Chapter 161824623

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Chapter NumberXLI
Chapter TitleAN EXPLANATION.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article161824623
Full Date1895-07-20
Page Number37
Corrections0
Word Count1860
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleThe Third Volume
article text

CHAPTER XLL

AN EXPLANATION.

On hearing his fathers exolamation Olaude turned round with a look of supretne.aatamsh moot. Be oould not understand the meaning of that sudden exolamation.

" Father, you do not understand. This is j

your wife—my mother." _ ]

" la it, indeed ? sneered Captain Laroher,

who had recovered from hia momentary emo- J tion. " Nothing of the aort, eir. Thia

woman ie Mona Bantry, who was my wife'a j

maid," i

" Are you »nre ?" cried Taib, who wae begin. ; ning to be bewildered by these auooeaaive re- j relatione. ;

"Sure, sir! at core as I am of my own inno oenoe. Ai spre as I am Goorge Laroher this ia tli6 sinter of Denis Bantry, who"

" De'nis 1" The interruption bams from Mrs. Beset. She had sat dumbfounded at the unexpected appsaranoe of the man whom she had thought dead, and she had said nothing while assertion and denial wae going on, but the mention of her brother's name ettrred her dormant faculties, and she sat hp looking wildly around.

" Denial"! abeoried, in a terrified tone. "Ia Denis here?"

Denis is down at Thornton," said Captain Laroher, gruffly, ''as you no doubt knew fell enough."." ?

' " I swear I did not. Francis told me Denis was in America." '

. "Fraopist". erolaimbd Claude, forgetting to whom the name belonged.' "

Francis lliHieton." . !

BPS

I .,i-i.A«"» OOt'SB htdumedV-Mft,

aaidthat bahad gone tb America Wit Ithontfht he had doueeo'toeaaaps 4)

theyicti^'^

" '- wtt Jminghsm Srho ni killed,nofc mmh

steadily at OapUinLarcher. -'-Yiea V5ti» TOT - ' "j ,;did' master.;:. Soyon are alive and rfceliHtauifS?® Why-Bid foii, IdQ hiii£:ilr!";:' :•? ??;r.'" 1jdid not kill him."re

quietly, and MVoounte^questionmayTfSft'l7"-? whyyou passed yourself offto Olaude al my #;$?. wife?0 • • ? • : -V - Mrs. Bezel Burst into* wild laugh/and Sis-j oUpped ber hands.-". together. ?;'""Theh^»hb7:7?'

covered hvrfsoe and commenced to

in • fewmoments the'fitof hysteria 'yKtj5Si-/^3 »w#j, and ah* beoatneoooland oompos«Lri';';. Thrown off her batanoe for the time totfnjMlig v^rf?; bad- now gathered her wits together^ilhn-S^ : ;i^^y ready to fight. 7 Her foUy And''i&pnlM«dF~^: brought ftbouttHiBoat&stropbe.andif^Mbi^f:; duty to set it right Again—if *h« oouldf ;Bllik/ '3 the upshot of the matter was extremely doubt - v,,

ful. - ??'.

On hit part Oaptain Laroher waa relieved to , find'that Mra. Bezel proved to be MonaBan.

try inatead of hii wife"."; Ever: since tbeooni.. ,;

munioation inade by Olnude he had suffered -/'e< agonies at the thought that hit wife.had beoa ; : : hying all these years undar the protection of

h'u false; friend, Nowtimt fear waa^elity / T

rest onoe and for ever, Julia Liroher had '

really died, at HilUvton had aasefted^smd'-ihpi

woman in Olarenos Cottage, wbohiad taken -"M hor name, was the maid in ptaoe of the mfe, trese. Out .of all the trouble Larober eir--; traoted this morsel of com tort—hi* honour was

nuitaiued, ir?'

Meanwhile fchethree visitors sat waitingto ; hearwhat Mrs; Bezel had to' say. ' She saw

that they expected a confession, and reeolyed ' ? to disappoint them. .^Leaning baokward

among her nushionB, she oloaed her eyes aud ~ ' :7; played a waiting game. It'proved sUooesaful; ; for in two mintitesor thereabout* Captain Laroher broke out. Hi* tembar was none of the beit, and reoent events bad hot tended tp improve it.

" Well, madam,"be said eharply, rapping . hie stick on the'ground, "I am waiting to near what you have to say."

"I have nothing to eay," said Mrs. Bezel. quietly. , * _ , ?

"Oh, yes yon have, "began l'ait. "As'you set the ball" But at this moment be was inberrnpted by Lareher.

"I bag your pardon, Mr. Tait, bnt I will question this woman myself. Pray do not epeak, nor yon, Claude, till I have done."

Both young men bowed their beads' and aoqniesoed in ailenoe. After all the Captain was the proper person to examine Mona Ban try. He knew more of the oase than any one else,and, oonversant as hs was with the events

of that fatal night, he would know whether . she spoke truly or falsely. Mrs.. Bezel looked uneasy on hearing bis resolution, bub only compressed her lips tighter as though resolved to let nothing esospe her. But he was a matoh for her in obstinaoy.

"Now then," said Laroher turning to her, "relate jour history from the moment yon left me alone with my wife twenty-five yean ago at' The Laurels.'"

It would not help yon if I did."

I am not so sure of that. Bnt I under stand. Yon ate afraid of incriminating your self."

"II" exolaimed Mrs. Bezel indignantly, What have I to do with the matter. I know nothing of it. I left the house then and there, and only heard of the tragedy while I wai oonoealed at Horriston, more than a west afterwards."

" Why did yon state to my son that Mrs. Laroher threatened me with the dagger!"

"So she did," said Mra. Bezel coolly. "1 saw her hand raised — I saw the dagger in

it."

"Yon saw the thaath of the dagger yon mean,"retorted Laroher. "It fell on the fioos and was found there next day. But the weapon

with whiob the crime waa oommitted was lost by my wife at the ball."

"It may have been," said the woman indifferently. "I don't know anything about it."

"Did not Jeringham show it to you when you joined him in the garden ?"

"I tell you I did not see him on that night. When yon found out my seoret, I was afraid that yon and the mletresB wonld betray it to my brother Denis, so I left the room and Bed, I thought Jeringham would join me at Hor riston next day, but then I heard of your sup

Ced death, and that he had fled. Until this

ir I did not know that it was the other way

ronnd."

" Did not Hilliston tell you ? He knew."

. " No, Japtain Laroher, he did not," said Mrs. Bezel emphatically. " He said that Jeringham had gone to Amerioa with spy

brother."

"Where did you go after leaving-HorrUr

-ton?"

" I oame to London and remained there till my baby waa born."

^ And then 1"

I found that my money had oome to an end, and oalted at Mr. Hilliston's offioe to ask him to help me."

"What right had yon to expect help from

him ?"

"I had no right, bnt that I knew he wpuli assist me beoanse of his love."

"His iovel" exclaimed Laroher, sh&rplyi "Did Hilliston love you?"

" Yea. I refoaed to have anything to do with him on aooountof Jeringham. Bnt hs did love me. Oh, yes, I know yen thought hg was in love with your wife, bnt snob was. not the oase. He loved me, and me only." .

Laroher drew a long breath, and looked puzzled. He was relieved to find that be hap not been mistaken in Hilliaton after alb yet the assertion of Mrs. Bezel only seemed to further oomplioate the oase. If Hilliston did not love Mrs. Laroher, what possible motiu could behave to kill Jeringham? The looks of Oiande and Tait reflected hisperplexitji bnt' dismissing thia special point. for thi moment ho pursued his examination.

" How did Hilliston receive you?"

Mrs. Bezel looked round with abitterlmile, '' Her meauing was biesr from the qontemptubns

expression on her faoe. r

Can you not guess from what you.asn here," she said, quietly. " Frauois HiUiston bought me. He loved me wall enough, but not sufficiently to marry me.''' He did not ruin

me, for 1 was already ruined. I accepted bis ' offer to oome here and be bia mistress." What else oould I do? I waa alone in London; I

was friendless. I believed that my lover and my brother bad fled to Amerioa. I could not

return to Horriston lest I might be involved in .

the tragedy at, V-lbe Laurels.' I did whs.t any ;

other woman would have done, and made the -

best of, a. bad business^ I-aooepted the .Iove and protectiooof f'Vaiiois Hilliston, Tba pro

teotiqn . stilVcmt'iiiuB?, ois you aee; 4he-love—- r( that is dead and doiie with?'

' *1 At .

'" -~~ ?ottrlBWe^iatrtlw":'%&&ii

^ .M'dttksaSI

):.&merice-»fter

tilfanricfe

..-.-..liaton,"' ; - P - . .

pi S&^fcifmy.iiviTt^en^eaftJf^Jtojotoo I

; baok toEaglandand wantodPrahDia.tb:m&rry

'. ,kot lc% hefbrgotmyloye,and sbebeoama tiia - ; ,ir'^tflSi,^XM;^Jr3!;.l^ta! -hSripThatebTmlPli

:?'" waa.on thahtkooount thatC l' wrote to you, ?

': ":•? = -Ci ;•': Sr>;.>;.^ v.1. •; •• P>"Ytrathenaptedoutnfrevenge!", .. . .Pp <P P"Y&,' Idicl1." eatd Mrs: 'Bezel, -sullenly, i :p i"^6k *t me *iirnolb^l^^Jhariaaa(il^'-'

heathy,*^'p .;. . .".Not healthy, poor soiil," .said Claude. P rVSheiefll with tlw smallpox," ''

... it!

... . done. Then Fraoois may oomejbaok to me."

?, ".You.loye Kim stilt T' asked'Captain Lac-, bher, in wonderment. ..' .P '

"Too "wall to rain Kim.. Ton want ma to

' aoouse him" of the crime; hut Tteli you he is .

iBnocaut. He knows nothing."

. " He wasiuthogardenMoneonthatm'ghS. ! None other but he -. • j "He was not alone," oriod lire. Bezel,

sharply. "Iiouisa Hinolair was- with him. : Y«L6,Bha folio wed him from.tbe ball because j shewae. jealous ofme, In my-Bight I passed' her at the gate. She hada cloak over Ker dress, but 1 -saw that it was the oostumeof Mary Queen of Soots."

-! "And y da knew her by that?" . .

Pi. "Partly, My mistress' told 'me that Miss Sinclair.bad a similar costume to her own, for Pahe-was wsb very angry about it. But "Isaw ? her face as -1 fled. Sue may know who killed

•Teringham. I-dp not. Hilliston does, not Now I hare told you all, Go away and leave me._ I speak nomore."

"First tell us why youd Belated yourself, to he my mother.?" said Ulaude, sharply'. .

: " B|ar safety, I regretted that I. had told you; that l hadforoed Hillietoaintodefeadiug himself. I was . afraid lest you should learn too rpuch and donounoe me as the orimiual. So long as you thought I was your mother you would not dare to dp so, and therefore I told you I was Mre. Larcher."

" Qnelast.word,"said Capt.Lareher, rising to bis feet. "Your child. What booameof it?"

" Hilliston took it away," said Mrs. Bezel, in a melancholy tone. '' I was ill at the time, and he overcame my scruples, I don't know whore my obild is. Often and often have I wanted toseelier again, but I>anois hasalwaya refused. Oh,, where can she be I"

"I oaa tell you."

"You!" cried Mrs. Bezel, starting up in

Amazement.

"Yes. Your daughter Jenny was brought by HUliston to me. I adopted her as my child, and she is now at Thoreton with her unolo Benie—your brother."

Mrs. Bezel tried to speak, but oould not. With a wild glanoe around eho heaved a long sigh and fainted. The joy of hearing that her child wasalivo proved much for her enfeebled