|Newspaper Title||The Maitland Weekly Mercury (NSW : 1892-1931)|
|Trove Title||The Gold Seekers|
THE GOLD SEEKERS.
CHAPTER XVI. I RESCUED.
Standing at tho extreme, edge of the pro jecting rook, Ivor and Beausire had taken. off their ragged coats and were waving them - over their heads, and continued to shout like madmen. Lola and Anatolo stood together ? - behind them, and with straining eyes looked ont over the sea. The sailor strolled slowly up .and said, in a surlv voice, to Ivor and Beausire :
' What's the use of makin' that infernal shindy ? They won't hear you for a good two hours yet, an' they'll ha' seen us long afore then — that is, if she's comin' this way.' ' Of course she's comin' this way,' said Beausire, in an interval in which he had in tended to fetch his breath. He then began to shout and dance about on the rock like a lunatic once more. For an hour the same performance con tinued. Ivor and Beausire waved and shouted, and the other three continued to gaze out over the sea. Thoy had addressed no word to each other, until the sailor suddenly burst out : ' By Heaven, she is headin' for us, and she's a man-o'-war, too ; but I can't tell Eng lish or forriner yet.' Again there was silence for a full half hour, broken again by the sailor, who mut fered : ' A British man-o'-war she is.' ? Shortly afterward some sort of signal was made from the ship, which to Ivor and Beau . sire meant they they were seen. Then they went wild with frenzv. They
clasped each other's hands and shook them as though they had not seen each other for twenty years. -They danced about the rock and laughed and cried by turns, while Lola and Anatole embraced with tears. The sailor surveyed the group, and mut iered ' Pools !' and then spat upon the ground reflectively. He was obviously- un easy in his mind. . When the ship was some quarter of a mile from shore, she dropped her anchor, and a boat put off from her side and made for the shore. The whole party then left tho rock and ran down to a small bay on the beach and waited. ? ' ' Ivor and Beausire raised a cheer as the ' tars bent to their oars and made the boat fly through the water. The cheer came back like thunder from eight brazen thoats, and Ivor and Beausire laughed like idiots at each other, and shooks hands once more. When the boat was about fifteen yards away, and the officer in the stern had cried ' Easy all,' Ivor and Beausire dashed into the water and laid hold of their bows, and cheered till they were hoarse. The honest tars laughed all over their faces and patted them on. the back, aud swore as tars do. In two minutes they were all aboard the boat, and her head was put about, and thoy ?were rowed to the ship. 'No luGreracre, gentlemen. I sntmose?' said
the officer, smiling at Ivor. Ivor so far forgot his manners as not to answer. His brain was in a whirl which would not allow of any consecutive thought. Very soon they were clambering up the side ' of the vessel. She was H. M. S. Amorphous, on the Australian station, and had come on her regular journey to the Crozet Islands to look out for shipwrecked sailors, and to see that the cache was intact. As soon as they were over tho side, a con fused babble of questioning arose, which re quired no answers for the present. They were saved ; that was enough. When tbe sailor had come over the side, and had saluted the captain from old habit, the boatswain looked hard at him for some moments, aud then said, quite loud enough to be heard by the bystanders : .' Well, I'll be blowed !' The sailor scowled at him fiercely and turned his back. Ivor, excited though he was, noticed the : incident, but it passed out of his mind instant ly ; but it was recalled to his memory in about
xnree- quarters ox an Hours time, when, arrayed in some shore clothes of one of the officers, ho came on deck with a cigar in his mouth. He heard a scuffle, and looking for ward, saw the sailor who had been wrecked along with them fighting with tho boatswain and two other sailors. Ho was soon over powered aud brought aft, and in a . quarter of an hour was in irons. ? Tho boatswain had recognised liitn as soon ' as ho had como on board. They had served together on board Her Majesty's ship Ponder ous four years previously, and the sailor, who was then A. B., had deserted while thoy were ? lying oil Portland. Ivor and Beausire saw nothing moroof him. He received his duo reward on reaching land, but they now under stood his indifference as to . whethor ho was left on the island or not. Ivor's story did not tako long to tell. The captain told him that tho ship had been re ported as having been lost, with all hands, on the '.Twelve Apostles.' Several ships had passed^ close down by them a month or six weeks after they had been more than duo, and a quantity of wreckage had beon seen which
presumably belonged to her, and tho stern of a boat had been picked up, beaVing her name. Her owners had taken this as conclusive cvi . donee — nevor dreaming that tho ship could have been driven so far out of hor course at that particular time of year to reach tho. Crozet Islands ; he said that ho had had no idea that there would be any possibility of finding any ono on Hog Island — for his part,
' he regarded it as absurd to be compelled to go there, even as often as he did. He had only known of one previous shipwreck on the island, and added, as though for himself, that if ship-captains got so far out of there coutse as that, thoy deserved to be wrecked, especi ally when the wind was always fair. He ob viously took Ivor's story of the violence of the gale with a veiy large grain of salt. Por his part, ho wouldn't mind being com pelled to sail all his life from tho Cape to Australia, as then he might got to bod at night, as a blind cat could sail a ship through those waters. ' But wc were wrecked, for all that,' said Ivor. ' Some people would get wrecked in Plym outh Harbor in a dead calm,' answered the
captain. Ivor and Beausire were, at any rate, quite pleased that a beneficent Government had seen fit to make the arrangements which it had done. Those who have never beon cut off from intercourse with their fellow-men, whether willingly or unwillingly, can never fully appreciate what Ibsen 30 often dilates upon — 'lajoie de vivre,' the delight of being alive. Ivor and Beausire were ready to do any thing outrageous in their joy, and were a per fect godsend to the officers of the ship, who are apt, at times, to become somewhat tired of one another's society. Anatole alone of the rescue was not entirely happy.
His wedding liad neen interrupted — m an entirely pleasant manner, it is true ; but now he had no thoughts save for Lola. He would have been contented to live forever with her ever on that lonely isle. Ho thought so, at any rate ; but now in the bustle of excitement of their rescue, the sweet chain of their in tercourse had been rudely broken. In a few hours the ship weighed anchor
and steamed away to Inaccessible ; she sailed round the island, firing a gun at the north and south ends, but no answer came, save a shriek from the white cloud of gulls and albatrosses which rose in countless thousands from the cliffs, and the mocking echo hurled back from the chasms and crops. When they had slowly steamed round the entire island, the ship's head was turned, and they went pounding on — Eastward Ho ! — over the blue water of Australia. Ivor, Beausire, and Anatole had no difficulty in getting clothes ; but it was a different matter with Lola, the had to content herself with the scanty garments she already possess ed and some fine Angola rugs of all the hues of the rainbow. A young lieutenant, obviously smitten by her charms, had voluuteered to give up his cabin to her and have a hammock slung in the ward-room. It was he who had begged her to accept them. On the following afternoon she appeared clad in garments which though inadequate, were at least picturesque. With woman's deftness she had made for herself a skirt of one of the rugs, and a form of vest of another. This, covered by a pilot coat, which she had managed to fit more or
less to her figure, produced a piquant effect which suited her beauty. As soon as she appeared Anatole rushed to her side, and would have embraced her, but Lola haughtily told him not to make a fool of himself before all these men. Anatole,' crestfallen, asked her if she had repented her promise. ' No ; but there is no need to be 'foolish.' ? 'Then I will ask the cur6 — there is one, I have seen him — to marry us to-day.' | Lola shrugged her shoulders and glanced at the young lieutenant who had given up his cabin to her, and who was passing at that moment. He bowed and came up to ask her how she did. ' Thanks to your courtesy, sir, I am very comfortable,' answered Lola; unconsciously, in Spanish. ' Your grace is Spanish ?' said the lieuten ant, in the same language. ' Si, Seiior,' answered Lola, delighted to find at last some one who could speak the language of the angels. At once they were deep in conversation, very little of which Anatole understood. He grew uneasy as he noted how handsome
and graceful this cursed young Englishman was, and determined to ask the chaplain to marry them out of hand. He dared notleave Lola's side, however, though for full twenty minutes she had not addressed a word to him, and was practicing — with effect — all her arts of coquetry on her new admirer. At length duty called the young officer away, and Anatole breathed again ; but ho saw that Lola's thoughts were still of her charming young companion, and she looked but sourly at him. In tho evening Anatole managed to catch the chaplain after mess, and unburdened his mind to him, and asked him to do him the service of marrying him temporarily, accord ing the Protestant method, until he' should be able to be married en regie on shore. The chaplain was much amused at the re quest, but said ho was afraid that ho could not carry out Anatole's wishes, that flm P,.n.
testant ceremony would not be binding on a Roman Catholic, and much to the same°effect. Anatolo explained to him that Ivor was in the middle of the ceremony wlion the ship had appeared, and he had postponed tho cere mony, as lie thought merely temporarily. The chaplain laughed, and said that' Mr. G- wynne must bo a very bold man to lightly undertake such a serious matter. ' But, if Mr: Gwynne, who is no ecclesias tic, was willing to do it, surely you, monsieur, ?\vlio are euro need not have any scruples. The chaplain muttered something about ' fools step in where angels fear to tread ' which Anatole did not understand. Ho thought, however, that it meant that tho chaplain was wavering, and would shortly consent to do that which he wished. Ho re doubted his efforts m consequence, and ab solutely overwhelmed tho chaplain with argu ments m favour of this being married at once, l ho chaplain afc last said : j ' My dear sir, it is utterly out of the ques tion, and I havo not the remotest intention of doing anything of tho sort, and you arc mero wasting breath in going on like this If I weie a Roman Catholic I might possibly consider the matter ; as it is, I can't think of it for a moment.' Anatole, catching at tho straw, said with a gulp : ' I will turn Protestant, and Lola shall I turn with mo.' 1 The chaplain smiled as ho answered :
No, no, my good follow. I ban't ..accept a proselyte on those conditions, and I would not answer so quickly for a lady, who is not yet your wife, if I wore you. . What you sug gest does great credit to your heart, but your head will tell you that what yOU propose is
' not to be undertaken lightly. Courage, man, he added in French, 'You have not long to wait.' Anatole, seeing that further argument was useless, thanked him, sighed and went away, cursing inwardly that this sacrc ship had not arrived just a quarter of an honr later, in order that ho might have had— what _ he at least would have considered — a legal right to prevent Lola from flirting with any one. Ivor, in the course of a few days, had told the captain the general outline of his story, omit ting, of course, all mention of Gwen, and the captain had advised him to fight shy of Western Australia, as he was without capital., and thoroughly concurred with him 'when. Ivor suggested that he should try some of the older workings of Victoria. ' All the new rushes of the last thirty or forty years,' said tho capta,in, 'have drrwn people away from the workings -which would have stood years more labour, end would have paid it well, too.- I don't undertand this gold craze. People never seem to bo contented with the moderate certainty. Thoy will go
the whole hog.' ' And come out poorer than thoy went in. ' In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred,: yes. It is the only lucky man who brings all the others in his train. Every man says to his neighbour, ' Just look at So-and-So ; went out to South Africa without a penny in his pockot, and now he doesn't know how rich he is ;' and they think all the time that Tom, Dick, and Harry can and will do' exactly tho same thing merely for the trouble of going. No, sir, trusting everything to one blind chance is no work for any but a man who is absolutely on his beam ends, or has tried everthing else and failed. Now you and your friend are here, take my advice and don't go for the big thing. It is a thousand to one against you. Blessed is he who expectoth little, - for he shall not be disappointed;' with which adaptation of an old saw he left him. The captain's advice fell in with Ivor's previous intention and his mind was now fully made up to go on to Melbourne, and tbence up the Castlemaine and farther. The days sped on, and Anatole became an
noyed almost Deyona endurance at J-ioia. a du liaviour. She threw just sufficient crumbs of affection to whet his appetite, and then de voted her intention to flirtation on a grand scale. She did not care with whom she flirted. If the captain was not there to do her homage, she was content with the sen ior lieutenant or the captain of the marines. If none of the officers were at hand, she would even 'keep her hand in' by flirting with the sailors or marines. Every man in the ship was in love with her. Sailors are notoriously apt to fall in love with anything in petticoats, and when that ' any thing' happens to be a gloriously beautiful woman, willing — nay, eager — to encourage their intentions, conquest is very easy. Lola was, for the first 'time in her life, supremely liappy. ? To be the only woman among a crowd of men, and to be conscious
that all those men were her devoted slaves, was a position which she would not have ex changed for any on earth. There was no cloud across her sky. Anatole's signs and toars were as nothing to her ; she held him safe in any case. There was no other woman to draw attention away from herself for the fraction of a second. .She was a queen, with that supreme sense of power that no outlier queen can have. She had her one great op portunity, and took it; she flirted outrageously. The young lieutenant who had given up his cabin to her was lier especial favourite. He could speak Spanish, and she could converse with him at her ease. Anatole would have loved to challenge him to mortal combat, but he knew thatthe young officer would refuse to fight a man in his position, and, besides, these dull Englishmen did not fight duels. Matters came to a climax when the captain saw his junior lieutenant kissing Lola under
tho shadow of a gun one moonlight night. Although ho had fain been himself tho offender, he saw that matters had gone far enough, and the following day Lola was as tonished to find that officers, soldiers and sailors were courteous and polite, but had no time to talk to her or linger by her side. She had to content herself with Anatole, whose spirits had recovered slightly, as they were now but three days' sail from port. Lola, seeing that her reign was over, be came once more affectionate with Anatole and three days after they stepped ashore at Williamstown, pledged to marry on the fol lowing day. ? CHAPTER XVH. . FIRST GLIMPSE OP AUSTRALIA. Ivor' and Beausire, with Anatole and Lola, went up to Scott's Hotel, where Lola's brother — J uan Martinez — was head waiter. Lola and her brother greeted each other with all the
tervouv ot the feouth, and their repeated era braces made Anatole wince. Before they hpd been an hour in the hotel, Ivor and Beausire were besieged with visitors,, eager to see the survivors of the shipwreck. With that generosity which is nearer the surface in Australia than it is in the old country, their visitors subscribed aud present ed them with some three hundred pounds on the spot, thinking that they had in all pro bability lost their all in the ship Ivor would have liked to refused the money, but Beausire dissuaded him. Thoy kept fifty pounds for their preliminary expenses, and gave tho rest to Anatole and Lola as a wedding present. An enterprising music-hall manager offered Ivor and Beausire ten guineas a week each to star the provinces with him — an offer which they declined with thanks. The story of Anatole and Lola had leaked out, and in consequence, on the following day tho Roman Catholic Chapel in St. Kilda, where they wore married, was packed with people to witness tlio ceremony. As the bride and bridegroom came out of tho chapel one would have, thought, to iudire bv tW
cheering, that a royal prince, at least, had just been married. Anatole and Lola went away to Mount Macedon for their honeymoon intending, if possible, to get tho management of some hotel or other later on, while Ivor and Beausire, after lingering a few days in Melbourne, wont to Castlemaine. Ivor's first thought on entering Scott's Hotel had been of his letter from Gwen. Tliero were two awaiting him, the latest of them dating seven months back. The first was full of condolence and indignation at his wrongful imprisonment, tho second contained merely a few linos, to say that her father was very far from well, and that she should not write again untill Ivor's promised second letter should have reached her.
Ivor though he detected a certain petulance — or was it indifference ? — in the wording of his second letter, and he hesitated for an entire day as to whether he ought to cable to her to assure her of his safety. He finally decided not to do so. After all, what was he to. her ? Nothing but a friend. There was no reason why she should take any especial interest in him, except that common place, everyday interest which ono cannot fail to take in a person with whom ono has been brought up. She might bo married by now, for aught he knew. Yet the letter ho had had from her at the Cape had roused hopes in him which ho would not willingly let die. After all was said and done, ho had now no [ right to think of her in any light save that of , a friend, for his resources — small enough when he had left England — had now become infinitesimal, and all he had to live upon was the faro which sustains the majority of tho human race — hope. He and Beausire did not linger long in Castlemaine. They gathered what informa tion -.they could from casual acquaintances. 'From all they hoard the same talc. Surface mining in that part of the country was a | thing of tho past — it had been given -nip'
thirty years ago — and as for shaft-mmmg, with tho exception of two of three mines near Fryerstown and one or two at Malmes bury, tho reefs had been worked out years ago. One old man with whom they fell in at the hotel openly laughed at them. ' Look here, my young friends, if there is one man that knows anything about mining in this part of the country, it's me. I made a nice little fortune — nothing to brag about, but still a tidy sum — more than thirty years ago in that very district. It was at the time when two young fellows, just like you made a fortune — and lost it, too — in the Black Hawk, just to the north of Fryers town. My claim was at the other end of the town, on the hill, beside the Wesleyan Chapel. You'll see it there now, if you go down that way — the Duke of Cornwall, I called it. I worked it for five years and then sold it, and I have lived on the proceeds ever since. Now, sir, that mine was worked out more than twenty-five years ago. The Black Hawk ruined those two young fellows. What
were tneir names r An, yes; innes and Reid. I remember young Innes married a very pretty girl down in the Loddon Valley, 'there — Low was her name. I wonder what has become of them ? I belie ye young Innes came into another fortune. You can see Reid's grave in Fryerstown cemetery now ; anyhow, that's not to the point. What I want to say is that those two claims were the only two worth anything at all, and they have both been worked out these twenty-five years and more.' ' Bnt I suppose the whole district has not been prospected ? asked Ivor. ' Every inch of it — not once, but a dozen times. I tell you this district is played out. If you want to go gold-mining, Victoria is the worst colony of the lot just now.' ' But all the great gold discovories have 'been made in places which have been ? unsus pected of containing gold,' said Ivor. ' Tut, tut, man, don't talk like that. I tell you these fields are played out.' 1 ' I mean to try them, anyhow,' said Ivor, with an air which said as plainly as possible, and I shall succeed, too. 'Well, well, do as you like, young men. I
was just as enthusiastic as you when I was your age, and would have gone gold-mining in a hog-pond, if there had been no other place handy. Experience is everything. I don't know if you have much money to waste or not, but you will loso it all.' Beausire said that they -were about as poor as they could be, and the old man interrupted him with : ' Under the circumstances you won't be long before you will be glad to have as much as. you have now to pay your passage back to England.' Ivor laughed gaily, and said that he felt sure of success. ' I don't want to throw cold water on youthful enthusiasm, but you will fail, at any rate in this district, and when you have failed, don't you forgot old Ezekiel Courtenay — that's my name— a Cornish ono. You just come to me. I sha'n't tell you ' I told you so,' or anything of that sort. Lord bless you my boys, I have seen hundreds and hundreds like vou. I wonder how manv of fhnm nnw
have a Bhirt.to their back.' Beausire laughed, and said that Mr. Courte nay ought to go home to England and lecture the intending emigrants, so that they might rot in their own country instead of imposing them solves upon on colonies. 'I suppose you must have your joke, young man, and no one knows better than I do that there is no room in England for more than about two-thirds of the population, and it is quite right that they should leavo the country, but what on earth do they all expect to make fortunes for ? Every blessed one expects to be not only in a botter position than he en joyed in England, but to be in a position of powor and authority, to be wealthy simply be cause they have gone out of one country into another. . The thing is absurd. If a plough man who can't make enough to keep body and soul together in England would be content to be a ploughman at an excellont rate here, it would bo all right ; but instead of being a ploughman, he wants to be a capitalist and goes fooling round after gold— at least he used to — and will again. Look at the way they rushed like sheep to Broken Hill — look
now uney are rustling now to Uoolgardie. Half a dozen of them, at most, will make money, and tho rest- will make nothing ; and by the very fact of having gone there will have rendered themselves incapable of making money any other way. Onco you'vo had tho gold fever, you can settle to nothing else. That comes of belonging to a raco who feol it a bounden duty to becoiuo rich.' ' I am sure we aro very much oblighed to you for your information, sir,' said Ivor. ' I don t think I, at any rate, can complain of lacking advice since I . left England. On my way_ to Kimberley, an old gontleman was good enough to give me1 some excellent ad-, vice. He was a Scotchmau, and said that success was .certain so loner as I kent
from whiskey.' ' Very good advice, too,' interrupted Mr. Courtenay. ' But, unfortunately, I had no opportunity of tosting it, for I was arrested on a chargo of murdor as I stopped out of the train, and had no chance of getting any whisky.' Courtenay laughed and said : ' So you didn't find South Africa a suc cess ?' I never tried it. I was so disgusted with my only experience tliero that I came away as soon as I was roleased from prison, aud that I owe to my friend hero,'
Beausiro, uncomfortable at tho thought of being thanked or praised, said : ' No thanks to mo. I drew it about as fiuo as it was possiblo.' ' So you havo had to look death in tho face, young man, have you ? 1 congratulate you ? that is the best sedative for life that a man can have. I was a harum-scarum sort of a fellow in my young days, but onco, wlion I was buried for a day and a night in a mino down this way, I had a good deal of timo to think on things in general, and since tlioso days I think you'll find that no ono had any thing to say agaiust old Ezekiel Countenay. Hallo ! half-past twolve ! I must go to bed. If you are in any difficulty, young fellows, come and look'me up, and I'll do my best for you ; perhaps, when you aro tired of mining, you will want something more solid than good advice, and if your stomachs arc not too proud, perhaps I might bo able to find that for you, too. Good night ; don't hesitate to come to me if you are iu trouble.' Ivor and Beausire wished tho old gentleman good night, and promised to como to him if they needed advice, and early on the follow ing morning had started up country on their new venture.
CHAPTER XVIII. ' WORK IN EARNEST AT LAST. Ivor' and Beausire had spent most of their remaining . money in providing themselves with a tent, picks, spades, cooking utensils,, and it was with light hearts that thoy pitch ed their tent closc down on the bank of tho Loddon, some ten miles out from Vauglian. It was a lonely spot. Thoy had purposely passed some distance beyond the last signs of worked-out claims, in ordor to avoid as much as possible all contact with tho casual miner and the ubiquitous Chinaman. All around them the orum-trees crowded in.
tho only open space being along tho banks of the stream, and were narrow creeks had swept away — in time of spate — the trees that had clothed their banks. By tho time that their tent was pitched and they had prepared their frugal evening meal, the night had shut down, and the soothing hum of the insects had ceased. They sat together outside their tent silently smoking. Despite their excitement they wore overawed by the deathlike stillness of tho night, that numbing silence of an Aus tralian forest just after nightfall, which, until one had grown accustomed to it, makes one glad to have a companion at one's side. The air ' was absolutely still ; no breeze stirred the leaves up to sing their low whis pered lullaby, and the darkness was palpable. Ivor and Beausire smoked on until a rabbit, hopping about under the trees, made them both start nervously, as it trod on /and broke a dry twig. They both laughed, and the silence having thus been broken, they began to talk. ' This is at last a new experience,' said Ivor. ' Have you ever been effected before by the feeling which this grave-like silence produces ?' ? |
Not I. it strikes me as being rather un canny. I am glad that rabbit wakened us up ; I was becoming afraid to speak, and was getting into a state of nerves because you wouldn't.' ' I have been feeling creepy; too. What a strange, silent land this is compared to England. They will breed poets bore later on when the country has finally emergedfrom the uneasy excitement of being new — -'when there is no longer any possibility of further discoveries of gold or silver to drive the people mad.' 'Please don't begin to talk seriously, Ivor. I daresay all that you say is quite true, and I am sure I hope that every ono will to writing poetry if only they will leave us to find gold.'; 'You are a matter-ofrfact old fool,' said Ivor. j
' Then you are to blame for it ; for you take everything so confoundedly seriously. I don't believe you have any sense of humour in you at all.' . ? ' If I ever had these ten months on Hog Island were enough to deprive' any 'man of it. . ? ' On the contrary, that's just tho place where a man with a sense of humour is in his element. Do you mean to tell 'me that you got no amusement out of the antics of Anatole. ' I felt that a too heavy responsibility, lay on me.' ' Ah, yes,' answered Beausire. ' Do you know, old cock, I am very glad I- met you on the way out to Africa'. If I hadn't,' I tliiuk that I should probab.ly have gone utterly to the deuce ; and now, somehow or other, I think there is just a chance of my turning out a respectable member of society ; and you are to blame for it. I must say that I take it as
a personal insult that you would not allow me to become a blackguard in my own way, and if ever I get away from Australia and go honie — rich, respectable, and presentable — my family won't own mo. You see they are not accustomed to that sort of person in our family.' Ivor laughed as he answered : ' I am very, glad, too, wo met, Beausire ; I- toll, you frank ly I was sorry at first, but I am. uncommonly- glad now. I should have beon in a nicohole if it hadn't been for you.' Ivor meant what he said; lib was now thoroughly glad that he had Beausire as a companion and-partner. He now knew that Beausire had crossed that Rubicon which flows between the lands of Right and Wrong,' an^ he had gone over- the right bridge. He was now perfectly delighted with his compan ionship, and felt that, far from being a hind rance to his making a fortune, Boausire would aid him to that end as well, if not better, than any ono else. After smoking for some timow#ti silence, Ivor rose and offered his hand to Beausire, I who grasped it warmly, and then went to bed. I Boausire understood well the significance I
or tno iact tnat ivor naa ottered him- his 1 hand. The English are a cold-blooded;- un demonstrative raco, and, as was only natural —from their point of view— Iyor and 'Beau- sire had only shaken hands but onco since' Ivor's imprisonment at Kimberley. With tho dawn Ivor and Beausire started out on their quest for' gold. Both wore in a state of suppressed excitement which made conversation impossible. There was a groat charm in looking for gold, knowing that every thing depended on their own efforts and on chanco. It was very certain that thoro powers would bo exerted to the utmost when tho deadening effect of a fixed salary was ab sent. They selected what to them seemed a likely spot, and began their work. Thoy took it in turns to dig and wash tho soil, and they worked without coasing until tho sun had crosscd the meridian, withabsolutely no result. Each timo that tlieear tli had all been washed through the cradlo thoy looked with eager eyes to find that sediment of gold which ncyer came.
So thoy worked all day and^ came bat night with empty hands, but it no ,waj| spirited. They wore so tired that the ni sity for eating became almost a iiuisanco.. After they had finished their meal, g ^ lay stretch at full length outside their ..., and smoked. For long tho silonco waSmeisI; broken. At length Ivor said : . ' Well, Beausire, wo can hardly e*Pe'Ljon make our fortuno in ono day.' . Wfc . ' Not quito,' answered Beausiro, as, blew a great cloud of smoke up into the .^,.y - night air. ' I think that tho soil we t»'«. i, to-day was a little too clayey. Perhaps .j ought to make for lighter soil. I have alwvf - beon told that for this surfaco mining .li^-'t, soil is the best.' j - ' I daresay you aro right. Wo are bound, at any rate, to stick to ono spot. ? have got lots of room between hero and tl, -0 desert to try our luck.' ;j ; .. ' Oh, Lord, I ara tired,' yawned Beausire,'. 'That will soon wear off,' said Ivor, with a laugh. ? i. ' What do you intend to do, Ivor, if vA' ' make a modorato sum at this surfacemi'/i ing ?' ' Go in for shaft- mining — if we ean c_opie across a reef anywhere worth working.
'But thart would practically mean tnat.uo^ should have to say hore all our lives.' ? ' Npt a bit «of it. If wc can find a reef worth anything, awl gets some fair specimens of gold out of it, we shall have no difficulty in disposing of it if we want to.' ' Well I ho[jr it wont bo very long. Any how, I don't mwin to imploy that I see any prospect of my getting tired of this in the the immediate future, but I daresay the devil will arise in me some time or other, and I shall begin to liaukor aftor civilization again. ' You had botter make somo money first in order to be able to enjoy civilization when you do get back to it.' ' Yes, so I supposo. I think I shall try enjoying myself on a now' plan, too, when I do have a chance again. It strikes me that mere raking is a poor form of sport.' ' There I agrie with you entirely. Come on, old chap, let's turn in.' ' All right. Let's hope for botter luck to morrow.' . (To ho continued.')