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And she drew back, and whispered, from the crown of the ridge I had “I will try_if my father has no been crossing, and I know that I objection.”

had been shot at by the advantage Now it was the thought of this of that star. that sent me in a most exalted yet To the inhabitants of a lawless highly disordered condition of mind country this may be little to dwell upon my homeward course. If upon; but never having been among order is heaven's first law, as some such crooked lines of action, I knew one says, the entire code must be not what to make of it.

My blood suspended when the human race is ran cold at the enormity of the in its most heavenly state. To me thing; but without further reasonthe earth was nothing; and the ing I pulled out a brace of carstars alone and the distant sub- tridges, which I ought to have done limity of the sky had any claim of before entering the hollow, and slipkindred. Leaving Bess (who was ped them into my old breechloader. very tired) to the care of Stepan, Then I found that the right hammer with a careless toss I flung my gun would not move, and began to perupon my right shoulder, and strode ceive what had happened. There forth into the darkness.

was no time to go into that quesSuddenly, as I was marching on

tion now.

With the left hammer a ridge of moorland about half a cocked, and the muzzle level and mile from the camp, I received a ready for a snap-shot—though probmost shocking whack under the ably my nerve would have failed right ear, as if somebody had struck me at a fellow-creature—I searched me with a big hockey-stick; and at every yard of the thicket, and then the same moment a flash of broad the gully which led to a little waterfire started up, and then a roar course below. The night, having from a clump of bushes just beneath only that big star to help it, was so

How I saved myself from dark and baffling that a dozen men falling is more than I can tell, for might have slipped away without I staggered very heavily, and my leaving me any the wiser; and the head went round.

only trace vouchsafed to me was a I cannot remember at all what I rustle of some bushes at the bottom did, much less what I thought in of the slope where a hedge ran this frightful amazement, though along. At this I brought my gun afterwards I tried to make it out to my shoulder, for I might just more clearly. But I must have have peppered a man down there, kept hold of my gun, although my and that would have been a cauright hand was jarred and tingling tion to him. However, on second with it, and then I must have leaped thoughts, I did not fire, for by this into the bushy hollow, without time time I was quite cool again, and enough to realise the peril

. And I the blaze might have brought

I shouted, which was a most stupid another bullet at me before I could thing to do; but I know that I pop another cartridge in. So I shouted, because one of the first marked the spot very carefully, and things that fetched me to myself hurried home with gratitude. was the sound of my own voice. And truly, when I had lighted But there was no one for me to lay both my candles, and taken a good hold of, or to let drive at with the draught of ale to refresh


perbutt of my gun. The place was all ceived that my escape had been silent and empty, and I saw a great marvellous, and I knelt down and star shining through the naked twigs thanked God for it; though I have




never been able, as many persons any man's eyes. But the tall dark are, to believe myself the main fellow, that son of Rakhan who shareholder of Divine protection. would not come up to look at me, A heavy bullet had been fired at Hafer, who was come to fetch Sûr me with accuracy undeniable. And Imar, he was the miscreant who it must have dropped me as dead as tried to shoot me. a stone, passing upward into my Sometimes I have a deep vein of poor brain, if my own good trusty discretion, though nobody else pergun had not been on my shoulder. ceives it, and I always feel myself Happily for me, the lead had struck below my proper level, when I work the lock-plate just above the trigger, it. But a man who has just escaped and failing to enter the steel of foul murder by a hair's breadth, and course, had glanced upward and may meet the like to-morrow with passed through the brim of my hat, the turn of the hair against him, cutting a groove in the crown as must-unless he is weary of his life well, but touching never a hair of -take some thought of his actions. my head. My right ear was red as And I felt by no means weary of a radish from the jar of the stock my life, but kindly and warmly in against it, and the spring and tum- love with it, when certain glances blers of the lock were jammed; but made it sparkle, like a dewdrop in I soon put them to right again. the morning. Not a word must I

What cowardly and cold blooded say to any one about that dastardly miscreant could thirst for the life of attempt, unless it were to the faitha harmless, quiet, and unpretentious ful Stepan, who might cast some fellow thus? No enemy had I, to light upon it. He had warned me; the best of my knowledge, in all the perhaps he knew that some one wide world, for the simple reason longed to do away with me. He that I never wronged, insulted, or would take it as the natural outlooked down upon anybody; and come of my intimacy at the camp; whenever I could not get on with a and now he approved of “milord's man, I let him go his way, while I suit, and urged him to put more went mine—unless he brought a steam on. Probably he knew why pole across my shins; and even those two villains had lain in wait then, if he was sorry, I forgave him. for poor Allai, and were trying by

, But one thing was very clear to my torture to make a traitor of him. mind, when I had lighted an eager And Stepan had clearly some reason pipe, and dwelled on it (sliding of his own for keeping his master along the gentle slope, where a blue in the dark about it. Moreover, he cloud routs black vapours), that was struggling with the English no Englishman ever would have language, manifestly for my benefit. crawled like that, to pot a brother With this resolution I went to bed, Englishman.

and dreamed neither of thickets, Then I thought of the sneaking nor bullets, nor bravoes, nor anyshot from the gun of Rakhan, which thing else that was nasty ; but only had killed Sûr Dadian, when he was of sweet Dariel singing the song of returning full of joy to his ancestral the stork like a nightingale, and castle; and the thing became al- coming with white wings to my most as plain to me as if the sun. window, where I caught her with light had been poured on it. Cap- a pair of reins. tain Strogue would never have done By this time Grace was in such it; a bravo he might be, but not a a state of mind about her noble Thug-if there is any meaning in stockbroker, that brother George

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might have fifty holes in his hat, brought my gun, that loyal friend, or in his head almost, without the now as fit for work as ever, and loving sister coming to brush, or both barrels loaded with duckshot. darn, or even poultice them. Of If that miscreant's gun had been this I made no grievance, but went loaded so—but those thundering so far as to be unaware of it; and villains are no sportsmen. when her conscience began to work, At once I discovered the place I showed her that I had bought a where he had crouched, and a comthimble, and she called me a heart- fortable lair he had made of it, less less molly-coddle. “Never mind. than twelve yards from the path by There are better girls than you who which he expected me.

But the can appreciate me," I answered with ground being strewn with leaves, a superior smile, and she flew into a wherever it was not covered with passion. Such is feminine jealousy. grass or tangle, no footprints could They want to love some new-comer be descried, either there or further better, yet we are not to know it, down the dingle; and I was at the or to feel the difference.

point of abandoning my search, Most heartily I wished poor when a little brown disk, like a Jackson Stoneman only half as piece of stamped leather, attracted good a bargain as he fancied he my attention. It was hanging on had made of it; for the blindness some twigs about a yard from the of a man in love is to others quite ground, in a line between the lurkridiculous. And I know that al- ing-place and the spot where I had though Grace was blessed with been when the bullet staggered me, many of the merits he had inspired and at first I took it for a large her with, no one else could think thick leaf. And a leaf it was, but her fit to hold a candle to Dariel. not of any tree or shrub that I had Yet for the world I did not wish to ever met with ; and I perceived hear any one praise my darling, un- that it was streaked with black, less it were her father or myself; and smelled very strongly of gunfor it was our business only. powder. Beyond any doubt, it

Upon my way to the sacred place had been used as a patch or wrapwhere my destiny was to be settled, ping for the leaden ball that was being much before my time, and meant to send me to another world, longing to divert my mind (which and parts of it were scorched or made my legs feel trembling), I singed by the explosion. I could turned aside to search the covert even see the impress of the iron which had so nearly proved my cap belonging to the heavy ramrod, doom in the darkness of the night by which it had been driven down gone by. If I had been as nervous the rifle-barrel, and on the other then as now, nothing could have side might be traced the convexity saved me, for the shock of the blow of the bullet which had been enmust have thrown me down, and closed. What leaf could this be? the enemy would have leaped up It was thicker and tougher than and despatched me. Even as I any English leaf I knew, as well had been, full of glorious thoughts, as different in shape and texture.

, and striding in full pride of Tearing a fibre from the cleanest strength, probably I should have part I laid it on my tongue, and lost my balance, if my left foot had was surprised by a strong and been foremost. And now in the peculiar aroma. After packing it broad daylight I was half-afraid to carefully in a letter from Tom examine the dingle. But I had Erricker which happened to be




in my pocket, I went on my way quiring glance at me.

“ Don't towards the ruins of the chapel, go," I said ; "if you only know having made up my mind to en- - but I never shall be able to quire at Kew, where I knew a noble make you know.” botanist, what tree was likely to “It would not be right for me to produce that leathery and spicy go, when my father ordered me to foliage.

come.” But this and every other thought “ Because he knows why. And of things around me and of myself he gave me leave to say


you were far from any mind of mine- know already. Oh Dariel, what is if mind at all remained to me, as I the good of talking? You know all sat upon an ancient stone begirt about it. Ever since that blessed with fern and lycopod, and sandalled moment, when I first caught sight with soft moss rosetted here and of you

of you—" there with ivy braids. All such Through the bushes and across things are soothing; and there also the water? Or was it when you seemed to be an ancient air, pro- saved Kuban's life?” She looked ceeding from the memory of holy at me very gravely, as if the time monks, who never pretended to be made all the difference. better than they were, because they “Both, both. And a thousand saw no need of it. Hereupon 1 times since. And it must go on for began to fear, as a few dead leaves

You can't understand it. Of went by me, that I should not have course you can't. But I can underappointed this cold and holy spot stand nothing else. Oh Dariel, don't for speaking of an everyday affair be hard upon me.

I know that you like love. But, without another are the wonder of the world, and word, I was strengthened greatly; that I am nothing but a very comthe very argument against me took mon fellow, not half so worthy to my part. True love is a sacred look at you as the short-eared owls thing, as the Lord Himself ordained in your ivyit; and a place of ancient reverence, “I am very fond of owls," said with the sky alone to roof it, suited Dariel ; “they are the wisest of all well for that which is the loftiest of birds. But I never saw them sit the human state.

and look at me. Perhaps the maiden had some “ Then they are fools, and I'll do thoughts a little like my own, but it for them for ever. But oh, if I better, larger, and less tumultuous. could only make you see for a I was not in a fit condition to know moment how I love you ! Don't exactly what she did ; and I even laugh at me, Dariel. Don't do pretended to know less than eyes that.” and heart brought home to me. I “I am sure that I never laughed only knew that she was there, and at all. How can you think that I for a little time I felt afraid to wish would be so wicked? But I will for any more than that.

confess, if that will be quite sufficiShe, to my delight and glory, ent, that I think—that I have been trembled, and tried to look away, as persuaded considerably, Mr Cranif she shared my fear, but begged leigh, that you—that you like me." me to let it go on a little longer. “Like you, Dariel !

What a Then as I caught her hand, and wretched word! Can you look at raised it very gently and reverently, me, and fancy it no

more than good manners compelled her to that?" But she would not be show surprise, and to cast an en- taken at any disadvantage ; though

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she turned one ear towards me a I followed her to the place that little as if ears could hold no once had been of holy rite, and agency for heart or lips or eyes. there she took my hand, and knelt

“Now listen to me for a mo- upon the plinth of the old sanctument," I said, creeping close to ary, and made the sign of the Cross that ear, which was a masterpiece upon her breast and forehead, and of shell-work, and filigree curves, spoke some words in some sweet lanand chasing ; “tell me—just say, guage, and then arose and offered me have a little kindness, say whether both hands, and I kissed her lovely you think you

could ever like me." brow, and met her loving eyes be“Yes, I will say; I will not con- dewed with tears, and said, “You ceal. I think that I could like


are mine for ever." very well; because—because

She bowed her head, as if to say, "Because what, Dariel? That I "I am well contented with it”; may do it again, and go on doing but when I drew forth that ruby it for ever.”

cross of hers which I had kept so “Because, because—it is just for long, and offered to place it on her this reason,” all the glory of her breast, as it was when I first beeyes flashed on me," because you held her, she shrank away, and her are so much afraid of me.' cheeks grew pale, and she trembled

“ Am I?In a moment she so that I felt compelled to throw was in my arms, and I had the both arms around her. 6. What is sweetest revenge ever known for it, my darling? My own love, what an imputation of cowardice. And has scared you so ?” I asked, drawshe, whether carried away by my ing the red flash from her sight. love, or by her own sweet gratitude, “ You know that I am not too looked at me with a glow of light, wise. You do not want me to be like the gates of heaven opening, wise; oh George, I have no strength and drew me into fresh ecstasy, of mind; I cannot bear to be taken and whispered, “Do you love me?” from you.”

Such a time is the date of life, "I should like to see anybody for ever to be dwelt upon ; but do it,” said I, guiding her craftily never spoken of, unless it be with to a less exalted place; “but why the only one who shared it. And I has this little thing frightened you would never have touched upon it, 80, when you must have worn it but left all those to take it home, a hundred times ?” who in their time have been so Because there is a most sad blessed ; unless I were bound to tale about it, which I will tell you let them see how much I had to go some day. But even without that upon, in my obstinacy afterwards. I must not wear it, according to Dariel loved me! Who was I, to the rules of the family; unless be rapt by such a miracle? And - unless a thing that would who of mankind should take it grieve you heartily, I hope, George from me, as long as the heavens -unless I cease to care for you. continued ?

No maiden must have this on her “Let us kneel, and thank the heart, when her heart has ceased Lord,” my darling said, with coy to be her own. Shall I tell you reproach of my impetuous trans- a little secret ? That was why I port; "here where first you saw lent it to you and never asked me, George. If He has meant us for it back again, as soon as ever for one another, He will be vexed I began to fancy-not to be too if we do not thank Him.”

sure—but to be uncertain whether

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