|Chapter Title||THE ORIGINAL OF THE PORTRAIT.|
|Newspaper Title||Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||The Third Volume|
THE 0EIQ1SAL OV THE PORTRAIT.
Olaude Laroher was blessed with the best of
tempera, and strongly gifted with self-oon trol. He found these virtues very neoessary iu his profession, eapeoielly when in oommand of a body of -men in the wilde. There no trouble ruffled him, no disappointment depressed hie spirits; he was always serene and amiable, so that among his oomrades his good-temper had beoome proverbial. Had they teen him at this moment they would have found reason to alter their opinion.
The oase wore out his patienoe. He saw no end to theoainpUcatious arieing therefrom. No sooner was one obstacle surmounted tban an other blooked up the path. But for Tait he would have taken Hilliston'a advioe long ago, and let the matter lie; but the little man was bent on solving this particularly tan talizing mystery, and so urged his friend to persevere in what seemed to be futile attempts. So far Olaude bad held to this rosolve, but this last letter of Tait'a with its budget of new oomplioationa threw him into a rage. He vowed that he would throw up the matterassoonasTait returned. His father was dead, and there was an end of it. After Gve and-twenty-years nothing whatever oould be discovered, and, above all, there was Jenny.
Olaude was too clear sighted to disguise from himself the faot that he was in love, and now enlightened by Mrs. Hilliston regarding the feelings of the young lady, he waB doubly anxious to make her hit wife. Before he oould do so he bad to remove ah obstacle in the
shape of her father, and that was no easy matter. Who Mr, Faynton was be did not know; whether he was implicated in the Laroher affair he oould not guess; but of one thing he was" certain—that Mr. Faynton resented his proseoution of the oase. While he oontinned to investigate the mystery, the recluse would oontinue inimioal, and would therefore refuse to permit him to pay atten tion to' his daughter.
Regarding Linton and his love Claude had no fears. He had beou assured by Mrs. Hil liston that Jenny liked him better, and taking advantage of tha hint he had thrown himself as frequently as possible into the aoaiety of his beloveds Did "Jenny go to the' Vioarage,' Olaude was there' under the pretenoe of ques tioning the clergyman aonoeramg the arohi tsotnreof the Ohuroh. Did she practise on the otgan, Olaude was always waiting, at the door to oarry her mntio-book to Rose Cottage. A walk in the morning—he was in the vioinity. A stroll in the evening—and - he appeared un expectedly round the nearest oorner. In
driving, riding, walking, visiting, this per- j
sis tent young man was constantly to be found near Miss Jenny Faynton. AU this meant
Availing himself of the opportunities thus. afforded he learned her Beoref, and betrayed hie own. Without a word being said on either side-^with the shadow of the oase be
tween them—these two people fell in love with i one another. Wheq -Tait returned two days
after his last letter be was confronted by j
Olaude with the intimation that he wished to j stop further investigations. Tait, who was I
find ont the trath. rdsentto thia backtlidiiig,
andtold OlaudBhis opiniouveryjdainly.But : for theirlong friendship
relled over the matter; as 'itwto»TetS-argaefl; oatthequOstioh.andinduoto OlMdetooome, roundtphu way of thinking.Butit mi::r hard task. . '
" Shu are dot going to turn baokafter trait*, ting yburhand to the plough ?"'he said when Olaade first broaohed the subject ofabandbn ihgtlie'jBi>id.',-.;<.*"-^ '• •"••• :?.••;??
?;' " Why noty-if -the plough won'tiiibVe?" re turned the young men, flippantly...-:.;••.:';V:'.-r";
"The plough will move," irefcurhed Xait, vehemently,- "You got my lest letter." ^
" Idid. But .1'. don't see that tt contains
any thinglikely to eluoidate the mystery. Your : Diok Pental is a madman; your. Uiil nto an:; untrustworthy gossip." ,. 1 -.'? ~v.'»"*?/ .?'???; ;??
"That is your opinion, not mine; T have ' made a disoovery sinoe writing my last
letter, of whioh £ hare not yet had time to in- J
form you." ••?--; ' ., - ?;
" Whatis it?"
" I'll tell you later, on. Meanwhile-js it on aooount of this girlthat you havedeotded to abandon theaase?" -' . "
"Bartly, and partly because I think waare wastihg time. Our investigation dan lead to no remit."
>We may find out who killed your father?"
"I'doubt that," replied Laroher, cooliy. "Yonsuspect Hilliston—you suspBOt Jering han|—you suspsot Mona Ban try,: Why, fn your, last' letter ;you hinted at the guilt of Denu sitnply because a drunken lunatio .told
yon a wild story; yet, so far as I oan'eee you ] have not a morsel of evidence against any one ]
of the four."
" you are wrong," said' Tait. in an argu mentsitivemanner. "The misfortune is that
there is too/much eyidenoe against them all. I oonld furnish yon with a base against eaoh.. whioh—so far as ciroumstaolial-evidenoe is" ooncsrned—would oonvinoe you of their indi vidual guilt."
"Theory, Tait, theory."
"We'll prove that soon, my boy," said Tait,
with exasperating coolness, ''if you baok out I of the' case. I at least am determined, to see it | through. I suppose you are bent on marrying the vonng lady."
"I/ she'll have me—yes."
"Humph ! There's another obstacle whioh ! you have overlooked. The consent of her i father—our mysterious friend, Paynton."
"I have not overlooked theobstaole.' I will i obtain hiB consent from his own lipa."
-"And how do you intend to see him ?"
"Through the agenoy of Mr. Hilliston," replied Laroher, calmly. " He has-agreed to intioduoeme to Paynton to-morrow. "Here is bis letter."
The little man fairly bounded from his ohair, end he took the letter from bis friend's hand with an air of bewilderment. After mastering the oontents he returned it with a satisfied nod. -
" I congratulate you, Claude," he said, with a good-humoured air. " Though you failed
with the man, you may suooeed with the master. But how in the name of the Olym pian Jove did you induoe Hilliston to do this?"
"Why, he saw that I was in love with Jenny, and for some inexplicable reason hat
agreed to forward my suit, by introducing me
in ntaail mw rtanwA iffftih fcVia fahVimw "
to plead my oause with the father.'
"Not so inexplicable as you think," said Tait sagaciously. "I see his idea. He thinks
you Will be so occupied with love-making as ;
to abandon the oase."
"1 don't know that he isn't right." i . "Oh,T see you are bent on getting quit of the matter, Claude. But," and Tait shook a reproving forefinger, "you will ohange your mind after this interview with our hermit friend."
"You will learn something whioh will as tonish you. I only wish I oould be present with you to see what oocurs."
"But if I make no referenoe to the oase," said Laroher seriously,
Tait waxed indignant on the instant, and spoke hiB mind freely. " Claude, my friend, I went into this matter solelyon youy aooount, and you owe it to me tn see it through. If
you find further investigation a bar tqyour j marriage, I will agree to let the matter drop, j But firsb," added Tait with emphasis, "you ]
must make an effort to get the truth out of
this man. Swear to him that you are resolved j to push the matter to the end. Tell him that I have learned something new at Horriston. Mention the name of Louisa Sinolair. Then see the result. After hearing the story of Dioky Pental t am oonvinosd that this man is Jeringham.":
"I will do all you say," replied Claude, after some hesitation, " but I am afraid that
my pertinacity in this matter will prejudice my wooing."
" If at the end of the interview yon see that, withdraw your intention to go on with the oase. Then oat of gratitude be may give you hie daughter. Bluff him first —yield after wards. In that way we may discover who Paynton is—what be has to do with the case, aha why he is oonneoted with Hilliston. Do you agree ? Good 1 Give me your hand on that."
The two men shook hands, though it was not without a secret qualm that Claude thus sealed theoompaob. After a pause he said—
"And who is this Louisa Sinolafryou make euch a point of my mentioning to Paynton ?"
" Ah ! That is my discovery," eaid Tait,
robbing his hands. " When I interviewed I Mrs. P-ezel I showed her a portrait of Mrs. J Hilliston, whom curiously enough she had i
never seen—no doubt Hilliston has his reasons therefor — she seemed startled, but said nothing. Then she wrote to you about Louisa Sinolair." ' »
" But what has Louisa Sinolair to do with Mrs. Hilliston ?"
"Gan't-you guess? Miss Pike showed me a portrait of Louisa Sinolair taken twenty-five years ago. I did not then wonder at Mrs. Bezel's start or that Hilliston had refrained from letting her seethe picture of hie wife. In a word, Louisa Sinolair and Mrs. Hilliston are one and the same woman."
"Ah !" oried Claude, with a sudden reool leotion, "it was for that she was so afraid of your going to Horriston."
"Yes.' She.thought I might learn too
muoh. This is ' the beginning of the end, , Claude." ' , - .. '
"What! Do you think Mrs. Hilliston | knows anything of the case?"
' Aeoording to your mother she knows a j
good deal. - According to Miss Pike ehe is.in
possession of oertetn facts. Yes; I think j
Mrs. Hilliston oan help us if ehe will." i
".But my -dear, Tait," said Claude qnietly,: "Mrs. Hilliston lean American."
" Ah'l Louisa Sinolair went to America, end probably became a naturalized subject of the Stan and Stripes." :
" But," objeoted Laroher, " she was a widow when she married Hilliston." V
' "So I believe. A Mrs. Derri6k.-Tfodoubt she oame by all hsr money tbeoujrh that first marriage. Oh, I oan ant the puzzle easily together. No wonder HUHston wanted the oase dropped, both oqMrownacbount and oii that of his wife,"
Whatdo ygtfmeao, Tait? Do you suspsot I