Page:Oliver Spence.djvu/19

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hero, the fire of genius flashed from his eyes, while his broad massive brow stamped him as a thinker, and his well-defined nose indicated that, he possessed sufficient force of character to enable him to carry his thoughts into execution.

With the aid of a little water from a neighbouring fountain, our heroine was quickly restored to consciousness, and on seeing that the roysterers had actually taken their departure, she looked languishingly at her lover and said:

"Are you then safe, my own dear Oliver?"

"Yes, safe, and what is more, victorious, my darling Mary: Take heart, dear love, for to-day our oppressors have received a terrible blow, and I have been placed in the position whereby I am entrusted with power, great power, power to carve out for Australia a great place among the nations of the world, and to render my name illustrious as a wise lawgiver and beneficent ruler"

On hearing these words from her loved one, Mary's bright hazel eyes looked the pride which she felt. As the lovers stood there in the moonlight, they looked a well-matched pair, he with his determined eagle-eyes and noble bearing, she with her fine form's graceful poise, which, with the sweetness of her face with its finely chiselled nose and dazzling white teeth, and her well-shaped head with its glorious crown of luxuriant brown hair, seemed to obtain added beauty and regal dignity from the pleasure with which she was filled by Oliver's words.

Mary pressed the hand of her lover, and walked slowly by his side, conversing with him in the language of lovers; and so absorbed in each other did Oliver and Mary become, that they failed to observe the actions of two ruffianly-looking men, who, keeping in the shadow of the houses, crept silently nearer and nearer to the amorous couple. They were armed with long sharp knives, and they carried them unsheathed in their hands.

Suddenly, with an oath, the bravos sprang upon the couple, and, felling Mary to the ground with a crushing blow, they turned their attention to Oliver, who, having been taken entirely by surprise, might have been there and then deprived of his life, had it not been or his great natural agility and enormous physical strength. Seizing the dagger of one of his would-be assassins, he wrenched it from his hand, and stabbed him to the heart. The bravo fell weltering in his gore and expired without a groan. Oliver then turned his attention to his other assailant, who, though somewhat unnerved by the fate of his companion, showed himself no mean antagonist, and proved himself a master of the art of wrestling, and a match for the man whose life he had determined to take. Oliver gripped the wrist of the hand which held his opponent's dagger, but found his own hand also held in a vice-like grip. The two powerful men swayed to and fro in each other's grasp, each thirsting for the blood of the other. Their veins stood out like whip-cord, and their breaths came hot, short and quick. Every trick known to the professional wrestler was in vain tried by Oliver, and he had almost begun to despair of success and to resign himself to his fate when Mary, who had recovered from the blow she had received, picked up