Chapter 108111639

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Chapter NumberXLIX.
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108111639
Full Date1888-11-14
Page Number7
Corrections0
Word Count2229
IllustratedN
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

JSy ster j of the IM House

AN AMERICAN' STORY OF THBIL ldN0 INTEREST.

£t Mart E. Betas.

(Commenced in the Evening News of Sep ^ iebiber 20.) CHAFTEB XlrlX. (Continued.)

The thres left the depot together, entered the hotel across the street, and were soon ehaz within .Tndge Collier's comfortable rcom Seated here, the sallow-grey but old-looking man began to talk, and the

lawyer to bsfcen with increasing interest, taking notes rapidly in the shorthand peculiar to himself At the end of an hour he rose ? he shook hands with the singular looking man ; his grer deep.set eyes had an unwonted twinkle. He rang the bell and ordered ' brandy cocktails for three-' Then he fent a telephone message to Heathcliff requesting him to come at once 1o the hotel. Two hours later when the court opened its afternoon sitting fhe great room was as full of people as a theatre on the first ci^ht of a favorite star's reappearance. . Con spicuous ainontr the assembly were ihe leonine head, and massive figure of General jjlcntealm. He had occupied that seat — tear the bar — ?-ll through the trial. He hud nob Sussed a syllable- that had been said. He had sat; there, a stern-eyed, relentless Nemesis, it seamed to the pale prisoner Gnce only ^he had met his eye. iiseruel lightning seemed as though he meant to blast her. Honor had not been in the court room before ; bet she was present now, wearing a veil of thick lace, and plainly dressed. She could not force herself to stay away. Her anxiety was too absorbing:, her Lunger for a sight of him she loved and bad not seen for weary weeks ; her desire to 6how him by some look; or token that her sympathy was still strong and her faith in Him unshaken. TTnTOTfi TSoll xra-s in Tiia ncrml Trilana tip!v*»

the front vrhero he took notes in shcrthand for The RattleE. His manner, was nervous and excited, his face haggard and changed. One would fancy thai he, who was bo ambitious of success, would feel elated at the way things had gone. By ferret ting out the criminal in a ease that had baffled trained detectives, ho fcad at once achieved eclat, crushed a political enemy and rival, strengthened the favour 01 a, powerful patron and won a iarga msney reward which wonld be his as soon as Laura, Mcnicalm was pro nounced guilty. ? Yet he did look not like a victor. Truth to tell, he Tt as haunted, day and night, by ' the face of tlie prisoner «t the bar. it had come up before him persistently eve? since lie bad seen he? lying asleep in her white nesfc, with that look on her fair face which epoke o€ tears, oF wounded pride/bat did not speak of! «tiiit. He had thought of her r-the delicate refined woman — in her prison ceil with a. pang of remorse. He had gone to the gaoi to see her, but she fcad refused him an interview. He had sent; her flowers many times, stipulating that size should not be told who was ihe donor During the trial, her face had fsscmati.-d him eo he could hardly keep his eyes from it. ' So proud, bo pure,' he said to himself, ' She cannot be guilty. And it is 1 who have brought this do m upon her- But for me, it wonld never have lailen - Her disguise would never have been penetrated How she must hate me!1 He shook off tne feeling manfully- He vho b ;asted that he was an exponent of the nineteenth century spirit must not give way to the weakness of* sentiment He scorned sentiment. He said to himself that his suit for Honor Mont-calm 'was prompted by am ; bition, policy — perhap3 passion. -The spirit ;of the age allowed . passion, only it must obey the check-rein of policy. He was particularly neryons this af ter- , neon. He twirled the pencil in his slender fingers ; he looked out over, the crowd and stole -frequent furtive glances at the prison er. In a few hours. her fate would be pro nounced. She must know that it would be death op life- long imprisonment. . How could she sit so like a statue of marble ? And where was Heatbcliff— her alleged brother, as The Battier was w -nt to style him 'i Why was he not beside her as he had been always during the trial ? Surely at this hour she needed the support of his presence more than ever before. She did need the support of his presence. She could not ? conjecture why he did no t come, She sat the cynosure of all those

eyes tone relt -tnem on ner lace, fclie Had not worn a veil through all the trial. She would not; cover her face as though guilt were stamped upon it. But mow she longed for some sort of screen to interpose bstween her face and all those eyes— more than all those stem, pitiless eyes of that haughty, lion-rfaced old man — her* dead husband's brother The black dres3 made the white ness of her delicate, high-bred face almost (startling. By what mighty effort it kept its proud, gentle composure was known only to the tensely-strung braisi ana heart within She sat looking down at the cluster of tea roses and' the' note- in Heathcliff's writing which lad iieen handed her 'Be of good cheer,' said the pencilled lines, * the.jt-e.ha3 been an urjooked-f or inter position in our favour, I am sot with you, but I am working for you.' The. words ma4e her heart flatter 'with a momentary hope, but it died oat as the attorney forthe prosecntion went on with his closing speech. It was a summing up of the evidence against her. Surely 'never was there so damning an array of circum. stinces. Her heart sank l3wer and lower as she listened She admitted to herself that it must seem impossible any hand but hers had struck tne blow. Tiie house was locked Thejre was no one in it but those 4wp.' It was known that sh© was at variance with her hesband — that she had that day openly disobeyed -and defied him. She. had been seen, face to face, by two persons *s Bbe came cut of the iionsq by a back door muffl ed and disguised Within they Lad ionsd her husband deed, .and in ins breast the \ dfcgger she had worn all day in her belt.

' Her flight was in itself a convincing prcof of her guilt,' said ttie State's attorney, and as, pointing his ion?i-quivering forefinger at her face he called b.er * Clyie iniiestra of the Nineteenth Century ; the viper who bad stung to death the generous nearfe that cherished it,' a half smila of bitter self irony came to-be? lips, and she felt like bow ing her head in aciinowledgment. She. felt in all that assembly there was not one who doubted it. A Iiam of voices ffiiled. the cotirt-rooni as the State's attorney* sat down. Laura Mont calra understood t:he import o£ that mur mur. Indesc, she caught a fragment of it -1— gallows, penitentiary for life. ' God grant it bo the 3-ope !' she said ih her heart, And she suddenly felt herself grow in sensible — callous to whatever might happen. The jury's verdict, the judg's's sentence, she felt indifferent io them, the lifted her head and saw beyond the erael, staring eyes. the open 'window; and the blue sky and white dream-lise clouds of the Indian sum mer. ' There is a God, and we are his children/ she said to herself wit'h. that doubting, mock ing half-smile touchiDig her mouth Laura Moniealm did not hoed that her counsel had risen an-fl was about to speak with his usual deli Deration. She looked out at the blue sky and ths white clouds, wondering vaguely why God had created beings to pass through this fever and de lirium called life. 'Something in het lawyer's voice — some ne^F slight chord, made her look at him. His face was impassrive as ever; the twinkle that had been in his grey eye three hpnrs ago was now suppressed There was noth ing in his appearantse to found a hope upon, but he was making im unexpected request. He was asking periniission to bring forward a new witness for ihe defence — a witness who had arrived thai day by the Northern train. A spare man, with close-cut grey hair, a face worn and sallow, with strange sad eyes and a red triangula?.* saar higli up on his temple, came to the witiiess-stand. His manner was composed, yet a close observer might suspect that he wns holding strong emotion in check. He lost control of hiicself for one second only. He look the witness's oath with calmness, he looiiud over the faces

of the pry, the judge, the lawyers, but when his eyes fell upon the. prisoner he gave a perceptible stai't, a flu?.Ta came inio his thin cheek, and he looked ?aurriedly away. She, on her part, loo? ed at him in a bewildered way as though recognition struggled with reason. He began his statement. His name, he said, was Dnvid Hofiiman Holt He xvas known in this citv, where he had been for some years Lead clejrk in the warehouses belonging to Captain Montcalm At this announcement Laura hardly re frained from uttering a cry. She thought that this man — this true friend, was dead ; ethers had thought so, too. A murmur

went through the' crowd, and the State's attorney said : ' I beg pardon for in terrupting the wit ness, but during the progress. of this trial, is has been stated thaw x)avici Holt, head clerk- of Captain Montcalm. was imbecile— had besn rendered so by gin attack of brain fever, had escaped from an ^asylum for people of unsound mind, and was thought to be dead as nothing had been, heard of him. for many months ' c Part of this statement is true,' the wit ness said calmly, though ,his face had flushed and the triangular scar oahis temple turned . purple ' A brain f eve:*- did produce a iemporary derangement of mind. I lost all recollection of pasc events except those of early childhood. I lost l:he power of speech in a great measure, and tl ?e faculty of reason. I was placed for treatznent in an institute for the cure of brain and nerve disesises, from which I one day strayed away^ Being considered harmless I w as not under strict surveillance. I fell in ; with, kind-hearted people, however, who c ared for me. Sis weeks ago, the pain in my head, which ihad troubled me at intervals, grew more severe and I was thrown into a liigh fever , I Tvas then travelling with my friends. They stopped and sent for a physician , He Tvas a skilful and noted surgeon. He made an examination, and found that all mj brain trouble, had resulted from a bluw on the head that tad fractured, the skull 'The broken part pressing en the brain had caused tne inflammation, the fever and the mental derangement and loss of recollection. He had had several similar cases, and ha/I re

lieved two of 'these by the operation oil tre panning the skull. He proposed to An,- this, operation in my behalf i as it was the j only hope of a cure. My friends consented i The fractured par fc ?©£ the skull was removed by the surgeon's; saw, the braised brain and memb.-ane removed, and a silver plate fastened over the wound and the skin replaced. You can see the scar o'£ the recently-healed wound. After the fever had subsided and I had slept for thirty hours without sjirring. I -^oke restored to a healthy mental #tata My thoughts j were at first confused, but they soon grew clear and imme^ately spoke of the last vi*id im-. pres«ion niy mind had. taken on— -the killing of Captauji Montcalm.- My f rienda bad not known my name or former -associations, but they had; chanced to read the trial «£ Mrs. Montcalai for murder, and i;he supposed complicity of Jiiyor'Hfiathcliff; in the crime I was told of it, and 1 hastened liere the very j hour my strength permitted, that I might- save an innocent-woman, and dear the name of a blameless *nsn. I.-have the cer tificate of the physician whb attended me, also bis sworn deposition that I began to speak of the nmrder, and gaye a statement {whjLch IsfcaU presently givfj you) as soon as n: y reason was restored . ; I have also with meimeof the friends tWho pursed ma in my illnqss, and who fFilt corroborate my state ment. At to my identity with David. Holt,, this, cruel fever has tamed me into a prbm atuifely old isan, w/tu tfei3 grey hair and these BSJiken eyes,/ but I surely have ac quaintanpes in this cpart-room ytho xecog luse'DaTRHpie/ ? . ' ' ' . ? '. '\ . ' .-,,;: 'I TO pa CONTONVBi).) ?? - ?.?;??-.'? ??