Chapter 8988036

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Chapter NumberX
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Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8988036
Full Date1880-09-18
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Word Count6519
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Newspaper TitleThe Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954)
Trove TitleRonald Walton: A Tale of Early Squatting Life in Moreton Bay
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RONALD WALTON.

A TALE Or EARLY SQUATTING LIFE IN A MORETON BAY.

BY rHEAurnonoF " ADVLNTBEESINQUEENSLAND "

[All Rights Jleservcd ]

CHAPTER X.

SILAS BLAST, AUD HIS CLERK, HARDSHELL.

GIOVAMÎI THE MURDERER, 'AND His SON.

VlMAIKY.

Silas Blast, solicitor, did a good business, and had a few thousands in the bank besides. If ho cave to his church, or to charities, it was done with an under-handed ostent.itiousness peculiar to men of his stamp.' Without mnking any open parado,, ho .did his'charities so that not only his "left hand," but his friends and acquaintances, and many othors also,, knew what his "right hand" did. Ho was taken for a thoroughly moral, religions character, and tho moro charitable of thoso who did not Uko him, gave him credit for being what ho seemed.

In a little room next to Silas Blast's privato office worked a wretched drtidgo, a young roan about. nineteen, small, pale, and thin. Ho lind como in*» Silas Blast's' pos- session-for that is tl.e etirroct term-about three years boforo, in the following manner. His fathor was an Italian named Giovanni ; a poor farmer in- tho neighbourhood of Brisbane, who had committed a murder. Silas Blast defended him very ably, and succoedod in putting his caso in such a light, that though his sentenco was death, yet it was afterwards com- muted to imprisonment for life-in those days, the least meiciful pontenco of tho two. Lifo is sweet, consequently the wretched criminal felt really grateful. Bo had represented to Blast that the f.irm was his own, and previous to his trial had signo 1 ti deed making it over to tho lawyer, which deed was to bo acted upon in tho event of Giovanni not being ablo to pay tho feo for his defence. Ila ii as ovidently a roguo, for lie had already made over the carne property to another porson to whom ho owed money. This fact was, of cotirso, not known to Blast till after the sentuico WHS passed, but as soon as ho heard of it ho instituted privato enquiries and ascertained that the man Patten, vho was in possession, ivas iilso armed with a sale-noto signed by Giovanni. Silas Blast said nothing, but ob- tained nn onlir to soo his cliont in the gaol. Tho wretched mnti WJS almost bowildored by the first crush of tho almost hopeless sontenco that had been passed on him, and when Silas blast entered hiB cell, ho couured boforo him, for his conscienco told lum that his visitor had somewhat against

him.

" You liavo acted liko an abominnblo, snoak ing pickpocket. I liavo just found you out, and had I known as much ns I now do, you might be hanging and rotting in gibbets for nil I would have done to savo you."

" I am very sorry, sir. Yon don't know what a man may do in such a plight as I wns in. I had no money, but tho farm is worth more than I owed tho mun that's got it, and I did think ho would have given mo enough to pay you, but

ho wouldn't."

" You should not have deceived mo. Your act is not justifiable, cither from a legal, mora), or religious point of viow. You low-minded rascal, I'll be oven with you yet."

"I know nil that you say is ti-uo, Bir. I'm very sorry, indeed I am. You did all that a gentleman could do for mo. I know theve wns no ono else in the country could liavo dono as much. You liavo my eternal gratitude and prayers."

" What is the good of your grntitudo ? Do you think the gratitudo of murderers will put olothes on my back? Do you suppose the promises of pickpockets will supply my tnble with food ? Do you think the prayers of such scttm as you will pay a fair per centum on my ex- pensive oducation, and tho valuable timo I am obliged to devoto to the working up of a damn- able coso liko yours ?" '

Ho might hay* added, "Do you think your prayers and gratitude would look well at tho hoad of a chnritablo subscription list ?"

Tho wretched man covered hi3 faco with his hands and Baid,

"Oil ! pray forgivo ino, sir. What enn I dol I wish I had something lo givo you for all tho troublo you liavo had on my account. I have nothing loft but my boy ! What will becomo of him now, I don't know. Ho is not over strong, but ho's a very fair scholnr. Ho always took to his books well. Ho can rido a bit too."

" Your son ! Yon novor monlioned him to mo boforo, Do can road and write, 3'ou say ?" Silas Blast said, moderating his tone of soverity

a littlo.

"Yes, sir, thnt ho can, and moro. Ho knows Latin, and is a good ona at figuros. The good parson, Mr. AVatts, took a funcy to him, and taught him a lot."

" What is ho doing now-and where is ho ?"

"He's working at anything ho can got to do sir, since I got into troublo ; but he tells mo that peoplo aro shy of him on my account. It would be a real chanty if some one would take him in and givo him work. It gives mo a lot of trouble to think that he is sufforing, and likely to, for my fault, for he's a good honest

lad."

An idea onto red tlio brain of tho cuto Blast. Perhaps ho might bo able to mako somo profit out of tho boy, and thus repay himself for his troublo in defending the father. He lind worked, nnd why should hu not bo paid ? Besides, in taking tho boy, ho could fnrthor glorify himself by putting tho net in Iho light of n charity to him and his father. Yes, tho spec' looked well ; and if thoro was any profit to bo mado of it, he was tho mau to extract it.

" How old is he ?" Baid Blast. " Ho's nonr sixteen, sir."

" If he suits mo, will you bind him to mo for five or soveii years ?"

"God bless you sir! that I will! I always' heard you wore a Christian man."

"I trust I am," said Blast, putting on his best Sundity tono and expression. "And if I can do a follow croaturc a good turn, I am always glad to bo permitted to do it. Will you send tho lnd to mo as soon as you can ?"

" You aro too good, sir. You don't know how much you liavo taken off my mind ; and you mako mo feel moro ashamed of myself for taking

Silas Blast did not feel comfortable at this speech ; ho felt how utterly unworthy ho was of its application, but would not say anything that was likely to undeccivo tho man, or that would rob himself of ono tittie of his roligious lustro. Another idea also struck him.

" Who drew out the documont that you signed, making your farm over to the present occu- pant 1"

" The man himself, sir. Ho was a neighbour of mino, and a fnrmor."

"Good!" thought Blast, and his sna^yeyes almost glowed with an expression. ' ' All is not lost that is in danger. I will soo to that." Ho then said,

_ ' ' Then you will send tho boy to me, and if I like the look of him I can keep him i"

" Oh ! that you may, sir. Why you'd bo tho making of him. I'll tell him to be good mid obediont to you, and I beliove ho will. I hope you will take him, sir. Give him a trial, any- way," said Giovanni anxiously ; " and may

heaven blesB you I"

Younc Giovanni was a dark, handsome

featured lad, small, but wiry ; and lind boon very useful to his father on tho farm. Ho was Willing to continue to work at his old home, but . the man, Patten, who took possession of it, had

n family of his own sufficiently largo to work it . without further assistance. Moreover, his wife ' declared that she did not cire to hive anything .' to do with one of so dangerous a breed. Othei'B

had the same feoling, so tho poor boy had a hard

timo of it.

As soon a« Silas Blast ro-entorcd his office, after the interview with tho criminal, he called his head olerk, John Hardshol).

" Hardshell, you go nt onoo to the man who ha» possession of Giovnimi'B farm, and ask him to let you have a look nt that document by

virtue of which ho holds tho land."

"Yes, sir ; hut Biipposo bo will not give it to me ?" , '

" Ho knows you voty well, and if ho will not letyou take it ont of tho house, surely ho will allow you to read it in his presence. If ho con- sent« to your bringing it away, »o much tho better. If not, then you 'read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest* it," he said deliberately. "Do you understand 1"

" Yes, sir," said Hardshell, with a stony look. "Poifecdy, sir."

Who but tho initiated in tho mysteries of parchment and red tape could have intorprolod that reply and stony stare of Hardshell'« I His employer read it, though, with easo and satisfac- tion. Ho knew that any business undertaken by his clerk with that totil absonco of expres- sion in his oyes and face, was as good as sottled.

. "I'll liavo that precious document in my hands before to-night, I'll warrant, or my nama is not Silns Blast," he Baid quiotly to himself ns soon ns his clerk had departed and shut the door. [. Ho is a cool thousand a year to rae I would rnthor liavo him on my side than against mo, and I would not say that of nny other man in Brisbane I would sooner take him into partnership than let him leave mo and set up in opposition. I hope ho will not think of it, how [ over."

John, Hardshell, went straight to tho farm Patton wn3 thoro at work, but Hardshell walked slowly On, simply saying,

j " Good afternoon, Mr. Patton."

Patton rotutned his salino, looking as though he wished to Bay something moro. !

" You aro all right," thought the lawyer.

In half an hour ho walkod back that way ; the man was still hoeing tho ground. Hard- shell nodded to him as he passed slowly on.

" Oh, Mr Hardshell, won'tyoustaya bit, sir ? I want to ask you what thoy have decided to do

with Giovanni?"

- " I don't mind if I do stay a fow minutes I have a bad headache, and have been trying to walk it off. Giovanni ?-Oh, yes. Why, they commuted tho sentenco to imprisonmont

for life."

" Ho ought to liavo been hung, Bir," said Pattou feohngly. "Don't you think so, sir ?"

Hnrdsholl's Btony look wns on instantly, and ho ropliod,

" Woll, whether ho ought or not, ho is not to bo. This is a nico bit of land. Do you ront it

of Giovanni ? '

" No, sir, I bought it of him."

"Aro you euro of tho title ?" Baid Hardshell, feigning surprise.

"Oh yes!" said Patton confidently, "I wrote tho thing out mysolf. I paid tho money, and got his signature right enough."

"Ho may havo boon swindling you-but I supposo you know what you wero doing ?" Baid Hnrdshcll, indifferently.

The mau looked a btt disturbed, and said,

" Why, how could ho swindlomo? Shall I show you tho receipt, sir ?"

"If you wish, certainly." I They had been sitting on tho fenco whilo talking. Patten jumped off and ran to his hut, which was about fifty yards off. Ho shortly roturnod with the documont, which Hardshell perused to the end, with his adamant stare, but

with inward satisfaction.

" What do you think of it now, sir ¡ "

" Well-it lins the merit of boing short, but I can't say I think it a very lawyer-like document. I will show it to Mr. Blast, and ask him what ho thinks of it, if you liko."

" I'd rathor not part with it, sir ; thank you

all tho samo."

" Vory well, ploaBo yourself-ii is no busi- ness of mino," Hardsholl ropliod, carolessly extending his hand with tho documont. "It Btruck mo that it was not vory formally drawn up, and that tho opinion of a mnii ns high in his profession as my employer, might bo valuable to you-that's all You know the old saying about ' n man noting ns his own Inwyor having a

fool for a oliont ?' "

Patton hesitated, and said,

"Bog your pardon, sir. I only thought it might get lost, but I know it will be safo oticmgli with you. Sholl I have to pay any hing ? When shnll I call for it ? "

"Pay! No1 Yon do not know how good Mr. Blast is to poor pooplo. Ho will oxamino it with pleasure. No, no-do not trouble to call_for it," Hardsholl snid, putting tho docu- ment into his pocket book. " I will bring it back to jon.' Then looking at his watch, ho continued, "Boar ino, it is gotttng lato ! I must bo off. Goodbye."

Ho pursued his way homoward at a brisker pace than ho had travelled at when first passing Pntton's farm. Tho lattor resumed his work with a mind ill at easo ; and ho thought as he glanced at tho retreating figuro of tho lawyer,

"His hoad must bo bottor by tho way he walks. Well, well-it must bo a hard life for thom poor lawyers, fixed up in their littlo otlices. I wouldn't liko to bo them. I'd sooner work out hero in tho sunshine, hot as it is. I don't like what ho snid about that receipt. Can't toll nothing by his looks. Why, a man could toll better whnt's inside an ironbark treo by tho looks of tho bark, than ho could guesi what Hardshell was thinking of by his face. I never could mako him out. Why he looks half a fool, somotitnes, nnd not tho Bortof chap for a lawyer. Then ho couldn't toll ino whother that paper was nil right. Well, I know his msstor can ho's cuto enough, thoy say."

Hardshell ontered his master's office quito out of breath ; opened his pookot-book, and presented tho precious documont. Tho two exchanged glances, and Silas Blast said,

"You aro just in timo. I recoivod this note ton minutes ago by the lad, Giovanni. I intend to take him into my service, and Wattlo is now drawing up the agreement. Read that."

Hardsholl road tho ill-written note, tho sub- stance of which wns as follows :

" Honoured Mr, my boy has just come to toll me that no one will liavo anything to do with him, becmiso of mo. Ho says he'll do something bad to get him into gaol, where ha will bo feil, If he can't get work. Good parson Wntts is up tho country, or ho would do something for bira, I know. Ho wants to pet your Íilnce very much, and God bless you if you take him.

L am in great ínlaerv and can't help bim. Indeed I am a ourao to him. I am to bo taken away with a lot of others from here to Norfolk Island. The prinon is too full, nnd tho ship sails to-morrow morning. Honoured sir, your humble servant, GIOVANNI."

"Thoro is no time to loso, Hardsholl, You go and soo if Wattlo ¡3 getting on with that agreement. Whon completed, bring it to mo."

Hardshell dopartod, and in duo timo roturnod

with tho documont.

"Have you read it ?" said Blast.

" Yes, sir ; and it is in duo form. Mr. Wattlo always doos his work correctly."

"Very woll. Thon como to the gaol with mo. I have the order for admission. Young Giovanni is in tho little- vacant oflico. Bring him with you "

"Yes, sir."

The convict was delighted when thoy entered tho cell, and expressed his pleasure and thanks, as soon as Blast told him he wished to have tho agrcemont signed at once.

"Shall Mr. Hardshell road tho document to you Í"

'. io, sir, suroly not. It's all right coming from you. I hope you will prosper."

The agrcemont was signed and witnessed, and tho lad was bound hand and foot to Silas Blast for seven years. In consideration for the uimoBt service ho could render his master, ho wns to receive clothing and food for the first throe yoars ; and a small yearly sum-by way of encouragement as Blast put it-in addition, for tho romainder of the tonn of servitude.

Father and son embracod, and spoke in the sweet tongue of Italy for some time ; then they separated, and tho parting seemed vory painful to both. Giovanni said to his sou,

"Forget from this timo that you have a father. Oh ! Italy I Italy ! Would I had never left thoo I-I was froe there-In chains

hero 1 "

Ile could say no moro, but extended his manaaled hands' to Silas Blast and Hardsholl ; once more embraced his son-tho last embrace ou earth-and then threw himself on the floor'

of his coll.

The lawyor, his clork, and slavo-the lattor with a heavy heart-roturnod to the office. Blast ordered young Giovanni to stay in the room ho had previously occupiod, and then ontorod his privato oflico willi Hardshell. He ook Patton'« document out of his desk and

said, _ - !

" Hardshell-this pioco of paper is useless to the man ns a titlo to enable him to hold that farm. (Hardshell know that a« soon as he read it while sitting on tho fence.) It is utterly worthless, but yo« know I would not oppose it on that ground-it would not look well. Now, you tako this into your office, refer to tho deed signed by that scoundrel Giovanni, compare {he dates of the Uva, and return Patten's uselera one to-morrow. I do not want to «ee it again." j '

The snaky ' gaze of the employer met the stony stare of hi« clerk, The two (men at such time« had but ona brain,

CHAPTER XI.

HAIIDSHELL'S MODS or COMPARING DATES,

ETC.-GIOVANNI, TUB MURDERER, IS SHIPPED TO NORFOIIK ISLAND.-JOE PATTEN AND HIS AMIABLE WIFE.

Tho reader must bo enlightened on one or two points. Tho document had not been wit- nessed or dated. Either omission would have proved fatal to its validity in a court of law. Hardshell knew perfectly well what his omployer meant by " compare tho dates of tho two," and he set to work at once. Ho first selected a piece of paper

of a similar kind to that on which Patten's receipt waa written. Thon ho took n quill pen for it had been written with a quill-and dip- ping it in tho ink, wrote a good imitation of tho characters on Patten's papor, "5th of October, l8-." Ho then dried it by a wood fire which ho had mido in his grate for that

purpose.

" Too black," ho exclaimed. " I must put

somo water in it."

Ho repeated the experiment over and over again, and at last succeeded in gotting both tho characters and tho colour of the ink to his liking. Ho muttered,

" How lucky ho put the number of acres, and the sum ho paid, in figures. Some of tho vory figures I wanted too. Wall, I don't boliovo that any ono could dotoct tho diffcrenco between thoso characters and his-if thero, is any ; so

here croes."

i Ho thon wrote on Patten's document, without

tho least tremor of hand or heart, or twinge of conscience-" October 5th, l8-," and dried it by tile fire. Then holding it before him, ho said, softly,

I " Thoro-that's exactly four days later than r tho date of our doed. I'll defy the devil him-

self to say that that dato was not filled in by the samo hand that wrote tho rest of it ! Yes, I think this will moot tho views of my respected and sanctified employer. Well, ho behavos handsomely to me ; but I think ho only does it becauso ho knows which sido his broad ii but- tered."

Noxt moining, the Governor Philip, brig, Bailed for Norfolk Island, bearing away tho convict Giovanni, together with a full freight of sin, manacled misery, and degradation. Immediately after hor departure, Hardshell pro- ceeded to the farm with Patten's documont, and also a lotter from Silas Blast. As tho man read tho letter, ho turned deadly pale, and clutched at his beard convulsively with his loft hand. When ho had read it through, ho looked at Hardshell, but could not speak.

"lam very sorry to bo the bearor of bad nows to you, Mr. Patton. Wo lawyers sometimes have tho mostdisngrcoablo duties to perform ; amongst tho most painful of which, the ono I now am on must rank. It is very singular, the part I liavo unwittingly acted in this business, and goes far to prove, how much the creatures of circumstances wo aro. I never know of tho oxistonco of the doed moutioned by Mr. Blast in hia letter, till I gave him that worthless docu ment of yours to examino yesterday afternoon. He, I noed scarcoly toll you, know nothing of yours till I Bhowed it to him ; and tho most singular part of tho affair is, that in trying to do you a service, I hastened tho explosion of the mino-I did but hasten it, you soe, for it must

have come to this soon."

"But-bul-sir," gnsped Patton. "What am I to do ? I paid my money-that is, I lent him all I lind-forty pounds-on tho strength of this land ; and I was to have it if he did not pay me back in six months Ho must liavo boon a worse man than I took him for. I might kill a man in hot blood ns ho did, but I couldn't tako in a poor man that way. I'll go and tackle

him about it."

" Ho is far away from boro. Ho was shipped

off to Norfolk Island ?'

"What can I doi" said Patten, in much distress. Thoo an idea struck him. " Why, as he has made over tho land to both of us, wo have oqual rights in it, and ought to share it botwoeu-us. . 'That >was,Solomon's..justice, whon the two womon quarrelled about thu child. You seo thero is Bcrlpturo for it "

Ho thought this was a conclusivo argument, and looked quito bright again, but Hardshell

quickly undeceived him. "

" Not at all, my friond ; oven if that wero Solomon's justice, which I will soon proro it wasn't, it is not British law as applied 'in Moreton Bay. Solomon simply gave thal judg- ment as a test, to lind out which was the mother of the child, and you soe the right ownor got it after all. If this matter goes into a court of justice-which I sincerely hope it will not, for your sako, you will only be throwing good money after bnd-tho two documents will bo oxamined. Yours is faulty all through, and has not a log to stand on. It is, in fact, tho dead child, whilo Mr. Blast's is tho living child, beeauso nil its parts aro ontiro, and iii duo legal form."

" I wish I had got a lawyor to draw it out ; I never knsw it was necessary to bo so particular."

" All tho lawyeis in Brisbano could not liavo saved you in this caso." ,

"Why so? If my deod had beon drawn out tho saino as Mr. Blast's, wouldn't it liavo had as good a chance ?"

"No. Look hore." Ho unfolded tho deed boforo the oyos of his victim, who was astonished beyond meosuro at tho number of closely written pages it contained. " Now, look hore," he said, pointing to the bottom of tho last pnge.

"Read that."

Patten read aloud :

" Givon under my hand and seal this first (1st) day of October, in the year of our Lord ono thousand eight hundred and-" Ho paused, and then said dubiously, ' ' First of October first of October. Why, I thought my business wns dono in Soptembor ; I fool sure it was. I'll ask wifo ; sho has a bettor mind than mo nbout those things. But what's tho odds about tho

dato ?"

"That is just whoro tho odds aro in Mr. Blast's favour. Tho first conveyance is the ono that stands good in law, and if fifty othors aro niado, thoy aro worth no moro than tho paper that is spoilt in tho writing of thom."

" Well, if that's tho caso, the farm's mino, bccauso I'll swoar it was in September I did tho business with him-Coo-o-o," he shouted. A woman looked out at the hut door, and ho

beckoned to her.

" It is no uso calling your wife to corrobora to your statement, or swoariag to its correctness. Facts and figures are stubborn things, and they aro against you. Look at your own document."

"I never thought of that," said Fatten, as ho proceeded to unfold tho paper. " But I dis remember altogether what dato was on it-ov if

it had one ; but I'll swear it was in Soptembor. " i

Ho looked at tho paper. The dato was on it plain enough. Ho road, and re-road it ; turned tho paper sideways, thon held it at arm's length, and said, with an air of bewilderment,

'. Well, I'm blowod ! That boats tho devil !" H s wife joined thom ; her anns woro covered

with flour to tho olbows.

'. Why, Betsy, it seems I've made a fool of yon-I've called you for nothing," he said apologetically, '

" That's no news. You're always making a fool of mo, or of yourself. I was just putting the loaves into tho camp-oven. They was riz beautiful, and 'li be duwn like leaden dunipa now-and the baby's a squalling Uko 'possums up a gum tree."

"Well, well, Betsy," he replied soothingly, "I thought I bought this farm of Giovanni in Sep- tember, but

",Who the Dickens said you didn't ?" " Why, this papor. Look here."

"Thon tho paper's a Ho. It was in September. I know it, becauso I was abod with baby at tho time, and I was up before »ho end of Sep

tamW "

"I thought it was, but-but-well I know I wrote this when I paid the money."

" I don't know what you wroto, but I know tho money was tied up in a Bilk handkorcher under my mattress, and you nigh tumbled me and the blessed baby out of bed a getting of it."

" It is no use arguing about it Mr. Patton," said Hardshell. " Is that your writing, or is it

not?"

" That's my writing, I don't deny ; but-" " That's your fíat, safo enough, you old fool ! I'd know it among ten thousand writings," said tho ruffled wife, who was not to say a good tomper. "But what's tho row, I want to

know ? "

" Well, Betsy, don't take on about it-you'll have to know it sooner or later. This gentleman says as Mr. Silas Blast really owns the land."

She looked at her husband, then at Hardshell, Tht latter shortly explained tha position of

affairs. The woman caught her husband by the board, and na sho delivered the following, sho ground his noso slowly with tho other flowery

fist.

"You old fool ! So you'vo gone and done it at lost, havo you 1 You've ruinatod yourself londiug money to a murderer-but that don't matter. You've ruinated me and my children - that does mattor."

Tho grinding incroased so painfully, that the man gontl» caught her arm.

"Oh! You'd use violence to your lawful wife-rtho mother of your childron that has a ass for a father-wouldyorl"

She lot go her hold of his beard, stuck liur han d3 on her hips, jumped into the air, and

uttered a tromeudous "Coo-e-eo!" which seemed to roliovo her feelings somewhat, but it caused some parrots and cockatoos that were feeding quietly on the gum trco blossoms over head to start off as though tiley had been fired at, screeching most discordantly. Sho then loft j them and procoeded towards the hut, sayinji,

" Thon I suppose I may pack up, and go i-ito

service ! I'm fit for that now, ain't I, after i having all them children 1 Oh ! You old f-f-f-o-ool !" She hissed through her teeth ; occasionally turning round and shaking h<-r fiít

at him.

Ho lookod vory sheepish, knowing w.hat a life waB in storo for Lim.

" I cannot stay any longor, Mr. Patten," Hardshell said. " I repeat that I am very sorry for what has taken placo. You may seo a lawyer about your business, if you aro not satisfied, of course ; but it will cost you moro

than it is worth."

" I am only a poor man, sir, and can't afford to loso any moro I left the farm I waB renting, and doing well on, to come here. Now, I shall havo nn homo, and no monoy neither. I hopo

Mr. Blast won't bo hard "on me. I'vo "a lot depending on mc, and times ain't over bright. Oh dosr ! It's a great loss I How could I haro been such n blinded idiot ns to mako such a mistnko in tho dato ?"

Tho poor follow looked puzzlod and distressed. Ho was no doubt thinking, too, about the re- ception ho would havo at dinnor timo from his

wifo.

"Mr. Blast is not a hard man. You just como in with me, and see him," Hardshell

said.

It was the dearest wish of his heart that the matter should bo settled right off, instead of re- maining in uncertainty; and ho shrewdly guessed that if ho could got Patten in his present stato of mind into his employer's office, the business could bo dono. Patten hesitated to accopt his invitation, not that ho did not wish to go, but bocauso ho know ho was "in for it" at tho lint, and ho wished to got it o vor as soon as possible, for whenever Betsy was "up," tho longer her wrath was corked, tho greater the explosion when she did " let out." Ho stroked the flour

and stray bits of dough out of his beard and off his faeo, saying,

"I'd be glad to go with you, sir, but-well, I'll go in after dinner, for sure."

" You had bettor appoint a timo, and thon Mr. Blast will bo at tho office to soo you."

" Will two o'clock do, sir ?"

" Yes, Mr. Blust is sure to bo in at two. Good morning,"

Patten Bighed heavily ns ho returned the lawyor's salute ; then said to himself, " Now for it !" and walked towards his hut like-well, perhaps no simile can bo found to express it so accurately as a plain statement of the fact-like a man going heroically to moot the ire of a scold- ing wife. What moro terrible ?

" So you've come, havo you ? You're just in timo (so it seemed). Your dinnor is noarly rondy, and I hope you'll enjoy it."

Ho mado no reply, but walked humbly towards his room with tho intontion of having a wash ; but sho stopped him.

"Don't you enter that room. Tho child's asleep, and a pretty time I'vo had of it thii blessed morning. Ho's boon squalling ever Binco breakfast Jiusan burnt her baud imlUiig tho bread into'tlio"ovon, and tho pig got out of tho old aty that you aro »lwmyn tnlkino of mnnrl ing, and capsized the beef-pot whilol was up to my armpits in soapsuds, and took away tho beof. I'vo dono half a dozon jobs cf your work, ns woll as all my own. I don't know what men was mado for. It's only to give poor hard-working women troublo. (His ' way of looking at tho matrimonial situation was obverso to her stand-point ; but ho did not say so.) What aro you going to do with all theso brats when I'm gono to Borvico ? Yon can't oxpect mo to koop them and you too." This was vory unjust ; he was a very hard-working, steady man. Ho ventured to say in a conciliatory manner,

" Now, Betsy, it isn't so bad as that. I routed a farm before, and did woll on it, and can do it

ntrain."

"¡J"'" .

"You shut up, drat you ! Do you supposo I don't know bettor than you what you eau do, and what you can't ? I'll never slavo tho flesh off of my bones again to savo money for you to fool away on murderers ! (She was in ro maikably fino condition, a fact that sho seemed to overlook.) Forty pounds, indeed ! You'd never make forty pounds withous my help, from this till tho crack of doom. You bring forty pounds of dirt into tho houso overy timo you come into it. Look at your beastly boots ! and mo boen slaving since daylight."

"I Bay, Botsy-como old woman-lot's got dinner, I'vo got to bo at Mr. Silas Blast's at

two."

" You're going to ordor mo about, aro you? You'll soo different to that, I know, before long. I'm not going to put up Avith your tantrums much longer. You'll find that a poor worm '11 turn when it's trod on. Old woman !-eli ? I know who's the old woman. If T nm an old woman, who mado mo ono ? Why you, with your worrit and laziness, and tho uiurdoring socioty you koop that drives tho sleop from my eyes at night with foar that I'll be shot or havo my brains knocked out by stabbing foreigneors. (Shu was a thoroughly good aleopor, and honestly snored through her six, seven, or eight hours according to tho humour of tho baby-overy night.) What's Mr. Silos Blast to me ? Hang Mr. Silas, I say-and you too. I supposa you'll bo making a fool of yourself with him, as you do with ovoryono else. Look hero ! Don't you

nut vour hnnd to paper for no ono j if ho axes

you, say out Uko a man, 'I won't, ' says you. Why, I believo ony idiot could mako you sign awny your poor wi-wi-wife-and ch-ildren !" Sho burst into tears. That was tho climax, and poor Joo hailed it with delight. Like the tropical thunderstorm, the danger was lessened by the copious downpour, and tho lightning of her tonguo mid thundor of har voice sonsibly diminished. As for signing away his wife, ho often thought, on occasions liko the present, that if it could bo lawfully done, he would feel mighty tempted to do it, though ho did not know where the article would bo markotablo ; it certainly would not bo in his neighbourhood. Sho was a thrifty, hard-working woman, but her virulent tonguo effectually marrod tho satis- faction and comfort that would undoubtedly havo accrued to her husband and children, by the exorcise of her good qualities without that accompaniment.

Joe Patten had a much quieter dinner than ho anticipated, and then wont into town to see Silas Blast, That individual was in, of course, and tho upshot of tho interview was, that poor Joe was induced to givo up his titlo, and leaso tho farm for a tonn of yonrs-Silas Blast magnanimously waiving the first year'B rent. As soon ns Patten was gono, Blast called Hard- shell, and delivered young Giovanni's agreement, and the unlucky paper that Patten had got from

Giovanni, the older, to him.

'" Take particular caro of that document, Hardshell," ho said, indicating the last-men-

tioned one.

Tho eyes of tho two met. Hardshell quite understood the instructions, and when ho closed his door, he put the agroomont into the iron safe ; tho other paper ho hold botwoen his finger aud thumb, Btruek a lucifer match, and in a few moments Patten's rightful title to the land was reduced to ashes. Hardshell smiled as the flamo died out, and ho muttered to himself, as ho crushed tho tinder beneath his feet,

"Such fools don't deserve to have property !" The nbovo episode-tim incidents of which, it will bo remembered, took pisco threo years before tho commencement of this story - is inserted, that the reader may the moro readily comprehend events which have ' yet to be recorded. During those years, the boy, Giovanni,,had grown but little'in stature, though' much' in "knowledge, H« had'been

most harshly treated by Silas Blast, who workod him almost to death, half Btarvetl him, and gavo him very little clothing. Ho went further than that, on soveral occasions striking the lad. . Once in particular, not long before his introduction to these pages, tho poor drudge had been at his desk for many hours, and it wns near midnight. He fell nsloop, and Blast, who always kept a sharp oyo on him, caught him with his head on tho deed ho had beon writing. The dced_ was smeared in conséquence, and ho gavo him a tromondous horsewhipping. Tho bid's hot Italian blood roso at tho injustice, and ho told the perpetrator of tho cruelty that ho would bo rovenged. He said,

"I promised my eather faithfully, that I would servo you to the best of my ability to tho end of my time, and so I will, if possible You have overworked and half starved me over since I came to you. I could put up with that, but tho hand that whips an Italian like a slave, shall porish !"

A fire of hato and rovongo blazed in his dark eves, and his white teeth gleamed between his thin lips ns the words hissed through them A part from tho lad's looks, Blast would have felt no small uneasiness at his throat, but tho two com- bined struck a terror into his cowardly hoart that ho could but ill conceal, and from that timo he carefully abstained from striking him, but increased his discomfort in other ways.

[To be continued.]