|Newspaper Title||Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931)|
|Trove Title||Mystery of the Red House: An American Story of Thrilling Interest|
Mjsterj of the Red House
^T-AKEEICAIT 'STOBY OF THBIL hlTSG INTEREST,
By Maht E. Bryan.
(Uommencectin the Mlvening JSews of (Sep tember 20.) CHAPTEE XLV.
Hazard*s lease of the old dwelling joining yards with the Bed House on the rear, though facing a different and narrow con nection-street had not yet expired He
opened the gate leading tc this rookery at noon the day after receiving the cablegram from Heidelberg He wore a blonde wig and moustache that old Caleb might not recognise aa the person who had so often, under^arioTis pretexts, tried to pass the iron gate of which he was- guardian, and who had accompanied the officers with the search warrant. And once before he had deceived old Caleb when he won his way to the Sphinx's presence under the guise of a
legal omcial taking the census, femce tbe search of their castle, it was reasonable to suppose that the inmates of the mysterious Red House were en their guard He must fry new tactics. He had provided himself with a light folding ladder which he carried in an artist's portfolio. Entering the old house he went to that upper room, at the ?window of which he had stood with Honur Montcalm on that dark and rainy night when she had seen that golden-haired woman embraced by her faetiothed He had never entered the room since that night. He had believed the mystery of the blonde woman to be explained by the presence of Kildee in the Red House Now he felt that he had been duped. He went to the window and through the turned blind carefully reconnoitered the Red H^ouse, building and yai*d or that rear portion of it
visiDie irom trie point; or view xie coma see no one ; the windows of the Venetian shutters closed to keep 'out the heated air of noon ; but as he listened he heard the sound of a piano lightly touched in the drawing room Eitaated somewhere in the centre of this big, shadowy, isolated house From the side of the stone basement pro truded the pipe of a stove, and from the mouth of this issued a thin volume of smoke Patsy, the one woman -servant, wa3 cooking dinner, probably assisted by Caleb, or per haps that old watch-do 4 was asleep on a bench somewhere in the shade. It seemed to Hazard a favorable moment
JWi V JJ VWl **»fc~ VUW jl^UWUUJJi k-VV* VUUV1V ... made his way down by means or a back staircase, and slipping along through the neglected shubbery, approached the spiked brick wall dividing this yard from that of the Eed House. Taking out his ladder he unfolded it, and deftly adjusted ir to tbe wall in the corner v.here fig bushes growing rankly on the other side would conceal his movemenis He descended the frail seeminir but stout little ladder and leaped lightly on the soft grass inside. He went round to the side of the house and found .the door of the basement room, from which
lie naa seen me smoiie issuing, jiu. ouour i of cooking told him that he had not been I mistaken in thinking that this was a kitchen. He knocked and the door was opened by Caleb. The jld negro had been gnawing a tone from the sonp pot ; he held it now, in one huge wrinkled paw, and his faca was I ginning with grease. I He dropped the bone to the floor in I amazement. I * How you git in here, white man ? Who dat let you in at the gate ?' * Hush ! don't speak sa loud. Are you Caleb Johnson ?' * If I is, what dat to you ?' ' Mayor Heathcliff sent me to you. He I gave me his key to the gate.' I ' What make you neber go in by front I way, stiddy com in' roun' heer, slippin' up | on colored* folks Dat no way f or gentl'mun to do.' ' 1 did not po io the front door beransa
my business here was tc be kept secret from Miss Faust , I was not to see her, I was to come io you. See here, here's Mr. Heath cliff's note to you ; I presume you know his seal and his handwriting ?' ( Old Caleb didn't know his writing or I anybody else's from a hen scratch, but he felt a great access of seJf-complacency as well as confidence in his visitor when he took in his greasy fiiagers the big envelope I with its immense round seal of red wax j The old-fashicnen negro had a superstitious veneration for writing, and a letter is to him like a law edict Its instructions must
be obeyed. He examined the envelope with great gravity, and with so much deliberation that the woman who had left her pots and approached the two said r * I ' Why doesn't you break dat red stickiDg piaster and see the insides, Caleb ?' He gave her a dignified rebuking look and slowly broke the seal While he gazed at the hieroglyphic words, Patsy on tiptoe spelled out the line : Do what the bearer of this tells yon to. It is all right. Heathcliff, Mayor of Wai lporfc.
' Well, 1 ain't got nothm' to say. Ef Mayor Heathcliff sent you, and he must, acause he's de onliest one what's got a key to the gate, 'sides me ; and ef he tells me to do what, yoir say, and dat paper ses so plain enough, why it's all right, in course. Mayor Heathcliff is de fren' of de lady of de house Tell me what you wants, sah, dat. you mus' be bo secrecy about.' ? It is just this ; Miss Fasut has a relation in Geirmnay — an uncle, her only kin, who raised her. He thinks a great deal of her and is anxious to have her picture. But she always refused to have one taken. She will I not even let anyone see her without her veil' - . ' ' Dai's ro T rt'avc.r rp« nm without ii mv.
self .long as I been'- livin' here. Mighty good reaBOD for keepin' kivered up too When b'eauty been giv' out. Miss Fans' -wasn't dare.' * ' But her uncle cares nothing for that. I She is of his blood, you see. 'She is his sister's only child, and he is anxious to have her pictnre. I am an artist. I draw pic tureB as fast as you can eat hominy. Mr. Heatb cliff has intrusted me to take Miss Faust's picture for her uncle if I can get a chance ' Go to Caleb,' he said to me. 'Consult with him how to get to Miss Faust and sketch her without her knowing it. Caleb is smart as any lawyer I know of.' ' Caleb's greasy mouth expanded at this compliment * jDe mayor know's a smart man waen he sees him/ he said, complacently. Then with a gleam of suspicion ;
* How come you so eagersome to take de old woman's pickture ?' he asked. * Why ? Because it is money ia my pocket. I set fifteen dollars for it That's
a pretty good sum for a poor chap like me. But I'll tell you what Caleb, I'll'go halves with you if you can get me the chance to draw the pictnre. Get me into her bedroom and I'll sketch her while she is asleep. ' Her bedroom,' repeated Caleb, slowly shaking hts head. * Why young man, she'd — ' ' She'll never find it out And it will be just like tnekingfeip this five-dollar piece on
the road . Look at it — gold, yousee — bright and new — none of your paper trash. All I ask of you is to get me inside her bedroom. I'll manage to get out. She is in the parlour now, playing on the piano. After awhile she will come out and go into her room, will she not ?' ' YeE, she will,' said Patsy, who, at the sight of the gold had become keenly inter ested ' She'll go into her room and take a baf and a nap ' ' Very well, I must be in the room before she comes. You must let mo in, Patsy
Where does she keep the bey ?' ' In her pocket. I gives it to her, soon as I cleans up ' ' Well you must go and ask her to let you have it a moment. Say that you have dropped something belong ing to you in there while you were cleaning ud. Your Virgin Mary medal, say.' ' Good saints ! I never get f ogiveness if 1 say dat.' * Yes, you will. You can buy dozens of candles with this,' and he held ,up another
gold-piece before her greedy eyes. * Isn't it a good plan, Caleb ?' he said, discovering that the old darkey looked glum at being left out in the consultation. ' Y-a-s, I believe it is', cautiously assented Caleb, ' It is a mighty good plan, and I'm goin* right now to git de key,' exclaimed Patsy hurriedly wiping her hands on her apron, untvins1 that oarmeni and fhrowino- it in a
corner ' Yes, Patsy, be quick before she is done playing,' said Hazard. He looked after her impatiently. He beat a tattoo with his restless fingers until he heard her returning step in the hall. He r ashed to the door and. smiled triumphantly, as he saw the key held out in her hand. She motioned to him and he followed her quicklv and noiselessly. Up the stairs from the ground floor, up again to the story above, along the corridor, and through the chamber to the 'door of that inner sanctuary into which, thought Hazard, the Sphinx with draws to undergo her transformation. Patsy unlocked the door and Hazard stepped quickly in. He gave a hurried glance around the room, noting its neatness and elegance. The Tall mirrors reflected his white face and burning eyes. ' There is a closet?' he ssid. ' There's two on um,' returned Patsy in a whisper. ' Git into dat f urdest one and hide yourself 'mongst de clothes what's hangin' up' He lost nob a Eeeond in doing as she directed. The closet was not locked. It had garments hanging thickly against the wall. He could hide amoner these if need be.
Patey went out and locked, the chamber door. Not an instant too soon, for the music in the parlor stopped suddenly, and. presently Hazard heard a light step outside the door.
CHAPTER SLVI. The key turned in. the lock ; the door opened, the Sphinx entered and closed the door behind her. She wore a black silk gown, ths loose corsage bound at the waist by a cord. Tbe short grey gauze veil which she alway3 wore indoors hung over her face, fastened to the black jet band worn across the crown of her grey, nearly white head She came in with a languid step and siopi;ed an instant leaning heavily against a corner of the dressing-cass. Then she turned and faced the mirror. Her back was now to Hazard, but he could see her reSec tion in the tall clear glass. How ugly, how old, how grotesque her face was, how queer her hump-Ehouldered Egure ! No ; that could never be the woman he sought ; Laura Montcalm could never be made up to
look like that, bee took oil the veil witn its jet head-dress, and resting her hands on the marble slab, looked at her hideous image — the large hooked nose, the purple mark, the furrowed cheeks. A strange, sad, half-mocking smile flitted over her face. She took off the pale-blue spectacles. Ab, here was something of a change. The eyes were certainly not ugly — they were beautiful — large, darkly blue, and bright. But they shone under a bushy penthouse of grey brows. And still Hazard shook his head. Cnce more the lady raised her arm. The full black sleeve hid the face au instant ; when Hazard saw it nest his heart gave a quick bound. Here was a change. The great, gro tesque nose was gone . In its place was a delicately shaped feature, certainly resemblng that of Laura Montcalm, as shown in her picture, lying now against Hazard's throbbing heart. But still there was the red mark, the grey hair, the bushy grey eyebrows, the wrinkles in cheeks and forehead. These were there when she moved away from the mirror. She went in the direction of the small dressing and bath room into which Hazard had looked when he took his survey of the chamber. This room was not within his now limited range of sight, but he heard the door open and knew she had gone inside. Presently he heard the splash of water. ' She is taking a bath,' he said. May she come forth as fresh as Venus from the Egean,' He took the picture of Laura Montcalm from his bosom and held it in his hand ready to compare the faces. He heard the door open ; he gave one glance at the lovely face of the miniature ; then looked up as a light steps gave token that tbe mysterious lady was crossing ihe room. He came near uttering a wild exclamation of delight. There stood before him the living original of the picture he held in his hand No longer the deformed and disfigured Miss Faust — but Laura Montcalm— the beautiful — the impersonation of grace. (to bz continued.)
Saratoga Springe, the fashionable American summer resort, was lately treated to a' sensation' tyGeorge Law, an eooentrio New Tori millionaire, 'who gave all his club friends presents of expensive jewels to the amount of many thoHoandB of pounds. His passion has been to make a gift to every friend fle met of a ring of the value of £100. He baa aa income of JKSO.OOO per annum, one half of whiob he expends in . PMwata at hta annual fiilfei io Suatqga.