|Newspaper Title||The Record and Emerald Hill and Sandridge Advertiser (Vic. : 1872 - 1881)|
|Trove Title||The Law's Decree: An Original Story|
THE LA'W'S DEOP.EE.
AN ORIGINAL STORY,
CHAPTER XI (Continued).
"I mn in no humour to discuss the private offiiirs ot'niy friend." said Gray when they had
taken their seats iu Miv. Scrum's comfortable parlor wliicii abutted up on Ifortk Terrace and ? commanded tin extensive view of the river
Torrens and the broadlands beyond, "but as. we liavo been ao long associated in this dis-" agrseablo matter, I am not unwilling to re ceive any communication you may have to mako, provided, you will first understand, that I do so simply in tho capacity of legal
" I am suro" said Snip with a wry look " that you have acted throughout in no other capacity, sir, and that is the reason I accosted you as you were about to leave the Telegraph office. I desired- to inform you of the fact that I have such a communication to impart but is of such a nature as to make imperative tho presence of Dorset Severn,'Dick Wearing and yourself-perhaps you can uamo a day ?
" i-Take a glass of.wino-it is Oonstantia, the finest, wine made iu the colony-but; jierliaps, you prefer somethiug firmer ?-" ;? , . . \
" No,' I'prefer Conslantia, thank you."""^""* "Capital!-well, no,' I cah harjlyrsuggest ajlay for sueli a meetiug " continued J&ray contemplatively I' forj1 this simple reason Severn and Wearing are out of town."
" .Wharo, are. they asked Snip, abruptly,
bat with* oiie of his blii'u:!cat uud ' most" in
sinuating smiles, " out of town's rather an in definite 6pot, you know." i:'J
" As much so as your communication, eh ? but comc, we know each other too. well to be mistaken 111 the motives.which-inQueues us in our connection, ;with-. this matter. .Plainly spoaking-do you want a case ?"
X'dri-ival Gray's words told by do'grces and though he-triod hard to hide the interest which was gradually/making itself apparent in his ilushed face, Snip, could net disguise from thespoaker tho fact thut bis words were fraught with importance' of "some description
to his hearer. ? . '
| " Well," oooly replied tho detective after a
| pauso, during which Gray imagined tint ho
could boar that -individual's heart beating somewhat audibly ."you couldn't.have judged more accurately if you had been a witch-I'm at your service." '
" let mo see-the steamer-"
"? I bog your pardon, gontlemen " said Mrs. Severn suddenly entering tho room with a look of suspicion and alarm upon her face " I was not aware of yonr preaonce hsre."'
"Oh, we have been here half-an-hour" answered U-ray, heartily, " lot me introduce my friend, Air. Snip, to you, Mrs.. Severn," bnttlhe lady only bowed coldly and proudly from her distant position in the doorway
will spare you a moment."
"Certainly, Mrs.Sevorn " readily responded Snip with his usual gallautry, though ho did not half liko the idoa of haviug the conversa tion cut short just as he was in the act of ob taining tiiat information for which be. had been fishing several days so un<ucco<afully, and Gray loft the room followed by tho lady, wondering what could possibly bo the matter
"Detective Snip thought uutil he got tired and then walked around tho room peeping into books and examining the pictures which hung upon the walls. Ho came across an album of photographs which appeared to absorb tho whole of his attention. . ,
In an adjoining room, however, another scene was being enacted. Mrs. Severn was speaking and as she did so her soft white hand lay upon Gray's arm as she stood beside him and hor tearful blue eyo looked up pleadingly into his.
" It was mean I know, to liston, but I could not resist the temptation to foil thut man in
his: designing. I saw the lear of villany iu j his designing face when you entered tlio gato togethor, aud I retroated from the parlor as you' entered it to listen at the door-I deter mined to ivateh and wait, but I would not halve interfered, were it not that I am fully convinced that he only seeks information to enable him to bring Severn back and dis gvuco us all-ob, think of it."
. " You are feverish and excited, Grace, and takoan irrational view of matters.".
" Ho, no, I am only fovered with the foar that this riper will insinuate himsolf into your confidence only to deceive you. Peel, my pulse it is as rational as yours; it is only his villany, Gray, that frightens me. I know so
well he means U3 harm." '
" How then will you adviso mo to act f "
" I do not desiro to advise: I only fear de ception and warn you of itj vicinity ; look, I have written out this telegram, but you must not take it as udvice, only as a suggestion ' .Richard Wearing, White Hart Hotel, Mel bourne. Wurn him to begone, return your solf immediately, tako no further action, be cautious aiid beware. Percival' Gray; wil[ thato? * _ '
'.What, let :him -go . altogether ?\ asked Gray in surpriso at the turn iual.tors""wero about to take. ? :
" Yes, she answered, flushed and excitodly. aud will it not bo better so than to have him
brought back iu ignominy and irous-a dis graceHo us aud a standing reproach to "him self arid "children-by that wrotch within thero." . .
" So let it bo "ho answered gravely yet thoughtfully. ?
" But, you are angry with me for having interfered."
'* I am more proud than angry Grace," God bless you'" and for tho first time since hor marriage ho kissed her. : '
Tlio message was despatched without a moment's delay and; Gray: returned;to (the .parlor. . , . . . . . <
"I bog jour pardon, Snip," said Gray, .bowing awkwardly.koepiug you waiting so long, but the fact is a telegram euiuo while I
was outsido winch hud to-receivo au im mediate answer. .
. '' I bavo hardly missed you ; tho books you see hare kept me entertained.-'
'"JL'hpy are u poor lot," said Gray '- but I value them highly. They have beeu my soli tary companions and only associations for years of hard, dry, uneventful study. But thure is a voliiino of photographs here some where belonging .to ITrs. Severn, which you might.bavo perused with greater edification. Did you not see them ?"
" Ko, iutleed," cooly replied Snip, with his hand u'poii" the identical book, "1 would havo been particularly pleased to lmve met with them. Some other time I will ask to look over them, if you will permit."
, ;"01), fcertainlybut look, yoiir,hand, is rojting 6c the very book," and Gray took the volumo up and ran his "eye over it? While he did so Snip said
. About the affair of which we were talking-"
" Oh, I will meet you at the Exchange in the morning, at 11, when wo bail discuss the matter lengthily."
" I have an engagement with Sirs. Severn and the childreu to go to GUenelg at 5.30, and it is just 5 now, so you must ically excuse mo to-night."
'' Cortamly-but could I not see you later
"Impossible-I' have a heavy'brief-my maiden case-to read, up to-night when we roturn, so it is altogether out of the question. If you are anxious to bo doing something in the matter, just put down the information
which.you are already seized of ..and leive it with ma by 10 to-night, and,I will be hotter, prepared to go into the matter when I meet you in the morning." ' '
" Perhaps it'll be as well to let the mutter remain in ttalu quo till to-morrow, then!" " "
" I think bo."
With this they parted. Snip turned the corner soliloquising, " telegram, who the d could it hare been to ? I noticed a change in his manner when he re turned-what can he mean ? I'll put a man in the telegraph office, by jingo, and if it's not too late I niny even nab you doubling." And, while Snip went quickly up the terrace, and around the next corner into King William-street, cn route to the telegraph office, another scene transpired in the parlor from which the detective had just
" Grace," called Gray to Mrs. Severn, as Snip's figure disappeared up the street, " what has become of Dorset's picture you
had in the album ?'
"It was in the album yesterday, when I put it up among your law books on the
"That was the secret of your diecomforture, then, yesterday, instead of headache, as you alleged.''
She did not reply, but turned her face to the window aud looked out into the green fields beyond iu which May aud Harry wete just in sight returning from their sohool at
" The photograph is not here now, then ; you must have removed it."
" What-gone," and with a scream that startled aud surprised him with its harsh and thrilling anexpectcdness,. she turned, round and approached him in a quiTer.of
"I knew.he was a villian." "Whom?"
With that they fully understood the cause of the missing photograph. With the return of the childron they muilted up and proceeded to Glenelg to enjoy a seaside outing.
'Xhere was more to bo heard, however, of the photograph.
(To be Continued.)