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Grif: A Story of Colonial Life

Chapter X. The “Welsher's” Story

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Chapter X. The “Welsher's” Story.

Far and wide, through the length and breadth of Victoria, over its borders into New South Wales, and over the seas to neighboring Colonies, floated marvellous stories of the New Rush. Ears burned, eyes glistened, and fingers tingled at the news. Men, separated from the spot by hundreds of miles of land, by thousands of miles of ocean, made frantic arrangements to fly thither incontinently. The hearts of those in Great Britain who contemplated emigration beat faster at the news by the Overland Mail; and the tongues of the Celestials who meant to move from China to Victoria chattered and wagged at a fearful rate when rumors of the big nuggets reached them. Merchants grew exultant as they thought of shipments on the road, and reckoned up the profits beforehand. Servants threw up their situations; family men broke up their homes; and tradesmen wound up their businesses at any sacrifice. Cherished ambitions, life-dreams approaching to fruition, ties of affection and friendship, calm, peaceful ways of living, were all forgotten and forsaken in the fever of gold-greed.

The Colony itself was in a ferment, and night and day the roads to the locality of the New Rush were thronged with eager pedestrians. Scraps of news about prospecting claims, picked up, heaven only knew how, flew from mouth to mouth. They lost nothing in the page 132 transmission; for pennyweights were magnified to ounces, ounces to pounds. Troops of sturdy diggers, their heavy swags upon their backs, and their tin billies and pannikins buckled to their waists, marched on bravely and cheerfully, and felt not fatigue. Truly have such men been called the bone and sinew of the Colony. For thorough manliness, for sturdy courage, for indomitable perseverance, they are scarcely to be paralleled in the world's history. Strings of shambling Chinamen, with their pigtails and sallow faces, dressed in half-barbaric and half-modern costume, and bearing on their shoulders poles, upon which were slung their boots, picks, shovels, and cradles, were also there, toiling patiently along to the El Dorado, and receiving with good humor the badinage of the Saxon and the Celt. They did not travel as swiftly as the Europeans; but, like the tortoise, they were slow and sure, and were not unlikely to win the race. Drays creaked and groaned beneath the weight of bags of flour and cases of spirits, sent off to the New Rush by watchful speculators. Many were the perils the goods encountered, on sidlings, and in gullies and creeks; and many were the accidents, most of them, however serious, having some ludicrous features. Here might be seen a wagon, piled up with diggers' swags, chiefly Chinamen's, a few of the owners being perched on the top, while the remainder trudged patiently along in the dust. There, a troupe of Nigger serenaders, with bones and banjos, their faces already blackened for the amusement of the wandering hordes. Here, a couple of drays, in which were packed cases of type and printing press for page 133 the starting of a newspaper in the bush! There, a travelling theatre, consisting of a huge tent with all the paraphernalia of scenery and dresses: the leading tragedian (descended to dull earth), played the part of driver for the nonce, entertaining his cattle with morsels of morality from Hamlet or Macbeth; while the low comedy man, his face woefully begrimed with dust, tramped sturdily along, bearing upon his shoulders the infant prodigy of the company. Day after day the roads were thronged with workers from all parts of the colony, and when night came, trees were cut down and fired, horses and oxen were turned loose, water was fetched from adjacent creeks, tea was prepared, and pipes were lighted, and tents and mi-mis hastily thrown up, beneath which the nomades rested their weary limbs, hopefully and cheerfully. It was a pretty sight to see the fires glancing out along the miles of dusky bush, and it was pleasant to feel the sense of rest which had fallen upon the busy plains. The tinkling bells attached to the necks of hobbled horses sounded musically on the air, and from silver-toned flutinas, in the hands of rough-bearded men, sounded Home, sweet Home, and many other airs as touching, the strains of which lingered lovingly about the trees, whose dark forms were glanced with light from a clear and brilliant moon.

Amongst those who were attracted to the promised land by the news of the wonderful discoveries was Richard Handfield. He had picked up as a mate an old digger, whose Herculean frame appeared fit to bear any amount of fatigue—a man known as the Welsher, simply because he was a Welshman. He was a simple page 134 kind-hearted creature, always ready to do a good turn, and not always able to avoid being imposed upon. He was fond of nursing children, and drawing water, and chopping wood, to lighten the labors of the women who were fortunate enough to be living in his neighborhood. He was a lucky digger, and he scattered his gold about freely. He had been in the Colonies since his youth, and for a great portion of his time he had been a bullock-driver. One might have thought that this would have been sufficient to make him cruel and hard-hearted; but the contrary was the case. He swore at his bullocks like other bullock-drivers, but he did not lash them. Even when he swore at them, the poor oxen seemed to know that he was not unkindly; and if such a feeling as gratitude be inherent in bullock nature, it must surely have been evoked in the Welsher's oxen, for he regarded with pity a sore shoulder or a wound, and would apply such simple remedies as he was acquainted with to ease the pain. And yet, gentle as he was by nature, loved as he was by all his acquaintances, there was a stain upon him which could never, in this world, be wiped out. He had been convicted of some offence in the home country, and had been sentenced to life transportation. He did not often refer to this portion of his career, although when the subject had arisen, he had solemnly and consistently protested his innocence. He never travelled without his concertina, from which he extracted the most exquisite music. But his greatest treasure was an old Welsh Bible, which had been his mother's, and no night passed without his reading a chapter from it. He was fond of his glass, was the page 135 Welsher, and sometimes he took more than was good for him. On such occasions, he would retire to some secluded spot, and, bareheaded, preach to the hills in red-hot Welsh. It was a thing to remember was the sight of this gaunt, strong man flinging his arms wildly about in his enthusiasm, while the impassioned gutturals rolled fast and furious from his throat. Those who knew him never interfered with him when he was in such ecstasies; he was perfectly harmless, and on the succeeding morning was always up with the sun, ready for work.

Richard Handfield was fortunate in picking up the Welsher for a mate; for Richard was an idle fellow, while the Welsher buckled to his work with overwilling zeal. When their day's walking was done, and a suitable place had been found to camp in, it was the Welsher who felled the tree, and the Welsher who fetched the water from the creek, and the Welsher whose ready hands extemporised a sleeping-place; while all that Richard did was to gather a few dry branches and to make the tea. Even this he did unwillingly and grumblingly, and he repined at what he thought his hard lot. He had never been used to work, and, although he and the Welsher had walked but twenty-five miles that day, his feet were blistered, and he was very sore and weary. The Welsher, whose limbs were hardened by constant exposure and years of toil, felt as fresh as when he started in the morning, and could have walked another twenty-five miles with ease. But, anxious as he was to arrive quickly at the new diggings, he did not grumble at the short day's journey, and, when tea was over, he sat down, pipe in mouth, with perfect contentedness.

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“I always thought gold would be found in that quarter.” said the Welsher. “I passed over the flat six years ago, and I almost fancied I could see the gold at the bottom.”

“I should have tried it,” said Richard.

“I was bringing a load of wool down to Melbourne at the time, and I was single-handed. Besides, it's a thousand chances to one if I had hit upon a lead. A rich gold-field gets scratched over a hundred times before it's found out. No gold-field ever is any good, or ever proves itself very rich, until a big rush sets into it.”

The conversation not being continued, the Welsher took his concertina from his swag, and played some simple melodies. Attracted by the sounds, a party of diggers, camping not many yards away, strolled towards the spot, and stood about the Welsher in easy attitudes, listening to his music. At the conclusion of a little piece of delicious extemporising, one of the party asked the Welsher to play “Shades of Evening,” which he did very sweetly; and then the same man said, “Play ‘Alice Gray,’ mate.” It was an especially favorite air with the Welsher, and he played it with much feeling. As the last note died softly away, the diggers strolled back to their camping-place.

“I wish I was like you, Welsher,” said Richard.

“Like me!” the Welsher exclaimed, in simple surprise.

“Yes; you haven't a care. No wife, no children, no ambition. Give you your pipe and your concertina, and you are happy and contented.”

The Welsher sighed, and said, “And you?”

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“I am the most miserable dog in the world. I wish I had never been born.”

“There's no use in wishing that, mate. The best way is, to make the best of it.”

“That's all very well for you. You have led a hard, rough life, and are used to it. I wish I had been brought up like you. It would have been all the better for me.”

The Welsher sighed again, but did not reply.

“I was brought up as a gentleman,” continued Richard, following the current of his own selfish thoughts, “and just at my age, when I ought to be enjoying life, I have to sweat for my living. You would not think of it so lightly if you were married “—

“I think it would make life all the sweeter,” said the Welsher, simply.

You think!” exclaimed Richard, so disdainfully that any man but the Welsher would have fired up. “What do you know of marriage and its responsibilities?”

“Nothing,” sighed the Welsher.

“What do you know of the weight it is upon a man, what a clog it is upon him when he is in misfortune; how it frets him, and worries him, and drives him almost mad? Why, I doubt if you have ever been in love!”

“I don't think I have.”

“Well, then,” said Richard, impatiently, “what's the use of talking about it?”

“Not much; yet I've sometimes wished that my life had been different. I've sometimes wished that I page 138 had a woman to love me, and children to bring up. I've often thought, What use am I, rough and strong as I am, in the world? I have been sinful enough at times to envy my mates who had wives and children; and, as I've laid myself down upon my stretcher, have wished that I could hear the prattle of children about my pillow. Foolish of me, no doubt.”

“Better to be without them. You have no cares, and no one but yourself to look after. Why, look here. I have a wife whom I married for love—her father in a wealthy hunks, but he discarded her for marrying me. What is the result? Misfortune pursued me, and we are both miserable. Would it not have been better that we had never met? Of course it would. So you may thank your stars that you haven't a wife to drag your thoughts down to desperation point, as my wife does mine.”

“Isn't she a good wife?”

“Fifty thousand times too good for me.”

The Welsher refilled his pipe, and, after puffing for a few moments, said—

“What one man sighs for, another man groans at. Of course it's absurd for such a rough and ready chap as me to say that if I had a wife fifty thousand times too good for me, I should look upon her as a blessing. I've never had much experience of women. The only woman I ever loved was my old mother; but, although I daresay I am ignorant enough with regard to womankind, I often think that the world is like a garden, and that the women and children are the flowers in it.”

“Is the world like a garden to you?” asked Richard.

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“I have heard that you have had pretty hard lines in it, too.”

“So I have. But, you see, it is not my fault. I might make things worse for myself, but I don't know how I could make them better. If you like, I will tell you my story. It isn't very long, and I don't suppose it is very interesting. But I feel as if I should like to tell it to-night.”

“All right, Welsher,” said Richard, patronisingly. “I'm listening.”

“I was born in North Wales,” commenced the Welsher, “near the Valley of Clwyd, in Denbighshire, and I passed my days at home in idleness. My father died when I was very young, and I cannot remember him. My mother was a little dark-skinned woman. I can see her now in her widow's weeds: she never left them off from the time of my father's death. I got some little education from an old clergyman, but not much, for I was too fond of roaming over the hills and valleys, to pay attention to study. You can tell, from my accent, that I am Welsh born. My dear mother was very proud of her descent, and, like most old Welsh families, her's had a pedigree which she could trace back many centuries, and which connected us with a royal line. My father left some property, which brought in about forty pounds a year. Upon this we lived, and we were looked upon as quite rich people. There were three of us at home—my mother, my sister, and myself. We were the family. When I say I passed my days in idleness, I mean that I was brought up to no trade, and did not work for money. But I found the days quite page 140 short enough. I fished, and hunted, and made excursions to the neighboring mountains. One day, when I was returning from Moel-Fammau, I fell in with a gentleman, who told me he was making a pedestrian tour for pleasure. We got into conversation together, and he walked with me until we came to my mother's house. I was pleased with him, and I invited him to our evening meal. He made himself very agreeable, and we offered him a bed for the night. The chance acquaintance ripened into intimacy, and he stayed with us some time. Lake and woodland round about the Valley of Clwyd are magnificent. He was delighted with the scenery, and, being an artist, he was desirous of taking away with him some sketches of what he called a paradise upon earth. So, he with his sketch-book, and I with my gun and my rod, would go in search of pretty bits of scenery, and he would sketch while I shot or fished. We were away from home sometimes for two or three days. We climbed Snowdon together, and caught otters on the banks of shy streams, which seemed to be trying to hide themselves from our sight. Many weeks passed in this manner, and we became much attached to one another—that is, I became much attached to him. We were all fond of him; I, because I had never had a friend; my mother, because he would indulge her in her pet pride of royal descent (he would talk with her for hours about ancient Wales and its noble kings); and my sister—half a minute, mate, my pipe's out.”

He paused to relight it, and continued:

“My sister liked him too well, although I did not suspect it at the time. We took no notice of their being page 141 often together, for you see he was our own guest, and no suspicion of wrong entered our minds. Even when the time drew near that he must depart, I did not think it strange that my sister should look grieved at his going from us. We all felt sorry—he had so enlivened our quiet home with his gay manners and conversation, that it was impossible he could have been easily forgotten. I accompanied him many miles on his road, and with expressions of friendship we parted. For some days after his departure, the sunshine of our home seemed to have disappeared; but little by little it came back, and our quiet life was resumed. But not for long—for one day my sister was missing, and all our anxious searchings and inquiries brought us no tidings of her. My mother was distracted, and I thought at the time it would be her death. A few weeks after my sister's disappearance, a letter came from her, asking our forgiveness for her flight, and saying that she hoped soon to visit us, a happy wife. She made no allusion to any person in the letter, but a mother's loving perception detected the sad strain in which it was written; and many were the bitter tears she wept over the letter. I looked at the postmark on the envelope, Wenlock, and resolved to go to Shropshire to try and find my sister. No dishonor had ever fallen on our family, and although no word of the fear which haunted us both passed between my mother and myself, I saw and knew the dread which possessed her. I went to Wenlock. I did not think, as I left my home, with a look at my gun and my fishing tackle, that I should never see them again, and that the Valley of Clwyd would receive me no page 142 more. The day after my arrival at Wenlock, I met the man, whose name was Hardy, who had made our home so bright while he stopped with us. Then, when I saw him, the suspicion that had entered my mind that he was connected with my sister's flight, flashed into conviction. I questioned him, but he denied all knowledge of her. It needed not the unquiet look or the hesitating speech, to convince me that he lied. He did lie, as I knew. It was not long before I found my sister, and learned from her lips the shame that had fallen upon our family. She was punished enough already for her sin; I could see that in her haggard face. But I determined to seek my false friend, and to force him to make reparation. He received me civilly enough, but almost laughed in my face when I asked him to marry my sister. I spoke of the honor of our family, and begged him not to tarnish it; I recalled to his mind the welcome and the hospitality he, a stranger, had received at our hands; I spoke of my mother, and of the blow it would be to her; but he only sneered at me, and with his specious tongue tried to put me off. I was hot, and he was cool, and when he left me, I was goaded almost into madness. It appeared to me incredible that hospitality should be so violated. That night, after I had once more visited my sister, I determined to see this man again, and to appeal more strongly, if I could, to his sense of honor. And if he does not marry her, I thought, I will kill him! For what reason I do not know, for I was strong enough for anything, I put a pistol into my pocket. It was late in the night when I went to his residence. The doors were closed, but at the back of the house I saw a light shin- page 143 ing in a window, and a shadow which I could swear was his upon the blind. I soon climbed over the low wall which enclosed the garden, and then I scrambled up to the window, and dashed into the room. He was half undressed, and his face turned very white when he saw me. My words were few: I told him I was determined not to submit to dishonor. He would have called out, but I presented my pistol, and swore I would shoot him if he raised his voice. He knew that I would keep my word, and he promised me that he would marry my sister on the morrow. I held out my hand to him, and he shook it. We spent a few minutes in friendly talk, and then, with a light heart, I prepared to leave the house the way I had entered it. But no sooner had I got my leg over the window-sill, than he rushed to the door, and throwing it open, called loudly for assistance. I was bewildered. The pistol I had brought with me dropped to the ground. I jumped into the room again, which in an instant was filled with people, and the next moment I was seized and dragged off to prison on a charge of burglary. The case was quite clear: my presence in the room, the smashed window-panes, the pistol which was proved to be mine, made up a chain of evidence too strong, of coarse, to admit of doubt, and I was sentenced to transportation for life.”

The Welsher paused for a few moments, and puffed away at his pipe before he resumed.

“While I was lying in prison, my sister died. Three days before the ship sailed which was to convey me from my country, my mother came to see me. Poor thing! she had almost lost her reason. She wept over me, and page 144 gave me this little Welsh Bible, which I have never parted with, and which shall be buried with me when I am dead. Then she was taken away, and I never saw or heard of her again. I was chained by the leg to a fellow-convict, and put on board ship. We were eight months getting to Botany Bay. The ship was a leaky old tub. The Government in those days picked out the rottenest vessels it could get to convey the convicts from their native shores. The filth and dirt of the ship were something horrible. The water was poisonous; the food was disgusting. A plan was mooted among the convicts to murder the officers, and seize the ship; but it was discovered, and half-a-dozen men were shot and thrown overboard. After that we were kept nearly the whole of the time under closed hatches. How that old tub creaked and strained! Many a time I thought we were going down, and I prayed that the vessel might be dashed to pieces, and make an end of us. But no such luck befel me. We got to our destination safely enough, and were set to work. Some of the convicts in our ship did well. The man I was chained to during the voyage is now a millionaire. He bought some land in Sydney with his savings, and sold it at twenty thousand pounds an acre. I was never very fortunate. I got my ticket-of-leave, and worked for myself, chiefly at bullock-driving. I could tell you some queer anecdotes of colonial life in those days. Bushranging was all the go, and it wasn't safe to travel a hundred miles with anything valuable about you. I remember once, as I was coming into Sydney with my dray, seeing a buggy, without a horse, standing on the road. When I got up page 145 to it, there was a man inside, stark naked. He had been stuck up by bushrangers, and they had stripped him of every bit of clothing, down to his socks. They had torn from the buggy everything that he might have converted into a covering: otherwise, they did not ill-treat him. I have been a shepherd, too, and have lived by myself for months and months, without seeing the face of a single human creature. It is a trying life. I have known men grow into a state of incurable idiocy after a few months solitariness. It is not disagreeable at first; one takes a pride in the sheep, and enjoys the sense of independence which is the great feature in a shepherd's life; but, after a time, it is awful. To sit, night after night, with no soul to speak to, with nothing to read, with nothing to do but to smoke and think—it is no wonder that men go mad. The wonder is, that so many escape with reason. I remember a narrow brush I had with the Natives. I remember it with pleasure, for even the sight of a savage, although he was eager to kill me, was a relief. I had missed some sheep, at odd times, within two or three weeks. I was actually pleased when I first made the discovery, for it gave me something new to think of. One night, I determined to watch; and, sure enough I came upon the Natives, carrying off half-a-dozen or so of the fattest sheep. I did not see them sooner than they saw me, and I had to run for it. I had provided for such a contingency, and when I arrived almost breathless, at the hut, I made all fast in a twinkling, and prepared to receive them. They came up pretty fast at my heels, but I saluted them with three barrels from my six-shooter, and all but two retreated, page 146 yelling, faster than they came. The hut was rather queerly built, just in a nook of some overhanging rocks, and there was only the front of it exposed. This was an advantage to me, for the savages could not get at me at the back. I watched their dusky forms in the distance with absolute pleasure. It must have been quite four months since I had seen anything in the shape of a man, and though I saw him now in the shape of a deadly foe, it was better than living any longer the devil's life of solitude. Besides, I did not care much for them. If they had fought fair, I could have kept them off as long as my powder lasted. But they don't fight fair. The noble savage will take any mean advantage he can of an enemy. They are a skulking, idle, dirty lot of thieves. They came to the attack three times, and each time I received them with my six-shooter, and sent them scampering back. Then they made preparations for doing what I expected, and what I was prepared for. They collected all the dead timber and dry brushwood they could lay hands on, and threw it before my hut, topping it with a lot of green branches. They were going to smoke me out. But I was ready for them. My hut, built in the cleft of a mass of rock, concealed a great fissure at the rear. In fact, the fissure served as a sort of tunnel; I had worked at it for a long while, and had dug along the natural tunnel until I came to an outlet. This outlet I had filled up carelessly, with loose pieces of rock, so that no one unacquainted with the secret would have suspected that it was a place of concealment. When the savages in front of the hut set fire to page 147 the pile of wood, which they did by throwing lighted branches into it from a distance, I crawled through the tunnel. A feeling did come over me, that if the savages knew of this retreat, they would be sure to guard it, and it would be all up with me; and when I got to the outlet, I was a bit curious to know if I should see any black skins knocking about. Luckily for me, there were none, and I crept away. I did not have much time to lose, for I knew that they would rush the hut before it was half burnt, and would discover the tunnel; so I only crept slowly along until I thought I was out of sight of them, and then I scudded off. I ran a good many miles that night, and I thought I was pretty clear of them. But the next day, when I was within eight or ten miles of the station I was making for, I saw three of the black devils racing after me, with their skinny legs. They haven't much superfluous flesh about them, haven't the blacks. They are all skin, bone, and muscle. They had tracked me the whole way, nearly thirty miles, and when they caught sight of me, they set up a hullaballoo of delight. I was pretty tired at the time, but the sight of them put fresh life into me, and I ran my fastest. But they were too much for me. I saw one of them disappear round a clump of timber for the purpose of cutting me off, while the other two followed straight after me. I soon came to where there was a bend in the track, and just as I turned it, the first one sprang out of the timber. He was within two hundred yards of me, and when he saw me he raised his boomerang, and sent it whizzing into the air. Quick as lightning, for I knew how true those savages could aim, I turned, and page 148 ran towards the other two. Seeing this, and knowing that I had turned upon them to escape the boomerang, they stopped short, suddenly, and threw their spears at me. I felt that there was nothing for it but fight. I had my revolver in my hand, loaded in its six barrels. One of their spears grazed my cheek as I flew along, and when I got close enough, I sent a bullet into the nearest one which dropped him. Then, with a sudden rush, I closed with his companion. I had not climbed the Welsh hills in my young days for nothing. The hardy life I had spent served me now; and, as I flung my arms round the dirty savage, I knew that I could master him in the end. But, in the meantime, the one who had thrown the boomerang was after me with raised spear. He did not dare to throw it, for fear of hitting his comrade; for we were by this time upon the ground, locked in each other's arms, and rolling over one another, enveloped in a thick cloud of dust. Throughout the struggle, I kept my revolver in my hand, but had no opportunity of using it. My finger was on the trigger, and, in the scuffle, I must unconsciously have pressed upon it; for, to my surprise, it suddenly went off. For a moment I thought I was hit; but presently the clasp of the savage with whom I was struggling relaxed, and he rolled back, dead. The one who had thrown the boomerang, took to his heels upon hearing the report. When I rose, and got away from the dust, I could see him scampering off. I did not care to follow him. I made my way as quickly as I could to the station: and so ended my shepherd's life. After that, I turned bullock-driver. That is a dreary life enough, but it's page 149 better than being a shepherd; it's more humanising. You get a chance, now and again, of giving a lift to a poor fellow, and that does a man good, you know. I remember, one morning, missing two of my bullocks. I did not find them till pretty late in the day. I was glad enough when I heard the tinkle of their bells I can tell you; and as I was following the sound, I came upon a man lying in the bush. At first, I thought he was dead; but I felt his heart beat—very faintly, though. I carried him to the dray, and after a good deal of trouble, I brought him to. He had lost his way in the bush, and had wandered about without food for three days, until, what with hunger and despair, he had lost his senses. If my bullocks hadn't strayed, it would have been all over with him, for he couldn't have lasted another day. So what I looked upon at first as precious hard, turned out to be a piece of real good fortune. When the goldfields were discovered, I turned to gold-digging; and, between that and bullock-driving, I have since spent all my time. It isn't a very attractive story, mine, is it mate? I don't think I ever had an ambition, and my life was over when I was transported. I have often thought that if I were to meet the false friend who wrecked my life, and who destroyed the happiness of my family, I should kill him. But there is no chance of our ever meeting. I am not the only innocent convict in the Colonies. I know some who were transported for life, for less crimes than mine—perfectly innocent men, who are living victims of what is called justice. If I had happened to stroll a different way the day I met that false friend, my life might page 150 have been very different. I might have married, and had children, and been a happy man. I wonder if, by and by, those who suffer unjustly are recompensed in any way?”

“You are a queer fellow, Welsher,” said Richard Handfield. “If I were you, and had been treated as you have been treated, I should have turned desperate, I think. By what right are men oppressed and hunted down? I Say I owe a duty to society; does not society owe a duty to me? Just think for one moment of what I have suffered”——

“Of course,” said the Welsher; “I do not mean to say I have as much to complain of as you. You were educated and brought up in luxury”——

“That's where it is. If I had been brought up as roughly as yourself, I might take the same view of misfortune.”

“Certainly,” said the Welsher, but in a voice which struck somewhat strangely upon his companion's ears. “There's no comparison between the hardship of our lives. But it is time to turn in. We must be up with the sun. Good night.”

And then they prepared for their night's rest. Before falling asleep Richard glanced at the Welsher, and saw him, with an earnest expression on his face, reading, by the light of the moon, a chapter from his mother's old Welsh Bible.