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other's, having a deep olive cast, such as im- The drinking room referred to within the bues the skin in the tropics and the Indies. dilapidated building, was on the first floor, and Like his elder companion he was dressed in a was one of those filthy gin shops that abound coarse overcoat, cap and top boots. Neither in the metropolis. There were six or eight of them seemed to carry any weapons, though cut-throat looking objects seated here and there they were in such a dangerous section, yet in the room, and three of them were smoking they might have had arms concealed beneath together at a rough old table opposite the door their ample coats.

whence the two persons referred to had enterThey paused now for a moment, before one ed. These three were evidently concocting of the noisy houses that lined the street, and some villanous rascality, as they talked in a listened in silence to the sounds of revelry hurried undertone, and often with much vehewithin.

mency. The others seemed to be of less im“This is the house, I have marked it well,', portance, and evinced the several stages of said the elder of the two.

drunkenness, from the high excitement of the " It is a dram shop," said the other, peering stimulus, to the silliness of real inebriation, in at a crack.

singing, laughing and dozing by turns, quite “ Yes, and of the vilest kind; a sort of forgetful of the miseries that each seemed rendezvous for burglars and thieves," said the heir to. eldest, taking his stand where he could gain a Across one end of the apartment was erectview of the interior.

ed a rough counter, greasy with filth; behind “ Half of them are drunk," continued the which were displayed a few bottles, decanters younger, still looking in at a crack of the and tumblers, the latter articles reversed, with crazy old building occupied for a tap room, so here and there a lemon upon them, and from many of which abound in this locality. this place the liquid poison was dealt out, a

“Do you see the woman who keeps the dram at a time. Sitting behind this rude bar, shop, just behind that bar ?"

was a woman half hidden in the cloud of bad “ Yes, fat as a porpoise," replied the other. tobacco smoke that she was most assiduously “Do you know her name ?"

puffing' from a pipe. She was a person of They call her Mother Giles,” replied the some fifty odd years of age, large and bloated elder of the two.

with stimulus, while her face showed many “ Is this where you are going in ?" asked a rough and ugly scar. One might easily the younger.

read the reckless character that actuated her, “Yes," said his companion. “ We will en- in a single glance of her small gray eyes. ter quietly as possible and call for something Though she sat there, to all outward appearto drink, and after that I will take the first ance in perfect quiet, and intent solely upon opportunity to draw the old woman into con- n the occupation of smoking, and watching the versation. If I can accomplish my object hy ascending wreaths, yet a keen observer would gentle means and without forcé, why all the have noticed that her small twinkling eyes better, but if we must, why we must, at all were all around the room, watching for a hazards," he continued, with a meaning look chance to further her interests by selling a at the other.

dram, or else to set some villany afloat upon “ Hark! what is that ?"

her customers. “Only a drinking song."

It was into such a scene as this that the two “With a chorus of broken china ( should persons whom we have described now entered, think. There it goes again.”

and as they did so, there was no little stir " Are you ready?"

evinced by the inmates of the room. The Yes, lead on,” said his companion, as they drunken ones paused in their revelry to ogle approached the low entrance.

them, the three conspirators looked at them * Have your eyes


your arms

with an eye to business, and the old woman, ready, for these are desperate people.” knocking the ashes out of her pipe and " I'm prepared."

looking about her small quarters, called With these words of caution the two en through a side door for some one to come and tered the tap room.

wipe down a table for the gentlemen.

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" Whew! what an odious smell of onions," “ Have you been long in this place ?" consaid the younger of the two.

tinued her interrogator. “ Keep your olfactories as well as your lips “O, yes,” said the child, with a sad and listclosed for the present,” whispered the other. less air.

“Sit down, gentlemen, sit down,” said the “How would you like to live with me in woman, blandly.

a nice house and be sent to school ?" “ Here at this table nearest the door," whis- The child gazed for a moment at both the pered the elder of the two.

new comers, as if she were saying in her own The woman's summons brought into the mind, does he ask such a strange question as room a young girl of some thirteen or four- that in earnest? He who had asked her, teen years of age, but of most singular and marked the expression of her face and studied striking beauty. Perhaps it was the contrast it well. In a moment more she asked : that the child afforded to the surrounding

« To school ?" company and the place itself, that startled “ Yes, and be taught to read and write like the younger of the two new comers, who a lady, Edith." gazed upon the girl with undisguised admira- “O, I should like above all things to go tion. She was very coarsely dressed, but to school,” exclaimed the artless girl, as a beam her sweet face would have shown its wealth of joy lighted up her pale face for a moment. of beauty through the most squalid covering "Perhaps we can get her permission to let of rags, while her form, though yet so young you go," said the eldest of the two, nodding and unmatured, was delicate and lovely in the towards the woman at the bar, “and then I extreme. Her half plaintive, half dejected will take you from here.” expression, though it was evidence but too The child shook her head incredulously, plain of her unhappy lot, yet added interest and faintly smiled.

to the childlike beauty and innocence of her “Would you not like to go with me ?" ask• face.

ed the gentleman.

“I would like to go away from here anyA pure transparent, pale, and radiant face,

where,” she said, sighing. Like to a lighted alabaster vase.”

“ Never fear-you shall do so, my good The elder of the new comers, though he re- girl," said her interrogator. garded the girl with no, tokens of surprise, “ Ah! but she will not consent, I know,” yet evinced no less interest and attention than replied the child, looking towards the wornan. his younger companion, and spoke to her

“Do you think she would refuse if I offered most kindly as she wiped the rough table be- her a handsome sum in gold ?" fore them, and in a gentle voice solicited their “ Hush !" said the child, timidly, "if you orders.

have any gold do not mention it here !" “ That is the child of whom I spoke,” said “Don't worry for me, my good girl. I will the elder of the two to the other, after he had | try presently and see what bargain I can make given his order for a bottle of the best wine with the woman. Don't go far away, but be the house afforded.

where you can follow us if I bid you." “ You only said she was interesting, but The child looked thankful, but shook her this child is absolutely beautiful,” said his head, as much as to say that any effort to accompanion, fixing his eyes once more upon the complish the object referred to would be useless, girl, as she entered with the wine.

and at the same moment they were interrupted “Do you think so ?"

by a shrill call from the woman, who upbraided “ Yes, who would not ?"

the girl in no moderate terms for her laziness “What is your name, my good girl?" asked as she termed it, and with a rude volley of the elder of the two.

oaths sent her into the back room again, to “ Edith, sir," she answered, seemingly sur- engage in some menial service. prised at the tones of kindness.

After sipping his wine, or rather pretending “Come hither.”

to do so for a few moments, the eldest of the The child drew near to the table with a two gentlemen—for their bearing seemed to submissive air.

entitle them to this appellation, though the

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coarseness of their dres3 was no evidence of , ed with the girl at the price named and even their belonging to the better class-stepping for a much smaller sum, had she not expected up to the bar, commenced a familiar and ap- to get the money or a part of it from the man, parently pleasant talk with the woman of the without giving any equivalent at all, before he house, evidently relating to the young girl al- left the house. She was of course in league ready referred to. The woman seemed much with the villains opposite, and was confident interested, but did not appear to concede the in her own mind of sharing in the expected point, which the customer urged with much spoils. Thus influenced, the old woman still earnestness,

demurred, and indeed seemed disinclined to In the mean time the party at the opposite part with the girl at all, or at any price. table were eyeing first the person who was In the mean time Edith was passing in and talking at the bar, and then his companion out of the room constantly waiting upon the who was still seated before the wine. Neither new comers, for three others had now joined of them were persons whom even a desperado | the party of burglars, and were listening to would wish to attack unprepared, yet they some hurried and whispered remarks in relaseemed to be deciding in their minds whether tion to the two gentlemen. At last he who the present was the best moment for such a was talking to the woman seemed to give up purpose, or whether they should wait still his object in despair, and returning to his longer. Their manner and conduct showed young companion at the table, he conversed them to be burglars, highwaymen, or both, and with him in a low tone for some minutes. they were soon whispering together in a way They were resolving in what way it would be that showed conclusively that they had alrea- best for them to proceed in order to gain their dy formed some plan or design upon the new object, when they were interrupted by the apcomers. He who stood at the bar did not turn proach of a stout six foot individual, much his back towards them even for a moment, taller and larger than the rest of his party, but while he addressed the woman, though he and evidently their bully. This fellow ab. seemed desirous that he should not be over- ruptly approached their seats, and declared in heard, yet was careful at the same time to a blunt, insulting tone that he must have some face the suspicious looking party.

of their wine. The youngest of the two “I am not deaf, you need not speak so gentlemen was on his feet in an instant, and loud,” said the gentleman, a little ruffled. prepared for an assault, but at a significant

" But I tell you I will not let the girl go,” | look from his companion, he stepped back repeated the woman, in reply to some remark quietly to his seat again, though his flushed of her customer. “ I have good reason for it, cheek showed that it cost him an effort not to and she will bring me twice the sum you offer, resist the insult at once. within a couple of years from now, and be- “I say that I will have a glass of your sides I get her labor s pite the bargain until | wine,” reiterated the bully. then."

“ You had better return to your friends * Very well, double the amount, then,” said peaceably," said the eldest of the gentlemen. the gentleman—"call it a hundred pounds, “I seek no quarrel with you,


you cannot and I'll pay you that and take her away taste that wine." to-night."

“ Cannot ?" "It wont do, it wont do, a hundred pounds " That was my word, sir." is not enough,” said the woman, at the same “ We will see about that,” said the bully, time stealing an intelligent glance and nodding blustering towards the table. to the three opposite.

He was really a very powerful man physiThe mention of the hundred pounds was cally, but the development of his figure, though not lost

upon the burglars, and the woman as evincing great strength, was rather bungling, we have seen took occasion to repeat the sum showing large limbs and a bloated figure, with after him, so they might understand that a preponderance of abdomen, while he who doubtless the man had that amount of money thus opposed them all presented exactly the about his person at that very time. The opposite style of power. Small at the waist, truth was, she would without doubt have part- with limbs neatly tapering in their formation,

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but with that breadth of chest and develop- insensible if not dead upon the floor, caused ment of shoulders that showed how powerful the others to hesitate and count the cost. It were the muscles and sinews of the man. looked like a miracle to them to see three These tokens had not escaped the practised stout men, renowned fighters, accustomed to eyes of the rogues, but then they were mingle daily and nightly in brawls of every three to one, and counted on an easy and character, thus overcome in an instant by a bloodless victory, in case of absolute opposition, single arm. The insult that the first had which they scarcely anticipated, under the exist- offered was not of course for the sake of the ing circumstances, notwithstanding the bold wine itself, but as an excuse whereby to start front that was presented to their first advance. a quarrel with the strangers, and then in the

“ You are determined to insult us, I see,” | melee to rob them. All this time the woman continued the gentleman, perfectly calm. looked on in profound astonishment, but ven

“Just as you please," said the bully, “it's tured not a word, while the drunken party, dl the same to me."

with a sort of natural instinct, withdrew to “ It will not be if you annoy me any far- the farthest corner. ther," said the gentleman.

"If the girl comes in again,” said the elder “Give me the wine," said the man, stretch- gentleman to his companion in an under tono, ing forth his hand to take it from the table. “seize upon her gently, but be sure to retain

But as the villain extended his arm, the her; tell her that we are her friends, and that gentleman raised himself to his full height, she must go with us. I will open a way if it and with a blow given almost as quick as be necessary. Loosen your pistols now, thought itself upon the head of the intruder, though they must not be used except as the laid him lifeless at his feet! Two of the very last resort.” gang now rushed to their fallen comrade's as- “I understand," said his companion, putting sistance, but neither of them could strike a his hands into his coat pockets for a moment, blow, both lay prostrate upon the floor beside where a quick ear might have heard the half the other, apparently dead, with the blood cock of a pistol's lock.

а streaming from out their skulls. The gentle- “Who are you?" asked one of the gang, man recovered himself instantly, and was now approaching the two, yet taking good no more discomposed than as though he had care to keep out of reach of the arm that had merely been at play. His cheek was felled his companions. blanched, his hand was steady, and he breath- “ That concerns you not,” said the elder of ed deeply and freely, with full self-possession. the two; “we are here on our own business,

. A volley of oaths escaped from the party and be assured we shall perform it. Unless opposite who were maddened into rage, but you wish to share the fate of those fools upon yet did not advance from the position they the floor, you had best keep well out of my held.

way, or you

will follow suit." Perhaps there are more of ye that would The man had not the courage to tempt his like to be there,” said the gentleman at last, fate, and so retired to his party. with a bitter and scornful smile upon his lip; Thus completely intimidated by the stern “ if so, come on!”

and resolute front of the stranger, the party After whispering together once more, the once more retired to a corner of the apartment three desperadoes that were still left unharm- to consult. Had they dared to use their fire ed, seemed about to make a simultaneous at- arms, they would have done so at once, but tack, but as they turned once more towards this they rarely ventured upon, for they knew the two gentlemen they found them prepared, full well that the first discharge and report and met the stern, unyielding eye of the ex- would bring the police down upon them in traordinary man bent keenly upon them as he force. said again calmly :

In the mean time, startled by the noise she “Come on!”

had overheard, caused by the conflict, Edith's A howl of mingled rage and oaths was the curiosity had brought her into the room, when only response they uttered.

the younger of the gentlemen seized her by The sight of three of their comrades lying the arm and drew her to his side. He told



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her that they were her friends, and that if she of a fifth person so that it hung useless by his would go with them they would protect and side. The other desperado had been dealt cherish her. Edith believed him at once, for with by the younger of the two, who seemed there was truth written on every line of his scarcely less at home than the other. This frank, open countenance, and so far from at- bold repulse was decisive, and amid the frowns tempting to release herself, she only clung and curses that saluted their ears, the gentle. more closely to his side, while the old woman men and their charge made their way into the fiercely ordered her away to the other room. street.

“ Edith,” screamed the woman, in a tower- The curses and oaths of the woman following passion.

ed them to the last, to the no small consternaThe child hesitated, but her companion held tion of the girl, who seemed to dread her more her firmly.

than all else. “Edith, come away, or I will flay you “ Rest on me, Edith,” said the younger of alive," continued the hag.

the two men, drawing the trembling arm of Long custom had rendered the child so obe- the child within his own, and half supporting dient to the woman's authority, that she als her as they hurried along. most struggled with him who now held her, “ Thank you, sir," she replied, striving to in order to obey the rude summons that was keep up with her companion, who was hurrymade upon her. But a few quieting and en- ing with no little speed from the vile neighcouraging words from her new friend pacified borhood. her, and she remained quiet by his side not- “We will soon be clear of this place, and withstanding the almost frenzied rage and you will have nothing to fear," he continued, threats of the woman behind the bar.

striving to cheer the child as they went. “ Now is the time," said the eldest of the “Are they following us ?" she asked, startled two, "get into the street as soon as possible, by a sound behind them. and hurry away. Don't mind me.

I'll bring “ No, no.” the rear, but don't loose your hold of the “But I hear footsteps." child—if anything happens to me, take her to " It's your imagination, Edith.” the house and take care of her. Remember.” “ I'm sure it's them."

This was said in a hurried whisper between “No, that is our friend," replied her coma lull of the noise and confusion; and panion, half turning the child that she might having secured possession of the child, the see that he who followed was the person who two began gradually to make their way towards had rescued her. the door, near which fortunately they had been “Keep to the left," said the person behind, sitting. But a new phase was now put upon as they turned from the street. the matter by the woman, who appealed to her “Here are the police, and we need hurry no friends to know if they were going to look more,” replied his companion.

, tamely on and see her servant kidnapped be- Ay,” said the other, “but I do not care fore their very eyes, nor lift a hand to prevent to be questioned even by them, so cross over it. Thus aroused, the burglars seemed to re- and pass along quietly. I will join you a few solve upon one more assault upon the strangers. squares further up

the street." But he who had already proved so fatal to It was not until the three had turned out of their companions, receded slowly backwards, this second street into a large thoroughfare, never taking his eye from them. He knew that the person who had borne the brunt of very well the game they would now play. the contest unwound from his wrist a small

They had learned by experience, and now Indian netting, into the end of which was his enemies came on more cautiously and all woven a leaden shot of three or four pounds together; it was the only way that promised weight, so arranged as to be hidden in the them success. He saw that it would be fatal palm of the hand. A weapon at that time alto permit them to attack him in this way, and most unknown in England, but in very comwith a wonderful display of strength and agil- mon use in India. The secret of his effective ity he sprang among them, felling another to and fatal blows was at once explained-they the floor, and with one blow breaking the arm were performed with the slung shot.


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