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Title: The Hermit Convict
Author: Rev. William Draper
* A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 1000391.txt
Language: English
Date first posted: August 2010
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------------------------------------------------------------------------

Title: The Hermit Convict
Author: Rev. William Draper

*

Published in The Brisbane Courier, 28 January, 1871.

*


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

William Draper was born c.1818 in England. He was ordained as a Minister
of the Congregational Church at Goodna, Queensland on 22 July, 1864.

In July, 1871 he was working as a Minister at Dalby, Queensland. In
December, 1873 he was invited to return to Goodna to resume his former post.

In March, 1876 Draper resigned from his Pastorate at Goodna, but remained a
Minister.

He died on 18 June, 1881 at South Brisbane, aged 63.

* * *



PREFACE


'Founded upon facts,' is a hackneyed phrase which may mean anything. The
following tale may rather be termed 'a cluster of facts' gathered
together from a number of sources, with several specific objects. One of
these is a strong sympathy with the opinion which is rapidly gaining
strength, that the aborigines are human beings who are capable of
civilisation, improvement, and the higher sensibilities of a well
ordered life. There is no attempt to point them in higher colors than
consistency with truth would allow; but here and there will be found
glimpses of real facts, which prove that a well directed effort in their
favor, may not be in vain. Another object the author had, was to show
how true it is, that treachery and wickedness rebound on the
perpetrator. This part of the story may be termed sensational and
exaggerated, but though strange, it is entirely consistent with facts.
That which may be called a model colonial family is just barely sketched
in the description of Rooksnest; while, on the other hand, the folly of
unsuitable people breaking up their homes, with a view to making a
fortune in Australia, is just as lightly handled in the brief course of
events which introduces the Gumby family.

Incidentally, the evils of intemperance are depicted; but the chief
point of interest which runs like a vein throughout the tale, is the
effects of one false step, which, link by link, frequently--perhaps
universally would be a better term--drags down the innocent to endure
penalties which are beyond the possibility of belief. It is impossible
to forget the unfortunate case of Barber, who was so unjustly
transported for will forgery, but the author has the most undoubted
proofs from actual life, that many have just as miserably suffered,
being innocent. Nothing, he thinks, but the most positive evidence
should convict, in cases where death or penal servitude is the penalty.
No doubt the present annals of jurisprudence show a marked improvement
in the administration of justice, but the criminal law presents
anomalies of inequality in the penalties inflicted, which demand the
attention of those who are interested in holding with impartiality the
scales of justice.

One more prefatory remark is necessary: The author is conscious of some
defects in the work. In one or two instances he could not get decisive
information, and therefore was obliged to draw upon the resources of
imaginative fancy. In other cases conversations are condensed into a
brief narrative of facts, and in the estimation of some this may be an
important defect, but upon a moderate calculation, if such condenced
conversations were given in extenso, the work would have been greatly
extended. With all its faults, and the author would fain hope and
believe with some excellencies also, he ventures to launch forth these
labors of his leisure moments, trusting that the perusal of the tale may
be as pleasant to the reader as the work of writing it has been to the
author.

Goodna, 1870.

* * *

CHAPTER I.--JAMES STEWART.


"NOT GUILTY! My lord, not guilty, I assure you!"

The speaker was a young man, respectably dressed, with a countenance
somewhat pale, but giving evidence of a determined will, and a general
demeanor which indicated intelligence and good breeding. Standing in the
dock, arraigned before the judge of assize at Winchester, in a crowded
court, with the serious charge of forgery against him, James Stewart in
a firm tone of voice pleaded thus, and, the plea being recorded, the
trial commenced. The Crown Court in that ancient assize hall is very
commodious, and the galleries are sufficiently capacious to hold several
hundred spectators, but upon this occasion every nook and corner was
occupied.

The circumstances of the case were very peculiar. The young man was well
known; his employer was a citizen in the town of Southampton, and it was
rumored that the prosecution was without his sanction, and in opposition
to his judgment. The prisoner had been apprenticed to this gentleman,
whose name was Hartlop, and had served his time with honor and credit to
the complete satisfaction of his employer, who made him an advantageous
offer of continued employment which Stewart accepted, and death having
soon after removed the managing clerk, the prisoner was promoted to the
vacant post. To the young man it was no small gratification to be, at so
early a period of his history, thus taken into the confidence of one who
was well able to administer to the success of his future life. His
father had been a shipping agent in Southampton, at that time noted as
one of the prettiest places of seaside resort in all the South of
England. Its quaint and interesting Bargate, the old walls and towers
with several other gates, and many remnants of ancient fortification;
the broad and beautiful High-street, terminating at one end in very
spacious quays, and at the other with an avenue of lofty elms, forming
as beautiful an entrance to the town as it is possible to conceive; its
many walks of surpassing excellence and romantic interest; the near
vicinity of the New Forest, with its pretty villages; all these, and
many other attractions, made the ancient sea-port of Southampton a very
desirable place of residence. Then the Isle of Wight, that beautiful
garden of England, and the splendid ruin of Netley Abbey, proved
sufficiently attractive to induce many to visit the place, as indeed is
the case to this day. Southampton has now lost, only by report, all, or
nearly all, of this old-fashioned excellence, but it has gained
something instead of it, which has made the name a world-renowned word
in postal and commercial phraseology. Well, they who traded in the place
in the childhood of our good Queen, have for the most part passed away.
Peace be to their memory! One of these was the very respectable citizen
with whom James Stewart claimed a sort of relationship, which one of
those old laws, given some three thousand years ago, most impressively
commands us all to honor, but which in these very matter of fact days is
frequently debased from the high and mighty excellence of 'father' to
the very foreign and repelling epithet of 'governor.' Stewart, however,
was not the son to conceive such a thought of him whom he ever regarded
as a dear good father. In a playful mood, he would sometimes ring out
merrily the familiar 'dad,' but the word meant volumes of affection, and
the fond father knew it. Mr. Stewart had for many years carried on a
very lucrative business; he had been, in a word, a successful speculator
in shipping ventures. It was a common household word in the family, that
the period was fast approaching when the son, released from his
apprenticeship, was to become the acting-partner in the business of
James Stewart and Co., and the father and mother had mentally arranged
most of the preliminaries which were to be associated with the
retirement of the former from active business. But man proposes, and
there is One who frequently, for the wisest purposes, turns the nest
upside down. 'This is my rest,' many a good man says, and he nestles
down in it, and finds such an elysium of happiness, that, looking around
with the complacency of satisfaction, he breathes out the words, 'I
shall die here.'

'No,' says the unerring voice of wisdom, and forthwith the storm begins
to beat, the rain of sorrow descends, the winds of life's bitter
blasting influence howl around the traveller. He may have the Rock of
Ages to shelter him, a good substantial hiding-place in all seasons, but
under this secure dwelling-place he sees all his earthly treasures swept
away, the tempter whispering all the while, 'curse God, and die.' Such
was the experience of the prisoner's father. The son had only a few
weeks to serve under his apprenticeship bond, when an irreparable series
of losses involved his father in irretrievable commercial ruin. A bank,
in which he was a large shareholder, failed; all his deposits were
hopelessly lost; and in addition to this disaster, he had, in
conjunction with the other shareholders, to pay large sums for which
their shares made them liable. The history of Job is certainly
perpetuated in such cases: one disaster follows another, and yet there
is one more, and the sufferer nervously glances at the shadows of more
yet to come. In Mr. Stewart's case, he was mercifully preserved from the
knowledge of all the woe which thus fell upon his house, for the
messenger came to whisper the words, 'the Father wanted him at home;'
and one bright spring morning, at the very moment when judgment against
his goods was being signed, he gently departed to appear at another
judgment seat, where the good faithful old Christian gave in his bank
book of talents, all of which had borne good interest, and found that,
though he had lost everything, he had gained a crown and a kingdom. The
last blow, intermingled as it was with the death of her husband, proved
to be also the summons to the wife and mother. Scarcely had the grave
closed upon the father, ere it was opened again to receive her, and
Stewart, thus doubly bereaved, with every hope crushed in the bud, was
brought face to face with the stubborn fact that there was nothing
before him but hard toil, accompanied, it might be, with privation and
suffering.

In these circumstances he found in Mr. Hartlop a sympathising and
faithful friend and benefactor. He received the orphan lad as an inmate
of his own house, encouraged him with the hope of preferment, and took
care so to occupy his thoughts with that which was pleasant, cheerful,
and hopeful, that he soon became as much at home with his kind employer
as it was possible for his sorrowing heart to allow. Stewart had not,
however, to learn where to seek comfort in the hour of trial. He had
reason to be thankful that God had given him honorable, pious, and
faithful parents. The influence of their example paved the way to
serious thought, and this led him to a wise decision to become a meek,
humble, earnest, and devoted follower of the Saviour. By the touching of
the Highest, he attained to a scholarship which nothing else can bestow.
He had sat at the feet of a greater than Gamaliel, and had taken the
highest honors resulting therefrom. Many to this day have reason to be
thankful for the good counsel which this young disciple breathed into
their ear. He pleaded on their behalf earnestly, even with the faltering
tongue and the moistened eye; but the footfall of his devoted life was
heard by those with whom he was brought into contact, and even though in
this case no voice was heard, the example became vocal in many a
conscience, saying to besetting sins, 'What doest thou here?'

In the same office there was another clerk who, though he was the senior
in point of years, yet occupied a position inferior to that of Stewart.
His name was Henry Julet, which was pronounced in accordance with the
usage of French phraseology, although in the man there was very little,
if anything, which indicated a foreign extraction. His features were
coarse, repulsive, and at times bloated and wrinkled to such a degree as
to create a suspicion that he indulged in the most sensual and debasing
vices. But yet no one could accuse him of anything which was glaringly
vicious. He frequented taverns, and was known to be addicted to
card-playing. Two or three times he had crossed the line into the
hemisphere of intemperance, but these were race days, or something
similar, and as he said, "he made no pretentions to religion, and did
not see why he should not enjoy himself in his way, as others did in
their peculiar manner." Mr. Hartlop did not much relish such
irregularities, but the man was useful, and for the most part, steady
and attentive to his business.

There was also a wife in the scale, and an addition to the interest in
the shape of an infant, who, at the time when our story opens, was about
five years of age. Julet never liked Stewart, in fact there were periods
when he plainly showed that he just tolerated his superiority in office,
but whenever he could be so, he was reticent to a degree, and many
disagreeable mistakes had occurred because of this unhappy feeling.
There is no doubt that the cause of disagreement was the old story,
which was fought upon the old ground. "Shall I, indeed, bow down to
thee?"

"Envy, eldest born of hell," plotted the elements of division, and there
was no lack of aid in carrying them into practice. Still, in the
ordinary course of events, there was no tangible cause of complaint, and
business matters proceeded in their course much the same as they do in
other houses.

In the posting up of the great ledger of Time it is recorded that in Mr.
Hartlop's banking book, in the month of January, l8--, there was found a
cheque which was drawn in favor of one Thomas Starling, for the sum of
forty-two pounds, which cheque was pronounced by the merchant to be a
forgery. It bore the name of Alex. Hartlop, so cleverly written that
even that gentleman could scarcely detect any difference between his own
signature and that in this cheque, save in one very minute point. But
apart from this very trifling difference, Mr. Hartlop persistently
denied that he had ever drawn such a cheque. "He knew no such person as
Thomas Starling, how could he then have drawn a cheque for one of whom
he had never heard; he had not signed that cheque, on his oath he would
swear it." The bank authorities were compelled to own that in the minute
particular to which reference has been made, the signature was not
genuine. The amount had been paid to a middle-aged man, a stranger, who
gave his name, "Starling."

Here was a mystery, and who could solve it? The cheque-book was kept in
the cash-box, and this again was always locked up in the iron safe. To
this safe none had access, save Mr. Hartlop and the prisoner. In the
absence of any proof that the merchant had signed the cheque in a fit of
abstraction, which every one who knew Mr. Hartlop agreed was most
unlikely, suspicion could rest only upon James Stewart. Why? No one
could exactly say. Yet he was arrested, and after the preliminary
examination was remanded, to be committed for trial at his next hearing,
upon evidence which appeared too conclusive to be resisted. Ten days
after the committal, the assizes commenced, the bank proprietors being
the prosecutors; and on the second day of the assize, he stood in the
felon's dock to answer this serious charge.

The facts of the case were reduced upon the trial to a very small
compass. A close examination of the cheque-book proved that a leaf had
been abstracted with scrupulous care, but the criminal had forgotten
that the numbers ran through the book consecutively, and one of these
was missing. The forged cheque bore this identical number. The terrible
alternative was inevitable. If the keys of the safe had never been
accessible to any besides the prisoner or his employer, one or the other
must have abstracted the cheque. That Mr. Hartlop should do such a thing
was incomprehensible, and it was only just possible that the prisoner
might have been guilty of such an act. The filling in of the cheque was
in writing very similar to Stewart's, the signature appeared all but
perfect. In fact, the bank proprietors and their clerks candidly
confessed that they would have paid any amount upon it.

Such was the general purport of the case, which the counsel for the
prosecution, in a condensed form, laid before the jury; but he appended
a farther statement, that there were additional facts upon which he
would not comment, but considered it best to leave this, which he
thought most damning evidence, to the sole judgment of those who would
have to decide the case.

There were many witnesses to be examined, to be cross-examined,
brow-beaten, insulted, and if within the possibility of man's skill, to
be legally forced to tell a lie. Cross-examination is no doubt a safety
valve in the great engine of English law; but, in the hands of some, it
is a shame and disgrace. If it is equity, justice, and law to worry a
respectable, honest witness to the very borders of madness, then it must
be right; but if the word of a man of good repute is worth any thing, it
is by no means necessary to strive to make that man appear ridiculous in
the estimation of the court. This is the aim and end of all
cross-examination, when it exceeds the bounds of civility. Upon this
particular trial, the several witnesses passed through the most severe
ordeal. They grew very red, and then turned pale; they determined not to
be angry, and sixty seconds after were as pettish as possible: they
volunteered opinions, and then appeared to be as barren of any real
evidence as the spectators in the court: they looked very wise, but went
out of the witness box conscious that the counsel had made them the
laughing stock of all, and at last the court adjourned for lunch. In
twenty minutes the judge was on the bench again, and the most important
witness of the day was called, "Henry Julet."

As he entered the box he cast one glance at the prisoner: no trace of
emotion, no mark of pity, no, not the slightest feeling of shame was
there in that face. Then, looking at the judge, at the jury, and finally
casting a triumphant gaze around the court, he appeared to brace himself
up for that which was to be a lengthened and searching examination. This
would fill many pages, and from its peculiarity it is here given in a
condensed form.

"He was preparing to leave the warehouse on the evening of January 15,
he was quite sure as to the day, because it was his birthday. All the
lights were extinguished, except one in the counting-house, which was a
square room, with glass windows on the two sides which faced the
warehouse. He could easily see the prisoner through this glass
partition, especially as the counting-house was lighted, and he stood in
the dark warehouse. He saw him unlock the cashbox, out of which he took
the cheque-book; he knew it was a cheque-book by its peculiar shape. Out
of this book he distinctly saw him tear a leaf, he heard the sharp click
which accompanied the act; everybody knew what kind of sound he referred
to. That somehow he thought it to be a strange proceeding, he could not
tell why he thought so, but he did for all that. So he crept softly up
to the partition, and there he distinctly saw that the prisoner held a
long strip of paper in his hand, while with a penknife he was trying to
cut away some ragged pieces which had been left in the cheque-book.
Curious to see more he still lingered, and then he was struck with the
appearance of the young man. He was looking at the blank cheque
apparently in deep thought; he (the witness) imagined at the time that
he was hesitating whether he should keep the cheque or not. He could
then see that it was one of those which were issued by the bank of which
Mr. Hartlop was a customer. But the common effect of endeavoring to hold
in his breath, had resulted in a sudden fit of coughing. Of course the
prisoner was alarmed, and, instantly crushing the cheque in his hand, he
rushed out of the counting-house saying, 'what do you want?' He replied
that he was waiting for him; he was wont to do this very often when Mr.
Hartlop was away from home, and, as he had gone to London that day, he
thought the prisoner would like to spend the evening at his house. He
noticed at the time that he stared at him very keenly, as if he would
read his thoughts; but suddenly he turned back into the counting-house,
put on his hat, extinguished the lamp, and, locking up the safe in the
dark, and afterwards the counting-house door, they left the premises
together. Prisoner, however, did not go home with him, but, talking very
rapidly all the way, he accompanied him as far as East-street, and then
hurriedly wishing him good night he ran off in the direction of Albion
Place."

The witness tendered this evidence with the most complete
self-possession. "Why had he not spoken about this at the time the
forged cheque was discovered?"

"Well," he replied, "he really pitied the young man, and was not willing
to be the means of convicting him of this crime, more especially as he
heard that the bank would be the prosecutor if there was to be any
prosecution at all."

"What was the reason then for his altered determination?" The judge
asked this question of the counsel, but the witness replied at once:
"Mr. Hartlop put a direct question to him."

"What was the question?"

"'Did he, or did he not, know anything about the forgery? He would not
accuse any one; but he had put this question to the prisoner, and in the
same manner he now asked him. To this question he replied, 'that he had
no wish to make any statement at all.' This, however, only made Mr.
Hartlop more determined to know the truth, and so he informed him of
that which he had given in evidence to the court."

No cross-examination could shake this testimony; it was given calmly,
with evident thought. Moreover, it was probable and reasonable.

The cheque was produced; it had evidently been crumpled up as the
witness had stated.

Mr. Hartlop, recalled, confirmed Julet's statement that he had pressed
him to tell all he knew about the case, and after some considerable
hesitation and confusion, he had stated to him (Mr. Hartlop) the same
facts which he had given in evidence to the court.

"Had the prisoner been extravagant?" asked the judge.

"No!" replied Mr. Hartlop. "James Stewart was a careful, saving young
man; certainly no one could charge him with anything bordering upon
extravagance. He could not account for the forgery; the last person he
should have accused was the prisoner. Even now, notwithstanding all the
evidence that he had heard, he was persuaded that there was a terrible
mistake somewhere. He never would believe the prisoner to be guilty."

Poor Stewart! He seemed as if he could have broken through all rule and
custom while Julet was under examination. It was only by a violent
effort that he restrained his indignation. But as the case for the
prosecution closed, he seemed to have lost every glimpse of hope.
Witnesses were called on his behalf, but they could only tell that which
was already known, and candidly admitted by the prosecution, that up to
this period the prisoner's character was unstained. The usual strong
appeal was made to the feelings of the jury by the prisoner's counsel,
but those who read the faces of other men, said that it was breath
wasted for no purpose at all. Stewart was condemned already, and he felt
it. With his head resting on his hand, and his elbow on the dock-spiked
rail, he sobbed out the words at intervals, "By the God of heaven, not
guilty," lifting up his hands as if appealing to the Judge of all.

The judge was much moved. He was a most kind-hearted man, always pitiful
and compassionate towards the erring, especially if there was a hope of
reformation. But what could he do in such a case as this? For some
moments he was silent. He looked earnestly at the prisoner, then round
the court; and finally at the young man again, as if in a spirit of
inquiry, "Is there nothing which can rebut this evidence?" But his
solemn duty must be performed, however hard it might be. The law was not
his; he was only the judge; and hard enough it is at times to pass
sentence upon a poor creature, even with this feeling. As the judge said
afterwards, "If it had rested with him, he could have wished to see that
young man set free." Slowly, calmly, but surely, he summed up the
terrible evidence. What could it be but against the prisoner, treat it
as superficially as he could? He was too honest a judge to be partial
however, even in such a case as this; but the concluding words of the
summing up were spoken with an energy which evidenced the feeling of the
man, though the man was clad in the robes of the judge. "If--if there is
even the least shadow of a doubt upon your minds as to the improbability
of the prisoner's guilt, do not convict him." The words in italics were
emphasised with the slowest and most distinct articulation.

There was no doubt; those twelve matter-of fact jurymen had found the
prisoner guilty an hour previously. Only as a matter of form did they
turn round to speak to each other. In five minutes James Stewart was a
convict: in five minutes more, he was sentenced to fourteen years'
transportation beyond the seas, the crime of forgery being at this
period very little short of a capital offence. Handcuffed, dumbstruck,
all but temporarily insane with the horror of his position, he was
conducted back to the gaol, to await final instructions as to his future
destiny. Let the cloud come down, and shroud the scene with the mist of
obscurity. The poor heart-stricken youth felt its presence; feared as he
entered into it; but the nobler principles of Christianity triumphed
amidst the gloom. The heart knoweth its own bitterness; but into the
prison cell, pity, faith, and hope accompanied the sorrowing prisoner;
and a few hours later, Mr. Hartlop, who went to visit him as soon as his
harrowed feelings would allow, found his young protege firmly and
confidently believing that all would be well with him.

Within three years after this terrible day, when the merchant and the
orphan parted with a bitterness of sorrow which cannot be described,
James Stewart, with two hundred and thirty others, heard the anchor
chains rushing out of the convict ship, and knew that the terrible
voyage was over, and that upon a new scene they were to work out their
awful sentence. Mercifully had the young man been preserved throughout
the long and tedious voyage of more than five months duration. Disease
of a most contagious character had cut off fifty-four of the horrid,
blaspheming cargo of outcasts who had been banished to this far-off
land. But Stewart had escaped, and had proved to be a blessing to many
who had thus miserably perished. Apparently indifferent about his own
safety, he had striven to aid the authorities in their arduous duties,
and some of the officers, only too glad of any assistance, made him a
hospital nurse. So well did he conduct himself in this position, that
the surgeon obtained the consent of the commander that his fetters
should be taken off, and on the arrival of the ship in Moreton Bay, his
case was recommended to the favorable consideration of the commandant,
with a view to some alleviation of the more severe part of the sentence
which had been passed upon him.



CHAPTER II.--DAVID ARGYLE.


In the same vessel there was another convict, whose case this chapter
will describe. David Argyle was the son of a 'well-to-do' farmer in
Suffolk, who had inherited all his father's property, but lacked the
necessary experience and perseverance which had contributed so much to
make the elder Argyle a successful, and, consequently, a wealthy man.
Like many young men who suddenly come into the possession of a
considerable sum of ready money, he regarded his position as one in
which he could enjoy life to his heart's content, and so he determined
to have a spell of jollity to make up for the restraint which the plain
habits of a very good father and mother had put upon him.

These are his own words; but weeks, and even months elapsed, after he
had followed his father to the grave, and yet he was simply "Davie," as
he was called, a plain country lad, the pride of his widowed mother, and
an object of ridicule to some of the neighbors' sons; fast young men,
who took care to express their opinions about him whenever an
opportunity occurred.

Nearly two years thus passed away after the death of old Argyle, when
the mother sickened, and, after a very brief illness, she was numbered
with the dead. No one could be more affectionate and loving to her than
the lad who was almost constantly by her bedside. The most experienced
medical aid was procured, but the disease was incurable, and she knew it
from the first day when it struck her down. David was most devotedly
attached to his mother, and the thought of losing her was terrible to
him, but as the end drew near, and the doctors plainly told him there
was no hope, like young Jacob of old, he appeared to be superstitiously
anxious to obtain the parental dying blessing, and who can say that
there was any superstition in it after all. Had any one stood in the
chamber of good old Mrs. Argyle, they must have been impressed with the
solemn scene as they witnessed her feeble hand resting upon her son's
head, and heard her, in faltering accents, pronounce the words, "God
bless thee, my dear, good boy. Yes, the Lord lift up His countenance
upon thee, laddie. The angel which hath redeemed me and thy father, my
bairn, from all, yes, all evil, bless thee--even thee. And now, Davie,
one counsel more, be ye sure ye meet father and mother in heaven. Love
the Saviour, laddie; He has ever proved a good friend to your father and
me." The last words were spoken at intervals, and with great difficulty.
One last effort followed. Opening her eyes, the fond mother said,
"Look--at--me." The young man raised his head, and with a look of
unspeakable tenderness she said, "Jesus--precious--" and the tongue
ceased its office.

The incidents associated with a mourning family are interesting, even
instructive, but the experience of every one is too full of the reality
of the thing, to make the bare repetition of such scenes a necessity.
David Argyle saw his mother's corpse committed to the grave, and then he
began seriously to consider what was necessary to be done to fill up the
gap which death had made in the family circle. There was not a question
but that home, or "the house," as he now termed it, was dull,
"dreadfully dull." He was a very superficial reader, and the society of
an old woman, who had been the house servant for many years, was not
calculated to interest him very much. It was winter also, the evenings
were long and tedious. He had no companions, nor was he clever in
inventing sources of amusement or instruction. The great temptation was
very strong now: "Run up to London, see real life there, have a taste of
that which others enjoy so much, and after this nice change you will
settle down to work all the better." His heart was quite ready to
acquiesce in this proposal, which the tempter placed before him in this
very plausible language; but sundry recollections of recent words which
had sounded in his ears under circumstances which he then thought he
could never forget, raised up a shield before the tempter, and for the
time he was foiled. "No," said the young man, "I will remain at home."

But how true it is, that man actually unbolts the doors which keep
temptation away from his view, merely to gain a momentary look at the
pleasant prospect, and then he finds that he can never fasten them so
securely as they were before. The tempter has only to use a little extra
force and the barriers yield, and free ingress is given to the human
house. David's desires ere long went far enough to take off all the
fastenings by which the tempter had been baffled, and he was not in the
least surprised or sorry to see that which was the personification of
temptation, walk into his house and heart, in the person of a young man
who, as it afterwards transpired, had laid a wager that he would bring
out the young farmer to join a few jovial companions at a social
'free-and-easy' club, which had been established at the neighboring town
of Leyton. David had been watching his visitor as he slowly rode across
the common which adjoined his farm, but believing that he was on his way
to town, he turned again to the well-spread table in the keeping-room,
to discuss the usual lunch which always preceded a ride to market.
Sitting with his back to the window, he did not perceive that anyone had
entered the farmyard, until he was accosted with a cheerful: "Good
morning, Argyle, excuse me, I came in without ceremony, you know."

"Quite right, neighbor Rouse," replied Argyle, "I am glad to see you.
Why don't you give us a look in now and then, I am wretchedly dull."

"Oh! so I thought," said Richard Rouse, "and as I rode over, seeing your
horse ready saddled, I supposed that you were off to market; and says I,
'here's the chance to break the ice.' No sooner said than done, that is
my motto; so off I jumped, and here I am, old fellow!"

"And right welcome you are, Rouse," replied the young farmer; "come,
take a snap, and we will ride in together."

"Many thanks, Argyle," said his visitor, "but I have only just
breakfasted; we were late last night. What do you think of our little
carousal? Let me see, there was Tom Jones and his two sisters, splendid
girls, by-the-bye, and the three young Thurlows and no sisters, but to
make up for their absence, we had the four Miss Gillinghams and then
mother."

"Who weighed down all the three Thurlows, I suppose?"

"Exactly so," replied Rouse, "but they were not all. Old Squire Herbert
dropped in on his way home, and a jolly old customer he is, Argyle. By
the way, he was asking after you."

"After me!" said Argyle. "I never spoke to him in my live."

"Just so, my dear fellow, and the jolly old squire said he did not know
why there should be such an estrangement between you; and now that you
are indeed your own master, and the fortunate possessor of Argyle Farm,
and ten thousand pounds in ready cash--"

"Who told you that?" said Argyle, interrupting his visitor rather
sharply, at the same time looking him very keenly in the face.

Rouse saw that he was on delicate ground, and that the young farmer was
as suspicious about any intermeddling with his private affairs as he was
generally reported to be. But he was too good a tactician to be defeated
upon such simple ground.

"That your father was wealthy, David," he replied, "everybody knew. That
he had nearly that sum out upon the mortgage of the Woodbridge
property--you know which I mean--was a public report, and more than a
report, a certain fact. So people judge, my door fellow, and Squire
Herbert spoke about it, saying he was as glad of your good luck as if
you were his own son."

"Ah! well," replied Argyle, "you were talking about your company, what
was it, a ball, or a family birthday, or--"

"A little social evening party, Argyle. You have been so shut up at home
that you have heard little or nothing about our movements. Nor shall it
be our fault, my dear fellow, if you do not become better acquainted
with us."

"Well, we can talk about this as we go along," said Argyle, "but tell
me, Rouse, what sort of a club is that which you wrote to me about some
months ago. I really think--"

"That you will join us; now do, there's a good fellow," said Rouse, "the
very thing I was going to ask you. We have good dinners, famous wine,
capital company."

"Ah! there's the rub!" said Argyle, "the company at these places, my
good father used to say, was likely to lead a fellow into bad habits."

"Not necessarily so," replied his companion. "I won't take offence,
Argyle, at your remark, for you do not, I am sure, mean to charge me
with such a fault."

"Oh, no, no, excuse me, I was speaking in general terms," said Argyle.

"And I, my dear fellow," replied Rouse, "am such a generality, that I
mix in all kinds of society, but I do not know that I am a profligate
for all that. Life is made up of variety, Argyle, and I am sure you must
feel the need of it. Even the ladies say--jokingly of course--they
wonder how you can live such a secluded life as you have lately."

"Indeed, indeed," said Argyle, with an ironical laugh; "I feel highly
flattered; I did not think a creature besides old Betty had any interest
in me. But I never was cut out for a ladies' man."

"You don't know; 'pon my honor, it is a fact," replied Rouse, "you need
not laugh now, I can tell you that a pair of pretty eyes looking at you
as if they intended to take no quarter is rather a formidable piece of
business to face. Many an iron heart has been made red-hot by such a
fire, before its possessor even knew what was the matter. Ah, never
fear, Argyle," continued the speaker, "you are destined to fall down and
worship the same idol some day."

"Let it come, Rouse, let it come, if it is to come, at present, I say,
nothing shall tempt me to invest in such a lottery. But come, let us be
jogging, or all chance of doing business will be over. Are you a seller
or buyer, to-day, Richard?"

"Neither," replied Rouse, "I am merely going to town to attend our
sub-committee. You will join us? Now, say yes, and if you regret it,
why, call me anything you like."

Consent was given, and to Leyton the two young farmers rode at a smart
pace--Argyle to sell some corn, Rouse to idle away an hour or two until
market was over. The principal inn in the place was the White Lion, an
old-fashioned house with a good posting, commercial, coach, and market
connection. As a family hotel of a particularly homely but comfortable
character, the White Lion was not to be despised.

A large and noble archway led into the hotel yard, so frequently seen in
old fashioned posting-houses, and so much alike are these entrances to
old hotels, that many of them appear as if they were designed by the
same hand. Around this yard the hotel was built, enclosing it on three
sides, the fourth part of the square being the fence of a very large
garden, near to which were the stables, communication being provided by
another archway, which led from the hotel to the stable-yard.

The bar, that immortal theme of all novelists, the constant source of
righteous annoyance to neglected wives of tippling husbands, the
exchange of scandalmongers, the paradise of news propagators, the
sanctum sanctorum of tough old politicians, the commercial gentleman's
retreat from L. s. d., and the parish clerk's levee room, how shall this
great studio of human character be described? It is not every one who
remembers such scenes as these cosy places presented, when a stage coach
was changing horses preparatory to a start on the next stage. The
coachman's "wee drop," or the passengers' steaming hot coffee, with a
dash of brandy, or it may be the simple glass of ale, drawn by the
magnificent hand of the great mistress of the house, or by the roguish,
ever cheerful, and sometimes exceedingly satirical, mistress of the bar;
the net bristling with golden lemons, the wonderfully painted bottles of
mysterious import, with their necklace labels, heaps of pipes saying,
"come and smoke me," boxes which came from nowhere, if the far-famed
Havannah disowned their parentage, plates of tempting sandwiches, a
crystal vase, the home of the most tender and charming celery under the
sun, rows of decanters and cut wines, tumblers of all ages and
capacities, from the poplar shape, renowned for ale, the solid foot-grog
cistern, the gigantic soda-water fellow, and the landlord, the
passengers, and the coachman all talking together, why these were at
every stage, like new chapters in a book.

Often have we looked in and refreshed our inner man, then set out again;
and thus from stage to stage onward we traveled till the journey being
ended, we looked back upon our resting places, and were always of the
opinion that even though they are mere places of commercial necessity,
yet nothing can supply the place of a well conducted inn.

Nor must this eulogy be taken as a defence of the intemperate use of
these things. An inn was, in the earliest ages, an institution and a
necessity. Wine has been made ever since, and probably before the flood.
The intemperate use of it none can defend, but the right to enjoy it as
one of God's gifts, none with any reason can withhold. Intemperance in
anything is hateful; gluttony, tobacco chewing, and sensuality, are
evils equally as terrible as drunkenness, and yet there is a greater
evil if possible than all these, the belief that reformation merely is
sufficient to save the soul. There are many abstainers who are infidels
as rank as the world has ever seen. The temperance movement every good
man must approve, but to be temperate in drink, an abstainer from wine,
and yet a filthy debauchee in practice, or even a scorner of Divine
revelation, is to be as strange an anomaly as the human mind can
conceive.

Having written so much of praise and condemnation, let me add that I
would not keep an inn for all the gold in the world. Shades of the
departed, ruined by strong drink, goaded by the devil to make use of
liquor to work out your ruin, how must you haunt those vaults of
delusive pleasure. In the world of ruin the publican's register of lost
souls will be on awful library. But let us be just even where we blame.
What shall be stored up there against usury, with its robbery, its
rending of widows' hearts, its wholesale destruction of orphans' homes?
Or how shall robbery, trickery, deceit, ingratitude, false witnessing,
adultery, and self-worship, stand in the Day of Account? Place these in
a row with intemperance, and it would be difficult to say which is the
most hideous. Reform! yes, reform the world if you can, gentlemen, but
heap not upon one word, all the vices of which human nature is so
fatally capable.

But this is a digression; the subject, however, will become one of the
greatest questions of the day, let this be the apology.

Let us take a peep at the remaining portion of this well ordered country
hotel. It is customary to enter into the most minute detail in
descriptions of houses, offices, furniture, and men and women in
general, but as this is the very thing which will be omitted, too
particular and exact proportion, situation, and general appearance of
each room, passage waiter, servant, picture, dog, cat, horse, and
anything else you please, will have to be for the most part imagined, if
indeed anyone should feel an impulsive curiosity about them. The most
splendid oratory cannot make a house anything but a dwelling, a room
anything but an apartment; a cat is in like manner still a cat, tabby,
tortoise, black or white, it does not signify. So the White Lion may be
very soon as intimate an acquaintance as it is necessary to make it, if
it is described as an old-fashioned, comfortable house, with lots of
rooms; old furniture, very stately and massive; old, compact, well
ordered stables; old steady-going horses, and genuine old post-boys,
carrying over leaf the whole summary as you carry forward an account, by
saying, "and old all sorts." There you have it in a small compass, and
if you had spent a day or two in its simple, hospitable rooms, you would
remember the old place as pleasantly as I do.

Old post-boys! How funny it must have been to be called a boy at sixty
years of age. Jolly old fellows, some of those country town post-boys
were. They were just as remarkable an institution as the inevitable old
salts, which one meets at watering places, sea port towns, &c. Full of
yarns as long as you please; a sixpenny yarn, or a shilling adventure,
or a two and sixpenny hair-breadth escape, ending with "your honor," or
even spiced now and then with a "my lord," or something like it. But
Othello's occupation is gone. John the powdered post-boy, Jack the
spruce leather-gaitered ostler, and Bob the slim dapper groom, with the
pea green coat, large brass buttons, tight cords, and top boots; these
are things of the past, compared with the ever rushing present.

Yes, "you would remember the old inn as well us I do," it is written,
and truth claims a voice in approval. If you have seen such an old inn
you will know all about its general particulars, but if your knowledge
of such subjects does not include such an experience, it is extremely
improbable that even a photograph would unveil any satisfactory
information about it. It is certain that no modern hotel could boast of
such comfortable and comforting eccentricities as were to be found here.
If you rang the bell and ordered a ghost story, it is extremely likely
that you would have had it served up with the highest sensational
horror, which a literary kitchen could invent. As we never did order
such a dish, we can only speak problematically. But in reference to
honeymoons, why, bless your heart, the good landlady would ring the
changes for an hour, in describing the high honors which had been heaped
upon her from Hymen's altar. The visitor's book decidedly blushed with
visions of extraordinary blessedness, which this old White Lion had
witnessed. Scarcely had the recollection of one happy pair dissolved
into history, than another cosy couple claimed the happy privilege of a
brief sojourn in this marital paradise. To be sure the facilities for
boating, fishing, riding and walking, were very great, but as honeymoons
are not very frequently spent in such common-place pursuits, there
certainly must have been other attractions and private reasons why Mrs.
Lincoln should be able to say, and she said it with a nod and a wink as
a conclusive accompaniment to the words, "Ah! they are not fools who
come to my house, I can tell ye." Try to draw out her meaning beyond
this, and you would have been disappointed. But they who professed to
know a thing or two, would have it that everybody connected with this
house had been well educated to mind then own business. If the most
lovely duchess in the world had taken up her quarters at the White Lion,
not a whisper would have gone forth from anyone in the establishment
about her, or anything she chose to do. In a word, no one was stared at.

Probably this somewhat rambling description of a fine old inn would be
out of place, and altogether uninteresting, if it had not been the scene
of an event which made it for the time the centre of interest in the
county. With this event, David Argyle will ever be associated. That
afternoon's introduction to the farmers' club was full of fatality to
him. It is true he met with jollity, good company, excellent wine, and
the opportunity of being introduced to the most pleasant society. All
these were very new to him, and he at once opened his heart to enjoy
them. Of course he had no intention of falling into excess, "not he,
indeed." So he stoutly resolved. But he had yet to learn that it is
necessary for the most stout-hearted to take heed lest he fall. To his
great surprise, he found that a relative, the only son of his mother's
sister, was the paid secretary of the club, and on inquiry he also found
that he was a clerk in a merchant's office in the town. There had been
no correspondence between the two families for many years, and Argyle,
presuming that as his cousin had only seen him as a boy, he would not
recognise him now, abstained from speaking to him. But the wine set the
talking faculties in motion, and the two relations were soon known as
such. At first David Argyle treated the other with haughtiness and
scorn, which the secretary repaid with quiet sarcasm. But the mercury
rose with the heat of the room, and so did the young farmer's voice.
"Money was nothing to him. Wine, waiter, more wine, champagne, bring in
champagne for all, all, waiter, do you hear, for all; never mind what
old penwiper says." He had passed the rubicon now; henceforth, "For he's
a jolly good follow," and "We won't go home till morning," was shouted,
bawled, hammered down with the customery "bravo," and assented to by
Argyle, as long as he had the inability to unite in such senseless
orgies. David was hopelessly intoxicated long before any of the others;
only the cautious secretary escaped the universal contagion. At a late
hour, Rouse and Argyle were assisted down the stairs which led to the
inn yard, the latter having slept for an hour, and Rouse declared that
he was "perfectly right." Argyle made several attempts to mount his
horse, and at last succeeded in getting into the saddle with his face
towards the tail of the animal, nor could any persuasion convince him
that he was wrong. But as the horse moved on, he discovered that "the
riding was very curious," and dismounting to ascertain if it was "all
right," he was induced to remount this time with his face towards home.
Home, alas! he never saw it again. Poor young fellow, little did he know
whither he was riding. In about an hour after they left, a man, under
the influence of great excitement, rushed into the bar of the White
Lion, with the startling intelligence that a murder had been committed
just outside the boundary of the town.

On being questioned by Lawyer Scarem, who was solacing himself after the
fatigue of the day with his customary pipe and glass of grog, amidst
many remarks of an irrevalent character, he informed the company
present, that, "as he was walking home from Woodlands, to which place he
had taken a parcel which had arrived by the last coach, he fell over a
man who was lying across the pathway. In his fall he did not at first
observe that another man was lying about two yards farther on towards
the main road, but in getting up he stretched out his arm, which thus
touched this man, who, he could plainly see by the strong moonlight, was
covered with blood, and to the best of his belief was dead."

Here was an event for the inmates of the White Lion bar. They were a
motley group, consisting of a recruiting sergeant, the vestry clerk, the
head constable, Mr. Ropeyarn the grocer, Mr. Sugar the tailor, and
Lawyer Scarem, in addition to the host and hostess of the hotel. The
soldier and the constable, Mrs. Lincoln observed, were a host in
themselves, and as to Lawyer Scarem, it was fortunate that he was on the
spot, to which opinion Messrs. Ropeyarn and Sugar immediately assented.
There was little difficulty in getting up an amateur bodyguard, and with
the sergeant and the constable at the front, they soon arrived at the
fatal spot. Here a shocking sight presented itself. The young man,
Rouse, lay on the ground, with a terrible blow on the back of his head
which had beaten in the skull, while Argyle, grasping his heavy whip in
his hand, lay near him, either stunned or fast asleep. Rouse was quite
dead. The metal knob of Argyle's whip was covered with blood, and his
clothes were sprinkled with the same horrid hue. On a further search,
Rouse's horse was found feeding by the roadside, Argyle's was never
found.

It was with considerable difficulty that the constable could arouse
Argyle, but after a while he sat up, and rubbing his eyes, the blood
which was upon his hands, was transferred to his face, and then for the
first time he began to realise the horrors of his position. To behold
him as he gazed on the dead body of his young friend, frantically asking
the crowd "what was the matter? and who had done it?" was something
fearful. To be in his awful position was positively maddening. The wine
was still in his head. It had struck deeply into his brain, and thus
with a stupefied, but startled expression, he gazed on those who
surrounded him with a vacant, perplexed countenance, for no one had
answered his questions. Of course he was taken into custody, and with
the lifeless body of his late companion, the procession returned to the
town, meeting on the way numbers of the inhabitants, so that by the time
the White Lion was reached a large crowd was collected. Stunned and
distracted with the horror of the suspicion which was so strong against
him, Argyle was unable to utter a word. In the morning he was taken
before the magistrates, but the proceedings were of a very formal
character, and he was remanded until an inquest had been held.



CHAPTER III.--THE INQUEST.


Leyton had not had such a sensational case for years. The parish
constable had been, from an early hour in the morning, an object of the
most intense delight to a considerable number of small boys and lesser
girls. Perhaps they considered it possible that the prisoner was in some
way connected with a brother constable, who had come over to Leyton from
a neighboring parish in pursuance of an urgent request which had been
sent by special messenger to him. Leyton constable was a little man with
an abundant stock of self-importance. Wickham constable was a gigantic
fellow, with an extraordinary supply of intense stupidity. The name of
the former was Reuben Jacobs, but the giant was known as "the Doctor,"
nor had he the least idea how this singular term had been attached to
him. Tradition has it upon record, that his father drew teeth, and that
his son was dubbed 'the Doctor' at the parish school. But speculation
upon this historical subject is useless, when it is recorded that upon a
certain important occasion in which a lady was concerned, Reuben Jacobs
and his friend had sat in council to discuss this solemn question, and
after smoking their pipes for three hours, and washing down the aroma of
the smoke with an entire bottle of brandy and a small portion of hot
water, they at length came to the conclusion, gravely and decisively,
that the person who could throw any light upon the subject was not yet
born.

These functionaries, who are genuine copies of two originals, must not
occupy more than a corner. Many a ludicrous mistake might be described
which, in conjunction with real events, caused roars of laughter at the
expense of these sapient officers of justice. But the scenes in the
greater part of the book will be enacted in a far distant land, and the
temptation to transport these two men thither, must, for truth's sake,
be resisted.

Of course the White Lion became the rendezvous of the coroner, the jury,
the witnesses, and every busybody the town could boast of. Rumors of the
murder had quickly spread far and wide, and in the course of the
morning, Septimus Long, Esq.; Richard Lloyd, Esq.; and John Brown
Trotter, Esq.; all of them magistrates in the county, came into town to
watch the proceedings. The first of the three was as pompous and
empty-headed, as he was bigotted and self-important. The other gentlemen
were well skilled in criminal jurisdiction. At 12 o'clock the
proceedings were commenced. The body was duly inspected, and the
evidence which followed was gradually weaving a net of condemnation
around the prisoner. Still there were circumstances which could not be
explained, and though the position in which the prisoner and the
deceased were found, coupled with the medical evidence, that Argyle's
whip must have been the weapon which was used, pointed with tolerable
certainty to the fact that his hand had struck the fatal blow, the two
"lawyer magistrates," as they were called, plainly expressed their
opinion that it was quite possible for a third party to have been
concerned in this horrible crime.

"With your permission, Mr. Coroner," said Mr. Trotter, interrupting the
proceedings as the evidence of the man who had discovered the murder was
concluded, "I would desire to make a remark or two. He has said that the
prisoner was drunk. Is there anyone who can speak decidedly upon this
point?"

"Your assistance, worthy sir, in this case, being of course extra
judicial," replied the coroner, "will be most acceptable. The next
witness will explain this matter. Call James Roberts."

James Roberts examined: "At what hour did the prisoner arrive at the
White Lion?"

"About 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon."

"How did he spend the time he remained there? He was drinking, I
suppose."

"Yes, sir, he drank a good deal; wine principally, then champagne."

"And when did he leave the hotel?"

"About half-past 9, as near as I can guess."

"Now what was his condition at that time?"

"Well, sir, I should say he was slightly drunk."

"Slightly drunk. Tell us what you mean, my man. Was he unable to stand?"

"Oh, no, not so bad as that, though he could not keep on his legs
without some help."

Here the witness described the prisoner's attempt to mount his horse,
which excited some amusement, during which Argyle held down his head as
if he was heartily ashamed.

"It seems to me, Mr. Coroner," said Mr. Long, "that the prisoner was
stupid but not drunk."

"But the evidence, Mr. Long," replied the Coroner, "is plain upon this
point he was drunk, so drunk that the people had to hold him up or he
would have fallen. Besides that, what do you think of a man who tried to
mount his horse the wrong way?"

"Oh, Mr. Coroner, as to that," replied the sapient magistrate, "we have
all known many people who tried to do things the wrong way."

"But not to mount their horses with the tail for a bridle, eh, Mr.
Long!" said Mr. Lloyd. "Allow me, Mr. Coroner, to inquire of the
witness, whether there appeared to be any ill-feeling between the two
young men."

"Ill-feeling, sir! I should say not. Mr. Argyle there, kept on saying,
'He's a jolly good fellow; a regular good cove,' and all that sort of
thing. They went away as jovial and merry as two crickets."

"And in an hour afterwards one was found murdered?" Mr. Lloyd put this
question.

"Yes, sir, about an hour after, so near as I can guess."

"My opinion is still, Mr. Coroner," said Mr. Long, "that the prisoner
was stupid, perhaps shamming."

"And mine, Mr. Long," replied Mr. Lloyd, "is that there is no evidence
to prove any thing of the kind."

"Indeed, sir," said Mr. Long, "perhaps you are an oracle upon such
questions."

"Gentlemen, gentlemen!" interrupted the Coroner, "pray let us have no
contentions, or we shall never arrive at a proper conclusion. It will be
better, perhaps, that you do not interfere."

"With all my heart," replied Mr. Trotter; "but allow me to say that the
evidence as yet is too circumstantial. Have you nothing of a more direct
character pointing to the prisoner as the criminal?"

"You shall hear all that is known, gentlemen, and I think it will be
necessary to adjourn the inquest, in order to make further inquiry."

So witnesses were called who distinctly declared that the prisoner was
too intoxicated to have struck such a blow as that which killed the
deceased. Some of them said that they tried to keep Argyle from drinking
so much, but he would have it, until he fell under the table, and was
taken up and laid upon a sofa, where he slept soundly for an hour; but
upon being roused he snatched up a tumbler in which there was some raw
brandy and drank it off, and this made him as bad as he was before he
went to sleep, and more noisy. That under these circumstances, some of
the members of the club thought it would be best to put him to bed, but
the deceased said, "he would go home, and he would see the prisoner safe
home also." Rouse was not so drunk but that he knew what he was about.
In addition to this evidence, it was proved that the secretary, who was
going home at the same time as the two young farmers left, said that he
would accompany them as far as he went.

"Where is this secretary?" inquired Mr. Lloyd.

No one knew. He was called but did not appear, and the coroner ordered
that he should be summoned.

"Was the body of the deceased upon the pathway or in the road?"

The first witness was recalled: "In the road."

"Were there any marks of struggling visible?"

"None, except those of horses feet."

"Constable, have you tracked any footsteps from the place where the
murder was committed?"

He had not seen any.

"Was there any money found upon the deceased?"

"None, your honor."

At this point the prisoner started up with a peculiar cry, and informed
the Coroner he had been robbed.

"Robbed!" replied that gentleman, "what do you mean, prisoner?"

"Why, that my pocket-book is gone, and with it seventy pounds."

Singular to relate, at this very moment one of the servants of the inn
entered the room to inform the court that a pocket-book had been found
by him in a field, across which there was a public pathway leading to
Woodlands.

"How near to the scene of the murder," asked the coroner.

"About ten yards from the hedge," was the reply. "It seemed to have been
dropped by some one who had taken that pathway across Giles' meadow."

The pocket-book being examined was found to be empty, with the exception
of some accounts and other papers. There was no money in it.

Here the evidence was exhausted, and the inquiry was adjourned.
Adjourned, to be again protracted to little purpose, save that a further
witness was examined, a woman, who stated that "as she was sitting up
for her husband, who was in the town drinking, as was his custom on
market days, she was startled by a loud cry, and going to the door heard
a noise as if some people were fighting, but it was soon over, and in
about ten minutes after, Mr. Judd, who was passing by on his way home,
replied to the question which she put to him, that it was two men having
a dispute together, but they were gone on now." The road to her house
was a bye-road leading off from the turnpike road, where the murder was
committed. The secretary, Mr. Judd, it was found, had gone on horseback
very early on the morning after the murder to Ipswich upon some pressing
business.

He did not return until after the inquest was concluded. Argyle of
course was committed for trial, and it was rumored that Judd's evidence
would be forthcoming at the assizes. To this statement may be added
another, that the magistrate's inquiry was almost a verbatim repetition
of the evidence which was taken before the coroner, and that Mr.
Septimus Long, who interfered in every stage of the examination, was at
last very plainly requested by the chairman of the bench to hold his
tongue. The veil may be lifted sufficiently to explain the conduct of
this gentleman, by saying that he was an active partisan of Henry Judd,
and a man who was willing to descend to any dishonorable action if it
would serve his own purpose. Temptation in one man has its strong link
in another, and this in its turn lays its strong grasp on some one else,
and who can say that the base action of Judas or Gehazi is not to this
day bearing its dreadful fruit, in crimes, committed by those who have
been influenced by others, who, in their turn, were excited by the
example or words of those they knew, and so on step by step backward and
backward still, until the Archtraitor himself could be unmasked. Who can
tell what the effect of one sin will be? Until it is possible to snatch
an uttered word from the atmosphere which has absorbed it, the answer to
this question must be, "None!" There is One who has set in motion an
unerring machinery by which words are registered with undeviating
accuracy. He can trace our words; He only can connect them with our
deeds with certain judgment. For three years and more the traitor smiled
over his Great Master's wondrous career, and then kissed Him in hellish
devilry. How long will Mr. Septimus Long smile over his partisanship in
the Layton murder business? We shall see!

The result of the trial has been anticipated by the statement that
Argyle, as a convict, sailed in the same ship with Stewart. He was
convicted of manslaughter under aggravated circumstances, the evidence
of Henry Judd being considered conclusive in to his guilt. On the trial
he declared that when the two young men left the hotel the prisoner
became very noisy and unmanageable; that the deceased tried to restrain
him, but this was impossible; that as they reached the corner where the
bye-road turned off towards Woodlands, Argyle declared he would go back
again to the town; that the deceased tried to prevent him; that a slight
struggle ensued, in which the prisoner fell from his horse; that he lay
on the ground for a minute or so, and in the meantime the deceased
dismounted; that the prisoner then managed to get on his legs, and
raising his whip advanced towards the deceased with some angry words
which he did not hear; that not wishing to be mixed up in a quarrel
which might perhaps end in a court affair if he interfered, and knowing
that he should be obliged to leave town early in the morning, he left
them to settle the matter between themselves, hoping that after all it
would end amicably. He heard of the murder as soon as the first coach
arrived in Ipswich the next day. This evidence was taken after the
prisoner had been committed for trial, but the accused had been present
in the magistrate's room, at the county gaol where Judd was examined.
The witness was cross-examined by the prisoner's attorney, but it was
mutually agreed that the deposition should be attached to the
proceedings, leaving it open for counsel to deal with it on the trial as
might be necessary. It was dealt with, but the result was the same.
Everything pointed to the prisoner as the murderer, and Argyle, after a
long and tedious trial, heard the fatal words, "Guilty," with a strong
recommendation to mercy. This verdict the judge, in his sentence,
reduced to manslaughter, which, in those days, was a grievous crime in
the statute book. Sentence of death was recorded, which was a convenient
way of banishing a human being from civilisation for the rest of his
days. So Argyle became a convict. The chequered career of vicissitude
and crime to which the sentence led was not unmixed with opportunities
of redeeming much of the misery which thus fell so suddenly and fatally
upon this young man. Ruin, disgrace, irretrievable suffering, stared him
in the face as he went back to gaol.

There was One, however, who did not suffer him to go hence without
seeing this great mystery unravelled, as easily as a Jewish Rabbi
unrolls the copy of the law and reads it to the people.



CHAPTER IV.--HENRY JUDD ALIAS JULET.


Once more we have to record the incidents and results of a great crime.
Stewart and Argyle, convicted, and under sentence of expatriation, are
awaiting the usual period when they are to embark for a foreign land. We
shall have to retrace the course of time which has elapsed between their
conviction and their arrival in Moreton Bay in order to complete the
history of the circumstances under which one of the principal witnesses
on the trial of these two young men became himself surrounded with
strong meshes of criminality, which proved the truth of the sacred
adage, "be sure your sins will find you out." Twelve months had elapsed
since David Argyle had been sentenced to fourteen years transportation,
and assize time had come again. The town we will call Blythwick. The
judges have entered it in the orthodox manner, the commission has been
duly opened, the assize sermon has been preached, and the shades of
evening have drawn around the city. Again it is winter--very cold; snow
is falling gently, and the weather-wise advance the opinion that "they
are in for a regular boomer." In the very elegantly furnished and
comfortable chambers of the judge, who is to preside in the Crown Court
to-morrow, the weather is of no consequence, so you would think if you
saw the learned gentleman in his warm dressing-gown and thick velvet
slippers, sitting in a luxurious easy chair before a bright fire.

Standing at the table in the centre of the room, which is covered with
papers with the usual red-taped ornamentation, an elderly man is
patiently waiting the pleasure of the judge, respecting the papers which
he has in his hand, and which he has been reading during the past half
hour or so. Most intently has the judge been engaged upon these
depositions, for such they are, and the experienced and confidential
clerk of Mr. Boodle, or rather of Messrs Boodle and Sons, as the firm
was now, know his business too well to disturb the learned judge until
he had permission to do so. At length the judge spoke: "I have sent for
you, Mr. Green, to ask if anything farther has been elicited. There is
nothing in those depositions which can go before a jury."

"Yes, my lord, but perhaps this is not of any moment. It has been
ascertained that this man was the principal agent in the conviction of
one Stewart, at the 18-Spring assize, at Winchester."

"Indeed! Ah! I recollect the case, it was forgery. I was the judge at
nisi prius at the same assize. In reading the depositions, Mr. Green, I
was impressed with the more important fact, that he was the principal
witness upon a manslaughter case which had a direct bearing upon the
interests of the party who is mentioned in the prosecution. Will it not
be necessary, think you, to procure the attendance of this Stewart? You
can have a writ of habeas. If the man who is to be tried is what I am
now afraid he will turn out to be, it is but justice that the iniquity
of his career should be fully known. I ought not to interfere, but I
have the strongest impression now that there is rank treachery in this
case, and ever since I sentenced young Argyle to a terrible doom I have
felt dissatisfied with myself. I would indeed, Mr. Green, risk a little
trouble to clear up some of the difficulties which surround this
prosecution."

"His late employer, my lord," replied Mr. Green, "is in Blythwick now."

"Ah! is it so?" said the judge. "I should like to see him. What does he
say? There is not any reference to him, I think, in the depositions."

"No, my lord, none whatever, but since the committal of the prisoner
Judd, Mr. Boodle has been to London. There he met with Mr. Hartlop, at
the Gray's Inn Hotel. They had been upon the most familiar terms for
many years, almost in fact as brothers, and so of course they spent the
evening over their wine and a little gossip. Mr. Boodle happened to ask
Mr. Hartlop if he knew of a place for a young man, whom he wished to get
into a good house of business. The inquiry led to a conversation in
which Mr. Hartlop related the circumstances which had resulted in
Stewart's conviction, and the subsequent extraordinary absconding of his
fellow clerk, who had been the chief instrument in that conviction. Upon
this Mr. Boodle also told Mr. Hartlop the particulars of the case, the
depositions relating to which, your lordship has been reading."

"Ah! indeed!" said the judge, "and what did he think about it?"

"He was struck at once, my lord," replied Mr. Green, "with the
description which Mr. Boodle gave of the prisoner, the name also seemed
to him to be curiously ominous, that Judd and Julet were one and the
same person."

"How long ago is it since this interview took place, Mr. Green?"
inquired the judge.

"Only a week, my lord, and Mr. Hartlop has been induced to come down to
Blythwick, and is, I believe, with Mr. Boodle at this moment."

"It is somewhat irregular, Mr. Green," replied the judge, "but the
evidence of this gentleman may be very important. It is not for me to
suggest to you that which may forward the ends of justice, but in the
question of handwriting, identity, and the previous history of the
prisoner, the case seems to be very incomplete. I happen to be
personally acquainted with Hartlop, and I know Mr. Boodle from report;
tell them both, if you please, that I should be glad to be favored with
their company this evening."

"I will, my lord," replied Mr. Green. "At what hour would you be
prepared to receive them?"

"Oh! any hour, I shall not go out again," replied the judge.

At 8 o'clock the judge, the lawyer, and the merchant, were putting
together knowledge, experience, and probabilities, with the legal acumen
of the one, the business tact of the other, and the professional
experience of the third. The issue of their deliberations was a writ of
habeas corpus to bring up the body of James Stewart from Portsmouth; a
lengthened folio of manuscript, purporting to be the affidavit of Alex.
Hartlop, and the discovery that beyond a doubt Henry Judd, the prisoner,
and Henry Julet, Mr. Hartlop's late clerk, were one and the same person.



CHAPTER V.--MEASURE FOR MEASURE.


At 10 o'clock the next morning, the trumpeters who marched at the head
of the Sheriff's procession, sounded their last shrill warning at the
gates of the shire hall in Blythwick, that the assize was about to
commence. The court was soon filled, and not long had they to wait for
the judge. The ominous sudden bustle, and the cry of the usher, "Silence
for his lordship, the judge," and that learned man entered with all the
solemnities, the formulae, and the paraphernalia which is supposed to
add so much to the realities of a court of justice. With a bow to the
court, he took his seat, and the proceedings commenced. The charge to
the grand jury is given verbatim.

It was as follows:

"Gentlemen of the grand jury,--We have met again in this court, where I
have had the pleasure upon former occasions of seeing many of you who
appear here to-day, as the representatives of your country in the
important capacity of grand jurymen. It is scarcely necessary that I
should bring before you the very common question--viz., the importance
of the trust which is thus committed to your charge. I know that I am
addressing gentlemen who have for a lengthened period served their
country honorably and efficiently as magistrates in this great county. I
am happy also to observe that there are amongst you some gentlemen whose
knowledge of criminal law has been frequently put into practice in
dealing with the peculiar crimes which will be brought before your
notice. I advert to this, because in one of the principal cases which is
set down for trial at this assize it is desirable that you should give
some attention to the previous history of the prisoner, not to his
prejudice, but as it may throw some light, perhaps, upon a very painful
case which was tried at Winchester lately, in which case the prisoner
sustained a prominent position. It is a curious fact, though not by any
means an uncommon sequel to such cases as that to which I have referred,
that the prisoner who is to be tried for forgery at this assize was
substantially the prosecutor in that. Let me give you an outline of the
more recent case. A certain man dies, leaving his entire property, real
and personal, to his son, subject to the death of his widow, who was
thus made sole legatee for her life, the estate at her decease
descending really and entirely to his son. The widow lived nearly two
years after her husband, and the son became by her death entitled to the
inheritance which was willed to him by his late father, and had enjoyed
its possession for some few weeks only, when a calamity fell upon him,
by which he was chargeable with the death of a young man, a near
neighbor of his, and was sentenced at the last Spring assize to
transportation. I candidly confess that I fear that justice has
miscarried in that case, but in the absence of proof, it is useless to
speculate on mere impressions. He will be brought before you, and you
will hear more than it will be proper for me now to allude to. The
indictment against the prisoner, Henry Judd alias Julet, for it seems
that he was known by the latter name at Southampton, where he once
served as clerk to a Mr. Hartlop, who will also be produced as a
witness; the indictment, I say, charges the prisoner with having forged
a deed of gift, by which he, as the nephew of the testator, Argyle,
became entitled to a charge upon his estate, at the death of the
testator's wife, amounting to the sum of one thousand pounds in cash,
and twenty-nine acres of land. The deed in question was witnessed--I am
speaking now of the signature of Mr. Argyle, sen.--by the young man to
whom I have referred already. He met his death, as was alleged, by the
hand of the son to whom the bulk of the Argyle property descended. This
young man being thus put out of the way, and the younger Argyle being
under sentence of expatriation, the claim was soon after made by the
prisoner, by the medium of a letter, announcing the existence of this
deed of gift, and referring to a gentleman who is, I believe, a
magistrate of this county. This letter was sent to Messrs. Boodle, who
have for many years been the solicitors to the Argyle family. I am glad
to inform you that the Crown has relinquished any right by which it
might have interfered with the estate in question, and by the consent of
all parties, the property will be sold, and the proceeds will be funded
for the benefit of the young man when his sentence has expired. I have
paid some attention to this case, and believe that it is possible to
unravel much of the mystery in which it is involved, and all I will now
add is the sincere hope that the hearing of it may result in strict
justice and equity to all parties concerned. The other cases which will
come before you are not such as demand any comment from me. I rejoice,
gentlemen, that though the calendar is heavy, numerically, yet the
majority of the prisoners have been committed for offences comparatively
trivial, and which might have been disposed of by a summary conviction.
Hoping that provision for this may soon be made by the legislature, I
now dismiss you to your duties with the usual request that you will, as
soon as possible, send down a true bill, that we may proceed to
business."

The grand jury having retired, the judge addressed the counsel for the
defendant. He stated that as the evidence of Mr. Hartlop--a copy of
which had been furnished by his order to the prisoner's solicitor--was
very important, he had ordered the trial to be postponed until all the
other cases were disposed of. If the learned counsel had any proposal to
make, he should be glad to hear it now.

"I should have been very glad, my lord, to have had the trial postponed
unto the next assizes, and have given my advice to that effect, but my
client is determined not to accede to it. It seems manifestly unfair to
allow a case to come on for trial with important evidence of an entirely
new character, and a very limited period in which to consider it. I
understand also, my lord, that another witness is to be brought up by
writ of habeas corpus, whose evidence is altogether unknown at present.
I should protest against such a bungling attempt at injustice, for which
we hold the prosecution entirely responsible, but, by an
incomprehensible obstinacy, my client seems determined to have the case
tried at the present assize. I leave the matter in the hands of your
lordship. My own opinion is, the case ought to be postponed."

"I do not think, Mr. Stephens," replied the judge, "that the new
evidence will need much consideration; if I am correct in my judgment,
it will prove to be a very commonplace illustration of criminal law. I
regret that the circumstances, which have so recently transpired, were
not known before the prisoner was committed for trial, but for this, the
prosecution, I learn, were not accountable."

"I am fully acquainted, my lord, with this part of the case. In fact,"
continued the learned counsel, "we must do the prosecution the justice
of admitting that they have furnished us with all the particulars of Mr.
Hartlop's affidavit, and also a summary of the probable evidence of the
convict Stewart. My client, my lord, I am informed, has some insuperable
objection to any delay, in spite of all that can be urged in favor of a
postponement of the trial."

"In this case, let the trial of Henry Judd be taken as the last upon the
calendar," said the judge.

With the proceedings of the next five days we have nothing to do, but on
the sixth Henry Judd was placed at the bar. The indictment was read; it
charged him with having "knowingly and fraudulently uttered a deed of
gift, the signatures to which were forged, by which deed he (the
prisoner) was made to appear as a claimant upon the estate of one David
Argyle, deceased, for the sum of one thousand pounds sterling, in
addition to sundry lands, &c., &c." To this the prisoner pleaded "Not
guilty."

Counsel for the prosecution then addressed the court. The preliminary
portion may be dismissed as easily as all sympathy for the prisoner was
banished from the mass of people who heard the speech to the end. "If
they can prove one half of that which the prisoner is accused of, I
would not give much for his chance." Such was the general opinion. It
was alleged against him that he forged and uttered the deed of gift;
that to cover his crimes he had wilfully and knowingly been guilty of
false witness against others; that the death of the only alleged witness
to the deed of gift was open to the strongest suspicion; and that, so
far from there being any probability of such a mark of goodwill towards
the prisoner on the part of old Mr. Argyle, he had always had the
strongest antipathy towards him.

There were many witnesses, but a summary of the case will answer every
purpose. It is merely necessary to explain how the three convicts became
exiles from their native land, and this part of the history may be
regarded therefore as prefatory to the rest. In pursuance of this plan,
it may be stated that the last will of Mr. David Argyle, senior, was
produced, and was proved to give and bequeath to his son David all and
every his real and personal property whatsoever, &c., &c., subject to
the control of his wife, Mary Argyle, during her lifetime, but at her
death to be unconditionally the property of the son. Probate of the will
was granted to Mr. Daniel Boodle, the sole executor to the estate. There
was a clause in the will upon which a sharp contest rested. It was as
follows: "subject to any and all contingencies, debts, gifts, and
charges upon the estate which are lawfully chargeable thereon." This, it
was contested, was strong evidence that the testator knew of some
obligations which he thus provided for. But in opposition to this, Mr.
Boodle, the executor, and also the solicitor who prepared the will,
testified "that the testator distinctly stated to him at the time when
the will was signed, that though he wished this clause to be inserted,
he knew of no such charge, nor of any debts or contingencies which could
possibly arise." In fact, Mr. Argyle regarded the future position of his
son with a kind of honest pride, saying that he would not inherit a
property which was hampered with a load of debt; it was all perfectly
free, and, said he to him, "Mind you keep it so, my son," The death of
the testator was proved, and the administration to the will; also the
death of Mrs. Argyle, and the arrest and conviction of the son for the
murder of young Rouse. Then the deed of gift, which was the subject of
the prosecution, was produced. It was dated December 4, 18--, signed
David Argyle, witnessed by Richard Rouse, and, supposing it to be
genuine, entitled Henry Judd to a thousand pounds and the twenty-nine
acres of land to which reference has been made. Septimus Long, who was
called by the prosecution, but who evidently gave such answers as he
could not avoid with extreme reluctance, deposed that he had received
the deed from the prisoner, as collateral security for moneys advanced.
Being further pressed, he did not know the date when he received it, nor
could he tell how much money the prisoner had received from him. A
lengthened examination ensued, in which the conduct of the witness
during the inquest upon the body of Richard Rouse and the subsequent
examination of Argyle was rigidly scrutinised, but nothing important was
elicited. But at last, getting angry at the severe questions which were
put to him, he frankly stated that the prisoner had told him "he had
little hope of getting any portion of the money unless he resorted to
violent means." It was not for him to say what he meant by the latter
term; it might have been recovery by law for all he knew.

Mr. Hartlop called and examined: "The affidavit produced in court was
his; it was perfectly true, to the best of his knowledge." It stated
that at the time when the alleged deed of gift was executed, or said to
be signed by Mr. Argyle, the prisoner was in his service, and had been
in his employ for more than six years previously; that at the Winchester
assizes, two years previously to the present time, he was the chief
witness in the prosecution of his confidential clerk, James Stewart;
that about two months afterwards he left his employment without notice,
and, on inquiry, it was found that he had previously sold off all his
goods, and had sent his wife and child away from Southampton; that since
that day he had not heard of him, until about a week or ten days ago. He
had seen the document which purported to be a deed of gift to him, the
prisoner; it was written upon paper which belonged to him, and which was
made expressly to his order. Being asked if he could inform the court
whether there was any peculiarity in this paper, he stated that the
water mark was H, with the word HYTHE and the number 14. As he always
kept a sample of each year's paper by him, he now produced a sheet
exactly similar to that upon which the deed of gift was written.

"Have you any opinion to offer about the handwriting in this document?"
inquired the judge.

"My lord," replied the witness, "I could have sworn my late clerk, James
Stewart, had written this deed, but I am not sure. It is very like his
handwriting indeed."

The paper and the deed having been handed up to the judge, were by him
declared to be identical the one with the other. Mr. Hartlop was
severely cross-examined, but his testimony was too sure to be shaken.

"Call James Stewart." At this stage the judge interposed, and announced
that as it was probable that the examination of this witness might
occupy a long period, the court would be adjourned until the next day.

The morrow dawned dark and gloomy, a heavy fog covering the city--an
emblem which was ominous as to the result of this trial. The terrible
series of crimes met with retributive justice. Justice held the scales
firmly. Blind she is said to be, but not really is it so. The sword is
sheathed until the moment comes, who can tell what particular circle may
be completed in that moment. Holy Scripture speaks of a period which, in
the words of the Saviour, is called, 'thy day.' 'If thou hadst known in
this thy day the things that belong to thy peace, but now they are hid
from thy eyes.'

This is the principle upon which the scales are held: not a moment
before the day is completed does the blow fall, but upon the striking of
the hour the verdict which has been passed is fulfilled in the execution
of the righteous sentence which has been awarded. As Stewart entered the
witness box, the prisoner turned aside, as if he intended to make one
great effort to bravo it out, but that one glance seemed to deprive him
of his forced courage. The accused and the accuser had changed places
once more. How could the latter look upon the orphaned lad now; a young
man, with all the traces of his former intelligence and honesty of
purpose written on his countenance, side by side with the lines of
bitter grief. A convict, and by his wickedness! Yes, there is no
intention of leaving this mystery to be solved in the concluding
chapter. How the series of crimes were committed, and what was the
temptation which urged the criminal to do such diabolical devilry, will
be explained as the history is unrolled. It was the old thing in another
form: one false step, but that step once taken could not be retraced,
and it broke up the peace of many loving and loved hearts, who went
sorrowing on account of it all their days.

But what had this witness to say? Enough, and more than enough to make
the criminal cry out ere he had told it all, "Hold, I am guilty." But he
braved it all to the end, as we shall see. The evidence of James Stewart
was to this effect: "One evening, just as the prisoner was going home,
he asked witness if he could speak with him. 'Come home with me to my
house,' said he; 'I wish to consult you on a very particular matter. 'I
went with him as he requested, and then he told me that he had a rich
old aunt on his mother's side, whose husband was a farmer in Suffolk,
and having no relations on his side besides his only son, he intended to
leave him a thousand pounds in his will and some land. I almost forget,"
said the witness, pausing upon this question, "how much land he was to
have. But that as he wanted money, the old man was willing to secure his
legacy to him by a deed of gift, which he could lodge as security for a
small advance to meet his present necessity. It seemed a curious
proceeding, but, upon further inquiry, he told me," continued the
witness, "that the old fellow was very eccentric, and was so fond of his
money he would not let any of it go out of his hands while he was alive;
but there was another reason: Davie--as he called the son of the old
farmer--Davie was not partial to him (the prisoner), and if he gave him
money then, the lad would not like it." In answer to other questions,
the witness stated that he thought it would be best to borrow upon the
old farmer's personal security, but to this the prisoner dissented,
saying the old man would never consent to it.

"Upon this," said Stewart, "he asked if I would make a fair copy of the
deed, a draft of which he showed me, and said that it had been approved
by old Mr. Argyle. I demurred; begged that he would go to a lawyer; but,
when he objected on account of the expense, and also the delay which
would be certain to arise if he adopted my suggestion, I consented to do
that which he requested. I recollect that he also said that Mr. Argyle
would be in Southampton in the course of the week, and he wanted to have
the deed ready for him to sign."

The question was then put to the witness slowly and very
distinctly--"Did you then make a copy of the draft deed of which you
have spoken in your evidence to the court?"

"I did," was the reply.

"Is this the document to which you refer?" The deed of gift was handed
to the witness.

"It is," said Stewart.

"Have you seen that deed since the day you wrote it? Hand it down
again," said the counsel.

"I have not."

"Now tell the court if you can remember what paper it was written on."

The witness hesitated for a moment, but then replied.

"My employer gave me leave to use paper in his office whenever I
required any. The paper upon which I copied the deed which has been
handed to me belonged to him."

"Was there any mark upon it?"

"All the paper was manufactured expressly to order, and a sufficient
quantity, as estimated, was ordered for each year's consumption. I know
that all Mr. Hartlop's paper bore the water mark H; there was another
mark, but this was changed every year." The witness here paused, as if
in thought, and the counsel put another question to him:

"What was the other mark?"

"I was thinking," replied Stewart. "The mark when--" Here the poor
fellow could scarcely restrain his feelings; he tried to finish the
sentence, but his tongue refused to speak. Mr. Hartlop, who was in the
court, stood up as if he would speak to him, but this only made the
matter worse. The witness had not seen his old master since the day when
they parted, and as he now looked on him again, his pent up feelings
burst out into a loud and prolonged cry--"Master, master! why has the
Almighty used me thus?"

The scene was touching in the extreme. The good merchant was borne
senseless from the court, he had fallen on the floor, some said in a
fit, but God mercifully preserved him from such a calamity. The judge
was exceedingly moved; there were few dry eyes even amongst the
spectators; and a deep impression had been made upon the numerous
members of the bar. The prisoner--how did he bear it? Unmoved?

Yes, unmoved!

After the lapse of a few minutes, the witness, who had been allowed to
retire for that brief interval, re-appeared in the box, and the question
was repeated.

"What was that other mark?"

"As far as I can recollect now," replied Stewart, "it must have been
'Hythe,' and there was a number, which would have been 14. If it was not
'Hythe,' it would be 'Holyrood,' and in that case the number would be
13."

"Tell the court, if you please, what is the water mark on the paper
which you say you used for this deed."

The document was handed up to the witness, and amidst the deepest
silence, during which the deep-drawn breathing of the spectators could
be heard, the witness replied: "The water mark is 'H. Hythe;' the number
14."

"Now, did the prisoner say anything when you gave him the deed?"

The question was objected to, and so another was put, which meant the
same thing--

"What took place when you gave the prisoner the deed which you say you
copied by his request?"

"He expressed his thanks at first, and appeared to be very glad that I
had been so prompt in making the copy."

"You say he expressed his thanks. Did he make any remark about the
paper?"

"Not at first, but, holding it up to the light, he exclaimed, 'Why, 'tis
Hartlop's paper! That will never do.'"

"Did he express any reason why it would not do?" was the next question
which counsel put to the witness. This was objected to by the counsel
for the defence, but the objection was overruled. The witness replied:

"No; but I thought he appeared to be confused."

"Why was not another copy made?" counsel asked.

To this the witness replied, "I refused to have anything more to do with
it."

"Did you see this deed after that day?" asked the learned counsel.

"Yes, about ten days afterwards."

"What was its condition then? Had it been executed?"

"You mean, was it signed?" said the witness.

"Yes, that is the question."

"It was signed and witnessed," was the reply.

"Did you know anything about the signatures--how they were obtained?"
Question objected to; objection allowed.

"Did you know that Mr. Argyle was in Southampton?"

"I did not see him," replied Stewart.

"Did prisoner tell you that he had been there?"

"He did."

"And that he had signed the deed of gift?"

"Yes, that he had signed that deed."

"Who is the witness--Richard Rouse?"

"I do not know."

A lengthened cross-examination ensued, in which the trial and conviction
of the witness was unfolded to the world of curiosity in Blythwick. The
judge frequently interfered, but in some way or other the whole history
was re-told, with a little deeper hue of dark shade than was attached to
it in its original form. It had this effect--it neutralised the feeling
of sympathy which had been felt towards the witness by some of the
spectators, but it deceived neither the judge nor the bar. The deed of
gift was a bungle from beginning to end; it contained half a dozen
flaws, any one of which would have proved sufficient in a court of law
to have set it aside; but the utterance of it constituted an offence
which was a deliberate attempt to defraud, and hence the prosecution was
instituted. At the commencement of this prosecution, no one had the
slightest idea of what the antecedents of the prisoner had been.

David Argyle was the next witness. The exanimation of this witness
occupied more than two hours. It revealed nothing that was not already
known. There was one question, however, which was extremely important;
it was as follows: "Did your father visit Southampton in the latter part
of his life?"

"To my knowledge," replied the witness, "he never was in that town;
certainly not since I can remember."

"Should you have known it had he left home for any such purpose?"

"I knew all my late father's movements," was the reply. "He never left
his home, except for the purpose of going to market, for more than five
years before he died."

The old servant who had been an inmate of the household at Argyle Farm
was also examined, and deposed to the same effect.

Then there were a host of witnesses who were called to give their
opinion about the signatures to the deed. Of course there was the usual
uncertainty; but the evidence of the son, the family solicitor, the bank
authorities, and of two experts was conclusive. The signature of David
Argyle was a bungle; that of Richard Rouse was tolerable. The
prosecution adopted this theory--that, as the old farmer would be dead,
his wife also gone, and the son by some possible means put out of the
way, there would be no difficulty about the realisation of the property
which the deed purported to secure to the prisoner. As many others have
done before him, he reckoned upon the strength of a rotten tree to
support him. The tree, even if it had been three times Septimus Long
with all his schemes, was as rotten to the very core as the heart of his
willing dupe. The arch schemer, Ahab like, obtained his purpose when the
Argyle property was sold; the poor Nabal who had inherited it
righteously was sacrificed; but the false witness who dabbled in the
mud, partly to serve his own ends, and partly those of his tempting
employer, fell into a pit of infamy, which he well deserved. Meanwhile
the hands of the world's clock went on; the day of Mr. Septimus Long was
not completed yet.

The case for the prosecution closed with the evidence about the
signatures. There was no defence by evidence; an appeal artfully
constructed, was made to the feelings of the jury; but it never mingled
for an instant with the well-digested indignation which the conclave of
twelve felt toward the prisoner. There was also a theory that no one had
been called to prove that David Argyle, senior, had not really signed
the deed; might it not have been sent to him, and, after being signed,
duly returned to the prisoner? The hand writing, after all that had been
said about it, really might have been that of the old man, whose age
would warrant any one in believing that he could not write very
steadily.

"Guilty."

There was an awful silence as the judge delivered sentence.

"Oh! surely not for life, my lord?"

"Yes, for life! And recollect that many a man has stood on the scaffold
for a much smaller offence. It does not form a part of my duty now to
add to the words which I have already addressed to you. Your disgrace
and the misery in prospect before you, you must assuredly feel. As you
have felt an evident surprise that the sentence which has been passed
upon you is the most severe which the law allows, let me say I cannot
help fearing that truth has been sadly sacrificed by you at the expense
of precious liberty, of which you have deprived others besides yourself.
It is exceedingly wonderful, but yet it is not strange, that an allwise
Providence sometimes endows us, for special purposes, with a
discrimination which appears, at a subsequent period of our lives, very
little less than supernatural. Had not your former employer
providentially met the solicitor to the prosecution as he did, it is
probable that the principal evidence against you would have been
wanting. Mr. Boodle, I learn, had no particular business in London, but
still he journeyed thither. I leave it to your discernment to discover
in this incident a proof that you were not plotting in secret, without
the knowledge of Wisdom greater than our own. It has been my painful lot
to be mixed up in the three cases in which you have taken so prominent a
part. So far as you are concerned, the world has seen the last of your
crimes. It will be useless to protest against the sentence which has
been passed upon you. If you wish for mercy from above, whence alone it
can reach you now, show mercy to others by an ample confession of all
your crimes."

"My lord," replied the culprit, "I will take my fate; but let me say
this: If ever those two cross my path, let them look out!"



Chapter VI.--AFTER THE TRIAL.


Judd, as a clerk, had given the reins to his selfish pleasures, and, as
a natural consequence, envy, because of the greater success and
prosperity which accompanied Stewart's uniform good conduct, fixed
itself as a lodger in his heart, and he could not expel it. As a plotter
against others, he repeated in his history the lesson which has so often
been preached and taught--once get into the turbid current of iniquitous
practices, and no power short of Omnipotence can snatch from it. But it
was as a felon that the full venom which was inherent in his nature shot
forth as from a serpent's tooth, to poison everything with which he came
into contact. He was conducted back to prison, and, heavily ironed, was
put into a strong cell. The first fourteen days of his incarceration
were passed, in accordance with the sentence, in solitary confinement,
the effect of which upon this hard man was chiefly of a physical
character; the mental was untouched. The transition from the hypocrite
to the unmasking was with him a period in which he had bolted on to his
nature a desire for merciless revenge. "Henceforth," said he to himself,
"it shall be war to the knife between me and all the accursed race of
man."

It was on the tenth day after his conviction that the governor of the
prison, together with the chaplain, entered his cell. They found him in
a perfect frenzy of passion. The Rev. Mr. Carlisle, a most excellent
clergyman, a kind friend to the prisoners, and a zealous and
conscientious chaplain, approached the convict first, and spoke kindly
to him. He was sitting on a fixed bench close to the wall of his cell,
his head bowed down, his hands clasped convulsively together, and his
whole frame quivering under the influence of excessive emotion. He
looked up as the two officials entered the cell, but it was only for an
instant. But he had trained himself to act well. From the most intense
agony of spirit, which it was very painful to witness, he passed, at an
interval of a few seconds, into an atmosphere of the utmost nonchalance,
and began to whistle a popular air.

"Come, my man," said the governor, "please to remember that you are not
alone. Be respectful and orderly."

"I will, sir," replied the convict. "I will listen while you put your
regulation questions to me. You are come to convert me. Oh! I quite
understand your plans. But, let me tell you, I will answer none of your
questions. Does the law compel me to do it, eh! governor?"

"The law does not," quietly replied Mr. Carlisle; "but society, of which
you are now deprived--"

"Yes, for life! Better hang me outright!" replied the wretched man,
interrupting the chaplain, and speaking very loud. "Do you think I care
a jot what becomes of me now? He, he! Yes, that thing who sat on the
bench--he who said, 'For life, prisoner!'--he told me it was no use to
hope for anything else. What, then, have I to look forward to? No, you
may torture me, but I won't repent, you may tease me, but I won't ask
for mercy, you may use soft words, but I'll admit nothing."

The bitterness with which these words were uttered cannot be expressed.
If you have seen a tiger when the keeper has been tempting him with his
food through the bars of his cage, you may imagine the snarl with which
the words were belched out.

The chaplain replied: "I am very sorry, Judd, to find such bitterness of
spirit. When the anger of God falls upon us, we should try and humble
ourselves in His sight. Such expressions of useless anger as those we
have heard must only increase your wretchedness. We all desire to do
what is possible to save you."

"Save me! Save ME, me! You said, did you not? SAVE-ME! Pray cease your
mockery, sir. Add not to this ridiculous scene, or to my sentence, by
such hypocritical fulsomeness. If you were to come to me, or twenty like
you, with--; but I don't know that I would thank you for that, and so I
won't say it. I shall be answering your questions if I am not careful."

"To what do you refer?" said Mr. Carlisle. "If it is anything which
relates to--"

"I tell you it is no good to expect anything from me."

"Well, well," replied Mr. Carlisle, "I hope to find you more disposed to
listen to me when I visit you again. Think as you will, Judd, I assure
you that you have my good will. I heartily wish that I could help you."

The good clergyman spoke with a faltering voice. No one felt more pity
for hopeless misery than he did. He was accustomed to say that life
cases always deeply affected him, for hope appeared to forsake the poor
wretches who had nothing but misery before them.

Judd was silent for a moment, but evidently touched with the earnest
feeling with which the good man spoke, he replied, "Sir, I dare say you
may feel for me; I was wrong in thinking otherwise, but I am very bitter
just now. Ah! you know not how hard I feel. I know I have been wicked
but to be cut off from all hope, all!--this is more than I deserve. For
life the judge said."

A tear stood in the wretched man's eye as he spoke, but it was quickly
brushed away, as if he was ashamed of it. He arose and stood before the
two officials, steadfastly looking into their countenances as if to read
their thoughts.

The governor now spoke: "The judge, my man, did not make the law, and
there was no recommendation to mercy. If you were to--"

"Confess. Ah! I knew all along what was coming," said the convict. "This
is what you do with all your wretched victims. You take good care that a
poor bailed beast has no chance of escape, and then you set your dogs on
to get him into the confessional. I don't confess; I will not admit
anything. You have my answer. If you will have your pound of flesh,
prisoner though I am, I can prevent you from drawing from me one drop of
blood. Do let me alone; I have had worry enough for once."

"Worry!" replied the governor, "that is a strange thing for a criminal
to talk about. You have made your own bed, and upon it you must lie; and
depend upon it your haughty spirit will find a tamer before long."

"Mr. Sumner, is it a part of your duty to add to the sentence which has
been passed upon me?" said Judd, turning round sharply towards the
governor as he spoke.

"No, certainly not," replied the officer; "nor do I wish to do so, but
let me tell you this: it is a part of my duty to see that you behave
yourself respectfully and properly, and as long as you are under my
charge, I intend to do that duty."

"Mr. Sumner will excuse me," said the chaplain, "for interrupting this
conversation, and for saying that we had a special object in visiting
you to-day. It is best that you should know it and I hope you will see
that only obedience and good conduct can now avail you. The judge is
anxious that you should, if it lays within your power, do a simple act
of justice towards James Stewart and David Argyle. If you know anything
which may alter the position of those young men, your own case can be
none the worse if you confess it. It may do them a benefit, perhaps
yourself also; but at least it will remove from your own soul that
which, if you are guilty of injury to them, must be a terrible burden to
bear."

"Sir," replied Judd, after a brief pause, during which he sat down and
kept his eyes fixed upon the floor of the cell; "Sir, I do not admit
that I am guilty. Stewart has told a lie, may a blasting curse rest upon
him and his cursed religion. Now, don't be angry, I can't help it!"

"Well but, Judd--"

"Now will you please, sir, to hear me," resumed the convict. "I appeared
against him; he retaliated. It is the old tale--tit for tat; and I think
he has the best of it. I hated him for his prim exactness. Let him go,
as well as I. We may meet, perhaps, where we can settle this affair in
our own way."

"My poor mistaken fellow creature," replied Mr. Carlisle; "revenge can
only add to your guilt, even though it is in thought. It can do you no
good whatever. Restitution may serve you."

"What have I to restore, sir?" replied Judd, with great bitterness.

"That which is better than money," said Mr. Carlisle, in a deep and
solemn manner: "a good name, liberty, character."

"Sir," replied Judd, "I shall say nothing more--be assured of this;
nothing--nothing--no nothing--in this land of chains and dungeons."

"Then my blood is clear of you," said the reverend gentleman. "You are
to be removed very soon, and may the good Lord have mercy on your soul,
and lead you to repentance."

"Amen," said the governor, and so the fruitless interview ended.

Judd was soon removed to another gaol, where he remained until the
period of embarkation. Nothing, however, made any impression upon him;
he still continued to be the same hardened, desperate villain.
Proficient in every evil work, he concocted several daring schemes to
escape, and, being punished, he was yet more hardened than ever, so that
every official in the prison rejoiced when the day arrived which was to
rid them of him.



CHAPTER VII.--RECOGNITION AND ESCAPE.


Stewart and Argyle had been about twelve months in Moreton Bay when the
ship arrived by which the convict Judd reached the scene of his future
career. The former had been engaged as secretary to Lieutenant Colonel
Tomlinson, the commandant of the troops quartered at Brisbane, and so
well had he conducted himself that the colonel was already his warm
friend. The story of his accusation had been sent by Mr. Hartlop to the
commanding officer at Moreton Bay, and this being shown to Lieutenant
Colonel Tomlinson, he at once sought permission to engage him in his own
service. But hearing from Stewart, in a very artless manner, the
particulars of his early life, and bereavements, he promised to be his
friend as far as consistent with his duty. One day, after he had been
about four months in the colonel's house, filling a very menial
position, there was a dinner party, and Stewart officiated as
man-servant. His former habits of life and the three years of convict
experience were no great qualification for the duties which devolved
upon him. Nevertheless he discharged them exceedingly well, and
attracted the notice of several gentlemen by his suavity and attention.
Some of the guests made inquiry respecting him, and, at a subsequent
hour of the evening, Colonel Tomlinson related what he knew. "But," said
he, as the tale was concluded, "you shall hear from his own lips that
which I believe to be about as rascally a piece of villainy as a
novelist ever unfolded." Stewart was thereupon summoned, and his master
kindly inquired if he would have any objection to tell the guests the
particulars of his calamitous accusation, trial, and conviction.

"I have nothing to hide," replied Stewart, "and that my story should be
known I greatly desire; for I have strong hopes that by some means God
will yet send me deliverance." In the relation of the circumstances,
which are known to the reader, he demonstrated the warmest affection and
gratitude towards his late employer. There was no murmur on account of
the prosecution; no appeal for mere sympathy; he told all that was in
his heart, and to a greater effect than when his master heard the same
tale upon a former occasion, for the next morning Stewart received from
the colonel an intimation that in about two months he would promote him
to a position which he hoped and believed he would fill honorably and
creditably. The promotion duly came, and Stewart, in the capacity of
private secretary to the colonel, saw before him a prospect of complete
deliverance at some early period. He exerted himself to the utmost to
please, and he did please. It was a few days before the ship arrived
which conveyed Judd to Moreton Bay, when Lieutenant-Colonel Tomlinson
one morning, expressing his satisfaction with Stewart's conduct during
the six months that he had been in his new position, inquired whether he
could be of further service to him. Stewart, ever unselfish, thought of
his friend Argyle rather than of himself, and pleaded the cause of the
young farmer so successfully that the colonel promised to help him, if
an opportunity occurred.

One bright, clear, but very hot morning, about a week after this
conversation, Colonel Tomlinson (as he was always called, so for brevity
sake, we will allow the prefix to remain in the shade) entered the
office where Stewart was busily engaged copying some important
despatches for transmission home, and, holding a letter in his hand,
said that a ship had arrived during the previous day with convicts on
board.

"It will be the last load of human wretchedness which will enter this
port, thank God," said the colonel, "but I learn that there are some
desperate fellows on board; I am going down to the bay, and you will
please to get ready to go down also. I shall require the despatch book,
and the copy of the new regulation orders. The cutter is to leave the
wharf in an hour."

"Your instructions shall have my best attention, colonel," replied the
secretary.

This was a treat to Stewart which he had not anticipated, the first
glimpse of liberty which he had yet had, for he was still under strict
orders not to leave the settlement without a pass. In fact, the odious
brand and its accompanying restrictions still rested upon him and all
his actions.

With a fair wind and an ebbing tide, the little cutter soon reached the
bay. Here the Berkley was anchored--the only ship which had entered the
port for more than a month previously. How solitary she looked, as she
rode upon the vast expanse of water, where a thousand ships could find a
safe and commodious haven. Stewart looked upon her with a heart brimful
of gratitude. Only twelve months ago he had arrived under similar
circumstances--a convict with eleven years of misery before him.

During the settlement of some preliminary matters, and the interchange
of the usual compliments and congratulations between the officials,
Stewart took a turn round the ship, more for the purpose of passing the
time than to look upon scenes which he remembered too well. He had
walked from stem to stern, and back again, and was standing near the
companion which led to the cabin or saloon, when a loud cry reached his
ears. Attracted by it, he again proceeded towards the forecastle, and
listening for a moment, he heard a low moaning, as if some one was in
pain. Still peering into the many nooks and corners which abound in a
ship, he saw a man lying in a berth which was enclosed with iron bars
and a very strong iron-plated door. A strange infatuation prompted him
to a closer investigation, and he went near enough to look through the
grating. This was contrary to orders, as he soon found, by a challenge
from the sentinel; but he had seen more than he wished. A wretched man
lay in the bunk, fettered, and in a strait waistcoat. It was thus that
Stewart and Judd met in Moreton Bay, the latter a most violent maniac.
No less than seven weeks of the voyage had been spent by the wretched
man in as many separate sentences of solitary confinement, the last of
the seven being preceded with a severe flogging. Fever had ensued,
during which reason tottered and finally fell with a crash, which
levelled the brutal man to the ferocity of a beast, and rendered an
iron-bound cage an absolute necessity.

Most painful were the reflections of the young man as he turned away
from the place. His arch enemy was there; they might--yes they would
surely meet again on this far-off shore. What would be the result? "Ah,
well, God hath not done so much for me to destroy me now. Who knows--"

The sentence was not completed, for at this moment he was summoned to
the saloon.

Here he found a numerous company seated around the tables, which were
covered with papers at one end, and decanters, glasses, wine, and an
abundance of fruit at the other. Stewart was addressed by the commander
of the ship, who told him that he had been summoned to hear that which
he hoped would be to his advantage. He then called upon the surgeon to
make the statement to which the company had previously listened.

"Well, sir," replied the surgeon, "as I have already told you, the man
was as mad as a March hare, and very violent. I was standing by his
berth one day when he cried out, 'He did not do it.'"

"Sometimes people in this state will reply very correctly if you speak
quietly to them, and so I said, 'Who did not do it?'"

"'Stewart,' he replied, 'I paid the cheque away; no, not paid--got it
cashed.'"

"Here he stopped and lay perfectly still for some minutes, during which
time, Captain, you recollect you passed by and I beckoned to you. You
heard for yourself what he said next."

"Are you speaking of a man who is on board, sir, may I ask?" said
Stewart, addressing the surgeon. "As I was walking over the ship, I saw
a poor creature whom I once knew--"

"What is his name?" inquired the captain.

"When I knew him," replied Stewart, "he was called Julet; he changed
this name to Judd. I do not know which is correct."

"Well, this is important," said the captain. "But to finish the matter,
gentlemen," continued the surgeon. "After the lapse of a few minutes the
man again broke out into the strongest invectives I ever heard; but the
statements which he made were very extraordinary. We did not know then
to whom they referred; but perhaps you can supply the information, Mr.
Stewart. The wretched man at intervals broke out into loud cries, and
then followed detached words and sentences, which have been put
together, and I now read them to you by the captain's desire:

"'Twas James Stewart, I say he was innocent.'"

"'Argyle was a jolly fellow, after all.'"

"'How could I help doing it? 'Twas that or tearing up the deed.'"

"'Blood! blood! Go to bed, wife; 'tis nothing. See, I wash;--'tis
gone.'"

"'No, no; 'tis come again! I had a mind to take the whip, but--'"

"He said no more, but opened his eyes, and, looking intently at me,
screamed out, 'You are Argyle's father; I know you are;' and became so
violent that we were obliged to leave him."

The surgeon ceased, and the commandant, turning to Stewart, said, "I am
very glad on your account, young man, that my first opinion about you
promises better things than even I expected. I thought at the time it
was a doubtful experiment, but you have behaved well, my man. All we can
do is to mention your case in the next despatches, which will leave in
about a week, and I am happy to inform you also that the young follow,
Argyle, will be mentioned favorably. In the meantime, he will be sent to
Limestone. His position there will be greatly improved."

"May it please your honor," replied Stewart, "God Almighty is just and
merciful. I thank you from my heart. This expression of good will to me
and my friend compensates for much of the ignominy through which it has
been our unhappy lot to pass. I thank you, gentlemen, again--all of
you."

"Bravo, bravo!" shouted Colonel Tomlinson, "well said. Captain
Fitzsimmons, may I be so bold as to beg that the young follow may have a
glass of wine."

"By all means, Colonel, by all means; and now, gentlemen, I think our
business is done. When shall we commence to discharge?"

With these arrangements our tale has nothing to do, if we except one out
of the 320 convicts which were destined to work out their sentence in
the colony. This man was to be sent ashore on the morrow, in the ship's
whale boat.

The day dawned with a heavy fog. It was also intensely hot. As the sun
arose the fog lifted to reveal a mass of ominous looking clouds hanging
like a pall over the land, and entirely obscuring the hills. About 10
o'clock the boat was ready to start. Judd was carried on board, he was
too weak to walk, and sail being hoisted; the boat's head was turned
towards the Brisbane River, the pilot of the port being the steersman.
There was not much wind, however, and at the mouth of the river the men
had to take to the oars. It would be quite proper to describe every
point and headland, even every mangrove tree, amongst the many millions
which so curiously choose to flourish where any other respectable tree
would be sure to decline even the shadow of an acquaintance, but the pen
is not in a humor to descant upon swampy geography, mud islands, and
stunted, storm beaten trees. The mouth of this Brisbane is not pretty,
no, not at all.

Distant thunder soon began to peal forth, and by the time the boat
reached Eagle Farm, a storm threatened to close around them. The men
plied their oars, exerting their utmost strength, but as Breakfast Creek
was reached down came the tempest with tremendous hail and rain; and
fierce flashed the lightning, and incessant were the awful peals of
thunder, and hurricane-like roared the wind; heaven seemed to be
bombarding earth. It was an awful tempest.

"Pull in boys'" shouted the officer, "we can't stand this. There, back
her just round that corner."

It was done, and not a minute too soon. Several of the men were severely
wounded, and the convict Judd, had several ghastly wounds from the sharp
flattened masses of ice which, though very beautiful, were dangerous to
encounter. Into the scrub on the bank of the creek they all crept,
carrying with them the now senseless body of the convict. To all
appearance he was dying or dead; they moistened his mouth with brandy,
poured some down his throat, put some of the hailstones on his forehead,
chafed his hands, but all seemed of no avail. There was a pulse, but no
other sign of animation.

"Hang the fellow," said the officer, "he was always a plague. If he goes
off the hook now, it will save a precious lot of trouble up along. Do
these storms generally last long, Mr. Jones?"

"Not one like this," answered the pilot, "and I think we are nearing the
bottom of this buster. It is a tolerable good specimen of a colonial
storm, but I have seen heavier."

"God save us from many like this," said one of the men. "It looks very
like a choker for my hearty, there."

"Good luck to the rascal, I say," said another, "he deserves all he'll
get, I reckon."

"I should have liked, anyhow, to have got him ashore," said the officer.
"But leave the fellow, my men, and get the boat bailed out. Then come up
and fetch him. If possible, we will get him up to the barrack, dead or
alive."

The sailors at once obeyed the orders of the lieutenant, and were hard
at work clearing the boat from the large quantity of water and ice which
had fallen into it. But before they had half performed their task a loud
and terrific yell, as if a thousand demons had suddenly risen from the
ground, reached their ears, there was the report of a pistol, then
another, and this was followed by a third. But at this moment a shower
of spears fell round about the boat, and Lieutenant Harbone, with one
sticking into his coat sleeve and minus his gold laced cap, rushed down
the hill, followed by the pilot, who had come out of the contest without
any loss; for a contest it was most unmistakably, and with fearful odds,
two white men to a hundred great blackfellows armed with nulla nullas,
boomerangs, clubs, and spears, and commanded by a perfect Amazon.

"Pull like the devil, boys, if you value your lives," shouted Lieutenant
Harbone, as he jumped into the boat.

The sailors did not want a second command, but with a few strokes they
sent the boat ahead until mid-river was reached; here, by command, they
rested on their oars.

"That was a warm brush, Mr. Jones," said Lieutenant Harbone.

"Middling, middling! If we had only had another or two with us we would
have made the whole lot of varmints cut their lucky. Pity 'twas,"
continued the pilot, "I left my bawbies at home; they should have danced
a jig or two, I know."

Of course the sailors wanted to know all about the action as they called
it, but Pilot Jones only laughed at them: "Action, my boys, we call such
things only a lark here."

"Rather a sharp lark, master," said one of the men pointing to the spear
which Lieutenant Harbone had drawn out of his coat. Fortunately it had
not wounded him.

"Oh! as to them things," replied the pilot, "the darkies seldom come
near enough for them to do any harm. Hang the varmints, they have caught
me napping for once, but as I was looking down at the rascal yonder,
they rose up all around like mushrooms. Hang me, if I don't think that
they knew I had not got my bawbies. They have had a touch of them
before."

"If it please your honor, we should like to have a slap at the fellows
if you don't object."

"We can't go, sir, without looking for the rest of the cargo," said the
pilot. "I should say, let us do as the men propose. I warrant if they
should not have bolted we will have some fun."

"With all my heart, pilot," replied the officer. "Pull in, boys. Get
your cutlasses and pistols ready; on ye go. Pull into this more open
place, these black devils won't show out there, I think."

So, armed to the teeth, the lieutenant, the pilot, and six of the
sailors jumped on shore, the other two pulling the boat a few yards from
shore, with orders to pull in again the moment they were hailed.

The contemplated action, however, never was fought; when they reached
the place where they had left the body of Henry Judd it had vanished,
and with it all traces of the blacks. They had gathered up all their
implements of warfare and the dead and dying, which Lieutenant Harbone
felt confident he had left behind, although, be it known, that so sudden
was the onset, and so unlike the enemy to any that that gentleman had
ever conceived in his brain, that his courage upon this occasion was
little better than an illustration of the proverb:

He that fights and runs away; Will live to fight another day.

So Henry Judd landed, his penal servitude for life ending much sooner
than even he, or any of his numerous censors, had deemed possible. The
boat went on to Brisbane to report the circumstances, and soldiers were
sent out at once in search of the blacks, who were known to be in the
neighborhood of Breakfast Creek, but although the search lasted several
days, no Henry Judd could be discovered.



CHAPTER VIII.--MOGARA AND HER TRIBE.


We must retrace our steps a little to visit a blackfellows' camp of the
olden time. There may have been Roman noses, and lovely eyes, charming
lips, nicely turned arms, and superb swan-like necks, in the camp of
natives to which Mogara, a half-caste woman, belonged, but if there were
such pleasing excellencies, they were most likely hidden under some
striking peculiarity of dress, paint, or other ornament. About this
everlasting subject dress, how inexhaustible are the terms which one
must learn before an attempt is made to launch forth on this ever
restless sea. A new name is coined, it is heard everywhere from the
cottage to the palace. Take it into the study and attempt to solve its
derivation, and this is just as possible as it would be to publish to
the world the true history of the sphinx. Fustian and cloth no doubt
were fashionable fifty years ago, as a suitable material to make coats
and breeches for a very huge portion of Britain's subjects, but if the
Court milliner could be clever enough to describe the dress of some of
the natives of Australia, he or she (which is right?) would hardly be
bold enough to recommend it as suitable costume for fashionable life.
Certainly it is frequently the most primitive of all clothing, and, if
report is true, and there is every reason to believe that it is, two of
the oldest and best known of all the people that have ever lived in this
world, were clad in this costume before any such thing as sin entered
into their thoughts.

Eagle Hawk, as he is sitting on his throne, which is a glass sward, with
a huge gum tree against which to rest his back, would say that he has
always found this primitive dress the cheapest, the most comfortable,
and the easiest to wash and get up, of any that was ever invented. The
old man, nevertheless, had an eye to fine clothes once, and was tempted
to covet them quite as strongly as Eve was tempted to take the forbidden
treasure. He had picked up a convict's dress, which had been discarded
for a most indefinite period by one of His Majesty's most humble
servants, who, singularly enough, had a remarkable preference for
liberty versus servitude. As the dress would have been extremely
inconvenient in the new sphere of action which this gentleman had chosen
for himself, even without consulting those who might possibly have urged
some objections to his departure from certain food and lodging, he
generously left it on the side of the road which led to the opposite
direction to that which he intended to take. Old Eagle Hawk had found
it, and was exceedingly pleased with his prize. It is true he perspired
rather freely under the influence of such an extraordinary addition to
his usual wardrobe; but, as use is said to be second nature, so the old
man continued to sport his new costume for some months. One day, in an
abstract mood of admiration of the red coats at the convict camp, he
drew near enough to them to be seen. The alarm bell was rung, and he was
pursued. His swift legs and better knowledge of the country saved him
from capture; but when he reached the camp, he vented his rage on the
offending dress by stuffing it full of dry grass, and, after sundry
remarkable military exercises with spear and shield, supposed to be a
peculiar and extremely original sort of tournament between himself and
the stuffed convict, he finally set it on fire, and danced a wild orgie
until it was consumed. Eagle Hawk never wore any dress after that day.

But while we have been describing his adventure, the old man has arisen
from his primitive throne. If it is possible to look two ways at once,
he must have been doing so; for one might have taken an affidavit that
he was intently watching something straight before him, whereas, in
fact, he was keenly and closely calculating how soon the boat which was
conveying Judd up the river would reach the point of the creek near to
which the camp was pitched. At length he spoke: "Ballu! Boat-no get up;
storm, thunder, rain!" These words were spoken in the native tongue, but
instantly the camp was on the qui vive. A dozen blackfellows, very ugly,
but far more powerful men than those which walk about the streets of
Australian towns at the present day, answered the old man's summons.
White people had not educated them to be drunkards then--at least, this
remark applies to the Moreton Bay district--very rarely indeed could
they obtain "the fire drink." Their hand was also against the white man.
They would have exterminated all the race if they had had the power. The
language of these people is very musical, but exceedingly vague and
unintelligible. If an illustration of the musical is required, it may be
found in the highly romantic names of the Australian districts. The ring
of those words upon the tongue is the essential accompaniment of musical
sounds. True, it is all very rough, severely savage, but there is method
in the asperity of the dialect, as well as in the originality of their
habits. Vices of course abound--hellish vices--which have cruelty for
their author, and the supreme court of hell alone as their defender. But
what has the white man done to try to teach them better things? We found
the black man on the soil; we did not buy the land--no, not even
nominally, with justice to him; we forced him back--now a little, then a
little more--until to-day the poor wretched creatures are most
deplorable outcasts. Hundreds of men must go down to the grave, and to
the bar of inflexible justice, with the red blood of many of these poor
creatures on their heads. There are men in the colonies who say calmly
that there is no remedy but shooting the wretches down, as you would a
kangaroo or a dingo. We glory in our freedom; but, knowing what will be
the result, we deliberately drive these aborigines into destruction, and
rejoice over the undoubted fact that they are dying out of the land. It
is a dark picture--a terrible crime--a dreadful page to read in the book
of retribution; and yet, what have ministers of the Gospel or Christian
professors done to stem the torrent of this iniquity? There has been no
Elijah to face this hideous Baal. "Thou hast killed and taken
possession!" is the charge, and the only answer we make is, "It is
expedient."

Many of the tribe to which Eagle Hawk belonged had been cruelly
massacred by British troops, without the slightest provocation. That the
blacks retaliated is only the natural sequel.

Hence it was all alike to them; stranger or no stranger, a white skin
was the target for their mark. In the desire for revenge, they were
constantly stimulated by the extraordinary influence of their absolute
queen, Mogara. She was a remarkably fine specimen of female symmetry and
savage beauty, her mother being as tall as herself, and her father--an
officer in the British army--a man as tall as a life guardsman, and of
gigantic strength. It is not necessary now to allude further to the
cruel deception of which he was guilty, or to the wrongs of the mother,
which the daughter tried her utmost to revenge.

Two years after the death of her mother, the tribe to which Mogara and
Eagle Hawk belonged migrated northward, and settled in the Moreton Bay
district. A long-standing quarrel was the primary cause of this exodus
from the Hunter River district, to which they had gone about five years
previously. The particulars of these quarrels it is extremely difficult
to ascertain. But the day of battle was fixed, and both sides used the
interval in the most formidable preparations. Boomerangs, currywong
wattles, and spears were manufactured by the hundred; tomahawks,
shields, and clubs were collected together; and, when nearly three
hundred were thus equipped, externally the respective armies appeared
invincible. Upon the day when the struggle was to take place, both
tribes marched up in single file to the appointed place, which was an
open sandy flat upon the borders of the river, near what is now known as
"Umpie Bong." Here they sat down at a distance of about forty yards
between the two lines. For some minutes not a word was spoken on either
side, but at last one of the men of the Mogara tribe (the term is not
correct, but it will serve as a distinction) arose, and after a very
rapidly delivered address, he pointed to Eagle Hawk, who then rose, and
stated the cause of the dispute, ending his speech with a flourish of
his boomerang, which he threw from him with great violence, but with the
usual skill of the natives, so that it performed its circle of flight,
and returning, fell close to the warrior's feet. He then challenged to
single combat the man whom he accused as the offender in the dispute.
The speech was delivered in a most vehement manner, and with the
frequent use of the word yambel, by which he intended to charge the
whole tribe with lying and meanness.

As he concluded, the whole of the men on both sides arose, and shouted
with indescribable vehemence, which was their method of expressing their
assent to the trial by single combat, as Eagle Hawk had proposed. Then a
tall, muscular blackfellow on the opposite side stepped out of the ranks
of his country men, and walked half way across the space which divided
the hostile armies, Eagle Hawk in like manner advancing to meet him, and
all the warriors again sat down to witness the struggle.

Both the combatants were fully armed, and were renowned as experienced
warriors. As spectators of the fight there were nearly 600 men, besides
women and children. Boomerangs were the first weapons, for the order of
battle was previously arranged. These simple, but effective implements
of native warfare were delivered with sure but terrible effect. Eagle
Hawk was struck, and his left shoulder was laid open, his opponent's
cheek was struck, a ghastly wound being the result. The cries of the
spectators hereupon became exceeding loud, but not one moved from his
place. Blood had been drawn, and they knew that the fight must soon come
to an issue. The spear was the next weapon; retiring back from each
other, until a convenient distance was reached, both the combatants
threw at the same moment. The blood which flowed from the cheek of Eagle
Hawk's opponent nearly blinded him, so that his aim was not so sure as
it otherwise would have been. Not so the aim of Eagle Hawk; his spear
entered the left side of his opponent, he gave one leap off the ground,
and fell down dead.

Instantly there was a rush to the centre, both sides joining in an
indiscriminate struggle. How long it would have lasted, or how it would
have ended, no one could have told, but in less than a minute from the
death of Eagle Hawk's opponent, fifty muskets were levelled at the
savage group, and most of them had marked a victim. With a cry of horror
the rest fled, one only, besides the dead and the wounded, was left
behind. Concealed behind a rock about a quarter of a mile away, Mogara
saw the massacre, and as her tribe fled, calmly, but with the visage of
a tigress, she stood her ground. In a few minutes the military
detachment issued from the scrub from which they had dealt out their
deadly fire, and slowly defiled upon the field of battle. Here a horrid
sight presented itself. Nearly fifty of the poor wretches had received
gunshot wounds, several were dead, and as many were mortally wounded.

"A useful lesson, Brown," said the officer who commanded the soldiers.
"We had to do this several times down South before these black devils
would leave the settlement."

Sir Englishman, how many innocent white men and women have been murdered
because of your cruel work? Mogara, perhaps, with her keen, arrow-like,
speaking eyes, watching your retreat, could tell. History cannot.



CHAPTER IX.--TEN YEARS AFTER.


Convict life at Moreton Bay is not a pleasant subject. Let it rest in
the grave where so many poor wretches found deliverance, at least from
the cruelty of men, the mercy of some of whom had its only voice in the
lash. It was a hell, and if Dante had seen it he would have probably
given it a place amongst the torture chambers of the lost. Probably this
is the history of such establishments generally, and no doubt there is
much to be said in extenuation when the desperate character of convicts
is considered. Ten years from the day when Judd so mysteriously
disappeared had wrought wondrous changes in the history of the
settlement. The convict establishment was entirely broken up, and the
convicts were removed, the march of civilisation began in the
establishment of trade, commerce, steamboat navigation, the first
newspaper, and representative government. Brisbane also enlarged its
border, and strengthened its importance, and last, though not least, the
Artimesia arrived with a load of free immigrants, and the Fortitude
supplemented this welcome batch of honest citizens shortly after.

James Stewart, Esq., is a squatter, and David Argyle, Esq., is his
partner. Their address is Leyton Station. It ought to have been Argyle
and Stewart, for the bulk of the capital which was employed in the
partnership had been put in by the former, but he would not have it so.
To Stewart he owed his liberty much sooner than he would have obtained
it, and not a word would he hear of any inequality between their
positions. So well had Mr. Boodle managed the Argyle estate that a sum
of five thousand pounds was realised by the sale of the farm, and this,
with nearly L20,000 of actual cash in hand, formed a noble capital with
which to begin the world again. Both the young men decided not to return
home, and Mr. Hartlop had assisted Stewart with a loan of money without
interest, when he heard of his determination to settle in Australia.

The great disparity between this sum, however, and that which Argyle had
received, Stewart was determined to meet as far as possible by acting as
manager to the station without any participation in the profits, at
least for a time. To this Argyle consented after much discussion The
partnership was therefore arranged upon the following terms: Stewart put
in one thousand pounds, Argyle ten thousand. The former to share in the
profits at the expiration of three years. The firm to be Stewart and
Argyle. But so well had the young men prospered that at the expiration
of three years Stewart was, in equity, entitled to receive a thousand
pounds. This money Argyle insisted he must receive, and he agreed to do
so. His position then was one of equality with his partner, and for
years the partnership existed on the most satisfactory understanding,
and variable, but on the whole, substantial profit.

Both of them soon received that which was tantamount to a release, for
though in the absence of Judd no further evidence could be obtained
about their innocence, yet so well had Colonel Tomlinson interceded on
their behalf that a few months after the mysterious disappearance or
death of Judd they received from the Commandant free passes to go where
they liked provided they did not leave the colony. This privilege was
supplemented, at the expiration of twelve months, with a free pardon, or
remission of the remainder of their sentence. In the interim, the
arrangements already mentioned were made, and thus the two young men,
whose fortunes were most mysteriously united under one series of painful
events, began life in the colony to which they were banished, as
squatters, wool growers, &c.

Their staunch friend, Colonel Tomlinson, invalided, returned to England
after the final breaking up of the convict establishment at Moreton Bay.
He had served his country with his regiment at the Cape of Good Hope,
then at Tasmania, afterwards at Port Jackson, and finally at Moreton
Bay, he had therefore seen much rough life, and not a little arduous
service. His wife had died shortly before he left England, and thus he
was a widower with one little girl. For some time he was undecided what
he should do with the child, but through the good offices of a near
relative, who was the wife of a clergyman in Suffolk, a home was found
for Julia Tomlinson during the period of her infancy and school days,
and afterwards with an excellent woman, who was known as a widow living
at the same place, which was a small market town which shall be called
Newlands.

This widow, whose name was Welland, lived quite as a stranger in the
place; no one knew where she came from or what her circumstances were.
The clergyman told everyone who made any enquiry that she had lost her
husband, and wished to mourn over he bereavement in retirement and
seclusion. This, with the majority of the people, was enough, but there
were some busybodies who would pry into secrets, as they declared "there
must certainly be," but they obtained nothing for their trouble but
disappointment. Like all such unprincipled pryers, then they began to
insinuate dark things. The widow took little notice of these hints, and
so it came to pass that she lived on from year to year a quiet,
blameless life, and after a while even her enemies ceased to trouble
her. It happened also that a young lass, a little older than Julia
Tomlinson, bearing the name of Alice, came to live with the widow, but
no one knew anything about her surname. The clergyman, Mr. Long, one day
happened to remark that her name was not Welland, but in the absence of
positive information the little maid was christened by the voice of
popular opinion Alice Welland, and the widow did not oppose it.

After a lapse of fifteen years, which, though not particularly arduous,
so far a military service was concerned, Colonel Tomlinson found the
influence of the hot climate of Moreton Bay to be productive of ailings
which at first he was inclined to neglect, but which compelled him to
look towards home. Letters also demanded a speedy return, and the
colonel applied for, and received, permission to resign on half pay, to
commence at the date of the medical certificate that he was restored to
his usual health, until which period he was to receive full pay.

Accordingly a house was secured at Brighton, to which Julia removed in
anticipation of her father's return. This was delayed a full month later
than he had expected; the voyage home was attended with great
difficulties, and no small danger. Severe gales drove the ship out of
its course, and at one time the safety of the vessel was almost
despaired of, but, by the good providence of God, at length the anchor
was cast out in the splendid Roads of Spithead, and soon after Colonel
Tomlinson was ashore. The good old soldier was now materially worse than
when he left Australia. The voyage, so far from proving beneficial, had
been productive of a serious, and it was feared, a fatal complaint. It
was therefore with an emaciated countenance and many signs of great
weakness that he reached his home, and met his daughter, after an
absence of more than fifteen years. How delighted he was to see in her
the living likeness of his much loved, lost wife. How happy the amiable,
loving girl was, in the restoration of her dear father to her, may be
imagined by those who have long been separated.

Julia Tomlinson was no stranger to her father by correspondence. The
first attempt at penmanship reached the colonel on a bed of suffering,
for he had been wounded in a skirmish with the Caffres, by a spear which
had entered his leg. It was as follows:

'Newlands, June 16 1834.

Dear papa,

Your Ju is very well, hope you are so too. Come home to-morrow.
Good-bye.

From your Ju.'

This very unimportant document had more music in it to cheer the sick
father than can be expressed. "God bless and preserve the darling!" was
his first exclamation, as he read the letter again and again. This was
the earnest of a new life as yet in embryo, but still one of intense
interest to him. Mail days were not so frequent at that period as they
are now, in fact the means of sending letters were very uncertain.

But every ship brought one from Julia to her father.

The reunion of the father with the child was thoroughly blessed to both
of them. In her the father found an inestimable treasure; in him the
child gained an experience which she had never previously known--she
found a father. What can compensate for the absence of the parent?

But convalescence came, and with it the inevitable result of a
lengthened residence abroad. England and English life were too strait,
too cramped, for the colonel's ideas of freedom. He had property in New
South Wales; he thought he should like to end his days in the colony. In
this idea he was greatly encouraged by an old friend at Rouen, who is,
or was very lately, a squatter on the New South Wales frontier, who, in
writing to him, announced his intention of proceeding to that colony to
engage in pastoral pursuits. Colonel Tomlinson replied by a personal
visit to his friend, Mr. Archer, and before his return home he had
resolved again to go out to Australia. Of course the consideration as to
what he should do there was not lost sight of, but this was a matter of
secondary importance, the question whether Julia would accompany him was
uppermost. This was very soon settled, however, by an immediate reply
which she sent to her father, who had written from Rouen to tell her
what he was contemplating: "Wherever you go, dear father," said Julia,
"I will accompany you. We have been separated long enough."

So the colonel and his daughter, with Mrs. Welland and her adopted
daughter, set sail from London in the month of May, 1851, and landed in
Moreton Bay, by way of Sydney, about six months afterwards.



CHAPTER X.--SHADOW AND SUBSTANCE.


Newlands is not a very extensive place, it was, until lately, a retired
country village, with a weekly corn-market and some houses of business,
of a far more extensive character than are generally found in such a
small community. It consisted principally of one street with a few
bye-lanes. On a slight eminence on the right hand of the main street is
the church, a very ancient and monkish looking building, with an
interior as damp and cold as the heart of the would-be genius, who is
the self constituted lord over God's heritage. The Lord of the Manor, as
he calls himself, owns the church, the souls of the people, and the
safety of the universe--so his actions seems to imply--for no one is at
liberty to do anything for the welfare of his fellows, until he has the
permission of the great man. The race is dying out now, and it is well,
for nothing is so productive of the worst evil as the presence of such a
rank, empty-headed, conceited bigot in the shape of a patron to a
village, as this man. Everything good, except it was in perfect
agreement with his antiquated notions was forbidden, under pains and
penalties, which meant persecution and ruin. But this is enough about
him. One of the great blessings of Australian life, is the liberty by
which we are free from such tyranny. The railway has now found an
entrance to this village, and the creation of a lecture hall and some
places of worship, must produce a corresponding improvement upon the
restricted liberties of the people.

Upon a hill at the back of the village, there stands a windmill, and
near to this there is a row of four brick cottages, small, but
comfortable, in one of which Mrs. Welland lived. Colonel Tomlinson was
fully acquainted with her history, by a communication which his
relative, the clergyman of the parish, had sent him. In circumstances of
great distress of mind, this history had been told, with the
understanding that it was to be kept a profound secret as long as she
lived at least. Neither Julia Tomlinson nor Alice Welland had the
slightest knowledge of the widow's previous life.

One very bright but windy March day she was much surprised, but greatly
gratified, by the reception of a letter from Julia, to announce the
intention of the colonel to visit Newlands, and she might expect
them--"for I am coming also," she wrote--to call on her very soon after
she received this note. Accordingly, on the afternoon of the same day,
Alice, who had been on the lookout, shouted out the welcome news, "I see
them, mother, they are coming up the hill." Of course the fetters of
restriction and etiquette were immediately slipped off and on the wings
of very faithful affection, down the hill to meet her friend, there
glided, not an angel without a fault or a sin, but a true country lass.
Can you blame her that she could not restrain her ardent affection for a
few minutes longer, until the colonel and Miss Julia were duly installed
in the small parlor at the homely cottage? I cannot. Good old David,
throwing off all restraint, would have rushed across the Plain of
Mahanaim, if he could have seen his cruel son Absolom coming to meet
him, and would have thrown himself on the young man's neck in an ecstacy
of joy. Let us have etiquette by all means, but let us be natural in
giving it its only proper utterance. Joseph in Egypt could not eat with
his brethren, etiquette forbade it; but methinks he had a hard struggle
to restrain himself from rushing from his exalted throne, to throw
himself, in the purest love and affection, upon the neck of his brother
Benjamin. Etiquette means pride when life is stripped of its freedom of
action. Educate to as high a standard as you will, but then let the
action be natural, and there will not be much that is wrong.

It was with no expression of surprise that Mrs. Welland listened to the
proposal which Colonel Tomlinson made to her, that she should accompany
them to the far off land. At first she demurred.

"What is there so very precious which can present any inducement to keep
you in this country?" said Colonel Tomlinson.

"Nothing my good, kind friend," replied the widow, "but still I hesitate
to decide at once upon so weighty a matter."

"Pardon me, my good Kate, for I must still call you so," said the
colonel, "pardon me in saying that you will be always near us, and
indeed we can never forget you. We shall try to make you far happier
than you have been."

"You said, sir," replied the widow, apparently without noticing the
words of the colonel, "that I had nothing to keep me in this country.
This is quite true, but you know that Alice is entirely dependant on
me."

"Of course I do," quickly answered Colonel Tomlinson, "but I never
supposed you would leave her behind. You will be our housekeeper again,
as you were during my illness, and Alice, until she is married, as she
will be, no doubt--"

"Ah! there it is, colonel," said Mrs. Welland, interrupting him, "I see
in this the greatest difficulty. If she was to marry like some, and have
a life of sorrow as the result, it would add much to mine."

"Nonsense, nonsense, Kate, she will not marry like--, never fear,"
resumed the colonel, holding up his hand as if to prevent the widow from
speaking; "never fear that I shall allude to the subject, but let me say
that your sorrows are of a mature age now. You should try to live them
down. Your troubles, Kate, are not younger than mine."

"Colonel Tomlinson," said the widow, "I can confide in you, I am sure of
that, but Alice knows nothing of the past. Now if by some mischance she
should stumble upon an ugly fact or two, would not she feel that the
innocence of her life was departed?"

"I can understand you," replied the colonel, "but were we all to shut
ourselves up lest some supposed secret should suddenly start up before
us in the shape of an expounded riddle, convents and nunneries would
have to be provided for the greater mass of the people. There are dark
spots in many lives, yes, perhaps in all. There is truly a skeleton in
every house."

"You are right, colonel; yes, I see it is so. Pardon me if I felt timid,
and perhaps unbelieving. I have found it to be very hard to believe
sometimes."

"Very likely, very likely, indeed," said the colonel. "I can understand
it, but there is one additional reason yet why I would urge this
proposal. Your present mode of living is a paradox, which does you more
harm than the open truth, even if the whole of the past was blazed forth
to every idle inquisitor."

It was at this juncture that Miss Julia and Alice re-entered the room.
The word "inquisitor," the quick ear of the colonel's daughter caught in
an instant, and without giving Mrs. Welland an opportunity to reply she
took it up. "Inquisitor, dear papa, who is inquisitor here but me? Just
the very word, dear Alice, to express my most unwarrantable impudence,"
bowing as she spoke. "Do you know, my dear old darling of a nurse," she
continued, addressing Mrs. Welland, "that I have drawn out all the
secrets of this girl without so much as unfolding one of mine, and I
call that an immensely clever thing for a woman to do. What say you,
papa?"

"Really, not knowing, I cannot say, Julia."

"Which is as much as a confession that you could not excel your silly
goose of a girl. Now, when you call us chatterboxes again, sir, please
to remember this instance of exceeding wisdom."

"Self-praise, Jule, self-praise, my girl," replied the colonel, yet
heartily laughing at his daughter's merry countenance. "Now, if you want
the truth, I do not think you have done exact justice to Miss Alice."

"Ah! but, papa," replied Julia, "I have not told you all yet. I
mean--now listen, sir,--to keep them. I do, yes indeed, I mean to keep
these secrets--"

"Till you reveal them," said Colonel Tomlinson. "I do not doubt your
word. But come, now, let me give you a lecture about shadows."

"Shadows, papa, I do not think I like the title at all. That about
soberness in young girls now, was really good. Oh! how many tears I did
shed over that lecture."

"I dare say you did, you saucy puss," replied her father, "I saw you
shaking all the time I was speaking."

"With soberness, of course, you dear old goosey; now tell me, colonel,
what soberness--not sobriety you know--but what soberness in a young
girl is. Come, Alice, papa will repeat his extraordinary telling lecture
which has been delivered to most attentive audiences, and is pronounced
to be, without exception, the most--"

"Extraordinary creature that ever lived," said her father. "Now, miss,
pray sit down and hear what I have to say."

"About soberness, papa?" inquired Julia, with a merry twinkle in her
eye.

"Yes, my dear, a very sober subject indeed. I have been asking Mrs.
Welland to go to Australia with us."

"And she has consented, dear papa. I see; that is the substance to your
shadow. I do declare, old nursey, he has kept this a profound secret
from me."

It is extremely probable that the high-spirited girl would have found
queries enough to have prolonged this conversation for some hours. It is
possible that she would have settled some of the most important of
matters, with the smallest discussion; but the clergyman came in, and in
his presence, Miss Julia became a listener instead of a talker. The
conversation which ensued was purely of a business character, and the
issue of it was an arrangement of a very substantial nature, even more
favorable to all the parties concerned than the proposition which the
colonel intended to make. It was the shadow of coming events to the
widow's mind. The substance was as yet hovering above her, invisible to
all but Omniscience.

Newlands was startled--at least a considerable number of its twelve
hundred inhabitants were--by the appearance of a handbill a week after
the visit of Colonel Tomlinson to the widow, announcing that all the
household furniture and effects of Mrs. Welland would be sold by
auction, on the next market day, without any reserve, which means,
except that which may be in the auctioneer's note-book.



CHAPTER XI.--OLD HERMIT.


Moreton Bay, as it was then, the colony of Queensland now, is the scene
of our tale. It is not necessary to describe the country geographically.
Such facts are well known to the most superficial scholar. That Brisbane
is the metropolis, distant from the town of Toowoomba about 98 miles,
the greater part of which is over an undulating country, terminating in
a range of mountainous hills, which lead to a vast extent of table-land,
stretching away to a great distance, and that the ascent up these
mountains is called, in technical language, "going up the range," is all
that need be said here.

This ascent may be accomplished by the railway, or by the rougher and
slower process of climbing up an extremely steep, and uncomfortable sort
of road, called the mail coach route, but more properly entitled to be
dubbed, the break-neck route. The scenery is superb; some say it is the
finest in Queensland. Perhaps it is of the kind, but all the coast of
the northern portion of the colony is very fine also, and can lay a
strong claim to be regarded as exquisite, romantic, and grand. The
railway, which has been constructed along numerous steep spurs of this
wild range, is a wonderful piece of engineering skill, though it has
been much condemned by some. The ascent to the summit is by a series of
the most extraordinary curves, but when the top is reached the view is
grand.

There was no railway in 1849. Perhaps the idea was not yet born that
there ever would be a route by which travellers might with ease,
comfort, and safety, ascend the range in a few hours. The ascent at this
period was toilsome, dangerous, and at times, actually impossible. It
was no uncommon occurrence for drays to be three months on the road
between Ipswich and what is now Toowoomba, and under the best
circumstances the journey occupied several days. To traverse this
country as the traveller can now, leaving Brisbane at six in the
morning, and, after a coach ride of four hours, to reach the Downs in
about five hours afterwards, is a marvel of modern times which demands a
record here.

About half-way up the range there is a most romantic gully or gorge,
which forms the bed of an immense mass of water during storms, but at
other times is comparatively dry. Boulders of every possible shape and
size have been hurled from the heights, and rolling into the valley have
lodged in the most curious places, whilst others have in turn been
precipitated down the same course, lodging upon those which preceded
them, and the earth gradually accumulating between the interstices,
trees have sprung up; these have seeded and others have risen from these
seeds, until dense scrubs have been formed, which, in some places, are
almost impenetrable. Upon the banks of this watercourse there was a rude
dwelling, constructed with considerable labor. An immense boulder,
perhaps it might have rolled from the higher rocks which rise at least
500 feet above the watercourse, lay upon the solid rocky sides of the
glen. This stone was made to form the roof of the hut; the sandstone
underneath having been cleared away until a complete stone house was
formed with three rocky walls, the fourth side being open towards the
glen or gully. This side as well as the whole dwelling, was effectually
screened from observation. No one could have imagined that there could
be a residence in such a place even if there had been any explorers in
the neighborhood. But it was far away from the usual haunts of settlers,
or the track of bushman or travellers. No human foot had approached
it--none, but those of the hermit who had chosen this wild desolate
region for a home. The occupant was an original--about fifty years of
age, but in appearance so venerable as to foster the impression that he
had passed through four-score winters at least. He was about the average
height, broad shouldered, with stooping gait, a round face, some marks
of piercing, thoughtful intelligence, a long grey beard, and snow white
hair which hung over his shoulders. His dress was of the roughest, a
mere sack made of animal skins, with the fur outside and he wore at
times a cap of the same material. In his hand he carried a slender pole
about ten feet in length pointed at one end, and thickly studded with
odd pieces of iron, with this he climbed the fastnesses of the mountain
side as easily as an ordinary man would walk on level ground. In fact it
was astonishing how he could leap over crevices in the rocks many feet
in width. His general manner was extremely restless, he constantly
looked around him as if suspicious of being seen; very frequently he
shaded his eyes with his hand to scan the path before him. There was, at
such moments, a singular expression upon his face, some would have
called it a vacant stare, and the whole character of the man may be
summed up with this addition to what has been already stated; he was
human, with a certain degree of intelligence, but with marks of a savage
ferocity, which was the inevitable result of long severance from
civilized society.

How he lived must ever remain a mystery, for he never revealed it. At
one period of his residence here, a man who had lost some bullocks and
was looking for them, discovered a little plot of garden ground in a
very retired spot, where maize, wheat, and some vegetables were growing.
No dwelling of any kind was near it. But it was very probable that this
man's visit was known, for a few months after, on again going to the
place--out of curiosity then--he found that it was abandoned, and, as
far as possible, every mark of cultivation and fencing had been
obliterated.

It was shortly after this period that Old Hermit--as he called himself
in his many soliloquies--probably at a loss to obtain necessary food,
began to enlarge the borders of his wanderings. Labor was scarce,
although settlers were few and far between and he had not much
difficulty in hiring himself as a shepherd on a small run in the
neighborhood of what is now known as Helidon. For more than six months
he continued with the most patient endurance to occupy the same
position. One day, however, in the month of November, 1851, early in the
morning, his employer rode over to his hut. Hermit was getting his
breakfast, and a visitor at so early an hour was rarely to be expected.

"Shepherd," said his employer, Mr. Baines, "2000 sheep are going up the
Range to morrow. You had better draft off all the N sheep, and put them
in the small paddock to-night. Tommy and Dick will come over to help
you. You will have to drive them up, they are going to Mr. Sinclair's
station."

"Don't know, master," replied Hermit.

"What don't you know," said Mr. Baines, "the place you are going to? Oh!
I'll make that very plain to you. I am going into Drayton the first
thing, and will meet you at the top of the Range. Then it is very likely
that I shall go on with you."

"Don't know, master," the Hermit reiterated.

"Hang the fellow! What do you mean?" angrily rejoined his employer,
"can't you say anything but that confoundedly 'don't know?'" The last
words were uttered in a derisive, jeering tone of voice.

"Don't know, master, that I go," replied Hermit. "I don't like. I hired
as shepherd, and--" Here he burst out into an energetic pleading sort of
entreaty, and, going straight up to his employer, said, "Master, master,
I'll serve ye well; but don't send me away; I beg of ye, don't send me
with sheep."

"But why not, Hermit," said Mr. Baines, somewhat softened by the earnest
manner of the man, "you can come back again--"

"Never, master, never," hastily replied Hermit. "If I leave here,
something tells me I never come back. If sheep must go, let Tommy and
Dick go, and I drive rest to head station, and stay till they come back.
Now, master, listen to me this time. Something says to me, 'Don't go,'
and I can't master, no, I can't!"

"Oh, go to Jericho with your foolish vagaries," said Mr. Baines, "but I
suppose you must have your own way. Here comes Tommy and Dick. I'll
speak to them, but I don't like this, shepherd; no, I don't indeed."

Perhaps there was something in the old shepherd's earnest gaze, as he
turned round to meet the two stockmen who were now in sight, which made
Mr. Baines stop as if he would have spoken again; but after a moment,
saying to himself, "It is very curious," he rode off from the hut. The
interview which followed between the two stockmen and himself was very
animated, and frequently glances were directed towards the hut where Old
Hermit was now seated, discussing his breakfast. It ended, however, in
an arrangement by which the shepherd's plan was carried out, and,
without returning to the hut, Mr. Baines rode away towards home, the two
stockmen proceeding to the yards to commence drafting the sheep.



CHAPTER XII.--COLONIAL HOSPITALITY.


The sheep were drafted and Tommy remained in charge of the 2000 to be
driven away on the morrow, Dick, and Hermit having gone to the head
station, the former engaging to return to the hut before sundown. Mr.
Baines' house and station were about six miles distant. It was evening
before Hermit arrived with the few sheep which remained after the N
brand were separated from the flock, and having received his orders, he
put the sheep into a paddock near the huts, and proceeded to the house
to get his supper. This was soon dispatched, but amidst some bustle and
confusion, a party of visitors arrived unexpectedly, and somewhat
inconveniently, for the very limited accommodation which Mr. Baines
could place at their disposal. Hermit was called by his master to attend
to the horses, and while he is engaged in this most important of
traveller's duties, the welfare of the useful creatures which so
patiently serve the human race all the world over, the introduction of
the new arrivals may as well take place. They are seven in number, three
ladies and three gentlemen with a servant; four of the number being
Colonel Tomlinson and his daughter, and Mrs. Welland and Alice, who had
landed at Brisbane a few days previously. Of the gentlemen, one was an
old friend of the colonel's, and the other a son of a New South Wales
merchant. The first of the two was an officer in the British army, who
had been for a long period in India, but had recently retired on
half-pay.

On the fourth night this party found themselves at the foot of the
Range. Here they had intended to stop for the night, but on reaching the
small inn which offered the only accommodation for miles, they were told
that the blacks were out in the neighborhood; that they had attacked a
whole caravan of drays; had succeeded in carrying off some cases
containing liquor, and other stores, and that many of them were in a
frightful state of intoxication. There was no room in the wretched inn
for ladies, in fact there was no decent accommodation for any one, and
Colonel Tomlinson resolved to push on to Mr. Baines' station, which he
heard was only four miles further on. This was reached happily without
any adventure, although they passed within sight of a camp of blacks in
a state of horrible riot. It was just dark us they rode up to the house
of the squatter.

Of course the hospitality of the bush was rendered in a moment, when
Colonel Tomlinson stated the circumstances of the case.

"Of any thing my poor abode can boast of, sir, you are heartily welcome,
although you must excuse the homeliness of a very rough interior, and
little besides the usual beef and damper, with a dish of tea and so on.
We are out of the sort of home comforts ladies look for."

This welcome was given in an honest, freehearted manner, which disarmed
every thought that the visitors were intruders. Colonel Tomlinson
replied: "Many thanks, my dear sir, many thanks. Old soldiers are not
hard to please, and if they were, the fact that we are driven up into a
corner is quite sufficient to make us value any kind of shelter for the
night."

"Well, we have got that, I hope," replied Mr. Baines; "and now, ladies,
stop in and make yourselves quite at home. Unfortunately, ladies, I am
only a forlorn bachelor, but my housekeeper will try and attend to your
comforts."

"We shall manage very nicely, sir," said Julia, "at least I can answer
for myself, and as for my two companions, they are not strangers to a
little roughing, so please not to trouble in the least about us."

"You may be sure we shall not trouble, my good lady, that is a scarce
article with us up here," replied Mr. Baines.

The board was soon spread; it was nearly 9 o'clock before the good
substantial meal was ended; and the ladies soon after retired. They were
very tired, and Mrs. Welland was not quite well. We will leave them and
hope that they may be all the better for a night's rest. Happily you,
Miss Julia, will be delivered from the distressing anxiety which most of
the inmates of Wellesley Station will experience before the night is
over.

To return to the gentlemen. After supper the pipe the glass and the yarn
proved the galvanic circle which kept their tongues in action, and their
interest up to the register of bush talk. This was very animated. The
destination of the travellers; purchase of stock; squatting pursuits and
prospects; and the probability of separation were subjects which formed
the prologue to the narration of several exciting adventures, in which
the host and his guests severally took a part.

"We have left our two stockmen at the inn, Mr. Baines," said Colonel
Tomlinson, "they will come on in the morning."

"Better have brought them all on, colonel," replied Mr. Baines; "I don't
like separation between travellers. You never know where you may meet
again, or how soon you may need assistance. The blacks, you must know,
have always been very troublesome in this neighborhood. When I first
settled here in 1843, we were obliged to keep up a patrol every night as
regular as the old watch at home. All sorts of contrivances were
arranged to give an alarm in case of danger, for the rascals were so
bold that they were upon us before you could say Jack Robinson. Excuse
the slang, gentlemen; I habited myself to use this term many years ago,
and it is firmly lodged in my dictionary now."

"Do not mention it, Mr. Baines," said Captain Oliver. "Certainly
soldiers are the last people to cry non peccavi in this matter."

"But none the less are they blameworthy, my good friend," said Colonel
Tomlinson. "I do not refer to such simple expressions as our friend has
unnecessarily drawn our attention to, but oaths--wicked oaths and
horrible filthiness are frequently as common in the army, and more
common even, than the words which society recognises as polite and
necessary. I never could see anything but degradation in them. No
gentleman ought to use an oath, nor will he if he knows his position."

"I perfectly agree with you, colonel, perfectly; but somehow they become
a habit," said Captain Oliver.

"Like my Jack Robinson," said Mr. Baines, "but none the less
reprehensible. But I was telling you how we were obliged to look out
sharp for the blacks, for some of them had ceased to be afraid to move
about at night. For a whole year we got off pretty well, we had a good
deal of 'jabbering' as I call it, and two of my shepherds were speared,
but I never lost a single sheep nor could I account for it why the
shepherds were slaughtered--mangled would be a better word. But, by
George; they caught us napping at last. One night we lost our patrol. He
was gone, how, or where, I never knew. It was about midnight; I had been
asleep indoors on the sofa, and had gone far into Dreamland. There was a
solitary lamp on the table, and the windows were open a little way to
admit some of the breeze which was blowing then from the west. Well,
gentlemen, I was dreaming, and in my sleep I know I was yarning--I do
talk sometimes in my sleep--but I couldn't tell you what it was about,
but in the midst of a most earnest argument about this something,
whatever it was, a gunshot report reached my ear. It was a part of my
dream, for I remember that I saw myself starting as if in terror, and
this terror awoke me, and I opened my eyes. I was broad awake instantly,
and I well might be. Standing by my side there was my sister in her
night dress--she was keeping my house at that time, and terribly afraid
of the blacks. On this account she was going to Sydney very soon. Well,
there she stood, fast asleep, but with one arm stretched out pointing
down the glen yonder, the same that you came up this evening."

"Here was a pretty fix. What could it mean? This was my first thought;
but while I was settling this, my sister turned deliberately round and
walked quietly back to her own room. You may suppose I was a little
scared like. I took a little brandy, and, says I, 'There's no more sleep
for me for awhile. I'll go out and have a smoke.' So I got my pipe, and
then I found I had no tobacco. I did not like to go up the passage for
the key of the store; for I feared to wake my sister. So I thought I
would go down and get a bit from Jack--I never knew his other name.
Don't spare the bottle, gentlemen, there's a drop or two more in the
house, I think."

"Let us hear the tale first, Mr. Baines," said Colonel Tomlinson.

"Well, I had scarcely left the door when I found that the signal by
which we had arranged to communicate with our patrol from the house had
not been laid down. We had a wire which was attached to a piece of deal
about four feet in length. This was laid across a box. If we wanted to
communicate with the guard, this piece of wood was pulled off the box.
Of course it fell with a crash, and on the patrol discovering the
signal, he was instructed to pull the wire in turn, which operated in a
similar way upon a similar piece of wood placed on the verandah. Well,
neither the wire nor the wood was to be seen. I never knew the men to
fail in setting the signal, for our lives depended on it. You will see
in the morning, gentlemen, that the station buildings stand in a ring
fence, and we are well fenced behind the house by the precipitous rocks,
but still we carried the fence right round the place. The only real
point of danger, as we felt it, was through the glen, of which I have
already spoken. Black fellows are daring sometimes and at that time they
were terribly bloodthirsty; but they never seem to think that there can
be a weak place which is more open to assault than another. At all
events, if they do, we never had any trouble from them which did not
come from one quarter. I often wonder that they did not hurl stones down
upon us from the heights above, and while we were considering the danger
from that source, rush upon us from another quarter. Not that they could
do us any harm with these stones, if they thought about such a thing.
None could ever reach us; but the theory I have about them is this:
Trust to a black to take the easiest course which presents itself. This,
with us, was the road up the glen, and up this road they always came.
Well, gentlemen (I always begin a new spell with this common word) we
had another rule, that without the signal being made to the watch no one
was to venture to approach him. The signal, I have told you, was either
gone or it had not been laid down. What was I to do? The tobacco was a
minor affair; I ceased to think about this now. I peered into the
darkness, and felt all round the verandah, but no, the signal board was
not there. A few moments consideration and I resolved upon a new signal;
I put a candle into a lantern, and hoisting the lantern on a long stick,
I waved it to and fro in the air. 'Surely,' I thought, 'Jack will see
this.' When I had waved the signal for about a minute I took it down,
and just at that moment my largest dog, a fine noble beast, came
bounding towards me, and with a savage growl, crouched down at my feet.
I now knew that something was the matter. This dog had broken the cord
by which he was tied up near the slip-panel, but why he had not barked I
did not know. All of a sudden it flashed into my mind, that probably the
gun shot I heard in my dream was the report from our patrol's revolver,
and the dog's repeated growls now thoroughly convinced me that we were
in for a skirmish. Quickly I ran over to the men's huts, they are behind
the house, the men were up at once, but not a bit too soon, for the dogs
now gave such signs of danger approaching, that we were sure it was near
at hand. To make a long story short, we had twenty of the most
vile-looking rascals you can conceive of, right upon us in less than a
minute afterwards, four to each of us, and fortunately we gained the
victory. Eight of the villains were laid low, but I lost my noble dog,
he had been foully used; the devils--I really, gentlemen, cannot call
them by a better word--had cut out part of his tongue. He died before
morning, and we buried him against the slip-panel where he had kept ward
and watch for so long a period."

"Very interesting indeed," said Colonel Tomlinson, "but did you never
hear anything of your man, or trace him at all?"

"Never, not a trace could we find. But this I say, I believe my sister's
night walking had something more than human in it."

"Divine Providence has many ways of helping us, Mr. Baines. I have
proved this many times," and Colonel Tomlinson briefly recounted the
particulars of the three trials with which the tale commences, as an
illustration.

When the colonel had ended, Captain Oliver spoke.

"I scarcely understood, Mr. Baines, that signal of yours. I should have
thought it would have been better to have attached a wire to the trigger
of a gun, so that in case of alarm it might be more certain."

"Oh, my dear sir, we did not lose sight of this, but I did not explain
it fully. If we knew that any number of blacks were in the neighborhood,
there was another wire which was attached to a large bell, and the mere
tug of this wire by our patrol released this alarm, and it made a
tolerable row, I assure you. Then in case of sudden surprise the
revolver was fired, but we trusted more to our wire alarms than anything
else, and I never knew them to fail."

"How long did you keep up this move," inquired the young man, who may as
well be introduced more fully here as Mr. Wright.

"About two years," replied Mr. Baines; "we were new chums then, and
there was not a neighbor nearer to us than eight miles. But gradually
others came and settled along the road and we grew more indifferent
about danger, and so the watch was relaxed, first a little, then an
other hour was taken off, and at last we ceased to set a watch at all.
How now, Hermit?"

The man referred to had been beckoning to his master; he stood at the
window which was the only lookout from this room, and holding in his
hand a small parcel tied up with rushes, said: "Master, this thrown over
fence panel. I went down to lock rails in, and there it hung, tied on by
these things. I thought I'd bring it on."

"By George," said Captain Oliver, "here's an adventure, Baines. Perhaps
a love token, who knows?"

"Far more likely a little bit of black business," said Colonel
Tomlinson, "I knew them to do such things when I was commandant of the
troops at Brisbane. I will give you an incident of this kind presently;
but let us see, Mr. Baines, the contents of this singular mail bag."

Mr. Baines held it still in his hand looking at the parcel, and turning
it over and over. It was about four inches long and three inches in
breadth, a piece of old plaid being the wrapper, which was tied with a
green rush twisted. But for the latter anyone might have passed such a
package without much notice, but being tied up and also tied to the slip
rail, it evidently was meant for some one, yet there was no kind of
direction upon it.

"I suppose," said Mr. Baines, "I suppose I had better open it. Certainly
I never saw this scheme before. Hermit, did you see any sign of
strangers about?"

"None at all, not a sound did I hear, and I am pretty sharp in that way,
master."

"I know you are," replied Mr. Baines. "Well here it is, up and at them
as the Duke is reported to have said." He drew out his knife and cut the
rushes as he spoke, and slowly unfolded the plaid envelope. This was
found to contain a second wrapper of red serge, on opening which there
was a white handkerchief carefully folded up, which being spread out a
name was seen in one corner--"Oliver, 90th Regiment."

"In for it again, Captain," said Colonel Tomlinson, in a laughing
jocular tone, "I never did see your equal for the mysterious. But what
lady you can be acquainted with up here is beyond all knowledge. One of
the old speculations, I suppose, turned up in a wonderfully unexpected
corner."

The captain was holding the handkerchief in his hand as Colonel
Tomlinson spoke, and there was a merry twinkle in his eyes as if he
understood the allusion, but before he could reply a bullet struck him
down. He fell into the arms of his friend, while Mr. Baines and Mr.
Wright rushed out to the door, where, from the smoke, it was evident the
shot was fired. Here they found Hermit struggling with the assassin, but
ere they could help him the shepherd was levelled to the ground by a
heavy blow, and the stranger, nimbly bounding off the verandah,
disappeared. Mr. Baines returned to the room to get his gun which was
always kept loaded. He fired in the direction which the intruder had
taken, but without effect. Captain Oliver was laid upon a sofa. Colonel
Tomlinson examined the wound, a pistol shot, entering the shoulder close
to the blade bone, a portion of which was splintered causing exquisite
pain, but the colonel, who had had some experience in gunshot wounds,
pronounced it to be comparatively trifling. There was no chance of
procuring medical aid nearer than Drayton, and this was somewhat
uncertain. But who was to go? Mr. Baines was loath to leave his wounded
guest, to despatch Hermit to the inn for the stockmen was impossible,
for he would have to run the gauntlet of a host of enemies. This was
evident by a tremendous yell which made the darkness of the night still
more of a calamity to them. It was plain that the blacks were the
assailants, and even now they might be on their way in a mass to follow
up the successful blow which one of them had struck. The housekeeper who
was standing by the wounded man holding the dish of water with which
Colonel Tomlinson was bathing the wound, dropped the basin immediately.
She had heard the same horrible shout once before. The ladies who had
retired to rest were also aroused by it, but Julia, who was very tired,
was easily quieted by the assurance that there was no real cause for
alarm.

"Well this is far from pleasant, I must say," said Mr. Baines. "Never
mind, they shall learn the way to spell pepper before they go away. Load
away, Hermit, we may need it before morning. Come on, Mr. Wright, every
one must be enlisted in this warfare. Mrs. Johnson, is your old courage
gone? You handled Brown Bess once as well as I can. We may want you
again. Courage, courage, there, gently now."

Whether the good squatter was speaking to himself in some of this random
talk, no one seemed to notice. But Mrs. Johnson replied, "I am ready now
Mr. Baines. Bless my heart, I was very foolish to feel so; it startled
me for a moment, for though we had just the same alarm once before, I
never wanted to be present at another fight, but every bush woman must
be a soldier in the hour of need."

"Well said, Mrs. Johnson," said Colonel Tomlinson. "I think our friend
will do now till we can get a doctor. With such as you, madam, we will
give them a hard time of it, ere we say die."

"I believe ye, colonel," replied Mr. Baines, who, with Mr. Wright and
Hermit, had been loading all the firearms. They were rather a formidable
lot. Six double-barrel fowling pieces, three of Colt's revolvers, two
single barrel guns, and three large horse pistols.

"And now for the Beauty, Hermit, and while I load her you go and
reconnoitre," said Mr. Baines.

But he was not to load the Beauty, which was a small brass cannon, nor
was the house to be attacked, for Hermit returned after a lapse of about
five minutes, and reported the retreat of the blacks, at least twenty
torches wore gone over the hill he said, and he could see many others
with those who bore these lights.

"Now, master, if you please," continued Hermit, "give me note to Tommy,
I ride over with it now, and he go for doctor, while I and Dick take on
sheep in morning."

"Right you are," replied Mr. Baines, "go, saddle your horse, and the
note shall be ready. In the meantime, gentlemen, it will be necessary
for us all to be on the alert. Your daughter, colonel, is a sound
sleeper. She does not appear to have been alarmed much."

"I am thankful she has not," replied Colonel Tomlinson, "these are not
scenes for women folk."

"Yet they have plenty of it in the bush, colonel. It is well for them to
be inured to it. Ah, Hermit! ready, my man? Here's the note. Now ride
like Johnny Gilpin, but don't lose your head."

"Or my wig either, master, though these blackfellows not like those
devils I have read of in America."

"Bad enough, bad enough, Hermit, if you give them a chance, and are fat
enough."

"Ah! then, master, I only lean 'un," and with this unusual amount of
merriment, off he rode.



CHAPTER XIII.--LEYTON STATION.


Upon an undulating tract of country near Toowoomba, there is a station,
which has been the means of adding many thousands of pounds to the
coffers of two squatters, who have been in turn the proprietors. It is a
pretty place and though there is much that is very beautiful, yet the
scenery on three sides of it is quiet rather than romantic or grand.
From the back of the house there is a most magnificent prospect, the
view being from the range to the seaboard. The house is substantial,
with offices en suite, good stables and stores, with roomy wool sheds,
stock keepers' huts, a large and well stocked garden, and several
paddocks, all well fenced, and plenty of water.

It is morning when we drive up to the house by a well-gravelled, road,
which has been laid out with considerable taste amongst some fanciful
flower beds cut out of the well-kept grass lawn. Of course we alight.
Who that goes to Leyton Station would be allowed to depart without
having a substantial proof of the hospitality of its owners, and the
best of it is, that breakfast is just on the "tapis," and we happen to
be just in time. The 'we' in this case, however, included the owners,
who had been upon a visit on the past evening to a station about four
miles away. Not to an evening's select party, although they spent a very
pleasant time there, but the secret of the matter is this, the station
belonged to a certain Colonel Tomlinson; they had received a letter from
him to say he was about to start from Sydney, and there was a certain
inkling of curiosity, and perhaps something else, which led Messrs
Stewart and Argyle to wish to know some further particulars. Accordingly
on the past evening, they had gone over to Burnham Beeches.

It would be very easy to understand what they heard there, even if we
were not in the secret. Half an hour after they returned, six horses
were saddled and equipped for a journey, and six riders, booted and
spurred, were discussing the route they should take.

"They cannot be at Grey's before to-morrow night, James, even if they
were all good riders."

"Agreed David," replied his partner, "but what should hinder us from
going on? They are all strangers, and I should like to know that they
are safe at home."

"Safe, sir," said one of the four stockmen, "there is a report that the
old rascal Eagle Hawk is prowling about just below the range. If he is
there, that devil of a woman is not very far off, I warrant, and
wherever she is there are a hundred black-skins at least."

"Don't call her devil," replied Stewart. "She may be wicked, selfish,
cruel, even devilish, but she is yet, like ourselves, human. Who knows?
something might be done with her."

"Beg your pardon, sir," replied the man, "but that creature, sir, she is
a regular stunner. Once see her fight, 'tis a caution. By the powers,
master, if that is not Brown from Burnham, coming in at the gate."

Both Stewart and Argyle arose, and went out to the verandah, and in less
than a minute a rider galloped up; it was Brown the overseer. He threw
himself off his horse--this is the regular phrase, although to perform
this feat would be hazardous enough to risk the breaking of some bones:
rather more tame perhaps, is the description, but it is quite correct to
say he alighted from his horse, which is in strict agreement with the
supposition that he did not fall there from, but stepped down upon his
feet. What a lot of words about a most commonplace action, and all the
while Mr. Brown has been kept waiting. Quite right too, for he has need
of a little breathing time; he and his favourite black mare have had a
rapid run over that four miles between Leyton and Burnham.

"How now, Brown," said Stewart, as he grasped the man by the hand, "we
were over at Burnham last night, and expected to see you, but Mr.
Sinclair told us you were away for two or three days."

"So I was, Mr. Stewart, but I came home very early this morning to hear
bad news."

"Bad News!" All of the four stockmen had now come out of the breakfast
room, and they spoke all at once, "Bad news! What is it?"

"Why, the colonel and his party were on their journey--you knew they
were coming, Mr. Stewart. One of them is shot."

"Shot!" exclaimed Stewart and Argyle, both in the same breath. "Who is
it?"

"I don't know," replied Brown: "I did not see him, but a man was sent
from Helidon to get some medical advice. You know, perhaps, that Jack
Reeve, as he is called, is rather clever in bone setting and that sort
of thing. Well he lives somewhere over by the swamp near the red soil
yonder. However, to make a long story short, two men came for Jack
Reeve; one is gone back with him, and the other came on with a note for
Mr. Sinclair. This states that a gentleman, one of their party, has been
shot, and, that in consequence, they may not arrive for some days. Mr.
Sinclair said you were going down to meet them, and I said I would ride
over with the news. There, now you have it. I was afeared I should not
have caught you."

"Ah, neighbor Brown, why was you afraid?" said Stewart.

"Oh! man alive," replied Brown, "I was an unmarried man once. I know all
about it, Master Stewart. Excuse me, I don't mean to be personal you
know, but I wish you much happiness, sir, when it do come. My old woman
and I--"

"Nonsense, Brown," said Stewart, interrupting him, "why I don't know the
lady in the least."

"But I do, sir, and Master Sinclair and me have been putting our figures
together, and have arrived at the sum total."

"And what is that, Brown?"

"Why, Miss Tomlinson, sir, is a very nice young lady, that is the state
of the weather, Mr. Stewart."

"Ah, ah!" said Argyle, "I did not know that you were a matrimonial
agent, Mr. Brown, but 'tis too bad to leave me out in the cold."

"No fear, no fear, Master David," said Brown, "no fear of that long
either. The Downs will be alive with the female sex afore long. But,
bless me, I had forgot what I come about."

"Come in to breakfast, Brown," said Stewart, "that is the best thing you
can do. In half an hour we should have been off."

Brown was soon doing his share at the breakfast-table, where jokes ran
along at the same time. In this amusement they were abundantly aided by
the arrival of two black boys who brought up some pack horses, one of
which was to accompany the projected expedition.

Black Bill was the elder of the two, he was an African, woolly-headed of
course, but very far from being woolly-brained; of this there is no sort
of mistake. "He was a first rate fellow, this Black Bill was," so Mr.
Brown greeted him, and Black Bill replied, in his grinning way, "Sich a
faithful dog, massa." His master, James Stewart, had called him so once,
when he saved the young squatter's life, his horse having bolted and
Black Bill having caught him by the bridle just as the horse was rushing
towards a thick brush of young underwood and small trees, against which,
had he been dashed, Stewart must have been killed. Never was such an
action more cleverly done, the black boy, at the imminent danger of his
own life, actually faced the horse, dashed at the bridle, caught it,
turned the horse's head completely round, and then in an instant noosed
him with a piece of rope he had in his hand, and, skipping round a tree,
bailed the horse up as completely as if he had been stalled with a
halter in the stable.

The 'faithful dog' was also a thorough station hand, a fearless rider,
apt at mustering, clever in tracking, and exceedingly shrewd in
suggesting in cases of difficulty. The way in which he mustered his
horses this morning would have called forth the admiration of any who
witnessed the performance. "Hi," said Bill, with a stockwhip explosion
on the right hand, and to the left they swerved round in a gentle curve
"Ho," again went the command, and straight ahead was the order of their
march. "Whe-e-e Jih, and a hi," and round they turned to face their
general, just as soldiers clap their hands at a certain signal when on
parade. Black Bill prided himself about these horses, and they seemed
equally as fond of him. He had a peculiar call or whistle for each, and
they always came at the given signal. He had a most unaccountable sort
of creed about this species of animal, but let him speak for himself,
his own words will best describe it. Most opportunely also, the very
question was put to him as he bustled upon the verandah and stood at the
keeping room door.

"Sich a faithful dog, massa," said blackee. "Jeroosalem!"

"How about the horses, Bill," said his master, "are they all right?"

"Yes, massa, tey be all right, good temper, go well, carry you away and
home again."

"Ah! how can you be sure of that, Bill?"

"Never be sure about anything in this life," said Stewart.

"Sure about tat, massa," was the reply, "him Bobby tell me so.
Jeroosalem, 'tis fact!"

"Tell you so; he does not speak, how do you know?"

"Look you here, master; long time ago, I take tese hosses; I look after
tem; I give tem food; I take tem to water; I rub tem down; I put on
saddle; I ride tem. Waal I tink I know tese hosses pretty well; agam tey
know me. So I begin to teach tem, and tey teach me, and so we both learn
together. Jeroosalem! tey be good hosses."

This has been a digression, but it has served to introduce the darkies.
It did not take them long to pack sundry swags upon the horse they had
brought up, nor was the starting delayed. In about an hour the whole
party, armed to the teeth, were fairly started accompanied by Brown,
whose way home for three miles was along the same road.



CHAPTER XIV.--SHADOWS COMING NEARER.


Before Hermit had reached the slip-panel he was summoned back by a
cooey. Mr. Baines spoke to him: "Hermit, my man, you told me this
morning that you would not take the sheep up to Mr. Sinclair's station.
This gentleman, Colonel Tomlinson, wants you to ride over to his station
with a note. He will not be able to go on for a day or two at least, and
they are expected; the people will be alarmed and trouble may arise. Now
my plan is, let Tommy go for Jack Reeve--that is the doctor, colonel,"
said Mr. Baines addressing Colonel Tomlinson, "a strange name, but he is
very useful at times. Well, Hermit, I was saying, let Tommy go on for
the doctor and Dick to Burnham, he knows the place which you don't, and
you drive the sheep up the range, and Dick can meet you on the road as
he returns, and then you can go on together. You can't refuse."

"No, master, I do it. I not intend to go out this district until I left
colony for good, and I leave soon as my time up." Hermit said these
words in a low muttering tone of voice, looking on the ground.

"That will serve us then admirably," said Colonel Tomlinson "Many thanks
to you, Mr. Baines, and you, my good fellow, when you want a good turn,
recollect that I shall be in your debt."

The note was soon written, and again the shepherd started on his
journey. The moon was lighting up the eastern sky, and soon rose bright
and clear, she was on the wane, and Hermit was thereby enabled to push
along faster, and in about an hour he reached the hut, where the two
stockmen were wrapped in profound slumber. Not so profound, however,
were the dogs, for Hermit heard their furious barking a full mile before
he reached the station. Ever watchful they heralded his approach even at
that distance and had he been on foot as a stranger it would have gone
hard with him. But dog-like they soon recognised the horse, then the
rider seemed to be an acquaintance, and then they were sure of it, and
finally, as Hermit knocked at the door of the hut, all the dogs were
upon terms of the greatest friendship with the shepherd. Perhaps his own
dog was the mediator or the censor, it matters not which, it is certain
that he walked composedly through the whole company of dogs.

The stockmen were soon aroused, the tale was told, the fire lit, and a
cup of tea preparing, while the men chatted over the night's work and
made their preparations.

"Who could it have been, Harry?" said Tommy, addressing the shepherd.

"Well, I have notion 'twas some of the blacks," he replied.

"I never know any of that sort do sich a thing," said Dick, "'tisn't
like 'em at all."

"Where could they get a revolver either? tell me that, Harry," said
Tommy.

"I think some them New South Wales blacks got them things," replied
Hermit. "I hear so."

"Well it is a rum start," said Dick. "I only wish we had been down
there, Tommy. Only to think that we should have been away the only night
when there was any fun."

"Not much fun," said Hermit, "if you seed the fellow who shot gentleman
would have made blood run cold."

"What was he like, Hermit?" inquired Tommy.

"Like? What he like? Why like--I don't know what he like."

"Ha! ha!" shouted both the stockmen, "why he did it himself, that's what
he did. Why, man, there's blood upon you. Look!--on your coat."

It was all said in jest, but the momentary pallid countenance and vacant
manner betrayed a guilty conscience. This soon passed away, and perhaps
it was to put an end to the conversation that Hermit said he would go
and fetch the horses while the men snatched a hasty meal. This did not
occupy long, and fully equipped, both of them rode away.

Hermit listened to their shouts as they galloped along the bush track
which led to the main road, but soon these were hushed in a silence
which might be felt. Literally there was not a sound. Hermit had the
universe of his circling thoughts all to himself. He lighted his pipe
and sat down in a half reclining posture at the door of the hut. No
sleep was there for him tonight, he felt sure of that, and this was
enough to loosen the reins of his thoughts. Scenes long vanished, almost
forgotten, rose up before him, were portrayed upon the living canvass of
his brain, and then dissolved into others coming like shadows, and so
departing. Never to return? Far from this, they could not be forgotten.

Hermit was soon in the vortex, and his thoughts were carrying him into
its most profound depths. Round and round he was whirled, mentally
looking at the one great centre of his life. He tried to get outside
this charmed circle, but found it impossible. Think he must, he could
not help it. Why was there such an unaccountable impression on his mind
when he refused to go with his employer's sheep? He could not tell. All
he knew was, something said "don't go."

Thus he began a lengthened soliloquy, which, after a while, broke out
into audible thoughts. "She was staunch for all that--Poor creature, how
she blamed me, and raved out 'God's curse was on me.'--The child slept
sweetly through it all.--How I was foiled.--Fool, ah! ten thousand fools
I was to venture.--And all for what?--I tell you you'll not find
it.--You awful imp, you evil tempter of my life, you false deceiver,
what I got by listening to ye!--And still ye plague me.--Night after
night I tried to drive ye away. I cried out go.--But all ye did was to
put the word into your devilish mouth.--Every hill, every tree, I have
seen swarming with eyes, and every eye seemed to be your's mocking
me.--Oh! let me alone--why will ye persecute me thus? You tell me you
want me, do ye?--There is one who still prays for me.--Do ye see her? ye
do, I know ye do, for you are going, going, now you're gone.--Thank
heaven all is not lost yet! Pray, pray!"

The old man knelt, but there was no sound; he bent and bowed as if in
prayer but his lips moved not, but he realised for the moment more than
can be described. Until the power of young Jacob's vision at Bethel is
understood, and multitudes can and do feel its power; until the meaning
of the ladder which was set on earth, whose top reached to heaven,
becomes a sublime reality in the portfolio of a life's understood
pictures; until the set of angels ascending and descending upon the
ladder is a daily, hourly creed in the spiritual life, and we can see
ourselves in the sleeping wanderer, we shall never understand the
subdued and solemn serenity, which the power and presence of holy prayer
personified in the act of another, and realised by this man as something
undescribably peaceful stealing over his mind--produced on him who was
now prostrate on the ground. It was a fit prelude to an eventful day.



CHAPTER XV.--A SIESTA AND ITS RESULTS.


Hermit was half way up the range, driving the two thousand sheep before
him, before he encountered anything human. Anything! Yes; it is a
curious phrase is it not? It is strictly colonial, for, in the
estimation of many people, blacks are not persons but things.

Blacks they were which the shepherd met and many of them and in this
manner: It was noon time, the day was very hot, the road very dusty;
Hermit was weary, so were the sheep; he was hungry, so were they. A
little patch of scrub presented an inviting spot for a resting place,
and as the man naturally took advantage of it the sheep followed so
excellent an example. It was feeding time for the biped, and this was a
strong inducement to halt; and as he finished his very simple meal he
was tempted to lie down, then he closed his eyes, and then came the
inevitable forty winks, and on to the forty a few more of the same
soothing quality. How long he slept he know not, but it is certain that
he awoke with a sense of terror, started up in haste, rubbed his eyes,
then shouted "hallo," and finally ran very fast towards his sheep, which
were flying along the road at a very rapid rate in the direction they
had come. "What could be the matter with them?" He soon saw more than he
wished to see. At least a dozen blacks, so he calculated, but in fact
there were but six, had seized as many as half a dozen sheep, and were
in the very act of slaughtering them. They were hungry, as human beings
generally manage to be after an interval of five or six hours abstinence
from food. There were nearly a hundred of their tribe as hungry as they,
and they saw no more harm in the act than the owner of the sheep would
have felt if he had successfully hunted down a kangaroo.

Hermit rushed towards the blacks, armed with an old pistol, his sole
defence; but as he reached a part of the road from which a broad and
very deep gully led off into the romantic fastnesses of the great range,
there was an object which, for the moment, transformed him into the
rigidness of a statue.

It was a woman, and this is the best description that can be given of
her. She was too handsome for a Meg Merrilies, too well dressed for an
aboriginal. Not that the material of the dress was particularly good,
but the neatness and taste with which it was adapted to her figure
compensated for the absence of quality and texture in the garment.

"You here?" said the startled man, "you here? I no thought of meeting
you again, Mogara."

"Why not," said the woman, "did zoo get anything but kindness from us?
White men zoot my people. We zelter many in trouble." She spoke with a
very strong accent, and very similar to a Frenchman who attempts to make
his wants known in the English tongue.

"True, Mogara, true, you have, I know. You did me kindness I never
forget; but not all," continued Judd, for it is necessary now to cut off
the assumed name, "not all, Mogara, like you."

"Why zoo zay zo. Look here," said the woman, and she cooeyed as she
spoke; it was a sharp cry repeated three separate times, and in a minute
the whole tribe of more than a hundred blacks, fully armed, closed
around her, encircling the shepherd also in the ring which they fell
into, in as regular an order as a regiment of soldiers. Judd looked
round him with considerable anxiety, but he knew his only course was to
remain perfectly quiet. It was the color of their skin which produced
the sense of fear, the same number of white men would not have given him
the slightest uneasiness. But they also knew him, and testified their
pleasure in meeting him again by signs of childish delight. They
laughed, and jumped, and pointed to him, speaking with the utmost
rapidity one to another. Judd understood them well enough, and he knew
that the only thing he had to fear was that of compulsory detention,
though this would, he also knew, be of a friendly character.

Here it is necessary to retrace our steps. Judd, as the convict, was in
reality stunned helpless, and frightfully wounded, all but dead, when
the blacks surprised the boat's crew at Breakfast Creek. The blacks
glanced at him, felt his skin, found he was warm, raised him on a
temporary litter of boughs, and he was quickly borne away to the camp.
He there soon recovered the use of his mental faculties, and under the
careful nursing of Mogara his wounds healed, and he became quite strong
again. Mogara watched over him with the utmost care, supplied his
necessities with the best that they could obtain, and so great a
favorite did he become with Eagle Hawk and others, that they were ready
to hunt, fish, or do anything that Mogara suggested as requisite for his
comfort.

In return for this, Judd had nothing but thanks to give, but the blacks
asked no more. He had been in distress, a captive; they found him
helpless, afflicted, bereft of his senses, and they treated him with
rough sympathy and kindness.

But with this there was planted in the heart of the half-caste woman who
reigned over the tribe, a liking which very soon ripened into the
strongest affection for the captive. For various reasons, some of which
will appear presently, this affection, though in a measure reciprocated,
yet brought with it corresponding difficulties, and after a residence of
nearly a year with the tribe, Judd contrived to escape. Search was made
for him; he was tracked as far as the Pine River, but there the traces
were lost. It was impossible for the tribe to forget him, for nearly
every one of them owned something which he had made for them. He also
taught them various little arts of cookery; he made garments of kangaroo
and opossum skins, shoes or sandals of leather which he taught them to
tan, bows and arrows, rough stools and seats, and when ill he watched
over them, set several cases of broken bones, and bound up and treated
successfully severe wounds. Why did he run away? A morbid dread of being
retaken was the first reason; love, intense love of liberty, the second;
and a third, and this had grown stronger than ever, the revenge of his
nature, which was not yet satisfied. At times he watched round the
Government depot, but there was no chance there of the fulfilment of his
desire. At length he wandered away toward the spot where he fixed his
hermit home. Here, for nearly ten years, he dwelt alone. All through
that weary time insatiable revenge held possession of his soul. The word
seemed one night to echo from the rocky roof and floor of his outcast
abode, as he sat in the moonlight at the entrance musing over the past.
Nor could he assign a reason. Till that moment he had not given himself
one moment's anxiety about the righteousness of the spirit that lurked
within him. But ere he laid himself down on the rocky floor of his glen
home that night, and it was midnight before he did so, he knelt down to
pray. From that hour, Judd resolved that as soon as an opportunity
occurred, he would forsake his hermit life.

In the shepherd's hut to which that resolution led he found a Bible, and
in the Bible a simple tract. To what great results a little incident
leads. This tract was entitled "I Don't Care." The title startled,
interested him. He read the first paragraph, folded the little work, put
it in the Bible, and instinctively turned to the chapter in Matthew
which gives us the beautiful and comprehensive prayer, called, in its
severe simplicity, "Our Lord's." That prayer passed his lips ere he laid
his head on the pillow, and with it there went up another earnest
petition, "help me to make restitution for the past." From that hour,
this was the chief of all his thoughts. Step by step the stern man was
made humble as a little child; but a painful experience had to be
endured ere the great object of his desire was accomplished.

As he met Mogara therefore so unexpectedly, and to him, so unwillingly,
all the past with its horrors flashed upon him. So hard and corny does
this sort of fetter make the heart, that immediately the book of the
past opened before him, and as he read in an instant of time his
disastrous life, that life, Dagon like, fell down before his renewed and
holier desires, but the man feared as entered into the cloud. Was he
never to hear the last of this, "Ah! Judd, this cloud has a silver
lining?" But though the old life fell down as tributary to the new
principle, which was now operative within him to a very limited extent
as yet, still the recollection of his iniquity appalled and troubled his
spirit, opened all his old wounds, raked up his bitterness of soul, and
threatened to overwhelm him in the vortex of evil which had resulted
from one false step.

"Look here," said Mogara, pointing to the circle which surrounded Judd,
"all these are your friends, come and live again with us."

"But the sheep? They not mine, they belong to my employer," replied
Judd. "I deliver them to place far away, every one lost I pay for. Is it
kind to take those you kill?"

A low murmur of displeasure arose as Judd spoke. They knew that he
alluded to the sheep, for he pointed in the direction where they were
lying, and spoke with vehemence, still tightly grasping his pistol in
his hand. But Mogara, speaking in the native tongue, soon quieted them,
and Judd now addressed them in the same language.

"I white man--you black,--I love my tribe--you yours. Right, good [Loud
expressions of approval]. I want to find white man who do me wrong--I go
seek him--I leave you--Go on foot many day--I no find him."

Here he paused to see the effect which his speech had made. But they
said, "Go on, we hear," and the most reticent statesman never concealed
his feelings better than these poor simple creatures.

"Well," said Judd, "I no find him. I hear that he shepherd, I try find
him, I find no track, I never see him, not one moment, so I turn
shepherd too--I wait my time--so I leave you. You understand?"

They did understand, very literally. They would go and find out his
enemy. They would track him out. Only let them know who he was, where he
was, and they would kill him. Many a nulla nulla was dashed upon the
ground in the imaginary slaughter of so many imaginary foes, and spears
were brandished, the war cry yelled. At this moment, Mogara, with
feelings of disappointment and rage upon her countenance, mingled with
indications of marked intelligence, which so distinguished her from the
natives, advanced towards Judd, and, seizing him by the arm, cried out
to the blacks, "Hold; let me speak to thiz one. Stay, all of zoo, I
command zoo, where zoo are."

Instantly the hubbub of native rage and fury, which is easily raised and
almost as easily quelled, ceased, and every man and woman (for there
were many gins amongst them) sat down on the ground, awaiting in perfect
silence the result of the interview. Mogara beckoned Judd a little way
apart from the blacks, but within sight of them, and thus she spoke:
"Henry, I vowed many years ago that every white man who crozzed my path
zood die. I have stood to zee my tribe zhot, and have not been able to
prevent it. My moder and I were deceived, cast out by white man; my
tribe hunted from one place to anoder; driven like dogs before thoze who
boazt of white skin, and claim a right to perzecute zee black man. There
are laws to protect white men, none for ze black; laws to punish black
men, none to protect. If we are zhot, there iz no one to charge the
mankiller and bring him to justice. Henry, the blood of my tribe iz on
the heads of white men; we have zworn to avenge it. I zaw zoo when the
Great 'Pirit, he took away zour zoul. I watched over zoo many days. Ah,
how I watch! Rest quiet nursing, give zoo health again, and then zour
zoul came back. Zoo looked on me one morning, and zoo zaid, 'Mogara.'
How zoo know my name?" She paused for a reply.

"I not know," said Judd, after a momentary thought. "I suppose I heard
it."

"Heard it!" resumed Mogara. "No, only once; zoo were raving when I
stooped and whispered in your ear, 'Tiz Mogara,' just as I used to zay
it to--No; I won't name the villain."

For a moment the woman was changed into a fury; but this passed away,
and she continued her harangue.

"No, Henry, zoo only heard it once, and never after, but zoo zaid
'Mogara.' How did zoo know my name? The Great 'Pirit taught zoo to call
me 'Mogara.' I had zaid with my tribe that zoo zhould fight for life
when zoo got well; but from that moment I zay I will zave him--Henry, I
that had zaid I never look upon white man without horror. Yes; Mogara
heard zoo zay, 'Mogara,' and Mogara loved zoo."

A tear stood in her eye as she confessed her attachment to the man who
stood before her, with astonishment written upon his countenance. For
what a position was he in! He did not reply, and Mogara, resuming her
natural demeanor, continued in rapid and exciting words her declaration
of attachment.

"Yes, Henry, Mogara loved zoo. Zoo zay why? Why am I, who am so
different from those creatures yonder--why am I with them? I can only
zay I love them, rough, wild, outcast as they are. Yes, Henry, Mogara,
who was nursed in a cradle; who trod upon a carpet; who zat at table,
and can say she iz ze daughter of a white man; she leave all this and
become a wanderer. For what? One word gives the reason--revenge! Zoo
feel as I do; zoo breathe zame 'pirit; zoo have wrongs, so zoo told me,
as I have; zoo are an outcast, just as I am; zoo, a white man, are
homeless--a wanderer. I knew it, and yet I loved zoo. Again I say why?
Listen. In your ravings zoo called moder many times. That name I had not
heard for years. Oh, how sacred it was to me! 'Here,' zaid I, 'iz one
like myself, who can love;' never had I zeen one amongst white people
before. They were all cold, haughty, proud like myself. But zoo, when
zoo knew nothing about those who were around zoo, zoo called moder. 'He
has a moder, perhaps,' zaid I,' and he loves her,' and I loved zoo from
that hour. I listened for hours to catch the word again, and then zoo
zaid, 'Mogara.' When zoo left me I felt zo unhappy. I zeek zoo; every
where we watch; but we have not met zince that day."

"Well," said Judd, as the woman paused, "well, I had an object which I
could not accomplish with you. I was in danger, and if I had been taken
I might have been dead ere this."

"I know, I know," hurriedly replied Mogara, "but zee, zey are getting
impatient." She waved her hand toward the natives, who were assuming
indications of anger because of the lengthened interview. "I know,
Henry, but come back; join uz and zoo zhall be revenged. That done, I
will leave my tribe, follow zoo where zoo go; live for zoo, love zoo,
care for zoo until death. Decide, Henry, zour very life may depend upon
it."

At this moment a shrill cry similar to the beautiful call note of the
butcher bird startled the shepherd and roused the attention of the
woman. Judd knew it well; he had often heard it, and as he turned
towards the glen from whence it came, he saw his old friend Eagle Hawk
coming towards the place where he stood. At first he did not know the
shepherd, but it was very touching to witness the delight with which he
greeted him when he discovered that Judd was his long lost comrade. He
took him by the hand and kissed him; slapped him on the shoulder,
laughed and danced, then said "How you do; glad you come 'gen;" shook
hands again, and finally seating himself on the grass, invited Judd and
Mogara to do so also. The latter, however, excused herself, and walking
towards the rest of the tribe she spoke to them, and waving her hands in
a hurried manner appeared to be giving her commands to some and to be
scolding others, and finally dismissed them. In about two minutes they
had all disappeared from the scene, carrying with them the slaughtered
sheep to prepare for the corroboree, which was held that same evening.



CHAPTER XVI.--STRANGERS IN HERMIT GLEN.


We left the sturdy owners of Leyton station on their way to Helidon. For
some time nothing very material occurred, except an agreeable halt for
the equally agreeable occupation of lunch and rest. It was but an hour
that they spent in this duty, for although it was very hot, and an
additional hour or so would have been very acceptable to all, yet there
were some ominous clouds lurking around the horizon, and ere the
travellers remounted their horses distant thunder was heard. So far as
they knew there was no shelter from a storm nearer than a dozen miles or
so. Not that they were particularly anxious; they were too experienced
bushmen for this to trouble them, but no one likes a soaking, especially
if this proceeds from, or is accompanied with, such heavy thunderstorms
as are very common in Australia.

"On ye go, then," said Stewart, as he vaulted into the saddle. "Now,
Argyle, for a race."

"All right, James, as fast as you like," replied Argyle. "Lead the way,
if you know it; I'm bless'd if I do."

"And I'm blessed, Master Stewart," said one of the four stockmen, "if we
get down this cursed range before the water comes down. I know it well,
master, and something of the water that flows down these here water
courses. Bless'd if we shan't have to run for it, my word."

"Don't ye know of any place we can get to nearer than Baines'," said
Stewart, for it was very evident by this time that the storm, which was
rapidly drawing nearer, would be one of those which not only travel with
great rapidity, but are hurricane-like in their effect.

Black Bill, who had charge of the pack horse, heard his master's
inquiry, and famous for his inventive powers, he was at this time as
ready with a suggestion as he was generally with a quick repartee.

"Please, massa," said he, "please, 'tis me knows place hold all we."

"On to it, then, boy," shouted Stewart. "On to it; go ahead. Where is
it?"

"Hi, massa, hi; not 'bove half-mile."

"Drive ahead then, Bill, let the horses go, or we are in for it." The
roaring sound in the air was now distinctly heard which so often appalls
an observer around whom a similar storm is gathering. In the bush it
sounds most terrible, as if the trees were being swept away, and, in
fact, so awful are some of these sudden gusts of wind and storm, that
whole tracts of forest have been blown down, as if a roadway had been
cut by human hands. The storm signals had thoroughly excited the horses,
who needed no stimulating spur to urge them on. Onwards they dashed, as
if they were running for a life. As the reader may surmise, Black Bill
led the way to Hermit glen.

The darkey was the stockman who had stumbled upon the shepherd's
cultivation paddock, to which allusion has already been made. Under the
influence of a fit of curiosity, when he found this had been destroyed,
he began to track, and soon alighted upon the faint sign of a man's
foot, which, with immense ingenuity and perseverance, he tracked until
he found one impression in clay very plainly delineated. Still
continuing his tracking, he made another discovery--viz., Judd's abode
in Hermit Glen. "Who lived here?" mentally cried Black Bill, with an
audible "hi!" and this was followed by a very rude architectural
criticism upon the extraordinary character of the work.

"Tis child sartainly never did set eyes on a humpy like tis here; and
not a single crittur--no child, no noting, nor nobody near it. Tis child
has a smoke over tis."

So, lighting his pipe, as some more able and subtle philosophers do when
a sturdy question has to be unravelled, Black Bill smoked long enough to
leave behind him a fragrant perfume, which the very cautious proprietor
of this most original divan rightly interpreted to be the incense of
tobacco. As we have seen in a previous chapter, Judd, soon after this,
for other reasons, but mainly on account of this event in his history,
left Hermit Glen and became a shepherd.

But to return to our travellers. Black Bill, able and experienced as he
was as a tracker, once or twice missed the way, and it was not until
some half hour or so that he was able to pilot his master to the place.
By this time the storm had burst upon the whole range, and they got a
little of the expected wetting before they entered Mr. Henry Judd's
house.

The place was roomy enough, with its verandah-like projection in front,
which was built of strong saplings firmly imbedded in the earth, which
were covered with a thick mat of scrub running plants. Here they tied up
the horses under the shelter of the scrub.

"By the Lord Harry!" exclaimed Jack Williams, one of the stockmen, "I
never see'd a hotel like this. What's the sign, Billy?"

"No sign, sar, tat I knows of, but very good house, tat's clear to tis
child. Jeroosalem! very good!"

"Well, it is all that," said his master, "but who in the world could
have lived here. He was a clever fellow to have designed a place like
this."

"No one seems to have been here lately," said Argyle.

"But some one was here, Massa David," said Black Bill, "and he very
clever--he uncommon clever, I tink. Jeroosalem!"

"Why do you think so?" inquired Stewart.

"Why? Why, you say, massa? Now, I vill tell you," and forthwith he
related his adventure which led to the discovery of the place. It was
interspersed with opinions which garnished the narrative with a few
exaggerations; but then Black Bill, like all his race, had a strong
inclination towards the wonderful, and romance of any kind presented an
elysium in which he revelled.

A little piece of his humor may not be out of place. "You see, massa, I
knowed tat where tere was garden tere must be stomach to eat, and so
says I, 'Here goes to find te stomach.' It was not long before I find te
foot belonging to te stomach. Te foot was only a toe; but where tere was
toe tere must be foot, so down I sits and argues: If tis toe come here,
it's clear te foot come here too,' and so I began to laugh. I always
laugh, massa, when difficulty stares me in te face, and te difficulty he
no stand laugh; he grow angry and run away. So tere was very clear road.
Well, on tis clear road I travels; not a very easy road, till I comes to
scrub 'bove here. 'Hi!' says I, 'here's some hole or other 'bout here.
Why shouldn't I sniff, like dogs; tey sniff, you know, massa, so I began
to sniff, and say's I, 'Where te cow's tail disappeared te cow's head
went, tat's clear too.' Jeroosalem! Just as I was a considering tis here
deep problem, a sharp whistle come up to me. 'Ah!' say's I, 'you don't
catch me so. 'Lossophers,' says I, 'always pause and tink before tey
leap.' When, lo! before I had time to say 'Who comes here?' tere come
along a mighty rushing noise, wit a awful roar like--like a bullock,
tat's clear too, and out rushes a kangaroo. Jenny had been barking, and
now she make dash at brute, but I call her off, and where te kangaroo
come out, tere I go in; and, as I heard you tell Massa David, Massa
Stewart, te utter day, vinny, viddi, wincy. You said tat was, 'I come,
and I saw, and I conquer.' Jeroosalem! tat's clear too."

All this was uttered in broken English, of which only a few words in
this character have been inserted, but it is impossible to put into
words the pantomimic gesture and chuckling laugh with which the merry
fellow let his tongue run out into the most voluminous narration of his
opinions. Yet there was no cunning about it, he was as honest a follow
as he was really shrewd and funny.

"And now, massa," said he, as he finished his tale, "me make fire in old
man's stove; here he cook I see his kettle when I call, but no find him
at home. Werry bad manners, Mr. Jeroosalem, not be home to receive such
nobility visitors--werry bad indeed. No wood neiter. Well, I do declare,
wuss and wuss, and all de wood is wet I be sure, and de wet wood no
burn. Jeroosalem! how it tunder! Little of dat fire indoors now rater
inconvenient, tis child tinks. Jeroosalem! Hi! Ah!"

How many more periodical items he would have put to his speech cannot be
stated with any degree of certainty, for at this moment Jack Williams
came in with a small bundle of sticks, which Black Bill seized with a
very loud "Jeroosalem!" and in a few minutes a blazing fire made the
place look a little cheerful. A sound roof over one's head in a storm is
by no means a small treasure. This they had; and as they sat around the
fire, where the tea was soon brewing, everyone felt that they were
indebted to Black Bill for his foresight in providing such good
quarters.

Who that has passed a night amongst bushmen camping out will fail to
bear testimony to the free and easy manner in which the company settle
down for the night? There is a kind of freemasonry about the thing--a
charmed circle in which good humor and hospitable society prevail; pipes
and tobacco--the essential companion of each; something stronger than
water at times, but everlastingly tea in the billy; damper, hot, dusty,
but excellent, then the carefully spread blanket; the bright fire, the
tale, cut and dried, ever new, always acceptable,--all these and many
other accompaniments of the road make a camping out a very pleasant and
sociable sort of thing. To be sure, camping by oneself is rather
monotonous--rather so; and, besides this, there are inconveniences
attached to the lodging on the cheap; but "bless your heart," the
bushman will say to you, "what are they? I would rather have my soft
turf couch than any feather bed in the world." As may be expected, the
circle around the fire in Mr. Henry Judd's glen home was particularly
jolly; and, as the storm continued until dusk, and then, after a
temporary lull, returned again in the evening, a roof over their heads
was acceptable to all. Stewart related the beautiful story of Joseph and
his brethren, and it was interesting to see the eagerness with which
Black Bill drank in the inimitable narrative. Then Mr. Argyle told all
he knew about Whittington and his cat. The four stockmen each had their
tale of thrilling adventure in bush life, and lastly came the darkey's
turn.

"Well, sar," began Black Bill, after a few coughings and curious noises,
supposed to be the regular way of getting up the powers of eloquence;
"well, sars, I wish to observe tat once I and anoder was going long way.
It was in India we was going. We had to carry some letters, parcels, and
utter tings about twenty miles up country, and come back same night. We
got up all safe, and did to business, and ten says I to my mate, 'Now to
go back.' Says he, 'I vote we stay here.' 'No,' says I, 'we go back.'
'No,' says he. 'Yes,' says I. Whereupon he says, 'Upon your head let te
blame rest.' Says I, 'te moon he soon rise, and we can make a start and
get down to bungalow by tat time, so off we go. Well, sars, all went
well for a time; but presently I found my mate coming up close to me,
quite close. I bore against him, and over he went toder way; but very
soon I found him press hard against me, 'What are ye a-doing of,' said
I. 'Don't ye see,' said he, 'tis te devil.' 'Where?' says I. 'Tere,'
says he. 'I don't see him,' says I. 'Look behind ye,' says he. So I cast
my eye over my shoulder, and lo! what should I see but two great staring
lights glaring upon us like fire. 'Tis a tiger,' says I. 'No,' says he,
'is it now?' 'Tis very true,' says I, 'and he's arter one of us.' Where
upon he set up such a yell as I never heard afore, nor do I tink te
tiger had ever 'perienced such impolite company afore, for sartain it
is, he turned tail upon us, and, with a roar, he galloped off, to my
'mazing satisfaction. Now comes te fun, massa. My mate had no sooner
roared tan down he falls on his face, flat on to te ground, where he
kept up his terrible row. I can tell you, sar, he did make a noise.
Well, I went up to him, and put my hand on his shoulder. I suppose he
tought it was te tiger, for he screamed as if he was being eaten up
alive. Says I, 'Mate, come on;' and tereupon I seized him by his
breeches, which were very tin, you know--just as they wear tem in India.
I wanted to lift him up, but te breeches gave way, and down he went,
roaring again wit all his might. Tis time he sung out lustily, 'Te
tiger! Bill, Bill, te tiger!' Says I, 'You old fool; I'm no more tiger
tan you' Whereupon-sars it is a fact--he jumps up, and says he, 'Didn't
we do it well, Bill?' Says I, 'You're a fool, mate.' 'You're another,'
says he. I rater liked the title, so we didn't quarrel, and, after all,
got home safe. Jeroosalem!"

Now, the tale is nothing; most commonplace, some extra-wise individual
may say--no doubt will say. "Aw! haw! I can asaure you--haw!--most
unwikely; wevy unwikely indeed!" But it was the action of the darkey
that made the tale so interesting. Had there been a listener outside, he
would have understood the whole thing by the mere change of voice for
which Black Bill was so celebrated in describing a thing or event. Then
the language which he used was so musically descriptive, so quaint, so
broad, so negro like; and yet there was a polish about it which he was
fond of describing as "the nat'ral consequence of good breeding and
excellent society."

There was a listener outside soon after night-fall--a listener who had
so very intimate a connection with the place that he could not tear
himself away from it. Albeit he had no desire to intrude upon the
society who had made so free as to take up their abode in his house
without so much as a question whether they were welcome or not.



CHAPTER XVII.--THE STORM.


The interview between Judd and Eagle Hawk was not very long or
interesting. It chiefly related to old times; but the latter was really
angry when he reproved the shepherd for his unworthy act in forsaking
them. "Very bad; yes, very bad. Bad--no word about it; you go away. Very
bad." And the raging storm within was scarcely restrained with these
words.

Mogara appeared as if she did not hear what was passing between the two
men. She walked to and fro, pensively looking upon the ground, and
occasionally glancing up at the clouds, as peal after peal of thunder
attracted her attention. At length Eagle Hawk arose, and so did Judd,
and then Mogara came near. As she did so, she spoke:

"Henry, on the day zoo came to us, great thunder in the sky. There will
be great thunder again very zoon. We go to camp, where do zoo go?
Speak!"

"Mogara," replied the shepherd, "you speak true, there is great thunder
coming. If you tell me do anything, what you think if I not do it?
Speak; tell me."

"I think zoo not good," she replied.

"Very well, then. White man--nay, don't be angry because I say white
man--my master, then, tell me go drive those sheep long way. Suppose I
leave them, and not go, what he say to me? Will he call me good? Speak."

"No, no; not good. Zoo must go," was the reply. "But when zoo come
back?"

"In one, two, three, ten days--when moon come up there. Then, Mogara, I
come back."

"Good, good; go then. Stay; where zoo go? Never mind, never mind," she
continued, speaking with some forced composure, "never mind."

So saying, she turned away in the direction which the blacks had taken,
and, accompanied by Eagle Hawk, she was soon lost amidst the thick
forest.

Only for a minute did the shepherd remain where he had parted from these
two strange creatures. He gathered up his sheep quickly, and proceeded
to drive them towards a spot which he knew would afford shelter. Very
soon after the storm began, and Judd, knowing that his sheep would be
safe--for it was into what is called a blind gully that he had driven
them--determined to visit once more his old home. But before he could
reach the place the storm was at its height. Under such circumstances,
he was driven for shelter to an overhanging rock, beneath which he laid
until the deluging rain was over, and, when this was the case, he no
longer felt a desire to go to Hermit Glen, so he resolved to camp for
the night where he was. Very weary, wet, and hungry, and much disturbed
by the unexpected events of the day, he saw the sun go down in a mass of
angry clouds, and very soon after the blackness of darkness came on. He
had no fire, it was too wet to make one, and he saw and heard the storm
returning, to beat around him perhaps with increased fury. At all
hazards, now, he resolved that he would seek the shelter of his rocky
house. To traverse the space between the spot where he then stood and
Hermit Glen would have appalled the stoutest heart in such a storm as
was now gathering itself up into a central cyclone and very soon burst
over the devoted man's head. The deluging rain of the afternoon had
created mighty raging torrents of rushing water, but now these were
increased ad infinitum, and the roar of the several streams, as they
rushed onwards through the many channels which intersect this wild
region everywhere, was something fearful to listen to.

"What would become of the sheep?" There was no help for it, to attempt
to watch them was out of the question, and he had no dog. "I'll trust
them to Providence," said he, "and now for the old place, a fire, and
some tea."

Not a very faithful shepherd, some will say. Don't judge the man. If you
and I had been so near to a sound shelter, as Judd was, we might have
been tempted to follow his example. The storm which burst over the whole
country that night was the most awful tempest which had been known for
years. In one place nearly three miles of tall trees were levelled to
the ground, something like a terrific whirlwind passing through the
rest, and singling out these, wreaked its vengeance upon them. On
through this terrible tempest Judd pressed. Progress was, even to him,
who knew every foot of the country so well, frequently exceedingly
difficult. But in such circumstances he paused until a flash of
lightning came; thus he saw where to step, and onwards he sped his way.
One would have taken him for the weird monarch of those wild and
romantic regions, or for a spirit with his wand summoning his
attendants, or directing them amidst the awful storm. His head was bare
of any covering, for his cap had blown off, and he could not recover it,
and his whitened locks, scattered with the wind, though they were
saturated with the rain, gave him almost a supernatural appearance. He
had around him his bush sack or blanket--as good a specimen of a coat
without seam as can be imagined, and most useful for the purpose. His
fur garments he had discarded when he became a shepherd. His long staff
he used as a pioneer, feeling his way with it. Without this he had not
dared to venture upon so perilous an undertaking as that of endeavoring
to reach his old home. But every step gained was a new inspiration to
his spirit, and, as he reached the top of the tremendous ravine his old
habit of cheering himself with a song produced its wonted result. Within
two hundred yards of where he then stood was the place to which he was
bound.

The storm now was indescribably grand; the lightning was incessant,
columns of fire descended to earth every moment, chain lightning,
exploding into millions upon millions of brilliant sparks, and these
again apparently gathering together to form splendid spears of forked
electricity;--the scene, to one who was courageous enough to gaze upon
it was unrivalled by anything that can be imagined. Awful, too, were the
constant peals of tremendous thunder. There was no interval between
them, whilst the roaring wind, and the raging waste of waters which
poured down every declivity and dashed headlong into the dark recesses
of Hermit Glen, all united to make even this stout-hearted man tremble.
Judd stood and gazed upon it, not unmoved--this was impossible--but
still the wildness of the scene had its charm to him. An inspiration had
taken possession of his soul during his solitary sojourn in this
mountainous region. The idea may be termed romantic, but it is by no
means remarkable. Poetry is the language of retirement, but it is
gendered in wondrous stanzas amidst mountain scenery. Some may call this
expression fanciful, and it may lay a claim to such a nomenclature; but
it is real imagery--a phrase hardly demonstrative enough--yes, imagery
in which the soul undergoes a semi-new creation, catches the flame of
heaven's own altar fire, and, awe-struck some times, is thrown back upon
its own reflections, with the terrible and unanswerable question, What
doest thou here? sounding like a tempest, and then anon sinking into the
still small voice. Peering into the vault above, and into the abyss
below, the natural surface of real life, the unseen world is thus
realised, and some of its wonders are felt, and understood more and
better because the soul has risen in her soarings nearer to God.

Is it because the atmosphere is clearer, purer, brighter up there? Or
does the soul become or assume more of the etherial than as the tenant
of its mortal abode, like its prototype, gazing upon the eternal hills?
Something of both is the only answer to this question. At all events,
the most unpoetical mind that was ever launched forth into the stream of
actual life, in the person of Henry Judd, became an imaginative artist
of no mean calibre. Mountain life and solitude, deep thought, and an
existence which was unique, though utterly undemonstrative to the outer
world, had given to this man the sometimes inconvenient habit of
speaking his thoughts.

In his case, however, the habit frequently resolved itself into
communion with imaginative personages and, under exciting and excitable
circumstances, he exorcised his spirit so as to give utterance to his
thoughts in wild, piercing, declamatory songs. The words, beyond a
doubt, were original and incoherent--this was only natural to a mind
which was frequently unsettled and unstrung; but there was savage beauty
in the delivery of these songs. Judd had a magnificent bass voice of
great compass, and a self-taught but very artistic method of using it.
His agitato, diminuendo, and crescendo, ripening into solemn swells,
echoed back in this mountain glen from a dozen points, and increased the
power of his extempore songs; and though the only accompaniment was a
couple of pieces of hardwood technically called 'bones,' the execution
of the whole was worthy of an appreciative audience.

Standing on the brink of the chasm, which was now the bed of a raging
torrent, fearless of interruption, he gave utterance, in the height of
the storm to one of these incantation songs, which is here recorded us a
specimen of many which, impromptu, had gone forth from those
unprofessional lips.

Blow away away, ye fearful whirlwinds, blow!

Crack, crack! 'tis here, 'tis there, 'tis everywhere around!

See, see! the fiery spirit leaves the ground!

Where? There; 'tis down again! 'Tis He, 'tis He!

He calls, He speaks; I cannot, dare not flee,

Round, round this gloomy dell, His spirits dance!

Ah! ah! You laugh, but mortals dare not glance.

The Hand that gave you birth has sent you forth

From the far West, and from the ice-bound South;

Ye mingle here your sports, and wildly drown

All care, all sorrow, in this awful storm.

Blow, spirits, blow! with higher fury rage,

And, in your fiery gambols, fiercely blaze

Round--Ah! ah! the torrents, ah! ah!

And round again. "Again," the echo cries.

Crack, crack! 'tis here, 'tis there, 'tis everywhere around!

See, spirits, see! again He leaves the ground!

Spirit, I call: come hither, Spirit come;

Obey my will; come quickly, quickly come;

Ye will not leave your throne?

'Tis well, I go--Ah! What, louder still?

Blow, spirits, blow! Crack, crack! round, round,

A thousand times yet louder raise the sound.

Again! Ah! ah! again, and yet again!

See, now the rock is struck! Hark! There, 'tis down!

Cease, cease, ye spirits now, nor gambol thus;

The voice that spoke, yea, even cried, "Come forth!"

Has sent His summons; dare ye trifle now?

Avaunt, avaunt! 'tis time, 'tis time, its time ye'd done.

Speak ye to me of wrath, or is it thus ye tell

Vain, proud, but dying mortals of your power;

Your glory!--need it thus be sounded forth,

To make proud man adore ye?

Ah me! my heart, it sinks beneath the stroke.

Judgment sounds loud from yon vast blackened mass;

It speaks, it says, "The murderer must--"

No, spare! See, see, again! In mercy, mercy spare!

I dare not stay, and yet that awful voice

Can reach me where I dare to flee;

Where'er the vital air can give me life,

There is Thy voice. I bow, I kiss the rod;

And, as the gentle still small voice sounds sweet,

I bow, I worship low beneath Thy feet.

Strange admixture! The old man--for he was so in appearance, and nearly
so in age--in the commencement of his wild song, waved his staff as a
magician uses his wand, his body keeping time with the music, but
starting every moment into a new attitude, as alarm, awe, dread,
admiration, or veneration directed the tenor of his thoughts. Now he
danced, leaped, stretched out his hands as if imploring or commanding;
then he covered his face with his hands, as if he deprecated the solemn
and awful visitation which struck home to his very soul, till the song
at last burst forth into the character of a fearful maniacal laugh.

At this instant a terrible flash of lightning struck a part of the cliff
on the opposite side of the glen, and, in the blinding blaze of electric
fire, he saw that a great mass of rock, with several immense boulders
and a large tree, were torn away from the bank, and, with a heavy,
deafening crash, rolled into the raging flood. This incident seemed to
appall the man; it altered the character of his song into a plaintive,
melancholy strain, during which he bowed his head, then knelt, then
lower down he bowed, till, as he uttered the last note, nothing of his
figure was visible, for he lay, covered with his mantle, prostrate on
the rocky ledge.

It was a scene which would have made the boldest heart tremble, and, to
the poor agitated creature who lay prostrate on the ground, it
proclaimed a period of retributive justice to come. He had witnessed
many storms in this region, but not like this, and he shuddered under
the deep impression of his terrible guilt. He felt it to be a black,
foul blot, constantly remembered, deeply lamented, but not forgiven. For
two weary hours he lay on that bleak, wild, desolate spot, crushed,
paralysed. Only as the storm abated did he raise his head--gradually at
first, but as he regained his firm footing on the rocky floor which had
constituted his orchestral throne, his wonted courage returned, and only
pausing to throw off his blanket, which was saturated with the rain, he
turned towards his old dwelling.



CHAPTER XVIII.--OUTSIDE.


Slowly, pensively, Judd walked along thinking of the past, not a little
anxious about his present safety, and thoroughly undetermined about his
future course. He would have decidedly preferred immunity from
discovery, which he had so long enjoyed; but the interview with Mogara
threatened altogether to change his solitary condition into a constant
warfare with the tribe over which she reigned supreme. Supposing she
willed to renew the intercourse with him, he knew it must be, unless he
chose the alternative of flight to another district. This was all but
impossible. In this moody disposition he walked down the glen.

The storm was still raging fiercely elsewhere, and the lightning was
very vivid; but immediately above Hermit Glen the sky was clear, and the
stars were shining brilliantly. But in a momentary lull a loud ringing
laugh came echoing its original up the glen, so plainly human and so
near that the fountain of his blood seemed for a moment to stand still.
For years he had lived in this spot and not a sound had reached his
ears, save that which belonged to the created life, which is so varied
in the bush. The harsh cry of the dingo; the mournful knell of the
mopoke; the scream of the cockatoo; the sharp ringing call of the
numerous parrot tribe; the over-joyful song of the butcher bird; or the
shrill note of the goatsucker and coachman; these were common--as common
as the 'croak, croak, croak' of Mr. Bull-frog and his parliament of not
windy but watery members, ever reproaching, retaliating, courting, and
daring to court, scolding, and teaching; and if Mr. Henry Judd had been
asked the question, "Do frogs sleep?" he would have replied, "If they
do, it must be with their eyes open." First fiddle and second fiddle;
double bass and trombone; horn and trumpet; drums, double and single;
piccolo and violincello; organ and piano forte; soprano, alto, tenor,
and bass--very bass; all these engaged in giving unceasing illustrations
of Mr. Weather's proceedings, might possibly be considered as
constituting a very musical family if the taste of individuals ran in
that direction.

Judd would sooner have listened to any, or all of these combined, than
to that one hearty expression of glee. He started--sunk in an instant
upon the ground, where he appeared to be lifeless; but no ears could be
more attentive than his. Not a sound reached him; all seemed lifeless as
the glen, saving the numberless frogs and the distant thunder. "Was it
fancy?" said he to himself. "No, it was plainly man's voice, but where?"
The question troubled him. Was that voice that of a white or black man?
"White," he at once replied. As he was thinking over the subject, half
resolving to retrace his steps, the jovial party in the hut put some
additional fuel on the fire, which produced its inevitable accompaniment
of smoke, and the wind veering round at this moment, drove the smoke
directly towards the spot where the owner of the hut was watching with
all the solicitude of a sentinel. Upon seeing this, Judd decided upon
his course. Creeping with the utmost stealth back upon the path by which
he had come, he struck off upon a track which led to the top of the
great boulder which formed the roof of his hut. With the same caution,
measuring step by step as if his life depended on not being detected, he
at length reached the place, and actually stood above the heads of the
very men whose ruin and disgrace he had so foully plotted. Upon the top
of this immense stone he laid down with the utmost silence, and
gradually pushing his body forward, he attained a position by which he
could hear all that passed within the place, and actually see the fire
and the men lying on their blankets. Not a word escaped his wary ear,
but still he heard nothing which in the least concerned him. At length
the yarning, as it is called, like all other things, came to an end, and
general preparations were made for the night's repose. But ere Stewart
and Argyle turned in by mutual consent they turned out--that is, Stewart
went outside to see what sort of a night it was, and naturally enough
David Argyle followed. They were both smoking, and as they stood upon
the edge of an immense cliff, from whence they could look down upon the
surging waters, which were roaring and rushing in the rocky glen beneath
them, the light of the fire from within shone full upon their faces as
they stood looking up the glen, and Judd discovered who were the tenants
of his hut. A hundred emotions rushed pell-mell through his startled
brain; horror, vexation, fear, even revenge, started up like demons to
worry and torment him. An involuntary gasp escaped him, which attracted
the attention of the young men for an instant, but they, of course, were
in perfect ignorance of the near proximity of their mutual enemy. As may
be expected, the conversation at first turned upon the question of what
the weather was likely to be, and so on, but it finally merged into
heart breathings about past times. Days gone by never to return; pains
and penalties endured, recollected with gratitude for deliverance from
them; afflictions and losses which have humbled us. Ah! who has not some
chapter or two of such in the book of their life? Both these men who
were standing in the front of Judd's old house had theirs, and many a
time had the books been opened, and they had read to one another
therefrom.

Many an event less significant than that which took place this night has
been called providential, and rightly so, if we believe the Bible; and
if this is not believed, what else is there for poor human nature to
full back upon? Nothing; no, not an atom of light about anything beyond
the present life. Surely, then, it was providential in the highest
degree that the conversation between the two men took the following
turn.

"I think, James, you said that this Mrs. Welland is an old acquaintance
of yours?"

"Yes, David. I used to visit at her house in my earlier--I can hardly
say happier--days; for God has greatly over-ruled all my troubles for
good."

"Had she anything to do with our strange friend--our mutual Judas,
Stewart?"

"She had," replied the other; "but I am sure she was as innocent of
wrong to me as you are. There was always a strange mystery about that
man that I could not understand. My dear Argyle, I shall startle you by
saying she is his wife."

"His wife, Stewart! Judd's wife! You don't say so!" replied Argyle, in
astonishment. "When is the whole of that villain's history to be
revealed. How long have you known this?"

"From the very commencement of my great trouble, David," said Stewart;
"but until I received Colonel Tomlinson's letter I had no idea that this
Mrs. Welland was the woman. I knew her, of course, as Mrs. Julet."

"Why does she use the assumed name? Is she married again?"

"No. At least, I think not. In fact, David, I am safe in saying I am
sure she is not. But you and I," continued Stewart, "can imagine many
reasons why she should wish to shake off the recollection and the
association of a great crime."

"Or great crimes, rather," said Argyle; "for she must surely know
something about that villainy at Leyton. I don't think I shall like the
woman."

"Oh, nonsense, David, nonsense! You don't know her. If she was innocent
of all cause of offence in my case, I warrant she has no stained hands
in yours. She is the most gentle, kind, and loving creature I ever saw,
always excepting my own mother."

"Ah, James, that word mother!" replied Argyle, after a pause of a minute
or two in the conversation, during which their thoughts were coursing
past events with vigor. "That word mother; how it rings upon the
pavement of one's memory! I wonder if our parents know all that has
passed concerning us since they died."

"It is no wonder to me, David," replied Stewart. "I do not vouch for the
truth of the theory which has ever been strong with me, but I believe
that our loved ones are very near to us. Who can tell? They may even now
be ministers of good. If so, is it not delightful to think of a kind
father or mother always standing near to defend us?"

"But there are two sides to that idea, James. One can hardly fancy the
thing. Who would like to know that eyes were constantly gazing upon
every action they perform? There is something repulsive in the thought."

"Not at all," replied Stewart; "not at all. You will not deny that God's
eyes are upon us at all times. Well, is there more shame attached to any
action when the Infinite looks upon it than there can be when a created
being sees it? In fact, I believe, David, that in the future many of
those things which are objected to in this present state as being
immodest will be utterly unknown. Pure in heart, shame can have no place
in the nobility of a holy nature."

"Ah! that is a grand thought, James, if we can grasp it."

"Why not?" said Stewart. "Yon moon, now, for instance, shining so
brightly as she rises; look at it as I have, and try and innoculate the
thought into your system of imaginative economy that that beautiful
planet--I will call it so--is a living reality. Of course we know it is
not; but fancy, now, that Jupiter up there is the eye of the Infinite
gazing at you, would you feel any compunction in doing that which
Omniscience has arranged as the proper functions of your nature.
Understand me now--I refer to nothing which is sinful. To put the
thought into plainer words, is not one function of life as necessary as
the other?"

"Yes, perfectly so."

"Well, then, that which makes anything a shame which Omniscience has
ordained as indispensible to us is due to sin. Now, David, I come to the
point; in a future state I believe this will be abolished. Many
functions of life which are necessary to us now, will be unnecessary in
another state; but of some of these, even now, it may be added, 'Honi
soit qui mal y pense.'"

"Ah, James, you soar so high sometimes," said his companion, "that I
cannot follow you; but tell me, do you think that any eyes, save those
of Omniscience saw the murder of poor Rouse?"

"Do I think so! I have no doubt about it," replied Stewart. "Think you
your mother, your father, does not know of your calamity; and could not
they tell, if it were right they should do so, who struck that hellish
blow? You were to be tried, David, like me, and it may be in mercy you
were arrested at the very commencement of your vicious career--pardon
me, it might have turned out so."

"But what theory have you about your own case then? This arresting, as
you call it, at the outset of a vicious career, cannot apply to you,
James."

"Perhaps not in the same sense, David; but I read in my Bible that
Philip was sent down to the desert to meet the eunuch, Candace's
messenger, and to preach to him the Word of Life."

"And so you were sent for some such purpose, and God thought the only
way of accomplishing it was to make you the victim of a most abominable
treachery. No, James, I cannot see with you in that definition of God's
dealings with us."

"What put Joseph into a dungeon, David?"

"Why, his wicked mistress' miserable conduct."

"Well, he was innocent, but he lay there a long weary while, an injured,
persecuted, apparently to human understanding, a God-forsaken man. Yet
we know that God was with him. It is mysterious, I grant, but while it
is consistent with Divine wisdom to accomplish His designs thus, who has
a right to complain?"

"'Tis very hard though, James," replied Argyle.

"Yes, it is; frankly I confess that I have felt it to be so at times."

A minute or two of silence intervened, and Stewart spoke again: "You
know, David, after all we have only our own conscience which can clear
us of wrong. The Great Clearing may never come on this side of the
grave. I for one shall never mention the subject to Mrs. Welland."

"Why not, James? We have the incoherent rambling words of that fellow
which he uttered in his illness; they were very satisfactory."

"Not at all, my dear friend," replied Stewart; "they went so far, they
no doubt cleared away much of the mist and fog which hung like a pall
over our characters, but legally we have not yet been justified."

"Why not then procure the testimony of the wife?" said Argyle.

"And make the man a witness against himself? No, David, no, 'Vengeance
is Mine,' God says. I, for one, am perfectly willing to bide His time.
Often I have cried out as I have looked at my sorrows, 'Watchman, what
of the night?' and as often some bidden, blessed monitor within, or, to
put it in another form, some messenger of the Good One, has whispered,
'Be still, the morning will come.' I know it, David, as well as I know
that I exist, the day is not far distant when the declaration of my
innocence will be as clear as the shining of yon brilliant planet."

"Well, you are a patient, good, kind fellow," replied Argyle, "but I
cannot enter into the depth of your thoughts. But I know one thing, I am
tired and shall turn in. Good night, old fellow, may God bless you, and
make me like you."

"Good night, Argyle, pray, my dear friend, remember the sublime height
of the words of Jesus: 'men ought always to pray, and not to faint.'"

There were attractions which would have kept Stewart outside for awhile
longer, even if his own thoughts would have allowed him to seek repose.
It was now a most lovely night. The brilliant stars which decorate the
sky in the Southern hemisphere, shone like diamonds set in ultramarine.
To begin to enumerate them would be to raise up the temptation to write
astronomically; and who could resist such a temptation? This brilliant
array of first magnitude stars which stare at you as God's sentinels,
looking at every portion of this earth; nothing is hidden, no nothing.

The gentle breeze, after the desolating whirlwinds which accompanied the
tempest, was sweet and cool as the zephyr in the groves of Paradise.
Life, health, vigor, hope, and joy came sailing along upon its wings,
holding sisterly converse together how they could unite to do God's
creatures good. Stewart was no mere speculator about anything, but his
imaginative powers were vividly strong. To read a book was, to him, the
reprint of it in a folio of etchings upon his brain. These he could
produce ad libitum, and after using them in wrapt contemplation for
awhile, back again he passed them into his portfolio of memory to serve
the same purpose another time.

In a few moments he was in a reverie, and it fixed his soul in the
deepest profundity of silent searchings of heart. It is possible to
descend into a mine so deep as to be, in imagination, a being of another
world, so strangely altered is everything around you. But look up the
shaft and you will see daylight, look around and you read, ventilation
has been provided, stand aside and you will see wealth rolling in the
little truck which has come from some unknown abyss of black night. You
are bewildered, but every power of the soul is centered on one thought;
you are far beneath the surface. Stewart was so mentally. The past, the
past, how it will come up! He thought and thought, and plunged deeper
and deeper into the living whirlpool, the current carried him nearer and
nearer to the centre, until at length he exclaimed, "It is too painful
for me." Then the climax came. He fell on his knees and groaned out the
appeal, "O, righteous God, when is this vortex of earth's wrong to be
filled up? Thy Holy One has cast Himself into the yawning gulf which no
human thought could sound, but it is a vast abyss to some even yet. Has
there not been sacrifice enough." He unclosed his eyes as he said these
last words, and instantly started to his feet to grasp a stranger by the
arm, who stood within a yard of him.



CHAPTER XIX.--THE INTERVIEW.


"Hush!" said Judd, for it was he. "Hush, for your life, not a word. I
mean ye no harm."

"Who are you?" said Stewart, "and what brings you here?"

"My house," said Judd pointing to the inside of the hut, "my house; but
you are welcome."

"Your house?" replied Stewart.

"Come this way, master. See, I no arms, no weapon. I mean nothing but
good."

Stewart hesitated a moment, but he was not one who could fear very much.
However, he drew a pistol from his belt and silently followed his
strange visitor, for such he regarded Judd beyond a doubt. Only about a
dozen yards up the path did Judd lead the way, then he turned round and
faced his former fellow-clerk. For a minute or two neither spoke, but
stood looking at one another in the bright moonlight which now filled
all the glen. At length the shepherd spoke: "Young man, I have heard all
you have spoken to your friend."

"Ah!" replied Stewart hastily, "how and where?"

"Listen, that humble place is my house, made by these hands. I lived in
that place more than ten years."

"Well," said Stewart, "we are borrowing it for a night's lodging, and
can pay for it."

Judd lifted his hands, as if in repudiation of such a thought and
replied, "I meant not that, no; I said, my house, in another meaning.
Listen and calmly: when I came hither to-night, I did so to get fire,
dry garment, and dry place to rest."

"Perfectly natural," said Stewart.

Judd stared very hard at the young squatter as he interrupted him, but
soon resumed the thread of his discourse with the proviso, "don't stay
me again. I am a man very reserved, and little used to conversation, I
have that to ask which I want to know, and that to say which I want you
to hear. First, I know you. Ah! be calm and listen, I beg."

Stewart had started with an audible expression of surprise, for he saw
in whose presence he stood, and he revealed his knowledge by the
utterance of the single word, Julet.

"No, James Stewart, not Julet, but Judd--Judd the witness, Judd the
murderer, some say, Judd the perjured, and Judd the convict. Heap it all
on me, and I will not blink, nor blush, nor say a word to justify
myself."

"Surely--"

"Please, let me have my say, James Stewart, and then you shall have
your's; all that I have just stated, and more, as you shall know some
day. They thought me dead, but I am one arisen from the grave.--Nay,
start not, I mean not the real grave, but arisen from the dead as your
Bible says. I see you read it still. One minute more, nay, give me five,
and I shall say all I have to say now. I not dead; the blacks took me in
hand, healed my wounds, and I lived with them. Then I escaped, came up
here, made that house, lived here--no, not quite ten years but some long
time--turned shepherd, and here I am. Now, James Stewart, I heard you
speak about my wife. I not catch the words, but I think you called her
by some queer name."

"Welland."

"Yes, that was it. Where is she now?"

"As I learn, she is with a gentleman who is even now at Helidon, at Mr.
Baines' station."

"My God!" replied Judd, hastily. "What you say?"

Stewart repeated that which he had stated, and to it he added that he
knew who she was by the letters which he had received from Colonel
Tomlinson, the gentleman with whom she had come from England.

"What you mean? She not married? I saw no signs--"

"Oh, no; she is still as she was when you left her--a poor, good, kind,
but I fear a brokenhearted creature, and so altered."

"Good God! and I saw her, and knew her not. Oh! why you all come around
me together just at the same time? I in a charmed circle, with all my
enemies about me at once."

"Henry Judd," said Stewart, "this is strange, but is there not something
which warrants you in expecting it? 'Be sure your sins--'"

"They have found me out. You mean this, I know," said Judd, with such
vehemence that Stewart instinctively raised his hand in which he held
the pistol tightly grasped. There was no need of it, for the old man, so
far from intending violence, retreated from the place where he stood,
even further from the hut.

"But this is trifling," said Stewart. "What do you wish to tell me more
than you have?"

"James Stewart, should you know me as the Henry Judd?"

"No, I do not think I should; in fact, I may say I should not."

"Would my wife know me, think you?"

"That is another question. Perhaps not. It appears you have seen her,
and yet you knew her not."

"I must and will see her. Yes; I must and will. And little Alice, and
that was her too! I left her a mere baby, and now! It was dark when they
arrived."

Tears flowed rapidly down the cheeks of the storm-beaten criminal, and
he sobbed audibly.

"Now, James Stewart! now, my Alice! And yet not mine. I forget how wide
we must be separated."

"Henry Judd," said Stewart, deeply moved by the intense anguish of the
old man, "I am not about to reproach you; but still I cannot forget that
you have done me a fearful injury. How you did it, and why, I never
could understand."

"Mr. Stewart--for so I must call you--the Almighty has already cleared
you; but I am a convict still--a subject for your pity, not your blame.
I am glad to have seen you, and I think you can pardon me."

"Pardon, Judd? It is useless for me to withhold that, even if I dared;
and that, you know, I do not, cannot do. I use the Lord's prayer as I
used it years ago: 'as we forgive our debtors.' This does not mean
anything but what it says. 'As we forgive;' if I did not forgive, I
could not be forgiven. Have you passed all these years, Judd, without
thinking of these things?"

"No, Mr. Stewart, I have not," said Judd in reply; and then he told the
younger man of his bitter experience--how he found a Bible, and had read
it, and even prayed to God for pardon and help.

It was an interesting episode in the lives of both these men. The one
saw that the repentance of the other was real, but not scriptural;
whilst the convict was humble, it was the humility of shame, not of
love. The Christian thereupon preached the Gospel to the poor outcast,
who listened like a little child, with his face wrapped in his mantle,
assenting now and then by a simple "Yea."

In answer to other questions, Judd told Stewart where he came from,
whither he was bound, and some of his difficulties, his hopes, his
fears.

But nothing could persuade him to reveal the history of his great
crimes.

"Mr. Stewart, one hope remains to me in this world--that you will be my
friend. I no right to ask it; nay, I deeply ashamed to ask such a thing
of you; but you have just told me that Christ died for His bitterest
foes, and that, to be a Christian, we must be like Christ. When I heard
that, hope sprung up within me that you not cast me away."

"No, Judd it is not for me to cast you away. I could not do it. But I do
not see how my aid can prove of any use. It is useless to try to do
anything with the authorities; discovery, I well know, will end in
hopeless captivity. I see one hope: Colonel Tomlinson is at Mr. Baines'
house, he was commandant when you came ashore. True, he has no power
now, and, even if he had, I question if he could or would use it for
you. Show me how I could help you, and I--even I--will do all I can."

"Mr. Stewart," replied Judd, "when I came down this path, and, by the
smoke of your fire, discovered that strangers had invaded this glen, I
took the bye-path which led to the top of yon hut. There I laid down,
and saw you and your friend come outside. I not hear all that passed,
but perhaps you will say I heard very little which was pleasant to
myself."

"Listeners seldom do," replied Stewart.

"Mr. Stewart, if my life had hung upon a word, I could not have torn
myself away from such a chance to hear about old times. I heard enough
to see that in your friend I have a bitter enemy."

"Can you wonder at it?" replied Stewart.

"No. But hear me. Will you prove your pardon to me by concealing the
fact that you have seen me? Let me explain: I shall see my wife again; I
will speak to her, that will prove if she recollects me. If so, she will
not betray me, but you, Mr. Stewart--"

"Oh, do not fear that I shall betray you. I have no interest in doing
so. But a good proof of identification may be had at once. Come to the
hut and pass the night. David Argyle is there; test your question by his
recognition of you, or otherwise. Upon this I advise you to act. His
perception is very keen; if he recognises you it will be difficult to
induce him to keep silence. I think he would certainly report the
circumstance to the authorities, and there would be an instant search
after you. It is worth a trial, but I will guarantee you shall not now
be detained."

Judd hesitated for a minute, then advanced and took Stewart by the hand,
saying, "May God Almighty bless you. Ten years ago, had I met you your
life would not have been worth much, if a strong hand could have struck
you down. In mercy I was saved from this; in mercy spared to talk thus
with you. Oh! the dread past--the irretrievable past! The horrible
recollection of it haunts me like a spectre. What shall I do? oh, what
shall I do?"

He covered his face with his hands and groaned rather than spoke these
words.

"Let us pray," said Stewart, "prayer alone can meet your case. God
Almighty willeth not the death of a sinner." He knelt on the hard rock
as he spoke, but Judd still stood with his face covered with his hands,
his strong frame quivering with emotion. The prayer was very solemn,
earnest, and simple. It asked for the blessings that poor sinners most
need--light, understanding, penitence, courage to confess past sins--and
this portion of it was offered in the first person, so that the criminal
might join in it. Not a word, however, was audible save those which
Stewart spoke; but ere the prayer was ended, Judd was prostrate upon the
ground.



CHAPTER XX.--SAM. BROWN AT HOME.


Another place was also the scene of hallowed devotion at the same
moment. Not that the prayer was a particular request for this wretched
but repenting man, Judd, but it was in the form of the beautiful
petition in the litany, that He who rules and governs his church in the
right way would be pleased to remember "the desolate and oppressed." Mr.
Brown, the overseer at Burnham Beeches, was a good worthy man, who,
believing that it was his duty to serve God under all circumstances,
thought that worship of the Supreme Being was a right and proper thing
to set up in his own house. This night there was a special petition for
the travellers, and that God would overrule their coming to the good of
the people upon the station, and then the family retired to rest. The
night was beautifully bright and clear after the storm. The Southern
Cross, that beautiful emblem of hope to a fallen world, looked like a
cluster of gems, watching, with eyes of fire, the little globe where
rebellion against the Most High is running its course. Silently they
pursued their way dipped in the southern azure, and began majestically
to arise, as the humble clock at Rooksnest proclaimed the advent of
another day. Midnight! What thoughts does it create? It is a fit
division of day from day. It seems to suggest a door swinging on central
pivots, which, at that moment, opens to allow the day, which is past, to
slip into eternity, whilst on the other side, there comes out a new and
untried period, which is destined to witness many a good deed, alas!
many an evil one also. The evening and the morning meet in a common
centre. "Farewell," says one, as she returns to the treasure house of
the Infinite, with a chart filled with events which have become
historical. "Morning is coming," and even as she speaks, onward the new
period strides. This was four hours old ere the Cross reached the
meridian, and then the first streaks of light shot upwards to announce
the approach of day. 'Father's up,' then everyone else must be up. Such
was the law at Rooksnest, although some of the small folk did not like
turning out so soon; it was no use to object, every one was to put in an
appearance before the sun. "Labor could be performed in the early
morning which would be all but impossible in the strong heat of the
day," so Mr. Brown told his children, and it would be well for
Queensland people if they were to endorse this opinion, and leave off
attempting to commit a suicide with the assistance of the sun.

Men tempt Providence, they sweat out their lives at the hours when
people in India are resting in cool shade, and they rest in idleness at
the period when Indians are hard at work.

Bob had to get in the cows; Jenny was the dairymaid; Jacky professed to
be head and chief in the garden; Harry fed the pigs and a few more
creatures called livestock, but consisting of pets of various kinds;
Sally was mother's right hand in the indoors department, and, in
cooking, washing, baking, brewing, and other domestic portions of this
well ordered establishment, there were few girls who were more useful
than Sarah Brown. There were two others in the family, but, beyond the
fact that they required a considerable amount of looking after to keep
them out of mischief, it is impossible to say that they had any
particular post or office to fill.

Rooksnest is a subsidiary part of Burnham Beeches, and its respectable
owner is going over to the head station presently; but a journey without
a breakfast?--No, no. There is no economy in starving the body. Black
Bess, of course, was fed and groomed; and so much pains did her master
take with the latter very excellent method of economising the health and
power of the horse that breakfast was ready before he had completed his
work.

"Steak and onions," said Bob.

"Good," said Harry, who came in sniffing the savory air. "What a
blow-out I'll have!"

"Make your breath smell," said Jenny.

"Just like your courting notions," replied Jacky, to whom Miss Jenny had
addressed her words.

Whereupon the young lady attempted to box his ears, and this, creating a
universal laugh and no small amount of noise, attracted the attention of
Sam. Brown, who began to fancy he smelt something, and following his
nose he arrived in due course at the back door, to discover his
dairymaid slapping her brother in much the same fashion as good mothers
do their babies. They were a good-natured lot, however, and no serious
consequences ensued; Jacky, to be sure, was rather red in the face, but
no one thought of running for the doctor; Jenny, too, was fussy about
her breath, which had become rather short, which means that she found it
necessary to breathe a little faster than usual; but all the painful
consequences vanished as the father led the way to a round table of
merry glee, and "who could have helped it, Jacky," said his father, "to
see your shameful basting?"

"Ah, I'll have it out of her, see if I don't, when Robert comes,"
replied Jacky.

But this only increased the glee; Jacky plunged deep into the breakfast
to hide his red face, and such an excellent example was followed by all.

Grace, as it is called, a most unmeaning phrase--a blessing is the
proper term, was asked before any were allowed to begin. It was not a
form at Rooksnest, it was a sincere request for a favor without which no
good ought to be expected. Good, famous appetites then addressed the
savoury steak and well browned onions. There were no serious formalities
in this 'break your-fast' among the Browns. Kind-hearted, but rough,
they were thorough bush people, who had an eye to comfort rather than
ceremony. So the morning meal was dispatched, the table cleared, the
family Bible was placed on it, a chapter was read by the head of the
family, and this was followed by a simple fervent prayer for a blessing
and protection for the day. Mrs. Brown and Sarah proceeded then to get
everything to rights, an important duty, in which is involved a
universal principle, that the right way to commence is to turn
everything upside down; ergo, you must go through Confusion street to
get into Tidy Park. Mr. Brown was off as soon as prayers were over and
he had saddled his mare, the two youngest children adjourned to Rubbish
Corner, where they propounded hosts of novel plans to get into mischief;
and the rest of the Brown community, in their several spheres,
accomplished works and labors for the benefit of the united interest,
and this was a triple cord of the strongest character which could not be
broken.

Black Bess was in good humor, as good as her master. A log laid in the
way? Black Bess thought it an excellent joke, and, with scarcely so much
as a spring, over she bounded with a step light as a feather, then a
miniature gulley with a murmuring stream, next a tolerable good specimen
of a creek, and sometimes a fence lay in the way, but it was all the
same to the beautiful creature, she gracefully bounded over all as if
she fully entered into the fun of the thing. She sniffed and snorted and
used every possible means within her power to express her opinion that
it was a fine morning for an out. How she slyly glanced at some cattle
which were grazing near the track; she was fond of mustering and was
well up to her work in it. Scarcely needing the guidance of the rein,
she wheeled round and round, turning the refractory cattle as if it were
a matter of course that they must go where she bid them.

The direct road to the station was less than half a mile, but Brown was
making a circuit this morning for the purpose of calling on Mr.
Sinclair, who had for many years been connected with Burnham Beeches
Station; some said as partner or mortgagee, but in reality he had
embarked in one speculation in which the first owner of the station had
shared with him the risk and the profit, and very large the latter
turned out to be. This money he invested, and eventually purchased the
station which he carried on for awhile with great success. But the
pursuit was never to his liking, and he was glad to find a customer for
the property in Colonel Tomlinson, reserving to himself about forty
acres. He had contemplated such a step long before. He provided for the
future by planning a large garden and orchard, which was planted with
choice trees and shrubs, and christened The Vineyard. To this he had now
added a substantial house.



Chapter XXI.--THE VINEYARD.


The vineyard was literally a Paradise. The whole of Mr. Sinclair's forty
acres was included in one vast mound, upon the summit of which the house
was built. It was of cedar throughout, built upon the Indian plan with
ten rooms, divided into the library, dining, drawing-room, nursery,
storeroom, office, and four bed-rooms, and in all of these there were
indications that the owner was a man of taste, but that comfort was the
ruling idea. The library only need be described in extenso. It was not
defacto a library although it contained about 200 vols., but it was
called by that name, for originally Mr. Sinclair had intended to have
purchased a large quantity of the best literature--in fact to have made
the library one of the pet institutions of The Vineyard. But time turned
the bookworm into a listless reader. So the library became a studio,
laboratory, an amateur workshop, and a medical consulting-room, for, to
the arts and sciences in many forms, Mr. Sinclair became an enthusiastic
devotee. Retorts and receivers, jars and crucibles, diagrams and plans,
drugs and chemicals, tools and paint, a lathe and an electrical machine,
an air pump and a camera obscura, sundry photographic apparatus, models
of steam engines, and several cases of geological specimens, such were
only a few out of many indications that, at The Vineyard, there was
someone whose soul was bound up in philosophical pursuits. Mr. Sinclair
was an artist also of no mean order, and on a mahogany easel in the
centre of the room, upon this particular morning, there might have been
seen a canvass ready strained and prepared for the painter's handiwork.
Upon the walls there were hung several sketches, prints, paintings, and
designs, some framed; but the most of them were mere studies, and to any
other eye than that of the owner the arrangement of these would have
appeared the most slovenly that could be imagined. But he understood
best who had placed them in their several positions, and out of this
chaos there had proceeded some beautiful creations, which adorned and
beautified the dining and drawing rooms. Only one of his own paintings
appeared amongst the mob--so Mr. Sinclair termed the designs to which
reference has been made--but this occupied the post of honor. It was
immediately above the mantle-piece, and represented an exquisite
portrait, as large as life, of a little girl. One of its striking
peculiarities was this, the moment one looked at it, the eye
instinctively turned to the painter, and spoke with a single glance the
words, "any one can tell who this is."

Yes, it was the portrait of Mary Stirling Sinclair, of whom we shall
know more in due course. She was an only child, and withal of so tender
and gentle a disposition that the father often felt kind of
unaccountable dread, lest the only one should some day dissolve into
thin air and ascend to dwell in pure ether. So one day, from memory, he
sketched the outline of her face, and adding to the various delineations
of countenance and form as opportunity offered, he at length completed
this admirable painting, and put it where he knew his daughter would be
sure to find it. It was not long after that this came to pass. Running
with great excitement to her father's study, she burst in upon him with
a joyous laugh exclaiming, "Father, father, come and see, some one has
taken me."

"Taken you my child. What do you mean?"

"Oh! come, do come, now, and look, dear father. Ah! now, I see it all.
Did you do it? Tell me, did you?"

"Me, me?" replied her father, "me? How could you think of such a thing?"

The child paused for a moment, and though still in doubt yet silently
led the way to the drawing-room, where, upon the sofa cushion, the
picture was placed: "There, father. Now, who is that?"

"Why, child, there can be no doubt who it is. I should say it was a
portrait of Miss Mary Stirling Sinclair. But who can have painted it?"

"Ah, now, dear father," replied the laughing girl, "now you are a great
rogue. You want me to believe that you know nothing about it, but it is
no good, for I recollect that you were drawing the face of a little girl
some time ago, very much like this."

"Well, dear," said Mr. Sinclair, "I did paint it, but I did not think I
could do it so well without the model."

"But then you know, dear father, that every one calls you so clever."

"Call me clever, ducky, do they? Who do you mean by everyone?"

"Oh, Mr. Brown does, and--and--I do."

"Well done, little pet, and this is every one, is it? Ah! well!"

"Mr. Stewart says so, too. I heard him talking about you one day, and he
said he only wished you would do as much for the good of others as you
were clever enough to do at home, and you would be Mr. Coles' right hand
man."

"Indeed, Mary. When did he say this?"

"When first we heard about Colonel Tomlinson coming," was the reply. "He
said that the new owner at Burnham Beeches was a good man, and he hoped
that he would help Mr. Coles, for it was hard work trying to persuade
people to do well when others did not appear to take any interest in
it."

"Ah! He said this, did he?"

"Yes, father."

"Well, well, child, I'll think about it. One kiss and away."

Mr. Sinclair's life seemed bound up in that of the child. She was as
fond and affectionate to both her parents as a child could be; and to
this may be added, she had learnt and carried into practice much
scriptural truth. In a word, Mary Stirling Sinclair was one of those
fair creatures whom novelists generally style angelic. 'Fading away' was
frequently visible upon her very pretty face; but this sometimes gave
way to favorable symptoms of renewed strength, so that the child's life
seemed to hang in a balance, and no one could tell which side would
eventually prove the heaviest. Very few were the opportunities of doing
good which were within her reach, even had she been old enough to be
thus useful to others. But the Almighty had planted in that child's
heart a strong disposition in this direction, which, if it had had room
for expansion, would have made her a medium for the demonstration of
good works, always so high a source of ornament to the human form. The
child's anxiety was strongest about her father; there was a lurking
suspicion that he was in danger; how could she help him?



CHAPTER XXI.--NEW CHUMS AND COLONIAL EXPERIENCE.


Mr. Sinclair was not in the house when Brown reached The Vineyard; but
the sound of axe and maul near at hand plainly showed, as the servant
said, that it was most likely he was up in that direction. So it turned
out to be. Two new chums had been engaged, and had just entered upon
their duties. Mr. Sinclair was clearing a corner of his land, and the
men were told to split some posts and rails for a dividing fence. Like
many more of this class, they knew a vast deal, but it was a useless
knowledge which led to serious mistakes. "They could split, they could
fence, they knew all about it." From an early hour they had been "at
it." A large tree was felled after a tough job (they owned to this), but
so well had they worked that a log had been sawn off, and splitting had
commenced before the employer arrived. Alas! they were willing, but they
lacked that very useful article--colonial experience. New-chum like,
they had begun to split from the outside, instead of bursting the log.

"They always do the same thing," said the vexed Mr. Sinclair. "I began
to tell you how to go to work, and you both said you had seen it done."

"So we have, sir,"

"But surely no one but a new hand was splitting where you say you saw
this kind of work done."

"Well, sir, he had not been in the country long, but then we thought he
must know the way."

"Ah! well, you have spoilt that log, my men, and thrown your time away;
stand aside and let me show you how to go to work. After all perhaps we
may make something of it." He dismounted from his horse as he spoke, and
throwing off his coat and tucking up his shirt sleeves with a steady,
business-like air, he laid hold of the maul and the wedges, and the
bursting process had just commenced as Sam Brown rode up.

"Good morning, Brown," said Mr. Sinclair, "just in time to see the A B C
of a tough job. Wrong, you see. It always is so."

"Yes, sir, but everybody must have a larnin', I did the same thing years
ago. I can remember it as if it was but yesterday. I had saw'd down the
tree, cut off the log, and then in went the wedges. I got off a slab,
'but,' says I, 'this fellow looks a bit different from those I see
elsewhere.' I couldn't make it out at all, and it was mighty hard work
too, and yet the slab warn't a bit handsome, no, not a bit. My word it
warn't."

"Rather different from the work you would turn out now?" said Mr.
Sinclair, laughing.

"You may well laugh, sir, but howsomdever on I went; I warn't goin' to
be daunted with hard work, but soon I pulled up short. I began to
calcerlate. At the most I should not be able, at this rate, to get more
than six or eight slabs out of a log, and they were queer ones, and a
good days work to get 'em. Well, sir, my calcerlations ended in, 'there
is something ascrew here, or it's a caution."

"What came next?"

"Why, down went the tools. 'Here's off,' says I, 'to see somebody else
split.' I know'd that Bob Jones, him as come up here not long ago, sir.
Ah! I see you recollect. Well, I know'd he was a splitting some posts,
so Bess was saddled in a jiffy, and off we went on a voyage of
discovery."

"To find you were wrong?" said Mr. Sinclair. "I should think I did,"
replied Brown. "Lor, sir! how they did laugh when I told 'em what I had
did. 'New-chum splitting,' said Jones and his brother, 'and yet, Brown,'
says they, 'you're not such a new hand by a long spell;' and I warn't,
Mr. Sinclair, but still I had never seen it done before; but, bless you,
five minutes made me master of the art and mystery of splittin' posts
and rails, or anything else; and now you have had my confession, allow
me to ask how you found out the way, Mr. Sinclair?"

"Oh! I cannot take much credit to myself. I was looking at my first log,
cogitating which was the best place to put in the wedge, when a neighbor
passed by. Says he: 'A little help is worth a load of pity;' 'that log
looks as if it would run well;' so he made no more to do, but ran in the
wedges. It was beautiful to see the log burst; talking all the while,
until a dozen good billets lay before me. It was easy enough when you
know the way."

"Right, Mr. Sinclair, may we all see that in everything. That's what I
say."

The log by this time bad been split up into billets, some of which were
reserved for palings, whilst from one of the best Mr. Sinclair obtained
some good posts.

"Now, my lads," said he to the men, "you see how to go to work, and if
you look sharp, you may make up for lost time. Never be afraid or
ashamed to ask how things are to be done. You have much to learn in a
new country. Every one is ready to teach, but you must be willing to
learn, or you will often go wrong."

"That's right," said Brown. "My word it is, and perhaps you won't think
me interferin' if I warn these men about those dead trees which they
have fired at the roots. Don't go near them lads, they may fall before
you think. And now, Mr. Sinclair, if you have five minutes to spare, I
would beg the favor of a word or two with you."

Sam Brown had been at a good village school in Dorsetshire, and was a
shrewd and clever man in his way, but a long residence in the bush had
tacked on to his early education a number of phrases which either he or
someone else had invented. "But how's the mistress?" is a very common
phrase, and Sam Brown emphasized this inquiry as he again remounted his
mare.

"Well, I thank you," replied Mr. Sinclair, also mounting his horse as he
spoke. "Come in and see her. I hardly know what to make of my little
Mary sometimes; she was sadly ailing this morning. Well, to be sure, she
is coming to meet us! Naughty little puss, to come through the wet
grass. Miss Thomas should have kept you indoors." As he spoke, he
stooped down and lifted her on to the saddle. "Light, lighter still," he
muttered to himself, but the child caught the word, and looking up in
his face, which was troubled for a moment as he spoke, she said with a
sweet smile, "Heavier bye-and-bye, dear Father."

Was it a passing cloud? Something cast a dark shade upon the father's
face as the child spoke. He looked at her, then gently fondled her
nearer to his heart, and tremblingly replied, "Yes."

But the child raised her joyous voice in such a ringing peal of laughter
that the cloud vanished before they arrived at the front door of The
Vineyard. Here they found a dray loaded with various goods and chattels,
including a very heavy lady and her two daughters. A good-looking man on
horseback came forward to greet the owner of The Vineyard, and, to his
great surprise, he saw before him the last man that he would have
expected to have met in Australia, his old friend and neighbor in their
early life at home, Mr. Gumby. Nearly twenty years had passed since they
had met. Mr. Sinclair was the first to speak:

"Well, who would have thought of seeing you, friend Gumby?"

"Why, Mr. Sinclair, business was bad; the mill wanted repairs; my lease
was out, and the fact is--I was unfortunate and--"

"Failed," exclaimed the heavy lady who had been regarding the speaker
with intense impatience as he replied to Mr. Sinclair. "Gumby found out
a new plan for roasting coffee, and nothing would do but he must patent
it--do be quiet, Gumby; yes, and a pretty patent he made of it. First,
he went to London, and spent what he called a trifle; the mill was left
for me to look after. Do you think I was going to look after a mill? not
I, indeed!"

"I only asked you to attend to the accounts and look after the men,"
replied her husband.

"Yes, I dare say, and you enjoy yourself in London; but, however, Mr.
Sinclair, we must let bygones be bygones, you know. He sold two, yes,
two; spent a little fortune in advertising, printing, and fees, as he
called them, and after all he was glad to sell the whole thing, patent
and all, for a ten pound note."

"Want of capital, my dear."

"Want of capital? want of sense, I say. Why, more than a hundred pounds
was fooled away on it, wasn't that capital? After all, Mr. Sinclair, he
must finish it up by dragging me all over the ocean. You should have
seen me before I left home. I am terribly fallen away."

It was well that the lady turned her head as she spoke, for there was a
smile upon every countenance as she referred to her wasted form. She was
stout, broad-shouldered, and looking the very picture of health.

"Well, never mind, Mrs. Gumby," said Mr. Sinclair, "you must want
something. We breakfast early, and have lunch about this time. Dear me,
'tis four hours since breakfast."

"Four hours! You don't mean to say you have breakfast at 6?" said Mrs.
Gumby.

"Six, my dear madam," replied Mr. Sinclair; "yes we have a knack of
getting up early. You must do so in this country."

"I shall never do it, Mr. Sinclair."

"O! yes, my dear, we shall," replied Mr. Gumby. "We must all put our
shoulder to the wheel."

"But you never was such a fool as to think I meant to do what the people
do here."

"I think you will," said Mr. Sinclair, "when you find that you must."

"Must, must, Mr. Sinclair? Did you intend that for me? Must?"

"But I repeat it, Mrs. Gumby, and your best friend would tell you the
truth as I do. You must do a great deal in this country you would never
dream of doing at home. Industry has its reward here, idleness is always
despised. But come, lunch is already laid."

So saying, Mr. Sinclair assisted to get the ladies out of the dray, and
having introduced them to Mrs. Sinclair and Sam Brown, they went into
the house where, after the ladies had attended to a few little matters
of toilette, and had returned to the dining-room, Mr. Sinclair invited
them to his always hospitable and well spread table, taking his place at
the head, and presiding with such hearty good humor that even Mrs. Gumby
forgot all her troubles for a while, and chattered about 'bygones being
bygones' to her heart's content.

"It does me good to talk, Mrs. Sinclair," she said, addressing that
excellent lady, "and, for one, I say let bygones be bygones. I have
always found, and I'll say it before the twelve judges if necessary,
that Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair were true and honest friends."

Of course the host and his good wife bowed again and again, and by
mutual consent they gave the talkative lady the fullest latitude of
speech. This she would have continued to exercise to the full, but her
husband, in a temporary lull of his amiable lady's full-charged battery,
addressing Mr. Sinclair, said: "Why, dear me, sir, I had quite
forgotten. Do you know what brought me up here?"

"Brought you!" sharply retorted his wife, "who are us then?"

"Brought us then," said Mr. Gumby. "I am corrected, my dear. I forgot
that I have a letter for you, Mr. Sinclair."

"For me?" exclaimed Mr. Sinclair. "You should not forget letters, Mr.
Gumby. Up here it is important."

While the letter is being read let Mrs. Sinclair be introduced. She was
of a class that you must live with to know all their excellencies, a
sincere, devoted Christian, not one in name only, but from the heart.
She had given the subject her earnest consideration in early life, and
at seventeen years of ago had felt it to be her duty to acknowledge
herself a follower of the Saviour. Henceforth every notion was tinged
and influenced with the hallowed feeling which is inseparable from a
holy life. In her home there was a scrupulous faithfulness in the
discharge of every duty. The most unwearied pains were taken to make the
house a happy, healthy, comfortable resting place. Her husband's life
and welfare was to her a primary consideration; her daughter's education
and religions and moral training most painstaking pleasure. There was no
mere fanciful enthusiasm in these or any other duties she thought it
right to fulfil; her life was one of steady perseverance in a marked out
path, and nothing could induce her to swerve from it. Now this was not
perfection, for those who knew Mrs. Sinclair best, heard quite enough to
convince them that she felt the common anxieties which temptation and an
imperfect state are sure to produce. Others called her holy, consistent,
devoted, but she would tell you that "every heart knoweth its own
bitterness," and that the difficulties of acting well her part were
great. Mr. Sinclair was a Christian nominally, but practically he lived
to gratify self. He was a moral and good man as the world calls men
good, but there was no hearty love to God in his life. Religion as he
practiced it was stern duty, love had no place in it. If God could be
blotted out of his memory sometimes, he would have felt relieved, but as
this was impossible he followed Him far enough away to lose the
influence of a devout life, in a formal round of obligatory duties. Mrs.
Sinclair was the opposite to this. Her religion was of the Mary of
Bethany class, with just enough of the Martha characteristic to make her
an admirable housewife, a devoted mother, and a clever manager.

"My dear," said Mr. Sinclair, after having read the letter which Mr.
Gumby had brought, "I have the pleasure to inform you that our friends
are to be neighbors. Mr. Gumby is engaged as storekeeper to the
colonel."

"Coming down in the world, isn't it?" said Mrs. Gumby. "But then it
can't be helped."

"There is no disgrace in any honest employment in this country," said
Mr. Sinclair, "but I was about to add that Colonel Tomlinson begs I will
do him the favor to see that a few orders he has transmitted are
attended to, so I shall ride over, and if you will accompany me I shall
be very glad. There are some little matters of ladies' contrivance that
you will be well able to manage, but I should be sure to bungle over.
Miss Tomlinson writes a postscript about them. Mr. and Mrs. Gumby we
shall see installed in their new home, and shall be glad to know that
they are happy."

"Ah! more moving, I knew how it would be. Is it far that we have to go?
That horrid dray! But perhaps you are going in your carriage, Mr.
Sinclair? and--"

"Carriage, my dear madam, we have no such thing, I assure you. Mrs.
Sinclair always rides her horse, and finds the exercise beneficial."

"Then there is no help for it--"

"Except you walk, my dear." Mr. Gumby knew that the interruption was
dangerous.

"Walk! Me walk two miles in this oven of a country? Oh! dear, but this
is just the way with you always. It will be the death of me, I am sure.
Come on girls, get ready; your father is determined to sacrifice us all.
The sooner we are dead and buried the better."

"Oh don't, say so, Mrs. Gumby. You do not know yet how mercifully God
has provided for you." Mrs. Sinclair spoke in tones of pity, and added
strong inducements to hope for brighter days. But they fell upon stony
ground, and produced only a temporary impression, Alas! Mrs. Gumby's
heart was one great piece of self.

The word was written upon it so repeatedly, that there was no room for
anything else. Her husband was a honest, good meaning man, who, if he
had had a different wife, might have shone in the sphere in which God
had placed him; but his wife kept him in the constant view of
Grumbleland, and the people who inhabit that region are wretched
managers, so home became a hospital of every family complaint. Her
unjust criticism of all his actions made his life wretched, and if it
had not been for the restraining influence of religion, that woman would
have surely driven her husband in despair to find relief in scenes of
dissipation.

But where has Mr. Brown been all this time? Why, he very soon departed
for Burnham Beeches. "Anywhere," said he to Mr. Sinclair, "to get away
from your friend's long tongue." The two Miss Gumbys had accompanied
him. During the progress of the lunch, they were exceedingly glad to
accept the invitation of Miss Mary Sinclair to "come and see her
chickens." So, in companionship with Miss Thomas and her little charge,
the beauties of The Vineyard were inspected and admired, then a little
walk was proposed and gladly assented to. The direction taken was
towards Burnham Beeches, and Mr. Brown overtaking them, informed the
young ladies that their papa and mamma were coining on immediately, and
advised them, as they were so far on the road, to go on with him. Miss
Thomas assenting, and stating that she would return and inform Mr. and
Mrs. Gumby that they were gone on, the two Miss Gumbys reached the
station a full hour before their parents.



CHAPTER XXIII.--WHAT A PARADISE!


Before the new arrivals started for their destination, Mr. Sinclair
invited them to look round The Vineyard. The first place they visited
was the garden in front and on either side of the house. Immediately
before the door a long walk had been planned, which was planted on
either side with vines, and inside these, at a proper distance, a row of
orange trees. This long walk, by a series of bye-paths, gave ingress to
the inner garden, which was laid out in beds of every imaginable shape,
with gravelled paths; and beyond this was the orchard. This orchard
abounded with fruit trees, representatives of almost every fruit which
could have the least possible chance of growing in the climate. The
trees were loaded with fruit, but as yet none was ripe. The flower beds
also were a constant source of exclamation. How beautiful! Mrs. Sinclair
had detected some new variety which was just bursting into bloom, and
her enthusiasm for the moment served to dispel the lukewarmness of the
elder lady. But the poultry yard, the dairy, the kitchen garden, and the
well-arranged store interested her most highly, and when the good host
and his wife showed them over the house, and exhibited some domestic
conveniences, which, though simple, added very much to family happiness,
Mr. and Mrs. Gumby simultaneously exclaimed, "What a paradise!"

By this time Miss Thomas had returned. She was the governess in Mr.
Sinclair's household and the superintendent of the Sunday school at
Burnham Beeches, for this station had its church, its regular appointed
minister, and the privileges of Christian ordinances. Mr. Sinclair had
contributed largely to the erection of the church, and professed to
attend the simple but excellent services which were held within its
walls.

Are there not many squatters who might, with benefit to themselves,
their families, and employees, do the same thing? Surely if it is right
to worship God at all, He ought to be sought after in the bush as well
as in the city. Albeit, there are some who stoutly assert that there is
no necessity for such worship five miles out of town.

An excellent man was the minister of this little church, who hitherto
had been maintained principally by Messrs. Sinclair, Stewart, and
Argyle. He was not a strong man, however, and would have been unequal to
the duties of a regular charge as it is termed, but at Burnham Beeches,
in a little cottage which had been provided for him, he found a
sanctuary and a home, and enjoyed a quiet, useful, and happy life.

The church was a neat structure of hardwood, with Gothic windows
tastefully glazed with stained glass in small groupings of Scripture
history. The building would seat about fifty persons, for whose
accommodation cedar benches were provided, which were free to all. A
pulpit of the same material, with its crimson cushion, completed the
furniture of this House of God. But the exterior surroundings of the
church were very picturesque. Shade in abundance was provided by a
semi-circular grove of trees, around which seats were arranged, and
horses could be tied up in the grove itself. Then the church lawn was
planted with flowers, and these were so arranged that there were always
some in bloom. "Is not this a little paradise?" Such words were
constantly heard. Nevertheless, just outside the fence the little
cemetery protested that death reigned here, and thorns in the hedge and
thistle on the burial ground claimed for sin a place, of which they were
the correct interpretation.

"Would the new proprietor support the church?" Such was the inquiry from
many. As the question was put to the Rev. Edward Coles on the Sabbath
when little Mary Stirling Sinclair discovered her portrait, it was
somewhat anxiously answered. As it was put three weeks later, and
answered, "Yes, dearest, he will," the intellect would have been very
dull not to have discovered that between the minister and Miss Thomas
there existed an understanding of a very peculiar character. We shall
see. Strange things do happen, and stranger far would it have been if
the minister, a single, lonely man, had been brought into constant
companionship with the governess, in the exercise of every kind of
Christian work, without feeling that there existed between them a bond
of sympathy which drew them to each other as the needle of the compass
will claim its affinity to the north. Miss Thomas came to the vineyard
as governess; Mr. Coles saw her, and love conquered both.



CHAPTER XXIV.--BURNHAM BEECHES.


Mr. Samuel Brown was escorting the Miss Gumbys around the garden when
Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair rode up to the station, accompanied by Mr. and
Mrs. Gumby. The two young ladies were, of course, greatly pleased by
what they saw; had it been otherwise they must have been destitute of
the slightest particle of what is known as the sanguine temperament.
Burnham Beeches was a beautiful place; its only drawback was the
monotonous level on which the house was built. But to compensate for
this there was a lovely prospect over the immense lowlands which stretch
out to the ocean, for, like Leyton Station, it was situated at the very
summit of the Range.

Miss Julia Gumby was a little in advance of eighteen years of age, tall,
and good-looking, as the term is understood. She was also a very
sensible girl, in addition to her other attractions, and tolerably well
educated, but no talker like her mother; on the contrary, she was
reserved and thoughtful, and read much, the reading not being of the
lightest character, which is too often the case. Her sister, Miss
Charlotte Gumby, was, on the contrary, an enthusiastic admirer of
sensational romance. Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp would have kept her
in ecstacies for hours; no great fault, considering that it has operated
in a similar manner upon many thousands. After all, Miss Lottie did not
waste very much time over such literature. She was sixteen years of age,
and pretty. Some people called her beauty waxen, like a doll, but it is
difficult to discover any particular compliment in this description of
female excellence. If all the dolls in the universe could be brought
into one focus, so as to concentrate all their grandeur into one
representation of the human face divine, yet the flesh and blood reality
must be preferred.

"How do you think you will like the country?" said Sam Brown, on their
way to the station.

"Pretty well, Mr. Brown," replied Miss Julia; "but it is too hot for
Europeans."

"Hot! yes, 'tis hot; but one gets used to it."'

"Some time must elapse before that can be the case," said Miss Lottie.
"The mosquitoes troubled us frightfully when we landed. Our hands and
faces were so marked. Oh! dear me, Julia, was not I a fright?"

"Rather, dear; but all of us were in the same plight. Do they live all
the year round, Mr. Brown?"

"No, thank God, we have a little case in that respect, yet we don't seem
to mind 'em after a bit."

"I don't think I shall ever get used to them," said Miss Julia. "Dear
me, Mr. Brown, last night we had to camp out."

"Such fun," laughingly exclaimed Miss Lottie; "mamma was ready to go
into hysterics when a lot of wild dogs set up howling near us."

"You heard them rascals, did ye? I can't say that they makes a pleasant
sound."

"No; but Julia would have it they were wolves, and wolves always attack
people. Mamma wanted to climb up a tree, but papa said he was sure that
no tree near them would hold her."

"Rather personal, miss," said Brown.

"Oh! but you know papa says all sorts of things without meaning any
harm. He is a thorough good old dear, and loves us all."

"Yes, but Lottie," said Julia, "we were all afraid, and the mosquitoes,
oh! dear me, I was tormented."

Sam Brown smiled as he asked if they were Scotch greys?

"Scotch greys, Mr. Brown? I am sure I do not know what their color was,"
said Lottie.

"Excuse me, miss," said Brown, "I meant their size. They were not young
elephants, I suppose?"

"Elephants! Mr. Brown," exclaimed both the young ladies, "you are joking
now."

"No, no; I didn't mean the word as you do; but we have in this country
some who are venomously active. They will pounce upon ye, and sting and
worry until one is almost wild. I have had my hands raised an inch with
swelling, and the inflammation has not been down for days. If these
fellows were the flies which plagued old Pharaoh, I wonder how he could
have resisted the Almighty; they have made me run for it many a time.
But how do ye like the place, for here we are? I have taken you in this
way to see the church first; and if you will excuse me for a moment, I
will see if the parson is at home, and get the keys."

In a few minutes Brown returned, and with him the veritable parson
aforesaid, before whose presence Miss Julia felt somewhat reserved; but
as for Miss Lottie, she was at home with him in five minutes. The usual
introductions being exchanged, the church was opened and inspected. In a
trice Miss Lottie was in the pulpit, looking at the very limited
congregation as if she would deliver to them an excellent discourse,
provided the aforesaid parson was away. Mr. Coles was not a man to hedge
himself in with peculiar priestly notions of sanctity. He was a man, and
with the old Roman citizen, he could say, "Nothing which affects the
welfare of mankind can be uninteresting to me." In the pulpit he was a
man, preaching the Word of God as one of like passions with the people
whom he addressed, bringing his own experience to the light of the
Gospel, and with that light comforting, warning, intreating, exhorting,
instructing, but in a spirit which made the people see that his ministry
was for their welfare. Out of the pulpit the most humble person in the
congregation was acknowledged as worthy of his esteem and labor; in the
spirit of his Master, he gathered up all the fragments. Difficulties had
assailed him where he had expected to find nothing but the most hearty
goodwill; but it was his habit to take them all to God, trying to live
down objections, doing his duty and leaving the result. The services of
his church received his careful attention. In making the House of God
comfortable and attractive, he said, "Such a place ought to be the best
furnished of all." He had seen many a church or chapel with broken
windows, and other sad evidence that no one cared much for the
sanctuary. It always struck him that the condition of the house of God
was a good criterion to judge of the character of a people.

"How very neat and pretty, sir," said Miss Julia, "and everything so
clean and orderly."

"Yes, miss, I like to see it so," replied Mr. Coles.

"A good place to speak in, I should judge," chimed in Miss Lottie. She
spoke from the pulpit.

"Perhaps you will give us a sermon," said Mr. Coles. "It is not often we
have a lady in the pulpit."

"Sir, please pardon me, but I always try to look at a place of worship
from this stand point. We all know what it is to look at the preacher,
but I like to know how the preacher looks upon the people."

"Very good, miss," replied the minister, "it is not a bad notion, I
confess. Certainly I have felt the vast difference between sitting as a
hearer and standing up as a preacher."

"And now, Mr. Coles, as I have escorted these young ladies thus far,"
said Sam Brown, "perhaps you will not object to show them round the
garden and the house. Hullo! here is the dray and Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair.
Now, sir, you will have a goodly company to relieve the quiet of your
life."

"But it has it's temptations, Brown, which I fancy tend to make a man
withdraw into himself, and so to neglect others."

"When you feel that a-coming on to you, Mr. Coles, the best thing is to
jump on your horse and run over to me, and I will give you a little bit
of work which will set all your blood gallopin' I warrant you will have
none of your mono--What do you call it? I can't remember those queer
words."

"Monotony."

"Ah! that's it. Now good-bye, Miss, and you, Miss lady parson, we shall
be better acquainted by-and-bye, I warrant. Run over to us when you got
monot--. Here I go again, monotonous. I call it ugly, sir, that's what I
feel. I get ugly to everybody, and when that comes on to any of our
folks, my old lady says, 'physic 'em,' and the physic produces such a
change. My physic is a ten miles ride, and I leave all the ugliness
behind, and return home quite a good lad. My word, don't I eat after it,
that's all!"

"Excellent plan, Mr. Brown, I'll try your recipe."

More introductions, and then the whole party proceeded to the inspection
of garden, house, dairy, &c, &c. The first person to pass an opinion,
was Mrs. Gumby.

"Is this the station, Mr. Sinclair?"

"It is, my dear madam."

"Well, well, this is a place to bring a respectable family to!"

"Oh! pretty tolerable, Mrs. Gumby. The colonel, no doubt, will add what
he wants. That is how things are done in this country."

"Add to it what he wants! I should say he will have to add a precious
deal. Why, it isn't so good as our men's cottage at home."

"Perhaps not," said Mr. Sinclair; "but you will have to excuse me while
I go to see if your house is ready. I am afraid the quarters will be
rather close. Mr. Coles, I will leave you to entertain the ladies, if
you please."

"With all my heart, my dear sir. Young ladies, mamma will like our
church, do you not think so?"

"Oh! yes; indeed you will, mamma," they both replied, "it is a pretty
place."

"Oh! I dare say, everything is pretty if you can see it so. For my part
I have not seen anything pretty in this country yet."

"Let us hope that the beautiful is all to come," said Mr. Coles. "It is
not all on the dark side, I can assure you. The clouds have silver
linings, have they not, Mrs. Sinclair?"

"Indeed they have, Mr. Coles. We have far more than we deserve, and any
home, however humble, is made to shine brightly if God dwells there. We
lived in a far more humble way than you will, Mrs. Gumby, for some long
time."

"Ah!" grunted Mrs. Gumby, "you are Job's comforters, all of you, I can
see. You were young. Gumby and me are not so young as we were."

"You are in the enjoyment of good health, my dear madam," said Mr.
Coles, "and this is a great blessing."

"Very great, indeed," said Mrs. Sinclair, "and having food and raiment,
let us be there with content. We live, in this country, much in the open
air, and as to comforts, why a cosy hammock will make a man feel that he
is in Elysium, especially if he has his pipe."

"Oh!" said Miss Julia, "mamma will find all will come right, we intend
to do all we can to make her happy."

"Well done!" shouted Mr. Sinclair, who had just returned, "I know you
will, I saw you were the right sort. Father has been telling me some of
your domestic accomplishments. Why, my dear, these young lasses can
wash, cook and bake, cut out and make their own clothes, keep accounts,
play the piano, draw, and beyond all, they are good gardeners, and don't
mind a bit of scrubbing."

"Capital!" replied Mrs. Sinclair. "Why, you have a little fortune in
them. You need not blush, young ladies, I only wish that more of our
Australian lasses were like you. Get on? Why it would be a wonder if you
did not succeed."

The compliment seemed to gratify the hard-to-please mamma, who thereupon
admitted that she had no reason to complain, and all she regretted was
that hundred pounds which Mr. Gumby had thrown away on his
coffee-roaster. It would have enabled them to begin squatting on their
own account.

"A hundred pounds, my dear, why a thousand would not be enough," said
her husband.

"Nor two, for such a station as this," said Mr. Sinclair; "not even ten
thousand and more."

"You don't say so!" For some moments the reasoning faculties of the
coffee roaster's lady were allowed to have a little silent talk with
themselves, during which Mr. Gumby took the dray down to the house
allotted to them, and the Miss Gumbys accompanied him. The Rev. Mr.
Coles also took this opportunity to return home, for the reverend
gentleman had invited Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair to take a friendly cup of
tea at his house with the new arrivals, and he was somewhat anxious lest
his retired habits should interfere with the proper rites of
hospitality.



CHAPTER XXV.--NIGHT THOUGHTS.


Judd no sooner entered his old home than he divested himself of his wet
garments, and hanging them on some pegs which he had put in the wall for
this purpose long before, he accepted Stewart's offer of the blanket
which he had reserved for his own use, upon the assurance that he could
not sleep, and intended to watch.

"I will watch," said he, in a whisper. "Fear not. You are excited--lie
down, sleep will restore you."

The silence of night now reigned supreme. It was just before midnight,
strange, mystical period, when the air seemed to grow colder, and the
watcher gathers up his mantle closer. In spite of all the religious
philosophy which one can practice, the only aid which it brings to us is
profound reverence. "When thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee." Did
this mean that He merely cast a look on Nathaniel to see what he was
about? By no means. He was there as truly as He was visibly breaking
bread at Emmaus. Now turn the thoughts to the Joseph of Arimathea tomb.
One was gazing into it with glistening eyes, the fullest of heart
sorrows welling up in the most profound density of overwhelming grief.
Did it want the two or three then to insure the presence of the Great
God with us? No; He withheld even the footfall of a step from the notice
of the suffering, loving, holy minded saint, to say first of all,
"Woman, why weepest thou?" In the same way, in the whisper of the
evening zephyr, or the deep sonorous lessons of the hurricane, or in the
mysterious silence of midnight, He draws near to us. Often have we sung
in feelings of rapture, in Mendelsohn's wonderful Elijah, "And in that
still voice onward came the Lord," and felt it too. People may call it
enthusiasm, but music is a heaven born art, and the power, the influence
which it exerts is not to be weighed or measured. God came near to the
prophets of old, as they, with harp accompaniment, sought Him; and James
Stewart, in the stillness of the supernatural music of the midnight in
Hermit Glen felt His presence. He covered his face with his hands--these
were his mantle--and thought.

Into the thoughts an angel poured some reflections about the past,
promises about the future, and assurances that all was working for good.
Yes, it was so; if any dispute it, give the proof on the reverse side.
"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them
who are heirs of salvation?" What do they do in this ministry? Look on,
walk around us, merely witness our actions? No, no, they are not
dummies, but realities. Ask the young man whose head is bowed down in
thought in that rough cavern, and he would tell you that life would have
been all but insupportable to him on account of the horrors he had
endured, had it not been for this sacred influence which seemed to be
constantly present to comfort him.

But what a confusion of images, real living personages, passed before
him as he gave the rein to his thoughts. They came as shadows, but each
one bore with it a living fact, which they dropped in the treasury of
his recollections.

Again and again these mementos dazzled or perplex him in turn, as they
appeared grievous or joyous. His class in the Sunday-school at
Southampton, ah! this sent a thrill of joy through his soul, as he
thought of some from whom he had heard, who were walking in the ways of
truth. The poor stricken creature before him, the author of all his
misery, this subject was too painful for him. He thought, and the
silence grew more intensely monotonous, until a slight sound which
escaped from one of the sleepers aroused him to a listening position.
For a moment he knew not who it was who was speaking, for it was talking
in sleep that he heard, but soon found that it was Judd who had fallen
into a deep sleep. He could not distinguish what he said, but as he
watched and listened very intently, he saw evident signs that one of the
others was on the point of waking, and in a minute afterwards Argyle
raised himself on his elbow, looking at his comrade with somewhat of a
perplexed countenance. The moon was shining brightly into the cave
exactly where Stewart sat upon the ground leaning against one of the
door posts, bringing him into the strongest possible relief with the
light and shade.

"What is up?" said Argyle.

"Hush!" replied Stewart, pointing to the old man, who lay apart from the
others.

Turning his head in the direction indicated, Argyle peered into the
semi-darkness but could make out nothing in particular which warranted
such caution, so again he spoke: "What is it, James?"

Stewart beckoned to him in reply, and walking outside the hut Argyle
followed.

"There is some one lying where I pointed, David, he came in after you
were asleep, wet and weary. He is the man who made this place and lived
here."

"Ah! What kind of a monster is he?"

"Not a Caliban exactly, although he looked nearly as wild and haggard as
many likenesses of that celebrated character which I have seen."

"What did he say?"

"He asked what we were doing here. I told him we were travellers, and
the storm had compelled us to make use of the first shelter we could
reach."

"But who can the fellow be who lived such a hermit life in this wild
place?" said Argyle.

They both spoke in a low whispering tone of voice, and Stewart replied,
"The man is a shepherd, and is driving some sheep up to Burnham."

"Driving sheep? A pretty shepherd to leave them to shift for
themselves."

"So I thought, but I fancy he is ill; he was terribly excited, wet to
the skin, and I do not think he knows much about sheep driving."

"I should think there will be precious few left in the morning," said
Argyle. "Is he asleep sound enough to let a fellow look at him?"

"No; don't do that," said Stewart, laying his hand on the shoulder of
the other, "don't disturb him."

Argyle looked steadily at the speaker as if he would read some
explanation of his agitated manner, but he could not solve it. The
intense silence, unbroken by any sound, except the hard breathing of the
sleepers and the continued muttering of Judd, seemed to startle Argyle,
for he kept turning round as if to catch the words which the sleeper
uttered, and now the scene and the incidents attending it became
exciting to both the young men. A strange, undefinable sort of mysticism
hung like a cloud around their existence at this moment. The air was
chill also, and they both shivered. It was the set time for the
revelation. Contact with anything imaginary or unseen will produce its
corresponding influence. Hamlet, on the ramparts at Elsinore, says, "The
air bites shrewdly, it is very cold," and terror, in its degrees of
vehemence, chills the blood, strikes dumb the spirit, makes cowards of
us all.

Argyle felt this as Stewart laid his hands on his shoulders, looking
keenly into his face saying, "The man in there is known to both of us."

"Judd, then, by Heaven!" replied Argyle.

"You are right, my friend, but do not agitate yourself."

"James Stewart," said Argyle, with some vehemence, "I have sworn to
deliver that man up to justice if ever I met him again in this world."

"And I have passed my word that he shall be unmolested so long as he is
in my sight."

"James, that promise is not binding on me at least."

"No, David; but respect for my word must leave him free according to my
promise. I demand, nay, forgive me, I intreat this at your hand."

"It matters little," said Argyle, in a discontented tone; "as soon as he
leaves, these hands shall try to arrest him."

"Why, my dear friend, why should you bear revenge so keenly upon your
spirit? The man's crimes have been deeply punished, depend on it. See
this desolate home! he tells me that here he has lived for nearly ten
years. Surely the fire of vengeance will be suffered to burn out
somewhere."

"Not till its victim is consumed," replied Argyle. "This man's crimes
need a hundred pursuing feet to bail him up, if it were only to hear the
word of confession from his lips, why and how he did those accursed
things. I think you are wrong, James, in your notions. It is
compromising felony."

"Have your read the parable of the unmerciful servant, David? He had
nothing to pay, and his lord freely forgave him; but he went and took
another by the throat, and persecuted him with vengeance. What did the
Saviour say about him?"

"Very true; but then, according to this reasoning, courts of justice
must be altogether unnecessary, and prisons places of unjust torture."

"No, no, for even by the direction of Scripture we are to count some as
heathens and infidels, if they persistently refuse to hear us."

"Where can you find a wretch--"

"Don't use strong epithets, David."

"I cannot help it, James," replied Argyle, "the villain first of all
ruined you--nay, give me leave to go on--he did not look ahead and say,
I am helping James Stewart to a fortune, and a happy, free, and
honorable life. No; he only saw in the future, James Stewart a convicted
felon, whom no one would look upon, no one would receive, none would
take by the hand; in short, he conspired to work out your destruction.
Hear me, if you had met your death in the ship which brought you here,
reeking as it was with the worst of fevers, what could have compensated
for that?"

"Eternal glory, I hope, David!"

"Ah! yes, and I admire your consistent belief in those things; but I
hold that a man's life thus shortened by another's act, is actually cut
off--well, murdered--so I regard it."

"Yet it is the will of God," replied Stewart, with a very quiet, subdued
voice.

"I reason by law and justice," said Argyle.

"And if we are all to be judged by law and justice," replied Stewart,
"where would any of us be?"

"Men, wiser than I am," replied Argyle, "have instituted courts of
justice, as I know to my cost. This fellow, by his villainous treachery,
is a perjured hypocrite, an abominable forger, a cruel murderer, and you
are his advocate. I cannot say that I admire your policy."

"Oh! do bear with me, David, I intreat you. I do not defend the man, but
if you had seen him as he knelt and said 'Amen,' and wept and groaned
about his past life, you must have been moved. I could not lay a hand on
him for any reward, or desire to avenge the past."

"I have not a doubt that he is sorry," replied Argyle. "Judas was sorry
and wept, I doubt not, and tore his hair and cast the money down,
beseeching the old bloodthirsty priests and rulers to undo what his
greediness led him to do at their desire. But it was too late, and,
by-the-bye, you forget that even our Lord has said about some, 'the door
was shut.' In other words, their hope of happiness was gone, they were
too late."

"This is trespassing on the sacred prerogative of One who is the Judge
of all. We cannot pretend to discern as He can. He can never be wrong,
but we do err, and frequently."

"We shall never agree upon such nice definitions as these," said Argyle.
"I say the man is worthy of death, and if these hands--"

"Can do what, young man?" The voice was that of the man of whom he was
speaking. With the rug thrown over his shoulders, he stood within a yard
of David Argyle, the three convicts met in a triangle. Breathless, for a
moment they gazed on each other, neither attempting to move; but Stewart
stepping forward as if to stand between the other two the act was
understood by each, for Argyle angrily cried out, "James Stewart, I will
have no interference now!"

"Nor is there any need, Mr. Stewart," replied Judd, "I have heard the
most of your conversation with this man, and know now what I have to
expect. I absolve you from the promise you made to me. If I am to be a
marked villain as Mister Argyle says, let it be so. I give you both the
chance; you go your way and I will go mine; if not, let it be war to the
knife."

"War to the knife, you desperate rascal," shouted Argyle. "Why did you
not say, war with the knob of a riding whip?"

He rushed upon Judd as he spoke. The blanket fell from the old man, and
his hands grasped the bare shoulder, for Judd was now completely naked.
By this time all the sleepers were aroused, and the confusion was
indescribable. Both Judd and Argyle fell violently to the ground, the
former being underneath the powerful grasp of the young squatter, who
was trying to untie his cravat handkerchief in order to bind the hands
of his opponent, while Stewart was calling to the men to release Judd
from his grasp. None of the men, however, knew what to do; they did not
understand the affair; at last Stewart laid his hand on Argyle, which,
causing the latter to turn sharply round, Judd seized the opportunity,
and with a tremendous effort he actually threw his opponent off from him
with such force that before a hand could be stretched out to save him he
fell over the rocky platform on which the scene had occurred, and,
rolling from stone to stone, from point to point, with a cry of horror
Stewart saw his friend drop from the last projecting stone into the
rushing stream which was roaring with the might of tempest waters
through the glen. It was all the work of a moment, but in the same
instant Judd sprang up and merely shouting, "You that can, follow me,"
rushed down the chasm by a way known only to himself and leaping from
ledge to ledge, where it seemed no one could possibly stand, the
frightened men who still stood on the cliff saw him plunge into the
boiling stream, and in a minute or two after his voice was heard, now
some distance down the glen, shouting for assistance. Stewart was
perfectly paralysed, he knew not what to do, nor did either of the men
seem as if they could stir a step. In fact, it appeared impossible for
anyone to follow Judd with the slightest chance of life. In this
interval of terrible suspense, the shoutings still ringing in their
ears, Black Bill, looking up into his master's face, cried out, "Sich a
faithful dog, massa," and instantly bounded over the precipice. They
watched him as his natural instinct led him to take the most direct
route to the place where the shouting was now most vehement. It was
trying in the extreme to stand and hear the cries, none daring to move;
the noise which the raging waters made as they rolled along with a force
which nothing could resist was enough to appall the stoutest heart. At
last one of the men managed to get down upon a large ledge of rock,
which was fully six feet below the platform on which the rest stood,
and, assisted by Stewart and the rest, another followed. It was almost
impossible to stand anywhere, the stones were so loose and exceedingly
slippery, but still on they managed safely to go. They had nearly
reached the torrent when a louder cry, which they all know to be Black
Bill's cooey, raised the hope that Argyle had been rescued, and in
another minute this was confirmed by a still louder shout, "He-ar,
he-ar, sich a faithful dog, massa I got massa David." The two men
answered with a shout, and with almost incredible exertions, with
numberless falls and not a few bruises, they crawled along the sides of
the glen, directed by the continued cooey of Black Bill. To this they
kept replying, but fully five minutes must have passed ere they reached
the spot where he stood. Apart from the associations of the moment, the
spectacle which the men gazed upon created mingled feelings of
admiration and terror. From the mountain side the waters rushed down in
a number of streams which, uniting at last in one, presented the
appearance of a boiling cauldron, which formed a hundred little
whirlpools. The bed of the torrent here varied incessantly: now as a
broad river, then it narrowed into a channel of a couple of yards or so,
and here it waged incessant warfare with stones and logs, groaning and
roaring as if a part of its mission was to remove obstacles by terror,
but in one place two immense stones had fallen into the bottom of the
glen, they were fully five feet in depth, and nearly ten in length, and
tolerably flat upon the top. Both these stones had fallen so us to form
a natural breakwater, with only about eight inches of space between
them. The waters in a moderate rain ran quietly through this gap, but
when a storm swelled the stream to a raging torrent they could not be
carried off in sufficient volume by this outlet. Then a mass of water
accumulated on the other side until it flowed over the tops of the two
stones, and fell in a cataract on the other side. In the centre of the
stones the rush of water through the gap was then tremendous, and this
being precipitated far beyond the face of the stones, met the water as
it descended from the top and a beautiful spectacle was the result. But
just above the same spot another watercourse poured a considerable
volume into the glen, and this meeting the other stream, seemed to dash
it back against the water which fell over the stones and thus the
spectacle was increased in interest. It was here that David Argyle was
rescued. Much injured he fell into the stream, but managed to catch some
branches of shrubs and trees, by which he was supported for a while. He
knew not how he did it, so he said afterwards, but he seemed to float
along, still holding something which supported him. It was in reality
one of those long vines which are found growing in scrubs which he had
snatched as he fell. Onward he rolled and floated for a dozen yards or
so, when he found a footing on a sunken log, but from this he was soon
washed; and then he recollected that he was dashed against some hard
substance and became unconscious. It was then that Judd, swimming--and
none could swim better than he--caught the all but lost David Argyle.
Unencumbered with clothes he seized him with one arm, while he held on
to the rock with the other, and with almost supernatural strength he
lifted him up to the top of one of these flats stones, to which
reference has been made. Fortunately, the torrent had somewhat abated,
and the water over these rocks was not more than a foot in depth. Judd
easily reached the spot, and instantly took the insensible man in his
arms. There did not appear to be any life left in him. It was a terrible
position to be in, for it was impossible to get away from the place
without going backwards or forwards. The sides of the glen here were
precipitous for at least ten feet, and, reaching the top of this place,
Black Bill first discovered the two men in the position which has been
described. The blackfellow, with his usual keenness, took in the whole
position at a glance, and putting a question to Judd about the easiest
way of getting down into the stream, he disappeared with a shout. This
was the first that Stewart heard. In less than two minutes he had
reached the place which Judd had indicated. Now he must face the stream
or his help would be useless. Throwing off his coat, shirt, and hat, and
hastily too--"It was done in a jiffy," so he said, and he spoke
correctly--and then shouting, "Sich a faithful dog, massa," the good
fellow faced the torrent. More than once he lost his footing, and when
be reached the rocks the water was so violent he knew not how to face
it. But Black Bill was a splendid climber, and he scrambled up the aide
of the glen where it was less steep, laying hold of some roots which
presented themselves most invitingly in his way, and thus reached a
place where he could stand firmly. "Now give me massa," said he, "I hold
him while you get down there; then you take him, and we carry him up."
It was a hard struggle for the noble lad to hold the stout burly frame
of the insensible man, but he did it, every limb quivering with the
exertion. Judd had little difficulty in getting down from his rocky
platform, and receiving Argyle from Black Bill he carried him to the
place where the two men relieved him of the burden, and, aided by the
black boy, they bore him slowly up the sides of the glen. Argyle was
rescued from death, and by the aid of stimulants and the warmth of the
fire he soon revived and opened his eyes. He was terribly injured; one
arm was broken and there was a fearful gash over his temple. But where
was his deliverer? One was by his side anxiously looking on, but the
other was gone. "Vanished," Black Bill said, "gone to Jericho. He must
have come from tere. Jeroosalem! he's a rum un."



CHAPTER XXVI.--AN EVENING AT THE MINISTER'S HOUSE.


Some people shake their head at the idea of a parson's soiree; 'too
stiff and religious,' they say. The objection does no particular credit
to the critic, but in practice is such a gathering open to such a
charge? If anything is wrong or open to objection in a minister's house,
it is not to be suffered in any other respectable family. Why should a
minister of religion be debarred, because he sustains such an office,
from the common enjoyments of life? It will be answered, 'Love not the
world, neither the things of the world.' Right, but these words mean
that you are not to set your heart upon them. To love a wife and
children is lawful, right, holy, and reasonable. To love them above the
Creator is idolatry. A social party at the Rev. Edward Coles' house
might have been open to severe criticism by mere cavillers, but he had
no misgivings about anything which was done there. Let us look in at the
already announced tea party on a small scale. It is summer, so all the
windows and doors are open. Two doors in the parlor lead out upon the
verandah, which runs round the whole house. Before this verandah is a
gravelled carriage road, and in front of this a lawn, with sundry flower
beds. The cottage has four rooms and a kitchen. It is furnished with
some degree of comfort, and at the back there is a kitchen garden and a
paddock. Fruit trees of all kinds are here and there, without any
particular regard to design or order. Such, in a few words, is the
description of this neat little residence. Mrs. Gumby was pleased with
it, which was ample testimony in favor of the place.

At 5 o'clock the whole party was assembled--Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair, Mr.
and Mrs. Gumby, the two young ladies, and Mr. Brown. Mrs. Gumby was duly
installed in a most capacious 'come and love me' easy chair; Mrs.
Sinclair in a less pretending one, on the opposite side of the room, Mr.
Sinclair and the Rev. Edward Coles were chatting on the verandah; and
the young ladies were operating upon the risible faculties of Mr. Brown.
At least one of them was, and he, nothing loath, was firing away by a
complimentary return of merry jokes.

But tea is preparing all the while, and punctually at five minutes past
5 it is ready. A blessing is asked: why should it ever be omitted?
Suppose the blessing of the health and life Giver should be withheld,
what a calamity would ensue. The creature is about to partake of the
Creator's mercies, it is only meet and proper to seek His good will, so
that the food may be assimilated to our particular need. The hospitality
of the host was then shown to all, and that they enjoyed it there was
abundant proof.

"Do not spare, Mrs. Gumby. Make yourself quite at home. We are plain
folks up in this part of the country. Excuse me, Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair,
of course I mean your humble servant."

"Do not mention it my dear sir," said Mr. Sinclair. "We at The Vineyard
delight in homely comfort, without any ostentation. Every one is
heartily welcome; that is our rule."

"And a regular jolly good rule," chimed in Mr. Brown. "I like order,
neatness, and that sort of thing; but as for mere show, give me
reality--that's what I say."

"I never was more comfortable in my life, Mr. Coles," said Mrs. Gumby.
"This is very nice indeed."

"I am so glad," said Mrs. Sinclair. "I have no doubt that you will be
very happy after a while. All of us have had to suffer inconvenience at
first, and if people can do that without feeling it very much, it is a
sign that they may prosper."

"I have not the least doubt of it," said Mr. Gumby. "As for me, I like
the country very well."

"And how do the young ladies agree with these opinions?" said Mr. Coles.

Miss Julia said she perfectly agreed, and Miss Lottie declared it was
the most jolly free life she had ever known. "If Miss Tomlinson and the
other girl, whatever her name was, were only regular bricks, wouldn't
they put some life into the people." Of course this sent all the company
into a laughing humor. Mrs. Gumby, however, held up her finger, and
said, "Fie, Lottie!"

"So we will, mamma, and behave like good girls into the bargain. I am
sure Mr. Coles does not wish to see us with half a yard of dropsy
hanging from each eye, and a bib under our chins to catch the
melancholy."

"No, no, Miss Lottie; I do not believe that the religion of the Bible
enjoins any such thing. Be as happy as possible, but be wise with the
enjoyment of such things as ye have."

"Yes, but Mr. Coles, who is to be the judge about these things?" said
Mrs. Sinclair. "Some people would make very bad judges of their
conscience."

"Not if they read the Bible with an earnest desire to be guided by its
sacred light of truth."

"Perhaps not. But suppose they are not readers of the Scriptures?"

"Then, my dear madam, they must most assuredly make sad mistakes. Now,
as a proof of what I feel on this question, you shall this evening enjoy
yourself to your heart's content, and then we will ask God's blessing
upon it before we retire to our rest. My rule is this--whatever I can
ask God to bless I cannot regard as sinful. In fact, my lips would
refuse to utter a petition which my heart could not unite in."

"Just my creed exactly," said Mr. Brown. "As I says to my youngsters,
'Now, you boys and girls, do what is right, and you won't be ashamed.'
We lifted up this flag years ago, and when any of 'em falls into the
wrong ditch, we haul 'em out, and says to 'em, 'That is not following
the family track;' and we all unite in singing our hymn, which you have
heard, Mr. Coles, many a time. It begins--"

"Do the right, brother, do the right."

"I have heard it, neighbor Brown; and I know how well you have managed
to lead your family, and how God has blessed you."

"Yes, tolerably well, for that. We all lay hold of the wheel, and, even
though the dray does stick fast, we axes the help of Providence, and
give a tremendous lift ourselves, and out it comes, and on we go again."

"Well done," shouted Mr. Gumby.

But now music was proposed, and while the tea was cleared the music
portfolio was deliberately inspected, but of course the ladies 'could
not play,' and severe colds had deprived them of all control over their
voices as they could wish. Someone ought to invent a social warming up
machine, to ensure enjoyments at the commencement of a meeting of
guests.

Very frequently the overture is an exhibition of starched politeness,
during which no one has the power to sing, play, or make themselves in
the least sociable. The heating process then begins to operate, and the
starch gives way; chairs begin to find an attractive influence by which
their occupants are able to approach within confidential quarters with
Mr. or Mrs. So-and-So. The notes of music, accidentally or casually
struck, send the heating process a few degrees higher, and forthwith the
steam begins to hum; now it sounds louder and louder, and on it
progresses, until the whole party are at the boiling point. All
unnecessary reserve is melted in the process, and henceforth the evening
is happily enjoyed.

There were no preliminary experiments of this kind at Mr. Coles' house.
He led the way into every kind of social pleasure. First, he played "The
Pastoral Symphony," from "the Messiah," and then the old favorite, "Bay
of Biscay," which he sung with fervent vivacity. Then the case of
fossils and other curiosities was opened for the ladies, the beautiful
portfolio of sketches and engravings also; pipes, and a round table on
the verandah, were provided for the gentlemen; the young ladies were
kept at the piano; the minister now saying, "Thank you, miss, that is
beautiful; please favor us with something else." Then he found time for
a little argumentative discussion with Mr. Sinclair, during which his
eyes were looking round to where the ladies sat, ever and anon
explaining the name of some fossil, or pointing out the beauty of some
picture. In fact the people were his guests; his duty was to entertain
them, and he did so.

Some will say, "Where is there any religion in this?" In the first
place, the man was known, his principles were not hidden either in the
pulpit or the life. Test him with a temptation to do a wrong, and the
righteous indignation of the man was a thing to be remembered. Ask him
to go to comfort a poor sick or dying person, and his soul was instantly
in the work. Was there one to whom he could do good?--he was ready. His
inner life was expressive of humble, devoted attachment to the Saviour.
The outward expression of that life was a decided disposition to claim
for himself and his brethren all the privileges, as citizens of a
commonwealth, which other men enjoyed. His home enjoyments were as pure
as earth's pleasures can be, yet he loved many things which some would
condemn. He could sing a glee or a song heartily, and, now that he had
the chance, Bishop's "Chough and Crow" was sung with the utmost
enthusiasm, the young ladies taking the soprano and alto parts, and the
minister the bass. After this, they sang the "Kyrie Eleison" of Mozart's
Twelfth Mass, and then Mr. Coles sang the opening air, "Comfort ye,"
from "The Messiah," Miss Julia Gumby then singing, "I know that my
Redeemer liveth." Then they had a round or two, and a few illustrations
of quadrille and waltz music, during which Mr. Coles challenged Mr.
Sinclair to a game of chess, Mr. Brown and Mr. Gumby had a discussion
about pastoral matters, the two elder ladies being confidentially
immersed in domestic recipes.

Fruit of various kinds was placed on the sideboard, which was open to
all, but there was no wine. Mr. Coles was an abstainer, but upon this
ground: First, he could not afford it; secondly, he considered it to be
his duty to set an example to others. Beyond this he did not pretend to
go. If others thought proper to take intoxicating drink, provided they
did not exceed the bounds of moderation he never interfered. But if he
knew of anyone who could not take it without falling into vice, then he
tried the utmost powers of persuasive influence to induce them to
abstain.

Thus the evening passed pleasantly and happily enough. Mrs. Gumby proved
to be a very estimable woman under certain circumstances. Let her have
the comforts of a good home, and she was at home; but she could not
forget the home she had left. Emigration at fifty-five years of age is
not all pleasure or profit. At 8 o'clock Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair's horses
were saddled and brought to the front of the house, and Mr. Brown had
gone to the paddock to got his own Black Bess into necessary trim for a
ride home, when a loud cooey was heard, and this being repeated by
another, and then by a third, the whole party were on the verandah in a
trice, wondering what it could mean. In a minute or so Black Bill rode
up to the house with a letter for Mr. Coles.

"From Massa Stewart, Misser Coles."



CHAPTER XXVII.--EVERYBODY ON THE MOVE.


Judd only waited to see Argyle safely carried to the hut; he then
returned along the bed of the stream till he came to a place where he
could climb to the top of the cliff. Not a moment did he delay, for it
was daybreak by this time. With a swift foot and determined will, onward
he strode, one strong motive impelling him--there was no longer any
safety for him. Every consideration of duty, every feeling of religious
hope, every desire to redeem the past dissolved like vapor in the light
of the sun. "The fates are against me," he cried, as he sped through the
valley where he had left the sheep. Even the sight of them had no effect
upon him. "To the blacks," said he to himself, and then, raising his
voice, he roared out, "The knob of a whip! he has sworn to follow me! to
the blacks; to the blacks!"

In the meantime David Argyle's wounds were washed and bound up. So
serious, however, were some of them, that what could be done to get him
home was the source of most anxious solicitude to Stewart. But finally
he decided to dispatch the black lad to Leyton to request the overseer
to bring on the spring cart, with other necessaries, as quickly as
possible.

The morning wore along rather monotonously, but us they knew that it
would be impossible for the cart to get to Hermit Glen, part of the time
was occupied in making a rough litter to carry the wounded man to the
road side. It was midday when this was accomplished, but by this time
strong fever had set in, and David Argyle began to give evidence of the
most alarming symptoms of delirium. It was with no small satisfaction,
therefore, but with great surprise, that in half an hour after they had
reached the road two light waggons were seen approaching, which, on
reaching the place, Stewart found to be the travelling cortege of
Colonel Tomlinson and his suite.

The sight of a wounded man lying on a litter would have attracted
attention if there had been no other reason why the cortege should have
stopped. But the surprise of the colonel was very great, for he
exclaimed, "By the powers, James Stewart, what brought you here, and who
have you there?"

"Fortunately, colonel, we are just in time to meet you. We started upon
this errand, for we heard of that unfortunate affair through your
overseer, Brown, and resolved to come on and render assistance if we
could."

"In doing which you got crippled," said the colonel. "But who is it?"

"David Argyle, colonel."

"You don't say so?"

The colonel immediately alighted, and, briefly introducing the ladies,
he went to the litter.

The interviews which followed were painful and pleasing. Mrs. Welland
was rejoiced to see Stewart, but the recollection of the past flashed
across her memory with horrors which cannot be expressed.

"How did it happen?" was the inquiry of Miss Tomlinson.

The question was too pointed to be answered direct, but Stewart was no
hand at evasion. He said that a dispute had arisen with some man whom
Argyle knew, and in the scuffle which ensued the latter had fallen over
a rock and broken his arm. To Colonel Tomlinson, however, he told all
the facts, without mentioning Judd's real name.

Of course there was great sympathy with the wounded man. The ladies all
alighted; in fact, everyone forming the cortege, with the exception of
Captain Oliver.

To gather up the fragments of half-an-hour's discussion, and to get the
travellers in safety to their several destinations, it is only necessary
to add that Argyle was placed in the waggon with Captain Oliver, and, as
speedily as was consistent with the roughness of the roads and the
position of the wounded man, the journey was brought to an end. It was 4
o'clock when they had ten miles to go; but then they met the cart, and
into it Argyle was removed; and, as the track to Leyton somewhat
diverged from this spot, the two parties separated with many
congratulations, anticipations of happy intercourse, and sincere hope
that the wounded man would soon be convalescent.

Black Bill delivered his letter, which announced that Mr. Argyle had met
with a severe accident; that his arm was broken, and entreated Mr.
Coles, who was somewhat acquainted with medicine and surgical
operations, to ride over to Leyton immediately on receipt of the letter,
as they hoped by that time to be at home. Black Bill was detained at
Leyton, and consequently arrived late at Mr. Coles' house. Mrs. Gumby
was profoundly disturbed upon hearing the disastrous news. Of course
'the horrid country' came in for its share of invectives; but when Mr.
Brown said that he would go over to Leyton but for the fact that his
people would be alarmed at his non-return home, but he was sure Mr.
Gumby would not object to ride over with the minister, the wrath of the
lady became something curious to contemplate.

It rose to fever heat, then descended as rapidly to zero--in which
condition the good lady appeared to be hysterical--from which singular
state she gradually dissolved into the benignity of summer heat, and
placidly declared that "this was the climax of her troubles." It is
difficult to estimate what might have been the issue of this fresh
feature of Mrs. Gumby's complaint, but as she gave utterance to these
memorable words one of the Leyton stockmen rode up to the house, stating
that Colonel Tomlinson was at hand, and would arrive in half an hour.
Mr. Stewart had sent him on with the colonel's party, the more surely to
lead them home as speedily as possible.

Mr. Coles could not, under the circumstances, remain to receive the
colonel, nor would he hear of Mrs. Gumby being disturbed by the proposed
visit of her husband to Leyton. He did not need any one to go, he said.
Mr. Stewart's people were there, he would return with them, and probably
come back in the morning. In the meantime Mr. and Mrs. Gumby were at
liberty to remain for the night at his house. So the storm blew over.
The whole of the party adjourned to the station and had scarcely arrived
when Colonel Tomlinson and his suite completed their toilsome journey,
and the colonel entered upon the possession of his new home.



CHAPTER XXVIII.--AMONG THE NATIVES.


Judd reached the camp of the natives in about half-an-hour after leaving
Hermit Glen. It was daylight, but only one man was to be seen, and this
one happening to be Eagle Hawk, without any hesitation he walked up to
him, held up his hand in token of friendship, and addressed his old
comrade in the native tongue, which he could speak pretty well. The
blackfellow was very uneasy; he had passed the night in patrolling round
the camp, spear in hand, which he used as a staff or carried over his
shoulder. He adored Mogara for her beauty and courage. Once he had
ventured to hint something beyond this, but the rage with which she
listened to his words, and which burst into a tumult when he had
finished, banished from his mind any hope that she could be to him any
more than a friend. The advent of Judd to the tribe was a constant
source of anxiety to the old black. It was by Mogara's order that he had
been spared, for it was customary to spear every white man whom they
took prisoner; but Judd's life was spared as an exception to the rule.
It was very evident why the half-caste queen insisted upon this, so
evident indeed that once Eagle Hawk remonstrated with her.

She replied, "It is my command," and the mandate was obeyed--more than
obeyed, for every man and woman in the tribe vied with each other to do
him honor. Judd became a favorite amongst them with only one or two
exceptions. When he escaped, Eagle Hawk in secret rejoiced; and upon his
reappearance his old uneasiness returned with renewed vigor.

Externally he showed nothing but pleasure; he even kissed Judd's cheek,
and laughed as if he could not show delight enough; but his heart was
all gall and bitterness. When Mogara therefore invited Judd to return to
them he would have suggested many objections, but a glance at her eye
was enough. He knew her mandate, and he was not one to resist it. All
that night, however, he was conning the probable results of Judd's
influence over Mogara. It was with no pleasure therefore that he saw
Judd coming towards him, or heard the words, "I come to live with you
again."

So Judd became again a sojourner amongst the natives. This time he was
more reconciled with his position, for it was forced upon him.

Self-protection was a primary virtue with him. He had early in life
habited himself to cunning and trickery, which inevitably produce fear
and want of manliness; and, if he had any courage, it was that of
desperation--there was nothing natural in it. His life was therefore one
continual expression of suspicion. Still he tried by every means to gain
the confidence of the natives, and was kind and good to all who were
willing to be friendly; but there were some who regarded him with
mingled feelings of scorn and mistrust. Mogara, on the contrary, now
cast off all reserve, and was Judd's constant companion. All her
admiration for the man returned, even though ten years of hardship had
whitened his hair, so as to give him a most venerable appearance.

Thus three months and more passed away, during which they had not
migrated far from Hermit Glen, when one beautiful evening Mogara and
Judd were seated under a tree near the top of the range. The place was
pleasant, and they halted for a while. The halt naturally led to a chat,
and this was how it began:

"How long do you remain in this place, Mogara?"

"I not quite know, Henry, what we do. I hear zome zay we go in that
country 'gen." She pointed towards the south.

"Why do you go there? I no want to go that way," said Judd. "Soldier,
they will take me, and put me in prison."

"Ha!" said Mogara, in alarm. "Ha! I zee. Zen we no go zere."

"Not safe for me here, Mogara, if we stop too long. Men seek for me and
find me--"

The woman caught Judd's arm as he spoke, as if she would hold him fast.
Judd misunderstood her at first, but seeing that her eyes were full of
tears, he went on to say--"I would rather be with you than the white
men. They no do me good--much harm."

"Mogara protect zoo, Henry. But zoo no wish to go 'way 'gen?"

"No, Mogara I come live with you all, and you are very good to me. I no
wish to go away yet."

"Yet! I zay--Mogara zay--zoo never go 'way. Why zoo with to go back to
zem who hate zoo and me? I kill my enemy, zat left my mother. Henry, her
die like dog. I zay I would kill him, and I zhot--"

"Your own father, Mogara."

What a look the half-caste turned upon Judd as he spoke these words!
Will it be believed that this poor despised, but in some respects clever
creature had never allowed her thoughts to rest on any other idea than
revenge for an alleged outrage against her mother. "Her father--"

"Yes, Mogara, he is so," said Judd, as she paused upon these words,
repeating them with emphasis.

She was gazing at no particular object. It was one of those seasons of
despair which seize us as a terrible revelation bursts upon the
intellect for the first time. She was staring into nothingness, seeing
nothing, yet gazing with the eye of a linx; immersed in the deepest
thought, with her eyes wide open, but she saw only the word "father."
Judd saw the emotion which was agitating the black-eyed savage beauty
with an influence she could not control. He placed his hand upon her
shoulder, but she moved not--seemed not to notice him; repeating, in
whispers now, "Father! my father! My father!" Presently she cried out
with an awful vehemence, "And I killed him! my father! Henry, I killed
him!"

Nature came to her relief, for she burst into a flood of tears. Judd
spoke to her, tried to comfort her; told her he was the man who was
standing at the door when she fired, and that when he left there was no
particular danger.

It was long before she could be pacified. The words "my father" were
uttered with increased vehemence and bitterness. She stood up, took out
her little revolver, dashed it to the ground, wrung her hands, and
alternately burst into tears, or sat with a kind of indolent stupor. At
last Judd took up the two animals which they had killed, and, gently
laying hold of Mogara's hand, he led her away without any resistance.
Slowly they returned to the camp, to find the whole tribe in the highest
excitement. One of them was wounded, and another killed, by a party of
bushmen who were travelling on the road. The blacks had been surprised
as they were lying on the grass by the roadside. The moment they saw the
bushmen they hastily decamped, but, for mere sport sake, they were fired
at, one man being sent into eternity and another poor creature lamed for
life. Loud were the horrible threats which sounded through out the camp.
Eagle Hawk was haranguing a large group as Mogara and Judd came in
sight. A shout which rang through the woods greeted their approach, and
instantly fifty men ran to meet them, shouting in the native tongue,
"White man kill! white man kill!"--every one of them scowling upon Judd,
his white, or rather brown skin seaming to them a relationship to the
aggressors which for a while they were unable or unwilling to forget.

"White man kill! Woopa malar ban!"

The first word was shouted with terrible vehemence, the 'woop' being
elongated in a sort of cooey. The scene was very exciting; and when they
discovered in Mogara the unmistakable evidence that she had been
weeping, every eye again turned to Judd, now with inquiring glances, and
then with suspicious signs, which meant far more than Judd felt
comfortable in witnessing.

But Mogara understood her people better than he did.

"To ze camp, to ze camp!" said she, in commanding accents. "Burrima,
burrima! (hastily, quickly.) Instantly she was obeyed, and, with shouts
and frantic cries, rushed to the place where Eagle Hawk was still
vehemently haranguing a group of excited men.

"What iz it? what iz ze matter?" exclaimed Mogara, as she took her stand
by the side of Eagle Hawk.

"Father killed," was the reply of a young fellow. "Father killed--white
fellow kill!" and he dashed his great club on the ground, and burst into
tears.

"Zee, see, Mogara! Zee!" and he took off a blanket from the dead body
which was lying near the spot. Mogara drew near to look at the corpse,
saying, "Who did this?"

"One two, three, six white fellow," was the reply from a dozen voices.

"Quiet!" said Mogara, waving her hand. "We kill for zis. Go sleep.
Morrow we find out white fellow. Blood for blood! White man he kill;
black man kill too. Go zleep, zleep--morrow get up; I tell you what do.
Eagle Hawk, come with me; Henry, zoo come too."

The trio left the excited natives, and entered the bark humpie of the
queen, and here a lengthened debate ensued.

"Eagle Hawk," said Mogara, "I am zick of zis."

"Let us have blood, then!" exclaimed the old man.

"No, no; zoo no understand. Zoo, or me, or Henry may be zhot like
Ballu."

"Blood, blood!--kill!" Eagle Hawk trembled with passion as he cried
out--"I say blood! Let us go burn, kill!"

"No, Eagle Hawk," said Mogara, "we must not. We no strong to fight
against long guns. Zey zhoot--kill--we no able to get near. Our people
turn run, fly--zhot like dog. No, no, zat never do."

"But we must have revenge; blackfellows no rest till they have blood. We
kill one white man for black. One black kill--one white he die for
black. You know this, Mogara!"

"I do know it, Eagle Hawk, and it iz right. We have no law like white
man. Zey hold up hand everywhere against us. We no able to talk with zem
about our rights. Zey strong--we weak. Zey put zeir hand on heart, and
zay, 'Curse, curse-damn, damn them!' and then they fire, kill."

"As there is a God in heaven, she is right," said Judd.

"Let us go, then, morrow day," said Eagle Hawk. "Go up borru (west); we
find plenty sheep there; we kill sheep--eat them; we find man--we kill
him--burn, dance, sing!"

The conference was lengthened into a discussion of minor details. Mogara
began it with a recollection of her father suffering from her hand, and
the thought of blood made her shudder, but gradually the dreadful
influence of her life among the natives exerted its power, and she was
as eager for revenge and blood as any of the tribe.

Mysterious are the ways of Providence, but all are in goodness,
kindness, wisdom, as golden chains fastened by eternal promise to the
throne of God. Frequently the darker the cloud the brighter the central
glory. Judd knew this; he was ever trying to educate Mogara to some such
manner of thinking and judging, but there was too much bitterness in him
at times for such reflections to be of any lasting benefit. He regretted
that he had saved Argyle's life; then he was glad that he had done so;
then he wished for another opportunity of trying his strength with "the
youngster;" and finally he resolved to quit his present life, and at any
risk get down to the towns and escape for ever from the misery of such
an existence as that which he was compelled to experience.

Alas! all his ideas were like frost in the sun; they melted away; were
absorbed in constantly recurring events which seemed to harden him again
into adamant; and when on the morrow he found that the tribe was about
to move towards the west--that the circle of his fate was drawing closer
and closer around him, and soon he would stand upon the spot where the
whole would be concentrated in the one great view, of which the climax
was to be death.

To-morrow! ah! to-morrow! what thoughts does the well-known phrase
suggest.

"To-day--to-day," thought Judd, "I go on to the end. What will it be!"



Chapter XXIX.--THE TOMLINSONS AT HOME.


Three months had worked wonders at Burnham Beeches. Carpenters and
bricklayers added material comforts to the house, and new, substantial
furniture proclaimed the ample means of the proprietor. In the first
place, the dining or living room was a plain, uncarpeted apartment, with
chairs, a dining table, some pictures, and a small sideboard. From this
a door led into the colonel's office or private room and another small
room, in which Mr. Gumby luxuriated; and beyond that another, called Mr.
Wright's, in which that gentleman read, smoked, wrote, kept accounts;
slept, and in short reigned supreme. Mr. Wright was a comical fellow,
but he had one great fault--that of carrying practical jokes beyond the
boundary of forbearance.

"Gumby, how are you this morning?"

"Pretty well."

"And your amiable lady--is she well?"

"She is quite well also."

"And your excellent daughters?"

"I am glad to say well also."

Mr. Gumby was allowed two minutes rest, I then the teasing commenced.

"Gumby! Any tobacco in the store?"

"Yes, sir; plenty."

"Will you fetch me some?"

He had already in his room sufficient to last any ordinary smoker for
six months. Mr. Gumby, like an automaton, performed his bidding. This
time he had five minutes rest, sufficient to allow him to commence some
sort of work, and then as surely came, "Gumby!"

"Yes, Mr. Wright."

"Have you any matches?"

Many an hour was wasted in this way, but Mr. Gumby took it all in good
part. He had an easy place and a good salary, and Mr. Wright made up for
this sort of bye-play by many acts of kindness.

It was a comical exhibition to see Mr. Gumby on horseback, and Mr.
Wright, knowing this, generally managed that one or two of these little
episodes should take place every week. The first time he managed
tolerably well, the only inconvenience which followed was the usual
stiffness; but Mr. Wright then conceived the idea of giving him a
regular jibber to try his skill upon. He started freely, and for about
two hundred yards the horse trotted as if he meant to get over his work
well, then he stopped short, nearly pitching Mr. Gumby over the highest
of his calculations--viz., over the horse's head. Mr. Gumby turned red,
then looked at the horse, who had his ears down, his front legs
stretched out as if he meant to have a little bit of spurt. At last off
he started at a gallop, shaking his rider somewhat roughly.

Mr. Gumby held on by the saddle and pulled hard at the rein; but the
creature had began his tricks and now intended to conclude the
performance. After about a mile of this interlude, during which Mr.
Gumby lost his hat, worked his trousers up to his knees, and perspired
most vigorously, the jibber began to jib; he danced and jumped off his
fore legs--"Nothing could have been finer," said Mr. Gumby, "if I had
not been on his back,"--and finally darting ahead, he bolted into the
midst of a swamp, and then stopped, tossing his head and then lowering
it most ominously to the level of his knees.

Let Mr. Gumby tell his own tale: "I did not know what to do; I said, 'Go
on,' and back he went; I pulled the right rein and he began to jump; I
pulled the left and he made signs of lying down; I struck him with the
rein--for I had already dropped my whip--and on he went into deeper
water; I shouted 'Stop!' and then he backed into a bed of soft mud, in
which he began to flounder; I pulled, he snorted; I let go the rein,
which had become unbuckled, and then he begun to prance, until finally
he rose upon his hind legs and allowed me quietly to slip into the mud,
which, fortunately, was not very deep. Having thus unceremoniously got
rid of me, the ungrateful beast walked quietly out of the swamp, leaving
me to walk after him. He quietly trotted home; I as quietly walked home.
Mr. Wright was waiting to welcome me, and he could not help laughing at
the pickle I was in. I more than suspected that he knew what the horse
was, but as he assured me that this was a common occurrence, I quietly
said to myself, 'first and last.' I never rode that horse again."
However, these two were first rate friends. Mr. Gumby was good tempered
in the super superlative degree; and after a while Mr. Wright found
extraordinary pleasure and enjoyment in occasional visits to Mr. Gumby's
house. Why? Mrs. Gumby frequently inquired, but of course Mr. Gumby knew
nothing about the matter.

It is probable that Julia Tomlinson might have figured as the betrothed
of a certain Mr. W. but that another well-known gentleman who lived not
anything like ten miles from Leyton Station had engrossed all the spare
attention which that young lady could give. It was in the drawing-room
that this affair was settled, and for ever after this most comfortable
and elegantly furnished apartment formed an eventful addenda to the
various episodes of Mr. Stewart's life.

Let me describe the room: It was the only portion of the house which was
of brick and plastered, with stucco ornaments, cornices, and ceiling
centres, which were cleverly adapted for ventilation also. A chimney was
built out into the room, with a simple mantelpiece. Over this
mantelpiece a large pier glass, rearing its head to the ceiling, invited
the attention of any who desired to consult their physiognomy. In that
glass there might occasionally be seen a very pretty reflection if
anyone had entered the drawing-room noiselessly. Let none imagine that
it was otherwise than "all right," for the exceedingly amiable smile of
the lady and the manly, fond, returning glance of the gentleman was a
sufficient assurance that it was a very politic and correct sort of
thing for them to esteem one another. It must not be forgotten either
that there was always a third personage in the room during this
courtship, and this was the father of the lady. The father of the lady!
Yes; rather singular--was it not? But then he never spoke--he only
looked at the lovers; and there was no spot in the room to which they
could retreat but his eyes were upon them. Nevertheless, the eyes never
moved, nor did the colonel ever leave the place where he was fixed. He
looked very magnificent in his massive gilt frame, and was the supreme
object of attraction amidst twenty oil paintings which decorated the
walls--the work of his hand, whose likeness, so cleverly drawn by an
eminent London artist, seemed to survey that which he had painted with
evident satisfaction.

The remaining portion of the room was worthy of the taste of such a
connoisseur. A massive loo table in walnut, beautifully inlaid with
Australian woods, upon richly curved scrolled feet, stood in the centre;
this was covered with a thick tapestry cloth. There were six chairs to
match, with crimson cushions, two armchairs, en suite, and a sofa of so
inviting a character that it seemed a sin not to lie down upon it and
resign one's self to the repose which it promised. Then there were
ottomans, young, middle-aged, and old. Nota bene, the age is intended to
represent the size of them. They rose upwards from about a foot square
to the imposing circular edition of the same work, by which mechanical
arrangement eight persons could sit in a circle, back to back, as if
they were tied to a stake, and only required the faggots and the fire to
finish them off most gloriously.

In none of all the families upon earth did love shine brighter than at
Burnham Beeches. First there was a father's dear love; then, is it
profane to say, there was, though unseen, the influence of a sainted
mother, breathing an atmosphere of love which surrounded both father and
daughter? and there was that daughter's fondest, dearest love, not
lessened to the father when it took into its confidence, as a lover, a
Christian friend, an uncompromising champion of truth.

But this is how it came about, for the history of all courtships is a
thing not to be passed over lightly. So a great many people think; yet
one would like to know how Job succeeded in getting so curious a
creature for his wife. As we read her words--'Curse God and die'--she
seems to have been a queer woman. Who can tell, though, what they would
be tempted to say in such a case! It was about two months after the
colonel had arrived at Burnham Beeches that Mr. James Stewart rode up to
the front door of Colonel Tomlinson's house. He alighted, fastened his
horse to a post which was fixed there for this purpose, and walked into
the house with as firm a step as if it belonged to him, his real purpose
being to lay a plot by which he conspired to carry off one of the most
costly and precious jewels in that dwelling. He felt not the slightest
compunction at what he was about to do, but walked boldly into the
colonel's office, and made his demand without so much as an expression
of regret. The discussion which ensued was rather lengthened; but at
last the colonel left his visitor to exert the some powerful influence
upon Mr. Gumby if he wished and considered that he had any such
valuables to part with while he went to seek his daughter, to consult
her about this outrageous demand.

Some of the preliminaries may be omitted. The lady was "not in the least
surprised, she had suspected the man from the first."

"What do you say about it, dearest?"

"I leave it all in your hands, dear papa."

"No, Julia, no, it is your happiness that I have to consider. James
Stewart is in a good position; I should say he is likely to be rich. His
partner has signified his wish shortly to return to England, and, upon
conditions, he will give up all his share in Leyton Station. These
conditions James Stewart will be able to fulfil, and your fortune,
dearest, will be ample for all your necessities, apart from expectancies
to which I need not farther allude."

"There is one thing, papa--"

"Stay, my dearest, I ought to tell you a very important matter which may
weigh much with you, but is less than nothing in my estimation. James
Stewart was a convict."

A shadow of pain passed over the countenance of Julia as her father
spoke these words; she even started, and raised her hands as if in
deprecation of such a charge; but ere she could reply, Colonel Tomlinson
added, "I know of a certainty, however, that he was not guilty of the
crime for which he has suffered--yes, most terribly."

The colonel then related that which the reader already knows--the charge
under which James Stewart was condemned and reached these shores. Before
he had finished, Julia placed her hand upon her father's shoulder, and
gradually allowed it to steal round his neck, where her arm rested until
he had finished the terrible narrative. Then she arose, and, facing her
father, exclaimed--

"I knew it not, dearest papa, but I thought that there was, at times, a
melancholy look upon his face. I understand it all now. He told me so
kindly, so feelingly, and so modestly that he did indeed love me; but he
added it seemed to him to be presumption to aspire to that which he
feared he could never reach. Dearest papa," continued Julia, "I am, you
have often said, enthusiastic, but never so much as I am now, when I
say--I love him for the dangers he has passed, and he will love me that
I do pity them."

"Ah, ah! Good, good!" exclaimed the colonel, laughing. "The fair Julia
taking the words of the gallant Othello!"

"Who loved so true, papa, that--"

"He murdered his wife! Well, well, Julia, darling, you will not beat him
in that, I know. My dearest, may heaven bless this engagement. Stewart
is a regular Nathanael, I believe. You should have heard him put the
question."

"Pop the question, papa."

"No, no, you satirical young Rosalind; he has done that already in
another place. I said put the question; it was thus--'Colonel Tomlinson,
will you let me have your daughter Julia? I will pledge you my word no
man on earth shall love her more, or take more care of her, than I
will."

"Just like him, papa."

"Humph! you appear to know him tolerably well," replied her father,
laughing, "Well, he stopped short at those words, and then I began. But
if my life had depended upon it I could not help showing some pleasure
at his words, and I know he saw what I felt for his face thawed from the
pallor of ice until it rose to fever heat. Then I left him to cool."

"The best thing you could have done, papa."

"By this time it is possible that he has cooled, a little. I expect to
find him, under the influence of my long absence, rapidly sinking
towards zero; and if we remain talking any longer, he may perhaps get
far below it, and then what becomes of your lover, Julia?"

"I warrant a few words from you will warm him, papa."

"Or perhaps from you, Julia. Shall I call him in?"

"Oh! dear papa--yes--papa--only--no--now don't, papa--you speak--please
now, do!"

The colonel was gone before she could say all she would have uttered,
and the little heart of this gentle, loving creature, palpitated as hard
as it could beat for minutes--yes, minutes afterwards.

In about five minutes Colonel Tomlinson returned with James Stewart, and
mutual explanations commenced. The fine, open eyes of the young man
beamed with delight as the tall, honest, and warm-hearted father
announced his consent to the engagement, and with a trembling voice
said: "Stewart, my lad, I have nothing better to give you than my Julia.
If she becomes your's, take care of her, I charge you, as you hope to
stand well with your Judge at last. She is a dear girl, and you are
worthy of her."

"Thanks, my dear sir," replied Stewart, "many, many thanks. I feel that
I have no right--"

"Now, please to let all that drop, my dear fellow, the past with all of
us may have bitter recollections. In your case let it not once be
mentioned."

"Again and again, thanks," replied Stewart. "How can I, how shall I say
enough?"

"By simply loving this little piece of flesh and blood as the Scriptures
command you, I have no other anxiety; no, not one, thank God. I know
whom I have believed, and rest on His promise; where He is, there shall
I be at the end. Now, in your hands, all my doubt about Julia ends. May
God bless you, my children, ever bless you!"

The old man turned away his head as he spoke, and both Stewart and Julia
were in tears. But after the lapse of a minute, during which Stewart had
sat down on the sofa by the side of his betrothed, the colonel turned
round, and with a benignant smile said: "I suppose, Mr. Stewart, I may
be excused now for a reasonable period."

"Only for a very few minutes, dear papa!"

The few minutes, however, were extended to more than half an hour, and
it is more than probable that the interview would not have terminated so
soon but lunch was announced, and this eating and drinking breaks up
many a happy companionship. The author is separated from his papers, the
merchant from his ledger, the clergyman from his study and his books,
even the most faithful lovers must give up the sweetness of
companionship for this necessary gratification.

One of the wisest ordinances of Omniscience is that which compels us all
to seek our food. It is the mainspring of everything. The key which
winds up the spring is hunger, and thirst oils the key.

So James Stewart became a very frequent visitor at Burnham Beeches.



CHAPTER XXX.--SUNDAY AT BURNHAM BEECHES.


It is 9 o'clock. Breakfast is over, and upon the verandah there is
standing the colonel, Miss Julia, Alice Welland, and Mr. Wright.

"You may be sure, Miss Julia, he will not come to-day."

"If the 'he,' Mr. Wright, was a certain young gentleman whom I know,
there might be some doubt." Julia laughed as she spoke.

"But as 'the he' happens to live some distance away, the inference is
that he will be drawn by magnetic attraction," said Alice.

"Excellently said," replied Mr. Wright, "a challenge, I expect, is it
not?"

"Just as you please to take it, Mr. Impertinence," said Julia.

"Then suppose I take it kindly."

"The best thing you can do, depend on it," said Colonel Tomlinson;
"these two young ladies are a match for any young fellow living."

"That ought to be modified, papa. We will never allow our personal
friends to be misrepresented."

"Which means of course, dearest, that Mr. Wright has misrepresented Mr.
James," replied the colonel.

"Hardly so, dear papa; but you know he lets no one alone, and this is
Sunday, too."

"You want to keep all your thoughts to yourself and Mr. Stewart," said
Mr. Wright. "So be it, Miss Julia, we never shall quarrel about that, I
do assure you. You must allow me the privilege of a little by-play, I
could not exist without it."

"As much as you please, Mr. Wright, so long as you do not trespass on
personal feeling," said Julia.

Mr. Wright had fallen into a little disgrace with these young ladies by
paying marked attention to two courtships in his one person. He had
sought the affections of Miss Julia Gumby, and obtained her assent to
the engagement; but after giving her every reason to believe that he was
sincere, he made some very significant advances towards Miss Alice, and
a council being held between that young lady and Miss Julia, it was
unanimously agreed that Mr. Wright must be kept in order. He understood
them, and saw that his new investment was likely to turn out a blank. It
was fortunate that Mr. Stewart and his partner, Argyle, rode up as Julia
spoke about trespassing on personal feeling, for Mr. Wright turned very
red when he saw the bearing of the allusion, and being as hasty as he
was at other times good tempered, he was about to reply, but the new
arrivals turned the current of the conversation.

Every one at Burnham Beeches was expected to attend church, so there was
a very respectable congregation, which, if it was small, was at least
attentive. How well-educated men--many of them collegians with honors
attached to their names, and who know their duty to their Maker--can
consent to live themselves without the semblance of religion, and
surround themselves with men and women with accountable souls without
providing one grain of spiritual instruction, is one of the mysteries of
human nature. Colonel Tomlinson argued thus: "I believe in God, and can
subscribe to the Apostle's Creed. Is not that belief all a sham, if I,
as an employer of labor, get all I can out of men's bodies and
altogether neglect their souls? Besides this I am," said the colonel, "a
professed servant of the Almighty. I am bound to be as jealous of the
honor of His name, His day, His worship, and His Gospel, as I am of the
Queen whom I serve. I therefore do my best to provide the means of
worship, and it is my wish that all whom I employ honor me by honoring
the Creator. Better seasons, better profits, greater prosperity might
rest upon and bless the whole land and its proprietors if this was the
rule."

Miss Thomas presided at the harmonium, and at 11 o'clock Cecil's anthem
'I will arise' proclaimed the commencement of the service. All the
congregation stood up, and as the anthem was concluded, the solemn
pleading, "Enter not into judgment with Thy servant, O Lord, for in Thy
sight shall no flesh living be justified," prepared the way for the
appeal to unite in general confession and thanksgiving. The 'Venite' was
chanted, and so were the 'Glorias' and the 'Jubilate,' but all the rest
of the service was the quiet earnest pleading or thanksgiving of men and
women who felt their need, and thus approached near to God to beg Him to
supply it.

The sermon was as simple as the prayers. The preacher did not read but
used his notes rather extensively. Perfection in anything is not for
earth; the minister at Burnham Beeches Church was as conscious of this
as any one, but he was sincerely devoted to his work. There was no
attempt at eloquence. He tried to do well all that belonged to his
office, but failed in the estimation of some. There were those who
thought that he ought to read his sermons, others considered that his
notes spoilt him. Then there were some who objected to the length of his
discourse--he was never a long preacher, thirty minutes was the limit.
But it is orthodox to find fault, and perhaps it has its advantages, for
it keeps poor human wisdom in its proper place, and makes the minister
depend wholly on wisdom from above. Mr. Coles was not an ambitious
preacher, but he had this testimony, that he pleased God. His text this
morning was from the forty-sixth Psalm, the grand old favorite with
Luther, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in
trouble."

There was one who was deeply affected by it. Not very much has been said
about her. Mrs. Welland's troubles were not such as are very common to
man, nor did there appear any means by which she could hope to escape
from them. At times the thought about her lot was too much for her.
Tempted to believe that God had forsaken her, she passed her years as
one in a dream. Her happy youth, her promising marriage blasted, in one
moment, for it was so that it came upon her; the life which followed was
bitter in the extreme.

Mr. Coles spoke with much feeling upon the mysterious dealings of
Providence; how very frequently a whole life appeared to be passed under
the cloud; but Israel's leader was in that cloud, and the redeemed host
of God might truly rejoice, for "God was our refuge and strength. He
overwhelmed Israel's enemies of old, there was not one of them left, and
He is still a very present help in trouble."

"Trust Him," said the preacher, "He has never failed in his promises to
me, He will surely perform all you need."

It was usual to conclude the service with a hymn, but upon this occasion
benediction was pronounced, and the congregation separated.

The minister had to preach again at 4 o'clock at a place about five
miles distant, and it was no uncommon thing for some of the young people
to accompany him. To-day the colonel and his daughter, with Mr. Stewart,
Mr. Wright, and the two Miss Gumby's, and Miss Thomas, formed the
clergyman's escort. Argyle was not well, and so decided to return home,
and as a portion of the road which the company had to traverse was his
way homeward, he also formed one of the numerous cavalcade. It has been
said that this cavalcade formed the clergyman's escort. In point of fact
the colonel and his party only accompanied him on his return, the
minister preferring to be alone previous to holding a service; but as
all things come to an end so did this service. The sermon was on Sabbath
breaking, and some remarks in it provoked a discussion on the journey
homeward in which the colonel, Mr. Stewart, and Miss Julia sustained a
part, the minister being frequently appealed to when some knotty point
required the opinion of a theologian.

The colonel was hardly satisfied that Mr. Coles' definition of the
obligation of the Christian Sabbath was correct.

Said he, "I cannot feel that the first day, Sabbath can be maintained
upon the obligation of the Fourth Commandment."

"I did not say so, colonel," replied Mr. Coles. "My argument was this: a
Sabbath is a necessity. Grant this, and the question arises whether a
general Sabbath is an absolute command, or whether every man may keep
Sabbath when he pleases."

"Not a very safe way of putting it," replied Colonel Tomlinson; "state
the question thus, and it seems to me that there is no meaning in a day
of rest."

"Exactly so, colonel, I contend that a universal Sabbath is binding as a
perpetual obligation upon every man. The alteration of the day does not
much matter, provided it is Sabbath with all; but there is good
Scriptural warrant for the first day, and with this the command in the
Decalogue claims strong relationship."

"And the design was infinitely wise," said Mr. Stewart.

"Yes," replied the clergyman, "for though it is said that 'the Sabbath
was not made for man, but man for the Sabbath,' yet incidentally the
Sabbath must have been an ordinance of God in prospectu, for man's
especial benefit."

"Ah, now I agree with you," said the colonel, "and thus there is reason
in observing the day of rest, not only as a command, but as a necessity,
a privilege, and also--we must not forget this--as a memento."

"I always look upon the stick-gathering man's condemnation," said Julia,
"as a hard thing. It is said he did it to make a fire; it was a very
harmless proceeding after all."

"Yes, young lady, but the old law being of necessity exact, even to the
most minute definition of right and wrong, an offence against so plain a
command as that which this man committed was very marked. You recollect
that some went out on the Sabbath to gather manna and found none, and
God was very angry with them. The command was at that time an
institution only as it had been known from the commencement of time.
After it had been written on the tables of stone, Moses gathered all the
people together and said, 'Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your
habitations on the Sabbath day.' Now, the case of the Sabbath day
stick-gatherer is preceded with these words, 'If a soul doeth aught
presumptuously &c., that soul shall be cut off from among the people.'"

"This man did it presumptuously then, you think?"

"Exactly so, Miss Julia, there cannot be a doubt of it. He wilfully
despised the commandment; he was cut off."

"But by the same rule, Mr. Coles," said Mr. Stewart, "are not we as
guilty as that man was? We do many things which were forbidden of old."

"Presumptuously? Intentionally? Wilfully? eh!"

"No, no! I do not mean that," said Mr. Stewart.

"We have no such regulations in the New Testament," said Mr. Coles.

"But the one strong case of non-necessity," said Colonel Tomlinson. "If
there can be no necessity shown, is there not guilt?"

"Well, conscience and the Word of God must decide the necessity theory.
To eat must be a necessity, but I do not see that cooking what we eat
is!"

"We must feed the animals," said Mr. Stewart.

"And perform our necessary toilet," said Julia.

"But not blacken our boots," said the colonel.

"No; and the whole case," said Mr. Coles, "may safely rest upon the
conscience of a good man."

By this lime they had arrived at the station, and the colonel inviting
the clergyman to take dinner with them he cheerfully assented, only
craving permission to feed his horse and attend to some minor domestic
matters.

"Which are works of necessity," said the colonel.

"Just so. Colonel Tomlinson; my horse would cry out against the law as
very unreasonable if I was to neglect his food."

"One question more, Mr. Coles: Would you cut his food, if it was
green-stuff, for instance?''

"Certainly not Colonel, this may be done late enough on Saturday to
suffice for good and proper food on Sunday."

"Ah! I see! We are not far off, I am persuaded. We have been running in
parallel lines and both lines are reasonable. Good-bye. In fifteen
minutes we dine."

"I will be there, colonel."

"And now young ladies, three, and young gentleman, one, you must have
thought us very rude," said Colonel Tomlinson, "but we have been
discussing a religious topic, which became so very interesting that
we--or, speaking for myself,--I forgot that there were others in our
company."

"Don't mention it, colonel," said Mr. Wright, "we also have been holding
a discussion. Did you see the old lady in the corner seat?"

"For shame, Mr. Wright," said Miss Thomas, "she is a very good old
woman, I am sure!"

"No doubt; I said nothing to the contrary; but as a fidgety old maid,
the thought would insist on having a place in my mind, whether old maids
or old bachelors were equally to be condemned?"

"I expect you took the practical part of the question, and, determining
not to be a bachelor, you inflicted a penalty on those who differed from
you."

"Yes, Colonel Tomlinson," said Lottie Gumby, "he was right savage about
it.''

"And you did your best, Miss Pretty-one, to goad him on to a climax, I
expect!"

"Now, Colonel Tomlinson!"

"Ah! I know, I know," said the colonel; "but dinner is waiting. Julia
and Mr. Stewart are already at the house. Miss Thomas will dine with us,
and I suppose we shall see you all at 7! Adieu!"



CHAPTER XXXI.--AN ALARM.


Mrs. Welland took her Bible into the dining-room shortly after Colonel
Tomlinson and the rest had left, and Alice, with an interesting book,
adjourned to the verandah, both having the same purpose in view--viz., a
quiet afternoon's reading. The elderly lady was very soon deeply
immersed in a retrospective view of past events, suggested by the sermon
of the morning. More than an hour thus passed away, and Alice, finding
that the book with all its attractions failed to keep her awake, went
into the garden, and as this was always a favorite spot with her, she
wandered up and down admiring the flowers, and plucking some to form a
nosegay. At length she reached the extreme limit of the kitchen garden,
and after watching the bees she took out her watch, and finding that it
only wanted half an hour of the time which was fixed for dinner on
Sundays, she set out to return, when a loud shriek reached her ears,
which was followed by another, and again by a third. Much alarmed, Alice
ran hastily up to the house, and found Mrs. Welland lying on the floor
apparently dead. She looked around and outside the house, called,
shouted, "Is anyone here?" but not a sound could be heard. The housemaid
was gone to Mr. Brown's, and there was no one within reach of the house
nearer than Mrs. Gumby. To run to her she thought would be useless, for
she had a most unhappy habit of falling into hysterics under the least
excitement. Alice was no mere novice in such casualties, but she had
never known her mother to be subject to fits, moreover she had been so
well, so quiet, and composed, that her present condition was
unaccountable. However, no time was to be lost; she felt that the pulse
was beating very strongly, the breathing being quiet, so, applying
stimulants, after a while Mrs. Welland moved her hand to her head, then
opened her eyes, and fixing them on Alice said, "Where is he?"

"Who, dearest mother?" said Alice, with tears in her eyes.

"Where is he?"

"Don't, now don't look so, dear mother, I am here, your Alice! What is
it?"

The terrified woman kept hold of Alice's hand, which she had seized,
with the strength of a vice, and still kept rolling her eyes to the
right and left as if she was looking for something.

But now the sound of horses cantering up the road was heard, and in
another minute Julia Tomlinson and James Stewart arrived. Alice called
to them, and Julia coming in first, with an inquiring look, bent down by
the side of Alice and whispered, "What is it?"

"I do not know. Where is the colonel?"

Julia immediately dispatched Stewart for him, and returned to find Mrs.
Welland sobbing bitterly. This was continued with increasing hysterical
signs, during which Colonel Tomlinson came in, and, with Mr. Stewart's
aid, Mrs. Welland was carried to her room and laid upon her bed. Here
she became quieter, and again opening her eyes she fixed them upon
Colonel Tomlinson, and in a whispered voice said, "I have seen him."

He needed nothing more to tell him who she meant. With a look of intense
vexation he replied, "It is come then. Poor Kate, your life has been a
bitter one."

Explanations followed as far as the colonel felt that he was at liberty
to give them, and Mrs. Welland was left in charge of Alice and Julia,
while the gentlemen adjourned to partake of a hastily prepared dinner.
This was always a cold collation on Sunday, but not less sumptuous on
this account. Over the wine the colonel related somewhat of Mrs.
Welland's troubles, excluding everything of a personal character which
he considered it unnecessary to introduce. He had only just completed
the narrative when Julia appeared, and announced that Mrs. Welland
wished to speak with him.

It was customary to conclude the Sabbath with a conversational service,
which, on moonlight nights, was attended by others, in addition to the
family and Mr. Coles. A scriptural incident, such as a miracle, or a
part of Jewish history, and at times a whole chapter, was read by each
in turn, and then a conversation ensued.

Anyone was at liberty to illustrate by their own experience the subject
of the evening or any part of it, and very frequently some lively and
instructive discussions ensued. The clergyman always presided, and upon
difficult questions simply read the opinions of eminent writers, who had
commented upon the text. At 8 o'clock the conversation was brought to a
close, the evening hymn was sung, and an extempore prayer concluded the
Sabbath services.

After the service this evening, the colonel requested Mr. Coles and Mr.
Stewart to favor him with a few minutes, as he wished to consult them
upon an important and pressing matter. Of course they assented, and into
the drawing-room the colonel led the way.

"My dear sirs," said he, "I am surrounded with difficulties which
threaten much vexation and trouble. I told you, after dinner, somewhat
of dear Mrs. Welland's troubles. What think you?"

"That her husband is near at hand?" said Stewart.

"True; and has appeared to her," said the colonel.

"And is the same man whom you saw at Mr. Baines' station," continued
Stewart.

"No! Is he though?" said the colonel. "How do you know this, James? Are
you sure of it?"

"Quite sure, colonel. I had it from his own lips. Had not Argyle so
foolishly, as I think, attempted to arrest him, something might have
been done for him."

"But surely, James, you could not have recommended any step by which our
friend would have been again troubled with so abominable a wretch?"

"I do not know, colonel; I saw him under circumstances which would have
melted the stoutest heart."

"So have I, James, seen many of these fellows weep in their cells as if
their heart was breaking, but they were as bad as any devils in hell
could be, after the sickness was over."

"Ah! but this man is an extraordinary creature."

"Indeed he is, James!"

"I do not mean that he is so, as you look upon his character and
history, Colonel Tomlinson. He is a wild man, but retains many of the
remnants and recollections of an early religious education."

"But even this, James, surely ought not to have any weight with you in
the face of his most frightful turpitude."

"Will you excuse me, gentlemen, both of you?" said Mr. Coles, "I am
evidently judging the question upon premises which are most
unsatisfactory. What has the man done?"

"He has committed forgery and murder," said Colonel Tomlinson.

The clergyman lifted up his hands in horror as he replied, "And he is
the husband of our good friend?"

"Yes."

"This is frightful indeed," said Mr. Coles.

"But is there no forgiveness for such?" said Stewart.

"Forgiveness to the uttermost, if such truly repent, and ask for pardon
through Christ."

"I believe this, Mr. Coles, and I would fain seek the guilty creature,
and try to reclaim him."

"Stay, stay, James!" said Colonel Tomlinson. "Your strong Christian
principles may carry you beyond the bounds of prudence. My feeling
hovers between love and esteem for our dear friend, Mrs. Welland--who
is, in fact, Mr. Coles, no other than Mrs. Judd--duty to the state, and
a hope to save this guilty creature from final ruin. Allow me to ask a
question--Would more commiseration for the sufferings of a convicted
felon be considered a sufficient plea why he should be again received
into favor, confidence, and love? I confess that I am unable to see it
in this light."

"Undoubtedly you are right, colonel," said Stewart, "if strict justice
is insisted on."

There was silence for a minute or two, and then Colonel Tomlinson said,
"This man is amongst the blacks, a large tribe of which is camped in the
neighborhood. We shall have to rout them out of their haunt."

"Pardon me," said Stewart; "I feel strongly about this poor follow. What
think you--would it be safe to go to the blacks' camp, and try to speak
to him? I am ready to go."

"Very generous and good, indeed, James. But what would your object be?
To restore to Mrs. Judd an unworthy husband? I do not think that any of
us would thank you for such philanthropic zeal; for I must give you
credit for a feeling which I could not sympathise in. If you were to
lose your life in the attempt, I know of more than one who would rather
that the criminal came to grief than his victim."

"Many thanks, colonel, for such words."

"There is a point which I think you have not considered," said Mr.
Coles. "Will not this man be a constant plague to you now?"

"I have thought of that, my dear sir, and more than that. We shall all
be in danger every hour of our lives. Even to-night I must set a watch
around the premises."

"God is our refuge and strength, colonel; a very present help in
trouble."

"True, Mr. Coles; and now is the time to practice what you preached."

"My labor, then, will not be in vain. Good night, my dear friend. 'Joy
cometh in the morning.'"

So the Sabbath ended, with another illustration of the truth, "We know
not what a day may bring forth."



CHAPTER XXXII.--REVELATIONS FOR ALICE.


Mrs. Judd was seriously ill the next morning. The long and terrible
strain upon her nervous system had received a severe shock, of a far
more serious character than any she had yet experienced since the
terrible night when Judd committed the murder at Leyton. It was
necessary to keep her very quiet and to administer soothing medicines,
and even these failed for some time to produce any satisfactory effect.
It was more than three weeks before she was able to leave her bed, and
fully a week longer before she appeared amongst the family. In the
meantime the blacks appeared to have removed away from the neighborhood,
for nothing further was heard of them, which was a source of great
congratulation with all.

It was about a month after Judd had appeared so suddenly to his poor
wife that she was sitting in an arm chair. "My child," she said to
Alice, "I want to talk to you. You remember, my dear, that Sabbath when
Mr. Coles preached from the text, 'God is our refuge and strength, a
very present help in trouble.' It was on that day I had my fright. Your
father appeared to me."

"My father?"

How carefully the secret had been kept from the daughter may be
conceived.

"Yes," said Mrs. Judd, "your father. Listen, dearest, it is a tale of
sorrow as well as horror that I have to tell you, but I think you ought
to know it, even though the knowledge may be as it has been to me, a
source of the deepest grief. About thirty years ago I was married to
your father, we were not young, but we had known each other for some
years. He was not vicious, but I could not call him steady, nor was I at
that period so consistently regular in religious observances as I ought
to have been. Had it been otherwise perhaps I might not have suffered
the afflictions which I have undergone.

"For a time we were tolerably happy in a nice comfortable home at
Southampton. Your father always represented himself as engaged in custom
house work, visiting the ships which came into port. I soon found out,
however, that a great deal of smuggling was mixed up with his
employment; I more than suspect that it was his sole pursuit. How
foolish I was not to inquire more closely into his life than I did. But
my father knew him, and liked him; and many an evening they sat over
their pipes and grog, talking over their adventures and the people
amongst whom they spent their lives, for my father was the captain of a
trading vessel, and sometimes your father would go with him, especially
when he crossed over to France, which he did frequently.

"I think it was about three years after we were married that one night
your father brought to our house three rough-looking men. They were
bold, reckless fellows; one might have seen that at a glance, but I was
not prepared for such iniquity as they were capable of. They had been
talking, smoking, and drinking about an hour, when one of them said,
'Perhaps the dame would so oblige as to allow them to have a little
private chat about some very important business, which, as it concerned
the customs, was necessarily a secret.' I replied, 'between my husband
and myself there are no secrets, but I do not want to be mixed up with
anything you do."

"'Oh!' said the man, 'missus is cross.'"

"'Yes,' I replied, 'I am cross, and more than that, I am insulted by my
house being invaded by those who cannot mean good, when they wish to
send the mistress away from her own fireside.'"

"'Oh! Kate,' said your father, 'it is not so bad as that. You shall know
all by-and-by.'"

"'I don't want to know, Henry,' said I, and left the room.'"

"Well, my dear, the men remained till near midnight, and were drunk
before they left. Your father came to bed nearly as bad as they, and
nothing more was said that night. In the morning he said 'that a very
profitable proposal was made to him by these men, by which he could make
a lot of money very quickly.'"

"Then he told me that one of them was the owner of a ship which did a
little free-trading."

"Smuggling," I replied.

"'Well, smuggling,' he said, 'but we like the other word best.'"

"'Henry,' said I, laying my hand on his shoulder and kissing his
forehead, 'we may be happy without these ill-gotten riches, every penny
of which may be taken from us in a moment. If you embark in this matter
you will kill me, and it may be, your babe also. Do not, do not, I
entreat you; do not do this wicked thing.'"

"'I will not,' said he, and he went out."

"The day passed away, and he did not come home until night, when he told
me that he had seen the men, and had declined their proposal. Moreover
he had heard of a situation, and he was going to apply for it; he
obtained that situation, Alice, and I thought we should be happy yet.
Shortly after you were born."

"I will not enter into the particulars of our removal from Southampton,
but merely tell you that it was mainly brought about by the conviction
of James Stewart, for forgery."

"I see you start with surprise. I do not wonder at it. I was more
astonished than you were; grieved, heart-stricken, half insane, when I
found out that your father was the forger and James Stewart his victim.
He had, unknown to me, become involved with those men, and being
threatened by one of them with summary proceedings in the shape of an
anonymous letter to his employer, if the sum of forty pounds was not
paid within a week, he forged a cheque for this amount, obtained the
money, and sent James Stewart into gaol."

"We soon removed into Suffolk, and for a time your father went on
steadily. He was employed by a person who knew him in Southampton, and
through whose influence he also obtained another office, that of manager
or secretary to a farmers' club. I did not know till long afterwards why
we removed to Suffolk, or anything about the forgery; in fact, your
father's life was one continued series of deceptions."

"One night I was sitting alone, waiting for him to come home, it was
market night, and occasionally it was late before the farmers left the
town. I had put you to bed and sat down to work; suddenly I heard
footsteps approaching the house very hurriedly. I had risen to open the
door, but before I could do so your father rushed into the room. Our
house had no passage, so the front door opened into the room where I was
sitting."

"'My good God,' I exclaimed, as I saw him, what have you done?' I did
not think of the words, but spoke in the impulse of the moment, in a way
which I could never account for."

"'Done!' he cried, 'why do you ask me?' 'Because there is blood upon
you,' I said. 'Blood!' he replied, 'where?' 'On your head,' I cried
out."

"He misunderstood me. I meant that there was blood on his face, but he
took it in another sense, that blood rested upon his head. He burst out,
'Tis the blood of young Rouse, then!'"

"'Who?' I exclaimed, in horror, for the truth began to flash upon my
mind."

"Oh, hang you!' he replied, 'give me some water.'"

"No!' said I, 'go to the sink and get it yourself Judd, you have reached
the height at last.'"

"'What height?' he exclaimed, 'the gallows? Never! I'll cut my throat
first.'"

"It was then that I fell down on my knees by the side of your cot, and
cried out, 'O, my God, hear me, from this moment I take this child and
we will together seek our way through this world. O, God, protect this
babe, her father is no more.'"

"He had come to my side as I spoke, and his appearance was altogether
wild and ghastly."

"'Kate,' he said, 'I am lost, I know, but I have heard that a wife, of
all others in the world, should defend and shield her husband. Will you
betray me?'"

"I hesitated, for I could not speak. If anyone had given me a thousand
pounds I could not have replied at that moment, and he again put the
question to me."

"I said, 'Go; go, Judd, the place is not safe for you. Murder will out.
I feel something within me which tells me that the messengers of
vengeance are after you.'"

"'Where, where?' he cried, and with a shriek he rushed from the house. I
tried to restrain him, but in vain, he was gone. I saw him again but
only for a few minutes. In a few days I left Suffolk to visit my aged
mother, and soon after I heard that your father was in custody upon
another charge, and upon this he was convicted and transported for life.
Alice, I never saw him from that day until the Sunday when you found me,
as you say, senseless upon the floor."

"I was reading my Bible and was thinking, when, hearing a rustling
noise, I opened my eyes and saw a man standing on the verandah."

"'Who are you?' I exclaimed, 'and what do you want?'"

"He did not reply, and I repeated the question. He then said, 'Kate!'"

"I heard no more but fell from my chair, and when I came to myself you
were kneeling by my side. You know the rest."

It was an effort for Mrs. Judd to get through this history, and as she
concluded Alice found that she was completely exhausted.

It was, therefore, with intense pleasure that she saw her mother drop
off into a profound sleep. She sat by her side watching her, and
thinking over the revelation to which she had listened; but the longer
she thought the deeper became the impression in reference to that
mother's love.

"Bless you, bless you," she exclaimed mentally, "may God Almighty bless
you, indeed, my mother."



CHAPTER XXXIII.--ODDS AND ENDS, ALL ABOUT MARRIAGE, &c.


The period of the minister's marriage with Miss Thomas drew on, and
great preparations were anticipated, but finally it was decided that the
affair should be as quiet and unpretending as the principal personages
who were concerned in it. Miss Thomas has been only barely introduced.
She was not only the governess at The Vineyard but also the
superintendent of the Sunday school; but in our account of Sunday at
Burnham Beeches, no mention of the school has been made. It was not held
every Sunday; on the first Sunday in the month there was no service at
the place where Mr. Coles preached in the afternoon, and the opportunity
was afforded of holding a service for young people at the church at the
station. The school exercises lasted until 4, then Mr. Coles delivered a
short discourse referring to the lesson of the day, after which a hymn
was chanted, and the proceedings ended.

Miss Thomas superintended the general arrangements. She was in every
respect a minister's wife, or rather fitted to be a help mate to a
minister. How many are not so? Happy is the man who has a wife, in the
holiest sense wedded to him and also to the work he has to do. Such a
woman Miss Thomas gave good evidence that she was, and hence there were
many joyous anticipations about the intended marriage.

I am quite sure it was not leap year, for there was an odd number in the
calendar, but yet the number of courtships which were going on in, near,
and around Burnham Beeches, was something to speak of.

First, there was the parson and Miss Thomas--it may be vouched upon
authority that the former commenced the suit, although the lady said she
believed that he had thought well of her at first sight. Bless the
women, what keen eyes they have about such questions.

Next in order came Miss Julia and Mr. Stewart. The order is reversed,
but yet I am quite safe in protesting against the smallest installation
that the lady courted the gentleman, always excepting her attractive and
winning ways which, if any marriageable young men could have resisted,
they deserved to remain bachelors all their life long. Mr. Stewart no
sooner saw, but it was a match; "And," said Mrs. Gumby, "if it had been
otherwise, I should have called them a couple of fools."

Next came Mr. Wright and Julia Gurney. This was at first an ill-assorted
courtship. He was dull, his life was monotonous; in reality Stewart had
cut him out. He considered J. T. was secure, but thought he would take
time to consider about it, "when lo! up popped Mr. J. S., and Mr. W. was
sold." These are his own words, and doubtless they are correct. So in
desperation he began a flirtation with both the Miss Gumbys, which
flirtation extended as far as Alice Judd, but the commendable prudence
and sincere affection of Julia Gumby settled his love, and finally he
embarked upon a voyage of speculative engagement, "not knowing, I do
assure you," said he, "where it may terminate in a delightful paradise,
or a jolly row for life." Women say that a man is what a woman makes
him. Perhaps it is so.

Then there was, an absolute courtship going on at Rooksnest, between one
Sally Brown and John Bull. You never saw a better specimen of John Bull
than this young fellow, and I much question if you ever knew of a woman
better adapted to become Mrs. John Bull. They were both of them strong,
healthy, stout, ruddy, jolly-looking people. Mother had put Sally to
work before she was as high as the table, and now, as her mother said,
"there is not a thing in all house or farm work she could not do." If
you had seen this mother I warrant you would never have forgotten her.
Never afraid of work herself, "she had trained up her girls in the way
they should go," and Mrs. Brown's notion about this way was, that it
meant work.

There was no real rubbish corner in Mrs. Brown's house. "A rubbish
corner! If it is rubbish, out with it, that's what I say. Just like you
are, sir, now blocking up the way. Come, go to your business, and let us
do ours." This advice was given to her most devoted husband, who had
dropped in one day to tell his better half--which half is it, the right
or left?--that he had heard that Black Bill, of Leyton, was actually
hanging on to Bet, Mrs. Sinclair's black girl.

Black Bill went over to Mr. Sinclair's house with a letter; naturally
enough he was told to wait, and as few people over went to The Vineyard
without having a feed, he was entertained with plenty of bread and meat,
and being a favorite with Mrs. Sinclair she ordered the housemaid to
make him some tea. The housemaid in her dignity, considering that black
people were quite good enough to wait upon individuals of the same
color, set Betty to do the needful, in the exercise of which duty she
approached so near to Billy that he began to grin. She laughed, she
could not grin of course; then the gentleman 'hitched up' as it is
termed, the lady of course appreciated such a profession of intimacy and
smoothed her curls, and then, as she was in the act of putting the meat
on the table, Billy, seeing the coast clear, pulled the darling creature
down upon his knee, kissed her, and received a gift in return, which he
termed "a spanking slap." But they quite understood one another. This
was not the first time that they had rehearsed this little piece of
darlingism; but how it was to end they neither of them knew. Black Bill
fancied that one day he should be rich enough to do something, and as
for Betty, she always said, "All right, Bill, I no forget."

When are they all to be married? 75 per cent. of the tales necessitate a
few courtships and weddings to follow, and half the law-suits and
disagreeables in the world are consequent upon them. Abraham found a
wife and no end of family troubles because there was no son. Isaac took
a wife after one of the shortest wooings that ever was known, and a
fearful series of deceptions followed; the son aiding the mother, and
bringing upon himself and family some most terrible fatalities. Moses
had a strange creature who called him husband, and if David had not been
so arrantly foolish as to think another man's wife prettier than any
other woman in the world, his name would not be scorned by the infidel
as it is now-a-days. Solomon was ruined by his wives. Ahab, perhaps of
all men, had as bad a woman for a wife as it is possible for woman to
be; and some old grumbling bachelors have passed their opinions freely
about marriage, in consequence of these abominations. But does it follow
that because there are sundry bad people in the world, who, if they were
not wicked in this particular way would be Satanic in some other, that a
great institution is to be condemned? We trow not. The promises are not
correct, the conclusion is not good. Upon the same reasoning it would be
right to condemn eating and drinking, for sometimes the former produces
a fit of bile, and the latter a power of mischief.

Marriage is not a lottery--or, if any look on it as such, it is their
own fault if the drawing does not produce a prize. It is true there are
exceptions; but let a mother act her part steadily, assiduously,
perseveringly, seeking God's blessing, and her daughters will arise to
call her blessed.

Now, this is a chapter upon odds and ends, but it will serve as the
digest of a sermon which Mr. Coles preached the Sunday before he was
married; and people said generally that at all events the parson was not
going to feel qualmish about it.

"Why should he?" said Mrs. Sinclair. "He will have one of the nicest
little creatures for a wife that I ever saw."

"Except one," said Mr. Sinclair.

"Or always excepting another," thought Mr. Stewart, "who is supreme,
above them all."

Mr. Wright heard the sermon, and said "Humph," and Captain Oliver
thought it was a subject which ministers might leave alone. But Colonel
Tomlinson contended stoutly that, as Paul had written largely about
it--that as Christ had expressed his approbation of it, there was a good
reason why such subjects should more frequently be brought before the
people.

If any doubt it, we can assure them that the marriage of the Rev. Edward
Coles with Miss Mary Jane Thomas, was solemnised with the earnest prayer
that the God of Israel "would be pleased to go with them in their
journey through life, and give them rest." How different would weddings
be if they were solemnised with such an appeal to Heaven.



CHAPTER XXXIV.--A HUNTING EXPEDITION.


Captain Oliver was convalescent; Captain Oliver could not rest indoors;
what was Captain Oliver to do? Station life was too monotonous. Why did
he not go to Sydney or home as he had intended? For the best of reasons,
which, if you have ever been to law, you must well know: the glorious
uncertainty of this privilege of mortals to deal with judges, counsel,
briefs, and juries, as long as there is any money to keep the mill
going, said mill being, in law, the wheels of the Supreme Court. Captain
Oliver had a lawsuit; it was decided in his favor, as his attorneys said
it would be, and the very next day they wrote to him to lament that the
defendant would not take 'no' for an answer. The cunning follows of
course knew that from the first--who does not? where there are two
litigants who have plenty of money and a tolerable stock of fighting
ability? "Give in! my dear sirs, of course I will not," wrote Captain
Oliver, without a moment's delay. His attorneys knew this before they
communicated with him; but then there was an extreme pleasure in writing
to the Captain, and this was increased to exquisite satisfaction when
they received a cheque from him on account, with full instructions to
prosecute his suit to the final issue, whatever that might be. It gave
the excellent attorneys no kind of pain whatever to answer, "his
instructions should have their best attention." If it were not for the
expense, it is something very satisfactory to look upon grand sheets of
foolscap, with broad margins, which are sacred to the memory of blank,
who is one of the most noted of beings in the book of law. So Captain
Oliver gladly assented to Colonel Tomlinson's persuasive invitation to
wait the issue of the case by remaining at Burnham Beeches.

But what was he to do? Reading he had had enough of during his forced
retirement from active life. Fishing he was not fond of, and mere
indolence made him fidgetty. "What say you to hunting?"

"The very thing," he replied, as Colonel Tomlinson put the question to
him, "if there is anything to hunt."

"A few miles farther on," replied the colonel, "there is a place where
you may have both hunting and shooting. I should like a little spell of
this kind. We can take two of the men, and have a week of it."

"Capital, colonel," said his visitor, "it will do us both good."

So a plentiful supply of provisions, together with a camping tent, guns,
revolvers, and plenty of ammunition were duly packed up. A brace of
kangaroo dogs, with a tall, stately Newfoundland fellow of the same
family, and a real bull dog were considered to be indispensible to the
expedition, and they very gladly accepted the invitation to enjoy a few
days' dissipation.

Some very critical people may object to Colonel Tomlinson as a Christian
when they see him in this new light as a sportsman; but this involves a
very difficult question, namely, the right to take away life at all, and
if this is conceded, the world would have to be vacated by mankind.
Killing for food, and slaughtering for the skins of animals is a very
nice distinction when weighed in the balance. To carry the question
farther is absurd, for, by the same rules it is possible to object to
the Almighty's action in destroying insect life by the million in a
thunderstorm. Cruelty in torturing a poor beast is an offence which
should be dealt with by the judge.

Colonel Tomlinson and his friend had no more compunction in setting out
upon this expedition than they had, just before 12 o'clock, in camping
for a couple of hours to supply the cravings of their inner man, which
they did in a very orthodox sort of way. They were military men, and of
course everything was to be done in military order; but there was a
spice of comfort about their camping, which they never dreamt of in
former campaigns. The distance to be travelled ere the camping-place for
the night was reached, forbade a longer rest than about two hours, and a
little after 2, everything being packed up again, march the second
began.

About 5 o'clock the halt was pronounced, and camping preparations for
the night commenced. The place was within gunshot of a lagoon, with a
large rock for the background, and a fine grass flat for the floor. A
group of trees shut in one side. This was to be the hunting and shooting
station for the next three days. They were too tired for sport that
night, although one of the men who went to the lagoon for water reported
"ducks in any quantity."

Suffice it to say that every one was hungry, and thirsty too. The tea
was very refreshing, the ham and fowl very good, and potted meats, with
home-baked bread, and some luxuries to follow, in the shape of the usual
smoke and toddy over the evening talk, "it was really good," said
Captain Oliver, "he felt his old preference for camp life coming over
him strong." Of course there were some military yarns about their
personal adventures, which resulted in animated discussions, and at 10
o'clock the first sentinel, having had a three-hours' snooze, mounted
guard, and the rest rolled themselves up in their blankets, and were
soon wrapped in the soundest sleep. Each of them occupied the sentinel's
post during the night, with the exception of the captain, whose turn was
fixed for the next night instead of the colonel, so that with three
hours watch for each, they all managed to get some sleep.

At break of day breakfast was preparing. It was a glorious morning; the
air was busily employed in currying vast volumes of sound, in the form
of every description of song. Some were harsh in the extreme, but there
were many birds whose sharp, clear bell-ringing notes were exceedingly
beautiful. It is a common opinion on the other side of the world, that
Australian birds have no songs, but it is a mistake. There is one who
rings out most merrily all the notes of a complete scale so correctly,
that one never tires in listening. It is a little bird, exceedingly
active, and its habits are as pretty as its song. Then there is the
butcher-bird, whose song is as clear as that of the English blackbird,
and who, in a domesticated condition, may be taught to whistle with most
perfect accuracy, such ditties as, "There is nae luck about the house."
The piping crow is another favorite, and his acquisitions in song, in a
captive state, are exceedingly varied and elegant.

But breakfast being over, the start was made, leaving one of the men and
the bull-dog to look after the camp and prepare supper by sundown. The
hunting for this day was to be in the neighborhood of the lagoon. First
of all, however, the lagoon itself was visited for the purpose of
getting some ducks. This was a wearisome task, but Captain Oliver was an
old sportsman, and the excitement was something to be put in the scale;
but when at last the sound of both the barrels of his gun were heard, it
was pretty well known that he had not fired in vain. Nor was it so;
three fine fellows had fallen victims to his stealthy perseverance.
These the dogs speedily brought to land, and, with anticipations of a
savoury supper, they were carried to camp. After this the hunting began
in earnest, for it was hoped that a few skins at least would tell the
tale of their success on the return home. A vision of kangaroo tail soup
also was not unpleasant. Not a creature however was to be seen for the
first three miles, and after beating about around the lagoon until
mid-day they halted for lunch. It was not, however, until they had
nearly reached the camp that they had the slightest chance of getting
any reward for a wearisome day's toil, and under such circumstances
Australian sport is most monotonous. There is but little variety in the
scenery, the heat is great, and the flies and mosquitoes are irritating
in the extreme.

The hunters had however at last no reason to complain that there were no
animals. All of a sudden, as they were rounding the lagoon, there was a
rush of a most unearthly sound, which seemed to come up from the bowels
of the earth, and a drove of old-man kangaroos dashed along before them
at a thundering pace. There were half-a-dozen at least, in addition to
some much smaller. It was beautiful to see them bounding along with
tremendous leaps, scarcely touching the ground; and when the dogs were
after them and the hunters in full gallop, it was a sight which, if it
could have had an English field and a group of red coats as an
accompaniment, would equal any English hunt. In about fifteen minutes
the loud barking of the Newfoundland dog proclaimed the fact that
something was bailed up, which turned out to be a kangaroo with his back
against a tree, stoutly defending himself against the dogs. For a while
he was quite a match for them, and once he got the Newfoundland between
his two fore paws, but turning round a little to avoid the other dogs
the big dog got loose again, and soon they stretched their victim upon
the ground, breathless with excitement, and yet not more so than their
masters. It was an immense fellow, and took some time to skin. Two or
three dingoes came rather close to the party, but some beautiful birds
were more attractive, and many of these were bagged with a view to
preservation by stuffing. Night again brought its accompanying episodes
of camp life. The ducks were beautiful, the appetites were, if possible,
better; and the supper was followed by another visit to the lagoon, and
the slaughter of a few more birds by moonlight.

"How possible it is to live altogether out of doors in this climate,"
said Captain Oliver. "Really this is very pleasant."

The whole party were enjoying the coolness of the evening after their
day's sport, the colonel and his friend lying on their rugs just inside
the tent, and the men listlessly, half drowsily smoking, thinking, or
gazing on the bright moon and the beautiful sky. Venus was sparkling in
the west like a circlet of heaven's diamonds, and Jupiter was very close
to her, his own light being somewhat paled while that lustrous beauty
was yet above the horizon. Canopus was vieing in splendour even with
those, and Sirius, equally as bright, glistened as an angel's eye
looking down upon earth. Colonel Tomlinson caught something of the
spirit which such a sight always produces upon a noble mind, and replied
to his friend: "Yes, it is pleasant, especially with such weather as the
present. The stars shine too brightly to fear that we shall have rain.
Look at that fellow there, Oliver, is he not glorious?"

"It is, colonel. I wish I understood the heavens; it must be
interesting."

"It is indeed! To remember that they move with such perfect accuracy,
that they pass at the same instant of vision over the exact line where
they were observed a year before! It is superb! And the silent majesty
with which they roll onward is the climax of astounding wisdom."

"Are they inhabited, think you?"

"I delight to believe they are, because this gives so comprehensive an
idea of the vastness, as well as the variety and completeness, of the
great scheme. You know we read of angels, principalities, powers, &c."

"Yes, but have you any thought of ever visiting those worlds? Do you
think it possible for human beings in another state to have this power?"

"I have a strong belief that in God's great kingdom, each world will
have, as it has now, a distinct economy. New vision, of an immensely
increased power, will bring us the knowledge of glories which are
inconceivable now."

"And you think everything will appear in proportion brighter and
grander?"

"I have no doubt of it. I think our position now is much like that of a
man who catches sight of the first streak of early dawn shooting upwards
in the eastern sky. If that man had been blind up to that hour, he could
have no conception of the glory which attends the rising of the sun; but
even this illustration pales when compared with what we shall see."

"You soar very high, colonel!"

"No higher than the Almighty has given us ability or permission to soar,
Oliver."

"Perhaps not, but far higher than the majority of mankind, I reckon."

"Whose fault is it?" replied Colonel Tomlinson. "God has revealed
nothing which we are not at liberty to search into to the utmost."

At this instant one of the two men interrupted the conversation by a
long drawn "Hush," which was followed by a silence so profound that for
a moment it struck a chill to Colonel Tomlinson's nervous and easily
excited system.

"I was unwilling, master," said the man, in a low tone of voice, "to
interrupt your talk, which was becoming very interesting, but for some
time I have heard sounds which are like those I have listened to
before."

"What sounds are they?" said the colonel.

"They may be horses, master, but I had much rather think they be men."

"Men!" they all exclaimed in a breath "where?"

"Let me listen again, master. There," said he, after the lapse of a few
minutes, "did you hear that?"

No; they had heard nothing, and the other man ventured an opinion that
"it was their own horses who were feeding, which his mate mistook for
men." He spoke this opinion with all but a contemptuous indifference. "I
have been here several times, and nothing ever alarmed me."

"Perhaps not," said Colonel Tomlinson, "but that is no reason why we
should not be fully on the alert."

"Put your ear close to the ground, colonel," said Captain Oliver, "where
I am; there is a strange noise. I can hear it plainly now."

Colonel Tomlinson arose and went out into the open space before the
tent, and laid down on the turf, while the men followed his example. The
colonel spoke first: "Natives!" said he, "and none of the best, I'll
warrant. Those sounds are such as are incidental to a corroboree."

"They won't come here, then, to-night!" said Captain Oliver.

"No! I venture to say they belong to the tribe with whom we had a brief
acquaintance at Mr. Baines' house, captain."

"No! why do you think that?"

"Because they passed by Burnham a few weeks ago; but let us turn in, the
dew is heavy. James, it is your watch first. Don't let the eyes close."

"Never fear, master, my word, those sounds are a caution. I'll light my
pipe and think about them. Go to sleep? My word! no sleep for me."

The next day Colonel Tomlinson was not well, he was troubled
occasionally with the effects of his old wound, and the two days sharp
riding had produced some uneasiness in the limb. So Captain Oliver and
one of the men went on a hunting expedition, the colonel and his servant
remaining in camp, and the latter proposing to his master that he would
try and catch a few fish, consent being given, the colonel was left
alone.

For some fifty minutes or so the quiet and solitude of the colonel's
thoughts were unbroken and he enjoyed it exceedingly. Then he lighted
his pipe, and stretching himself upon his rug he opened a volume of his
favorite Shakespeare which he had in a very portable form, a beautiful
pocket edition, each volumne containing about three of his plays. 'As
You Like it' was the play which he had selected, and very soon he was
wrapt in the very profound arguments of that classical poem. He was a
good reciter, and loved to render some of the best known passages aloud.
The splendid passage commencing "All the world's a stage," was one of
these. He had read thus far, and as he was wont to do, recited this
passage from memory. "Sans everything." Again he repeated the words,
slowly and distinctly.

"What a picture!" said he, to himself, "and what a position to be in.
All gone! all enjoyment of life fled, and very frequently nothing to
look forward to but despair at the end, Horrible! most horrible!"

"Most horrible!"

The colonel started. They were distinct words that he heard, and yet the
voice was unlike his own. Was there an echo here? He had not heard it
before. No, it could not be; he arose instantly, and turning aside the
fold of the tent, beheld--



Chapter XXXV.--ROOKSNEST INVADED.


"I am sure I don't know how you stand it, Mrs. Brown, the country does
not improve with me. I can't abear it."

So spake Mrs. Gumby after a hot walk from Burnham to Rooksnest with Miss
Lottie, where they found the busy wife of the overseer up to her very
eyes in house work.

"Oh, bother!" replied Mrs. Brown, "I don't like the heat sometimes; but
what's the odds, so long as you try to be happy."

"Try to be happy? I have tried as hard as any woman, but there is always
some unlucky thing or other turning up to trouble one."

"I don't know, mother, I think we have had precious little trouble.
Father's salary is regular to the day."

"Did ye ever know us to live in such a place at home, miss? There, now,
answer that."

"No; I am aware of that, mother."

"Look here, Mrs. Gumby, I says, 'fend or please, we're in for it, and we
must make the best on it. All I knows is, I never could save nothing at
home, here I can put summut bye, and so might you, if what my old man
says is true."

"What is that, marm?" replied the lady, getting near the borders of want
of patience.

"Why you've a better salary nor Sam, and not so many to keep by a few
chalks."

"But then you've been bred up to it, Mrs. Brown; and as for me--"

"You're too fat to work, that's about the size on it; no offence
intended, Mrs. Gumby. People always says they likes me, cos I speaks the
truth."

"I must say, Mrs. Brown, you are personal but you don't know what it is
to be fat, and so can't sympathise with one in such a position."

"My good woman," replied the imperturbable mistress of Rooksnest, "I
know far more than you do what it is to sweat for it. I warrant you
never nussed your babies as I nussed these brats--may God bless 'em
though, for all that."

"Mother ought to have come out at my age, Mrs. Brown," said Lottie; "she
is to be pitied. At her age things don't look pleasant to one who has
lived in a very different way."

"Different way, indeed? I should think we did, everything first-rate;
nice feather beds, beautiful tables and chairs."

"And did the bootiful chairs add to your peace or your pockets? For my
part, I've sat far more comfortable on a heap of sand than I have in a
hard bottom chair, only the sand was rayther hot like; but come, sit
down on this chair, 'tisn't 'hogany, but it's awful strong. It'll bear
ye, no fear."

In spite of herself, Mrs. Gumby could not help laughing at Mrs. Brown's
allusion to her weight, and when the table was laid for "a little simple
refreshment," she began very sensibly to thaw.

"I don't think, Mrs. Brown, that I should mind it so much if I was like
you, you know everybody says you're such a good manager."

"Ditto, Mrs. Gumby."

"And such an admirable butter-maker."

"Ditto."

"And such a clever cook."

"Ditto again, Mrs. Gumby."

"Thank you, yes," replied the rapidly-thawing lady; "but then I never
was used to such a country, and such low people as you meet with here."

"Honest, eh! Mrs. Gumby?"

"Oh yes! I dare say."

"And willin' to help as far as they can?"

"Yes, yes! pretty well for that."

"And no starvation?"

"Yes, that's true."

"And if they can work, no want of it, eh? Mrs. Gumby, come, you'll admit
that."

"Yes," chimed in Lottie, "but mother says no one ought to begin to learn
to work at fifty years of age."

"Nor to eat either," said Mrs. Brown with an air which evidently meant,
"fiddlesticks," her favourite word; but Sally came in with the tea
things, and this completed the placidity of Mrs. Gumby's countenance,
her capacious mouth assumed a resignation which was truly comforting to
witness, and the very folding of her hands, and the scientific twiddling
of her thumbs imparted a peace which Mrs. Gumby said in a most subdued
voice, was the very feeling which pervaded her heart, when she was told
"that a man child was born into the world, which man child," she added,
sotto voce, "was, after all, a gall."

But now the beautiful brown bread was put on the table, home baked, and
"having a crust which couldn't be frighted in Ever-so came." Who Mrs.
Brown meant by 'ever-so' is not very clear; but the bread was good,
there's no mistake about that, and then some six or seven pounder of a
loaf was put alongside the other, as beautifully white as its cousin was
brown, then followed a plum-cake, not a plum-seeking cake, and a great,
piling plate of the freshest butter which could be. "It looked you hard
in the face," said Lottie, "and said, 'eat me, and welcome.'" After all
this, there appeared upon the scene, Sally with a pumpkin pie; Jenny
with a foaming lot of splendid cream; Jacky with a plate of radishes and
one of lettuce, and, finally, Harry brought up the rear with a dish full
of "the most beautiful sassengers you ever did taste."

Mrs. Gumby was so delighted with them that she eulogised them in these
words.

It was a glorious tea, and in the very nick of time, who should come in
but Mr. Brown and his son Bob, who, when he saw the company, blushed up
to the very top of his eyebrows.

But "Bob could not help blushing, no, not if you paid him," and as Sally
said this, most likely she knew. Of course there was the usual amount of
brushing up. Bob's bran new shirt was sported on this occasion, and a
splendid new belt, with on extraordinary fastening, strongly
demonstrative of the fact that cricket was the sole employment of
Australians, and that slumps and bats constituted the staple commodity
of trade. But how rosy he did look, and how pleased to sit alongside of
Lottie, and how diligent he was in keeping her supplied with endless
courses of every delicacy with which the well-spread table was
furnished.

Just too late, in came Mr. Wright and Miss Julia Gumby, but Mrs. Brown
would lay the table again, and the young people did justice to the carte
blanche, to eat and drink as much as they could.

"Even to bursting," said Harry Brown. "I bursts the buttons off my
breeches sometimes."

He said this in confidence to Lottie, but she paid him for it by a good
slap on the face, and his brother Bob gave him another somewhere else,
which sent him away rubbing and protesting that "he should not be able
to sit down for a week."

"Come here then, my dear little fellow, and let me prescribe for you,"
said Lottie.

But Harry saw the wink which passed between his brother and the fair
speaker, and replied, "not if I knows it; no, no, one such a spanker is
enough, you little wretch, you."

Bob felt half inclined to charge him, and to consign him to solitary
imprisonment in the barn, but, as the young urchin was defying his
brother to catch him, Mr. Gumby arrived on the scene. Bob waited until
the new comer was within a yard or two of the offender, then he made a
rush. Harry turned, but not quickly enough; he ran into Mr. Gumby's
arms, and Bob caught him in the trap.

Then came a mock trial, with Lottie as the judge, and she sentenced the
culprit to kiss every young lady in the place: "Which sentence," said
Harry, "I will quickly obey by kissing none, for none of ye are ladies.
Ye are only women."

This little episode gave a zest to the proposal for a game of
kiss-in-the-ring. How Lottie's hair did persist in coming down as the
game went on, it was so curious that the calls upon her were so
numerous. Sally became almost ferocious, and declared she would not play
again unless Mr. Bull was present. She knew that he--

"Would kiss her like Bob is kissing Lottie again!"

"No, Mr. Wright, not that," replied Sally, now really piqued. But who
would have thought it, the good fairies must have chased all the wicked
ones away, for Mr. Bull did come, and the storm passed over.

Now the fun became furious. The sun had set, but the moon was splendidly
bright, and 'hide and seek,' 'hunt the slipper,' and similar games,
created good humor and laughter in abundance.

The worst of it was the impossibility for the courting couples to be
alone. The young Browns were like a bag of fleas, if such a thing can be
conceived, the fleas being "teasing fidgets."

"Go along with you," said Sally to Jacky, who had suddenly become so
enamoured of Mr. Bull that he conceived an earnest desire to walk by his
side, "in the most delicious bit of moonlight shade you ever saw." She
poured out these words into Jenny's ear, as they were going to bed that
night, as if she had lost the finest prince in the world. But as from
that day Jacky frequently addressed his sister as "my angel," or "my
sweetlips," it is surmised that the presence of her brother, on the
occasion to which reference has been made, was very inconvenient. But
the old folks, what were they doing all the while? Mrs. Gumby was
contented; she was in her glory cutting out some new dresses. No one is
perfect, and Mrs. Brown, as a dressmaker, was nothing at all. She could
make coats, and other articles of men's attire, as well as any tailor,
but here her skill in needle work ended, and, anyone who did not know
her, if they saw her in her Sunday dress, would have put her down for a
slattern and a gossip.

Mrs. Gumby was in a critising mood. She told Mrs. Brown that her dress
had been spoilt in the making. "Good stuff, you know, first rate, but
the work," here Mrs. Gumby actually sneered, "the work is beastly."

Mrs. Brown blushed slightly, she had made the dress, and considered it
pretty and becoming to her, "and," said she to Miss Sally afterwards,
"my choler began to rise, but I kept it down. Sally, the 'ooman was
impident, but I made use of her for all that."

"How did you keep your collar down, mother?" said Sally.

"My choler, Sally, I said."

"I understand, mother, I pinned it on your dress yesterday."

"Pinned it on my dress, you stoopid. How could you pin choler on to a
dress, I don't mean a collar, but my choler!"

Sally was non-plussed, but far from convinced. It was not very long
before the criticism upon her dress elicited the fact that another was
about to be manufactured, and of course Mrs. Gumby wished to see it.
Then she thought it would be ten thousand pities if this one was spoilt
like the other, Mrs. Brown inwardly fretting and fuming to hear her
inuendos. Finally she volunteered to cut out the dress, and--positively
the last head--then she agreed to let Lottie make it. The two ladies
trotted along famously after that, Mrs. Gumby being in a highly
patronising and comfortable mood, and Mrs. Brown taking in the art and
mystery of cutting-out as if the present moment was the last that could
possibly be expected in which to learn all about "gowns and such-like
for evermore."

But when Mrs. Gumby had completed the responsible task, and presented
Mrs. Brown with three yards of stuff which were not required, her
delight knew no bounds.

"Three yards of stuff over! Bless my corns! and I thought there wouldn't
be enough."

"More there wouldn't, if some had done it, Mrs. Brown, but cutting-out
is warm work and thirsty, there."

"Which means, Mrs. Gumby, what I was agoing to propose, that a drop of
gin would be very acceptable."

Mrs. Gumby folded her hands resignedly as she listened to these
comforting words, and doubtless feeling exhausted, first she sighed,
then she hummed a line of "Kiss me quick and go," artistically blending
the last line of the Old Hundred Psalms tune as the next stanza, finally
bursting forth into "England expects that every man this day will do his
duty." But to an appreciative audience, the finale would have sounded
very like "buy a broom;" and if they had pleased to do so, they might
have set it down as a fact that the duty which Englishmen had to do
consisted in buying brooms.

But the steaming hot grog with the lemons completely stopped the music,
but increased the talk, in which talk the men had considerable share,
and when the young folks strolled in, which was not until long after the
usual hour of retiring to rest at Rooksnest, and the visitors began to
prepare for going home, Mrs. Gumby was magnificently gracious. It had
been a pleasant day for all, and if Mrs. Brown could have had a little
piece of Mrs. Gumby's skill in dressmaking, and the latter a little
spice or two of the excellent perseverance of Mrs. Brown, perhaps they
would have managed better than they did. The mistress of Rooksnest
contrived to be the better workwoman for Mrs. Gumby's visit, for her
keen perception had enabled her to see where she had failed; but
Mrs. Gumby, alas! she fell down to her usual freezing point long
before she reached home, in which condition she remained for three
whole days after. During these memorable hours she jerked out at
occasional intervals some words of a remarkable character,
'contemptible'--'horribly ignorant'--'impertinent creature'--'pig stye;'
but to whom they related could not be clearly understood. Her gentle
half thought it was the jolliest time he had known for a long time, and
he took care to improve it to his own peculiar delight. Alas! the lady
awoke out of her trance, and gave him such a wigging that his pipe lost
every bit of its usual aroma.

So lived Mr. and Mrs. Gumby, practicing extremes in which happiness
reigned for a while, and then came a season of bitter reproach and
discontent. No woman could be more of a housewife when she liked, but
when she fell into her moody murmurings, everything went to ruin. Of
course this only make life more wretched, for the habit gains strength
by experience, and by the time they resolved to return to England Mrs.
Gumby had sunk into a listless indifference about her own comfort or
that of anybody else. Had she made the best of it, and acted as a wise
woman should under the circumstances in which she found herself, she
might have succeeded, even at her age, in making a home in Australia.



Chapter XXXVI.--WAS IT REAL.


Burnham Beeches had its little reunion the same day. The entertainment
was neither a dinner not a tea-party, but a picnic in a secluded spot in
a romantic part of the range. The swags, looking capacious enough to
hold provisions for a week, were in charge of the men who were to
accompany the expedition, and about half past 9, this advanced guard
started, the guests following, and the rear being--most appropriately to
the gentleman's feelings--composed of Master Black Bill and Mistress
Black Betty.

"Why should not us have a bit of chat, Betty, as well as massa and
missus?"

"I'se no objection, Billy, so long as you talk in de reglar way."

"What is tat way, Betty?"

"Why, civil, good talk, Billy, and mind, nuffin 'bout kissin."

"Us don't talk about kissin, Betty, us does tat sort of ting!"

"Then you mus not do it, that's what I mean, Billy."

"Oh! of course not, Betty, except when massa he turn de corner, ten we
may."

"No, den you must not do it. I no allow not one kissin all dis day!"

"Not if I admire you, and begin to say, Betty she look so pretty, and
she so very nicely dressed, and her pretty lips dey do look so temptin?"

"There now do stop your jabber, do, and take one, only one, when dey
shoots round de corner. Now, Billy, now, quick!"

Quick as it was it was not quick enough to be concealed, but on the
party went, descending into defiles and glens so beautiful, that
exclamations of delight were frequently heard from all. The prospect
over the low-land--ever and anon as they reached a spot where they could
look through the trees--was most enchanting. Hill and mountain, rocky
fastnesses and patches of scrub, the scene ever shifting, and always
having some new feature, made this romantic spot most interesting and
attractive.

About half past 10 the party arrived at their destination. It was at the
foot of a hill which rises out of a valley which is densely wooded,
having here and there patches of open grass-land, some large enough for
a cricket ground, and others only of a few feet in diameter.

"Now, Betty," said Mrs. Sinclair, "if you have really completed the
kissing, please to take charge of Miss Mary."

"Here, Billy," said Mrs. Sinclair, "I want you."

Master Bill ran merrily up, but stopped short as he saw Betty behind
Mrs. Sinclair, holding up both her clenched fists as if she would give
it him; but he had no time for much thought, for Mrs. Sinclair accosted
him with a question which unfolded the mystery to his acute
understanding.

"Billy, you must not be too free with my servant, do you hear?"

"Free? I do assure you I neber wishes to be free with him at all!"

"I did not say him, Billy, I said my servant!"

"Do you mean--Oh! of course you do, you mean Betty! I neber free wit
her, Missus Sinclair, I al'ays 'spectful."

"I dare say you are."

"Al'ays, missus, I do assure you!"

"Except when you kiss her along the road, Billy."

"Me kiss 'long de road? Tat very good, very good indeed. I neber hear a
better ting."

"I told mistress you did do it, Billy, so 'tis no use to deny it."

"Me deny it, Missee Betty? I neber deny nuffin. I only say, 'tat very
good.'"

"Which do you mean is very good, Billy? Your speech is not very clear."

"Not bery clear! no, it is not bery clear which I mean, Missus Sinclair;
but de fact is, I so much pleased wit eberybody and eberyting, tat I
link I could kiss eberybody."

"Which I would not 'vise you to attempt, you impudent follow," said
Betty. "I reg'lar 'shamed on you!"

"Now, just see tis, Missus Sinclair. Madam, I only just express tat I in
mighty good humor, 'tis my way of speakin; but I will promise--"

"Not to kiss my servant any more to-day!"

"Not for de present, Missus. Sinclair, no more at present, as tey say in
de letter's."

The lunch was a splendid affair. There were pigeon pies, ham, tongues,
roast fowls, chicken pies, and an abundance of other pastry, with
excellent cheese to follow, some most inviting salad, and mellons and
pineapples. It was not a teetotal lunch, for there was pale ale, stout,
wine, and champagne. Nor was it a formal lunch, for everyone put on the
free and easy to their heart's content, and thoroughly enjoyed
themselves.

Nor was it a hurried lunch, for the shade was delicious, the grass
elastic, the air balmy and soft, the scene all around attractive, the
conversation pleasant, and the ring of merry laughter, which rang
through the valley, might have been heard far away.

Then they had a song or two, and Mr. Coles recited a scene from
'Katherine and Petruchio' which provoked many a laugh, and was received
with much applause. Then a proposal was made to take a walk, and a
unanimous assent being given, the banquet came to an end.

The lengthening shade, however, bade them remember that they had to get
back to the station, but not before they had explored a number of nooks
and corners and fairies' haunts, as Miss Mary Sinclair called them, did
they think about home. It had been a most enjoyable day to all, and when
the beautiful coolness of the evening breeze invited them to drink in
its precious influence, they all declared that "they had never enjoyed
themselves so much."

How often this phrase is repeated in life! If true, each enjoyment is
something better than the last; what will the last be if these are good?
Not one joy is felt here, but something of dissatisfaction defaces it;
there! up there, felicity will be complete. This was the purport of the
conversation homeward.

"What a beautiful world this is!" said Mr. Coles.

No one had any objection to make just then, so no one replied.

"It is true," continued Mr. Coles, after a pause, "there are many
drawbacks."

"You are right," replied Mr. Sinclair, "everywhere you find them."

"And everywhere they are deserved."

"I don't see that, Mr. Stewart. Mind ye, I'm not speaking of myself now,
but I've seen many of the best people grievously afflicted."

"What is they talking 'bout?" said Betty to Bill, as he returned to her
side after going forward to his master, who had cooeyed for him.

"'Bout bumberlation, or sumting like tat."

"Bumberlation? What's dat, Billy?"

"Sumting 'bout music, I know, but what part, I can't zackly recollect."

"Bumberlation 'bout music! Now, Billy, you are cramming me."

"Cramming you, my dearest loved one? I neber crammed nobody in my life."

"Well, den, tell me what you mean."

"Fust and formost, now, Jeroosalem! I'se tellin you de truth. Mr. Coles
said dey cumed out of great bumberlation."

"Dat ar'n't music, stoopid, dat's Scripture. I knows it well. Dat's in
Revelation, it is! and it says dat dey sealed ever so many thousand--I
can't exactly any how many.."

"Sealed 'em? What with, Betty?"

"In dere foreheads, Billy."

"In dere foreheads? Betty, how cumed dey to be sealed in dere
foreheads?"

"Don't you know, Billy?"

"Can't say dat I do, not zacltly."

"More do I, Billy, but I thinks it means something better dan we can
'magine. Billy dat dere sealin is done in heben."

"Is it, now? I shouldn't wonder. Eberyting is rale genuin dere, no
artificial, nor no humbug dere, Betty, now you have it, rale certain."

"Don't you feel it in your heart, Billy, when de minister talk to you
'bout heben?"

"I feels it in my heart, now, Betty, quite warm like, it makes me right
happy."

"Does it now, dat must be very nice; I wish I could feel it oftener!"

"Do ye now? by Jabber! Den, Betty, give us one now, I feels as if I
could take ten tousand."

The indignation of the black woman was great when she found that she had
been talking about heaven, but Bill had been interpreting her
conversation in a very grovelling way indeed. She pouted her lips, and
declared that "he may do what he liked, but she had done with such a
profane creature."

Billy began to laugh, with the whites of his eyes turned towards his
companion, but a loud shriek attracted their attention, and looking
ahead they beheld Miss Julia apparently falling from her horse. Of
course they both hastened to the spot, and found that the young lady had
fancied that she saw her father like a shadow on the off side of her
horse.

"It was his very image, James, and he looked at me very hard."

"You are impressed with the very unfrequent circumstance of his absence,
dearest," replied Stewart.

"No; I was not even thinking of it."

"It is a phantasm of the brain, Miss Julia," said Mr. Coles.

"Not a pleasant one either," whispered Mr. Sinclair; "I hope nothing has
happened."

But now Miss Julia uttered a loud and piercing shriek, and with the
utmost excitement she pointed to the centre of a clump of trees, with
open lips and a countenance as pale as ashes.

"What is it, dearest?" said Stewart.

She tried to speak, but her lips refused to perform their office. There
was a movement, but not a sound was heard, still she continued to gaze
upon the spot. They assisted in lifting her from her horse, and laying
her on the grass; they stood around her trying to sooth and turn the
current of her thoughts.

"I saw my father again. He looked pale and ill."

"But he is far away by this time, dearest," said Alice.

"Why, then, this impression? James, he is in danger!"

Alas! it was the first shadow of great calamity. They managed to get her
home by gentle stages, but she was greatly excited all the way and not
until the morning was about to break did she fall into the arms of
slumber. But everyone hoped that it was only a temporary indisposition,
"brought on," suggested Mrs. Coles, "by the heat of the sun."

Mr. Sinclair had his own opinion, but wisely kept it to himself, until
he was alone with his wife. "Mary," said he to her, "there is some thing
dreadful impending over that house."

"May the Lord forbid," replied Mrs. Sinclair; but they talked about it
as they lay watching in their sleeplessness, until long after midnight.



Chapter XXXVII.--TEMPTED.


"My dear friend, have you any idea where this is likely to terminate?"

The speaker was Stewart, and the person to whom the question was
addressed was his partner, David Argyle. More than three months elapsed
before the latter was able to move about beyond an occasional walk from
room to room, or around the house and garden.

By the time that he reached home after his accident, he was in a strong
fever. The journey had been too much for him; the broken arm, although
it was put into a sling, was frightfully inflamed, and a messenger was
dispatched for Mr. Sinclair, whose surgical skill, Mr. Coles knew, was
far superior to his own. In due course he arrived and the arm was set,
but by this time Argyle was delirious, and the worst was feared.

But by patient, careful watching he was gradually restored to health,
but he was very weak for a long time, and on this account stimulants
were recommended, bottled porter, port wine, and occasionally a little
brandy; but that which was intended to be goodwill ended in a great
disaster. Argyle had nothing to do; he could do nothing in fact but
read, and this soon became a trouble. He was no bookworm, and the kind
of literature in which he took any interest was very light, and the
stock was soon exhausted. So he took to smoking, and this became a
mania, for the poor follow smoked morning, noon, and night. Very soon he
could not smoke without drink, and the drink screwed into his system the
end of a chain, which speedily became a rein, and David Argyle was
driven captive along the road to intemperance.

Stewart fancied that he saw signs of the power of stimulants upon him;
he said nothing, but resolved to watch the closer. Hence he tried to get
him away from home as frequently as he could. Argyle pleaded so often
however that he could not endure the fatigue to which his friend exposed
him, that after awhile he ceased to ask him to accompany him. Frequently
Stewart rode over to Burnham in the evening, and then David, having no
restraint, drank wine and brandy until he was forced to retire to bed,
always, however, before he lost control over himself.

On the Sunday when Stewart accompanied Colonel Tomlinson and his friends
to the afternoon service, it will be recollected that Argyle pleaded
illness as a reason why he could not go, and he left the party to return
to Leyton. Feeling somewhat weary on arriving at home, he threw himself
on the sofa, after giving directions to Black Bill to attend to his
horse, "and then," said his master, "come into the keeping-room."

Billy, however, had the animals to feed and so on, and it was fully an
hour before he returned to the house. He could not find Argyle.

No one was at home, for the housekeeper had gone to Burnham Church, and
was at that moment enjoying a tete-a-tete cup of tea and chat with the
housekeeper at the parsonage; so Billy went into every room, but his
master was gone, "leavin his hat ahind," said he to himself. "I'll go
smoke 'bout tis 'ere."

He was not to smoke about it, for as he sat down on the verandah for
this purpose, a shout reached his ears, which came as plainly as
possible from the men's huts, which were about three hundred yards from
the house. "What tat?" said he, and he listened with the keenness of a
startled deer. Presently the sound of a fiddle from the same quarter put
him into an ecstacy. A fiddle was the grandest instrument in the world
to Black Bill. It is asserted that once upon a time, when he was in
Calcutta, he was asleep rolled up in a mat, when the strains of a fiddle
reached his ear, and though he did not actually wake up, he was drawn by
its sound out of his own room, and to the consternation of a numerous
circle of visitors, who were listening to a tolerable good performance
of a solo upon a violin, he bounded into the room and began dancing a
jig of a most extraordinary character in the most scanty costume
imaginable. A good sound kick from his master sent him reeling out of
the room, but as he afterwards said to Stewart, who engaged him from the
same gentleman, "I do not believe he could resist the temptation to
dance a jig if he heard a fiddle."

In an instant Billy was on the verandah, and if Stewart could have seen
him he would have been shocked. He danced and leaped, bounded up and
down, and backwards and forwards, sometimes turning a complete
somersault, alighting on his feet again, and than recommencing an
extraordinary series of figures, which might possibly have some kind of
affinity to elegance, but there is much reason to dispute this
statement. In the meantime Jacky, who had been asleep in the wool-shed,
happened to wake up.

Jacky looked at the performance, uncertain whether he should join in it
or stay where he was, till, at an extraordinary flight of double and
treble somersaults in which Billy excelled, Jacky burst out into a
regular roar, clapping his hands and shouting to the top of his voice.
This brought one of the men out of the hut, who asked him what he was
shouting at.

Jacky said nothing but pointed to the house, and naturally enough Jack
Williams, for it was he, as much amused as the boy, called to the rest
to come and look at Billy. Of course this brought out all the men, David
Argyle amongst them dreadfully intoxicated.

"What is't?" he said, "Jacky? Is't Jacky? I say 'tis Jacky!"

The men were more amused than ever; they had very little principle when
there was a chance of getting a drop of drink, and though they knew that
Stewart's orders were strict about such matters, what were they--so they
reasoned--when one of the masters brought down the brandy bottle? So
they drank, and Argyle, not able to drink much without danger, took
enough to throw him completely on his beam ends, and then all restraint
was at an end. Consequently he would have a song, then one of them must
play the fiddle; and now Argyle was mad for a jig. There was no stopping
him: "Come on, come on!" said he, "more brandy indoor; come on, I say.
We'll have a jolly night!" So saying, he led the way to the house, the
men, nothing loath, following.

Black Bill saw them coming, and in an instant discovered the state that
David Argyle was in. He was carrying the brandy, and shouting, dancing,
and singing most unnaturally, and the levity of the black man was turned
instantly to grief. He saw what the affair would come to, and slipping
away before they arrived he saddled a horse, and, in the greatest
consternation, rode off to Burnham, but meeting the housekeeper on the
road, he communicated the intelligence to her. Quickening the pace of
her horse she arrived at Leyton to find David Argyle dancing on the
table of the keeping-room, two of the men fighting, and the other two
lying asleep upon the floor; glasses broken and thrown about the place
in all directions, and Jacky crouched up in a corner of the room
bleeding from a wound in the cheek, which he had received from a broken
glass his master had thrown at him.

The woman was no coward, and fortunately Billy was as strong as he was
faithful. In two minutes she cleared the house of the men who were
fighting, and in a very few more Billy had carried the other two to the
huts.

"Now," said Mrs. Jones to David Argyle, "now, sir, please to get down."

"See the conq--rin--"

"Will you please to come down, sir?"

"With--great'st pleas--great'st, I 'sure you."

"Sir, I ask you once more, will you--"

The words were stopped with the utterance of the "you," for Argyle fell
down from the table with a terrible crash, and for several moments he
did not stir. They got him into his room, but he did not wake all that
night. Stewart had remained at Burnham. Mrs. Jones knew not why; hour
after hour she watched but still he did not come; morning arrived and
Argyle slept on, breathing heavily as if in pain. At 8 o'clock Stewart
arrived, to see his friend and partner open his eyes, groaning out the
words, "My head, my head."

Deep and poignant was the grief of poor Stewart when he heard the sad
news. It was useless to use words of reproach, for David Argyle was
seriously ill again, and for several days he was suffering under a
species of delirium tremens. By an examination of the store it was
evident that he must have habited himself for some time to take strong
drink in such a quantity as completely mystified his partner. But on
inquiry, he found that though Argyle retired to rest early, he seldom
put out his light himself, it had generally burnt out; so Mrs. Jones
said "she had given him lately only a small piece of candle, fearing
they might be burnt in their beds."

"Did he always have liquor in his room?"

"He always kept a bottle of brandy in his box."

It was about ten days after that fatal Sunday when Stewart put the
question to David Argyle with which this chapter commences. It was an
unfortunate time, however, for the latter was sitting on the verandah,
smarting under the order, which he was compelled to yield to, that no
liquor should be included in the general list of stores which the drays
were gone to fetch. There was no liquor in the house, and the poor
follow was looking as careworn and dejected as one who was sinking in
the mire of abject misery. He was in no humor to be instructed or
lectured to.

"Where is all this to terminate! That is my business, I think,"

"Nay, David, I did not say all this; I put a very simple question to you
in the kindest spirit."

"I cannot say, James Stewart, that I take it kindly; you are acting the
part of a dictator to me."

"Just as your medical attendant advises, David. God forbid that I should
be unkind or unjust to you; but if I am told that you must not have this
or that I can only assent."

"But am I not my own master? Suppose I choose to have this or that, as
you call it, who is to hinder me?"

"If I saw you about to take poison--"

"But I am not going to take poison, James; I know better."

"Pardon me, my dear friend, but liquor is poison to you; it will kill
you, depend on it."

"Oh! hang it; I don't want to be preached to," said Argyle, interrupting
Stewart in a great pet. "I am not well; don't talk about it."

Mr. Stewart heaved a heavy sigh; a future of misery seemed in store for
him. But what would his unhappiness be in comparison with that of this
misguided man? He plainly saw that any further discussion now was
useless, so he turned away with a heavy heart to get his horse to ride
over to Burnham Beeches.

David Argyle watched him as he slowly left the house, and in his heart
he felt that he could give all he possessed to be restored to his right
senses; but the tempter was too strong for him--the craving for drink
was positively frightful. If a good thought flashed through his mind,
the demon drink drowned it in the constant cry which would be heard in
spite of everything, "Give me drink! Give me drink!" Poor fellow, he
could not help it; he was chained, bound as fast as the miserable
wretches in the tombs to whom the Saviour spoke. He would have risked
everything this afternoon for one glass of brandy.

Do not blame too rashly, total abstainers, such would surely have been
some of you if you had not been snatched as a "brand from the burning."
Pity, compassion, mercy will meet such a case, not hard words; though
alas! it must be confessed that very often pity is not wanted;
compassion is not appreciated; mercy is not sought.



Chapter XXXVIII.--THE HUNTERS HUNTED.


Captain Oliver and his servant, after leaving the camp, jogged on,
resolving to ride towards the east, and shortly after mid-day to retrace
their steps to camp, which would lay due west. For some time nothing
particular attracted their attention; but at length they reached an open
plot of clear ground, surrounded on all sides with thick bush, without
any apparent egress except by the track by which they had entered. In
the centre of this was the remains of a native camp. Some of the huts
were quite perfect, and around the fires, one of which was still warm,
there was abundant evidence that a large number of natives had been
here, the bones of animals and pieces of skin and other signs of
wholesale slaughter abounding everywhere. The dogs did not like the
appearance of the place at all--they sniffed about and showed signs of
uneasiness, but touching not so much as a bone or a piece of raw meat,
some of which was hanging to the pieces of skin.

Captain Oliver took in the whole at a glance; said he, "we must turn
back, James."

"I think so," replied the man. "This fire was burning last night, sir.
They can't be far off."

"No," replied the captain; "that is certain. Hark! Did you hear
anything? These black fellows frequently leave a scout or two behind
them; or it may be there are some laggers after the rest."

"By jingo, sir," exclaimed the man; "that dog hears something."

It was so; the bull dog began to growl. He stood looking most fiercely
into the far side of the bush from that by which they had entered. The
Newfoundland had laid down, evidently suspecting foul play, but as yet
he gave no sign beyond crouching as if he was watching something.

"What shall be done, James?"

"Get out of this, captain, that is the first thing."

"You are right, James. On ye go as quickly as ye can. I don't like
fighting these wretches with a bush for them to retreat to."

"Not too fast, Captain Oliver," said his servant; "not too fast. If they
see we are afraid, it will be the very thing to bring them round us. Let
us draw the charges of shot and put in bullets instead, and then as
quietly as possible get out of this."

They spoke in whispers, and now the dogs, as if they understood what
their masters were doing, crouched at their feet, still growling, and
evidently being as uneasy as possible. The loading with ball was
accomplished in about five minutes, and then the return march began. For
a mile or two nothing occurred to excite farther alarm, but now a fresh
source of uneasiness arose. The sun was obscured with clouds, which,
though at first only thin enough to produce a pleasant shade, had
increased in blackness. Still on they went for another mile, every step
they took being somewhat uncertain, and yet they thought that they knew
the place, until after passing a creek which they knew they had crossed
in the morning they entered a valley which neither of them recognised.

"Here's a pretty go, James; we are out of our track, that is plain
enough, yet I could have sworn that I knew that creek."

"So could I, sir. I confess that I had some doubt about the flat which
led to it; but when we reached the creek, says I to myself, 'All right
now.'"

"Where does the creek lead to, I wonder?"

"Perhaps to the lagoon, captain."

"You may be right. Suppose we follow it down."

"With all my heart. And yet the horses do not seem to turn that way,
Captain Oliver."

It was so; those sagacious creatures were allowed to have the reins, and
immediately they began to retrace their steps.

"Captain Oliver," said his servant, "we are wrong--that is plain. They
are going over the creek again."

"Hang them, though; I don't like going in the direction of that camp
again," replied Captain Oliver.

"Nor shall we. See, sir; they turn up the bank of the creek. Depend on
it, we crossed higher up."

At this moment the bull dog burst out into a furious roar, and there was
a loud and fearful yell behind the travellers, which was followed by a
shower of spears, one of which struck Captain Oliver's horse, and,
though it did not inflict any wound, roused the animal so as to increase
its pace to a gallop. To this Captain Oliver did not object; but here a
new difficulty arose. In holding the reins tight, the horse no longer
had permission to take his own route, and after a little while the
increasing thickness of the bush materially increased also the alarm
which both the captain and his servant felt. Besides this, the dogs were
now most furious. But onward they went--there was no help for it--until
they reached a rock which seemed to bar all further progress; and here,
in a perfect trap, they found themselves hailed up. There was no time
for discussion, or opportunity to retreat. They were surrounded--this
was very evident; but the captain was not a man to die without a
struggle. He knew the dread with which the natives regarded firearms,
and this was the only chance they had of life. So he fired at random one
way, and his servant another, as fast as possible; and when the bullets
were gone, the servant loaded with shot as his master discharged the
guns. There were shrieks and groans, but still the spears plainly told
the fact that the natives were not beaten; and in a few moments stones
from the cliff above them showed that the enemy could reach them from
that quarter. It seemed to be coming to a hand to hand conflict, and
already the blacks, who had discovered their advantage, were peering out
of the bush preparatory to a final rush. Captain Oliver thought that it
was all over now; the ammunition was all but gone, It was man's
extremity, but then it became God's opportunity, for at this instant a
sharp, shrill voice cried, "Hold, hold! stay! Back, back, everyone to ze
camp! Go back, back! Now, now, go back!"

* * * * * * * * * *

Colonel Tomlinson beheld Henry Judd, whom he recognised as the man whom
he had seen at Mr. Baines' station.

"What do you here?" he said.

Judd did not reply till the colonel had repeated the question; then he
said, "I come to warn you."

"Warn me! Of what?"

"Of danger."

"From whom?"

"A large tribe of natives have been watching you. They are camped out
there."

He pointed in the direction which Captain Oliver had taken.

"Good God!" cried Colonel Tomlinson; "and Captain Oliver is there."

"I cannot remain here. I came to spy your camp. I must return now; I
know not how many eyes are on me."

The colonel had arisen as Judd appeared, and stood at the entrance of
the tent with a double-barrelled rifle in his hand.

"Stay," said he to Judd, "one moment. Cannot you save my friend?"

"I have no power; but if he is the man you speak of, he may be--"

"He is, he is!" said Colonel Tomlinson.

"Mogara's father!" cried Judd, and he sprung into the air as if he had
been shot, and disappeared at the back of the rock.

The colonel lost not a moment in making a signal to the man who was
fishing at the lagoon, and it was at this moment that the report of the
firing of the first gun by Captain Oliver reached their ears. This was
followed by others so quickly that it was evidently something more than
sport. Colonel Tomlinson looked exceedingly disconcerted.

"Come on John," said he to his servant. "Bring all the powder, and your
own gun and horse-pistol; we have no time to get the horses. By George,
they are firing quick now. God grant we may be in time."

"Onward! The guns cease--"

There is no more onward. Heart and flesh have failed, and Colonel
Tomlinson is prostrate on the ground. The tension of the nerves was too
great; he has fallen; blood is oozing from his nose; his tongue
protrudes from his mouth; his jaw is fixed; all his limbs seem
paralysed.

"May God Almighty help me!" cried the man, "I cannot help myself."

"He will help," exclaimed a voice close to him.



Chapter XXXIX.--COMMENCEMENT OF TROUBLE.


The voice was Judd's, and Captain Oliver and his servant were with him,
Mogara following. The reunion was most opportune, but it was much
embittered by the fact that Colonel Tomlinson was insensible. Captain
Oliver bent down and felt the pulse of his friend, then put his hand
upon his heart, and shook his head.

"I fear it is a bad job. How did it happen, John?"

The man explained that he was fishing at the lagoon, and, hearing the
colonel call to him, he went to the camp instantly, and then he told him
to get "the guns and follow him quickly." He said no more, but when the
guns were heard his excitement increased; he exclaimed, "Faster, faster,
John!" and groaned as if in pain. "Then he fell," said the man. "You
know the rest."

"Yes," replied Captain Oliver; "we were in for a fight, but these good
people were sent by providence just in the nick of time to deliver us. I
do not know your companion, my good fellow, but I thank you both most
sincerely. Poor, good-hearted Tomlinson--what can we do?"

"Carry master to camp, sir; that must be the first thing."

"How far is it?" said Captain Oliver.

"Near two miles, I should say," replied John.

At this juncture Mogara stepped forward; she had kept in the background
hitherto.

"Blackfellow carry gentleman," said she. "Zee! zee!"

She cooeyed twice and the bush seemed alive with natives.

Captain Oliver seized his rifle instantly, and the two men imitated his
example, but the tumult was quelled in a moment.

"Speak, Henry; speak to white men. Zay no fear. I go tell my people."

She did so, gathering them together by a word, and in a hurried address
she expressed her command. To this some at first demurred, Eagle Hawk
amongst the number; but in an instant the whole of these savage
creatures were silenced by these words: "My father. That white man my
father."

Some will tell us that the parental tie is not appreciated by these poor
creatures; it is a libel. The black natives of Australia are not fallen
so low as not to acknowledge the parental tie. Some are cruel enough to
slaughter their offspring; but may we not find illustrations of this by
the hundred amongst civilised and even noble life? Thousands upon
thousands of white children are slaughtered, both as to their temporal
and eternal interests, and as many are forced into untimely graves
because of the cruel and inexcusable neglect and ignorance, of heartless
parents.

"That white man is my father!" She spoke the words with emotion, and the
black creatures around her understood now much that had always been a
mystery to them.

"Carry zick man. Make tree bed."

Meanwhile Judd explained to Captain Oliver what Mogara was saying, and
that he might be quite sure that there was nothing to fear.

"See, sir," continued Judd; "they are making tree bed. Plenty of men
carry master back to station. We will get him home; never fear,
soon--soon."

It was a strange sight, and there was a wildness about the constant
jabbering of the natives, and the whole scene, which, under other
circumstances, would have been very interesting to the captain and his
servants; but the increasing anxiety which Colonel Tomlinson's
insensible state created left no other desire but that of getting him to
Burnham Beeches as quickly as possible. In a few minutes the litter was
made; it was covered with Mogara's opossum rug, and the colonel was
placed gently upon it. He opened his eyes for a moment as the natives
lifted the litter, but closed them again with a heavy sigh. The whole
tribe formed the escort, Captain Oliver riding by the side of the
colonel, and Mogara and Eagle Hawk following close in the rear.

What a chain of events was there here. Captain Oliver's early
indiscretion, or crime it must be called, in forming an unholy alliance
with the mother of Mogara; the revengeful determination of the daughter
to follow the aggressor to the death; the wound which he had
consequently received; the lengthened illness which followed; his
restoration to health pleading that he should indulge his leisure in
some excitable pursuit; the readiness of his friend to assist him to
that which pleased him best; out of this came as the climax Colonel
Tomlinson's indisposition, which might have passed away amidst the rest
and quiet of a day in camp, but which was terribly heightened by the
peril in which he, Captain Oliver, was placed.

"I am the author of it all," said he to himself, although he did
not--nay, could not--go back so far in the history as the reader. He
only saw the hunting expedition in the diorama which at this time passed
before his thoughts; had he seen the connection between this and all his
past life he would have been totally crushed in spirit, for Captain
Oliver was a far different man from what he was in his youth. Then he
was rank with atheism; but he had long ago abandoned this folly, and
under the genial influence of Colonel Tomlinson's society he had become
"almost a Christian." Alas! many reach this, but, like Agrippa, go no
further. There is no record which throws much light upon Captain
Oliver's after life; the reader may surmise however, and if it be true
that none ever perish who truly ask that they may have divine light to
see the right path, then we may believe with tolerable certainty that
the latter end of life was better with him than the beginning.

It may be objected that he must have known Mogara; but the objection has
no weight. She was only twelve years of age when her mother and herself
were mercilessly abandoned to fight their way as best they could. The
child was a pet, but the mother! what could have induced so fine a man
to have looked upon such a creature it was difficult now for him even to
say. She lived in his house ostensibly as his servant; the daughter was
a source of amusement--she could not be called anything more. He took
pleasure in teaching her everything she would learn, and she was quick
and clever. In other circumstances she would have shone brightly as a
noble woman. Poor faithful creature, true to the last, she lived but for
one object.

But promotion came to Captain Oliver. The society in which he moved was
of a higher class; he had property to which he eventually succeeded, and
in addition to this his regiment was ordered home. He would have taken
the child with him, for she was really a handsome girl, her half-caste
skin imparting a peculiar attractiveness of such a character as many
style beauty, without the necessity of anything artificial to increase
it. But the girl would not leave her mother; nothing could move her, and
at last the captain, who worked himself up to a terrific passion, struck
the child. It was something awful to see the tempest of anger with which
she received the blow. It was sufficient to drive her father out of the
house, to which he did not return again. One message he sent to the
child--"Would she come where he was and speak with him?"

"No," she returned answer. "I am here if my father wants me."

In a week from that day Captain Oliver was on his way to England. He had
left his house and furniture in the hands of his solicitor to dispose
of, with instructions to send the child after him if she would consent
to leave her mother. The lawyer made very short work of the matter. He
regarded the whole affair in the most unromantic light, treated it as a
pure question of business, and finally turned the black woman and the
child into the road to do the best they could. The sequel the reader is
acquainted with.

Twenty-two years had passed since this occurred, and it will be easily
imagined that this period of wild savage life had worked a corresponding
change upon the woman. It is true that when Mogara appeared so
opportunely and rescued her father and his servant from a terrible
danger, as he looked upon her, there was just a momentary retrospect of
the past, but the light was soon extinguished, he said, "No, it cannot
be." She saw the impression, watched how it vanished, and resolved to
bide her time.

"Not one word to father," she whispered to Judd, as soon as an
opportunity occurred.

He understood her and kept her secret.

In the journey home, nothing could exceed the kindness of the poor
natives. They carried by turns the litter, upon which Colonel Tomlinson
reached home by the evening of the next day, as tenderly as if it
contained the most brittle of substances.

Colonel Tomlinson revived about an hour after he was conveyed to the
camping place. He opened his eyes, and when he saw Captain Oliver, he
smiled and feebly said, "Thank God, you are safe!"

The captain took his hand, saying, "How do you feel, my good friend.
What is the matter?"

"Heart, Oliver--heart disease. Would to God I was at home. My poor dear
girl, my poor Julia!" He burst into tears as he spoke these words, and
they seemed to afford him a temporary relief; presently he said, "Home,
Oliver--home, if possible."

The natives had withdrawn to some distance from the tent, and only
Captain Oliver was with the colonel. He replied: "There are a number of
blacks here who are under some extraordinary influence exerted upon them
by the old man who was at Baines' station. There is a half-caste woman
with them who is their queen, or something like it. They brought you
here, colonel, and I am sure they will help us to get you home. Fool
that I was to take you away from thence."

"No, Oliver; don't say so. It was the Lord's doing, I believe; but what
you do, do quickly, for--"

He did not finish what he intended to say, for a paroxysm of pain seized
him, which alarmed Captain Oliver to the utmost. He hastily conferred
with Judd, and in a few minutes after the home journey was commenced and
continued throughout the night--which was fortunately moonlight--with
only a halt to administer to the sufferer a little refreshment.

It was quite dark as the little army of blackfellows reached the
station, or the sight of so many of them would have alarmed the people.
Captain Oliver requested that the bearers would halt while he sent on
for some of the men at the station. It was only for a few minutes that
this was necessary, and speaking to Judd some few words about camping
for the night, he went on to the station before the rest to break the
sad news to Miss Julia.



Chapter XL.--IN THE DARK VALLEY.


There was a quiet consternation at Burnham Beeches that night. The term
is paradoxical, but terror, abject grief, and wringing of hands--ah! and
of hearts also--reigned, in conjunction with humble dependence upon His
love who is too wise to err--always too good to be unkind.

Julia could not weep; her heart was literally chilled with sorrow; not a
tear could flow. The blow was so unexpected, so sudden, she seemed to be
paralysed. Captain Oliver had dispatched a messenger to Stewart by the
colonel's special wish, and he was speedily on the spot. It is difficult
to express the feelings with which he gazed first on the bed on which
the colonel lay, and then into the face of his affianced bride. It was
not the time to ask questions. Mr. Coles and Mr. Sinclair had both been
summoned, and their united opinion was unfavorable to the recovery of
the patient. As Stewart entered the room, they were talking in whispers
at the window--Mrs. Judd, Alice, and Julia being on either side of the
bed; Captain Oliver, Mr. Wright, Mr. Gumby, and Overseer Brown being in
the keeping-room close by. The colonel had not spoken since he was
carried to his bed. One word had escaped him as the men brought him into
the house--'Thanks;' and he again relapsed into a kind of stupor, from
which he could not be roused. For five hours he continued thus, and
then, with a heavy sigh, he opened his eyes, fixing them so tenderly
upon his daughter that the long pent-up fountain burst forth at last,
and a torrent of tears and sobs told her grief and love. The good, kind
father gazed at her as if he could weep also; but he had other work to
do now. His eyes turned upward, and then his hands were clasped; his
lips moved, but not a sound was heard. At length he put out his hand,
and gently took his daughter's in that grasp which was the soul
utterance of the father, and then he spoke--"Julia."

"My dearest father, here I am."

"I know it, my love. Can you read to me?"

"Yes, dearest father. What would you wish?"

"John's Gospel, chapter xiv., my child."

It was a hard task which the father set his daughter. She knew that no
strength of her own could perform it. One long, hard-drawn
prayer--"Help, oh! do help me, my God! Help thy servant too!"

The prayer was answered. How she read she never know. Never was there
such a living automaton as that dear tried creature. She heard every
word her father spoke as he commented on the verses she read; but how
she read them she could not tell.

He lifted his hand as she read:

"If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it."

"True, true--very true. Mark this, my child; I have found it so."

Again: "I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you."

"Always, always. He has brought your mother to me, dearest. Not only has
He come Himself, but He said, 'In times of bitter sorrow are they not
all ministering spirits?' No, He will not leave you orphans; He will
come to you. True, true."

Again she read, but as if her heart would break, until she came to the
27th verse--'Peace I leave with you'--and the tongue refused to speak
any more.

The colonel took up the words, and slowly, but with emphasis, finished
the verse. By this time there was a weeping in very deed, but the dying
man went on:

"The angel which hath redeemed me from all evil bless you."

It was at this moment that he saw Stewart and beckoned to him. He went
instantly to the bedside.

"Sit down, James--there, next to Julia."

He gazed most earnestly into both their faces, and then, fixing his eyes
upon Stewart, he beckoned him to put his hand into his, and then to his
daughter with the same sign, and, clasping both their hands in his, he
said: "I gave her to you once; I leave her to you now. Love her, James,
for my sake--for hers, for Christ's sake."

"I will--I do--ever till death, and beyond it," was the solemn response.

"Heaven registers this union," said the colonel. "As soon as possible
after I am gone, let it be--"

He was exhausted, and again closing his eyes, he remained motionless for
some minutes. Then he reopened them, and said:

"Mrs. Judd."

She was on the other side of the bed, and upon her also he looked with a
gaze full of meaning. At last he spoke:

"Kate, one great trouble has been yours; 'but God shall be with you, and
bring you again into the land of your fathers.' One great request I
make. You will grant it?"

"Anything, my dear master--any possible thing."

"This may not be possible to man, but it is possible to God. All things
are possible to Him, Kate, and He will help you. I have seen your
husband; he came down with me; he nursed me like a mother. Can you
forgive him?"

"Anything I can do for your sake I will; but how?"

"I have been thinking of this. He is so quiet, so good. Stewart knows
him--has talked with him. He will get you all off to America, and there
you can end your sorrows together."

"My kind, good master."

"Nay, can you, Kate? I want to make peace on my dying bed."

"It shall be done, dear friend, if God will."

"Then it will. James, Mrs. Judd will tell you what she has received from
me; this is to be continued. She was our old servant."

"Mr. Coles, pray--pray."

The minister knelt, and all followed his example. His words seemed to be
words of fire, which were lighted at the altar of God. How he besought
that "if it were possible, this cup might pass;" and how subdued were
the words, "nevertheless, not as we will, but as Thou, O righteous
Father, doth intend," they all remembered long after that trying hour.

At the close of the prayer, the colonel dropped into a quiet sleep, and
the clergyman and Mr. Sinclair thought that it might be favorable, but
they remained by his bedside, watching every movement, and frequently
testing the pulse. Midnight passed, and the first grey dawn of morning
indicated the approach of another day; but still he slept, and the day
was somewhat advanced ere he awoke.

Captain Oliver had been expecting a visit from the blacks; but, with a
delicacy which he had not anticipated, they did not approach the
station. Judd had come, and with him Mogara and Eagle Hawk, but they
were all perfectly unarmed, and when they heard of "master's continued
illness "--or, as it was told them, "Him no better--him die,"--their
grief was as poignant as that of any. Captain Oliver told Stewart that
they were at the men's huts, and he went to see them. Judd especially
was glad to see him, and in the conversation which ensued he gave him
just the hope that a reconciliation and reunion might be accomplished.
He knew not that Mogara understood all he said; but we must not
anticipate the result.

It was not long before Stewart was re-summoned to the dying man's
bedside. The colonel awoke, breathing heavily, as if he was struggling
for life. But this mercifully passed away for a brief period only, and
in that period the last mournful words were said. Stewart had brought
Judd to the house, and whispering to the colonel that he was there, he
told him to bring him in. The scene was intensely interesting as the old
man entered, for he dropped on his knees by the bedside, sobbing out:

"May God Almighty bless you, master! You visited the poor and needy.
Bless you, bless you!"

The colonel did not reply, but beckoned to the weeping and excited wife.
She came and knelt, and Alice followed, and the dying man raised his
hand over them, saying, "Love one another for my sake--for Jesus' sake."

"Julia, dearest--my darling Julia--my dearest love, next to my
Jesus--you--you--Father--Saviour--bless--"

He paused, the awful silence of death overshadowing them all. It was a
glorious, but wonderously trying moment.

"Sing, sing, sing,"

"Could we but climb--climb--where--"

The clergyman tried to sing, and there was a subdued whisper in the
notes which some tried to raise; but in the midst of the line--

"Not Jordan's streams, nor death's cold flood," the departing soul made
one effort; it was a grand one: "Safe to landing--safe,
safe--Jesus--safe."

Colonel Tomlinson was "present with the Lord."

Two loud shrieks went up to heaven with that ransomed soul. The
daughter's cry was loud; but louder, far louder was the loving,
yearning, home-seeking cry of a bitter soul, who saw refuge at last in
the cry, "Father, dearest father, never let me go from zoo again."



CHAPTER XLI.--DEMENTED.


There is nothing which casts such a shadow of desolation over a house as
the death of its leader. Very tender must be the words which describe
such a session of family sadness.

Julia Tomlinson was dumbstruck with amazement. Her father's death was a
subject she had never thought about. United to him so joyously, loving
him so tenderly, and delighted to the fullest of enjoyment in her
unclouded happy life, the thought of this coming to an end was all but
impossible to her. Certainly she had never anticipated it. The funeral
was over; the solemn service on the succeeding Sunday was passed; and
still the daughter sat brooding over vacancy. Not even the presence of
her lover could rouse her. She ate her food mechanically; retired to
rest as a machine obeys the dictate of its manipulator; but not a word
could anyone extort from her.

More than a fortnight had passed away thus, and a consultation of the
whole house took place. Only Mrs. Judd was absent; she had remained with
Julia at the house. It was a touching sight to see old Judd, bareheaded,
with his white locks, just standing inside the door. Mogara was there
also, with her father. All had been explained, forgiven, and ratified
with confessions and declarations of future love. Eagle Hawk was not
there; nor was there a single native. They were holding a devil's
service elsewhere. There was another in the church, who stood with
sullen countenance and sunken eyes, which gleamed fiercely and then
vacantly on old Judd, and there was one who was watching him; taking
every glance, and treasuring up in his memory their meaning. Yes, Black
Bill watched his master's partner, David Argyle, and read his thoughts.
They were murder, without the physical power to carry out the wish.

Mrs. Judd was with Julia; but what a change! She cried: "See nurse, 'tis
quite dark; light the candles. He will soon be home; he tells me he is
coming. Light the candles, I'll get the tea."

There was no restraint. Julia went out staggering, and brought the
tea-things into the room, Mrs. Judd looking on with horror; she got the
bread and the butter, in fact laid everything for tea, and then took her
place at the head of the table. Then she exclaimed, "Hark! he is coming,
hush!"

She had heard something, but it was not him; and yet, who can say that
it was not? Would he not have whispered to the poor girl, "peace, be
still?"

"There is nothing, dearest," said Mrs. Judd. "Ah! no, he has not come
yet. I am tired, I will go to sleep." And, gentle as a lamb, she
suffered Mrs. Judd to lead her to her room, where she was soon dozing in
a restless slumber.

Poor James Stewart! He was nearly beside himself. It was thought that
Julia might listen to him. So when she awoke he approached her bedside;
but she arose, and with clenched fist, she raved out the words: "You
have killed my father! villain! dog! cut-throat! Give me back my father!
You have buried him! I saw you put on the mourning--hypocrite that you
are 'to slay and then to take possession!' Go, bring him back! He
can't--no, he can't! He is far away; coming home to-night--coming home
to-night." The latter words were uttered in a song-like voice.

Let us draw the veil over this terrible calamity. Julia was removed to
Brisbane; but it was long before she awoke from her enchanted state; for
enchantment is not altogether a delusion. Reason hurled from her throne
is a problem difficult to solve. It may be partially a bodily ailing,
but the distinction between the body and spirit sickness in this
terrible visitation is too nearly balanced to decide this question with
any degree of accuracy. Very frequently, in this dread sorrow, the
beloved one is hated most, while the greatest enemy is counted as a
bosom friend. During the whole of her derangement the sight of James
Stewart sent Julia into a paroxysm of passion; but, as the end drew on,
one morning she inquired for him. Fortunately he was in Brisbane. He saw
her; she knew him as her lover. She was calm, and in her right mind.
From that moment she gradually recovered her health and strength.

But very stirring were the events which took place at Burnham during the
next four months.

Mr. Wright was tired of station life, and anxious to return to New South
Wales. His father was a merchant and ship-owner in Sydney; and, being a
straightforward man of principle, when he heard of the engagement
between his son and Julia Gumby, wrote as follows:--"No man comes to
good who breaks a girl's heart. No doubt you have acted foolishly in
committing yourself so soon; but if she is a good girl, bring her home.
Of course you will say she is a first rater. But God bless you, my lad;
it will be all right, no doubt." So Julia Gumby became Mrs. George
Wright, and the happy couple, after spending a week of the honeymoon at
the station, departed from Burnham to see it no more. In due time they
reached Sydney, and Mrs. George was wedded again--at least in spirit--to
the father-in-law, who saw at a glance, he said, "that George was no
fool." Mrs. Wright turned out all that was anticipated by those who knew
her. She gave good evidence that it was profitable for all things to
live a godly life. Her husband fully agreed with her. The calamities
which had fallen upon the Tomlinson family had made a deep impression on
his mind. He became first a member, and then an active worker in the
church, and many respect and honor him, and his happy, cheerful wife
also.



Chapter XLII.--ISABEL.


One trouble seldom comes alone. The death of Colonel Tomlinson
demonstrated this very fully. The speculation into which he had entered
is a profitable one, all things being equal but Colonel Tomlinson found
that squatting in theory and practice were two different things. He
bought the station from Mr. Sinclair for a large sum of money, and
probably it was worth it. Half the amount was to remain on mortgage. He
had property enough to have paid all the money down; but, having a
lurking suspicion that it might be necessary to fall back upon something
else, he would not sell this property when he left England. Fortunately
the impression upon his mind was not hastily dismissed, as too many of
these thoughts are, and the property remained intact at his death. There
was a sum of five thousand pounds to pay to Mr. Sinclair--the amount of
the mortgage to which reference has been made. The brief period of
Colonel Tomlinson's possession of the station had been unfavorable.
Instead of gaining, he lost considerable sums. His expenditure also was
large, and his previous habits altogether unfitted him for the life of a
squatter. In short, to explain that which every one acquainted with
station life knows full well, buying and selling under such
circumstances are widely different. The daughter was left executor of
the father's will, in conjunction with Captain Oliver and Mr. Stewart.
The captain was obliged to go to Sydney upon his own business, expecting
that he would be able to close up all his affairs in Australia, so us to
return to England by the end of the year. He was loath to leave Julia in
the state in which she then was; but after a long consultation with Mr.
Coles and his co-executor, it was decided that as the principal business
which required attention was the disposal of the station and the payment
of the mortgage, this might be left in the hands of Stewart; so Captain
Oliver declined to act.

Then there was the very weighty question, what should be done with
Mogara? From the hour that the truth became evident to her, she seemed
to lose all, or nearly all her fondness for her wild savage life. It was
distressing to Judd to hear her moaning out the words, "My father," for
only before him did she confess the relationship. In secret she was
dejected and melancholy; before the blacks she assumed an authority
which it was hard to act. In fact, she gradually loathed the life she
was leading, and in a conversation which took place about the time that
Judd appeared to his wife at Burnham, she pointedly hinted her desire to
be reunited if possible, to him whom now she positively adored. The poor
creature knew not how to love in duplicate; when love to her father
assumed the place of hatred, Judd became a secondary person in her
thoughts--her father was all to her.

It may be objected that it was impossible for her to forget this
relationship. But unless it is possible to understand what it is to
smart for twenty years and more under a sense of one wrong and to be,
like Mogara, a creature of one impulse only, it will not be easy to
estimate the limited extent of her reasoning. There have been men of one
book only, they read others, but only mechanically. Mogara looked along
the path of life, and saw revenge at the termination of it. The events
which led to it were as transitory in her ideas as the vapor in the
morning sun.

Hence, when she heard Stewart speaking to Judd about the probability of
a reunion with his wife, her eyes opened wide as she saw his evident
pleasure. Till this moment she had not even thought of the possibility
that he could have a wife, and the simple creature had sufficient
judgment to shudder at the position into which her singular love to him
might have led her. She was a strange compound of good and evil, but the
filial had now risen above the natural, and when Stewart took Judd up to
the house she followed him. The hour was come when the twenty-two years'
banishment was to end, and Mogara released from the thralldom of savage
life. She crept softly into the house without interruption; everyone was
in the dying man's room, and in the moment of the colonel's departure
she rushed into her father's arms.

"Then it is so!" he said, as he raised her from the kneeling position
into which she had fallen.

Everyone's attention was concentrated for the time upon the death scene,
and immediately afterwards upon the bereaved daughter, so Captain Oliver
was allowed ample opportunity for the expression of love which went
forth from him for his restored daughter. The interview which followed
was long, and the explanations full and interesting.

"Ah! my father, zoo not know."

"I know enough, Isabel," [for this was her name] "to tell me that you
must have suffered much. May God forgive me for all the past. I need
it!"

"God fordiv zoo! Who do zoo speak of?"

The captain saw her ignorance and groaned within himself. "She knows no
God!" he said mentally.

"It is the Great God, Isabel, the Great Spirit who made all. He dwells
up there--all over the land."

"Ah! I know, I hear of Him long time ago; but no Great God among black
people. They worship ugly, black thing."

So Isabel was restored to her father, and Burnham Beeches contained a
bereaved daughter who had lost her father, and a father who had found a
long lost daughter. Of course Isabel became the very centre of
attraction. Julia was not removed to Brisbane for several weeks after
her father's death, and during the whole of that period she was kept in
the obscurity of restraint--necessarily so. Isabel would have willingly
become her nurse, but in the only interview which she had with her, she
accused her so vehemently of a design to rob the house, that the poor
woman was terrified, and nothing could induce her to go near Julia
again.

"Is she not a singular creature, Mary?" said Lottie Gumby.

"Pretty, but very ignorant, Lottie."

"Yes, indeed she is, but what else could you expect? But, Mary, do you
know there is a talk of breaking up the station?"

"Breaking up the station, dear?"

"Yes, Mary, they say there is ever so much owing upon it, and Captain
Oliver has advised Mr. Stewart to pay no more, so your father will lose
his money, I suppose. It will be very bad for all of us. Father says he
does not know what he is to do."

Now if Lottie had held her peace a few hours longer, she would have
saved a great deal of trouble. Miss Sinclair heard all, but treasured up
one sentence only, "your father will lose his money." This she carried
safely home, and in due course dealt out to the astonished ear of her
money-loving father. He knew that his money was safe, but if there was
anything which he took umbrage at more than another, it was what he
called beating about the bush. "I shall lose a lot of money, shall I?
Not if I know it, Mr. Stewart." Accordingly his horse was saddled, and
over to Leyton he went. Mr. Stewart was at home, and, without "beating
about the bush," Mr. Sinclair charged him with double dealing.

It is probable that if he had deferred his visit to the next day, or in
other words, had Mr. Sinclair only followed his own nose, it would have
led him straight into the best of conclusions. First, that Mr. Stewart
was not the man for double dealing. Secondly, that if he was he (Mr.
Sinclair) had all the power on his side; and third, that his own advice
would be strongly in favor of the very course which was contemplated.
But as it turned out, the honesty of Stewart resented the
unrighteousness of the charge, and a fierce quarrel ensued. Mr. Sinclair
returned home full of threatenings and slaughter at least in a pecuniary
sense, and a new episode in the history of Burnham Beeches was the
consequence thereof.

The issue of this to Isabel was the complete severance of her newly
formed acquaintance with Mrs. Sinclair and her daughter.



Chapter XLIII.--PLANS AND PLOTS.


Captain Oliver was one day thinking about his former life, and how much
of it had been spent in evil doing. The death of Colonel Tomlinson had
made a deep impression on his mind also; the subsequent calamity which
fell upon Julia increased the power of his resolution to live for some
noble purpose; but the restoration of his daughter created paternal
feelings, or rather revived them so strongly that he resolved upon a
course which would make the future life of both father and daughter
happy.

While musing thus, Mrs. Judd entered the room, followed by her husband,
and Captain Oliver spoke to her before she addressed him upon the
all-painful subject of Julia's lamentable insanity.

"I am glad you are come, Mrs. Judd. May I ask the favor of your advice?"

"Certainly, sir," she replied. "I was coming to consult you."

"Indeed. Let us have your business first, then."

"It is a long affair, captain. I fear it cannot be easily settled."

"What is it?"

"Our removal."

"I do not think you have any reason to trouble yourself about that, Mrs.
Judd. Mr. and Mrs. Gumby are going next week, and in a day or two Mr.
Stewart will be here to wind-up all that can be settled, and he will be
able to give you every satisfaction; at least, I hope so. I wish my
troubles could be as easily settled."

"Your trouble, sir?"

"Yes, Mrs. Judd; I am sorely perplexed about my daughter. Where did you
meet with her, Judd?"

Judd replied that it was a long story, but as Captain Oliver wished to
know it, he related all the particulars, which are well known to the
reader.

"I thank God, Captain Oliver, that I was moved to tell her that it was
you, her father, that she had shot."

He paused, for he saw the pale face, the trembling nerve, and the
consternation which followed this revelation. Captain Oliver did not
know whose hand had fired the pistol till that moment.

"I am well punished," he said. "Mrs. Judd, I drove that girl into her
savage life. Yes; I had no impulse to do it, but an unseen hand has
overruled it all for good."

"Indeed He has, Captain Oliver, for all of us. He has been very
merciful. I know that I feel it so; it seems to me like a resurrection
from the dead."

"And yet, Mrs. Judd, there is an impression on my mind that troubles are
not over. Do you know anything of such feelings?"

"Indeed I do, sir. I recollect many a time when it seemed to me as if
voices were sounding in my ear, speaking wondrous thoughts. I do not
think, sir, that they were the result of my imagination. I had strong
desires; and when troubles came strong and thick those are an
indispensable forerunner of comfort."

"You have gone deep into this, Mrs. Judd,"

"I have, sir; and I have found that some of my heaviest trials have been
preceded by strong help and comfort from above. Then the trouble came;
but like a house which has been prepared for strong tempests it did me
no harm."

Judd heard all this with a bowed head and closed eyes. He had become
strangely taciturn, as if he scarcely comprehended his altered position.
Nor had he lost the sense of uneasiness which caused him to start and
gaze about him with suspicion at every object and person he saw, as if
he feared the moment of detection or captivity would come again. There
was silence for a while, as Mrs. Judd concluded, which was at length
broken by the inquiry, "Where is my daughter?" Captain Oliver asked the
question more mechanically than otherwise; but ere the question could be
answered, Isabel opened the door, and with a smile, not unmixed with a
glance of inquiry as to what they were discussing, she went directly to
her father, kissed his forehead, and putting her arm round his neck,
inquired if he was "going out zoon."

"Why, dear?" was the reply.

"Because I go with zoo, please."

"Certainly, if you like, Isabel."

"Then I much like."

"You shall go. But, Isabel, Mrs. Judd has been talking to me and Mr.
Judd--"

"Henry, father."

"Well, Henry then--you know that name best. We have been talking about
leaving."

"Leaving zick, poor lady?"

"We have no such meaning, Isabel. Miss Tomlinson will go away soon to
another home; I go also with her; Mrs. Judd go too, and Henry, and you
must go."

"Where? Not away from zoo? Never again away from zoo."

Her eyes shot glances of fire as she spoke these words, and she clung to
her father as if greatly alarmed. She looked exceedingly handsome, and
Mrs. Judd must have thought so, for she said, in trying to comfort her,
"Poor, dear, beautiful Isabel, no one is going to send her away."
Captain Oliver looked at her with admiration, and as it frequently
happens that there only requires some little episode to settle the most
weighty questions, Isabel's unexpected union to the consulting trio, and
the alarm which she felt at the thought of being again compelled to
leave her father, decided the whole matter. Isabel was to go to England
under any circumstances.

So her father told her, and she caressingly assented. Then he laughingly
said he hoped she "would not shoot him again;" and the dark eyes read
from Judd's face, the fact that he had revealed this. She looked at her
father, then at Mrs. Judd, and again at her old companion, and finally
fell on her knees, crying out, "Forgive me; I did not know what I do
then. I poor zavage girl; no friend--all forzake. I zay me zhoot man who
leave mother. No other thought in my mind. Father! I had forgot the
name. I think I was mad."

"Poor child," said Captain Oliver, at he raised her. "Poor child, you
were not to blame. I was the bad one."

"No, no; me bad, I know that; but I pray the great God to forgive me,
and Mrs. Coles she read me out of great book. I had one book the long
time I was in bush, but I not read. No; but Mrs. Coles she read me good
things, and tell me the great God He forgive me. Zoo zee, father, how I
can read now."

"I do not think, dear," said Captain Oliver, "that you will make much
way by yourself at this sort of thing. The English language is very
awkward to understand, and to you, Isabel, it will present many
difficulties at first. We must try and help you, and you will soon get
hold of much more than you at present know."

In spite of all these disadvantages, the high spirited Isabel was very
happy; and with the prospect of going to England with her father she
seemed to lose all her fear, and as Mrs. Judd remarked every day made
some improvement in her.

It has been stated that Eagle Hawk and his tribe were holding a devil's
service at the time when the people were assembled in Burnham Church to
pray to Almighty God for His interposition on behalf of the demented
Julia. It was a corroboree under extraordinary circumstances.

Eagle Hawk, burning with rage and jealously because Mogara--we call
Isabel so in connection with the natives--had forsaken the tribe to live
with the white people, returned to the camp after the death of Colonel
Tomlinson, and made a great speech. Mogara had sent for him, and in a
long and earnest conversation she told him that her resolution was fixed
"to go with the white gentleman." As it turned out, she could not have
made a more unfortunate remark than "go with the white gentleman," for
the old black construed it to mean a desertion under aggravated
circumstances. He told her so, but she pleaded the sacred name of
father. 'Father' has a place amongst the aboriginal words, but its
significance is sadly marred, and to Eagle Hawk's hard stony heart it
meant little more than any other word. The parting was therefore a
declaration of war by fiery glances, meaning diabolical revenge on the
one side, and haughty defiance on the other. Mogara knew little about
patience; she had reigned supreme amongst the natives, and even under
altered circumstances she insisted on her command being respected. This
time, however, the result was not what she expected. Eagle Hawk was full
of horrible resolves, and if Mogara could have heard his speech to the
natives she would have known that mischief was brewing which it would be
hard to counteract.

The old black commenced his address, which was spoken in the quick and
excited manner which has obtained for the speech of the aboriginals the
epithet of "jabber," by relating his interview with Mogara and its
result. He was listened to with silence until he told them that she was
gone with the white gentleman. "Gone," said he in the native tongue,
"all the days; never see again." Then the scene was worthy of
Pandemonium. Eagle Hawk resumed his speech, after allowing the poison to
spread a little by saying, "Shall we let our Queen go like this?" Shouts
of disapprobation followed his several questions. "Shall we let her live
with white man? Shall we not force her to come back? Shall we not burn
house; kill man; bind Mogara; carry her away, far away; and she no more
see white man?"

The sun was just setting as he finished his speech, and by this time he
had succeeded in raising high the rage and fury of the blacks.
'Corrobboree,' 'corrobboree,' 'corrobboree,' was shouted from every lip.
Eagle Hawk assented, and in an instant a hundred hands were engaged in
collecting the materials for the orgie. In about forty minutes three
great fires were lighted, and at a given signal twelve painted natives
ran into the midst of the camp from the dark background of a scrubby lot
of trees, and commenced a dance which was intended to be highly
melodramic. There was music and singing, but the performers were
invisible, and this was intended to heighten the effect of the ceremony,
for though everyone knew that the performance was by some of their own
number, yet so constituted are we all that mystery of any kind never
fails to exert its influence upon the mind. Somehow the voices were so
arranged as to appear to come from the ground, and ever and anon the
dancers shouted out native words which signified "spirit." Then the
singing would sink into the most faint sound, presently rising into a
perfect Babel of fury, during which the twelve dancers rushed round the
circle, their heads being turned round, and their eyes glaring with
savage ferocity; their arms raised; and their hands grasping boomerangs,
which at last each one in turn, rushing towards the centre between the
three fires, threw down on the ground with a terrific yell, and then ran
off into the darkness from whence they had come. Then another set of
performers on the other side of the charmed circle began their wild
savage music and singing. At first it was a faint cry, as of distress,
during which two natives, hand in hand, appeared suddenly, as if they
had sprang from the earth. These began to jump from side to side. In a
minute or two, two more appeared in like manner, and then another
couple, until at last thirty painted warriors were on the scene, divided
off into three separate tens, each ten hovering round one of the three
fires. Then began a series of movements of an extraordinary character.
Five out of each ten jumped to the right and five to the left. So they
continued, with almost incredible exertion, for more than fifteen
minutes, each movement increasing in velocity, until at the last the
excitement was so great, the music so loud, the shouts so terrific, and
the scene so picturesque, in spite of its horrible accompaniments, that
to have been an indifferent spectator would have been impossible. The
third act commenced by both acts of performers advancing with fortissimo
shouts, and the whole tribe ran round the three fires with vehement
frenzy, shouting "Death! corrobboree! corrobboree! death!" until at last
they all rushed off into the darkness of the forest, having first
scattered the fires, throwing upon the burning embers water which had
been previously provided for the purpose. This demonstrated the
extinction of life, and the silence which followed was that of the
grave. Not a sound was heard, not a trace could be seen of a human
being; all the tribe had vanished as if by magic.

It was the prelude to active warfare, but there was diplomacy in this
campaign. Next morning Eagle Hawk, while on a tour of observation,
encountered David Argyle, who was returning home from a visit to the
public-house, which visits had become a matter of course now. Frequent
relapses into illness had produced an effect upon Argyle's mind, which
might be termed the stunting of the feelings. He had firmly set his face
against any interference on the part of James Stewart. An arrangement
had consequently been made by which the partnership was to be dissolved,
and this for the time raised the temper of the drunkard into
recklessness.

He broke out into horrible invectives, but heaped most of his bitterness
on the head of Judd, until his hatred of the man became most intense.

"So this is it, is it?" he said to James Stewart, when the proposition
to dissolve partnership was made. "You throw me over, whose money made
you what you are, for that villain over yonder. Curse him, I'll have my
eye on him."

Stewart was inexpressibly grieved, but meekly replied, "David, what harm
have I ever done to you? what am I doing now?"

"What harm? Did you not help that rascal to try and cheat me, and if you
had not done it, would he have got me, do ye think, into his cursed
clutches? I say you did it all. It was you that were the means of me
being transported."

"Oh, David, this is grevious indeed, you know that I never could have
done you wrong, had I known it. Poor soul, you are blind to look at
things in this light."

"Blind, am I? Not so blind as you think, as I will soon show you. I am
not going to be thwarted and lectured because you are trying to get the
upper hand, I can tell you."

"Let me ask you one thing, David Argyle: what bad motive can I have in
wishing to see you do what is right? Would your mother--"

"Hold your tongue, Stewart, hold your tongue, I say!"

"No, David, I will not hold my tongue when the very life of my friend is
at stake. I will speak."

"Will you? Then, by God, you must take the consequence."

He struck at Stewart as he spoke, but he might as well have levelled his
hand against a tree, for his power had melted into nothingness; the
broad-shouldered, strong-chested man, had become a poor weak emaciated
creature, against whom Stewart's hand merely raised to ward off the
blow, was as a rock, and he fell heavily to the ground.

Stewart advanced to raise him when he saw that he still remained where
he fell, but he scowled upon him with a wild look of fury saying, "Go
your way, James Stewart, get your deed drawn up soon--soon, mind, you
cannot be too soon. I shall be at the sea-board sooner than you. I wish
ye joy, my lad, with your charming bride. What a prize, a horrible
lunatic. Ah! ah!"

Stewart could not leave the place immediately, he was struck with
mingled grief and awe. His heart was full of resolves that he would
still try to reclaim, but judgment whispered, "now, it is best to leave
him." Argyle got up to go to the public-house, and remained there for
the rest of the day; and on the morning of the next, he was returning
home, as we have seen, with two bottles of brandy tied up in his
handkerchief, when he met Eagle Hawk sauntering along the road. He knew
him instantly, having seen him at the station on the day of Colonel
Tomlinson's death; and, accosting the old man, he offered him a drink.
Eagle Hawk had heard about the fire drink of the white man, but had
never tasted it; and at first he was extremely suspicious about the
bottle. Alas! it is no novelty to these poor creatures now. Eagle Hawk
tasted, made a wry face, coughed and spluttered a little, then tasted
again, and finally laughed, patted the bottle, and said, "Him good."

"Ah, my boy, it is good!" said Argyle, alighting from his horse. "Sit
down, and you shall have some with me." So saying, he led the way to a
shady place a little way off the road, tied up his horse, and, pouring
out a glass of brandy into a metal vessel which he carried with him, he
drank it off, giving Eagle Hawk one also. Of course their tongues soon
begun to talk, and Argyle discovered that in his comrade he had found a
ready comrade for the accomplishment of his great desire. More brandy
and more talk, partly by pantomime and partly by actual words; but about
as hellish a plot was concocted in that interview as ever human thought
devised. Another chapter is necessary to unfold this.



Chapter XLIV.--COUNTERPLOTTING.


They did not know that another pair of ears was listening to them, but
Black Bill, who had been sent by James Stewart to procure tidings of
David Argyle, had tracked him so closely as to become a witness to all
that passed. Black Bill now had very frequently this duty to perform; it
was a necessary precaution, as Argyle often fell from his horse, and was
found by the messenger dead drunk, sometimes in very dangerous
circumstances. Once he had fallen into a ditch, and his head was
actually in the water; a few more inches on, and there was enough to
drown him. Another time, he was found close to a bed of ants, who
resented the intrusion by innumerable attacks, and so thoroughly
senseless was he that they had actually eaten away pieces of his skin,
and when Bill discovered him, he was covered with these little but
formidable creatures, so that he appeared as a living mass of insect
life. This time the black servant had to be more careful, for he saw
that Argyle was sober; but he knew well how to skirmish around the post
of observation, so as to lie in ambush and hear all without being seen.

"More brandy," said he to himself, "you no talk much more: Massa Argyle,
you take care of yourself to-day; if you fall on ants to-day, I pray you
stop tere; better you tan your betters, tat's what I say. Here's off to
Massa Stewart."

So saying he withdrew from his hiding place very cautiously, but there
was little need of any particular care, for the two men were noisy
enough to have drowned any sound, and as quick as he could run, he
hastened home. Here he sought "Massa Stewart," as he always called him,
but found that he was gone to Burnham Beeches. Off to that station he
sped, and arrived there just as Mr. Coles, and his master, with Captain
Oliver, were going to Mr. Sinclair's, for the purpose of arranging some
business connected with them all, more or less; for the reverend
gentleman's position was much altered since the change of circumstances
attendant on the station passing again into other hands. A purchaser was
in treaty for it, who had plainly said, "he wanted to see no parson on
the place, if he bought it."

Black Bill, without a moment's hesitation, asked his master to hear him,
and as there was such evident alarm upon his countenance, James Stewart
with a sign to his companions to follow him, led the way into the
keeping-room.

"Oh, Massa Stewart, sich bad job: Massa Argyle down long road with great
big black fellow, him up here at station, when good massa, him die."

"Yes, I know, said Stewart,--what about him?"

"Him! Massa Argyle, give blackfellow brandy; tey drink one, two, tree,
many lots of brandy; ten tey talk; I walk round quite careful, make no
noise; Jeroosalem! how tey talk, says I."

"Don't say, Jerusalem, Bill."

"Tat word help me, Massa Stewart; it makes me wonder; ten gives me
moment to tink; ten idea he come, many white man, massa he say, deuce;
what to devil, and--"

"Quite enough, Bill, quite enough, white men who does so acts very
wicked; deuce is devil, and we have quite enough of his doing without
talking about him needlessly."

"So you would tink, Massa Stewart, if you heard tem two. Massa Argyle,
he say, 'what te devil your name?' 'Eagle Hawk,' says the black fellow.
'Ah,' says Massa Argyle, 'ten you know lady up at station, lady who live
many years wit you?' 'Know she,' said Eagle Hawk--at least I tink he say
so, only he talk so very funny, edicated persons not able to hear plain;
Jeroosalem!"

The edicated person paused, as he saw a smile on the countenances of the
listeners, but soon resumed his statement: "Well, Massa Stewart, ten he
ask if he know Massa Judd, and him nod him head. Says Massa Argyle, 'I
cut him troat;' and he drew him finger cross him troat, just like tis."
Here Black Bill, by pantomimic action, illustrated what he meant.

"Well, go on, Bill."

"Yes, massa, I come to it presently. Well, he say, 'I want him kill, you
no like him.' 'No,' says big blackfellow, 'I no like him;' and he dash
his great big stick ting on to te ground. Whereupon Massa Argyle, he
say, 'I go to station with letter; Massa Judd, he go out wid me; I lead
up long road; you come knock him on head; I give you plenty brandy-fire
drink; you go to station, take back fine lady; burn house; white man, he
run; kill tem all; fine fun.' Massa," said Black Bill, solemnly, "I no
tink Massa Argyle sober when he say tis; he mad, and blackfellow he too
drunk to mind what he say; but tey got so very fighty tat, tinks I, here
goes tell Massa Stewart."

"A very pretty plot indeed," said Captain Oliver. "Now, what is to be
done? Your partner, Stewart, is fast filling up his cup, I think."

"Alas! what this cursed drink will do," said Mr. Coles.

"Ah! indeed," replied Stewart, "there never was a kinder, better young
man than he was; God only knows what it will come to."

"But what can be done?" said Captain Oliver. "We are not ready to go
yet, and this scheme may end in--I was going to use a nasty word, Mr.
Coles, but it is better kept back. Let us have Isabel in, she can tell
us about this blackfellow."

"And Judd also," said Mr. Coles; "or let the lady be left out of the
question."

"I don't know," replied Captain Oliver; "Isabel has strong nerve, and
knows more about this fellow than we do."

So Isabel was summoned, and Judd came with her, and the plot was
unfolded. The former heard it with the strongest signs of impatience,
anger, and fiery impetuosity. But Judd was no longer the man of the
woods; the hermit; the monarch of the storm; or the active schemer; or
even able to suggest anything for his own safety. The revelation seemed
to level him to the dust.

Isabel, on the contrary, was like a tigress bereft of her cubs. She
spoke with effort, but with a most determined will.

"Father, dear father, I will go to the blacks; I zee Eagle Hawk, I
command them: I will live with them three, four, ten days; then I will
come, when zoo ready to go, and we all go away together."

"No, no, my child," replied Captain Oliver, with much emotion, "I will
never consent to that."

"My father, there is many blacks, zoo know, and zo strong: they come
here, fight, kill me; me go there, all zafe; no harm will come to zoo,
none of zoo."

"I think she is right, captain," said Stewart, "but it is a terrible
thing to be exposed to. What say you: I will go too."

"That never do, Massa Stewart; they very sharp, know great deal: now I
zay, I come back, and they like me much. I know them well."

"But how can we tell you are right, Isabel; no, this is too great a
thing to do; let us fight it out, surely we are a match for them."

"Zoo lose life then, father," exclaimed Isabel, "I know them well, there
are zome very strong men with that people. Now I go, I zend black gin
every day for zome tobacco; then I zend one paper with cross upon it:
zoo zend back nothing but tobacco, till zoo ready to go, then zoo zend
no tobacco, but zay come again tomorrow. Then I keep Eagle Hawk; he no
go to zee Massa Argyle: all come right."

"Noble-hearted Isabel," exclaimed Mr. Coles, "you do indeed deserve the
title."

"But I cannot let you go, my dearest," said Captain Oliver.

"No good, father, no good, I have my own way; always come right."

"I have no doubt that Isabel, Captain Oliver, has influence enough to do
all she says, but I cannot bear that she should run any risk for me."
Judd spoke these words very slowly, regarding the face of the proud
half-caste woman with intense eagerness.

But nothing could move her, except Captain Oliver absolutely said "No;"
and that, said Isabel, with a most engaging and artless smile, "I know
he will not."

So she again put on her old dress, for in that alone could she go to the
tribe. She knelt and kissed her father's hand, then put her arm around
his neck, kissed his forehead, then waving her hand she rushed out of
the room, bounded off the verandah, and with a rapid walk was soon lost
to sight.

For a minute or two not a word was spoken. Mrs. Gumby looked at her as
she bounded away as if she never intended to close her eyes again.

They would have continued to look but for the entrance of Mr. Sinclair,
who, of course, heard the particulars about Isabel's departure. He shook
his head; told them he had passed the old black lying on the side of the
road, with a bottle by his side. He had broken the bottle, and, said he,
"he will sleep where he is till he gets sober. Now, gentlemen, I am at
your service."

While they are discussing some very knotty points, for which neither of
them were fitted just then, their thoughts being with the absent Isabel,
we will follow the courageous woman as she speeds on to her destination.
The camp was fully four miles away from Burnham, but onward she went,
until she caught sight of the smoke of the fires: then she paused and
reconnoitered. Her aim was to come upon the blacks suddenly, so as to
produce an instant impression, but she found that this was impossible.
There was no high ground to conceal her approach; no trees to form an
ambush; so she resolved to march on, trusting to circumstances to show
her how to act. She was soon seen, and twenty blacks shouting and
yelling, ran to meet her. She asked for Eagle Hawk, but there was no
reply. "Tell me," she cried, in the native tongue, speaking in her usual
commanding voice, "tell me, where he is."

Still there was no reply, but an angry scowl upon the faces of the men
which betokened mischief. She was equal to the occasion, and stamping
fiercely on the ground, planting her staff before her as she always did,
she cried, "who will answer me, have you no mouths to speak."

"Mouths to speak to Mogara; Mogara dead now."

"You lie," she shrieked; "you lie; Mogara is here; Mogara is come back
to be your queen."

"No," was the angry response, "Mogara killed at corrobboree."

"What say you, killed at corroboree; who dare to do so? tell me." She
laid her hand on a young native who stood close to her as she spoke.

"Eagle Hawk," was the reply.

"Eagle Hawk kill Mogara at corrobboree; tell me where I find him. I make
him cry for this. Bulla, on to camp, Mogara commands."

She was right, her influence was all powerful; to a man they turned
round, and marched to the camp. Not many besides themselves, and
half-a-dozen gins and some children were in the camp, all the rest had
gone out in various directions. Mogara acknowledged the greeting of all
she met, with an authoritative wave of her hand; then she ordered the
men to erect her umpie; this was done in less than an hour, and then
Mogara quietly awaited the return of Eagle Hawk, who alone of all the
rest she now feared. She well knew what the killing at corroboree meant,
and that Eagle Hawk never swerved from the universal custom.

"He has the start of me," said Mogara, as she sat down at the entrance
to her umpie, but the great God lives.



Chapter XLV.--THE DEATH STRUGGLE.


The day and the night passed away, and still Mogara sat at the entrance
to her umpie, watching. All the natives had returned to camp, but she
spoke not to them, and they were as taciturn as she. Morning dawned, but
still Eagle Hawk came not, and now Mogara began to show signs of
impatience and anxiety. Even the short period of civilised life which
she had enjoyed at the station had produced its physical effect upon
her. She shivered in the keen morning air, and felt that her accustomed
vitality was sensibly lower. More than this, she was hungry, and the
horrible food which was available disgusted her. How she longed for a
little milk or a cup of tea, but it was no use. Several times the
temptation was very strong to return to the station at all hazards, but
this she courageously resisted. The sun arose, but still there was no
sign of the chief. At last Mogara resolved to send a gin to the station
as she had arranged, and calling a young girl, she gave her instructions
what to do. To her surprise, she refused to obey her. Then Mogara arose,
and seizing the gin, dragged her into the midst of the camp. There soon
gathered an excited, chattering, and startled group of both men and
women, many of whom were far from satisfied with Mogara's action. There
was a division in the camp; the greater part had not been present when
Mogara returned, and until Eagle Hawk came back they were unwilling to
act on either side.

Mogara saw what was passing in their minds, but was far too much excited
to care about it. In the turmoil which such thoughts created, she began
a very famous harangue: some of the natives remembered it long
afterwards. It produced a certain effect, but a most unsatisfactory
result. Mogara had learnt to speak with greater refinement, which though
of no great value or extent in civilized life, yet was startlingly
evident to the senses of the native. They admired her fluency of speech;
applauded her many new modes of address; assented to the reasonableness
of her demands, but in her temporary exaltation to white men's society
there had been an action of thought which presented an insurmountable
barrier to the renewal of loyalty on the one side, or power to rule on
the other.

As she concluded, Eagle Hawk arrived. The old man strode up to the place
where Mogara stood, his eyes flashing with deadly hatred. There was a
strong impulse within him to hate, for he was feeling the effects of his
drunken freak; his head ached with the fumes of the spirit, and his
brain reeled with strong excitement. In awakening from his
insensibility, his hatred to white men was most intense. Like many a
poor creature who knows better, he despised the man who had given him
the drink. He accosted Mogara--"Intangau: what is your name?"

"Why do you ask, Eagle Hawk? you know it."

"Gurwalko," replied the black man, "long while ago I know Mogara;
Mogara, dautou--cold."

"Yawoi--yes--waiaroo koola--hungry and displeased."

"Meniente?--why?"

"Eagle Hawk corroboree, Mogara, meniente?" It will be tedious to
continue the conversation in the native tongue, but words here and there
may indicate a meaning when the allusion is purely Australian.

"Eagle Hawk corroboree Mogara, Mogara go away; live with white man!
Eagle Hawk angry; blackfellow, they corroboree too."

"Tell me," replied Mogara: "when I go away long time ago, go away, one,
two, three, many day, zoo no corroboree, Mogara, then."

"White man Henry no with us then. He come; no good; all go wrong.
Blackfellow he nothing."

"Ah! I zee, replied Mogara; and zo you no want yarun (hunting ground).
You make white man angry; he drive blackfellow to dabileban (salt
water); then come yungyarba (flood tide), drown, destroy all
blackfellow, they all corroboree by white man."

Mogara reckoned wrong again by this mode of address. The tribe had
smarted sorely in their conflict with Captain Oliver; several of the
natives were severely wounded, and it required all the power which
Mogara could use at that time to prevent a rush upon the white men,
which would have soon terminated the struggle. But the blacks, though
stayed in their attack by the impetuous command of the woman, had sense
enough to feel that they might have gained the victory. For a brief
period, that is during the journey to Burnham, they were tractable; but
when the wounded managed to crawl into the camp, at the end of three
days, they had enough to say to excite the revengeful feelings of the
whole tribe. In the height of the discussion which ensued, Eagle Hawk
also returned to camp, rage and fury tearing his judgment to pieces, and
the corroboree took place. From that moment, Mogara was regarded as an
outcast whose death it would be a virtue to accomplish. Still the
indomitable spirit of the fine woman overawed the children of the bush.
They dared to kill, and yet they dared not strike the blow. But when
Mogara hinted the possibility of the tribe being hunted away to the sea
board, there arose a terrible cry, "goyam, mogara, goyam!" (fire,
thunder, fire); Eagle Hawk then lifted his club, and struck Mogara down.
She rose instantly staggering and reeling, and with her long staff she
parried the blows with which the old man now attempted to complete her
destruction. The contest was left to Eagle Hawk according to the usual
custom, and continued for some minutes. Mogara was sorely wounded, and
the blood was flowing from each gash; Eagle Hawk had been struck about
the head, and his blood, inflamed by the drink, rushed to his brain,
making him reel and stagger like a drunken man. During the turmoil, the
shouts and yells of the blacks were frightful: imagine a hundred mad men
let loose, this would be far below the reality. But the combat soon came
to a crisis; the poor woman was again struck down with a fearful blow
which stunned her, and Eagle Hawk was pressing on to complete the
sacrifice, when a bullet from an unseen hand entered his forehead, and
he fell lifeless over the body of his victim. A cry of dismay arose from
every blackfellow, which, combined with shrieks from the gins, was
horrible. Their courage was all gone; their chiefs and leaders were
slain; they all arose and fled.

It was a perfect rout, for the shots were now rapidly repeated, and the
blacks, believing that they were surrounded, escaped as they could, in
fact they ran for precious life. Never as a tribe did they assemble
again. Thirty men armed with muskets, revolvers, and pistols, routed
them again from the hiding place where they camped some few hours after
Eagle Hawk's death, and they were shot, massacred, in a word, all but
exterminated. An old man or two, who belonged to the tribe, yet remain;
the white hairs proclaim their venerable age, but the recollection of
that day makes them shudder. Eagle Hawk, they still remember; but
Mogara--they turn away when they hear the word.



CHAPTER XLVI.


SAM BROWN arrived at the station shortly after Mr. Sinclair, and he also
heard of Mogara's rash adventure. To describe his consternation would be
to use every adjective which can increase the power of the word, for,
unseen, he had witnessed the corroboree, and from previous experience he
knew what it meant. But his thoughts went farther: who can it mean? he
said to himself. Full of this he hastily decamped when he saw the fires
extinguished, and in the darkness he was not seen. When he heard about
Argyle and Eagle Hawk's plotting, and Mogara's departure from Burnham,
he saw that she was gone into the lion's mouth, and he plainly told
Captain Oliver so.

"If she escapes, it will be a miracle."

"Think you so?" replied the captain, with much alarm. "Let us go, then,
and rescue her."

"Easier said than done, my dear sir," said Brown; "if you or I appear
upon the scene, Isabel is done for. That's a settled thing, my word, it
is!"

"Impossible," replied Captain Oliver.

"No unpossible in the case, sir. I say, how could you let her go?"

"I did not wish it. Indeed I strongly resisted it, but Judd said--"

"The old fool," hastily replied Brown, interrupting the captain, "why
can't he mind his own business? He is safe. Why couldn't he be content
without sendin' that poor soul to her death?" Brown, though really a
good man, had his colonial notions about the extermination of the
natives. "God," said he, "commanded Israel to cut off all the
Canaanites. These be Canaanites; what else can they be? and what good
are they? Better to get rid of the wretches, they are Heaven's foes."

Captain Oliver did not reply; he was deep in thought and greatly
distressed. "Shall I never see Isabel again?" at length he said. "Is she
restored only to be cut off in her gladness and hope? Oh! Brown, what
can be done?"

"The best thing you can do, captain, is to act, and let the feelings go
to sleep for a spell. If my Sally had got into such quarters as Isabel,
I would not leave one stone unturned to get her back again; no, I
wouldn't. That's my plain way of puttin' it, sir, 'fend or please."

"My good follow, I thank you, and I know your advice is the best; but
somehow all my old courage seems to have fled."

"It will come again, never fear, when we see Isabel, as I expect we
shall," said Brown; "but don't let us lose any time. I think you said
that the old rascal, Mister honest Argyle's friend, was lying drunk
somewhere? Isabel is safe enough till that old fellow get's back to
camp; if we can only follow him we may--we may--"

"Why do you hesitate, Brown?"

"I don't want to use ugly words, Captain Oliver, but if we be able to
keep 'em all back in this dirty piece of colonial work, all I can say is
other people's tempers will be better than mine."

"Don't ye fancy I want to spare the varmints," replied Captain Oliver,
"the thought of their kindness to the colonel made hope--"

"Excuse me interrupting you, sir, for I can't help it, I feels mighty
strong on this 'ere point. They will do you a good, I grant, but what's
the odds when they will tomahawk ye the moment after? Now, we well knows
that we, I mean white people, would be glad if we could have brought
father and child together; but what do these infidels care for such
things? Self, sir, is the only law they know, and they will kill Isabel
all for self."

They soon reached the track which led to the Vineyard. Here Bob, who
with his brother had joined the expedition, was sent to see if Eagle
Hawk was still asleep where he had seen him. He soon returned to say he
was "snoring like a rhinocerous."

"There was no fear of waking him," Bob said, "if you shouted in his ear,
except you shouted brandy, but the place where he was lying smelt like a
brandy shop."

"We can all lie down, father," said Bob's brother, who had also gone to
spy out the enemy, "on the other side of the road in the thick grass,
and see my gentleman."

"And hear him too," said Bob.

So to this thicket they adjourned, looking at the old fellow as they
passed him. He stirred not at their inspection, no, nor throughout the
night which followed did he appear to have moved. The morning dawned
cold and foggy. The spies in their grass fortress were well protected
with their blankets, but Eagle Hawk awoke and shivered. He arose and
shook himself, then looking cunningly around seemed to recollect the
brandy bottle which Argyle had given him; then he began to search for
it, and finding the broken bottle about three yards from him, he knew
that someone must have been there. So he began to look about more
suspiciously, and then he found tracks of footsteps, which discovery,
combined with his depressed feelings, so worked upon the old man that
with a cry he trotted off into the bush as fast as his limbs would allow
him to go. Not before he had met the due reward of his drunkenness, by
sundry stumblings over logs and other obstructions, did he seem to
remember where he was bound to; but just as Bob lost sight of him and
beckoned to his father to come on, Eagle Hawk bounded off in the direct
road which led to the black's camp. Captain Oliver and Sam Brown, with
his son, soon reached the place where Bob was waiting for them.

"He's off to camp," said the overseer, "that's certain."

"Right!" said Bob. "Now, father, let us go round by the creek, there is
not much water in it, and if the captain don't mind wetting his feet we
can come upon them like lightning."

Captain Oliver was strongly excited now; he would have gone through fire
after the sensual looking old black, about whom Brown said to him sotto
voce, "a pretty creature arn't he, to lay hands on Miss Isabel?" It was
like the application of the match to the powder. "Forward," said the
captain, "anyhow--anywhere, so that we reach them in time."

It was a tedious and roundabout march, and they did not reach the place
to which they were bound until Isabel had been struck down.

They saw her rise, but although from two different places they tried to
cover the old black, Isabel was always in such dangerous proximity to
him that they dared not fire. But as they were about to rush upon the
scene at all hazards, the last blow was struck, which again felled
Isabel to the ground. They saw her fall, Captain Oliver exclaiming, "My
God, she is dead!" Then Brown fired, and with such sure aim that the
days of Eagle Hawk were closed.



CHAPTER XLVII.--SEPARATION AGAIN.


A BITTER quarrel was rousing the meek and quiet temper of James Stewart
into a paroxysm of mingled grief and indignation. He was sitting at
breakfast, when David Argyle entered the room, with almost brutal
hardness, peering out of his sunken eyes in insulting glances towards
his partner. He saw the Bible lying open on the table, and, deliberately
taking it in his hand, before Stewart could prevent him, he threw it on
the sofa, and laid down upon it. Stewart immediately arose, and,
speaking very warmly, said:

"David Argyle, you may insult me as much as you please--I will try to
bear it; but you shall not so insult your God."

"Who is to prevent me, Mr. Stewart?"

"I will try to maintain the honor of your Creator," replied Stewart,
"even if you are determined to provoke him to destroy you."

"James Stewart, let me and my affairs alone. If you can be so civil as
to cease offering prayers for me, I shall be obliged to you."

"No, David Argyle, I will not oblige you in this; as long as life lasts,
I will pray that God may have mercy on your soul. The day will come when
you will remember these words. May it come soon."

"You are so complimentary, upon my soul, that I must return the favor.
May the day of our acquaintance soon cease. How remarkably complaisant
we are to-day; perhaps you will chant the whole litany gratis."

"David Argyle, hear me. The deed of dissolution of partnership you are
well aware is prepared, and only needs our signatures to become valid.
You know the sorrow, the big sorrow, which is well nigh breaking my
heart, which prevents its immediate execution. It is more than probable
that I shall have to find a large sum of money to save Julia from a
disastrous loss. In that case, you also know that I could not take the
station and pay you out."

"Hang the station, I have got plenty of money without it. Cursed be the
day that you persuaded me to come to this wretched hole. No society, no
life, no anything, but a white-face parson and his woman, who is
everlastingly saying to a fellow, 'now don't drink, see what it will
lead ye to.' D--n the whole lot!"

"In kindness to you--"

"D--n their kindness, I say, I don't want it. I like brandy, they like
water; why shouldn't I have my drink and they their's?"

"Is there any comparison?"

"Just as one likes to take it. This is a free country, and I have a
right to do as I like."

"Perhaps you have."

"Perhaps I have? Why, God help you for a poor psalm-singing,
meek-hearted, defender of the oppressed, I say, I know I have, and it
would take a better man than you to dispute it. Having said this, and
feeling your precious book to be rather hard under my back, here take it
and eat it. I recollect one part says something about somebody who did
this sort of thing, and it was bitter to him, somewhere or other, I
forget exactly where."

"May God make it--"

"Your prayers! James Stewart, can't ye stop such mouthing when I ask ye?
I declare I will swear at ye if ye do it again. I am going to bully-ho
my name for the hot place, and if I have no objection, what need have
you?"

Stewart was about to reply, but Harry Brown, riding furiously along the
road to the house, attracted his attention. He was indeed a messenger of
woe, nor could he speak as he handed Stewart a piece of paper on which
was written as follows:

'DEAR STEWART,--

Isabel is dying; come as quickly as you can.--

Yours,

OLIVER.'

He read it, handed it to Argyle, and with a look full of meaning said:
"This is your work--your's and the old black together. You have worn
chains once; take care, you may wear them again. Your diabolical plot is
all known. One victim is sacrificed; the other, thank God, is, I hope,
beyond your reach."

Argyle arose from the sofa as Stewart left the room to saddle his horse.
He could stare at anyone he disliked with a hellish look, and now he
watched Stewart as he was on his way to the stable, muttering slowly,
but distinctly, "Beyond my reach!--Worn chains!--By God, the chains
shall be worn by somebody else--he called him, 'the other.' Here goes
for a breakfast, and then farewell to Leyton."

Stewart was not long in reaching Burnham. Here he found everything in
dire confusion, everyone in dire distress. Brown, after firing his
rifle, which stretched Eagle Hawk lifeless on the ground, rushed
forward, shouting to his sons, "Load and fire as fast as you can; give
it them strong, don't spare the wretches." Then, revolver in hand, he
rushed to the camp. The blacks were in flight pell-mell, they stayed not
to pick up anything, it was sauve qui pent. Eagle Hawk had fallen close
to Isabel. He was quite dead; the woman lived, but she was insensible.
They gently lifted up her head and moistened her lips with brandy, but
there was no sign of returning consciousness. The father was almost
frantic; he wept and cried out in piteous tones, "Isabel, dearest
Isabel, why, why did I suffer you to do this? My God, how is my sin
punished. I threw away my child, and Thou hast only restored her to know
her worth, and then to take her away."

"Better, however, than I thought," said Brown, "I was afraid they would
burn her alive. She is worth a dozen dead ones yet. Hang the old rascal,
he got ahead of us after all; however we did the best we could, and
accidents will happen. Bob, my lad, run now like an emu, and fetch up
the cart."

Captain Oliver did not reply, but pressed the hand of the
plain-speaking, kind-hearted man. Minutes passed away, and a full hour
of deep suspense elapsed before Bob returned. He had run like an emu
indeed, for he accomplished the four miles on foot and back again with
the cart, in less than an hour and ten minutes. He perfectly amazed the
people at the station: first, he told them that Missee Isabel was dead,
then, she was dying; next, that she had been crucified or "summut like
it," said he; and last of all he said, "God bless the people, go to
Jericho, but let me have the cart and a mattress."

What a house of mourning and lamentation was this Burnham Beeches now
Isabel was brought back to it still senseless, and with a great bruise
upon her skull. Mr. Coles said he feared the worst, but she regained her
consciousness for a brief period. Captain Oliver was by her side when
she opened her eyes; she looked at him with an affectionate smile and
tried to speak; but could only say, "Father, father!"

With his eyes full of tears he bent down and kissed her, and then she
wept with him. But this seemed to retrim the flickering lamp, for soon
after she spoke in faltering words, and with much effort: "Father, dear
father, I meet zoo again at the inn with--"

"Colonel Tomlinson, my dearest."

"Zes, zes, I heard him call you by name, or I would not have found zoo.
All I had was--was--" she began to pause again for words, and her father
anticipated some of them.

He said now: "A handkerchief, dearest."

"Zes, zes, and I wrap it up and put it on--"

"Sliprail."

"Zes, zes; I zee Henry take it, and I follow him, and then I--"

"I know all the rest, don't say more, dearest."

"But I not know zoo, my father then; I only know Captain Oliver, my
mother's master."

"Never mind, dearest, about that," said the captain, weeping bitterly.

"One thing more, father, Henry very kind to me; he zay man come take him
away, no let him." She could say no more.

"Can nothing be done to save her," said Captain Oliver. "Money is
nothing in comparison--" He could not finish the sentence.

"Sir," replied Mr. Coles, "many a life in this colony might be spared if
medical and surgical aid could be obtained. I dare not attempt an
operation which may not after all be successful; I have not the skill to
effect it, nor poor Isabel the strength to bear it." He touched her
pulse as he spoke, and slowly shook his head. "One hope, my dear friend,
I have, she may again be conscious."

While he spoke Isabel once more opened her eyes, fixed them tenderly
upon her father, and whispering, "Father, dearest," she made a sign as
if she wished him to kiss her. He did so, and then she looked at Mrs.
Coles, her eyes beaming with delight; finally she fixed her gaze on
something above her, breathed out the name of Christ, and Isabel
departed hence without a sigh or a groan.

It was the tenth day after this second funeral, that Judd was talking
with Captain Oliver about Isabel, and the life they had led together
amongst the natives. Judd was telling the captain how he had kept up his
own ability to speak the English language by reading a piece of an old
newspaper which he had found, and by writing with a piece of charcoal,
after he became a shepherd, various portions of the Bible.

"I found, sir," said he, "that Isabel knew some few words, and after a
while she caught up several more, and then I taught her what I knew, so
she could understand what I said pretty well, and when she could not,
then we talked together as the natives do. I dare say, sir, you remember
that when I first saw you I was accustomed to make a pause after the I."

"I remember, Judd, and thought it very strange."

"Well, sir, when I talked with Isabel, I used to say to her 'I', laying
force upon the 'I', and pausing to impress it upon her instead of her
using the word me as she did constantly, and I got into the habit of
doing so."

"I see it now," said Captain Oliver.

"We used to talk together about you, sir, and she would say, 'Father, my
father,' so tenderly, that at times I could not bear it. I longed for
the time to come when that savage life would end, but I little thought
it would finish as it did. Ah! look--look, Captain Oliver!"

The captain turned in the direction to which Judd pointed, and saw two
mounted police approaching the house. Judd turned as pale as ashes
instantly, and Captain Oliver instinctively seemed to dread something,
for he immediately said: "Never fear, my good man, I will see them."

They dismounted at the front door, and very soon told their errand: By
the information of one David Argyle, they had been commanded "to search
for and to take into custody one Henry Julet or Judd, to answer before
whomsoever he might be brought the charge of being a convicted felon,
who had been sentenced to penal servitude for life, but was at large
without authority or sanction."

What need is there of words to express grief and sorrow. Let the full
volume be imagined: it will not be too much. Judd left Burnham Beeches
on the following morning, and soon after, stricken, and as one in
sackcloth and ashes, he was awaiting the sailing of a ship which was to
convey him to Sydney. Captain Oliver saw him in Brisbane and gave him
the strongest hope that he would be able to move the authorities on his
behalf, so as considerably to moderate, even if he could not altogether
avert, the consequences of the position in which he had fallen by the
determined revenge of his implacable enemy. To Stewart, who also saw him
at Brisbane, he related the history of his many crimes, of his fruitless
and wretched life, with which the reader is acquainted.

Stewart saw him once more. "Keep what I have told you a secret," he
said; "but should I come to a violent death, I pray you to do what you
can to punish Long, the man whose temptations helped me to ruin."



CHAPTER XLVIII.--TO ENGLAND AGAIN.


In pursuance of a consultation which took place between Captain Oliver
and James Stewart, an attempt was made to induce Argyle to give up his
merciless determination to prosecute Judd. Captain Oliver volunteered to
do this, accompanied by Mr. Coles, who had left Burnham Beeches soon
after Julia Tomlinson, in company with Mr. and Mrs. Gumby, Lottie, Mrs.
Judd, and Alice. The coffee-roaster and his wife had resolved to
commence in "the publican life," as Mrs. Gumby called it, with Lottie
for a barmaid. Robert Brown was of course frantic at the separation, but
there was no help for it, and so with many vows of love until death the
two parted. Mr. and Mrs. Gumby make their exit from our tale at this
place, and it may be explained that Lottie never became Mrs. Brown, but
Mrs. Robert Wright, and this is how it came about: She went to Sydney to
see her sister, who was indignant that her parents had made her a
bar-maid. They consequently made excuses to keep her in New South Wales,
and Lottie, being handsome and engaging, Mrs. George Wright's
brother-in-law caught the fever. It ended with a gold ring of the very
plainest workmanship, which being placed on the lady's fourth finger,
Mr. Robert Wright got well.

Mr. and Mrs. Gumby failed again. Such persons cannot have much hope of
succeeding in Australia. They finally went home, and found employment as
laundress and porter.

Mrs. Judd and Alice sailed in the same ship with the Rev. Mr. and Mrs.
Coles, Captain Oliver, and the convict Judd. The projected interview
with Argyle was ineffectual. He swore with bitter invectives that he
would have Judd's life; nor would he rest until he saw him on the
scaffold. This was not his intention when he gave the information to the
authorities. But how cautious people ought to be who transact business
in wooden houses. Stewart was discussing some business matters with
Captain Oliver at an hotel in Brisbane, not thinking how thin a
partition separated them from Argyle, who was in the next room. There
was no noise, nor anything to induce them to think that any could hear
them; but Stewart, in telling Captain Oliver the substance of Judd's
confession, gave Argyle the clue he wanted. Judd was brought before the
authorities with a view to his being sent to Sydney, and at this
examination James Stewart was summoned to appear. Argyle made an
affidavit that he believed he could give important information
concerning a murder which the prisoner had committed, for which murder
he (David Argyle) had been convicted and transported. He stated as a
reason for making this affidavit his desire to clear his own character
from such a foul stigma, without which he could never return to England
as he wished to do. Stewart at first indignantly refused to answer any
question, but, on being threatened with committal for contempt of court,
Judd spoke as follows:--"Sirs and gentlemen all: I told Mr. Stewart as
much as is charged against me, but I had no thought he would have told
it again."

"Nor did I," said Stewart indignantly, "except to--"

He saw his mistake.

"Except to whom?" was the question.

"Answer it, Mr. Stewart," said Judd.

"Except to Captain Oliver," said Stewart.

"And I overheard it all," said Argyle.

Judd lost all hope and courage as he listened to this revelation. He had
been told that the evidence respecting his case was altogether against
the hope that he could ever be released; and when the probable result of
his confession to Stewart rose before him, he saw there was no hope.
That night he made a full public confession in writing, and upon this he
was committed to take his trial. The prisoner was brought before the
Supreme Court at Sydney, to have the papers endorsed, and he was sent to
England to be dealt with as the Imperial Government might decide.

Argyle left Australia as soon after the convict Judd as he could. In the
unsettled state of the late Colonel Tomlinson's affairs, Stewart could
not purchase Argyle's share of the Leyton Station, it was therefore
sold, and the proceeds were divided between the partners, at least the
remnants of the proceeds, for so determined was Argyle to put every
stumbling block in Stewart's way that litigation ensued, which swallowed
up much good money, and ended by leaving the matter just where it was
before the proceedings commenced.

Before the final settlement, Julia Tomlinson recovered. But upon no
consideration would her medical attendant advise her return to Burnham
Beeches; nor was Stewart inclined again to take up his abode at a place
where all was changed, and where painful reminiscences would ever occur.
The subject was hinted to Julia, but she replied quickly and excitedly
"No more James; no more to that place."

There was an additional reason Stewart was advised by no means to risk
any further expenditure upon the property, and so Mr. Sinclair
foreclosed the mortgage under circumstances for which no better term can
be found than this--it was a robbery of the orphan. In the settlement of
their Australian affairs, therefore, James Stewart found himself looking
pensively at the word minus to which he added the following expressive
words: "All but L500;" and Julia Tomlinson's position was the most
literal illustration of the adage, "Riches have wings." Of all her late
father's investments in Australia, she could claim nothing. But the
executors became partners, and their stock henceforth was joint stock;
and people who knew said that the income which was left was very ample,
and the union was most desirable. Mr. and Mrs. James Stewart left Sydney
for England about three months after the ship which conveyed Judd to the
same destination. A black servant sailed with them, who wore a black
livery with epaulettes, and a black hat with a rosette, and there was a
waiting servant, also black, who was in the habit of playfully calling
her fellow servant "her Billy."



CHAPTER XLIX.--FIVE YEARS LATER.


In prospectu, five years seem like an age; in reality, like a dream.
Henry Judd reached England in due course, was arraigned on the charge of
murder, pleaded guilty, and was executed. The indignation which was felt
against him was expressed in loud and measured maledictions; the one
redeeming point in the man's life weighed less than a feather in the
scale. His crimes were all exposed, and they condemned him beyond the
possibility of forgiveness. He heard his second dread sentence unmoved,
and left the bar prepared for the worst. Judd was a sincere Christian
now. By the kindness of the commander of the vessel, many interviews had
taken place on the voyage home between the convict and his all but
heart-broken wife and daughter. Judd told them plainly that he had no
hope; that even if he could escape the capital punishment, he could not
endure the thought of penal servitude to the end of his days, under the
aggravated circumstances with which it would be inflicted. "Moreover,"
said he, "death has set its seal upon me; I feel, I know it. It is
better for me, for all, that I should be gone."

"My life," said he to Mr. Stewart, "has been a great mistake. I might
have succeeded well had I kept to the simple path of honest labor. I
wanted pleasure, and money to gratify this craving; yet when the
tempting bait was in my hand I had no enjoyment in it. The sting which
the dearly-purchased gratification naturally fostered struck deep into
my conscience, and I never had a moment's rest. If I tried to read, my
thoughts were elsewhere. The duties and pleasures of home were as thorns
in my side. I could not bear to look upon innocent ones, who I well know
believed implicitly in me, while I was a hypocrite, a slave to vice.
Many a time, whilst in the midst of my companions who were carousing
with merry glee, I felt a soul abhorrence of their boisterous mirth, and
longed for a quiet place in which to pray. But could I pray? I have
knelt sometimes, but not a word would come, although I am sure that God
was very merciful to me. He in mercy sent me to yonder land, and has
brought me back again to end my days, where I deserved to end them years
ago."

"Now here is the secret, and this is the issue of God's mercy, as I view
it. Had I ended my career before I was sent to Australia, I had surely
perished, body and soul together. But He interposed; He put these years
between the great crime and the final doom, and now I die with mercy
written upon every moment that remains for me to live. I am not afraid
to die."

Argyle's vengeance followed the wretched man to the last; he made an
application to be admitted to the prison to gaze upon his victim's dying
moments and, had sufficient influence to gain his object. As Judd was
undergoing the usual preparations for the scaffold he made an effort to
speak to Argyle, but the latter refused to hear him or if he did hear he
steadily fixed his lips so as to appear totally unconcerned. But as the
dead body was brought in the man's vengeance was burnt out--an ashy
pallor overspread his countenance, which evidenced strong inward
feeling, and he hastily quitted the scene to indulge in one of the most
drunken orgies which ever disgraced the name of man.

But in a small room a few weeks later there lay a poor suffering
creature, slaughtered by the vices of a sensual life. Was it possible
that such a creature could be penitent and waiting patiently for the
hour of his departure? It was. Many years had elapsed since Mrs. Argyle
had died, but her dying prayer had been registered in Heaven's book of
remembrance; and next to the prayer the answer was written, "The
prodigal is come home at last." Poor follow! what a journey had he run
since the morning when Richard Rouse enticed him away from his usual
routine of simple farm life. But he came home at last, he was in his
right mind also, and when he closed his eyes upon earth he whispered,
"Mother, David is coming." All his remaining money he bequeathed to
Alice Judd. Stewart saw him by his own request, and a most affecting
reconciliation was the result. How Argyle blamed himself, and heaped
upon his own head a host of sins, of which he said in bitterness he had
been guilty, many pages would be required to tell. He breathed out his
last breath in Stewart's arms, the victim of a vicious life cut off in
his very prime.

Mr. and Mrs. Stewart had purchased a villa in the neighborhood of
Richmond, where they were now living. There were additions to their
family circle in the shape of two children, who, though not quite old
enough to occupy a place at the parents' table, yet held a very
considerable portion of their loving affection. Isabel was the elder,
and James Tomlinson Stewart the charming baby.

Mrs. Judd, soon after the death of "her poor Henry," as she called him
to the close of her life, became very feeble, and from this sign of the
approaching end she passed into imbecility, and finally became deaf and
dumb. But she lived several years, with Alice as her constant companion,
a strong, hearty-looking man assisting to the best of his power in this
very pious act. To be sure he had another object, but what of that?
There are thousands whose gaze is fixed upon a specific object, but all
the time they are carefully watching something else. But one morning the
assistance of the strong man took another turn. He very politely
escorted Miss Alice to a church, and as politely assisted her back
again; and before the expiration of a week from that day a brass plate
upon the door of Mrs. Judd's house bore the name of "Chas. Lambert, coal
merchant." It was not very long after this that the family removed from
Richmond, where they had settled from a desire to be near Mr. and Mrs.
Stewart, and henceforth Mrs. Judd became an inmate of her son-in-law's
new house, which he had erected in his own premises, a large coal wharf
near Campdentown. Here the business flourished, and the family
increased, and their happiness also; the days of captivity were ended,
and Alice's sorrowing early life was changed into a constant succession
of bridal days, for her husband was a good follow, and she rejoiced with
an exceeding joy. Time rolled on, and the sky of their lives was
unclouded, save by one event which had been long expected. One morning
the servant went upstairs to carry Mrs. Judd's breakfast to her, but she
had passed away in the night, evidently without pain for she looked as
if she were asleep. They buried her at Southampton as she wished, and as
they returned from the grave Stewart said, "One more victim of poor
Judd's self-indulgence. May God Almighty grant that she may be the
last."



CHAPTER L.--MR. SEPTIMUS LONG.


By the evening train from Southampton to London Mr. Stewart and his
companion, Mr. Lambert, returned home. In the same carriage with them
there was a traveller who was extremely taciturn, scarcely deigning even
to notice his follow travellers. As the train reached Basingstoke he
left the carriage, placing a small book on the seat he occupied.
Accidentally, as it is termed, Mr. Stewart took up the book, as
travellers sometimes do in a railway carriage, but his surprise was
something above mere curiosity as he read the name on the
cover--Septimus Long, Bonsal, Leyton, Suffolk. In a few minutes
afterwards the owner of the book re-entered the carriage, and the train
again started. Stewart was hardly the man to be capable of duplicity,
yet he could not help practising a little diplomacy of this character in
order to see the effect of certain revelations which he resolved to make
to Lambert about poor Judd. The train had reached the little but
picturesque village of Basing when he begin his investigating
conversation.

"Our friend's life has been a very painful experience, Mr. Lambert."

He had given the latter a hint about the object he had in introducing
the subject.

"Very, indeed, sir. I am surprised that she bore her heavy troubles so
patiently."

"You knew her many years ago?"

"Yes, Lambert. I lived in Southampton when her husband was a clerk in a
merchant's office."

"Mr. Hartlop, I think, was the name, was it not?"

"It was. He has retired from business now, and is resident in London,
but is very feeble."

"What position did you say he occupied? I mean the husband of our
deceased friend," said Lambert.

"He was a clerk; perhaps you never heard that I was in the same
gentleman's employ."

"Yes, I did; but--"

"I know what you are going to say, Lambert. You are acquainted with the
L40 cheque affair."

The book, which Mr. Long had again commenced reading, was at this point
of the conversation closed, and the reader drew his cap over his eyes
and turned his head away from the speakers as if to sleep. It was very
evident that uneasiness the first had begun to pinch him.

"The cheque was a forgery, I believe?" said Lambert, continuing the
conversation.

"It was, and as rank a piece of rascality as ever was tried in a court
of justice. But while our deceased friend's husband was the real
criminal, there was someone else who held the dish to receive the
money."

"Indeed! Who was that?"

"He had some companions, so he told me; one of them took the cheque to
the bank, obtained the money, and kept it. He did not touch a penny of
it."

"Diamond cut diamond?"

The agony of the listener was now most vividly apparent. He raised
himself up, and, opening his valise, he drew out a railway guide, and
began to study the names of the stations with the greatest eagerness.
Stewart saw his object; he was contemplating an exit from the carriage
at the next station, and as they were nearing it, he resolved to strike
conviction home to the wretched schemer. The clue was given by Lambert
who inquired, "Indeed, this was a complex affair--who was the rascal
that was brother to Judas in this villainy?"

"He was, by position, a gentleman, resident in Suffolk," replied
Stewart, "but as arrant a knave as any that have ever worn a felon's
chain. But for that man, Judd would never have been the man he was."

"Why was he not arrested?"

"Because it was not known until lately. But David Argyle, as well as
myself, knows perfectly well that this Long--that is his name--was a
participator in the events which led to the murder at Leyton."

"I deny that," said Long, now speaking almost in spite of himself. "I
happen to know this Mr. Long, and can say he had nothing to do with it."

"Indeed!" replied Stewart, "excuse me in saying that you are
misinformed; I had this from the convict Judd himself, and it has been
witnessed before competent persons, who may perhaps be induced to deal
with it."

"What did he say?"

"That a certain Mr. Septimus Long, whose name, by-the-bye, sir, I saw in
the book which you have been reading--"

"It is not mine, sir; it is Mr. Long's book. I do not deny that I know
him."

"There can be no difficulty about this," replied Stewart, hastily. "I
see you, and you see me; I think that we should know one another again
if we should ever meet. If I should take the trouble to call upon Mr.
Long to answer a few questions, there could be no mistake about his
identity, for I understand he has lived in Suffolk some years."

"I am to understand then, sir, that you intended your conversation about
this desperate criminal for my especial edification?"

"As you please, Mr. Long," replied Stewart, "for I have little doubt
that you are the man, unless you have borrowed Mr. Long's valise also."

The climax was reached, and the rage of the detected man was great. He
cast off all reserve, saying:

"I am Mr. Long, and be it known that Mr. Long defies any attempt which
you can make to do him harm. If you will give me your card, sir, all
further proceedings shall be through my solicitor."

"With all my heart, Mr. Septimus Long; and then we can talk about the
hundred pounds, and the acres of land, and the forty pounds which Judd
promised to pay to a certain person."

"Do you mean to charge me with this?" said Long, now boiling over with
rage.

"I charge no one. Facts, stubborn facts, bear witness to certain ugly
things. I say nothing more than these facts substantiate."

"And may you and your facts be cursed together, that is my answer Mr.
Meddler," said Long, opening the carriage door as the train stopped at
the Hartley Row station. "I am glad that my journey ends here."

"Not here, Mr. Long," replied Stewart. "Your journey does not end here."

"What do you mean?" said Long, turning very pale.

"Your journey may end by your train running off the track suddenly, and
then where will you be? Repent, man, and make restitution. They are dead
to whom it might righteously be made."

"That is my business, Mr. Stewart; but--"

The train started as he was speaking, and the words were not heard; but
as Stewart looked back he saw Long standing in the same place, gazing
along the road over which they were hastening towards London.



CHAPTER LI.--OUT OF THE FRYING-PAN INTO THE FIRE.


In a very excellent inn near Odiham were three bronzed-face men, about
whom it will not be necessary to make any mystery, seeing that they are
Mr. Sinclair and Brown, late overseer of Burnham Beeches, but now of
Brisbane, and a son of the latter.

It was during a residence in Mr. Samuel Brown's house, near Brisbane
that the visit to England was projected, for medical advice urged upon
Mr. Sinclair the necessity of travelling, and the suggestion was very
congenial to the desires of both. In the discussion which ensued, the
travelling fever took possession of Mr. Brown, and increased to such an
extent that he resolved to accompany his old friend, and, being assured
that such a journey would be as good as an education to his son, he
resolved to take him also. Thus it was that they reached their native
country after an absence of many years.

The voyage greatly benefited Mr. Sinclair, but on the contrary sadly
prostrated the naturally weak constitution of his daughter. On arriving
at Southampton, he therefore procured for her a temporary resting place
in a boarding school. She readily assented to this plan, as her father
intended to travel very much, and she knew that she was unequal to much
fatigue. So, after spending a few days in Southampton, Mr. Sinclair and
his two friends started for London, with the intention of calling, on
their way, on the Rev. Mr. Coles, who was living as the curate of a
small parish near Odiham. How near friends are to each other sometimes
without knowing it. Certainly Mr. Stewart had no particular reason to
regard Mr. Sinclair as his friend, but had he known what had occurred
since he left Australia, and what were the intentions of Mr. Sinclair
towards his wife, he would have taken some trouble to seek him out. On
the other hand, had Messrs. Sinclair and Brown known that at the time
they were starting from Southampton, the body of Mrs. Judd was being
committed to the ground, "earth to earth, dust to dust, ashes to ashes,"
they would have delayed their journey in order to be present at this
solemn service. As it was, they reached Odiham about four hours before
Mr. Septimus Long.

The latter individual having discussed the merits of a cup of tea in the
bar parlor, in which very agreeable duty he seemed to have forgotten the
unpleasant rencontre which led him to this quiet town, forthwith
inquired for the coffee-room. In this room the three Australian
travellers were seated round a table, which bore abundant evidence that
business of some kind was being considered.

"I beg pardon, gentlemen," said Mr. Long, "I did not know that the room
was occupied."

"Oh! never mind," replied Mr. Sinclair, "you won't disturb us."

"Not if I smoke a cigar either, perhaps?"

"Bless your heart, smoke a hundred if you like, we are tolerably well
tanned with smoke, eh, Brown?"

"Rather so, or 'twould be a caution."

"Ah! I see. Australian? No offence I hope."

"Offence? Offence to be called an Australian? I should think not, why we
glory in it. 'Tis the land of the brave and the free. Offence? No fear!"

"Nay, we can't give up that song, sir, that is pure English," said Mr.
Long.

"I don't know your name, sir, but I can tell you if that sentiment, or
song, or whatever you please to call it, is pure English, Australian
freedom beats English liberty hollow."

"Right, neighbor Sinclair, one scorns to want more room to breathe here.
Few people I think could live in this country after being long in
Australia."

"Perhaps so; but English manners and customs are so refined," said Mr.
Long.

"Not a bit more than ours, sir, only we have a knack of being a little
more honest than some people. We don't forget to speak our thoughts
right out, and we generally reckon up people tolerably correct--my word
we do."

"Indeed, Mr. Sinclair--for I perceive such is your name--I would not be
offended now if you tried your skill upon me. I should like to be
convinced of your boasted power."

"Would you now? 'Tis rather an unusual thing to do, but if you will
write your name on this piece of paper I will tell you something about
yourself, I fancy."

"Very unusual indeed, but I have heard about your wonderful acuteness as
a people, and, by the way, I had a practical example of it this evening
as I came from Southampton."

"My word," said Brown, "how was that?"

"Why, I met with an individual in the train who had been in Australia
for some years, he was particularly uncivil. There is my name; I expect
you will judge me by the handwriting dodge."

"Humph! 'James Stewart,'" said Mr. Sinclair, opening his eyes very wide.
"Brown, look, nicely written, isn't it? Do you know the kind of chap you
met in the train; was he tall or short, stout or thin?--the color of his
hair even may be important. I suppose, Mr. James Stewart, you have heard
that in our country we are clever also at tracking?"

"Yes; but what is that to our discussion?"

"Oh, nothing particular, eh Brown? Your son there could tell us a tale
or two now, couldn't he? just to amuse us."

"A few, I think, Mr. Sinclair, my word!"

"But you could not track in this country?'' said Mr. Long.

"Humph! That depends upon circumstances. You have asked me to try my
skill upon you, here's a venture. I believe this lad could track you
anywhere."

"Why me in particular?"

"Because you have given us a wrong name."

"How do you know, sir?"

"By your hesitation, by your trying to disguise your handwriting, by
your trembling as if your were committing a forgery, and finally because
you have attempted to throw us off a true scent; you travelled with a
Mr. James Stewart this evening, and you have assumed his name."

"Indeed!" said Long, with a contemptuous look.

"Yes, sir, indeed. Australians open their eyes very wide. Mr. Brown, we
had better gather up our papers and have a smoke, and then to bed."

"Oh! pray don't let me disturb you, gentlemen, I am going to my own
room, and will leave you to yourselves. I wish you good evening."

"The same to you. Don't be offended with us, I told you we were a very
candid sort of people."

"So it seems, Mr. Sinclair; you have given me a practical illustration
of it."

He left the room as he spoke, muttering to himself, "Australia, indeed!
I should like to transport the whole race."

That night a portmanteau was taken out of Mr. Sinclair's room and a
small writing-case was extracted from it; the writing-case contained
some unimportant papers and a twenty pound note. The portmanteau was
found in Mr. Brown's room.

"Fortunate," said Mr. Sinclair, the next morning when the theft was
discovered, "I knew that follow was a rogue by his eyes. It was sharp of
us though, to put the thousand pounds in your bag, Brown, and the marked
note in the writing-case."



Chapter LII.--A RE-UNION IN LONDON.


Mr. and Mrs. Mogara had left the Stewart family, and lived a sociable,
easy kind of life; they were happy and were making money, having opened
a superior kind of boarding-house for Indian and Australian gentlemen.
With his advancement in external matters, Mr. Mogara assumed the habits
and character of the landlord with great credit to himself. He dressed
well, was scrupulously attentive to his personal appearance, and had
laid in a stock of many important and profitable additions to his
educational abilities. He could read and write well, he studied the
politics of the day, was most assiduous in planning things to please and
interest his customers. In a word he was a thorough landlord.

Mr. Billy was superb when relating his foreign experience. He would keep
an audience wrapt in astonishment over some of his exploits. He was
narrating the circumstances attending the death of Mogara one day to a
group of Sydney gentlemen, who had been discussing the probable origin
of their landlord's name. None of them could solve the problem, so he
was called in to take a glass, the orthodox way of bringing a landlord
out, but he would only sip the wine: "He was quite sure gentlemen would
pardon him; he was obliged to be careful of himself, lest his customers
should want anyting."

"Quite right, landlord," said one, "but you will not object to give us a
yarn."

"No, no, gentlemen, tat is anoder ting. What were you talking about, if
I may be so bold as to ask?"

"It was about your name, Mr. Mogara; we could not explain what it meant,
although most of us are tolerably well up in Australian lingo."

"It means tunder, gentlemen, my name means tunder."

"Thunder! What tribe does that come from?"

"Mogara tribe, gentlemen, the tunder woman."

Of course the mystery was only increased by this explanation, so Mr.
Billy had to go through his graphic narration of poor Isabel's life and
tragical end. He was describing the corroboree when the door opened,
and, introduced by Mrs. Mogara, there entered, to the intense
astonishment of her husband, Mr. Sinclair and his two friends. "Talk of
de devil, gentlemen, and lo! he do appear. Mr. Sinclair, Mr. Brown, and
Mr. Brown, junior, I do not call you de devil, of course not, but de
great proverb come in my mind as I see you. Excuse me, gentlemen, tese
gentlemen tey come from the very place, and tis gentleman he shoot te
very black who kill Missee Isabel, tat is, te tunder woman."

Australians are soon introduced to one and other. Colonialism--a coined
word, but not to be despised, for it will be a dictionary word ere
long--colonialism is instantly recognised, and the character is
perceived as readily. There was a general fraternising therefore, and
many a joke rang merrily round the table. Of course many compliments
were also exchanged, and the new comers, announcing their intention to
remain at Mr. Mogara's establishment for two or three weeks, soon after
left to call on Mr. Stewart.

Mr. and Mrs. Stewart were at lunch, they called it dinner, but it was
the fashion to style the meal a lunch, and so they nominally agreed to
have no dinner except upon special occasions, when courtesy to their
guests obligated the necessity of making themselves uncomfortable in
order to appear fashionable. These occasions were few and far between.
The family was of the quiet sort, respectable, very so, but sensible to
a high degree, that is, they lived naturally, not artificially.

Rat-a-tat, tat, and a ring. "Visitors, Julia, that is a certainty."

In a few moments the servant entered the room to announce that a Mr.
Sinclair and two gentlemen with him were in the library, and desired to
speak with Mr. Stewart.

"What shall we do, Julia, shall we ask them up here?"

"If you please, James; perhaps it will be best."

"We are at it you see, Mr. Sinclair," said Mr. Stewart, as that
gentleman entered the dining-room; "how are you all? It seems an age
since we saw you, in fact I never expected to see you again."

"Did you not? Well, before I do anything else, allow me, like an old
good-for-nothing sinner as I am, to place in your hands, my dear madam,
a thousand pounds. There, Stewart, now my conscience is clear, I can't
say it has been so easy for the last five years and more."

Mrs. Stewart took the packet, which was an envelope sealed and directed
to her, and replied, "A thousand pounds, Mr. Sinclair, what does it
mean?"

"Why, madam, I sold your late father's right to the station, you know
where, and it fetched over and above the mortgage, about nine hundred
pounds. I was mean enough and wicked enough to be tempted to keep it,
but God showed me my error. You know my good wife has gone from me, I
suppose? She gave me no peace while she lived about this money."

"Yes," replied Mr. Stewart, "I heard of your loss, and we sincerely
sympathise with you."

"But where is Mary, Mr. Sinclair?"

"At Southampton, madam; she is weakly still, and I thought it best to
allow her to have all the rest she could get. I am about to travel for a
few months."

"Why not leave her with me?"

"I would most gladly, Mrs. Stewart, but I was ashamed of my name being
allied to your's. There, let that drop, I am an old rascal for falling
away as I did. God helping me, it is over now. My word, the past is a
caution."

"But you will let her come and stay a few weeks with us?" said Mrs.
Stewart.

"Certainly, madam, I shall be very glad. Now, Mr. Stewart, just give me
a little scrap of paper with a few up and down strokes to say you have
received that little envelope full of paper, and let us cut off all the
past and forget it. You consent?"

"Certainly, Mr. Sinclair."

"Bravo! Now, Brown, I have cut the painter, we'll steer on plain, quiet
water in future; go ahead, old fellow, and have your say."

"My say? You have forgotten how near you were losing that little bit of
money the other day."

"So I did, Brown. Tell the tale, there's a good fellow. You can do it to
a tittle."

"What was it, friend Brown?"

"Now, that's what I call sociable, Muster Stewart. I likes that there
expression better nor all the squires and dukes and them other big words
that you hear in England. Yes, far better. If a man called me a duke I
shouldn't know how to answer him. Call me simple Sam Brown and I am at
home without any farther nonsense."

"Australian, friend Brown--Australian still, I see."

"Yes, Muster Stewart, and always means to be. But, howsomdever, about
this little curious piece of business. We was at Odiham, or some such
place. Well, Muster Stewart, as we was sittin' comfortable at the inn,
reckonin' up some figures, there comes in a cove who called hisself
James Stewart?"

"Called himself James Stewart?"

"Yes; and said he had comed up from Southampton with a Australian chap.
'James Stewart,' thinks I, 'that's a rum go; your name isn't James
Stewart,' and then he cut his lucky after having been taught a thing or
two by our friend there. He did lecture him. 'Twas a caution, or I'm a
blessed nigger, that's all. But the best of it is to come. I had some
money on the table, and I saw that he was eyeing it. I had my weather
eye open. How I should have liked to have taught him a little bit of
colonial experience. Salt beef and damper would not suit him, I think."

"Hardly, from what I saw of him."

"From what you saw of him? Lor' bless my soul, how I forget things now.
You made his acquaintance in the train, didn't you? To be sure ye did.
But now, to make an end of my yarn, I laid a trap for that fellow, and
if he hasn't fallen into it, my name isn't Sinclair."

"What was the snare? I warrant it was something cleverly done."

"A compliment, I know," replied Mr. Sinclair. "Make it short we say
sometimes, and I will draw it easy. Between Brown and I we managed to
make a great show of packing up those notes and putting them in my
writing case, which we then very fussily stored away in the portmanteau,
locking it up and strapping it round as if it was a banker's parcel.
Lor' bless you, Stewart, that case only contained twenty notes--all the
rest was in Brown's pocket. Well, that chap stole the money in the
night!"

"The man is a good-for-nothing rogue, Sinclair. I believe he was the
ruin of poor Judd. Judd besought me not to let him escape if there was a
chance of punishing him, and I promised him I would not. It seems that
he has run his head into a noose at last. I have no doubt he is the same
man."

"Hurrah!" shouted Brown. "My word!"

"I called on my solicitor immediately after I returned to town, and he
told me that he feared nothing could be done."

"Did you now? And what may the name of your solicitor be?"

"Boodle."

"Of Lincoln's Inn Fields?"

"The same."

"The very place where I went to, Mr. Stewart. I had some lawyer's
business which required attention, and somehow I fancied I heard Argyle,
your partner, tell about a man whom he called his lawyer; I thought he
called him 'Noodle.' That is such a common word with us, you know, Mr.
Stewart, that I wasn't likely to forget it. But we couldn't find Lawyer
Noodle."

"I should think not," said Stewart, laughing heartily, "though I fancy
there are a great number who deserve the name."

"So, Mr. Stewart, somebody said, 'Perhaps it is Boodle that you want.'
'Perhaps it is,' says I. 'Where does he live?' They told me and I went,
and the first thing I said to him was this: 'Were you young Davie
Argyle's lawyer?' 'Young Davie Argyle?' said he, eyeing me very close.
'Yes,' says I; 'him who was transported,' for you know that I learnt all
about that affair from his own lips. 'Yes,' he says, 'I was; but what of
that?' So I up and told him my business, and he was kind enough to take
it in hand; then I began to tell him about the robbery. I saw him take
it down, so I says, 'No job here, Mr. Boodle' 'Oh no,' says he; 'I want
this for another purpose.' Then he told me that he knew you, and where
you lived, and I wrote to say I was coming to see you."

"And I have just received a letter about this very thing I have no
doubt. Mr. Boodle wants to see me," said Stewart.

"Does he, now? Well, if Mr. Boodle can only find out that fellow, I will
give the money to widow Judd's daughter."

"She is married, and doing well," replied Stewart. "Did you not hear
that Argyle left all his money to her?"

"Argyle left--What do you mean? Surely he is not dead?"

"He is, and buried, three years and more."

"My word, death has been busy."

"He has indeed; but we must all go the same way."

"Yes, yes, Mr. Stewart; I begin to see you were right in telling me how
I ought to be prepared. My poor dear wife died most happily. But I see
we have sent your wife away, and as our business is done we may as well
go too. What say you, neighbor Brown, shall we be making tracks?" And so
the friends parted.



Chapter LIII.--ONLY TWENTY POUNDS!


Let us follow Septimus Long to Basingstoke and thence back to
Southampton by the first train in the morning. How he chuckled to
himself that he had doubled on those Australian snobs, as he termed his
coffee-room censors of the past evening.

But what did Mr. Long want at Southampton again? Let us follow him.
Leaving the terminus, he slowly walked along the beach towards the
platform, where the brass gun, given by Henry the Eighth I think, still
mounts guard over the port. Here he stopped for a few minutes and began
to whistle. Then he changed the whistle to a quiet discussion with
himself. "The money will be missed before this; a tolerable good haul by
the look of it, though I could not count it. Of course they will be
after me; they said they could track me anywhere. Let them try it. No
doubt they will--what will they get? Ten o'clock. I don't think I'll
wait, but cross over at once to Cracknore Hard. Here, boatman, I want to
go over yonder--what is your fare?"

"The same as ye paid Kimberley, your honor."

"What do you mean; I don't know Kimberley."

"But I knows you, sir. You needn't be afeared of I, sir; I knows all
your coves. I wishes I was wi' 'em. Boatmen's wages is poor livin',
master."

"You may be honest enough for all I know, but you must not talk to me
about such things. You may see me again, perhaps."

"As soon as you pleases, your honor; I'se no 'jection to a job anywhen."

"But you must not think that I know anything about old Kimberley's
doings," said Long, "though I know a little about the old fellow
himself."

"Bless yer heart, sir, I know'd all about he years ago, and old Baker
too. When I wor a boy 'twas a glorious time. I fancy 'tis poor hauls
they gets now. I used to be lookout boy up the Fawley River."

"Indeed!" replied Long. "What is your name? I'll speak to old Kimberley,
and if--"

"Not to old Kimberley, sir. No, no--that won't do; he's got old and
tichy, and I don't belave he's to be 'pended on eyther."

"Not to be depended on?" said Long, hastily.

"No; he's taken to chapel-going lately o'er at Hythe, and I fancies like
he looks kind ascrew about these ere sort of things. Maybe 'tis only
fancy; but he's mighty different from what he was."

"You don't mean it?"

"I do, sir; and if you has a got onything in his way I thinks as how I
should got oot of his hands."

"By George, this is something to be seen to!" said Long. "But come, let
us be moving. I must go this once, at all events."

Cracknore Hard is a small inn with some fishermen's cottages adjacent to
it. It lies on the opposite side of the Southampton water, and is well
known as a convenient landing-place for many residents in the New Forest
who regularly attend Southampton market. Not fifty miles from this place
there lived a man whom everybody said was an old smuggler, but whom
nobody could directly charge with such an offence. It will be best,
however, not to dwell on other people's opinions, but to state plainly
what he was. It will be recollected that one night a party of smugglers
visited Judd for the purpose of enlisting him in a more open
companionship in smuggling pursuits than he had previously consented to
take. He had been a useful comrade, but in secret. Through him the
valuable aid of Septimus Long was obtained and many a bale of valuable
goods was lodged in his possession when it was inconvenient to dispose
of it. To facilitate such proceedings he opened a store in the town of
Southampton called a drysalter's store, one of the smugglers being clerk
in charge. It was furnished with numberless cases, bottles, and packages
duly labelled, about half a dozen of which were filled with genuine
goods, but the rest were dummies.

Here was stored many a bale of goods upon which no duty was paid. They
were brought over from the other side of Southampton water, from Itchen,
Fawley, and various parts of the river in sundry packages, and somehow
they found their way to this place, from whence they were dispatched to
all parts of the kingdom, professedly as drysalter's goods.

The gang of smugglers was extensive; but only a choice few were actual
comrades, as they were termed, the rest were outsiders.

But the business collapsed very suddenly. Five years after Judd's
departure for Australia there was a very successful haul--some hundreds
of pounds were divided. Septimus Long visited Southampton, and received
a good share in the best venture he had yet made, for he had advanced
money upon this trading, and at this audit he not only received back the
principal but cent. per cent. as interest. The clerk in the store also
received his share, and with a portion of it he got so drunk that he
said things he did not intend to say, and he was politely requested by
some gentlemen with gold lace round their caps to open the door in Her
Majesty's name. This being done, those gentlemen walked in, and
forthwith found the true character of the place. No contraband goods
were found, but the affair was soon noised abroad, and indignant
tradesmen flocked in to find the assets, sawdust and bricks, while the
liabilities were something more than they cared to lose.

This unfortunate event altered the entire character of Messrs. Long and
Company's trading. It was unanimously agreed that it was no longer safe
to continue their ventures in this part, and consequently the scene of
operations was removed to Aldborough, Suffolk. The Crimean war, however,
intervened, and many of the gang engaged as sailors, and finally the
whole company was dispersed, with the exception of an old man named
Baker, the boatman Kimberley, and three middle-aged men, one of whom
kept a small shop in Southampton; another who rejoiced in the title of
landlord of the Sceptre and Compasses, somewhere near the village of
Itchen; and a third, who was anything to anybody, no matter whom.

Baker, it has been stated, lived in a little hut not fifty miles from
Cracknore Hard, and it was to seek him that Mr. Long crossed the
Southampton water. He was no longer connected with the above men in
their free-trading operations, nor did they do much in that way. Mr.
Long, however, had known Baker a long time, and found his agency to be
profitable when he wanted to do a little piece of dirty work. The
respectable gentleman and magistrate was poor now; vice, crime, and
sensualism had brought forth their sure fruit. Silence was only to be
bought with heavy sums; then losses multiplied upon him in other ways;
disputes with neighbors involved him in litigation with heavy expenses
and damages; he drank heavily, and to this vice he added yet another--he
was a gambler. Property was mortgaged, then lost; but, infatuated to the
destruction of all self-respect, he plunged deeper and deeper into the
mire, so that on the evening when he met Mr. Stewart in the train he was
exactly in the same position in which Judd was years before, when in
desperation he was forced to do something or perish. He had forged a
bill for sixty pounds, which he had paid away for interest due upon the
mortgage of his last remaining property, and in a few days the bill
would be due.

"'Tis a providence," said he to himself, as he entered the room where
Mr. Sinclair and his two friends were sitting and feasted his eyes on
the new crisp Bank of England notes which lay on the table. Could he
only lay hold of one of them. A hundred pounds seemed to be staring at
him with its round figures. If it had been a demon it could not have
aroused his cupidity more than it did. In an instant he resolved to
venture upon a challenge to play a game of chance, and at cards he was
unrivalled. But the conversation took an altogether unexpected turn, and
the character of the Australians checkmated him, However, he made
another desperate venture, and fully believed that he had succeeded in
hauling a good prize. Almost any other rogue would have satisfied
himself about the contents of the case as soon as possible, but this
clumsy rogue did not venture to open his prize until he was in old
Baker's hut. It is very true that frequently the worst planned schemes
are the least likely to be detected, whilst elaborate frauds are found
out at once.

"I am come to stay with you," said Long to the old smuggler, "for two or
three days. I've got a job for you, old fellow."

Baker did not like the man; so eyeing him very suspiciously, in a
sneering kind of voice he replied:

"Stay wi' me. I doant know as how yer can. The perleece a bin hyer."

"The police?" replied Long, with evident alarm.

"E'es; the perleece. Didn't yer hear what I sayed?"

"Yes; I heard. But what did they come for?"

"What vor! If that arn't nate now, as if yer didn't know. Who should if
yer doant? Tell me that."

"How should I know?"

"How should yer know? Are yer so very grane as not to know that yer are
one of them kids that the perleece 'oold precious well loike to ketch?
But, 'oomsomdever, that's neythur here nor there; yer cum for summut,
I's sure. What is't? I see't inside yer shurt."

He had not seen it himself, but anyone else could have seen that he
carried something like a book between his body and his shirt.

"Confound the thing," said Long.

"Not arf strong enuf, mate; I shoold a cussed the thing if it meant
mischoif."

"It does mean something, Baker, about which I want your assistance. Do
you remember once you took over yonder a fifty-pounder which I didn't
care to change here?"

Baker nodded, and made his eyes smile.

"I want you," continued Long, "to do the same now, only the amount is
larger."

"Lorger! How lorge?"

"Perhaps two hundred, or maybe more."

"P'raps. If it are yer own yer woold na say praps an' maybe. Now, mon,
let's a na bating 'bout. What is th' amount? Say wi'out openin' that
there thing. If it's beyond my power I doant care 'bout knowin', d'ye
see?"

"I know what you mean, Baker," replied Long; "but I must look to see how
much I have."

He began to break open the case as he spoke. "How mooch yer hauled? I
see; 'tisn't yourn then, that's sartain. P'raps, and maybe, and how
mooch--no, 'tisn't yourn. Clear as night wi' no moon on't."

"But, Baker--"

"But, Master Long. Ar'nt my head worth as mooch as yourn. I can tell yer
old Kimberley smells bad jist now; he's taken to sing rapentance."

"So I heard."

"So yer heard? Why, may pardeeshun saze yer limbs, mon; where did yer
hear that? I tho'ot na one know'd that but I."

"Then I can tell you the man who brought me over knows it."

"Strikehard? Oh, he's richt enuf."

"He wants you to give him a job, Baker."

"That I niver will. The perleece; the perleece!"

"Where? For God's sake, where, Baker?"

"I hit the nail richt, yer see, again. Long, Long, yer'll niver do for
this work. Come, let's to bisness. Where's them notes?"

Long felt greatly inclined to move no further in the matter, but, he
know also the desperate character of the old smuggler. He saw with
evident alarm the impatience with which Baker was looking at the writing
case; in addition to which he was totally unarmed, while the smuggler
had his knife and a revolver. Hesitation he felt was useless, so he
burst open the case, and, lo! twenty pounds!

The look of dismay which instantly appeared upon his countenance would
have amused a far more reckless man than Baker. Long was pale as death;
he trembled violently; his tongue seemed paralysed; his lips were
sealed; and mechanically he allowed Baker to take the note out of his
hand without making the least effort to retain it.

"Bank o' England. Twenty! Where's the rist?"

The wretched man was aroused by this question. He began to search the
case, but so nervously that Baker took this also out of his hands, and
proceeded to turn out the contents. There was nothing but some odd
papers in it, and a card.

"What's this?" said the smuggler. "No hurry, Master Long--no hurry. Yer
needn't snatch at it, and open your tatur trap so wide; a card arn't
notes."

"Give it to me," said Long, now violently agitated.

"What vor, mate? It's no kind o' use to yer."

"Will you give me back my property, or--"

"Shall yer make me? 'Pon my honor, a very pretty question. Suppose I say
no--what thin?"

"What then! I will make you."

"Try it on, mon. War, war; go it, my booty! Twenty punds and a card.
Card's the stakes; what's the name on't? 'Sinclair;' he's umpire. Bank
o' England and Sinclair 'gainst Long."

The old smuggler had risen, and put the table between himself and his
victim, as he said these words. Long also rose, and made a desperate
plunge to snatch the case out of Baker's hand; but the old smuggler was
more than a match for him. Throwing the case behind him, and hastily
putting the note and card into his pocket, he closed with Long, in a few
minutes threw him heavily on the ground, kicked him while lying there on
the side of his head, and, without waiting to see what was the issue, he
hurried away. In an hour he was in Southampton, from which place he
sailed that evening for Havre de Grace.

The schemer was outwitted for the time, and, with stiffened limbs
managed to get back to his own home.



Chapter LIV.--CHECKMATED AT LAST.


Sam Brown had a particular desire to know what the people, amongst whom
Mr. Long lived, thought of him. But he had another object also in
visiting the county of Suffolk, that of finding out a sergeant of police
who, he had heard, was stationed somewhere near Ipswich. It was market
day, and the square in the midst of the town was filled with a vast
concourse of people; but, better than all, the same circumstance had
brought into town the very man whom they wished to see. The two
Australians were standing at the corner of the White Horse Hotel--so
famous in Pickwick adventures--and were looking down the street which
leads to the celebrated iron foundry and agricultural implement works of
Messrs. Ransome and Sims, when Sergeant Brodie came out of the hotel.
Brown knew him in a moment, but life in Australia had made a great
alteration in the overseer, and it needed some explanations ere the
sergeant could understand who was speaking to him. But when he
recognised him, the congratulation was returned with much joy at meeting
his old school fellow again.

"I am stationed a few miles from here," said he to Brown, "and shall be
starting for home in an hour or two, the coach leaves about the same
time. Come down and spend a few days old fellow."

The invitation was gladly accepted, and the evening which followed was
about as agreeable a meeting of old comrades as ever was experienced.
Australians when in the old land have a world of wonders to unfold, and
both father and son were as full of anecdote and adventure as their host
expected and wished them to be. On the other hand they learnt much about
Septimus Long, but so little that reflected any credit to him, that
Brown ventured to inform the sergeant about the robbery. The latter
listened with attention to the opinions of his guest, which, it is
almost unnecessary to add, were very voluminous and interspersed with
many well known Australian expressions. Then he informed Brown that Long
had been turned out of the magistracy on account of some suspicious
circumstances which occurred at Aldborough amongst some smugglers.
"Since then," said he, "he has been going to the bad very fast. I am
expecting to hear something worse now."

So the friends parted for the night, and the Browns slept as sound as a
top. Not so rested a poor miserable wretch who passed by the sergeant's
house on his way home shortly after midnight. He glanced at the house
and shivered, but the air was bitingly cold, and he might not have been
very well, but a little farther on was the bank, and he looked harder at
that building. The silence of death was all around him, and not a sound
came forth from that repository of cash to cause him uneasiness, yet he
shivered again, this time the teeth chattered as an accompaniment. But
he passed on and soon he came to a road which branched off from the main
road. Here he stopped and listened. Not a sound was to be heard, but yet
he listened still, peering into the darkness around him as if he was
looking for something. At last he muttered, "both dead now," and onward
he strode.

Morning dawned us usual, and banks as well as shops and offices opened
their doors. A good-looking man who was well known in Leyton passed up
the street shortly after 10 o'clock, humming a well known popular air.
"Nothing in that, no, nothing." But after awhile he entered the bank,
and after a pleasant chat with the cashier, he handed in some cheques
and notes to be passed to his account, and with them a long piece of
white paper with a stamp attached to it. The cheques and notes were
readily counted and noted down: "What could be the matter with the man?"

So the customer said to himself as the cashier turned over the bill of
exchange, scanning it so closely and with such compressed lips as if
torture should not make him say what he thought about it. Then he took
it to an inner office, to which sanctorum the customer was presently
politely invited. Then appeared upon the scene, in pursuance of an
invitation which was taken to him by the porter of the bank, a man whom
said porter called a bobby, but whom the townspeople generally accosted
as Sergeant Brodie. He also vanished into the sanctorum, from which he
emerged after a while, in company with the aforesaid customer of the
bank, and they too adjourned to the Town Clerk's office, to have a
little chat with that official. Sergeant Brodie went home from thence,
looking very straight before him, and on getting indoors he shut the
door, and, accosting his friend Brown, he ventured a strong opinion,
accompanying it with a rousing slap on the younger Brown's back, that
"Septimus had done it now."

"What do you mean?" said Sam Brown.

"I mean this--if you are inclined for some fun, I think I can show you
some. A bit of lunch and off we go. Do yo mind a camp out, Brown?"

"Camp out, Brodie! My word, you don't know much about that sort of thing
in this part of the world."

"No, but we may have to do it to-night perhaps."

"With all my heart--especially if it is to bail up this rascal."

"Don't talk too loud. Perhaps it is."

"My word," said Brown, junior, "I'd give a trifle to have a hand in
that."

"So ye shall, my lad."

In about an hour they started, and by 2 o'clock reached a small public
house, where they agreed to rest for an hour or two. Bonsal, the
residence of the gentleman they wanted, was about a mile from this
place. The first step the sergeant took was to send a boy up to the
house to say that a gentleman wished to see him at the Spotted Dog. "If
he takes the bait," said he, "it will save a deal of trouble."

In half an hour the messenger returned with this answer: "Mr. Long is
busy, but he will be down in an hour or two."

"Not he," said the sergeant. "Now come on." It was dusk by this time, so
they made a complete circuit round the house, which the sergeant knew
well, and in about half on hour they halted on the other side of a small
inlet of the sea which they crossed by means of a bridge.

"He is at home," said the sergeant, after a few minutes' inspection of
the place. "Stay here for a while, while I steal up a little closer."

So saying he disappeared in the darkness, but the Browns could just
distinguish his form as he crept along the side of a hedge. It came on
to rain soon after, and the darkness sensibly increased. The night
threatened every moment to be more and more unfit for lodgers without
shelter. But the sergeant at last returned, and with satisfactory news.

"He is at home," said he. "I wish that I had gone myself, instead of
sending the boy; but it can't be helped now. I got up to the house, I
think undiscovered, although that brute of a dog of his was ready to
break his chain. Once the servant came out, and told him to lie down.
But he saw or smelt me, and would not be quieted, so my gentleman opened
a window and peeped out, speaking to the dog at the same time. I saw
him, but there was no getting near him without passing the dog.
Presently down went the window, and as sharp as these legs could carry
me over the lawn I ran; I wanted to get close to the window of the room
where I believed he was sitting. Nor was I wrong. There he sat in his
easy chair, looking eagerly into the fire. His great boots were on the
hearth rug, and his coats hung over a chair. A life preserver lay on the
table; and unless I am mistaken he will be moving soon. You may ask why
I don't go boldly to the house. I know my customer too well."

"Some such thoughts crossed my mind," said Sam Brown.

"He'd shoot himself or me if he had the chance. He knows there will be
an inquiry after him. He has not a rap left of all his property; but he
has a daughter at Aldborough, and he won't go without trying to see her.
When you see that light put out, follow me, but mind the ditches. I'm
right sorry you came, as the night turns out; but I'm glad of your
company."

"Don't mention it," said Mr. Brown "The air is rather sharper though
than we ever feel it."

"Hist! quiet!" said the sergeant. "The light is out. Come on now."

He led the way, and they followed close. For some time it was rough
travelling, but at length they came to a gate, over which they climbed,
and found themselves in a country lane.

"Now, my friends, I must depend a little on you. Mr. Brown, you go
ahead, and lay under that tree; you can just see it. If he runs from us,
spring out and lay hold of him. Robert, you take the ditch t'other side
of the road, and I stay here. Don't stir till you hear something
unusual, then--Hist! Here he comes."

It was Mr. Septimus Long who, knowing full well that his game was up,
was on his way to bid farewell to his daughter, as Sergeant Brodie had
foretold; but where he was to go after that he had not yet settled.
"Into the sea," said he, as he looked up at his house when he left it
that night. "Into the sea, rather than a felon's doom."

He walked on quickly, looking strait before him, and as he turned into
the road which led to Oldborough, the dog which was with him began to
growl, and his master stopped. On again--another growl. "What is the
matter, Nero? Hi! on, boy; see what it is." Growl, growl--growing louder
and louder.

The man now stopped, and seemed inclined to turn back. The sergeant saw
the hesitation in the dim light; he was not three yards from him, and
with a shout he made a rush, but missed his man. Back, back he ran for
precious life, the three men after him. Now they gained on him, and then
he distanced them; but as he reached a narrow lane he made a feint of
taking that course, dropped into a ditch, and ere his pursuers came up
he crept under a culvert, and was lost.

"Beaten, by Jove!" said the sergeant. "Never mind, better luck next
time."

No, they were not beaten. The dog which Long had brought with him proved
his ruin. He found his master, though his pursuers had lost the scent,
crouched down in a filthy, muddy drain, from which he was dragged,
amidst volumes of bitter curses, which did not appear to affect the
sergeant in the least.

"It was a funny chase," said the sergeant next morning, as they sat at
breakfast. "I don't call it cleverly done, mind ye. It was all but a
miracle that I did not lose my game. But I should never have got inside
the house after that message. Better have gone myself."

"I had no idea that he would have yielded without a fight, though. I
know you would never have taken a bushman so tamely as this man gave
in--my word," said Mr. Brown.

"I had no thought he was such a coward, father."

"No, nor is he," replied the sergeant; "but he knows his glass is run.
Every dog has his day, and he has had his. No more of his--Sergeant,
your're too inquisitive."

The most assiduous attention was paid to Mr. Long on his way back to
Leyton; and when he arrived there, the sergeant actually took the
trouble to supply him with board and lodging gratis; in addition to
which Mr. Septimus Long was pressingly invited to a familiar interview
with one of Her Majesty's most eminent officers, and, having heard about
that individual's many extraordinary adventures, the worthy officer told
him that, by Her Majesty's will and command, he was to take a voyage, at
the end of which he would find a substantial house, and every
preparation made to supply him with the closest attention, and board and
lodging, for one and twenty years. Mr. Septimus Long did not wish to
leave England just then, but the invitation was so pressing that he
could not resist it; so he went, and positively found his new employment
far beyond his expectations. He had assisted a great many, in his day,
on the same way; but when it came to his turn to be so considerately
provided for, he did not like it.

All the attention he received, however, was lost upon him; for in about
five years he died, and never did he visit his native country again. But
it went on very well without him--some said a little better; and one of
his brother magistrates was so ungenerous as to say that their greatest
torment was gone away for ever. Sic transit gloria mundi; tempora
mutantur; veritas vincit; sic passim.



Chapter LV.--"POOR, DEAREE MARY SINCLAIR! AH ME!"


Such were the words with which Mrs. Mogara left the sick girl who had
fallen a victim to England's disease--consumption. But when Mrs. Stewart
sent to say that she was going with her to Ventnor, she begged
permission to accompany them. A little villa was taken near the
celebrated pulpit rock at Bonchurch, and, under the influence of the
beautiful climate of this pretty Madeira, Mary Sinclair recovered very
quickly--so far as to create the hope that the danger was past for a
time. She became cheerful; laughed and talked about going back to
Australia; began to be busy about various household matters; walked on
the sea shore; and even climbed the hill at Bonchurch, no small feat to
a strong and healthy person. Her father had so favorable an opinion of
her progress that he left her in the charge of Mrs. Stewart, who had
arranged to remain until the spring, as her husband had not been well,
and the children had been suffering with the usual infantine
complaints--whooping cough and measles--and it was thought that a
temporary sojourn in this place would be of benefit to all of them.

But a change was at hand. Mary had gone for a walk one evening with her
friends, when she suddenly fell, or rather sank on the ground. Before
Mr. Stewart could reach her, her mouth filled with blood, which trickled
down her neck, and covered her dress with its crimson hue. They bore her
home as quickly as possible with the aid of some sailors. Her medical
attendant was summoned, but all he said was, "Lose no time in sending
for any friends who may wish to see her alive; but, mark, only one or
two at the farthest."

A man on a fleet horse was accordingly dispatched to Bryde, and reached
that place just in time to catch the last steamer to Portsmouth, from
whence he sent a telegram to London. Fortunately it accomplished all
that was desired. Mr. Sinclair was at the hotel, and his friends the
Brown's also, and it was arranged that they should go down by the first
train in the morning. Mr. and Mrs. Mogara accompanied them, and they
reached Ventnor about the middle of the day on Saturday. The dear girl
was sensible, and knew them all. With a sigh of relief--there are such
sighs and they do relieve--she held out her hand to her father first and
then to all. Speech, however, then was out of the question; the least
attempt was accompanied with results which were most alarming.

With streaming eyes they watched around that dying bed, and there was
something to watch. The life was descending like the sun when he is
drawing or bending towards the west. The sky was clouded with patches of
bright blue here and there--that is, the pale face was alternately
brilliant and glorious with smiles or racked with pain.

"Was there no hope?" inquired Mr. Sinclair.

"No, no, my friend," said Mrs. Stewart, "at her eventime it shall be
light; the departure will be something glorious."

It seemed to promise well that the prophecy would be fulfilled, for as
she spoke the dying girl arose and spoke. The sun was now setting, and
the room was filled with a brilliant light, the reflection of which
lighted up her pale countenance with the brilliancy of burnished gold.

"Dear Mary," cried out Mrs. Stewart, "don't exert yourself; the doctor
said you were to be quite still."

"Hush! Mrs. Stewart; hush! please. The music is so sweet, the light is
so glorious; the angels are so many; the joy is so great. Hush! I want
to listen."

She paused, and appeared as if she was gazing upon something, listening
most intently. Presently, as the last ray of the sun left the room, she
spoke again, "They are gone!"

Back, back to heaven they fly,

The joyful news to bear,

Hark! they now soar on high;

Their music fills the air.

"My dearest Mary."

"Nay, dear father, why do you weep? Dear mother is here, looking at you
now. She came to me last night and nestled down by my face, and seemed
to kiss me. I tried to touch her, but she would not let me; but she has
never gone away. She does not weep, father; she only smiles and points
upwards."

The night thus wore away and Mary slept. The watchers were very weary,
but they could not sleep. At 11 o'clock they adjourned to the parlor to
take a little refreshment, leaving Mrs. Mogara by the bed-side of the
sleeping girl. She watched very faithfully for a while, but soon her
eyelids dropped, and gradually she sank upon the pillow in sound sleep.
A few moments after the dying girl awoke, and, not perceiving anyone in
the room, she got out of bed and walked downstairs, entering the room
where her friends were assembled.

"Mogara is dead. Father dear, Mogara is dead."

Mrs. Stewart screamed out in terror, and Mary actually ran towards her,
Mr. Sinclair catching his daughter in his arms, and, with Mr. Stewart,
they bore Mary back to her room; but she talked to them so calmly, and
said that she felt so well, that they were all but speechless. It was
the brilliant flame which preceeds the final darkness, just as a
flickering lamp will suddenly blaze up with wondrous brightness. No
sooner was she laid in her bed again than she felt that this was the
case.

"Father, dearest, I am dying; I feel it now."

"Don't talk so, my dear."

"I must, dear father; I must. But who is this?" She put her hand on the
black woman, who still slept soundly. "Oh! poor Betty."

"Yes, dearest; faithful to us, you see. She is tired and dropped off to
sleep."

"I shall be as she is presently, father."

"How dearest?"

"Asleep--asleep--asleep," she replied, with a look of most intense
meaning; "softly asleep."

"If you sleep, you will do well, dearest."

"Yes, I shall do well."

"Amen!" said Mr. Stewart.



Chapter LVI.--CONCLUSION.


Mr. Sinclair and his friends left England shortly after the funeral of
his daughter, and their arrival in Brisbane was celebrated by two
weddings, in which Mr. Brown's eldest son and a young lady sustained one
part, and Mistress Sally became Mrs. John Bull on the other.

Mr. and Mrs. Stewart are still living in London, and are happy. He is a
highly respected director of several excellent societies; wealthy, and
very kind and generous to the distressed. There are several children,
whose names are as folios of remembrance to recall the events of a life,
which in its results frequently called forth from the good man the
expression, "What hath God wrought?"

Mr. and Mrs. Lambert are also living in the same place, and business is
generally flourishing enough to tax all the energies of the coal
merchant, while Mr. and Mrs. Mogara have removed to America, and
"Mogara's saloon," is a more profitable speculation than any of the
ventures which Mr. Billy made in England. Shrewd from a lad, as a
servant he knew how to ingratiate himself with his employer, and when he
passed from that position to be a master he endeavored to act so as to
make his servants feel that their interests were bound up in his.
Several persons said "it was a pity the family were black, they were a
fine lot of boys and girls;" but the father said, "If God Almighty had
made tem blue tey would have been blue, but, being black, it was
exceedingly probable tat tey would continue to live so, and for himself
he could see no such mighty difference. Jeroosalem!" said he; "tat's te
place to go to. God never ask tere if we white or black."

The Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Coles continue to live and labor. It is probable
that few will ever in this world hear much of what they have done for
the good of others, but visitors constantly registered their good deeds,
and some day these will be read by the clearest light, when it will be
seen that they lived and labored for Christ's sake.

Captain Oliver is dead. He never altogether recovered the death of
Isabel, and, although he lived to the age of threescore, the last of the
years become labor and sorrow, and he seemed glad when the end came.

Mr. Sinclair went home to The Vineyard, and became an antiquary, and
astronomer, a painter again, and finally a linguist; then he sold off
all his property, left Australia, and travelled. The last that was heard
about him was that he was in the United States, from whence he purposed
to go to Canada, and then make the tour of Europe. Sam Brown is in
Brisbane, and is likely to continue there to his death. He has made his
pile, and is "a cheerful old dog," as he says, all the day long. He
suffered a little in the commercial panic; but he had a good back, which
did not bend much, and the banks knew that no panic could ever break it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus ends the tale. The incidents are not fabulous, but for the most
part founded on realities. In many portions of it the truth is told,
that the measure which is meted out by us, whether of good or evil, is
almost sure to be returned, and frequently with interest. The history of
Mogara is no mere imagination; in fact, much of the highly romantic in
the life of the original has been suppressed, it was too wonderful to be
credited. Life among the blacks is full of startling incident, although
largely mixed up with dull stupid monotony. It must be admitted also
that Colonel Tomlinson's character is divested of the cruelty which was
practised to so fearful an extent in Moreton Bay that no language would
be too strong to condemn it. Judd was not the only convict who escaped
by many a score; but some were shot down mercilessly and others were
flogged until they succumbed, and then they were dragged to a felon's
grave, and the place where they lie will never be known till the last
day. It may be objected, in conclusion, that two such marked instances
of the innocent suffering in place of the guilty never occurred. An hour
or two spent in the society of some who are now living in Australia
would soon compel the objectors to confess themselves in error. Criminal
jurisprudence in 1837 was something different from the same thing in
1870.



THE END



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