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" That girl, as you call her, is my wife." [p. 













WIFE 23 


WOOD 37 










" THAT GIRL, AS YOU CALL HER, is MY WIFE " Frontispiece 










LADY 24 






















1 WAS a great solitary when I was young. I 
made it my pride to keep aloof and suffice for 
my own entertainment; and I may say that I 
had neither friends nor acquaintances until I met 
that friend who became my wife and the mother 
of my children. With one man only was I on 
private terms ; this was R. Northmour, Esquire, 
of Graden Easter, in Scotland. We had met at 
college ; and though there was not much liking 
between us, nor even much intimacy, we were 
so nearly of a humour that we could associate 
with ease to both. Misanthropes, we believed 
ourselves to be ; but I have thought since that 
we were only sulky fellows. It was scarcely a 
companionship, but a coexistence in unsociability. 
Northmour's exceptional violence of temper made 


it no easy affair for him to keep the peace with 
any one but me ; and as he respected my silent 
ways, and let me come and go as I pleased, I 
could tolerate his presence without concern. I 
think we called each other friends. 

When Northmour took his degree and I de- 
cided to leave the university without one, he 
invited me on a long visit to Graden Easter; 
and it was thus that I first became acquainted 
with the scene of my adventures. The mansion- 
house of Graden stood in a bleak stretch of 
country some three miles from the shore of the 
German Ocean. It was as large as a barrack ; 
and as it had been built of a soft stone, liable to 
consume in the eager air of the seaside, it was 
damp and draughty within and half ruinous 
without. It was impossible for two young men 
to lodge with comfort in such a dwelling. But 
there stood in the northern part of the estate, 
in a wilderness of links and blowing sand-hills, 
and between a plantation and the sea, a small 
Pavilion or Belvidere, of modern design, which 
was exactly suited to our wants ; and in this her- 
mitage, speaking little, reading much, and rarely 
associating except at meals, Northmour and I 
spent four tempestuous winter months. I might 
have stayed longer ; but one March night there 
sprang up between us a dispute, which rendered 
my departure necessary. Northmour spoke 


hotly, I remember, and I suppose I must have 
made some tart rejoinder. .He leaped from his 
chair and grappled me; I had, .to fight, without 
exaggeration, for my life ; and it was only with 
a great effort that I mastered him, for he was 
near as strong in body as myself, and seemed 
filled with the devil. The next morning, we 
met on our usual terms ; but I judged it more 
delicate to withdraw; nor did he attempt to 
dissuade me. 

It was nine years before I revisited the neigh- 
bourhood. I travelled at that time with a tilt 
cart, a tent, and a cooking-stove, tramping all 
day beside the waggon, and at night, whenever 
it was possible, gipsying in a cove of the hills, 
or by the side of a wood. I believe I visited in 
this manner most of the wild and desolate regions 
both in England and Scotland ; and, as I had 
neither friends nor relations, I was troubled with 
no correspondence, and had nothing in the nature 
of headquarters, unless it was the office of my 
solicitors, from whom I drew my income twice 
a year. It was a life in which I delighted ; and 
I fully thought to have grown old upon the 
march, and at last died in a ditch. 

It was my whole business to find desolate 
corners, where I could camp without the fear of 
interruption ; and hence, being in another part 
of the same shire, I bethought me suddenly of 


the Pavilion on the Links. No thoroughfare 
passed within three miles of it. The nearest 
town, and that was but a fisher village, was at 
a distance of six or seven. For ten miles of 
length, and from a depth varying from three 
miles to half a mile, this belt of barren country 
lay along the sea. The beach, which was the 
natural approach, was full of quicksands. In- 
deed, I may say there is hardly a better place of 
concealment in the United Kingdom. I deter- 
mined to pass a week in the Sea- Wood of 
Graden Easter, and, making a long stage, reached 
it about sundown on a wild September day. 

The country, I have said, was mixed sand-hill 
and links ; links being a Scottish name for sand 
which has ceased drifting and become more or 
less solidly covered with turf. The Pavilion stood 
on an even space ; a little behind it, the wood 
began in a hedge of elders huddled together by 
the wind ; in front, a few tumbled sand-hills stood- 
between it and the sea. An outcropping of rock 
had formed a bastion for the sand, so that there 
was here a promontory in the coast-line between 
two shallow bays ; and just beyond the tides, 
the rock again cropped out and formed an islet 
of small dimensions but strikingly designed. 
The quicksands were of great extent at low 
water, and had an infamous reputation in the 
country. Close inshore, between the islet and 

It was my whole business to fold desolate corners 


the promontory, it was said they would swallow 
a man in four minutes and a half; but there 
may have been little ground for this precision. 
The district was alive with rabbits, and haunted 
by gulls which made a continual piping about 
the pavilion. On summer days the outlook was 
bright and even gladsome ; but at sundown in 
September, with a high wind, and a heavy surf 
rolling in close along the links, the place told of 
nothing but dead mariners and sea disaster. A 
ship beating to windward on the horizon, and 
a huge truncheon of wreck half buried in the 
sands at my feet, completed the innuendo of 
the scene. 

The pavilion it had been built by the last 
proprietor, Northmour's uncle, a silly and pro- 
digal virtuoso presented little signs of age. It 
was two stories in height, Italian in design, 
surrounded by a patch of garden in which 
nothing had prospered but a few coarse flowers ; 
and looked, with its shuttered windows, not like 
a house that had been deserted, but like one 
that had never been tenanted by man. North- 
mour was plainly from home ; whether, as usual, 
sulking in the cabin of his yacht, or in one of his 
fitful and extravagant appearances in the world 
of society, I had, of course, no means of guessing. 
The place had an air of solitude that daunted 
even a solitary like myself; the wind cried in 


the chimneys with a strange and wailing note ; 
and it was with a sense of escape, as if I were 
going indoors, that I turned away and, driving 
my cart before me, entered the skirts of the 

The Sea- Wood of Graden had been planted 
to shelter the cultivated fields behind, and check 
the encroachments of the blowing sand. As 
you advanced into it from coastward, elders 
were succeeded by other hardy shrubs ; but the 
timber was all stunted and bushy ; it led a life 
of conflict ; the trees were accustomed to swing 
there all night long in fierce winter tempests ; 
and even in early spring, the leaves were already 
flying, and autumn was beginning, in this ex- 
posed plantation. Inland the ground rose into 
a little hill, which, along with the islet, served 
as a sailing mark for seamen. When the hill 
was open of the islet to the north, vessels must 
bear well to the eastward to clear Graden Ness 
and the Graden Bullers. In the lower ground, 
a streamlet ran among the trees, and, being 
dammed with dead leaves and clay of its own 
carrying, spread out every here and there, and lay 
in stagnant pools. One or two ruined cottages 
were dotted about the wood ; and, according to 
Northmour, these were ecclesiastical foundations, 
and in their time had sheltered pious hermits. 

I found a den, or small hollow, where there 


was a spring of pure water ; and there, clearing 
away the brambles, I pitched the tent, and made 
a fire to cook my supper. My horse I picketed 
farther in the wood where there was a patch of 
sward. The banks of the den not only concealed 
the light of my fire, but sheltered me from the 
wind, which was cold as well as high. 

The life I was leading made me both hardy 
and frugal. I never drank but water, and rarely 
ate anything more costly than oatmeal ; and I 
required so little sleep, that, although I rose with 
the peep of day, I would often lie long awake in 
the dark or starry watches of the night. Thus 
in Graden Sea- Wood, although I fell thankfully 
asleep by eight in the evening, I was awake again 
before eleven with a full possession of my faculties, 
and no sense of drowsiness or fatigue. I rose and 
sat by the fire, watching the trees and clouds 
tumultuously tossing and fleeing overhead, and 
hearkening to the wind and the rollers along the 
shore ; till at length, growing weary of inaction, 
I quitted the den, and strolled towards the borders 
of the wood. A young moon, buried in mist, 
gave a faint illumination to my steps ; and the 
light grew brighter as I walked forth into the 
links. At the same moment, the wind, smelling 
salt of the open ocean and carrying particles of 
sand, struck me with its full force, so that I had 
to bow my head. 


When I raised it again to look about me, I 
was aware of a light in the pavilion. It was 
not stationary ; but passed from one window to 
another, as though some one were reviewing the 
different apartments with a lamp or candle. I 
watched it for some seconds in great surprise. 
When I had arrived in the afternoon the house 
had been plainly deserted ; now it was as plainly 
occupied. It was my first idea that a gang of 
thieves might have broken in and be now ran- 
sacking Northmour's cupboards, which were many 
and not ill supplied. But what should bring 
thieves to Graden Easter ? And, again, all the 
shutters had been thrown open, and it would 
have been more in the character of such gentry 
to close them. I dismissed the notion, and fell 
back upon another. Northmour himself must 
have arrived, and was now airing and inspecting 
the pavilion. 

I have said that there was no real affection 
between this man and me ; but, had I loved him 
like a brother, I was then so much more in love 
with solitude that I should none the less have 
shunned his company. As it was, I turned and 
ran for it ; and it was with genuine satisfaction 
that I found myself safely back beside the fire. 
I had escaped an acquaintance ; I should have 
one more night in comfort. In the morning, 
I might either slip away before Northmour 




was abroad, or pay him as short a visit as I 

But when morning came, I thought the situa- 
tion so diverting that I forgot my shyness. 
Northmour was at my mercy ; I arranged a 
good practical jest, though I knew well that my 
neighbour was not the man to jest with in 
security; and, chuckling beforehand over its 
success, took my place among the elders at the 
edge of the wood, whence I could command 
the door of the pavilion. The shutters were all 
once more closed, which I remember thinking 
odd ; and the house, with its white walls and 
green Venetians, looked spruce and habitable in 
the morning light. Hour after hour passed, 
and still no sign of Northmour. I knew him for 
a sluggard in the morning ; but, as it drew on 
towards noon, I lost my patience. To say the 
truth, I had promised to break my fast in the 
pavilion, and hunger began to prick me sharply. 
It was a pity to let the opportunity go by with- 
out some cause for mirth ; but the grosser appe- 
tite prevailed, and I relinquished my jest with 
regret, and sallied from the wood. 

The appearance of the house affected me, as 
I drew near, with disquietude. It seemed un- 
changed since last evening ; and I had expected 
it, I scarce knew why, to wear some external 
signs of habitation. But no : the windows were 


all closely shuttered, the chimneys breathed no 
smoke, and the front door itself was closely pad- 
locked. Northmour, therefore, had entered by 
the back ; this was the natural and, indeed, the 
necessary conclusion ; and you may judge of my 
surprise when, on turning the house, I found the 
back door similarly secured. 

My mind at once reverted to the original 
theory of thieves ; and I blamed myself sharply 
for my last night's inaction. I examined all the 
windows on the lower story, but none of them 
had been tampered with ; I tried the padlocks, 
but they were both secure. It thus became a 
problem how the thieves, if thieves they were, 
had managed to enter the house. They must 
have got, I reasoned, upon the roof of the out- 
house where Northmour used to keep his photo- 
graphic battery ; and from thence, either by the 
window of the study or that of my old bedroom, 
completed their burglarious entry. 

I followed what I supposed was their example ; 
and, getting on the roof, tried the shutters of 
each room. Both were secure; but I was not 
to be beaten ; and, with a little force, one of 
them flew open, grazing, as it did so, the back 
of my hand. I remember, I put the wound to 
my mouth, and stood for perhaps half a minute 
licking it like a dog, and mechanically gazing 
behind me over the waste links and the sea ; 

/ threw up the window and climbed in 


and, in that space of time, my eye made note of 
a large schooner yacht some miles to the north- 
east. Then I threw up the window and 
climbed in. 

I went over the house, and nothing can ex- 
press my mystification. There was no sign of 
disorder, but, on the contrary, the rooms were 
unusually clean and pleasant. I found fires laid, 
ready for lighting ; three bedrooms prepared with 
a luxury quite foreign to Northmour's habits, 
and with water in the ewers and the beds turned 
down ; a table set for three in the dining-room ; 
and an ample supply of cold meats, game, and 
vegetables on the pantry shelves. There were 
guests expected, that was plain ; but why guests, 
when Northmour hated society ? And, above 
all, why was the house thus stealthily prepared 
at dead of night ? and why were the shutters 
closed and the doors padlocked ? 

I effaced all traces of my visit, and came forth 
from the window feeling sobered and concerned. 

The schooner yacht was still in the same place ; 
and it flashed for a moment through my mind 
that this might be the Red Earl bringing the 
owner of the pavilion and his guests. But the 
vessel's head was set the other way. 




I RETURNED to the den to cook myself a meal, 
of which I stood in great need, as well as to care 
for my horse, whom I had somewhat neglected 
in the morning. From time to time I went 
down to the edge of the wood ; but there was 
no change in the pavilion, and not a human 
creature was seen all day upon the links. The 
schooner in the offing was the one touch of life 
within my range of vision. She, apparently 
with no set object, stood off and on or lay to, 
hour after hour ; but as the evening deepened, 
she drew steadily nearer. I became more con- 
vinced that she carried Northmour and his friends, 
and that they would probably come ashore after 
dark ; not only because that was of a piece with 
the secrecy of the preparations, but because the 
tide would not have flowed sufficiently before 
eleven to cover Graden Floe and the other sea 
quags that fortified the shore against invaders. 

All day the wind had been going down, and the 
sea along with it ; but there was a return towards 


sunset of the heavy weather of the day before. 
The night set in pitch dark. The wind came off 
the sea in squalls, like the firing of a battery of 
cannon ; now and then there' was a flaw of rain, 
and the surf rolled heavier with the rising tide. 
I was down at my observatory among the elders, 
when a light was run up to the masthead of the 
schooner, and showed she was closer in than when 
I had last seen her by the dying daylight. I con- 
cluded that this must be a signal to Northmour's 
associates on shore ; and, stepping forth into the 
links, looked around me for something in response. 
A small footpath ran along the margin of the 
wood, and formed the most direct communication 
between the pavilion and the mansion-house ; 
and, as I cast my eyes to that side, I saw a spark 
of light, not a quarter of a mile away, and rapidly 
approaching. From its uneven course it ap- 
peared to be the light of a lantern carried by a 
person who followed the windings of the path, 
and was often staggered and taken aback by the 
more violent squalls. I concealed myself once 
more among the elders, and waited eagerly for 
the new-comer's advance. It proved to be a 
woman ; and, as she passed within half a rod of 
my ambush, I was able to recognise the features. 
The deaf and silent old dame, who had nursed 
Northmour in his childhood, was his associate in 
this underhand affair. 


I followed her at a little distance, taking ad- 
vantage of the innumerable heights and hollows, 
concealed by the darkness, and favoured not only 
by the nurse's deafness, but by the uproar of the 
wind and surf. She entered the pavilion, and, 
going at once to the upper story, opened and 
set a light in one of the windows that looked to- 
wards the sea. Immediately afterwards the light 
at the schooner's masthead was run down and 
extinguished. Its purpose had been attained, 
and those on board were sure that they were 
expected. The old woman resumed her pre- 
parations ; although the other shutters remained 
closed, I could see a glimmer going to and fro 
about the house ; and a gush of sparks from one 
chimney after another soon told me that the fires 
were being kindled. 

Northmour and his guests, I was now per- 
suaded, would come ashore as soon as there was 
water on the floe. It was a wild night for boat 
service ; and I felt some alarm mingle with my 
curiosity as I reflected on the danger of the land- 
ing. My old acquaintance, it was true, was the 
most eccentric of men ; but the present eccen- 
tricity was both disquieting and lugubrious 
to consider. A variety of feelings thus led me 
towards the beach, where I lay flat on my face 
in a hollow within six feet of the track that led 
to the pavilion. Thence, I should have the satis- 

I followed her at a little distance 


faction of recognising the arrivals, and, if they 
should prove to be acquaintances, greeting them 
as soon as they had landed. 

Some time before eleven, while the tide was 
still dangerously low, a boat's lantern appeared 
close inshore ; and, my attention being thus 
awakened, I could perceive another still far to 
seaward, violently tossed, and sometimes hidden 
by the billows. The weather, which was getting 
dirtier as the night went on, and the perilous 
situation of the yacht upon a lee shore, had 
probably driven them to attempt a landing at 
the earliest possible moment. 

A little afterwards, four yachtsmen carrying a 
very heavy chest, and guided by a fifth with a 
lantern, passed close in front of me as I lay, and 
were admitted to the pavilion by the nurse. 
They returned to the beach, and passed me a 
second time with another chest, larger but ap- 
parently not so heavy as the first. A third time 
they made the transit ; and on this occasion one 
of the yachtsmen carried a leather portmanteau, 
and the others a lady's trunk and carriage bag. 
My curiosity was sharply excited. If a woman 
were among the guests of Northmour, it would 
show a change in his habits and an apostasy from 
his pet theories of life, well calculated to fill me 
with surprise. When he and I dwelt there to- 
gether, the pavilion had been a temple of 


misogyny. And now, one of the detested sex 
was to be installed under its roof. I remembered 
one or two particulars, a few notes of daintiness 
and almost of coquetry which had struck me the 
day before as I surveyed the preparations in 
the house ; their purpose was now clear, and 
I thought myself dull not to have perceived it 
from the first. 

While I was thus reflecting, a second lantern 
drew near me from the beach. It was carried by 
a yachtsman whom I had not yet seen, and who 
was conducting two other persons to the pavilion. 
These two persons were unquestionably the 
guests for whom the house was made ready ; 
and, straining eye and ear, I set myself to watch 
them as they passed. One was an unusually tall 
man, in a travelling hat slouched over his eyes, and 
a highland cape closely buttoned and turned up 
so as to conceal his face. You could make out 
no more of him than that he was, as I have said, 
unusually tall, and walked feebly with a heavy 
stoop. By his side, and either clinging to him 
or giving him support I could not make out 
which was a young, tall, and slender figure of a 
woman. She was extremely pale ; but in the 
light of the lantern her face was so marred by 
strong and changing shadows, that she might 
equally well have been as ugly as sin or as 
beautiful as I afterwards found her to be. 


When they were just abreast of me, the girl 
made some remark which was drowned by the 
noise of the wind. 

" Hush ! " said her companion ; and there was 
something in the tone with which the word was 
uttered that thrilled and rather shook my spirits. 
It seemed to breathe from a bosom labouring 
under the deadliest terror ; I have never heard 
another syllable so expressive ; and I still hear it 
again when I am feverish at night, and my mind 
runs upon old times. The man turned towards 
the girl as he spoke ; I had a glimpse of much 
red beard and a nose which seemed to have been 
broken in youth ; and his light eyes seemed 
shining in his face with some strong and un- 
pleasant emotion. 

But these two passed on and were admitted in 
their turn to the pavilion. 

One by one, or in groups, the seamen returned 
to the beach. The wind brought me the sound 
of a rough voice crying, "Shove off!" Then, 
after a pause, another lantern drew near. It 
was Northmour alone. 

My wife and I, a man and a woman, have 
often agreed to wonder how a person could be, 
at the same time, so handsome and so repulsive 
as Northmour. He had the appearance of a 
finished gentleman ; his face bore every mark of 
intelligence and courage ; but you had only to 



look at him, even in his most amiable moment, 
to see that he had the temper of a slaver captain. 
I never knew a character that was both explosive 
and revengeful to the same degree ; he combined 
the vivacity of the south with the sustained and 
deadly hatreds of the north; and both traits 
were plainly written on his face, which was a sort 
of danger signal. In person he was tall, strong, 
and active ; his hair and complexion very dark ; 
his features handsomely designed, but spoiled by 
a menacing expression. 

At that moment he was somewhat paler than 
by nature ; he wore a heavy frown ; and his lips 
worked, and he looked sharply round him as he 
walked, like a man besieged with apprehensions. 
And yet I thought he had a look of triumph 
underlying all, as though he had already done 
much, and was near the end of an achieve- 

Partly from a scruple of delicacy which I 
dare say came too late partly from the pleasure 
of startling an acquaintance, I desired to make 
my presence known to him without delay. 

I got suddenly to my feet, and stepped 

" Northmour ! " said I. 

I have never had so shocking a surprise in all 
my days. He leaped on me without a word ; 

He leaped on me without a word 


something shone in his hand ; and he struck for 
my heart with a dagger. At the same moment 
I knocked him head over heels. Whether it 
was my quickness, or his own uncertainty, I 
know not ; but the blade only grazed my 
shoulder, while the hilt and his fist struck me 
violently on the mouth. 

I fled, but not far. I had often and often 
observed the capabilities of the sand-hills for 
protracted ambush or stealthy advances and 
retreats; and, not ten yards from the scene of 
the scuffle, plumped down again upon the grass. 
The lantern had fallen and gone out. But 
what was my astonishment to see Northmour 
slip at a bound into the pavilion, and hear him 
bar the door behind him with a clang of iron ! 

He had not pursued me. He had run away. 
Northmour, whom I knew for the most implac- 
able and daring of men, had run away ! I could 
scarce believe my reason ; and yet in this strange 
business, where all was incredible, there was 
nothing to make a work about in an incredibility 
more or less. For why was the pavilion secretly 
prepared ? Why had Northmour landed with his 
guests at dead of night, in half a gale of wind, 
and with the floe scarce covered ? Why had he 
sought to kill me ? Had he not recognised my 
voice ? I wondered. And, above all, how had 


he come to have a dagger ready in his hand ? 
A dagger, or even a sharp knife, seemed out of 
keeping with the age in which we lived ; and a 
gentleman landing from his yacht on the shore of 
his own estate, even although it was at night and 
with some mysterious circumstances, does not 
usually, as a matter of fact, walk thus prepared 
for deadly onslaught. The more I reflected, the 
further I felt at sea. I recapitulated the ele- 
ments of mystery, counting them on my fingers : 
the pavilion secretly prepared for guests; the 
guests landed at the risk of their lives and to 
the imminent peril of the yacht ; the guests, 
or at least one of them, in undisguised and 
seemingly causeless terror; Northmour with a 
naked weapon; Northmour stabbing his most 
intimate acquaintance at a word ; last, and not 
least strange, Northmour fleeing from the man 
whom he had sought to murder, and barricading 
himself, like a hunted creature, behind the door 
of the pavilion. Here were at least six separate 
causes for extreme surprise ; each part and parcel 
with the others, and forming all together one 
consistent story. I felt almost ashamed to be- 
lieve my own senses. 

As I thus stood, transfixed with wonder, I 
began to grow painfully conscious of the injuries 
I had received in the scuffle; skulked round 


among the sand-hills ; and, by a devious path, 
regained the shelter of the wood. On the way, 
the old nurse passed again within several yards 
of me, still carrying her lantern, on the return 
journey to the mansion-house of Graden. This 
made a seventh suspicious feature in the case. 
Northmour and his guests, it appeared, were to 
cook and do the cleaning for themselves, while 
the old woman continued to inhabit the big 
empty barrack among the policies. There must 
surely be great cause for secrecy, when so many 
inconveniences were confronted to preserve it. 

So thinking, I made my way to the den. For 
greater security, I trod out the embers of the fire, 
and lit my lantern to examine the wound upon 
my shoulder. It was a trifling hurt, although it 
bled somewhat freely, and I dressed it as well as 
I could (for its position made it difficult to reach) 
with some rag and cold water from the spring. 
While I was thus busied, I mentally declared war 
against Northmour and his mystery. I am not 
an angry man by nature, and I believe there was 
more curiosity than resentment in my heart. 
But war I certainly declared; and, by way of 
preparation, I got out my revolver, and, having 
drawn the charges, cleaned and reloaded it with 
scrupulous care. Next I became preoccupied 
about my horse. It might break loose, or fall to 


neighing, and so betray my camp in the Sea- 
Wood. I determined to rid myself of its neigh- 
bourhood ; and long before dawn I was leading 
it over the links in the direction of the fisher 




FOR two days I skulked round the pavilion, pro- 
fiting by the uneven surface of the links. I 
became an adept in the necessary tactics. These 
low hillocks and shallow dells, running one 
into another, became a kind of cloak of dark- 
ness for my enthralling, but perhaps dishonour- 
able, pursuit. Yet, in spite of this advantage, 
I could learn but little of Northmour or his 

Fresh provisions were brought under cover of 
darkness by the old woman from the mansion- 
house. Northmour and the young lady, some- 
times together, but more often singly, would 
walk for an hour or two at a time on the beach 
beside the quicksand. I could not but conclude 
that this promenade was chosen with an eye to 
secrecy ; for the spot was open only to the sea- 
ward. But it suited me not less excellently ; the 
highest and most accidented of the sand-hills 
immediately adjoined ; and from these, lying flat 


in a hollow, I could overlook Northmour or the 
young lady as they walked. 

The tall man seemed to have disappeared. Not 
only did he never cross the threshold, but he 
never so much as showed face at a window ; or, 
at least, not so far as I could see ; for I dared 
not creep forward beyond a certain distance in 
the day, since the upper floor commanded the 
bottoms of the links ; and at night, when I could 
venture farther, the lower windows were barri- 
caded as if to stand a siege. Sometimes I 
thought the tall man must be confined to bed, 
for I remembered the feebleness of his gait ; 
and sometimes I thought he must have gone 
clear away, and that Northmour and the young 
lady remained alone together in the pavilion. 
The idea, even then, displeased me. 

Whether or not this pair were man and wife, 
I had seen abundant reason to doubt the friend- 
liness of their relation. Although I could hear 
nothing of what they said, and rarely so much 
as glean a decided expression on the face of 
either, there was a distance, almost a stiffness, 
in their bearing which showed them to be either 
unfamiliar or at enmity. The girl walked faster 
when she was with Northmour than when she 
was alone ; and I conceived that any inclination 
between a man and a woman would rather delay 
than accelerate the step. Moreover, she kept a 

/ could overlook Northmour or the young lady 


good yard free of him, and trailed her umbrella, 
as if it were a barrier, on the side between them. 
Northmour kept sidling closer ; and, as the girl 
retired from his advance, their course lay at a 
sort of diagonal across the beach, and would have 
landed them in the surf had it been long enough 
continued. But, when this was imminent, the 
girl would unostentatiously change sides and put 
Northmour between her and the sea. I watched 
these manoeuvres, for my part, with high enjoy- 
ment and approval, and chuckled to myself at 
every move. 

On the morning of the third day, she walked 
alone for some time, and I perceived, to my great 
concern, that she was more than once in tears. 
You will see that my heart was already interested 
more than I supposed. She had a firm yet airy 
motion of the body, and carried her head with 
unimaginable grace ; every step was a thing to 
look at, and she seemed in my eyes to breathe 
sweetness and distinction. 

The day was so agreeable, being calm and 
sunshiny, with a tranquil sea, and yet with a 
healthful piquancy and vigour in the air, that, 
contrary to custom, she was tempted forth a 
second time to walk. On this occasion she was 
accompanied by Northmour, and they had been 
but a short while on the beach, when I saw 
him take forcible possession of her hand. She 


struggled, and uttered a cry that was almost a 
scream. I sprang to my feet, unmindful of my 
strange position ; but, ere I had taken a step, I 
saw North mour bareheaded and bowing very 
low, as if to apologise; and dropped again at 
once into my ambush. A few words were inter- 
changed ; and then, with another bow, he left 
the beach to return to the pavilion. He passed 
not far from me, and I could see him, flushed 
and lowering, and cutting savagely with his cane 
among the grass. It was not without satisfaction 
that I recognised my own handiwork in a great 
cut under his right eye, and a considerable dis- 
coloration round the socket. 

For some time the girl remained where he 
had left her, looking out past the islet and over 
the bright sea. Then with a start, as one who 
throws off preoccupation and puts energy again 
upon its mettle, she broke into a rapid and de- 
cisive walk. She also was much incensed by 
what had passed. She had forgotten where she 
was. And I beheld her walk straight into the 
borders of the quicksand where it is most abrupt 
and dangerous. Two or three steps farther and 
her life would have been in serious jeopardy, 
when I slid down the face of the sand-hill, which 
is there precipitous, and, running half-way for- 
ward, called to her to stop. 

She did so, and turned round. There was not 

/ slid down the face of the sand-hill 


a tremor of fear in her behaviour, and she 
marched directly up to me like a queen. I was 
barefoot, and clad like a common sailor, save for 
an Egyptian scarf round my traist ; and she pro- 
bably took me at first for some one from the 
fisher village, straying after bait. As for her, 
when I thus saw her face to face, her eyes set 
steadily and imperiously upon mine, I was filled 
with admiration and astonishment, and thought 
her even more beautiful than I had looked to 
find her. Nor could I think enough of one who, 
acting with so much boldness, yet preserved a 
maidenly air that was both quaint and engaging ; 
for my wife kept an old-fashioned precision of 
manner through all her admirable life an ex- 
cellent thing in woman, since it sets another 
value on her sweet familiarities. 

" What does this mean ? " she asked. 

" You were walking," I told her, " directly 
into Graden Floe." 

" You do not belong to these parts," she said 
again. " You speak like an educated man." 

" I believe I have a right to that name," said 
I, " although in this disguise." 

But her woman's eye had already detected 
the sash. 

" Oh ! " she said ; " your sash betrays you." 

" You have said the word betray" I resumed. 
" May I ask you not to betray me ? I was 


obliged to disclose myself in your interest ; but 
if Northmour learned my presence it might be 
worse than disagreeable for me." 

"Do you know," she asked, "to whom you 
are speaking ? " 

"Not to Mr. Northmour's wife?" I asked, 
by way of answer. 

She shook her head. All this while she was 
studying my face with an embarrassing intent- 
ness. Then she broke out 

"You have an honest face. Be honest like 
your face, sir, and tell me what you want and 
what you are afraid of. Do you think I could 
hurt you ? I believe you have far more power 
to injure me ! And yet you do not look un- 
kind. What do you mean you, a gentleman 
by skulking like a spy about this desolate place ? 
Tell me," she said, " who is it you hate ? " 

"I hate no one," I answered; "and I fear 
no one face to face. My name is Cassilis 
Frank Cassilis. I lead the life of a vagabond 
for my own good pleasure. I am one of North- 
mour's oldest friends ; and three nights ago, 
when I addressed him on these links, he stabbed 
me in the shoulder with a knife." 

" It was you ! " she said. 

" Why he did so," I continued, disregarding 
the interruption, "is more than I can guess, 
and more than I care to know. I have not 


many friends, nor am I very susceptible to 
friendship ; but no man shall drive me from a 
place by terror. I had camped in Graden Sea- 
Wood ere he came ; I camp in** it still. If you 
think I mean harm to you or yours, madam, 
the remedy is in your hand. Tell him that 
my camp is in the Hemlock Den, and to-night 
he can stab me in safety while I sleep." 

With this I doffed my cap to her, and 
scrambled up once more among the sand-hills. 
I do not know why, but I felt a prodigious 
sense of injustice, and felt like a hero and a 
martyr; while, as a matter of fact, I had not 
a word to say in my defence, nor so much as 
one plausible reason to offer for my conduct. 
I had stayed at Graden out of a curiosity natural 
enough, but undignified ; and though there was 
another motive growing in along with the first, 
it was not one which, at that period, I could 
have properly explained to the lady of my heart. 

Certainly, that night, I thought of no one 
else ; and, though her whole conduct and position 
seemed suspicious, I could not find it in my 
heart to entertain a doubt of her integrity. I 
could have staked my life that she was clear 
of blame, and, though all was dark at the present, 
that the explanation of the mystery would show 
her part in these events to be both right and 
needful. It was true, let me cudgel my imagi- 


nation as I pleased, that I could invent no theory 
of her relations to Northmour ; but I felt none 
the less sure of my conclusion because it was 
founded on instinct in place of reason, and, as 
I may say, went to sleep that night with the 
thought of her under my pillow. 

Next day she came out about the same hour 
alone, and, as soon as the sand-hills concealed 
her from the pavilion, drew nearer to the edge, 
and called me by name in guarded tones. I 
was astonished to observe that she was deadly 
pale, and seemingly under the influence of strong 

" Mr. Cassilis ! " she cried ; " Mr. Cassilis ! " 

I appeared at once, and leaped down upon 
the beach. A remarkable air of relief overspread 
her countenance as soon as she saw me. 

" Oh ! " she cried, with a hoarse sound, like 
one whose bosom has been lightened of a weight. 
And then, Thank God you are still safe!" 
she added ; " I knew, if you were, you would 
be here." (Was not this strange? So swiftly 
and wisely does Nature prepare our hearts for 
these great life-long intimacies, that both my 
wife and I had been given a presentiment on 
this the second day of our acquaintance. I had 
even then hoped that she would seek me; she 
had felt sure that she would find me.) "Do 
not," she went on swiftly, "do not stay in this 

She called me by name 


place. Promise me that you will sleep no longer 
in that wood. You do not know how I suffer ; 
all last night I could not sleep for thinking of 
your peril." * 

"Peril?" I repeated. "Peril from whom? 
From Northmour ? " 

" Not so," she said. " Did you think I would 
tell him after what you said ? " 

" Not from Northmour ? " I repeated. " Then 
how ? From whom ? I see none to be afraid of." 

" You must not ask me," was her reply, " for 
I am not free to tell you. Only believe me, 
and go hence believe me, and go away quickly, 
quickly, for your life ! " 

An appeal to his alarm is never a good plan 
to rid oneself of a spirited young man. My 
obstinacy was but increased by what she said, 
and I made it a point of honour to remain. 
And her solicitude for my safety still more 
confirmed me in the resolve. 

" You must not think me inquisitive, madam," 
I replied ; " but, if Graden is so dangerous a 
place, you yourself perhaps remain here at some 

She only looked at me reproachfully. 

" You and your father I resumed ; but 
she interrupted me almost with a gasp. 

" My father ! How do you know that ? " she 


66 1 saw you together when you landed," was 
my answer; and I do not know why, but it 
seemed satisfactory to both of us, as indeed it 
was the truth. " But," I continued, " you need 
have no fear from me. I see you have some 
reason to be secret, and, you may believe me, 
your secret is as safe with me as if I were in 
Graden Floe. I have scarce spoken to any 
one for years ; my horse is my only companion, 
and even he, poor beast, is not beside me. You 
see, then, you may count on me for silence. 
So tell me the truth, my dear young lady : are 
you not in danger ? " 

" Mr. Northmour says you are an honourable 
man," she returned, " and I believe it when I 
see you. I will tell you so much ; you are 
right ; we are in dreadful, dreadful danger, and 
you share it by remaining where you are." 

" Ah ! " said I ; " you have heard of me from 
Northmour? And he gives me a good char- 
acter ? " 

" I asked him about you last night," was her 
reply. "I pretended," she hesitated, "I pre- 
tended to have met you long ago, and spoken 
to you of him. It was not true ; but I could not 
help myself without betraying you, and you had 
put me in a difficulty. He praised you highly." 

"And you may permit me one question 


does this danger come from Northmour ? " I 

"From Mr. Northmour ? ", she cried. " Oh 
no ; he stays with us to share it." 

" While you propose that I should run away ? " 
I said. " You do not rate me very high." 

" Why should you stay ? " she asked. " You 
are no friend of ours." 

I know not what came over me, for I had 
not been conscious of a similar weakness since 
I was a child, but I was so mortified by this 
retort that my eyes pricked and filled with tears, 
as I continued to gaze upon her face. 

"No, no," she said, in a changed voice; "I 
did not mean the words unkindly." 

" It was I who offended," I said ; and I held 
out my hand with a look of appeal that some- 
how touched her, for she gave me hers at once, 
and even eagerly. I held it for a while in mine, 
and gazed into her eyes. It was she who first 
tore her hand away, and, forgetting all about 
her request and the promise she had sought 
to extort, ran at the top of her speed, and with- 
out turning, till she was out of sight. And 
then I knew that I loved her, and thought in 
my glad heart that she she herself was not 
indifferent to my suit. Many a time she has 
denied it in after days, but it was with a smiling 



and not a serious denial. For my part, I am 
sure our hands would not have lain so closely 
in each other if she had not begun to melt to 
me already. And, when all is said, it is no 
great contention, since, by her own avowal, 
she began to love me on the morrow. 

And yet on the morrow very little took place. 
She came and called me down as on the day 
before, upbraided me for lingering at Graden, 
and, when she found I was still obdurate, began 
to ask me more particularly as to my arrival. I 
told her by what series of accidents I had come 
to witness their disembarkation, and how I had 
determined to remain, partly from the interest 
which had been wakened in me by Northmour's 
guests, and partly because of his own murderous 
attack. As to the former, I fear I was disin- 
genuous, and led her to regard herself as having 
been an attraction to me from the first moment 
that I saw her on the links. It relieves my 
heart to make this confession even now, when 
my wife is with God, and [already knows all 
things, and the honesty of my purpose even in 
this ; for while she lived, although it often 
pricked my conscience, I had never the hardi- 
hood to undeceive her. Even a little secret, in 
such a married life as ours, is like the rose-leaf 
which kept the Princess from her sleep. 


From this the talk branched into other sub- 
jects, and I told her much about my lonely and 
wandering existence ; she, for her part, giving 
ear, and saying little. Although we spoke very 
naturally, and latterly on topics that might seem 
indifferent, we were both sweetly agitated. Too 
soon it was time for her to go ; and we separated, 
as if by mutual consent, without shaking hands, 
for both knew that, between us, it was no idle 

The next, and that was the fourth day of our 
acquaintance, we met in the same spot, but early 
in the morning, with much familiarity and yet 
much timidity on either side. When she had 
once more spoken about my danger and that, I 
understood, was her excuse for coming I, who 
had prepared a great deal of talk during the 
night, began to tell her how highly I valued her 
kind interest, and how no one had ever cared to 
hear about my life, nor had I ever cared to relate 
it, before yesterday. Suddenly she interrupted 
me, saying with vehemence 

" And yet, if you knew who I was, you would 
not so much as speak to me ! " 

I told her such a thought was madness, and, 
little as we had met, I counted her already a 
dear friend ; but my protestations seemed only 
to make her more desperate. 


" My father is in hiding ! " she cried. 

" My dear," I said, forgetting for the first 
time to add "young lady," "what do I care? 
If he were in hiding twenty times over, would it 
make one thought of change in you ? " 

" Ah, but the cause ! " she cried, " the cause ! 
It is" she faltered for a second "it is dis- 
graceful to us ! " 




THIS was my wife's story, as I drew it from her 
among tears and sobs. Her name was Clara 
Huddlestone : it sounded very beautiful in my 
ears ; but not so beautiful as that other name of 
Clara Cassilis, which she wore during the longer 
and, I thank God, the happier portion of her life. 
Her father, Bernard Huddlestone, had been a 
private banker in a very large way of business. 
Many years before, his affairs becoming dis- 
ordered, he had been led to try dangerous, and 
at last criminal, expedients to retrieve himself 
from ruin. All was in vain; he became more 
and more cruelly involved, and found his honour 
lost at the same moment with his fortune. 
About this period, Northmour had been court- 
ing his daughter with great assiduity, though 
with small encouragement ; and to him, know- 
ing him thus disposed in his favour, Bernard 
Huddlestone turned for help in his extremity. 
It was not merely ruin and dishonour, not 


merely a legal condemnation, that the unhappy 
man had brought upon his head. It seems he 
could have gone to prison with a light heart. 
What he feared, what kept him awake at night 
or recalled him from slumber into frenzy, was 
some secret, sudden, and unlawful attempt upon 
his life. Hence, he desired to bury his existence 
and escape to one of the islands in the South 
Pacific, and it was in Northmour's yacht, the 
Red Earl, that he designed to go. The yacht 
picked them up clandestinely upon the coast of 
Wales, and had once more deposited them at 
Graden, till she could be refitted and provisioned 
for the longer voyage. Nor could Clara doubt 
that her hand had been stipulated as the price of 
passage. For, although Northmour was neither 
unkind nor even discourteous, he had shown 
himself in several instances somewhat over-bold 
in speech and manner. 

I listened, I need not say, with fixed attention, 
and put many questions as to the more mysterious 
part. It was in vain. She had no clear idea of 
what the blow was, nor of how it was expected 
to fall. Her father's alarm was unfeigned and 
physically prostrating, and he had thought more 
than once of making an unconditional surrender 
to the police. But the scheme was finally aban- 
doned, for he was convinced that not even the 
strength of our English prisons could shelter him 


/ listened with fixed attention 


from his pursuers. He had had many affairs with 
Italy, and with Italians resident in London, in 
the later years of his business ; and these last, as 
Clara fancied, were somehow connected with the 
doom that threatened him. He had shown great 
terror at the presence of an Italian seaman on 
board the Red Earl, and had bitterly and re- 
peatedly accused Northmour in consequence. 
The latter had protested that Beppo (that was 
the seaman's name) was a capital fellow, and could 
be trusted to the death ; but Mr. Huddlestone 
had continued ever since to declare that all was 
lost, that it was only a question of days, and that 
Beppo would be the ruin of him yet. 

I regarded the whole story as the hallucination 
of a mind shaken by calamity. He had suffered 
heavy loss by his Italian transactions ; and hence 
the sight of an Italian was hateful to him, 
and the principal part in his nightmare would 
naturally enough be played by one of that 

" What your father wants," I said, " is a good 
doctor and some calming medicine." 

"But Mr. Northmour ? " objected your mother. 
" He is untroubled by losses, and yet he shares 
in this terror." 

1 could not help laughing at what I considered 
her simplicity. 

"My dear," said I, "you have told me your- 


self what reward he has to look for. All is fair in 
love, you must remember; and if Northmour 
foments your father's terrors, it is not at all 
because he is afraid of any Italian man, but 
simply because he is infatuated with a charming 
English woman." 

She reminded me of his attack upon myself 
on the night of the disembarkation, and this I 
was unable to explain. In short, and from one 
thing to another, it was agreed between us, that 
I should set out at once for the fisher village, 
Graden Wester as it was called, look up all the 
newspapers I could find, and see for myself if 
there seemed any basis of fact for these continued 
alarms. The next morning, at the same hour 
and place, I was to make my report to Clara. 
She said no more on that occasion about my 
departure ; nor, indeed, did she make it a secret 
that she clung to the thought of my proximity 
as something helpful and pleasant ; and, for my 
part, I could not have left her, if she had gone 
upon her knees to ask it. 

I reached Graden Wester before ten in the 
forenoon ; for in those days I was an excellent 
pedestrian, and the distance, as I think I have 
said, was little over seven miles ; fine walking 
all the way upon the springy turf. The village 
is one of the bleakest on that coast, which is 
saying much : there is a church in a hollow ; a 


miserable haven in the rocks, where many boats 
have been lost as they returned from fishing ; 
two or three score of stone houses arranged along 
the beach and in two streets, one leading from 
the harbour, and another striking out from it at 
right angles ; and, at the corner of these two, a 
very dark and cheerless tavern, by way of prin- 
cipal hotel. 

I had dressed myself somewhat more suitably 
to my station in life, and at once called upon the 
minister in his little manse beside the graveyard. 
He knew me, although it was more than nine years 
since we had met ; and when I told him that I 
had been long upon a walking tour, and was 
behind with the news, readily lent me an armful 
of newspapers, dating from a month back to the 
day before. With these I sought the tavern, 
and, ordering some breakfast, sat down to study 
the " Huddlestone Failure." 

It had been, it appeared, a very flagrant case. 
Thousands of persons were reduced to poverty ; 
and one in particular had blown out his 
brains as soon as payment was suspended. It 
was strange to myself that, while I read these 
details, I continued rather to sympathise with 
Mr. Huddlestone than with his victims ; so com- 
plete already was the empire of my love for my 
wife. A price was naturally set upon the banker's 
head ; and, as the case was inexcusable and the 


public indignation thoroughly aroused, the un- 
usual figure of 750 was offered for his capture. 
He was reported to have large sums of money 
in his possession. One day, he had been heard 
of in Spain ; the next, there was sure intelligence 
that he was still lurking between Manchester and 
Liverpool, or along the border of Wales ; and 
the day after, a telegram would announce his 
arrival in Cuba or Yucatan. But in all this there 
was no word of an Italian, nor any sign of 

In the very last paper, however, there was one 
item not so clear. The accountants who were 
charged to verify the failure had, it seemed, come 
upon the traces of a very large number of 
thousands, which figured for some time in the 
transactions of the house of Huddlestone ; but 
which came from nowhere, and disappeared in 
the same mysterious fashion. It was only once 
referred to by name, and then under the initials 
"X. X."; but it had plainly been floated for 
the first time into the business at a period of 
great depression some six years ago. The name 
of a distinguished Royal personage had been 
mentioned by rumour in connection with this 
sum. " The cowardly desperado " such, I re- 
member, was the editorial expression was sup- 
posed to have escaped with a large part of this 
mysterious fund still in his possession. 


I was still brooding over the fact, and trying 
to torture it into some connection with Mr. 
Huddlestone's danger, when a man entered the 
tavern and asked for some bread-and-cheese with 
a decided foreign accent. 

" Siete Italiano ? " said I. 

" SI, signor" was his reply. 

I said it was unusually far north to find one 
of his compatriots ; at which he shrugged his 
shoulders, and replied that a man would go any- 
where to find work. What work he could hope 
to find at Graden Wester, I was totally unable 
to conceive ; and the incident struck so un- 
pleasantly upon my mind, that I asked the land- 
lord, while he was counting me some change, 
whether he had ever before seen an Italian in 
the village. He said he had once seen some 
Norwegians, who had been shipwrecked on the 
other side of Graden Ness and rescued by the 
lifeboat from Cauldhaven. 

" No ! " said I ; " but an Italian, like the man 
who has just had bread-and-cheese." 

" What ? " cried he, " yon black-avised fellow 
wi' the teeth ? Was he an I-talian ? Weel, 
yon's the first that ever I saw, an' I dare say he's 
like to be the last." 

Even as he was speaking, I raised my eyes, 
and, casting a glance into the street, beheld three 
men in earnest conversation together, and not 


thirty yards away. One of them was my recent 
companion in the tavern parlour ; the other two, 
by their handsome, sallow features and soft hats, 
should evidently belong to the same race. A 
crowd of village children stood around them, 
gesticulating and talking gibberish in imitation. 
The trio looked singularly foreign to the bleak 
dirty street in which they were standing, and the 
dark grey heaven that overspread them ; and I 
confess my incredulity received at that moment 
a shock from which it never recovered. I might 
reason with myself as I pleased, but I could not 
argue down the effect of what I had seen, and I 
began to share in the Italian terror. 

It was already drawing towards the close of 
the day before I had returned the newspapers at 
the manse, and got well forward on to the links 
on my way home. I shall never forget that 
walk. It grew very cold and boisterous ; the 
wind sang in the short grass about my feet ; thin 
rain showers came running on the gusts ; and 
an immense mountain range of clouds began to 
arise out of the bosom of the sea. It would be 
hard to imagine a more dismal evening; and 
whether it was from these external influences, 
or because my nerves were already affected by 
what I had heard and seen, my thoughts were as 
gloomy as the weather. 

The upper windows of the pavilion commanded 

The trio looked singularly foreign 


a considerable spread of links in the direction of 
Graden Wester. To avoid observation, it was 
necessary to hug the beach until I had gained 
cover from the higher sand-hills on the little 
headland, when I might strike across, through 
the hollows, for the margin of the wood. The 
sun was about setting ; the tide was low, and all 
the quicksands uncovered ; and I was moving 
along, lost in unpleasant thought, when I was 
suddenly thunderstruck to perceive the prints of 
human feet. They ran parallel to my own course, 
but low down upon the beach instead of along 
the border of the turf; and, when I examined 
them, I saw at once, by the size and coarseness 
of the impression, that it was a stranger to me 
and to those in the pavilion who had recently 
passed that way. Not only so; but from the 
recklessness of the course which he had followed, 
steering near to the most formidable portions of 
the sand, he was as evidently a stranger to the 
country and to the ill-repute of Graden beach. 

Step by step I followed the prints ; until, a 
quarter of a mile farther, I beheld them die away 
into the south-eastern boundary of Graden Floe. 
There, whoever he was, the miserable man had 
perished. One or two gulls, who had, perhaps, 
seen him disappear, wheeled over his sepulchre 
with their usual melancholy piping. The sun 
had broken through the clouds by a last effort, 


and coloured the wide level of quicksands with 
a dusky purple. I stood for some time gazing 
at the spot, chilled and disheartened by my own 
reflections, and with a strong and commanding 
consciousness of death. I remember wondering 
how long the tragedy had taken, and whether 
his screams had been audible at the pavilion. 
And then, making a strong resolution, I was 
about to tear myself away, when a gust fiercer 
than usual fell upon this quarter of the beach, 
and I saw, now whirling high in air, now skim- 
ming lightly across the surface of the sands, a 
soft, black, felt hat, somewhat conical in shape, 
such as I had remarked already on the heads of 
the Italians. 

I believe, but I am not sure, that I uttered a 
cry. The wind was driving the hat shoreward, 
and I ran round the border of the floe to be 
ready against its arrival. The gust fell, dropping 
the hat for a while upon the quicksand, and then, 
once more freshening, landed it a few yards from 
where I stood. I seized it with the interest you 
may imagine. It had seen some service ; indeed, 
it was rustier than either of those I had seen 
that day upon the street. The lining was red, 
stamped with the name of the maker, which I 
have forgotten, and that of the place of manu- 
facture, Fenedig. This (it is not yet forgotten) 
was the name given by the Austrians to the 

/ seized it with the interest you may imagine 


beautiful city of Venice, then, and for long after, 
a part of their dominions. 

The shock was complete. I saw imaginary 
Italians upon every side ; and for the first and, 
I may say, for the last time in my experience, 
became overpowered by what is called a panic 
terror. I knew nothing, that is, to be afraid of, 
and yet I admit that I was heartily afraid ; and 
it was with a sensible reluctance that I returned 
to my exposed and solitary camp in the Sea- 

There I ate some cold porridge which had 
been left over from the night before, for I was 
disinclined to make a fire ; and, feeling strength- 
ened and reassured, dismissed all these fanciful 
terrors from my mind, and lay down to sleep 
with composure. 

How long I may have slept it is impossible 
for me to guess ; but I was awakened at last by 
a sudden, blinding flash of light into my face. 
It woke me like a blow. In an instant I was 
upon my knees. But the light had gone as sud- 
denly as it came. The darkness was intense. 
And as it was blowing great guns from the sea 
and pouring with rain, the noises of the storm 
effectually concealed all others. 

It was, I dare say, half a minute before I re- 
gained my self-possession. But for two cir- 
cumstances, I should have thought I had been 


awakened by some new and vivid form of night- 
mare. First, the flap of my tent, which I had 
shut carefully when I retired, was now un- 
fastened; and, second, I could still perceive, 
with a sharpness that excluded any theory of 
hallucination, the smell of hot metal and of 
burning oil. The conclusion was obvious. I 
had been awakened by some one flashing a bull's- 
eye lantern in my face. It had been but a flash, 
and away. He had seen my face, and then gone. 
I asked myself the object of so strange a pro- 
ceeding, and the answer came pat. The man, 
whoever he was, had thought to recognise me, 
and he had not. There was yet another question 
unresolved ; and to this, I may say, I feared to 
give an answer ; if he had recognised me, what 
would he have done ? 

My fears were immediately diverted from 
myself, for I saw that I had been visited in a 
mistake; and I became persuaded that some 
dreadful danger threatened the pavilion. It re- 
quired some nerve to issue forth into the black 
and intricate thicket which surrounded and over- 
hung the den ; but I groped my way to the links, 
drenched with rain, beaten upon and deafened 
by the gusts, and fearing at every step to lay 
my hand upon some lurking adversary. The 
darkness was so complete that I might have 
been surrounded by an army and yet none the 


wiser, and the uproar of the gale so loud that 
my hearing was as useless as my sight. 

For the rest of that night, which seemed 
interminably long, I patrolled the vicinity of 
the pavilion, without seeing a living creature or 
hearing any noise but the concert of the wind, 
the sea, and the rain. A light in the upper 
story filtered through a cranny of the shutter, 
and kept me company till the approach of dawn. 




WITH the first peep of day, I retired from the 
open to my old lair among the sand-hills, there 
to await the coming of my wife. The morning 
was grey, wild, and melancholy; the wind 
moderated before sunrise, and then went about, 
and blew in puffs from the shore ; the sea began 
to go down, but the rain still fell without mercy. 
Over all the wilderness of links there was not a 
creature to be seen. Yet I felt sure the neigh- 
bourhood was alive with skulking foes. The 
light that had been so suddenly and surprisingly 
flashed upon my face as I lay sleeping, and the 
hat that had been blown ashore by the wind 
from over Graden Floe, were two speaking sig- 
nals of the peril that environed Clara and the 
party in the pavilion. 

It was, perhaps, half -past seven, or nearer 
eight, before I saw the door open, and that 
dear figure come towards me in the rain. I 
was waiting for her on the beach before she 
had crossed the sand-hills. 


"I have had such trouble to come!" she 
cried. " They did not wish me to go walking 
in the rain." 

" Clara," I said, " you are not frightened ! " 

"No," said she, with a simplicity that filled 
my heart with confidence. For my wife was 
the bravest as well as the best of women ; in my 
experience, I have not found the two go always 
together, but with her they did ; and she com- 
bined the extreme of fortitude with the most 
endearing and beautiful virtues. 

I told her what had happened ; and, though 
her cheek grew visibly paler, she retained per- 
fect control over her senses. 

" You see now that I am safe," said I, in con- 
clusion. " They do not mean to harm me ; for, 
had they chosen, I was a dead man last night." 

She laid her hand upon my arm. 

" And I had no presentiment ! " she cried. 

Her accent thrilled me with delight. I put 
my arm about her, and strained her to my side ; 
and, before either of us was aware, her hands 
were on my shoulders and my lips upon her 
mouth. Yet up to that moment no word of 
love had passed between us. To this day I 
remember the touch of her cheek, which was 
wet and cold with the rain ; and many a time 
since, when she has been washing her face, I 
have kissed it again for the sake of that morning 


on the beach. Now that she is taken from me, 
and I finish my pilgrimage alone, I recall our 
old lovingkindnesses and the deep honesty and 
affection which united us, and my present loss 
seems but a trifle in comparison. 

We may have thus stood for some seconds 
for time passes quickly with lovers before we 
were startled by a peal of laughter close at 
hand. It was not natural mirth, but seemed 
to be affected in order to conceal an angrier 
feeling. We both turned, though I still kept 
my left arm about Clara's waist ; nor did she 
seek to withdraw herself; and there, a few paces 
off upon the beach, stood Northmour, his head 
lowered, his hands behind his back, his nostrils 
white with passion. 

" Ah ! Cassilis ! " he said, as I disclosed my face. 

" That same," said I ; for I was not at all put 

"And so, Miss Huddlestone," he continued 
slowly but savagely, " this is how you keep your 
faith to your father and to me? This is the 
value you set upon your father's life ? And you 
are so infatuated with this young gentleman 
that you must brave ruin, and decency, and 
common human caution " 

"Miss Huddlestone " I was beginning to 
interrupt him, when he, in his turn, cut in 


" You hold your tongue," said he ; "I am 
speaking to that girl." 

" That girl, as you call her, is my wife," said 
I ; and my wife only leaned a little nearer, so 
that I knew she had affirmed my words. 

" Your what ? " he cried. " You lie ! " 

" Northmour," I said, " we all know you have 
a bad temper, and I am the last man to be 
irritated by words. For all that, I propose that 
you speak lower, for I am convinced that we are 
not alone." 

He looked round him, and it was plain my 
remark had in some degree sobered his passion. 
" What do you mean ? " he asked. 

I only said one word : " Italians." 

He swore a round oath, and looked at us, 
from one to the other. 

"Mr. Cassilis knows all that I know," said 
my wife. 

" What I want to know," he broke out, " is 
where the devil Mr. Cassilis comes from, and 
what the devil Mr. Cassilis is doing here. You 
say you are married ; that I do not believe. If 
you were, Graden Floe would soon divorce you ; 
four minutes and a half, Cassilis. I keep my 
private cemetery for my friends." 

" It took somewhat longer," said I, " for that 

He looked at me for a moment half daunted, 


and then, almost civilly, asked me to tell my 
story. " You have too much the advantage of 
me, Cassilis," he added. I complied of course ; 
and he listened, with several ejaculations, while 
I told him how I had come to Graden : that 
it was I whom he had tried to murder on the 
night of landing ; and what I had subsequently 
seen and heard of the Italians. 

" Well," said he, when I had done, " it is here 
at last; there is no mistake about that. And 
what, may I ask, do you propose to do ? " 

" I propose to stay with you and lend a hand," 
said I. 

" You are a brave man," he returned, with a 
peculiar intonation. 

" I am not afraid," said I. 

" And so," he continued, " I am to understand 
that you two are married ? And you stand up 
to it before my face, Miss Huddlestone ? " 

" We are not yet married," said Clara ; " but 
we shall be as soon as we can." 

" Bravo ! " cried Northmour. " And the bar- 
gain ? D n it, you're not a fool, young 
woman ; I may call a spade a spade with you. 
How about the bargain ? You know as well as 
I do what your father's life depends upon. I 
have only to put my hands under my coat-tails 
and walk away, and his throat would be cut 
before the evening." 


" Yes, Mr. Northmour," returned Clara, with 
great spirit ; " but that is what you will never 
do. You made a bargain that was unworthy of 
a gentleman ; but you are a gentleman for all 
that, and you will never desert a man whom 
you have begun to help." 

" Aha ! " said he. " You think I will give my 
yacht for nothing ? You think I will risk my 
life and liberty for love of the old gentleman ; 
and then, I suppose, be best man at the wedding, 
to wind up ? Well," he added, with an odd 
smile, " perhaps you are not altogether wrong. 
But ask Cassilis here. He knows me. Am I 
a man to trust ? Am I safe and scrupulous ? 
Am I kind ? " 

" I know you talk a great deal, and sometimes, 
I think, very foolishly," replied Clara, "but I 
know you are a gentleman, and I am not the 
least afraid." 

He looked at her with a peculiar approval 
and admiration ; then, turning to me, " Do you 
think I would give her up without a struggle, 
Frank ? " said he. " I tell you plainly, you look 
out. The next time we come to blows 

" Will make the third," I interrupted, smiling. 

"Aye, true; so it will," he said. "I had 
forgotten. Well, the third time's lucky." 

" The third time, you mean, you will have 
the crew of the Red Earl to help," I said. 


" Do you hear him ? " he asked, turning to 
my wife. 

" I hear two men speaking like cowards," said 
she. " I should despise myself either to think 
or speak like that. And neither of you believe 
one word that you are saying, which makes it 
the more wicked and silly." 

" She's a trump ! " cried Northmour. " But 
she's not yet Mrs. Cassilis. I say no more. The 
present is not for me." 

Then my wife surprised me. 

" I leave you here," she said suddenly. " My 
father has been too long alone. But remember 
this : you are to be friends, for you are both good 
friends to me." 

She has since told me her reason for this step. 
As long as she remained, she declares that we 
two would have continued to quarrel ; and I 
suppose that she was right, for when she was 
gone we fell at once into a sort of confidentiality. 

Northmour stared after her as she went away 
over the sand-hill. 

" She is the only woman in the world ! " he 
exclaimed with an oath. " Look at her action." 

I, for my part, leaped at this opportunity for 
a little further light. 

" See here, Northmour," said I ; "we are all 
in a tight place, are we not ? " 

" I believe you, my boy," he answered, looking 


me in the eyes, and with great emphasis. " We 
have all hell upon us, that's the truth. You may 
believe me or not, but I'm afraid of my life." 

"Tell me one thing," said I. "What are 
they after, these Italians ? What do they want 
with Mr. Huddlestone ? " 

"Don't you know?" he cried. "The black 
old scamp had carbonaro funds on a deposit 
two hundred and eighty thousand ; and of 
course he gambled it away on stocks. There 
was to have been a revolution in the Tridentino, 
or Parma; but the revolution is off, and the 
whole wasps' nest is after Huddlestone. We 
shall all be lucky if we can save our skins." 

"The carbonari!" I exclaimed; "God help 
him indeed ! " 

" Amen ! " said Northmour. " And now, look 
here : I have said that we are in a fix ; and, 
frankly, I shall be glad of your help. If I can't 
save Huddlestone, I want at least to save the 
girl. Come and stay in the pavilion ; and there's 
my hand on it, I shall act as your friend until the 
old man is either clear or dead. But," he added, 
" once that is settled, you become my rival once 
again, and I warn you mind yourself." 

" Done ! " said I ; and we shook hands. 

" And now let us go directly to the fort," said 
Northmour; and he began to lead the way 
through the rain. 




WE were admitted to the pavilion by Clara, and 
I was surprised by the completeness and security 
of the defences. A barricade of great strength, 
and yet easy to displace, supported the door 
against any violence from without ; and the 
shutters of the dining-room, into which I was 
led directly, and which was feebly illuminated 
by a lamp, were even more elaborately fortified. 
The panels were strengthened by bars and cross- 
bars ; and these, in their turn, were kept in 
position by a system of braces and struts, some 
abutting on the floor, some on the roof, and 
others, in fine, against the opposite wall of the 
apartment. It was at once a solid and well- 
designed piece of carpentry ; and I did not seek 
to conceal my admiration. 

" I am the engineer," said Northmour. " You 
remember the planks in the garden? Behold 
them ! " 

" I did not know you had so many talents," 
said I. 


" Are you armed ?" he continued, pointing to 
an array of guns and pistols, all in admirable 
order, which stood in line against the wall or 
were displayed upon the sideboard. 

" Thank you," I returned ; "I have gone 
armed since our last encounter. But, to tell 
you the truth, I have had nothing to eat since 
early yesterday evening." 

Northmour produced some cold meat, to which 
I eagerly set myself, and a bottle of good 
Burgundy, by which, wet as I was, I did not 
scruple to profit. I have always been an extreme 
temperance man on principle ; but it is useless to 
push principle to excess, and on this occasion I 
believe that I finished three-quarters of the 
bottle. As I ate, I still continued to admire the 
preparations for defence. 

" We could stand a siege," I said at length. 

" Ye es," drawled Northmour ; "a very 
little one, per haps. It is not so much the 
strength of the pavilion I misdoubt ; it is the 
double danger that kills me. If we get to 
shooting, wild as the country is, some one is sure 
to hear it, and then why, then it's the same 
thing, only different, as they say : caged by law, 
or killed by carbonari. There's the choice. It 
is a devilish bad thing to have the law against 
you in this world, and so I tell the old gentleman 
upstairs. He is quite of my way of thinking.' 1 


" Speaking of that," said I, " what kind of 
person is he ? " 

"Oh, he!" cried the other; "he's a rancid 
fellow, as far as he goes. I should like to have 
his neck wrung to-morrow by all the devils in 
Italy. I am not in this affair for him. You 
take me ? I made a bargain for Missy's hand, and 
I mean to have it too." 

" That by the way," said I. " I understand. 
But how will Mr. Huddlestone take my in- 
trusion ? " 

" Leave that to Clara," returned Northmour. 

I could have struck him in the face for this 
coarse familiarity ; but I respected the truce, as, 
I am bound to say, did Northmour, and so long 
as the danger continued not a cloud arose in our 
relation. I bear him this testimony with the 
most unfeigned satisfaction ; nor am I without 
pride when I look back upon my own behaviour. 
For surely no two men were ever left in a 
position so invidious and irritating. 

As soon as I had done eating, we proceeded 
to inspect the lower floor. Window by window 
we tried the different supports, now and then 
making an inconsiderable change ; and the 
strokes of the hammer sounded with startling 
loudness through the house. I proposed, I 
remember, to make loopholes ; but he told me 
they were already made in the windows of the 


upper story. It was an anxious business this in- 
spection, and left me down.-hearted. There were 
two doors and five windows to protect, and, 
counting Clara, only four of us to defend them 
against an unknown number of foes. I com- 
municated my doubts to Northmour, who 
assured me, with unmoved composure, that he 
entirely shared them. 

" Before morning," said he, " we shall all be 
butchered and buried in Graden Floe. For me, 
that is written." 

I could not help shuddering at the mention of 
the quicksand, but reminded Northmour that 
our enemies had spared me in the wood. 

" Do not flatter yourself," said he. " Then 
you were not in the same boat with the old 
gentleman ; now you are. It's the floe for all of 
us, mark my words." 

I trembled for Clara ; and just then her dear 
voice was heard calling us to come upstairs. 
Northmour showed me the way, and, when he 
had reached the landing, knocked at the door of 
what used to be called My Uncles Bedroom, as 
the founder of the pavilion had designed it 
especially for himself. 

" Come in, Northmour ; come in, dear Mr. 
Cassilis," said a voice from within. 

Pushing open the door, Northmour admitted 
me before him into the apartment. As I came 


in I could see the daughter slipping out by the 
side door into the study, which had been pre- 
pared as her bedroom. In the bed, which was 
drawn back against the wall, instead of standing, 
as I had last seen it, boldly across the window, 
sat Bernard Huddlestone, the defaulting banker. 
Little as I had seen of him by the shifting light 
of the lantern on the links, I had no difficulty in 
recognising him for the same. He had a long 
and sallow countenance, surrounded by a long 
red beard and side- whiskers. His broken nose 
and high cheekbones gave him somewhat the air 
of a Kalmuck, and his light eyes shone with the 
excitement of a high fever. He wore a skull-cap 
of black silk ; a huge Bible lay open before him 
on the bed, with a pair of gold spectacles in the 
place, and a pile of other books lay on the stand f 
by his side. The green curtains lent a cadaverous 
shade to his cheek; and, as he sat propped on 
pillows, his great stature was painfully hunched, 
and his head protruded till it overhung his knees. 
I believe, if he had not died otherwise, he must 
have fallen a victim to consumption in the course 
of but a very few weeks. 

He held out to me a hand, long, thin, and 
disagreeably hairy. 

"Come in, come in, Mr. Cassilis," said he. 
" Another protector ahem ! another protector. 
Always welcome as a friend of my daughter's, 

Bernard Huddlestone 


Mr. Cassilis. How they have rallied about me, 
my daughter's friends ! May God in heaven 
bless and reward them for it ! " 

I gave him my hand, of course, because I could 
not help it ; but the sympathy I had been prepared 
to feel for Clara's father was immediately soured 
by his appearance, and the wheedling, unreal 
tones in which he spoke. 

" Cassilis is a good man," said Northmour ; 
" worth ten." 

" So I hear," cried Mr. Huddlestone eagerly, 
" so my girl tells me. Ah, Mr. Cassilis, my sin 
has found me out, you see ! I am very low, very 
low ; but I hope equally penitent. We must all 
come to the throne of grace at last, Mr. Cassilis. 
For my part, I come late indeed ; but with un- 
feigned humility, I trust." 

" Fiddle-de-dee ! " said Northmour roughly. 

" No, no, dear Northmour ! " cried the banker. 
" You must not say that ; you must not try to 
shake me. You forget, my dear, good boy, you 
forget I may be called this very night before my 

His excitement was pitiful to behold ; and I 
felt myself grow indignant with Northmour, 
whose infidel opinions I well knew, and heartily 
derided, as he continued to taunt the poor sinner 
out of his humour of repentance. 

" Pooh, my dear Huddlestone ! " said he. 


" You do yourself injustice. You are a man 
of the world inside and out, and were up to all 
kinds of mischief before I was born. Your con- 
science is tanned like South American leather 
only you forgot to tan your liver, and that, if 
you will believe me, is the seat of the annoy- 


" Rogue, rogue ! bad boy ! " said Mr. Huddle- 
stone, shaking his finger. " I am no precisian, 
if you come to that ; I always hated a precisian ; 
but I never lost hold of something better 
through it all. I have been a bad boy, Mr. 
Cassilis ; I do not seek to deny that ; but it was 
after my wife's death, and you know, with a 
widower, it's a different thing : sinful I won't 
say no ; but there is a gradation, we shall hope. 
And talking of that Hark ! " he broke out 
suddenly, his hand raised, his fingers spread, his 
face racked with interest and terror. " Only 
the rain, bless God ! " he added, after a pause, 
and with indescribable relief. 

For some seconds he lay back among the 
pillows like a man near to fainting; then he 
gathered himself together, and, in somewhat 
tremulous tones, began once more to thank me for 
the share I was prepared to take in his defence. 

" One question, sir," said I, when he had 
paused. "Is it true that you have money with 
you ? " 


He seemed annoyed by the question, but 
admitted with reluctance that he had a little. 

" Well," I continued, " it is their money they 
are after, is it not ? Why not give it up to 
them ? " 

" Ah ! " replied he, shaking his head, " I have 
tried that already, Mr. Cassilis ; and alas that it 
should be so, but it is blood they want." 

" Huddlestone, that's a little less than fair," 
said Northmour. " You should mention that 
what you offered them was upwards of two 
hundred thousand short. The deficit is worth a 
reference ; it is for what they call a cool sum, 
Frank. Then, you see, the fellows reason in 
their clear Italian way ; and it seems to them, as 
indeed it seems to me, that they may just as 
well have both while they're about it money 
and blood together, by George, and no more 
trouble for the extra pleasure." 

" Is it in the pavilion ? " I asked. 

"It is ; and I wish it were in the bottom of 
the sea instead," said Northmour; and then 
suddenly " What are you making faces at me 
for ? " he cried to Mr. Huddlestone, on whom I 
had unconsciously turned my back. "Do you 
think Cassilis would sell you ? " 

Mr. Huddlestone protested that nothing had 
been farther from his mind. 

" It is a good thing," retorted Northmour in 


his ugliest manner. " You might end by weary- 
ing us. What were you going to say ? " he 
added, turning to me. 

" I was going to propose an occupation for the 
afternoon," said I. " Let us carry that money 
out, piece by piece, and lay it down before the 
pavilion door. If the carbonari come, why, it's 
theirs at any rate." 

" No, no," cried Mr. Huddlestone ; " it does 
not, it cannot belong to them ! It should be 
distributed pro rat a among all my creditors." 

" Come now, Huddlestone," said Northmour, 
" none of that." 

" Well, but my daughter ! " moaned the 
wretched man. 

" Your daughter will do well enough. Here 
are two suitors, Cassilis and I, neither of us 
beggars, between whom she has to choose. 
And as for yourself, to make an end of 
arguments, you have no right to a farthing, and, 
unless I'm much mistaken, you are going to die." 

It was certainly very cruelly said; but Mr. 
Huddlestone was a man who attracted little 
sympathy; and, although I saw him wince 
and shudder, I mentally endorsed the rebuke ; 
nay, I added a contribution of my own. 

" Northmour and I," I said, " are willing 
enough to help you to save your life, but not to 
escape with stolen property." 


He struggled for a while with himself, as 
though he were on the point of giving way to 
anger, but prudence had the best of the con- 

" My dear boys," he said, " do with me or my 
money what you will. I leave all in your hands. 
Let me compose myself." 

And so we left him, gladly enough, I am sure. 
The last that I saw, he had once more taken up 
his great Bible, and with tremulous hands was 
adjusting his spectacles to read. 




THE recollection of that afternoon will always 
be graven on my mind. Northmour and I were 
persuaded that an attack was imminent ; and if 
it had been in our power to alter in any way the 
order of events, that power would have been 
used to precipitate rather than delay the critical 
moment. The worst was to be anticipated ; yet 
we could conceive no extremity so miserable as 
the suspense we were now suffering. I have 
never been an eager, though always a great, 
reader ; but I never knew books so insipid as 
those which I took up and cast aside that 
afternoon in the pavilion. Even talk became 
impossible, as the hours went on. One or other 
was always listening for some sound, or peering 
from an upstairs window over the links. And 
yet not a sign indicated the presence of our foes. 
We debated over and over again my proposal 
with regard to the money ; and had we been in 
complete possession of our faculties, I am sure 
we should have condemned it as unwise ; but 


we were flustered with alarm, grasped at a 
straw, and determined, although it was as much 
as advertising Mr. Huddlestone's presence in 
the pavilion, to carry my proposal into effect. 

The sum was part in specie, part in bank 
paper, and part in circular notes payable to the 
name of James Gregory. We took it out, 
counted it, enclosed it once more in a despatch- 
box belonging to Northmour, and prepared a 
letter in Italian which he tied to the handle. It 
was signed by both of us under oath, and 
declared that this was all the money which had 
escaped the failure of the house of Huddlestone. 
This was, perhaps, the maddest action ever 
perpetrated by two persons professing to be sane. 
Had the despatch-box fallen into other hands 
than those for which it was intended, we stood 
criminally convicted on our own written testi- 
mony ; but, as I have said, we were neither of 
us in a condition to judge soberly, and had a 
thirst for action that drove us to do something, 
right or wrong, rather than endure the agony of 
waiting. Moreover, as we were both convinced 
that the hollows of the links were alive with 
hidden spies upon our movements, we hoped 
that our appearance with the box might lead to 
a parley, and, perhaps, a compromise. 

It was nearly three when we issued from the 
pavilion. The rain had taken off; the sun 


shone quite cheerfully. I have never seen the 
gulls fly so close about the house or approach so 
fearlessly to human beings. On the very door- 
step one flapped heavily past our heads, and 
uttered its wild cry in my very ear. 

" There is an omen for you," said Northmour, 
who, like all freethinkers, was much under the 
influence of superstition. " They think we are 
already dead." 

I made some light rejoinder, but it was with 
half my heart; for the circumstance had im- 
pressed me. 

A yard or two before the gate, on a patch of 
smooth turf, we set down the despatch -box ; 
and Northmour waved a white handkerchief over 
his head. Nothing replied. We raised our 
voices, and cried aloud in Italian that we were 
there as ambassadors to arrange the quarrel ; 
but the stillness remained unbroken save by the 
sea-gulls and the surf. I had a weight at my 
heart when we desisted; and I saw that even 
Northmour was unusually pale. He looked 
over his shoulder nervously, as though he feared 
that some one had crept between him and the 
pavilion door. 

" By God," he said in a whisper, " this is too 
much for me ! " 

I replied in the same key : " Suppose there 
should be none, after all ! " 

Northmour waved a white handkerchief 


" Look there," he returned, nodding with his 
head, as though he had been afraid to point. 

I glanced in the direction indicated ; and 
there, from the northern quarter of the Sea- 
Wood, beheld a thin column of smoke rising 
steadily against the now cloudless sky. 

"Northmour," I said (we still continued to 
talk in whispers), "it is not possible to endure 
this suspense. I prefer death fifty times over. 
Stay you here to watch the pavilion ; I will go 
forward and make sure, if I have to walk right 
into their camp." 

He looked once again all round him with 
puckered eyes, and then nodded assentingly to 
my proposal. 

My heart beat like a sledge-hammer as I set 
out walking rapidly in the direction of the 
smoke ; and, though up to that moment I had 
felt chill and shivering, I was suddenly conscious 
of a glow of heat over all my body. The ground 
in this direction was very uneven ; a hundred 
men might have lain hidden in as many square 
yards about my path. But I had not practised 
the business in vain, chose such routes as cut at 
the very root of concealment, and, by keeping 
along the most convenient ridges, commanded 
several hollows at a time. It was not long before 
I was rewarded for my caution. Coming 
suddenly on to a mound somewhat more 


elevated than the surrounding hummocks, I saw, 
not thirty yards away, a man bent almost double, 
and running as fast as his attitude permitted, 
along the bottom of a gully. I had dislodged 
one of the spies from his ambush. As soon as I 
sighted him, I called loudly both in English 
and Italian ; and he, seeing concealment was no 
longer possible, straightened himself out, leaped 
from the gully, and made off as straight as an 
arrow for the borders of the wood. 

It was none of my business to pursue ; I had 
learned what I wanted that we were be- 
leaguered and watched in the pavilion; and I 
returned at once, and walking as nearly as pos- 
sible in my old footsteps, to where Northmour 
awaited me beside the despatch-box. He was 
even paler than when I had left him, and his 
voice shook a little. 

" Could you see what he was like ? " he asked. 

" He kept his back turned," I replied. 

" Let us get into the house, Frank. I don't 
think I'm a coward, but I can stand no more of 
this," he whispered. 

All was still and sunshiny about the pavilion 
as we turned to re-enter it ; even the gulls had 
flown in a wider circuit, and were seen flickering 
along the beach and sand-hills ; and this loneli- 
ness terrified me more than a regiment under 
arms. It was not until the door was barricaded 

I saw a man running as fast as his attitude permitted 


that I could draw a full inspiration and relieve 
the weight that lay upon my bosom. North- 
mour and I exchanged a steady glance ; and I 
suppose each made his own reflections on the 
white and startled aspect of the other. 

" You were right," I said. " All is over. 
Shake hands, old man, for the last time." 

" Yes," replied he, "I will shake hands ; for, 
as sure as I am here, I bear no malice. But 
remember, if, by some impossible accident, we 
should give the slip to these blackguards, I'll 
take the upper hand of you by fair or foul." 

" Oh," said I, " you weary me ! " 

He seemed hurt, and walked away in silence 
to the foot of the stairs, where he paused. 

" You do not understand," said he. " I am 
not a swindler, and I guard myself; that is all. 
It may weary you or not, Mr. Cassilis, I do not 
care a rush; 1 speak for my own satisfaction, 
and not for your amusement. You had better 
go upstairs and court the girl; for my part, I 
stay here." 

"And I stay with you," I returned. "Do 
you think I would steal a march, even with your 
permission ? " 

"Frank," he said, smiling, "it's a pity you 
are an ass, for you have the makings of a man. 
I think I must be fey to-day ; you cannot irritate 
me even when you try. Do you know," he 


continued softly, " I think we are the two most 
miserable men in England, you and I ; we have 
got on to thirty without wife or child, or so 
much as a shop to look after poor, pitiful, lost 
devils, both ! And now we clash about a girl ! 
As if there were not several millions in the 
United Kingdom ! Ah, Frank, Frank, the one 
who loses this throw, be it you or me, he has my 
pity ! It were better for him how does the 
Bible say ? that a millstone were hanged about 
his neck and he were cast into the depth of the 
sea. Let us take a drink," he concluded sud- 
denly, but without any levity of tone. 

I was touched by his words, and consented. 
He sat down on the table in the dining-room, 
and held up the glass of sherry to his eye. 

" If you beat me, Frank," he said, " I shall 
take to drink. What will you do, if it goes the 
other way ? " 

" God knows," I returned. 

" Well," said he, " here is a toast in the mean- 
time : ' Italia irredenta ! ' ' 

The remainder of the day was passed in the 
same dreadful tedium and suspense. I laid the 
table for dinner, while Northmour and Clara 
prepared the meal together in the kitchen. I 
could hear their talk as I went to and fro, and 
was surprised to find it ran all the time upon 
myself. Northmour again bracketed us together, 


and rallied Clara on a choice of husbands ; but 
he continued to speak of me with some feeling, 
and uttered nothing to my prejudice unless he 
included himself in the condemnation. This 
awakened a sense of gratitude in my heart, 
which combined with the immediateness of our 
peril to fill my eyes with tears. After all, I 
thought and perhaps the thought was laughably 
vain we were here three very noble human 
beings to perish in defence of a thieving banker. 

Before we sat down to table, I looked forth 
from an upstairs window. The day was begin- 
ning to decline ; the links were utterly deserted ; 
the despatch-box still lay untouched where we 
had left it hours before. 

Mr. Huddlestone, in a long yellow dressing- 
gown, took one end of the table, Clara the other ; 
while Northmour and I faced each other from 
the sides. The lamp was brightly trimmed ; the 
wine was good ; the viands, although mostly 
cold, excellent of their sort. We seemed to have 
agreed tacitly; all reference to the impending 
catastrophe was carefully avoided ; and, con- 
sidering our tragic circumstances, we made a 
merrier party than could have been expected. 
From time to time, it is true, Northmour or I 
would rise from table and make a round of the 
defences ; and, on each of these occasions, Mr. 
Huddlestone was recalled to a sense of his tragic 


predicament, glanced up with ghastly eyes, and 
bore for an instant on his countenance the stamp 
of terror. But he hastened to empty his glass, 
wiped his forehead with his handkerchief, and 
joined again in the conversation. 

I was astonished at the wit and information 
he displayed. Mr. Huddlestone's was certainly 
no ordinary character ; he had read and observed 
for himself ; his gifts were sound ; and, though 
I could never have learned to love the man, I 
began to understand his success in business, and 
the great respect in which he had been held 
before his failure. He had, above all, the talent 
of society ; and though I never heard him speak 
but on this one and most unfavourable occasion, 
I set him down among the most brilliant conver- 
sationalists I ever met. 

He was relating with great gusto, and seem- 
ingly no feeling of shame, the manoeuvres of a 
scoundrelly commission-merchant whom he had 
known and studied in his youth, and we were all 
listening with an odd mixture of mirth and em- 
barrassment, when our little party was brought 
abruptly to an end in the most startling manner. 

A noise like that of a wet finger on the 
window-pane interrupted Mr. Huddlestone's 
tale ; and in an instant we were all four as white 
as paper, and sat tongue-tied and motionless 
round the table. 


" A snail," I said at last ; for I had heard that 
these animals make a noise somewhat similar in 

" Snail be d d ! " said Northmour. "Hush ! " 

The same sound was repeated twice at re- 
gular intervals ; and then a formidable voice 
shouted through the shutters the Italian word 
" Traditore!" 

Mr. Huddlestone threw his head in the air ; 
his eyelids quivered ; next moment he fell insen- 
sible below the table. Northmour and I had 
each run to the armoury and seized a gun. 
Clara was on her feet with her hand at her 

So we stood waiting, for we thought the hour 
of attack was certainly come ; but second passed 
after second, and all but the surf remained silent 
in the neighbourhood of the pavilion. 

" Quick," said Northmour ; " upstairs with 
him before they come." 




SOMEHOW or other, by hook and crook, and 
between the three of us, we got Bernard Huddle- 
stone bundled upstairs and laid upon the bed in 
My Uncle's Room. During the whole process, 
which was rough enough, he gave no sign of con- 
sciousness, and he remained as we had thrown 
him, without changing the position of a finger. 
His daughter opened his shirt and began to wet 
his head and bosom ; while Northmour and I ran 
to the window. The weather continued clear; 
the moon, which was now about full, had risen and 
shed a very clear light upon the links ; yet, 
strain our eyes as we might, we could distinguish 
nothing moving. A few dark spots, more or 
less, on the uneven expanse were not to be 
identified ; they might be crouching men, they 
might be shadows ; it was impossible to be sure. 

"Thank God," said Northmour, " Aggie is 
not coming to-night." 

Aggie was the name of the old nurse ; he had 
not thought of her till now ; but that he should 


think of her at all, was a trait that surprised me 
in the man. 

We were again reduced to waiting. North- 
mour went to the fireplace and spread his hands 
before the red embers, as if he were cold. I 
followed him mechanically with my eyes, and in 
so doing turned my back upon the window. At 
that moment a very faint report was audible 
from without, and a ball shivered a pane of 
glass, and buried itself in the shutter two inches 
from my head. I heard Clara scream ; and 
though I whipped instantly out of range and 
into a corner, she was there, so to speak, before 
me, beseeching to know if I were hurt. I felt 
that I could stand to be shot at every day and 
all day long, with such marks of solicitude for a 
reward ; and I continued to reassure her, with 
the tenderest caresses and in complete forgetful- 
ness of our situation, till the voice of North - 
mour recalled me to myself. 

" An air-gun," he said. " They wish to make 

no noise." 

I put Clara aside, and looked at him. He 
was standing with his back to the fire and his 
hands clasped behind him ; and I knew by the 
black look on his face, that passion was boiling 
within. I had seen just such a look before he 
attacked me, that March night, in the adjoin- 
ing chamber ; and, though I could make every 


allowance for his anger, I confess I trembled for 
the consequences. He gazed straight before 
him; but he could see us with the tail of his 
eye, and his temper kept rising like a gale of 
wind. With regular battle awaiting us outside, 
this prospect of an internecine strife within the 
walls began to daunt me. 

Suddenly, as I was thus closely watching his 
expression and prepared against the worst, I saw 
a change, a flash, a look of relief, upon his face. 
He took up the lamp which stood beside him on 
the table, and turned to us with an air of some 

" There is one point that we must know," said 
he. " Are they going to butcher the lot of us, 
or only Huddlestone? Did they take you for 
him, or fire at you for your own beaux yeux ? " 

" They took me for him, for certain," I replied. 
" I am near as tall, and my head is fair." 

" I am going to make sure," returned North- 
mour ; and he stepped up to the window, hold- 
ing the lamp above his head, and stood there, 
quietly affronting death, for half a minute. 

Clara sought to rush forward and pull him 
from the place of danger ; but I had the pardon- 
able selfishness to hold her back by force. 

"Yes," said Northmour, turning coolly from 
the window ; "it's only Huddlestone they want." 

"Oh, Mr. Northmour!" cried Clara; but 

We could see the figure of a man in the moonlight 


found no more to add ; the temerity she had 
just witnessed seeming beyond the reach of words. 

He, on his part, looked at me, cocking his 
head, with a fire of triumph in his eyes ; and I 
understood at once that he had thus hazarded 
his life merely to attract Clara's notice, and 
depose me from my position as the hero of the 
hour. He snapped his fingers. 

" The fire is only beginning," said he. " When 
they warm up to their work, they won't be so 

A voice was now heard hailing us from the 
entrance. From the window we could see the 
figure of a man in the moonlight ; he stood 
motionless, his face uplifted to ours, and a rag 
of something white on his extended arm ; and as 
we looked right down upon him, though he was 
a good many yards distant on the links, we could 
see the moonlight glitter on his eyes. 

He opened his lips again, and spoke for some 
minutes on end, in a key so loud that he might 
have been heard in every corner of the pavilion, 
and as far away as the borders of the wood. It 
was the same voice that had already shouted 
" Traditore ! " through the shutters of the dining- 
room; this time it made a complete and clear 
statement. If the traitor " Oddlestone " were 
given up, all others should be spared ; if not, no 
one should escape to tell the tale. 



" Well, Huddlestone, what do you say to 
that ? " asked Northmour, turning to the bed. 

Up to that moment the banker had given no 
sign of life, and I, at least, had supposed him to 
be still lying in a faint ; but he replied at once, 
and in such tones as I have never heard else- 
where, save from a delirious patient, adjured and 
besought us not to desert him. It was the most 
hideous and abject performance that my imagina- 
tion can conceive. 

" Enough," cried Northmour ; and then he 
threw open the window, leaned out into the 
night, and in a tone of exultation, and with a 
total forgetfulness of what was due to the 
presence of a lady, poured out upon the am- 
bassador a string of the most abominable raillery 
both in English and Italian, and bade him be 
gone where he had come from. I believe that 
nothing so delighted Northmour at that moment 
as the thought that we must all infallibly perish 
before the night was out. 

Meantime the Italian put his flag of truce 
into his pocket, and disappeared, at a leisurely 
pace, among the sand-hills. 

" They make honourable war," said North- 
mour. " They are all gentlemen and soldiers. 
For the credit of the thing, I wish we could 
change sides you and I, Frank, and you too, 
Missy my darling and leave that being on the 


bed to some one else. Tut ! Don't look shocked ! 
We are all going post to what they call eternity, 
and may as well be above-board while there's 
time. As far as I'm concerned, if I could first 
strangle Huddlestone and then get Clara in my 
arms, I could die with some pride and satisfaction. 
And as it is, by God, I'll have a kiss ! " 

Before I could do anything to interfere, he 
had rudely embraced and repeatedly kissed the 
resisting girl. Next moment I had pulled him 
away with fury, and flung him heavily against the 
wall. He laughed loud and long, and I feared 
his wits had given way under the strain ; for 
even in the best of days he had been a sparing 
and a quiet laugher. 

" Now, Frank," said he, when his mirth was 
somewhat appeased, "it's your turn. Here's 
my hand. Good-bye ; farewell ! " Then seeing 
me stand rigid and indignant, and holding Clara 
to my side "Man!" he broke out, "are you 
angry ? Did you think we were going to die 
with all the airs and graces of society ? I took 
a kiss ; I'm glad I had it ; and now you can take 
another if you like, and square accounts." 

I turned from him with a feeling of contempt 
which I did not seek to dissemble. 

"As you please," said he. "You've been a 
prig in life ; a prig you'll die." 

And with that he sat down in a chair, a rifle 


over his knee, and amused himself with snapping 
the lock ; but I could see that his ebullition of 
light spirits (the only one I ever knew him to 
display) had already come to an end, and was 
succeeded by a sullen, scowling humour. 

All this time our assailants might have been 
entering the house, and we been none the wiser ; 
we had in truth almost forgotten the danger that 
so imminently overhung our days. But just 
then Mr. Huddlestone uttered a cry, and leaped 
from the bed. 

I asked him what was wrong. 

" Fire ! " he cried. " They have set the house 
on fire ! " 

Northmour was on his feet in an instant, and 
he and I ran through the door of communication 
with the study. The room was illuminated by 
a red and angry light. Almost at the moment 
of our entrance, a tower of flame arose in front 
of the window, and, with a tingling report, a 
pane fell inwards on the carpet. They had set 
fire to the lean-to outhouse, where Northmour 
used to nurse his negatives. 

" Hot work," said Northmour. " Let us try 
in your old room." 

We ran thither in a breath, threw up the 
casement, and looked forth. Along the whole 
back wall of the pavilion piles of fuel had been 
arranged and kindled ; and it is probable they 

They all burned bravely 


had been drenched with mineral oil, for, in spite 
of the morning's rain, they all burned bravely. 
The fire had taken a firm hold already on the 
outhouse, which blazed higher and higher every 
moment ; the back door was in the centre of a 
red-hot bonfire ; the eaves we could see, as we 
looked upward, were already smouldering, for 
the roof overhung, and was supported by con- 
siderable beams of wood. At the same time, 
hot, pungent, and choking volumes of smoke 
began to fill the house. There was not a human 
being to be seen to right or left. 

" Ah, well ! " said Northmour, " here's the end, 
thank God." 

And we returned to My Uncle '.v Room. Mr. 
Huddlestone was putting on his boots, still 
violently trembling, but with an air of deter- 
mination such as I had not hitherto observed. 
Clara stood close by him, with her cloak in both 
hands ready to throw about her shoulders, and 
a strange look in her eyes, as if she were half 
hopeful, half doubtful of her father. 

" Well, boys and girls," said Northmour, 
" how about a sally ? The oven is heating ; it 
is not good to stay here and be baked ; and, for 
my part, I want to come to my hands with 
them, and be done." 

" There is nothing else left," I replied. 

And both Clara and Mr. Huddlestone, though 


with a very different intonation, added, "No- 

As we went downstairs the heat was excessive, 
and the roaring of the fire filled our ears ; and 
we had scarce reached the passage before the 
stairs window fell in, a branch of flame shot 
brandishing through the aperture, and the interior 
of the pavilion became lit up with that dreadful 
and fluctuating glare. At the same moment 
we heard the fall of something heavy and in- 
elastic in the upper story. The whole pavilion, it 
was plain, had gone alight like a box of matches, 
and now not only flamed sky-high to land and 
sea, but threatened with every moment to 
crumble and fall in about our ears. 

Northmour and I cocked our revolvers. Mr. 
Huddlestone, who had already refused a firearm, 
put us behind him with a manner of command. 

" Let Clara open the door," said he. " So, if 
they fire a volley, she will be protected. And 
in the mean time, stand behind me. I am the 
scapegoat ; my sins have found me out." 

I heard him, as I stood breathless by his 
shoulder, with my pistol ready, pattering off 
prayers in a tremulous, rapid whisper; and I 
confess, horrid as the thought may seem, I 
despised him for thinking of supplications in 
a moment so critical and thrilling. In the 
mean time, Clara, who was dead white but still 

Mr. Huddlestone fell backward on the turf 


possessed her faculties, had displaced the barri- 
cade from the front door; Another moment, 
and she had pulled it open. Firelight and 
moonlight illuminated the links with confused 
and changeful lustre, and far away against the 
sky we could see a long trail of glowing smoke. 

Mr. Huddlestone, filled for the moment with 
a strength greater than his own, struck North- 
mour and myself a backhander in the chest ; and 
while we were thus for the moment incapacitated 
from action, lifting his arms above his head 
like one about to dive, he ran straight forward 
out of the pavilion. 

" Here am I ! " he cried" Huddlestone ! 
Kill me, and spare the others ! " 

His sudden appearance daunted, I suppose, 
our hidden enemies ; for Northmour and I had 
time to recover, to seize Clara between us, one 
by each arm, and to rush forth to his assistance, 
ere anything further had taken place. But 
scarce had we passed the threshold when there 
came near a dozen reports and flashes from every 
direction among the hollows of the links. Mr. 
Huddlestone staggered, uttered a weird and 
freezing cry, threw up his arms over his head, 
and fell backward on the turf. 

"Traditore! Traditore!" cried the invisible 

And just then, a part of the roof of the pavilion 


fell in, so rapid was the progress of the fire. A 
loud, vague, and horrible noise accompanied the 
collapse, and a vast volume of flame went soaring 
up to heaven. It must have been visible at that 
moment from twenty miles out at sea, from the 
shore at Graden Wester, and far inland from 
the peak of Graystiel, the most eastern summit 
of the Caulder Hills. Bernard Huddlestone, 
although God knows what were his obsequies, 
had a fine pyre at the moment of his death. 




I SHOULD have the greatest difficulty to tell you 
what followed next after this tragic circumstance. 
It is all to me, as I look back upon it, mixed, 
strenuous, and ineffectual, like the struggles of 
a sleeper in a nightmare. Clara, I remember, 
uttered a broken sigh and would have fallen for- 
ward to earth, had not Northmour and I sup- 
ported her insensible body. 1 do not think we 
were attacked ; I do not remember even to have 
seen an assailant ; and I believe we deserted 
Mr. Huddlestone without a glance. I only re- 
member running like a man in a panic, now 
carrying Clara altogether in my own arms, now 
sharing her weight with Northmour, now 
scuffling confusedly for the possession of that 
dear burden. Why we should have made for 
my camp in the Hemlock Den, or how we 
reached it, are points -lost for ever to my recol- 
lection. The first moment at which I became 
definitely sure, Clara had been suffered to fall 


against the outside of my little tent, Northmour 
and I were tumbling together on the ground, 
and he, with contained ferocity, was striking for 
my head with the butt of his revolver. He had 
already twice wounded me on the scalp ; and it is 
to the consequent loss of blood that I am tempted 
to attribute the sudden clearness of my mind. 

I caught him by the wrist. 

" Northmour," I remember saying, " you can 
kill me afterwards. Let us first attend to 

He was at that moment uppermost. Scarcely 
had the words passed my lips, when he had leaped 
to his feet and ran towards the tent; and the 
next moment, he was straining Clara to his heart 
and covering her unconscious hands and face 
with his caresses. 

" Shame ! " I cried. " Shame to you, North- 
mour ! " 

And, giddy though I still was, I struck him 
repeatedly upon the head and shoulders. 

He relinquished his grasp, and faced me in the 
broken moonlight. 

" I had you under, and I let you go," said he ; 
" and now you strike me ! Coward ! " 

" You are the coward," I retorted. " Did she 
wish your kisses while she was still sensible of 
what she wanted ? Not she ! And now she 
may be dying ; and you waste this precious time, 


and abuse her helplessness. Stand aside, and let 
me help her." 

He confronted me for a moment, white and 
menacing ; then suddenly he stepped aside. 

" Help her, then," said he. 

I threw myself on my knees beside her, and 
loosened, as well as I was able, her dress and 
corset ; but while I was thus engaged, a grasp 
descended on my shoulder. 

" Keep your hands off her," said Northmour 
fiercely. " Do you think I have no blood in my 
veins ? " 

" Northmour," I cried, " if you will neither 
help her yourself, nor let me do so, do you know 
that I shall have to kill you ? " 

"That is better!" he cried. " Let her die 
also ; where's the harm ? Step aside from that 
girl ! and stand up to fight." 

" You will observe," said I, half rising, " that I 
have not kissed her yet." 

" I dare you to," he cried. 

I do not know what possessed me ; it was one 
of the things I am most ashamed of in my life, 
though, as my wife used to say, I knew that my 
kisses would be always welcome were she dead 
or living; down I fell again upon my knees, 
parted the hair from her forehead, and, with the 
dearest respect, laid my lips for a moment on 
that cold brow. It was such a caress as a father 


might have given ; it was such a one as was not 
unbecoming from a man soon to die to a woman 
already dead. 

"And now," said I, "I am at your service, 
Mr. Northmour." 

But I saw, to my surprise, that he had turned 
his back upon me. 

" Do you hear ? " I asked. 

" Yes," said he, " I do. If you wish to fight, 
I am ready. If not, go on and save Clara. All 
is one to me." 

I did not wait to be twice bidden ; but, stoop- 
ing again over Clara, continued my efforts to 
revive her. She still lay white and lifeless ; I 
began to fear that her sweet spirit had indeed 
fled beyond recall, and horror and a sense of 
utter desolation seized upon my heart. I called 
her by name with the most endearing inflections ; 
I chafed and beat her hands ; now I laid her head 
low, now supported it against my knee ; but all 
seemed to be in vain, and the lids still lay heavy 
on her eyes. 

" Northmour," I said, " there is my hat. For 
God's sake bring some water from the spring." 

Almost in a moment he was by my side with 
the water. 

" I have brought it in my own," he said. "You 
do not grudge me the privilege ? " 

" Northmour " I was beginning to say, as J 


laved her head and breast ; but he interrupted 
me savagely. 

"Oh, you hush up!" he said. "The best 
thing you can do is to say nothing." 

I had certainly no desire to talk, my mind 
being swallowed up in concern for my dear love 
and her condition ; so I continued in silence to 
do my best towards her recovery, and, when the 
hat was empty, returned it to him, with one word 
" More." He had, perhaps, gone several times 
upon this errand, when Clara reopened her eyes. 

" Now," said he, " since she is better, you can 
spare me, can you not ? 1 wish you a good night, 
Mr. Cassilis." 

And with that he was gone among the thicket. 

I made a fire, for I had no fear of the Italians, 

who had even spared all the little possessions left 

in my encampment ; and, broken as she was by 

the excitement and the hideous catastrophe of 

the evening, I managed, in one way or another 

by persuasion, encouragement, warmth, and 

such simple remedies as I could lay my hand on 

to bring her back to some composure of mind 

and strength of body. 

Day had already come, when a sharp " Hist ! " 
sounded from the thicket. I started from the 
ground ; but the voice of Northmour was heard 
adding, in the most tranquil tones : " Come here, 
Cassilis, and alone; I wantto show you something." 


I consulted Clara with my eyes, and, receiving 
her tacit permission, left her alone, and clam- 
bered out of the den. At some distance off I 
saw Northmour leaning against an elder ; and as 
soon as he perceived me, he began walking sea- 
ward. I had almost overtaken him as he reached 
the outskirts of the wood. 

" Look," said he, pausing. 

A couple of steps more brought me out of the 
foliage. The light of the morning lay cold and 
clear over that well-known scene. The pavilion 
was but a blackened wreck ; the roof had fallen 
in, one of the gables had fallen out ; and, far and 
near, the face of the links was cicatrised with 
little patches of burnt furze. Thick smoke still 
went straight upwards in the windless air of the 
morning, and a great pile of ardent cinders filled 
the bare walls of the house, like coals in an open 
grate. Close by the islet a schooner yacht lay 
to, and a well-manned boat was pulling vigor- 
ously for the shore. 

" The Red Earl! " I cried. " The Red Earl 
twelve hours too late ! " 

"Feel in your pocket, Frank. Are you 
armed ? " asked Northmour. 

I obeyed him, and I think I must have become 
deadly pale. My revolver had been taken from 

" You see I have you in my power," he con- 


tinued. " I disarmed you last night while you 
were nursing Clara ; hut this morning here 
take your pistol. No thanks ! " he cried, holding 
up his hand. " I do not like them ; that is the 
only way you can annoy me now." 

He began to walk forward across the links to 
meet the boat, and I followed a step or two 
behind. In front of the pavilion I paused to see 
where Mr. Huddlestone had fallen ; but there 
was no sign of him, nor so much as a trace of 

" Graden Floe," said Northmour. 

He continued to advance till we had corne to 
the head of the beach. 

" No farther, please," said he. " Would you 
like to take her to Graden House ? " 

" Thank you," replied I ; " I shall try to get 
her to the minister's at Graden Wester." 

The prow of the boat here grated on the beach, 
and a sailor jumped ashore with a line in his 

" Wait a minute, lads ! " cried Northmour ; 
and then lower and to my private ear: "You 
had better say nothing of all this to her," he 

"On the contrary," I broke out, "she shall 
know everything that I can tell." 

" You do not understand," he returned, with 


an air of great dignity. " It will be nothing to 
her; she expects it of me. Good-bye!" he 
added, with a nod. 

I offered him my hand. 

" Excuse me," said he. " It's small, I know ; 
but I can't push things quite so far as that. I 
don't wish any sentimental business, to sit by 
your hearth a white-haired wanderer, and all that. 
Quite the contrary : I hope to God I shall never 
again clap eyes on either one of you." 

" Well, God bless you, Northmour ! " I said 

" Oh, yes," he returned. 

He walked down the beach ; and the man who 
was ashore gave him an arm on board, and then 
shoved off and leaped into the bows himself. 
Northmour took the tiller ; the boat rose to the 
waves, and the oars between the thole-pins 
sounded crisp and measured in the morning air. 

They were not yet half-way to the Red Earl, 
and I was still watching their progress, when the 
sun rose out of the sea. 

One word more, and my story is done. Years 
after, Northmour was killed fighting under the 
colours of Garibaldi for the liberation of the Tyrol. 

Printed by BALLANTYNB, HANSON &> Co 
at Paul's Work. Edinburgh 





Stevenson, Robert Louis 

The pavilion on the links