"I thought I heard someone at the door," I answered; "did you not feel a cold wind as if it was open?"

"It is but the night is sharp, the spring sets in very chill; slip the bolt

and sit down again," and he flung a fresh log on the fire, that sent a cloud of sparks crackling up the chimney and out into the room.

"Elzevir," I said, "I think there was one listening at the door, and there may be others in the house, so before we sit again let us take candle and go through the rooms to make sure none are prying on us."

He laughed and said, "'Twas but the wind that blew the door open," but that I might do as pleased. So I lit another candle, and was for starting on my search; but he cried, "Nay, thou shalt not go alone"; and so we went all round the house together, and found not so much as a mouse stirring.

He laughed the more when we came back to the parlour.

"'Tis the cold has chilled thy heart and made thee timid of that skulking rascal of the Manor; fill me a glass of Ararat milk, and one for thyself, and let us to bed."

I had learned by this not to be afraid of the good liquor, and while we sat sipping it, Elzevir went on--

"There is a fortnight yet to run, and then you and I shall be cut adrift from our moorings. It is a cruel thing to see the doors of this house closed on me, where I and mine have lived a century or more, but I must see it. Yet let us not be too cast down, but try to make something even of this worst of throws."

I was glad enough to hear him speak in this firmer strain, for I had seen what a sore thought it had been for these days past that he must leave the Why Not?, and how it often made him moody and downcast.

"We will have no more of inn keeping," he said; "I have been sick and tired of it this many a day, and care not now to see men abuse good liquor and addle their silly pates to fill my purse. And I have something, boy, put snug away in Dorchester town that will give us bread to eat and beer to drink, even if the throws run still deuce-ace. But we must seek a roof to shelter us when the Why Not? is shut, and 'tis best we leave this Moonfleet of ours for a season, till Maskew finds a rope's end long enough to hang himself withal. So, when our work is done tomorrow night, we will walk out along the cliff to Worth, and take a look at a cottage there that Damen spoke about, with a walled orchard at the back, and fuchsia hedge in front - " 'tis near a the Lobster Inn, and has a fine prospect of the sea; and if we live there, we will leave the vault alone awhile and use this Pyegrove's Hole for storehouse, till the watch is relaxed."

I did not answer, having my thoughts on other things, and he tossed off his liquor, saying, "Thou'rt tired; so let's to bed, for we shall get little sleep tomorrow night."

It was true that I was tired, and yet I could not get to sleep, but tossed and turned in my bed for thinking of many things, and being vexed that we were to leave Moonfleet. Yet mine was a selfish sorrow; for I had little thought for Elzevir and the pain that it must be to him to quit the Why Not?: nor yet was it the grief of leaving Moonfleet that so troubled me, although that was the only place I ever had known, and seemed to me then - as now - the only spot on earth fit to be lived in; but the real care and canker was that I was going away from Grace Maskew. For since she had left school I had grown fonder of her; and now that it was difficult to see her, I took the more pains to accomplish it, and met her sometimes in Manor Woods, and more than once, when Maskew was away, had walked with her on Weatherbeech Hill. So we bred up a boy-and-girl affection, and must needs pledge ourselves to be true to one another, not knowing what such silly words might mean. And I told Grace all my secrets, not even excepting the doings of the contraband, and the Mohune vault and Blackbeard's locket, for I knew all was as safe with her as with me, and that her father could never rack aught from her. Nay, more, her bedroom was at the top of the gabled wing of the Manor House, and looked right out to sea; and one clear night, when our boat was coming late from fishing, I saw her candle burning there, and next day told her of it. And then

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