|Newspaper Title||Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)|
|Trove Title||The Mystery of Phillip Bennion's Death|
The Mystery of Philip
(By Richard Marsh.)
. ..Author of "The Crime and the Criminal," "Mrs.
MuBgrave's Husband," &c, &c. .
. < Aa I stood staring at her. momentarily dumb In my amazement. Ralph approached her from, be hind. It was he who spoke
"Nina, are you quite sure that you're quite well.? ?What's the meaning of what, young woman? He perceived the little box. "What's this? A key?" He took lt up into his hand. "The key of the cabinet? Is this what causes my dear est lady, such concern? Sweetheart, where's the wonder? Why, it's In pieces. HaHo,' Otway, what have you been doing?"
"Yes," cried Nina, her aggressive tones in curious contrast to her lover's tones of placid curiosity, "what have you been doing?"
I passed mytiand across my brow. I felt that I really should go mad if something, did not happen, soon which would supply me with a plausible answer to ali these riddles.
"There was something about the key which I could not altogether understand, so I submitted it to Lewis Cowan for his examination."
Ralph looked at me with wondering eyes.
"Do you mean that you submitted it to Cowan, the maa who is great on poisons?" .
"What did you do that for?"
"More out of curiosity, I fancy, than any thing' else." .
Ralph looked at me as if he could not make me out,' which was not strange. I could not make myself'out just then. I should have been very sorry to have been ' compelled to furnish that minute analysis of my emotions of which, in fiction, the present generation appears to be so fond.
Nina's conduct was amazing. She came and grasped my arm with a vigor and a strength which I found to be not a little disconcerting.
"What did he say?" she gasped.
"What did who say? My dear, you hurt my - arm."
"Mr. Cowan-quick, what did he say?"
As she Increased rather than decreased her pressure on my arm, I deemed it expedient to reply to her question with such , haste as I had at my command.
"He said-my dear, .you are really hurting me -he said-good gracious!-he said that the key was charged with poison."
She sadd nothing. She released my arm in a manner which was almost as disconcerting aa was the actual ferocity with which she had grasped me. With some distant resemblance* to the movements of a pendulum, she wavered for a moment in the air. Then she did a thing of which I had never thought Nina Macrae could have been capable-Bhe fell to the ground in a dead faint, just as they de that sort of thing upon the stage. I was thunderstruck.
I don't know what was on Ralph Hardwicke's face as we both of us stood looking down at her. But I know that on mine there was some thing which I would have given all that I pos sessed to have kept from it.