Chapter 39635495

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Chapter NumberIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article39635495
Full Date1896-06-06
Page Number2
Corrections0
Word Count3246
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleLaunceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)
Trove TitleThe Second Cabin Passenger: A Tale of the Atlantic
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TALES & SKETCHES THE SECOND CABIN PASSENGER. A TALE OF THE ATLANTIC. (By Edward Marshall.) CHAPTER III. Morley's mind was thrown into tur moil by Madeline's extraordinary state ment, nor did any part of his subse quent conversation with her relieve him of his embarrassment. She would say nothing except to deny her guilt. She would not, again, even refer to her knowledge of the real culprit. When he left her lie was sorely perplexed. He saw only one course open to him. That consisted of persuading the cap tain to take no steps further than the quiet confinement to her cabin until the vessel reached Liverpool, and un tiring efforts during the intervening time towards the solution of the mys tery along some other line. He felt certain of Madeline's innocence. He was convinced that it would be impos sible for her had she been a criminal to have counterfeited the charms of mind and soul which she had revealed to him during the few days of their ac quaintance; but he finally realised the terrible light in which circumstances had placed her. He saw that she was hedged about by evidence that would convince any disinterested person of her guilt-calm reflection showed him that he would himself yield to it were he not her lover. To her alone had he confided the fact I. at he was carrying the jewels, to her alone had the oppor tunity for abstracting them occurred. Her manner during the excitement that followed the announcement of their loss and the efforts which were to be made to regain them had been that of a per son who was confuseu by guilty know ledge. Following this came the dis covery of the jewels skilfully hidden in her cabin. Surely no judge or jury in Christendom would fail to consider this chain of events other than con vincing. And now, as if to cap the dreadful climax came her ter ribly incriminating statement that she knew wuo had stolen the diamonds, and how, as well as the manner of and reason for their concealment in her cabin; and her refusal to reveal this knowledge, even to him. Did not this make her an accomplice, even if she were not the principal criminal? What powerful motive could there be behind her silence? What did she fear? What disaster was she trying to avert? He was in the position of a lawyer who had been engaged' to defend an in noccnt person, and who was forced to work without the help or knowledge of his client. Had she set to work to assist him (as it seemed as if any rational be ing who had been wrongfully accused of a crime would do) he felt that his task would have been comparatively simple. But, as it was, he was in the anomalous situation of a victim who was appar ently devoting himself to clearing the reputation of the person who had wronged him, and who was absolutely alone in his ideas of her innocence. He kept his agreement with the cap tain by sending a steward to him at once with the announcement that his interview with Madeline had ended. He was greatly relieved to have him reply that he should be busy in the chartroom for an hour. l'his gave him time for tlhought, and he was grateful. He re tiired to a quiet corner of the smoking room with a cigar. While he sat there, turning desper ately over in his mind each event of the voyage, each tiny circumstance, no matter how trivial it might be, which could possibly have a bearing on the case, hsi:s mind constantly reverted to the offlonscive second-cabin passenger. The idee, which had come to him on the morning of the episode which had brought about his acquaintance with Madeline, the idea that there was some acrquainlance, some sympathy (perhaps of enmity. but still a sympathy) be tween th' two. recurred to him. The thought that Madeline's life was in a way concerned with that of that un couth and evil person, had been inex pressibly repulsive to him, and lie had, at first, put it aside, angry with himself for thinking it. Now he caught at it r-agerly, as perhaps affording a clue by means of which lie might unravel the sad mystery which involved his love. When, after an hour, the captain sent for him, he had prepared a plan of ac tion. Its promises were pitifully meagre, but they were the best he could

obtain from any scheme he could con- r jure up. After much pleading he per- b suaded the captain to consent to a test d of his new theory. Before this was t finally accomplished, however, the cap- i tain, speaking as his father's friend, a strove to convince him that his labour t woud be fruitless of good, and endeav oured by argument to induce him to break loose from what he boldly charne terised as his "infatuation for an adven turess." It was wiiL difficulty that Morley controlled his temper during this part of the interview, but.lie knew that without the captain's co-operation he could do nothing on board ship, and I for that reason he assumed a confidence I which he really did not feel, that he 1 would convince him of his error before they landed at Livei'pool. He had only I two days' time in which to work. His plan was this (and before advanc ing it he frankly explained to the cap tain his first idea that there was some i connecting link between the lives of Madeline and the second cabin passen-1 ger): To have that unpleasant person I brought aft under arrest and formally accused of the crime of theft, averring for the sake of the effect it might have on him that one of the jewels had be come loosened from the necklace and had fallen in his berth before he had hidden the diamonds in Madeline's room. Then, while the man was yet dumfounded by this unexpected charge (and Morley asserted that he had no doubt of his guilt) and by the bogus evidence, to offer him partial immunity if he made a full and free confession and explained how it had been possible for him to get round the ship unseen. This was bold working on a bold guess. Morley realised that he had small excuse for suggest ing it, and knew that the cap tain would never have consented to its operation had not the second cabin pas senger already aroused his own distrust and ire by defying the discipline of the ship and creating a disturbance. The captain finally consented, he said, only because he wished to leave no stone un turned which would help to set the son of his old friend right at a time when he was being carried to melancholy ex tremes through the sentimental admira tion for a beautiful but unprincipled woman. A,s for the second cabin pas senger-the felt no consideration for him whatever. He did not believe that the man had stolen the jewels, he con sidered that another person had been proved guilty of that crime-but he thought him capable of it. He con stuered him to be a disreputable person, very likely of unsettled mind. So with a in an hour two sailors were despatched y to the second cabin. e No oflicers of the law ever had a more r difficult task in apprehending a male a factor than confronted them when they attempted to take the man from his i. cabin. Even after they had overcome u- him sufficiently to get him to the deck el he struggled like a madman. ii Hea demanded, with much profanity t- and in a loud voice, the reason for the g summary proceeding, but of course the ;- sailors could tell him nothing. For a It moment there was muttering among the :e passengers who had been attracted by the disturbance at the rough treatment l1 which the sailors were obliged to give >f him, but soon some one, putting two d and two together, whispered that the Sman had been arrested as the culprit in ie toe jewel robbery, and the explanation s was quickly accepted by the others. s All along the promenade deck and up d the stairway leading to the captain's )f cabin abaft the bridge the man writhed n and struggled in the sailors' hands and -e continually cursed. But just outside te the captain's dodr he changed his man g ner quickly and entirely. Instead of r- the disorderly character resisting ar 1. rest, it was the insulted innocent, full It of amazed dignity, that stepped into the ;s presence of the captain and Morley. ,e The captain bade the sailors release him and wait outside until he called them. When they had gone he said: "Thompson" (that was the name the a man had given), "you know why you y were brought here. Now what have you r to say for yourself?" The man's dignity melted somewhat. e When he spoke he mixed with it a suave oiliness which was not prepossessing. t His manner was almost, but not quite, cringing. He evidenced the most com i plete surprise at the captain's state r ment. His reply was given in the best s of English, well enunciated. s "You are wrong, sir," he replied. "I e have no idea of the reason for the out t rageous treatment to which I have been 1 subjected." t "Come, come, now," said the captain, and Morley was surprised and pleased r at the way in which the old officer - acted his difficult role, "none of that. You lknow that you have been arrested f for the theft of Mr Morley's jewels. L Now, theft at sea is even a more seri ous offence than is theft on land. There ar·e reasons, however, why I am willing to make your punishment less severe than you deserve. Since you have been on board you have plainly axhibited a desire to injure one of my passengers, a most estimable lady who is under my !especial protection. You carried this, to me, inexplicable devilishness to its Sextreme when you concealed the stolen Sdiamonds in her cabin during her ab Ssence, not knowing that you had, in Sthe meantime, dropped in your berth incontrovertible evidence of your own I guilt, where it was discovered by an of rI ficer of this ship." Morley's hleart leaped within him when he saw thle mai turn ashy pale after this speech. The captain, not waiting for him to speak,however,went on: "w're I so disposed, I could secure, when we reach Liverpool, twenty years of penal servitude for you, a'hich is the . enalty for such a crime when com e mittedt on the high seas. I am aware, 1 lowever, that there must have been a t screw loose in the management of this e ship, or you could not have left the s second cabin and entered this lady's - rioom without interference. Thie cap e tain then explained to the passenger a the case against him. "I admit," replied Thompson, "that Smy ignorance of steamship rules did, on the second day out, permit me to t pass to a part of the vessel from which my poverty barred me,and I admit that SI resisted your sailors, thus uninten tionally disturbing a lady, when, with t out explaining my mistake to me and . thus instantly insuring your saloon passengers against further intrusion h from my humble self, they started to

roughly drag me away. I have since t been assured that your second officer n did explain to me. I do not admit this M to be true, although it is possible that g he spoke without my knowledge, as I g am somewhat hard of hearing. Further I than this,I.acknowledge that last night a I. who am unaccustomed to the motion v of a ship at sea, and am doubtless awk- x war'd under its influence, was thrown s by a lurch of the vessel rather forcibly t against one of your passengers, who r was .leaning on the other side of the second cabin rail, and that, in affright, I I clung to him until I regained my lost c balance.' But that I feel any enmity toward, or have in any way endea- 1 voured to annoy,any lady on your ship; d that I had any knowledge of the iden tity of the gentleman on whom I so unintentionally relied for support last evening; that I knew he had diamonds in his possession or stole or ever stole anything in my life-which has not been without its vicissitudes,but which has not been stained by any dishonour able act-i emphatically and unquali fiedly deny. If your officer claims to have discovered any evidence to the contrary in my berth or elsewhere he lies. I did not, until you intinmated the fact, know wko the gentleman was who hal lost the diamonds, nor had any possible way of knowing that he had any diamonds in his possession to lose. I have never seen him before, so far as I know, as I rarely notice faces in a crowd unless they are called to my attention. He may very well have passed under my eyes without any especial notice as-the gentleman will pardon me-there is nothing particu larly impressive in his appearance. If it was he whom 1 involuntarily clung to last night, I very properly and very humbly repeat the apology which I believe I made at the time. "I have nothing more to say, sir," he went on in a voice which was now ipeculiarly calm and soft. "I recognise that you, as captain, are responsible for the safety of the property as well I as the lives on board this ship, and I recognise your power to do with me or any other passenger as you please. If you are satisfied that I am guilty of this extraordinary crime you will of course be justified in putting me in confinement, and you have the power a to also put me in shackles. If, through e some extraordinary combination of circumstances, you are convinced that 1, I am guilty, you must of course turn - me over to the officer of the law at Li d verpool. But I declare that you are mad to accuse me, and I shall hold you and e your company strictly accountable for your treatment of me. If this man ac Y cuses me, you have a right to lock me is up, but your right ends there. You 1e have no right to punish me. The Eng It lish judge and jury who will try me will alone have that right, providing you persist in this absurd chparge." 1e Morley's heart sank within him. No matter how well might be the man's 1e appearance,or how suspicious might be yhis actions, this speech, the latter part it of which had been delivered with some e declamatory effect,sounded like that of o one who was innocent, and who was me not afraid that he would not be ulti n mately cleared of an unjust charge. n And had the man stopped there, the captain, already convinced that there p was practically no foundation for the 's charge he had made, would probably, d have refused to proceed farther along .d this line,and would havepermittedhim he to go free.But the second cabin passen - ger, who had worked himself up to a A high point of fervour, went further. He added: "1 'There is law for the weak as well e as for the strong. Do your worst, sir, after consultation with this extraordi d nary person who accuses me. Do your worst, sir, do your worst. I defy you, sir." Here he lost the admirable con u trol of himself which had before made u his speech impressive, and raved like a lunatic, as he had when the sailors t. were taking him along the decks. "I e defy you, sir, and I defy your whole dirty crew. Harm onle hair of my head, and you shall pay for it, you shall suf - fer for it." The captain, his face purple with t anger, stepped to the door and called the sailors. I "Take this man below," he ordered, - "and shackle him. Tell the chief offi 1 cer to come to me at once." To the chief officer, who responded promptly, the captain gave orders to I have the man kept on bread and water r until they reached port. He was dragged aft, cursing and screaming a I crazy defiance to the whole shipful. After his shouts had died away the - captain turned to Morley. He was a Sman of the sort which is unlikely to Sdiscriminate in its anger. He was Sthor'oughly aroused now. "That is what I get, young man, for Slistening to your absurd attempt to fasten this crime on another person Sthan the one who had committed it." "If you think him guiltless," said SMiorley, discouraged at the turn affairs had taken, "why do you send him be low?" SThe captain was angry now; he was Sangry at Thompson for defying and Scursing him, he was angry at Morley - for having gotten him into this second unpleasant episode, and he was angry I at himself for submitting to the advice Sof anyone else in the handling of his t own ship. t "This affair has given me all tilhe trouble I shall permit it to," he de clared emphatically. "From now on s I wash my hands of it till we reach p Dor't. Your young woman is the guilty - one. There is no doubt of that on my mind. If she is not guilty,let her prove i herm innocence in court. I shall press a the charge against her myself. If she Sescapes, some evidence of which I have Stno knowledge will have to be brought Sin to prove it. You can accuse this r maving lunatic whom I have locked up if you want to, and get laughed at, and t very likely proceeded against for false imprisonment for your pains. I hold Madeline Pelrrine guilty of grand lar ceny on the high seas and on my ship, t and shall treat her accordingly." "But, captain, you will not publicly disgrace her by letting other passen 1 gers know that she is accused,will you? SAnd you will not refuse to let me see her, will you?" "For your sake,Morley," said the cap

tain, evidently impressed by the young man's distress, despite his anger, "I will not expose her on the ship. She'll get all the exposure she needs when we get to Liverpool. For your father's sake I won't let you make a fool of yourself any longer. If you talk with that young woman again it will be somewhere where I can't prevent it. You can't see her again while you're on board this vessel. I want to be left alone now." Morley,realising that a captain, is, the king of his ship, and seeing that he could do nothing with the crusty old mariner until after he had recovered his temper, withdrew,disheartened and distressed. (To be Continued.)