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ready with fresh scorn and defiance. But when
the chairman was again asked and pressed by
many voices, he to their surprise answered
listlessly, he was willing with all his heart. Let
them do as they pleased; by all means let them
"bring out" the Roofing Contract Company.
And the great Lackson, much mollified at this
adhesion, said, how at last he believed they
would begin to turn the corner and do a little
brisk business for once.

It was dark when Mr. Tillotson wandered
home. Mrs. Tillotson had come in from her
bazaar. A lamp half turned down was in
his study, but he did not take the trouble to
raise it; but he paced round and round, with
his head sunk hopelessly on his chest. He had
that twisted crumpled card in his hand, on
which his eyes were strained:

"MR. CHARLES EASTWOOD.
/ wish to see you: you can guess for what."

What did this mean? or was this some sword
of Damocles hanging for years over his head,
and whose fine thread had at last given way?
"With his eyes still fixed on the card, he
muttered to himself over and over again, " How
did he know? how did he know?"

Then at last he raised his lamp, sat down
to his desk, and covered his face with his fingers.
Any one looking in as he drew away those
fingers, would have seen almost an old man's
face there. Then he mechanically took up the
letters and papers that had come in since he
had been away. The letters he did not open;
but among them was his bank-book sealed up,
newly sent home from the bank, having been
posted up duly, and as he opened it
carelessly, out of its pocket slipped the sheaf of
returned cheques, stamped, and scored, and
punctured all over. Some seemed to strike him as
they caught his eye, and drawing his lamp
over, he began to go over them eagerly. He
found one he was looking forthat for two
hundredturned it over with a sort of bitter
smile, read Ross's endorsement on the back.
Then he looked at the backs of them all, one
after the other; on two he found the name
"Grainger," and at last on onenearly the last
and which was for fifty pounds, two endorsements
which made him start and turn pale, and
hold them close to the light, to be sure of his
senses. They were:

Ada Tillotson.
Charles Eastwood.

A cold dew broke out on his forehead, and
the paper fluttered away from him. He fell
back in his chair, and covered his face with his
hands. Who could resist proof like this? The
most charitable, that is, the most foolish, must
be convinced indeed. It was now become only
too plain and simple. He was the old, weak,
soft fool that he was always to be, the poor
destined victim. He had taken her from the
one she loved, and it was only natural that with
her beauty and loveliness thrown away on such
a being as he was, whom gratitude had forced
her to marry, she should long to be free again.
She was pining for her old love, and had set
herself to hunt out this secret he had kept so
long. It was she who had brought this man to
the surface again. But he would not be the
soft victim they took him for. He was not to
be sacrificed between them. They would find
that.

When dinner-time came, Mrs. Tillotson, coming
down, was told that her husband had left
word for her that he had gone to his club, and
would not be back till late. This was a new
and strange feature in his life; for though he
formally belonged to a club, he had been never
known to dine. But now he had gone there
gloomily, and men asked each other who was
the dismal parson-looking man at the little
table. What, Tillotson, the great banking fellow,
with the handsome wife? Lucky fellow
every way, but should get rid of that hang-dog
look.

The next day he was at his bank again, the
same listless, vacant man of business he had
been the night before. They were all in a
bustle and ferment, getting ready details of the
new project that was to be " brought out."
Nothing could be handsomer than the terms
offered by the great Lackson on the part of the
Roofing Contract Corporation Twenty-thousand
Bonus. So many shares at so much. In fact,
the whole thing on any terms they pleased.
Gorgeous geographical descriptions were already
in type, and read like a financial fairy tale. It
was flowery and descriptive. It gave a graphic
picture of the streets of the town, like an
extract from some tourist's book, and then went
off into figures and boundless calculations.
This glowing picture would be in all the papers.

The next morning the great Lackson
explained everything with singular fluency,
addressing himself with great deference to the
chairman, who accepted everything in the same
passive, indifferent way he had done the day
before.

This rather puzzled his brethren, who were
affectionately anxious concerning his health.
About two o'clock he said he did feel a headache,
and that he would go home, which the
great Lackson strongly recommended him to do,
adding that he would do the work for him with
pleasure.

Now ready,
THE FIFTEENTH VOLUME,
Price 5s., 6d., bound in cloth.
* * * The back numbers of All the Year Round, in single
copies, monthly parts, and half-yearly volumes, can
always be had of every bookseller, and at every
bookstall.

Now ready, in Three Volumes,
THE SECOND MRS. TILLOTSON.
BY THE AUTHOR OF "NEVER FORGOTTEN."
Tinsley Brothers, 18, Catherine-street, London.

The Right of Translating Articles from ALL THE YEAR ROUND is reserved by the Authors.

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