Chapter 174512509

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberXXXIX
Chapter TitleJUSTICE.
Chapter Url
Full Date1892-05-21
Page Number1
Word Count2366
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Bendigo Independent (Vic. : 1891 - 1918)
Trove TitleThe Devil's Own. An Australian Story
article text



A lawyer now has to bo found— And where’s the fruitful spot of ground Where our experience does not show That such a spreading plant will grow,

And where bis dwelling is not known As.tho very boat bouse of any town., ' . , ' Dn. Syjttax, Wanchester is a thriving little-town of the most primitive order, the streets scarcely to be counted in the plural num ber, are -hariow, and as all business is more . or leas, transacted in the one main street, there is generally a, concentrated stir and bustle in this part—the High street of the town. , The ; few shops the place can boast of are dark and dingy,, the'arohilecturo being of a very past og *, ?with low ceilings and small shop win dows, making'shopping a trial of sight/ for'uuless you carry intended purchases out into the street, or oven to the open door to examine them wcl>, the- chances are that, on reaching liomd? ; you find you have,, bought ‘ a green pbir :: of gloves instead of black, of Some, sickly. corise ribbon instead of , scarlj&V ' nevertheless, these insignificant looking shops do an amount of business that' would astonish, some of . tho mpst fashionable heads of London emporiums.; The fact is.Wanchester is ju*t far. enough fttbri rLonddh to make shopping in the metropolis an expensive treat, if not un profitable, entailing as it does.,a railway journey, and'wp all know what a railway journey is to sober-minded, thrifty people, balf-a-dny or more's. waste of time, to say nothing of the fare and the extras that manway with money at a surprising rate, so.the good folk in and about, Winchester ,their own people religiously, like ..sensible folk and sterling Protec tioriists, if they, ha,ve ,tp content them selves will)- an' ’tantidoluvian trimmed bbnqot, occasionally, or a primitive looking gain by it in the end, for how much more satisfactory it is to bo thought of and welcomed in their own 'place, instead of spending money at London drapers, whore they are nobckji.o9, and treated as such. So the little town has flourished, and beingrthe centre ,of a largo .agricultural district,, no', wonder might brass door plates o J f doctors and , lawyers blaze out from miny a’pretty villa, or,.sober solid l^de^ce'abput , the town. It happened to'be market day—the fete or gala day of the week for rustics—-wteh Norman and his friend, drove iatoit. The town was all astir with bipeds and quadrupeds of every' degree and gender, farmers in leather's ,ah^ a " strong boots gossiping at, corners, ,whilsb : tlieic wives bargained and bartered in the. shops., The inns jwero all in a lively- state of arrivals and departures, the drinkiog of friendly glasses, of the rattling of neighborly dinner plates, told’of the, business doing, In the v.ory centre of the aforesaid High street] klapdipg out in contrast to.-its neighbors isTJie Grange, a large, square, rejoicing inn side garden, where.cprtoiu. old trees and well-grown shrubs improve the condition of things in this' brick and mortar street by • such, foliage and 1 grateful shade from the over hanging bbanclifa.for' several yards Tho Orange' for ages the house; of the Oolepeppec family when Wanchestor wos bpt'a'hamlet of a few houses besides a rujqning " stream. • Death and other" Changes had came ,tp pass in the family when tKe 'fjlrange, with ,scvprnl, acres of, landj ' bdd i 'o.ome, into tho possession of John Wlinams (from a great aunt Miss . r Penelope , Coleppppor), solicitor, as the glistening brass plate on tho door testified/ He is a good, honest old man is John Williams, "of the fossil• order' of creation," says Some, ? of, ,thq dandefied young. ofllce‘ > clerks, 1 but they would willingly sacrifice thoir beloved and much culti vated nnd moustaches bo half Wgood and., quarter- os .clever as.l their'woftßy and much . respected em ployer—-a family lawyer to thc jbajkbone,, thajr. .advantage, not own., *16;,: roatteca little to blip. Ho enough' , and 1 more f than ho r will ever ' or " '-Ho only keeps. orvthe office,for ~thp 1 sake; > of his many 'bid and favorite ?' clients that cannot well do without , him, Jbosays. On thls~morhin Old John,” as he is call0d; iai very deqpJn , business, ,nt least he gives one tßat ,idea, f for the old man J fd Seattdon A small iron’ safe in the strong room .of tho. firm, up to his knees in papers, bundles of ; l»iv- looking blue manuscript tied with the orthodox pink iapp,. ranged in ( p|los (l round hijn, as ho'- sharchtft ? fpr some deed’ lease or letter, his pp^ctaales’firmly on his wolU shaped nose/.as he pores/into'tho 1 interior of boxes.- that line the shelves of the room, much as do coffins in a family vad)|,..Butijjvijth 4this tliat tho'contents of John Williams's strong r^SiS f iilfh'6F thudh more Value’ißaiu 1 tho skull bones and of tho latter. 'An . open, / japan box marked is, open -before' him,’

nnd ho frets with vexation at not. being able to quickly put'his hand' upon;tho paper ho wants. Only aletter; c: but letters are very often of value,, and re quire no apology for the time taken on their account, oven in looking for them, A sharp hammering rap at the heavy door gives the old man a start, for (ho weird chamber does, ho often; says, make him feel an if in communication with (he dead, so sepulchral and sombre looking is ic. “ Como in,” ho says slowly in a tone ihat implies “I wish you would stay out, 1 don’t want to bo disturbed.” “ Two gentlemen ,in the office, ;sir,j they wish particularly to soe you,” says the sylph-like young dork, handing his superior two card*, -gliding out of the room quickly as if to suppress a shiver or a yawn, leaving the* lawyer to road over, spell over, the words, addresses,' printing and texture of pasteboqi’d, it Vvouldseom by the length of time he takes staring at the cards. But old John is not thinking of anything but the people he is about to meet. He is col lecting his thoughts, mustering his ideas, and preparing his s advice in readiness, though ns he says to himself, “ the ‘whole affair is as clear as a pike staff— it only requires a firm and decided course and the thing is floored.” His brow clears andbrightens consider- I ab y as if ho had shut up all worfy when :he closed a snap that tin caw. Ho ,is another he walks into-his; office with a benevolent air and honest; open countononce—he is glad in his heort that some progress is likely to be made in' the Arraylage mystery, over which he has puzz’ed his brain for many days. “ Good' morning, gentlemen," he says cheerily, bowing first, nnd thbn shaking.hands with both his visitors, at the some time taking in qt a glance the foot as to whioh is Mr. Fortescuo by the tell-tale dial of age,. .“Strange to say, I was just buried in Array (age papers when your cards were brought to me, I presume your visit re lates to the subject of my letter to Mrs , Armytage." 11 “ Yes; Mrs. Anneylaye wishes me. to act for her. , I suppose you got a note from her this-morning,” said Norman Portescue. “Yes; it was very thoughtful of Mrs, Anneylaye, she has saved me .much trouble. She stating that you qan give me as much information on the subject of the late ttlr. Hubert Anneylaye as she (his wife) can, it will make matters easier —perhaps you may know more on the subject. I find very ofton that men are more inclined to open their hearts to in timate friends on certain subjects than to their wifes. I think it will bens well to he perfectly can id on the subject, and 1 as we may be interrupted here perhaps you will not mind coming with ran into my own sanctum sanctorum. This is , market dqy, a busy day for everyone in this small country district, there are bits of -work here and there even for us lawyers to attend to.” He led the. way through a long passage, through .a glass door, to a good sized room, where old oak furniture, book cases filled with handsomely bound books, mostly on law; comfortable arm chairs, and a largo writing table, strewed with, letters and stationary, marked the room at onco as being the library and writing room of the head of tho firm. ~ A bright fire burnt in the large grate, and a parrot with gaudy plumage was trying to hang itself in a ring from the roof of its cage, every now and then muttering audibly “Jack, you devil”; “taken pinch of snuff”; “Oh golly, missus is coming,”' etc, etc.. “ That is one of my spoilt children,” said the lawyer, going up to the cige and saying, “Now Solomon, shut up; shut up.” “Now Solomon, shut up,” said the bird in such clear, sober notes that I Lord Veroker positively started at the ] I echoes, aa it were, of the first voice, | comfortably seated near the fire in any ' but business looking arm chairs. Tne j lawyer opened the subject by giving a do- 1 tailed account of the Arraytaga family and the events connected with them, the departure of the son for distant countries j the murder of the father, Sir, Lancelot; j the suspicions, owing to a break in the correspondence between ’.father nnd son I up to within six weeks murder or the squire. No news from that time | having come from Australia until the new claimant wrote himself as heir to the title and estates which ho claimed as eldest and only so», “though” sqid the old lawyer, “from the , letters I fancied the captain must bo sadly changed, they wore so unlike the letters Sir Lancelot r nsed to got from his son, the very writing seemed changed. 1 have had my suspicions long that I .was not dealing with a son of the old baronet, but I hod no proof,- and only waited to convince myself. I had some reasons for ray suspicions by flight of,the new baronet before I made a stir, bub hp is too wary, a fox, I begin to think, to give us that satisfaction lately. Only lately we have had our suspicions aroused again by certain letters from Oiptain Armytago to his father having boon dis covered in the drawers of one of the servants—the valet's, I letters wore evidently withheld from the Squire, and sots at rest the idea that his sop was in England at’ the time of his father’s murder. But this is no proof of iSir Hubert, .the - present being air im postor, except wo are to believe a letter I got a few days ago. Mind you, 1 haven't much faith in anonymous letters, and in woman's writing, they might ?write anything by way of revenge, out of spite for a grudge owing. But I will let you see the letter, and I should like to see any letters or writing you may have of Mr. Annoylayo’s.” “I have a whole packet; some evqii before Ida marriage, and some within two months of his death. He Was shot, you I know. The murderer is undiscovered, j though we all have our suspicions,” said | Mr. Fortescuo, taking out a packet of r loiters, and a photo, he .had in his pocket, and handing thorn to the lawyer, in exchange for a foreign let«ny written' , in a bold disguised hand, “The writing is a woman’s,” said Mr, Fortescuo nnd Lord Vcrqkor in the same brp&th, looking at the address. The, writer stated in a aoraew'hat 3 roundabout way that Sir Launcelot Armytago was shot by his valet, a man cidling himself Jienry Wilkins, though Wilkins hud many aliases, and was of French parent age,, and married to a French , woman. Xhat after the murder of Sir Launcelot the man 'Wilkins wont to Australia, and thfcro murdered the s.dn, who wqs,living under the assumed: name of Herbert Anneylaye. That the man calling him self Hir Hjibpirt Amy logo aps an im poster, the wH(er-havihg kndwn him for years—in a very different character. It was for the lawyers to do* their'' Work in proving the imposition. , , There tlie letter 1 ended, leaving by.pry ibne who road it in a sea of speculation.- ~'j ; “Ypj( can swear that ir'Mf. Aun|oyloyo's and this his por trait;” Williams,: (tipping back his cjiair and pushing’u|> I)is spectacle?; “ Certainly,” foxtwwh. . 1

“ Then' my,good sir, I’flra quite ready to swear that that la the portrait of 0 ip- : tain Hubert Anhytage, Sir Lauac-lot's only son, who wont to Australia on tic- 1 count of some little tiff he had with the. old Squire. I can'swear to it.”. Lord Yereker looked at Norman For tesoue with a pleasant surprised kind of look. ; ' ‘ i “ Would to heaven you were right/’ ho said, turning’to the lawyer for some sympathetic look, for Norman was taking the idea so coolly, said Liord Yereker to himself, anyone would declare ho know it all before. ' : ‘ Along conversation ensued, the pros and ems were well discussed till the visitors jumped up at hearing the clock stcike. two, and rose to take their- de parture. “ No, no, gentlemen, I cannot spare you yet now I have got you. If you will honor me with your company at lunch I shall esteem it ,n favor; it is only a modest meal for I like my dinner when all the work of the day is over. After lunch we can discuss the plans for a visit to the Towers to-morrow, there I pan show you the'full length picture of Cap tain __ Armytage, much the same as this which was a photo taken at- Malta— the other-was un Academy picture.”