GEORGE GILES was, on the whole, what used to be termed by the masters of convict servants, a very good man; but on several occasions he misbehaved, and as Captain Bellamy

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never looked over but one offence — namely, the first — he was several times punished; that is to say, flogged. For five years and some months he was with Captain Bellamy, and during that period was seen by the captain every day. Indeed, he was almost constantly in the captain's sight; for in addition to helping in the stables, he waited at table, cleaned the knives, plate, boots, and shoes, and brushed the captain's clothes. Captain Bellamy was not a married man; but he had two convict women assigned to him, to do the washing, keep the furniture clean, attend to the dairy, and cook. One day, Giles, while assisting these women to move a heavy sideboard, intimated that it was his intention to destroy himself shortly. The women laughed at Giles; but before the week was out Giles was absent at “quarters” to which all hands were shrilly “piped” by the boatswain-overseer, at daylight every morning.

“Where's Giles, Jackson?” asked Captain Bellamy of the overseer, when he missed Giles from his place in the avenue of convicts, through which the captain walked, looking into the face of every man present.

“I don't know, sir,” replied Jackson.

“Well, wind the call again: and if he doesn't tumble up, when you have told the men off, ascertain the reason of his absence. Perhaps he is sick.”

Here Jackson “winded” (blew) the call with such force that it might have been heard by any one (except those very deaf indeed) three miles distant, whilst to those within fifty yards it was literally ear-splitting. But Giles did not hear it; or if he did, he did not answer to it.

The overseer, having assigned to every man his day's work respectively, went to hunt up the missing Giles. He was not in his bed, nor had his bed been slept in; nor had Giles's clothes been taken away, except those articles of apparel which he wore when last seen. Everything that he owned was in his deal chest.

“Very strange!” said the captain, when these matters

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were reported to him. “Very strange! He cannot have turned bushranger?”

“Hardly that, sir. I don't think he was a man of that sort,” said the overseer.

Here one of the convict women who was sweeping the floor of the room, made bold to speak as follows:

“If you please, sir, he told us—me and Caroline—the other day, that he was going to commit sooercide.”

“Suicide!” said the captain; “why should he do that? He seemed very happy here. But whether he has committed suicide or has run away, I must, in the execution of my duty, report him to the authorities as having absconded. Where are his lines, Jackson?”

“Here, sir,” replied the overseer, taking from his pocket a greasy book.

“Read them out, and I'll write them down.”

Jackson dictated as follows—and the captain, in a very legible hand, transcribed his words on a sheet of foolscap:—

Name, George Giles. Ship, Phœnix. Height, 5 feet 9 7/8. Weight, on the first of last month, 10st. 21b. 2oz. Hair, chestnut. Eyes, dark blue. Nose, beaky. Teeth, regular and white. Complexion fair, but rather sunburnt. Marks, scar on ball of right thumb, resembling a half-moon; large black mole on left chest, the letters ‘L. N.’ pricked into the right arm, just above the elbow-joint, and over them a dolphin.

“Has he ever been in the Navy, Jackson?” said the captain, on hearing of the dolphin and the letters.

“Lord bless your honour! no, sir,” replied Jackson. “He does not know a marlinspike from a maintupbowlin. Had 'em done by some of the convicts coming out, I suspect, in token of some sweetheart as he left behind him, when he'd the herring-pond to come across, sir.”

The description of the missing convict was forwarded to Sydney, and ere long appeared in that portion of the Government “Gazette” which was devoted to the description of convicts who had absconded from their masters.

Ten years had elapsed, and nothing had been heard of Giles. Captain Bellamy had, after a while, begun to think

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that the man had committed suicide by throwing himself into the River Hawkesbury, which flowed through his estate; and, by degrees, had ceased to think any more about him. Mr. Binkie, the prosecutor of Giles, had departed this life; Mr. Martin also had paid the debt of nature; so had Sir John Nemberpage, if nature will accept as payment of her debt a life sacrificed in a duel, arising out of a disreputable quarrel over a card-table. What had become of Sir John's brother (Charles), whose person and character, to some small extent, have been described in these pages, no one knew. He had disappeared very mysteriously in the latter part of the year 1820, and in 1823 the title and the estates devolved upon Lucius, the youngest son of the late Sir Jasper Nemberpage. In 1824, this youngest son, who had been travelling abroad (with his brother Charles, it was said), returned to England, and claimed, and was at once invested with his rights. He became, of course, Sir Lucius Nemberpage, and went to reside at the family seat, Nemberpage Hall, in the county of Huntingdon; and shortly after succeeding to his title and estates, he married the only daughter and heiress of Sir Charles Limbersault, by whom, in the course of seven years, he became the father of four children, three boys and a girl. It was said, or rather rumoured, that in early life Sir Lucius had been very wild and very gay; but no one could now complain of him on that score. He was a good husband, a good father, and a good landlord; in short, in every respect and relation of life, Sir Lucius Nemberpage was an excellent and exemplary member of society. He was always the first man in the county to befriend the poor, relieve the oppressed, and comfort the sorrowful. His popularity was unbounded, and deservedly so. Lady Nemberpage, who, by hearsay, was really beautiful woman, was likewise greatly respected and beloved by all who had the good fortune to know her. The children also of Sir Lucius and Lady Nemberpage were objects of admiration and regard in the county; they were

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so handsome, so healthy, so well-behaved, and so prettily mannered, and yet so natural in all their sayings and doings. In fact, they were well-educated, but not over-educated, children.

In the year 1836, Captain Bellamy, R.N., of Bellamy Castle, New South Wales, revisited his native land. His object in coming to England was to induce the Government to appoint him governor of New Zealand, Swan River, Port Phillip, or some other settlement at the Antipodes. The old gentleman was an uncle of mine (I must now speak in the first person), my late father having married his only sister. My mother and myself at the time of my uncle's arrival were living on a little ancestral estate, or piece of land containing some sixty or seventy acres. My uncle had not corresponded with my mother for many years; but somehow or other, soon after he landed in England, he discovered her address, and wrote to inform her of his arrival. She invited him to spend as much of his time as possible with us; and he came, accompanied by his boatswain-overseer, Mr. Jackson, who acted as his valet, toady, and shadow, and whom my uncle would, I am perfectly satisfied, have recommended as his colonial secretary, had the Government fallen in with his views. I could not help liking my uncle, his features were so like those of my mother and of my grandfather, whose portrait occupied the place of honour in our snug but unpretentious dining-room. At the same time, I must confess that my uncle's manners and habits were extremely distasteful to me. The truth is, that he had lived so long in the wilds of Australia, cut off from the world, as it were, and moving only amongst, or rather soaring above, men whom, to use his own words “he fed well, clothed well, worked well, and flogged well,” that he had become utterly forgetful or regardless of most of the amenities of civilized society. For instance, he would sometimes take the charge of our small establishment entirely out of the hands of my mother and myself, and tell

  ― 65 ―
the man-servant who waited at table, that if he had him at Bellamy Castle he would give him seventy-five as “sure as he had a shirt to strip, or a back to bleed.” And for what? For some awkwardness, or other venial offence, of which very few people in this country would have taken any notice. To the women servants, if he were displeased with them, he would not unfrequently say, “If you belonged to me, I'd have all that hair of yours cut off in the Paramatta factory, where they don't use a comb and scissors, but a gridiron and sheep-shears.” He was, besides, so positive and so overbearing in his manners to myself, that if any one had guaranteed to me the possession at his death, of all the wealth which he was supposed to possess—and really did possess, on the condition that I would live in the same house for a year with him, I would not have been a party to the agreement. As for Mr. Jackson, I should have hated him, so much was he in the way, had it not been for his extraordinary devotion to his master, and a quaintness and sagacity which marked his every speech and action. Nevertheless, he must have been a man devoid of every moral principle, for he had not been a week at Penfield (the name of our little estate) before he had proposed marriage to every female in the establishment, and for aught I know to every female in the neighbourhood, albeit my uncle had more than once told me that Mr. Jackson had left behind him a wife and two children at Bellamy Castle! Happily for himself, perhaps, and, to my idea, happily for those to whom he paid his abrupt addresses, they were uniformly rejected.

It often occurred to me that my uncle, although he had for so many years been a settler, was under the impression that the whole world was a man-of-war, and that the particular part of it on which he happened to tread was the quarter-deck; and that Mr. Jackson also believed the earth to be a man-of-war, and that he was the boatswain of her.

My poor mother, who was one of the gentlest of beings,

  ― 66 ―
was afraid of my uncle, whom she had not seen since the days of her childhood. Indeed, she could hardly remember him; for he was not more than twelve years of age when he was sent to sea, and she was several years younger than he was. During the whole period of his naval career, he had never set foot on English soil. He had either been in South America, or on the African station, or cruising about New Zealand and Bass's Straits, taking bearings and chart-making. The last vessel that he commanded was a small sloop-of-war with a roving commission.

Mr. Jackson, whose constant theme of conversation was “his excellency the captain,” informed me that he was “an awfully smart man on board of ship—with the eye of a hawk, but terrible strict, and always acting up to that one motter (motto), ‘Feed well, work well, and (if required) flog well.’.”

In consequence of my mother's dread of him, I used to keep my uncle as much away from the house as possible, by taking him for a drive, or a ride, or a walk. I could not prevail upon him to visit any of the gentry in our neighbourhood, for he said he was “not wishful to make any acquaintances in England.” He had “simply come home for a certain purpose, and, that accomplished, he was off again to the south.” One fine morning in the spring, I asked him to accompany me to Newmarket to witness a match of pigeon-shooting. He expressed his readiness, and we set out for the scene of action.

There was a great gathering in the field, which lay at the back of the Rutland Arms, for the match was between two of the most renowned shots in the county, if not in the kingdom. From all parts had gentlemen and others come to witness the contest—from Cambridge, from Bury, from Lynn, from Ely, from Royston, and very many from London. I should say that there were not less than four or five thousand persons on the ground, and amongst them were many individuals of high rank.

  ― 67 ―
When the match was about half over, my uncle seized me suddenly by the wrist, held me in iron grip, looked steadfastly into my eyes, and in a deep, sonorous, but subdued voice, exclaimed—


I could not comprehend him, and asked, with a smile, what he meant.

“William,” he whispered, mysteriously, “there is Giles overthere! I see him, and I'll have him!” And releasing his hold of my wrist, he made his bony fingers and thumb the shape of an eagle's claw.

“Whom?” I inquired; “have whom? Who's your friend? where is he? what has he done?”

“I wish Jackson had come with us.”


“He would soon seize and muzzle him. As it is, I shall have to do it myself, if a constable cannot be found.”

“Do, my dear uncle, be more explicit.”

“You see that man over there.”

“I see a great many; but which man?”

“That man dressed in a suit of blue cloth, with a white hat.”

“Yes; and I know him.”

“Do you? what is his name?”

“Sir Lucius Nemberpage.”

“Sir Lucius fiddlestick! It is Giles—George Giles!”

“I assure you, you are mistaken, uncle. But who may Giles be?”

“My assigned servant, who ran away from me, and who was never heard of afterwards.”

Here I laughed.

“You may laugh,” said my uncle, “but it will not he a laughing matter for that man. He will be hanged as sure as he is alive. That is the penalty, you know, for returning from transportation.”

  ― 68 ―
“Let me repeat, my dear uncle, that you are labouring under a mistake.”

“A mistake, sir? Do you mean to tell me that I, who have served on board of ships of war in every grade, from midshipman up to commander—I, who have so vast a memory for persons and things, that I can call up, at any moment, the faces of a whole ship's company, including even the boys and the marines—do you mean to tell me that I cannot identify a man who, for five years, was a servant of mine; who attended to my horses, waited at my table, cleaned my boots, and brushed my clothes? What do you mean, sir?”

“Be not so angry and excited, uncle; and remember we are in a crowd, and not alone. You shall see Sir Lucius at a closer view presently, and then I am satisfied you will acknowledge your error. If you will allow me, I will introduce you to Sir Lucius, as soon as the match is over.”

“Introduce me! Introduce me to my own servant! Egad, I'll introduce myself!” and again he made his right hand into the shape of an eagle's claw.

“I implore you not to commit yourself to any unseemly conduct, nor place me in a painfully unpleasant position. If you were to molest or insult Sir Lucius on this ground, the people here assembled would have you seized and conveyed to prison; indeed, the chances are that you would be beaten to death.”

“Bah! that's Giles! The more I look at him the more am I convinced. Why, he's bowing in this direction!”

“Yes, and I have returned his bow. Pray be quiet; for I can see that he is coming to speak to me as soon as an opportunity presents itself. Shall I introduce you, or shall I not?”

“Very well, you may.”

Sure enough, as soon as an opportunity presented itself, Sir Lucius did approach, shook hands with me, and inquired after the health of my mother, of which I gave a true report.

  ― 69 ―
I then inquired after the health of Lady Nemberpage, and the children, and was rejoiced to hear they were “quite well.” These compliments over, I said—“Will you allow me, Sir Lucius to introduce my uncle, Captain Bellamy, of the Royal Navy?”

The old gentleman, who up to that moment had been unnoticed by Sir Lucius, took off his hat, and made a very profound bow. He then drew himself up to his full height (six feet), and remained uncovered. I could not help observing that Sir Lucius became very pale and agitated, albeit he strove hard to maintain his wonted composure.

“Are you living in this part of the world, Captain Bellamy?” asked Sir Lucius, confusedly.

“No, Sir Lucius,” was the reply; “my home is in Botany Bay, and I am only a visitor in Europe. My lodgings are in the neighbourhood of St. Giles's.”

“Indeed!” said Sir Lucius, whose face now became crimson-coloured.

“Yes,” said my uncle, taking from his pocket his old silver snuff-box, from which he took a pinch, and then held it forth to the baronet. “You take snuff, Sir Lucius?”

The baronet declined, with many thanks.

“But you were addicted to the vice of taking it formerly, were you not, Sir Lucius?”

“Occasionally I used to take a pinch.”

“I thought so. Yes!” and here my uncle thrust his hands into his trousers-pockets, and shrugged up his shoulders so high that any one, standing behind him at that moment, would have supposed that he had no neck whatever.

Uncomfortable as Sir Lucius appeared in the presence of my uncle, and anxious as he seemed to get away, yet he lingered near us and with us. He was a man who doubts either his liberty to move, or the prudence of absenting himself, lest he should be talked of to his prejudice. This struck me as so very strange that I hardly knew what to

  ― 70 ―
think of the statements made by my uncle. I involuntarily shuddered from head to foot, and hoped in my heart that there was no real foundation for those statements.

The sporting match over, the crowd had dispersed. But Sir Lucius, my uncle, and myself remained in the field. Why, I knew not. A servant, a groom of Sir Lucius', came up, touched his hat, and was about to speak, when Sir Lucius waved him off, saying, “By-and-by; by-and-by. Go home and say I am coming.”

After an extremely awkward silence, my uncle exclaimed —“Well, it is time to move,” and stepped out in the direction of the hotel. Sir Lucius and myself followed, or rather walked on either side of him.

“Will you take luncheon at the hotel?” I inquired of my uncle.

“Yes,” he answered, snappishly.

“Well, I will run on ahead, and order it.”

“Ah! not a bad idea. Run away, my boy. Run away! Run away! Run away!” And then, turning to Sir Lucius, he said —“And you may run with him, if you like, sir.”

“Thank you, sir,” replied Sir Lucius, not impudently, but respectfully and gratefully—more in the tone of a school-boy who has obtained permission to go fishing, or play at cricket.

After luncheon had been ordered at the hotel, Sir Lucius Nemberpage, trembling from head to foot, laid his hand upon my shoulder, and in a broken voice hurriedly said, —“Will you be my friend? May I give you my confidence?”

“I would do anything in the world for you, Sir Lucius,” I replied.

“Protect me from your uncle! Let him not speak of me. My heart tells me that he has already been communicative to you. Is it not so?”

I made no reply.

“Protect me from your uncle! You have given me a promise that you will be my friend, and I am certain that

  ― 71 ―
you will do all in your power; but it will not be an easy matter, for he is a hard, strict, unbending, and—forgive me for saying so—a very vindictive old man. I know him alas! too well. I know him!”

“But you have never done him any wrong, Sir Lucius?”

“Ah, my dear sir, if you only knew my history, you would pity me from the very bottom of your heart. But hush! Here comes the old gentleman. That is his foot-step on the stairs— measured, soft, but audible.”

Another moment, and my uncle entered the room. There was at once a dead silence. The waiter ere long came in, bearing on a tray hissing-hot beefsteaks, and a dish of mealy potatoes.

“I have no appetite for food,” said my uncle, pacing the room; “and I would advise you, William, not to spoil yours for your dinner. It will afford me, however, very great pleasure,” he added, sarcastically, “to stand behind Sir Lucius's chair, and, as I am not a proud man, to wait upon him.”

Sir Lucius buried his face in his hands, and groaned heavily.

“I was mistaken, sir, was I?” said my uncle, turning to me. “I should have been beaten by the mob, and have been carried off to prison, if I had claimed my own property in that field—or, rather, the King's property—for when he left the island to which he was sent for his life, he escheated to the Crown. I was wrong, was I?— wrong about a man whose lines are still in my possession, whose lines would at once establish his identity, even if there could be any doubt about my recognition of his person? But how the deuce he has become Sir Lucius Nemberpage is to me the most mysterious part of the affair. It must have been by some diabolical false representation, which justice demands should be brought to light—justice to some rightful heir to the property and the title of which he has possessed himself. The name of this man is George

  ― 72 ―
Giles, and he has upon his right arm the letters “L. N,”with a dolphin over them, and so pricked in were they, that the devil himself could not get rid of them without cutting off the flesh.”

“It is perfectly true that I have upon my right arm the initials of my name, and over them the crest of my family,” said Sir Lucius, looking up, meekly, at my uncle. “These initials are the initials of Lucius Nemberpage.”

“Worn upon the arm of George Giles! I will swear to you as George Giles in any court of justice; and so will Jackson, as soon as he sees you.” Then turning to me, my uncle said—“William, I wish to go home.”

He was about to leave the room, but Sir Lucius sprang from his chair, rushed to the door, locked it, and put the key in his pocket.

“Villain! Convict villain!” cried my uncle; “dare you make your own master a prisoner in a public-house?” And with these words he rushed towards the bell-rope; but I intercepted him, and laying my hands upon him with just the force that was required, I begged him to be quiet for a few minutes.

Thwarted in his purpose, whatever it might have been, my uncle's rage knew no bounds. Unable to leave the room, or ring the bell, he stamped, swore, and shouted at the top of his voice—“Fire! murder! thieves!” and then fell senseless on the floor.

The hotel servants, with the landlord at their head, came flocking to the door, which Sir Lucius, in great trepidation, opened, and then requested that surgical assistance might be instantly procured. After a few minutes a doctor came; and on looking at my uncle, informed us that he was dying. He had ruptured, in his rage, a large blood-vessel, and the fluid was issuing copiously from his mouth and nostrils. We removed the old gentleman to a bed in an adjoining apartment, and there, at nine o'clock, he breathed his last.

  ― 73 ―
My mother was much too nervous, and in health far too delicate, to admit of having my uncle's body removed to our home; and arrangements were accordingly made that the corpse should be taken from the hotel to its last resting-place—the family vault of the Nemberpage family, Sir Lucius having begged, with tears in his eyes, that I would consent to this, after making me promise him that I would never mention the facts in my possession, so long as he or his wife and children were in existence. Sir Lucius could not attend the funeral; for Mr. Jackson, whom the baronet was very anxious to avoid, claimed a right to be one of my uncle's pall-bearers—and it was a right which no one could reasonably dispute, considering the premises upon which the claim was based. Mr. Jackson alleged that he “had been with the late captain for upwards of forty-four years, and during that time had never been out of his sight for more than a few hours together; that he had attended, and had been faithful, unto him, in sickness and in health; and whether he (Captain Bellamy) had gone up above or down below, he (John Jackson) hoped that, when he died, he should go to the same place, where he would never fail to salute him respectfully as a smart officer, a good man, and a perfect gentleman in every sense of the word.”

A few days after my uncle's funeral, and when Jackson had gone to London, en route to Sydney, I received a note from Sir Lucius Nemberpage, in these words:—

Dear ——, Come and see me. Lady N. and the children have gone to Ackridge House, to spend the day. You will find me all alone, in the library. Yours ever, L. N.

I ordered my horse, and in less than half an hour was at Nemberpage Hall. Sir Lucius looked jaded, ill, and half distracted.

“You have heard only half of a secret,” he began, “which has been, and is still, preying on my very soul. It is but fair to you, and to myself especially, that you should know

  ― 74 ―
the whole of the secret; and here, in the most solemn manner, I call the Almighty to witness the truth of what I am about to relate. I was tried, convicted, found guilty, and sentenced to be transported for the term of my natural life, and became the convict-servant of your uncle, the late Captain Bellamy.”

“For what offence, Sir Lucius?”

“No criminal offence. No offence whatever. But the offence which was ‘proved’ against me was that of a highway robbery. But hear me out. You are aware, as is everybody in the county, that my father had three sons, the late Sir John, my brother Charles, and myself. John was four years old when I was born, and Charley two years. We were all wild when we grew towards manhood; and gave my father a great deal of anxiety and trouble. No wonder that he thrashed us so unmercifully when we were boys—and struck us even when we were young men— although I think a milder course of treatment might have been more effectual; and I think it would have been more to our advantage had he taken some pains with our education, instead of not caring, or seeming not to care, whether we learned anything or not. And then he kept us very short of money; even John was stinted frightfully. But, wild as we all then were, John and I were not, by many degrees, so wild as Charley. He was, indeed, something more than wild. It pains me to say so; —but he was a perfect demon. Heaven only knows what crimes he may or may not have to answer for in another world. John and myself were both frightened of Charles, and yet we loved him. He was such a strange admixture of gentleness and ferocity. In the days to which I now refer, our family did not live in this county, but on a small estate in Oxfordshire. This estate on which I now live was rented to a nobleman. My father being a member of parliament for a borough in the neighbourhood, was frequently absent for weeks together in London, and my mother on all

  ― 75 ―
occasions accompanied him. Left alone in the house, we three young men placed no sort of restraint upon our passions and inclinations: we gambled, we drank, and, I am shocked to add, we kept very low company. At this time John was five-and-twenty, Charles twenty-three, and I just of age. Such a den as was that part of the large house which we young men inhabited it would be difficult to describe to you. Suddenly, my brother Charles was never in want of money. He had not only sufficient for his own wants, but his purse was always open to John and myself, when we were destitute of that valuable commodity. There was another young gentleman, the eldest son of a wealthy but penurious squire in the neighbourhood, who also became, suddenly, what is vulgarly called ‘flush of money.’ Charles and the young squire were very great friends; and often, when they produced their well-filled purses, would John and I remark:—‘Why, you must have been upon the highway,’ little thinking of the old proverb, ‘There's many a true word spoke in jest.’ We led this kind of life for more than two years, when Charles became indisposed; and the doctors recommended that he should have change of air and scene. He begged of me to accompany him, and I most willingly assented. We left home for London, and thence journeyed in a post-chaise to Bath. On the road thither, Charles (wherefore I knew not) suggested that we should travel under false names. I was to be Mr. George Giles, of Eagle Lodge, Devonshire— and he Mr. Francis Preston, of Honiton, in the same county. I was, morever, appointed the treasurer during the excursion, and had charge of the general purse. After staying at Bath for a few days, we went into Cornwall, where we remained a fortnight with a relation of ours, and then returned to our home. Some two years afterwards I was seized in Piccadilly.” (The reader knows what followed.)

“But why, Sir Lucius,” I asked, “did you not, when apprehended, give your own name?”

  ― 76 ―
“Because that might not have cleared me of the imputation; and, besides, I was afraid of endangering the safety of Charles, who confessed to me afterwards, in New South Wales, that it was he who robbed Mr. Binkie on the highway, and what is more, he showed me the silver coin of the reign of Charles I., about which the old banker was so very anxious.”

“In New South Wales, Sir Lucius? How came your brother Charles there? Was he also transported?”

“Oh dear, no. I had been some four years in Australia before I made Charles acquainted with my fate. My father and mother, thank heaven, never knew what it had been for they died shortly after I left England. And, if I may believe, as I think I may, what Charles told me, my brother John, also, was ignorant of my fate. The moment Charles received my letter he took a passage in a ship to Sydney, contrived to have several interviews with me, and with him I made my escape from the colony in a vessel bound for Calcutta; thence we came to Havre in a French vessel. It was then that we heard of my brother John's untimely death; and it was there, and not in Rome, as rumour has it, that my brother Charles died and was buried.”

“But, Sir Lucius,” said I, “you have told me that you were identified—I mean falsely identified—by that mark on the ball of your right thumb. Had your brother Charles that mark?”

“Yes. And I will tell you how both of us came to have it. My mother, who was as kind and as gentle a being as your own mother, was, nevertheless, a very weak and superstitious woman, and was one day told by a gipsy-woman, who came into the yard, that we boys, Charley and myself—our ages were then, respectively, six and four years, and we were sickly—would never thrive, or be fortunate in life, unless we were branded. And the hag was permitted to perform the operation with a silver instrument, which she carried with her for the purpose. It was applied when nearly red-hot, and left this cursed mark upon me.”

  ― 77 ―
“And something was said about a mark upon your arm—some letters.”

“Yes, they are my initials. See?” (Sir Lucius bared his right arm.) “And this is our crest. When children, my father was afraid that one or other of us might be stolen by the gipsies, who in those days, and especially in Oxfordshire, often carried off the children of rich people; and so he caused us all to be thus marked— disfigured. John had ‘J. N.,’ Charley ‘C. N.,’and I ‘L. N.,’ with the dolphin above. It was done with Indian ink, gunpowder, and some fine needles, and I can just remember roaring loudly during the operation. And now, I would put one question to you, which I hope you will answer candidly and from your heart. Do you doubt the truth of any of the statements I have made to you in respect to my unfortunate self?”

“No, Sir Lucius,” I replied. “I believe them all most implicitly.”

“Then I would ask you a great favour.”

“What is it?”

“Will you correspond with me when we have gone abroad?”

“Yes; but I hope you will not leave this part of the oountry.”

“I feel,” said Sir Lucius, “that I have no right to remain in England, whence I was banished—whether wrongly or rightly it matters not. If I dared, I would settle in Australia; but that is out of the question. There I should be a prisoner of the Crown, or ignominiously hanged, if it were known that I had left the colony. As it is, I and all my family will embark next month for America, where I shall retain the name of my ancestors, but fling away the title.”

And Sir Lucius Nemberpage and Lady Nemberpage and their children did embark for America; but they never arrived there. The vessel in which they had taken their passage foundered; and save one seaman, who was saved to tell the tale, all on board perished in the ocean!