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returned to Aleppo on hearing the tragic events
I have related, and was busied in collecting
such evidence as could be gleaned, and
instituting inquiries after our missing countryman
at the time that I myself chanced to arrive in
the city. I assisted in his researches, but
without avail. The assassins remained
undiscovered. I do not myself doubt that they
were mere vulgar robbers. Sir Philip had
a darker suspicion, of which he made no secret
to me, but as I confess that I thought the
suspicion groundless, you will pardon me if I do
not repeat it. Whether, since I left the East,
the Englishman's remains have been discovered,
I know not. Very probably; for I understand
that his heirs have got hold of what fortune he
leftless than was generally supposed. But it
was reported that he had buried great treasures,
a rumour, however absurd, not altogether
inconsistent with his character."

"What was his character?" asked Mrs.

"One of evil and sinister repute. He was
regarded with terror by the attendants who
had accompanied him to Aleppo. But he had
lived in a very remote part of the East, little
known to Europeans, and, from all I could learn,
had there established an extraordinary power,
strengthened by superstitious awe. He was
said to have studied deeply that knowledge
which the philosophers of old called 'occult,'
not, like the Sage of Aleppo, for benevolent, but
for malignant ends. He was accused of
conferring with evil spirits, and filling his barbaric
court (for he lived in a kind of savage royalty)
with charmers and sorcerers. I suspect, after
all, that he was only like myself, an ardent
antiquarian, and cunningly made use of the
fear he inspired in order to secure his authority,
and prosecute, in safety, researches into
ancient sepulchres or temples. His great
passion was, indeed, in excavating such remains in
his neighbourhood, with what result I know
not, never having penetrated so far into regions
infested by robbers and pestiferous with
malaria. He wore the Eastern dress, and always
carried jewels about him. I came to the
conclusion that for the sake of these jewels he was
murdered, perhaps by some of his own servants,
who then at once buried his body, and kept
their own secret. He was old, very infirm;
could never have got far from the town without

"You have not yet told us his name," said
Mrs. Poyntz.

"His name was Grayle."

"Grayle!" exclaimed Mrs. Poyntz, dropping
her work, "Louis Grayle?"

"Yes; Louis Grayle. You could not have
known him?"

"Known him! No. But I have often heard
my father speak of him. Such, then, was the
tragic end of that strong dark creature, for
whom, as a young girl in the nursery, I used to
feel a kind of fearful admiring interest?"

"It is your turn to narrate now," said the

And we all drew closer round our hostess,
who remained silent some moments, her brow
thoughtful, her work suspended.

"Well," said she, at last, looking round us
with a lofty air, which seemed half defying,
"force and courage are always fascinating, even
when they are quite in the wrong. I go with
the world, because the world goes with me; if
it did not——" Here she stopped for a
moment, clenched the firm white hand, and then
scornfully waved it, left the sentence unfinished,
and broke into another.

"Going with the world, of course we must
march over those who stand against it. But
when one man stands single-handed against our
march, we do not despise him; it is enough to
crush. I am very glad I did not see Louis
Grayle when I was a girl of sixteen." Again
she paused a momentand resumed: "Louis
Grayle was the only son of an usurer, infamous
for the rapacity with which he had acquired
enormous wealth. Old Grayle desired to rear his
heir as a gentleman; sent him to Eton; boys are
always aristocratic; his birth was soon thrown
in his teeth; he was fierce; he struck boys bigger
than himselffought till he was half-killed.
My father was at school with him; described
him as a tiger whelp. One day hestill a fag
struck a sixth form boy. Sixth form boys do
not fight fags; they punish them. Louis Grayle
was ordered to hold out his hand to the cane;
he received the blow, drew forth his schoolboy
knife, and stabbed the punisher. After that, he
left Eton. I don't think he was publicly
expelledtoo mere a child for that honourbut
he was taken or sent away: educated with
great care under the first masters at home: when
he was of age to enter the University, old Grayle
was dead. Louis was sent by his guardians to
Cambridge, with acquirements far exceeding the
average of young men, and with unlimited
command of money. My father was at the same
college, and described him againhaughty,
quarrelsome, reckless, handsome, aspiring, brave.
Does that kind of creature interest you my
dears?" (appealing to the ladies).

"La!" said Miss Brabazon; "a horrid
usurer's son!"

"Ay, true; the vulgar proverb says it is good
to be born with a silver spoon in one's mouth;
so it is when one has one's own family crest on
it; but when it is a spoon on which people
recognise their family crest, and cry out,
'Stolen from our plate chest,' it is a heritage
that outlaws a babe in his cradle. However,
young men at college who want money are less
scrupulous about descent than boys at Eton are.
Louis Grayle found, while at college, plenty
of well-born acquaintances willing to recover
from him some of the plunder his father had
extorted from theirs. He was too wild to
distinguish himself by academical honours, but my
father said that the tutors of the college declared
there were not six undergraduates in the
University who knew as much hard and dry science
as wild Louis Grayle. He went into the world,
no doubt, hoping to shine; but his father's name