Chapter 65655242

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Chapter NumberXXXIII.-(CONTINUED.)
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Full Date1892-02-04
Page Number1
Word Count2166
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleFitzroy City Press (Vic. : 1881 - 1920)
Trove TitleThe Rival Claimants
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NOVELIST The Rival Claimants. DBy MRS. HARRIET LEWIS. Author of "T 7e Susdered oeartr," " Th Failhys Schtem," "T ht Dorblt Lif," Ett., Etc. *--wee~- CHAPTER XXXIII.-(Caor?rBEo .) The little cavalcade swept down the arched, encircling avenue toward the Cut off, and a brisk ride soon brought them to the bridge-house. Here were drawn uptwo parties, one on each bank of the swift torrent.: On the island side were old Dennis and a dozen allies. On the mainland were the Lady Nora' guardians, the English lawyer, and her ladyship's enemies. The Lady Nora rode up to the very edge of the steep bank of the Cut-off, at the head of her little party, and halted at the brink. Her face was bright, glow ing and piquant, as in her happiest days. Her bright, keen eyes roamed over the opposite group in searching acrutiny. Old Shane' description of its members had been accurate. The countess, in a draggled habit, a battered hat and general disarray.did look like a mad woman, as she rode up and down the steep bank, her restless, glit tering eyes looking eagerly for some spot where she might attempt a mad leap. The new earl was furious with rage, and was crying out in a loud, shrill voice that he would have his rights. Michael Kil dare, soft and gentle and dapper as usual, was trying, in vain, to soothe the excite ment of his noble client. Sir Russel arid Mr. Wedburn were talking, together- privately and a little apart. As the-Lady Nora rode up to the op posite bank, SirRussel rode forward also to the brink of the Cut-off. His florid face was set in a stern, uncomprising ex pression. Helooked angry, annoyed and indignant, and indeed be was all of these. In reply to the Lady Noras bow he in clined his head coldly,and then exclaimed, harshly - " "What is the meaning of this wrqtched force, Noral You voluntarily retired from 'Kildtre Catld-t give place td it rightful owner, and yet I find you-here again;'.usurping" Lrd Kildare's rights, and creeping like a thief. into his house while he is absent. Is this conduct be comingd?s I?u? Is it becoming a daughter of the house of Kildare?" The Lad NHora's cheeks reddened. " You have heard but one aids of the story," she answered. " These friends will testify to the justice of my cause." Sir Russel sneered. "Anid'what may. their opinion in the case be worth?" he cried, furiorusly. " Your lover, Wild Larry, is a penniless fellow, who is ready for any excitement or sensation; and the Lady Kathleen moat be a fitting adviser, she who ieloped with and married a man-Satanknows who I Your present course is illegal, in delicate and absurd. As your guardian, I command you to have that draw-bridge lowered I"'. . "'And as your ward, I utterly decline to have it low.-rid," responded the girl, " uile-s you will guarrantee to come over ahon." ยท "Do you dictate terms to me?" ejacu .ated Sir Russel, angrily. "I kill pro mise nothing! WVheu I come over Mr. Michael Kildare and the earl will cross with me." ".Then you'll stay where you. are for -th present. unless you fall back-on Dub 'in or England," said the Lady ?Hora, molly. "This matter of the ownership of Point Kildare must be aset'ed by the law. And until the law awards it to Redmond Kildare I shall remain in pos session.P " But the proofs are clear enough that Redmond Kildare is the rightful owner," said Sir Russel, ' " Having once resigned ns Lord Kildare'i favor, you are commit ing a folly, and worse, in thus return ing." "My dear guardian, I wish I could ex plain this matter to you fully !" exclaimed the young heiress. "This man, Redmond Kildare, is not the 'rightful owner' of the castle and estates. , His proofs look- well eniugh, and may convince a jury, but I assure you, Sir Ruossel, on my honor, that I overheard Michael Kildare tell. Red mond -?ildare that there 'was a flaw in Itedmond's claims-a flaw known only to Michael-and in virtue of this flaw Red mond Kildare hasb neither moral nor lezal right to these estates or to the title." -Sir Russel- looked astonished, and glanced at the little Dublin lawyer. The latterrode forward toward the liar' onet;'with an expression of mingl-d grief srid suryrise, as it seemed, on the soft, amonth, gentle face. " I-I am duaprised," he said. ini a b? wildred sort of way. .' Nors, you must have beendreaming. I never made such a remnark--never I .How could I, when it is o falsel' '!, , ' . "Hypocrite f"said .the .Lady. Nrrjir contemptuously. " You know I: speak the truth.; ,You know that you carried pe from your honse to amiserpble prison

at GJoildalkl. ' To know tmai you aroa the, an Fogarty to kill ae-'" , SThe little lawyer held up hii, handa in horror. ; ' i1 . t ' ; 7! Sir Russel Ryanmeioed out, impationtly, angrily. , . , "Nora, cease saich' bast:aceusatlinss I' he commanded. " Can you expect uito believe such falsehoods? 1 have iiown Michael Kildaroi'l my life. Ho is one of the gentlest, .the. kindest and sefteat, hearted of men. He bribe a man ti kill you I '. This is of a piece with your melo dramatic action of polling up the draw. bridge. Murder is gone out of date. The accusation piits your firstassertion at its just value" .. "It is true, Sir-Russel," said Lord O'Neil, impetuously. " I saw this prison of Nora'a'at Clondalkin. I rescied the Lady'Nora 'from the .wretched cabin of Roogh Fogarty on' the" Down -coast. ery' word she has aid- I will vouch for." "Perhaps you overheard Michael Kil dare plotting to kill his young.kins woman"" 'oneered the:baronet. S"I thought not.. .MichaelKildare has shed tearon' the the: place, tears of love, and pity'lor this msguided Nora. He attempt to klll the girl he loes so: stroongl J_The idea is morerthan prpos-' terons,. Yet I aussre you, Sir Russel," saidti Lord 0'Neil, with stern emphasts, I'lVat I this 'preposterous'assertioi is truel Find' the'man Fogarty and conipel him to-tell' you tihe truth." Again the little Dublin lawyer held up his hands in seemingly righteous horror. - "It is a conspiracy against me 1" he gasped. "Fogarty, the nephew of my iousekeeper, a harmless, inoffensire fel low, is overatDunloy, where I bnde him await our return. Send forhim, Sir Russel Question him; and clear my skirts of this dreadful stain my poor misguided Nora ha cast upon them." ', "Nonaeuse I" cried Sir Russel. "Nora'a a false accusations fall to the ground of c themselves. I know you too well. my < dear fellow, to believe you capable of planning a foul murder. And besides, what reason could the basest man have conceived for the murder of Nora I My poor Nora," he added, bternly, fixing his gaze on the young girl, " you should have I devised a more skilful story than this, if you desired to injure your kinsman:" ' Decidedly I" said 21r.- Wedburn. "Her ladyship shows a poverty of inven tion." " All this is wandering from the main a point," cried the new earl. " I want to get over on the island. I have engaged my new household, but I was obliged to leave the persons behind, as we started in such a hurry. They must come on to morrow. I don't wants any trouble if I call help it, but I can'thave these people," he added, insolently, "living in my castle, and keeping me out of my own, as well as putting me to the greatest inooa venience I" " You are right, my lord," said. Sir Russel. "Nora, again I command you, lower the drawbridge I" ' - " And again I refuse I" said the Lady Nora. " i As you doubt my word and in sult me and my friends, we will not pro long this interview. If the new earl wants redress, let him apply to the law. I believe there is nothing else to say. Good morning!" She bowed haughtily and retreated from the bank, her friends retiring with her into the idge of the avenue, where ahalt. -- .--.------ Sir Russel and his party retired to a little distance from the Cut-off, and en gaged in an animated discussion. . - "It is impossible to leap the stream 1' said thebaronet. "If it was possible, I would do so." - . . . ' I "If we could get into the castle by stratagem," suggested the new earl, ",we should be in possession ; and possession, you lawyers say, is everything." "A good idea," said Mr. Wedburn. "Once in the castle, your lordship could make your own terms with' the Lady Wors." " We must enter the castle 1" cried Sir Russel. " This misguided girl must not be suffered to make her honored name a. scandal to the whole kingdom. I fear her mind is astray, or that O'Neillias won her over to some coiisiracy." He does not want to let slip so rich a prize as Point Kildare. Did you notice iow eager he was to corroborate 6Nra's testimony ? We must not suffer this great scandal If we could get into the castle I would take the girl under my guardianahip again and remove her to England." " We must get in I" exclaimed Red mond Kildare. "1 have a plan. Let as pritend to give up the matter, and leave it for the law to settle. Then let us pretend to return to Dunloy. But. once out of sight of Point Kildare. we could go to Glenarm or Gushendall or Ballycastle and procure boats. -We could return in these to-night and effect a landing." "I have a better idea," interposed Michael Kildare.' "If we retire, as his lordship saye, those on the island will re lax their vigilance,- and -we ocan easily land this very morning in broad daylight. The woods on the north side of the island will screen our.approach, and once on the island we can creep up to the castle under cover of the rocks. It will be easy then to get into the castle." "But the boata ?" "Ah, yes, the boats. One will be enough. And that we can easily get. There's a fisherman living on the main land, in a linely spot a mile or so beyond the north end of the island. We can hire his boat Let ns meet strategy with strategy. Do you not say so ?" The baronet, Mr. Wedburn and Red mond Kildaro acceded to this plan. The countess, who had listened eagarly and in silence, added her approval; Silicliel Kildare.aud Sir Rusel then rode back to the brink of the Cut-off. - The Lady Nora and lLord O'Neil came out upon the opposite side. to hear the conclusion the young girl's guardians had arrivedat.-. *' We retire," said the baronet, grimly. "The Lady Nora bids Lord Kildare to have recourse to the law, and he vill obeyher. One word as to myself Do I understand your ladyship as defying my authority as your guardian. and re fusing to go with me to England ?" ' ['cannot leave Kildare,"' replied the Lady Nora. "But, Sir RusIel, I do not defy your authority. I honor and esteem you. You know how'ppa wished me to remain at Point Kildare, and I must stay here until I am legally ejected. But I shall be glad to see you hero alone, Sir Russel, at any time. Perhaps, in a pri rate interview with you, I niight convilice r.,om of the Iru h and justice of what 1 ave'ihleiged.": : ' ... Sir R issel waved. his hand impa tiently. . -' . .. .. ... . . S" Hiild 'yotuielf prepared, for a.lcgal rjectmeliit" lie said.- "And remember the law gives me a parent's control over you, which control I. shall claim, unless

oi' have6 a new guaardian, appointed, ,which I am 'perfeatlv willing you should ;He: withdrel: from, the bank and gal ioped aloing the lighwaiy, and ;hist om panions followed him. They took the road to Dunloy. . Convinced of the genuineness .of their retreat, the Lady Nora and her -friends returned to the castle. Once well beyond all view from Point Kildire,.c?he little Dublin lawyer; turned into a cros-road, and led the way up the coast towards the fisherman's hut he had mentioned.: " We have done well;" ne said." We have thrown Nora and her friends off their guard, and we can easily effect a landing oa- the island. We'shall soon reverse the order of things, and have matters our own way.: -The little partygalloped on, convinced they wer6 about to outgeneral their oppo Ah I if they had been readthe future I S Conclded inournext