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oak tree for three nights running. It's very strange. Do you think that he can have played false ?”
“I never much liked the man," replied Cornbury.
“Nor I either,” replied Nancy; " but I must go now, for I must be back at the crags before daylight. Find out what you can, and let us know as soon as possible. I shall be over again as soon as the cargo is run: if you find out any thing, you had better come to-morrow night.”
“I will,” replied Cornbury; and the parties separated.
"Traitor," muttered Nancy, when she was once more alone. “If he comes, it shall be to his death ;" and Nancy stooped down, picked up the pieces of paper which Cornbury had torn up, and put them in the basket she carried on her arm.
It will be observed, that Nancy had purposely thrown out hints against Wahop, to induce Cornbury to believe that he was not suspected. Her assertion that Wahop was not on the island was false. He had been three days at Ryde, according to the arrangement. The bait took. Cornbury perceiving that the suspicion was against Wahop, thought that he could not do better than to boldly make his appearance at the cave, which would remove any doubts as to his own
Nancy hastened down to the Point, and returned that night to Ryde, from whence she walked over to the cave, and was there before daylight. She communicated to Alice the intelligence which she had received from Moggy Salisbury, and the arrangements she had proposed to her, by which all the motions of the cutter could be known.
“Is that woman to be trusted, think you, Nancy?" inquired Alice.
“ Yes, I believe sincerely she may be. I have known her long; and she wishes her husband to join us.”
“We must reflect upon it. She may be most useful. What is the character of the officer who commands the vessel ?"
“A miser, and a coward. He is well known-neither honour nor conscience in him.”
“ The first is well, as we may act upon it, but the second renders him doubtful. You are tired, Nancy, and had better lie down a little."
Nancy Corbett delivered the pens to Lilly, and then took the ad. vice of her superior. The day was remarkably fine, and the water smooth, so that the boats were expected on that night. At dusk two small lights, at even distances, were suspended from the cliff, to point out to the boats that the coast was free, and that they might land. Alice, however, took the precaution to have a watch on the beach, in case of any second surprise being attempte; but of this there was little fear, as she knew from Nancy that all the cutter's boats were on board when she entered the harbour. Lilly, who thought it a delight to be one moment sooner in her father's arms, had taken the watch on the beach, and there the little girl remained perched upon a rock, at the foot of which the waves now only sullenly washed, for the night was beautifully calm and clear. To a passer on the ocean she might have been mistaken for a mermaid who had left her watery bower to look upon the world above.
What were the thoughts of the little maiden as she remained there fixed as a statue? Did she revert to the period at which her infant memory could retrace silken hangings and marble halls, visions of splendour, dreamings of courtly state, or was she thinking of her father, as her quick ear caught the least swell of the increasing breeze? Was she, as her eye was fixed as if attempting to pierce the depths of the ocean, wondering at what might be its hidden secrets, or as they were turned towards the heavens, bespangled with ten thousand stars, was she meditating on the God who placed them there? Who can say ? ---but that that intellectual face bespoke the mind at work is certain, and from one so pure and lovely could emanate nothing but what was innocent and good.
But a distant sound falls upon her ear; she listens, and by its measured cadence knows that it is the rowers in a boat: nearer it comes and more distinct, and now her keen eye detects the black mass approaching in the gloom of night. She starts from the rock ready to fly up to the cave to give notice of an enemy, or, if their anticipated friends, to fly into the arms of her father. But her alarm is over, she perceives that it is the lugger, the boat dashes into the cove, and the first who lands strains her to his bosom.
“ My dearest Lilly, is all well ?".
“Run up, dearest, and let the women be ready to assist. We have that here which must soon be out of sight. Is the Father Innis here ?"
“ Since Thursday last."
“ 'Tis well, dear; you may go. Quick, my lads, and beach the cargo :-see to it, Ramsay; I must at once unto the cave." Having given these directions, the father of Lilly commenced his ascent over the rough and steep rocks which led up to the cavern, anxious to obtain what information could be imparted relative to the treachery which had led to their narrow escape two nights preceding.
He was met by Alice, who cordially embraced him ; but he appeared anxious to release himself from her endearments, that he might at once enter upon matters to him of more serious importance. “ Where is the Father Innis, my dear ?" said he, disengaging himself from her arms.
“ He sleeps, Robert, or, at least, he did just now, but probably he will rise now that you are come. But in the mean time, I have discovered who the traitor is."
“ By all the saints, he shall not escape my vengeance.”
Alice then entered into the particulars related by Nancy Corbett, and already known to the reader. She had just concluded when Father Innis made his appearance from the cave.
“ Welcome, thrice welcome, holy father.”
“ Not till to-morrow night," replied the husband of Alice, who having ascertained that in all probability Cornbury would come that night, determined, at all risks, to get possession of him : “ we could well be over before daylight, and with your precious person, I must not risk too much. You are anxiously expected."
“ And I have important news," replied the priest, “but I will not detain you now; I perceive that your presence is wanted by your men."
During this colloquy the women had descended the ladder, and had been assisting the men to carry up the various packages of which the boat's cargo consisted, and they now awaited directions as to the stowing away.
“ Ramsay," said the leader, “we do not return to night; take the men, and contrive to lift the boat up on the rocks, so that she may not be injured."
An hour elapsed before this was effected, and then the leader, as well as the rest of the smugglers, retired to the cave to refresh themselves with sleep after their night of fatigue. As usual, one woman kept watch, and that woman was Nancy Corbett. The ladder had been hauled up, and she was walking up and down with her arms under a shawl to a sort of stamping trot, for the weather was frosty, when she heard a low whistle at the west side of the flat.
“ Oh, ho! have I lured you, you traitorous villain," muttered Nancy, “ you come in good time:" and Nancy walked to the spot where the ladder was usually lowered down, and looked over. Although the moon had risen, it was too dark on that side of the platform to distinguish more than that there was a human form, who repeated the whistle.
“ What's o'clock ?” said Nancy, in a low tone.
“ Do you want the right time to a minute ?" replied a voice, which was recognised as Cornbury's. Nancy lowered down the ladder, and Cornbury ascended the platform.
“ I am glad you are come, Cornbury. Have you heard any thing of Wahop?"
“ No one has seen or heard of him," replied the man, “but I have found out what boats they were. Did the lugger come over to
* Yes,” replied Nancy, “but I must go in and let Mistress Alice know that you are here."
Nancy's abrupt departure was to prevent Cornbury from asking if the boat had remained, or returned to the French coast; for she thought it not impossible that the unusual circumstance of the boat remaining might induce him to suppose that his treachery had been discovered, and to make his immediate escape, which he, of course, could have done, and given full information of the cave and the parties who frequented it.
Nancy soon reappeared, and familiarly taking the arm of Cornbury, led him to the eastern side of the platform, asking him many questions. As soon as he was there, the leader of the gang, followed by half a dozen of his men, rushed out and secured him. Cornbury now felt assured that all was discovered, and that his life was forfeited. “Bind him fast," said the leader, “and keep watch over him ;—-his case shall soon be disposed of. Nancy, you will call me at daylight.”
When Cornbury had been secured, the men returned into the cave, leaving one with a loaded pistol to guard him. Nancy still remained on the watch.
“ Nancy Corbett,” said Cornbury, “why am I treated thus ?”
“Why?" replied Nancy, with scorn, “ask yourself why? Do you think that I did not know when I sought you at the beach that you had sailed in the cutter, had brought the boats here, and that if it had not been for the lieutenant taking his dog in the boat and its barking, you would have delivered us all into the hands of the Philistines ?-wretched traitor.”
“D- n!" muttered Cornbury, “ then it is to you, you devil, that I am indebted for being entrapped this way.”
“ Yes, to me,” replied Nancy, with scorn.“ And, depend upon it, you will have your deserts before the sun is one hour in the heavens."
“ Mistress Nancy, I must beg you to walk your watch like a lady, and not to be corresponding with my prisoner any how, whether you talk raison or traison, as may happen to suit your convanience,” observed the man who was guard over Cornbury.
“Be aisy, my jewel,” replied Nancy, mimicking the Irishman, “and I'll be as silent as a magpie, any how. And, Mr. Fitzpatrick, you'll just be plased to keep your two eyes upon your prisoner, and not be staring at me, following me up and down, as you do, with those twinklers of yours."
“A cat may look at a king, Mistress Nancy, and no harm done either."
“ You forget, Mr. Fitzpatrick," replied Nancy, “ that I am now a modest woman.”
“ More's the pity, Mistress Nancy, I wish you'd forget it too, and I dying of love for you."
Nancy walked away to the end of the platform to avoid further conversation. The day was now dawning, and as, by degrees, the light was thrown upon the face of Cornbury, it was strange to witness how his agitation and his fear had changed all the ruby carbuncles on his face to a deadly white. He called to Nancy Corbett in a humble tone once or twice as she passed by in her walk, but received no reply further than a look of scorn. As soon as it was broad daylight Nancy went into the cave to call up the leader.
In a few minutes he appeared, with the rest of the smugglers.
“ Philip Cornbury,” said he, with a stern and unrelenting countenance, “ you would have betrayed us for the sake of money."
“ It is false," replied Cornbury.
“ False, is it? - you shall have a fair trial. Nancy Corbett, give your evidence before us all."
Nancy recapitulated all that had passed.
" I say again, that it is false,” replied Cornbury. “Where is the woman whom she states to have told her this? This is nothing more than assertion, and I say again, it is false. Am I to be condemned without proofs ? Is my life to be sacrificed to the animosity of this woman, who wishes to get rid of me, because"
" Because what?” interrupted Nancy.
“ Because I was too well acquainted with you before your marriage, and can tell too much.”
“ Now curses on you, for a liar as well as a traitor," exclaimed
Nancy. “What I was before I was married is well known; but it is well known also that I pleased my fancy, and could always choose. I must, indeed, have had a sorry taste to be intimate with a blotched wretch like you. Sir,” continued Nancy, turning to the leader, “ it is false; and whatever may be said against me on other points, Nancy Dawson, or Nancy Corbett, was never yet so vile as to assert a lie. I put it to you, sir, and to all of you, is not my word sufficient in this case ?"
The smugglers nodded their heads in assent. “ And, now that is admitted, I will prove his villany and falsehood. Philip Cornbury, do you know this paper ?” cried Nancy, taking out of her bosom the agreement signed by Vanslyperken, which she had picked up on the night when Cornbury had torn it up and thrown it away. “Do you know this paper, I ask you ? Read it, sir,” continued Nancy, handing it over to the leader of the smugglers.
The paper was read, and the inflexible countenance of the leader turned towards Cornbury,—who read his doom.
“Go in, Nancy Corbett, and let no women appear till all is over.”
“ Liar !” said Nancy, spitting on the ground as she passed by Cornbury.
“ Bind his eyes, and lead to the western edge,” said the leader.
“ Philip Cornbury, you have but a few minutes to live. In mercy you may see the holy father, if you wish it."
“ I'm no d d papist,” replied Cornbury, in a sulky tone. “ Lead him on then.”
Cornbury was led to the western edge of the flat, where the cliff was most high and precipitate, and then made to kneel down.
“ Fitzpatrick,” said the leader, pointing to the condemned.
Fitzpatrick walked up to the kneeling man with his loaded pistol, and then the others, who had led Cornbury to the edge of the cliff, retired.
Fitzpatrick cocked the lock.
“Would you like to say, "God have mercy on my treacherous sinful sowl,' or anything short and sweet like that ?" said Fitzpatrick ; “ if so, I'll wait a couple of seconds more for your convanience, Philip Cornbury."
Cornbury made no reply. Fitzpatrick put the pistol to his ear, the ball whizzed through his brain, the body half raised itself from its knees with a strong muscular action, and then toppled over and disappeared over the side of the precipice.
“ It's to be hoped that the next time you lave this world, Master Cornbury, it will be in a purliter sort of manner. A civil question demands a civil answer any how," said Fitzpatrick, coolly rejoining the other men.
( To be continued.)