Chapter 115566129

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Chapter Number2. XXI
Chapter TitleA HEART'S MARTYRDOM.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article115566129
Full Date1891-08-29
Page Number4
Corrections0
Word Count3271
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleFreeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932)
Trove TitleHand and Ring
article text

HANB ATO 'RING.

. ? -j . ? By A. K. Green.

BOOK IT. THE WEAVING OF A WEB. CHA.PTEB XXT. A HEABT'S MARTYRDOM.

' Oh tbat a man might know The end of this day's business, ere it come ; Bat it sufficeth that the day will end, And theu the end is known !' — Julius Cesar. Mb, Ferrio'G fi^st impulse upon dismissing the detoctiveo bod boen to carry the uo'e he had ffocoived to Mr. Orcatt. Bat a night's careful coaoides-ntion of the unbjoct convinced him that the mooofc coui'Qe v/onld bo to follow the oog- ' fyoaftions conveyed in the letter, end seek a direct interview with Imogene Dare. Ifc was not an oqceenble task fov bim to under take. Miss Dgi'Q wqo a yoaa^ lady c/hotn he

BVM Giwayo aoia in cue m^ueui utn-euxu. j_lq uua hoped to sea her the wife o? his friend, ond woold have given inueh horn Ma own private stock o? hope ond happiness to hove kept her aosao free horn the coatumely which any oouo omfcion with this dreadful crime moot nee.s Gorily bring upon it. Bat his position as Proec auting Attorney of the county would not allow Iritfl to consult his feelings any fufthei' in a ocae oi ouch oeriouo import. The condition o£ Mr. Hilobeth wop, to cay the least, Bach qo demanded the most impartial oetion on tho part of the public officials, and if through coy explanation of Miss Daro the one missing link in too chain o£ evidence against onolhar could bo supplied, it wao certcialy his duty to do all he could to inome it. Accordingly at a favourable bom1 tho next day he mode hia appearanca at Mr. OrcuH's house, and learning that Mis* Dare had gona t:- Professos? Darling's house for a fevy duyp, fol lowed her to hey new home and requested an interview. She at once responded to his call. Little did he think cs oho came into the parlour where he oat, and with even more tfaon he? usual calm Dsll-possossioa glided down the length of that elegant apartment to his oide, that she hnd jast come from a naml! toom on the top floor, where, ia tho position ol q hired sempstfeRP, nbo had been engaged in catting oat tho wedding gar snento of one of the daughters of the house. Hep greeting was tho1 of a person attempting to L:eign surprise she did not feel. 5 Ab,' said she, 'Mr. Fan-is ! This is an unex pected pleasure.' Bat Mr. Faraohad no heart for courfceoies. e Miss Dare,' be began, without any of the pve liminarieo which might be expected of bins, ' I have come upon a disagreeable errand. I hove Q favour to ask. You ore in possession of q piece o£ information which it is highly necessary for mo to share' 'IP' The Gurp?iss betrayed in this single word waa 30 more than was to be expected from a lady thus addrensed, neither did the face she turned ?o steadily toward him cltar tmdes his searching gDse. 'If I can tsll you anything that yon wish to know,' oheqoietly declared, 'lamoes&ainly 1'eady to -3o oo, sir.' Deceived by the steadiness of ber tone and tlie straightforward look of her eyes, he pro ceeded with a sadden seleaeoment from hio smbcrrassment to say : 1 1 shall have to vecall to you? saind c most pniafal incident. Yoa remembar, on ths morn- 1 log whoa wo met at Mrs. Clemmens'a honso, claiming oa youe own a diamond ring which was picked up f?om the floo? at vour feet P1 « 1 do.' ' Miso Dqvo, wgs this ring rosily yonrs, oi1 wevo you misled by ity appearance into merely think ing it yoar property? My exeusa iok1 aaking this is that tho ring, if not youro, is likely to become an important factor ia the ccse to ?which the muedes of this unfoitumate womon haa led.' « gij. , — „ — „_=' The pause wbich followed the utterance of this one word was but mo mentary, but in it what faint and final hope moy bovo gone down into the depths of eve&'lo&ting dn.'kneap, God only knows. ' Sir, oince you ook me the question, I will oay that in one sense of the te?oi it was -nine, and in another it wao r.ot. The nng was mine, be cause it bnd been offeved to me us o gift the doy before. The ring was not mine, because I had sofuoed to take it when it was offered.' At these vfovoIs, spoken with such quietness Sbey oeomed like tho mechanical otternnces of D woman in a trance, Mr. Forris Gtatted to hio feet'. He could ao longer doubb that evidence o£' an important nature lay before him. 4 And may I oak,' he inquired, without any ideo of the martyrdom he cAusod, 'what wqs the nomo of the person who offered yoa this sing, ond from whom yon refused to fake it?' 5 The name ?' She qucvered for a moment, qq-3 her eyes flashed op toward heaven vrifch a look oic wild appeal, ca if the requirement of this Hsoinent was more than ovan sha hod strength to meat. Then a certain terrible calm nettled opon hev, blotting the last hint of feoliug from her foce ; and, rising up m hoi1 tu^n, sho met Mr. Fst'giu'G isqQi?ing oyo5 and alowly and distinctly gopliod : 8 It was Oraik Mnnsoll, a':.v. Ho io a uopliov? o£ Mro. (JleEsmoBG.' It wao tho name Mr. Fevrio had co\ao fchore to hear, yot it gnva him a slight ohoek when it fell fo'om hoy lipo— porbepo bocnuoo his mind V7D0 otill stinaiBfj ugon hoi; oeppocod 5-'olotioQO

with Mv. Oroatt. Bat he did not show his fool ings, however, nnd calmly oobed : 'And wes Mr. Msnnell in th's tow» t'10 day before tba nsscult upon his etiiiP' ' He was,' ' And yoa had a conversation with him ?' 'I had.' 'Moy I gsIt wheyo ?' For thn (u'Kfc time sho flashed. Womanly shame hr.d not yet vrmiahod entirely frosa hor stricken bronst ; but sha rooponded os ctcodily &s bjfore ; 'In the woods, si?, back of M-s. Ciotximem/o hcu-6. Thero woro pacEOio'— slie paused — 1 there were good reasons, which I do not fool obliged to state, why o mooting in such a place wao cot discreditable lo vs.' 1 Mr. Ferris, who had received from other sources a full version of tho inte- view to which aha thus alluded, experienced a fiuddca roval siou of fooling ap aiatit ona he could uot but con sidor ag a detect d coquette ; and, drawing qaiolily back, made a gaafuro sach &n waa not oft.'n witnfssed in these elegant apartments. ' You maoa,' s-iid he, with a aha?p edge to his tone that passed over her dioary 'soul unheeded, ' that yoa were lovers p' 'I mpan,1 siid she, like the automaton she nicely waa at that moment, 'that he had paid me honomable addresses, and that I had no reason to doubt his motives, os.1 my o^n in seek ing ?nch a meeting.' ' Mi98 Dire'— ail «ho Disbriet-Atfornoy ppobs to the munner of Mr. Farris now — 'if yoa re fused M?. Msnsell h'.s iring, yoa mu^t have re turned it to him p' She looked at him with en an^aisb. that bs gpo!re hor full apprecihtion of all this question implied, but unequivocally bowed her head. 'It waa in his possession, than,' he continued, ' when you left him oa that day, and returned to your Lome P' ' Ysp,' her lipn ssemed to aay, thongh ho dis tinct utterance came from them. s And you did not see it ngein till you found it ou the floor of M?d. Clenamena'a dining-room the caorniug of the murder P' 'No.' t ? ' Miss Daro,' said he, with great mil dries?, affce-1. q short pause, 'you havo ansvreved my somewhat painful inquiries with a Btraigbtfoif vyardne&s I caanct suflieiently commend. If you will now add to my gratitude by telling me whether you hsve informed anyone else of bhe important facts you have just given me, I will distreso you by no fusthsr questions.' ' Sir,' Siid she, and her attitude showed that she could eoduro but little rcore, 'I have token no one else into ray confidence. Such know ledge as I had to import was not remitter for idle gossip.' And Mr. Ferris, being thus assured that his own surmues and that oi Hickory were correct, bowed with the respect hor pale face and rigid attitude seemed to demand, and considerately left the housa. Chapter XX II. CRAIK MANSELL. ' Bring me unto my trial when you will.' — Hbney VI. ' He is here.' Mr. Farria threw aside bis cigar, and looked up st Mr. Byrd, who woo standing before him. * You had no difficulty, then ?' 'No, sir. He acted like a man in hourly ex pectation of some such, summons. At tha very first intimation of your desire to oee him in Sibley, he rose from hia deok, with what I thought was a meaning look at Mr. GoodmoD, ond, after o few preparations for depaiture, signified he was ready to take the nesfc tc&ia.' i 'And did he ask no questions?' ' Only one. He wished to know if I were a detective. And when I responded ' Yee,' ob served, with du inquiring look, 'I am wanted tse o witnesp, I suppose.' A suggestion to which I waa careful to mtko no reply.' Mr. Ferris pushed aside his writing, and glanced towards the door. ' Show him iD, Mr. Byrd,' said be. A moment after Mr. Mansell entered the room. The District Attorney had naver seen this man, and was struck at once by the force and manliness of his appeavanoe. Half riQing from his seat to greet the vititor, he said : ' I have to beg your pardon, Mr. Mansell. Feeling it quite necessary to nee you, I took the liboity of requesting; you to tako thia journey, ray own time beiDg fully occupied &t present.' Mr. Mansell bowed--a elow, self-possessed bow- and advancing to the table before which the District Attorney sat, laid hia band firmlj upon it ivnd said : 'No atologierj ore needed.' Then sbostly, 'What ia it yoa want of wo?' Tho words ^ere almost the same os those which had been usod by Mr. Hildrotb under similar circumstances, but how different was their effect! The one was the utterance of a weak man driven to bay, tho other of a strong one. Mr. Ferris, who was by no means of on impreFsib!e organization, flashed g look of some what unoooy doabt afc Mr. Byrd, and hesitated slightly before proceeding. 1 Wo hovo oont for you in thia friendly way,' ho remarked ct lnet, ' in order to give you that opportunity for explaining certain matters con nected with your ouat'a sudden death which 5 oar well-known character nnd good position Qeemed to warrant. Wo thiuk you can do this. At all events I hcVG accorded myself the pnvi. lege of so puppotiing ; and any words you may have to ouy will moot with all due eouoidoration. As Mvp. Cleramens's nephew, you, of course, desire to oao hor mordoyoi1. brought to justice.' Tha cligbtly vising inflection given to the loot few wordo mado thorn to all intents and pur poses a queutioa, and Mr. Byrd, who stood near by, waited onsiously for the decided ' Tod,1 which 3Dovaod tho only possible k-oply uudoL' ths oiBOQtastanocpf but it c|id ^ ooeo. !

Scirprisod, ond possibly anxious, the District Attorney repented himself. 'Ay her nephew7,' Oi. id he, 'ani (bo inheritor of tho few r-:viiigci sha has loft behind her, yon can hs.vn but one wish en tho subject, Mr. Manqell ?' Bat this attempt encooedad no bottor tban fho fi?ofc. Boyond a slight oompvogsion of the i'pp, Mr. Manoiill guvo no Enanifontation oi hf.vinp, heard thin yomark, one! both Mv. Forvis ft.nrl the dctoct've xound fchomoolvs s forced to wonclev at tho rigid honesty of a man who, r.yhnlovei1 rl?aih giving bio. 7 he might have dealt, would not allow himself to escape tho prtjudice of hia i»c oaaers by oasonting to a ouppositioa ho end thoj knew to bo false. Mr. Ferris did not press tho question. ( Mr. Mansell,' he remarked instead, 'a per son by the nama of Grouve/neuv Bildreth is, as you muat know, under arraafc a-, this tira--, charged with tho crime of having given tb« blov? thnt I'd to your aunt'o daath. T'io evi dence against bim ia otroop, and the public gd norally b&ve no doubt thfit hia n»reat will lead to trial, if not to conviction. But unfortunately for an, however fortunately fo* him, nnother person hes lately boen fouud. tigftinst whom nn fqaal sho-7 of evidence cfin ba jaiaed, fnd it is ft r (ho pnrpo-'sof sflfisfjing ourselvos th:d it is but a show, that we b&ve ?i quosied your pr« oence here to-day.' A spasm, vivid as it w&s instantaneous, dis torted for a Hoocaent the powerful features] o! Craik Mnnaell at the words, 'another porsoo,' but it was gone before the sentence vr a ei com pleted, and when Mr. Ferris ceased he looked up with tha steady calmness which made bin bearing so remarkable. ' I am waiting to hear thonisae of this fjeshly ouapettad perfon,' ho obfejved. 'Cannot you imagine P' osked the District Attorney, coldly, secretly disconcerted under r, gaze that held his own with such steady pers's tfiaos. The eyebollo of the other flaohod like coolo of fire. ' I think it is my right to heQ? it Gp'-ke??,' he returned. This display o? feeling restored Mr. Ferris to himself. 'Iq a momont, mr° said he. 'Meanwhile, have you any objection to answering a few questions I would like to put to you P' ' I will hear their?,' was tha steady reply. 'You know,' said the District Attornay, 'yon ore at perfect liberty to answeE or not, es you see fit. I besve no des're to entrap you into any acknowledgments yoa tacy heveaf ter regret.' ' Soonk,' wbs the »olo veeponse he received. * Well, air,' said Mr. Ferris, ' are you willing to tell me wbera you were when you first htavd of tbo assault which had been made upon your aunt P' ' I was in my place at the mill.' ' And— pGrdon me if I go too Hv — were you qIro there the morning ohe was moK dered P' { No, Sir,' ' Mr- Mansell, if you could tell ui wtere yots were at that time, it would be of great benefit to ti', and posiibly to yourself.' 1 To myself P' BaviDi.- abown his suTpsise, or possibly his alarm, by the repetition of She other's words, Craik Mansell paused and looked slowly around the room until ho encoantei'ed Mr. Byrd's eye. There was a steady compassion io the lo k be met there that seemed to strike him with great force, for he at once replied7 that he was away from home, nnd stopped — h's glance fisod upon Mi. Byrd, as if, by the very power of his gaze, he would force the secrets of that detective's soul to the Gurfoco. ' Mr. MsnsolJ,' pursued the District Attorney, 'a distinct avowal on your part of ihe place where yoa were at that tima v?ould be best for us botb, I am sure.' 4 Do you not already know?' inquired the other, his eye still upon Horace Byrd. ' We hove rea'on to think sou wore in this town,' Eveived Mr. Forria, with an emphasis calculated to recall tho attcmtiou cic his visitor to himself. 'And may I no!.' Draik Mansell quietly aaid, 1 what reason you cat b&vo for such a suppo a-tionp No one cuuld have s?en me here, for, till to-day I have not entered the streets of this plaoe oinco my visit to my aunt three months ago. 1 It was not necessary fo enter tho oti'eefcn of this town to effect an enti ance to Mrs. Clem mens'a house, Mr. Mano&li.' ?NoP1 Tbere wes tho faintest hint o? emotion in the intonation he gave to thnt one word, but it vanished before he opoko bis next sen tence. ' And how,' csked ho, 'can a person pesg fi'ora Sibloy station to tha door of my aunt'a houso without goins; through the Dcs-eeta P' ' Inotead of replying Mr. Ferris isqairod : 'Did you get out at Sibley ntation, Mr. Man sell P' * But the other with unmoved self-posaossioti, | returned : 'I hovo not said so.' 'Mr. Mansell,' tho District Attorney now ob served, ' we have no motivo in deoeiving or even in misleading yon. You wore ia this town on the morning of your cunt's murder, and you were even in her houao. Evidence which you onnsiot dispute proves this, and the question that now arises, and of whose importance wo leave you now to jadgo, is whether you wore there prior o tho visit of Mr. Hildrefch or after. Any pro if that you may hevo So show that ifc. waa before will receive ito duo oonoidorotioa.' ' A change, decidod as it was involuntary, took place in tho hitherto undisturbed countomnee oC Crnik Manaoll. Laaniofj forward, bo oar voyod Mr. Foi'sio v/itb great earnc-Dtnoso. ' I ookod that mra,' oaid ho, pointing wi'b. Q steady forofingoi' at tho oomowhat nbcohed do» teotivos 'if I wovo aot \7ontod horo nimply no a witsosp, ontj feo difl aofc nay Noo Novz, su1, Jio

oon'inuod, tu?ning back with n Blight geoture of disiuin to tbo District* At'orney, ' was the man right in allowine; mo bo balieva sach a foot, or was ho not p I would like on answer to my qus-tion before I proeaad furthar, if you pleaao.' _ ' Y. ii ahall have it, Mr. Mansell. If thia man did not enswor you, it vyas probably bscQUse he did uot fo&l juslifiad in so doing. He knew I had Gammoned you here in the hops of .veooiv ing sach explanations of your late conduct as ,-hjuld tifi'i-iy ma you had nothing (o do with your &ant'a murder, Tha claiioaa upoa my coa uidoration, which are held by oorfcein parsons ftlhod to yon io thia matter'— Mi1. Ferria'o look r/as oli qu*»t of his veal moaning hero— 'are my ?o'g jiK'tifiua ion for thic. Bomewhat uausaal usethoJ of dealing with a suspected man.' A siailo, bitter, ob, how bitter in its irony ! traversed tho fiiro-sat Jipa of Croik Maasoll for a morartt. then he bowed with a ahow of defer ence to the Didtriot-Attornoy, and settling info fcae Qtiitado oi a taaa willing *o plead his' own otni8j, veaponded : 'It would be movo jasfc, perhaps, if I firsfc beard tha jfeaeonQ you have for suspcetiag m0) befors I attempt lo advsnse avgutaants to prove tha iriustice oi your saspicions.' ' Well,' odd Mf Ferris, ' yoa shall bave them. If frankness on my pest can do aught to avert the tsniblo scandal V7hieh your trres-t and its conerquont devcloposentQ would cqusg, I am willing to sacrifice thuo much to my friendship for Mr. Orontt. But if I do faie, I ohnli espect an equal franknes* io return. The matter is too earioQS for Bubtarfage.' Tho other merely waved his hand. (To be continued.)