ANIMALS BURNED ALIVE. I I u Owing to a cow kicking over a lamp while being milked at a farm near Weymouth on Saturday, eighteen cows, a calf, and a goat were destroyed by fire. The overturned lamp set fire to some fodder, and the cowshed was quickly a mass of flame. The fire brigade arrived after the fire had burnt itself out. When access to the cowshed was possible the bodies of the animals were charred beyond recognition, and their heads were found still chained to the posts.
DEATH OF CANON VENABLES. Canon George Venables died at Burgh Castle Rectory, near Great Yarmouth, on Sunday, aged 85. He was vicar of St. Paul's, Chatham, from 1854 to 1858; and his other prominent livings, besides Burgh Castle, were St. Matthew's, Leicester. 1869-74, and Great Yarmouth 1874-8(5. He had been hon. canon of Norwich since 1881. He was a prolific writer on Church topics, some of his publications being u Our Church and Our Country," "Churchman's Manual," and "Thoughts at the Eventide of Life."
I NEW TUBE FATALITY. I Four men were working at the top of an elevator shaft in the unopened Covent Garden Station of the Piccadilly, Brompton, and Great Northern Railway, on Sunday, when part of the scaffolding which they were seated on gave way, and one of them fell 130ft. down the shaft, four tons of debris following and crushing him. The noise of the fall was like thunder, and several neighbouring buildings were shaken. The man, whose name is John Pettit, and who lived in the Caledonian-road, was instap-tly killed. His body was only extricated after nearly an hour's labour,, when it was placed upon a train for con- veyance to a mortuary.
OMN[BUS OVERTURNS. While proceeding to Abercanaid on Saturday night an omnibus, containing eighteen passengers, was overturned in Plymouth-street, Merthyr, owins to one of the rear wheels skidding and breaking on the slippery roadway. Most of the glass in the vehicle was shattered. The driver, Hairy Marshall, was thrown off the box, but both he and the conductor escaped with bruises. Fortunately the horses stood still, and th<? passengers were extricated shaken and bruised.
FOUND DYING IN A VAULT. At an inquest held at Westminster on Edward Ford, aged thirty-eight, organ blower and stoker at St. Mary-le-Strand Church, who was found dying in the vault where the church furnaces are, Mr. William Martin, the verger, said he found Ford about iJiree yards from the front of the furnace. The fid of the stove was halfway off, and the fumes of the coke filled the vault, instead of going up the chimney. Ford was evidently having a nap when he was overcome by the fumes. Sergeant Overton, tll coroner's officer, said when he entered the vault, ho noticed a very strong smelly of port wine, evidently from Messrs. Short's casks, which were stored there. The coroner (surprised): In the same vault? Mr. Martin (interposing): No, sir; in anotner vault. The Officer: It leads into this vault, and there is no door, only an archway. Medical evidence showed that death was due to suffoca- I tion from carbon-oxide gas poisoning while Ford was in an alcoholic condition, and a verdict of accidental death was returned.
VETERAN FOR SALE. j A veteran soldier of 94, Richard Anderson Sylowayne, of Waverley-plaee, New York, who claims to have been one of Abraham Lincoln's political advisers, has offered himself for sals for 50 dollars. He says he is compelled to take this step through the poverty that has made him and his aged wife miserable for years. Sylowayne makes it a condition that the 50 dollars be given to him at once so that he may hand it o^er to his wife and pay the landlady for money due. He will, for this sum, give him- self to his purchaser for the remainder of his days. He alternately offers his remains to any physi- cian vrho will pay over a similar amount to his wife and says he would even commit suicide if any doctor cares to purchase his body. The sum, however, must be paid before death, "and the money must go to his wife, my little sweet- heart," he continued. "From the 50 dollars she would deduct what is due to the landlady, so that none may say we have not paid our just debts. "If no physician cares to accept this offer," he added, "I am willing to sell my- self to the highest bidder in public."
RESCUE OF MINERS. Three colliers named Davis Bassett, William Jones, and William Weeks, were rescued from Cefyn Arda Colliery, Swansea, after being en- tombed more than twenty hours. The shaft cage was descending for them when the head gear broke, and the cage got caught in the sheaves. After some hours' delay another wind- ing apparatus was improvised, and by its mean, three of six men below were brought to the bank. The descent was being made for the I remaining three when the rope became en- j tangled in the sjiaft, and the cage was rendered useless. Time was all important, as the rescued men had reported that water was rising rapidly in the pit. At length two men named Ashworth and Prout were lowered in a box, and a horse attached to a rope took the place of the wind- ing engine. By means of a gong they regulated their progress till the bottom of the shaft was reached. They were juet in time, for the three entombed men were up to their necks in water and had almost perished from cold. The only way of getting them to the surface was bv lashing them to the cage. As they emergeel from the cage they were cheered most enthu- siastically by a large crowd of anxious men, women, and children, who had waited patiently in a blinding snowstorm for their arrival.
ISLINGTON SERVANT'S SUICIDE. I i "I poured paraffin on to the bed, laid down, and set fire to the clothes. I did it because I was tired of my life." Such was the explana- tion offered to the police by Lilian Alloway, 21, a servant employed in the Holloway-road, Islington, and who died in hospital from the effects of burns. She was found by her mis- tress unconscious on the bed in her room. The bedclothes were on fire and the room full of smoke. By the side of the bed was a can which had contained paraffin oil. It was said at the inquest that the deceased was of somewhat weak intellect, and her relatives have not been traced. The jury found she was insane at the time.
AN UNCLE'S GIFTS. I Mr. Alfred Howard Lloyd, J.P., of Hare- woods, Bletchingley, Surrey, has an entirely praiseworthy appreciation of the opportunities of Christmas. He has shown, moreover, a mar- vellous aptitude for availing himself of them by making what is probably one of the most de- lightful and expensive Christmas-boxes on record, for every on.. of his thirty-seven nephews and nieces has been made happier by the receipt from him of a cheque for Mr. Lloyd, who is known far and near as the squire bountiful, oh Christmas-eve sent to every poor resident in Home, Outward, and Bletchingly enough to provide a dinner, while he sent a cheque to the clergyman and Non- conformist ministers in the district, so that none should go unprovided. He is a Quaker of an old family, and was for many years a part- ner in the firm of Messrs. Lloyd, Ward, and Pritchard, stockbrokers.
DEATH OF A LADY ARTIST. I The death occurred in her sleep, at her rcci- dence at Brighton, on Sunday morning, of Mrs. Julia Goodman, the veteran artist. She was in her ninety-fifth year. By her death then is now only one living student who attended Sass' famous school in Bloomsbury some time before Queen Victoria came to the throne. This is Mr. W. P. Frith, R.A. At the age of ninety Mrs. Goodman was still busy with the brush, after nearly seventy years of devotion to art. Mrs. Goodman was an exhibitor at the Royal Academy and other galleries in London and the provinces, and a prominent member of the Society of Lady Artists.
LIFEBOATMEN ON STRIKE. I The Walmer lifeboatmen, who were on strike in pursuance of their resolve not to touch the lifeboat until their claims and grievances had been dealt with, refused on Boxing Day to an- swer the summons of the bell. In the face of the storm, when no boat but the lifeboat ought to have put to sea, a smaller boat put off. The crew were nearly swamped, but they freed their craft of water, and went out to the ketch Trelis- can, of Patstow, from London for Plymouth. Four men were put on board, and with difficulty they got the ketch into Ramsgate harbour. T'lle summons in this case came between five And six o'clock in the morning, but in the afternoon of the same day a second vessel, the schooner Cambrian, of Aberystwith, was in difficulties, but received assistance from the crew of a North Deal galley punt.
I RUSSIA'S TROUBLES The extremist section of the Social Revolution* aries have sworn to remove one bv one the most prominent figure-heads of the Russian aristocratic- regime. Count Ignatieff is the first victim to their recent Tow. His murderer has admitted at Tver that the mandate given to him by his conspiratorial Imperiors was to destroy the "statesmen of re- action." He pointed to a police officer standing- near by while he was being questioned, and said, I had nothing to do with the killing of men like him. The leaders of the system were my affair." It would seem to have been established that the murderer came from Moscow to commit the crime, and that he had one accomplice, who succeeded in escaping. He was well informed of Count I Ignatieff's movements.The Count stopped at a hotel where a number of other members of the Provincial Zemstvo were also staying. The day after his arrival he joined a friend at a table in the buffet of the building. The murderer, a young man of about 22, with a" moustache and short beard, was seated at an ad- jacent table. Waiting until Count Ignatieff and Prince Putiatin were engrossed in conversation, be left his seat, and fired four shots from his revolver point blank at Count Ignatieff. In the ensuing panic he walked calmly to the adjoining billiard- room, and, turning his revolver on himself, he tried to shoot himself through the heart. His aim was too high, however, and the ball passed through his chest, lodging in the wall. Count Ignatieff sur- vived for ten minutes. Of the four shots fired by the murderer, three entered the lower part of the count's body, and the fourth struck his wife's shoulder, whence it passed into the back. It was extracted, and found to be poisoned. Two unknown men have assassinated M. Litvinoff, Governor of the Province of Aknio- linsk, in the street, close to the administrative offices. A band of armed terrorists attacked the station at Miedzyrzec, on the Vistula Railway. Ordering the employes to hold up their JJa.nos, they burst open a safe with dynamite and made off with a sum of 1900 roubles. At Novocherchevkassk, the capital of the Province of the Don Cossacks, five men armed with revolvers held up a tax-collector in a mail train going to Rostov between the stations of I\isitirinka and Nachitchevan. The robbers, who stole 21,557 roubles, managed to get away safety owing to the rough nature of the country. Nearly two thousand roubles pf the stolen money have I been recovered.
I AFTER MANY YEARS. Memories of a tragedy which occurred more than eight years ago have been revived by the reported arrest in the South of England of a man named McCaffrey. McCaffrey and another farmer of County Fermanagh, whose properties adjoined, had a dispute in June, 1898, as to the ownership of a small piece of land. One of the men, it is said, tore down a fence erected by the other, and then the two came to blows. A fierce struggle ensued, in the course of which, it is alleged, McCaffrey's mother, son, and daughter came to his assistance. Shortly afterwards the farmer was found dead, stabbed in several places. McCaffrey disappeared but the others were arrested and put on trial, when the jury acquitted them. For a long time the police prosecuted a vigorous search for the missing farmer, but in Vain. The occurrence had almost passed out of recollection hvhen, during the past. week, the mother of McCaffrey left her home for England. The police watched her carefully; and have now, it is reported, made ap arrest..
KILLED IN THE STREET. Mr. Schroder held an inquest at Marylebona Coroner's Court on the death of Frederick Daniel Greatbaeh, aged 76, a solicitor, of Loadoun-road, St. John's-woc>d. Fox, Chief Officer ot the London Salvage Corps, said that on Dec. 21 he was in Oxford-street when he heard a shout I and saw the wheels of a milk van passing over the deceased man, who was lying in the roadway. Police-constable Parish said he was on "point" duty at the Duke-street cross- ing in Oxford-street on the afternoon in question. He held up the traffic to allow a milk van and other vehicles to pass from Duke-street. Mr. Greatbach stepped from the footpath and the near shaft of the milk van struck him on the shoulder and knocked him down, the wheels passing over his thighs. The jury returned a verdict of Acci- dental death."
FALL FROM A TRAIN IN A TUNNEL. Frank Webb, aged 41, living at Christchurch, near Newport, was returning to Newport from Cardiff, when by some means he fell out of the train as it was passing through Newport tunnel. He remained unconscious for upwards of arhour, but revived and crawled to the signal box. From there he was taken to Newport Station, where an ambulance was procured, and he was taken to hospital. His face was badly cut and one of his ankles sprained. He ex- plained that he was coming up from Cardiff about ten o'clock. When the train reached the tunnel," he continued, "I stood up, getting ready to leave the carriage, and then, I think, the door- opened. Anyhow I rail on the line, and lay there unconscious in the tunnel for about an hour. I remember hearing a train go through, which I think was the down express. When I came to I crawled on my hands and knees to the signal box. Three seamen were in the carriage, but there had been- no disturbance."
A PAUPER'S ESTATE. There has recently died in the Brighton Workhouse Infirmary a man whose estate has been valued at nearly E4000. He was once a rice planter in the West Indies, but formed extravagant habits. He is said to have spent as much as £ 10,000 in a year, and to have made a rapid descent in the social scale. He had been for eighteen months in the workhouse infirmary, his relatives paying ten shillings a week for his maintenance there. While in the workhouse he made a will disposing of his estate. This consists mainly of the proceeds of an insurance policy.
DEATH OF A CENTENARIAN. The death has occurred at Southsea of Mrs. Cochrane, who celebrated the 101st anniversary of her birth in May last. She retained her faculties to the last. Her eyesight was scarcely impaired, and her memory continued good, extending over a period of ninety years, her recollection of the reception of the news of the victory at Waterloo being quite clear. At the age of 100 she spoke with pride of her ability to walk about the house without assistance, and attributed her longevity to early rising and temperate habits. She was a lifelone teetotaler. Miss Mary Anderson, the oldest resident of Brentford, who has just died, was within a few days of attaining her 100th birthday. She re- tained her faculties to the last, and on her ninety-ninth birthday went for a ride in her nephew's motor-car. As a child of eight, when she -vas at a convent school in Paris, she was tai.. to Champ de Mars to see Napolean start with his army for Waterloo.
A man, his wife, and two children perished p1 broke out in a fireworks shop at Kotterdam. One of the children was born during the fire. At the age of eightv-three Mrs. Ann Grundv nas died from shock—the result of a fall—at l)ock, Salford, in the house in which she had lived during the whole of her life. Major Noyes, of the Highland Light Infantry, has been appointed commandant of the new school of instruction for auxiliary officers to be formed at Glasgow on January 7. ^attended, a horse attached to a Royal i.-lail van bolted in the Strand, but was courageously stopped by a policeman before any damage was done.
[ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.) THE SEED OF A SIN. BY C. J. HAMILTON. JLuthor of "A Flash of Youth" "A Poisoned L ife, t- c. CHAPTER XIV. j A PEEP BEHIND THE SCENES. I AFTER the theatre was closed that night two men sat together in a back-room of a small hotel, smoking and chatting over their hot whiskey and water. One of them was Oswald Phillips, manager of the Myers- Millingtoii Theatrical Company, the other was his friend, Jeremiah Jacob, whose strongly marked Jewish cast of features be- trayed his origin most unmistakably. SI)e certainly is a fine woman, he was saying, but the worst of it is that; after such a hit as she's made to-night, you :WOII't find it so easy to tackle her; she 11 be geUin* restive, and want to kick over the traces. You know you've had a lot of bother wiLh her already, old boy, now haven't you ? Eh?" Oh, I'm not a bit afraid. I know how to work it. I'll bring her round in time. She did cut up rather nasty just now shut the door in my face, and said she wanted to be alone; hut I don't mind. I wonder what that tall good-looking chap had to say to her?" Maybe he had news of her husband." Well, anyway, I sent him to the right _|i,boiit. I told him she was to be my wife very soon." What did he say to that ? Turned on his heel and walked off with Oiimself." There'll be a lot of chaps comin' after her," remarked Mr. Jacobs, sententiously, blowing out a fresh cloud of smoke. By the way, old man, how did you come to know her first? You've never told me, you seem to be well acquainted, and yet you and she aren't like birds out of the same nest, now are ye ? Well answered Phillips, it's a long story, but you shall have it. Down in Somerset there's a fine old mansion, Brank- some Hall, and in the grounds is a square ivy-covered house, where my cousin, George Phillips and his wife, lived for over thirty years. They were good, simple souls, both dead years ago. He was land agent and steward to the old baronet, Sir Bertram Branksome, up at the Hall. Though it was -a. grand place with a. herd of deer in the park, and so on, there wasn't too much ready cash, and Sir Bertram had seven sons to put out in the world. My cousin deorge was a careful saving sort of chap, and while the Branksoines were spendin' money right and left, he and his good wife were saving it. Their great grief Was that they had neither chick nor child to come after them. When they'd been married about fifteen years, Sarah Phillips went away for a month on a visit to her brother-in-law, up in Shropshire, and when she came back «be brought a baby with her, a little girl." Rose, of course You've hit it, old man, Rose it was. Some said she was the child of Sarah's niece, but Sarah herself didn't say much about that. It was plain to see that her heart was 'Otlsj Wrapped up in the little thing, and Cousin I CSeorge, too he was almost as fond of the child as if she had been his own. I used to go over now and then to Branksome for my holiday, and when Rose was grown up, and I saw her standing at the gate of Branksome Cottage, I thought she was the prettiest bit of flesh and blood I ever laid eyes on her cheeks like peaches, and such lips and eyes! My! But she never could abide me." She found some 'un else more to her fancy, I expect." That's just what it was. The young Branksoines were always hanging about the house. They'd plen ty of excuses, they wan Led puppies reared for them, or the loan of a fishing-rod, or a butterfly-net. And those good, simple cousins of mine never smelt a. rat, never thought that all the time it was Rose they were after. Well, one fine day, it an came out. When Rose was alitille over seventeen she ran away with Mr. Rupert Branksome, the youngest of Sir Bertram's seven sons, and they gotmarried in London." The old baronet didn't like it, I expect." Like it! He was out of his mind with rage. He disinherited his son, though he was his favourite child, and he said all aianner of things about Rose. They came somehow or other to Mr. Bertram's ears, and he swore he'd never see or speak to his father again, and he kept his word." And how did they git on without cash? Eh ? The runaway couple, I mean ? Well, so, so. He got a clerkship some- where. I did'nt hear where, and she? She looked. handsome I suppose. You didn't come across her till she'd been married a good bit, did you ? Well, no; fact is that was the time 1- I know, that you got into trouble over that cheque. And when you came out of I quod you found Madame Rose more down in her luck than ever." The first thing I saw* of her was her photograph in a shop window. I knew it at once, for I tell you what it is, Jacob, that girl always had me fairly bewitched. There's no one like her in the whole world. I got on her traces and found out where she and young Mr. Branksome were living. It was in Islington, at the back of Upper Street. They were a bit hard up, and I persufaded her to take a part in the Christmas panto as Galatea. It was a living picture part. She had nothing to do but to stand, and by heaven didn't she do it well! She made five pound every night, but I knew she hated ine for getting her to do it, and Mr. Rupert, he cut up rough, and would'nt let her go on atiyiiioy-e. A year or two back he went away to Klondyke to try and make a fortune for her; he was on his way home, she expected him every day, but she hasn't heard of him since the month of July, and here we are in "September! He's dead, I'm sure, dead as a door-nail, but she won't believe it. She was head over ears in debt when I came across her at Swanage, and I well nigh forced her back to the stage." And you think she'll marry you in the end, eh?" Well, you know, Jacob, my boy, that I'm not a lu-Itri easy daunted, and I've swore to myself that I'll have Rose Branksome my wife before I die. Haughty she is tome, but I don't care about that. I'll follow her, and Watch her, and you'll see if I don't git my own way." Well, good 'uckj to you, anyway, but I can see she's one that's got a spice of the devil in her. She'll lead you a pretty dance before she's done. Lookout! There's a knock ,.at the door, I'll go and see who's there." It was one of the call boys from the theatre wil,il a little twisted note for Mr. Phillips. lie opened it eagerly, it was from Rose. DEAR MR. PHILLIPS,—I understand that I gentleman called to see me this evening after the play was over, and that you took it upon you to send him away. I must re- j (itiest that this does not occur again. He might have had something very important ^°tell me. Can you tell me his name and business? If so send word by the bearer.- Yours truly, R. A. BRANKSOME." Blest if I know 1" exclaimed Mr. Phillips. She does seem in a terrible taking- III have to put .her off with something or other." „ "It doesn't look much like matrimony, said Mr. Ja,cobs, putting down the note and taking to his pipe again. No," observed Mr. Phillips, doggedly. But never mind, I'll fight it out to the end. A was always bad to beat, and I mostly gits tiuv own way." 6t What would you do if this Roas ot yours turned out a grand heiress, like those nurse children in the plays, with a straw- berry mark on their hands ? She might as well as not." "Time enough when she does. But I must send her an answer now, or the fat will be all in the fire. Women are kittle kattle to deal with, and no mistake." "You'd better take care you don't git into hot water with the other one how about her—Becky, I mean ? Oh, she'll be all right, I know what I'm about I can keep her quiet, you bet." You may think it but "she's the very devil once her blood's up," I know that—no one better; you leave me alone, old chap. I can paddle mv own canoe." You'll git into trouble with those women, as sure as my name's what it is." Well, if ly do, I won't be the first. I can tell you Rose Branksome is the hardest one to tackle I ever came across, and if I ever bring her to her marrow bones and make her Mrs. Oswald Phillips, I'd be Lite proudest: man in England. As for Becky, I've tltulg her away like an old glove, she's nothing to me." You didn't always say so." That was before I cut my eye teeth. I a.m a bit wiser now." Well, you know the old song It's best to be off with the old love, Before you are on with the new As I said just now, Jacob, my boy, there isn't another like Rose in the world, I. and I mean to have her, too, if I swing for it I" CHAPTER XV. j A WEDDING, AND A CATASTROPHE. WHEN Dr. Netterville arrived at Netherford Station the following morning, a messenger met him bringing a note from Vida. He tore it open and read as follows "DARLING, — Such an annoying thing has happened. I have just had a wire from my dressmaker in London to say she could not send my wedding dress in time for the early train, so the only thing to be done is to put off the ceremony from eleven till two. It is an awful nuisance, but it can't be helped, and I suppose you must only try to put in the time somehow until I appear in my bridal finery. —Your loving VIDA. P.S.—The most tiresome part of the busi- ness is that we shall be nearly sure to miss the up train to London in that case we shall have to stay at York and start by the morning train." Dr. Netterville tore the note into very small pieces. Well, what's up now?" asked his com- panion and best man, George Despard, who had got two days' holiday from his office in London for the express purpose of seeing his friend through." "Nothing, except that we shall have to hang about for three mortal hours. The wedding won't be till two o'clock." And we shall have all the village rustics admiring our tall hats, and our new grey un- mentionables, to jsayi nothing of our fast withering button-holes. Has your bride been taken with,a. sudden vertigo, old boy ? Is she going, to turn funky at the lasb moment?" Not she she-seems as,fit ks a fiddle. Her dress hasn't arrived, that's all. I wanted her to be married in her usual every day things, but she wouldn't hear of it." "No, I daresay not. With most women dress is half the battle. Well, wha.t do you propose doing while we wait your lady fair's good pleasure ? I suppose we had better stroll up the village towards the church and smoke a couple of cigarettes." Yes, there is always that." As the two men came out of the quiet little railway station they were con fronted by a huge triumphal arch, decorated with flags and bearing the inscription "Good luck and long life to the happy pair I "There! old boy," exclaimed Despard, that's for you and your bride. I hope yC>u feel property 'grattered and flattified,' as Verdant Green says." "Oh, it can't be in my honour, I was never in the place in my life before, it's in compli- ment to Vida, you know she is a great friend of Lady Scott's and the village belongs to the Scotts—lias belonged to them for genera- tions." Ah, I see. All the same; this sort of thing should make you feel a man of some importance." By the way, have you ever met Vida ? I think I saw her once, a year or two ago, with you. She is pretty, isn't she ? She is generally considered so." The village street, was unusually full of curious sight-seers, the never failing contin- gent of nurse-maids wheeling perambulators was especially strong. Ladies of all ages were pouring out of the church gites, evidently with the intention of returning again at the later hour to whch the wedding had been postponed. Everyone took a good stare at the two strangers, one of whom they guessed must be the bridegroom. Being a shy man, Dr. Netterville rather shrank from the in- spection, while George Despard thoroughly enjoyed it. Now and again through the sunny air, came the spasmodic pealipg of wedding bells from the old Norman tower of the village church. It was certainly an ideal day for a wedding. Summer was lingering in the lap of autumn nature seemed to be taking a long, deep breath of satisfaction and repose, before the storms of Uctober set in. The cottage gardens were gay with dahlias and :sun-flowers; and the sun shone out with more than September ,v r^ear Me church gate, another arch nact to be passed with another congratu- latory motto to the happy pair, traced in brilliant. red dahlias, but Hartley Netterville did not look up at it;, his eves were fixed on a poster at the opposite side of the road, wlllcl\ *rSP J-?i> scene from the play, "Lady Merediths Secret," the very scene that he had seen Rose Branksome actin°" in Underneath were the words ° that he had seen Rose Branksome acting in. Underneath were the words ° LAST NIGHT. A GREAT ACTRESS IN A GREAT PLAY. DON'T MISS SEEING HER. I saw her last night," remarked Despard. A splendid woman, glorious eyes, lovely voice, hut somehow it seems a pity she is on the stage. She looks too liunian-too femi- nine I believe is the right word-to be an actress." v "Don't, don't!" cried Dr^ Netterville sharply, I wish you wouldn k "Wouldn't what?" answered Despard. Of course I thought that on such a day as this you could only take an interest in one woman—the woman you are going to marry. What is Rose Branksome to you ? Here we are now inside the church gate, and it is only a quarter to twelve and you won t be turned off till two. I mean to pick out a cool place under that old yew tree, and he down and take a doze. It is just the sort of day to laze in." The doctor made no answer, but followed his friend to theyewtree. Despard stretched himself at full length on a flat grey tomb- stone which commemorated the virtues of a certain" Mary Ann Wilkins, aged 92, wife of James Wilkins, both of the parish of Netherford." A happy augury for your approaching marriage, Net, my boy," remarked Despard, taking out a cigarette. Hartley Netterville made no reply, and presently a snore from his friend announced that he had departed to the land of dreams. It was indeed a day to dream in—no sharpness in the air, no threatening cloud in the blue sky. The wedding chime had ceased, but the rooks cawed in the dark trees, and now and then the clear jubilant song of a lark was heard as he spared upward, rejoicing as he went. Hartley Netterville thought of many things, hut always the mysterious presence I of Rose Branksome seemed to envelop him, and the sound of her magnetic voice echoed in his ear. And she was to he tied for life to that sensual brute of a Phillips And he—why had not fate been more merciful ? He seemed to be imprisoned in an iron chain of circumstances from which there was no escape. As he mused, half waking and half sleeping, he heard the sound of voices close by, and then the name of Vida caught his ear. "Vida!—oh yes, I was rather smitten in that direction, and she was terribly gone on me. Only last year she wrote to me asking if there was any chance of my marrying her, for if there was she was quite ready to give up that doctor of hers. She said she was tired to death of the engagement. and would be only too glad to get out of it. I've got the letter now. I keep it in case of contin- gencies." And what answer did you make her ? said a second voice. "Declined with thanks! She's an very well to flirt with, but for a wife—no, ZA hundred times, no She's as hollow as a drum, and as selfish as they make 'em. I wish the doctor joy of his bargain she held on to him fast enough as soon as she found he could give her a position and a home 1" The voices died away in the distance and no more was heard. Dr. Netterville knew who the first speaker was—Sir Charles Camp- bell-a rich baronet who had been one of Vida's greatest admirers. To know that she had actually thrown herself at his feet was a revelation to her future husband, but as to her sellishness and insincerity, of those he had already bad abundant proof. And yet in one short hour they were to be man and wife! Already little groups were beginning to re assemble at the church doors, and carriages with wedding guests were stopping at the gates. As the sound of the chimes began again, Despard started up, exclaiming Why, 1 declare I must have been asleep. We had better be making tracks for the church it is past one o'clock. Hold on to the ring, old boy, don't lose it—and keep your pecker up. You look a bit white about the gills." Do I?" The waiting for the bridal party to appear seemed interminable. It; was half-past two before the hush which always precedes the long-expected event at length fell on the closely packed assemblage. Vida, a, radiant vision in diaphanous white with the gleam of diamonds shining through it, appeared at. the church door, leaning on Sir Everard Scott's arm. Never had she looked more smiling, more triumphant, than she did to- day. Every fold of delicate lace, every spray of orange blossom had been carefully studied so as to produce the necessary effect. The faintest soupoon of pink powder gave colour to her cheeks and brilliancy to her eyes. She was followed by four children in Kate Greehaway frocks, for she was much too clever to have younger or prettier girls of her own standing, close round her. Her graceful figure, her long throat, her beauti- fully moulded arms were all set off to the best advantage, yet how was it that Hartley Netterville felt a sudden impulse to push her from him? It seemed as though Rose Branksome were standing behind, and a voice called "There is your true wife; there stands the one woman in the world for you But already the "Wedding March" had I come to an end, and the marriage service had commenced. It was soon over the ring was Qn Vida's slender finger, and she was walking down the aisle leaning on Dr. Netterville's arm, and coyly smiling as she looked up in his face. It was a false smile, so he thought, in the I i; lit of those over-heard words by the 9 yew tree. When he and Vida were in the carriage alone driving back to Netherford Hall, she put out her hand and said softly "My very own at last! Have you nothing to say to your own wife ? Yes I have a great deal to say to her. What; about Sir Charles Campbell? What ajbout being tired to death of that five years engagement with the doctor ? YVho—who dared to say it? "she gasped, turning white under her Ninon de L'Eitclos bloom. Who dared to poison your mind against me?" "Never mind a little bird told me. But Vida, if you had wished to give me up, why, in God's name, didn't you fell me so ? Is is cruel, cruel-to begin like this on our wedding day," she sobbed. Sir Charles is a beast, a liar-a contemptible liar, who puts everything down as a gratification to his miserable vanity. Oh, I will be revenged on him some day "There is nothing to be revenged for. Come, Vida, dear, we must only try and make the best of each other." You were so much in love with me once,' sobbed Vida; "and so you will be again," she added, looking up more brightly. It is just because you have had such a long time to wait to-day, owing to that horrid Madame Claudine. Of course you are hungry and cross, and savage; but you'll recover pre- sently when you are fed." Perhaps so," said the doctor with a quiet smile. He was looking back on his infatua- tion for Vida long years ago—the infatua- tion of a romantic yoath for a mature woman — and wondering what; different phases of life a man may pass through, and yet be the same. The reception was over. The hundred and seventy presents had been duly exhibited and admired. Dr. Netterville bad been con- gratulated on his charming bride, and had made a bright little impromptu speech in return for the health of the bride and bride- groom, and now he and Vida were driving to York to catch the up train to London. As Vida had anticipated, they found it had already started, and the only thing to be done was to stay at an hotel till the morning. The only hotel which had suitable rooms was exactly opposite the theatre, which was a blaze of light as the performance was to commence at half-past seven, earlier than usual. Vida appeared at dinner in the private room they had engaged in a lovely evening toilette of the palest pink. Iwillmake him admire me,"she thought. I can make most men do what I want, and I am not going to be set at naught by my own husband, who has waited for me for so long!" She gazed up at him with alluring, slum- berous glances, but he barely glanced at her. He seemed to take no note of her freely dis- played neck and fair, soft arms. He was calmly, coldly indifferent. Dinner was hardly over when he started up, and rushed to the window. A crowd had collected below. From the roof of the theatre fierce flames were seen, and cries of horror and dismay rent the air. "Good heavens!" cried the doctor," the theatre's on fire. I must run out and see what can be done." And leave inc exclaimed Vida. "Leave me on the evening of our wedding day Of course I must. I may be wanted. I may save someone's life. Don't try to keep me. See, the flames are bursting out again 1 I Oil, liartley, how can you be so cruel as to go?" I think it is you who are cruel to want me to stay. Don't you hear the screams ? Leave go of my arm, I say, leave go He almost; shook her from him. Vida stood gazing after him for a moment, then with a cry of disiippointment and wounded vanity, she sank into a chair and buried her face in her hands. It was indeed a strange ending to her wedding day. The cruellest stab ot all was that she knew she had only the shadow ot Hartley Netter- ville's love-the substance had, in some mysterious way, departed from her for ever. Would it, could it, ever return ? Was there another woman in the case ? She began to, fear there must be. But she knew nothing. The long-wished for fruit was hers, but, like the apples of the Dead Sea, it had turned to ashes in her mouth She took another glance out of the window. The fla.mes were rising higher and higher, and an angry hiss was in the air as of a monster hungry for his prey. (To be continued.)
KING AND HIS SERVANTS. I The generous way in which the King and Queen treat their servants was again demon- strated at Sandringham, when their Majesties gave a fancy-dress ball to all those engaged in the Royal household. The event, which was only announced a few days before, was very eagerly looked forward to, every servant re- ceived permission to invite a friend from out- side, and the attendance was very large, some 200 persons being present. The servants' hall was converted into a ball-room, and was very tastefully decorated with kolly and other ever- greens. From the centre of the roof swung a large bunch of mistletoe, under which a good many osculatory greetings were exchanged. Dancing commenced about nine o'clock, and was in full swing at midnight, when the King and Queen and Princess Victoria entered the halL Their Majesties were received with much enthusiasm, and remained for some time con- versing with their guests. Supper was served during the evening, the tables being loaded with Christmas fare, including mince pies made ac- cording to the Sandringham recipe, which is kept an inviolable secret. Dancing was con- tinued until two o'clock in the morning.
RAILWAY MEN'S WAGES. I Mr. ^t. Bell, M.P., has issued the railway men's programmes for England and Wales", Scotland, and Ireland, agreed upon by the executive committee of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants. For England and Wales the railway men ask for an eight-hour standard day for all men engaged in moving the traffic, and ten hours for others, a guaran- teed day's work when called on duty, and a guaranteed week's wage for all men compelled to give their whole time to a company. Over- time to be paid for at time and a quarter, and Sunday work time and a half, Sunday being reckoned as extra duty over and above the week's work. Christmas-day and Good Friday to be reckoned as Sunday. All men to receive an advance of 2s. per week, and those in the London districts to be paid 3s. per week more than those outside. Practically the same conditions are asked for in Scotland and Ireland, except that in the former a minimum wage of 21s. per week is asked for, and in Ireland an advance of 2s. per week to all men receiving less than 19s., and Is. to all receiving 19s.
I TWO REPRIEVES. I A reprieve has been granted by the Home Secretary in the case of Mary Hutchby, sentenced to death at the recent Nottingham Assizes. The Society for the Abolition of Capital Punishment sent a petition on her behalf to Mr. Gladstone, in which it was pointed out that the woman was suffering from cancer, and that, therefore, a sentenco of imprisonment was equal to the infliction of the death penalty. James Dagnail, the miner sentenced to death for the murder of James Dalton, at Conisborough, has been reprieved. When he was informed of this by the Governor of Wakefield Gaol on Saturday he showed no signs of pleasure. II
Ekneligoda Basnayake Nilame has appealed against the decision of the magistrate at Hat- napura, Ceylon, fining him £ 33 6s. 8d. for neglecting to take proper care of an elephant, which threw its keeper and killed an intoxicated man who tried to recapture it. Nilaine said that the elephant was good tempered, except when teased, or when it smelt or tasted liquor, to which it has a great aversion.
STRANGE POISON STORY. A strange story was told at NorthSeet, when George Rhodes, 30, an insurance agent, was remanded, charged with attempting to cause a white precipitate poison to be administered to his wife, with intent to injure her. Mrs. Rhodes, who gave her evidence with great difficulty, said she had been continually ill since August, and had been in the doctor's hands all the time. A fortnight ago while she was mending her boots she became violently sick. The Clerk: Had you had anything just be- fore that?—Yes I had half a glass of beer my husband gave me. I did not notice anything in it. I only noticed that it had a good head on it. I went straight to Dr. Wiseman, who sent me to the hospital at Gravesend. I only came out last Saturday. She added that many things she had taken at home had upset her, and sue had tasted "bitter stuff" in her medicine. When did you first notice anything wrong about your food or drink?—I think it was á. cup of tea, about five or six weeks ago. On the following Sunday when she was under medical advice, and was remaining in bed, her husband brought her up a cup of mutton broth. She took a spoonful of it, and at once became ill. He took it downstairs, and told her that he had eaten it. The broth tasted bitter. "On the following Tuesday," Mrs. Rhodes continued, I got up feeling well. I had my breakfast and suddenly became funny and was ill. 1 had a suspicion of him then, and thought to myself, I will see what there is in his pockets.' I went downstairs, and whilst he was out I felt in the pockets of his waistcoat which was lying on the sofa. I found a little phial, which I had had—a little phial of pepsine. It now con- tained a white powder, and I emptied a little in a piece of paper and put the rest back in hia pocket. I took the powder up to the doctor. Witness said she had had no unpleasantness with her husband until he upset her with a woman he brought into the house about two months or more ago.