Chapter 19781834

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Chapter NumberXXXVII
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1882-01-14
Page Number41
Word Count6045
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleGathered In
article text

The Storyteller.

Gathered In.



BY CATHERINE HELEN SPENCE. Author of "Clara Morison," "Mr. Hogarth's Will," "Hugh Lindsay's Guest," &c.

WHEN Jim departed and relieved the two friends of his presence, Sybil leaned her face in her hands for a while and then burst out with— "This accounts for the difference in the

cousins. Kenneth's father was a gentleman, at any rate. The plebeian mother (for of course she was Mr. Oswald's sister) has given him that ?train of vulgarity which comes out in this un pardonable action, which I resent ao bitterly." Edith Gray thought very differently about Kenneth's hereditary tendencies. That lovely mother, of whom he spoke bo affectionately and ao reverently, must have been a wronged or deceived woman, and from her he derived the best and highest qualities of his nature. If there was any baser alloy (and as yet she had peroeived none), that must be derived from the gentleman father. In this case Sybil was most unjust. She herself had full cmplicity in the offence which Kenneth had given, and therefore she wished to share tho odium. "Sybil," said her frieud, "if I had had the courage I should have done what Kenneth Oswald has done. I Bbould have shown myself as much of a plebeian as ho has. If you hate him for it you must hate me too." " Edith, I cannot hate you," said Sybil with an effort, speaking slowly, and with short pauseß. •'I cannot hide from you, who have seen so much of me, and heard probably some things whoa I bad no control over myself, that niy marriage has been a disappointing one. I ex pected too much, I fancy. I bad been spoiled by everybody. Bnt I was so wilful, so positive, so infatuated, and ho appeared bo absolutely in my power to mould for good. Oh 1 how papa pleaded with me, aud I was so unreasonable, and then be said he himself had been thwarted in his earliest attachment, aud that, though mamma was everything that waa good and kind, he recollected what he had suffered, and he gave in. Oh! so kindly. How can I bear to 1-1 him think that his goodness has only done harm? How can I bear to remind him that if he had only been firm, and held out against Herbert and me, he might have saved me from much suffering ? Only three months, and then grand papa's affairs would have been known, and I think he would have left me—but perhaps he would not —for he wan fond of me, very foud of me, and a little of it is comiug back now." Another long pause and she resumed : " But I'd rather be killed by inches by my owu remorse aud by other people's unkindiießß than that my father should reproach himself

* The solo right to publish " Gathered In" iv Queens laud bu been «uoured oj the proprietor* of the Qutent lanitr.

with having bnen too weak with me. You do not know, you cannot conceive, how I love my father, loving good daughter as you are, Edith. Oh ! when I tee you with Mr. Gray I just marvel at myself for leaving auoh a home ao young." Now came the flood of paadonate teara which Edith had wished her friend to abed on her boaom—'ears which called forth the deepeat sympathy and respect Tea, they were both the moat unselfish and generous creatures in the world, this Highland ohieftain'a daughter and George Oswald's nameless nephew; and now, at variance as they aeemed to be, with the disparity of birth still more enormous, Sybil appeared more worthy of the chivalrous love she had inspired than ever before. " Papa did not know when they wrote to me," said Sybil. "Happy for him to be away in Norway. I had such a dear bright letter from him about the country. Perhaps he will not be ao credulous as mamma and Norman. He ought to believe me rather than any stranger who chooses to meddle with my affairs," said Sybil, when ahe had recovered a little. " And you would prefer to lead the life you have done to returning to your loving happy home!" asked Edith. " I took him for better or for worse." "A great deal for the worae," thought her friend. "And he may be improved bj this illness, this endurance of pain, and absence of the ex citement he has been in the habit of living in. He writes moat affectionately. He longs for me. We must have another trial, and I muat school myself to be doubly patient and forbear ing with him. Poor fellow, he waa very badly brought up, and had not the blessed family influences around him to which we owe ao much. What says our Lord ? we muat forgive our offending brother until neventy times seven, and shall I not do aa much for the husband whom I have loved so much T . . . But I must Bee Kenneth Oswald, and find ont what he has really done, and try to make him undo it We can never be the same to each other after this—never. Jim could not resist telling his cousin that he had split upon him (as he called it) in two ways, and that he thought he need never show his face at Wilta again. Kenneth knew that Edith Gray at least would approve of the action which had so much offended Sybil, but the anguish he endured at her being told by his ungrateful cousin of the " blot on his scutcheon" waa intolerable. He waa tempted to go to his sister to tell her the truth, and throw himself on her sympathy; but to go when she waa offended, when ahe waa estranged, to tell her what would cause her such bitter pain, would be cruelty of which he waa not capable. No, he must only bear a little more himself—he was used to that Jim did not dare to let his father know the knowledge he possessed, or the mischief he had done; he had some fear of his father's righteous indignation. George Oswald, however, noticed that something waa wrong with Kenneth—he did not eat, he did uoc seem to sleep. The old man did not so completely forget things said and done in his oupa aa he wished to make people believe, and Kenneth's added sadness and depression recalled to him the interview his wife had forced upon him, and his imprudent revelation. Thank God, he bad let nothing out about his will, but this was bad enough. It waa evident that Jim knew, and had taunted his cousin with, his birth, and perhaps threatened exposure. He took an opportunity of speaking to Jim, and learned that he did not mean to tell anyone else about it, but he oould not help letting it out to Mrs, Ellerton and Miss Gray to serve out Kenneth for his cheek. Smitten to the heart with sorrow and remorse, George Oswald looked on his nephew with a solicitude and a kindliness that somehow reminded the young man of his mother, and as he leaned more and more on him in every way poor Kenneth felt there was something to live and struggle for yet. A few days passed, and he received a note from Sybil, desiring to see him without delay. It was a cold stiff note, but he could not disobey the summons. His real right to take an interest in her affairs being unknown, he felt he had taken an unpardonable liberty. And, unless bis father wrote to him to permit him to tell the bond between them, he made up his mind not to divulge it. So he did not attempt to justify himself; he •imply heard her reproaches, and allowed her to defend her husband, and explain away every instance of neglect or unkindnesß that she thought he knew of. He could not tell her that his mode of life wan disgraceful and dishonest; that any money he provided for the household, which waa not much, was wou at play and not in Uwful business; for every commission and agency business he had been supposed to do had been a mere farce as to bringing in an income. Sbe did not kuow the depths into which he had sunk. Sybil wished him to write a retraction and apology for what he had Bent to Castle Diarmid, but that Kenneth could not and would not do. All she oould obtain from him was a letter, in which he expressed concern for Mr. Kllerton's accident and his sufferings, and hopes that he might be softened and improved by the experi enoe he had gone through, and his conviction that Sybil had still that faith and confideuce in him which ought to lead him to a wis« and better life. To herself, personally, he expressed the greatest regret for having grieved or offended her, and, as in the course of her talk he learned that Edith had generously shared the odium of the commuuication he had made to her friends, he hoped that, as she appeared to have forgiven her, she could not be permanently irritated against himself. After Sybil had relieved her mind by saying all she could about his conduct, and had found that even her anger did not make her friend less true or lew steadfast, she felt disposed to take him into favour again. She had something on her mind still, and he offered his services. Yes; Mr. Ellorton was very short of money, and he wanted her either to borrow money from Mr. Gray, which she could not do, or to sell her rings. Kenneth protest against the selling of such an heirloom, and timidly offered himself to lend what was needed. Shu shook her bead impatiently—he was uot restored bo far as that " Why not sell the furniture at Castlehurst rather ?" he suggested. It was of no great value, for the piano had been hired, and other things

would fetch very little, and besides they might need it at once for a new home, for Mr. EUerton oould not oome again to live at Wilts, No, ahe must give op the ring. Herbert thought ahe valued it too muoh, and had an unreasonable estimate of family auodations; it would show that ahe prised him beyond everything if ahe could sacrifice this to bis urgent need. Would Mr. Kenneth think it too much to take it to the Melbourne jeweller who had been so struck by its unique style and workmanship, and get the hundred pounds he had said it waa worth, buy a draft for £50 to send to Mr. Ellerton, and bring the balance to her to be something to begin the world with again ? Kenneth promised he would obey her instruc tions to the letter. 441 had intended to have given it to Edith Gray as a slight mark of my undying gratitude, but I cannot have that pleasure. I mast be content to be immeasurably in debt to her and to all of you. Edith may see it on other fingers some day." Kenneth determined that the sale of the ring should not be finaL He was not paid any regular salary for his services to his uncle, though he was fairly supplied with money, and Mr. Oswald never refused him what he wanted. So h« said he was in need of a hundred pounds, and the old man after looking at him kindly and shrewdly gave him that and a little more. He then took the journey to Melbourne, got the jeweller's receipt for the ring, whioh he after wards bought himself, allowing the man his profit, bought the draft and despatched it with a little grudge at the idea of so much being sent to Ellerton out of the proceeds. He gave to Sybil the jeweller's formal receipt and the £50, and something of the old light came into her eyes when she thanked him and said he had managed the business very satisfactorily for her. damn XXXVIII. TOB TABLES TURKID ON JIM OSWALD. When Ellerton's recovery, retarded by his own impatience and imprudence, was going on, he was glad to see anybody, even the seedy Hugh Carmiobael. There was no real advantage in gambling with him, for two excellent reasons ; he bad no money, and he was as olever and as unscrupulous as Ellerton himself. If the latter knew a few modern tricks, Carmiohael played a very deep old game, and somehow, although the visits were originally made with the view of earning the balance of £500 frustrated by the incompleteness of the accident, the pair rather took to each other on further acquaintance. As Jim Oswald was absent, his advance spent, and great difficulties in the way of earning more from him appeared in the surveillance of the surgeon—especially as Ellerton himself began to see how necessary it was to be circumspect— Carmichael set himself to discover the cause of the hatred which waa unsuspected by its object When Ellerton expatiated—as he did freely on Carmiohael's first visit—on the shabbiness of young Oswald's conduct ia going off for his own pleasure, and leaving him writhing in pain aaiong strangers, he did not hint at any deeper motive than Jim's general indifference to every one but himself. But when he got more familiar, and spoke of his wife's wonderful voice, and the hopes he of her great success as a public singer, and showed the beautifully finished coloured photograph, which he earned about with him everywhere, Mr. Carmichael discovered the motive for the commission, whioh he had under* taken to execute, to put the husband out of the way. From Ellerton, too, he learned the position which Kenneth Oswald held with his uncle, and that there was no idea entertained but that the nephew waa his brother's son, and bo whispers of illegitimacy. Even if Ellerton was dead, Carmiohael was shrewd enough to think there was little chance for James Oswald, even with his expectations, with a woman like Mrs. Ellerton. His interest in the whole matter deepened when he learned that this beautiful woman was a M'Diarmid by birth, and half-sister to the Kenneth Oawald who was after all the strongest card in his hand. Whether by betraying the illegitimate birth, or by induoing the unole to extort his nephew's rights from his father, Hugh Carmiohael saw some harvest for himself from a parvenu squatter, probably ambitious of social consideration, who had recently been brought prominently forward for his " princely" liberality. Newspaper writers appear to be able to find no other word than princely for such liberality, whereas piinoes nowadays are not distinguished by the quality, as both Ellerton and Carmichael agreed when they discussed the subject together. The question in Canniohael's mind now was how to derive the greatest advantage from the present state of the game, whioh looked more promising than any hand he had held for many years. And he determined to change front altogether. Instead, therefore, of making away with Ellerton to please James Oswald, it would be muoh the better game to irritate EUerton against him. He waa a violent and unscrupulous man when his blood was up, and, though there was a good deal of discount to be taken off his narratives of things he had done in his wild youth, he might be roused now, by the sense of wrong, to do as much for James Oswald as that worthy had contemplated with regard to him. This would clear the way for Kenneth, who was even now very much valued by his uncle, and make him much more profitable to Hugh Car* micbaeL He therefore redoubled his attentions to the worthless Bon-in-law of Norman M'Diar mid, and, as there was apparently no interested motive to induce him to come to the sick-room, Ellerton was satisfied as to his sincerity, and, in default of better company, wearied for him, and was glad to see him. When he at last felt sufficiently recovered to make a start, he was not surprised or displeased when Carmichael proposed to accompany him on the plea that he wanted to see his friends the Oswalds. " I wonder how long it will take that young fellow, Jim Oswald, to run through that pro perty when the old boy hops the twig?' said Carmichael. " He'll cut up well, though ; and of course, as Jim is the only son, he'll get the bulk, though I dare say the old man will leave the nephew something." "It's a fine property," said Ellerton; "I would not mind if it was mine. Suoh an estate

would make a miaer of me, I believe, but it won't make a miaer of Jim Oswald. What with hia taste for the brandy bottle, the dice-box, and the betting ring, and a fancy for women too, which will get more expensive as he grows older —and his absolute ignorance about business—he can get through the whole of Tingalpa, and the other places—land and stock—in a wonderfully short time—with good help from friends." Carmichael laughed softly. This last was a touch of nature on Ellerton s part that went to bis heart. "I went through a pretty little fortune in three yean," resumed Ellerton. " But you acquired experience in the process, but I don't think James Oswald is picking up any of that commodity." " I took a good deal of pains with the fellow." "Very generous and disinterested of you when you saw his designs on your domestic happiness," said Carmichael, for latterly Ellerton had alluded to the absurd way in which Jim had spooned about his wifo. " My domestic happiness was quite safe from an unlicked oub like Jim Oswald.' 1 "Do you know, however, that you ought to be on your guard with him ? I speak seriously." MOn my guard with regard to my wifo t Bbc is true as steel—and with Jim ? The thing is ridiculous." "I do not mean with your wife. I dare say she is safe enough ; but I o.ean with regard to your l\fe." "My life, indeed ! That is a good joke! A coward like Jim Oswald to put me in bodily fear I" "lam in serious earnest If James Oswald could see any way of getting rid of you without endangering himself, your life is not worth an hour's purcha°e," said Carmichael. " And for what motive ?" asked Ellerton. " Is not your wife sufficient motive ?" asked CarmichaeL " He had quite lost the insane fancy for my wife," said Ellerton, eagerly. "He ran after other sorts of women wherever we went; never wrote to her; never sent any message to her when she appeared to be dying. Your supposition is too absurd." " That was all a blind," said Carmichael. MI never saw such hatred on any man's face as I once saw in his to you. He'd kill you if he dared." "The devil!" said Ellerton. "It is the naked truth. And do you think that accident was not a put-up thing ?" Ellerton started up, opened his eyes wide, and uttered a tremendous oath. "It was meant to be your neck, but it failed, and only broke your leg." " How do you know ?" " Never you mind. I know well enough—at least I can put two and two together, and after catching that look I would never be surprised at anything that happened." " Hang it—but he paid me what he owed me first. If he had meant to get me out of the way he'd not have done that," said Ellerton, incapable of taking in the idea at once of Jim having had any such deep designs against him. "It was not for money, you see—it was quite another motive, which of course I did not guess at the time. But recollect—he delayed his bank business in order to separate himself from you ; he declined your company to the bank, which you tell me you offered ; he came up to see you half dead, got you to this hotel, and sailed off, leaving you to sink or swim." 44 And, by God ! he tried to kill me on board the steamer going to San Francisco, too—ha dragged me into every sort of low haunt, and revelled in the proepeot of a brawl or a quarrel. It is as dear as day." " And he kept you in the dark all this time t" said Carmichael, with a sympathising exprestioa that was most irritating to his friend. " That's the worst of it. Jim Oswald hood* wink me !—me that led him about, and thought I had him under my thumb. What did you think he hated me for ?" " Oh, I suppose you had won money from him, made use of him, and perhaps made fun of him ; but now I feel sure it is your wife he wants." * 44 But if Mrs. Ellerton was a widow to-morrow, do you think she would ever look at such as him f" 44How is he to know that? Every youog fellow fancies he wonld be irresistible to any woman if he could offer his hand and heart, and a full purse into the bargain. So you were in his way, and he wanted you out of the way— that is the long and the short of it." 44 Jim Oswald, so deep a card as that 1" said Ellerton, still more enraged at the young fellow's powers of concealment the more he thought of it. 44 Well, when I get over to the Victorian aide I'll pay him oul for this lug, and for these weeks of captivity. I'll always walk lame, I owe him one for that. I might have died. I was not very prudent, and I was impatient of the tight strap ping ; but, by the Lord, if I had known all this was Mr. Jim's dotag, I'd have obeyed every order, and I'd have beeu at him before vow." He'll not do to be rooked any longer,**' said Carmichael;" he hinted to me that he did not think you played on the square." " Square enough for an idiot liko him I And he said that to you on the slightest acquaintance! And he paid mo, or at leaßt gavo mo bills on bis father, which I've melted and spent, more's the pity, and never hinted a word of this. If I don't serve him out for this 1" 41 I'd keep clear of him, if I were you ; he is dangerouß," said Carmicbael. " Am I not able to outwit a low idiot like James Oswald ? particularly with your bints. I'll be wide awake enough." "A wilful man must have his way," said Hugh Carmicbael; " but forewarned is ' fore armed is as good a proverb in my country as the other." Ellerton sat long silent, moodily turning things over in his mind. He had despised young Oswald too much to fear him. lie had often spoken to him and of him with undis guised contempt, thinking he was too obtuse to observe, and too weak to resent. But it had been his love for Sybil that had made him so tolerant, and, now that Carmichael had given him the key, be did recollect some words and some looks which corroborated hia statements. And that dark night in the storm, whon Jim's whole weight was on his throut, so that he might not have been able to cry for help, came back to his memory, and made certain to him

that the recent accident was a piece of under hand plotting. Where was the boy; did Carmicbael know? Carmichael knew, but did not tell. He said he had tried to get at the truth at the time, but the boy had left the colony, no doubt with the money James Oswald had paid him for his half-done work. There was no fear about Sybil, at any rate. She had written to him most affectionately; Bhe bad sold for his sake her cherished ring, and the bank draft had been sent direct from Melbourne (so as to save time) for the £50. Ellerton paid off hia doctor and his hotel bill, swearing internally that he should get that, by fair means or foul, out of the scoundrel who had made him incur such expenses, and in a rare fit of liberality offered to pay Carmichael's passage for him to Melbourne, as that gentleman said he was very hard up. He had, however, got some new clothes recently, and now looked a more credit able acquaintance than when they first met They played cards all the way on the steamer, but Ellerton had not his usual success. He was not so cool as usual, and he got among some hands as knowing as himself. He actually lost money instead of gaining any. Carmichael was more fortunate, but still nothing like what he expected. They got into Melbourne in the after noon. EUerton took his friend to the theatre. His thoughts were now turned stUl more ex clusively to his wife's probable earnings, when Jim Oswald was no longer a bank on which he might be able to draw. Ellerton took the railway next day to Castle hurst, and looked in for refreshment at the Bail way HotoL People looked coldly on him. Every one had beard of his staying away all these months, and not coming back when he was written or telegraphed for when his wife teemed to be dying at Wilta. Mr. Deane and Mr. Roberts, neighbouring squatters, who were in town at Castlehurst market, saw EUerton ; but they looked another way, and did not recognise him. Be was actually cut in the streets of Castlehurst! The hotelkeeper looked shy, aid when he wept to the livery-stable to get a horse to take him to Wilta he had cold looks and a demand for im mediate payment. He looked in the stable to see if there were any of the Wilta people in town, for this was the place where they, as well as the Oswalds, put up, and he saw horses belong ing to Kenneth ; and his curiosity to know the cause of the strange reception he was meeting made him ask after the Tingalpa people. MOh!" said the liverystable-keeper, "Jim Oswald's been at Oastlehurst for days, going on just as his father sometimes does. Something had crossed him, and he sat and drank ; but, in stead of getting the merrier, it was the more driok the more gloom, and be has been most outrageous to everybody, blackguarding bis cousin, bo that it has been the town talk, and Baying everybody cheats and robs him. He's scarce fit to go off now ; he set off about a quarter of an hour ago for home, but he said it would not take much to make him blow out his brains. You're not bound for Tingalpa ?" "No ; Igo straight to Wilta. Mrs. EUerton is there, and expecting me, for I telegraphed, and I thought some one would have been to meet me." The stable-keeper gave a look wbioh irritated Ellertou still more. " I suppose Jim Oswald was speaking about me too. What he Bay V "He was drunk, sir ; very drunk. I pay no attention to what a gentleman may say when he'd not himself." "I'll find out," thought Ellerton, but he said nothing further, and paid for his horse, which lef b him with only a little silver in his purse, and rode off at a brisk pace, which he hastened when out of sight He thought that by riding rapidly he could soon make up to any man in the two mUes of road before the Wilta and Tingalpa roads divided ; but he got to that point without oatching sight of Jim. He oould not be far off, howevef ; he would just go on, and find out what the blackguard had been BRying. He would confront Jim Oswald with all the advantages of a sober and injured man over a drunken offender. He, too, must have ridden very quickly, but recklessly, for he had been thrown from his horse, and he was seen a little off the road, sitting quite dose to a deserted digger's hole, at a place about seven miles from Castlehurst, and five miles from Tingalpa. It was a place most unlikely for gold, but a Spaniard had dreamed ou three consecutive nightß that the Virgin Mary had appeared to him, and had shown him that on this very spot he would find such quantities of the precious metal as made him faint away in his vision when Bhe displayed it before him. Contrary to the advice of every experienced miner on the goldfields, who said it waa no uae sinking for gold on a granite bottom, the Spaniard began his operations, and was joined by several other men—some CathoUcs, and even one shrewd Orkneyman, also carried away by his strong conviction, and they made the hole wide and large though not very deep, before it was abandoned as a " shycer." It was now fille.i with water, and hones and cattle made a practice of drinking there. Perhaps Jim's horse had wanted a drink, and thus went oft' the road, but he had rid himself somehow of his master, und after drinking at the hole he was taking a bite of grass before he made his start for his home at Tingalpa. Jim waa shaken and bruised l>y his fall. Hia coat and trousers bad been torn ou some stones or Btutups by tbe side of the shaft. He looked as stupid and helpless as possible till be caught Bight of Ellerton ; then the look uf unmistakable hatred came on to his face. " So you have get your turn now," said Eller on. " I hope you have at least broken your leg, to serve you out for your murderous plot against me in Sydney." Jim Oswald said nothing to deny the accusation or to justify bimnelf in any way. He ouly looked, or r&tuer glared, at his enemy. " It's not me you should bully or attack," said he after a pause. "It is Kenneth who is your wife'n fancy. It's time you were back to look after her. He's written to her friends com plaining of your conduct She gave him a Becret piece of business to do for her in Melbourne, and I believe he forked out the money she sent to bring you back. She is hand and glove with him—damn him I If she said I was not fit to tie

my cousin's shoes, what would she say of you ? I don't think you're fit to tie mine." " I can trust my wife," said EUerton, "with any Oswald of you aIL Bat what have you been saying about me in Castlehunt I" Now Jim had been too careful hitherto of oonaequenoes to say anything against Ellerton in Castlehunt. He had taken Carmiouael's advioe on that point to heart Although the Uvery-stable-keeper had tacitly admitted that something had been said that he paid no atten tion to, it was his own distrust and dislike that had really made him shy of Mr. Ellerton. Now, however, that EUerton was back alive Jim ex perienced a sensation of relief in getting out hi* real opinion of his quondam friend, so he replied— "Just that you are the biggest blackleg in Victoria unhung; and, what is more, everybody believes it You've swindled me out of hundreds and thousands, and I saw it, but I put up with it But your game is up with me." Jim was in that reckless frame of mind that his usual cowardly fears had no weight with him. He did not care what he said or how he said it M And you, you unlioked cub, dare to speak thus to me," said Ellerton, w after your behaviour to me for which I could have you abut up for life—and I will too." " What did Ido ? Made eyes at your wife. And that you winked at «s long as there was money in it; but now that I «m not to be swindled any longer you are both mighty par* ticular. You'd like to show her off on the stage, and win as much out of half-a-doeen spooneys at once. That game's over with me." EUerton's blood was up at this insulting speech, which was just so far true a* to make it the more stinging. He struck Jim on the temple with his heavy loaded riding-whip, and was astonished to see him fall as if dead with the blow. He had not exactly meant to kill his enemy, though he would have been glad to be rid of him ; but this was alarming. If he re covered, he could speak for himself; if he died, suspicion might fall on him (Ellerton) that would not easily be combated. Sudden as thought he lifted the prostrate form of his enemy, and carried him with difficulty, for his leg was still weak, on the slippery track of trodden soft earth by wbioh the hones and cattle went to drink. He used all his strength to throw in the body, but slipped bis foot a little just at the end. He waited till the body sank. He fancied that he saw the look of re* turning consciousness on the face, and the glare of hatred pass over the eye* as they opened at the feeling of ooldness in the water. He dared not weight the body in any way, for it must be supposed to be an accident; the hone had gone down to drink, and his rider had an unsteady seat and had fallen in. Nobody would know ; nobody could suspect that there had been any foul play. He looked all around. There was no one near; there could be no evidenoe against him. How long it appeared to him before the olothes got saturated and helped to sink that poor body before the danger of detection was over ; and yet how very few minutes had sufficed for the extinction of life, and for the laying of this Btrange new burden on the conscience of a hitherto careless unscrupulous man 1 He saw Jim's riding-whip at a little distance. He need not leave it there ; it would lead to in- Btant discovery. He carried it to the shaft, and very nearly threw his own in instead, which was also in his hand. That would have been a fatal oversight; but he recollected himself in time. He looked again round the place. There was not a vestige of the accident visible ; nothing that could call any attention to the place. Ellerton then mounted his hone, took a cross road, which he knew would save a mile or two, and rode full speed till he oame quite near to Wilta, when be slackened his pace to only that moderate rapidity suitable to a husband return ing after so long an absenoe to a beautiful young wife. He was in a strangely troubled state of mind. What would be his reception by the Grays when he had been treated so badly at Castlehurst? If Jim Oswald had complained loudly of his conduct, would they not have heard of it ? How would he induoe Sybil to content to the stage project, which she had hitherto shrunk from ? How would they manage about ways and means ? He shut out from his view that miner's hole, and the body at the bottom of it He had other more pressing matters to think of ; but he looked tired and jaded whan he pre sented himself at the open ball door. [TO BE CONTCNTJID.]