SThe Baldwin Library
THROUGH OLD WINDOWS.
DR. MOWBRAY AND THE BRIGANDS.
THROUGH OLD WINDOWS:
A SERIES OF STORIES
ILLUSTRATING FABLES OF IESOP.
AUTHOR OF "TALES FOR THE TWILIGHT;" "TROUBLES AND TRIUMPHS OF
LITTLE TIM," ETC
.. . . ..
BLACKIE & SON, 49 OLD BAILEY, E.C.;
GLASGOW, EDINBURGH, AND DUBLIN.
THE following short series of stories is designed
to bring before the young mind, in a new and
entertaining form, some of the shreds of wit and
wisdom which have come down to us from ancient
times in the guise of fables. The fables here
chosen for texts are old friends, familiar to us
from our earliest years; and the tales, although
amusement has been a chief end aimed at, will
be found most of them to suggest some important
truth, or teach some sound lesson in practical
morality. Human nature, it has been said, is
always much the same, and if the author has suc-
ceeded in showing that the observations on life
and character of keen-eyed Grecian sages thou-
sands of years ago are as applicable now as then,
an additional illustration of this will have been
THE COCK AND THE JEWEL; or,
Amos Doon's Nugget, .9
THE JACKDAW IN BORROWED FEATHERS; or,
The Vicar's Little Treat, 33
THE STAG AT THE POOL; or,
The Mother's Choice, 61
THE WOLF AND THE CRANE; or,
An Adventure in Spain, .. 81
THE FARMER AND THE SNAKE; or,
The Story of Absalom Dayvis, .. 107
THE MAN WHO COULD JUMP AT RHODES; or,
A Perilous Voyage, .125
THE LION AND THE MOUSE; or,
Charlie and Neddie, 159
THE CRANES AND THE STORK; or,
Little Tommy Dale, 181
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
DR. MOWBRAY AND THE BRIGANDS, (Frontispiece) 87
AMOS FINDS THE NUGGET, 9
RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL, 122
THE COCK AND THE JEWEL;
AMOS DOON'S NUGGET.
THE COCK AND THE JEWEL.
A cock one day scratching for something with which to entertain hu.3
favourite hIen, happened to turn up a jewel. At first he felt quite sure
it was something precious, but finding he could do nothing with it he
addressed it as follows:-" You are a very fine thing, no doubt, but
you are not at all to my taste. For my part, I would rather hare one
grain of dear delicious barley than all the jewels in the uorld."--Esop.
AMOS DOON'S NUGGET.
MOS DOON had lived some quiet, in-
dustrious, and frugal years in the neigh-
bourhood of one of the little towns
which sprang up so quickly forty or fifty years
ago round the shores of Port Phillip on the south-
east coast of Australia. Some of these towns are
not so little now. Melbourne is the thriving
capital of Victoria with some 200,000 inhabitants;
Williamstown, Brighton, and Geelong are all
large and important towns, as towns go in a new
country. Amos had been a sort of market
gardener in Scotland, and had come out to the
young colony in the hope of making a little more
money than he was able to do at home. With
the savings he had brought with him he had
purchased a patch of land which had already
12 AMOS DOON'S NUGGET.
been brought into cultivation, and by raising
vegetables of various kinds and selling them in
the neighboring town he managed to live well
and put past something besides. Had he con-
tinued to pursue this humble but remunerative
line of work, and extended his dealings by degrees,
he would certainly have come to possess means
for all the needs of a comfortable and happy life.
Though forty years old at the time we make
his acquaintance Amos was still a bachelor.
There was, however, a young woman at service
with a family near by whom he would have
liked to make his wife, and he had reason to
believe she would have him if he asked her. She
was well versed in all sorts of country matters,
and would have helped in his work, as well as
brightened up his home with the sunshine of
affection. But he hung back; he wished to have
more money first; he could not bring his heart to
expend any of what he had on the necessary pre-
parations. For, let me say it at once, Amos had
one vice-a very ugly one-he was avaricious.
He loved money, not so much for what it would
procure, as for its own sake. He liked Mary, but
he liked his money better.
AMOS DOON'S NUGGET. 13
"Have you heard the news?" said a customer
of Amos Doon's to him one day towards the
end of the year 1851, as he was delivering an
"What news?" asked Amos.
"Great discovery of gold in the mountains
"Gold?" and Amos's eyes glistened.
"Ay; beats California hollow, they tell me.
Great find near Ballarat. May pick it up from
amongst your feet and fill your pockets with it."
"No!" and Amos's eyes not only glistened but
actually grew larger.
Well, not quite that, perhaps; but a few digs
with a pick is sure to turn up something. They
are leaving the town in dozens-flocking to the
fields. Never was such a find, they tell me."
"And where may the place be?" asked Amos.
"North-west, at the foot of the hill-range; less
than a hundred miles from this. I'm off, I can
tell you, as soon as I can get away."
Amos went home in a dream. Gold-real
gold to be had almost for the lifting! He had
heard of the gold diggings in California, and
what fortunes had sometimes been made by lucky
14 AMOS DOON'S NUGGET.
searchers in a few weeks; and some reports had
reached him recently of similar doings in New
South Wales. But here it was, almost at his own
door. All night he dreamt of nothing but lumps
of yellow shining metal, always within reach,
but which somehow he never could get actually
into his hands.
For several days he went about his business
in a plodding, dissatisfied mood. What a slow
way of getting rich this was! Some men at that
very moment, perhaps, were turning up a lump
of gold worth more than he could save in ten
years. Then he heard of this one and that one
going off to the diggings. Why should he not go
too? Yes, he would go. The "gold fever" was
fairly upon him. He forgot his comfortable cot,
his Mary, the healthy and pleasant occupation
which secured him at least a moderate income-
everything but the delight of digging up and
handling lumps of gold. So one morning he shut
up his place, and with some tools, food, and other
necessaries in a small wheelbarrow, started on his
It was a long and toilsome road. The path he
was able to follow for some time was rough and
AMOS DOON'S NUGGET. 15
only half made, and even this soon merged in a
mere track through the scrub. The track was,
however, pretty well marked and beaten by the
feet of those who had traversed it before him.
He was able to proceed but slowly, and every
now and again he was overtaken and passed by
others either on horseback, or stronger and less
burthened than himself.
It took Amos a week to reach the diggings,
and he could not help fearing that the gold would
be all dug up and appropriated before he reached
the spot. During the heat of mid-day and the
darkest part of the night he rested in some
shady nook where he could lie concealed, eat his
frugal meals, and snatch a few hours' sleep.
* At length in the afternoon of the eighth day
he reached the nearest colony of gold-seekers.
It was in a sort of hollow near the foot of a
sloping hill, and over the whole expanse Amos
could see men busy at work, or bargaining with
dealers, or sitting eating and drinking at the
doors of wooden shanties. He approached a
group of three, who seemed to have finished their
dinner, and were sitting silently smoking out of
16 AMOS DOON'S NUGGET.
"Is this where the gold is got?" asked Amos
Well," said one of the men-who had on a
sort of short smock or blouse, which might once
have been white-looking slowly up at him,
"yes-by them as are lucky enough to find it."
"Bother the luck," cried another who was
dressed in a blue jersey and knickerbockers. "If
it doesn't turn soon I'm off, by jabers but I am.
If it wasn't for the bits I've seen other boys
scratch out a'most with their fingers, I wouldn't
believe there was such a thing at all, at all."
"No muckle o't has come my wey yet," said
the third, who wore a moleskin jacket and
trousers, and a blue cloth bonnet with a deep
peak in front.
I hear," said the first speaker, "there's a much
richer find some miles further on."
These men don't want any more to share their
gains, thought Amos, and was moving off.
Hi, frien'," cried the moleskin jacket, if ye're
gaun tae try your haun, ye'll need a mate."
"No," said Amos. He knew that it was cus-
tomary for the diggers to work in couples, but
he had made up his mind to keep by himself.
AMOS DOON'S NUGGET. 17
Whatever luck he might have he did not want
to share it; besides, he knew no one, and would
not trust a stranger.
Perhaps you don't want a shantie either" said
Amos thought a moment and then said:
"Yes, I suppose I shall want a shantie; I sup-
pose I can put up one."
Better have one ready made. I've one to sell
for two coves who left yesterday. Yon's it with
the white paper stuck on it," pointing to a small
wooden shed a little way off.
Amos went towards the erection, examined it,
and thought it might do; then walked back and
struck a bargain for it. Locking up his wheel-
barrow and tools in his new acquisition he walked
out to "prospect" a little, as it is called; that is,
to look out for a convenient and promising place
to dig in. He looked in at several of the "claims"
where men were working, and noted what they
were like and the method of proceeding. There
was no such machinery in use then as there is
now; it was all pick, shovel, punch, and hammer,
At length he fixed on a likely spot which no
one seemed yet to have tried.
18 AMOS DOONS NUGGET.
Next morning he went to work in earnest.
But neither that day, nor the next, not yet the
next again did he meet with any of the yellow
lumps he had been dreaming about. At the end
of a week's work he took some chips which looked
promising to a dealer, but was told they were
"Here's the sort of thing, you see," said the
man, placing a nugget in his hand.
"What may the worth of that be?" he asked.
"About a hundred."
"A hundred pounds?"
Amos looked at the heavy yellowish bit of
metal longingly, handled it caressingly, and
resigned it with a sigh.
He went home, took his supper sadly, and
went to bed.
He was near the end of his small store of
money. Necessaries were dear at the diggings;
the storekeepers, it was said, were making a
better thing of it than the miners. If he had no
better luck soon he would have to give it up.
That night he dreamed that he was at work
in his station, that he put his punch into a hole
j- .. ,.. ',." ." .
Is I, / 7
"* -" t ?' }' i
AMOS FINDS TIHE NUGGET.
AMOS DOON'S NUGGET. 19
and prized up the rock, and that in a cavity
beneath he found a large glittering lump of gold.
He was just putting out his hand to lift it when
he waked. It was gray morning. With the
dream still fresh in his mind he got up, hurried
on his clothes, seized his tools, and went out. No
one was at work yet that he could hear or see as
he went along to his "claim." Was there, or was
there not such a hole in the rock where he
wrought as he had dreamed of? Yes, there
surely was a fissure just about where he had seen
it in his dream. With a beating heart he struck
his punch into it, and applying his whole strength
drew off a huge mass of rock, and-yes-that
was like the nugget he had had in his hand
yesterday, but ten times larger and heavier. He
could lift it, certainly, he could carry it without
much strain, but still it was of considerable
weight. So startling a fulfilment of Amos's dream
may seem unlikely, but it was only a coincidence,
and coincidences quite as strange have occurred
in the experience of many people. Indeed, there
are few who could not on looking back over their
lives tell of coincidences hardly less wonderful.
Amos burst out all over in a sweat, which was
20 AMOS DOON'S NUGGET.
more the result of mental agitation than bodily
exertion. Here was his dreams-not only his
dream of last night, but his dreams every night
for weeks back-realized. What should he do
with it? Take it to the dealers? No; they
would be sure to cheat him. Besides he could
not think to part with it. He loved gold for
itself, and here it was in a solid yellow mass.
He sat and gloated over it for some time in a
state of pure enjoyment; but soon disturbing
thoughts came in. He must keep it, but where?
If it became known that he possessed such a
treasure it would be sure to be stolen from him.
He might be murdered for it. There were many
reckless, lawless characters among the miners.
A man had been murdered on that very spot, he
had heard, for the sake of his gold; and he had
himself seen a bloody fight between two rough
navvies over a disputed find. In the meantime
he covered it carefully up with rubbish, and went
back to his shanty for breakfast. But he could
not rest; before the meal was half eaten he was
back beside his nugget. Some one might acci-
dentally find it in his absence and make off with
it. He had to uncover it and pass his hand over
AMOS DOON'S NUGGET. 21
it before he was satisfied that it was safe. Then
he fearfully covered it up again.
What should he do with it? He would take
it home, that was the only thing he could do, and
after hiding it securely come back for more. Yes,
that was it. He would let no one know, and
steal away with his nugget early in the morning
before it was light.
He went about his preparations at once. He
took a strong bag which he had brought with
him, wrapped up his nugget in a spare flannel
shirt, and placed it at the bottom; on the top of
this he laid a pair of clean socks, and filled up
the bag with a day's provisions. He was sure he
would be able either to beg or purchase as much
food as would do him on the way from parties
coming along to the gold-fields, and he did not
want to overload himself. He then covered up
the whole again with rubbish and went in to rest.
It was now well on in the afternoon, and he
would like a good sleep before starting. He
could neither rest nor sleep. Once or twice he
got up and went to make sure that the heap
of rubbish had not been disturbed. Then he
thought his visits would be noticed and raise
22 AMOS DOON'S NUGGET.
suspicions; so he could only lie sleepless and
Two hours before daybreak he got up and
dressed himself, glided like a thief to where his
treasure lay, strapped the bag round his shoulders,
and stole like a thief through the camp. Before
the sun looked over the hill-tops he was several
miles on the homeward track.
Was he happy now, with his nugget all to
himself in the solitude of the forest ? No. For
one thing, it grew heavier the longer he carried
it; for another, he was in continual terror lest
those he met should guess what he had in the
bag. He had, in fact, since the acquisition of his
treasure, only exchanged one kind of anxiety for
another. Before, he had been anxious to get it;
now, he was wracked with fear lest he should
lose it. He would be happy, he said to himself,
when once he had it at home and safely hidden.
The only gratification he enjoyed at present was
to feel it all over now and again and think of
its size and value.
He had just risen to pursue his journey after
resting for half an hour, and taking his first meal
out of the bag, when he was startled by hearing
AMOS DOON'S NUGGET. 23
loud voices behind him. Had he been found
out? Were they after him? His heart beat and
his legs trembled. Looking back along the track
he saw two men coming along in whom he
thought he recognized two ruffianly fellows who
had worked near him, and of whom he had always
stood in some dread. An unreasoning terror
seized him. He sprang off the track into the
bush, and ran as fast as his burden would permit
till he believed he was safely out of sight, and
then sank exhausted at the foot of a tree. He
heard nothing more of his supposed pursuers.
There was nothing to be heard but a sort of un-
defined rustle amongst the trees, so low that it
was almost silence, and at intervals the chirp
of an insect or a bird. He gradually calmed down,
and as the sun was now hot, he sat still resting in
the shade till he fell fast asleep.
Amos had slept little for two nights, and he
now slept soundly for some hours. When he
awaked the sun was in the west. He felt hungry
and ate some more of his provisions, which left
him with only one other little meal; but he was
not uneasy about that. He rose and set out on
his return to the track, glad to find that his
24 AMOS DOON'S NUGGET.
nugget had returned to something like its original
After walking a considerable distance Amos
began to wonder that he had not already reached
the track. He did not think he had run so fast
or so far. He plodded on. Still no sign of the
track. He began to grow uneasy. He tried to get
a glimpse of a distant range of hills which should
have still been within view, but he could see
nothing save an endless range of trees, standing
somewhat apart, like trees in a nobleman's park,
the spaces between filled with shorter scrub or
plots of prairie grass. He went on a little further,
but seemed to be only getting deeper into the
forest. All at once it struck him that he must have
taken the wrong direction. He must have lost his
reckoning while asleep, and the different position
of the sun would help to deceive him. He must
go back-that was his first thought-back to the
spot where he had slept and start again. Back
he went; but whether he was going straight back
or not he found it impossible to be sure. One
part of the forest was so like another. Those
bred in the forest, like the American Indians, or
even the stupid natives of Australia, can guide
AMOS DOON'S NUGGET. 25
themselves by innumerable marks and signs and
note many differences not visible to the untrained
eye. Amos was not forest-bred, and was quite
helpless. He could neither find the track nor
the spot where he had rested, and just as the sun
went down he realized the awful fact that he was
lost in the scrub! He was dead tired, and with a
groan he sank down where he stood.
It grew quickly dark, and Amos saw no use in
rising again. The night was warm, for it was
the Australian summer, and he was not afraid of
wild beasts-he knew that there was scarcely
such a thing in that part of the world-so he
stretched himself out-to sleep, or wait, till morn-
ing. He did sleep. When he opened his eyes
again the stars were shining above him. He
could not remember at first where he was, but on
reaching out his hands and feeling the stiff grass
amid which he lay the truth struck him like a
shot from a gun; he was lost in the bush! He
could sleep no more. He sat up, opened the bag
to feel his nugget, and abstractedly ate the re-
mainder of his biscuits and cheese. That was
foolish of him. He was like a shipwrecked sailor
afloat on a raft in mid-ocean, and should have
26 AMOS DOON'S NUGGET.
husbanded his resources. It comforted him a
little to feel his nugget, and helped to pass the
weary hours till daybreak.
With the first gleam of light he was on his
feet; but in what direction was he to go? He
made a guess and started. He was now very
thirsty, and looked about for water, but none
was to be seen. On and on he dragged his
weary limbs, and the nugget got heavier and
heavier. Still no signs of the track. As the sun
rose and the heat increased his thirst got almost
unbearable, but there was neither stream nor
water-hole to be met with, the absence of water
being one of the most marked and disagreeable
features of the Australian wilds. Evening found
him, for anything he could see, much about where
he was in the morning.
The trees were mostly Eucalyptus or gum-trees
of different species, some of them of great height
and standing well apart, with their'thick leathery
leaves hanging motionless in the heat; but there
were others which Amos did not know the name
of, some of them apparently with no leaves at all
but with long spear-like twigs instead. Just at
twilight as he came upon an opener glade than
AMOS DOON'S NUGGET. 27
usual he saw a creature not far from him which
seemed to be drinking out of a pool, and two or
three smaller creatures gambolling round it. His
step had been heard, for the big one sat up sud-
denly on its haunches and looked at him, and
the little ones did the same. The little ones then
seemed to run into the belly of the big one, and
they all disappeared into the scrub. Amos knew
it was a female kangaroo with its young. He
ran to the spot, and to his great joy found a small
hole with just a little muddy water in it. He
flung himself down and sucked up the whole of
it in one drink. He was sorry there was so little,
but hoped some more would ooze out of the
ground by and by. He determined to stay here
for the night; but he was hungry now as well as
thirsty, and he wished he had saved some of his
biscuits and cheese. It was no use wishing, how-
ever, so he made himself as comfortable a bed as
he could between two bushes, and lay dosing and
dreaming throughout the night.
In the morning he found there was a little
more water in the hole. It was only a mouth-
ful, but it refreshed him, and lightening his
bag by throwing out the socks and the shirt,
28 AMOS DOON'S NUGGET.
he flung it, with the nugget still at the bottom,
over his shoulder, and resolved to walk straight
forward, when surely he must come out some-
where, either into the track, or into a clearing
with some human habitation near.
Resolutely he trudged on, sometimes over a
grassy expanse, sometimes through rough scrubby
stuff, the great trees sometimes closer, and some-
times more widely set. How long he kept his
feet he could not tell, but he was still in the bush
when he felt he would have to give it up. He
was faint with hunger, and tortured by thirst.
Stop; here was an opening something like the
one in which he had found the water-hole last
night, and surely there was a hollow. He tottered
forward; there was a hole, but it was quite dry;
and-no, it could not be-and yet yes it was-it
must be the very hole he had drained dry in the
morning! There was the spot between the
bushes with the mark of his body still on it, and
there on one side the things he had thrown out
of his bag when he started. Instead of walking
straight forward he had merely described a circle!
He flung himself on the ground and rolled and
shrieked in agony.
AMOS DOON'S NUGGET. 29
Was there nothing on the bushes or trees that
he could eat? Nothing that Amos knew of. He
thrust a handful of grass in his mouth and tried
to eat it, but it stuck in his throat, and he had to
spit it out.
He took out his nugget and looked at it. What
was the use of it to him now? How gladly he
would have exchanged it for one cupful of water
or a cake of bread!
Next day he was able to go only a very little
way, and the next hardly any distance at all. He
got dazed, and his mind began to wander. Visions
of tables spread with all sorts of delicious food,
and bucketfuls of sweet cooling drinks were con-
tinually presenting themselves to his fancy. He
sat down for the last time and took out his nug-
get. A nugget? It was a skull with black eye-
less sockets! He started back with a shriek. No,
it was a grinning fiend with glittering eyes about
to spring on him. He shrieked again, and shut
his eyes; he was too weak to run. When he
looked again the fiend was gone, and in its place
was a nice wheaten loaf, looking just as if it had
newly come from the oven. Mustering his failing
strength he made a grasp at it, and a dash at it
30 AMOS DOON'S NUGGET.
with his teeth. With spasmodic strength he bit
deep into the gold, and rolling over, lay still.
Two stockmen were riding home from a distant
station where they had been erecting some sheds.
They were a rough-looking pair, carried guns
slung across their backs, and had a few cutting
and digging implements strapped in front of their
"What's this?" said one of the men as his
horse shied a little. "A man asleep, or drunk,
"More likely dead," said the other as he peered
across the buttocks of his comrade's beast.
"As dead as a log," pronounced the first speaker
after a short examination.
"What's this he's holding to his mouth?" said
one, and he dragged the nugget from between
poor Amos's teeth with some difficulty.
"I'm blessed," said the other after handling it,
"if it isn't a lump of the real stuff!"
"Hold hard, mate."
"Don't I know? Haven't I worked amongst
AMOS DOON'S NUGGET. 31
it? It's a regular nugget, I tell you, and the
largest and out and out goldiest I ever handled."
"I'm blowed! What might it be worth now,
The old digger balanced it in his hand a
"I should guess," he then said, "near about a
"A thousand pounds!"
"That's about the figure."
"I'm blowed!" said the other one again; "hal vers,
"Oh, honour bright."
"* He must have come from the diggings."
"And lost himself in the bush."
"Poor devil. He would find this hard eat-
"But don't you think, mate," said the worst-
looking of the two with a wink, "that since he's
made us so valuable a present, the least we can do
in return is to put him under ground?"
The other laughed silently somewhere down
about his stomach, and then returning the wink,
They fetched some implements from their
32 AMOS DOON S NUGGET.
saddle-bows, and in a very short time the body
was a foot or two beneath the turf.
So that all Amos Doon's nugget ever procured
for him was a shallow grave in the wilderness.
-. _' .,
JACKDAW IN BORROWED FEATHERS:
THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT.
THE JACKDAW WITH BORROWED FEATHERS.
Jupiter, it is said, issued a proclamation that he would give an enter-
tainment on a certain day to the most beautiful of the bird tribe. The
jackdaw being aware of his want of beauty, bnt anxious to obtain
admission, picked up tha feathers which had fallen from the wings of
his companions and stuck them over his body. As he strutted about at
the gathering each bird recognizing its own feathers plucked them out.
The jackdaw was revealed to be only a jackdaw, and Jupiter drove him
THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT.
HE Rev. Matthew Humelby, vicar of
Dormithorpe, and Mr. Trouncem, the
village schoolmaster, stood conferring
together one afternoon at the school gate after
the children had been dismissed. It was a
delicious afternoon in early autumn. The sun,
shorn of his mid-day strength, brightened -the
landscape without scorching it, and filled the air
with a mellow radiance without rendering it
heavy with heat. The school was situated at the
end of the village, and while the two talked their
eyes could take in the beauty of a rural scene,
and their ears the pleasant trill of a couple of
larks singing above a field yellow and ripe for
The Rev. Mr. Humelby, if not very eminent as
36 THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT.
a theologian, was the best of country parsons, and
thoroughly appreciated as such by his numerous
flock. He knew the ways and wants of his
people, the hardships they had to bear, and the
simple pleasures they relished; he could talk with
them on the subjects nearest their hearts, and
knew when and how to put in a word for the
cause he was appointed to plead. He was a good
clergyman and a good man. Benevolence and
simplicity beamed from his mild gray eyes, and
though far from rich, he was continually engaged
in little schemes for promoting the temporal,
as well as spiritual wellbeing of his parishion-
ers, old and young, or for providing them with
some innocent, inexpensive bit of enjoyment. A
little scheme of this kind was the subject of the
"That's it, you see," he was saying; "I want
to give a little treat, but I could not well take
the whole school, though I should like to."
"No, you couldn't well do that," said Mr.
Trouncem, "and I don't see why you should
think of it at all."
The schoolmaster was made of much harder
material than the vicar, that is mentally-and
THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT. 37
bodily too for that matter; for while the latter
was rotund and plump, the former was angular
and bony. He made perhaps a better school-
master than the vicar would have done, being,
though by no means cruel, much abler to disci-
pline and keep in proper awe a band of vivacious,
and sometimes unruly boys and girls. He would
hardly, however, have made so good a pastor.
He would have been too hard on the sinner, too
keen a detector of little faults, too anxious to
drive, and too unapt to soothe, comfort, and per-
suade. As it was, though not much loved, he
was generally respected and esteemed. His reply
to the vicar's remark was a good exemplification of
the difference of their characters. The question
was about a little treat which the vicar was pro-
posing to give some of the scholars, and which he
was regretting that he could not make general.
Mr. Trouncem did not see why the vicar should
trouble himself about it; but it was the vicar's
nature to think of such things, he could not help
thinking of them, he was never quite happy
except when he was thinking of something to do
good or give pleasure to somebody.
"I'll tell you what we'll do," said Mr. Humelby;
38 THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT.
"we'll make it a sort of prize. I'll invite those
who acquit themselves best in an 'examen'; eh?
What do you think?"
"H'm. Well, if you really wish to do some-
thing of the kind, that might not be a bad idea."
"You see," said the vicar, touching Mr.
Trouncem on the breast with his forefinger,
"that would be killing two dogs with one stone.
It would be encouraging them to push on, and
giving them a little pleasuring at the same time."
"H'm!"-Mr. Trouncem was not much in favour
of the "sugar plum" methods in schoolmastering
or in anything else-"how would you propose to
do it ?-the examination I mean."
Well, I think I should like to try the regular
paper, college style, you know-just for an ex-
periment. We have not tried it yet, you know."
"H'm," said the schoolmaster again.
"You have three classes, you know," pursued
the vicar, "so you and I can draw out three sets
of papers, with questions suitable for each."
On what subjects?"
"Oh, just the subjects they have been at for
the last month or two. Let all come forward
that please-I can easily get a lot of copies made
THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT. 39
out-Julia, Ned, Mrs. Humelby, and myself-
come out when you have shut up and get a cup
of tea and we'll set at it. And-and-I shall
invite to the garden party the four best out of
each class-yes-I am afraid Mrs. Humelby
would not care for more than twelve-or shall
we say eighteen?" looking dubiously and wist-
fully at Mr. Trouncem.
"You might let Mrs. Humelby decide that-"
Ah!-yes!-right," said the vicar considerably
relieved, "you'll be out then? very well, ta, ta,"
and the good man hurried away in a pleasant
state of excitement because he had got something
to do, the end and aim of which was to render a
little happier a few boys and girls.
The examination was to take place on a Thurs-
day, the result declared on Friday, and the next
day to be a holiday. At that time schools had in
general only a half-holiday on Saturday, but on
this occasion the whole day would be sacred to
liberty and play; and the successful examinees
were to go to the vicarage in the forenoon, and
there be entertained with dinner in the house,
tea in the garden, and between the two with
freedom to run about in the orchard, and eat
40 THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT.
some of the apples and pears which were just
dropping with ripeness from overladen boughs.
Mrs. Humelby had decided she could do with
eighteen, so from each of the three departments of
the school the six who gave in the best replies to
the questions set them were to enjoy the coveted
honour and pleasure.
Our business is only with the highest class,
which was very numerous, and composed of boys
and girls between the ages of twelve and fifteen,
who studied promiscuously, as was the custom in
most country schools. In this class there were
two or three who either were, or were considered
to be the cleverest, and who were confidently
expected to secure a ticket for the vicar's fete.
There was Emily Wear, a sprightly girl of fifteen,
daughter of Captain Wear of the militia staff;
Alfred or Affie Thomson, the village baker's
boy, who was to go to college by-and-by; Mary
Grey, a soft-voiced, blue-eyed girl, a year younger
than Emily, whose mother kept the millinery shop
in the High Street. These three were usually
engaged in a struggle which should stand at the
top of the class. There was George Allwood, son
of the Dormithorpe draper, who made pretension
THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT. 41
to be something better than most of the scholars,
and who made more noise in class than any other.
He was supposed to be clever, and, though not
studious nor attentive, he managed through a cer-
tain quickness of memory to repeat his lessons gen-
erally in such a way as to satisfy Mr. Trouncem,
and leave the impression that he was a good,
smart scholar. The drawback was that his
lesson was usually well forgotten an hour after
repetition, and revisals were a test he always
endeavoured to shirk. The only thing he really
excelled in was writing. He had the quickest
as well as the best hand in the school.
"You will be at the examination to-morow,
won't you?" queried Emily Wear of George
Allwood as they stood in the playground be-
tween forenoon and afternoon school. George
was a great favourite with Emily, as indeed he
was with most of the girls.
"I don't know," said George, "it's hardly worth
0 yes, you must, everybody is coming; and
we want you with us at the vicar's."
"O yes, do, George," put in Mary Grey, "you
will be sure to succeed; you will take number one."
42 THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT.
"I am not afraid but I should succeed if I
Well, if you don't come I shall think you are
afraid," said Emily with a toss of her pretty
"And so will I," said Mary, who always second-
ed Emily, turning her blue eyes full on George.
"We shall have such fun at the vicar's," she
"Well, I suppose I'll come," said George, who
had his reputation to sustain, and was really
anxious to form one of the party to which Emily
and Mary seemed to think it certain they would
"Are you coming, Willie?" said Mary to
another boy who was standing a little apart.
This was Willie Blake, a boy somewhat younger
than George, not so well dressed, nor so hand-
some, nor so clever looking. His father was only
a stone mason, and could not afford to dress him
finely; but his clothes, thanks to a careful mother,
were always whole and clean. He was really not
so clever, in a sense, as George. He was slower,
and did not give the impression of much ability.
But if he was slower, he was surer; he was
THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT. 43
attentive to what he learned, and so his memory
kept a better hold of it. He was diffident, not
good at expressing himself, and though he knew
more than most of the advanced scholars he did
not obtain credit for it, even from Mr. Trouncem.
The only one who knew how really clever he was
was his father, who, though only a working
mason, had read much, and was very intelligent
and shrewd. Mary did not care for Willie nearly
so much as she did for the dashing George, but
she had a kind little heart, and seeing him stand-
ing alone she put the question to him.
"Yes," said Willie, "I'm coming."
You expect to be a prizeman, I suppose," said
George, with a touch of sarcasm in his tone.
"I'll try," said Willie.
"Willie knows a good deal," said Emily, who
I wonder how you found it out," said George,
turning away, but he knew in his heart that
what Emily said was true.
The day of examination came, and the room
where the first class sat was well filled. The boys
and girls had to be placed rather closer together
than they should have been for such a purpose;
44 THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT.
and though Mr. Trouncem passed out and in now
and again to see that all was going on quietly
and regularly, nods, looks, and words were ex-
changed more freely than they ought. The five
scholars who have been named happened to be
placed together in this order:-Mary Grey, with
Emily Wear to her right hand, and Willie Blake
to her left; to Willie's left George Allwood, and
next to him, Affie Thomson. Mary, after looking
at the questions (there were only a few and not
very difficult, making more a call upon the
memory as to past work than anything else),
and deciding that she could do something with
them, sent her blue eyes to right and left a little.
She saw that Willie had taken a sheet of blank
paper from his pocket and had begun to write a
draft of his answers on it. He had not confidence,
apparently, to begin at once on the sheet which
had to be returned to Mr. Trouncem. Glancing
at George, she saw him sitting with a red face,
looking puzzled, and playing with his pen.
Mary here set to, and did a little of her own
task. Looking round again (as girls will) after
a while, she saw that Willie had just finished his
draft, apparently, while George was still sitting
THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT. 45
idle, but now with his head leaning on his hand.
She leaned past Willie's back and whispered, "If
you don't begin, George, you will be too late."
She was really anxious that George should be
one of the winners; the party would be dull
without him, she thought. "It's all right,"
whispered back George, adding, "It's a con-
founded bore." But if Mary wished to be a
winner herself she must go at it in earnest too,
she felt; so after observing that Willie had placed
his draft on his left, and had begun to copy it
carefully, she was absorbed in her own work till
the hour struck, and Mr. Trouncem came in to
take away the papers.
Mr. Humelby and the schoolmaster had a hard
pull at the vicarage that night to get the papers
looked over and the six best from each department
fixed on, and the hour was late before they had
quite finished. A disagreeable fact came out in
connection with the papers of the first class. Two
of them were found to be precisely alike, word
for word. The same questions had been selected
for answer, and the same replies given in the
same phraseology. Not quite word for word
either; there were one or two insignificant differ-
46 THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT.
ences. In the one, for example, the distance of
the moon from the earth was written only partly
in figures, thus, "240 thousand," while in the other
it was written "240,000" all in figures. That
was nothing, however; it was clear that the one
paper had been copied from the other. The two
papers were those of George Allwood and Willie
"Who-who is the-the plagiarist?" said the
vicar, who was shocked, but could not think to
use a harsher term.
"The thief," said Mr. Trouncem, who had no
such scruples, "is undoubtedly the boy Blake."
Mr. Humelby had jumped to the same con-
clusion, but still he said:
"How are you so sure?"
"From what I saw myself."
"What did you see?"
"Well, I went through the rooms occasionally,
as you know, to see that all was going on orderly.
About twenty minutes before the time was up
I found Allwood standing looking out of a win-
dow. I asked him why he had left his seat. He
said his paper was done, so I let him alone, as
he was disturbing nobody. Willie Blake at that
THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT. 47
time was still writing. On going back within a
minute of the hour I found Allwood still at the
window and Blake just finishing his paper. I
then observed, what had escaped me on the pre-
vious visit, that Allwood had left his paper lying
open, instead of folding it up as he ought to have
done. I checked him for his neglect, folded the
paper myself, and marked it. Now as Allwood's
was written first it could not be copied from
Blake's; it follows, therefore, that Blake must
have copied Allwood's when it was lying open
This reasoning seemed conclusive, though, as
the reader will have guessed, it was all wrong.
The truth of the matter was that George Allwood
had copied Willie Blake's draft, at the same time
as Willie was copying it himself. He found that
he could really answer none of the questions
with anything like accuracy; and, burning with
the shame of utter failure, and the thought of
how the girls would look at him, he had, without
realizing the meanness and guilt of the act, or
thinking how strange it would look for two
papers to go in alike, surreptitiously taken down
Willie's answers. Being a much quicker writer
48 THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT.
than Willie he was done long before him, and
not being able to rest had got up to look outside,
forgetting, as we have heard, to fold up his paper.
This last bit of forgetfulness was, though acci-
dental, a lucky occurrence for him, and served
him as well as if it had been most cunningly
The schoolmaster's argument seemed, however,
conclusive to the vicar.
"This grieves me much," he said, "I did not
think Willie Blake would have done such a thing."
"H'm; these quiet ones are sometimes very
I suppose we must put his paper aside. They
are really the two best. You must speak to him,
Mr. Trouncem; but no-no thrashing."
"H'm,-well, if you wish it; but I shall cer-
tainly speak to him."
The successful papers in order of excellence
were those of George Allwood, Emily Wear,
Alfred Thomson, Mary Grey, and two boys with
whom we have nothing to do here.
On Friday afternoon the names of the success-
ful competitors were read out by Mr. Trouncem
from his desk, and they were invited to be at the
THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT. 49
vicarage by noon on the morrow.' Those who
were named could not help feeling and looking
a little elated, but the others neither felt nor
looked very downcast. Were they not all to
have a full day's play? and was not that enough
of itself in that pleasant autumn weather to make
the day a real holiday? Willie Blake felt a little
depressed, for it was not the vicar's party or the
holiday he had cared so much about, as the credit
of being a good scholar. He would certainly
have liked to be able to tell them at home that
his paper was one of the best; but still he had
hardly expected it, and was not greatly dis-
He was startled by Mr. Trouncem calling him
up to the desk as the others were trooping out.
Mr. Trouncem kept him standing till the room
was empty, and then said with a frown which
the boys knew-and the girls as well-and were
"William Blake, your paper was rejected be-
cause it was copied."
Willie stared at him at first without knowing
what he meant. He then remembered that he had
copied from his draft. Had that been a fault?
50 THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT.
His face became red, he hung down his head and
had nothing to say. He really had done it.
"I see," said Mr. Trouncem, "you feel the
shame of it, and I just hope you did it without
thinking. To copy George Allwood's paper, word
for word almost, and send it in as your own was
shocking conduct. I won't say any more to you
Willie had lifted his head in astonishment.
Copied George Allwood's paper? He? He had
never looked at it. He began to stammer out a
denial, but the schoolmaster peremptorily stopped
"Do not say another word; you will only add
to your fault by denying it. Go home and tell
your father I intend to call and speak to him to-
Poor Willie! He stood in considerable awe of
Mr. Trouncem, and could not muster courage to
say more. He went home sorely distressed and
puzzled; he could not understand it.
All afternoon Willie sat in the house and
moped, neither going out to play nor reading a
book. His mother saw there was something
wrong, and when his father came home he observed
THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT. 51
it too. Willie had said nothing about the exam-
ination except that he was not one of the six,
and it was only after some questioning that he
told his father all about it.
Adam Blake understood the matter at once;
Willie was blamed for copying another boy's
paper and sending it in as his own, and that
paper was George Allwood's, which was number
one of the best six. It never occurred to him
for a moment to suppose that Willie had done it;
he was blamed for it, but he knew Willie too
well to believe for an instant that he had done
it. Well, if the two papers were alike, he argued,
if the one was evidently a copy of the other, as
the examiners seemed to have decided, and if
Willie's had not been a copy, then the other must
have been. If Willie had not stolen George All-
wood's answers, George Allwood must have stolen
Adam Blake, as I have said, though only a
stone mason, was very intelligent and acute. He
set himself to find out all the circumstances of
the examination, and he soon knew all that Willie
could tell him; how they were sitting, who was
next Willie, and who next George; about the
52 TIHE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT.
draft, and what Willie had heard Mary Grey say
to George. He found that Willie had still the
draft, which he had taken out of his pocket and
placed within one of his school-books after he
"Was your second paper very different from
this, Willie?" asked his father.
"No, I only changed a word or two. I might
have saved myself the trouble of writing it twice,
but I was afraid."
Mr. Blake took possession of the draft and
went out. He first called at Mary Grey's, and
finding her not yet gone to bed, he put a few
questions to her. He found she remembered
quite well seeing Willie write out his draft and
begin to copy it before George Allwood had com-
menced his paper. He next looked up Affie
Thomson. All that Affie could say was that he
had observed that George sat for about half an
hour doing nothing before he put pen to paper.
They did not know the drift of Adam's inquiries,
for the fact that two of the papers were alike
had not been communicated to the school. On
coming home he told Willie not to vex himself,
but go to bed and he would see what could be
THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT. 53
done to-morrow. Willie went upstairs much
comforted to find that his father at least did not
believe him to be guilty.
The vicar's little fete was going on merrily.
The dinner, which had been presided over by the
vicar, and kept decorous by the presence of Mrs.
Humelby and Mr. Trouncem, was past, and the
youngsters were now having the run of the gar-
den and orchard, with no one to hamper their
movements but the two young Humelbys, who
were as fond of the fun as any of them, when
a message was brought to the vicar that Adam
Blake, the mason, Willie Blake's father, desired
to speak with him.
Take him into the library," said Mr. Humelby,
"I'll come in a minute."
"And please, sir," said the servant, "he have
his boy with him, and he says if Mlr. Trouncem
be here he'll be glad to see him too."
"This will be something about Willie's miscon-
duct," said the vicar to Mr. Trouncem.
"H'm!-very likely; I told Blake I would call
on his father to-night. I don't know what he
can be in such a hurry to say."
The two found Adam Blake and Willie both
54 THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT.
much engrossed looking at the books which were
ranged on shelves round three sides of the room.
After the first greetings Adam (who when
speaking to educated people could make a shift
to talk nearly as well as they did) said:
"Mr. Humelby, if I envy you anything, it is
your fine collection of books."
"You need not do that, then, Adam," said the
vicar flushing; "come out and take the loan of
one when you want it."
"Thank you kindly, sir; but it is not that I
have called about to-day. Willie tells me, gen-
tlemen, he has got into disgrace."
H'm!-yes," said the schoolmaster.
So it seems, so it seems,"said the vicar uneasily.
"And quite undeservedly," said Adam, "as I
think I shall be able to show you." And he
went over the whole story as he had gathered it
from Willie, Mary, and Affie, showing how the
copying must have been accomplished, and fixing
the delinquency as clearly on George, as the
schoolmaster, arguing from insufficient data, had
fixed it on Willie. At the same time he produced
the draft which Mr. Trouncem admitted to be in
Willie's hand, and finished by requesting that
THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT. 55
Mary and Affie should be brought in and ques-
tioned. This was done, and the two, still unaware
of what had happened, told what they knew
freely, only casting sidelong, hesitating looks at
Willie, who sat sheepishly in a corner. They were
afraid he had been doing something wrong in
connection with the examination, and did not
wish to injure him more than they could help.
"Now," said Adam Blake, "I am curious on
one point. Have you the examination papers at
hand, gentlemen? If so, I should like to see
Willie's and George's."
"Certainly," said the vicar, "they are here;"
and he selected them from a bundle he drew from
the drawer of his writing-table.
"I have a suspicion," said Adam, that George's
will be found to agree more precisely with this
draft than Willie's own."
On comparing them this was found to be the
case. Adam was shrewd. George had been in
too great haste, and too flurried to think of alter-
ing any of the words and phrases; while Willie,
as we heard, had in one or two instances made
what he considered a correction or improvement.
It was in George's paper, for example, that the
56 THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT.
distance of the moon from the earth was given
as "140 thousand," and it was so in the draft.
Willie had changed it to "140,000" as being more
"There is only one other test which I would
invite," said Adam, "and that is to put a few
questions to the two boys and bring out which
of them knows most about the subjects examined
Mr. Trouncem agreed to do so; and Willie, on
being tried, came out so well as to show that if
he did not write his own paper he at least could
have done so. George was then sent for. He
had been getting along very merrily and happily.
It had occurred to him as strange that since his
paper had been number one, Willie's had not even
been one of the best six. "He must have blun-
dered in the copying," said George to himself,
and troubled his mind no more about it.
He came in flushed with the exercise and en-
joyment, and looking very bright and clever; but
when he saw Willie and his father his counte-
nance fell a little, for he doubted something had
A very few questions were sufficient to con-
THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT. 57
vince the vicar and the schoolmaster that who-
ever wrote the original paper it could not have
been George Allwood. He did not even remem-
ber the answers he had written.
The schoolmaster looked at the vicar. The
vicar cleared his throat. Finding excuses for
evildoers was more congenial to his nature than
reprimanding; but duty must be done.
"George," he said, "two papers came in exactly
alike, yours and Willie Blake's. One of them
must have been a copy from the other. We
thought it was Willie's, but it turns out to have
been yours. George-you-I mean-I am very
George hung his head and did not attempt to
deny the accusation. He felt instinctively that
it would be useless. He only muttered something
about not thinking there was much wrong in
"Wrong? Yes, George, it was very wrong.
It brought Willie into disgrace; and you-you
have been strutting about in borrowed feathers-"
"Stolen," put in Mr. Trouncem.
"Eh? oh-borrowed, we shall say borrowed,
Trouncem,-borrowed feathers, like the bird in
58 THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT.
the fable, you know, George,-the jackdaw-and
-and the least thing we can do is to-to-"
"Pluck him," suggested Mr. Trouncem.
"Yes," continued the vicar, to whom the word
recommended itself as a college term, "pluck
And send him home," said the school-
"And allow you to go home," the vicar put it,
George was of course overcome with shame,
and glad to take his hat and disappear at the hall
door. HT went home a sadder, and let us hope
a wiser boy.
"And the least amends we can make to Willie,"
said the vicar when George had gone, "is to take
him in to join the children in the garden, which
is his proper place."
"Certainly," said Mr. Trouncem, trying to look
gracious; "and I have to ask Willie's pardon for
"Which," put in the vicar, "was under the
circumstances excusable, eh, Adam, excusable? or
shall we say natural?"
Adam smiled assent; and Willie, whose face
THE VICAR'S LITTLE TREAT. 59
had been getting red, whispered something to his
"Willie says," said Adam, "that not having his
Sunday clothes on he would rather not go in;
and I think, with your leave, gentlemen, and with
thanks for your kindness, I'll just take him back
with me. He is sufficiently rewarded by having
the feathers returned which had been-borrowed
"Well, well," said the vicar laughing. "If you
will have it so. Come out and see me, then,
Willie, to-morrow evening after church."
When Willie went out to the vicarage on Sun-
day evening he was kindly received by Mrs.
Humelby, Julia, and Ned, who made him drink
a cup of tea with them; and when he left, the
vicar presented him with a beautifully bound
copy of .Esop's Fables, with an inscription on the
fly-leaf telling that it was presented to William
Blake for having written the best paper at a
public examination of Dormithorpe School.
THE STAG AT THE POOL;
THE MOTHER'S CHOICE.
THE STAG AT THE POOL.
A stag drinking at a clear pool admired the handsome look of his
spreading antlers, but was much displeased at the slim and ungainly
appearance of is legs. What a glorious pair of branching horns!"
said he. "How gracefully they hang over my forehead! What an
agreeable air they give my face! But as for my spindle-shanks of legs,
I am heartily ashamed of them." The words were scarcely out of his
mouth when he saw some huntsmen and a pack of hounds making towards
him. His despised legs soon placed him at a distance from his followers,
but on entering the forest his horns got entangled in the trees, so that
the dogs soon reached him and made an end of him. "Mistaken fool
that I was!" he exclaimed; "my legs would have saved me, but these
wretched horns have cost me my life."--Esop.
THE MOTHER'S CHOICE.
IS. WOOLEY had got the tea-table
-et, and was sitting at the window as
'he waited on the home-coming of her
two sons. She sat at the window of a two-
storied dwelling which stood in a village street,
but hardly formed a part of it. It both stood
back from the level of the other houses and
elbowed them away from each side of it. It was,
however, so near the street level that as she sat
she could see a good bit along the other side,
which was then brightly illumined by the rose-
coloured rays of a setting sun.
She waited on her two sons, but she was really
thinking only of one of them. John was sure to
be in immediately: he was regular as the clock,
and in five minutes he was due. But Horton
64 THE MOTHER'S CHOICE.
was not so regular. For one thing he had to
come a greater distance, and for another he was
not so regular in his movements as he might
have been. Besides-.
The two were about the same age, John being
only one year the elder; but they were different
in appearance, as their mother noted this evening
when she saw them coming along together.
John was small, common-featured, and dressed in
the garb of a decent working tradesman; Horton
was tall, handsome, and noble-looking, and in
dress-quite the gentleman.
John came in first, but the mother's eye did
not rest for a moment on him, but sought the
other, who had lingered to pull off his gloves and
hang up his hat in the hall. John had no gloves,
and his cap was easily disposed of on the hall-
table. Mrs. Wooley's whole attention was given
up to Horton; and when the three sat at table it
was his cup she was anxious to supply, and only
him she appeared to have any pleasure in serving.
Mrs. Wooley was a widow, had been so for
some years. Her husband had been a wheelwright,
who, in the course of many years' industry and
quiet living, had managed to save a good sum of
THE MOTHER S CHOICE. 65
money. Most of this had been left uncondition-
ally to his wife, the sons only coming in for a.
small share as they came of age. Horton had
always been his mother's favourite; he was so
bold, so handsome, so gay; in short, so gentle-
manly, she thought. John was quiet and retiring,
and his looks were not attractive. It mattered
not to her that John was kind-hearted, steady,
obedient, and industrious, and Horton nearly the
opposite of all that. Her younger son's selfish
wilfulness and fondness for expensive amuse-
ments she looked upon as marks of a high spirit
and of-gentlemanliness. She had a weakness
forthe genteel. "The Hortons," she would say,
"were always genteel; and she was a Horton."
Her younger son had been named after her
family, and it seemed only natural that he should
grow up a gentleman both in looks and manners.
She had done all she could to assist nature. She
had managed always to keep him better dressed
than John, and to have him supplied with pocket-
money, even when his father was alive. When
she was left a widow with 4000 of her own she
was able to do still more in that way. She had
put him to a gentlemanly academy, where he
66 THE MOTHER'S CHOICE.
really acquired a good education, and was able to
consort with the upper classes of the village; and
now he was in an office in the great city (the
smoke of whose chimneys could be seen from Mrs.
Wooley's gable window) training for a lawyer,
which she considered to be a very gentlemanly
As for John, he had exhibited a preference for
his father's trade, and, in spite of his mother's
remarks on the lowness of his taste, had not only
worked with his father a year or two before he
died, but had persisted in sticking to the business
up till now. It was not a very paying business,
he found. It had taken his father a lifetime to
accumulate five or six thousand pounds. But it
would do for him, he said. He liked the work
during the day, and he liked the quiet evenings
it left for reading and harmless recreation.
"Now, mother," said Horton as they were
finishing the meal, "I am tired of coming out
here every day, and I mean to take a place in the
His mother looked at him in dismay; was he
going to leave her?
"What-what do you mean, Horton?"
THE MOTHER'S CHOICE. 67
"I just mean I am tired of the thing. And
the evenings are rather slow here."
John looked at his brother, for, if his observa-
tions had been correct, Horton very seldom made
a slow thing of his evenings.
"I certainly don't get much from Naggem and
Nailem, but I come in for my thou' to-morrow,
"Yes, you are twenty-one to-morrow, Horton."
"Of course; and I am leaving Naggem and
going into something that will pay better. There
will be lots of money going, I expect, so I mean
to take a swell house; and I mean you to come
and live with me, mother, and cut it quite the
lady, what you could never do in this low hole."
John looked at his mother, but she never
looked at him; she could not take her eyes off
"This is my own house, Horton."
"Yes; but you can sell it, and I can invest the
money for you so as to bring you something
handsome. I have fallen in with a fellow who
can let me up to one or two good things."
Mrs. Wooley rather liked the idea. She longed
for a more genteel and fashionable life than she
68 THE MOTHER'S CHOICE.
had ever yet been able to enjoy. She was proud
of Horton, and quite approved his high-flying
ideas. And he was so clever and handsome, he
was sure to make his way in the world, and lift
her up along with him.
"And when shall I go, Horton?"
"Oh! whenever I have things ready, which
will be soon."
"Mother," said John slowly, I would rather
you should stay here with me. We could take a
smaller house and let this one.'
She turned and looked at him with hardly dis-
guised contempt; indeed she did not take much
trouble to disguise it.
"How can you expect it, John? The Hortons
were always a genteel family, and I came down
a step when I married a Wooley. You take after
the common ways of your father, but Horton is
"To tell the truth," said Horton, when I met
him to-night coming out of the shop I didn't know
whether to walk down the street with him or not."
John's face flushed, but he said nothing.
"If you will be a wheelwright, John," said
his mother, can't you dress a little better ?"
THE MOTHER'S CHOICE. 69
"My dress is like my work, mother," replied
John quietly, "and like my station."
He then rose and went up to his bed-room,
which served him for library and study as well,
leaving the other two to consult about their new
arrangements. He had his own fears as to the
result of Horton's "high-flying," and did not like
this idea of drawing his mother along with him.
But he knew that nothing he could say would
influence the matter. He had long known that if
it came to a choice between her two sons what
his mother's choice would be.
Behold, then, Mrs. Wooley established in a fine
set of apartments in the city, furnished in the
newest and handsomest fashion, with two servants
under her to assist in the rather grand style of
housekeeping which Horton had sketched out for
her. Her own income would not nearly have
sufficed to keep it up, though it certainly helped;
but Horton assured her he was in the straight
way to be rich, and certainly for a time he kept
her moderately well supplied with funds.
Her vanity was fed by the high-sounding titles
which Horton gave to some of the friends he
70 THE MOTHER'S CHOICE.
brought home with him, and whom she had the
honour of entertaining and conversing with. She
observed that they were all gentlemen, but Horton
said the ladies would come by-and-by.
One day, after this had gone on for a month or
two, Horton made a proposal to her.
"M4other," he said, "I don't see the use of your
having so much money locked up in the funds at
a beggarly three per cent, when I could be get-
ting four or five times as much for you."
"How could you, Horton?"
"Well, you see, the line I am in opens up
many ways of profitably investing money."
"Is it not safer where it is?"
"Safer? Not a bit. And what is three per
cent? Think how much grander you could live
if your income was four times greater.
"I think I would rather not meddle with it,
Horton;" but the widow's hesitating tones showed
that the magnificent prospect opened up had
rather touched her.
"And the fact is, mother," pursued Horton,
"that two thousand would do me an immense
deal of good at present, besides benefiting your-
self. I have gone into things sure to do splen-
THE MOTHER'S CHOICE. 71
didly, but rather heavy for the capital I have
at command. I am kind of blocked up, and that
amount would just relieve me."
"And it would be quite safe, Horton?"
"Safe as the Bank of England. But I won't
hurry you; think of it till to-morrow."
The result, of course, was that Horton was
authorized to sell out 2000 of his mother's
money, and reinvest it for her.
If we accompany Horton any morning when he
goes to business we may find out what kind of
lucrative transactions he was engaged in.
If we jump into the 'bus with him we shall
rattle along Oxford Street, and along Holborn,
and down into the heart of the city. We shall
then dive with him into one of the narrow streets
which lead out of Cheapside, climb a stair with
him, and slip in with him as he opens a door with
a latch-key, and find ourselves in a room not very
large nor richly furnished, and which is already
pretty full of tobacco smoke. Seated at a table are
two men with cigars in their mouths, and before
them are a number of sheets and publications, all
bearing on stocks, shares, companies, schemes,
speculations, and the state of the money-market.
72 THE MOTHER'S CHOICE.
"How goes it this morning? asked Horton.
"Well, and not so well," says one of the men,
the one with a hook-nose, and moustaches which
curled round the sides of his mouth.
"What about the Orlandos ? "
Oh! they're all right; your two thou' are sure
to double themselves in no time."
"I wish they would. I'm just about at the end
of my tether."
"Can't you squeeze any more out of the old
"Not for a little."
"Well, you know, if you hadn't sold the Ivory
Importations when they were low you would
have been flush to-day."
"You bought them, I think?"
"Yes; and grabbed fifteen hundred at one
sweep. How do you stand all round, Wooley?"
I'm blest if I know. What with selling this
and buying that, and the money used to keep the
thing going, I'm quite at sea."
"Ah! just so, that's the way with most of us.
But by putting our heads together, and working
the dupes you have got about you, we ought to
make a fine thing soon."
THE MOTHER'S CHOICE. 73
"Well, what should we do to-day?" and they
put their heads together over the papers, and
the third man, who had only said ah" several
times, thrust his head in with the others. A
fourth man with blue, closely-shaven cheeks and
chin, and goggles sticking on his nose, came in,
and thrust his head in too.
The fact was, they had formed a small club for
the purpose of "working" the share-market to
their own ends. It was just gambling under
another name, and they were subject to all the
excitement, the delusive hopes, and fluctuating
fortunes of professed gamblers. Horton, as he
said, by selling this, and buying that, and leav-
ing balances over, had been able to keep afloat
and maintain an establishment for the sake of
extending his acquaintance among moneyed and
money-dealing men; but he had not yet got into
the prosperous condition a few lucky hits at first
had led him to anticipate. His high notions,
and the ambition to be something great, which
his mother had encouraged, rendered him discon-
tented with all slow ways of getting forward,
and he had launched his bark on the promising
but deceptive and dangerous sea of speculation.
74 THE MOTHER'S CHOICE.
A few months longer Mrs. Wooley got along,
to all appearance, in a way quite according to
her fancy; but then things began to occur which
she did not like so well. Horton took to coming
in at nights in a state which showed he had been
drinking too much; and when his friends were
with him they sat too late, and were either too
noisy or too quiet. When they were quiet she
found out they were playing at cards, and she
did not like that. The Hortons had always been
genteel, but they had always been respectable
and well-behaved. The supplies of money for
housekeeping, too, were falling short, and bills
were coming in which she had no means of pay-
ing. She had seen nothing yet of the larger
returns she expected from the new investment
of her two thousand pounds. But Horton buoyed
her up with assurances that he would soon be in
funds, and when she looked at him and saw how
handsome, how noble, how stylish he was, she
could not find in her heart to trouble him. Still
she was uneasy and harassed
Her troubles came to a head when one night
her son did not come home at all. When the
next day passed and he did not appear she was
THE MOTHER'S CHOICE. 75
tortured with nervous fears. Besides the bell
was continually being rung by trades-people
wanting their money, and new bills came shower-
ing in. Something dreadful must have happened;
Horton perhaps had been killed. She would have
run out to look for him, but she did not know
where to go, knew nothing about his haunts, and
could only sit still, wring her hands, and weep.
Another night passed, and still no Horton. In
the forenoon two men called asking for him, and
made their way into the house without being
invited. Mrs. Wooley did not like the look of
them; she feared they were officers of the law.
And so, indeed, they turned out to be. They
questioned her sharply, but she really could give
them no information-she only wished she could
-and to her dismay they proceeded to search the
What do you want him for?" she cried.
Well, we want to give him a few days' lodg-
In a very snug place, ma'am."
A glimmering of the truth broke on her.
'What has he done?" she gasped.
76 THE MOTHER'S CHOICE.
"Only written a name which isn't his own.
Not much, but enough to give him seven years."
The poor woman was overwhelmed. She knew
they meant that Horton was accused of forgery.
She would not believe it.
"I only wish he was here," she cried.
"So do we," said the one who had spoken
before, and then went off, leaving the other to
Soon afterwards other two men made their
appearance, who took possession of the house in
the name of a great furnisher; and Mrs. Wooley
then learned that all the fine things she had been
so proud of had been bought on credit and never
paid for. She was like to go distracted; but to
do her justice it was Horton she was most troubled
She now remembered that she should have got
the interest of the 2000 she had still remaining
on the day Horton had disappeared. If she had
that it might help to bring her through the
present difficulty. She dressed herself and pre-
pared to go out. Naggem and Nailem were her
men of business, and she knew their address.
She had to take a cab, for she was now really ill
THE MOTHER'S CHOICE. 77
and hardly able to walk. The harassments and
anxieties of the last month or two, and especially
of the last dreadful days, had told upon her.
She found Mr. Naggem and told him her
"What do you mean?" he said; "did you not
direct me to sell out and remit you capital and
"Two thousand pounds for reinvestment a
"No! but the remaining two thousand?"
She gazed at him, unable to do more than
whisper a faint No."
Horton, who transacted the business formerly,
handed me your mandate three or four days ago
to sell out the whole, and yesterday-no, the day
before-he got both principal and interest, and
we have your receipt fairly enough signed to all
This was the last straw; Horton had robbed
her, taken every farthing, run off, and left her to
starve! She turned first red, then white, and sank
on the floor with a groan.
John Wooley had to go into lodgings when his
78 THE MOTHER'S CHOICE.
mother left, and her house was sold. He felt
lonely at first, but constant occupation was a
speedy cure for that. Busy at work during the
day, and in the evenings and on Sundays engaged
in self-culture, helping on others, or indulging
occasionally in innocent amusements, he found
little time to weary. He became an active mem-
ber of the church, a Sabbath-school teacher, a
director in the Mechanics' Institute, and organ-
ized a society for the practice of vocal and instru-
mental music. All these matters he found leisure
to attend to besides extending his knowledge by
reading, and assiduously prosecuting and enlarg-.
ing his business. Those who knew him prophe-
sied that small and common-looking as he was,
and humble as was the sphere he had chosen to
walk in, he would prove a more useful member
of society than his sky-scraping brother.
John had paid his mother one visit in her new
habitation, but had been received so coldly that
he had not been encouraged to renew it. The
look of things did not please him; he did not see
how Horton could have honestly come by the
means of maintaining so luxurious and showy an
establishment. He feared that there was some-
THE MOTHER'S CHOICE. 79
thing wrong. He was not, however, prepared
for the shock he received when one day a tele-
gram was put into his hands from a stranger, but
dated at his brother's house, with only these
words in it: Come at once, brother disappeared,
He lost no time in obeying the summons.
When he arrived he found his mother in bed
attended by a doctor and one of the maid-servants.
The doctor took him aside and told what he
knew. His brother had absconded, was accused
of forgery, and had robbed his mother of every
farthing she possessed. There was an execution
in the house, the sale only having been delayed
on account of his mother's serious illness. One
of the servants had gone, and the other had only
stayed out of pity for Mrs. Wooley. His mother
had been taken in a fit at the office of Naggem
and Nailem, under which her already broken
constitution had given way.
"She has not many hours to live, young man,"
concluded the doctor, "but she recovered con-
sciousness this morning, and is now able to talk
a little. She was very anxious to see you before
she died, but you must not excite her."
80 THE MOTHER'S CHOICE.
John knelt down at his mother's side, and
burst into tears. Though she had never loved
him much, she was still his mother. When she
knew him the tears began to well slowly from
her eyes and roll down her cheeks. She laid her
hand on his and murmured, "John,-John."
He remained with her to the end, which came
soon. Her last words were:
"Ah me! The son whom I despised would
have been my stay and prop, but the one I
admired and gloried in has been my ruin and my
Poor woman, she had herself largely to blame,
for Horton was to a great extent what she had
Horton escaped the hands of justice at that
time, but whither he fled, or what was his after
fate, John Wooley, who lived to fulfil the best
expectations of his friends, was never able to
THE WOLF AND THE CRANE;
AN ADVENTURE IN SPAIN.
THE WOLF AND THE CRANE.
A wolf devoured his prey so ravenously that a bone stuck in his throat,
giving him great pain. He ran howling up and down, and offered to
reward handsomely any one who would pull it out. A crane moved by
pity as well as by the prospect of the money, undertook the task. Having
removed the bone she asked for the promised reward. Reward!" cried
the wolf, "what reward can you possibly require 1 Begone, and con-
sider yourself sufficiently rewarded in having got your head safe out oj
AN ADVENTURE IN SPAIN.
R. MOWBRAY, after fitting himself
by long and arduous study for the
career of a physician, and practis-
ing successfully for some years, had fallen heir
unexpectedly to some considerable property. He
did not, however, altogether relinquish the pro-
fession which he had come to love. He continued
to maintain a private connection; and even during
the foreign travel in which he was now able to
indulge he delighted to exercise his talent in
behalf of friends, or others in whose cases he
chanced to become interested. At the time when
he was a frequent visitor at my father's he had
settled down permanently in England, and was
well past middle-life. He was then a most enter-
taining companion, having many interesting
84 AN ADVENTURE IN SPAIN.
anecdotes to tell of what he had seen and heard
in foreign countries. Among his stories there
was none he told oftener, or which we young
people liked better to hear, than his adventure
with the Spanish brigands. I shall endeavour to
give it as nearly in his own words as possible, only
omitting most of the foreign words and phrases
he introduced, as not likely to be intelligible to
"I had been 'doing' Spain on horseback," the
doctor would say, "and after traversing the
southern provinces in a northerly direction,
diverging to one side or another as objects of
interest attracted me, I had reached Madrid. I
had letters of introduction to several eminent
persons there, and settled down for a few weeks
as the invited guest of Don Alvaro de Mueza,
who, noble by birth, had gained some reputation
as an experimenter in physiological science.
The time passed agreeably, and not the less so
that I had the opportunity of treating success-
fully more than one distinguished patient.
"Don Alvaro was an intelligent converser, we
were mutually interested in some researches he
was at the time engaged in, and I spent a good
AN ADVENTURE IN SPAIN. 85
part of each day in his company. He appeared
to enjoy the intercourse, but often seemed labour-
ing under a great depression of spirits, which I
was at a loss to account for, till he told me one
day that he had lost his only daughter recently
under rather painful circumstances. She had
been on a visit to some friends near the moun-
tains, and had gone out with them on a pleasure
excursion. While picnicking on a hillside she
and her maid had separated from the group to
look for flowers, and had never returned. They
were searched for thoroughly, but no traces of
them could be discovered. There were some
dangerous precipices near, and it was surmised
they had both fallen over into the depths of an
almost inaccessible ravine and been dashed to
pieces. Her father on hearing of the accident
had hurried to the spot and renewed the search,
but equally without result. If they had fallen
into the ravine the torrent which rushed along
the bottom must have carried the bodies beyond
reach. Don Alvaro was a widower, and his
grief for the loss in such a way of a daughter on
whom his affections had become concentrated
was naturally great. I sympathized with him
86 AN ADVENTURE IN SPAIN.
sincerely, and endeavoured to keep his mind
directed to other subjects.
"My plans would not, however, permit of a
lengthened stay in the capital. My design, freely
talked of, was to proceed north for some distance,
pass through some celebrated scenery among the
spurs of the Sierra de Guadarrama, then strike
west into Portugal, and crossing that country in
a south-westerly direction, embark at Lisbon for
home. I delayed announcing my departure till
only two days before starting, and it was not
without great difficulty that I resisted the press-
ing invitation of my host to prolong my stay.
"I got into the saddle in the forenoon, intending
to proceed leisurely, according to my custom, not
overworking my horse, but allowing him frequent
rests while I smoked a cigar in some shady place,
ate my frugal lunch, or drank a cup of cheap
wine at some wayside cabaret. I expected to
reach El Escorial, a place not far from the foot of
the hills, and about thirty miles' ride from Madrid,
in good time, and pass the night there. It was a
warm summer day, and I loitered a good deal,
finding myself, as the result, overtaken by twilight
while still some miles from my destination.
AN ADVENTURE IN SPAIN. 87
I was just putting spurs to my horse to hurry
him up a bit, when from a copse which at this
point bordered the road several men sprang out
suddenly; and before I could lay my hand on the
pistol I always carried for defence, a blanket was
thrown over my head, and I was pulled from my
seat. It was a lonely part of the way, and any
cry for assistance would probably have been
unheard, had the muffler not effectually prevented
me from uttering a sound. I was hurried, half
carried, over some rough ground for a considerable
distance, then a halt was made, the covering was
removed from my head, and I found myself in
the presence of three well-armed desperadoes, who
by their dress and general appearance suggested
-brigands. I had heard that there was a band
of these gentry in the neighbourhood, who, under
a noted chief, had been doing some business
recently; but I had not supposed that I would be
considered a personage worthy of their attention.
Instinctively I thrust my hand into my coat pocket,
but my pistol was gone. The one who seemed to be
the leader of the band grinned,and said with bow:
"'The doctare must go with us; but no harm
will befall him.'
88 AN ADVENTURE IN SPAIN.
"I was known, then, it appeared.
"'What do you want with me?' I asked with
as much coolness as I could assume; 'I am
nobody-have no money-cannot ransom.'
"I understood Spanish well, and could speak it
tolerably, but still had to use as few words as
"'No, no money-no ransom,' replied the fellow;
'the senior is wanted by the capitana for a sick
person-will be treated well-and set on his
journey when he has made a cure.'
"'But tell me-'
"'I cannot say more. Must obey orders-not
talk. Here is the senior's horse,' and I heard the
sound of hoofs on the other side of the thicket.
'The sefor must submit to be blindfolded for a
little time;' and a soft roll of cloth was twisted
round my head, preventing sight, but allowing
me to breathe freely. A couple of the men then
caught me by the arms, led me forward a few
paces, placed me beside a horse-which I ascer-
tained to be my own with my valise strapped
behind the saddle-and requested me to mount.
I had no resource but obedience. The bridle was
seized, and I was led away at considerable speed.
AN ADVENTURE IN SPAIN. 89
"In what direction we proceeded I had no means
of judging, but I could easily feel that the track
was very uneven. Twice or thrice we crossed
brawling but shallow streams, and after about
an hour's riding began to ascend, and continued
to do so for what I thought a long time. Just
as the path was getting too steep and uncer-
tain for horses' feet, a sentry appeared to chal-
lenge the party, and we passed on to a more
level space. The covering was here removed
from my eyes, I was courteously requested to
dismount, and with a couple of the men before
me and a couple behind was taken through a
cleft between two high rocks, then up a nar-
row pathway where footing was sometimes only
obtained by means of steps cut in the rock.
The path seemed to wind round a hill, and at
one place the defile opened on the left and a
scene of indescribable beauty burst on my view.
The moon had risen and showed that I stood on
an elevated point in the Sierra. Far beneath
me, and stretching away towards the south-east,
was a beautifully wooded ravine or glen, into
which the moonbeams streamed, and after silver-
ing innumerable crags and tree clumps, touched
90 AN ADVENTURE IN SPAIN.
here and there the stream which zigzagged
along the bottom, and glittered and sparkled on
the foam of a cascade that flung itself from a
higher gorge; while, rearing their peaks high
above the point where I stood, hill after hill,
brought into relief by light and shade, receded
into the distance. I had but a momentary
glimpse of the scene ere we passed again between
two cliffs into almost complete darkness.
"After a short further ascent we stopped before
what seemed the door of a rudely constructed
dwelling. I found afterwards that it was simply
a cave, the entrance and interior modified by the
hand of man. On a signal being made the door
was opened, the leader of the band, who I now
observed had my large travelling valise in his
hand, bowing, asked me to enter, and following
me along with the others the door was imme-
diately closed. I found myself in a somewhat
spacious apartment, with only the rudest of
furnishings, but well lighted by a pine-wood
fire which blazed at the further end.
"My conductor knocked at a door in the opposite
wall, then opened it and motioned me to pass in.
I did so, and found myself face to face with a
AN ADVENTURE IN SPAIN. 91
person of dignified and commanding presence.
His dress was mainly that of a Spanish gentle-
man, but a tasseled, gold-laced cap, and a braided
tunic drawn together at the waist by a belt in
which were stuck a pistol and short dagger, re-
deemed it from the commonplace. The man who
had come in with me merely said, 'The Doctare
Mowbray, capitana,' set my valise on the floor,
"I had not the least doubt that I was in a
robber's den and that this was the chief of the
band; but neither the apartment nor the aspect
of the man who confronted me, setting aside the
weapons, would have suggested such a -thing.
The floor was carpeted with some soft stuff, the
walls were hung with cloth, the furniture was
good, and on a table where two wax candles
burned were a number of books and papers. The
person who had apparently just risen from the
table was a man in the prime of life, with soft,
handsome features adorned by a black, silky
moustache, and with no trace whatever in his look
of the ruffian or desperado. He bowed gracefully,
but I spoke first.
92 AN ADVENTURE IN SPAIN.
"'Why am I brought here, senior?' I asked with
an assumption of boldness I hardly felt.
"'The Doctor Mowbray must excuse us,' he
said in mild courteous tones, 'for the use of a
little force. It was the only way that suggested
itself to secure his valuable services.'
"'You know me, then?'
"He smiled. 'We had heard of you,' he said.
"'And whom have I the honour of addressing?'
"'I am known by the name of Captain Leond.'
"I started, for that was the name I had heard
given to an outlaw credited with some deeds of
a rather extreme kind.
"'I see you have heard of me too,' said the
captain, 'but don't believe all you have heard.
You have nothing to fear; all that I want is your
skill. A friend-a precious friend-in fact, my
wife-is sick; I learn that Doctor Mowbray, cele-
brated for his cures, journeys this way to-day;
I ask him-in rather an abrupt fashion, I grant
you-to come and cure my patient, and here he
is; that is all. When his professional duty is
done he goes again upon his journey in all
AN ADVENTURE IN SPAIN. 93
"'What did you know of me, or of my intended
movements?' I could not help asking.
"'0, we know everything up here,' he said,
smiling. 'We have friends who take pity on us,
and tell us the news. And now let me introduce
to you your patient. Your case of medicine is in
"'You know that too?'
"'0 yes, yes; I know that too. I know that
Doctor Mowbray never travels without it;' which
was indeed the fact.
"He softly opened a door which had been co-
vered by a fold of the tapestry, and beckoned me
to enter. On doing so I was astonished to find
myself apparently in a sumptuously furnished
bed-room, the air stove-warmed, but quite fresh
On the bed lay a young lady, not much beyond
girlhood, of striking beauty, which was rather
enhanced than otherwise by the flush of fever
which I instantly recognized on her cheeks.
"'Do you know me, Inez?' said Leond as he
bent anxiously over her; but there was no
"'Netta will tell you all about it,' he said
indicating a female attendant who had been
94 AN ADVENTURE IN SPAIN.
sitting by the bed, and went out, closing the door
"On examination I found the fair invalid was
suffering from a common fever of the country,
which I had no doubt would soon yield to the
proper treatment. Netta told me she had been
ill for about a week, and had been occasionally
insensible during the last two days.
"After administering the proper medicine, and
arranging things properly, I left my patient, as I
might now call her, in charge of her attendant.
I found Leon6 walking impatiently up and down
the outer apartment.
"'Well?' he said, fixing a pair of dark eyes
upon me, as his brow fell into a frown, which I
afterwards observed was habitual to him when
irritated or troubled; 'how do you find her? Is
she in danger? Will she soon be well?'
"'She is not in danger, senior,' I said, 'so far as
my judgment can guide me. A common fever,
without any complications-body in good con-
dition-sound constitution, evidently--careful
treatment for a few days is all that is needed.'
"His brow cleared at once.
"'Ah!' he ejaculated. 'Well, very well-thank
AN ADVENTURE IN SPAIN. 95
you, doctor. I trust a few days' detention will
not incommode you.'
"A few days' detention! I had expected to get
away at once. I suppose I looked my disap-
pointment, and had begun to mutter something
about pressing business, when the ominous frown
again appeared, and he stopped me, saying shortly,
'It is settled, doctor; you remain till my wife is
out of danger;' then adding more blandly, 'There
is no one I could trust to for careful treatment
but yourself, doctor. You shall be made comfort-
able. See, I give you this room, where there is
a couch-I shall go elsewhere-no one shall dis-
turb you. Give me back Inez, and you shall not
only go in safety, but with my gratitude, and
whatever reward is in my power.'
"What could I say or do?
"I remained for three days in that bandit's den.
"All the time I was well served and sumptuously
fed. The captain came and went, but left me
much to myself. So far as we entered into con-
versation I found him well informed and refined.
I saw very little of the other members of the
band. Sometimes I heard the noise of arrivals
in the outer apartment, and one night there
96 AN ADVENTURE IN SPAIN.
seemed to be a carouse, a quarrel, and a fight. I
heard Leon6's voice loud and commanding, then
there was quietness. I was often very uneasy.
I knew how little the leaders of such bands had
them in general under sway. They might take it
into their head at any time to treat me as a pri-
soner, demand that I should be ransomed, or even
perhaps insist on my death lest I should betray
them. I wished I was well out of the trap.
"I soon became interested in my patient. In one
day I had the fever so far reduced that her intel-
ligence became clear. She was very beautiful,
as I have said, and had the sweetest and most
musical voice I ever heard. She was also very
patient and obedient to my instructions. On the
fourth day she was distinctly out of danger, and
in the fair way to complete recovery. Her hus-
band was with us, and I announced the fact,
reminding of his promise that I should be set
"'When I left my friend Don Alvaro deMueza's
house three days ago,' I added, 'I believed I
would by this time be on the borders of Por-
"The lady, who had been talking freely with