Chapter 39428543

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberII
Chapter Url
Full Date1887-12-28
Page Number4
Word Count1178
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleCairns Post (Qld. : 1884 - 1893)
Trove TitleHand and Ring
article text

Hand »»nfl King.




" Her step was royal-queeu-Hl-e."


The District Attorney, taken aback, moved towards, the dining-room door.

"1 will consult with the coroner." »aid lie.

But slic waited fox* no man's leave. Fullowina: close behind him, she entered upon the scene of thc tragedy.

"Where was thc poor woman hit?" she inquired.

They told her ; they showed her all she desired and asked her no questions. She awed them, all but Mr. Oreutt him she Loth astonished and alarmed.

" And a tramp did all this ?" she finally exclaimed, iii the odd, m using tone she had used once before, white her eye fell thoughtfully to the iloov. ¡Suddenly she started, or so Mr. Byrd fondly imagined, and »moved" a pace, setting her foot carefully down upon a certain spot in the carpet beneath her.

"She had spied something," he thought, and watched: to see if she would stoopT '",{

But no, she held herself still more erectly than before, and seemed, by her rather desultory ino, nines, to bc striving to engage the attention of the others

from herself.

" There is someone surely tapping at this door," she intimated, pointing to the one that opened into the lane.

Dr. Trod well moved to sec.

"Is there not?" she repeated, glanc- ing at Mr. Ferris.

He. too, turned to see.

But there was still a if eye regarding lier from behind thc sitting-room door, and, perceiving it, site impatiently

ceased her efforts. She was not mis-

taken about the tapping. A man was at the door whom both seemed to know.

" 1 come from thé tavern where they are holding this tramp in custody,"

announced the new-comer in a voice too low to penetrate into the room. " Ile is frightened almost ant of his wits. Seems to flunk he was taken up for theft, and makes no bones of saying , that he did take a spoon or two from a

house where he was let in fora bite. He gave up the spoons and expects to go to jail, but seems to have no idea that any worse suspicion is hanging over him. Thoso that stand, around think he is innocent of the murder."

" 1 ruin ph ! wt'l 1, we will see,*' ejaeu lated Mr. ferris ; and, turning hack, he met, with a certain sort of complacence, the eyes of the young lady, who had been somewhat impatiently awaiting his re- appearance. "It seems there are doubts? after all, about the tramp Leing the asailant."

The start she gave was sudden and involuntary. She touk a step forward and then paused as if hesitating. In

*tnntfy?~3lr~Uyrtl?" witty'ttritl'ltat tiirgat~

ten the small object she had been cover- ing with her tout, sauntered leisurely forwaid, and spying a ring on the floor where she had been standing, uncon- cernedly picked it up.

She did not seem tô notice him. Looking at Mr. Ferris with eyes whose startled, if not alarmed, expression she did not succeed in hiding from the de- tective, she inquired, in a stifled voice :

" AV hat ¡do you mean? AV hat has this man Leen telling you ? You say it was not the tran.p. Who, then, was


" That i's a question we cannot ans- wer," rejoined Mr. Ferris, astonished at lier heat, while Lawyer Oreutt, moving forward, attempted once more to recall

her to herself.

" Imogene," he pleaded-" Imogene, calm yourself. This is not a matter of so much importance to you that you need agitate yourself so violently in re- gard to it. Come home, 1 beseech yon. and leave the affairs of justice to the attention of those whose duty it is to

look after them."

But beyond acknowledging his well meant interference by a deprecatory glance, she stood immovable, looking from Dr. Trod well to Mr. Ferris, and back again to Dr. Tredwell. as if she «ought in their faces somaeonfirmation of a hideous doubt or fear that had arisen in her own mind. Suddenly she felt a touch on her arm.

" Excuse me, madam, but is this yours ?" inquired a smooth and careless

voice over her shoulder.

As though awakening from a dream, she turned ; they all turned. Mr. Byrd was holding out in hisope» palm a ring blazing with a diamond of no mean lustre ? The sight of such a jewel, presented

at such a moment, completed the aston-

ishment of her friends. Pressing for- ward, they stared at the costly orna- ment and then at her, Mr. O rc ut t's face especially assuming a startled ex Îtression of mingled surprise and appre

íension, that soon attracted the atten- tion of the others, and led to au inter- change of looks that denoted a mutual but not unpleasant understanding.

" I at your feet," explained the detective, still carelessly, but with i'ust that délicate shade of/respect in

is voice necessavy to express a gentle- man's sense of presumption in thus addressing, a strange and beautiful young lady.

The tone, if not the explanation, seemed to calm her, as powerful natures

arc calmed in the stress of a sudden crisis.

" Thank you," she returned, not without signs of great sweetness in her look and manner. " Yes, it is mine," she added slowly, reaching out her hand and taking thc ring. " I must have dropped it. without" And meeting the eye of Mr. Oreutt fixed upon her with that startled look of inquiry already alluded to.she flushed, but placed the jewel nonchalantly on her finger.

This cool appropriation of something he had no reason to believe hers, startled the youthful detective im- measurably. He bad not expected such

A denouement to the little drama he had prepared with such quiet assurance ; and, though with the quick self control that distinguished him heforborctoshow his surprise, he none the less felt hallh'd

and ill at case : all the more that tho

two gentlemen present, who appeared

to he the most disinterested in their

regard for this young lady seemed to accept this act on her part as genuine, and therefore not to he questioned.

" lt is a clue that is lostj thought he.

" I have made a mess of hiv first unas- sisted efforts at real detective work."

And, inwardly disgusted with himself,

he drew back into the other room and

took up his stand at a remote window.

The .slight stir he made in crossing the room seemed to break a spell and restore thc minds of all present to their proper

balance. Air. Ürcutt threw off the

shadow that had momcrtarily disturbed his quiet and assured mic.i, and advanc- ing once more held out his arm with even more kindness than before, saying impressively : -

" Now you will surely consent to accompany me home. You cannot mean to remain here any longer, eau you, Imogene r"