|Chapter Title||She made no answer, and be went on:|
|Newspaper Title||Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931)|
|Trove Title||Mystery of the Red House: An American Story of Thrilling Interest|
Mjster y of tlie.Med House
/Of AM3EM0A.N STOUT OP THBIL^ LING IKiEBEST.
Br Maet E. Betas.
(Coviriienced in the Evening News of Sep tember 20S CHAPTER.X1II — Contwned. Shs ma c no answer, an 1 he wont on :
* Ton emno: work ; you hare neither energy nor stren th fcr it You are Indo lent and insurious, .'md, moreover, you are fbe s)ave. of a habk. Yon e -nfessed it to me. You owned that it was a living death to be deprived of ycur daily allowance of
opium and braadj. .And these cost raonev -^?k jyt will you get it ? The timo is past when you might coin it by smiling on us fools of men. Your youth and beauty are gone; they bare droned from you suddenly, Btranyely. in the past eighteen months ; I neve.- saw a woman change in so short a time. When you dropped in upon ms so unexpectedly a few weeks rgo, 1 thought you the ybosfc of jour former self — there vras a hagjard aspect in yo r face — a wild, baunted loo : in your eves that might make one susrect that you were suffering remorse for soiae criu;e.' His blue eyes were like points of steel They turced themselves pitilessly on the ^onaau. She turned ghastly under them ; a writhing shudder parsed over her as though sne were ttabbed at soii?e vilal point 'Crime!' she uitereJ, trying1 to sneer, 'You are wild ? you are simply seeking to torture me into doing a& you desire.' * I am simply trying to ma -:e vou feel that you ure in my power, and that it is possible for me to p:;nis:h you lor your obstinate ingratitude in ref sins: to do what I ask. Now, let mo s. ow you the other s:de. Claia the girj, and take her w ith vou to Aphrodite Jsland, and you are sure of a support for life. 1 will give y.iu a home in one of the island cottages or I will settle an annuity upon yoa, and y6u caa go where you please.' 1 And the girl i' * You Lave thought of ' 1 iiavo I am growing middle-aged, as I don't mini con easing to you It would be a pleasant change to win the 1 -~e of a pare woman in a fair way and marry her at the a;tar in the orthodox fashion — bri Jal-veil aud wedding-march and priertJy b.essing, an.l all that. 1 ha^e thought I should like to have a child to bear my navr.o and fail heir t- my money. Yes. I have tho -ght of marrying ; but where to find a wi:e ? There is not a woman in my* circle I would call by that title ; and the fair prudes outside of it have been taught to shan me as a sort of moral leyer whose loo\ is poison This girl b as never heard of me. She would not be afraid of me ; I could ma'ie her Jove me — yoj know that. She is h .nest ; she is sweet and refined Sfce would grace any man's home. She has variety, too, which is better than beauty. More than all, she has the best b;o ;d in the Stats in her veins And if I married her — if, mind — I would have her pedigree prove I out; 1 would let it be known wiiose child else was. You say you can pro luce 'tile proofs ; I would have yon do this, and I ( would stan i between yoa and prosecnuon With the aid of her famil j and my money and a little diplomacy, I could enter the | rah is of respectability and become asbiriing tnoral light — eh. ? ' Say, is it a bargain ? 'Will you claim the girl ? Think over ihe al ernative. 138 quiet. The curtain will rise in a moment.' She hesitaled; her breast heaving, her fingers nervously locking and interlocking together. He leaned back and watched hex* tinder his halt-drooped, curling lashes. ' You will be wanting money this very night for a fresh supply of opium,' he said She gave him a dagger look, bat in the next breath she said, in a husky whisper: I ? I will do it/ | * Thanks I thought you were a sensible j woman You must pu; in your claim at once — to-night. They leave to-morrow.' * But if they refuse to give her up ?' ' You shall back your demand with money ?-'offer to pay thor-e people for her board e.c. The old chap may refuse at first, bat he'll think betier of it. He hae his tiock of Due s to keep up, and itinerant -play-acting isn't a lucrative business, by ion.* odds.' ?' She will not be willing to come to me.' ' Naturally ; you deserted her, remember. I You mnst explain that ; and talk of duty, I and your yearning heart, and call up your | pocket-bimdkerchief. You told me once I you possessed the capacity to be a good I actress. Suow tliat girt to-night The girl I is voung and tender hearted, and will not I do.ibt you.' I ' Oh ! what a shame to deceive her,' I Ztilimco said in a passionate whispsr. - ' But I ttc will not deceive that young musician so I easily,' she w^nt on, after a pause * And I he will cot take vour money He will re I quire proofs that the -_iri is ray child, and — I that 1 sm a proper person to take charge of I her ' . ' I ' Then I will bring testimony forward to I prove it.* 'Whose? Yours?' I '* Ko ?; '1 will hot come forward at all in I the matter. I dj not wish to be known in I it It must not be known that she goes to I the island ' I ' Then bow will yen get the testimony ?' I 'As everything can be uot — b r paying I for it There is a man who will testify any j thinz .1 wish. And he has a weii-known I character for respectability and morality. I Be is my paid tool and agent-r-secretly I Openly he holds me up as a warning and I takes me as a test, on depravity. You can I say that a weli-known uni highly re spec- I table gentleman is here who can bear testi I toony to your character and fitness id take I charge of your child. There goes the I curtain ' '?;! . I They bad taikfed without danger of being I overhear J They L occupied two ebairs— a I little distance from t'se other seats — and the I fciusiciasn p ay«l continuously Yet Max I iad not cease i to watch the dark lady and I hei\ blonde cczapamonr tie had ?noticed the I earnestness of their, talk and the agitating I effect.it had seemed to have upon the I vvoinan. Above all, he had noticed how I intently they had. loo ;eJ at Kildee.
CHAPTER XIV. The curtain fell at last Tired AKildee repaired vto the .little dressing-Todm and; be an hurriedly to divest herself of her 8ia e'fralry preparatory to ? resuming vibe li- tie grey froefc- There was a knock ; a call—' Kildee!' She opened tbe door to encounter Max's pale ia.ee, whicli he vainly strove^-:|aia^*almi;:.:^^- ?- ???..? :-:-:: -? -v y- ????????
* 'What is it, Mas ? J)id I not please yon in the p'ay ?' she asked, anxiously. He took tbe band she laid on his arm. * Please me, dear; you always please me,' .he said, tmiling bat his tones were un steady , and Kiidee was not reassured * But I mnst lell you,' Mas went on, hurriedly. *i am apprehensive of some, thing ; I cannot tell you what it is now ; it may :i mount to nothing. But I want yoa to be ready to go with, me on the We tern erpre s, which leaves at twelve to- nig at Yes, 1 Know we are io sta/ here until after the matinee lo-morrow, bnt circumstances seam to make it best that you should go to night. The others can f.llow whenever they please It is nearly twelve now. 1'ut on vour hac and linen ulster ; leave your
cloihes for Lottie to pack np and bring. Don't ask me any questions, You can' trust me, can't you ?' ' Yi s, Max,' she said, with a wondering, wistful look, and he ciosed the do jr while she finished buttoning her basque witb. hunied, trembling Sneers Mrs Dnck and Lottie, standing outside, had heard a part of wbat Max had. said to Kildee. He turned to Lottie : ' It is as I fenred,' be said. ' It is Mrs. Gonzalis. Sue is here to-night with a fashionably-dressed man. She recognised Kildee, I am sure, and the two watched her throLigh their opera glasses Then ther talked earnestly together I am persuaded she will claim Kiidee I want to get away with her to night- It may be that Mrs Gonza is will not take the trouble t : follow her But I iesl miserably apprehensive that— Oil dear ! here she is,* he broke off in an agitated nn er-tone, for at that instant the professjr came np, and with him was the lady in black — Kildee's reputed moiher. The professor's usually rnddv face was quite pale ; he stammered as be said - ' My dear, this is.Mrs. GonzaUs— Kildee's mother ' Mrs Duck folded her fat arms on her malronlv breast, and looked beyond the lady's proffered hand. ' is it possible Kiidee has a mother? We have begird of none the-e nine years/ she said, with her tinest queen-dowa_.er air. Kildee has no mother except ourselves,' cried Lottie. * The person who mistreated her when a child, »nd deserted Ler, was not her mother, else she would not have left b?r and made no attempt to findo it whether she was dead or alive durin; all this ti;pe.' ' 1 will explain this when my daughter comes — where is she ?' Tbe dour of the dressing. room opened, and Kildee appeared, equippel for travelling. Mrs. Gonzalis approached her half timidly 'My child,' she sad, appeaimrly, 'my Ion :-lost darling, do you not remember your inoiher r1' Kildee fell back in amazement. ' You have forgoitej me, but I would remember you anywhere My child, 1 have sought you long my Jasmiiia ' The slender sil.ien arms were around her. Kildee suffered tbe embrace, but extricated herself from it the next instant and looked around at the troubled, indignant faces of her friends, and then at the woman who claimed bar — the re.ular bnt hag arci f r-atures, the hoi ow, splendid eyes There | was a look in the eyes that somehow made her shrink. . She turned to M#x. He answered ihe appealing look by coming to her side and drawing her to him. JEle faced Mrs. Gonzalis. : ' 1 deny yojr right to claim this girl,' be said. ' I can prove yonr desertion of her niae years ago. I fo..nd her tied in vour rojm, half dead wilh fright and hunger. You have put in no claim f jr her, you have made no sun in all tbese years, and now, wnen you have seen her and imagine that her talents or her beanty may be of a ivan tage to you, you come forward itnd demand thv.t she leave those who have been parents, sis-.ers, and brothers to her, and go with you, a stranger, and less. ISTo ; you shall not take her away She will not leave us/ * N'o ;: I will not leave tnem I i will not leave theai !' Kiidee sars, clinging to Max's arm and- looking resoJutely into the dark eyes that search hers. * They are more to me than you can be Bnt for them 1 would Lave died. They took care of me when }ou forsook me-' 1 I did not forsake you, my child,' Mrs Gpnzalis said, laving her slim hand upon Kildee's arm and bringing those Btrange, magnetic eyas to bear upon her. ' I did not forsake you. Listen to me, my daughter, and you, good peo.le who have so much misjudged me ; listen to ihe story of my life since I went out from the lodging-house that burning day to seil books as nsual that 1 might get food for myself and this child. As 1 walked the blazing strees a sunbeam pierced my orain, an 1 i fell insensible. I was carried to the hospital, and there lay for many wee s at death's tioor throngh inflammation of the brain. After the fever )eft me,mr m:nd was disordered ; the past rose before me like a procession of dim shadows I was sent. to an asylum fcr the deranged ; there i remained six Tears. When I was pronmnced cured and allowed to go beyond the walls, I went straight to St. Louis, and to tho old lodging-house where I had left my child. I learned that she had been adopted by you and your good wife, Mr. Duck, having first beenlnndly cared for by this young man. But you had gone away some months before — no one could tell me where. I inserted an adver tisement or two, but I had no money to prosecute ihe search for my child. I struggled on, the hi?pe of seeing her grow ing faimer in my heart. At last came a relief from the grinding curse of poverty The le.acy of a relative placed me above want,- and now, a. few months later, there comes the still happier fortune — 1 find my child. Now I can give '.her a home and the advantage! of' leisure and .instruction I do not forget, kind friends of the child, that nsy gain is loss to yon. I deeply re ^r^tvihat I. mus*; take her from you T shall .always be profoundly grateful for your kindness ; and I 'beg yoa will permit me to show my, gratitude in another way than words Kindness such as ydira can never be repaid with mere inone,-. but I hope, Professor, Duck, that yen and yojr wife will not pain, me iy 'refusing a Jitt'e testimonial or this kind irom nie. THs meant only as an ex
pression of thanks for what yoa have done for my child This purse contains notes to the amount of a thousand 'dollar's.- „ 1 *e_:ret that it -s sot more; bus it^hall be added to at some future day.' ; ; .:-.?-, ':-; o - * We won't take f»y for -|&ldee. 'We won't jrivefcer up/ eriidL ittifepaSaonately. '*;lr**pa,'-.y6ii cannot hesitate ! Uef use &-«- mone* ^refuse lo i*ive up KiJi3ee^^''JSp;l-pdij:' has a right io -)i6r^bniius,? . «aid; £r«iji&. ' :' :'W;