would have a fund of over eighty dollars a month, which

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"Yes--exactly--before Dunster's--" mumbled out Mr. Wilkins, red and confused, and not finishing his sentence.

would have a fund of over eighty dollars a month, which

"By the way," said Ralph (for with careful carelessness of manner he thought he could extract something of the real nature of the impending disgrace from his companion, in the state in which he then was; and if he only knew more about this danger he could guard against it; guard others; perhaps himself)--"By the way, have you ever heard anything of Dunster since he went off to--America, isn't it thought?"

would have a fund of over eighty dollars a month, which

He was startled beyond his power of self-control by the instantaneous change in Mr. Wilkins which his question produced. Both started up; Mr. Wilkins white, shaking, and trying to say something, but unable to form a sensible sentence.

would have a fund of over eighty dollars a month, which

"Good God! sir, what is the matter?" said Ralph, alarmed at these signs of physical suffering.

Mr. Wilkins sat down, and repelled his nearer approach without speaking.

"It is nothing, only this headache which shoots through me at times. Don't look at me, sir, in that way. It is very unpleasant to find another man's eyes perpetually fixed upon you."

"I beg your pardon," said Ralph, coldly; his short-lived sympathy, thus repulsed, giving way to his curiosity. But he waited for a minute or two without daring to renew the conversation at the point where they had stopped: whether interrupted by bodily or mental discomfort on the part of his companion he was not quite sure. While he hesitated how to begin again on the subject, Mr. Wilkins pulled the bottle of brandy to himself and filled his glass again, tossing off the spirit as if it had been water. Then he tried to look Mr. Corbet full in the face, with a stare as pertinacious as he could make it, but very different from the keen observant gaze which was trying to read him through.

"What were we talking about?" said Ralph, at length, with the most natural air in the world, just as if he had really been forgetful of some half-discussed subject of interest.

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