of all his little bills at the county inn where he slept, to my aunt, before they were paid, induced me to suspect that he was only allowed to rattle his money, and not to spend it. I found on further investigation that this was so, or at least there was an agreement between him and my aunt that he should account to her for all his disbursements. As he had no idea of deceiving her, and always desired to please her, he was thus made chary of launching into expense. On this point, as well as on all other possible points, Mr. Dick was convinced that my aunt was the wisest and most wonderful of women; as he repeatedly told me with infinite secrecy, and always in a whisper.

“Trotwood,” said Mr. Dick, with an air of mystery, after imparting this confidence to me, one Wednesday; “who’s the man that hides near our house and frightens her?”

“Frightens my aunt, Sir?”

Mr. Dick nodded. “I thought nothing would have frightened her,” he said, “for she’s—” here he whispered softly, “don’t mention it—the wisest and most wonderful of women.” Having said which, he drew back, to observe the effect which this description of her made upon me.

“The first time he came,” said Mr. Dick, “was—let me see—sixteen hundred and forty-nine was the date of King Charles’s execution. I think you said sixteen hundred and forty-nine?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“I don’t know how it can be,” said Mr. Dick, sorely puzzled and shaking his head. “I don’t think I am as old as that.”

“Was it in that year that the man appeared, Sir?” I asked.

“Why, really,” said Mr. Dick, “I don’t see how it can have been in that year, Trotwood. Did you get that date out of history?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“I suppose history never lies, does it?” said Mr. Dick, with a gleam of hope.

“Oh dear no, Sir!” I replied, most decisively. I was ingenuous and young, and I thought so.

“I can’t make it out,” said Mr. Dick, shaking his head. “There’s something wrong, somewhere. However, it was very soon after the mistake was made of putting some of the trouble out of King Charles’s head into my head, that the man first came. I was walking out with Miss Trotwood after tea, just at dark, and there he was, close to our house.”

“Walking about?” I inquired.

“Walking about?” repeated Mr. Dick. “Let me see. I must recollect a bit. N—no, no; he was not walking about.”

I asked, as the shortest way to get at it, what he was doing.

“Well, he wasn’t there at all,” said Mr. Dick, “until he came up behind her, and whispered. Then she turned round and fainted, and I stood still and looked at him, and he walked away; but that he should have been hiding ever since (in the ground or somewhere) is the most extraordinary thing!”

Has he been hiding ever since?” I asked.

“To be sure he has,” retorted Mr. Dick, nodding his head gravely. “Never came out, till last night! We were walking last night, and he came up behind her again, and I knew him again.”

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