“I give it to you in all honor, Carlyle. Tell Dick he has nothing to fear from me. Quite the contrary; for if I can befriend him, I shall be glad to do it, and I won’t spare trouble. What can possibly be your objection to act for him?”
“My objection applies not to Richard. I would willingly appear for him, but I will not take proceedings against the man he accuses. If that man is to be denounced and brought before justice, I will hold neither act nor part in it.”
The words aroused the curiosity of Lawyer Ball, and he began to turn over all persons, likely and unlikely, in his mind, never, according to usage, giving a suspicion to the right one. “I cannot fathom you, Carlyle.”
“You will do that better, possibly, when Richard shall have made his disclosure.”
“It’s—it’s—never his own father that he accuses? Justice Hare?”
“Your wits must be wool-gathering, Ball.”
“Well, so they must, to give utterance to so preposterous a notion,” acquiesced the attorney, pushing back his chair and throwing his breakfast napkin on the carpet. “But I don’t know a soul you could object to go against except the justice. What’s anybody else in West Lynne to you, in comparison to restoring Dick Hare to his fair fame? I give it up.”
“So do I, for the present,” said Mr. Carlyle, as he rose. “And now, about the ways and means for your meeting this poor fellow. Where can you see him?”
“Is he at West Lynne?”
“No. But I can get a message conveyed to him, and he could come.”
“To-night, if you like.”
“Then let him come here to this house. He will be perfectly safe.”
“So be it. My part is now over,” concluded Mr. Carlyle. And with a few more preliminary words, he departed. Lawyer Ball looked after him.
“It’s a queer business. One would think Dick accuses some old flame of Carlyle’s—some demoiselle or dame he daren’t go against.”
THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN.
On Monday evening the interview between Lawyer Ball and Richard Hare took place. With some difficulty would the lawyer believe his tale—not as to its broad details; he saw that he might give credit to them but as to the accusation against Sir Francis Levison. Richard persisted, mentioned every minute particular he could think of—his meeting him the night of the elopement in Bean lane, his meetings with him again in London, and Sir Francis’s evident fear of him, and thence pursuit, and the previous Saturday night’s recognition at the door of the Raven, not forgetting to tell of the anonymous letter received by Justice Hare the morning that Richard was in hiding at Mr. Carlyle’s. There was no doubt in the world it had been sent by Francis Levison to frighten Mr. Hare into dispatching him out of West Lynne, had Richard taken refuge in his father’s home. None had more cause to keep Dick from falling into the hands of justice than Francis Levison.