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Uaole Merlwetber nerec liked Eaitaoe, Henaver did him jasHoe from the fee« ginning, end when be' beard thit 1 wm ao nal y engaged to him he spoke In saoh a way that I d-nlared I wonld not en* dire it* " I am old enough, I hope, to chooM for myself," laid I, " 1 don't know about that, Patty," ■aid n y aroir, shrugging bli ■honlden. Bu f . I rmealned to bear no more, t fl ounoed bsok lato the home, slamming the door In Uoole Meriwether'i honeit t epeotaoled faoa and banting into tean v soon at I reached the sitting-room. " It's a ehame," laid my sister Klipeth. 11 Don't ory Patty. I'm sure the whole matter la transparent enough. Undo Merlwetber wouldn't be so domineering about it if he did not want yon to many ! Paul." "I wouldn't marry Paul Meriwether if there wasn't another man m the world," said I viciously, "And I'll marry Eastaoo Delzell anyhow, now. Uncle Meriwether says he don't know anything abont him, bnt I'm sure we know enough." . ; I That was a falee assertion on my part* I 1 only knew of my handsome fiancee what, he himielf had chosen to tell me— namely ! that he was a London engineer, staying dowo at Wraysgeld a few weeks for big health. And his friend, Mr Balfield, wti a stockbroker, Oh. how I wish Mr Bel* field might take a f anoy to Elspeth. it would be so nice to be married at the same time— to go together and live m London. We lived together m the lonely old brick hrtue' on the edge of the moor, so that I was very glad when Olive Oately o«oae down from Blooheiter to visit as, and brought her wedding tet of diamonds to show. Elspeth Bn<3 I, looked with awe and admiration at the ppark leg gems—neoklaoe, earrings, and brotoh. " Are t hay very valuable ?" I asked. " Six hundred pounds, I believe," said Olive, oomplaoently. "They belonged to Heibert's mother, and they are to bt re-set before I wear them." But just then Elspeth gave a start and turned aoarlet, and, following the dlreo*. tloxi of her eye, I turned acd beheld Eustace D«izall standing smiling In tht doorway, with his hat In his hand. ■ Somehow, the diamonds made me nervous, and I ooald not help, In the oourse of the evening, confiding my Yagut) terrors to Eustace: But Eustace laughed at me, and madt light of my fears. Eustace Dftlzsll was borne eirilei than usual that night In my perturbation I had almost resolved to ask him to remain all eight, a self-oonstitated guardian of our treasures, bat I did not ventareto do so ; and so, at ten o'olook, we three girls, with Dinah In the kitchen, were left to ourselves. I had Intended to lie awake all night, but I must have fallen into a light doe* without being aware of it, for theolook was striking twelve when I started up at the loud peal of tho door bell below. Olive was at my side m an instant. Elspeth had her arm around me, and even Dinah hobbled m with a flaring lamp m her hand. " Go to the door, dome of yon," I cried, hysterically. "Ask who it is. Ask what tbey want," And while Olive, Elspeth, and the old attendant obeyed my behest, I hurriedly threw on my white dressing gown ana went to the head of the stairs to listen; for I felt m an emergency like this soma one ought to keep olobo to the diamonds; " There is no one here," I heard Elspeth say, after the bolts and bars of the front door were withdrawn. " Yes, there is. I hear some on* groaning at the other end of the verandah," persisted Dinah. " Oh, dear, the draught has blown out my candle. This way, Mvi Oatley, please— l'm afraid there's been ao aooident or something." The next minute the heavy oaken door blew abut with a bang. It was self* fastening on the inside. I was all alone m the house, A rustle under the vines that draped the north side of the home, a low whistle, and I could hear a voloe saying In inn- . pressed aocents— 11 They're safe enough outside, all three of 'em. Now's your time. Qalok 1" It all flashed upon my mind m a seoond —the sturdy boughs of the wistaria, *hloh afforded «o easy a ladder for an aspirin! burglar to reaoh Olive's window, the open oaaement, the diamonds lying underneath her pillow. My woHfc fear* had oome true, and, seizing the six- . barrelled pistol, I rushed into the loom juit m time to tea a tall figure with ft mask over Its faoe spring In at the window and steal with oat-lLko motion across tht | room. An his hand lay on the tiny canvas bag containing the preoions jewels, I raised the pistol and fired. At the same moment a muttered oath, mingled with a ory, sounded m my sirs, and the sound of something fajllog shook the beams of tbt floor . . I am not one of the fainting kind, bat for a minute or two I stood motionless. Then, springing downstairs, I admitted the three eager women, who were huddled ' at the door. " I've ahot him ! I've killed him," was all that I could say. "Run upstairs. Dinah, and Bee if r if he is dead." Bnt Dinah would not go alone, so we all hurried up In a crowd, and there, halfsitting, half-lying, against the bed post^ with the oanvas bag fallen to the floor beside him, and a red pool of blood under his right shoulder blade, was— Eostace Dalzall. Of oourse we went for help to the nearest neighbors ; and of oourse w* delivered my gallant lover, who waß not fatally injured, over to the police, by whom he was recognised as an old jailbird, luxuriating m a new name.

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THE DIAMONDS, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2139, 20 May 1889

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THE DIAMONDS Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2139, 20 May 1889

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