Blind Love by Wilkie Collins
SOON after sunrise, on a cloudy morning in the year 1881, a special
messenger disturbed the repose of Dennis Howmore, at his place of residence in
the pleasant Irish town of Ardoon.
Well acquainted apparently with the way upstairs, the man thumped on a bedroom door, and shouted his message through it: "The master wants you, and
mind you don't keep him waiting."
The person sending this peremptory message was Sir Giles Mountjoy of
Ardoon, knight and banker. The person receiving the message was Sir Giles's
head clerk. As a matter of course, Dennis Howmore dressed himself at full
speed, and hastened to his employer's private house on the outskirts of the town.
He found Sir Giles in an irritable and anxious state of mind. A letter lay open
on the banker's bed, his night-cap was crumpled crookedly on his head, he was
in too great a hurry to remember the claims of politeness, when the clerk said
"Dennis, I have got something for you to do. It must be kept a secret, and it
allows of no delay."
"Is it anything connected with business, sir?"
The banker lost his temper. "How can you be such an infernal fool as to
suppose that anything connected with business could happen at this time in the
morning? Do you know the first milestone on the road to Garvan?"
Very well. Go to the milestone, and take care that nobody sees you when
you get there. Look at the back of the stone. If you discover an Object which
appears to have been left in that situation on the ground, bring it to me; and don't
forget that the most impatient man in all Ireland is waiting for you."
Not a word of explanation followed these extraordinary instructions.
The head clerk set forth on his errand, with his mind dwelling on the national
tendencies to conspiracy and assassination. His employer was not a popular
person. Sir Giles had paid rent when he owed it; and, worse still, was disposed to
remember in a friendly spirit what England had done for Ireland, in the course of
the last fifty years. If anything appeared to justify distrust of the mysterious
Object of which he was in search, Dennis resolved to be vigilantly on the lookout for a gun-barrel, whenever he passed a hedge on his return journey to the
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