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"Let it turn out as it may," resumed the
vicar, " I cannot easily forgive her. She
has been ungrateful and deceitful. But she
is my child, my only child. I cannot
abandon her to her fate. She writes me
here, that Sir John had private reasons for
making a secret marriage——"

"Marriage! Is she married?"

"If she is not, ho shall answer it, the
infernal villain! But," added the vicar,
recovering himself somewhat, " you
perceive how all-important it may be not to
give evil tongues a handle. You will speak
ofyou will defenda runaway match,
nothing more. That is bad enough. I
must go to London to-night. A train leaves
Danecester at midnight. I might drive to
a bye- station at once, but I should be no
better off. We must wait for the twelve
o'clock mail; there is no direct train to
London between this hour and midnight.
Every hour seems an age."

"Yes, yes; you must go. God grant
you may find her! Have you any clue?"
"A few words dropped by that man's
servant. And his own intention, expressed
some time ago, of going to Italy. If I can
but be in time to prevent their leaving

"And Miss Desmond goes with you?"

"Yes. My poor Maudie! Ah, how little
your mother thought to what contact with
misery and disgrace she was exposing you
when she bequeathed you to my care!"

They were the first words of consideration
for any human being's suffering, save
his own, that the vicar had spoken.

Arrangements were hastily made for the
departure that evening. Mr. Plew was
helpful and active. He ordered a vehicle
to take the vicar and his ward to Danecester
at seven o'clock. Old Joanna was
to be in chargeof the house.Catherine
sobbed as she packedup a few clothes for

" Seems like as if a earthquake had
corned and swallowed us all up, miss," said
Catherine. The vicar had fought hard to
show a brave front to the servants, to
kivp up appearances; but without much
success; for there was no conviction at the
bottom of his own heart to enable him to
persuade others that all would be well with
his daughter. He was too much a man of
the world to give credence to the assertion
made in the hurried letter left behind
her by Veronica, that weighty private
reasons had prevented Sir John Gale from
openly demanding her hand, and had
induced him to urge her to consent to a
clandestine marriage. " For a man of his
age and position, there can exist no such
reasons," muttered the vicar between his
clenched teeth. " Miserable, wretched,
misguided, degraded, girl! But if there is
justice on earth he shall marry her. He shall
find that he cannot thus outrage and defy
the world. He shall marry her by——. ."

The dusk was falling when the vicar and
his ward drove away from the garden gate
of the vicarage. As they passed the spot
where Sir John Gale had been found
bleeding and insensible on the ground,
Mr. Levincourt closed his eyes and groaned

Maud started, as the scene recalled to
her mind the fact that the accident had
happened little more than two months ago.

"Two months!" she said to herself,
while the tears blinded her eyes and
streamed down her cheeks. " How happy
we were, only two months ago 1"


ONE autumn, a year or two ago, in pursuit
of my travels, I struck into the wild mountain
region of Southern Oregon, just north of the
California boundary line. I had not gone far
on the trail before 1 overtook a stalwart, grey-
shirted, knee-booted individual. He had a
pack of scarlet blankets strapped on his back,
and as he trudged along, for want of better
company, he held an animated conversation
with himself: an oath being most innocently
introduced every now and then, when the merits
of the case seemed to call for it. He was an
old gold-digger returning to his favourite
" creek." He had been off, on one of the usual
digger wild-goose chases, after some fancied El
Dorado at a distance; but was returning,
disappointed, to the place where he had mined for
many a year. Every locality was familiar to
him. As we walked together over the mountain,
or by the banks of the creek or stream,
down in the wooded valley, my companion
would point out to me, with a half-regretful
pride, the places where " big strikes" had been
made in former times. Pointing to a ruined
log cabin, out of the door of which a coyote
wolf rushed, he assured me that the owner of
that cabin had washed some forty thousand
dollars out of a patch twenty or thirty yards
in extent.

' Was he a white man?" I asked; for there
are numbers of Chinese miners in that section
if country.

"Wal," was the reply, " not muchly; he war
a Dutchman."

In Pacific Coast parlance, it appeared a
"white man" did not altogether refer to the
colour of his face but to the quality of his
soul, and meant a good fellow anda right sort
of a man: and that Dutchmen or Germans, and