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THE BATTLE OF TRANTER'S CREEK, NEAR WASHINGTON,
NORTH CAROLINA, ON JUNE 5, 1862.—SKETCHED BY MR. A WISER.—[SEE
[Entered according to Act
of Congress, in the Year 1862, by Harper & Brothers, in the Clerk's Office of
the District Court for the Southern District of New York.]
AUTHOR OF "THE WOMAN IN WHITE,"
"DEAD SECRET," ETC., ETC.
ILLUSTRATED BY JOHN M'LENAN.
CHRONICLE OF EVENTS: PRESERVED IN
CAPTAIN WRAGGE'S DISPATCH BOX.
[Chronicle for June.]
9th.—I returned yesterday with my
information. Here it is, privately noted down for convenience of future
Mr. Noel Vanstone left Brighton
yesterday, and removed, for the purpose of transacting business
in London, to one of his late
father's empty houses in Vauxhall Walk, Lambeth. This singularly mean selection
of a place of residence, on the part of a gentleman of fortune, looks as if Mr.
N. V. and his money were not easily parted.
Mr. Noel Vanstone has stepped
into his father's shoes under the following circumstances. Mr. Michael Vanstone
appears to have died, curiously enough, as Mr. Andrew Vanstone died —intestate.
With this difference, however, in the two cases, that the younger brother left
an informal will, and the elder brother left no will at all. The hardest men
have their weaknesses; and Mr. Michael Vanstone's weakness seems to have been an
insurmountable horror of contemplating the event of his own death. His son, his
housekeeper, and his lawyer, had all three tried, over and over again, to get
him to make a will; and had never shaken his obstinate resolution to put off
performing the only business-duty he was ever known to neglect. Two doctors
attended him in his last illness; warned him that he was too old a man to hope
to get over it; and warned him in vain. He announced his own positive
determination not to die. His last words in this world (as I succeeded in
discovering from the nurse, who assisted Mrs. Lecount) were: "I'm getting better
every minute; send for the fly directly and take me out for a drive." The same
night Death proved to be the more obstinate of the two, and left his son (and
only child) to take the property in due course of law. Nobody doubts that the
result would have been the same if a will had been made. The father and son had
every confidence in each other, and were known to have always lived together on
the most friendly terms. -
Mrs. Lecount remains with Mr.
Noel Vanstone, in the same housekeeping capacity which she filled with his
father, and has accompanied him to the new residence in Vauxhall Walk. She is
acknowledged on all hands to have been a sufferer by the turn events have taken.
If Mr. Michael Vanstone had made his will, there is no doubt she would have
received a handsome legacy. She is now left dependent on Mr. Noel Vanstone's
sense of gratitude; and she is not at all likely, I should imagine, to let that
sense fall asleep for want of a little timely jogging. Whether my fair
relative's future intentions in this quarter point toward Mischief or Money is
more than I can it say. In either case I venture a prediction that she will find
an awkward obstacle in Mrs. Lecount.
So much for my information to the
present date. The manner in which it was received by Miss Vanstone showed the
most ungrateful distrust of me. She confided nothing to my private ear but the
expression of her best thanks. A
sharp girl—a devilish sharp girl.
But there is such a thing as bowling a man out once too often, especially when
the name of that man happens to be Wragge.
Not a word more about the
Entertainment: not a word more about moving from our present quarters. Very
good. My right hand lays my left hand a wager. Ten to one on her opening
communications with the son as she opened them with the father. Ten to one on
her writing to Noel Vanstone before the month is out.
23d.—She has written by to-day's
post. A long letter apparently, for she put two stamps on the envelope. (Private
memorandum, addressed to myself. Wait for the answer.)
22d, 23d, 24th.—Private
memorandum continued. Wait for the answer.
25th.—The answer has come. As an
ex-military man I have naturally employed stratagem to get at it. The success
which rewards all genuine perseverance has rewarded me—and I have got at it
The letter is written, not by Mr.
Noel Vanstone, but by Mrs. Lecount. She takes the highest moral ground, in a
tone of spiteful politeness. Mr. Noel Vanstone's delicate health and recent
bereavement prevent him from writing himself. Any more letters from Miss
Vanstone will be returned unopened. Any personal application will produce an
immediate appeal to the
"NO BUZZING IN MY HEAD! NO CAPTAIN TO SHAVE