|Chapter Title||THE APPARITION. IN THE MOONLIGHT.|
|Newspaper Title||Albury Banner and Wodonga Express (NSW : 1896 - 1938)|
|Trove Title||Chilcot's Uncle|
?— ? — m* CHJLCOT'S UNCLE.
(By L. J. Beeston, in 'Chums.')
CHAPTER IV. THE APPARITION. IN THE MOON LIGHT.
'He is madl' repeated Proddie, in hor rified tones, as ChilcoiT lay staring up at his dormitory companions, with that ex pression of paralysing fear in his eyes, and incoherent ejaculations breaking from his lips. 'What ought we to do?' cried Hilton wildly, 'water!' demanded Trinder, and snatch
ing at a gjass which Proddis handed to him he poured the contents over Chil cot's face, but without success. Indeed, the effect was to make that individual leap violently up as if projected from an uncommonly powerful spring. Trinder re ceived a blow on the nose that almost knocked him silly; Proddis got a bano- in the ribs that made his eyes water ; while Chilcot clutched darker by the throat, crying : 'Unhand me, gentlemen ! Hence, hor rible spectre!' Hilton rushed to the door to get help, but Proddis stopped him. 'Wait a mo ment,' he begged. 'We may pull him round. It will be an awful thing if this gets known.' Chilcot sat up on the edge of his bed, rocking to and fro. darker produced half a candle from a box under the bed; and lighted it with trembling fingers. 'Come, come,' said Proddis,, speaking as if he was addressing a child. 'You are feeling better now, aren't you? Look at me. Who am I?' 'Go away, chimpanzee!' howled Chil
cot. 'Takes you for a moniioy,' said Trin der. 'He must be coming to his senses.' 'This is no time for joking, ass,' said Proddis with heat. 'Chilcot, surely you know your old dormitory?' 'Oh, father, I hear the sound of guns. Oh, say, what may it be?' wailed Chilcot. 'darker, you have done, a nice thing, you, have !' exclaimed Proddis. 'The poor chap is stark, staring mad.' 'I'm going to rouse up someone,' de clared Hilton finally. 'Who is that?' demanded Chilcot ,: turn ing sharply at the sound of the voice. 'Speak to him, Hilton,' almost sobbed Clarker in an agony. 'He seemed to re cognise your voice.' i Hilton came forward slowly. 'I don't like the look of the whites of his eyes,' said he. 'The cerebellum', is paralysed, and that has affected the great optic nerve.' Hilton often talked a lot of- nonsense on the strength of his father being a doctor. He took hold of Chilcot's left hand and felt his wrist. ???-.?.? 'Put out your pulse — I mean, your tongue,' he commanded sternly. ' 'Oh, father, I hear the sound of guns!' moaned Chilcot,. . ? 'Rubbish ! You don't hear anything of the sort.' 'Was — was— was that Hilton's voice?' said Chilcot, _ raising IKs hand and seem- . ing to be striving to catch some far-away sound. 'Bravo! Yes, yes— I'm Hilton.' 'I — I. remember Hilton,' sighed Chilcot wearily. 'He was the biggest ass of all the asses that I ever knew.' 'I don't believe he is mad at all!' cried Trinder. Hilton seemed to take umbrage at this remark, for he glared savagely at the speaker; but at this point Chilcot cast all doubts to the wind by suddenly run ning amuck. He hurled one of his boots at Clarker a.nd hit Proddis. He tore the clothes off Hilton's bed and flung chem over Trinder. He seized Clarker's trou sers and hurled them out of the window'. He butted Proddis in the chest and knocked him clean over a chair ! Hilton waited no longer. He rushed from the dormitory to bring assistance. The house master occupied a room at th'e bottom of the building. Hilton cleared two flights of stairs in two bounds. That brought him to a landing on the first floor. He got no further. On the other hand, lie recoiled so quickly that he sat down on tho bottom stair with a force that rattled his jaws together. Pressed against the window opposite the stairs was a pallid; blood-streaked coun tenance with glaring eyes. And this ap parition bore some resemblance to the missing Gregson. .Proddis felt the hair stir upon his head.- Gregson had been murdered, for surely nothing but his wraith could bear this frightful likeness to him! The figure moved; opened it's mouth and shut ib again; waved its arms. Hilton was so scared that for half a minute ho was incapable of movemont. Slowly lip j-ealisod that Grogson himself j was outside, bogging for admittance. He ' breathed onco more, unfastened tho cntch j of the window, and softly raised it. Sure J enough it was the missing boy, who had | placed a flight of stops against the wall in the hope that tho window was not fas tened. 'Oh my hat!' easnod. Hilton. Gregson climbed painfully over tho sill. Ho showed no curiosity concerning the other's appearance outside tho dormitory at that hour. He was so, weak that he could scarcely stand. 'Give , me your arm,' he whispered hoarsely. 'I don't want to wake anybody ' —yet.' , . -,i
'Oh my hat!' repeated Hilton; 'Never mind your hat. Help me up* stairsi' A minute later they entered the dormi tory. Chilcot was upon his back whirling round and round in truly maniacal fa shion, aiming ' terrific kicks : at all who approached. 'Gregson!' cried Clarker, Tririder, and Proddis in a breath. . r . The word had a magic effect on Chilcot. He leaped upon his feet. 'Oh,' said he^ in the most natural yoice in the world. 'So you have come back, have you?' There was a most dramatic*1' silence^ Chilcot and Gregson stared, at one ano ther in a peculiar deadly way. Then. Clarker called out huskily : 'We've been had. The little beast was as sane as ourselves!' , ' . '? 'More so,' smiled Chilcot. ? But for the astonishing fact of Greg son's appearance they would have fallen upon Chilcot. Gregson, in a slate almost of exhausion, sat down on his bed and asked for some water. . . \- . 'I'll let 'em know you've turned up, old fellow,' cried Trinder. :; 'No — not yet,' pleaded Gregson. 'I ought to tell them that Chilcot' has got a murderer for an uncle, but I won't. I'll be generous. I could get ' him fourteen years' penal servitude, but 1 won't. I'll be genei-ous. I could drag the name of Chilcot throiigh the police news. But I won't. I'll be gen ? ?' ? 'Dry up,' interrupted Chilcot rudely. 'You've been and got into a mess of some sort, and serve you jolly well glad ; but don't you insult my Uncle Tom,. . He's a dear old gentleman, and', wouldn't murder a maggot ' . \-'/- ' 'He threw me out from a, railway car riage !' cried Gregson, shuddering at the remembrance. ' ??*?-'? . 'You had no business to' be in it,' re
torted Chilcot. : ? 'In the middle of a tunnel,' almost sobbed .the other. 'Because you were imposing on him,' responded Chilcot unpityingly. 'Silence, you cold-blooded animal,' com manded Proddis as Gregson rocked to and fro, covering his face with his black hands. 'We'll have the law on your mur derous uncle — — ' 'It wasn't my uncle at all,' insisted Chilcot hotly. 'I can prove it. When I got back to school after you lot of ruf fians had done with me, I found a tele gram from him. Here it is : 'Sorry must postpone my visit for a few days. — Uncle.' There!' All looked at the thin piece of paper. In an instant Chilcot's careless attitude was explained. . 'You thought you were mighty clever,' sneered the victor., 'But I guess I've scored. I'm top dog. Eh? What?' 'Then who was the man whom I met at the station?' demanded Gregson, becom ing furious as his strength returned. Chilcot went to his .locker, groped in it and came back with a photograph. 'That's a picture of my Uncle Tom,' said he. 'Was that the man- ? p' 'No!' interrupted Gregson. 'He was a fellow about 'thirtyfive, very dark, with a scar down his right cheek and a mole on his chin.' Chilcot's brows met as lie pondered. Suddenly he gove a violent start. 'By George!' he gasped. 'It wasn't my cou sin Nevil, was it?' ? 'For the honour of your family I hope not,' responded Gregson. 'For I mean to get him twenty-one years' hard labour without the option of a fine, and — — ' 'That would explain all,' cried Chilcot excitedly. 'Nevil is my only living re lative save Uncle Tom ; and a thorough bad lot he is. Why, I do believe he meant to murder me — me, the only one between him and my. uncle's money! Jumbo and Jupiter! that must be it. He must have learned of my uncle's coming visit. Then ho either conspired to make him put it off, or else a lucky chance gave him his opporunity. He came instead.- We have never .seen one another; I only guess he was the man, Gregson, because I have seen his photograph. OK, what an es cape I have had!' And Chilcot went as white' as his bed sheet. 'Very nico!' snorted Gregson. 'But [ take jolly good care in future that I keep clear of your bloodthirsty relations.' Next morning Gregson, Chilcot, and the Head had a lengthy 'interview. Of course, Gregson had to, make a clean breast of everything. A telegram was dis patched to Uncle Tom begging his imme diate, presence.- He camer-^a fine, bluff, breezy old gentleman. Andvwith sorrow and consternation he confirmed Chilcot's theory. i . '- ' ., , 'I must communicate ' with' the police and prosecute the scoundrel, ' if you in sist,' said he to Gregson anxiously. I 'Oh, that's all right.' answered ' Greg- I son, in his open way. 'I'm.' no worse for I the adventure; and, afler all, I brought I it ojv myself.' ' ' ''' , I Uncle Tom grasped the speaker's hand I fervently. 'You shall not regret your de- I cision, my boy,' he declared.. And Greg- I .son never did. ', ^ I , In the end, Chilcot's uncle's1 visit turned I out to bo a~ howling success long remem- I berod at Tertullian College: There was I a whole holiday, and the way Uncle Tom's I money flew about was astonishing. There I was not a -boy, down to the humblest I junior, who had not the time of his life. ' I Is it not all written in the chronicles oj I the school? * I (Concluded.) I