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Title: George Bowring - A Tale Of Cader Idris - From "Slain By The Doones" By R. D. Blackmore
Author: Blackmore, R. D. (Richard Doddridge), 1825-1900
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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GEORGE BOWRING--A TALE OF CADER IDRIS

By R. D. Blackmore

From "SLAIN BY THE DOONES" by R. D. Blackmore
Copyright: Dodd, Mead And Company, 1895



CHAPTER I.

When I was a young man, and full of spirits, some forty years ago or
more, I lost my best and truest friend in a very sad and mysterious way.
The greater part of my life has been darkened by this heavy blow and
loss, and the blame which I poured upon myself for my own share in the
matter.

George Bowring had been seven years with me at the fine old school of
Shrewsbury, and trod on my heels from form to form so closely that, when
I became at last the captain of the school, he was second to me. I was
his elder by half a year, and "sapped" very hard, while he laboured
little; so that it will be plain at a glance, although he never
acknowledged it, that he was the better endowed of the two with natural
ability. At that time we of Salop always expected to carry everything,
so far as pure scholarship was concerned, at both the universities. But
nowadays I am grieved to see that schools of quite a different stamp
(such as Rugby and Harrow, and even Marlborough, and worse of all
peddling Manchester) have been running our boys hard, and sometimes
almost beating them. And how have they done it? Why, by purchasing
masters of our prime rank and special style.

George and myself were at one time likely, and pretty well relied upon,
to keep up the fame of Sabrina's crown, and hold our own at Oxford. But
suddenly it so fell out that both of us were cut short of classics, and
flung into this unclassic world. In the course of our last half year at
school and when we were both taking final polish to stand for Balliol
scholarships, which we were almost sure to win, as all the examiners
were Shrewsbury men,--not that they would be partial to us, but because
we knew all their questions,--within a week, both George and I were
forced to leave the dear old school, the grand old town, the lovely
Severn, and everything but one another.

He lost his father; I lost my uncle, a gentleman in Derbyshire, who had
well provided my education; but, having a family of his own, could not
be expected to leave me much. And he left me even less than could, from
his own point of view, have been rational. It is true that he had seven
children; but still a man of,£15,000 a year might have done, without
injustice--or, I might say, with better justice--something more than
to leave his nephew a sum which, after much pushing about into divers
insecurities, fetched £72 10s. per annum.

Nevertheless, I am truly grateful; though, perhaps, at the time I had
not that knowledge of the world which enlarges the grateful organs. It
cannot matter what my feelings were, and I never was mercenary. All my
sentiments at that period ran in Greek senarii; and perhaps it would
show how good and lofty boys were in that ancient time, though now they
are only rude Solecists, if I were to set these verses down--but, after
much consideration, I find it wiser to keep them in.

George Bowring's father had some appointment well up in the Treasury.
He seems to have been at some time knighted for finding a manuscript of
great value that went in the end to the paper mills. How he did it, or
what it was, or whether he ever did it at all, were questions for no
one to meddle with. People in those days had larger minds than they
ever seem to exhibit now. The king might tap a man, and say, "Rise, Sir
Joseph," and all the journals of the age, or, at least, the next day,
would echo "Sir Joseph!" And really he was worthy of it. A knight he
lived, and a knight he died; and his widow found it such a comfort!

And now on his father's sudden death, George Bowring was left not
so very well off. Sir Joseph had lived, as a knight should do, in a
free-handed, errant, and chivalrous style; and what he left behind
him made it lucky that the title dropped. George, however, was better
placed, as regards the world, than I was; but not so very much as to
make a difference between us. Having always held together, and being
started in life together, we resolved to face the world (as other people
are always called) side by side, and with a friendship that should make
us as good as one.

This, however, did not come out exactly as it should have done. Many
things arose between us--such as diverse occupation, different hours of
work and food, and a little split in the taste of trowsers, which, of
course, should not have been. He liked the selvage down his legs,
while I thought it unartistic, and, going much into the graphic line, I
pressed my objections strongly.

But George, in the handsomest manner--as now, looking back on the case,
I acknowledge--waived my objections, and insisted as little as he could
upon his own.

And again we became as tolerant as any two men, at all alike, can be of
one another.

He, by some postern of influence, got into some dry ditch of the
Treasury, and there, as in an old castle-moat, began to be at home, and
move, gently and after his seniors, as the young ducks follow the old
ones. And at every waddle he got more money.

My fortune, however, was not so nice. I had not Sir Joseph, of Treasury
cellars, to light me with his name and memory into a snug cell of my
own. I had nothing to look to but courage, and youth, and education, and
three-quarters of a hundred pounds a year, with some little change to
give out of it. Yet why should I have doubted? Now, I wonder at my own
misgivings; yet all of them still return upon me, if I ever am persuaded
just to try Welsh rabbit. Enough, that I got on at last, to such an
extent that the man at the dairy offered me half a year's milk for a
sketch of a cow that had never belonged to him.

George, meanwhile, having something better than a brush for a walking
stick and an easel to sit down upon, had taken unto himself a wife--a
lady as sweet and bright as could be--by name Emily Atkinson. In truth,
she was such a charming person that I myself, in a quiet way, had taken
a very great fancy to her before George Bowring saw her; but as soon as
I found what a desperate state the heart of poor George was reduced to,
and came to remember that he was fitted by money to marry, while I was
not, it appeared to me my true duty toward the young lady and him, and
even myself, to withdraw from the field, and have nothing to say if they
set up their horses together.

So George married Emily, and could not imagine why it was that I strove
in vain to appear as his "best man," at the rails where they do it.

For though I had ordered a blue coat and buttons, and a cashmere
waistcoat (amber-coloured, with a braid of peonies), yet at the last
moment my courage failed me, and I was caught with a shivering in the
knees, which the doctor said was ague. This and that shyness of dining
at his house (which I thought it expedient to adopt during the years of
his married life) created some little reserve between us, though
hardly so bad as our first disagreement concerning the stripe down the
pantaloons.

However, before that dereliction I had made my friend a wedding present,
as was right and proper--a present such as nothing less than a glorious
windfall could have enabled me to buy. For while engaged, some three
years back, upon a grand historical painting of "Cour de Lion and
Saladin," now to be seen--but let that pass; posterity will always know
where to find it--I was harassed in mind perpetually concerning the
grain of the fur of a cat. To the dashing young artists of the present
day this may seem a trifle; to them, no doubt, a cat is a cat--or would
be, if they could make it one. Of course, there are cats enough in
London, and sometimes even a few to spare; but I wanted a cat of
peculiar order, and of a Saracenic cast. I walked miles and miles;
till at last I found him residing in a very old-fashioned house in the
Polygon, at Somers Town. Here was a genuine paradise of cats, carefully
ministered to and guarded by a maiden lady of Portuguese birth and of
advanced maturity. Each of these nine cats possessed his own stool--a
mahogany stool, with a velvet cushion, and his name embroidered upon it
in beautiful letters of gold. And every day they sat round the fire to
digest their dinners, all nine of them, each on his proper stool,
some purring, some washing their faces, and some blinking or nodding
drowsily. But I need not have spoken of this, except that one of
them was called "Saladin." He was the very cat I wanted. I made his
acquaintance in the area, and followed it up on the knife-boy's board.
And then I had the most happy privilege of saving him from a tail-pipe.
Thus my entrance was secured into this feline Eden; and the lady was
so well pleased that she gave me an order for nine full-length cat
portraits, at the handsome price of ten guineas apiece. And not only
this, but at her demise--which followed, alas! too speedily--she left me
£150, as a proof of her esteem and affection.

This sum I divided into three equal parts--fifty pounds for a present
for George, another fifty for a duty to myself, and the residue to be
put by for any future purposes. I knew that my friend had no gold watch;
neither, of course, did I possess one. In those days a gold watch
was thought a good deal of, and made an impression in society, as a
three-hundred-guinea ring does now. Barwise was then considered the best
watchmaker in London, and perhaps in the world. So I went to his shop,
and chose two gold watches of good size and substance--none of your
trumpery catchpenny things, the size of a gilt pill trodden upon--at the
price of fifty guineas each. As I took the pair, the foreman let me have
them for a hundred pounds, including also in that figure a handsome gold
key for each, of exactly the same pattern, and a guard for the fob of
watered black-silk ribbon.

My reason for choosing these two watches, out of a trayful of similar
quality, was perhaps a little whimsical--viz., that the numbers they
bore happened to be sequents. Each had its number engraved on its white
enamel dial, in small but very clear figures, placed a little above the
central spindle; also upon the extreme verge, at the nadir below the
seconds hand, the name of the maker, "Barwise, London." They were not
what are called "hunting watches," but had strong and very clear lunette
glasses fixed in rims of substantial gold. And their respective numbers
were 7777 and 7778.

Carrying these in wash-leather bags, I gave George Bowring his choice
of the two; and he chose the one with four figures of seven, making some
little joke about it, not good enough to repeat, nor even bad enough to
laugh at.



CHAPTER II.

For six years after this all went smoothly with George Bowring and
myself. We met almost daily, although we did not lodge together (as once
we had done) nor spend the evening hours together, because, of course,
he had now his home and family rising around him. By the summer of 1832
he had three children, and was expecting a fourth at no very distant
time. His eldest son was named after me, "Robert Bistre," for such is
my name, which I have often thought of changing. Not that the name is
at all a bad one, as among friends and relations, but that, when I am
addressed by strangers, "Mr. Bistre" has a jingling sound, suggestive
of childish levity. "Sir Robert Bistre," however, would sound uncommonly
well; and (as some people say) less eminent artists--but perhaps, after
all, I am not so very old as to be in a hurry.

In the summer of 1832--as elderly people will call to mind, and the
younger sort will have heard or read--the cholera broke over London like
a bursting meteor. Such panic had not been known, I believe, since the
time of the plague, in the reign of Charles II., as painted (beyond any
skill of the brush) by the simple and wonderful pen of Defoe. There
had been in the interval many seasons--or at least I am informed so--of
sickness more widely spread, and of death more frequent, if not so
sudden. But now this new plague, attacking so harshly a man's most
perceptive and valued part, drove rich people out of London faster than
horses (not being attacked) could fly. Well, used as I was to a good
deal of poison in dealing with my colours, I felt no alarm on my own
account, but was anxious about my landlady. This was an excellently
honest woman of fifty-five summers at the utmost, but weakly confessing
to as much as forty. She had made a point of insisting upon a brisket of
beef and a flat-polled cabbage for dinner every Saturday; and the same,
with a "cowcumber," cold on Sunday; and for supper a soft-roed herring,
ever since her widowhood.

"Mrs. Whitehead," said I--for that was her name, though she said she did
not deserve it; and her hair confirmed her in that position by growing
darker from year to year--"Madam, allow me to beg you to vary your diet
a little at this sad time."

"I varies it every day, Mr. Bistre," she answered somewhat snappishly.
"The days of the week is not so many but what they all come round
again."

For the moment I did not quite perceive the precision of her argument;
but after her death I was able to do more justice to her intellect. And,
unhappily, she was removed to a better world on the following Sunday.

To a man in London of quiet habits and regular ways and periods there
scarcely can be a more desperate blow than the loss of his landlady.
It is not only that his conscience pricks him for all his narrow,
plagiaristic, and even irrational suspicions about the low level of his
tea caddy, or a neap tide in his brandy bottle, or any false evidence of
the eyes (which ever go spying to lock up the heart), or the ears, which
are also wicked organs--these memories truly are grievous to him, and
make him yearn now to be robbed again; but what he feels most sadly is
the desolation of having nobody who understands his locks. One of the
best men I ever knew was so plagued with his sideboard every
day for two years, after dinner, that he married a little new
maid-of-all-work--because she was a blacksmith's daughter.

Nothing of that sort, however, occurred in my case, I am proud to say.
But finding myself in a helpless state, without anyone to be afraid
of, I had only two courses before me: either to go back to my former
landlady (who was almost too much of a Tartar, perhaps), or else to run
away from my rooms till Providence provided a new landlady.

Now, in this dilemma I met George Bowring, who saw my distress, and most
kindly pressed me to stay at his house till some female arose to manage
my affairs for me. This, of course, I declined to do, especially under
present circumstances; and, with mutual pity, we parted. But the very
next day he sought me out, in a quiet nook where a few good artists were
accustomed to meet and think; and there he told me that really now he
saw his way to cut short my troubles as well as his own, and to earn a
piece of enjoyment and profit for both of us. And I happen to remember
his very words.

"You are cramped in your hand, my dear fellow," said he (for in those
days youths did not call each other "old man"--with sad sense of their
own decrepitude). "Bob, you are losing your freedom of touch. You must
come out of these stony holes, and look at a rocky mountain."

My heart gave a jump at these words; and yet I had been too much laid
flat by facts--"sat upon," is the slang of these last twenty years, and
in the present dearth of invention must serve, no doubt, for another
twenty--I say that I had been used as a cushion by so many landladies
and maids-of-all-work (who take not an hour to find out where they need
do no work), that I could not fetch my breath to think of ever going up
a mountain.

"I will leave you to think of it, Bob," said George, putting his hat
on carefully; "I am bound for time, and you seem to be nervous. Consult
your pillow, my dear fellow; and peep into your old stocking: and see
whether you can afford it."

That last hit settled me. People said, in spite of all my generous
acts--and nobody knows, except myself, the frequency and the extent of
these--without understanding the merits of the case--perfect (or rather
imperfect) strangers said that I was stingy! To prove the contrary, I
resolved to launch into great expenditure, and to pay coach fare all the
way from London toward the nearest mountain.

Half the inhabitants now were rushing helter-skelter out of London, and
very often to seaside towns where the smell of fish destroyed them. And
those who could not get away were shuddering at the blinds drawn down,
and huddling away from the mutes at the doors, and turning pale at the
funeral bells. And some, who had never thought twice before of their
latter end, now began to dwell with so much unction upon it, that
Providence graciously spared them the waste of perpetual preparation.

Among the rest, George Bowring had been scared, far more than he liked
to own, by the sudden death of his butcher, between half a dozen chops
for cutlets and the trimming of a wing-bone. George's own cook had gone
down with the order, and meant to bring it all back herself, because
she knew what butchers do when left to consider their subject. And Mrs.
Tompkins was so alarmed that she gave only six hours' notice to leave,
though her husband was far on the salt-sea wave, according to her own
account, and she had none to make her welcome except her father's second
wife. This broke up the household; and hence it was that George tempted
me so with the mountains.

For he took his wife and children to an old manor-house in Berkshire,
belonging to two maiden aunts of the lady, who promised to see to all
that might happen, but wanted no gentleman in the house at a period of
such delicacy. George Bowring, therefore, agreed to meet me on the 12th
day of September, at the inn in Reading--I forget its name--where the
Regulator coach (belonging to the old company, and leaving White Horse
Cellars at half-past nine in the morning) allowed an hour to dine, from
one o'clock onward, as the roads might be. And here I found him, and
we supped at Oxford, and did very well at the Mitre. On the following
morning we took coach for Shrewsbury, as we had agreed, and, reaching
the town before dark, put up at the Talbot Inn, and sauntered into the
dear old school, to see what the lads had been at since our time; for
their names and their exploits, at Oxford and Cambridge, are scored in
large letters upon the panels, from the year 1806 and onward, so that
soon there will be no place to register any more of them; and we found
that though we ourselves had done nothing, many fine fellows had been
instituted in letters of higher humanity, and were holding up the old
standard, so that we longed to invite them to dinner. But discipline
must be maintained; and that word means, more than anything else, the
difference of men's ages.

Now, at Shrewsbury, we had resolved to cast off all further heed of
coaches; and knowing the country pretty well, or recalling it from our
childhood, to strike away on foot for some of the mountain wildernesses.

Of these, in those days, nobody knew much more than that they were high
and steep, and slippery and dangerous, and much to be shunned by all
sensible people who liked a nice fire and the right side of the window.
So that when we shouldered staves with knapsacks flapping heavily, all
the wiser sort looked on us as marching off to Bedlam.

In the morning, as we were starting, we set our watches by the old
school dial, as I have cause to remember well. And we staked half a
crown, in a sporting manner, each on his own watch to be the truer by
sun upon our way back again. And thus; we left those ancient walls and
the glancing of the river, and stoutly took the Welshpool road, dreading
nought except starvation.

Although in those days I was not by any means a cripple, George was far
stronger of arm and leg, having always been famous, though we made
no fuss about such things then, for running and jumping, and lifting
weights, and using the boxing-gloves and the foils. A fine, brave fellow
as ever lived, with a short, straight nose and a resolute chin, he
touched the measuring-bar quite fairly at seventy-four inches, and
turned the scales at fourteen stone and a quarter. And so, as my
chattels weighed more than his (by means of a rough old easel and
material for rude sketches), he did me a good turn now and then by
changing packs for a mile or two. And thus we came in four days' march
to Aber-Aydyr, a village lying under Cader Idris.



CHAPTER III.

If any place ever lay out of the world, and was proud of itself for
doing so, this little village of Aber-Aydyr must have been very near it.
The village was built, as the people expressed it, of thirty cottages,
one public-house, one shop universal, and two chapels. The torrent of
the Aydyr entered with a roar of rapids, and at the lower end departed
in a thunder of cascades. The natives were all so accustomed to live in
the thick of this watery uproar that, whenever they left their beloved
village to see the inferior outer world, they found themselves as deaf
as posts till they came to a weir or a waterfall. And they told us that
in the scorching summer of the year 1826 the river had failed them so
that for nearly a month they could only discourse by signs; and they
used to stand on the bridge and point at the shrunken rapids, and
stop their ears to exclude that horrible emptiness. Till a violent
thunderstorm broke up the drought, and the river came down roaring; and
the next day all Aber-Aydyr was able to gossip again as usual.

Finding these people, who lived altogether upon slate, of a quaint and
original turn, George Bowring and I resolved to halt and rest the soles
of our feet a little, and sketch and fish the neighbourhood. For George
had brought his rod and tackle, and many a time had he wanted co stop
and set up his rod and begin to cast; but I said that I would not be
cheated so: he had promised me a mountain, and would he put me off with
a river? Here, however, we had both delights; the river for him and the
mountain for me. As for the fishing, all that he might have, and I would
grudge him none of it, if he fairly divided whatever he caught. But
he must not expect me to follow him always and watch all his dainty
manoeuvring; each was to carry and eat his own dinner, whenever we made
a day of it, so that he might keep to his flies and his water, while
I worked away with my brush at the mountains. And thus we spent a most
pleasant week, though we knew very little of Welsh and the slaters spoke
but little English. But--much as they are maligned because they will
not have strangers to work with them--we found them a thoroughly civil,
obliging, and rather intelligent set of men; most of them also of a
respectable and religious turn of mind; and they scarcely ever poach,
except on Saturdays and Mondays.

On September 25, as we sat at breakfast in the little sanded parlour of
the Cross-Pipes public house, our bedroom being overhead, my dear friend
complained to me that he was tired of fishing so long up and down
one valley, and asked me to come with him further up, into wilder and
rockier districts, where the water ran deeper (as he had been told) and
the trout were less worried by quarrymen, because it was such a savage
place, deserted by all except evil spirits, that even the Aber-Aydyr
slaters could not enjoy the fishing there. I promised him gladly to
come, only keeping the old understanding between us, that each should
attend to his own pursuits and his own opportunities mainly; so that
George might stir most when the trout rose well, and I when the shadows
fell properly. And thus we set forth about nine o'clock of a bright and
cheerful morning, while the sun, like a courtly perruquier of the reign
of George II., was lifting, and shifting, and setting in order the
vapoury curls of the mountains.

We trudged along thus at a merry swing, for the freshness of autumnal
dew was sparkling in the valley, until we came to a rocky pass, where
walking turned to clambering. After an hour of sharpish work among
slaty shelves and threatening crags, we got into one of those troughlike
hollows hung on each side with precipices, which look as if the earth
had sunk for the sake of letting the water through. On our left hand,
cliff towered over cliff to the grand height of Pen y Cader, the
steepest and most formidable aspect of the mountain. Rock piled on rock,
and shingle cast in naked waste disdainfully, and slippery channels
scooped by torrents of tempestuous waters, forbade one to desire at all
to have anything more to do with them--except, of course, to get them
painted at a proper distance, so that they might hang at last in the
dining rooms of London, to give people appetite with sense of hungry
breezes, and to make them comfortable with the sight of danger.

"This is very grand indeed," said George, as he turned to watch me; for
the worst part of our business is to have to give an opinion always upon
points of scenery. But I am glad that I was not cross, or even crisp
with him that day.

"It is magnificent," I answered; "and I see a piece of soft sward there,
where you can set up your rod, old fellow, while I get my sticks in
trim. Let us fill our pipes and watch the shadows; they do not fall
quite to suit me yet."

"How these things make one think," cried Bowring, as we sat on a stone
and smoked, "of the miserable littleness of men like you and me, Bob!"

"Speak for yourself, sir," I said, laughing at his unaccustomed, but by
no means novel, reflection. "I am quite contented with my size, although
I am smaller than you, George. Dissatisfied mortal! Nature wants no
increase of us, or she would have had it."

"In another world we shall be much larger," he said, with his eyes on
the tops of the hills. "Last night I dreamed that my wife and children
were running to meet me in heaven, Bob."

"Tush! You go and catch fish," I replied; for tears were in his large,
soft eyes, and I hated the sentimental. "Would they ever let such a
little Turk as Bob Bistre into heaven, do you think? My godson would
shout all the angels deaf and outdrum all the cherubim."

"Poor little chap! He is very noisy; but he is not half a bad sort,"
said George. "If he only comes like his godfather I shall wish no better
luck for him."

These were kind words, and I shook his hand to let him know that I felt
them; and then, as if he were ashamed of having talked rather weakly,
he took with his strong legs a dangerous leap of some ten or twelve feet
downward, and landed on a narrow ledge that overhung the river. Here he
put his rod together, and I heard the click of reel as he drew the loop
at the end of the line through the rings, and so on; and I heard him cry
"Chut!" as he took his flies from his Scotch cap and found a tangle; and
I saw the glistening of his rod, as the sunshine pierced the valley, and
then his tall, straight figure pass the corner of a crag that stood as
upright as a tombstone; and after that no more of any live and bright
George Bowring.



CHAPTER IV.

Swift is the flight of Time whenever a man would fain lay hold of him.
All created beings, from Behemoth to a butterfly, dread and fly (as best
they may) that universal butcher--man. And as nothing is more carefully
killed by the upper sort of mankind than Time, how can he help making
off for his life when anybody wants to catch him?

Of course, I am not of that upper sort, and make no pretence to be so;
but Time, perhaps, may be excused for thinking--having had such a very
short turn at my clothes--that I belonged to the aristocracy. At any
rate, while I drew, and rubbed, and dubbed, and made hieroglyphics, Time
was. uneasily shifting and shuffling the lines of the hills, as a fever
patient jerks and works the bed-clothes. And, worse than that, he was
scurrying westward (frightened, no doubt, by the equinox) at such a pace
that I was scared by the huddling together of shadows. Awaking from a
long, long dream--through which I had been working hard, and laying the
foundations of a thousand pounds hereafter--I felt the invisible damp of
evening settling in the valleys. The sun, from over the sea, had still
his hand on Cader Idris; but every inferior head and height was gray in
the sweep of his mantle.

I threw my hair back--for an artist really should be picturesque; and,
having no other beauty, must be firm to long hair, while it lasts--and
then I shouted, "George!" until the strata of the mountain (which
dip and jag, like veins of oak) began and sluggishly prolonged a slow
zig-zag of echoes. No counter-echo came to me; no ring of any sonorous
voice made crag, and precipice, and mountain vocal with the sound of
"Bob!"

"He must have gone back. What a fool I must be never to remember seeing
him! He saw that I was full of rubbish, and he would not disturb me. He
is gone back to the Cross-Pipes, no doubt And yet it does not seem like
him."

"To look for a pin in a bundle of hay" would be a job of sense and
wisdom rather than to seek a thing so very small as a very big man among
the depth, and height, and breadth of river, shingle, stone, and rock,
crag, precipice, and mountain. And so I doubled up my things, while the
very noise they made in doubling flurried and alarmed me; and I thought
it was not like George to leave me to find my way back all alone, among
the deep bogs, and the whirlpools, and the trackless tracts of crag.

When I had got my fardel ready, and was about to shoulder it, the sound
of brisk, short steps, set sharply upon doubtful footing, struck my ear,
through the roar of the banks and stones that shook with waterfall. And
before I had time to ask, "Who goes there?"--as in this solitude one
might do--a slight, short man, whom I knew by sight as a workman of
Aber-Aydyr, named Evan Peters, was close to me, and was swinging a
slate-hammer in one hand, and bore in the other a five-foot staff. He
seemed to be amazed at sight of me, but touched his hat with his staff,
and said: "Good-night, gentleman!" in Welsh; for the natives of this
part are very polite. "Good-night, Evan!" I answered, in his own
language, of which I had picked up a little; and he looked well pleased,
and said in his English: "For why, sir, did you leave your things in
that place there? A bad mans come and steal them, it is very likely."

Then he wished me "Good-night" again, and was gone--for he seemed to
be in a dreadful hurry--before I had the sense to ask him what he meant
about "my things." But as his footfall died away a sudden fear came over
me.

"The things he meant must be George Bowring's," I said to myself; and I
dropped my own, and set off, with my blood all tingling, for the place
toward which he had jerked his staff. How long it took me to force my
way among rugged rocks and stubs of oak I cannot tell, for every moment
was an hour to me. But a streak of sunset glanced along the lonesome
gorge, and cast my shadow further than my voice would go; and by it I
saw something long and slender against a scar of rock, and standing
far in front of me. Toward this I ran as fast as ever my trembling legs
would carry me, for I knew too well that it must be the fishing-rod of
George Bowring.

It was stuck in the ground--not carelessly, nor even in any hurry; but
as a sportsman makes all snug, when for a time he leaves off casting.
For instance, the end fly was fixed in the lowest ring of the butt, and
the slack of the line reeled up so that the collar lay close to the
rod itself. Moreover, in such a rocky place, a bed to receive the spike
could not have been found without some searching. For a moment I was
reassured. Most likely George himself was near--perhaps in quest of
blueberries (which abound at the foot of the shingles-and are a very
delicious fruit), or of some rare fern to send his wife, who was one
of the first in England to take much notice of them. And it shows what
confidence I had in my friend's activity and strength, that I never
feared the likely chance of his falling-from some precipice.

But just as I began, with some impatience--for we were to have dined at
the Cross-Pipes about sundown, five good (or very bad) miles away, and
a brace of ducks-was the order--just as I began to shout, "George!
Wherever have you got to?" leaping on a little rock, I saw a thing that
stopped me. At the further side of this rock, and below my feet, was a
fishing basket, and a half-pint mug nearly full of beer, and a crust of
the brown, sweet bread of the hills, and a young white onion, half cut
through, and a clasp-knife open, and a screw of salt, and a slice of the
cheese, just dashed with goat's milk, which George was so fond of, but
I disliked; and there may have been a hard-boiled egg. At the sight of
these things all my blood rushed to my head in such a manner that all my
power to think was gone. I sat down on the rock where George must have
sat while beginning his frugal luncheon, and I put my heels into the
marks of his, and, without knowing why, I began to sob like a child who
has lost his mother. What train of reasoning went through my brain--if
any passed in the obscurity--let metaphysicians or psychologists,
as they call themselves, pretend to know. I only know that I kept on
whispering, "George is dead! Unless he had been killed, he never would
have left his beer so!"

I must have sat, making a fool of myself, a considerable time in this
way, thinking of George's poor wife and children, and wondering what
would become of them, instead of setting to work at once to know what
was become of him. I took up a piece of cheese-rind, showing a perfect
impression of his fine front teeth, and I put it in my pocketbook, as
the last thing he had touched. And then I examined the place-all around
and knelt to look for footmarks, though the light was sadly waning.

For the moment I discovered nothing of footsteps or other traces to
frighten or to comfort me. A little narrow channel (all of rock and
stone and slaty stuff) sloped to the river's brink, which was not more
than: five yards distant In this channel I saw no mark except that some
of the smaller stones appeared to have been turned over; and then I
looked into the river itself, and saw a force of water sliding smoothly
into a rocky pool.

"If he had fallen in there," I said, "he would have leaped out again in
two seconds; or even if the force of the water had carried him down into
that deep pool, he can swim like a duck--of course he can. What river
could ever drown you, George?"

And then I remembered how at Salop he used to swim the flooded Severn
when most of us feared to approach the banks; and I knew that he could
not be drowned, unless something first had stunned him. And after that I
looked around, and my heart was full of terror.

"It is a murder!" I cried aloud, though my voice among the rocks might
well have brought like fate upon me. "As sure as I stand here, and God
is looking down upon me, this is a black murder!" In what way I got back
that night to Aber-Aydyr I know not. All I remember is that the
people would not come out of their houses to me, according to some
superstition, which was not explained till morning; and, being unable
to go to bed, I took a blanket and lay down beneath a dry arch of the
bridge, and the Aydyr, as swiftly as a spectre gliding, hushed me with a
melancholy song.



CHAPTER V.

Now, as sure as ever I lay beneath the third arch of Aber-Aydyr Bridge,
in a blanket of Welsh serge or flannel, with a double border, so surely
did I see, and not dream, what I am going to tell you.

The river ran from east to west; and the moon, being now the harvest
moon, was not very high, but large and full, and just gliding over the
crest of the hill that overhangs the quarry-pit; so that, if I can put
it plainly, the moon was across the river from me, and striking the
turbulent water athwart, so that her face, or a glimmer thereof, must
have been lying upon the river if any smooth place had been left for it.
But of this there was no chance, because the whole of the river was in
a rush, according to its habit, and covered with bubbles, and froth, and
furrows, even where it did not splash, and spout, and leap, as it loved
to do. In the depth of the night, when even the roar of the water seemed
drowsy and indolent, and the calm trees stooped with their heavy limbs
over-changing the darkness languidly, and only a few rays of the moon,
like the fluttering of a silver bird, moved in and out the mesh-work, I
leaned upon, my elbow, and I saw the dead George Bowring.

He came from the pit of the river toward me, quietly and without stride
or step, gliding over the water like a mist or the vapour of a calm
white frost; and he stopped at the ripple where the shore began, and he
looked at me very peacefully. And I felt neither fear nor doubt of him,
any more than I do of this pen in my hand.

"George," I said, "I have been uneasy all the day about you and I cannot
sleep, and I have had no comfort. What has made you treat me so?"

He seemed to be anxious to explain, having always been so
straightforward; but an unknown hand or the power of death held him, so
that he could only smile. And then it appeared to me as if he pointed
to the water first and then to the sky, with such an import that I
understood (as plainly as if he had pronounced it) that his body lay
under the one and his soul was soaring on high through the other; and,
being forbidden to speak, he spread his hands, as if entrusting me with
all that had belonged to him; and then he smiled once more, and faded
into the whiteness of the froth and foam.

And then I knew that I had been holding converse, face to face, with
Death; and icy fear shpok me, and I strove in vain to hide my eyes from
everything. And when I awoke in the morning there was a gray trunk of an
alder tree, just George Bowring's height and size, on the other side of
the water, so that I could have no doubt that himself had been there.

After a search of about three hours we found the body of my dear friend
in a deep black pool of the Aydyr--not the first hole below the place
in which he sat down to his luncheon, but nearly a hundred yards farther
down, where a bold cliff jutted out and bent the water scornfully. Our
quarrymen would not search this pool until the sunlight fell on it,
because it was a place of dread with a legend hovering over it. "The
Giant's Tombstone" was the name of the crag that overhung it; and the
story was that the giant Idris, when he grew worn out with age, chose
this rock out of many others near the top of the mountain, and laid it
under his arm and came down here to drink of the Aydyr. He drank the
Aydyr dry because he was feverish and flushed with age; and he set down
the crag in a hole he had scooped with the palms of his hands for more
water; and then he lay down on his back, and Death (who never could
reach to his knee when he stood) took advantage of his posture to drive
home the javelin. And thus he lay dead, with the crag for his headstone,
and the weight of his corpse sank a grave for itself in the channel of
the river, and the toes of his boots are still to be seen after less
than a mile of the valley.

Under this headstone of Idris lay the body of George Bowring, fair and
comely, with the clothes all perfect, and even the light cap still on
the head. And as we laid it upon the grass, reverently and carefully,
the face, although it could smile no more, still appeared to wear a
smile, as if the new world were its home, and death a mere trouble left
far behind. Even the eyes were open, and their expression was not of
fright or pain, but pleasant and bright, with a look of interest such as
a man pays to his food.

"Stand back, all of you!" I said sternly; "none shall examine him but
myself. Now all of you note what I find here."

I searched all his pockets, one after another; and tears came to my eyes
again as I counted not less than eleven of them, for I thought of the
fuss we used to make with the Shrewsbury tailor about them. There was
something in every pocket, but nothing of any importance at present,
except his purse and a letter from his wife, for which he had walked to
Dolgelly and back on the last entire day of his life.

"It is a hopeless mystery!" I exclaimed aloud, as the Welshmen gazed
with superstitious awe and doubt. "He is dead as if struck by lightning,
but there was no storm in the valley!"

"No, no, sure enough; no storm was there. But it is plain to see what
has killed him!" This was Evan Peters, the quarryman, and I glanced at
him very suspiciously. "Iss, sure, plain enough," said another; and then
they all broke into Welsh, with much gesticulation; and "e-ah, e-ah,"
and "otty, otty," and "hanool, hanool," were the sounds they made--at
least to an ignorant English ear.

"What do you mean, you fools?" I asked, being vexed at their offhand way
of settling things so far beyond them. "Can you pretend to say what it
was?"

"Indeed, then, and indeed, my gentleman, it is no use to talk no more.
It was the Caroline Morgan."

"Which is the nearest house?" I asked, for I saw that some of them were
already girding up their loins to fly, at the mere sound of that fearful
name; for the cholera morbus had scared the whole country; and if one
were to fly, all the rest would follow, as swiftly as mountain sheep
go. "Be quick to the nearest house, my friends, and we will send for the
doctor."

This was a lucky hit; for these Cambrians never believed in anyone's
death until he had "taken the doctor." And so, with much courage and
kindness, "to give the poor gentleman the last chance," they made a rude
litter, and, bearing the body upon sturdy shoulders, betook themselves
to a track which I had overlooked entirely. Some people have all their
wits about them as soon as they are called for, but with me it is mainly
otherwise. And this I had shown in two things already; the first of
which came to my mind the moment I pulled out my watch to see what the
time was. "Good Heavens!" it struck me, "where is George's watch? It was
not in any of his pockets; and I did not feel it in his fob."

In an instant I made them set down the bier; and, much as it grieved me
to do such a thing, I carefully sought for my dear friend's watch. No
watch, no seals, no ribbon, was there! "Go on," I said; and I fell behind
them, having much to think about. In this condition, I took little heed
of the distance, or of the ground itself; being even astonished when, at
last, we stopped; as if we were bound to go on forever.



CHAPTER VI.

We had stopped at the gate of an old farmhouse, built with massive
boulder stones, laid dry, and flushed in with mortar. As dreary a place
as was ever seen; at the head of a narrow mountain-gorge, with mountains
towering over it. There was no sign of life about it, except that a
gaunt hog trotted forth, and grunted at us, and showed his tusks, and
would perhaps have charged us, if we had not been so many. The house
looked just like a low church-tower, and might have been taken for one
at a distance if there had been any battlements. It seemed to be four or
five hundred years old, and perhaps belonged to some petty chief in the
days of Owen Glendower.

"Knock again, Thomas Edwards. Stop, let me knock," said one of our party
impatiently. "There, waddow, waddow, waddow!"

Suiting the action to the word, he thumped with a big stone heavily,
till a middle-aged woman, with rough black hair, looked out of a window
and screamed in Welsh to ask what this terrible noise was. To this they
made answer in the same language, pointing to their sad burden, and
asking permission to leave it for the doctor's inspection and the
inquest, if there was to be one. And I told them to add that I would
pay well--anything, whatever she might like to ask. But she screamed out
something that sounded like a curse, and closed the lattice violently.
Knowing that many superstitions lingered in these mountains--as, indeed,
they do elsewhere plentifully--I was not surprised at the woman's stern
refusal to admit us, especially at this time of pest; but I thought it
strange that her fierce black eyes avoided both me and the poor rude
litter on which the body of George lay, covered with some slate-workers'
aprons.

"She is not the mistress!" cried Evan Peters, in great excitement, as I
thought. "Ask where is Hopkin--Black Hopkin--where is he?"

At this suggestion a general outcry arose in Welsh for "Black Hopkin";
an outcry so loud and prolonged that the woman opened the window again
and screamed--as they told me afterward--"He is not at home, you noisy
fools; he is gone to Machynlleth. Not long would you dare to make this
noise if Hopkin ap Howel was at home."

But while she was speaking the wicket-door of the great arched gate was
thrown open, and a gun about six feet long and of very large bore was
presented at us. The quarrymen drew aside briskly, and I was about to
move somewhat hastily, when the great, swarthy man who was holding the
gun withdrew it, and lifted his hat to me, proudly and as an equal.

"You cannot enter this house," he said in very good English, and by no
means rudely. "I am sorry for it, but it cannot be. My little daughter
is very ill, the last of seven. You must go elsewhere."

With these words he bowed again to me, while his sad eyes seemed to
pierce my soul; and then he quietly closed the wicket and fastened it
with a heavy bolt, and I knew that we must indeed go further.

This was no easy thing to do; for our useless walk to "Crug y Dlwlith"
(the Dewless Hills), as this farm was called, had taken us further at
every step from the place we must strive for after all--the good little
Aber-Aydyr. The gallant quarrymen were now growing both weary and
uneasy; and in justice to them I must say that no temptation of money,
nor even any appeal to their sympathies, but only a challenge of their
patriotism held them to the sad duties owing from the living to the
dead. But knowing how proud all Welshmen are of the fame of their race
and country, happily I exclaimed at last, when fear was getting the
mastery, "What will be said of this in England, this low cowardice of
the Cymro?" Upon that they looked at one another and did their best
right gallantly.

Now, I need not go into any further sad details of this most sad time,
except to say that Dr. Jones, who came the next day from Dolgelly, made
a brief examination by order of the coroner. Of course, he had too much
sense to suppose that the case was one of cholera; but to my sur-prise
he pronounced that death was the result of "asphyxia, caused by too
long immersion in the water." And knowing nothing of George Bowring's
activity, vigour, and cultivated power in the water, perhaps he was not
to be blamed for dreaming that a little mountain stream could drown
him. I, on the other hand, felt as sure that my dear friend was foully
murdered as I did that I should meet him in heaven--if I lived well for
the rest of my life, which I resolved at once to do--and there have the
whole thing explained, and perhaps be permitted to glance at the man who
did it, as Lazarus did at Dives.

In spite of the doctor's evidence and the coroner's own persuasion, the
jury found that "George Bowring died of the Caroline Morgan"--which the
clerk corrected to cholera morbus--"brought on by wetting his feet and
eating too many fish of his own catching." And so you may see it
entered now in the records of the court of the coroners of the king for
Merioneth.

And now I was occupied with a trouble, which, after all, was more urgent
than the enquiry how it came to pass. When a man is dead, it must
be taken as a done thing, not to be undone; and, happily, all near
relatives are inclined to see it in that light. They are grieved, of
course, and they put on hatbands and give no dinner parties; and they
even think of their latter ends more than they might have desired to do.
But after a little while all comes round. Such things must be happening
always, and it seems so unchristian to repine; and if any money has been
left them, truly they must attend to it. On the other hand, if there has
been no money, they scarcely see why they should mourn for nothing; and,
as a duty, they begin to allow themselves to be roused up.

But when a wife becomes a widow, it is wholly different. No money can
ever make up to her the utter loss of the love-time and the
loneliness of the remaining years; the little turns, and thoughts, and
touches--wherever she goes and whatever she does--which at every corner
meet her with a deep, perpetual want. She tries to fetch her spirit up
and to think of her duties to all around--to her children, or to the
guests whom trouble forces upon her for business' sake, or even the
friends who call to comfort (though the call can fetch her none); but
all the while how deeply aches her sense that all these duties are as
different as a thing can be from her love-work to her husband!

What could I do? I had heard from George, but could not for my life
remember, the name of that old house in Berkshire where poor Mrs.
Bowring was on a visit to two of her aunts, as I said before. I
ventured to open her letter to her husband, found in his left-hand side
breastpocket, and, having dried it, endeavoured only to make out whence
she wrote; but there was nothing. Ladies scarcely ever date a letter
both with time and place, for they seem to think that everybody must
know it, because they do. So the best I could do was to write to poor
George's house in London, and beg that the letter might be forwarded at
once. It came, however, too late to hand. For, although the newspapers
of that time were respectably slow and steady, compared with the rush
they all make nowadays, they generally managed to outrun the post,
especially in the nutting season. They told me at Dolgelly, and they
confirmed it at Machynlleth, that nobody must desire to get his letters
at any particular time, in the months of September and October, when the
nuts were ripe. For the postmen never would come along until they had
filled their bags with nuts, for the pleasure of their families. And I
dare say they do the same thing now, but without being free to declare
it so.



CHAPTER VII.

The body of my dear friend was borne round the mountain slopes to
Dolgelly and buried there, with no relative near, nor any mourner except
myself; for his wife, or rather his widow, was taken with sudden illness
(as might be expected), and for weeks it was doubtful whether she would
stay behind to mourn for him. But youth and strength at last restored
her to dreary duties and worldly troubles.

Of the latter, a great part fell on me; and I did my best--though you
might not think so, after the fuss I made of my own--to intercept all
that I could, and quit myself manfully of the trust which George had
returned from the dead to enjoin. And, what with one thing and another,
and a sudden dearth of money which fell on me (when my cat-fund was all
spent, and my gold watch gone up a gargoyle), I had such a job to feed
the living that I never was able to follow up the dead.

The magistrates held some enquiry, of course, and I had to give my
evidence; but nothing came of it, except that the quarryman, Evan
Peters, clearly proved his innocence. Being a very clever fellow, and
dabbling a bit in geology, he had taken his hammer up the mountains, as
his practice was when he could spare the time, to seek for new veins of
slate, or lead, or even gold, which is said to be there. He was able to
show that he had been at Tal y Llyn at the time of day when George would
be having his luncheon; and the people who knew Evan Peters were much
more inclined to suspect me than him. But why should they suspect
anybody, when anyone but a fool could see "how plain it was of the
cholera?"

Twenty years slipped by (like a rope paid out on the seashore, "hand
over hand," chafing as it goes, but gone as soon as one looks after it),
and my hair was gray, and my fame was growing (slowly, as it appeared
to me, but as all my friends said "rapidly"; as if I could never have
earned it!) when the mystery of George Bowring's death was solved
without an effort.

I had been so taken up with the three dear children, and working for
them as hard as if they were my own (for the treasury of our British
empire was bankrupt to these little ones--"no provision had been made
for such a case," and so we had to make it)--I say that these children
had grown to me and I to them in such degree that they all of them
called me "Uncle!"

This is the most endearing word that one human being can use to another.
A fellow is certain to fight with his brothers and sisters, his father,
and perhaps even his mother. Tenfold thus with his wife; but whoever did
fight with his uncle? Of course I mean unless he was his heir. And the
tenderness of this relation has not escaped _vox populi_, that keen
discriminator.

Who is the most reliable, cordial, indispensable of mankind--especially
to artists--in every sense of the word the dearest? A pawnbroker; he is
our uncle.

Under my care, these three children grew to be splendid "members of
society." They used to come and kick over my easel with legs that were
quite Titanic; and I could not scold them when I thought of George.
Bob Bistre, the eldest, was my apprentice, and must become famous in
consequence; and when he was twenty-five years old, and money became
no object to me (through the purchase by a great art critic of the very
worst picture I ever painted; half of it, in fact, was Bob's!), I gave
the boy choice of our autumn trip to California, or the antipodes.

"I would rather go to North Wales, dear uncle," he answered, and then
dropped his eyes, as his father used when he had provoked me. That
settled the matter. He must have his way; though as for myself, I must
confess that I have begun, for a long time now, upon principle, to shun
melancholy.

The whole of the district is opened up so by those desperate railways
that we positively dined at the Cross-Pipes Hotel the very day after we
left Euston Square. Our landlady did not remember me, which was anything
but flattering. But she jumped at Bob as if she would have kissed him;
for he was the image of his father, whose handsome face had charmed her.



CHAPTER VIII.

The Aydyr was making as much noise as ever, for the summer had been a
wet one; and of course all the people of Aber-Aydyr had their ears wide
open. I showed Bob the bridge and the place of my vision, but did not
explain its meaning, lest my love for him should seem fiduciary; and
the next morning, at his most urgent request, we started afoot for that
dark, sad valley. It was a long walk, and I did not find that twenty
years had shortened it.

"Here we are at last," I said, "and the place looks the same as ever.
There is the grand old Pen y cada, with the white cloud rolling as
usual; to the left and right are the two other summits, the arms of
the chair of Idris; and over the shoulder of that crag you can catch a
glassy light in the air--that is the reflection of Tal y Llyn."

"Yes, yes!" he answered impatiently. "I know all that from your picture,
uncle. But show me the place where my father died."

"It lies immediately under our feet. You see that gray stone down in the
hollow, a few yards from the river brink. There he sat, as I have often
told you, twenty years ago this day. There he was taking his food, when
someone---- Well, well! God knows, but we never shall. My boy, I am
stiff in the knees; go on."

He went on alone, as I wished him to do, with exactly his father's
step, and glance, figure, face, and stature. Even his dress was of the
silver-gray which his father had been so fond of, and which the kind
young fellow chose to please his widowed mother. I could almost believe
(as a cloudy mantle stole in long folds over the highland, reproducing
the lights, and shades, and gloom of that mysterious day) that the
twenty years were all a dream, and that here was poor George Bowring
going to his murder and his watery grave.

My nerves are good and strong, I trow; and that much must have long been
evident. But I did not know what young Bob's might be, and therefore I
left him to himself. No man should be watched as he stands at the grave
of his wife or mother: neither should a young fellow who sits on the
spot where his father was murdered. Therefore, as soon as our Bob had
descended into the gray stone-pit, in which his dear father must have
breathed his last, I took good care to be out of sight, after observing
that he sat down exactly as his father must have sat, except that his
attitude, of course, was sad, and his face pale and reproachful. Then,
leaving the poor young fellow to his thoughts, I also sat down to
collect myself.

But before I had time to do more than wonder at the mysterious ways of
the world, or of Providence in guiding it; at the manner in which great
wrong lies hidden, and great woe falls unrecompensed; at the dark,
uncertain laws which cover (like an indiscriminate mountain cloud)
the good and the bad, the kind and the cruel, the murdered and the
murderer--a loud shriek rang through the rocky ravine, and up the dark
folds of the mountain.

I started with terror, and rushed forward, and heard myself called, and
saw young Bowring leap up, and stand erect and firm, although with a
gesture of horror. At his feet lay the body of a man struck dead, flung
on its back, with great hands spread on the eyes, and white hair over
them.

No need to ask what it meant. At last the justice of God was manifest.
The murderer lay, a rigid corpse, before the son of the murdered.

"Did you strike him?" I asked.

"Is it likely," said the youth, "that I would strike an aged man like
that? I assure you I never had such a fright in my life. This poor old
fellow came on me quite suddenly, from behind a rock, when all my mind
was full of my father; and his eyes met mine, and down he fell, as if I
had shot him through the heart!"

"You have done no less," I answered; and then I stooped over the corpse
(as I had stooped over the corpse of its victim), and the whole of my
strength was required to draw the great knotted hands from the eyes,
upon which they were cramped with a spasm not yet relaxed.

"It is Hopkin ap Howel!" I cried, as the great eyes, glaring with the
horror of death, stood forth. "Black Hopkin once, white Hopkin now!
Robert Bowring, you have slain the man who slew your father."

"You know that I never meant to do it," said Bob. "Surely, uncle, it was
his own fault!"

"How did he come? I see no way. He was not here when I showed you the
place, or else we must have seen him."

"He came round the corner of that rock, that stands in front of the
furze-bush."

Now that we had the clue, a little examination showed the track. Behind
the furze-bush, a natural tunnel of rock, not more than a few yards
long, led into a narrow gorge covered with brushwood, and winding into
the valley below the farmhouse of the Dewless Crags. Thither we hurried
to obtain assistance, and there the whole mystery was explained.

Black Hopkin (who stole behind George Bowring and stunned, or, perhaps,
slew him with one vile blow) has this and this only to say at the
Bar--that he did it through love of his daughter.

Gwenthlian, the last of seven, lay dying on the day when my friend and
myself came up the valley of the Aydyr. Her father, a man of enormous
power of will and passion, as well as muscle, rushed forth of the house
like a madman, when the doctor from Dolgelly told him that nothing more
remained except to await the good time of heaven. It was the same deadly
decline which had slain every one of his children at that same age, and
now must extinguish a long descended and slowly impoverished family.

"If I had but a gold watch I could save her!" he cried in his agony, as
he left the house. "Ever since the old gold watch was sold, they have
died--they have died! They are gone, one after one, the last of all my
children!"

In these lonely valleys lurks a strange old superstition that even Death
must listen to the voice of Time in gold; that, when the scanty numbered
moments of the sick are fleeting, a gold watch laid in the wasted palm,
and pointing the earthly hours, compels the scythe of Death to pause,
the timeless power to bow before the two great gods of the human
race--time and gold.

Poor George in the valley must have shown his watch. The despairing
father must have been struck with crafty madness at the sight. The
watch was placed in his daughter's palm; but Death had no regard for
it. Thenceforth Black Hopkin was a blasted man, racked with remorse and
heart-disease, sometimes raving, always roving, but finding no place
of repentance. And it must have been a happy stroke--if he had made
his peace above, which none of us can deal with--when the throb of his
long-worn heart stood still at the vision of his victim, and his soul
took flight to realms that have no gold and no chronometer.





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