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[-339-] 

CHAPTER CCXXXVIII

THE PERFORMANCE.

    THE evening was serene and beautiful.
    A few thin vapours floated lazily through the blue arch, the hue of which was deliciously mellowed by the golden light of the sun.
    It was about seven o'clock; and the principal inmates of Ravensworth Hall were collected in the drawing-room.
    Adeline, pale, emaciated, and careworn, was reclining upon the sofa; and near her sate Eliza Sydney.
    The nurse was walking up and down the apartment, with the infant heir in her arms.
    Gilbert Vernon was standing outside the window, on a spacious balcony, around which were placed green wooden boxes and garden-pots containing shrubs and early flowers.
    "The evening is very beautiful," said Eliza, in a low tone, to Adeline: "will you not walk with me through the Park? The nurse shall accompany us [-340-] and the child can be well wrapped up. But, indeed, there are no dangers to fear  for the earth is parched with the heat of the day."
    "I feel incapable of any energy," answered Adeline, mournfully  very mournfully. "Never have my spirits been so depressed as they are this evening. Methinks that a presentiment of evil near at hand, weighs upon my soul. Oh! when will this dread state of suspense terminate! For five long weeks has it now lasted  "
    "Hush! lady  speak lower!" interrupted Eliza. "Mr. Vernon might suddenly enter from the balcony."
    "Ah! my dear friend," returned Adeline; "do I not suffer a fearful penalty for my crimes? But human nature cannot endure this doubt  this appalling uncertainty any longer! What does he mean? what can be his plans?"
    "Would that we were indeed able to read them!" said Eliza, earnestly. "But the term of this strange drama must speedily arrive," she continued, sinking her voice to a scarcely audible whisper, as she leant over the unhappy lady whom she thus addressed.
    "Vernon does not remain here from motives of pleasure: he has not abandoned his projects."
    "Yet wherefore should he appear so affectionate towards the child?" asked Adeline. "When he first took my sweet Ferdinand in his arms, oh! how I trembled lest he should strangle him in his embrace; and had not a look from you reassured me, I should have shrieked with terror! But now I scarcely entertain a fear when I see my brother-in-law fondle my child. Tell me, dear friend  how must I account for this altered state of feelings?"
    "Habit has taught you to subdue your alarms in this respect," replied Eliza Sydney. "Your brother-in-law has gradually devoted more and more of his attention to your dear Ferdinand; and as he never seeks to take him  nor even to approach him  save with your consent, you are to some extent thrown off your guard. Then, as a mother, you are naturally inclined to think better of that man since he has thus seemed to manifest an affection for his nephew. But, be not deceived, lady  his soul is deep and designing! Think you that he cares for a babe not yet ten weeks old? Oh! no  it is not probable! And when he talks in a hypocritical tone of his lamented brother's child  and expresses those apparently earnest hopes that the heir of Ravensworth may eventually prove an honour to the noble house to which he belongs, and to the ancient name which he bears,  Ah! be not deceived by him, lady  I implore you: he means nothing that is good  he is playing a part, the true object of which I cannot fathom!"
    "Oh! think not that I am deceived by him, dear friend," answered Lady Ravensworth: "think not that my suspicions relative to him are hushed. No  no: else wherefore should I complain of this cruel suspense? There are times, indeed, when I could throw myself at his feet  implore him to quit these walls  and beg upon my knees for mercy towards my child! Does this show that I have forgotten all those circumstances which have led us to look upon him with an abhorrence that we have alike had so much difficulty to conceal?"
    "I am aware of all you must suffer," answered Eliza, with a profound sigh; for she pitied  deeply pitied the wretched but criminal woman: "still it is for your child's sake that I have tutored you to play this game of hypocrisy,  that I have induced you and compelled myself to endure the society of one who is loathsome to us both,  and that we have even condescended to veil beneath smiles our consciousness of his character and atrocious designs. This has been the sum of our hypocrisy;  and how venial it is! And now that all my plans are so nearly matured  with the exception of the return of my messenger from Beyrout  "
    "And on his return?" said Adeline, anxiously.
    "Have I not assured you that the moment which places in my hands the conclusive proofs of Vernon's guilt  the only link wanting to complete the chain  "
    Eliza Sydney was suddenly interrupted by an exclamation which came from the lips of Gilbert Vernon.
    She rose, and hastened to the window.
    "Here is a troop of poor fellows who doubtless endeavour to earn an honest penny by their agility and skill," said Vernon; "and in a country where mendicity is a crime, even such a livelihood as theirs is honourably gained."
    Had not Eliza Sydney's curiosity been at the moment attracted by the strange appearance of the corps of mountebanks to whom Vernon alluded, and who were advancing towards the Hall, she would have been struck with surprise at the emanation of such generous sentiments from so cold-hearted, austere, and aristocratic a person as he.
    But her attention was for the time directed towards six persons, five of whom were clad in the light grotesque manner in which mountebank8 appear at country-fairs, and even not unfrequently in the streets of London. They wore flesh-coloured stockings, nankin breeches, and jackets of variegated colours, as if, in respect to this latter article of their apparel, they attempted to vie with the peculiar costume of world-renowned Harlequin. The sixth was dressed in a common garb, and wore a hideous mask.
    One of the jugglers carried an enormous drum slung behind his back, and had a set of Pandean pipes tucked in his neckcloth beneath his chin; and another was laden with a wicker-basket. The man who was dressed in the common garb and wore the mask, bore a long rod wish a net twisted round it upon his shoulder. A fourth carried two stout stakes; and the remaining two were empty-handed, although it was evident by their dress that they took no small share in the performances which itinerant mountebanks and conjurors of this kind are in the habit of exhibiting.
    We must observe, in respect to the man who wore the mask, and who, as the reader already knows, was the gipsy Morcar, that beneath his ample straw hat, and over the edges of the mask, projected huge bushes of reddish-yellow hair, which seemed as if they had once belonged to a door-mat. He walked, a little apart from the others, in company with the man who carried the stakes.
    "These conjurors evidently contemplate an exhibition upon the lawn before the windows," said Eliza Sydney, as the men drew nearer to the house. "I will send them out some money and request them to retire, as such performances are not suitable to a spot where mourning is still worn for the deceased lord."
    "That were a pity, Mrs. Beaufort," returned Vernon. "These poor creatures have their little feel-[-341-]ings as well as performers on the boards of our national theatres; and I am sure you possess too good a heart to wound them. No  let them remain; and if you can induce her ladyship to witness their sports from the balcony, she might be cheered for the moment."
    "I should be sorry to wound the feelings of any living being who did not injure me," answered Eliza: "but  "
    "Nay, my dear Mrs. Beaufort," interrupted Vernon, "do not refuse me this request. You cannot think that I am boy enough to care for the tricks of these jugglers; but I am well aware  setting aside any consideration on their behalf  that the most trivial and frivolous amusement will often produce a favourable impression upon the spirits. Let Lady Ravensworth come to the window."
    Eliza scarcely knew how to offer any farther objection: she was, however, about to make some remark in answer to Mr. Vernon, when the point at issue was settled by that gentleman beckoning the foremost mountebank to advance under the window.
    "Now, my good fellow," he exclaimed, looking over the parapet of the balcony, and tossing the man a sovereign, "let us see how well you can amuse us."
    "Thank'ee, sir," cried the man, receiving the money in his straw-hat "We'll do our best, you may depend upon it, sir."
    He then returned to his companions, who had stationed themselves at a short distance on the lawn.
    The mountebanks forthwith commenced their preparations.
    The wicker-basket was placed upon the ground; and its contents were speedily disposed in a manner to suit the performances. A long rope was tied to two trees of about twenty yards' distance from each other: some common blue plates and a wash-hand basin were laid upon the grass; and then a number of small yellow balls were ranged in a line, and at short intervals apart, across the lawn.
    While some of the men were making these arrangements, Morcar and his companion advanced to within a short distance of the balcony, and drove the two stakes firmly into the ground. To the tops of these stakes they fastened the ends of the iron rod, without however unrolling the net, but in such a manner that the rod itself would revolve with ease, and the entire net might be drawn out in a moment. They then took their posts each by one of the stakes, and there remained motionless.
    In the meantime the man with the drum and the mouth-organ had commenced his instrumental harmony, such as it was; and, at the sound, the servants of the Hall flocked from their offices to the steps of the entrance, well pleased to observe that the monotony of their existence in a dwelling where no company was now received, was about to be broken by even the performances of a few wandering mountebanks.
    In the drawing-room, Vernon was still stationed at the balcony; and the nurse, holding the sleeping child in her arms, had approached the open window outside of which Vernon was thus standing.
    Eliza Sydney had returned to the side of Lady Ravensworth, to whom she mentioned the presence of the mountebanks and the encouragement which they had received from Mr. Vernon.
    "Does he suppose that my spirits can possibly be elevated by a buffoonery of this nature?" said Adeline, her lip curling with contemptuous hauteur. "Besides, such a proceeding is most indecent  most indelicate  on the very spot where a funeral so lately passed!"
    "And yet it suits not our present purpose to anger him," returned Eliza.
    Lady Ravensworth was about to reply, when Quentin entered the room and placed a letter in Eliza's hands.
    The valet then withdrew.
    Eliza immediately recognised the writing of the faithful Filippo, and opened it in haste.
    Her countenance evinced signs of satisfaction as she perused its contents; but ere she reached the end, she sighed deeply.
    "You have evil tidings there," whispered Lady Ravensworth, who had attentively watched her friend's countenance. "And yet, methought you smiled at first."
    "I smiled," answered Eliza, also in a low tone, "because I was rejoiced to find that the only link wanting to complete the chain of evidence against that villain"  glancing towards the window as she thus spoke  "is now complete;  and to-morrow  "
    "Ah! your messenger is returned from Beyrout?" said Adeline, joyfully. "Then wherefore seem sorrowful?"
    "Because the tidings which I now receive confirms the terrible suspicion that your husband was indeed murdered,  coldly  systematically  methodically murdered,  by his own brother!" answered Eliza. "Alas! for the honour of human nature that such things should be!"
    Adeline became red as scarlet, and a profound sigh escaped her bosom;  for was she not also a disgrace to human nature?
    Eliza forgot at the moment that her words were calculated to wound the already deeply lacerated heart of Lady Ravensworth;  else not for a moment  criminal as Adeline was  would those words have escaped her tongue.
    Neither did she perceive the acute emotions which she had awakened; for she was intent upon the reflections excited by the arrival of Filippo's letter.
    In the meantime the sports upon the lawn had commenced.
    One of the mountebanks ascended to the tightrope, and performed many curious evolutions, much to the amusement not only of the servants assembled upon the steps at the entrance, but even of the nurse at the window.
    When the dancing was over, a second juggler balanced first a blue plate, and then the basin, on the point of a long stick  making them spin rapidly round, to the especial delight of the female servants. The nurse, too, was so very much amused that she crossed the threshold of the window, and advanced a little upon the balcony, the better to view the performance.
    Vernon seemed intent upon the sports, and did not appear to notice that the ladies were not spectators also. But perhaps he might have thought that they were at another window.
    And all this while Morcar, with his mask and bushy yellow hair, and his assistant Mike, were stationed each by one of the stakes to which the net was fixed.
    From time to time Vernon had looked over the [-342-] balcony at these two men, whose presence there seemed somewhat to annoy him: and when the exhibition of the plates and basin was over, he leant forward, exclaiming, "Well, my good fellow, when does your turn come? and what are you going to do with that iron pole and net?"
    "You shall see presently, sir," replied Morcar "It will be the best trick of the whole  as I know you'll admit."
    "It is all right," thought Vernon to himself "These fellows know not the motive for which they were hired; and therefore the fact of their placing the net there can only be a coincidence. However it is far enough away from the flag-stones to suit my purpose."
    Such were the rapid reflections which passed through Vernon's brain.
    And had searching eyes been fixed upon his countenance now, they would have observed that although he seemed to watch the sports with a zest passing strange in a man of his years, there were far more important matters agitating in his brain;  for his face was pale  his lips quivered from time to time  and, even while his head remained stationary as if he were looking straight towards the lawn, his eyes were wild and wandering.
    Amidst the servants on the steps of the entrance stood the Resurrection Man, apparently one of the most enthusiastic admirers of time sport. But he  as well as his employer in the balcony  was some what annoyed when he beheld the iron rod and the net which was rolled round it, placed upon the stakes on the verge of the lawn almost beneath the open window of the drawing-room. Another circumstance likewise engaged his attention. This was that he had only seen five jugglers when he had first hired them for the performances; whereas there were now six present. He, however, consoled himself with the idea that the man in the mask and his companion had taken their station so near the balcony, simply because their exhibition, whatever it was, should be better viewed by the inmates of the drawing-room; and relative to the presence of the sixth juggler, he said to himself upon second thoughts, "Well, after all, the troop might have been joined by another comrade since I saw them last night."
    But to continue the thread of our narrative.
    The last beams of the setting sun were flickering faintly in the western horizon, when the jugglers commenced what may be termed the third act of their performances  namely, the athletic exercises. They had wrestling matches, took extraordinary leaps, and performed various other feats of strength and skill. These being over, one of the band threw himself back, supporting himself with his hands on the ground, and in this position ran on all fours along the line of yellow balls, picking them up with his mouth, one after the other, with astonishing rapidity.
    This feat elicited a burst of applause from the servants on the steps; and the nurse, still holding the child in her arms, advanced close up to the parapet of the balcony.
    The sun had already set when that last feat began: the twilight was, however, sufficiently strong to permit the spectators to obtain a good view of the performance. But the jugglers now paused for a few minutes to rest themselves; and during that interval the duskiness sensibly increased.
    "I wonder what these men are going to do with their iron pole and net," observed Vernon. "Surely their turn must have come now?"
    The nurse looked over the parapet to see whether the man in the mask and his companion were still stationed near their apparatus, the use of which puzzled her amazingly.
    At that moment two of the jugglers who had advanced from the lawn towards the flag-stones that skirted the wall of the mansion, threw each a detonating-ball upon the pavement.
    The explosion was loud  abrupt  startling; and a volume of dense smoke instantly burst as it were from the ground, enveloping the balcony, and pouring even into the drawing-room through the open window.
    And, almost at the same instant that the explosion took place, a terrible scream pierced the air; and this was followed by agonising shrieks, mingled with frantic cries of" The child! the child!"
    "Merciful heavens!" ejaculated Eliza Sydney rushing from her seat near Lady Adeline to the window.
    But she was met by the nurse, who darted in from the balcony, clasping her hands together, and still screaming wildly  " The child! the child!"
    "Holy God!" cried Vernon, also rushing into the room: "the infant has fallen over! Oh! my nephew  my dear nephew!"
    And he sank upon a chair, as if overcome by his grief.
    "Murderer!  vile  detestable assassin!" exclaimed Eliza Sydney: "this was no accident!"
    "Madam," cried Vernon, starting from his seat, "recall those words  or I will not answer for my passion!"
    "No  I dare you  monster, murderer that you are!" ejaculated Eliza, as she forced the nurse, who was raving violently, to a sofa.
    At that moment shouts of delight were heard from below; and loud cries of "Saved! saved!" reached all the inmates of the drawing-room  save Lady Ravensworth, who had fainted the instant the first wild scream of the nurse had struck her ears like a death-omen.
    "Saved! saved!" repeated the nurse, catching at the joyous sound, and now becoming hysterical with the effects of the revulsion of emotions thereby produced.
    "Oh! if it be indeed true!" cried Ehl.za Sydney, darting towards the balcony; but it was now too dark to distinguish any thing that was passing below.
    Her suspense did not, however, endure many moments longer; for the door of the drawing-room was suddenly thrown open, and the man in the mask rushed in, crying "Saved! saved!"
    Eliza Sydney hastened to meet him, and received the child in her arms.
    The little innocent was indeed unhurt, to all appearance, but was crying bitterly.
    "Thank God! thank God!" exclaimed Eliza, fervently, as she pressed the child to her bosom.
    Quentin now made his appearance with lights, and several of the servants had followed him as far as the door of the room.
    "Call the lady's-maid, Quentin, for your mistress," said Eliza, hastily: "she has fainted! Bring water  vinegar  perfume; I dare not part with the child"'
    The lady's-maid was close by; and, hastening into [-343-] the room, she devoted the necessary attentions to Adeline, who, soon recovering, opened her eyes, gazed wildly around, and then exclaimed in a frantic tone, "My child! my child!"
    "He is safe  he is unharmed, dear lady, said Eliza Sydney, advancing towards the sofa with the babe in her arms.
    "Give him to me  to me only,  for I am his mother  and I will protect him!" cried Adeline in a shrieking tone then, receiving the infant from her friend, she clasped it with frantic fondness to her bosom.
    In the meantime-  although this scene occupied but a few minutes  Gilbert Vernon had sunk upon a chair, like one intoxicated. A film came over his eyes  his brain reeled  and he could not accurately distinguish what was passing around him. Amidst the sudden chaos into which his ideas were plunged, one thought was alone clear  defined  and unobscured; and this was that the child was saved!
    The moment Eliza Sidney had consigned the heir of Ravensworth to the arms of his mother, she said in a hasty whisper to Quentin, "Secure Anthony Tidkins without delay, and order the carriage immediately."
    The valet quitted the room; and Eliza then advanced towards Gilbert Vernon, exclaiming in a loud tone, "Arrest this villain  hold him  keep him safely, till the officers of justice can be sent for. He murdered his brother; and ere now he has sought to murder that innocent babe!"
    As these words, uttered with terrible emphasis fell upon the ears of the servants, a cry of horror and execration burst from their lips; and Vernon starting up, exclaimed, "Who accuses me? Wretches  you dare not say that I did such deeds?"
    But the next moment he was pinioned by a pair of powerful arms; for Morcar, who had hastily thrown off his mask and wig, was prepared to secure the guilty man.
    "Release me, villain!" cried Vernon, struggling furiously  but without avail; for some of the male domestics of the household now assisted the gipsy to retain him. "You shall suffer, for this outrage  you shall pay dearly for your conduct! Who dares accuse me of an attempt on that child's life?"
    "I!" answered Eliza Sydney, boldly.
    "And I also!" echoed Morcar.
    "Yes  and I too, murderous wretch!" exclaimed the nurse, stepping forward.
    "This is absurd  ridiculous!" cried Vernon ceasing to struggle, and sinking back into the chair "You all know how I loved my nephew  how I fondled the dear infant; and you cannot  no you cannot suppose  "
    "I recollect it all now!" ejaculated the nurse, vehemently. "The sudden explosion of those fireworks frightened me dreadfully, and I loosened my hold upon the child: but  if I was standing before my God, I could declare with truth that the babe was at that very same moment pushed from my arms!  Oh! yes  I remember it all now!"
    A second burst of indignation on the part of the servants struck terror to the heart of the guilty wretch, who writhed upon his chair; while the workings of his ashy pale countenance  the convulsive movements of his lips  and the wild rolling of his eyes, were terrible  terrible!
    Nevertheless he mustered up courage sufficient to exclaim, "That woman speaks falsely! She dropped the child  and she would throw the blame on me!"
    "She speaks truly,  vile  black-hearted man!" cried Eliza. "And now, learn that the sole object of my presence in this mansion has been to frustrate your diabolical plots, which for weeks have been known to me!"
    "You!" said Vernon, quailing beneath the indignant glance of abhorrence which the royal widow fixed upon him.
    "Yes," she continued "not only have I remained here to frustrate your plots  which, alas! would have succeeded in destroying the child, had not some strange accident, as yet unaccounted for, at least to me, saved the innocent babe from being dashed to pieces against the stones beneath the balcony;  but I have also adopted those measures which will bring all your guilt most terribly home to you! Treacherous  infamous man, I denounce you as the murderer of your brother!"
    "'Tis false  false as hell!" cried Vernon.
    "It is, alas! too true," returned Eliza. "I have damning proofs against you!"
    "Again I declare it is false!" said Gilbert, violently.
    "Let us see," resumed Eliza. "You profess to have arrived from the East a few weeks ago; and you have been in England since December or January last! Lady Ravensworth heard your voice in the ruined lodge  "
    "Ridiculous!  a mere coincidence  a false impression!" exclaimed Vernon.
    "And your landlady in Stamford Street can prove that you lodged with her for several months," added Eliza.
    "Monster!" ejaculated one of the servants who had hold upon him.
    "All this proves nothing," cried Vernon, furiously.
    "But the tobacco which you sent your brother was poisoned," said Eliza, with bitter emphasis.
    "'Tis false! It has been submitted to tests: the surgeon who attended my brother had it analysed. All the inmates of the household can speak to this fact."
    "And I also have had it analysed," returned Eliza; "and by a native of the East! Fire alone can develope its poisonous qualities; and the ablest chemists in England shall shortly test it by means of that process!"
    "Even were it the rankest poison known, you cannot show that I sent it to my brother. I deny the charge  I scorn the imputation!" cried Gilbert Vernon.
    "You will speak in a tone of diminished confidence," said Eliza, calmly, "when you hear that I despatched a messenger to Beyrout  that the very place where you purchased the tobacco in that town has been discovered  that the merchant who shipped it for you has made an affidavit before the British Consul at Beyrout to this effect  and that the precise time when you embarked from Beyrout for England has also been ascertained. Nay, more  the letters sent to your address in that town announcing the death of your brother, reached their destination long after you had left, and were never opened  nor even seen by you! Yet you affected to return to England in consequence of the receipt of those letters."
    "And who are you, madam, that have taken such pains to collect these particulars, which you are [-344-] pleased to call evidence against me!" demanded Vernon. "Is the scion of a noble race to be maligned  outraged  accused of atrocious crimes by an unknown but meddling woman!"
    "Again you speak at random," answered Eliza; "for did I choose to proclaim my title and my rank, you would admit that not even the owners of the proud name of Ravensworth possess a dignity so exalted as mine. Let me, however, return to the sad subject of my discourse: let me convince you that the evidence of your crime is so overwhelming that penitence and prayer would become you far more than obstinacy, and haughty but vain denial! For if there be farther proofs of your guilt required, seek them for yourself in those circumstances which induced you to take into your service Anthony Tidkins, the Resurrection Man!"
    Vernon shuddered fearfully as these words fell upon his ears; for it seemed as if a sledge-hammer had been suddenly struck upon his brain.
    "And if farther proofs are really wanting, lady," said Morcar, "it is for me to supply them. This morning I was concealed in the ruins of a cottage at no great distance from the Hall; and there my ears were astounded with the damnable plot which this man and his accomplice had conceived against the life of the infant heir of Ravensworth. Why I did not immediately betray them  why I resolved on counteracting that plot, I will explain on a more fitting occasion. But let me inform you that it was by my device the child was saved; for the instant that the arms of the jugglers were raised to throw the detonating balls upon the ground, the net was unrolled  rapid as lightning  by my companion and myself; and the babe was caught in it as he fell!"
    "Excellent man!" exclaimed Eliza Sydney, while a murmur of applause passed amongst the assembled servants: "who are you? what is your name?"
    "I am one of that wandering tribe called Gipsies, madam," was the answer: "and my name is Morcar."
    "Morcar!" echoed Eliza. "Oh! I have heard of you before  often  very often! The Prince of Montoni speaks of you as a friend; and your services to him in the Castelcicalan war have become a matter of history."
    "Ah! is it possible!" cried Morcar, who for some moments had been studying Eliza's features with attention  for he had seen many portraits of her during his sojourn in Italy, and a light now broke in upon his memory: "is it possible that I am in the presence of her to whom that great Prince owes his life? Oh! madam, I also have to thank your Serene Highness  humble as I am  for the safety and freedom which I experienced after the defeat at Ossore."
    And, as he spoke, Morcar abandoned his hold upon Gilbert Vernon, and fell upon his knees before the royal widow.
    "Rise, Morcar," she hastily exclaimed: "I have renounced for ever the proud title of Grand-Duchess, and would henceforth be known as Eliza Sydney. Moreover, this is no time for homage  even were I disposed to receive it."
    "The knee of Morcar bows not to princes because they are princes," returned the gipsy, proudly and yet respectfully; "but to men or women who by their virtues deserve such homage."
    At that moment a cry of alarm burst from the servants who had still retained their hold upon Vernon and at the same instant this guilty man sprang furiously from their grasp  hurled them violently aside  and, ere a single hand could stop his mad career, rushed to the window.
    Morcar bounded after him: but it was too late. Gilbert Vernon had precipitated himself from the balcony!
    The sound of his fall upon the pavement beneath,  and the sound of a human being thus falling has none other like it in the world,  struck upon every ear in that drawing-room.
    Some of the servants hastened down stairs, and ran to the spot where Vernon lay.
    They raised him  they bore him into the hall; but the moment the light of the lamps fell upon him, they perceived that all human aid was unavailing.
    His skull was literally beaten in, and his hair was covered with his blood and brains!
    Thus did he meet the fate which he had all along intended for his infant nephew.
    Terrible suicide  but just retribution!
    ***
    Half an hour after this dread event a travelling carriage rolled rapidly away from Ravensworth Hall.
    In it were seated Adeline, with her child upon her lap, her lady's-maid, and the nurse.
    The faithful Quentin, who had been induced by the persuasion of Eliza Sydney to remain in the service of Lady Ravensworth, occupied the dickey behind the vehicle.
    Adeline was now on her way to Dover, whence she purposed to pass to the continent; her intention being, in pursuance of the advice of Eliza, to seek some retired spot in the south of France, where she might at least find tranquillity and repose, if not happiness, after the rude storms to which she had lately been so fearfully exposed.
    Not that this self-expatriation was compulsory on account of Lady Ravensworth's one dread crime: it was nevertheless the project to which we have before alluded, and by which means Eliza had planned that Adeline should escape from the consequences of any revelation that might be made by the Resurrection Man in respect to the murdered Lydia Hutchinson.
    But no such revelation was made, inasmuch as Tidkins had disappeared from the mansion ere Quentin received the order to secure him. For the instant the cry of "Saved! saved!" fell upon the ears of the Resurrection Man and conveyed to him the stunning fact that the scheme had failed  that the child had escaped, in some marvellous manner, the fate intended for it,  then did he know full well that Ravensworth Hall was no longer the place for him. Reckless of what might become of Vernon, and unnoticed by the servants amidst the confusion which prevailed immediately after the fall of the child from the balcony, Tidkins slipped out of the mansion by the back way, and was speedily beyond the reach of danger.
    Thus terminated that terrible series of incidents which constitute so strange an episode in the annals of the family of Ravensworth.
    But ere Adeline took her departure from the mansion of that noble race whose name she bore, she had learnt, with surprise and joy, that the excellent friend whom heaven had sent her, and by whose touching language and admirable example her own [-345-] heart had been brought to a state of sincere and profound penitence,  she had learnt, we say, that this noble-hearted woman was one whose brow a diadem had lately graced!
    We may also observe that Morcar refused the liberal recompense which both Adeline and Eliza proffered him for the most important service which he had rendered in defeating Vernon's man at a moment when, in spite of all the precautions and the various measures adopted by Eliza, it seemed to touch upon the verge of a success fatal to the existence of the infant heir.
    Satisfied with the approval of his own conscience, and attended by the blessings of a mother whose child he had saved, Morcar returned with the jugglers to the Three Kings, where he completely satisfied them for the disappointment they had experienced in respect to the wondrous properties of his net; and on the ensuing morning he parted from them, to pursue his own way.
    Eliza Sydney passed the night at Ravensworth Hall; and, after the Coroner's Inquest had sate next day upon the body of the suicide Vernon, she returned to her peaceful villa at Clapton.

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