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declared. "Tell him all about it before he sees me, and I'll wager he never even notices that I am in the party-for I won't be left behind. I must be in at the death!" "Very well.

We shall have to risk it," I agreed. "You ean wait outside while I tell the tale indoors. I shall try to send Marigold out to you, and perhaps, as you say, the Laird will be too preoccupied to notice."

With that we started off down the slope of the hill, running hand-in-hand through the heather, risking broken

ankles in our pure high spirits and joy in life.

If I have dwelt over-long upon this scene upon the hilltop, it must be borne in mind that it W&8 the happiest moment that I had known in my life, and, moreover, that my new understanding with Betty was inextricably mingled with the reading of the little pictures. The one could not be told without the other, and after all, what need to apologise for lingering over a pleasant passage in a tale wherein so much is gloomy and where tragedy looms so near ahead.


It seemed almost as though fate had arranged the scene and the players in anticipation of my reading of the little piotures, for as we approached Hopeton we saw Roy's small two-seater standing outside, and in the dining-room, after leaving Betty in the garden, I found the whole family-Roy and his wife included-seated at the tea-table.

"I have solved the cipher!" I declared baldly as I entered. "Dear, dear, dear! I knew you were the little winner," cried Morgan, and he jumped up from his seat to shake my hand warmly.

My disclosure was almost too much for Laird Tanish. He too started up from his ohair, his face suffused with blood, and his eyes staring at me wildly. "You've

solved-it!" he


stammered word by word. Then, as the idea grew more familiar to him, his seattered senses returned. "Wonderful, Seaton, wonderful," he claimed, "But I always thought you would do it"and rubbing his hands gleefully, he burst into a fit of his loud laughter.

They were all excited by my news. Marigold was silent, but I saw her glance at Jabez Morgan in a way that could not be mistaken, and she gave me a quick look of thanks that was equally easy to read. Her brother Roy was boyishly enthusiastic. Nothing would serve him but that we must find the treasure that very night.

"Is it near here, Doctor?" he demanded. "I shall never sleep until we know the value of it."

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"That's the boy for me!" pleasure. The others—with bellowed his father, clapping the exception of Marie, who still sat in her place, attentive, but silent and cold-were gathered around me sorutinising the little pictures.

him on the shoulder vigorously. "He wants to feel the golden guineas trickling through his fingers! Ha, ha, ha!"

Roy's wife showed less interest than any one in my declaration. She had glanced up quickly at me when first I spoke, with a queer contemptuous look in her sidelong eyes, but she spoke no word, and I wondered if she was in truth annoyed that her prophecy of my failure had been proved untrue. Now, whilst the others talked, she remained calm and observant, watching the Laird and Roy with quick glances that missed nothing.

As soon as the excitement of my disclosure had calmed down I produced the little pictures, and once again read the directions hidden within them, and explained the symbols one by one.

"Dear, dear! You're some sleuth, Seaton," exclaimed Morgan when I had finished my exposition. "Yet the thing is so simple once you know it, that I could kick myself for being such a mutt. Well, well, Squire, your dream is coming true at last-and ours too, Marigold!"

Marigold blushed and lowered her eyes, but I saw her press Morgan's hand as it lay near hers upon the table.

The meal that was in progress was completely forgotten. The Laird was walking up and down or wandering round the table, rubbing his hands and giving vent to sudden ejaculations of astonishment and

"But we are wasting time!" exelaimed Roy suddenly, starting up from his inspection of the cipher. "We can study the ingenuity of this at our leisure. The great thing now is to find the treasure. Father, what do you think? There is plenty of time before dark." "Yes, yes,"

yes," answered the Laird. "Let us have the climax to-night. Ha, ha, Seaton, you are a pleased man this day, eh? And you, Morgan, eh? All your plans coming to a head! Yes, yes, Roy, my lad. Faney you and Marie living so close to all the family wealth and never guessing it. Ha, ha, ha! It's rich, that, rioh."

"We'll want a couple of spades and a pick," said the practical Roy. "Come along, Morgan, let us find them."

Then Marie spoke for the first time.

"Hold, Roy!" she said, looking up curiously at her husband. "Is it not that this money is under our land?"

"If Dr Seaton is right in his reading of the cipher, it is," replied Roy. "But what has that get to do with it? We are all in league together to find the treasure. When it is found it will be time enough to think about the division of the spoil."

Marie drooped her eyes. I could have sworn that a shade of disappointment orossed her

face. It was as if she had wished to cause discord, and had failed. Laird Tanish heartily seconded his son's words.

"Ay, ay, Roy," he said. "Time enough when the gold is unearthed. Don't you worry about whom it belongs to, Marie, my lass."

Morgan and Roy went off to find the necessary tools. The rest of us were making towards the door to prepare for the excursion when I noticed that Roy's wife made no effort to join us.

"Are you not coming with us, Mrs Tanish?" I asked.

"But why?" she said with a slight shrug of the shoulders. "If it is that you find the money, you will bring it here. If there is nothing-I shall be saved the pain."

Laird Tanish looked at his daughter-in-law with an expression that that I could not fathom. Then, going behind her chair, he placed his hand on her shoulder, bent over her, and murmured some words in her ear.

Marie shook her head slightly. "I am fatigued. I shall await you here," she said.

For a moment the Laird looked as if he would pursue his usual course when crossed, and burst into a violent fit of rage. He controlled himself, however, with an obvious effort, and accepted Marie's refusal calmly.

"Very well, have it your own way," he said. "But you're going to miss a most exciting hour."

"But yes! That is why it


is that I stay," replied Marie calmly. "I do not wish for your excitement-it might be too strong for me."

So we left her there at Hopeton, sitting at the teatable with her cold face as inscrutable as marble, her fingers idly crumbling a fragment of bread.

I had forgotten-even if I had had the opportunity-to warn Marigold that Betty was waiting for us outside. The Laird saw her as soon as we came out. His face darkened, and again I feared a scene.

"And what might the dootor's daughter be wanting at Hopeton?" he demanded, looking at her with set face and lowered brows.

I felt it was up to me to take the brunt, if the outburst had to come.

"Miss Forbes is my promised wife," I said boldly. "What I know, she knows, and she is naturally interested in the sequel."

"So, Seaton! You've been treasure-hunting on your own, eh? Ha, ha! Let her come! Let her come! The more the merrier!"

At that moment Roy and Morgan appeared with the necessary tools, and nothing further was said of Betty's presence.

I looked at my watch as we set out for Blackdykes. It was just after half-past five, but the daylight is long in Scotland in July, and I thought we should have plenty of time for all that was to be done. little guessed what lay before us ere another day should dawn.

2 I


Roy and his father led the way. Morgan hung back to have a word with me.

"Congratulations, Seaton, my boy," he said, giving my arm a squeeze. "You are some sticker. Dear, dear, I had mighty near given up prospeoting for gold in this seotion. If it hadn't been for you we'd never have made good. Marigold has handed it out that you've acquired your own little prize-packet simultaneous. Gee! You are a lucky chap."

"So are you with Marigold," I answered, when I had thanked him for his words. "It is a great day."

"Yes," he agreed. "I shall claim Marigold as soon as the first dollar is turned up. So don't grudge your sweat when the digging begins, Seaton!"

It took us fully three-quarters of an hour to get to the wood upon the hillside, for though it was but two miles as the crow flies, it was considerably more by the paths across the country.

We walked in oouples. The Laird had called Morgan to him, and they took the lead. Roy and his sister followed, while Betty and I-who were, after all, only spectators — brought up the rear. We had fallen some little way behind the others by the time they reached the border of the wood, for we were intent upon our own talk, which was of an intimate and personal nature.

As the others disappeared amongst the fir trees we hurried forward, anxious to be present when the oairn was

reached. Before we got to the clearing, however, we realised that something was amiss.

The voice of Laird Tanish was raised in boisterous laughter,laughter that sounded-even to us who could not yet see his face-so unnatural and vicious that Betty instinctively caught my arm and clung to it.

We hurried into the clearing. In the middle of it stood the Laird, leaning upon the handle of a spade, his raucous laughter still ringing among the trees. The others stood silent, looking, with dismay written plain upon their faces, at the ground before them. As my eyes followed theirs, and I realised at what they gazed, my heart gave a jump within me, and then seemed to stop at the shock of my disappointment.

There was no cairn in the olearing!

All around amongst the grass lay the stones of which it had been constructed. The Laird, with his evil grin, stood upon the edge of a roughly dug hole, and around him lay the loose black mould that had been excavated.

Some one had been before us!

I recalled the night when I had received that crashing blow upen my orown from a spade in the hands of Laird Tanish. I had but to glance at the evil expression of triumph and hate that gave to his face the look of a devil, in order to know who that some one had been. Nor was I the only one who guessed the truth, for a moment after Betty and I entered the glade Morgan, who seemed the most collected of

the party, spoke in his usual quiet manner.

"Dear, dear, dear, Squire! So you've jumped the claim and oleared the dust! Well, well! You might have saved us the tramp by a little chinwagging before we set out."

"And lost the pleasure of seeing your mean little Yankee face drop!" bellowed the Laird, his laughter gone, and a look of concentrated cold hate changing his features almost beyond recognition. "Curse you-ourse you all! I've lived for this. If that would-be olever ass, Seaton, had not worried the thing out, I'd have found some means of getting you here, to enjoy the look of disappointment on your greedy faces. I got the best of you all. You, Morgan, that thought you held all the trumps, and refused my just demand. You, Roy, thief and blackguard as you are, who meanly stole my promised wife when I could not look after my own. Ha, ha, ha! You, at least, will squirm before I've done with you. My very daughter, Marigeld, intriguing behind my back with a paid servant, making clandestine appoint

ments with the very man I most hate. Oh, you're all of you in it-all of you, and every one of you has got te suffer for the part he has played."

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It was painful to listen to him, and even more so to watch his face. As he spoke of us in turn, each fresh phrase brought a deeper shade of hatred over his face, and if he had appeared a devil before he spoke, he was the very chief of the fiends ere he had finished.

"Now that I have you here," he continued, turning his eyes, bloodshot with rage, on each of us in turn, "Sit you down and listen to what I have to tell you. You shall hear what's come of the treasure and how you've each and all been beaten on the post. Sit you down."

None of us thought to disobey. For the moment we were under the spell of the evil face and raueous voice. Without a word we seated ourselves upon the grass, our eyes fixed upon the central figure, as he stood over the empty treasure-hole leaning on the spade, and eyeing us like some nightmare schoolmaster.

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