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THE tall man who had passed Captain Wragge in the dark proceeded rapidly
along the public walk, struck off across a little waste patch of ground, and
entered the open door of the Aldborough Hotel. The light in the passage, falling
full on his face as he passed it, proved the truth of Captain Wragge's surmise,
and showed the stranger to be Mr. Kirke, of the merchant service.
Meeting the landlord in the passage, Mr. Kirke nodded to him with the familiarity
of an old customer. "Have you got the paper?" he asked; "I want to look at the
"I have got it in my room, sir," said the landlord, leading the way into a parlor at
the back of the house. "Are there any friends of yours staying here, do you
Without replying, the seaman turned to the list as soon as the newspaper was
placed in his hand, and ran his finger down it, name by name. The finger
suddenly stopped at this line: "Sea-view Cottage; Mr. Noel Vanstone." Kirke of
the merchant-service repeated the name to himself, and put down the paper
"Have you found anybody you know, captain?" asked the landlord.
"I have found a name I know -- a name my father used often to speak of in his
time. Is this Mr. Vanstone a family man? Do you know if there is a young lady in
"I can't say, captain. My wife will be here directly; she is sure to know. It must
have been some time ago, if your father knew this Mr. Vanstone?"