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Ada rose to go into her own room.

"To tell you the truth, Robert, I found it rather up-hill work at first. I worked for the papers for a bit,went to all the fires, and the inquests, and the hospitals, and sent accounts to all the dailies. Of course at first they did not often put them in, still they did sometimes, and after a month or two they came to take them pretty regularly. At last I did what I really very seldom did do; but I was very hard-up, and I sent an account of a fire which only existed in my imagination. Well, it turned out that there was a row about it, and of course that put an end to that line. It was winter then, and I was very hard-up, and was glad to earn a few shillings a week as super at one of the pantomimes. Then I happened to meet with a man with a few pounds, and together we set up a very profitable businessadvertising to find situations for clerks and servants. They paid us five shillings to enter their names in our books; then we answered every advertisement that appeared in any of the papers for that sort of thing, and sent them to look after the situations. If they got them, they paid us thirty per cent, on the first year's earnings, down on the nail. There were three or four of us in that game. I kept the head office, and they took places in other parts, and each of them wanted clerks at 150 a year. It was a capital dodge, and we made a lot of money; but at last it got blown upon, and we had to give it up.

Cecilia was more upright than before. The comparatively cheerful life she had led at her brother's house for nearly twenty years, had, to a certain extent, worn off the look and habit of repression and humility which she had gained from her early residence in a convent, and afterwards with her stern elder brothers. She had too, for all these last twenty years, been working with a purposea vague one indeed, and, seemingly, a hopeless one, but yet to her a holy purpose, worthy of her dedicating her life to attainnamely, the hope that her brother might yet return to the old faith, or that, if he died before them, he might leave them his property; so that, in either of these cases, the Roman Church might reap the rich harvest which her elder brothers had intended for it. This hope had been to a great extent defeated by the declared intentions of Herbert Harmer, and yet she clung desperately to it.

Father Eustace at once rose, and preceded the others to the library.

"I did, Miss Harmer. I have before heard of people being threatened, or even absolutely tortured, to oblige them to tell where their valuables are concealed; but it is a very rare occurrence, and surprised me at the time, almost as much as it shocked me. As a general thing, burglars when they attempt a robbery, ascertain previously where the valuables are kept, and act accordingly. It is possible that in this case it was not so. These men may have been merely passing vagrants, or they may have been thieves from London, who may have heard that there was a very fine collection of plate here. Taking into consideration the lonely position of the place, and the fact that the only males in it are servants who sleep in a remote corner of the house, they may have thought that it would be at once quicker, and would save them the trouble of breaking open a number of doors in the search for the plate-closet, to come at once to the owners, whom, they imagined, would readily be frightened into revealing its exact whereabouts."

"Yes sir, I have. From the time I found the first spring at Christmas, I have never ceased looking for another one. I had felt every knob on the fireplace and chimneypiece, and every stone up the chimney as far as I could reach. You know, sir, it is only in the half hour I get of a morning by being up before the other servants that I can try; indeed I only have half that time, for I must get some of the shutters open and appear to have began to do something to account for my time. Well, sir, at last I really seemed to have tried everywhere, and I almost gave up all hope of finding it, although I had quite made up my mind to go on searching as long as I stayed there, even if it was for ten years. Well, sir, yesterday morning I quite got out of temper with the thing, and I sat down on the ground in the great fireplace quite out of heart; my face was quite close to the great iron dogs, so I said, "Drat you, you look for all the world as if you were putting out your long tongues at me;" and I took hold of the tongue nearest to me, and gave it a twist, and do you know, sir, it quite gave me a turn to find that the tongue twisted round in my hand. I twisted and twisted till the tongue came out in my hand, then I touched the spring behind the mantel, but nothing moved; then I tried the tongue of the other dog, and that came out too; but still nothing moved. Just then I heard the cook moving in the kitchen, so I had to put the tongues back again and go to my work; but all day I hardly knew whether I stood on my head or my heels, I wanted so much to see whether anything would come of it. Well, miss, this morning I got up quite early, and unscrewed the dogs' tongues, and looked in the places they had come out of, but could not see anything. Then I pushed the sharp end of the tongue into the hole, and twisted and poked about, but I could not find anything moved; then I put that tongue in again, and tried the other, and directly I pushed the sharp end in, I felt something give way, and then I heard a click. I jumped up and pushed the knob in the chimney, and directly something creaked, and the whole of the left hand side of the fireplace swung open like a low door, about four feet high, and beyond it was a little flight of stone stairs. I was so excited, sir, when I saw the door and the steps, and knew I had found the place I had been looking for so long, that I had to lean against the wall to support myself. After a little while I pushed the door back again, and heard it close with a click. Then I screwed the tongue into the mouth again, and went about my work, but all day I have hardly known whether I stood upon my head or my heels."

Miss Harmer looked scornfully at her. Polly paid no heed to her look; she had turned her eyes from Miss Harmer now, and was looking straight before her, and went on, speaking in a quiet, dreamy tone, as if almost unconscious of her visitor's presence.

"Why so?" Harry asked indignantly. "Do you mean to say that if we knew there was a will hidden in a certain place, which will left us all the property, that we should have no right to go in and search for it?"

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2023-06-04 14:50:49 [周口市网友]

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2023-06-04 14:50:49 [梧州市网友]

2023-06-04 14:50:49 [甘南州网友]

2023-06-04 14:50:49 [郑州市网友]

We were down stairs by a quarter to ten. Percy was already there, and paid us both many nonsensical compliments. Lady Desborough soon came down, and also expressed herself highly pleased with our appearance. She fully endorsed what Ada had said as to the value of the cross, and said that it was worth more than Ada had put it at, perhaps nearly twice as much.

2023-06-04 14:50:49 [驻马店市网友]

Mr. Harmer had at first thought of accompanying him, but finally decided against doing so, as he judged it better that Gerald should have to think and act entirely for himself; for being forced to do this, and to make new acquaintances and friendswhich in travelling he could only do by exerting himself to be agreeablehe would be far more likely to shake off his listless apathy, than if he had some one ever with him, to arrange matters, and take all necessity of thought or exertion off his hands.

2023-06-04 14:50:49 [常德市网友]