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BY THE LATE WILLIAM MAGINN, LL.D.

CHAPTER XXIII. SHEWING HOW MANESTY TOOK HIS PRECAUTIONS---HIS SEARCH AFTER HUGH

AND WHAT ENSUED ON HIS INTERVIEW WITH LAWYER VARNHAM. Feeling convinced that he had secured his son's safety, as far as the intended duel with Stanley was concerned, Manesty, after Hugh had rushed from his presence, deliberately proceeded to re-open the seachests, and to apply again to the task of examining and selecting their contents. Having lit a taper, he held many of the manuscripts over the flame, and threw their burning relics into the grate. Others he put aside, with a view of placing them, under seals and lock and key, in the custody of his attorney, Varnham. In this way, he had nearly emptied one of the chests, when he took out from among the undermost layer of papers, an unsheathed and rusty sword. Gazing intently on it, he exclaimed

“Ah, old acquaintance! I did well in consigning thee to perpetual rest after thy great deed! More than four and twenty years hast thou slumbered in utter inactivity. Thy blade formerly was bright and keen; now the greedy rust has gnawn it, and thou art sadly defeatured. But it was not fitting that thou shouldst be stained by mean blood, after having drawn forth some of the best in the land. I have looked often at thee with exultation. Why dost thou now draw up the blinding water in my eyes, so that I can scarce see thee? And wherefore does my breast swell

, and my heart throb, thus intolerably? Dost thou reproach me, old sword? What! did I use thee wrongfully? Well, well! Thy silent appeal almost unmans me. Yet, how could I bear the scorn, and hate, and fierce pride of him on whom at last I wreaked a bloody revenge?"

Manesty placed the sword aside, and leaned back in his chair, as if in deep rumination. He was, however, only a few minutes thus abstracted. Starting up, he said

“I have no time to waste. I am in the toils, and the hunters are upon me. Dexterously have I played my game-dexterously will I play it still. In spite of them, I shall escape. Escape! And am I then brought to such a pass as to think my greatest good is in successful flight? O, Manesty, thy pride, and cruelty, and selfishness, have ruined thee! Thou hast thought too little of this; and lo! the dreadful cup of bitterness is at thy lips. Thy fortune is gone. Thy name is the prey of the scorner. Though consorting with pious men, thou hast turned- hypocrite as thou art--a deaf ear to their counsels. But the words that are written in the wondrous book sink deeply even into the hardest and most unbelieving hearts; and then, when least they are expected, rise up with fearful threatening. In the days of my pride I cast them off; but now they burst out against me, even as avengers. "God,' says the Psalmist, hath prepared for the wicked man the instruments of death. He ordaineth his arrows against those that persecute. Whoso travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood, and made a pit and digged it for others, shall fall into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon himself.' This is the truth of all ages; fearfully do I feel it! Fearfully have I felt it; but success, and pride, and the strength of manhood, and the impious sacrifice of all to self, have tempted me to defy it. Now I must reap the harvest I have sown.”

Having thus soliloquized, Manesty again addressed himself to the examination of the papers. While so employed, his hand lighted on a miniature of a woman, which he hastily thrust among the reserved documents.

“No, no!" ejaculated he, “I cannot look on that! I could contemplate the sword; but one glance at that pictured face would turn my eye-balls into stone. Hugh shall have it with the rest; 'twill be precious to him. O Bertha!-dear, unhappy, lost Bertha! I have devoted to thy memory many a melancholy vigil; but never again may I visit the sacred room at Wolsterholme!”

Manesty covered his eyes with his hand awhile; when, removing it, and looking at his palm, “What !” vociferated he, “ tears! I never thought to be guilty of this weakness. Rouse-rouse thyself, John. Be not cast down. Summon to thee the daring of thy other self-Hoskins the pirate. It is all over with thee as a Liverpool merchant. This is no time to be maudlin. Pack up thy papers ; order thy horse; but first see if thy pistols are in trim, and load them. John Manesty shall not be taken alive; no, not by twenty Oglethorpes."

The merchant now thrust his reserved documents, including the old sword and the miniature, into a portmanteau, which he carefully locked and sealed; and then, summoning Hezekiah, ordered his horse, and prepared for a final adieu to Liverpool. Looking around him, as if for a farewell glance at a room where he had passed many bours, his eyes fell on the papers he had given to his son as confirmations of the astounding intelligence respecting the young man's paternity.

“D-n-n!” roared Manesty. “ He has left behind him the writings which alone could substantiate the truth of my assertion! Reflecting carefully on my words, he may think they were uttered in extremity as a manæuvre to hinder his duel with Stanley; and, under that impression, may rush into the field and be slain! Oh, my boy-my boy!-gladly would I die for thee even on the scaffold!”

This idea of Hugh's danger so absorbed the mind of Manesty that, for a moment or two, he was unconscious of everything else. He was recalled, however, to a state of vigilance by hearing a low whistling and coughing below in the corn store, in Mud-lane. “A signal!" said Manesty; when, approaching the window cautiously, and looking out, his eyes met those of Ozias Rheinenberger, whose face, lifted up towards him, was deadly pale and terror-stricken. Speech was out of the question, considering the interposing panes of glass, and the distance between the parties. The Moravian, therefore, trusting to dumb show, pointed with his thumb over his shoulder, as if to indicate that something was approaching in that direction, while, with a move

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ment of the other hand, he waved Manesty off towards the front of the premises in Pool-lane.

“ I understand him," thought the merchant, drawing away from the window, after nodding to Ozias to indicate that his hint was taken;

and will profit by his suggestion. I thought to escape by the store; but I find I must take the other way. Well, it cannot be helped. Oglethorpe knows nothing about two doors. He will be over-reached by his own cunning. I have been in greater danger than this on the coast of Guinea. Now then."

And, having placed a pistol in each of his capacious pockets, he seized the bundle he had made up, and drew aside the heavy bolts in the front door. At this moment a sound of voices in busy parley was heard at the entrance of the out-house, quickly followed by the thrust of a crow-bar, and a jarring noise made by forcing the door from its fastenings. Manesty kept his position for a moment, anxiously listening, on the top of the front stairs, to ascertain if any similar danger was to be apprehended in that direction. But all there was quiet. Meanwhile, he was aware of a rush up the steps, or rather ladder, by which the room was gained from the out-house in the rear.

“ Judging by the variety of voices,” said Manesty to himself, with an inaudible chuckle, “the fellows are strong in number. But even if they reach the door, they'll find it rather a tougher job to force than they did the entrance below; and, as the ladder is narrow, only one can work at a time. Hallo! what's that?” continued he, as a sudden snapping of wood was heard, succeeded instantly by a heavy fall, and sundry groans and execrations. Capital, by —! The ladder has broken; and some of the heavy rogues must have a few more bruises and fractures than they bargained for, even in coming to take me. Now is the time,” he added, descending the front stairs, and saying as he went, “ neither Oglethorpe, nor the devil himself, shall hinder my going to Wavertree after Hugh. My boy-my boy!"

Manesty's steed was at the door, as had been ordered. Directing the portmanteau to be quickly strapped behind the saddle, he mounted, and galloped off in the direction of Wavertree, where he arrived soon after the time indicated by his son. Not a soul was on the ground; nor did the merchant meet any one either going to or coming from the spot.

Had anything happened of the kind he feared, some symptom of it must have met his observation. Braving every danger to himself, Manesty next went to other places where he thought Hugh might be found; but though, to his infinite disappointment, he could not trace him, he felt comforted in the conviction that no hostilities had taken place. He was resolved, however, at all hazards, to lurk about Liverpool till midnight, in the hope of seeing his son once more, and imparting to him certain information as to his future prospects in life. But first, he must call on his attorney, Ezekiel Varnham.

Boldly and openly, as in the days of his pride, did John Manesty ride through the streets of Liverpool. He neither hung down his head, nor drew his hat over his brows, nor sought by-streets, nor urged his horse beyond a gentle trot. It is not probable that he would have been thus careless on foot; but he felt convinced that, in case of any untoward rencontre, he might depend on the fleetness of his steed, whose blood and bone could not easily be matched. Thus audaciously

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did he ride to Varnham's house, standing by itself in a kind of courtyard. Having learnt that the lawyer was at home, Manesty took the precaution of placing his mare near the stable at the back of the building, whence egress could be obtained into a by-lane, and was then ushered into the lawyer's presence.

Ezekiel Varnham was a pleasant-spoken, good-looking man, but an infinite rogue; a fellow of coaxing manners, but so thoroughly unprincipled, as to take advantage of any knowledge confidentially communicated to him by a client, if by those means he could forward the suit of a richer employer. Varnham was a sharp practitioner; that is to say, in his very first steps against an unfortunate debtor, he would at once swell the costs to the utmost extent. This, probably, was never intended by the spirit of the law; but Ezekiel Varnham looked only to the letter, equally reckless of the sufferings of his victim, and the interest of his client.

On entering the room, Manesty was immediately struck with a change in the demeanour of his attorney, who, scarcely rising from his seat, returned the merchant's greeting with marked coolness. Manesty was not slow in assigning this to its proper cause, and was resolved at once to bring it to an issue.

“ Come, come, Ezekiel Varnham," said he, “ this is folly. I know what you have heard of me; but I know also that, if it answered your purpose, you would not object to the devil himself for a client.”

“You do me honour,” returned Varnham, with a slight sneer.

“ To be sure I do,” rejoined the other. “Am I not right well instructed in the art of honouring lawyers?”

“I have no time to-day to bandy compliments,” observed the attorney. “ If you wish to speak to me, Mr. Manesty, you must be brief. I have many pressing engagements,” he added, taking out his watch.

“My time is also precious," said Manesty. “ Therefore let us at once to business. In the first place

“ Stop a moment,” interposed Varnham, “just while I give my clerk a few instructions touching a mortgage which

“ No, no, Varnham,” returned Manesty, glancing sternly and significantly at the lawyer; “out of this room you do not pass till you and I have had full conference together. It is fit that we speak plainly one to another. My character is in rather a dangerous state at present; and yours, friend Ezekiel, is not so sound, but that it stands a little in need of repair. You, doubtless, think it would advance your reputation as a disinterested and public-spirited citizen, if you were to deliver up to the law John Manesty-Manesty, the ruined man-who comes voluntarily and in confidence to your house. You shall not do this, Varnham, much as I admire your virtue.”

“What mean you, Mr. Manesty?” asked Varnham, in all the confusion of a conscious rogue.

“Oh, you know well enough. Let us have no affectation. In a word, Varnham, you believe, because I am in extremity, that I must be without money. You are mistaken,” continued he, producing a heavy bag, and convincing the lawyer that it was loaded with guineas. “Nay, more,” he added, “it is perhaps your opinion that the present posture of my affairs intimidates me. This is equally erroneous. See, Varnham, how well I am prepared, both to confer a reward, or to repel hostility."

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So saying, the merchant drew a pistol from his pocket, and coolly laid it on the table. The lawyer's cheeks turned white, and his eyes were fixed on Manesty.

“ I see you understand me, Ezekiel,” pursued Manesty; know I am not a trifler. Here, take this gold; you will find it to be no paltry fee.”

The lawyer, with abundant acknowledgments, clutched the money, professing his readiness to act on behalf of Manesty with the utmost zeal and activity. But this change in his demeanour was only momentary. His eyes became restless, glancing hither and thither, as if with apprehension ; his manner was embarrassed, and his whole frame seemed uneasy and agitated.

“ I want nothing of you myself,” returned the merchant. “My object in visiting you is to place in your custody this portmanteau, chiefly containing papers. They are for the inspection of one eye only. But even that eye is not to see them yet. At the proper time, an order, signed by myself, will be presented, when you will deliver them. The bearer of this order will be prepared to pay, in addition to what you have now received, five hundred pounds, for the faithful discharge of your trust.”

Varnham's eyes twinkled at the prospect, though his restlessness evidently increased; and he repeatedly looked at his watch.

“ But,” pursued the merchant, “ the slightest evidence of any tampering with the lock or seals will not only deprive you of the money, but also of a very valuable client, in the person of my successor, Mr. Hugh Manesty, whose property will not be prejudiced by any underhand dealing with that which I now commit to your charge, however he may be pained at knowing that the family information contained in those papers has been perused by any other than himself. I have entrusted you with the packet, because I have reason to suspect that all documents in my house will be overhauled by the authorities, and I should not like these to fall into their hands. I think I can now depend upon you, Varnham.”

“Implicitly," returned the lawyer.

“ Nothing more, then, need be said,” observed Manesty. “That is your iron chest there in the corner, isn't it?”

“ Yes.”

“ Well, then, let me see you deposit my portmanteau safely in it, and then farewell."

This was accordingly done to the merchant's satisfaction; when, . offering his hand to Varnham, who eagerly grasped it, as if infinitely relieved at the termination of the interview, Manesty rose to depart.

But his exit was destined to be not so quiet as his entrance. The door of the room was suddenly opened, and a man, whose head was bound round with a handkerchief, and whose visage bore evident marks of a recent contusion, entered. Though thus disfigured, Manesty instantly recognised Measly Mott, whose voice he had heard among others during the morning assault in the corn-store. Varnharm looked like one stricken with epilepsy. Catching a momentary glimpse of one or two other men in the passage, Manesty

sprang like lightning to the door, closed, and locked it, and seizing Mott by the throat with his left hand, while with his right he held a pistol to the fellow's temple, said, in a low tone

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