|Newspaper Title||Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (NSW : 1851 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||The Mount Macedon Mystery|
CHAPTER XXVII. ———————
When Host English, of the Forest Inn' read the account in the papers that the " wild man" of the ranges was dead, he felt as if a personal enemy had been re- moved. He had undoubtedly suffered consider- ably in pocket by the former presence of the maniac, for many nervous persons
could not be induced to visit a place where they might meet death at the hands of some terrible monster, and con- sequently the Forest Inn was not so crowded with visitors as it formerly was. But compensation is one of the great laws of nature — it permeates all things, and Mr English was about to experience it. He was glancing over a Melbourne paper a few mornings after the death of the madman, when his eye caught a para- graph that rivetted his attention. It was a simple statement that there was good reason to believe that the man, Reginald Edgar, who had recently died in the Yarra Bend, had concealed three thousand sov- ereigns on the Masedon ranges, most pro- bably on Mount Diogenes, or, as it was
locally known, the Camel's Hump, on which he had been captured. It was known — the paper said — that the man took the money away from the Bank of New South Wales in a portman- teau, and he was seen the same day with the portmanteau in the train bound for Macedon, so that there was little doubt the money was in that neighborhood. "Three thousand sovereigns," said the old man ; why, if I could only manage to find that plant I would give up my busi- ness." Next day there was quite a rush of visitors to the Forest Inn. It nearly took away the landlord's breath. "I wonder what they want here at this time of the year," he thought, and then he suddenly remembered the three thou- sand sovereigns. " Well, it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good," he mut- tered, and then retired to solve the pro- blem of getting six people into a room that would only hold three. The paragraph in the papers had done it all. People flocked from all quarters to visit Macedon — for the benefit of their health they said — but others knew better. The Camel's Hump became quite a lively place for a time, and it is a wonder many people were not killed through the reckless manner in which they scaled cliffs, and entered crumbling caves in search of the hidden treasure. The young goats were nearly annihilated by the army of gold-seekers which came upon them, and the dirt in the old wombat hole where Charles Edgar's skeleton was found was dug over and over again in the vain quest. M M 12
The Devil's Glen resounded with the noise of human voices, the owners of which, having pinned their faith to the gloomy valley as the most likely place for a "plant," spent day after day in the search. "Mountain Mag's " hut was ransacked, and the western peak of Macedon had its quota of pleasure seekers. But all the searching was of no avail, for the money has not been found to this day — that is, so far as is known,— though it might be possible that some "canny" person found the treasure, and wisely kept the fact to himself. That has al- ways been the opinion of Detective Lynx, who paid a few visits to the Mount him- self, and carefully searched the Glen about the spot where the maniac knocked him senseless. He was as unsuccessful as the rest, al- though both he and Mr Dutton had rea- son to give the Mount credit for putting a substantial sum in their pockets, as Miss Devereaux divided £1000 between them. Host English was amply recompensed by this "rush" for any temporary loss he had previously suffered on account of the "wild man." Another Christmas has come round, and Ernest Rennie is standing on the Wood- end platform, anxiously waiting for the arrival of the Melbourne train. It rushes in, puffing and apparently out of breath at last, and Adeline Devereaux steps on to the platform. She looks more serious and grave than of old, but there is a contented expression in the eyes, which tell of a mind at rest. Rennie eagerly greets her, and as his
man looks after her boxes, band-box, and brown paper parcels — for what lady can travel without those accompaniments — he helps her into the comfortable carriage, and they drive over the familiar road in the direction of the farm. How the country is changing, she thinks, as they drive on. The forest is disappear- ing, and cultivated fields are taking its place. As they attain the summit of the hill overlooking Rennie's homestead, she finds it changed almost beyond recogni- tion. A handsome brick mansion has taken the place of the rough wooden structure, and fields of golden corn are waving in the breeze. Quite a large company come out to meet the welcome guest, as Miss Devereaux is a general favourite with the farm servants and employes. Mrs Affleck comes to the carriage side to wish her a Merry Christmas, and to take her under her motherly wing ; and with the smiles of affectionate recognition from those assembled, she passes into "Good Rest." as Ronnie has called his
new mansion. After their Christmas dinner next day the two young people, tempted by the beautiful day, stroll out for a walk down to the winding river. They sit down on the rock they both know so well, and Rennie takes both her hands in his as he says : "Adeline, you remember the promise you made me two years ago. I am going to ask for my answer now." And I am here to give it," she re- plied. "You have acted to your dead friend so loyally that I feel, could he speak from the grave, he would approve of my decision in accepting the offer you made me two years ago. I know that I can be happy with you, and I know too well that I could not be happy without you." He took her in his arms and kissed her, and they said nothing more, as their hearts were too full for utterance. They went back to the house, and Mrs Affleck, whom Rennie regarded almost as a mother, came out to meet them.
" Mrs Affleck," said the young man, " Adeline has promised to be my wife." " Then may God bless both of you," she fervently answered ; "and may the shadow of trouble never darken your lives again." THE END.