‘Yes, I did,’ she replied, defiantly; ’if you push me to extremities, you must take the consequences.’
‘It will be the worse for you,’ he said, threateningly, as the carriage drove up.
‘I’m not afraid of you,’ she retorted, shrugging her shoulders, a trick she had learned from him; ’you have ruined my life, but I’m not going to let you ruin Madame’s. I’d sooner see her dead than in your arms.’
‘Remember, I have warned you,’ he said, gravely, handing her to the carriage. ‘Good night!’
‘Good night!’ she answered, mockingly; ‘and to-morrow,’ in a low voice, ‘you will be astonished.’
‘And to-morrow,’ he said to himself, as the carriage drove off, ’you will be dead.’
THE VISION OF MISS KITTY MARCHURST
Everyone knows the story of Damocles, and how uncomfortable he felt with the sword suspended by a hair over his head. No one could enjoy their dinner under such circumstances, and it is much to be thankful for that hosts of the present day do not indulge in these practical jokes. But though history does not repeat itself exactly regarding the suspended sword, yet there are cases when a sense of impending misfortune has the same effect on the spirits. This was the case of Madame Midas. She was not by any means of a nervous temperature, yet ever since the disappearance of her husband she was a prey to a secret dread, which, reacting on her nerves, rendered her miserable. Had Mr Villiers only appeared, she would have known how to deal with him, and done so promptly, but it was his absence that made her afraid. Was he dead? If so, why was his body not found; if he was not dead, why did he not reappear on the scene. Allowing, for the sake of argument, that he had stolen the nugget and left the colony in order to enjoy the fruits of his villainy—well, the nugget weighed about three hundred ounces—and that if he disposed of it, as he must have done, it would give him a sum of money a little over one thousand pounds. True, his possession of such a large mass of gold would awake suspicions in the mind of anyone he went to; but then, there were people who were always ready to do shady things, provided they were well paid. So whomsoever he went to would levy blackmail on him on threat of informing the police and having him arrested. Therefore, the most feasible thing would be that he had got about half of the value of the nugget, which would be about six hundred pounds. Say that he did so, a whole year had elapsed, and Madame Midas knew her husband well enough to know that six hundred pounds would soon slip through his fingers, so at the present time he must once more be penniless. If he was, why did he not come back to her and demand more money now she was rich? Even had he gone to a distant place, he would always have kept enough money to pay his way back to Victoria, so that he could wring money out of her. It was this unpleasant