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A STRANGE STORY.

BY THE AUTHOR OF "MY NOVEL," "RIENZI," &c.

CHAPTER XLI.

THE lawyer came the next day, and almost
with a smile on his lips. He brought me a
few lines in pencil from Mrs. Ashleigh; they
were kindly expressed, bade me be of good
cheer; 'she never for a moment believed in
my guilt; Lilian bore up wonderfully under
so terrible a trial; it was an unspeakable
comfort to both to receive the visits of a friend
so attached to me, and so confident of a
triumphant refutation of the hideous calumny
under which I now sufferedas Mr.
Margrave!'

The lawyer had seen Margrave againseen
him in that house. Margrave seemed almost
domiciled there!

I remained sullen and taciturn during this
visit. I longed again for the night. Night
came. I heard the distant clock strike twelve,
when again the icy wind passed through my
hair, and against the wall stood the Luminous
Shadow.

"Have you considered?" whispered the voice,
still as from afar. "I repeat itI alone can
save you."

"Is it among the conditions which you ask, in
return, that I shall resign to you the woman I
love?"

"No."

"Is it one of the conditions that I should
commit some crimea crime perhaps heinous as
that of which I am accused?"

"No."

"With such reservations, I accept the
conditions you may name, provided I, in my
turn, may demand one condition from yourself."

"Name it."

"I ask you to quit this town. I ask you,
meanwhile, to cease your visits to the house that
holds the woman betrothed to me."

"I will cease those visits. And, before many
days are over, I will quit this town."

"Now, then, say what you ask from me. I
am prepared to concede it. And not from fear
for myself, but because I fear for the pure and
innocent being who is under the spell of your
deadly fascination. This is your power over me.
You command me through my love for another.
Speak."

"My conditions are simple. You will pledge
yourself to desist from all charge or insinuation
against myself, of what nature soever. You
will not, when you meet me in the flesh, refer to
what you have known of my likeness in the
Shadow. You will be invited to the house at
which I may be also a guest; you will come;
you will meet and converse with me as
guest speaks with guest in the house of a
host."

"Is that all?"

"It is all."

"Then I pledge you my faith; keep your
own."

"Fear not; sleep secure in the certainty
that you will soon be released from these
walls."

The Shadow waned and faded. Darkness
settled back, and a sleep, profound and calm, fell
over me.

The next day Mr. Stanton again visited me.
He had received that morning a note from Mr.
Margrave, stating that he had left L——to
pursue, in person, an investigation which he
had already commenced through another, affecting
the man who had given evidence against
me, and that, if his hope should prove well
founded, he trusted to establish my innocence,
and convict the real murderer of Sir Philip
Derval. In the research he thus volunteered,
he had asked for, and obtained, the assistance
of the policeman Waby, who, grateful to me
for saving the life of his sister, had expressed
a strong desire to be employed in my
service.

Meanwhile, my most cruel assailant was my
old college friend, Richard Strahan. For Jeeves
had spread abroad Strahan's charge of purloining
the memoir which had been entrusted to me;
and that accusation had done me great injury
in public opinion, because it seemed to give
probability to the only motive which ingenuity
could ascribe to the foul deed imputed to me.
That motive had been first suggested by Mr.
Vigors. Cases are on record of men whose
life had been previously blameless, who have
committed a crime, which seemed to belie their
nature, in the monomania of some intense desire.
In Spain, a scholar reputed of austere morals,
murdered and robbed a traveller for money in
order to purchase books; books written, too, by

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