Chapter 115565212

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Chapter Number3. XXXIII.
Chapter Url
Full Date1891-11-07
Page Number4
Word Count3282
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleFreeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932)
Trove TitleHand and Ring
article text


By A. K. Green.


j Chapter XXXIII. | A LATE DISCOVERY. | 'Oh, torture me no more, I will confess.' I — King Lear. i (Conilmiecl.)

A6Toni'hed, if not awed, she followed with he? eyes the direction of big pointing Sages1, and anxiously surveyed hep own image in tho glass Then, with a qniek movemoBt, hop hands v/ent up bafope hep face— which till that moment had kept its eoanaol bo well— and, tofc taring back against a table, ohe stood for a moment com muning with herself, orad possibly summoning

up he? convoge for tho conflict ohs evidently saw before her. 'Whotio it yon wish to know?' she faintly inquired, aftes? a loog period o£ ouspeaoo ond doabfc, 'Wh©?© were yoa when tho clock Dtrueb twelve oa tho day Meq. ClemmenQ woo arar de$?ed P' Instantly dropping her hande, sqq tn?ned towe,Ed him with a sudden liFfc o2 hem majestic fieafa that V7qs aa impooing as it wgq unexpected,, ?I was at Psofessoi1 Dflfling's honse,' she declared1, with gveat steadiness. Mr. Ferris had not expected this reply, and looked at he? £op on instant almost as i£ he felt j inclined to repeat his inquiry. ''Do yoa donbt my word ?' she queried. ' Is : it .'possible you question my tenth at a time like .this ?' 'No, Misg Dare,' ho gravely assured he?. *?' Afte? the groat sacrifice you have publicly ,-mado in the intereots of jastice, it would bo iwof as them p^eoamptaons im me to doubt your vfiiDoeFity now,' She drew d deep breath, aad straightened herself otill more proudly. 1 Then am 1 to nndei'btan-3 you ape sntisfied with the onowei' you have seceived P' ' Yes if yon will also odd that you wore in the observatory at 'Beofossov Darling's boose,' he MBponded qraickly, oooviaeedl the?© wao some mystery here, and seeiag brafc one woy to roach it. ' Very well, tbeo, I woe,' ohe averaedj without hesitation. ' Yon wera !' ho echoed!, od^oncing upoo her -with o slight flash on his middle-aged cheek, that evinced how difficult it was for him to tpnreae this conversation in face of tho haughty ,iand repellant bearing she had! assumed, ' You will, peshops, tall, me, then, why you did not .-?S30 and Feopond to tls9 girl wbo came into that loom o£ this very time, with d message horn a

I , j.iady wno waited oelow to Qee you f I -'.Ah!' sho eciod, snecumbiag with a snp 1 1; -pressed mom to the inexorable destiny that I 1 puesned he? in this mno, ' you havo woven a not I Iof me !' 1 And oh© sank ogaio into o chair, where she I eat like on© stanned, looking at him with a I follow gaze which filled his heart with com I fashions but which had no powes? to shake his I purpose go c, District-Attorney, I ? ' Yep/ ho acknowledged, after o moment, ? I i have wo?en o aet for yon, but only because I I am QBsious for the truth, and desirous of 1 furthering the ends of justice. I am confident 1 you know more about this crime than you have I ever revealed, Miss Dave ; that you are dc i quointed with some facto that make you certain I Mb. Mansell committed this merder, aoWith I standing the defence advanced in bio favour. I Wfaot is this fact P It is my office to inquire, I Teae,' he admitted seeing her draw back with I «Seaiol weitten oa every line of her white faco, | ' you hove o right to refuse to answer me here, I bat yora will have no nght to refuse to answer i me to-oaoEEOW whea I put tho some quootioa So M yon in tho presence of Jadge and javy.' m ' And' — her voice was so hasky ho could but If with difficulty distinguish her words — ? do you H inteud to recall me to the stand to-morrow ?' H 'lorn obliged to, Miss Dc?e.' H * Bat I thought the time £or examinafcioa wos M ovei? ; that the witnesses had all testified, and H thQt Esothiog 2©moiaod bow bit for the lawyers H to mm up.' M * Whoa is d eQna liko this tho peisonep offers M Q dofeaoo not ontioipoted by the prosecution, Wi the lotto?, of course, has tho right to moot soeh M with p^oof in robnt'nl.' i ' Proof in robattol P What is that P' B ' JJtoideaeo to robut or prove folco the asottovs M advoneed in support of the defence.' if Sho did 'not reply. M ' And ovoq if tbo testimony I deoiro to pnt in M is not ^abuttal io its chDrootep, no unbicooed , i judge woBld deny to couqoqI the privilege of ' 1 seopamag hio coso whea any now os? impo^taat i laoi; hao coaio to light.' I Ag if ovoffwholmod bj q proopoct oiio liad aot || ontioipotedt oho bnmodly arooo asid pointod I 1 .dowfi tbs sooQ3 to o ourtainecl eooqqo. I ' Give me iSvo minoteo,' sho criec! ; ' fivo IM ljmnratsQ by mysolfj where ao one con look at ij me, and whoso I eaa think cEsdiotrabod rapon I (whefi I had bottor do.' M * Very well,' ho ocquiesood ; * you oball hevo m SbsEs.' m Sho at opeo o:o^sod to tho smell mtvont. H ' Fivo minates,' oho' goitoE'oted huskily, ao slue m, lifted the coEtoioa ooido ; ' whoa tho clock otiikos H . aino I will como oot/ M The ouvtaina £oll bohiad boi', and fov five lqsig M snioutea Mi'. Yovria paeoti tbo voqm tilono. Ho H was fav? horn ccoy. All v/oa co quiet boMnd that M curtain— oo puotomatorolly qmot. But ho would m ©ot distosb hoi'i ao, ho had. - promised, ciad oho 1 1

should be left to fight her battle alono. When nine o'clock struct, howevov, ho atartod, and own^d to himc'ol? sotno secret dfond. Would she oomo fo?th ot would ho hove to soek hor in her ploce of Docluoion, It seomod he would have to seek hoi1, for tho eui'fcain did aot otir, and by no sound from within was any tokoa given that gho had hoard the summons Yet bo henitotod, Q'fld as he did oo a thought struck him. Could it be ihore wos any outlet from the refuge sho hod sought ? Hod she tnkon advantoge of his consideration to escape himP ¥£oved by the foor, ho hastily oPfRied the room. Bnt befoto he could lay hio hand upon tho ourt^inp, they ported, and dis closed tho form of Imogene. ? I am coming,' she muvoaured, and stepped forth more like a faiatly-brenthiog ioaage than a living woman. His first glance other face convinced him she had taken her resolution. His second, that in t iking it she had drifted into a state of feeling different from any ho had obseeved in her be fore, and of a sort that to him was wholly in explicable. Holt' words only deepened this isaprsosion. 'Mr. Ferris,' said she, coming very near to him in evident dread of beiDg overheard, ' I have decided to toll you all. I hoped never to be obliged to do this. I thought enough had been revealed to answer your purpose. I— I believed Heaven would spore me this last; trial, lot ma keep this last sscrefr. It was of so otrange a nature, so totally ont of the reach of any man's 6uvKniso. But the finger of God is oa ma. It has followed this onme from the beginning, and there is no escape. By some strange means, aome instinct of penetration, perhaps, you havo dioeovered that i know something of this murder of which I have never told you, and that the hoar I spent at Professor Darling's is account able fov this knowledge. Sir, I enncot struggle with Providence. I will tell you all I have hitherto hidden fiJom the world if you will pro misa to let sae knovr if ay words will prove fatal and if he— he who is on brinl for his HFe -will be lost if I give to the Court my last evidence against him P' 'But, Mies Dare,' remonstrated the D'stnct Attorney, 'no man can tell ? ?' He did not finish the eontence. Something in the foverinh gozo fised upon him stopped him. He felt that he could not palter with a women in the gFaop of an agony like thip. So, starting again he oh. served : s Let me hear what ycu have to say, and afterwards we will consider what the effect of ifc saay be ; though a question of expedi ency should not qome into your eoEs:depatioo, Miss Dare, in telling such truths as the law de mands.' 'IToP'sho foi-oke out, giving way fos? one in stant to o low and terrible laugh which eurdled Mr. Ferris's blood and made him wish his duty had led him into the midst ot ony other scene than this. Bad; before he could remonstrate with her, this harrowing expression of misery had coasod, and sbo was saying in quiet and suppressed (ones: ' The reaoon I did not see and respond to the girl who come into the observatory on the morn ing of Mrs. Clemmens's mui'der is that I c?os s) absoi bad in tho discoveries I wns making behind the high rack which shuts off one ond of the room, that any appeal to me at that time must have pesssd unnoticed. I had come to Pjofesso? Dnplinp's house, aceordiag to my asaal cus'om on Tuesday mornings, to study astronomy with his daughter Helen. I had come reluctantly, for my mind wos full of the secret intention I had formed of visiting Mra. Cleoimens in the after noon, and I hod no heait for study. But finding Mics Darling out, I folfc a drawing towards the seclusion I knew I should find in the observa tory, and mounting to it, I sat down by myself to think. The rest and quiet o£ the place was soothing to me, and I sat still a long time, but ouddenly becoming impressed with the idea that it was growing late, I wont to the window to con sult the town clock. But though its face could be plainly seen from the observatory, its hands could not, and I was about to withdraw from the window when I remembered the telescope, which Miss Darling and 1 had, in a aaoment of caprice, a few dayo before, so arranged as to command a view of the town. G-oing to it, I peered through it /jt the clock,' Stopping, she surveyed the District Attorney with breathless suspense. ' It was just five minutes to twelve,' she impres ively whispered. Mr. Feriis felt a shock. ' A critical moment!' he exclaimed. Then, with a certain intuition of what she wno going to say nex^, inquired : ' And what thea, Miss Dare ?' ' I was struck by the de s're to see if I could detect Ms*s. Clemmeno's house from where I V7a^, and shi£ ing the telescope slightly, I looked through it again, and - — -' ' What did ycu flep, Misa Dare p' ' I paw her dining-room door standing ojor and a man lanping headlong over the fenco toward the bog.' The District Attorney shorted, looked at her with growing interest, and inquired : ' Did you recognize this maa, Misg Davo P' She nodded in great agitation. I Wbo was hop' ' Crpifc Manoell.' 8 Miss Davo,' ventured Mr. Ferris, after a moment, 6 you say this was five minutes to twelve P' 'Yts, oil?,' was the faint reply, ! Five minafces lotos.1 than the time designated by tho dofence ds g poi-iod manifestly too late for tho prisoner to havo loft Mfo. Glemmens'o house and arrive at tho Quarry Station ot fcwosaty minutes past one P' II Yes,' sho yopeoted, bolowhoE breath. The District Attorney surveyed her earnestly, poreeiving that sho had nob only spoken the truth, but realised all which tho truth im pliod, and di'ow bnok a £o\7 otopo muttering isoni oolly to himcalf. ^Ab,Oroutt! Osoutt!'.

BreotHoDslyslio watched him, breathlesily she followed him step by step lit 9 some white haunt i»g npirit. ' You boliovo3 fchon, this fcot will coot Mm his life P' como from her lipo afc loot. 'Doa't ask mo that, Mioo Dare. Yob and I have ao cooeera with the consequences of £hio Qvidoaeo.' ' Fo concora P' sho i'opeatad wildly. ' Yon aud 1 no concern P Ah !' sho wont on, with heart piercing sarcasm, 6 1 forgot that tho sentiments of the heart had no place in judicial investiga tion. A. criminal is but lawful prey, and it is overy good citizen's duty to pueh him to hio doom. No Eacttor if one is bound to that criminal by the dearest ties that can unite two hearts ; no matter if tho trust he has bestowed upon you has been absolute and unquootioning, the law does not busy itself with that. The low says if you have a word at your command which can destroy this man, give utterance to it ; and fche law must be obeyed.' ?But, Mies Dayo-—' the D'strict-Attorney haotily intervened, 8tai»tled by the feverish gleam of her hithesto calm eyo. But she was not to be stopped, now that hei1 misevy had at last found words. ! You do not understand my position, perhaps/ she continued. ' You do not aeo that it has been my hand, ond mine only, which, from the firot, has slowly, remorselessly pushed this man bock from the point of safety, till now— now, I am called upon to drag horn his hand the one poor, bending twig to which he cliogs,.Qnd upon which he relies to support him abova the terrible gulf that yawns at his feet. You do not sse ? ' 1 Pardon me,' interpooed Mr. Ferris again, snaioas if poGs'.ble to restore her -o herself. c I see enough to pity you profoundly. But you mus'; allow me to remark that your hand is not the only ono that has been inntfumental in hurs'ying this man to laia doom. The detec tives- — ' 'Sip,1 she interrupted in her turn, 'can you, dare you say, that without may testimony he would hove stood at any time in a really critical position ?— or that he would stand in jeopardy of hia life even now, if it were not for this fact I hove to tell?' Mr. Feras was silent. ' Oh, I knew it, I knew it !' she cried, c There mil be no doubt concerning whoso testimony it was that convicted him, if he is sentenced by the Court for this crime. Ah, ah, what an enviable position io mine ! What an honourable doed I am called upon to pejform ! To tell the truth at tho expense oS tho life most dear to you. It is a Eomon virtue ! I shall be held up as a modal to my ses. All the world' must shower plaudits upon the woman who, oooner than rob justice of ito due, delivered her offa lover over to the hangman.' Pausing in her passionate burst, she turned her hot, dry eyes in & sort of desperation upon his face. ' Do you know,' she gurgled in his ear, ° some women would kill them before thoy woiald do this deed.' Struck to his hoast, in spite o£ himoelf, Mr. Ferris looked at her in nla^m — saw her standing there with her arras hanging down at he? sides, but with hei' two hands clenched till they looked os if carved from marble— and drew near to her with the simple hurried quoDtion of, c But you P' 4 IP' sho laughed agaitt a \ows gurgling laugh, that yet hod a tone in it that wont to the other's heart aad awoke strange sensations there, ! Ob, I shall live to respond to your questions. Do not fsor thai I shall not be in the court-room to morrow.' There was something in hei1 look and manner that was new. Ifc a'wed him, while it woke all hia latent concern. 5 Miss Dare/ he began, ' you eon believe how painful all this has been to me, and how I would have spared you this mioesy i£ I could. But tho EesponsibilitioD resting upon me are ouch-*-— ' He did not go on ; why should he? She was not listening. To be sure, she stood before him, seemingly attentive, but the eyes wzth which she met his were fixed upon other objects than any which could havo boon apparent to hor io his face ; and hou £o?ms which she hod hitherto held upright, was shakiog with long, uncontrol lable shudders, whioh, to his excited imagination, throatensd to lay her at hio feet. He at once started towords 6he door for help. But she was olive to his movements. Stopping him wish a gesture oh© cried : ' Wo— no ! do not call foi' anyone ; I wish to be alone ; I have my duty to faoo, you know ; my teDtimony to prepare.* And rousing horoelf, she cost o peculiar look about the room, like one suddenly introduced into a strange ploce, and fchetij moving slowly towards the win dow, threw back the curtain and gozod without. ' Night !' she murmured, ' Wight !' and oitef a moment added, in a deep, unearthly voice that thrilled upon Mr. Ferris's enK: 'And g heaven full of stars!' Hes,1 fsce, ao she turned it upward, wore do strange a look, Mr. Ferris involuntarily left his position and crossed to het oido. She woo still murmuring to herself in seeming unconsciousness o1 hio presence, 'Stars!' she was repeating ; ' cad above them God !' And the long shaldoro ohcok hei? frame agaio, ond oho dropped hor head cad oeomod about to £oli into Iiql1 old obsti'Qotioa whoa ho' oyo encountered that of the District; Attorney, qecI oho humodly auGMsd horoolf. ' Pardon sno,' sho oseloimGd, wifch de ilkooa cooled irony pattieularly impuoaoivo oftoi1 hor tone o£ the moment bofoso, ' hcivo yora oaytliiag f urtheK to 0soct o9 mo P' ' Fo,' ho mode haste to eoply ; 5only Inofora I go I would entreat you to bo oalm—-^-^11 ' And soy tho word I havo to say to-raorifov/ without a balk and withonfc on uanooooonvy din play o£ fooling,' uho ooldly interpolator. { Thanks, Ms, Ferao, I undoL'otrmd yoi, t But you neod Iooe; nothing i'rom veo. Thouo will bo eosoeae—cifc loDG6oa my gcisfc~v/h9HS ifioohdoto

the Court to give cay testimony to-morrow. Since my hand must strike tho fatal blow, it ehall strike— firmly !' and her clenched fist foil heavily . on her own breast, as if the blow she meditated must first strike there. The Dis'riot Attorney, move moved thaa ho had deemed it possible for him to be, made her a low bows and withdrew slovirly to the door. ' I leave you, then, till to-morrow,' he said. ' Till to-morvow.' ; Long after he had passsd out the deep mean- ' ''; ing which informed those two words hcumted hia memory and disturbed his heart. Till 'to morrow! Alas, poor girl ! and after to-morrow, , what thea P . ;', {To be continued.) :