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methat is the reason I tremble so now,
that and the cold, for it is very, very cold!"

"But did he murder the old lady?" asked
Mr. Davis. "I beg your pardon, sir, but I
am interested by your story."

"Yes! he cut her throat; and there she
lies yet in her quiet little parlor, with her face
upturned and all ghastly white, in the middle
of a pool of blood. Mr. Davis, this wine
is no better than water; I must have some
brandy!"

Mr. Davis was horror-struck by the story,
which seemed to have fascinated him as much
as it had done his companion.

"Have they got any clue to the murderer?"
said he. Mr. Higgins drank down half a
tumbler of raw brandy before he answered.

"No! no clue whatever. They will never
be able to discover him, and I should not
wonderMr. DavisI should not wonder if
he repented after all, and did bitter penance
for his crime; and if sowill there be mercy
for him at the last day?"

"God knows," said Mr. Davis with
solemnity. "It is an awful story," continued
he, rousing himself; "I hardly like to leave
this warm light room and go out into the
darkness after hearing it. But it must be
done," buttoning on his great coat—"I can
only say I hope and trust they will find out
the murderer, and hang him. If you'll take
my advice, you'll have bed warmed, and drink
a treacle-posset just the last thing; and, if
you'll allow me, I'll send you my answer to
Philologus before it goes up to old Urban."

The next morning Mr. Davis went to call on
Miss Pratt, who was not very well; and by
way of being agreeable and entertaining, he
related to her all he had heard the night before
about the murder in Bath, and really he made
a very pretty connected story out of it, and
interested Miss Pratt very much in the fate
of the old ladypartly because of a similarity
in their situations; for she also hoarded
money, and had but one servant, and stopped
at home alone on Sunday afternoons to allow
her servant to go to church.

"And when did all this happen?" she
asked.

"I don't know if Mr. Higgins named the
day; and yet I think it must have been this
very last Sunday."

"And to-day is Wednesday. Ill news
travels fast."

"Yes, Mr. Higgins thought it might have
been in the London newspaper."

"That it could never be. Where did Mr.
Higgins learn all about it?"

"I don't know, I did not ask; I think he
only came home yesterday: he had been
south to collect his rents, somebody said."

Miss Pratt grunted. She used to vent her
dislike and suspicions of Mr. Higgins in a
grunt whenever his name was mentioned.

"Well, I shan't see you for some days.
Godfrey Merton has asked me to go and stay
with him and his sister; and I think it will
do me good. Besides," added she, "these
winter evenings; and these murderers at large
in the country; I don't quite like living with
only Peggy to call to in case of need."

Miss Pratt went to stay with her cousin Mr.
Merton. He was an active magistrate, and
enjoyed his reputation as such. One day he
came in, having just received his letters.

"Bad account of the morals of your little
town here, Jessy!" said he, touching one of
his letters. "You've either a murderer among
you, or some friend of a murderer. Here's a
poor old lady at Bath had her throat cut last
Sunday week; and I've a letter from the
Home Office, asking to lend them 'my very
efficient aid,' as they are pleased to call it,
towards finding out the culprit. It seems he
must have been thirsty, and of a comfortable
jolly turn; for before going to his horrid work
he tapped a barrel of ginger wine the old lady
had set by to work; and he wrapped the
spigot round with a piece of a letter taken out
of his pocket, as may be supposed; and this
piece of a letter was found afterwards; there
are only these letters on the outside, 'ns,
Esq.,-arford,-egworth,' which some one has
ingeniously made out to mean Barford, near
Kegworth. On the other side there is some
allusion to a race-horse, I conjecture, though
the name is singular enough; 'Church-and-
King-and-down-with-the-Rump.'"

Miss Pratt caught at this name immediately;
it had hurt her feeling as a dissenter only
a few months ago, and she remembered it
well.

"Mr. Nat Hearn hasor had (as I am
speaking in the witness-box, as it were, I
must take care of my tenses), a horse with
that ridiculous name."

"Mr. Nat Hearn," repeated Mr. Merton,
making a note of the intelligence; then he
recurred to his letter from the Home Office
again.

"There is also a piece of a small key, broken
in the futile attempt to open a deskwell,
well. Nothing more of consequence. The
letter is what we must rely upon."

"Mr. Davis said that Mr. Higgins told him
—" Miss Pratt began.

"Higgins!" exclaimed Mr. Merton, "ns.
Is it Higgins, the blustering fellow that ran
away with Nat Hearn's sister?"

"Yes!" said Miss Pratt. "But though he
has never been a favourite of mine—"

"ns," repeated Mr. Merton. "It is too
horrible to think of; a member of the huntkind
old Squire Hearn's son-in-law! Who else
have you in Barford with names that end in
ns?"

"There's Jackson, and Higginson, and
Blenkinsop, and Davis, and Jones. Cousin!
One thing strikes mehow did Mr. Higgins
know all about it to tell Mr. Davis on Tuesday
what had happened on Sunday afternoon?"

There is no need to add much more. Those
curious in lives of the highwaymen may find

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