|Newspaper Title||The Bendigo Independent (Vic. : 1891 - 1918)|
|Trove Title||The Devil's Own. An Australian Story|
THE DEVIL’S OWN.
CHAPTER XXIII. REVENGE.
AN AUSTRALIAN STORY BY MRS. RICHMOND HENTY. (ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)
“Every crime Has, in the moment of its perpetration, [?] Its own avenging angel, dark misgiving; An ominous sinking at the inmost heart.”
COLKRIDOK. “THE SERINGA MURDER. Revelations of a startling nature have lately been made concerning the mystery of the murder of Herbert Anneylayo (still fresh in our memory) at Seringa, j which it ia thought will enable ihe officers of the law to discover the mur derer and bring him to justice. The police are keeping the particulars dark, as any premature disclosures of their information may retard their efforts.” Mrs. Cholmondeley regd the above paragraph over and over again, trying to decipher the meaning and connect it in some way with yesterday’s scone at Mrs. Anneylaye’s garden party, as the kind' hearted woman dragged through her solitary breakfast, looking decidedly an noyed and vexed. Mademoiselle Fan chettehadnot appeared. She had sent a message that she had a headache, and begged to be allowed to remain undis turbed in her own room. No word of re gret, no word of sorrow or repentance, no explanation for her conduct of last night when she had so forgotten herself j and all sense of decency and decorum, said the good soul. J The Honorable Jimmy Gordon read out the very sensational paragraph pro bono publico at breakfast next morning over some devilled kidneys and sweet breads at bis jolly little villa at Baytown. ‘‘Well, what do you think of that,' Bessie 1 ” he said to his wife. “ Well, dear, I think it very foolish of the police publishing their discovery. The fellow will get away,” said Mrs. Gordon, a bright, handsome and clever woman. “ They are not out of the wood yet, and the horrid fellow will take the hint and 1 bolt.” ,f Oh ! most sagacious of women,” said her husband. Sholto Forth read the paragraph at the club that morning hurriedly, for twenty others were anxious to see the before mentioned item of news, and he was too busy getting the baronet away, as he ex pressed it to his club friends, wi»h whom Sir Hubert had never been a favorite. The baronet read the paragraph just »s the Bombay was steaming out of the bay that afternoon. In fact he couldn't help reading it, someone having stuck it on his cabin tabb*, marked plainly. Who the somebody was, Gustave and Leon both declared they knew nothing— it was a woman, that was all they could or would tell on the subject, and al though the baronet’s heait was beating furiously he managed to joke and laugh, considerably to the amassment of Gus tave, who fancied ho told Leon that his muster must be either as they suspected, an old baud in villtany or he was going mad. The person most interested in the newspaper statement never saw it at all until la'e in the day, when she shook with fear and emotion when Mr«. Ohol mondeley read it to her. She would have suffered greater emotion had she been gifted with second sight (if there is such a thing) .that morning and looked Into the interior of an office in Grown street, Goldsborough —a small office scan tily furnished, where four persons are assembled —three men and a woman. The woman is tall, but from her thick veil it is impossible to discover whether she is old or young, pretty or ugly, dressed in block Spanish laco from head to foot, which gives her a stately grace ful appearance, strikingly different from the usual everyday run of women. Seated at a small table—an ordinary office table —her eyes are fixed on certain objectß arranged thereon—a /ine cambric handkerchief, a silver match box, part of a glove, some letters, and two photo graphs, the latter of winch is now the subject under discussion. The men are talking and arguing together, “ hair,” “uniform,” and other descriptive words coming in repeatedly from the animated trio The woman is motionless, staring intently at the two photographs she holds in her hand. The portrri's are diametrically opposite to each otherin de tail, one hemg a finely executed photo graph of a handsome soldierly Ipoking man in rich uniform j the o’hor, an in ferior pjioto of a black bearded man of common type of CQuntpnonc° ; the attire a suit of black of jinfashionable cut #nd style. The woman puts them on i}m table and tries »o g#in tjie attention of the group of mep w I have no time to waste,” she haughtily nor has Monsieur Ijigrange. I would, therefore, like to say a few words, which I can fully substantiate when you have done your part of the compact. You must not expect any thing more from me. It is impossible for me to come here again.” The men turned, and at once give their fixed attention io the speaker. One of diem sits down down at a aide, table rpady to take notes, .‘VTliaV 7 says tj>e wpmnn, slowly iind jifllibprabsly, ' pointing to t)io officer in uniform j is Captain Armytage—Sir Hubert Armylago —at his fathers (Sir Launcelot Armytnge) death, which took place about three years ago this month, December. Old Sir Launcolot was sho» dead one night—the murderer was never discovered,” There is a moment’s pause, the men look at her fixedly. •‘3 hat,” she continues, with her finger on the other photo, as if about to perform some card trick ; “ that,” she repents, is the picture of the person who calls himself Sir Hubert Armytage at presem, “Oh! imnossi- le my dear lady,” says the eld st of’ the li-st'-nors ii 'Stily. “ How j can it be? It is not even like him in any j w&y. I have seen Sir Hubeit Arrnytago i often. 1 c»n trace no likeness —lie is a : fair man. I ihink you «ro quite mis-! taken, excuse me for saying so,” “ J f you insist on doubting me and my words, then no more need-be said. My Statement is true.” says the woman pet tishly, evidently offended at having hr Verociiy doubted for n minute. • “ But tliis porfciait. is Mr, Herbert Annelaye. His wife has lent it to us for a time,” toys «he first sp oker in a puzzled <cne. “ .No vert h-less it h the pioluro of Sir Hubeit Annytage. It is.for you to con tinue your work.’ 1 'wish yoti good tve mpg.’” > f I fehe rises and is about to’leave the room’ * 0 ' ?' ‘ r f I. Ifjiay one moment, f will not detain yoii a'b"* ,u 'el : Who did yd.u say’this daHc nb» ’s pho’o M Hie: imi.ii culling himself. sey, Sir Hubert Armytnge. Did yon k’’ow that plan before?” “Yes. I knew him-mice'-” jtjheio. was o long ejiviice, “You knew him in England?” ; “Yes.” 7 “Bat Mr. Atineylay4Bras murdered in
Australia." The man opened a ledger and read: “ Mr. Herbert Annoylaye shot dead at Seringa, station, February the ]Bth ; murderer escaped.” I believe Sir Launcolot Armytage was shot about the same time,” said the first, speaker; u and it was rumored by his son, Captain Armytage—— “Oh no ; you are quite mis'aken. Sir Launceiot Armytage was murdered in December. Mr. Anneylaye was shot dead more than two months after That mutch box Once belonged to Captain Armytage—l remember it.” 11 1 hen you moan to say bo’h murders wore committed by one and the same person—Sir Hubert Armytage.” She does not answer; she is angry at their denseness, th *ir stupidity. It is all clear to her. ' “ I will tell you one more thing,” she says, ’‘and if that does not help you then let their be an end of it all. The man who shot Sir Launcolot had no top joint to the thumb of his left hand. If you notice that portrait, the man has his left hand behind his back as if to hide it. Did you not find n glove? ” Gustavo Lagrange steps forward has tily with u new idea as it were, and looks at the photo. The woman goes to the door, and is soon followed by Gus tave, who puts jier in a eab, whispering something in her ear, and then hurries back to the office, and is soon in deep confab with the occupants. CHAPTER XXIV. EXCITEMENT. “Oh ! what a noise; wimt a racket; what a riotin', A ship is a thing yon nover can bo quiet Id.” “ Tell him to go in his own character as Tom Fool if he is hard up for a cos tume,” said Miss Jefierson, as she sat with a group of girls on the deck of the Bangalore. “I do hate that man, the very sight of him gives me a creeping sensation, and to think ho should be a baronet. One forgives anything in a knight, n sort of apology for a title, but a baronet! Listen ; 1 vole we all land at Aden and ransack the different places for material. If I can only got what I want—there he is, talking to his dearly beloved. Doesn’t be look the picture of a noodle. I long to give him a good slap on the back ; sh, here he comes. Ahem ! talk of the devil, my Christian brethren, and ahem ! ” and the mischievous domois-lies put on a very demure and innocent look as if they were at a devout Quaker’s prayer meeting as the subject of their conversation sauntered towards them. Tlie s.s. Bangalore was ploughing its way io old England “just in time to be too late for Christmas’” said some of the passengers, but none the 1 sa for being on iho sea 'did they intend to keep New Year’s eve and welcome the New Year ‘•in the jolliest way we can,” said many. The firat class passengers are getting up a ball—a fancy or costume ball rather under difficulties, not having shops or seamstress's at hand. Aden, that dead and alive rocky settlement, is to bo ran sacked for material. A few much envied passengers, old stagers in P. and O. voyaging, have come prepared for any • hing going on, and are provided with a stock of articles conducive to the general amusement from costumes and crackers to mnsks and musical instruments. The second class passengers have contented themselves with preparing a more simple entertainment —a concert of Christy minstrels, picked from the best-singers of their set, to the delight of all concermd, and roars of laughter come joyously across the deck at the last rehearsal, where a chosen few are splitting with laughter at the drole antics of the darkies who are in orthodox fashion deter mined to outdo in absurdity any past Christies. And so the days piss too quickly for the busy worker, and it is nearing the end of the old year. The storekeepers and others of Aden have made a small fortune by the energetic and persevering vo arics of pleasure in quest of silk and satin, cotton and cjotl), for costumes, and now the result of their foraging expedition and handiwork does Diem credit. “ Why cannot the captain anchor at Perim to-night?” says a lady who rather dreads dancing in rough water, being a bad sailor ut the best of times. “ Perim ! oil, it’s a dirty little hole—all garrison and soldiers,” says her friend f* VVe are not very far oil; a few hours more/’ “ Officers, and even soldiers, would bo a refreshing sight at our ball. Are they French or English ? ” says the lady. “ English, of course, dm’t you know? The story goes the French ran £ho English vepy close in trying to take Periiq, for bp it known that the naval power possessing Porim and erecting fortifications thereon, commands the en trance to the Red Sea frpm ‘Aden. I must tell you that both French and Eng lish equally sought to require this island, and both captains, unknown to each other, were on their way for this purpose, iThe Governor invited them to dine with some of their officers. Towards the con c’usion of the dinner, when the wine circulated pretty freely, the French cap tdn disclosed the purpose of his cruise. Upon this the English captain took the earliest opportunity of tolling his first lieuteiiant fo sigpa} to fho origin, er to got up steam. The English captain slips his cables and slips quietly away across to Perim and quickly lamb, hoists the British flag, taking possesion of the island in the name of the Queen. The French captain arrived soon aft-r, finding themselves, to their disgust, ioo late and the English in possession. Clover, wasn’t it?” “ What a blessing, was it not ? ” says the lady. *• Why, the Suez Canal would nave been lost tous. I wi«h the captain would anchor there.” It is Now Yeir’s eve, and every one ,on board is holding high revelry from 1 stem »o stern in honor of iho occasion. 1 No trouble or expense has boon spared to I find amusement for all, high and low, old i and young ; and the happy pas»«ongeiH are ; to welcome in the New Year w'nli musical * demonstrations of g’adness. The Ban galore, from end io e;.d, is a brilliant blaze of light, more like some giant planet as it moves along under the mnon’s rays through the calm waters, for there have been innumerable extra and il luminations. The company, like small children, have received permission from the captain “to sit up ” to-nigh*, a~d break through the usually strict regula tions of “ lights out ” ut an euilier hour. It is past eleven o’clock, a glorious , night, though sultry; the sea calm and silent; as a lake, i «Wq shall have n thunderstorm lo night; Look at lhafcl black ridge of clouds over there,” says a Bluebeard, who has left the dancing for a breath of fresh air. “ Clouds! I thought that was land —Perim or some such other place,” on,* swm m Debardeur, puffing away at a cigar. “ My dear friend, Perim is some miles ahead of us. I don’t suppose wo shall see
the lights till the Now Year sets in. I’m off to the s iloou - great fun going on/ answers Blueb. nrd,hurrying out of sight Verily, ihere is fun going on in the saloo . Dancing is in fall swing to an impromptu band of three amateur per* formers from the second class passengers, who have generously offered their ser vices. Flirting also is in full swing, several Romeos and Juliets have slipped away together from the dance, and are whispering sweet nothings under the awn ings of u dimly lighted part of the deck. The ballroom is a gay scene. The i brilliant coloring of the various costumes, the fanciful decorations of tho halfnteot half-saloon, tho abundance of lights gives the whole picture anything but | the appearance of a shipboard en tertainment. Hero is a Puritan maiden, demure-looking in her sober at tire, whisking round in tho arms of a Don Juun ; there a fairy, all sprightliness and spangles, gauze wings and gossamer, whirling away with a solemn looking Franciscan monk. “ Sir Hubert Armytage has cut us all out to-night,” says a Robinson Orusoe to his partner, Dame Trot. “ Yes; that dress must have cost some thing. Tim material is lovely, cloth of gold ; Arabian, I fancy. Tho character is evidently Lohengrim.” “ Who is Lohengrim 1” says Robinson Crusoe. “Never heard of the fellow. I wonder how he managed that dress.” “ Oh, don't you know ; I guessed at once—that horrid woman. I’ve out her; 1 think her behavior most a ! rocioas, and what he can see in her I cannot imagine, but there’s no accounting for taste.” “She dresses well—perfectly,” says Crusoe, man-like wishing to put a good word in for the woman that everyone of her sox is abusing. “ Oh, yes, of course, that’s her trade. What would she be without her get up 1 That dress of hers must have cost a pretty penny indeed at Aden. She never paid for it; th*-y say her husband will commit suicide before he reaches Eng land, He is so mad about her goings on." • “ Poor fellow I I am sorry for him,” says Crusoe. “ Another turn, do ; the waltz is nearly over. How women can be so foolish as not to know when they are well off.” “ How you men can be such born idiots to bo gulled,” says she, and they are off twirling at a mad pace. Sir Hubert Armytage does look well to-night. The rich folds of his dress of a soft white and gold material he has paid a good round sum for at Aden, hangs gracefully about bis rather awkward figure, hiding its defects and far eclipses most of the costumes in its richness and g ocl taste, for which ho has to thank a certain fair haired woman of circun proclivities, a Mrs. Stanton, who has superintended und managed the whole costume for her “ clmr arai,” us she calls the baronet. The room is crowded to overflowing, though a few of the number are scattered about the deck, studying astronomy lovingly or watching a dusky group of Lascars crooning some doleful ditty of their own country in a m-lanoholy strain. Others have put in to listen to the Christy minstrels comicalities. The revelry in at its height. Not a serious face or a quiet thinking soul to be found amongst the t immunity, everyone having given himself or herself up to iho attrac tions and excitement of the night’s fes tivities when—CRASH! So violent is tho shock, so instan taneous, that tho whole array of Christy minstrels are sent flying, chairs nud ban joes included, amongst the audience from off their ti mj orary platform, in such a concussionary manner that at .my other time the unexpected descent would liftVe sent the congregation into roars of Kughter. As it is, there is a solemn silence, the audience being too panic stricken to move for a moment. The .votaries of lerpsichoro in tho other part of the ship have alike felt the Huddcn shock. Many of them have been precipita*ed into arras strongly objection able to them, whilst a confused mass arc on the floor in their gorgeous costume full sprawl, where they have fallen violently, and remain for a second in fixed wonderment and fear. Tiie sqpper room and the supper tables, which hag boon a sight in itself all the evening, and only a few minutes ago tho admiration of all who have been fortunate enough to got a peep at it, is now simply a heap of debris, broken glasms, and ornamental dishes are mixed up in melancholy fashion. For a raiment ttyere is a stillness so great, one would think all had retired for tho night. Everyone is panic-stricken, but for the moment only, then all collect their senses with double speed. There is a shouting amongst the officers, a yabbering amongst the Lascars, a con fused noise of shouts, shrieks, groans from the passengers. “ Merciful heaven! we are wrecked,” says -a gipsy j “on hope so far from land.” “ She’s struck on a rock,” says Paul Pry coolly. “ They’ll get her off again and we are close to Perim if wo have to, swim (>r it* “ The engines have stopped, that’s certain,” says a third. ?tyere it nqt for the supposed or n-ob. able danger qf the crow and ship nqd passengers, the scene would be ludicrous in tho extreme, and a scone well worthy of the pencil of a Frith. As it is, people are more disposed to laugh tho wrong side of their imuth, as the saying is, Sir Hubert Armytage, who Ims been “ flirting most abominably with that woman,” say tho woman kind, is posi tively livid with fright, ns ho rushes up and down frantically, not knowing what to do. “ Look hero, old fellow, don’t bo a fool, wo cannot do anything. What’s tho good of kicking up a row,” says a cricketer. “ They ought to lower tho boats at once,” says J-ir Hubert, Inking no notice of the speaker. “ Hero you, fellow—you (to one of the stewards, who is here and there at tho beck and call of several) toll the captain I w »nt a boat at once—do you hear?” “Yes, sir,” said tho steward calmly, “ ganging his ain gaitt” . “ Well, • fool as jo ly os a amid boy," says a portly Punchinello, all bells and jingle, as ho dances about. “ I’ve got (ho latest improvements in life bolts. In fact it is impossible for me to sink—seel j those lights are Perim.” “What about sharks 1” says some Job’s comfqrtcr, attired in nq* qrraqge- Blent of red aqtin and foil, to represent Fire. ? I'«» Sharks abound here j no chance for a fellow,” -at which melancholy info tion Punchinello subsides into the dis mals, and his small, voice is hoard* no more. (TO BE CONTINUED,)