|Chapter Number||XVI. (CONTINUED.)|
|Chapter Title||SEARCHING FOR A CLUE|
|Newspaper Title||Kyabram Union (Vic. : 1886 - 1894)|
|Trove Title||The Curse of Carne's Hold, a Tale of Adventure|
CURSE OF~ OCARNE'S HOLD. A TALE OF ADVENTURE.E . BY G. A.-Hassrr, ath?bo of" Under Drake's lag," "with Clive i India," "A Cornet of Hoese," Etc. CHAPTER XVI. (Cowrrcrrn.) 5EAnCiINI FOR A. CO A . - The day after the workmen went out a waggan-load of furniture, simple but 5ubstan , arrived, and on the following day the~ oacbhbroughtdown the now tenants. Agirl had been alreoadyngagedin the village to act as ser -ant. Miss Armstrong was quietly and plainy dressed, and might, by her attire, be taken for the daughter of a malil farmer, and the opinion in the village, as the new cmers walked through on their way to the cottage, was dis tinctly favourable. In a very short time Mr. Armstrong became quite a popular charxacter in Carnesfordl, and soon was on speaking terms with most of the people. He won the mothers' hearts byspat iiheng the headsof the little girls, and praieing iheirlooks. He had a habitof caryivng sweets in his pockets, aid distributing them freely among the children, and he wold loungefor hours at the tnith's door, listening to the gossip that went on ; for in Curunefor , as olse whero, the forgo was the reco00giedm00tin't place of those who had nothing to do. Ha was considered a wonderful aniuitition by the fro q uenteir of the suuggery at the Care's Arms, and his stories of lie at the Cape gave anll adde interest to theirmeetings. Hearing from Hirun Powlett that he had a wife and daughter, ho asked him to get them, as amatter of kindness, to visit his daughter ; and withi a fortnight ofl is arrival, he and Mary went to tea at the :Several times the conversation in tho snug. rgyturnn edupon the murder at the Hold. In no case did the now comer lead upto it, but it cropped up as the subject whichthe people of Caraneford were never weary of discussing. He ventured no opinions and asked no qucs tions upon the irst few occeasioa when the subject was being discussed, but smoked his pipe in silence, listening to the conversa tion. " It seems strange to me," he said at last, "that'you in this village ebouldnover have had a suspiciou of aiyone except tide Cap tain MIervyn. I understand that you, Mr. Claphurst, and you, Mr. Carey, have never tlhought of auyon else ; but Mr. Powlett he always says Hlo is ure it isn't him. But if it wasn't him, hir. 1owlott, who do you think it was r" * "Ah, that is more than I can tell," Hiram said. "1 have thought, and I have thought till my hied weut round, but I can't see who it can havo beeoon." "Miss Carne seems to have had no one "No, not one-not as I eover heard of. She was wonderful popular in the' village-she wis: and as for the squire, except about poaching, he never quarrelled with Imyone." " Had he trouble with poachers, then'?" d"Well, not often, but last year before that affair there was a bad lit about. They were from Dareport--that's two miles away, down ont the mouth of the river-with one or two chaps frolm this village, so it was said. About a fortnight-it may be three weeks-before isl Caruo was killed, there was a fight up in the woods between them and the agmekeepers. One of the keepers got stabbed, bat he didn't Sdie until some ises afterward ; but the jury brought it in wilful murder all the same. it didn't matter much wletoverdiet they brought in, 'cause the man as the ovidencewent against hod left the country-at least, he hasn't been seen hereabouts." " Anl a good job, too, Hiram ; a good job to,' Jacob Carey put in. "Yes," Hiiram-said, "I admit it it was a good job as hie ws gone ; a good job for us all, It would never have done any good hers, ansyway ; .td the best job as everhoe did for himsole, as l know of, woe when hio took him self off." There was a general chorus of assent. "' Wlmat was the ma?s's name " Mr. Arm. strong asked, carelessly. "His name was (sorgo Forrester," Jacob Carey said. As they were going out from the snuggery that evening, the landlord made a eign to Mr. Armstronuthat lan wanted to spao:k to idm. He accordingly lingered until the other men had leoft. . - " Ohl, I thought I would just tell you, Mr. Armstrong, seeing that your daughturand youea have been to the- Mill, it's justas well not to talk about the loa)chinrg and Goro Forroster beforoe Ruth lhcwlett. You see its rather a sore subject with her. She was engaged to that George Forroster, and a lot of trouble it gave her father and mother Well, I expect she must have aeen now that she had a lucky espe. Still, a girl don't like a man as she hlb liked being epokei against, so I thought that I would say a word to you." " Thlek you. 'hat's very frheidly of you. Yes, you may be sure that I won't introduce thosubject. lan very glad you told me, or I ight have blundlerod upon mt and hurt the girl's feelings. She doesn't look very strong, either. She has a nervous look about her, I think," " Site used to be very differelt, but she had a great shock; she was the lirst, you know, to go into Mise Carno'e room and find her dead. PShe was her maid before that nd she waswo ill for weeks after. It came on the top of an illhess, too ; alo fell down oni the hill comiug home from church, and they found her lying insensible there, and she was very badJ had the' decter there every day. Then came this other affair, anid I daresay this business of George sorrester's helped too. Anyhow she woas very bad, iand tilhe doctor thought at one timethat she wouldn't get over it." Mr. Armstrong walked home thoughtfully. " Well, father, what is your news '" Mary Armstrong said, as she entered, "I can su you have heard something more than usual." " Will, my dear, Idon't know thatit's any thing, but at the same time it certainly is new, and gives us something-'to follow up. It seems that there was a follow namod George Porrester living somewhere about hdro and ho wasi engaged to your friend, Ruth Powlett, but her-father and mother disapproved of It highly. It seems he was a bad lot; he got mlxed up with a gang of poachers, and some little time before this murder, about three weeks the said, they had a fight with Mr. Carnmo s keepers; olo of the keepers was mortally woundoed it was said by this Georgo For -ester. The man lived for some time, but at last died of the wound, and the jury brought in a verdict of wilful murder against Gcos? Porrester, who had been migssig from the time of the fight." "Yes, father, but that seems no great clue." "Perhaps not, Mary but it shows at least that there was one iuellow about here who might" be considered to have had a qiuarrel with he Carmes, and who was a thoroughly hbad character, and who-and this is of im. iortaneo-was engaged, with or without her oarents' consent. to .ies Cane's own maid:" Mary grve a hitte gap of excitement. ",Now it seeis turther," leer father wont 'o,. "that some time between this poaching afray and the murder-I could not inquiri .closely into dates--Ruth Powlett was found insEeloeon tihe road going up the hill, and was vsry'ill for some days; shosaidahohad bad a foal, and os mourse abh might have had. lithough it is nrot often, young women fall down so heavily as to stun thlemselves, but it may of courselsavo ben sommething else.' - " What elieo, father ?" W 3V Iit iS J lIb sho may' have met this lver ofhe id that they may have had a quarrel. Probably she knew he had been en uogcd in this poaching effair, and may have told hun that she would have noething more to do with hhn, and he may have knocked her down. Of course, this is' all mere supposition, hut it is only by supposition that'wo cua grope our way along. It seemsshes was well enough anyhow to go ump to her place again at the Hold, for abs was tho first to discover the murder, and the shock was so great that she was ill for weeks, in fact, in great danger; thoy say she has been greatly changed over since. I don't know whether anything .canbe made of that, my I don't know. I don't sem what, father," Mary mid, after thinking for some time," un less bho is fansyinmg sines that it was this man who did It. Of courser nnyhow it would be a fearful. shock for a girl to find her mistress lying mrde porhapslt may be nothing "No .doubt it may be notblng moro than that, Mary ; but it's tie other side of the ems e hlave to look at. WVe must piece the things tegether. Here e harvofour or firs feete, ali of which may tell. Hers is a bad chorocter in the village; that is oni point. This man had a poachinig affray with hIr. Came's keepers; he killed, or iet aoy rate thle coroneo lure found that hiesldcled, one of thin keepers. I?o 1 waged to Mifss Caree's own maid. "This id is j?ust .nter tehm poacling business found insemsiblo in fnlo wood, and tolls rather on Im probtels story as to how it iamo about. She is the first to eufer er mlitro?s? room, and then eb0 li)us a sReriuO illness, 0! course., iey girl Md rights russee.
:would bejtckd-'and'frlghtet d'"uh d-upeCt, but itfaiisot so often thata aeriousllnrses would -'tisa u lt:;'And lastly, sho has been changed evcrnh?o. She hasso you remarked to ma ths iitheiir day, an aobe nt pre-occupioe sort of wahy about her. " Taken altogether, these things Certainly do amount to something' ?o. "' thilnk so too, father; I tilss ao too," Mar Armstrong said, walking d down the little room in her excitemen t :think tlhere must be something e, fatner, after this poaching biust ?_on wanted to get away, .a.1 ha t:o in .want of money, and so have the Miss Carne's wuat.h and jewels to mN3.iidey to take him abroad." " : ?.' " "Sohe might, my dear. That i c?ntAuuly' feasible explanatiou, but unfortuiately instead of taking them away, you . e,?0?uAjd them.' " Yes, father, but he onlyjvit.pished tlmn into the ground, the report said;' because on reading through the old tiles of the iewspapers .the other day, I particularly noticed, that.'" ' Perhaps just as he was leaviug.the house a dog may have barked, or somethitg may have givenhim a scare, and he just hid themn 11the ground intending to come tor them isugt day; and then, what with the excitethient and the police here, and the search' tht was beipg made, he could get no opportunity of gctting theu up again, and being afraiL, of' being arrested himelm for his share .hi the poachiiii alfray, he dared not hang aboilt hIfi%' any loter, but probaly tt- owt outn an got on board el " it really .alt,' probablle, fatlher.. There is eons. It that I canll e, Why so??-h ho d ksil Mtiess Carnie? blcus ~os doctors asa that she was certainly " ý cannot tell, dear. h?"' may arve moved a little. RIe may have tlio cht hat she would wakeaand that he had bottrih ko sure. Io was a doeitto. mlan, and there isýmo say. ing what a fperato mani will do. Anyhow, Mary, this is ue lue, and a distiuet one, and we must follow ,it ip. It -may lead us wron'" in the end but wsoelhall not be loaing time folflow ng it, for I shali'eiop my cars open, td mnay fid some otlier and alto?ptler difl'ereot track." . " Ilow had vwp;,.better follow it " Mary aked, after havina sat silent 'for somoeminiutes. ' This Forrester is gone, -and we have no idea where. I- think th~ ionly person likely to be ablo to hoelp us is Ratli owlett.. "Exactly so, my' deity",. ? " And she would nbt likelwto speak. Ift she knows anything ?' ooul hav said itat the time had she not w toseldeld this manj. whom she may love 5 'Thi winked. H" Quite so, myd ides," andhin smiled, "young wome :ro not ar 'o posed to bililes in their lovm"~ g'ilt"' ; "How can you say so faery:, ;lu?.said, indignantly ; " you would not co.mpgre h" "No, no, Mary ; I would not ?'oadpros.thi two men ; but I think you will admit that even had the evidelnc against Rtonald Mervyn been ton times as conclusive as it was, you would still h'ave maintained his innocence against all the world." " Of course I should, father." " Quite so, my dear; that is what I am say rig; iowoever, if our supposition is correct in this case, the girl does belive him to be guilty, but slie wishes to shield him, either because shi loves him still or has loved him. It is as tonishing how womeon will elisn to menoeeu when they know them to be villains. I tlink, dear, that the best way of procoeding will bhe for you to endcavour to find out from Ruth 'owlott what she knows. Of course it will be a gradual matter, and you can only do it when she has got to know and like you thoroughly." SDut, lather," Mary said, hesitating, " will it not be a treacherous thing for me to bocome friends with liher for the purpose of gaining her secret Y" "It depends how you gain it, Mary. Cer tinly it would be so wore you to got it surreptitiously. That is not the way I should propose. If this girl has really any proof or anything like strong evidenc that the murder was committed by this man Forrester, she is acting wrongly aud cruelly to another to allow the guilt to tall upon him. In time, when you got intimate with nor, inti mate ouough to introduce the subject, the point would be to impress this upon her so strongly as to induch o make nn open confession. Of course, you could point out to her that this could no~win no wayinjure the man who is her lover, as lie is gone no one knows where, and will certainly never return to this country, as upon his alipearanco he would at once be arrested and tried on the charge of killing the gamekeeper. All this would be perfectly open and above board. Of course, you could, if you deemed it expedient, own your own stroeng interestin the m?mtter. There would be nothing treacherous in this, dear. You simply urge herto do an act of justice. Of course, it will be painful for her to do so, after concealing it so long. Still, I should think, from'the little I have seen of her, that she is a conscientious girl, and is, I doubt not, sorely troubled inher inid over the meatter." "Yes. fatlher, I agree 'rith you. Therowould be nothing trachlerous in that. I have stnply to try to got her to makei a confession of anythming she may know in the matter. I quite agree withyou in all you have said about the man, but I do not see how Ruth Powlett man know anytlhingt for certain, whatever she may suspect; for if shel was, as you smy, dan gerulhy ill for a long time after the murder, she eannot very well have seen toe man, who would beoure to have quitted the country at once." " I am afraid that is so, Mary. Still, we must hope for the best, and if she cannot give absolute evidence herself what she says may at leastput usin the right track for oban in-? it; or if no legal evidence can be obtained, we might get enough clues, with what we have already, to convince the world that whereaos hitherto there seemed no alternative open as to Mervyn's guilt, there was in fact another against whom there is at any rate a certain amount of proof and whose character is as bad as that of Captain Meorvyn is good. This would in itself be a great step. Mervynhas been acquitted, but as no one elso is shown to have been connected with it in any way, people are compelled. in spite of his previous chnmaracter,itspitoof hisacquittal, hi spite infact even of probablity, toconmderhim guilty. Once shobw that there is at least reasonable ground for suspicion sagaimt another, and the opinion, atany rate, of.al who know Mforvyn, would at once veer round." SVery Well,father, now you have done your art o thie work by flnding out the clue, I will o mine by following itup. Fortunately tputh Powlett is a very superior sort of girl to any one. ifn the village, and' I iarl mike friends with her heartily and' without pretence.'. I should, have found it very hard if she had been a' rough sort of gii but she -expresses herself just as well asI do, and ses. very gentle and nice. One ca see that even that sharp.vsoiced stepmother of ters is very fond of her, and she is the apple of the miller's eye. But you must not bhe impatient, father ; two girls .can't be. come great friends all at once." " I think, oon the whole, Miss Armstrong," her father sold, "you are quite as likely to b-o come imrtatient as I nam, seein that it'ie you, business iueuc more than mine" S"Well, you' may hre surt I shall not lose more thee than I can help father," Mary Arm. ttmng laughed; " You don't khow how joyous I feel to-nmight. I have ,always been hepeful, but it did seem so vague before.' Now that wol have got what we think to boa elue and cin set to work at once,' I feetl oI?srso muh nearer to seeing tonemald again." The consequence' of this conversation was that Mary Anmtrong went very freueontly down to the miltr and induced Ruth I'owlet sometimes to come up and sit with her.: "I am very 'glad, Mr. Ansetrong," IHiram Powlett said, one evening, when they hap. pened to bo the first two to arrive in the snug gory," thatmy little Ruth seems to have taken to, your ldaughter. It's a ead comfort to Resbn and me. You would have thought that she would have tiken to some of the girls she wenttoschool with, bnt she hasn't. I suppose osth is too quietfor them, and they are too noisy for her. Anyhow, until new, she hae never hbd afriend, andI tlinkit will do her a world of good. It's'had for a girl to be alone and especially a girl likeRouth. I don't mindtelithg you, Mr. Armstrong, that Hesba ond I have an idea thatsho has got something on hoer mind, she has been so changed altogether sncs flies Carnos' murder. I might have thought she had fretted about that scamp Forrester goIng away for at ene time the girlwas very feud of him, tut before it hlappelind shle told me that she found out that she was wrong, and that she would break it oif altogether with him, so you meel don't thiik that tie going away Ihad nna thing to do with it. Oice or twico I thought she was goIng to my eomithlubii particular to me, but she has never said it, and she sits there and broods and broods till it makes my heart acle to see her. Nowehe hlas got your daughter to be friends with, perhaps she may shale It off. " I hope she may, M[r. Powlelt. It's a bad thing for a girl to mope. 'I know Mary likes your danughter vo ry much. Perhaps If hl beas these days. You: see, when girls get to be friends, thiey open their hearts to each otiler as Ilhov woi't'do to astyoleelss."'. r " ":I'dsn't'see wHitt she cll have en her
esind th amlll rialld shnkrklehishlad. "-It mayonly boe failcy of mine.. Hesba and . have talke'lit over score of times'." - "t cry likely it's -nothing after all," Mr. Armstrong said; . girls ot: stnmrag fancies into their heads,-and mako mountanis out of molehills. It mna. be nothing after ll; still, perhaps sho w tould bo all. the better for the tolling of it" - hiram Powlett shook his head. "Ruthlisn't a girl to have fancies," he said. "It she is fretting bhois fretting over some .'thing serious. Idon't knowwbhyt a talking so (fd ypu, Mr. Armstrong, for I have never sBp.ocn tgilyone else about it; butyourdaugihter seems .4Jia:vo token so kindly to Iuth thatlt it ems ittftL for me to sipak to you,.. ' -L. anm':glad you have on so, Mr.qow. iott'; aimlthope that good imay come fra our talk." " Itwas not 6t.isnMfortnigiiA ir this chat that Mary hail anythling itootoi iatnia toi h6r futher. Slio had told 10him ;:,tait whenevr slho turned tlhe coavoreontaion i p tyho l i fiof thu mouder o MissCarnio iuth ovideiini'r k. so inucT fromn it that sho was obliged o~e.chagoi htlios bject. , " -'**.*, '. 1.i"Toiday, father, I took,the bullby-th., rKons/?Ituth had beenl sitting there for'',fi~~s tlimp.:irlding without slying a 'world,.andrl 'abl.el hor suddenly, aus if it was .whaIhad ern tiliuun-. over while we wereo, ellent. 'hWiat' your-"oiiul, RuthP T. D .you; ict 'C ia~ 'lervyi u eally~ mnr. a Giiscadn ?*I Shioe turned.pole' Sht e >'se vei.'v muiehi .c rlir;.You. ,'aliaw, but sh went as whit:; ita. - Eheeh and then said, ' I. am .'iulto sore he did not do it, but I don.tltiko;("Jking about it.' ' No, of course not'' lEtw:I) 1 caI ' eM-quito ulnderstand that trfltr' the terrible shock you had. Still it is awful .to tihtik tlhit thibs "aptaisn ?Mervyi ahould havo been drivenaway froim' hh homer and mtmddan outcast of if heo i iliioccnt ' 'It' surves" him,,right !' said Rlth,-.'passionatoly;. i oEWdardo.e esinsult and threaten my doear Mi'. Margnet ?-'-tNlotllings is.toobSifor him;.'5", cans't muiste?res with you theti' I said. ?I'Toi dloubt hu desorved to i)e -piibhisl,' and ho iust';
have been-punishod by boin tried for hie: cousin's -merder; hbut to think of a'msl spending all his life branded unjuthly with the crime of murder, is. something too terrible to think of.',EZ'I ,dare s.ay. he is doing very well,' sIlto: said, after SCpause, 'Doing well,' I psatdi! ' doing l ! What can you be thtnknrig:of, Ruth= -What sort of doing well can'thorabo for ain?ta w.ho:knows at any moment .tliit;:het :mhy be rocognisnd, tlhat his story may e beLusioperal ubout, and that hlis neihboursfhty shrin s.'y.firom int ; that hl'.wifeJtr=fl h ever miit?ies; may come to bolievo'1hit thor hlus .a.iaeis a'murderer, that hiftchildin may bear 'W6iS bse of Cain upon themt? 'tistoo terrible t~ililnk of. If Oa?itain i .orvyn: is guilty hl cngitto have been hung if he is innocent hdc'loife'ol the most .unfortunato men in the worlk:ItfXuth'didn't say anything,. but she was so terribly white that I thoughtshe was going to. fint. She tried to:got up, but I coulI seo she couldn't, and I ruii'and got hora glass of;vater. Her hand shook so that she could hardly hold it to her; lips. After she drank somo sie sat for a minuto or, two quiet. Then blhe murmured somothiug about a sudden faintness, and that she would gohonme. I per suaded her to stay a few minutes longgr. At last she got up. ' I am subject to fainting fits,' she sad; 'lit it very silly, but I cannot help it. 'Yes, perhaps what you ayiabout Captain Mervyn is right; but I never quite saw it so before. Good-byo,' and then she weont off, though I could see she was scarcely ablo to walk steadily. Oh, father, I fool quite sure that she knows something, that she can prove that Ronald i iinnocent if she chooses; and I think that sooner or later she will choose. First of all she was so decided in her assortion that Ronald was innocent ; she did not say, ,i think,' or ' I believe,' she said ' I am quite sure.' She would never have said that unless sho knewh eomctlhing quitepositivo. Then the way that she burst out that ' it serves him right,' seems to me, and I have been thinking about it ver since slhe wont away an hour ago, as if she had been trying to convince herself that it was right that he should suffer, and to soothe her own conscience for not saying what would prove him innocent.-' " It looks like it, Mary ; it certainly looks like it. We are on the right trail, my girl, I am sure. That was a very heavy blow you struck her to-day, and she evidently felt it so. Tivo or three more such blows and the victory will he won. I harve no doubt inow that Ruth Powlott soeohow holds tie koy of this atraogo mysteryin her hand, and I think that what you have said to liar to-day will go at long way to. wards inducing her to unlock it. For rester was the murderer of Miss Caneo, I have not the shadow of a dounbt, .though how she knows Itfor certain is more than I clm even guess." CIIAPTER XVII. LnTrI rowLEvrTr CONrESSES.. Upon the morning after the conversation with his daughter, Mr. Armstrong had just started on his way up the village when heoret Hlrantrowlett. "I was just coining to soo you, Mr. Arm strong, if you can spare a minute." "I can spare an hour-I can spare the wholo morning, Mr. I'owlett. I have ceased to be a working bee, and my time is at your dis posal." "Well, I thoueht I would just step over and speak to you," Hiram began, in a slow, puzzled sort of way. "You knomwlwhat I was telling you the other day about my girl ?" " Yes; I remember very well.' "You don't know, Mr. Armstrong, whether she has said anything to your daughter 1" "No; at least not so far as I havo heard of. Maery said that they were tnlking together, and mesomething was said abeutluis Carne'emurdler; that your daughter turned very pale, and that she thought she was going to faint;"" " That's it; that's it," Hiram said, stroking his chin thoughtfully, "that murder is at the bottom of it. Hosbe thinks it must be that any talk about it brings the scene back to her; but it does not seem to me that that accounts for it all, and I would give a lot to.know what is on the girl's mind. She came in yeauterdayafter. noon as white as a sheet, and fainted right off at the door. I+ shouldn't think so much of that, because she has often fainted since her illness, but that wasn't all. When her mother got her round she went upstairs to her room, and didn't come down again. There is not much in thliat,you would say. After a girl hse fainted she likes to lie quiet a bit; but she didn't lie uieot. We could hear her walking up and dowi the room for hours, and Hoeal stoloup several times to her door and said she was .sobbing enough to break liher heart. She is going about this house again this morning, but tlat white and still that it is eruel to look at her. So I thought after breakfast that I would put on my hat and come and have a talk with you, aeoiag that you were good enough to bhe Ilterested o her. You will say it's a rum thing for a father to come and talk about his daughter to a man he hasn't known more than about two months. I feel that myself, but there is no one In the village I should lik to open my mind to about Ruth, and seeing that you are father of a girl about the same age, and that I feel you are a true sort of man, I come to you.. It isn't as if I thought that my Ruth could have done aenythieg wrong. If I did, I would out my tongaue out bfore I would speak aword.t:-But I'know my Ruth. Sho hueas always been a good girl; not one of your light sort, beit earnest and steoaly. Whatoever is wrog,.it's not wrong with hr. I believe she has got some secret or other that is just wear ing her out, and if we can't get to the bottom of itI don't believe Ruth will se Christmas," and Hiram Powlett wiped his eyes violently. " Beliove me I will do my bet to find it out if there is such a secret, Mr. Powleott. I feel sure from what I have seen of your daughter that if a wrong has been done of any kind it is not by her. I agree with you that sho has a secret and that that secret is wearing her out. I may say that my daughlter is of the same opinion. I believe that there is a struggle going on in her mind on the subject, and thatif she is to amve peace, and as you sy, health, she must unburden her mind. haowever, Mr. Powlott. my advice in the matter is, leave her alone. Do not press her in any way. I think that what you said to me before is likely to be verified, and that if she unburdens herself it will be to Mary ; and you may be sure what. ever is thle nature of. the secret my daughter will keep it inviolate, unless it is Ruth's own wish that it should be told to others." " Thankee, Mr. Armstrong, thankee kindly; I feel morn hopeful now. I havbeen worry int and fretting over this for months, till I can scaree look after my work, and catch myself going on.drawing at my pipe when it's gop out and got cold. But think it's oomlng on; I think that cryinglntbu(tight meant something, onle way or the othor. !WeolI, we shall see'; we shall see. I will be off back again to my work now; I fool all the bettor forhaving had this talk with ycu. HeIba's a good woman and she is fond of the child ; but she is what she calls practical-she Ioeks at tlitnagn hard and straight and sonsible, .and naturally she don't qulito enter into my feelings about .ruth though slid is fond of her too.. wYell, good morning, lr. Armstrong ;. yeu have done me good, and I do hope tlit it will turn out as vyu say, acid teatets slhall gotti kenowwhalt is 1lth's troelble.'" r ; . - ', .. An hour later, Mary Arcastroo:gWont daWn'
Sthe millto i urveuaf-tee'iluth.- Bhe found her quiet and pale. •" I amgla$n you have coma in, Mses Arm strong," Wolba aid, " our Huth wants cheer ing up a bit. She had a faint yesterday when she got back from your place, and she is never lit for anything after that except loust to sit in her chair and look in the ire. I tell her she would be better if she would rouse herself." '" But one cannot always rouse oneself, MIre. Powlott,': Mary said; '" and I am sure IRth doeo not look eual.to talking now. L ver, sho shall sit still, an I will tell her a iay'. I have never told you yet that I was o?4'carried ol by the Matirs, and that obrrsothan death would have befallen me, ind that r should ahave been afterwards tortured and killed, if I hau not been rescued by a bravo mani." ý , L·awk.a.mussy, Ms .Iesratrong, w sh make my flesh creep at te though t ut a thing.- And you ay ".it,.hppd ed.j3d yuea" Why, nows to look at yeas, hJ neuld have thought you would hairdly h hav?yt tovwn what trouble meant, youe. ailway osesoho bright and happy ;that's wihat eath lhe o ald again and ' You m'eol ,Joldg od a for. yco.rself. Mors. Powlelt, if youe car ind time to sit down and l lsfen, as welln Iasuth.': "I er .find tirip:_ nor tlhat.' HesIel said, i theough.itlosa't'often Ks I sits down till the tea is cleared away nd Hiran lights his first pipe afterwards." -;tlarry sat dows faring the tiro, with Ruth in iaft armcliir on one sideo of lher, and lMrs. Powlote" stiff and upri'ht of a hard iiottle on the other. Then ?tra bogan to tell thestlry, first eaying a few words to let her horemrs know of the fate of women who foll into tho hands of the Katlrre. Thon she began will tht story of hscr jobarney dowen from King rVil. liamstown, the sudden attack by altives, and hShowafter seeing her father fall she was carried ,?it.; Thel she told, what salo .had never told tefore, of th, hideous tortures of lthe other two admeon, part of whsichm she was compuellln to ,.lt Ass, and how he'was told ththat sle wAs to bd roreoerved as a preslnt to Maconow... eTlen .eo: described the dreary joursey. '"'1 hed' 0ndys oI' hope," she said " and' it .was faint thait it could not be coaled a Iope ; but thlior eeIas one man in the colony who soenchove I felt idren would, if he knew of any dsager, try to .ftcue me. IHt had once before come to our aid bhacu our housee was attacked b Khalitr, asd ied a few minutes our fate would havs a eeo dialed had he not arrivod. Blat for aughlt know he was a lhundred uiles away, eund whad could hle do agalat thie thlree laudred natives who were with me Still, I had a little nay of hope, the faintest tiniest ray, until we entered ihe Aantolas--they are strong steep hiolls coverel with forest anad ush. tihey were th stronghold of.tho l afitrs, and I kuneoe that there weoro twenty tshoausd of thora there. Then I hoped no lonager. I fetthat eyfasto lase soeed, and my only wish and say osly longing was to obtain a knife or a spear, and to kill myself." Theirn a ar described the joauoey through lhe forest to t he raal, tie long hours stle had sat waiting for her fate with overy moveacent watched by the oKallir women, and heor sensa fions whoe site heard thle messag itn Eglieh. Theo she deseribed her rescue froln thie kraal, ier flight through the woods, her concealeno t 11 thoaeo,her eescnpefromtheAnmro teoahs,theride writh the trooper Iholinllg er oa his saddle, and thie ilasl daltlhroughtho Kalnlrs. u1cr hearers had thrown le osany ittreeeclioesa of horror andl iitly, loed ela tie part of rloeba, mere nlarausas en that of hteth, who hod take n MaIrty's haedl in leers, but ate hymuhtaetio pressure told more than words. " And you shot four of tlhe. Miss Ann. utro?!" hesba ejaculated in wiSole-oyed as. tonislment. " To think tlat a youeg girl like you sihould ave the death of fousr mu on lher itauds. I don'tsay as it's unchristisnl, ienause Clristiens tre not forbidden to fight for their lives, but it does seen downriglt awful." "It has never troubled eo afor a single moment," oary said ; " they tried to kill me, and I killed them. That is the lighl t I'wn it isa, aud so would you if you had beeu living in the colony." 1 Buat you have not fnillshed your story," Iuth said earnestly. " Surely tlatis not the cuIdo it." oNo ; my father recovered from Iis woundh and so did-the soldier who lad arved mae, ant ars soon ses soy fatlor was able to travel. lie und I went down to the coast and caneto hiosala." "'Tlat canut be all," h Ruth wlhiseerod ; "there nmust be someotling more to toll, Mary."' t Iv will tyout aenotlher time, Rutll," llry said iit equally low toes, uand thon rilsg, pltt o heer Iat again, said good-llye, anud woat out. " Didyou ever, Ruth t" Iceslha I'owlett ex clianed, as the door closed. " I never did hlar such a story in all ray life, e nsd td think of her shootin four mena; it uiate made smy flesh mreep. Dido't it tyours y" " There were other parts of the story that do may flesh creelp a L'ret deal mlaro, SYes, it was terribhl; and she didal't say a single word ia praise of what the soldier head done for her. 'ow tlhat scenes to re downrighl rnesgroatefal, tnd not at all what I ohluld have tiought of bis Aralsotrong." " I suppobse sle thought, motler, Cthat ther was no ocucsion to oepress her oainiou of his bravery or to meatior lher grutitudem. The whole story seemed to me a cry of pralso eIl a hyum of gratitude." " Lora, Rutll, what faneies you do thaks in yoIr Ieadl, to be ure ; I never did hear such cxpromsslons." ''wo days lrassod witlhout Ruth going upmto the Armstrongs ; ona thatlncrd day Mly agailS went dowsn. "Well, Itatl, as youl have not been to sea oo, I havo come to se0 yOU agsin." " I was coming up this afternoon ; if you don't mind I will go baek with you nows instead of your staying here. Sye are luieter there, you know. Somehow, ona cannot think or talk when anyone comes in and out of the room every two'or three mi-nutes." S"IquiteagreowLthyou,Ruth,andif youdolt't ind my saying so, I would very much rather havo you all to myself." Tis two girls accordinagly went back to the cottage. Mary, who wcam rather an indaus trious needlewoman, brouglht out a basket of work. Ruth, who for a'long time hid scarcely taken up lher nedld, sat with her hands before her. SWhen two people intend to have a sorious conversatioss with each other, they generally steer wide of tihe subject at tfirst, asd the prosent waos nd exceptlion. ,, I think it. would be better for you, uttil, to occupy yourself with work a little as I do." ,, I used to be fond of work," Ruth replieod : but I don't ceam to be able to give my atleIa ion to it now.' I begin, and before I have dose twenty stitches somehow or anotlher my thoughtesseam to go away, and y the end of the tnornin the first twenty stitches are alt I have done." "But you oughtn't to think so much, Ruth. It is bad foel anyoune to be always thinking." "Yes, but I can't help it. I have so much to think about, and it gets worse instoeMd of bettor. Now after what you said tome ties othor night, I dou't "know what to do. It. ecmoem riglt before. I did n'ot think e was doing naucl kharn ein keepiag selenco; -fow I sea I- have been, oh," so wrongn,'. and slio twined. ler fingers in and out as if sulfering' bodily pain."' ' .. y-, a.= -" 'LMe poor..uth" "Mary said, comlnir'gover to leer anu kuseting own by -huarsdo d; I thinkl 1 know wht is troubllngyou." . " The girl shook hearhead. . - - SYes, dour, I em" almost sure you have knownsomethinegdl along that would, hayv j)arved CaptainnMerv'yn eas lnnocesnt, nod you 1Ruth Powlott aid not speok for aminute or two, thenshesaid, slowly : - " I do not •know how you have guessod it, Mary. No one else even scaes to heavothought of it. But, yes, that is it; and Ido so want eomeono to savdras ea what to do. I see now I lave been very wicked. ,,For a loug time Ilave been fighting against myself. TIhave tried so hard to persuade myself that I had not dons musech harm, becauso Captain Mervyn was acquitted. I have really knaowsatlst I was wrong, but I never thought how wrong nntil you spoketo me." - , . as?Wait, Ruth,"5 Mary said ; "befao you toll ma your soeret I must tell you mine. It would not be fair for you to teilme without kseowlngthat.- You remember the story I was A fresh interest ? lutme i? uthes fac. sYes," she said. sa"ad you.promIsed yats ,ould tell ma tiee reet another tisio. ", -Ithlought you mcaut, of courso," yea would tell me that' when this war o srt t aere i over, yeu would aims day merry the soldier who hod douo so sauch for you." .•. - , -. • - - "I was going to tell yaou, hiuth, why I am not going to marry hlm."- -. . , . di Oh, I thoueght you' would he sure to," Ruth said in a tone of dsep dinsappointmesat. 'aIt seemed to me thantit was sure in b'o,"? 'I thoughst a man woula never' have risked eso muohc for a woman usleseh loved lher." '" c Ha did fore meoRuthiluasd I loved him.'e I don't thenk I made any secret oflit.. , Somo? heir ot snesned to me that he" had a rlghet'e me. ead I trewe oeriprieell when tflea thao wls'otsaasnalt - ha ·uidnr't ask me. lVhbila the iceolahy ..asoo
beforehe was to march away to ftight again, I think that if he haul not epeken I should havo done oso Do not think me onmaidenly, Ruth, but he was only a sergeant and I was a rich gcrI, for my father is a Ireatdoe[ bItte off than o seems to be, and I thought that prhap - foolish saqr.qpride held him back, for I ws quite tat loved me. But he spoke first. litp ld lme that he loved me, but could nevcr..eek me to be his wife :that ho could never marry, bat he must go through the world alone to the end of his life." "Oh, Mary, how ,terrible !" Rut' said piti ftully; "hoew tkrcble ! Wae he marriedheforq, .,-i th;li it was wocrse han that; there -at shadow over his life ; he had been ott-el for murder, and though he had been ac quitted, the stigma was still upon him. Go where he would he might be recognised and pointed out as a murderer; therefore, unleles the truth was some day known, and his name cleared, no woman could ever be ids wife." Ruth had given a little gasp as Mary Anm strong began, than she o usat rid elLi. "-It wesa-aptain Mervyn"' she said, at last, in a low whisper. "Yes, Ruth. Sergeant Blut was Captain Mervyn ; he had changed his name, and gone out there to hide himself, but even there ho had already been recognised " and, an he said-f r pleadled hard, Ruth, to eo allowed to share his exile-go where he would, bury himeslf inwlmt out.of-the-way corner he might, sooner or later someone would know him, and this story would rise i against him, and much as ho loved me -all the more, irhap, laomuso he loved me so much, le would never suffer me to bepointed at as the wife of a murderer." - " You shall not be," Ruth said, more firmly than she had before spoken. "* You shall not be. Malry. I cou clear 1dm and I will." It was Mary Anrmsrong a tllrn to. break cown now thegoal ahad beeaoanched.' Roeald 'Morvyn would be cleared ; and she theo her. arms rounid Ruth and burst hintoa passionof tears. It wa somo time 'before the;girls were :suMicetitly composed to roenw-t theconversa tion. " ' : L " First of all, I must tell you; Mary," Ruth beg?m, " that you may not think me inore wicked then i am, that I- ould never have let Captain Mervyn suffer the penaltyof another's crime. Against the wish, almost in the face of the orders of the doctor I remained in court all throungh the trial, holding in my hand the eroof of Captain Mcrarvyn's innocence, and had lhe verdict beUs' " guilty" I was ready to rush forward und prove that he was innoceut. I do lot think that all you suffered whenc youwere in the hands of tieo Kalirs was worse tman I suffered then. I saw before mee the uproar in court; the eyes that would be all fixed upon Ie ; the way that the judge eaul the counsel wrould hluno mens for having no long kept silence; the replroeachl that I should meet with when I returned home; the shemeo of my dear old father; the way in wlich every soul in the village would turn agaienst me; but I would leavo dared it all rather than that one man nhould sulfer for the sin of another. And now, having told you this first, so that you should rot tlink too hanlly of me, I will tell you all." Then Ruta told her of her girlish lore for George Forrester ; how sle had clung to him through evil report; neadin slite of the wishes of lier father and mother, but how at last the in cident of the affraey with the gamekeepers had opened her eyes to the fact that lhe was lto goether rookless aned will, that she could never trust lher happiness to him. She told how Margaret Caneo had spoken to her about it, and how shle had promised that she would give him up ; thee sche told of that meeting on the road on the way to church; his passionate anger against herself ; the thrents hle had uttered against Miss Carne for her interference, and the w:.y in which lie had assaulted her. "1 I firmly helieve," Ruth said, " lhe would have murdered imee had lhe not heard people coming along the road." Then she told how she found tihe open knife stained with blood at Margaret Carne's bedside, and how she lhad hidden it. " I did not do it because I loved liim still, Mary." siee said. " iy love seemed to have beoce killed. I hld glvenllin elpbefoco, and the attack that .he mncde upon ine had shown ume clearly how violent lhe was, aned what an escape I had had ; but I had loved him as a boy, aned it was the remotembrnlco of my. girlish love, and not any love I then had, that sealed my lips ; but even thisewould not have silenced me, 1 think, had it not been for the sake of his father. The old imane had arenys been very, very kind to me, and the disgrace of his son beon foundl guilty of this crime would have- killed lim. I can say, honestly, that it was this that chielly madeeo me determined to shield hime. As to Captdin Meorvy, I ras, os I told yec, dnter. nucedl tlhat though I would keep oilent if le were acquitted, I would 'save him if lie were found' guilty. I never thought for a moment that aqulittal wouhl not clear hiim. It seemed to In that the trouble that had fallent on him was thoroughly deserved for the way in which heo lhad spokmen to 'Mine Cano ; but I thouglht whoe lee was acquitted lie would take his place i hisreogiment again, and be none the worse for what had happened. It wee only when I found that lie had leftlthe reoinmente and when Mrs. IMervyn died, and her ilaughters shutup tie house and went to live far away, that i began to trouble much. I saw now how wicked Ihad been, though I would never quite owne it even to myself. I would have told tlte, t uhe t I did not know who to tell it to, or what good it could do if told. - Mr. Forrester was dead now, and the truth could notlhurthitm. George Forrester had gone away, and would never come back. You know they found a verdict of wilful murder against him for killing tihe kee?m r. Somehow it seemed too late either to do good or harm. Everyono had gone. Why ashould I say naytlineg and bring grief cendi troublo on my fatllher aeed mother, cand mako lhe whole valley despise tae ? It has hcen dreadful," she said, wanly. " You cannot toll how dreadful. Ever siece you came hero mnd tried toreako afriendl of oe, I ave boee flight ing a battle with myself. It was not rililht Ith you should like me-it was not right thate ay one should like rue-and I felt at last that . must toll you ; youe fIrst and then everyone. Now after what you Ihave told me it will not b:e so hard. Of course I shall suffer andl my father will suffer ; butit will do good and umake you and Captuain Mervyn happy for the truth to be known, and so I shall bt able to brave it all much btter than I should otherwise have done. Who shall I go to first?" " I cannot tell you, Ruth. I must speakto myfather and he -will think it over, and porhaps ihe will write and ask'Ronald Ihow hI would like it done. - There isno great hurry, for lhe cannot come home anylow till the war is ntished, uand it may last fortnonths yet." " Well, I um ready to go anyw ecro and to toll every one when you like." Ruth said. " Do not look so pitiful, Mary. I am sure I shall bu much happier whatever happens, even if they put me in prison, now thalt have mado up my meind to do what is right." "There is to fear of" tlhati I thlik, Luth. They never asked you' whether you had found anythitng, and though you cortainly hid the truth, you did reot absolutely give false evi dense.' ,, " It was all wrong and wikced," Rulth said, e and it wvill be quite right if they puneish mo ; bet that would be- not;ing after vwhatI hava suiered ltoely. I should feel lappior in prison with this weeight off my seciced. Delu eayou' orgive me,. hary Ceae you forgive me -auseng sue suisery to Captain Merryn acd 'auch unhappiness to you P'" ''"' S" You needl ncot he afraid about'that," Mery said, layhog her hand' oaseiringly on Rliuc's shoulder. " Why, chleld,'yoeu have beei' a benefactor to, us hoth.' If you hed told "all ahbout it at flint, Rocnald would never have gone out to the Cape; father and I would have hesen killed ht the fir':t attack; and if we had not heon; I should have been tlortured to death in the Amuatola ; and, last of all, we should' nover have seen and loved enci other. Whatcver troublea you my hlave to bear, do not rookoe Itonald's displeaeure aeed miece moneg them. shall have nluso to thaek yoe all tie days of my life, and I hople ?oaeld will hlave ?cso?to do So too. Kiss met luth, you hlave made me the hIappiest woman et the world, and I would give a great duel' to be able to lot thcs right citlout your avltcg to iut yourself forwerd en Ruth was crying now, but they woro not tears of uanlpphisess. They talked for some tienelonger.sslttinghaned i hand';' 'and thee, no lr.'Arssstrmng' stop wn heard cominguep to Deo ottage, Ruth eetcod her hat and shawl. " I dare not see him," she sid; ,, he may not look at It es you do."' - "Yea, Ie will," Mary said. " You don't know my father; he is one of the tenderest hearted of men." But Ruth darted out just ceo tho doer polmed. .e :. " What is it P'M~'r. Armstrdng hile~d' "in surprise. " Ruth- Powlett nearly kpidoked ne down il the passago hand' rushedo' off without' even thoorditm'y decency of apologltileg.,* ' -"e uti has tohl me evorything, father. "aYo 'can elear sonald MIervyn as soon aowo like." And hfreq.''Arestrong tlrrow rer arms round lher father'a necek. ' . "I thank God for that, Mary. I tol it would come sooner or later, but I llad'hardlly holed that it would come so son.' I am tharik 'fu Indecd, ?'my child; how dil ittill scom aboat rp" t' o o•, t" 'Mery repecatode the story Ruthe Powlbtht told leer.' ' , l"m, tleexee'a coo' elel alenmet~iti tinii ttoaE;~
her fathor.alid. '.Asnyou say there could be no mistako hbout tthe knif, becauase she lind grvenitto him hersolf.anddhad his initials ,i graved ujonit at Plymouthl. I don'tthinklony nisonab o- mnon could lave a doubt'that the scoundrel did it ;' and now, my-dear, what is to be done next" - " Ah, that is for you to decide. I think RLonald ought to be consulted." " Oh, you think that?" Mr. Arnstrong said quickly. " Yon think .he knows a great deal behotter what ought to he done tlan I do " , "No, I elon't exactlymeai that, father, bint I think one would like to know bow he would wish it- to be done before we do anything. 'here is no particular hurry, you know, whetn he once knows that it is all going to hbe set iNa, beyond the fact that hen would natu rally like to got rid of this thing hanging over him as soon as en can. Now, ny. idea is that the girl ought to go at once to a ,noitratoe and make in ailldaoit and lhund over this knifo to him. i'I don't knoiw how the mattir is to be re opnei;'beiahso Ronald Mcrvyn had been ac iltitted. and .the other man is goodness knowsf where."' " Well, father, there will be time enough to' think over it, but I do think we- had better toll onnald first." ' Tory well, my dear, as you generally havo your own way, I eupposo we oshal sottle on that whether wn agree nowior three days lence. By he way I t a letter in myockt for you from hi? Tha e Cape 'uinil:ttouohe l at lymouth yestrray. " hy .didyou'not" tell' me -fit:. ") ,r father," the girl said roproachfully...? •"° ; - " oWell, my dear, your neiw is so. ninfinitel more important, that I own I forgot hll about the letter. osides, as this is the fourth that you have had since you have been here, it is not of such extreme importance." . lit Mary was reading the loetterand paid no attention to what hetr father was saying. . r-o, ntlyshlo nvo ensuddea o'clamantioin h. ',What is it, my 'dear ;' has he changed his mind nd na rriod a rKaflr woman ?. If no, we need not trouble anymnro about the affair." t No;.i ap ; it is elwaous-qUitou follduo, for ' SWol-,omy dear. teart.aould bf-serioun; at least I slould .hai thought that -you. would consider it so.".: r '" No, faither ; but really this' is extraordi. nary: i " What do you think lie says ?" ' " It is of nto uso my thinking about it, tary;"iMr. Armsntrong said, rcsignedly, "aes ecisy as I Supoo you are going to tell me. m de otll suggestion, and it esemostlat it os incorrct." " This is what lie says, father: ' You know that I told you a trooper in my companiy recog nised am. I fancied I know the man's face, but could not remll where I had seen it. 'Iho othor dlay it suddonly flashed upon me ; he is the son of a little farmer upon my cousin'n estate, a man by the Tame of FIorrcster. I often saw him whlen he was a young fellow, for I was found of fishing, and I can remembor hlimn us ahoy who was generally fishing down in the nill siream. I fancy ie rather went to i'risf afterwards, and have some idea Ie Was uxred up in a poaching business in the Caene woods. So I think lie must lhave left the country about tliat time. Curious, isn't it, his runnming against mo hero? However, it omunot be hielpedl. I anuposo it will all come out, sooner or later, for lie has been in the guardroom several times for ldrunnkclness, and one of thlseo times he will be soure to blurt it out.' " " Isn'ttlhat extraordinary, Ifather P" "It is cortadily an extraordlinmary'coinci dence, -Mary, that those two men--the mur derer of Aliss Carno and tihe man who has suffered for that murder, should he out there teogotlher. This comnplicates matters a good deal." " It does, father. Theoroe can be no doubt of what is to be done now." . (vO na ao0ssvsaue.