? !B B E It ? seem* vwm, Myst of -M-,r _r ? <??? ? ??," ?M-OM?t y?<?, ?M?A ? ? j?e,"?C.,<&< -? ..?'¡' '.(', CHA..l' ,U:a\. VI. AN EXPLOSION. TnB Mall at Mussuri is or was, at the date of my ttory, the g-reat meeting place for the society of toe <)tatton. It was the drive before-mentioned which la not free from (lunger to qu:ck riders, for it is only :t iew feet wide and not more than half a mile long- in j the level. It ia not given to everyone to gallop ,long such a road with a mountain on one side and a precipice on the other. Between nvc and six o'clock in the afternoon the IdaU is crowded. We have lad'es in janpans and p ladies on horseback, with plenty of men in curious costumes to carry the former, and some on hotseback to escort the h.tt' t. Timn and everyone ta at liberty to ;:¡dc in thR MaH. Some amble, some ranter, a few ga10i', :<.nd nearly all <n-e flirting, for what else can you do t:t Muwuri!' The .1!&mOtil'.d a,ibitlteru who had despised the )Iaj or's <t<i"e b,-iore fdn, r,.(,w in full flirtation with Mr; Ltyi,<-n..Sh" htd !l.kú:Üim with hcrthat t&orning to the mi.lun.t's, ,nrl he liav aqvisted her to tpake a chuic*: of a n> bo!1d, and had even given her to undented thtt she :tc';d c<,t mind the expense. fc.r he tori-id,-rel it A p<e<!Ut to her. And tMW xhe i' cuco tr«,=ng Mm iu t manner which, if irtatil)l' weft not so cnTamnn, and faricua love- tMking r\tb.£1" 'HJ cf the elation, would have teen profo meed -I, -c;(Ieily 4 inarked." Major DeaM', wbe 'us up ou short sick leave, pending th? i?s'? of tht' 'hr.a'ftting rumours that were ?ying it' aH <r<cli?tt* «h<.t-rnittg the native fegiment)), the ¿.il, "cd t)plr,g indirectly felatcd tc th* f"or.1\ yo'.w.g M.'<.r., dt'Tmined to put 0. stop t' hi< f<.lty bc'uff t d)!-l and ,wdkl ensued. Butthcpri.s'- \uow, who ptucivtj ihat hf:'r tdmirer had ;< lon? p?[9t. had mtd<- up her mind to 'up into it, tHid encour??cd the you? fmc <o opt-n)y that older "handf, though not, a whit h-sf intr.gante, turned ttp their 'yc" *nd v-oyid--r how she could. Mrs. Layton woUd (:oubtl¡, not have carried on euch a ft:rt,tion h<'<i "11.. been ttware of the probable conseqiie.neep 'fni dudliug h.d by no means gone out Of fashion in i'All$-UTI, l\IiH.)'ll at the club had ended in a nxetinp. and Major Deane dcter- toined to save htf YOIIILG irtend'e character, xnd Brotect the foolieh W(lmn, who waf running her 'pe&d into a nootie, for her hushajd'a sake at any Mte. And thiis som<; weeks passed. He spoke seriously to Frank Soutar, and m&de puch a point of being attentive to Mrs. Layton that She became q'titc tattered. The Major saw only cne way out of the trouble, and took it. He called on the young grass widow." who gave no quarter to her enemies, and was graciously received. I have heard of you, Major Deane," said the teauty, "from Mr. Soutar. I feel quite as if you were an old friend." I regret I can scarcely count myself a friend," replied the Major, gallantly. I wish I could; but yousee——" "WeII,Major;prayproceed." I scarcely know whether I ought. You eee, Mrs.'Layton, I a'T) peculiar in my views, and wish <ny friends to bf rM).!Iy friends. Now you are so young, Sf—pardon mu—so handsome, that I cannot dare to aspire— I beg your pardon, I'm sure—I didn't mean—— Here the Major, who was scarcely forty, sighed, and continued the convert-ation in a melancholy tone. t must save Flank, he thought; this woman would ewallow me as the whale did Jonah; btit he only J:t.3 .J "'t" ;:ory ès,y'dear leI's. Layton, but I see your tune Ie so occupied——" Uh dt:ar, no; I'm quite disengaged. My de&p !t'bjor, I shall he charmed to see you at any time." But Mr. Soutar ——" began the Major. «Never mind Frank Soutar. He is young and tilly. A good boy enough I ttllow; but my friends, Kajor Deane, must he older and steadier men." "Shall you he at the Mall to-morrow. Mrs. layton p 91 k Certainly; and you will he there, too ? Yes, I hope so. But my chances are so very )Biall in comparison-" I will keep myself disengaged on purpose to rido With you, Major. There!" I ,hall be charmed, I'm sure; nay, I am charmed ttlready," responded the diplomatic Major, as he took ttis leave. Au plaisir All right," responded the lady. "Never mmd. It's a pleasure to see you. And, Major, I will he there at nve." The assignation was made, and the gallant Major, who was a married man, laughed heartily when he thought of how he had <' cut out" his young relative, and what a lesson he would read the grass widow. But he little knew the nature with which he had to deal. Mrs. Layton cared little for any man except her husband but to have the commander of the detachment in which her husband was, or had been serving, at her feet was for her a triumph. AH her native coquetry returned, and she made up her mind to plague the Major. I And he? Could he have told, or m any way guessed the misery in otcre for him from the time when he atttempted to Mve two YOling people from tcandal, I rather think he would have let them take their own path and the consequences at the same <jjne. It is no part of our story to detect the meaM and ways whereby In a few days the astute Major found the weak side of the grass widow and befooled her. She snubbed the younger man, and apprared quite delighted at the Mccemt wTrch ehw had gained. While congratulating4lthrself, did not forget the main chitrit-t-, and she probably would have succeeded bad not h(r husband got a hint of the circumstances, &nd made his unexpected appearance on the scene. There was juaddenly .organised dance at the club that evening, j<md young Soutar, whose name h&d been mentioned pf?ttyireely in connection withMrt. Layton, ?Nis madly jealous of the "widow.?He !tadper(!<mved his friend's tactics, and had reeented the literforence. --He had told the My, and her pride had beea Mvwpeiy wounded. High wordt had p.a88cd.i}rhe elder ccicer had been obliged to con. $eM hiw well-meant but oomewh&t clumsy endeavour <? save appearance which had only resulted iA. ,1. <
;) Executed at" the Chronicle Office, Penarth.
Printing of every Description
X was at the dance that evening that Layton apptared tt civitat costtfne and mat Soutar at He supper table. He had learnt enough to make hint angry, and tha other ]Lad had enough champagne to make him quaireloome. We can, perhaps, ima- <pn< thtt meeting. Thw nrst supper had passed over. The MM* had gone home, and at an early hou* of the m<rming the men sat down to their real supper, and a very noisy one it was. The young non-commissioned officer bided his time. He had watched Soutar and his wife, and had taxed her with her vilisconduct. Soutar was too tipsy to be discreet, and vHan Airing supper he was boasting ofl his innuence in a certain quarter, Layton turned, and coolly and deliberately gave him tne lie direct. "What did you aay?" cried Soutar, angrily rising. I say that's a lie," repeated the injured hus- band. No more was needed. Soutar sprang at his enemy, aa he deemed him, and an unseemly struggle would have taken place had not both the men been held back by main force. The Major, who was present, was obliged to order both combatants under arrest, but they heeded him not. Soutar turned upon him violently, and a terrible uproar ensued. v,, The principals in the quarrel wereiwith dimculty kept apart; and at length, losing all command over himself, Layton rushed suddenly forward and struck his antagonist ajjheavy blow. Take that, you lying scoundrel! he cric<L It will teach you to traduce men's wives again. My name is Layton. I am that lady's husband." A dread silence fell upon all who heard these worda and witnessed the anair. Not a sound was heard as Soutar, completely sobered, by the Mow, wiped his ftce, and with a smile of savage satisfaction, replied: Very well, Sergeant Layton. I know you now. You will consider yourself under arrest. I call upon you all here to bear witness he has struck his superior oSicer, and he will be tried by court- martial. You know the result most probably." Layton turned pale aa death as he noted the vin- dictive glance'that accompanied this speech. The whole truth was now disclosed. Mrs. Layton was after all only the wife of a quartermaster.sergeant, and her future at Mussuri was quite untenable. The circumstances were, however, not known generally until the following morning, and then the occurrence of the evening before was the talk of the whole station. How had the husband obtained the admittance to the club ? How was it possible that Layton had left his CJrps and come up unannounced and unexpected to Mussuri just at that time ? No one could answer these questions, and yet it is certain that he had received acme infonMtion which led to. his audden ttppeMMce. What would Mrs. Ltyton do P? Her name was now bandied about in a most unceremonioua way, and being only a non commissioned omcer's wife, of courae her offence was dreadful. She had also thrust herself into a situation and endeavoured to gain a position amongst her betters, and even if, as people said, her husband had been lately advanced [ to commissioned rank as quartermaster, he had not been gazetted. Of course ladies could not aeaociate with Mrs. Layton. Her character was torn to shreds before she left Muasun. Those who had not fancied her at any time were now, of course,* exceedingly bitter, and even the men-the civilians up there-no longer cared to meet her. Major Deane was the only person who showed her any kindness; but Mrs. Layton, believing he had been the cause of all the scandal, spumed him, and said aome very indignant tmd cruel things. You have ruined my life amongst you. If you had not interfered with me I might have been, at any rate, spared the humiliation I am now suffering from. Go-I don't want to see you again." But hear me for your husband's sake, if not for your own, for your future is clouded at present." Yes, and you have clouded it. Leave me, please, Major Deane. I can hate pretty well, and it is to you I owe my humiliation. I am going to join my husband, but depend upon it, if ever I can revenge myself upon you, I will." Nonsense," was the somewhat stem reply. "You had better join your husband at Sealkote as soon as you can. He will be tried by court-martial, but no doubt under the circumstances will be acquitted or let off easily. Let me help you." I tell you I hate and detest you, and if I were starving, which thank goodness 1 am not, or in want of money, I would not accept a rupee from you or yours. Why couldn't you leave me alone F I I acted for the best. I wished to save that silly I Soutar from making a fool of himself and you. I am pledged to look after him, and I have only carried out my trust. You seem to forget that you are married, and he is a boy." "I forget nothing-I never sha<I, and you shall some day leam that I can hate. My husband is quite assured, and you know that no barm evercame from my nirtation. Every woman nirts here. Why should I have been alone humiliated ? Leave this house if you please, or I will write to your wife and tell her how yoMhave sought me. That would be a sweet revenge." The Major started. He had certainly committed himself a little In appearance, but all with the best intentions. It is those who act with the best inten- tions, without considering whether their interference is necessir 'v or not, who get into scrapea. "Yp c-f a bad, wicked woman, I am afraid," he answered Æly, and I wash my hands of yon." Your. hands are not' eo clean after all," she re- torted. \Ve shall yet meet, and I will pay my debt if I die to it." All tht j H in her nature appeared to have been roused, a.!fd she atood Bushed and angry before the abashe < cer like a beautiful fairy. Opening the door s* c motioned to the well-mining but over* zealous ? 'r?tp leave the house. By (;<ilf'( 'r meet, of the residents were thinking of retum'n t" he plains. Tbw season has had its victims.' ;-iay and passion. More than one duel had been fcu'rht, and one of the combatants had befn killed. r:Jr:'};cments were also well represented in the listofc's. Twoladicawho hadbeenspeci&My angry "s.h?t Mrs. Layton, as she calls herself, had 1 '!r husbands, and Soutar congratulated himsel n he was summoned to Calcutta aa a witness me action, that he had not; ?:gured as a princip mother. He had learnt his lesson. hiea", s ntence had been pronounced upon Laytoi however, had been permitted to withh in quarters pending the assembling of the co' Hal. Sheh&d the candour to confeM her abh rhe bmineM. and told'him all the truths
-a'I. -1 -v -u. RUe.. saflbr many'days.' TEe eviaence was conc'fusive. The soldier had struck his superior oSicer. The penalty in such cases was DEATH! <J \P The Court had no choice but to nnd the extreme penalty, but they added a rider to the nnding, and the whole of the proceedings were forwarded to the Governor-General. The forwarding and considera- tion of the documents, with the return of the opinion connrming or quashing the sentence, occupied a long time,, and the prisoner was still detained. His wife and he was quite reconciled, and he was fully pre- pared for his fate. Soutar, who had repented, had explained all the circumstances to the prisoner, and he had received his excuses. At length the sentences arrived, and with It came a memorandum and the approval of the execution of a native officer who had been found guilty of mutinous language and inciting the native infantry to revolt, with a view to promote rebellion against the State, and to subvert the British Government. The finding of the Court in both cases had been guilty, and the sentences had been approved and connrmed. The native was to be blown from a gun after the "usual good character" of the prisoner had been taken into consideration. The Euro- pean was ordered to be shot, and the young omcera cashiered for their respective shares in the business at Mussuri. Of the three people implicated the native seemed the least aSected. The sentence upon the non-com" missioned omcer was felt to be harsh, but the cir- cumstances were peculiar. The whole Indian army were mutinous, or verging on mutiny, and an example was called for. t"hort shift was given the prisoners. There was much sympathy evoked for poor Mrs. Layton, on the eve of her confinement too, and Lieutenant Soutar was scarcely pitied. But there was a surprise for aN in etore, yet sympathy gave way to Indignation and diegust, when, on the night before the executtm was to take place, the disgraced omcer was observed in I earnest conversation with the sergeant's wife. That they were planning something was supposed. Next morning the garrison was startled by the report that the lieutenant and the woman had ram away together. At least no trace could be found of either, and circumstances pointed to the fact. Such gross indecency was everywhere condemned. But it was certain that Mrs. Layton had gone. At half-past four p.m. the rumbling of the gunx On to the parade-ground broke the silence of the place, and the spectators assembled to see the execu- tion which ended in a tragedy totally unexpected ty all, and worked a wonderful change In public opinion in the garrison. 4. r r CHAPTER VII. tLOwN AWAY. <* TM Court sentences him to suffer death by being blown away from the muzzle of a cannon! Such was the grim sentence now about to be carried into execution and crowds of people, both Europeans and nattves, were hurrying into the parade-ground to see the ghastly spectacle. The man deserved his fate, no doubt. In the circum- stances his language and bearing had been most In- jurious, and calculated to provoke mutiny already rearing Its head. Their designs, had they been carried out, would have led to a wholesale massacre of the Europeans in the station, and an example must be made. Five o'clock was the hour named for the execu- tion, and the sentence was ordered to be carried out in the presence of the troops In the garrison. Before that time all the men had been marched up, and had occupied the positions assigned to them, forming three sidea of a square, of which the left and right were occupied by the native corps. Opposite these dusky soldiers was a stem array of artillery, the guns loaded, and ready for action with the gunner standing by them. prepared, at the word of command, to nre on the Sepoys had they shown the least inclination to misbehave themselves or become unruly. The guns and gunners were of course of the Royal Artillery. Some English troops were also drawn up, and the gun 'rom which the prisoner was to be blown waw placed facing the fourth side of the square, In front of the open space. All was silent. Not a sound was' heard from the ranks as the preparations were made, and even the words of command were given in at subdued tone, as if for fear of disturbing the silence which had fallen upon the garrison. It was curious to watch the faces of those present, and had any of the spectators examined the coun- tenances of the Europeans and natives, he would have' distinguished a vast difference in expression. A mere. handful of English soldiers of the line, with some- eight or ten guns and artillerymen, were quite suiH- cient to keep in check the multitude of natives and the two strong Sepoy regiments. Fear and resolution were the two expressions perceptible-terror on the- side of the natives, and stem determination on the part of the Europeans to punish the offenders. An eye-witness of this impressive ceremony writes: "Amidst all the assembted thousands a murmur could not even be hfard; a whisper would almost have broken the stillness. The oSicers rode along" the lines resolved and silent. So noiseless was th ir motion that even the champ of their horses' bits and. the clank of their sabres tarred upon the ear." Five o'clock struck-slowly and with a knelling sound-as the oiEcer in command of the troops, Colonel Deane, rode up in front of the guns. He looked wan and anxious, and no wonder. An a.Seo- ting interview had taken place the day before be- tween him and Mrs. Layton, in which she had bogged hard for her husband's life. But the commander could do nothing. The sentence had been conSnn?d. ?Notwithstanding the aggressive circumstancea anA the provocation indirectly given, the aseault had beeie committed suddenly The prisoner had quitted the tttation without leave, had gone up to the hiUa, and committed a most eerioua offence. There was no excuse in a military point of view, for the prisoner the colonel professed, as he felt, the gr. ateet sym- pathy, and endeavoured to console the young wif? excusing all her folly and vanttv in her now reat sorrow and anxiety. But he had defined to interfere, and she had called down upon him the veneanoe of heaven, and ewom to be revenged if it cost hef her life. Colonel Dpane was not a man to be frightened at onadowe, or intimidated by threat- Hut he was il! at ease; and when he understood that Mrs. J,ayton had secretly left the station with the disgraced olD r.:er" his indignation was extreme. But he determined to* epare the feelings of the husband. No one wae admitted to the ceU in which the condemned maa lay, and he fortunately remained in ignorance of the eircMMtaaces. ? When the colonel httd 4ken hia place in front of