Chapter 161824158

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Chapter NumberXXXVII
Chapter TitleA VOICE FROM THE GRAVE.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article161824158
Full Date1895-07-13
Page Number37
Corrections0
Word Count2409
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleThe Third Volume
article text

THE THIRD VOLUME;-'

Aatborof'Ths My»t»ry«f« H»aioihO*^ .

CHAPTEH XXXVIL

A VOKIJt FfcOM IHJS GBAVB,

v X|. wig olort on 2 o^look wjearjte

tog for OlaudeV the master pv the Maowr:$£?!$ House had :aoafeedhimself {*t;ihe; Juntitie^yt^lg

table* :; He was ourious to. know "tfluti A-tilft'vJ

taicen ptaoepetweenhu mood anaMr.

ton, as he'judged from the length of 'time the - < interview hod lasted' that' some impair tint <"M communication matt have been made...

Olaude' disdoveredtbe identi^. nf^Tayhtoh ;1

with Jeringham? If so, had v vaau£UD>|U MW

teased' tothe crime ? These queetiom.io an noyed and perplexed Tait that ' he could--not swallow a mouthful of food.. Throwing aside his napkin he rose from thetablatbliea'if Laroher had returned.'

Ashe pushed baok hie oh&ir the door opened' -,| and Olaude, with a roll of papers in his hand." made hie appearance.-~?" Tai t1 turned -to'greet '* him with asmile, but it disappeared from hit face, and the words died on Mb' lipi when hb saw the white and haggard oountenanoeof hife friend.

"Good heavens, man!" hh oried, haatehip{( towards him. "What it the matter 1 Here, sit down. Drink this glaae of wine."

Olaude did as he was biddem then waved

hie hand in the direotion of. Dormer, Who, stolid as ever, stood waiting his orders,.

" You oau no, Dormer," said Tait, hastily; Then, when the man leaving the room closed the door after him, and they found themselvei alone, he continued—

- "la anything wrong, Olaude? Did - Payn ton tell" - ;

"Not Payntoo,"eaid Laroher, fimshioghit wine and setting do wn the glass; " thereiB'not suoh a person1"

" Aha!" remarked Tait, rubbing his handfi. " I thought the name was a feigned one. And who is our friend Mr. Payn ton ?"

"My father!"

Tait opened his mouth to utter an ejaouta tion, abut it without doing so, and looked dumbfounded at his friend.

" What! what! What do you mean f" Are you mad ?" he stammered sitting down limply.

"No, I am not mad," groaned Olaude, "though I have suffered enough to make ihe so. I mean what I say. It was Jeringham who was murdered. Jeringham, who was dressed as Darnley on the night ob was my father. Jeringham, whose oorpse was so on reoognisable by decomposition that it was thought to. be that of George Laroher. ' My father is alive I My father is hiding bere*M Ferdinand Paynton. This it his etory of the tragedy."

He plaoed the roll of paper in Tai tY hands, and poured himself out another glass of wine. Overcome with amazement, the little man looked -Brat at the paper and then at hie friend. It was some minutes before he oould

collect his wits together and speak cohe rently.

" What an extraordinary thing," he said at length. "You thought both your parents dead, but now it seems they are alive. Your mother atClarenoeOottage, Hampstead; your father at Rose Oottage, Thorston. Did you tell your father that Mis. Laroher was still in exi«tenoe?".he asked sharply.

"I had no time to do so, aaid Olaude, with an effort. " My father olaoed those papers in my hand, and then oonfessed who he wae. X wished to speak further to him, but he puahed me out of the room, saying, "Head that confes sion, and form your judgmeut before yen accept me as your father.' I hardly knew what I was doing till I found myself in the lane outside. Then I came on here. I still feel quite bewildered."

" I don't wonder at it. Take another glass of wine. Did your"——

"Don't ask any questions, Tait," eaid Olaude, rising impatiently, " Read me the confession at once. I oan't do it myself,"

" Won't you have some luncheon ?"

"No! Every mouthful would ohoke me. Ill lie down on the sofa, and you bring your cjiaic

close to me to read."

Tait nodded and unrolled the papers, while Claude, filling himself another glass of claret, orossed over to the sofa, and lay down thereon. With the glass of wine on the carpet beside him, with the untested Innoheon on the table, he closed his eyes with a weary sigh, and com pelled himself to liet'en. Tait glanoed sympa thetically at him, then without remark, though he was burning to speak, smoothed out the paper and began to read slowly. The writing was clear and legible, the matter in teresting, so there was no difficulty in deci phering the story of the tragedy as narrated by the man, who for twenty-two years had been supposed to be the viobim. Tne OonfeS: sion (so oalled) was in the form of a letter from

father to son.

"Dear Claude—At leugth I have made up my mind to reveal myself to you, and to set oat at leDgth the oircumstanoea which plaoed me in this position. I am led to do so by three things. Firstly, your presence in this neighbourhood with the avowed intention of avenging my death, fjeonndly, the publi cation of the novel entitled 'A Whim Of Fate,'which sets out the particulars of what' happened at Horriston in 18C6, more or less" perverted for fictional purposes. Thirdly, the advice of Francis Hilliaton, an old and valned friend, who points, out thai the only way to stop you in the investigation is to. admit my identity, and so do away with your motive, viz., the avenging of my death. On.reading this 1 leave it to yourself whether you will still oonsider me your father and -vuut me accordingly, or whether you will look

Til'

oh me as a guilty man. Till' yon are.

acquainted with the truth, so far as I am swart • of it, I swear that I will not approach youor

open my month in year presenoe. On this ,nm . dentauding I aat forth the following-facts at shortly as is oonaiatcnt with Clearness. Judge me as yon please, .'but t declare before God that I am innocent of Jeringham's death, and

that £ know not who killed him; This for the -? prologue, and now for the etory.' _

" You. will understand that I wish tboast nO

[ aspersions oh the memory of your mother; but

in the present case it'i aneosSBary that I should speak plainly. . Your motherandl were ill suited to one another, aad Uved unnappily

together. Even when in the army ! was - addicted to literary parauiba, ahd when'I sent

in my papers I devoted myseif allhtiet entircly \ to stodv. Your mother -was' gayind-stboial. .: Being abcautiful woman she likedttdmirationj

egret ti>d having iiVpn hfl<MarKJsgmfe'i i^":J!igii';«j»6ftKngi'.jgnd

IS^S^SSS^tS^is

~i:M whs it^qmok'wjpled^U^ rtnB -

^ __ ^ _ ftitSBBMifid;' G-v'Was the presence of Jeringham, whooame >o iCv-Hond tton ostensibly on -a "visit—in reality to

mw'my.iafe;' _-. •:,-.... .-. . • #;,- . >. You ban1 easily Obddntk&d tut I ; ^i ;iti»-preaenoe of this youhg plan.•:.' He was re ^?markably like me, ', in height, figure,and Sji looks, aud my wile hiadafahcy for bim before ..; -ier marriage with me.: * That abe became my

- wife, she laughingly avowed, was bsoaufis ot

tny uniform, ,-So for as looks were oonoerned j . there vu nothing to ohooss bstween jering- j ham end myself, but tho glitter of the military , trappings (bo she declared J turned ^ the balance inmy favour. You may baaure I liked Jenng . ham none tbe more after such a declaration of

- . lukewarm affection from your mother? and_ ; when be came to reside at Horriston fotr

- years after our marriage. I rewhted hiao3h-1 ; . iiimed presence about the house. Yaw :* : mother was angry at my expo»taUtions,and ..-the introduction el fchiB second element ? of j

disoord into the bouse estranged us more j ? -widely than ever. It wee a miserable and moat; .. unhappy time. " . , ,

"It was my friend Hilliston who pointed 'but the. real- reason for Jeriughum's visifca. This latter was not in love with my wife, but ; with her maid, Mona Ban try, Aa Dents, ;1 the brother of -Mona, was an old servant of

mine, I did not care to speak to mywife bh the matter, but to keep the affair quiet and to save the girl from the anger of her brother. I diaoouraged the visits of Jeringham on all poa . eible occasions. "Wo had a quarrel in publio,

and aa all the gossips of Horriston knew that | he had been fond of my wife before her mar l riage to me, the quarrel was set down to jea

lousy on my part. All the neighbourhood

knew there was bad blood between Jering- ] L, bam and myself, and (foolishly enough, I

." admit) I made use of several expressions oal- j

nulated to ehbw my hatred. These heated speeobes were afterwards remembered and commented upon.

"Things were in this position when the fanoy dress ball took plane, at Horriston. ( Hearing that it was to bo a masked ball I re

solved to assume a similar dress to that of Jeringham, and learn from my wife's own lips if she still cared for me. You may think I acted in an unworthy manner, but as a matter of faot I was nearly out of my mind with ang6r and jealousy, and hardly knew what I was doing. My wife wae going to the ball as Mary Queen of Soots, aooompanied by Jeringham as Darnley. This was sufficiently pointed Jo show in what direotion her affeo tions leaned, and 1 took advantage of the opportunity. Feigning an exouse I ostensibly want to London, but in reality remained at Horriston, where I obtained fromthecostumier a similar dress to that worn by Jeringham.

Thus masked and disguised I repaired to the ball. There I was reooguised by a Miss

Belinda Pike, but ebe kindly consented to j keep my seoret.. You oan guess what hap

pened. Deceived by the dress, my wife took ! me for Jeringham, and I learned sufficient to

know that she loved him and hated me. I [ did not reveal myself, bat went away mad-j . with wrath. My Bole idea was to unmask ]

Jeringham, and to show my wife how un

worthy he was of her love. To this end I : Bought out Hilliston, and learning that my I wife was shortly returning home Hilliston ]

and I went to " The Laurels" together, as 1 intended to make Monaconfess that Jering ham was her lover. I left Hilliston outside in the garden to watch for the ooming ofmy wife,

and entered the house to see Mona. She was

Waiting in the sitting-room for her mistress,

and I then and there forced her to admit the { truth. She deoiared that Jeringham was the father of her unborn "ohild J[and implored me

nob to tell her brother. Fortunately I had direoted Denis to stay in the entrance hall, so he did not hear bis sister's confession, and she was safe for the time being. .

"While I was talking with Mona my wife entered.. She immediately aooused me of having feigned a vieit to London in order to stay at home with Mona. The girl slipped

out of the room, and my wife continued her

ravings. She said that Jeringham had come, j

home vrith her and was at that moment in the garden: there she swore to join hitn. I

prevented her leaving the room, and ulti- ! ' roately she fainted. I ran out to call Mona,

and found that she had left the house, no

doubt to join Jeringham in the garden, to tell i him that the seoret was known. I also went ] into the garden to eeefe for Jeringham. To my horror I stumbled over a dead body, and

hastily ran baok for a light to see whose it . was. Denis oame with the lantern, and we

found it was .the oorpse of Jeringham. He J had been stabbed to the hearb. j

"I would have given the alarm but that j - . Denis, quiober witted' than I at the moment,

. prevented me. He pointed nut that it was

well known that I was on bad terms with j

Jeringham—that the unhappy man had been murdered in my garden ; that my hands were

red with the blood, and my clothes stained 1 Owing to handling the oorpse, and said that 1 j

would be aooused of tbe murder. I saw in a : flash the peril in which I stood. I don't know

if Denis suspected me of the orime. as he was hot present when I first found the body, bat he noted _ths part of a friend. We threw the body into the river, and I made my prepara Hons for flight. No one but Hilliston and Mis* Bike kuew that I had returned from London on that night, for my wife would keep silence, as I thought, for her own Bake, and Mona had disappeared. I left the house in P.: charge of Denis, and without a word to my

Wife, who had brought about this catastrophe, . (sought safety in flight. It waB cowardly if

f*ou like.. but I had no other resource. I r would have been Moused of the murder had I . . jtayed, for the evidenoe was strong against

me. Iflpd, and trusted to chanoe to hide the hrimef

"The reat you know. My wife was aooused " - and .tried for my murder, as Jeriugham's V wrpse was so disfigured that it was thought

: ?"} to be mine. I have mentioned the strong

roiemblanoo between as, and this helped the deoeption. I was compelled to keep in hiding as! Jeringham, but I dooiare, had the case ? ? gone against my wife I should have oome for

ward and told all. As it was I went abroad, aided by Hilliston, who acted as my friend . Ml through. He looked after my unhappy

wife till she died in London; he took obarge . :. of you and brought you up like a son. He

also secured me sufficient of my own property toliyhquiBtly, so I came to Thornton under the name of Paynton, and here I have lived

"f- ever since. I thought to die in peace, but you,:

94