|Newspaper Title||Fitzroy City Press (Vic. : 1881 - 1920)|
|Trove Title||The Rival Claimants|
AiNOVELIST STheM Rival Claimants: °' BylU'iRS. HARRIET LiEWIS. AAu~to.' of "7 Sasdaeed Hear,-'~" T7he Bail?;rs Schem, " yThe Doaibl Life," ;:The young lord made "mental calcula tio?is'oftlfihetime 'that the Lady/Nora's svoyage would probably .take, and unxi ouslyawaiied the announcement of her pireence in England,: but at night came only an anxious message from Sir Russel . Ryan to the effiect that his lordship must have: been 'tisinformed, as Sir Russel had not seen .his ward, or even heard from her. '-By this time the anxietyofLord O'Neil ihad become insupportable.. He had sent back to Dublin the dog ,eartwhich Alleen had engaged on the. previous evening, and Alleen was still at the hotel at Black Rouck. Mounting his saddle horse then;, his lordship set out from. ingstown for a wild canter across the country to Yew Cottage. He was determined to see Mrs. Fo garty again, and to question her more closely concernizig her son) It was nearly nine o'clock, and already dusk,' when Lord. ONeil rods intu the garden at Yew, Cottage, and secured his horse to a tree. There was alight burning in the house. : He went to the door and knocked loudly. M?rs. Fogarty, with eyes red and swollen with weeping, and an air of great general distress, answered his summons. She had dispatched a message to Mr. Sildare early that morning announcing his' ward's escape, and had been awaiting. :" .the lawyer'e arrival ever since in terror and foreboding. " Oh, it's you I" she exclaimed, recoil ing at the sight of her visitor of the previous night. "What do you want: now?" - ' "' nly a little information," returned the young lord, displaying a gold piece, at'the sight of which the eyes of the broken-down gentlewoman brightened a little. " What kind of a man is this son of yours, Tim Fogarty la s capable of S.agenerous act'" Mrs. Fogarty smiled faintly through her grief. S" When he's paid for it he is, I dare say,' site replied. "He likes money pretty well. does Tim 1" Lord O'Neil looked grave. What had "for i',garey'e servicesl She had loa'lther property. Sir Russel could not afford to reward her rescuer. SHow was your eon dressed when he left your house ?" lhe asked. S I cant say. But all day yesterday he wore a sailor's suit. As it aint in his room, it's likely he wore it away with him." Light began tobreak upon Lord O'Neil's mind. He recalled the fact that Flahive had let his boat to "a sailor" and a lady. Mlight not this "sailor" prove to be Fo garty, and his companion the Lady Nora ? The story of their being lovers might have been devia d by Flogarty to throw ., pursuers off the scent. The coincidence between the flight of the pairof supposed lovers from Black Rock aion the prlceding night, the man in the guims of a sailor, . and the flight of the Lady Nora with a pretended sailor, was cerrainly strik ing I do not ask you to betray your em ployer, for, of course, you would not do that, nor criamiatne your?lif," said Lord O'Neil, giviis t, Ilhe gold piece he had dise?aved bs aoao,1.ionh. "*rlt I do not
believe that your sn has taken the Lady - Nora to England. I can. anily Inquire. hi ouat his echaracter- from ian. resident'of Clondalkin, so you may as 'well be frank , with: ie, especially;' aas rI` will ireward your frankie. What is your son's buai nesolti *? He has none." ?: "lAhl No businessl Has he lived at Olotdlalkin all his lifeL. : 7 - ' E " No, sir." returned the woman, some what sullenly, yet with her eyes fixed in tecitly on the gold pieces in.Lord O'Neil' t hand. "He a been misfortunate, has Tim. He's been'to Austrcly.-" - "Hr m~anner'told minre than herwords. SThe yUong.. lord compireheinded her meaning. She told'him whit he. could have learned in the village, that her son . had been a convict. The Lady Nora alone on the sea with a convict I' The idea was torture-to Lard O'Neil. He trembledforher safety. "' One word more," he snid, in a voice. sharpened bf his sudden anguish and terror. "Only~one word: Wherecan I' find your son? I will promise you not to c harm him, but 1 must find himn. Where would he be likely to go if he wished to' hide himself T' - . The old woman reflected. The com manding airof the young nobleman awed her. His money tempted her. And yet she would not have betrayed her son to this stern-browed lord for more money than O'Neil had at his command. She resolved to tell him a plausible lie,' take his money, and rid herself of his pre-' ;enee. " Well, I don't know," she said, with tions up in Coanty Down, ann a dtwif set they are, if I must say it. -Tim used to swear by them in the old times, and yesterday says 'he, 'Are the old cousins alive yet!' And it may be it's there you'd find him if he wanted to hide, but that he's not wanted, I'm sure." " Where do these cousins live I" asked Lord O'Neil. "On the, coast, sure," said MIre. Fo -garty, glibly, "a few miles above Dun more Head, betwixt that and Dundrum Day. It's under tho' Mourne hounstains they live, as one might say. Their name is Fogarty, being Tim's relations by the father's side, and the Fogartyo were a low set, peace to 'em I Ios that all ?" "It is all," said Lord O'Neil, handing her the gold pieces. Aus he did so a shrewd look gleamed in the old woman's eyes.. She believed she lhad outwitted this pursuer of her son and sent him off on a false trail. She had made up her own mind that her son had taken the Lady Nora o England, and was to be rewarded with the young lndy's - purse and costly jewels, some of which were on the person of the young heiress. " It's on a wild-goost chase he's going," sIe thought, plutting the money in her pocket. " Wont them Fogargrys p it County Down open their rees ywkhen this yioii chap comes asking for Timc-Tim, as they 'haven't seen for years ? He nmay go away with a flea in his ear, t'm thinking." SBut Lord O'Neil detected nothing'of her double-dralii.g. - Hedid not suspect her io falsehood, believing that his pro mise not to harm her son had had its ef feet upon her. He had been anxious to discover to what place Fogarty would be likely to convey the Lady Nora in the event of his keieping her a prisoner, and the question had been answered to his satisfaction. He turned to go. ?But, as lhe opened the door, a quick, li-l,t tread ascended the steps, and Lord O'Neil found himself face to face with the Ledy Nora's unfaithfulguardian and kins mn-Mllichael Kildare. _ :-'Th! recognitiun was mutual. "You-lrhene, miy lord I" faltered-the lawyer; turiing: pale. ' What does this meanto -? " Yes. I 'am here, filihael Kildar 'I" de!lared our hero, sternly. " And I'll tell you what it means. Come in here l" 'li? seized Kildare's arm; drawing him into, the hall, and closed the outer door abruptly. - CHAPTER XXVL THE ENEiY AT THE DO00. The old Hall was deathly still when the guilty. a.d frightened Bassantyne crept back to'its she:ter. No light gleamed from any of the windows, andyet,; as be fore, he fancied that keen eyes .were 1, 'e-pig out at hiim' from behind'blinda and fron between the folds of the lace cutnitais. But he had no time to yield to fears and terrors. H"e must move, and more quiclly. ' The enemy he believed he had slain, andl whoie body le had stolen forth to hury in the Black Pool, was still alive was alive, and had gone, no doubt;, for oilcers to apprehend the fugitive convict who reigned as lord of Connor Hall. The thought was-more than maddening. It made him desperate,; he most" fly within the liour ! He crept into the Hall, secured ?the outer door, and then crept up to his owni Sroom. . r BHere he closed the blinds, let fall his curtains, and lit his candles.. "A disguise! he mattered, fever; e islily. "1 must dig ii"'e in~mself-but t howl" He surveyed his reflection in a mir-. d ror, and- then opened his trunk and' set about the'- preparation .of a dis Sguise. , • a In a box at the bottom of his' trunk: were several wigs. some bottles if liquids f and boxes of powders, all of"which had been for many weeks' in iris poisseasion. SiHe set to work with feverishi haste. With ia pair of scissors he trimmed his long, luxuriant beard in military style. y Then taking out one of his toilet bolttles and a small sponge, he carefully wet his, d beard with the contents of the'bottle, hagrat thorhairs-se-that cs olo er" r exposed to the air. The consequence of this singular pro cems was soon apparent. The shorl black e hair began to turn red, soon deepening into a sandy tint. y "That's a disguise. if not a very plea sant one," Bassantyne said to Iimself. S" A red wig will cover.,my black hair. Now to clhainse my comilexio !" - ' He selected another bottle from his s collection, and poured a portiei of its con . tents into his hand-haslu, dilutinig it with - water. Washing his face with'this pro i duct, he succeeded in remnorving the dye t with which he lhad stained his inee, and v imparted to ids natiral ciaplexinu trho e tint ilpplropriate to a andy behiirdl. He d then put on a red wig. I Scarcely twenty minutes Iad leer con , sumed in thLese operations. He gathered l p the cliplpings of his beard iied put Sthems in his pocket. Ie would not leave behind Irln any clue' to his dis. guise. gn It is time to be off now," hle said to d hlnilnelf. "Lams Bill may he oreen nom id on ilis return. It is ir:posible to gueL:s ot how loeeg le has bleen olnUs."
'He'exitinguished his lights, unlocked his door, and crept out into the hall. He moved stealthily toward the door of the Lady Kathleen's boudoir. His great idea now was to procure a greater supply of funds for his flight, and to impart something of his plans to her ladyship. He tried the door. It was not locked. He pushed it open, and stole softly The little red parlor was dark, save for the glow of the dying fire. Bassantyne started at the shadows in the corners. No one was in the room besides himself, as he speedily assured him self; and he crept toward the dressing That, too, was unoccupied, and was dark. "She must keep her jewels in here, he muttered. "Ihad better help my self to them than to beg her for more money." He halted on the threshold, looking cautiously around him. The door into the bedroom was closed. "So farso good I" he thought. "I can easily enrich myself at Kathleen's ex pense, and I will do so." He drew out his match-case and struck a light. There was a candelabra on the mantel-piece, every branch of which up held a wax candle. Bassantyne lit several of these, and then began his investiga tions. Upon the lace-draped dressing-table, between the two windows, Bassantyne observed a large, square, handsomejoewel ase heavily bound with brass. eyes. The key was in its lock, where the maid had carelessly left it. Bassantyne lifted the lid, and looked in upon the con tents. The jewel case was arranged in trays. and upon this upper tray lay a full suit of magnificent emeralds, so becoming to the blonde loveliness of. the Lady Kath leen, and which she had worn to dinner that day with a silken robe of emerald green. "These are the 'Connor Emeralds' Kathleen is so proud of1" thought Bafi saontyne, gathering, the ?.glowing neck lace into his rude hand and holding it up to the light. "But where are her dia mondsl" IHe dropped the green. and glowing gems 'in a shimmering heap 'upon tlhe white 'ati:i' cashions, and lifted. out the tray, exposing,' in the tray be neath, a st of milk-white pearls 'of glor. ious size. TI?king out this, he revealed the dia Hlia eyes sparkled. at sight of -them.. Necklets; bracelets, broaches, pendants, a spray foritho hair, abuckle for the boelt, eshlwl.clasps and scarp piln.'all net with greet limpid diamonds, ahiningand spa-rk ling like littlesuns-they were a sight to make even a bitter man than Nichol'B s alnltyne cove!ouse. Hu'alniost held his brcethl fora h l'irf space, in his delight. Then, remember ing tlat he had no tilne to lose. he took out, his large handkerichief, spread it on tihe dressiog-table, and emptied into it diamiuds, pearls and emeralds, in one sumptuous, glittering heap. He was gathering the corners of his' haidkerchief together, preparatory to de-' parture into the adjoining room, .whri a .sound behind hins startled him, sausing him to cry out in his fright. Lohking around with distended eyes, lie' beheld the Lady Kathleen, in lier white dreesing.gown, and, ivith a scarlet shawl about her shoulders. . -Her ladyship was pale and frightened. Her azure eves were opened widely in her terror. AsB" h.isntyne 'faced her, with his disguised ecountenance; site utteird a shriek, 'ald flew to the bell.. :'. Bssaa?atynecomiprehlended'the truth at oncee. His bridebhad not returnedi,hut had been busy in hir bed-room. probably at her devotions. Site had come out to' attire herself for bed, or. to: sit by tile fire. ' He lifted his arm mnenacingly. with the handkerchief of jewels extelded. "Dnti'trine I" he commanded. . "I'm no burglar. 'Don't you know me; Kath leen?" At the sound of the familiar, hated. voice issuing from that strantge,: sndy beard, the Lady lathlees'a terrorsecarcely. lessened. She did not ring, but she.kept her ihold on the bell, and her face grew even whiter. ; ' " Who are you "' she gasped. " Who should I be but Nichol Bass 'anh Stynai "ydour husbandl" sneered thc'.'in truder."I Ineed money, and have comu in heire for your jewels r"' The color drifted slowly now into the .ure cheeks of the maiden brideo. ?; IAh' I see!" she said,, seornfill t',This is a device worthy of you. You. 'have disguised yourself to rob me; and. betray yourself, to nce, in'your cowardice. and fear that the servanut will capture you!" "Yau are wrung, Kathleetn. I have'dis guised myself for flight.' I itf it'lefve the 'Hall ittmediatelv.a . " S"The LadyKat'hleen lol?ed at ihim intre dulosly' . " Itis true," he intaited.: "tLame Bill has trackednme here.' He came on me in the park to-day, after you left me.. He stood peering out at me as I lay on the -'r?as, until he had satisfied himself of `nty identity. How muchl' longer lie had 'stood there 'don't know. , We had a fight. I thought 1 'killed. lhim. I hid ltim in a lllow- among the Lire. To niight I went outto bury hin, but lie was taone. The footprintashowed that lie had gune off, not been carried off. How lung heu'been cone, I can't tell. Of coure lihe went to Wicklow. He will be hack with the whole constabulary force." Thle Lady Kathleen comprehended the position. -?I,. y?D'orasrre-?nddlcd ?' she nasked. " o. The grooms sleep in the stalblo. If I' were ts arouse tihem, they would be able?to put the pursuers on tmy tluck. No ;I must go on foot and alone " The Lady Kathleen breathed heavily. Perhaps she had feared that lie would cnmpel her to aecomnpay hitm in lhi Ilight. Bssantyne smilied grimly, read. ing her thoughts. "I cannot take you . wit mee." hie sabil. '"I am'sorry for it. iBuit youaeunst i.,,a to ieat a place olsaill appufint. I 'Iov already formted lay plans. I shell goIf fr'.,s here up to Counely ASitrim, to the nteighI I borhood of Point Kildare.. I shall us r, Scure a boat there aind go vrer to Scotlarlid. It will ho i,,ssiesible far uae to es~lae :into Engliand, or by -way if the ieapo1rts. I must crtlss ill a smack tl tile Sactishll coast. When. I end for yo.u, ou IIlllls t otoutostensibly for n visit l. frcids andl t be carefil you are not traked." " You had better not sest;d for nue untfil you are safely its |he Coltiu. lit," eullg tested the Lady IKaslren. 1 shoulud. oi course, bea truckel o Scla:al. Yuu seem to have lsr your usa;:e t-"a(na- i: yollr lpresuc'elt rralr"
Basaantyr? iooked at hr sharply, and said " You are right, stay here till I write to you to come. But refuse to come when I send for you at your peril! I want you with me-your commanding presence, your evident gentility-to make people respect me as your husband ; and, above all, I want your purse. Now. I must be off." The Lady Kathleen detained him by a gesture. " The possession of those jewels will bring suspicion upon you as being a common house-breaker," she said. "You cannot dispose of them without suspicion. You will be detained at the first custom house. Let me redeem them. I will send to you, to any name and addresa ycu may indicate, a sum equivalent to half their value, and you could not sell them for more than that." Bassantynoe became thoughtful. Her objections wore sound ones, commending themselves to his sense. He studied her face attentively. Her glorious blue eyes men his in an honest, steadfast, truthful gaze. Bad and false and treacherous as he knew himself, and believed others, Iae was compelled to believed the Lady Kathleen's word where another would have been disregarded. He dropped his burglarious trophies. "I believe you, Kathleen," he said, simply. "I shall rely on your word. And now I'm off." The Lady Kathleen approached him, with her white, solemn face and uplifted eyes of a glorious, heavenly blue, now dimmed with tears. "One last ord, Nicol," she said. to'say toyou, but I could not. Pernaps this is not a fitting moment to say it, but I cannot let you go from me with these words unsaid." "Say on." Tihe sweet voice trembled as the Lady Kathleen continued: " Iloved you once Nicol Bassantyne, with a girlish sort of love that was no more than an ill-directed fancy. I thought you innocent and noble and good -all that I have since proved another man to be: . Now I know you to be bad and vile and murderous--yet I do not hate you !" " 'Bassantyne smirked He felt flattered. '.Ah, ha !" he said, with sudden jaunti ness, forgettiieg for the moment his ~rbrers; " You love me then ". Th-e Lady Kuthleen shook--her head, With something of her old disdain., ,:' "LNo, no," ihe said. "But I pity you! Like, Ishmael, your hand is against every man, and every man's hand is against you. .Hunted, homeless, friendlsa--my heart aches for you; Nicol Bassantyne ; aid I whist you to know before you go 'out on your wild fliglht that I will pray for your safety and your repentance. L May God forgive you all your wickedness as I for give your wroigsto mg !" She held out her little white hand to his blood-guilty one, and looked at hlii with a gze, so kindly,- so -pityiug. so sorrowful, that the bad man's heart-for. he had a heartsomewhere-melted witlin him. t He took her hand and clasped it fer vently. S"You are too good, Kathleen,, :he said, in a broken voice: "If I had knoitn you earlier than I did I might have been an honest ma. I've been a brute ad a devil, and I've wronged and wrecked your life, but I believe if I could undo every thinig, I would./ I do indeed.? He wrung her hand and flung it from him. At that moment a furious knocking was heard upon the door at the main Basantyne glared about him like a They vs easie l':he gasped e they've coma Iladi Iame Bill with th te~in It'aal He retreated to the walland drew: hi pistol. "I'll oever die oni the gallows!" he muttered ' Fool I If you had let measo iistead of keepin me litre, to' lpeach to me I should havs got off?- As itisi, re shall periash:together in one..common riin!i The knocking was repeated -loudcrand more furiously.: I e fo'b ontc.in.i icl.