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excitement; he stepped noiselessly in- again. He rose, for he was becoming side ; and hardly had he done so, when cramped trying to reduce himself to there came another gust of wind and a half his natural size. He saw that the sudden draught, the candle in the hall hallway was quite dark and the room was extinguished, and the outer door beyond quite light; a few steps might blown to with a loud noise, and jovial solve the mystery ; his object once atTom Trumper, with the cold perspira- tained and the people of the house tion on his forehead, found himself asleep, he could escape by a window on caught in the enemy's country. The the ground floor if not able to unlock noise of the closing door alarmed those the door. The temptation was strong, within ; Trumper heard footsteps, and a and Mr. Trumper was now bold. He strident voice crying out,“Who is there? ventured; took step after step toward Crow, did you shut that door?” the light along the dark hallway ; one

Then a few words spoken in a lower more would have given him a clear view voice, and the candle was relighted. He of the room, when—the hall-door bell crouched down in the darkest corner of rang. Mr. Trumper's knees trembled the vestibule and scarcely breathed. again ; the position now was even more Somehow he knew that that strong embarrassing than before. It was too grating voice belonged to the man with late to retreat to the vestibule. He the black beard, and it struck terror to heard people moving ; they were comhis soul. Somebody said presently, in ing; a door was open on his right; he a milder tone: “I must have failed to dashed through it as Crow entered the close the door behind me, and it blew hall with a lamp. The room into which to when Crow opened the window. he came was dark but for the light from There is the mystery explained." this lamp. Trumper perceived a sofa

“I shall make sure it is closed now," and plunged behind it. Gracious Heavand the tall man strode into the vesti- ens ! somebody was already there ; no, bule, turned a knob, and pushed a bolt, it was only a cat, that, startled, poor allowing poor Trumper to observe that creature, by Trumper's avoirdupois, the lock was of a complicated pattern dashed away. Meantime the hall door impossible for him to open; then rattled was opened and new voices were heard, the door and said grimly that it would a woman's among them, Trumper blow to no more that night.

thought. He listened intently, frightHad be turned to the left in leaving, ened as he was. They were going up Trumper must surely have been discov- the stairs ; his curiosity was again arered, but he wheeled to the right and dent; his position commanded a view of saw no one in the dark corner. He a small section of the stairs. He raised went away with the others to the room his eye above the sofa, and sure enough at the far end of the hall, this time he beheld a female figure being led up taking the candle with him, and Mr. the stairs by Crow and a stranger, while Trumper had an opportunity to recover those mysterious people Trumper had his presence of mind, which had sadly always known as the three bad men foldeserted him.

lowed solemnly behind. They disapWhat an awful situation for an honor- peared, and our friend was left again in able public house keeper, much respect- obscurity; he felt that he had witnessed ed and revered in the community, to be the prelude to some horrible crime, and discovered in-hiding and dodging with his indignation his courage came around strange houses in the dark! The again ; indeed it had been continually thought almost renewed his panic, but coming and going during his visit to gradually Mr. Trumper's stolidity of this house. "I may not be able to pretemperament prevailed, and he reflected vent this crime, whatever its nature," that his wager must be won ; that he was he said to himself ; “but at least I will now actually in the house, so that half witness it and give evidence against the its conditions were fulfilled ; that his villains, regardless of the consequences curiosity was more biting than it had to myself.” Bold in this virtuous ever been, and that no such opportunity thought, he came out from behind the of gratifying it would be likely to occur sofa and marched firmly to the stairs,

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"Sure enough he beheld a female figure being led up the stairs by Crow and a stranger."

VOL. IV.—79

went half way up, fancied he heard a a road with a lantern in his hand; but groan above, and came expeditiously Trumper recognized the second of the down again.

four as the man who had interrogated “ Is this my courage ?” thought the him two days before in his own tavern. worthy man ; “I will go up."

The man knew Trumper too and seemed And he did ; but as he reached the surprised to find him here. head of the stairs, a scream rang through “I have been informed,” said the the house, a door was thrown open, a spokesman ; "that two brothers, Hernoise of rapidly falling feet, a burst of bert and John Billington, who have long light on the scene, and Trumper, taken been supposed to be dead, are at present too suddenly by surprise for retreat, alive and in this house. Indeed,” he saw a woman, young and lovely, rushing added, looking around Crow's lamp, "I to him, felt her soft arms about his perceive them now if my eyes do not neck, and heard her calling upon him to deceive me.” save her, to protect her. What a situa Admitting this, what then?” said tion !-if Mrs. Trumper had been there. the dark man.

Mr. Trumper was not long permitted • Why, I have an order to confine to remain in peaceful possession of his these gentlemen in the Bloom Island fair burden ; the people of the house Asylum for the Insane, at which I fill were close in pursuit, but they stopped the office of assistant physician.” short upon perceiving our worthy friend, After a moment's pause, the tall man and it would not be easy to decide turned abruptly to the back room, and whether he was more excited or they all followed at a sign from him except more amazed.

the last two of the four, who remained in " By Jove, it's the tavern-keeper from the hall, and Crow, who went only as over the way !” exclaimed one of the far as the door, followed by Trumper, fair men.

who had been quite overlooked in the Well, what are you doing here, sir?” excitement. cried the tall one.

The party took seats around a table Trumper stammered and stuttered, upon which were bottles, glasses, toand in a confused way tried to give his bacco, and cards. questioners some idea of the events that “ The blow has come at last," exhave been recorded. He did not think claimed one of the fair men. they were very angry ; the dark man “And but one day too soon,” said the grinned once or twice ; but in the midst other. of his explanation the door bell rang “It is true," said the dark man, “that again and attention was instantly di- your discovery is made at an inopporverted from him. Crow had already tune moment." taken the woman from Trumper's arms “I have no doubt,” said the other, and led her away, but now returned, and with a smile, “ that you would have a consultation was held as to the ex- found my discovery inopportune at any pediency of answering the bell, which time.” continued to be heard at intervals. “I do not play upon words, sir," reComing to a decision they all filed down joined the dark man, sternly; “I am in the stairs except the last comers, and earnest when I request that you will deTrumper followed, hoping that when the lay the execution of your order for a door opened he would be permitted to day.” escape. Crow drew the bolts and dis May I ask upon what grounds ?” covered four men standing just outside. “I will tell you, although in doing so

“I have a few words to say,” said I must touch upon matters of a family the spokesman, “ with the head of this and contidential nature." house.

He glanced at the Billington brothers The dark man stepped forward ; the and only continued at a sign of assent four men entered the hall, and Crow from them. closed the door behind them. The "I am a physician, like yourself, alspokesman Trumper did not know, al- though I have no doctor's degree; but though we saw him long ago waiting on I have passed nearly all my life in Asi

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atic countries, where I learned many out by my superior and our order imnovel medical theories, most of them mediately annulled.” worthless and absurd, but a few of “We accede to your plan, but must value. Among the natives, with a slight persist in our request for delay.” knowledge of European medical science, “Delay! Why delay longer if your for I studied in Paris in my youth, I friends are cured?” said the other suscame to be regarded as a great physician piciously. and amassed considerable wealth.

“Because we have learned that Craven “Several years ago I returned to Eu- is to be married to-morrow to a young rope and found my relatives, Herbert lady, his cousin several times removed," and John Billington, suffering from a said Herbert Billington. “I sent for peculiar phase of hereditary insanity, my niece to-day, and she met me in my which in Europe has always been con- lawyer's office, where I learned that she sidered incurable, but which I had detested Craven and dreaded the marritreated novelly and successfully in the age. Before your arrival we had disEast. Francis Craven, their nephew, cussed the matter and determined to had had them cared for in many asylums, save the poor girl by stopping the wedand at the same time he and a rascally ding. I have a strong hold over Craven, lawyer obtained control of the Billing- as proof can be produced that he squandton property and took many liberties ered a quarter of my fortune before my with it. To my offer to treat his uncles supposed death.” in the Eastern fashion Craven acceded, “And so we request that you waive but became alarmed when he found they the rights of your order for twenty-four were improving, and, claiming that my hours, after which we will submit to all horrible system of treatment was driv- the formalities you please,” said the ing his uncles to the grave, he obtained Eastern doctor. an order to place them in the Bloom The asylum physician seemed waverIsland Asylum, where, although it is ing, and the other, taking advantage of an excellent institution, he knew they his indecision, suggested that the matnever could be cured. I protested to ter be discussed, and led the way to medical and legal authorities, but was the room at the far end of the hall. As laughed at as an Oriental humbug. If they passed along the visitor asked the you were at the asylum the night of their dark physician whether he had ever taken arrival

any other patients. “They were under my charge at the "Two, both women; one is upstairs time of the accident,” said the asylum now, the other was a hopeless case.” doctor, who no longer smiled incredu- Trumper, who had been so much interlously as at first.

ested in the disclosure that he had for“ Then I need not recount that part gotten where he was, now touched Crow of the story. My relatives, who are finer on the arm, slipped a guinea into his swimmers than you gave them credit for hand, and requested to be let out. Crow, being, were enabled to effect their escape, not having been aware that anyone was and being sane enough to know me as behind him, started, but quickly reflecttheir friend, they arrived at my quarters ing that the day had come when all mysin London one morning and begged me tery was to be abandoned, he pocketed to protect them. I rented this house in the guinea and threw open the door, this out of the way place, and they are and Trumper with a sigh of relief found now cured and have long been so, but I himself once more a free man; he have hesitated until all danger of a re- crossed the street, looked back at the lapse was passed.”

black windows of the brick house, and Are you willing to submit them to wondered if it were not all a dream. the test of an examination ?

His wife, too, who was lying awake in a • Entirely so."

pretty state of mind, was entirely unwil“That does away with all difficulties. ling to believe his improbable story. Enable me to carry out my instructions Very little sleep came to poor Trumper's by returning with me to Bloom Island eyes that night, and in the morning he to-night, where a certificate can be made was annoyed at finding that his wife still

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