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little flakes of light, moving in the gloomy
space beyond. I would have given anything
for the power to close the door. I fancied
strange noises, and began to think of the
people I had known who lay in the vaults
just below me or in the graves about the
church; and several times a heavy hand
seemed to be laid upon my arm again,
just in the spot where the man had first
seized me. Once I could not persuade myself
but that I could hear a low, deep tone
from the organ; and again the supposed
jangling of the bells annoyed me. So I sat,
listening intently, when the whistling of the
wind paused out of doors, and hearing and
seeing ail kinds of strange things till the
chimes went the quarter after two.

Soon after that, I saw a little shining light
moving about at the bottom of the church.
It came nearer to me, and I heard a footstep.
I had fancied so many things, that I was not
sure yet whether I was deceived again, but
now I heard some one call "Abraham Stedman!
Abraham Stedman!" three times. It
was the rector's voice, and I answered him;
but he did not know where I was till I
called to him to come into the vestry-room.
He held up a lamp, and was much surprised
to find me as I was. I related to him what had
happened, and he unbound me. He told me
he had lain awake since midnight wondering
to hear no bells ringing, and had grown
uneasy, for he thought I could not have
failed to keep my word, and he knew that
I was in the church alone. So at last he
had determined to come in search of me.

This aflair made a great stir in Chorley.
But we could get no clue to the parties;
nor to their object in mutilating the
register. They had taken out so many leaves
that it was impossible to tell what
particular entry they had wanted to destroy;
but it was a curious thing, that on examining
the skeleton index, we found that,
although there was as many as thirty entries
in those six leaves, every one of them
began with one of three letters. This was a
very small clue, and the marriages at that
part were all of many years back; so that
no one could ever tell what the names were.
It was no wonder that we could get no trace
of the two men. Before the next year came
round, Chorley people had got some new thing
to talk about; and, as no one came for a copy
of the missing entries in the register, they
began to forget all about my adventure.

Eighteen months after the night which I
was bound in the vestry-room, old Mr.
Godby sent for me one night, and told me he
thought he might yet be able to trace the two
strangers. He had got a copy of a London
newspaper, in which there was an advertisement
addressed to parish clerks, inquiring for
the marriage register of a Mr. Maclean, which
took place about thirty years before. The
initial of that name was one of our three letters;
but as the advertisement mentioned no
place, that would seem a very small matter
to go upon. But I had always thought that
the entry which the two strangers had searched
for was on the first of the leaves which they
tore out, and that it was the other leaves
underneath which were torn with it, to put
us off the scent. Now, on this first page, we
found there were two entries, both beginning
with M; which was something more. Besides,
Mr. Godby reasoned, that a register, about
which the parties interested were so uncertain,
was the very one which, any person
knowing of its existence, and having an
interest in preventing its appearance, might
endeavour to destroy. These three reasons
seemed to him so good, that he went up to
London about it; and a day or two after, he
wrote to me to join him. We were soon
upon the scent now; for Mr. Godby had
ascertained who were the persons likely to
be guilty, supposing that we were right in
our conjecture, that the missing register
concerned this family. When I saw one of them,
I recognised him immediately, although he
had worn a mask in the church. I knew
him by his appearance, but when he spoke,
I could swear that he was the man, and the
officer accordingly arrested him. We got
such evidence against him afterwards, as
clearly to prove him guilty. People were
hung for such a crime then; and it was with
great difficulty that he escaped with transportation.
He confessed all about it afterwards,
and said his companion had gone
abroad since, he did not know whither; and
I believe they never caught him. His motive
as you may supposewas to defraud
children of large property, by destroying the
proofs of their legitimacy; by which he
benefitted as the next of kin of the deceased
person: but the lawyers set all to rights
again, in spite of the missing register.


BY way of contrast to the tale I am about
to tell, let me dwell for two seconds (electric
time) upon the opening of the first railway
in England. Of the thousands who are daily
sliding down the rails laid between Liverpool
and Manchester, there are a few, perhaps,
who, when they pass Parkside and the white
tablet that marks the spot where Mr. Huskisson
lost his life, think of the day when the
Rocket made its trial trip encouraged by the
cheers of thousands of spectators, among
whom were the great men of the land. The
Rocket set in motion not merely a few carriages,
but the whole railway system. And
that was only seven-and-twenty years ago.
Now, look at Bradshaw, and imagine what I
felt as an old Indian just come home.

On the eighteenth of November, 'fifty-two,
I saw the run of the first train and for the
first time heard the steam whistle in India.
Was there a grand inauguration, were there