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fury, that what he had deemed so entirely his own had dared to cross him, stifled all calmer reflection, and he never paused to think whether patience and skill might not be more effective than command.

After Alice had left, Littleton paced several times hurriedly to and fro, and then, as if a sudden thought had struck him, stopped and rang the bell violently. The man who answered the summons started in astonishment at the change his master's face had undergone. The colour, generally so clear and healthy, had given place to a pale and leaden complexion, and his eyes glared unnaturally. "What are you staring at, fool?" in a hoarse voice, which made the man tremble; ❝ call one of your fellow-servants, and come, both of you, to me. You can write, I suppose.

"Yes, Sir," said the man, hurrying off, glad to

escape.

Littleton sat down to his desk and wrote, in a rapid, but large and clear hand.

"You two," said he, at length," come near, and see me sign this." The men approached and looked on, as Littleton subscribed and sealed the document. "Now put your names there," continued he, pointing to the left-hand corner of the paper. The men obeyed, and quitted the room.

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But the appalling change in their master had aroused their curiosity. They lingered outside the door to listen. The same dull, hoarse tone made itself heard every now and then in broken sentences, the import of which they were unable to understand. Sometimes the voice would sound more like the bright, clear tones of their master, and then again the same hollow sound was heard. It seemed as if some second person were in the room-some person whom they had not seen. A strange horror crept over them, and they stole hastily down-stairs, looking back over their shoulders at the door where they had been listening, and quaking with fear when the stairs creaked beneath them.

The tale, with many additions, which their excited imaginations suggested, soon spread, and in a few minutes the whole household had assembled to the narrative.

very

"What was that?" A shudder ran through the assembly. Question and answer were hushed, and a breathless silence ensued. Every ear was strained to the utmost. A stifled moan, and then a heavy fall, followed by a rustling sound, as if some one were struggling and kicking on the floor, was heard overhead. proceeded from the room where Littleton was. Inquiry was made for Alice. no one knew where she was; enough to leave the others

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No one had seen her; and no one was bold

and go in quest of her. Terror was on every face; they gazed into each others' eyes, but only to increase each others' fears. Presently there was a general movement towards the stairs. Huddled confusedly together, they crept up to the drawingroom door; those at the sides crowding towards the middle for greater safety's sake, speaking in whispers, and shuddering at the sound of their own voices. But now, who should enter first? Each one shrunk back. The voice and footsteps within had ceased, and all was silent as the grave. At length, one of the foremost, taking courage, flung open the door. The hindermost now pressed on those in front, and the whole body entered the room.

The senseless body of their master lay at full length on the hearth-rug. Blood had gushed from his nose and mouth, and was curdling in a thick sickening pool on the floor beside him. His head had struck the sharp edge of a chair in falling, and inflicted a ghastly wound on the temple. They washed away the blood, and dashed water in his face, but in vain; he lay without sense or motion in their arms. On the table was the paper which the two footmen had signed. It was his last will. Medical assistance was speedily procured; but he had ceased to breathe. The violence of his passion had broken the links which unite soul and body together; and Mr. Littleton was dead.

CHAPTER XIII.

HILST the tragical events related in the last chapter were taking place, Tom was sitting alone, and lost in thought, in the little parlour of his cottage at Finchley. The dead body of the old woman lay overhead, and the nurse was watching beside it. The occurrences of the day, and of the previous evening, had made Tom's nerves unusually sensitive. The wind had risen, and was howling ominously round the house. Heavy drops of rain began to patter on the window-panes, and a wild, stormy night had set in. Tom's love for Alice, and the unexpected discovery of her love for him, weighed heavy at his heart, when he thought how fruitless of consequences that love must be. The proud barrier of wealth and rank hedged her in; and though Tom had been allowed to step within it on sufferance only, that permission would never be granted him again. He felt how useless it was to hope that Alice could ever be his. All the

authority of her father would be exerted to prevent it. No, he never expected, particularly after the mishap to the picture, to see her again. Distracted with his meditations, he strode hastily about the

room.

Oh! it was a wild night. The fury of the storm increased, and the wind howled and whistled louder and louder. Down came a chimney-tile. Tom could hear it slide along the slanting roof, until it fell over the eaves, and smashed to atoms on the ground. The boughs of an old tree, which grew close by the house, swept backwards and forwards against the wall; and the rain-drops found their way down the chimney, and hissed among the hot coals. The air was chilly, and so Tom had lit the fire, and, as he stood watching it, his mind was full of wild fancies. The coals were damp, and had taken some time to ignite; but, at length, they burned bright and clear. And then the storm came, and the rain-drops pattered down, making dark marks where they fell. Tom could not help comparing the fire to his own life. His childhood had been gloomy; but the gloom had, at length, given way to brighter and more prosperous days; for Tom's youth had been sunny. Of late the storm of misfortune had arisen, and sorrows began to fall thicker and thicker upon him,

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