|Newspaper Title||Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)|
|Trove Title||The House of White Shadows|
THE HOUSE OF \VHITE SHADOWS.
BY B. U FARJKON, Author of "Blade.o'.Grass," "Joshua Marvel,' "Bread and Cheese and Kisses," "Urif," "Loudon's Heart," dc.
He was curions aboutthat. too, and thought he would endeavour to ferret it out. it might be useful to him in the future, for it conecmed the Advocate. There was plenty of time before him to accomplish hia own murderous design. John Vanbrugh heard Gautran's footsteps. " Who como this way?" he cried, 1 4 A friend," replied Gautran. " That is easily said," cried Vanbrugh. M I am not in a trustful mood. Hold off' a bit, or I may do you a mischief." "Do you not know me?' asked <>autran. approaching closer, and measuring himself with the dark form of Vanbrngh. They were of exactly the pamc height. "What, Gautran 1" exclaimed Vanbrugh, in a gay tone. " Ves. Uaotrau." " Welcome, friend, welcome," said Winburgh, with a laugh. "Give mc your hand. Veritable flesh and blood. Von have a powerful grip, Gautran. I thought we should meet again. What caused you to make yourselfso scarce suddenly last night ? You vanishedllike a cloud." " I had business to do. Have you got any more of that brandy about you ?" " 1 am not 6ure whether you deserve it, (Jautran. After emptying my flask you may make cJI'ngain. A poorreturn for hospitality, m<r friend." • " 1 promise to remain with you—it is what I came for—if you give me brandy." " 1 take your word." said Vanbrugh, producing a flask. Drink—but not too greedily." (Jautran took a lone draught, and returned the flask, saying, "you nave no food I suppose Why, yes, I have. Warned by previous experiences I supplied myself liberally for this night's watcn. I'll not refuse you, Gautran, though 1 spent my last franc ou it." " Ah," said Gantran, with some eagerness, for an amicable exchange of clothing^ would render the more villainous nart of his task easier of accomplishment, You are poor, then!" "Aye, as a Church mouse; though tbo simile is as false as a priest's vows. Churchmen and all their belongings—mice included —live on the fat of the land. Poor ! Yes. but not for long, Gautran. The days of full purses are coming. Here is the food. Eat rogue, eat- It is honest bread and meat, bought and paid for; none the sweeter for that. "We know which fruit is the sweetest. So you had business to do when you took French leave of me. How runs the matter J 1 had just pointed out the Advocate's window to you —your own special Advocate, my friend, to whom you have so much reason to be grateful—when you disappeared like an arrow from a bow. What follows, then ? That, leaving ine so abruptly, your business was important, and that it concerned the Advocate. Right or wrong, rogue ?" " Right 1" replied Gautran, as he devoured the food, " Come, that's randid of you, and spoken like a friend. Vou did not know belorc 1 informed you that he lived in the villa yonder." 1 did not.'' " I bcfcin to have hopes of yon. And learning it from me, you made up your mind ou the spur of the moment—your business being so important—to pay him a friendly visit, despite the strangeness of the hour for a familiar call." " You've hit it,'' said Gautran. John Vanbrugh pondered awhile. # These direct answers, given without hesitation, puzzled bim. He expected to meet with prevarication, and he was receiving instead straightforward confidence. " You are not afraid,' lie said, " to speak the truch tome, Gautran." " I am not." " Hut 1 am a Btranger to you." " That's true." " Why, then, do you confide in ma It was Gautran's turn now to i>au8e, but he soon replied, with a sinister look which John Vanbrugh, in the darkness, could not see, " Because, after what passes between us this night, I am sure you will not betray me." "Good," said Vanbrugh; "then it is plain vou sought mc deliberately because you think 1 can in some way serve you."
" Yes, because you can in some way serve mc. That is why 1 am here." "Then you intend to hide nothing from mc." " Nothing—for the reason I have given." A Hash of lightning seemed to strike the spot on which he anil Gautran were eouversing, and he waited for the thunder, Jt came—long, deep, and threatening. " There is a terrible storm somewhere," he tai<!. " docs not matter," rejoined Gautran, with a shudder, "so long aa a man is not alone. Don't mind my coming so eloso. 1 have walked many a niiletolinu you. I have not a friend m the worhi but you." " Not even the Advocate";'' "JNot even him. He will see ne uo more," u Ho told you that last night 'i' " Yes. v "Jiut how did you get to him, G.iutron? Vou did not enter by tlie gates." " No ; I dropped over tue Mail at the back. Tell mo, you. It is but fair; I answer you honcttly euou^h. What atv yon w.itching his house for!" A man doesiml do as you are doing, on such black nights as this, for idle pastime." " No, indeed, Gautran, I also have business with him. Aud strangely enough, you, whom I met in the Hesh for the tirst time within thebu last twenty-four hours, arc indirectly in it." 4 1 Am I? Strange enough, as \oi say. But it will not matter after to-night." Some hidden nuaning in Gautran's tone struck warninglv upon John Yanbru^h, and causi d him tu Wutuw a closer observance upon Gautran's movements from this moment. " There is a thing I wish to know, Gautran," 4 be said. 4 1 Jet ween vagabonds like ourselves there is no need for concealment. It is a delicate question, but you have bein so frank with mc that I will venture to a&k it. liesides, there are DO witnesses, aud you will not therefore criminate yourself. This girl, Madeline, whose spirit follows you" Vanbrugh hesitated. The question he was about to a6k trembled on his lipBj and ho scarcely knew how to gi*e it shape in tvorda that would not provoke an outbreak on the part of Gautrun. He had no desire to come luto open collision with this rullian, of who&c designs upon himself be was inwardly warned. Gautran, with brutal rtckleasness, assisted him. " You want to know if I killed licr " Why, yes—though you put it roughly." " What matterWell, then, she died at my baids," John Vanbrugh recoiled from the murderer in horror, on 1 in a suppressed tone nskid, "When the Advocate defended you, did he know you >vcre guilty "Aye, we kept the secret to ourselves. It was cleverly worked, was it not?" "And last night," continued John Vanbrugh, " he received you in his study''." " Aye—and gave me liauor, ami iooJ, aud money. Listen to it." lie rattled the gold pieces in the palms of his hands. "Look you. I have answered uuestious enough, 1 answer no more for awhile. It is my turn now." "Troceed, Gautran," said Vanbrugh; ' I irav satisfy you or not, according to my whim," „ , . "You will 6atief>; me, or IU know the reason why. There is no harm in what I am gcing to say. You are a stranger in these ports—there is no offence in that, is there ?" " None. Yes, 1 am a stranger in these parts. Ileaveus! What a flash ! The storm is coming nearer." "All the better. Vou will hardly believe that 1 have been bothering myself about the colour ofyourhair. I hate red-haired men. Yours, now. Is there any oflenco in asking tlie colour of it?" "None. My hair is black. G an trim's eyes glittered, and a Hash ol lightning illuminated his face, and revealed* to Vanbrugh the savage and ruthless look which shown in them. "And your height and build about the same as mine," said Gautran. " Let us strike a bargain. 1 have gold—you have none. ^ I have taken a fancy to your clothes ; I will" buy them of yon. Two gold pieces in exchange for them, and mine thrown im'^ "The clothes of a muruerer, salu . u/ibrugli, slowly retreating as Gautran advtmccd ujoii nim. Thank vou for nothing. Not for two hundred gold pieces, poor as I am. Keep oir. J'ii not rutne eo near to mo." "Why not? Vou are no better than I. Three gold pieces. That should cuutent "Vou have my answer, (Jautran. Lerjve mo. I have had enough of you." " Vou will have had more than i rou^h before 1 have done with you,'' saiJ Gautran, and Vaulirugh was satiblled now, from Gautrrni, brutal tonrn. that It was a di-adly foe who blood witl'in a f«\v inches ot him, "if M n do not do a? J »iiil vou. Say, done aud ll. n.-: vpu had I-:fr. Hy fair mcuis ur Juul I i:.• &ii io have u L.ii 1 waut." I.v f- .> y<,u nnirdrmus vil ! =; • I i • V(i 1 I'"'1. i HIIIOUPV '.fv.t •
from it, but although he was 110 match for Gautrau in strength, he had bad, io former years, some experience in wruatlim; whtoh came to hia aia now In this terrible atiaU. The struggle that ensued waff prolonged and deadly, and while the men were locked in each other's arms, the storm seemed to break immediately over their heads. The thunder peaisd above them, the lightning played about their forme. "You villain I" gaaped Vanbrngh, B£ he Felt hims&If growing weaker. " Have yoa been paid by the Advocate to do this deed ?" " Yes" answered Gautraa between his clenohed teeth; " he is the Devil's agent, and X am his. Your last moment baa come.' "Not yet," cried Vanbruzh, and by a Bnpreme and despairing effort he threw Grantran clear from him, and stood again on the defensive. Simultaneously with this movement a blade of forked lightning struck the tree against which Vanbragh had been leaning when Gautrau first accosted him, and cleft it in twain ; and oa Gautran was about to spring forward a huge mass of timber fell upon him with fatal force, and bore him to the earth, where he lay imprisoned, crushed, and bleeding to death.