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      Ferry's response was to lay it back again and there ensued a puerile tussle that put me in a precious pout, that I should be kept waiting by such things. But presently the three parted to resume their several cares, and the moment Ferry touched my arm to turn me back toward the house I was once more his worshipper. "Well!" he began, "you have now two fine horses, eh?"

      Black, dark, deserted, grimy shuttered windows--a suggestion of creeping mystery about it. Time ago the Corner House was the centre of what might have been a thrilling tragedy. Some of the older neighbours could tell of a cry in the night, of the tramping of feet, of a beautiful woman with the poison still in her hand, of the stern, dark husband who said never a word, though the shadow of the scaffold lay heavily upon him.

      A portion of the way took our friends through the grounds of some of the castles, and the boys were rather astonished at the extent of these residences of princes. Doctor Bronson explained that Tokio was formerly a city of princes, and that the residences of the Daimios, as these great men were called, were of more consequence at one time than all the rest of the city. The palace of a Daimio was known as a yashiki, and the yashikis were capable, in some instances, of lodging five or ten thousand men. Under the present government the power of the princes has been taken away, and their troops of retainers have been disbanded. The government has converted the most of the yashikis into offices and barracks and schools, and one at least has been turned into a manufactory."You know too much," she said quietly. "If that fool Giuseppe had done his duty you would have gone down to your drunkard's grave in ignorance. But you are not going on the Continent tomorrow or the next day. Fool, fool, have you not lived long enough to know that all that glitters is not gold! For the moment I am living on my reputation and the splendour of this house. Not one penny have I paid for it. People hold documents and title deeds of mine that are forgeries. I have a grand coup that may come off, and again it may fail. For the moment I am penniless."

      Fred was in favor of the junk voyage on account of its novelty. Of course, the Doctor was not likely to oppose any reasonable scheme that would give his young companions an opportunity to learn something, provided it did not consume too much time. Inquiry showed that the voyage could be made there with a fair wind, as Frank had suggested; and, as the wind happened to be all right and promised to continue, it was agreed to go by junk on the following morning, provided there were no change.Gregg rested his head upon the back of the chair and puffed smoke out. "We will pass over the circumstance of his abrupt appearance at the top of the hill, for it is obvious that he might have come from one of the neighbouring villages, although I don't think he did. You yourself admit that his manner of approach was startling, and that it almost seemed as though he had come from nowhere. But let that be. There are, I admit, as yet few facts in support of my theory, but it is at least significant that one of the first questions he[Pg 53] asked should have been, not where he was but when he was."



      The last phrase was fitted to a listening pose, and the first mutter of the pending thunder-storm came out of the northwest. Then Isidore hastened through the practical details of his proposition. Ferry drew a breath of enthusiasm. "Can I have my horse, bridled and saddled, in three minutes?"The sound we had heard was only some stir of nature in her sleep. "I must go," I said.