|Chapter Title||A RE-UNION IN LONDON.|
|Newspaper Title||The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933)|
|Trove Title||The Hermit Convict|
THE HERMIT CONVICT.
By the Rev. William Draper.
A RE-UNION IN LONDON.
Mr. and Mrs. Mogara had left the Stewart family, and lived a sociable, easy kind of life; they were happy and were making money, hav- ing opened a superior kind of boarding-house for Indian and Australian gentlemen. With his advancement in external matters, Mr. Mo- gara assumed the habits and character of the landlord with great credit to himself. He dressed well, was scrupulously attentive to his personal appearance, and had laid in a stock of many important and profitable additions to his educational abilities. He could read and write well, he studied the politics of the day, was most assiduous in planning things to please and in-
terest his customers. In a word he was a thorough landlord.
Mr. Billy was superb when relating his foreign experience. He would keep an audience wrapt in astonishment over some of his exploits. He was narrating the circumstances attending the death of Mogara one day to a group of Sydney gentlemen, who had been discussing the proba- ble origin of their landlord's name. None of them could solve the problem, so he was called in to take a glass, the orthodox way of bringing a landlord out, but he would only sip the wine: "He was quite sure gentlemen would pardon him; he was obliged to be careful of himself, lest his customers should want anyting."
"Quite right, landlord," said one, "but you will not object to give us a yarn."
"No, no, gentlemen, tat is anoder ting. What were you talking about, if I may be so
bold as to ask?"
"It was about your name, Mr. Mogara; we could not explain what it meant, although most of us are tolerably well up in Australian lingo."
"It means tunder, gentlemen, my name means
"Thunder! What tribe does that come from?"
"Mogara tribe, gentlemen, the tunder wo-
Of course the mystery was only increased by this explanation, so Mr. Billy had to go through his graphic narration of poor Isabel's life and tragical end. He was describing the corroboree when the door opened, and, introduced by Mrs. Mogara, there entered, to the intense astonish- ment of her husband, Mr. Sinclair and his two friends. "Talk of de devil, gentlemen, and lo! he do appear. Mr. Sinclair, Mr. Brown, and Mr. Brown, junior, I do not call you de devil, of course not, but de great proverb come in my mind as I see you. Excuse me, gentlemen, tese gentlemen tey come from the very place, and tis gentleman he shoot te very black who kill Missee Isabel, tat is, te tunder woman."
Australians are soon introduced to one and other. Colonialism—a coined word, but not to be despised, for it will be a dictionary word ere long—colonialism is instantly recognised, and the character is perceived as readily. There was a general fraternising therefore, and many a joke rang merrily round the table. Of course many compliments were also exchanged, and the new comers, announcing their intention to remain at Mr. Mogara's establishment for two or three weeks, soon after left to call on Mr. Stewart.
Mr. and Mrs. Stewart were at lunch, they called it dinner, but it was the fashion to style the meal a lunch, and so they nominally agreed to have no dinner except upon special occasions, when courtesy to their guests obligated the ne- cessity of making themselves uncomfortable in order to appear fashionable. These occasions were few and far between. The family was of the quiet sort, respectable, very so, but sensible to a high degree, that is, they lived naturally, not artificially.
Rat-a-tat, tat, and a ring. "Visitors, Julia, that is a certainty."
In a few moments the servant entered the room to announce that a Mr. Sinclair and two gentlemen with him were in the library, and de- sired to speak with Mr. Stewart.
"What shall we do, Julia, shall we ask them up here?"
"If you please, James; perhaps it will be best."
"We are at it you see, Mr. Sinclair," said Mr. Stewart, as that gentleman entered the din- ing-room; "how are you all? It seems an age since we saw you, in fact I never expected to see you again."
"Did you not? Well, before I do anything else, allow me, like an old good-for-nothing sin- ner as I am, to place in your hands, my dear madam, a thousand pounds. There, Stewart, now my conscience is clear, I can't say it has been so easy for the last five years and more."
Mrs. Stewart took the packet, which was an envelope sealed and directed to her, and replied, "A thousand pounds, Mr. Sinclair, what does it
"Why, madam, I sold your late father's right to the station, you know where, and it fetched over and above the mortgage, about nine hun- dred pounds. I was mean enough and wicked enough to be tempted to keep it, but God showed me my error. You know my good wife has gone from me, I suppose? She gave me no peace while she lived about this money."
"Yes," replied Mr. Stewart, "I heard of your loss, and we sincerely sympathise with you."
"But where is Mary, Mr. Sinclair?"
"At Southampton, madam; she is weakly still, and I thought it best to allow her to have all the rest she could get. I am about to travel
for a few months."
"Why not leave her with me?"
"I would most gladly, Mrs. Stewart, but I was ashamed of my name being allied to your's. There, let that drop, I am an old rascal for fall- ing away as I did. God helping me, it is over now. My word, the past is a caution."
"But you will let her come and stay a few weeks with us?" said Mrs. Stewart.
"Certainly, madam, I shall be very glad. Now, Mr. Stewart, just give me a little scrap of paper with a few up and down strokes to say you have received that little envelope full of paper, and let us cut off all the past and forget
it. You consent?"
"Certainly, Mr. Sinclair."
"Bravo! Now, Brown, I have cut the painter, we'll steer on plain, quiet water in future; go ahead, old fellow, and have your say."
"My say? You have forgotten how near you were losing that little bit of money the other day."
"So I did, Brown. Tell the tale, there's a good
fellow. You can do it to a tittle."
"What was it, friend Brown?"
"Now, that's what I call sociable, Muster Stewart. I likes that there expression better nor all the squires and dukes and them other big words that you hear in England. Yes, far
better. If a man called me a duke I shouldn't know how to answer him. Call me simple Sam Brown and I am at home without any farther
"Australian, friend Brown—Australian still,
"Yes, Muster Stewart, and always means to be. But, howsomdever, about this little curious piece of business. We was at Odiham, or some such place. Well, Muster Stewart, as we was sittin' comfortable at the inn, reckonin' up some figures, there comes in a cove who called hisself
"Called himself James Stewart?"
"Yes; and said he had comed up from Southampton with a Australian chap. 'James Stewart,' thinks I, 'that's a rum go; your name isn't James Stewart,' and then he cut his lucky after having been taught a thing or two by our
friend there. He did lecture him. 'Twas a
caution, or I'm a blessed nigger, that's all. But the best of it is to come. I had some money on the table, and I saw that he was eyeing it. I had my weather eye open. How I should have liked to have taught him a little bit of colonial experience. Salt beef and damper would not suit him, I think."
"Hardly, from what I saw of him."
"From what you saw of him? Lor' bless my soul, how I forget things now. You made his acquaintance in the train, didn't you? To be sure ye did. But now, to make an end of my yarn, I laid a trap for that fellow, and if he hasn't fallen into it, my name isn't Sinclair."
"What was the snare? I warrant it was something cleverly done."
"A compliment, I know," replied Mr. Sin- clair. "Make it short we say sometimes, and I will draw it easy. Between Brown and I we managed to make a great show of packing up those notes and putting them in my writing case, which we then very fussily stored away in the portmanteau, locking it up and strapping it round as if it was a banker's parcel. Lor' bless you, Stewart, that case only contained twenty notes—all the rest was in Brown's pocket. Well, that chap stole the money in the night!"
"The man is a good-for-nothing rogue, Sin- clair. I believe he was the ruin of poor Judd. Judd besought me not to let him escape if there was a chance of punishing him, and I promised him I would not. It seems that he has run his head into a noose at last. I have no doubt he is the same man."
"Hurrah!" shouted Brown. "My word!"
"I called on my solicitor immediately after I returned to town, and he told me that he feared nothing could be done."
"Did you now? And what may the name of your solicitor be?"
"Of Lincoln's Inn Fields?" "The same."
"The very place where I went to, Mr. Stewart. I had some lawyer's business which required attention, and somehow I fancied I heard Argyle, your partner, tell about a man whom he called his lawyer; I thought he called him 'Noodle.' That is such a common word with us, you know, Mr. Stewart, that I wasn't likely to forgot it. But we couldn't find Law- yer Noodle."
"I should think not," said Stewart, laughing heartily, "though I fancy there are a great
number who deserve the name."
"So, Mr. Stewart, somebody said, 'Perhaps it is Boodle that you want.' 'Perhaps it is,' says I. 'Where does he live?' They told me and I went, and the first thing I said to him was this: 'Were you young Davie Argyle's lawyer?' 'Young Davie Argyle?' said he, eye- ing me very close. 'Yes,' says I; 'him who was transported,' for you know that I learnt all about that affair from his own lips. 'Yes,' he says, 'I was; but what of that?' So I up and told him my business, and he was kind enough to take it in hand; then I began to tell him about the robbery. I saw him take it down, so I says, 'No job here, Mr. Boodle' 'Oh no,' says he; 'I want this for another purpose.' Then he told me that he knew you, and where you lived, and I wrote to say I was coming to see you."
"And I have just received a letter about this very thing I have no doubt. Mr. Boodle wants to see me," said Stewart.
"Does he, now? Well, if Mr. Boodle can only find out that fellow, I will give the money to widow Judd's daughter."
"She is married, and doing well," replied Stewart. "Did you not hear that Argyle left all his money to her?"
"Argyle left—What do you mean? Surely
he is not dead?"
"He is, and buried, three years and more." "My word, death has been busy."
He has indeed; but we must all go the same way."
"Yes, yes, Mr. Stewart; I begin to see you were right in telling me how I ought to be pre- pared. My poor dear wife died most happily. But I see we have sent your wife away, and as our business is done we may as well go too. What say you, neighbor Brown, shall we be making tracks?" And so the friends parted.
ONLY TWENTY POUNDS!
Let us follow Septimus Long to Basingstoke and thence back to Southampton by the first train in the morning. How he chuckled to himself that he had doubled on those Australian snobs, as he termed his coffee-room censors of the past evening.
But what did Mr. Long want at Southampton again? Let us follow him. Leaving the ter- minus, he slowly walked along the beach to- wards the platform, where the brass gun, given by Henry the Eighth I think, still mounts guard over the port. Here he stopped for a few minutes and began to whistle. Then ho changed the whistle to a quiet discussion with himself. "The money will be missed before this; a tolerable good haul by the look of it, though I could not count it. Of course they will be after me; they said they could track me any- where. Let them try it. No doubt they will —what will they get? Ten o'clock. I don't think I'll wait, but cross over at once to Crack- nore Hard. Here, boatman, I want to go over yonder—what is your fare?"
"The same as ye paid Kimberley, your
"What do you mean; I don't know Kimber- ley."
"But I knows you, sir. You needn't be afeared of I, sir; I knows all your coves. I wishes I was wi' 'em. Boatmen's wages is poor
"You may be honest enough for all I know, but you must not talk to me about such things. You may see me again, perhaps."
"As soon as you pleases, your honor; I'se no 'jection to a job anywhen."
"But you must not think that I know any- thing about old Kimberley's doings," said Long, "though I know a little about the old fellow
"Bless yer heart, sir, I know'd all about he years ago, and old Baker too. When I wor a boy 'twas a glorious time. I fancy 'tis poor hauls they gets now. I used to be lookout boy up the Fawley River."
"Indeed!" replied Long. "What is your name? I'll speak to old Kimberley, and if——"
"Not to old Kimberley, sir. No, no—that won't do; he's got old and tichy, and I don't belave he's to be 'pended on eyther."
"Not to be depended on?" said Long, hastily.
"No; he's taken to chapel-going lately o'er at Hythe, and I fancies like he looks kind ascrew about these ere sort of things. Maybe 'tis only fancy; but he's mighty different from what he
"You don't mean it?"
"I do, sir; and if you has a got onything in his way I thinks as how I should got oot of his
"By George, this is something to be seen to!" said Long. "But come, let us be moving. I must go this once, at all events."
Cracknore Hard is a small inn with some fishermen's cottages adjacent to it. It lies on the opposite side of the Southampton water, and is well known as a convenient landing-place for many residents in the New Forest who regu- larly attend Southampton market. Not fifty miles from this place there lived a man whom everybody said was an old smuggler, but whom nobody could directly charge with such an offence. It will be best, however, not to dwell on other people's opinions, but to state plainly what he was. It will be recollected that one night a party of smugglers visited Judd for the purpose of enlisting him in a more open companionship in smuggling pursuits than ho had previously consented to take. He had been a useful comrade, but in secret. Through him the valuable aid of Septimus Long was obtained and many a bale of valuable goods was lodged in his possession when it was inconvenient to dispose of it. To facilitate such proceedings he opened a store in the town of Southampton called a drysalter's store, one of the smugglers being clerk in charge. It was furnished with numberless cases, bottles, and packages duly labelled, about half a dozen of which were filled with genuine goods, but the rest were dummies.
Here was stored many a bale of goods upon which no duty was paid. They were brought over from the other side of Southampton water, from Itchen, Fawley, and various parts of the river in sundry packages, and somehow they found their way to this place, from whence they were dispatched to all parts of the kingdom, professedly as drysalter's goods.
The gang of smugglers was extensive; but only a choice few were actual comrades, as they were termed, the rest were outsiders.
But the business collapsed very suddenly. Five years after Judd's departure for Australia there was a very successful haul—some hun- dreds of pounds were divided. Septimus Long visited Southampton, and received a good share in the best venture he had yet made, for he had advanced money upon this trading, and at this audit he not only received back the principal but cent. per cent. as interest. The clerk in the store also received his share, and with a portion of it he got so drunk that he said things he did not intend to say, and he was politely requested by some gentlemen with gold lace round their caps to open the door in Her Majesty's name. This being done, those gentlemen walked in, and forthwith found the true character of the place. No contraband goods were found, but the affair was soon noised abroad, and indignant tradesmen flocked in to find the assets, sawdust and bricks, while the liabilities were something more than they cared to lose.
This unfortunate event altered the entire character of Messrs. Long and Company's trading. It was unanimously agreed that it was no longer safe to continue their ventures in this part, and consequently the scene of opera- tions was removed to Aldborough, Suffolk. The Crimean war, however, intervened, and many of the gang engaged as sailors, and finally the whole company was dispersed, with the excep- tion of an old man named Baker, the boatman Kimberley, and three middle-aged men, one of whom kept a small shop in Southampton; an- other who rejoiced in the title of landlord of the Sceptre and Compasses, somewhere near the village of Itchen; and a third, who was any- thing to anybody, no matter whom.
Baker, it has been stated, lived in a little hut not fifty miles from Cracknore Hard, and it was to seek him that Mr. Long crossed the South- ampton water. He was no longer connected with the above men in their free-trading opera- tions, nor did they do much in that way. Mr. Long, however, had known Baker a long time, and found his agency to be profitable when he wanted to do a little piece of dirty work. The re- spectable gentleman and magistrate was poor now; vice, crime, and sensualism had brought forth their sure fruit. Silence was only to be bought with heavy sums; then losses multiplied upon him in other ways; disputes with neighbors in- volved him in litigation with heavy expenses and damages; he drank heavily, and to this vice he added yet another—he was a gambler. Property was mortgaged, then lost; but, in- fatuated to the destruction of all self-respect, he plunged deeper and deeper into the mire, so that on the evening when he met Mr. Stewart in the train he was exactly in the same position in which Judd was years before, when in de- speration he was forced to do something or perish. He had forged a bill for sixty pounds, which he had paid away for interest due upon the mortgage of his last remaining property, and in a few days the bill would be due.
"'Tis a providence," said he to himself, as he entered the room where Mr. Sinclair and his two friends were sitting and feasted his eyes on the new crisp Bank of England notes which lay on the table. Could he only lay hold of one of them. A hundred pounds seemed to be staring at him with its round figures. If it had been a demon it could not have aroused his cupidity more than it did. In an instant he resolved to ven- ture upon a challenge to play a game of chance, and at cards he was unrivalled. But the con- versation took an altogether unexpected turn, and the character of the Australians check- mated him, However, he made another des- perate venture, and fully believed that he had succeeded in hauling a good prize. Almost any other rogue would have satisfied himself about the contents of the case as soon as possible, but this clumsy rogue did not venture to open his prize until he was in old Baker's hut. It is very true that frequently the worst planned schemes are the least likely to be detected, whilst elaborate frauds are found out at once.
"I am come to stay with you," said Long to
the old smuggler, "for two or three days. I've
got a job for you, old fellow."
Baker did not like the man; so eyeing him very suspiciously, in a sneering kind of voice he
"Stay wi' me. I doant know as how yer can. The perleece a bin hyer."
"The police?" replied Long, with evident
"E'es; the perleece. Didn't yer hear what I
" Yes; I heard. But what did they come
"What vor! If that arn't nate now, as if yer didn't know. Who should if yer doant?
Tell me that."
"How should I know?"
"How should yer know? Are yer so very grane as not to know that yer are one of them kids that the perleece 'oold precious well loike
to ketch? But, 'oomsomdever, that's neythur here nor there; yer cum for summut, I's sure. What is't? I see't inside yer shurt."
He had not seen it himself, but anyone else could have seen that he carried something like
a book between his body and his shirt.
"Confound the thing," said Long.
"Not arf strong enuf, mate; I shoold a cussed the thing if it meant mischoif."
"It does mean something, Baker, about which I want your assistance. Do you remember once
you took over yonder a fifty-pounder which I didn't care to change here?"
Baker nodded, and made his eyes smile.
"I want you," continued Long, "to do the same now, only the amount is larger."
"Lorger! How lorge?"
"Perhaps two hundred, or maybe more."
"P'raps. If it are yer own yer woold na say praps an' maybe. Now, mon, let's a na bating 'bout. What is th' amount? Say wi'out openin' that there thing. If it's beyond my power I doant care 'bout knowin', d'ye see?"
"I know what you mean, Baker," replied Long; "but I must look to see how much I
He began to break open the case as he spoke. "How mooch yer hauled? I see; 'tisn't yourn then, that's sartain. P'raps, and maybe,
and how mooch—no, 'tisn't yourn. Clear as night wi' no moon on't."
"But, Master Long. Ar'nt my head worth as mooch as yourn. I can tell yer old Kimber- ley smells bad jist now; he's taken to sing ra- pentance."
"So I heard."
"So yer heard? Why, may pardeeshun saze yer limbs, mon; where did yer hear that? I
tho'ot na one know'd that but I."
"Then I can tell you the man who brought
me over knows it."
"Strikehard? Oh, he's richt enuf."
"He wants you to give him a job, Baker."
"That I niver will. The perleece; the per-
"Where? For God's sake, where, Baker?"
"I hit the nail richt, yer see, again. Long, Long, yer'll niver do for this work. Come, let's
to bisness. Where's them notes?"
Long felt greatly inclined to move no further in the matter, but, he know also the desperate character of the old smuggler. He saw with evident alarm the impatience with which Baker
was looking at the writing case; in addition to which he was totally unarmed, while the smug- gler had his knife and a revolver. Hesitation he felt was useless, so he burst open the case, and, lo! twenty pounds!
The look of dismay which instantly appeared upon his countenance would have amused a far more reckless man than Baker. Long was pale as death; he trembled violently; his tongue seemed paralysed; his lips were sealed; and mechanically he allowed Baker to take the note out of his hand without making the least effort
to retain it.
"Bank o' England. Twenty! Where's the
The wretched man was aroused by this ques- tion. He began to search the case, but so nervously that Baker took this also out of his hands, and proceeded to turn out the contents. There was nothing but some odd papers in it,
and a card.
"What's this?" said the smuggler. "No
hurry, Master Long—no hurry. Yer needn't snatch at it, and open your tatur trap so wide; a card arn't notes."
"Give it to me," said Long, now violently agitated.
"What vor, mate? It's no kind o' use to yer." "Will you give me back my property, or——" "Shall yer make me? 'Pon my honor, a very pretty question. Suppose I say no—what
"What then! I will make you."
"Try it on, mon. War, war; go it, my booty! Twenty punds and a card. Card's the stakes; what's the name on't ? 'Sinclair;' he's umpire. Bank o' England and Sinclair 'gainst Long."
The old smuggler had risen, and put the table between himself and his victim, as he said these words. Long also rose, and made a desperate plunge to snatch the case out of Baker's hand; but the old smuggler was more than a match for him. Throwing the case behind him, and hastily putting the note and card into his pocket, he closed with Long, in a few minutes threw him heavily on the ground, kicked him while lying there on the side of his head, and, with- out waiting to see what was the issue, he hurried away. In an hour he was in Southampton, from which place he sailed that evening for Havre de
The schemer was outwitted for the time, and, with stiffened limbs managed to got back to his
CHECKMATED AT LAST.
Sam Brown had a particular desire to know what the people, amongst whom Mr. Long lived, thought of him. But he had another object also in visiting the county of Suffolk, that of finding out a sergeant of police who, he had heard, was stationed somewhere near Ipswich. It was market day, and the square in the midst of the town was filled with a vast concourse of people; but, better than all, the same circum- stance had brought into town the very man whom they wished to see. The two Australians were standing at the corner of the White Horse Hotel—so famous in Pickwick adventures—and were looking down the street which leads to the celebrated iron foundry and agricultural imple- ment works of Messrs. Ransome and Sims, when Sergeant Brodie came out of the hotel. Brown knew him in a moment, but life in Australia had made a great alteration in the overseer, and it needed some explanations ere the sergeant could
understand who was speaking to him. But
when he recognised him, the congratulation was returned with much joy at meeting his old school fellow again.
" I am stationed a few miles from here," said he to Brown, "and shall be starting for home in an hour or two, the coach leaves about the same time. Come down and spend a few days
The invitation was gladly accepted, and the evening which followed was about as agreeable a meeting of old comrades as ever was experi-
enced. Australians when in the old land have a world of wonders to unfold, and both father and son were as full of anecdote and adventure as their host expected and wished them to be. On the other hand they learnt much about Sep- timus Long, but so little that reflected any cre- dit to him, that Brown ventured to inform the sergeant about the robbery. The latter listened with attention to the opinions of his guest, which, it is almost unnecessary to add, were very voluminous and interspersed with many well known Australian expressions. Then ho in-
formed Brown that Long had been turned out of the magistracy on account of some suspicious circumstances which occurred at Aldborough amongst some smugglers. "Since then," said he, "he has been going to the bad very fast. I am expecting to hear something worse now."
So the friends parted for the night, and the Browns slept as sound as a top. Not so rested a poor miserable wretch who passed by the ser-
geant's house on his way home shortly after midnight. He glanced at the house and shivered, but the air was bitingly cold, and he might not have been very well, but a little farther on was the bank, and he looked harder at that building. The silence of death was all around him, and not a sound came forth from that repository of cash to cause him uneasiness, yet he shivered again, this time the teeth chattered as an accom- paniment. But he passed on and soon he came to a road which branched off from the main
road. Here he stopped and listened. Not a sound was to be heard, but yet he listened still, peering into the darkness around him as if he was looking for something. At last he muttered, "both dead now," and onward he strode.
Morning dawned us usual, and banks as well as shops and offices opened their doors. A good-looking man who was well known in Ley- ton passed up the street shortly after 10 o'clock, humming a well known popular air. "Nothing in that, no, nothing." But after awhile he en- tered the bank, and after a pleasant chat with the cashier, he handed in some cheques and notes to be passed to his account, and with them a long piece of white paper with a stamp attached to it. The cheques and notes were readily counted and noted down: "What could be the matter with the man?"
So the customer said to himself as the cashier turned over the bill of exchange, scanning it so closely and with such compressed lips as if tor- ture should not make him say what he thought about it. Then he took it to an inner office, to which sanctorum the customer was presently politely invited. Then appeared upon the scene, in pursuance of an invitation which was taken to him by the porter of the bank, a man whom said porter called a bobby, but whom the towns- people generally accosted as Sergeant Brodie. He also vanished into the sanctorum, from which he emerged after a while, in company with the aforesaid customer of the bank, and they too adjourned to the Town Clerk's office, to have a little chat with that official. Sergeant Brodie went home from thence, looking very straight before him, and on getting indoors he shut the door, and, accosting his friend Brown, he ventured a strong opinion, accompanying it with a rousing slap on the younger Brown's back, that "Septimus had done it now."
"What do you mean?" said Sam Brown.
"I mean this—if you are inclined for some fun, I think I can show you some. A bit of lunch and off we go. Do yo mind a camp out,
"Camp out, Brodie! My word, you don't know much about that sort of thing in this part
of the world."
"No, but we may have to do it to-night per- haps."
"With all my heart—especially if it is to bail up this rascal."
"Don't talk too loud. Perhaps it is."
"My word," said Brown, junior, "I'd give a
trifle to have a hand in that."
"So ye shall, my lad."
In about an hour they started, and by 2 o'clock reached a small public house, where they agreed to rest for an hour or two. Bonsal, the residence of the gentleman they wanted, was about a mile from this place. The first step the sergeant took was to send a boy up to the house to say that a gentleman wished to see him at the Spotted Dog. "If he takes the bait," said he, "it will save a deal of trouble."
In half an hour the messenger returned with this answer: " Mr. Long is busy, but he will be down in an hour or two."
"Not he," said the sergeant. "Now come on." It was dusk by this time, so they made a com- plete circuit round the house, which the sergeant knew well, and in about half on hour they halted on the other side of a small inlet of the sea which they crossed by means of a bridge.
"He is at home," said the sergeant, after a few minutes' inspection of the place. "Stay here for a while, while I steal up a little closer."
So saying he disappeared in the darkness, but the Browns could just distinguish his form as he crept along the side of a hedge. It came on to rain soon after, and the darkness sensibly in- creased. The night threatened every moment to be more and more unfit for lodgers without shelter. But the sergeant at last returned, and with satisfactory news.
"He is at home," said he. "I wish that I had gone myself, instead of sending the boy; but it can't be helped now. I got up to the house, I think undiscovered, although that brute of a dog of his was ready to break his chain. Once the servant came out, and told him to lie down. But he saw or smelt me, and would not be quieted, so my gentleman opened a window and peeped out, speaking to the dog at the same
time. I saw him, but there was no getting near him without passing the dog. Presently down went the window, and as sharp as these legs could carry me over the lawn I ran; I wanted to get close to the window of the room where I believed he was sitting. Nor was I wrong. There he sat in his easy chair, looking eagerly into the fire. His great boots were on the hearth rug, and his coats hung over a chair. A life preserver lay on the table; and unless I am mistaken he will be moving soon. You may ask why I don't go boldly to the house. I know my customer too well."
"Some such thoughts crossed my mind," said
"He'd shoot himself or me if he had the
chance. He knows there will be an inquiry after him. He has not a rap left of all his pro- perty; but he has a daughter at Aldborough, and he won't go without trying to see her. When you see that light put out, follow me, but mind the ditches. I'm right sorry you came, as the night turns out; but I'm glad of your company."
"Don't mention it," said Mr. Brown "The air is rather sharper though than we ever feel
"Hist! quiet!" said the sergeant. "The light is out. Come on now."
He led the way, and they followed close. For some time it was rough travelling, but at length they came to a gate, over which they climbed, and found themselves in a country lane.
"Now, my friends, I must depend a little on you. Mr. Brown, you go ahead, and lay under that tree; you can just see it. If he runs from us, spring out and lay hold of him. Robert, you take the ditch t'other side of the road, and I stay here. Don't stir till you hear something unusual, then——Hist! Here he comes."
It was Mr. Septimus Long who, knowing full well that his game was up, was on his way to bid farewell to his daughter, as Sergeant Brodie had foretold; but where he was to go after that he had not yet settled. "Into the sea," said he, as he looked up at his house when he left it that night. "Into the sea, rather than a felon's
He walked on quickly, looking strait before him, and as he turned into the road which led to Oldborough, the dog which was with him began to growl, and his master stopped. On again—another growl. "What is the mat- ter, Nero? Hi! on, boy; see what it is." Growl, growl—growing louder and louder.
The man now stopped, and seemed inclined to turn back. The sergeant saw the hesitation in the dim light; he was not three yards from him, and with a shout he made a rush, but missed his man. Back, back he ran for precious life, the three men after him. Now they gained on him, and then he distanced them; but as he reached a narrow lane he made a feint of taking that course, dropped into a ditch, and ere his pursuers came up he crept under a culvert, and
"Beaten, by Jove!" said the sergeant. "Never mind, better luck next time."
No, they were not beaten. The dog which Long had brought with him proved his ruin. He found his master, though his pursuers had lost the scent, crouched down in a filthy, muddy drain, from which he was dragged, amidst volumes of bitter curses, which did not appear to affect the sergeant in the least.
"It was a funny chase," said the sergeant next morning, as they sat at breakfast. "I don't call it cleverly done, mind ye. It was all but a miracle that I did not lose my game. But I should never have got inside the house after that message. Better have gone myself."
"I had no idea that he would have yielded without a fight, though. I know you would never have taken a bushman so tamely as this man gave in—my word," said Mr. Brown.
"I had no thought he was such a coward,
"No, nor is he," replied the sergeant; "but he knows his glass is run. Every dog has his day, and he has had his. No more of his— Sergeant, your're too inquisitive."
The most assiduous attention was paid to Mr. Long on his way back to Leyton; and when he arrived there, the sergeant actually took the trouble to supply him with board and lodging gratis; in addition to which Mr Septimus Long was pressingly invited to a familiar interview with one of Her Majesty's most eminent officers, and, having heard about that individual's many extraordinary adventures, the worthy officer told him that, by Her Majesty's will and com- mand, he was to take a voyage, at the end of which he would find a substantial house, and every preparation made to supply him with the closest attention, and board and lodging, for one and twenty years. Mr. Septimus Long did not wish to leave England just then, but the in- vitation was so pressing that he could not resist it; so he went, and positively found his new employment far beyond his expectations. He had assisted a great many, in his day, on the same way; but when it came to his turn to be so considerately provided for, he did not like it.
All the attention he received, however, was lost upon him; for in about five years he died, and never did he visit his native country again. But it went on very well without him—some said a little better; and one of his brother magistrates was so ungenerous as to say that their greatest torment was gone away for ever. Sic transit gloria mundi; tempora mutantur; veritas vincit; sic
"POOR, DEAREE MARY SINCLAIR! AH ME!"
Such were the words with which Mrs. Mo- gara left the sick girl who had fallen a victim to England's disease—consumption. But when Mrs. Stewart sent to say that she was going with her to Ventnor, she begged permission to accompany them. A little villa was taken near the celebrated pulpit rock at Bonchurch, and, under the influence of the beautiful climate of this pretty Madeira, Mary Sinclair recovered very quickly—so far as to create the hope that the danger was past for a time. She became cheerful; laughed and talked about going back to Australia; began to be busy about various household matters; walked on the sea shore; and even climbed the hill at Bonchurch, no small feat to a strong and healthy person. Her father had so favorable an opinion of her pro- gress that he left her in the charge of Mrs. Stewart, who had arranged to remain until the spring, as her husband had not been well, and the children had been suffering with the usual infantine complaints—whooping cough and measles—and it was thought that a temporary sojourn in this place would be of benefit to all
But a change was at hand. Mary had gone for a walk one evening with her friends, when she suddenly fell, or rather sank on the ground. Before Mr. Stewart could reach her, her mouth filled with blood, which trickled down her neck, and covered her dress with its crimson hue. They bore her home as quickly as possible with the aid of some sailors. Her medical attendant was summoned, but all he said was, "Lose no time in sending for any friends who may wish to see her alive; but, mark, only one or two at
A man on a fleet horse was accordingly dis- patched to Bryde, and reached that place just in time to catch the last steamer to Portsmouth,
from whence he sent a telegram to London. Fortunately it accomplished all that was de- sired. Mr. Sinclair was at the hotel, and his friends the Brown's also, and it was arranged that they should go down by the first train in
the morning. Mr. and Mrs. Mogara accom- panied them, and they reached Ventnor about the middle of the day on Saturday. The dear girl was sensible, and knew them all. With a sigh of relief—there are such sighs and they do relieve—she held out her hand to her father first and then to all. Speech, however, then was out of the question; the least attempt was accompanied with results which were most alarming.
With streaming eyes they watched around
that dying bed, and there was something to watch. The life was descending like the sun when he is drawing or bending towards the west. The sky was clouded with patches of bright blue here and there—that is, the pale face was alternately brilliant and glorious with smiles or racked with pain.
"Was there no hope?" inquired Mr. Sinclair. "No, no, my friend," said Mrs. Stewart, "at her eventime it shall be light; the departure will be something glorious."
It seemed to promise well that the prophecy would be fulfilled, for as she spoke the dying girl arose and spoke. The sun was now setting, and the room was filled with a brilliant light, the reflection of which lighted up her pale countenance with the brilliancy of burnished gold.
"Dear Mary," cried out Mrs. Stewart, "don't exert yourself; the doctor said you were to be quite still."
"Hush! Mrs. Stewart; hush! please. The music is so sweet, the light is so glorious; the angels are so many; the joy is so great. Hush!
I want to listen."
She paused, and appeared as if she was gaz- ing upon something, listening most intently. Presently, as the last ray of the sun left the room, she spoke again, "They are gone!"
Back, back to heaven they fly,
The joyful news to bear,
Hark! they now soar on high;
Their music fills the air.
"My dearest Mary."
"Nay, dear father, why do you weep? Dear mother is here, looking at you now. She came to me last night and nestled down by my face, and seemed to kiss me. I tried to touch her, but she would not let me; but she has never gone away. She does not weep, father; she only smiles and points upwards."
The night thus wore away and Mary slept. The watchers were very weary, but they could not sleep. At 11 o'clock they adjourned to the parlor to take a little refreshment, leaving Mrs. Mogara by the bed-side of the sleeping girl. She watched very faithfully for a while, but soon her eyelids dropped, and gradually she sank upon the pillow in sound sleep. A few mo- ments after the dying girl awoke, and, not per- ceiving anyone in the room, she got out of bed and walked downstairs, entering the room where
her friends were assembled.
"Mogara is dead. Father dear, Mogara is
Mrs. Stewart screamed out in terror, and Mary actually ran towards her, Mr. Sinclair catching his daughter in his arms, and, with Mr. Stewart, they bore Mary back to her room; but she talked to them so calmly, and said that she felt so well, that they were all but speech- less. It was the brilliant flame which preceeds the final darkness, just as a flickering lamp will suddenly blaze up with wondrous brightness. No sooner was she laid in her bed again than
she felt that this was the case.
"Father, dearest, I am dying; I feel it now." "Don't talk so, my dear."
"I must, dear father; I must. But who is this?" She put her hand on the black woman, who still slept soundly. "Oh! poor Betty."
"Yes, dearest; faithful to us, you see. She is tired and dropped off to sleep."
"I shall be as she is presently, father."
"Asleep—asleep—asleep," she replied, with a look of most intense meaning; "softly asleep."
"If you sleep, you will do well, dearest." "Yes, I shall do well."
"Amen!" said Mr. Stewart.
Mr. Sinclair and his friends left England shortly after the funeral of his daughter, and their arrival in Brisbane was celebrated by two weddings, in which Mr. Brown's eldest son and a young lady sustained one part, and Mistress Sally became Mrs. John Bull on the other.
Mr. and Mrs. Stewart are still living in Lon- don, and are happy. He is a highly respected director of several excellent societies; wealthy, and very kind and generous to the distressed. There are several children, whose names are as folios of remembrance to recall the events of a life, which in its results frequently called forth from the good man the expression, "What hath God wrought?"
Mr. and Mrs. Lambert are also living in the same place, and business is generally flourish- ing enough to tax all the energies of the coal merchant, while Mr. and Mrs. Mogara have removed to America, and "Mogara's saloon," is a more profitable speculation than any of the ventures which Mr. Billy made in England. Shrewd from a lad, as a servant he knew how to ingratiate himself with his employer, and when he passed from that position to be a master he endeavored to act so as to make his servants feel that their interests were bound up in his. Several persons said "it was a pity the family were black, they were a fine lot of boys and girls;" but the father said, "If God Almighty had made tem blue tey would have been blue, but, being black, it was exceedingly probable tat tey would continue to live so, and for him- self he could see no such mighty difference. Jeroo- salem!" said he; "tat's te place to go to. God never ask tere if we white or black."
The Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Coles continue to live and labor. It is probable that few will ever in this world hear much of what they have done for the good of others, but visitors constantly registered their good deeds, and some day these will be read by the clearest light, when it will be seen that they lived and labored for Christ's
Captain Oliver is dead. He never altogether recovered the death of Isabel, and, although he lived to the age of threescore, the last of the years become labor and sorrow, and he seemed glad when the end came.
Mr. Sinclair went home to The Vineyard, and became an antiquary, and astronomer, a painter again, and finally a linguist; then he sold off all his property, left Australia, and travelled. The last that was heard about him was that he was in the United States, from whence he pur- posed to go to Canada, and then make the tour of Europe. Sam Brown is in Brisbane, and is likely to continue there to his death. He has made his pile, and is "a cheerful old dog," as he says, all the day long. He suffered a little in the commercial panic; but he had a good back, which did not bend much, and the banks knew that no panic could ever break it.
* * * * *
Thus ends the tale. The incidents are not fabulous, but for the most part founded on realities. In many portions of it the truth is told, that the measure which is meted out by us, whether of good or evil, is almost sure to be re- turned, and frequently with interest. The history of Mogara is no mere imagination; in
fact, much of the highly romantic in the life of the original has been suppressed, it was too wonderful to be credited. Life among the blacks is full of startling incident, although
largely mixed up with dull stupid monotony. It must be admitted also that Colonel Tomlin- son's character is divested of the cruelty which was practised to so fearful an extent in Moreton Bay that no language would be too strong to condemn it. Judd was not the only convict who escaped by many a score; but some were shot down mercilessly and others were flogged until they succumbed, and then they were dragged to a felon's grave, and the place where they lie will never be known till the last day. It may be objected, in conclusion, that two such marked instances of the innocent suffering in place of the guilty never occurred. An hour or two spent in the society of some who aro now living in Australia would soon compel the ob- jectors to confess themselves in error. Criminal jurisprudence in 1837 was something different from the same thing in 1870.
[THE END. ]