A feeling of regret at the untimely end of the unhappy man, as he had been hurried into eternity without preparation, came over her for a few moments, this was chased away by indignation at the fraudulent and base part that had been played by her late governess and companion. “What has become of her?” she inquired.
“Decamped, and no doubt fled the country ere this; all that is known of her is that she left Vellenaux on the plea of rendering all the assistance in her power to Sir Ralph, but she did not make her appearance in that neighbourhood,” was Arthur’s answer. The reader knows more of her movements than any of her acquaintances at Vellenaux or London.
“And we shall have dear old Vellenaux to live in. Oh! Arthur dear, I am so happy, with all the friends I hold most dear on earth residing around us. You will of course leave the service now? How kind of my poor, dear uncle to think of us both in his will. But Mrs. Barton may notice my absence, and become uneasy, so let us return;” and in another moment or two, leaning on the arm of her handsome affianced husband, Edith re-entered the ball room, much to the relief and surprise of Pauline Barton. Arthur Carlton took an opportunity during the evening of relating to Mr. Barton the change that had taken place in Edith’s circumstances by the death of, and disclosures made by, the late Baronet.
“Meet me at breakfast in the morning, and we will consult as to what immediate steps should be taken on this extraordinary occasion; but of course you will sleep here,” said Horace. Arthur assented, and was soon again at Edith’s side, who had told confidentially to Mrs. Barton all that he had told her: and that little lady could not restrain her delight, and before eleven o’clock that evening, every one in the room became aware that the beautiful Miss Effingham was worth twenty thousand pounds a year as heiress of Vellenaux.
Mr. and Mrs. Denham, previous to the ball, took their departure for Devonshire, and were comfortably settled in the Rectory before Horace returned to the Willows. He had postponed their journey in order that Arthur and Edith might have the benefit of his advice and assistance in such matters as might arise during the establishment of their claims, set forth in the will of the late Sir Jasper, now produced.
Mr. Septimus Jones was a lawyer of good repute, carrying on his practice now, and had been doing so for upwards of fifteen years in the main street of Hammersmith leading to the Suspension Bridge.
“Nicholas,” said that gentleman one morning, as he laid on his desk a copy of the Times newspaper, which he had been carefully perusing for upwards of an hour, “Nicholas, do you remember a youth named Edward Crowquill, that I had in my office some ten years since?”
The old and confidential clerk ceased writing, and thrusting his pen behind his ear, rubbed his hands softly together, and said, “Most certainly I do. He was not fit for the business, and gave it up through ill health; studied medicine for a time, and is now a chemist and druggist, residing some hundred yards down the street.”