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if she lingered longer it would be dark before they
arrived at home, she set off with Eachel, after giving
a promise to Ella that the very earliest tidings of
Clement should be sent to the Hall.



CLEVE HALL. 233

There were two ways by which they might reach
the Lodge : one through the Cleve Woods and the
village ; the other across the Common and the cliffs.
Bertha chose the latter ; she could then look over the
sea, and watch for the vessels which might be coming
in. There were several in the distance, and she was
tempted to linger and observe them. They walked
near the edge of the cliif, and looked down upon the
shore. Rachel remarked that there were fewer
boats than usual on the beach. But there was one
near the Point which she thought looked like Mark
Wood's. That seemed rather to contradict the report
brought by Mrs. Kobinson ; and Bertha, uncomfort-
able at any thing which disturbed what was now her
settled impression as regarded Clement, said they
would go nearer, and make certain of the fact.

" There are two men out there," said Rachel, point-
ing to a spot where the Cleve Plantations joined the
open Common ; " perhaps they can tell us."

" I don't see them," replied Bertha. " Oh ! yes,
there they are, keeping close by the hedge. I Avonder
whether they belong to the Grange."

"If they do, they are smuggling people," said
Rachel. " And they will be sure to be civil to us ;
they always are to ladies and children."

" But not if we ask questions about their boats,"
replied Bertha ; " they will think that interference."

" Will they ? " and Rachel went nearer to the edge
of the cliff, and looked over it again. " Do come
where I am, dear Miss Campbell. Now that it is low
tide, one can tell so well how they get up to the cave.
Don't you see the kind of steps up the cliif?"



234 CLEVE HALL.

"Yes;" but Bertha cared more for the boat than
for the cave just then.

Rachel went on in rather an excited tone, keeping
close to Bertha as she spoke : " Shouldn't you like
to go into the cave ? Anne told me, a long time ago,
it was such an odd place, and that the preventive
men never can find the smugglers when thej get in
there; thej always escape. But I don't talk to
Anne now about such things," she added, seeing that
Bertha's countenance was grave. " I have never done
it since papa told me not."

Bertha was not grave on account of any thing
which Kachel said, she was watching the men who
had left the path by the Plantations, and were coming
towards them, across the Common.

"Isn't that Goff, Rachel?"

" Oh, no ; it's too tall." But Rachel looked a second
time, and changed her mind : " Yes, though, I think
it must be ; he walks like him."

"Never mind the boat," said Bertha, turning
quickly homewards. " It is too late to wait."

" They are not coming this way, they are going
towards the Point," observed Rachel.

They went on a few paces further. Rachel looked
back : " How very strange ! He's gone, — one of
them — all of a sudden. There were two. Miss
Campbell, weren't there ?"

" Never mind, my dear ; come on. You can't see
because of the brushwood."

" Yes, I can indeed ; " and Rachel could not resist
another stealthy glance. " The brushwood couldn't
possibly hide him. Dear Miss Campbell, do you know.



CLEVE HALL. 235

that is where Clement says the smugglers get down in
some way to the shore. We never could find out
how ; but he says they do. It has something to do
with the cave."

" Never mind, my dear, now ; it doesn't concern
us."

" I think the short man is coming behind us," said
Eachel. "Shallllook?"

" No, don't look ; come on."

"Are you frightened, dear Miss Campbell, you
walk so fast?"

Bertha slackened her pace.

" The Common seems so long always," said Rachel,
in a timid voice.

" We should have done better to go by the village,"
observed Bertha ; but then she reproached herself
for alarming Rachel without cause, and added : " It
is only that I dislike meeting that man Goff, if it is
he ; but we shall be near the Cliff Cottages soon."

"No, indeed — not for a long time; the nearest
is half a mile off. But there is the gamekeeper's
cottage behind us. The man won't do us any harm,
will he?"

" Oh ! no, of course not : what harm can he do
us?" yet Bertha's trembling heart belied her brave
words.

" If we could go across to the Plantation, we should
be near the gamekeeper's ; and Hardman would walk
home with us," said Rachel.

Bertha thought for an instant ; " Perhaps it might
be better : we can get in at the little gate, and you
can run on and ask Hardman."



236 CLEVE HALL.

" And leave you ? "

" Yes — you will be back again directly ; and he
won't follow us into the Plantation."

Again Rachel glanced round : " He is coming, but
he is not very near. We had better go this way ;" and
she went on in the most direct course, finding her
path through the furze, without considering the
prickles, and not stopping until, nearly out of breath,
they reached the Plantation gate. It was locked.

"Get over it, and run on to the cottage," said
Bertha.

" And you will come too ? "

" Yes, after you ; only you will be quicker than I
shall."

Rachel clambered over the gate, and wished to wait
and assist Bertha ; but her help Avas refused, and she
hurried on through the Plantation, and was soon out
of sight.

Bertha put her foot on the first bar, but the gate
was an awkward one to mount, and she slipped back,
and nearly fell. Looking back, she saw the man
coming towards her. She tried a second time — a
bramble caught her dress and entangled it. He was
so close now that she could hear his footsteps, —
nearer and nearer. She tore away her dress, — made
a third attempt, — reached the second bar, and was
upon the point of jumping over, when a hand grasped
her shoulder, whilst another covered her mouth, and
ci harsh voice said, " Silence ! as you value your life."

She turned. It was Goff.

Fear was gone then. She confronted him without
shrinking : " Your business with me ?"



CLEVE HALL. 237

" You have a paper signed by Edward Vivian ;
give it me."

" If I have, I will keep it ; you have no right to it."

" Power is right. I must have it ; " and he touched
the trigger of a pistol concealed under his coat,
adding : " Take care, this is no child's play."

" Let that come which God may appoint. I will
not give it," replied Bertha.

He again put his hand upon her mouth : " Attempt
to scream and you are a dead woman. Now, let me
see every thing you have in your possession."

Bertha threw her keys and handkerchief upon the
ground.

'* That's not all — the pocket-book ;" and seeing she
hesitated, he thrust his hand himself into her pocket
and drew it out.

The first paper which presented itself was the old
discoloured bill. Holding her very firmly with one
hand, Goff unfolded it with the other ; and then put-
ting his face close to her's muttered : " The first word
that whispers to man or woman what has passed,
your life is not worth an hour's purchase." Still
keeping the paper, he relaxed his grasp ; and Bertha,
v/ith a speed which only extreme fear could have
given, climbed the gate, and ran towards the game-
keeper's cottage.

Goff carefully tore the paper to atoms, and scat-
tered it to the winds ; and making his way across the
Common to the Headland, disappeared almost instan-
taneously amongst the brushwood.



238 CLEVE HALL.



CHAP. XLV.

The path whicli Racliel had taken towards the
gamekeeper's cottage was not very well known to
her. It was seldom that she had occasion to go
through that part of the Plantation ; but it seemed
direct enough, and she ran on without fear till she
came to a point where it branched off in two opposite
directions — one leading to the right, into the wood ;
the other to the left, keeping near the outer fence.
She paused for an instant, and then chose the latter,
under the impression that Hardman's cottage was near
the Common. On she went till she was out of breath ;
but the cottage did not appear ; and at length she
became fully alive to the fact of having missed her
way. But she was not frightened for herself, only
worried for Bertha. She was safe within the Plan-
tation, and the cottage certainly could not be very
far off, and there must be some cross paths leading to
it. It would be a very long way back ; and wishing
to take a short cut, she proceeded still a little further,
and then saw, to her great satisfaction, a chimney
rising from amongst the trees to the right. The
sight gave her renewed vigour, and she ran forward
hopefully, until turning an angle in the path, she
discovered that the cottage just seen was not in the
Plantation, but on the outskirts of the Common, and
immediately in front of the Grange.

The dreary old house, which was full in her view



CLEVE HALL. 239

as she leaned for an instant over the fence, showed
her how far she had gone out of her way ; but the
sight of the cottage was a comfort. It was inhabited
by a man and his wife, very civil, respectable people,
who would be as willing to render her any assistance
as the gamekeeper ; and now that she had made such
a stupid blunder, it seemed wise to take advantage of
their help. And Rachel, trained to decision from
infancy, lost no time in thinking what she would or
would not do, but mounted the fence, tearing her
dress and hurting her hand in the act, and in another
minute was at John Price's door.

A knock, but no answer — a second knock, equally
unsuccessful. The door was locked ; and when
Rachel peeped in at the latticed window, she could
see no symptoms of fire. John Price and his wife
had evidently gone out together. Exceedingly vex-
atious that was; and something like fear did then
creep over Rachel's heart, for the light was growing-
faint, and the Common looked interminably dreary ;
and she had a notion, that if she were once to find
herself again in the Plantation alone, she would never
be able to make her way out.

And what was that coming across the Common,
looking like a speck, but certainly moving? Could
it be GofF? Rachel hid herself on the other side of
the cottage, and did not venture to peep round the
corner for several seconds ; when she did, the black
speck was gone. But she was still fearful it might
be Goff ; and how could she cross tliat piece of the
Common again to get into the Plantation, if he were
lurking near.



240 CLEVE HALL.

A thouglit struck her — but not a very bright one —
should she go on to the Grange? Perhaps Ronald
would be there, and he would be sure to help her.
But, no, it must not be ; her papa would not like it.
Yet she looked with longing eyes at the rough road,
worn into ruts, which conducted to the farm premises
and the back of the house. Just then a man, whom
Rachel felt nearly sure was John Price, came from a
paddock behind the cottage, and turned into the road
as if going up to the house. Rachel ran after him
and called, but he did not hear. The road termi-
nated by a gate opening into the farm-yard, which
was heavy for her to open, and this trouble delayed
her a little ; and by the time she had managed to get
through, she had lost sight of the man. This could
not well have happened unless he was gone to the
back of the house, for Rachel must have seen him — at
least, so she thought — if he were crossing the yard ;
and she passed through the gate which separated the
farm premises from the shrubbery, and found herself
in a small overgrown flower garden, completely
screened from the rest of the grounds and from the
farm-yard by tall trees rising up immediately in front
of the high turret built at one angle of the house.
It was difficult to know what to do next. She dared
not go round to the front of the house and ring at
the bell, and run the chance of meeting Captain
Vivian — and she did not like the thought of skulking
about at the side ; still less could she make up her
mind to go all the way back alone ; and at last she
ventured to call, " John ! John Price, is that you ? "



CLEVE HALL. 241

An answer! — but not as Rachel had expected. A
voice came from above, from a window high up in
the turret : " Rachel here ! What is the matter ? "

It was Ronald's voice, and Rachel actually
screamed with delight.

"Hush! hush! don't speak loud. What is the
matter?"

Rachel told her tale. She had been with Miss
Campbell, and they were late and frightened; and
Goff had come in their way, and they wanted some
one to go home with them. She had left Miss
Campbell waiting at the Plantation gate. " Please
come, Ronald ; be quick," was the end.

He spoke again, in a voice so low that she could
scarcely catch his Avords : " Come near, Rachel —
under the window, as close as you can. 1 can't come
to you, I am kept here as a prisoner. They have
fastened my door. I can't get away, unless you will
help me."

" Help you, oh ! yes ; I will go round directly."

He stopped her with a voice agonising in its
eagerness : " Stay, Rachel : be silent and listen.
Don't be frightened, no one will hurt you ; they may
hurt me. Have you seen any one here ? "

Racliel's excitement was perfectly subdued now ;
she answered, " No one, except one man ; I think it
was John Price."

" Where is he now ? "

" 1 can't tell. I think he went round at the back."

" Go to the corner of the house, and look if he is
there still : don't show yourself."

VOL. II. R



242 CLEVE HALL.

Rachel did as she was desired, and came back:
" I can't see any one."

" You are certain it was not Goff ?"

" Quite, it was a taller man ; and Goff is out upon
the Common."

"It was not — my father?" he uttered the name
reluctantly.

" I don't think it could have been ; it was not like
him."

A pause. Rachel thought of Bertha, and said,
" Can you come with me, Ronald ?"

"If you will — Rachel, will you do as I bid you?"

"Yes — that is, if I can;" and Rachel's voice
trembled a little.

"You must go round to the back door: don't be
frightened. If you meet any one, say what you said
to me about wanting help, but don't mention my
name. In that case you must go home, for you
won't be able to do anything for me. But tell Miss
Campbell from me that I am a prisoner here ; that
Clement is in great danger ; that if I could be set
free I might aid him ; but that, anyhow, there must
be a watch kept upon the shore, for Clement is with
the smugglers, and there will be a landing to-night,
and a skirmish with the coast-guard. Do you under-
stand?"

" Yes, quite."

" That is what you are to do if you do meet any
one ; but I don't think you will." He paused, as if
hesitating whether it would be right to say more:
'* What I am going to ask you to do, Rachel, I would
not ask only it may be a question of Clement's safety,



CLEVE HALL. 243

and of other things — more than I can tell now.
Will you do it?"

" If papa would not mind — if there is nothing
wrong."

"There can be no wrong, and — hut you will be
frightened."

"No, indeed, Ronald; God will keep me from
being frightened."

"I would ask you to get me a ladder, but you
couldn't bring it ; and you might be seen by the fcirm
people. I could fasten the sheets and blankets of my
bed together, and let myself down, but the window is
too high. I want more ; if you could go into the
house, you could give them to me."

" Yes, — how ? " Rachel's heart a little failed
her.

" There is an attic over mine — you see the win-
dow ; — if you were in that attic, you could let them
down to me, and I could catch them."

" Yes, I see ; but I don't know the way — and I
shall be heard."

Ronald's heart smote him. It seemed putting the
poor child in such danger. And yet not really so ;
if she were discovered, the punishment would fall
upon him. But her fear — no, it was cowardly to let
her suffer for him ; and he looked again out of the
window, and calculated the possibility of reaching the
ground without more help. A broken leg, if not a
broken neck, seemed the best he could expect. And
in the meantime what might not be j^lotting against
Clement ! Not without a purpose, surely had he
been detained a prisoner, threatened with unknown

It 2



244 CLEVE HALL.

danger if lie attempted to ohtain help, kept hour
after hour in expectation of Captain Vivian's re-
turn ; and now, just when he was growing despe-
rate with anxiety and indignation, escape was within
reach, yet in a form in which he could not make up
his mind to avail himself of it. It was a moment
of cruel uncertainty, ended by Rachel.

" Ronald, I have prayed to God to help me, and I
will do whatever you wish."

Still Ronald hesitated : " Are you sure you won't
be frightened ? "

" I will try not to be ; please tell me what I must do."
" Dear Rachel, I can never thank you enough."
" Let me do it, Ronald ; thank me afterwards.
Must I go into the house ? "

" Yes, at the back door ; it is almost always open.
A long passage leads from it straight into the hall ;
the kitchen is away at the right. Old Mrs. Morris
and the girl are not likely to be in the passage.
When you get into the hall, you will see the stair-
case ; and you must go up. There is a lobby at the
top. The farthest door on the right opens into a
passage by the back staircase. Then you must go up
the stairs, up to the very top ; and just before you
will be the door of the attic above me."

" Stay, let me say that over again," said Rachel,
speaking firmly, though she trembled from head to
foot. She repeated the direction correctly, and
added: "What then?"

" You must open the window, and let down the
sheets ; I will catch them. After that you had better
come back, and wait for mc here."



CLEVE HALL. 245

" Yes ; is there any thing else ?"

" Nothing — except, if you meet any one in the pas-
sage, give your message about wanting some one to
go home with you. If you meet any one on the
stairs, or in the bedroom, say it was I who sent you ;
and no harm will come to you, whatever may to
me."

Rachel moved away a few steps, but returned :
"Are you sure I shan't meet Captain Vivian ?"

" Very nearly ; I can't be quite sure. Dear
Rachel, don't go if you are frightened."

" I won't be frightened. This way, isn't it ? "

" Yes, to the right — round the corner."

" Good-b'ye," and Rachel was gone.

The back door was soon reached. Rachel would
not give herself time for thought, and entered. The
passage was very long and dark, and she heard voices
talking in the kitchen, quite close, so it seemed, but
no one came out. A heavy swing door closed the
passage ; she pushed it open, feeling almost sure that
she should meet some one on the other side ; but there
was no one, and her light footsteps sounded ominously
loud on the uneven stone floor of the large hall. On
one side of the hall were the doors opening to the
other parts of the house ; on the other the wide,
shallow staircase. Rachel touched the first step, and
it creaked. She stood still, and thought she he;ird a
door slam— her heart beat so that she could scarcely
move ; but on she went, and creak, creak went the
stairs, so loudly that it made her bold. She reached
the lobby in safety. Then her recollection became
con fused. Was she to go straightforward or turn

R 3



246 CLEVE HALL.

to the riglit ? Straightforward she thought, and she
pushed open a door. A p^ir of man's boots caught
her eye, and she almost screamed, — happily not quite,
and recovering herself, went back again, seeing that
she was wrong. The back staircase was before her,
as she opened the right hand door, a girl was singing
below in the kitchen— that was a great comfort.
She almost ran up the stairs, but they were steep and
worn, — they grew worse and worse as she went on ;
and when she stood, as she thought, at the top, there
were others still above. Again she paused to take
breath. A door did slam then, — there w^as no doubt
of it, — a door below ; and there was a footstep on the
stairs, slow and heavy. Kachel's knees tottered.
She hurried on: the sIoav step came behind, and
stopped at the foot of the last flight. Was it coming
higher ? No ; to Eachel's inexpressible relief, old
Mrs. Morris, the housekeeper, slept in one of the
low^er rooms; and she could hear her muttering to
herself whilst wandering about her chamber, and
then descend again with the same ponderous tread
as before.

Rachel was now in the attic — a large, comfortless
apartment, with two beds, which seemed half buried
under the sloping roof. The window was high, and
she had to climb a chair to unfasten it ; and the chair
was heavy, so that she could not lift it, but was
obliged to drag it along the floor.

A fearful noise that was! ' But Mrs. Morris was
by that time in the kitchen again, and Eachel was
grown desperate in her boldness ; and at length,
after considerable difliculty, the window was un-



CLEVE HALL. 247

fastened, a slieet dragged from the bed and let down,
and in a moment caught by Ronald from below.

" Any more? — do you want any more?" she ven-
tured to say.

" Yes, one more. Stay ; not till I put out my
hand;" and Rachel, stationed at the attic window,
looked down, and saw the man whom she had fancied
to be John Price, but whom she recognised now as
one of Goff's constant companions, pass through the
farm-yard.

When he was out of sight, Ronald waved his hand
from the window : " Now, then."

The second sheet was let down.

"Is that all?"

" Yes ; come down quickly."

Rachel left the window open, and went to the head
of the staircase. Her impulse was to rush. And she
did rush, not heeding the creaking of stairs, or lis-
tening for the sounds of doors, or voices, but going
on blindly, desperately — by the worn steps, across the
lobby, flitting like a gust of wind down the broad
staircase, and across the hall, till she had passed
through the dark passage, and was again in the open
air, and under Ronald's window.

Ronald looked out : " Rachel, are you there ? "

" Yes, safe. Are you coming ? "

" Directly. I am tying them together. Keep close
under the wall, — away to the left."

She waited, it seemed, an interminable time : she
did not understand what he meant to do.

The rope of sheets was fastened at the top, and
was let down.

R 4



248 CLEVE HALL.

" Now, Rachel, keep away ; don't be afraid, it
will hold me."

She hid her face, and prayed.

When she looked up, he was standing by her side :
" Oh ! Ronald, I am so thankful ! " Her voice was
faint and trembling.

He pressed her hand earnestly : " Thank God
first, Rachel ; — you afterwards ; " and they went on
together in silence.

Their steps were directed towards the gamekeeper's
cottage. There Ronald proposed, in case Bertha was
gone, to give Rachel in charge to some person who
might accompany her home, whilst he went in search
of Mr. Lester or Mr. Vivian. It was the only plan
he could form on the spur of the moment ; but as he
went on it occasioned considerable misgiving. He
was not able at first to think. Every dark object,
every gate post or trunk of a tree, suggested the
idea of some one tracking his footsteps, or stopping
him on the way; but when they had crossed the
Common, and were again within the shelter of the
Plantation, he ventured to pause for a moment, to
consider whether the course he had determined upon
would be the best he could adopt.

So little knowledge had he of his father's move-
ments, that he was unable to tell to what degree the
danger Avliich he supposed menaced Clement, might
or might not implicate Captain Vivian ; and the
doubt upon this point, so intensely painful, pressed
upon him overwhelmingly, at the very moment when
it was most necessary to act Avith decision.

True, Mr. Vivian had promised to take no advan-



CLEVE HALL. 249

tagc, to Ills father's injury, of any communication
which he might make. But this was not now the
point. Whatever might be his duty hereafter, as
regarded the terrible secret which had that day been
confided to him, there was no time now to ponder
upon it, — Clement was his object. But in saving
Clement he might be brought into personal oppo-
sition with his father. If Captain Vivian should,
himself, join the smuggling party ; by aiding Mr.
Vivian, Ronald might be forced to act against
him. The thought was horrible. But how could he
leave Clement, knowing that machinations were
going on, having promised again and again that he
would watch over him ? It seemed equally impossible ;
the sense of honour and gratitude, which lay as a
burden upon his conscience, forbade it. He stood
for a few moments irresolute, gazing upon the flag-


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