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HOME > Inspiring Novel > The Yarn of Old Harbour Town > CHAPTER VI THE LETTER
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 Mr Greyquill's office was in High Street. He used two rooms for his professional affairs, and the rest of the house, which was a small one, he lived in. He was an attorney, and a flourishing one: so mean that his name had passed into a proverb, but honourable in his dishonourable doings, so that though every man agreed that Greyquill was a scoundrel, all held that he kept well within the lines of his villainy, and that he was unimpeachable outside the prescribed and understood rules of his roguery.  
Two mornings following the day on which Mr Short had proposed Mr Lawrence's health, old Mr Greyquill rose from his chair at his office table, and said to his clerk in the brown wig, who sat within eyeshot at another table in the adjacent room, that he was going to collect his rents at Greyquill's Buildings, and that he would not be back before half-past[Pg 132] twelve. He never looked so white as he did this morning. His white hair seemed to rest like a cloud upon his head and shoulders. His eyebrows bore so strong a resemblance to white mice that no one could have overlooked the similitude, particularly as each eyebrow flourished over the bridge of the nose a few little dark hairs which resembled tails. His waistcoat was white, not having come from the wash above three days, and his stockings were white.
He left his house and walked down the road which led to the bridge, but instead of crossing the bridge he descended a short flight of steps abreast of the flight that led to the wharves. These steps conducted the passenger to the river-side walk that went up the banks of the stream, and a very sweet walk it was this morning. The bright river trembled in prisms and gems under the pleasant breathing of the wind, which was aromatic with the odours it culled in its flight over the country, the birds sang gaily with here and there a deep flute-like note. It was a morning lovely and delightful with the virginal spirit of spring, when all creation seems new, when no note in the trees, no sweetness in the air, no bloom or flash of white on the bough, no timid wayside flower that seems to have sprung into being since[Pg 133] yester eve and glances at you coyly from its little wayside bower, but delights the senses as a beautiful surprise, as a something remembered but never so fresh, so appealing.
A bend of the river's path shut out the view of Old Harbour Town and the Harbour, and just when Mr Greyquill reached this turn, he saw Mr Lawrence coming along the road, having manifestly gained it by a little bridge, some distance beyond which was another way, but rather roundabout, of getting to Old Harbour from Sir William Lawrence's cottage.
Mr Lawrence looked very well; his colour was fresh, his eyes carried the light which nature intended them to take, but which his hand was perpetually seeking to extinguish by draughts of strong liquors. He had been extremely temperate for three days, and his resolution was producing its fruits in his general appearance. It is indeed surprising how short is the period asked for by Nature even from men who live harder and drink harder than Mr Lawrence, to restore to them as much of their healthy old good looks as in some cases makes them almost irrecognisable.
"Good morning, Mr Lawrence," said Mr Greyquill, making the gentleman a low bow. "I may take it that you're going to the ship[Pg 134] which I am pleased to hear Captain Acton has given you the command of."
"You are very kind, sir, to take an interest in my affairs," answered Mr Lawrence with slight sarcasm.
"I think I have some reason, Mr Lawrence," answered Mr Greyquill, drooping his head to one side, and looking at the other with a confidential and familiar expression which was scarcely a smile, but which teased the hot blood of Mr Lawrence as though the look masked an insult. Mr Lawrence viewed him in silence.
"I may trust, at all events," continued the money-lender, "now that you are in receipt of money—and if the terms have been correctly named to me they speak very highly in favour of Captain Acton's generosity—that you will give my debt your immediate attention, and that if you cannot pay all, you will pay as much as I have a right to expect from the amount you receive."
"You shall be paid, sir," said Mr Lawrence.
"It would be convenient to me if you would fix a day for the first payment if you cannot pay the whole," said Mr Greyquill.
"I shall not be able to pay you anything this side my first command of the Minorca. If I hand you the sum of twenty-five guineas after my return, that is, when I am paid off[Pg 135] by Captain Acton, I believe you will not have much reason to complain, sir."
Mr Greyquill shrugged his shoulders.
"Twenty-five guineas is a very small proportion of three hundred pounds," he exclaimed.
"It is not three hundred pounds, sir," answered Mr Lawrence, with the countenance of a man who is resolved in his intention, but desires to speak with prudence and good humour.
"But from my point of view it is three hundred pounds," cried Mr Greyquill. "What is the good of money without interest? I enter in my books the interest on my money as a part of my money, and if you tell me I am not to speak of my interest when I speak of what is due to me, what is my situation? How am I to live? The profit the butcher makes by the sale of his carcasses is the interest upon his outlay; deprive him of that and he will not sell you meat, because he could not afford to do so."
"The butcher does not charge at your rate, Mr Greyquill," said Mr Lawrence with a faint smile.
"I will not declare what the butcher charges!" cried Mr Greyquill, a little warmly for so sleek a man. "But take my word, the British tradesman, whether tinker, tailor,[Pg 136] butcher, baker, and we'll throw in grocer as we do not value rhymes, charges at rates which if reduced from profit to interest and called by that aggressive term discount, would represent every shopkeeper in the nation as big a scoundrel as the most voracious of your money-lenders, sir."
He bowed as though to the applause of an audience, and looked the better pleased with Mr Lawrence for having heard him.
"Well, Mr Greyquill, twenty-five guineas when I'm paid off on my return home. I can say no more, and can promise no more."
"You speak like a gentleman to me in this matter, which you do not often do when I refer to it, nor your father neither——"
"Sir William Lawrence has nothing to do with my affairs."
"Still, he might recognise my claim and your debt, and treat me perhaps with the commiseration with which he would pity himself if he lost three hundred pounds."
"You have not lost it, Mr Greyquill."
"No, sir, and from my conversation with you this morning I am satisfied I shall receive every penny. I wish you a truly prosperous voyage and a safe return home, and that the Frenchman won't be the means of dishing more hopes than your own."
He made another of his bows, and Mr[Pg 137] Lawrence saluting him with a slight smile and a lifted hat, passed on.
Just at the bend of the road not ten paces from where they had been standing, Mr Lawrence drew forth his pocket-handkerchief to blow his nose, and with it there came out of his pocket and fell upon the road unobserved by him, a large sheet of paper folded into four. Mr Lawrence blew his nose and went round the corner, and the paper would have been out of sight had he looked behind.
Old Greyquill, trudging on busy in thought with Mr Lawrence's debt, was moved by some idea of the man to look behind him. Mr Lawrence had disappeared. Quite discernible from where Greyquill stood was the sheet of paper Lawrence had let fall. Old Greyquill stopped, peered, reflected that it might be a letter that he himself had unconsciously been toying with and had dropped, or that in some other way had let fall from his pocket. He retraced the few steps that lay between and picked it up, and proceeded with it in one hand, whilst with the other he fumbled for his spectacle-case.
He immediately saw that it was a sheet of paper about the size of foolscap, but somewhat squarer, of a bluish tint; it was provided free of cost to the frequenters of the sailors' [Pg 138]reading-room at "The Swan." He well knew the paper, for many a letter written upon it had he received. It was of a convenient size for those who used it, as first of all it was ruled on one side, which enabled a man to steer a straight course with his pen. The page was likewise so large as to enable a man to write big, and few who used it could write small. It also supplied plenty of space for erasures, whether of expression or spelling, and this was useful. When folded into four and sealed or wafered, the sheet became a letter which needed but the address to qualify it for the post.
In the case of the sheet Mr Greyquill held, it had been folded to resemble a letter, but it had not been made one; it bore no address, and the communication started at once without the prefatorial "Dear sir," or the like, and it closed without signature or initials. But Mr Greyquill immediately saw that the handwriting in pencil was Mr Lawrence's, and that the document must have fallen from that gentleman's pocket just now when they parted.
We have seen that the frame which bounded Mr Greyquill's portrait of honour was large. Most men recognising the handwriting would have denied themselves the right of reading this letter, because they had found it lying in[Pg 139] a public roadway, for two reasons: the handwriting was known to them, and the recent presence of the writer where that letter was found would have identified it as its owner's business in no wise to be intruded on by a man of honour.
But this sort of argument did not fall within the frame of Mr Greyquill's picture of integrity. It was a letter lying ready for anybody's hand in a public way; next, it was not addressed; third, it was not signed; and fourth, though the contents were apparently in Mr Lawrence's handwriting, yet some people did write, as Greyquill knew, so wonderfully alike that there was no reason to conclude without strong internal evidence that the letter Mr Greyquill held was written by Mr Lawrence. Whatever else it was, it was certainly a draft roughly pencilled of a letter that had been copied in ink and no doubt despatched. Here and there was an erasure in ink, which proved that it had been copied in ink and corrected in certain places by the pen that was transcribing it. He had not proceeded far when his eyebrows, which, as we have heard, inimitably expressed the aspect of two white mice, arched their backs to an extraordinary degree as though in imitation of a cat when enraged; his mouth took on the posture of a whistle; with his eyes rooted to[Pg 140] the sheet he stopped and scratched his head until he nearly tumbled his hat into the road.
Just then certain large white-bosomed April clouds which had been leisurely sailing up from over the sea began to discharge some rain, and one shower was so smart that Greyquill took refuge in a small wayside barn, where, until the rain ceased he had the opportunity of reading the letter several times.
His astonishment was unaffected and amazing; with the habit of senility he kept on muttering to himself aloud whilst he perused and re-perused the letter.
"Is it possible! Is this the officer and the gentleman! Could an egg so full of criminal matter find any black fowl willing to hatch it in so pleasing a nest! And I am called an old scamp because I part with my honestly earned money for a consideration which is trifling in comparison with the benefit I confer, the help that I am to the man in need. This will require thought. I shall need to think pretty considerably before I decide. Meanwhile, Mr Lawrence, I wish you a prosperous voyage, and I wonder what you will do when you find out that you have mislaid this letter, a copy of which to somebody or other, as pretty a scoundrel as yourself no doubt, you have unquestionably by this time posted?"
[Pg 141]
Meanwhile, Mr Lawrence walked towards his ship. He should have been on the whole well satisfied with his meeting with Mr Greyquill. Perhaps the profound indifference which in reality possessed him as to the old scrivener's willingness to accept twenty-five guineas, or, in short, anything as an instalment, was because he had long felt that the old man never durst take extreme action. Greyquill knew that Mr Lawrence was very popular in his own particular way in Old Harbour Town and the neighbourhood. He drank and treated, and in a high degree possessed the liberality of the sailor. The townspeople were proud of him, not only because he was a handsome and finely built man, but because he had shone in many deeds of gallantry whilst in the Navy, and everybody was agreed that when Mr Lawrence was court-martialled the Service lost as fine and plucky a seaman as was ever afloat, and one to be recalled to his duties with apologies and without delay.
Admiral Sir William Lawrence was also highly respected, and people spoke with pride of his living in their neighbourhood. It was likewise well known that Mr Lawrence was a friend of the Actons, and in a small town of small gossips the idea if not the circumstance of Mr Lawrence having offered for the hand of the beautiful Miss Acton was not likely to be[Pg 142] neglected or overlooked, and to do the gossips justice, they imputed the rejection of the handsome and dashing young Naval officer to his loose habits.
Mr Lawrence well judged that if Greyquill locked him up for debt Old Harbour Town would rise against him. His windows would certainly be broken, his person might go in danger, for there was more than one who had suffered at the hands of Greyquill who would be grateful for any sort of excuse to administer a sound cudgelling to the old man, and take his chance of the law, fortified by the conviction that if it came to a fine the amount would be subscribed several times over.
Mr Lawrence's business on board the Minorca did not keep him long. He was primarily there to see to the arrangements of his own cabin, and also of another cabin aft which it was his design to convert into a sick-bay. This end was chiefly accomplished in this cabin by the rough construction of a couple of bunks.
Just before he left the ship, the young fellow Paul, whom he had told to come down on Saturday, stepped from the fore part of the ship where he had been watching two or three men caulking, and gave Mr Lawrence his usual salute of a pluck at a forelock and a scrape of a hinder foot.
[Pg 143]
"Yes," said Mr Lawrence, running his eyes over him, "the articles are opened at Mr Acton's offices. Go and tell the manager—but here——" He pulled out a card upon whose face was some printed address, and with a pencil struck out the address, and wrote to the effect that the bearer called Paul had been engaged by Mr Lawrence as his cabin servant. These lines he initialed, and giving the card to the youth, bade him present it at the offices before one o'clock, or he would find them closed.
"Have you no better clothes than what you wear?" he said.
"No, sir."
"You may give an order for a suit of decent apparel fit to wait at table with, for I want you to understand that your duties may bring you to wait upon ladies and gentlemen, though you know nothing about that. Do you hear?"
"Ay, your honour," answered the fellow with a grin decidedly above a clown's intelligence.
"You can pay for the clothes on your return, or by drawing an advance which Mr Acton's manager will let you have. Do you know Miss Acton?"
"The lady that lives at Old Harbour House along with Capt'n Acton?" answered Paul.
"I mean Captain Acton's daughter."
[Pg 144]
"I should think I do, sir," answered Paul, grinning.
"You know her well enough, for example," said Mr Lawrence, critically surveying him as though he took counsel within himself whilst he talked, "that if I gave you a letter for her and for none other"—he frowned, and with some passion emphasised none other—"you are not likely to mistake, you are not likely to give it to another."
"I couldn't mistake, your honour. I know the lady as I know you, and if so be as I did mistake, then I hope your honour would blow my brains out, for I shouldn't leave your side till your honour did."
Mr Lawrence, with a nod and an expression of face that was scarcely a smile, quitted the ship, and on the wharf found Mr Eagle, who had as a matter of fact for a minute or two been watching him.
"That young fellow came aboard not long ago," said the mate, "and I asked him his business. He replied that he was to be cabin servant by your choosing. I was nigh telling him he was a liar, for I couldn't suppose that the likes of him and his rags would suit a gent as has sarved the King, and been waited upon, as I understand they do in the Sarvice, by Marines."
Lawrence smiled, and answered: "The[Pg 145] Marines may not be all you think them, Mr Eagle, though they are a noble fighting corps. I took a pity upon that young fellow. I once helped him out of a difficulty, and his gratitude rose to the height of a dog's, which, as you know, is very superior to man's. His ugliness interests me as the sort of beauty you find in the toad or the snake or other things which make ladies scream. He can bring dishes aft as well as another, and will look a very pretty young man in a new suit of clothes. I may not be down to the ship again till Monday. Good morning, sir."
He walked away, leaving Mr Eagle staring apace, and as he was going over the side, Paul, who was coming down, received a very acid, watchman-like look from the mate.
Mr Lawrence pursued the same road home by which he had gained Old Harbour. In all probability had Mr Greyquill not looked back, the young gentleman would have found his letter where he had unconsciously dropped it. That side of the bridge—the up-river water path—was much unfrequented, save on a Sunday, when lovers walked along it, and now and again a little family dressed in their best. It was many chances to one that the two or three who had passed along that path since Mr Lawrence and Mr Greyquill had stood in conversation upon it, would have[Pg 146] picked up the letter or even taken notice of it, so very remote from their ideas of things worth stopping for and examining on the highway was a folded sheet of paper.
Mr Lawrence walked on. He thought of old Greyquill when he passed the place where he had stopped to talk. He crossed the quaint old bridge duplicated in the river, which streamed with becalmed surface up here and mirrored with the precision of a looking-glass the hues and shapes of every bird that swept the glassy surface for an insect, and gaining a rich lane formed by seven or eight hundred years of growth, for a monastery had stood here and a knight had had his manor where now the land was without relic of stone or brick; but the vegetation left by these people flourished, and though not above half a mile in length that lane formed one of the most glorious, soothing, enfolding, impulse-creating walks in all that country-side which abounded in little paradisaical reaches of a like kind; I say Mr Lawrence crossed the bridge, and emerging from the lane struck the high-road, and presently gained his father's cottage.
Even in three days the weather had worked a miracle in the increase of the beauty of the orchards in which the Admiral sat pipe in mouth, tankard at elbow, embowered; a sort of figure who when at his window would have greatly[Pg 147] puzzled the Knight of Spenser's Faerie Queene; for what should such a shape secretly ambushed in a spot fit only for the dancing tread of the fairy, or the gaping stare of the ogre who tries to see how the land lies by peering through two apple boughs, what should such a shape signify, briefly arresting the clouds of smoke which rose from his lips by vain efforts to extinguish by copious draughts from his tankard the magical fires that blazed in its interior? Whether the Knight would have tilted at the figure or pricked his horse into headlong flight is a conjecture that must be left to those who have read the poem and know the man.
The Admiral just now happened to be at dinner. A shoulder of mutton and onion sauce with potatoes roasted with the shoulder and such other vegetables as the season yielded was a dish fit to set before a king, and the monarch who turned up his nose at such a dainty should be made to banquet on nothing but the fare they give kings upon the stage. Indeed, Sir William would tell his friends he knew for a fact that a shoulder of mutton was the favourite dish of His Royal Highness Prince William. If it was objected that the joint yielded more bone than meat he had his answer:
"Sir, I once said to a sailor who had obtained a berth ashore on sixteen shillings[Pg 148] a week, 'How do you manage to rear your family? How many are there of you?' 'Why,' he answered, 'there's me and the old woman and four youngsters and grandfather!' 'You never see meat, of course,' said I. 'Oh yes, we do,' he answered. 'Meat!' I cried, 'on sixteen shillings a week and seven people to support, four of them hungry youngsters!' 'Well,' he answered, 'I doos it in this way. On Saturday I goes to the butcher and buys a shoulder o' mutton; on Sunday we 'as it 'ot; on Monday we 'as it cold; on Toosday we 'ave what's left of the cold; on Wednesday what's left of the cold we 'ave made into ishee-ashee; on Thursday we makes what's left of the ishee-ashee into ashee-ishee; on Friday we does without; and on Saturday I goes to the butcher and I buys another shoulder of mutton.' Now," the Admiral would say with his face warm with triumph, "name me any joint but a shoulder of mutton that will supply what kept this family in meat, or the like of meat, from Sunday to Thursday?"
The Admiral made his son welcome with unusual warmth.
"I never tasted a finer flavoured piece of mutton. This jelly, too, lifts it to the dignity of a haunch. Those spring cabbages are very tender. We do not eat nearly enough vegetables in this country. What purifies the[Pg 149] blood like a well-cooked spring cabbage that melts in the mouth? I am in hopes that we shall get a very good show of potatoes. Are you fresh from the ship?"
He asked this question with much importance. Indeed, during the last two days he had manifested great interest in all that concerned the Merchant Service; had found out, for instance, and avowed the fact to Captain Acton, that our Colonial Empire was founded by British Merchant seamen who, in the employ of merchant adventurers, sailed into all parts of the globe and established settlements, and often fought for the preservation if not for the conquest of principalities over which the King's flag now waved. He also pointed to the Honourable East India Company, and asked if our own or any Navy were superior in their capacity and splendour to those ships, and whether our Navy treated their officers with so much consideration, liberality, and prudent foresight for each man's well-being.
"Yes, I have come straight from the Minorca."
"Will you complete your lading by the date announced for your sailing?"
"I think so—I hope so. I am very well disposed towards that scheme I have put into being—the construction of a sick-bay.[Pg 150] Every ship should have a sick-bay. You must agree with me, sir."
"Wherever room can be found a sick-bay is most important," answered the Admiral.
"A man falls sick of small-pox. What are you to do with him? You can't cure him, and you can't heave him overboard. But because one falls ill it surely does not follow that the others should go sick. Besides, we carry no surgeon, which was an additional incentive to my suggesting a sick-bay to Captain Acton."
"Oh, you have done well. Acton will value your foresight. A sick-bay is a valuable detail in a ship's catalogue."
They talked of this and of other matters connected with the Minorca, and then the Admiral went to the window to fill his pipe, and Mr Lawrence to his bedroom.
Some thought whilst eating with his father had occurred to him, and he felt in his pocket for the copy of the letter which he had drawn out with his pocket-handkerchief and which Mr Greyquill had got possession of. The handkerchief was there, but the letter was not. When he had drawn out his handkerchief and felt and found the lining of his pocket bare, when, in short, he completely understood that the letter was not where it ought to be and where he knew it should be, he turned as pale as the muslin curtain that partly veiled his[Pg 151] window, started with an abrupt swagger of motion as though he had been struck violently behind, then with the energy of madness felt in all his pockets, pulling out everything, meanwhile gazing around the room with eyes which seemed on fire with their vigour of scrutiny and passion of fear.
He endeavoured to recollect himself that, by calming his terrors his memory might better serve him. Urgent alarms often induce vain hopes which we should laugh at in the cool mood. He believed he might have put that letter down in his bedroom, and perfectly well knowing that he had not done so, and yet coaxed by a will-o'-the-wisp hope, he ransacked the room as though he knew that in it was to be found a gold piece of value whose discovery demanded a careful search only. What was certain in his mind was that that letter was in his pocket when he walked that morning to visit the Minorca. He remembered withdrawing it from his pocket, but in what part of the walk he knew not, and re-perusing a portion of it to refresh his memory. He tried to find comfort in the recollection that the letter bore no address and no signature. But a thundercloud of horror came down on this feeble streak of sunshine when he recalled the damning, incriminating contents of that sheet[Pg 152] which he had scrawled in pencil at "The Swan Inn." Whoever found it would know that Mr Lawrence, and Mr Lawrence alone, had written it, and this, too, irrespective of the handwriting.
But here he found another little hope; some squalls of wet, one very heavy, had set the kennels running shortly after he had met Mr Greyquill, and if that letter had lain exposed to those three or four deluges, it not only stood to be changed into a mere rag to the eye which none would dream of even glancing at, but the writing must have been washed out to a degree to render the sense of the letter unintelligible. He considered that it was not above two or three hours when that letter was in his pocket, and that it must have fallen somewhere betwixt his father's house and the Minorca in that time, for he had taken the same road to and fro. He reflected that that road was but little used compared with the lane that led to the bridge where the Actons' carriage had stopped. Understanding as a sailor the preciousness of time, and conceiving that if the letter had by some strange mischance fallen during his walk unobserved by him it might still rest in the spot where it had dropped, insomuch that chance—for the fellow was a gambler at heart—might concede him yet an hour, even two hours, in which to find it, he put on his hat and marched out of[Pg 153] the house, just saying to his father in the window that he had an appointment and should miss it if he didn't hasten, and then stepped out, casting as he went to right and left of his path eyes as piercingly scrutinising as those which the madman darts when he seeks for the philosopher's stone.
It is needless, of course, to say that this searching walk was in vain. Whatever lay white in his road he rushed at, and in his gizzard he cursed the vast number of pieces of white paper which did somehow, as though distributed by innumerable malicious Greyquills, attract his eye and retard his progress whilst he turned them over.
On his way this side the bridge he met an old man with a stick who stopped in his lame walk to turn about any little heap his eye met. This old man was attended by a dog, who smelt at what the man touched.
"Have you seen a letter," cried Mr Lawrence, "a broad piece of paper folded into four lying in the road?"
"Seen a what, your Anner?"
"Where are you from?"
"From Oozles."
Mr Lawrence repeated his first question.
"I don't know what you mean," said the old man.
Mr Lawrence easily perceived that he didn't,[Pg 154] and went on his way always hunting with his eyes. Past the bridge he met another old man, a peasant with silver hair, fit, dressed as he was, to walk upon any stage, and immediately take part in any performance that included a peasant, a foster-child, and a baron. This white hair gave him a reverend look, and his legs were strangely bandaged round about, and his smock was a gown in which he could have preached a sermon without exciting much suspicion as to the propriety of his dress.
"Have you seen a letter folded in four lying in the road?" shouted Mr Lawrence.
"I'm a little 'ard of 'earing," was the answer, and the picturesque old man put his hand to his ear shellwise.
Mr Lawrence went close to him and shouted.
"Gard bless your worship," said the old man in a sweet voice and a face beautiful with the touches of the pencil of time upon a countenance originally open, gracious, and good, "I ha'nt received a letter since her last from my poor old woife, and that 'ull be twenty year ago, as I know by the laying of the foundation stone——" Mr Lawrence broke away, and asked no more questions during the rest of his walk.
He saw no letter—nothing like it. He went on board the Minorca, and seeing the[Pg 155] mate at the main-hatch, asked in an off-hand way if a copy of a letter had been found in the cabin, or any other part of the ship that morning.
"No, sir."
And there was an end. With wrath in his heart, and cursing himself again and again as a barnyard idiot fit for spread eagling only to carry such a missive as that about with him when its miscarriage might prove his destruction, might even now be working it, he stepped on to the wharf and came across Paul.
"Here!" said he.
The youth approached.
"I have lost a letter this morning," said Mr Lawrence, explaining its form and size, "and it must have fallen from my pocket somewhere between my father's house and this ship by way of Old Friar's Road. If you can bring me that letter, or find out if it has been found, and if so, by whom, before we sail, you shall have five pounds."
"Simply a letter, your honour, folded into four, without address, written in pencil, and not sealed?" said the hunchback.
"That's it!" exclaimed Mr Lawrence.
"I'll do my best, sir, and I'll work from dawn to night to find it, if it's to be found," was the answer.

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