Chapter 107325622

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Chapter NumberX.-Continued.
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1888-09-29
Page Number7
Word Count3490
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleEvening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931)
Trove TitleMystery of the Red House: An American Story of Thrilling Interest
article text

: Xyster j of the Bed House


-- ' By Mart E. Bbyan.

(Commenced in the Evening News of Sep tember 20 J CHAPTES X.— Continued.

Moments passed His enthusiasm was beginning to die out, when again he heard a bird-like note — another strain from ' La ITayorita, ' tender, sweet, sad. It was -as brier and stopped, as suddenly as before. While it sfcili. lingered in Hazard's ears, a bat fluttered before his eye3, momentarily obscuring his view When he looked attain, the epace in front cf the table v»ith the

canary s cajje was occupied.. A woman stood, there — a woman dressed in black, as Miss l?aust had been, but wholly unlike the old recluse in shape ; neither bowed nor stoop shouldered, but tall, slender, teautifnlly formed, with a graceful neck and finely poised head. £Ter back was turned to Hazard, but lie^elfc sure she musb be young. The curves of the form, the carriage of the head, all indicated youth- She had a light, black lace square throw a over her head, and Hazard could not see her hair, but he was certain he caught gleams of gold through the meshe3. She put her band to tbe cage, and passed her finders through the wires to caress tiie bird that had wakened and was fluttering on its perch. She leaned over and sang a' little, short sweet trill — joyous this time — a merry cood-night to her feathered friend. Hazard had taken out his opera-glass, and was intently examining the figure, the neck, the hand o£ this graceful shape. * Why doesn't she turn round ?' he said to himself in an excited whisper ; but at that very instant his hopes were cruelly nipped. The heavy curtain fell across the window, effectually shutting in the room end its occupant. 'Who had drawn tbe curtain ? Hazard was almost ready to ewear it was a man's black-coated arm that ? lie had seen, though he had the merest glimpse of it as the curtain droppeJ. He remained some time in his tree-perch, but, finding there was nothing to be gained, he came down, and made his way back to the street and to the front of the lied House. He ascended the steps and- rang the b^ll of the gate. A shuffling step was heard ap proaching. But the gate was not opened. The negro Cerberus put his mouth close to it and demanded in a low growl '- ' Who is yer, and what yer want dis time er night ?' ' I have a package for the young Jady who lives here — Miss — plague upon it ! I can't think of her name,' ' ]So young lady lives here. Tsfo lady 'tall iives here but ole Miss iausfc ' 'But there is a lady visiting here, younger than Miss Ka-usfc.' 'So, dey ain't, nuthar. Don't yer conty dicme again. £7o iaJy in dis house but Miss i'ausib. Kow, you go 'long wid yerself as' yer package.' There was an honest ring in the old negro's Voice : but Hazard was not convinced He felt sure there was auother and younger woman than Miss Faust in the house. That Shape, that voice, could not belong to the Brooked old rKcluse ]\Iis-3 lilontcahn wc.s availing for him -trhen he jyot buck to Mrs. Duval's. As he led her to the carriage, he said : * So Mr. Heafcbclift'did not come here after the opera.' ' Tiie opera is not yet over, I suppose ' * It has been over tor the last hour. Mr Heathciiff went home with Miss Faust He sent away the carriage arid went in He lias been there ever since — listening to Hiusic, for one thing. A delicious, fresh Voice ; 1 heard it ; yet you said tnat Miss iFaust nerer has visitors.' ' I said what was true. Mr. Heathciiff told me that no visitor bnt himself ever crossed her threshold. Doubtless you v/ere iaistaken. The voice was not fresh.' Hazard did not reply. He was mentally (calling himself a fool for having allowed jealously to pet the better of discretion. It was just possible that in this Bed House matter might exist a clue to the problem lie had in hand, and now his unguarded Bpeech to Honor might be the means oilfor Stalling any further investigation. She would be sure to ask HeatLcliff about that i :resh young voice and he would be put upon i is guard. On the other hand, it was all : mportant, Hazard reasoned, that Honor ihould have her trust in her lover shaken. Hie engagement between them must come :o an end ; everything depended on this — ivery thing for the large party who were -pposed to the late nominations If the Jngagemeat was broken up, he might enter ?;he lists for Honor's favor with a chance of ?i success, while the general would enter the political contest with almost a certainty of coming out ahead. And in the event of his election, he would be sure to reward himself j(Hazard) with some position that would s prove a stepping-stone to his ambition. As his mind ran swiftly along this chain of thought, he determined to tell Miss Mont calm about the woman he had seen through Jfche window, first asking her to he silent. . ,'A promise of silence from any other woman I know would not be worth a sixpence,' he eaid to himself, ' but this girl was brought . Jip by her father. She has a man's notion \of honor- ? If she makes a promise she will ||keepit.' ,| Afier they had driven to her home, he ^detained her on the moonlit porch. .'£ ' 1 told yoa about the voice I heard sing -$5ng in the Bed House,' he said, ' but that '||was not alL ;;'fi There is something stranger I till — Etoang0jua view or your insertion that a W house li^S; 3io white ocenpanfc but the ?i. sld* maid xe||nse. 1 would like to.tell you, f- aider yonr^rpmise that you 'will never ..-?.vj peak of it!. S--; .!;:,? ' . . :- ' ,\'.,:- ; .p 'I d6 not Jifce to give such, a promise,* 'I lie said- '.' 'I$nink you had better not tell, I * Bat' ',% yety inncb wish, io .tell |fen, ,' ^ -ecause y-m,*nay lielp me by some sagges gi ion. The matter is connected with my '.'; ifiorts to fulfil a mission .entrusted tome ; . »y rour father— *a 'secret mission.' '-' ' ' Why ; not speak pf-it to 3iim .?* ; - , ' Because it is so .vague — -j^st a shadow— A$ ihe kind of thing a woman's quick instinct ^|j jrasps when man's reason is baffled.' .' ; '0s% She,: said : *S hnpw o£ the mission my ; Jj|f4ather entrusted to you.' And then, after, gi a: pause, lJ-promise iiptio speak to anyone 0 of ?wh'at;y^'.toiay;te|i;|ne.' ?''*'.... ; ??'?? ...???,.' '.?-? '?& ' It ie this : There is. a mystery about the; H Red House i; - Xou. may .-tell me, end the old '% ianiior tells me, there is no one there but; ?i '-.. /:??? 'a- -irr- : -;?:?? , ,? ?

Miss Paust, yet I heard ''that voice — the voice of a young woman. I will swear — and I saw the figure of a woman, well-shaped and graceful, standing in an upper room at the back fo the house, the windows of which cannot be seen from the street,' * How, then, did you manage to see the woman V He laughed and told her. ?* A detective must not stickle at means io gain his end,' he said. She listened, and was silent for a minute. Then she said coldly : * You did not see the woman's face, you had only a glimpse of her figure. You might easily have been mistaken. The person you saw must have been Miss Faust herself-' 4 Miss Faust ! that misshapen old woman '. You do not think me blind, do you ? It is plain you will not heed anything that casts a doubt upon Heathciiff. Would Miss Faust ba likely to call him in a note, ' My best and dearest ' r' ' What do you mean ?' * Simply that I saw to-day — no matter how — a note to Heathciiff from a woman asking him to take her to the opera to-night, and calling: him 'my best and dearest.' ' * This is absurd. Mr. Heathciiff tooK Miss IFaust to the opera.' ' Yes, the other woman — the writer of the note — was left at the Red House. It was not considered safe for her to appear in public — thickly veiled though she would no doubt have been.' ' Sir. Hnll, 1 do not share your suspicions, and I must ask you not to trouble me with them any more ; at least, so far as you con nect them with Mr. Heathciiff.' ' So Miss Montcalm's love chooses to be blind and deaf. Your father lias told me that you have promised to marry Heaihcliff. You think him a perfect Bavard, incapable of dishonor ; I trust, for vonr sake, he mav prove so. Meantime I have my doubts as to his infallibility, and Lshall--watch him.' She looked at him with eyes fall of scorn. * Allow me to say 'good-night,' she said, with scarcely a motion of he:' proud head, as she stepped awav. He stepped before her, bending his black curled head low : ' Forgive me, I was presumptuous,' he mm-mured, and stretched oat his hand. He was handsome, gifted, daring, her father's favorite. She hesitated a little, and tiien extended her hand to meeS; his He caught it to his lips and kissed it. ' You must forgive me, for I love you/ He cried passionately, and rushed away. CHAPTER XI Hazard lost no time in inquiring after John Bowen, the man who had testiSed to seeing Mrs Montcalm enter the premises of HeatLcliff the nigLt of the murder. He was annoyed at finding that the carpenter no longer lived at Wallport, He had moved away sis months before. Nor could the neighbors tell him where the man had re moved to. ' Bowen was a mighty rovin' fellow,' they said. ' Qnsariain as a March day , He jes' -^ot onsatisfied in his mind, and picked up his traps and his wife and children, and off he put up on the Brightby Road— said he'd keep a-goin' till he found where he could better himself ' ' Well, I don't think he went far,' put in an old woiEan, who sat on the stoop of a squatty cottage with a pipe in her mouth, which she removed, and knocking the ashes from the bovvi, put it into her apron pocket. ' His meney wouldn't hold out. I seen Miss Bo^ven countin1 it the night afore they started. T'warnt no big pile ' There was to be a political meeting at Rock Spring, a town on the Brightby Road, not a great distance from 'Wallport. 'Norton, the Republican nominee, and. some of his clan would open the campaign by speeches * Carne must go up to report the affair for the Rattler,' Dyke said ' It is about time for Oarno to get on his periodical spree,' commented young Hall. ' You had better let me gc, colonel ; this is the opening of ths battle, and ought to be reported in a way that will tell — for our side.' ' Well, you'll have to go, I suppose, though you are -needed here, and we can hardly spare you J . ' If luck favors me, I'll kill two birds with one ehot — report the meeting and find Bowen,' thought Hazard. The meeting was held afc Bock Soring, a country town tbat had recently doubled its population, Gwing to the discovery of mineral springs near its sits. It had become a summer resort of considerable fame, and had now a number of buildings in process of erection * I ought to find Bowen here,' mused Hazard, as his train steamed into the town ; ' there seems plenty doing in Iris line.' It was nearly dusk, but before he went to bed, Hazard made the discovery that the carpenter was iadeed a citizen of Hock Spring, and was doing well. Soon after* breakfast the next morning, Hall set out to look up his man He found him in his work-shop putting the finishing touches to a neat panelled door. He was a lank, ungainly individual, with a thin, cleanly ?haved risage, restless grey eyes and a half-quizzicai, half-pathetic ex pression. From his looks and the tone of his evidence at the inquest, Hazard drew the inference that he was an oddity, and decided that he would not approach him in. any .capacity that would pat him on his guard in answering questions. Possibly he had a superstitious dislike to testifying under oath. Hazard introduced himself as a person wanting to have a house built, and desirous to find ont tbe cost of materials and of building ; also to be shown the model of a neat, cheap cottage. Bowen. made the esti mate as to cost in a few minutes, but lingered over the model .. £I am no proteased designer,' lu&rsaid, * but I kno^ a thing or two about a house, enough' to; see that^the fellow, Hines;* in Wallport, as calls Hicself an architectural artist, knows no more about building than ;a common .Jackleg earjjeater See tltat house he des.ifmed for olcl^udge Bond— all out. --f ;pluint-.'^ ?? ??'?'. ''?''?; ?'- .-??-?*'?? ' ,';- ; *r!Bid ie.-.desien-'l3ie house at lie corner o£: Davis and Wade Streets ? It's 'vacant now* but I believd Captain Montcalm iived aw*' ? ' ' = .' '?.;? ? ?' i:-m:. ?;?;.; ^jfte ? JSTo, indeed. My uncle |tat*k dea9, old Billy Bowen, put up that Tiduse ;? He could a-taught Hines:bis;ii-;b^; anflrail&-' ing. So the MontcalmhouEe is vacant, you isay . ;W®li, nojwonder : 3?d he jscar^i : to live in it ; myself after thai Taurieci . ^h4y say the iblood stains iiever have come ^np^i no, and they won't lill the murderer is found and punished.' . : - ^ v 'The murderer- was iiis «?wn wife, ;J= believe.' ' '? . - ?? ; ?? -:.V' 'V.,\'-''' ?? ? '?-??? -f1*-- '? ''!??.

* They say so, but it's hard to think it. She was such a sweet one to look at ' ' But if she was innocent, why did she run away ? Why didn't she come forward and explain ? She left the honse secretly that night — so I read in the papers ; I was not in this part of the country — and was never seen afterward.' * Yes, 6he was seen aftsrward . A certain man saw her that same night — all mufned and disguised -like — going into Heathcliffs house — him that's Mayor of Wallport now.' ' Is it possible ? Yes, I remember reading a statement to that effect among the inquest evidence, but it was set aside — proved a mistake, t think.' The carpenter turned one eye up know ingly at his interlocutor and seemed about to Bpealr, but thought better of it, and went on silently with his work. As though by accident, Hazard let drop from his pocket a flask filled with whisky. He caught it dex terously and offered Mr. Bowen a drink The carpenter took a gener jus draught, and under tbe influence of the whisky and of Hazard's magnetic geniality, he relaxed from his cautious attitude and waxed con fidential. He resumed his talk about ihe Montcalm murder, and avowed that he was the man who had seen Mrs. Montcalm enter the house of the mayor ; that there was no mistake about it ; that he had bamboozled his questioners at the inquest on purpose. ' It's not John Bowen who's a-goin' to swear a man's neck into a nooze,' he said. ' let alone a woman's. I've had enough bad luck in my life without puttin' myself in the shadow of the gallows in that style . I grot into the evidence scrape unbeknownst- You see there had been a poor man's frolic up at our honse a day or so before, and old Miss Simpson — a long toncrued gossip she is, too — was there a-nursin' wife and 'the new baby. She heard me tell about sebin' Laura, and she up and tells it when there came the hue and cry about the killin' and about Montcalm's wife bein' tbe murderer. I was summoned to give the evidence when, the inquest sot on the body, but not much did they make outer John Bowen I jis talked careless and wild-like, 'lowed it might a been the housekeeper, as i£ old Miss Brumby could carry herself like that queen of womankind — Laura Montcalm, let alone look like her in face. The housekeeper said it were half-past ten o'clock when she got back. I wasn't sure of the exact time I had seen mv woman, so I told 'em it might a been ten or half-past, or ini^hfc a bean nine They sniffed at such shifty evidence, and told me I might sit down. But I knew who did know the time to a second, and that was my wife. Let her alone for keepin' my time atier dark as close as a factory overseer. She says it; wa3 jesfc twenty minutes to ten when I got home ; and as it took me about ten minutes to walk there from iieatiiciiff's, it were about half-past nine when I saw Laura — jest an hour before the time the house ieeper came home.' ' Then you will swear it was Mrs. Mont calm you saw ?' The man looked up suspiciously ' Who said anything about swearin' ?' he growled. Hazard hastened tc retrieve his blunder. * Pardon me, the word slipped out without my knowing it I meant to say that you were pretty sure, then, it was Mrs Montcalm ycu saw '? * Pretty snre ! I'm as certain of it as that I've got this rale in my hand. I knew her well — that is, I knew the way she looked and walked. I had been hired on her place to make some summer-houses and fancy pigeon. cotes, and she coma right often to lojk at the work, A pretty woman like that is bound to catch a man's eye and 6tay in his mind. I thought I knew her wait that night, before I came up with her. 1 was about to pass her when she stopped at Hea,thclift's gate. Her veil blew to one side and I got a look at her face — just one glimpse, but I saw her as plain aa I eee you. I thought her visit to Heathcliff's was curious, and I stopped Jiud watched her. She didn't go up the front steps snd ring the door-bell : ehe went round the side of the house, out of sight of where I stood, but I knowed Heathcli:ff's stndy-room was on that side, and the windows was low and opened on a little porch with a sight of vines hanging about it. Presently, I heard three soft taps upon the windotwglas3, as if it was a signal I never told that at 'the inquest ; and it's jest between us eort,' said Mr. Bowen, ^taking another pull ai the flaak. ' And now for business,' he continued. ' You like that plan of a cottage, you say. Well, in five minutes I'll iiell you how many feet of lumber it'll take to build such a house. Good- morn ing. What can I dofor you ?' to a fair, pleasant-looking young man mho had entered the shop. 1 Those frames for the scenery that were ordered, are they 'ready ?' 'Oh, you are one of them show folks that wanted fixin's for the hall. Yes, they're ready?' - x : 'All right— I'll call a dray and send them over to the tfaeatre'~hall, I mean What do I owe yon/,? I'll settle now And see . here .; can't yon take tickets to the perform ance inis *veniiij^ ss part pay- for ite Job ? 'We hardly - make expenses in iyour iown '?* 'Tickets^? I don't^tbink I care about Jem. JJ^nOTer like to /take myj.paj out in chips anS'vwlieistonea . rW-fcatisbrtof ashow\ fbiM?e youjif&t ? kiivthing' lively-— tumblin'f s^ord-sw»ilpwm% clog-dan.cin%' prijie-lifcei''; y.'-\ :'{Ji^/i^f^,^ioisfa3snmpA,;...''''