Chapter 161821274

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Chapter NumberXV
Chapter TitleA POPULAR AUTHOR.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article161821274
Full Date1895-05-11
Page Number36
Corrections0
Word Count1752
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleThe Third Volume
article text

CHAPTER XV

A POPULAR AtJTHOR*

Jiearing m mind that the oharaoter of Hillieton had been rehabilitated by Mrs. Bezel, it was natural that Olaude should feel somewhat annoyed at the persistent mistrust manifested towards that gentleman by Tait. However, he had no time to explain or expos tulate at the present moment; and moreover, as be knew that the little man was assisting him in this difficult case out of pure friend ship, he did.not deem it polite to comment on what was assuredly, an unfounded prejudioe. Tait was singular in his judgments, stubborn in his opinions; so Claude, unwilling to risk the lose of his coadjutor, wisely held his peace. His astute companion guessed these thoughts, for in plaoe of farther remarking on the inex plioable presenoe of Hillieton be .turned the conversation towards the man they were about

to see.

"Queer thing, isn't it?" he said as they ascended the stairs. " Linton is the son of the Vioarof Thorston."

"Ah 1 that no doubt aooounts for bis inti mate knowledge of the locality. Do you

know him ?"

" Of course I do—as Frank Linton; but I had no idea that he was John Parver.''

" Why did he assume a nom de plume t"

Tait shrugged his shoulders. " Paternal prejudioe, I believe," he said carelessly. " Mr, Linton does not approveof sensational novels, and moreover wishes his son to be a lawyer, not a literary man. Young Frank is in a solicitor's office in Linooln's Inn Fields, and he employed' his evenings in writing ' A

Whim of Fate.' He published it under the

name of 'John Parver, so as to hoodwink his father, but now that he has scored a eucoess I have no doubt he will confess."

" Do you think we will learn anything from

him ?"

" We will learn all we wish to know as to where he obtained bis material. The young man's bead is turned, wnd by playing on hie vanity we may find out the truth."

"His vanity may lead, him to oonoeal the faot that'ha took the plot from real

life."

"I don't think so. I knew the boy well, and he is a great babbler. No one is more astonished than I at learning that he is the celebrated John Parver. I didn't think ho had the brainB to produce so clever a

book."

" It is clever 1" assented Olaude abBently.

" Of course it is; muoh cleverer than it author," retorted Tait dryly, "or rather, I should say, its supposed author, for I verily believed Jenny Paynton helped him to write

the book."

" Who iB Jenny Paynton ?"

"A very nice girl who lives at Thorston. She is twice as olever bb this lad, and they are bath great on literary matters. But I'll tell yon all about this later on, for here ia Linton."

The oelebrated author was a light-haired ligbt-oomplexioned young man of six-and twenty, with bowed shoulders, a self-satisfied smile, and a pinoe nez which he used at times to emphasize his remarks. Be evidently pos sessed oonoeit sufficient to stock a dozen ordinary men, and lisped out the newest ideas of the day, a9 promulgated by his oollege, for he waB an Oxford man. Although he was still in bis salad days be had settled, to his own satisfaction, all the questions of life, and therefore adopted a oalrn superiority whioh was peculiarly exasperating. Claude, liberal minded but hot-blooded, had not been five minutes in his oompany before he was seized with a wild desire to throw bim ont of the window. Frank Linton inspired that tin ahnritable feeling in many people.

For the moment Mr. Linton was alone, as

his latest worshipper, a raw-boned female of the cab-horse species, had just departed with a fat little painter in quest of refreshment. Therefore, when he turned to greet Olaude, he was quite prepared to assume that fatigued self-oonsoioue air with whioh lie thought fit to weloome new votaries.

" Linton, this ie Mr. Larcher," said Tai abruptly. Claude, yoo see before you the lio

of theBeason."

"It is very good of you to say so, Mr. Tait," simpered the lion, in nowise disclaim ing the oompliment, " I am pleased to make your aoquaintanoe, Mr. Larcher."

" And I yours, Mr. LintOD, or I shall say Mr. Parver."

" Oh, either name will answer," said the author loftily, " though in town I am known as Parser only."

" And in Thorston as Linton," interpo lated Tait smartly, " Then your father does not vet know what a oelebrated eon he has ?"

"Not yet, Mr. Tait. I intend to tell him next week. I go down to Thorston for that purpose."

" Ah ! My friend and I will no doubt meet you there. We also seek rural feliaity for a month. But now that you have taken Loudon by storm I suppose yon intend to forsake the law for the profits.

"Ot course I do," replied Linton quickly. " I never oared for the law, and only went into it to please my father."

" And now vou go into literature to pleaBo Miss Paynton."

Linton blushed at this home thrust, and being readier with the pen than the tongue did not know what answer to make. Pitying his* confusion, and anxious to arrive at the main objeot of the interview, Claude interpo lated a remark bearing thereon.

"Did you find it diffioult to work out the plot of your novel, Mr. Linton!" he said with

assumed carelessness.

" Oh, not at all. The construction of a plot is eeoond nature with me."

" I suppose vou and Miss Paynton talked it over together, said Tait artfully.

"Well, yes," answered Linton, again falling into confusion. " I found her a good listener."

" I presume it was all new to her."

" I think so. Of course she gave me eoms hints.

Evidently Linton was determined to admit nothing, -eo seeing that Tait'e attaok was thus repulsed, Olaude - brought up hit reeorve

forces.

" I saw in a paper the other day that your book was an impossible one—that nothing analogous to its story ever happened in real

life."- ?

" Several orities have said thai," replied Linton, growing angry, and thereby losing hiaoantion, "but they are wrong, m I could prove did I ohoose to do so."

"What!" said Olaude in feigned astonish ment, "did you take the inoident from

real life f

" X'he tale is founded on an inoident in real life, answered Linton, flushing. "That is, Miss Paynton told me of a certain crime whioh was aotually committed, and on her hint I worked out the story."

"Oh, Miss Paynton told you," said Tait smoothly, "and where did she see the account

of this orime ?"

"Ah, that I oannot tell you," replied Linton frankly.- She related the history of this orime and refused to let me know whence she obtained it. I thought the idea a good one, and so wrote the novel."

" Why don't you toil this to the world, and

no confound the critics!"

"Idoi I have told several people. For instance, I told a gentleman about it this very evening, just because he made the same re

mark as Mr. Laroher did."

Tait drew a long breath, and stole a look at Olaude. That young man bad changed oolour and gave utterance to the first idea that

entered his mind.

"Was it Mr. Hillisbon Tho made the

remark ?"

" Hillisbon! Hillisbon!" said Linton, thoughtfully. " Yes, I believe that was the man. A tall old gentleman very freeh ooloured. He was greatly interested in my literary work."

" Who oould help being interested in eo clever a book!" said Claude in a meaning tone. "But Mr. Hillieton is a lawyer, and 1 suppose you do not like members of that profession."

"Now, why should you say that?" de manded Linton, rather taken abaok by this perspioaoity.

"Well, for one thing yoq admit a dislike for the law, and for another you make Michael Dene, tke solicitor, oommit the orime in ' A Whim of Fate.'"

"Oh, I only did that as he was the least likely person to be euspeoted," said the author easily. "Jenny—that is Miss Paynton, wanted me to make— Markham commit the orime."

" Markham is Jeringham," murmured Tait under his breath. ' 'W ho oommitted the orime in the aotual oaBe," he added aloud.

"No oue knows, answered Linton, shrug ging his shoulders. " The case as related to me was a mystery. I solved it after my own

fashion."

"In the third volume you traoe the assassin by means of a breastpin belonging to Michael Done, said Claude again in favour. " Ib that

faob or fiction?"

"Fiotioni Miss Paynton invented the idea. She eaid that the dagger inculpated the woman ; the breastpin found on the banks of the river would lead to the deteotion of the man. And as I worked it out the idea was a good one."

"Abl" murmured Tait to himsalf, " I wonder if Mr. Hillieton bad anything to do with abreaspin."

By this time Linton was growing rather resbivp under examination, as he was by no means pleased at having to acknowledge his indebtedness to a woman's wit. Seeing this Tait abrubtly olosed the conversation ao as to avoid waking the suspicions of Linton.

? " A very interesting oonversation." he j ?aid heartily. " I like to get behind the j

soenes and see the working of a novelist's | brain. We will say good-by now, Linton, and I hope you will oall at the Manor

House next week, when we will all three be at |

Thornton." I - "Delighted, I'm sure," replied the author, 1

and thereupon melted into the crowd, leaving ]

Claude and Tait looking at one another.

" Well,"eaid the former, after a pause, " we

have not learned muoh."

?" On the oontrary, I think we have learned a great deal," eaid Tait, raising his eyebrows, "We know that Linton got the whole story from Jenny Paynton, and that Mr. Hilliston is in possession of the knowledge."

" What use oan it be to him 1"

- "He will try and frustrate us with Miss, Paynton as he did Mrs. Bezel with you."

"Doyou still doubt him?" asked Claude angrily.

" Yes,"replied Tait coolly; "I still doubt

•him."