BY G. A. HENTY
AUTHOR OF 'RUJUB THE JUGGLER' 'IN THE DAYS OF THE MUTINY' 'THE CURSE OF CARNE'S HOLD' ETC.
IN THREE VOLUMES—VOL. II.
CHATTO & WINDUS, PICCADILLY
SPOTTISWOODE AND CO., NEW-STREET SQUARE
NEW LIBRARY NOVELS.
Just before twelve o'clock on the following day Mr. Hawtrey's carriage drew up at Charles Levine's office. In the waiting room they found Danvers, who had arrived shortly before them.
'Thank you for coming,' Mr. Hawtrey said, as he shook hands with him; 'I think I am rather afraid of Levine by himself. Of course I know that he is the best adviser one can have in a business of this sort, but that way he has of lifting his eyebrows makes me nervous. I feel as David Copperfield did with that man-servant of Steerforth's; he thought him very young indeed. It does not make me feel young, but rather that he is considering me to be an old fool. I don't suppose he means exactly that, but that is the impression I get from those eyebrows of his.'
'I am sure he does not mean that, Mr. Hawtrey,' Danvers laughed, 'though it may be that the action is expressive of a passing doubt in his mind, or rather of his perceiving some point that is unfavourable to the cause he is retained to defend. I hope you have come here to say that you agree with our view in the matter.'
'You will hear presently, Danvers. I came to that conclusion yesterday, but the position is somewhat changed.'
At this moment the door opened, and a clerk asked them to follow him, as Mr. Levine was now disengaged.
'This is your client—my daughter Dorothy,' Mr. Hawtrey said, as he introduced her to the lawyer; 'this is Mr. Singleton, an old friend and neighbour of ours.'
Mr. Levine shook hands with Dorothy, looking at her scrutinisingly as he did so; she looked as frankly at him.
'So you thought I was guilty, Mr. Levine?'
'I am sure that your father will do me the justice to say that I said nothing that could in any way be construed into such an opinion, Miss Hawtrey,' he replied, courteously.
'Perhaps not, but you thought so all the same. I am learning to be a thought reader. I saw that, and also I think that a slight feeling of doubt came into your mind as you shook hands.'
'I must be careful, I see,' he said, smiling; 'however, without either admitting or denying anything, I may say that I am glad that Mr. Hawtrey brought you with him.'
'And now, Mr. Levine,' Mr. Hawtrey said, 'I will tell you what we have come about. Yesterday we had quite made up our minds to take your advice, although my daughter assented to it only with the greatest reluctance. A fresh complication has occurred which I will leave Mr. Singleton to tell for himself.'
Mr. Levine took up a pen and prepared to take notes, as Mr. Singleton began the story with his conversation with Dorothy at Mrs. Dean's. At the point when Dorothy called her father, Mr. Levine interposed.
'Pardon me for interrupting you, but it is very important that I should understand the position exactly before you go farther. Whatever this matter may be of which you are about to tell me, do I understand that it was one entirely between Miss Hawtrey and yourself?'
'It was one of which you never intended to have spoken, and of which Miss Hawtrey felt perfectly confident that under no circumstances whatever would you have revealed it?'
'Certainly, I have known her from a child, and nothing whatever would have induced me to have mentioned it to any one, and Miss Hawtrey had, I am certain, an absolute confidence that I would not do so.'
'It was then, therefore, a wholly spontaneous action on the part of Miss Hawtrey in summoning her father to her side, and asking him to take you home with him.'
'Entirely so; I was myself absolutely bewildered at what appeared to me her determination to make her father acquainted with the particulars of the painful scenes of which I will now tell you.'
And he then related the particulars of the interview in his chambers.
'At the time,' he concluded, 'no doubt whatever entered my mind, that the person who called upon me was Miss Hawtrey. Thinking it over now, and having an absolute confidence in her, I see that I may have been mistaken; she was veiled when she entered, and in all the years I have known Miss Hawtrey I have never seen her wear a veil. A veil certainly alters the appearance of a face, and for an instant when she entered I did not recognise her, but the likeness must be very great, for my hesitation was only momentary. Afterwards she had a handkerchief up to her face during the greater part of the interview, and during the whole time she spoke in a low voice broken by sobs. No doubt there must be some similarity between the voices, but heard in that way it was so different from her usual outspoken tones, that I should be sorry to be called upon to swear whether at other times it would resemble her voice or not.'
'I may add, Mr. Levine,' Mr. Hawtrey said, when he had finished, 'that I have this morning received a bill from Allerton's, where my daughter usually gets things, for four silk dresses and two mantles which were ordered on the same day and at about the same hour at which the jewels were stolen and this interview with Mr. Singleton took place. I drove down there after breakfast, and found that the goods were taken out and placed in a cab that was waiting at the door, my daughter saying that she wished to take them at once to her dressmaker. I also called in at Gilliat's, and found that there, as well as at Allerton's, the woman was veiled when she gave the orders.'
Mr. Levine had listened with close attention to Mr. Singleton, glancing keenly at times towards Dorothy, who was sitting with her side-face to him, absorbed in the repetition of the story.
When Mr. Hawtrey ceased speaking, he was silent for a minute, and then said—
'In the first place, Miss Hawtrey, I have to make an apology to you. You were right. I see so much of the bad side of human nature that I own that, until I saw you, I did not entertain a shadow of a doubt that you, driven by some pressure, had resorted to this desperate