"There, there! Somebody's comin'! What a lookin' object you are, to be seen by visitors!"
There was a knock. Taddy disappeared. Mr. Ducklow turned anxiously to his wife, who was hastily hiding the bonds in her palpitating bosom.
"Who can it be this time o' night?"
"Sakes alive!" said Mrs. Ducklow, in whose mind burglars were uppermost, "I wish, whoever 't is, they'd keep away! Go to the door," she whispered, resuming her work.
Mr. Ducklow complied; and, as the visitor entered, there she sat plying her needle as industriously and demurely as though neither bonds nor burglars had ever been heard of in that remote rural district.
"Ah, Miss Beswick, walk in!" said Mr. Ducklow.
A tall, spare, somewhat prim-looking female of middle age, with a shawl over her head, entered, nodding a curt and precise good-evening, first to Mr. Ducklow, then to his wife.
"What, that you?" said Mrs. Ducklow, with curiosity and surprise. "Where on 'arth did you come f