Chapter 65803410

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Chapter NumberXIX. (CONTINUED.)
Chapter Url
Full Date1889-06-28
Page Number0
Word Count8416
Last Corrected2013-05-28
Newspaper TitleKyabram Union (Vic. : 1886 - 1894)
Trove TitleThe Curse of Carne's Hold, a Tale of Adventure
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THE . CURSE OF CARNE'S HOLD.   A TALE OF ADVENTURE. By G. A. Henty, * -A.tb? of" Und er e De's BI." ,.With CUve in Inas,"" A Cornet of lore', Etc. .HAPTER XIX. (CONTIrmN .) - . : .TM PIMB AT CAnIN's HOLD. "All right, sir,"all rigIt!" Jacob Caro shoud ut at th top of voic ; Shavo a ladder for you in no time,"e and he * 'and a ascore of men rml to lift the long ladder that was leaning against the side of the house.. ' It 'was soon lowered, brought round, and Splaced against the parapet * lose to whoem egi Sald Caruo was standing. "Now then, sir," Jacob Caroy shouted " again, " it's all right. - You can come down safe enbugh." • 'But Mr. Carno paid no attention to the Ihout, h awns pacing up and down along the parapet, Sand wae tossing his arms about in a strapgo ';manner. Suddenly ho turned, seized tho loader S'and pushed it violently sideways along the parapet. Those below vainly. tried to keep it oteony. ' ' "l ook out!" the smith shouted, "leave goand clear out, or ho will have it down on youn." The men holding tho ladder dashed away from the foot, nod the ladder fell with a crash upon the ground, while a pel of wild laughter broke out from above. '" :"Th squiro lhas gone clean mad," Jacob *' CatMy said to Mr. Armstrong, as he joined *him* " either the fire has driven him mad, or 'What is more likely, he wont mad first and then Slit the fire. However, we must save him if we k can.". : :" Look thero, Caroy, if wo lifted the ladder '.and. put it between that chimuoy' and the 'window next to it, -ho can't slide it either ' :onoe''wayor- another, as he did befre; a.rund ie certainly icould not throw it back ,:int .ifs.wo plant the foot well away from the roeItose ." . ' ' ' '"'"That's right tenough," the smith ngreed, "' ' but if he won't come dowil he won't." " e " W must go up and make him, Carey. If ' dou and I and a couple of strong men go Ip to .gether, we ooght to be able to master him. . f course, we iust take up rop? with us, and bind him, and then lower him down the *ladder." "We might do that," the smith said, " but sauposo the ladder catches fire ?" "The fire woin't touch it at that point, Carey. Yoou se it will go up just between the rows of windows." "So it will; anyhow, wo might take up a Slong rope, it they have got one, so as to lower ourselves down if the ladder doescatch "tim." Ho spoke to one of the grooms: "Have you got plnty of rope P" "Plenty," th maun said. "I will fetch you a couple of Iong coils from the stables. Here, one o you conie along with me." " Now wowill get the ladder up," Mr. Arm strong said. With the aid of a dozen mon-for tho wholo Tillag was now upon the spot-the ladder was again lifted, and dropped so that the eupimr end tell between a chimney and dlormer wmdow. Regi ald Came again attempted to cat it down, but a number of men hung on to the lower part of the ladder, and he was unable to lift it far cnough to qot it out of the niche into which it had fallen. Then lie turned round and shook his fist at the crowd. Some thing flased in the light of the flames, and a half a dozen voices exclaimed: ScHe has got a knife !" At this moment the clergyman and doctor arrived together on the scene. " Vhat's to be done, doctor P" Jacob Caroy asked. " Idon'tnind goingup witlisomo otiher to.back me, to have a tussle with him on the roof; but hu would knife us one by one as we ot up to tthe parapet, and, though I don't ink as I am a coward, I don't cars about chucking away my life, which is of use to my wifeanl childron, to save thatof a madman whoso lifo ain't of no use to hissolf or anyone else." " No, don't see why you should, Carey," the doctorsaid ; "the beat plan will bo to keep awayfrom the ladder for the present. Perhaps, when ho thinks you are not going to make the attempt, he will move away, and then wo ctti get up tlre before i sees us, I will go first be cause he knows me, and my influence iray quioet him, but we had better arm ourselves with sticks so as to knock that knife out of his hand." IBoginald Came stood guarding tie ladder for a few minutes. Oy this time the wlole of tho first floor was in ua blase, the flames Srushing out with fury from oevery window. Seding that he did not move, tih doctor said at last: ,"Well, we must risk it. Give men astick, 'Caey, and we will make a try, anyhow." " You can't go now," Mr. Armstrong said, nsddenly, " look, the ladder is alight !" This was indeed tlh case. The flames had not absolutely toclhed it, but the heat was so groat that it had been slowly charring, and a light lhamo had now suddenly appeared, and in a moment ton or twelve feet of the ladder was in flames. " It's of no use," the doctor said, dropping tho stick that Jacob Carny had just cut for him in the shrubbery; " w can do nothing for him now." There was scarcely a word spoken among Sthe little crowd of spectators on tho lawn. SEver moment was ndding to their number it Mr. Volkes, the magistrate, and several other gentlemen rode up on horseback, and men ran p from all the fiarmhousos anid cottage ithin a circle of a couple of miles. All sorts of suggestions wore made, but only to be " "ejccted. , "It is onothing to save a man who wants to oe saved," the doctor said, " but quite another 'thin to savo on who is determined not to bo saved." This was in answer to a proposal to fasten a 'st ao on'to a light line and throw it up on to thoroof. "The man is evidently as mad as a March har." t There could be no "doubt. Reginald Came seoeing that his assilante, as he considered them, could not geot at him,, was nmaking , gettuires of triumph and derision at them. Now from the second-floor windows the flames began to spurt out, the glass clattering down on to the gravel below. . " Oh, father, what a pitiful sight FP" Mr. Armstrong turned. 1" What on earth brings you here, Mary P tutn away, child. This is a dreadful business, aid it will be haunting you." "1 have seen more shocking things, father," sho said quietly. " Why did you not bring . moupwitlhyouat flrat? Iran upstairstogot my hat and shawl, and when I came back you werogono. Of coursoe, I came up nt once, jlut 'as everyone lso in the village has done, only I would not come and botheryou when I thought t you were going to do somethisg. But there's nothingto be done now but wait. This mubt ssfelybo the end of the Curse of Came' s Hold, fatoer." S"It ought to be, my dear. Yes, 'let us "eanemstly hope that it all terminates liohere, for -jour saka and everyone elso's. Morvyn will b maiaster of Carnmo's Hold now." ". : b ; :"Not of Camo's Hold, thank God! " thle ii i-rl' said; with a. shudder. "There will 'bo t :nothing left of. Caneo's Hold to.morrow hut a 'lieap of ruins. The 'place will ,bo destroyed n beform'ho' becomes its. master. It all ends v together, the Hold and the' direct line of tlho .." .Lotus turn hnd walk away, Mary. This' l too dreadful." ' :" I can't," aid Mary shook her head. "I ii wiish I ould, father, but it has a sort of hor riblo fascination. Look at all tbiso uipturned 'faces ; it is tho same with them all. You can soe that theoro is not one who would not h go if hoe could." tl SThe doctor ugain went forward towards tlhe houso. . n " Cam, my 'dear follow," he slhoutod, p "jump off at the end of tho house into the shrubs on the beds there, it's your only Ii chinco." - g Again the mocking laugh was hoard ahovo e the roar of the fire. The tlames were hrak- Ii fg out through theo roof now in several t " It will not be long beforo the roof falls I through," Mr. Armstrong said.. "Come sway, tl Mary. I will not lot you stay hero aiy ii longer." ' II - Puitting his arms round his danghter he led k ..lior away. She hiad not gone ton yards when . thareowas a tromcndouscmrash. She looked back o ; and tho roof was glone anmd a.volcano of flanme sai sparks was rsing from :the shell of the t houso. Against those, the figure of the mad- ti sman stooll out black and clear. Then a h sudden puR of wind whirled tho flames round u huim. - Ho staggered, mads a half.step back- I, 'wardsand fell, while a cry went up fromtho n crwd. i' ," It's all over, my dear," Mr. Armstrong T sail, roleasing his hdl of his daughter; and a thona with Jacob Caroyand three or four other , irmon, be ran forward to the houso, liftod. tluIm body o Iieginald Carnme up and earriedit be- 1 yond danger of a fallingwall. ....'" Artll RBFcvpmd. ' .. .

Dr. Arrowsmith and the clergyman and several of the neighbours at once hurried to the spot. °-.. ..-· ._ . ' ?o is not dead,"' Jacob Caroy samid, as they came up, " he one when we lifted him ; ht fell on tone of thelittle flower beds between the windows." " "tNo, his heart is beating," the doctor said, as ho knelt beside him and felt his pulshu, but n I fearho must havo sustained fatar injuries." i HI took out a flak that he had, thinking that a cordial miglht-be required, elipped into his pocket just oforestarting for the scee of the fre, and poured a few drops of spirit between her was a faint groa and a minute later She, opened his eyes. He looked round in a gbowildered way, but when his eye fell ontho i0 burning house a lookof satisfaction passed over his face. d hi" have done it," he said, " I have broken i. the Curse of Carno's Hold l" The doctor stood up for a moment and said I to one of the grooms standing close by: "Get a stable door off its hinges add bring it here; we will carry him into the gardener's cottage.". " As soon as Reginald Caroe was taken away, L Mr. Armstrong and his daughter returned to r the village.. A few of tho villagers followed e their example; but for most of them the t fascinaton of watching the lar?es that were leaping far above the shell of the house was too groat to be resisted, and it was not until the Sday dawned and the flames smouldered to a deep quiet glow that'the crowd began to dis Ppose. 0 It has been a terrible scene," Mary said, as r they walked down the hill. "A terrible scone, child, and it wouldl have been just as well if you'dsltayed at horne and I slept comfortably. If I had thought yeo were rsong to be so foolish I would not have gone Y " ou know very well, father, you could not have help?d yourself. You woula not have sat qtuintly in our cottage with. the flames dancing up above tire tree tops there, if you r ad tried over so much. Well, somehow I am glad that the Hold is destroyed :; but of course I am sorry for Mr. Carne's death, for I suppose bewill dio." - I don't thinlk you need be sorry, Mary. Far better to die oven like that than to live till old ago within the walls of a madhouse." " Yes; but it ivas not the death, but the horror of it." " There was no horrorin hiis case, my dear. Ho foltrothitg but awild joy in the mischief hre l had done. I do not suppose oh had a shadow of fear of death. Ieo exulted both hin the destruc. tion of his house, and our inability to get at him. I really do not thhlk heois to be pitied, although it was a terrible sight to see hire. No doubt he was carrying out a long-cherished idea. A thing of thls sort does not develop all at once. He may foryears have been broodhog over this unhappy taint of insanity in his blood, and lhave r orsuadoed himrself that with the destruction of the house, what the people hero foolishly call the Curse of the Carne's would be at an end." l" utsurely yon don't believe anything about the curse, father ?" " Not much, Mary ! the curse was not upon tire house, but is the unsanity that the Splanish ancestors of the Carnes introduced into the famnily. Still, I do't know, althou?rl yooumay Sthinkma weakminded, but I could assort con scientiously that I do not believe there is any thing in the curse itself. One has heard of i such things., and certainly the history of the Carnes would almost seem to justify the belief. RIonald and his two sisters are, it suoes, the last of those who have the Cimrnes' blood inr I their veins, and anyhow Miss Carnfo's murder I and Ronald's misfortunes donot seen to have m nything.whatovor to do with the questiol of insanity. At nry rate, dear. I, like vou, am glad that tie Hold is destroyed. I mul t own I should not have liked the thought of your ever becoming its mistress, and indeeood I hve more Stharuonce thought that before I hando d you over to Ronald, whenever that ovent might tako place, I should insist on lis making mea pro mise that should hIe survive his cousin and come into the Carno's estates, Ihe would never take youto live there. Well, this will be a new incident for you to write to hint about. You ought to fool thankful for that; for you would otherwise have found itvery difnicult to fill your letters till you hear from him what course Ire is going to adopt regarding this busi ness of Ruthl'owlott and Forrester." Mary smiled quietly to herself under cover of the darkness, for indeed she found by no means tire difficulty her father supposed in lilliug hrer letters. " It is nearly .1 o'clock,", she said as she entered the house and struck a light. " It is hardly worth while going to bed, fadther." "All right, my dear, you can please yourrself., Now it is all over I acknowledge I feelt both cold and sleepy, and you will se0 notlhing morec Sof me motil between 10 and 11 o'clockiu thre morning."] " Oh, if you go to bed of course Ishall not top upby myself," Mary said ; " but I arn convince I shall not close an eye." " And I am equally convinced, Mary. that in a little over half an hour you will be sound asleep," and in thie morning, Mary ac knostledged that hris atllclirpation had been verified. CIIAPTER XX. CLEANED AT LA. ] Reginald Carnme was laid down on the table in the gardener's cottage. The doctor could now examuinolim, and whispered to the clergy. man that both his legs woro broken, and that i he had no doubt whatever he had received ter- t riblo internal injuries. " I don't think hoe will live till morning." Prescutly there was a knock at the door. " Can I come in ?" M.r. Volkos asked, when the doctor opened it. "I have known the poor fellow from the time that he was a child. Is he sensible ?" "Iln is sensible in a way," the doctor said. Ir "That is, I believe he knows perfectly well what we are saying, but he has several times laulghed that strasgo cunning laugh that is s almost peculiar to tlcoinsoao.' " oll, at nyrato, I will speak to him," said a Mr. Volke. p "Do you know me, Reginald ?" he went on in a clear voice as ite came up to the side of the n table. Reginald Carno nodded, and ad gai a low i mocking laugh came from his lips. " You t yought you were very clever, Volkes, i mighty clover, but I tricked you." a 1' You tricked me, did you ?" tire r.agistratoe said, cheerfully. " How did you trick me ?" " "You thought, and they all thought, ' the dullhleaded fools, that Ronald Mervyn s killed Margaret. He-ho ! I chgated you all a nicely." A glance of surprise passed between his lis- h tenors. Mr. Volkes signed to the others not to i speak, and then went on : " So le did, Iloghtald, so be did--though we couldn't prove it. You did not trick us it there." R " I did," Roginald Carno said,tangrily. " I a killed her myself."- h An exclamation of horror broke from the throo listeners. Mr. Volkes was the first to re- c cover himself. tl "1 Nonsense, Reginald, you are dreamhig." "Iamnot," Irhe said vehemently. " Ihad a thought it all out over and over again. I was always thinking of it. I wanted to put an end A to thin'Curse. It's beers goinrg on too long, H aund it troubled me. I had made up my mind to killher leng before, but I might not ihave doneyr it then if IT had not hoard my Cousin Ronald threatening her, and another nan heard it too. t This was a grand opportunity,yousee. It was d as murch as I could doato sit quietly at dinner with that naval fellow, and to knowthatit was h al.right. It was glorious, for it swould be w killingtwo birds with one stone. I wanted to get rid of Ronald as much as I did of her, so in that the Curse might come to anr end, and now it was all so amy. I bad only to drop tire glove hoa lohtd h1id hin hm on the gra se C. below her window, and after that quarrel he would be suspected and hung. Nothing could cc hair worked better for me; and then, too,I w thought it would puzzle them to give them n asother scent to work on. Trhere was another s man had a grudge aginist Margaret ; that was Forrester, the poacher. I had picked up his br knife in the wood, just where he had killed my beeper, cud afterwards I heard him telling his sweetheart, who was Margaret's maid, that he would kill Margaret for persuading tier to give w trim up; soI dropped threhifo by tire side of a the bed, and I thought that ane or other of he them would be sure to be hung, but somehow to that didn'tcome right. I hellsve tie girl hid thire knife, only I dsdu't dare ?uestion her about it. But that didn't matter, the fellowwould be hung one way or the other for killing my I keepor. bet the oth oer was the glorious tring, I: and I chuckled over it. It wos ]itrd to look Ia colon and grovo' when I was givhog evidence. e against Itouald, and' when all tire fools seers. thinkn tirat he did it, when it was me all the do tires. Didnt I do It cleverly, VolkceP Ihid es her things Wrhoroe the gardener was suur to fnd cc them the first' time he dug up tire bed. They lot Ronald off, but he will not dome back agahb, so and I don't suppose' will ver marry; so there ii is an eed of the- Curse as forms Ie's concerned. sir Thorn I waited a bit, but the devil was dhvays at myelbowtelling me' to finish the goadwork, hr and lest night I did it. I put tire candle do to tlre curtains in all tire rooms doawn. n aroirs, mn stood and watched them blsee up to antS itrot too hot to'stayany longer; It was at Th graidTjght end I maid hpsrtf o Spa~nish

wonul laughn ig and shouting. She has had her way with us fbr a long tune, but now it's all over; the Curse of the Csarnes is plaved out. T'hor, didie't I chcatyonu nicely, Volkers you and alt the others V ou never susitper me, not one of. ou. I used to keep gravealt day, but t night when I was in my room alone, I laughed for hours to think of all the dogs on the wrong scout." HIL threo listeners looked at each other silently. "It was a grand thing to put an end to the Curse, Iteglinld Carno rambled on. "It was no pain to her ; and if she had lived, the trouble would have come upon her children." " You know that you are hurt beyond chance of recovery, Carno," the magistrato said, gravely. " It is a terriblo stery that you have told us. I think that you ought to put irdown on paper, so that other'people may know how it was done; because you seo at present an in. nocent man is suspected." " What do I cnare That is nothing to me one way or. the other. I am glad I have suc ceeded en frightening Ronald oMervyn away and I lope that he will never come back agai. You don t suppose that I am going to help to bring ihim home !" Mr. Volkes saw that he had made a mistake. " Yes, I quite understand you don't want him back," he said, soothingly. "I thought, perhaps, that you would like people to know how you had sacrificed yourself to mput an end to the Curse, and how cleverly you load managed to deceive everyone. People would never hobelieve us if we wore to tell them. 'They would say either that you did not know what you were talking about, or that it woa empty boast on your part." SThey may think what they like," he said, sullenly, "it is nothing to me what they think." There was a change in the tone of his voice tlhat caused the doctor to put his hand on his wrist again. " Let me give you a few drops more of br?ndu,.Carsne." " No, I will not," the dying man said. 'lI suppose you watt to keep me alive to got some more out of me, butyoun won't. I won't speak again," The others hold a whispered conversation in tihe corner. " He is going fast," the doctor said. " It is a marvel tlait his voice is as strong as it is. IH certainly won't live till morning. It is likely lie may die within anhour." "1 will akpl him another question or two," Mhr. Volkes said. "If we could but got some. thing to corroborate his story it would be in valuable." But Reginald Carno spoke no more. " IIe heard what was sald to hlin, for he. lau lied the samoe malicious laugh that had thrilled tie crowd as he stood on the parapet, but it was low and feeble now. In hopes that he might yet change his mind, Mr. Volkes and the clergyman remained with Dr. Arrowmliith for ancother hour. At the cid of that time Reginahl Camr startled them by speaking again, clearly and distinctly : " I tell you it's all over, you witch; you have done us hamn enough, but I have bitent you. It was you against me, and I have won. lThere is nothiig muore for you to do hero and you can go to your place. Carne's Hold is dlovwn, and thes Curse is broken." As he ceased speaking the doctor moved quietly upI to the side or the stretcher, put his tinger on his wrist, and stood there for a minute, then he bout down and listened. " d e is gono," he said ; "' the poor fellow is dead." Tie three gentlemen wont outside the cottage ; some of the people were standing cear waiting for ncews of Reginald Carse'e state. " Mr. Carne has just died" the doctor said, as Ice went up to them. " Willt one of you find Mrs. Wiis",n and toll lisr to brinig another woman with her and see to him. Intl ti morn inc I will make arrangemcnts to have lim takee down to the village." " What do you think we had better do about this, Dr. Arrowsmith ?" Mr. Volkes asked as toe rejoined them. "Do you believe this story ?" " Unquestionably I do," the doctor replied. " I believe ovary word of it." " But the mano was mad, doctor." " Yes, lie was mad and has been so for a long timo in my opinion, but that makes no difference whatever in any confidence that he was speaking truly. Confessions of this kind from a madman are generally true; their cun nincg is prodigious, and as long as they wish to conceal a fact it is next to itnpoeeisble to get it from them, but when, as in tthe present case, they are proud of their cleverness and the sue coss with wldich they have fooled other people, they will tell everythling. You see their ideas of right and wrong are entirely upset ; the real lunatic is unconscious of having committed a crime, and is inclined even to glory in it." " I wish we could have got hitn to sign," the cmagistrate said. " I am sure he could not have held the pen," Dr. Arrowsmith replied. "I will certify to that effeoot and as we three allheard the con fession, I think that if you draw it out anil we sign it as witnleses, it will have just as good an elfect as if lie had written it himself." " There was oneo part, doctor, that surprised moe evert more than the rest-that was the part relating to the cooma Forrestr. I don't believe a soul suspected idm of being in any way con nected with the crime. At least we' cheard I nothing of a knife being found, nor, of course, of the quarrel between Forrester and the girl. Ruth l'owlett, was it not ?" "No, that is all now to us," tie doctor maid. " I think the boat way would be to see her in the morning. She may not like to confess I that she concealed the knife, if she did so. Of 2 course, if she does, it will be an invuluablocon firmation of his story, and will show conclu sivoly that his confession was not a mere delu sion of a madmau's brain." " Yes, indeed," the doctor agreed, " that would clench the matter altogether, and I should not be surprised if yau flid that what c he has said is true. The girl was in my hands I a short tune before Miss Carno's death. They ? said that she had had a fall, but to my.aind it seemced more likea severe mental shock. Then I after ieass Caruo'e death she was very ill agai, Ii and there was something about her that t puzzled me a good deal. For instance, sieo in sisted upon remaining inl court until the verdict was given, and that at a time when she was so n ill she could scarcely stand. She was so obsti- c ciato over the matter that it completely e puzzled me; but if what Canno said was true, acid she had the knowledge of something that a would have gone very far to prove Itoald a t?ervyn's innocenice, the matter is explined. n Tho only difficulty before us is to geot her to to speak,.because, of course, she caunot do so I witlout laying herself open to a charge-I don't a mean a criminal charge, but a cmoral one-of it having suppressed evidence in a mamnner that y aoncerned a man's lifo. I think that the best olan will be for us to meet at yourhosoe, Mr. tl Volkes, at '11 o'clock to-morrow. I will go b into the. village before that, and will brig Ruth Powlott up in my gig, and if you will t allow me I will do the talking to lier. - have ji had her a good deal in my hands for the last ti year, and Ithink that she has confidence in e: co, and will perhaps answer me more freely P hac she would you as a magistrate." 'Very likely she would, doctor. Let the tl arrangement stand asyou propose." al The next morning, at half-lmst 10, Dr. it .rrowsmithl drove up in his gig to the mill. h Ruth sime to thdidoor. w o o "Ruth," he said, i" I want you to put on your boluet td shawl and lot me trive you a u short distance. I have something particular that I want totalk to you about. IntI wtl t drive you myself." hi A good deal surprised, Ruth. went into the oi houso and re-anoptred i two or throe minutes te warmly wrappodu n t. hi " Thant's rightl," the dtor said "jump C in." .. r. " ;uth Powlett was the first to speak. P "Ce suppose it is tire, sir, that poor 3Mr. C Sarnoes dead ne" , . " Yes,hodied at 2 o'clek. Ruth, I have at curions thing to tell you about him; but Iwsill th wait until we got throug the village; I have gi co dloubt thartt twillurprae you as mudh sit surprised me." Itltlh said lothingn until they had crossed the iI brid sover the flare. " W'hat is it V" she asked at last. tI "t Well, Ruth, at present it is only klowe n toin ler Vickery, Mr. Volkes, and myself, and he whatever happeins I want you to say ciotling is about it untili give you leave. Now, Ruth, I have a sort ofan ildea that what I am going to tell you will relieve your mind of a burden, to lt0th turned pale. th Setolievero my mind, sir I" sie repDeated. b "Yes, Itutli: I may be wrong, ad if I am, t [can only say beforelinid that lam sorry, but cc i have an idea tlat you suspect, and have for a long time suspeeted, that. George o t murdered 1-bss Care." r Muth did not sphak, but looking down, tice si oeter saw by the pallor of her cheeks aud the w orpressisn of her face that his supposition was et :orreet. w "Itltink, Ruth, that has boon your ide. If s ce, Icon relieve your mind. .Mr. Carombofore M iis death confeased that he murdered his ruth gave a start and acry. She reeled in her seat and would have'fallen hod not tie 01 locter thrown his arm round her. "Steady, m my child, steady," ite said ; " this is a surrprise i toyou, I have no doubt acid whatever It is to r others, probably a joyful one." lb Iluth broke into a violent fit of sobbing. The in

1i doctor did not: attempt td check her, but-whon s she gradually-rebovrred -lie' aid ?' "TI'fiEis strange news,;is it not, Ruth?':?": . "1 ut did ho meanit, sir P" she asked. " Did he know iat, he was saying when he " He know perfectly well, Ruth; he told us 1 a long story, but I will not tell you! what It is now. Voe shall be at Mr. Volkems s in a minute, and we shall find Mr. Vickery there; and I want you to tell us what you know about it e before vou hear what Mr. COirne's story was. I do hope that you will tell us everythingyou know. Only in that way can we clear Cap tain -Mervyn." " I will toll you reything I know, air,"' Ruth said, quietly ; " I told Ls Arstrong live weeks ago, and was only waiting till she heard from someone she has written to before rtelling it to everyone." . The gig now drew up at the door of the magistrato's house, and Dr. Arrowsmith led Ruth innto the sitting-room, where Mr. Volkes aund the clergyman were awaiting her. "r Sit down heiw, Ruth," the doctor said, handing her a chair. "Now, gentlembn, I may toll you first that I haveo told Miss Powlett that Mr. Carne has confessed that: he killed his sister. I have not told her a single word more. It was, of course, of the lsghest importance that she should not know the nature of his story before telling you her own. She has ex prsseed her willinigness, t all she knows. Now, Miss Powlott, will you please he gin in your own way." Quibetly nd steadily Ruth Powlett told her story begisnning with the conversation that she had had with Margaret Carne relative to her breaking off the eugagement; then she doe scribed her interview with George Forrester, his threats against Miss Cano and the attack on herself ; and then told how she had found his knife by the bedside on the morning of the. murder. She said that she know now that sha had done very wrong to conceal it, but that she had dlone it for the sake of George Forrester's father. Lastly, she told how sl?ohad gonsoto the trial taking the knife with her, firml 're. solved that in cae a verdict of guilty should be returned against Captaini Mervyn; she would come forward, produce the kmfe, and tdll all she know. Her three hearers exchanged many looks of satisfaction as she went on. When she had finished Mr. Volkee said : " WVe are very much obliged to you for your story, Miss PI'owlott. LHappily it nagrees ire. cisoly with thit told us by Mr. Came. It seems that he was in the wood and overheard your quarrel with Forrester, and the threats against Miss Carno suggested to him the idea of throwing the bhnul upon Forrester, and to do this he placed the knife that he hal found on the scene of the poaching affray a short time before in his sister's room. After this confirma. tion given by your story, there can be no doubt at all that Mr. Carue's confession. was genuine, and that it will completely clear Captain Mfervyn of the suspicion of having caused his cousin's death. Wo shall be obliged, I am afraid, to make your story public also, inorder to confirm his statement. This will naturally cause you emuch pain and some unpleasantness, and I hope you will accept that as the ino vitable conseqluence of the course-which you yourself see Isrs been a very mistaken onte ursoued ia this affair." I u am lrepared for that, sir," 'Ruth said, qluietly; "I h]ad alreadly "tol Miss Anrstrong about it, and was ready to come here to te you the story even when I thought that by so loing I should have to denounce George Forrester as a murderer. I im so rejoiced that he is now proved to be innocent that I can very well boar what may be said about me." " But why not have come and told mo at once when you made up your mind to do so I" Mr. Volkee asked. " Why ldelay it " " I w aiting, sir; I was waiting-but---" aid she paused, " that secret is not my own ; hut I think, sir5 that if you will go to Milr. Armstrong ha will be able to ll ;you some thing that you will he glad to l:no's.' " Who m Mr. Armstrolg I" Mr. Volkes asked, in some surprise. " Ile is a gentleman who has been living in the village for the last four or five months, sir. I do not think tlhat thler is any harm in my saying that he knows where Captain Morvyn is to be found." " That will certainly be useful information. All this will be joyful news to him. We must got him back among us as soon as we can. Ho laes indeed been very hardly treated in the matter. I think, Mis Powlett, we will get you to put your story into the form of a sworn in formation. We may as well draw it up at once, and that will save you the trouble of comning up hero agidn." This was accordingly done, and Rutth Powlott walked back to the village leaving Mr. Volkes and the other two gentlemen to draw up a formal report of the coufession made by IoReginald Carse. Ruth Powlett went straight to the cottage occupied by the Armnstrongs. '. Wlat is yqur nlews, 1(utl I" Mary said, as she entered. I ca see boj~yeur face that you have something important to tell us." " I have indeed," Ruth replied. " I have just beei up to Mr. kVolkes, the mngistrate, and have told hinm all I know." " What induced you to do that, Ruth ?" Mairyasked in surprise. "I thought you had quite settled to say nothing about it until we heard from Captalin Mervyn." " They knew all about it before I told them, and only sent for me to confirm the story. Mr. Carne, before he died last night, made a full confession before Mr. Volkes, Dr. Arrowsmith, and Mr. Vickery. It was he who in his muad ness killed his sister, and who placed GOorgo Forrcester's knife by the bedside, and Captain Mervyn's glove on the grass to throw sue picion on them. Captain Mervyn and George Forrester are both innocent." The news was so sulden and unexpected that it was some time before Mary Armstrong could sufficiently recover herself to ask questions. The news that Ronald was proved to be inno cent was not so startling as it would have been had she not previously believed that they were already in a lpositioi to clear him ; but the knowledge that his innocencowouldiow be pub liely proclaimed in a day or two filled her with happiness. She was glad, too, for Ruth's sake that George Forrester had not committod thise terrible crmoe ; aud yet tlhere was a slight feel ing of disappointment that she herselfl ad had no hand in clearing her lover, and that this had come about in an entirely different way to what site had exlected. Mr. Volkes and the clergyman called that afternoon, and had a lonrgtalk with Mr. Aran strong, and the following day a thrill of excites ment was caused throughout the country by 1 the publication in the papers of the confession of Reinald Carne. Dr. Arrowsomith eortilied that alttough Reginald Carne was unquestionably 1 htsano, and probably had been so for some years, he ihad no hesitation in sayhig that he was perfectly couscious at the time hoe made the confession, and that the statement might be believed as implicitly as if made by a wholly sane man. In addition to this certificate and the confession, the three gentlemen signed a joint declaration to the effect that the narra- I tive was absolutely confirmed by other facts, t especially by the statement made by Miss Powioett, without her being in any way aware of the confession of Reginald Carne. This, they pointed out, fully confirmed his story on all polinis and could leave no shadow of doubt in thie mds f anyone that Reginald Camr had, under the influenice of inadonass, taken his sister's life, and had then with the euuenmig so commonly present in insanity, thrown suspicion upon two wholly innocent peresne. The no\wspapers, commentong san the story, emarked strongly on the cruel, injustico tht had boon inilletod upon Captain Meryns, and expressed the iops tlmat hae would soon return to takohis mlace again in the oounty; u litingin his peson the cistatocs of the IMervnyn and the Carnos. Thoro was some lprensislon ofstrong eprobhatien at the coirealment by Ruth b Powlett oef tile ksife sie had reound it Miss Canoe's roin. One of the papers, however, admitted that L Perhaps altogether it is for. tuuato now that the girlcncealeTd them. IIade the facto now publiised in hor statemunt been given, they would at once have ceitviniced hi everyons that Coptahis Mervyn did not commit the erline withl which he was clharged, but at tie sale tien the might haves broughtansoter Ii lmutoceit man to the scaffold. t Upon the whole, then, although her conduct in concaling this ti importat nows is most rprenhosble, it inust e adlnatted that, in tbointerestsof justic, it hs fortunate that she kept silent." The sensation caused In Carmisforl by thie publication of this news was tremendous. For tunately RauthPowlott was not there to becoin th6 centre of talk, for hes had that moring i been carried cft by Mr. Armotrogl and Mroy i to stoy with hiems or a while in Lodon. The t cottgag wea slut up and upontliofollowing day a cart arrived from ilyihouth to arry oil the 0 furiilturs, which hal been, unly. hired by tie: Li month. The oveling bfofre leaving, Mr. Airmu; stroug had intercepted 1iram Powlstt on hIs. 55 way to the snuggery, and taking hihn up to the eottage, whore l~uth was spending the eveonlng ti :lth M~ry·, iuformed him on the way of the n strange discovery that had been made, and Rutho share in ilt." "I trust, Mr. Powlett," heaald, " that you 0 will iit be angry with your daughter. -She wiss placed inin. atrrible lpisition, liaving tlie a optitn of either denouncing as a murderer a n man shs lied loved, or perm;ttinuganothor to he uider the imputation of guilt. Anud you must romonbsr she was prepared to come forward at thetrial and tell the truth about the matter had Captain Mervyn u been- ernd guilty.' 'No 11

doult he actedi wron ; but she hai suffered teni?lyj r think tat ias' say daughter has forgiven her far-altlowing'Captain Mrrvyn to suffer for her siltenco, you may also do so.' Hiumn Powlett had uttered IRmay epre.sions of surpriaoand concern as he listenoed to the story. Iticemed to him very terrible that his daughter should have all the time been keopin? a secret of such vital importance. IHe nowsid ina tone of surprise : " " I don't understand you, Mr. Armstrong, about your daulghter. What has Miss Mary to do with forgiving P How has she been it-. jured Y" "I don't know that upon the whole she has been injured," Mr. Armstrong said. " At least, I m suare she doesr not think so. Stilt, I thinkshe has something to forgive for the fact is she is engaged to be married to Captain Mervyn, and would have been his wife a year ago had he not been resolved never to marry so long as this cloud remained over him." Hiram Powlett was so greatly surprised at this news that his thoughts were for a moment averted from RIuth's misdomeanours.' Cap tain Meorvyn, t-te. hall and now of the - Carnme estate also, was a very great man in.the eyes of the pcople of Carnesfort, nnd tile news that he. was engaged to be married to the rl who was a friend of his tauughter's, and wlo had several times taken tea at the mill, was almost boewil dering to him. "Idaresay you are surprised," Mr. Arm strong said, quietly, " but you see we are not exactly what we al p?tar. Wec ame hero some what under false colours, to try and find out about this murder, and in the hope we might discover some proofs of Captain Mervyn'S innocence. Now we have been successful we shall go up to London and there await Captain Morvyn's return. I have been talking it over with my daughter, and if you and Mrs. Powlett offer no opposition, ueo propose to toko Ruth away to stay with us for two or these months. It will be pleasant for all parties. Your girl and mine are fond of each other, and Ruth will boa nice companion for Mary. The chango will do your daughter good. She has for a long time been suffering, greatly, and fresh scenes and objects of interost will take her mind off the past; and lastly by thetimesho returnehero, the tossipand talk'titS will be caused when all this known will have died away." "It isvor good of you to think of it, Mr. rmstro ' Hirm Powlott said, '" ad it will e a fine thing for Ruth. Of e'urse, sie has been wrong, very wrong: but she must have suffered munts all these months. I told you that I thought that she had something on her mlud, but . never thought it was like this. Well, well, I sluam't say anything to her. I never was good at scolding when she was a child, and I think she hisu been severely punished for this already." " I ihink so, too," Mr. Armstrong agreed; " and now let us go in. I told her tiat I should speak to you this evening, and she must be waiting auxiouslyy- for you.'". When they entered Rutlh rose timidly. "'Oh, father," she began. " There, donl't say any more about it, tRuth," Hiram interrupted, taking her tenderly in hisarms. "My poor girl, you have had a .lhard time of it. Why didn't you tell mo all at first?" " I could not, father," s sobbed. " You know-you know how you were set against ]lin Y" " Well, that is so, Ruth, and I should have been still mnore set against him if I had known thie rights of that fill of yours upon the hill ; lut there, we won't ity anything more aboutit. You have been ounisheod for your fault, child, and I hope that when you come back again to us from the jaunt that Mr. Armstrong is going to be good enougih to take you, you will be just as you were before all this trouble came upon you." And so the next morningMr. Armstrong, his daughter, and Ruth went up to London. Two months later, Mary received Rotenald's letter, telling of Georgo Forrester's death, and of his own disappointtment at tfinding his hopes of clearing himself dashed to the ground. Mary broke the news of Forrester's death to Rutht. Ste received it juietly. " am sorry," she saitd, " but he has been nothing to lme for a loing timso nsow, and he could never have been aunytitng to me again. Samn sorry," she repeated, wipjeng her eyes, " ttat the boy I playeud with is goue, but for the manu, I think it is perhaps betterso. HIe diedl lghttiig bravely and as asoldier should. Ifear le Would inever have made a good man had he livedt." A month later Ronald himself returned. The war was virtually over when lie receivedthe lettecrfrom Mary Armstrong and Mr. Volkes tolling him that he was cleared at last, and ho had no trouble is, obtaining his discharge at once. He received the heartiest cono'rtulations from his former officers, and a perfert ovation front the mel. as hte sid " Good-bye" to them. AtPlyinouth ho received letters telling where Mary and her fatther were staying in Londoi, and on landig he at once proceeded to town by train, after telegraphing to his sisters to meet him there. A fortnight later a quiet weddilg took place, Ronald's sisters and Ruth Powlett actiingas bridesmaids, an honour that, whlen truth ro turned home immediately after the ceremony, a effectually silenced the tongues of the village gossips. Ronald Mervyn and his wife went for a month's tour on the Continent, Mr. Arm strong joining them in Paris a few days aftr 1 the marriago ; while the Mliss Morvyns went down to Devonshire to prepare the Hal1 for the reception of its owner. Colounel Someorset had not forgotten his promise, iaid two or three days after Itornal's return, the letter stating how Captain Mervyn had distinguishedl him. self during the Kaffir War, under thie nano t of Sergeant Blunt, went the round of the I h'ie skeleton walls )f Carno's Hold were at once pulled down, the garden was rooted up, and the whole site planted with trees, and this was by Itonald's orders carried out so oexpedi tiously that when he returned with his bride sill trace of the Hcld had vanished. Never in the memory of South Devonshire had there been uchr rejoicings us those that greeted Ronald I iervyn and hlis wife on their return home. Tho a tenanatry of his two estates, now joined, all 1 sesembled at the station, and scarce a man t from Caruesford was alsent. T'riumphal arches had been erected, and the gentry for many miles round drove in to re-c ceive them, as an .exprcssion ,at once of their. satisfaction that Xtonald lMervyn had been cleared from the cloud that hung everl inm, and, to somne extent, of thelirrogret that they shioulil ever for a mloment have ie- i loved him guilty. d heotben Claphurst's prediction was verified. 1 WVith the destruction of Carnme's fHold the curse of tho Spanish lady ceased to work, and no trace i of the family scourge has over shown itself in I he blood of the soumo'what numerous family of ItRonald Mervyn. The tragic story is now I almost forgotten, and it is only among the in habitants of the village at the foot of the hill that tile story of the Curse of Carne's Hold is sometimes related. I THE END _______________________s