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past that gold was missing. This morning
'twas gone; a search was made, and the
marked guineas were found with your son
William."

The old man covered his face with his hands,
and rocked himself to and fro.

"Where is he now?" at length he asked, in
a hoarse voice.

"Locked up safe in the inner store-room;
the master intends sending him to gaol early
to-morrow morning"

"He will not," said Gahan slowly. "Kill the
boy that saved his life!-- no, no."

"Poor fellow! the grief is setting his mind
astray-- and sure no wonder! " said the cook,
compassionately.

"I'm not astray! " cried the old man,
fiercely. "Where's the master?-- take me to
him."

"Come with me," said the butler, "and I'll
ask him will he see you?"

With faltering steps the father complied;
and when they reached the parlour, he
trembled exceedingly, and leant against the
wall for support, while the butler opened the
door, and said:

"Gahan is here, Sir, and wants to know will
you let him speak to you for a minute?"

"Tell him to come in," said Mr. Hewson, in
a solemn tone of sorrow, very different from
his ordinary cheerful voice.

"Sir," said the steward, advancing, "they
tell me you are going to send my boy to
prison,-- is it true?"

"Too true, indeed, Gahan. The lad who
was reared in my house, whom my wife
watched over in health, and nursed in sickness
whom we loved almost as if he were
our own, has robbed us, and that not once or
twice, but many times. He is silent and
sullen, too, and refuses to tell why he stole the
money, which was never withheld from him
when he wanted it. I can make nothing of
him, and must only give him up to justice in
the morning."

"No, Sir, no. The boy saved your life;
you can't take his."

"You 're raving, Gahan."

"Listen to me, Sir, and you won't say so.
You remember this night twenty years? I
came here with my motherless child, and
yourself and the mistress pitied us, and spoke
loving words to him. Well for us all you did
so! That night-- little you thought it!-- I was
banded with them that were sworn to take
your life. They were watching you outside
the window, and I was sent to inveigle you
out, that they might shoot you. A faint
heart I had for the bloody business, for you
were ever and always a good master to me;
but I was under an oath to them that I
darn't break, supposing they ordered me to
shoot my own mother. Well! the hand of
God was over you, and you wouldn't come
with me. I ran out to them, and I said--
'Boys, if you want to shoot him, you must
do it through the window,' thinking they'd
be afeard of that; but they weren't-- they
were daring fellows, and one of them, sheltered
by the angle of the window, took deadly aim
at you. That very moment you took Billy on
your knee, and I saw his fair head in a line
with the musket. I don't know exactly then
what I said or did, but I remember I caught
the man's hand, threw it up, and pointed to
the child. Knowing I was a determined
man, I believe they didn't wish to provoke
me; so they watched you for a while, and
when you didn't put him down they got
daunted, hearing the sound of soldiers riding
by the road, and they stole away through the
grove. Most of that gang swung on the
gallows, but the last of them died this
morning quietly in his bed. Up to yesterday
he used to make me give him money,--
sums of money to buy his silence-- and it
was for that I made my boy a thief. It was
wearing out his very life. Often he went
down on his knees to me, and said: 'Father,
I'd die myself sooner than rob my master,
but I can't see you disgraced. Oh, let us fly
the country! ' Now, Sir, I have told you all
do what you like with me-- send me to
gaol, I deserve it-- but spare my poor deluded
innocent boy!"

It would be difficult to describe Mr.
Hewson's feelings, but his wife's first impulse was
to hasten to liberate the prisoner. With a
few incoherent words of explanation she led
him into the presence of his master, who,
looking at him sorrowfully but kindly, said:

"William, you have erred deeply, but not
so deeply as I supposed. Your father has
told me everything. I forgive him freely and
you also."

The young man covered his face with his
hands, and wept tears more bitter and
abundant than he had ever shed since the
day when he followed his mother to the
grave. He could say little, but he knelt on
the ground, and clasping the kind hand of
her who had supplied to him that mother's
place, he murmured;

"Will you tell him I would rather die
than sin again."

Old Gahan died two years afterwards, truly
penitent, invoking blessings on his son and on
his benefactors; and the young man's conduct,
now no longer under evil influence, was so
steady and so upright, that his adopted
parents felt that their pious work was
rewarded, and that, in William Gahan, they
had indeed a son.

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