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THE tall man who had passed Captain Wragge,
in the dark, proceeded rapidly along the public
walk, struck off across a little waste patch of
ground, and entered the open door of the Aldborough
Hotel. The light in the passage, falling
full on his face as he passed it, proved the truth
of Captain Wragge's surmise, and showed the
stranger to be Mr. Kirke of the merchant

Meeting the landlord in the passage, Mr. Kirke
nodded to him with the familiarity of an old
customer. "Have you got the paper?" he asked;
"I want to look at the visitors' list."

"I have got it in my room, sir," said the landlord,
leading the way into a parlour at the back
of the house. "Are there any friends of yours
staying here, do you think?"

Without replying, the seaman turned to the
list, as soon as the newspaper was placed in his
hand, and ran his finger down it, name by name.
The finger suddenly stopped at this line: "Sea-
View Cottage; Mr. Noel Vanstone." Kirke of
the merchant service repeated the name to himself;
and put down the paper thoughtfully.

"Have you found anybody you know, captain?"
asked the landlord.

"I have found a name I knowa name my
father used often to speak of in his time. Is
this Mr. Vanstone a family man? Do you know
if there is a young lady in the house?"

"I can't say, captain. My wife will be here
directly: she is sure to know. It must have
been some time ago, if your father knew this Mr.

"It was some time ago. My father knew a
subaltern officer of that name, when he was with
his regiment in Canada. It would be curious if
the person here turned out to be the same man
and if that young lady was his daughter."

"Excuse me, captainbut the young lady
seems to hang a little on your mind," said the
landlord, with a pleasant smile.

Mr. Kirke looked as if the form which his
host's good humour had just taken, was not quite
to his mind. He returned abruptly to the
subaltern officer and the regiment in Canada.
"That poor fellow's story was as miserable a
one as ever I heard," he said, looking back again
absently at the visitors' list.

"Would there be any harm in telling it, sir?"
asked the landlord. "Miserable or nota story's
a story, when you know it to be true."

Mr. Kirke hesitated. "I hardly think I should
be doing right to tell it," he said.  If this man,
or any relations of his, are still alive, it is not a
story they might like strangers to know. All I
can tell you is, that my father was the salvation
of that young officer, under very dreadful
circumstances. They parted in Canada. My
father remained with his regiment: the young
officer sold out and returned to Englandand
from that moment they lost sight of each other.
It would be curious if this Vanstone here was
the same man. It would be curious——"

He suddenly checked himself, just as another
reference to "the young lady" was on the point
of passing his lips. At the same moment, the
landlord's wife came in; and Mr. Kirke at once
transferred his inquiries to the higher authority
in the house.

"Do you know anything of this Mr. Vanstone
who is down here on the visitors' list?" asked
the sailor. "Is he an old man?"

"He's a miserable little creature to look at,"
replied the landlady—"but he's not old, captain!"

"Then he is not the man I mean. Perhaps,
he is the man's son? Has he got any ladies
with him?"

The landlady tossed her head, and pursed up
her lips disparagingly.

"He has a housekeeper with him," she said.
"A middle-aged personnot one of my sort. I
dare say I'm wrongbut I don't like a dressy
woman in her station of life."

Mr. Kirke began to look puzzled. "I must
have made some mistake about the house," he
said. "Surely there's a lawn cut octagon-shape
at Sea-View Cottage, and a white flag-staff in
the middle of the gravel walk?"

"That's not Sea View, sir! It's North Shingles
you're talking of. Mr. Bygrave's. His wife
and his niece came here, by the coach, to-day.
His wife's tall enough to be put in a show, and
the worst dressed woman I ever set eyes on. But
Miss Bygrave is worth looking at, if I may venture
to say so. She's the finest girl, to my mind, we've
had at Aldborough for many a long day. I

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