Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Chapter I: Late hours
 Chapter II: Comrades
 Chapter III: "See-saw"
 Chapter IV: Dick Owen's trap
 Chapter V: His evil genius
 Chapter VI: Charlie's confessi...
 Back Cover

Title: His own master
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00056247/00001
 Material Information
Title: His own master
Physical Description: 64 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Hardy, Robina F
Hardy, Robina F ( Illustrator )
Thomas Nelson & Sons ( Publisher )
Publisher: T. Nelson and Sons
Place of Publication: London ;
Edinburgh ;
New York
Publication Date: 1888
Subject: Young men -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Lawyers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Apprentices -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Success -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Widows -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Accidents -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Forgery -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Mothers and sons -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1889   ( rbprov )
Nonsense verse -- 1889   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1888
Genre: Prize books (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
Nonsense verse   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
United States -- New York -- New York
Statement of Responsibility: by Robina F. Hardy ; with illustrations.
General Note: Added title page, engraved.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00056247
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002231158
notis - ALH1526
oclc - 70331461

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Table of Contents
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Chapter I: Late hours
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
    Chapter II: Comrades
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
    Chapter III: "See-saw"
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
    Chapter IV: Dick Owen's trap
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
    Chapter V: His evil genius
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
    Chapter VI: Charlie's confession
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    Back Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
Full Text


'The Baldw:m .bay
... :. .m .- n

ogs' T-rifisL ScLoof,|

| ,^.PrESENTED TO?-.-.

1 Who Passed the late Examtination before
H Af. Inspector, in t.... ...... Standard.

SA Reward for Good Behzaviour & Dililgence
.f1,n, (W';...l. F PE-?R V, Yl. .s/er-

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{ ..................................................... N -U -K ---- .............--

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-- -- --- -- ,/? ]

Pa&e 32.

Cbomaz I Relson anb Sons,

^rhe 1ETag ta TSitxn ^Seviez



Robina H. Eartb*,
Author of" Trust in God and Do the Right" Series of Penny Books.



I. LATE HOURS, ... .. .. ... 9

II. COMRADES, ... .. ..... 2C

II. SEE-SAW," ... .. .. ... ... 31

IV. DICK OWEN'S TRAP, ... .. ... 38

V. HIS EVIL GENIUS, ... ... 48

VI. CHARLIE'S CONFESSION .. .. ... ... 59




"WHERE can Charlie be ?"
There was vexation, not alarm, in Mrs.
Everett's kind motherly face as she said
the words, glancing for about the twentieth
time at the white dial-plate on the mantel-
shelf. True, it was no very late hour as
yet recorded thereon. But Charlie Everett
had been wont to find all his evening
amusements at home, and it was a little
vexing to find that, now he was eighteen,
and entered as apprentice in a lawyer's


office, he was beginning to find the old
happy home-life too "slow" for him. It
was only a little after ten though, really,
and Mrs. Everett had no wish to be hard
on her boy. She put the nice hot supper-
dish down on the warm tiles of the hearth,
that it might be ready for him. She bade
the girls play a little longer on the piano
--some of the nice airs he had wished
them to practise with him. That, she
declared, was sure to bring Charlie home.
And, for a wonder, so it did Presently
the click of his latch-key was heard, and
his quick light step crossed the hall. A
merry voice rang out the last popular
street-song of the day, and then sunshine
flooded the Everett parlour again, for
Charlie, the family idol (and the family
anxiety), was in its midst once more.
There was a brighter colour perhaps on


his cheek, a keener sparkle in his eyes,
than usual; but it might have been his
run home from town in the frosty air, his
mother thought. She busied herself in
making ready his place at the table.
My boy, where have you been? Here
is the very sort of thing you like best for
supper waiting you. See, here it is-a
cheese-pudding; and made by Sophy, just
for you."
Sophy, a pretty fair-haired girl of
twelve, stood smiling at her brother's
ready appreciation of her work and at her
mother's praise.
Charlie was hungry, wherever he had
been, and would have found even a plainer
meal quite welcome. He sat down at
once and despatched the trophy of Sophy's
culinary art in as short a time as his flow
of conversation would permit of.


"Where have I been ?" he echoed in
affected surprise. "Why, mother mine,
what a question! When a fellow doesn't
get out of his office till nine-or-very
nearly-you know-"
"Now, Charlie, don't make excuses, but
just tell straight where you were," said
Emma, his second sister, looking round
archly from her music.
Or rather say whom you were with,"
added the mother. You know, Charlie,
that is always what I am most anxious
about. You have some good companions,
and also-"
"Mother," interrupted Charlie, without
troubling himself to answer her queries,
" I'll tell you something you'll like to
hear. Ay, and the girls too will be look-
ing up, I tell you. Why, Bob Lester,
your great prime favourite, and the ad-

,' 12.

'ae Iro

Tage 12.


mired of all these young ladies, espe-
Charlie, be quiet," cried the girls in
chorus; and they ran to stop their tor-
mentor's mouth with mock violence and
merry clamour. "What do you think we
care about Bob Lester and all your chosen
band of followers! A fine set they are, to
be sure."
Come, come, children, don't be so
noisy," said Mrs. Everett, who had settled
quietly to her knitting by the fire once
more. It will soon be time for going to
bed. But, Charlie, tell me about your
friend Lester. He is one of my 'good
ones,' you know. Do keep to him as
much as you like."
"Well, mother, he says he's coming
down for his holidays to Aldborough when
we go. He gets his the same time as


mine, and we'll have lots of boating, you
know, and it'll be awfully jolly. He says
he wouldn't miss the chance for anything;
though I must say I can't think why he's
so set upon it as all that."
Here Charlie looked slyly round at his
eldest sister Lucy, who suddenly bent over
her embroidery work, her cheek suffused
with blushes. Lucy Everett was a tall,
beautiful girl of some nineteen or twenty
summers-as good and gentle as she was
fair. It was evident that Mr. Bob Lester's
longing for Aldborough was not solely on
account of the charm of Charlie's society.
"And I'll tell you another thing,
mother," continued Charlie, as soon as he
had finished that hearty supper of his.
" There's Dick Owen-you don't care for
Dick ?"
Mrs. Everett shook her head.


Well, he isn't half so bad as you take
him for, I tell you. And he's been aw-
fully kind to me since I went to the office,
putting me up to lots of things, you know,
and all that."
"Oh, I ,l,,.iyi," said Emma, with a
twinkle of her merry dark eyes; for Emma
was the quiz of the little circle. There
was generally quite a war of wits between
her and her brother, or still oftener her
brother's friend. "Richard is an obliging
youth," she added mockingly, whereat
Charlie frowned ominously.
"You just shut up," he growled in a
menacing aside. Mother," he continued
aloud, I've asked him to come out here
from Saturday till Monday. You won't
mind, will you ? Dick has been working
hard and needs a rest. His people live in
a miserable hole without any ground about


it. I said he could have a scamper over
the common on Gypsy or Nettle."
Mrs. Everett sighed.
"I would like to be kind to your friends,
Charlie; but I do wish it had been any
one but that Dick Owen."
Charlie started from the table at these
words, banging his chair violently against
the wall, and sending some plates spinning
about with a loud clatter.
"Oh, of course," he cried impetuously.
"If it's any friend of the girls' it's all
right; he's made welcome. But any
friend of mine, it's only 'some idle chum
of Charlie's.' I'll never ask a fellow with-
in the door again."
Charlie's bright cheeks were crimson
now with rage, and his eyes had a wild,
fierce glare in them that terrified his
sisters, while his mother's more experi-
D 2


enced glance now told her he had been at
some drinking saloon with his chosen
friend Dick Owen.
My son," she said mildly but firmly,
"no one can possibly accuse me of think-
ing too little of my boy, my only boy-
the likeness of his dead father to me. But
I must judge for myself, Charlie, of the
companions you bring here, both for your
own and your sisters' sakes. Let your
friend come on Saturday, by all means.
He will be made welcome. But remember
he must conform to the ways of my house-
hold in every respect-Sunday in parti-
cular; and if I find any cause of offence in
him, it shall be his last visit here."
Mrs. Everett's words ended the discus-
sion. She spoke with some degree of sharp-
ness in concluding, which was not without
its effect even on Charlie, who quickly set



off to kennel up Ranger, the big black re-
triever, while the girls, having helped to
clear away the supper dishes, departed to
their own attic to have a private talk over
the two expected visitors before falling



IT was little wonder perhaps that Mrs.
Everett felt anxious regarding the future
career of this only and beloved son. Her
husband's death had left her still compara-
tively young, with the entire management
of the four children-Lucy, Emma, Charlie,
and Sophy; and while she felt confident
of her own power to train the three girls
well and wisely, some recollections of her
own earlier life made her much more
doubtful as to her own capabilities for
training a boy of Charlie's nature-lively,
wilful, and impulsive. He was the very


counterpart of her own brother Edward,
in outward form and also in character,
and she could not but remember sadly
how under the feeble guidance of a doting
mother-early widowed like herself-Ed-
ward Grayson had gone from one foolish
extravagance to another, until at last he
was forced to leave England, in order to
hide from former friends and associates
the degradation to which he had fallen.
She remembered still the hour when the
bright, handsome lad bade his poor mother
farewell, never again to see her in life.
And she could too easily recall the wail
of sorrow to which that mother gave vent
when he had gone, bitterly confessing that
her own indulgent fondness had been the
ruin of her boy-her own love had been
worse than cruelty.
It was this sad story that often weighed


on Mrs. Everett's mind. She had once
spoken of it to Charlie, believing that the
warning of his uncle's fate might be good
for him; but Charlie only changed the
subject quickly for some lighter theme,
Oh well you know, mother dear, that
was ages ago, and Uncle Edward wasn't
put to work in time as I've been. You
told me he was just allowed to ride about
the country to all sorts of races and shoot-
ing-matches, as if he was a man of fortune!
Now, you see, I've got to work for myself,
and I know it! Not much fear of me
going 'on the spur' like that!"
So Mrs. Everett tried to banish this
recollection as much as might be from her
mind, and to take Charlie's own view of
the matter, which indeed seemed a not
unlikely one.


It was a pleasant home that of the
Everetts-the tiny villa of Elmwood, all
clustered over with vine and clematis, and
surrounded by a pretty garden and nice
bit of lawn which sloped gently down to
the very banks of the Trent. Elmwood
was in one of the best suburbs of Notting-
ham, that busy town of lace manufactories
of which you have often heard.
Mr. Everett had been partner in one of
the large manufactories, and had left his
family in very comfortable circumstances,
though they could not be termed rich.
Hence, as Charlie remarked, he knew that
he must work for himself; and it was all
the better for him too that he knew it.
It was, of course, desirable that he
should follow his father's occupation, and
in time an opening was to be made for
him in the same firm; but during some


necessary delay Charlie had been sent to
a lawyer's office, which would, at least,
accustom him to business habits. Very
proud indeed Charlie was of his-big desk,
his high stool, his bunch of keys, and
other evidences of being no longer a mere
school-boy, but a man of business; while
his sisters Emma particularly-liked
nothing better than to quiz him about
these newly-acquired airs of importance.
Mr. Scrivener was as yet quite satisfied
with the conduct of his new apprentice.
He was a good master, very strict indeed,
yet at the same time kind and considerate.
His own confidential clerk, Mr. Robert
Lester, was a chief favourite of his, and
to his care he specially committed Charlie
Everett, seeing, perhaps, that an inexperi-
enced lad like Charlie would need a better
guide than he was likely to find in his


desk-mate Richard Owen. Be that as it
may, Charlie had been at once and par-
ticularly introduced to Lester, and Lester
had not been slow to follow up the ac-
quaintance, though his new friend was
some years his junior. It became a fre-
quent practice of his to walk out to Elm-
wood of an evening, when business was
not pressing, and to enjoy for a little the
society of Mrs. Everett and the girls-so
different from the lonely life of his own
lodgings, where the most cheerful face was
that of Mrs. Grubb, his landlady, and the
only music he could hear that of a hand-
organ in the noisy, bustling street below.
Charlie, what a happy fellow you are!"
Mr. Lester would say after one of those
evenings, to which Charlie would respond
with careless good nature, Oh, well,
things might be worse !"


Mr. Richard Owen duly made his visit
to Elmwood, Charlie bringing him out
with him on Saturday afternoon. He
stayed over Sunday, according to his
friend Charlie's invitation; and to do him
justice, no fault could be found with his
outward conduct either on that day or at
any other time. He was quiet and even
sedate in manner-always ready to yield
to the wishes of those around him. And
yet Mrs. Everett could not help feeling
some misgiving about him-a misgiving
which she could not quite account for, but
one which made her wish frequently that
Charlie had taken a fancy to any other of
his office companions, especially as he was
of a nature extremely facile and easily led
either to good or evil. She did not wish
to vex or discourage her boy, however,
good, kind mother that she was, and tried


to show her mistrust of Dick as little as
Isn't he a real good fellow, mother ?"
cried Charlie in his usual impulsive manner
after his friend had gone. I was sure
you couldn't find a bit of fault in him
when you really knew him."
"I have no fault to find, Charlie," re-
turned Mrs. Everett; "indeed I don't
want to find fault with anybody if I can
help it, least of all with my children's
friends. And yet,. to be perfectly frank
with you, my dear boy, I do wish to see
you less easily influenced by any com-
panion, even if it was one as good as even
I could wish-"
"One like Bob Lester, for instance,"
interrupted Charlie, with an impatient
toss of his curly head.
"Well," said Mrs. Everett with a quiet


smile, "even if it were as safe a guide
as he."
Charlie opened his frank blue eyes very
wide at this speech.
"Why, mother, don't you want me to
follow a fellow even in good things ?"
Not blindly and unthinkingly, Charlie,"
said Mrs. Everett firmly; for as Charlie
seemed in a humour for serious conver-
sation she was unwilling to lose the chance.
" What I want to find in you is a guiding
principle speaking from within-the voice
of your own conscience, in fact, which you
know is often called, God's vicegerent
in the soul.' I want to find you. always
listening to that voice, my dearest boy,
always ready to follow its dictates. Then
you will be independent of all earthly
leaders, and in no danger of being misled
by any comrade; for you know that even


the best of human friends may sadly err
and lead us into trouble."
Charlie was listening quietly enough
now, for a wonder. His. head was bent,
and rested on his hand as if he were think-
ing of something very steadfastly.
You want me to guide myself, mother?"
he said inquiringly-" that is, not to lean
on any one for advice, not even on you ?"
"Not quite that, Charlie," answered his
mother smiling. "I do hope to see you
taking advice both from myself and others
older and more experienced than you are
now. And yet it is self-guidance I am re-
commending you to cultivate, day by day,
year by year, so that when you are left to
fight the battle of life alone, you may be
found well fitted for your part, and not
too easily swayed by any change of cir-
cumstance or companionship."


"But then I must always take my own
way, mother dear! That will be first-
rate," said Charlie, with a merry twinkle
in his bright blue eyes, for he thought he
had his mother in a nice little fix" now,
as he expressed it.
Mrs. Everett shook her head in reply
to this mock reasoning.
"No, Charlie, no. That would indeed
be a strange advice for me to give. The
self-guidance about which I spoke is very
different from that. You remember, my
boy," she added in a graver tone, that I
said the voice of conscience, to which you
should always attend, is, in truth, if heard
aright, the very voice of God. Follow
that voice, Charlie, and you will not take
any wrong turning in the journey of life."
"I will try, mother," said Charlie in a
low and subdued tone.



"COME along, Charlie!" exclaimed his
sister Emma, bursting into the room that
very moment with her usual impetuosity;
"we are all waiting for you. We have
got such a nice new boat, painted green
and red; and oh, such lovely oars! Do
come with us, Charlie, or we shan't be able
to go up to Bryant Creek before dark."
Charlie set off at once, nothing loath to
join this fresh enterprise. Close to the
banks of the Trent stands the busy town
to which our story belongs, and closer still,
as we have said, the lawn of Elmwood

82 SEE-SAW."

dipped down into its swift-flowing waters.
It was a lovely bend of the river just
there, sheltered by drooping willows, and
bordered by rich green meadows enamelled
by a countless succession of bright-coloured
wild-flowers. One of the pleasantest even-
ing amusements the Everett family enjoyed
was a long row up the river in the sweet
twilight hours, when work and lessons and
all other business had been fairly disposed
of. And so Charlie, accompanying his
two younger sisters that evening, had one
of the nicest times he could possibly have
desired, and felt what a happy home his
was, and even determined, after all his
mother had said to him, to be found hence-
forth fully worthy of all its blessedness.
Emma was always his chosen compan-
ion at home. Her bright, quick wit and
merry humour made her a favourite, in-

"SEE-SAW." 33

deed, wherever she went, and quite a band
of young folks of both sexes generally
clustered round Charlie and herself. So
it was this evening when they reached
Bryant Creek and landed for a few
minutes to chat and laugh about all the
little adventures on the river with the
various crews already gathered there.
And then after that there was the quieter
and sweeter hour upon the water, as
they drifted down homewards under the
shining stars, singing as they went some
favourite boat-song--one that would
readily catch their mother's listening ear
as they neared at last the lighted windows
of their own pretty home. No wonder,
perhaps, that Charlie Everett felt that
evening quite on sure, safe ground-felt
almost sure of himself for the rest of his
life, indeed; and that certain other amuse-
D 3

34 SEE-SAW."

ments to which he had lately devoted his
leisure hours looked very different in re-
trospect, and not in the least attractive.
But many a rude blast must try the
mountain-pine before its roots learn to
grip so firmly to the living rock-the
sure foundation beneath them-as to re-
sist the swaying, overwhelming influences
all around; and so it was too with Charlie.
"I say, Everett," cried Dick Owen, as
the two lads were leaving Mr. Scrivener's
office one afternoon the week following
that of Dick's visit to Elmwood and of
Charlie's good resolutions for the future,
just recorded-" I say, Everett, just come
with me for a turn at billiards. We're
both as rusty as possible; and, there's a first-
rate set of fellows just now about Lang-
ley's. Do come; there's a good fellow !"
"I haven't time," muttered Charlie;

"SEE-SAW." 35

but the protest died away soon under a
renewed fire of persuasion from Dick, and
the two turned into Langley's, a noted
gambling-house in Nottingham, where
billiards led easily and quickly to the more
exciting card-tables, where bright gold and
silver were always glittering and glancing
before youthful and inexperienced eyes,
and changing pockets with alarming rapid-
ity among a set of veteran gamesters with
furrowed, haggard faces and a wolf-like
eagerness under their shaggy eyebrows
that was almost terrible to watch.
Charlie had not much loose money in
his pocket, and therefore was as yet pretty
safe from these rogues. Still it was a
perilous road by which he had so care-
lessly entered. He had promised that
night to be home by six o'clock for tea,
so as to take the girls up the river again.

36 SEE-SAW."

But, alas! time passed away quickly at
Langley's. The boat and the river and
the innocent mirth all looked fainter and
further away the longer he stayed; and
when at ten o'clock or thereabouts Charlie
did reach home it was in a bitter and de-
fiant frame of mind-angry with himself
indeed, and yet ready to vent his anger on
anybody and everybody else around him.
Charlie, what a shame of you !" cried
Emma, taking the first word as usual.
"You shut up!" growled her brother.
"How do you suppose a fellow can have
time always to move about in that tub of
a thing ?"
"Oh well it doesn't matter," struck in
softly the youngest, rather a tease in her
way; "we had Mr. Lester to take us up
to the creek-at least he took Lucy and
me-and we had such a splendid time !"


Pa 36. "
, ..- .

Pae 36.



AND so it was that Charlie Everett allowed
himself to be too easily swayed by a com-
panion, and this time certainly not for
good. His mother's heart grew anxious
and foreboding once more on his account,
and she was glad to take counsel with
young Lester, who was one of the seniors
in Charlie's office, as to what might be
done to get him into better ways.
I will do everything in my power, you
may be sure," said Lester warmly. "There
is no family whom I would so willingly
serve as yours;" and the bright flush that


mantled on the fine open countenance of
the speaker told Mrs. Everett that he was
not thinking only of Charlie in that little
home circle to which he so often turned
in leisure hours now-a-days.
Mr. Lester was a rising man in his pro-
fession, and though yet very young he
would soon be in a position to offer Lucy
Everett a home not much inferior to her
present one; and there could be no doubt
that to both of them the prospect looked
very attractive. It was probably owing
to this conversation that Charlie was
caught at by Bob Lester one afternoon
soon afterwards as he was being drawn
away again by Dick Owen in the direction
of Langley's.
Everett! aren't you going right home?
I'll come a bit of the road with you, if you
don't mind."


"Oh! well, you know," hesitated Charlie,
"I'm not quite ready yet. I-I-am going
in for a turn at billiards first. Don't let
me keep you waiting."
Dick Owen was in a tobacconist's just
then getting some cigars, and so was out
of the way. Lester seized the opportunity
and spoke a few earnest words to Charlie
on the dangerous course he was getting
led into. They seemed to have some
effect, and the lad had almost given up
his first intention when his evil genius
appeared on the scene. 'A few flattering
words in Charlie's ear, an arm linked
coaxingly in his, and then all Lester's
eloquence was swept away like chaff be-
fore the wind.
I say, Everett," said Dick Owen, as
soon as he had his victim all to himself,
"mark my words: that fellow hates me !


He is a mean, low, detestable spy on all
our actions at present; and, do you know,
I'm perfectly certain it's Lester that has
set your mother against me-as you can't
deny she is. I believe that fellow goes,
like the mean tell-tale he is, and tells her
over everything. Now mind what I've
told you, old fellow. Keep a sharp look-
out on the enemy and stand true to me,
won't you ?"
Of course Charlie vowed allegiance to
his friend on the spot. He was very
angry at the idea of Lester turning a spy
and a tell-tale, and with his usual rash-
ness never waited to inquire whether these
allegations were true or not. His eyes
flashed fire and his voice quivered with
passion as he exclaimed,-
Meddling coxcomb that he is If I
ever catch him telling over one single


word at home I'll put a spoke in the
wheel of that precious courtship of his
that his heart's so set on., I will, or my.
name's not Everett! I'm the head of
the house-at least, next to mother, of
course-and I'll not let my sister marry
a villain without having a fight about it !"
"Bravo bravo !" cried Dick Owen, as
they turned into the gaming-house.
Many people said that Dick's great
preference for Charlie's society was owing
to the fact that the latter had always a
good deal of loose money jingling in his
pockets, ready to be put out on any frolic
for his own or a companion's sake; while
the former was always as "hard-up" as
possible-to use his own phrase for hav-
ing nothing to spare on theatres, concerts,
cigars, etc.-besides having a good many
debts more or less pressing. Be that as


it might, Dick Owen had succeeded in
making a firm and stanch ally of poor
Charlie. On the present occasion he was
willing to sacrifice anything to maintain
Dick's good name with his mother and
the home-circle generally.
"Well, Charlie," whispered Dick con-
fidentially, as they sat waiting their turn
at the green table before them, if I ever
give you clear proof that he has told over
something about us, you promise to pitch
into him pretty strong, don't you ?"
"I should think so. Call me a fool
ever after if I don't," said Charlie fer-
"All right," whispered Dick, and im-
mediately their game began.
For some weeks after that Mr. Richard
Owen was observed by those who knew
him best to be absorbed in some deep


and difficult problem, and as time went
on his brow grew lighter and his step
more buoyant, as if at last he had solved
it to his own satisfaction. But the fact
was that he had resolved on a plan that
would require some time to pass before it
could be executed, and in the meanwhile
he had resolved to dismiss it from his
mind, and merely to amuse himself as cir-
cumstances would permit.
Time passed quickly, as it always does,
even to those who are waiting for some
long-cherished plan to be executed. The
long, bright summer days came, and the
holiday months came, when Mr. Scriv-
ener's clerks had all their leave in turn,
and were released from desk and ledger
and pen to rove at pleasure among
heathered hills, or breezy moorlands, or
by the sea-girt shore. It was the last of


these that attracted both Charlie Everett
and Bob Lester, who had their holidays
at the same time that year; while Dick
Owen, much to Charlie's chagrin, did not
get his till their return.
Mrs. Everett's little sea-side villa at
Aldborough had seldom seemed so lively
and pleasant as it did that summer. The
group gathered on its little lawn for tennis,
or wandering on the white sands just be-
low it, was one to make glad any holiday
month-full of good-natured rivalry in
boating, or pleasure excursions by land;
bright with anticipations of a golden
future, as well as content in the happy
Lucy and Bob Lester seemed to find
the days only too short for the gladness
that had to be packed into them. The
younger girls just wondered how these


two could care about anything in com-
parison with their lovely yacht, the Nancy
Lee, and the new tennis rackets they had
bought. And then Charlie, released from
his "evil genius," as they had all learned
to call Dick Owen, was coming rapidly
back to his own better self, and was once
more the frank, affectionate boy he used
to be long before-kind to his sisters,- de-
voted to his widowed mother.
Bob Lester, to do him justice, devoted
as much time as could be reasonably ex-
pected to the society of Charlie, trying to
win his full confidence, and to be what he
soon hoped in near relationship to be-
almost his brother.

-:-j \ ,


_ify j 1- v

: .. .. '

Pae 46.



WHILE these bright hours were passing so
quickly with the Everetts, some dark
scenes were being enacted in Mr. Scriv-
ener's office up in town. Round Mr.
Richard Owen a heavy storm had for
months, even years past, been gathering.
Debts and difficulties, not always of an
honourable kind either, threatened to
overwhelm him, and that speedily. And
one afternoon in the end of July, when
the office was all but deserted, a sharp
Jewish countenance confronted the white-
faced, trembling youth, and a low, grind-


ing sort of voice repeated in his ear,
"Ten o'clock to-morrow, Mr. Richard !-
ten o'clock, sharp, or you know what to
"All right, Mr. Jacobs," said Dick.
"Ten o'clock sharp, on my honour."
"IHonour?" growled the old Jewish
money-lender as he left the office. "I
trust to something else than honour when
I deal with you."
Dick Owen, left to himself, sat a long
time at his desk, his face buried in his
hands. At last he rose and locked up
the place, as was his duty, being the last
in the office. As he turned the last key
he muttered to himself: "Now for it!
I've only this afternoon to arrange every-
thing; I must bolt. But I'll see that fool
Everett first, and try that dodge upon
him. It may fetch a few pounds to make
D 4


a start with. If not--well, I must trust
to my luck "
So saying, he handed the big bunch of
keys to the office-keeper, looking sus-
piciously at the man as he did so, almost
fancying he had guessed his trouble.
Then feeling in his breast-pocket for one
important document, he was gone-never
more to return to his old place in Mr-
Scrivener's employment.
That very evening about six o'clock
Charlie Everett and Bob Lester were
seated on a ledge of rock overhanging the
sea, only a few yards distant from the
tiny lawn where the ladies sat at work.
The two young men had fowling-pieces in
hand, and were trying, not very success-
fully to be sure, to have a shot at passing
sea-birds. Suddenly Charlie started to
his feet, and laying down his gun, ran


down the steep incline to the beach below.
He had heard a long low whistle, and
recognized in it a signal that he knew
only too well, but did not expect-nay,
did not even wish to hear there and then.
It was Dick Owen, white and haggard-
looking, who waited for him in a nook
among the rocks down below.
"I tell you, Everett," said Dick for the
third or fourth time-for his friend could
not or would not understand him at first-
" I tell you, man, I'm off for good and all.
There's a smack down yonder going to
take me to-night on board the Hamburg
steamer. Come for a spree like a good
fellow as you always are. We'll see some
foreign life and have a grand spin, I pro-
mise you. Come!"
"Nonsense, Dick. To-night? Why,
man, I couldn't."


"Couldn't leave your mother's apron-
strings, I suppose!" retorted Dick sneer-
ingly. I forgot that."
Charlie's face flushed crimson.
I can't leave my guest," he answered
proudly. "That would be an uncivil
thing to do."
"Oh, Lester; I forgot-well,thatreminds
me," added Dick, taking a letter from his
breast-pocket, "I had something to show
you; but maybe you won't care now to
learn how Lester played the tale-bearer on
you. Read that if you care to."
Too much agitated and bewildered to
observe that the letter was addressed, not
to himself or even to Owen, but to his
mother, Charlie ran his eyes over a brief
but clearly expressed document, signed as
legibly as possible in Bob Lester's hand.
How horrified Charlie was to find that it


contained a full disclosure of his recent
visits to the gambling-house, and of some
convivial parties in several of his cronies'
quarters-all more or less greatly exagger-
ated. The handwriting did not seem
always familiar, but the signature was
beyond doubt.
"What is this ? and where did it come
from?" he demanded, looking as if a
thunderbolt had fallen at his feet.
"I intercepted that letter," said Dick
In a moment Charlie had left him, to
clamber up the steep path as hastily as
impatient feet would bear him, and he
carried that letter open in his hand.
"Read that, Lester !" he said sternly.
"Is that your signature or not ?"
"Mine certainly!" said his friend
with frank composure, looking only at


the name, and with a careless, hasty
Then you are a villain!" cried Charlie.
"I? What do you mean, Charlie?
What have I done ?" asked Lester.
You? You wrote that letter, and you
ask what you have done !" cried Charlie
in a voice choking with passion. "Look
you, Lester, we have both pistols here;
let us use them as gentlemen should to
defend our honour. I give you fair warn-
ing-see !" And so saying he lifted his
fowling-piece, fresh loaded as it was, and
levelled it at his companion.
"Rash, foolish boy!" exclaimed Lester,
throwing himself upon the excited youth
so as to disarm him by one dexterous
movement. Alas! it was not altogether
a successful one, dexterous as it was. The
fowling-piece went off in Charlie's hand


by some chance touch of the trigger, and
poor Lester, uttering a sharp cry, fell at
his feet, apparently mortally wounded-a
crimson stream of blood alone testifying
that he still lived. It was an awful
moment for Charlie Everett, who never
till that instant had fully comprehended
the madness and crime of the act he had
himself proposed.
"That's brave, Charlie !" whispered a
low hissing voice in his ear. Come
with me now before they have time to
spot you !" It was Dick Owen who had
secretly followed him up the cliff. But
Charlie's eyes were at last and most
suddenly and painfully opened.
"Go away, you fiend!" he cried angrily.
"You have tempted me too far already.
Leave me to my fate and my punishment


Dick Owen turned instantly and dis-
appeared. Charlie was left to do what
best he might in that most awful moment
of his life. He stood alone, the murderer,
as he believed, of his own friend and
guest-his sister's betrothed lover. All
his efforts proved unavailing to restore
consciousness or to stanch the wound in
his victim's breast, and Charlie knew that
no moment must be lost in securing better
aid than his own. To do him justice, he
never thought of himself at that awful
crisis, or feared to meet the vengeance he
had so thoughtlessly incurred. After
rapidly summoning the little household,
he flew like lightning to the town for the
nearest doctor, and returned with one
almost before the terrified group of women
had fairly grasped the idea of what had
really happened.

Pae 55.


And then after all had been done that
could be done-when Lester was lying
bandaged carefully, and showing some few
signs of life in the drawing-room, sur-
rounded by anxious watchers Charlie
made a frank and full confession before
the whole circle. "I did it, mother God
forgive me; I am sure I can never forgive



IT would be difficult to describe the horror
and consternation that seized upon all the
party, the doctor included.
"What do you mean, Charlie ?" asked
Mrs. Everett faintly..
"I was mad because of a letter he
wrote, mother- a letter Dick Owen
brought me. It was telling you how
bad I had been; and I deserved it every
word, and a deal more. But that was
what maddened me."
"I did not write that letter -
Charlie !-only my-name," feebly articu-


lated the wounded man. They were his
first coherent words, and what joy they
caused to the eager hearts around him!
"Never mind what you wrote, dear
Lester," whispered Charlie, "only live to
say you forgive me."
Lester smiled brightly.
You didn't fire the shot, Charlie. I
brushed the thing out of your hand, and
it went off. You gave me fair warning,
you know."
Charlie Everett never forgot the glow
of rapture and relief that shot through his
soul at these words-never to his dying
At that moment Sophy entered with a
letter she had found lying on the grass
all crumpled and stained but quite legible.
"That is not his hand!" cried Lucy


And look," said Emma quickly, "look!
the bit with his name has been pasted on."
It was quite true, though it had been
left for Emma's keen eyes to discover the
neatly executed fraud. Indeed, so skil-
fully had the tiny strip of paper (cut off
from one of Lester's old letters) been
gummed to the thick-ribbed paper bearing
the forged document, that it would have
required all the, advantage of clear day-
light at all events to distinguish the join-
ings. And the handwriting of the whole
letter was remarkably well copied from
Lester's own writing-it having occupied
Dick Owen's strictest attention for weeks-
As soon as Charlie's story was'fully
understood, there was search made for
Dick on the beach below the cliff; but he
was gone. Some boys said they had seen
a small boat making its way out towards


a fishing-smack at a considerable distance,
only about half an hour before, and there
could be little doubt that the boat held
the unhappy Dick.
No authentic tidings regarding his fate
ever reached the Everetts, but in other
quarters it was known that his career was
one of the many which go steadily from
bad to worse, until at last lost sight of in
a dishonoured grave.
It was many months before Lester got
quite over the bad effects of his wound,
and was able to go forward with the
necessary preparations for his marriage.
But being carefully and tenderly nursed
by Lucy, the bond of affection already
uniting them became even more close and
endearing; and when the happy day at
length came round that united them for
life, there was not a more joyful wedding


ever known in Twickenham. All the
people about flocked to see it and scatter
flowers in the path of the young lovers
who had nearly been parted for ever by
that tragical occurrence of which they
had all heard. The bells rang out right
joyously, and at night a bonfire was
kindled on a neighboring height.
Charlie was a proud and happy man
that day, having to give away the bride
and act as host to so many guests at his
mother's table.
Charlie acquitted himself well on this
occasion, and also afterwards in all the
varying events of life, much to his good
mother's joy and thankfulness. It may
be that he was hardly ever again so
light-hearted and buoyant of spirit as he
had been before his unhappy intimacy
with Dick Owen. Some of the thorns


and stings of wrong-doing are pretty sure
to linger, even when the flowers we
plucked so eagerly have long vanished.
Still Charlie was turning out well, far
better than his early friends had ventured
to hope for him. And one good result of
that painful experience of his past life
was, that he did not as before hang on
the counsels of any chance companion,
nor even yielded too blind an obedience
to the advice of friends and relatives.
Rather he strove to listen day by day to
the still small voice of conscience speak-
ing in his breast, and so to become, in the
very best sense of the word, His OWN


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