|Newspaper Title||The Record and Emerald Hill and Sandridge Advertiser (Vic. : 1872 - 1881)|
|Trove Title||The Law's Decree: An Original Story|
CHAPTER XI. .
AIus. Sovorn" aud tho children bud accom pied their friend l'ercival Gray from tho
rustic solitude of their mountain home to the more lively utid pleasing scenes of Adelaide life, u place compact and of sinall dimensions, but possessing extoiisive social advantages when compared; ivitk its .sistai^eapitals-u snug : little city; iying: within a rbctanguliir triangle aud bounded on every; side with a wild primeval forest, through which tho wood man bad.uot,yet passed with his ruthless axe, nor the innovator with his now fangled no tions. The change conduced in no incon siderable degree to Mrs. Severn's determina tion to allow her husband the choice of being divorced by circumstances or by law, and with -liisusual foresight the delinquent chose the leas
obnoxious alternative-ihe.one in fact which lis)
had already voluntarily taken upon himself t;> consummate, by absconding. However acutely she might feel the insult and ignominy which had been heaped upon hor by the iniquity of her husband, it was made apparent by her friend that anything further which sho'might do to avenge herself, would only tend to make houvier still the weighty burden of-the wrongs fho suffered ; and, for. her children's sake, therefore, but out of ho feeling' ofjco'in ihisera'.ioh for the wrongdoer, argued Gray alio should no longer seek to prevent that which nil the solicitude in the .world could not, under the" circumstances influbnco one iotii. ~ Thus
convinced Mrs..Severn gradually gave way to
the solicitations of her friend and tlioiice for ward placod liersolf eutirolv under the advice of Percivui G;ray, who-sinco his arrival in the city had not allowed time to hang idly upon
First iind foromost ho bethought how best to uieot. the :dcliiiqusut Severn, as lie was determined not to allow that gentleman to depart linally out of his reach without making him acknowledge his connection with certain proceedings which ho deemed it advisable: should bo explained before it Had becotae generally known that ho wiis an absconder. To.: effect this desideratum was1 a difficult matter, aud one which appeared at first sight
to be .surrounded with insurmountable and
innumerable obstacles of every imaginable color, size and shape. Ho could not transmit instructions of sullieiout import to bo of any sorvico through tho telegraph office to Richard Wearing,-who was anxiously waiting, ho know, for some indication which might net as :a guide to him in tho hazardous course which he wa3 pursuing,-without arousing some sus picion among the clerks and operators ; lie feared to, transmit a letter through tho'post -qftico lest 'Detootivo Snip might smell lire, -and follow up tho econt: Not that ho carod
for himselt or the oauso of those with-whom ho was acting--that could not sutler-hut hofearod that a fal.n move on his part might start a huo and :'V after the dolinquout, aud by so doing brii-jj additional infamy upon Grace and her. children. . Apart from these ob stacles, however, there wero other difficulties which, spring up in his pathway as ho pro ceeded with the matter, which tended iu a great meaeniv, to overthrow his' calculations and dash tho ttopes and aspirations of himself and friends to the wind, every forward step he took. It 'was" useless to doride, fate was playing; a strong hand, as Don Severn re marked when consulted in tho matter, against him, and unless he bluffed his opponent thero was an end to further diplomacy.
The figurative language of tho little lawyer had for ouee, an inkling of good senso in it, but: it was a very rare'.caso when Don1 had recourse to such language;-- .
Percival Gray saw this, and peiceivcd that, it would be almost impossible to succced in his determination without being present at the scene of action, aud with this thought now upon him, ho hastened to tho telegraph office and forwardod the followiug telegram to .Richard Wearing :?
"Adelaide,--, To Richard Wearing, .
Whito Hart Hotel, Melbourne.
Prevent departure at any sacrifice till my, arrival per ito-morrow's steamer. ' i- :
This resolution,.'if- carried out with ;pro cuutiou, would enablo him to tako the delin quent : by surprise without arousing tin slightest - suspicion in the breasts of those
whose interest it was' to have a voice in the
settlement of I)orsat Severn's atfairs, and win the concessiohsiwhich he" sought once face to face with that gentleman he had no doubt as to the consequences, but he fearc-d lest acci dent" should iutervoue and preveus tho ac complishment of tlmt design. When lie dispatched this cautious message, buttoned up his 'jreal, overcoat, and was about, to leave the ifixchauge, lie found himself confronted by.
ttie man of all o' hers whom he had desired to;
"I beg your pardon, Mr. Gray," said Snip, iu that insinuating ».>ntleniunly maimer which members of such a calling are wont to perfect by a constant practice of the art, of dissimula tion, and with a lear in his eye which said plainly enough, " I know your little game," if looks cU;s possibly be credited with tho faculty of silent speech, but.Mie went 110 further. Thore was a something so open and endeavoring about Gray which brought a doubt to tho uiiud of the unwary detective,
and iuduccd biiu to changc his': tfotormination I with respect'to the overturo;^which it had' been his intention to make to Gray when be
at first accosted him.
Gray confronted tho wizzen little parasite with every appearance of indifference upon his couuteuance, and without tho slightest degree of annoyance in his demeanour. "Snip," he said, with the sangfroid of a diplomatist, "tho very man I've beou think ing about."
That was true, but very different was" tho feeling from that which ho sought to con virico the detective had prevailed. " ,
" It is seldom, sir, I am thought about (by those who do not require my services."
"Even so. It was because I required your assistance iu a matter of some difficulty that I thought about it." .
" We liavo met, then, opportunely ?" sug gested tho detective.
" Most opportunely," suggestively auswor ed Gray, who suddenly found himBolf coping by inuendo with a man armed at all points against surpriso, but who sliowod no indica tions what ever of either being iu search of information or of wanting any. This was tho art of netectivism, practised by an efficient rotary, w IO sacrificed everything to the consuiuma'ion of an end, howovor incon siderable.
" Look S ore Snip," said ono of his patrons, while guss jing at a social hostelry ono even iug, " when you've got an important case iu hand, I'd like to take a turn round with you aud seo a Uii. of life, if you can manage it." " Important, sir; uli my cases aro important;"
and in thir admission tho officer confessed the cause of hi-i succoss and popularity. Kotliing was too j aconsiderable to ongage all tho at tention ol his dotectivo faculties whilo ho was engaged upon it, and throughout his career ho nover left a stone unturned, how 'over trivial or unimportant the case might bo
to bring a culprit to justico or a mystery to