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Treasure Of The Three Kings

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[Copyright] "Ilold on a bit, doctor. I want to say som' thing - wait a bit - there, now I'm easier- did yoa say l was - dyingi" "Well, yes, Baybridge; you might as well know it, [ suppose. You won't pull through chis time, my poor fellow. Í hare warned you bef ora." "Never mind all that, doctor; ff Pm bound to die what's the use of preaching'f But fv got something - ugh - there it is again - Pve got something to ask for." "Well, Baybridge, anything in reason, bnt you must be quick." "üh, It ain't unreasonable, I reckon. J want to see my sou." "What, No. 85?" "Yes, doctor. He works in the foundry gaug, and I being in the brush shop havent got to see him for two or three years now. Just after he come in this time it was that th warden let us hare a patter. l haven't geen himsince." "Well, Baybridge, your wisb is natural, and does you credit. I will speak to the warden, and I daré say he will let No. 85 come up here and have au interview - at noon perhaps." "Will I last till then, doctor?" asked th hoary old convict, turning nis eyes anxiously upon the face of the physician, who stooped to examine them narrowly, feit the pulse, toucbed the clammy forehead, and answered geutly: 'Yes, you'll hold out untü sunsefc, I thlnk, my man." "AU right, doctor. You'U see about Nickr "Yes. Keep very still, and go to sleep If you can. Save yourself up, you know." "Yes, doctor," and old Stephen Baybridgs, the incendiary, the burglar, the would be assassin, turued his gray head upon the pillow of his prison bed and composed himself for the last sleep bef ore the final one. Twelve o'clock, midday, clashed out from the prison clock, and the convicts gathered from the various workshops were marshaled in the courtyard and marched in past ths kitchen grating, where each man received his liberal mess of wholesome food, and so to their cells for an hour of rest and refreshment. "No. 35, the warden allows you to visit No. 104 in the hospital ward. Be ready in ten minutes," said the officer in charge, as a tall, stout fellow, who might have been good looking but for his close cropped hair and the hideous prison dress, filed by him. No. 35 replied by a military salute, took his dinner and turned down the corridor to the right. In ten minutes the turakey who carne to release hiiii found his tin basin empty. "Blessed if they don't anap up their victuals like dogs," muttered he, nodding to 35, who followed him without a word. Stephen Baybridge had not slept, and aa his breathing grew more difflcult, the attendant had bolstered his grizzly head high upon the pillows, and now stood fanning him; but aa his son carne down the ward and stopped beside the bedside Stephen motioned the nurse away. "There, that'll da I want to be all alón with my boy here for awhile. How are you, Nick?" "Well enough, father, but you don't look to be. What's up?" "I'm up för - somewheres. The parson Bays maybe I'U do well enough, but that aint what 1 wanted of you. Nick, have yon heard from the oíd woman since I saw you three year ago?" "Yes. Sho's gone under." "Dead?" "Yes. A fellow come in and says, says he, 'Warn't Susan Baybridge your motheri And I says, 'Yes.' 'Well,' eays he, 'sha was run over by an ingine I was driving, and I was dronk, so they sent me up here for fiv year.'" "Oíd vroman's dead, Sally's dead, Tom' gone no one knows where," muttered the dying man, and then flxiiig his eyes upon his son's face, said aloud: "Nick, you're all Vy got leí t of allth folks I ever had." "Yes, father, I suppose I am," replied th young man, with a sort oí patiënt indiSarence of manner. "Well, Nick, yon aint the sort of boy yon'd onght to be, but like as not that's more my fault than yours. You didn't get much of bringing up." "I was brought up In the streets mostly, except when 1 got a turn at the Reform OP House of Crection," replied Nick, coldly. "Yes, I know it. Well, it's too late now, and I ain't the one to preach what X never praeticed," said Baybridge, uneasily, and then fixing a glance of anxious scrutiny apon his son, be asked: . "Saying you got rlch, Nick, would yon quit them ways that brought you here?" "Of course 1 would. What's the usa of taking another man's money if you've got enough of your own? I'd be as steady as a clockif I couldafford it and was out of her.'' 'How long are you in forP1 "Fifteen year. Three is out now," replied Nick, sullenly. "Twelve year to run If you can't get pardoned out. How old are you, NickP' "Rising 80, 1 reckon." "Forty-two. Well, that ain't old, and maybe you'd be steadier af ter you vat out. Nick, I've got a secret to teil you." "About money?" asked the young man, hls face at last lighting with real interest. "About a fortune, Nick, a fortune fit for king," replied the father, Impressively. "Well, let's hear it;tell away, old mant the time is short, anyway." "My time is short, or I'd keep the secret to myself ," gasped Stephen. "But seeing IV got to go, I thought - well, well, the loog and short of it is, I've had a pal ever since I carne here twelve years ago, a fellow that worked next to me in the shop, aud walked nezt me in the gang, and sat nest me in chape], so of course we talked, rule or no rule, and i found out all about trim. He'd been a Catholic priest, and he was took up for forgery, and got twenty years in thia place. So much 1 knew all aloug, bul about a year ago he took bad, and was put in the hospital here. 1 have a way when I get tired of work oí making myself sick swallowing sorae of the stuif in the shop, and so I got sick tben, and came to the hospital, too, and was iu the bed next my paL He had a fever and went off with it, but the last niglit he'd to live he was mighty uueasy, and at last, hen the nurse was asleep, he told me that lie would leave me a secret worth more iuoney tban he dared to name. Then he went on to say that the very night before he was arrested he was called to coníess a Spanisli sailor, dying in a hospital of wound got in some drunken spree, and - stop now- the priest bad got it written down, and continued to keep it all the time he'd been there, stowed away with sonle relies he wore round bis neck, and he just gave me relies and all, aad l've worn them in the same way eversince. Harkl ïhere's the nurse coming to say time's up. Take the little bag and slingit round your neck, quickl Though If they find it they won't meddle with it, b cause it's your religión, you know." "Oome, 35, your time is up," ald tb offleer, approucuing witb Ou uurso. "Good-by, Nick. Slaybe weTl see each Othert'otherside of Jordán; anyhow, remember, boy, that you said if you got pardoijed out, or even if you stay your time out, that you'll lead a different liio. Kemember that, Nick. Nick leaned over the bed and took hls f ather's cold band in his, while upon his dark face camo a shadow of genuiue emotiou. "I remeraber, father, and I promise you that if í'm able to do as you' ve been advising, Til turn over a new leaf and be aa honest man." "That's lt, Nick; that's the talk; now good-by, my boy; good-by, ladl" "Good-by, father, and good luck to you," and Nick turned away with more human feeling working in his brea8t than he had known in many a wicked year. At sunset Stephen Baybridge died, A few days later his son Nick, better known to the prison authorities as No. 35 of the foundry gang, contrived, whils filling the mold for a casting, to pour a quantity of the molten metal over his lef t arm and hand, burning himself severely and putting all possibility of work for several weeks out of the question. He was at once removed to the hospital ward, and the same physician who had closed the father's eyes was avunmoned to attend the son. "A bad burn, Baybridge. You will be laid up a week, at least. Your father used to make himself sick on purpose, and did it once too of ten. We can't suspect you of the same trick, though, with such a burn os thia to show." "It ain't likely," groaned 85, writhing In agony as the doctor dressed his wounds. Ten days later the burns had so f ar healed that 35 was informed he would be retumed to his cell the next morning. The news took him a little by surprise, as he had calculated upon a louger couvalescenee, but he was prepared. A f oundryman with sand molds and molten iron at his command finds little trouble in manufacturing a key, and a bettter one, too, than those f ormed of knife blades, eandlesticks, the metal frame of pictures, or s dozen other unlikely materials, by whioh prison doors have been unlocked and miraoulous escapes eftected. The story of Bruce's spider loses all its marvel as one reads our prison reporta. Besides the key, 35 had possessed himself of a short, stout bar of iron, which be wore bound upon his back when he was brought to the hospital, and had since secreted beneath his mattresa. Thls he carried in his right hand as he effected his escape, and had any obstacle presented itself in human shape, the gleam of „S5's dark eyes, and the feline readiness of every motion, suggested the course events might take and the consequences likely to ensue. But by good or ill fortune, as one view the question from the side of conviot or keeper, no one was -in the way of the well planned and adroitly exeouted escape, and in the darkest hour of a black autumnal night Kick Baybridge reached the summit oí th wall dividing him trom the world. A temporary staging left by the masoni who were repairing the stoue work helped him tosurmount it, but no such aid was tobe expected upon the other side, nor had 85 been able to próvido himself with a rope, even f there hui been any means of fastening it. "Here's for luckl" muttered Nick in lien of a prayer; and lowering himself from the coping by his hands he hang for a moment and then dropped upon a heap of broken iron castings full of harp edges and jagged points. "I'm done for," muttered Nick, grimly suppressing u groan of anguish as the sentry above his head paced slowly along the wall, and paused to listen for the sequel of the voice he had heard. "I wont die here; I wont give them that comfort. I'll get to the water and drop over. As good one way as another." So muttering between bis clenched teeth, the man, brave as any brute, gathered hi poor broken and bloeding body together and trailed it inch by inch along the pavement, leaving a dismal track behind him, toward the turbid tide rolling not 800 f eet from the spot where he had dropped. But the anguish and the exertion were too great, and half way he fainted, and lay there, his face upon the earth, half naked and wounded to the death - a horrible sight. An hour went by, and brought the dawn. Before the dawn had grown to daylight a young girl come tripping along the silent street and paused at the beginning of the bridge. "Just 5. It's time for fatber now," sald she, listening for the sound of wheels. Then, as nothing was to be heard, she began to look about her, noticing the odd effects of familiar objects in the half light, and so carne upon the prostrate figure of the dying felon in hia prison dress. The dress, the hoor, the mangled form, grouped themselves suggestively in the girl'i quick brain, and her second glance wag toward the prison walls rising gloomy and forbidding close behind her. No unusual tir was apparent, and Louisa Wylie, snatching the gray plaid from her own shoulders, threw it over the figure at her f eet, murmurIng defiantly: "They havent missed him yet, and they áhan't get him again if I can help it. Poor creature!" Just then the rumble of wheels passing from the paved street to the wooden bridge was heard in the distance, and at the same moment poor 35 stirred in his swoon and moaned drearily. Both wero sounds of promise, and Louisa hastened to lay the wounded man's head in an easier position, and then stood up looking eagerly down the bridge. A eovered country wagon, drawn by a comf ortable plow horse, was slowly approaching. Louisa could not wait, and ran to meet it. Two men were upon the seat, one a white haired patriarch, the other a good looking youug gentleman, who, at sight of the girl, uttered an exelamation of great surprise, and made a movement as if to ■pring to the gvound. The old man draw tb reins, exclaiming also in astonishment: "Why, Looi how carne you here?" "I knew you would drive over the bridge on your way into the city with the market stuff, and 1 wanted to seo you about somsthing that wouldn't wait, and so I carne out to meet yon, tut, her ; but what I want now U that you sbould take upethia man and- and tido hún somewhare." HWnat man? Hld himP helplessly myetkttU tUb old iitrmer, tUriug buut iiuo U bewilderment, vhtio the younger man prang to the ground. "What is it, Miss Louisaf Let me help rou," said he, going close to the girl, who, xiinting back at thí prostrate figure, said, esolutely: "I suppose he has escaped from the state prison, but he is terribly hurt, and perhaps iying. They shall not get him if I can help ;t, and I want father to put him in the wagon and carry him right home. I'll go, too." "Sho, Lonizy, I ghant do any such thlng. What, lose all my marketing for the sake of helping a gallo ws bird to escape! I'd be well set to work doing that, shouldn't II" exclaimed the old man, indignantly, and hia daughter replied: "Indeed you would be, father. No matter what he has done, he is wounded, suffering, dying before our eyes Would you carry him back to the very prison he has killed himself in trying to escape? Oh, father, would you, could you be so cruel and unfeeling?" "Well, but you see, Louizy, heain'tnothln' to us, and Tve got all my green stuff in the back of the wagon" "Ask me, and I will help you, Lonlsa," iaid a low voice at her elbow, and Louisa, turning, fixed her indignant, honest eyos upon the face of the young man as she repUed: "Well, John Merton, I do ask you to help me, and I offer you my best thanks in advance for doing so." "I think, Mr. Wylie, we might make room at the back of the wagon for the poor f ellow, and if you don't mind going three or four miles out of the way I will take the risk of carrying him to my mother's house, sinca Miss Louisa is so resolved upon rescuiug him. And any loss that you rnay experienco in your marketing" The rest of the sentence was spoken softly In the ear of the old farmer, who, nodding twice or thrice in reply, stiffly distnounted from his driving seat, and, going round to the back of the wagon, began to unbutton the curtain and move round the various boxes and baskets stowed behind it Meantime the two young people had approaehed and bent over the convict, now conscious of his sufferings and his danger, and watching their motions with the keen, anxious eye of a trapped animal who sees his captors approaching. "You are dreadfully hurt, aren't yon!" asked Louisa, faltering for the flrst time as ehe saw the pool of blood oozing from beneath the crushed figure. "Yes. Are you going to carry me back?" "Wou't you be better taken care of thera than anywhere else? Do you mind very much where you go?" asked John Merton, restraining the girl by a warning look. "Mind? Of course I do. I'd rather die here. Hide me away somewhere, and I'll pay you handsome," gasped poor 35, clutching with his one hand at the secret upon his breast. At this proposition Merton smiled contemptuously, Louisa reproachfully. "We do not wout to be paid," said Bhe. "Even if you could pay us," added he. No. 85 smiled dubiously at both speakers, but made no reply. Then, with Farmer Wylie's help, and even some assiatance from Louisa, Merton got his charge into the ■wagon, and, with hls foot upon the step, turnedtosay: "Mr. Wylie, you had better go home with Miss Louisa to her rooms, and I wül cali there for you as soon as I can. It may ba best for you not to have more to do in this business thaii aan be helped." "I reckon so; and make the best of it, Vm a loser by the hurt my stuff will take jolting siz miles extra, letting alone getting in late for the market," grumbled "the old man, but bis daughter checked him. "Oh, father, when a man's life and mortal agony are in question, can we care for a little more or less trouble and lossi" "Well, I'll go home with you, Louizy, and, John, you come as quick as you can." And Mr. Wylie, taking nis daughter's arm, plodded along in the direction of her lodglngs, while John Merton drove rapidly yet carefully away in the opposite direetion. "And what was you coming to meet me on the bridge for, Louizyf Ain't you doing well at your work F "Oh, yes, father. I have more photographs to color than I can do, and my business with you was about just that. Mr. Waters is going to Havana next Thursday to take photographs of places and people, and he wants me to go, too. He says no one else does the work as well, and he will pay me handsomely, besides my expenses. But I must decide today, as he will have to look for ■ome one else if I cannot go." "Then he's bound to go, emj way!" "Oh, yes, and he wül take some one to paint his photographs." "Then it might as well be you as any one, for if you stop to home you'll lose his work," aid the farmer, shrewdly; and Louisa anwered, with New England self conüdence and self respect: "There's no trouble about that, father. I shall always get as much work as I can do, I think. "5ut you cant go alone with tms man," guggested the f atber, suddenly. "Oh, no; lira. Waters is going, of course." "Well, I don't see but what you might as well go, then, Louizy," said Farmer Wyüe; and so was decided an important step in the matter of the secret conflded by the Spanish tailor to bis confessor, by the confessor to Stephen Baybridge, and by him to his soa Nick, or No. 35. An hour later John Merton called at Miss Wylie's lodgings, and after surrendering the horse and wagon to their impatient owner he inf ormed her that their wretcued charge had arrived at the cottage, terribly shaken and exhausted, both by his hurts and by tbe drive, and that although bis mother had willingly accepted the charge he had put upon her, he feit that ifc was too arduous a one, and should, after a brief visit to the city, go home for the rest of the day. Also he informed her that the dying man - for such he considered the convict- had expressed a very ardent desire to see the "young woman who spoke so pleasant" to him in his ftrst conscious moments, and to whom he had something of the greatest importance to reveal. "Some message for his frlends, I suppose," said Louisa, thoughtfully. "I can hardly leave home today, for I must begin to get ready for my journey ;" and then. she told her plan to the young man, who listened attentively, and replied: "All the more reason you should go homo with me today, to bid my mother good-by; and I, too, have something important to say to you, Louisa, before you go. I went out to the farm yesf erday on purpose to speak to your father and mother, and intended when I rode in tuis morning with Mr. Wyüe, to ask you to go out to my mother's today. Wül you come V' "I could uot go merely for pleasure, John, but I will go to see this poor dying man," said Louisa, coloringsDarlet, but meeting tha young man's meaning glance fully and fearlessly. "Then I will cali for you at 10 o'clook, shall Ii" "Yes, if you please." But at 10 o'clock as they passed through the city streets to the horse cars every waU confronted them witb placards aunouncing the eseape of Nicholas Baybridge from the ■tato prUou, dtscribing his persuu and dress, and offering a large reward for his apprehension. "You must not tftll until lio is dead, John," said Louisa, anxiously. "He cannot live many days, and they should be spent in peaee." "They shnll not be disturbad, Louisa," said tho young man, and resolved tokeep hls wori ot any sacrifice, but none was needed, for, like many other very transparent secrete, tbetrwe story of JS o. 3.Vs escape was never knon-n, and the authonties wisely deeided to identify him with the body of a man found floating in the doek next day, as poor Nick had fully intended himelf to be found. Arrivod at tbe cottage, Louisa, after a brief conversation with Mrs. Merton, asked to be allowed to see the sick man. "It's a shocking sight for you, dear," said tender h?arted Mrs. Merton. "But he has done nothing but ask for you siuce John went away. He's sinking fast, poor fellow, and the doctor says- 1 would send for old Dr. Spear, though the man declared ho wouldn't have any one - the doctor says he never will see sunrise again." "Poor man! And such a horrible death. Let us go to him at once, Mrs. Merton, if I can say or do anything to comfort him," said Louisa, pale, but very resolute, nor did she shrink or falter when, standing beside the bed, she looked for the flrst time full at the disfigured face and head, the maimed and broken arms and heaving chest of the injured man. "You were asking for me, they said. Can I do anything for you?" inquired .she. The conviet opened his heavy, blood shotten eyes, and looked earnestly up into her face. "It' come round curióos, that you should be the one to get it, aiter all," saicí he. "Get wliatf' asked Louisa, gently. "What I'ra going to give you. Theold woman would have a doctor; I didn't want one because I thought he'd blow on rae, and I ain't a-going back to the prison anyway. But the doctor said he wouldn't get round so as to report me before night, and by that time I'd be out of danger." "Out of danger of arrest?" "Out of danger of anything that we know about. The old man spoke solemn to me the other da y when he lay as I lay now, but I didn't feel it then. You don't till it comes your own turn. He went off at sundown, the parson said. May be I shall, too. But, Lord, what a lark it is for me to be laying here in this clean white bed, with posy pots, and pictures, and easy chairs, and curtainsall about me. I never slept in sucha room in ray life, and to think of only getting in here to die. Now, that's just my luck, just my cinfounded luck." "I wouldn't talk in that way now," said the young girl, with a sort of kindly severity "Whynnt? Yon ain't one of the overly pious folks t.liat . think a poor fellowis going straight to the bad if he says a strong word or so, are yon r asked 35, in a tone of some disgust, but added, impatiently: "Well, it don't matter. I've got to go, and I can't take it with me, and yon was good to me, and made that fellow help me, and you're the first decent woman I ever had a chance of doiüg a good turn to, or even speaking to. More than all, you're good lookiug first rate." Ho roller! his languid eyes upon her face with a look of critfral admiration. Louisa ïnetitas unlilushingly as a bird upon a tree might have done. "What are you talking about?" asked she. "Well- about- this." And as he spoke, the conviot, with movements whose agony betrayed itself upon his writhing features, drew from his bosom a little leathern ary in the shape of a heart. It was fastened about his neck by a thong, also of leather, hardeued and blackened by muoh wear almost to tbe texture of iron. "Cut the line and ripopen the bag. There's afortune i ïiside and it's yours. I give it to you, because you was good to me, O Lord! O Lord! I ean't stand tuis. I'm going now, snre." A terrible access of pain cut off all further speech, and Louisa hastily summoned assistance, but no assistance could now avail. Poor 35 lingered a few hours, at flrst in torture, then in the fatal ease that precedes death from internat injuries. During thia interval he called Loiüsa to his side and feebly asked: "Well, what was in it?' "The little case? I have not opened it." "Open it now- send the rest of the folks away," whispered No. 35; and Louisa, requesting Mrs. Merton and John to leave her alne with the patiënt for a few moments, brought the reliquary and a scissors to the bedside. "Shall I cut it open?" asked she. "Yes, and quick, too." Without reply Louisa ran the scissors about the edge of the little case and opened it upon her hand. "A lock of bair, a scrap of cloth, a bit of evergreen, I should say - and a folded paper covered with writing," enumerated she, turnin over the contents. "The paper- read it out aloud- the other stuff is the priest's nonsense- read!" gasped 35, abnost at the last uow. With a hasty glance at his cadaverous face Louisa obeyed. The paper was very fine and thin, and tbo writing very faint, so that it ■was with difflculty she deciphered and read out these words: "Antonio García, being in extremis, confessed to me that he, with others, caused the wreek of the B'razilian treasure ship, the Three Kings of Cologne, upon tlie eastern end of a small island or key, known as Los Demonis, within fifty miles of the island of Cuba, the Three Kings being bound for Havana. Gareia and f our others secured the princely araount of the treasure, mostly in diamonds and other jewels, with soms bullion, confined the rest of the crew and officers under hatches, seized one of the ship's boats, and escaped, leaving the vessel in a sinking condition. A f ter mueh danger and delay they landed at a point forty-seven miles east of the town of San Juan dñ lns RmfHínc neath a tall cliff called, in the language of the country, II Cavallo Blanco, or the White Horse. Here, being in much doubt as to their treatment by the natives, and of the time when they should escape from among them, they agreed to hide their treasure in a grotto or cavern half way up the cliff, and not to be seen either from its base or its crest, but mai-ked by a deep erevice in the face of tbe rock pointing like a finger from the summit downward, the said cavern being discovered by García himself while searching for birds' eggs to assuage the extreme hunger of himself and his comrades. And the boxes of treasure are hidden under a large stone, like a bench, across the end of the cave. But the cave can only be reached by stepping from a beat at high tide to a projecting rock, and then scaling the face of the cliff. And said García bequeaths this entire treasure to the use and benefit of the Holy Church, he being the heir of his comrades, who imfortunately died within a few days atter concealing the treasure, and before leaving the island of Cuba." Here abniptly ended the memorandum of the priest, evidoutly a mere abstract, taken down just after hearing the confession of the dying man, and designed to fis the information given by him beyond the chance of iorgetfnlness or mistake. "Aud do you suppose it is still there, aiul do you mean to give It to me?" asked Louisa, as slie finished reading and raisecl her eyes to the face of her attentive listeber. That face was alrearty awful with the impress of death; the eyes that met hers had fixed in a giassy stare of admiration. too horrible for even the well srrung nerves of the New England girL She uttered a low cry, and fled trom the roo, convulsively grasping the scrap of crumpld paper, which had becorae her warrant of princely fortune. A week later Ixmisa Wylie sailed with Mr. an.-l Mr?. Waters for Havana. Zn the same steamer, but not in tho sani? party, sailed John Merton, tho junior paitner of a flourishing legal na in Boston. He went, as he took occasion to state, upon professional business, and, in so stating, told the exact truth, his employer being Miss Wylie, and his business the iuvestigation of Antonio Gareia's story and the discovery of the owners, or rather the heirs of the owners, of the 6hip Three Kings of Cologne. Arrived in Havana, Mr. Waters went soberly to work at the business which had taken him there, and Miss Wylie devoted herself to his assistance as steadily and as conscientiously as she had ever done in her life. Mr. Merton meantime busied himself with his own affairs, and at the end of teu days carne to report progress to his employer. "I find," said he, "that the ship Three Kings of Cologne was actually owned here in Havana, fifty years ago, by a wealthy firm styled Ramirez Bros. The ship was wrecked, and the treasure she contained Bolutely lost, it is supposed. The sole survivor of the family of Ramírez is a young man, wealthy, handsoma and uumarried, who neither needs uor misses the fortune of which Antonio García robbed his grandfather." "What wil] you do next?' "Have you not been tosee Ramírez?" asked Louisa, iu sonie surprise. "No, certainly uot, until I knovr your desire." " Why, you knew i( beforehand." "But the ciroumstanees are different from what we imagined possible. This property, f indeed it existe at all, is fairly yours, all other claim being outlawed long ago and L: r - . r .1 ... Big. namirez, as 1 said, neituer needs nor tnisses tli is" "John, what are you falkiog about? Has ten days amoug these deoeitful and intriguing people chánged your honest and upright heart to" For the firsfc time since he knew her the clear, round voice fallered, aud the brave eyes filled up with tears, half of sorrow, half of shame. John flushed scarlet, and left the room without a word. An hour later he retumed, aceompanied by a auperbly banclsome aud courtly gentleman. "Miss Wylie, this is Sig. Ramírez, to whom l have given only a hint of thestrange story you have to relate to him," said the lawyer. "I am very glad to see you, sir, and hope that I have good news for you," began Louisa, and then, clearly and briefly, and without oue word of sentiment one suggestion of anjr other course possible for her to pursue, she rej)eated the story of Nick Baybridge's esxape from prison, his constitutIng her his heir, the priest's abstract of Antonio Garcia's confssion, and finally sha ended by plaeing the paper in the hand of the young Spaniard, who had sat listeniug to her with his great melancholy eyes open to their f ullest extent, and his face lighted with the most active emotion it had ever expi-essed. "And you have come to Habana to restore this property to'me, its so doubtful owner or heir?" asked he, at length. "No; I carne upon my own business, but I, of coui-se, determined to see you and teil you about the hidden treasure. This gentleman, Mr. Mei-ton, a lawyer by profession, cameon pui-pose to see to it," said Louisa, indifferently. "My tttanks, and something more, shall be laid at the feet of the Sig. Mei-ton," said the hidalgo, with rather a patronizing bow to the lawyer. "But," added he in another tone, as his eyes traveled back to the young gü-l's handsome face, "but you, signora - I have no word of thauks for you." "I assure you, sir, I do not wish for or peet any. ihe snip was yourg or your grandfather's, and when I bappened to hear what had become of the treasure, it was no great trouble to let you know, espeeially as I was here. I hope you will find the diamonds, etc, all safe." "Thanks, signora," replied the Spaniard, bis eyes fixed in unabated astonishmentupon the fair northern face, painfully reddening beDeath his gaze, until, rising, Louisa said: "Now I will beg you to excuse me, as I have work to do bef ore sunset," aud left the room. "Work ! The lady works?" asked Ramírez, turning with a puzzled glance toMerton,who hastened to explain. "Ah! what shame for her to work. And all this money iu her hands, if sho hadclosed them upon it!" exclaimed the Spanjard; and, after a moment's thought, he approached the young American, and, laying a finger confidentially upon bis arm, asked: "She is not marriedi"' "No." "Or affianced?" "No," said John Mertou, closing his teeth flrmly upon the monosyllable. Sig. Ramírez nodded twice or thrice, and then asked some shrewd questions about the business in hand; nor was Miss Wylie agam anuden to between the two men. Another week went by, and Mr. Waters having nearly finished the business that had brought bim to Havana, was talking of the return voyage, wheu Sig. Jacinto Ramírez sent to beg a private interview with Miss Wylie. It was conceded at once, and Lom' sa learned, mucb to her gratification, that th information had indeed proved worth a fortune to the heir of oíd Ruy Ramírez and hit brother Jago, ownei-s of the Three Kings of Cologne; tor the precious freight of that unfortunate vessel had been so securely hidden by the mutineers as to remain undiscovered until the moment when Don Ramírez himself, aided by two trusted slaves, removed the large stone like a bench across the end of the cave beneath which it lay concealed. "The treasure is vast, signora," added the Spaniard, fixing his dark eyes upon those of the woman who had brought this fortune to him with such unconscious and disdainful honesty. "But yet not enough. Signora, I valu this fair hand (ar above all tb ïuagtüflcent gifts you hare nestowed upon me. Will you add il to them?" 'Sir- why, did not you know" "Wbat, signora?'' "Wel!, nothing vet; but if I ever marry sir, it will be but one man." 'And thnt man, signora?" "You shoiilil notasksueh a qwsíion, Mr. Ramírez, lt is not you . " "That is enoiigh, signora." "No, but you should not be offended, sir, althongh 1 know my manner is somewhat rude and bluilt. That is my birthright. ai courtesy is fours. Forgjveme if 1 have hurt you. signor." Sbe carne close to him. put both her bands ir his, and raised her ciear, bright eyes to meet his astonished gaze. "How diíferent you are from iny countrywomen. Oh, signora, be graeious, and think, at least, upon my offr of hand, and aeart, and lite. You do not know me yet." "But, sir, I told you that I love soma one else, and never shall dream of marrying any man but that one," said Louisa, with decisión. "And he- does he-?' stammered Ramírez. "Does he love me?" suzcested Louisa blushing rosy red. "I think so- I hope so." "It is the notary," muttered Ramírez. "Good-by, signor. I hope you will be very happy, and fiud a very good and true woman to be your wife," said Louisa, again offering her hand. "Siguora, 1 wish uo wife but you," replied the Spaniard, raising the hand to bis lips. And so they parted, uot to meet again. That evening John Merton offered üimself to Louisa Wylie, and was acoepted. '■I would not ask until after Don Ramírez, for he had far morO to offer than I shall ever have," said the happy lover at last. "Had he John Merton to offer?" asked Louisa, with a smile. They did not meet again, but on her wedding day, Louisa Wylie received from Don Jacinto Ramírez the gift of a wouderful parure of diamonds, and the deed of gift of $100,000, '-a surn very poorly representing ! due share of a certain properry lost to I the family of Ramírez but for her exertions." So ran the doed, but Louisa, in accepting it, wrote with her own hand to Sig. Don Ramírez that it was only as a free gift, and not in the least as restitution, that she could ccept it, and tlmnk hini for it mosthpartilv "Men have died, and worais have eaten them, but not for love," and tlie signor was married last week toa chai-miiig New England giiï whom he met at Newport. Let us him happiness as great as that of our friends John and Leraisa Merton, for we aan suggest no question.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News