Chapter 161822959

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Chapter NumberXXVII
Chapter TitleA GLIMPSE OF THE PAST.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article161822959
Full Date1895-06-15
Page Number37
Corrections0
Word Count2753
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleThe Third Volume
article text

THE NOVELIST.:

THE THIRD VOLUME.

BY FJGRSOB HUME.

--A.ntbor.of "Tho Mystery of a Hansom dab,"

" Xba Lone Inn." "The ObineBe Jar," &o.

CHAPTER XXVII.

A GLIMPSE OF TJ2U rABT.

Hilliston remained a considerable time with hie friend, and it was not until sunset that he left the house. He had a satisfied look on his faob, as though the interview had answered his expectations; and so lifted up in spirit did he appear that be stepped out into the lane as jauntily as tbongii be were quite a young man. It was over three miles to the Tailway Btation, and he would be obliged to walk back; but the prospect did not annoy him in the least. On the oontrary, bo great a load had been removed from h<s mind by the late conversation that be felt fit to walk twice the distance. Yet suoh unusual lightheaded ness might have reoalled to his iniDd the Sootoh superstition regarding its probable

reason.

As he walked smartly to the end of the lane, the eun had just dropped behind the bills, leaving a trail of red glory behind biin. Against this crimson background rose the gables and chimney of the Manor House, and the sight reoalled to Hilliston tbe faot that young Laroher was staying in the mansion. He paused doubtfully, not certain whether to go in or pass on ; for in bis many aohemes tbe least slip ought prove prejudicial to their ac complishment.

"If I call in I can say uoy visit here was to do so," he thought; " but it is too late ; aud though Oiaude might bulieve me, the little man would oertainly be suspicious. Besides, they are eure to find out from Jenny Paynton fiat I have seen her father. No, I shan't go in, but to-night I Will write a letter stating - that-Pay nton is a oliont whom I oalled to see About business. I have made it all right there, and it will take a cleverer man than Taib to upset my plans this time."

' His meditations were interrupted by the rattle of wheels, and he turned to eee Kerry driving a dappled pony in a small chaise. Tbe old man distorted his withered face into a grotesque grin of wuloome, and jumped out with extraordinary alacrity when he oaine alongside Hilliston.

" Augh, augh, air," eaid Kerry touching his hat in military fashion. "It's a eight for •ore eyes to see ye. Miss Jenny told me ycu had walked over from the station, so I just borrowed the trap of his riverence, the Vioar, to take you back."

."That is very kind of you, Kerry," replied Hilliston in his most genial manner ; "loin glad to aooept your offer nnd escape the walk. You/drive and I'll sit beside you."

Kerry did ns he was told, and in a few minutes the trap containing the pair was rattling through the street at a good pace. Shortly they left the village behind, and emerged into the open oouutry. The road wound to right and left, past farmhous-s, under bending trees, between hedgerows, and oooaoioually passed over a stone brid.e -spanning- a trickling brook matted with oresses, All this time neithc-r of them had spoken, as each was seemingly wrapped up in his own thoughts; but as auiatterof fact they were thinking ofeaoh other. Kerry wished to .apeak to Hilliston, but did not know bow to begin; while Hilliston was in tbe same prodi cament regarding Kerry.

lb waB tbe latter who finally began the con versation, and he did so in a way which would . have startled a lets brave man than the

lawyer.. At the moment they were orossing a rather broad stream with a ewift current, and -Kerry pulled up the pony midway between the parapets of stone which protected tbe sides of the rude bridge. Rather astonished at this Stoppage, for which be could assign no reason, Hilliston roused himself from his musings, and looked enquiringly at Kerry. The man's eyes, significant and angry, were fixed on him in anythingbuta friendly mauner.

" Do you know what I'm thinking, air ?" he said, coolly flicking the pony's back with the whip.

"No, Kerry," replied Hilliston, with equal ooolness. " Is it of anything important ?"

"It might be to you, sir," replied Kerry, dryly. "I was just thinking whether it wouldn't ho a good thing to send horse and trap and you and I into the water, Then .therewould be an end to your black heart and your blaok eohomos."

"That is very possible, Kerry," said Hil liston, who knew his man, " but before going to extremities you had better make curtain that you are aoting for the best. Without me your master is ruined."

"We'll talk it.over, sir," answered Kerry, and with asmart fl ok of bis whip Bent the pony across the bridge. When they were over and were trotting between hedgerows he resumed the conversation. "Why have ye oomehere again, sir?" he asked, abruptly. " We were quitof you five years ago, nud now you come to harry the master ouoe more.1'

" I pome for his own good, Kerry."

"Ah now, don't be after ealliDg me Kerry. There's no one here, and it is Denis Bantry I am to you, Mr. Franois HilliBton."

The lawyer winced at tbe satirioal emphasis placed on the name, bub judged it wise to humour the old man. Kerry, as be called himself now, oould be very obstinate and dis agreeable when he chose, go, knowing his powers in this resoeot, Hilliston wisely con ducted the oonversation on as broad lines as was possible. Nevertheless, he oariied the war into the enemy's camp by blaming Kerry, for nob taking bettor care of the bundle of papers whiali, through his negligence, had fallen into the bands of Jenny.

"And how was I to know, sir?"retorted Kerry, querulously. " The papers were safely put away in the garret, and Miss Jenny had no oall to go there."

" Well, Kerry, you see what it has led to. The aocount of the tragedy is all over

Iiondon."

"'And what of that, eir? Wasn't the aocount of it all over Horrieton twenty-five years ago ?"

. - "No doubt," said Hillistonooolly ;"but that is all over and done with. It is useless to dwell ou the past and its errors. But now Captain Laroher's son is bent on finding out the truth."

"And why shouldn't he, eir ?"

"I don't think you ueed ask the question, Kerry," replied the lawyer in so significant a tone that the old servant turned away his head. "It is not desirable that Claude Laroher should be enlightened. We know what took place on that night, if no one else does, and for more reasons than one it is ad visable that we should keep our knowledge to biirselveB."

"Augh," said Kerry, gruffly, "you don't want it known that you were in the garden oh that night, eir."

""I do not," answered Hilliston, with hasty emphasis: "I spoke falsely at the trial to save Mrs. Tjirehor. 1 I rather think you did so yourrelf, Kerry.

" For the Master's sake, for the master's

sake. A« for the mistress, she brought all the trouble on our heads. 1 lied; sir, and you lied, but she wasn't worth it. But ia there to be'

trouble over it now, Mr. HiUiBtonT" i

"No. Not if you baffle the enquiries of those young men at the Manor House. They] will meet you and question you, and get the' truth out of you if they can. Whether they do or hot all depends upon yourself."

" You leave it to me, sir, said Kerry confi dently.. "I'll manage to stud them away without being a bit the wiser. And notri Mr. Hilliston, that this is settled, I would apeak to you about my eister Mona."

Hilliston changed colour, bub nevertheless retained sufficient composure to fix his eyes on the man's faoewithasad smile. "What of her, Kerry ?" he asked in a melanoholy tone, "yuu know she is dead and gone."

" Augh ! Augh I Bub her grave, eir. You muBt tell me where it is, for. I have it in my mind togo and see it."

" What would be the good of you doing that?"said Hilliston disapprovingly.

"Beoause I was harsh with her, eir. If she did wrong ebe suffered for it, and it was wicked of me to let her go as I did. Where is her grave, sir ?"

"In Ohiswiok Cemetery,"said Hilliston, as the obaiBe stopped at the railway station, " if you oome up to London and oall at my offioe I will tell you where to find it."

Kerry was profuse in his thanks, and touching his bat gratefully aooepted the shilling wbioh Hilliston put into his hand ; but when the train oontaining Hilliston started for Eastbourne he threw away the money, and shook his fist after the retreating carriages. Not a word did he say, but the frown on his face grew deeper and deeper aa he got into the trap again, and drove slowly back to Thorston. Evidently be trusted

Hilliston no more than did Tait or Jenny. !

It was now quite dark, for the daylight and afterglow had long since vanished from the western skies, and the moon was not yet up. Only the stars were visible here and there in the cloudy sky, and finding their light in sufficient to drive by Kerry get down and lighted the carriage lamp. Heaven only knows of what be was thinking aa he drove along the dusky lanes. The past unrolled itself before his eyes, and what he Baw there made him groan and heave deep sighs. But thore was no use in bo indulging his memories, and thinking of his master Kerry braoeri himself up toeoe what oould be done towards meeting the dangers whioh seemed to threaten on all sides. When he delivered the trap again to the groom of the vioar he hit on an idea, which lie proceeded to carry out.

Instead of going baok at onoe to Rose Cot- I

tage he borrowed a piece of paper and a penoi from the groom, and laboriously traoed a few lines by the light of the stable lantern. Putting this missive in his pocket he went off in the direction of the Manor House; but. leaving the pubiio road he skirted the low' etone wall which divided it from the adjacent fields. Kerry knew every inoh of the ground,

and even in the darkness had no difficulty in: guiding himself to bis destination. This was a.vantage point at the end of the wall, whouoe he could soe into a sitting-room of the house. In a few minutes Kerry was perched on this wall, busily engaged in tying his letter to an: ordinary sized stone.

Almost immediately below him the mansion stretched in a kind of abrupt right angle, inj

which was set two wide windows overlooking a bad of flowers. These wero open to the; cool night air, and the blinds had not been; drawn down, so tb&t Kerry _ from bis. lofty hiding-plaoe oould see right : into, the room. A tall brass lamp stood at one; end, and under this sat Olaude J,archer smoking and thinking. The glare of the lamp fell full on his fresh-ooloured 'ace and light hair, so that Kerry felt as though he were gazing at a phantom out of that dread

llftNt).

"He's as like his father as two peas," mut tered Kerry, devouring the pioture with his eyea—"a fine boy and an honeat gentleman. Augh! augb !—to think that I have nuraed him on my knee when he was a bit of a lad, ntid now I'm here telling him to go away ! But its better that than the other. A ourae on those who brought him here and put sorrow into his heart!"

Thus muttering, Kerry threw the Btone lightly through the window. It fell heavily on the floor within a few feet of Claude, who sprang to his feet with an exolamacion. Not waitiug to see the result, Kerry hastily tum bled off the wall, jumped the ditoh, and made off in the darkness. By a oirouitous route ho regained lioso Cottage, and entered the kitchen worn out in body and mind. He had done his duty so far as in him lay, and mentally prayed that the result might tend to remove the threatened danger.

Meanwhile Claude had pioked up the etone and ran to the window. Be oould see nothing, for Kerry was already halfway acrossthefields ; he could not even guesB whence the stone had

been thrown. All was eilent, and though he ' listened intently be oould not hear the sound of retreating footsteps. With some wonder ment bo untied the paper from the stone and smoothed it out. It was badly written and badly spelt, and ran SB follows:— " Bewar of danger, Claude Laroher. tak a frind's advioe and go quick away." There was no signature, aud the young man was looking at it in growing perplexity when Tait entered the room.

" What did you shout out about ?" he asked

oarelessly. " I beard you in the next room." j

"You would have shouted also," replied i Laroher holding out the paper. " This was I flung into the room tied round a etone."

"You don't say ao. Who threw it ?"

"I can't say. I rushed to the window at once, but saw no sign of any one. What do you think of the hint therein contained ?"

Tait read the anonymous oommunioation, pondered over it, and finally delivered hie opinion by uttering a name. "Hilliston,"he said confidently, "Hilliston."

"Nonsense!" said Claude sharply, "why should he deal in underhand wave of this sort. If he wanted me to go away, he oould have called and urged me to 'do so. But this—I don't believe Hilliston would condescend to such trickery."

" When a man is in a fix he'll desoend to anything to get himself out of it," replied Tait, placing the paper in his pooket-oook. "I'll keep this,-and, perhaps, before many days are over I'll have an opportunity of proving to you that I Bpeak truly. Who else wants you to go away besides Hilliston,"

" Kerry—Denis Bantry might."

"I doubt whether Kerry knows that you are here. You 'must give -matters time to develop themselves,- as the inmates of Rose Cottage oan'tknow all about us within twenty

four hours."

" What between your confessions to Jenny, and Hilliston's own knowledge, I think they'll know a good deal in one way or another."

"They oan know as mnoh as they.like," said Tait, quietly, " but we know more, aod if it oomes to a tug of war I think you and I oan win against Hilliston and Co, But come outside, and let us examine the top of the wall."

"Do you think the stone was thrown from there ?" asked Claude, as they went out into the garden.

. '-'I fn,noy so from your description. Light this oandle."

The night vat to still that the flame of the; oandle hardly wavered., Taitgave it to Claude, to hold, and eaBily olimbed up the wall by-, thrusting the toes of his boots in among the loose stones. He examined the top carefully, and then getting the light tied it to a piece of string and lowered it onthe other side. In a few minutes he oame down again with a satis

fied look.

"As I thought," be said, blowing out the oandle, " some one has been on that wall and thrown the stone from there. I saw the markB of feet on the other aide. The man who delivered the letter jumped the ditch and made off aoroes the fields."

"You don't think it is Hilliston?" said Claude, doubtfully.

" No; but I think it is an emissary of Hil liston. Perhaps Denis Ban try."

"Tait!" said Laroher, after a pause, "from Hillieton'e visit to Paynton, from the way in whioh Paynton perstBtently seoludes himself from the world, and from the knowledge we possess that the information for Linton's book oame out of that oottage, I hare oome to a oonoluaion."

"Whatis that!"

" I believe that Ferdinand Paynton Ib none ether than Mark Jerningham, who killed my

father."