Chapter 174509835

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Chapter NumberXLIV.
Chapter TitleMISGIVING.
Chapter Url
Full Date1892-03-05
Page Number1
Word Count1139
Last Corrected2020-07-06
Newspaper TitleThe Bendigo Independent (Vic. : 1891 - 1918)
Trove TitleThe Devil's Own. An Australian Story
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“Foul whisperings are abroad ; unnatural deeds Do breed unnatural troubles ; infected minds. To their deaf pillows, will discharge their secrets.”

SHAKESPEARE. “Hallo, Armytage ! back again. Just too late for a good dinner at the Court. 'What’s a' the steer kimmer; what’s a' the steer,’ " said Forth, skipping upstairs two steps at a time and entering Sir Hubert Armytage’s room, surprised at the many articles strewn about in a state of packing. “What’s up?" “ Bad news I am sorry to s.y,” said the baronet, shaking his head dolefully. “ I have to go off by the mail to morrow, without fail. I got the telegram in time fortunately to get away at once. Most of my traps are packed ; Gustave and Leon have worked like bricks.” “ I am very sorry for you, old fellow — bank broke? Why didn’t you wire to me ? ” said Forth, soberly. “ Because there is no occasion for you to leave. You want to remain, don’t you ? Mine is a pure business journey. I may be back before you have quite finished your list of engagements. Don’t trouble about me. No, not quite so bad as the bank breaking, but next door to it. One of my agents has decamped, and they think they can trace him, but they want my evidence I suppose. Look here, Forth, never bother your head again about that little Roman affair. I don’t want the money, when I do I’ll ask you for it fast enough. You cannot live on next to nothing. When I’m gone I shall leave you a cheque to carry you through till we meet again. We’ve had a jolly time of it together, old boy, haven’t we ? And I hope you will prove as true a friend in the future." It was the first time for many months that the baronet had spoken in so genu- inely kind-hearted a strain. Forth was taken aback at the wonderful change. Of late his friend had been almost objectionably overbearing. To-night a change had come o’er the style and manner of Sir Hubert. He must have indeed had some bad news. "You are very good, Armytage, I must say,” said Forth ; “but let me clear my conscience. Fact is, I made a little on Lola —enough to square you at any rate. I only got paid last Thursday or——" or— — “ Bosh ! rubbish ! ” said the baronet; “ you’ll want it all, old fellow, but I mustn’t lose time." “ Don’t knock yourself up. What can I do—what about your letters and tele- grams ? " said Forth. “ I don’t expect any, been moving about too long. By-the-bye, I must manage to run down to Baytown. I don’t mind telling you, Forth —you may help me—there is every prospect of Mrs. Annelaye becoming my wife, Lady Armytage; eh, sounds well, don’t it? It is only a question of perseverance on my part. I have to discover the man who shot her husband. Money will do much towards that end.” “Ah ! ” said Forth, “ what a pity you were not at her garden party to day— jolly affair. Mrs. Cholmondeley was there, and the affair ended in a small scene. Mrs. Cholmondeley, who was there, positively affirmed that Mrs. Annelaye’s portrait of her dead husband was meant for you.” " For me,” said the baronet. “ How very extraordinary.” “Yes, the commotion commenced by the widow missing a photo from a case on the table. They hunted for it high and low. It was not to be found, how- ever Mrs. Annelaye had another—then followed the scene." “ Well certainly I never thought I had a double, not in lancer uniform; that’s the most curious part of it,” said the baronet, jauntily. “ How did you hear about the uni- form ? Did you ever see the photo in question ? ” said Forth. “Oh yes, ages ago; wondered how she got it, for the one I saw on the table in a case was one of me taken in my lancer uniform." “Extraordinary, isn’t it? I cannot make it out. The widow is to moot Mrs. Cholmondeley to-morrow about it. It appears she has a fac simile.” “ Ah, that reminds me. I must tell Gustave to-night." "Presently will do. Well, I’m glad you are going to remain, you’ll be able to help the widow to solve her mystery. Is the photo really like me do you think. Don’t let Vereker, the young upstart, cut in.” “ No, no; I cannot say I see any great likeness. The hair is like yours, but the expression is quite different.” " Ah, he must have been a handsome fellow if he was anything like me,” said Sir Hubert, laughingly. " Who was he? Never heard the name Annelaye. He was never in the Lancers, at least in my regiment, I could swear. It’s like his impertinence to copy me, in my uni form too.” “ But the poor fellow is dead—long ago —murdered in c.ld blood. I don’t wonder at the sad face of his young wife, left alone to fight life’s battles with a lot of little pledges to remind her sadly of her husband. She must have loved him—she quite saddens one with those deep dreamy eyes of hers when she talks of the past.” “ Hang it, Forth, what has come over you. Now, no poaching, old fellow, I never could forgive that. I am not afraid of you. Keep an eye on Vere- ker. The little beauty is my property, at least will be, and no one else shall appropriate her, even for a dance, if I can help it, and as to a flirtation, harmless though you might call it —look here, l’d wring the fellow’s neck if I saw any man look twice at her, even Lord Vereker himself.” “ Well, if that isn’t the jolliest stroke of bounce I ever heard,” said Forth, laughing. ‘ “Why, my dear fellow, you haven’t got her yet, and, as to flirtations, you don't suppose miladi, with a string of ardent admirers, will shut herself up nun-fashion, and refuse all the fascinations of society. She ought to be put in a glass case and shown as a curiosity if she does, that if she has lost her heart to you and consented to be thine-thine ; what a poetical expression, so sweet so.” “ Well, you are a double distilled hum- bug, Forth, and no mistake. Look here, remind me to have that heavy jewel case of mine put into my cab. It must be put into my cabin; tell Gustave will you, if you are up first. Bon soir, mon ami.” (TO BE CONITUED.)