|Newspaper Title||Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954)|
CHAPTER I. - (Continued )
"t.- Winchester laughed bitterly as he
listened. Un, H social outcast, beyond the pale of civilisation almost ; sho, with beauty and fortune, and if rumor spoke correctly, with the strawberry leaves at her. feet, if she only cared to stoop and raise them to her brows. A sweet vision of a fair, pleading faco, lighted by a pnir of dark brown eyes, looking trustingly un into hiB own, rose up with faint comfort ? out of the dead mist of five years ago.
.' Some day I fancy you will come to- gether again, you and she, when I am no longer a burden to you. Could I get rid of my Frankenstein, my old man of the sea, I would have one more try. But I cannot;, my nerve is gone, and I am a poor ¡pitiful coward.-I must tell you, I must : Wingate has been here again '
There is something very terrible in the spectacle of a strong man crushed by the weight of an overwhelming despair. Winchester crossed over and laid his hand in kindness on his friend's shoulder, though his face was black and stern. For a moment it semed that he would give way to the passion buming in every vein ; but by a great effort ho controlled him
pelf. * <, - -
' And what ia the latest piece of Scoundrelism, may I ask?
Ashton's face was still turned away from the speaker. His reply came pain- fully, as if the words cost him an effort. 'At first I refused, until he held that bill over my head and frightened me. It is bad this time,, very bad ; disguise it how be may, it is nothing but burglary. They want me to help them ; they say I can.
And if nob---'
, ' So it has come to that at last. Of course you know something of the plans. Where is the place they propose to honor ' with a visit V
' Somewhere in the West End-Arling- ton Street, I fancy ; it is some great house, the residence of a well-known heiress. Wingate did not say whose, but the number is 280 or 281.'
? xWinchester's face was very grave now, and almost solemn in its intensity. A dim glimmering of the vileness of the plot began to permeate his understand- ing. That Wingate, the before-men- tioned, knew fall well who the heiress was, he saw no reason to doubt.
. ' Chris,' said he, with quiet earnestness, 1 turn over and look me in the face ; which the unhappy youth did with a Btrange feeling of coming relief.
'I told you I had been loitering in the streets to-night, and one of the streets I happened to choose was Arlington-street - by chance, as some people would sty. By the same chance, as I was waiting there, a beautiful girl came down the stepB to her brougham, arrayed for some gaiety or another. In so doing she dropped a valuable orna- ment, and passed into her carriage with- out noticing her loss. I hastened to restore it.to her; my back was to the light, so she could not recognise me. But I did recognise her. She gave me the sovereign lying there, and what was better, she gare me her sweet womanly sympathy.! It wa3 rot out of any idle curiosity that I made a note of the house.-I hope you are listening to me,
Chria r .
'Yes, dear old fellow, I am listening.' .' It was 281, and she was the heiress Wingate mentioned. You think the co- incidence ends here, but not quite. I said that "I" recognised her ; I also said ehe could not recognise mo. Can you guess
who it was 1 '
.Not-not Vere?' Ashton exclaimed brokenly-' my BiBter 1 '
.It was Vere, changed, more beautiful, but the same Vere.-Now, cannot you see the whole fiendishness of Wingate's plot 1 Cannot you see that if anything in discovered, he will get off scot free, when you are implicated 1 My boy, I am going to play a bold stroke for your free- dom. I-am going to break the vow I made five years ago, in the hope that good may come of it. Treat Wingate for the present as if you aro still his tool, and trust me, for beyond the darkness I see light at last.