Chapter 127949982

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Chapter NumberXX
Chapter TitleTHE BUSHRANGER'S RETREAT.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article127949982
Full Date1883-10-18
Page Number1
Corrections0
Word Count5288
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Shoalhaven Telegraph (NSW : 1879 - 1937)
Trove TitleEttie's Error. An Australian Story
article text

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' ET TIE'S ERROR; AN AUSTRALIAN STORY.

. . ? ? 4 ? ? By HAROLD W. H. STEPHEN.

(CONTINUED.) CHAPTER XX. .- . ' ? l TIIE BDBniUNGEKS' BETIIEAT.

I despair of being. ablo to convey to tlio ? ; reader any adequato conception of thofeoling3 of Miss Tilly Davidson, as sho lay, bound and gagged, at tho bottom of tho eart in which -? sho was earriod oft by the bushrangors. _ .-Most, young ladies, on finding themselves in such a position, would givo way to despair and hysterics; but Tilly was not a bit like most young ladies. . She was courageon3 and .high-spirited, and her training hail accus : tomed her to contemplate even Buch a gross outrage as by no means unlikely to liappon

to a girl in Australia. ? , Hor.first thought was rago at hor helpless ness, and a fierce desiro for rovongo on hor persecutors. Sho remembered, with joy, that she still possessed, her. pockot-revolvor ; and _ as , she reflected that tho time must come when sho would bo freed from hor bonds, sho determined to watch for a suitable opportu nity, and then, without more ado, shoot down her enemies, ono aftor the other. She had porfeot confidence in her own ability to dis pose of all ifour, boforo eitlior of them could lay hand uponCher, or upon her weapon ; for sho know hor unrivalled skill, and part of hor practice had been to accustom hersolf to ? rapid firing at objects removed somo distanco from one, another. But, tho important con ' ? sidoration arose, would she bo able to avail ? herself o£ that skill after a rough journoy in a spring-cart ? — She would surely bo cramped and bruised, more or loss, and, undor such oircumstancos,' daro sho risk so audacious a jplan as a oombat with four armed and des perate men ? — No ;. sho would wait until hor ? musoles had recovered their normal elasticity, and thon — why, it.would not bo well with tho ?bushrangers; unless, perchanco, they met ????with a re-inforcement. - . But, of this last contingonoy, thore wa3 small probability. Bushrangers rarely worked . ? in . gangs of over four in number, and tho -.- worst that sho had to dread would bo the pre ;,i seneo of somo superannuated convict liut , . keeper, at the den to whioh, sho had no doubt,

. ??? ?? tlioy wore convoying hor. '.. Those . reflections coursed - rapidly through t .tlio mind of the young girl, and wore suo ? ? ccedod by .such sensations of intolerable dis ? - ? comfort and physical pain, that all connected thought soon became simply impossible. (She . was scarcely able to breathe under tho heavy ? . * weight of the rug and sacking which had beon thrown over hor ; the woodon gag hurt r-r. . ' hor mouth, and the ropes were cutting into tlio flesh 01 her wrists. Thon tho cart was ,,, i, boing driven rapidly over a rough road, and the jolting .. was awful. Tilly feared hor. ;Y V ... senses . would soon forsake her; and then, what might not happen whilst sho lay uncon scious ? ? ; At last a halt was mado, and tho coverings wore takon off hor by tho driver, who also ? ; . proceeded- to remove-the gag, telling her that -she. : might yell as much as sho pleased, as they woro now socuro from the possibility ot i being ovorlioard by any human being.- i ? 'a. Will you not untio my hands, and allow ?./! ? ino to sit up? ' sho asked, in a faint, humble, ? - voice— it was. her ouo to appear to bo com ...' j ...-? plotely brokon-spiritod, both in ordor to throw , tho bushrangers off their guard, and 'to gain - timo to rooovor tho use of hor limb3. '1 am 't ; terribly-bruised,' she added, ' and tlio rouo is i :iv.. ;outting.my wrists.' ? i . .'.'Shall I? 'asked tho drivor, turning to tho i . . . leader of tho gang. . . . Si ¥os»' U»o reply. 'Sho oould'nt got ...' ' ?. away if sho .tiicd, and wo can rido oloso to tho - -i- cart.' .- , . ...j AVhou ,. tho rope was.romoved, Tilly ossayod .to sit up, but foil back on the saoking — hor .???.-HS.''!ftv-mnaclo« woro too cramped for action. Thon tho.drivor.'not unkindly, raisodlier into a sifc :r ?« . ttog. position,. and ? propped her up with hor i ??.?--:..-.-',».vown-portmantoan, . and. tho rug with whioh - sho had boon covered. .' 'Take a sup of this,' lia added, offering : hor a flask. ' You'll be all right dircotly.' Tho girl took tho proffered flask, with a ;.'.£iint- murmur of thanks, ? and raised it «? v' i- - ineohanioally to hor lips. It was filled with ? undiluted brandy, and the fiery spirit burnt . -her mouth and throat. Still tho draught did y.1'.:'. her good, and Bho 'was 'soon able to look r ; -around hor as tho cart onco moro wont on. vi- ( It was night, and Tilly could soo that thoy /.v ..- ;. .»-t wero in the midst of a forest, and apparently -. ^ ? travelling on no track, for ono of tho mon . . %? ...walked slowly in front, with a lantern, to : ? point tlio way to the driver. i After what soemed a long interval of time, , 7 , . tlio .faint Qlimmoring of a light was seen in ?i the distance, and, a fow minutes later, thoy stopped boforo' a largo hut, tho interior, of .-.whioh was lit up by a huge firo; and- a '' slush lamp,' suspended from tho rafters. ? .' A woman caino out to meet thorn, 'and - v.i . asked, in a snarling voice .v ; , C . ' Havo you got her? ' Ay, ay— -all right,' responded'. tho leador, ... ' of the gang. ' Bear a hand with a stool— I ? guess sho's too stiff to get out without it.' - - Tho woman brought tho stool, and tho

tail-board of tho cart having boen lot down, Tilly managed to slip'to tho ground, assisted by tho captain, who was now quito 'reBpoctttil in manner, and appoarod really solicitous tor hor woll-being. .'Ho lad hor into tho hut, and gavo her in' chargo to tho woman. ' Tako hor into hor bodroom, mother,' ho said, ' and lot hor lio down. 'Thon you can tctch her in a cup o' toa', and a nlico of broad and but tor. We'll just soo aftor tho horses anil thon oomo iu to supper.' Now, -for tlio first ^timo, Tilly perceived that tho woman too was masked — that is to say slip woro a hugo poko bonnet, from .which .a thick black voil depended, so as to thoroughly concoal her features. - Sho spoko in querulous tones, and scorned to.grudgo ovou tho Blight sorvico that was required of her. ? Tilly followed hor into an adjoining apart mom, tho solo furnituro of whioh was a strotoher, covorod with dirty blankets, and a rough log table, the logs of whioh wero snnk in tho ground^ whioh formed tho only flooring. Thoro was no coiling, and a suffi ciency of light camo ovor tho partition, whioh dividod tho room from tho kitohen. ' Sit down and I'll fetch yor portmantle,' said tho woman, pointing to tho bed, for other seat thoro was nono. ' I don't expect you thought you'd find a palaco out horo in tlio bush, and, anyways, it don't matter much if yor did. Beggars oan't bo choosers, you know,' sho added, with a coarso laugh. Tilly oank mechanically upon tho bed, for, in truth, sho was scares able to stand, and was far too weak to bo fastidious or critical. Even already, however, sho had begun to think of hor plan for achieving hor freedom, and sho at onco determined that sho would wait until tho morning — always provided that sho woro loft in poaco during the night. And ot this she had good hope; for tho prosonco ot a moinber ot hor own sox, combined with tho civility of tho leader of tho gang, had renowed hor boliof in thoir intention merely to detain her for tho purposo ot extorting a ransom. Still sho know tint such men wero not to bo trusted, and that, if any drunken orgio took place, it would go hard with hor, it sho wore not prepared to dofend herself. Sho then folt in hor pocket, and found that her revolver was safe, and she was satisfied, for she had hersolf oloanod and loaded it that mornine.

Presently tho woman returned with tho ' portmantlo,' whioh Bho sot on tho ground by tho bed, and advised tho young lady to 'hurry up,' as tho men wero coming in to supper. ' 'I shall not require your services, thank you,'- Baid Tilly. ' Which yon wouldn't bo likely to got 'em, if yon did. Now I'm jest a-goin' to lock this door, young woman, 'oos tho men doosn't want to bo reckonised while they're at thoir meals. Soon's the tea's made, I'll fetch you in a oup, and a bit of bread' and butter. Ther's chops, it you'd like 'em.' ' Tho broad and butter will bo sufficient,' replied Tilly, who would have declined eating anything had she not been so desirous to gain strength for her projeoted attempt at escape. ? . - Tho men wore very quiet over their meal, and their conversation was so restricted that their prisoner could gain nothing from it as to thoir intentions respecting herself; she gath ered enough, however, to lead her. to the belief that they had been acting under instructions from somo other person, whom Blie had not yet soon. When thoy had finished, the woman oamo in again (she had previously brought in tho promised tea), and said that ovory body was going to bed, and- that Tilly had bettor do the same. Then she retired, without -waiting for a roply, and carefully looked , tho door behind hor. -Tho invitation to go to bod, in such a bed, would be eminently distasteful to. any young lady ; but our Tilly was determined not to bo squeamish, but jto lose no means for recruit ing her strength ; she, therefore, lay down, without undressing, and soon all was silence in tho hut. CHAPTER XXI. A FBIKND IN NEED. . . . The' night passed in tranquility, and Tilly awoke, completely refroslied, ? at early dawn. No ono was, as yet, astir ; so she sprang lightly from lior unsavoury couch, and began that examination of her priaon whioh fatigue and somi-darkuoss had prevented' her from undertaking on tlio previous evening.' Sho found that the walls of tho hut wero of well seasoned sawn Blabs, tlio joints of whioh had beon covered by strips of tin. 'The door of hor room was securely fastonod ; but she- was ablo to open tho shutter of a vory small win dow; too small, sho saw at once, to admit of hor exit through it. ? Tho viow from this window was restricted, as a skillion abutted on ono sido ; and, closo to tho other, there began a strong high paling fence, whioh onolosed a small yard. Beyond tho ' fence nothing was to bo seen but dense scrub, rising high up the mountain at tho back of j tho hut. ? . . Tho prospect was not oncoaraging, and tho girl began to think that her task would not be as easy as sho had supposed. If sho were kept a close prisoner, in that room, how would she bo able to uso hor revolver, with any chanco of ultimato success ? She might shoot down ono man, or evon two, but she would surely bo ovorpowored eventually ; aud tho bara contemplation of the revenge the othor bandits might tako mado the girl shudder. ; No; sho woiild have to trust to. accident to furnish lior with tho desired opportunity ; and, meanwhile, she would lull their sus picions by an aileotation of bodily weakness and mental prostration, which must infallibly render thom loss oareful-for her security. In pursuance of this plan, Bho olosed tho window-shutter, and, as soon as sho hoard the woman stirring, lay down again upon the stretcher. . - - _ ? After an interval, whioh seemed to Tilly intolorablylong, tho door was opened, and the woman entorod, disguised as before in the poke-bonnet, and thiok crape veil. . 'Not lip yet?!' she growlod, as slio flung open tho window-shuttor. , 'Breakfast will be ready in five minutes. Maybe you'd like a wash ?' 'I should, thank you, '''. said Tilly, in a faint voice; 'but I fool vory weak and un well. That was a torriblo journey last night.' Tho woman chuckled. ? ? 'You made it nasty for yorsolf, my lady, anil must not complain. If you'd como along quiet, thoy wouldn't even havo tied yor hands. I'll fetch yor a' dish of water, and then you can havo some breakfast. There's ohops— I s'poso you oan eat a ohop this mornin' ? ' . S.'.Tdly had tho fine healthy appetite of a country-bred girl, and sho would gladly havo eaten, not one ohop, but perhaps evon two or three ; still such a procedure would not havo beon in accordanco with the part she had set hersolf to play' ; so she civilly declined, saying that a cup of tea would be as much as she could manage. ' ' Stuff an1 nonsense 1 ' replied the woman, angrily. ' We ain't a-goin' to have . you fall siok on our hands, I can tell yer. I Bhall fetoh you in a ohop, and, mind mo I, you've got to oat it; elso I'll tell them as 'ull find moans to make yor 1 ' How joyfully the young lady hoard this por tentous announcement may easily be imagined. As in duty bound, she made somo faint show

of resistance ; but, whon tho chop did oomo, I sho eat it very eagerly, and inwavdly sighed 1 for moro. -. - ? ; Tho day . passed without incident. Tilly was not Buffered to cross tlio threshold of her' room, and again failed to over-hoar anything of importance. Tho woman (who announced herself ' as ' Mm Smith') paid hor sovoral viBits, but -her conversation was also abso lutely non-committal, and, indeed, for tho most; part, consisted of bcmoaniDgs of tho hard fate of women in this world; and tho especially cruel luck whioh had befallen hcr self. - ; . . . V ? ? - Tilly ocoupiod herself with somo fancy work, the materials for which wore in hor portmantoau, and puzzled nioro and moro ovor tlio problem of hor fate. , '? Towards nightfall, there was a break in tho monotony of tlio proceedings, for tlio voice of a young girl was audiblo, and presently Mrs.' Smith (as wo will call hor for -tho future) entered tho room. 'Now,' sho bogan, 'young woman, my husband, whioh in my boliof lie's a fool for his pains, thinkin' you'd bo miserable lonely horo, lias brought over a yong gal to stay with you.' 'I am vory much obligod,' saidjTilly ; '' it is lonely hero.' '.'.But that young gal don't sot foot over the threshold of this hero room onloss you takes your Bible .oath you'll novor botray lior, or let on as you knows hor, if so bo as you. over sees her agin.' ' I will do that willingly.' 'An' what's moro, you've got to tako your oath you'll never repeat a word sho' says to you, if so bo sho's fool enough to lot on any thin' as sho should'nt.' ' You have my word, nay, as you require it, I solemnly swear to observe your con ditions.' ' Stella, oomo horo,' cricd Mrs. Smith, and then, as tho girl entered, sho continued : ' You've heard what tho young woman have sworn — which not havin' no bible handy, tho samo not boin' of no uso in theso diggins', wo oan't swear hor reg'lar; or. kiss the'booksho should, samo as if sho woro in tho witness box. You tako my tip though, my gal,', (still to Stella), ' if I catches you a-talkin' of things as should'nt be talked of, .I'll warm your hide so'b you'll novor forget it, long's you live I ' - With this majestic warning, Mrs. Smith stalked out of the room, and slammed . the door, leaving tho two girls alone. ? Tilly saw a lovely dirty maiden, who stood Bhyly at tho entranco, not daring to approach nearer to tlio first real lady sho had ever seen in hor lifo. . 'Como and sit liore by me,' said Tilly. ' There aro no chairs in tlio room, ,so, you see, wo must both sit on tho bod.' J Tho girl approached timidly, and placed hersolf at the extreme end of the stretcher, leaving a wido gap between hor and her com panion. 'Your name is Stella?' continued Tilly. 'It is a pretty name — and you, you areas pretty as your name. ' ? 'Do you think so, miss? Do you think you will like to havo me here? ' ? ' Why, of course I shall I 'I have been most terribly lonely and miserable, and would have welcomed a far less attractive com panion than you.' ' ' What is 'attractive,' miss?,' asked Stella gaining confidence. ' Attractive means loveable — nice — some- thing that you take to at once.' ' Oh, miss 1 And liavo you taken to me in that way?' . ' Yes, my dear, I am suro I shall. lilce you very much indeod. But toll me, why- is it that you, who aro so very pretty, take so little pains to make yourself look nice? ' ' I did not know I was pretty, miss,' was tho naivo reply. ' And besides, what does it matter ? There ain't nobody to care how tho likes o' me looks.' ' A young girl should not dress for others,' replied this very wise young lady ; sh'o should try to look nice for her -. own sake. See, my my dear— if you like, wo will amuse ourselves by trying to mako you look more like what you ought to look. Suppose you begin by taking off that very dirty gown, aud giving your face and arms a thorough wash, whilst I look over my things, and see if I oan't find, something to fit you. Then wo will brush yiftr hair, and I will show you how to do it up proporly.' Now, it must not bo imagined that Tilly was not in oarno3t in making this offer. It is true that, from tho first moment she heard iliat she was to havo a companion, sho deter mined to win that companion's good- will, if it were possiblo. But Stella was so glorioasly beautiful, and withal so shy and unoonsoious, that Tilly; totally forgot her intentions, and only carried them into effect from sheer at traction to the object. The girls had a good time. First there was a lavish expenditure of soap and water, followed by a tremendous liair-brushing. Then Tilly arranged Stella's liair in several different ways boforo she finally , decided, which would suit tho girl best. That done, tho robing process began, and Stella was: rigged out afresh, from Tilly's simple store of ?clothing. Unfortunately tho effect was some what marred- by the impossibility of, finding shoes to fit- the hitherto untramolled feet of tho bush-maiden; but, when sho finally ap peared in a fair white frock, whioh needed hardly auy alteration to fit hor figure, a dainty collarette, and a rich crimson ribbon, nono but tho. basest of misogynists would have scorned her for her laok of shoon. 'Now,' said Tilly, 'you lofik something, like. What do you think of yourself now? ' Here sho hold before Stella's . oyes a largo hand;glass, whioh formed part of her tpilet paraphernalia. ? . . ? The girl gasped with astonishment/and do- : light.' ' Is that mo? Is that realb-ipo?' she whisporod in awe-struck tones., #/?.- , . 'It is, indeod, my dear ; . anu you might look like that ovory day if , you ohoai, after your work was done.' ? ' ' 'Hero, you, Stella I ' cried Mrs. Smith at this juncture. ' Oomo along horo and lend a hand with the supper.' , 'Oh, what shall I do? What shall I do ?' cried tho girl, wringing her hands. ' Mother'll boat mo if I don't go at once; and how oan I. go in these beautiful things ? ' .\ . 'Nonsense!'- said Tilly, pushing her to wards tho door. ltun away at onco. Your mother will only bo pleased to soo you look ing so nice. As for tho things, if. you' are oaroful, you need not dirty thom ; and besides, thoy aro your own, and tlioy will wash, if thoy do get soiled.' 'Eli? Hallo I Good gracious ! Who's this ? '—Theso and sundry othor ojaoulations ; of surprise greoto'd;Stolia'B_ entranco' into the kitohen; whoro -she. foaiid, not only - lior mother, but her father, and the other. mem- bers of tho band. . ' What mummory , is this ?' asked Mrs. Smith,' savagely. . 'Tho young lady gavo me these things,' said Stella, timidly. ;. *' I ' Strip 'om off I Strip every rag o' that | - finery from your back dirootly minute I ' oriod . rhsr mother. 'Fallals and' ipqlishriess 1' What next, I wonder? . You'll be a-wantin' to go to a ball next, or maybe to ohuroh I ' ' ? But the father, interfered. [ 'Lot. the gal be, missus,' lio said, gruflly. : ! ' She looks reol nice in them store olothes, though I ses it as shouldn't.- Como ovor horo, my gal, an' givo yor olo dad a kiss. My 1. but you du look oliippor 1 11 Mrs. Smith (or, rather, Mrs. -Chamberlain, as the perapiouous reader - has . . long since divined)- evidently stood in -great awo of . lior

husband, so she oontontod herself by sundry growlings and muttorings whilst sho prepared tho supper — unaided, for. Black Chamberlain would not suffor his daughter to soil hor 'storo olotlios ' by any handling of pots and pans. '' , ' Tilly and Stolla onjoyed their tea together immensely ; for tho young lady had, by this timo, quito forgotten tlio dosirability of keep ing up tlio decoption as to' loss of appetite, &o.; and, if the truth must bo 'said j sho oven onit more than hor fair share of tho food pro vided them; for Stolla was far too proooou pied and happy to do justice to tlio ' squarost meal thiit ever graced a table. ' ? Tho girl had learned ; two' things'; — Tho beauty of cleanliness, and tlio charm 'of self respect. . For tho first time sho thought hor solf of fi'omo worth in the world — not merely, tho Cinderella, grovolling in dirt and ashes, useful only as n drudge, to bo kicked and buffottod at discretion by anyono who would take tho trouble— but a woman, who, if opportunity were afforded lior, might gain rospect, admiration, and ovon love from lior fellow-kind. ? ?-.. V In tho full flood-tido of tho joy which wolled-iip in hor heart, she sato, as if spoil bound, scarce heeding what her benefactress said, and replying by such vaguo and outri answors, that Tilly was often fain to 'smile, and would have laughed outright, had sho not known exactly ' what was tho mattor.' By and byo, the men trooped off, to smoke and yarn outsido, . and Mrs. Chamberlain be: gan a vigorous ' wash-up,' Stella boing held exompl.from duty that evening, in consider ation of hov gorgeous raiment. - Then, in whispers, Tilly told hor story, and strove to enlist hor hearer's sympathy. That Stella gave freely, bnt she ' deolared that it would bo utterly and ontiroly im possible for' hor to aid in any scheme of es cape. 'Father would kill mo, if you1 got away through me,' sho said. 'Ho's not bad or unkind, isn't fathor ; but when he's i roused, ho's torriblo. Oh,({ I dursn't help you I I dursn't do it. And, ovon if I did, I wouldn't know how. Yon can't got out of this room, to begin with; and, if you was out, what could you do ?' . ' Of course Tilly oould not toll her new-found friend of the nice little plan for a general massaore, which ;; sho had previously enter tained. Stella would hardly be -likely to assist in. a schemo whioh involved the slaughter of at least one of her parents. And, indeed, the young' lady now felt by no means sure that sho would be ablo to mako up her mind to 'deal out such wholesale destruction as she had contemplated. Stella had strangely attracted her, and sho folt that she could not bring herself to cause terrible grief to her new friend. ' See now, Stolla,'. sho said, after a pau3o ; ' supposing I wore to promiso you that no harm shall happen to any of your people, if I oseapc through your, agency ? ' 'But how could you help it? Tho p'leooe wouldn't never lose the chaneo of copping- a gang of bushrangers, as they calls 'em.' It was now Tilly's turn to ask 'for an ex planation. The young lady was tolerably well posted in colonial slang, but 'copping' was still absent from her vocabulary. ' Copping means nabbin' of 'em,- Miss,' replied Stella. ' 'You see, there's always great talk about bushrangers, arid the p'leeco, they don't often git a reel good show to kotch any. I don't see how you oould stop 'em from it, nohow.' 'But I will, Stella — I assure you I will. You donfc know iiowiiriportant it is that I should , get away from here soon. * My cousin's trial will oomo on in a few days, almost, and, if I am not there to prove his innocence, he may be sentenced to death.' ' Your cousin ? You never told me of that. What's ho up for ? ' ' Murder. But 'I know he is innocent, and I can prove it.' 'It's very hard,' muttered Stella, lialf to herself. .' Here's tho cousin of .the only lady as ovor treated me kindly got to como to grief, unless I gives up my own father and mother i It's cruel, cruel, hard I ' ; ' ? 'I tell you again, I am sure I can manage bo. that they will not be prosecuted. Just think of tho many friends my cousin has got; I Why John Davidson Squires ' — ? ' Who did you Bay ?' oriod Stella, with a sort of smothered shriek, as she clutched; tho young lady's arm. ' Who did you say ?' '; ' John Davidson Squires,' repeated Tilly, wonderingly. '( And is ho the cousin as is up for murdor ? ' 'Of courso ho is I Didn't I toll you that, if I do' not got away in time to givo ray ovi donce, lie will most likely, be convicted ?' . : Stella, with a low moan, of anguish, ' sunk down to the floor, and buried her face in the coverlet of the bed. ' What is the matter, child?' cried -Tilly, anxiously. ' Are you ill ? ' » r 'Him— to suffor I ' sobbed Stolla. ' And me only able to prevent it by givin' up my own flesh and blood 1 Oh, oh 1 What shall' Idol' ' 5' Stella I' cried Tilly, still failing to com prehend the position. -. 'Got up, and bo sensible. What is tho matter with you ?' .!| Ho saved my lifo,' said tho rgirl, in a smothered tone. ' Saved it when I was nigh drownded, and his own life was risked in, doing it.' -? ? ' ? ' Who saved your life ? My c'ousiii ? ' 'Yes— John Davidson Squires.' /.nd now I must soo him hang, or send my owh to gaol,; perhaps for lifo 1 Oh, oh; it is cruel hard I ' . Tilly saw that tho game was won. Very, distinctly sho. again affirmed that Stella's parents should not bo prosboutod ; and very emphatically she assorted that her cousin's, lifo depended upon hor escape. 'Tell mo all about it,' said Stella, when sho had somewhat recovered hor equani mity. ... . Thus adjured, Tilly recounted tho wholo story, as it was known to lior, winding up by tlio assertion of her.' -conviction that James Squires was at tho bottom of tho wholo affair.: ? ' I seo it alll ' cried Stolla, when sho had: finished. ' What do you see ? ' ' I seo you aro right, It was James Squires, that did it — and, what's inoro, it was him as oausod you to be carried oft, so'b to stop you from appearing agin him I ' „ ... ? ' How do you know that ? ' ' Camo to our placo, ho did, thoscoundrol 1 Got hold of father, and talked him.ovor. Oh, it's as plain as tho nose on your face 1 ' ; ,, . ' Then, if that is tho. caso, -.you -must :Boo: how vory important it . is that I should os eapo?' ' That's certain sure — and, father or no fathor, I'm bound to help you.. I'm not goin' to seo tho man hanged as saved- my ;lifo,' not if I know it.' : ' Oil, thank you, dear I ' . oriod -Tilly, kissing hor. ' - ' . ? 'But How's it to bo dono ? I tell you agin, thoro ain't no show for you to git away from here, nohow.' 'Then the only. other way,.is;to bring somo people.liero to'set mo free.','/1 . ; ' . You mean j sot tho traps on!tho plaoo ?' 'I' supposo tlio. polico 'must bo 'brought horo,' replied ;Tilly, roluotantly. ? 'Well, if it's got to bo dono, I'll doitl But, I lolls you what, Miss— this meanB death to mo. Fathor'll kill mo; ovon At ho isn't prosecuted^ and, if ho did'nt;, chore's others as would.' - w' / i;. ':Yoii shall go away, with me, my dear. I will. tako caro of you in future ; and, by and bye, your fathor will have forgotten all about it; and will be glad to make friends with you again.'

This prospect evidently appoarod to bo more cheering, for Stella began, without moro ado, .to discuss ways and means. Tho result of thoir confabulation was that-, whon. ovorybody had retired, Stella crept carefully out of tho houso, and mado hor way, as well as sho could, down tho track whioh led to tho main road. How slio rnot tho troopers, has been told in a previous chapter. . _ Toll! Continued.