The Gully of Bluemansdyke
Thanakorn Papan
1.0 1.3mb




Author of "Micah Clarke," "The White Company," "The
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes," &c.


Broadhurst's store was closed, but the little back room looked very comfortable that night. The fire cast a ruddy glow on ceiling and walls, reflecting itself cheerily on the polished flasks and shot-guns which adorned them. Yet a gloom rested on the two men who sat at either side of the hearth, which neither the fire nor the black bottle upon the table could alleviate.

"Twelve o'clock," said old Tom, the storeman glancing up at the wooden timepiece which had come out with him in '42. "It's a queer thing, George, they haven't come."

"It's a dirty night," said his companion, reaching out his arm for a plug of tobacco. "The Wawirra's in flood, maybe; or maybe their horses[Pg 8] is broke down; or they've put it off, perhaps. Great Lord, how it thunders! Pass us over a coal, Tom."

He spoke in a tone which was meant to appear easy, but with a painful thrill in it which was not lost upon his mate. He glanced uneasily at him from under his grizzled eyebrows.

"You think it's all right, George?" he said, after a pause.

"Think what's all right?"

"Why, that the lads are safe."

"Safe! Of course they're safe. What the devil is to harm them?"

"Oh, nothing; nothing, to be sure," said old Tom. "You see, George, since the old woman died, Maurice has been all to me; and it makes me kinder anxious. It's a week since they started from the mine, and you'd ha' thought they'd be here now. But it's nothing unusual, I s'pose; nothing at all. Just my darned folly."

"What's to harm them?" repeated George Hutton again, arguing to convince himself rather than his comrade. "It's a straight road

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