|Newspaper Title||Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931)|
|Trove Title||Mystery of the Red House: An American Story of Thrilling Interest|
Hysterjof the Se&House
0! AMEBICAE' STORY OF THSIL LliSG INTEREST.
By Maey.E. Bryan.
(Commenced in tJie Evening News of Sep tember 20 J CHAPTER XX.— Continued.
I Kildee passed a wakeful night, agitated by ? rainfnl, despondent thoughts, but never I faltering in her determination to leave ? Aphrodite Island in the morning. She rose I before sunrise, dressed herself, finished
I packinpr her trunk, and went down-stairs.. I Her mother's door was fast, and there was ? no response to her knock I She went to the little building in the yard ? occupied by Groff and his wife. G-off ? usually went very early to Wallport to I attend the morning market ?; but now she I saw him standing on the steps of the tiny I cottase with nothing in his appearance to ? betoken an intention of starting on his trip ? across the bay. ? ' Are you going to Wallporfc thia morning, ? Go$ ?' she asired ? He answered in his usual gruff wav that
? te was not. ? ' Well, 1 want you to go that you may I take me Mr- Carieon is willing ; and here ? is your pay,' holding out some silver. ? He looked greedily at the money, but H shook his head . m ' It's against your mother's orders,* he I said. ' Couldn't go if you give me a hand I ful of money.' B ' I 'must try to row myself across, then,' ? Eildee said- ' I don't know anything ? about handling the oars, bat some boat ? may come to my help. If not, I can but I drown.' ? She walked around to the front of the I honse and down the gravelled walk, not B heeding the dewy, fresh-opened flowers or ? the flashing fountain When, she reached ? the gate, set in the tall spear-pointed iron I fence that encircled the grounds, she found ? it fastened She remembered that this gate ? as well as the one in the rear were always ? kept locked. She retnrned to Groff to ? procure the Key, but failed to get it. He B declared he had given it to Mrs. Gonzalis B Kildee found she must wait until that lady's B late hour for rising. B She breakfasted alone. Mr Carieon, B Sophie cold her, had had his coifee half an B hour ago and had gone out in the grounds. B Sopbie brought word at last that , Mrs. B Gonzalis was awake. Kildee went to her B ioom. She was stttiag up in bed drinking B bkcb coffee from a, tiny, old china cup. B She received Kildee coldiy. and, in answer B to her request for the key, directed her to B get it from the pocket of a dress, lying B across a chair, Kildee failed to find it in B the pocket. H ' Then ib has dropped somewhere, and will B have to be found. Get them to look B upstairs and on the terrace, but don't trouble H me ; my head is ready to burst' H Kildee looked at her keenly, more than H suspecting that the loss of the key was a H pretence. She could say nothing, however; H ehe could only search for the key. She H looked through the two rooms and the hall H Mrs. Gonzalis designated as the places in H which the key might be found, then went H out on the terrace. She was walking slowly H with her eyes on the gronnd, when she Hcame suddenly close to Carieon. Ee was H| leaning against a tree looking pale and un B happy. A faint smile brightened his eyes as H he eaw her, and he made a movement to H approach her- Her cold look and slight bow H made him pause a second, then he stepped H before her and said ? H ' Will you sit here by me on this bench H a few minutes ? I. have something to say to ? you.' H She hesitated, looking him calmly in the H face. She mrved close to the tree and said : H ' I will stand here and listen to you Mr. H Carieon.' H Her cool, composed manner struck him H with surprise. ? ' Her good blood asserted itself .' he said ? to himself with admiration a.3 he looked at H the little prend face and firm-set lips- More H than ever was he resolved to win ber. ? ' Kildee,' he eaid, in liis soft, caressing H tones, ' your mother told you what I wished, ? what was the dearest hope of my heart ; H a^d you — well, I will not, I cannot take H what you said then as final. You had just ? been frightened by an impetuous utterance ? on my part. The words that escaped me ? -were the expression of a strong, deep love. H Child, I lova you, as I never loved before. H I am no saint ; I have led a reckless sort of H life, but I am tired of it. Since I knew vou, H I hare felt what sweetness there could be in H pure love, a quiet, domestic life Can you H not give me that life, KLdee — my little bird H —my darling r1 H He bent orer her, his eyes, his voice full H oi entreaty. Never had Miles Carieon ? pleaded so earnestly with a woman, never ? had he watched a woman's £ace with such B intent eagerness as now he watched this little ? oyal face that flushed rose-red under his H close, passionate eves, and paled again, but ? nerer lost its mould of proud reserve. And H though her voice was low, there was no H qnirer of weakness in it. H ' No, Mr. Carieon, I cannot marry you H —if this is what vou ask of me.' ? ' Why, Kildee'?' H ' I do not love you ; do not respect you.' ? Her i-eplv stung him with keen pain He, ? who had thonght; himself invincible wiih ? Troman, felt humbled and crushed before the H frank contempt of this slim, unformed girl. H ' This is your return for my kindness,' he ? eaid, white with pain and anger. H 'I have asked no favor of you Toa have H been kind to my mother, 'and she thanks ? you ; I will do the satse for her sake, but H i°r mjsplf — I have but one kindness to ask ? of you— -it is to Help me quit this place.' H ' I will do no such thing.' H ' Then I will find a way to leave it witt ? out your help.* H She turned from iam, slightly bending H ber head, and walked away. He looked ? after her, uttering a ? 'arnttered,. curse, then H his lips trembled and a spasm of pain swept ? over his face. ' - H ' She is the first creature I ever loved,' ? le muttered. c And to: be spurned, baffled ? by that child ! It shall not be— she shall ? not outdo me. 1 will make her my wife, ? sad after that if she does not lore me she ? shall learn to pretend, that she does,' H Half an hour later Kildee, coming out on ? «ie upper verandah, saw two men in a boat, ? crossing the bay. She felt snre they were ? Goff and Carieon. She -went down tolter H Mother's room and inquired if the key of the ? gate had been found; H * -Fes/ said her mpther icily.
1 Why did you not let me kuow?' I ' I could not see that it was any concern } of yours,' answered Mrs. Gronzalis, without | looking up from the book she was reading. Then she added : ' Mr. Carieon has taken the key with him.' Carieon did not return until night. As he entered the hall Kildee saw that he was accompanied by a thick set, venerablelook ing man, with white flowing teard. * It is the oily-tongued person whom Mrs. Gronzalis brought to prove that she was my mother,' thought Kildee. ' 1 would know that too-benignant smile anywhere. I wonder what brings him here ?' She vaguely scented treachery, and re solved to be watchful and prompt. She had seen Goff give the keys of the gate to her mother. She determined that she wonld ask Mrs Gonzalis to sleep in her room to-night and would slip the keys from that lady's pocket while she was asleep, and try to make her escape by moonlight. ' T want do supper,' she had said to Mrs. Gonzalis ; bat when Sophie brought up a dish of hot cream toast and a pot of tea she felt the impulse of appetite, aud ate a slice of the toast, and drank two cups of the hot, strong tea- ' This will keep me awake,' she thought. ' Ask my mother if she will not come up and sleep with me to-night ; I am not well,' she said- to Sophie. She put her hat and ehawl where she could get them without striking a light. She buttonefi a white loose wrapper over the clothes she had worn through the day and lay down as though undressed Presently Mrs. G-onzalis came in and spoke to her. Kildee answered pleasantly. Her tone deceived the woman. * She has yielded,' she thought ' Carieon has brought her round.' She undressed and lay dowu beside Kildee. ' And so my dear girl has reconsidered, and will act for her own and her mother's happiness ?' she said presently, and at the same time she pat her arm over Kildee. The girl did not answer. She restrained the impulse to answer as her heart prompted, but she could not bear that embrace. She felt herself shuddering at its serpentine suggestion ' Please lake your arm off,' she said faintly. ' It makes my breathing difficult.' The arm wa3 removed and Mrs. Gonzalis turned over. Presently she seemed to be asleep; ard Kildee, who felt her;elf grow ing strangely drowsy, thought she had better secure the keys at once. Shs might not wake again at an opportune time if she allowed this occasion to cass. She rose softly, threw ofE the white wrapper and began to search in Mme G-onzalis's pocket for the keys that secured the gate and the boat. They were not there. She was sadly disappointed. She had been sure of finding the keys and slipping out of the house through one of the windows below, the shutter of which was broken . As she iifted her vexed face from the vain search she encountered the sharp, black eyes of Mme. Gonzalis. The lady sat up in bed, ' Mr. Carieon h\3 the keys/ she said. ' He shall give them to me to-morrow, or I will enter complaint against him in court for detaining me here.' Kildee said A twinkle in Mrs. Gonzalis's eyes seemed to ask, ' How will you get to a court of justice ?' but she made no response. Kildee sat by the window and looked out at the glistening, dewy leaves cf the tall trees, and at the glimpses of misty moonlit sea she could catch between the foliage But the feeling of drowsiness overcame her, and she crept back to bed. She lay there crying softly till she fell asleep with the tears undried on her lashes. Such a deep sleep it was ! She did not awake from it until the sun was high in the heavens. She started up; her head felt dizzy, her eyes swollen. Mme. Gonzalis waB not beside her ; she had dressed and gone. * How late it must be 1' thought Kildee. ' How did I happen to sleep so soundly ? Could it be that the tea was drugged ?' . She almost lost courage at the thought that those about her would not hesitate to resort to such means to force obedience to their wishes 1 Oh ! it will not do for me to he here another hour. 1 must contrive to climb over the iron fence in spite of the spikes. I will do it this very morning,' was her rapid resolve as she sprang from bed Her toilet was made in a few minutes; then she went to the door to open it. It was fast The key was no longer on the inside. The door had been locked on the outside, and she was a prisoner iu her own room. She stood for a short time reflecting on this nevr outrage Then she beat upon the door, loudly with her hands, calling to her mother and to Sophie, but there was no response All .was still below stairs. She ran to the window. The room was in the rear of the house ; trees shut out the view; the wall descended sheer to the rock-paved ground, a distance of fifty feet at least. In moving about the room her attention was attracted to a small table *oFered by a white cloth. . She removed tne coyer, and found a neatly arranged breakfast, a trifle cold. On the table lay a note, which, she unfolded and read : 'No mother of mine!' cried Kildee, trampling the note under her little foot. ' I have felt it always ; I know it now. Eb true mother would want her child to marry that man. Ob, if I had a good mother— like Lottie's. But I have sot even a friend. There is -not one being in the world I have any right to apply to even if it were possible to send word of my situation here.' She buried her face in her hands and gave way to tears. Only for a moment though ; she sprang to her feet and threw back the
mass of tangled hair, her dark eyes flashed \ \ resolutely. I * They shall never force me to do this thing,' she cried. * I will stay here a prisoner for ever.' There seemed little prospect of her getting awap. She was shut up in an isolated house in the centre of Aphrodite Island- — a place under the ban of respec tability, and never visited save at the rare times when Carieon invited a party of friends to be his guests. She was locked up in a room at the back of the bnilding, situated in a story above the lower floor and a basement. Tall trees narrowed the view from the two windows bo that she could not see or ba seen by any person who might visit the island or approach it in a boat. There was no way to reach to the ground from the lofty windows. The sheets even had been removed from the bed ; her trunk keys had been taken away that she might not tear her clothing into strips with the hope o£ making a rape long enough and sufficiently stout to bear her weight Even if she should supceed in reaching the ground, it would still be impossible for her to leave the island. The gates of the ground were locked, the boats were securely fastened. Yet she did not despair, and not one thought of yielding crossed her mindj (to be continued.)