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      "Excuse me," she gasped, "I am a little mad today. My dear boy, I cannot go away, the thing is impossible. If you could only look into my heart--but nobody can do that. Oh, Gordon, Gordon!"

      "Take them," she said hoarsely; "take them and write me a receipt at once before I repent. Better do anything than come between a woman and her jewels. There, a glass of wine. To your speedy ruin and destruction."

      "Never mind that, we know too much about one another to say much. I'll open the door whilst you push the motor in. Quiet as the grave."It was dark when they reached the little hotel where they were to stay. It was kept by a German, who thought Pekin was an excellent place for a hotel, but would be better if more strangers would visit the city. His establishment was not large, and its facilities were not great, but they were quite sufficient for the wants of our friends, who were too tired to be particular about trifles. They took a hearty supper, and then went to bed to sleep away the fatigues of their journey.

      "Has Ned Ferry come?" was his first call. I shook my head. "Oh, thank God!" he cried with a wild gesture and sank low in the saddle; but instantly he roused again: "Oh, don't stop me, Smith; if I once stop I'm afraid I'll never get to her!"


      "I know it; I know I should! But it was only a dream, and--"


      Gholson brought the mulatress. In the feeble rays of an old tin lantern, on some gunny-sacking that lay about the gin-room floor, sat old Dismukes cross-legged and smiling, with arms folded and revolver dangling from his right hand, at full cock. On one side crouched Harry and I, on the other side Gholson and the slave woman. Facing him, half sat, half knelt Oliver, bound hand and foot, and gagged with his own knotted handkerchief. The lantern hung from a low beam just above his face; his eyes blazed across the short interval with the splendor of a hawk's. The dread issue of the hour seemed all at once to have taken from his outward aspect the baser signs of his habits and crimes, and I saw large extenuation for Charlotte's great mistake. From the big Colonel's face, too, the heaviness of drink was gone, and its smile grew almost fine as he spoke.


      But the authorities at the bank regarded them as grave defects in his character.CHAPTER XIII. SECOND SIGHT.