Chapter 115569118

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Chapter Number3. XXXVI.
Chapter TitleA MISTAKE RECTIFIED.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article115569118
Full Date1891-12-05
Page Number4
Corrections0
Word Count3665
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleFreeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932)
Trove TitleHand and Ring
article text

HAND AND TUNGL

Bt A. K. Green.

BOOK III. Chapter SXXVI. A MISTAKE RECTIFIED.

*? If circumstances lead me, I will find Where truth is hid, though it were hid, indeed, Within the centre/' — Hamlet. If Mr. Ferris, in seeking this interview with Mies Dare, had been influenced by any hope of finding hot ia an unoetfclod end heoitatiog otate of miod, he wgq effectually undeceived, when,

effcec a few minutes' absence, Ms.1. Bvi'd leturned with ber to hia presence. Though hes.1 phyoicnl strength woo nearly oxhauated, and she looked quite pole ond vjotp, Ihero was a steady gloom in her eye which spoko of an rsnoha'^sn purpose. Seeing if', and noting the forced humility with which she awaitod his bidding at the threohold, the District- Attorney, for the first time perhapp, realizad the power ol this great, if perverted, nature, and advancing with ?eal kindneQs to tho door, he greeted has with as much dofoi'ence oa he ever Qhowed to ladiop, end gravely pushed toward hep d choip. She did not take it. On tho contrary she dfew back c, otep5 and looked at him in oome doubt, but a aadden glieapoooG: Hicbopy'o aturdy EgUfQ in the corner seamed to Beagsuuo lies?, and merely otopping to acknowledge Mr. Fgitio's courtesy by a bow, she glided fo?waEd and took her stand by the chair ho hod provided. A short and, on hia part, somowhot omoai.' rBQsing pause followed. It was broken by hej\ ' 5Toa sent for mo,' she suggested. 'You perhapo want some explanation of my conduct, or some assurance that the confession I made before the Count to-day woo true ?' If Mr.. Ferns had needed any further proof than .ho hod olready received that Imogene Dare, in presenting hessel£ before the world as a criminal, had been actuated by c opirit of devotion to the prisoner, ho would have found it in the fervour and uneoEacioas dignity with which sTae uttered these few words. But ho needed no ouch proof. Giving her, therefore, o look fall off grave significance he replied : ' No, MisD Dove. After my experience of the ease with which you can contradict yorcrGeHc in matters of the most serious import, you will pardon me if I eay that the truth or falsehood of your words must be amved at by fome other sneano than you youeoelf oca offer. My business ? with you at thio time io of Dn entirely different nature. Instead of listening to further confes sions from you, it has become my duty to offer one myself. Not on my own behalf,' he made has'o to explain, end ohe looked up, stattled, ? bub on account of these men, who, in their anxiety to find out who murdered Mrs, Clem mens, mode use of means and resorted to deceptions which, if their superiors had been oongalted, would not have been countenanoed for d moment.' 'I do not understand,' she murmured, looking at the two detectives with a wonder that suddenly merged into alarm as she noticed the embarrassment of tho one and the decided dis comfitare of the other. Mr. Ferris at once resumed : ' In the weeks that have ©lapsed since the commission o? this crime, it has been my lot to subject you to much mental misery, Miss Dare, Provided by your self with a possible clue to the Eauvdei', I hava probed the matter with on unsparing Land. Heedless of the pain I was inflicting, or the desperation to which I was driving you, I asked yoo questions ond pressed yon for facts as long qb there seemed questions or facts to be gained. My duty and the claims of my position de mnnded this, and for it I can make no escuse, notwithstanding the unhappy results that have ensued. But, Miss Dare, whatever anxiety I may have shown in procuring the conviction of D man I believed 60 be a criminal, I have never wished So win my ease at the expenss of justice and right ; and had I been told before you came to the ot&nd that you had been mode the victim of a deception calculated to influence your judg ment, I should have hastened to set you right with the same anxiety as I do now.' ' Sir— sir™— ' she began. But Mr. Ferris would not iioten. ' Miss Dare,' he proceeded with ell tbe gravity 0? eonviotion, 'you have uttered a deliberate perjury in the couvt-room to-day. You said that you alone wore responsible for tho murder of Mrs. Clemmenp, whereas you not only did not commit the crime yourself bat were not oven an accessory to i*;. Wait !' he commanded, as she flashed upon him a look of denial, ' I would rather you did not speak. The motive for this calumny you uttered upon yournelf lies in a fact which may be modified by what I have to reveal. Hear me, then, before you Btoin yourself still further by a falsehood you will not only be unable to maintain, but which you may no longer Dae reooon for moisting upon. Hickory, turn around ao that Mips Dare can see yoar face. Miss Dare, whon you saw fit to call upon thio man to upbear you in tho extraordinary otato ments you mado to-day, did you soalizo that in doing this you appealed -o the one person best qualified to prove tho folookood of what you hod boidP I soo you did not; yet ifc is so. Ho if so other nan testify that 0 few weeks ego, ao idea of taking this crirao apon yom1 own ohoulders had ofge crosood youv mind ; that, on tho contrary, your whole heart woo filled with sorrow foi1 tho onpposod guilt of another, and pleas foe inducing that other to naake 0 eonfoo oion of his guilt boforo tlso world.' 'This man !' was hov otDrtlod exelnuwtiou. 'It ia not posoiblo; I do riot Iruow him ; ho does not know mo. I mover talked to hitia butonoo in my life, cud thec wco to coy words I am nofc only willing bafc nasioGO foi1 hipa to L'opont'

1 Mfss Dare,' the Dietriot Attorney puwraod, ' when you s»y this you show how completely you I have boen deceived. The conversation to which you allude is not the only ono which has passed between you tfjo. Though you did not know it, you held a talk with this man at 0 time in which you so completely discovered the secrets of your heart, thct you can novor hopo io deceive us or the world by any story of peraonal guilt which you may see fit to manufacture' 'I revool my heart to thin man!' oho repoafced, in a froze of doubt and terror that left her almost unable to stand, 'You are playing with my mioery, Mr. Ferrio.' The District Attorney took a different tone. 4 Misg Dare,' ho asked, ' do you remember a certain interview you had with a gentleman in the hut at the back of: Mrs. Clemmeno'o house, 0 short time after the murder ?'

4 Did this mrm overhear my wordo that day ?' she murmured, reaching out her bond to steady heys9lf by tho back of tho chair near which she wds standing. ' Your words that day wore addressed to thin man.' ' To him !' she repeated, staggering back. 'Yes, to him, disguised os Craik Mansill. With an unjustifiable zeal to know tho truth, he had taken thio plan for surprising yom1 secret thoughto, and he ouccosded, Miss Dare, romem bar that, evon if ho did you end your lovei1 the cruel wrong of leaving you undisturbed in tho impression that Mr. MqdssII had admitted his guilt ia yoa? presence.' But Imogene, throwing out hoi1 hoado, cried impotuously, 'It is not 00; you mo mocking mo. This man never could deceive mo like that!' Bat 6V0Q as she opoko ohe recoiled, for Hickory, with ready art, had thrown his arms and head for pardon the table before whioh he sat, in the attitude and with much the same appearance he bad preserved on the day ohe had oome upon him in the hut. IboQgb ho had no assistance from dioguiss and all the accessories were lack ing which had helped forward the allusion on the fovmer occasion, there was still a sufficient resemblance between this bowed figure and the otiG that hod so impressed itself upon her me mory ao that of her wretched and remor3Qful lover, that she stood rooted to tho ground in her ourpriso ond dismay.' 'You oee how it waa doao, do you aot?' in quired Me. Foots. Then, ds he saw she did not heed, added: 'I hope you remember what passed between you two on that day P' Ao i£ struck by a thought which altered the whole atmosphere of her hopes and feelings she took q step forward with 0 power and vigour that recalled to mind the Imogeno of old. ' Sir,' she exclaimed, ' lot that man tura round and face me !' Hickory at once roce. { Toll me,' she demanded, sui'veyiag him with a look it took all hie woll-knowo hardihood to sustain unmoved, ' was it all false— all a trick from the beginning to the end ? I received a letter— was that written by your bond too? Are you capable of forgery as well as o£ othss? de eepfcionep' Tbe detective, who know ao other way to eo= capo from his embarrassment, uttered a short laugh. But finding a reply was expected of him, answered with well-simulated indifference : ' No, only the address on tho envelope was mine; the letter was ono which Mr. Maasell had writ' ton but never Donfc. I found it in his waste paper basket in Buffalo.' ? Ah ! and you could make use of that?' ? I know it was a mean trick,' he acknow ledged, dropping his eyes from her face. s But thing*) do look different when you ore in the thick of 'em than when you take o otand and obaerve them from tbe outside. I— I was ashamed of it long ago, Miss Dare'— this was a lie; Hickory never waa really ashamed of it— ' and would have told you about it, bat I thought ' mum' was the word after q scene like that.' She did not seom to hear Mm. ' Then Mr. Monsell did not send me the letter inviting me to meet him in the hut on a certain day, some few weeks afte? Mrs. Clemmens was murdered P* 6 No.' ' ]N'or know that such a letter hod been sent p' 4 No.' 1 Nor oome, as I supposed he did, to Sibley P nor admit what I supposed ho admitted in my bearing? nor listen, aa I supposed he did, to the insinuations I made U9e 0? in the hut Pp ' No.' Imbued with sudden purpose and energy, she turned upoa the District Attorney. ? Oh what a revelation to come to me nov/,' she muvmured. Mr. Ferris bowed. ? You are right,' he os^ented, ' it ought to have coma to you before. Bat T can only repeat what I have previously said, that if I had known of this deception mysalf, you would have beea no tified of it previous to going upon the stand. For your belief in tho prisoner's guilt has neceo sarily had its offeot upon the jury, and I cannot but see how much that belief must have boen strengthened, if it was not actually induced, by the interview which wo have just beon consider ing.' Her eyes took on fresh light; oho looked at Mr. Ferris ns if she would read his ooul. 'Can it bo possible — — P' oho breathed, but stopped na auddenly as sho began. The District Attorney was not the man from whom oho could hope to obtain nay opinion in teferaneo to the prisoner's innocence). Mr. Ferris, noting hoi1 hesitation, and undei1 otandinf» ifc too, poraapo, moved toward hoE with c certain kindly dignity, sayiug : ' I should bo glad to uttoi1 words that would give you oomo comfort, Mies Doi'o, bat in tho prooont Dtato of affairs I do not feel au if I could go farther than bid you trust in tho jaotioe and wisdom o£ thoso who have thio motto? ra ohoKgo, Ao 2os yous

own r/i'otcfeocl pm& uocallodUfo? notion in court to-day, ifc woo a madness which I hope will be opoodily forgofcton, 0? if not forgotten, laid to a deapair almoat toD hoovy foe mostol strength to ondure.' ' Thank you,' olio iaus.'nanrod ; but hot1 look, the poioo of hei1 head, tho eolou? that quivered through the pallor of hoi? cheek, showed sho was not thinking of horsollE. Djubfc, tho first which had visited hou oinco oho bocaaao con vinced that Craik Mansell was the dootroyer of hor aunt's lifo, had oaa'c a monaontasy gloacs over her thoughts, and oho was eonsokma of bat one wish, and that was to understand £ho £oq1 iego of tho moa before hoc. But she soon saw the hopolosonesD of this, and, sinking back into hes; old distress aa she roolizod how_ much reason she otill had for behoving Craik Manooll guilty, sho threw d hui'riod look toword tho doo? as if anxious to escape from the eyes and ears of men interested, as ohe know, in gleaning her every thought and. sounding hos; ovory impulse. Mr. Fasris comprohended hoi1 intention, and courteously advanced, 'Do you wish to return home P' he a9ked. ' If a carriage can be obtained.' ' There can be no difficulty about that,1 ho answered ; and ho gave Hickory a look, and whispered a word to Mr. Byrd that cent them both speedily foom tho l'ooib. When he was left qIohq with hei? ho said : _B afore you leave my presence, Miss Dare, I wish to urge upon you tho aoeecGifcy of patienco. Any oudden or1 violent act oq your part no_w would iOsult in no good and lead to mach evil. Let me, then, pray you to remain quiet in your home, confident that Mr. Qrcuttand raj self will do all in our power to insure jaotieo ani sanies the truth evident,' She bowed but did not spsak ; while her im patient eye resting feverishly on the dcor, told of her ansioty to depart. 1 Sho will need watching,' commented Mr. Ferris to himself, and he, too, waited impatiently for the detectives' retera. 'When they came in he gave Imogene to their charge, but the look he oaGt Byrd contained a hint which led that gen tleman to take his hat when he went bolow to put Miss D&'se into her carriage. Chapter XXXVII. T7NDEB THE GEEAT TEEE. ' We but teach Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return To plague the inventor. This even-handed jus tice CommendB the ingredients of our poisoned chalice To our own lips.' -—Macbeth. Imogene went to hev noEse. CoofeGodli, dis ordered, tho prey o£ a thousand hopes and q thonoend feoro, oho sought for nolitudo and found it within the four walls of tho email room whioh was now her only Fofugo. The two detootivoc who had followed her to the hoass— the one in the carriage, the other on foot— met, ao the steeot door closed upon hes? ro treating fo?m, oad consuHod togetheeoa to their future course. 'Mr. Ferris thinks we ought to keep watch over the house, to moke sure cho does not leave it again,' announced Byrd. ' Doqo ho P Well, then, I am the man for that job,' quoth Hickory, ' I was oa that very samo beat last night.' ' Good season why you should sest ond give me 0 turn at tho business,' declared tho other. ' Do you want it P' e I am willing to take it,' said Byrd. 5 Well, then, after nine o'clock you Qhcll.' 1 Why after nine P' ' Beoauao, if oho'o bent on okylarkinff, Qhe'll leave the hoaoo before then,' laughed tho other. ' And yon went to be there if oh© goes oui ?' 4 Well, yoo, i'Dthss? I' They oompvomised mattees by both remaining. Byrd within view of Bho house and Hickory on a oornoi1 within hail. Neither ospscted much of this sflioEt of DuevGillcnce, thoro Dooming to bo no good ueason why she should vontaFG xopth into tbe street again thofc night. But the watohfulnesa o£ tho true dsfcootive mind io un ceasing. Several hours passed. Tho peace of evening had oome tit last to the troubled town. In the streeto, especially, its gentle influence was felt, and regions which had oeefched all day with a restless and impatient throng wore fast settling into their uoual qaiet and solitary condition. A new moon hung in the west, and to Mv. Byrd, pacing tho walk ia front of Imo gene'ti door, it soemed as if ho had never seen the town look more lonely or less like the abode of violence and crime. All woo quiet, especially in the houae opposite him, he waa fast becoming convinced that future precautions _wero need less, and that Imogene had no iotentioo of otirring nbroad again, when tho window where hee light barraod suddenly became dark, and ho poi'coived the street doo? oautioaoly open, and hos toll, veiled figuro ©merge and paos rapidly rap the stroofc. Merely stopping to give the signal to Hickory, ho hastened cites hoe with rapid and cautions stops. Sho went like one bound on no mocewtam ot mnd. Though many of the wolko woso kocvily shadod, ond tho linht of fcho lamps was ao!; bril liant, sho cpoeded on if com cornoi1 to coi'aoi1, threading tho ba'ainooo s'rooto with rapidity, and emerging upon tho lQj.'go oad hoadaomo ovoiauo that Jed up fowosd the oaotora district o? fcho town boi'ot'o Hiekosy coald ovorfecko Bycd, and find sufficient tooatkto osk, 'WhQL'o is oho bound £01? P Who livoD up this way P' 'I don't know/ onovzorod Byru, lowoyiug Ma voico in tho foes of startling hos into c, Imov/ iodgo o£ their prooence. 'It asay tio oho io going to Misa Teomoine'a; tho High School io ! nomewliGgo is this disGotion,'

But even os they opoko, tho gliding figu?© bofore them turned into anofcljioi' otroot, and be foro thop know ifc fchoy woro on tho oar-fcjack loading out to Somerset Park. 'fla! I^know now,' whispered Hickory. 'It is^ Oroutt obo is oftar,' And pressing the orm of Byrd in hio enthusiasm, ho speeded* ei£toi? hop with renewed zeal. Byrd, oeoing ho season to Maputo q fact that wes ovoi-y momont becoming more ovidont( hnrried foreword also, and oftoe n long and breathless walk— for sho aooraod to bo urged onward by flying feet— thoy found thomooJvea within sight of tho grand old trees that gucrded the entrance to the lowyoc's somewhat spaciouo grounds. ' What eve wo going to do now?' asked Byrd, popping, oo they thoard tho goto click behind hoi'. ? Wait and watch,' said Hickory. c She has not led us thio wild gcoie-chase for nothing.' And leaping the hedge, he began creeping up toward tho hoano, leaving his companion tj follow or not, us ho sow fit. Meantime laaogeno had posted up the walk and before tho foont door. Bub 0 single look at it soemed to satisfy hor, for, moving hurridly away, she flitted around the corner1 of the house and stopped just before the long win dows whoo© brightly illuminated sashes pro claimed thai tho ma&tar of the feouso was still in _ his library. She seemed to feel relieved nt ? this tight. Pausing, sho loaned against the frame of a tre]lis°v7ork ceor by to gather up hot1 oou» rage os regain hei? breath before procesdiog to make her preooaee'known to the lawyer. As she thus leaned, tho peal of fche church clock waQ Hoard, otriking the hour of aino. She started, pcsjibly at finding it so Into, and bonding for ward looked at tho windows before her with an onsionQ eye that s)on caught eight of o amoll opening left by the curtaics having been drawn together by o too fonsty or 0 too care t.ss hand, and jecognizing tho oppottanity it afforded he? for a glimpse inta the room be fore her, stepped with a light teoad upon the pioszB and quiotly peered within. T&e sight she saw never left hep memory. Seotad before 0 doadeaod fire, sbo behold Mr. Oreitt. Ho was neither writing no? reading ' ? nor, in the trus sons 3 of tho word, thinking. ''' The papers he had evidently taken from his '' desk lay ot hia sido undisturbed, ond from one ; end of the roosB to the other, solitude, soffering, and despaie seemed to fill the QtEQogphoss and :' : [ woi^h upon ita weary occupant, till the Dingle lomp which Qhoae beside him burned dimmee oad dimmep, like 0 life going on!; op 0 purpose . , vanishing in the gloom of a tteclfehily opprooch-. '.-.,,,:_ ing destiny. . ? ?:. -ciiyu^ 1 Imogen©, r/ho had eome. to tkia plooe thus r-'Hw. secretly and &t this loto hoar o£- tho day with j ?.?»???-?? the sole intent o£ ppooaring tho adivieo of this1 -:V^ man concerning the deception v/hieb. had been practised- apon her before tho trial, folfc hep heart die within hor as oho surveyed thio rigid figure and soolized all it implied. Though his po&ifcion woo ouch oho coold not see his fooe, there wds thot in hio ottitude which bsspok© hopolesoness ond an utter weariness of life, ond os oeh after nsh fell from the grate, oho imagined how tho pjoom deoponed on tho brow which till tbio horn? had confronted the world with auoh undeviating oourogo ond confidence. ? (To be continued.)