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POET'S CORNER.

HER VENGEANCE

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HER VENGEANCE E. R. PUNSHON. Author of "The Choice,'? "The Spin of the Coin," etc., etc. CHAPTER XIX.-TOO LUCKY BY HALF. Signing to his uncle to follow him, and saying IOplething tv Mr Bobbins about getting a little fresh air after their excellent supper, Hugh rose from the table, and went out on the ver- andah that ran nearly the whole length of the front of the hotel. The man Hugh had noticed was sitting, with his hands in his pockets, Pond his hat pulled over his nose, apparently taking no notice of anything whatever, though it might have been observed that he seemed to stir slightly as Hugh appeared. It happened that he was sitting with an empty chair on each side of him, and Hugh, motioning to his uncle to take one, himself sat down on the other, so that they had the stranger between them. Then Hugh touched him on the shoulder. "I beg your pardon," he said, "but I think we have met before The man started, looked quickly from one to the other, and sprang to his feet as if in- clined to make a bolt for it. But Hugh caught him quickly by the arm, and the stranger sub- mitted with a meekness that again might have seemed just the least trifle suspicious. "So it is you, is it?" he said, and then he began to laugh. "It is," answered Hugh, "and I am pleased to observe that this time you are white." "Ah, yes," said the man. laughing again, I made a dandy nigger, didn't I?" "And you have the impudence-" began Mr. Hethenngton in a rage, wae. Hugh checked him with a gesture. "We must not begin with quarrelling." he said. "though of course our friend will under- stand—by-the-bye, may I ask your name?" "John Dodd," the man answered readily, "and I am sure I don't want to quarrel. Why should I ? I only did what I was paid for, and if you had hired me first I would have done as much for you-more, perhaps, for you might not have been so mean as old skinflint yonder. Say, now. what was that paper we went to such deal of trouble to get nold of?" "You do not know?" said Mr. Hetherington ouickly "Only that it was some trade secret; so val- -able old Noah won't trust any of his own people to be present while he experiments," answered Dodd "That is what I am here for, to meet a couple of strange niggers he is going to use as assistants instead of any of those who have worked for him before." Mr Dodd paused to expectorate with an expression of deep disgust. "That is the kind of man old Noah is," he declared. "I see," said Hugh, and looked hesitatingly I at his uncle. But Mr. Hetherington had no scruples over bribery, and broke out at once. "Look here, do you want to earn 10,000 dol- -s?" "Does a nigger like melon, or a white man whisky?" retorted Dodd; "just 6how me the ehanoe, that is all "Ten thousand dollars is to be earned," said Mr Hetherington, "by the recovery of a cer- tain paper." "That is straight talk. and I like straight talk," said Dodd, rising to his feet; "but we can't talk about it here. See that drusr store? Be outside there in half an hour, and when you eee me, follow me, and we will get out on the prairie where we can talk—that is, if you mean biz." He nodded, and walked away quickly Mr. Hetherington and Hugh sat looking after him, anel as they watched him walking away they saw pass that strange and ominous man whom the hotel keeper had described as Editor Keene. He looked at them carelessly, and Mr. Hether- ington turned his head away with a shiver. "That fellow has eyes like a dead man's, he said "when I see him I feel as if I had just touched a corpse." "As to this Dodd," said Hugh, who had been thinking deeply, "shall we keep the appoint- ment he has made?" "Why, of course," cried Mr. Hetherington. "What! lose just a splendid chance of enlist- ing a man like that? Why it is a piece of most. magnificent luck meeting with him." "Too lucky by half," said Hugh; "when- ever we are in doubf what to do next, some unexpected stroke of luck happens to guide us on our way, it gives me the strangest feeling. 88 if some unseen hand were leading us to tome destination we have no idea of. I wish we had not brought Delia with us." "Nonsense," said Mr. Hetherington in his Jrobust way, "I am not afraid, if you are. As I' for Delia, I want to talk to you about her; do you really want to marry Ler, or is it just the money?" "It is not the money," Hugh answered, flush- ing; "I do not think that either Delia or I care about the money." "You do, of course, but Delia docs not; 6he hardly understands the importance of money." Baid Mr Hetherington in grave and rather re- gretful tones, "if I had forbidden your en- gagement, she would have been only the more set upon it I decided to risk giving my con- sent in the hope of her tiring of you. She does not seem to have done that," he added thoughtfully, "but what I did not anticipate is- that you appear to be getting tired of her first." "I am not "tired of her," said Hugh, quickly and uncomfortably. "Do you want to marry her?" asked Mr. Hetherington. "No," said Hugh frankly "I wish I knew what you were up to," said lklx. Hetherington, looking at him with almost « touch of awe; "you have something up your rieeve. but what it is I can't quite see. And to think I once thought you were a quiet, slow, honest, trustworthy sort of chap who would make an admirable bead cashier for me. Lord! what an escape I have had." "Have you?" said Hugh, wondering whether to regard himself as complimented or insult- pd- f'But I am going to speak to you candidly," said Mr. Hetherington, "and I can tell you, in the first place, that if you don't want to marry Delia you have been going the very worst | way to work. If you had made violent love to her. she would very likely have quarrelled with ) you by now. As it is, you have only puzzled and f piqued her by your attitude of indifference. Unless you change your method or she does r"et bored with you, or something else happens, she will be getting seriously and earnestly in love with you. And if ever Delia fails really in will be getting seriously and earnestly in love with you. And if ever Delia. fails really in love with any one. it will be a serious matter. matter. Delia flings all her energies into her passions, and while hitherto that has shown it- self chiefly in exaggerated tempers and wilful- ness, I have always felt that if she did fall in lovo with any one before I could get her in- terested in more sensible things, such as money- making and winning a high position in the world, that there would be the mischief to pay So I just give you warning that if you are not careful, Delia, in olace of the fancy for you she has at present, will be getting a passion for you." "Ugh," said Hugh, shivering. "I mean—I wish you wouldn't talk like that, uncle. It's— it's—disconcerting, by Jove "I am warning you," said his uncle gravely. "I have been watching- you and Delia pretty closely, and I don't believe you care two pins for her, and I believe her first fancy for you that I thought would die out quite quickly is strengthening into something deep. If you are thinking of any other woman—as I have thought sometimes—you had better not let Delia guess it. She would poison her, you know "By Jove!" said Hugh, "I do believe she would," and as he spoke he thought of Eira. "By Jove!" said Hugh, "I do believe she would," and as he spoke he thought of Eira. and her pale face and her deep and searching eyes, and it struck home to him with a con- viction of absolute certainty that what his uncle said was true. If Delia guessed, there was in her wild and unrestrained nature all the elements of a great tragedy. "So think about what I have said, Hugh," continued his uncle. "I wanted you to come with us because I thought the more Delia saw of you the sooner the quarrel would come. But that has been a failure. Sometimes," added Mr. Hetherington, with a deep sigh, "I almost wish I were a. poor man—money brings with it many troubles." "It does indeed," said Hugh, "and it strikes me that ma.y be forcibly brought home to us very soon. Had we not better go in and see if Delia. has come downstairs yet" "Don't mention this man. Dod, to her," said Mr Hetherington quickly; "it may be advisable to leave her here if we have to go to see Noah Siddle; and if she knows where we have gone she may insist on following us." Hugh nodded, thinking this precaution wise, and they went back .into the drawing-room, where they found Delia sitting amazed in her chair, on her countenance an expression of the most absolute astonishment; while over her hair and down her face trickled milk from a jug that had apparently just been emptied over her head. Opposite to her sat Mr Tom Wa- ters, continuing his meal, his face as grave and composed as previously, but with a certain red- ness about one ear which suggested much to Hugh. As they entered, Delia lifted her hand— but very slowly, and as no longer quite certain that this hand was still her own or that she knew what to do with it—and wiped away some of the milk that had trickled into her eyes. "Good lord! what's this?" cried Mr Hether- ington. "Oh, pa!" said Delia feebly, and the look of amazed bewilderment that she wore seemed even to increase in intensity. It was Evident there was no longer anything in the whole uni- verse of which she was now quite certain. But Mr. Waters continued his meal with re- lish and solemnity. "Will you kindly explain?" said Hugh, speak- ing to him. Waters recognised the threat in the coldly polite tones that Hugh used, and his own hand fell at once, as though by accident, on the pocket in which he carried a pistol. "The young lady and I have been getting ac- quainted." he said. "But-" bcgan Hugh. I "Be quiet, Hugh," said Delia, wiping her face and blinking her eyes. "I insist began Mr Hetherington in loud tones "Papa," said Delia, "shut up!" "It was only a little bargain between me and the young lady," said Waters amiably, tak- ing his hand away from his pistol, as he began to understand that neither of the two En- glishmen was armed. "She came down and asked me where you were, and I said I didn't know. She told me to go and hunt you up. and I said I was otherwise occupied. She said what she thought of me, and I said nothing at all, which I know was mean, and I apologise for it, being well aware nothing could have been more calculated to make any female woman real mad. So she up and caught me a clip on the ear, and I offered to bet that if she did that again, I would empty the milk jug over her head. She did it again, and I won my bet, and now we are acquainted we shall be real friends, I hope." "Shall we, brute?" cried Delia, with a sud- den spasm of rage, and seizing the ooffee pot she hurled it clear at his head. But Mr. Waters had a quick eye, and dodged: and before Delia knew that her own attack had failed, he had snatched up a dish of syrup and clapped it on top of her head. "We are getting real intimate, we arc," he said genially, resuming his seat. Delia jumped up, hesitated, looked round her with a wild a.ir. and then burst into tears and rushed out of the room. < "Your daughter, sir?" asked Mr Waters of Mr. Hetherington; "I admire her spirit, and am thankful she don't wear rings," and he felt, his ear thoughtfully, the one whose colour seem- ed lately to have increased in tone. "I'll swear she is mad," gasped Hugh; "I'll swear she is." "Not at all," said Waters indignantly, "she is simply a. fine, high-spirited young lady, and < clear grit all through, and if you dare say a word against her, just come out on the vacant lot behind this hotel, and I'll chew you up in about two mintes, so there won't be enough of you left to sweep the sidewalk with." As Hugh was about twica Mr. Waters' weight this was a sufficiently vaJourous offer; the 1 more so as. since Water had assured himself that the others were not armed, he had not 1 given the least hint of his own possession of a < loaded pistol in his pocket. But Hugh, after staing at him for a moment in sheer surprise, could not repress a laugh < "Confound your cheek," he cried "are you j pretending to be her champion, when you have t just been deluging her with milk and treacle?" 1 "That was only our little way of making friends," said Waters calmly; "though I am ] glad that coffee-pot wasted its sweetness on the desert air over against the wall of the room. Is 1 the young lady often like this?" Hugh hesitated, and Mr. Waters sighed deep- I ly- f "I was hoping it was a privilege reserved for 1 me," he said disapointedly; "may I ask if she f has ever hove a coffee-pot at you. sir?" I "Why, no," admitted Hugh, "never" a "Then I am still one ahead of you in her i friendship, sir." said Mr. Waters, brightening up, "and I shall make a point of endeavouring « to see her again. I never met a lady who im- pressed me more favourably on first acquaint- ance," he added, feeling his ear again. 1 Hugh looked a) Mr. Hetherington, and shrug- 1 ged his shoulders helplessly, and they returned t to the verandah. "I am sure she is mad," declared Hugh; "no sane woman could behave like that in a. t public hotel." "Much she cares about it being public," re- torted Mr. Hetherington. "I remember once' i she knocked a man's top hat down over his faco l because he had been making eyes at her, and that was on the Brighton pier. I had better go t up and see if she is all right." 1 He went upstairs acordinply, but found De- 8 lia's door locked, and could get no answer when he knocked. Certain sounds of splashing suggested, however, that she was engaged on 1' no doubt necessary ablutions; and somewhat relieved in mind, Mr Hetherington went down t a.gain to join Hugh, and set out with him to keep the appointment with John Dodd. 1 € ——— t CHAPTER XX.-MR. HETHERINGTON'S i PLA. i As they passed out of the hotel, and along ( the sidewalk towards the drug store Dodd had pointed out to them, Mr. Hetherington turned to his nephew, and said: 1 "Hugh, do you remember this Dodd said he i had come to meet two negrocs who were to f assist Siddle?" "Yes," said Hugh. "I remember. Why?" f "Nothing, nothing," replied Mr Hethering- J ton, but it was evident that he was thinking deeply. At the drug store, the chemist's shop, to give t it the name Hugh and Mr, Hetherington used for it, they paused and looked round, and at once saw Doad, apparently waiting for them at J a little distance. He made them a slight sign to follow him, and turned off down a side street.. where, past half e dozen or so of scattered frame-houses, one came soon to the open prairie. When the wooden sidewalk merged into the ( open prairie, and they were at some distance from the nearest house, Dodd paused, and the e two Englishmen joined him. "Sa V now." he began abruptly, "do you mean that about the 10,000 dollarsj "Certainly," replied Mr. Hetherington. 1 "How much down?" "Five hundred dollars." ( Dodd held out his hand, and Mr Hethering- i ton took from his breast pocket a bundle of dollar bills, extracted five for 100 dollars each, and handed them to Dodd, who took them, looked at them, and put them in his own pocket, and then suffered his features to relax into a broad smile. "Sir," he said, "I like you, and I like your way of doing business. I have worked for Noah Siddle long enough, and he has never once treated me white and square like that. I don't believe he has it in him. Sir, I 6hall be proud to work for you." "Very good," said Mr Hetherington, "and if we succeed you shall have the rest of the money quite as promptly. Now, about that paper that

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FOR THE YOUNG FOLKS.

HER VENGEANCE