Chapter 39696498

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Chapter NumberVIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1897-08-28
Page Number2
Word Count932
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleLaunceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)
Trove TitleLight after Darkness
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FOR THE CHILDREN. LIGHT AFTER DARKNESS. Written for the "Examiner" BY "ETHELBURGA," LAUNCESTON. CHAPTER VIII. "Will you answer, truthfully, a few questions," asked Mr. Roberts. "Truthfully!" exclaimed Miriam, in dignanitlly. Then you do suspect me? I never yet told a lie, uncle. .I will answer truthfully any questions you wish to ask me." "I did not say I suspected ydu," said Mr. Roberts. "But listen to me. The existence of this little box of money was known only to your aunt and yourself, and no one else knew where the keys were kept. It is necessary to make full enquiries, so pray do not be offended, for Elsie will also be ques tioned. You remember meeting me yesterday as you left the house?" "Yes, uncle.". "You were canrying a letter?" "Yes, I was going to post it." "For your brother, was it not?" "Yes, uncle." "What did it contain?" "I had written a long letter to my brother." "You said there was something else, Do you remember?" "Yes," faltered Miriam, "there- was something else." "What was it?" "Oh, uncle, do not ask me. I do not wish to tell you. It is a secret my secret." "Very well. Did you post the let ter?" "Yes, uncle." "Did you register it?" "Yes; I wished to ensure its safety." "Is your brother in any difficulties?" "No, uncle. In his last leter he wrote cheerfully of his prospects. He is not extravagan.t-he never asked me for money." "Did the letter contain money?" SMr. Roberts looked at Miriam steadily as he put the last question. "No, uncle," replied Miriam, calmly. "It did not contain mioney. I have only the little that aunt kindly allows me for pocket money, but it is sufficient for me. I have never sent a shilling to my brother." "One move question. Why do you decline to state what you did send to your brother? Think well before you reply." "I cannot tell you; please do not press me." "Will you tell me, Miriam," asked Mrs. Roberts. "You do not usually kelep secrets from me." "Oh, aunt, it is not a secret that you would mind, but I would sattler not tell any one now. Some day you shall know-I hope." "Well, Miriam, I have no more to say," said Mr. Roberts. "I am sorry, very sorry, that you do not choose to satisfy me-that is with regard to the letter; but, of course, you have your self to please. Your may go to your studies now." Miriam stood facing her uncle. She was exceedingly pale, but very calm. "I have replied to all your ques tions," she said. "Now tell me; do you suspect me of having taken the money? I feel that I am right in ask ing." Mr. Roberts made a gesture of irri tation. "I have not said I suspect you,'" he replied. "But will you say, uncle, that you have no 'thought of suspicion against me?" "I cannot say that!" "Then," resumed Miriam, "I cannot and will not remain in your house any longer. It would be thumiliation. I have never had in -my heart any feel ing save that of gratitude towards you and dear aunt-gratitude fo.r your kindness since the death of my par ents! The thought of living under your roof with such a dark cloud hang ing over me would drive me mad. Oh, aunt, have I ever given you ca.use to doubt my love, respect, and grati tude ?" "You are assuming a motive, my dear, in speaking thus. Your uncle has not made any charge against you." "No, aunt, he does not say that dis tinctly; but he implies that his mind is not free of doubt. And upon what a frail foundation has that doubt arisen! I posted a letter to my bro ther, which uncle happened to see in my hands, and because I do not wish to inform him of its contents he de clares that he cannot express his belief in my innocence. I have answered all his quest'ions willingly, thoughl Ithey were insulting to me, conveying as they did an implication that I had for feited his confidence. I am grieved deeply grieved-at your loss, aunt; but there has been nothing in my conduct, since 'The Acacias' became my home, to warrant the faintest shadow of sus picion of my connection with the disap pearance of the money." And, without looking at her uncle again, Miriam walked proudly from the room. Mr. Roberts had listened impatiently to the girl's words, and could scarcely control his anger. "I am more than ever convincod," he said, turning to his wife, "that she knows something. It is a great pity that you did not copy the numbers of the notes; we might then have been able to trace them." "I did not think it necessary, dear, to t'ake such a precaution. Who could have supposed that 'The Acacias' shel tered a thief? But I do not share your belief in Mliriamn's guilt. I cannot imagine that she would be so mngrate ful. Then, her manner was quite con sistent with innocence." But Mr. Roberts was very obstinate. He was unwilling to grant that Miriam had a perfect right 'to refuse to give an explanation concerning her letter, .and though his theory of her guilt had been somewhat shaken he would not aclknowledge it. The idea t.hat Bob had taklen t'he money had occurred to him, but he liad dismissed it as ab surd, for the boy could never have ob tained admission to Mrs. Roberts's room. (To be continued.)