|Newspaper Title||Kerang Times and Swan Hill Gazette (Vic. : 1877 - 1889)|
|Trove Title||Adventures of Three Young Ladies|
ADVENTURES OF? THREE YOUNG LADIES O CIlPTER XSVII. They had discovered the body of their com' rade lying in the dry ditch below. The captain shuddered at his fearful escape and resigned himself to remain where he was until night fell upon the scene. ctearvtii nix. When Suloiman enabled his accomplices to escape from the alcove in which they had been momentrilly secreted, hoe lost no time in get ting out of the palace of the omp rese-mother. He was utterly confounded and much ex asperated at the unexpected interference of the moollah. He believed it to be part of a well.organised conspiracy to thwart his views. But how they had been discovered it was im possible for hint to say. Nobody ever thought of suspecting the American banker, for the simple reason that all knew him to be quite disinterested in the lmatter. Tlhey little thought how much influence an inadvertent word sometimes has on the for tunes of individuals. A well-known coffee house stood in front of the imperial palace, and to this the thre cad journed. They saw by the small body of horse outside that some sudden departure was intendel. Smoelting their chihouques, end sipping their coffee, they waited. Not for long. The pl?cession soon left the palace, and took its way towards the outer gate of the town. 'Some treachety has been at work.' said the corsiar, 'or this sudden removal would not have taken place. 'You moollah, or priest.' said Sir 'Illomas, 'appeiars to have a great deal of power.' 'He is much trusted by the emperior.' 'And yet he is a r-negade, an apostate from I his own religion and country,' c tintiuted the baronet, 'The mantle of Mahobmmed cuyers all sins nsad thle colslir coldly. 'I vish I had the aecuosed moollah. as you call him. in a quite corner.' hissed the earl 'I'd tea-ch himi to mix himself in my concerns." 'Hemc-ahem,' cs:ughed Sir Thomas; 'then I would not be in his shoes.' 'Why.' retorted the other. Becauseyou looked rather ugly and vicious just then,' saidtlhe baronet gravely. I aml afraid you would make a very diagrseable foe.' 'Tut man, why talk nonsense, when we have to consultae to our future preceeding-ah what is that he cried, as three horsemen swept by in the direction of toe retreating cavalcade. The lagers of the escort, I persume,' said the corsiar; 'but what is to be done now.' You have not earned your money yet,' was the rather captious rebly. 'I have not; but I am not going to risk my head. The taking away of the English inidens is a warning which you would do well to take,' gravely answered the slave dealer; 'it is written that the girls shall outwit you.' 'No. We will not give them op.' Your lives are forfeited if you are even suse pected,' replied Suleiman. 'Suspected we are by that infernal monllah, cried the earl, 'but that only makes me all the more resolved to thwart him. 'Allah kerim: Obstinate men will have their own wae. I can easily find whither the girls have teen removed; then, if you persevere in a foot0h errand, it is not my fault. Wait; yonder asthe gate is my old friend the purveyor of .he household.' And he sent a messenger to ask him over to coffee and pipes. The grave and reverend officer came over with a kind of rude alacrity intended as a pro test against a servant of royalty being treated thus unceremoniously, and then on finding who it was, was graciously pleased to smile. He it was who admitted the forbidden visitor to the harem a couple of hours before. After smoking for some time, the corsair I spoke. 'Her highness has made a sudden departure, he said. 'Yes,' replied the purveyor with'a fat chuckle, rather unexpected.' 'May I ask-may your shadow never be less -if you know where her highness has gone ?' 'Well, Captain Suleiman,' said the other gravely, 'you know we never speak of such things,but as you are an old friend, I do not mind saying that they have gone to the Castle of Lobonh.' Oh;' replied the corsair. After this the conversation flagged, and finally the slave dealer and his friends retired to the residence of the former. Suleiman tried to dissuade his companions I from moving in the matter any more. ' Kiosme-it is destiny. What is to be, will be,' he said, 'and the girls are provided for.' 'Is it more difficult to release theim from the summer garden than from the palace,' asked the earl. ' No, but is it worth while.' 'YWe are best judges of that,' said Sir Thomas, rather cerimoniouly ; woe have been very liberal already, hut if you aid us to liberate the maidens, no reward shatl be too great.' Suleiman was avaricious above everything, and like a war horse pricking up his ears at the scent of the battle afar off, so didhl he at the mention of money. A long conversation ensued, and then Sulei man proposed a plan of unparalleled auda city. In the hills, at no great distance from thI, palace-castle, lived a robber chief. He was a man of the utmost daring, and of fertile re sources. lie pretended to be a quiet and innocent sheik, and as a rule carried on his depredations at a great distrnce. He would disappear with his followers for several weeks at a time, and then come back mysteriously, very much the richer for his foray. Now this robbor chief, lie had felt confident, would for a liberal consideration, undertake to enter the summer palace in the dead of the night and carry off the English maideno. He had some desperate followers upon whom the blame would be cast, and who would, after the outrage, be compelled to leave the cauntry. Now came the question of money, The greater part of the cash raised by the murderous forgeries of the earl had been dis posed of. But more must be found. The slave dealer suggested their obtaining a supply from a French banker, a kind of rival of the American. Sulieman who regarded the yatch as a proof of the great wealth of his friends, offered to in· trodue them. 'I cannot draw for much,' said Sir Thomas, when they were alone; and then he added pets tishly what can Sir Charles be up to. 'Am I his keeper,' was the savage reply, 'that you ask me so pointedly about him. 'No, no!' cried Sir Thomas, 'only his dis appearance, under the circumstances, is so un fortunate and unaccouutable that I dream of it.' 'Dreamers and drivellers:' muttered the earl, turning away fiercely. 'ourderers and forgerls!' added Sir Thomas. rubbing nis hands; 'had you there. Ah! Earl of Ravensbourne--once we stand on the soil of a fre, country you shall pay me for all this.
And meanwhile the earl'had gone up to his room, once more shut himself in, and once more set to work to forge the name of the dead and murdered colonel. He knew now that discovery must take place but who would suppose that be, an earl on the noble roll of England's peers, would be guilty of such a crime? They would rather think the dead man had overdrawn his balance and afterwards com mitted suicide, This was whathe counted on: Having consoled himself with this reflection, hs pocketed the check, and started with the cor sair Suleiman to visit the French banker Sir Thomas looked after him with a cold sarcastic smile from a secret coign of vantage. 'The sooner you end I part,' he said to himself, 'the better. I knew you for an utterly unscrupulous man about town, but by Heaven! I never suspected you to bea forger, a thief, and assassin. With which muttered observation heretired to his sitting room, to reflect upon the course of events, which were 'advancing with rapid strides. While smoking his pipe and sipping his coffee, a thought, like a lightning flash, forced itself upon his aching brain. IIe turned pale with agitation. The idea was one fraught with incalculable consequences. If the three girls never returnedto England. and were reported dead, what would become of the money left them. He was soule trustee to the estates, for Mrs. Bryne counted nothing. O'With no claimants for the money, no near heiri being in existence, what easier than to transfer the whole of the vast sums into his own (To be continued.)