Chapter 126329354

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Chapter NumberXII
Chapter TitleIVOR'S SECOND CHANCE.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article126329354
Full Date1896-12-19
Page Number9
Corrections0
Word Count5633
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Maitland Weekly Mercury (NSW : 1892-1931)
Trove TitleThe Gold Seekers
article text

THE GOLD SEEKERS.

CHAPTER XII. iyor's second chance.

.. Ivor woke early on the following morning to find himself being rolled about in the most unpleasant manner. He got up, and after being hurled about his cabin for some twenty minutes, he man aged to get some of his clothes on, and he

staggerod through the saloon to get on deck. Half way up the companion-stairs he met Beausire, who was coming down. ' By gad ! it's an awful day, Ivor.' ' Aren't you going on deck ?' 'It's useless. The place is simply sop ping.' ' I am sure I hope so. It will be pretty slow work down here all day.' ' I hope to goodness they won't batten us down.' 'Well I'm off to my bunk again until breakfast- time. You had better do the same.' ' Tes, I think I will. Isn't it very dark far this timo in the morning ?' 'There's a combination of fog and mist outside, which is so thick that you can handle it.' They turned in again, and at breakfast they were alone, saved for a hasty five min utes, when the Captain came down and swal lowed two or three cups of coffee and wolfed some bacon, and hurried on deck again. As he left the saloon he granted out : ' In for a dirty spell, young gentlemen.' Ivor and Beausire were seasoned by their journey out from England, and after break fast they made for the deck, clad in water proofs. A dreary and dispiriting sight met their gaze. The wind had shifted a point more to the northward, and they were driving along before a strongish gale. A dense, gray fog * hung all around, and a fine misty rain tuingled with the spray of the sea. Everything had a sodden and dreary look. The wind 'was blowing steadilv enoueh. but it RPAmnrl 'fcn 1'-p I

growing also slowly and steadily stronger. Ivor and Beausire clung to the handrail of tho deck-house, and watched the weird, shadowy ship plunging into the impenetrable fog beyond. All around them the livid sea leaped and roared. The waves which from time tp timo washed the deck, seemed to climb rather than to fall on board. They two, standing side by side, were silent. It seemed strange that the ship should ever in her groaning agony 'beat forward into a murky void, cleaving a pathway through the sullen fog and the drab-coloured sea which closed around her above and below. The gray, ? blurred outline of the masts and the gray sea and fog seemed to reflect themselves on the thoughts of Ivor and Beausire, for they peered vainly into the gloom above and around with a sad, subdued air. The scene .and the thought that they were always speeding on into darkness began to play upon Ivor's nerves, and he could not help thinking how appropriate the scene was to his own position. Here was he stretching out hands to grope in the dark of the unseen, with no knowledgo of what he might touch, just as the great ship was -plunging forward and ever forward into what appeared infinity. lie glanced at the bridge and saw the Cap tain at times upright, at times appearing as though he were walking up the side of the , house, and he turned to Beausire with a shud der and said : ' I can't stand tliis, Beausire. Iam going : below.' _ ' All right, old man. We can have some piquet to while away the time.' ' What an awful day !' said Ivor, as - they leached the companion and groped their way ? . down to the saloon. , 'Not very cheering, I must say,' answered Beausire. ' I must have a whisky and soda to wash the frog out of my throat; Here, steward ! Have one, Ivor ?' 'No, thank you.' j ' Get the cards then, will you ? They are in

my bag under my bunk.'' They sat down to piquet, and played all the morning, making no remarks save thoso which were necessary to tho game. The Captain did not come down to lunch, ? and after it they went on with piquet. The vessel was beginning to roll worse than ever. At times Beausire seemed to be right above Ivor, ready to descend on him, had not the. saloon- table been betweon them. The wind had risen, and the roar of the storm, and the shudder of the ship as the screw left the water became more frequent. The ' chunk' ' chunk' of the screw be camo now more marked owing to its irregu larity, and tho intervals wero filled with the noise of the screw, whirring out of the water —that grizzly rattle, like tlio rale of 'a dying man. . They played on all through the afternoon, until nearly five o'clock, when any futl:er « play was out of question. Y The ship was rolling, pitching, staggering to such an extent and so continuously that all their attention and energy were required to steady themselves at the table. ' Lot ub try to get on deck,' said Ivor. 'Very well. A' breath of fresh air wont dO'iis any harm before dinner.' If wo can stand.' ' , .'Wait a minute,', said Beausire, .as he tried to walk to Lib cabin.

It was helpless, and he waB compelled to crawl along the floor of the saloon until he reached it. Soon he emerged -with two leathern straps in his mouth, and, not without bruises, they reached the deck. With difficulty they opSted and shut the companion door, and clinging with'all their strength to the handrail, they stood panting side by side. Seizing an opportunity, Beausire fastened one of the straps under his belt and fixed it to the handrail, and telling Ivor to do the same they managed to restrain their footing. The gale had increased to a hurricane ; . the same gray, sodden fog enshrouded everything and the white spindrift which was whisked off the crest of the waves stung their faces as does a whiplash. The wind screamed and howled through the rigging in frenzied blasts, and tore at the boats till they groaned in the davits. The sea was a soothing caldron, over which ever anon an eerie shadow hurled, the gray wraith of an albatross hurrying on before the storm. The'wind seemed to shriek with everin creasing fury in one continuous blast, and the vessel tottered forward at racing speed. For a moment the fog lifted and displayed tatters of torn cloud in a sullen sky. Ivor gave a gasp and roared out to Beau sire, who was scarcely two feet from him. ' Thank goodness that cursed fog has lifted !' And even as h'e said it the fog shut down again and enveloped them 'as before. Beausire merely shook his head and smiled In that ferment of conflicting sounds of wind and sea Ivor's voice was as nothing. Not a soul was visible on deck or on the bridge, and the drab misery was again too much for Ivor. He screamed something out to Beausire and began to unfasten his strap. Beasire screamed something to him in re turn, and with the utmost care and difficulty they waited their opportunity, and, drenched to the skin, they sought the saloon once more. Dinner was a matter of skilful engineering, which, however, was hot successful in pre venting Ivor from pouring all his soup on to his nether garments. The Captain was again absent, and the steward was uncommunicative and unusually soleriin. Before dinner was ended the floor of the saloon was a mass of broken crockery and glass, nor did the steward make any attempt to sweep it up. He had a young wife in Gravesend, and had never before encountered such a storm as this.' Toward ten o'clock the engines slowed down and the ship began to roll in an appall ing manner, as though she had found herself helpless and had yielded to the fury of the gale. ?Beausire managed to reach and open the companion door and to peep out. There was nothing but pitchy darkness to be seen, and nothing to be heard but the mad frenzy of the storm which seemed to hiss with the sounds as of escaping steam. Beausire retreatec&fco the saloon, and in a few minutes the steward came in. ' What's the matter, steward ?' said Ivor. ' Steering-gear broke down, sir ; they, are going to steer by the stern wheel. God help the poor fellows as has to do it.' ' This becomes exciting,' said Beausire. 'Bring in some' whisky and hot water and the necessary appurtenances.' After some minutes the engines went full speed once more, and almost directly after wards the steward appeared feeling his way with one hand and bearing whisky in the other. The Captain dripping from head to foot, appeared as Ivor and Beausire were attempt ing, with but slight success, to mix their whisky and water. The Captain took his sou'-wester and shook himself. ' Dirtiest night ever I saw,' he ejaculated. 'Have a drink, Captain,' said Beausire. 'That's what I came for,' said the Cap tain. ' Where are we P' said Ivor, unconsciously asking one o£ those questions which even in fine weather drive ship captains to thoughts of murder and sudden death. For an instance his eyes flashed fire, and then he answered : / ' Just what I want to know. Haven't had a glimpse of the sun the whole blessed* day. Nothing but that cursed dripping fog.' Tho Captain jdrunk off his steaming glass of grog and ate a biscuit and made for the deck again. At the saloon door he ''stopped, and, turn ing, said: ' Don't want 'to alarm you, gentleman :

but if you follow my advice, you won't ta ke your clothes off until we are outof this gale.' ' What, is there real danger ?' said Beau sire. . ' Not if the steering-gear hadn't broken. She never would steer with her stern wheel, and I haven't taken the sun for thirty-six hours.' ' What's there to be afraid of ?' ' Well,. I don't know if we are cigar of the Twelve Apostles or nor, and fiang me if I know whether we are north or south of them.' ' All this was said in jerks, in the intervals when the Captain was not using his energies in trying to steady himself. ' If we are not to go to bed, or take off our clothes, how are we going to pass this cheer ful night?' ' Please yourself,' said the Captain. 'I only gave you a hint-. I must bo off.' He made for the companion-stairs, and with his foot on the first stop, he roared out : 'You may come up into the chart-house if you will promise not to be sick. I shan't bo turning in until the fog lifts. Be careful on deck. All the demons are let loose.' Ivor and Beausire put on waterproofs and leggings and lurched to the deck. It took them ten minutes to get from the companion door to the bridge, and then they were in a state of utter exhaustion. As they had clung, to anything on which they could trust their weight, two green seas had swept the deck, rolling everything not securely fastened before them. Tlio imvnnv ivnci ;„Pn-.r,nl. 4-1, „? ?

longer blew a steady gale. It seemed at times to hold its breath, to sob, and then to gather itself togethor for a blast which whisked the spume off tho waves aud pushed it high up over the yards. The atmosphere was a grim chaos of mist and spray and rain, which whistled through the spars and blattered in great broad splashes on tho deck and skylights. The wind seemed like some great wild beast in a frenzy of ungovernable fury. Tho ship shivered in every timber as each fresh outburst of rage tore her and shook her, and left her panting and groaning aB she wrestled with the waters. ?

On, always on into the black abyss in front and all around her. Two sailors lashed to the stern-wheel were relieved every half-hour, but she wouldn t steer well. It did not matter much as there was nothing for it in that appalmg hurricane but to run before it. ' Good heavens ! this is awful !' said Beap. sire to Ivor, when they reachcd the charthouse. ' I have heard of storms at sea, but I never believed that it was anything like this. It beats me how the ship can rido it. She seems at times to climb straight up to heaven. I am sorry for those poor stokers, battened dovfrn there with not a breath of air.' Ivor did not answer. The awful majesty of the storm had blotted put all other thoughts for the time. They sat side by side, holding on to the table in the charthouse, while the Btorm boomed and shrieked without. Prom time to time Beausire rose from his seat and opened the door to see if the murky fog had lifted at all. Each time there was nothing to be seen but the same black darkness, and nothing to be heard but the hiss of the rain and the seething sea. Sleep was out of the question. They sat on side by side, in silence. Ivor's thoughts had drifted back to Gwen and Wales, and he was dreaming with his eyes wide open of pleasant places on the Usk, when the door burst open and the Captain came in. Ivor and Beausire both jumped up and ejaculated simultaneously 'What^s it?' ' Nothing,' answered the Captain. ' Came in to see how you were getting on.' ' Is the wind going down do you think ?' 'Rising, if anything. I never saw any thing like this in these waters.' 'It can't go on much longer,' ventured Ivor. The Captain shrugged his shoulders. ' There's two men been washed' overboard already getting to the wheel. I've six of them at.it now.' ' Two men washed overboard !' said Ivor. ' Drowned !' ho added, hardly thinking of what he was saying. ' Drowned ?' snorted the Captain. ' Of course they are. Nothing to be done in a sea like this except to drown. I hope no more will go, or we shall be uncommon short-handed. 'I daresay she'll worry through itj' con tinued the Captain. ' If only the infernal fog would lift and give us a chance to know where we are.' Beausire pulled out his watch and said : ' Half-past four. It is getting on to day light again.' 'Not much use in daylight when you can't see ten yards before your face,' said the Captain. ' Going to stay on here ? You're just as well. I must be off up on to. the bridge again.' The Captain went out, and Ivor and Beau sire sat d6wn again, side by side. The long watch had made them- haggard and heavy-eyed, and Beausire began to yawnt ' I am pretty sick of this,' he said. : ' I shall be pleased enough when we are out of it,' said Ivor. 'I wonder, why the Captain told us to stay up ?' asked Beausire. ' Because we happened to be. getting into a part where there's a string of islands, called the Twelve Apostles, and with this wind we might get unpleasantly near them. We ought to go a good long way to the north of them, but the wind had got a good deal of north in it since it started to blow, and as the steam stearing-gear has broken down and she won't answer her stern wheel we have probably drifted a good deal south.' * ' Like a book, Ivor. Where did you learn it all from, old man ?' ' I was talking to the chief engineer yes terday — that is, the day before and he told me all about our course.' ' I see. So that's what the Captain has in his head. Rum old card, isn't lie?' ' I expect he is a good deal more anxious than he cares to show,! and that's why. he came down here just now to see how we' were standing it. The strain on him must be awful.' ' Daresay you're right. Anyhow, I have had enough. This storm will last me my time. I don't want any more.' They were silent for a long time, while' tho hurricane raged incessantly. After a time Beausire pulled out his watch. ' Half-past five. It must be near dawn.' He rose and went to the door of the chart house and opened it. The black squalor of the air had already begun to turn to a muddy gray once more, and the wind seemed to be less continuously violent. The atmosphere was still sodden with the mist and spindrift, but tho wind seemed to come in enormous sighs, which, beginning low, grow louder until they developed into a scream, and then passed. There was now a perceptible though short interval between each blast, and the cutting rain had ceased. Yes ; matters were un doubtedly improving. If only that depressing fog would lift.' It j made Ivor fretful. His nerves were at an - almost impossible tension, and he would have given all the world to have boon able to tear apart that dumb, dank veil for a moment. The wind hold its breath for longer in tervals ; a sad colored light was ? spreading around, and the storm had begun to die at the approach of- dawn. 'Things looking better !' shrieked Ivor to ; Beausire, as they tried to pierce the pall in front of them. - Beausire nodded. . After a lull which had lasted some fifteen seconds, the vast sigh of the wind began again, and ended in a shriek twice repeated. Its fury was almost spent, and it seemed as though the hurricane, wearied out, was gathering its remaining strength for a series of short, sharp, annihilating blasts. It was during one of these that the ship rose high up on a mighty wave and came down with a grinding crash on to something which made her shiver from stom to stern. She swung round and was carried along helpless broadside on to the sea. The shock had loosened Ivor's hold, and in a momont ho found himself flou\idoriuo about in tho water which was flooding the deck. As the ship swung round a green sea swept over her, and he was carried away with it overboard. Finding himself in the water, he began to strike out, when a sudden, sharp blow on the the head rendered him senseless,

CHAPTER XHI. THE ABOMINATION OP DESOLATION. Ivor opened his eyes to find himself lying on his back — on land. There was no doubt ab'out it, although he folt the rocking of the ship, as one always does after a sea voyage ; still, he was undoubt edly lying on solid ground. Perhaps he was dreaming. The acute pain in his head and the throbbing of his right shoulder told him that such was not the case. What was it ? He remembered being in the gale and being thrown into the sea, and here he. was on — well, not exactly dry land The mist hung all around as before, and the wind had died down again to a steady gale. He tried to raise his head, and found that he ?was lying on some shingle in ,the shade of q large rock. He was unable to rise, and felt too miser able and cold to do anything. A sound of voices came to his ear, and in an instant Beausire appeared, with a great cut, which was streaming with blood, over his eye ; he was followed by a sailor, who limped after him in a painful manner. Noticing that Ivor's eyes were open, Beau sire gave vent to shout of joy and hurried up to him. ' I thought you weren't born to be drowned, old man. How do you feel ?' ' Better,' murmured Ivor, mechanically, i . ' Well, it's the most marvellous escape ifi the annals of the sea.' ' Where are we ?' feebly questioned Ivor. ' Blest if I know. On land, and that's all I can tell you ; but where, I don't know.' ' And the ship ?' ' Is in matchwood.' ' Is there anybody els# — ' His question went no further ; bpt Beausire, knowing what he would say, answered : ' There's this sailor, and the captain ; but he is in an awful bad way — two legs broken and something gone wrong internally. I only left you for a minute to go down and see him ; and three more sailors, all more or less in pulp : — they're alive ; and that Frenchman with nothing worse than a sprained ankle ; and the Spanish girl, with merely a cut wrist.' ' How did it happen ?' Beausire shrugged his shoulders. . ' We seem to have pitched straight on to the end Of the land, about one hundi'ed and fifty yards up there,' — pointing to his right. ' There must be deep water right up to the edge of rocks on that side. I was washed overboard, and the wave carried me right up and left me high and — wet on the rock. I hung on like grim death and looked round for yon. Nothing to be seen of yon. I saw the Spanish girl, in her night-dress, lying just above me. The ship must have split right in half ; with the next wave you came along on top, and, being insensible, would have been sucked away with the backwash, but I got hold of you and held on. That wave brought the other survivors, too.' ' It strikes me that this is the second time ?you have saved my life.' Beausire, uncomfortable at being accused of anything of the sort, merely said : ? ' Do. you think you can walk ?' \ Ivor was sitting up by this time, and, putting his hand on the back of ' his head, said:'!' i 1 'My head pains me a good deal, and my sight, shoulder, but I can get along all right.' . , ' That was the plank or the boat or what ever it was that knocked you insensible. I have bound you up with handkerchiefs. You have an ngly cut on the back of your head, but you will bo all right, I daresay, soon.' Ivor rose, and the sailor, who had a dazed appearance, accompanied them down to the shore. They were on the leeward side,, of a long ledge of rocks which jutted out from the land. On the beach lay the captain in a state of unconsciousness. Ivor had been unconscious for, fully two hours, and his head felt as though it hardly belonged to him. Some three yards away from the captain, the Spanish girl was sitting, drawing her hands through her masses of coal-black hair, in a vain attempt to get somo of the moisture i out of it. She was dressed in a night-dress and a rough double-breasted pilot-coat with brass buttons. ( Near her sat the Frenchman, with an ex pression in his face of interest, in which . the terror through which he had passed had . a share. . ? ? ' - Beyond him lay the three other sailors, all ] motionless and apparently dead. ? The entire party was drenched to the skin, ] but the air was not cold. , ; The mist still hung about, but it seemed ?, to be growing less opaque, and tho gale, had ' almost blown itself out. j . Ivor and Beansire went to the captain, and , the sailor walked disconsolately towards the ( comrades. ~ ' . ' Beausire bent ovor the captain, and saw ^ that he was still alive, and was about to sav something to Ivor, when a ery from the sailor ^ made him rise. - ' ' Ho and Ivor went to the , sailor, who 3 pointed to two of his comrades. They were both dead, and the third was obviously in Cp'ticulo mortis. A spasm of agony passed ] over his features. His lips moved freely as i ho muttered somo woman's name, and then his jaw fell. ' - ? ^ jS1; Beausire turned away. This wholesale death, succeeding the strain of excitement which ho had undergone, Overcame him. i ' . Ivor was still too much dazed to fully com prehend the situation. . - ,j They returned to the captain and sat - down i beside him. Thoy satin silence. Tho same , thought flitted through the mind of each. ? Perhaps thoso men who were dead and the ? captain who . was dying were luckier than they. Who could tell to what fate they wero ordained ? They were probably on one of tho Twolvo Apostles, a row of barren islets whero existonco would be impossible. For half an. hour thoy sat beside; the captain, who at last showed signs of returning. consciousness. His eyes oponed slowly, and catching sight of Beausire, he said : ' How is she going ?' Beausire did not answer, and .the c&ptain ? closcd his eyes again. ' After a time he murmured : ' Beyond my experience in these waters.' Ho looked at Ivor and Beausire, and the sailors, who at . that moment strolled up to tliem. He. then seemed to roalizo tho situa tion. ' ?' .- ' Has she gone down?' he said, in a faint voice. - Ivor answered in the affirmative. ' I must telegraph to her owners,' said the dying man._ Ho mado»a feeble effort as though to rise, but it was fruitless, and hoi groaned aloud. ? ?

r ' Who else is there ?' Beausire beckoned to the Frenchman and Lola, and they came at his sign, the French hopping along on one leg. ' Wo are all the survivors,' said Beausire. Catching sight of the Spanish girl, tho captain said : ' Yon two gentlemen must look aftor her now. I have sailed my last voyage. Name's Martinez. Brother a waiter in Scott's Hotel, in Melbourne. Don't forget. Lola Martinez is her name. Scott's Hotel — waiter. Adios, souorita.' . . 'He is dying !' cried the girl, startled out of her apathy. ' Farewell; Sir Captain!' ? The Captain closed his eyes again. ' ' He is dead !' said Lola, as she knelt down beside him. £ Beausire raised her and put his finger on his lip, as the Captain opened his eyes and began to speak again. ' Ia it the Apostles ?' 'Wo don't know,' said Ivor. ? ' Again the Captain closed his eyes and be came unconscious once more. The survivors stood in a sort of circle round him and watched him. The minutes wore away, and it seemed as though he had spoken his last. , , The sailor, ever with aa eye to the weather, had turned round to tho quarter from ^which the wind was blowing, and he said to Ivor in a sepulchral voice : ' The fog's lifting, sir. It will be clear directly.' . . v 7? Ivor glanced nip, and saw a huge, formless mass looming np out of the mist. It gradu ally assumed shape as the mist slowly cleared away. What he saw was a baVreri hill, which looked very high, owing to tho want of- con trast. By degrees the outlino of it became quite plain, and he saw that thousands of birds were flying about its sides. ' From what he knew this could not be one of the Twelve Apostles. He was about to call Beausire's attention to the'birds, when the Captain's voice changed intention. ' It seems clear,' he said in a faint voice. Ivor and Beausire knelt on either side of him. ' Could you raise me up a little ?' said the captain. 'Do you think you can bear it ?' . ' Bear it or not' don't matter. This is my last trip. Lift me up to have a look.' They motioned the three others away, and then raised him very carefully, -so that his eyes might light upon the hill, in front of them. ?? v He scanned tho scene carefully, and a faint smile broke oxer his face as he said in a firmer voice : ' By Heaven ! its Hog ! You're all right !' After this effort he sank back in their arms unconscious, and never spoke again. / In half an hour he was dead. During that timo 110 one had spoken, and when he had ceased to- breathe, Ivor and Beausire rose simultaneously from- beside him and walked away. ' What's to be done, Ivor ?' ' We must bury these poor fellows as soon as we can. It won't do for them to be lying abont longer. than is necessary.' 'But how?' . p ' We must- bury them down on tho sand there. I daresay we shall find something from the wreck to dip^ graves with.'.- _ , ' The whole of the other, sido of this-' ledge- is strewn with wreckage of all descriptions.'1 'Very well; we had bottor'send tlie sailor to find something for it.' ' ' What are we to do1 for shelter ? We . are all wet through, and unfortunately have no change of clothe3 with us,' said Bcausiro, with a feeble effort at a joke. \ ' Let them dry on us ; we shan't got anv harm. Come on ; lot us see about bnry'incr these poor fellows.' ' ° Some four hours lator four licaps-of sand, marked the : spot where the captain, and- the three sailors lay in their last home. ' What does tho captain mean by Hog?' said Beausire to Ivor, whon tho work was done. , - 'This is Hog Island. ,, There' is another island not very far off called . Inaccessible. They are the bleakest and dampest islands in the whole Southern Sea.' ' A nice lookout for us.' ' We shall bo all right. Didn't you hear bho Captain say so-? There is, or at any rate was a cache hero filled: with provisions to meet emergencies of tliia kind.' - ? ' 'What!' shouted Beausire. ' 'You are light in tho head, Ivor.' ' 'No; Iam not. There 'has been a cache acre — which is regularly supplied — ever since I jome poor, devils wero wrecked here somo i [rears ago.' ? _ i 'Then for Heaven's sake let's go and find I it, for 1 am starving, and thought that for some years at least I should -have to subsist 1 raw penguin.' ? ? ' ,, Ivor laughed, and scanning tho-beach for a ;imo, said: ' . 'It must bo somewhere uptherej' pointing jO ward. the northern part of tho island. ' Gomo on, then,' said' Beausiro, who was aot yet fully convinced that Ivor was not romancing. , j ^ When, howover, a quarter of an .hour later ie and Ivor camo upon tho, cache, placed on a wido ledge oE rock and sheltered from the wind, ho sat down beside it, and his voico was ausky, as ho said : ' This beats oVorything.' 1 i ? ( Ever sinco thoy had* been cast on- shore, Boausiro's thoughts had turned on this one ooint: 'What woro thoy to subsist upon ?' [t was obvious that the vessel had been blown Ear out of her course, and they wero probably on an island whore food was unprocurable. Visions of half a dozen wasted and starving human beings had; risen in his mind, and against his will, storios of cannibalism, in duced by starvation had como back to him. With this thought in his mind he had main tained a dieerful disposition, and had care fully avoid the subject of food. It was only when the painful scenes through which tliey had lately passed had drawn to a close, whon tho four mounds of saud reminded him in the inevitable ond of life, that tho hprror of the situation had forced itself upon him! Now that the strain had been suddonly re moved, his emotion had got tho bettor of liim. ' ?- / -. _Hoput; his bead botweon ? his hands, an# did not speak for somo minutes Finally looked up at Ivor, he said : ' ' ' It is morely a question of ' waiting, then ?' 'I Ivor nodded. How long, do you suppose?' ? ' I don't know. I should hardly' think' that they would allow more than a couple of years to elapse before coming to see that overvthiner was right.' / ' Who looks after it ?'

' I believe it is a joint transaction between England and France.' Thoy opened the cache and found, as Ivor had expected, supplies sufficient to last their small band for years. Tinned meat and bis cuits, rum and brandy in quantity. Beausire's natural gaiety soon drove away the thoughts which had troubled him prior to the knowledgo that thoy' would not starve. ? ? (To be continued.)