|Chapter Number||XVII. (CONTINUED.)|
|Chapter Title||RUTH POWLETT CONFESSES.|
|Newspaper Title||Kyabram Union (Vic. : 1886 - 1894)|
|Trove Title||The Curse of Carne's Hold, a Tale of Adventure|
CURSE OF CARNE'S HOLD. A TALE .OF ADVENTURE .. D G. A. Hi-NT, 'Author of Under Drake's l," "With IOsl L India,:' " ACorot of orse." Et. CHAPTEI XVII. (CoNTrre?m .) ' URIR rowarrr coCsrESSeS. " Well, now I quite come round to your side, M"ary ; nothing ohould be done until Morvyn .knows all about it, and can let us know what his views are. I should not think that he could have this man arrested out there merely on his unsupported accusation, and I should -im aino that he will want an oficial copy of Lutn Powlctt'e afildavit, and perhaps a war rant sent out from England befor ho can ge .him arrested. Anyhow, we must go can S-tiouslytowork. When Ruth Powlett speaks, it will make a grat stir hero, andthis Forrester may havo some correspondent hero who would write and tell him what has happened, and then he might make a bolt o bo etoro tonald can get the lawat work and lay hold of him." 4"I should rather hope, fornRuth's sake, that le would do so, father. She is ready to make her confession rad to bear all the talk it will make and the blamno that will falluponher; but t would be a groattrial to her tohave the man she once loved brourht over and hung S" upon her evidence." * Sd it would, Mary, so it would; but, on the other lhand, t can be only by hi trial and .' execution that ervyn's innocence can boebso lutoly proved to the satisfaction of everyone. *'. Iti is grave question altogether, Mary, andat .t nny rate we will wait. Tol lMervyn he has all thofacts before him, and must decide what is to ;,be'dono. - esides, my dear, I think itwill b -,'ouly- fir that i uthl should know that we are in '.'aposiltioh'to lay hands' on this Forrester boforo '',shi makl;is'tho confession." " "' " I tlinkco; too, father. Yes, she cortainly Sought to be told; but I am sure that now she a made up her mind to confess that she will not draw bhck. Still, of course, it would be very painful for her. Wo need not.tell her at present; I will write a long letter to Ronald and tll him all the ins and outs of it, and then Swo can wait quietly until we hear from him." "You need not lave said that you will write a long letter Mary," Mr. Armstrong said, * drily, " considering that each time the mail has gone out I have seoU nothing of you for twenty our hours previously, and I lave reason to .believe that an extra mail cart lue had each time to be put on to carry the correspon dence." " It's all very well to laugh, father," Mary .sad, a little indignantly, " but you know that he is luving fights almost every day with the Kaflirs, and only lias our letters to look for. ward to, telling him how we aro getting on, .and--and--" " And how wo love hbn, Mary, and how we -dream of him," etc. Mary laughed. " Never mind what I put in my letters, father, ta long as he is satisitod with them." "I don't, my dear. My only fear is that he will como back wearing spectacles, for I should say that it would'e ruin any human eyes to lave to wado through tle roams of femiinne hand writing you Bced to hit. If hle is the sensible fellow I give him. credit for, he only reads the first three words, which are, I suppose, my darling Ionald,' and the last four, wleicl Ialso supposo are, * your ever loving Mary.' " tih colour hlooded Mary Armstrong's cheeks. " You have no right even to guess at my letters, father, and I have no doubt that whetler they are long or short, he reads them through It dozen times." " Poorfollow, poor fellow !" Mr. Armstrong said, pityingly; " but nevertheless, my dear, important as all these matters are, I do not krorv why I should be compelled to fast. I came in an hour ago, expecting to find tea ready, and theor are no signs ol it visiblo. it." " You shall have it in flve minutes, fatler," Mary Armstrong said, running out. " Men are so dreadfully material tlat whatever happens their appetite must be attended to at the moment." And so itrene lays afterwards a full account of all that Iuti lPowlott had said, and of the circumstances of teo case, was despatched to ". Sorgeant Blunt, Cape Mounted Itfllc, Kaffir. CHAPTER XVIII. OEOItGo FORRESTEI'S DfEATh. Ronald Mervyn led so active a life for some amonths after the departuro of Mr. Armstrong and his daughter, that leo had little time to peond in thought, and it wa only by seizing odd minutes between the intervals of.work tlat le could nmnago to send homoe a budget at all proportionate in size to tlhat which le regularly received. Wheon the conrier came up with the English mails theor had been stern fighting, for although the British forco was raised by the arrival of reinforcemnents, from India and England to over ,l000 moe, with soveral at teries of artillery, it was with the greatest difficulty that it gradually wou its way irto the affir's stronghold. Several titue the troops were so hardly pressed by the enemy that they could scarcely ulaim a victory, and a largo number of oficors asnd meen fell. T'ho Capo Mounted Rilles formed part of every oxpedi tion into the Amatolus, ald Ihad their full ul.aro of fighting. lontmld had several times distin guished himself, cpecially in thel fight of the Wator leloof Velley, when Colonel 1ordyce, of the 74th, and Carey and Gordon, two olhcers of the same regimont, were killed, together with several of their men,. wldil attacking the enemy in the bush. He was aware now that his secret was known to the moen. He lead fancied tlat searching and inquisitive glances cAere directed towards him, and that .thero was a chango in the demeanour of cor .tain men of his troop, these being without ox-. .caption the idlest and worst soldiers. It was .Sergeant LMce?ziee who first spoke to him on the sub4cet. It wvas after a lard d?ty's march wlhen, ,lavmg picketed their hlorsee and caten their hastily-cookod rations, thle two non.commis Jioned oflliers lit their pipes and sat down toge ther ashort distancea from the lire. "Il hve been wanting to speak to you, lad, for the -h.lst day or two. Tlhero is a story gainilng ground therough the troop that, whether it is true or whether it is false, youought to know." 1" I guessed as much, Maoinsle," Ronald said. SI think I know what the stoty is, and who is ýtho cman who has spread it. It is tlat I horo .another senamo in England." 9" Yes; that's partly it, lad." "WVhat enae i'" "I hlier that you are rightly Captain 3lorvyn.'' " Yes, that's it, Muies ; and that I was tried and anquitted for murder in England." " That's the story, my lad. Of course, it makes no difference to us who you are, or what theysay you have done. Wo who know ýou would not beliove you have committed a murder, much loess tie murder of a woman, if .a"ll the juries in fEngland said. vou had. *'Still '.-:I thouglet 'A would lot. you '*-Inow,-tht-estho-.. story 'is going, abe"ut ';.so'that yeou might not be token oaback i ;y ujob heard it suddenly... Of course, it's no dis ' rac to bo tried for murder if you are found :.innocent; it only shows tlmt soun fools lavo inado amistako, and been proved to be wrong. Still, asitihas been talked about, you ought to know it. Thero is a lot of feeling in the regi. meont about it snoW, and the fellow who told thei * story lIas had a rough time of it, and there's manoy a one would put a bullet into him if they had tie clhance. What they say is whether you ore Captain Morvyn or not Is nothing to nobody butyoursoll. I you wre tried and acluitted for this afTIlr it ought to hlavo dropped and nothing more been sid alout it, and they hold that anyhow a ieem belonging to the corps ought to have held his tongue about anytlileg he know against another who is such a credit lfo us." "The man might' have Iheld his tongue, eerhaps" Rlonald anId, quietly; "but I never expected that hie would do so. The follow comnes from my nelighblourhood, and bore a bad cbharactr., Afellow who shot a gamekeeper would bhe sure to toll anythlineg he know to the disadvasetage of anyone of superior rank to himsell. Well, sergeant, you can tell anyone Iwho asksyou about it that you have questioned me, and tlat I admitted at once that tice .story was true - that I was Captain .Lervyn, and that I was tried for murder and .acquitted. Some day I hone that my inno .cenco may lIe moro thorouglly proved than it was on thoe day I was acquitted. I daresay he has told you the whole of the facts, and I admit them freely." " Well, lad, I am glad you hlavo spoken. Of courso it will nmake no dlforenc, oxopt, *perhaps, to a few mee wlho would bo bettor ou -of the corps than in it; and they know too well what tho temper of the moe is to venture to .sahow it. I can understand linow why you did'nt take a comnmission. I have often woudered over it, for it seemed to me that it was justte tl lhine llyou ould havoe liked. But .I seeO tlhat till this tlilng was cleared .Up you natu.rally woulhs't l?lku it. Well,dI . Ate rights rernced.
heartily sorry for the business, If you don't mind my saying so. I laoe, always Looal sure that you lii been an offcer before you Joined us, and wondered how it was that you left the army.. You must have had a sore timeo of it. I um sorry for you from my heart." Ronald sat quiet for some time thinking after Sergeant Menzies left him, then rose and walked towards tho fliro whore the officers were sitting. ( san I speak with you a few minutes, Captain Twentyman ?" he said. The officer at once rose. " Anything wrong in the troop, Sergeant ?" "No, sir; there is nothing the matter with the troop, it is some business of my own. May I ask if you have heard anything about mo, Captain 'l'Twentyman ?" "Heard anytlhing; in what way do you mean, Sergeant?" "Well, eir a to my private history." " No," tho officer said, somnoewhat puzzled. "WVell, sir, the thing has got about among the men. There is one of them know mie of home, and he has told the others. "Now that it is known to the men, sooner or later it will be knownto the oflcers, and thorofore I thought it better to come and toll you myself. as captain of my troop.': It can be nothing discreditabloe," I am quitoesure, Sargent," the officer said kindly. " Well, ir, it isdiseroditable; thatis to say, I lie under a heavy charge, from which I am unablo to clear myoelf. Ihave boon tried for it and found not guilty, but I am sure that if I had been before a Scotch jury it would lhave been not proven, and I left the court acquitted indeed, but a disgraced and ruined man. ""What was tho chnrge ?' "The charge was murder," Roland said, quietly. C tainiTwentyman started, but replied; "Ridiculous. No one who know you could I have thought you guilty for a moment." " I think that none who knew me intimately bolieved in my:guilt, but I think that most people who did not so know me believed me guilty. I daresay you saw the case in the ,ar.-My real name, Captain Twentyman, ms onald Mlfervyn, and I was captain us the Borderers. I was tried for the murder of my cousin, Margaret Came." "Good n irvens! Is it ossible ?" Captain Twentyman exclaimed. " Of course Iremoam- I ber the ease perfectly. We saw it in the Enqlish pporas somoewhere about a year ago, and it was a general matter of conversation, owing, of course, to your being inthe army. I didn't know what to think of it then, but now I know you the idea of your murdering a woman seems perfectly ridiculous. Well, is there anything that you would wish me to do ?" "No,sir ; Ionly thought you ouglittobe tild. I leave it wvitli you to mention it to others or siut. Perlis is you will tlhink it best to say nothing until tle story gets about. Then you can say you I are aware of it." "Yes. I think that would be the best," Captain Twoentymns said after thinkingit over. "I remember that I thought before whoiei I read the account of that trial that you were either one of the most lucky or one of tihe most unfortunate men in the world. I soo now that it was the latter." A few days later, an hour or two before ther column was about to march, a flag hoisted at the post office tenout told the camp that the mail had arrived. and orderlies from each corps at once hurried thoro. As they brought the ubags out they wera emptied on the ground. Someof the sorgeants sot to work to sort the lotters, while the oflicors stood round and picked out their own as they lay on the grass.r " Here; Blunt, here'os on for you," Sorgoant Menzies said, when Ronald came up. Ronald took the letter, and sauntering away a short distance, threw himself on tihe ground and opened it. After reading the first line or c two ho leaped to his foet sgain, took a few stops e up and down, with his breath coming fst and his hands twiteling. Then he stood suddenly % still, took off his cap, bent his head, put his I hiand over his eyes, and stood for a few I minutes without moving. When he put his cap on again his face was wet witlh tears, hsis hands were trombling so that when hlie took his letter again he cauld scarco read it. A sudden exclamation broke from him na he came upon I the nameoof Forrester. The letter was so long that the trumpots were sounding by the timoe h he had finished. Ho folded it and put it in his t tunic, and then strode back with head erect to t the spot whelore the men of hlis troop were I saddlingtlheir horses. As he passed on among t them a sudden impulse seized hlim, and he i stopped before one of the men and touched him on the shoulder.I "You villain," he said. " You have been I accusing me of murder. You aroe a murdeor i youreolf." d The anu'a face paled suddenly. "I know you, Georgo Forrester"' Ronald wenton," and I knowr tlhat you are guilty. You t have to thank the woman who once loved yout that I do not at onc hand you over to the i rovost-marshal to be sentto England for trial, ~ ut for her sake I will lot you escape. Make a confession and sign it, and then go your way whero you will, and no search shall be made for yoil; if you do not, to-morrow you shalml be , in the hands of the police.' t 'Thoro is no evidence against me more than i, against anotllor," the maii said sullenly. A "No evidolioc, you villain," IRnald said, I "Your knife-the knife with your initials on it -covered witlh blood, was found by the body." 'Tlio man staggered as if otruck. II I knew I lhad lost it," le said, as if to him. t elf; " hbut I didn't know I dropped it there." h At tlhis moment the bugle sounded. "I wvill give you until to-morrow morning to think about it," and Rlonald ran of to mount d his hIorse,whiic lie had saddled before going for t his lotter. Sergeant Menzies caught eight of lis comm t rade's face as lie sprang into the saddllo. "Elh, ran," he said, " what's come to you? ? You have good news, haven't you, of some o kinil? Your fain is transfigured, moan." e "The best," Ronald sard, holdlng out his it hand to his comrado. "I am proved to be I innocent." Meuzies gave him a firm grip of the hand and then each took his place in tie ranks. Thersore was desperate fighting that day with the Kullire. Ii The Cap~e M~ounted tflue, while scouting ahead di of the infantry in the bush, were suddenly at- f ancked by an immoense bodyof Kallrs. Muskets B cracked, anud a'segain fy i slhoweor. Sovordil r of the men dropped, and dishliarging their rifls, it the troopers fell hack towards the infantry. As they ietreated, Ronald looked back; one of the mean of hlisa troop whIose hlorse uhad been shot under him had been overtaken by the enemy, o and was surrounded by a score of KNillrs. IHis I cap was ofelf, and Ronald caught sight of his ti face. He gave slhoit, and iii as inatast A had turnmd h tornaol ad dashed towards thu grousm. bacc, man, come back," Captain G Tventymansohouted; " it' madniess." " i But Ronald did not hear him: the man whose hi confession could alone absolutely clear himn was c1 in tihe hands of the alits, and must be saved a at any cost. A momoent later he was in thei midst of the natives, omptyinr his revolvers amosir them. Forrester ihad sunk on no knee 1i as Ronald, having emptied one of his revolvers, cv hurled it in the face of a Kalir asid then lean. ac ig over, caut Forrstor by hi collar, imnd F vith a mighty effort lifted and thIrowhim across the saddle in fronst ofi him then bonding over him hsspurred his hores hrough the natives. a Just t this moment Captain Twentymannd a score of thlenion rods up ut fullspos, drove tada 1I Iaifira back for an instant, and ciiablmd Ronald f, to rebus iqla lince. Threo assoegals had otruek l him, and ho reeled in 11,0 nuddle as ausidat. the eheers of his companions he rods up. m " One of you take the wounded man in front of you," Lioutenant Daniels said, "anid carry ii Ilin, to the rear. Tlonpse, dob you jun nuf tI belsild SorgcalIlt lunlt,iad .8niiPrt bim Gaui a msi. These felloeva areomiog oi lik 'furies." The oxcliango was made in half a minute; If one of thi men took Georgo oerrecter boifoc huel, isisother op)Lrafigu U)boI~ls,,, Ronald, asod a hold Ihim in his saddle with onie iandi, wvlils le h teak tlio reinsisi the othor. Tliosi ho rods, fast ti io the rear, just no thle loadig battalion of in. ,t fantry came up et a mun iiiil epeoud tiro ass the a Ittlroi, whse, eitlievild yalle, wero premsing Ohl 5 the rear of tie cavalry. ti When Ronald recovered his senses hie was a lying inathe ambulance wangon, and the sur- d geoos eves dreosisilg his woulissus. b " Tlit's right, sergeant," he said choorily; ci SI think you will do. You have three nasty ti wotnds; but, bY good luck, I don't think any k of them is vital. 'c " How is Forroutor ? " Roniald asked. tl "o lrreooter " the sorgej said, in surprlse. is "Wis usl yon mean, Blusit?. " "I saran Jim Smith, sir; hlis real name was s Forrester." t rThor, is notlhig to be donie for him," the t suraogs said, "Notsising can save him; heis riddled erich asurgsiis." -hsiu Is he conscioss '" Ronnld asked. "No, not at present." "Will he beeoms conscious before he dies, is sir?" ar "'I don't knowv," tho surgeon replied, some- Ii wPhat liurledat Ronald's quostlon. 5511emay Ii be; bult I cannot say. "It is overytiing to me, sir" Ronald said. h '5I have been acoused of a grancrime of wvilch c heis tlioauthor. Mo can clear mo if he vill. r All my lifo depends upo his snoeolahi tsi '"· IThoei I hope lie maybe oh~e to spaheBinunt, vl bult matrosntIean't say chnthor he will' re· t coveromsscouasoas se not. Me is' in tao *
naggon hero, and I will let you know directly if tlhere is any chiulge." Ronud Irlay quiet, listening to the tiring that graduallybecamemore distant.showing that the i,.fantry were driving the IKallirn back into the hush. Voundedmen were brought in fost, and the surgeon and his assistant were fully occu pied. The waggon was halted now, and at lonald's requcaet the stretchers uion which he and Forrester were lying were taken out aud laid on the grass, under the shade of a tree. Towards evening, the surgeon having finished his pwessing work, came to them. He felt Gearo Forrester's pulse. "LIo is sinking fast," lie said, in reply to Ronald's anxious look. ,i" will see whlat I can do." He poured some brandy betweoen George For restor's lips, and hold a bottle of ammonlia to his nose. Proesently there was a dapl sigh. and then Forrester opened Ihis eyes. For a muinuteo ha looked round vugnely, and then his eye fell upon Ronald. "So you got me out of the hands of tihe Kaflire, Captain Mervy ," ie said in a fiaint voice. " I caught sigitof you among them is I went down. I know they have done for me, but I wouldtrather be buried wholo than hacked into tioees." "I did my best for you, Forroster," Mornrryn said. "I iam sorryl I was not up a miinute sooner. Now, Forreator, you see I have beoin hit pretty hard, too; will you do one thing for met I want you to confess, about what Iwasn speaking to you: it will make all the difference to other hlople." "Im:yns welltoll tine truth as not," For. I rester mid; "though I don't see how it makes much difference." "Doctor," Ronald said, " could you kindly send and ask Captain Twcnltyman and Lieu. tenant Daniels to como'hor at once? I want them to hear." George Forrester's eyes were closed, and he was breathing faintly when the two ollicer, I who htad ridden up a few minutes before with their corps, cameo up to the spot. Thoe surgeon again gave thi wounded main some stroingcordunal. " Will you write down wlhat he says," Ronald said to Captain Twenltyan.l. The lattortook out a note book'and pencil. "I make this confession," Forrester said I faintly, "at the request of Captain Mervyn, I who risked his life in getting me out from I nmong the Kaltirs. My real name is George Forrester, and at homei I lived near Carnesford, 1 in Devonshire. I was one night poaching in I Mr. Carne's woods, with some men from Dare. 1 port, when we came upon the keepers. There won a fight. One of the keeoopers knocked my "nnont of maynaod, nold as he ralised his gun to I knock me on the head, I whipped out mr knife, I opened it, and stuck It into him. I didn't meanl to kill him, it was done just in aI moment; I but lie died from it. oWe ran away. After wards I found that I had lost ioy knife. 1 I supose I dropped it. That's all lhave to 1 "yNot all, Forrester; not all," said Ronald, i who had listelned witl impatience to the elowly. C uttered words of the wounded man; " inot all. Itisn't that, hutabout the murderof MisCars e I I want you to tell." "The murder of Miss Carno," George For rester reipeated, slowly. "I knmownotlniing about that. Sine made Rutl break it oil iithi me, and I nearly killed Rutlh, andI wouldhave i killed her if I hard had the clhance, but 1 never I haild. I was ghul when I heardt en was killed, t but I don't know who did it." t "Biut your knife was found by her bod," Roinald mid. "You must leave dosio it, dor rester." "Murdered Miss Carnme!" the mins said, 7 half-raieing himsef onl his elbow in surprise. "Never. I swear I hlad nothing to do with it." t A rush of blood poured from his mouth, for t one of tihe saseuaie had pierced hiis lung, and a nmoment later Gcorgo Forrester fell back dead. The disappointment and revulsion of feeling n were too great for Ronald Meorvyn, and he t fainted. When hlie recovered, tlhe surgeon was c leaning over him. 1 "You mustn't talk, lad; you must keep t yoturself unit quiet, or we shall have fever f setting ini aiid all sorts of trouble." Iilonld closed hIlis eyes, and lay back quietly. t aiow could this he? lie thought of Mary C Armstrong's letter, of the chain of proofs that hnad accumulated against George Forrester; a they soomed acbsolutely. convininmg, and yet thlere was no doubting the ring of truth in the t lust words of thie dying man. His surprise at I the accusation was genuinle; Ilis asseCrtion of a his innocence absolutely collnvincing lie had no a motive for lying, ho was drying, aid he klnew it. t Besides, tineironing had come so suddeiily upon F 1h151 that there would be no time for 111i to frame a lie oven if ho had been in a mInentl cll- 0 dition to do so. Whoeverkilled Margaret irnor, 0 IRonald Mervyn was at once coivincod that it a was not George Forrester. Thlere he lay, t thinking for hours over tile disaplpointment that a the news would be to Mary Armstrong, anid Iow it seemed more unlikely than ever that tihe a mystery would ever he cloaredl up now. 1' Grdultlly, his thoughts became more vague, I unitil nat lust in fell asleep. Upon the following day the wounlode wre seit down iunder an escort to Kinn William. town,and thlere fora monthllonald Mervyn lay i in hospital. IHeo had written a few lines to Maryb Armstrong, saying tint'i-e had bcoin wounled but not daningerously, aind that shIe need not eIi anxious about himi ainy mnore, for the CKaitr were inow almost driven from their last stronig. hold, and that the fighting would almost cer tainly he over before lie was fit to mount his horse again. "Goorge Forrester i ded," he to main. 'Its was mortally woUldend wIneni ting bravely against to Kantflirs. I fear, i tt your ideas about him were this- ie taken, and that Ie, like myself, his beeo tho t victin of circumstanitial ovidenco; but I will tell you more about this when I write to you next." o While lyitlg there, Ronald thought over and over again nabout the evidenco that had been collected against George Forrester, and whether it should be published, os Miaty mad proposed. It would, doubtless, hbe accepted by the worla as proof of Forrester's guilt and of his own a innocence; alnd even the fact that thne man, 01 when dring, denied it, would werigh for very w little iiti tine publie, for mcli proved iii- G ielhtably tolbe guilty often go to tIe scaf- il fold gssortin their innoeionce t tthe last. lii But woruld it ho riglht to throw this crime upoin to the dead an hiein lue wis cure lnhat he wiris 1 illlnocent? For Donaid did nat doubt for a M moment the truth of the denial. Had lie a i: righlt,even for the sake of Dliary's hainpilness to andl Ilia onrim, to charge ilie memory of the dicad hI main with thne burdeni of this foul crime? It Ronald felt that it could not be. Thie tenlpta. to tion woas strong, but he fought long against it. rC And at last his mind rwas mnado up. ' No," Ihe said at last, " I will not do it. tI George Forrenster was no doubt a bad nuni, but hoe was not so lad as this. It would be worse in to charge his memory writh it than to accuse ti him if ho were alive. In thn ononCasli Inight hi clear himself ; in the oiler he cannnot. I cannot clear my name by fouling that of the dead A mall. 01 lAnd o Roland at last sat down to writs a long letter to Mary Armstrong, telling her tie C whole circumstances; thne joy with which lie s1 Ferrester, wiich seemed wholly to convirun her views; the pang of agony ihe mad felt chenhlo saw the main wlhoam he belioved could tI alone clear lina in the hands of the w K~athire; andr his miesloiergite clmare to rescue gi hlim:~ sod then 'lie gave the wards of the can. is fessioan, and expressed hins absolute belief that 10 tine dying man hnd spoken the trutln,annd that 10 In was really innocnnt of Margaret Carno's n muurder. : -l Ho then diceussed the quoetioin of still pub- n lishuing Ruth Powlett's stuntemenut, givil first I the causeo of Georgo Forrester's esmuty agalast b I:drgaret Canme, and tine thnreat hIe had uttered, 0' asid tnesn the discovery of the knife. "I fear that youn will be ashlamed of mne, Mary, whnen I tel you that, fora time, I aliuout yielded to thlotomnlitationofheouriing myoselfatihis n expense. Rut youi munnst make alloneance for the C stre uethof the temrtatin;r o0 tine ona aid was n thu thioughlt of muy honour reatared, und of woli; oni tIne ether, the thoueeht that, now th Gcorgs Foorroster oras ead, thin could not j har~u ien. Rutof course, Itiielypt tine oh temptation aside: honour urchnd net the C oxpins of i dead man's reiutation would be in dinshonour iiideed. Now I can faco dlsgrace P because I know I am innocent. I could inot fine honour hliemi I know " that Iliad done a dishonourable action; and I C know thiattI should utterly forfeityonirlovo and 0: eatoem did Ido so. Ican look you streignt in a the face now; I could never look you straight ti le in fuce tieii. Do not griove too muicin over 0 tineehuiaipoitcnt. a arcnmoisr aolasweo o n were leinn sarlil ood~btyo tuau I lined mahopeo h then thent you erould over jlucceod in clearing Ic me, anld I have no hpo now. I have not at d rpm tolt lanl eoda leIofore T ropluneovcr tlne lhappolintmcint tiunnnItinceigit tI I shlould in; but thIm nelil ~rwcaro al elen I get P' in the saddle again. Thorownill, I tlhnk. no 11 more figrttng-at ony rt with tIne Saninilli s Ifinfitre-fior ws incur this ,aarnlmmg that the~y S' yavo sent lin to og for phace, andI am crtnie 0. wo shall he glani 01100gb to grant It, far eve tI hav ot muclto ubos about ri theo emao. Of course they will have to pay a vary heav t fine in cattle, nod will havr to move across to this otheor sids.of thoin el, Rqeally ofcourse tincra will ha trouble again citli theom after a t time, whon this memory of their lamses has V somewhat abted~. 1 fancy a portion of tke
force will mrarch' against the lnosutos, whose attitude has Lteely bees very hostile; but now that the Gaiekas hvo given mi , and we arce free to use our wholo force againet them. it is scarcely probable that they will venture to try conclusions withus. If they settle down peace ably Irhall prelbbly apply for my disclurrgo, an perhaps g in for farming or carry out my first idea of joining a party of traders going up the country and getting some shooting among the big game. " I knew that, disappointed as you will be with the news cenlalued ire this letter, it will Ib a pleasure to you to tell the girl you have made your friend that after tll the moan she once oved is innocent of this terrible crime. She must have sufoered horribly while she was hliding what alsre tlhought was the most important partof the evidenco; now she will see that she has really done no harm: anid as you corm to be really fond of her, it will, I am suro, be a great pleasure to you to be able to restore her peace of mind in both those respects. I sholld thrinkl now that you and yourr fathier will not remain any longer at Carrnesford, where neither of on have any titting eocietyof arny sort, but wilI go and settle somoewhere int your proper positton. I would mucl rutier that you drid, for now thlat it soois absolutelycertairn thatnotlhing further is to be learned, it would trouble me to tlrik of your wasting your lives at Carnes ford. " You said in your last letter that the dis covery you lhad made ihad brought you four yeard nearer to haprpinessa, but I rhave never said a word to admit that I should chansrRgo my mind at the end of the fivoycuars that your father spoke of. Still, I don't know, Mary. I thrink my position is stronger by a great deal than it was six months ago. I told ary captain who I wis, .and all the other olitors naow krnow. Most of them came ulp anRd spoke veory kinrdly to mue before I started orr my way downl'ree, andlI am surs that when I leave the corps they will give moe a testimonial, saying tlhat tlrhey are coar vinced from rtry Ibthaviour whilo in' tire corpe tlha I could net Itavo been guilty of this crime. I own tlhat I myself tam less gaesitivo one tihe subjoect tlhan I was. One ine no timrre to be morbid while leading such a life as I thave been for the last nine months. Perlhaps-but I will not say ary mare trw. But I thinrk aomohow hat att the ertd of the five years I oltall teav tho decision in your lards. It hars taken me two or three days to write this letter, for I am not strong ecnougl to stick to it for mcore tlhan hIalf-au-hour at a tiCteno, but as the post goes out this afternoon I must close it now. . We have breen oexpecting a mail fromu England for someu days. It is considerably overldue, rand I need not say Ihow I alit lonring for arnother letter from you. I hear the oegiuneut will be back from the front to.night; even the horses wanrt a few days' rest beftore startirg on this long march to llaoutolnld. I shall be very glad to see them back again. Of course, the invalilds here, like myselc, are somowhalrt pulled dovwn by their wounds, and di gusted at beinrt keopt here. Tie weather is frightftully hot andi oven in our shirt sleoves we shall bu hardly able to oerijoy Clrristmas day." The Cup Rifles airrived at King Williams. town art hIour after tihe prost had left, tanrd in the Ievenirtg the Colonel anrd soveral of the otlicers paid a visit to the hIospiital to see how their wourded sore getting erl. Rontald, who sas sittirg rertig try hiS bedside, erit tire olieor inrvulids who were strong enought to he on trheir feet, at once got up and stood at atterrtion. Stopping and speaking a few words to oeachr of the ment of iris own corps, tihe Cotlonel cane on. " Mervynr," tie said, as ie, tand tire officers caoe up to IRonald, " I want to shalko your hand. I have heardyour story front Ciaptainr Tccentyrnart, tnd I wishl to tell you, in toy owrt name anrd in tire rnarue of the oilier ofiers of tire regimcrt, that eve are surdc you hitve bceen the victim of oome horribbe miitake, atnd tilt of us are absolutely contvinced thatIt a rnti wvho has shlown such extremeno gallantry as yoru have, and whose conduct hars bean so excellent from tire day lie joined, is hrlially incarpabtrio of suct a critue as that witli which you score charged. You ware, of course, acquitted, but at tire same time I think tat it carrnottbt be a satisfarction for you to know that you have wot the esteemn of your oficers anrd your comrades, and that in their eyes you are froee frontc tire sliglhtest taint of that black btusiness. Give moe your Ihanrd." Ronald was unable to speak; the Colonel and all the offimcrs shook him by thile Ihand. and the former said. "Imust hiavo anrother long tulle with you whoen we get back from the Basluto business. I haove mentioned you very strongly in regimental orders upon two acne siots for extremo gallantry, and I cannot but think that a letter lat edt by oue in the Enrrlisle palers, sayinLg that the oSergeant Blltt of ry rogirnoet, vhore so sitinlly distintguisltOd himu self, is really Capbin Mervyn, hoire rin my opinion and tthat of my officers was so unjustly accused weuld do you seors good ir tire eyes of the publie; bat we can talk ever that when I eco you again.'t" After the oflicer lefttheroom, Roland Morvyn sat for some time wvith his face buried in his hands. Tihe colonol's wcords ihad greatly oevedt hrim. Surely such a letter as that lwhich Colonel Somerset had piroposed to write would do mruch to clear him. It should never think of taking iis o-irr marttse agtainr or re-etnteriRg trry socioty icr whticlh re would be likely to bo recognised, but surely with Suchl a testirmonial as trat in his ftvour hie ntightt ]ope itt oome quiet place to live diowrn tite pact, anti alndlthold hbe agti he ro. cognisod, could face evil reports withr such anr lronourable record tse this to produce in ids fatvour. Then his thoughts wenrt back to Englantd. What would MaIry and Ier father ay when they read such a letter in the itper I It would be noitroof of his imnnocence, ind yet tie felt sure thiat Mary voult insist upon regarding it ts such, and would hold thtt lee tad io right to keep iher waiting for another four years, and that if ite did so hie would be unable to refuse any longer to permit her to be mistress of her own fate, CIIAPrEI XIX. THE inns AT CArrvB'S nOD. Things wevnt on quietly with Mr. Armstrong atnd tris daughter after the latter had do. spatched hror letter, sayiing that Ruth l'owlett was readtly to conrfess tthe truth respecting George Forrestor. The excitement of follow. itg rtp the clue was ever, ard thereo was rtothicng to do until thcey Iheartd from Itettold as to heow ie wished tlhemu to proceed. So one morning Mr. Armstrong cme down anrd told Mary to ook u at once and start witr iin at if orcloek for Londor. "We tiare gettingtike two owls, and must wake ourselves up a bit." Mary ran down to the mill to Say good-bye to Iuthr, and tell her that soto and ier fateher had togo to London for a lshort time. Threy were ratly by the time named, for there was little packitg to do, andt at 12 o'clock the trap from bte Canto's Arms came up to itie door, and took thoet to the station. A month wits spent in London, sightseeirng. By tilhe end of that time both had haul enog of theatres and ex hibitions, and returned to Carnesford. " Well, what Is thie rews, neighbotrs I" Mr. Armstrong asked. as Ice entered the snuggery on tihe eveorinrg of his return. "There is niot much ners hero," Jacob Cuorey said; " th ero naver is much news to spook of in Coereeford; tut they say tinbgs are not goinrg on well un at the Hold." " Ire what eway, Mr. arey o" Welt, for same time theo Ie behote talkintat the sqlure in gettlug nolrg s in t iris ways. lol was crever brigrt .ord cheerful likase iua oar. gavel, but atrqyoy seeoettc tin be al-tirirtktttg~arld ac often es riot when he rods threugr hers , mauld tatth tie mntere notio of you woemr Ite Itassed thou if you ltadtt't been trear. Still lie saloe eondtrfuily olfd ooks, ttohy said, and when a mae hfkes to theks, I don't think hats macis gnarl for rirrytrirrg etro; irut evr since Msls Mthergarei' death, he tree been qctorer thatr before. 'Tltey stitt ite whadar.y Crof walkoin about the tyoltall Iloateura ofte night. Sort ctn onrtil jast orlely. errioemoilie to worse tha ue over. Titey ets Yorbur etokittg to hiraelf arod no rlationR ln cray as erould make youcreo. alm r noan the bdturse ofiwho Cnrmer litu faules ott fitm had, and that .IeCas matthi neo s gratdttoiierfras. Tbnhventae tro alloleft ceohpt tire olt ok,'ho trees got a iirt to shey eitlr ier Titey leek bte door at ri rirtd they Irteve get the mete frtom titestrinbdiet eoeep in tire bauoe utihoet to itse noosler. One day last raek, woleo hMr. Corne eve out farsonsad thedy old etnr crahe out arrd saw tle pasrtrtrtdlreoerrb for Br. acroevstlirh, and theylorda ti uiet ttlk everit. Yorrse acibis rigitty awkward thirirrto tucittloie eth ?Ltr. Caro rtor got tlo relatiens so ter as is tclnwr, heeept Mhr. therrye -and iter daughters, vito mce any ivirrg, Ieonar t hlueting, and Cap t aitrlervycs", eho in ho4d kroeus sl t lere. course, hoe idotre hair if bte sqrrir. doAcrt't marry and have cpledi arnd if le se-e hore it teuld be iris btoichree to irtierfere trrrr trove the sqrrire looked after orshut up, if roedlsire; but theve drrot'b seem arty ene to take the roalter up treer. The doctor toid Hinber that he ceald do rrotltrrg~ oibhortbbeing colled itand eeeiegln for trimasif that Mvr, Cares wee eat ef hris rabid. Tue prirson said the ortly tilrrng site could rio wee to ga to Mv. Voikes, tire magistrate, and tell him s~he thlrorght there eras darrgerP of murder if eomothblrg crnon'tdorre. hesater h~~~ptis gobplent of courage, rind says tirat st osbtrri there's any dritrger loiter, 'cause the oriutro bee kctown irer frera thre time hore ka noerre any. th~rf~donrthaaw"·rr. Mr rmstrong. sad, ti marl peoplo are ofleors ove darrgsorous to thcose thley ears for thou to otnrge~rs. Stillttle Iss very' serlua. From what Yenr have* told toe hu martetes of thre Carnime Is siwas of a
dangorous kind. no thing is quite:evident--' Captain Mfervy ought to coma bck at once., Thero have bean tragedies enough at Crnea Hold without anothor." "Ay, and there will be," put 'in Reuben Cltaphourst, "as long as Carne's Mold stands; the curse of the Spanish woman rests upon it', : W' Whet you say is right enougis, Mr. Arm. strong," Hirams Powloti agreed. 'No doubt the Miss Morvysno know whore their brother is, and could lot him know ; but would he come back again ? I have always said as how wo should never see Captain horvyn book again in these parts until the matter of MIss Cagae' death was cleared up." Mr. Armustroogeet looking at the fire. "Ho must be got back," lie said, " if what you say is true, and Mr. Carne's going off his head. IHeo must be got hack." nirmamPowlatt shoet l T "IIo must ome aok," Mr. Armstrong re peated: " It's his duty, Rloasant or unplo-a. sant. 'It may be that he m on his way home now; but if not, it *ould hastonhim. You looksurpried, andl no wonder; but I may now tell yes, what I hsavess't thought it necessary to oention to you beforo-mind, you must pro. mise to keep it to yourselves-I met Captain Mervyn out at the Cops and made Ids acqluaint ance there. He was passing under another name, but we got to be friends, and he told me his story. I have wrtten to lm once or twice since, and I will write to him and tell him that ifho hhasn't already started for home it's his duty to do so. I suppose it was partly sis talking to sue about his place that malo me come hare to see you at first, and thou I took The suarprise of the others at finding that Mr. Armstrong knew Ronald was very great. "I wonder you didn't menotion it beforero," Jacob Carey said givlng voice to the c mno n feel. inig; " we SIave talked about him so oftesn, and ou never said a word to lotus know that you had motlsim." "No, and never should have said ivordbut for thils, You'will undorstand. that Captain Morvyn wouldn't want.whre hie was living maidel a matter of talk; and:though when lie told me the story he did not know I was comring to.Carnasford, and so didn't ask ma not tomention it, I consider I was bound to him to say, nothing about it. But now that I know hle is urgently requiredl lhere I don't sou that there's oCcsion nsy losnger to make is secrut of the fact that lie ls out ini South Afcima." "Yes, I understoand, Mr. Armstrong," IHiriam l'owlett agreed ; " naturally when he told you about himsoelf ihe did not ask it to be kepit a secret, because ho did not hknow that yon woill miselt anyoine that knowed him. Bit when you did mieet such You thought it was right to say nothinig about it, and I agreeoo witlh ycui ; but of course this matter of tist sliuiro going queer in Ihis mind smakes all tlih dife. reire, atd I thinik, uos yci says, Captain Mervyn ought to bo fatcedl home. Wheo hs hlassee tisae quire is plurperl- taken care of, lie csn go away where lis likee.' " fint is so," Jacob Caroyigreod. " Mervyn ought to know whait is doing hero, iand if you can write and toll him thaut he is wantedyou will hbe doing a good turn for tiho squire as woll is for him. And how wais thie oaplaint looking, Mr. Armstrong ?" "IIo was looking very well wlhen 1 first knoeuw Ilim," Mr. Armstrong replied; " but whets I sasv ilms lust le Ihudl gut hart ii a brush with thie natives, but it was nothling serious, anld h was getting over it." " The same set as attacked your farm, Mr. Armstrong, uts you was tellingi uis about 1' " I don't oupposo it was thie came party becauseo tlhere worn tlhousands of thesi scatteroed all over the colony, burniing and plundering. CaptaiIn Mervyn had a nIIarrow escapi from theoi, aid was lucky in getting -ut of itas well as ha diii." "They said hle was a good fighter," Jacob Carovw put in. "'Tho papers had Said as how lie had idone seone hrl lghting wiith thlllm Afgihalrs,ouwd got praiseod by Ihis gonerl." "Yes,lie's a Iano fellow," Mr. Arisiotrong said, and I should saly, as brave as a lion." " No signs of thie curse working in himn? " Hiram Powlett asked touchinig Ihis forchead. '"They mande a lot of it liat the trial about Ihis 1 beiing related to thie Carnes, iand about his being 1 low sn spirits somnetimeso; but I havo seesn himsi scores of times ride throsugh tie village whenl he was ias yoeg chap, sand lie always looked merry asnd goodlt-topered."erry "No" MIr Armstrong said, emphatically "Ronald Moervyn 's brau is as shealthy anti clear is that of any mani in Eingland. I nsi quite sure that thlere is not the slightest touch of the family malady i,. hims." "Maybe nuot, smsyse sot," Rloeui Clap. I buret said; "lis Csrsa is ass til Hold, and ho has nsothing to do with the Hold yet. If any. s thing happens to thie Sluiro, snd lie comes to I1 be its muster, vas sill see it begin to work, if not is hsima ininiis chsildres'." "God forbid!" Mr. Armstrong s:aid, so carnestly that his lhearers were amnost startled. "I ldon't much Iolieve ii curses, LMr. Clap. hsret, though,, of course, I Ielieve inn nsansity being is some instanlces heIreditairy; but, ait the i Sumo time, if I sare Ronald' illcrvyss anssi in. Iseritlas Carnse's Hildi, I wossid pull tihe place down stoae by stone, iand Inolt leavU ai vstige of I it standling. Why, to live iii a ihouse like that, c in which so many trinagedlies have takeno place, t is senough in itself to tusrn asine sm.an into maud- c 0ss." 1 "Trlat's just hIow I should feel." Hlirams Powlett said. "Now a stringer who looked ait the Hold would say what i pleasasnt open. looking hIouso it wis; but wcins l you took hyimo instide anld told hir whaost had Inopesod lhuere, it woultl o e enoui to 'ive him eute tree d., I believe it wis Ieoing up there tlat was tsle1iegimi nil' of my uazegiter's clhusaing so. I inuver I i hade i worse job of a tling tlan I sdid winen I t got her sip tisroras Iiss Carioo's muaid, Isid yet .1 iteos all for ce goad. Aisnd no-, osgriboisroo. it's sy tho to h o. It's is qusirtt r to noine, aid thrt is live minutes later thasn ususal. Mr. Armstrong anld Maru y at tailkig until 1 nearly cleoven. Mary had sit been gone apa sstisr oa isshto I whoen she rs down ageislli from lir badroolu, whiche wes at the bsk of tlie house. r F iher, there isis light iii hise hly 1is at thea top of lo hill, jut t viwhere Casse'o Hiolt lies. 1 weont to tise wissdiow, to dniaw dossns tlis blinds, Hond it casigll t my eye at lice." e Mr. Atastrong rane out iato tihe road. b As Mary saul s oid, there wsas a glaru of light it over else trees ass the hill, rising fit fallisi'. "Sure onougth, it's afire t the Haold," liead, as he ura iup anor caumghit sim iis hat. Thes lien IsYirried dows tli vilie;o knsockino at enalch door, aod shouting r ''hore is a tire at the si Hold!" It Joot as lie reached the othsor osid a manaon 11 horseburok dashed sdows lie hill, shoutisg 01 "Fire! " It was osi of the grooas at tih a Held. ri " Is itat seti house?" Mr. Arstreng asked, ti as hlie dro up for a smomet at tlia isin. "Yes, it's ook retr i ourt from hie lower u winsdows? it hasgota big ho,d. I sa goingto to tls station, to telegrapie to Plymsiouth ani d Exoter for eiginss." "Is ahbout these isn the houe? ". Mr. sl Arslrong aindi g. " Some of thes got out bytha back way, and ire got osoe of them out by lauddern. Tue sl ethers amaoeeing yto that. Theyaolt me lct at onas." pltora A minute or two luster, men mlidon one Is daivn tho qulol street set a. ran, sutn esisas of thomevorluk p r. arislronig na sae Isirt eed uWse , the hill. "Is that you, Mcr.y Armstrougl'" a voico P asked hschnsd isis. i "Yes, it'o ma, Carey." 0 "Iftnisethel it was," tha cmih mliitl. "I ugtihtotfy ass fringufre sgssist the ist s tmsore i Is o s oil t hs'l tislssi good hldes is you sssthes not sisy door 1use thuer evsr i ors at toolwist we were rk.illsaist Ia Ihis avessiug, usid y·our ssyini;: tissit if the phiCo Is wasuyours yoh house pull it doin staboe hsy k Thatsoa. histhperis s sisytr shrve it yet. We aiallbsa Ilve' a easis of 8oore of sties, ilseo lie a few soissutes." as woftssythereo is oat mueds cisasicaoflhit, o Ca gg. frlo li th groomo 55 lie roud l iih aosas that the fire sisessie. omno tiwayeas hureolhsog frous aevernl of tue di lamer wisidive~; as it Isis got is~ gaud sloul, p. nd inloo ar not likely to hays much seotr li tin's ru osuisis 't'ber's isbig ivell it n Yes, that's curielous o,"M.Arsrogr oul hdros feat deae is tilso thble yard, alod a fore pism, wtviclh toaes two mon v lorle. It sudispsod the l house as want as tiso abnles. b T wlsat's·lio ossLy waler there ivll tihut ts sons't" ho m lsen good," isa nddon hs as, asl omargisig: fromlbsth wood, theoy onslosstlyasugls hIs sl bCt of ti u h "us u isoAe From lisa ursois of the lasrweur sriodowe lii Is fmrost lisa Ibseses snare burelstigl aol. Is "~It's travolesi fulr," lisasmit san id. 55Tlso to disionen~om asid drowisigroso anudlibmrary sireb allll Oh ira." "Yee, that's curi'ous 105," M~r. Annotrangi " reasork~osi. Qua ewoold have thoughlt thant it would hanse nounlod op to tule siot hloer lesig 50 biefor It travelledsof~ fo losig ssslevol. Au, Is It's getag up naw." 0o ALs hoe paks a opent of lighlt finesa sssddemsby Ist oE~tlpieedtruagis lis windlow oviir Ulsafmron o ,(Tlsat' lisa stoircnas windosy I ssispaseo." Two or tlsres nuissutea' nrusuihigtook th~oseup en to the lawis, " I will go asid lend a hessan tlimes pumps," hi Jsooab Cisroy oddi. ' SIt'e not lisa slightoel non," Mir. Armstrong 1 epilied. "!You might as woll try Iablow out ~
that ire with your broath as to pit it out by, throwing; afow. pails of water o it. .L'ot us see that everyone ois out first thte'a the nma matter." They joined a group atof men. ad women, who were standing looking at tt q ,lamas:* they wereo the two women, the om an gardenor, and four or five me ihd lad already como up from the village. .Tp The gurleneerwee8 epealking. j "'It'e no use to work at the pumps; there are only four or five pails. Ifitiv sonly at o aid we tmight provent its spreading, hut it's got hold all over." " I can't mako it out," the groom said. " Onoof the horses was sick, and 1twa s dlown there giving him hot fomonntatiotes with the other. groom. I had been there prerhaps nt hour when I saw a light coming out of tile drawiogrooc window, and I ran upi ehoutticg ; aid thene I ina there wae a light ii the dining. room acd library too. Then I ren rouel to'thl back of the house, and the housekeepor's room was alight bohltd. I. ran in at the kitchen. door, and upstairs,' and woke one of the gar doctors, and got them out.' The place was so full of smoko, it was as much as we coutld do to got down. There wo got this long ladder, and put it against Mrs. Wilson's window, and got her and the girl down. Thae we went round the other silde, and I got up and broke a pae noin Mr. Carne's window natl lhoutod. I could not make him hoar, and broke anothelor pasto and unfastened the window and lilted it, and went in. I thought he must ilhave beeon stilled in bed, for the smoke was is thick as possible, and I had to crawl to the lbed. Well, master wasn't there. I felt about to soo if hleo was on the floor, but I could find nothing ofat him; the door was open, and I expect heo must have boon woke uuno by the smoke, aid wontout to soee what was toe matter, and iorhapa got lhoked byit. I know I weesnearly ctoked my self hy thlo:timee I got my thead out of the window egint." " . r ",Ira may, leave got to.tthe upper story" Jaedob Carer sil. 't Wel o d bot ho en rook. out round te houeaeso as:'to be ready to put theos oadeler 'at eliet' ifo 'hin. ea l. There is nothing else to do, is there, Mr. Amstrong P You are eccustom od ito all sorts' 'of trobleos, and mty know obeat what we ought to do." thI cac't tllink nof atythinmt" in. Armetront replied. 1 No, if 1le'e not ice lets' own room it oseems hlopolfe in startl for him. olc seeo the flanes lnave broken out front several witedows of tIe fsnt fhoar. My own ida is, fromt what you say of the lire havieg sproed into all the rooms o tlte groudhlleoor whreon you disooveroe it, that tho poor cttloonet mcet leve' sot firs to the hlouse timself inr half a doroe placts, elad as tiloely en not oay tavo beten suffoaetod almost at once." bI houeldte't woneder if tlhat was it," the smittlhe said. It's nrot oftueral thnt the nire should haver spread ll over the lower part of the louse te suhel a short tie. You knsow what we warore ring this evoeing. It'e just thce sort of trick for a meadmasn to pla~y." 'liesotlh wrns intomrpted by a sudden uxcla. tiun from tleooo stocadiug round, followed by a stout, TTheroelee to i" A hdorcer wicelow at tihe roof of tite oldest part of tile house oponoed, at a tiwguroeiihlloteeoua oa to ec lov panrpet that ral rountIre ssoieousiee (TO nn cosrnao.a!