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“ Yes; I knew him in Edinburgh. I know Mrs Ford, with whom he lodged."

“How very unlucky that he is not here!" observed Ned. “But never mind.

You can stay with my wife, and maybe he'll be back in a day or two. He went away very suddenly with a young gentleman. It seems a young lady, in whom they are both interested, is unaccountably lost, and they went to help in the search."

“ Ah !" ejaculated Diamond, with a great start.

Ned paused, and opened his eyes very wide. A light broke in upon him, and he gazed at her with silent, yet eager curiosity.

“ You are right,” said Diamond, quietly, in answer to the look. "I am the person for whom they are seeking."

"O, my eyes! is not this delightful ? And to think that I have been the means of finding you !” exclaimed the delighted Ned, who could have danced for very joy. “ How glad my master will be, for he was very much grieved. And the young gentleman—what a relief to him; for, O what a death-like countenance he had! I saw them as they flew down the avenue in the carriage. And how were you

-But, no.

I may be asking too much. " “ No, indeed,” said Diamond. “It is likely you will know something of the matter by-and-hy. Only, I feel that I must consult Mr Everly and others ere I say any thing.”

“Quite right, miss," said Ned, contentedly. “Master will be sure to advise you to what is right. See, we have just another field to cross."

Surely I heard some one on the other side of the hedge." whispered Diamond, looking fearfully round. “O, if that man should overtake us again!”

“ Don't have any fear of that,” said Ned, with a loud laugh, “ He knows better than to come within

my

reach again. Depend upon it, he is at the Hall by this time.”

Ned, however, was wrong in this, as he very soon discovered.

Dogwood, as we said, dashed into the wood, his purpose being to meet his master, and acquaint him with what had taken place. He very soon saw him pursuing his fruitless search in the park; and running over; told him the whole affair.

The fury of the baronet was something terrible. It was a mixture of rage, fear, and dread, under the influence of which he was completely beside himself.

They must be overtaken, Dogwood. Our own lives depend upon it. We must go forward. Now, the risk is the same, and the chances greater. We must”-he approached close to the valet's ear, and whispered, hoarsely—“. we must murder them, or we are ruined."

“But he is armed," replied Dogwood, and we have no weapons

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“Let us each find a thick stick, and come on him unawares. Quick, or they may balk us."

No fear of us not overtaking them,” observed the valet.
girl is quite done up, and can't walk fast."

Come, then; there is not a moment for delay."
In desperation, each tore up a young oak, stripped the branches,
and, with this heavy bludgeon in their hand, set off in pursuit of
Diamond and her protector, fired with the hellish purpose of murder.

By Dogwood's direction, they kept within the shadow of the
wood; for both perceived how necessary it was to fall upon

Ned unexpectedly. He was not only very powerful, but well-armed, and therefore quite a match for them both, if they came fairly upon bim. While following, therefore, as fast as they were able, they took care to remain out of view.

It was not till they were near the end of Netherton wood that, they caught sight of their prey, who were at the moment nearly a field in advance of them. Keeping the other and shady side of the hedge, they pressed on with fearful eagerness, and did not look np. again till they had gained the next fence. It took them some time to get through the hedge, and then they found that there was a chance of being too late, unless they rushed boldly across within their view.

“That would be to go to instant death,” said Dogwood, in answer
to this proposition of the baronet's. “By keeping along that hedge,
we shall encounter them as they turn out at the gate. To be sure,
it is

very near the cottage; but we must risk it.”
“We must, indeed," muttered Sir Edward, through his clenched
teeth.

Follow me, then."
In silence, and with increased speed, they pushed on, the dry
thorns crackling now and then beneath their feet. They did reach
the foot of the field before their intended victims, and crept along
the hedge roots to be ready to rush upon them at the gate, though
the cottage was but a few yards' distant. The unsuspecting Ned
and his companion came slowly on, the former with his gun thrown
carelessly over his shoulder.' The villains crouched closely down,
while the gate was being opened; and Ned having set Diamond
through, followed, and had turned to fasten the gate, when a shriek
from the girl made him spring back, just in time to avoid a fearful
blow from the baronet's bludgeon. He was at the same moment
grasped firmly round the shoulders by the powerful Dogwood.

you to the girl," cried the latter, who, supposing that the
baronet had fetched him a stunning blow on the head, thought he
could now easily finish Ned. It was a woful mistake; for, withi
sudden and resistless energy, Ned threw him staggering back, and,
ere he had recovered himself, brought down the butt end of the gun
on his skull with a force which at once felled him to the earth,

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Then looking round, Ned beheld Diamond struggling with the baronet. She had seized the end of his stick, aud clung to it so tenaciously, as to prevent him from using it, notwithstanding that he shook her about with all his strength. His back was towards the conquering Ned, and the latter thought of serving him as he had done the vulet, but suddenly changed his mind. Hastily pulling & stout cord from his pocket, on which was a noose, he approached, and, dexterously throwing it over the baronet's shoulders, pinioned his arms in a moment, and rendered him powerless. At the same time, he tripped up his heels; and in a trice the aristocratic Sir Edward Rockhart lay on his back on the earth, bound hand and foot, as helpless as a child.

The triumphant Ned now turned his attention to Dogwood, who was beginning to show signs of returning animation; but ere his confused faculties returned, he was bound in the same way, and thus were both rendered completely powerless.

As yet not a word had been spoken; but now Ned, turning to the almost faintivg Diamond, said, with great unconcern, “ Come, miss, let us go into the cottage, and leave these villains to cool themselves after their smart run. We shall find them again when we want them. Good-bye for the present, gentlemen; and pleasant thoughts to you," he added, sarcastically, taking Diamond's arm, and drawing her into the house.

“ Poor girl, you are treinbling much, and no wonder,” he muttered, in audible soliloquy, as they moved along the passage. “The bloodthirsty cowards, to take a fellow at such a disadvantage! Never mind; they are as prettily snared as any hare ever was by poacher, and, curse me, but they shall rue this night's work.”.

As he uttered the last word, he pushed open an inner dour, which revealed a neat, bright-looking room, in which Elizabeth-sat sew. ing, all unconscious of the semi-tragedy that had been goiug outside. She lifted up her pretty, beaming face, to greet her husbund with her wonted smile, when her eyes fell

upon Diamond, and she sprang to her feet in amazement.

“Here, Bess, lass; I've brought you a poor hunted doe to-nightjust rescued her from two pitiful poachers. You'll do kindly by her, and maybe she'll enlighten your wonderment if she had a rest and a something to revive. However, I suppose I am free to tell you this, that she is the same lady whose unaccountable disappearrance called master and the young gentleman so hurriedly to town; and proud am I that I have been the means of getting her out of the hands of the villains who had caught her.”

By this time Diamond had sunk into a chair; and the kind. hearted Elizabeth, seeing in a moment that she was faint with terror and fatigue, was holding a cup of cold water to her head. A portion of this Diamond greedily drank, and Mrs Oakham bathed her

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throbbing temples and burning eyes with the remainder. Such. prompt and judicious attention speedily revived her, and she relieved her labouring breast by a few long-drawn sighs.

“O, thank you," she said, looking up with a sweet smile into Mrs“ Oakham's sympathizing face. That look and smile won at ouce the love of Elizabeth's heart.

“Take her ben to the couch," suggested the gratified Ned. "She'll not be able to sleep; but it will do her good to rest-and do. you stay beside her. I have some work to do to-night yet.” Diamond looked anxiously up.

“ These-these men," she faltered.

"O) yes I understand,” said Ned; "but don't fear a bit: we have them secure enough now." Then, noticing his wife's look of wonder and astonishment, he added, “ It is her two persecutors we are speaking of. They lie outside. I must get them stowed away somewhere for the night, and in the morning we shall be better able to consult about what is o be done with them.”

Diamond was now led to an inner room by her attentive hostess, and made to lie down on a low, soft couch. As Ned had predicted, she could not sleep; but closing her eyes, and keeping Mrs Oukham's hands pressed in hers, she felt a delicious repose stealing over. her weariness and exhaustion.

Ned, on the other hand, went out of doors, to dispose of his two prisoners, whom he found lying exactly as he had left them--the proud baronet, no doubt, biting the dust with rage, mortification, and fear; and his faithful valet trying but vainly, on account of his broken head, to make out where he was.

Ned shook him roughly, and jocularly asked him how he felt now, but failed to elicit any intelligent response; so, without ceremony, he lifted him from the ground, and bore him to a large coal-house which stood a few paces from the cottage. The sturdy gamekeeper was about to go for his companion, when a few raving words from Dogwood made hin stay and listen attentively.

"Keep close by the hedge-side, Sir Edward," he muttered. " Yonder they are in the moonlight. Let us down before them, and meet them at the gate. They must not escape us.

You can't have the girl for your wife now; but they must both be murdered, or we are ruined.”

“Aha! so the other is the worshipful baronet himself!” said the astonished gamekeeper; for up to this moment he thought him one of Dogwood's fellow-servants. “My eye! what a deed, to tie a real baronet neck and heels like a poacher! What a fortunate dog I am to-night! How master will rejoice at this! for I know he wants nothing more than to have a dig at his brute of a father-inlaw. And so they meant to murder us both, did they !--murder that innocent girl, because she was escaping from their ruffian hands;

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and me, because I was helping her? Blast them! but they deserve what I hope they shall get-hanging or transportation; and a glad man would I be to see them dangling at the end of a string, or hopping about with a clog at their leg. But let me see how the baronet takes with his captivity."

And he strode out of the coal-bouse into the road, where the discomfited owner of Rockhart Hall lay, feeling not the pressure

of the tight cords, because of the fearful thoughts that rushed to and fro within.

Ned approached and bent curiously over him, but neither spoke; only the yamekeeper could observe the restless muvements of a dark, baleful eye glancing in the moonlight.

" I say, my good fellow, when is this joke to come to an end?" said Sir Edward at length, trying to laugh. “ Joke!" echoed Ned. well, if

you call it a joke, let it be As to when it will end, I can't say; but I think I may prophesy how."

ind by a significant motion he imitated a man hanging upon the gallows.

“ I would advise you, my lad, to unloose these cords as long as I am disposed to overlook your daring offence."

“Would you indeed ? Upon my word, you are very gracious," replied Ned, ironically. “But suppose I have no mind to do as

What then ?” “Why, you will rue it; that's all. Do you know, sirrah, who I “() yes; I do,” replied Ned, composedly.

“ You are Sir Edward Rockhart."

" And, knowing that, did you dare to bind me in this manner?" demanded the astonished baronet; for he supposed Ned to he entirely ignorant of his person, and imagined that the announcement of his name and rank would cause him humbly to beg bis pardon, and release him.

“Well, I can't say that I did know you when I put you in limbo; but that made no matter. I would have done the same to the king himself in like circumstances. An intended murderer must not expect his intended victim to show him much consideration, because he is a harovet." “ This is quite a mistake, my man.

What puts murder in your head? We only wanted the lady; and if you were so foolish as to resist us, that was not our fault. Come, undo these cords, and matters may yet be amicably arranged."

“Ha, ha, ha!" laughed Ned. “ You must take me for a very green one, Sir Edward, if you expect me to be gammoned in that

I

may as well tell you at once, that I know you are in a pretty mess, and I will do my best to prevent you from getting

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