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The invitation was accepted forthwith, and when Captain Hulbert dropped in at teatime it was discovered that he, too, had been asked, and that he meant to accept, if his friends at the Angler’s Nest were to be there.

A thunderbolt fell upon the little village on the following Sunday. When the old men and women, creeping to church a little in advance of younger legs, came to the church-path, they found the gate locked against them, locked and barricaded with bars which looked as if they were meant to last till the final cataclysm. The poor old creatures looked up wonderingly at a newly-painted board, on which the more intelligent among them spelt out the following legend—

“This wood is the private property of J. Vansittart Crowther, Esq. Trespassers will be prosecuted.”

Martin Disney and his wife and sister came up when a little crowd of men, women, and children, numbering about thirty, had assembled round the gate, all in their Sunday best.

“What’s the meaning