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heat and cold, were indifferent, a man teenth century, by contrast with whose of thews and sinews, as well as of girth natures all that has been recorded of and inches, and with a great heart in the so-called 'Ages of Chivalry 'grows his great body. His intelligence was pale and dim. One other mistress he not remarkable, but he had plenty of had who was not denied to him, Work, common sense, which, however in- and his devotion to her was incessant. convenient to a theologian, is to a Some fools thought less of his labour working clergyman the most valuable in the Lord's Vineyard because he of all senses. And yet at this moment went about it as often as not with a he was doing a very foolish thing, for short pipe in his mouth; he was lawhat could be more contrary to com- bouring in it now (or words have lost mon sense than to cherish so tenderly their meaning), and though his pipe, that last look of Evelyn Nicoll, whom by reason of the gale, was an impossihe knew to be as good as engaged to bility, his attire was far from what is another man?
generally associated with the ecclesiasCommon report had given ber to tical calling. He wore a dark peaSir Robert's nephew, George Gresham, jacket, with waistcoat and trousers of and while she had taken no pains to the same thick material ; and his black contradict it, her mother had, by im- cravat was knotted instead of being plication, corroborated it. Indeed, it tied in the orthodox way. was understood that George was short- Thus he rode at the bay's best speed ly expected at the Hall, for the very along the sandy roads, making occapurpose of making himself better sional short cuts (not free from rabbit known to his future bride before holes) across the heathery moor, till the knot should be tied between the lights of Archester gleamed before them.
him. Still, as Evelyn had never with her Without drawing rein for an instant own lips confirmed the general opin- he galloped down the stony street to ion, the curate gave himself the benefit the little pier, which he knew on such (as he fondly imagined it to be) of the a night would have its complement of doubt, and persuaded himself that he seafaring men, watching their old was doing no harm in thus secretly enemy the storm, and in a few words worshipping his idol.
explained his errand. He was far too modest a man to A ship on the Lancet, opposite suppose that his passion was returned; Halcombe Point, and the lifeboat he was not half rich enough for her, wanted ; ten pounds a head from Sir he knew, nor half good enough for Robert to each man that pulls an oar her, be thought—though in that last in her.' idea in my judgment he was mistaken It would doubtless have looked -and she was altogether, he confessed, better in print' had he appealed only out of his reach. If he did entertain to these brave men's sense of duty, a hope that he should ever win her, it and it would have been sufficient, for was one of the very vaguest kind; but the mariners of Archester were never now and then he could not avoid giv- backward in risking limb and life for ing himself up to it.
In his 'saner their fellow-creatures; but, on the moments he foresaw that he must be principle of 'surplusage being no ercontent with honouring and admiring ror,' the curate addressed them as we her as the wife of another, and would have described. Moreover, it saved think himself happy if, under such time, and time—a few minutes more circumstances, the opportunity might or less-was of immense importance be afforded him of doing her some self- to all those upon that cruel reef (which, sacrificing service.
however, had thus far been the cause Such men there are in this nine- of their preservation). Time had become, indeed, the alternative of Eter- dulged their feelings, for at the same nity with them.
moment the boat began rapidly to A rush was at once made for the move down the slope. boat-shed where the cork-jackets and Steady, steady. The moment she all other things were kept; and in an touched the sea it seemed to every man incredibly short space of time eight that he was under water. Never since men were ready for this perilous en- the gallant Swiftsure had been built terprise. There are two things which had she put out in the teeth of such a expedite human action above all other storm, the wind beat almost dead motive powers ; namely, the opposing against the land, and strove with franelements of Fire and Water. The tic screams and fiendish fury (the .celerity with which a fire engine is got Prince of the Powers of the air being ready and started is the greatest tri- in command that night in person) to umph of human forethought and agili- dash the boat back on the rocky shore. ty. Next to that is the quickness She
never, never,' shrieked the franwith which a lifeboat is got under tic blast, 'shall ride the main this weigh. From the shed at Archester night to rob the hungry waves of their were two slips,' one on either side, so
human prey.' that the boat could be launched to Thrice the Swiftsure was cast a north or south, according to the quar- score of yards up the strand, then ter from which the wind was blowing; withdrawn like a plaything which a the men were in their places, and a child throws from it only to purscore of eager pairs of hands were on sue and clutch again, but the fourth her stern and sides ready to run the time the oar-blades and the strong Swiftsure (contraction of Swift and arms that use them are plied to such Sure, I wonder?) off the track on which good purpose that she is fung back no she stood, when the coxswain suddenly roared, “Stop!'
'Steady, men, steady,' cries the There was a man missing ; only coxswain, for rowing against a moving seven being in the boat beside the cox- mountain range renders time more swain. From the list of the crew difficult to keep than between Barnes hard by (for everything was at hand and Putney ;
once round the Point in that place) he began to read out the the wind will do our work for us.' names of those absent; 'George Par- This was satisfactory so far as it fitt ?' Here,' answered a ready went, but made it clear to every man voice. * You are not George.'
(if he had not known it before) that 'No; he is ill a-bed, but I am his the return to Archester against the brother.'
wind would be a physical impossibili'A bold fellow, no doubt; but ty. After performing their perilous hardly strong enough for the tight job mission, should that be practicable, before us.' Henry Absolon.
they would have to go on to Mirton 'Gone to Mirton,' was the reply. Harbour (twenty miles away) if they
"Hullo, sir, this is quite irregular.' should reach harbour at all, since to This to Dyneley, who had slipped on try Halcombe Point would be to go to a cork-jacket and sou’wester cap, and pieces. jumped into the boat.
Such things are trifles to the heroes No matter, coxswain, I am who man our lifeboats, and we ashore strong as any of you, and can pull as think still less of them, but supposing good an oar. There is not a moment even the case of a country doctor to lose, I tell you-push off.'
robbed of his night's rest by a sumThere was a burst of cheering, mons to a sick bed, and compelled to which, however, in no way impeded ride twenty miles in a storm which the exertions of those who thus in- did not admit of his return, we should
call it a hard one; add to this utmost of such a gale, ere the flowing tide fatigue of body and extreme peril of should engulf the last spar of the life, and give the laurel where it is Rhineland. due
Steady ; be ready to ship oars and Once round the Point the Swiftsure out with the grappling irons.' The few before the wind, as though, in- next minute they were under her stead of being a bare boat, she were a quarter, and had made fast to it. racing cutter. She was following, in • The women first,' cried the coxfact, the very route of the Rhineland, swain, in a voice of thunder
. There only the sea had a very different cus- were but three women left, and none tomer to deal with. The waves filled of these could move across the rocking her again and again, but her escape deck without men to help them. The pipes freed her from the deluge as first two were carried, rather than led, quickly as it was poured in; they and lifted into the Swiftsure; the third, threw her on her side, but she made Elise, used her own limbs, though stiff light of that, and even had they and cramped, upheld on either side thrown her over she would have right by the American and Gresham. ed again in half a second-though, un- All sat where they were placed, happily empty.
without a word, as though astounded Thus hurried along at headlong as they well might be) at their own speed it was no wonder that, in a deliverance. The wreck was clear of shorter time than it had taken the all save one man, who clung to the mare and her rider to cross the Moor, mast apparently stupefied. the one man in the boat to whom the
Quick, quick,' exclaimed half-ause of his eyes was not denied-for dozen voices. He never moved. the eight rowers, we may be sure, "Are we all to be drowned for one cast no look behind them-exclaimed, fool ?' ejaculated the coxswain, pas"There she is, boys.'
sionately. "Cast off, boys.' ' And there she was; half of her- 'One moment, sirree,' cried the the stern part—now covered by the clear shrill voice of the American. rising waves, and the other half, now He leapt back on the wreck, seized hid, now seen, with a bare mast stick
the still hesitating man round the ing out of it, covered with human waist, and fairly threw him among the beings, like bees in swarm.
rest. was running like a mill race, and the * It's the poor Capen, Coxen ; he sharp reef beneath it.
don't like to leave his ship,' said 'I doubt if we can get nigh her,' apologetically. “I've felt the same ejaculated the coxswain.
myself-especially when I've had a * There are women on board,' ob- share in her.' served Number Six, who was the As the boat once more flew before curate.
the wind its occupants could see a little • Never fear, Master Dy neley, but group upon the quay of Halcombe, we'll do what man can do to save 'em,' whose joy appeared only second to was the reply, not without a certain
their own. These persons, of course, haughtiness in its tone. The waves knew not how many of the crew had and winds could be discounted, as it succumbed to the waves, or to the were, as a source of peril, but whether fatigues and privations of the night ; there was water enough above the they only saw that every soul upon rock to float the lifeboat to leeward of the wreck had been taken off ; and the wreck, was an experiment not to were in comparative safety. They be reckoned upon, but only tried. If were well aware that on their cruel they shot by her, it was plain they shore no boat could land in such a sea, could not put back again in the teeth but to many of the poor shivering crea
tures on board the Swiftsure it seemed strange enough that they should be turning their backs on these hospitable and friendly people.
Gresham, of course, knew why they didn't land at. The Point,' and secretly he was not displeased that the attempt could not be made. He recognized female forms upon the quay, and guessed, rightly enough, their identity; and he had good-or at least sufficient -reason to congratulate himself that the Swiftsure was making for Mirton. He was now turning over in his mind whether it would not be better to wait a day or two before presenting himself to his friends at home, and to let it be imagined that he had not taken passage in the ill-fated Rhineland at all.
The accommodation on board lifeboats is in extent considerable, but it is not of a select or private character. Rescued folks settle down where they can, and are seldom found to complain of their quarters. The craft is broad of beam, and there is room for passengers, even in the very centre of it, without interfering with the rowers. Here sat Elise Hurt, exhausted but grateful, with the same loving arms · supporting her that had made her hold secure upon the shrouds.
'I owe my life to you,' were the first words she murmured in his ear.
Nay, darling, the Commodore, as he calls himself' (he had once commanded, as it turned out, a certain flotilla of trading vessels to the West Indies) did his part; it was he, for example, who called my attention to the victualling department—I have still a little brandy left, by-the-bye.'
*Not for me,' she said, putting aside the flask; 'I feel I shall live now. Is it not strange, George, that wet and cold as I am, in this open boat, and with only a plank between us and death, I am happier than I have ever been?'
• It is not strange,' answered the young man tenderly. It is because you love.'
"Ah, yes,' she sighed.
* Because this may be the last hour in which I may say, “I love." Out yonder-with the waves yawning for us, I told you the secrets of my heart ; there seemed no harm in it, and it was very sweet to tell them. But now we are no longer two fellow-creatures awaiting the same doom ; I am again a penniless girl, and you—you are Sir Robert Arden's nephew.'
Well, and what then,' said Gres. ham, lightly, but there was a look of trouble in his face that accorded ill with his jesting tone.
'I know not what then,' she answered. “You know best how it will fare with us. But I have always heard that the rich English are very proud. There will be a great gulf fixed between you, Sir Robert's nephew, and me, the governess of his children.'
* They are not his children,' replied Gresham ; 'they are the children of his wife by her first marriage.'
• Indeed? Then you are his own kith and kin, and they are not.
His very heir, perhaps?
Perhaps ; though I have never thought of that When one has a benefactor so kind as he has been, one does not speculate upon his death.'
'I hope not, dear. Pray do not be annoyed with me - for there had been a certain irritation in his tone; 'I only wish to look matters in the face. As it seems to me you are bound, above all things, to obey this good uncle's wishes ; and especially never to act counter to them. Is it likely, think you, that he will wish you to marry me?'
My dear Elise, I thought that those who love were given to building dream castles for love to live in ; whereas you build only obstacles to love. It will be time enough to combat opposition when it has arisen. There will, of course, be objections to our union, some even that have not entered into your apprehensions; but we must trust to time and happy chance. My uncle is very peculiar : a man of impulse and sentiment; by no means the hard, conventional man of the world you have probably pictured to yourself. But, no doubt, we must be prudent. It will not be necessary to tell the good folks at Halcombe all that we have said to one another. Nor even need you repeat the conviction you expressed just now that I was the happy means of saving your life last night ; it is an exaggeration to start with, and to proclaim such a fact would be very injudicious. People would think that gratitude might cause you to overrate my deserts-do you understand, darling'
'I do not like concealments,' answered Elise, gravely. Besides, to dwell under the same roof with you, and never to be able to speak to you, nor look towards you, as I should wish to speak and look -No, Mr. Gresham, I could not do it.'
"What? You call me Mr. Gresham because you have no longer need of my loving service? That is ungenerous, Elise.
*You do not think so you can-not think so,' answered the girl impetuously; ' it gives me ten times the pain to address a cold word to you than it gives you to hear it. But it is better to say “ Farewell” now--cruel as it seems to part—than later on.'
We will never part, Elise ; I swear it'
Hush, hush !' for in his vehemence he had raised his voice, so that if those next to him had not been sunk in their own thoughts they might have heard him, despite the roar of the wind and the rush of the wave. "God has been very good to us; do not call Him to witness to aught that does not lie in the path of duty. I fear-I fear that your love for me runs counter to it.'
• Do not fear, Elise,' he answered gravely ; ' Love and Duty can never be in opposition to one another. Only, as I have said, we must expect obstacles. The course of true love never does run smooth, you know.'
Elise was silenced, if not convinced ; it was difficult, no doubt, to compel herself to picture mischances, not only to her own happiness, but to that of her preserver.
Presently they came in sight of Mirton, a picturesque village, built in zig-zag up steep cliffs ; but with a good harbour and breakwater. Once within shelter of the latter the mountain waves lost their crests, the gale thun. dered harmless above their heads. With a few more strokes of the oar they reached the side of the little jetty where a few men were gathered together in the grey dawn.
Gresham and the Commodore assisted Elise to land, and were escorting her up the winding street to the little inn, when they were overtaken by one of the crew, who seemed about to address them.
'I will see you in five minutes, my good fellow,' said Gresham. For the brave work you and your mates have performed to night, no reward can be sufficient, but What? Dyneley ?'
· Yes, it is I,' answered the curate, removing his sou’-wester. 'I could scarcely believe my eyes when I saw you step into the boat; and when I felt sure of your identity I had no breath for even a word of recogni. tion.'
Then Gresham remembered that the features of this man had seemed somewhat familiar to him ; he had had other things to think about, or else there had been plenty of opportunities of observing him, for he had sat cheek-by-jowl with Number Six' for the last two hours.
(To be continued.)