Chapter 39426497

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Chapter NumberXXVIII-(CONTINUED).
Chapter TitleTHE CHIEF WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article39426497
Full Date1888-06-16
Page Number4
Corrections0
Word Count1561
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleCairns Post (Qld. : 1884 - 1893)
Trove TitleHand and Ring
article text

Hand and Hing.

By AXNA KATUABISE GBEEK. J

CHAPTER XXVIII-(CONTINUE!)).

THE CHIEF WITNESS FOE THE PROSECUTION.

Thc sorrowful dignity with which this was said, called forth a bow from the prosecuting Attorney. " Very well," he rejoined, " did i the prisoner have anything to say about his

prospects ? "

"He did." i " How did he speak of them ?" '.' Despondingly.'

" And what reason did he give for this ? " " He. said he had failed to interest any capitalist in his invention."

"Any other reason ? " . " Yes."

.* What was that ? "

"That he had just come from his aunt, whom he bad tried to persuade to advance him a sum of money to carry out his wishes,

but she had refused "

" He told you that ? " " Yes, sir."

" Was there anything said by him to show he did not take the secret path through the woods and acroâs the hog to her back door ? "

" No, sir."

" Or that he did not return in the same way ? "

" No, sir."

" Miss Dare, did the prisoner express to you at. this time irritation, as well as regret at the result of his efforts to elicit money

from his aunt ? "

41 Yes,", was tho evidently forced reply..

" Can you remember any words that he used which would tend to show the condition of his mind ? "

" I have no memory for words," she began, but flushed as she met the eye of the Judge, and perhaps remembered her oath. " I do recollect, however, one expression he used. He said, ' My life is worth nothing to me without success. If only to win you, I must put this matter through ; and I will do it yet.' "

She repeated this quietly, giving it no emphasis, and scarcely any inflection, as if she hoped, by her mechanical way of utter- ing it. to rob it of any special meaning. But she did not succeed, ns was shown by the compassionate tone in which Mr. Ferris next

addressed her.

"Miss Dare, did you express any anger youtself at the refusal of Mrs. Cleinuwns to assist tte prisoner by lending him such moneys as he required ? "

"Yes, sir; I fear I did. It seemed un- reasonable to me then, and I was \'ery an- xious he should have that opportunity to make fame and fortune which I thought his genius merited."

" Miss Dare," inquired the District At- torney, calling to his nid such words as he had heard from old Sally in reference to this interview, " did you make use of any such expression as this, ' I wish I knew Mrs. Clemmens' ? "

" I believe I did."

" And did this mean you had no acquain- tance with the murdered woman at that time ? " pursued Mr. Ferris, half turning to the prisoner's counsel, ¡is if he anticipated the objection which that gentleman might very properly make to a question concerning the intention of a witness.

And Mr. Orcutt, yielding to professional instinct, did, indeed, make a slight move- ment as if to rise, but became instantly motionless. Nothing could be more painful to him than to wrangle before the crowded court-room over these dealings between the

woman he loved and the man he was now defending.

Mr. Ferris turned back to the witness, and awaited her answer. It came without hesi- tation. " It meant that, sir."

" And what did tbe prisoner say when you gave utterance to tili» W\H1I ? "

île Raked me why I desired to know her."

"And what did you reply ? "

" That if I knew her I might be able to persuade her to listen to his request."

" And what answer had he for this ? "

*' None, but a cpiick shake of his head."

" Miss Dare : np to the time of this inter- view, had you ever received any gift from the prisoner-jewellery, for instance-say, a ring ? "

" No, sir."

" Did he offer you such a gift, then ? "

"He did."

" What was it ? "

" A gold ring, set with a diamond." " Did you receive it ? "

"No, sir. I felt that in taking a ring from him, I would be giving an irrevocable pro- mise, and I was not ready to do that."

.' Did you allow him to put it on your finger ? "

" I did."

?' And it remained there ? " suggested Mr. Ferris, with a suiile.

" A minute, may be.",,

.' Which of you, then", took it off ? " " I did."

" And what did you say when you took it

off ?"

" I do not remember my words."

Again recalling old Sally's account of this interview, Mr. Ferris asked, " Where they these : ' I cannot. Wait till to-morrow ' ? "

" Yes ; I believe they were."

" And when he inquired, ' Why to-mor- row ? ' did you reply, ' A night has been known to change the whole current of one's

affairs' ?"

" I did."

" Miss Dare, what do you mean by these I

words ? "

" I object ! " cried Mr. Orcutt, rising. Unseen by any save himself, the prisoner had made him an eloquent gesture, slight, but peremptory.

" I think it is one I have a right to ask," urged tho District Attorney.

But Mr. Orcutt, who manifestly had the | best of the argument, maintained his objec-

tion, and the Court instantly ruled in his |

favour.

Mr. Fems prepared to modify his ques-

tion ; but before he could speak, the voice of |

Miss Dare was heard.

need of all thia talk. I intended to «eek an | interview with Mrs. Clemmens, and try what ]

the effect would be of confiding to her my interest in her nephew."

The dignified simplicity with which she spoke, and the air of quiet candour that for that one moment surrounded her, gave to this voluntary explanation an unexpected force that carried it quite home to the hearts ot the jury. Even Mr. Orcutt could not pre-

serve the frown with which he had confronted her at the first moment of her words, hut turned toward the prisoner with a look al- most congratulatory in its character. But Mr. Byrd, who, for reasons of his own, kept his eyes upon the prisoner, observed that it

met with no other return than that shadow of a bitter smile which now and then visited his otherwise unmoved countenance.

Mr. Ferris, who, in his friendship for the witness, was secretly rejoiced in an explana- tion which separated her from the crime of ber lover, bowed in acknowledgment of the answer she had been pleased to give him in face of the ruling of the Court, and calmly proceeded : " Aud what reply did the prison- er make when you uttered this remark in reference to the change that a single day sometimes makes in one's;affairs ?"

" Something in the way of assent." " Canuot you gi»e us his words ? " " No, sir."

"Well, then, can you felt us whether he looked thoughtful when yon said this ? "

" He may have done so, sir."

" Did it strike you at tho time that he re- flected on what you said ? "

" I cannot Bay how it struck me at the time."

'" Did he look at you a few minutes before speaking, or in any way conduct himself as ii ho bad been set thinking ? "

" He did not speak for a few minutes." *' And looked at yon ? " " Yes, sir."

The District Attorney paused a moment ns if to let the results of his examination sink into the minds of the jury ; then he went on : " Miss Dare, you say yon returned the ring to the prisoner ? " ; "Yes, sir." ?

" You say positively the ring passed from you to him ; that you saw it in his hand after it had left yours ? "

".Nb, sir. The ring passed from me to him, but I did not see it in his hand,because I did not return it to him that way. I dropped it into his pocket."

At this acknowledgment, which made both the prisoner and his counsel look up, Mr. Byrd felt himself nudged by Hickory.

" Did yon bear that ? " he whispered. " Yes," returned the other. " And do you believe it ? "

" Miss Daru is on oath," was the reply.

" Pooh ! " was Hickory's whispered excla-

mation.

The District Attorney alone showed no surprise. "You dropped it into his pocket ? " he resumed. " How came yon to do that ? "

" I war weary of the strife which had followed my refusal to accept this token. He would not tike it from me himself, so I restored it to him in the >vay I have said."

TO BE CONTINUED.