Chapter 169577434

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Chapter NumberXVIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1891-12-05
Page Number1
Word Count4629
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Bendigo Independent (Vic. : 1891 - 1918)
Trove TitleThe Devil's Own. An Australian Story
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CHAPTER XVIII. (Continued.)

By Mrs. Richmond Henty. (ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

“Come and I will show you the doctor's photo. He is taken with five snakes alive, all darting, about, only kept prisoners by his hands and feet,” said

Mrs. Fortescue. “ Bat the jollieat ? story 1 know was when we woreon a visit .to the Dunmorcs. Mra. Dunmoro hodo pot snake sho used to keep in a . fish ’ globe covered up in a possurh rug, and at a party they had one night, I, , leaning against the concern, it suddenly gave with a. crash,. and then it dawned upon us that the snake would get out. By jove I what a commotion. The women shrieked and the men turned blue, and wo all jumped on chairs, afraid even to leave the room. After sundry pokes with a poker, and sundry plunges.with a fish ing rod, in trying to haul up the rug, we managed it, and found the poor brute had never even moved. The glass had only given way at the top. The scene, I can tell you, can be - imagined, the.’ women with all their dresses tucked;-round their legs, eyes gazing with horrors,” said Nor man, flinging on to the back verandah a pile of game and fish that would haver done credit to a party of English sports men. ' CHAPTER XIX. bBILDnOOD. “I am fond of children, 1 think them tho poetry of the world; tho fresh - flowers of our hearths ond homos.; little con jurors with their natural magic work ing by their spells what delights and enriches all ranks, and equalises the different classes'of society; . ' “ I am sure they are.atsomo mischief,” eald Mrs. Fortescue, tapping - quickly at the schoolroom door,; .which she ; found locked one morning, as she was going iuto the garden with Lord Yereker, “ Enter milord,” said Ernie in a mock tragic voice, opening-the door quickly and bowing, as his mother with .her com panion entered. “Oh! what a dreadful smell of mioe,’ said Mrs. - Fortescue. “ It’s not me,” said Dicky; “ it’s Ellio 6 York, Lord Newry and the Duke. W have been giving them a run whilst thei stables were cleaned out, dirty little beggars.: They’ll be the ruin of mo—they eat so much. That last pennyworth of bran lasted no. time.” . . . . ..... ...... “Why don’t you open the window, boys,” said Mrs. Fortescue, opening the window wide herself. . “ Too busy, mother dear,” said Dicky. “What are you. about?” said his mother, looking round and seeing nothing but tho skeleton of a boat; . “Ah, I mustn’t reveal tire, secrets of the star chamber,’’ said.Ernie, who was a clever lad, food of reading books far beyond his years, as he fixed the bowsprit of a juvenile brig he wias looking at be fore him, ' “ Let me help you, Ernie,” said Lord Yereker. “ I, am a splendid hand at boat-building, from a walnut-shell, with a pin stuck in it for a a full-rigged frigate, gar*'hud all/’ " “Then I wish you hod been with us at Muddlecum last summer,” said Ernie, looking up; “such a jolly time wo had of it, and no mistake.” “J wish we wore there again,” said Dicky, with a sigh. “ Adas, my beloved brethren! Ory not for the raooh ; your tears can do ye no good,” said Ernie.. “ Do you remember the regatta— Ernie’s regatta? Oh, do tell Lord Vere ker ail about it,' ’twos such fun,” said little Euid, sitting bolt upright, as if about to say a lesson. “ If you won’t, I will—what do you think ?” . , “ Give her some victuals and give her some drink,”‘said Dicky, “You rude boy 1 We were oil down at Muddlecum,” said Enid. “ You should say, ‘ And it came to pass that we were,’ ” said Dicky. “If you interrupt I won’t go on. Well, one day Ernie said, * Let us get up a re gatta.’ So we went to all the ladies and gentlemen wp knew there, and asked them for money—not much, you know, a shilling or two shillings ” ' “Opened a subscription list you should say,” said Ernie, “ amongst the aristo cratic society of Muddlecum,” “ Muddb cum—where’s Muddlecum,” said Lord Yereker.” “ Oh, the jollieat place out, at least for boys,” said Ernie. “Well, Miss Fortescue, I am all at tention,” said Lord Yereker. / . “ And so one afternoon about four o’clock the regatta was to bo down at the creek.” ' “To come off,” said Dicky; “ And we all went (the four boys and me) with Miss Edwards, our governess, you know; but just os wo left our house a whole lot of other boys joined the boys with their and very soon a whole long string of them, just like a school.” “ Yes, and didn’t,Miss Edwards' blush just/ 1 said Dicky. “ No wonder 1 Poor Miss Edwards to find herself headbd ; by a procession of boys of all kinds—good boys, bad boys, town, boys, country boys, all laden with boats It was trying for the good little soul. ; I felt rather abashed myself, and as for you, Enid, you looked as if you Wore going to b'ry,” said' Ernie, £ : “ Well; even the people inthe shops stared,” said she, “ as wo paraded through the street down the bill—such a lo*, ; nearly forty, X think, altogether.” , " Well,; how did it go off, Miss Portes cue,” said L6rd Yereker;.‘ looking in terested. '' “ Alas I” said Ernie; “ brotherly love (lid not continue.”'' ‘ • ",‘ il “ No; thby all squabbled so. Miss Edwards got quite frightened and instated upon coming homo., The boys were bi fudo, common boys you know,” said Enid. v» -• ' - /( ?.' "I understand, Hot kn&viug the rules of etiquette,” said Lord Yereker amused. “Yes, that was it, and the day was squally ahd ! half the stupids proper, rudders' to their boats, so there *as a general capsize, some boats being fun down; other's bumping, and everyone, declared his was .the vyinner, so it ended in my dividing tho prices amongst the few boats that Verb in racing condition' at the end of (the race affair. I; was out of pooiicte ' T. Ipst. nihopence lielfpenny—djd really-racing does not pay, I fanoy/ a« a rhlo. A piece of string; my -kingdom for piece l of string !”'>?' ... _ There’s Borae in the cupboard,” said Dicky, busy with Blliot York’s l cage,' •“I’ll find it,*' 7 ’said Lord-'Yereker. going to the cupboard and'hauling out sundry bodies, boxes; papers in his search, end at last'' bridging to light a -pretty uttle photo in avcase, which he spontj somo timo bxamirilhgi: ; ; V Whoso is this ? ? ho it •i— . pi,,-* ..if

- U P 3 ; X found it knocking aboutamongat all the rubbish.” , . _ i , " Ruhbisk infancy ''goods, and chattels rubbish/’ said Ernie,, t “That is mine ; it is ' a photograph of Aunt Vera in her wedding dress. ‘ Prefty, isn’f ft V I’m very fond of that picture.” ?St So it seems/’ said Lord Yereker ?soberly, - putting -the' photo* in a quiet corner of the empty top shelf of the cup board. He -had forgotten about the string altogether until Ernie asked* .-him for it again, at which Lord* Yereker soon brought some to light, and in' doing so, said, - “ What’s all this in the bottom of the cupboard ?” hauling,tip some thin yellow white fungus looking stuff. “Hush, sh, sb,” said Dicky. “Now mother’s gone we will let. you into our secret. We were busy getting up a ghost just to frighten- the ' maids. Its punk—a sort of- fungus that lights up at nights—and we stick it up in the shape of a. man and put it in a dark corner of' the garden, and it glares alb round and looks ghastly. Such jolly iun. You’ll hear scream after scream. We did it at Muddlccum, and old Mrs. Winder ran all the way down the street nearly into the sea with fright—with nothing on.” “Oh fie!” said Dicky. Fie, fie; stick to the truth.’- * ; - ’ , i ? I “ Well, I mean with no bonnet or | cloak—nothing but her indoor clothes,’’ said Ernie, blushing. I It was late that night after the ghost [entertainment when the children went 1 to bed, and Ernest Fortescue' was left reading by himself, as was often the case. The lad was pouring over a new book of adventures Miss Vavasour ‘ had lately added to the children’s library at Seringa, when with a gentle tap at the .door Lord Yereker entered:- { * “ Hall, old boy, still reading. 11 thought it was you when 1 saw ’ the light” “ Yes, I couldn’t/sleep till I saw how it all ended. A splendid story-;—quito thrilling—the adventures/’ “ Is smoking allowed: here/’ said Lord Yereker. * :•.“ Oh yes, as far as visitors are con cerned, and a delightful exchange for the smell of those horrid mice/’.said'Ernie, shutting up his book, delighted at the" honor of such a visit, for Lord Yereker was a great favorite with all the children, more particularly Ernie, who was more companionable, and Lord ; Yereker being yoaug in thought and feeling, entered' into all the ideas and amusements of young people, so the two became “great chums,” as Ernie expressed it in his own fashion. They, talked of adventures, sports of all kinds, Lord Yereker quite surprised at the boy’s intelligence. t ? “ Well, good nigh Void fellow. I hope your governor will bring you to England, and you will look mo r up.’” f Ernie looked more than pleased, for he knew the young lord meant what he said. . - • • They said good night, then the visitor halted for a,moment, and trying- to look nonchalant,said, “Oh, by-the-by, Ernie, that little photo of—of—of—your aunt, may I have it f’ . “ Aunt Vavasour,” said Ernie, with a twinkle of his blue eyes mischievously. . “No, the other; in fact I didn’t see one of Miss Vavasour,” said Lord Vero kcr. “ You don’t wont it, you cm easily get another. The fact is 1 am -'making a collection of .photos of people I.have-roeL- ; Eh.! can you spare it! Really.”; , “ Yes, you shall have it. I have two or perhaps 1 I shouldn’t be quite so generous. Do you want it now.” - ' “If you can spare it,” “ Ob, yes; don’t tell Enid, she always twits me if 1 give anything away that has been given me, but I know you* will take care of. Aunt Vera’s portrait,” said Ernie, going to a drawer and taking out a case, • . 1 “ Is this the same as the one I—yes, I see it is. Thanks, very many thanks. I won’t forget my ? promise of the .other day ; I mean the small rifle ” “ I have never thought about it since. I am afraid mother would not let me use use it' yet,” said Ernie, a shadow of doubt coming over his young face. “Oh, yes, I’ll tell her. all about'it; Its quite safe. A small child might fire it off safely, and it would just he the thing for you. Good night, Ernie.” “ I will come with you part of the' way/’ said Ernie, locking the door of the schoolroom and shading his candle with his hand as they came on to the verandah, and Lord Yereker tossing away the half of his cigar, walked briskly to his room;' saying good night to his young friend, who had refused to enter and keep his lordship up. Then sitting down ;in a comfortable chair, Lord Yereker took out his newly; acquired possession and looked, at it for §ome time, then closet) the 1 case: and tliought on and on, till the small hours came in—then with a sigh he gave up his reverie. What was the sigh for? There seemed np reason for Lord (Vereker’sdespondency, for himself or bis new friend, "Mrs. Anne laye: , He, the second; son of a; wealthy ’English duke, gifted with alb the gifts requisite,to i make life 'perfect; i she,* the ideal of perfection, perfect ly happy in her adoring her husband ; —what was the sigh for? wherefore, Echo answers—wherefore. ' / 1 ; ! 1 CHAPTER XX. ' DREAD. • < v : “My inind misgivea-r- Some consequence yet hanging in the stars Shall bitterly begin this fearful dale With, the night’s revels." ? . . SIIAKESPBAIIB. It was getting on towards .the middle of Fobrua'y very hot, for the. summer had come in with a run, os if to make up for the past deficiencies .in-the Way of heat; which had become' almost unbear able in its scorching properties i Bush fires were doing havoc on the neighboring runs, increasing the beat at; Seringa by hot puffs, as; if - from a furnac£!l wafted across from the confl <gatiuns, to gether with a hot wind blowing fiercely. There: was no going oat ofdoors. Every one tried to keep cool by religiously rc mainihg inside, in <the;<cool dark cue i rooms of both house and cottage. Herbert Annelaye hadfelt the heat more than anyone., He looked ill and had boon njupfi depressed. in .spirbs of la*e. Mrs. Annelaye know that her bus band had been much disappointed at gett ing no ,homo letters at Christmas. nor oven sjoco, though, jhe bad sa|d little about it; not even alluding to his' disap pointment. Haying , always, yory reticent about his connections, his affairs and alsolliis early life; and Vera with her deep Ipve and full trust in her husband, had questioned )»im, pp thinking; hp ’must liayo had some great trouble in , bis earlier days, and good reason for Ifis silence, she .waited;patient!y till he should volunteer tho confidepce slio moritod. -i ;• ..'“'HerWtj ph[o said fondly thn't afternoon, stroking her husband’s fdir, silken beard lovipgly;-as she sat by him, patching hinj anxiously;, “ the heat hns'been: too great fof^ydu/it is /pppljsr wind; .-IIW will go into the glen, the

ohildren are thero/tbe cool Air/will dp you good: t have finished all the paolc .ing, come along dear.” “ Yes,” he answered wearay, " I have notielt myself for days past. Vera, dear* do youbelieve I feel 1 ' sure darling we shall .havpbaduows/I have never felt so depressed.'; Perhaps it is the weather, we will go out into the ..fresh air.”'"' ' />"' ;: '- i . Together they wont into the glen, whereiin a shady spot near the /stream/ which was trickling but ‘sparingly, they sat down together on a soft, mossy Jmnk, shaded by the wattles and leaning against an bid lurrajong tree. Mr. Annelaye was ''unusually silent for a time. , “ Vera, darling,” he said, after a long silence, “do you remember the Yaletta at Malta, when I joined the Kashmir.” -?* “ Yes, dear, perfectly, T Shall never forget it Your face, worse than , sad, the image of diapair, Aunt Dorothy was so shocked at seeing you,she said your face haunted her for hoars after,” said Yera. “Your aunt had reason to bo sorry for me,. for I was in the’ lowest depths of despair, it was the breaking np of ray life/that great trouble, and'but for you, nay brave loving little wife,.! should have succumbed long ago. ’ I loved you from the very first moment I caught sight of you waving your hand ito some old friends of yours, as the boat steamed out of harbor at Malta, and yet I have been cruel and unjust in never, opening my heart and telling you of ray, trouble, the blight of oil my hopes and life, I ought never to have had a secret from my dar ling, but I was a coward, fearing, my oon* : fession would change you, love, but you shall know ail and you will never blame me. It was five years ago, or rather more, now I think of it, a brother officer with whom I—. Hark, there are the children, I will toll you to night, ‘dearest, when the litte one are asleep and all is quiet.” “ Dolly, Dolly,” said happy little voices through the glon, as the little ones, caught sight of their mother and came' running to her. “ Oh, Dolly, t’in so hqt and thirsty, pleaso got me some water.” “ No, dearies, your tea is ready, and dubh a nice cake from Aunt Conniq for Puck’s birthday. Wo will all come arid, have tea .together, papa will have -some’ 'with us, won’t you dear?” • !,/ * ‘They wended their why home - 'together, Mr. Annelaye having tea with the chil dren to their gre it delight. “'A lazy day, Yera,” he said soon after, brightly, “I must make* up for it, I’ll take the gun.ant} go down for. a ,du,ck ,or two'in the swamp.: .‘‘Goodnight ohicks, don’t keep little mother too long, she is tired. A kiss all round to his little one?, “one for little mpther,” he said lovingly, and Mr. Annelaye was off with his gun, Vera, as usual assisting in the pleasant duty of putting*tho children to bed. A beau*iful picture was that in. the nursery soon after—the beautiful young mother with her fair girlish face teaching her last born little baby girl to walk up her chest, the child crowing with delight, as she cautiously, stop after step, placed the i little dimpled feet firmly down, trusting ;to the firm bold of her little hands and guidance by the mpther, whose beaming face was a picture, and so thought some one who was looking in the window—a dork looking face,and darker still in the shadow,of the passion flower and other roreepers under tho ver<Ttfffah7"~ ; As he watched the group and took' in the. whole scene even to little Puck trying to'float his tiny shoe in the bath, slily peeping up now and then at bis mother nurse to see if he-was found out. --- A heavy stop on the boarded floor out side, and a top at the door with a riding whip The servant opened the door. “ Is the captain in,” said a voice. “The captain, what captain?” ques tioned the maid. “ Is’ Mr. Annelaye in ?” said the stranger, correcting himself. “I’ll see,” said tho servant, always cautious of tramps, as she said after wards. But Vera had-heard the stop and was very anxious to know who the stranger, was. In af. or years she often remembered how more'than anxious she had been that night tb see the stranger and know his errand. - “I wish to see Mr,, Annelaye, particu larly! 1 have a very important message from England for hid; but only for him!” Mrs. Annelaye was taken aback with, alarm, but she summoned up courage to. Say sweetly, “I am so sorry Mr. Anne layo is hot in. Ho has gone down to the swamp. Wo will be Horae in a very short time. Will you come in and sit down.” The stranger, declined politely, arid Yeraroturncd to the nursery, whore, ' niter 1 seeing all the little ones fast asleep, she assisted'the nurse in putting a few things away, and then went .out on to the verandah to watch and wait for her husband. : j ‘ and ijte will be back soon,” she said toy herself, “or I would run ap and see how Connje has pf! her to send down the chickens; Bertie will q-j/y his dinner after'bts long fast to day. ; I wonder who .that wag ; I did not like His face/but one bah' never judge by faces. I must got ,be uncharit able .to-night. Perhaps ho. came .from homo and lioJ?;brought Bcrrio good hows,' 1 wish he would got stronger]’perhaps ho will now this dreadful heat is lover! for a a time* t /1... ,$(&•;» think pool; Bertie bus sornetiiing on his mind. Poor durling i he.almost:confessed as much to day, and he will toll 'ihp 10-night, when 1 * (he little ones are asleep, and all is quiet, he said. 1 I am glad. : ot that I feel curious, but it will do him good—honest confpssibn is good for the soul thd say!* The Sun is . going doviij it must by getting late.” . And so the young wifo rambled on with her thinkings aloud, alinbsb for getting the time in Imr reverie. ‘ The. little American clock sfruck eight distinctly—Y.era started. Bertie ought to bo hero,” she said- “Ho his never hern Into before, but it. js, q loyoly, eve ning, and almost a sin to be indoors noW that the stars are coming put . Dinner must be put back a little longer/’ she added to the servant, who came outside po inquire if dinner was to .couv? in, as it was past eiglit o’clock,' •' l ' "'" " The shadows of night wore creeping poj. veiling the landscape in and ! glooipy . Imisjb Tiro clock siruok the Hal! hour. V Perhups ho fa up at tho hous**,” she said, catching at q straw/ la her anxiety. v 6nq * listened 4 again’—all was silent. It hail become f suddenly» quite dark, with the exception of a few stars, making the darkness more visible/for, in Australia, there l is no Night sots ini soon after iho sun sol s,; the: .only light!being thpllght of the moon/. if ! there is one, dr tho/staftj/ ;Ydra wont qul; of the porch so as to listen inord attentively. No. sound except ; tho melancholy wail of .tbo.ourlew at a distant oir lh° .iyeji’dknight'song of A mope/hawk.- v.' *\ * '“ Master must be up at/jibb. house, jna’unbi, ; T think yog.,to, dinner: You miist bo famished, and its f •?. r’bi

bad ;for you," said the ; nurse kindly to jpwtreB». v But Vera . looking anxiously out into the darkened landscape.» a 1 « beard, footsteps!,. and patching intently saw a man cross the creek * almost* pWt- the cottage in great haste. 11 Sbe^bcoghised : him' even in the' : dulbatarlighb only. It was(Smithson, the fencer. " Didyoo see Mr;' Annelaye, Smith-; ?son?” she said aloud. -i ! : v There was no response from the man j as' no hurried past. “ Ho did not hearme, she said.’' Poor man ? lie is evidently date for his supper. I'wonder, if henad met Herbert ;.- ! wish' now' I had spoken louder, butT should only have detained the poor fellow.. Oh ! if I could only coo-ee, but it might alarm Oonnie at this -time -of night; H Dear old Connie, I wonder how she„has been .this *ery hot day.” , v ( . CHAPTER XXL MURDER. “0 horror! horror! horror! tongue nor heart cannot oonceivo or name thee. | What’s’ the ' matter? Confusion how bath made his masterpiece. Most sacri-! ligious "murder hath broke bpo the Lord’s annointed templestole thonoo the life o’ the building." Shakespeare, Mr, and Mrs. Fortesoue were just sit ting down to an unusually late dinner, when the servant said, , “ Smithson wishes to apeak to- you, sir ; he wants to see you at once.” Mr. Fortescue saying “ don’t wait dear,” wont out into the hall to the door. “What is it Smithson? Anything wrong—bush fire ? “iWorae than that, sir; Mr. Anhe laye, has been shot, and is lying down in the creek. I thought I’d 6niah; the fence this evening, and ’ was hard at it, whoh I heard a shot across the creek and a .fellow running away and poor Mr. /Annelaye on the ground. I wasrafeered of touching him, he seemed terribly hurt, so I.covered him up with ray ,coat and put mp vvaiatcoat under his head and run up to tell you, sir. There is -a ’-very heavy dew’ falling.” ! “Tell Johnson: (the hut cook)] and '/Btirhes to come down with me at ; once. We’ll take- a'hurdle-apd h soft.'mat rass. ,Poor follow j poor fells w ; l” ,said Mr. Fortescue, standing for a moment to < wipe the big drops that hod gathered from his brow before entering the dining room. “ Connie,” ho said to his wife, quietly, suppressing his heart beating and emo tion. *? Connie, you. ,are a brave little woman, so you must be bravo and listen. Poor Annelaye has mot with an accident down by the swamp—a gun accident. Vera must know nothing yet; it may be only trivial—God grant it may. We are going down to bring him up here. Barber ( has , gone for the;doctor. It, may bo ; nothing,, bat .Vera must m not. be told yet,'and when she is told it must be so Lory gently—-poor little, woman., Got' a, room ready at o.nce, and a uof t bed and a fire, wife; the; night is-'chilly, and the poor fellow-is lying on the damp grass; he must want 'some,' lll .-news travels fast, you must go down and make Vera keep inside until we have brought Annelaye up. Smithson says she was still watching for her husband when he passed. We shall bring him up on a _wppjlmftttraas.Jt-is_ the softest—-Don’t, forgot thefire, dear; break' it gently to the wife. As yet, 'no' one knows any thing except Smithson, whom I have warned to silence. The night is so dark I only fear Mrs. Annelaye will see the lanterns; perhaps you had better .go down to the cottage at onco and get Miss Edwards to see to the room. Don’t let the children know about it.” Down by the creek, near the wattles, lay poor Herbert Annelaye, pale as a corpse,, blood oozing; through bis clothes from a wound, in his side, insensible'or faint from the loss 0f,b100d.,! ~ ! Normau Fortescue, was a brave man, and was gifted with presence of mind £ moreover, was clever in surgery, and it was not the first time he had' Acted in aa emergency,.: He had made it his bus>i-; ness and pmuseraent to. study.,surgery’, and medicine for hisown use, and a- very 1 useful study it had proved, OftcfritT the case 6f an accident 'occurring. at t Seringa, >or on.therun, hod -Norman Fortescue been obliged'-to* depend' .upon' himself . only, the one doctor, within Several miles, being absent at the time when he was much wanted at Seringa and other places when an accident had occurred to one of the men, no unooift mbn thing, where cattle mustering and ,and fast riding were concerned. Mrs. Fortescut), preferring to see to things hefself, bad sent down her nurse with a message to Mrs. Annelaye something about her children, and.then set-to ( work preparing the quietest room and softest bed, the tears welting up at the thought ~oh! if he should die—if ho should die—£od help poor'Vera and hot;, little ones ; it would If ill her/ Having finished, she went d»i to tlfe verandah and listened. „TIW seemed a long time coming, but, alas! too soon did the.,mournful,.ppr.tege, appear,/' On - a ‘ma/tross; lay’ podr/Abuo laye, insbniblo'atU), / A fleet messenger 1 had gone for the doctor; and they awaited his '..V V’‘ • . ? 1 (TO be CONTINUED.). .. *•' »-I I ? ' . •