Chapter 108114599

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Chapter NumberXLVII.
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1888-11-12
Page Number7
Word Count2695
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

I HysterjoftheSedHonse


? By Mart E. Betax

^M (Commenced in tlie Evening News of Sep H tember 20.) I CEAPTEE XLV1L (Continued.)

^M Hcathcliff did not allude to the c&arge mM i'nat l;ad been flaunted by The Battler B t'i. t lie bad turned off a number of his ^m f::c'.oryhauds becatiBe be believed they ^1 w:.ulil not vole tor him. He refuted the

^B charge, howovor, by showing plainly the ^B nec.'Gsity; which had caused him to restrict ^B operations at his mills during this most ^B panic summer. Other factories in this and ^B c:V.0T states had cloned dcors for months. ^H He showed by figures that he had run his ^B Eiili at a loss to himself. When it became ^B i;ooijs.=ary to reduce the number of hands, it ^B ii;d not only been done by drawing lots as ^B some of the men had wished, because this ^B had not appeared to him perfectly fair. It ^B seemed better to dismiss those who were ^B best able to do without the money their

^B v.c.k at the mills might bring. He had ^H niivle strict inquiry into the circumstances ^fl of the hands before he had dismissed any, ^m When he spoko of the burning of the fac ^B iory it was only to regret it, less as a loss ^B oV i-r;:peri'y than as a loss of what had been ^B pride and an object of keen interest to him, ^R and, as he believed, of profit and pride to the ^B cifc1/. It was gone. The place where it ^B stood was now a blank vacancy — a blot ^B upon the city's prosperity. But it should ^B sot- remain long so. The building, as wa3 ^1 wtjl known, had been hardly half covered ^B Ly insurance. Its losa had crippled him H reve.-ely, but jt had not disabled him- (The ^B Rattler had declared him on the brink of ^B bankruptcy.) i'riendly capitalists had ^B ftreiched out thoir hands to him and 1he ^B hc.cvy would be rebuilt. Work was soon

^B ^° oe be^un upon it H Applause and cries of 'When? When?' ^B rang throughout the crowd. ^B ' A'ot nest month, nor next week,' he ^B answered. ' To-morrow at sunrise the first ^R blow a will be struck toward rebuilding tho H desiroved fae'.ory. In a very few ironths ?I lha v.liir of busy wheels will again be heard H in Factory Row.1 H Deafenin-j; shouts o£ applause went up H from the 'crowd. HeathclifFs factory had H been the pride cf the city its destruction ^B had been a state less ; the announcement ^B that it woiild be rebuilt by its former owner, ^B whom all feared was hopelessly disabled in ^B b::sinsss, was a causo for public gratulation. ^B Wiiat, he promised all knew would be per j^R formed. The applause continued after he Wm left the stand, jmd when a sturdy, plain ^B drcsscfl man appeared on the platform and ^m it was understood that he was an advocate ^B for lieathcliff, he was greeted with cheers. .^B *4-J was Tecccnised as a muster machinist,

^B once a t-itizen cf Wallport, but now living ^B in an adjoining state — a worthy and reliable ^m man. lie said he had never spoken in ^B public before in his life, but he had seen ^B tlis tricks employed by the opposition to ^B injure Heathcliff, and he wanted to add his ^B leutimoay to wliat the mayor had been ^B obliged to say in his vindication. He was ^B aot new in Heathcliff s employ, but for ten ^B years he had worked in his machine-shop, ^B and never once, be could honestly say, had ^B he been treated other than squarely. Once H the b.-ss had spoken to him in a quick harsh ^B way, but he came and apologised for it as H man to man „ Once he had been discharged, ^m but it was for drunkenness. It was in tha .^B days when he had loved whisiy too well. ^B In ths sickly summer of '75, when his family ^1 weie down with the fever, HeathclifE had ^B vis-ted and helped them 'as he had the sick ^B folks in Factory Bow this summer where H lisa dengue was so bad He had done one ^B iiiir.s; that showed the man more than any ^B other act * Jt came to my ears,' sail the ^M machinist, ' by accident. It's .known to ^B most of you that the man who is now in ^B f-yol for firing Heathciiff's mill, as a good ^B many more ousht to be, bad been discharged ^fl Jrtim his employ for repeated misconduct, ^B aad ti-at he made his wife quit out of spite, H made it his business to abuse Heathcliff at ^B every street corner ; but it is not known ex ?^M ce\n to some few folks at the Row that the H mayor has supported this man's family all ^R the summer, aud every bit of bread they ^1 Lad put into their mouth, every shoe they H had put on their feet, came from him. ^M Write that down on the credit side of the ^J maa you trr to call a heartless nioney ^B grinder/ said the old machinist as he put H h:r, hvA en bis head and turned to go. H ' Thcre^s lots of things like it I could teil '^| von, but I have said enough ' H ' Js'o, no, {.o gb,' Bliouted the crowd. ? 'Heathclifi! Hurrah for Heathcl LEE » Go S on' T^m But another figure had appeared on the ? sland — a lithe, youthful figure — a dark H paiely-glowing face, eyea that flashed half h moc; iugly over the crowd. It was tbe first ^1 time the dashing boy speaker had ever failed jH lo be greeted -with, applause when. he ap ^m p'-'isi^j, but now there were no cheers. He |H v;as known to be the bitterest hounder of ^H Heathcliff. The Rattler had every morn - ^B in« been fiiJed wiph his Tenoased attacks. jH And Reathcliff just now was upborn on tne ;^h lickle wave of popular favor- There were a '? ^M iciv Jj.sses and loud cries of ' Down Hall ; S ER o'J, old man. Heathcliff for ever 1' ^B He threw up his handsome head deSantly. .^m J here came a second's pause ; then high S a..d clear, with its daring, mocking note, H fanjj the bugle voice of the boy : 9 ' 1 shall speak about Heathcliff. It is ? Vi|i7 I sm here.1 S '1 ho old man stepped down The young H -Alcibiadcs threw back his curio with a toss ?. ? of l.i3 handsome head and looked over the , ? espectant crowd : ; ? . 'I come to speak of Heathcliff,' he said, ? I ' ^n^ — I Poaie to bury your Caesar, not to p j p:aige him. 3 come to bury him in the jfe sepulchre of infamy from which th-ere is no p re3urrec-t!cn ! KeVer shall he wear the kp crown, of stafe — he, the hypocrite, the I' l-'Oltroon, the criminal !' |' The words cut sharp and clear through

the silence. A shock ran over the crowd ; then hisses and cries of * Liar, slanderer !' filled the air. But again rang the bugle note : ' ' I come prepared to prove the charge I make ! I hurl it in the teeth of the arch hypocrite standing there, and he dare not deny it ! Fellow-citizens under the whitest of sheeppkins :here has walked the blackest of wolves amor -,'st you — a man who under the guise of high morality, the model ofliciaL the patriotic citizen, the spotless, the pattern Christian — has outraged the laws of morality and the lawa of his land. Listen, and you shall hear : ' Two years aso this city was thrown into commotion by the murder of one cf her best citizens, Captain Montcalm, a brave ex soldier, and the brother of our gallant general, was stabbed in his own home by the hand of his wife. The woman dis-, appeared. She packed her jewels and other valuables, as she stepped across the pool of her husband's blood, into the night and the streets of Wallport, and there she disappear ed as utterly as though the earth had open ed and swallowed her. In vain the city was searched from end to end ; the trains, the outbound vessels. In vain the the telegraph wires flashed the woman's crime and the description of her person across the Con tinent. In vain rewards were offered and trained detectives put upon the scent ; Laura Montcalm was not found. It has come to be believed that she drowned her self on the night of the murder. But she did not drown herself. She did not leave the city. She has remained here cunningly hidden by her loves&s— a man whom no one darei to suspect. She remained here, har boured as his mistress, by an arch-hypocrite — the chief official of the city, bound by Li3 oath of office to project the city's interests. Ay ! Laura Montcalm — the husband-slayer — has, for two years, been harboured in this city by his honor the Mayor of Wallport.' Had a bolt of deafening thunder fallen from the star lighted sky, it could not have more startled and electrified the people. For a moment, a silence as of i he death-chamber fell upon the assembly. The murmurs rose and swelled : voices began to vociferate : * False ! Slander ! Prove it ! Where is your proof ? Your proof !' Hazard made a step forward and pointed to Heathcliff. ' Proof ?' he cried. f There it is ! There, in that white face ; there, in those blanched lips ; there, in thoss guilty eyes.! Look at the man ! What other proof is needed ? But you shall have other proof. Do you see your sheriff yonder ? He has juss arrested and placed under guard, as his prisoner, Laura Montcalm, the murderess ? She sita at this moment with the irons on her wrists, stripped of the disguise in which she had eluded justtte. For this model mayor and would-be governor has not only been accessory to capital crime by harbour ing a criminal, but he has been guilty in stealing the personality of a woman who died two years since in a foreign iand, and ia it wrapping the crirsmal he wished to hide from justice. In this disguise she has sat by hia side in your theatre ; by his side in his carriage as it rolled through your streets. Fellow-citizens, the daring impo sition is scarcely credible, but it its true ! For two years Laura Montcalm has lived among you as Miss Faust — the deformed woman of the Sed House !' The last charm had been thrown in the cauldron. Commotion aud wild confusion ensued. The crowd surged like the waves of a storm-lashed ocean. Opposing utter ances clashed against each, other. There were a few shouts for Heathcliff — a few cries o£ ' A lie ! A hatched-up campaign he !' But these were drowned in hisses and vociferations of ' Hypoccrite !' ? ' Villain !' ' Down with him !' ' Away with him to gaol !' * Confess it or deny it !' ' Make him deny it or own it !' ' Up witli you, and own it, or prove it a lie !' But when at lengih, the mayor's well known form arose, not upon the speaker's stand, but* upon the steps of the monument, a hush fell upon the assembly. He was pale as the background of granite against which he s'.ood. The burned scar across his face showed lurid purple in the torch-light. Twice he essayed to speak, bat strong emotion checked his utterance. At length he conquered it. Strong and full, bat with a tremor of feeling, rang his voice : * Fellow-citizen?, what you have heard is true ! I I^ve concealed for two yeara from the pursuing law which had such over whelming evidence against her I did it lor two reasons. First — Laura Montcalm is innocent of murder — 9S innocent as the whitest souled child. Secondly — the claim of nature — of kindred blood — demanded that I should protect her. Laura Montcalm is my sister ' A load, clear laush cf derision — Hazard's laugh — waa the comment ' Oh, white innocence ! Oh, new-found relationship,' cried the mocking voice. ' Innocence that we are asked to believe in the Eace o£ the most damning facts. Jiela tionBhip that nobody ever heard of in all these years ! Oh ! most romantic ! Had she a strawberry mark upon her arm, my honorable mayor ? Too thin, your excel lency- We are noi; all fools, my good Sunday-school superintendent.' * Too thin !' echoed the crowd, ' We are not euch focls as to accept vour word for it!1 . The strongly-excited crowd surged toward the monument. In tne lead were a dozen roughs, half drank and reckless. Their controlling instinct waste pulldown all that was above them. They 'saw now a chance to strike one whoseemed to be down— the nnder dog in the ;Sght And they hastened forward to obey ibis savage instinct, yelling, ' Down with him !' - ' The Sunday-school hypocrite !' ' The goody-good villain !' * The people's oppressor V- ' The greedy' monopolist!' *X-own with lam !* They gathered ferocity .as.. they yelled and pushed.- Their bicod-shofc eyes darted venomous determination. The police seemed cowed. The few \i ho appeared on the scene appeared powerless to assert their authoribv over this fierce drunken crew, armed with sticks and stones. ?

On they pressed to the monument. Heathcliff stood there — his agitation (which had not been for himself) wholly subdued ; his form erect, his face pale yei masterful. They fluDg themselves ::gainst him He parried one blow and then another with his light walkinjj-cane, wielded by his one sound arm® A red-faced giant raised hia heavy bludgeon with wh:it seemed mar derousintent,but a voice — a woman's voice — arrested the blow. He stopped and stared in stupid wonder in the direction whence the voice came In that dirueticn there had been a counter stir. The crowd had fallen back in con fusion. A pair o£ strong, black horses urged Dy furious lashing at the driver's hands, broke a passage through the throng. They were reined up beside tho monument. The door of the carriage to which they wera attached burst open and a woman stood on the step — tall, wiiite-clad, death-pale. ' Cowards !' cried her high, sustained voice. ' A score of you railing upon one disabled man i Citizens will yoa permit a fellow-man to be killed before your eyes in this way ?' As she spoke, a stone hurled by some reck]es3 hand struck the major on the forehead. The blood spurted ; the man staggered back against the stone pillar. Again the girl's voice ran^ out, wiih a thrill of anguish Bounding through it. ' Here ? For God s sake bring him here. My purse — a purse of gold to those who will bring him here.' Even in that moment of excited brute instmcC, the word gold was a charm. Strong arras seized Ira Keathcliff and bore hishalf inscnaibie form to the carriage. He was placed on the feat ; the black, horses once more forced their way through the crowd, while Hazard Hall uttered a fierce oath. ' By all the devils !' he cried. * It is Honor Montcalm. She has compromised herself for ever.' (to be continued.)