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Title: The Forger's Wife
Author: John Lang
* A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 1600561.txt
Language: English
Date first posted: March 2016
Date most recently updated: April 2016

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------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE FORGER'S WIFE.


By


JOHN LANG,


AUTHOR OF "TOO CLEVER BY HALF," "TOO MUCH ALIKE," ETC., ETC.


LONDON: 
WARD, LOCK, AND TYLER,
WARWICK HOUSE, PATERNOSTER ROW;
AND 107, DORSET STREET, SALISBURY SQUARE.

=======================================

Originally published as a serial in Fraser's Magazine 1853 as "EMILY
ORFORD," and as a serial in The Mofussilite 1855. 

Published in book form by Ward Lock & Co, London in 1855 (this text) 
and by W. Tegg & Co, London in 1859, and by J. Walch, Hobart as "THE CONVICT'S WIFE," ca.1900.

Also published in serial form in:

--Evening News (Sydney, NSW) 24 April 1875, as "THE FORGER'S WIFE,"

--National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW) 21 August 1890, as "ASSIGNED TO HIS
WIFE,"

--National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW) 11 March 1896 as "EMILY'S
SACRIFICE,"

--Mudgee Guardian and North-Western Representative (NSW) 12 December
1901, as "A LIFE'S ROMANCE,"

--Western Champion (Parkes, NSW) 13 June 1902, as "A LIFE'S ROMANCE."


=======================================

AUTHOR'S PREFACE.

THE conductors of several German and French papers paid the author of
this story the compliment of selecting it for translation and insertion
in their columns, during its continuance in the columns of Frazer's
Magazine; one of them, the Echo de Bruxelles, supplied a short
tale, by way of episode, which will be found at the conclusion of this
reprint.

It may not be out of place to mention that the story of "The Forger's
Wife" is not a fiction; albeit the incidents are sufficiently disguised
to spare the feelings of any surviving member of the family (called in
the following pages "Orford"). The letters written by the unfortunate
lady, from New South Wales, came into the possession of the author some
sixteen years ago, and it was from these letters (some of them dated
"Moreton Bay!") that the idea of her sufferings was gleaned.

Vienna, January 22nd, 1855.

=======================================


THE FORGER'S WIFE.




CHAPTER I.

IN one of the midland counties, some years ago, there lived a gentleman
of ancient family and large estate--a Mr. Orford, who had married,
early in life, a young lady of great personal attractions, the daughter
of a distinguished general officer in the British army.

The issue of this marriage was numerous, but one child only was
reared--a girl. Some had died very young, others had lingered on till
they were six or seven years of age, and two had been taken away--a boy
and a girl--when the former was fifteen and the latter fourteen.

With what anxiety did Mr. and Mrs. Orford watch Emily, their only
child! Her every look was studied, every whim gratified, want
anticipated; and year by year did their anxiety become more intense.

When Emily had completed her thirteenth year, Mr. Orford, who
represented his county, resigned his seat in Parliament, and removed
his family to the Continent. For four years and upwards the Orfords
remained abroad, travelling; and when they returned to England, Emily
was seventeen years of age.

Emily was very pretty, and had remarkably pleasing manners. Her form
was slight, her figure well-shaped and graceful. The sweetness of her
disposition might be seen in her soft hazel eyes, the expression of
her delicately-formed mouth, and the intonations of her musical and
unaffected voice. She was the beau ideal of a girl of gentle blood, and
heiress to all her father possessed--a very considerable fortune, not
less than fifteen thousand a-year.

Amongst the many eligible suitors who visited at Orford Hall was a
handsome, manly person--one Charles Everest, the second son of a
baronet whose estate joined that of Emily's father.

For a year Charles Everest continued to pay Miss Orford the most
"marked" attention, which she received seemingly with delight. At
length he proposed to her; but, to the disappointment of all who were
interested in the matter, she refused to become his wife, though
she acknowledged she liked him extremely. Charles Everest, dejected
and abashed, removed himself from Emily's vicinity, and proceeded
to London, where his father's interest soon procured for him an
appointment--that of private secretary to a Cabinet Minister.

The next person whose attentions seemed far from disagreeable to Miss
Orford, was a Mr. Hastings, a young barrister, in whose "circuit" Mr.
Orford's estate was situated. Mr. Hastings was "a very rising man," and
Mr. Orford, who was chairman of the Quarter Sessions, would frequently
invite him to the Hall.

Mr. Orford was about to stand once more for the county, which he had
formerly represented in Parliament, and his friend the barrister
volunteered to canvass for him. The offer was accepted, and on this
occasion the barrister remained for a fortnight under the same roof
with Emily, with whom he became passionately in love.

Through the exertions of Mr. Hastings, Mr. Orford was returned by
a very large majority; and Emily naturally shared her father's joy
on this event. Her lover observing this, made a declaration of his
attachment in the most eloquent terms. But it is one thing to move a
jury or a mob by figures of speech and impassioned discourse--it is
another thing to create that strange mysterious feeling, called "love,"
in a maiden's breast. Emily owned that she liked Mr. Hastings, just as
she had liked Charles Everest; but then she added, "I could never think
of marrying him, because I do not love him."

       *       *       *       *       *

Miss Orford's third suitor was an officer in the Coldstream Guards,
Captain Deesing. He first saw Emily at a county ball, to which he had
escorted his sisters. Deesing was a man for whom half the girls in
London were breaking their hearts, contrary to the wishes of their
mothers, for Deesing was in debt, and had no "expectations." Deesing's
address was peculiarly captivating, and he had always at command a
stock of fresh and entertaining pleasantries wherewith to amuse those
with whom he entered into conversation. He could not only engage the
affections of the fair sex with wonderful facility, but even men who
had once spoken to him, long after thirsted for his society. Witty,
clever, shrewd, good-tempered, frank, generous, unaffected, Deesing's
smiles were courted by persons of all ranks. He had never thought of
marriage; at least, he had thought that matrimony was not exactly
suited to him, and therefore he had no idea of contracting it.

Captain Deesing was no sooner introduced to Miss Orford than he
conceived for her a regard which he had never felt for any other woman;
and the morning after the ball he communicated to his eldest sister
that he was in love with her friend.

       *       *       *       *       *

Although Captain Deesing saw Emily Orford almost every day for
three weeks,--although he had played in a charade with her, wherein
they were ardent lovers,--although his sisters had been loud in his
praises,--although he had escorted her in her morning rides, had walked
with her alone in the shrubberies, had read poetry to her, had sang to
her the tenderest songs; although he had striven hard, by exercising
all his powers of fascination, to win her love;--still, when he
proposed to her, she told him what she had told the others, she "liked
him very much, but she could never think of marrying him."

This was a severe blow to Captain Deesing. He went to town; rejoined
his regiment in disgust; shortly afterwards married a rich widow, and
exchanged into a regiment of the line.




CHAPTER II.

MRS. ORFORD was induced to visit a watering-place in Devonshire. Mr.
Orford's parliamentary duties required his presence in town.

At this watering-place, Mrs. Orford and Emily met in society a person
of gentlemanlike appearance, called "Captain Harcourt." His manners
were prepossessing, his address unaffected and easy. He was very
good-looking, amusing, and clever, though superficial. He was a great
favourite with the little society, and the young ladies used to speak
of him as "that charming man."

Captain Harcourt did not pay Miss Orford the attention she had been
accustomed to receive; he seemed to prefer others who had less
pretensions to beauty. He had never once asked Miss Orford to dance,
though he had been introduced to her, and had met her at several
evening parties. He appeared to hold aloof from Emily, though he
occasionally condescended to converse with her mother.

Mrs. Orford invited Captain Harcourt to dine at her house, albeit he
had never called upon her. The Captain accepted the invitation, and
after dinner, over the dessert, culled for Mrs. Orford that bouquet of
compliments for which she had been pining all day long.

At the request of her mother, Emily played and sang; and Captain
Harcourt bestowed that languid applause which men of fashion frequently
affect. His ears were enchanted by her voice, but he skilfully kept
his raptures under control. Emily's sketches, too, were also exhibited
for Captain Harcourt's inspection and criticism, and he was pleased to
speak of them as "rather good--not at all bad."

On taking leave of Mrs. Orford and her daughter, the Captain shook the
former's hand very graciously, but gave Emily only two fingers and a
very low bow.

On the following day Captain Harcourt met Mrs. Orford and her daughter
on the beach. As he approached, Emily blushed, and involuntarily
trembled. She knew not why, but she felt ill, and could scarcely
refrain from bursting into tears. Captain Harcourt spoke to Emily in a
patronising tone of voice, and with the air of a man who feels that his
words are valuable. Emily was annoyed; but she could not hate the man.
She had now an interest in him. And why? He had piqued her, provoked
her.

It is hard to say at what age folly is likely to end in women who have
been greatly admired in their youthful days. Mrs. Orford was actually
proud that Captain Harcourt preferred her conversation to that of
her daughter, and had she been a widow, she would have accepted him as
a second husband, had he proposed to her.

On taking leave that evening on the beach, Captain Harcourt bestowed
upon Emily a warmer shake of the hand than he had given her on the
previous night, and smiled upon her. Emily was not prepared for this.
It took her by surprise; and the gentle pressure she experienced
thrilled through every vein, and made her heart beat violently.

Emily could not sleep that night; she lay awake thinking of Captain
Harcourt. She could now feel for poor Charles Everest, for Mr.
Hastings, and for Captain Deesing, since she had conceived a love for a
man who regarded her with indifference, or who was only civil to her,
out of mere charity. More than once she summoned all her pride, and
tried to laugh at herself for thinking of Captain Harcourt; but that
luscious poison of love had entered into her blood, and in vain did she
attempt to eject it.

It was Emily's wont to rise early, and walk with her maid by the sea
shore. While she was dressing on the morning which followed that
most eventful evening of her life, oh! how she longed that she might
meet Captain Harcourt!--that she might see him, even if it were at a
distance! Emily did see him; and when she bowed to him he raised his
hat, gave a formal inclination of his head, and, with a smile on his
face, passed on.

Captain Harcourt had far more cunning than any of those gentlemen who
had aspired to Emily Orford's affections. He knew that the shortest
and safest way to a woman's heart and soul was the longest way round,
and by the most intricate path. That she was an heiress, and that her
father was a man possessed of great parliamentary interest, he had
already informed himself.

When Captain Harcourt was convinced that Emily really loved him--after
he had observed her keep her eyes upon him for hours together at
several parties--he proceeded with immense tact to rivet (if that
were necessary) the regard which Emily entertained for him; and one
afternoon, when she was walking, alone, on the beach, he came up
suddenly and offered his arm.

"I am afraid, Miss Orford, you must often have thought me very uncouth;
but, alas! you little know what pain the demeanour I have felt bound
to assume has caused me. I am about to leave this place to-morrow, and
the chances are we may never meet again, for my regiment is abroad, and
I must join it; but before we part, let me assure you, that I have not
been insensible of your beauty, your talents, your great and varied
accomplishments; nor have I been a stranger to the goodness of your
heart. I am a proud man, and I have struggled hard to conceal that I
loved you, because I would not run the risk of being repulsed by one,
the name of whose rejected lovers must already be legion. I would ask
you, as a favour, not to think ill of me after I am gone." And he
gently took her hand, and held it in his own.

Emily leaned heavily upon Captain Harcourt's arm, and looked up into
his large dark eyes. She could not speak just then, but presently she
said, "Do not go to-morrow. Stay here a little longer."

"Can it be that your heart beats a response to mine?" he inquired, with
well-feigned wonder.

"Yes," and again she looked into his eyes.

By this time they had rounded the cliff. Not a soul was near them. They
were soon pledged to each other, and their pledges witnessed by the
wild waves which came dancing to their feet.

Emily was a member of the Catholic Church--so was her mother--though
her father was a Protestant. She made this known to Captain Harcourt,
who, to her unspeakable joy, did not regard her faith in the light of
an impediment to their union. And then the Captain quoted to her those
passionate lines of Moore:--


"On some calm placid shore we'll dwell,
Where 'tis no crime to love too well;
Where thus to worship tenderly
An erring child of light like thee
Would not be sin; or if it be,
Where we might weep our faults away
Together kneeling night and day;
Thou, for my sake, at Alla's shrine,
And I at any God's for thine!"


"I have to fear, dearest," said Captain Harcourt, "that at present it
would be premature to mention our attachment to your excellent mother.
For a brief while let it be a secret known only to ourselves. We can
meet every morning early, and every afternoon at about this hour; and
at our leisure we can settle our plans, dearest Emily. Yes. Since you
wish it, I will defer my departure."




CHAPTER III.

DAY after day Emily met Captain Harcourt, on the beach; and day after
day he tested her regard for him. A woman loses her pride as soon as
she ardently loves a man, (so far at least as between him and herself,)
and Emily put up with and endured more of Captain Harcourt's assumed
caprice and temper than most people would be inclined to credit. He
would sometimes talk of going off immediately by a post-chaise; and
the otherwise high spirited girl would implore him to remain, and
not leave her to die of a broken heart. He would at another time
recount the girls then at the watering-place who were anxious to elope
with him, and hint that he might yet be tempted; and Emily, who was
conscious of having done nothing to offend him, would endeavour to
assuage his well-acted irritability. Captain Harcourt would at other
times insinuate that Emily loved him not for himself, but for his
fortune, and his claim to a lofty title on the death of his uncle, the
Marquis; and when Emily denied this, he would cry "Humph!" and curl his
moustache with his finger and thumb.

In the innocence of her soul Emily had divulged to the Captain the
extent of her affection, and he had determined never to relax that
hold which the secret gave him. Her fears that he would leave her, and
blight her love, had imparted to Captain Harcourt the bravery of a
bully. She often dreaded to meet him on the sands, and yet if he did
not keep his engagement she was miserable for the remainder of the day.
It was not that Captain Harcourt was a man of ferocious disposition;
on the contrary, the amenity of his nature was very remarkable.

One morning, shortly after the Captain had created a difference, and
Emily's kind words had brought about a reconciliation, Captain Harcourt
stopped suddenly, and said, "Dearest, at the hour of two to-day, I must
leave this place. I must no longer delay. Dallying here has already
brought me into disgrace at the Horse Guards. If you will,--fly with
me. If not, we will say 'farewell,' for ever. A post-chaise will be
ready at the hour I mention; and at a quarter past two I will be at
the end of the lane, near your mother's house. We can be married in
Scotland, dearest. My relations will witness the ceremony; and ere
long your's will be reconciled. You know I love you, Emily--that I
worship you. Make up your mind."

"Dear Reginald," exclaimed Emily, "my parents never opposed my will.
My mother is kindly disposed towards you; and I am sure you would be a
favourite with my father."

"I am a strange fellow," said Captain Harcourt. "From childhood, a
creature of impulse; and I shall be the same to the end of the chapter.
It was impulse that made me decline running off with the Marchioness
of Riggethimbley. It was impulse that made me break off a match with
Lady Clorinda Dimsingthorne, after the settlements were concluded.
(It is true I did not love her.) It was impulse that made me play for
the furniture and fittings-up of a gambling house, and made me lose
back £20,000, after I had broken the bank. It is for you, dearest,
to decide. Don't do anything in a hurry. There is time, Emily, for
consideration, between this and a quarter past two."

Emily decided, on the spot, that she would elope with Captain Harcourt.

Mrs. Orford and her daughter were engaged to spend that day with some
friends, but when twelve o'clock came, Emily said she had a headache,
and Mrs. Orford left her house accompanied only by a servant.

Emily was now distracted between her love and her duty. At one moment
she decided on abandoning Captain Harcourt, and clinging to those who
had, from her infancy, shown her nothing but tenderness and affection.
The next moment she would rush into her room, and make preparations for
a journey.

The hour of two came. She had but a few minutes to decide. It was
impossible to pluck her love from out her bosom--and how could she thus
desert her parents?

Five minutes past two! She could not run away. She began to unpack
hastily her carpet bags, and replace her dresses in the drawers of her
wardrobe; but before the task was done, dear Reginald's eyes seemed to
gleam upon her, and she repacked the bags.

Ten minutes past two! She heard the sound of carriage wheels. A
carriage had passed the door! She seized her bags--rushed out of the
gate, to the end of the lane--met Reginald, who handed her into the
post-chaise, and kissed her. She fainted on his shoulder as soon as she
was seated.




CHAPTER IV.

THERE were no electric telegraph despatches in the days when Captain
Harcourt carried off Emily Orford--no special trains that could travel
at the rate of fifty miles an hour. The fastest conveyance was a
post-chaise, and when Mrs. Orford, at four o'clock, was startled by the
intelligence that Emily had eloped, she was unable to find out what
road even the fugitives had taken. Nevertheless she displayed some
show of a pursuit, and made the best of her way to London, where she
informed her husband of what had taken place.

Mr. Orford was naturally furious. In vain did Mrs. Orford declare that
Captain Harcourt was a most gentlemanlike person; that he was very
rich, highly connected, and much courted in society.

Emily was advertised and described in the papers, and a reward of
£500 was offered to any person or persons who would prevent the
solemnisation of matrimony between herself and the person with whom she
had eloped. But these precautions were of no avail. The old blacksmith
at Gretna-green had tied the knot before the advertisement appeared at
any great distance from London, and Captain Harcourt, in the ecstacy of
his joy, presented the blacksmith with a bank note for £50.

Captain Harcourt, that child of impulse had (to use a vulgar phrase)
"heaps of money" and he squandered it with an open-handedness which
surprised even Emily, who had been accustomed to witness a somewhat
prodigal liberality on the part of her father; and she playfully
rebuked "Reginald," several times, for his profuseness, but he only
kissed her in reply, and remarked, "What does it signify, Emily,
dearest? In what consists the value of wealth but the enjoyment it
affords?"

What struck Emily as very strange was this. When Reginald was courting
her he was so cross, so irritable, and so overbearing; but now that she
was his wife, and completely in his power, he was all submission, and
the most good-tempered and obliging creature imaginable. "So unlike
most men," she reflected, "who are all honey when they are lovers, but
vinegar itself soon after they are married. Dear Reginald!" Emily
patted the head of the Captain, who pretended to be sleeping, ran
her tapering fingers through his luxuriant whiskers, and kissed his
forehead.

Reginald shuddered beneath her touch. Emily fancied he was disturbed
in his dreams by some horrid vision, and she awakened him. Reginald
started up, glared at his wife, and said, "Remember, dearest Emily,
nothing shall ever part us. I love you from the very bottom of my
heart. Your father is a member of Parliament, and has enormous
influence at the Home Office. Forgive me, darling, if ever I spoke
unkindly to you."

They were now on their way to Matlock from Gretna-green.

At Matlock, Emily, at Captain Harcourt's dictation, wrote several
letters to her parents. From her father she never had a reply; but from
her mother she received a note in these words--"Emily,--We have brought
ourselves to think of you like the rest of our offspring."

"I say," said Captain Harcourt, on reading this laconic epistle, "it
won't pay for them to shake us off in that fashion. Our exchequer won't
bear that, my girl. We must try a penitent touch. We will give 'em a
quasi pro confesso go of the pathetic, with a dash of the appeal to
a sense of pride, beating on the merits. Was it for this that I told
the old lady, on what I considered the best authority, that George the
Fourth turned out the Ministry, because the Secretary of State for
Foreign Affairs would not consent to having her husband made a baronet,
so much was his Majesty struck with her personal beauty, when she
appeared at the drawing-room? Oh, hang it, Emmy, this will never do!"

Emily could not understand either the tone or the substance of
Reginald's observations; but then, Reginald was often so incoherently
funny, that she did not attempt to unravel his sentences. She therefore
contented herself with smiling, and saying, "Never mind, dearest
Reginald; when you come in for your title, on your uncle's death, my
mother, who is very proud and vain--bless her dear heart!--will be only
too glad to acknowledge and receive us; and, if it be possible, we
shall be happier then than we are now, my own dear Reginald."

"What sort of a man is your father, really?" inquired Captain Harcourt.
"Is he a man of warm feelings, generously disposed?"

Emily described her father truly, as "the kindest and most
liberal-minded man in the world, and very intellectual withal, but
rather obstinate and determined."

"That's all right," said Captain Harcourt; "then I know how to deal
with him." And the Captain, who was rather overcome by constant
refreshment taken during that day, sat down, and, in a handwriting
resembling copper-plate, wrote the following.


"EDMUND ORFORD, ESQ., M.P., &c. &c. &c.

"SIR,

Pardon me; but I desire to make an explanation: I am sure you will
forgive me.

The faults of love by love are justified,
With unresisted might the monarch reigns,
He levels mountains and he raises plains,
And, not regarding difference of degree,
Abased your daughter and exalted me.

"Yours obediently,

"REGINALD HARCOURT."


It is needless, perhaps, to say that Mr. Orford never took the
slightest notice of this communication. It confirmed his previously
conceived opinion, that "Captain Harcourt" was some low blackguard--an
impostor and a swindler.




CHAPTER V.

CAPTAIN and Mrs. Harcourt went to Brighton, and there rented a house
in a very quiet neighbourhood. For several months Emily was as happy
as a woman constantly in the society of a man whom she loves can make
herself. She now and then regretted that she had left her home so
abruptly, but a kind word from her husband speedily put her sorrow to
flight.

The Captain told Emily that it was his intention to "sell out," since
he feared taking her to such a bad climate as that of the West Indies,
where his regiment was quartered; and he wrote several letters to the
Horse Guards on the subject of retiring from the service, and gave
Emily to understand that he was going out to post them; but instead of
doing this, he tore them up in a public-house, and converted them into
pipe-lights; for wedlock had in no way diminished the Captain's taste
for tobacco and gin-and-water.

Over his pipe and his glass, in the back parlour of a tavern, Captain
Harcourt would sit gloomily. He appeared to have something on his
mind, and to feel relieved by these stolen visits to the various
public-houses. The aroma consequent on smoking and drinking he
dispelled by chewing lemon-peel previous to rejoining his wife; and
from this the reader will conclude that the Captain was not altogether
destitute of consideration for Emily's feelings.

One morning at breakfast, Captain Harcourt suddenly threw down the
newspaper which he was reading, became deadly pale and much agitated.

Emily was alarmed, and wished to send for a doctor. "No, dearest," the
Captain said; "it is only a passing spasm. I shall be better presently."

During the whole of that day, however, the Captain seemed very unwell.
He complained of a bad headache, and a pain in the side,--expressed
a fear that the air of Brighton did not agree with him, and proposed
seeking a change by going that night to Portsmouth. Emily, who never
opposed Reginald's wishes, declared herself quite ready. A post-chaise
was instantly ordered, their trunks speedily packed, and, at ten
o'clock, Captain and Mrs. Harcourt were away from Brighton.

"It was all the air," said the Captain, when they had travelled about
five miles. "I knew it was. I feel better already. My spirits are quite
buoyant. I feel now up to all sorts of fun." And to prove this, the
Captain took off Emily's bonnet, put it upon his own head, tied her boa
closely round his neck, and a scarf over his mouth, put on his wife's
spare cloak, thrust his hands into a muff, and said, "Emmy dear, should
I not make a capital woman? Put my hair in paper, dearest; three curls
on each side. Is it long enough, darling?"

"Oh, quite long enough, Reginald dear," said Emily; and by the moon's
light she gratified her husband's funny humour, and tightly twisted up
his hair, according to his directions, "three curls on each side."

Captain Harcourt did make an excellent woman, for a very inquisitive
and impertinent man, who had been following the post-chaise on
horseback, opened the door, and peered in, when they stayed to pay the
first toll, and, after satisfying his curiosity, said, "Two ladies: all
right. Beg your pardon."

The Captain's funny humour, this whim of his, lasted all night. He went
to sleep (?) in the curl papers and Emily's bonnet, and did not divest
himself of the female attire till daylight next morning.

"What a funny creature you are, Reginald," said Emily, while she was
combing out the Captain's curls.

"Always was," he replied. "Child of impulse, Emmy."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Having arrived in safety at Portsmouth, Captain and Mrs. Harcourt took
a small cottage, and enjoyed the sweets of solitude for several weeks.
But one night, alas! a coarse man, in top-boots and corduroy breeches,
and a blue double-breasted coat, with brass buttons upon it, without
being announced, broke in upon them, and said, in the most familiar
manner, to the Captain, "Hulloa, my pippin! Oh! Charley!"

Captain Harcourt was naturally very indignant, and asked the intruder
what he meant. The intruder in reply put out his tongue at the Captain,
squinted hideously, and drew from his pocket a piece of parchment.

Captain Harcourt protested that it was all a mistake; and Emily's anger
now being aroused, she desired the intruder to leave the house.

"I will do that immediately, mam," said the intruder; "but you'll
excuse me for saying that this gentleman, the Captain--Captain
Harcourt--mam--the Captain, mam--the Captain must go along with me.
Particular business demands it, mam."

"Emily, dearest," said Captain Harcourt, in a whisper, "I am not the
first person in the world that has been subjected to inconvenience by a
false identity. It once happened to the great Duke of Marlborough--ay,
royalty itself has not escaped. Compose yourself, dearest. By going at
once it will be the sooner over. The law shall be altered. I will soon
be back. Now, don't cry, that's a darling."




CHAPTER VI.

EMILY fancied that her husband had been arrested for the debt of
some other person. She had no idea of the truth--that he had been
apprehended on a criminal charge. He had been absent ten days
and had never written to her. She did not reproach him, because she
imagined his time was wholly engaged in clearing up this unfortunate
mistake. Her fears were for poor Reginald's health. What pained her
most was that she could not write to him, for she did not know his
address; and this put her to some inconvenience, insomuch as he had
only left her a few pounds, which were now almost exhausted. All
their ready money, some two or three hundred pounds, Reginald had
thoughtlessly carried away with him.

Captain Harcourt, when at Portsmouth, used to receive regularly the
Examiner newspaper, and it was from this journal Emily learnt that,
under the name of Charles Roberts, her husband had been arraigned and
tried at the Central Criminal Court for having on a certain day forged
a certain deed, by which the Bank of England had been defrauded by the
said Charles Roberts of a certain sum of money, to wit, the sum of
£7,850. And alas! she further learnt that he had been found guilty,
and sentenced to be transported to New South Wales for the term of his
natural life!

Charles Roberts, alias Reginald Harcourt, had retained as his
counsel Mr. Hastings, the "rising barrister," who had formerly been
a suitor for Emily's hand, and most ably did his counsel perform his
painful but bounden duty. Mr. Hastings' speech--which Emily entirely
agreed with, fancying that it came from the counsel's heart--was
ingenious and eloquent in the extreme; but the evidence was much too
clear, and the proof of Roberts's identity (the great point in dispute)
much too strong to be shaken by an artful cross-examination, or
explained away by rhetorical flourishes.

Emily could not believe that her husband was guilty of the offence,
and, having pawned her watch and dressing-case, at the suggestion of
one of her servants, she hasted to town. She did not dare to visit
her father; she knew his stern, unbending disposition too well to
warrant her harbouring a thought or cherishing a hope that he would
ever forgive her or raise his voice on behalf of her unfortunate
husband. And, harder still, she felt that her mother's implacability
would not be one whit inferior to that of Mr. Orford himself. She had
many friends in London, yet she knew not which of them to consult in a
matter so difficult and so peculiarly delicate. At length it occurred
to her that she could not do better than select the gentleman who had
expressed at the trial such positive opinions respecting Reginald's
innocence.

Emily had listened with a cold ear to the outpourings of his warm
heart, and she had refused his hand, if not with disdain, with
something which very much resembled it: still, she determined to
plead for her husband at the feet of her rejected lover. It was easy
to procure his address. She found it in the Court Guide. "George
Hastings, King's Bench Walk, Temple."

With trembling hand Emily touched the knocker of the door, over which
this name was painted in large black letters. The door was opened by
a clerk, who informed Emily that Mr. Hastings was at present engaged
at a consultation, but if she pleased to wait until it was over she
could see him. Emily took a chair in the clerk's room; she could hear
Mr. Hastings' voice in the next apartment, not as she had been wont
to hear it, soft-toned and gentle, but loud, and rather imperious and
overbearing.

The consultation over, Emily heard the clerk say to Mr. Hastings,
"Please, sir, there's a lady wishes to see you."

"A what?" said Mr. Hastings, abruptly.

"A lady, please, sir," replied the clerk, timidly.

"What does she want?" inquired Mr. Hastings.

"To see you, sir!"

"Why, you fool, you've told me that already. What is her business?"

"That I don't know, sir. I tried to find out. But I couldn't glean it,
sir."

"Has she come alone?"

"Yes, sir."

"Well, admit her."

"If you please, ma'am, will you walk this way?" said the clerk to Emily.

Who shall describe the emotions of the man when his eyes fell upon
the woman whom he still devotedly loved; when he beheld her, pale and
agitated, sink into a chair and give vent to a violent flood of tears;
when he heard her, far more eloquent than he had been at the trial,
protesting the innocence of the most artful and worthless villain whom
it had ever been his, Mr. Hastings', lot to defend? Mr. Hastings could
not explain to Emily that his opinions, which she quoted to him, were
intended only for the jury, and that no one more entirely concurred in
the justice of the verdict than he, Mr. Hastings, did. In pity for her
sufferings he made no attempt to dispel the delusion under which she
was labouring. Emily begged of him to use his influence and cause the
sentence to be reversed, and she piteously extracted from him a promise
that he would befriend her in her serious difficulties. And she asked
him where "poor Reginald" was to be found. Mr. Hastings had not the
courage to tell her this. "Reginald" was in the hulks, dressed in the
attire of a convict, and shorn of his moustache and long, silky, dark
brown hair.

Emily called the next day at the chambers in King's Bench Walk, and was
informed by the clerk that Mr. Hastings had been obliged to leave town
suddenly, and would not return for several weeks!

Charles Everest was now a clerk in the Home Office. Mr. Hastings, in
reply to a question put by Emily, had stated that the Home Secretary
was the only person who had the power of saving her husband. Emily
sought an interview with Charles Everest, and Charles Everest spoke to
the Home Secretary. The Home Secretary could not, of course, listen to
his intercession.

On her way from the Home Office to her lodging, Emily met, near the
Horse Guards, a captain in the navy--Captain Bruce--an old and intimate
friend of the Orford family. Emily unbosomed her sorrows to Captain
Bruce, but he was unable to offer her any assistance or advice, except
that which she could not follow.




CHAPTER VII.

CAPTAIN BRUCE took Emily to his home in the country, where himself,
his wife, and his daughters, endeavoured to make her troubles less
difficult to bear. Here Emily had a serious illness, and during its
continuance her reason frequently deserted her. When she recovered, she
expressed a wish to follow her convict husband, in whose innocence she
still firmly believed, to New South Wales, and share his lot, whatever
it might be. The folly, the madness of this proposal were forcibly
pointed out by Captain and Mrs. Bruce, and by other friends. But Emily
still remained steadfast in her resolve.

Captain Bruce, who was not rich, had a large family to support. To
convey Emily to Australia was more than his means could compass. He
therefore resorted to a subscription among his most intimate friends,
and succeeded in raising the sum of £125.

Captain Bruce saw Emily on board the ship which was to carry her to
New South Wales, and was shocked to think that such a gentle, graceful
being, who had been brought up from her infancy with so much tenderness
and care, should be thus thrown amongst the mass of people then
standing on the vessel's deck. Some hundreds of trunks and carpet bags
were strewed about in all directions. Scores of voices were raised in
contention with the mates and other persons in authority on board. Men,
women, and children, in rags, were wandering about, inquiring where
they were to be stowed. Some looked as though they had seen better
days, and regretted leaving their native land, now that they were about
to sail; others, as though their days and nights had been spent in
debauchery, and that any change that might come must be for the better.
Emily appeared to take little heed of the miserable creatures around
her. She was indifferent about her own comfort, and dead to everything
except the desire of seeing and again living with her husband.

       *       *       *       *       *

Emily was under the impression that she would have a cabin to herself,
but of this idea her mind was speedily disabused. She had only "a
berth" in an apartment between decks, in common with nine other
females, steerage passengers. She was rather disappointed at this; but
her joy at the idea of being at last actually on the way to Sydney, to
join dear Reginald, would not suffer the inconvenience to which she was
subjected to give her any serious annoyance.

Four of Emily's cabin companions were women of respectable appearance
and steady mien; three were persons of doubtful character and frivolous
manners, while the remaining two, from the style of their conversation,
and the grossness of their discourse, must have led the most dissolute
and abandoned of lives. Emily often trembled and shuddered at their
horrid stories, which she could not help hearing, for these two women
invariably talked in a loud tone, as though they were rather proud of
their opinions, and thought it a pity that any of them should be lost
by the limited community of which they formed a part.

One evening, near the equator, Emily observed that the playful banter
in which these eloquent damsels were indulging, was about to lead to
a violent encounter, and she ventured, in the kindest and gentlest
manner possible, to address them, in the hope--not of adjusting their
differences--that would have been impossible, for they invariably
quarrelled about nothing--but of averting a disgraceful outbreak.
The consequence of Emily's interference was, that she brought upon
herself the combined forces of these capricious women, who, disturbed
in the amusement which quarrelling seemed to afford them, first asked
her--or rather said they should "like to know" who she was--what
she meant--what business she had to put her finger into other people's
pies; and before Emily had time to reply--even had she been able to do
so--they called her a variety of names, of which--fortunately for her
own peace of mind--she had not the most remote idea of the meaning.
Emily made no complaint of this treatment, but the captain of the
vessel happening to be informed of it, immediately made arrangements
which secured for her both privacy and comparative comfort during the
remainder of the voyage.

When the land was sighted Emily became agitated and nervous. All
sorts of horrible fancies filled her distracted mind. Amongst other
things, she feared her husband might have sunk under the weight of his
misfortunes, and died in a distant land without any friend near him to
close his eyes, and administer comfort to his departing spirit.

Emily had of late frequently conversed with Captain Dent, the commander
of the Lady Jane Grey, and had received many little attentions and
kindnesses at his hands. Being herself perfectly ignorant of everything
relating to the colony, and as Captain Dent had been frequently to the
port of Sydney, she made bold to question him one afternoon, when a
good opportunity presented itself, respecting a few matters on which
she needed some definite information.

Emily prefaced her questions with a brief sketch of her history, and
failed not to dwell particularly upon the innocence of her husband,
whom she declared had been transported entirely by mistake. This part
of her narrative Captain Dent did not implicitly believe; but he could
see that Emily was quite sincere in her protestations.

Captain Dent was a kind-hearted, fatherly old gentleman, and he pitied
Emily, felt for her as though she had been a child of his own. He
promised her that she should be comfortably housed on her arrival in
Sydney, and pledged himself to spare no pains, as soon as he could
afford time, in ascertaining in what part of the colony her husband
might be located. Emily fancied she might ascertain this by inquiring
at the post-office, but Captain Dent very delicately gave her to
understand that persons in her husband's unfortunate predicament had
rarely any settled address, and that it was sometimes rather difficult
to find them, although everybody knew they were somewhere in the
colony.

"For instance," said Captain Dent, "he may be in Sydney, or he may be
in Parramatta, or in Windsor, or at Bathurst, or on some farm in the
distant interior."

"On some farm!" said Emily. "No, I don't think dear Reginald would turn
farmer; though I should like him to do so, I confess; for we could then
live on some secluded spot, where we might never see a soul from one
year's end to another."




CHAPTER VIII.

THE emigrant ship dropped her anchor in the harbour of Port Jackson.
Had Emily's mind been at ease, how busy would she have been, sketching
the magnificent scenery that now met her view.

Numbers of persons came on board, and most of the emigrants were
engaged at once; those who were not so fortunate landed to search for
employ. Amongst the latter were the two young women who had behaved so
badly to Emily, and conducted themselves so boisterously on the voyage.
Captain Dent took Emily to the house of a very respectable widow, who
used to let furnished apartments. It was at her house, when he lived on
shore, that Captain Dent had, for years past, taken up his abode. He
advised Emily, as they walked up George-street, not to mention to the
widow anything concerning her husband, and remain as quiet as possible.

"Why?" inquired Emily.

"You had better not say anything about your husband," repeated
Captain Dent. He longed to tell her, but had not the heart to wound
her feelings, that persons who, like the widow, had gone out "free"
to Australia would object to receive into their houses, under any
circumstances, the wife of a person under sentence of transportation.
"Remain quiet," urged the old Captain, "until I see you again. It may
be to-morrow evening."

When Captain Dent had left her, and returned to the ship, Emily felt
unable to keep her promise. She could not rest, tired as she was with
the exertion of packing up her trunks and preparing to land. Reginald,
she thought, might be within a short distance of her--perhaps in the
same street, or even next door--who could tell? Dear Reginald! Oh,
what happiness to meet him that night! To put his long dark hair off
his beautiful white forehead, and kiss the poor innocent dear who was
the victim of a base conspiracy! How could she exist in such painful
suspense? So she sent for the landlady, Mrs. White.

"Could you oblige me," said Emily, "with the sight of a directory? I
should be very much obliged to you if you would, Mrs. White. I wish to
find out the address of a gentleman whom I know."

"A directory, mum?" said Mrs. White. "There's no directory published
in the colony; but we have almanacs. There's no need of directories,
mum; everybody knows where everybody else lives. If you'll tell me the
name of any gentleman, I have no doubt I shall be able to give you his
address."

"Oh! could you?" cried Emily, overcome by her anxiety, and seizing Mrs.
White by the hand. "His name is Harcourt--Reginald Harcourt."

"Captain Harcourt, mum?" said Mrs. White.

"Yes, Captain Harcourt!" said Emily. "Do tell me, where is he to be
found?"

"Captain Harcourt, mum, whom I know very well, is not in Sydney just
now. When in Sydney, he lives in the barracks in his quarters; but he
married only a few days ago, and he has gone into the country with his
bride!"

"Married!" cried Emily--"married! impossible! How could he marry, when
I am his wife?"

"It must be some one else, mum, whom you mean," said Mrs. White.
"Captain Harcourt has been very wild, and often does very funny things,
and enjoys a joke, like most of the officers; but I don't think he
would commit bigamy. That's rather too much of a good thing."

"Do you know any other Captain Harcourt?" asked Emily, in an agony of
impatience.

"No, mum," said Mrs. White. "The only Captain Harcourt in the colony, I
believe, is the Captain Harcourt I have spoken of."

"Describe him--do describe him," said Emily; for she really began to
have some misgivings that Reginald had forgotten her and himself. "Tell
me, Mrs. White, is he tall?--handsome?--clever?"

"No, mum; he is short, stout, and plain," replied Mrs. White. "As to
'cleverness,' I can't say; of that I am no judge; but he is a great
favourite with the ladies."

Though Emily's mind was at once relieved of the horrible idea that
"dear Reginald" might possibly have married some other lady to keep his
house, and look after his comforts, still her anxiety to be informed of
his whereabouts was increased rather than diminished.

"And you know of no other Captain Harcourt or Mr. Harcourt?" she
again asked Mrs. White.

"No, mum; I am quite sure there is no other person of the name in the
colony," said Mrs. White.

"See here," said Emily, wildly. "I will tell you all, Mrs. White; and
then you may be able to assist me. Pray sit down. Excuse my troubling
you in this way; but if you only knew" (here she burst into tears)
"what I have suffered, and what I now suffer, I am sure you would pity
me. Pray sit down, Mrs. White."

Mrs. White took a chair. Emily sat opposite to her, and divulged the
sad tale. She was several times interrupted by convulsive sobbing,
and Mrs. White was a good deal affected by the narrative. Mrs. White
acknowledged that she knew nothing of Roberts (Emily was obliged to say
that his accusers persisted in calling him Roberts); but if Emily could
give her the name of the ship which brought him to the colony, and the
date of his sailing from England, she said she could easily ascertain
by inquiring at the office in Hyde-park. Emily said the name of the
vessel was the Medora, and that it was exactly a year since her
husband had left home.

"The Medora!" said Mrs. White. "I have an assigned servant who came
out in that ship, and perhaps he may know something about him. They
generally do know all about their shipmates--to whom they are assigned,
or whether they are reserved for government's own employ, in the
offices, or dock-yards, or barracks."

"But a good deal depends on what he was at home," Mrs. White added. "If
he knows any trade----"

"Trade!" exclaimed Emily, interrupting her--"Trade! My husband was a
gentleman--an officer."

"Oh! indeed!" said Mrs. White, "I beg your pardon. Yes, you mentioned
that his name was Harcourt, and came out here by mistake for a person
called Roberts. In former days gentlemen were called 'specials,'
and were sent to a place called Wellington Valley; but there is no
distinction made now; all are treated alike, gentle and simple. All are
assigned to take their chance."

"How do you mean assigned?" inquired Emily.

"Why, when one wants servants, male or female," said Mrs. White, "one
applies for them, and government are only too glad to get them off
their hands. They do all your work, and you clothe them and feed them.
This young man who was assigned to me out of the Medora was very
well to do in Dublin, and his father, who is a clergyman, keeps his
carriage; but the young man was transported for some offence or other,
and was assigned to me."'

"Poor young man!" said Emily. "And perhaps he was just as innocent as
my husband was."

"I have no doubt of that," returned Mrs. White, meaning what she said,
but not in the sense in which Emily received the remark.

"And do you think he knows what has become of my Reginald?" inquired
Emily.

"Most likely," said Mrs. White. "He will be home presently, and I will
ask him."

"And how do you employ the young man?" said Emily.

"He chops the wood, cleans the boots and shoes, and the knives, runs
errands, answers the door, and makes himself generally useful; and
if he doesn't, I stop his tea and sugar, and put him on gov'ment
allowance--ten pound of flour and seven pound of beef a-week, and make
him cook it himself," said Mrs. White.

"Poor thing!" cried Emily, shuddering from head to foot, lest she
should hear that "Reginald" was in similar circumstances.

A woman came in, and delivered some message to her mistress. When she
had left the room, Emily inquired--

"Is that woman a convict?"

"Yes," said Mrs. White; "but never use the word 'convict' unless you
are in a passion, and wish to wound their feelings. 'Convict' is a
word they cannot bear. Always speak of them as 'assigned servants,' or
'Prisoners of the Crown;' these are milder terms, you know."

Mrs. White heard the man-servant's voice in the kitchen, and said to
Emily, "If you will excuse me for a few minutes I will see if Nelson
has returned."

"Nelson," said Mrs. White, "was there a man named Roberts, alias
Harcourt on board the Medora?"


[Nelson, according to his own account, was the eldest son of a rector
in Ireland, who belonged to the elder branch of the family rendered so
illustrious by our greatest naval hero. This statement, however, was
open to very grave question, for not only had Nelson's education been
confined to the merest rudiments; and not only was his countenance of a
cast which was prodigiously plebeian, but he had been transported for
an offence which, to say the least of it, was not by any means such
as a gentleman "born and bred" would ever think of committing. It was
for picking an old woman's pocket at a fair of a silk handkerchief, a
bunch of keys, and a brass thimble. But, insomuch as most young men in
similar circumstances, and especially those from Ireland, were prone
to indulge in making out that they were "very well connected at home,"
some excuse may be made for Nelson's desire to exalt himself at the
expense of his veracity. Not that it made much difference with Mrs.
White.]


"Yes, mum," said Nelson, in reply to Mrs. White's question. "Roberts,
alias Harcourt. He was a flash fellow, who was lagged for forgery:
he used to boast of having great parliamentary influence, which was
to procure him a free pardon and apartments in Government House on
landing. He was employed in the Auditor-General's office, being a
clever hand with his pen; but he soon misconducted himself, and was
put into barracks. After that he was drawn by Mr. Dawson, of Campbell
Town, and put to pig-feeding; but he has run away, it seems, and is
advertised in to-day's Gazette, with a reward of £10 offered for his
apprehension."

"Run over the way, and see if you can borrow the paper," said Mrs.
White. "Don't be long."

Nelson went, and in a few minutes returned with the paper. There could
be no mistake about the person. The advertisement ran as follows:--


"Wheras, my assigned servant, Charles Roberts, alias Harcourt,
per ship Medora, under sentence of transportation for life,
absconded from my employ, on the night of the 13th instant, this
is to give notice, that a reward of £10 sterling will be paid to
any person or persons who will give such information as will lead
to his apprehension. Description: name, Charles Roberts, alias
Harcourt; ship, Medora; sentence, life; height, 5 feet 11¾; age,
33; complexion, fair; eyes, hazel; hair, dark brown; whiskers, black;
figure, slight; trade or calling, lawyer's clerk; marks, small scar on
upper lip, scar on the back of left hand, mole on the left breast.

"N.B.--The absentee has white and very regular teeth, plausible manners
and graceful bearing; at the time he ran away he was dressed in a
striped shirt, duck trowsers, white smock frock, high low shoes, Scotch
cap, and a blue bird's-eye pocket-handkerchief tied round his neck. He
is supposed to have gone to Sydney, with a view of making his escape
from the colony.

"JAMES DAWSON, Campbell Town."


"What a villain!" exclaimed Mrs. White, putting down the paper. "I
should not be surprised to hear he has turned bushranger."

"No chance of that, mum," said Nelson. "He was one of those fellows who
would talk the hind-leg off a dog, but would not have the courage to
face a small boy or a big mosquito. Laziness has made him run away; and
when he sees the advertisement in the paper he will get frightened, and
give himself up, mum."

Mrs. White was afraid to give Emily these tidings of her husband, lest
they should cause her a fit of illness and detain her in the house for
some days. She could not help pitying Emily, but felt that it would be
extremely prejudicial to her own interests to permit a person whom she
knew to be the wife of a convict, and that convict a runaway--perhaps
a bushranger--to stay under her roof, even for a short time, as a
lodger. Mrs. White, therefore, returned to Emily, and regretted that
her servant Nelson could give no information of Roberts's locality. She
then recommended Emily to take some repose, and be prepared to get up
very early in the morning and accompany her (Mrs. White) to the house
of a person who was a clerk in a government office, and who would be
sure to know where her husband was to be found.

"Could we not go to-night, if you are not too much fatigued?" inquired
Emily.

"Impossible!" said Mrs. White. "The person whom I mean lives a long way
off. Go to rest now, and you will rise quite refreshed, and able to set
out on your journey in the morning."

Emily went to bed, but could not sleep. If she closed her eyes for
a moment, the most frightful visions presented themselves. She saw
her husband dancing before her in chains, or standing on a platform
which they told her was a gallows; or, tied to a cart's tail, he was
being flogged, and his blood streaming on the road; or, flying from
his pursuers, he was shot, wounded in several parts of the body, and
dragged to prison by the hair of his head. Thus disturbed, she remained
awake the whole night, till the daylight, for which she so anxiously
watched, came streaming through the chinks in the shutters. Emily
sprang up, and hurriedly attired herself; but just as she was putting
on her bonnet, the woman servant knocked at her door.

"Oh, pray come in!" cried out Emily; "I am quite ready. Come in, Mrs.
White."

The servant entered, and said, "Please, mum, it's me. I am sorry to
say missis was taken very dangerously ill in the night, mum. We had to
fetch the doctor, and thought she would have died, mum. We were going
to wake you, mum, at one time, to come down and see missis; but we
did not like to disturb you, mum, as we thought you were tired."

"I wish you had called me--I was awake," said Emily. "But I hope she is
better now?"

"Oh yes, mum, thank you, missis is a little better," replied the
woman; "but the doctor says, mum, that she must be moved immediately
off the ground floor where she now is; and there is no other room but
this, mum."

"Dear me, how unfortunate!" exclaimed Emily, abstractedly, gazing out
of the window. "Oh, of course," added she, recollecting herself, "I
will vacate the room at once; put me anywhere you please."

"But unfortunately, mum, we have nowhere to put you," said the woman.
"The room that missis is now in must be given up to the nurse, who has
been sent for. She has a little girl that always comes with her, mum,
and she cannot do without a room to herself."

"Do you know of any other respectable lodgings?" inquired Emily.

"No, mum, I do not," said the servant (for her mistress had told her
exactly what to say). "But it strikes me, mum, that the best thing you
could do would be to go on board the ship, where you could have a nice
cabin, now that the passengers are all out of her, and there stay, mum,
till missis is better, or till you can get a house. As missis is now
asleep, mum, I can go with you to the wharf, and hire a waterman's boat
for you, which will take you on board, and Nelson will wheel your boxes
on the barrow, mum."

Emily instantly adopted the suggestion, and thanked the woman for her
kind offer. "At all events," the unhappy lady reasoned, "I shall see
Captain Dent the sooner, and he may have heard something by this time
about my poor Reginald."




CHAPTER IX.

WHAT was Captain Dent's astonishment on seeing Emily and her boxes
alongside the Lady Jane Grey. The vessel was lying out in the
stream, and no companion ladder was yet rigged. The chair was lowered,
and Emily once more stood upon the deck, where all was in the same
state of confusion that she beheld on embarking at Gravesend. When
she told the Captain what had passed on the previous night, he could
easily comprehend Mrs. White's sudden and serious illness. He was vexed
that Emily had been so imprudent as to tell Mrs. White so much of her
history, especially as she had been warned not to do so; but, poor
creature, he thought she had enough agony of mind to bear already,
without having her sufferings aggravated by any useless reproaches; and
he therefore withheld them.

Emily's eyelids were red and swollen with weeping; her cheeks very
pale, and her limbs so feeble, she could scarcely stand.

Captain Dent ordered Emily's boxes to be placed in one of the stern
cabins, and caused to be removed from his own, a couch, a table,
and an easy chair. The chief mate contributed a looking-glass and a
toilet-table; and the second mate gave her some red damask curtains
to keep out the glare of noon-day, and obstruct the view of persons
approaching or leaving the ship.

"You must not tease me now," said the Captain to Emily in a gentle tone
of voice, and with a cheering smile on his lips. "You must have some
breakfast in your cabin, and then you must take a composing draught,
and lie down. You had no sleep last night. At two o'clock we will dine,
and then I will manage to go on shore with you, and devote myself to
your service."

Emily, who was fairly exhausted with fatigue, felt like a child in the
hands of the Captain, and promised to obey all his commands. She took
the draught and slept soundly, through all the noise and bustle on
board the ship.

       *       *       *       *       *

Refreshed in mind and body, Emily awoke about one o'clock, and prepared
for dinner. The dress she wore on this occasion was a very becoming
one--a plain black silk, without any kind of ornament except a small
topaz brooch, "Reginald's" first present to her. The people on board
had never seen her look so well or so cheerful. She was still, perhaps,
under the influence of the opiate--that is to say, the happy feeling
which the drug often produces had not entirely departed.

Captain Dent and Emily landed at a place called Dawes's Battery, at
about a quarter past three in the afternoon. Thence they proceeded,
on foot, through the government domain, towards that part of the town
where they were most likely to find a small furnished cottage to be
let on moderate terms. On the way Captain Dent espied, at a distance,
a gang of convicts heavily ironed, and guarded by some half-dozen
soldiers, mending the roads. He immediately led his charge in another
direction, to avoid them, for he feared it was just possible that
"Reginald" might be one of that gang, and that Emily might recognise
him, when an unpleasant scene would to a certainty ensue. Before Emily
could be prevailed upon to look for a cottage, she wished the Captain
to take her to the office which Mrs. White had mentioned--the office
where she would learn her husband's address. The Captain objected to
this, insomuch as he thought it would be more satisfactory for him to
go alone to the office. Emily, however, was so earnest, so eloquent
in her entreaties, indeed she so piteously implored him, that he was
compelled to yield to her request. Accordingly, he shaped his course
for the office of the Superintendent of Police, where the name,
description, and character of every person who had been transported
to Sydney, from the foundation of the colony up to that date, were
duly registered. They arrived at and entered the office, Emily leaning
on Captain Dent's arm. He wished to leave her below while he went
upstairs, but she clung to him, and heard all that passed between
himself and one of the clerks, whom he addressed across a counter,
whereon were spread a number of books, like ledgers of colossal
proportions.

"Could you give me any information," said Captain Dent, "respecting a
person named Harcourt, or Roberts, who came out last year in the ship
Medora?"

"No, sir," said the clerk, smiling; "I wish I could."

"A tall gentleman, sir, with dark eyes," said Emily, anxious to assist
the clerk's memory.

"Oh, thank you, mum; I know the gentleman's description perfectly,"
said the clerk, "though I have not had the pleasure of seeing him."

"I thought you knew where every person who came to the colony in an
unfortunate position was to be found?" said Captain Dent.

"We know where they ought to be found," replied the clerk; "but they
don't always stop there."

At this moment a messenger brought into the office, and laid upon
the counter, a huge load of placards, printed in monster type. The
clerk withdrew one of these placards from a bundle labelled "Roberts,
alias Harcourt," and handed it to Captain Dent. This placard
contained the substance of the advertisement in the Gazette, and
it was about to be posted on the walls of every court, police-office,
prison, and market-place in every town in the colony, and upon many of
the prominent trees on the sides of the high-roads.

Emily's eyes hastily scanned the placard; but she had not read the
whole of it, when she clasped her hands, uttered a piercing shriek, and
fell senseless on the floor!

       *       *       *       *       *

In those days there were no vehicles for hire in the colony, and
Captain Dent had to walk with, or rather to carry, his unfortunate
charge through the streets. When they were on their way from the shore
to the ship, Emily, having recovered from her swoon, stared wildly at
the Captain, and then attempted to leap overboard; but the old man
kept his arm tightly around her waist, and in spite of her struggles
detained her in his grasp. The shock had been too much for her, and
she was now insane. It was with the greatest difficulty that she was
removed from the boat, and secured in the stern cabin.

In a few days Emily's insanity became less violent in character, and
gradually it assumed that melancholy form from which it is so difficult
to arouse the patient.

The Lady Jane Grey had suffered some injury on the voyage out, and
it was necessary to heave her down to repair it. This rendered it
impossible for Emily to remain any longer on board, and Captain Dent,
therefore, hired for her a small furnished cottage at the end of a
street called Castlereagh-street.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Lady Jane Grey had been repaired, filled with oil, wool, &c.,
and Captain Dent was now ready to sail, via Cape Horn. Again the old
man implored Emily to return with him to England. Her obstinacy, such
he termed it, had severely tried his patience, and one evening he spoke
of the convict Roberts as an incorrigible blackguard, who had married
her under false pretences and a false name, and who, therefore, had no
claim upon her affections. But Emily thought differently.

"Knowing as I do," said she, "that what you have just expressed,
Captain Dent, was dictated by the kindest feelings, and remembering, as
I do, how much gratitude I owe you, I cannot be angry; but I implore
you not to speak again unfavourably of a man whom I have loved, whom
I still love, and whom I shall continue to love, believing him to be
innocent. So long as he may remain in this uncouth and cruel land, here
also will I remain; and whatever may be his sufferings, he shall have
that consolation which a wife's sympathy ought ever to afford. I would
rather work beside him upon the roads, with fetters on my feet--share
with him the coarsest food, and a bed of straw, than return to the home
of my father or my friends, and partake of all the comforts, luxuries,
and gaiety that once fell to my lot."

With tears in his eyes the old ship captain raised Emily's thin hand to
his lips, and, kissing it affectionately, bade her "farewell."




CHAPTER X.

NELSON, Mrs. White's assigned servant, was out one evening on an
errand. Walking down "Brickfield Hill," he met Roberts, who was
disguised in person as well as in dress.

"Hulloa! is that you?" said Nelson.

Roberts started, and, giving Nelson a look which was meant to say, "You
have made a mistake," he moved on. Nelson followed him, and, walking by
his side, said, "It's of no use your attempting to deceive me. I know
you; but I am not going to split. Just come and treat me, and I will
tell you something which you'll be glad to hear, perhaps."

After looking round to see that there was no one near, Roberts, feeling
that he was in Nelson's power, replied, "Sam, I'll make it all right
with you."

The two convicts proceeded to a public-house, called the "Wheat Sheaf,"
where Roberts ordered half a pint of rum, and pipes and tobacco for
two. When they had seated themselves in the corner of the tap, and had
drunk "luck" to each other, Roberts commenced the dialogue.

"What's this you have to tell me?" he inquired.

"Perhaps you know," said Nelson.

"Perhaps I do," said Roberts: "but what is it?"

"It won't do beating about the bush," said Nelson, blowing a dense
cloud of smoke, and watching the festoons vanish as they neared the
ceiling.

"No," said Roberts, knocking the ashes out of his pipe upon the table;
"no, don't beat about the bush, Sam."

"I say, Charley," said Nelson, resting his elbows on the table, and
placing his chin between the palms of his hands, "where's your wife?"

Roberts replied, "I forget now where her last letter was dated from."

"Where is she, I say?" returned Nelson.

"At home in England with her friends," said Roberts; "unless she has
taken the office of Maid of Honour to the Queen, as perhaps she will
do, just to exert her influence, and procure my free pardon."

"That's all you know about it," said Nelson. "I've seen your wife,
talked to her, received coin from her hand. Believe me, or believe me
not, but it's true, so----"

"None of your nonsense," said Roberts.

"There you go, again!" cried Nelson.

"Don't talk so loud," said Roberts; "I am not deaf."

"Then hear this," said Nelson, in a whisper: "she is in Sydney, and if
you can make it worth my while, and will meet me at the market-place at
ten o'clock to-night, you shall see her at a quarter to eleven."

"You are chaffing me," said Roberts; "you want time to give the
office, and have me taken. You think it would make you good for a
ticket-of-leave. I see your dodge, Sam."

"No, Charley, believe me, on my honour, you are mistaken," said Nelson.
"I know I'm a convicted villain, but I have still a lingering regard
for friendship, and all that sort of thing; and what I have spoken is
the truth. Your wife is in Sydney. If you doubt it, I'll describe her."

"Do," said Roberts, eagerly, holding up his ear to catch Nelson's every
word.

"I'll do it as if she was, like you, Charley, a bolter, with a
ten-pounder offered for her apprehension by her missis in the
newspapers," said Nelson.

"Go on," said Roberts, impatiently.

"Name, Harcourt," said Nelson; "ship, Lady Jane Grey; trade or
calling, emigrant, age, twenty-two or twenty-three; height, five feet
seven; hair, dark brown; eyes, hazel; nose, slightly curved; mouth
small, with white teeth; complexion fair, but pale; long, thin neck,
and very small ears. Walks remarkably erect; wears on little finger of
left hand a white cornelian set in gold, and on third finger of ditto a
pearl ring as a guard to wedding-ring. Has a habit of saying, 'You are
very kind,' to anybody who does anything for her."

"Hold!" cried Roberts, his bosom swelling with the hope that Emily's
presence in Australia might be of service to him--"Where is she to be
found?"

"How much can you stand?" said Nelson, re-filling his pipe.

"I have only thirty shillings about me," said Roberts, "but she has
money, and you shall not complain of my want of liberality, Sam."




CHAPTER XI.

GEORGE FLOWER was a great character in the colony of New South Wales.
He had been transported for discharging, in cold blood, the contents of
a double-barrelled gun into the body of a young squire who had seduced
his sister. This misfortune had overtaken Flower when he was only
nineteen years of age. He was the son of a gamekeeper; and a handsomer
lad had rarely breathed. Flower had received a conditional pardon from
the Colonial Government for capturing, single-handed, three desperate
bushrangers, for whose apprehension a reward of one hundred pounds had
been offered in the Government Gazette. Flower was now a "sworn
constable," and as a thief-taker was without a rival in the colony. So
many attempts had been made upon his life, that, like Macbeth, Flower
used to boast of having a charmed existence. His sagacity was on a par
with his courage and personal prowess; and in many points he strikingly
resembled the blood-hound. He walked about the police-office in Sydney
with a swagger which spoke a consciousness of his superiority in his
profession. He was a hard drinker, but liquor rarely had any effect
upon him--that is to say, it never interfered with the exercise of
his faculties. Although he made a great deal of money by capturing
runaways and claiming rewards, Flower was always (to use his own
phrase) "without enough to pay turnpike for a walking-stick." Like
some other men in much loftier positions, his "attachments" were too
numerous and too transitory to admit of his living within his means. He
had no fixed residence; but was generally "to be found," about sunset,
at a public-house kept by a Jew, called Pollack, immediately opposite
to the police-office. Flower was just on the point of proceeding to
Parramatta, when Nelson approached him, and said:--

"Mr. Flower, I want to speak to you."

No great man was ever more easy of access than George Flower, and
no one more popular with informers, for he invariably acted "on the
square." His word was his bond; and he never made a promise, either
to do a favour for a friend, or bring about an enemy's ruin, without
completing it to the very letter. After hearing what Nelson had to
say, Flower ordered his horse to be put into the stable, and invited
Nelson to have a little dinner with him. It was a prominent feature in
Flower's character, that he had no petty pride--none of that vulgar
prejudice which most emancipated constables entertained, against men
in an actual state of bondage. It must also be mentioned that no
informer dared to name his price for putting Flower upon a scent. His
terms were well known: half-a-crown out of every pound.

"He has only been out a short time, you see," said Flower,
confidentially, "and at present he's hardly worth having--£10 from his
master, and £5 from the government. Are you quite sure he would never
grow into a bushranger, and be worth fifty from the government,
besides a ticket to anybody that wanted it--yourself for instance?"

"Never," said Nelson.

"What was he 'lagged' for?" said Flower.

"Forgery," said Nelson.

"Oh!" groaned Flower. "Then there's no hope of his taking to powder
and shot. Forgery! I never knew a forger that was worth his salt.
Forgery! perjury! larceny! bigamy!--all those crimes ending in 'y'
ought to be made death, and no reprieve. Why they send such fellows out
here, I don't know. What were you lagged for?"

"Stealing," said Nelson.

"Stealing! Under what circumstances?" said Flower. "Don't speak false.
I can find out, you know, in five minutes."

Nelson detailed the particulars of his offence, and Flower contemplated
him with a searching look of scorn and contempt.

"I hate a thief!" exclaimed George Flower, loudly to himself; but
suddenly recollecting that Nelson had just confessed himself one, he
said, in an apologetic tone, "I beg your pardon. Have another glass of
whisky."

It was finally arranged that Nelson was to convey Roberts to Emily's
cottage, and leave him there, at a quarter to eleven o'clock.




CHAPTER XII.

IT was a bleak night in July--the depth of the Australian winter. The
wind blew keenly from the south, lifting a hard, gritty dust, which
battered the faces of those who attempted to make headway against it.
It was ten o'clock, and the convict Roberts, at the corner of the
market-place, anxiously waited for Nelson, who was to conduct him to
the cottage where his wretched wife had taken up her abode. Roberts
heard footsteps, and trembled lest they should be those of some
constable who might take him into custody. He walked stealthily to the
other side of the street to wait for the subdued whistle, which it was
understood Nelson was to give as the signal of the coast being clear.
Presently Roberts heard that whistle, and neared his shipmate. Nelson,
having taken from Roberts every farthing that he had about him, led
the way. When they arrived at Emily's cottage, Roberts leaped over the
palings and looked through the crevices of the shutters. Emily was
seated at the table, reading her bible previous to retiring for the
night.

"All right, Sam, it is her," said Roberts to Nelson.

"Am I your friend, or am I not?" asked Nelson.

"You are," said Roberts. "Off with you!"

Nelson obeyed him, and in another moment was out of sight.

Roberts tapped at the shutter, and Emily, alarmed, inquired, "Who is
there?"

"It's me, Emmy darling! It is your Reginald, dearest!" said Roberts,
in a low voice. "Open the door, my own dear Emmy!"

Emily recognised the voice; but she could not believe her ears. "Who is
there!" she again demanded, to satisfy herself; and she placed her ear
close to the window.

"Reginald, my love--your own Reginald!" said the convict. "Don't make a
noise, dearest; open the door."

Emily's doubts were at once dispelled. She flew to the door, unlocked
it, and beheld once more her husband! Under other circumstances, his
altered appearance--his costume--his sunburnt face and hands--his
shabby clothes--would have struck her forcibly; but just then, when she
was in the arms of the man to whom she had given herself in passionate
and confiding love, she was so overcome with the feeling of joy that
they had once more met on the face of the earth, that she clung to him
as fondly as she did on the day when she became his bride.

"Tell me, dearest Reginald," said Emily, "tell me the truth--do not be
offended with me for questioning you--but do, with your own dear lips,
assure me that you have not been guilty of the crime they impute to
you; tell me truly, Reginald."

"I am as innocent, Emily, as your own dear self," said Roberts, and he
called upon the Almighty to witness his assertion.

"And you are not Charles Roberts? You are my own Reginald Harcourt? It
is false that you are an impostor?"

"False as hell!" said Roberts, theatrically.

"Thank heaven!" exclaimed Emily, clinging to her husband and falling
on his breast. "Oh, Reginald, I am so happy. Never mind, dearest,
our present troubles. Truth in the end is sure to prevail. For some
wise purpose, Reginald, it is ordained that we should bear this awful
reverse of fortune, and let us bear it as cheerfully as we best can.
Oh! Reginald----"

At this moment George Flower, who had contrived to secrete himself in
Emily's bedroom, whence he overheard all that had passed between the
convict and his wife, broke upon the scene--not abruptly, but in the
quietest manner possible. Having gently opened the door, he raised a
pistol and brought "the sight" to bear on Roberts's breast. He remained
in that position until he had caught Roberts's eye, when he called out,
"If you move hand or foot, you are a dead man! Stand as you are!"

Roberts stood aghast; and Emily, terrified to the last degree, sank
into an oak arm-chair. Speechless she beheld what followed.

With his eyes, which were like those of an eagle, firmly fixed, and
with his forefinger on the trigger of the pistol, Flower slowly
approached Roberts. "Bolter!" said George Flower, "you know the penalty
of even putting your hand into your pocket." Gradually he came within
arm's length of his victim, who stood pale and agitated. Suddenly
Flower sprang upon Roberts and secured his hands, and in another
instant his wrists were in a pair of brightly polished handcuffs.

"Now then, by your leave, I'll go through the usual form," said
Flower. "You need not be alarmed, madam," he added, turning to Emily,
"but I really must pick his pockets--first, of his handkerchief," he
continued, spreading it on the table; "secondly, of a----oh! ah! you
did happen to have a little pistol about you, did you? Is it loaded?"

"No!" said Roberts, feebly.

"Thirdly, of a pipe, and fourthly, of a small tin-box, containing--eh?
what? oh, you artful! you owdacious lifer! a certificate of freedom,
eh? Who have you robbed of this, I wonder? Why, it describes you
exactly! How's that? Hulloa! Why, you must have been up to your
old tricks again? This is uncommon like old Secretary Macleay's
signature, but hang me if it is his--no, it can't be. I say, how
comes the water-mark on the paper to be of later date than the pardon
itself? Well, while you were about it, you might have seen to that,
I think. A small tin box" (Flower passed back to the inventory),
"containing a forged certificate of freedom. Why, this alone would hang
you," argued Flower, "and as I cannot afford to lose you yet, I'll put
it into the fire, and say nothing about it."

Roberts involuntarily thanked Flower for this act of grace. Emily knelt
down and prayed, but the words she uttered were inaudible.

"There's no need of giving this little pistol to the government," said
Flower. "It's a pretty little thing." (He placed the weapon in his
waistcoat pocket, with a complacent smile.) "Then that reduces the
property found on the prisoner's person to this handkerchief and this
pipe. Well, that will not hurt you, any how. Have you got any money?"

"Not a farthing," said Roberts.

"Well, I'll put a shilling and a few coppers into the handkerchief,"
said Flower, "just to make an appearance in the court, and show that
you are not a desperate character. It will look suspicious (for me)
if I find no money upon you." These preliminaries arranged, Flower
was about to lead Roberts to the nearest cells, and there lock him up,
when Emily fell upon her knees. Flower's iron heart was touched by her
tears, and gladly would he have relinquished the reward, and set the
convict at liberty, had he dared to do so.

"He shall be treated with the greatest kindness and consideration, for
your sake, madam," said Flower. "It shall not go hard with him: that I
promise you."

"Oh, thank you, thank you!" cried Emily. "Ah, sir, if you only knew how
cruelly he has been treated you would have pity on him, as well as
on me."

"You may depend upon me," said Flower, in a kind and soothing voice.
"To-morrow I will come and bring you good news. Make yourself quite
easy, madam. Good night. Come along, Charley," he turned to Roberts;
"I've a comfortable bed and a hot supper, and a bottle of port wine,
all ready for you at my house."

       *       *       *       *       *

Flower had not walked more than twenty paces with Roberts, when he
pulled up beside a lamp post--one of the very few in that lonely
street--and by the dim light he looked peeringly into the convict's
hazel eyes.

"I have a precious good mind," said Flower, "to take your handcuffs
off, and blow your brutal brains out. I'll swear I did it to prevent
your escaping. It could be done," he added, with a movement of the head
which convinced Roberts, not only of the practicability of the measure,
but of the earnestness of the man who contemplated it.

"Oh, don't, for God's sake! It would break my wife's heart! Why should
you shoot me?" said Roberts.

"To rid that beautiful and amiable lady of such a villain as you--to
make her free of the crime, the curse, of belonging to such a
diabolical scoundrel."

"Oh, pray don't! You would not murder me in cold blood, surely?" said
Roberts, growing more and more alarmed, as he watched the action of
George Flower's mouth.

"Murder!" cried Flower. "That would not be murder. It would be
praiseworthy homicide--an act of mercy towards one of God's fairest
creatures. I could forgive your forgeries, your thefts, your anything
else; but what business had you to marry a lady like that--to link her
to your felonies, and then deceive her by calling God to witness your
innocence? I heard you, you dog, tell her those falsehoods. Had she a
brother?"

"No," said Roberts.

"Then let me take off those handcuffs," said Flower, "and I'll fancy
myself her brother. If you attempt to run away, I'll send a bullet
through you."

"Oh, pray don't," said Roberts. "Pray, Mr. Flower, don't strike me."

His entreaties were in vain. Flower unscrewed the handcuffs, and
leisurely thrashed Roberts to the cells, where he locked him up in the
coldest and most uncomfortable apartment he could find.




CHAPTER XIII.

EMILY'S wrongs had filled the mind of the lion-hearted thief-taker.
He could not rest. Late as it was, he saddled his horse (Sheriff),
and galloped to the cottage to give Emily some good advice. He tapped
at the window, and said, "Throw a cloak on, Mrs. Harcourt, and let me
speak to you. I am Flower--George Flower, who was here a little while
ago. Don't be frightened, Mrs. Harcourt."

Emily, who had not retired, opened the door and allowed Flower to enter
the cottage.

"You must be very careful in this country, Mrs. Harcourt," said Flower.
"They are a queer set of people. You must not leave your shutters
unbolted, or you'll be robbed, and murdered, perhaps. I got in without
any sort of difficulty, while you were reading here, all alone.
To-morrow night I'll send a man down to protect you, and if you lose
anything he shall be answerable for it."

"Oh, you are very kind, Mr. Flower," said Emily; "very kind."

"Don't mention it, madam," said George, his eyes filling with tears.
"I'd part with my heart's blood to serve you; for you remind me of the
days of my boyhood, when my father was Lord Waldane's gamekeeper, and
the young ladies used to come down to the Lodge, and talk to my mother
and my sister, and sometimes to me. Ah, Mrs. Harcourt, we were as happy
a family as any in all England, until a young gentleman--one that I
used to go shooting with, and was like a brother to--came and talked of
love to my sister Bessy, and robbed her of her honour and her virtue. I
couldn't stand it, Mrs. Harcourt. I took his life, and they transported
me for it!"

"Dear me!" cried Emily; "I have often heard the story, and heard you
pitied. It happened near Yewbray Bridge."

"It did so," said Flower, elated at the idea that the deed had become
notorious. "It did, madam; I am the man. It was not a crime, or I
should have repented of it before now, instead of glorying in it, as I
did and do. Do you know the country about Yewbray, Mrs. Harcourt?"

"Yes; my father's estate joins that of Lord Waldane, of whom you
spoke," said Emily.

"Indeed!" said Flower, looking at her reverentially.

"My father was member for the county at that time--Mr. Orford; you may
have heard of him," said Emily.

Flower rose from the chair on which Emily had politely requested him
to sit down. He contemplated her with curiosity, pity, and respect. He
could not speak for several minutes, but tears, and they were scalding
hot, chased each other so rapidly down his cheeks, that they dropped
from his chin upon the floor.

"You the daughter of Mr. Orford!" exclaimed Flower, when his voice
was restored to him. "You the daughter of Mr. Orford--the gentleman
who saved my life by going to the Home Secretary on my behalf. You
know I was cast for death. You here, in this accursed jail! You
the wife of a man transported for life! You in Botany Bay! This is a
strange world, but I never expected to witness a scene like this!"
The thief-taker went down upon his knees, and with the fingers which
had long been used to roughly handle the most desperate criminals,
he gently pressed, with the spirit of an idolator, the feet of the
wretched woman, who shrank at the thought of being alone with, and
touched by, a man who had taken the life of a fellow-creature.

"I will repay the kindness your father showed to me when he came to see
me in the condemned cells, with heavy chains upon me, boy as I then
was," said Flower. "I can do anything I like in this country, Mrs.
Harcourt. They say I am the greatest man in this large island, and I
believe I am. Members of council, and magistrates, when they meet me,
pull up and say, 'Well, George, how are you?' There's nothing that
I can't do. I might own thousands upon thousands of acres of land,
and flocks of sheep, and herds of cattle, as big as Macarthur's or
Wentworth's, and I might have lots of ships in the harbour, like Cooper
and Wright; but what use would they all be to me, when I can't get rid
of that thought, which is always uppermost in my brain?--why had not
that man that I killed five hundred thousand lives, instead of one, for
me to lake?--I mean the man that seduced my sister Bessy. She was a
dear girl, and very good looking, and gentle, and nice spoken, and oh!
so like you, that you might have been sisters."

"Be kind to my unfortunate husband," said Emily, in reply to this
impassioned harangue. "Be kind to poor Reginald, Mr. Flower."

"I will," returned Flower. "But don't say Mister--it feels so cold
and distant. Say George, do this, or do that, and it shall be done."

"Have my husband restored to me," said Emily. "I care not how frugally
and humbly we may live, but all I want is to be with my husband. I want
to be alone with my husband."

"It shall be done," said Flower. "I, who have the power of life and
death constantly in my hands--I, George Flower, say it shall be done;
but you must wait for a fortnight."




CHAPTER XIV.

FLOWER did not over-estimate his influence, when he informed Emily of
its extent. By fair means or by foul, there was nothing, seemingly,
that George could not do. In the police office he exercised supreme
power, albeit he was in a subordinate position; and "amongst the
gentry of New South Wales" there was scarcely a person who was not
under some obligation to him, either for recovering cattle, horses, or
other property, that had been stolen, or for apprehending bushrangers
who infested the roads between Sydney and their estates. Mr. Dawson,
Roberts's master, had a particular regard for George Flower. He had on
one occasion been an eye-witness of Flower's wonderful coolness and
bravery, when a gang of convicts rebelled, knocked out the brains of
sundry overseers, and set authority at defiance.

When Flower left Emily, he returned to the cells where Roberts was
locked up. With a very bad grace, he gave directions that Roberts
should have a bed to lie upon, a plate to eat his victuals from, and
some tobacco now and then, if he wanted to smoke.

"Don't speak to me, you villain," said Flower to Roberts, when the
latter returned thanks for the former's kindness. "Don't look at me,
even, or I'll spoil your beauty, you white-livered, black-hearted,
pettifogging,* filthy-minded, double-distilled essence of a cowardly,
cringing, woman-deceiving criminal. You are a nice fellow to represent
yourself as an officer and a gentleman!" Hereupon he seized Roberts by
the left ear, and pinched it savagely.

[*Roberts had been an articled clerk to an attorney.]

"Let him be taken into court at ten o'clock this morning, Johnson,
and remanded for a week," said Flower, to a brother constable. "Tell
the magistrate I will give my deposition as soon as I come back from
Campbell Town."

"All right," returned Johnson. "Is he worth anything?"

"No, the beast; only £10," said Flower; "and here am I with a ride of
thirty miles there and thirty back before me."

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

It would be difficult to say which of the two was superior in the
endurance of fatigue, and in abstinence from sleep and food--George
Flower or his little horse, Sheriff.

Sheriff was not more than thirteen hands high, and Flower was not less
than twelve stone; and yet they had frequently been seen together at
Sydney in the morning, and at Bong Bong at night--the distance between
the two places being one hundred and four miles, the road a very bad
one, and several rivers and broad streams to wade through or swim
across.

Sheriff had shared many of his master's dangers, and bore the marks
upon his compact body. When the famous Donahough, from behind a huge
iron-bark tree, upon the Liverpool-road, discharged from an old Tower
musket a handful of swan shot, at the distance of eighty yards, at
George Flower, Sheriff received a goodly number of them in his left
shoulder, and one in his left eye, which destroyed the sight thereof.
On another occasion, a bullet, which broke George Flower's arm, had
struck Sheriff on the near quarter, and left a large mark; but (to use
Flower's own words) "he never said a word, but stood like a stone, as
if he enjoyed a lark of that sort." And there was a small piece out of
Sheriff's right ear. That, too, had been lost in an engagement with the
enemy.

Onward jogged Flower and Sheriff, as jauntily as though there was
no danger to be met with on the road. The huge pockets of Flower's
fustian shooting coat contained each a large pistol, and several pairs
of handcuffs; and in each waistcoat pocket there was a small weapon,
besides the one which had been taken from Roberts. In his trowsers'
pockets were sundry rounds of ball cartridge, and a clasp knife, with
which Flower had been "compelled to hamstring two of the gang whom he
caught in the bush near Prospect--the one a fifty pounder, and the
other a twenty-fiver," besides "a sweat at the silver swag," which
"they had just taken from two harmless gents, who had come out free
from England to buy sheep and cattle, and turn farmers, and all that
sort of thing."

Flower considered it a part of his duty to enter every public-house
on the road; and in the days we write of, they were about four or
five miles apart. Out of compliment to the landlord, he always drank
something.

With all the bar-maids Flower was a prodigious favourite; he was always
so lively and pleasant in his conversation--so kind and gentle in his
manners; but invariably so respectful and modest in his demeanour. No
being in this world was ever more completely under the influence of
the softer sex than George Flower. After inflicting summary punishment
on a prisoner, and using the strongest language, in the verandah of a
public-house, he would approach a female at the bar, and talk to her
in a strain which was frequently refined and sentimental. With young
children he was a perfect child himself. He would encourage them to
pull his hair and whiskers, beat him with his own whip, which he would
put into their tiny hands--give them a ride on Sheriff, or chase the
fowls and ducks round the yard for their especial amusement.




CHAPTER XV.

"WHAT! Flower!" exclaimed Mr. Dawson, on George riding up and touching
his straw hat to him.

"Good morning, sir," said Flower; "I happened to have a little business
in this quarter, and thought I'd just look in and say how do ye do, as
I was passing."

"I'm delighted to see you," said Mr. Dawson. "Get off, and send the
little horse round to the stables for a feed of corn, and come in and
have a glass of porter and a pipe, and tell me of your adventures."

"Not many to tell, sir," said Flower. "There is not a really good
placard on the walls--tens, and fifteens, and twenties; but not a
single three-figure gentleman" (he meant £100) "among 'em. By the way,
Mr. Dawson, there's a little money of yours in the market, I see."

"Yes, George, and I wish you could finger it," said Mr. Dawson. "He is
hardly worth your while, but if you could lay hold of him, I'd be
very much obliged to you, and besides the £10 you should have any colt
or filly out of the two-year-old batch. I am very anxious to have that
man apprehended."

"Why, has he been and done anything besides running away?" asked Flower.

"Done?" cried Mr. Dawson. "He has spoilt the whole of my assigned
servants. Made them discontented and bad men. Caused them to complain
of me to the nearest bench of magistrates. I have been represented
as a master who limes their flour, and feeds them on shins of beef
instead of wholesome flesh, and as one who works them to death. Before
that fellow came here, I had not occasion for three years to get a
man punished; and since he came, almost every man has either been
flogged or put upon the treadmill."

"I know you are a good master," said Flower. "But tell me, Mr. Dawson,
how did you employ this runaway?"

"Why, I used to set him to shell Indian corn, skim the cream off the
milk bowls, drive the parrots out of the wheat fields, feed the pigs,
and on baking days, attend to the fire in the oven, and all such light
and easy jobs I used to give him, for he had never been accustomed to
hard work, and could not do it; it blistered his hands."

"Why didn't you break him in to bullock driving?" said Flower.

"Because I pitied the blackguard at first."

"Ah! pity's a dangerous thing in this country, Mr. Dawson," said
Flower; "a little of it ought to go a very long way. I've known many
a promising young man ruined by pity. Now, sir, suppose I was to get
a scent of this Roberts and arouse him from his slumbers by rattling
these handcuffs in his ears, what would you do with him after he was
punished?"

"Turn him in to Government."

"Don't do that, sir. Look here, Mr. Dawson," said Flower; "I applied
to Gov'ment the other day for a servant, who turns out to be a tailor.
He made these clothes I've got on, and very well made they are. But
of tailors in Sydney there's a regular glut, and my tailor cannot
earn more than nine and sixpence a-week, out of which I take seven
shillings. Now, your lawyer--I know he's a lawyer--would be able to
earn at least a pound a-week, copying papers and all that sort of
thing; and by keeping a tight hand over him I could turn the fellow
to good account. Why not make a swop? You have got a lot of men, and
you might buy duck and cloth, and let this tailor be always employed,
instead of buying ready made slops in the market. To tell you the
honest truth, I have got Roberts in my possession, and have come here
to talk about him; never mind the filly and the £10, give me the man
and take the tailor, and I'll be satisfied. The papers can be got ready
in the office, and Gov'ment's sanction I'll procure by the time he's
dealt with."

Mr. Dawson accepted Flower's proposal, and the business being
concluded, George saddled Sheriff and returned to Sydney. He went
at once to Emily's cottage, where he found her in great grief. Her
writing-desk had been stolen, and it contained all the money she had in
the world, besides several little trinkets which were very precious in
her sight.

"Don't let this distress you," said Flower, after a few minutes
reflection; "you shall have it back to-night."

"Pray sit down," said Emily; "you look very tired."

"No, Mrs. Harcourt, I will not sit down," said Flower.

"Will Reginald be restored to me?"

"Yes."

"God bless you!" cried Emily; "you are indeed a kind friend to me."

Flower cantered Sheriff down to Mrs. White's house, and called out,
"Nelson."

Nelson came.

"I want to talk to you, my boy, about Roberts," said Flower. "Just come
into the Barrack-square with me. I'll leave my horse at these palings."

Nelson, who was flattered by this condescension, accompanied Flower
into the Barrack-square.

"I say, where's that writing-desk?" said Flower, when they were alone.

"What writing-desk?" said Nelson.

"That writing-desk," said Flower, striking Nelson on the bridge
of the nose a blow which swelled up both his eyes and felled him to
the earth. "That writing-desk," repeated Flower, placing the thick
sole of his boot upon Nelson's neck. "Gurgle up the receiver, or I'll
squeeze out your poisonous existence."

"Abrahams!" gasped Nelson.

"If ever you steal that writing-desk again," said Flower, leaving
Nelson on the ground, writhing in pain from the kicks he had received,
"I'll give you such a thrashing as you will not forget in a hurry."




CHAPTER XVI.

WHEN Flower left Nelson, he directed his steps towards the police
office, where he provided himself with a "jemmy," an instrument used
by burglars for effecting an entrance. Thus armed, he hastened to the
residence of Mr. Isaac Abrahams, an old Jew, who had been transported
to the colony so far back as Governor Bligh's administration.

Mr. Isaac Abrahams was very rich; he had become so by being engaged
in various occupations--to wit, receiving stolen property, lending
money at usurious rates of interest, crimping, dealing in second-hand
clothes, and keeping for many years a public-house in that part of the
town of Sydney which is frequented by sailors--a place called "The
Rocks."

Abrahams and his wife were in bed when Flower arrived at their
dwelling. Without any sort of ceremony, Flower inserted the "jemmy"
into a window shutter, which he wrenched from its hinges. He then broke
a pane of glass, put his hand through the aperture, drew the bolt,
lifted the sash, and vaulted into Abrahams' dining parlour.

The Jew heard the noise, got out of bed, and called aloud--

"Who's there?"

"It's only me, Ikey," cried Flower. "You need not come down. I am
coming up. It's only me--George Flower, Ikey." In another moment Flower
was in the Jew's bedroom.

"By heaven! Mr. Flower, what do you mean?" cried the Jew. "Why do you
come into my bedroom? At this hour of night, too!"

"On business, Ikey."

"Then why do you come like a thief, breaking into the house? Couldn't
you knock at the door?"

"No, Ikey. Fish up that writing-box you fenced this afternoon!"

"Are you mad, Mr. Flower?"

"No, Ikey; but you must be. To think that a man of your time of life,
with all your money, should go putting your neck into the noose for a
paltry thing like that. To think that you shouldn't be able to leave
off your old tricks after you've made your fortune! Forbes" (Flower
always spoke of the Chief Justice in this familiar manner) "would lag
you to Norfolk Island for life for fencing that box."

"What box?"

"Now, none of your nonsense. I can't stop here all night. And if I have
to search for it, and find it, I'll take both you and the box away
together."

"Take a glass of spirits-and-water, Mr. Flower," said the Jew, blandly.

"Well, I will," said Flower, "on the lid of that writing-box; fish both
the box and the grog up at one dive--they are both in this room."

The Jew opened an iron chest, in which he kept the title deeds of lands
mortgaged to him, bonds, promissory and bank notes--jewels, gold,
silver, and other valuables; and from this chest the Jew reluctantly
brought out the writing-desk that Nelson had that day stolen from
Emily's bedroom. He then produced a case bottle and a tumbler, which
Flower half filled with liquor.

"Ikey," said Flower, after he had refreshed himself with the gin, "I am
awfully hard up. Lend us a flimsy. I don't want to be hard with you,
Ikey. Make it a fifty, for which I give you my verbal promissory note,
payable with interest."

"Mr. Flower," said the Jew, "I always had a great respect for you, and
I've often felt sorry that you didn't belong to our persuasion."

"Don't flatter me, Ikey," said Flower, "or you'll make me vain, and
vanity is a bad thing; so stump up the money, and let me go."

The Jew again visited the iron chest, and produced a bank note for £50.
Having satisfied himself that it was not a bad one, Flower returned to
Emily's cottage, which was not very far distant from where the Jew then
lived.




CHAPTER XVII.

THE next day Roberts was placed at the bar of the police office. Flower
appeared in court, and made a deposition to the following effect:--"I,
George Flower, police constable, hereby make oath and say, that this
deponent met the prisoner at the bar in a house in Castlereagh-street,
on the night of the 26th instant. That this deponent took the prisoner
into custody, and found upon his person a pocket-handkerchief and
a pipe, here produced; that this deponent, after apprehending the
prisoner, who is an assigned servant of Mr. Dawson of Campbell Town,
proceeded to his master, and inquired whether he had any charge to
bring forward against him, beyond that of absconding from his employ,
and this deponent states that the said Mr. Dawson told this deponent
that he had no charge whatever to bring forward against the prisoner in
this court."

"Did he make any resistance, Flower?" inquired the magistrate.

"None whatever, your worship," said Flower.

"I suppose fifty lashes would do for him?" said the magistrate.

"I don't think he could stand fifty," said Flower. "The mill and the
Carter's Barracks crop would suit his circumstances better, your
worship, I think. As he has never run away before, seven days,
perhaps, would be a sufficient lesson."

Roberts was accordingly sentenced to seven days on the treadmill, and
was forthwith removed to Carter's Barracks, where, preparatory to
entering upon his punishment, his hair was cut as closely as possible
with a pair of very sharp shears.

Flower made an excuse to Emily for her husband's absence, by saying
that he had gone up to Campbell Town to get his clothes from Mr.
Dawson's; and meanwhile Flower negotiated "the transfer."

When Roberts came "off the mill," Flower went down to Carter's
Barracks to receive him. "Holloa, Captain!" cried he, "you are now my
assigned servant, and I'm going to leave you down at that house in
Castlereagh-street, just to look after the premises. Come along."

While they were walking down the road, Flower harangued Roberts: "Don't
suppose, you miserable thief," he thus began, "that you are going to
lead a life of idleness. Quite the contrary, I intend to make you work.
I shall let you out to an attorney for three pound a-week, and if ever
you absent yourself from office--and I shall keep a sharp look out upon
you--I'll dust your jacket with this cane, and you know how it makes
you tingle, don't you?" And fearing that Roberts's memory might be
treacherous on this head, he gave him several smart blows on the calves
of his legs, which made the convict dance in the street and cry for
mercy. "And if ever you say one word to your wife of how I serve you,"
said Flower, "you'll be missing some fine morning, and no one will ever
hear anything more about you. By the bye, what plausible reason can you
assign to your wife for that blacking brush condition of your infamous
poll, you pettifogging blackguard, you?"

"I'll say I had a stroke of the sun," said Roberts, "and was obliged to
get my head shaved the other day."

"Capital!" cried Flower. "If I'd known you'd have been so ready as
that, I'd have spared you that last stroke of the cane which I gave
you just now. There's another thing I wish to say," continued Flower;
"never ask your wife for money, and if she offers you any, don't take
it. If I find you disobeying me in this, I'll flog you within an inch
of your life. And don't allow any of your acquaintances ever to come
inside the house where your wife is--do you hear? And see that the
garden is weeded with your own hands, and everything kept in proper
order. I shall come down pretty often, just to see how you're getting
on, you know. You understand me?"

"Oh, yes," said Roberts; "and I'm very much obliged to you, Mr. Flower,
and you'll find that my conduct will be most exemplary, I assure you,
and in the end you will discover that I have not been, and that I am
not, anything like so bad as you at present conceive."

"I don't wish to have any of your talk," returned Flower; "and as for
my kindness to you, I give you to understand that you're under no
obligations to me whatsoever. I tell you plainly, that if I had my
will, I'd hang you this very day."




CHAPTER XVIII.

FLOWER hired out Roberts, as he threatened, to an attorney, at a salary
of £250 a-year, for Roberts, it was discovered, had a very good insight
into the art of special pleading and the principles of conveyancing.
In short, Roberts was a very clever fellow, and could do an immense
deal of work, when he was so disposed, in a very short time. His salary
was drawn every week by Flower, and duly handed over to Emily, who
increased this income by giving lessons in music and dancing.

Roberts had provided himself with becoming apparel, and his external
appearance once more resembled that of a gentleman. Although Flower
hated him with the same intensity as ever, he had nevertheless no fault
to find with him, and was rejoiced beyond measure to see Emily so happy
and so comfortable in her small abode.

At the end of three months, Roberts began to grow weary of leading a
steady and virtuous life. He was sorely afraid of Flower, while he
continued Flower's assigned servant; and did not dare to indulge in the
slightest irregularity so long as he was owned by so firm and powerful
a master. He therefore begged Emily to request Flower to transfer him
to herself, and thus make him his own wife's assigned servant.

       *       *       *       *       *

One evening, when Flower went down to visit Mrs. Harcourt (although
Roberts was called by his proper name, his wife continued to be called
Mrs. Harcourt), she proposed this transfer of her husband.

"My dear madam," said Flower, "it would end in your own misery. What
hold, I should like to know, would you have upon him?"

"What hold!" cried Emily. "What stronger hold can there be than my
affection for him, and his affection for me? Ah! George Flower, you
don't know dear Reginald! If you only knew what a kind, good, generous,
noble-minded, single-hearted creature he really is, you would not think
so harshly of him as you now seem to do."

"My dear madam," returned Flower, "I knew that your husband is all
that you have described him; but in my opinion it would be as well if
matters were allowed to stand as they now are. See how happy you are!
What more can you desire?"

"Yes, it is very true, George, and I ought to be, and I am, very
grateful indeed, for all your goodness to me, and to my unfortunate,
innocent Reginald; but oh! if you would grant me this request!" said
Emily.

"I tell you it would be the worst thing in the world, Mrs. Harcourt,"
said Flower. "Do you suppose I should refuse, or make any objection, if
I thought it would be to your advantage? Now, take my advice; do not
press this any further."

But Emily had promised her husband that she would press it.

"Ah, you were never so obstinate before," she began. "Of late you seem
quite changed."

"Obstinate!" exclaimed Flower. "Obstinate! I'd go through fire and
brimstone to do you a service; but to grant what you now ask would be
downright madness."

"Then you mean to tell me that dear Reginald is not to be trusted?"

"No, I do not say that."

"Then what can be your objection?"

"It would be unlucky."

"Unlucky! ah! you are trifling with me." Emily's eyes filled with tears.

Flower's heart was again touched, and he immediately agreed to the
proposition, expressing his sorrow that he had refused her in the first
instance.

Roberts came home shortly after this, and Flower presently asked him to
look at a horse which he said he was about to buy.

"And so you wish to be transferred to your wife, do you? Oh, how I
should like to break your bones!" said Flower, when they were out of
Emily's hearing.

"It is her own wish, I assure you, on my honour," said Roberts.

"On your honour!" said Flower, and he kicked Roberts several times.

"I assure you it is her own thought, her own wish," Roberts repeated.

In his violent anger Flower lost his presence of mind, and instead
of beating Roberts, as was his wont, in such a way as to leave no
visible marks, he struck him a heavy blow in the face, which laid open
Roberts's upper lip.

Roberts took out his lawn pocket-handkerchief, and applied it to his
mouth, which was now bleeding profusely.

"Turn upon me, you contemptible forger, you thief!" cried Flower. "Turn
upon me--strike me--throw a stone at me, do--do something that will
justify me in pounding the breath out of your dastardly body!"

"Strike my deliverer, my benefactor?" said Roberts. "No, Mr. Flower,
whatever may be my sins, I am not ungrateful."

"Oh, heaven!" groaned Flower. "And things like you are called men! Now,
don't look at me in that cringing way, or I'll gouge both your eyes
out, I will. My blood is up, and I am thirsting to avenge the wrongs
of that lady, by tearing you to pieces." And with these words Flower
gnashed his teeth, and seized Roberts by the hair, and shook him with
the boisterous ferocity of an excited fiend. "I'll be in at your death
yet," gasped Flower, exhausted by passion, "I will. I feel it. I will!
I will! I will!"




CHAPTER XIX.

FLOWER abstained from visiting Emily for several days. He intended to
keep his promise, but wished to delay doing so until the last moment.
Besides, Flower was not quite satisfied that Roberts would, on this
occasion, conceal from Emily the rough handling to which he had been
subjected; and this formed an additional reason for staying away. At
length Emily wrote to Flower, and begged him to come and see her, as
she had something very particular to say to him. It was curious to
observe the sudden changes in the expression of Flower's countenance
when he read Emily's note. At first a very pleasing smile--a smile
which was called up by affectionate regard and pity--played over his
fine bold features; then came a scowl and compressed lips, while his
eyes seemed to flash fire; and then, when he again looked at Emily's
hand-writing, the kind smile returned, speedily followed by that awful,
ay, diabolical look.

It was just as Flower expected. The "something very particular" was
the "transfer." Flower went down upon his knees and implored her to
forego her demand, and passionately, but tenderly, uplifting his hands,
assured her that she was asking him to sign the warrant for Roberts's
ruin and her own eternal wretchedness. "Mrs. Harcourt!" he exclaimed,
"must I tell you the truth? Yes, you drive me to do so. Your husband
is not what you think him, not what you have described him to be.
His outside is like that of a gentleman; but within he is low, and
tainted with the ideas and habits that belong only to the very dregs of
mankind."

"Mr. Flower!" said Emily, indignantly, "do you imagine that Captain
Harcourt would deceive me?"

"How can you be so blind, so childishly simple, as to be imposed upon
by that man, when the very proofs of his deceit are ever before your
eyes?" said Flower. "Did he not tell you that he was a captain in a
dragoon regiment, and that he had never done any work in his life until
he came to this country?"

"Nor had he, Mr. Flower."

"Then how comes it that he is, suddenly, the best lawyer in Sydney? How
comes it that, if you will only let him remain as he now is, he shall
earn £500 a-year, but that if he is freed from my authority he will not
earn a shilling himself, but drain you of all your little hard-earned
savings to gratify his low and inborn tastes?"

"Mr. Flower!" again cried Emily, indignantly.

"Mrs. Harcourt, hear me!" returned Flower.

"No, Mr. Flower, this is a mere pretext," said Emily. "You made me a
promise, and now you wish to break it." She wept and sobbed violently.

"Don't cry, Mrs. Harcourt, don't cry; I cannot stand that," said
Flower. "I did not mean to hurt your feelings."

"Then why did you slander poor Reginald? It is hard enough to be
convicted when innocent, and sent to this horrid country, and debarred
the comforts of his former life, without being vilified in such a
dreadful manner."

"Yes, but don't cry any more," said Flower.

"As for being suddenly the best lawyer in Sydney," said Emily, "why,
of course he is. Reginald is so clever that he could learn anything
quickly. He would be the best doctor in a month, if he were to study
medicine; or the best anything he gave his mind to for a little time.
You do not know Reginald, Mr. Flower."

"I'm afraid I do not," said Flower.




CHAPTER XX.

ONE day, when Emily was standing in the little garden in front of
her cottage, a gentleman named Brade, one of the police magistrates,
happened to pass by, and see her face. Mr. Brade, whose disposition
may be described as "very gay," admired Emily exceedingly, and he
passed and re-passed several times, and stared at her. Emily observed
this, and retired to the cottage, of which she very rarely crossed the
threshold.

Mr. Brade made inquiry, and informed himself who Mrs. Harcourt was; and
further discovered what sort of a person her husband was. Mr. Brade's
informant also told him of George Flower's acquaintance with the lady,
and suggested that it would be advisable to get Flower out of the way,
before obtaining an introduction to Mrs. Harcourt.

To get Flower out of the way was far from difficult. There happened to
be at large, near Bathurst, three men who had baffled all the efforts
of the mounted police. A hundred pounds reward had been offered for
the apprehension of each of them, and Flower had often sighed to take
them "single handed," but he could not make up his mind to leave Emily
unprotected, for he was in constant dread lest some person in power
should be struck with her beauty, and, in his absence, cause her
annoyance.

Mr. Brade, while sitting on the bench, took up the newspaper, the
Australian, and read the last daring act of the bushrangers.

"Swinton," said Mr. Brade to the chief magistrate, "have you seen
this?" pointing to the paragraph.

"Yes," replied the chief magistrate; "I have just been talking to Major
Doole about it." (Major Doole was also a magistrate, then sitting on
the bench.)

"This ought not to be," said Mr. Brade. "These men ought to be taken.
Let us have a meeting in the private room, and send for George Flower."

"I have spoken to him already," said the chief, "but he does not seem
disposed to have a venture. I don't know what has come over George
Flower, lately. He is getting lazy and timid, I fancy."

"Let us all talk to him, and put him upon his mettle," said Mr. Brade.

At the breaking up of the court, George Flower was sent for, and
taken into the private room. The three magistrates vied with each
other in painting the glory which attached to Flower's past career,
and succeeded in inflaming his vanity; but he declined the errand they
proposed, on the ground that it was not fair to rob the mounted police
of their legitimate profits; besides, he pleaded, that he was tired
of being made a target, and thought of retiring from the police, and
keeping a public-house.

"Oh! a thousand pities!" cried Mr. Brade. "Only fancy--what would the
police be without you, George Flower? You are the police! What
are we, without you? What is the Government without you?
Nothing! The convicts would take the country from us, if it were not
for you; for the military could never keep down the convicts without
the police, and I repeat that you are the police! And if you are
bent on keeping a public-house, why you would have these three hundred
pounds to set you up: one hundred would buy you a cask of rum, another
a cask of gin, and the third, a cask of brandy; and then, after such
an exploit, the prettiest girls in the country would be dying to marry
you. What a finish to your fame it would be!"

"As to the money for setting up a public-house," said Flower,
argumentatively, "I could easily manage that. And as for the pretty
girls," he added, with a smile playing on his lips, "there is no lack
of them. But the fact is, I don't want to go."

"Come, come, George," said the chief magistrate, "undertake it as
a personal favour to all of us; and I promise you that if you are
successful your conditional shall be changed into a free pardon."

"I don't care about a free pardon now," said Flower; "I don't want to
visit my native land again--I have now an inducement to remain in this
country, and I wouldn't go home to-morrow if I could."

"Ah," cried Mr. Brade, "I begin to think, George, you suspect that one
of this gang is more than a match for you. They say he is monstrously
clever, cunning, and courageous."

"A match for me, sir!" said Flower. "I believe there's only one
person that's a match for me." He significantly pointed with his
forefinger--insinuating that the person he alluded to was down below.
"However, since you are all so determined upon it, I will go, and
bring in this clever fellow you speak of--dead in a cart, and t'others
tied to the cart's tail--and I'll do it before this day six weeks."

"Bravo!" cried out the three magistrates. Mr. Brade, in his ecstacy,
held out his hand and shook warmly the small but vigorous fist of the
dauntless thief-taker.

Flower that night left Sydney. But before he went on his journey he
paid a visit to Emily. He found her in excellent spirits, which were
strangely in contrast with his own melancholy frame of mind.




CHAPTER XXI.

FLOWER was no sooner out of Sydney than Mr. Brade wrote a very
polite note to "Mr. Roberts," requesting him to call at his private
residence. Mr. Brade received Roberts with extreme courtesy, pitied his
unfortunate position, expressed his implicit belief in the convict's
innocence, and then informed Roberts that he desired his opinion upon a
point of law on so delicate a subject that he did not wish to submit it
through an attorney to counsel.

Roberts was of course "highly flattered," and gave Mr. Brade a very
sound opinion on the imaginary case which Mr. Brade verbally made
known to him; and knowing well where Roberts lived, he inquired what
was his address, in order that he might convey to him some sense of
the obligation under which he said he was labouring. Roberts without
hesitation gave Mr. Brade the number of his house in Castlereagh-street.

On the following morning Mr. Brade called, and presented Roberts with
five sovereigns and five shillings, delicately folded up in a piece of
silver paper. Whilst he was talking to Roberts, his eye rested upon
Emily's piano, and upon a basket containing some Berlin wools.

"You are musical, I perceive," said Mr. Brade, addressing Roberts in
the tone of an equal.

"I am not," replied Roberts, "but Mrs.----that is to say, my wife,
sometimes amuses herself."

(Roberts just then felt too proud to say that his wife gave lessons.)

"Oh! you are married? I was not aware, or" (he simpered and smiled) "I
should not have thought of calling in so rugged a costume."

"Oh, pray don't mention that. In this country one does not expect those
who have business to attend to should be always attired in the garb of
morning visitors." Roberts went to the door and called out:--

"Emily, my love, come down stairs!"

Emily, in obedience to her husband's commands, made her appearance, but
much against her inclination, for she had from the window recognised
in Mr. Brade the gentleman who had stared so strangely at her on a
previous day.

Mr. Brade stayed for several hours, chatting with Roberts and his wife,
and on taking his departure he invited them to visit him on the ensuing
Sunday, at his villa, a few miles from town upon the South Head road.

Roberts accepted the invitation; but when Mr. Brade had gone, Emily
expressed her regret that he had done so.

Roberts, than whom a more cunning man never breathed, "saw through"
Mr. Brade as quickly as Emily had "seen through" him; but Roberts was
not a jealous man, and as his wife did not breathe her suspicions, he
was determined to foster, rather than obstruct, Mr. Brade's desire to
become acquainted with them.

"My dear love," said Roberts, "it is highly desirable we should be
on terms of intimacy with the magistracy. They have the power of
recommending persons in my position for pardons, conditional or
absolute, as the case may be. Who knows but that Mr. Brade, who is
satisfied of my innocence, as you will hear him say yourself on
Sunday next--Mr. Brade, a police magistrate, and lately an officer in
her Majesty's service, like myself, and on the most intimate terms
at Government-house--who knows whether he may not be the means of
procuring my return to the land of my fathers, and ample compensation
from the Home Government for the wrongs they have inflicted upon me
by this unmerited banishment? Mr. Brade, my dear, is not a man like
Flower; he is a gentleman, a person of exquisite sensibility and good
taste. You see it in his manner, his address, and his conversation. It
would be madness, my dear Emily, to spurn the spontaneous advances of a
gentleman of his calibre and character."

Overcome by these arguments, Emily's scruples about visiting Mr. Brade
were speedily dissipated.

Sunday came, and Roberts drove Emily in his gig to Mr. Brade's country
residence, which overlooked a small branch of the harbour of Port
Jackson, called Rose Bay, one of the most lovely spots in the world.

The bay is almost semicircular, and margined by a broad path of
cream-white sand. It is so completely shut in that its waters are
rarely troubled; and upon this Sunday they were as the surface of an
enormous mirror, which reflected the shadows of the trees and rocks
skirting this calm expanse of water.

Butterflies were on the wing, and diamond birds were chasing each other
from bush to bush; the mocking-birds were singing in the mangrove
trees, and from a distance there came upon the ear the low cooings of
the bronze-winged pigeon. Heaths of every description were in full
flower, but their perfume was drowned by the overpowering scent of the
mimosa and the wild laburnum.

After luncheon, Mr. Brade proposed a walk round the bay, and promised
to exhibit to Emily, from a certain peak, its transcendent beauties.

They had not proceeded far when Roberts lagged behind, while Mr. Brade
and Emily walked leisurely on.

Emily looked behind her several times, and at length stopped, and
called to her husband, who was now out of sight,--"Reginald, are you
not coming?"

Roberts heard her voice, but gave no reply. He smiled, and smoked more
vigorously the cheroot which he had secretly lighted. Roberts was
premeditating a return to the villa for the purpose of draining the
decanter of its delicious sherry.

Again Emily stopped, and called out, "Reginald!"

"I am afraid my husband will be lost," said she to Mr. Brade.

"There is no fear of that," returned Mr. Brade. "My good madam,
husbands are not such fools."

At that moment Roberts was acting on his premeditation. He had drank
nearly a tumblerful of the wine, and was pouring the like quantity of
water into the decanter. He had heard Mr. Brade say, at luncheon, that
this was a trick his servants were addicted to, and Roberts concluded
that they would have to bear the blame, when this impudent dilution was
detected by their master, at dinner.

Emily began to feel alarmed, for Mr. Brade's attentions, and the
opinions he ventured to express, were offensive to the last degree. She
intimated that she had seen sufficient of the beauties of Rose Bay, and
would fancy the rest. She then left Mr. Brade's arm, and retraced her
steps to the villa, Mr. Brade walking by her side, and paying her the
most extravagant compliments.

When they reached the villa, Roberts was walking up and down the
verandah, pretending to read a book. When he beheld his wife, flushed
with anger, approaching the steps, and Mr. Brade a few paces behind
her, he guessed that she had been insulted, but he suffered no species
of resentment to ruffle his soul, which had seemingly been convicted
with his body, and transported in bondage to a land where both were in
subjection to every man in power.

For the first time in her life, Emily was in a passion. She could not
suppose that her husband was a party to the insults which had been
offered to her, but she thought it was unpardonably dull in him not
to have perceived that her personal charms (she was quite aware of
their extent) were the mainspring of Mr. Brade's civilities.

"What! are you tired, Emmy, dear?" said Roberts.

"Yes," she replied, curtly, and walked into a room which had been given
up to her.

"My wife never was a good walker," said Roberts, cringingly.

"So it seems," replied the magistrate, twirling his moustache.

"She rarely takes any exercise whatever," said Roberts.

"Ah!" said the magistrate.

"It is very warm to-day, sir, is it not?" said Roberts.

"Very," said the magistrate, imperiously, still twirling his moustache.
"I shall drink some wine," and he called to a servant, "Bring me some
sherry, slave!"

The sherry was brought. As soon as Mr. Brade tasted it, he placed the
glass upon the tray, and looked at the servant.

"What is this you have brought me?" he inquired.

"Wine, sir," said the servant.

"Wine!" Mr. Brade echoed him in a loud voice, which Emily heard. "Wine!
you convicted scoundrel! I'll teach you to put water into my wine. Go
into my bedroom."

The convict servant obeyed, and presently Mr. Brade followed him.

"What do you mean, sir," said Mr. Brade, after he had closed the door,
"by watering the wine, when I have guests in the house? It is bad
enough to do it when I am alone."

"Please, sir, I didn't do it," said the man. "It was that gentleman. I
saw him."

Emily heard all this, and was shocked at the servant's depravity.

"How dare you tell me such a falsehood?" said Mr. Brade. "I intended to
flog you moderately, but now you shall have it severely." And forthwith
he lashed him with a hunting whip.

The man howled, cried, and implored him to desist. But Mr. Brade,
whose passions were now tempestuous, gave no ear to his cries. Emily
was afraid that Mr. Brade would flog the man to death, and fain would
have interceded on his behalf, sinful as she thought he had been in
attempting to put the blame on "Reginald;" but she did not dare to
interfere, although she felt, in her own heart, that the cold reception
she had given to Mr. Brade's attentions was intimately connected with
the awful severity of the chastisement he was bestowing on his servant.

Exhausted by his labours, Mr. Brade went into the verandah; and, when
he had recovered his breath, talked to Roberts--

"If they would content themselves," said Mr. Brade, "with stealing a
portion, and leaving the rest unspoiled, I could forgive them; but
watering one's wine--'tis abominable."

"Horrible," said Roberts; "I have often felt as you now feel. But what
can one do with a parcel of low rascals?"

"Flog their backs bare!" cried Mr. Brade.

Roberts, unobserved by Mr. Brade, involuntarily shuddered, and changing
the conversation, praised the beauty of the villa and the grounds.

"Who designed them?" inquired Roberts.

"I did," said Mr. Brade.

"You must have exquisite taste in architecture."

"Yes, I have studied the art very attentively for years."

"And the result has repaid you. I never beheld anything so perfect.
Even the site on which you have built the villa. Amidst so much beauty
it must have been very difficult where to choose."

"Such was the case. But at last I fixed upon this spot, and have not
had reason to regret it."

"I really must show my wife the delicate curve of this verandah," said
Roberts; and he left Mr. Brade to bring Emily forth.

Roberts found his wife in tears.

"My dear Emily, dry your eyes," said her husband. "Here's Brade in an
awful rage because that villain watered the wine; but come out and put
him in a good humour by praising the verandah, and everything on the
premises."

"And the man said you did it, Reginald."

"What, love?"

"Watered the wine!"

"What a villain!"

"And that's the reason Mr. Brade beat him so unmercifully."

"Of course, my dear. Brade knows that I'm a gentleman, in every sense
of the word--that I'd scorn a low action. He hates a liar, and so do I.
He knows me, Brade does. Water sherry? No wonder somebody was found
to accuse me of forgery! What next? Ah, Emmy dearest, Brade's a man
after your husband's own heart."

"Not in some things, Reginald dear. His manners are too familiar with
ladies."

"Bless your heart, Emmy dear, that's only a way he has. Brade's a
gentleman, Emmy, and you may always trust a gentleman--bred and
born, that is to say. Now, come out and talk to Brade, and make
yourself agreeable, while I go and look at his stables. Remember,
my own love, that although Brade is kind to me, knowing that I am a
gentleman; and although he treats me like an equal, or a superior I
may say, knowing, as he does, that I am a first cousin removed"
(Roberts inwardly laughed when he felt the force of this word) "to a
marchioness, and nephew of the oldest of the Nova Scotia baronets;
still, bear in mind that it would be dangerous to both of us if you, by
any superciliousness, were to turn his wrath upon me."

"Dear Reginald," she replied, "I am too keenly alive to your welfare to
admit of my treating unkindly such a friend to you as Mr. Brade appears
to be; but I wish George Flower had returned."

"George Flower!--that contemptible constable; that scoundrel that was
transported, not for shooting a man, as he says, but for arson, setting
fire to a poor farmer's barn. George Flower! My beloved Emily, Brade
could crush him whenever he pleased--have him put in irons and sent to
Norfolk Island for the remainder of his natural life, the barn-burning
convict! George Flower! If I could only tell to you, Emmy, the
barbarity of that degraded individual, who, for humanity's sake, I have
tolerated out of sheer compassion for the creature, you would shudder,
dearest! George Flower! I beg of you, out of respect for me, and the
hospitality of my friend Brade, never to mention his name again beneath
this aristocratic roof!"

Emily was seldom proof against the eloquence of her husband. Her ideas
invariably floated on the rapid stream of words which gushed from his
lips, spontaneously; she therefore dried her tears and accompanied
Roberts into the verandah, where he left her with Mr. Brade, while he
went to the stables, not to look at the horses, but to smoke a pipe and
crack coarse jokes with the grooms.

Poor Emily! she was afraid to resent the affront which Mr. Brade's
loose discourse afforded her; for he had now given her to understand
how completely her convict husband was in his power, and he coupled
Roberts and the servant who had recently been thrashed so artfully
together that Emily almost fancied she could hear her "poor Reginald"
screaming under a similar affliction.

It was not Mr. Brade's wont to behave unlike a gentleman; but his
passions had such an ascendancy over him on that Sunday, that he became
reckless as to the means by which his purpose could be effected. He had
tried soft words without success, and he now adopted other measures.

Mr. Brade knew that Emily was a woman of gentle birth and refined
education. And he graphically depicted the gulf which yawned between
two such beings as herself and her husband. He asked Emily how she
could have thought of admitting to a place in her affections a person
of Roberts's stamp?

Had Mr. Brade been her father, or her brother--and had his object
been to dissuade her from matrimony--nothing could have been more
unexceptionable than was his discourse. But he went on to propose
that she should discard the convict, and seek an asylum--a home for
ever--with him, a man of equal birth, and blood, and rank in life. He
offered to resign his appointment and leave the colony with her, and
go to any part of the world she thought proper to mention. He told her
that an ample fortune would be his on his father's death, and implored
her on his knees to listen to his prayers.

Emily hid her face in her hands, and was silent.

Mr. Brade mistook this for an assent, and rising, kissed her several
times. She struggled from his embrace, and looked piteously into his
eyes; she longed to scream and bring "Reginald" to her assistance; but
alas! she knew the penalty, and, kneeling to Mr. Brade, she prayed to
him with clasped hands, and in a subdued voice:--

"Spare me, oh, spare me!"

"You are not offended with me?" he inquired.

"No," she replied, falsely; but her falsehood may be forgiven.

"May I visit you to-morrow?"

"Yes!" (Emily rose, for she heard the voice of her husband, who was now
approaching.)

After dinner Mr. Brade tried to make Roberts drunk with wine and
flattery. Roberts humoured him, pretended to be speechlessly
intoxicated, and snored in an easy chair.

Emily endeavoured several times to arouse Roberts; but he acted
too well to give her any hope of success. Mr. Brade then bade her
contemplate her convict spouse, and criticised him without reserve. And
he renewed his offers, his insinuations, and his threats--and, seizing
Emily's hand, kissed it, to her disgust and horror.

It became late--eleven o'clock--and Emily begged that the horse and
gig might be ordered. Mr. Brade assured her that Roberts was not sober
enough to drive, and that the road was very dangerous in many places;
and he offered to drive her home himself. This Emily declined, and
again attempted to arouse her husband.

Mr. Brade retired suddenly from the room. Emily heard him barring the
windows and locking the doors at the back part of the house. No time
was to be lost! she prudently thought, and slipping from the front
door, unobserved, she reached the high-road, bareheaded and unshawled.
She did not keep the road, but skirted it, crouching down behind the
bushes whenever she fancied she heard footsteps near her. Fortunately
it was moonlight, and she was enabled thus to trace her way.

When Mr. Brade had fastened every door and window he returned to the
room where he had left Emily. What was his annoyance to find she was
gone! He was now alone in the house with Roberts, who pretended still
to sleep. Mr. Brade could not believe that Emily had left the villa; he
searched every room, looked under every bed, behind every curtain, and
into every closet. He then ordered his horse, and galloped along the
road, in the hope of overtaking the fugitive.

Emily saw him pass by at full speed, and before she had travelled a
mile further, she heard him re-pass, on his return home. Still she kept
within the fence until she was out of danger.

It was three o'clock in the morning when Emily, foot-sore and
heart-broken, arrived at her cottage.




CHAPTER XXII.

LET the reader imagine George Flower, with his hair cut as closely as
was Roberts's when he came off the treadmill; imagine him unarmed,
in the garb of a convict, a dress of coarse yellow and black livery,
and a broad arrow painted, or rather tarred, on the yellow parts, to
show that he belonged to a road-making gang; a pair of handcuffs on
one of his wrists, as though he had succeeded in pulling the left hand
through, but could not get the fetter from the right wrist.

Flower soon fell in with that illustrious trio--Millighan, Slobey, and
Drohne--who were the terror of the district, and who had recently met
the mounted police, and in a fair fight shot two of them, and driven
away two others.

"Who are you?" inquired the leader, Millighan.

"A poor devil!" said Flower.

"Why have you these darbys on your right wrist?"

"Because I can't get 'em off."

"Where have you come from?"

"From a gang about thirty miles from this."

"Are you a bolter?"

"Yes. They were taking me to get seventy-five,* and I hit the overseer
a blow on the head with both hands in the cuffs, and did for him."

[* Seventy-five lashes.]

"Did you kill him outright?"

"I should just think I did. I put my foot on his throat and kept it
there till he gave over breathing."

"Then you're a roper?" *

[* A man who is sure to be hanged when apprehended.]

"That same, of course."

"And a lifer originally?"

"What else? I'm the man that the judge cracked the joke upon."

"Is transportation for life a joke?"

"No, but when I told him that I committed my crime in a fit of
absence, he said 'that's a fit that must last for the remainder of
your life!'"

The trio laughed heartily.

"What a jovial judge," said Millighan, smiling. "He must have been an
Irishman."

"No; an Englishman," replied Flower.

"Now, look here, young man," said Millighan, "although we think three
quite enough, still you are so worthy of being one of us, you shall
be added to our number. There is a devilry in your eye, and a taste
for fighting about your mouth, that I like amazingly. We're all of us
sure to be hanged if we're taken, and therefore you'll have no sort of
objection to be shot rather than surrender. We have been out for more
than two years, and if we have any luck we will remain the lords of
this bush. We are somewhat hard up for flour, and we have come down
here on purpose to lighten one of old Captain Piper's drays--I mean the
old gentleman who keeps a band, and is fond of dancing. That business
concluded, you shall have a comfortable home, and a Tower musket, and
sundry rounds of ball cartridge; and meanwhile here's the horse pistol
and the pouch-box which belonged to that unfortunate fellow of the
mounted police, who lost his life in a most glorious manner the other
day."

"All right," said Flower. "You'll find that I thoroughly understand my
business."

Captain Piper's drays now loomed in the distance.

"Here they come!" cried Millighan; "and you shall have the honour of
speaking first to the drivers."

The drays, drawn by bullocks, came slowly up the road, and Flower, in a
stentorian voice, which charmed the trio, commanded a "halt."

The men in charge of the drays instantly surrendered; and Flower, with
his usual activity, proceeded to unload the drays of such stores as
the trio told him they stood in need of. A bag of English biscuits
was found, and the flour therefore remained untouched. Three gallons
of French brandy, a small keg of American negrohead tobacco, and a
quantity of almonds and raisins were also selected, and a small box
containing millinery, silks, ribbons, tapes, bobbins, needles, thread,
&c., and, what a prize! a pair of new double-barrelled pistols, two
pairs of plated spurs, a new saddle and bridle, and a small chest
filled with various medicines. The drays were then suffered to proceed,
and the bushrangers took the shortest road to their habitation.

It was a house made by nature, in a limestone rock, in that region of
the world where gold in such quantities is now found. It overlooked a
beautiful valley several miles in extent. Cattle were grazing in the
valley, and hobbled horses were fattening on the luxuriant pasturage.
Pigeons and fowls were feeding about the den, and several large
kangaroo dogs barked a welcome to the trio on their return.

There was an old woman in the den, whom the bushrangers called
"Mother," and a girl of about thirteen or fourteen years of age, but
prematurely very old-looking; this girl they all called "Sister Sall,"
but it is doubtful whether she stood in that relationship to any one of
them.

On seeing the keg containing the brandy, the old woman was greatly
joyed. She speedily produced a large gimlet, pierced the wood, inserted
a quill into the aperture, and drew off about a pint, which she fairly
distributed amongst the party, including herself and "Sister Sall."

Guns, cutlasses, pistols, and powder-flasks decorated the walls of the
den; and in a corner were several bayonets mounted upon broomsticks,
and upon three pegs there were three saddles and bridles, all in
excellent condition. Such a collection of miscellaneous articles
Flower, even with all his police experience, had never beheld.

The furniture of the den consisted of a table formed of a large piece
of limestone, with a flat surface. It had been rolled into the centre
of the apartment. The stools were smaller pieces of limestone. On the
floor was a Turkey carpet, and upon this the inmates, male and female,
used to sleep, covering themselves with blankets, kangaroo skins, and
horse rugs, of which there was a superabundance. Millighan, the leader,
invariably made a pillow of his saddle.

There was no door to the den; and the fire, around which the dogs
congregated by night, was a few paces from the entrance. The den was so
dark, even by day, that it was necessary to burn a lamp, but at night
it was lighted up with wax or tallow candles.

The old woman made some soup out of the tail of a large kangaroo, and
served up an excellent dish composed of boiled maccaroni and Westphalia
ham. Unexceptionable port wine (lawfully the property of the commandant
of Bathurst) was in due course produced. Smoking and drinking then
commenced, and in these occupations the old woman and the young girl
participated.

George Flower still wore his handcuffs on his wrist. The old woman had
steeped his hand in emu oil, and had attempted, but ineffectually, to
draw the fetter over the greasy flesh. She now brought a file, and
began to cut through the hand-cuff, and when she grew tired, Sister
Sall took up the work. Meanwhile the trio were engaged in playing
"all-fours" with a new pack of cards which had lately come into their
possession.

While the old woman was filing his handcuffs, Flower recollected her
features. She was a convict who had absconded from the factory at
Parramatta, some six years previously, and it was supposed she had
perished in the bush. Her name was Elizabeth Norris, but she was
more familiarly known to the police authorities as "Tambourine Bet."
Playing upon the tambourine at fairs was the profession she followed in
England before she imbibed a taste for felony, which ended in her being
transported for life. The face of the girl was also familiar to Flower,
and he racked his brains, but without effect, to bring to recollection
whose child she was, and where he had seen her.

"I think that will do," said Flower, when the process of filing had
continued for about two hours; and striking the fetter sharply upon the
limestone stool on which he sat, it snapped asunder, and his wrist was
once more free.

The trio had finished their game, and were re-filling their pipes and
replenishing their tin pannikins with Captain Piper's brandy, when
Millighan called out to Flower--

"I say, what's your name, give us a song."

"My name is Teddy Monk," said Flower.

"Well, then, chant, Monk; and if you can do it as well as you can stop
a dray, I make no sort of doubt you'll give universal satisfaction."

Flower, who was rather proud of his singing, at once indulged the
company with a song admirably suited to their tastes. The air of this
ditty was that of an Irish jig. It inspirited the old woman, and
seizing the instrument from which she derived her cognomen, she cried
out, "Encore," and accompanied Flower with a vigorous beat.

When the song was a second time ended, the old woman got up and danced
round the den, as though she were once more on a platform at Greenwich
Fair, while Sister Sall, who was by this time intoxicated, clapped her
hands, and laughed hysterically. The conviviality was prolonged until
the day began to dawn. The inmates of the den then coiled themselves up
upon the Turkish carpet which was spread upon the floor, and, one by
one, dropped off to sleep.

The only dog which was allowed to come into the den was a small
pug-nosed terrier, the property of Millighan. This animal used to sleep
at his master's head, his nose resting on the saddle which Millighan
used as a pillow.

Flower did not go to sleep. Weary as he was, he lay awake, encompassing
the destruction or capture of all the human beings by whom he was
surrounded. He raised his head and reconnoitred the den, which was
now as still as the grave, while the cocks were crowing, the pigeons
cooing, the calves bleating in their pens. He was on the point of
getting up stealthily for the purpose of putting his intent into
execution, when the terrier growled, and Millighan, awakened, inquired
of the dog, "What's the matter?" The terrier barked; and Flower
rejoiced that the dog had no tongue wherewith to answer fully the
question that was put to him.

"Hold your noise, you little fool," said Millighan; but the terrier
disobeyed him, and approaching the spot where Flower lay, re-commenced
an angry bark, varied occasionally by a surly growl.

"What's the row?" cried Flower, pretending to be awakened.

"Oh! it's only my dog," replied Millighan; "he knows you are a
stranger, and he can't understand it. Give him a kick, and turn him out
of the house."

"Oh no! he's a good dog," said Flower; "what is his name?"

"Nettles," said Millighan.

"Come here, Nettles; good dog, Nettles," said Flower, coaxingly.

The dog was not susceptible of flattery. He declined the invitation,
and again took up his position near his master's head, where he
remained awake, watching, until Flower had fallen asleep.




CHAPTER XXIII.

"MY dear Reginald," said Emily to her husband when he returned from
Mr. Brade's, "why did you take so much wine last night, and compel me
to walk home? I could not arouse you, and I could not remain there all
night."

"My beloved," said Roberts, "it was very wrong; but remember, it
is seldom that one meets a man of one's own cloth. You don't know
Brade--you don't know what an actor he is. He has the most intense
regard and respect for me, and yet he sometimes, I am told, pretends to
run me down behind my back. He does it just to hear what other people
say of me. He is a man who is full of fun."

"Fun, Reginald?"

"Yes, my love, pure fun, I assure you. Don't offend Brade, whatever
you do. He has pledged me his word that I shall have a free pardon
immediately, and for my sake do not make an enemy of a man who
can be, if he likes, such a valuable friend. He is coming to dine
here to-morrow quietly, and hear you sing and play. I told him we
should make no preparation for him; but you must see that there is a
particularly nice dinner put upon the table, and I will order in some
excellent wine and a very recherché dessert."

"I am not equal to entertaining Mr. Brade, Reginald," replied Emily.
"The dinner shall be provided, but I will not appear."

"Emily, my love, you really must make an effort on this occasion,"
said Roberts. "Remember, dearest, for my sake, for the sake of my
emancipation from this loathsome place of bondage, it is your duty to
conciliate Brade, and not repulse him."

Emily, who had not the faintest idea of the real character of the man
to whom she was linked, was afraid to mention to him all that had
passed on the previous day. She therefore gave as a reason for her
disinclination to appear at the dinner, that she was poorly and out of
spirits.

"But you will be better by to-morrow, my own dearest Emmy. My life, my
soul, you know what sacrifices your Reginald is prepared to make for
you, and he knows she will not disappoint him in this, will she, my
own dear pet?" and Roberts, placing his arm around Emily's neck, gently
patted her cheek, and looked tenderly into her soft hazel eyes, which
were filling with tears.

With an aching heart, Emily promised that she would appear at the
dinner-table on the following day, and that she would do her utmost
to delight with music and her voice the gentleman who seemed to take
advantage of her husband's position, and who, under the impunity which
that position afforded him, was resolved to persist in his infamous
pursuit.

       *       *       *       *       *

Roberts had of late frequently absented himself from the office in
which he was employed, and spent his stolen leisure at a cottage where
resided a young lady who had recently attracted his attention. This was
no other than one of Emily's fellow passengers, whose conduct on the
voyage has been already described. It amused Roberts vastly to hear of
Emily's "greenness" from the lips of this person, who used to accompany
her details with mimicry. Thus entertained, Roberts would lie on the
sofa, smoke his cigar, and drink Madeira, on those days when he felt
indisposed for work.

Mr. Brade knew of this, and, a few days after he had dined at the
cottage, called one morning and delicately conveyed to Mrs. Harcourt
"what a pity, what a shame it was, that a man who was so blest with a
beautiful and accomplished woman for his wife, should be so lost to
every sense of propriety as to indulge in such disreputable company."

Mr. Brade's motive was obvious, and Emily saw that he wished to
estrange her affections from her husband. She therefore concluded that
Mr. Brade's story was an invention.

"The idea of Reginald being unfaithful! It was absurd."

Had she been in other circumstances, Emily would have said this aloud,
and ordered Mr. Brade to leave her house, and never more enter it; but
as it was, she was compelled to remain silent, and listen to offers
which Mr. Brade never failed to repeat whenever he had an opportunity.

Although Mr. Brade's story was not credited by Emily, nevertheless it
added to her miseries. The bare thought of "Reginald" taking a delight
in the society of any other woman distracted her.

"Reginald," said Emily, one night, "I have such awful dreams, I am
afraid to go to bed. I dream that you love some one else."

"My darling!" exclaimed Roberts, "is it not proverbial that ridiculous
fancies, the most improbable things, present themselves to our
imagination when we are asleep? You dream that I could be so wicked?
May you continue so to dream, dearest. Oh, Emmy! why do you torture me?
No, never, my love!"




CHAPTER XXIV.

THERE were to be races at Parramatta, fifteen miles from Sydney.
Roberts asked Emily if she would like to visit them. He knew full well
that she would decline. Roberts, therefore, left his house alone, in
his gig, drawn by his fine-actioned, fast-stepping, trotting horse, one
of the best animals in the colony.

Roberts drove to the top of Church Hill, and there took up the
Enchantress (he so called his new acquaintance), who was dressed in
pink silk, trimmed with black lace, and wore a veil of white lace upon
a white straw bonnet, and carried a beautiful parasol, fringed with
blue floss silk.

Roberts's turn out was the neatest of its kind on the crowded road; and
his famous horse, Bosphorus, suffered nothing to pass him. In the
boot of the gig was a small ham, a pair of cold fowls, several French
rolls, and half a dozen bottles of champagne.

Mr. Brade knew that Roberts was going to the races in the young lady's
company, and he determined to satisfy Emily, beyond a doubt, that
Reginald was not what she took him to be. Mr. Brade, therefore, ordered
one of his constables to proceed to the races, and carry out certain
instructions.

It was a lovely day. Everybody in the colony appeared to have
congregated on the Parramatta race-course.

Roberts had "shown off" his magnificent trotter, his light gig, and
silver plated harness, to the admiring spectators; had lost a dozen
pair of gloves to the Enchantress, by giving her the field against the
favourite; and it was now time for them to discuss the delicacies in
the boot of the gig.

When in the very act of carving the ham, having given his companion the
liver wing of one of the fowls, the constable approached Roberts and
said--

"Please may I ask who you are, sir?"

"I am Mr. Roberts."

"Well, but, Mr. Roberts, what I wish to know is, are you free or bond?"

"Why, free; free as air, or a bird on the ocean wave."

"Now, I don't want to take any undue advantage of you," said the
constable, "and I therefore repeat the question, are you a free man, or
are you a Prisoner of the Crown?"

"Have some ham and fowl, and a glass of champagne?"

"Put down that knife and fork, and answer my questions. Are you a free
man?"

"Not exactly."

"Are you an assigned servant? Or are you in the service of government?"

"Assigned."

"To whom?"

"To my wife."

"Is this lady your wife?"

"No; she's a friend of my wife."

"Is your wife on the race-course?"

"No; she's in Sydney."

"Will you oblige me with a sight of your pass?"

"Pass! my good sir! Do you suppose it necessary for me to carry a pass?"

"You haven't a pass?"

"No."

"Then I am sorry to say I am compelled to take you into custody for
being an assigned servant 'at large,' without a pass from his mistress;
and as a convict cannot possess property, I am bound to believe that
everything about you belongs to your mistress; so, pack up and come
along with me. And you, madam, must go too, for how do I know that all
that finery you've got on isn't the property of the lady to whom this
man belongs?"

Roberts's companion instantly discharged a volley of abuse at the
constable, but this had the effect of making him even more disagreeable.

Roberts took out his purse and offered it to the constable. The
constable put it into his pocket, then searched Roberts, and took from
his person a penknife, a pencil-case, and a toll-bar ticket. He also
took Roberts's gold watch and chain, and the ruby pin which fastened
his blue satin scarf. This operation was performed amidst the laughter
and jeers of the multitude, who had now formed a ring round Roberts's
horse and gig.

Roberts was then handcuffed, and a small rope tied to the handcuffs,
and fastened to one of the springs of his vehicle. The constable then
got into the gig, and, sitting beside the Enchantress, triumphantly
drove off the course, with Roberts in tow, cheered by the mob, who
seemingly enjoyed the joke--for Roberts had attracted considerable
notice upon the road.

Proceeding, as this interesting cortège did, at an easy pace, it was
passed by all those who were returning from the races; and the majority
of the company now labouring under the excitement which is caused by
frequent drams, the quantity of personal pleasantry which was scattered
upon Roberts and the Enchantress was enormous.

When they were within about five miles of Sydney, there came on one
of those violent storms of wind called, in the colony of New South
Wales, "a brick-fielder." This covered every one with red dust, and
the wind being followed almost immediately by a heavy fall of rain,
anything more grotesque than became the plight of the party it would
be difficult to conceive. Roberts, who was greatly fatigued, was
continually imploring the constable not to let the horse walk so fast,
a request which was commonly responded to in the words, "Hold your
tongue, and don't disturb us," for the woman had now made herself more
agreeable to the constable than, under the circumstances, he had any
right to expect.

They were now at the door of Emily's cottage. Mr. Brade was in the
cottage at the time. He had been there for at least two hours,
apologising in the most abject tone for any levity of demeanour of
which in previous interviews he had been guilty.

"Dear me! what's this?" cried Mr. Brade, looking out of the window.
"Dear me! No! it can't be. Yes, it is. Let me conceal myself. If the
constable sees me here, I'm ruined. What crime can he have committed?
He may be brought up before me! Pray, Mrs. Harcourt, let me conceal
myself. Look out of the window!" Mr. Brade rushed into the next room,
and almost fainted with the convulsive laughter into which that
magnificent spectacle had thrown him.

Emily immediately recognised the creature who had so often chilled
her blood on the passage to New South Wales. She did not at first see
Reginald. What a constable and this horrid woman could be doing in
Reginald's gig at her door was more than Emily could comprehend.

The constable came in and detailed all that had taken place, leaving
Reginald and his companion still outside, the latter seated in the gig
holding the reins, and the former in handcuffs tied to the tail of the
vehicle.

Emily was stupefied, but believing Reginald to have been a victim of
conspiracy in the matter which originally brought him to the colony,
she was not prepared to condemn him until she had heard what he had to
say in his defence. She therefore told the constable that Roberts was
at the races with her consent, and desired that he might be immediately
set at liberty.

"And what about the lady, mam?" said the constable. "May I take her
home in the gig, mam? Poor thing, she is very wet."

"You must use your own discretion in that matter; speak to my husband,"
said Emily.

The constable did use his own discretion, and very humanely drove
the Enchantress to her abode, where he received at her hands a bottle
of brandy for his trouble.

Roberts threw himself upon the couch in his dining-room, and stretched
himself at full length. He was too tired to pull off his wet clothes
and boots.

"Dearest," he gasped, "a spoonful--a spoonful, Emmy, dearest, of
brandy--I'm regu-larly dead-beat!"

Mr. Brade was looking through the key-hole, and was longing to laugh
at Roberts's miserable but well merited condition; but when he beheld
Emily administering to his wants, and holding up his head, while he
drank the liquor from her hand, his soul was consumed by a variety of
passions which were never before perhaps blended simultaneously in the
same bosom. Love, pity, envy, hate, jealousy, anger, joy, and sorrow
were all at work together, and Mr. Brade said within his heart, "That
man or I must leave this colony, if not this world."

"Flower! that villain Flower! Oh, the scoundrel!" groaned Roberts. "He
promised that he would show me that the transfer of myself to you would
not better my condition. Who but Flower would have thus insulted me? I
could have borne all but being mixed up with that horrible woman. Oh,
Emmy, judge of what my feelings have been!"

Roberts was sincere in his belief that George Flower was the author of
his misfortune, and the conjecture did credit to his sagacity, for it
was just the trick Flower would have played him, only that he would not
have allowed Emily to see the young lady.

A light was now breaking in upon Emily. She began to see through it
all (she thought). "Poor Reggye! let me take off these wet boots and
change your clothes, dear; and then tell me all that has happened." In
a whisper she added, "Mr. Brade is in the next room. He ran in there to
escape being seen by the constable."

"Oh, Mr. Brade is here! I am glad of that," said Roberts, "for he will
see how I have been treated, and will have justice done to me. Oh,
Emmy! I have not a leg to stand on."

When Roberts had attired himself in dry clothes, Mr. Brade made his
appearance, and heard the complaint preferred against the constable. A
more plausible story was never uttered. Roberts had hatched it on the
road, and in point of "circumstantiality" it was perfect.

He had left his gig, (he said) and had gone into the race-stand.
When he returned he found that abominable female seated in the
vehicle--polluting the very harness upon the back of the horse. He
requested her in the most polite manner to leave his gig immediately.
She abused him, and called him all sorts of names.

Emily here said she could believe it. She had heard the creature in
a passion.

"Well," continued Roberts, "what could I do? I was obliged to call a
constable to take her in charge. The constable came. He happened to be
a friend of the woman. 'Give me in charge!' said the woman. 'Who are
you? What are you? You are a convict. Give me in charge? I give you in
charge for assaulting me!' The constable took her part, and then took
me into custody. And, to show the animus of the man, he drove her to
town in the gig, and tied me, handcuffed, behind, as you saw with your
own eyes, Emmy, dearest."

Emily had seen it, of course; and what was more, the constable had had
the audacity to speak kindly of the woman, and pity her, and then take
her away in Reginald's gig; and she saw the man laughing when he left
the house! Emily was, therefore, perfectly satisfied that Reginald had
been most grossly ill-treated; but she did not as yet perceive how
George Flower was a party to this infamous proceeding.

Roberts explained. Flower was a friend of this constable, who
acknowledged that he had promised Flower to keep an eye on him.

Mr. Brade, who felt that Roberts's cunning had completely baffled his
project, pretended to be very angry with the constable.

"I cannot advise you," said Mr. Brade, "to press the charge in public;
but I will see that both that man and George Flower are dismissed from
the police."




CHAPTER XXV.

MILLIGHAN and his gang never left the precincts of the den except they
were in want of supplies; and being now provided with all they required
for the present, they engaged in the many pastimes within their
reach. Shooting and kangarooing during the day--cards, tobacco, and
grog at night. Flower rather enjoyed the life, and had grown to like
the captain of the gang. In addition to being a very plucky fellow,
Millighan rode well and swam well, was a good shot both with gun and
pistol; could tell a pleasant story, sing sentimental songs; and was
an ardent admirer of the fair sex. In short, he was very like George
Flower in disposition and accomplishments--as good looking, and as
active.

Millighan, in turn, had conceived a great regard for Flower, and
had said to George, one day, when they were out kangarooing on
horseback--"If I should get knocked over in the next battle we have
with the mounted police, you are the man to stand in my shoes." Ay,
and Millighan had endeared himself to Flower by other means. He had,
unconsciously, aroused George's pride and tickled his vanity: and
to this he was indebted for his life; for Flower's opportunities of
destroying him were now frequent. Millighan had one night (little
conscious in whose presence he was speaking) held forth on the
nobleness of Flower's character.

"He is not one of your chicken-hearted dogs that fire at a man from
behind a tree," said Millighan. "He never employs those black beasts
to track up his prey. He goes out into the open, like a man, and
challenges his adversary. If I had been in that gang, when Flower was
shot in the back on the Liverpool Road, I'd have killed the cowardly
villain who did such a thing. It's a great pity that Flower did not
take to the bush instead of the police. He would have gone down to
posterity in the a annals of this blessed country, in the absence of
patriots, as one of her greatest men."

*   *   *   *   *   *

It was now time for another visit to the roads. The tea and sugar were
exhausted, and there was but very little tobacco remaining.

Slobey was left at home to assist the old woman in the den.

Millighan, Drohne, and Flower, each armed with a carbine and a pair of
horse pistols, descended the hill on which their limestone house was
situated. They were on this occasion on horseback, and were, moreover,
dressed in the uniform and appointments of the men of the mounted
police, and they wore their regulation broadswords, and the horses they
rode were the property of Government.

After winding five miles, over crags and creeks, and through valleys
and forests, the bushrangers reached the high road, of which for the
past two years they had been the terror.

"Monk," said Millighan to Flower, "have you a mind for a lark?"

"Yes," responded George. "I'm up to anything. What is it to be?"

"Why, look here. Let us pay a visit to old Grimes, and taste of his
hospitality. He is very fond of entertaining the mounted police, and
lending them stores when they run short. And he may give us a newspaper
or two."

"But does he not know the men of the mounted police?" inquired Flower.

"Not all of 'em. How should he?" returned Millighan. "Thanks to the
accuracy of my eye, they are changed pretty often in these parts."

Major Grimes had been a major in the Royal Artillery. He was now a
settler, possessed of large flocks of sheep, near Bathurst. His store
houses were usually well filled with supplies of all kinds, and it
was quite true that he had been very accommodating to the men of the
mounted corps, whom he was always glad to see upon his premises.

The bushrangers rode on, and at length arrived at Major Grimes's
estate, where they were welcomed warmly, invited to alight, and take
some refreshment in the kitchen. Had the Major any news? Yes, the body,
or rather, the remains of a body, had been found in the Hawkesbury
river, and had been identified as those of the famous thief-taker,
George Flower! It was supposed he had been murdered; though one paper
hinted, that, as he was drunk when last seen upon the road, it was not
improbable that he met his death by attempting to swim across.

All expressed their great regret at this; and Flower had again the
satisfaction of hearing his own praises sounded by Millighan. He joined
in those praises, and was very eloquent on his own bravery--though he
expressed a decided opinion that George Flower was a great vagabond,
and too grasping after rewards for the apprehension of desperate
characters.

"Talking of desperate characters," said Millighan to the Major, "what
think you of that unfortunate affair in which some of our fellows were
engaged, and two killed?"

"Yes, it was a sad business," replied the Major; "but what could you
do--four against nine? Such awful odds."

"Awful!" said Millighan. "And all nine brave men, too."

"And daring," added the Major.

"Yes, and daring," conceded Millighan. "But we shall have better luck
soon, I hope."

"I hope so, too," said the Major; "for I have several drays on the
road, about which I am beginning to be very nervous. They took
everything from Captain Piper's drays a short time ago."

"So I hear," said Millighan; "but I don't believe a word of it. If
these drivers are stopped at all, and robbed of only a few articles,
they sell the rest, and go home empty. At least, that's my opinion,
Major. Of course, I may be wrong."

"Here's a nice slander upon your cloth, Corporal, in the last
Australian," said the Major.

"What's that, sir?"

"Why, they say that the mounted police sometimes doff their clothes,
hide their horses, put on smock frocks and hairy caps--and help
themselves to people's property."

Millighan and his companions laughed the idea to scorn, and appealed to
each other as to the possibility of such a thing.

"If the mounted police want anything, they have only to ask for it,"
said Millighan. "At this present we are out of tea, sugar, tobacco, and
spirits, and if you could supply us with some, for the price of which I
will give you an order on Lieutenant Mole, our commanding officer, in
Bathurst Town, we shall be very much obliged to you."

"Oh, certainly!--how much do you require?" asked the Major.

"Why, sir, about five pounds of tea, fifteen pounds of sugar, three
pounds of tobacco, and about a gallon of rum, gin, or brandy," said
Millighan.

While these stores were being weighed out, Millighan wrote an order for
payment on Lieutenant Mole, and signed it--"Walker, lance-corporal."

"Corporal, will you allow me to speak a few words to you in private?"
said Major Grimes.

"By all means, sir," said Millighan, following the Major into the
verandah, where he walked up and down--his heavy sabre in its steel
scabbard dangling at his side.

"Corporal," said Major Grimes, confidentially, "a shepherd of mine this
morning told me that he knows the very spot which those desperate dogs
make their head-quarters."

"Indeed!" said Millighan; "and where may the spot be?"

"That's the point," said the Major. "The fellow knows the secret is
worth something, and he won't tell; but he says he'll point it out if
we will go with him and take a large force, and promise to obtain for
him a pardon, and give him a portion of the reward that is offered:
three of their number are worth £300,--a hundred each, you know."

"The man's terms are very moderate," said Millighan--"very moderate. Of
his free pardon he would be quite sure; but if he wants a good share of
the money, the fewer that have to do with the capture the better. Let
me and my men have some conversation with him, and who knows that by
this time to-morrow we may not have the whole gang, dead or alive?"

Flower was now summoned to the council. He heard with well-acted
delight what the Major communicated, entirely agreed with Millighan
that the fewer who had a hand in the capture the better, and proposed
that the shepherd should be at once sent for and questioned.

The shepherd repeated his story--that he had seen the den at a
distance, and could point it out, for he had marked with a tomahawk
several leading trees as landmarks; but he said he could not describe
the way to the den, it was so intricate and round about. From his
description of the den, there could be no doubt that he was possessed
of the secret, which, as Major Grimes had truly observed, was well
worth knowing.

At first the shepherd declined to go, unless accompanied by a large
force; but after a while he yielded to the persuasive arguments of
Millighan, which Flower was compelled to support.

"How did you happen to stumble across it, my man?" inquired Millighan,
when they were about two miles distant from the road, and in the heart
of a forest peopled only by kangaroos, opossums, and wild cats.

"Why, one day," the shepherd replied, "I was out looking for a working
bullock in this direction, and I lost my way, and had to sleep in
the bush all night. Next morning, when daylight appeared, I wandered
about, almost starved to death, when suddenly I came upon the print
of a horse's foot. This I followed, and at last came upon a path,
where I came upon the print of a dog's foot, which was quite fresh.
'Hulloa,' says I, 'I can't be far off some cattle-station;' and I
followed the track for about three mile, when I came to a creek, where
I saw a horse drinking. Now that horse belonged to a gentleman who
had it stole. It belonged to one of Billy Wentworth's overseers, and
there was the W. C. W. branded on the shoulder, plain enough. 'Oh, oh,'
thought I, 'the sooner I go back the better,' for, mind you, these
fellows make pretty short work of anybody who happens to get a scent
of where they are: they think nothing of tying a fellow to a tree and
leaving him there till his skeleton is discovered."

"Nonsense!" cried Drohne, who had twice performed this cruel operation,
when the gang was short of powder, and could not afford to throw away
a single charge in destroying an enemy; for every man who knew of the
den's whereabout could be regarded in no other light.

"Well, go on," said Millighan.

"Well, while I was looking at the horse, and thinking that I'd make the
best of my way back, I saw smoke about a hundred yards off, and heard
the barking of dogs----"

Drohne cocked his carbine, took it from the socket, and looked fiercely
at the shepherd; but Millighan frowned at his comrade, and checked his
impetuosity.

"Just as I was going away I saw three men coming along. I was in an
awful fright, and crouched down behind a big piece of stone, and they
passed without seeing me."

"Should you know them again?" asked Drohne, once more placing his hand
on his carbine.

"Oh, yes," said the shepherd. "They were drest in jackets and caps made
out of the skins of flying squirrels, and were talking about a robbery
they had committed only a few days before. But we had better talk
quietly now, for we are not far from the creek, where I saw the horse.
As I live, there he is, lame as a cat in the fore shoulder."

"Who's to do it?" shouted Drohne to Millighan.

"Hold your tongue!" said Millighan, in reply.

"What are you about?" screamed Flower to Drohne, who was now taking aim
at the shepherd's head. "Hold hard! If you pull that trigger I'll send
a ball into you."

The shepherd was rather bewildered. He fancied that Drohne wanted to
shoot him, in order to prevent his receiving any share of the reward;
and he addressed himself to the whole party touching the unfairness of
such a deed.

"Answer me one question," said Millighan. "Is there any one else who
knows the road to this den?"

"Not a soul," was the reply.

"Did you mention it to no one?"

"No; I was not such a fool. I told master that I knew where the den
was, but I would not tell him even the direction it was in. But let us
not make a noise, for look, there's the smoke! And don't you hear the
dogs bark? You go on, and I'll wait here. Give me something or other to
defend myself with, for they'll be sure to show fight."

Drohne was still disposed to shoot the shepherd, and could not
understand on what principle Millighan and Flower objected.

"Come along," said Millighan to the man. "You'll find there will be no
fighting."

What was the shepherd's astonishment to find that the dogs recognised
this curious branch of the police, and frisked around their horses
in an agony of delight at their approach. The shepherd's want of
comprehension on this head, however, was soon supplied, when he found
himself in irons.




CHAPTER XXVI.

IN consequence of the scene which had taken place upon the race-course,
Roberts lost his employ in the attorney's office, and Emily's pupils
were all withdrawn from her. Parents were unwilling that their children
should come into contact with a person who had such a husband. In
order, therefore, to earn daily bread, Emily was compelled to do
needle-work, and knit socks and comforters.

The Lady Jane Grey paid another visit to Sydney, and old Captain
Dent lost no time in finding Emily, who was still living in the cottage
he had taken for her. Emily was delighted to see the old man, the more
especially as he had come at the very moment when she most needed a
protector, for Mr. Brade had thrown out a dark hint that he intended to
have Roberts taken away from her, and assigned to himself.

Captain Dent used to visit Emily very often, and his presence bored Mr.
Brade beyond measure. To Mr. Brade's horror the old man used to invite
Emily to return to England with him, offering her a stern cabin and a
free passage.

One day Mr. Brade sent for Roberts, and said to him, "Do you know, that
vulgar old ship captain is far too intimate with your wife?"

Roberts, quite unmoved, notwithstanding the grave character of the
suspicion, replied that it might be so, and a legal idea suddenly
flashed across his mind. The idea was this, whether a convict assigned
to his wife could bring an action for criminal conversation?--whether
being attainted by felony destroyed certain rights or not? Of his
wife's innocence he had no sort of doubt, but that was not his "point."
His point was to get money out of Captain Dent's pocket, and Captain
Dent out of Mr. Brade's way. This was what Roberts called "a very
comprehensive move."

Emily had shown to her husband all the letters the Captain had recently
written to her. They were conceived and expressed in a tone of the most
affectionate regard.

Captain Dent had frequently been shut up in the same room alone with
Emily for hours, and half a dozen little circumstances might be brought
forward, which, if put together, would be ample to satisfy the law.
"But then, again," (it was thus Roberts argued,) "this would be cutting
up the goose for the golden egg, for Emmy would leave me and go home,
and I might fall into the hands of some master who would make me work,
and bring me perhaps before Brade for idleness, and Brade would order
me fifty lashes as soon as look at me, if Emmy was once out of the
colony." So Roberts abandoned the project which at first had appeared
to him so glittering. But, insomuch as he would not be safe if he were
indifferent to Mr. Brade's wishes, he spoke to his wife on the subject,
and requested her in future not to be at home when Captain Dent called.

It was a great sacrifice to Emily to forego the pleasure of receiving
the old man who had treated her with such uniform kindness; but slave
as she was to the wishes of her husband, she consented without a
murmur, albeit she laughed at the very idea that "Reginald" could think
of being jealous of an old gentleman whose age was more than double
that of herself, while he did not appear at all jealous of Mr. Brade,
whose visits were quite as frequent as those of Captain Dent, and whose
attentions were much more marked, even in "Reginald's" presence.




CHAPTER XXVII.

FLOWER was far from weary of the wild marauding life that he was
leading, but he had a curious dream on the night which introduced Major
Grimes's shepherd to the den, and he made up his mind to bring matters
to a speedy conclusion, so far as related to the capture of the gang.
He asked Millighan to walk with him to the top of a mountain, which
overlooked the den, and there he discoursed with Millighan for some
time on the grandeur of the scene, and the sweets of liberty. It was
a beautiful warm day, and not a cloud to be seen in the sky. The foot
of man had never before trod the ground on which Flower and Millighan
were then standing. The stillness amidst the huge rocks of limestone
conveyed an idea of something awful. The place was uninhabited, even by
the birds of the air or the beasts of the field.

"Millighan," said Flower, resting his arms across the muzzle of his
carbine, and peering into Millighan's eyes, "could you commit murder?"

"Not in cold blood," said Millighan. "Why do you ask me that question?"

"Because I wish to know your sentiments on that head," said Flower.
"I could shoot a man, or be shot at, Millighan, without a flinch, but
I could not kill a brave fellow from behind a tree, or take a dirty
advantage of a living creature worthy of the name of man."

"Well, that's what I feel," said Millighan.

"Now, look here," said Flower. "Suppose a mounted policeman, or a
thief-taker--a fellow of real pluck--was to come upon you when you were
alone, and challenge you to surrender, what would you do? Would you
draw your trigger at once, and not give him a chance?"

"No!" cried Millighan; "I'd tell him to stand off and have a fight for
it."

"Millighan," said Flower, still keeping his eagle eye firmly fixed on
Millighan's, "are you speaking the truth?"

"Yes, so help me heaven!"

"Now let us suppose, that such a man as that fellow George Flower--the
fellow who was drowned the other day--was to be in the same position
with you as I am now?"

"I'd tell him," said Millighan, "that one of us must die, and challenge
him to fight fair!"

"How fight fair?"

"Why, I'd ask him to measure off fifty yards--to walk backwards five
and twenty paces, and let me do the like."

"And do you think he would agree?"

"Yes, I do; for he was a man. I have often longed to meet that fellow
in the field, for what I most love in this life is its excitement, and
to be killed by the hand of a man like Flower, or to escape by killing
him, in fair fight--either way, it would be something to suit me."

"Millighan," said Flower, "I believe every word that you have uttered.
Now, listen to what I am going to tell you. I am George Flower!"

Millighan started, and stared at Flower, whose eyes were now riveted on
those of his adversary.

Millighan's carbine dropped from his hand, but he did not change
colour, or betray any alarm.

"Pick up your piece," said Flower, pointing to the carbine, and
assuming a proud but careless attitude. "I am all that you have said
of me, Millighan. I might have shot you like a dog before I spoke to
you just now; but I could not do that, for you are a man, as well as
myself, and you are as brave and as generous. Pick up your piece, and
walk backwards five and twenty paces. But let us shake hands first."

Millighan took Flower's hand, and sighed heavily.

"Don't surrender," suggested Flower, half fearing that Millighan would
do so, and break the very charm that bound him to the man.

"Surrender!" cried Millighan, with a smile and a sneer. "No, I'll never
do that. And knowing you to be a brave foe, I have still a chance. But
tell me, are you in earnest? Are you really George Flower? Yes, you
must be. And hear this" (his blood began to warm), "if you are not,
we must fight this day, for we cannot after this live together."

Millighan took up his carbine, satisfied himself that there was powder
in the pan, and with his left thumb pushed the corner of the flint
round, so as to insure ignition when he drew the trigger.

Flower placed his carbine against a huge stone, put his hands into his
pockets, and looked firmly at Millighan:--

"I am George Flower!" said he. "Who but George Flower would deal
with you as I do? Don't let us talk much, or I may forget my mission,
and become a bushranger myself."

Flower then took up his carbine, examined the powder in the pan, and
touched the flint, as Millighan had done.

"Flower! for Flower you must be," said Millighan, "grant me, if you
shoot me, one desire that I have had from boyhood--a desire that has
haunted me. I do not dread death, but I have a horror of burial. If I
fall, suffer me to lie on the very spot. Let the eagle come and feast
upon my carcase, pluck these eyes from their sockets, and the skin from
this brow. Let me lie here in this lonely region, and let my bones
bleach in the sun, and the rain fall, and the moon and the stars shine
upon them."

"My God!" exclaimed Flower, seizing Millighan by the arm, "the same
dread of being buried has ever haunted me. If I fall by your
hand, let me rest here, with my head pillowed upon this gun. Let no man
living be shown the spot where I fell."

"Take your ground," said Millighan. "I am ready."

"There is my hand," said Flower, "and should we meet in another world
we shall not be ashamed of one another."

Tears were starting in the eyes of both Flower and Millighan. Each
stepped backward pace for pace, Millighan followed by the little
terrier, Nettles. When they were about fifty yards apart they halted
and looked at each other for several moments. Both simultaneously
levelled their carbines, but each was indisposed to be the first to
fire. Millighan discharged his piece. He had aimed at Flower's heart.
His bullet whizzed past Flower's head, and carried away a part of the
left whisker.

Flower fired--and Millighan fell flat on his face! The ball had entered
his left breast. Flower ran to the spot, to catch any last word
Millighan might desire to breathe--but----

Millighan was dead!

The dog Nettles became frantic. He flew at Flower, bit him in the legs,
and stood over his late master, barking defiantly. Flower could not
drive the dog away without violence, which he would not resort to,
and he could not, therefore, even touch the bushranger's corpse, now
weltering in its blood.

Millighan's gun was still grasped in his lifeless hand, and there
Flower suffered it to remain.

"That head," muttered Flower to himself, while the tears streamed down
his cheeks, "is worth a hundred pounds; but I could not cut it off for
a hundred thousand, and fifty free pardons."

"Nettles, come!" said Flower to the dog. "I'll take care of you,
Nettles." But the terrier only growled in reply, and took up a position
near his late master's head, and there remained.

       *       *       *       *       *

The capture of the other two bushrangers was as easy as possible to a
man of Flower's strength of mind and body. On returning to the den, he
found only the shepherd, who was still in irons, and the two women.
Drohne and Slobey had gone out kangarooing.

Flower released the shepherd, gave him a double-barrelled gun, and told
him to use it, if he were ordered to do so.

Bet and Sal were handcuffed together, and placed in an aperture of the
den; Flower and the shepherd then awaited the return of Drohne and
Slobey.

Flower had been remarkably abstemious of late. His sagacity had pointed
out to him that if he drank too much he might talk too much, and be led
into boasting, which would be dangerous. But now that Millighan was no
more, and the arrangements for his comrades' capture quite complete,
he went into "the spirit-room," and drank four drams. "Here's to the
memory of that brave man!" said Flower; drinking the first dram at a
gulp. "And here's to my noble self!" "And here's to that dear woman,
Mr. Orford's daughter!" "And here's to the girls that love George
Flower!"

Flower's tongue, too, had been tied up of late. He had not been able
to "hold forth" in the strain he was accustomed to indulge in: and
such a volume of words and phrases pent up for so many weeks was
almost the death of him. He was dying to abuse somebody, and lacked
the provocation until Drohne and Slobey appeared; for Flower could not
address any unkind discourse to the women; on the contrary, when he was
handcuffing them and putting them away, he said, in the most gentle and
earnest manner imaginable, "My sweet dears, it's only a matter of form,
which must be gone through, for safety's sake."

Of handcuffs there was an abundance in the den, and Flower began to
manipulate the assortment, and select such as would best fit Drohne and
Slobey.

"Now, then, shepherd," said Flower, "when these two gentlemen arrive,
you will be so good as to put these things round their wrists. So; do
you see? I'll cover them with this double-barrelled gun; do you see?
This is the way to hand-cuff two men together--so; do you see? hands
across, down the middle."

These instructions had scarcely been given, when Flower heard voices
outside the den.

"Here they come!" said Flower. "Now for it!"

Drohne and Slobey were unarmed.

"Don't get off your horses!" cried Flower, levelling his gun at Drohne.

"Why not?" said Drohne and Slobey.

"Because you are my prisoners; and if you don't do as I tell you, I'll
drop you right and left, just as I would quail."

"What lark are you up to?" asked Drohne.

"You will see that presently," said Flower. "Ride close together; do
you hear? There! that'll do. Now, then, my gentle shepherd, receive
their wrists prettily. Not that way, stupid. Hands across, didn't I
tell you? There! Thank you, shepherd; that will do. Now, then, bring
out another pair or two of handcuffs."

(The handcuffs were brought.)

"Hold this gun, shepherd, and shoot the first man who moves his hand
against me," said Flower.

"What is all this, Teddy? Where's Millighan? Have you been drinking,
and gone mad?" inquired Drohne.

"What an impatient fellow you are!" exclaimed Flower. "Wait a bit, and
you will see through it all."

Here Flower handcuffed together a stirrup-iron of either saddle, so
that the horses were coupled. The reins of the bridles were then
drawn over the heads of the horses and given to the shepherd to hold.

The women were now released, and ordered to bring up four of the other
horses (government cattle), then grazing in the valley. While they were
absent, Flower, unseen, possessed himself of all the gold and jewellery
in the den, and packed it carefully in two new saddle-bags. "This is
for Gov'ment," he remarked to himself, with a wink which denied the
truth of his statement in this particular. "Why, this bus'ness, one way
or other, will be worth about eight hundred pound to me," he added,
filling his pipe, and looking searchingly round the den. "I shall get
bounty money on all these horses, and saddles, and guns, and such
like; and then these two are worth a hundred a-piece, and Bet ought
to be worth something, as she has been a bolter at large for upwards
of four years. Gov'ment's very liberal, I must say, in some things,
though stingy in others. Poor Millighan! He very nearly did it for me.
How that ball whistled!" Here Flower smiled, and scratched that part
of his jaw which Millighan's bullet had shorn of its whisker. He then
went outside and used some very arrogant language to his prisoners, who
could not yet understand him thoroughly.

The women had now returned with the horses.

"Saddle 'em, my gals," said Flower. "Saddle 'em, and to-night we'll
drink with old Grimes, and perhaps kiss that pretty girl in the
kitchen. Oh dear! it's a fairy world after all. Saddle the nags, my
gals. Help 'em, shepherd. I'll hold these gentlemen's horses." Flower
took the reins, and stroked the noses of the steeds on which his
prisoners sat.

The horses were saddled.

"Now, then, shepherd, take the reins of these gentlemen's horses once
more, while I go inside with Bet and Sal."

These orders were obeyed, and Flower and the females retired to the den.

"Dress yourselves in the gorgeous array of the mounted police," said
Flower.

Bet urged that it would be impossible for her to do this; but Flower
insisted on the difficulty being overcome.

"Of course, put on the boots and spurs, and pouch-belt, and all
the rest of it," said Flower, in reply to a question from the woman.
"And now you, Sally, come you here, and let Bet dress you up in proper
character. What a noble face you have for a private! Come along!"

The girl appeared to enter into the joke, and obeyed the mandate with
alacrity.

"Now then, Bet, bring something to drink upon the road," said Flower,
"for it's a precious long ride, and we shall all be dry before we reach
old Grimes's."

Bet provided herself with a bottle of brandy, and Sal put a tin
pannikin into the bosom of the uniform jacket, which was much too large
for her.

The only armed person of the party was George Flower. He carried a
carbine, a pair of loaded pistols, and a sword.

"Shepherd, mount your horse, and lead the way!" cried Flower. "And you,
gentlemen, ride behind him, as you now are. You get up, Bet, and ride
on my right; and you, Sal, come to the left. Now, then, look alive!"

"What about the dogs?" inquired the woman.

"Oh, they may come with us," said Flower; "the whole lot of 'em. Call
to them."

The dogs, some seven in number, were called; they came, and the party,
or rather the procession, moved on.

       *       *       *       *       *

Bet complained of being tired when she had ridden about nine miles; but
Flower drank with her, and cheered for awhile her flagging spirits. He
then recommended her to have a race with Sal for a quarter of a mile;
but she had no ambition to shine in equestrian performances, and began
to abuse Flower with matchless volubility, without producing, however,
any effect, beyond that of making him laugh immoderately.

Suddenly Drohne pulled up his horse, and Slobey was obliged to do the
like.

"What's the row?" Flower inquired.

"The row is this," said Drohne; "I'll go no farther with you, you
hang-dog fiend."

"Now, don't talk in that way to me," returned Flower; "I don't like it.
Grimes's is not above three miles off now."

"Not so much," said the shepherd, "two miles and a half will bring us
to the house."

"I know what the distance is," said Drohne. "But I'll go no further.
I have made up my mind."

"To what?" inquired Flower.

"To die!" said Drohne.

"Oh, that you are sure to do," said Flower. "But why not wait till you
are sentenced? Now, come on; it is getting dark."

"And if we don't reach the road before sundown, we shall be in the bush
all night," said the shepherd.

"You hear that?" said Flower.

"I do," said Drohne.

"Well, and why kick up a row?" said Flower.

"Because I am ready to die," replied Drohne. "I may as well give up my
life to you as to the Ketch."

"Well, but I don't want your life," said Flower. "All I want is £100
for you from Gov'ment. I never saw such an unreasonable brute as you
are in the whole course of my life."

"Take me dead!" cried Drohne.

"You would be so 'high' in this weather," said Flower; "and I can't
get the reward unless I produce your body. Now, don't be a fool. Come
along. I hate being out all night in the bush. Go on, you!" Flower
called to Slobey.

Drohne prevented the advance.

"Now, look here," said Flower. "Look here, Drohne. It is, as far as
your life is concerned, a matter of time, and if time is of no object
to you, it is to me, remember--and if you won't go on, I'll do it at
once."

"Do it!" cried Drohne.

Flower levelled his carbine, and looked at Drohne.

"For God's sake!" screamed Bet and Sal.

"Have you made up your mind?" asked Flower, heedless of the screams of
the women.

"I have!" said Drohne, firmly.

"That you will not go on? That you are to die by my hand, instead of
the hangman's?"

"Yes!" said Drohne.

The women screamed again.

"Fire!" cried Drohne.

Slobey tried to urge Drohne forward. Flower did all he could to move
his prisoner by persuasion, and then by force. But Drohne was a strong
man, and he was successful in checking the march.

"Once more, I beg of you," said Flower.

"Fire!" cried Drohne. "Fire!"

Flower shot him through the heart.

The corpse, still handcuffed to Slobey, was carried on the horse,
Flower holding it on the saddle from the near side.

The wailing of the women became deafening, and the faces of the
shepherd and of Slobey were as pale as the lifeless visage of Drohne,
whose head was now bent forward on the neck of his horse.




CHAPTER XXVIII.

EMILY had once more the misfortune to be robbed of the writing-case, in
which she kept the few trinkets that then belonged to her. The thief
she fancied was a charwoman, whom she used to employ every Saturday to
clean the windows and the furniture. Roberts affected to think so too,
and gave Emily great credit for her acumen in guessing so correctly.
"But then," he said, "it would be madness to proceed against her
without direct proof."

Now, the truth was, that Roberts had given the contents of that
writing-case to the woman in whose company he had been disgraced and
degraded on the Parramatta race-course. The brooch, which was his
first present to his wife, was amongst the things the writing-case
contained, and a little gold pencil-case, a present from her father on
her twelfth birthday; a smelling bottle, the last gift from her mother;
and a small seal which had belonged to her great grandfather. In the
absence of money, of which he was now very much in want, Roberts had
bestowed these trifles upon "the Enchantress." And she used to wear
the brooch; and the gold pencil-case she appended to her watch-chain,
likewise the little seal, with which she used to seal numerous notes
written for her by a young female, who was both her companion and
amanuensis.

When Emily spoke to Mr. Brade of this distressing robbery he told
her at once, but in confidence, his well-grounded suspicions--that
her husband was the thief, and that he had given them to the woman
who lived in the cottage at the top of Church-hill. Nay, Brade went
further. He stated that he had seen the woman wearing the brooch, and
the pencil-case in her possession. But Emily, who was very clever in
reasoning (all confiding and really virtuous women are), began to ask
herself a variety of questions:--First. Had not Mr. Brade an object
in continually attempting to disparage dear Reginald? Secondly. Had
not Reginald gone a dozen times to the police office and talked to the
constables about the theft? Had he not come home and told her all that
the constables had said? Thirdly. Had not dear Reginald cried with
vexation when the theft was discovered? Was he not frantic to think
that his first present should have been stolen from her? Fourthly.
Had not dear Reginald gone into a violent passion with the charwoman,
and ordered her never again to darken his doors? Fifthly. How could
Mr. Brade have seen these things in the possession of the woman? Did
he know her? How absurd of Mr. Brade to think she was such a perfect
child! There was something so foolish, so simple, in men resorting
to such trumpery artifices! Poor Reginald! when would the world see
him in his proper light--as she did? But no wonder all the world
seemed against him. It was nothing more than human nature. He was the
handsomest man in the world, therefore all the handsome men hated him.
He was the cleverest man in the world, therefore all the clever men
detested him. He was the most open-hearted man in the world, therefore
the open-hearted would not praise him. He was the most witty man in the
world, and therefore--ah! she could see through it all! Dear Reginald!
And to think that he should still swear by Mr. Brade, and fancy him
such a great friend. Just like Reginald. He was so honest himself, he
could not fancy any one otherwise until he had found them out. Poor
dear boy! brought up, as he had been, to every comfort and luxury--a
scion of the aristocracy--the heir to a title--the idea that he should
be in such a horrid country, surrounded by such people, and compelled
to bear insult and contumely, and not be in a position to show his real
spirit! But the day would yet come. It could not be far off; for the
Almighty, though he often visited us with affliction for a time, was
always just and merciful in the end!

It was thus Emily was in the habit of discoursing with herself whenever
her husband was calumniated by Mr. Brade, or by anybody else.




CHAPTER XXIX.

ROBERTS might have earned at least five pounds a week by engrossing
deeds and other legal documents, but he could not bring his mind
to work, and Emily did not press him to do so; for, "poor fellow,"
she thought he had quite enough to distract him. Her own earnings,
from needle-work, were all they had to subsist upon, and these rarely
amounted to more than thirty shillings per week. It was difficult to
live upon this sum; but, somehow or other, Emily contrived to do so,
for there are no economists in this world to be compared with women of
lofty condition who have been brought up luxuriously, and have fallen
into poverty by reason of their love. Their pride is aroused, and they
can debar themselves, with a good grace, of comforts with which even
the poorest can but ill dispense.

Emily now kept no servant. She did everything herself, even to washing
her husband's linen, and scouring the floors and the passage of the
cottage; and at night, when no one could see her, she would come out
and whiten with a large sandstone, the steps in front of the door.

One night, "the Enchantress," with whom Roberts had been spending the
day, flew into a violent passion, and stabbed him with a carving-knife.
The wound, which was in the left breast, bled profusely. It was not
deep enough to be fatal, but, nevertheless, it was sufficient to arouse
Roberts's fears. Pale and faint from the loss of blood he staggered to
the arms of Emily, who screamed on beholding him in the condition in
which he presented himself.

A man in a slouched hat, and muffled up in a cloak, he said, had
aimed that blow at his life. When--he inquired of his wife--was this
persecution to end?

Emily at once suspected Mr. Brade. Nay, she was convinced that this
cruel attack had been made upon Reginald at Mr. Brade's instance, if he
had not with his own hand inflicted that gaping wound.

A doctor was immediately sent for, and came at about one o'clock in the
morning. He admitted that Roberts had had a very narrow escape, but
expressed an opinion that he was in no sort of danger.

Emily watched by the convict's bedside during the night, and prayed
fervently that the sufferer might be spared to her, and that his
enemies might cease to pursue him. More satisfied than ever was she
that all Mr. Brade had told her, and all that Flower had represented,
were wicked and malignant falsehoods.

Mr. Brade called. When he heard the story from Emily's lips, of the
assassin in the slouched hat and the cloak, he smiled in her face, and
caused her to shudder at his want of feeling both for herself and her
husband.

As soon as he could venture out alone, the convict, under pretence of
"going for a walk in the domain," wended his way to the cottage of the
Enchantress. Roberts was too faithful to vice to be turned aside by a
wound inflicted by a woman with a carving knife.

The Enchantress received Roberts with loving kindness, and pleaded
drunkenness as an excuse for her violent cruelty. Roberts accepted
the excuse and was satisfied with it; and, if possible, liked the
Enchantress all the better, since she had left a mark upon him.

It was inconsiderate--perhaps indelicate--under the circumstances, on
the part of the Enchantress, to ask Roberts for money at his meeting;
but her wants compelled her to overcome her feelings. She wished for a
new bonnet and some kid gloves.

How was Roberts to procure money? What was easier than to forge? With
whose name could he take the liberty? Should it be a bill or a cheque?
A cheque. And for how much? Twenty pounds. At first he thought of Mr.
Brade's name; but he doubted if Mr. Brade had any balance in the bank.
Then it struck him he could use the name of the attorney in whose
office he had been employed. At length he decided on Lieutenant-Colonel
Wimbleton.

"He'll not dare to say a word about it when the forgery is discovered,"
said Roberts to himself. "I'll manage that."

And forthwith Roberts drew a cheque for £20 in favour of a 'Miss
Burnes, or bearer,' and signed it, "Edward Wimbleton."

Roberts could imitate any signature so exactly, that it was hard to say
which was the original and which the counterfeit.

The reader is requested to understand that Miss Burnes was under
Colonel Wimbleton's protection; and Roberts was quite right when he
calculated that the Colonel would hardly like to be cross-examined in
a witness-box, touching his relations with this lady, in he event of a
trial in the Supreme Court.

Colonel Wimbleton's cheque for £20 was cashed immediately on
presentation at the bank. And the Enchantress had her bonnet and
gloves, and several other presents. And she and Roberts were very
happy--as long as the £20 lasted.




CHAPTER XXX.

"Is Major Grimes at home?" Flower inquired of a servant on arriving at
the Major's door.

"Yes," was the reply.

"Then just ask him to come out, will you?" said Flower.

The Major made his appearance, and Flower alighted from his horse.

"Good evening, sir," said Flower.

"Good evening," said Major Grimes.

"You don't recollect me, sir?" said Flower.

"No," said Major Grimes.

"I had the honour of partaking of your hospitality a short time ago,
sir," said Flower. "And I've brought back your shepherd, sir, and a
queer lot along with him."

"Indeed!" replied the Major, who was alarmed on recognising the
features of the man who spoke to him; for on presenting the order for
payment drawn by Millighan on the Lieutenant commanding the police,
the Major had been made cognisant of the fact, that he had been
entertaining the notorious bushrangers, and not the military.*

[* The mounted police were private soldiers, selected from her
Majesty's Regiment of foot, then quartered in the colony.]

"I'm Flower, sir," said George--"commonly called Mister Flower,--the
person as the papers made drunk, and drowned in the Hawksbury river.
But the papers were in error, sir."

"Oh! I see," said the Major.

"No, you don't, sir. Excuse me," said George. "Don't be frightened,
Major. It is all right, as I will soon explain to you. I have brought
'em in--the whole nest. One of 'em is a stiff 'un. That man there on
horseback, held up by that individual, Tambourine Bet, is as dead as
a door nail, Major. He compelled me to shoot him about an hour ago.
He's dead, sir; but hardly cold, I take it. There's no mistake about
my visit this time, Major. I am Flower--George Flower,--frequently
called Mr. George Flower--the king of traps. I'm as well known as
the Governor, or the Chief Justice, or the Colonial Secretary. There's
no mistake about me, Major."

"Oh, I see!" said Major Grimes, whose alarm was now on the increase,
for he did not believe a word Flower said; but fancied the gang had
come again, to rob his house, and perhaps murder himself and his family.

"I wish you could see, Major," said Flower. "It is all right, I
assure you. I am George Flower, and have taken all that gang. Them two
men as came here with me, and got tea and sugar and grog, are now dead.
Send for a light, Major, and I'll show you one of 'em, and then you'll
be convinced. And, then, here's your shepherd. He helped me to capture
'em. It is all right, I assure you, Major."

The Major knew not what to think; but he ordered a light to be brought,
and surveyed the whole party.

Drohne, whose looks were now horrible and ghastly, linked to his living
comrade, was a striking proof that Flower's statements were true. But
the sight turned Major Grimes sick at heart. And when he saw Flower
(out of curiosity, apparently) plunge his forefinger into the hole the
ball had made--when he heard him exclaim, "Can't fathom it,"--the Major
almost fainted.

"Where can I put 'em, sir?" inquired Flower; "for I must ask you to let
me stay here to-night."

"I will see," said Major Grimes. And he sent for his overseer, who was
a good deal surprised when he heard Flower's story, and saw the party
he had brought in.

"Could you give us a barn," inquired Flower, "that would hold the men,
the horses, and the ladies? These are ladies, you know, overseer, and
capital police they make, too. And a few feeds of corn would not be a
bad thing for the horses, overseer. Most of 'em belong to Gov'ment."

It was decided that a stable should be devoted to the accommodation of
the party. Flower then superintended the extricating of Drohne from
Slobey--the latter, in reply to a question from Flower, having said
that he should not like to sleep all night in such close contact with
Drohne. Flower handcuffed Slobey's hands behind his back, and chained
him, with a bullock-chain, to a ring attached to the manger in one
of the stalls. And then--with the assistance of the woman and the
girl--the latter holding the lantern over her head--Flower laid out
the dead body of Drohne in the next stall, upon a broad sheet of bark,
and borrowed an old white tablecloth from the overseer, and spread it
beneath the corpse.

A third stall was set apart for the females. They were fastened with
dog-chains to a ring-bolt. This was done lest they might release Slobey
during the night.

Flower, having made "all snug," betook himself to Major Grimes's
kitchen, where he found mutton chops, fried cakes, and tea, all ready
for him; and the pretty servant-girl in attendance.

"You little dreamt, did you, Susey, when I was here last, talking to
you so quietly, that I'd be back so soon? You had no idea then of the
lay I was on, had you?" said Flower.

"No, sir."

"Don't call me 'sir,' Susey," said Flower. "Call me your love, or your
darling; but never say sir, or mister."

The girl laughed, and presently remarked--

"And do you mean to say you shot that man?"

"Why not?" demanded Flower. "Wouldn't he have cut your throat just as
soon as look at you? Wouldn't he have taken hold of you so--and gone
so?" He seized her round the waist, and rubbed his hand across her
delicately formed neck. "I say, what heavenly eyes you've got, Susan!
Have you ever been in love?"

"No," she replied. "Have you?"

"Never till I saw you," said Flower. "And I have been in love ever
since, and I'm now in love. Come, what do you say, Susan? There'll be
a public-house--fine trade--lots of money, pleasant company, gig and
horse, and all that sort of thing. Be Mrs. Flower. Say the word at
once."

"You are joking," said the girl, with a blush.

"Marriage is not a joke," said George. "And without being engaged to
you, Susan, I could not think of asking you to give me a kiss, and I am
dying to have one. Some folks are not particular in these matters; but
I am, very. Upon my word, I never loved a girl till I saw you. Won't
you, Susey? Won't you be mine?"

Susan sighed, and looked consent. The truth is, that she was vastly
pleased with Flower's fun the first day she saw him in the guise of a
mounted policeman. His frank manner and his laughing face had won her
heart, and she had often thought of him, and smiled at the recollection
of many of his speeches to her.

"I shall be up all night, Susey," whispered Flower; "and when everybody
is in bed and asleep, you come in here with a light; let it be at about
two o'clock in the morning, and we'll settle matters and arrange about
our marriage. Don't let us say anything more just now, for old Grimes
will be coming presently; but don't you go away, Susey. I am very
anxious for you to hear all I have been doing since we parted. Mind, at
two o'clock you are to meet me here. Give us a kiss; nobody will see
us. Thanks, dearest!"

Major Grimes came into the kitchen, and Flower gave him a succinct
account of all that had transpired. Major Grimes was loud in his
praises of Flower's bravery and skill, and no wonder Susan was already
infatuated with her hero.

"Sir," said Flower, when, with the permission of the Major, he had
lighted his pipe, "I have a great favour to ask of you."

"What is it, Flower?"

"Why, sir, you see Gov'ment is very particular, and Gov'ment's quite
right to be so, for frauds in dead bodies have been done by
constables, and about eighteen months ago I lost five and forty pound
by taking in a dead ranger to Hyde-park barracks, who was so far gone
that nobody could swear that it was the man for whom the reward was
offered. I shot that man in fair fight at Bong Bong, and took him in
a cart to Sydney; was thirteen days on the road, and after all lost
the five and forty, and was laughed at by all the police office.
Superintendent Heely said that I ought to have got a certificate from
the nearest magistrate while the body was fresh and not putrefied.
Don't you see, sir? Now by the time I get this body down to Sydney--and
it will take me twelve days good--he must be gone; nobody could swear
it was Drohne, you see, sir? So, what I want from you, Major, is the
certificate. I want you, if you would be so kind, to go over the marks
on the body, and compare them with the description in the Gazette.
If you would be so kind, sir, I'd take it as a favour, for I should not
like to lose £100. I'm a poor man, Major."

Major Grimes did not relish the idea of this post mortem
examination, but it was a part of his duty to undertake it, and he
therefore made no objection to Flower's request.

"Couldn't we make it a moral lesson, sir?" said Flower

"How do you mean?"

"Why, sir, have up all your assigned servants, and let 'em see the
dead, and hear me talk about him. I'm an awful public speaker, Major,
whenever I have a good subject, and this is one, and no mistake. I
could talk Wentworth or Wardell stone blind on it. I only want your
people to look on--to see the corpse. I shall not say a word to
them. I shall only address my observations to you, and they'll get
'em by a side wind, as it were."

Major Grimes agreed with Flower, and ordered all his convict servants
to be summoned. While he was absent, Flower filled his pipe again, and
again made love to Susan.

Flower truly was a great orator by nature, and required not time to
give his speeches the gloss of art, by thinking over what he
should say.

The convict servants--thirty-nine in number--were assembled in the
stable; and Flower, carrying the lantern and smoking his pipe--followed
by Major Grimes with the Gazette in his hand--jostled through the
crowd, and approached the dead body of Drohne. He paused for about two
minutes, and then began:--

"That man, Major Grimes, weighs about fourteen stone, and the reward
for him is £100 sterling, so that his carcass is worth about ten
shillings a-pound. Fine young man; broad chest; well limbed, and ribbed
up. When that young man came to this country, transported for life,
he had before him noble prospects, Major. He was assigned to a good
master. If he had been steady for about five years he would have got
his 'ticket.'* But he was lazy, and that made him discontented and
restless. Laziness is at the bottom of all mischief, Major. So he took
to the bush, and a pretty business he has made of it. He forgot that
if the devil puts it into the heads of convicts to turn bushrangers,
Providence checkmates the devil, by creating traps like George Flower,
Major, and prompting Gov'ment to offer high rewards for 'em. Gov'ment's
a glorious thing, Major. I respect Gov'ment. This young man has come
to an ignominious end, as all must come to that doesn't know when
they are well off. That man in the next box will be hung, and I can't
pity him. Are lifers to bolt, laws to be broken, drays to be robbed,
and gentlemen and ladies to be put in bodily fear? Civilisation is
not such a jackass as to stand any of that sort of nonsense. It can't
be done for the money. What's Bourke paid for?" [General Bourke was
the Governor.] "What's old Frank Forbes paid for?" [Francis Forbes,
Esq., was the chief justice.] "What's Thomson paid for?" [Thomson
was the colonial secretary.] "What am I paid for? Why, we are all
paid for preserving the glorious majesty of resistless justice, and
for nothing else, Major Grimes, and let them deny it who dare. But
let us look at this man, sir. You observe, Major, 'wen on neck.' That
wen would have been an awful eye-sore to the Ketch, for look here, it
would have bothered him. It would have been in the way of the rope.
That makes good the saying, 'that a man who's born to be shot will
never be hanged.' Having observed that wen, sir, let me direct your
attention to a mermaid on his breast. There she is, you see, with her
curls, and likewise her fish's tail, and a looking-glass in her hand.
I don't believe in mermaids, for my part. Having docketed the mermaid,
sir, will you be so good as to cast your eyes on his Anchor and Hope,
and then these bull dogs, barking at a Bow-street officer? And now,
with your permission, sir, we will turn him over, and look at the man
hanging on his back. He must have had some idea of his fate before him,
or rather behind him, as it happens. What a fool a man must be to have
himself disfigured in that fashion! What does the Gazette say is the
colour of his hair, sir?"

[* Ticket of Leave.]

"Reddish brown," replied Major Grimes.

"There it is, sir, reddish brown enough. And his eyes, Major?"

"Light blue."

"There they are--light blue, look, sir," said Flower, lifting the lids.
"And what else, Major?"

"Lost a front tooth."

"There it is, or rather there it isn't," continued Flower, pulling the
clammy lips asunder. "Have you any doubt, Major Grimes, that this is
the body of Edward Drohne?"

"None Whatever," said the Major.

"Then that's all I require," said Flower, and he rose from his knees,
washed his hands in a bucket of water, and (without permission) wiped
them on the corner of a smock frock worn by one of the audience.

"Now then, Major Grimes, the business being over, these parties may
retire to their huts," said Flower. "I shall be to and fro all night,
and there's no occasion for anybody else to watch this stable."

*	*	*	*	*	*	*

"That's a nice girl, sir, that servant of yours," said Flower, when
himself and Major Grimes were returning to the house.

"Yes, she is, indeed," replied the Major; "and she's a very respectable
girl, too. She's the daughter of a farmer who died near Bathurst a few
months ago, very badly off, and left a large family behind him."

"Indeed, sir? She's a currency lass, of course?" said Flower.

"Yes," said Major Grimes; "but she reads and writes very nicely."

"That's a great gift," said Flower. "I have always felt the want of a
good education. By heaven, Major Grimes, if I'd had a good education,
I'd have been a sort of a Boney-Party. Now, look here, sir," he
continued, "moral effect is a very fine thing, and does a great deal of
good; but what's the use of moral effect if you don't carry it properly
out? Gov'ment's very liberal. I don't complain of Gov'ment. But when a
man like me, sir, rids a district like this, sir, of a gang of men like
these, sir, ought not the district to mark its sense, sir, by coming
forward and putting their names down for something handsome, sir? What
would five hundred pound be to a large and wealthy district like this,
compared with the moral effect that act would produce?"

"I agree with you," said Major Grimes; "and the district shall do it."

"Thank you, sir," said George; "and if you ever have a dray robbed, you
have only to drop a line to Mr. Flower, care of Pollack's public-house,
opposite the police office, and I will make it all right for you.
You'll lend me a cart, sir, or sell me one for Gov'ment, and let that
shepherd go with me to-morrow?"

"Oh, yes, by all means."

"Then I'll bid you good night, sir. There's a bed all ready for me, I
see, sir--here on the dresser. Good night, Major."

Major Grimes bade Flower "Good night." Proud man as he was, he
involuntarily gave the thief-taker his hand when they parted.

*	*	*	*	*	*	*

At two o'clock--exactly at two--Susan, on tip-toe, stepped into
the kitchen. "Hush!" she said to Flower, who clasped her in his
arms--"hush! the Major's room is not far off."

       *       *       *       *       *

The next morning Drohne's body was placed in a rudely formed coffin and
put into a cart. Every precaution had been previously taken to make it
as little offensive as possible. The shepherd was to drive the cart.
Slobey and Sal were to sit upon Dhrone's coffin, and Tambourine Bet,
still dressed as a mounted policeman, was to ride beside Flower on
horseback. All was ready, and it was now time to make a move.

"God bless you, my dear girl," said Flower to Susan, who was weeping;
"I'll come back and marry you, you may take your oath. Goodbye!"

The Major came into the verandah to see the procession off, and
say "Farewell" to Flower, who begged the Major not to forget the
subscription, for the sake of a really good and wholesome moral effect.

The party set out for Sydney--the shepherd in high spirits at the
prospect of getting a ticket of leave.

The cart had to be taken a round-about way before it could reach the
road. Just as they were ascending a hill Flower's keen eye discovered
a female form coming towards them. It was Susan, who had taken a short
cut across the fields, on purpose to join George Flower's party. She
had a small bundle in her hand.

"Halloa, Susan!" exclaimed Flower. "Where are you off to?"

"I am going with you."

"Impossible! what would old Grimes say?"

"I don't care. You have stolen my heart." (Susan began to cry.)

"Don't cry, my dear girl," said Flower. "Don't cry. Stolen your heart,
Susan? Well, why can't you love me rationally, and have patience?"

"I must go with you, George."

"Well, if you must--you must; but it is a very pretty business. Grimes
will never get up the subscription; but he'll try and have me cashiered
out of the police, instead. Don't cry, Susan."

Flower got off his horse, slipped the rein over his wrist, held Susan
round the waist in his right arm, looked affectionately into her face,
and kissed the tears from her cheeks.

"Don't cry, my girl. It is all up with me. I have shirked the knot for
a long time past, but I am caught at last. You have done it, Sue, and
I am not sorry for it. Only fancy me married! Well, never mind, it
can't be helped. Here, you--shepherd! Get down off that cart and get
on this horse, and gallop up to old Grimes's, and tell old Grimes that
Susan has bolted of her own accord and joined me, and that I am going
to marry her. Tell him it is all right. Make haste. We will go slowly
along the road, and you will soon overtake us. Give my respects to the
Major. Off with you! Come along, Sue. Get into the cart, my treasure,
and sit beside your George, in the flower of youth and beauty's pride.
I'll make you a trump of a husband, you'll see, you beautiful darling.
There now, don't cry any more. We'll be married in Sydney, and if that
won't be another moral effect of this trip, why the devil's in it."

About half an hour had elapsed, when the shepherd came galloping back
with a note in his hand.

"Halloa!" said George. "Here's an order for us to go back, I'm afraid.
The old boy is in a rage."

"But I'll not go back," said Susan.

The note did not contain the order Flower expected. It informed him
that Major and Mrs. Grimes trusted to his honour, and hoped he would
lead a happy life with the excellent girl whose affections he had
engaged. And there was a message for Susan. "Tell her we forgive her,
and hope to hear from her as often as she has time to write to us."

"Hooray! I'm in for it at last!" cried Flower, when Susan threw her
arms round his neck and clung to him, and kissed him, regardless of the
presence of Bet, Sal, and Slobey, who were looking on.

A smile passed over the face of the manacled prisoner, who was now
lying at full length beside the box which contained the body of Drohne,
when he heard Flower's ejaculation, and remembered how Flower used
to talk to Millighan about "that pretty girl at old Grimes's;" and
suggested to Millighan that he should not mind carrying her off to the
den some fine moonlight night.

Flower's meeting with Sheriff, at Penrith, was a very amusing scene.
The little horse knew his master's voice, and seemed mad with delight
on again beholding him. And Flower hung about Sheriff's neck, kissed
his nose, patted him all over, talked to him, and asked him a hundred
questions.

"The cart is getting very unpleasant," said Flower to Susan, "and
the shepherd shall drive the rest of the journey. You shall ride on
Sheriff. I'll borrow a side saddle. He'll carry you as quiet as a dog,
and I will ride beside you on this big horse of Gov'ment's."




CHAPTER XXXI.


"DEAREST BELOVED!

I am going to dine this evening with my friend, Brade. I am going there
now. Brade's cabriolet will be at your door at half-past five, and the
groom will lead the horse, and bring you in the cabriolet to Brade's
villa. Make yourself look very smart, Emmy, dearest. We dine at seven;
but be ready to leave home at half-past five.

Ever your affectionate,

"REGINALD."


Emily was very wretched when she read this note but, fearful of
offending her husband, she made preparations accordingly. She washed
and ironed a lace collar, and, ill as she could afford it, bought a
new neck-ribbon, and a pair of pale kid gloves; and she re-trimmed her
straw-bonnet, and mended her worn-out parasol.

At half-past five precisely, Mr. Brade's cabriolet was at Emily's door.
Emily was barring the shutters and the back door, when George Flower,
who had left his party in the "cells" of the police-office, made his
appearance on horseback, accompanied by Susan, on little Sheriff.

"Get off, Susan," said George; "and let me take you to Mrs. Harcourt,
and hear what she thinks about you. Stop a moment. I'll help you off."
Flower lifted his bride elect from the side saddle, and placed her on
the ground.

"What! George Flower!" exclaimed Emily. "Why, they said you were
drowned!"

"Oh, no, not yet, Mrs. Harcourt," said George. "I'm still living, and
I'm going to be married. This lassie has managed to hook me."

"Indeed, I'm very glad to hear it. Pray, sit down," said Emily.

"Her name's Susan," said Flower. "She's a currency lass. Pretty girl,
isn't she? And she's as good as old gold. Arn't you, Sue?" He placed
his hand affectionately on the girl's shoulder, and looked into her
lovely, honest face.

"How dreadfully sunburnt you are, George," said Mrs. Harcourt. "And you
look quite haggard and weary."

"Yes; I have had a good deal of anxiety of late," said Flower. "But it
will be all over soon. Won't it, Sue? I shall now have some rest, I
hope, in the snug little home I mean to make for myself. Where's the
Captain? How is he getting on?"

"He is at Mr. Brade's, and I am going there to dine, and fear I shall
be late; but you'll come and see me to-morrow," said Emily; and she
began to pull on her gloves, and express her sorrow to Susan that she
was compelled to go away.

Flower rose from his chair, and surveyed Emily from head to foot.

"That's Brade's cab at the door," said he. "I thought I knew it."

"Yes," said Emily. "He has sent it to take me to the villa."

"Has he? How good of him! How came you to be acquainted with Brade?"
Flower asked.

Emily explained; and informed Flower, that Reginald and herself had
dined at the villa one Sunday; and that Mr. Brade had since been in the
habit of calling.

"Does he come here with your sanction? Is it your wish that he should
come here?" inquired Flower.

"Why, to tell you the truth, George, I would rather that he stayed
away: and I am grieved at the thought of now going there; but then, you
know how poor Reginald is situated; and Mr. Brade being a magistrate,
we dare not give him offence."

"Oh! that's it, is it? Go into your room, Mrs. Harcourt, and take off
your bonnet immediately."

Flower drew himself up, and spoke in an imperious tone of voice to the
lady. The expression of his face at that moment reminded her forcibly
of her own father's, when he was in a passion. Flower's lips were
quivering, and the veins in his neck swelling to an unusual size, while
his eyes seemed to dart fire. Even Susan was alarmed when she beheld
that fiendish look.

"Go to Brade's villa? By heaven you shall not!" he continued. "I know
Brade, and liked him; but as to allowing him to come near any woman for
whom I'd a regard, I'd cut his throat first. I now see why he wanted to
get me out of the way, the villain. But, thank God, I have come in the
very nick of time to disappoint him, and thwart his diabolical purpose.
Take off your bonnet! Go you shall not! I will go instead of you, and
give Brade a section of my mind."

"But remember, George, Mr. Brade is a magistrate," said Emily.

"What do I care for that? I am not in Brade's power."

"But Reginald is," said Emily.

"No, he is not," said Flower. "I can smash Brade. He is in my
power." Rushing into the street, Flower ordered Mr. Brade's groom to
take the cabriolet away, and tell his master it was not wanted.

"Let nobody say there's nothing in dreams," said Flower, when he
returned to Emily's presence. "I dreamt in the bushranger's den, that I
saw with my own eyes what my coming here has prevented happening. Let
Susan remain with you, please, till I come back. I'll not be very long
away."

Flower's looks, voice, and manner now carried Emily back to the days
when she was the joy and the pride of Orford Hall. His face was now the
image of her father's. Agitated beyond description, the unhappy woman
burst into tears. She was glad that Flower had returned, and yet she
feared that his violence with Mr. Brade would entail some disaster on
her husband.

Susan was full of the glorious achievements of George; but Emily
listened to them with a tame ear; for her thoughts were engrossed in
compassing the question--

"How will this matter affect poor Reginald?"

On arriving at Mr. Brade's villa, Flower was struck with the stillness
of the place. Although the magistrate kept a number of servants, not a
soul was to be seen. On hearing the sound of a horse's hoofs, Mr. Brade
came out into the verandah. When he beheld Flower, he stood aghast. He
believed him to be dead: for Flower had enjoined Major Grimes not to
mention the capture; and he contrived to bring his party into Sydney
without being recognised upon the road.

"Is that you, Flower?" said Mr. Brade.

"It is," said George. "Is there nobody to take my horse to the stable?"

"I'm afraid there is not," replied Mr. Brade. "My rascally servants
have all gone away."

"Then I will tie the nag to the fence," said Flower. He did so;
and placing his hands in his pockets, and walking boldly up to the
magistrate, looking him full in the face, and becoming red with rage,
Flower said, in a measured tone of voice--

"Are you not a cowardly villain?"

"What do you mean, sir?" said Mr. Brade, pale with fear.

"Why do you turn white and cower under my eye? Why do your hands
shake? You are all alone! No one to come to you if you scream for
help! None to save you if you implore for mercy from a strong ruffian!
You expected an innocent lamb, you wily wolf, and you find yourself
face to face with a roaring lion." And seizing Mr. Brade by the arms,
Flower pinioned him with his back to the wall, glared hideously at him,
grinding his teeth while he foamed at the mouth, and the saliva ran
down either side of his finely chiselled chin.

"Release me, Flower!" gasped Mr. Brade.

"You knew she was a lady. You knew she was an object of pity, such as
the world never saw before. You knew that the end of her visit here
to-day would have been her death--that she would have killed herself.
And yet you----"

"Release me, Flower!"

"Don't speak, or I'll take your life here, and spare you the disgrace
and misery I am going to bring upon you. I will see you, before three
months have passed away, walking about the streets of Sydney in
ragged clothes, and your toes peeping through your boots. You shall
be starving, and compelled to pick up the half-crown I will throw to
you, just as I would throw a bone to a hungry dog. You shall be turned
out of your office, and forbade to come near Government House. Your
friends will not dare to countenance you--mark my words--you cowardly
villain! And in your poverty and wretchedness, your vanity shall not be
consoled by the reflection that your name has been coupled with that of
the lady you expected here this evening. No; you shall not have that
satisfaction. Good evening to you, Mr. Brade."




CHAPTER XXXII.

WHEN Flower left Mr. Brade he went forth in quest of Roberts. He knew
all Roberts's old haunts, but he could not find him at any of them.
From a woman, however, Flower learnt of Roberts's disaster on the
race-course, and of his being stabbed by "the Enchantress." To her
cottage he therefore repaired, and placed his ear to the shutter. He
heard Roberts's voice. He was teaching the woman how to play double
dummy.

Flower knocked at the door, and as soon as it was opened he forced his
way into the room.

The Enchantress had never had the pleasure of Mr. Flower's
acquaintance, and she stared first at him and then at Roberts, who
appeared, on observing his late master, extremely uncomfortable.

"How do you do, Captain?" said Flower, holding out his hand.

"Quite well, thank you, Mr. Flower," said Roberts, giving his hand
to George. But when Roberts wished to withdraw his hand he felt it
detained, and presently he roared with the intense pain which the iron
grasp of George Flower's fist occasioned him. It seemed as though
his hand were a vice; the knuckles and the bones of the fingers were
cracking under that awful pressure; his rings entered his flesh, and
one of them was broken.

"Don't make such a noise," said the Enchantress, "you will have all the
police here."

"My dear madam, I am all the police," said Flower, "and a pretty
scrape you will get into for harbouring a convict, contrary to an act
passed by the Governor in council. I am sorry to deprive you of this
gentleman's company, but he must go with me, unless you will permit me
to punish him with this whip in your house. Yes, you really must give
me leave," and thereupon Flower seized Roberts and began to belabour
him soundly.

"On second thoughts, I will not take him with me, madam," said Flower.
"I could not trust myself alone with him to-night. He may remain with
you till two o'clock in the morning, and at that hour he may go home to
his wife, and tell her that he has been at Mr. Brade's villa, on the
South Head road."

"And are you really Mr. George Flower?" said the Enchantress. "Well, I
have often longed to see you. I heard you were such a handsome man."

"And so I was before I became so sunburnt," said Flower. "I hear that
you went to the races with my friend the Captain. While the Captain
scrapes the mud off my boots, oblige me, madam, with the whole story,
and I'll say nothing about finding a convict in your house at this hour
of the night."

Roberts did not require to be told twice to remove the mud from
Flower's boots; and the Enchantress, seeing him so employed, and
knowing full well the extent of Flower's power, related the story,
while Flower smoked a pipe, and drank a bottle of pale ale which the
Enchantress produced.




CHAPTER XXXIII.

FLOWER married Susan Briarly, and resigned his appointment in the
police office. He took a public-house; and Emily painted his sign-board
in oils--a portrait of his famous horse. The house was called "The
Sheriff's Arms." Flower also became the proprietor of a livery stable,
and engaged in boat-building; and in all these ventures he was
remarkably successful. Abrahams, the Jew, used to advance him any sums
of money he required at a moderate rate of interest, for Abrahams was
under very peculiar obligations to Flower, and would not have offended
him on any account. In short, George Flower was now one of the most
prosperous men in the Colony of New South Wales.

Mr. Brade was dismissed from the magistracy for improper conduct, which
Flower brought to light, and was walking about the streets of Sydney,
almost bare-footed, and without a shilling in his pocket; and sure
enough, Mr. Brade did receive money from George Flower's hand--not
half-a-crown, but a five pound note. And Flower paid his passage to
England, after reluctantly forgiving him the offence of which he had
been guilty.

There was a constable who owed much to Mr. Brade, and he fancied that
Roberts was the cause of his patron's ruin. He therefore brought to
the notice of the Bench, that "this convict, assigned to his wife, was
seldom at home with his mistress," and that he was "in the habit of
staying out all night." The Bench regarded this as extremely improper,
and the constable was ordered to apprehend Roberts on the next
occasion that he found him in the streets, or in a public-house at a
late hour. Soon after this, Roberts and the Enchantress were drinking
together, and playing cards, at about two o'clock in the morning; and
on the constable breaking in upon them, the Enchantress assaulted the
constable; and he, therefore, not only took Roberts into custody, but
the woman also, and both were locked up in the cells.

The next day, Emily was summoned to appear. She came, in fear and
trembling, and beheld her husband in the dock--and beside him the
Enchantress, who nodded familiarly to Emily, and then told "Reginald"
to "cheer up." When Emily heard the deposition sworn to by the
constable and observed that her husband was silent when the magistrate
asked him what he had to say in his defence--when she found that he
could not, or would not look at her--when she heard the Enchantress
abuse the magistrate, and tell him that "Charley" was a much finer
gentleman than him (the magistrate), she was deprived, not only of
power of speech, but of reason.

"Have you anything to say, madam?" inquired the magistrate.

Emily stared at him, and sank into a chair. At this moment Flower came
into the office, and took the unhappy woman away.

The Bench were of opinion that the prisoner's services should be
withdrawn from his wife and resumed by Government. Judgment was
delivered accordingly, and Roberts taken from the dock, and led
to Hyde-park barracks, where he was divested of his blue frock
coat and tasteful neck-tie, his fancy waistcoat, drab pantaloons,
Wellington-boots, black beaver hat, and lemon-coloured kid-gloves; and
clothed in a suit of coarse canvass apparel, consisting of a smock
frock and trowsers, with the letters H.P.B. (Hyde-park barracks) and
two broad arrows painted on various parts of either garment. In lieu of
his white linen shirt, a coarse blue cotton garment was given to him,
and he was fitted with a pair of "slop" boots, with huge hobnails in
the soles and heels. The cap he was required to wear was made of black
cloth, and shaped like an old fashioned nightcap with a large button on
the top. He was made a messenger, and his duties were to carry letters
from the superintendent of police to the various public offices.

Emily was now perfectly satisfied of the truth of all that she had
previously disbelieved; but still, she could not banish "the unhappy
wretch" (she so spoke of him) from her gentle mind. She no longer
desired to see him, or to speak to him; but since he was her husband,
and she had loved him, she could not utterly abandon her interest in
him. She was now living under the roof and under the care of George
Flower and his wife, who frequently suggested to her the advisability
of returning to England, and claiming the forgiveness of her parents.
But Emily's invariable reply was, "Not so long as that man lives."




CHAPTER XXXIV.

FLOWER bought two vessels--a ship and a brig. The ship was sent
on a whaling expedition; and the brig, with a gang of men, was
sent "sealing" to Macquarie Island. In six months, both vessels
returned--the ship laden with sperm oil, and the brig with 7,000 skins.
The value of the two cargoes was £37,000. Such luck had never been
heard of; and Flower, like a prudent man, sold all his property, and
invested the proceeds in the Bank of New South Wales, and lived upon
his dividends, which were rather more than five thousand pounds a-year.

Roberts's first forgery in New South Wales had been so successful, that
he was tempted to take a loftier flight. He conceived a noble project.
He was to obtain a very large sum of money--purchase a vessel in the
name of some "free man"--have her fitted out as a whaler--and in her
get to America or the Cape of Good Hope.

There was a convict in Carter's barracks, called Sly--a shipmate
of Roberts--who was an engraver--a very clever man in his trade; a
man who had successfully copied the plate of a provincial bank, and
had paid, or rather was paying, the penalty for so doing. Roberts
had a conference with Sly, and Sly said that "the plate of the Bank
of New South Wales would be mere child's play" to him. Roberts and
Sly forthwith "collaborated," and between them produced a work of
astounding merit, so far as success was concerned. Sly did the
engraving, and Roberts the signatures of the directors and the
secretary. They made five hundred twenty-pound notes, and gradually
cashed them. Amongst other signatures of Bank Directors, Roberts, with
a laugh upon his lips, used those of George Flower and Robert Wardell.

A convict, who had been formerly a commander in the Royal Navy, was
now consulted about the vessel, and the means of escape. He suggested
a fast-sailing schooner, then for sale, and "lying off the Queen's
wharf." The boat was purchased, well stored with provisions, and all
were ready for embarkation.

Three casks with false tops, covered with biscuits, were constructed to
hold Roberts, Sly, and the naval gentleman, until the vessel was "safe
outside the Heads"--the harbour of Port Jackson. There was now nothing
whatever to stand in the way of their escape from the colony, except
Roberts's evil propensity. He must needs invite the Enchantress to
share his wild fortunes in--what he was pleased to call America--"the
mother penal country." The Enchantress said she would, and Roberts
then laid bare the whole of his heart, and informed her of what the
reader is already in possession, touching his design to escape. But
the woman did not keep her word. She gave notice to the police, went
on board the schooner, and pointed out the three casks of biscuits in
which the convicts were sitting, and peeping, respectively, through the
bung-holes.

The moment they were detected, each wanted to turn "king's evidence,"
and convict the other two. But the Custom-house officer who was on
board, and who had some voice in the matter, very properly observed,
"Well, but you can't all three be king's evidence--draw lots for it."
This was done. A pipe-stem was broken into three unequal pieces, and
the ex-naval hero was the lucky man--he drew the longest piece.

The forgery part of the business had not yet transpired, and Roberts
had in his pocket a quantity of the £20 notes, and with these he
purchased his release from the constable who had him in charge, and who
permitted Roberts to knock him down and run away, while Sly was being
conveyed to the jail by another constable whom he had not the means of
bribing.

Sly was hanged, and Roberts made the best of his way towards Bathurst,
where he joined two other runaway convicts of desperate character--men
who (to use the colonial trope) had ropes around their necks; and, ere
long, Roberts was the captain of the gang, which his fears induced
him to increase until it numbered seven. At the head of this gang, or
rather in the rear of it, Roberts committed several highway robberies,
and in more than one instance wilful and wanton murder. Large rewards
and conditional pardons, as usual, were offered for the apprehension
of these bushrangers, but still they contrived to remain at large, and
carry on their depredations with vigour and daring.




CHAPTER XXXV.

ONE morning, Flower read in the Australian newspaper the following
paragraph:--"The notorious Roberts, the confederate of Sly, who was
hanged for the forgery on the Bank of New South Wales, is one of the
gang of bushrangers whose deeds have recently occupied so much of
our space. He was recognised by a bullock-driver in charge of a dray
belonging to Captain Raine, of Bathurst, which dray was robbed of
sundry stores about a fortnight ago."

Flower had given up business of every sort and kind, and was now
living quietly in a villa which he had built on a lovely spot of land
overlooking the ocean. It was near a place called Bundye Bay, and not
very far distant from the famous bay (Botany) whence the colony of New
South Wales has derived its disagreeable (from association) cognomen.
Emily was still under the protection of Mr. and Mrs. Flower. Indeed, it
was owing to her determination not to quit the colony so long as her
husband was alive, that Flower remained in the South, for he now panted
to put foot again on the soil where he was reared, and stand on Yewbray
Bridge, once more, and say, "I would do it again to-morrow. He robbed
my sister of her virtue, and he broke the old woman's heart, as well as
the dear girl's."

It was in a strange frame of mind that George Flower strolled down to
the beach which bounded his domain, and faced the strong wind, which
blew in his face and tossed about his long thin hair, and sent the
monster waves hissing and creaming to his feet.

"Roberts a bushranger!" said Flower, contemptuously looking over the
breakers at the troubled main beyond them. "Roberts a bushranger!
Defying the police! What has bushrangering and the police come to, at
last? What would Donahough or Millighan say to this? or Webber, or
Alfred Jackson?--brave men who have died by this hand! I would take
Roberts, armed to the teeth, as he would be, with no other weapon than
a horsewhip, or a soldier's cane! You tell me that I could not,"
said Flower, talking to the winds and the waves, and knitting his
brows, and compressing his lips. "I could not? I will. I swear--to
you I swear, I will!"

Flower turned round, walked hastily home, went into the stable, kissed
Sheriff, and smiled at the scars which decorated the gallant little
animal.

"I owe all my fortune to you, Sheriff, my little dear," said Flower,
embracing his horse. "If it had not been for you, Sheriff, I should
have been killed many a time. Come along, my darling, let us
have another brush. We'll go out together on a spree, as it were, and
tell Susan we are going to see a flock of sheep that's to be sold at
Bathurst. Riches have not made either of us fat, Sheriff--have they?
But, my honour, you are getting as gray as a badger, and I'm getting
one or two in my whiskers. Can't you kick, old boy, as hard as ever?"

Flower touched Sheriff in the ribs, and the panel of the stall, on
which the horse instantly left the imprint of his hoof, very loudly
responded to the question.

That night Flower told his wife and Emily that he was going up to
Bathurst to look at a farm which he thought of buying, and next morning
after breakfast he took an affectionate farewell of them, and rode
Sheriff quietly along the road to Parramatta, calling, as was his wont
in former days, at every public-house to have a few words with the
landlord, the landlady, or the barmaid. And Flower took the opportunity
of paying, with interest at twelve per cent., a number of scores which
had been standing against him, and had escaped his memory for several
years past. From Parramatta Flower rode to Penrith, and from Penrith,
in one day, he went to Bathurst--a distance of ninety miles. It was to
the house of Major Grimes that Flower guided Sheriff. The Major was
delighted to see him again, and so was Mrs. Grimes. But his host and
hostess could not prevail upon him to go into their sitting-room.

"No, Major; no, Mrs. Grimes," said Flower. "Riches doesn't alter rank;
give me something in the kitchen, and come there and let me talk to
you. The first time I came here I carried off some of your tea and
sugar, Major, and the second time I carried off dear Sue. So you see I
have been to you a regular robber."

When Flower made known the reason of his visiting the Bathurst
district again, Major Grimes was astounded, and so expressed himself.

"Ah, but you see, Major, it is not a matter of money with me now," said
Flower; "it is a matter of passion and feeling. I cannot tell you all
that is in my breast. But it must be; I must take this fellow and his
gang, and you must help me."

"How?" inquired Major Grimes.

"Why, you must give me a man and a horse, and you must make Captain
Piper do the same, and all the other settlers who have had drays
stopped and robbed. I want about six plucky men, all well mounted.
Gov'ment's a fool for going to the expense of mounted police. You ought
to learn the value of combination, and how to protect yourselves. You
can club up to get rid of the blacks, when they spear your cattle or
steal your sheep. Why can't you capture your own bushrangers? Why, hang
it, the rewards would more than pay for the loss of time, and look at
the inducement that a ticket-of-leave would be to your servants engaged
in the affair."

"I see," said Major Grimes; "but had we not better speak to the officer
commanding the mounted police?"

"No, no," said Flower; "I wish to teach you settlers, and the Gov'ment,
and bushrangers, a great moral lesson. I want to make you more
independent and secure--bushrangers less numerous and daring--and
Gov'ment more economical and sensible."




CHAPTER XXXVI.

FLOWER carried his point. Every settler whose drays had been recently
robbed was called upon, and each contributed a man. Some volunteered
to take the field themselves; but to this Flower, for good reasons, no
doubt, objected.

It was amusing to see Flower, mounted on Sheriff, putting his small
force through its various evolutions, in a paddock fronting Major
Grimes's parlour windows. The great difficulty that he had to overcome
was making the stock horses stand fire.

All this was at last accomplished, and one fine frosty morning the
force, with its leader at its head, moved out for action. Information
had been gleaned by Flower of the enemy--located some eleven miles
from Major Grimes's, and not very far distant from the den which has
been already described in this narrative. No general officer ever knew
better than George Flower the value of accurate intelligence--touching
not only the enemy's position, but his strength, weakness, and
resources. On all these points Flower was thoroughly informed. From
long experience he could guess the very hour a gang would be on the
move--what direction it would take--and what would probably be its
sport, or object of plunder; and upon this occasion his calculations
were marvellously correct.

After riding eight miles there were seen, in the distance, six or seven
men on horseback. "These are they!" cried Flower. "Now, my lads, be
steady. When I tell you to charge, out swords and at 'em. Never mind
your pistols, and don't mind theirs; it is not easy to shoot a man from
the back of a horse in motion, but it is the easiest thing in the world
to cut one down from the saddle. Be steady!--Here they come!"

The forces were within a hundred and fifty yards of each other. Roberts
became alarmed at seeing so strong a party, and suddenly recognising
Sheriff and his rider, he called aloud--"It is all over with us!"--then
turned his horse and galloped away, followed by his gang, in great
confusion.

"Charge!" cried Flower. "Charge!" This order was obeyed, and a hard
contest, in speed, immediately ensued, for Roberts and his party were
excellently mounted. Ere long they came to some very bad ground, which
slackened the speed of the horses, and in a few moments the pursued and
pursuers mingled and fought, hand to hand.

Three out of the seven bushrangers were killed. Amongst them was
Roberts. Flower lost two men and received a rather severe blow on his
head from the butt end of an adversary's pistol. Nevertheless, the
victory was complete, and what Flower so eagerly desired, "Charles
Roberts, alias Reginald Harcourt," ceased to live.

"Yes," said Flower, gazing on the corpse of Roberts, while his
companions were digging a hole wherein to bury their own dead, and that
of the enemy--"Yes, it is so. It was to be. Something always told
me it would be so. I knew it. I felt it." Then turning to another of
the slain he contemplated for several minutes the features so recently
sealed in death. What was Flower's surprise, his horror, on recognising
the face of a woman whom he knew in former days--a woman named Ellen
Leger. She had been transported for poisoning her father, and on
arriving in the colony had been "drawn" as a servant, by a gentleman in
power and in authority, and with that gentleman she had remained for
several years. She afterwards ran away, committed some offence, was
apprehended, shorn of her long black hair in the Parramatta factory,
and from that hour became a very desperate person. She had been
good-looking, nay, handsome, and the traces of beauty were still upon
her face.

"Well, thank Heaven," cried Flower, "that it was not I who cut
you down, my poor girl. I was very near doing it once, to-day!"

The bodies were buried, and the captured prisoners and their horses
taken to Major Grimes's. Flower did not accompany the cavalcade. He was
overcome by a curiosity to revisit the spot where he fought Millighan a
few years previously, and Flower wended his way to the old den.

Not a soul had been there since the day he left it.

On the limestone table was a pipe which had belonged to Millighan, and
a clasp knife which was once the property of Drohne.

Of the fowls not one remained; but the pigeons still clung to the
abode; albeit they were now very wild, instead of so tame that they
would settle on the heads and shoulders of those who formerly fed them.

There was property still in that den,--guns, pistols, swords,
handcuffs, plated ware, saddles, &c. &c.; but Flower was not disposed
to carry anything away, except the broken handcuffs, which the reader
may remember had been filed from his wrist on the night of his first
appearance in that locality.

From the den, Flower proceeded on foot to the top of the mountain,
leaving Sheriff in an enclosure, eating some rich grass which grew
therein.

"Yes, that is the rock," said Flower to himself, pointing to a huge
mass of limestone. "Yes, that is it--this is the way."

The awful stillness of the place had struck Flower when he was
there talking to Millighan, but now it was even more striking, more
awful. Had Flower's heart been susceptible of fear, at that moment,
and in that spot, would the passion have stolen over him. As it
was, he could not help muttering, "What is the matter with me? I
feel very curious--what is it?" he asked of himself, grounding his
double-barrelled fowling-piece, "What is it? There's nobody here, and
if there was, what do I care?"

"I care," the echo answered him.

Flower started, and then smiled at himself for so doing. "Susey,
dearest!" cried Flower, at the top of his voice, and echo responded the
last word.

"All safe?" cried Flower.

"Safe," was the reply.

(The echo amongst these limestone rocks is something wonderful.)

At a slow pace, and with a reverential feeling, George Flower directed
his steps to the spot where lay the bones of Millighan. He placed
his gun beside a rock, and, unarmed, went to gaze on the relics of
mortality which had thither attracted him.

There was the skeleton of the man, quite perfect. Corruption had rotted
the flesh, and with the flesh the clothes had been consumed. The eagle
had not visited the dead body, nor had the wild dog. There lay all that
remained of the man, as he fell,--the rusted musket by his side.
But mingled with the bones of the man were the bones and the skull of
the dog--the little terrier, who had died of starvation and grief, near
the master whom he loved so well. Fresh from a scene of slaughter--with
human blood recently shed upon his hands and clothes, Flower sat beside
the skeletons of Millighan and his dog, and relieved the heart of its
heaving by shedding scalding tears.

"You were a man," said Flower, staring wildly into the sockets which
once contained Millighan's bright eyes--"and you, poor dog, you were as
clever and as brave as he was. Better to die with one you loved than
live without him. Dear Nettles."

Flower put his hand gently on the little dog's skull; but did not
disturb the position which, in the last moment, the dog had taken up on
the breast of his master.

"What is this?" cried Flower. "Here is the ball--the ball which flew
from that carbine, and stopped the current of his life!" and inserting
carefully his fingers between the ribs of Millighan's skeleton, he took
up, and held between his forefinger and thumb, the fatal and slightly
battered piece of lead.

Flower was in the very act of putting the bullet into his pocket; but
something checked his hand; some mysterious power seemed to whisper,
"No!"--and Flower replaced the bullet with the same care, lest he
should disturb the bones, that he used when he removed it.

Millighan, when he fell, had in his pocket a small silver flask,
which contained spirits. On this the worms could not banquet, and
there it was--blackened, but still perfect. "Into this I will put his
epitaph," said Flower, "and some day or other, when these remains may
be stumbled across, those who find them shall not suppose he was some
black fellow." So Flower wrote on a piece of paper with a pencil, the
following words: "This man's name was Millighan; he was killed in a
fair fight with one George Flower. The dog's name was 'Nettles.' George
Flower wrote this himself. My handwriting is well known."

Grief, as well as ardent spirits, has its intoxicating properties; and
Flower lost sight of the fact that the day was drawing to a close. For
full three hours he remained beside the skeleton--speculating as more
educated philosophers have done before him, upon matters which we have
no inclination to discuss.

When Flower left the skeletons of Millighan and the dog, it was almost
dark, and quite dark before he arrived at the den. To find his way
to Major Grimes's was utterly impossible. In the broad daylight it
would be far from an easy matter, for the trees which had been marked
had, in the course of nature, shed their bark several times since
Flower was an inhabitant of the den. Flower, therefore, was compelled
to stay in the den all night; into the den he took Sheriff, and, in the
absence of any other companion, talked to the horse incessantly, and
asked the little animal, several times, whether he would not rather die
with him (Flower), as Nettles had done with Millighan, than live with
any other master?

At about twelve o'clock Flower became very hungry. He had not tasted
food for eighteen hours. He next became faint, then ravenous, and would
have given any sum of money for even a biscuit and a glass of wine. He
made a fire (as the aborigines do, by rubbing two pieces of dry stick
together till they ignite), and was sitting over it, thinking how he
could satisfy the cravings of hunger, when suddenly he got up, lighted
a wax candle (there were several pounds of wax candles in the den),
and searched about in the desperate hope that "something to eat" might
be discovered. There was a box of macaroni, which with his own hands
Flower had taken from the dray of Captain Piper; but it was rotten, and
full of weavels, and when handled, it became like "seconds flour." He
mixed this with water, kneaded, and was frying it, when he heard the
pigeons cooing in their cote.

That horrible impulse of our nature which always steals over us under
similar circumstances, now stole over Flower, and he was bent on taking
the life of one of those creatures which have been "sanctified to our
uses." He put down the frying pan, ejaculating, "By Jove! a grilled
pigeon!"

Flower went out stealthily from the den, put his hand into the cote,
and withdrew a plump bird. He brought it into the den with the
intention of wringing its neck, but lo and behold! he recognised "poor
old Moses," a pigeon so christened by the women; and around the bird's
leg there was a gold ear-ring.

"I would not hurt you, or any of your numerous family, for the thole
world," said Flower, releasing the patriarch pigeon, which, strange to
say, seemed not afraid of George Flower; for, instead of flying away
in terror, he partook of the macaroni pancake, dipped his beak into
the water, and pouted about the table, in apparently an ecstacy of
satisfaction.

The next morning, at daybreak, Flower saddled Sheriff, and rode to
Major Grimes's. His absence had caused great alarm, and people had
been despatched in all directions to search for him, for the Major was
fearful that Flower had been "lost in the bush."

The bushrangers were "given up" to the men who had assisted in their
capture, and Flower took leave of Major and Mrs. Grimes, after thanking
them over and over again for not being angry with him for taking away
from them "the best hearted and prettiest girl that ever breathed."




CHAPTER XXXVII.

THE death of Roberts and the two others who fell by his side, and the
capture of the remainder, were published in all the papers (the Sydney
Gazette, the Monitor, and the Australian). But Mrs. Flower and
Emily knew nothing of this; for Flower, previous to setting out upon
his expedition, had "stopped his subscription," and had given orders to
his servants that no newspaper was to be allowed in the house during
his absence. It would be difficult to say which of the two welcomed
Flower back the more heartily, Susan or Emily.

*  *  *  *  *  *

"Why are you out of sorts, George?" said Susan, when Flower, after
dinner, was sitting silently over the fire, smoking his pipe; "you have
been away for more than a month, and, now that you have come back, you
won't speak a word."

"Go to bed, Susey, dear," said George, with a kind look, which Susan
understood. "I want to have some conversation with Mrs. Harcourt."

Susan lighted her candle--bade Emily good night--and left the room.

"Now look here," said Flower, "there's no use in hesitating. I am going
home to England, and mean to take Sue. Will you go with us, or not?"

"Not so long as that man lives."

"He does not live: he is dead!"

Emily stood up. Her face became very pale; she trembled, and said,
"Dead! Is Reginald dead?"

Flower, observing her emotion, dropped his pipe, caught her in his
arms, and cursed himself for breaking, so abruptly, intelligence of
a nature which he ought to have known would shock the feelings of a
sensitive woman.

A scene ensued--Susan was called--and Emily conveyed to her room, in a
state of insensibility.

The shock over, Emily's mind experienced a relief, when she reflected
on Roberts's death. Her chief anxiety, of late, had been lest he should
perish by the hands of the public executioner.

Emily now no longer objected to accompanying Flower and his wife to
England, though she feared that her parents would never forgive her, or
listen to any of her entreaties.

Flower sold his bank stock and houses, and the proceeds were £51,000.
With bills upon England for this amount, he embarked on board the old
Lady Jane Grey. The stern cabins were engaged, and Emily had one
of them--and a good-sized cabin, in the fore part of the vessel, was
secured for Sheriff, whom Flower could not leave behind him.

Off Cape Horn the Lady Jane encountered very boisterous weather, and
Susan, who was in delicate health, became seriously ill. Emily, who had
of late gained strength and spirits, watched her with much care and
tenderness, and thus repaid a portion of the obligations she was under
to Susan's husband.

But, alas! neither the skill of the surgeon, nor the attentions of
Emily and of George, could hold in its mansion the fleeting breath
of Susan Flower. She died in the arms of her manly husband, and was
committed to the troubled deep on the following afternoon.

For several days after the death of his wife, Flower never uttered a
single word, or shed a single tear--nor could he be prevailed upon to
take food. His cheek-bones began to protrude, beneath his eyes came
dark lines, and his face was as pale as that of a corpse. He sat down
upon a chest, in his cabin, and there remained, in a perfect lethargy
of woe.

Emily became alarmed, and did all in her power to rouse her protector,
and console him. She who had recently been as helpless as an infant,
was now as active and intelligent as an experienced nurse; while he who
had lately been as strong as a young lion, was nerveless and childish,
in his overwhelming affliction.

Old Captain Dent, this voyage, had his wife on board. She was a
motherly lady, who had seen much sorrow in her day, arising from
domestic bereavement, and she hinted to Emily that if Flower could be
moved to tears, his present mood would speedily disappear. Emily acted
on this hint--took Mrs. Dent into Flower's cabin--and began to tell
Mrs. Dent, in Flower's presence, of all Susan's good qualities: how
kind and gentle was Susan, and how beautiful and good-natured.

At first, Flower did not heed Emily's discourse. There he sat,
gazing on the floor, and wearing that peculiar vacant look which had
overspread his countenance since Susan's death. But, at length, his ear
drank in a few of Emily's words, and he regarded her intently.

Emily pursued the strain, and, ere long, "the flood gushed forth" from
that overcharged brain, and Flower was aroused to consciousness.




CHAPTER XXXVIII.

AFTER a passage of four months, the Lady Jane Grey sighted the
Lizard Light, and next morning the land was clearly visible. Flower and
Emily were gazing on it from the poop, and experiencing those emotions
common to all who have been for any length of time absent from their
country.

"Where do you intend going when we land, George?" Emily inquired.

"To Orford Hall," was the reply.

Emily shuddered, and remained silent for a few minutes.

"But I cannot go there," said she, "until I have written to my father
and mother."

"No," said Flower; "but you can go with me to a road-side inn that
stands near Yewbray Bridge--or that used to stand there in my day--and
there you can remain until I have seen your father, and heard what he
has got to say."

"And will you see him?" she inquired.

"Of course, I will," said Flower. "I wonder if he will remember me. He
used to be very fond of me when I was a little fellow, and always took
a great interest in my welfare. What awful changes we shall find in the
neighbourhood! Prepare your mind for that, Mrs.----" (Flower, since
Roberts's death, never breathed any name when addressing Emily.)

"I am prepared for all," said the unhappy lady. "I am even prepared for
the refusal of my father and mother to receive me under their roof. I
am prepared to lead a life in England quite as unhappy and as cheerless
as was that in New South Wales."




CHAPTER XXXIX.

AT Gravesend Flower and Emily disembarked--and Sheriff, the first
Australian horse that ever rounded Cape Horn. Sheriff was very stiff
on landing, though in excellent condition: and he created no small
amount of curiosity with those present; for Flower had brought home
the identical saddle that Sheriff always wore on great expeditions,
and it was now upon the little horse's back. It was not a pig's skin,
but made out of the hide of a calf. Its flaps were not padded, but
flush. The stirrup-leathers were as black as ink, and very thin, though
strong; the irons that were attached to them were so small, that the
toe only of a man's boot could get inside them. There was a sheep's
skin spread behind the saddle, and fastened under the crupper. On this
reposed sundry pairs of handcuffs, and a small chain. The bridle,
too, was rather quaint; the head-piece was that of a gig horse, with
the blinkers cut off; and the bit, a racing snaffle, as light (to use
Flower's words) as a feather.

But if the horse and his trappings attracted attention, so did also his
master.

Riches had not worked any change in either Flower's sentiments or
dress. He still wore the uniform fustian shooting-coat and fustian
trowsers (washed white), and the blue cloth waistcoat; boots, laced up
the front, and a cabbage-tree hat, with a black ribbon; while around
his neck was a blue silk handkerchief, tied in a sailor's knot.

Flower had become not only very "colonial" in outward appearance; but
in parlance he was peculiarly so. He had mixed a good deal with the
blacks during his stay abroad; and in the colony (where the aboriginal
language, if it be not thoroughly understood by the European,
nevertheless contributes sundry words and phrases which became current)
it was all very well to use occasionally a little of it; but in England
it was otherwise; and therefore, when Flower told a groom to give
Sheriff some "patter," he was driven to explain that "patter" did not
mean a thrashing, but "grub." So, also, when he used the word "narang"
(small) but "bidgee" (good), the groom did not quite comprehend the
gentleman's praise of his horse; which induced Flower to say--

"You stare at me as if I had just come from some outlandish country!"

A large carriage and post-horses were hired, and Emily and her boxes
put inside. Flower took his seat in the rumble. They had only a journey
of twenty miles before them.

When they neared the spot where they had been born, how strangely did
the heart of each palpitate.

And now, every house, every tree, every lane, became familiar to
Flower's eye. And--yes, there was the bridge! Yewbray bridge!

There was the spot where the young Squire fell--and there was the
little road-side inn, whither George Flower, on that morning, now
twenty years ago, ran, and boasted of having done the deed!

"Stop!" cried Flower. "Pull up here!"

Flower descended, and took Emily from the carriage into the inn. She
was greatly agitated, and very pale; but Flower bade her take heart,
make herself comfortable, and not talk to any of the people of the
house.

The landlady did not recognise Flower, but he recognised her. She
was a young unmarried girl when he left that part of the world. She was
now the mother of eight or nine children. He longed to make himself
known to the landlady, but contrived to master his inclination, and
left the inn on foot. He went to the lodge where his family used to
live. All were gone!

Flower paused for a few minutes.

"Ah! that's where I shall get the most information in the shortest
space of time!" said Flower to himself; and he bent his steps to the
church-yard, wherein he had often played as a boy, and where he had
first learned to read.

Yes; there was told the tale. His mother was sleeping beside that
sister whom he so dearly loved. But of his father, who always treated
him and his sister with so much severity, there was no record. He
knelt beside the grave, and placed his head on the stone which marked
the spot where lay the dear ashes of his kindred; and he plucked some
daisies, and placed them on the stone. He then strolled about the yard,
and saw the graves of many whom he had left in the bloom of life--many
a brave lad, and many a bonnie girl, with whom he was acquainted.
Inside the church he then moved, to see what inroads death had made
amongst the gentry. Yes; the gentry had suffered as much as the
peasantry. Lord Waldane's monumental slab was there, and those of many
other great folks whom he remembered. And there was cut upon a piece of
white marble these words: "In memory of Emily, wife of Edward Orford,
Esq., of Orford Hall."

"Then he is not dead," said Flower,--"he is still living. I am sorry
for Mrs. Orford; but, why I know not, she never liked us."

It was now evening, and Flower walked to Orford Hall, which stood about
three quarters of a mile distant from the church. He inquired at the
lodge if Mr. Orford was at home, and was answered--"Yes." He entered
the house, and expressed to the footman a wish to see the master.

"What name?"

"Well, I don't see the necessity of giving my name," said Flower. "Tell
Mr. Orford that a person has come to give him some information. Mr.
Orford is a magistrate, I believe?"

"Yes."

"Then go, and tell him what I have told you."

The footman called to another footman, and saying, loud enough for
Flower to hear--"Keep this gentleman company until I come back,"--he
went into the library to deliver the message.

After an absence of a few minutes, the footman returned, and
said--"Walk this way;" and he conducted Flower to Mr. Orford's presence.

Mr. Orford had grown very old, infirm, and irritable. When Flower was
announced he was reading the Bible.

"Well, sir, and what may be your business?" he asked.

"It is private business, sir."

"Shut the door, and go," said Mr. Orford to the footman.

"You do not remember me, sir," said Flower, when they were alone.

"No, sir; who are you?"

"It is more than twenty years ago since we met, sir."

"Well, that may be. But who are you? What do you want? What is your
business?"

"Sir, you knew not only me, but everybody belonging to me."

Mr. Orford put on his spectacles and surveyed the intruder. He rose
from his chair, with the assistance of his hands, approached Flower,
who was still standing, hat in hand, and peered into his eyes.

"Good Heaven!" ejaculated the old man, placing his hands upon Flower's
shoulders. "My boy! Is it you, George?" and he clung to Flower, and
clutched him by the elbows.

"You remember me now, sir?"

"Remember you? Forgive me for speaking harshly to you, my poor boy. How
often have I thought of you, of late--longed for you to be here with
me, to talk to me--and read to me. Why did you not write to me?" and
the old man shed tears which fell upon the cuffs of Flower's shooting
coat; and Flower, too, wept and loved the old man for his warm greeting.

"You will stay with me?" said Mr. Orford. "You will never leave me,
George? I am all alone here, with no one but these servants about me.
Sit down, and tell me all that has happened to you."

Flower obeyed Mr. Orford. He told him of his career in the colony, and
of his circumstances--that he had returned with £50,000, and more, and
how he made it. But Flower did not yet touch upon Emily.

"I wish I could tell you something," said the old man.

"Do so, sir."

"Not now; to-night; when every one is in bed, fast asleep."

"And I wish, sir, I could tell you something."

"Perhaps you suspect it--know it?"

"What, sir?"

"My secret."

"No, sir; I fancy not."

"Then tell me, what is it you wish to say?"

Flower fell upon his knees, and said, "For God's sake, Mr. Orford,
forgive your only child!"

"I do," cried the old man, raising him--"I do--I did long ago, for it
was a crime which will be pardoned in heaven."

"Then may I bring her to you? She is not far from you, at this moment.
I have protected her as though she had been my own sister, or my own
child."

"Her? Who?" inquired Mr. Orford, eagerly.

"Your only child, Emily, a wretched widow, who repents of her folly."

"Are you mad?" said Mr. Orford, "or is this a dream? Emily lives?
No--she is dead, poor dear. She died, without a friend to compose her
limbs, and her mother----" The old man faltered, and wept afresh.

"I have been the protector of your daughter for several years past--up
to this very hour."

"How--her protector? Where?"

"In New South Wales. I have been to her a brother, though she is of
gentle blood, and I am not."

"Emily lives? Where is she? Conduct me to my child. Order the carriage."

"Let me bring her here, sir."

"Then haste--haste!" said the old man. "What a strange world is this!
This night, George, you shall know the truth!"




CHAPTER XL.

FLOWER hasted in the carriage to the roadside inn, where he found Emily
in sore distress. She had gleaned that her mother was numbered with the
dead, and so great was her grief, that the glad tidings of her father's
forgiveness did not stay her tears.

As soon as Flower left Orford Hall, Mr. Orford ordered the servants not
to come near him until they were called, so that when Flower returned
with Emily, there was not a soul to be seen.

The poor penitent was conducted to the library, and there the meeting
with her father took place.

She knelt to the old man, and with upraised hands craved his pardon;
and he forgave her from his heart, and placed his aged palms upon her
aching head, and blessed her, and sanctified the blessing with pious
tears. And Emily was once more under her own roof, and was installed
the mistress of that ancient abode. And that night she slept in, or
rather wandered about, the room which from childhood up to the unhappy
date of her error had been her's.

And Emily heard from her father's lips that her mother had, in her
dying moments, forgiven her, and prayed for her salvation in the world
to come.

And that night Mr. Orford divulged to George the secret to which, in
the morning, the old man had so mysteriously alluded. He told George
that when he, Mr. Orford, was a very young man, he was wicked enough
to engage the affections of a young girl whom his parents would not
permit him to marry--that had he married her he would have been
disinherited;--that the fruit of this connection wore two children,
a boy and a girl--that Lord Waldane's gamekeeper, Edward Flower, had
married the mother of these two children, receiving with his wife a
marriage portion of several hundred pounds--that he, George Flower,
was the son, and Bessy, whose wrongs he had avenged, the daughter; and
hence that remarkable likeness which not only "Bessy" but George Flower
himself bore to Emily!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

A few months passed away, and Flower began to feel lonely and
miserable. He no longer cared for shooting and fishing. These sports
had lost their charm with him. He fancied that he was looked upon with
suspicion by persons with whom he made acquaintance; and it became
tedious to him to explain to everybody who heard that he was "an
expiree," that he was "not transported for thieving, or anything mean
or low, but for justifiable murder."

Flower engaged a passage for himself and Sheriff, and re-sought those
shores whereon he had achieved so much renown, and where he was "as
well known as the Governor or the Chief Justice, and quite as much
respected by honest men and feared by rogues." He kept up a regular
correspondence with Emily and her father, and frequently sent them
Australian curiosities, such as kangaroos, emus, flying squirrels,
parrots, and cockatoos; in return he received saddlery, cutlery, and
other matters precious in his sight.

Mr. Orford died, and Emily succeeded to his estate.

Some time afterwards, Emily was sitting in the drawing-room, all alone,
when a card was put into her hand.

"Sir Charles Everest!"

How Emily blushed. What scenes, painful and other, did the sight of
that name recall!

Sir Charles took Emily's hand, and said to her, "I will not release
this till you promise to be mine. I have never ceased to love you,
Emily, dearest, and I never shall cease to do so."

Emily held down her head, and gave no reply--but she suffered him to
retain her hand in his, and play with its small fingers. Presently,
he raised it to his lips, and kissed it fervently. She accepted his
proposal on the condition that he would never remind her or allude to
the dark past. After a few months Emily became Lady Everest. And the
evening of her life was tranquil and happy.

THE END.


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