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I A DEATH-BED CONFESSION. The sailors who lived about Martello Bay, as it was called from a Martello tower being in near proxi- mity to it, all thought Martin Randell as lucky a man as had ever served in the Navy. There was no reason why the bay should have been so specially named, for Martello towers were all along the coast, where they had been erected at the begin- ning of the century to defend us from the invasions y of the "Ogre of Corsica." But the little village I which had established itself about the bay lost its name of St. Questin, and was commonly spoken of as the Martello Village, and thus the bay got to be called Martello Bay. Martm Randell had, some years before, come into about two hundred pounds a year and a cottage in St. Questin,which his cousin had left him, and had more recently brought his motherless daughter Amy to live in the village. It is to be supposed that Martin would not have chosen such a place as IVfartello Village for his resi- dence bad it not been for the inducement held out to him by the :cottage and three acres of ground which were part of his cousin's legacy. When he first took possession of his little estate he led a pretty solitary life, as there were really no neighbours except the boatmen and fishermen who were the inhabitants of St. Questin, Amy being at boarding school. Six months after Martin had settled in his cottage, however, Captain Reynell, who as it appeared had been a messmate of the former's, returned to his house, nearly the only one in St. Questin deserving the name, and soon renewed the acquaintanceship of past years. When Amy came home from school she found Captain Reynell a daily visitor at her father's cottage. Father," asked Amy one day of her remaining parent, have you known Captain Reynell long ?" I have known him more than twenty-five years," answered Randell. We were in the same ship together. I left the Navy twenty years ago, just before you were born, and I have not met Reynell since until I came here. I was a lieutenant when I quitted the service and he was above me in rank. Why do vou ask?" He comes here nearly every day," answered Amy, and never takes bite or sup in the cottage." Why should he, when he is so close home ?" To enable you to conform to the customs of hos- pitality," replied Amy. "Besides, he never shakes hands with you when he comes." It is not very important since he has seen me yesterday." And neither does he take your hand when he leaves you," she added. "Why should he when he will see me to-morrow ?,. urged Martin. Were you intimate when you were on board ship together ?" asked Amy. Shipmates can't easily be otherwise," he said. And friendly?" Oh, yes, until- he stopped for a moment, then he continued, until I left the Navy. You know I had not seen him for fifteen years when he re- turned home five years ago." Amy was answered but not satisfied. Although Captain Reynell was about the only educated person in St. Qnestin, with the exception of the parson and his family, she would have preferred to be free from the officer's company and to have limited her own and father's acquaintance to the simple sailors of the village, who had a wondrous reverence for a gentleman who had been a lieutenant on board a man-o'-war. But a change came o'er Miss Amy's expressions and sentiments when Captain Reynell s son returned home from the Mediterranean in her Majesty's ship Daisy, which went into dock for repairs, her crew being paid off. Algernon Reynell certainly gave a great deal mtore life to the village than it had displayed without his assistance. At any rate, Randell's daughter found the little cottage considerably more lively than it had been before. Indeed Algernon not only shook hands with Randell and his daughter, both coming and going, but he had a way of pressing the latter's fingers in a manner that suggested that the action was something more than common courtesy. One day he would propose a sail, the next he would sug- gest a walk or a drive, and the third would be de- voted to fishing. Amy and he found the life equally agreeable, and they mutually slid into love with the same uncon sciousness and the same unrestraint, and all the time Captain Reynell, persistent in his daily visits, was as blind to their fate as they were to their own. I did not know that your father had been in the Navy," said Algernon, until one of the boatmen told me." I'm surprisedJCaptain Reynell didn't mention it," replied Amy. My father and he were in the same ship." He has been even less fortunate than my father," remarked Algernon. Father had to retire when he was only post-captain. I suppose Mr. Randell had not attained that rank." My father gave up the service before I was born," said Amy. I don't think he was very well off for some years; I believe there was some family dispute atfany rate, my grandfather did not leave him more than he was compelled to do. Then a cousin died, and his legacy nearly doubled our income." Heaven bless that cousin for doing something to add to the enjoyments of your life," ejaculated Algernon. I think he considered that my father had been badly used," said Amy. By your grandfather ?" asked Algernon. Yes, and by other people. I don't know much about it, as it all took place before I was born, or while I was a child." "Poor Mr. trandell," sighed Algernon, pressing that worthy's hand by deputy. He is just the sort of easy-going man who would get imposed upon. Amy, if ever you catch people trying to take a mean advantage of your father, let me know." He had never called her Amy before, but his sympathy. with her father seemed to her to fully warrant him in doing so. It is very kind of you," she said. "Kind of me?" he exclaimed. "Are you sur- prised at my feeling any interest in the father who must be so dear to you ? Have you not suspected how dear you are to me? Amy," he added, as she re- mained silent, "the happiness of my life depends upon my being blest by your love." My love will not be a greater blessing to you than yours will be to me," she said, as she hid her glow- ing face against his breast, to which he had drawn her. Algernon put his strong, manly arms round her and told her well, they were lovers, and thn vocabulary of love is always the same. My dear Algernon," said Captain Reynell, the thing is impossible. I blame myself for not having cautioned you. I never thought of your falling in love with Randell's daughter." I have not only fallen in love with her but I will marry her," replied Algernon, whatever may be the result." I tell you that Randell was tried by court-martial, more.than twenty years ago, upon the charge of having traitorously handed to Russia a volume of our con- fidential code of Navy Signals," said Reynell. But you tell me that he was acquitted," answered Algernon. Because in this country we do not forge evidence to convict the man whom we suspect," said Reynell. But you should rather say that Randell was not found guilty than he was acquitted. Even that was owing to the championship of our commander, Captain O'Brien, and immediately after the trial pressure was put upon Randell to leave the service." "A manifest injustice exclaimed Algernon. The injustice was in not finding him guilty," re- plied Reynell. Since chance made him my neigh- bour I have renewed our old acquaintance, that in daily conversation with him I may at last find him betraying himself." "And have you done so?" Not yet. But, notwithstanding his escape, there is a black mark against his name, the authorities are morally convinced of his guilt, and the officer who marries his daughter will surely be tainted with the suspicion that disgraces the father. If you make Amy Randell your wife, you will have to leave the Navy." Then I'll leave it," said Algernon, as he walked away to close further discussion. Reynell sat in his cabin, as he styled the smoking snugeery that was the favourite room in his house. What a fool I have been," he thought, not to have seen that Algernon was bound to fall in love with such a pretty girl as Amy, especially when she is the only one here of his class, and yet s'rch a union means absolute ruin to his prospects." Then he put on his hat and went out. When, Algernon aaw Acny the iiext mora' ag he was convinced that his father had been talking to her. Her love was as apparent as ever, but there was a sadness in it which tinged it with regret. Amy," he said, what has changed you ?" "Nothing has changed me, Algernon," she said, but my happy life of yesterday has gone for ever. I had a longer conversation yesterday with your father than I ever had before, and it was the saddest. I learnt for the first time that my father left the Navy under the cloud of suspicion, and I now know that to ally yourself to him through me would be most damaging to your chances in the service.' "Well, then, I can leave the Navy and try some other career," he said. Perhaps to fail," she answered, and thus add to my present sorrow by making me know that I bad marred your life in letting you share it with mine." But, Amy," he cried, without you my life wil be blighted." No, Algernon," she replied, smiling pitifullyi enough, men get over their love sooner than women. Besides, I have now a duty of which yesterday I was ignorant. It is to comfort my father for his inany years of unmerited humiliation, for I am sure that he was innocent." In vain he held her to his breast and whispered words which were charged with the eloquence of his love. She saw what was the duty of her life, and, though it took from it the happiness that seemed so assured a few hours before, she resolved to face her trouble and to act according to her conscience. She would console her father for the many years of dis- grace he had borne all unknown to her, and she would not yield to Algernon's wishes and her own and thus ruin her lover's professional prospects. When the young officer returned home, wretched enough as may be imagined, he found that his father had suddenly taken his departure upon the receipt of a telegram. Six days had passed since Captain Reynell had left Martello. The early autumn day was declining as he entered Randell's cottage. "How are you, Martin?" he said as he extended his hand to him. Whether, in the gloom ef the evening, he failed to notice the action, or whether from habit he would not expect it, Randell did not grasp the proffered palm. For more than twenty years I have been unjust to you," said Reynell, and I have been waiting and watching for you to say something that might con- firm the judgment which, I now admit, was errone- ous." I don't understand you," said Randell. Four days ago I was at Captain O'Brien's death bed." continued Raynell. He handed me a letter which I was to open after his decease. It was the confession that he was the traitor who sold to Russia the volume or JNavy signals. 1 nave nanded the letter to the Admiralty. It is not considered ex- pedient to revive the matter, the more so as you were acquitted, but, to mark their sympathy for you and their assurance of your innocence, the Lords of the Admiralty will give you the first naval appoint- ment ashore which shall te at their disposal." Martin had been too long used to the suspicion of his friends to value much the tardy reparation of the authorities. He merely asked, What did O'Brien do it for ?" To retire a forged acceptance of his son's one villain makes another. The crime was between you two, and, alas! we fixed on the wrong man." If the revelation came late for Randell, it was in time for the happiness of Amy and Algernon, who were married four months afterwards.




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