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Chapter NumberIV
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1888-09-25
Page Number7
Word Count2223
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

Mystery of the Reid House


Bx Mart E. Betan. .

? ? (Gomm-enced in flie' Evening News of Sep I ;' tember 20J I -CHAPTEB IV.— Continued.

^M ? JLiaiira ! exclaimed David, agrliasfc, * have ^R yon found ont that — 1 mean, what is it you ^M suspect ?' ^H . She caaght at the meaning of his half ^H finished sentence. * Tes, 1 have found ont,' ^H she'jRaid. ' David, I tee you knew it before ^H You knew about that woman and her child, ^H cud you would not tell me !'

^H ' It' was loo late to tell you. You were ^H his wife ;and I had only heard a rumor.' ^H 'Too late for1 my happines3, not to late ^H for uiy pride He shall see that ' ^H ' Hpw came you to know ? Who could ^H be ko cruel as to tell you ?' ^H '.I found it out through a note written by ^H the Spanish woman to my — her husband, ^m as'. ing him io meet her ' ^H ; 'The note may have been a forgery.' ^H ' Stop, I went to the place of appoint ^H ment; I concealed myself and saw and heard ^H — kbeard him say that he never cared for ^H re ; that is enough ' ^H Her ciasped hands dropped upon her lap ; ^H hex desolate gaze went over the darkening ^H water. David, burned with indignation ^M against the man who had wronoea her. But ^H cnly in this man's love would she ever be ^M fcappy. He believed this; so he said, ^M gently ?/? ^H ' Remember, dear Laura, this woman is ^H Eot his wife She has do claim — ' ^H : l-.No claim ! She has his iove. She is ^H the :mother of his child. What are a few ^H words mumbled by a priest to such a claim ? ^H I will proclaim her right. I will publish ^fl my wrong and his villainy. It is to tell ^H him I will do this that I am returning to ^H his house to-night. He is proud of his high ^H standing in society At least it will sting ^H his pride to have his baseness made public. ^H He may do his worst. I am steeled to meet H it*' ^H ' Laura, promise me that you will not ^H Speak those violent words to-night. Do not ^H have that interview with your husband until ^H you and he are calmer. You know his fierce ^H temper ; he might — ' ^H '* Kill me, you would say ? We]!, let ^H him. He has already killed the best part ^H of my being. No ; I will say all that is in ^H my heart to-nighti It is burning in me for ^H utterance. I cannot keep it back a 3ay, an ^H hour longer To-morrow I will quit his ^H house fcr ever.' ^B ' Where will you go ?' ^H ' I do not know I have not a creature ^H skin to roe — no being of my own flesh and ^H Wood to protect or befriend me But the ^H world is wide ; I shall find a home some* ^H 'where.' ^H 'Laura, I have something to tell you that ^H may. comfort you ia this crisis. Rather I ^H have something: to give you which, will tell ^H the story of comfort more fully and tenderly ^m than, I can. It 13 here in iny hand — a letter ^H 'written by your father Ee intrusted it to ^H nsean hour before hia death. 1 was to give ^H it to you ,onir in case of a certain emergency. ^H I consider that this emergency has arrived. ^M 1 k;ne w of your li usband's threats ; I followed ^M yon to the island party to give you this letter. ^H It contains a secret — a secret yoar father ^^ tot, .from you during his life. He thought ^H pvras not necessary you should not know ^H jifc It is necessary now. Take the letter, ^M read it, and act upon it if you think best.' ^H ' A secret my father kept from me ? How ^M strange that seems I Had yon told me this ^M yesterday morning, it would have asitated ^H me beyond words Now, I seem dead to all ^H natural feeling. A reckles3 spirit possesses ^M Eie. , It Eeems urgins; me to do something ^M desperate I am half mad, I think.' ^H He looked at her anxiously. In the lirht ^H ef the newly-risen moon, her eyes gleamed ^H with wild lustre ^M , ' She ought never to have that interview ^M with her husband to-night,' he thought, but ^H he knew her strong-willed nature ; he had ^| little hope of preventing her. ^M The boat Jia4 been steadily pushed across ^M the placid, almost waveiess bay. It was ^M now approaching shore. 1'urther down at ^M the water's edge, loomed the dark warehouse ^1 m' which David worked ; and beyondgleamed H the lights of the city. The boat touched the H Wharf ; David helped Laura to shore, found ^M a carriage, and entering with her, they were ^B driven to the door of her husband's houEe. ^M It stood under the tree -shadows, silent ^M and dark, but for a ray of lams-light which ^M streamed through the half-closed° window ^M shutter of a room on the lower floor. H ?* He is here,' Laura said, under her ^B breath. ' He is in his study.' H David felt her fingers iremble as she put ^B the latch-key into his hand H ' I. will not ring,' she said. 'There is ^M Ho one to answer it- The cook, with her ^J Ebn, llie house-boy, has gone to see her sick ^m nioiher, and my maid got leate to go to a ^M pariy i his evening.' ^M 'And there 13 no one besides Captain ? Montcabn in-the house ? Laura, you must ^M permit me to go in with you — to be present ^M at this meeting with your husband.' ^M But she refused with a gesture of almost ^M augry decision- '* I am cot afraid of him. ^M He^-buld not dare liffc his hand to me. If ^M h.erdid,'. she said, drawing something from H hes.3j^lt, and holding it up, * if he did dare,' ^M she repeated with a short, hard laugh, * he H trill find that.I know how to use this/' H ^e. moonlight gleamed on a keen, liny H blade pi blue steel, and on its jewelled hilt ^M H^^had heyer feelore seen it grawn out of it^ ^1 goM^k eheatb, Jbtongh he had often seen the ^M stlcange-lookirig ornament in Laura's girdle/1 ^H aiid he kicie^that it was an heirloom in. her ^M family.-.^i-fc::-. :: ?. . ? ? jH z *i^jrle^ffi;pns moment, and the 3rindre-| ? glgftj^ in|Dagira^-yeS| filled him witli dreadi j^B y'^eatesfe^^Lura.,' he began ? : bub she H En]iLfcdt^||»e '?{&&? from his hand and unr fH fasi§'nedf|ie^lppr herself. As she was going ^1 inj'she Aiafitt^iind -hid her hand on his arm. fl ; *'©e^'Bivi3; forgive me,' slieiBaid, *ypil \^m KaTe'Sone'flMJia'great kindness to-nightl I fl thank j:on:':.;5Mjfcfr..-a.H- my heart Good bye.' -I o^iY-ou jfiyJli^d -.,the letter-rr-your father's ? letterstdiiiiglit-^iniuieiiately ?' ;; fl -f ^ijii^b^pbe «aid, and closed the door | ^^^,i||ipaAPTER Y. . ... \ ??? S Twb^iip^s|ater, Mrs Montcalm's maidi 9 ^^^§»||ilP[i4?^^roxn tne party, escorted ^| by JjeriiJgweejfcheart. She was bidding ;him |fl goba-ttigS|^fi She^ack porch, wnenthedobr ^M sii3cle^ily^^'fSed..and a ?wbinaa-ca.iie-^oTiti. H S8»^,TO^^^ppped a dark;,maiitiB.;,;.Jlier' H features sreremufBed in a veil; But aa elie

hurried past; tbe girl, her veil caught on Fanny's shoulder, and the astGnished maid saw the face of her mtsiress. So white the face looked in that swift, moonlit glimpse, that the girl came near screaming. The apparition was. gone before -she recovered herself. 1 It was my mistress !' she said, in a terri fied whisper to her companion. c It was Mrs. Montcalm,' he answered ; ' but how pale she looked 1' ' Something has happened I am fright ened half to death . JJon't go away, Harry. Wait here on the porch awhile.' She opened the door. The hall was dark and silent. She groped her way to the table, where she left lamp and matches. Her foot slipped m something ; she stopped to investi cate, and dipped her fingers in a warmish fluid that seemed to have run along the floor. With her heart in her mouth, she seized a match-box and struck a light. As it flashed up, her shriek ran through the silent house. The light had shown her fingers dabbled with blood Her screams startled the inmates of the neighbouring houses. Soon the hall was filled with men, and hurried questions were put to theescited girl She could only point to tbe stream o£ blood on the floor. It had run from under the library door The door was open ; it was not locked, but force was required to push it open, for a dead weight lay against it. The Dody of Captain Monteahn was screeched upon the floor in a little pool of blood. His upturned face bore, the .stamp of violent passion. On his breast glittered something like a star. It was the hilt of a

tiny poniard, As one drew out the' keen, slender blade, reeking with blood, exclama tions burst from the group gathered around the body. More than one recognized the glittering hilt by its sinister design,*a cobra, the raised hood studded with a single ruby, the eyes two diamond sparks. They had seen it worn by Mrs. Montcalm, though they thought it then only a curious and costly ornament. Now, as they saw the dripping blade, the eyes of each said : * She did the deed. He denounced her for her condnct, and she stabbed him with the seeming toy she wore ' The thought burst into vehement utter ance when Mrs Montcalm could nowhere be found, and when the. maid told her story, corrcboraied bv her lover, of -meeting her mistress flying from the house. Here was almost the only evidence in the case, beyond the testimony that Mrs. Montcalm had that day gone to Aphrodite Island in defiance of her husband's wishes, that. she had worn the jewel-hilted poniard (in its gold eheath) struck in her silken girdle, and that she had returned from the island in company with her husband's clerk. David Holt was found in bed in his room at tLe warehouse, but he was in no condition to give evidence His senses were locked up in a stupor, which, proved to be the pre. lude of a brain fever It kept him at death's door for many weeks, and when at last it released its hold, it left him a wreck in roind. Priends from his native place came for him and took him back with them. Not a doubt of Laura Montcalin's guilt was entertained, eves by those who had been her friends. The State offered a reward of five hundred dollars for the detection and apprehension of Bayard Moritealm's mnrderer. and five thousand dollars was

added to this by General Montcalm, the elder brother of the murdered man. General Montcalm was one of the oldest and most honored citizens of Wall port. He had loved his brother devotedly Bayard was much younger thaii he, and as a youth had been wayward, but brilliant and lovable. The general had regarded him with, a mixture of fraternal affection and fatherly care and solicitude His death in this terrible manner was a shock which at first paralysed the general, then strung every fibre of his being to the vengeful desire to find and punish the slayer. He felt firmly assured that this was Laura Montcalm, and that she had fled to Miles Carleon for con cealment. Carleon scornfully threw open his house and grounds at Aphrodite Island to the inspection of the police. A thorough search was mada, but without result. Still there were many who believed that the fair fugitive was concealed in some secret portion of the oddly-built mansion', or in some nook of the intricately-planned grounds. Others believed that she had drowned herself after committing the des perate act. A veil, with the initials of her name embroidered in the corner, and tracks which corresponded with the size of her slender feet, were found at the water's edge. But in discredit of this theory it was asserted that a small malachite bos, in which she kept money and valuable jewels, was missing. The police force of the city bent . its energies to finding the missing woman. Telegraph wires had at once flashed a de scription of her along every line. Every vessel and every railway train that left Wallport underwent detective scrutiny. But all in vain. No clue was obtained to the woman whose name had become a by word of shame and crime (to be continued.)