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shepherd; "he rents all these downs, and
lives in that ere red house among the turnips
with the broken chimbly pots."

"That's very lucky," said Belton. "I'll
hurry on and tell the Doctor to be ready
to receive his patient."

So saying, he turned away in the very
opposite direction; and, was rushing off as fast
as he could, when the man called him back.
The summons shook him like a leaf; he felt
his knees bend under him; but the man had
only stopped him to point out the nearest way
to Doctor Whimbler's; and Belton, saying he
had to call on a friend on the road, continued
his walk at a pace that would have done
honour to a steam-engine.

But where to go? He had no notion in
what direction his Rus in urbe lay. Even if
he had, what was the use of going there?
The hue and cry would be up in a very short
time  the people who had seen him sitting
so statelily in the curricle would be sure to
recognise him; andhere a dreadful thought
overwhelmed him, as if he were already
looking on the judge's black caphis rod
and basket! he had left them in the carriage!
Was his name on the handle? Was there a
card with his address on the lid? He could
not remember; and therefore took it for
granted that they were. "John Belton,
Riches Court." What was the use of further
concealment? He would inquire for a magistrate
for a policemanfor a turnkey; he
would give himself up to justice. He has
often told me that this resolution calmed him
like a charm. He was now going to be hanged,
and knew the worst. He even became jocular.
He saw a considerable amount of humour in
the rapidity of the change that had taken
place in his position. Half an hour had
altered it for life. He merely accepted a
polite stranger's offer of a seat in his carriage,
and had become enveloped in an affair with
which he had no original concern, and must
make his appearance on a scaffold for the
murder of a man he had never seen before.
In these meditations many miles were passed
over, many bye-ways sought out, many turnings
and twistings scientifically performed to
put his pursuers off the scent; but at last he
felt faint and hungry, and was under the
necessity of seeking the haunts of men.
Some smoke at a little distance directed him
towards a village at the foot of a gentle
eminence. He looked out for a public-house,
and a little way across a field he perceived a
mansion which he feebly began to recognise
as one he had seen before. It was not, however,
a house of entertainment; it was a red
brick house; it stood in a field of turnips; it
had broken chimney pots.

"I say, my man," he said to a lad of ten or
twelve who passed him while gazing on the
object of his surprise, "there's a penny for
you. Whose house is that?"

"That be Doctor Whimbler's, sirthank'ee."

Doctor Whimbler's! —the very place in all
the world it was his object to avoid! The
love of life grew strong as the danger of
death drew near. He slunk like a guilty
wretch from hedgerow to hedgerow, and
finally got into a wayside inn.

Three or four labouring men were refreshing
themselves. Belton ordered some bread
and cheese and a glass of beer.

"He was dead, I tell ye, afore Jem Stokes
got up to the Down," said one.

"Well, I heard say that he groaned four or
five times after he got to Whimbler's," said
another; "but whoever did it will be hanged,
and that's a great comfort."

"Yes, it is," said all the guests, except one.
Mr. Belton did not enjoy his bread and cheese
so much as usual.

"It was a duel," continued the first orator,
"about Miss Florimond at the Hall. The
Captain said he would have her, though her father
had promised her to Sir Charles. So Sir
Charles shot the Captain, and if he's hanged
she on't have ne'er a husband at all."

This seemed to be considered a good joke,
and the men laughed accordingly. Belton
did not laugh, but he joined in the

"Miss Florimond will be much to be
pitied," he said. " Who was the Captain?"

"He's the dead man up at old Whimbler's;
and there goes the beadle for the Crowner's
jury," said the man: "they'll send out a
warrant for the seconds, and I 'spose they'll
all be hung in a fortnight."

Belton left unfinished his bread and cheese,
paid his reckoning without saying a word,
and walked at his utmost speed away from
the fatal neighbourhood. A coach overtook
him when he was nearly worn out. It was
bound for London. He got inside, pulled
down the blinds and determined to keep his
own counsel, and let events take their course.

From that day he was more attentive to
business than ever. A weight was on him.
But it was like the weight of a king's crown;
it had dignity as well as care. He was the
depository of a tremendous secret, and he
swelled with the consciousness of the
superiority which this gave him over everybody
he met A week passed on, and he was
unsuspected. He ventured to look at the
newspapers. Only once he caught a glimpse
of the awful subject. It was an allusion to
the late fatal duel in Hampshire, and though
the reporter was wrong in the date there
could be no doubt it alluded to the same
event." The seconds have absconded, and
have hitherto eluded discovery. One of them
is unknown; and the medical man, it is
supposed, has gone to America."

Time had its usual soothing effect. He had
visions of the murdered man for some days,
but after the lapse of a few weeks the strange
longing came upon him which has impelled so
many evil doers to visit the scene of their
iniquities. He would go to Rus in urbe
once more, and make inquiries for himself.

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