Imatges de pÓgina

When Philip Vane found that Sir Geoffry upon it duly sifted, suspicion rightly or Heriot, whom he had hitherto looked upon wrongly directed, and all the machinery of as likely to recover speedily from the attack justice for the detection and the arrest of made upon him, was actually dead, when the criminal set in motion. The problem the sudden thought shot through his brain of his fate would be solved by the next that he was a murderer, the shock was too four-and-twenty hours ; if before they had much for him, and, as we have seen, he passed away he could contrive-following fell senseless, coming to himself only to the route indicated by Delabole—to be well find that his crime was shrewdly suspected on the road to Bordeaux, with Spain, his by Delabole, and to hear the few short ultimate destination, almost within his bitter phrases in which his quondam ac- reach, he was saved. If not-what is complice severed the connexion between that noise in his ears, as of tumbling table them, and expressed his horror at the and smashing glass? There it all floats deed which had been committed. Raising before him again; the book-covered walls, himself on his arm, Vane made an im- the large easy-chair, the shaded lamp, and potent attempt to delay Mr. Delabole’s de- the fragile figure with the blood-stained parture, to implore him to be silent and brow. Will it never cease to haunt him? secret; but his voice failed him, and ere It fades—it has gone. he could renew the effort, he heard the Now he can bring himself once more to slamming of the door, and knew that he think what steps it is absolutely necessary was alone.

he should take at once. Money; he must Alone! and yet not alone. Rising to have money; and he must divest his mind his feet, and staggering to a chair, Philip of all this unreal fantasy, which from time Vane saw before him the pallid cheeks and to time surges up into it; he must shut blood-stained features of the old man; saw out that horrible vision, and must make use the eyes closing, and the thin wiry figure of that common sense on which he has slipping from his grasp; heard again the hitherto relied, and which has never yet moan, the last sound he had heard in that failed him when anything of real imaccursed place. He tried to shut it all out portance was to be brought about. Money, from him, but it rose persistently before where to get money for his immediate wants, his view. He started from his seat, and that must be his first determination. Now attempted to proceed with the packing of if he were only confident of his power over his portmanteau, but found himself ever Mrs. Bendixen, the course was clear. The and anon pausing in the midst of his work, time at which a clue to the identification and recalling some incident or occurrence of Sir Geoffry's murderer might be given of the previous twenty-four hours. The would depend entirely on Madge; and if mud on his trousers and boots, which De- he judged her rightly, he was tolerably labole had noticed-he must have got that safe in her hands. The recollection of the in crossing the plantation and the lawn. tie still existing between them; the reThe lawn! He sprang up in guilty terror membrance of the old days, which now as he reflected that, with the coming moru- seemed so far distant, and which he know ing light, the track of his footmarks across for his wife had often told him so—were the lawn would be revealed. The boots surrounded by a halo of romance in her and trousers must be destroyed; he would eyes; more than all, as he thought, her take them with him in his flight, and get horror while denouncing the murderer, to rid of them on the first opportunity. In have at the same time to proclaim him as his flight! whither was that flight to be her husband-for all these reasons her lips directed ? His plans must be all changed would be sealed. No one could tell whether, now; the necessity for immediate escape in the hurry and confusion, she had rewas urgent.

He had relied on obtaining cognised the man who had sprung past a temporary loan from Delabole, but that, her and hurled her to the ground; and of course, was no longer to be thought of, from what he knew of Madge, she was just and the funds which he had at command the woman to avail herself of such a plea were barely sufficient for his immediate as this, and to leave the direction of suswants.

picion to other circumstances. There was Nevertheless he must fly, and at once. no other evidence which he need fear, save The dawning light showed him that a new that which Madge could give. His visit to day had begun, before the end of which Springside was entirely unknown, and the the murder would probably have been fully fact of the proximate smashing-up of the discussed, all evidence possible to bear Terra del Fuegos Mining Company, just announced to him by Delabole, instead of He had ascertained that the first train for being, as it would have been at any other Dover left soon after six, and had made up time, a source of rage and lamentation, his mind to go by that. One starting a was regarded by him as rather advan- little later, it is true, would have reached tageous than otherwise, inasmuch as it Dover soon after; but Vane's chief anxiety provided a sufficient excuse for immediate was to be out of London, and though he flight.

might linger on the road, he would be Now as to his power over Mrs. Ben- tolerably safe from recognition. Looking dixen. From what he knew, he believed it at his watch he found that he would not to be sufficient to induce her to brave all have too much time to get to the station; the frowns of society, and to run away and after a little deliberation as to whether with him, provided only he had sufficient he should or should not enlist the services excuse for asking her to consent to such a of the gate-porter to carry his portmanstep. That excuse again he finds in the teau, he determined to do so, and walking ruin of the mine. If he could only see out, roused that functionary from his her it would not be difficult to tell her a slumbers, and brought him to the rooms. previously planned story, in which he could The man seemed half asleep, but brightened represent himself as the victim of mis- up sufficiently to drink a glass of spirits placed confidence in Delabole, and by which Vane presented to him, and then which her sympathies could be aroused. bore off the portmantean on his shoulders. That once done, the rest was tolerably easy. The one cab which was making the PiccaHe knew Mrs. Bendixen's jealous, passion- dilly pavement echo with its horse's feet ate nature, and had little doubt about being was then secured, and in it Vane drove off. able to mould it to his will; but to achieve When he arrived at the station he that result he must see her, and there was alighted from the cab, but before dismissing the difficulty. But one idea occurred to the driver he handed him the letter which he him. He must leave town at once by the had written to Mrs. Bendixen, and giving very first train which would take him to him a handsome gratuity, bade him take it at Dover, and there was no reason why she once to its address. He was hurrying into should not come to him there, and give the booking-office, when he found the way him an interview before he started for temporarily blocked by a little procession France. If he could induce her to do this, of men, who were conveying huge bundles he relied upon himself for carrying out all of newspapers from the ponderous red vans that be desired.

in which they had arrived, to the starting He finished packing his portmanteau, in train. The newspapers! He had forgotten which he placed the trousers and boots them. By this time the story of the murder which he had worn on the previous even- must have arrived in town, and these newsing, and wrapping his dressing-gown round papers were about to spread it through him, seated himself at the writing-table. the country and the world; what was Instantly, between him and the paper which known about it, what was conjectured, it he placed before him, rose the dread figure was all important that he should know, of the old man as he had last been seen in and yet he felt half afraid to satisfy himlife, and it required all Vane's nerve to self. keep himself in the chair and stolidly and He took his ticket, and made his way doggedly go through his appointed task. through the crowd of passengers-who Even then his writing was weak and trail- were mostly of the poorer class, for the ing, and nothing like his ordinary firm train was tardy and cheap—to the book. round hand. He noticed this, but thought stall. The bundles of newspapers had it not inconsistent with the anxiety under already arrived there, and the smart young which he had explained to his correspon- men behind the counter were opening, and dent he was suffering, and which induced sorting them, and slapping them down with him to implore her to come to Dover by the refreshing vigour. As Vane approached, first train after the receipt of the note, and he saw one of these young men select two to meet him on the pier. When he had or three contents-placards from one of the sealed this letter, he walked to the window bundles, and after shaking them out and and threw open the shutters. It was perusing them himself, proceed to hang already morning; the outlines of the oppo- them up in front of the counter. "Murder site houses stood out grey and dim in the at Springside”—there it was in large type; early light, and the black London sparrows it caught Philip Vane's eyes instantly. He were twittering blithely on the covered way. saw nothing else. “Murder at Springside" -why were the letters printed in red, why 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 denounced 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

every little station, where porters came 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. Now closive 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 night 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 I was the matter. Philip Vane muttered



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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 that 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 thrcc 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.

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

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 THE AUTHOR OP "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 and give evidence." Recover! then she ALL THE YEAR ROUND, must have been ill, or hurt, or frightened,


Are now in print, and may be obtained at the Office: and that was how the dead man's son had 26, Wellington-street, Strand, 'W.C., and of all Booksellers,

the young

The Right of Translating Articles from ALL THE YEAR ROUND is reserved by the Authors

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




to buy.

and deafness was not, one of Simon's inTHE WICKED WOODS OF

firmities, the noise and the light were put in TOBEREEVIL.

bondage together, and the wind was kept at bay.

Simon's miseries were not all of wind and

weather; blasts might be keen, and rain CHAPTER XXIII. SIMON IN TORMENT AGAIN. pitiless, but both were angels of mercy

SIMON FINISTON was getting very old and compared to Tibbie, who saw a time apfrail, and the fall of the year was particu- proaching when, the old man's wavering larly hard upon him. It was severe work spark of life having suddenly sunk and going out to pick sticks and straws, in order gone out, it might be found that he had that he might have a fire to sit by in the not made a will in favour of Con the fool. evenings; and he was bloodless and chilly, She knew no reason now why his last days and felt the want of a bit of fire more than should not be made wretched, in order that he used to do. Tibbie, too, was cross, and he might be forced to frame that will. would no longer patch his old gown; and Simon was not ill in his bed, so that he his heart failed him when he thought of was not so completely at her mercy as he taking forth an extra garment from those had been once before, but there was much presses on the high gallery, whose contents power in her hands, and she used it. She that mad pedlar had so strangely forborne would come and sit on a bench opposite

to him, and rail at him till the shrieking of The coming of winter was always the the wind seemed the mere echo of her beginning of a long affliction to the old voice, and the moaning and thundering man; and the affliction now threatened to outside among the trees only a weird grow more tragic every year, as the sufferer demonstration of applause from that ingrew more feeble, and his tormentors be- visible spirit world with which she threatcame more bold. The roof in the westened him. He was horribly superstitious, wing had given way so far that the rain and was far more afraid of the ghosts found its way down to Simon's den.


among the trees, whom Tibbie talked about, had to fit to the east wing, which was than of the thieves who, she assured him, terribly at the mercy of the winds, the were ever prowling about seeking for his walls being unnecessarily riddled with hoards. As a security against the latter windows, and the windows riddled by he slept in all his clothes, and with a blacktime. The shutters banged and crashed, thorn staff in his feeble hands; but he knew now scattering the plaster to the floor as of no precaution that he could take against they lashed the wall, now shivering the the spirits. These, Tibbie assured him, remnants of glass in the panes as they were only waiting for his death, in order fell forward, and shook even the stout to carry him away with them to where they oaken framework of the windows. When could wreak their vengeance on him during bound up into order and forced to keep the leisure of eternity. The only thing the peace by use of their rusty bars, they which could stave off such horror, and balk threw the interior of the rooms into atter the malice of the spirits, would be that darkness. But as sensitiveness to cold was, simple act of justice which Tibbie prayed

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