|Chapter Number||2. XIV|
|Chapter Title||A LAST ATTEMPT.|
|Newspaper Title||Freeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932)|
|Trove Title||Hand and Ring|
' HAND ATO BIMG.
By A. K. Green.
BOOK IT. THE WEAVING OP A WEB. I ' . Chapter XIV. 1 ' A LAST ATTEMPT.
'?When Fortune means to men most good, She looks upon them with a threatening eye.'— Kino John. The oleep oF Homee ByFf2 that night 7700 any thing but Feicre suing. In the fijat place, he was troubled abocS thia follow Brown, whoae loot impertinoQoo allowed he woo a Eaan to bo Watched, and, if poaoible, randeMtooJ. Se Condly, ho wos haunted by a vioion of' the uo» hanrra unnfch ho hnrl io.nfc left : naeinfi'. apoin and
again, both in hio deoama ond the insh o? heated fancieo which followed hio awaking, .that pio taee of attot5 dflopau' which tho opening of hio neighbour's dow hod Fovealed, He could not think of that poor mortal ao sleeping. Tbo depth of hQEQOQ m seFy and the moddening pao sions thnt underlie oil crime hod been revealed to him IPof the firot time, pes-hapo, in oil their terrible oaggestivenecn, and he aofeed himsslf ovez and over os he tooaod on Mb aneaoy pillow, if he possessed tho noedfal determination to ea?s?y oa the ocfoomo he had undertaken, ja face of the sm?0OQcmiBg sysBpathioa whioh the fathom less mioeey of ttoio young shoe hod Moused. Under the softening iaflaeneeo of the might, he Baa«7ei?8d, Nj 5 bat when the sanlijjafc CQmo;and the fall flaah of life with ito restless duties ond common necessities avroko with him, hQ decided, Mf. MqqogII woo not ot tho ibu'eaMoot-table when Me. Bysd eamo down. His dotieo at the mill weL'o poporaptoFy, ond ho hod ateeady taken hie coSeo and gone. Bat M-. BfOWE wao thsi'o, and at sight o2 him Mr. Byud's contion took ©Isra, oad ho boutowod Qpoo the buoy body 0 close and oacsohing nosatiny. Ifc, fio reeve?, . elicited nothiag in %ho way o£ hia own enlighten ment beyond tho iceot that this fellow5 total stEGQgQE feiaoagh he Qoemod, was foe dosbg in explicable sea.-oa ca oaeray to MrasoK oe his plans. Hofc that M?.- Brown asGnifaGied this by any offensive tafsoE of dioliko ov oven of miotraQt. OE,,tho cootEQvy, feo was osoasdiogly polite, and 'let slip no opportunity of dragsiag Me. JBjfpd into the eoavepsatioa. Yet, for ell that, a secret inHaoacG waa olroGdy at work agotoQt tho detec tive, ood ko eoold not attribute it to any other BOQffoe thaa the jealooo efiro-ta o£ .thia saan. Mi*s Hoefc wao aetGQllp cuft to him, aod in- the atfeitade of tho vagioeo peroono about tho. hoard he- detected o ©eFfeoia ffeaesve which feed been entirely absent from tfooip mannes the evening befojo. Bat while placiog, as he tboaght, dae' weight apoa tbio fellow's animosity, h© had no idea to ?want; 16 wossld load till ho went Bpotairo. Mrs. Hatt, who had hithoj'to treated him with the utsmoof; ooi'diality, now called him into tho por» lonr, and told him frankly that oha worald be obliged to Mca i£_ he would let hee have hia rco'm. To bo qhpj?, sho quoliSed the seeming has'sbieao o2 hes sequent by on intirantioa that a pannoaoat ocoupnat had applied 2oj? it, and offered to pay hia boasd nfc &ho hot9i till he CO ild find q t;oom to ouit him in craothe? boiiBQ ; bat tho foot remained, that ohe was gaaHy in q fluttoE to eicl heBoeif of hins, and no sabtesfoRo could hido it ; and Mr. Bysd, to W.toQQe piano the full confidenee of those apoand hiia woo esoontial, found himoelf obliged to acqaiooeo in hee do-iros, and cqqooqos at once fiiQ-willingnooo to depart. Instantly ohs wqd all snailoo, and ovepwholmed him with o^os-tupea of DQ-i»taaee ; but he coup fcoOBQly doclinod hop help, and, flying fpom her jttpologieo with what opeed he could, went imme diately to his poogs. Here ha oat dowu to de liberate, The facto lie gleaned, doopite tho interference pf hia unknown eneimy, wete th^ee : Firot, thnt C^aik Manaell had found esensoo Sot not attending the iuqusafc os even tho faneral of .his sawdeFed aunt. Secondly, thnt ho had a oteong posDi'oa for in yention, and hod even novy the model of q ma ohino on hand. ' And third, that ho woo not at boms, wBo?avep else ho might hove been, on the morning of the ssrardes? in Sibley. * A poop and moa^e collectioa of insigQifioont facts,' themght Mr. Bypd. ' Too poor und raeagfo to avail much in stemming the tide threatening to overwhelm Groupepnoai? Hildreth.' Bat what opportunity s-emained for making thorn woightierP What if he could loorn some thing fffom too oorvonto P He hod not thought of them. Hig failure in other direotiono did not neeeooitots a foiiapo here. He accordingly called the hoaoemDid io, and showing her c, bright oilvei' dollar, aoked hos? if oho thought it Rojd onoui»h to pay for o ohorfc answer to o oiaaple queotion. To hio gseat ourprioe, she blnohed and (1pov7 bnok, ohokiog her hood, and muttering ?hat her imoti'ooo didn't like to hove the gielo talk to tho yoHUg moEi about tho bouse, and finally going off with q doterminod toco of her frowoy head, that otruok Mi'. By?d aghast, nnd laado him .boliove even moi'o than over febat hia evil star hung in ftho Dooondont, and that tho dooqgl1 feo qaittod tho hoGoo tho bottor Io fcon saiaotoo ho waa in tbo utveet. Bstono thing now FOEBainod forhim to do. Ho eswjS; mnhs tha acqnfiiBtoacs of oss of tbo saill ownoro, or poooibly or an ovorooci* ov accouatont, cod f?ons hi 03 loa?B whero Mi1. Moaooll had boon at tho tisao o? hio asmt'o murder. To thio d?3^ ho dovotod tho &a$ j hut h&w oJso he wqo
met by uaoKpootsdl diffiooltieo, Though ho took pains to dipgoi-jo himoolf bofoi'o proeooding to the mill, all tho oudoavout'u which ho uiudo t- obtain an iutijview thoro with nuy responaibio person wero afctorly fcuiilooa. Whether h s ill luck at tho hooao bad followed him to this place he could not toll, but, for aorae roaoon ol' other, there was not one of the gentlemen for whom he inquired but had oome oscuae fop not oooing him ; and, wosn orafc at last with sepoated diaap pointmonto, if not oppsrorssd by the doubtful loots ho raooived fsoia tho va^ioua Dubordinatoa wfco carried hio moosogeo, he loft tho building, and proceeded 4o mtke eoo of tho only moano now left him of compassing Mo ond, Thio woo to vioifc Mr. G-toimao, the one mem bor of the fi«n who was not afc bis poat that day, and 390 if, from him, he could gather tho oingle iccct ho wos in sooeeh of. ' Perhopa the atmoaphoi'Q oS diateuat with which I am ouFrounded in thio quarto? has not reached this genletaan'o houoe,' thought ho. And, having learned from the directory whore thnt houoe wa», he proceeded immediately to it. Hio reception wao by no means cordial. Me1.
in no mood to 000 oteaagero. 'MtmoellP'he coolly repeated, in echnovledg meat of the otWo inquiry do to whether ho had a peroon oi that name in Mg employ, ' Yeo ; our book-keopor's ncaae io Manoell. Mayla&k'— aad here M.?, Byrd felfc himself sabjseted to a thorough, if not severe, scrutiny — ' why you esme to me with icquicieg concerning him P' 'Because,' the determined detective responded, adopting at onoe the bold couffoe, 'you can put me in possession of a foot which ifc eminently bofits the causo of jostice *o know. I am an emisaa?ys sir, from the Diotriet Attoraey at Sibley, and the point I want se.tled io, where Me. Manoell wos on the mojaio^ o£ the twenty oixtij of September P' ' And why do you aot ask the gentlemen aim self whers he wooP He probably would be quit© Eeady to toll you.' The inflection he gave to theoe words warned M-. Byrd to be caro£al. The truth wao, Me. Goodman was Mr. Mansell'o beofe friend, and as aoch had hia own reasons for not being especi ally eommunicatitfe in his regard to thio stranger. Tho detective vaguely felt thio, and immediately ©hanged his manner. ' i have ho doabt of that, sir,' he ingenuously anowerod. ' TSat Mr. Monssll has had so much to distress him lately, that I wao desirono of aaving him from unpleasantness which such a question would neoesuarily cause. It is only a small matter, sir. A person — it is not essential to Q'Dte whom — has presumed to raise the quoa non among the authorities in.Sibley go to whether Mr. Manoellj as heir to poor Mfo. Clommans'o small property, might aot have had some hand isi her dreadful death. There waa 210 proof to tmstom the aosucaption, and Mr. Mansell v?ao not even known to have been in town on or after the doy of the musfder ; but juotiee, having listened to the aspersion, felt bound to oatiofy itself of ito falsity ; and I was senfe here go learn where Mr. Maossll wao upon that fatal day. I find he was not in Buffalo. Bat this does not mean he waa in Sibioy, and I am ome that, if you will, you con supply me with fads that will lead to a complete aad satisfactory alibi for him.' Bat the hard caution of the ofche? wao not 60 be moved. 'I am sorry,' aoici he, 'but I con give you mo information in regard to Mr. Monsell's travels. You will have to aok the gentleman himself.' 'You did not send him out on business of your own. then P' 'No.' ' But you knew ho woo going ?' 5 Yeo.' 8 And can tell when he came bach P' 6 He was in hia place on Wednesday.' The cold, dry nature of these replies convinced Mr. Byyd that something more than the sullen obstinacy of an uncommunicative man lav bo hind this determined reticeace. Looking at Mr. Goodman inquiringly, he calmly lemarked : ' You are a friend oi Mr, Mcnsoll P' The answer ca&me quick ond coldly : ' He is 0 conotant visitor af my house.' Mr. Byrd made a rGspeotful bow, 5 You can, then, have ao doubts of his ability to prove an alibi P' 'Ihovo no doubto concerning Mr. Mansell,' wos the stern and uncompromising reply. Me. Bppd at once felt he had received hisdio missDl. But before making up his mind to go, he resolved upon one further effort. Calling to his aid hio full power of acting he slowly shook his head with a thoughtful air, and presently murmured half oloud and half, go it were, to himself: ' I thought, pooQibly, he might gave gone to Washington.' Then, with a cobuqI glance at Mr. Goodmon, added : ' He is aa inventor I believe ?' ' Yeo,' woo again tho laconic response. 8 Has be not o machine ofc- present which ho deoiffeo to brin^ to the notice of. eome capita Hat ?' 5 1 believe ho Iiqb,' wdo the forced and nono too amiable cnowoff. Mr. Byrd at onco loaned confidingly fos?» word. 'Don't you thinb,' Sio aakod, 'that ho may have gone to Now York io consult with someone aboat thio pot hobby of hio P It would certainly bo a natural thing for him to do, aud if I only knew it woo so, I could go back to Sibley with an oaay conscience.' Hio disinterested air, and tho tone o? kindly concern which ho had adopted, Doosaod ai loot to produce ito oixoot oa hia companion. Eolasing a fcffiflo of ;hio austerity, Mr. Goodman wont so foi1 ao to admit that Mr. ManGoll had fold him that buoissgs cossseted with his patent hud colled him out of town ; bat beyond this ho would allow nothing ; and Ms*. Byrd, bofflod in Mo attempta to ©licit from thio man any diutinot QohnowlodgmQut oi Mf. MsqcoH'o uhQwhouto
. 06 4ho oL'itiool time of Mro. Olemmeos's denth, ) Hisodo n final bov? and turned toward tho door. Ib wiju only at this moanant he diocovered that Mr G)odmoo end himsolf had not been Qlono ia t.io room ; that curled up in one of tho wiadovr-oeato wao a litilo gid of ooma ton ov tivel^o yearo of: age, who at tha firat tokena of his taking hia departure slipped sayly dovyn to tho floor and ran before him out into the ball. Eo found her at the front door wuoo he arrived thoro. She wos standing with her hand on the knob, and puooentadl such a picture of childish eogorneoQ, tsmperod by child:sh timidity, that ha involuntarily passed before her with e, smile, Sho needed mo fasther eDCOUfagemont. ' Ob, oir, I know about Mr. Mansell !' snae cried. ' He wasn't in that place you talk about, foe he wrote a letter to pojpa jaofe before tho dny he came back, and tho poot-mack on the envelope wao Montoith. I remember, because it was the name of the man who made our big map.' And looking up with that eager zsal which marks the liking of very littio folks for some one favourite poffon among their grown acquaintances, she added, onrneotly : 'I do hopo you won't let them say anything bod about Mr. Mangell, he ia so good.' And without waiting for a reply, she ran off, her curls dancing, her eyes sparkling, all her little int.ooent form alive with the joy of having done a kiadnoos, do she thought, for her favourite, Mr. Monsall. Me. Byrd, on the contrary, felt a strange pang that the information he hod nought for bo loDg and vainly should come at lest from the lips of an innocent child. Monteitb, as joa remembsr, wqs tho aest sta tion to Sibley. Chaptee XV. THE END Or A TORTUOUS PATH. ' Thus bad begins and worse remains beMnd.' — Hamlet. The ayreet of Mr. Hildreth had naturally quieted public oaspioioa by fixing atteation npon q definite point, sj that when Mr. Byrd re iuinsd to Sibley he found that he coald pufguo whatever inquiries ho ohooe without awakening the leaot miotraot that ho was on the lookout fos the murdeser of Mffa, Olemmens. The firot bso he mode of his time woo to find onfc if Mr. Maasoll or any man answering to his description had been seen to take tho train from the Sibley station on the afternoon or evening of the fatal Tuesday. Tae seoult was unequivocal. No such person had been oeen there, and no such person was believed to have been at the ota'ion at any time dunng that day. This wao his first disappointment. He next made the acquaintance of the coa= duotors on that line of suest-earo, by means of which he believed Mr. Mats-ill to hove made hia eoeape. Bat with no better result. Not one of them remembered hewing taksn up, of Into, any paooanger from the terminus, of the oppoavaace described by Mr. Byrd. And this was his second disappointment. Hia nest duty wos obviously (o change bis plan of action and moke the town of Monteith the centre ot hio inquiries. But he heoitated to do thia till he had made one other visit to tho woods in whose recessoo he still believed th© murderer to have plunged upon dealing the fatal blow. He went by the way of the street railroad, not wishing to be again aeon eroooiag the bog, and arrived at the hut in tho centre of tho glade without meeting anyone or experiencing the least adventure. This time he went in, but nothing was to be seen suve bare logo, a rough hearth whose a fire had once been built, aud the rudest oort of bench and table ; and hurrying forth again, he looked doubtfully up and down the glade in pursuit of oomo hint to guide him in his future reu seapeheo. Suddenly he received on8. The thick wall of foliage which at first glance revealed but the two outieto already tuaverood by him showed, upon close inspection, a third path, opening well behind the hut, and loading, as ho ooon dis covered, in an entirely opposite direction from that whioh hod taken him to West Side. Moi'ely stopping to oaofc one glance afc the sun, which V7as otill overhead, he set oufe on hio new path, It wao longer and much more indicate than the other. It led through hollows and up sfeoopo, ond finally oat into an open blackberry patch, where ifc seemed to terminate. Bat a clcso study of the surrounding bushes aooa disclosed signs of a narrow and threcd-like pas?G^o carv ing about a rooky steep. Entering thin, he pre sently found himself drown again iato the woods, which he continued to traverse 1 11 he came to a soad out through the heart of the forest, for the use o£ the lumbermen. Here he paused. Should he turn to the right of leftP He decided to turn 60 the right. Keeping in the rood, whioh waa rough with stones where it wao sot marked with the hoofa o£ both, horses and cattle, he walkod for oome distance. Then ho emerged into open space again and discovered that he wao on the hillside overlooking Mon» teith, and that by 0 mile or two'o further walk over the highway that was dimly to be de scried at tho foot of thf? hill, he would reaoh tho small station devoted to the uses of the quorpymon that worked in thio place. The?e was no longer any further doubt that thio route, and not tho other, had been tho one taken by Mr. Manooll on that fatal afternoon, bnfc ho wao determined not to trust any further to mere ourmiaes ; 00 hastening down tho hill he mode hio way in the direction of the highway, manning to tuke the walk alluded to, and learn for himself \7hat pasuengers had taken the train at thin poinf on tho Tuesday afternoon so ofton mentioned. Tho accoHamodflt:on4k'ain£j, which clono atop lit ihiu point, bud both pussnd, and he found the otutionnsaotoi1 at laisose. A single g'auee into hio honoot and intelligent faco convinced the defcoetive that h.o had d reliable men to deal with. $Ie ost obqg oomBQMQd hie qusotioao,
' Do many persona booideo tho qaoreyraoa take tho train at this place P* aoked 5io, 'Not raony,' xvae tho ohort but sufficiently good-nntared rejoinder. ' I Rrnrsa I could count them easily on tho fingeru of ouo hand/ he laaghod. ' Can ycu tell mo whether a younf» man of ve^y do?k complexion, heavy moustache, and a de termined, if not excited oEproooioo, took the cgps here for Monteith, say, any day last week p' ' I don't know,' muood tho man. ' Dark complexioa, you ooy, large moustache ; let me 000.' 'No dandy,' Mr. Byrd carefully explained, but a strong man, who bolievoo in work. He was possibly in a state of somewhat nervous hurry,' he went on suggestively, ? and if ho W0E6 an overcoat at all, it was a gray one.' The face of the man lighted up. ' I seem to remember,' oaid he. Did h© have a very bright blue eye and a high colour P' Mr. Byrd nodded. 'And did ho carry a peculiarly-shaped bag, o£ which b.8 was very careful ?' ' I don't know,' oaid Mr. JSyrd, brat remember ing the model,, added with quick aosuronee, fJ have no doubt he did ;' which oeeaaed to oatisfy tho other, foi' he at once cried : ' I recollect auch a person very well, I no ticed him before he got to tho citation : ao noon, in fact, as he got in sight. He woo walking down the highway and seemed to bo thinking about something. He's of the kind to attract atteation. What about him, sir P' 6 Nothing. He waa in trouble of some Mn6% and he went away from home without oaying whe?e he was going ; an-i hio Mendo are ansioua about him, that io all. Do you think you could owoar to hio face if you saw itP' 'I think I eould. He wao the only slmngep thnt got; on to the cars that afternoon.' ' Do you remember, then, the day ?' 8 Well, no, now, I don't/ 8 Bat can'6 you, if you try? Wasn't there comotiiing done by you that day that will ossiot \ your memory P' 5 Again that slow ' Let me see ' showed thafc tho man was pondering. Suddsnly ha flopped his thigh and exclaimed : 'You might be c, lawyer's olerk, bow0 mightn'fc you ; or perhaps a lawyer himoslf P i do S'o- member that q large load of otone uas sent ofic that day, and a minute's look at my book — — - Ifc was Tuesday,' he presently affirmed. Mr, Bjrd drew a deep breath. These is sadness mixed with the satisfaction of such Q triumph, (To be continued.)