Chapter 39695837

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Chapter NumberVII
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1897-08-21
Page Number2
Word Count859
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleLaunceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)
Trove TitleLight after Darkness
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CHAPTER VII. "Where men are the most sure and ar rogant, they are commonly the most mistaken."-Hume. "What can be the matter with mamurma, Milram?" said E!siie, one morning as she opened her books to commence the day's study. "Do you think that she is ill?" "No, dear," replied Miriam; "I am sure aunt looks well-very well, in deed." "But," persisted Elsie, "she was so strange in her manner during break fast. 1 am quite sure something has happened to trouble her." "You are over-anxious, Elsie," said Miriam. "Perhaps she had not slept well. 1 cannot believe she is ill, for she spoke very pleasantly to me after breakfast. Don't you remember how pleased she was when you remarked that you intended to work hard to day." "Yes, Miriam, I remember; but" "My dear Elsie, you look quite melancholy. Don't think anything is wrong. If you do, you will not be able to fulfil your promise to aunt. Please tell me is crime masculine-in Latin, I mean?" "No, neuter," snapped Elsie; "you know that as well as I do. Why did you think of that word?" "Don't be cross, Elsie. I had forgot ten for a moment. What ails you? I think you are in trouble, not aunt. But i. you are not well, dear, I will help you with your wlork, and then we shall have a nice long walk. That will do you good." Elsie bent her head over her books.' She did aot accept Miriam's offer of as sistance. The two girls ceased their conversation, and were soon working steadily. Half an hour had passed in silence, when there was a knock at the door. "Come in!" called Elsie. "Please, Miss Miriama," said Mary, the housemaid, as she entered the room, "Mrs. Roberts would like to see you in the drawing-room." "Very well, Mary," said Miriam, as she closed her books; "I will come at once." "Now!" exclaimed Elsie, "will you say there is nothing wrong? Why does mamma wish to see you alone?" "I cannot possibly tell you, dear. Wait and you shall hear. But really you are lol~ing dreadfully ill. Let me tell 'aunt ,that you are not feeling well, and then we may leave these weary books, and have an hour or two in the bright sunshine." "No, no!" exclaimed Elsie. "I am quite well-yes, quite well." Miriam looked at her cousin' an xiously; 'then, stooping down, she kissed her tenderly, and said "Well, darling, as you please. I shall not be long, I dare say." Elsie shivered as she ,received the kiss, but she did not speak, and Miriam left the room. Mr. and Mrs. Roberts were in the drawing-room when Miriam entlered. Both looked very grave. The former handed her a chair. When she was seated, he said "I am sorry to give you some very bad news, Miriam." "Not of my brother, uncle," ex claimed Midam. "No, not of your brother. I have. not heard from him, and he is, I trust, well. Your aunt has lost a large sum of money-nearly forty pounds. For a long time she has been saving-put ting by a little now and then-for the purpose of buying a new piano for Elsie. That money has been taken from your aunt's room!" "Yes, uncle, I knew the money was there. Aunt told me that she in tended to give Elsie a surprise upon ;her next birthday. It wa.s in a small tin box, which she kept in her writing desk." "That is quite right," resumed Mr. Roberts; ''and this morning, upon uci locking her desk to add a little to her savings, she found that the tins box had been extracted. It is a mysterious affaii,..for none of the servants could possibly know of the existence of the box, and your aunt always kept the

keys in the pocket of an old dress. hanging in her wardrobe." "Yes, uncle, I am aware of that.. 'Who could have taken. the money? Who would have the heart to rob aunt? But, aunt, dear, are you sure that it is gone? Could you not have: put 'the box in another place?" "No," responded Mrs. Roberts; "it was in my desk three days ago. I counted the money, and distinctly re member putting it back and locleing: the desk." "Is it possible that any one could have seen you?" -"No; Mary was away at the time,. and no one else goes to my room ex- cept you and Elsie. I am quite satis flied of Mary's innocence." "But surely, aunt," exclaimed Miriam, turning pale, " you' do not sus pect me. The ,idea i's dreadful. 'What would I do with so large a sum? I would rather die than steal. Oh, aunt,.. speak!" "My, deai'," said Mrs. Roberts sadly; "I cannot tell what to think. I should' be grieved to think that you would steal. As you say, 'the idea is dread- ful. I am very, very unhappy. I. do not mind losing the money, though that is hard for me 'to bear, but the thought that there 'is a thief in the house 'is terrible." (To be Continued.)