|Chapter Title||TAIT BRINGS NEWS.|
|Newspaper Title||Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||The Third Volume|
TAIT BBINGS NJZIYA,
As quick as a fast hansom oould take him, |
Claude drove to Earle-street and found Tait : impatiently waiting his arrival. The littlo man had a look of triumph in his eyes, whioh showed that biB interview with Mrs. Bezel had bean to some purpose. Dormer had placed wine and biscuits on the table, and, made hungry by his long journey to Samp etoad, Tait was partaking of these modest refreshments when Claude entered the room.
" I thought you were never coming, "said he, glanoing at his watoh ; " past 10 o'clock. You
must have had au interesting conversation j with Hilliston to etay bo long." |
" I have hal a very interesting conversation. And you?"
"Oh, 1 got back thirty minutes ago, after Going more than an hour with your
" Was she disappointed at my non-appear ance?"
"Very mush so, hut I explained that you had to dine with Hilliston. She did not seem to like that either,"
" Absurd ! She thinks no end of Hilliston, and advised me to eee as muoh of him as pos sible."
" Nevertheless, the idea that you were dining with him did not please her ; I oould only quieten her by telling all I knew about Mrs. Hilliston,"
When Tait made this remark Claude was
taking oil his cloak, but he paused in doing so ? to ask a question.
" What possible interest oan my mother ]
have in Mrs. Hilliston?"
" I don't know, lint eho asked mo who '
she was and where she oamo from. Insisted 1 on a description of her looks, and altogether pumped me dry on the subject. I suppose she
wished to know something of Hilliston's domestic felicity, nnd as he has not enligh tened her on the subject applied io me."
This explanation, which was acoepted im- • plioitly by Claude, was by no means the truth. With his usual sharpness l'ait had noted Mrs. Bezel was profoundly jealous of the lawyer's wife, and from this and sundry other hints bad drawn conclusions by no means flattering to the lady herself. Still as she was Claude's mother he had ton muoh good breeding nnd too much liking
for his friend to state his belief—
which was that the bond between Mr. I Hilliston and Mrs. Bezel was not of so harm- i less a nature as tbey would have the world believe.
With this idea in hia head, Tait began to look at the ease from the point of view adopted by John Parver. Might it not be true that Hilliaton waa the aeoret lover of the wife, and the murderer of the huaband. Certainly the efforta he waa making to stay-Claude in aolving the myatery gave aolour to the idea. If he were innooent of orime and iliioit paa aion he would aurely be anxioua to haeten instead of retarding the disoovery. Tail's private opinion waa that Hlliston had. the crime of murder on hia aoul, but for ob vious reasons, not unconneoted with Mrs. Bezel, he did not oare to apeak openly to Laroher. On theoontrary, while admitting a disbelief in the lawyer, he feigned a doubt of 1 hia oomplioity in the matter whioh he waa far from feeling.
Under these oiroumatances he had advised Claude to leave the matter alone, for he dreaded the eSeot on his friend's mind when he learned the truth.
Whether Hilliaton proved innooent or not, the unravelling of the mystery would necessa rily result in the diaolosure of the relations existing between him and Mrs. Bezel. Tait shrank from pursuing inveatigatons likely to lead to Buoh a result, but the de termination of Claude to avenge his father's murder left him no option. Against his better judgment he was urged, along the path of disoovery; but he trusted when the
timeosme to eoften the blow of the inevitable result. _
In eilenoe he heard the story related by Claude of the evening at Hillistoo's, and did not oomment on the information thus giyen ao speedily at Larcher expected. He thought it wiser to delay any remarks till he had told the young man of hie interview with Mrs. Bezel.
"I need not to go into details, Claude," he said, anxious not to'say too mush, " but will tell you as shortly as I oan. Mrs. Bezel—it is more', oonvenient to speak of her so than' call her your mother — is not pleased that you should try and solve the mystery." .
" I know that. . She thinks it is hopeless, and iB unwilling that I should waste my time to no purpose. But she should have thought of that before induoing- Hilliston to show me the paper. How it is too late, and for my own satisfaction, if not for hers, I must go on with the matter. Did you relate our conversation
" Yes. And ehe takes the same view of it as Hilliston. That Miss Paynton got the case from a bundle of old newspapers."
" What do you think yourself!"
" I still hold to my opinion," said Tait quietly. "The affair was related to Jenny by some one who lived in Horriston at the time the murder took plaoe. lSlse she would never have given Linton that faot about the eoarfpin, which, as we know, is not mentioned in the report of the trial."
" Hilliston ears that the episode is fiotion." "Mrs. Bezel says it is faot."
'* What 1 Was a soarfpin of garnets really found in the grouuds of ' The Laurels.'"
"It was I Mrs. Bezel desoribed the jewel to me, aod asserted that it was discovered near the banks of tho stream."
" Hoes sbe know to whom it belonged ?"
"Not She bad no reoolleotion of having Been it bofore. Neither your father nor Jerningbam wore a soarfpin of that pat
"It is curioue that Hilliston should insist that such a pin never existed."
"It is very curious," assented Tnitsigni fioantly, espeoially as it was Bhowu to liim by Denis Bantry. This one fact ought to convince you that Hilliston is playing us
" My doubts were Confirmed by bis manner to-night,"replied Oiaudegloomily. "I don't know what his reason mey be, or how I uan reconcile his present behaviour with bis kind ness to my mother, but be certainly seems anxious to thwart-us if be oan."
1'ait guessed what the roaeon wns very well, but was too wise to explain himself, Urautcd that a bond existed between Mrs. Bezel and the lawyer, aod the whole thing became olear, but Mrs. Bezel was Claude's mother, so 'fait held bis peaoe.
"Why wasn't the soarfpin produoed at the trial ?" asked Olande, seeing his friend made
" Only one man can auBwor that question, Denis Bantry."
" Does my mother know where he iB?"
"No. She has not set eyes on him sinoe she left Horriston."
It is strange that he should have sup pressed so important a piece of evidenoe," said Olaude meditatively, "devoted as be was
to my father. I should have thought he would 1 have done hie best to bring the murderer to justice."
"Perhaps ho did not know who the mur derer was. However there is no doubt that thesoarfpin must have told him something about whioh he judged it wise to bold bis tongue. Perhaps Alias Payntbn can enlighten ub on the subjeot."
" Then ehe must know Denis Bantry."
"So I think," said Tait thoughtfully. "The episode of the eonrfpin was only known to your mother, to Hillieton, and to Bantry. Jenny Paynton does nob know your mother, who denied all knowledge of her. She cannot be acquainted wth Hilliston, or he oertainly would not have let her make use of the affair for Linton's bock, even if be had told her. There only remains DeniB Bantry. Now I know that Jenny has lived all her life at Thorston, so if Bhe saw this man anywhere it must have been there."
" Is there no one in the neighbourhood you think is him ?" asked Lnroher, greatly
" None that I oan oall to mind. But then I don't know the neighbourhood very well. We must make a thorough exploration of it
when we are down there," '
"Certainly. But it seems to me that the only nne who oan put us in the right traok is the girl."
"True enough. I only hope she will be
amenable to reason."
Laroher poured himself out a plasB of wine, and drank it slowly. Then he lighted his pipe and returned to bis ohair with a new idea in his head.
" I wonder why Hilliston told thatlie about the scarf pin, Tait ?"
" Ask me something easier. I cannot say. We'll learn nothing from him. My dear fellow, it is no use asking further questions of your guardian or of your mother. We have found out all from them that we cao. Nothing now remains but' to see Jenny Paynton."
' Quite right. And we go to Thorston to morrow."
" By the ordinary train. I have written for the dog-cart to meet us. By this time next week we may know a great deal — we may know the truth.
"That ia if Hilliston doesn't thwart us. He is going down to Eastbourne, re
" I know. But I intend to get what the Americans call the ' inside running' by seeing Jenny to-morrow evening. The whole case tnrnB on her explanation of the scarfpin episode."
"Well," eaid Claude, knooking the ashes out of bis pipe, " we found Linton through bie book, we found Jenny through Linton. Through her we may find DeniB Bantry.'"
" And through Denis Bantry we may find the man who killed your father," finished Tait triumphantly.
" Well I know what the name of the man will be."
" What will it be ?" " Jeringham 1"
Tait ehriigged his shoulders. Knowing what he did he was by no means certain en that point.