Page:The King's Men (1884).djvu/40

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30
THE KINGS MEN.

"By whom is that, Lord Brompton? Ah! I see, Lord d'Eyncourt. His name is on the title-page."

"An eccentric Victorian poet," said the young man, "of much account in his own day, if I mistake not."

"I never heard of him," said Maggie, "but I am little of an antiquarian. It is pretty, though."

"I remember," said he, "that we as children used to act theatricals here in those old clothes, duds we ransacked from the closets."

"But where is the ghost? I want to see the ghost!" cried the girl, tossing aside the last bit of tarnished finery. "What is this?" she continued, seizing the end of a beam which had become loosened and projected from the wall.

"You will have the house about our ears if you persist," he cried, as a shower of crumbled stone and mortar followed her investigation.

"Well, it is my house. Lord Brompton; I have the right if I choose to."

"Why remind me of my misfortunes, Miss Windsor?"

"Come and help me, then."

"I wish I might be your helpmate forever," he said. She turned and looked at him, slightly disconcerted, and then said: "I was wrong. The women of to-day need no help from any one."

She gave the beam a strong wrench, as though to vindicate her assertion. It yielded and disclosed a kind of box or recess set into the wall. She plunged therein her hand, and drew forth a handsome sword of rich and subtle workmanship and antique design. "There," she cried, "am I not right?"

Maggie took it to the light. Around the hilt was wrapped a scroll, which she was about to read, when, with a