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a sudden thought struck him. he put on his fur coat and hat and went out into the hall. there he paused, hearing the slow heavy tread of the policeman on the pavement outside and seeing the flash of the bulls-eye reflected in the window. he waited and held his breath.
"i should have thought they had got tired of that by this time," said dorian, pouring himself out some wine and frowning slightly.
jim frowned from time to time when he caught the inquisitive glance of some stranger. he had that dislike of being stared at, which comes on geniuses late in life and never leaves the commonplace. sibyl, however, was quite unconscious of the effect she was producing. her love was trembling in laughter on her lips. she was thinking of prince charming, and, that she might think of him all the more, she did not talk of him, but prattled on about the ship in which jim was going to sail, about the gold he was certain to find, about the wonderful heiress whose life he was to save from the wicked, red-shirted bushrangers. for he was not to remain a sailor, or a supercargo, or whatever he was going to be. oh, no! a sailors existence was dreadful. fancy being cooped up in a horrid ship, with the hoarse, hump-backed waves trying to get in, and a black wind blowing the masts down and tearing the sails into long screaming ribands! he was to leave the vessel at melbourne, bid a polite good-bye to the captain, and go off at once to the gold-fields. before a week was over he was to come across a large nugget of pure gold, the largest nugget that had ever been discovered, and bring it down to the coast in a waggon guarded by six mounted policemen. the bushrangers were to attack them three times, and be defeated with immense slaughter. or, no. he was not to go to the gold-fields at all. they were horrid places, where men got intoxicated, and shot each other in bar-rooms, and used bad language. he was to be a nice sheep-farmer, and one evening, as he was riding home, he was to see the beautiful heiress being carried off by a robber on a black horse, and give chase, and rescue her. of course, she would fall in love with him, and he with her, and they would get married, and come home, and live in an immense house in london. yes, there were delightful things in store for him. but he must be very good, and not lose his temper, or spend his money foolishly. she was only a year older than he was, but she knew so much more of life. he must be sure, also, to write to her by every mail, and to say his prayers each night before he went to sleep. god was very good, and would watch over him. she would pray for him, too, and in a few years he would come back quite rich and happy.
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