Chapter 108113785

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Chapter NumberXXXVIII.
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108113785
Full Date1888-11-02
Page Number7
Corrections0
Word Count2616
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

fiysteryof the Red House

£]$ AMERICAN STORY OF THBIL LING INTEREST.

By Mary E. Betan.

(Commenced in live 'Evening News of Sep tember 20.) CHAPTER, XXXVIII.— (Continued.)

Another beside Max Lad seen Kildee and HeathclifE leave the carriase. Carleon was passing the building at the time. He started at recognising the girl, and stopped in.tlie shadow. He had niissei her from Mme. Jean's shop for a week, and had been unable

to find her at Factory Row. At last he asked Jlmo- Jean what*had become of her pretty young assistant. The little lady drew down her blonde eyebrows and gave Carlecn a sharp look from her china-blue eyes. She knew Carleon's old reputation ' Ma foi ?' she said, * what beesiness gentlemeens askeen after prettee gells ? La Petite ees good as prettee. She finds freends to take care of her.' * What friends, Madame Jean ? Where have they taken her ?' But Mme. Jean only shook her soft grey curls and became hard of hearing. She always pretended to be deaf when it suited her convenience. ' So Heathcliff is the friend who has taken care of her/ thought Carleon as he walked on, after watching ihe girl's slight figure disappear up the dark, winding stairway. Then* he suddenly remembered that the rumor had been rife in town all day that the governor prospective was Eoon to marry a very young girl — a relative or a protegee of Miss Faust, the queer owner of the Red House. He stopped short, and a spasm of pain contracted his brow. ' This must be the girl,' he said, He reproached himself for tlie selSsh pang the thought gave him. * She will be happy. HeathclifE is a splendid fellow, I ought to be glad for her pake,' he said- * And I will be glad,' he added, setting his teeth and striding on. He passed a bnilding, in an upper room of which the Working Men's Club were hold In* a meeting. He could hear someone Bpeaking. He knew the ringing tone3 as Hazard Sail's. He stopped an instant to' listen, and caught fragments of sentences breathing the seducive spirit of Communism, 1 Lion's share/ c Grasping monopolists,' 'Equal rights of all men to the comforts of life, and to a chance to be happy/ * Hard times do not press equally on the rich and poor ; if the rich man stinis, it is in things for show, the poor man must stint in the things that are for life.' There was a loud applause when the speech was ended. Presently, while Carleon stood leaning against the wall, three men came down the steps. They were talking in low excited tones . * Whilst those fools up there are casting their breath in speechifying we'll be acting,' Said a curious; falsetto Toice, which Carleon recgonised as belonging to an eccentric, cranky individaal known as Nick Woods, or ,Wild Nick, a thin, swarthy man with a black restless eye, indicating a streak of eenius, but a crooked streak that could never be turned to account. He had invented a con trivance by which a wheel could be turned by water-power in midstream without the ttse of a -iam. He had dogged Heathcliff to get him to bn? the indention, but Heath cliff doubting its practicability refused to purchase it. Nick Woods became indignant —furious, and grew so_ abusive that the mayor thrust him from his presence. From tiis hour, the man became Heathcliff Ts bitter enemy. In all the club meetings he had taken active part. He aspired to be a leader, but his extreme views, his personal acridness, and his wild suggestions made even the most disaffected reluctant to accept as leader a spirit so ultra and reckless. Tlii? cliafed him yet more. His vindictive feelings grew stronger. His wife had been employed in HeathclifFs factory, and her earnings had supported them both. He took her away because of his hatred to the mayor ; then when he missed the good food her wages Bad bought and wished her to go back her place was filled. He visited this upon Beathcliff's head and denounced the mill owner as a heartless oppressor and extor tioner. He ytas ready for any mad act to gratify his revengeful feeling,. and he. had succeeded in getting a small following1 — a few ignorant, besotted creatures whom . Hazard Hall's communistic eloquence had I stirred up to do something, they knew not 1 what, to express their sense of the injustice done them by the rich, and. their resolve to stand by their rights It was this Nick Woods and two c£ his followers who came down the Bteps talking in escited half whispers as . Carleon stood against the wall in the dark. * Everything can be ready by eleven,' added Nick. 'The night is just right; glorious ! It will be a big eight, and the Grand Mogul will dance — on his left toe — when he sees it.' ' They passed on, and Carleon reflected on the speech he had just heard. There, was perhaps eome mischief on hand. Perhaps he ought to put the police on the watch. But then Nick Woods tras famous for his inconsequent speeches. What he had just said might have no serious meaning. Carieon wonld have decided differently bad he seen an anonymous letter.Heathcliff had received to-day, warning him that mischief was brew ing and begging him to have a strict night watch around the factory. Heathcliff bad meant to profit b7 the warning and take the precaution suggested, but the summons of Nell Barnes put everything else out of his mind.- . - ? The factory insured for but little over half its value, ,?ras uu watched to-night, and mad Nick Woods .and his followers had de termined that the hour -was ripe for dealing a blow at thej-ich oppressor. Heathcliff found Nell Barnes in her room on thethird'flobr of the tenement house. ? A lamp burned 4'n]y on iKeinaritel-pieeer Its light fell on'' tte 'bony wasted face and Bunken eyes o€ the woman, who sat- bolt up right in bed propped up ;t-y a chair and pillows . She hail dropsy of the heart, and could not lay down without a suffocating sensation. An hour ago, -after a fearful paroxysm,. the vphysiciaii : told, her she might die any ininute.' She -called him a fool and ordered him to leave her presence, but shfe had hurriedly dictated two notes and sent them.- off-r-bne to HeathclifE, the other to Honor Montcalnx— and she had told Mrs. Setts where to find her burial clothes, and charged her not io. let ;herJalse teeth be taken out when ehe was prepared for the coffin.; if she did, ehe (Nell) would -jome

back and haunt her every night, a toothless j ghost. She turned her preternainraily bright eyes on the mayor whan he and Kildee en tered the room. * You took your time to get here/ she said, sharply * Ton big folks think Death himself must wait your pleasure ; you'll miss it some day when he knocks at your door. Honor Montcalm, where are you going ? Comeback. A tall figure in a straight, grey wrap had risen from a seat in a corner near the bed ; a white face looked out from a cload of pale zephyr. ' I am going. Tou are better. Ycu have others to attend to you/ Honor said, in a voice she tried to cam. * My ' better ' is not going to last, I tell you. I'll have another spell and I'll go off in it. And I got something io say that you must hear. Tou owe it to me to close my dead eyes at least. Your father and you are my only kin in this world. You've looked down on me, you've neglected me, but you're my kin still ; and these arms nursed you when you was a baby. Sit down here, close by me, and stay aod see me die. Tou've got to die yourself one day. It mayn't be long ; you're as pale as death now.' Honor was indeed as white as the dress she wore, The unexpected si^-ht of Heath cliff, the thought, * He believes I came here expecting to see him/ had shaken her self control. She did not look at him, and this the quick eyes of Nell Barnes took note of. ' What's the matter between you two ?' she said. * You love each other ; all the town knows ; what bnsinesa have you quarrelling ?' Honor ro3e once more ; her cheeks were red enough now ; her eyes blazed. Eeath cliff interposed before she could speak. ' Don't exhaust yourself with this irrev elant talk,' he said to Nell Barnes. ' You sent for me to hear some important commu nication. You sent for Miss Montcalm, I suppose, for the same purpose. Neither of us knew that tbe other would be here We are ready to listen to your communication, if you are strong enough to make it But if it does not concern Miss Montcalm, she — ' ' It doe3 concern her ; it concerns her father. I sent for both. I suppose he was afraid to come — afraid I would abuse him — on my deathbed.' ' I told you ha was not in the city/ Honor interposed. * Well, well, I am hard. Maybe I'm unjust ; it's easy to be unjust to rich folks. I hope it'll be forgiven me ; it ought to be. Nothing oughtn't to be laid up against me, because I suffered enough to blot everything. I sinned in this thing, though, and 1 want to make amends. 1 — Kildee, child, you'll curse me, I reckon, when I — Kildee, quick I Hand me my drops ; fan me — fan — ' The girl was already at her side plying the fan she had taken from Mrs Betts She sprang to reach the medicine, brought it on the instant ; but Neil motioned it away. She was struggling for breath. Her wasted chest heaved with great threes j her face was knotted with agony- Great drop3 of sweat stood on her forehead Kildee wiped them away. She bathed the convulsed face in cold water and brandy. Heathcliff sup ported the relaxed head ; and Honor, cos in? forward in this moment of self-for^etf ulness, chafed her hands briskly and steadily The fight for life was fearful ' It will be the end/ thought those about her, but her strong vitality carried her thr ju^h it. The convulsion passed bufc.it left her exhausted and breathless. When she recovered a little she turned to Kildee, and in broken whispers directed her to open her trunk, look in a secret pocket and bring a folded paper she would find there, it was brought, and she signed that they should bring her the ink and pen. She then unfolded t!ie paper, and grasping the pen. signed her name in tremu lous but legible characters. With a motion cf the hand and lips she indicated her desire that HeathcliS and Mis3 Montcalm should affix their names as* witnesses to the signa. ture. Heathcliff wrote his name, and took the paper to Honor. She did net understand that she was required to write, and she wrs looking down, wondering what revelation this woman was about to make, when Heath cliff gently spoke her* name. She started and looked up, saw him standing so near her, met the look of his sad, deep eyes, and for a moment lost the composure she had struggled to preserve. The blood rusted to her brow; her hand shooz so she could hardly trace her name. Kildee saw it : her glance went rapidly, unobtrusively over each face. ' Nell Barnes told the truth.' she said to herself. ' And shall I stand betwesn them ? No, I must not ; 1 will not ' Neli Barnes watched the writing of the witnesses' names with eager eye^s. She drew a deep breath of content. * It's all there/ she eaid pointing to the paper in Heath'cliff's hands. ' I wanted to tell it with my tongue There's more written down there than I wanted should stand. There's some hard things against him — your father, Honor Montcalm and maybe they're too harsh. I hadn't no claim on him, but kin — and second cousin at that. I hope he'll for — forgive, Kildee.' Her voice softened as she turned her head to the girl who was fanning her softly. ? * You must forgive ; you mustn't hate me. You're a good. .girl. You've been good to me and' stood my crossness You didn't know what a wrong I had done you, but — well, 1 want you to know it first and then say you forgive, if you can. ' Read it/ she said to Heath cliff ; there'3 some hard things, but — ' Her voice failed and she made a quick imperative motion of the hand commanding Heathcliff to read the paper he held. It began with a short sketch of her rela tionship -to General Montcalm — by her mother's side Her father was a thriftless, strolling dentist, who died leaving his «rife in utter .poverty. She applied by letter to General Montcaim who ^ent her, a 'small snip/ and 'wrote that lie could do no more just then. Nell's mother -died of fever shortly after,, and -she, a girl of eighteen, was taken into General Montealm's family, not as an adopted daughter, .but as a depen dent, which she. seemed bitterly, to resent. She was required to do small services in re turn,, for her board and clothes' She was seldom admitted into the drawing-room, or introduced to the grand guests. She found a lovec though., and -was devoted to him ; but they needed monev to marry on. The General refused to furnish it, and told her her lover was worthless Thg young man finally left; her and gave his attention to ?another girl She was heart-stricken. She laid .the disappointment at {Jeneral Monfc ealm's door. * In her bitterness she would have done anything io injure 'him. Her

strongest desires were firsO io revenue herself upon the Mcntcalms for her real or fancied, wrongs, and to get money enough to quit the place that had such miserable associa tions. One day an evil Fate gave her oppor tunity to fulfil both these wishes. She was returning from a wale ; had been taking the general's little girl, his favorite, to fee him go off on a short business irip. She stopped Gn a bridge that spanned the river Ae she slood tbere holding the child in her arms gazing at the swift dark waters below, some one touched her arm. She turned and saw a woman with a black veil 'half Bwept aside from her dark, foreign-looking, handsome face ' Whose child is this ?' asked the woman, and Nell answered that it was Mrs. Mont calm's. ' Was that its father I saw leaving on the train just now ?' ' Yes ; he was goin^ off with — * * I knew it. The child is his image. Do you like him ?' the woman interrupted, and Nell answered, impetuously : ' No, I hate him. I hate everybody. I only wish 1 had money io po away where I could never see anybody I had ever known.' (to be continued.) . .