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task of concocting the medicine was poor-in debt. Your wife is unhappy. over, performed with that airy laugh. You have made her so by fooling away ing grace so becoming to him, there your hard earnings in lottery tickets. were two tumblers of the steaming bev. Let this be your lottery, in which, at erage, one at either elbow, and Abel, last, you will be sure of the prize,as he moved his men, sipped at his enough to pay your debts and buy you glass, half unconsciously, until its con- a snug little home! enough to restore tents disappeared.
your wife's smiles and good tempor ! Now, as he looked up, with the ques- Winter is coming on; rents are high ; I tion, “Is that so ? ” upon his lips, his know it all. Look here! give me tho heightened ruddiness and a certain glit- clue, and you shall have this to-night!" ter of the eyes told that the unusual —he took from his vest-pocket two stimulus had affected him.
bonds of five hundred dollars each, and “Yes," said Dassel, glancing towards held them before him on the table. the door and finding it closed. Each “ What is it I am to give you for involuntarily moved nearer across the this ? " table, Abel with his short, plump arms “You know, well enough, to what I folded upon it, his visitor with one fin- refer,-a thousand dollars, cash down,ger almost touching his sleeve, scanning nothing can be easier.” the other's face.
Abel did know to what his compan “I didn't never have no confidence in ion referred. There was a spot over his that St. Louis trip.”
heart which burned with intense con. “Why not?"
sciousness. It appeared to him as if Bellows grew confused. If he had the keen blue eyes opposite could see, not taken the whiskey he would not through his soiled vest, and all its have allowed that remark to have es- wrappings of paper, the sleeve-button, caped his lips.
with its green jewel flashing balefully. “Why not?"
His whole breast seemed illuminated. “Wa'll, I don't know,-only I hadn't. He balf expected the man to reach forth It turned out as I expected.”
and grasp it. But, although the liquor “ Bellows, have you any clue?” he had taken increased the vividness of
There was no reply. Dassel turned his feelings, it had not impaired his more liquor into their glasses, and Abel, judgment. The doubts which had in his nervousness, drank his off at troubled him, the conflicting respect once : it ran like fire through his veins, and suspicion, all merged in one sharp for his companion had neglected to add certainty, and he drew a breath which water.
relieved him of weeks of suspense. “I've thought, for some time, Abel, Modest and deprecating as were his that you knew more about this matter ordinary manners, he did not quail, than you have disclosed. If so, I think now, before an inquisition which was it your duty to make it known. I have truly terrible. The flash of their eyes not been with the firm as long as you; met like the clashing of steel. yet, if I possessed facts with regard to a “ Think of how much good this matter like this, I should feel bound to money will do you. The friend to reveal them. I would like to know how whom you gave your note for a hunyour suspicions tally with mine. Bel- dred dollars will be here to attach lows, I have observed you closely, and I your furniture next week.” know that you have found a clue to the “ Who told you that? robber. Give up that clue to me, allow " Your wife. No one else can make me to prosecute this thing alone, and I that thing which you have worth as will not only allow you all the adver- much to you as I, Abel. A thousand tised reward, but will add a thousand dollars is quite a sum to a man situated dollars of my own.
Think of that,
as you are." Abel! two thousand dollars! You are “I know it, Mr. Dassel. I have often
thought it over. I could bave had it offer you a thousand down for it, and any day, since the first week of the all the reward promised by the firm.” murder."
“ You don't mean to say you will A slight paleness increased over Das- deliver up the guilty parties and securo sel's face; there was hatred or some the reward ?" other ugly emotion in its pallor, but he “Oh, but I do. Your suspicions are conquered the feeling which had only as far astray as wrongful to an innocent betrayed itself in the clutch of his fin- There is something to be exger-nails into the flesh of his palm ; a plained which will be made clear when tremulous smile played about his mouth the time comes. Did you not know, as he spoke-as if he were asking some Abel, that I, also, was a loser, to a small woman to be his wife
amount, by that robbery ? that my * Are we not friends, Bellows ? I desk was opened, and a little box taken have relied on your friendship. I be- from it containing several precious soulieved that you loved me, as I have venirs of my foreign home-among you, and yours."
other things, a pair of sleeve-buttons, Abel's glance sank beneath the soft of old-fashioned setting, but containing power of a look which few, of either emeralds which were heirlooms in my sex, ever had resisted, and, wandering family? Such was the case. My reason restlessly about the room, fell on the for not complaining was this: I behobby-horse which had given Toddle lieved that I could find the burglar by such delight.
means of those jewels; they were too “I always liked you better'n any remarkable not to give a probability blood relation,” he faltered, presently, of their being traced. Since the robbery
“ Thank you, Abel. Then I cannot I have not allowed a day to pass in see how you can refuse me so small a which I have not made exertions to favor,—the first I ever asked of you!” find those emeralds. I have been to
“Because," answered Abel, again re- diamond-merchants and pawnbrokers. covering his self-possession, “this is a In short, I have found the other button, matter of conscience, Mr. Dassel. God and by that means expect to convict the knows I've been troubled in my mind guilty party. I only ask you to give about it! Murder is murder, sir, and me that which you found, and to testinothing ought to excuse it. It makes fy, when called into court, to the cirme feel like a party to it, sir."
cumstances of the finding. In the “That is all right, Abel ; I see just meantime I give you a thousand dollars how you are placed. But this case, it to relieve you from your present diffistrikes me, admits of palliation. I have culties." made up my mind that the robber had The porter stared blankly into the. no intention of murder,—he was attack- face of the speaker. Astonishment too ed by the watchman, and, under the in- great to be otherwise than mute had fluence of the instinct of self-preserva- possession of him. But, it had an effect tion, killed him to save himself. How upon him quite contrary to what his he came to be tempted to commit the companion expected; instead of adding robbery, who knows? Desperate cir- to his confusion it calmed his excite. cumstances--circumstances like yours, ment; the fumes of the liquor cleared or worse-might have urged him upon away from his brain; his sensibilities it. I would not be any inore merciful no longer were in the ascendant; his to him than you would. It is not a reason came into full play; the half question of the robber's crime. It is a shrewd, half-merry twinkle of the eye. question of friendship between you and lid was gone; one might have thought I, Abel. I want to prosecute this thing that the porter had changed places with myself. In order to get it into my the man of the world, his glance grew hands, I wish to get possession of that so penetrating. small article which the robber lost. I In the short silence which followed,
swift thoughts brought numerous mat- “I will not wait. A thousand dollars ters before his mind, from which to to-night or never." make his selection. Was it possible “Indeed, it is not with me; I have it that he had been accusing an innocent away, for safe keeping." man, constantly, in his secret soul ?- This was a falsehood into which Abel misrepresenting his every action, giving was hurried by the other's manner; he a ghastly coloring to his most simple blushed as he spoke it, for he was not actions, shrinking from his proffered accustomed to lie, and he felt that Dasfriendship, shuddering when his hand sel knew that he was lying. touched his laughing boy? How glad Dassel stood up; Abel arose, also, he would be, could he spring up, this pale with a dread that the angry man moment, confess his suspicion, and beg was about to spring upon him and the forgiveness of the man whom he had choke him. He felt guilty, as if he had loved, even while he had condemned ! given his friend good reason to hate How simple the solution, after all! And him,--even to attack him. He had rehe had made himself such an unhappy fused to give up that which belonged fool about the matter! Now that Das- to the other. At this moment, Mrs. sel had mentioned that the buttons had Bellows came in. been taken from his desk, how the “I declare, if you don't look like two whole face of the case was altered ! prize-fighters,” she laughed; “ what ye How thankful he was that he had been talking about,-politics ? " taken no steps to accuse one who could “Oh no, indeed, madam, I've been 80 easily have proved himself innocent! giving your husband a lesson in the art
And yet! how curious that Dassel of making money." should offer him so large a sum of " Which he needs, bad enough." . money for the missing button, instead “Like the rest of us, I
I of simply asking him if he had found have stayed late; I must be going. Toit!
morrow night, is it, then ?" Guilt is almost sure to overreach it- “Yes," said Bellows, following him self. It betrays itself continually; as to the door, “I will get it for you toDassel had remarked, in the story of morrow. Don't be offended, Mr. Dassel.” Count Konisberg, “the Ancient Mariner “Oh, as to that,” with a light laugh, is ever impelled to repeat the tale of his we are friends or enemies. I love my own crimes."
friends and hate my enemies. GoodThere was inconsistency in the man- night, Mrs. Bellows." ner which Dassel had taken to recover Abel arose, the next morning, more his sleeve-button. Abel could but see uneasy in mind than he had been since it, though his heart yearned to overlook the first week of the robbery. Some it. Perhaps, too, in that long watch instinct urged him not to go about with which he had kept over a suspected the fatal sleeve-button on his person. man, he had come upon other reasons He could not tell himself whether he for doubting him. As we have said, was afraid that it would be violently the porter was not the firmest of men ; wrested from him, or whether he dreadhe trembled, now, inwardly, for soft ed his own weakness which might be and thrilling as was the regard of his persuaded into giving it up. He always friend, there was a subtle light behind had kept it in the pocket of his vest. it which pierced him like a threat; but “It is cold,” he said to his wife; “I he had considerable moral bravery, and b’lieve I'll put on my winter-vest, Ab his hand, which had moved towards his bey," and he hung the one he had been vest-pocket, withdrew itself, and he an- wearing on a peg in his bedroom. swered the other's proposition,
Still, he did not feel easy. He went “Give me twenty-four hours to think back, took the troublesome button from upon it, Mr. Dassel.
Come here to- its hiding-place, wrapped it in more morrow night, and get my answer.” paper, opened the clock and tucked it
away in that sacred repository of small them,—had got upon its track. Neither treasures, where Mrs. Bellows kept Mat- conjecture was pleasant. He began to thew's five-dollar gold-piece and her feel haunted, and to look about him, as marriage certificate.
he went his ways. He did not meet Dassel that day; it That evening Mr. Dassel did not was not his correspondence day, and he
Abel retired to-bed with a feeldid not come to the store. Abel felt ing of relief, and began to think that relieved; but he shrank from the even- he had exaggerated the importance of ing, for he had made up his mind to late words and actions. This belief was refuse to give up the button. When he strengthened when, the following day, reached home, tea was ready, and Abbey he encountered Dassel on the pavement, was looking unusually good-natured. À not far from the store, and received the pair of handsome gilt china vases stood usual pleasant smile and word. on the mantel-piece, and a new delaine Why, Abbey, your clock's half-andress-pattern lay on a chair.
hour too slow," he exclaimed, that eve“ There was an old-clo'es man come ning, coming home at dusk, and finding along to-day,” she said, in explanation. the supper not ready. “I never knew “I don't usually deal with them ras- the old clock to play us such a trick cals; but this one give real good bar- before ;-she's growin' lazy.” gains. I got the dress and the vases, " Is it slow ?" asked the wife, beginand what d'ye s'pose I give for them ? ning to fly around the table. “Mr. Das nothin' but your old coat and that vest sel he was in to-day, and said it was yon threw by this mornin'."
too fast. He stopped her a few minutes, “I wish you'd stop sellin' my gar- , and set her right by his watch." ments till I give you leave," burst forth Abel's heart was in his mouth. Abel, adding the next moment, “no “I never see such a handy person, for harm done, though, Abbey,--you did a brought-up gentleman, as he is," conmake a real good bargain."
tinued Mrs. Bellows; "he might pass He laughed nervously, pretending to for a right-down Connecticut Yankeeadmire the dress-pattern, while the he can do any thing. Sech a tinker ! sweat stood on his forehead as he con- He noticed the lock of the bureau-draw gratulated himself upon having re- was broke, and offered to fix it. He's moved “the silent witness” in time. done it first-rate." He would have thought it a
He scarcely heard what she said ; he chance, that the old-clo'es man should was at the clock, feeling in its dusty have got that vest, had not the articles recesses. given been of more value than those “ Hand me the lamp, Abbey." received,,quite the reverse of the usual " Here 'tis. But never mind the way of doing that business ;-guilt, clock till you've had yer supper. It's again, overreaching itself. Why not ready, after all.” have driven a hard bargain, and pre- After a moment's investigation Abel vented suspicion ?
set the lamp down suddenly, himself While they were drinking their tea dropping into a chair. he asked particularly about the appear
The sleeve-button was gone! ance of the pedlar,—was he tall, or “Are you sick, Abel Bellows ?" short,—what was the color of his eyes? His wife's voice was not tender, even Really, Mrs. Bellows did not mind ;- when she asked him a question like he was rather tall, and had plenty of this; it started him out of his reverie. black whiskers. Abel did not decide, “Not sick, Abbey, but tired." to his own satisfaction, whether to ac- In the pleasant mood in which her cuse Mr. Dassel, or whether to believe visitor had left her, she had made hot that the real guilty party,—the person biscuits for tea, but they might have who had taken the buttons from Das- been sawdust as far as her husband's sel's desk, and afterwards lost one of appreciation went.
WILL SIIE DO IT?
The next day was Saturday. Mr. being the person who bad robbed the Dassel would be in, through the fore- store and murdered the watchman. noon, writing up his foreign letters. He " Who accuses me? where are the came, as usual ; Abel, restless and mis- proofs ?” he cried, in his anguish. erable, made an excuse to approach " That you will know, at the exami. him, replacing some light boxes near nation. I assure you they are strong, or his desk.
they would not have brought us to acDassel sat at his work, calm, hum- cuse you, Bellows." ming to himself a German drinking- This was said by Mr. Borden, and the song, as his white, slender hand flashed reproach in his voice was a hard thing over the paper, writing with ease and for the porter to hear. It caused a rapidity. A ray of sunlight came lump to rise in his throat which prethrough the skylight, flashing upon vented farther attempts at self-defence, something brilliant at his wrist, as he and he was led away to disgrace and moved it. Abel saw the flash, and rec- imprisonment. ognized the emerald-set sleeve-buttons. Dassel looked up at the same instant, meeting the troubled glance raised from
CHAPTER XII. the jewels to his face, with just the glimmer of a smile-triumph shining beneath indifference. Neither of them “Girls is so sweet," said Mrs. Grizspoke; nor for several days thereafter zle, who, never having had a daughter, were they brought in contact.
always had sighed for one. “I wish Ahel Bellows grew thin and haggard Sam would hurry up his cakes; I exunder the perplexities of the position in pected we'd have the fun of a weddin' which he was placed. Then, too, he before this. We'll do it up Brown had private troubles of a financial char- when he does git married; we'll only acter,-a note of a hundred dollars to have it to do once. I never seen Miss be met, and nothing to meet it with; Bulbous look so pretty as she did just his wife soured and fretting over com
How'd you like her, Grizzle ?" ing trouble, Mr. Dassel passing him with "Oh, middlin'.
She's good weight a haughty carelessness.
and fine grain; she's been well fed. At last he resolved to do what he But, I can't say but I fancy our neighshould have done at the first,-seek bor more, or even Miss Bayles. Fact is, some member of the firm, and tell him, I like that ter, I feel to home with simply and fully, the whole story of the her. She allers puts me in mind of the sleeve-button, leaving it to the firm to grocery-store, and she a-coming in so decide upon the facts and to act as they modest with her little purse, hesitating saw proper. Having come to this reso- over this and that, which was what she lution, it was with a lighter step than wanted, but so dear! It's pleasant to usual that he trod the familiar way, and me to know that I allers gave her good entered upon his duties in the store, measure and under price.” about ten days after the affair of the “Let you alone for that, Grizzle; the clock. Alas for good resolutions, which only wonder is, how you ever contrived came too late! Alas for and his to git rich, with your easy ways." wife, and his little ones! All the pre- “Government contracts to blame for vious troubles of their lives were as no- that, my dear; I couldn't help it. Miss thing to the disaster which befel them Bayles is a gen'us though, isn't she ? that day.
Did you notice how exact she got the When the gentlemen of the firm came smile in my eye, and them books on the to business that day, they came accom- table, with my hand on 'em I told panied by police officers, who took her to give me a literary turn, as the Abel, bewildered and stupefied by the portrait was for my descendants, and I shock, into custody, on the charge of didn't care about handin' down the