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Chapter NumberXXIX.
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Full Date1883-07-06
Page Number0
Word Count1640
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleKerang Times and Swan Hill Gazette (Vic. : 1877 - 1889)
Trove TitleAdventures of Three Young Ladies
article text ADVENTURES OF THREE YOUNG LADIES o CAI'lTEI XhXIX. The tempter even suggested that as probably the three girls would disappear for ever in the dreary solitudes of the harem, he aright con tinue to put their names to the receipts reliev ing himself from the liabilities of trusteeship. A moment before he had bitterly eccused t. he carl as beiig a forger, now that he had con te mplated the same,thing for his own advan to go, the crime appeared to take another sh ape. .So does the cunning subtletly" of:evil eug, gest ions blind us to really stupendous enormi-, ties. Already he found himself contemplating the loss of the three girls with wonderous equa nimity. Meanwhile the earl strode along the street in deep thought. Hitherto all had gone well, but how long, could he count on success continuing? Unless he reached England at a given date suspicion would,be excited. Once there, and backed up by Sir Thomas, lhe had only to have the money privately paid in and stop all inquiry. Forged bills of exchange and cheques were ones no strangers to certain bankers. they said nothing about them because they knew they would be paid, But the earl counted on keeping the estates of the ear!dom, and winning the dowry of Edith MIontague. There are many sore Fps between the cup and the lip The French banker was a slight wiry man, who, in an insignificant omfice of poor appearance, carried on business with every European state. Like most of his countrymen abroad, he was possessed of few scruples anal would buy and sell a slave without any hesitation. He had on nmany occasions been brought in contract with the slave-dealer, Suleiman, and knew that, although a pirate iu the most com plete sense of the word, he was safe in all money transactions. Introduced on such respectable authority, the earl easily obtained money for his forged bills and cheques. Thus provided, he returned to the residence of the corsair, aud made prepations for the journey to theehills. CHAPTER XXX. Meanwhile, the captain remained concealed in the dark and gloomystaircaeo leading to the tower. It was a spotsecldom or ever visited, except under very peculiar circumstances, Nothing could be more solitary, miserable, or dull. But the captain was animated by that hope which has sustained men through so many I fearful perils and dangerr,'and made the most excruciating trials as nothing in their eyes- the hope of meeting the beloved Edith was c!ose at hand. . The hour of night was not far off, and then he should Fee her, hear her sweett voice, and perhaps clasp her to his bosm. The cap'ain, hitherto a man of cahn and sc date exterior, had shown little disposition to any romantic proclivities. All the more was he takeon lb staorm. Whatever the say of the world might be, the strong, earnest lhve of a man is far msear.' last ing, real, passionate than that of a youth. The latter is sat to bJ as evanescet as it is Captain Thomp on had east his wholeo life on the hvzard of ir die. Nuthsurcd by diliculety, by the romantic ne=i tion in nhieh he was Islaced, his love for Edith had grown into a deep' absorbing passion, of intense deplth. All the world without her nppsafed a blank. As soon cs the darkness screened him with its frendly shelter, he crept upwar.'. For ahi agile an active man like the captain to fall from the summit of the toweron to the torrnes was no diflicuty. The danger wan dc.eovery. Peering over the battlements, he saw lights in the room ocenpied by the Iadies. No one was visible. The position was awkward. IBustmot English officers are as agile as schoolboys. and dropping over catiously, he fell on to the terrace. Holding his breath,and looking warily round -he was in na great danger of death as if he had been facing a battery-he found at the moment he was alone. Having recovered his breath, he cautiously crept along the wall towards the buildings. Three windows in French style, level with ground, admitted light during the day. They were partially obscured by heavy curtains 1With his hand on his dirk, and his heart in his mouth, the gallant young captain then ap proached the nearest window. Peering in, he saw Mrs Bacon and the four girls seated round a mat on the floor, they themselves being 'sunported by cushions and pillows, waiting while female black elaves laid the evening meal. 'We shall becomo perfect savages,' said Kate with a light laugh, which, despite her really dismal fealints, she could not repress, 'if we go on eating with our fingers. '1 hare forgotten the use of a fork,'replied Jessie, 'I wonder people who think so much of themselves caunot at least eat like Christians. 'Isuppose their bad habits cling to them. But we, must have couinage,' cried Edith. 'I have perfect faith in the noollah. Hoe will save us let whatever happen.' 'lie is faithful and true, I believe said IKate, warmly, 'but so are our other friends, 1 fully expect tv see somethiug of theem to night. Tiho slaves hied withdrawn. -'oe arer not misetaken,' whieplred a voice, abeolutelyin the room; 'is it safe to enter?' The girls started wildly. Their complexions, rather leplo ard sickly frome'ecrr'tal 'diirea3 , b:eaona crilmsoned over. ela still ; the faintest suspicion arouesed is death, said Mrs lareon, who had also risen and aeuntered towards the door. aising thie curtains which .ceccnedl the doorway, she found thait none owere watchlng in tihe pssuge. 'Toe can come in,'she whisporel; 'but, in the naeue of heaven, why this foollish isk5, 'I nm rather C ,eer olaokig .igiure,? 'aid tl,o youneg ca.ltain, recorving his cloak and hoo., "but had to onter-the palase in disguisee. My brother? asked Edith, who scarcel:y knee what to say. 'When I left them, my friends were well replied the captain. evasively, 'and doebtless we shall see sooething of thelh presently.' 'You are alone?' asked Mrs Bcon. 'But none the less wrelcome,' lddod Mrs :Bacon who saw that the clptain loAke hurt and disapupointnd. 'ou alppear ill,' she con tinedtsl. ' 'Well, 1 suppose I am faint and ill frdoe want of food,' he answered, with a.sickly smile I haeeo not talsted even a glass of water since lasut night,' All eagerly pre'sed refreshmeets upon him and then they adjourned to the terrace to hold a confe:e once. Tihe captaiu piroposed immediata departure. 'But bow ?' asked Mrs Bacon. 'The wall here is osly about thirty feeoot high he replied; 'you mighteasilv huo" together shawls and o'her articles of dress; once in the moat, we can join our friends-hhorses are easily procured, and our eceape is made~ The girls leaned over the ramparts, The fell was dark. and gloomny, ane; apparently dangerous, but anythhg eas bratter tean rskining in their present wretched ceap Ones within the folds of the serpent -that is lu-the emperor's owsn har?m. all hope wa gena. W What swe you, leedici ?' urged I-le captain 'Igt neight be done.' meneeed Mrs daeon 'Any risk rather than remain here, cried Jessie and Ea'e, 'Do you object ?' eskud Mrs Bncon. i 'Have you not promised the moollah,, she faltered, 'to abide his return. The captain felt a painfnl emotion. The dark:fever of jealousy was in his soul. 'I am afraid Ibhave been presumptuous,' he said in a tone of deep and earnest mortifica. tion, 'No, no.' cried Edith, quite ready for a flood of tears, 'not at all. I am in the hands of my friends- Whatever they think is right shall be done. 'Escape, then by all means,' said Mrs Bacon 'anything to be away from this awful prison. The other two girls agreed. Edith, though in her heart and soul sorry to depart from the instructions of the moollah did not like to set up her judgment againit that of her friends. A number of shawls, therefore, of delicate structure, but strong make, were procured and carefully knotted together. Havlng made it as secure as possible, it sas cast over the battlements. Now came the order of leaving. The captain insistedeon being last, He then with a tenderness and earnestness which showed how deep was his interest in Edith. coiltrived that she should be the first to deseeud! To delicate and softly natured girls, the task was no easy oneo It was work more suited to young and active sailors than young ladies. But more than life hung in the balance' and assisted by her friends, Edith crept over the battlements, and clinging to the shawls with hands and knees began the descent. Not a word was spoken. Edith kept her eyes cl .ed nandher teeth set. The others watched in ireathless awe. The captain leaned over terrified yet hopeful. Suddenly, just as drawing a long breath, he believed Edith to have reached the bottom, Mrs Bacon gave a desparing cry. Fly, we are discove-ed . Let Edith remain behind,' she gasped. The captain leaped over the ramparts with a sharp desparing cry, as he saw a number of the hidieous black guards of the harem rush toward him. In an instant he was at the bottom of the moat, and had clasped Edith in his arms. What has happened,' she cried. Discovered-betrayed,' he hissed, in her ear. See, already we are pursued.' 'Escape and leave me,' faintly ejaculated Edith. Now this was just what Mrs Bacon had hinted for hin to do. Under the circumstances in which they were placed, it was the only wise th ng to be done But the captain was an ardent lover, He h' d the girl be adored in hIs arms, and it seemed base cowardice and folly to desert her. (To be continued.)