Chapter 174513014

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Chapter NumberLXIII.(Continued.)
Chapter Url
Full Date1892-06-04
Page Number1
Word Count1330
Last Corrected2020-07-12
Newspaper TitleThe Bendigo Independent (Vic. : 1891 - 1918)
Trove TitleThe Devil's Own. An Australian Story
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There were several other papers per- haps of importance, however Gustave had read enough and more than enough to satisfy him. "He must really be very much in

love with the widow," said Gustave. He was rather puzzled to know what made the case so heavy however he soon satisfied his curiosity. Four bottles of a rare, kind of golden hair dye, a wig, two sets of false teeth, three small phials of liquid marked poison, two revolvers, with severeal bullets, a silver mounted pistol, some valuable diamond-rings, initialed and other papers, playing cards mostly aces and odds and ends— the bullets had evi- dently caused the weight. A ...p at the door made him shut up the case hastily wrap it up in the scotch plaid, (a present from some woman on board the Bang- alore) and secure it firmly by the two rug straps he used for it. The tap was re- peated— before he could say "Come in ” his friend Toussard entered full of fuss and anxiety about Gustave about whom the landlord had got alarmed from the quietness that to seemed to reign inside the room he said for he had listened at the door three different times and had heard no sound, Gustave must have had a nap he said "Come down to dinner my friend it will do you good there's plenty of good things for old Andre is here bartering and bargaining with Monsieur Piere La Jont of the chateau about some cattle come along a good chat, with an old friend will set you up again and the good Victor slapped his friend on the back with such force that almost sent Gustave in his weak state head over heels. He followed his friend into the salle a manger where the feast had almost commenced. Mon- sieur La Jont a second Falstaff in appear- ance was seated looking ready to eat up everything knives and forks if nothing else, a large napkin was spread full width on his capacious frontage of chest— and pinned behind his thick neck—whilst his eyes twinkled with mirth as he joked with little wizen Andre a poor pil garlic of a man who looked afraid of his own shadow. A few days dragged by slowly for Gustave, who was anxious to be on the wing with his newfound treasure, which he had decided upon taking to England, there to consult an old friend as to whether he ought to deliver it to the police or send the papers as addressed. The day before his departure he started for a walk, wishing to see the old home of his boyhood. The snow had melted, the trees had all lost their snowy cover- ing, and the air had become all of a sud- den unusually mild. Every one was making the best of it. In the distance were the fishing boats, with their brown sails, whilst on the sands were the fishers' wives drying nets and mending them, their children playing at hide and seek amongst the rocks forming the back- ground of the sunny picture. Nothing has changed. “ Everything is just the same as it was twenty years ago except myself,” said Gustave looking around in his wanderings through the garden of his old home—“the same quaint old fashioned house, not a window improved,—the orchards with their gnarled trees, even the little Bretagny cows chewing the cud peacefully in their stalls, look the same ; it the difference of owners with the farm"—he said to himself sadly. This valuable property had been in the Laly- saye family for ages but the last owner, Gustave's father who had taken to soldier- ing had had no thought for anything but his vocations so the farm when the active, managing wife died was left to take of itself ending in being in the market in- stead of coming in time into the poss- ession of Gustave and his sister—now a successful actress in one the Paris theatres. He turned away with a sigh wending his way down to the cemetery where was his mother’s grave with the graves of two young sisters. The graves had been well cared for a few fresh flowers on the stone showed that the good kind mother was still fresh in the memory of some loving friends in the little hamlet. He turned intointo the chapel where he found mass was going on, a small crowd of good men and women of humble position, were praying, amongst others the Soear de Charite, his fellow coach traveller. He said a short prayer, dropped some money into the " Pour|la Pauvre” box and wended his way to the villiage, feeling all the better and light hearted after his walk —Gustave was not a man who like the old song. When the Devil grew sick the Devil a saint would be. When the Devil grew well the Devil a saint was he. Gustave never felt so unchristian like as when ill and never so grateful and christian like than when in full health and spirits. He spent the evening in a round of visits amongst his old friends poor and humble as they were, for there had not much scope for bettering fortunes in the sleepy little hollow, and Gustave in his better days had always been the same to them, kind and generous,—to a degree particularly to the older folk with whom he was now more than ever welcome. He had gradually got back his strength, but the journey to England was a trial to him, a sharp frost had just set in, the weather was cold, the sea was rough and the train was over-crowded as it steamed slowly into the Victoria station, “such a crowd of passengers all bundling about and elbowing their way such a rush for porters, for cabs, for luggage, little chance of getting at- tended to said Gustave as he stepped on to the platform. The luggage van was not far away so making this way to it and putting down his case with his umbrella on it, he would not leave it on the rug, he watched each article as it came out of the van at last catching sight of his own portmanteau half-a-dozen people were eager to seize thinking it might be there’s. Having secured it turned to put it by the case whilst he could get a porter and a cab. Lo and behold the case was gone in the one single moment he had moved a yard from it with his back turned to get his portmanteau and he called a porter gave him the charge of his portmanteau and rug, telling of his loss and hurrying away to find the guard and also the policeman who generally takes a list of the number and descrip- tion of every vehicle and its occupants as they leave the station. “There was no doubt as to its having been stolen, and by a sharp fellow” said the police-inspec- tor, and the guard, and the stationmaster when Gustave related his lost. He took their advice and drove stright to Scotland yard where he related, his loss, then drove to the small hotel in the Strand he generally stayed at when in London, too vexed in spirit, to tired in body to do anything more, in fact there was nothing he could do fate had been against him for once. At any rate he knew

the contents of the case; he could but con fess the whole thing and state the con tents to those to whom the papers bel onged, though he did not quite despair of the case turning up it might have bee n put in some cab by mistake in the ski mish. He had left his address they all promised to let him know, he was of a .opeful disposition and would wait to s.. what the morning would bring forth. But days, weeks passed away without any news of the missing package.