|Chapter Title||FRITL THE FOOL FALLS INDER THE INFLUENCE OF THE TENDER PASSION.|
|Newspaper Title||Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)|
|Trove Title||The House of White Shadows|
THE HOUSE "OF WHITE SHADOWS.
Brill FABJEOJf, Aofcb&r of "BiadW-OrML" M Joehua Marvel, ^ "bead ud ObMM endKUBW," aril," "Loidctfi He*t,»*o.
GHAPTEE XXXXIL —(Oottftfuud). rattl TBS TOOL FAXLft TTBDEQ THR IKTLU* -IK OB OF TH£ TEN DEE P AAA LOS.
u In one word, Fritz T V Yea, Master Lamoat, ia one word." A secret, fooL What else! A aeciet— whioh il yon get your peach to tell, frill be worth another gold piece to yon. And as yon &od I are going to keep onr own counsel, learn from me that thin secret has bat one of two kernels—love or jealoasy. Set yonr wHa at work, Fritz; set your wits at work, and keep yonr eyes open. I may help yoa to oar peach, fooL And now about that Sream of yours. Were yon asleep or awake atjthe time f' Frits stepped caatioosly to the door, opened it,.looked along the passage, closed the door &n& came close to the bedside. " Master lamont," he said, " we need not ahtrat at naoh other; we can hear rerv well if we speak so low that no one outside can catch a word of what we are saying. What I dreamt is something so strange that It will take a great deal of thinking over. Do you know why I tell you thinga ? u I might guess wrong, Frits. Save me the trouble." ''You bars never been but oneway with me; you have never given me a hard word: yoa have never given me a blow. When 1 was a boy—twenty years ago and more, MaJrter Lainont—yon were the only man who spoke kind words to me. who used to pat my head, and pity me. For if yoa remember, Mister Lamont, I was nothing bat a castaway, living on charity, and everybody but you made me feel it Cuffed by this one and that one, kicked, and laughed at—bat never by you. Kven a fool can bear those things in " Well, well, Fritz, go on with your dream. Yon are making me hungry." w It came nearly two hours after midnight. 1 can sometimes do without sleep as weU as yoii, Master Lamont though I simply idle my hours away. Now, then« follow me. At that time 1 was in the grounds. All was dark. There was nobody about but me until the Advocate came. Then I slipped aside, and watched him. He walked up and down, up and down, like a machine. It was not as if a man woe walking, but a figure of steel. It was enough to drive me crazy—it was so like olockwork. Twice he almost discovered me. He looked about him, he searched the grounds, still with the same measured step he colled aloud, and asked if anybody was near. Then he went into the house, and into the study. I knew he was there by the shifting of the lights in the room. Being alone with the shadows, your love verec8 came into my mind, and you may believe me. Master L&mont, I made my way to the window of the room in whioh Dionetta eleefu, and stood there looking an at it After a while I wandered off. and found myself onoe more staring at the lights in the Advocate's study windows. Now, what made me step quite close to them, and put my eye to a pane which the curtains did not quite oover? I conld see clear into the room. Imagine m; surprise, Master Lamont, when I discovers that the Advocate was not alone I" " Ah, ah," chuckled Pierre Lamont, " did yon pop upon another love adventure, Fritz, i are you making a wond ' Wrong. Master Lamont. You take the spice out of mu wu Fierre Lamont "A man, then I Fool, your dream is not worth the telling. n
"You will sing to another tune presently. It was a man who was with him. Master Lamont, yon know every man in the village, but I would give yon a thousand guesses and yon would not hit upon the name of the Advocate's friend. From where I stood I could not hear a word that was said, but I saw eveirthlng. I saw the Advocate go to a cupboard, ana give this man liquor; he poured it out for him himself. Then they talked—then the Advocate brought forward a silver basket of biscuits, and tne man ate some and stuffed some into his pockets. They were on the very best of terms with each Other. The Advocate gave his friend some money—pieces of cold, Master Lamont; I saw tbcm glitter. The man counted them, and by his action asked for more ; and more was given ; the Advocate emptied his purse into tho man's hand. Then, after farther conversation, the man turned to leave the room. It was time for me to scramble from my peephole. Presently the man was in the grounds, stepping almost as softly as I stepped after him. For I was not going to lose him, Master Lamont. My curiosity was whetted to that dogrec that it would have taken a great deal to prevent me from following this friend of the Advocate's. 'How will he get out?' thought I; 'the gates are locked ho will hardly venture to scale them.' He did not walk in the direction of the gates. I thought of Dionetta, ancl resolved, if this mtn had evil designs upon her, to Bcize him by the tlirrat—though I might have got the worst of it—but such is tho courage of love, Master Lamont. However, he did not go near Dionctta's window: he sought the darkest paths to the back of the villa. Two or three times he stopped and looked behind him ; he did not see me, and I heard him mutter, 4 She is gono: she will not appear again ; if she does I will throw myself upon her !' He arrived at the wall which strctches at the back; he climbed the wall; so did I in another and an easier part; he dropped down with a thud and a groan ; I let myself to the ground without disturbing a leaf. Presently he picked himself np, ana walked off with more rapid steps than before ; I followed him ; he stopped; I stopped; he walked on again, ana so did I; again he stopiicd, ana cried aloud, 'Devil, devil, devil! I hear you follow me! Is not one killing onough tor you V And then he gave a eoream so awful that the bair rose on my head. *She is here!' he screamed: 'she is hero, and is driving me to hell 1' With that he took to his heels, and tore through field and forest like a madman. I could not keep up with him, and, after a quarter of an hour's running, I completely lost sight of him. There was nothing for me to do but to get back to the villa. I returned the way I came. X had plenty to think about on the road—and I was once more before the windows of the Advocate's study. The lights were still there. This Advocate, I believe, can live without sleep. I peeped through the window, and there he was, sitting at his table reading with an expression of power in his face which might well make any man tremble who dared to oppose him. That is the end of my dream, Master Lamont" " Hut the man, Fritz, the man!" exclaimed Pierre lAmont " I am still in ignorance as to who this strange, nocturnal visitor can be." " There lies the pith of my dream/' If I were to tell you that this man who makes his way secretly into the grounds in the darkness of the night—who is closeted with the Advocate for an hour at least—who is treated to wino and cako—who is presented with money, and gruinblingly aaks for more and gets it—if I were to tell you that this man is Gautran, who was tried for the murder of Madeline the flower girl, and who was set free by the Advooate—what would you say. Master Lamont ?" "I should say," replied Pierre Lamont, with some difficulty controlling his excitement, " that you were mad, fool Fritz." ** .Nevertheless," said Fritz, with great exposure, " it is exactly as I have said. I h«W related my dream as it occurred. The man was Gautran, and no other. Can you explain that to me in one word ?" " No," said Pierre Lamont, gazing sharply 1 at Fritz. 4 Yoa are not fooling me, Fritt?" "If it were my last word, it would make no difference. I have told you the truth." " You know Uautron's face well ?" " I was in the Court every day of the trial, and there is no chance of my being mistaken. See here, Master Lamont, I can do many thiogs that would surprise people ; I am not brag-all. pencil and some paper." I can draw faces. Give me a With a few ' :w rapid strokes he produced the very image of Pierre Lamont, "sitting up in bed, with thin, cadaverous face, with high forehead and large nose ; even the glitter of the old lawyer's eyes was depleted. Pierre Lamont examined kthe portrait with admiration. "I am proud of you, Fritz," he saij ; " You havo the true artist's touch." Fritz was busy with the pennil a^ain. 4 1 Who may this be?" he asked, holding another skctch before Pierre Lamont " The Advocate. To the life, Fritz, to the life." "This is also to the life/'said Fritz, producing a third portrait "This is Gautran. It is all I can draw, Master Lamont-—human faces ; 1 could do it when 1 was a boy. There is murder in Gautran's facc ; there was murder in the words 1 heard him speak as I followed him—' Is not one killing enough for you ?' There is only one moaning to suuh words. I leave you to puzzle it all out Master Lamont You have a wise head ; I am a fool. Mother Denise may be right aftor Ml when she said—not knowing I was within Lrouuds of the House of White Shado V9. nut il is 120 business of mine; onlv I ir.ust look after my peach, or it niay suudcniv be spirited away on a broomstick. Unholy wo»k, Master Lamont, unholy work. What do j ou say to letting Father Cipel into the mystery ?' " Not for worlds'." criod Pierre Lamont, " Priests are the rarest bunglers I No; the cooret is ours—yoan tad ouae, Yoa shill
be.weU paid for your share iu it. Without permission yon will not speak of it. Do jottwar trie, Fritz T " I tear ^oa, and will obey y?? " "Good lad 1 Ah, what would I give if I had the use of my limbs I But you shall be my limbs and onr eyos—my socond self. Help me to dreta, Fritz—quick, quick 1" "Master Lament/* said Fritz, with a air la&gb, "be careful of yonr precious self. Yoa are ill, yoa know—very, very ill. Yon must keep yonr bed, 1 cannot ran the risk of losing so good a master." " I have a dozen yean of life In me yet, fool. This dried-up old skin, these withered Hmtw, this lack of tat, are my protection. If I were a stoat, fine man, I might go off at any moment. As it is I may live to a hundred—old enough to see your grandchildren. Frits. But—yes, yes, yes—I am indeed very ill and weak. Let everybody lmow it; so weak and 01 that it is not possible for mo to leave this hospitable house for many, many days. The medicine I require is the fresh air of the gardens. Ah, yoa are a valet In a thousand. Your fingers are as nimble as those of a healthy young girl. With my own eyes I must Bee wnafc 1 can of the comedy tnat Is being played under onr very noses* 1 also, bad dreams last night, Fritz — rare dreams I Ah, what a comedy — what a comedy! Bat there are tragio veins in it— fool—which makes it ati the more human l M