|Chapter Title||A MIDNIGHT ADVENTURE.|
|Newspaper Title||The North Queensland Register (Townsville, Qld. : 1892 - 1905)|
|Trove Title||The Mystery of Sea-Towers|
The Mysteiy of Sea
?Author of "The DIs-Honoratne,**
"An Australian Bush . Track," "<3unnery of .Church' Con
A MIDNIGHT ADVENTURE.
; Dr. Strong sat <back in Ms chair and peered cautiously around the
"What -was that dog growling at?" . ; He bad a theory ibat animals some times see moretiban Is visible to hu man; eyes, and this seemed now to be torioborated, for suddenly the dog <^ew to^, Wing5ng as-4hough -threat
' and crouehed
nearer totlhe "'doctor.' The" huge ani mal visibly shiveredand tihe&i whined. There was no mistaking it, .-^vtiether. It was afraid of something atpresent in Visfbl&> fj^^mething T^-lMch^ie -scent ed;orwi*etlier "the ttog^w-raore than, .the ^doctor, ' the animal was evidently afraid, for -'ffc turned? its eyes irp to those of jl>r. Strong in "pleading en . treaty, and then stood np trembling all over. * , /
r<t^g& 4ifie iMfte. appeal of a dumb animal ^ggesfcive^ *>f fegr, and readi
. ^I^e di^ojr felt % thrill go through him,^b^J|tocted Ms hand reassuringly
<head;at "which he sat down npon. bis (haunches and gazed
a^aln in ^lie direction of the fireplace, :H^^^few'C'Coate sffli- gave'ouit a feeWc glow- «. ; ^ !
.... Jpt/was nearly half past eleven o' .cloclci |j&verai minutes|pa5sGfl with 4>^^^ou!nd, the apprehension of the dog had, to someextent/seized iioQd of the doctor, and Ihe held the revolver nervously in his liand while he gazed
around the room
Suddenly a whimper from the dog
again arrested his attention, and look
ing over toward the tire, he ^aw the
gr^l j^gniiiire hearth, aa^pL fire$Jajce slow
ly Sinking below the' level of the bed Looan floOT.?
Motioning to the dog, he stepped noiselessly ~l»ack across the thick car pet^ .to a-large bid-fashioned; fcay-win fiow where heavy curtains provided a wnfvenienit Mding place- . The dog seemed "Instinctively to: know Jtihat St was advisable to gefbeMnd cover, and hi less time than it lakes, to write if, th£ two were sheltered at the <back of . the damask -curtains. ? J
iiThe- a^volver was in the doctors
'Some ^devilry this!' was all that 'he softly ejaculated, as "he saw the fire place aifcl square, still slowly descend ing, unrSl ait last it was out of sight, leaving ymly visible, from where the doctor stood, a large cavity.
Seyerat: things &a4 thus far im pressed "themselves upon the solitary be-holder of fchls strange fecene. There had "/been" 00 noise, vWt&tever ane chanfisitt'St was that worked1 . this extra
ordinaryvlift, it'.mu&tfce finelyfinished ~ find pei^te4v ^ f,/ /, v:
'Here is a due to the disappearance off Septimus Dorset arid a corrobora tion of Sarah's story,' thought the doc
'Wthetiher there is a. gold mine or not, there Is certainly something un der the place, and it'his secret lift has been constructed by/a clever man, pro ba-bly a scoundrel, for a purpose.? -
His thoughts were arrested by the appearance from oat of tllie cavity of the back of a man's 'head, and Dr. Strong grasped the revolver with a nervous grip as he peered between the
It was a. stoutish man sitting in a rocking chair, ?with" his- face turned toward the dead embers of the fire place. .
, . The figure sat perfectly -motionless, and in the dim flight of the room (for Che lamp had been lowered by the doc tor) it was Impossible to make out more-than that the (hands were clasped in front of .him, and that one leg was lifted, so as to rest across .the knee ©f
An hour must <have passed; an hour of exquisite torture for Dr. Strong, during which, time the figure showed no sign: of Me or ^moibiom. Wh» was ft that thus -courted destruction? for the doctor's finger iwas on the trigger a score of times, ready to send a bullet thtoiigh the man's' head. Again and agiiin he 'was oai the pohi<u of coming out of his hiding <place, and-.grappling with the man in the chair;, but with an iron will he restrained himself.
It struck him thiatthe size of the figure very ahuch afeesihJbled that of the late Rahmond Bailantyne.
Then the thought came to him of Mr. Bailantyneliayang been known to some asr Raymond! the sleeper. The man in the chair iook&d very much as though he was - asleep. It was ytrange, he "thought, that t3ie dog should be so quiet. Was it because the thing to front of him was dead.
..Then the idea flashed upon him t<hat this was the body of the dead Raymond Ballaiityne, preserved by some process known to Seth Rosedale, and that he was projected , into this chamber in this extraordinary fashion, In order that anyone seeing it mig'lit be terrified, and proclaim the Towers hauittted by the ghost of its late pro prietor.
But the ghostly thing still made no sigh, and at last Dr. Strong, unable to restrain himself any longer, step
ped out into the room, the oog follow-. iiig trim With evident reluctance.
>He caught a gtfinpse for a moment of an ashy wfaite dead face, and then noticed the great square slowly set tling down again below the surface of the room.. What should he do ? Fire, and arouse the ^houseii'old, or-Jump up on the descending lift and see for himself what there was below. He had only a moment to-decide and at once chose the latttif alternative. r
He sprang lightly down, revolver in hand, a)t the back of the descending
figure. - " » .
In a -moimen t, "however, he regretted Ms rashness, for an unseen hand sud denly' wrenched 43ie revolver from his grasp, and a savage* Wow felled him to the ground, It seemed but a snom
emt, when -the faint lamp light above was suddenly blotted out in darkness.
The lift had evidently returned to its accustomed position.
(Not a gleam of iigM was visible, the darkness was-so fintense, 't hat one might almost feel i<t like a solid sub stance.
The Doctor placed his hand upon the floor, it felt like earth or grave* to the touch. But there was 310 sound to <be heard, although he listened with strained attention for the slightest no!se.
Noticing was 'to be heard, however, ai-ouud or in--the. room above. The ymell of the place was faint and un
'What a fool I was ±0 take a .leap like this in.the dark,' he thought.: B-ut lie made mo -movement and spoke no word, for he felt il'hat the slightest in dication of his Whereabouts to an ad versary. might be followed by a -pEs tol shot, or a Wow.