|Chapter Title||Mr Clinton|
|Newspaper Title||Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)|
|Trove Title||The Mystery of Phillip Bennion's Death|
Mr. i linton.
I am Willing, at the outset, to own that I always did have an Intense objection to Mr. Itayimmd Clinton. The objection extends to the whole class of men of which he was but a tyipe. Personally, Mr. Clinton -was something under thirty years of age, tall, slight, and, I believe, t>y soime women, esteemed good-looking. He was what used to be called a "swell," 'but -what, I understand, In the current slang of the day is called a "chappie." I have no notion whait that sort of pensen will he called to-anorrow, hut I know that he will toe, as .'he always has been, a fool.
"MT. - Clinton was left a small 'fortune on the death of bis mother. But that soon went, IC lt had aot goneibefore he had it. Then his uncle.made him a regular allowance, which was aa regularly ex ceeded. Philip Bennion was always giving him a helping hand out oil financial, ditches., I strongly suspect that he 1 was in a very tight .place at that particular moment, and, that he had been making overtures, and .hitherto unsuccessful overtures, to his unolo for assistance, Raymond Clinton, I was
always convinced, had In h lui, us J« the ease with niost-fools, the -making ol' a first-rate rogue; a Jlnei natural Har, on his own lines, 1 never yet encoun tered. In dealiag with him, the tbest thing war; to take it for granted that he was always lylngi and even then he deceived you by lapses into
'He stood in the open door, leaning on his stiele, his glass In his eye, as If he were at a loss to understand my presence, at Uiat hour, in Philip
"Hallo, what are you doing here?" He spoke in that lifeless drawl which he so much affected. Then he caught sight ol what was lylmg on tho floor. As he did so, a marked change took place in his .looks and hearing. «Stgagering slightly for ward, he 'clutched at the hack of a friendly chair. "Hallo," he repeatedj "what are you doing here?"
As I marked, what seemed to ¡me, the evident effort which he made to appear at ease-and, as a rule, no man needed to make less effort in that direction, a cooler, easier-going, onere impertinent scamp than (Raymond Clinton never lived-an in stant conviction entered my .mind that either he or I had slain old Bennion. The unfortunate part of tho unatter Was that the conviction went no further than it did. The balance of probability .was against,Mir. Clinton. But, then, what could a iran think who knew himself to be a somnambulist., and who had dreamed, in the silent watches of the night, the dream which I had dreamed?
I stood up. I looked Mr. Clinton intently in tho face. I pointed to the dead man lying on the
"'Mr. Clinton, do you not see who is lying
"'Gracious!" Ile «aid "gwacious," hut I do not .wish unnecessarily to emphasise his continued and, apparently, constitutional misusage of his mother tongue. "It's old Ben! How doosed
"What is deuced funny, Mr. Clinton? Your
uncle is dead."
"Dead!" iMr. Clinton dropped into the chair, the hack of which he had been clutching. In spite of his affectation of surprise-»which, by the way, uvas very ibadly done-something told me that he had been well aware of his uncle's death, not only before my statement of the fact, hu tbefore ho had entered the room. "How doosed odd!"
I will do him the justice to say that he never ¡made the slightest pretence at sorrow; but, as bo sat there, focussing nie .with his eye-gla<ss, he seemed to become conscious that something elso was demanded of him besides a mere empty ex clamation. So he gave vent to his feelings in these eloquent words:
"Poor old cock!" Ile paused, then added:
"What's he died of?"
I purposely .waited a moment or two before 1
"Your uncle. Mr. Clinton, has been murdered." I had hit him hard. Ile showed .more signs of being moved than, in one of his lymphatic nature, 1 had thought was possible.
"Murdered!" He stood up; he let his stick fall to the ground. Uniless I am much mistaken he changed color. "Gracious!"
There was silence for a moment or two. I never took my eyes from off bis face. Conscious that Ibis was so, he looked in every direction but to wards me. I could see that he was trembling. I could also see that, he was making a strong attempt to preserve his self-control. At last, removing his hat, for the first time he unoved to where the dead man lay. He stood looking down at him.
"Has he been shot, or stalbbed, or what?"
"That remains to be seen." He glanced at me.
"What do you 'mean?"
"The exact kind of foul iplay hy which your uncle met his death remains to toe shown. And it ?will :be shown, just as surely as they will find
"Then you are certain he was 'murdered?"
"I am ct i tain. I am as certain your uncle was murdered as I am certain that you are standing
He continued to glance at me a imoment longer.
Th«>n he n.riiud to Ryan.
"What do you think?"
"I think, sir, and so I've told iMr. Otway" there was a certain doggedness in the fellow's tone-"that the governor's died in a fit."
Mr. Clinton at once chimed in with Ryan's
"Of course he'd died in a fit. Who'd want to iinurder him?" He looked up, as it seemed to one, with defiance in his eyes. "You'll see that's what the doctors will say-that he died in a fit."
(To he continued.)