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"My child will be one chief object of my life; and I have another, in the success of which he will be interested. I am determined, next to my child, to devote my life to finding the stolen will. You have tried, and failed. Robert tried, and laid down his life in the attempt. I alone, by whose conduct the will was lost, have not tried; but I will do so; it shall be the purpose of my life. Every thought and energy shall be given to it, for the sake of my child, and of you who have innocently been punished for my fault. I am not going to act now; I know it would be useless; but some dayit may be years onsome day I will try, and when I do I will succeed. Do not seek to dissuade me from this; my determination is irrevocable."

As nothing has been said of the personal appearance of the Misses Harmer from the time when their brother met them, twenty-one years before this date, and as they will in future play a far more important part in this narrative than they have hitherto done, it is proper to say what they were like at this period.

The prayer was never to be finished. The men sprang with alacrity to the ropes when the order was given, "Prepare to go about;" but whether their fingers were numb, or what it was which went wrong, no one will ever know. The boat obeyed her rudder, and came up into the wind. There was a momentary lull, and then as her head payed round towards the shore, a fresh gust struck her with even greater force than ever. Some rope refused to run, it was but for an instant, but that instant sealed the fate of the boat; over she lay till her sail all but touched the water, and the sea poured in over her side. For a moment she seemed to try to recover herself, and then a wild cry went up to heaven, and the boat lay bottom upwards in the trough of the waves.

"I am very sorry to have to disturb you Miss Ashleigh," she said, after shaking hands with me, "for I know how much my brother enjoys a talk with you; but your papa's orders were so very strict, that on no account should he be allowed to talk for long at a time, that I really must put a stop to your conversation."

CHAPTER XI.

So things went on into the spring, and then the shooting and hunting being over, Gerald, to his father's great annoyance, subsided into his former listless state; indeed, into a much worse condition than he was in before. He no longer was Mr. Harmer's companion in his rambles over the estate; he took no interest in his plans for the improvement of the houses of their poorer neighbours; he had no pleasure in society, which before he had so enjoyed; indeed, so entirely without aim or object did his life seem to have become, that Mr. Harmer felt that some change was absolutely necessary for him, and proposed to him that he should go for a few months' ramble on the Continent.

All this history of the Harmers I have told nearly as I heard it, passing briefly over such parts as were not essential to the understanding of the story, and retaining all that was necessary to be told in order that the relative position of the various inmates of Harmer Place may be quite understood by any one who may hereafter read this story of mine. And having done so, I can now proceed with the regular course of my journal.

Ada did not look at all alarmed.

"How so?" the lawyer asked, rather puzzled.