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more of shoeless existence did not fatal mistake of his life. "I didn't at all fall in with Molly's desires ; know till now that there was any. and Christopher, in deep distress thing in the world that shone so," of mind, and egged on by the in- he said. “It was fire, I thought; genuity of love, began to consider and then I thought it was water. whether, though he could not buy I don't know what other way to the shoes, it were not possible to put it; they seemed to burn and make them ?
a shoe- they seemed to melt. Just fire maker's son, and though he had and water--that's what they are.” never learnt the trade, he had Fool ! he might have taken warnseen his father at work ; and so, ing by the way her eyes were with borrowed tools, and with a glittering, as she listened to his piece of cloth begged from the description. Idiot! to talk of overseer's wife, Christopher set to diamonds that were not his; before work in the dark hours of the a woman who had the brains of a night, and, after three days' hard kitten, the giddiness of a butterfly, labour, had turned out a pair of the heart of a pebble, and the flat and shapeless articles, some- vanity of a peacock ! thing of a cross-breed between a Molly grew very thoughtful, and slipper and a bag. But the shoes, another wish was the result. This after a brief triumph, went time really such a little thing and way of the ribbon, and there came such an easy thing, quite simple a day when Christopher met the and quite safe, only to bring her bewitching Molly in a pair of shop- the necklace in secret,-for ten made red - morocco shoes, which minutes, she hastened to explain, evidently caused her great discom- only just to look at it, touch it, fort, but also boundless delight. perhaps (oh, supreme bliss !) just At the same time the victorious once to clasp it round her neck. smile reappeared on Adam's face. She had a moral conviction that That smile and the morocco shoes to have felt those diamonds on her taken together were too much neck for once would shed an uneven for Christopher. There was dying lustre over the rest of her a scene, and this time Molly had existence. And the moment was some little trouble in bringing her so favourable. The Earl was going slave back to her feet, but it was to Scotland for a few days; the nevertheless done.
necklace would be in the safe, the Soon after the reconciliation key with the overseer, and ChrisChristopher saw his master receive topher had a thousand opportunia packet of a peculiar shape, and ties for purloining that key-only *hat same evening, while acting as for ten minutes ! valet, he had a glimpse of a glit- Christopher hesitated, but in the tering necklace, the wedding-pres- midst of his hesitation came the ent which the Earl had ordered reflection that this time, at least, for his betrothed. Christopher Adam would not be able to outdo had never seen diamonds before, him. He knew his rival's honesty and he dreamed of them that to be incorruptible, and he was night.
convinced that Adam's fidelity to Next day, as an evil chance the family would never permit would have it, he met Molly, and him to tamper, however innocentwith the recollection of those ly, with a family safe, even for the glittering stones in his head he sake of Molly's smiles; and for spoke of them to her. It was the the matter of that, Molly knew
it too, and had calculated her In point of fact, she had not meant chances.
to keep them, but she had never So he hesitated, and she pouted seen such things before, and they and coaxed, and looked so lovely had upset the small amount of in her eagerness, that at last Chris- common - sense she had ever postopher plumped out with the ques- sessed. Her brain was too weak tion as to whether she would be his to stand such strong stimulants as wife? Yes, she would ; but only this. The girl was simply drunk on condition that he brought her with diamonds. the diamonds to revel in, to gloat From prayers Christopher got over, to belong to her—for ten to threats, and claimed his promise, minutes.
but she was far beyond the point The Earl went off for three days' of being reasoned with. He could hunting in the north, and Chris- not betray her without betraying topher, fired by the promised re- himself, and besides, she had alward, watched his opportunity and ways found him ridiculous, and accomplished the deed. In haste could not seriously be expected to and flurry he possessed himself of marry a man with one eye ; and the diamonds; then, leaving the the blue ribbon had been flimsy, iron door open in his agitation, off and the shoes were frightful and he hied to the boat, and rowed wild- several sizes too large, and didn't ly along the coast and into the nar fit at all,—she would have nothing row creek which cut inland, and further to do, either with them or close by the side of which stood with him, — there ! one, two, the house of the old fisherman they came flying through the winwho was Mclly's uncle. The tide dow, number one splash into the was high, and floated him up almost water, number two bump into the to the window where she was in boat. And then came a last word wait. The diamonds were handed of warning through the chink of a up. Molly received them with a closing pane-"You had better scream, and disappeared with them row hard, for they are moving from the window, while Chris- already." topher, in an agony, waited to have A glance in the direction of the thom back again. Five minutes house showed him moving lights passed, then the allotted ten, and and running figures. The safeshe had not reappeared. His ter- door had been found open — he ror was growing unbearable. He was lost.
In a panic he threw called to her but she did not hear himself on his oars and rowed him, for she was clapping her hands for his life towards the open sea. and dancing about with joy before He rowed for hours, till at last a broken glass. When at last she his aching arms dropped, and he came to the window, the diamonds crouched down exhausted on the were on her neck, flashing in the floor of his boat. Here, as he moonlight, and there was a look of crouched, his hand touched somereckless wildness in her eyes. Give thing soft, and by the light of the back the diamonds! She could moon he recognised the cloth shoe not-it would kill her. She did which Molly had scornfully fung not care what might happen to after him — literally cast in his him or to her: they might cut teeth. Despite the rage which off her head to get the diamonds filled his heart against her, he did off, but part with them she could not chuck the shoe overboard.
She spoke the simple truth. This clumsy formation of Yaloth
had been toiled over so lovingly senses had left his head and taken by him, it represented so much refuge in his fingers. In proporburning of the midnight oil, that tion as he grew more queer and even now he could not bring him- crotchety, he also grew more wenself to think of it as anything but derfully neat-handed. Two ideas precious. “And yet she said that now governed his life : one, a morit did not fit,” he sighed, as he bid and insane woman-hatred; the carefully stowed it away in his other, a fanatical desire to prove pocket, with perhaps some obscure to the faithless one that Christoidea of future revenge dawning pher Swan could make shoes, and dimly in his brain. When day- shoes that did fit, though neverlight came, he was out of sight no, never again-should they be of land and faint with hunger. made to fit her feet, those wicked Too weak to row, he drifted about white feet which had trampled the for another day and night, and on life from his heart and the joy the evening of the second day from his world. It was with this lost consciousness. When he re- idea that he apprenticed himself covered his senses he was on board to a shoemaker, and worked at his a big steamer a transatlantic trade with frenzied zeal. There is boat, which had picked him up; no saying whether in his most sanand New York being this steam-guine moments Christopher, who er's destination, it consequently now called himself Samuel Foote, became his. He set foot on the did not see visions of the future, American continent without a six- in which Molly on her knees conpence in his pocket; but, thanks jured him for a pair of shoes of to his universal handiness, he did his own world-famed workmanship not starve. After a time of rough while he sternly and bitterly reand hand-to-mouth existence, he fused. Most probably, also, it was even got into comparatively smooth some lurking and crazy dread of water; and now he set himself to being trapped into working for the realise a dream which had haunt traitress Molly that had been the ed him ever since he had found first origin of his repugnance to the cloth shoe at the bottom of making or mending a woman's his boat. He had treasured it re- shoe. In time it crystallised into ligiously-half in tenderness and a fixed idea. half in bitterness; and often, when After an absence of close upon his day's work was over, and he twenty years,
“ Samuel Foote" resat alone in the garret or the cel- turned to Europe, home-sick. The lar which just then happened to be dread of being tracked as the his lodging, he would bring out diamond-robber still occasionally the shoe from its hiding-place and haunted him; but stronger than sit gazing at his rejected handi- this dread was the fascination work with a look of injured pride which led him back to the scenes and sore perplexity. “And yet of his unhappy youth. Can the she said that it did not fit,” was man with the hidden treasure ever the remark with which he invari- be quite content away from it? ably capped his reflections. Even
Even Samuel Foote had a hidden treain his brightest days poor Chris- sure, and one from which he had topher had never been much more been forced to fly, without raising than half-witted ; and ever since so much as one pennyworth of it; that terrible night of the diamonds, one from which prudence had comit seemed as if all his remaining pelled him to live widely severed
for very many years, but one which thither in some manner not yet nevertheless he dwelt on daily. In matured in his mind, At the proportion as his terror of the law time of Maud's appearance on the wore off, the longing to revisit his scene, the little hole below his worktreasure grew strong within him. shop, which he called his cellar, was A thousand questions tormented all but blocked up with sacks filled him; was it still his treasure, and with the lumps of rouch ore. In his alone? Or had others chanced the extraction of the ore from the upon it as he had done? Did the rock, in that hidden place which precious copper still glisten in that he alone knew of, he used every hidden place as he had seen it glis- imaginable precaution,-never visten on that fortunate day of his iting the spot by daylight for fear discovery, and as it glistened now of detection, and cleansing himself 80 often in his weary dreams; or
with the most elaborate care from was it all torn from the rock, gone every stain of that treacherous red up “to grass,” backed and dressed iron-earth, which would have been and smelted and dispersed through
almost as fatal to his secret as a out the world? When he thought blood-stain might be to that of the of his treasure as thus falling a murderer. And yet his caution prey to another pick than his own, was, in fact, nothing but a mixture Samuel Foote's eye would roll and of morbid cunning and reckless imhis mouth would water, like the prudence. The defence which he mouth of a dog who has to stand put up with the one hand he knockand look on from afar while another ed down with the other. While dog is disinterring his most highly he was cautious enough to hedge cherished and most scientifically round his mining operations with buried bone. It was this pursuing the darkness of night, he was at thought which closed in upon him the same time incautious enough year by year, and which finally, like to display the pick of his specimen an ever-tightening cord, drew him ores as chimney-piece ornaments in back to Choughshire.
the broadest glare of day. TerriThe treasure was intact, as he fied though he was of being identivery soon convinced himself, to his fied as Christopher Swan, he yet
, immeasurable joy; and from that fell back unconsciously into his old moment he felt that he was chain- habit of cutting hazel twigs and ed to Gullyscoombe ground. In hanging them up on his wall, as he the solitary position he had chosen had done in the days of his dowsinghe believed himself safe from recog- rod celebrity, though here again he nition; and now his attachment to would make crooked attempts to the spot which, for years past, had undo the effects of his own incaubeen more of a sentimental feeling tion by talking of the magic sticks than anything else, began to assume “unholy,” as was the fashion a more practical, or, to speak truly, just then among the more bigoted
, a more than ever unpractical shape. inhabitants of the country. This His ambition was nothing less than hanging-up of the divining-rods to secretly trade with the copper, was one of the distinct flaws in his and to trade with America, as he otherwise exaggerated caution,instantly decided. since his vacuums, so to say, which correreturn to the country, he had been sponded with the startling pecupatiently and laboriously amass- liarities in the symmetrical but ing what was to be his first cargo senseless arrangement of his room. to the New World, to be conveyed But the most curious feature in the
room, symbolical of the most mor even here the want of proportion bid twist in his mind, was that shoe which existed in his mind stepped which throned proudly in the centre in ; and when, in the midst of his of the papered chimney-piece, like work, the glance of his one eye a monument put up to female in- strayed towards the chief ornament gratitude. That shoe had been the of his chimney-piece, Christopher mainspring and talisman of Chris- did not say: "She was false to me, topher's life, the source which she broke my heart !” he simply diligently fed his woman-hatred, shook his head and muttered, which kept undyingly fresh the “And yet she said they did not memory of his betrayed love. But fit !"
He hears dim voices in the void
That call to his fine sense within :
With any mystery of sin :
Faint forms from out the parted lands,
That seek redress from human laws,
And bid him labour for their cause :
He walks beside God's hidden streams;
He muses on Man's Right and Wrong ;
He wakes, and gives them back a Song,