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in a low voice, “but will you come to the office a moment, Miss—Miss—” “Miss Amory, of Commonwealth Avenue,” said Chrissie, quite herself again. “There is some little mistake about your tickets. They will make it all right at the office. This way, please.” “Certainly,” said Chrissie, with loftiness. “Wait here, Johanna. I’ll be back directly. You keep the doll, though.” And tossing back her hair, she followed the usher up the aisle and out at the door to the lobby, quietly and unsuspiciously, and still humming the tune that was ringing in her ears. “Here you are,” said the usher, in quite a different tone. And glancing up at him in surprise— What was that malign sight just beyond 2–that big woman with the bright red shawl and the bright red face? that man with the brass buttons, and the redder face, and the club 2 Her aunt? Her aunt and Captain Flynn | In a flash she knew what it meant. They had been following her; they had found her; she had been trapped; she had been deceived; they were after her. What, oh! what would become of her ? Something worse than the strap now—than any hot irons. A shriek rang through the lobby —a shriek that might have made the fortune of any heroine in distress upon the stage—a shriek to curdle your blood. And then a dash, a scuffle, a little figure darting like a zigzag of lightning down and out, across the way, flying—flying anywhere, everywhere—but, with the unconscious working of previous intention, toward the refuge of the Adams House. She dared not look behind; she heard the cries, the feet; all the town, she thought, was after her. She felt as some little hare feels, pursued by the pack of red-mouthed panting hounds. Breathless, on fire, fainting, unable to take another step, she fell at that moment into the arms of a young lady who, with her father, was coming down the steps of the hotel, where she had been making an evening call, and was just entering her carriage. “Oh, save me— save me, Miss Amory !” gasped Chrissie, with one big-eyed, despairing glance. And the coach dashed off; and the policeman came to a stop, and gaped, and wondered, and turned this way and that. They were looking for a little girl, and there was no little girl to be seen. And I don't know whether Johanna kept the doll or not, but I know that Miss Amory kept Chrissie.
By THOMAS HARDY,
Author of “A LAodioFAN,” “FAR From Tiir MADDING CRowd,” “THE MAYoR of CASTERBRIDGE.” ETO.
S February merged in March, and lighter evenings broke the gloom of the woodmen's
homeward journey, the Hintocks Great and Little began to have ears for a rumor of the events out of which had grown the timber-dealer's troubles. It took the form of a wide sprinkling of conjecture, wherein no man knew the exact truth. Tantalizing phenomena, at once showing and concealing the real relationship of the persons concerned, caused a diffusion of excited surprise. Honest people as the woodlanders were, it was hardly to be expected that they could remain immersed in the study of their trees and gardens amid such circumstances, or sit with their backs turned like the good burghers of Coventry at the passage of the beautiful lady.
Rumor, for a wonder, exaggerated little. There were, in fact, in this case as in thousands, the well-worn incidents, old as the hills, which, with individual variations, made a mourner of Ariadne, a by-word of Washti, and a corpse of the Countess Amy. There were rencounters accidental and contrived, stealthy correspondence, sudden misgivings on one side, sudden self-reproaches on the other. The inner state of the twain was one as of confused noise that would not allow the accents of calmer reason to be heard. Determinations to go in this direction, and headlong plunges in that; dignified safeguards, undignified collapses; not a single rash step by deliberate intention, and all against judgment.
It was all that Melbury had expected and feared. It was more, for he had overlooked the publicity that would be likely to result, as it now had done. What should he do? Appeal to Mrs. Charmond himself, since Grace would not? . He bethought himself of Winterborne, and resolved to consult him, feeling the strong need of some friend of his own sex to whom he might unburden his mind.
He had entirely lost faith in his own judgment. That judgment on which he had relied for so many years seemed recently, like a false com: panion unmasked, to have disclosed unexpected depths of hypocrisy and speciousness where all had seemed solidity. He felt almost afraid to form a conjecture on the weather, or the time, or the fruit promise, so great was his self-abasemént.
It was a rimy evening when he set out to look for Giles. The woods seemed to be in a cold sweat; beads of perspiration hung from every bare twig; the sky had no color, and the trees rose before him as haggard gray phantoms, whose days of substantiality were passed. Melbury seldom saw Winterborne now, but he believed him to be occupying a lonely hut just beyond the boundary of Mrs. Charmond's estate, though still within the circuit of the woodland. The timbermerchant's thin legs stalked on through the pale damp scenery, his eyes on the dead leaves of last year, while every now and then a hasty “Ay * escaped his lips, in reply to some bitter proposition.
* Begun in HARPER's BAZAR No. 20, Vol. XIX.
His notice was attracted by a thin blue haze of smoke, behind which arose sounds of voices and chopping; bending his steps that way, he saw Winterborne just in front of him. It just now happened that Giles, after being for a long time apathetic and unemployed, had become one of the busiest men in the neighborhood. It is often thus; fallen friends, lost sight of, we expect to find starving; we discover them going on fairly well. Without any solicitation, or desire for profit on his part, he had been asked to execute during that winter a very large order for hurdles and other copse-ware, for which purpose he had been obliged to buy several acres of brushwood standing. He was now engaged in the cutting and manufacture of the same, proceeding with the work daily like an automaton. The hazel-tree did not belie its name to-day. The whole of the copse-wood where the mist had cleared returned purest tints of that hue, amid which Winterborne himself was in the act of making a hurdle, the stakes being driven firmly into the ground in a row, over which he bent and wove the twigs. Beside him was a square, compact pile, like the altar of Cain, formed of hurdles already finished, which bristled on all sides with the sharp points of their stakes. At a little distance the men in his employ were assisting him to carry out his contract. Rows of copsewood lay on the ground as it had fallen under the axe; and a shelter had been constructed near at hand, in front of which burned the fire whose smoke attracted him. The air was so dank that the smoke hung heavy, and crept away amid the bushes without rising from the ground. After wistfully regarding Winterborne awhile, Melbury drew nearer, and briefly inquired of Giles how he came to be so busily engaged, with an undertone of slight surprise that Winterborne could go on thriving, even to this degree, after being deprived of Grace. Melbury was not without emotion at the meeting, for Grace's affairs had divided them, and ended their intimacy of old times. Winterborne explained just as briefly, without raising his eyes from his occupation of chopping a bough that he held in front of him. “'Twill be up in April before you get it all cleared,” said Melbury. “Yes, there or thereabouts,” said Winterborne, a chop of the billhook, jerking the last word into two pieces. There was another interval; Melbury still looked on, a chip from Winterborne's hook occasionally flying against the waistcoat and legs of his visitor, who took no heed. “Ah, Giles, you should have been my partner. You should have been my son-in-law,” the old man said at last. “It would have been far better for her and for me.” Winterborne saw that something had gone wrong with his former friend, and throwing down the switch he was about to interweave, he responded only too readily to the mood of the timber-dealer. “Is she ill ?” he said, hurriedly. “No, no.” Melbury stood without speaking for some minutes, and then, as though he could not bring himself to proceed, turned to go away. Winterborne told one of his men to pack up the tools for the night, and walked after Melbury. “Heaven forbid that I should seem too inquisitive, sir,” he said, “ especially since we don’t stand as we used to stand to one another; but I hope it is well with them all over your way ?” “No,” said Melbury; “no.” He stopped and struck the smooth trunk of a young ash-tree with the flat of his hand. “I would that his ear had been where that rind is s” he exclaimed; “I should have treated him to little compared wi' what he deserves.” . “Now,” said Winterborne, “don’t be in a hurry to go home. I’ve put some cider down to warm in my shelter here, and we'll sit and drink it and talk this over.” Melbury turned unresistingly as Giles took his arm, and they went back to where the fire was, and sat down under the screen, the other woodmen having gone. He drew out the cider mug from the ashes, and they drank together. “Giles, you ought to have had her, as I said just now,” repeated Melbury. “I’ll tell you why, for the first time.” He thereupon told Winterborne, as with great relief, the story of how he won away Giles's father's chosen one—by nothing worse than a lover's cajoleries, it is true, but by means which, cxcept in love, would certainly have been pronounced cruel and unfair. He éxplained how he had always intended to make reparation to Winterborne the father by giving Grace to Winterborne the son, till the devil tempted him in the person of Fitzpiers, and he broke his virtuous vow. “How highly I thought of that man, to be sure Who'd have supposed he'd have been so weak and wrong-headed as this 1 You ought to have had her, Giles, and there's an end on't.” Winterborne knew how to preserve his calm under this unconsciously cruel tearing of a healing wound, to which Melbury's concentration on the more vital subject had blinded him. The young man endeavored to make the best of the case for Grace's sake. “She would hardly have been happy with me,” he said, in the dry, unimpassioned voice under which he hid his feelings. “I was not well enough educated: too rough, in short. I couldn't have surrounded her with the refinements she looked for, anyhow at all.” “Nonsense; you are quite wrong there,” said the unwise old man, doggedly. “She told me only this day that she hates refinement and such like. All that my trouble and money bought for her in that way is thrown away upon her, quite. She'd fain be like Marty South—think o' that ' That's the top of her ambition Perhaps she's right. Giles, she loved you—under the rind; and, what's more, she loves ye still— worse luck for the poor maid!” If Melbury only had known what fires he was
recklessly stirring up, he might have held his peace. Winterborne was silent a long time. The darkness had closed in round them, and the monotonous drip of the fog from the branches quickened as it turned to fine rain. “Oh, she never cared much for me,” Giles managed to say, as he stirred the embers with a brand. “She did, and does, I tell ye,” said the other, obstinately. “However, all that's vain talking now. What I came to ask you about is a more practical matter—how to make the best of things as they are. I am thinking of a desperate step —of calling on the woman Charmond. I am going to appeal to her, since Grace will not. 'Tis she who holds the balance in her hands—not he. While she's got the will to lead him astray he will follow—poor unpractical lofty-notioned dreamer —and how long she'll do it depends upon her whim. Did ye ever hear anything about her character before she came to Hintock o'? “She's been a bit of a charmer in her time, I believe,” replied Giles, with the same level quietude, as he regarded the red coals. “One who has often smiled where she has not loved, and loved where she has not married. Before Mr. Charmond made her his wife she was a playactress.” “Hey? But how close you have kept all this, Giles! What besides 2" “Mr. Charmond was a rich man engaged in the iron trade in the north—twenty or thirty years older than she. He married her, and retired, and came down here and bought this property.” “Yes, yes—I know all about that. But the other I did not know. I fear it bodes no good. For how can I go and appeal to the forbearance of a woman in this matter who has made crossloves and crooked entanglements her trade for years ? I thank ye, Giles, for finding it out; but it makes my plan the harder that she should have belonged to that unstable tribe.” Another pause ensued, and they looked gloomily at the smoke that beat about the hurdles which sheltered them, through whose weavings a large drop of rain fell at intervals and spat smartly into the fire. Mrs. Charmond had been no friend to Winterborne, but he was manly, and it was not in his heart to let her be condemned withont a trial. “She is said to be generous,” he answered. “You might not appeal to her in vain.” “It shall be done,” said Melbury, rising. “For good or for evil, to Mrs. Charmond I'll go.” [TO BE CONTINUED.]
DISADVANTAGES OF FLESH.
T is generally supposed that fat people have much more blood than others. On the contrary, they have less. The blood they have, moreover, is really poor, while the fat fills the space which is required even for the circulation of that. The fat have then less vital energy than the thin, not possessing sufficient blood to bring every organ up to its full working power, and the fat hindering what blood there is from flowing freely enough to the organ especially at the moment of action requiring it. Besides all this, the fat obstructs the play of the lungs, so that sufficient air cannot be inhaled to purify the blood; the natural and necessary combustion is thus so interfered with that the functions of the body are hindered. It follows that too much exertion should always be guarded against in the people of large and fatty development, and too much should never be expected of them.
HEN it comes to the question of what shall be made for a male friend, be it brother, husband, or lover, who sniffs at the ornamental part that women delight in, the first answer, for its practical qualities, is a housewife: pretty, light-colored leathers—not chamois, which soils too easily—birch bark in large sheets, or even bright-colored satins, are desirable. The cover of one, soft and pleasant to the touch, was made from the unsoiled upper part of handsome party gloves that had a season's careful wear. The length is amply sufficient, and the width can be managed by binding the strips with narrow ribbon and joining with fancy stitches, as in crazywork, or button-holing each edge and then joining. One pretty affair was of light écru kid, joined with the pretty colored cigar ribbons. These housewives are made in various ways and sizes. Commencing with the most practical, have the tinman shape a piece of metal nine inches long and three and a half wide, so that it will be rounded, but not form a perfect tube; the tape measure, when laid flatly across the distance between the two edges, should give one inch and an eighth. One end should be closed by a circle of the tin, which of course rises a little in its curve over the vacant space between the edges. A very stout knitting-needle of steel must be passed through the centre of this circle, cut the length of this tin trough, and fastened securely on the outside of the tin circle; this forms the rod to hold the spools, which by the cushion arrangement of the opposite end can be replenished when needed. Have five small holes made on each edge of the trough, two a little inside the ends, the rest at regular distances; through these the outside is sewed into place. Line the trough with silk, folding in the raw edges at either end, laying smoothly on the inside, then bringing well over the back, gum securely down; a good plan is to run large spools on the rod or fill in tightly with cotton until it is dry, so the silk will neither sag nor be too tightly stretched in the trough. Cut a round of pasteboard, cover with silk, and gum on the inside of the circle to
conceal the tin; shape another one of leather, or whatever the outside may be, to fit the other side of this circle, and two others that will form the cushion that fills the opposite end. The outside must be thirteen inches long, and its width that of the trough; one end straight, the other rounded, and to be lined with more of the silk; baste neatly and closely, then bind it all round with the very narrowest of ribbons the fingers can manage to baste for the machine—
between an eighth and a quarter of an inch if .
possible. Shape from fancy silk, or pretty ribbons joined together, a piece the exact size of the straight part of the leather; then another to fit the rounded part; bind the upper end of one, and the straight edge of the other. Two pieces of leather, each three by two inches, with prettily shaped flaps and narrow cross-pieces to fasten them down, are next needed; an oval large enough when bound and worked in thimble shape to hold one; another three and a half inches long for the scissors; have it narrow and straight, at one end sharply pointed, and wider at the other. Three pieces of fine cloth or flannel, each smaller than the other, with the tiniest of scallops, and a chainstitching of colored silk inside for a border, must be laid evenly at one side, then bound together with the ribbon, and sewn on the lining near the upper part, stitching one of the flaps just over the bound edge of the needle-case, and one of the two larger pieces of leather far enough below the scalloped edges to fold over and conceal the flannel. Every piece of leather used must be lined and bound around; the lining of the other large piece must extend beyond the kid at each end between one and two inches, and should be of ribbon, on account of the finished edge, forming or laying it in side pleats at the lower edge, something like a portfolio, that, when opened for the odds and ends it may contain, there will be ample space to get at the contents. / Sew with blind stitches all these extra pieces on the inside silk, so the space between it and the silk covering of the leather may be used for buttons, pieces, etc. Make a plump cushion of the two circular bits of leather, working an eyelet in the middle of the inside piece so the rod can be fastened into place after the spools are on it, and slipped out when replenished. With blind stitches sew the inside to the outside, then bringing the straight edge of the leather round even with the outside edge of the tin trough, sew with coarse silk in and out through the leather and holes in the trough, making a joining of half an inch to the cushion at the lower right-hand corner of the outside. Pull the latter tightly around the tin, and stitch through lining and holes of the other side of the tin, then all round the piece of leather that covers the firm end of the trough. Put on a bow and long strings of narrow ribbon that will pass twice round the housewife when rolled, and tie securely in place. Plaid cloth or flannel ones are often made to represent a shawl tightly strapped; being smaller, they are not so complete, and the lining is put on separately to form a bag for buttons of all sizes and colors. Straps are put across for thimble, scissors, and spools. A broad strap of tancolored kid, with a handle of rolled kid, is fastened on. Tiny spinning-wheels, with the wood in the mellow tints a century has given it, make most acceptable as well as unique hat racks. Sandpaper, oil, and polish them, putting on the outer end of each spoke a pretty brass hook. See to it that these are strongly made, to bear rough usage of coat and hat. Sometimes the smaller ones, which are more desirable as well as expensive, are better made. The wood of these wheels is generally of oak, and if the grain is at all knotty, which it is likely to be, do not stain it; if not, use some of the mahogany colors in preference to ebonizing, the red of the wood contrasts so well with the brightness of the brass. Having in view a vacant wall space to be filled, some beautiful Japanese folding fans with loosened rivets were purchased for a few cents each—it
was just the condition in which we desired to have
them; so, taking three shades of pink, we loosened the sticks and spread them out to their fullest extent. Gathering the paper end as closely as possible, reversing the order of things, they were securely fastened on a circle of pasteboard about four inches across, and put in the back. With a strand of coarse silk tie the outer stick of each fan, just below the paper, to that of the next fan, to prevent their slipping out of place from the complete circle of sticks that should be presented. Run narrow pink ribbon through the holes at the ends of the sticks which form the outer circle of the letter-receiver or photographholder it can be used for. Just below run in and out, keeping smooth and flat meanwhile, an inchwide dark red satin ribbon. Form a pretty rosette or pompon for the centre, to conceal the pasteboard and joining of the fans. Favors from the german or euchre parties can be slipped in between the sticks, or any little odds and ends that are improved by hanging. Cut from cloth four large maple leaves, following closely the indentations and contour of each one. Use different colors—very light dull yellow, brown, or quaint gray-greens. Button-hole round deeply, and vein with gay crewels the colors that autumn brings the woods and forests, following nature as closely as possible in the order of color. ing. Cut two oval pieces of dark cloth about seven inches by five, and on one of them group these four leaves: one at the bottom, two lapping care. lessly over, and one at the top. Lay sheets of shaving-paper between these oval bits, and hang by a ribbon bow and ends. Blotting-paper may be substituted. It will be found very ornamental when hung at one's writing-desk. All these articles are the result of close calculation with regard to cost, and as little expenditure of time as can produce satisfactory gifts, economical, useful, and ornamental.
“T ISTEN to me, Alvin Mulrady,” he said, leaning over him with burning eyes, “Listen, while I have brain to think and strength to utter, why I have learnt to distrust, fear, and hate them. You think you know my story. Well, hear the truth from me to-night, Alvin Mulrady, and do not wonder if I have cause.” He stopped, and with pathetic inefficiency passed the fingers and inward-turned thumb of his paralyzed hand across his mouth, as if to calm himself. “Three years ago I was a miner, but not a miner like you. I had experience, I had scientific knowledge, I had a theory, and the patience and energy to carry it out. I selected a spot that had all the indications, made a tunnel, and, without aid, counsel, or assistance of any kind, worked it for six months, without rest or cessation, and with scarcely food enough to sustain my body. Well, I made a strike; not like you, Mulrady, not a blunder of good luck, a fool's fortune—there, I don't blame you for it—but in perfect demonstration of my theory, the reward of my labor. It was no pocket, but a vein, a lead, that I had regularly hunted down and found—a fortune 1 “I never knew how hard I had worked until that morning; I never knew what privations I had undergone until that moment of my success, when I found I could scarcely think or move. I staggered out into the open air. The only human soul near me was a disappointed prospector, a man named Masters, who had a tunnel not far away. I managed to conceal from him my good fortune and my feeble state, for I was suspicious of him—of any one—and as he was going away that day, I thought I could keep my secret until he was gone. I was dizzy and confused, but I remember that I managed to write a letter to my wife, telling her of my good fortune, and begging her to come to me; and I remember that I saw Masters go. I don't remember anything else. They picked me up on the road, near that bowlder, as you know.” “I know,” said Mulrady, with a swift recollection of the stage-driver's account of his discovery. “They say,” continued Slinn, tremblingly, “that I never recovered my senses or consciousness for nearly three years; they say I lost my memory completely during my illness, and that, by God's mercy, while I lay in that hospital, I knew no more than a babe; they say that because I could not speak or move, and only had my food as nature required it, I was an imbecile, and that I never really came to my senses until after my son found me in the hospital. They say that; but I tell you to-night, Alvin Mulrady,” he said, raising his voice to a hoarse outcry—“I tell you that it is a lie | I came to my senses a week after I lay on that hospital cot; I kept my senses and memory ever after during the three years that I was there, until Harry brought his cold, hypocritical face to my bedside and recognized me. Do you understand 2 I, the owner of millions, lay there a pauper! Deserted by wife and children—a spectacle for the curious, a sport for the doctors—and I knew it / I heard them speculate on the cause of my helplessness; I heard them talk of excesses and indulgences— I, that never knew wine or woman I heard a preacher speak of the finger of God, and point to me. May God curse him ''' “Go slow, old man; go slow,” said Mulrady, gently. “I heard them speak of me as a friendless man, an outcast, a criminal—a being whom no one would claim. They were right; no one claimed me. The friends of others visited them; relations came and took away their kindred; a few lucky ones got well; a few, equally lucky, died. I alone lived on, uncared for, deserted. “The first year,” he went on more rapidly, “I prayed for their coming. I looked for them every day. I never lost hope. I said to myself, “She has not got my letter, but when the time passes she will be alarmed by my silence, and then she will come or send some one to seek me.” A young student got interested in my case, and by studying my eyes thought that I was not entirely imbecile and unconscious. With the aid of an alphabet he got me to spell my name and town in Illinois, and promised by signs to write to my family. But in an evil moment I told him of my cursed fortune, and in that moment I saw that he thought me a fool and an idiot. He went away, and I saw him no more. Yet I still hoped. I dreamed of their joy at finding me, and the reward that my wealth would give them. Perhaps I was a little weak still, perhaps a little flighty too at times; but I was quite happy that year, even in my disappointment, for I had still hope.” He paused, and again composed his face with his paralyzed hand; but his manner had become less excited, and his voice was stronger. “A change must have come over me the second year, for I only dreaded their coming now and finding me so altered. A horrible idea that they might, like the student, believe me crazy if I spoke of my fortune, made me pray to God that they might not reach me until after I had regained my health and strength, and found my fortune. When the third year found me still there, I no longer prayed for them—I cursed them. I swore to myself that they should never enjoy my wealth; but I wanted to live, and let them know I had it. I found myself getting stronger; but as I had no money, no friends, and nowhere
* Begun in HARPER's BAzAR No. 49, Wol. XIX.
to go, I concealed my real condition from the doctors, except to give them my name, and to try to get some little work to do to enable me to leave the hospital and seek my lost treasure. One day I found out by accident that it had been discovered. You understand—my treasure!—that had cost me years of labor and my reason, had left me a helpless, forgotten pauper. That gold I had never enjoyed had been found and taken possession of by another.” He checked an exclamation from Mulrady with his hand. “They say they picked me up senseless from the floor, where I must have fallen when I heard the news; I don't remember ; I recall nothing until I was confronted, nearly three weeks after, by my son, who had called at the hospital as a reporter for a paper, and had accidentally discovered me through my name and appearance. He thought me crazy, or a fool. I didn't undeceive him. I did not tell him the story of the mine to excite his doubts and derision, or worse (if I could bring proof to claim it), have it perhaps pass into his ungrateful hands. No ; I said nothing. I let him bring me here. He could do no less, and common decency obliged him to do that.” “And what proof could you show of your claim o' asked Mulrady, gravely. “If I had that letter—if I could find Masters—” began Slinn, vaguely. “Have you any idea where the letter is, or what has become of Masters?” continued Mulrady, with a matter-of-fact gravity that seemed to increase Slinn's vagueness and excite his irritability. “I don't know; I sometimes think—” He stopped, sat down again, and passed his hands across his forehead. “I have seen the letter somewhere since. Yes,” he went on, with sudden vehemence, “I know it; I have seen it. I—” His brows knitted; his features began to work convulsively; he suddenly brought his paralyzed hand down, partly open, upon the table. “I will remember where.” “Go slow, old man; go slow.” “You asked me once about my visions. Well, that is one of them. I remember a man somewhere showing me that letter. I have taken it from his hands and opened it, and knew it was mine by the specimens of gold that were in it. But where, or when, or what became of it, I cannot tell. It will come to me—it must come to me soon.” He turned his eyes upon Mulrady, who was regarding him with an expression of grave curiosity, and said, bitterly: “You think me crazy. I know it. It needed only this.” “Where is this mine?” asked Mulrady, without heeding him. The old man's eyes swiftly sought the ground. “It is a secret, then 2" N. “No.” - i “Have you spoken of it to any one?” . 44 No.” “Not to the man who possesses it?” 44 No.” “Why?” “Because I wouldn't take it from him.” “Why wouldn't you?” “Because that man is yourself.” In the instant of complete silence that followed they could hear that the monotonous patter of rain on the roof had ceased. “Then all this was in my shaft, and the vein I thought I struck there was your lead, found three years ago in your tunnel? Is that your idea?” 44 Yes.” “Then I don't sabe why you don't want to claim it.” “I have told you why I don't want it for my children. I go further now, and I tell you, Alvin Mulrady, that I was willing that your children should squander it, as they were doing. It has only been a curse to me; it could only be a curse to them; but I thought you were happy in seeing it feed selfishness and vanity. You think me bitter and hard. Well, I should have left you in your fool's paradise but that I saw to-night when you came here that your eyes had been opened like mine. You, the possessor of my wealth, my treasure, could not buy your children's loving care and company with your millions, any more than I could keep mine in my poverty. You were to-night lonely and forsaken as I was. We were equal, for the first time in our lives. If that cursed gold had dropped down the shaft between us into the hell from which it sprang, we might have clasped hands like brothers across the chasm.” Mulrady, who in a friendly show of being at his ease had not yet resumed his coat, rose in his shirt sleeves, and standing before the hearth, straightened his square figure by drawing down his waistcoat on each side with two powerful thumbs. After a moment's contemplative survey of the floor between him and the speaker, he raised his eyes to Slinn. They were small and colorless; the forehead above them was low, and crowned with a shock of tawny reddish hair; even the rude strength of his lower features was enfeebled by a long, straggling, goat-like beard; but for the first time in his life the whole face was impressed and transformed with a strong and simple dignity. “Ez far ez I kin see, Slinn,” he said, gravely, “the p'int between you and me ain't to be settled by our children, or wot we allow is doo and right from them to us. Afore we preach at them for playing in the slumgullion and gettin' themselves splashed, perhaps we moutez well remember that that thar slumgullion comes from our own sluiceboxes, where we wash our gold. So we'll just put them behind us, so"—he continued, with a backward sweep of his powerful hand toward the chimney—“and go on. The next thing that crops up ahead of us is your three years in the hospital, and wot you went through at that time. I ain't sayin’ it wasn’t rough on you, and that you didn't have it about as big as it's made; but ez you'll allow that you'd hev had that for three
years, whether I'd found your mine or whether I hadn't, I think we can put that behind us too. There's nothin' now left to prospect but your story of your strike. Well, take your own proofs. Masters is not here; and if he was, accordin' to your own story, he knows nothin' of your strike that day, and could only prove you were a disappointed prospector in a tunnel. Your letter—that the person you wrote to never got—you can't produce; and if you did, would be only your own story without proof. There is not a business man ez would look at your claim ; there isn't a friend of yours that wouldn't believe you were crazy, and dreamed it all; there isn't a rival of yours ez wouldn't say ez you'd invented it. Slinn, I'm a business man, I am your friend, I am your rival; but I don’t think you're lyin', I don’t think you're crazy, and I’m not sure your claim ain't a good one. “Ef you reckon from that that I’m goin’ to hand you over the mine to-morrow,” he went on, after a pause, raising his hand with a deprecating gesture, “you're mistaken. For your own sake, and the sake of my wife and children, you've got to prove it more clearly than you hev; but I promise you that from this night forward I will spare neither time nor money to help you to do it. I have more than doubled the amount that you would have had had you taken the mine the day you came from the hospital. When you prove to me that your story is true—and we will find some way to prove it, if it is true—that amount will be yours at once, without the need of a word from law or lawyers. If you want my name to that in black and white, come to the of. fice to-morrow, and you shall have it.” “And you think I'll take it now?” said the old man, passionately. “Do you think that your charity will bring back my dead wife, the three years of my lost life, the love and respect of my children? Or do you think that your own wife and children, who deserted you in your wealth, will come back to you in your poverty? No! Let the mine stay, with its curse, where it is; I'll have none of it.” “Go slow, old man; go slow,” said Mulrady, quietly, putting on his coat. “You will take the mine if it is yours; if it isn't, I’ll keep it. If it is yours, you will give your children a chance to show what they can do for you in your sudden prosperity, as I shall give mine a chance to show how they can stand reverse and disappointment. If my head is level—and I reckon it is—they'll both pan out all right.” He turned and opened the door. With a quick revulsion of feeling, Slinn suddenly seized Mulrady's hand between both of his own, and raised it to his lips. Mulrady smiled, disengaged his hand gently, and saying soothingly, “Go "slow, old man; go slow,” closed the door behind him, and passed out into the clear Christmas dawn. For the stars, with the exception of one that seemed to sparkle brightly over the shaft of his former fortunes, were slowly paling. A burden seemed to have fallen from his square shoulders as he stepped out sturdily into the morning air. He had already forgotten the lonely man behind him, for he was thinking only of his wife and daughter. And at the same moment they were thinking of him; and in their elaborate villa overlooking the blue Mediterranean at Cannes were discussing, in the event of Mamie's marriage with Prince Rosso e Negro, the possibility of Mr. Mulrady's paying two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, the gambling debts of that unfortunate but deeply conscientious nobleman.
WHEN Alvin Mulrady re-entered his own house
he no longer noticed its loneliness. Whether the events of the last few hours had driven it from his mind, or whether his late reflections had repeopled it with his family under pleasanter auspices, it would be difficult to determine. Destitute as he was of imagination, and matter-of-fact
in his judgments, he realized his new situation as
calmly as he would have considered any business proposition. While he was decided to act upon his moral convictions purely, he was prepared to submit the facts of Slinn's claim to the usual patient and laborious investigation of his practical mind. It was the least he could do to justify the ready and almost superstitious assent he had given to Slinn's story. When he had made a few memoranda at his desk by the growing light, he again took the key of the attic, and ascended to the loft that held the tangible memories of his past life. If he was still under the influence of his reflections, it was with very different sensations that he now regarded them. Was it possible that these ashes might be warmed again, and these scattered embers rekindled ? His practical sense said No, whatever his wish might have been. A sudden chill came over him; he began to realize the terrible change that was probable, more by the impossibility of his accepting the old order of things than by his voluntarily abandoning the new. His wife and children would never submit. They would go away from this place—far away, where no reminiscence of either former wealth or former poverty could obtrude itself upon them. Mamie—his Mamie—should never go back to the cabin, since desecrated by Slinn's daughters, and take their places. No! Why should she?—because of the half sick, half crazy dreams of an old vindictive man 3 He stopped suddenly. In moodily turning over a heap of mining clothing, blankets, and Indiarubber boots, he had come upon an old pickaxe— the one he had found in the shaft, the one he had carefully preserved for a year, and then forgotten. Why had he not remembered it before? He was frightened, not only at this sudden resurrection of the proof he was seeking, but at his own fateful forgetfulness. Why had he never thought of this when Slinn was speaking? A sense of shame, as if he had voluntarily withheld it from
the wronged man, swept over him. He was turning away, when he was again startled. This time it was by a voice from below—a voice calling him—Slinn's voice. How had the crippled man got here so soon, and what did he want? He hurriedly laid aside the pick, which in his first impulse he had taken to the door of the loft with him, and descended the stairs. The old man was standing at the door of his office awaiting him. As Mulrady approached he trembled violently, and clung to the door-post for support. “I had to come over, Mulrady,” he said, in a choked voice; “I could stand it there no longer. I’ve come to beg you to forget all that I have said; to drive all thought of what passed between us last night out of your head and mine forever. I’ve come to ask you to swear with me that neither of us will ever speak of this again forever. It is not worth the happiness I have had in your friendship for the last half-year; it is not worth the agony I have suffered in its loss in the last half-hour.” Mulrady grasped his outstretched hand. “Pr'aps,” he said, gravely, “there mayn't be any use for another word, if you can answer one now. Come with me. No matter,” he added, as Slinn moved with difficulty; “I will help you.” He half supported, half lifted. the paralyzed man up the three flights of stairs, and opened the door of the loft. The pick was leaning against the wall where he had left it. “Look around, and see if you recognize anything.” The old man’s eyes fell upon the implement in a half-frightened way, and then lifted themselves interrogatively to Mulrady's face. “Do you know that pick 2" Slinn raised it in his trembling hands. think I do; and yet—” “Slinn, is it yours?” “No,” he said, hurriedly. “Then what makes you think you know it?” “It has a short handle like one I've seen.” “And it isn't yours?” “No. The handle of mine was broken and spliced. I was too poor to buy a new one.” “Then you say that this pick which I found in my shaft is not yours?” 44 Yes.” “Slinn l’” The old man passed his hand across his forehead, looked at Mulrady, and dropped his eyes. “It is not mine,” he said, simply. “That will do,” said Mulrady, gravely. “And you will not speak of this again 2" said the old man, timidly. “I promise you—not until I have some more evidence.” He kept his word, but not before he had extorted from Slinn as full a description of Masters as his imperfect memory and still more imperfect knowledge of his former neighbor could furnish. He placed this with a large sum of money, and the promise of a still larger reward, in the hands of a trustworthy agent. When this was done he resumed his old relations with Slinn, with the exception that the domestic letters of Mrs. Mulrady and Mamie were no longer a subject of comment, and their bills no longer passed through his private secretary's hands. - * Three months passed; the rainy season had ceased; the hill-sides around Mulrady's shaft were bridal-like with flowers. Indeed, there were rumors of an approaching fashionable marriage in the air, and vague hints in the Record that the presence of a distinguished capitalist might soon be required abroad. The face of that distinguished man did not, however, reflect the gayety of nature nor the anticipation of happiness; on the contrary, for the past few weeks he had appeared disturbed and anxious, and that rude tranquillity which had characterized him was wanting. People shook their heads; a few suggested speculations; all agreed on extravagance. One morning, after office hours, Slinn, who had been watching the care-worn face of his employer, suddenly rose and limped to his side. “We promised each other,” he said, in a voice trembling with emotion, “never to allude to our talk of Christmas Eve again, unless we had other proofs of what I told you then. We have none; I don’t believe we'll ever have any more; I don't care if we never do; and I break that promise now because I cannot bear to see you unhappy, and know that this is the cause.” Mulrady made a motion of deprecation, but the old man continued: “You are unhappy, Alvin Mulrady. You are unhappy because you want to give your daughter a dowry of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and you will not use the fortune that you think may be mine.” - - “Who's been talking about a dowry " asked Mulrady, with an angry flush. “Don Caesar Alvarado told my daughter.” “Then that is why he has thrown off on me since he returned,” said Mulrady, with sudden small malevolence; “just that he might unload his gossip because Mamie wouldn't have him. The old woman was right in warnin' me agin him.” The outburst was so unlike him, and so dwarfed his large though common nature with its lit. tleness, that it was easy to detect its feminine origin, although it filled Slinn with vague alarm. “Never mind him,” said the old man, hastily. “What I wanted to say now is that I abandon everything to you and yours. There are no proofs; there never will be any more than what we know, than what we have tested and found wanting. I swear to you that, except to show you that I have not lied and am not crazy, I would destroy them on their way to your hands. Keep the money, and spend it as you will. Make your daughter happy, and, through her, yourself. You have made me happy through your liberality; don't make me suffer through your privation.” “I tell you what, old man,” said Mulrady, rising to his feet, with an awkward mingling of