Page:What will he do with it.djvu/645

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WHAT WILL HE DO WITH IT? 635

Perhaps he would have answered, Anything rather than this humiliating failure." He did not rack his brain with conjectur- ing if Cutts had betrayed him, or by what other mode assistance had been sent in such time of need to Darrell. Nor did he feel that hunger for vengeance, whether on Darrell or on his accom- plice (should that accomplice have played the traitor), which might have been expected from his characteristic ferocity. On the contrar)', the thought of violence and its excitements had in it a sickness as of shame. Darrell at that hour might have rid- den by him scatheless. Cutts might have jeered and said, "I blabbed your secret and sent the aid that foiled it ; " and Lose- ly would have continued to hang his head, nor lifted the Her- culean hand that lay nerveless on the horse's mane. Is it not commonly so in all reaction from excitements in which self-love has been keenly galled 'i Does not vanity enter into the lust of crime as into the desire of fame .

At sunrise Losely found himself on the high road, into which a labyrinth of lanes had led him, and opposite to a mile-stone, by which he learned that he had been long turning his back on the metropolis, and that he was about ten miles distant from the provincial city of Ouzelford. By this time his horse was knocked up, and his own chronic pains began to make them- selves acutely felt ; so that when, a little farther on, he came to a wayside inn, he was glad to halt ; and after a strong dram, which had the effect of an opiate, he betook himself to bed, and slept till the noon was far advanced.

When Losely came downstairs, the common room of the inn was occupied by a meeting of the trustees of the high roads ; and, on demanding breakfast, he was shown into a small sanded par- lor adjoining the kitchen. Two other occupants — a man and a woman — were there already, seated at a table by the fireside, over a pint of half-and-half. Losely warming himself at the hearth, scarcely noticed these humble revelers by a glance. And they, after a displeased stare at the stalwart frame which obscured the cheering glow they had hitherto monopolized, re- sumed a muttered conversation ; of which, as well as of the vile modicum which refreshed their lips, the man took the lion's share. Shabbily forlorn were that man's habiliments — turned and re-turned, patched, darned, weather-stained, grease-stained — but still retaining that kind of moldy grandiose, bastard gen-; tility, which implies that the wearer has known better days ; and, in the downward progress of fortunes when they once fall, may probably know still worse. The woman was some years older than her companion, and still more forlornly shabby.

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