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Getting into a hackney-coach at the nearest stand, they drove to the hotel in silence, the doctor never venturing once to inquire as to what had passed at this interview, which he shrewdly suspected would prove a final one. Penelope, as soon as they alighted, secluded herself in her own room, and sent down a message to him, that he had not to wait dinner, as she had no appetite for any. Thus admonished, the doctor, notwithstanding the melancholy position in which he found himself placed, made a hearty meal, and having solaced himself with a bottle of wine, repaired to a billiard-room, at which he spent the time, until it was time to return for the night. When he came back, Penelope, he learned, had gone out, but as he immediately guessed she had gone to her father, he was not rendered at all uneasy by this news, but spent a very jovial night, indeed; so much so, in fact, as to become gloriously incapable, about twelve o'clock, and in this condition, was carried up to bed in the last stage of intoxication.
When he awoke in the morning, his first thoughts were of his wife,-he rang the bell, and inquired for her; she had neither been seen, nor heard of, since the preceding evening. This was strange, thought Doctor Yellowchops, who knew that his amiable partner had no friends in Hereford with whom she could have spent the night, and now growing suspicious, he got up, and dressed himself, determined to sally forth to the prison, and make inquiries there, without further delay. He did so, but could still get no clue to the mystery,—Penelope had not even been there, and now thorouglily bewildered, he came back, and paid his bill at the hotel, desiring them to inform Mrs. Yellowchops, if she should chance to return, that he had gone home again, and that she had to follow him as soon as she possibly could.
Somehow or other, as the doctor journeyed homewards, he Lad a very shrewd suspicion that he would not find his better half there, and the event proved that he was right. Mrs. Yellowchops had not been seen there since her first departure for Hereford in company with her husband, and now feeling that he had made just sufficient inquiries after her, our worthy friend did not trouble himself further about the matter, but set himself seriously to discover how he could extricate himself from the difficulties into which bis marriage had plunged him, to wit, the heavy debts he had contracted by re-furnishing his new house, and, which the reader wiil remember, he, at the time, expected to be defrayed with some of Marmaduke Hutton's old yellow guineas, but which now seemed destined to flow into another channel.
The doctor's ingenuity, however, great as it undoubtedly was, was quite unequal to the task of surmounting this serious difficulty; all the money he was possessed of, he discovered at the outset, had been carried off by his affectionate helpmatema comparatively easy task for her, as she invariably kept the purse. As the doctor had now but few resources, and as those resources had now become wofully curtailed, through the disrepute into which he had fallen, mainly owing to the infamy of his connexion with Humphrey Pestlepolge, and his scarcely less guilty daughter, he was soon after compelled to call his creditors together and offer them a composition. As this, however, in a spirit of playful badinage, of which those high-headed gentlemen could not for the life of them, see the fun, only amounted to the ridiculous sum of three-half-pence in the pound, they very naturally demurred thereto, and the upshot of it was, that the portly Doctor Yellowchops was constrained to go through the Gazette ; and as the commissioner most preposterously condescended to listen to the insinuations of certain of the doctor's enemies, who charged this unfortunate victim to the force of circumstances with fraudulent concealment, he was furthermore committed to prison, where he lingered on, in a state of involuntary vegetation, for the space of two years or thereabouts, and was then discharged; the commissioner politely congratulating him upon his escape from a trip across the water, through the mistaken leniency of the very men whom he had succeeded in victimising.
Thus cast upon the world, with a stigma upon his name, the wretched Yellowchops dragged out a miserable existence for some years longer, until, during one hard winter, he was found one fearful morning, by some early traveller, frozen to death in a ditch. His wife scarcely met with a better fate, although he died in ignorance even of her very existence, so well had she . concealed her retreat from him, or so indifferent had he been on the subject.
Although anticipating events a little, we shall describe in this place the closing scene of the career of this miserable woman. Although no traces of her could be found when search was made for that purpose ; she had not even left the favoured city of Hereford, but burrowing in one of those dens of filth and crime which are to be found in all great towns, and in Hereford amongst the rest, lingered there until the Jew was set at liberty again, and then, never losing sight of him after that, followed him up to London, and took a lodging in the immediate neighbourhood of his miserable abode. This, heaven knows, was in a disreputable place enough, but it suited her, and, with a silent patience that nothing could overcome, she gradually weaned herself into his confidence, and eventually persuaded him to take her into his house. One would have thought that the connection there had been between her father and himself; would have
been more than enough to keep him from such a piece of folly, but it did not; she became his mistress, if not something worse, and, for some time, all went on smoothly and well. The demon of revenge that smouldered in her soul, however, only awaited a favouracle opportunity to vent its malice, and an opportunity soon presented itself.
The Jew fell ill of a raging fever, and who so tender, so watchful, so uncomplaining, as this hideous gorgon--this daughter of his old ally—this implacable Ate, who had smothered her hate so long.
One night-he was delirious—she left him alone for a few mi. nutes, whilst she went out naked, for they had been miserably
oor of late, through the freezing streets, to a druggist's shop, and presently returned with the medicine the doctor had ordered for him ; then coming back, she stood for several minutes watching, with haggard fierceness, the sick man, as he lay in his lethargy, in which the delirium of the fever had left him, and a baleful scowl passed across her now hideous and distorted features, as some memory of long past times stirred within her, and then rudely arousing him, she poured out the medicine, and made him swallow it. The effect was instantaneous. There was a rattling in the throat, a convulsivc quivering of the muscles of the face, as the dying man leaped up in bed—a smothered groan, and all was over.
The Jew was dead. The woman sat over against the corpse, until the morning light came, grey and ghastly into the room; and then, without glancing once backward, she opened the door, and went out.
That night, the corpse of a woman was found in the Thames. It was that of Penelope !
CHAPTER XLVI. We left poor little Dinah Linton sitting far back in the coach that was to take her father and herself to the Opera. As she believed the latter had got in when they stopped, they drove away, without exchanging a syllable, for Dinah was not in a talkative humour.
She had fallen into a pleasant reverie, which might have lasted for five minutes, or for an hour, so badly had she taken note of the lapse of time, in thinking of poor Walter Mordaunt, when she was suddenly aroused from her dreams, and, looking up, discovered, to her astonishment, that they must have left the city far behind. Not a lamp was to be seen to break the monotonous darkness of the time and scene; she peered wistfully out of the darkened window, but beyond a vague, indistinct line of shadow that the trees cast on each side of tho road, she could discover nothing; and then, for the first time, poor little Dinah began to suspect some treachery was at work, and her heart sunk within her at the thought.
She did not venture to speak, she scarcely drew breath, as she ran over in her mind, with the rapidity of thought, all the probable reasons that could have led her father to such a step: but utterly foiled in all, she gave up the point in despair. Then a more terrible thought, almost made her cry out, as it struck her that the still, silent, stealthy figure, whose cloak she could almost touch as she sate in her own corner, might not even be Mr. Linton, but some other person instead, and, for a moment, her woman's wit was fairly baffled, and her courage well nigh forsook her altogether.
Still, however, she did not betray, either by word or gesture, the terrible agitation she felt. Iu a perfect agony of terror, she lay back in her own corner, in a perfect agony of doubt, yet still not venturing, by a single word, to resolve her fears.
She could not remember, now that her suspicions were aroused, whether the person that got into the carriage was like Mr. Linton in figure or not, for she had had no suspicions at the time. And yet if it was not him, who could it be, and where could they be taking her in that strange manner.
She thought, poor girl, of Walter, of Lucy, of Stephen, and good old Mrs. Harding, and then murmuriny a prayer for assistance from above, she felt herself more composed, and at that moment, her companion uttered the exclamation, “Miss Linton!”
" Lord Cavendish !" uttered Dinah, with a scream.
“Hush! you little fool!” cried his lordship, laying one hand upon her lips;
6 Come ! come, listen to reason, for once, my pretty little Dinah, and don't let us make a couple of fools of ourselves,-now! now! what use is there in struggling so, Dinah! you are completely in my power, as you may see, if you give yourself a moment's time for reflection. Here we are, a good ten miles from London, shut up in my travelling carriage, with your father's full connivance, and approbation, rattling away to love and matrimony-now! now! upon my word, this is really too bad !” he added, as Dinah struggled in his cowardly grasp.
“My lord ! my lord !” gasped Dinah, as a sickening terror seized her: “Oh! if you are a man, release me-1-I never did you any wrong," she cried, bursting into tears: “ if ever I did, forgive me, and let me go,-I am a poor weak woman."
“ And are therefore in my power, my pretty little Di,” cried his lordship, with a loud laugh, as he attempted to catch a kiss. “ What, not one, Dinah ?” he added, as our heroine resisted all his efforts to attain his object. “Come! come, don't be such a fool, you little simpleton !"
I am only a woman, sir,” said Dinah, proudly;" but if you dare me to it, you shall see that, weak and feeble as I am, I can still cope with such a dastardly coward as yourself. I warn you now, my lord, that if one of those vile hands of yours only touches the very skirts of my garments, I will instantly cry out to the postilion, and then where will your vauuted triumph be ?
“ All very fine, little Di, as far as it goes, that logic of yours," retorted my lord, gaily,“ only you forget that the postboy is in my pay, and will therefore scarcely be likely to fly to your assistance ; even if he did, however, what could the pair of you do against me."
“I will make the attempt, however,” said Dinah, in a determined voice, " if you do not instantly discontinue your odious persecutions.”
Try !” said her tormentor, with a coarse oath ; “ here, I will let down the window in front for you, and he instantly did as he said.
Dinah sprang forward, but almost instantly sank back again, as she saw how futile would be the attempt to make the man hear at the speed the horses were going at.
“ Now come, Dinah, listen to reason for once,” said her persecutor, in a soothing tone; " you see that fate is against
“ I would rather die, than be compelled to call you husband,” said the daring girl, proudly.
“ As you please," retorted his lordship, shrugging his shoulders; “ my wife you are certainly doomed to be, so you may as well submit to your fate at once ; silly little fool, it is the very best thing you could do, just now."
“Never!” cried Dinah, vehemently.
“ Well! well l-if you knew only the half of what awaits you, should you reject my offer, you would not throw away such a chance so lightly. Should you do so, your very worthy father, madam, runs a very good chance of the gallows. Forgery is a dangerous pastime, Miss Linton, for those who are not great adepts at it; and my worthy friend, Mr. Joseph Linton, would be only too happy to compromise the matter, by making you Viscountess Cavendish, madam."
He said this with the coolest indifference possible, just as if he had been discussing some pleasant topic of conversation ; and then, letting down the window on his side, as the carriage stopped, said, “The horses are to change here:-if you choose, you can get out, only I forewarn you, that if you do, you need