Chapter 65655255

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Chapter NumberXXXIV
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Full Date1892-02-05
Page Number4
Word Count3038
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleFitzroy City Press (Vic. : 1881 - 1920)
Trove TitleThe Rival Claimants
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THE RIVAL CLAIMANTS. (Continuedfrom our last.) CHAPTER XXXIV. A DOU5LEREVZLATIOif. On the Antrini ooast, a mile cr mniore above Point Kildareg in the shore of a little bay shut in by tall, rugged bluffs, stood "the little cabin, toward which Micehaell ildare was conducting his com panions. It belonged to a fisherman who dwelt tlhere with his old wife.' On this day the couple had gone to the market town, on foot, and their boat, a' small craft wish a sail, l M'mSddesthisi themidst of its seclusion, a man' ca riding slowly on a jaded horse-a man .in whose miserable and haiggard aspect one would have found it dilfficult to recognise the fugitive husband of the Lady Kathleen. His worst enemy, Lame Bill, might havoe pitied him in his forlorness and draeperation. His garments were torn and dusty and begrimed. The dust on his face, channelledwith nweat, gave him Ssavage appearance. A wild look gleasied from hio eyes-the wildness pe culiar to a hunted creature, whether beast or.human. And Bassantyne knew himself to be hunted. He had felt that pursuers were on his track from the night of his escape from Ballyconnor-from the very hour in which he had attacked tihe constable in the mountain. pass. nearly snurderioc him, end robbing him of. his horse, the animal lie now rode. He had skulked along in his flight, avoiding the main roads, snatching the little sleep he had in rick yards., and in the open fields or under hedges, while the horse cropped the herbage near at hand. He had intended to proceed to Bally castle, and to sail thelce ho Scotland, but tihe deadly terror gatheoring in his sool caused him to divert his course, and seek some lonely fishers cabin. He would hire some fisherman, he thought, to transport himn to the Scottish shore. He rodo up to the cabin, his wild eyes scannineg the scene restlessly and sus picioueslj, dismounted, and knocked at the door. No one called to him. He opened the door and breathed an audible thanks giving wlhen he found that no one was wsitlhin. "They have gone to market, or to visit a neighbor," he thought, Ihis gloomy face lighting up. "I can go off in their boat. Ishall get off safely, after all." He was lhungrv-nearly fssuished. He ----entto a little Espboeard and hlelped himlself lib'rally tobread need cold eooked fish, of which there was plenty. He nats like a storring man, leaking over his shoulders at every second, as if he ex pected to see an enemy at Ihis elbow. The fugitive went out upon the bench, climbed into the sloop. and examinied it. It' was sound and trim. He got out again upon the shore, and pushed off the little craft into deeper water. At,.that moment, as he was about to clamber into the vessel again, a party on horseback came galloping into full view, approaching the cabin. it was the party heeded by Michael Kildare. Basesantyne saw that there were several men in thel party. He did not notice the flutter of the countess's riding-habit, as she esnes up in the rtsar, and ld no idea tihat there was a-woman among the new comers. He believed himself overtaken at the very moment when he believed tlhat he had won safety. For a moment he stood as If paralysed, turning a wilt; whlite, desperate face to wards the oncomers. A mist gathered blefore Ihis vision. His want of food, want of sleep. and the terror that had leee greving upon him for dayo, made hlim for slhe moment quite blind seed help. le-s. He felt feebly in hia breast pocket for Ihis pistols. " I won't be taken alive I" he mut tered. half inaudibly. Thonthe sound of those ringing hoofs rang out with sudden and startling furce. His vision began to clear. The instinct of llitht came upon him again, and he turned and climbed up the sloop's aide like a hat. The big sail was forled. Bassatyne began to steake it out, with a glare in Ihis eyes like tlhat of a maniase. Rallo, Callalhan 1" cried Michael Kildore. galleping down to thle beach, Redmond Kildare at his side. "By George! it's not Callahan at all. Its snee thief trying to steal his boat." Ilasusantne scarcely heardsor Iheeded - e .\s:peeeI: Tlti° 'e.-'ta'hitce autos. - blid t'in see rop HkOtfldsb tt-Mke out else sail, andleear waire'tie'men with'a A i thief Do you Iar ? ejaculated. Michael Kildare, excitedly, Bassantyne's looks and oaenner sufficiently indicating that he was in the act of stealing.the boat. " We msust stop him. Here, you fellow, surrender I" ' Tile sail began to loodse now. The' broze' began to fll1i : Bassantyne's eyes lit up, glomly, as he cried out: "Surrender Never I I will not be taklen alive 1. I warn you lam a desperate ean i The Earl of Kildare,"who was braver than the little lawyer, and who had no intention of seeing thesloop he waoted carried off before his:ey'.1by'some thief holder than he, sprang os his horse, ran over the strip of beach, andi 'caight at the atern of the hisat. ' "BickI hbck Ib " shouted Baisansne. lhoarsely. his face all aflame. "Back, or you die !" -, ;.. . . . Rediond Kildar did not reply, but he clienibed'over the'sidd of the boat, and bouindieg= toward.Banstymie with a swift, tiger-like movement. Bassantjie recoiled'liefor'e him 'i ans awful terror, drew,his piatol, and fired. Bedmond Kildars flung up his arms

with a wild shriek, and fell forward on his face into the bottom of the boat..... His shriek was echoed by the countess and by Michael Kildare, both of whom came riding toward the boat like whirl winds. ilaeantyne saw theim coming. A cold. gray pallor overspread;his face, and l.s lips set themselves together in a terrible smile.' " Come on 1". he mattered. "lItis too late to escape now. All can do is to cheat the hangman." And 'asMichaelXildare clambered into the boat Bassantyne put his remaining pistol to his heart, fired, and fell-dead. The horrors of the scene were not yet over.` Stiechael Kildare hastened to the side of the prostrate Redmond, and turned up to the sunlight the young man's face. The eyes were open, and a. look of terrible pain was in 'them. He was terribly wounded in the breast, as it seemed, but he still lived. he 'little Dublin lawyer gathered the wounded man's head to his breast, and chafed his hands, and wiped. his, fore head, crying out: h"Redmond I Redmond! speak to mel You are not dying 1" "Dying ?" cried the countess, climbing into the boat. "Redmond dying I knaw him better." And then she laughed a wild, insane laugh, that nearly curdled the blood of those who heard it. The truth was apparent at a glance. All her troubles about the property, with this added shock of Bedmond's dangerous wod abeen t2_ i t as,,or a herctn had not been' cal. tShe was inanse' again-incurably insane.' " My God!"cried Sir Russel, appalled by these terrible events. "That man dead. The countess insane. Redmoend Kildare dying! What are we to do 7" ' We must have help immediately for Lord Kildare." exclaimed Mr. Wedburn. " We may save him yet. There is a doctor on Point Kildare, is there not 7" " The chaplain understands surgery. " We must obtain his services at once. We hlarve no time to spend in going to one of the villages along the coast, Let us leave our horses here and sail for the island at once." Mr. Wedburn, being the mosat self posseesed man in the party, had his own way. Ho secured the horses in the felernnan's garden, followed Sir Russel into the boat, and set the nail. They made their way out of the core into the waters of the channel. Long before they drew near the open beach in front of the castle their ap proach had been observed. Mr. Wed burn displayed his handkerchief as a flag of truce, and as the Lady Nora and her friends came out upon the beach, and the boat drew nearer to the shore, he called out: "We have met with an accident. We want the servieces of a doctor. Will you let us come ashore I" " Is this a ruse, like your return to Dunloy ?" asked Lord O'Neil. " By BHeaven, no. Lord Kildare is danigerously wounded, and we have a dead man in here. In the name of humanity, permit as to land on your shores." The appeal was heeded. The Lady Nora signilied that they could land. Thie little sloop ran into the shelter of the point, the countess rising and making frantic attempts to throw herself over board, in which she was restrained by Sir Russel Ryan. It was in sorry plight the little party reached the shore. "You see what has happened, Lady Nora 1" cried Sir Russel, as he assisted his charge upon the besch. "The coun teas s insane again. Her son is dying." ":Dying." "Yes; he was shot by a fellow who killed himself the next instant. There the man lies dead in the boat." Impelled by some sinister fascination, the party on the beach approached the boat to look upon the face of the dead man. At the first glance the Lady Kathleen recognised him. Despite all his squalor and dirt, she knew the dead face as that of the man who had made her life a misery to her fair years., "It is Bassantyne," she cried. "It is my husband." And what a strange, shrill cry, she fell forward on the sands insensible. Tender arms lifted her and carried her into the castle-the arms of her old lover. Lord Tresham hadscarcely disappeared with his burden, when Sir Russel; Lord O'Neil and the others lifted out of the heat the quivering figaure of Redmond Kildare, and laid it on the sands. The chaplain bent ovesr him, shook, his head sorrowfully, and said : " Lrd Kildare, I can-do nothing for you. No human power can help you now. Let me advise you to make your piece with God." Redmond Kildare gasped for breath. "Dying," he whispered. "Am I dy nThe chaplain's compassionate face an swered him. " Who sayshe is dying 1"cried Michael Kildare, fiercely. "I tell you he is riot dyinsg." Re looked around him sullenly, but he saw only pitying sorrow in the faces bent itoward him. " We must take him into the castle," said Nora, her eyes flooding witllh tears. " Oh, is there nothing we can do for him" 7" The dying man looked up at her with a feeble surprise and gratitude. ".'Tuo late 1",lie whispered.' Let me; .diehere.e" Iffial wel 2:P r ;* The lawyer, iweepiig 'lihke, a".'Iias boent over the young man. " Michael," whispered Redmond, gasp ingly, "she'll be Lady.of Kildare'now, when I am gone. What was the flaw? I want to know." " Theisttle lawyer read the troth iu the young mane's fast glazing 'eyes;', that lie was dying. 'He took him up in his arms aid kissed him, crying out in his anguish: Readmond, can't you gur it? ' 'TYoi are not the son of Lord Redmond Kildare and yonder madwoman.' Their son died in his infancy, after the mother had been sent to a madhouse, and at a time when Lord Rtedmsond was here at Point Kil dare. 'I bribed the nurse and substiuted .you in place of the lord'a dead non. It was you whom Lord Redmand. mistoken and unsuspicioos, took to the Doif couple as his son. 'And when he died lie be lieved yo 'his son, and made these comunicatiois to me which, I have' related.". , .. A spasm.of pain, mentl 'as well as physical,: consvulsed the features of the dytoc man. "Neat Lord Redmend's ass I" he whin pered. " Who, then, am I?" s son. Rodmood, mine l"sobbed

the little lawyer, ibo who; shat jlev .ie is. crimes and wickedness, loved the dyin Sooti ývifth'lhi tenlderest affecitioi did it because I loved .youii. It was to make you rich and honoredl that I did it. I warted iy son to bear the proud old title from which I was debarred-" a "Ahu i' said Redmond, ":And who who was my mother?" The lawyer , face flushed,. and he t trembled. He would not have answered,, but that those dying eyes compelled him. "Your mother, Redmond," he wlbiu pered, "was-is-Mrs. Liffey, my wife." d With a wild, anguished 'groan, Red-. mand Kildare' turned 'away from the t father who had sinned so deeply for him, fixed his gaze, upon, the. bright, .sunlit t sky, and in another moan his. life slipped " from him, and, he lay on the sands- ° dead. - The two men; Redmond Kildare and Nicol Basantynie, were buried on the same day, and in the same little country grave-yard. The story of howthey met their deaths was not suffered to get a abroad. a After the funeral, Michael Kildare, a b bowed, 'stricken, and prematurely old E man, went away with theinsan counteas, a whom he restored to her foriner asylum. t He then returned to Dublin, where he b soon after died. t Sir Russel Ryan stayed behind at Kil dare Castle, with Mr. Wedborna to apologine to the Lady Nora for his harah. ness and unbelief. His grief was so t sincere that the young Lady of Kildare did not find it difficult to forgive him. on theiven da o g Bill,; s a ha Al"owed Bassantyne all the way from Ballyconnor, losing track of him in Antrim, came upon t Fogarty in the streets of Dunloy. He recognised him in spite of. his dis- 3 guise. Fogarty turned upon him in self defence. A fight followed, in which the E two men mortally wounded each other. Neither ever spoke again, and with them t perished all danger of a declaration to the world of Basnusantyne's identity-with the fugitireconvict. Bassantyne's secret was buried with him, so far s the world was concerned. It was the day after the funeral. The Lady Kathleen was seated in the little octagon sea-parlor, pale, but bright and hopeful. Withl Bassantyne had perished allhergriefs. She was absorbed in thought, when the door opened and Lord Tresham tame in. His lordship.approached the ysung maiden widow, and satdownather aide. " You are not grieving, Kathleen I" he said. "Grieving " She turned her face to him quickly, blushing. "All our sorrows are over, are they not, Kathleen?" asked,Tresham, gently drawing her nearer to him. "You will marry me after a little ?" "tYes. if you want me after hearing my story," said the Lady Kathloen, shyly. ' ' ' . " I shall want you all. the same, Kath leen. But you need not rake up for me these bitter memories. Let 'them die with Bassantyne." "You must knew all before I promise to marry you," said the Lady Kathleen. "Barry, when I went with you to the Scottish shore to be married I thought Bassantyne dead." "I know it." "That fraudulent. marriage in Scot land was not my first marriage to Baaaun tyne."', Lord Tresham started. " I was married to him years ago in London. The marriage was secret. . I know him as the Count Clairault. I thought' I loved him," said the Lady Kathleen. pantingly, her head bowed. "I thoughthim good and honorable; and we had hardly left the altar when he' demanded money of me. His words when making the .demand opened my eyes to his character. Two of his friends, who had been his groomsmen and wit nesseao-I' though them foreign army ofticers-laughed to see my dismay, my terror, my horror of the man I had married. I went to my own home, re fusing to recognise the marriage as valid. Until hie went to Australia I paid BDasan tyne half of my income to be allowed to retain my freedom and my secret. His object in marrying me had been to get money, I gave it him, and kept my secret." " My poor Kathleen I" "He was sent to Australia. I heard thatlie died there. All the years he. was there I was obliged to pay heavy sums of money to the two witnesses of. my marriage to prevent them from divulging my secret. I have lived a life of terror and persecution. The knowledge that 1 had been married to a ruffian, a villain, a convict, has wveighed me to the earth. You have heard my story, Lord Trresham, and can comprehend nowwhy you must leave me." "Never I Oh, my darling, if you had only told me this story that night when we sat on the rocks I' We might hare been spared much after grief. From hence forth, Kathleen, we will sharo our griefs together. My darling, I shall never let you go from me again I" He clasped her in a fervent embrace, and both hearts, so long grief-tossed, knew peace and joy at last. ' ' For a man like Bassantyne, who'conld mourn 7 Surelynotthe maidenhe had eo terribly wronged. She made no pre tense of wearing mourning for him, and irlen Lord Treshlam begged her to marry him soon, she did not refuse his earnest demand :. Some three or. four, months later the little Kildare chapel was 'decorated, with. sagrgryen' and,, holly, -te, bell. ang.a' :meev'peml;,Ctheetenanhtry anmf' ssvautai assmmbled," and' 'among theo fiaithful' frienids thIe Lady Kathleen was'married to Lord'Tresham, " annd the Lady Nora Kildare was united to' Lord O'Neil. Sir Russel Ryan gave away the brides. Shamus OLafferty was the grand niaster iof ceremonies,' both then and at' the f-stivities tlhat followed at the' castle. Alle;"n 3Mahon, lier fathdr,. Mrs.' Kelly, old Shane. Dennisi and all were in high' spirits, and executed their parts ir an Irish reel, ns theeveniag after the cera mosiy.''with 'fll na. much inle as grace. Antd tn-Bay Lord O'Neil ond~hi spirited. and lovely yoong bride are as happy oe 'they leserve, and Glen O'Neil is being' fast reatored to its ancient glory. 'IToccEND)