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BURIED ALIVE.

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BURIED ALIVE. Br ANNIE THOMAS (MM. Pwnxnt Ce CHAPTEI1 va I ESCAPE. Ignominiously I creep in at the window of the stil ly, for tw oppose my streiigtli to Arthur's would l. f weakest, feeblest folly, and so I surrender I' fiii thoughts of escape for this night. He marches me along upstairs, and to my locked ci'usiber-iloor. which he has presently to summon j in wson to open, 1 standing silently by all the time, I looking and feeling guilty of all sorts of things. You 're a nice hand to look after her," he grum- bles, reproachfully, to Dawson. who spitefully re Sorts and between them they make such a noise i am in agony ltst Mr. Hesslington should ( :1 I' it. ;i ml come and join the family group. If it hadn't been for me she would have given I; the slip," my cousin mutters. Hut the door is appily opened at last, and 1 glide into my room, and h"j>e that I have got rid of him till the morrow. Not at all. With the coarse indelicacy that is part ol his character, lie holds the door open, and demands that I give him a kiss. A kiss, for me to say nothing about it, Florence. You may as well, without any fuss. for vou know I you re to he my wife." W My maid stands watching this little scene with a lIasty, sneering smile. llow she will mock me to- morrow in the kitchen to the other servants! Really, i may as well be murdered by her without delay, as make strenuous exertions to prolong a life which she lias the power to make so intensely miserable. 1 leel that, detestable as Arthur is in every other respect, tt least lie is not in the plot with his father and this servant to kill me, in order that they may enjoy my inheritance. It is to his interest that I should live, and come into my own, and share it with him. For dear life's sake 1 will oppose trickery to trickery, and trade upon his cupidity. Arthur, if you care a bit for me, or for what I may bring you," I cry, faintly, "make that woman how you her note-book, in which she is promised I marriage if I die-if she kills ite-before I come ol age." She is the maddest, wickedest young woman I ever come across," Dawson says, rapidly. "The note-book," Arthur says, stretching out his hand. "I've not got one, sir that's her madness." I read it to-niglit. and that's why I tried to run away 1 cry. "The note-book," Arthur repeats; and she is storming out that she hasn't one," and that I'm mad or dreaming," when he suddenly takes the law into his own hands, pushes her into the room with me, locks the door again, and shouts through the key-hole that he is going to look in her room for the note-book which she has forgotten. Then the woman becomes like a wild beast, and if I were not young, and strong, and agile as a cat, 1 know that she would spring upon me and make an enll of me. As it is, site conies up close to iiie, but she does not touch me; I see her lingers digging themselves into the palms of her hands, and those moving about with the restless, stfyng inclination they have to clutch at and IfestroyT IlidoiYly weapon of defence I have is an ivory-handled clothes-brush, which I am quick enough to catch up from a table near nie. So we stand for a few minutes, I with my back against the wall, she close opposite, breathing hard, and listening—listening intently for the first sound of Artliur's return. Minutes elapse, and presently I hear the welcome sound of the other servants moving about and un- barring doors and windows. I try to make my way to lle hell, but she sees iiiy and frustrates it. "1\0, Miss Rabbingtou," she says, coolly, "you're "of going to create an alarm and have things your own way you'll wait here alone with me till the one you're trying to make your bully comes back, tlieii we shall see ho.v things are." 1 revolve all kinds of possibilities in my disor- dered mind. Supposing Arthur finds the con- demnatory note-book ? Can I expect or wish him to do anything to criminate his father? Bad as I be- lieve the young man to be, and repulsive as I know to be, I do not think he is an unnatural son liven if he is inclined to deliver up this evil woman for her murderous intention, lie will be held back from doing so by the consideration that his father is involved with her. No; 1 shall never get justice, mercy, or protection from one of them, unless I Arthur heavily—so heavily that I shall be kft poor indeed. lie conies back at last. We hear him coming along slowly from quite the other end of the pas- sage, where Dawson's room is situated, and some- thing in the lagging, uncertain footsteps tells a tale of dire perplexity and uncertainty. In another minute he unlocks the door and conies in. Look here, Dawson," he says, showing her the note-book, here's your book, and as you say there is nothing in i:. you -()Ii't iiiiiid my keeping it for you; it will he s.'iter with llIe. Now, Florence, come down to the study with me; and you, Dawson, go about your business." Which is to wait on Miss Babbington, and take orders from 110 one but your pa she says, insolently. Y Oll'l! take one order from me to-day, for a change." lie says, in his soft, cruel voice; -get yourseK and all your belongings out of this house in the course of the next hour. You shall have the luggage-cart to take you to the station and there you can take a ticket To where ? To the devil, if you like lie says, with a sud- dell relapse jllto fury. Come, woman, attend to what I say; when my father knows that I have our note book, he will be glt. i enough to see you go. and won't attempt to interiere on your behalf. itot L lil)e of my writing in the book," she snys, struggling to make a stand aga i u:, this will, which has grown strangely strong suddenly. But I have several 'lines of your writing, you fo 1 he says, ferociously. "'I have the letter you wi de tome in London, when Lady Frances oegan !o get. so ill; you plead about your own amiability in giving her hairs of the dog that had bitten her. Where would your neck be if I handed that letter to her son ? I*•:i)it. and overcome by these horrors which arj b'ing revealed to me, X stagger to a sof;i, Arthur, 1 think, begins to fe:tr that I may take Death lor iny bridegroom instead of him. •• Come, Florence, hesays,more killdly, "COIIIC down with me, and you shall have some hot tea. while we talk over matters; you. shall be relieved of this waiting- maid of yours from this time." I hale Ililn, hut I am less afraid of him than I am of Dawson—my life, at kHSi, is in his ha.ids. >o 1 follow him, unwillingly enough, but still I fol- iiiiii to the study, and as soon as we are there in* comes to the point with a vengeance. il Look here," he savs, I'm not going to discuss anything with you discussion would be useless, and we should only leai-e off exactly where we he- gan but you and I must come to an understanding j u at once. Your life isn't pleasant liere, is it' I moan out, No." be tractable and good, Florence, and have me to take care of you you had better. lor your own sake, marry me at once. My father tll, won t offer any opposition when he knows that— i've had it in my power to send Dawson away. I am not a bad fellow, and I'll be an indulgent mis- • band-and, let nie tell you, you'll never have the chance of doing better." 1 it. is strange wooing. He offers me my life at the sacrifice of lave and liberty, and all that makes life worth having. Biit what am I to do ? I am in the tails. Can't you be a friend and brother to me ? j Won't you win my gratitude by saving me from— "rom my enemies, without putting a price on your services? 1 sob out; and he replies— "No, I can't and won't; you hold your tongue about what you think you've found out, and say you're ready to marry me at once, and your life shall be as free and happy a life as a girl can lead but hesitate, or try to trade on what you read in Dawson's note-book, and I'll leave you to your fate, whatever it may be." You won't be so cruel, so cowardly, so-? "Yes, I will," he cries, roughly; if you prefer being in my father's power to being in mine, in it you shall be entirely don't think you'll be able t.) escape by aid of any of the servants. They all knew that if you run a way from your guardian, and trump up a story against him, that yon will forfeit your properly, and that there will be nothing to be got iroiii you (.iii pay thelll hetter thall you call, for !.e has the right of using your income till you come age. and how can he spend it better than in pny- i.g his servants to guard YOIl properly Don't be t!ie tijo gods ;Lii,l tuink yourself lucky to get a fellow for your hus- band who has had the prettiest women in London wiiii about him." Let me go to my own room now, and I'll give you my answer to-morrow," I say, feebly, and as i turn to leave the room, I face Mr. Hesslington, who is leaning against the doorpost listening to us. "What do you iiietti by turning my house into i a Pandemonium in this way:" he asks, with an oath, glowering at me, and Arthur answers for me— "Dawson has been frightening her out of her wits that woman is imbued w:th too strong a taste for melodrama, sir, and if she does look out she'll be running other people's necks into a lioose but it's aU right now, and Florence is going to transfer he: telf from your guardianship to mine." "My darling daughter: "the vile old hypocrite embracing lIIe; and then Arthur takes my cuid. trembling hand and kisses it, and my brain reels, and I am blessedly unconscious for.a long, long time. When I do recover, I find myself on a sofa, in the large drawing-room, Mr. Hesslington gazing at me witti savagely-joyful exultation, and Arthur in un- feigned alarm. But standing by me is the doctor- be same one who was called in to see Lady Frances when it was too late. The young lady will re- cover," he says, turning to my guardian (?). I congratulate you on this it would have been too terrible to have had another tragedy in your house." "Perhaps you had better leave her? says Mr. Hesslington and as I hear these words, I give the doctor such a look of appeal as makes aim bend down and say- "What is it:" They are watching every movement. 1 oare not form one of the words I am burning to speak with my lips. How shall I make him understand that I am in durance vile, and danger? Once more my piteous eyes seek his face, my poor eyes that have shed so many tears lately the eyes that my dear mother was wont to kiss, and de- clare to be "the sweetest eyes ever seen." At any rate, they must be eloquent to-day, for the doctor says— Before I prescribe for this young lady, I must see her and question her alone. lou gentlemen may go, but, of course, the women-servants may re- if you please." Satisfied with this-for they are one and all his creatures—Mr. Hesslington goes away, followed by l Arthur, who, however, pleases to account for his anxiety by explaining to the doctor that he stands in the position of future husband to me. Ugh 1 I shall soon be able to express my loathing for billl I As soon as they are out of the room, the doctor benns over me and says in so low a voice that even I can scarcely hear him, You want help." Kapidly, in French, I tell him that I am in Iwri1 of my life, give hini my aunts'address, and entre at Itimto telegraph for them. lie nods assent, the.i says, cheerily— We shall have you all right in a few days, Miss Babbington but in the meantime, if you p!ea-> no excitement or agitation of any sort; good, pia);1 living, and absolute rest Willi that he goes, and I hear him repeating his instrticrio.is to Arthur outside the door, and Arthur, in I)i, of losing iiie, and the l'oi-tittic I sent, sees that they are curried out to the ve.y letter." for that day. and nearly the whole of the next, I have immunity from trouble and worry. Arthur t it' takes extraordinary precautions about me. lie in- sists on the cook, who prepares my meals, and his father who orders them, tasting a portion of every- iiiiiis I ett. But, in spite of all his solicitude, a little dainty dish is brought up to nie when he is; out of the way. { Hitherto he had accompanied the tray when it ha* been brought to iiie, but this time the disa of j delicately prepared sweetbreads comes unescorted, and 1 remember suddenly that during these two days I have eaten nothing without his assuring ilLJ that his father itas just been enjoying a portion »»r* the same. He evidently either distrusts my viand's himself, or fears that I may do so. There is kiml- lIess in this. But he does not accompany the sweet- breads, and, odd as it may appear, I miss him, and can hardly bring myself to taste jily dainty dinner. They are very white and soft, and are covered with a thick white sauce. The servant may go, I tell her, I would rather dine alone. As soon as I am alone, I put the dish down, and indicate to a lazy cat who is sleeping on the win- dow-sill in the un, that" she is scrved." After a i few preliminary sniffs at the dish, and cautious promenades around it, she banishes doubt, and set- tIes to her pleasing task with a loud purr. She is not a hungry or half-starved cat, but she is a healthy animal, with a good appetite. She eats the whole of my sweetbreads, and I put the empty dish back: on the table, and prepare to go to sleep, in order to avoid inquiries as to how I enjoyed them. I have scarcely placed myself comfortably on the sofa, when I hear the unusual sound of carriage wheels t utside, and leaping to the window, I see my dear old aunts descending from the doctor's brougham. With a cry of joy I greet them, and make them look up, and as I am rushing to the door to go and iiieet them, and fling myself upon their loving protection, the cat staggers across my path, gives utterance to the most appalling yell that even a cat ever uttered, and then fall stiff and stark, dead at my side. At the same moment my aunts came in, I heated, frightened, full of tender fear for me, and joy at beholding me at last—with Mr. Hesslington politely escorting them. I fling my arms round their necks, I cling to them with such a frantic force that I nearly break them in two. and then I say: "Look at the cat; it died as you came to the door. I gave it my dinller-I gave it what was brought for me to eat! He," and here I wave my denouncing hands towards Mr. flesliiigton, "Avtnts ilie to I (lie or disappear' before I'm twenty-one! I've seen it in his own handwriting Hush, hush, my darling! Hush, hush, my darl- ing they say, half reproachingly, but they hold me very tight, and I know they won't give me up again. There is a very terrible scene presently. Arthur comes in from his walk, and reviles his father with having marred liis (Artlitir's) iiilrria-e. And the cook, whose succulent little dish has killed the cat, comes up an 1 swears I- that master gave her the powder to put with the sweetbreads and the sauce, and told her that it was a narcotic ordered by the doctor for Miss Babbington." I am a reed shaken by the wind between them all. But I cling to my aunts and beg them to decide, I don't want to be the means of bringing aboui the fate Mr. Hesslington so richly deserves, because he is my mother's brother after all. And now that I am saved from the possibility of having a maniage with Arthur thrust upon me, I don't loath hini quite as much as I did. But lam feverishly anxious to get away—to get away with the dear old aunts, who will let mo wiite and tell Frank Wilton that his mother was not the voluntary and habitual drunkard lie has been led to believe her. So, as the servants are willing enough to do my bidding now, in an hour or two my boxes are packed and corded, alli1 I am ready to start. Mr. Hesslington does not come to see me off and wish me good-bye and God-speed; he spares me that miserable bit of hypocrisy. But Arthur lingers about me to the last, pouting his lips out, and declaring it-to be entirely beyond his compre- hension that I should remain indifferent to liiiii. when "a lot of the prettiest women in London are wild about him." Poor Arthur I resign him to my lovelier rivals without a pang. To be continued.\

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