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connection between these scenes of horror
and the barbarities committed in the diggings
of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers.



In the cottage to the left hand of the forge
at Harwood there lived, about five and
twenty years ago, a man of the name of
Christopher,—or, as the country-folks
abbreviated it, KesterPateman. He had formerly
held the post of village blacksmith and
farrier, but had long since retired from the
exercise of his craft. He was said to have
the gift of the evil eye; not that he was a
malicious man, but that involuntarily his
look blighted whatever it fixed upon. Friend
or enemy, his own children or aliens, it was
all one; Kester's eye settled on them, and
they withered away. No single thing
prospered with him. The crops on his little
farm were always either frosted, blighted,
or miserably thin; or, if they were good and
abundant, rain came after the corn was cut,
and it lay out until it sprouted and rotted
away; once he got it all stacked and the
stack took fire; another time the grain was
threshed out and stored up in safety, but the
rats devoured a third of it. His cattle were
the leanest in the country; his sheep died
of disease; his children perished one by
one as they grew up to manhood and womanhood;
every horse he shod, fell lame before
it had gone a mile. Kester was a miserable
man; all the country avoided him as if he
had got the plague.

Kester had one child left: a daughter,
born long after the rest; she being the
offspring of a young Irish girl whom he had
chosen to marry in his old age. The Irish
girl ran away soon after the child's birth, on
the plea of having a husband in her own
country whom she liked better.

Kester made no attempt to bring her
back, but contented himself with spoiling
Katie. Katie was not a bit like what his
other children had been; she was her
mother over again. Two wide-opened dark
blue eyes, a white skin considerably freckled,
black elf locks always in a tangle, a wide
red mouth, and little teeth like pearls; a
smart and lissome, and a step that
lilted along as if it kept time to an inward
tune, made of Katie a village beauty and a

The strangest thing of all was (so the
people thought at least) that Kester's evil
eye had no effect on Katie. She grew as
strongly and bloomed as hardily, as the wild
briar in the hedge-row. Everybody remembered
the five children who were born to
him by his first wife; how they pined
from their cradle. They had a sickly hectic
in their faces like their mother; while
Katie's cheeks were red as a damask rose:
they crept about home weary and ailing
always, while Katie was away in the woods,
nutting and bird-nesting like a boy. Kester
could deny her nothing, and she grew up, to
the wonder of the village, healthier, more wilful,
and bonnier than any girl in the district.


The blacksmith who had succeeded Kester
Pateman at the village forge was a young
man of herculean strength, and a wild
character. He was more than suspected of a
tenderness for the Squire's pheasants, but
the gamekeeper had not yet been found bold
enough to give him a night encounter in the
woods; his name was Rob Mc'Lean; he had
been a soldier, and was discharged with a
good conduct pension, after ten years' service,
and two wounds. He was Katie's first
sweetheart. She was very proud to be seen
walking with him in the green lane on
Sunday nights; but it was more child's pride
than anything else, for, when he began to
talk about marrying, she laughed and said
no, she was not for him, he was too old.

Jasper Linfoot, the miller's eldest son,
next cast his eyes upon her, and followed
her like her shadow for a month; but no
Katie did not fancy him, he was too ugly:
he squinted, he had red hair, and his legs
were not both of the same length. Then
there was Peter Askew, the squire's
huntsman, but he was a widower; and
Phil Cressy, the gardener, but he was a
goose; and Tom Carterbut Katie could
never abide a tailor.

While Katie, very hard to please, was
coquetting with her would-be lovers, perfectly
safe and perfectly heart-free, Kester Pateman
had settled all the time whom she should
marryJohnny Martin, and nobody else.
Johnny was the only son of Martin, the
squire's coachman, who had saved money. He
was a simple young man, with lank hair, a
meek expression of countenance, and some gift
for expounding, which he practised to small
select congregations in Pateman's barn every
Sunday evening. When Kester announced
his intention to his daughter, Katie pouted
her red lips and tossed her head, saying with
an accent of superlative contempt, "That
Johnny!" But she answered neither yea
nor nay to her father's words; and the next
Sunday "that Johnny" came courting with
a little basket of cabbages on his arm, as an
offering to his belle.

Katie looked as if it would have done her
heart good to fling them one after the other
in his fat foolish face, but she restrained the
impulse, and only said:

"I'll plant 'em out to-morrow, Johnny."

"Plant them out, Katie! Why they're to

"Pigs?" asked Katie in innocent
bewilderment. "We don't keep any."

"No, they're for you, Katie; they're the
finest white-hearts."

"Hearts! Oh, Johnny, take 'em away
directly; hearts!—I never saw a heart