|Newspaper Title||Fitzroy City Press (Vic. : 1881 - 1920)|
|Trove Title||The Rival Claimants|
The Ri al: Clainlants. By IRlS. IIARRIET'LETIS. Austhor of Th. Sunderre Hear*." " iThe Baih' s Scheme." The Deadli Lif," CHAPTER XL-_(CoNoronED.). The only man on board this sloop was a weather-beaten old sailor, who was son ning himself on a pile of ropes. - Fogarty caught thir man's gaze and beckoned to him. The man called to him, demanding what he wanted. "'I 'want to come -aboard," replied Fogarty. . The sloop-master amose, drew up his anchor,,,and con?oyad his vessel to the p.;i As it came near, Fogarty, who was ns expert sailor, caught a rope flng to ime, and epratcg.abosrd. , "All alone?" he asked;.. "All alone l' growled the sleop maste?. "Want to be taken off to a vessel 1" '"No. I want to.hire your sloop fir a day or two, for arun to Scotlapd" mid Fogaerty,who had thought much on his morniog' iride, and had got his lesson by heart.i-: 1 shall want.her to-eight, t-miorrow,. and to-morrow night. "You shall have her by the second morning. What will you- take for the lean of hrl T' "Want me. too?" saled the sleop master, doubtfully:' ' "Not you,' old man," said Fogarty, with a glance down at his sailor garments. " "I'm. a sailor,: myself, you see. " Is it for smuggling ye want her ?" S"No. Is itblind ye are, Captain r' asked Fogarty, with a leer and a laugh. ' Did ye neverrin after the pettiecats, man I " There's a gal in the east-the "ints bless herl And there's an ugly old step-falher "to the fore, and he don't like sailors, more's the pity, and, he won't have one, at as price fora son-in S"He migb?.do worse," ejculated the sloop-master, touched on a tender point. " The b'yes that wear the blue jackets ere the b'yes for me 1" "io my lass says-the saints keep her " ' said Fogarty, leering. " My name is; Jim Doolan, and my girleen likes thi'name and waits to share it. And so it's Scotland and a Scottish wed ding, and a fig for old Flaherty I And it's ten pounds I'11 give you for the use of the sloop for the time I've men' tiened.', "Tin pounds I That's abig sum, I'll do it. But-what if you shouldn't come back with the boat i" added the sloop master suspiciously. . 9' Ye want security " S Tlie'loope-master assented. e -, -K'lFogiittrefl cted ,'rhe~lawyl djfnr. " gottso;tope-i~de for this' emsergeno. and this want'of provision was.likely. to cause ahalkjn tlheir plan , . Presently abright idea occurred to the fagatie. . " ' HIow, would :swateh suit- you?" he asked.:, " A real , gold. ginewine watch ?" "That would suit me. " I would take it as security." "Tlen, to make you look sharp and lively," I'll give yon five pounds now in ladvance.. To-night,at midnight, be off the pirt at'Black Rock, and I'll be there with the girloen,, and other five ponnds, .and the;. gold watch. D'ye mind? At midnight, off the pier, at Black n: eltk ' , " I'll be there," said the sloop-master. -. Fngarty. drew out and gave the captain he ?nrereirns, being careful to display the fifteen he had remaining. Then hav ing imade the impression he desired as a spend-thrift sailor-lover bound on an :.elopement to Scotland with n willing maiden, lie leaped on the pier and hurried shoreward. A few minutes later he was in the .saddle again, and on his reture to Clon dslkin. " So far 've done as MTr. Kildare com manded," he said to himself, as he left the ,town, striking out into the county.
"He told me to engage a sloop. He told me to get rid of the master. Dine. He toldme to get the girl aboard tonight. That I shall do. le told me, when I got her well out; say in the middle of; the channel, to push her overboard, and leave her to her fate. I know a trick worth two of that ! We'll see what my. trick amon' ts to. Clever story I told that innocent old eloop-mastvr I But. better let him think that it's a wedding that's up than to get a hint of the troth. A weddingl Hal hal A queer kinmd of a wedding that's nigh being a. wake I" He laughed grimly, and hurried on over the peasanta roads. It was toward the middle of the after noon, when having returned his horse to its owner, and having taken aroundabout way home from the stable, to avoid being followed he entered the gate of Yew Cot tage, strolled up the path, and .entered the dwelling. Mrs Fogarty was in the basement. and he went down to her and pro cured his dinner, which had beenkept for him. Eluding all the widow's inquisitive and insinuating queries, he went up, to hiesroom, and remained there till 'even - ingi - i Abont dusk he came down to his supper. Then he sauntered about the garden and smoked a pipe, after which helreturned to thelhoose and to his mother's sitting-room in the basement. " I believe I'l go to bed." he said, yawning, knowing that his mother had a great weakness for early hours. "It's sleepy I am-" "Surely you won't go to bed"'Tim, without telling me the secret betwiit you and Mr. Kildare?" wheedled his mother, laying her skinny hands on his' shoulder. "I'll tell you in the morning," said pogarty. "The lawyer said I wasn't to tell, but I'll tell you in the morning sure, if you'll keep the secret." ?I will," cried the widow, eagerly. ·" Is it about the Lady Nora, Tim ?' "Yes: don't be asking use more now. You'll know in the morning." Breaking from his mother's detaining clasp, he took up his light and arceitdcd' to his own room. Mrs. Fogarty lingered to take what ahe termed "a sip " of porter - a pint bottlefull-and soon after tho went up to pay her captive a visit and to convey to tier her brief rations of bread and water. Half tin hour later she secured the door of the Lady Nora's cell, put the k.y in her pocket, and went to her own toom, which,' as was her habit, she left ajar. Idn the course of an hour or mpre she extinguished her I;glit and wend to bed. Before ten o'clock' the house was 'wripped in silence and in darkness. The clock in the hallway had struck ten when Forarty's door softly opened, and he eame oat with' muffled feet, his shoes in his hands. He set down his shoes. and crept to his mother's door listening. .The sound of snoring came from within. The widow was asleep, and giving loud evidence of the fact. "GGod I" thouhghtFogarty. "Now for the key of the dark rooml" He pushed open the door more widely, and peered into the dusky chamber. As he expected, he. saw in the very centre of the floor his mother's day gar ments. Upon their top wasu her brown stuffdress? *"'a B rept into 'the-room, took p?. the dress, knd'aought for the pocke. t.' Thekey wasin it. He took the key, crept back to the hall, closed his mother's door, and stealthily moved to the door of the dark room. Here he also listened. The young prisoner within, was astir, moving with slow and weary step about her cell. ." If I go in sudden, I'll scam her, and the fat will be in the fire," he thought. "1 matilprepare her to see me 1" He stopped and put his mouth, to the keyhole. "Lady Nora," he whispered, and' the sound washardly louder than the whist ling of a light autumn wind. There was a start in the dark room. Low and unnteady steps approached the door. "Who is itl" the LadyNora asked, lowly, fearfully, eagerly. " Whishtl Not a word, or you'll awaken the old woma n! It's a friend 1" There was 'a low, eager gasp, .as of hope ?A friend I" whispered . the sweet, eager voice within. ''? friend, did you say " " i "Yes, my'lady.' HIsh, now. I'm coming in I!'. He put the key in the lock, turned it, opened the door softly, and turned onh the threshold. The poor young captive met him face to foce. It was too dark for her to seo the gleam of his eyes, the glow on his face toodark for him to see how trembling' and palb and eager ske was. She put her hand od his arm. "Who are you?"she asked. "My name'is Tim Fogarty. I'm the son of the old woman who keeps this house." The girl sighed heavily " Her son I" "Yes, my lady. I came home from era last night. I'm only a rough sailor, my lady, but, rude and uncouth as I am, I have got a sailor's heart. And I've found out, my lady, that you were shut up here against your will, and says I to myself, 'Blow me, Tim Fogarty, if I'll stand by and see an innocent young gal harm'd I"' " He talks kindly," the girl said to her self. "And my mates know I won't never aee injustice dorie, not even to a lame kitten,; -And I've watched till the old woman is asleep, and have stolen this key," continued Fogarty, fluently. " And I am going to help you escape. Softly" now, my lady. Are you ready for a journey'" "I can be in a moment," said the yotng Lady Nora, almost persuaded that she nwas dreaming, and that she would pr?e?sntly awaken to find hersrelf in her cell. "I have but to put on my hat and wrappings." "Let me bring you a light," said Fogrrty. He hastened to his room and returned with one. By the light thus furnished the Lady SNoraand he surveyed each other. There was little of the prepo'sessing in Focarty's appearance, yet, thantks to his Sfalse hea-d and sailor garb. he looked like a sturdy, honest respectable sailor. And sailors, as the Lady Nora re flected, are celebrated far their kindness of heart. The sear on his forshead, which gave a
sinistor cast to hs" eye, was scarcely marked by the young girl. Anor yne who came to rescue her must necessarily seem to her an angel of good .She hastoned to put on her cloak and 'hat, and to gather up a few articles of her ownl which she desired to take with her. Fogarty watched her at her task. He had seen some noble ladies, the Lady Kathleen O'Connor among others, but he had never seen a being so beautiful, so spirited, so lovely as the Lady Nora. tier bright looks and dainty ways struck hii as something he lhad never seen in any person before, and he regarded her 'as ,e might regard some glorious bird of paradise. " Se 's magnificent,"he thought. "But L?,Lrd Kildare would be welcome to her for'all toe. I'd rather have her maid, Alleen for my wife. Like to like, that's my motto I" . The preparations of the Lady Nora were soon completed. Her small hat with'its scarlet bird's wing was perched above her'forehead, and her sacque buttoned over her chest Then, with a waicr-proof cloak on her arm, she turned to'Fogarty., requesting him to lead on. Hei extinguished the light, took up his shoes, and led the way down stairs. The'Lady Nora followed him swiftly and almost as noiselessly as a shadow. Thd front door was locked, bolted and chkined. Fogarty led the way to the rear entrance, undid the fastenings, and the 'two'elippod'out into the garden. iThe' girllooked around her with a swellinghgeslarL. She-looked up at Fog a-rty astdo a benefactor. "' Oh! how can I ever thank you t" she said, brokenly. S"Let me take you to a place of safety, my lady; that is all the reward I want. Where would you like to go? To Dublin ?" 'Oh, no 1 not there." " To Point Kildare I" "Not there just yet. Oh! I am very friendless, Mr. Fogarty. I have a guard inan ho livis in England. He is a just man and an hoesat one.. I must go to him."' " Your ladyship oan sail from Kinge -town on to-morrow's paclet," aid Foanrty, with aPparent sympathy. "I'll take you to Kingstown, mylady. It'snot far'from'where my boat is lying. I left my sloop at Black'Rock, my lady." SA'loop Ipl Do you own one ?" " Yes, my lady. I own her, and run her up and down the coast on excursion trips, and now and then I take a party over to Liverpool." The young Lady Nora interrupted him eagerly. O U, Mr. Fogarty I" she cried, in her' enger, apsaonate voice. "You must know that my guardian and kinsman, Mr. Michael Kildare, ishut me up in this house I It is lie who holds me prisoner. Youri mother will detect my escape in- the siininig, and will send a message to him I He will be at Kingstown before the boat gfies out. and bring me back I He is my guinrdi'an, and has the right to control my nmovementl O, Mr. Fogarty. take me to Liverpool in your sloop I Let us start to-night before my guardian learns of my escape. I have money in my pocket. For the love of H aven, befriend me I" ' She clasped her arm in her earnestness. She looked up into his face with eager, pleading eyes. "Fogarty appeared to be touched by her " I'll do it l Shiver my timbers if that laId:shark- shall get hold of you I' he criid, in his best nautical style.... " You shall be in England ahead of"the packet,.. drid aloihgof your other'guardian, 'while" this 'one is searching high and low for you I. -' The young lady expressed her gratitude. in earnest terms. "' Jest wait here, my lady, while I go into the house for a basket of provisions. We may have a long sail, if the wind. ain't right," said Fogarty. He went back into the house, soon re turning with a basket of food. This he carried on his arm, and the two stole along the garden to the front gate. "I've got to go for the horse and waggon," said Fogarty. "I engaged it. to be here just at ten, and it's behind hand. Ah I here it comes I" . The Lady Nora retreated into the shadow of a tree, as a vehicle, drawnbya large, powerful horse, came up and halted at the gate. The driver, a youth of twenty, sprang out, giving the reins to Fogarty. The pretended sailor tossed him a half crown, and said : " All right, my fine fellow. You shall . have your horse in the morning." ,The driver nodded assent and hurried The Lady Nors then emerged from her concealment, and was assisted into the vehicle by Fogarty, who was very courteous in his role of gallant deliverer. He sprang in after her, touched up his' horse, and they went swiftly down thb street. ""Free I free I" said the poor young Lady Nora, in the very ecstasy of'joy. " Alas I She did net know what was be fore her I If she could have but read the heat of the villain at her side i : . CHAPTER XXL. wHrIraER The October night sky was bright with stars,' which gleamed through the clear, frosty atmosphere with strange and glow ing brilliance. There was no moon, but -in the pale, chill gloom objects at some "distance-could be traced with consid"r able distinctness. There was "a good 'breeze blowing. The young Lady Nora Kildare, fleeing from her late prison at Yew Cottage, in charge of the escaped convict Fogarty, to ward the coast, felt her heagtbhound exultantly within her, and her soul thrill with a joy so wild and strange and sweet that it was absolutely painful. She breathed in the bracing air, and it intoxicated her almost as if it had been wine. After her long fortnight of im prisonment in a dark cell everything looked strangely beautiful to her. Thie starlight, the shadows around her, the way-side houses, all had their charms, anod her gaze ling.red upon them as upon the various features of a rare and glorious picture. She had no doubts or fears of the sinisa tar man who sat beside her in the light waggon. his attention fixed upon the hone. Had he not rescued her from im prisonment? Did he not wair a sailor's garb, and were not sailors kind-hearted and true and honest ? And was he not taking her to England and to her stern old guardian, Sir Russel Ryen, who would protect her from her enemies and battle for her rights I Instead of suspecting her rescuer, her heart was filled with a glow of gratitide toward him. and already she was llanning
how she would reiard him for all hie. goodness to her. Fogarty, as we may as well call the man first introduced to the reader under thb false name of Murple, proceeded along the quiet road for some distance at 1 a swift rate, and then turned into a road leading to the south and east. He had gone hut a few yards upon this E new course when the sound of a vehicle rapidly driven came to his ears from the road he had just quitted. The vel icle, drawn by a singe horse, t was proceeding toward Clondalkin, and had evidently come from Dublin. F Fogarty looked back, as did the Lady Nora. At the moment that the vehicle which had aroused their attention passed the junction of the two roads, both had a clear view of it. It was simply a light dog-cart, and was occupied by a man and a woman. Both these persons had their heads turned to ward Fogarty's waggon, their faces being in Sladow. For a moment or so only was the op portunity for scrutiny continued. Then the dog-cart sped on toward Clondalkin, and the light waggon hurried on its course, presently turning into another road. Ahl if but some subtle instinct had told the fleeing girl that the tenants of the dog-cort were her lover, the young Lord O Neil, and her faithful maid, Alleen Mahon I If only she could have guessed that they were on their way to Yew Cottage to rescue her I And if only Wild Larry of the glen had suspected that the yslesg girl he looked at with such idle curiosity was the im perilled lady of his'love, what dangers, what sorrows, what 'anguish might not have been saved to them both ! But the distance between them, the soft, fleecy shadowo, and the rapid motion of both vehicles, prevented the recogni tion, and they went their separate ways, the porr young Lady Nora driving straight to a peril from which her lover would have given his good right hand to save her. " Thank Heaven I we have left the Dublin road I" breathed the young girl. "Did you see how I muffled myself with my ecaif and veil for a disguise, Mr. Fogarty ? I feared that the man in the dog-cart .was Michael Kildare:, .Oh, it would be terrible to meit him' iniow 1" "Don't :you have no fears, iny lady," said Fogarty, reassuringly. " If' that little spider-legged lawyer 'was to board us, he'd. find my ,grappling-iroi's fixed into his flesh in a way he wouldn't' fancy. I could handle himras easily as a child !" - The 'girl smiled faintly, and shook her head. !" I should have said the same a month -three weeks ago,' she said. "But. I know Michael Kildare now, and I did not know him then, although I have been on intimate terms with' him all my life. I thought him tendor and kind and affec tionate, with a rather weak and womanish character, perhaps, but good and honest. Atsd now I have found, under all his. flowery softness-iron l He would be a dangerous opponent even for youi Mir. Fogarty." t o am not afraid of him," said the pre tended sailor, touching up his horse. ' You would be if you knew hitm better," said the Lady Nora. " He is like a glittering serpent-deadly I have a horror of hitm-a sickening horror He pretends still to love me, but I believe he would not scruple to cut short my life, if he: believed my death would be an ad vastage to hism," Fogarty~flushed guiltily, and whipped a p the horse smartly. He knew only too well that Michael Kildare was capable of the wickedness of which the Lady Nora suspected his ability, and he knew also that Michael Kildare had decreed the young girl's death. Was Fogarty not now, by the lawyer's orders, conveying the Lady Nora to Black Rock, there to decoy her aboard the sloop he had char tered, and had not Michael Kildare told him that theyounggirl most be ciat over board in mid-channel I None knew better than Fogarty MichaelKildare's capacities for crime. Aus ithey approached Black Rock, Fogarty slackened the speed of his horse, permittiunghim to walk. He was a little ahead of time, and besides, he had no de sire to arouse the townspeople from their beds. It was his way, like Mtichael Kil dare's, to more as secretly and cautiously as possible in the execution of his nefari ous schemes. (To be continued.)