WHA T WILL LIE DO WITH IT? 623
"These are for far Posterity," the step of Violence, it may be of Murder, takes its stealthy way to the room of the childless man ! Through the uncompleted pile, toward the uncompleted life, strides the terrible step.
The last door yields noiselessly. The small wooden corri- dor, narrow as the drawbridge which in ancient fortresses was swung between the commandant's room in the topmost story and some opposing wall, is before him. And Darrell's own door is half open ; lights on the table — logs burning bright on the hearth. Cautiously Losely looked through the aperture. Darrell was not there ; the place was solitary: but the opposite door was open also. Losely's fine ear caught the sound of a slight movement of a footstep in the room just below, to which that opposite door admitted. In an instant the robber glided within the chamber — closed and locked the door by which he had entered, retaming the key about his person. The next stride brought him to the hearth. Beside it hung the bell-rope common in old-fashioned houses. Losely looked round; on the table, by the writing implements, lay a pen-knife. In another moment the rope was cut, high out of Darrell's reach, and flung aside. The hearth, being adapted but for logwood fires, fur- nished not those implements in which, at a moment of need, the owner may find an available weapon — only a slight pair of brass wood-pincers, and a shovel equally frail. Such as they were, however, Jasper quietly removed and hid them behind a heavy old bureau. Steps were now heard mounting the stair that led into the chamber ; Losely shrunk back into the recess beside the mantel-piece. Darrell entered, with a book in his hand, for which he had, indeed, quitted his chamber — a volume containing the last Act of Parliament relating to Public Trusts, which had been sent to him by his solicitor; for he is creating a deed of trust, to insure to the nation the Darrell Antiquities, in the name of his father, the antiquarian. Darrell advanced to the writing-table, which stood in the centre of the room ; laid down the book, and sighed — the short, quick, impatient sigh which had become one of his peculiar habits. The robber stole from the recess, and, gliding round to the door by which Darrell had entered, while the back of the master was still toward him, set fast the lock, and appropriated the key as he had done at the door which had admitted himself. Though the noise in that operation was but slight, it rouses Darrell from his abstracted thoughts. He turned quickly, and at the same moment Losely advanced toward him.
At once Darrell comprehended his danger. His rapid glance