Chapter 126325247

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Chapter NumberX
Chapter TitlePREPARATIONS FOR A SECOND FLITTING.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article126325247
Full Date1896-12-12
Page Number10
Corrections0
Word Count5866
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Maitland Weekly Mercury (NSW : 1892-1931)
Trove TitleThe Gold Seekers
article text

THE GOLD SEEKERS.

CHAPTER X. PREPARATIONS FOR A SECOND FLITTING.

Ivor and Beausiro left Ivimborloy on tho day following their dinner with the Judge, and journeyed down to Cape Town. Ivor had scarcely seen anything of Kimberley, as he had spent all his time in prison or in the hotels. An unreasoning prejudice against him seemed to be inspired in everybody's

mind. Tho landlady, ot the hotel hoped that ho did not intend making a long stay ; in the street men eyed him with distrust, and edged out of his way. Despite this fact, Ivor covld not suppress a feeling of regret at having to leave this mush room town of brick and galvanized iron — on which, literally, all his hopes had centered three short months ago. His money was fast disappearing. By the time they landed in Australia he would not have more than fifty pounds with which to start the world. Ho had been at pains to dissuade Beausire from accompanying him ; but it was of no avail. Moreover, lie now felt that he was imder an obligation to him of such magnitude that he must submit rather than advise. He knew — none better — that Beausire was worse than useless for the life which they were about to lead. He would much have liked to tell him so, but it is to hard to insult a man who has virtually saved your life. Beausire was one of those men, good-hearted enough, who, unless born with a silver spoon in their months, are bound to fail, for they have never had the opportunity of acquiring those qualities which command success. He was determined to follow Ivor's fortunes, and promised to be a hindrance more than any thing else. As Ivor had expected, his shooting expe dition has prolonged itself much over the allotted three weeks, and even then Beausire had no intention of going straight to Kimber ley. He had written down to the Cape to have his baggage, which he had left there, forwarded on to Kimberley, and had' asked the man ager to forward any letters on to Hopetown 'where he would join the train. The manager of the International sent Ivor's telegram on to Hopetown, with the request that it might be conveyed to Prieska, from which place Beausire had written, on the chance that Ivor's story mighthave somofound ation of truth in it. Having thus satisfied his conscience, he forgot the matter entirely Ivor's telegram reached Beausire just as he was on the point of starting for a short shoot ing expedition, and after much explanation and searchings, a paper was brought to him with the account of the trial and the day of execution. Finding that if he went to Hopetown and thence by train, he would bo too late, he hired a horse and rode into Kimberley just in time as we have seen, to assist in confirming the evidence of Ivor's alibi. The manager of the International Hotel ?was not a little surprised when Ivor and Beausire walked into the hotol, and ho made haste to apologize to Ivor for his unwitting mistake. Ivor had taken the precaution to obtain from the Kimberley Judge a paper certifying that he was Ivor Gwynne, and not Lowe, and this he produced with a laugh and — ' All's well that ends well.' They found they could get a boat bound for Australia in a week, and they took their pas sage and bought the few necessaries they re quired. Ivor had previously bought one of those belts for carrying sovereigns which aro so common among ' now chums' in Australia, and of which they are so proud. He now had it fitted with cases for carrying revolver cartridges, and had his leathern revolver case sown on to the belt, so as to form one piece. _ He consequently carried round his waist all his possessions — at any rate, all which were of any value to him. Beausire did tho same, and they felt them selves ready for all emergencies. A day or two before tliey started Ivor was surprised and delighted to find a letter for him from Grwen. After his release from prison ho had demanded and received the two letters which he had intrusted to the chaplain. He had read them over, and ho blushed with shame at his own eloquence and tore hers up. Things looked so different now that ho was free again. Not that his feelings toward her were altered in any way, but now that his life ?was before him, ho realized tho 'fact that it was, perhaps, scarcely honourable for a man in his position — with no money, and at present no prospects— to offer his lovo to a girl who Tvas, or, at any rate, would be, an heiress, Hor letter, which had been written imme diately on tho receipt of his, showed as plainly as did his the meaning which lay underneath tho words, and yet neither of the recipients dared or cared to allow themc^lves to believe -what the other so plainly meant to convey. Gwcn was full of solicitude for Ivor's safety and comfort ; hoped ' that Kimberley was healthy, and that he was already on the high road to fortune.' Ivor smiled grimly to lifm solf as ho read this. Ho had been on the

uign-road to death, and had escaped it by a mere chance. ' Her father was not at all well ; ad been ailing, in fact, almost since Ivor had ' and she was getting anxious about him. ? delighted to get Ivor's lcttor, and Jiopecl that it would not be long before ho wroto again. She had to hurry to catch the m (no mere form of words on this occasion), and she romained ever his affectionate friend ll-,rrJvoindolcn Llewellyn.' So said tho letter : »at between the lines, had ho chfosen to read ?ne might havo soon as plainly as though tho

words were written with mere ink instead of with Gwen's heart-blood : 'Ivor! oh, Ivor! come back to' mo !' Ivor wrote a long letter to hor in tho stere otyped manner of former years — not like that first letter which he had sent to lier on his arrival in South Africa. Tho lettor which he had written in prison had frightened him. He must be cautious now. He gavo her a detailed account of his im prisonment and release, and told her of his ] journey to Australia, and that she must ad dress any letter to him at the Post Office in j

Melbourne until he should 'write to her from there, that she might expect another letter from him in five or — at the most — six weeks after the reception of that which he was now writing. On the night before they started for Aus tralia Ivor and Beausiro was sitting on the verandah of the hotel, smoking their pipes. After blowing rings for a time, Beausire opened the conversation. ' Have you any definite plans when you get in Australia, Ivor ?' ' I can't say I have. My ideas on Austra lia are about as hazy . as they were on the sub ject of Africa.' Beausire laughed, took his pipe out of his mouth, and said : ' It strikes me, old man, that we are about as innocent a pair of lambs as ever came out to be shorn.' 'I have come to that conclusion many times since I arrived. I had lots of oppor tunity for thought in prison.' ' By gad, yes ! I call it an infernal shame that we don't know more about our colonies., than we do. A feller Jiasn't a chance unless he knows the ropes. One of those poets — Tennyson, isn't it ? — says, ' What do they know of England, who only England know ?' and I think he just hit the nail on the head.' Ivor smiled as he answered : ' I don't think it was Tennyson, was it?' ' It don't matter who wrote it ; it is true, anyhow, and that is the great thing. I for one shall be jolly glad to get out of this place ; it's a darned sight too hot for me, and up at Kimberley there everyone seemed to be in such an infernal hurry — to make money I suppose.'

' 1 expect we shall have to bustle up a bit in Australia if we want to do anything.' ' Anyhow it won't be so hot. When I was out with those fellers shooting, I was deuced near grilled alive. By gad, Ivor, it was a deuced lucky thing that I thought of sending down for letters and things. You would have been up aloft by this time if I hadn't. Ivor didn't say anything, but he sighed softly and smiled. ' If it hadn't- been,' continued Beausire, ' that I had a sort of feeling that the gov ernor might relent a bit and send me another hundred or so I should not have done it. No such luck, however. Our joint capital won't amount to much when we do land.' 'No it won't ; but it doesn't m.itter much in Australia. Labour is dear there still, and we can always get work if \our gold-digging doesn't turn out all right.' ' Thanks. I am not taking much stable work or sheep-shearing if I can help it.' 'Well, Beausire, I must warn you again. You can't expect to make a fortune by doing nothing, aind unless yon are prepared to work you had much better not come.' ' Oh, I'll do all right. Don't you bother about me. [ daresay tho fact that I am my father's son will help me a bit.' ' I doubt it. It will be rather against you than otherwise in the sort of work we are going to do.' 'Well, well, Ivor, don't fret. I shan't be in your way, whatever happens. If I find I can't cotton to the work, or can't make money I'll clear out.'' Ivor sighed involuntarily, foreseeing how hopelessly unfit Beausire was for the sort of life which lay in front of tllem. 'Where are we going, anyhow?' said Beausire. 'Well, this ship. takes us to Melbourne, calling at Adelaide. We might either get out I at Adelaide and go up Broken Hill way, or I go on to Melbourno and np to some of the old Victoria workings. I was reading a book the other day by a fellow who seemed to know what he was talking about, in which he said that he felt sure that a lot of those old work ings north of Castlemaine wero abandoned at tho wrong time, that there was money to be made, and plenty of it. Still, I feel rather inclined to go there.' ' All right, my son, it's all the same to me — Victoria, New South Wales, or Western Australia. So long as wo get into gold I don't care.' ' But, remember, Iknow absolutely nothing about it. I am only going by what this man sajs, and I don't want to drag you up there, or anywhere else, unless you want to t?o vour self.' ' Eire ahead, Ivor ; I am with you. I am like Rath — 1 Where thou goest, i will go.' Do you know that you are. a, devilish good chap, and you are not going to get rid of me in a hurry.' |g. ... Ivor laughed, and answered somewhat ir-' relevantly: , ' I am afraid you'll come an awful mucker some day, Beausire.' ' Shouldn't be at all surprised— it's in the family.' Ivor laughed again as he put his hand on Beausire's shoulders, and said ; ' You don't give yourself a chancc — yon never did at Cambridge. You wero always messing about, getting into rows, getting into debt, going to Newmarket, playing loo and baccarat, and playing Old Harry generally.' 'And uncommonly glad I am of it. I wouldn't change all that wore I to go up now. I came to the conclusion when I went up to Cambridge that it was a thousand chances to one against my ever having another chanco, later in life, of playing the fool with impunity, and of having a roaring good time, and consequently mado up my mind that I would make the most of it— and I did.' Yes,' answered Ivor, musingly, 'it was a good timo— there's no doubt about that— and 1 suppose it was -good for any one to havo a good time — mi P.n ' n.f n n T7- linfo

' Of course it is, especially when there is deuced little chanco of one's over seeing it again.' 5 They sat silent for some time after this, quiotly puffing their pipes. The silence was broken by Ivor, who, apparently, following up a tram of thought, said : ' Well, thou, Beausiro, shall we settle that it is to bo Victoria ?' ' Certainly. One placo is as good as an her. I think wo should bo much wiser to go there, than any where else, because you

' must not forget that onr stock of cash is by no means unlimited, and we should do as well to go to tho nearest place.' . ' I daresay you're right. I feel rather in clined1 to trust to that fellow whoso book I havo been reading. He doesn't appear to be puffing the place for any reason — in fact, he gives one the idea that it is rather a God forsaken hole than otherwise.' I 'You decide, Ivor ; I'll follow.' i ' Very well, then, lot it be Victoria.' They knocked tho ashes out of their pipes and went to bed.

CHAPTER XI. OUTWARD BOUND ONCE MORE. About noon on the following day, the ship, with an unpronounceable name — it was some New Zealand mountain — was bearing them out of Table Bay on their way to Australia. For the second time that indefinable regret for the land they wero leaving came over Ivor, and he could not banish from his mind the thought that the farther ho went from England the farther did his happiness slip from him. With his regret, on this occasion, was mingled a feeling that he had lost his great opportunity. He knew well that an oppor tunity does come which most men miss, or, not seeing, pass by in ignorance to rail at the unfairness of life, tho ill-luck which has always dogged their steps. Ivor had firmly believed that his opportunity had come in Africa, and he was loth to go, although lie felt that tho Judge's advice had been meant kindly, and was, in the main, right. It is bad to have to face a prejudice in one's disfavour at the very outset of one's career, and there was no doubt that that prejudice would have existed against him at any of the diamond fields. He ground his teeth at the thought of how Lowe had tricked him, but was fain to smile at the thought that by now, even at that moment, he might be arrested and brought to justice. Seasoned by his journey from England to the Cape, Ivor felt no qualms of seasickness on this his second journey. He and Beausire were the only cabin passengers, though there were a great many second-class passengers. The Captain was a hard-faced, monosyl labic old salt, who regarded passengers as an entirely unnecessary evil. He was practically compelled to talk to Ivor and Beausire, since there was not one else ; but he did so with such an ill grace that after the second meal they havo eaten together they agreed to leave him alone. Standing on the upper deck, they amused themselves by watching the second-saloon passengers. It had positively never occurred to either of them that they might have made a material saving by travelling in the sec ond saloon themselves. Two of the passengers in particular attract ed their attention. One was a Frenchman, apparently of the more respectable artisan class. He was taller than the average of his countrymen, and possessed in its fullest measure their vivacity. He seemed to bo about thirty years of age. The other was a singularly beautiful Span ish girl about eighteen or nineteen years old. Hers was that soft, luscious beauty of the South. All her movements were slow and languorous, yet withal graceful. Her clear ! and delicately-cut features were crowned by a mass of glessy black hair. When Ivor and Beausire first saw her she was sitting on a deck-chair, gazing dreamily out over the sea toward the fast-fading outline of the land. It was after lunch on the first, day. ' By gad !' said Beausire, ' that's a very pretty girl !' 'Yes,' said Ivor, taking his pipe out of his mouth, ' she looks like a Spaniard. I wonder what she's doing on this ship ? Spaniards don't go to Australia much.' ' Hero's the Captain. We'll ask him.' The Captain was passing on his way to the bridge, when Beausire stopped him with : ' Excuse me, Captain. Could you tell me who that very pretty girl is iitting on the deck-chair?' ' Spanish girl — under my protection ; going to join her brother ; came aboard at Ply mouth.' This, uttered in a gruff, mindyourown business tone, was all the Captain vouchsafed and he passed on to the bridge. He was one of those ship captains who hold that it does not come within the range of their duty to be a Universal Compendium of Knowledge, from which passengers may draw information at will. He thought that a ship 'captain's duty was to navigate his ship, and that the passengers ought to take care of themselves ; and if they could not, that they were better on land than on the sea. If a ship captain was capable of answering one tenth of the questions addressed to him — mostly by women, it is true — say on a voyage from Liverpool to New York, he would cor tainly not be under the necessity of earning his livelihood by captaining a ship ; as a Pro fessor of Things in General, his value to any university would be inestimable. As a matter of fact, many captains, through sheer good-nature, do manage to suppiv a more or less satisfying — if not°satis factory— answer to the majority of conun drums propounded to them. ' What a surly old beast!' said Beausire, as hoiurned again to the contemplation of tho girl. ^ In a few minutes his curiosity overcamo him once more, and leaning over the rail, with his back toward it, he looked np at the bridge and waiting till the captain was imme diately above him, carried out : ' I say, Captain ! What's her name ?' ' How in thunder should I know ?' Ends in ' z.' ' Ivor langliod at Beausire as ho turned round wearing a somewhat crestfalllen ex prosssion. Ho and Beausire leaned over the rail a^ain and watched tho girl from time to timo turn her great, lustrous eyes toward the bridge. Suddenly, after an interval of two or°three minutes, a grulf voice immediately abovo thoir heads grunted out : ' Christian name, Lola.' Ivor and Beausire laughed again, snd smoked their pipes in silence. After a time tho Frenchman came up from below and walked along the deck. Ho wiis very neatly dressed, and wore an air as of one who anticipated conquest. . .clo contented himself with walking up and down in front of his charmer for a quarter of an hour or so, and as he had passed her, be stowing upon her glances of the most ardent admiration. The girl glanced languidly at him occasion ally, but apparently had no thoughts for him or anything else. She was doing what Span

ish women — not of the highest orders — spend most of thoir leisure timo over — thinking of nothing at all. After a time a whito cashmere shawl which she was wearing over her shoulders slipped to tho ground. In an instant the Frenchman was at her side. With ono hand he took off his hat, with tho other he picked up the mania, thon, putting the hat under his arm, he clicked his heols together, made a profound bow, and with, ' Allow me, mademoiselle,' made as though ho would place tho mania on her shoulders again. The girl bowed her head gracefully, and said, showing two rows of pearly teeth : ^ ' Muchisimus gracias, senor I' The Frenchman, still holdiong his hat under hiB arm, began the conservation with : ' You aro going to Melbourne, mademoi selle ?' ' I beg your parJon ?' The Frenchman repeated his remark, tran sposing tho first two words. The girl shrugged her shoulders slightly, and said, in Spanish : ? 'I speak nothing, sir, but Spanish.' The Frenchman shrugged his shoulders and smiled an inquiring smile. j ' Pardon. I did not quite understand vou.'

The girl again showed her beautiful teeth, and looked around to see if any ono was within earshot, and then said, very slowly and distinctly, in Spanish : ' I speak neither French nor English, nor German, nor anything.' And she smiled again at her admirer, who looked at her with a puzzled expression. Again the girl turned to him and said : ' Be good enough to cover yourself . Put on your hat.' . ''I beg your pardon.' The girl tapped her foot on the deck, petulantly, and muttered : ' I forgot.' Then pointing to the Frenchman's hat and then to his head, said : 'Put on your hat, sir — put on your hat.' The Frenchman again looked puzzled, and the girl, with a sigh, rose languidly from her chair, pointed to the sun, then to his hat, and finally to his head, and said : ' It is very hot. Put on your hat.' The Frenchman hesitated, aud the girl, taking the hat from under his arm, put it on his head, sayiug : ' The man's mad ! For the love of Heaven, put on your hat.' She then sat down again on her chair, and fanned herself with a large palm-leaf fan. The Frenchman, at last comprehending, again olicked his heels together, took off his hat, and bowed low once more, as he said : ' A thousand thanks. I feel nothing but

the charm of your presence.' _ The girl looked at him again in an ques tioning manner, entirely oblivious of his com pliment, and the Frenchmen muttered : ' Good heavens ! What is a man to do in a case of this sort ?' He continued gazing at the girl in unmis takeable admiration, and then an idea seemed to strike him. He again took off his hat, bowed, and said : ' Excuse me for a moment.' The girl inclined her head, and, thinking that the interview -.ivas over, settled herself into .her chair, and placing the fan so that it should shade lier face from the sun, closed her eyes for a (doze. Some fivo minutes elapsed, and the French man appeared again at the head of the com panion way, loaded with rugs and cushions, and dragging in his right hand a small, up right deck chair. .- He stopped opposite the Spanish girl and made his obeisance as before. The girl opened her eyes languidly and smiled. This she could do to perfection — and each successive smile forged another link in tho chain which bound the French man to her.' With a muttered request, which naturally re ceived no answer, he proceeded to pack the girl's chair with cushions and rugs till little frit her face was visible. She acquiesced, because that cost her less trouble than to protest. When he had done all that the most exact ing of mistresses could reasonably or unrea sonably demand, ho again took off his hat, and pointed first to his own little deck-chair and then to the vacant place beside her, said, in a tone which was almost beseeching : ' May I be allowed to place this little chair near yours ?' The girl, understanding the expression of his face .and the question conveyed in it, smiled again, showed her pretty teeth, and tho Frenchman, with a sigh of happiness, placed his chair as near hers as he dared, and sat down. Ivor and Beausiro had watched this little comedy with intense interest, and when tho Frenchman had finally attained his object they turned round and laughed and walked aft. For the next two days almost their sole amusement consisted in watching the pro gress of this lovo episode. Tho Frenchman was intensely in earnest. He racked his brains to discover new ways in which he might show his devotion and attend to her comfort. It was obvious that he was

very much ? in love — at least, for the time — and was in despair that he had to resort to the language of signs to convoy his meaning to his beloved. Lola was content to sit still and smile. Sho was by no means avorse to the attentions' which her cavalier paid to her with such assi duity. On tho contrary, she rather enjoyed them. An existence in which her every wish and thought was forestalled, and in which all the pliysicial exertion required of her was a smile at varying intervals, seemed to hor to. border on tho ideal. Tho contrast of national character was, in these littlo lovo scones, shown to perfection. The Frenchman, all eagorness, vivacity, and desiro to please ; the Spanish girl, languid, indolent, quite prepared to be amused or receivo liomago, but entirely averse to any exertion, and not in the least degree in love. Conversation between them was naturally strictly limited. Lola mado not the faintest effort to learn any French from her admirer, and ho was, in consequence, fain to pick up what Spanish ho could from hor. This was a distinct impediment to love making, and ho sworo a good deal under his breath — :in French. It is difficult to conduct a courtship in monosyllablos which havo no connection whatever with tho matter in hand. Tho littlo Frenchman was interested to know that sombrero was tho Spanish for ' hat,' abonica for ' fan,' silla for ' chair,' but ho felt that it did not holp matters to any marked degree. Ho learned that hace color meant that ' it was hot,' and that hace mucho calm meant that 'it was very hot,' and as tho day

woro on toward tho hour for meals, he learned that his charmer had an excellent appetite, and that Spanish for ' I am vory hungry' was tengo mucho hanibrc. Had thoy been lovo in with each other, spokon words would have beon unnecessary, for love has a language which needs no out ward expression ; nor, indeed, docs it contain any vocables. _ Unfortunately, the lovo was all on ono sideband tho unhappy Frenchman was — ac- cording to his nature — in despair at one moment, and in an ecstasy of delijjlit the next. ^ Hib moments of ecstasy camo when tho girl smiled her soft smile at him ; his mo ments of despair when he found that all ho could say which was intelligible was haco calm' or hace mucho calor. He could not, with , any show of decency, begin on tenjo mucho Jiambre soonor than two hours after each meal, so that for at least six hours of tho day his conversation was limited to tho expression of his firm conviction that it was 'hot,' or ' very hot.' Thero was every probability of his becoming a raving lunatic under the mental strain involved in trying to avoid hace calor ; but whenever Lola smiled at him ho felt bound to state that it was ' hot.' His sense of good manners would havo re ceived a shock had lie not .answered tho sentence implied in Lola's smile, and in con sequence, instead of pouring forth a torrent of words to express his feelings, all ho could do was to gasp and mutter, Race calor. During tho few minutes succeeding the timo when he felt that he could, with pro priety, assert that ho was hungry, a glow of delight spread over his face, and he bombarded her with tengo hambre until ho felt forced to fall back on hace calor. When ho was not adoring hor for her smile, ho was hating him self and her and the entire human race. He was angry with himself for his own helplessness, and with Lola for her indolonco and indifference. Her entire want of response made him feel inclined to hit her. Yet he never- left her side. They sat the livo-long day, side by side, acting unconsciously tho strangest comedy. About half-past nine in the evening Lola 'went to bed, and the Frenchman, in a frenzy of adoration, paced the deck with knitted brow and fierce, quick strides.

On the third night after they had left Cape Town, Beausire and Ivor stopped him in his walk and talked to him. Beausire was a good French scholar, and the Frenchman could have embraced liim through sheer delight at finding that there was some one on the ship who could under stand him. He talked volubly for half an hour in an swer to two or three questions which Beausire put to him. They learned that his name was Anatole Eelletier ; that he was a master carpenter ; that he had ? made a little money and was going to Australia, as tho Elysium of skilled artisans. Ho did not intend to stay long, because he could not separate himself from la belle France for any length of time. He had come on an English ship in order to learn something of tho language before reaching Australia; but peste ! they were such bears, these English sailors, and he had learned practically nothing. Here Beausire mentioned the Spanish girl, and the Frenchman's face lit up with pleasure for an instant and thon clouded again; as he said : ' Ah, gentlemen, I adore her ; but at time I would like to spit in her . face. Good heavens! How stupid she is, and yet as beautiful as an angel !' As lio said it, he spat on the deck. Beausire, ?with difficulty restraining an al must uncontrollablo desiro to laugh aloud, said: ' But if you adore her, why don't you tell her so ? ' knowing well that neither of them could speak any other tongue than their own® At this Anatole almost wept with emotion as he explained this stato of matters. ' She is, as yon, messieurs, may see for yonrselves, as beautiful as a dream ; but she speaks nothing but Spanish, and I nothing but French. What is to be done ?' and lio shrugged his shoulders. ' I wish to talk to her, but it is impossible. I wish to tell her of France, of my home in Vienne, of the vines or tho slope of tho hills, of the great ness of France, of lo vs — vioti Dieu ! of every thing. And then, after all, I have nothing to say but. 'I am hungry' and 'It is warm.' It is perfectly absurd to bo constantly say ing ' It is warm.' At the same timo she does nothing but smile ; all tho same, that little smile is ravishing. You have seen her ; she opens her mouth in order to show her teeth — those tiny animal's tooth rof hers— and she smiles ; and as _ for mo— well, I say,. ' It is warm/ That is all. I know quite woll that there is nothing more absurd ;? but : slio is charming.' The poor man sighed from the bottom of liis heart, and Beausiro, affecting sympathy, said : . ? . : .- : ? ? ? . J ' 'Will sho not teach you Spanish?' ' Yes -yes ; but it is always. '.I am hungry,' or it is ' My hat— my fan.' Those' sort of words are absolutely, useless when, one wants to mako love.' ' You should ask hor to promenade the deck, with you, thon, you should by-- si^ns mako her understand that you want 'to know the Spanish for such things as you wish, to say. Make her talk-to you in- Span ish, slowly, and you will soon learn.' ?' 'I will liegin to-morrow;' said the French man,. excitedly. ' Good evening,* gentlemen. 1 bid you good-bye.' He bowed and left/ them hurriedly, and wont down to his cabin in order, . apparently, to hasten tho approach of - day by lengthen ing the night. ° Unhappily, on tho following dav, circum stances over -which thoy had ilo control pieventod oithor lover or. beloved ' from leav ing their 'berths. . ' For these first three days of the . voya^o tho weather had boon magnificont. Tho sun had shone in a cloudless sky, and the sap phire soa had been flecked moroly with tiny splashes of fleecy foam. A soft west wind had followed thom, strong enough to fill tho ono sail, sot to steady the ship, and all the passongors had been ablo to enjoy tho warm air. Tho ship on which thoy were travelling was not a first-class boat. Slio bolongcd to a small firm who intonded thoir boats to be mainly cargo-boats, with accommodation for a considerable number of second-olass pas sengers and only ten cabin passengers. Ivor and Beausiro had chosen her becauso she happened to bo sailing at tho timo at which they wished to start, and becauso tho iaroby hor was considerably less than in a larger ship belonging to a more pretentions

Speed was by no Hicans a sine qutinon. She had a liberal allowance of timo botweon port and port, and the item of coal was of consider ation'witli her owners. She pottered along, in consequence, at about eleven knots an hour on this course when the wind was fair almost all the way to Australia. Sho carried a mixed cargo, consisting mainly of Manchester goods. Ivor and Beausiro strolled up and down the deck until nearly twelve o'clock, and then, having finished their vory last pipe, mado for tho saloon. At tho companionway tlio Captain was standing. ' Fine night, Captain,' said Beausire. ' H'inph !' grunted the Captain ; 'it is— just now. It won't be in the morning.' On which enigmatical statement Ivor and Beausiro went below to their cabins' (To be continued.) 7w