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Sir Noel's Heir A Novel   By: (1840-1880)

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E text prepared by Robert Cicconetti, Mary Meehan, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team (http://www.pgdp.net) from page images generously made available by Early Canadiana Online (http://www.canadiana.org)

Note: Images of the original pages are available through Early Canadiana Online. See http://www.canadiana.org/ECO/ItemRecord/17010?id=991eb2932c65376b

SIR NOEL'S HEIR.

A Novel.

by

Mrs. MAY AGNES FLEMING

Author of "Guy Earlscourt's Wife," "A Terrible Secret," "A Wonderful Woman," Etc.

New York: The Federal Book Company, Publishers.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I. SIR NOEL'S DEATH BED. CHAPTER II. CAPT. EVERARD. CHAPTER III. "LITTLE MAY." CHAPTER IV. MRS. WEYMORE. CHAPTER V. A JOURNEY TO LONDON. CHAPTER VI. GUY. CHAPTER VII. COLONEL JOCYLN. CHAPTER VIII. LADY THETFORD'S BALL. CHAPTER IX. GUY LEGARD. CHAPTER X. ASKING IN MARRIAGE. CHAPTER XI. ON THE WEDDING EVE. CHAPTER XII. MRS. WEYMORE'S STORY. CHAPTER XIII. "THERE IS MANY A SLIP." CHAPTER XIV. PARTED. CHAPTER XV. AFTER FIVE YEARS. CHAPTER XVI. AT SORRENTO. CHAPTER XVII. AT HOME.

SIR NOEL'S HEIR.

CHAPTER I.

SIR NOEL'S DEATH BED.

The December night had closed in wet and wild around Thetford Towers. It stood down in the low ground, smothered in trees, a tall, gaunt, hoary pile of gray stone, all peaks, and gables and stacks of chimneys, and rook infested turrets. A queer, massive, old house, built in the days of James the First, by Sir Hugo Thetford, the first baronet of the name, and as staunch and strong now as then.

The December day had been overcast and gloomy, but the December night was stormy and wild. The wind worried and wailed through the tossing trees with whistling moans and shrieks that were desolately human, and made me think of the sobbing banshee of Irish legends. Far away the mighty voice of the stormy sea mingled its hoarse bass, and the rain lashed the windows in long, slanting lines. A desolate night and a desolate scene without; more desolate still within, for on his bed, this tempestuous winter night, the last of the Thetford baronets lay dying.

Through the driving wind and lashing rain a groom galloped along the high road to the village at break neck speed. His errand was to Dr. Gale, the village surgeon, which gentleman he found just preparing to go to bed.

"For God's sake, doctor!" cried the man, white as a sheet, "come with me at once! Sir Noel's killed!"

Dr. Gale, albeit phlegmatic, staggered back, and stared at the speaker aghast.

"What? Sir Noel killed?"

"We're afraid so, doctor; none of us knows for certain sure, but he lies there like a dead man. Come quick, for the love of goodness, if you want to do any service!"

"I'll be with you in five minutes," said the doctor, leaving the room to order his horse and don his hat and great coat.

Dr. Gale was as good as his word. In less than ten minutes he and the groom were flying recklessly along to Thetford Tower.

"How did it happen?" asked the doctor, hardly able to speak for the furious pace at which they were going. "I thought he was at Lady Stokestone's ball."

"He did go," replied the groom; "leastways he took my lady there; but he said he had a friend to meet from London at the Royal George to night, and he rode back. We don't, none of us, know how it happened; for a better or surer rider than Sir Noel there ain't in Devonshire; but Diana must have slipped and threw him. She came galloping in by herself about half an hour ago all blown; and me and three more set off to look for Sir Noel. We found him about twenty yards from the gates, lying on his face in the mud, and as stiff and cold as if he was dead."

"And you brought him home and came for me?"

"Directly, sir. Some wanted to send word to my lady; but Mrs. Hilliard, she thought how you had best see him first, sir, so's we'd know what danger he was really in before alarming her ladyship... Continue reading book >>




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