|Chapter Title||Mrs BEZEL AGAIN.|
|Newspaper Title||Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||The Third Volume|
JIBS. BEZEL AGAIN.
On returning home Claude found that Tait, oontrary to hie expressed intention, had gone out. Dormer, who was packing a portman teau for the Horriaton journey, oould not in form I,archer when hie master would be baok, but ventured an opinion that he would cer tainly return to luncheon. Moanwhile be handed to Claude some letters which had just arrived, and with those the young than managed to pass a fairly uncomfortable hour. Uncomfortable because ono of the letters was from Mrs. Bezel, and proved of so puzzling a oharaoter that Larcher was m a fever oi im
patience to discuss it with Tait.
The little man returned to luncheon, as wa9 surmised by Dormer, and was met in the bail by Claude with the open letter of Mrs. Bezel in his hand.
"My dear fellow, why did you go out?"said Larcher ooraplainingly. " 1 have eo much to tell you. I have seen Kerry, and now here is a letter from Mrs. Bezel."
"What! Is she on the stage again ?" said Tait, eagerly. " Let me see the letter."
"Not yet," replied Claude, putting it promptly behind bis back. " Vou must first tell ine why you left the house, when you ought to bo be paoking up for Dorr is ton.''
Tait shrugged bis shoulders, bowed to the inevitable, aud wont into the dining-room. Here he eat at the table and began to carvo someoold beef, thereby throwing Claude into
" Vou cold-blooded little monster, "he oried, tapping on tho table, "will you satisfy my ourioeity ?"
" Why should I?" said Tait, grinning, "you won't satisfy mine."
"Then read the letter," retorted C.aude, throwing it norosa the table. To his surprise Tait placed it on one side.
"Not yet!" he said, resuming hisoarving. "We must have a talk first. Have some beef."
" I don 6 want beef, but information.
"You Bhall have both," said Taib calmly. "Do you prefer beer or olaret ?"
"Beor I" replied Laroher, resignedly, fall ing in with the trioksey humour of hie friend. Tait was a man with whom it was impossible to quarrel,
" Dormer, fill Mr. Lurcher's glass ; put the olaret jug beside me, and leave the room. We will wait on ourselves."
As stolid as a wooden image Dormer obeyed these instructions, and wheeled out of the room. Tait ate a few moutbfuls of beef, drank a glass of claret, and prepared to talk. His first remark was a bombshell.
" I have seen Paynton," said he, slowly.
"The deuoe you have," cried Claude, in
surprise; "and how did you manage to take his%astle by etorm ?"
"Easily enough, by the help of a lie and a little strategy. I went out to see if you were at your post, and oaught sight of Kerry cross ing the fields. As X knew Jenny would be at the Lintons—for she goes there to see the old lady every morning—I guessed that Rose Cottage would be undefended; so back I ran to the house, picked up a book which I had promised to lend the young lady, and went to pay my visit.
" "How did yon get inside tile gate. It is generally looked."
. "It wasn't on this oocasion," replied Tait, complaoently. "I opened it and walked in, to find.old Paynton etrolling in the garden. Catching eight of me, ho turned baok tore enter the house, but, luckily, I was between him and the door, ao wo met face to face,"
" What kind of a man is he to look at ?"
"Oh, a fine-looking old ohap, with white hair and beard, a bIcuII oap, and a dressing gown. Quite the get-up of a nacromanoor."
"Did he epeak to you?" asked Claude, having oonsidered this description,
" He asked me politely what my business was; whereupon I presented the book, and montioned that it was for bis daughter. He replied that she was at the Lintons, and would be back Boon, when he would give her the book himself. Then he asked me to exouae him, and bowed meoutof the gate. But,"addedTait, with emphasis, "nob before I bad mentioned that Mr. Claude Laroher was staying with
"Did my name produce any effeob?"
. " Bather! Payntonchangedbplour, and I mumtjledsomethihg unintelligible. Then he tamed hie book, ana walked quickly into' the bouse, leering me 'to close the gate myeelf. Depend upon it heknowa something, Olaude."
' But hit name 'isn't mentioned In connec tion with the ease."
" Of courts not. Paynton it; a feigned one. And,'at I hare eaid before, there are; no doubt, aotors in the tragedy of whom we know nothing."
" There is one of that sort mentioned here," said Laroher, picking up Bezel's letter; "read tbat, Tait, and eeewbat you make of
It proved to be a short note hastily written,
and ran aB follows
"My dear Olaude—If you are still in doubt as to who murdered your father ask Mr. Uillietou to tell you about Louisa Sinolair, who lived at Horrieton twenty-live years ago. She knows.
" Your affectionate mother,
"Louisa Sinolair," repeated Tait, elowly, having mastered the oonteute of this letter. " No, I never beard of her. It is strange that HiUiaton has not montinodher name."
"No doubt ha had good reasons for nob doing eo," eaid Olaude, bitterly. " Vou need not look so astonished, Tait. I have long ago oome round to your opinion of my old guar dian. Hie intimaoy with Paynton and the effeot of bis visit on Kerry would oonvinoe me. not to speak of that ' anonymous letter.' '*
" Ah 1 Kerry refused to speak."
"He would not aay a word, and, moreover, stated that he was not Denis Bantry; that he had never heard of Horrieton, la faot, he
aoted his part oxoellently well till the last,.' Then he broke down, and afraid of letting the oat out of the bag he ran away."
"Ezsotly what his master did," eaid Tait, thoughtfully. " Depend upon it, Olaude,.we
will learn the truth from one of those two.
"If you think eo, why go to Horrieton!"
"Beoausel want to learn the real name of Paynton, and, moreover, here ie an additional reason. I must find out Louisa Sinolair."
"There is no mention of her in theoase."
"Quite true. And there is no mention of Paynton; but for all that ho knows about it. Oh, you may be sure there are circumstances to be discovered at Horrieton whioh never came bo light at the trial."
"Aly mother ie anxious for the mystery to be oleared up."
So I tee, and I am glad of it, said Tait, with at) affectation of oareleseneea. "I thought she was too ill to take an interest in the matter."
"Am I to. aek Hilliston about this woman t" said Claude, looking up in some
"No," replied his friend, after a few moments' deliberation, "our suooess in this depends on keeping Hilliston in the dark oonoerning our movements. If we tell him too muoh he may thwart us, as he has done already in this Pay n toil business. Say nothing about Louisa Sinclair, or about my visit to Horrieton. Tell him I hare gone to town, and let him figure out the reason for himsolf. By the way, when do you aee
"On Friday evening. Both he and his wife arn'coiniug to dine and stop all night at the vicarage. You may be Bure Hilliston will put me through a thorough cross-examination regarding your absence."
"Refer him to Mr. Linton," said Tait, coolly. "I ain writing to that gentleman telling him I am unexpectedly oaled to town on particular business. What ihat businosB is Hilliston will beanxiou9 to know. I don't think he'll oDjoy his evening at all. A guilty conscience mars all pleasure."
" When do you leave
"By the 4.20 train this afternoon. I'll write you about my dieooverios ae soon as I find out anything worth eoribbling about."
"You'll find nothing," said Claude, dole fully; " after five and twonty years."
"I'll find out who Louisa Sinclair is, and then astonish Hilliston with tho extent of my information. Regarding Paynton, 1 am not eo oertain. That discovery rests between you and Denis Bautry."
"I'll do my beet, but I am doubtful," replied Claude, nna eo the conversation terminated for the time being. It left a lasting impression on the two who took part
Tait duly took hie departure with Dormer, leaving Claude in possession of tho house. As he leaned out of tho window of the
smoking carriage he said a last word to his
"Don't tell Hilliatou about my going to Horriaton," ho said, signifioantly; "but if you get a chanoo inform his wife of the fact."
"I'll tell you that when I oome back," said Tait, as the trsiu moved slowly off. "Give her the information, and observe the effoot; it will aatoniah you."
But Taitoounted without his host; ho was ignorant of Mrs. Hiliistou's powers of seli oontrol.