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The Mynns' Mystery

George Manville Fenn

  Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

  The Mynns' MysteryBy George Manville FennPublished by John Lovell and Son, 23 St Nicholas St, Montreal, Canada.This edition dated 1889.

  The Mynns Mystery, by George Manville Fenn.


  ________________________________________________________________________THE MYNNS MYSTERY, BY GEORGE MANVILLE FENN.



  "Be quiet! What a silly little fluttering dove it is, struggling likethis, ruffling all your plumes, and making your face so red. But how itbecomes you!"

  "Mr Saul Harrington, how dare you!"

  "Because I love you so, you little beauty. There--and there--andthere!"

  The kisses were given in spite of the frightened looks and struggles;but at each kiss there was a faint cry of shame, dislike, andindignation mingled.

  "You know I love you, and I know you love me."

  "It is not true, sir. Let me go!"

  "It is true, or you would have screamed the house down."

  "If I do not scream for help, it is because I would not alarm youruncle. I tell you he is dying."

  "Gammon, Gertie! The old tyrant--he is too tough. No such luck for us.There, don't struggle any more. You are going to be my darling littlewife."

  "Mr Saul. Pray, pray let me go."

  "Directly you have given me your word, Gertie. There, it is your faultthat I was so rough. You do love me?"

  "I hate you, sir, with all my heart, and you force me to say it. Thisis a cruel outrage. What have I done that you should dare to treat meso? Is there no one to help me? Bruno! Bruno!"

  There was a short yelp, a sound as of a dog leaping to the floor, therattle of nails in the hall, and a plump up against the door,accompanied by an impatient bark.

  Saul Harrington, a good-looking man of five-and-thirty, started, andinvoluntarily loosed his hold of his captive, just as there was a sharppeal of a bell, and the slight, dark-eyed, trembling girl he had held inhis arms slipped away, darted to the door of the sombre-lookingdining-room, threw it open, and ran out, just as a great blackGordon-setter bounded in, set up the frill of hair about his neck, anduttered a low fierce growl, as he stood glaring at the occupant of theroom.

  "Lie down, you beast!" was the savage retort. "Oh, that's it, is it?Well, the time may come, my fine fellow, when I can do as I like here,and, if it does, why, then--well, I'm sorry for you."

  But the dog did not lie down, and when requested to give his paw, turnedhis back upon the visitor, and slowly walked out of the room.

  "A beast! All her coyness. A bit frightened, perhaps. Don't supposeshe was ever kissed before. She liked it, though, a pretty little jade.Well, what are you staring at, you old curmudgeon?" he continued,standing apostrophising a portrait hung over the sideboard--that of astern-looking, fierce-eyed old man, the said eyes seeming to follow him,go where he would. "I'll kiss her, and as soon as you are dead I'llmarry her, and we'll spend your rusty coin, you miserable old usurer. Iwish you were out of the world."

  He threw himself in a great morocco-covered easy-chair and bit his nailscarefully all round, pulled off his left-hand glove, and treated thefingers there to the same trimming, as he looked furtively about fromthe rich thick Turkey carpet to the solid furniture, and the greatsilver salver on the sideboard; ending by trying to appraise the twofine paintings at the side of the room.

  "Yes," he muttered, "one ought to do pretty well. I'm tired of beingpoor--and in debt."

  "George!" he said softly, after gazing thoughtfully before him. "No,he'll never leave him a penny. The father killed that. Gertie will getall. I shall get Gertie, and the silly little jade will not strugglethen."

  He rose, laughing in an unpleasant way, and began walking up and downthe room. Then, growing weary and impatient, he crossed to the door,opened it gently, looked out into the dull hall, with its black andwhite marble floor, and listened.

  Tick-tack! tick-tack! the slowly beating off seconds measured by a tall,old-fashioned clock. Not another sound; and Saul Harrington drew backinto the room and closed the door.

  "She'll come down again," he muttered, with the same, unpleasant laugh."Trust her woman's nature. All latent yet, but it's there, andopportunity will bring it out. All her pretence. She knows that shewill be my wife and girls like a little rough courting, or I'm nojudge."

  An hour, that seemed like two, passed slowly away, and then SaulHarrington rang the bell.

  At the end of a minute a quiet, very old-looking woman in black, withwhite cap and old-fashioned muslin cross-over, came to the door.

  "Go and tell Miss Gertrude I am waiting to see her again."

  "She is with master, sir."

  "Well, go and tell her, Mrs Denton."

  The woman shook her head.

  "I dare not, sir. It would send master into a fit of fury."

  "Pish! Never mind; I'll wait. How is he?"

  The woman shook her head, lifted her white apron, and applied a cornerto her eyes.

  "None of that, Mrs Denton," said Saul Harrington, with a sneeringlaugh. "So fond of him, eh?"

  "Yes, sir. Dear old master."

  "Ha, ha! Dear old master! Won't do, Denton, I'm too old. Don't wait."

  "If it would please God to spare him for a score of years," said the oldservant piously, as she left the room. "A bit harsh and a bit of atemper; but I know--I know."

  "I'll wait and see her again, if I have to wait all night," said SaulHarrington to himself. "Hang this grim old house! It's almost asgloomy as a tomb."