Imatges de pÓgina

-why were the letters printed in red, why I time for his interview with Mrs. Bendixen -Steady! Now his head was reeling, and on the pier, and afterwards get some reunless he could put more control over him- freshment at a third-rate tavern. self he was lost.

Three hours at least must elapse before He steadied himself with an effort, Mrs. Bendixen could arrive at Dover, even walked to the stall and purchased a news- if she rose immediately on the receipt of the paper, which he placed in his pocket, and letter, and started by the next train : three hurried to the train. There was no diffi- long hours to be got through somehow. culty in securing a first-class carriage to Under other circumstances he could have himself, and bidding the guard lock the employed them well enough; he could door, he threw himself into a seat, and have found friends staying at the hotels, drawing his travelling-cap over his eyes, could have watched the arrival and deburied his face in the upturned collar of parture of the boats, or amused himself in his coat, and did not move until the train many other ways. But now he must was fairly in motion; then he took the keep out of the chance of observation, and paper from his pocket, shook it open with notwithstanding the comparative security trembling hands, and soon read as follows: which he felt since reading the newspaper

** Murder at Springside (by telegraph). - paragraph, that horrible scene kept ever Sir Geoffry Heriot, K.C.B., was murdered rising before his mind. He walked out to last night at his residence, Wheatcroft, near River—a pretty little village in the neighthis city. The person apprehended and bourhood, which he recollected visiting charged with the commission of the crime with a pleasant party years before. Back into is a discarded son of the deceased gentle Dover, and on to the heights, whence he saw man, who, it is stated, has been heard to a light thin vapour, like a filmy veil, rise vow vengeance against his father. Circum- from the surface of the sea, and gradually stantial evidence against him is very strong. approach the town, which it finally enGreatest excitement prevails in the city wrapped, completely hiding it from his and the neighbourhood.”

view. Back into the town again, where "My luck again !" cried Vane. “The the streets were tolerably empty, the proarrest of this man gives me another menaders having been driven in by the twenty-four hours to the good, and when damp mist. There was a small knot, howI have once seen Esther, and arranged ever, collected before a window in the with her to join me abroad, I may snap High-street. Philip Vane, looking up, saw my fingers at them. • The

person appre- that it was a newspaper office, and that the hended and charged with the commission people were reading copies of the latest of the crime;' by Jove, then, Madge must telegrams, written on flimsy paper, and be loyal to me after all, or she would have stuck in the window. There were two or denonnced me at once, and never have three slips side by side : mechanically he allowed this man—whoever he may be- ran his eye over them—the state of the to be taken into custody.”

money-market and the price of stocks, the He threw the paper down, and for the dissolution of the Spanish Cortes, the rerest of the journey remained buried in signation of the Austrian Premier, the verthought. The train loitered along, stopping dict and damages in a breach-of-promise at every little station, where porters came case. What is this on the last sheet, which up and roared unintelligibly, where jolly evidently has the greatest attraction for the Kentish yeomen, and red-cheeked Kentish bystanders ? Philip Vane pushes among lasses, looked in through the window at them and reads : the solitary traveller, muffled in his wraps, “ The Springside Murder. - Strong

" who never looked up or took heed of rumours are preralent of testimony conaught that was passing around him. Nowclusive as to the innocence of accused. Mr. Folkestone, and the sea, calm, and smooth, L. Moss is here, engaged for the defence. and placid as a lake, with the sun, a The housekeeper has recovered, and will great red globe of fire, shining down give evidence.' upon it. Now Dover, and Philip Vane has As Philip Vane's eyes lighted on these his portmanteau taken to the cloak-room ; last words, the writing became indistinct ; for he has decided, as he cannot cross over he reeled heavily to one side, and would till the right boat, and as it is essential that have fallen, but for the strong arm of a he should not be seen at the Lord Warden, friendly boatman, who caught hold of him, or any other of the places in the town where propped him up, and asked him what he is known, he must loiter about until the was the matter. Philip Vane muttered


[ocr errors]


something, that he was not well, that the been given into custody unknown to her. mist had affected him.

“Would give evidence !” That, connected “No harm in that, master,” said the with the rumours of testimony to establish boatman, “it is but a sea fog; gets down the innocence of the accused, means tbat your throat and makes all damp and un- Madge will state what she saw, and give comfortable, but no real harm in it. Coming the name of the man whom she recognised on thick though now, ain't it? Won't as the murderer. No time to be lost, then. be able to see your hands before your face This interview with Esther Bendixen once soon--getting pitch dark, that it is; and rightly settled—What's that? a block of yet belike threc inile out at sea it is as stone, an iron crane, a windlass and clear as noon-day:

gently now, this must be the end of the “Let us clear it out of our throats with pier where the works are yet in progress. a dram,” said Vane, for he felt the necessity Dark just here ; let him creep along the of some such support; and he and the boat- side of the wall, let him—the next instant man went into the nearest tavern, and he had caught his foot and stumbled, and swallowed each a glass of brandy. was fighting with the calm placid water

When they came out the boatman bade below. He was a swimmer, and coming his companion good-day, avowing that the to the surface again, had but little fear; darkness of the fog had spoiled any chance three strokes brought him to the great of his getting a job, and that he should go wall of masonry sunk in the sea, but it home; while Vane made his way towards was cold, and smooth, and slippery with the pier. In the broad open space before shining weed, which broke away under him, just by the commencement of the his hands. No chance for hand-hold or pier, the air was lighter, and it seemed as foot-hold either, no power of seeing more though the mist were clearing off; this than half a dozen feet in front of him. He effect, however, was but momentary, and shouted, but his voice fell flat and muffled as Vane ascended the steps a black mass on the heavy air, and he knew that his of vapour, thicker and denser than ever, shouts could not be heard. He struggled came stealing silently from the sea like a again, but he was overweighted with his moving wall.

clothes, and his strength was failing. Let The half-dozen promenaders who had him keep his head now and make one more been tempted out again by the momentary trial; again the cold smooth wall and the gleam of sunshine, and were now hurry- trailing, yielding seaweed; then a convicing back, gazed with curiosity at the man tion of the impossibility of struggling much about to face such weather, and some of more, a few struggles, and one piercing the young ladies tittered as Philip passed. cry. Blacker and blacker still. He heard the rough voice of the coast-guardsman, ad

On March 16th, dressing him as “mate,” and bid him be

A SHORT SERIAL STORY will be commenced in careful how he stepped, but he could not

ALL THE YEAR ROUND, distinguish his frame. Below him he heard To be continued from week to week until completed, the voices of two or three sailors in the

entitled steamer alongside the pier, and could just LELGARDE'S INHERITANCE, make out the outline of her paddle-box

In Twelve Chapters, and her funnel ; still he pressed on.

BY TIB AUTHOR OF “ ABBOT'S POOL." “The housekeeper has recovered and will give evidence.” That must be Madge, he The Back Numbers of the PRESENT SERIES OF thought, that must be the position she was ALL THE YEAR ROUND, filling at Wheatcroft, that was how she

Also Cases for Binding, are always kept on sale. was brought into frequent communication with Drage, the parson. “Would recover

The whole of the Numbers of the FIRST SERIES of

ALL and give evidence." Recover! then she


CONDUCTED BY CHARLES DICKENS, must have been ill, or hurt, or frightened, and that was how the dead man's son had 26, Wellington-street, Strand, W.C., and of all Booksellers.

Are now in print, and may be obtained at the Office:

The Right of Translating Articles from All the Year Round is reserved by the Authors

Published at the Officc, 26, Wellington St., Strund, Printed by C. WHITING, Beaufort House, Duke Sin Lincoln's Ino Fields.

[ocr errors]


her master yet to do. But Simon still the air of Tobereevil. Tibbie would now refused thus to protect himself. It was like have failed to remember when aspiration tearing his soul from his body, the thought after the miser's money-bags had first of signing away with his own hand his struck root within her; but it was rank long-worshipped money-bags and wasted and strong, and could not now be torn

away, and it had crushed every other As for Tibbie, why she so wished to see passion of her nature. that will made might well have been a Whilst Tibbie was in the midst of her puzzle to any one. Con was as happy as a active operations, she was shocked by hear. fool could be, roaming about the country, ing a rumour that Paul Finiston was in fostered by everybody, and always pleased the country, and that very evening fell to with the variety and freedom of his life; stitching together the stuff which she had always coming back from each fresh ex- bought so cheap from the pedlar. Never pedition to sit at the feet of blooming before had she had the heart to bring it out, Nan Kearney, watching her blissfully as and now, as she hurried to her treasury and she wove her baskets, and crowing for joy drew forth the stuff which was sufficient at if she stopped to pat him on the head. least to cover her respectably, she cursed But this was not the way of life that her ill fortune which furnished her with only Tibbie had marked out for him. She was a web of cloth, at the moment when she willing enough that he should be fed about needed clothing ready made. However, the country, and that strangers should she hacked it with blunt scissors, and give him clothing out of pity, but she sewed it with a rusty needle; and though desired that he should keep close by the she lost a whole day over it, she was in miser of Tobereevil, that he should sing the end well bedight, and felt magnififor him, dance for him; so that, while she cent enough in her appearance to awe carried on her persecution, the fool might the whole mountain world. She washed be as a refuge to the wretched old man, her face in a somewhat superficial manner, who should turn to him for relief, and and further arraying herself in a mothperhaps do out of gratitude that which eaten cloak, little worn, but of ancient he refused to do from fear. Con hated date, departed on her search for news of Tobereevil, and had no use for money. Paul; having first looked in at the door Were he owner of all the miser's wealth it of Simon's den, and advised him to look would be hard to make him comprehend sharp after his keys, for she was just that such was the case; still harder to make stepping out at the risk of her life to him assume the rights of mastership, and watch some ill-looking characters whom Tibbie would certainly have all the power she had seen prowling about the place. in her own hands. What use would she Having thus provided for her master's make of her power, and how enjoy her comfort during her absence, she took her good fortune? A miserable creature clothed way to the mountains.

The Kearneys in rags, with her arms folded grimly, and would give her news, if any news were a dreary, dreamy look in her half-shut to be had. Their young gossoons were for eyes, she prowled about the old moulder- ever upon the foot. And as Con would ing mansion, listening to the groaning of very likely be found hovering about their the trees, and thinking about that huge place, so Con should be Tibbie's excuse for iron safe which was built up in the wall coming panting up the hills. somewhere, and of which she was deter- Much amazed were the young Kearneys mined one day to have the key. When to see Tibbie on the mountain; even more Tibbie came to Tobereevil long ago she so than they had been to see Con arriving

a respectable poor woman, seeking amongst them upon the shoulders of a for help for her little nephew, and bad gentleman. Very few in the country knew travelled a long way to bring him under a great deal about Tibbie. The mother of the notice of his kinsman. When she pre- the Kearneys had never seen her before, so sented herself at Tobereevil her utmost that the gossoons had to whisper her: ambition had been a cottage, rent free, and “Mother, mother! it is the miser's Black a small pension or dole of clothing for little Cat!". Con. These denied, she accepted the per- “I don't see no cat wid the good woman," mission to shelter herself in the kitchen said Mrs. Kearney. Only our own poor of the mansion, and to pick up scanty food pussy goin' to meet her on the brae." as remuneration for her services in the The gossoons laughed in chorus, and house. But it seemed that greed was in plucked at their mother's skirts. They


[ocr errors]

cried that the world was coming to an end, till her fury amounted to madness, but for the Black Cat had got a gown! beyond the reach of her own voice this

Whist, will ye !" said Nan. " It's creature could make no sign. All Tibbie's Tibbie from Tobereevil.”

hope was this: that the wind might blow a Then the house-mother crossed herself great storm, and tear up many trees by the and went out to meet the guest, expecting roots, so that Simon should have to write some new message of cruelty from the land- to his agent to come and look to the timber. lord. But Tibbie had been busy manufac- If the Wicked Woods refused to help her, turing a smile, as she climbed


the moun- then was she surely lost indeed. But just tain all the way from her own door. And at this time the winds were lighter than she now hung out her smile, which, though usual, and the trees stood safe. a little pinched and darkling, was the best Tibbie desisted a little from railing at she could produce.

her master, and unable to stay within doors “Och, och! I'm tired wid yer moun- from impatience, went out into the woods tains," said Tibbie. “ An' I ax parding, and mumbled her threats and desires to Mrs. Kearney, for lookin' the faviour of a the grim oaks. She puffed her puny breath sate to dhraw my breath. I'm sarchin' wid into the face of the grey heavens, and anxiety for that poor foolish boy o' mine, waved her lean arms, and called on the an' I thought I knowed where to look for winds to get up and bestir themselves. Con, him whin I took the road to yer house." who had unwillingly, and through fear,

"Oh, ay!” said the house-mother, ready accompanied her from the mountain, sat to laugh with relief, finding that only Con in the branches above her, and grinned at was demanded of her instead of an extra her wrath, and pelted her with acorns. At pound of rent. “'Deed it's little out o' last the storm answered her challenge, and this he's been since the night he hurt his came down with fury. foot, an' young Misther Finiston hissel Simon bad heard many a storm, but he carried him here to us on his shouldhers." shuddered at this one. The old house shook

" Anan!” said Tibbie. “ An’ who is and groaned, pieces of its roof fell in, and young Misther Finiston ?”

some of its walls were broken. Down came “Yer masther's nephew, Misther Paul, scores of the trees, crashing and creakan’ no other,” said Mrs. Kearney, who was ing, and making a thunder of their own not very sorry to see the old woman's amidst the noise that was abroad. Tibbie chagrin. “ An' a gran', an'a kind, an'a croaked for joy when she saw the fallen beautiful young gintleman he is; and the giants lying prone in the thickets, and she fine man to be over us some day, plase the purred over Con as he set off for the Lord ! But come in an' take a rest to nearest posting village with Simon's letter yersel' an'an air o' the fire; an’if ye'll ate to the agent. The agent grumbled to hima couple o' pratees, I'll have them roasted self as he obeyed the summons, for Tobein a crack !!

reevil was not a pleasant place on a winter's Tibbie smothered her wrath and went into day. the Kearneys' cabin, and did not go down Arriving there, however, he got such a the mountain again till she was assured welcome as he had never got before. Tibbie, that her enemy was indeed in the country to propitiate him, had prepared a room for as she had heard, and that he had been him in the under-ground story, in a part recognised among the people as the miser's of the house which was quite out of the heir.

way of old Simon's tottering steps. Here

she had built a roaring fire to keep out the CHAPTER XXIV. THE BLACK CAT MAKES

cold, and served up a fine roasted pullet, A SPRING.

which she had procured with some difNow the great desire of Tibbie's soul ficulty from a neighbouring farm. Here, was, that the agent should at once make too, she laid her plan before the lawyer: his

appearance at Tobereevil. A bold which was to draw up a will as he and she move must be made, and ignorant Tibbie should please, and procure Simon's sighad already done everything in her cause nature to it on pretence that it was a writ that her unaided powers could do. She of ejectment for one of his tenants, for could devise new plans even now in her whose holding the lawyer had found a brain, but she needed the lawyer's help to better tenant. Simon must be got to sign carry them out. Tibbie, who could neither the paper without reading its contents. read nor write, stood at the mercy of Fate. The plan was a daripg one, but was proShe might chafe in ber wretched kitchen nounced worth the trial.

« AnteriorContinua »