Chapter 146835334

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Chapter NumberII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146835334
Full Date1891-06-04
Page Number1
Corrections0
Word Count2157
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Narracoorte Herald (SA : 1875 - 1954)
Trove TitleO'Neil M'Darragh, the Irish Detective; or, The Strategy of a Brave Man
article text

CHAPTER II.

For a moment the young lady was too greatly surprised to speak. At length Ehe

said: '

" 1 did not deem it possiblo for one to so change his appearance, and although I fully expected that you would come eisguieed, I did net anticipate that the change would be so very wonderful, and that I would be de ceived."

The detective smiled, remarking:

" It is necessary for us to take every pre

caution.

Little did Miss Dawson know that at the moment be was talking to her this remark able man knew the general facta concerning everyone in that house. i.

Neither did the girls in the kitchen dream a few hours previously, wbsn they were buy ing little articles, diri cheap, from an old peddler, that that same chatty old man wss a shrewd detective, whose every seemingly fcirupV- question had n purpose.

Again had the detective shown his perfect mastery of his profession,when he played his part before one of those very same set vents in tlie character of the feeble old man look ing for bis niece. *

O N.il M'Darragh knew that the gossipy ^irl would go and teil about the old man,and girl t _

that the story would spread through the |

house; and that w-ir just what the cool actor 1 de-irsd should happen. «

Having made hi-oselt known, the detective j

quickly cut chert the lovely woman's f xcres- \ sion of wonder, and directed her attention at j ones to business by remarking : j

" 1 am now prepared to listen to your i story. Coos sad sit here by me, and speak in a very low tone. My ears aro keen* if I am old, arrd I will understand ell that you

kiss Drvson hesitated a moment

The detective fastened his keen eyes upon her, and recognised her embarrassment, when he said :

There is no need of embarrassment, my dear young lady. A31 told you before, you and ifnew stand in tbe relation of lawyer and client, or desier and patient. Any rcvala

tiop yon may meke to rue is in confidence,

and you are just as safe as thcugh you had I whispered a communication in the ear of that

Statue across the room."

The young lady hesitated no longer.

Crossing the room she seated herself on the sofa beside the seeming old man, and be gan her story, by drawing a photograph from

her pocket.

Holding the pioture before the eyes of the

detective, she asked.

" Hid you ever sec that face before 2"

The detective fixed his sharp eyes upon the j

Carte de visile

| The pictured face was that of a remarkably j handsome young man, apparently about five

; Bud-twenty years ef age.

O Nsii Sf'Dirrcgh ecauned the photo- ;

| graph eriiicaliy for a moment, and then an-,

i Bwercd:

1 never saw the living prototype cf that

picture."

As the detective spoke he raised his eyes, j and fastened them upon his beautiful com

panion. 7 j

Used as bo was to sudden surprises, and schooled and hardened as his nerves were, | be could not repress an exclamation of as

tonishment npon recognising the wonderful change which had coma ovar Miss Dawson's

I face.

All colour had fled. '

( Her eves glared with a fixedness charac

i teristic of one suddenly startled by some j object of horror.

Her featureefor the moment had lost their beautiful roundness, and looked pinched and sharp, like one suddenly attacked by a ! spasm.

j Her eyes were fixed upon the photo

graph.

Sae evidently bad not heard the detec tive's remark, and the latter .-again epoke,

saying: _ ',

" Teat is the face of a stranger to

me."

His words penetrated the ears of the en rapt girl this time, and with a sigh which

only could have struggled up from a heart j burdened with a great agony, she said,1 speaking in a strange, unnatural voice :

" That was a glorious being to be sacri ficed by the knife of an assassin!'

The detective instantly became a changed

men.

The mau and the opportunity had I

met.

There was s wondrous change in the tone of the detective's voice, as he asked in a low whisper, singularly distinct:

" Was.the original of that picture mur

dered V

"That is for you to discover," answered I the girl. 1

'• Do you suspect that a murder has been j perpetrated?"

" If a murder has been dons, it has been j perpetrated in the most treacherous and j

secret manner 1"

" What proof have yon that be is

dead 1" 1

" 1 have no proof, and yet I am certain j

that it is true !"

? Ton raust remember that you have not told me your story." -

*- The original of that picture," said Mies 1 Dawson, "was a young man named Harry j Trendall: he was a young lawyer, who had

just commenced practice. On the twentieth j uilast month he was to have been married ' to a ycuagledv reported to bo so heiress. Tha day and hour for the wedding arrived, bus be esme net, nor has he since been seen or heard from."

" It is reported that the handsome ycutb,

Henry Trendall, b2came dissatisfied in some ) manner, and, in plain language, has bolted away to parts unknown."

That ia the report, but it is fals91"

" Who first circulated the story that Harry : Trendall had jilted his intended bride and

had run away ?"

" The yoUDg lady's guardian."

" Is the guardian related in any way to his wsrd^" o

" He was her father's step brother."

: " Would the young lady's guardian have any motive in preventing the marriage of

hi3 ward ?"

" I do not think he had a motive until one ' was suggested by another."

" And who is the other?" I

?" His wife."

•' The guardian's wife ?"

" Yee."

'' Is the guarciaa c young or old man

About forlt-Sve." "And the wife?" ?

" About twenty-five."

" How long have they been married ?" " Two years."

" You ssy the intended bride was an

fceirpes?"'

" Yes."

" Where there any peculiar conditions j in the will that guaranlcd her a for

tone!' j

" There was a condition in the will, but i

not b peculiar one." I

" From whom was the fortune to be in- j

herited?"

" The young lady's father."

" And he was a widower when he died ?" " Yes."

" How eld was the daughter at the time of ]

her father's death ?"

" She was ten years old."

" And she bad iived with her guardian ever j

since i"

" Yes."

" What were the conditions of the

will ?"

" The guardian was to hold the estate in 1 tract, and to be entitled to one half of the ' income until his ward should marry j at her j marrige the estate was to be turned over to j

her absolute control, provided she was j twenty-one." ;

" In case she should marry before she was j

twenty-one." j

" Her guardian was to control the estate

until she reached hei majority," I

'• Has the guardian any residuary interest j

in the estate?" .

" In ca=e of the girl's death he becomes sole I heir." '

'• What interest docs he have after the young indy in question becomes twenty

one?" ,

" No interest save a certain sum in

fcnik."

*' Then, when this youug lady comes into possession, bis interest in the income ceases, end in lieu thereof he receives a special be quest 2"

•' Yc-s, sir."

" How many years must pass before the

young lady teaches het twenty-firBt birth-1

day 2"

•'Three." O M 1) " She is now eighteen 2"

"Yes."

*? So far so good," remarked the detective meditatively, adding, " there is a motive, in fact a remarkable one; and there is

wicked end interested prompter behind the !

scenes."

A moment longer the officer indulged in audible comments, when he said, fin

ally :

" Now we will come to the question of the young man's disappearance. Where was he

Isst seen alive ?"

" In his office,"

"N j one can be found who recollects seeing hisc after he left his office ?"

" No one has yet been found."

| "And what day was this that he was last

[ seen in bis office?"

i " The day on which fee was to have been

! married."

! " M ho is supposed to have seen him

! last *"

j " His office boy."

"Nothing has been Eeen or beard of bim.

since V

1* «CU118 ledy received a note from him dated the dsy previous to hie disappear ! ance." '

" Ho you knew what the contents of tbe

uote were?'

" Yee.''

^ " Have you the note?"

" The young lady trusted it to me."

The deteotive smiled, and remarked in a significant tone:

j "I would be a poor person to undertake

the job, Misa Dawson, if I had not long ago discovered that there was no necessity for speaking in thethird person."

" I do not know what you mean."

" Well, frankly, you are the youglady who was to have been married on the twentieth of last month, and, like a brave woman, you are trying to eolve the mystery of your affianced husband's disappearance."

"Miss Dawson turned pale, and then flushed a rosy redness, as she replied :

" You appear to speak very assuredly."

" Yes."

" I am the young lady."

" I knew it from the start; and row wo can proceed with much greater ease in getting at the bottom cf this really singular ofrair.

Yon have the last note you received from '

Mr. Trendait 2"

Miss Dawson produced a note and handed it to him. It read .as ,"allows:

"Daulikg,—I will leave by the 3.20 train tc-mcxrcw afternoon. Had I consulted my own wishes I would have gone oat to-night; but as 1 am looking forward with bright an ticipations to being with yon always after to morrow, I thought I would not intrude my self during the last hours of your lovely girl hood. Tale note will find you etill free, but when I come to-morrow it is to bind you with fetters. whosG wearing, I trust, will be a con stant prieonship of happiness, until that mo ment—far remote, I hope, as calculated by us mortals—when they shall be loosened only by the loosening of that silver cord which alone hinds us to the changeful events of this life. 0

" I will not attempt to put into words, darling, all I hope, but there will never ascend to heaven trusr^vows to love, cherish

and comfort than these which shall fall from my lips to-morrow, when we stand before the altar to merge our. dual existences into one. Heaven watch o'er you and keep you always, my best beloved. In haste,

" Hakkt."

Slowly and carefully the detective read and

reread the lover's letter.

At length the girl asked:

" Well, do you thiuk thoEe the words cf a

traitor?'1

"The writer of ihatleiUr never contem

plated proving false to the assertions therein j made; in fact, my~belief is that he did not

desert you. I think I.read his character: aright, and as bread him he .would be inca pable of treachery of; any kind."

•' Then you are satisfied that as Harry Treudall failed to 'appear on the appointed wedding morning lie must have been mur dered?'

" I do i oi accept any/such conclusion."

A wild look overspread Miss Dawson's beautiful face as ehe exclaimed, in a husky

voice:

"Da you believe it possible that Harry stiil

lives?"

"It is possible but not probable, I must

admit."

" Oh, how you arebruieing my heart," said

Miss Dawson. '

" I do not wish to, .but there is one thing

certain. I thick that I have excellent c'uee

to work on, end i! you.choose to accept my services I am prepared to undertake the job,

and I promise you.that if I once undertake j this mystery it will be thoroughly cleared | up."

" I gladly ccc-pt. When will you see me again V'

" 1 cannot tell; but tell me how I am to communicate with yt-u."

Miss Diwson hesitated for a moment, and then said :

" I suppose it will be iuiforsible for me to hide my place of residence? '

".It certainly will. If yon do not give it to we 1 have to spendeprjauoh time in finding

it."