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POET'S CORNER.

, HER VENGEANCE

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FUN AND FANCY.

FOR THE YOUNG FOLKS,

To Grow Hair on a Bald Head.

FOR MATRON AND MAID.

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, HER VENGEANCE

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and deserted spot enough. To the west the country appeared to verge upon desert, and indeed only a few miles away was a district called the "bad land," an alkali desert where there was no water, where nothing grew, and where only the fantastig "painted rocks" broke the dreadful monotony that otherwise rivalled the most barren stretcnes of the Sahara- North and north-east was prairie land, of rather poor quality and not much settled ou, though hero and there was the homestead of some Ice- lander or other European immigrant. South and south-east the land was better, though still only thinly settled. But three or four farms were visible in the distance, and in very clear weather or when the mirage came, there could be seen the little town of Athns, twelve miles away, the prairie village in which Editor Kcene had recently taken up his abode, and whence he thundered continually against the negro race with one eyo on the negro community that Noah Siddle had gathered round himsilf. Near at hand the scene was more piosperous. The shanty Dodd occupied stood alenc, but a few hundrew yards away from it, tc wards the east, was a group of comfortable and tidy look- ing houses, together with farm outbuildings, some of wood but most of them of stone. Sev- eral people—men, women, and children—were visible about the houses or at work in the fields, all of them apparently of the negro race. Most of the houses had neat and well tended gardens, and the fields of the farm, with green and healthy crops, that were now on the point of ripening, formed a pleasant contrast to the burnt-up, dry appearance of the rest of the country. The reason for this • apparent fertility was revealed when one noticed a little to the north the tall scaffolding that marks the presence of an artesian well. and then noticed little chan- nels for water running from it to the fields. Evidently irrigation was practised here, and with very considerable success. Between this well and the group of houses, but a little to the west, so that it was nearer to Dodd's shanty, stood another building of rather curious appearance. It was of a good height with a flat roof, and was made of well fitted stone, and the only windows that it had were high up, from fifteen to twenty feet from the ground. All the portion of the wall near the ground was blank stone, save only for one door, which was heavily strengthened with iron. On the whole, it reminded one of a prison or a fortress, yet without having quite the air of either. It was surrounded by two wire fences, of which the outer was about ten feet high and made of barbed wire, so as to be quite a formid- able obstacle, while the inner was not quite so tall, and was formed apparently of smooth strands. "That's where Noah does all his work," said Dodd, pointing to this curious erection; "he don't mean to have folks spying on him while he is busy. See that inner fence" "That outer one looks more formidable," re- marked Mr. Hetherington. I "That is where you miss your guess," re- torted Dodd; "that inner fencevcan be charg- ed with electricity when b«» wants to bo par- ticular private. Oh. it's hci." &dded, see- ing that his two companions >>ked incredulous; "some of the boys didn't bei.ero ,t. so they got an ox inside the outer ;,=,1:'(0 c-no nrs-hi. That ox was dead in the mcrr&n* -,»p iiko it had been struck wUjj. rio, sir. i 'tain't healthy to i-iajr.v txonwR while) Noah is busy; aTld you :J'S\; bo careful, for if he finds you out-—! "He would hardly to hurt v.?. remarked Mr. Hetherington with a i.vri'k" j "No one know? Vosre you ibssrved Dodd. "I dropped a letter to "iY ifrysr* in Lon- don," retorted Mr. them we were visiting &, ?-AK Sidtue in ( this neighbourhood. J. 'h Icued your j name also, Mr. Dodd, i?• -ioyikmg v/oie to happen to us, it wonid :101: be long bedor* in quiries were icke precautions as well as Mr. 8Idd" "I see you <¡,j D.-rdd, srriling with; averted eyes; "that r as ;1 ,"d smart ol you. Better come io and till it's time to start." Mr. Hetherington followed Him into the in- terior of the house, but Hugh remained on the i small verandah, looking, not at Noah Siddle's | curious home, but at the dump of houses to the east, and wondering where it was that E'i/a,! stayed while she was hero. He dici not bko to j think of her living ir. the yvdest of aU those ? negroes. There was 0n svvwsa juat & Jit,tie apart from the other. lb had » jotvh on wirier: a creeper grew. and be thcu*t.'i iJfeat its garden • seemed to have mors and bryrister :?1", than the others. He wondered it this .I3.r, vbc-vi | Eira lived, and while he ••ras still iocklug a-i it Eira herself came quic-iy round cornet- 5 of the verandah where he stood. "v." she said, stopping, but evidently not j recognising him. "oh, good morning; is Mr. Dodd back yet, do you know "Yes—yes," Hugh stammered, taken aback at her sudden appcarance. j There was a light in his eyes that she could | not help noticing, and he made n. little involun- ] tary movement towards her. She returned his look somewhat haughtily, till on a sudden she understood who he was. "Oh, never," she stammered, very pale, "never—it is not—not "like that, "Why not?" he said. "Oh, that is so dreadful," she said, trembling, ¡ and in her eyes there showed a iook of horror, I such as he had thought he saw when he imag- ined her face watching them our of the dark- ness tJ. strrted on this expedition. I "Why, ne aaid again. "I do not know," she muttered, and glanced over her shoulder at the curious barn-like build- ing behind her on her right. j "Well," he said, defensively, "you knew I should follow you." j "Never, never," she cried with energy; "I j never dreamed ] "All the same," he repeated, "you knew very well I should follow yoii. "You have no right, to say such a thing," she cried hotly, her paie face flushing crimson. "No, you haven't—it is cowardly, it is mean. And Miss Hetherington." she asked with bitter scorn "how does she like your leaving England while you come here?" "Oh, she is with us." said Hugh calmly. Eira stared a.t him, as if unable to believe she heard him correctly. "Oh, this is worse than anything I ever imagined," she muttered. She lowered her voice to. a frightened whisper; she bent nearer to him so that he could hear her low murmured words. "But he is not with you, too?" she whispered; "he is not with yoa—he is not dis- guised like you?" "You mean my uncle," snid Hugh; he is here." "But not—not she panted. "Why, yes," said Hugh, "hie makes as good a nigger as I do. I believe." I She had a dazed expression. Both her hands were on the verandah rail, as if only so could she support herself upright. Now and again she trembled from head to foci. "It frightens me," she said, "that you should I be like that—black. I never dreamt of that." "Oh, come," said Hugh laughing, "there is nothing to worry over; I have had a black face before, when we got some Christy minstrels up at school." "You do not understand," said Eira heavily. "I do not understand cither; it is something I never dreamed of 'that you should come like this. I think there is great danger some- where." "Oh, we can take care of ourselves, I think," said Hugh, and she looked at him with a palo smile, such as a. mother might give on seeing her child laughing and playing in the midst of some moment of deadly peril. Hugh added, net- tled by this smile, "Of course, if you tell Mr. Siodle-—" "Tell him?" she said with a bitter look, "tell him? Whlr, there is nothing anyone can tell him. She paused and looked round with an expression of extreme distress and bewilder- ment. "Oh, why have you come here, of all r.b ces in the world?" she broke out. "But I know-he made you—he is terrible I "Uncle did not make, me exactly," returned Hugh, "and he is not such a very terrible per- son." "I was not thinking of Mr. Hetherington," returned Eira; "he is nothing at 3011." "Oh, isn't he?" said Hugh, who knew that the important and wealthy Mr. Hetherington was not usually considered "nothing." "Any- how, no one else had anything to do with I n "Do you think that—do you really think that?" she asked. "Is it possible you do not know you have been led every step of the way here, as surely as if you had been taken by the hand?" I "No—why, what do you mean?" asked Hugh, uncomfortably remembering that impres- sion he had so often had of an unseen influence that shepherded them upon their way. For answer Eira turned again and looked at that old stone house that stood a little north and east of Dodd's shanty. Hugh understood. "But why?" he asked. "What for?" "Noah Siddle had a son," she answered, "who was my father. That bad man, who is your uncle, cheated him out of the great in- vention he had perfected after- years of labour, and drove him to despair; I was only a little child then, but I remember. Well, my grand- father was working on the same thing, but he could not succeed, and he asked me to help him to recover the secret my father had been rob- bed of, so that all the world might know what my father did, what he discovered, and how he was treated. I agreed willingly; and by the help of friends I got first of all the key to the cipher my father had hidden his secret in, and then the cipher itself." i; "I see," said Hugh slowly. "I think I more than half suspected all this." "I warned you," she said passionately; "I sent you warnings. Before I left England I had a dream, and I thought I saw my grand- father sitting planning something against you more strange and terrible than anyone but him could conceive. I warned you again; why did you not listen?" "Because said Hugh, and paucad. "Why did you come?" she asked once more. with the same intense and agitated manner, "Why did you come in spite of all my warn- ings?" "Do you ask me that?" he said. looking full at her, and speaking with an agitation of his own. "I thought you were engaged to Miss Hethc-- ington; I thought she had come here will: you." said Eira scornfully. i, doe.iu i:];to. if &i»e has." said Hugh hushed and suiky. anc unable j ae/en: himself or to explain that in not believe his enTa^eweat with Delia would eve* Ltg c<mi«cii' owW "It doesn't matter?" Eira repeated. "I thought I hated you once. but now I only de- spise you. I wonder how it is men are so light?" "I am not light," said Hugh, very angry in- deed. "Oh, pray don't trouble to defend yourself," she said cuttingly. "I think I understand you very well." "You——" began Hugh, but she checked him with uplifted hand. "All that does not matter in the least," she said "it is your being here disguised as a ne- gro that frightens me so. I never heard of that; I don't understand why grandfather wanted you to do that." "But it wasn't his idea. at all," protested Hugh; "it was our own." "You have no ideas," she retorted. "You have done nothing but what he wanted you to do. I knew he wished you to be here at the moment of his success, so as to triumph over you, but why does he want you to look like negroes? Oh, I am afraid" she said, clasping her hands. "I assure you there is nothing to be afraid of," he began. "And to have brought Miss Hctherington!" Eira went 011 unheedingly. "Can he bo plan- ning anything, a.crainst. her, t.qo.? Oh, I mu$t find-out what all this means, what his plan& are. Wait here till I see you again. Don't leave this house or go to him, whatever you do. He began to protest that he could not pro- mise, but she made him an impatient gesture, and turning, hurried away. He tried to follow her, but she motioned to him angrily to go back; and as he saw she was making for the old barn-like building near, he obeyed her and returned rather ruefully to Dodd's shanty. There he found his uncle sitting waiting, and he told him he had just seen Eira, who had recognised him. "That is bad luck," said Mr. Hetherington, frowning, but looking at obstinate as ever; "it can't be helped, though." Before Hugh could say anything more, Dodd came into the room. "Time we started," he said. "Are you go- Cig through with it 7 "Of course," said Mr. Hetherington with a little gasp of excitement, as he thought of his diamonds. "Rather you than me," said Dodd grimly. He led the way out of the shanty and by a trail beaten in the virgin prairie to the big stone building near. As they approached it, Eira passed them, hurrying away from it. "He will not let me in or speak to me," she said breathlessly. "I am sure he intends some- thing dreadful—something strange. "Pooh!" said Mr. Hetherington, who would not have turned back at that moment for an army. It seemed Eira understood the inflexible ob- stinacy his face showed. "Well. I am going to the sheriff,' she de- clared', and hurried on. Dodd shrugged his shoulders but said noth- ing, and led them on through the two wire fences to the big iron-bound door, at which he knocked. It opened at once, though by no visi- ble agency, and Dodd led them down a dark passage, whence opened two apartments that seemed used as store-rooms for a queer miscel- lany of articles, to a staircase by which they mounted to a landing above. Here were other doors, at one of which Dodd knocked. It open- ed, and crossing the threshold the yfound them- selves in a small, bare apartment where, at a desk, sat a tall old man with long white hair, a head nobly shaped, and a face of which the brow, eyes, mouth chin, were all perfect, but which was, nevertheless, stamped with a kind of grotesque horror owing to the fact that there was no nose, that feature being represented by two nostrils flat with the face. This de- ) formity, which seemed from birth, made him terrible to look at, and glancing up as they entered he smiled at them. "Good-day, centlcmen," he said. "I am glad to see you, I have been waiting for you," and he smiled again with a welcoming air that daunted them. (To be continued.)