundrel," he said. "Well, you know how I treated Anne. When she became a governess she left me to follow out my idea of making money. I bought a yacht, and invented the Society of the Scarlet Cross. For a time all went well. Then I was foolish enough when robbing the safe of Lady Summersdale to drop a cross—a red cross. It was found by Bart—I mean Morley, who was the detective."

"You can call him Bart," said Giles. "Steel told me it was his name."

"I prefer to call him Morley, since by that name I know him best," was Denham's retort. "As I say, he discovered the red cross. He had charge of the case, and he traced me by that ornament. He got to know of the yacht and of the working of the gang. Instead of arresting us all, which he could have done, he agreed to join us."

"I thought so!" cried Steel, slapping his thigh. "I guessed this."

"Did you offer him any inducement?" asked Giles.

"Yes. At first he was bent on breaking up the gang and putting me in jail. But I remembered how Walpole had said that every man had his price. I ascertained Morley's. It was ease and comfort and plenty of money to gamble with."

"Did he gamble?" asked Ware, starting.

"He ruined himself with gambling," replied Denham. "If it had not been for his indulgence in that vice, he would not have joined our society, Mr. Ware. However, he did. I told him of the Powell money, and said that when I got it I would share it with him. Franklin was drowned; I had his papers, and knew all about his life, and there was no difficulty in my proving myself to be the man. I did so, and now have the money."

"But the price of Daisy's death was——"

"I'm coming to that," interrupted Denham impatiently. "Well, Morley joined us. His professional information helped us to improve our business. He made me give back Lady Summersdale's jewels, so that his professional reputation might be preserved. He was highly complimented on getting the swag back," added Denham, smiling ironically, "but the thieves unfortunately escaped."

"And he was hand in glove with the lot of you," said Steel, almost with admiration. "I always said Joe Bart was clever."

"He was too clever for me," said Denham, shifting his position, and sighing with the pain of his leg. However, with iron resolution he continued. "But I'll punish him yet. Well, to make a long story short, Morley retired from the force and married a widow. She had money. He spent all she had. He got his percentage from our society, and spent that also. He was always gambling, and took runs up to town to lose his money in a private hell he knew of. Afterwards he got into difficulties, and began to yearn for the Powell money. It was because Daisy Kent was to inherit it that he induced her father to appoint him her guardian."

"And for that reason he settled in Rickwell."

"Yes. Kent had known Mrs. Morley for many years, and it was she who was the guardian. When he married Mrs. Morley our friend settled in Rickwell, so that his wife might renew her friendship with Kent and get the girl. It all came about as he designed, and Daisy Kent lived at The Elms. Morley thought he would sell me, and when the girl got the money, by using his influence to induce her to give it to him, I believe he was capable of killing his wife and of marrying Daisy. But that scheme was stopped by the fact that Daisy was engaged to you, Ware."

"I am thankful that she was," said Giles, wiping his face. "What a devil the man is!"

"He is a clever man," replied Denham coolly, "but he was not sufficiently clever to get the better of Daisy Kent. What she found out, or how he treated her, I don't know; but she took a violent hatred to him. He knew she would not give him the money when she got it, and so——"

"Stop!" cried Ware. "Do you mean to say Morley killed the girl?"

"No. I wish I could say so. But he was in his house all the time. He is innocent enough. I'll tell you about that later. At present let me go on with the story. I heard by cable from Australia that Powell was dead, and then I feigned death to get rid of Anne. I came to England, and, as Wilson, heard about the will, and afterwards served the summons."

"Why did you serve the summons?"

"I simply wanted to see Morley without suspicion being excited. I saw him in the library. He told me that he had ordered the yacht to anchor off Gravesend and that Dane was coming to tell him when it was there. He then asked me to kill Daisy Kent, saying I could get the fortune when she was dead."

Denham paused, and wiped his face.

"I don't pretend to be a good man," he said, "but I declined to murder the girl. While we were arguing Anne entered. When she saw me she nearly fainted, as she thought I was dead. She recognized me."

"Yes," put in Giles, "but she said she didn't speak to you."

"But she did. Morley knew then that she was Franklin's daughter, and, if Daisy died, the rightful owner of the money. I expect that is why he had decoyed her away. Well, I made Anne agree to be silent, promising her an explanation the next day. She left the room. I went away, and afterwards to church. I wished to see Daisy and warn her against Morley. I passed a note saying that I desired to see her about the money. She went out. I followed shortly. It was snowing heavily when I got out. I heard a cry, and rushed in its direction. It came from the grave of Kent. Daisy was lying there dead. I saw a man dash away——"

"Who was he?" asked Steel and Giles simultaneously.

"I believe, from the glimpse I caught, he was Dane."

"I thought so," said Steel triumphantly.

"Yes, Dane killed the girl. I expect Morley put him up to it. I lost my head. I knew that to save himself that Morley would accuse me. I rushed forward. Anne came out. I hurriedly explained, and then——"

"We know," interrupted Giles, "you bolted on my motor-car. Tell us how you got the money."

"Oh, I appeared as Franklin, and saw Asher. I produced my papers, and was put into formal possession of the money. Morley insisted that I should live down here, under his eye. I could not refuse. He has drained me of nearly every penny. Then, when trouble began, he made use of his position here to warn me of what was going on."

"He made a fool of me," said Giles grimly. "I told him everything, and you played that nice little comedy in the park."

"With Mrs. Benker?" Denham smiled. "Yes; and the soliloquy was my own idea. I knew that would impose on you."

"Morley swindled me also," said Steel, with gloom. "Clever man!"

"You said that before," remarked Denham dryly. "However, when Anne's mother appeared I knew the game was up. She made me promise to send Anne to her, so I had to let her go."

"Why did you blame Anne for the murder?"

"I wanted to stop your prying into matters which did not concern you," snarled the man savagely. "It was you who started all this infernal business. But it's all over. You can arrest me as soon as you like, Steel, and if you can catch Morley I'll willingly stand in the dock beside him."

As he said this the door opened. There was a noise outside. Portia was trying to keep some one back, but the man forced his way past her and into the room. It was Trim, and he presented a letter to his master. "Beg pardon, sir, but I heard you were here, and there's a letter came this morning marked 'Immediate.' I wanted to start for town, but when I heard you were here I came over, and this young woman's been trying to keep me out, to say nothing of them police below."

Giles opened the letter hastily. Something fell with a silvery ring on the floor. Steel picked it up. "What's this?" he asked wonderingly—"a coin with precious stones!"

"Anne's Edward VII. half-sovereign," shouted Giles. "This is from her." The letter, written in pencil, merely said, "Prisoner—yacht—Bilbao."

"Steel," cried Giles, "Morley has taken her to Bilbao! We follow."



CHAPTER XXV

A CATASTROPHE

About noon the next day Steel and Giles were on their way to Bilbao. This prompt following of Morley was due to the fertile resource of Ware. He remembered that a friend of his possessed a yacht which was at present lying in Dover Harbor. The friend, Lord Kingsbridge, fortunately happened to be in London, and Giles wired an appointment. With Steel he went up to Town on that same night and drove at once to the Wanderers' Club, where Kingsbridge was waiting for them. Giles explained the situation, and secured the yacht at once. "The boat is quite ready to start," said Kingsbridge. "All you have to do is to get steam up. I was thinking of going on a cruise myself, and so had The Firefly put in order."

"Why not come with us to Bilbao, my lord?"

"Thank you, Mr. Steel, but I have to wait in town for a day or two, and time is everything in this matter. If you take the first morning train to Dover, you ought to be on your way to Spain in the afternoon. When did this other boat start?"

"Yesterday afternoon from Gravesend," said Giles.

"Well, my yacht's a quick one, so I daresay you will be able to catch this other one before she gets to her destination. You'll have bad weather, I fear," said Kingsbridge; "there's a storm getting up."

"I don't care if it blows the world out of the solar system," cried Ware savagely; "I'm going to catch that man."

"And the lady? Well, good luck to you, Ware."

"Thank you, Kingsbridge. I shan't forget your kindness," replied the young man, and departed with Steel in hot haste.

Thus it happened that the two found themselves on board The Firefly steaming for Bilbao at top speed. The boat was two hundred tons, yacht measurement, schooner-rigged fore and aft, with powerful engines and twin screws. When all her furnaces were going she could smoke through the water at surprising speed, and her captain having received instructions from Kingsbridge, drove her south for all she was worth. He was a pleasant young fellow called Calthorpe, and when he heard that the trip was being made to rescue a lady took a personal interest in the affair. He made up his mind to catch The Red Cross before she reached Bilbao.

"Is she a fast boat?" he asked when The Firefly cleared the Channel.

"Nearly as fast as this craft," replied Mark Dane, who was at his elbow. "She was built for speed."

"H'm," said the captain; "it's stormy weather, and her speed will depend a good deal on the way she is handled. I don't expect she'll do much in the Bay."

Evidently Calthorpe was not going to let his boat be beaten by an outsider. He had never heard of The Red Cross, and believed The Firefly to be one of the smartest crafts afloat. The weather was dirty, and when the gallant little boat lifted the Atlantic waves they were running mountains high. But Calthorpe drove his vessel sheer through them, and never slackened his speed for all their fury. And now it must be explained how Dane came to be on board. The explanation may be given in his own words to Giles.

"When I left you in London, sir," he said, "I wondered where Morley had taken Miss Anne. From what I knew I guessed that he would not carry her to the Priory at Rickwell. It then struck me that he might use the yacht. Since Steel took up the case she has changed her name and her appearance, for Morley and Denham were both afraid lest she might be found out. The gang of course know nothing of my intention to smash up the organization, and I knew that I could get all information from one of them. I sent a wire to this man—he's called Arden—and received information that the boat was at Gravesend by Morley's orders, under the name of The Dark Horse."

"Rather a good name," said Ware, smiling. "Morley is something of a humorist."

"He's a devil!" said Dane fiercely. "I'll tell you my reason for saying so later, sir. I went to Gravesend and found her lying in mid-stream. I went on board and learned that Morley was away, but that the boat was to sail shortly for some unknown destination."

"Where was Morley?"

"Up in town, sir, getting his money together to make tracks. I found Miss Anne on board. She told me that Morley had suggested they should get to Rickwell by the Gravesend line, and she, not thinking any harm of him and anxious to see Denham and learn the truth about her dead father, agreed. He took her down and drugged her in the train. As an invalid she was taken on board The Dark Horse and confined to her cabin. A hag called Mrs. Johns attended to her. I know the old wretch. A regular bad one; but devoted to Morley, who got her out of some trouble."

"Why did you not rescue Miss Anne," said Giles, "and save us this journey, Dane?"

"I couldn't. Mrs. Johns allowed me to see Miss Anne, as she had no reason to suspect me; but she kept guard at the door, and would not let me out of her sight almost. If I had tried to take Miss Anne ashore, she'd have brought the crew on me. They are all Morley's creatures. I should simply have been poleaxed and dropped overboard, while the yacht sailed away. No, sir. I told Miss Anne my difficulty, and asked her to send a line to you at the Priory—where I knew you were—that you might follow. She wrote three or four words——"

"I know," interrupted Giles, "and enclosed the coin."

"She did that, sir, so that you could be sure the message came from her. I posted the letter. Then I went on shore and waited till Morley came back. I learned from Miss Anne that the boat was going to Bilbao, and when she started I came on to the Priory to ask if I could join in the hunt for Miss Anne. Yes," cried Dane, shaking his fist, "and the hunt after that devil Morley."

"Why do you hate him so?" asked Giles, wondering at the man's fierceness and ill-suppressed emotion.

Dane thought for a moment, then answered, with his eyes on the deck, "Morley killed my mother," he said in a low voice. "No, sir, not in the way you think. He killed her by telling her what I was. She was a good woman. She brought me up well, and did her best to make me a decent man. I was well behaved till I went to Italy to study singing, and fell in with Denham. He made me bad. Afterwards Morley made me worse. I have thieved, I have—but what does the catalogue of my crimes matter to you, sir? In a word, Denham and Morley ruined me. I hate them both, but Morley worst of all. Do you think Denham will recover?"

"From his broken leg? Of course he will, and then he will be taken to jail at once. Steel left the warrant behind to be executed, in order that he might come with me."

"I hope Denham will get a long sentence, sir," said Dane savagely. "He is a bad man. But Morley—nothing short of death will expiate his crime so far as I am concerned. I wanted to reform, sir. Miss Anne was so good to me that I saw how wicked was the life I was living. I wished to reform and return to my mother. Morley heard of this. He followed me to New York, where I was then. I had fled from the gang, saying I would have nothing more to do with the thieving. Morley found me with my mother. He told her what I was." Here Dane paused and sighed. "The blow killed her."

"She died of a broken heart, I suppose?"

"Yes, of a broken heart. Then I went back with Morley to the old life like a whipped dog. But I vowed revenge. I intend to have it now." And he set his teeth determinedly.

Giles was sorry for the young man. He appeared to have some good in him when he felt the death of his mother, and the cause of it, so deeply. But Ware could not help remembering that Dane had murdered Daisy Kent. But for the fact that they relied on Dane to distinguish The Red Cross under her disguise, he would not have been allowed to come. But Steel thought it was best to catch Morley first and then have Dane arrested for the crime. He advised Giles to say nothing about it, lest it should arouse the suspicions of Dane. But on board The Firefly there was no escape for the man, and after the previous conversation Giles began to wonder if Dane really was guilty, despite the belief of Steel and the evidence of Denham. He resolved to set his doubts at rest.

"Dane," he said, after a pause, "you appear to have much good in you, and the Princess Olga is anxious to save you from yourself. Since you are helping us to break up this gang and catch Morley, who appears to be the arch-criminal, I am willing to do what I can to save you from the law. But there is another crime——"

"What particular crime do you mean, sir?" asked Dane quietly.

"The murder of Miss Kent."

Dane started. "Do you believe that I had anything to do with that?"

"Why not? You were at Rickwell on the night it was committed."

"I was. I came over from the yacht at Gravesend to tell Morley she was waiting his orders there, and to tell Denham also. He had appointed a meeting there for me. I came on a motor-bicycle. What of that?"

"A man called Scott told Steel that you were in Rickwell."

"I admit it. I know Scott. He has turned King's evidence. It seems to me, sir, that the whole lot of us will be pardoned if we are so anxious to betray one another. But this crime——"

"Denham says you killed the girl."

Dane sprang to his feet with flashing eyes. "I swear by all that I hold most holy that I did not touch the girl," he declared. "I never even set eyes on her. Denham accuses me—yes, because I have told the truth about him. I came on that night and saw Morley and him at the window of the library in Morley's house. When I gave my message about the yacht I returned to Tilbury, and then crossed to the boat. I never killed the girl, by the memory of my mother!"

"You seem to be speaking the truth," said Giles quickly. "Did you enter the library? The girl was killed by a stiletto torn from the trophy of arms near the desk."

"I was not in the library. Morley would not allow me to enter. He and Denham spoke to me on the terrace. When a noise was heard at the door—I believe now it was Miss Anne who was entering—Morley gave me the tip to get away."

"Was the stiletto in its place?"

"I don't know. I never noticed."

"Do you think Morley killed the girl?"

"Either he or Denham," replied Dane decisively; "and I think it was the latter. When I heard of the crime being committed, I saw Mrs. Morley and asked her if her husband was guilty. She denied it, saying that he was in the library all the time. She came down and saw him."

"She might do that to save her husband."

Dane shook his head. "I don't think she was fond enough of him for that, sir," he answered. "She was when he married her; but he treated her so badly—as I was told by Denham—that she grew to hate him. He spent her money, and behaved like the brute he is. For the sake of her children she said nothing, but she was fond of Miss Kent, and I don't think she would have defended him if a charge of killing the girl had been made."

"Did Mrs. Morley know anything about the gang?"

"No, she knew nothing. Morley always took good care to keep her in ignorance. She knew no more of his secret life than Miss Anne did of Denham's. Both men were very clever in concealing that which they did not want to be known. But you believe that I am innocent of this charge?"

"Yes. You can face Denham when you return and ask him what are his grounds for accusing you."

"If ever I do come back," said Dane gloomily. And the conversation ended for the time being.

Dane made himself very useful on board, and Calthorpe took quite a fancy to him. In addition to his other gifts he proved to be an excellent sailor. It seems that he had run away from home, and had worked for some years before the mast as a common seaman. He now wished to do what he could on board The Firefly, and chummed with the crew. So great a favorite did he become with Calthorpe that when he asked to be allowed to steer, the favor was readily granted to him, and he proved very proficient. Certainly Calthorpe did not know he was a suspected murderer and had been a thief, and neither Steel nor Giles said anything about this. Steel, indeed, still held to the belief that Dane was guilty; but Ware laughed at him.

"You said that Miss Anne was guilty," he declared; "then you believed that Denham had struck the blow; now you are convinced that Dane is the criminal. For my part I believe Denham to be guilty."

"He may be," replied Steel, with a shrug. "I am so puzzled over this case that I am prepared for any development. At all events, Denham is being looked after. He can't escape me, whether he is merely a thief or really the murderer we are in search of."

When The Firefly got into the Bay of Biscay the weather was worse than ever. Giles was pleased, as Calthorpe told him that there was the better chance of catching The Dark Horse before she reached her port of destination. Once on Spanish soil and Giles feared lest Morley should carry Anne off to the mountains. He was such a scoundrel, and so clever, that it might be possible he had confederates at Bilbao to help him to carry out any scheme he might suggest. Giles wished to catch him before he had time to formulate any new villainy. At all events, Morley would never think that they had tracked him so speedily, or had followed so rapidly. It was unlikely that he would use the yacht to the fullest extent of her steaming powers.

In the centre of the Bay The Firefly was caught by the full force of the storm. The wind and waves were terrific, but the gallant little boat proved herself trustworthy. Under a sullen sky, over a dismal grey sea she steamed, her decks streaming with water, and the ship herself rolling terribly.

Calthorpe did not slacken speed, and the boat responded splendidly to his handling. A sharp lookout was kept by all on board for the yacht, as Giles had offered a large reward for the first man who espied the boat. But the difficulty was that none of the crew knew the looks of The Dark Horse. However, they were to hail when they saw anything in the shape of a yacht, and there were one or two false alarms. At length, when The Firefly was approaching the Spanish coast, Dane, who was on deck with a glass, gave the alarm. It was a misty, grey day, with absence of sun and wind. The ocean was heaving like masses of liquid pitch with an oily look, and the yacht cut sheer through the terrific waves that threatened to overwhelm her. Suddenly a wind rose, there was a blink of sunshine, and about a mile away a bark was seen rolling in the trough of the sea. "There she is!" roared Dane, and every one came on deck.

"Are you sure?" cried Giles, taking the glass.

"Perfectly sure," replied Dane, who was dangerously excited. "Captain, let me handle the wheel as a reward."

Calthorpe gave his assent, as he knew what a good steersman Dane was. He then took his post beside Giles and Steel, who were admitted on to the bridge, and thence directed the ship. Then The Firefly made a bee-line for the distant ship.

Steel and Giles had less sense than they should have had; and Dane in his joy at the sight of his prey quite forgot that with a good glass Morley could recognize them all three. It was The Red Cross, alias The Dark Horse, that was steaming leisurely southward, and doing her best to battle with the strong seas that hammered her newly painted sides. Thus Morley, who had never expected such promptitude, became aware that his foes were at his heels. He saw the detective and Giles on the bridge. But Dane he did not see, being in too much of a hurry after his first glimpse of the danger to take further interest in those on board The Firefly. The result of Morley's decision was that those on the pursuing yacht saw clouds of smoke pouring out of the funnel, and knew that the furnaces were being crammed to suffocation. There was a shout of joy from The Firefly's crew, for now the fun was beginning.

"We'll see if she'll beat my boat," said Calthorpe on the bridge.

It was very stormy, and black clouds were racing across a pallid sky. A furious wind had blown the mists into shreds of vapor, and was ripping white spume from the tops of the rearing waves. The vessel in flight soared like a swallow, and slid down into mile-long valleys; but The Firefly, having more powerful engines, tore straight through the walls of water that threatened to block her way. She trembled with the vibration of her screws, and in the stormy heaving of the water there was great danger lest her propeller fans should snap. However, the engineer stood with his hand on the throttle-valve, and stopped the spinning of the screws when they emerged.

Much the same tactics were being pursued on board The Dark Horse, save that in addition the safety-valve was tied down. The engines worked at furious speed, and the boat leaped like a hunted stag. But the hound on its heels came closer and closer, and those on The Dark Horse could hear the roar of the delighted Firefly crew. Morley ground his teeth, and fed his furnaces again. Anne came on deck.

"Go below!" he said, and swore at her.

"I shall not," she retorted, and got away from him.

He was not able to pursue, not being in position to leave his post beside the captain. Besides, he thought it mattered very little whether she was seen or not. Ware knew that she was on board, and, moreover, if The Dark Horse were overhauled, he would suffer most himself by the capture. It would do him no good to throw Anne overboard, although he felt much inclined to do so if only for revenge.

Calthorpe could well be proud of his boat. She responded gallantly to the strain put upon her, and tore like a mad thing through the waste of waters. She swung 'longside of The Dark Horse, Dane steering with flashing eyes and his long hair streaming in the wind. There was less than a quarter of a mile separating the boats. Morley swerved to the right. Dane followed. A pretty bit of steering on the part of both vessels took place until the winds and waves took command. Then the boats, out of hand, swung together, almost touching. Giles could see Anne. She cried out and stretched her hands.

Suddenly Dane turned the yacht in a circle. Calthorpe shouted to know, with several adjectives, what he was up to. He would have stopped the engines, which were working furiously, but that it was dangerous at the moment. The Firefly swung round, and then with the rush of a wounded bull came straight at The Dark Horse.

"Hell!" cried Calthorpe, "he's going to ram her."

There was no time to stop the engines, or to reverse them. Those on The Dark Horse gave a yell of fear as the larger vessel bore down on their slighter craft. Dane, fairly mad, shouted out abuse to Morley. Another moment and the pursuing yacht struck the other midships, cutting her almost to the waterline. All on board both ships were thrown down. The Firefly reeled back. Giles lifted his head to see Anne falling overboard as The Dark Horse lurched in the roaring waters. With a cry of terror, he tore a lifebelt from its fastenings and threw himself after her.

After that he could only recollect that he was swimming for dear life and for her, amongst those furious waves. Lifted on the crest of one he saw her some distance away—a white figure against the black water. Then he went sliding down into the liquid valley. How he reached her he did not know; but after a terrific struggle he found her in his arms. He managed to slip the lifebelt over her head, and kept her up with one arm while he kept afloat with the other. She was insensible, but Giles retained all his wits. He caught a glimpse of the ragged, injured bows of The Firefly high above him, and saw that Calthorpe was launching a boat. In a few moments it came plunging towards him, and he was hauled on board with Anne. Steel was in the boat, ashy pale.

"Is our boat safe?" gasped Giles.

"Yes. But The Dark Horse is going down. Dane has gone overboard."

Suddenly Steel shrieked, and Giles turned to where he pointed. In the trough of the sea The Dark Horse was plunging like a colt, rolling like a drunken man. Giles saw Morley; near him Dane with a savage look on his face. Morley, with terror in his eyes, tried to get away, but Dane reached him, flung his arms round him, and with a wild shout both men went down into the furiously bubbling witch-caldron, never to rise again.

The strain of the whole terrible business was too much for Giles Ware. For the first and last time in his life he fainted. The last recollection he had was of seeing the doomed vessel plunging downwards and a cloud of white steam rising with a terrible roar from her exploding boilers. After that, darkness and insensibility.



CHAPTER XXVI

THE END OF THE TROUBLE

Giles returned to Rickwell within a week, to find that great changes had taken place in the place, even in that little while. After the foundering of The Dark Horse, the other yacht had returned to England forthwith. She had not been very badly damaged by Dane's mad act, although her bows had been smashed. Calthorpe, indeed, had been on the point of putting in to the nearest port to refit, but finding that The Firefly was still seaworthy he held on until he got back to Dover.

Some of the crew of the lost ship had been picked up. As they were all more or less connected with the Scarlet Cross Society, Steel took charge of them and conducted them to London. Giles accompanied Anne to her mother. The Princess Karacsay received her with open arms, and Olga with many professions of gratitude. "You have undone all the harm I caused," said Olga to Giles.

"Oh, that's all right," he replied. "We are friends now?"

"Friends, and nothing more than friends. I am returning to Vienna with my mother, and have agreed to marry Count Taroc."

Satisfied on this point, Giles went back to Rickwell, leaving Anne to the society of the Princess. Almost as soon as he set foot in his home he was informed of the news by Trim.

"Mr. Franklin is dead," said Trim, with startling abruptness.

"Dead!" echoed Ware astonished. "Was his broken leg the cause?"

"No," replied the old man; "but yesterday he received a telegram, and afterwards took a dose of poison. His daughter is coming here to see you, sir. She heard you were to be here to-day."

Giles wondered why Portia should come to see him, and also why Denham should have committed suicide after receiving a telegram. Trim could not tell him what the telegram was about, so Giles had to wait until the girl chose to call and enlighten him. Perhaps she had a message for him from the dead man concerning Anne. Meanwhile Trim went on to state that Mrs. Morley was leaving Rickwell.

"She has sold all her furniture and has let The Elms," said Trim. "I saw Morris yesterday, and he tells me she is stopping at 'The Merry Dancer' with her children."

"Does she know of her husband's death?" asked Giles.

"Death, sir. Is Mr. Morley dead?"

"I forgot. You do not know. Yes, Trim. He went down in his yacht, The Dark Horse, in the Bay of Biscay."

"Poor woman!" said Trim, looking shocked; "she was so fond of him."

Ware had his own opinion on this point, so made no remark. He turned over the correspondence that had accumulated during his absence, and found a letter from Mrs. Morley written a day or so previous. She said therein that she wished to see him particularly, and that she would call as soon as he returned. She had something most particular to tell him. The word "particular" was underlined. Giles wondered if she intended to tell him some of Morley's rascalities. But then he remembered that, according to Dane, she knew nothing of the double life which her husband had led. Anxious to hear what she had to say, he despatched a note by Trim asking her to come to his house, and offering to go to the inn, should she prefer their conversation to take place there. When Trim departed, Giles proceeded to despatch such business connected with his estates as was necessary.

Hardly had he been an hour engaged in this way when Portia called to see him. She had discarded her rainbow-colored garb, and was clothed in funereal black. When she entered Giles' study he saw that her eyes were red, and her face swollen with weeping. He felt extremely sorry for the poor girl, and privately determined to look after her as Denham had requested. Meantime he did his best to console Portia.

"I am sorry to hear of your father's death," he said sympathetically. Portia looked at him indignantly.

"Why should you say that?" she demanded; "you were not his friend."

"No. I certainly was not. All the same I cannot help regretting that a man with such great gifts should have wasted them in the way he did, and should have put an end to himself."

"There was nothing else for him to do," said the girl mournfully. "He was to be taken to gaol as soon as his leg was better. The police could not move him immediately, or he would have been put in gaol long ago. But he's dead now, and I'm glad. Whatever you may say of him, Mr. Ware, he was my father, and good to me. Yes, and he was good to Anne also. She'll tell you so."

"I am sure he was," answered Giles gently. "Your father had his good points, Portia. How much of his sad history do you know?"

"I know he had his faults," she replied doggedly, "and that he was very badly treated by that beast Morley. I'm glad Morley is dead."

"How do you know he is?" asked Giles sharply.

"Father got a telegram yesterday from Steel. Steel promised to let him know if Morley was caught, as father hated him so. When the telegram came saying that Morley was drowned, father said that he had nothing left to live for, and that he was quite pleased to die. Then he sent me out of the room and took poison. I came back in an hour," sobbed Portia, "and found him dead. He looked so handsome as a corpse."

Giles shivered at this morbid speech, but made no comment thereon. He saw that Portia knew very little, and was determined in her own mind to know no more. She had elevated her dead father to the rank of a hero, and would not listen to a word against him. Ware thought there must have been a great deal of good in Denham, despite his evil career, seeing that he had gained the good will of both Portia and Anne. But he had no time to talk further to Portia on these points, as a card was brought in to him, and he learned that Mrs. Morley was waiting to see him. He said a few final words to Portia.

"How do you stand?" he asked.

"Anne will look after me," she answered. "I don't suppose you'll be mean enough to put her against me."

"Why should I?" said Giles mildly. "I am only too glad to help you in any way I can. But this money your father——"

"That is all right. Father saw Mr. Asher, the lawyer, and has left his money to Anne, every penny of it. I get nothing," cried Portia, with a fresh burst of grief; "but I do hope Anne will help me. I'm sure I've always been very good to her, even though she isn't my sister."

"Did your father tell you she wasn't?"

"Yes. He said she was an adopted child. Though why he should have left her all, and me nothing——"

Here Portia wept again.

Ware saw that Denham had arranged with Asher that her father's money should pass to Anne. No doubt he had told the lawyer the whole history of the imposture, and Asher would now take steps to place Anne in possession of her fortune. But Denham had deceived Portia, probably because he wished the girl to think well of him after he was dead. Giles resolved that he would not undeceive the girl.

"I'll see that things are made easy for you," he said. "Are you still at the Priory?"

"There's nowhere else for me to go till I hear from Anne."

"Anne is in town. I'll write to her, and we'll see what can be done."

Portia rose to go, but she expressed no thanks for his kindness. "So you are to marry Anne," she said. "Well, I hope you'll be good to her."

"Don't you think I shall?"

Portia, in spite of her grief, tossed her head. "I don't know," she said; "all men are bad, except my father, who was very, very good," and she looked defiantly at Giles as though challenging contradiction.

But Ware was too sorry for the girl to make any harsh remark. He walked with her to the outer door, and sent her away in a much more cheerful mood. Then he returned to his study, and found Mrs. Morley already seated near his desk. She looked ill and worn, but, in strange contrast to her usual custom, wore a colored gown, and evidently had been trying to dress herself as gaily as possible. She saw the surprised look on Giles' face, and guessed its meaning.

"Yes, Mr. Ware," she said, plucking at her dress, "you see I have my holiday clothes on. Even though Oliver has left me, there is no need for me to go into mourning. No. He has deserted me basely. I am determined to show the world that I don't care."

"Mrs. Morley, your husband is dead."

"Dead!" She half started from her chair, but sat down again with a white face. Then to Giles' horror she began to laugh. He knew that Morley had been a bad husband to the woman before him, but that she should laugh on hearing of his death, made him shiver. He hastily explained how Morley had met with his fate, and Mrs. Morley not only laughed again, but clapped her gloved hands.

"Dead!" she said quite gleefully. "Ah! he was lucky to the last."

Ware thought that the widow must be off her head to talk like this; but Mrs. Morley was perfectly sane, and her exclamation was perfectly natural, as he soon learned. She enlightened him in her next speech.

"Don't you call a man lucky," she said quietly, "who died like my husband in the clean waves of the sea, instead of being hanged as he deserved?"

"What do you mean?" asked the startled Giles.

"Can't you guess?" She drew a paper out of her pocket. "I came here to give you that, Mr. Ware. The confession of my wicked husband."

"Confession?"

"Yes. You will find it particularly interesting, Mr. Ware. It was my miserable husband who murdered Daisy."

"Never!" gasped Giles, rising aghast. "He was in the library all the time. You told——"

"I know what I told," she answered quickly. "I did so to save my name from shame; for the sake of my children I lied. Oliver did not deserve the mercy I showed him. Base to the last he deserted me. Now he is dead. I am glad to hear it." She paused and laughed. "I shall not change my dress, Mr. Ware."

"Don't, Mrs. Morley," he said, with a shudder.

"Not that name, if you please," she said, and noting her card on the desk she tore it in two. Then opening her case she tore the other cards and scattered them on the floor. "Mrs. Morley is no more. I am Mrs. Warton. That is the name of my first husband—my true husband—the father of my three children. Yes, Mr. Ware, I have sold my furniture, and let The Elms. To-morrow I leave for the south of France with my children. I land in France as Mrs. Warton, and the old life is gone for ever. Can you blame me?"

"From what I know of Morley I cannot," he stammered. "But what do you know, Mrs. Mor—I mean Mrs. Warton?"

"I know everything. Listen, Mr. Ware. When Oliver married me I was in love with him. I thought he loved me for myself. But it was my money he was after. Some time after our marriage I found that he was a gambler. He lost all my money at cards. Fortunately there was a sum of a thousand a year settled on me which he could not touch, nor was he able to touch the money left to my children. All the rest (and there was a great deal) he wheedled out of me and spent."

"I wonder you did not put an end to him long ago. I mean I should have thought you would separate from the scoundrel."

Mrs. Morley sighed. "I loved him," she said in low tones. "It took me many a long day to stamp that love out of my heart. I did all he wished me to do. I took The Elms and obtained the guardianship of Daisy. I never thought that he had any design in getting me to take her to live with us. I was one of her father's oldest friends and loved the girl. Morley managed the affair in such a manner that I did what he wished without knowing I was being coerced."

"Morley was a very clever man."

"And a wicked man," said his widow, without emotion. "I can only think of the way he behaved to me and mine. Daisy always hated him. I could never get her to like him. I don't know what he said or did to her—he always seemed to me to treat her with kindness—but she had an antipathy to him. He thought when she got the Powell money he would do what he liked with her and it. But when he saw she was hostile to him he determined then on her murder."

"You did not know that at the time?" said Giles breathlessly.

"No. Certainly I did not, or I should have sent the girl away. I am only talking by the light of recent events. When that man came to tell Morley about the death of Powell he knew that Daisy would leave the house and marry you as soon as she got the fortune. He tried to induce Denham when he was in the library to kill Daisy, and took down the stiletto for that purpose. Denham refused. Then there was a man called Dane, who came with a message. Morley asked him likewise to kill the girl, and was likewise refused. He saw there was nothing for it but to murder Daisy himself. In a day or so it would have been too late, as she would hear about the money and leave the house. Morley took the stiletto and went to the church in the hope of killing her when she came out and was amidst the crowd of people. He hoped to escape unobserved."

"A rash idea!" observed Giles.

"Oh, its safety lay in its rashness," said the widow coldly. "Well, it happened that Denham lured Daisy out of the church and did not follow for some time. Morley looking at the door saw her come out. She waited for a moment and then walked to her father's grave. Morley followed and killed her by stabbing her in the back as she knelt in the snow by the grave. She fell forward with a cry. He would have repeated the blow but that he saw Denham coming. He fled back to the house. I was in the library when he arrived. He made some excuse, and I never thought anything was wrong."

"Had he the stiletto with him?"

"I believe he had, but I did not see it. Afterwards he took the stiletto back to the churchyard and pretended to find it, so that Anne might be accused. Denham never suspected Morley of the crime. Why, I don't know, as any one who knew what I have told you about his offers to Denham and Dane must have guessed that Morley was guilty."

"How did you learn all this?" asked Giles, glancing at the confession which was in Morley's own handwriting.

"At various times. I did not suspect him at first. But one thing led to another and I watched him. I got at his papers and discovered all about the Scarlet Cross, and——"

"Wait, Mrs. Morley—I mean Warton. Did Morley write that anonymous letter which accused Anne?"

"Yes. He did so, in case it was necessary to kill Daisy. He hoped by hinting beforehand that Anne would be accused. It was Anne's foolish speech to Daisy, saying she would kill her, that gave him the idea. But she meant nothing by it. It was only a few hot words. However, Morley used them to his own end. Well, Mr. Ware, I found out about the thieving gang, and then learned for the first time the kind of man I had married. My love died out of my heart at once. I took to thinking how I could get away from him. He used to mutter in his sleep, having an uneasy conscience."

"I should think he was too strong a man to have a conscience."

"Well, he muttered in his sleep at all events. From what he said I discovered that he had something to do with the death of Daisy. I accused him, and told him that I knew all about his Scarlet Cross wickedness. He denied the truth of this at first. Afterwards, little by little, I got the truth out of him. I then made him write out that confession and sign it, so that I could save Anne should she be caught. I promised for the sake of my own name and my children not to use the confession unless Anne was taken. That is why Morley ran away with Anne. He fancied that she would continue to bear the blame, and also"—here Mrs. Wharton hesitated and glanced at Giles—"I fancy that Oliver was in love with Miss Denham."

"The scoundrel!" cried Giles furiously.

Mrs. Wharton—as she now called herself—laughed coldly and rose to depart. "I don't think it matters much now," she said. "Anne was not drowned also, was she?"

"No," replied Ware, shuddering; "she is in London, and I hope shortly to make her my wife."

"I wish her all happiness," said Mrs. Wharton, without emotion. "I always liked Anne, and for her sake I secured that confession. That, when published, will vindicate her character. You need have no hesitation in showing it to the police and in letting that detective deal with it as he thinks fit. In a few days I shall be in France under the name of Mrs. Wharton, and the past will be dead to me. Good-bye." She held out her hand.

"Good-bye," answered Giles, shaking it heartily. "I trust you will be happy, Mrs. Wharton."

"I shall be at peace, if nothing else," she replied, and so passed from the room, and out of his life.

Giles showed the confession to Steel, who was delighted that the real culprit had at last been discovered. But he was sorely disappointed at the suicide of Denham. "It spoils the case," he said.

"You are going to bring the matter into court, then," said Giles.

"Of course. I want some reward for my labor, Mr. Ware. I'll break up that gang. I must publish this confession in order to save your future wife from further blame. Not that it will matter much," he added, "for Miss Denham—I should rather say Miss Franklin—has gone to Styria with her mother and half-sister."

"I know," answered Giles quietly. "I join them there in a week."

"Well, Mr. Ware, I congratulate you, and I hope you'll have a good time. You deserve it from the way in which you have worked over this case."

"What about yourself, Steel?"

"Oh, I'm all right. Dane, Morley, and Denham are dead, which is a pity, as they are the chief villains of the play. Still, I'll contrive to punish those others and get some kudos out of the business. And I must thank you, Mr. Ware, for that reward."

"It was Miss Anne's idea," replied Ware. "She will soon be put in possession of her money, and asked me to give you the reward. It is half from her and half from me."

"And I believed her guilty," said Steel regretfully; "but I'll make amends, Mr. Ware. I'll keep her name out of this business as much as I can, consistently with the evidence."

Steel was as good as his word. The thieves were tried, but Anne was not mentioned in connection with their robberies. As regards the murder, the confession of Morley was made public and every one knew that Anne was guiltless. In fact, she was applauded for the way in which she had helped her supposed father to escape. The papers called the whole episode romantic, but the papers never knew the entire truth, nor that Anne was the daughter of the Princess Karacsay. Not even Mrs. Parry learned as much as she should have liked to learn. But what scraps of information she did become possessed of, she wove into a thrilling story which fully maintained her reputation as a scandal-monger. And she was always Anne's friend, being particularly triumphant over the fact that she had never believed her to be guilty.

"And I hope," said Mrs. Parry generally, "that every one will believe what I say in the future;" which every one afraid of her tongue pretended to do.

Giles and Anne were married from the castle of Prince Karacsay, in Styria. The Prince took a great fancy to Anne Franklin, and learned the truth about her parentage. But this was not made public. It was simply supposed that she was a young English lady who was the intimate friend of Princess Olga. But every one was surprised when the elder Princess at the wedding threw over Anne's neck a magnificent necklace of uncut emerald. "It belonged to your father's mother, dear," whispered the Princess as she kissed the bride.

Olga married Count Taroc, and settled down into the meekest of wives. Giles and Anne heard of the marriage while on their honeymoon in Italy. They had taken a villa at Sorrento and were seated out on the terrace when the letter came, Anne expressed herself glad.

"And you are pleased too, dear," she said to Giles.

"Very pleased," he replied, with emphasis, whereat she laughed.

"I know why you are pleased," she said, in answer to his look. "Olga told me how deeply she was in love with you. But her cure was as quick as her disease was virulent. She never would have harmed me, my dear. Olga was always fond of me—and of you."

Giles flushed and laughed.

"Well, it's all over now," he said, "and I am glad she is married. But let us talk about yourself. Are you happy after all your troubles, dearest?"

"Very happy, Giles. I regret nothing. Portia, thanks to you, is in a good home. But my poor father——"

"Don't call Denham that, Anne," he said, with a frown.

She kissed it away.

"He was always very good to me," she said. "I tried to save him, as you know. I believed that he had killed Daisy by some mistake. But really, Giles, I did not stop to think. I knew that my—I mean Denham—was in danger of his life, and I could not rest until I had placed him in safety."

"And you defended him afterwards, Anne—that time we met in the churchyard. You quite endorsed his story of the invented Walter Franklin."

"Don't reproach me, Giles. I had promised Denham to say what I did; and not even for your dear sake could I break my word. He was a good man in many ways; but, as you say yourself, it is all over. Let us forget him and his tragic end."

"And Morley's."

Anne shivered. "He was the worst. Oh, what a terrible time I had on board that boat, when I found he was deceiving me. I thought he was taking me to Denham, and I wanted to see what he—I mean Denham—would say to my mother's statement. I thought he might be able to show that he was not so bad as she——"

"Not another word," said Ware, taking her in his arms. "Let us leave the old bad past alone, and live in the present. See"—he took a parcel out of his pocket—"I have had this made for you."

Anne opened the package, and found therein the coin of Edward VII. set as a brooch and surrounded by brilliants.

"Oh, how delightful!" she said, with a true woman's appreciation of pretty things.

"It is the dearest thing in the world to me, save you, Anne," he said. "Twice that coin brought me to you. But for it I should never have been by your side now."

"No!"

She kissed the coin again and fastened it at her throat, where it glittered a pretty, odd ornament.

"You waste your kisses," cried Giles, and took her to his breast.



Transcriber's Note Inconsistencies in spelling have been retained as in the original.

THE END

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