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that he escaped a second time from the house
in which he was guarded, and on this occasion
he was more successful in eluding
pursuit than he had previously been. Ten days
elapsed and he had not been traced. It was
known that he had money; it had never
been withheld from him since his confinement;
for he loved to enter into imaginary
sales with his keepers, and would not be put
off with anything but the gold which he had,
so far as he was himself concerned, succeeded
in turning into withered leaves.

On the twenty-seventh of August, then,
the anniversary of his father's death, he
towards nightfall entered a thick wood, a
narrow bridle-path across one angle of which
led towards an extensive flat of furze and
ling-covered moor. The trees, closely planted,
and still in their full summer foliage,
excluded all but the rarest glimpses of sky.
One may imagine this God-forgotten man
wandering aimlessly forward in the gloomy
silence, hungry and thirsty, trembling at the
rustle of a leaf, hearing in his own muffled
footsteps echoes of the pursuers' tread, and
panting hastily on with many a backward
glance along tlie blackening path. One may
imagine him stumbling as his eyes rove from
one of his phantom companions to another,
cursing them under his breath, and then
laughing insanely till the hushed woods
thrill againimagine it but faintly.

Presently he became aware of singular
glares of light through openings between the
trees, and patches on the ground. What
could this appearance be? Not lightning,
for moon and stars were shining overhead;
the effect of these sudden breaks in the
shadowy darkness of the undergrowth of
bushes was wild in the extreme; to Carl
Branston it may have seemed like the horrid
approach to the mouth of hell. Soon night
was changed into hideous and lurid day; the
stars paled before its glare; a low hiss, like
laughter of triumphant fiends, seemed to
move the air all around him, and hot, quick
breaths waft against his face. He must have
now lost all the faint glimmer of sense which
had directed his wanderings hitherto, or
what met his view on coming to the verge of
the wood might have been comprehended,
and its danger avoided. The furze and ling
were on fire throughout an immense tract,
the excessive dryness of everything causing
them to burn with marvellous swiftness. To
Carl it was only a continuation of his awful
fancies, no more real or unreal than they.
He was bewildered, mazed, lost!

Straight on he ran. No visible outlet; he
turned; the fire had crept behind him, and
was rushing for the wood. To the right; to
the left; the flame was there before him,
no escape! He was literally hemmed in
within a momently narrowing circle; the red
tongues came leaping and dancing over the
furze, leaving black smoking desolation in
their track, straight towards him!

O calm summer night! what a scene was
this on which you looked down! What
horrible despair! What deadly fear! Went
there up no prayer from that doomed and
miserable man in his extremity? No cry
for mercy or pardon,—no outbreak of
repentance? That is your secret and heaven's.
His hour of reckoning came to him then, and
such as his account stood it must have been
given in to the just Judge who, sooner or
later, brings every man's sin home to him.

Carl Branston's wretched remains were
found and identified not many days after.

The Doctor from whose house he had
escaped, brought the news of the catastrophe
to Robin and his wife. With the former and
Mr. Marston he had a long private
conference. The disclosures and explanations
then given and received, never transpired
further; even Alice was not permitted to
share them; but that they were of a dark
and awful character she might conjecture
from the fact that notwithstanding the vast,
accumulated fortune that Carl left behind
him, her husband still continued a poor and
hard-working man. Some years later, when,
their children's education became expensive,
and money would have been of solid benefit
to them, she ventured to ask how the
property had been applied, and why it was
diverted from them? For the first time in
his life, Robin spoke briefly and sternly to
her: "Alice, if my children were barefoot,
and wanting bread, not one sixpence of Carl's
money should go to relieve them," he said.

In process of time, however, fortune turned
a more lightsome countenance on Robin's
home, and though not likely ever to be rich,,
necessity ceased to press upon him. His boys
grew up fine, intelligent, honest men,aud made
themselves a way in the world both honourable
and famous: thanks to the strong, upright
principles and straightforward system of
conduct in which Alice and he had trained them.

The love of money is the root of all evil,
was a proverb impressed on them very early
in life. Though in perfect ignorance of the
reason, the lads say to this day that their
father was the only man they ever knew
who had an unfeigned arid undisguised abhorrence
of money.

On Thursday, November Twentieth, will be published,.
in Twenty-eight pages, stitched,
PRICE FOURPENCE
THE
HOUSEHOLD WORDS ALMANAC
FOR THE YEAR 1857.
Household Words Office, No. 16, Wellington Street
North, Strand. Sold by all Booksellers, and at all Railway
Stations.

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