read as follows: `My dear Ned Cuttle. Enclosed is my will!' The Captain turned it over, with a doubtful look--`and Testament.--Where's the Testament?' said the Captain, instantly impeaching the ill-fated Grinder. `What have you done with that, my lad?'

`I never see it,' whimpered Rod. `Don't keep on suspecting an innocent lad, Captain. I never touched the Testament.'

Captain Cuttle shook his head, implying that somebody must be made answerable for it; and gravely proceeded:--

`Which don't break open for a year, or until you have decisive intelligence of my dear Walter, who is dear to you Ned, too, I am sure.' The Captain paused and shook his head in some emotion; then, as a re-establishment of his dignity in this trying position, looked with exceeding sternness at the Grinder. `If you should never hear of me, or see me more, Ned, remember an old friend as he will remember you to the last--kindly; and at least until the period I have mentioned has expired, keep a home in the old place for Walter. There are no debts, the loan from Dombey's house is paid off, and all my keys I send with this. Keep this quite, and make no inquiry for me; it is useless. So no more, dear Ned, from your true friend, Solomon Gills.' The Captain took a long breath, and then read these words, written below: `"The boy Rob, well recommended, as I told you, from Dombey's house. If all else should come to the hammer, take care, Ned, of the little Midshipman."'

To convey to posterity any idea of the manner in which the Captain, after turning this letter over and over, and reading it a score of times, sat down in his chair, and held a court-martial on the subject in his own mind, would require the united genius of all the great men, who, discarding their own untoward days, have determined to go down to posterity, and have never got there. At first the Captain was too much confounded and distressed to think of anything but the letter itself; and even when his thoughts began to glance upon the various attendant facts, they might, perhaps, as well have occupied themselves with their former theme, for any light they reflected on them. In this state of mind, Captain Cuttle having the Grinder before the court, and no one else, found it a great relief to decide, generally, that he was an object of suspicion: which the Captain so clearly expressed in his visage, that Rob remonstrated.

`Oh, don't, Captain!' cried the Grinder. `I wonder how you can! what have I done to be looked at, like that?'

`My lad,' said Captain Cuttle, `don't you sing out afore you're hurt. And don't you commit yourself, whatever you do.'

`I haven't been and committed nothing, Captain!' answered Rob.

`Keep her free, then,' said the Captain, impressively, `and ride easy.'

With a deep sense of the responsibility imposed upon him, and the necessity of thoroughly fathoming this mysterious affair, as became a man in his relations with the parties, Captain Cuttle resolved to go down and examine the premises, and to keep the Grinder with him. Considering that youth as under arrest at present, the Captain was in some doubt whether it might not be expedient to handcuff him, or tie his ankles together, or attach a weight to his legs; but not being clear as to the legality of such formalities, the Captain decided merely to hold him by the shoulder all the way, and knock him down if he made any objection.

However, he made none, and consequently got to the Instrument-maker's house without being placed under any more stringent restraint. As the shutters were not yet taken down, the Captain's first care was to have the shop opened; and when the daylight was freely admitted, he proceeded, with its aid, to further investigation.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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