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clock of York Minster chimed the half-hour past
five. Cabs rattled by him over the bridge, on their
way to meet the train from London, at twenty
minutes to six. After a moment's hesitation, the
captain sauntered after the cabs. When it is
one of a man's regular habits to live upon his
fellow-creatures, that man is always more or
less fond of haunting large railway stations.
Captain Wragge gleaned the human field; and on that
unoccupied afternoon, the York terminus was as
likely a corner to look about in as any other.

He reached the platform a few minutes after
the train had arrived. That entire incapability of
devising administrative measures for the
management of large crowds, which is one of the
national characteristics of Englishmen in
authority, is nowhere more strikingly exemplified
than at York. Three different lines of railway
assemble three passenger mobs, from morning to
night, under one roof; and leave them to raise a
travellers' riot, with all the assistance which the
bewildered servants of the company can render
to increase the confusion. The customary
disturbance was rising to its climax as Captain
Wragge approached the platform. Dozens of
different people were trying to attain dozens of
different objects, in dozens of different directions,
all starting from the same common point, and all
equally deprived of the means of information. A
sudden parting of the crowd, near the second-
class carriages, attracted the captain's curiosity.
He pushed his way in; and found a decently-
dressed manassisted by a porter and a policeman
attempting to pick up some printed bills
scattered from a paper parcel, which his frenzied
fellow-passengers had knocked out of his hand.

Offering his assistance in this emergency,
with the polite alacrity which marked his
character, Captain Wragge observed the three
startling words, "Fifty Pounds Reward,"
printed in capital letters on the bills which he
assisted in recovering; and instantly secreted
one of them, to be more closely examined at the
first convenient opportunity. As he crumpled
up the bill in the palm of his hand, his parti-
coloured eyes fixed with hungry interest on
the proprietor of the unlucky parcel. When a
man happens not to be possessed of fifty pence in
his own pocket, if his heart is in the right
place, it bounds, if his mouth is properly
constituted, it waters, at the sight of another man
who carries about with him a printed offer of
fifty pounds sterling, addressed to his fellow-

The unfortunate traveller wrapped up his
parcel as he best might, and made his way off the
platform; after addressing an inquiry to the first
official victim of the day's passenger-traffic, who
was sufficiently in possession of his senses to
listen to it. Leaving the station for the river-
side, which was close at hand, the stranger entered
the ferry-boat at the North-street Postern. The
captain, who had carefully dogged his steps thus
far, entered the boat also; and employed the
short interval of transit to the opposite bank, in
a perusal of the handbill which he had kept for
his own private enlightenment. With his back
carefully turned on the traveller, Captain Wragge
now possessed his mind of the following lines:—


Left her home, in London, early on the morning
of September 23rd, 1846, A YOUNG LADY. Age
eighteen. Dressdeep mourning. Personal
appearancehair of a very light brown; eyebrows
and eyelashes darker; eyes light grey; complexion
strikingly pale; lower part of her face large and
full; tall upright figure; walks with remarkable
grace and ease; speaks with openness and resolution;
has the manners and habits of a refined, cultivated
lady. Personal markstwo little moles, close
together, on the left side of the neck. Mark on the
under clothing—"Magdalen Vanstone." Is
supposed to have joined, or attempted to join, under an
assumed name, a theatrical company now performing
at York. Had, when she left London, one black
box, and no other luggage. Whoever will give such
information as will restore her to her friends, will
receive the above Reward. Apply at the office of
Mr. Harkness, solicitor, Coney-street, York. Or to
Messrs. Wyatt, Pendril, and Gwilt, Searle-street,
Lincoln's Inn, London.

Accustomed as Captain Wragge was to keep
the completest possession of himself, in all
human emergencies, his own profound astonishment,
when the course of his reading brought him
to the mark on the linen of the missing young
lady, betrayed him into an exclamation of
surprise which even startled the ferryman. The
traveller was less observant; his whole attention
was fixed on the opposite bank of the river, and
he left the boat hastily, the moment it touched
the landing-place. Captain Wragge recovered
himself, pocketed the handbill, and followed his
leader for the second time.

The stranger directed his steps to the nearest
street which ran down to the river; compared a
note in his pocket-book with the numbers of the
houses on the left-hand side, stopped at one of
them, and rang the bell. The captain went on
to the next house; affected to ring the bell, in his
turn; and stood with his back to the traveller
in appearance, waiting to be let in; in reality,
listening with all his might for any scraps of
dialogue which might reach his ears on the opening
of the door behind him.

The door was answered with all due alacrity,
and a sufficiently instructive interchange of question
and answer on the threshold, rewarded the
dexterity of Captain Wragge.

"Does Mr. Huxtable live here?" asked the

"Yes, sir," was the answer, in a woman's

"Is he at home?"

"Not at home now, sir; but he will be in
again at eight to-night."

"I think a young lady called here early in the
day, did she not?"

"Yes; a young lady came this afternoon."

"Exactly; I come on the same business. Did
she see Mr. Huxtable?"