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the worse.

She took him outside the hut and washed his face and hands in the stream, and then sat down to a breakfast of biscuit. As she returned she met the two sailors, who, although they were now fairly sober, bore upon their faces the marks of a fearful debauch. Evidently they had been drinking heavily. She drew herself up and looked at them, and they slunk past her in silence.

Then she returned to the hut. Mr. Meeson was sitting up when she entered, and the bright light from the open door fell full upon his face. His appearance fairly shocked her. The heavy cheeks had fallen in, there were great purple rings round the hollow eyes, and his whole aspect was that of a man in the last stage of illness.

"I have had such a night!" he said. "Oh, Heaven! such a night! I don't believe that I shall live through another."

"Nonsense!" said Augusta, "eat some biscuit and you will feel better."

He took a piece of the biscuit which she gave him, and attempted to swallow it, but could not.

"It is of no use," he said; "I am a dying man. Sitting in those wet clothes in the boat has finished me."

And Augusta, looking at his face, could not but believe him.



AFTER breakfast-that is, after Augusta had eaten some biscuit and a wing that remained from the chickens she had managed to cook upon the previous day-Bill and Johnnie, the two sailors, set to work, at her suggestion, to fix up a long fragment of drift-wood on a point of rock, and to bind on to it a flag that they happened to find in the locker of the boat. There was not much chance of its being seen by anybody in that mist-laden atmosphere, even if anybody came there to see it, of which there was still less chance; still they did it as a sort of duty. By the time this task was finished it was midday, and, for a wonder, there was little wind, and the sun shone brightly. On returning to the huts Augusta got the blankets out to dry, and set the two sailors to roast some of the eggs they had found on the previous day. This they did willingly enough, for they were now quite sober, and very much. ashamed of themselves. Then, after giving Dick some more biscuit and four roasted eggs, which he took to wonderfully, she went to Mr. Meeson, who was lying groaning in the hut, and persuaded him to come and sit out in the warmth.

By this time the wretched man's condition was pitiable, for, though his strength was still whole in him, he was persuaded that he was going to die, and could touch nothing but some rum-and-water.

"Miss Smithers," he said, as he sat shivering upon the rocks, "I am going to die in this horrible place, and I am not fit to die! To think of me," he went on with a sudden burst of his old fire, "to think of my dying like a starved dog in the cold, when I have two millions of money waiting to be spent there in England! And I would give them all-yes, every farthing of them-to find myself safe at home again! By Jove! I would change places with any poor devil of a writer in the Hutches! Yes, I would turn author on twenty pounds a month!—that will give you some idea of my condition, Miss Smithers! To think that I should ever live to say that I would care to be a beggarly author, who could not make a thousand a year if he wrote till his fingers fell off!-oh! oh!" and he fairly sobbed at the horror and degradation of the thought.

Augusta looked at the poor wretch, and then bethought her of the proud creature she had known, raging terribly through the obsequious ranks of clerks, and carrying desolation to the Hutches and the manyheaded Editorial Department. She looked and was filled with reflections on the mutability of human affairs.

Alas! how changed that Meeson!

"Yes," he went on, recovering himself a little, "I

am going to die in this horrible place, and all my money will not even give me a decent funeral. Addison and Roscoe will get it-confound them!-as though they had not got enough already. It makes me mad when I think of those Addison girls spending my money, and bribing peers to marry them with it, or something of that sort. I disinherited my own nephew, Eustace, and kicked him out to sink or swim; and now I can't undo it, and I would give anything to alter that! We quarrelled about you, Miss Smithers, because I would not give you any more money for that book of yours. I wish I had given it to you-anything you wanted. I didn't treat you well; but, Miss Smithers, a bargain is a bargain. It would never have done to give way, on principle. You must understand that, Miss Smithers. Don't revenge yourself on me about it, now that I am helpless, because, you see, it was a matter of principle."

"I am not in the habit of revenging myself, Mr. Meeson," answered Augusta, with dignity; "but I think that you have done a very wicked thing to disinherit your nephew in this fashion, and I don't wonder that you feel uncomfortable about it."

The expression of this vigorous opinion served to disturb Mr. Meeson's conscience all the more, and he burst out into laments and regrets.


"Well," said Augusta at last, "if you don't like your you had better alter it. There are enough of us

here to witness a will, and, if anything happens to you, it will override the other-will it not?"

This was a new idea, and the dying man jumped at it.

"Of course, of course," he said; "I never thought of that before. I will do it at once, and cut Addison and Roscoe out altogether. Eustace shall have every farthing. I never thought of that before. Come, give me your hand; I'll get up and see about it."

"Stop a minute," said Augusta. "How are you going to write a will without pen or pencil, paper or ink?"

Mr. Meeson sank back with a groan. This difficulty had not occurred to him.

"Are you sure nobody has got a pencil and a bit of paper?" he asked. "It would do, so long as the writing remained legible."

"I don't think so," said Augusta, "but I will inquire." Accordingly she went and asked Bill and Johnnie: but neither of them had a pencil or a single scrap of paper, and she returned sadly to communicate the news.

"I have got it, I have got it," said Mr. Meeson, as she approached the spot where he lay upon the rock. "If there is no paper or pen, we must write it in blood upon some linen. We can make a pen from the feathers of a bird. I read somewhere in a book of somebody who did that. It will do as well as anything else."

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