|Chapter Title||HOW THE CURSE BEGAN|
|Newspaper Title||Kyabram Union (Vic. : 1886 - 1894)|
|Trove Title||The Curse of Carne's Hold, a Tale of Adventure|
THE C1GJLURSE OF CARNE'S . HOLD. A TALE OF ADVENTURE. lBy G. A. HEnNT, "atuthor of" Under Drake's Fla,," "with Clive in S Ins l?,"" A Comet of ttore," Etc. CHAPTER I. HOW TIlE Cuse OEOAn. There was nothing about Carne's Hold that would have suggested to the mind of the Spasing stranger that a curse lay upon" it. Houses to which an evil history is attached lie almost uniformly in low and damp situan tions. They are embedded in trees, their appearance is gloomy and melancholy. The vegetation grows rank around them. The drive is overgrown with weeds and mosses, and lichens cling to the walls. Carne's Hold possessed none of these features. It stood high up on the slope of the hill, look ing down into .the, valley of the Dare, with the pretty village of Carnetford nestling among its orchards, and the bright stream sparklinr in the sunshine.. SThere was, nothing either gloomy or for bidding about its architecture, for the term "Hold" that the country people applied to it was now a misnomer, forthebonbardiers of 'Essex had battered the walls of the old forti fledhouse, and had called in the aid of fire to ufinish the work of destructioia. The whole of the lpresent house was therefore fubsccquent to that 'dste ; it' had bedn addedton d en " 'larged many'times, and-.each of its owners had followed out his own fancies in utter disregard of those of his predecessors; con oiiently the house represented a medley of divirse styles, hind, "'athough doubtless an architectural monstrosity, ,wns picturesque and pleasing to the eye.of men ignorant of the canons of Art. There wpre no large trees near it, though a climp rose a few hundred yards behind it, and took away the effect of bareness it would otherwise have had. • The garden was well kept, 'and bright with flowers, 'and it was clear thlt no blighting influence hung over them, nor, it wouldbe thought, upon the girl, who, with a straw hat swinging an one hand, and a basket, moved among them. But the country people for six mioes round firmly believed that a curse lay on Carno's Hold, and even among the county families no one would have been willing to give a daughter in 'marriage to an owner of the place. The family now simply called their abode The Carnes. Carnesford, now a good-sized village, had once' been a tiny hianmlt, an appanage df' Caimne's Hold, but it. hadloing since grown nut Sof' eading strings, and though- it still re cgarded .The' Carnes with: something .of its old feuidiil feeling, it'ndow fuirishled no suit or service unless paid for so doing.: Carnes-, ford had grown but little' of late years, and bhad no tendeney. to increase.. There was work enough in the neighbourhood for such of its'inhabitants as wanted-to work, andiri summer a, cart went daily .with 'fruit and garden produce' to Plymouth, which, lay abqut., twenty miles away, the coast road dipping dew iinto the valley, and crossing the bridge over the Dare at Carnesford, and thon climbing the hill again to the right of 'the Hold. . . " Artists sometimes stopped for"a week or two ' to sketch the -quaint old-fashioned ; houes in the main street, and especially the , mill' of Hiram Powlett which seemed to have chaiged in no way since the days when its .:owner held itcon the tenure of grinding such' corn as the owners of the Hold required for 'the use of themselves and their retainers. Often, too, in the season, a fisherman would descend from. the coach as it stopped to change horses at the Carin's Arms and take up his quartcrs there, for there' was rare -fihing in the Dare, both in the deep still :pool above the mill and for three or four miles further up, while sea trout were no where to be fou?d plumper and stronger thia. Sin the stretch of water between Carnmcford and Daroport, two miles away. Here, where the Dare r?tl into the sea, wasr a fishing village as yet untouched, and almost unknown oeven by wannderinuatourists, and offering indeed no acconimodation what ever to the stranger beyond what he nmight, perbhance, obtain in the' fishermen's cot tages. The onodrawback to Carnesford, as its visitors declared, was the rain. It cer tainly rained often there, but the villagcer scarcely noticed it. It was to the rain, they knew, that they owed the bright green of the valley and the luxuriousness of their garden crops, which always fetched the top price in Plymouth market ; and they were so accas tomed to the soft mist brought1? va by the seouthwest Wind fieonm over the seiichat they noeor noticed whether it was miusng or not. . trangos, nowever, were less'patient, and a young nmn who was standing at the door of the Carnes Arms just.as the'ovening was closing .in at the end of a day in the begin nn'gg; of October 1850, 'looked gloomily out a t.theo weather. ' Onne does not mind when one isnfishing," he muttered to himself, " but when one has 'once .elhanged into dry clothes one does noltwant to bo a prisoner here every eveninig., Another day like this, and I shall L a.m~kP my traps and get back again on S'He tirne and went back into the house, and entering the bar, took his seat in the .little snctnm behind it, for he had been staylng in the house for a week, and was now a priviegod personage. It was a snug little room ; some logs were blazing on thb hearth, for although the weather was not cold, it was damp enough to make a fire pleasant. Three of -the landlord's particular cronies were useated there : Hiram Powlett, the miller, and Jacob Carey, the blacksmith, and old Reuben Claphurst, who had been the villago clerk until his' voice became so thin and uncer taine , treble that the vicar was obliged to find a successor for him. " Sit down, tIr. Gulston," the landlord said, adhisguest entered. " Fine day it has been fer fishing; and a nice basket you have broa'ghtin." It's been well enough for fishing, land , lord; but I would rather put up with a lighter basket, and have a little pleasanter sweather." The sentiment evidently caused surprise, 'which'Jacob Carcy was the first to give expression to. 'You don't say, now, that you call this unpleasant weather, sir ? Now, I call this about as good weather as we could expect in tahe 'first week of October, warm and soft, ',aild in every w.tysensonable. "It may be al that," the guest said, aa he ":lit hia pipe, ".but I own I don't care about S.avingtho rain tricklie' down my neckfrom :'lsrhkfsat-time to dark.' '>"Oercfihermen about here look upon a ;little min as good for sport," Hiram Pownett "No doubt it is;: hut I am afraid I aam not much - of'a aportoman. I used to be fond :of fishing,' when I was a lad, and thought I should like to try my hand at it again, but I am afraid I am not as patient as Iwas. I don't thinc sea-life is a good school for that sort of thing." t.o ask. Somohow or other there was some thinig about your way. that made me think you was bred up to thesea. I didn't know, for I can't recollect as ever. we have had . sailer gentleman staying here for the £ "s.?hing before." "No," Mfr. Guloton laughed, "I don't "think we often take to thle rod. Blaitiig a aix-inch hook at the end of u sean-lino for a shark .is about the extent to which we nnolly indulge, though, sometihnes, when we •are at anchor 'the youngsters get the lines overboard and catch a few fish. Yes, I am a sailor, and belong, werso luck, to tlie flog, ahip atPlymouth. Dy the way," he weist . n, turning to Jacob Carey," you said last night, just as you were ?oing out, Esaomc ,ehmg about ot CC o Cme's Hold. 'That's the houme up on the hill, isn't it ? What in tie curse ? and who said it ?" " Iris nothinn, sir ; it's only foolishness," the landlord soid, hastily. "Jacob nseaant nothing by it." " It ain't foolianess, John Beaumont, and -'ou know it-and for that everyone knows t. pi.'oolehnesst indeed! itHere's Reuben CLphnrstcon tell you if itn nonsense;-he knows all about It if anyone does." , I don't thin.lk it ought to ho spoken of beforo strangers," Hira m Polett pt in. AHl relhts recrnel
"Why not F" the smith asked, sturdily. 'There ian't a man onthe country side but knows all. about it. There can be no harm in telling what everyone knows. Though the Carnes be your landlords, John Beau mont, as long as you pay the rent you ain't beholden to them; andas for you, Hiram, why everyone knows as your great grand father bought the rights of the mill from them, and your folk have had it ever since. Besides, there ain't nothing but what is true in it, and if the squire were here himself he couldn't say no to that." " Well, well, Jacob, there's something in what you say," the landlord said, in the tone. of a man convinced against his will; but indeed, now that he had done what he con sidered his duty by making a protest, he had no objection to the story being told. " Maybe you are right; and though I should not like it said as the affairs of the Carnes were gossiped about here, still, as Mr. Gulston night, now that le has heard about the curse on the family, ask questions and hear all sorts of lies from those who don't know as much about it as we do, and especially as Reuben Claphurst here does, maybe it were better he shoduld get the rights of the story from himn." " That being so," the sailor said, per haps you will give us the yarn, Mr. Clap. lhrst, forl own you have quite excited my curiosity as to this mysterious curse." The old clerk, who had told the story scores of times, and rather prided himself on his telling, was nothing loth to begin. "There is notlhing mysterious about it nothing at all ; so I have always maintained, and so I shall maintain. There be some as will have it us it's a curse on te faminlly for the wickedness of old Sir Edgar. So it be, serelie, but not in the way they mean. Having been one of the officers of the church here for over forty year, and knowing the mind of the old parson, and of him who was before him, I always take 'my stand on this. It was a curse, sure enough, but not in a way as they wants to make out. It wouldn' t do to say as the curse of that Spanish woman had newt to do with it,. seeing as we has authority that curses does sometimes work themselves out ; but there ain't no proof to my mind, and to the minds of the parsons as I have served under, that what they call the curso of Came's Hold ain't a matter of misfortune, and not as folks about hero mostly think, a kind of judgiment brought on them by that foreign heathen woman. Of course, I don't expect' other people to see it in that light." This was in answeerto a grunt of dissension on the part of the blaclsnuth. ' " They ain't all had myadvantages; and. looks at it as their fathers and grandfathers did: before .them. Anyhow, there is the. Durso, and a bitter ourse it has been for the Cames, as you.will say, sir, when you have heard my story. ., - .. ..' S"You mustknow that in thoold times the Carnes owned all the land for' miles and miles romund,.,and Sir. Marmaduke fitted out three ships at his-own expense to, fight .under Howard. and Blake against the Spaniards. "Itwas in his time the first slice was cutoff the property,, for: he went up to Court; and held his' own among the best of. them,' and made as brave 'a show, they say, as any of the nobles, there. "His son took :after him, and- another slice, though not a big one, went; but it was under Sir , Edgar, who came .next, .that bad times fell upon Carno'sHold.': When , the trouble began, he. :went out for the . king, with every man 'he 'could raise in the country round,' and they say as there was no man struck harder or heavier for King Charles than hlie 'did. He might 'have :got off, as many another one did, if he 'would- have given it up when it was clear the casoe was root; but whenever there was a rising any where hoewas off to.join it, till at last house and landand all were confiscated, and he had to fly abroad. "How lie lived there no one exactly knows. Some said as he fought with the Spaniards against the Moors'; others, and I think they were not far from the mark, that hlo went out to the Spanish Main, and joined a band of lawless men, and lived a pirato's 'lite there. N'o.one knows 'about 'that. I doni't think anyoieo, even in those days, did know anything, except that when he came back with King Charles le brought with him a Spanish wife. There were many tales about her. Some said that she had been a nun, and that lie had carried her off from a convent in Spain, but the general belief was -and as there were a good many Devonshire lads' who fought with the rovers on the Spanish Main, it's likely that the report was true-that she had been the wife of somo Spanish Don,-whose ship had been captured by the pirates. " She was beautiful, there was no doubt about that. Such a beauty, they say, as was never seen before or since in this part. But they say that from the first she bad a wild, hunted look about her, as if she had either something on her conscience, or had' gone through 'ome terrible time that had well-nigh shaken her reason. She had 'a baby some months old with her when she arrived, and a nurse was engaged from the villnge, for strangely enough, as everyone thought at the tine, Sir Edgar had brought back no attendant either for himself or his lady. " No sooner was he back, and had got possession of his estates, being in that more hIcky than many another who fought for the Crown, than he set to work to' rebuild the Hold; living for the time in a few rooms that were patched up and made habitable in the old building. Whatever he had been doing while he was abroad, there was no doubt whatever that lie had brought back with him plenty of money, for he had a host of masons and carpenters over from Ply mouth, aund spared no- expense in having things according to his fancy. All this time he had not introduced his wife to the county. Of course, his old neighbours had called and had seen her as well as him, but he had said at once that until the now house was fit to receive visitors he did not wish to enter society, especially as his wife was entirely ignorant of the English tongue. "Even in those days there were tales brought down in the village by the servants who had been hired from here, that Sir Edgar and his wife did not get on *well together. They all agreed that she seemed unhappy, and would sit for hours brooding, seeming to have no care or love for her little boy, which set folk more against her, since it seemed natural that even a heathen-woman should care for her child. "They said, too, there were often fierce quarrels between Sir Edgar and her, but as they always talked in her tongue, no one knew what they were about. When the now house was finished they moved into it, and the ruins of the old Hold were levelled with the gruund. People thoughlt then that Sir Edgar would naturally open the house to the county, and, indeed, some entertainmentis were given, but whether it was that they beloeved the stories to his disadvantage, or that they shrank from the strange hostess, who, they say, always looked on these ocen sions stately and cold, and who spoke no word of their language, the county gentry gradually fell away, and Carme's H old was left pretty much to its owners. " Soon after'wards another child was born. There were, of course, more servants now, and more state, but Lady Carno was as much alone as ever. Whether sllhe nwas de termined to learn no word of English, or whether hie was determined that she should not, she at any rate made no attempt tone quire her husband's language, and many said thatit was a shame thalt he did not get her a nurse and a maid who could speak lier tongii ; for in the days of Ciarl'es there were foreigners enough in England, nnd there could have been no diticeulty in pro curing her an attendant of her oun religion and race. "They quarrelled moro than ever ; but the servants wereall of opinion that whatever it woas about it was her own doing more than his. It was her voice to be heard rising ill plassionato tones, while he anid but little, and they all agreed he was polite and courteous in his mouner to hlr. As for her, she would walk for hours by herself up and down the terrace, talking aloud to herself, sometimes wringing her hands asod throwing her arem wildly about. At this time there begun to be a report among the country round that Lady Carne was oat of her mind.
i° She was more alone than ever now, for to town and remaining for.weeks.at a time, and therm was a whsper that he played heavily and unluckily. So things went on until'the third child was born, and a fort night afterwards a servant from The Hold rodo through the village late at night on his way for the doctor, and stopped a moment to tell the news that there was a terrible scene up at The Hold, for that during a momentary absence of the nurse, Lady Carnme had stabbed her child to death, and when he came away she was raving wildly, the efforts of Sir Edgar and two of the servants hardly sufiicig to hold her.. "After that no one except the inmates of The Hold ever saw its mistress again; the windows in one of the wings were barred, and two strange women were brought down fromt London and waitled and attended on the poor lady. There were but few other ser vants there, for most of the girls front about here soon left, saying that the screams and cries that ranm at times through the house were so terrible that they could not bear them; but indeed there was but small occa sion for servants, for Sir Edgar was almost always away. One niighlt, one of thle girls who had stalyed on and had been spending the evening with her friends, went home late, and just as she reached the house she saw a white figure appear at one of the barred windows. " In a moment the figure began crying and screaming, and to the girl's sur prise many of her words were English, which she must have picked up without anyone knowing it.' The girl always declared that her language made her blood run cold, and was full of oaths such as rough sailor men use, and which no doubt seit had picked up on ship-board; and then she poured' curses on the Carnes, her husband, the house, and her descendants.. The girl was so panei-stricken that sihe remained silent, till, in a minute, two other women appeared at the window, and by main force tore Lady Came fromnt her hold upon the bars. " A few days afterwards site died, and it is mostly believed by her own band, though this was never kccown. None of the servants except lier own attendants over entered the room, and the doctor never opened his lipa s on the subject. - Doubtless- he was well paid to keep silence. Anyhow, her death wits not Sir Edgar'swork, for he was away at the time, and only returned' upon the day after her death. .- So, sir, that's how the curse camn to be laid on CGam's Hold." " It is a terrible story," Mr. Gulston said,' when the old clerk'ceased-" a terrible story. It is likely 'enoughl that 'the rumour was trite, 'and that ihe carried her off after cap turing the vessel and'killing her husband, and perhaps all the rest of them,'and that she had never recovered from'tho shock. Was' there over any * questiodn 's to whether they they had been married 1" c" Thdre is a jquestion, about.it-a good deal of question; and at Sir Edgar's death, the next heir, who was a distant cousin, set up a claim, but' the lawyer produced two documents Sir Edgar had given him. Ono was signed by a Jack Priest, who had ,'it is said, been ono of. the crow on board Sir Edgar's ship, certifying that he had duly and lwsfully'married Sir Edgar Came and Donna Ine oMartos ; End there was another fiom a Spanish priest, belonging to a church it Porto Rico, certifying that he had married the same pair according to -Catholi 'rites, appending a noto saying: that:ho did--so, although the "husband' wasa heretic, being compelled and enforced by armed men, the town being in the possessionof aforefromntwo ships that had entered the harbour the night _before. As,. therefore, the pair had boon married according. to the rites of : both churches, and the Carnes had . powerful friends at Court, the matteIr . rpped, and thetitlo has never since been disputed. As to Sir Edgar himself, he fortunately only lived four years after his wife'sdeath." Had he lived much longer there would have been' no estate left to dispute. As it was, he gambled away half its wide acres." ' ' " And how has the oursoworked F" Mr. Galeton asked. " - "In the natural way, sir. -As I was'say ing before, it has just been in the natural, way, and whutever pebple ,paysay, the? is isotling, as I have heard tihe old parsonilacy down many a time, to show that that poor creature's wild ravings had hught'to do with what followed. -The taint in the blood of Sir Edgar's Spanish wife was naturally in Ierited by her descendants. ler son showed no signs of it, at least as far as I have heard, until he was married, and his wife hadborne him three sons. Then .it burst out. He drow his srord and killed a servant who had given him some imaginary offence, and then, springing upon his wife, who had thrown herself upon him, he would have strangled her had not the servants rtm in and torn him off her. He, too, ended his days in confino ment. Iis sons showed no signs of the fatal taint. " The eldest married -in London, for none of the gentry of Devonshire would have given their daughter in marriage to ca Carne. The others entered the army, and one was killed in the Low Countries. - The other ob. tained the rank of goneral, and married and settled in London. The son of the eldest boy succeeded his fathter, but died abachelor. He was a man of strange, moody habits, and many did not hesitate to say that he was as mad as his grandfather had been. 1He was found dead in his library, with a gun just discharged lying beside him. Whether it had exploded accidentally, or whether he had taken his life, none could say. " His uncle, the general, came dobwn and took possession, and for a time it seemed as if the curse of the Carnes had died out, and indeed no further tragedies have taken place in the family, but several of its members have been unlike other men, suffering from fits of morose gloom or violent passion. The father of Reginald, the present squire, was of a bright and jovial character, and - during the thirty years that he was possessor of The Hold had been so popular in this part of the country that the old stories had been ahnost forgotten, and it is generally believed that the ourse of the Carnes had died out." " The present owner," Mr. Gulaston asked, " what sort of a man is he r" " I don't know nothing about him," the old man replied ; "he is since my time." " He is about eight and twenty," the landlord said. "Some folks say one thing about him, some another; I says nothing. He certainly ain't like his father, who, as he rode through the village, had a word for every one ; wllile thie young squire looks as if he was thinking so much that he didn't even know that the village stood here. The servants of The Hold speak well of him-he seems kind and thoughtful when he is in the humour, but he is often silent and dull, and it is not many men who would be dull with Miss Margaret. She is one of the brightest and highest spirited yousg ladies in tice county. There's no one but has a good word for her. I thlinkl the squire studies harder than is good for him. They say he is always reading, and Ie doesnat hunt or lshoot; and nalturalenough whenm a man shuts hiimself up and takes no exercise to speak of, Ie gets out of sorts and dill like ; anyhlow there's nothing wrong about him. He's just us sane and sensible as you and I." After waiting for etwo days longer and finding the wet weather continue, MZr. Gulston packed up his rods and flahing tackle ud returned to 'lyinoluthl. lie had learaned little mnore about the family at The Hold, beyond the fact that thIe HIon. Mrs. lutervyn, wslo inhabited a house stamndling half a mile further up the valley, was the aint of Reglinald and Iargarcet Carno, she hiaving beec a sister of the late possessor of The Hold. In her youthl she had been, people said, the counterpart of her niece, and it was not therefore wonderful that Clithero Mfervyn had, in spite of the advice of his friecds and tie reputation of the Car'ies, taken whalt was consider?l tice hazoardous step of making her hIis wife. This step he had never repented, for she had, like her brother,jbeen one of thie most popular persocs in that part of the county, and a universal favourite. The Mervyni estate had yecars before formed part of that of the Cameo, but had been separated from it in tihe tinme of Sir Edgar's grandson, who had been as fond of London lifo and as keen a gambler as hIis ancestor. The day before he started, as he was
standiig at the door of the hotel, .Reginald Came and his sister had ridden past; they seemed to care no more for.the weather thlun did the .peolto of the village, and were laughing and talking gaily as they passed, and Charles Gultson thought to himself that he had never seen a brighter amd prettier face than that of the girl m all his travels. lie tihought often of the face thatddy, but he was not given to romance, and when he had once returned to Ihis active duties as first Lieutenant of l1.3r.S. Tenebrense, he thought no more on the subject until three weeks later.his captain handed hiu a note saying : " iHere, oGultou, this is more in your line than mine. It's an invitation to a ball, for myself and some of my officers, from Mrs. 3eervyn. I have met ier twice at the Ad mirel's, and she is a very chatrming woman, but as her place is more than twenty miles away and a long distanco from a railway station, I certainly do not feel inclined to make the journey. T'lhey are, I believe, a ood county family. Site has two pretty d:mihters and i son-a captauu inu thl Bloriterers, who canme into garrison about a month ago; so I have no doubt the soldiers will put in ia strong appearance." " I know the plcee, sir," Gulston said; "it's not far from Carnesford, the village where I waus away fishing the other day, and as I heard a good deal albout thesm I think I will but in an aplparanee. I dare say Mr. LUcaR will be glad to go too, if you call spare him." " Certainly, any of them you like, Guieton, but don't take anyp of the midshipmen ; you see i.a.~slervynljtuis invited my officers, but' as thi soldiers are likely to show up.in strengteh, I don't suppose she wants too maany of us." " We have an invitation to a ball, Doctorr" Lieutenant Gnlston said after leuvinig the Captain, to their ship's doctor, " for' the 0th11. it I Mrs. lrervyn's. The captain says we had better not go mnore than three. Per sonally I rather want to go. So I-Iilton of course must remain on board, and Lucas can go. I know-you like these things; although you are not a d'ihnilg man. As a rule, it goes sorely against my'conscienco takingsusch a useless person as ooe of our represcunm tives; but upon thlb. Present- occasion it does not. matter, as thEro is-a son of the huoes in the Borderers; aiid, of course, they will put in an appearance in strength." - " A man can make himself very useful at a ball, even if he doesn't dunce, Gulson," the doctor said. i" Young fellows always think chits of girls are the only 'section of the feomalo sox who should be thought of. Who isgoing to look after their motlhers, if there are- only boys present? The conversation' of a sensible man like myself is quite as great a treatnto the claiperousoas isthe plensure of hdopping about the room with you the girls. The condeit And selfishness of you hlads sur prise me more annd noro; there nre literally no bouilds to them.. How far is this, place off --' !'"It's about twenty4niles by road, or about' fifteen by tnrain, and eight or nine to drive -afterwards. I hippen to Ilnow about the place, as it's close to the village where I was ishinfg a fortnight ago." i" TILen I think the ehapersais will hava to do without me, Gulston. I am'fond of studying human nature, but if that involves staoying up all night and coming back in the mornig, the special section ofl himnan nature there pro sented'must go unstudied." " I. have been; thininking that one: can manage without- that, Doctor. Theoro is a vcry'sanug little. inn.whoero I. was stopping in tile village, less than it'.mile fronm the house. It propose that we go over in the afternoon, dino at the inn,and ldress there. "Then we can got a trap to take us up to the '1ervyn's; and can either walk or driveo down, agaiin after it is over, and come back after breakfast." ,'9SWell, that alters thl case, lad,. and under tlose conditions I will be one of the party." . .. CHAPTER II. SAno.?sr Lca .E. Ronald MAervyn was, perhaps, the most popular rman in his regiment. They. were proud of .him aso one of the innost` d'iring steeplechase riders in the service, ; and,ns a ransiwho hiad greatly distiuguiisoed himself by a.deed of desperate valour in Iidia. :He - wis far and away the best cricketer in the corps;. he could sing a capital song, anid was an excellentmnusician and the most pleasant of companions. He wasaldways rcasdyto do his friends a service, and many a niewly joined subaltern who got into a scrape had been helped out" by Ronald Merryn's purse. And yet at times, an oven those who most liked. and .admired him could. not- but: admit, Ionald Mervyni was a qieer .folldow: His. fits were few nud far betwoeen,- but when they ocetmrred lie was. altogether unlike himself. "While'thoy lasted he would soarce exchange a word with i soul.; but shut himself in his room, or, as soon ias parade was over, mount'his horse and- ride off, not to return probably until late at . ervyn's moods were the subject of, many a quiet joke among the young officers of the regimcnt. Some declared that he miust lave committed a murder somewheore, aiid was occasionally troubled in his conscience; while some . insisted that -Mervyn's strangO bo-, haviour was only assumed' in order that: hie night be the more appreciated at other times. Among- the two or three officers of the regiment who came from that part of the country, antd know something of the family history of tle Mret'yns, it was whispered that he had inherited some slight shire of the curse of the Carone. Not tat he was mad' in the slightest degree-no one would-:think of saying that of- Ronald tervry-but lio had certainly queer moods. Perhaps the knowledge that there was a taint in his blood affected him, and in course of time he began to brood over it. When this mood was on him - soon after joining the rogimont, he hinuielf. had spoken. to the doctor about it. , " Do you know, Doctor, I, am :a horrible sufferer from liver comnplnint?" I " "Yon don't look it, Mcrvyn,". the surgeon replied; "your skin is clcar,, and, your eye is bright. You aro always taking exer lase, your muscles are as hard as nails. - I cannot believe that there is much the'matter with you." . "I suffer, Doctor, so that at times for two or three days I am fit for nothing. I" get into such a state that I am not fit to exchange a word with a human being, and 'could quarrel with my best friend if hlie spoke to meno. I have tried all sorts. of medicines, but nothing seems to cure me; I suppose it's liver. I don't know what also it can be. I hrve spoken abouit it to the ,Major, and asked hims if at any time hie sees me look grmnpy, to say a word to the nmss, and ask them to leave me to myself; buitI do wish you could give me something." Tho doctor had recommended courses of various foreign waters, and had given him instructions to bithe hiis head when hle felt it coming on; but nothing hadiavailed. Once a year, or sometimes oftener, RIonauld retired for two or three days, and then emerged as well and cheerful as before. Once, whc lthe attack had been particu arly severe, he had anain consulted the doctor, this time telling 'im i the history of sis faimly on shis mother's side, and asking him frankly whether he thought these periodiceal attacks lnhad any conuection with the family taint. The doctor, who had already Ieard the story in confidence fromn one of tile two snc who ksnOw it, replied: "VWell, Mervyn, I asupposo that there's some sort of distant connction between the two things, but I do not thliuk you are likely to be seriously affected. I think you can cot your mind at ease oa that score. A . man of so vigorous a fnrmo as you are, and lead ing so active and ihealthiy a life, is certiinly not a likely subjeet for insanity. You should disnise the matter altogether from your mind, old fellow. 3MIany mes with ai more then usual amount of auinual spirits aulier at times froi fitsl of depression. In your case, perhaps due, to somea extont, to your family history, these fits of dteprersion are more severe thau usual. Probably thd very cir cumstance that you know this history htas somethling to do with it, for when the de pression-which is as I have said not un common in thie ease of men with high spirits, and is in fict a sort of reaction-comes over you, no doubt the thought of the taint in the blood occurs to you, preys upon your mind, and deeply intensifies your depresalen.
. That is so, doctor. TWhen I am in that state my one thought is that I aim'goingmd, and I sometimes feel then as if it would be best to blow out my brains and have done with it." " Don't let such a fancy enter your head, Mervyn," the doctor said earnestly. "I can assure you that I think you have no chance whatever of becoming insane. The fits of depression are of course troublesome and annoying, but they are few and far apart, and at all other times you are perfectly well and healthy. You should, therefore, regard itas I do; as a sort of reaction, very common among men of your sanguine temperament, and due in a very slight degree to the malady formerly existent in your family. I have "watched you closely since you came into the regiment, and believe me that I do not. cay it solely to rcassure you, when I affirm that it is my full belief and conviction that you are as sane ts5 other men, and it is likely that as you get on in life these b "re.sion will altogether dispr -. You see both your mother and une were perfectly free from any suspicion of aI taint, and it is more than probable that it has altogether died out. At tiny rate the chances are slight indeed of its re-appearing inlyour case." " 'Thank you, doctor; you daLL imagine what a relief your words are to tne. I don't worry about it at other thles, and indeed feel so thoroughly well that I could laugh lat the idea were it mooted, but during these Ioods of mine it has tried me Iorribly. If you don't mind I will get you to write your opinion down, -so that the next time the tit t rees 'mo I can read it over and assure my self that my apprhetlnsions are unfounded." - . pertoinly no one would dasociate the ldred of isanity 'with Ronmld Miervyu, as upon the -day hefore the ball at his mIother's ho1use he slit on the edge of' the unto-roomi table, and laughed and talked with ia grnop of five young oficers gatherend round hlon. " BMind,- you fellows must catch the 7 o'clock train, or elso you will be too late. There will be eight miles to drive ; I will have Ia trap there to meet you, and you won't be there long before the others 'begint to arrive. We are not fashionable in our part of the country. We shall have enough partners fjr you to begin to dluce by half-past 9, and I can promise yot ias pretty partirs as you can find in any ballroom'in England. 'When you have behen quartered hero a bit' longer you will be ready to admit the truth of the general opinion that'in point of pretty weomn Devonshirocan hlold its own against any county of England. No, there is no fear whatover of your coming in too great strength.. Of course, in Plymouth here, onifcan overdo the thing, but when one gets beyond' the beat of. the garrison, gentlemen are at.n'premium. I' saw my mother's list ; 'if .it had not been for the regiment thel femiuiineo element would -'have pro dd6minatedi toiribly.' The armty and naoy, India and the Colonies, to say nothing of all devoiiring London, and the scourges of the cduntry; the younger sons take winig for. themselves and fly, and the spiisters ure left lamenting." ' " I think there is more push and go iamoing younger sons than there is in the elders," one of the young officers said. " Tlioeyhavo not gob the same responsi bilities," Rolaid laughced. "it is easy to seec you are a younger son, Charley; there's a jLaunty. air nbdut your forage cap, and ai swagger in your walk that would tell any observant person that you are free freon all responaibilites, and could, as thelo Latiin gramnnar says; sing before a robber." There was a general laugh, for Charley Mansfield was notoriously. in a general statoe of inimpecuniosity. li0, himself joined merrily in the laugh. ) '? I canl, certainly say,"he replied, ".'ahe who steals m s purso steals trash ;' bat I don't think he would get even that without a tussle. Still, what I said is true, I think. I know iiy elder brother is a fearfully, stately personage, -who, on the strengtlh of two .years difference of ago and ois heirship, takes upon himself periodically to inflict peon derouswords of wisdom upon me. I think a lot of them are like thiat, but after all, as I tell hhn, it's the younger sons who have made England what it is.. We won her battles and furnished.her colonies, and have done pretty nearly everything that has been doe o; wlhlo the elder, sons have only turndd, into respectable landownefs and 'prosy ' magis. trates." ' " Very well, Charley, the sentimnents do you honour," another laughed, " but there the assembly is soutiding. Whiter, bring me a glass of sherry ; yoiur sentiments, have' so' impressed me, Charley, that I intend to drink solemnly to the success of second sons." " You are not on duty, are you, lMervyn." " " No, I amatarting in half an hour to get' home.. I'shall be wanted to aid in the final prepuratiodns. Well,-I shall see yon'all to morrowv night.' Don't forget the 7 o'clock train." I expect we 'shall keep 'it up till between 3 and "I. Then you can smoke a cigar; and at 5 the carriages will. be 'ready to take you to the station to catch the first train back, and you will be hero in timedfor a tub and a change before early parade." " The ball-at the Merryn's was a briliant one. Thio house was large, and, as Mr. MIervyn ?hind died four years before, and RIonald hd since tlhat time been absent on Forelgn Service, it was a long tinie since an 'entertainment on a large scale had been given 'there;to the county. .A little to the dis 'appointmneht of mainy of the young ladies in the ieighbourhood,'the Military and. Naval officers did not cone, in uniform... There 'areo two 'or three girls staying in the housoe; and one of them, in the course of ;the 'evening, when she was dancing with Ronald, siid;- , ' S" Wel all consider: you have taken us in,. Captain Mervyn. We made sure that you would all be it." iuniform., . Of course those who live nbar Plymouthi are aneoustomed"to it,' but in 'these 'parts the:, red coats 'are rather d novelty, and iwe feel '-we. have - been defrauded."' ''. :' ?,' We never go to balls, Miss Blackmoor, in uniform, except when. they' are regular daval'or military balls; either grienby. onar own regiment or 'orme of the regiments' in garrison, or b' the' Nov.. That is geierally fhe rule, though perhaps in some regiments it is not so strictly odhered to'as with us." . i Then I co'nsider that it is a fraud upoi the public, Captain .~Iervyn. Gentlemen's dress is so dingy and monotonous that I odi Bider it distinctly the duty of soldiers to give its a little.light and colour when they get the chance." "Very well,. Miss Dlaekmoor, I will bear it in mind; and next time my mother gives a ball, the regiment, it it is within reach, ehall come in mifornn. By-the-way, do you k vows who is the man my cousin is dancing wvith; there are lots of faces I don't know here; being seven or eight years away makes a differeince in a quiet coulntry plaeo. "That is Mr. Gulaton; hlie is first-lieu tenant of the flaigshlip at Plymnouth. I know it beclauise hle was introduced to me early in the evening, and we da:led together, and a capital dancer he is, too. " Ie is an uncommonly good-looking fellow," Itonald said. Mlargaret Canrne seemed to think so too, as lle danced with himn.two or three times in tile coulrse of the evening, and went down to supper on his Irm. lRonald hlavinug, as the son of the house, to divide his attentions as much as possible, did not dance with hia cousin. Lieultenant Gulston had beein accompanied by the third lieatellnantl, and by tilhe Doctor, who never missed an opportunity of goiig to a hall be. clluse, as hlie said, it gave hiii an opportunlity of studying character. "i ol see," hle vwould argue, "on board a iship one gets only the one side of humani nltllre. Sailor's lmay ditter a bit one froml alottler, hut thley can all be divided into two orthreo classes-the steady honlest fellow wllo tries to do hlis work well ; the reckless fellow, who is ready to do his work, but is lip to every sort of mishief and devilmolat nrd the laIy loliing fellow, wlho neglects his d!uty wblenever he possibly can, and is always ?l lnrming siek in order to get of it. Some day)- or other I shall settle on shore alnd pralctise thllere, anud I want to learnt somethinlg Albolt thle people I shall have to deal with; besides, there's nothinig more amusilng than looking on at a ball w you hal ll 01 lve no idea of binuing yourself. It's stonishling 1whata lot of hluman nature youl see if you do but keep youlr wits about you." In the course of the evening he oase up to the first lieutenant.
S" iho is that man you have just been talking to, Ganton? I have been watching him for some time. He has not been dancing, but h'is been standing in cornersa looking on," " He is Mr. Came, doctor; a cousin, or rather a nephew, of our hostess." " Is lie the brother of that pretty girl you have been dancing with?" The Lieutenant nodded. " Then I am sorry for ner,' the Surgeon said bluntly. " Sorry what for?" The Surgeon answered byanotherquestion. "Do you know anything about the family, Gulston ?" " I have heard something about them. Why ?" "Never mind now," the surgeon said. " I will tell you in the morning; it's hardly a question to discuss here," and he turned away before the lieutenant could ask further. It was 4 o'clock before the dancing ceased and the Inst carriage rolled alway. T'hen the military and naval men, and two or three visitors from Plymouth, gatlhered in the library, and smoked and talked for an hour, and were then conveyed to the station to catch the early trati. The next day, as they were walking up and down the quarterdeck, the first lieutenant said : " By the way, doctor, what was it you were going to say last night about the Carnes ? You said you were sorry for Miss Carne, and asked ne if I know -anything about the history of the family." -" Yes, that was it, Gulston ; it wasn't the sort of thing to talk about there, especially;as I understand the 11ervyns are connections of the Carnes. The question I was going to ask you was this: You know their family history ; is there any insanity in it ?" - The lieutenmunt stopped suddenly in hIis' walk with an exclamation of surprise and pail. "Vhat do you mean, Miackenzie? Why do you ask such'a question ?" ' :" You have not answered mine. Is there insanityin the blood ?" "Tlero- has been," thie lioutenant said, roluctantly. "I felt sure of it. I think you have heard me say.my father made a special study of nmdness; and when I was studying for my profession I have often accompanied him to. hinatio asylums,. and I devoted a great deal of time to. the subject, intending .to make it. my special branch also. Then the rambling' fit seized me, and I entered the service; butI have never missed following the sub ject up whenever I have had an opportunity.; `1 have, therefore, visitedasylums torlunaties' wherever such existed at every port which we have put into sines I have been in tie service " "When my eye first fell upon 3Mr. Carne he was standing behind several other people,' twatdhing the dancing, and the expression of his face struck me as soon as my eye fell upon hinm. I watched lhim closely all through the evening. He did not dance, and rarely spoke to anyone, never unless addressed. I watched his face arid his ainds--hauds are, I can tell you, almost as expressive as faces -and I' have not the snmllest hesitation in saying that the man'is mad. It is possible, but not probable, that at ordinary times he may show no signs of it, but at times, and last night was one of those times, the man is' mad; nay, more, I should be inclined to think ,that his madness is of a dangerous typo: ' now that you tell me it is 'hereditary, I am so far confirmed in my opinion that I should, not hesitate, if called upon to do so,, to sign a certificate to the effect that, in my opineon, he was so 'far insane as to need.tloo most careful watching, if not absolute con finement." . . : The colour had faded from the lieutenant's face as the doctor spoke. 2" I ani awfully sorry,"~ he said, in a low tone,?" and I triust to God, doctor, that you are mistaken. I cannot' but think that you are. .I was introduced to him by his sister, and he was most civil and polit -indeed more than civil, for he asked me if I' was fond of shooting, and when I told himn that I was extremely so, he invited me over to his place. IHe said he did not shoot himself, but that next'week'his cousin Mervyn"and oi~e or two others were coming to him to have two or three days' juheasant- shooting, and he would be glad if I would join the party, and, as you may suppose, I gladly accepted At invita tion." " Well," the doctor said, drily, "so far as lie is concerned, there is no danger in your dbin, so if, as you'say,lhe doesn't shoot. If he did, I should advise' you to stay away; and'in any case, if you will take the advice which I offer, you won't go. You will send an excuse." . " The .lientenant made no: answer for a mininute or two,.but paceed the room in silence. " I won't .retend: to misunderstand you, Mfackenzie. 1ou mean there's no danger with him,:but you think there may beo from her. That's what yoi mean, isn't it?" The doctor nodded. " I saw you were takeni with her, Gulston; that is why I have spoken to' you about her brother.... S' You don't thid:--confound it man-you .can't think," the. lieutenant :'said angrily, .'that there is anything the matter with her."." ..thi , "No, I don't thiik so," the doctor said gravely. " No, I, should say certainly not; lut you know in these cases where it is inthe 'blood it sometimes lies dormant for a genera tion, .aiid then breaks out again. asked somebody casually last night about their father, and he said that he was a capital fellow,,and most popular in the county; so if it is iin tho'blood it passed over him, and is showing itself 'again in the son. It may pass over'the daughtero and reappear in her olildren. .You never know, you see. Do. you miid telling moei hkt youii know' about the family?",. "Not no~i; iot' ht. present. I' will at some' other' time." You have, given mna- i shock, and I must think it over." The ddotor nodded, and conmmened to talk about other matters. A miniite or twoliter the lieutenant'made some excuse, and turned into the cabin. Dr. Mackenz'ie shook his head. "The lad is hard hit," lie said, " and I am sorry for him. I hope my warning comes in time ; it would do if he isn't a fool,'but all young mon tre fools where the women are concerned. I will say for him tltit he has more sense than most, but I would give a good deal if this had niot hlappened." Lieutenant Gulston was, indeed, hard hlit; he had been much struck with the ilomentatry glance he had obtained of Margaret Carne as he stood on the steps of the Caure Arms, and. tie effect had been greatly hieighteied on the previous day. Lieutenant Gulaton had, sleco the days when he wass a middy, indulged in many a flirtation. but he had never befire felt serious. He had often liaughed at tile im pressibility of s of on f his conmrades, tud had scoffed at the idea of love at first sight, but now that he had begun to think miatters seriously over, thie paini that the Ldoctor's remarks had given hIimopened his eyes to the fiact that it was a good deal morc than a passing fancy. Thlinking itover in every light, he ae knowledged the prudent course would be to send some xceuse to her brother, with an expression of regret thalt hlie found that a matter of duity wouild prevent his coming over as he had pro mrised, for the slhootin. Then hlie told himself thatr, after l, the doctor miighlt be mistaken, and that it woull be only right thait he shouldJ judge for himself. If there -was anythingi i it of course hle should go no mtore to 'T'he Hold, and no liharm would be donet. MLiargaret was certainly very chanrmning -she was more than enharminig, site was the most lovable worma le halid ever imot. Still, if course, if there were was listy ,thain.Ce of her inheriting this dresdfml thin"r, hie would see her no mnore. After all, no muore hrin could be done in ai couple of day.s thant had obeen doue already, anid lie sl?iL noit such a fool but that hle cohl draw back ii tiluc. Anid so after chantgiig his mind half a dozen times, he resolved to go over for tihe shooting. " Ruth, I want to speakto you seriously," Margaret Carnmoe said to hlier maid two days after the ball. Ruth Powlett was the miller's daughter, and the village gossips had been
greatly surprised when, a year lfrue,n , they heard she was going up to The Bold to be Miss Car'o's own maid; for thongh the millwas a small one, ind-didno more than local business, Hiram was accounted to have laid by a snug penny, and as Ruth was his only child she was generally regarded as the richest heiroes in Carnesforn . That Hiram should then let her go out into ser vice, even as maid to Miss Carne at The Hold, struck everyone with surorise. It was generally assumed that the step had been taken becausoe Hiram Powlett wanted poeacein thohouse. He had, after the death of his first wife, Ruth's mother, niarriudagain, andthegeneral verdict was that he had made amistake. In the first place Hiram was a staunch Churchman, and one of the church wardens of Carnesford; but his wife, who was a Dareport woman-and that alone was in the opinion of Carnesford greatly against her-was a Disenter, and attended the little chaped at Dareport and entertained the strongest viewl' as to the prospects and chances of her neighbours in a tuturo state ; and in the second place, per hass, in consequence of their religions opinions, she was generally on bad terms with all hcrneighbours. But when Hiram married her she had a good figure, the lines of her face had not Ihardened as they afterwards did, and he had persuaded himself that she would make an excellent mother for Ruth. Indeed, she had not been intentionally unkind, and, although she LIhad brought her up strictly, she believed that she had thoroughly done her duty, lameunnting only that her eforts had been thwarted by the obstinacy and perverseness of her husband in insisting that the little maid should trot to church by his side, instead of going with her to the chapel at Dareport. Ruth had growns up a qniet and somewhat serious girl; she hrad blossomed out into prettiness in the old mill, and folks in the village were divided whether she or Lucy Carey, the smith's daughter, was the pret tiest girlin Carnesford. Not that there was any other matter in comparison between them, for Lucy was somewhat gay and flirty, mnd had a doze"r avowed admirers ; while Ruth had front her childhood made no secret of her preference for George Forester, the sonof the little farmer whose land came down to the Dare just where Hiram Powlett's mill stood. -- . Heo was some five years older than she was, and had 'fished her- out of the mill-. stream when she fell into it,when she awas . eight years old.. From that time he had - been her hero. She had been content :to follow him about like a dog, to sitby hisside for. hours while he fished in th deep pool-. above the mill, under the shadow of, the trees, quite content: withan occasional 'word or notice. Shoe took his part heartily when lar!stepmother denounced him as the idlest and most impertinent boy in the parish ; and when, soon after she was fifteen, he one day mnentioned tliat, as a matter of course, she would some day be his wife, she accepted it as a thing of-which she hadnever entertained anmy doubt whatever.-. But.Hiram now -took the alarm, and told her one day that she was to give up con sorting with young Forester. - "Yo'u are no -longer aelhild, Ruth, and if you go on` meetin. young Forester down at thoPdol, peopln will, be giunninig to talk. Of course, I know that you are a good girl, andwould never fora moment think of taking upt with George Forester. ?Everyone knows vwhat sort- of a youngfollow he is, he never does a day's work on the farm, and he is in and out of the Carne's Aris at all hours. He associates witlh" the worst lot in the village, and it was only the othert day that when the parson tried to speak to lnm seriously; he answered hint in. s way that was enough to make one's hair stand on end.;" Ruth obeyed her father, and was'no more seen about with George Forester ; but she believed no tale to his disadvantage, and whenat tines she mot with lihin; accidea tally, she told him frankly enough that though herfather didn't like her going about with him, she loved him and meant to love him always,- whatever they might say. Upon all other points her father's will was law to her, but upon this she was firm; and two years afterwards, when some words younrg Forester had spoken at a publichouso about his daughtercame to Iis ears, Hiram' rengawed the subjeet to her, she answered '" staunchly that unless he gave his copsont she would not marry George Forester, bitt' that nothing would make her give him up or' go back from her word. . . For once Hiram Powlett and his wife were thoroughly in accord. The former soldom spoke on the subject, but the latter was not so reticent, and every misdeed of young Forester was severely commented upon by her in Ruth's hearing. Ruth seldom - answered; but her ' father saw that she - suffered, and more than once remonstrated with his wife on what ho called her cruelty, but found that, as usual, Hesba was - not to be turned from her conuse. '' No, Hiram Powlett," she said, shutting ier lips "tightlytogether; " I must domy dutywhether it pleases you or not, audit is my duty to see that Ruth does not throw sway her happiness in this world or the next by her headstrong conduct. She does not belong to the fold, but in other respects I will do her credit to say she is a good girl and does her duty as well as can be expected, considering the dulness of the light she has withinher; but if she were to marry this reprobate she would be lost body and soul; mdwhatever you may thinkof thematter, Hiram Powlett, I will nothold my peace in ttohe matter." " I am quite as determined as you are, Hesba, that the child shall not marry this young rascal; but I don't think it does any good to be always nagging at her. Women ere 'queer creatures; the more you want them togo one way the more they will go the other." But though Hiram Powlett did not say much, he worried greatly. Ruth had always . been quiet, but she was quieter than eover ntow -and her cheeks gradually lost their roses and she looked pale and thin. At last, Hiram determined, that if hlie could not ob tain peace for her at home lie ie would else .where,.and hearing that Miss Carne's maid was going to be marriod,the determined to try to get Ruth the place. Site would be far _from Hesba' tongue there, andwould have other things to think about besides her lover, and woul, moreover, have but few opportu nities of seeing him. He was shy of ap proaching the subject to her, and was sur prlsed and pleased to find that when he lid instead of opposiaig it as Iheo had ex peoted, she almost eagerly embralnced the proosal. In fact, Ruth's pale cheeks and changed appearnce were, not due as her father sup posed to unhappiness at her stepmother's clk against George Forester; but because, n spite of herself, shl e bgjan to feel thather conusatiols were not withiiut foundation. ittle by little she learnt, from chance words droppedby others, that the light in which er fathler held George Forester was that geneslnly entertiined in thle village. She nmew that he had quarrellcd withl his father, tait after oue of thclir altercatioins, lie had gone off to Plymouth atnd enlisted, only tp be nusght off by his father four days after vards. Sihe knew that he drant, i anadhad taken p:art in soveral serious frays that hlad arisen it the little bcershop in the village; and ltard as ohi fought against the conviction, it was steadily making its way, lthat iher lover as wholly iworthlsy of l her. And yet, in spite of Isis faulte, otie love'd hint. 'Vhat ever lie was with others, hIe was gentle and plceasat with her, antd :lse felt thlat were she to give hiin up his last chauce would be gone. So esie wats glad to get viway froi thle village fur i tinle, andr to thIe surpri.se of hIrfather illd the furious anger of George Forester, he aipplied for and obtainedl the post of aIargaret Carne's maid. She had few opportunities of seein George Forester now ; lit what se hear hrlen ehe went down to the villageo on Sun dlys was not encouraging. Heo drank harder tihat before, and spent nmuch of hlis time dolwn it Dareport, and, :is sosle said, was eonnccted with s roghl lot there who were fouder of spoaching than of fi'shing. 3sarg'aret Canie was aware of whlat she onsidered Ruthll's infatuation. She kept IsCrself well informed of the aflair.t of lthe vihisge - the greater portisa of whicth blonged tto her ead lier brother--nad she le|arat from the olergyman, whose righlt hanm,
she was in the choir and schools, a good deal of the vitlage gosdp. She had never spoken to Ruth "on thJ aubject during the nine months she had been with her, but now aho felt .he wa boulnd to speak. " WVhat i it, ?l?s lfaergaret ?" Ruth said quitcly in answver to her remarh. " I don't wont to vex you, and you will say it is no lbminess of mine, but I think it is, for you know I like you very much, besides your belonibng to Carnusford. Of conrse I have heard-everyone has heard, you know-about your engagement to young Forester Now a very painful thing has happenel. On the night of the dance oneu ganekeepets came across at party of poachero in the weels, as of course you have heard, and had a fight with thlun, and one of the keepers is no badly hurt that they don't think he will live. I0o lhas sworn that the man who stabbed him was Geornge Forester, and my brother, as a maegistrate, h?a just signed a warrant for his arrest. " Now, Ruth, surcly this man is not worthy of you. He bsars, I hear, oue all sides it very bad character, and I think you will be more than risking your happineses with iuclh ar ma ; I think for your own hake it would be better to give him eup. My brother is very incensed against him ; he ha: been (out with the other keepers to the place where this fray occurred and he says it was in most cowardly business, for the poachers were eight to three, and he seems to have no doubt whatever that Forercter was one of the party, and that they will be able to prove it. I do think, Ruth, you ought to give hlim up altogether. I am not tlkieng to you as a mistress, you know, but nas riened." C" I think you ecre right, Mie.ss matrgarct," the girl said, in a low voice. " Ihave been thinking it over in every way. At first I didn't think what they csaid was trite, and then I thought that perhaps I might be able to keep him righlt, and thet. if I were to give hilm up there would be no chance for him. I have tried very hard to see what was my duty, but I thin':k now that I ceo it, and that I must break off with him. Dut oh I it is so hard," she added, with a quiver in her voice, " for though I know that I oughtn't to love him, I can't help it." "I can quite understand that, Ruth," Margaret Canee agreed. " I know . if I loved anyone I should not give him up merely because everybody spoke ill of him. But, you see, it is different now. Itis not merely a suspicion, it is almost absolute proof; and besides, you roust know that lihe spends most of his time in tihe pnblichouse, and that lie never would make you a good husband." C"I have-known that a long thne," Rutth said, quietly ; " but I have hoped always that lie might change if I married hhn. I yoam' afr?dcl I can't hope any longer, and I haev been thinking for some time tlhat I should have to give him up. I will tell him .so now if I have an opportunity." " I dion't suppose you will, for my brother -Pays Ie haus not been hono since the affair in thowood. If he has, lhe went away again at once. I expect he has made either for Pily. mouth or London, for Ihe must know that the police would be after him for his share in this business. " I am very sorry for it, Ruth, but I do think you will be happier when you have once made up your mind to break with him. No good could possibly come of your sacrifleing yourself." Ruth said no more on the sucbjeet, but went about her work as quietly and orderly as usual, and Margaret Came was surprised to see how bravely sho held up, for she knew that she must be suffering greatly. (TO ax Corremiao.)