“In the intervals of business, I had felt some uneasiness when I thought of Miss Westerfield’s prospects. Your good brother at once set all anxiety on this subject at rest.
“He proposed to place Miss Westerfield under the care of an old and dear friend of her late father—Captain Bennydeck. Her voluntary separation from you offered to your brother, and to the Captain, the opportunity for which they had both been waiting. Captain Bennydeck was then cruising at sea in his yacht. Immediately on his return, Miss Westerfield’s inclination would be consulted, and she would no doubt eagerly embrace the opportunity of being introduced to her father’s friend.
“I have now communicated all that I know, in reply to the questions which you have addressed to me. Let me earnestly advise you to make the one reparation to this poor girl which is in your power. Resign yourself to a separation which is not only for her good, but for yours.—SAMUEL SARRAZIN.”
Listen to Reason.
Not having heard from Captain Bennydeck for some little time, Randal thought it desirable in Sydney’s interests to make inquiries at his club. Nothing was known of the Captain’s movements there. On the chance of getting the information that he wanted, Randal wrote to the hotel at Sandyseal.
The landlord’s reply a little surprised him.
Some days since, the yacht had again appeared in the bay. Captain Bennydeck had landed, to all appearance in fairly good health; and had left by an early train for London. The sailing-master announced that he had orders to take the vessel back to her port—with no other explanation than that the cruise was over. This alternative in the Captain’s plans (terminating the voyage a month earlier than his arrangements had contemplated) puzzled Randal. He called at his friend’s private residence, only to hear from the servants that they had seen nothing of their master. Randal waited a while in London, on the chance that Bennydeck might pay him a visit.
During this interval his patience was rewarded in an unexpected manner. He discovered the Captain’s address by means of a letter from Catherine, dated “Buck’s Hotel, Sydenham.” Having gently reproached him for not writing to her or calling on her, she invited him to dinner at the hotel. Her letter concluded in these words: “You will only meet one person besides ourselves—your friend, and (since we last met) our friend too. Captain Bennydeck has got tired of the sea. He is staying at this hotel, to try the air of Sydenham, and he finds that it agrees with him.”
These lines set Randal thinking seriously.