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Whereas, Anthony Hamblin, deceased, formerly “And now," said Gilbert, “ for our own indimerchant, Great St. Simon Apostle, City of Lon- vidual work. If Mr. Billiter will allow me, I will don, and Clapham Common, is believed to have receive all the answers to the advertisements and contracted marriage some twenty to twenty-two report progress whenever any discovery takes or three years ago, with a person unknown; the place." above reward is offered to any one who will give “And I,” said Alderney, “will begin at once such information as will lead to the discovery of a private search in all the London parish registhe person and the place and date of marriage; ters. When I have gone through those, I will and any persons who are cognizant of the mar- tackle the suburban churches. After that-but riage, who are connected with the wife of An- that is as far as we shall get.” thony Hamblin, or who lost any female relation "All this, Alderney," said Augustus, "will by Aight, elopement, abduction, or disappearance require money. You must not give us your time about that time, are requested to communicate for nothing—at least, you must let us pay your full particulars to the undersigned.'"
expenses.' Here followed the name and address of the Poor Alderney blushed. He really had no solicitors.
employment for his time at the moment, for no “There,” said Alderney, with great satisfac- one, up to the present, had shown any desire to tion, “that will fetch the house-I mean, wake join in the promotion of the Great Glass Spoon up the church."
Company. And there were five weeks to quar“Very clearly put,” said Mr. Billiter. “It is ter-day, and, to meet all expenses for those fivea pity that you were not made a lawyer, Mr. and-thirty days, there was no more than the sum Codd."
of five-and-thirty shillings, with a silver watch, a Alderney smiled. This was the sort of tribute gold chain, a gold medal once won at college for to his intellect that he enjoyed.
a theological essay, and two rings. These arti“ Thank you, Mr. Billiter. But-quid Romæ cles of jewelry spent the latter part of every quarfaciam? Yet, if ripe scholarship and an inti- ter-day in charge of an obliging person who remate acquaintance with Latin literature could be ceived them in trust, so to speak. Sometimes of use in that profession—but I fear it is too they remained "in" for a good six months, durlate.”
ing which interval Alderney only knew the time “There was a Mrs. Duncombe," said Gilbert, by looking in bakers' shops, or the stations of the “who took charge of Alison for six or eight years. Underground Railway; by the pangs of hunger, Should we not get hold of her?”
and by the diurnal phenomena of nature. “Good,” cried the intelligent Alderney, grasp- Had it not been such an unfavorable time for ing more paper; "the very thing. Mrs. Dun- him, he would rather have done the work for combe by all means. Another advertisement. nothing. But poor men can not do generous and Two hundred-no, hang it !—five pounds reward self-sacrificing things. He could not refuse the will do for her. Mrs. Duncombe will be easy proffered money. And when Augustus, at partenough to find. There is no mystery about her, ing, pressed into his hand a piece of paper which, at any rate. 'Five Pounds Reward.—Wanted, as a rapid glance showed Alderney, was worth the present address of Mrs. Duncombe, who for exactly fifty pounds, he was affected almost to eight years had charge of a little girl at Brighton tears. -initials, A. H.' And now I look upon our case “ Your resemblance, Cousin Augustus," he as complete-quite complete.”
said, “to our poor Cousin Anthony deceased, Alderney looked about him as if the work was becomes every day more marked. O si sic already done.
omnes !” “We will advertise, then," said Augustus. “ Is there no other way of working? Can we
CHAPTER XVIII. not use some private inquiry-office ? " They all had the old-fashioned respect for
HOW THE COURT WAS HARD TO PERSUADE. detectives, thinking they could solve any mystery. But Alderney shook his head. His faith was not The tendency of humanity, in this its fallen so great.
state, to believe everything that is evil of each They can do nothing more than other men,” other has been often illustrated by the ingenious he said. Gilbert Yorke and I will be your best tribe of poets and novelists. The Hamblin detectives. They get up the facts of a case just cousinhood may, in all future ages, be cited as as we have done, and then advertise. That is another and very remarkable case in point. The just exactly what we are doing. And then they thing had only to be asserted in order to be imsit down and wait for replies—any one can do mediately believed ; and yet it was in direct conthat."
tradiction to everything the world had previously
held and acknowledged. Stephen said it was so. on working his unrepentant way through a dozen Stephen had always been the black sheep; An- of those toothsome creatures. thony had always been the respected chief of the It was, however, instructive to mark the difHouse; yet Anthony's character was swept away ference which the new position of things proby one single assertion of Stephen's. Enjoyment duced. One may not love the Heir Presumptive, of the kind which is caused by surprise was also but one must pray for the King. It became a felt in the situation. Here was a striking exam- subject of serious, even prayerful, consideration ple of the uncertainty of fortune: here was a with the cousins whether they ought not to call turning of the wheel : here was a sudden sprawl- upon Stephen, so long neglected. One or two ing in the mud of those who had been perched did actually leave cards at his chambers in Pall in apparent security on the highest point. No Mall. Stephen found them and threw them besuch reverse of fortune had ever befallen the hind the fire. He was completely indifferent to Hamblin family, except, perhaps, in the case of the action of his relations. They had long since that member of it who being on a voyage of ad- passed out of his thoughts: they did not enter venture in the Indian Ocean, had his ship scuttled, into any part or relation of his life. If he thought and was himself made to walk a most uncom- of them at all, it was as forming part of the fortable and suicidal plank laid down for him by family which had treated him with neglect, and pirates of Sumatra. It was something the cousins whom in return he would humble if he could. felt, but did not express the feeling in words, He lost no time, however, after the final insomething for the annals of the family, in the terviews and explanations with the partners, in interests of morality and philosophy, to show putting his case into the hands of a firm of sosuch a beautiful example of the instability of licitors, who were known to be able and active human greatness as that of Alison Hamblin. men. The case of Cræsus himself, although he saved "I want,” he said, after putting the points himself at the last moment by an artful conun- as clearly as possible—“I want the business drum, could not have furnished his cousins, pushed on with all dispatch. You understand nephews, nieces, and marriage-connections with I claim the whole of my brother's estate as his a more fertile topic of daily talk than the situation sole heir." of Alison, the once fortunate, the beautiful Alison, “Yes. The case, as you present it, has weak provided for the family circle.
points, Mr. Hamblin.” The female cousins pretended not to believe * You mean that my brother may have marthe story, out of deference to the partners, who ried. Rest assured that he never did. Let were stout in their repudiation of Stephen's claim. them search every register in England. I know But they did believe it at heart, and they whis- that he never married. I am as certain as that pered to each other words of doubt, pity, and I am standing here." suspicion, which served as an encouragement in “But-the young lady—she must have had belief. And the more they opened their eyes, a mother.” raised their eyebrows, made round O's of their “Account for her mother as you will. My mouths, shook their heads, wagged their curls, brother never married.” lifted their shoulders, spread out their hands, and Nothing short of the clearest documentary whispered words, the more they came to regard proof could shake Stephen's belief on this point. the story as not only probable, but certainly So far, he was perfectly and entirely sincere. true.
There is another point. The Court, when No one liked Stephen. It was a fashion in we ask for letters of administration, may refuse the family to regard him as their least enviable to consider your brother's death as proved. Let possession. For his sake, and by means of his us, however, make out the affidavit.” example, all Spaniards were supposed by the They went before the nearest commissioner, Hamblins to be profligate; how else to account when Stephen took the necessary oath, and filled for his extraordinary divergence from the recog- up the form: nized standards ? All other Hamblins had done In the goods of Anthony Hamblin deceased, well: there were Hamblins in the church, Ham- “I, Stephen Hamblin, of Sandringham Chamblins in the army and navy, Hamblins at the bar, bers, Pall Mall, Gentleman, applying for Letters Hamblins in medicine—it was a part of the fami- of Administration of the personal estate and ly tradition that a Hamblin should turn out well. effects of Anthony Hamblin, late of Great St. And here was one who had never done any good Simon Apostle, City of London and Hooghly at all. No Hamblin could contemplate without House, Clapham Common, deceased, do hereby emotion the picture of Stephen the prodigal, make oath that the said deceased was drowned Stephen the spendthrift, Stephen who was actu- on the third day of January, one thousand eight ally not satisfied with one fatted calf, but went hundred and -, in the River Serpentine, Hyde
Park, and that the personal estate and effects of took off his heavy coat, and gave it to the man the said deceased, which he anyway died pos- to keep for him: and he went away in the direcsessed of, or entitled to, and for or in respect of tion of a man who let chairs and adjusted skates which Letters of Administration are to be granted, for hire. Half an hour after his conversation exclusive of what the said deceased may have with this officer the ice gave way, and two hunbeen possessed of or entitled to as a Trustee for dred people were suddenly submerged. A great any other person or persons, and not beneficially many were drowned, and a great many bodies including the leasehold estate or estates for years were subsequently recovered, but Mr. Anthony of the said deceased, whether absolute or deter- Hamblin's body, as already stated, was not found. minable on a life or lives, and without deducting in the evening the man carried the coat to his anything on account of the debts due and owing private residence, but he had not come home. from the said deceased, are under the value of There was no ground for any other supposition three hundred thousand pounds to the best of my than that of death. He was a man universally knowledge, information, and belief.”
respected and loved, a man of great wealth, a To which were appended the signatures of most successful merchant, a man of very steady claimant and witnesses.
and regular habits, no longer young; a man of “ This application,” said the lawyer, “must happy disposition, with no enemies, no anxieties, be lodged on Thursday. Fortunately, we are in no mental troubles; a man who enjoyed life, a time, and on Tuesday week we shall make our man possessed of strong physique, free from ailmotion in court. You will give us as many ments or sickness of any kind. particulars as possible, Mr. Hamblin. We must Stephen Hamblin, his client, the only brother make our case a strong one at the outset.” of the deceased, on hearing the sad news, at once
It was then Tuesday. There was, therefore, took up the position of guardian to his brother's a fortnight to wait. Stephen, tolerably ignorant child. With regard to this child, there had alof the English law, thought he had only to ask ways been a mystery about her. Anthony Hamfor the letters of administration, and then to blin, until ten years before, was believed by all step at once into possession. At the worst, he to be a bachelor. He suddenly, however, at that fancied the Court might possibly grant a short time, appeared at home with a little girl aged delay of two or three months, while the other nine years, whom he introduced simply as his side looked about for proofs of the marriage. daughter. He explained that her mother had He waited impatiently for the fortnight to pass. been dead for many years, and offered no other
The day came at last. He found himself in explanation on the subject. Nor was any other the court.
asked : and, if his cousins had misgivings, these Counsel for the complainant, in opening the were easily appeased by consideration of the case, said that, as had been stated in the affida- blameless life always led by the deceased. vit, the deceased, Anthony Hamblin, had met On his death, however, the discovery that with his death at the late deplorable accident on there was no will led to an attempt on the part the 3d of January last, when, by the breaking of of Stephen Hamblin to clear up the mystery conthe ice, fifty persons had been suddenly drowned. nected with Miss Hamblin's birth. This investiThe case presented the peculiarity that the body gation, commenced at first in the interests of the was never, and had not up to the present mo- young lady, and after consultation with her, led ment, been recovered. The Court might, there- Mr. Stephen Hamblin to surprising results. He fore, be of opinion that the death was not proved. found from the diaries and journals of the deBut the family, in the hope that he had not been ceased, which, coupled with his own recollections drowned, had taken every possible step, offering of his brother's life, accounted fully for almost very large rewards, and advertising in the most every hour of the past thirty years, that there likely manner to attract the attention of people. could have been no marriage at all. In that Mr. Hamblin was a man of strongly-marked in- case, Stephen Hamblin was sole heir, and Miss dividuality, easily recognizable; it was impossible Hamblin had no legal claim to any portion of the that he should be still living unknown and un- estate. recognized. He left his home on the morning of When these facts were fully established in the 3d of January: he told his servants that he his own mind, and not before, Stephen Hamblin should be home to dinner as usual : he was seen sought his late brother's partners, and communion the banks of the Serpentine half an hour or cated them in a friendly spirit. He was not reso before the occurrence of the accident: he was ceived, however, with the spirit that he expected. carrying his skates with him: he spoke to an However, whether the petition was to be opofficer of the Royal Humane Society, of which posed or not, his client, in asking for letters of institution he was a liberal supporter: he an- administration, desired it to be clearly undernounced his intention of going on the ice: he stood that his intention, after acquiring the
property to which he was entitled, was to recog- The Court did not want to hear any more evinize his brother's child, and to provide for her dence on the subject. The Court would pass on with liberality.
to consider the nature of the claim set up by The counsel went on to describe the property Mr. Stephen Hamblin. in general terms. The real property consisted Then the counsel for the other side was able of a large house and grounds, known as Hoogh- to begin. ly House, standing on Clapham Common, and a He said that up to a certain point he was prehouse standing in a small park in Sussex. There pared to acknowledge all the statements made was also a considerable estate in house property, by his learned brother. There was no will to partly in the City of London, where the Ham- be found ; most likely none had been executed. blins had been merchants for two hundreds years. There was no mention anywhere of a marriage. and partly in the southern suburbs. Mr. An- There was not any entry of his own marriage or thony Hamblin also, as chief partner in the firm, the birth of his daughter in the family Bible. had a very large stake in the business. The All this was quite true. As regarded the disinpersonal property amounted to about two hun- terested action of Mr. Stephen Hamblin, in seekdred and fifty thousand pounds in various stocks, ing to prove himself the heir to so large a propsecurities, and investments. In addition, there erty, he was only desirous to state that Mr. was a valuable library, a collection of pictures, Stephen Hamblin had proved his liberal intenwith furniture, objects of art, bric-d-brac, and tions by offering this young lady, brought up to so forth, the results of several generations of regard herself as the heiress of a very large forwealth. The whole would probably be sworn tune, a hundred pounds a year. But as regards under three hundred thousand pounds.
the silence, he would submit that the question The counsel for the petitioner then summed was altogether begged by his learned brother. up his case. The proofs, which he held suffi- There was one point quite undisputed by all; cient, to the mind of any unprejudiced person, Miss Hamblin was the undoubted daughter of that there never had been any marriage, were Anthony Hamblin. Not only did she possess found in the very careful and minute diaries certain strongly marked peculiarities common to kept by Anthony Hamblin, in which every detail all the Hamblins, but she was most curiously of expense, occupation, employment, and en- and remarkably like her grandmother, Mr. Hamgagement, were scrupulously entered. These blin's mother, who had been a Spanish lady. not only contained no mention of any marriage, Very well, then. Here was a daughter, acknowl. but left no room for any marriage. Although edged as such by all; here was an intentional his death had been announced in every paper, and marked omission of all mention of the child's and, by reason of the accident which caused it, mother in diaries and family records. What had obtained the widest publicity, no one had were they to infer? Two things were possible. as yet stepped forward to claim relationship with The one view which his learned brother had the young lady on her mother's side. The great adopted, and one which, he would submit to the family Bible, in which were entries of the births Court, was the more probable because more honand deaths of six generations of Hamblins, orable. It was this : the late Mr. Anthony Hamwhich formed, in fact, a complete genealogical blin had been from boyhood of singular purity table of the family, contained no entry of the of life. Few men could look back upon a course marriage of Anthony or the birth of his daugh- so blameless, so free from reproach, as his. It ter Alison. This omission was very extraordinary. was a life open to the eyes of all. There was
There were a few witnesses to call. The first nothing to conceal, nothing to be ashamed of. was the man Harris, whose evidence was simple Above all, there could be no skeleton in the and straightforward. He believed Mr. Hamblin cupboard. His friends believed, one and all, was drowned with the rest. He could not see implicitly in the purity and nobility of the life how any one could think otherwise. The body which had been so suddenly and fearfully taken had never been found. It might have been from their midst. They believed that Anthony among the rest, but he did not think that likely. Hamblin was married. They were confident There were two or three bodies unidentified, but that, if investigation were made, proofs would be their clothes had been kept.
found. They put forward the daughter, Alison Then the footman, Charles, deposed that his Hamblin, as the heiress, and they asked that master had told him in the morning, before he time should be allowed to enable them to make went out, that he should be at home as usual. the research.
Augustus Hamblin testified to the regular The Judge said that this was a case in which habits and freedom from care of his late cousin. he was not called upon to grant time for the purHe, too, expressed his conviction that Anthony pose asked, viz., to prove the marriage. It did Hamblin had been drowned.
appear remarkable, and in some men it would be suspicious, that no mention had been made ance, and taken assumed names. There were at all of the young lady's mother. On the other many possible reasons for hiding. No man's life hand, the supposed deceased gentleman had evi- was wholly known; no man's sanity could be dently borne the highest character. Why, then, altogether relied on. He would adjourn the had he thought proper to leave unexplained the case; the parties could come before him at any circumstance of his daughter's birth? Mean- time should they get additional or conclusive evitime, however, he was not satisfied with the proof dence. If no more was found, he would hear of the death of Anthony Hamblin. He should them again in a twelvemonth, or perhaps two require further proof.
years. The estate could be in the mean time Stephen's counsel asked how long a period administered by Mr. Anthony Hamblin's soliciwould satisfy his lordship.
tors, the houses and gardens kept up as before, The Court replied that he could not tie him- and a sufficient sum allotted for the young lady. self down to any time; there had been cases in And he would advise that the most diligent which men had been missed for years and had search should be made by both sides, if they then returned-cases in which men had gone to could act in concert, for the discovery of the sea, run away from debts or imagined annoy- name and connections of the missing mother.
To be continued.)
CONSPIRACIES IN RUSSIA.
with the lowering shadow of a tragic fate. The 1.
harsh way in which he was brought up by his UCH astonishment has been expressed of martinet father, without the slightest regard for
late, by those who are too apt to forget his somewhat delicate health, no doubt laid a the main facts even of contemporary history, that foundation for this pensive sadness, which under under “so benevolent a prince as Alexander a pernicious court atmosphere, and with the terII.” the most fearful conspiracies should have rible recollections crowding about his family hisbecome rife. This view of the situation shows a tory, gradually changed into the fierceness of the misconception of the whole system of government tyrant. in Russia, and more especially of the character Poor royal humanity is sometimes strangely of the ruling Autocrat, as it has been formed led up to its task in life. Almost from infancy by his education and by the ever - worsening the sickly boy had to don the soldier's uniform. course of his reign. For the proper understand- All joyous sprightliness was crushed out of the ing of what has occurred within the last twelve infantine heir of a barbarous imperialism. His years or so, we must consequently go back for a education by the crowned corporal who happened moment to Alexander's early training and ante- to be his parent appeared to aim mainly at makcedents. No despotic system can be judged ing him physically and in character as rigid as a without a knowledge of personal facts relating ramrod. By nature of a sensuous bent, he had to its bearer. A sketch of the character of to undergo all the ordeals of barrack-room pracAlexander II. and of his strange acts of “be- tices which Nicholas held to be the proper sum nevolence ” will make it clear to the commonest and substance of human life. comprehension why his antagonists should at The stem nature and teaching of that typical last have met him by wild deeds of conspiracy. tyrant came out one day in a striking manner
Alexander's arbitrary bias may be said to during the early boyhood of Alexander. Even have been inherited in his blood. A disposition, imperial children do not seem to be able to shake originally, perhaps, less severe than that of off the dark historical recollections that hang Nicholas, was darkened and vitiated in him from about the Winter Palace. In the manner of his early days. Custine already remarked the children they will make a ghastly sport of them. expression of deep melancholy in the Grand Once, when they were in a specially jocular Duke; and all those who have seen Alexander mood, Alexander, in company with his brother II. since have been struck with his sour and sul- Constantine and some comrades, in play enacted len morosity. No smile ever lights up this “ hu- —as youngsters in their apishly imitative mood mr.ane" Czar's face. His uneasy glance is that will do one of the most hideous scenes that of the misanthrope; his brow seems overcast as concluded a previous reign. The throttling of