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“ I am Mrs. Duncombe," she said, presently, " It is a goodish bit, indeed. Now for our and without waiting for the questions—indeed, questions, Mrs. Duncombe.” the old lawyer had gone on writing as if no one “As many as you like, sir; but not too fast, was in the office at all, which was his pleasant through the breath being shorter than it was way of giving sinners time for meditation and twenty years ago, when first I set eyes on that repentance—“and I am here in answer to an ad- most blessed of little girls." vertisement which my nephew read to me. Be- “Yes. When did you make the acquaintance cause I don't read papers myself, as a general of Mr. Anthony Hamblin?” rule, my eyes not being so good as they were, “A fortnight before he brought me the child. and the news not up to what it used to be and I answered an advertisement for a careful person one has a right to expect.” She paused for a who would take charge of a child ; references moment only. “There may be, perhaps, two required. I referred to the parish doctor-the Mrs. Duncombes in the world. But there can't same who attended my husband in his last illness be two in connection with the sweet flower, and the vicar, the same who buried him. They which her initials were A. H."
spoke to my respectability, and Mr. Hamblin “Tell me, if you please,” said Mr. Billiter, took me on at a truly liberal salary, being a most “what those initials stand for?"
generous and open-handed gentleman, though “Aha!” she replied, with a look of profound never, seemingly, knowing the real value of caution, which sat comically upon her jovial and money, and too liberal to the poor—a thing easy face.
“ And suppose you want to find out which does them more harm than good in the the dear young lady yourself, and you've got de- long run—" signs upon her, and you've sent to me to help “Pray excuse me. Mr. Hamblin engaged you do a mischief to my dear darling?" you, on the strength of those references, to take
“Shall we divide the name into syllables, care of the child ? " then?" asked Mr. Billiter. "That will be fair. “He did, sir. He placed me in a house furI will begin. Now, then, A, L-Al."
nished with everything you could wish, except “There you are with your Al," responded the that the cabinets and the chests of drawers were lady, pleased with this ingenious manquvre. "Al. new and used to crack of a night, which is fear1, i-there you are with your Ali.”
some to a lonely widow woman; and a fortnight “S,O, N-son,” Mr. Billiter went on gravely. later he brought me the prettiest child, of a year
“And there you are with your Alison,” she old or thereabouts, that ever laughed in a nurse's added. “That's the Christian name right enough, eyes, or said .Ta'for a piece of sponge-cake.” and the only girl I ever meet with such a name “ He brought you the child? Did you not, out of a printed twopenny book. Now the sure then, go for it yourself ?" name. H, A, M-Ham; there you are with your "No; he brought her. He came by the Ham."
train." "B," Mr. Billiter added, emphasizing with his “Where did he come from?" forefinger.
“Surely it was not my place to ask? He had "B,” taking the word out of his mouth; no servant with him; he brought the infant in “ there you are with your B—Ham-bee," as if it his own arms.” was a syllable."
“That is odd. Had the child any linen ?" “L, I, N-lin; which completes the name." “Yes, a basketful; but there was no mark on
“ There you are with your Hamblin—there any of it. And she had a coral necklace. That you are with your Alison Hamblin. Lord help was all she had." you, sir, I taught that little dear to spell myself, “ Pray tell me more." though rather rusty after all these years, and a “ Mr. Hamblin said her name was Alison spelling-bee not to my taste, nor a prize likely at Hamblin, and that her mother was dead ; then my time of life. There you are with your Alison he went away. In a fortnight he came again. Hamblin. To think that I should ever have in a little while he used to make me send a daily spelled her name turn-about with a lawyer! report to his office in London of the child's health Well, sir, you haven't told me what you want to and progress; and he used to run down from do to the dear child."
Saturday to Monday when she got a little older. “ No harm, Mrs. Duncombe-quite the con- He had a bedroom in the house—his own house trary. We want to do her as much good as pos- it was." sible. We want to protect her against a man “Ay," said Mr. Billiter, “we remember that who is trying to keep her out of her property." he used to go down to Brighton."
" Is he, now? The pretty dear! And a “The little maid grew up much like her fagoodish bit of property, too, I shouldn't won- ther, only dark-complexioned ; and that fond of der."
him as she couldn't bear to say good-by, and
was always reckoning up the days to Saturday. necklace. Gilbert had already ascertained its Well, the time went on, and I was sorry indeed, existence, and that it was safe, and in Alison's I can tell you, when the day came that Mr. custody; but no amount of searching could find Hamblin said he thought the sea-air had made the box in which, twenty years before, the child's her a strong child, and that he intended taking clothes were dispatched. Mrs. Duncombe, exher to live with him in London. So we had to uberant in her demonstrations of affection and part; and it was terrible-"
anxiety to help, herself conducted the search in The good woman paused, while hot tears ran the trunk-room, lumber-room, and every garret. down the furrows of her nose.
and attic where was hidden away the accumu“It does you credit, Mrs. Duncombe," said lated worthlessness of half a dozen generations. Mr. Billiter, referring, perhaps, to the present Many curious things were found, but no such rather than to the past tears. “Mr. Hamblin, box as they wanted. then, took her away. What did he do for you ?” So far, therefore, the advertisements had not
“ He bought me an annuity, sir; one hundred proved a success. Gilbert waited, like the Earl pounds a year it is, and a permanent income for of Chatham, longing to be at 'em; or like a woman that would otherwise have been in the Charles the Wrestler, wondering if his antagonist workhouse in her old age. Wherefore I say would come on; or like a knight-errant who every day, 'God bless him and magnify his wanted nothing so much as to go out instantly name!'"
and slay the loathly worm, if that crafty creature, “ Thank you, Mrs. Duncombe. But he is safe and snug in its cave, would only come forth dead-yes, Mr. Anthony Hamblin was drowned to do battle and be killed. in the Serpentine in that accident of January Perhaps the parish clerks had not seen the last."
advertisements. “ All parish clerks,” Gilbert “ Dear, dear me!" she sighed ; “poor dear thought, “ do not take in daily papers.” He hit gentleman ! This is more trouble. And Miss upon a novel device of a more searching and Alison, sir?"
thorough character. He sent a circular to every "She is well. But her succession and title beneficed clergyman in the country, asking him to the estates are disputed. We want to find, to make special search. There are about twelve Mrs. Duncombe—we must find out somehow, thousand parishes and district churches. The when and where, and to whom, Mr. Hamblin thing made a capital job for an agency, which was married. We were in hopes that you would charged sixpence a hundred for addressing the know something about it. Can you not tell us envelopes, and paid the women who did the work where the child came from? Was there no fourpence-halfpenny. This shows what a good mark at all upon her clothes ? Was there nothing it is to have middle-men, and proves the railway-label on her box? Think; even the beneficence of Providence in multiplying them so least hint might be of use."
mightily that they cut each other's throats, inBut she shook her head.
stead-as they would do were their number less "I know nothing, sir—no more than I have -of waxing strong, devouring the rest of mantold you. A child was brought to me, and I kind, getting all the money into their own hands, took care of her for nine years or thereabouts. consuming the harvests, eating up the butter, Where she came from I know no more than the bread, oil, honey, wine, fruit, corn, cattle, and all baby herself knew."
the fat of the land. Yet, though many women “Then, Mrs. Duncombe, I am afraid you are worked, several days passed before the circulars
But you shall have the advertised could be issued and answers received. reward for producing yourself.”
This time the recipients of the circular did “And the dear young lady, sir-may I see answer ; at least a good many of them sent anher?”
swers. They were all to the same effect. Search “ Assuredly; here is her address.” Mr. Bil- had been made, and no such marriage had been liter wrote it down for her. “Go whenever you discovered. Some sent useless returns, finding please. I think she will like to see you again. the marriage of a certain Hamblin a hundred And-and-Mrs. Duncombe, if you stay in the years back, and demanding the reward by retum house a day or two, you might look round. Per- of post. When it did not come, they wrote haps that very same box may be lying in some again, asking indignantly for the cause of delay, attic—there is always a box-room in those big and threatening legal proceedings. Others, while houses—and you might find the railway-label ; or admitting that their search had been fruitless, or if you can pick up anything, or remember took the opportunity of advocating the claims anything, or find out anything, let me know. of their Restoration Fund; their Increase of Now, good morning.”
Beneficed Clergy Stipend Fund; their SoupIt was, indeed, very little to go upon-a coral kitchens; their Pickled Onions Fund; their Fund
no use to us.
for enabling the Clergy to see their way out of It; would be considered. But the mind of the midtheir Deaconesses' Aprons Fund; their Sisters' dle- and lower-class Briton is illogical.
He conCold Shoulder of Mutton Fund; their Schools; siders one fact at a time. Therefore, when the their Impoverished Bishops' Fund; their Homes; advertisement appeared, everybody from whose their Penitentiaries; and their Grand National hearth daughter, sister, aunt, or great-aunt had Society for the Pauperization of the British eloped, disappeared, or run away any time during People, officered entirely by the Bishops and the last fifty years wrote in reply. It was astonClergy of the Church of England, and embracing ishing, first, to mark how common an incident in the aims and objects of all the preceding minor family life of a certain rank this misfortune must societies. No fewer than twenty-five sent in a be; secondly, to see how long and with what bill for time spent in conducting the search. keenness it is remembered ; and, lastly, how ready Eight hundred and thirty-seven curates, answer- a large proportion of the bereaved are to make ing for their rectors and vicars, hinted at the money out of the calamity, should a way seem patronage of the Hamblins (which consisted of open. one small living), and their own unappreciated This time Gilbert's opinion of human nature merits. Three hundred and sixty-five asked for was lowered and not raised at all by the correnominations to City schools for their boys. One spondence which ensued. For some, writing as hundred and fifty-two asked for scholarships on if with a bludgeon in the left hand, ready for the City Companies' Foundations for sons about transfer to the right when the pen was dropped, to go to Oxford or Cambridge. All alike ad- called Heaven to witness that the villain had been dressed the advertisers in terms of affectionate found at last, and demanded compensation—large intimacy, as if they were all round grateful, per- and liberal compensation. Others, adopting a sonal friends, who could refuse each other no- more Christian line, thanked Providence that the thing. And most of them exhibited a proficiency sinner was repentant, and asked what sum the in mendicity to be equaled in no other profession. advertiser proposed to pay for loss of services,
This was gratifying so far; and Gilbert, who anxiety, wounded honor, hope deferred, affections opened and read the letters, felt that this univer- blighted, and lacerated feelings. Others, again, sal confidence in the generosity of a stranger still with an eye to business, wrote to say that had taught him to love his fellow creatures more they held in their hands information which would deeply. At the same time, there was no dis- prove of the highest value, but could not part covery.
with it without a proper understanding beforeHe then hit upon a third plan. If he could hand. One or two informed the advertiser that not find proof of the marriage, he might get the young person wanted was not dead at all, but upon the trace of the unknown mother.
alive, and quite ready to forgive the past in reHe drew up a crafty advertisement, in which, turn for an annuity or proper settlement. Some after a brief preamble addressed to the relations concurred in demanding that the daughter should and friends of missing people, he stated that at be restored to her mother's people, of course with some unknown period, probably about twenty- liberal compensation and large annual allowance one or twenty-two years before the date of the for her keep. Every side of human selfishness advertisement, a young lady, name unknown, was seemed laid bare in this correspondence. believed to have contracted a secret marriage, Yet there was another side, else it would have presumably under an assumed name, with a cer- been too contemptible. Dozens of letters came, tain A. H.; that she was believed to have died written while the eyes were blurred with tears, within two years of the marriage ; that she had and the mind was sick with sadness at the releft one daughter, whose initials were also A. H.; vival of past unhappiness. These went to the that information which would prove the marriage young man's heart, and brought the tears to his was now being sought, and would be very liber- own eyes as he read them. They came from old ally rewarded.
ladies, from middle-aged ladies, from women of This masterpiece he inserted in all the pa- all classes. They were written in forlorn hope: pers, and waited for a reply. There were hun- they all told the same monotonous tale, how a dreds of answers.
girl had wandered from the fold and never come Observe that Gilbert's advertisement gave back again; how the mother, aged now, or her certain data—probable date, marriage, birth of a sisters, were waiting still in hope that the prodidaughter, death, initials of husband, initials of gal daughter might return. They gave their own child-six in all. Obviously, therefore, the replies particulars, and they asked if these would suit which fell short in any one of these data would the story of the girl about whom the advertisers certainly be useless ; or, as one or two of them were inquiring. might have been missed by unlearned readers, it "Is it a great and bottomless gulf, this Lonwas reasonable to suppose that some at least don?" thought Gilbert. Are there, every year,
hundreds of girls who listen to the voice of the lasted till eleven o'clock in the evening. It was tempter? Are there yearly hundreds of homes interrupted by a whisky-and-water hot at four, a saddened irretrievably by the flight of one? An- steak at five with a pint of stout, six whiskysthony Hamblin could not have been such a and-water between six and eleven, and an ani
mated conversation during the evening with a “It could not be,” he repeated, “ that An- few friends. thony Hamblin was a vulgar and selfish deceiver An English Secret Service officer tries clumof girls. Yet Alison's mother must have had sily to do what the Continental secret police are an existence. Suppose they found her relations supposed, I do not know how truly, to do cleveramong the canaille who burned to make money ly. It sends men to watch, spy, and ask quesout of their own shame! Better, almost, that tions. The men always get found out in their her friends should be found among those who watching at the very beginning of their investistill wept for the loss of their sister.” It must gations. They are not good actors; they can be owned that at this period doubts assailed the not disguise themselves; they are not generally young man. He found himself sometimes in the clever; they are not always commonly intelliSlough of Despond, sometimes on the Hill Diffi- gent. But people believe in the private-inquiry culty, sometimes in the Castle of Despair. Yet man; they think that he who owns such an office he met Alison with brave eyes, and words of must have sources of information at his command courage. He would not dishearten her. To not to be got at by anybody else; they believe Alison, indeed, it seemed as if the arrival of Mrs. that he can discover a criminal, unearth a lover, Duncombe was all that was wanted to prove her prove a marriage, or find a will, when all the rest own case.
of the world have failed. The confidence of the partners in the power Let us, in justice to these gentlemen, acof advertising rapidly diminished. They sent knowledge that they do nothing to undermine secretly to one Theodore Bragge, formerly of the or lessen this belief. Quite the contrary: they Metropolitan Detective Police, and, unknown to accept the position assigned to them. They are Gilbert, sought his advice.
professors of sagacity. In a sense they are proMr. Bragge's appearance was disappointing. fessors of the science of human nature. Thus Nothing of the sleuth-hound about him at all. upon two or three axioms, science rests, accordNo more intelligence in his face than in that of ing to these savantsany ordinary police - constable. “But a solid 1. Everybody is, has been, or will one day face,” said Augustus Hamblin. Solidity, in fact, be engaged in some crime. was the one virtue Mr. Bragge's face could boast. 2. There is nothing, in reality, but the Seamy He was clean-shaven, rather red in the nose, and Side. The rest is pretense. looked like a butler out of place.
3. Truth is to be sought, not in a well, which When the case was thoroughly put before would be foolishness; but behind and beneath him—it was curious that a man of such remark- the walls and roofing of lies which it is necesable acuteness should be so slow in mastering sary to build round her in order to protect her facts—Mr. Bragge sat down and tapped his nose. against the wicked world's shower of gold. Anybody can execute that simple feat. It is only 4. Good men are those who only lie in the when Thaumast, Panurge, and Theodore Bragge way of business. perform it that one is struck by the boundless 5. Suspect every friend : look on every capabilities of so simple an action.
stranger as an enemy. “This will be, likely, a longish case.”
6. The booniest companion is often he whom “But do you think you can unravel it?" you should trust least. Virtue does not necesMr. Bragge smiled superior.
sarily accompany good-fellowship. “There is no case, gentlemen,” he said, “ that 7. If there is a choice of motives, choose the I would not undertake.” (Which was strictly worst. true.) "I called this a longish case, not a diffi- 8. In any case, never suppose a motive which
You have heard, perhaps, of the great is not in some way based upon personal interest. Shottover case? I was the man who unraveled 9. Friendship means common interest; pals that. However, I do not boast."
are those who run in couples; friendship ceases He proceeded to point out how expensive a when a man can work by himself. process is detective work, and then, armed with 10. It is generally thought better to work in a check on account, went away to begin his work the dark than in the daytime. at once.
I have gathered these maxims from a hitherto He began it by a preliminary meditation, incomplete work by Theodore Bragge himself. which commenced in a neighboring tavern imme- They form the introduction to his unwritten diately after his interview with the partners, and treatise on the "Philosophy of Human Nature."
Meantime, he cheerfully undertook the search. against the brute force of advertising ; and, in He wrote on the third day that he had found a the long run, trained intelligence must win.” clew.
On the sixth day he said they were fol- The man with the solid face received the lowing up the clew. On the tenth day he said, money, and followed up his clews. Trained indarkly, that other paths were opening, and that telligence, acting on the decalogue of scientific more money would be necessary. This was as maxims quoted above, quickly jumped at the exciting, if it should prove as unprofitable, as the conclusion that there never had been any marsearch for the philosopher's stone. The part- riage at all, which was not what the partners ners, rejoicing in their secret, sent more money. wanted. “But we can find, perhaps, the young “It was,” said Augustus, “ trained intelligence lady's mother. She must have had a mother.”
(To be continued.)
PARLIAMENTARY GOVERNMENT IN AMERICA.
in the history of the Anglo-Saxon race, and cans are at heart, and perhaps without knowing likewise in the annals of representative institu- it themselves, among the most conservative peotions, that the Government of the United States, ples in the world. Although nobody is readier formed originally for the needs and exigencies of than the Yankee to devise and adopt new modes three millions of people, inhabiting a narrow strip of doing things, and while the earth does not of seaboard, has remained without any material contain a more ubiquitous traveler or daring change for nearly a century, and is found to work speculator, nobody offers a more angry resistance as well for a nation now fifteen times as numer- to anything in the nature of organic change. ous, occupying a territory fifty times greater. The wicked persecution of the abolitionists durIndeed, it may truthfully be said to work with ing a quarter of a century was part and parcel less friction and more general satisfaction now of the national tendency to cling to whatever is, than then. Its infancy was embroiled with con- for not one in twenty of the Northern people troversies, respecting the interpretation of the who participated in it, and voted with the slaveConstitution, so fierce that the Union was more holders, had any pecuniary interest in slavery dithan once in real danger before it had come of rect or indirect. The uprising in behalf of the age. Some of the States had to be dragged into Union was a conservative rather than an antithe Federal compact, and others were threatening slavery uprising. President Lincoln uttered the to go out long before the institution of slavery voice of the majority of the nation when he said became a rock of offense between North and that if he could save the Union by freeing all the South.
slaves he would do that, and if he could save it The task of statesmanship during the first by freeing none he would do that, and if he could quarter of a century was not so much to make it save it by freeing some and not freeing others he work well as to make it work at all. At the pres- would do that. Catholic emancipation was carent time nobody looks upon a separation of the ried in England half a century ago. It was not States as possible, and none desire it except a few carried in the State of New Hampshire until a straggling adherents of the Lost Cause, whose few years since, if indeed it has been fully effected voice is as ineffectual and unheeded in the gen- even yet. The laws of Rhode Island regulating eral movement as that of the irate Tory at the the right of suffrage were, until a recent period, as creation of the world who demanded that chaos fantastic as those of England before the Reform be preserved.
Bill, and the States of Vermont and Connecticut How far this contentedness with existing in- are full of rotten boroughs to this day-each stitutions is to be ascribed to material prosperity, town electing one member of the Legislature how far to the excellence of the institutions them- without regard to population. selves, and how far to the inherited conservatism It may be said that national vanity is accountof the race, it would be futile to inquire. The able for this fixedness of attachment to national country has advanced in wealth with great rapid- institutions. It is immaterial what name it is ity, notwithstanding temporary checks, during called by. The conservatism of one country is the whole period of the national existence; and most commonly vanity in the eyes of another. few people desire to change their condition when The English fondness for titles and a state church