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sure that the office is not closed, as a failure ; “ just one word. Shut the door. What do and, in the next place, you've got to get your you think he was talking of doing ?” title registered ; and I should say there are Twist was at fault. precious few titles that would ever stand the “Registering!" strict ordeal of the registration system; indeed
Twist turned pale. I should.”
All the way up to town John Blankman " What! do you mean to say you don't was ruminating gloomily enough about the think my title could stand any and every in- grip which it seemed to him the firm of Twaddle vestigation ?"
and Twist had of him and his property. He was
" i, personally, should say that your title is a fellow of a driving and independent temper,
a , but what hole might be picked in it by two or “At all events,” thought he, “I will go three sharp conveyancers ; and suppose, just and consult my old chum Brickman, and hear for the sake of argument, that your title was
what he says." rejected by the office, where would you find a What passed between the two chums is purchaser afterwards ? It would be blazed not to be related here ; but it is quite certain about in less than no time that Blankman's that when the landowner passed through the title had a flaw in it, and where would you be town of Blank, that day week, on his way to then ?"
the Hall, he looked in at his lawyer's, and had “Dear me," said the amazed client, “I had the "coolness” as Mr. Twist afterwards said, no idea whatever that publicity is given to to ask if they would be good enough to let proceedings.”
him take away his deeds, as he wanted to look “ Bless you, my dear sir,” continued the through them. lawyer, raising himself slightly on his toes and “ What! thunder and earthquakes ! take coming down sharply on his heels, in an au- away the family deeds from the office of Twad. thoritative way,
you can't imagine the dle and Twist ? Get your property into your absurdities of the system.
We will even sup
own hands ? Not if I know it ; at least, not pose your title registered. How pleasant it without a struggle ! ” This was what Mr. would be for Tom, Dick, and Harry to go Twaddle looked. What he said was more searching the register to see what mortgages politic. Blankman has got on his estate ; and to have “ Well, really, Mr. Blankman, for my own it advertised in all the papers. And then the part, I should be delighted to meet your views expense-take the survey alone—which is per- in any way I could ; but you see, unfortunately, emptory. Two or three surveyors (you know while those small sums are due to my London what surveyors are), at “five guineas a day and agents, I should hardly be justified, acting, as expenses,” and half-a-dozen assistants, spend- I do, for both parties, you see, in letting the ing a fortnight at the Hall ; in fact, suppos- deeds go out of my custody. You can inspect , as I ,
them here, if you please.”
“Well, 110 ; I never thought of those conable, and that you had the patience of Job, founded charges. Pray don't think I have I really think there would yet be insuper- any intention of employing any other legal able obstacles to your availing yourself of the adviser, Mr. Twaddle. I assure you I shall -shall we say benefit of the Land Transfer not think of doing such a thing. I simply Act."
have a fancy to have my deeds in my own “ Yes, indeed ; if things are as you say, I custody for a short time.”
; don't see much light in that quarter. But I Mr. Twaddle felt relieved, but still he said, must be off.”
his double duty placed him in an awkward “Well, one word before you go,” insinuated position ; so it ended in Blankman's going Mr. Twaddle. "Shall we write Fiddle and away without the two hundred skins of parchFaddle about the further advance ? What do ment which proved that he had a right to
what was his own. Once more he went up to “I really don't know what to say. Well town, ruminating but determined. This time -yo-e well
, suppose you wait till I he thought of consulting his uncle James, a come back.
Good morning. Good morning, director of the Out-and-Out Insurance Com Twist.” And off he went. And on his pany, and with him he was in grave conversaway to the station he-well, he did not bless tion every day for nearly a week ; at the end the lawyers as a set of—well never mind of which time Messrs. Fiddle and Faddle wroto what.
down to their clients, Messrs. Twaddle and “ Twist," said Twaddle, putting his head Twist, that the Out-and-Out Insurance Comout of the door as soon as Blankman was off, pany were going to pay off the mortgages, and
in existence, that
your title were unimpeach
requesting that the deeds might be sent up better engaged, suppose you take a bit of without any delay.
dinner up at the Hall to-morrow ; I want to Twaddle tried very hard to smile when he talk to you, and perhaps Twist wouldn't mind handed the letter to Twist, and Twist's joke joining us. Only my mother and sister and about Blankman going to his “uncle” after self, quite a family affair.” all, was ghastly to a degree ; but Twaddle was Mr. Twaddle was delighted, he was sure ; soon himself again, and sat down and stabbed and as for Twist-well, at all events they were off a letter in a most vicious manner to Blank- to come, and precious satisfied and jocular man, to the effect that there was a little ac- they both were about it. count, some two hundred pounds odd, which “And now," said Blankman, “I must be had much better be arranged before the deeds off. I've got a good five miles to drive, and were sent up, “ to save any further bother.” | they are waiting dinner for me at the Hall" So, once more, uncle James was consulted, and So off he went. once more the London agents wrote their “What did I tell you,” said the deep clients that the deeds were to be sent up, and, Twaddle—thesagacious Twaddle—to the knowon their delivery, a check for all costs would ing Twist, “what did I tell you? Didn't I be given. So, by the mail-train, up came the always say he couldn't get
on without us. skins of parchment, and, by the return post, Pshaw, my dear sir, I knew as well when those down went a cheque to Messrs. Twaddle and deeds left this oice that we should see them Twist.
back here again, as I know that what he wants “I'd rather have given twice the sum and to talk about to-morrow is a proposal for a kept the deeds,” thought Twaddle, as he locked mortgage. I wish we could lend him the it in the safe. “ But, however, he gave us money ourselves ; shut the door, and let's talk his word we should always act for him, and he about it." can't very well get on without some legal What the result of the talk was we don't assistance.
care one rap.
We have now to do with the We might have a fancy, perhaps, to know morrow of St. Michael, the day of geese, and what Blankman was up to during the four we find the lawyers setting out for their drive months which followed and brought Michael- over to Blank Hall in a right merry mood. mas close upon his heels, and perhaps we may We find them arrived. We find Mr. Twaddle learn by-and-by from that worthy himself, for with courtly manner leading old Mrs. Blankit came to pass that on Michaelmas eve he man in to dinner. We find Mr. Twist (as drove up to the door of Messrs. Twaddle and advised by Twaddle the Deep) pitching it unTwist with a large bundle in the gig, which he commonly strong to Miss Blankman. We deposited straightway in the sanctum of the find our friend John merry, hospitable, and senior partner.
talkative,-more so than his wont. But all “ How d’ye do, Twaddle ? Twist, how are good things have an end, and dinners unfortuyou ?__no, come in, nothing private." nately are no exception to the rule. The "Dear
" said both the partners at once, ladies were never more gallantly and more " this is an unexpected pleasure ; why, we regretfully bowed out of a dining-room than haven't seen you for so long we thought you were Mrs. and Miss Blankman by Messrs. were never coming down to Blank again,-look- Twaddle and Twist, and never did guests more ing so well too."
willingly, at their host's request, draw their “Yes, thank you, I am very well, and have chairs up to his end of the table than did come down to spend Michaelmas-day at the those gentlemen obey the summons of friend old place, and have a pop at the birds. By Blankman. For they felt that something was the way, I've brought back those deeds of coming. They anticipated a burst of confimine."
dence. They expected a revelation-and they “Ah, indeed," said Mr. Twaddle, with a were not disappointed. flash of satisfaction in his eye; “here, William, “I want to tell you,” said John Blankman, put these deeds of Mr. Blankman's away care- when they had replenished their glasses ; “I fully in the safe. Are they scheduled ?” want to tell you two gentlemen what I have
Oh, yes, they're all there, I believe,” said been about since I last had the pleasure of Blankman, carelessly; "just stick them any- seeing you. I think it due to Mr. Twaddle
especially, as I gave him a promise which I Anywhere ! nay, nay, Mr. John, deeds wish to show him convincingly that I have not are deeds. Fire, my dear sir,—thieves, my broken.” dear sir,---remember, remember. Put them in Mr. Twaddle bowed and smiled, and was the safe, William."
just about to speak, but his host quietly re“By-the-way, Mr. Twaddle, if you're not sumed :
Any remarks you may have to make I will by myself, with an additional notice of my ask you to postpone until I have completed own to my tenants and others not to mention what I have to say, because I want to get it the matter to you, as I intended it as a little
You may remember that I had some surprise. talk with you about the Land Registry Act, 56 The usual advertisements were inserted when you were good enough to give me what once in the Times, and once in the county information you possessed with regard to it. paper, both of which I would recommend you When I went to London, I went in the first to read in future; and within about four months instance to see an old chum of mine, who, like from the date of my application I became the myself, is of an inquiring turn of mind, and I happy possessor of my ‘Land Certificate.'' mentioned incidentally that I had begun to At this point, without appearing to notice experience some of the inconveniences of being the rubicund condition and stertorous breatha landed proprietor. My friend immediately | ing of Twaddle, and the sickly smile of Twist, asked me why I didn't “Register,” and pro- Blankman drew from his breast pocket a sheet fessed to be thoroughly up in the matter of of parchment of foolscap size, on Registration. You will also reinember, Mr. side of which were inscribed the mystic words Twaddle, that you had your doubts whether which declared him to be the owner of his an office for this purpose
existed. I am happy to be able to relieve those doubts, and to tell “This,” said he, triumphantly, “is the you
that such an office does exist, and a very document which stands me in stead of the two fine office it is. It may still be in your memory
hundred skins of parchment I left in your that you stated that those ubiquitous personages office, and which you may, if you fancy it, Tom, Dick, and Harry might inspect the Regis- keep on the top of your stove. This is what I ters. You were mistaken. No one but a call Concentrated Essence of Title,' and next person having a proper authority is permitted week I shall deposit it with the “Out-and-Out,' to do so. Having satisfied my mind on these and get whatever I may require in the way of
Ι points, I proceeded to make inquiries as to the money so far as the value goes. And as for mode of registering, and I was favoured by the the expense, the whole thing, from beginning frankest and fullest information on this subject; to end, has not cost one half what I paid you in fact, instead of having obstacles thrown in my for the cost of the last mortgage. One word way, the way seemed to be gradually opened to more : I am so pleased with the whole affair me, and I began to feel that I was competent that I feel inclined to have a bowl of punch, to understand my own affairs. By-the-way, -what do you say?" you also hinted that if my title was rejected, Mr. Twaddle really begged to be excused. every one would say " Blankman's title is a bad Not to-night.
He congratulated Mr. BlankYou had been grossly misinformed, and man, and regretted he had been so very much I take pleasure in telling you, that until a title misinformed on the subject. It was late : they is approved the application has no publicity would go home. whatever. But to proceed. I found it was And home they went. necessary to have an abstract of my deeds, and “ Well,” squeaked little Twist, on the way, the deeds themselves; but judge of my surprise “ I'm glad there are not many such fools in and satisfaction when I was told that I need the world.” not employ a solicitor, but could, if I pleased, “Tush, man,” returạed his partner, “he's carry the thing through myself.
Here was a
no fool; and we must be thankful that there delightful occupation. I borrowed an abstract
are still plenty of fools left." from your friends Fiddle and Faddle, and asked you for the deeds. You had a lien on When they looked at the deeds the next them, and very properly declined to part with morning they all bore the legend “Title Registhem. I went to my uncle James of the Out- | tered.”
R. J. A. and-Out Insurance Company, and told him what I proposed doing, and of the difficulties in the way. I entered into an agreement with
HARVEST MEMORIES. the company, and they advanced the money to pay off the mortgages. Then there was the
WHEN the noontide sun of autumn floods the cornfields' little matter of your account, which was also hazy gold, got rid of. I carried my title in, it was Fond memory paints a picture from the harvest days of approved, the survey was made (by-the-way
A maiden crowned with poppies — a whisper in her you were wickedly deceived on this head, it was done by the Tithe Office at a ridiculously An answering glance half-startled—the reapers' voices small charge), the few notices were all served
When athwart the tawny stubbles the violet shadows When the yellow moon is rising over yon dark copse of fall
fir, Of the witch-elms in the hedge-rows, a vision I And the harvest songs are silent, and there's not a recall :
sound astir, Her auburn hair sun-gloried—sweet eyes brimful of Half in moonlight, half in shadow, through the bazels
as of yore, Two hands fast locked together, a pledge for coming She seems to come and meet me, who will tryste me years.
TAKING THE AIR IN
as she sat there.
Her evening dress was of
gay silk, and some sort of enamelled ornaments, It was a gloomy time at South Wennock. a necklace and bracelets glistening with their Usually a remarkably healthy place-indeed, steel mountings, were on her fair neck and had it not been, the few medical men established
She had taken up some embroidery there could not have sufficed—it was something work, was already busy with its intricacies, and new to have an epidemic raging, and people she looked up with a laughing eye at Jane. took alarm. The fever was a severe one, and "Indeed I am not sorry to be kept at home, two or three patients had died; but still it was Jane. Dull as you call my visit, all my work not so bad as it might have been, as it is occa- seems to get on badly : and you know I prosionally in other places. The town was hur- mised myself to do so much. But, Jane--if riedly adopting all sorts of sanitary precautions, I may say one thing,” Lucy added, her gay and the doctors were worked off their legs. tone changing to seriousness,
you seem dull. Lady Jane Chesney regretted on Lucy's ac- You have been so ever since we came from count that it should have happened just now.
London." Not that she was uneasy on the score of fear Jane paused a moment. "Not dull, Lucy, for her ; Jane was one of those happy few who dear. I have been preoccupied : I acknowcan put their full and entire trust in God's good ledge that.” care, and so be calm in the midst of danger : " What about?” asked Lucy. “Whoso dwelleth under the defence of the “I would rather not tell you, Lucy. It is most High, shall abide under the shadow of only a little matter on my mind : the Almighty.” But she was sorry this sick- doubt : something I am trying to find out. I ness should prevail now, because it made the cannot help thinking of it constantly, and I visit a dull one.
suppose it has made me silent." Jane lived in the same quiet style. Since You need not ask the source of Jane's prethe addition to her income through the money occupation. That it was connected with her left her by old Lady Oakburn, she had added sister Clarice you will have already divined. but one man servant to her modest house- Since the information gained from Mrs. West, hold.
The two maids, of whom Judith was that Clarice had married, Lady Jane had been one, and this man, comprised it. Not that unable to divest herself of an impression that Jane saved much. She dressed well, and her that little child at Tupper's cottage was the housekeeping was liberal; and she gave away a child of Clarice, The only possible ground for great deal in a quiet way.
But the young,
her fancy was the extraordinary likeness (at full of life, loving gaiety, might have called least, as Jane saw it) in that child's eyes and her house a dull one; she feared Lucy was find- general expression of face to Clarice. The ing it so ; and it certainly did not want the features were not like ; quite unlike ; but the sickness and alarm prevailing abroad to aug- eyes and their look were Clarice's over again. ment it.
Added to this—and perhaps the fact somewhat Jane was saying this as she sat one night strengthened Jane's doubts—was the manner alone with Lucy. They had promised to spend of his ostensible mother, Mrs. Smith. From the evening with some friends, but just as they the very first, Jane had thought she looked were about to quit home, a note was delivered old to be the mother of so young a child ; but from the lady to whom they were engaged. she had hard features, and such women, as One of her servants was taken ill, and she Jane knew, are apt to look much older than feared it might be the fever : perhaps therefore they really are. Several times since her Lady Jane would prefer to put off her visit. return from London Jane had passed the cot
“I should not have minded for myself,” tage and talked to the little boy over the remarked Jane, as they sat down to a quiet gate. Once she had gone in—having been evening at home, “but I will not risk it for civilly invited by Mrs. Smith to rest herselfyou, Lucy. I am so sorry, my dear, that and she had indirectly tried to ascertain some South Wennock should be in this uncertain particulars of the child's past life: where he was
You will have cause to remem- born, and where he had lived. But Mrs. Smith your dull visit to me."
grew uncommunicative and would not answer Lucy laughed. She did not look very dull much. The boy was her own, she said ; she
state just now. ber