|Chapter Title||ADELINE DEVEREAX.|
|Newspaper Title||Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (NSW : 1851 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||The Mount Macedon Mystery|
ADELINE DEVEREAUX. The news of Charles Edgar's strange and inexplicable disappearance came as a thunderclap on his affianced wife. For weeks she treated the matter more as a jest than sober fact. It was a ruse on his part, she fondly thought, to give her a pleasurable surprise, and his friend Ernest Rennie was a party to the inno- cent deception. But time rolled on and her hopes be- gan to give way to grave anxiety. It was getting beyund a joke, she whispered to herself, and then the black thought would obtrude itself that something terrible had happened to her lover. Gradually vague rumors reached her that a suspicion of foul ploy rested on Rennie, and the horrible idea almost drove her mad. Then Charles' father decided to visit Melbourne and if possible return with his son, and though agitated by unaccount- able fears she rested more content when she knew that Mr. Edgar was as anxious for his son's recovery as she was. His return alone, and the bearer of such ominous news, was almost a death blow to her. Something terrible had un- doubtedly happened. The bloodstains down the cliff, on the top of which he had been previously seen, and the mark at the bottom told her fore- boding heart that, nothing but death could have kept Edgar from her side. But if an accident why could not the body be found. Nothing but human agency could have removed it to a place of concealment, and what object but a sinister one could any person have in hid- ing the corpse. It could not be the desire of plunder, for if a thief found the remains he would rifle them without un- dertaking the gruesome task of removing the shattered body. It must then be murder, and who would slay her darling ? He had never offended any human being, so far as she knew. She had certainly heard him talk in a sad voice, of an elder brother who had taken an insane dislike to him and threatened direful vengeance, but he had long ago fled away to America. Perhaps Rennie had seen him fall over the cliff, and fearful of being blamed for his death, had most foolishily made away with the evidence. She could not bring herself to believe that the cheerful, candid-looking young man who was so fond of her lover would maliciously take his life without any possible motive. The very thought was sinful. Broken down by the dreadful anxiety, and the unsatisfactory and dismal sur- mises, the young girl would soon have been on a sick bed had not an event happened, which for a time, changed the current of her thoughts, and absorbed all , her attention. This was the unexpected death of her father, who, at the comparatively early age of fifty- two, was suddenly striken into the grave by heart disease. With the exception of her uncle, whom she scarcely ever saw, her father was the only relative she possessed, and his death left her practically alone in tho world. Within six months she had lost her father and her promised husband, but such is the constitution of the human mind that while one of these grief com- ing alone would have prostrated her, the two, reacted on each other, and left her calm and resolved. She was sole heiress to her father's
wealth, and, being of age, without the slightest restrictions on her actions. She had now but one object in life, and that was to find her missing lover, or trace his fate. Her father's business had been looked after for some years by a confidential manager, and she decided to give him still more power, for he was a thoroughly trustworty man— and pay a lengthened visit to Victoria, and personally search for Charles Edgar. With a girl of her temperament, to de- cide was to act, and though Mr. and Mrs. Edgar wished her to remain with them, as they were now childless, she firmly declined, and on the very day that had been fixed for her wedding, she sailed from Sydney Harbor in one of the Mail boats, bound for the capital of the Southern colony. Her course of action was not very clear. . She had obtained all the information she could in Sydney, and had carefully read the press accounts of the disappear- ance.
In those, the young lady saw that a man named Marshall had been lost at the same time and in the same place as Edgar, and this greatly puzzled her. The more she thought over the newspaper details — which, as generally happens, were bewildering from their different statements — the more confused her mind became. She resolved first of all to see the detective who had charge of the case, and secondly to interview Rennie, whom she know had taken up a farm on the Cam- paspe, as he had written to Sydney ac- quainting Mr. Edgar of the fact, and asking him to address any letters he might send to the Woodend Post Office. As soon as possible after her arrival in Melbourne she visited the detective office, and asked to see the officer who had charge of the case. The Inspector, to whom she had a letter of introduction, received her kindly, and told her she would not be able to see Lynx, who had the case in hand, until next day, as he was out of town. Looking compassionately at her, for he knew her sad history, from Mr. Edgar, he stated that up to the present they had not been able to obtain any trace that was worth following up, of the missing man. "I really cannot make it out," he went on. "Although there were signs that in- dicated that a body had fallen over the cliff, it seems incredible that it should disappear so completely. Besides, if an accident happened, there was no earthly reason why anyone should try to sur- round; it with an air of mystery. Are you aware?" he questioned, looking at her narrowly, " if Charles Edgar had any enemies, or— you will pardon me for say- ing it— any rivals?" She looked up with a slight flush on her paleface. "I do not think Mr. Edgar had a single enemy in the world, nor, so far as I am aware, did he have a rival Indeed, I have never even received the addresses of any other gentleman." Then, after a pause, the added, tremu- lously:— (To be Continued) M M 3 .