|Chapter Number||BOOK XXX XXIII|
|Chapter Title||RUNNING THE GAUNTLET.|
|Newspaper Title||The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933)|
|Trove Title||His Natural Life|
His Natural Life.
By Marcus Clarke.
RUNNING THE GAUNTLET.
The Pretty Mary as ugly and evil-smelling a tub as ever pitched under a southerly burster - had been lying on and off Cape Surville for nearly three weeks. Captain Blunt was getting wearied. Ho made tho moat strenuous endeavors to find
tho oyster-beds of which lie was ostensibly in search, but no success attended his efforts. In vaiu did be take boat and pull into every cove and nook between the Hippolyte Reef aud Schouten's Island. In vain did lie run the Pretty Marry as near to the rugged elia's as lio dared to take her, and make perpetual expeditions to the shore. In vain did lie-in his eagerness for tho interests of Mrs. Purfoy?clamber np the rocks, aud spend hours in solitaiy soundings in Black- man's Bay. He never found nu oyster. " If I don't find something in three or four days moro," said ho to his mate, " I shall go back again. It's too dangerous cruising here."
On tho Bamo evening that Captain Blant made this resolution, tho watchman nt Signal Hill saw tho arms of the semaphore at tho settlement mako three motions, thus :?
Tho semaphore was furnished witli three re- volving arms, fixed ono above tho other. The upper ono denoted units, and had six motions, indicating one to SK. The middle ono denoted tons, ten to sixty. The lower ono marked hun- dreds, from one HD.VOIIKI) to six hunuhkd.
The lower and upper arms whirled out. That
meant tiwek uundhed and six.
A ball ran up to tho top of tho post. That j
meant one thousand.
Number 1308, or being interpreted, " Tm.
"By George, Hairy," said Jones the signalman,
"there's a bolt I"
Tho semaphore signalled again : " Number I 1411." » 6 b j
" With arms !" Jones said, translating as lie read. " Come, hem, Harry ; here's a go !"
But Harry did uot reply, and lookiug down, the watchman saw p. dark iiguro suddenly fill the doorway. The boasted semaphore had failed tit* time at all events. The " bolters" had arrived as soon as the signal!
The man sprang at his carbine, but the in- truder had already possessed himself of it. " It's no use muking a fuss, Jones ! there aro eight of iib. Oblige me by attending to your signals."
Jones knew the voice. It was that of John Rex. " Reply, can't you ?" said Hex, coolly. " Captain Burgess is in a hurry." Tho arms of tho semaphore at tlw settlement were, in fact, gesticulating with comical vehemence.
_ Jone3 took tho strings in his hands, and, with his signal-book open before him, was lihou1- to acknowledge the message, when Hex stopped him. " Send this message, he said. " Not been !
Signal sent to Eaglehawk I"
Jones paused irresolutely. Ho was himself a convict, and dreaded the inevitable Cat, that ho knew would follow this false message. " If they finds mc out-" he said. Rex cocked the car- bine, with so decided a meaning in his black eyes, that Jones?who could be bravo enough ou occasions?banished his hesitation at once, and began to sigual eagerly. There carno up a clink- ing of metal, and a murmur from below. " What's keeping yer, Dandy ?"
" All right. Get those irons off, and then we'll talk, boys. I'm putting salt on old Burgess's tail." The rough jest was received with a roar, and Jones, lookiug momentarily down from his window on tho staging, Baw, iu the waning light, a group of men freeing themselves from their irons with a hammer taken from the guard- house ; while two, already freed, wore casting buckets of water ou the beacon wood-pile. Tho sentry was lying bound at a little distance.
"Now," said the leader of this surprise party, "signal to Woody Island." Jones perforce obeyed. "Say, 'An escape at tue Mines! Watch Ose-tiiee Point 1 Send on to Eagle- hawk }' Quick, now!"
Jones?comprehending at once tho force of this manoeuvre, which would havo the effect of distracting attention from tho Neck?executed the order with a grin. " You're a knowing one, Dandy Jack," said he.
John Rex acknowledged tho compliment by uncocking the carbine. " Hold out your hands I ?Jemmy Vetch I" " Ay, ay," replied the Crow, from beneath. " Come up and tie our friend Jones. Gabbett, have you got the axes ? "There's only one," says Gabbett, with an oath. " Then bring that, and any tucker you can lay your hands on. Have you tied him ? On we go then." And in the space of five minutes from the time when unsuspecting Harry had been silently clutched by two forms, who rushed upon him out of the shadow of the huts, the Signal Hill Station was deserted.
At the settlement Burgess was. foaming. Nine men to seize the Long Bay boat, and get half an hour's start of the alarm-signal was an unprece dented achievement 1 What could Warder Troke
* Tlie copyright of " His Natural Life" lias been pur- chased by tho proprietors of The OiKOii.'anito- from Mr. Harcus Clarie.
liayo been ahout? WarderTroke, however,found eight hours afterwards, disarmed, gagged and houud in tho scrub, had been guilty of no negli- gence. How could ho toll, that at a certain signal from Dandy Jack, tho niuo men ho had taken to Stewart's Bay would " rush him ;" and, beforo ho could draw a pistol, truss him like a chicken ? The worst of tho gang, Rufus Dawes, had volunteered for the hated duties of pilo-driving, and Trokohad felt himself quite secure. How could ho possibly guess that there was a plot, in which Rufus Pawes, of all men, bad re/used" to join
Constables, mounted and on foot, were de- spatched to scour tho bush round tho settlement. Burgess, confident by tho reply of the Signal Hill semaphore, that tho alarm had been given at Eaglehawk Isthmus, promised himself tho recapture of tho gang beforo many hours ; and giving orders to keep tile communications going, retired to dinner. His convict-servant had barely r»moved tho soup, when the result of John Rex's ingenuity became manifest.
Thc semaphore at Signal Hill had stopped
"Perhaps the fools can't see," said Burgess. " Fins the beacon?and saddle my horse." The beacon was fired. All right at Mount Arthur, Mount Communication, and tho Coal Mines, to the westward, the lino was clear. But at Signal Hill was no answering light. Burgess stamped with rage. " Get mo my boat's crew ready ; and tell tho Mines to sigual to Woody Island." Aa ho stood on tho jetty, a breathless messenger brought tho reply, "A boat's chew gone to One-Tree Poikt I Five men sent from Eagle. HAWK IN OBEDIENCE TO OBDCHS I" BllrgC3S understood it at once. The feUows had decoyed tho Eaglehawk guard. " Give way, men I" Aud tho boat shooting into the darkness, made for
"I won't he far behind 'em," said tho Com- mandant, " at anyrate."
Between Eaglehawk and Signal Hill were, for the absconders, other dangers. Along the in- dented coast of Port Bunche were four constables' stations. These stations?mero huts within signalling distance of each other?fringed the shoro, aud to avoid thom it would be necessary to mako a circuit into tho scrub. Unwilling as he was to lose time, John Rex saw that to attempt to run tho gauntlet of thesefour stations would bo destruction. The safety of tho party depended upon the reaching of the Neck while the guard was woakened by the absence of some of tho men along tho southern Bhorc, and beforo the alarm could bo given from tho eastern arm of tho poniusula. With this view, ho ranged his men in single filo ; and quitting tho road near Norfolk Bay, niado straight for the Nock. The night had set in with high westerly wind, and prospect of rain. It was pitch dark ; and the fugitives were guided only by the dull roar of tho sea as it beat upon Descent Beach. Had it not been for the accident of a westerly gale, they would not havo had even that bodeful assistance.
Tho Crow walked first, as guide, carrying a musket taken from Hurry. Then carno Gabbot, with tho axe ; followed by the other six, sharing between them such provisions as they had ob- tained at Signal Hill. John Rex, with tho carbine, and Troke's pistols, walked last. It had been agreed that if attacked, they were to run each one his own way. In their desperato case, disunion was strength. At intervals, on their loh\ gleamed the lights of tho constables' stations, and as they stumbled onward they heard plainer and more plainly tho hoarse murmur of tho sea, beyond which was liberty or death.
After nearly two hours of painful progress, Jemmy Vetch stopped, and whispered them to approach. They wero on a sandy riso. To the left was a black object that was a constable's hut; to the right, waa a dim white lino that was tho ocean ; in front was a row of lamps, and between every two lamps leaped and ran a dusky indistinct body. Jemmy Vetch pointed with his lean forefinger.
"Tho dogs 1"
Instinctively they crouched down, lest oven at that distance tho two sentries, so plainly visible in tho red light of the guard-house fire, Bhould
"Well, bo's," says G'abbett, "what's to be
done now S"
As he spoke a long low howl broke from ono of tho chained hounds, and the wholo kennel burst into hideous outcry.
John Rex, who perhaps was tho bravest of the party, shuddered. "They have smelt ub," ho said. " We must go on."
Oabbett Bpat in his palm, and took firmer hold of the axo-handlc. " Right you aro," he said. " I'll leave my murk on some of them before this night's out I"
On tho opposito shore lights began to move, and the fugitives could hear tho hurrying tramp
"Mako for the right-hand Eide of tho jetty," said Rex, in a fierce whisper. " I think I see a boat there. It is our only chance now. We can never break through the station. Aro wo i cady ? Now ! All together I"
Gabbett was fast outstripping tho others by some three feet of distance. There wera eleven dogs, two of whom *cre placed cn stages set out in tho water, and they were bo chained that their muzzles nearly touched. The giant leapt into the line, and with a blow of In's axe split the skull of tho beast on his right hand. This action unluckily took him within reach of the other dog, who seized him by the thigh.
" Fire I" cried Jf'Nab from the otlier side of the lamps.
Tho giant uttered a cry of rage and pain, nnd fell with the dog under him. It was, however, tho dog who had pulled him down, and the musket-ball intended for him struck Travers in tho jaw. Tho unhappy villain fell?like Virgil's Dares?" spitting blood, teeth, and curses."
Oabbett clutched tho mastiff's throat with iron hand, and forced him to loose his hold ; then, bellowing with fury, seized his axe aud sprang forward, mangled as he was, upon the nearest soldier. Jemmy Vetch had been before- hand with him. UtUring a low snarl of hate, he fired, and shot the sentry through the breast. Tho others rushed through tho now broken cordon, and mado headlong for thc boat.
" Fools I" cried Rex behind thom. " You havo wasted a shot. Look to your left 1"
Burgess, hurried down tho tram-road by his men, had tarried at Signal Hill but long enough to loose the surprised guard from their bonds, and taking tho Woody Island boat, was pulling with a fresh crew to the Neck. The rc-inforce ment was not ten yards from the jetty.
The Crow saw tho danger, and flinging him- self into the water, desperately seized M'Nub's
" In with you for your lives !"jho cried.
Another volley from tho guard spattered the water around tho fugitives, but in the darkness tho ill-aimed bullets fell harmless, (labbett swung himself over the sheets, and Eeized an oar. " Cox, Bodeuham, Greenhill I Now, puBh lier off! Jump, Tom, jump 1" and as wrathful Burgess leapt to laud; Cornelius was dragged over the stern, and the whale-boat floated into
M'Nab, seeing this, ran down to tho water Bide to aid the Commandant. "Lift her over the bar men," he shouted. With a will?So 1" And raised in twelve Btrong arms, the pursuing craft slid across the isthmus.
"We've five minutes start," said Vetch coolly, as he saw the Commandant take his placo in tho stern sheets. "Pull away, my jolly boys, and we'll best 'em yet" The soldiers on the Neck fired again almost at random, but tho blaze of their pieces only served to show the Command- ant's boat a hundred yards astern of that of the mutineers, which had already gained the deep
water of Pirates Bay.
Then, for tho first .time, tho six prisoners became awaro that John Rex was not among them. . .'- ? . .
Chapter XXIV. '
IN THE NIGHT.
John Res had put into execution the first part of bis scheme.
At the moment when, seeing Burgess' boat near the sand spit, he had uttered the warning cry heard by Vetch, ho. turned back into the darkness, and mado for the woter's edge at a point some distance from the Neck. His des- perate hope was that, the attention of the guard being concentrated on the . escaping boat, ho might, favored by the darkness and the confu- sion?swim to the peninsula. It was not a very marvellous feat to accomplish, and he had confi- dence in his own powers. Once Bafe on the peninsula, his plans were formed. But, owing to tho strong westerly wind, which caused a sort of incoming tido upon the isthmus, it was neees nary for him to attain some point sufficiently far to the southward to enable him, on taking the water to be assisted, not impeded, by the cur.
rent. With this view, ho hurried over tho sandy hummocks at the entrance to-"tho Neck, nnd ran backwards towards tho Bea. lu a few Btrides ho had gained tho hard and sandy shore, and, pausing to listen, heard behind him the Bound of footsteps. Ho was pursued. Tho foot- steps stopped, aud then « voico cried?
"Surrender !" -w
It was JI'Nab, wlio, seeing Rex's retreat, had
daringly followed him. John Rex drew from his breast Troke's pistol, aud waited.
" Surrender !" cried tho voico again, and tho footsteps advanced two paces. At the instant that Rex raised tho weapon to fire, a vivid flash of lightning showed him, on his right hand, a Bort of path. On tho ghastly and pallid ocean wero two boats, the hindcrmost ono apparently within a few yards of him. The mon looked like corpses, In the distance rose Cape Surville, and beneath Capo Surville, was tho hungry sea, The sceno vanished in an instant?swallowed up almost hofore he had realised it. But tho shock it gave him made him miss his aim, and flinging away tho pistol with a curse, he turned down the path and fled. JI'Nab followed.
Tho path seemed to havo been made by fro ouent passage from the Station, and Rex found it tolerably easy running. Ho had acquired like most mon who livo much iu the dark?that cat-liko perception of obstacles, which is due rather to increased' sensitiveness of touch than increased acuteness of vision. His foot seemed to accommodate themselves to the inequalities of the grouud ; his bauds to instinctively outstretch themselves towards tho overhanging boughs ; his head to duck of its own accord to any obtrusive sapling which bent to obstruct his progress. His pursuer was not so fortunate. Twico did John Rex laugh mentally, at a crash and scramble that told of a fall, aud once?in a valley
whero trickled a little stream that ho had cleared almost without au effort?ho heard a splash that made him laugh outright. Tho track now began to go uphill, and Rox redoubled his efforts, trust- ing to his superior muscular energy to finally Bhake off his pursuer. Ho breasted the rise, and paused to listen. Tho crashing of branches behind him had ceased, and it seemed that ho
Ho had gained tho Bummit of tho cliff. Tho lights of the Neck wero invisible. Below him lay the sea. Out of tho black emptiness came puffs of sharp salt wind. Tho tops of tho rollers that bioko below wore blown off aud whirled away iuto the night?whito patches, swallowed up immediately in tho increasing darkness. From tho north side of the bay was borne tho hoarse roar of tho breakers as thoy dashed against the perpendicular cliffs which guarded Foreseer's Peninsula. _ At his foot aroso a frightful shriek- ing and whistling, broken at intervals by reports like claps of thunder. M'hcrowasho? Exhausted and breathless, ho sank down into tho rough scrub and listoned. All at once, on tho track over which ho had passed, ho hoard a sound that made him bound to his feet in deadly fear?tho bay of a dog.
Ho thrust his hand to his breast for tho re- maining pistol, and uttered a cry of alarm. He had dropped it. He felt round about him in tho darkness for some stick or stono that would serve as a weapon. In vain. His fingers clutched nothing but tho prickly scrub aud tho coarso grass. Tho sweat ron down his face. With Btariug eyeballs aud bristling hair, ho stared into tho darkness, ns if ho would dissipate it by the very intensity of his gazo. Tho noiso was re- peated, and, piercing through tho roar of wind and water, above and below him, seemed to bo close at hand. Ho heard a man's voico cheering tho dog in accents that tho galo blew away from him beforo ho could recogniso them. It was pro bnblo that some of tho soldiers had been sent to tho assistance of M'Nub. Capturo, thou, was certain. In his agony tho wretched mau almost promised himsolf repentance should he escapo this peril. Tho dog, crashing through the under- wood, gavo one short, Bharp howl, aud then ran
Tho darkness had increased with tho gale. Tho wind, ravaging tho hollow heaven, had spread betweon the lightnings and the sea an impene- trable curtain of black cloud. It scorned pos- sible to seize upon this curtain nnd draw its edge yet closer, so donso was it. Tho whito and raging waters wero blotted out, and even the lightning seemed unable to penetrato that in- tense blackness. A largo, warm drop of rain foll upon Rex's outstretched hand, and far over- head rumbled a wrathful peal of thunder. Tho shrieking which ho had heard a few moments ago had ceased, but every now and then dully-heard but immense shocks, as of some mighty bird flapping tho cliff with monstrous wings, rever- berated around him, aud seemed to shako tho ground whoro ho stood. Ho looked towards tho ocean, and seemed to soo rise a tall, misty Form that?white against tho all-pervading blackness ?beckoned and bowed to him. He Baw it dis- tinctly for an instant, aud then, with an awful shriek, as of wrathful despair, it sank and vanished. Maddened with a terror lie could scarco defino, tho hunted mau turned to meet the material peril that was closo at hand.
With a ferocious gasp, the dog flung himself upon him. John Rex was borne backwards, but in his desperation ho clutched tho beast by tho throat and belly, and exerting all his strength, flung him oil'. Tho brute uttered one howl, and seemed to lie whoro ho had fallon ; while above his carcaBO again hovered that whito and vapor- ous column. It was strange that M'Nab nnd the soldier did not follow up tho advantage thoy had gained. Courage?porhaps ho should defeat them yet! Ho had been lucky to disposq of tho dog so easily. With a fierce thrill of re nowed hope, he ran forward; when at his feet, in his face, arose that misty Form, breathing chill warning, as though to wave him back. Tho terror at his heels drove him on. A fow stops more, and ho should gain the summit of the cliff. Ho could feel tho sea roaring in front of him in tho gloom. Tho column disappeared ; aud in a lull of wind, uprose from tho place where it had been such a hideous medley of
shrieks, laughter, and exultant wrath, that John Rex paused in horror. Too late. The ground gave way?it seemed?beneath his feot. Ho was falling?clutching, in vaiu, at rocks, Bhrubs, and grass. The cloud-curtain lifted, and by tho lightning that leapt and played about tho ocean, John Rex found an explanation of lils terrors, moro terrible than they themselves had been. The track he had followed led to that portion of tho cliff in which tho sea had excavated the tunnel-spout known as tho Devil's Blow-Hole.
Clinging to a tree that, growing half way down tho precipice, had arrested his course, ho stared into tho abyss. Before him?already high above his head?was a gigantic arch of cliff. Through this arch he saw, at an immense distance below him, tho raging nnd pallid ocean. Beneath him was au abyBS splintered with black rocks, turbid and raucous with tortured water. Suddenly the bottom of this abyss seemed to advance to meet him ; or, rather, the black throat of the chasm belched a volume of leaping, curling water, which mounted .to drown him. Was it fancy that showed him on the surface of the rising column the mangled carcase of tho dog ?
The chasm into which John Rex had fallen was Bhaped like a hugo funnel Bet, up on its narrow end. Tile Bides of this funnel were rugged rock, and in tho banks of earth lodged here and there upon projections, a scrubby vege- tation grew. The scanty growth paused abruptly half way down tho gulf, and the rook below was perpetually damp from the upthrown spray. Accident?had the convict been a Meekin, we might term it Providence?had lodged him on the lowest of these banks of earth. In calm weather he would havo been out of danger, but the lightning ' flash rovealed to his terror, sharpened senses a black patch of dripping rook on the Bide of the chasm some ten feet above his head. It was evident that upon the next rising of tho water-spout tho place where ho stood
would be covered with water.
Tho roaring column mounted with hideous swiftness. Rex felt it rush at him and swing him upward. With both arms round tho tree, bo clutched the sleeves of his jacket with either hand. Perhaps if ho could maintain his hold, ho might outlive the shock of that suffocating tor- rent He felt his feet rudely seized, as though by the hand of a giant, and plucked upwards. Water gurgled in his cars. Hisarmsseemedabout to be torn from their sockets. Had the strain lasted another instant, ho must have loosed his hold ; but, with a wild, hoarso shriek, as though it was some Bea-monstcr baffled of its prey, the column sank, and left him gasping, bleeding, half drowned, but alive. It was impossible that he could survive another shock, and in his agony he unclasped his stiffened fingers, determined to resign himself to his fate. At that instant, how- ever, he saw on tho wall of rock that hollowed on bis right hand, a rod and lurid light, in the mj&it of which fantastically bobbed hither and
thither tho gigantic shadow of a man. Ho cast his eyes upwards aud saw, slowly descending into tho gulf, a blazing bush tied to a rope. McNnb was taking advantage of tho pause in the spouting to examine the sides of tho Blow-hole.
A despairing hope seized John Hex. In another instant tho light would reveal to those above his figure, clinging like a liuipot to the rock. Ho must be detected iu any caso ; but if they could lower tho ropo sufficiently quickly, he might clutch it and bo saved. His dread of the horrible death that was beneath him overcame his resolu- tion to avoid recapture. Thc long-drawn agony of tho retreating water as it was sucked back agaiu into tho throat of the chasm hud ceased, and ho know that the next tremendous pulsa- tion of tho sea below would hurl the spuming destruction up upon him. Tho gigantic torch slowly descended and he had already drawn in his breath for a shout which should make itself heard above -tho roar of tho wind and water, when a strange appearance on tho face of the cliff made him pause. About six feet from him ?glowing like molten gold in tho gusty glow of the burning tree?a round, sleek stream of water slipped from the rock into tho darkness, Uko n serpent from its hole. Above this stream a dark spot defied tho torch-light, and John Rex felt his heart leap with ono lust desperate hopo as ho comprehended that close to him was one of those tortuous drives which the worm-like action of tho sea bores in such caverns as that in which ho found himself. The drive, opened first to tho light of tho day by the uatural convulsiou which had raised the mountain itself above ocean level, probably extended into the bowels of the cliff. Tho stream ceased to let itself out of tho crevice; it was then likely that thc rising column of water did not penetrate far iuto this wonderful hidiug-placc,
Endowed with a wisdom, which in ono placed in a less desperate position would havo been madness, John Rex shouted to his pursuers, "Tho rope ! the ropo !" Tho words, projected against tho sides of tho enormous funnel, wero pitched high above tho blast, and reduplicated by a thousand echoes, reached tho ears of thoso
" He's alivo I" cried HI'Nab, peering into tho abyss. " I seo him. Look !"
The Boldier whipped tho cud of the bullock- hide lariat round tho trco to which ho hold, and began to oscillate it, bo that tho blazing bush might reach tho ledge on which tho daring con- vict sustained himself. Tho groan which pre- ceded tho fierce belching forth of tho torrent was cast up to thom from below.
" God to gude to tho puir felly I" says the pious young Scotchman, catching bia breath.
A whito spume scorned visible at tho bottom of tho gulf, and tho groan changed iuto a rapidly increasing bellow. John Hex, eyeing the blazing pendulum, that with longer and longer swing momentarily neared him, looked up to the black heaven for tho hist time, with a muttered prayer. Tho bush? tho flame fanned by the motion? flung a crimson glow upon his frowning features, which as he caught the ropo seemed to have a sneer of triumph on them. " Slack out! slack out I" ho cried ; nnd then, drawing tho burning bush towards him, attempted to stamp out the firo with his feet. Tho soldier sot his body ngaiut tho trco trunk and gripped tho ropo hard, turning his head away from tho fiery pit below him. " Hold tight, your honor," he muttered to M'Nab. "She's coming I"
Tho bellow changed into a roar, tho roar into a shriek, and with a gust of wind and spray thu seething sea leapt np out of the gulf.
John Rex, unable to extinguish the flame, twisted his arm about the rope, mid tho instant beforo tho surface of tho rising water mado a momentary floor to the mouth of tho cavern, ho spurned tho cliff desperately with his feet and flung himself acrosB the chasm. He had already clutched thc rock, and thrust himself forward when tho tremendous voliimo of water struck him. M'Nab and thc soldier felt tho sudden pluck of tho ropo and saw tho light swing across tho abyss. Then the fury of tho waterspout burst with a triumphant scream, the tension ceased, tho light was blotted out, and when tho column sank, there dangled at tho end of tho lariat nothing but the drenched and blackened Bkoloton of tho sheoak bough. Amid a terrific peal ot thunder, tho lung pent-up rain descended, and n sudden ghastly rending asunder of tho clouds Bhowed far below them tho heaving ocean, high abovo thom the jagged and glistening rocks, and at their feet tho black and murderous abyss of tho Blow-hole?empty !
They pulled up tho useless ropo, in silenco; nnd another dead treo lighted and lowered, showed them nothing.
" God rest his puir bouI," saidlt'Nab, shudder- ing. " Ho'b oot o' our han's.
Ci i atom XXV.
GAUnrxr, guided by tho Crow, had determined to beach the captured boat on the southern point of Capo Surville. It will bo seen by thoso who havo taken the trouble to follow the description of the topography of Colonel Arthur's Peniten- tiary, that nothing but the desperate nature of tho attempt could have justified ho desperate n measure. The perpendicular cliffs seemed to render such an attempt certain destruction ; but Vetch, who hud been employed in building tho pier at tho Nock, knew that on the southern point of tho promontory was a atrip of beach, upon which the company might, by good fortune, land in safety. With something of tho decision of his leader, Rex, the Crow determined at once that in their desperate plight this was the only moasuro, and setting his teeth as he seized tho oar that served as a rudder, ho put the boat's head Btraight for tho huge rock that formed tho northern horn of Pirates' Hay.
Savo for tho faint phosphorescent radiance of tho foaming waves thu darkness was intense, lind pursuing Burgess for some minutes pulled almoBt at random. The samo tremendous flash of
lightning which had saved the life of M'Nnb, by j causing Rex to miss bia aim, showed to tho Coin- I
miindant thc whale-boat balanced on thc summit of an enormous wave, and apparently about to bo flung against the wall of rock which?magni- fied in the sudden flash?Becuicd frightfully near to them. The next instant Burgess himself? his boat lifted by tho swiftly advancing billow? beheld at his feet a sort of panorama. Suspended on tho brink of thc wavo, theCornmandnnt seemed on tho summit of a cliff, from which he saw n
wild waste of raging sea scooped into abysmal I troughs, in which the bulk of a leviathan might wallow. At the bottom of ono of these valloys of water lay the mutineers' boat, looking, with its outspread oars, like some six-legged insect floating in a pool of ink. Tho great cliff, whoso every scar and crag was as distinct as though its huge hulk was but a yard distant, seemed to shoot out from its base towards the struggling insect, a broad, flat straw, that was a strip of dry land. The next instant tho rushing water, carry- ing the six-legged atom with it, creamed up over this strip of beach; the giant crag, amid the thunder-crash which followed upon tho lightning, appeared to stoop down over the ocean, and as it stooped the billow rolled onwards, tho boat glided down.into the depths, and the whole phantas- magoria was swallowed up in the tumultuous darkness of the tempest.
Burgess?his hair bristling . with terror shouted to put the boat about, but ho might with as much reason have Bhouted at an ava- lanche. The wind blew his voice away, and emptied it violently into the air. A snarling billow jerked the oar from his hand. Despite tho desperate efforts of the soldiers, the boat was whirled up the mountain of water like n leaf oh a water-spout, and a second flash of lightning showed to them what seemed a group of dolls struggling in the surf, and a wallnutsliell bottom upwards was driven by tho recoil of the wave towards them. For an instant all thought that they must Bhare tho fate which had overtaken the unlucky convicts ; but Burgess succeeded in trimming the boat, and, awed by the peril he had so narrowly escaped, gave the order to re- turn. As the men set tho boat's head to tho welcome lino of lights that marked the Neck, a black spot balanced upon a black line was swept under their stern and carried out to the sea. As it swooped past them this black spot emitted a cry, and they knew, that it waa ono of tho shattered boat's crew clinging to an oar.
" Ho was the only one of 'em alive," said Burgess, bandaging his sprained wrist two hours afterward at the Neck, " and he'B food for the fisheB by this time !"
He was mistaken, however. Fate had in re- serve for the crew of villains a less merciful death than that of drowning. Aided by the lightning, and that wonderful " good luck" which urges villany to its destruction, Vetch beached the boat, and the party, bruised and bleeding, reached the upper portion of the shors in Bafety. Of all this number only Cox was lost. He waa
pulling stroke-oar, and being somewhat of a laggard, stood in tho way of tho Crow, who, fleeing tho importance of hasto in preserving his own skin, plucked the man backwards by tho collar, and passed over his sprawling body to tho shore. Cox, grasping at anything to save him- self, clutched an oar, and tho next moment found himself borne out with the overturned whale-boat by tho uuder-tow. He was drifted past his only hope of rescue?thc guard-boat?with a velocity that forbade all attempts at rescue, nnd almost before the poor scoundrel had time to realise his condition, bc was in tho best possible way of escaping thc hanging that his comrades had so often humorously prophesied for him. Being a strong and vigorous villain, however, ho clung tenaciously to his oar, and even unbuckling his leather belt, passed it round the slip of wood that was his salvation, girding himself to it as firmly as ho was able. It was in this condition, plus a swoon from exhaustion, in which ho was descried by tho helmsman of the Pretty Mary, a few milos from Capo Surville, at daylight next morning. Blunt, with a wild hopo that this waif and stray might bo the lover of Sarah Furfoy dead, lowered a boat and picked him up. Nearly bisected by tho belt, gorged with Kilt waler, frozen with cold, nnd having two ribs broken, tho victim of Vetch's murderous quick- ness retained sufficient life to survive Blunts remedies for nearly two hours. During that time ho stated that his name was Cox, that ho had escaped from Port Arthur with eight othora, that John Rex was the leader of tho expedition, that the others were all drowned, and that ho believed John Rex hail, been retaken. Having placed Blunt in possession of these particulars, ho further said that it pricked him to breathe, cursed Jemmy Vetch, tho Bottlcmcnt, nnd tho Bea, and so impenitently died.
Blunt smoked three pipes, and thou altered tho course of the Pretty Mary two points to tho eastward, and ran for the coast. It was possible that the man for whom ho was searching had not been retaken, and was now awaiting his arrival. It was clearly his duty?hearing of tin planned escape having been actually attempted? not to givo up tho expedition while hopo re- mained. " I'll take ono moro look along," said ho to himself. Tho Pretty Mary, hugging tho coast as closely as she dared, crawled in tho thin breeze all day, and saw nothing. It would bo madness to land nt Capo Surville, for the whole Station would bo on tho alert, so Blunt, as night was falling, stood off a little across tho mouth of Pirates' Bay. Ho was walking the deck, groan- ing at thu folly of tho expedition, when a strange appearance on tho southern horn of tho bay
made him come to a sudden halt. Thora was a furnace blazing in the bowels of tho mountain. Munt rubbed his eyes mid stared. He looked at tho man at tho helm. " Do you seo anything yonder, Jem!"
Jem?a Sydney man, who had never been round that coast beforo?briefly remarked, " Lighthouse."
Blunt stumped into tho cabin and got out his chin ts. No lighthouse laid down there, only a mark like an anchor, and a note, " ltomarkablo Hole at thia Point." A remarkable hole indeed; a remarkable "limekiln" would have been moro to the purpose !
Blunt called up his mate, William Staples, a fellow whuui Sarah Purfoy's gold hud bought body and soul. William Staples looked at tho waxing and waning glow for a while, and then said, in tones trembling with greed, " lt's afire. Lie to, and lower away tho jolly-boat. Old Man, that')) our hird for n thousand pounds !" Tho Pretty Mary shortened sail, and Blunt and Staples got into the jolly-boat.
" Goin' a hoysteriu', sir ?" said ono of tho crow, with a grin, ns Blunt threw a bundle into
Staples thrust his tongue into his cheek. Tho object of tho voyage had got to bo pretty well understood among tho carefully picked crow. Blunt had not chosen men who wero likely to betray him, though, for that matter, all-thought- ful Hex had suggested a precaution which ren- dered betrayal almost impossible.
" What's in tho bundle, Old Man !" asked Will Staples, after they hail got clear of the ship.
"Clothes," returned Blunt. " We can't bring him od', if it i's him, in his canaries. Ho puts on theso duds, d'ye seo, sinks Her Majesty's livery, aud conies aboard, ,1 ' shipwrecked mariner.'"
" That's well thought of. Whoso notion's that?
Tho M.'ilnm's, I'll bo bound."
" Sho'b a knowing ono."
And tho sinister laughter of tho pair floated
across tho violet water.
" Go easy, man," says Blunt, as thoy neared the shore. " They're all awake at Eaglehawk ; and if tlwso cursed dogs givo tongue, tlioro'll bo a boat out in n twinkling. It's lucky thu wind's
Staples lay on his oar and listened. The night was moonless, and tho ship had already disap- peared from view. They wero approaching tho promontory from tho south-east, and tho isthmus of thu guarded Nook was hidden by the outlying cliff. In tho south-western nnglo-of this cliff, about midway between tho summit and the sea, was an arch, which vomited n red and flickering light, that faintly shone upon tho sea in the track of tho boat. Tho light was lambent and uncer- tain, now sinking almost into iusignifi once, and now leaping up with a fierceness that a'aused a deep glow to throb in tho very heart of the moun- tain. Sometimes a black figure would pass across this gigantic fiircmco-mouth, stooping and rising, as though feeding tho fire. Ono might have imagined that a door in Vulcan's Smithy had been left inadvertently open, and that the old boro wns forging arms for n demigod.
Superstitious Blunt turned pule. "It's no mortal," he whispered. " Let's go back."
" And what will Madam say 1" returned dare- devil Will Staples, who would have plunged into Mount Erebus had he been paid for it. Thus appealed to in tho name of his ruling passion, Blunt turned his head, mid tho boat sped on-
thu woiuc ok Tin: sea.
The lift of tho watcr-spout hail saved John Rex's lifo. At the moment when it struck him he was un his hands and knees at tho
entrance of tho cavern. Tho wave, gushing upwards, at tho same time expanded, laterally, and this lateral force drovo tho convict into the
month of tho subterlapian passage. Thu passago seemed to trend downwards, and for some seconds he was rolled over and over, tho rush of water wedging him at length into a crevice between two enormous Btones, which scumed to overhang a still more formidable abyss. Fortu- nately for tho preservation of his hard-fought-for life, thiB very fury of incoming water prevented him from being washed out again with tho recoil of tho wave. Ho could hour tho water dashing with frightful echoes far down into tho depths beyond him, hut it was evident thal tho two stoues against which ho had been thrust acted ns breakwaters to the torrent poured in from the outside and repelled the main body of the stream in the fashion he hail observed from his position on the ledge. In » few seconds tho cavern was empty.
Painfully extricating himself, and feeling as yet but half doubtful of his safety, John Rex essayed to climb the twin-blocks that barred tho unknown depths below him. The first move- ment ho made caused him to shriek aloud. His loft arm?with which ho clung to the rope? hung powerless. Ground against tho nigged entrance, it was momentarily paralysed. For an instant the unfortunate wretch Bank despairingly on the wet and rugged floor of the cave ; then a terribly gurgling beneath his feet warned him of tho approaching torrent, and collecting nil his energies, ho scrambled up tho incline. Though nigh fainting with pain and exhaustion, ho pressed desperately higher and higher. He heard the hideous shriek of the whirlpool which was beneath him grow louder and louder. Ho saw the darkness grow darker as the rising water- spout covered the mouth of tho cave. Ho felt the salt spray sting his face, and the wrathful tide lick tho hand that hung over tho shelf on which ho fell. But that was all. He was out of danger at last! And ai the thought blessed his senses, his eyes closed, and the wonderful courage and strength which had sustained tho villain so long, exhaled in stupor.
When ho awoke, the cavern waa filled with the soft light of dawn. Raising his eyes, he beheld, high abovo his head, a roof of rock, on which tho reflection of the BunbeamB, playing upwards through a pool of waler, cast flickering colora. On his right hand was the mouth of the cave, on his left a terrific abyss, at the bottom of which he could hear the Bea faintly lapping and washing. He raised himself and stretched his stiffened limbs. Despite his injured ehoulder, it was imperative that he Bhould beBtir himself. He knew not if his escape had been
noticed, or if tho cavern had another inlet, - by which returning M'Nab could penetrate. Moro ovor, he was wot and famished. To preserve tho life which he had torn from tho sea, ho must havo lira nnd food. First he examined tho crovico by which ho had entered. It was shaped like an irregular triangle, hollowed at the baso by the action of tho water which iu such storms as that of tho preceding night was forced into it by tho rising of tho sen. John Rex dared not crawl too near tho edge, lest ho should slide out of tho damp and slippery orifice, and bo dashed upon tho i-ocks at the bottom of the Blow-hole. Craning his neck, ho could soo, a hundred feot below him, tho sullenly frothing water, gurgling, spouting, and creaming, in huge turbid eddies, occasionally leaping upwards as though it longed for another storm to send it raging up to the mau who had escaped its fury. It was impossible to get down that way. Ho turned back into tho cavern, and began to explore in that direction.
The twin-rocks against which ho had been hurled were, in fact, pillars which supported tho roof of the water-drive. Beyond thom lay a great gray shadow which was emptiness faintly illumined by tho soa-light cast up through tho bottom of tho gulf. Midway across tho gray shadow foll a strange beam of dusky brilliance which cast its flickering light upon a wilderness of waving sea-weeds. Even in tho despornto position in which ho found himself, there sur- vived in tho Vagabond's nature sufficient poetry to make him value tho natural marvel upon which he had so strnngoly stumbled. Tho immense promontory, which, viewed from the outside, seemed as solid as a mountain, was in reality but a hollow cone, reft and Bplit into a thousand fissures by tho unsuspected action of centuries of sea. The Blow-holo was but an insignificant cranny compared with this enormous chasm. Descend- ing with difficulty thu stoop iuclino, ho found himself on thc brink of a gallery of rock, which, jutting out over tho pool, boro on its moist mid weed-benrded edges signs of frequent submer- sion, lt must bo low tido without tho rock. Clinging to tho rough and root-liko algal that fringed tho cvor-moist walls, John Rex crept round tho projection of tho gallery, and passed at once from dimness to daylight. There was a broad loophole in tho Bido of tho honey-combed anil wave-perforated cliff. Tho cloudless heaven expanded above him ; a fresh breeze kissed his cheek, and, sixty feet below him tho sea wrinkled all its lazy length, sparkling in myriad wavelets beneath tho bright beams of morning. Not a sign of tho recent tempest marred tho exquisite harmony of tho picture. Not a sign of human lifo guvo evidence of tho grim neighborhood of thu prison. From the recess out of which he pcored nothing was visible but sky of torquoiso smiling upon a sea of sapphire
This placidity of nature was, however, to tho hunted convict a now sourco of alarm, lt was a reason why tho Blow-holo and its neighborhood should bo thoroughly searched. Ho guessed that tho favorable weather would bu an additional inducement to M'Nab and Burgess to satisfy themselves nfl to tho fato of their late prisoner. Bo turned from tho opening and prepared to descend still further iuto tho rocky pathway. Tho sunshine had revived mid cheered him, and a sort of instinct told him that tho cliff so honey- combed above, could not bo without some gully or chink at ita biiBe, which at low tido would givo upou tho rocky shore, it grow darker as ho descended, and twice ho almost turned back in dread of tho gulfs on cither side of him. It Boomed to him, alBo, that tho gullut of weed-clad rock through which ho was crawling doubled upon itself and led only into the bowels of thu mountain, Gnawed by hunger and conscious that in a fow hours nt most tho rising lido would fill tho subterranean passago and cut oil' his rotreo t, ho pushed desperately onwards. 1 Ie had descended sumo ninety feot, and had lost in tho devious windings of his downward path all but the reflection ofilia light from tho gallery, when ho was rewarded by a glimpso of sunshine strik- ing upwards. Ho parted two enormous masses of seaweed, whoso bubble-beaded fronds hung curtaiu-wiso across his path, and found him- self in tho very uiiddlo of tho narrow cleft of rock through which tho sea was driven to tho
At an iimnonsodistancoabovo him wns tho arch ot cliff. Beyond that arch appeared a segment of tho ragged odgo of the circular opening down whiuh ho lind fallon. Ho looked in vain for tho fluinol-inouth whoso friendly sheller had received him. lt was now indistinguishable. At his feet was a long left in the solid rock, so narrow that hu could nliuust luivu luupl noiuoo it. Thia left was tho channel of a swift black current which
from tho sea for fifty yalda under au arch eight feet high, until it broke upon tho jagged rooks that lay blistering in tho sunshino nt tho bottom of tho circular opening in tho upper cliff. A shudder shook tho limbs of tho adventurous convict. Ho comprehended that at high tido tho pince whoro he stood was under water, aud that tho narrow cavern booauio a subaqueous pipe of solid rock forty-feet long, through which wore spouted thu league-long rollers of tho Southern
Tho narrow strip of rook at tho bnso of the cliff wns as lint ns ii table. Hero and thoro wero enormous hollows like puns, which tho rotroaling tidu lind loft full of clear, still wator. Tho cran- nies of tho rock wero inhabited by Bmnll white crabs, and John Rux found lo his dolight that lhere was on this little shelf abundance of mus- sels, which, though lean and acrid, wore suffi- ciently grateful to his famished stomach. Attached to tho flat surfaces of tho numerous stones, moreover, wore coarse limpets. Those, however, John Rex found too Bait to bo palat- able, and waa compelled to reject them. A huger variety, however, having a succulent body as thick ns a luau's thumb contained in long razor-shaped shells, wero in same degree free fruin this objection, and ho «oon collected tho materials for a meal. Having eaten and sunned himself, ho begun to oxainino the enormous rock to tho base of which he had bo strangely pene- trated. Rugged and worn, it raised ita hugo breast against wind and wave, securo upon a broad pedestal, which probably oxtended nu far beneath the sea ns tho massive column itself roso above it. Rising thus, with its shaggy drapery of sea-weed clinging about ita knees, it Boomed to bo a motionless but sentient being?somo monster of tho deep, a Titan of tho ocean con-! demned ever to front in silence the fury of that illimitable and rarely travelled sea. Yet? silent and motionleas as ho was?tho hoary ancient gave hint of tho mysteries of his revenge. Standing upon tho broad and sea-girt platform where surely no human foot but his had ever stood in lifo, tho convict Haw many feet above him, pitched into a cavity of the huge sun blistered boulders, an objoot which In's sailor eye told liim at onco was part of tho top humper of Homo largo ship. Crusted with shells, audits ruin so over-run with tho ivy of tho ocean, that its ropeB could barely be distinguished from tho weeds with which ' they wero encumbered, this relic of human lubor attested the triumph of nature ovor human ingenuity. Perforated below by the relentless sea, exposed above to tho full fury of tho tempest; Bet in solitary defiance to the waves, that rolling from tho ice-volcano of tho Southern polo, hurled their gathered might unchecked upon its iron front, the great rock drow from its lonely warfare tho materials of its own silent, vengeances. Clasped in iron arms, it hold ita prey, snatched from tho jaws of tho all devouring Boa, Ona might imagine that, when tho doomed ship, with her crew of shrieking souls, had splintered and gone down, tho deaf, blind giant hud clutched this fragment, upheaved from thc seething waters, with a thrill of savage and terriblo joy.
John Rex, gazing up at Ibis momento of a forgotten agony, felt a sensation of tho most' vulgar pleasure. " There's wood for my fire 1" thought he; and mounting to the spot, ho essayed to fling down tho splinters of timber upon the platform. Long oxposed to the sun, and flung high above tho water-mark of recent storms, the timber had dried to the condition of touch-wood, and,would burn fiercely. It waB precisely what be required. Strange accident that had for years stored, upon a desulute rock, this fragment of a vanished and long-forgotten vessel, that it might aid at last to warm the limbs of a villain escaping from justice 1
Striking the disintegrated masB with his iron shod heel, John Rex broke off convenient por- tions ; and making a bag of his Bhirt, by tying tho sleeves and neck, he was speedily staggering into the cavern with a supply of fuel. Ho made two £rips, flinging down the wood in tho floor of the gallery that overlooked the sea, and was re- turning for a third, when his quick ear caught the dip of oars. He had barely time to lift the sea-weed curtain that veiled tho entrance to the chasm, when the Eaglehawk boat rounded the promontory. BurgeBS was in the stern-sheets,
and seemed, to be making signals to someone on the top of tho cliff. Rex, grinning behind his voil, divined tho mnncouvre. M'Nab and bia party wero to search above, while the Com- mandant examined the gulf below. Tho boat headed direct for tho passage, and, for an instant,
John Rex's undaunted soul shivered at the thought that, perhaps after nil, his pursuers might bo aware of tho existence of thu cavern. Yet that was unlikely. He kept his ground, and the boot passed within a foot of him, gliding silently into tho gulf. Ho observed thnt Burgess' usuiilly florid face was palo, nnd that his left sleeve was cut open, showing a bandage on the arm. There had been some fighting, then, and it was not unlikely that bis fellow-desperadoes had been captured ! Ho chuckled at his own ingenuity and good sense. Tho boat, emerging from tho archway, entered tho pool of the Blow- hole, and held with tho full strength of the party, remained stationary. John Rex watched Burgess scan tho rocks and cddios, Baw him signal to M'Nab, and then, with much relief, beheld the boat's head brought round to tile sea-hoard.
Ho was so intent upon watching this danger- ous aud difficult operation, that he was oblivious of an extraordinary chango which had taken place in tho interior of thc cu vern. Tho water, which, au hour ago, had left exposed a long roof of black hummock-rocks, wa3 now spread in one foam-flecked sheet ovor tho ragged bottom of tho rude stiircaso by which ho had descended. Tho tido had turned, and tho sea, apparently sucked in through some deeper tunnel in the portion of tho cliff which wns below water, was being forced into tho vault with a rapidity which bid fair to shortly submerge tho mouth of the cave. The convict's feet wero already wetted by tho incoming waves, aud as ho turned for ono last look at tho bout, ho bow a green, grassy billow hcavo up against tho entrance to the chasm, and, almost blotting out tho daylight, roll majestically through tho inch. lt woe high time for Burgess tu tnko his departure if
ho did not wish his whale-boat to bo cracked liko a mit against thu roof of thu tunnel. Alive to his danger, tho Commandant abandoned the search lifter his lute prisoner's corpso, and hastened to gain tho open sea. Tho boat, carried backwards and upwards on tho bosom of a monstrous wavo, narrowly escaped destruction, and John Rex, climbing tu thu gallery, saw with much satisfaction tho broad back of his out-witted gnolcrilisappearroiuid thu sheltering promontory. The Inst ell'orta of his pursuers had failed, and in another hour tho only accessible entrance to the convict's retreat was hidden under three feet ot furious sen-water.
His gaolers wore convinced of his death, and would search for him no moro. So far, eo good. Now for tho last desperate venture?tho CBcape from tho wonderful carom which was nt once his shelter and his prison. Piling bis wood togothor, and succeeding after ninny efforts, by
nid of a flint and tho ring which yet clung to his , s anklo, in lighting a lire and wanning his chilled ? limbs in its cheering blaze, hu Bet himself to
meditate upon his cou mo of notion. Ho wns safo ? K for thu present, and tho supply of food that the rock afforded waa limply suilluiunt to sustain life in him for many days, but it was impossible that ho could remain for ninny days concealed. Ho lind no fresh wntor, mid though hy reason of the Honking hu had received bo had hitherto felt little inconvenience from this cause, tho salt and acrid inuasuls speedily induced n raging thirst, which ho could not alleviate, lt was imperative that within forty-eight hours at furthest lie should be on his way tu tho peninsula. Hu reiuombored tho little stream into which?in his flight of the previous night?ho had so nearly fallen, and Imped to bo ablo under cover of thu darkness to stoiil round tho reef and reach il unobserved. His desperate scheme was then to commence. He hud tn run thu gauntlet of tho dogs and guards, gain thu peninsula, and await thu rescu- ing vessel. Ho confessed lo himself that the chnuces were terribly against him. If Qabbolt and tho others hud been recaptured?ns ho devoutly trusted?tho const would bo compara- tively clear ; but if they had escaped, ho know Burgess too well to think that, ho would give up tho chase while hope of re-taking thu absconders remained to him. ff indeed nil full out as he lind wished, ho had still to sustain lifo until Blunt found him?if haply Munt lind nut returned, wearied with uBeloss and dangerous waiting.
Ah night enmu on, ami tho firelight showed strango shadows waving from the corners of tho enormous vault, while the diurnal abysses beneath him murmured nnd muttered with uncouth and ghastly uttunu'aur, thora foll upon thu lonely
mnn tile terror of Solitude. Wini thin iiiivrvul.
lons hiding placo that ho had discovered to bo his sepulchre I Was ho?a monster muong his fellow-men?to die soma monstrous death, en- tombed in this mysterious mid terrible cavern of tho sou? Ho tried to drivo away thoso gloomy thoughts by sketching ont. for himself a plan of action?bul in vain. In vain hu strove to picture in its completeness that?iib yet vague?design by which ho promised hiniBolf to wrest from the vanished Bon of thu wealthy shipbuilder his name and heritage. His mind, filled with forebodings of shadowy horror, could not givo to tho subject that calm consideration which it needed. lu the midst of his schemes for tho baffling of the jealous love of tho woman who wns to savo him, mid tho getting to langland, in shipwrecked and foreign guise, ns the long-lust heir to the fortune of Sir Richard Devine, thorn arose ghastly and awesome shapes of death and horror, with whose terrible unsiibstaiitiality ho must grapple in tho lonely recesses of that dismal cavern. Hu heaped frosh wood upon his fire, that thu bright light might drive out the growsiuuu Ulinga thatlurked above, below, and around him. Hu became afraid lo look behind him, hist some shapeless muss of mid-sea-birlli?soino voracious polyp' with far reaching arms and jellied mouth over open to devour?niigiil liol slide up ovor the' edge of the dripping caves below and fasten upon him in tho darkness. His imagination?always'. Bulneiently vivid mid spurred to unnatural effect by tho exciting scenes of the previous night?painted euell patch of shadow, clinging bat-liko to Ibo humid wall, os some globular sea spider ready lo drop upon him with its viscid and cloy-cold body, and drain out his chilled blood, enfolding him in rough and liuiry arms, 'linell splash in the water beneath him, each sigh of the multitudinous and melancholy sea, seemed to prelude tho laborious advent nf some mis- shapen and ungainly abortion of the ouzo. All the sensations induced by hipping water and re- gurgitating waves took material shape aud sur- rounded him, All creatures that could be engendered by slime and salt crept forth iuto tho firelight to utans at him. Rid dabs'nnd splashes that wero living beings, having a strange phosphoric light of their own, glowed upon the floor. Tho livid incrustations of a hundred years of-humidity slipped from off tho walk and painfully heaved their mushroom surfaces to' tho' blaze, 'file red glow of tho unwonted tire,
crimsoning the wet sides of the cavern, seemed' to attract countless bh'sterous nnd transparent' shapelessnesses, which elongated themselves
towards him. Bloodless and bladdery things' ran hither and thither noiselessly. Strange carapaces crawled from out tho rocks. ' AU tho horrible uiiBeen life til the ocean seemed to be' rising up mid surrounding him. He retreated to' the brink of tho gulf, mid tho glare of tho upheld brand fell upori a rounded hummock, whose coronal of silky weed out-floating in tho waler looked like the head of a drowned man. He rushed to tho entrance of tho gallery, and hia shadow, thrown into thc opening, seemed to take tho shape of au avenging phantom, with arms upraised to.waru him buck. "
Tho naturalist, the explorer, or the shipwrecked
seaman would have found nothing frightful iu'' this exhibition of the harmless life of tho Aub-' tralinn ocean. But tho convict's guilty con- science, long suppressed .nnil derided, assorted itself in this hour wileri it was alone with Nature and Night. Tho bitter intellectual power.which
had Bolong supported him succumbed beneath . imagination?the unconscious religion of tho' soul. If over he wns nigh repeiitanco it was then. He deemed all tho phantoms of his past crimes arising to gibber at lum, nnd covering hie eyes with his hands, he fell shuddering upon his knees. The brand, loosening from his grasp, dropped into the gulf, and was extinguished with a hissing noise. As if tho Bound had called up some Bpirit thnt lurked below, a whisper ron through the cavern.
" John Rex 1"
The hair of the convict'i flesh stood up, nnd ho
cowered to tho earth.
" John Rex !"'
It was a human voice ! Whether of friend or enemy ho did not pause to think. His terror
over-mastered all other considerations.
" Here I Here I" he cried, and spring to the' opening of the vault.
Ito bb coktixdbd.] ' ,