|Newspaper Title||Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)|
|Trove Title||The Second Cabin Passenger: A Tale of the Atlantic|
TALES & SKETCHES THE SECOND CABW PASSENGER. A TALE OF THE ATLANTIC. (By Edward Marshall.) CHAPTER IV. Once outside the captain's room Mor ley thought that it might be his last chance to see Madeline.. He knew that the captain had not yet given orders for her confinement, and he knew that after his visit of the morning it would oc casion no surprise among the attendants if he ran lown to her cabin for a moment. He made his way to her without delay. He found her worn out by weeping and very pale. She met ahim with a look which asked a question, and the eagerness of her face showed how momentous that question's answer was to her. Had he turned away from her? Did he now believe her guilty? He answered without words. The firm clasp of his strong arms about her sob-shaken body was all the assurance that she needed. "Madeline," he said, after this fervent greeting, "you must speak." "I cannot." Her voice did not shake as she said the words. It was steadied by deter mination. Again he begged her, implored her. Again she denied him. At last she whis pered sadly "Dick, dear Dick, how much more must my silence mean to me than it can possibly mean to you. Do not urge me. Nothing can shake my resolve. If it drags me to disgrace and ruin, so be it. That is better than it would be were I to disgrace and ruin others whom I love, by clearing myself of this terrible charge." Morley started. Here was a new ele ment introduced into the maze. In a flash he realised that nothing but the spirit of self-sacrifice which reaches its highest development in women, could induce this girl, who, in his eyes at least,combined in her person the loftiest elements of a pure and noble character, to submit for one moment to the degra dation of a person suspected of a vulgar crime like theft. He realised now, too, how great was the battle before hlim. He was convinced that nothing but her own words could clear Madeline of the accusation, and that the most impres sive motive which a woman can feel had sealed her lips to the speaking of those words. For a moment he was utterly discouraged. On the Atlantic, thousands of miles from New York, where he could investigate and pro bably, in the end, find the foundation of her strange resolve and thus over throw it. with nothing ahead but Liver pool and inevitable disgrace and agony for her, even should she be eventually relieved of the charge in the courts, he could see no brightness in the sky. After a brief period of thought, how ever, one straw came in range of his mental vision, and he clutched at it. He had said nothing to her about the se cond cabin passenger since the first and last time they had mentioned him-the day she had asked whether the man who had tried to annoy her was travel ling in the second cabin or the steerage. If, as he surmised, with good reason, this man was in truth in some inexplic able way concerned in her life and had a bearing on that mystery, he might by suddenly claiming to have more knowledge of him than he really pos sessed, force her into an exclamation which should throw some light upon the mystery. The circumstances, he argued, justified him in.trying diplomacy, even to the point of deceiving the woman he loved, when ordinary methods failed. Accordingly he broke the silence with : "Madeline, you cannot longer conceal the truth. I have just come from a long talk with Thompson; he is now locked up and shackled in the hold." She raised her face with languid, un interested eyes. "Who is Thompson?" she asked. Had this failed, too? Had his whole train of reasoning concerning the se cond cabin passenger been false? Was it true after all that Madeline knew and cared nothing about this man in whose guilt he had so confidently believed? If so, then the mystery had indeed be come too deep for him to unravel. IHe was nonplussed. Then he remembered that the man might have and probably had given a false name, which she did not recognise. It was with this feel ing that on the next two minutes hung his forlorn hope that he spoke next. The words came slowly, and he fixed a gaze of intense scrutiny on her face as he uttered them. "Thompson is the name given by that evil second cabin passenger-"
The sign came. Madeline started for- cc ward with agonised expectancy in her w face,and with eyes almost starting from ai her head. m "Oh, Dick," she cried, "he has not confessed, has he? He is not suspected b and under arrest, is he? Great God, 1V Dick, tell me that it is not true?" s The sign had come, but what a sign! 11 It only increased his difficulties tenfold. 1 There was no doubt now that his guess a of a connecting link between the life of s his beloved and the life of that horrid i cursing creature had been accurate; but E -merciful heaven-what connection I did this new attitude of hers indicate? He had no time for speculation. She grasped him by the shoulders and looked straight into his eyes. There was no guilt in her gaze, but there was an intensity of fear in it that cowed him, and forced him to tell the truth without exaggeration or reservation. She wormed from him by eager ques tioning every detail of his own suspi cions of the man, and of Thompson's in terview with the captain. She learned exactly what the man's present situa tion was, and when she found that the captain, while he had ordered him con fined as a disorderly and dangerous person, did not share Morley's belief in his guilt, but looked upon her alone as the culprit, she raised her hands and face to heaven, and thanked God for be ing merciful. Poor Morley! He suffered the tortures of purgatory. Never had she seemed so lovely as she seemed at that moment. Never had it seemed so impossible to rescue her from black destruction. But he had short time to think of this. Again she grasped him by the shoul ders, and again fixed that intent look upon his face. "Richard Morley," she said quietly, but in a strained and penetr'ating voice, "I love you from the very bottom of my soul, and I believe that you love me. I am going to make a demand of you, which will subject you to another test more trying than the dreadful trial that you have already passed through. I shall accept no refusal of it. You dare not deny me. If you do, loving you as I do, I swear that I will never marry . you, or even look upon your face again. r It is the life of a. human being whom I have loved longer than I have loved s you, though in a. different way, not a merely the reputation of a useless r woman, that depends upon you now." She lowered her voice until it was little more than a whisper, when she went on, but it lost none of its inten d sity. "I demand of you a. promise on your honour, on your love for me, on what ever you hold best and highest on this earth, that you will instantly withdraw your accusation against that man who 'r is now confined in the hold; that you ;e will lie to the captain of this ship by telling him that you no longer suspect that man of having been connected with the robbery of your jewels, and that you will do all that lies in your power to free him of suspicion and se cure his release from custody or annoy ance of any kind whatever." Morley opened his lips to protest at this dumbfounding request, but she stopped him. 'e "If you love me," she went on, "you will do this. I demand it on your 0e honour, and I implore it on your love. If I have said that I love you. Now I 0 swear that I love you as few women ie have ever loved. There is the fire of a '5 great passion, of an undying devotion, is in my heart, and it is all for you. But if you do not grant me this request" - here her voice broke-"and none can a know better than I, dear Dick, how Le terrible its meaning must be to you-if is you do not grant me this request, I take d my solemn oath to refuse to see you or t speak to you-no matter how deeply at this may tear my heart; I am a strong r, woman-I take my solemn oath to L- avoid you as I would a pestilence for r ever." "Madeline!" exclaimed Morley in an . agony. a' "Promise," she demanded. "What e I have said have been the strongest words that I can call to my lips; if I
could command more powerful speech I would use it. I add, that I swear this, and I shall not break my word. Pro mise!" The girl, her face flushed and her eyes bright and burning, stood waiting. Morley was helpless. His nature was strong as hers, and therefore recognised her strength. He felt deep in his heart that she would keep her word, and alhough he could not conceive the rea son of her incredible demand, he real ised that it must be of overpowering strength to force her to this desperate pass. He hesitated. Then--he pro mised. Scarcely had he done so when the door w-as opened by the captain. Morley had disobeyed orders, and was with the woman whom he had forbidden him to visit. His face flushed, and he shut his lips hard. When he spoke his voice was tremulous with anger, but he only said: "Morley, leave us. Madame, I place you under arrest." Madeline almost smiled. Morley noted -nothing could surprise him now that she seemed to welcome this new blow. But, as he was turning, she threw herself upon the cushioned seat. Beneath her head was the mutilated pillow from which the diamonds had been rescued by the searchers. Her voice broke, and she sobbed wildly. "Fate hates me," she cried bitterly. "Give me up. I can bring you nothing but unhappiness." The rest of that day was a. period of misery to Morley. The captain treated him with cold disapproval, but he minded that least of all. He could get no word from Madeline. Four times he tried to buy the privilege of a moment with her from the man whom the cap tain had set to watch her, and even endeavoured to send to her a long and passionately written letter at a fabulous expense, but without success. He faith fully carried out his promise concern ing the man in the hold. In a brief and frigid interview with the captain, he formally withdrew his complaint I against the prisoner, and asked for his release, which was brought about be fore night, the . captain remarking curtly that he was glad Morley had I come to his senses at last. Aside from L these episodes Morley shunned the com panionship of his kind. He spent his time in a quiet corner of the deck sullenly watching the moving sea. When night came he did not even, go to his stateroom. He felt no inclination to go to sleep, and did not attempt it. At five o'clock, just as the summer sun was throwing its early radiance over the ocean, Land's End was sighted. An hour afterwards the first pilot came on board, although there was still nearly a day left of their voyage. along the t coast, bringing with him from Queens town a packet of telegrams and letters -the first news the ship's passengers had received of the outside world since they had left New York. As the steward handed him his share of the pile, Morley saw on top of the t remaining heap a telegram and letter addressed to "Miss Madeline Perrine, Steamship Venice. Incoming." He begged the steward to go below with them at once. This was the first service lie had been able to do her since the captain ordered him from her room. A half-hour dragged wearily away. He had stopped hoping for news of Madeline. Presently he saw the steward who had distributed the letters. "Did you give the telegram to Miss "Perrine?" Morley asked. "Yes, sir," replied the steward, and added, "There must have been pretty bad news in it, for the lady fainted, and when she came to she asked for the captain. He's just gone down to see her, sir." Here was a new pain. What addi tional blow had fallen on that poor girl? The anxious lover had not long to L wait. News came in the unexpected form of a summons from the captain t to meet him in Miss Perrine's cabin. L When Morley opened the door he found Madeline lying sobbing convul sively on the couch, while the old cap tain, his anger all gone now, sat beside her patting her hand with an awkward attempt at fatherly comfort, his eyes half filled with tears. The old man greeted him almost with tenderness. Madeline started to speak, but the captain interrupted her. "That's your place," he said to Mor ley, motioning him to the girl's side. "And after you've got there, I want to say to you what I've already said to this poor young lady here." "You were right, Morley, and I was wrong. I never can forgive myself for it. But she says she can, and I hope you will be as generous. She'll tell you about it. I'm going now to have that infernal scoundrel brought back out of the second cabin to my room. I want you both to come up there, and we'll have it out with him before we land." (To be Concluded Next Week.) The people of the United States are blessed with a greater variety of cir culating medium than those of any other nation on the globe. In the first place there are gold coin and gold cer tificates, then silver coin and silver certificates, and besides these, there are greenbacks, national bank notes and Sherman notes, issued by virtue of the law of 1890, and fractional currency in silver, nickel and copper.