Chapter 62145253

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Chapter NumberXXI
Chapter Url
Full Date1884-11-01
Page Number6
Word Count3321
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleClarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser (Grafton, NSW : 1859 - 1889)
Trove TitleJohn Brown and His Dog Faithful
article text




Timo-il o'clock p.m.

Lyndhurst Hamlslip approached the Ladies' Semi- nary-Montague House. Feeling he would only have to deal with Mrs Pundura, and that she would be taking her case in her chair of state, with the carved

winged gods looking duwn upon her, Lyndhurst did j not trouble to disguise himself, as he otherwise would have done lind ho to cope with an arrav of servants, or even otic woman with a stronger mind than Mrs

Pandora's. Ho did not exercise that caution and cure in his incog, that uno would expect from a man of thought, mind, und u largo amount of acumen, gained by his position OM a lawyer, pleading and handling cases, as he ever was, of the worst and lowest type,-for, as remarked once before, Lyndhurst Haudflip, H.A. hud, owing to his conduct, become little more more than a pettifogging lawyer. So the barrister's incognito was simply a long, dark sack coat, buttoned up to thc throat, resembling u medieval monk ; u Glengary cap, and list »Uppers.

As Lyndhurst uppi ouched tho back door of the hull of Montague JÍOUKC (Hebe's room was in thc centre of tho building, for protection, as Miss B. said), he muttered, "Xoleu* co/vii/t." (Whether you will or no.)

With a skeleton key ho oiiened tho hull door. No fully fledged burglar oould nave dono it moro deftly. He closed tho door, and paused, with his two hands behind his oars, to catch the slightest sound. After a time, under his breath, he muttered

" Right, she is in her sitting-room."

He then proceeded along the passage, till he reached Mrs Pandora's sitting room door. The door was slightly open, so standing in tho dark hall in his list slippers, he was enabled to see the housekeeper, sit- ting us if in deep thought. Lyndhurst turned and mounted the stairs, pausing not till he reached Hebe's bed-room, The door was not locked, so as the barrister turned the handle and found the door give, ho said

" Fortune favours me."

He entered tho room, and took from the spacious pockets ot his coat n small, dork lantern. After lighting it, he took from the other pocket two chisels and looked round the room. It was a large room, lighted and ventilated by two windows in the roof, or skylights. Thu order and tidyness of the room would have delighted n fond mother's heart. The bed, with a snow-white counterpane and pillows, with turned down sheet, was perfect. The wash- stand and dressing table looked as if just pre- pared-made ready for a princess, even to the spotlessness and arrangement of tho comb and brush. On a small table near thc bed stood a emull, white, marblo statuette of Hobo's father ; it was a perfect model of Mr Handslip, evan to the eyes, that seemed to fellow you to every part of the room. Stand whore you would in that room, those oyes appeared to be looking at you in love and tenderness. At the foot of this marblo statuette was Hebe's mother's Bible, given to the brunette by her father, during ono of Mr landslip's severe attacks on the voyage to


Hebe evidently had been reading just beforo sho loft her room for the musical entertainment, because alongside of a small cosy chair was an open book of Touuyson. .

Lyndhurst-tho uncle of Holm, tho brother of tho dead, tho man who had promised tho dying brother to bc a father and protector to the orphan-stood in tho centro of tho room, with his lantern in his hand '-as bad, or worse man than Guy Faukes-and took all abovc-describod in at a glance Two candles stood on the Bmall table i he lighted them'both, hardly knowing what he was doing. Ho thought ho wanted moro light for his work. ; .. ., i

Reader, was it not rather some unseen power that lcd him to light those candles, right undor tho Btnluetto of his brothor-to warn him, to remind him of his promise, those eyes looking at him, plead- ing to him in his crime.. .. . :

As thc candles threw their light on tho faeo of tho model, a tremor passed through Lyndhurst's body. For a minute his heart seemed .to refuse its office, and the very Hf o's blood became frozen in his veins, Movo from the »pot ho could not ; he appeared cemented to tho floor-his body rigid, so muoh so that his hands hung down powerless by his sides.

Tho face of the statuette seemed to throw him into

a mesmeric trance, with its two eyes wide open, staring from tho faco before him. The model seemed to grow under his eyes till it was no longer mero whito, glistening, sparkling marble, but clothed with flesh aud blood. No longer a mero bust of his dead brothor-a piece of sculpture, representing the living image of the dead ; but that brother alivo, otothea with sinews, muscles, flesh, and skin.: Ho could see tho . heaving of tho chost in its rcvpiratlons, could hear tho very beating of tho heart in the stillness of I tho room ; tho veins, charged wita life's blood,

standing out on tho forehead, as it used to bo with his brother in lifo. Tho eyes were no longer sight- less orbs to his imagination, but bright, piercing ones of tho dead, who had returned to lifo. They seemed to bo reading his very soul, as tho living, tho' dying, eyes did that afternoon in the weatherboard cottago,

wheu he met his brother tor tho first timo after many years. Ho thought the grave had oovored tiloso eyos from his sight for over ; but now Uley woro again on earth. . A resurrection had taken place. Tho look of those eyes on that afternoon was/nWrrf on Lyndhurst ¡ the wholo death- bed sccno was rc-cnaoted. He heard his brother's words again, ns ho lay dying ; ho saw tho thin,' wnsted hand ; tho long blood and fleshless lingers ; tho moist dow of death on tho forehead ; the attenuated death-like face-all passed beforo and through his heated brain, with little Hobo kneeling at her father's dying bcd sido, as sho did onco that afternoon in. hts Íiresoncc. Ho saw his brother's withered, wasted hand aid on the head of tho kneeling ohild ¡ tho long, tapering fingers moved through and through the kneeling, praying childs block hair. ,

Lyndhurst tried again and again to closo his eyes, to shutout tho scene from his view ; but ho could not. His eyolids refused their olllco ; they would not act.

Again tho oyes of the bust wcio fixed on him, and tho long bony fingers that tho marblo statuette seemed to bo armed with, pointed to the kneeling Hobo-pointed with trembling fingers-looked at Lyndhurst with longing, beseeching, moistened eyes. Then tho expression of tho oyes changed, as they fixed themselves with a deeper look on the barrister. They appeared to be exploring every hole and corner of his heart ; yen, he seemed to feel their burning gozo in his very soul -a penetrating, exploring look shoot- ing out from tho oyes of tho model, that mada Lynd- hurst quail again, For a moment or two tho look cowed him ; he was ready to crouch at tho very feet of what he supposed was his living brother. But ho did not do so, but stood riveted before tho statuette -stood thcro as one petrified, converted into stone. Ho had changed plncos with tho imago boforo him ¡ ho was tho statuette, and the modol was clothed with flesh and blood, a living mantle of humanity. Tho small death-room in tho cottage-tho brother dying, on tho very threshold of death ¡ of eternity-tho kncollug child, praying alono for her dying and only parent-tho dying father, and brother's command regarding Hebe-all, all burned into tho very soul of Lyndhurst, till tho burning iron of thought appeared to sop up, dry up, burn up every drop of blood in his heart, and every artery and voln. , His brow waa clammy-cold ; beads of perspiration stood on his brow. Yea, such might bo said of his wholo body, for from every pore cold perspiration oozed forthj till there was a clamminess over thc whole body.

No clairvoyant ever saw things so clearly as Lyndhurst did, ns ho stood that night in Hebe's room beforo tho statuette of his brother. Clairvoyance moy reveal things not present to the senses,

Be that ns it may. But I can assuro tho reader that Lyndhurst to his dying day felt it was moro than a vision mapped out by a heated brain ; that it ivas no optical illusion, or phantasmagoria gathered together by mero fancy. Tho kneeling Hebe was a living child, Once he saw her faco that night, os she kneeled ; it was a face of sorrow bedewed with tears, At tho time ho saw her she waa looking straight at him, with eyes that spoke indignation, Thc sick bed-the dying man, all were real, and no creation of the brain, so Lyndhurst declared to his dying day,

Well for Lyndhurst Handslip If'he had at once acted in keeping with thia idea that night than would have been a tin less to hi« charge. But no ! be became callous. A passing oab- the noise of it bioke the clairvoyant ajieU, the spirituaUatio stats that tho barrister must have barn enthralled by. He mode nn effort-a kind ot superhuman effort, to rally himself. He bit his nether lip till his teeth were stained with blood ; he pressed the nails of hi« fin- gers into the palms of his hands until deep indenta- tions wera made ; he drew himself up. appeared to stretch his muscles and sinews to such an extent the tension on them so great, in his effort to overcome his thoughts and feelings -thut they seemed ready to snap, break, burst asunder. His face was as pale as death, os he saw when his «ye« rented a moment on a large pier-glass that stood in Hobo's room. He wiped tho perspiration from his brow, and once more unknowingly-h¡B eyes rested on tho bast ; those eyes, like two brilliant diamonds now, ware on him again. Ho felt he was coming under the s)iell of those spark- ling orbs-thut he would soon succumb again and be powerless, norveless, a mere uutomaton as it were, if not worse ; so taking from the inner pocket of his coat a whit« pocket handkerchief, he threw it hastily over tho bust statuette, muttering, .' Muna nut will- yun m." Now or never.

Yes, he would hide that face and thoso eyes with the handkerchief-that fatal handkerchief.

Lyndhurst blew out the two lights, turned up tho bull's eye, locked the door, and set to work ; yes. set to work, tho' his hands trembled on account of what he had passed through. Yet bo struggled to braco himself av sufficiently to proceed with his nefarious


" jV»«r* nut niinijiiitm ; ituurtiitt nu III/itu in," ho kept saying, under hm breath.

Every hole sud corner, nook and cranny, iii the room he senrohed first. In vain ! Then by aid of ! skeleton keys, ho o|ienud each drawer in the chest of I drawers that stood nt thc foot of Hebe's bed. Again

I his work was in vain, and with nn imprecation he i

locked each drawer again. Then hetnrned his atten- tion to a small trunk, covered with calf-skin, of a brown colour. Tho skeleton keys, after several attempts, served their purpose. He ran his hand through the hat«, ¿co., it contained. He was all athwart ngain. Satan in tho garden of Edon had ¡ not more deadly venom in his henrt towards Eve than Lyndhurst, tho uncle, bore towards Hebe, his neice, when he closed the lid of that brown calfskin trunk.

He not only thought, but hissed words on that orphan's head that I will not sully my pen with.

There was but one more box in tho room-Hebe's sea-box, as she called it, a box her father had mode for her, for use on the voyage from England.

The barrister approached it, and standing for an instaut with his hull's eye lantern in his hand, tho light fell on a gold locket hanging on the wall. He looked closer at the locket, aud saw it was the one he hud given his neice. Thc locket was hung at the fuithest cud of the room, as if it were a bad, danger- ous talisman, or omen, so should be kept as far away as possiblo, for harm lay in its wake. The very posi- tion it occupied-hanging alono at tho end of the room on the baro wail, no picture 01 anything of the kind near it-spoke volumes of what Hebe thought of it. There it hung, that it might be seen-seen at a distance, as it hung suspended by a thick piree of


Lyndhurst, as he looked nt it, woll remembered the heraldic design-n hand firmly clutching a dagger, the poniard pointing to the brunette's monogram in

an ominous manner.

Tho barrister recalled to mind tho soothing, cutting remarks modo by the orphan when he presented the locket to her ; the little sneer, sarcasm that mirrored her face at the time ; her sarcastic tone, her satirical laugh-a laugh as the tinkling of a silver boll, But it conveyed to tho cars of the burrlster just what the orphan wished, that she read him as easily as the« alphabet. That laugh rang in his cars ; hor words out him, to tho quick. He recalled her words, even her remarks about the scratch or flourish of the

jeweller,, from the monogram to tho point of the stiletto. Lyndhurst ground his teeth as ho thought, muttering, .'¿HTfan rt mfa*."-Through right and wrong." He went on saying, "I will have my re- venge for your language that day."

Ho tried his keys on tho box-one, two, three, four, five, six. Ho tried each key again and again. In vain I none would act.

Lyndhurst becanio desperate, reckless ; swore a fearful oath, wiping the perspiration from his fore- head with tho sleeve of his coat, wiping again and again. For a moment ho stood thinking, looking at the strong sea-box ; thon, grasping a ohisol, he hissed between his teeth, " Ant rhieere ant morl." » (Viotory or death).

With the ohisol ho forced tho box open.

1 Lyndhurst, Lyndhurst, you had two warnings that night-tho statuette and tho louket, yet you would proceed in your nefarious diabolical work. For what result ? Naught 1 In his rago ho tumbled, threw headlong, the contents of the box out, till ho emptied

the chest.

Mephistopheles himself never was in a greater rago than Lyndhurst Handslip that night, OB ho stood stooping over that sea-chest. His face was hideous, frightful, horrible, ghastly. Back he threw tho things at random, stood on them, to forco them down to make room for others ; then stood on tho lld to forco it in ito place, like a maniac, madman that he was that hour. : ,

Filia work finishod, tho liar to tho dead-tho uncle fiend, stood biting his nails, with clammy beads of perspiration on his brow, wiping the cold sweat away. 1

"Whoro has .that chit put it? Had I timo I would search every room in tho houso, ovon if I had to givo Sirs. Pandora-tho old hag I-a gentle tap. She can- not have removed it from tho houso. , It, may bo in Miss B.'s keeping, but I don't know her room. I will accomplish - my purposo, if I have to burn tho house down ; I have gone too far to hang fire. Why should this chit of a girl stand in my way ' Lot John Brown play tho wet-nurse to her, or Achates, with his astro- nomical noso. Marry her, or give her a dowry between them ¡ they can afford lt. Why should I work in those filthy, squalid courts / recolving my foes in notes that rook ugain with tho' vilo effluvium of tho tap room I No I Let Achates-that egoist take her, Sho is full of egoism herself, BO they will bo well matched." Looking at his watch : "What I half-past ten ; I have not a moment to lose."

Just as lie spoke, tho light ia his bull's-eye lantern gavo tho last fllckor and wont out. He groped his way to tho door, turned tho key in the lock, and stealthily mndo hiB way to the landing. All was still as death. . '

-'That cat ÍB asleep," he muttered.

He descended tho stairs ina slow, cautious man- ner, as if his lifo depended on his movements. Just as he rcaohed the dining-room door in tho passago, Mrs. Pandora threw the two folding doors wide open, throwing a flood of light on the features of Lynd- hurst.' ; ??'.,- ! '?:

Mrs. Pandora had just finished preparing the table in tho dining-room for supper, and was going out for a jug of water, when sho threw wida open the doora.

Tho barrister, as the light fell upon him, was for n moment spell-bound.

Mrs. Pandora dropped the jug on the floor in hoi consternation and terror, ns she stood gating on thc features of Lyndhurst. Neither spoke. With abound, Lyndhurst reached the door he had entered tho house by, and was gone. As ho hastened along tho street, ho unbuttoned his coat, throwing it well baok BO as to oxpose his shirt front and vest. Then he romoved tho Glengarry cap, and put on a felt hat ho took from tho back-pocket of his coat, " ??????.?>

So ho proceeded to hiB hotel, persuading hlmsoli Mrs. Pandora did not in any way rccogniso him.

On reaching his inn, he quickly ohanged his coat for n shooting-jacket, and went out, becoming tho' late once more tho roue of Bourko-etrcet,

Near a lamp-post, the paroquet looked ovor hie shoulder into ms faco-almost mado a peron of hit shoulder lu its gaze Looked and chirped, as if con tent at having at last espied the barrister. Thc parrot's beak came so aloso to tho man of law's noso, that ho thought it might bo a dotcotivo tn disguise

Lyndhurst hissed between his teeth, in his raga al tho paroquet, " Guerra al cuehillo "-war to th(


With a smilo, the parrot ohirped, "jada cst alea- " tho dio is cast-and immediately walked on, chirping to himself, " Tai tinline.came "-1 havo a good causa

Lyndhurst was thunderstruck nt tho paroquet'i reply. His guilty conscicnco made him fool thon was «orno hidden moaning : in tho words. He fell oppressed, Uko ho was suffering from somo hideoui nightmare.

- " I must shako this sepulchral feeling off," speak lng to himself. " A glass of lau ile cir, and thon thi runge rt noir table. That will do it. Hang thal vision, and tho womon 1 Remember, Mrs Pandora, il you recognised mo and make mischief,-if so, woU ilrlentta itt cai thago-Carthago mnst be blotted out or destroyed-Keino mc impune laeettit-no om wounds mo with impunity-Vos, tho rouge et twit

table for a few hours."

Do Wert watched him enter the gambling-saloon

then went home,