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would be giving Mr. Fewster encouragement if she allowed him to assume that office. So, with many distressingly tender protestations, he took his departure, congratulating himself upon the adventure, and Susan and Ellen walked homewards.
Ellen was very anxious to know all about the Lascar, and why Susan was frightened at him. Susan told her all, and Ellen's face glowed with delight at Joshua's courage.
• Brave Joshua!' she exclaimed. “Isn't he a hero, Susan ?
Notwithstanding that she had not recovered from her fright at meeting the Lascar, Susan could not help smiling at Ellen's enthusiasm.
'He was to be away a year,' said Ellen, and it is now two years and four months.'
* And how many weeks, and how many days, and how many hours ?' interrupted Susan, half gaily. You could tell, I daresay, Ellen, couldn't you, if
you were put to it ?' Ellen looked shyly at Susan. What a change he will find in you, my dear!' Susan continued tenderly. In the place of a plain little girl he will find a very pretty woman.'
O Susey! calling me a woman !'
'Well, you are, dear, or you will be when he comes back. I wonder—_'
But Susan did not say what it was she wondered at, but stopped, most unaccountably, in the middle of the street and kissed Ellen in a motherly kind of way. The caress set Ellen a-blushing, and she fell into a state of happy musing. They were very near home when a voice at their side said,
* You thought you had escaped me, eh ?'
It was the voice of the Lascar, who had dogged them until he found an opportunity of speaking to them without attracting attention. Their hearts beat fast, but they did not turn their heads.
· Don't say a word,” whispered Ellen, don't speak, don't stop, don't look! We shall be home directly.'
• So Joshua Marvel hasn't come back yet,' he said with bitter emphasis. “He is a long time gone; but wait till he comes. I go every day to see the cross I put against him, and it grows brighter and brighter. I curse him every night. . Perhaps he thinks that I forget. He shall see if I do.' He gasped this at intervals, for the girls were now almost running in their terror. « Tell him,' hissed the Lascar, when he comes home
that I poisoned that old thief's birds because Joshua gave them to him, and because the old thief used to call one of them by his name. Curse him! And you ! he exclaimed savagely, touching Susan's arm. 'See you-remember! My shadow follows you from this day, you damned witch ! for it was because of you that he came across me. 0, you live there, do you? Dream of my shadow, you cat, to-night. It shall stand at your bedside. Blot it out if
can.' He had worked himself into a horrible rage ; his passion made a madman of him; yet he did not attempt to stop them as they darted in at the door, but stood aside and looked at the house, and marked it and lingered about it for half an hour afterwards. In the mean time Ellen and Susan had run into their bedroom and locked the door. It was a long time before they recovered from their agitation. Susan was in an agony of terror; all her old fears came with stronger force upon her. She pressed her fingers upon her eyes and threw herself upon the ground, shuddering and moaning
Do you see his shadow, Ellen ? she moaned. • Do you see it ?'
• There is nothing in the room but you and
me, dear Susey,' said Ellen, smoothing Susan's hair, and striving by every means to soothe her. • Why, I am braver than you, and I am ever so much younger. What have we to be afraid of ? A drunken man! You stupid Susey! And as for shadows, who believes in them ?'
'I do. I have seen them and felt them. I have heard them creeping after me in the dark, and I have been frightened to turn. I have felt their breath upon my face-and it is like deathlike death !'
All Ellen's efforts to tranquillise her were unavailing. Susan did not leave her room again that evening, and during the night that followed she awoke a dozen times, and her fevered imagination conjured up the shadow of the Lascar standing at her bedside, pointing to a cross of blood which shone with cruel distinctness in the midst of the darkness.
SOLOMON FEWSTER GIVES THE LASCAR A FLOWER.
EARLY in the new year letters from Joshua reached home. With what joy they were read! In one of them he wrote: 'I remember saying that I should be home in twelve months; but that time has passed, and another twelve months, and nearly another, and still there is no talk of returning. If I stay away much longer you won't know me when you see me. Upon my word, I think if I were to open the door now and walk in suddenly, you would be puzzled to know whether I was really myself or somebody else.'
When they read this they all raised their heads and looked towards the door, wishing that Joshua would turn the handle and walk into the room.
The evening of the day on which the letters arrived was spent in grand state in Dan's house. Every member of the Marvel family was there, and the Old Sailor, and Solomon Fewster as well ; so that the little parlour was quite full, and all