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of the gentlemen taking Belton aside, said:

"It is useless, I suppose, to change the
resolution of your principal?"

"This gentleman knows me," thought
Belton, "and is aware what a pig-headed
blockhead my principal old Jones is. Change
his resolution!" he said aloud. "When he
has once made up his mind, you might as
soon ask a milestone to grow into buttermilk,"

"Then we may proceed to business at
once," said the gentleman, drawing himself
up and assuming a haughty look.

"With all my heart," said Belton.

"Will you step, or shall I?"

"You, if you please."

"You'll drop your handkerchief?"

"Sir, I'm very much obliged to you," said
Mr. Belton, placing his handkerchief in the
breast-pocket of his coat, and considering
that the gentleman was warning him against
the depredations of rustic thieves.

In the space of two minutes from the time
they arrived on the ground, Mr. Belton, with
the half-consciousness of a person in an opium
dream, saw some curious evolutions
performed without having the slightest idea of
what they meant. His companion took his
stand opposite the third gentleman of the
other party, who had kept some little way
retired. The active individual who had
entered into such a strange conversation with
him, took long steps, loading pistols, whispering
to the two gentlemen, and making himself
excessively useful in a way he had never
observed before. The tall and powerful
figure of his friend might have been a study
for painter or sculptor. His lips firmly
contracted; his cheek pale. There was one
peculiarity of his attitude which it was
impossible not to observe: with his left elbow
supported on his right hand, the left hand
was used in continually smoothing the long
moustaches which adorned his lips. While
all the preparations were going on he never
moved from that one position, till on a pistol
being placed in his hand, he turned rapidly
round, watched the fall of a handkerchief
which was dropped by the active assistant,
and two sharp cracks went off at the same
moment. When Mr. Belton looked again he
saw his companion stretched on the ground,
his face covered with blood, and the
discharged weapon lying close to his nerveless
hand. The third member of the original
party came quickly up from the phaeton
where he had stood; grasped the wrist of
the recumbent figure, and shook his head on
discovering no pulse. With a cloth which
he had rapidly unrolled he tied up the chin
of the unfortunate combatant, giving him
the ghastly appearance of a corpse; and,
exclaiming, "Gentlemen, this is an
unfortunate affair. The wound is fatal. We must
provide for our own safety," he aided the
horror-struck perpetrator of the crime into
the phaeton, mounted the box, and drove off
at full gallop across the down.

This was too serious a matter to be
misunderstood any more. Belton was terrified
and shockedterrified at the prospect of his
own fate, and shocked at the dreadful ending
of the unfortunate young man. He overcame
the instinctive horror, which all men
have of death, and placed his hand on the
victim's breast. There was vital warmth
still there; but he could detect no beating of
the pulse. The cloth round the jaw became
saturated with blood; and, sickened with
the sight, bewildered with surprise, and
utterly unknowing what to do, he was
wakened at last from the torpor of his
despair by hearing, at a great distance, the
voices of some of the shepherds noisily
guiding their flocks.

He rushed away, scarcely caring in what
direction. In spite of his eminent skill in
horseflesh, his practical education in that
department had been neglected; and he had
not the least hope of being able to drive the
fiery coursers in the curricle, even if he had
known in what direction to make the
attempt. He had some vague recollection of
a law by which the person found in presence
of a murdered man was instantly executed,
or at all events imprisoned for trial. But
who was to give notice of the terrible event?
Was the corpse to lie there, unhouselled,
unanointed, on the summit of that bare moor,
looking up into noonday sun and midnight
stars with that awful visage, with the white
cloth round the chin? These thoughts
passed through him with the rapidity of
lightningperhaps they did not occupy half
a minute altogether. But the good prevailed
over the timid in Belton's nature; and he
determined that his late companion, if beyond
the reach of human aid, should at least have
Christian burial. He made right across the
combe or ravine by which they had
ascended; and, on the upland levels of the
opposite down, he encountered a man engaged
in watching a great number of sheep.

"Can you drive a pair of horses?"
inquired Belton, assuming as easy a manner
as he could.

"Ees; I droives five," said the man; "and
main hard work it be when they be all on

Belton thought probably it was tremendous
work to drive five rearing horses, which was
his interpretation of their being all on end;
but felt sure now that the curricle would be
a very easy affair in the hands of such a

"Then here's half-a-crown for you," he
said. "Go to that hill, and you will see a
gentlemanlying on his backonly to
refresh himself, of course. Help him into the
carriage you will see near, and drive to the
nearest surgeon's: he has met with a slight
accident. In fact," he added with a faint
laugh, "he has had a hurl out of his drag
and requires a plaster."

"I be Doctor Whimbler's man," said the

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