|Newspaper Title||Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931)|
|Trove Title||Mystery of the Red House: An American Story of Thrilling Interest|
liy ster j of the Red House
AN AMEEICA1ST STORY OF THRIL LING IFTEREST.
By Maby E. Bbyan.
(Commenced in the Mveiiing News of Sep tember 20J \. ? CHAPTEE HI.— Continued.
-' * One moment,' Carleon pleaded, clearing Tiis brow of the frown that kad gathered on ji -vrfion the music broke Ihe charm he was ^reaving- But again the soft, beseeching [ grains of the violin intervened. ' Can it be Pavid playing: ?' thought Laura. ' Jfot an instant,' she answered promptly. *It must be rasfc sunset.'
. She walked to the door of the grotto with, decision, Carleon follov.'iug, mentally exe crating tho musician, and marvelling who iad dated to talre such a liberty. When they had. passed out o£ the grotto, he looked j about for the intrusive player. Laura looked around eagerly, but Instead of David i ;e!i3 saw a venerable man with a flowing ?white beard. It was the same man who had playeJ second violin in the band of hired (taiisicians. She remembered him particu larly, for sue had noticed his watching her from under his slouched hat, in a fixed, queer I ^ay ? But she gave little thought to him now. j j3iie'was alarmed at the lateness of the hour. I jLt was. past sunset ; the afterglow was almost | #me. ': 'They are waiting for me, I am sure,' she cried, hurrying on along the serpentine ?Vralks, and paying little heed to her escort. She came to the paved circle in front of the mansion; no sound but the plash of the fountain. Dancers and musicians were -gone. ? 'They have gone down io the boats,' she said, and hurried on to the landing. It was eilent, deserted ; the boats were gone One b£ Carleon's servants — the fca]l, impassive | -Swiss gai-dener. — was leisurely straightening ia rosebush close by. Laura appealed to him. j 'y. ' Where are they ?' shecrieclj breathlessly. .'Where are the party from Wallporfe ?' | _ ' Gone/ was the laconic reply '*:. 'What, gone and left me ! Oh, now | tould they ? It cannot be possible- They could not treat me so.' 'There ha^ been a mistake,' said Carjeon, 'coming to her side. * My housekeeper in I froms me that Mrs. La l-ue sent her maid to looic for you, to tell you that they were ,a,bonfc leaving. The nirl brouglit back word, as from yourself, that the party need not wait for you. ; yoa would follow them pres entl-u- '
, ' Oh,, how utterly false — as you know. I bwbo one, I had no message. This is very provoking. Mr. Carleon, I must trouble £ou to .send me home at once.' ''And I am very sorry that I cannot do it. f here is not a-uother boat on the island. I rat them all at the service of the lawn party iad the musicians They will not be re turned until to-morrow.' 'Oh you are certainly jesting! 'No boat -f any kind on the island ! Any sort of vater-craffc will answer-^no matter how old md leaky.' '' ' There is nothing here in the shape o£ a joat, 1 grieve to say The high tide last week cai'ried ofc two of my skiffs, and Gaunt as coasting in the yacht. It is very unfortu mate ' ,: She wrung her bands togetner passion ately '' * (3h, for pity's sake take me away from .nere,' she pleaded. ' Think of some way, I ^entreat you,' ' Dear Mrs. Ikmtcaim, it pains me to see iyou so distressed, bat it is impossible to do what you ask. The boats will return early fin the morning. My housekeeper will make won comfortable.' She did not answer. She hardly heard 5iim. She was looking at the tide rolling in .iind saying to herselr! that death under its jrreen waves were far preferable to the life Aliat would be hers atter she had spent one -J&ight on Aphrodite Island. Carleon came nearer and said, with a tender reproach in ,:3us. tones : -r . '-Is it such, a hardship to stay a few more ^purs in my home when it makes me so ?.'happy ?' .: . She turned on him with a sease of having been caught in a snare ,. '. You and Mrs. La Rue have planned this/ she cried, her eyes flashing eeorri upon him. _ ' *I? Ah, dear Mrs. Montealm, honr nn ^.jnstj how cruel you are.' He Jaid his hand -iipon hers ae he spoke . She flung it off and parted from his side. ? A«fimall boat shot in sight froin a cedar -fringed inlet close to her. It contained only ;'«ne nian. A few strokes brought it to the K toeaeh, and the man leapt out. Laura uttered a cry of joy. 'David, David !' she exclaimed, springing to meet him. 'He. took one of the outstretched hands, placed it upon his arm ; then he turned with her to the boat, noticing Carleon only by. - 6ne -withering look ^'^eoafouhd the luck! Hig threat was not to be relied upon. He has sent his hfr$ing after her/ niatfcered Carieon, under his breathl He reiurned the look of Holt wl'ffi a disdainful sta*e - -?&ie you baijuEt oome Io the island ?* 'be aeked 'No/ '?was the answer. 'I have been tere some hoars.* . 1-v?i*h! Iwa&nofc^ware my little party ?,bad. been bo honored,' Gai-leon sneered, .V3.J£is an honor ?ora;n honest man to set iiis ^fpot upon Aphrodite island/ David „ answered, as he pushed off from the shore.
CHAPTEB, IV. 5fr- 32Kb sudden relief that.Laura experienced found vent In a nervous paroxysm of tears Holt did riot attempt to soothe her. He ?waited in silence. Presently she dried her j4/b®H$ and sat calm but vei-y pale, her hands ''folded listlessly on her lap At length she spoke t ' David, you ? said yon had been on the 'Maind for. tours ? wliy did I not see yxm ?' * Ifron.did see me,' he answered. u-_- '?jpi was you, then, who plafed in the'
band ; it was you in thai disguise, and it was you who was near the grotto/ she added, a deep blush covering her face. * Yes, it -was I.' * i don't know what you thought of me/ she said Hurriedly, ' but if you knew^-r-' She stopped and looked keenly at him. ' He sent you to the island to spy upon me/ she said with a quick scornful change in her voice * You are wrong/ David answered gently. ' Captain Montealm knew nothing of my coming. He had not returned when I came away. I did not kiiow you had any idea of being in that island party until you were goae Had I known, I would have done my best to persuade, to prevent you from going. As it was, I could only follow you that I might be near you should you need a friend, i put on the disguise and got in with the musicians because I wanted to Jopk on without being recognised, and because 1 knew thai', uninvited and only Jrnown to Carleon as a person in the employment of a man he dislikes, 1 would stand a poor chance of being admitted to the grounds.' ' And you went to watch over me ? that was kind — that was like the David of the dear old days ; and I thank vou.' The sad cadence of her voice went to David's heart. She looked so stricken, he longed to comfort her as he had been wont to do when she came to him with her childish sorrows ; but he forebore. He had always exercised stern control over himself ; and she had never euspected his secret — never guessed that her father's protege —the boy he had taken from a miserable, motherless home, and brought up in his own house, had eared for her other than as a ?fcrother. ' I deserve no thanks, Laura ; I promised your father I would try to watch over you as a sister. I wish I could have better ful filled that trust— ^but circumstance have made it difficult — I — ' * You think I am not worth watching over lately/ she interrupted with a bitter little laugh ' You seem t.i have given me up You work for Captain Montealm in that dusty office from morning till night. You are devoted to bis interests ; and you never knew him of old ; but I, who have sat by you afc the same hearth for so many years, I whom you have nursed in your arm3 when I was a fretful, feeble, motherless child — I whom you used to care for so kindly, am
now thrown out ot your heart, iiou never come near me except for that formal Sunday dinner, when there are always others. Cap tain Montealm and his business are ever in your mind, but I have no place there — or anywherej I think/ Da«d looked at her helplessly. He could not tell her why he now so seldom came into her presence— why he could nofc resume the brotherly, fatherly relation he had once sus tained to her He could not tell her tha.fc ifc was for her sake he eat poring over account books in that dingy office of Captain Mont ealm?s -warehouse-r-that it waB only *o be near and -watch over her welfare that he had given up the profession of law in which he had embarked with promise, turned his back on his native town and state, and follpwed the wedded pair to Wallport, there to seek and fill the place of a book-keeper in Captain Mantclam's n,ewly purchased warehouses. From the first day that the bride and groom arrived from Eurppe, he bad foreseen tnat the marriage would not be a happf one. He had loved Laura always in his stii!, quiet way — he had nursed in his heart the hope to win her when he Bhould have achieved something of a reputation among men : he had Ipolied upon her as scarcely more than a child and he was surprise!, alomost appalled to see the strength and passion with which she loved this cold, moody man, who hardly made a pretence cf responding to her affec tion A vague story concerning Captain Montealm 's marriage in Mexico had at one time found its way into some of the daily newspapers, and this now came to David's mind. He tried to investigatp it, but the dust of years had settled upon the story and its traces were covered up. He could only hope it was mythical, but his anxiety for Laura caused him to sacrifice his business prospects in his native town and follow her to her new home. He would watch over her at n distance, he said to himself ; he would fulfil her father's trust as best he might. If the time came when she needed a trne friend he would be near at hand. But he could give her no hint of this ; so he only said, in reply to her accusation -. 'Our lives lie £o widely apart. Mine is filled with work ; yours with leisure and friends — and gaiety ' ? Friends — gaiety/ she echoed, mockingly. ' I have no friends. God help me-^-not one Gaiety ! Is it possible you have not seen, what all the world about us knows, that I am that pitiable thing — an unloved wife ? Have yon cared so little about me that you could not read in my face — in, my restless, forced gaiety— the tokens of a disappointed heart ? You have thought me frivolous, no doubt. With your ideas of wifely dignity, you have condemned me as giddy, impru dent, careless of my husband's wishes. Bat what can yon know of the goading misery that drives a neglected wife into seeking distraction abroad ? When I accepted the attention of Carleon it was with the hope of stinging my husband's heart into life through jealousy ; I only roused his anger —his self-love. Heeoollyorderedmetpgive np the only associates I had, He declared I was bringing 'dishonor upon his head. Dishonor upon lr;m ! I think the fiends in the bottomless pit must laugh to hear a man steeped, to the lips in falsehood and. treachery accuse his -wife of dishonoring him by some little act of imprudence to which she has been driven by the fever of a starved and lonely heart. Well, I would have obeyed him, for X still believed in him; I still looked up to him as one 'who stood on a moral height — grand, if cold. He stands there no longer- I know him now; I know his falsehood. %o me, his baseness to another of my sex. Yes! erday even I inew «H ; and now— now I have disobeyed him and ? 1 will defy -him. He had threatened to cast me off } it is 1 who will expose him' to the -world be is so anxious to stand well with . The world shall now to-morrow that he deserted one wife and has married another whom . fee openly own she never cared for/ ' - -TO BB CONMHOBD.)