One night he was dozing by his camp-fire, when he was awakened roughly by strong arms around his neck and Jasper’s hot breath in his ear.
“At last!” cried Jasper, and, knocking Richard heavily on the head with a boot, he picked up his unconscious enemy and carried him to a tributary of the Amazon noted for its alligators. Once there he tied him to a post in mid-stream and rode hastily off to the nearest town, where he spent the evening witnessing the first half of “The Merchant of Venice.” [Manager. Splendid!] But in the morning a surprise awaited him. As he was proceeding along the top of a lonely cliff he was confronted suddenly by the enemy whom he had thought to kill.
“Richard!” he cried, “escaped again!”
“Now, Jasper, I have you.”
With a triumphant cry they rushed at each other; a terrible contest ensued; and then Jasper, with one blow of his palm, hurled his adversary over the precipice.
How many times the two made an end of each other after this the pictures will show. Sometimes Jasper sealed Richard in a barrel and pushed him over Niagara; sometimes Richard tied Jasper to a stake and set light to him; sometimes they would both fall out of a balloon together. But the day of reckoning was at hand.
[Manager. We’ve only got the Burning House and the 1913 Derby left.
It is the evening of the 3rd of June. A cry rends the air suddenly, whistles are blowing, there is a rattling of horses’ hoofs. “Fire! Fire!” Richard, who was passing Soho Square at the time, heard the cry and dashed into the burning house. In a room full of smoke he perceived a cowering woman. Hyacinth! To pick her up was the work of a moment, but how shall he save her? Stay! The telegraph wire! His training at the Royal Circus stood him in good stead. Treading lightly on the swaying wire he carried Hyacinth across to the house opposite.
“At last, my love,” he breathed.
“But the papers,” she cried. “You must get them, or father will not let you marry me.”
Once more he treads the rocking wire; once more he re-crosses, with the papers on his back. Then the house behind him crumbles to the ground, with the wicked Jasper in its ruins....
“Excellent,” said Mr. Bellingham at dinner that evening. “Not only are the papers here, but a full confession by Jasper. My first wife was drowned all the time; he stole the documents from her father. Richard, my boy, when the Home Secretary knows everything he will give you a free pardon. And then you can marry my daughter.”
At these words Hyacinth and Richard were locked in a close embrace. On the next day they all went to the Derby together.
THE FATAL GIFT
People say to me sometimes, “Oh, you know Woolman, don’t you?” I acknowledge that I do, and, after the silence that always ensues, I add, “If you want to say anything against him, please go on.” You can almost hear the sigh of relief that goes up. “I thought he was a friend of yours,” they say cheerfully. “But, of course, if—” and then they begin.