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MR. SIMPSON, Mr. Lane, and Mr.
Lovegrove were assembled in the office of the
last-named gentleman. They had been
talking together for more than an hour,
and, to judge from their countenances, the
conversation had not been altogether pleasant.
Mr. Simpson, indeed, preserved a
pasty placidity of face. But Mr. Lovegrove
looked angry, and Mr. Lane sulky.

"It is a most extraordinary thing," said
Mr. Lovegrove, " that you should have been
so lukewarm in the matter, Mr. Lane."

"I don't know what you mean by ' lukewarm. '
If I was to consult my own pocket
it wouldn't take long to see which side
would be best for me," retorted the agent.
" But I am not the man to do that. Two
thousand pounds is of as much consequence
to me as to most people. But I go according
to law and justice."

"I can't tell how much you may know
about justice," said Mr. Lovegrove, " but I
take the liberty of supposing that your
knowledge of law is not extensive."

"Well, well," said Mr. Simpson, moving
his jaw slowly as he spoke, somewhat in the
manner of a cow chewing the cud, "it
don't take a very profound knowledge of
the law to understand the case before us.
I suppose you are satisfied that the ceremony
of marriage on board the Furibond
did take place."

Mr. Lovegrove passed his hands irritably
through his hair without answering.

"And if everything hadn't been
conducted in an honourable way, why should
the will ever have turned up at all?" said
Mr. Lane. " It wouldn't have been so difficult
to say nothing about it."

Mr. Simpson felt this to be injudicious,
and hastened to say, " Oh, my dear sir,
with the parties concerned in this business
such a proceeding would have been entirely
out of the question."

"Mr. Lane doesn't seem to think so,"
observed Mr. Lovegrove, dryly.

"No, no, no," proceeded Mr. Simpson;
"it is mere waste of time to consider such
a hypothesis. Out of the question, entirely
out of the question. The will being there,
my client's first proceeding was to show it
to a respectable and well-known lawyer
your own partner, Mr. Lovegroveand to
entrust it to him for safe keeping."

"I don't know what could be fairer or
more honourable," put in Mr. Lane.

"It was a matter of course that the
proceedings of the lady in question should be
fair and honourable."

"Mr. Lane doesn't seem to think so,"
said Mr. Lovegrove again.

Mr. Simpson interposed to prevent a
retort from the agent. " Permit me," said
he. " The lady in question was treated in
the most heartless and treacherous manner.
But my present business is not to insist upon
that part of her story. The question is,
was the first Lady Tallis living or dead at
the time of the second marriage?"

"Sir John supposed her to be alive.
That much is clear," said Mr. Lovegrove.
"He never intended to make Miss Levincourt
his wife."

"Possibly. But I need not remind you,
Mr. Lovegrove, that persons cannot play
fast and loose with the marriage ceremony
to gratify their own convenience or evil

Mr. Lane opined, under his breath, that