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Chapter Seven.
 The Fate of the Roving Bess—Gambling Scenes—Mr Sinton makes a New Friend—Larry O’Neil makes Money in Strange Ways—A Murder, and a Beggar’s Death—Ned becomes a Poor Man’s Heir.  
The remnant of the cargo of the Roving Bess proved to be worth comparatively little—less even than had been anticipated. After a careful inspection, Mr Thompson offered to purchase it “in the slump” for 1000 dollars—about 200 pounds sterling. This was a heavy blow to poor Captain Bunting, who had invested his all—the savings of many years—in the present unfortunate venture. However, his was not a nature to brood over misfortunes that could not be avoided, so he accepted the sum with the best grace he might, and busied himself during the next few days in assisting the merchant to remove the bales.
During this period he did not converse much with any one, but meditated seriously on the steps he ought to take. From all that he heard, it seemed impossible to procure hands to man the ship at that time, so he began to entertain serious thoughts of “taking his chance” at the diggings after all. He was by nature averse to this, however; and had nearly made up his mind to try to beat up recruits for the ship, when an event occurred that settled the matter for him rather unexpectedly. This event was the bursting out of a hurricane, or brief but violent squall, which, before assistance could be procured, dragged the Roving Bess from her moorings, and stranded her upon the beach, just below the town. Here was an end to sea-faring prospects. The whole of his limited capital would not have paid for a tenth part of the labour necessary to refloat the ship, so he resolved to leave her on the beach, and go to the diggings.
Mr Thompson advised him to sell the hull, as it would fetch a good price for the sake of the timber, which at that time was much wanted in the town, but the captain had still a lurking hope that he might get his old ship afloat at some future period, and would not hear of it.
“What,” said he, “sell the Roving Bess, which stands A1 at Lloyd’s, to be broken up to build gold-diggers houses? I trow not. No, no; let her lie where she is in peace.”
On the day after the squall, as Ned and the captain were standing on the shore regarding their late floating, and now grounded, home in sad silence, a long-legged, lantern-jawed man, in dirty canvas trousers, long boots, a rough coat, and broad straw hat, with an enormous cigar in his mouth, and both hands in his trousers-pockets, walked up and accosted them. It did not require a second glance to know that he was a Yankee.
“Guess that ’ere’s pretty wall fixed up, stranger,” he said, addressing the captain, and pointing with his nose to the stranded vessel.
“It is,” answered the captain, shortly.
“Fit for nothin’ but firewood, I calculate.”
To this the captain made no reply.
“I say, stranger,” continued the Yankee, “I wouldn’t mind to give ’e 1000 dollars for her slick off.”
“I don’t wish to sell her,” replied the captain.
“Say 1500,” replied the man.
“I tell you, I won’t sell her.”
“No! Now that is kurous. Will ’e loan her, then!”
Here Ned whispered a few words to the captain, who nodded his head, and, turning to the Yankee, said—
“How much will you give?”
“Wall, I reckon, she’s too far out to drive a screamin’ trade, but I don’t mind sayin’ 100 dollars a month.”
After some consultation with Ned, and a little more talk with the Yankee, Captain Bunting agreed to this proposal, only stipulating that the bargain should hold good for a year, that the hull should not be cut or damaged in any way, and that the rent should be paid in advance into the hands of Mr Thompson, as he himself was about to proceed to the gold-fields. Having sealed and settled this piece of business at a neighbouring tavern, where the Yankee—Major Whitlaw—ordered a “brandy-smash” for himself and two “gin-slings” for his companions, (which they civilly declined, to his intense amazement,) the contracting parties separated.
“That’s rather a sudden transfer of our good ship,” said Ned, laughing, as they walked towards the Plaza, or principal square of the town, where some of the chief hotels and gambling-houses were situated.
“I feel half sorry for havin’ done it,” replied the captain; “however, it can’t be helped now, so I’ll away to our friend Thompson’s office, and tell him about it.”
“Then I shall wander about here until you return. It will be dinner time at the hotels two hours hence. Suppose we meet at the Parker House, and talk over our future plans while we discuss a chop?”
To this the captain agreed, and then hurried off to his friend’s office, while Ned entered the hotel. A large portion of this building was rented by gamblers, who paid the enormous sum of 60,000 dollars a year for it, and carried on their villainous and degrading occupation in it night and day. The chief games played were monte and faro, but no interest attached to the games as such, the winning or losing of money was that which lent fascination to the play.
Ned had intended to stroll through the hotel and observe the various visitors who thronged the bar, but the crash of a brass band in the gambling-saloons awakened his curiosity, and induced him to enter. The scene that met his eyes was, perhaps, the strangest and the saddest he had ever looked upon. The large saloon was crowded with representatives of almost every civilised nation under the sun. English, Scotch, Irish, Yankees, French, Russians, Turks, Chinese, Mexicans, Indians, Malays, Jews, and negroes—all were there in their national costumes, and all were, more or less, under the fascinating influence of the reigning vice of California, and especially of San Francisco. The jargon of excited voices can neither be conceived nor described. Crowds surrounded the monte tables, on which glittering piles of gold and silver coin were passing from hand to hand according to varying fortune. The characteristics—and we may add the worst passions—of the various nations were ever and anon brought strongly out. The German and Spaniard laid down their money, and lost or won without a symptom of emotion; the Turk stroked his beard as if with the view of keeping himself cool; the Russian looked stolid and indifferent; the Frenchman started, frowned, swore, and occasionally clutched his concealed pistol or bowie-knife; while the Yankee stamped and swore. But, indeed, the men of all nations cursed and swore in that terrible place.
Those who dwelt in the city staked gold and silver coin, while the men just returned from the mines staked gold-dust and nuggets. These last were conspicuous from their rough clothing, rugged, bronzed, and weather-worn countenances. Many of them played most recklessly. Several successful diggers staked immense sums, and either doubled or lost, in two or three throws, the hard earnings of many months of toil, and left the rooms penniless.
At one end of the saloon there was a counter, with a plentiful supply of stimulants to feed the excitement of the wretched gamblers; and the waiter here was kept in constant employment. Ned had never been within the unhallowed precincts of a gambling-house before, and it was with a feeling of almost superstitious dread that he approached the table, and looked on. A tall, burly, bearded miner stepped forward at the moment and placed a huge purse of gold-dust on the table—
“Now, then,” he cried, with a reckless air, “here goes—neck or nothin’.”
“Nothin’!” he muttered with a fearful oath, as the president raked the purse into his coffers.
The man rose and strode sullenly from the room, his fingers twitching nervously about the hilt of his bowie-knife; an action which the president observed, but heeded not, being prepared with a concealed revolver for whatever might occur. Immediately another victim stepped forward, staked five hundred dollars—and won. He staked again a thousand dollars—and won; then he rose, apparently resolved to tempt fickle fortune no more, and left the saloon. As he retired his place was filled by a young man who laid down the small sum of two dollars. Fortune favoured this man for a long time, and his pile of dollars gradually increased until he became over-confident and staked fully half of his gains—and lost.
Ned’s attention was drawn particularly to this player, whom he thought he had seen before. On looking more fixedly at him, he recognised the young porter who had carried up the box to the merchant’s house. His next stake was again made recklessly. He laid down all he possessed—and lost. Then he rose suddenly, and drawing a pistol from his breast, rushed towards the door. None of the players who crowded the saloon paid him more than momentary attention. It mattered not to them whether he meditated suicide or murder. They made way for him to pass, and then, closing in, were deep again in the all-absorbing game.
But our hero was not thus callous. A strong feeling of sympathy filled his breast, prompting him to spring through the doorway, and catch the youth by the shoulder just as he gained the street. He turned round instantly, and presented the revolver at Ned’s breast, but the latter caught his right arm in his powerful grasp and held it in the air.
“Be calm, my poor fellow,” he said, “I mean you no harm; I only wish to have a word of conversation with you. You are an Englishman, I perceive.”
The young man’s head fell on his breast, and he groaned aloud.
“Come, come,” said Ned, releasing his arm, “don’t give way like that.”
“I’m lost,” said the youth, bitterly. “I have struggled against this passion for gaming, but it has overcome me again and again. It is vain to fight against it any longer.”
“Not a bit of it, man,” said Ned, in a cheering tone, as he drew the arm of the young man within his own, and led him slowly along the street. “You are excited just now by your disappointments. Let us walk together a while, for I have something to say to you. I am quite a stranger here, and it’s a comfort to have a countryman to talk with.”
The kind words, and earnest, hearty manner of our hero, had the effect of soothing the agitated feelings of his new friend, and of winning his confidence. In the course of half-an-hour, he drew from him a brief account of his past history.
His name, he said, was Collins; he was the son of a clergyman, and had received a good education. Five years before the period of which we now write, he had left his home in England, and gone to sea, being at that time sixteen years of age. For three years he served before the mast in a South-Sea whale-ship, and then returned home to find his father and mother dead. Having no near relations alive, and not a sixpence in the world, he turned once more towards the sea, with a heavy heart and an empty pocket, obtained a situation as second mate in a trading vessel which was about to proceed to the Sandwich Islands. Encountering a heavy gale on the western coast of South America, his vessel was so much disabled as to be compelled to put into the harbour of San Francisco for repairs. Here the first violent attack of the gold-fever had set in. The rush of immigrants was so great, that goods of all kinds were selling at fabulous prices, and the few bales that happened to be on board the ship were disposed off for twenty times their value. The captain was in ecstasies, and purposed sailing immediately to the nearest civilised port for a cargo of miscellaneous goods; but the same fate befell him which afterwards befell Captain Bunting, and many hundreds of others—the crew deserted to the mines. Thereupon the captain and young Collins also betook themselves to the gold-fields, leaving the ship to swing idly at her anchor. Like most of the first arrivals at the mines, Collins was very successful, and would soon—in diggers’ parlance—have “made his pile,”—i.e. his fortune, had not scurvy attacked and almost killed him; compelling him to return to San Francisco in search of fresh vegetables and medicine, neither of which, at that time, could be obtained at the mines for love or money. He recovered slowly; but living in San Francisco was so expensive that, ere his health was sufficiently recruited to enable him to return to the gold-fields, his funds were well-nigh exhausted. In order to recruit them he went, in an evil hour, to the gaming-saloons, and soon became an inveterate gambler.
In the providence of God he had been led, some years before, to become an abstainer from all intoxicating drinks, and, remaining firm to his pledge throughout the course of his downward career, was thus saved from the rapid destruction which too frequently overtook those who to the exciting influences of gambling added the maddening stimulus of alcohol. But the constant mental fever under which he laboured was beginning to undermine a naturally-robust constitution, and to unstring the nerves of a well-made, powerful frame. Sometimes, when fortune favoured him, he became suddenly possessor of a large sum of money, which he squandered in reckless gaiety, often, however, following the dictates of an amiable, sympathetic disposition, he gave the most of it away to companions and acquaintances in distress. At other times he had not wherewith to pay for his dinner, in which case he took the first job that offered in order to procure a few dollars. Being strong and active, he frequently went down to the quays and offered his services as a porter to any of the gold-hunters who were arriving in shoals from all parts of the world. It was thus, as we have seen, that he first met with Ned Sinton and his friends.
All this, and a great deal more, did Ned worm out of his companion in the course of half-an-hour’s stroll in the Plaza.
“Now,” said he, when Collins had finished, “I’m going to make a proposal to you. I feel very much interested in all that you have told me; to be candid with you, I like your looks, and I like your voice—in fact, I like yourself, and—but what’s your Christian name?”
“Tom,” replied the other.
“Very well; then I’ll call you Tom in future, and you’ll call me Ned. Now, Tom, you must come with me and Captain Bunting to the gold-fields, and try your fortune over again—nay, don’t shake your head, I know what you would say, you have no money to equip yourself, and you won’t be indebted to strangers, and all that sort of stuff; but that won’t do, my boy. I’m not a stranger; don’t I know all your history from first to last?”
Tom Collins sighed.
“Well, perhaps I don’t know it all, but I know the most of it, and besides, I feel as if I had known you all my life—”
“Ned,” interrupted the other, in an earnest tone of voice, “I feel your kindness very much—no one has spoken to me as you have done since I came to the diggings—but I cannot agree to your proposal to-day. Meet me at the Parker House to-morrow, at this time, and I shall give you a final answer.”
“But why not give it now?”
“Because—because, I want to—to get paid for a job I expect to get—”
“Tom,” said Ned, stopping and laying his hand on the shoulder of his companion, while he looked earnestly into his face, “let us begin our friendship with mutual candour. Do you not intend to make a few dollars, and then try to increase them by another throw at the gaming-table!”
The youth’s brow flushed slightly as he answered, “You are right, I had half an intention of trying my fortune for the last time—”
“Then,” said Ned firmly and emphatically, “you shall do nothing of the sort. Gambling for money is a mean, pitiful, contemptible thing—don’t frown, my dear fellow, I do not apply these terms to you, I apply them to the principle of gambling—a principle which you do not hold, as I know from your admission, made to me not many minutes ago, that you have often striven against the temptation. Many men don’t realise the full extent of the sinfulness of many of their practices, but although that renders them less culpable, it does not render them innocent, much less does it justify the evil practices. Gambling is all that I have styled it, and a great deal worse; and you must give it up—I insist on it. Moreover, Tom, I insist on your coming to dine with me at the Parker House. I shall introduce you to my friend Captain Bunting, whom you already know by sight—so come along.”
“Well, I will,” said Tom, smiling at his friend’s energy, but still hanging back; “but you must permit me to go to my lodgings first. I shall be back immediately.”
“Very good. Remember, we dine in the course of an hour, so be punctual.”
While Tom Collins hurried away to his lodgings, Ned Sinton proceeded towards the shores of the bay in a remarkably happy frame of mind, intending to pass his leisure hour in watching the thousands of interesting and amusing incidents that were perpetually taking place on the crowded quays, where the passengers from a newly-arrived brig were looking in bewildered anxiety after their luggage, and calling for porters; where traffic, by means of boats, between the fleet and the land created constant confusion and hubbub; where men of all nations bargained for the goods of all climes in every known tongue.
While he gazed in silence at the exciting and almost bewildering scene, his attention was attracted to a group of men, among whose vociferating tones he thought he distinguished familiar voices.
“That’s it; here’s your man, sir,” cried one, bursting from the crowd with a huge portmanteau on his shoulder. “Now, then, where’ll I steer to?”
“Right ahead to the best hotel,” answered a slim Yankee, whose black coat, patent-leather boots, and white kids, in such a place, told plainly enough that a superfine dandy had mistaken his calling.
“Ay, ay, sir!” shouted Bill Jones, as he brushed past Ned, in his new capacity of porter.
“Faix, ye’ve cotched a live Yankee!” exclaimed a voice there was no mistaking, as the owner slapped Bill on the shoulder. “He’ll make yer fortin’, av ye only stick by him. He’s just cut out for the diggin’s, av his mother wos here to take care of him.”
Larry O’Neil gave a chuckle, slapped his pockets, and cut an elephantine caper, as he turned from contemplating the retreating figure of his shipmate’s employer, and advanced towards the end of the quay.
“Now, thin, who’s nixt?” cried he, holding out both arms, and looking excited, as if he were ready to carry off any individual bodily in his arms to any place, for mere love, without reference to money. “Don’t all spake at wance. Tshoo dollars a mile for anythin’ onder a ton, an’ yerself on the top of it for four! Horoo, Mister Sinton, darlint, is it yerself? Och, but this is the place intirely—goold and silver for the axin’ a’most! Ah, ye needn’t grin. Look here!”
Larry plunged both hands into the pockets of his trousers, and pulled them forth full of half and quarter dollars, with a few shining little nuggets of gold interspersed among them.
Ned opened his eyes in amazement, and, taking his excited comrade apart from the crowd, asked how he had come by so much money.
“Come by it!” he exclaimed; “ye could come by twice the sum, av ye liked. Sure, didn’t I find that they wos chargin’ tshoo dollars—aiqual to eight shillin’s, I’m towld—for carryin’ a box or portmanter the length o’ me fut; so I turns porter all at wance, an’ faix I made six dollars in less nor an hour. But as I was comin’ back, I says to myself, says I, ‘Larry, ye’ll be the better of a small glass o’ somethin’—eh!’ So in I goes to a grog-shop, and faix I had to pay half-a-dollar for a thimbleful o’ brandy, bad luck to them, as would turn the stomik o’ a pig. I almost had a round wi’ the landlord; but they towld me it wos the same iverywhere. So I wint and had another in the nixt shop I sees, jist to try; and it was thrue. Then a Yankee spies my knife,—the great pig-sticker that Bob Short swopped wi’ me for my junk o’ plum-duff off the Cape. It seems they’ve run out o’ sich articles just at this time, and would give handfuls o’ goold for wan. So says I, ‘Wot’ll ye give?’
“‘Three dollars, I guess,’ says wan.
“‘Four,’ says another; ‘he’s chaitin’ ye.’
“‘Four’s bid,’ says I, mountin’ on a keg o’ baccy, and howldin up the knife; ‘who says more? It’s the rale steel, straight from Manchester or Connaught, I misremimber which. Warranted to cut both ways, av ye only turn the idge round, and shove with a will.’
“I begood in joke; but faix they took me up in arnest, an’ run up the price to twinty dollars—four pounds, as sure as me name’s Larry—before I know’d where I wos. I belave I could ha’ got forty for it, but I hadn’t the heart to ax more, for it wasn’t worth a brass button.”
“You’ve made a most successful beginning, Larry. Have you any more knives like that one?”
“Sorrow a wan—more’s the pity. But that’s only a small bit o’ me speckilations. I found six owld newspapers in the bottom o’ me chist, and, would ye belave it, I sowld ’em, ivery wan, for half-a-dollar the pace; and I don’t rightly know how much clear goold I’ve got by standin’ all mornin’ at the post-office.”
“Standing at the post-office! What do you mean?”
“Nother more or less nor what I say. I suppose ye know the mail’s comed in yisterday morning; so says I to myself this mornin’, ‘Ye’ve got no livin’ sowl in the owld country that’s likely to write to ye, but ye better go, for all that, an’ ax if there’s letters. Maybe there is; who knows?’ So away I wint, and sure enough I found a row o’ men waitin’ for their letters; so I crushes for’ard—och! but I thought they’d ha’ hung me on the spot,—and I found it was a rule that ‘first come first sarved—fair play and no favour.’ They wos all standin’ wan behind another in a line half-a-mile long av it wos a fut, as patient as could be; some readin’ the noosepapers, and some drinkin’ coffee and tay and grog, that wos sowld by men as went up an’ down the line the whole mornin’. So away I goes to the end o’ the line, an’ took my place, detarmined to stand it out; and, in three minutes, I had a tail of a dozen men behind me. ‘Faix, Larry,’ says I, ‘it’s the first time ye iver comminced at the end of a thing in order to git to the beginnin’.’
“Well, when I wos gittin’ pretty near the post-office windy, I hears the chap behind me a-sayin’ to the fellow behind him that he expected no letters, but only took up his place in the line to sell it to them what did. An’ sure enough I found that lots o’ them were there on the same errand. Just then up comes a miner, in big boots and a wide-awake.
“‘Och,’ says he, ‘who’ll sell me a place?’ and with that he offered a lot o’ pure goold lumps.
“‘Guess it’s too little,’ says the man next me.
“‘Ah, ye thievin’ blackguard!’ says I. ‘Here, yer honer, I’ll sell ye my place for half the lot. I can wait for me letter, more be token I’m not sure there is wan.’ For, ye see, I wos riled at the Yankee’s greed. So out I steps, and in steps the miner, and hands me the whole he’d offered at first.
“‘Take them, my man,’ says he; ‘you’re an honest fellow, and it’s a trate to meet wan here.’”
“Capital,” cried Ned, laughing heartily; “and you didn’t try for a letter after all?”
“Porter there?” shouted a voice from the quay.
“That’s me, yer honer. Here ye are,” replied the Irishman, bounding away with a yell, and shouldering a huge leathern trunk, with which he vanished from the scene, leaving Ned to pursue the train of thought evoked by his account of his remarkable experiences.
We deem it necessary here to assure the reader that the account given by Larry O’Neil of his doings was by no means exaggerated. The state of society, and the eccentricities of traffic displayed in San Francisco and other Californian cities during the first years of the gold-fever, beggars all description. Writers on that place and period find difficulty in selecting words and inventing similes in order to convey anything like an adequate idea of their meaning. Even eye-witnesses found it almost impossible to believe the truth of what they heard and saw; and some have described the whole circle of life and manners there to have been more like to the wild, incongruous whirl of a pantomime than to the facts of real life.
Even in the close and abrupt juxtaposition of the ludicrous and the horrible this held good. Ned Sinton had scarcely parted from his hilarious shipmate, when he was attracted by shouts, as if of men quarrelling, in a gaming-house; and, a few moments later, the report of a pistol was heard, followed by a sharp cry of agony. Rushing into the house, and forcing his way through the crowd, he reached the table in time to see the bloody corpse of a man carried out. This unfortunate had repeatedly lost large sums of money, and, growing desperate, staked his all on a final chance. He lost; and, drawing his bowie-knife, in the heat of despair, rushed at the president of the table. A dozen arms arrested him, and rendered his intended assault abortive; nevertheless, the president coolly drew a revolver from under the cloth, and shot him dead. For a few minutes there was some attempt at disturbance, and some condemned, while others justified the act. But the body was removed, and soon the game went on again as if nothing had occurred.
Sickened with the sight, Ned hurried from the house, and walked rapidly towards the shores of the bay, beyond the limits of the canvas town, where he could breathe the free ocean air, and wander on the sands in comparative solitude.
The last straggling tent in that quarter was soon behind bun, and he stopped by the side of an old upturned boat, against which he leaned, and gazed out upon the crowded bay with saddened feelings. As he stood in contemplation, he became aware of a sound, as if of heaving, plethoric breathing under the boat. Starting up, he listened intently, and heard a faint groan. He now observed, what had escaped his notice before, that the boat against which he leaned was a human habitation. A small hole near the keel admitted light, and possibly, at times, emitted smoke. Hastening round to the other side, he discovered a small aperture, which served as a doorway. It was covered with a rag of coarse canvas, which he lifted, and looked in.
“Who’s there?” inquired a voice, as sharply as extreme weakness would allow. “Have a care! There’s a revolver pointing at your head. If you come in without leave, I’ll blow out your brains.”
“I am a friend,” said Ned, looking towards the further end of the boat, where, on a couch of straw, lay the emaciated form of a middle-aged man. “Put down your pistol, friend; my presence here is simply owing to the fact that I heard you groan, and I would relieve your distress, if it is in my power.”
“You are the first that has said so since I lay down here,” sighed the man, falling back heavily.
Ned entered, and, advancing as well as he could in a stooping posture, sat down beside the sick man’s pallet, and felt his pulse. Then he looked anxiously in his face, on which the hand of death was visibly placed.
“My poor fellow!” said Ned, in a soothing tone, “you are very ill, I fear. Have you no one to look after you?”
“Ill!” replied the sick man, almost fiercely, “I am dying. I have seen death too often, and know it too well, to be mistaken.” His voice sank to a whisper as he added, “It is not far off now.”
For a few seconds Ned could not make up his mind what to say. He felt unwilling to disturb the last moments of the man. At last he leaned forward, and repeated from memory several of the most consoling passages of Scripture. Twice over he said, “Though thy sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as wool,” and, “Him that cometh unto Me, (Christ), I will in no wise cast out.”
The man appeared to listen, but made no reply. Suddenly he started up, and, leaning on his elbow, looked with an awfully earnest stare into Ned’s face.
“Young man, gold is good—gold is good—remember that, if you don’t make it your god.”
After a pause, he continued, “I made it my god. I toiled for it night and day, in heat and cold, wet and dry. I gave up everything for it; I spent all my time in search of it—and I got it—and what good can it do me now? I have spent night and day here for weeks, threatening to shoot any one who should come near my gold—Ha!” he added, sharply, observing that his visitor glanced round the apartment, “you’ll not find it here. No, look, look round, peer into every corner, tear up every plank of my boat, and you’ll find nothing but rotten wood, and dust, and rusty nails.”
“Be calm, my friend,” said Ned, who now believed that the poor man’s mind was wandering, “I don’t want your gold; I wish to comfort you, if I can. Would you like me to do anything for you after—”
“After I’m dead,” said the man, abruptly. “No, nothing. I have no relations—no friends—no enemies, even, now. Yes,” he added, quickly, “I have one friend. You are my friend. You have spoken kindly to me—a beggar. You deserve the name of friend. Listen, I want you to be my heir. See here, I have had my will drawn up long ago, with the place for the name left blank I had intended—but no matter—what is your name?”
“Edward Sinton.”
“Here, hand me that ink-horn, and the pen. There,” continued the man, pushing the paper towards him, “I have made over to you the old boat, and the ground it lies on. Both are mine. The piece of ground is marked off by four posts. Take care of the—”
The man’s voice sank to a mere whisper; then it ceased suddenly. When Ned looked at him again, he started, for the cold hand of death had sealed his lips for ever.
A feeling of deep, intense pity filled the youth’s heart, as he gazed on the emaciated form of this friendless man—yet he experienced a sensation approaching almost to gladness, when he remembered that the last words he had spoken to him were those of our blessed Saviour to the chief of sinners.
Spreading the ragged piece of canvas that formed a quilt over the dead man’s face, he rose, and left the strange dwelling, the entrance to which he secured, and then hastened to give information of the death to the proper authorities.
Ned was an hour too late for dinner when he arrived at the hotel, where he found Captain Bunting and his new friend awaiting him in some anxiety. Hastily informing them of the cause of his detention, he introduced them to each other, and forgot for a time the scene of death he had just witnessed, in talking over plans for the future, and in making arrangements for a trip to the diggings.

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