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of stairs at the end of it, which we ascended that morning we came. The door at the bottom is only on the latch. Open it noiselessly, and you will find yourself outside the house. Cross the drive, anl enter the shrubbery at the other side, in order not to be seen. Then turn to the right, and walk along till you come to a wood. Keep on the outside of this, but follow its windings till you find it divided by a thick hedge. This hedge you must get over in some way. There is, I think, a gap or two at that place. Having got to the other side, you will be on the Netherton estate; and as you say you know Mr Everly, you will then be quite safe. You will still have a good distance to walk, but keep on by the side of the wood; and when you reach the end, strike across the fields to where you will likely see a light. This light comes from the cottage of Mr Everly's gamekeeper, who will guide you to the Hall, and put you under his master's protection. Now, do you think you understand these directions ?”

" Perfectly," answered Diamond, who had listened with breathless interest to her words. “I am sure I will find the path. O, bless you for your goodness !"

“Nay, not goodness, but the best I can do to atone for the evil I have done you. Now, it is near bed-time. Retire to your room, and reflect on your course, so that you may be fully prepared to do your part."

They bade each other good night, and the young girl was left alone to her excitement. She did not feel at all inclined to sleep; and therefore, instead of undressing or going to bed, she put out the light, and sat down at the window. Her room looked toward the east; and having raised the blind, she saw the broad, round moon coming over the tops of the trees, lighting up the dim landscape with a silver radiance. It was very calm and serene without; a clear, star-spangled sky bent overhead; a deep stillness résted on the earth; hardly a breath stirred the bursting buds of early spring; the atmosphere was very mild; and if she could have opened the window, to let it float into the apartment, it would have fanned her heated brow and fluttering breast with a soothing, refreshing softness. But the window either did not open or was fastened, and she had to content herself with viewing the scene through the glass. Even in her captivity, it appeared beautiful and lovely, especially 80 to Diamond, who had spent all her days in town, and had seldom seen the country sleeping beneath the moon.

She sat for some time in a deep and not unpleasant reverie, out of which she was startled by the deadened tones of human voices, proceeding, as it appeared, from the next apartment. By distance and the intervening wall, the words uttered could not reach her; but with an anxiety not to be resisted, she crossed over close to the wall, to learn, if possible, who they were, and what they were

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saying; for she had an instinctive idea that she was the topic of
their conversation.

Placing her ear to the wainscot, she could hear more distinctly,
and made out that one of the speakers was the baronet; but still
she could not catch the words, and eagerly shifted ber position, in
the hope that she might come nearer them. In reaching her hand
along the wall, she came upon a little hole in the wainscot; and
thinking that if cleared of the dust that had gathered in it, it might
let her see into the room, she pressed her finger into it. No
sooner had she done so, than a portion of the wall swung noiselessly
round on a pivot, and through the opening a faint light shone.
She had unwittingly touched the spring of a secret panel,
which allowed to the initiated, communication between the apart-
ments, and could now hear the conversation that was going on.
Fortunately, a large fire-screen stood before the panel on the other
side, and prevented the speakers from observing that it had been
opened; they therefore continued their dialogue, altogether uncon-
seious that the individual most interested in it was listening
to them.

“I have little hope of it. She is the most obstinate, high-spirited creature I ever encountered,” said a voice, which she recognised as: the baronet's.

“Ah! you will soon tame her down," observed the other, whom Diamond suspected to be Dogwood; but she had the firmness to step forward, and gaze through a small hole in the screen. She was quite right. At the other end of the room sat Sir Edward and his valet, with a table betwixt them, on which stood a light, while a huge fire burned in the grate in front. These things were, however, but little more than noticed; for their conversation was too. important to allow of minute observation.

“ You will soon tame her,” said Dogwood, nodding significantly to his master.

I shall," he answered, with a fiendish smile. « She will be glad to pray and entreat for what she now so haughtily rejects. It is fit, at any rate, that such pride should be humbled."

“But will it be safe to let her know who her parents are, even: after the marriage ?” asked the valet. “Suppose she tell them of the means taken to make her what she is, they may resent it, and insist upon a divorce."

“Never fear,” said Sir Edward, with gloomy fierceness. “I will take care to prevent any thing of the kind. But even if that meddling fool, her father, should think of what you say, I shall

. take my revenge on him. I owe him a heavy account for a former evil turn he did me.”

“Ay, he did balk you in your desires upon Everly,” said Dogwood, mischievously,

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« What! you know that too, do you ?" exclaimed the baronet,
hoarsely.

“Why, what was to hinder me ?” answered the other.
body knew that Gray paid the debt, and took him out of prison;
and though it was not so well known who put him there, yet I knew,
and could guess the reason.

But it is no use now. By his help
then, he was taken out of your power; and not long after he helped
him to the estate; so that now, thanks to the old fellow, he is quite
beyond your reach. You could not even injure him, if you would.”

You are mistaken, Dogwood," said his master, with a fiendish smile. “I inflicted at that time a wound in his heart which rankles there still, and will rankle as long as life endures. My revenge was complete, and the more so because he lived, rather than died, as I at the time wished. Yet this does not clear off Gray's score; and if a fitting opportunity come, I should like to make him feel

шу power. The old fool should be made to know his presumption, in daring to step between me and my purpose.”

“That opportunity may have come now," suggested the valet. What could torture him more, than to know that his long-lost daughter is in your hands, and that you have the power to make ber miserable?"

“Yet, you know, Dogwood, it is more my policy to conciliate, than to defy and vex him.”

“Ah! true—for the sake of his gold. But it seems very unlikely that you will ever need that. There seems no likelihood of your brocher's wife and child turning up, to take the estate from you. Depend upon it, were they in a position to establish their claim, they would have done it long ago. They must either be dead, or ignorant of their rights. So perhaps it was not worth while to carry off this girl, unless for the sake of having an heir of your own."

I sincerely hope it is as you say,” sighed Sir Edward. “Yet, it is better to have two strings to one's bow, even though the one you are using seems strong enough. It was a very singular tbing that marriage of Ringald's. There can be no doubt about it. The two letters I got in the bureau are too explicit to be mistaken. Would that we could solve the mystery, and get out of this state of fearful doubt! Dogwood, I would willingly give you a thousand pounds, if you discovered either that they were dead, or rendered for ever unable to annoy me.”

“So you said before, sir; and you know how eagerly I prosecuted the search, but entirely without success. It is a very mysterious affair altogether.

One would think the lady or her friends would have made good her claim; for, according to the letter, she knew well enough who her husband was; and by what she said, she has the marriage certificate all safe in the bureau. By-the-bye, sir, have

you not burned these two letters yet ?!

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“ No," answered the baronet; "they still lie in the same secret drawer in which I got them, where they are safe enough, as no one knows the spring but myself, not even you, Dogwood, though you did manage to get a peep at the letters.”

“I hope you have had no cause to regret that circumstance?" aid Dogwood, fixing an inquiring eye on his master.

Certainly not. You have hitherto proved most faithful. You
have kept the secret even from your wife.”

I have, indeed; not that I fear she would betray us, but it was
quite unnecessary; and this is a matter which should not be confided
to any one, but those whose aid is absolutely indispensable."
“ Heaven forbid that the secret should fall into

any unfriendly
hand !” ejaculated the baronet, fervently. “But about your wife

.
She has been most useful to us in the matter of this girl. The
whole affair, in fact, is due to her; it was her suggestion and her
management. I shall not forget to reward her when the marriage
is over.”
“ You still look forward to a marriage, then ?” inquired Dogwood.

Surely. Is this risk to be run for nothing? The appearance
of the girl pleases me even beyond my expectations; and her high
temper, though somewhat bothersome at present, will be all the
better afterwards in the maintenance of her new dignity.”

To tell you the truth, Sir Edward, I have some fears about this business. It would appear now, that Mary will not get her won

“ It matters not," interrupted the baronet, quickly. “If not my
wife by fair means, she shall by force."

But she may refuse, even at the altar.”
“ Pshaw ! how dull you are, Dogwood. When she comes to the
altar, I tell you she will only be too glad to accept me for her
husband. Look you, in two days the week will have expired, and
if, as I suspect, she remains obstinate, I mean to visit her myself

,
and when she least expects me. This room in which we now are,
communicates with her bed-room, by means of a swinging panel
which works by a spring. No one knows of it but myself; and in
this way, I shall break in on her fancied security. But, come;
the night wears on: you can retire to rest. I have yet some work
to do in the library."

And so they departed, taking the light with them.

The trembling girl, who had listened to the whole of this conversation, drew cautiously back, and the panel, swinging back to its place, fastened of itself. She staggered rather than walked to the bed, and had just reached it when she fell down in a swoon.

How long she remained in a state of insensibility, she had no means of knowing; but when she again opened her eyes, the moon was high in the heavens, and shining brightly into the apartment. It was

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some time ere she gathered her recollection so far as to remember the cause of her fainting-fit; but when she did, she shuddered, yet blessed God for the discovery she had made, and the many strange words she had heard. While she was made aware of the fate in store for her, unless she made her escape, she perceived that the escape was rendered much more easy, since she could now leave her prison without Mrs Dogwood being for a moment suspected. It . was not necessary to leave the door open. If the door of the next room was unlocked, she could enter it by the panel, and so make good her exit, leaving her captors to wonder, doubtless, as to how she discovered this secret communication, but giving them no room to doubt that she had discovered it, and made her escape by it.

Her excited nerves being somewhat soothed by this reflection, she began to think of the conversation she had overheard; and she found, also, in this direction a source of joyful satisfaction, for she could reveal herself to her parents, without compromising her friend. She had learned, by the words of the speakers, all, or nearly all, that Mrs Dogwood had told her, and she could by some means let the baronet know that she had learned it in this way, She felt that the adventure she had just met with was indeed providential. It smoothed entirely away the former difficulties, and opened her course gloriously up. She longed that morning would come, in order that she might acquaint Mrs Dogwood with what had occurred overnight.

Morning did come at length, and her friendly jailer appeared at the usual hour. Eagerly did she beckon her in, and leading her to the wall, pressed her finger on the spring, and, to the amazement of the woman, round went the panel. Then she told her how she had discovered it, a little of the conversation she had overheard, and the plan of escape she had formed on the strength of it.

Capital!” exclaimed Mrs Dogwood; “nothing could suit better. That room is never locked at night; but be sure you leave the panel open, to show your way of escape.” We say

Diamond repeated only a small part of the conversation, That relating to a brother's wife and child, she did not clearly understand. She perceived there was a mystery and a fraud, but could not gather enough to let her into the secret, and with great prudence refrained from mentioning it at all.

This day—the last she expected to spend in confinement dragged wearily away, and every preparation was made for the expedition of the night. Had her feelings been allowed their full swing, nervousness and excitement would have unfitted her for the task before her; but, ruling these by a firm strength of will, she brought her judgment to bear on her circumstances, and resolutely strove to be calm and self-possessed. She succeeded so far as to consult deliberately with her friend, and listen attentively as the

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