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doubt the advertising retired clergyman), " with
only a few days left to you, with both legs in
the grave, with the rope already round your

I coloured: I was indignant at these coarse
allusions to my state of health. "Pardon me,"
I said-"

"Pardon?" he answered, scornfully; " the
poor broken reed that every condemned wretch
clings to. In your case there is no hopeno,
not a particle. Come," he said, flinging himself
on the floor of the carriage, " let us pray for
him. Officer, join me in prayer for this stony
heart, that it may be converted."

It seemed to be an understood thing that all
first-class passengers to-night were to be lunatics;
and so I held my peace, and took no
further notice of the lean clergyman. The train
was slackening its pace. We were drawing
near to Stafford: it was a relief.

An official came round with a lantern, taking
tickets. " Oh, there you are!" he said. " It's
all right. The guv'nor's waiting on the up platform."

"What! another governor?" I asked, in astonishment.

"I say, though," he went on, dropping his
voice, "I don't know how you'll get him off
quietly; the whole town's waiting outside with
the Wan!"

My son, still sleepy, murmured, " All

"What'll you do?" asked the official.

"Step into the carriage, to be sure," I said,
"and drive to the Stafford Arms. Beds are
ordered." He flashed the lantern into my face
and laughed.

"Now, then," he said, as the train came rolling
into the station. Lightsa spacious hall
and crowd running along to keep up. Passengers
jumped hastily from their seats and rushed to
swell the mob clustered thickly round our door. I
did not like the look of this complimentary ovation
they were noisy and impatient.

"Here's the guv'nor," the official said, opening
the door; and a rough, hard-featured man
stepped in with two other hard-featured gentlemen, officers on his staff, I suppose.

"Come along," he said, sharply; " there is no
time to be lost. I don't know how we'll get him
through this mob; we must only try: keep fast
hold of him."

"I am exceedingly obliged to you, governor,"
I said, trying to salute with the cap, but it was
too firmly down over my ears, " for this little attention.
If you will favour me and my friends
herelet me introduce Captain Badger, the
famous hero of Bundelcundat a little festivity
up at the Stafford Arms——"

"Now then, you two, get him well under the
arms. Bring him along."

I became almost insensible: the excruciating
agony the vile wretches put me to made me
shriek. Lights flashed in my eyes, a mist of
faces peered at me, hoarse tongues roared and
hooted. What did it all mean? I called faintly
for my brave boy. I only heard " Bring him along
sharp. Hold him tight! Here's the Wan!"

An enormous dark-coloured, shining vehicle,
surrounded, too, with a guard of honour of
mounted soldieryI did not like the look of it.
Why all this state? " Do tell the governor," I
said to my supporters, "that my private carriage
is waiting, and that if he will honour me by accepting
a seat-"

They began to laugh. "Well, Bill, if that
ain't check——Why, bless us, if he haven't got
no darbies on. Where's th' cuffs?"

"Here," I said, showing my bandages. "All
thick lambswool."

"It's troubled his head a little," said the one
called Bill.

The governor came up now with my son in a

"Where's the warrant?"

"My commission?" said my brave boy, hesitatingly.

"Commission or warrant, where is i?"

"I didn't bring it; I never thought you'd

"Good gracious! what are we to do? I have
no authority to take the convict's body from

I saw there was some mystification, so I said
politely, " I think you had better take my offer
of a seat in the private carriage."

"You are responsible for the body, I have no
official cognisance of its presence."

"But," murmured my son, sadly bewildered,
"burdened as I was already with three upon my

"Your crupper?" said the governor, a little

A scream of engine-whistle close to our ears
made us start; another express has just come
in. An official ran up hastily. "The prisoner's
in the train there waiting for you!"

"What! the convict Rudd?"

"Yes, sir, heavily ironed. Mr. Gyves and
two other constables have got him in a first-
class compartment all to themselves."

The governor burst out laughing, a hazy perception
of something like a mistake broke upon
me. I looked down at myself, at the hands crossed
under the cloak as if fettered, and at my two
supporters on whom I leant. I must have been
very like the convict Rudd, going down to Stafford

                 Now ready, price Fourpence,

                A MESSAGE FROM THE SEA.

                          FORMING THE

                  EXTRA DOUBLE NUMBER

                         FOR CHRISTMAS,

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