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Unformatted text preview: bt. It had been very adroitly stolen, and disposed of, by a notorious book-thief, a gentleman by birth--now dead, but well remembered. Ask Mr.
77 ANGLING SKETCHES Quaritch! Allen's absolute innocence was thus demonstrated beyond cavil, though nobody paid any particular attention to the demonstration. As for Allen, he had vanished; he was heard of no more. He was HERE; dying here, beside the black wave of lone Loch Nan. All this, so long in the telling, I had time enough to think over, as I sat and watched him, and wiped his lips with water from the burn, clearer and sweeter than the water of the loch. At last his fit of coughing ceased, and a kind of peace came into his face. "Allen, my dear old boy," I said--I don't often use the language of affection--"did you never hear that all that stupid story was cleared up; that everyone knows you are innocent?" He only shook his head; he did not dare to speak, but he looked happier, and he put his hand in mine. I sat holding his hand, stroking it. I don't know how long I sat there; I had put my coat and waterproof under him. He was "wet through," of course; there was little use in what I did. What could I do with him? how bring him to a warm and dry place? The idea seemed to strike him, for he half rose and pointed to the little burnside, across the loch. A plan occurred to me; I tore a leaf from my sketch-book, put the paper with pencil in his hand, and said, "Where do you live? Don't speak. Write." He wrote in a faint scrawl, "Help me to that burnside. Then I can guide you." I hardly know how I got him there, for, light as he was, I am no Hercules. However, with many a rest, we reached the little dell; and then I carried him up its green side, and laid him on the heather of the moor. He wrote again: "Go to that clump of rushes--the third from the little hillock. Then look, but be careful. Then lift the big grass tussock." The spot which Allen indicated was on the side of a rather steep grassy slope. I approached it, dragged at the tussock o...
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