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[ALL RIGHTS REBKRVBD.] l? 'TTH'jS MAN-HUNT 0 ffl) By TOM GALLON, ml Author of "Tatterley," "The Great Gay Road," &c. /a\ CHAPTER VIII (Continued). JARMAN DRIVES A BARGAIN. "How aid you get these rooms?" asked Slade abruptly. "I suppose you know to whom they originally belonged—they and everything- in them?" "Perfectly," answered Jarman. "I simply took them. dismissed the servrnt-—and here I am. How do they concern YOU" "I am acting for the late Mr. Rodney Manners," said Sl~de importantly; "and I shall have to give an account of everything he left behind. I shall probably have to account for you, if it comes to that," he added insolently. "I think I can manage to do that for mv- self," said Jarman calmly. "Let me know in rough figures what it is I have to pay for this place and its contents, and you shall be paid. Always supposing," he added, "that I have a full and proper authority from someone showing me that you have a right to deal with the property." "You shall have that all right," said Slade, though a trifle uncomfortably. "I suppose you're quite alone here?" he added abruptly. The big man spread out his hands. "As vou sec," he answered quietly. "Are you looking for anyone?" "I don't know," said Murdoch Slade un- easily. "Perhaps I may tell you that there has been an attempt made this evening to rob the office of the late Rodney Manners. The thief got clean away; but he had man- aged to get hold of some keys, which enabled him to get into the office; those keys will also enable him to get into these rooms. I thought I'd warn you, in case he pays you a visit." "Very kind of you; I'm sure I'm very much obliged to you," said Jarman, with a bow. "If you see him, and can find out any- thing about him, you'll be doing me a ser- vice if you communicate with me," said Slade. "Here is my card," he added, pro- ducing one. "I can't describe him, except to say that he's a tall man, clean shaven." "Which doesn't convey very much, does it? said Jarman, with a pleasant smile. "I'm very much obliged to you for your courtesy. By the way "—he pointed to Slade's face—"you've been getting into trouble." "I attempted to capture the fellow when he broke into the office--or let himself into the office-this evening; this is the result," said Slade savagely. "I'm sorry," said Jarman. "Be sure I'll let you know if he conies here. Does that conclude your business?" "You seem precious anxious to get rid of me," said Slade, with some temper. "I have already told you," said Jarman plaintively, "that I retire to bed early. May I wish you Murdoch Slade had another good look round the room, gave a puzzled glance at Jarman, then wei-it uut. Jarman courteously and carefully instructed him how to open 1 the lower door, and indeed listened at the head of the staircase until he heard that door slam. Then he closed the door at the top of the stairs, and went, back into the flat. "You may come out, Mr. Robert Marsh," he called. Manners came1 out of the inner room, and stood for a moment looking curiously at Jarman. To tell the truth, he could not understand why this man, who was a stranger to him, should have taken so much troubl e to hide the fact from Murdoch Slade that another man was in the place. "I'm afraid I heard all that was said," said Manners abruptly; "I couldn't very well help doing so. Why are you doing all this for me—why have you protected me in this way?" The big man etood locking at him curi- ouslv for a moment or two, something to the surprise of Manners. It seemed to him that Jarman's eyes were almost wistful and tender in their expression. "I'm going to tell you," he said slowly; "I was going to tell you when that man interrupted us. It's a long story, but I'll make it as short as possible. Perhaps, now that you know me better, you'll sit, down." Manners laughed and sat down. The big man, with a sigh of relief, seated himself at the other end of the table and stretched his arms out over it, gazed full in the face ai Manners, and began. He began surprisingly enough, as Manners felt at the time. "I have not seen Rodney Manners—not face to face, that is-Ginc.e lie was a baby. I didn't take mr-ch interest in him as a baby; it was his father I knew. Perhaps you don't feel interested in the story, as you were only a sort of friend of Manners?" he added wistfully. "I am deeply interested," was Manners' reply. "Please go on." "Arthur Manners—the father of this man Rodney-was a very poor man, just as I was a very poor boy, when I met him first," said Jarman slowly. "I lived in Lambeth, and I had got into a boyish scrape. I hadn't a friend in the world, and Arthur Manners came along and helped me and gave me a fresh start in life. I never forgot that—never. Here the big man, something to the con- stem.on of his listener, surreptitiously drew out a large handkerchief, and blew his nose violently, to hide the fact thai. he was wiping his eyes. "On the dav I left the country, and stood on the deck "of a ship looking at Arthur Manners—the one friend I had in the world -who had come to see me off, I swore that if ever the chance came that I could do any good to him or to anyone belonging to him, I would do it. If I stuck spade into earth it would be to turn the ground for him; if I made money it would be for him and for any belonging to him. And with that in my mind, and with that hope in my heart, I went out to the other side of the world, and I prospered. And having prospered I came zck/1 have waited a. great many years," said Manners quietly. "Yes I have waited a good many years," echoed Jarman slowly, and I'll tell you why. I knew that my friend Arthur Manners was dead but I managed to keep track of his son. The son prospered better than the father, and grew in time to be a rich man so that I knew that I could wait. There was no reason why I shouldn't wait, because the son didn't want me nor what I possessed just then. In due course I would come back, and I would pile on to his gold the gold I had made. And I came back, Mr. Robert Marsh, too late." The bitter irony of it! This shabby out- cast; this man with no name and no place in the world, sitting facing the man who would and could have saved him. Rodney Manners had cast himself out of life, and lay hidden under anot her name, and this man who would have benefited him could never know, and must never know, who he really was. While those thoughts were passing through his mind, and while his eyes were bent moodily on the table, Jarman made a remark more startling than any that had pre- ceded it. My friend Arthur Manners—dead and gone these many years-vias a clean-shaven man." Startled out of his self-possession, Manners looked up quickly. What do you mean by that?" he demanded. I don't mean anything by it," retorted the other steadily. Having lived a lonely life for many years, I've probably got into a way of speaking my thoughts aloud. It was only a casual remark, concerning a man whose face I'm not likely to forget. It can't concern you, can it, Mr. Robert Marsh?" Of course not," said Manners quickly. There was silence between them for a mo- ment or two; it was Jarman w ho broke it. He spoke gently, with his fingers beating time to the words softly on the table. "When I reached England, hoping that I was to see the son of my dead friend—long- ing to look into the eyes of the man that would have grown to be no like his father-I was told that he was dead. He had com- mitted suicide to get out of his troubles. That's what I was told and I said then, and I say'iiow"—the big man rose surprisingly to his feet. and brought the flat of his hand I down on the table with a li bang that threatened to break it-" it'R a lie!" Manners had risen to his feet also: he looked at the other man white-faced. What do you mean? he stammered. I mean this," said Jarman, in a very white heat of passion, "that no son of Arthur Manners was ever a coward, or ever would have done a thing like that. He might have thought of it, as a last resource, but when it carace to the point he never would have done it. I don't believe it—and I won't believe it. The man's alive Manners cleared a dry throat, and got out his words with difficulty. You don't seem to realise, Mr. Jarman." he said. "that the body of Rodney Manners was taken out of the river at the spot he himself had indi- cated: that the clothing and papers in the pockets were recognised by those 'best qualified to know who the man was. Men act on sudden impulses that sweep away precon- ceived ideas entirely; Rodney Manners must have done something of that sort. The man is dead." "The man is not dead," said Jnrman obsti- nately. "There has been a gigantic con- spiracy, of which I am merely touching thi fringe; and I mean to find out what that conspiracy is. I have money, and I'll i spend every farthing of it, if necessary, to discovei what has happened. And I will say with my last breath that Rodney Manners is not dead." You will find it difficult to prove what you say," said Manners quietly-" more diffi- cult still to prove the existence of any such conspiracy as you suggest." Listen to me," said Jarman, (, speaking excitcdlv. and walking about the room as he Excitedly, I've figured it all out; I've read more newspapers in the past week than I've done in the whole of my life before. And I'm convinced that a man who had made the fight of it that Rodney Manners had made, and had risen up from nothing to be what he was, would never, when it came to the finish, have given in, however much lie may have meant, it when he wrote that letter to the girl he was to marry. Listen to me again," he went on, stopping before Manners, and laying; the palm of one hand on tlio palm of the other, and beating the two softly together, "and understand clearly what is in my mind. On the night that Rodney Manners disappears, and goes off to carry out his threat, a little, humble clerk of his is killed in quite another part of London. That was said to be merely a coincidence; I say emphatically it was not. I say that if the police had cared to follow up that business, and link the one with the other, they would know as much about it all as I intend to do before many days are past. So far as I can see at .present, there is only one part of the story I do not quite understand." "And what part is that?" asked Manners. The big man stroked his beard thoughtfully For a moment, watching Manners the while. What I don't understand," he eaid slowly at last, is where you come in exactly, Mr. I Robert Marsh." I don't see how I affect the question," said Manners. You affect the question in this way," was the other's retort. You confess that you were a friend of the lat-e Rodney Manners; you know so much about him, and were so intimately connected with him, that you are able to gain possession of his keys, and to t go to his office; because you must remember  that it was at his office this evening that you had a little trouble with our friend Mr. Mur- J doeh Slade, and left your mark upon him. l Those keys doubtless brought you in here, Mr. Robert Marsh. Hew did they come into your possession?" I-I can't tell you," stammered Manners. And I refuse to be cross-examined in this fashion What do you suspect?" I suspect nothing- said Jarman quietly in reply. I am onJy here to find out things. I take it that Rodney Manners was a rich man; he lived in fine chambers, as you sec here, and he knew rich and fine people. I wouldn't wish to be offensive in the least, Mr. Robert Marsh; but how comes it that you, who do not look too prosperous by any means, were a friend of his?" I said a sort of friend, Mr. Jarman," re- torted Manners. So close a friend that you have his keys even after his death. And those keys were stolen." Ai I will answer to more (auesions," said Manners. "I will ask no more questions," said the big man. Come, Mr. Robert Marsh—I should like us to be friends." He stretched out his hand as he spoke, and there was a smile upon his face. I need no friend in this world: I have all I want," retorted Manners. I want to bQ friends with vou," persisted Jarman. I have already told" you that I do not believe that Rodney Manners is dead, and I do believe that there is a gigantic conspiracy afoot against him. Even if he is dead, I mean to clear his name, for the sake of his father. Will you help me? "I?" Manners stared at him in amaze- ment. You were his friend, you know; is it too much to ask that you should help me in such a business as this?" But I know nothing about it," stam- mered Manners. Besides—I have no money —no influence—nothing." I can give you all the money vou want for this purpose," replied Jarman, with a quick nod. In my own mind I believe that, somewhere or other, hiding or hidden in this world, is Rodney Manners—and I mean to End him. Will you help me?" Manners stared at him in stupefaction. But what can I do? he demanded, As you see me—so I am. I am a mere homeless wanderer, of no use to anyone in the world-II Of use to me," broke in the other quickly. "Will you help me?" Since you insist, I suppose I must," said Manners helplessly. You will find clothes and liMn here which should, I imagine, just about fit you," said Jarman, regarding him steadily. We shall be able to rig you out, and to- gether you and I will pursue our inquiries Is it a bargain ? Manners looked round about his old home; understood the position in which he was so unexpectedly placed; and for the life of him could not forbear laughing at the idea of thus so strangelv being called upcn to search for himself. lie looked at Jarman's outstretched hand, and finally laid his own in it. "Yes," he said quietly, "it's a bargain." I CHAPTER IX. I I MR. LITCHFIELD SEES A GHOST. I In his after impressions of the events of that strange night Manners remembered always one thing, which even to this day he regards almost as part of a queer dream. He remembers that he sat and talked for a long time with Jarman, and that Jarman spoke always of the days, far back in the past, when the elder Manners had befriended and helped him; he seemed to dwell only too willingly on his gratitude. And in the end, when it was getting well into the small hours of the morning, Manners went to bed. I have it from you, Mr. Robert Marsh— as a solemn pledge-that you and I have struck a bargain together, and that you are not going to back out of it. You see you're a gentleman—and I never was that at the best of times." You put me on my honour—and I stick to my bargain," said Manners. "Though I warn you that I shall be of no use to you in any investigation you hope to make." That remains to be seen," said Jarman, holding out his hand. The impression that was like a queer dream came to Manners long after that. He had undressed and got to bed—chuckling to him- self at the thought that he was actually in his own bedroom again; for the big' man, for some extraordinary reason, had chosen the smaller room that had been occupied by Kirby, the man-servant. Manners found that nothing in his room had been disturbed; almost it seemed to him that, save for the loss of that beard and moustache, the latter part of his past might have been blotted out, and I he back again 'in his old life. And then he woke, as it seemed, from a troubled dream, 'I and lay with eyes partially closed looking about him. It seemed quite incredible, but he thought that, looking into the room, he saw the big man, enveloped in a huge dress- ing-gown, come in quietly, and switch on the light, and then move across to the bed. And in that dream Manners thought that he lay perfectly still, and waited to see what would happen. The big man bent down, and looked close into the sleeper's face; and then, with a gesture as tender as that of a woman, pulled the coverlet up over oiite uncovered shoulder. Manners thought that, as he bent again over him, Jarman whispered a phrase. Arthur Manners' boy It was, of course, impossible; and, when he struggled to consciousness, he was alone in the room, in bed and in darkness. He sat up, and rubbed his eyes, and looked about him; laughed a little at the absurdity of the notion; and presently lay down and went to sleep again. He awoke next morning very late, and for a moment or two had the queer thought that he ought to have been up long ago, and that all sorts of things had to be done in the City, and should have been done a long time be- fore. He jumped out of bed; and the first thing he saw was the shabby suit of clothes that had belonged to an unknown tramp. The thing flashed back upon him at once, and he knew where he was and what had hap- pened. He knew also that he had started on another great adventure, and that he hadn't the faintest notion where it might end. It was first borne in upon him that he was not alone when he heard the growlings of a deep bass voice in the tiny kitchen that opened out of the hall. He opened the door of that kitchen, and put his head in; and there was Jarman in his dressing-gown, busily preparing breakfast, as though that had been his occupation all his lifetime. "I say—you shouldn't be doing that?" suggested Manners. Mr. Robert Marsh, I happen to be hungry, and I'm in the habit of having my breakfast earlier than this," retorted the other, without looking round. Also, I have been in the habit of cooking my breakfast on a few occasions in my varied career, and I don't mind doing it now. It'll all be ready in five minutes." It was with a curious feeling that Manners presently sat down at his own table, with Jarman opposite. He found himself looking at the big man, over and over again, a little resentfully, as though after all he had no proper place in the picture; and then sud- denly remembering himself and the part he had to play. Jarman seemed more grave than on the previous evening; perhaps he had had time to think more carefully about matters. I'm glad to see you've got on some better clothes," he said to Manners, "and I must say that they seem to fit you uncommonly well. They might have been made for you, in fact. But I don't suppose," he added, that there's anv money in any of the pockets, is there ? I have a little money-a very little," said Manners, flushing uncomfortably. "But you can't do my work and earrv out my ideas if you haven't got money to 'do it with," said Jarman gently. "It'll all have to be accounted for, so vou needn't worry on that score. I'll see that you have enough for any emergency, and later on I'll lay before you exactly what I want you to do; I mean, I'll tell you my idea of the best way in which to set about making inquiries concerning Rodney Manners. For to-day I want you to feel that you're quite free to come and go as you like. Because," he added impressively, "I want you to understand that I trust you." Jarman insisted on giving him a matter of seven pounds, despite his protests, and pre- sently Manners went through the singular experience of walking down the stairs from his rooms, clad in a suit of his own clothes, and with his own keys and that money in his pockets. He had an uncomfortable feeling, as lie passed into the streets, that he was I certain to be recognised; until, on reflection, he remembered the change in his appearance, and the fact that anyone who might think for an instant that this man was something like Rodney Manners would instantly recol- lect that Rodney Manners was dead. The more daringly he tor¡k the risks the more cer- tain he felt of suceres. His mind was full of Hester Wake. She had run every risk for him, and since their parting-, early on the previous evening near the City, he had, of course, seen nothing of her. She would want to know how he had fared, and what had happened; he, on his eide, was frantically anxious to know what had happened to her. For the theft of the keys had been discovered by Murdoch Slade, or he would never have come to Rodney Manners' old lodging and how would it fare (villi Hetty if a man like Murdoch Slade knew, as by this time he must know, that she had tricked him? Manners felt that he must find her without delay, even though he daroo not go near Wedgwood Square. He made straight for the British Museum, with a superstitious feeling that Hettv would in all probability go there, also in the hope to meet him. But only a few country visitors were lounging about, staring dully at the monuments; there was no sign of Hetty any- where. He waited nearly an hour, and then made up his mind to return and consult Jarman. Meanwhile, it becomes necessary that we should return to Hetty, standing alone at a street corner on the previous afternoon, and watching Manners going on his uncertain errand. Her belief in him and her love for him tore her this way and that; now assur- I ing her that he would succeed, and now I pomting out the desperate risks he ran. When at last she turned awav she wished with all her heart that she had dissuaded him from ever using those keys at all. And then, as she turned towards Kensing- ton, a new fear crept into her heart and chilled her. She remembered the exchange of keys that had been made, and how her own bunch, useless to anyone but herself, had been given into Murdoch Slade's hands. She had succeeded in carrying out what she had promised to do; now she had to count the cost to herself. And Murdoch Slade was not the best person in the world to meet, if one had played a trick upon him, as ehe had done. (To be Continued). I

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