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About The west shore. (Portland, Or.) 1875-1891 | View Entire Issue (Aug. 1, 1875)
THE WEST SHORE.
THE W.ACK COTTAGK.
fJV w c ,
To begin at the- beginning, I must luko you bnck
to tliu time ai,t!r my mother's death, when my
euly brother hud gone to wu, when my sinter was
out lo service, and when 1 lived alone with my
father, iu the midst ol a moor iu tlio Wait of Eng
land. 'Jim moor mi covered with great limestone
rocks, iniil intcraectud here anil then by stream
let. The nearest habitation to oun wiw situated
alxjiit a mils uml a half off, where a atrip of the
fertile la ml stretched out into tho waste, like s
touguw. Here the outbuildings of the great Moor
Km in, tbun in the powowion of my husband's
father, begau. Tho Farmluuds stretched down
gently into u beautiful rich valley, lying nicely she),
teredby the high nlutfurm of the moor. When
the hind begun to rum Hifinii miloit and mile sway,
it UA U to u country Iioum, oilluti liulinu Manor,
belonging to a gentleman named Kniftoii. Mr.
Kuifton h;id lately nnrried a young lady whom
my mother had nursed, and whoso kind hum mid
friendship for me, linr ms'iir-sister, I shall remem
ber gratcliilly to the lust day of her life, Those,
And oilier slight particulars, it in necessary to my
ktury that I should tell you : and it i nlso iioioh
mry that vou should ho especially curuful to bear
them wi II in mind.
My fulluT was by trade a dime-mason. His col.
tugu stood a nn In and a half from tho neirc-tt hah
itfitioN. In nil dthitr direction we wuro tour or
JIto times that diMniicu from neighbor. Being
Very poor people- I hit lonely nil tuition had nnu
freut attraction for ui wo lived rent free on it.
ii addition to Mint advantage, th stones, by ahtip.
ing which my hither gninc 1 his lividihood, lay nil
about him at his very door; no that hu thought hiii
position, solitary though it was, iiiilu an cnvt iblu
oiio. t can hardly say that 1 agreed with him,
though 1 uuver cuiiiplnuied, I was very fond of
my lallier, and manured to mike tho host of my
luiii'tiin in with tlio thought of liiiiif useful to
turn. Mr. Kuifton wishod to tuku mo into hnr
service wIk ii nht. marrii'il, hut I itcelincil uuwill
, iuttly enough, for my lather's sake. It I hud gotio
a wuy, no uoiiki mi vo nati nonuuy to uv h uh
biin ; and mv mother inn lo inn promise on her ;
ib'alb-bt'd, Unit ho should never W le to Jiino ,
Kwny nlntio in tliti midst of Iho hh'iik III' Mil. Oir
collate, miiiiII ai it wu, was ntimtly ami mindly '.
built, with atone from tho moor as a matter of
C'iiuhu. 'I'liu wall were Ii6c ir1iiiltnnd fcpmt.
outside n-ith wood the gut off (r. Kjutlort' fathVr
t v fattier. Thi duulilo'col.tfili; Trfinn-h!irt4;
crovii-i'i, wliiidi would bnvo Ihtii injuitlliioiH hi a
khi'ltcffiil in titflitw.M ntunlti'!u iii'i-iiuiiri' iii.iinr
oijKiM'd hntjoii,.). k ClT ojil.tho fttA wiiwiil,
iv nr iih (imitmimlly, till tho your round. Ttio out- I
mi lo hoard, covuriii our nuinlilv-lniilt iduiiu
wnlU, my latht-r juotccted with liiidt and tar. I
Tin- jjavit to our liltlu uIhhId a omioiiHly ilurk,
diiifty look, lu-jitriiilly when njon fmni a ditnni-u ;
Htxl no il had com" to Im called ill the iitdithbor
IiwhI uvuii boli iff I wu born, thu lllook Culture.
1 bnvu imw nlati-d thu iivimiuiirv iiarticulum
wlitcb it in ihnirahlo that yoit nhould Know, mid
lu.iy inifii'il at oucu to thu iiloiuttiiter tank ol tell
tut; joii my otory.
Oun cloudy liiitnmn duv, whotl I wni rather
mom thnn i loliti-un ywur old, u liehlMimit wulki d
uvr fioni Muoiu l'nrui with a lit tor which hud
bi-tut Kit t Uiiiii) lor my futhur. It oniuu trout a
binldrr, tiviiiKtit our county toyn, hull a day's
iouitivy ..II, and it invitiul my futhur to come to
urn iui'1 nivo bin iudmciit about an (utitimti' fur
mn ntotin work mi it vnry birw k-alo. My falh
er' iKit'iiMi fur thu limn of timo wcm to Im juiid,
nini im nun hi nuvii nit Ninmi oi tuiilovnulit nili'r
wur.l, in rc.ariiit! the utme. llu won only too j
thid, tkircloi, to oln-y the diri'dioiia which tho j
itti-r ivitilmuKil, mid lo uitjiuro at unco (ur bin lout; '
Walk to thu I'liunly (own. !
Cotnidci int: the limn when he received ttn Ictlvr, i
Rlid the iini'fMty of ri stiOK It' lore licutti iniili'il In I
rclnni, it wan iniioiulihi for him to avoid U in
nwuy fiom hoiiiu tor otic iiij;)il at lenot. Ho iro. I
jmwcI tu nin in ciom 1 iliHhked Imuiik left alone in
tb Ilia . k Ciilliinc, lu Uh k Ibu door and lo lake inn ,
to M-nr Km in to kIc.'ji with any vm of Iho milk- I
nmtdt ho wiiiildnivu me ft ham of her bed. 1
v) no iiH iiim iihcu inc nulloii t t!eeilit Willi n
tirl whion I did not know, mid 1 aw no tvuaoti to
fi'td n fund of lu iuj! Ivlt nlnne lor only one mulit: no
I tin h n'il No lliu'vc bud evi'r coiuo iH'iir un ; unr
)iovrty wan milbclent nmU'CIloii H(jitinst them;
nnd ot other dnuttem there were noun that oven the
moot tnuul jh'Ii.uii could aimvheud. Accord
ii'Hl.V 1 K"1 "'.V bilhur' dinmr, lunyliinn at Jhe
notion ol inv tiikmn refne. under the j rotection
of a milkiiiuid at Moore Faun. Iloitniti d tor liw
Wiilk n No.ui ai h hud done, iiyiuu that hi'
boutd trv nnd be back by diuuiT iime the nest
day. and Wuitf me and my rat 1'olly to take can
ol tlio hoiiMv
1 hud clcired the tublo and buuhli'lied up the
Hie in I litd Nit down Ui mv w.uk.witli tho cat
cl.iiiit5 nt mv fwt, when 1 hemd the tnuui'lm
borcn; mid, run in tin lu tlu dnir, mi Mr. and
Mr. Kiitlton, with Itivtr iiniuin Iwhiud I be in, nd
intt u lo Iho lll.u-k Cotl imv It wu art of the
VdiiiiK ld)' kuidneu imver lo mIect un ounor
Juinty i'l Ctuiiintl to my im a Iiicmllyvn.it; nnd
loir huil and wo jteiiorally wtlliii))to ncomun
ber for hu wile'. ake. I iiimle my U pourteiv,
lhei(ore, with a hi rat deal of .lcmuir, but with
tio Miticiil.ir nuriiMi al mng tiicin. They di
uiouiitttl and entered (he c. lt:i, ln-liiii)i nml
UikiiiK in nival 'uU, Mmu hen hi (4t thev
Wciv lulittu to the rime coui.lv Uu for whicji
my l'illu-r w ii Uxnid ; and th.it" tle-v Inlcmlftl to
ty with i.w friend there for a frw day, and lu
rt'luru on hoiMb)tck, they went out.
I b'rt tut, and I alwt diMMvetnl that they
lixd len hiiMUK iiirKuimul,iu il, about money
widltci-., tt,cj inU aloud to our collnnti. Mm
Kinlt..ii h.i l her l.uKiiid ot mvctertte
(ttiitvnimv, mid ot nevvr Ih itmulde to tP out
it), nioiiw in hi u-kel without landing il all,
H h ifmiblj omlil, N-(on he got huu anain.
Mr. Kiiillou ha.l biuhiutfly detiudcd huntf If bv
lieelni Ui tlmt nil hu KUd money went iu iuvt
ruu tvx hi wife, and that. If he --Ht it Invuhlv,
it wa umU'r her ml intturuce and mriiiteu-
Wf nra Roinit t t'liTertm now," be Mid lo
Mr. KuiiTt.ii, iiminK U. nuntv ti-wu. and
w-uwiiik luiuwll aloitr jnk.f &n jut a j.kuwtnllv
M il U lMU tanlm un hu own itrund
hearth. ou will to dun re every rrvtly
thin,: in uvrryoneof the TltVeiton ihop window.;
1 hnll h.tnd you the imr, and vou will no in and
buy. W hen we hv rm, hnl heme attain, aad you
- hd iiuiu lo (tvt tirvd of vour urthaM, you
will i'la )nr hAinU in amazement aud d(Un
hat you an- .jutte Uuvkl at mv habit of inveUr
t r1nivariAHc. 1 am only the hauker who
k-M ll.e money -yvm, my tore, are the ndthhft
'Am I, tii r Mt,i Mr Kmllon, a look of
mock iiidit-tution Ve will m if I am to be
fciiixi iv.iit,.l in thi way with imnuiuiv, IWmt,
my deal. itnnmiK to met, "ton .halt judrf. how
lar 1 dwn ttM vbarirtvr which thai uuwrua.
loin man hiw just (iveii to me. am the spend
thrift, am I t And you are only the banker t
Very well. Hanker ! give me my money at once,
if vou please."
Mr. Kuifton laughed, and took loini gold and
lilver from his waistcoat (wcket.
"Xo, no," aid Mrs. Knitton. "You may wnnt
what you have got there for necessary expenses.
1 that all the money you have about you '( What
do I feel here r" and she tupped her husband on
the chest, just over the breast pocket of hii coat.
Mr. Kuifton laughud again, and produced his
pocket-book. Hi wife matched it out of his hand,
opened it, and drew out some bunk notes, put them
back atfaiii immediately, and closing the pocket
book, stepped across the room to my poor mother's
little walnut wood boik-case the only bit of valu
able furniture we hud in tho honso.
" What are yu Roinff to do there," asked Mr.
Kuifton, following his wife.
Mrs. Kniitou opened the glass door of the book
case, put the pocket-hook iu a vacant place on one
of tho h'lv, rVmwl nn'l l-wk"d the dnnr nijnin,
and trave me the key.
You culled mo a spendthrift just now," she
said, " There is my answer. Not one furthinff of
that money shall you ijwnd at Clivertou on me.
Keep tho key in your pocket, Humid, nnd whntevcr
Mr. Kuifton iiuiy suy, on no nccouut let him have
it until wo call ujjain on our way back. No, sir, I
wont trust you v-ith that money in your pocket in
thu town of Clivcitou, I will make sure of your
nt.., it nil h.r, ! Inivmf il l,in i nif.rn
tnistworlhy humU tlnni yours, until wo ride l-ack. had, and always shall have, would have considered
Hc-wie, mvtlcar, wlnit do you sav to that, ns a h.s- twice in my situation before she made up her mind
Tillajte In the vallev below Moor Farm, I stepped
out into the passage' with a momentary notion of
telling them how I wns situated, and asking them
for advice and protection.
I had hardly formed this idea, however, before I
dismissed it. None of the quarrymen were inti
mate friends of mine. I had a nodding acquaint
ance with them, and believed them to be honest
men, as times went. But my own common sense
told me that what little knowledRe of their char
acters I had was by no means sufrlcient to warrant
me in admitting tliem into my confidence in the
matter of the pocket-book. I had seen enough of
poverty and poor men to know what a terrible
temptation a 'urge sum of money is to those whose
whole lives are passed in scraping up sixpences by
wenry bard work. It ia one thing to write fine
sentiments in books about incorruptible honesty,
and another thing to put those sentiments in prac
tice, when one day's work is all that a man bjut to
set up in the way of an obstacle between starvation
and his own fireside.
The onlv resource that remained was to carry
the pocket-book with me to Moor iurui, uud uak
permission to pass tho night there. But I could
not persuudu myself that then) was any real neces
Hitv for tukiuir such a oouraa as this: aud, ii the
truth must bo told, my pride revolted at tho idea
of presenting myself in the character of a coward
before the people at the farm. Timidity ia thought
rather a graceful attraction among ladies, but
among poor women it is something to bo laughed
A woman wilri less spirit oi nor own man i
in economy, intlieteu on a uruueiit liusoanu uy
a spctidthrilt wife ':"
Sliu took Mr. Knifton's arm while die spoke,
and drew him away to tho door, lie protested
and made some resistance, hut she easily carried
her point, for he waa far too fond of her to have a
! will of his own in any trilling matter between
! them. Whatever the men might Hay, Mr. Kuifton
wns a model husband iu the estimation of all thu
womni who knew him.
" You will sco us as wo come buck, Bensie. Till
then, you aro our banker, aud the pocket-book is
vi hi m," cried Mrs. Kuifton, gaily, nt the door.
; Ilur husband lifled her into tho Middle, mounted
I hiiiiM'l, uml awiy they both galloped over the
. hum ir, ok wini ami unppy as u couiuu or cmiiiren.
in Aiirmintitr tlirt inlrn of nlniiirhmpu and the isrs
of milkmaids. As for me, 1 hardly considered
about Koiug In the farm hefuro 1 despised myself
for ciitvrluiuiiig any such notion. ''No, no,"
thought I, " I urn not the womuii lo walk a milo
and a half through rain, aud mist, and darkness,
to tell a wholu kitcheufull of people that 1 nm
a Irani, uorno wiiat may, Here l stop tin tutuer
Ha vinjf arrived ut that valiant resolution, the
first lliiiii! 1 did wai to lock and bolt tho back and
front doors, and see to the security of every shutter
Thut duty performed, I mndo a blazing fire,
lighted my candle, mid Kit down to tea, tin snug
aim cimiortutilu as iiossilue. 1 couiu liard.
AHltoii 'li mv beiii" trusted with money bv Mrs. licve now, willi tho light iu the room, unit tho
Knilton was no novelty (in her mniilen davs she ' seuso of security inspired by the closed doors and
alwavs employed mu to pay her dreosmaker' bills), shutters, thut I hud ever felt even the slightest ap
I did iwt feel quite easy at having a pocket-book 1 prehension earlier in the duy. I sang as I washed
full of hniik iiotci left by hor in mv charge. I hud . "P the tun-things ; and oven the ot seemed to
no positive apprehensions about t)ie safety of tho ' catch the in lection of my good spirits. 1 nover
delimit idiicel iu mv hands; hut it was one of tho ! knew tho pretty oreuturo so playful as she was
odd (HiinlH in mv character Hon (and I think it is j that evening.
f til!),(to feed an' unreasonably strung objection to 'J'1" teu-things put by, I took up my knitting,
lftViV"l&l'iwilh money responsibilities of aiiv R,1(i Worked away at it so lung that I begun utlust
tijitf, 4'A',Ui"ifi! the convenience of my dearest ! to get drowsy. The Are was so bright uud com
TrifuJl. ftsBoBn as I was left alone, tho very . foiling that I could not muster resolution onough
night of the pocket-book behind the glass door of 1 toleavo it and go to bed. I sat staring lazily into
tho liook-caso bcan to worry mo; and instead of ( the blaze, with my knitting on my hip sat till
Morning to my work, I pu.zled my brains aliout the splashing of the rain outside, uud the titful,
tiding u place to lock it up iu, where it would nut
mi vxposcn io the view oi any etrinco pasers-ly,
who might stray into thu Black Cottage.
This was not un city matter lo compass in a
poor houo iike ours, where- we hud nothing vulu
ublu to put under lock and key. Aftur running
sullen Bobbiuji of the wind irrew fainter mid faint
er on iny ear. Tlio hut sounds I heard before I
fairly dozed off to sleep were tho cheerful crack
ling of the lire and tho steady purring of tlio cat,
as she bunked luxuriously in the warm light on tho
heurtti. Those were the last sounds butora I fell
over various hiding places in my mind, I thought . asleep. The sound thut woko me was ono loud
oi my len-cuiiuy, u present iroin Airs, riniflon, i uug m mo iroiit uoor.
which I uhvnvn kept out ot harm's wuy in nry own 1 slatted up, with my heart (us the saying is) in
bod-room. Most unluckily us it afterward turned my mouth, with a frightful momentary shiulder
out instead of taking tho pocket-book to the tea- : "g l the roots of my iiiur I started up breath
eaddy, 1 went into my room Hint to tuku the te i- 1 lens, cold nnd motionless ; waiting in the silence,
caddy to thu pocket-ltook. 1 only acted in this 1 hardly knew for what; doubtful, at first, wheth
ruuudaboul way from sheer UiouKhtloHsnrnnud er 1 hud dreamed about i the bung at the door, or
severely cnouli 1 was puuisheil for it, us you will i whuther thu blow had really been struck on it.
acknowledge yourself when you have reud a littlo ! lu n minute, or less, there came a second bang,
more, of my story. i louder thnn tint first. I ran out into the passage.
1 was just getiing tho unlucky tea-caddy out of ' " Who'a there r"
my cnpho:ird, whun I heard footsUins iu tho (ins- J "Let us iu," answered a voice, which I rocog.
snge, and running out immediately, saw two men nid immediately us the Voice of Shifty Dick,
walk into thu kitchen-the room in winch I had " Wait a bit, my dear, and let mo explain," said
received Mr. uud Mrs. Kuifton. 1 inquired what second voice, in tho low, oily, jeering tones of
they vantetl, shnrply enough, and one of them Ibck's coiupniiion the wickwlly clover littlo man
answered immediately thut they wanted my father. 1 whom ho cuileit Jerry. "You nre alone iu the
He turned toward mo, of course, ua he spoke, mid ! on3, my pretty little dear. You may crack your
I recognized him us a stone-mason, going among : sweet voice with screeching, and there's nobody
his comrades by the mime ut Bliiity Dick. Ho ' near to hear you. Listuu to reason, my love, and
bore u very bad character for everything but i 111 U!t W o don't want cider this time we only
wtostliug a sjwrt for which the working men of j wullt very neat looking pocket-book which you
our purl wow famous ull through tho country. ' ""l'''ti to have, and your lute excellent mother's
Shifty Dick was uhamiiion, uml hn had not
iianrn from some tricks in wrestling, for which bo
waa celcbrutciK He was a tall, huivy man, with
a lowering, scarred face, and hugo hairy hands
uii'Miiitiiiiui in mo wauio worm unit i stmuiil
four silver tea shxiiib, which yon kt ep so nice uml
clean on tlio ehiiuney-pieee. "if you let us in, we
Won't hurt a hair of your head, my cherub, and wo
promise to uo uwny tho moment we huvo L'ot what
wo want, unless you particularly wish us to stop
havu lieoii glad to see ninW any circumstances. to tea. If you keep us out, wu shall be obligod to
oiii-uim'ii nun it ntiiinni r, WIIOIll no AllUreSSVIl uiciifc luit' lou iiiiubv, mm ineil
by the naiuu of Jerry-a ipuck, daper, wicked 1 "Ami then," burst in Shitty Dick, "we'll math
looking muu, who took ulT his cap to mo with mock i yu :"
iolitcm s and showed, in so doing, a Tery Iwiltl ! " Ves," said Jerrv, " we'll mash you, my beautv.
ua to uoiiig mat, will you.'
head with tomo very uly locking knobs on it. f
distrusted him worse than 1 did Stnily Dick, nnd
mniiAgeil lo get between his leering eyes aud tho
liook-etise, aa 1 told the two that my father was
gone out, and that 1 did nut eipoct him buck till
the next duy.
Tho word were hardly out of my mouth before
I repented thut my nn s ltd y to get rid of my un
welcome visitors had nude tno incautious enough
lo acknowledge that my father would lo away
from home for the whido night.
Shift v Dick nml his eoniNtnhm looked at esdi
other wheu 1 unwisely let out tho tiuth. but made
Hut vou wont dri'
ion will let
This long parley gave mo time to recover from
tho effect which thu first bang at the door had pro
duced on my nerves. Tho threats of the two vil
liaus would have terrified some women out of
their senses; but tho only result thev produced on
me waa violent indignation. 1 had, thank Uod, a
strong spirit of my own; and tho cool, con
temptuous insolence of the man Jerry effectually
roused it, '
" You cowardly villians," I screamed at them
imougii mo uoor. l ou i mu it you can frighten me
no rcmiiTK, exenpi iu ask me it l would give them I because I nm only A poor girl left alone m the
a drop of cider. 1 Aiiwcred, ihsridv. that 1 had house. You nurainutllu thieve. I .Ufi- mn k,,n, i
no cider in the hoiivc- having uu fear of the iud
sentiences of refuiiiL' them drink, beeansa 1 knew
Ihut plenty of nieu weiu at wotk within hnil, in a
nciuhbormg tpiniry. The two men lookwl at each
other again, when I deniml having any cider to
give tlit iu; and Jerry (aa 1 am obliged to call him,
know in i uo other nnmo by which to distinguish
the MUwl took off his can 'to me onc mow, and,
wilh a kind ol blackguard gentility uinm him, sr.id
they would have the dens ore of rAiling the next I rushed into the kitchen and Mixed the vrnker
nay, wucn my lamer was At homo. 1 said good nml then hcAned wooil on the tlr, and liahted all
allerniM.ii as iiugiAt'ioiisly napoastble; ami, to mv the candles I could find; forU felt as if I could
great relief, lhy both Kit the cot tag immediately i keep up my courage bettor' if I had olenrv of lmht
aiterwards. strange and ,mprobabl. a. it may appear, tho next
As soon at thev were wel awm 1 wutl. i ti,.t -i..i ' ' "lv UL1
fr.m the d...,. Thev trudircd off in the. d.et,. n umv. , XS Z ZL tMwr
j iwu oi me nine creature that 1 taok her
mr ooiw are strong, our shutters are thick. I am
hero to keep my lather's house safe ; and keen it I
will against an urmy of you 1"
You may imagine what a passion I was in when
I vapored aud blustered in that wav. 1 heard
Jerry laugh, and Shifty Dick swear a whole
mouthful of oaths. Then there waa a dead silence
lor a minute or two; aud then the two ruffians at
is uu 1 1 iv uoor.
oi jioot rarm; ami, as il was begin mug to get
dusk, 1 aoon lost siht of them.
Half an hour ath'iw.ird 1 looked out agniu.
The wind had lulled with tlie sunset, but tho
niut was rising, and a heavy ram was tigiunnig
to fall Never did thu lonclv prospect of the moor
look so dreary a il look.-d to mv em that even
ing. Never did 1 regrnl auv tluht tmng mora ain
ceielv than 1 then n-grettwl the leaving of Mr.
Kuilton1! pocket-book in my charge. 1 cannot say
that 1 auftcced uudt r anv actual alarm, for 1 felt
next to certain that neither Shifty Dick nor Jerry
had got a chanev of setting eyaou so small a thing
as the iHVkct-boos. while- thev wan in th- kitekn-
but Iher was a kind of vague dulrust troubling
me -a uinon ol the nmhl-n dudike at being
left by mvtell, which I never rrmetnl-er having ex
Mmucvd b fin. Th (whuy ao increaard, after
I had vlowd liied.Kr and none Uck lo the kitchfn.
up in my Arms and carried her into my bod-room,
and put her inside mv bed. A comical thing to do
iu a itu,tion of deAdly peril, was it not If But it
seemed uiute natural and proper at the time.
AH thu while the blows were falling faster and
tured, wnh heavy stones picked up"from'TheLkor " iuui,,i quite horror-struck befo'r
groumi out,le Jerry sang At his wicked work. I "
Aud Shiftv Dick swon. A I tt th.
ter putting the cat uukr cover, I heard the lower
pon.l of ihe door begin to crack.
I ran into the kitchen and huddled out foursil
vr s,m. ,nto my pocket; then took the unlucky
book with the bank note and put it in the btwom
CI my drwa I wu determinetl to defend the
protrtv e,M.ttdl to my care with mv life. Ju.t
as 1 had secured th ii-Lni.i..L- ii.' L ,
t . , r---.-.--, a lll-niu lot) UOOf
Ibal. whMi I neard the vo,.ot Uie yunS E TtST "fiS
y asaed our coltajv ou Uiwir way home to tho hands, " 1 ' 'UUli m
I was in timo to see the bald bead of Jerry, with
the ugly looking knobs ou it, pushed into the pas.
sage through a great rent io one of the lower pan
els of the door.
" Gut out, you villain, or I'll brain you on the
spot !" I screeched, threatening htm with the
Mr. Jerry took his head out again much faster
than he put it in.
The next thing that came through the rent was
a lung pitchfork, which they darted at me from
the outside, to move me from' the door. I struck
at it with all my might, and thcAblow must have
jarred the band of Shifty Dick up to his very
shoulder, for I heard him give a roar of rage and
pain. Before he could catch at the fork with his
other hand, I hud drawn it inside. By this time,
ofjsn Jerry lost his temper, and swore more awful
ly than Dick himBelf.
Thon came another minute of respite. I had
suspected they had gone to get bigger stones, and
I dreaded tho giving way af the whole door.
Ii mining into the bed-room aa this fear beset
me, I Uki hold of my cheat of drawers, dragged it
into the passage, and threw it down againttt the
door. On tho top of that I heaped my father's big
loobclieat, three chairs, mid a scuttleful of coals
ami last, I drugged out the kitcheu-table and
rammed it ns liurd as I could against the wholo
barricade. They heard mo as tiiey were coining
up to the door with fresh stones. Jerry said,
" Stop a bit," and then tho two consulted together
in whispers. I listened engerly, and just caught
theso words :
Let's try the other way."
Nothing more was said, but I heard their foot
steps retreating from the door.
Were they going to besiege tho hack doer
I had hardly asked myself that question, whon I
heard their voices at tho other side of tho house.
Tho back door was smaller than the front; but it
had this udvantugu in the way of strength it was
made of two solid oak boards, joined longwise,
and strengthened inside by heavy cross pieces, It
had no bolts like- the front door, but was fastened
by a luir of iron, running across it in a slanting
direction, and fitting at either end into the wall.
"Thoymust have tho whole cottugo down be
fore they can break in at that door," I thought to
myself. And they soon found out as much for
After tivo minutes banging at the back door,
they gave up auy further uttempt in thut direc
tion, and cast theft heavy stones down with curses
of fury awful to hear.
1 went into tho kitchen and dropped on the
window scat to rest for a moment. Susnense nnd
excitement together were beginning to tell upon
me. The perspiration broke out thick on my foro-
iiead, ana 1 liegan to feel the bruises I had in
flicted on my hands in making the barricade
uguiiist the front door. I had not lost a puiticle of
my resolution, but I was beginning to lose
strength. There was a bottle of ruin iu tho cup- ,
board, which my brother, tho sailor, hud left with
us tho last time he was ashore. I drank a drop of
it. Never before or since have I nut nnv thin it
down my throat that did me half so much good ua
Liinv juvenilis mouiiiiui oi ruin.
I wo still sitting in the window sent drying my
face, whuu I suddenly heard their voices close be
They were feeling the outside of the window
ngainst which I was sitting. It was protected,
like- all the other windows in the cottage, by iron
bars. I listened in dreadful suspense forthe'sound
of tiling, but nothing of the sort was audible.
They had evidently reckoned on frightening mo '
easily into lottiVig them in, and hud come unpro
vided with housebreaking tools of any kind. A
fresh burst of oaths informed mo that thoy had
recognized tho obstacle of the iron bars. I listened
breathlessly for sotiio warning of what thoy were
going to do next, but their voices seemed to did
away in tho distance. They were retreating from
the window. Were they also retreating from the
houso altogether r Had they given up the idoa of
effecting an entrance in despair t
Along silenco followed -a silence which tried
my courage oven mora severely than the tumult of
their Unit uttack ou the cottage.
Dreadful suspicions now beset me of their being
able to accomplish by treachery what thoy had
failed to effect by force. Well as I new the cot
tage, I began to doubt whether there might not bo
ways of cunniugly and silently entering it ngainst
which 1 was not provided. Tho ticking of the
clock annoyed mu; the crackling of the tlie start
lod me. 1 looked out twenty times iu a minute
into tho dark corners of the passage, strniHiim my
eyes, holding my breath, anticipating the most un
likely events, the most iniossible dangers. Had
they really gonei' or were thoy still prowling
about the houso? Oh, what a sum of monoy I
would have given, only to have known what tiiey
were about in that interval of silence 1
I was startled at last out of my suspense in the
most awful manner. A shout from one of them
reached my ears on a sudden down the kitchen
chimney. It was so unexpected and so horrible iu
the stilliipsa, that I screamed for the first time
since the attAck on the house. My worst forebod
ings hud never suggested to me that the two vil
lains might mount upon the roof.
Let us in you she devil roired a voice down
1 here was another pause. The smoke from tho
wood lire, thin and liulit as it was t. n.,i
of the embers at that moment, had evidently ob
ligcd the man to take his face away lrom the
mouth of tho chimney. I couuted the seconds
whilehewas.asloonjectured, getting his breath
again. In less than half a minute there camo
Let US iu or We'll bum the nlnen dntrn .
uum it t iiurn what ? There w nnti.it.,.
sily combustiLle but the thatch on the roof; and
that had been well soaked by the heavy rain which
had now fallen lucessuntlv for mora thnn ii Kn..
Bum the place over my head 't How f
While I was still canHmr l,.i ;i,it t-
mind to discover what possible danger there could
be of tire, one of the heavy stones placed on the
thatch to keep it from being torn up by the high
winds, came thundering down the chimney. It
scattered the live embers on tho hearth all over tho
room. A richly furnished plAce, with nicknacks
. mutiiii uuuui ii, wouiu nave been set on
tire immediately. Even our biro floor and rough
furniture gave out a smell of burning at the first
.una wmcn ino nrst none scattered.
new nruof of thu ilnviiuk inn..it. .ka ;i
fains outside. But Ihe dreadful danger I wai now
... uid w my aensea immediately. There
was a large canful of water in my bedroom, and I
ran at once to fetch it. Before I could get back to
tho kitchen, a second stone bad been thrown down
the chimney, and the floor woe smouldering in sev
eral placet, B
I bad wit enough to let the smouldering go on
tor a moment or two more, and t pour the whole
of my cantul of water over the nra before the third
stone came down the chimney. The live embers
on the floor I easily disposed of after that The
man ou the roof must have beard the biasing ol