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money will not even give me a decent funeral. dison 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, or 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 it! 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 that 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 will 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, or 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."
Here was an idea, indeed, and one that Augusta jumped at. But in another moment her enthusiasm received a check. Where was there any linen to write on?
"Yes," she said, "if you can find some linen. You
have got on a flannel shirt, so have the two sailors, and little Dick is dressed in flannel, too."
It was a fact. As it happened, not one of the party had a scrap of linen on them, or anything that would answer the purpose. Indeed, they had only one pocket-handkerchief between them, and it was a red rag full of holes. Augusta had had one, but it had blown overboard when they were in the boat. What would they not have given for that pocket-handkerchief now! "Yes," said Mr. Meeson, "it seems we have none. I haven't even got a bank-note, or I might have written in blood upon that; though I have got a hundred sovereigns in gold-I grabbed them up before I bolted from the cabin. But I say-excuse me, Miss Smithers, but-um-ah-oh! hang modesty, haven't you got some linen on, somewhere or other, that you could spare a bit of? You sha'n't lose by giving it to me. There, I promise that I will tear up the agreement if ever I get out of this-which I sha'n't—which I sha’n't -and I will write on the linen that it is to be torn up. Yes, and that you are to have five thousand pounds legacy too, Miss Smithers. Surely you can spare me a little bit--just off the skirt, or somewhere, you know, Miss Smithers? It never will be missed, and it is so very important."
Augusta blushed, and no wonder. "I am sorry to say I have nothing of the sort about me, Mr. Meeson -nothing except flannel," she said. "I got up in the middle of the night before the collision, and there was no light in the cabin, and I put on whatever came first,
meaning to go back and dress afterwards when it got light."
"Stays?" said Mr. Meeson, desperately. "Forgive me for mentioning them, but surely you put on your stays? One could write on them, you know."
"I am very sorry, Mr. Meeson," she answered, “but I did not put any on."
"Not a cuff or a collar?" he said, catching at a last straw of hope.
Augusta shook her head sadly.
"Then there is an end of it!" groaned Mr. Meeson. "Eustace must lose the money. Poor lad! poor lad! I have behaved very badly to him."
Augusta stood still, racking her brain for some expedient, for she was determined that Eustace Meeson should not lose the chance of that colossal fortune if she could help it. It was but a poor chance at the best, for Mr. Meeson might not be dying, after all. And if he did die, it was probable that his fate would be their fate also, and no record would remain of them or of Mr. Meeson's testamentary wishes. As things looked at present, there was every prospect of their all perishing miserably on that desolate shore.
Just then the sailor Bill, who had been up to the flagstaff on the rock on the chance of catching sight of some passing vessel, came walking past. His flannel shirt-sleeves were rolled up to the elbows of his brawny arms, and as he stopped to speak to Augusta she noticed something that made her start and gave her an idea.
"There ain't nothing to be seen," said the man, roughly; "and it's my belief that there won't be neither. Here we are, and here we stops till we dies and rots."
"Oh, I hope not," said Augusta. "By the way, Mr.
will you let me look at the tattoo on your arm?" Certainly, miss," said Bill, with alacrity, holding his great arm within an inch of her nose. It was covered with various tattoos-flags, ships, and what not—in the middle of which, written in small letters along the side of the forearm, was the sailor's name-Bill Jones. "Who did it, Mr. Bill?" asked Augusta.
"Who did it? Why, I did it myself. A chap made me a bet that I could not tattoo my own name on my own arm, so I showed him; and a poor sort of hand I should have been at tattooing if I could not.”
Augusta said no more till Bill had gone on, then she spoke.
"Now, Mr. Meeson," do you see how you can make your will?" she said, quietly.
"See? No," he answered, "I don't."
66 Well, I do: you can tattoo it—or, rather, get the sailor to tattoo it. It need not be very long."
"Tattoo it! What on, and what with?" he asked, astonished.
"You can have it tattooed on the back of the other sailor, Johnnie, if he will allow you; and as for material, you have some revolver cartridges; if the gunpowder is mixed with water, it would do, I should think."