Chapter 82229296

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Chapter NumberIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article82229296
Full Date1894-12-22
Page Number2
Corrections0
Word Count1387
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleWarwick Examiner and Times (Qld. : 1867 - 1919)
Trove TitleWhich One!
article text

CHAPTER III.

" I say, Mr. Jack, where did you get that yarn yon told over>tbe camp-fire last night,"

was the first remark Nellie made in the morn

10R.

" Didn't I Bay it was quite true, when I told it-what a memory you have."

" To be sure you <lid, but I know what awful cramraere you can tell when the vein suits you

to do 80."

" But it is quite true-not ODe jot ot it is a fairy tale. I often think over the matter and I feel a presentiment that some day I shall find

out O'Toole."

"Would it not be a jolly lark to run him down," said Nellie. " I would be such a good detective, as I often think it is so fine, finding out all about people and getting at the bottom of mysteries. I read all sorts of books in which mysterious murders are told and the escape of the murderer, and then o real, live fellow, who is called a Scotland Yard man, is put on the case and finally ferrets out enough evidence to hang a man-sometimes the wrong one."

I have no interest in that line. Beoause I think the man's own consoienoe surely must be enough to make a fellow suffer all he oan ever get in gaol or any other place of punishment.

" By the bye, said Nellie, "what has oome over Tom since those visitors have been up on the station. He has quite thrown over us girls and is making a set at Miss Cameron! I think he is only a flirt; be does not care a jot for s country girl. What do you think ?"

" Blessed if I know or care. I only know this (and be emphasised his words with a sharp and penetrating look at Nellie) that I only love one, and as tor her she iB quite indifferent to me. If I had the pluok in me I should have leftGoondi Vale to seek for better luck in

another part of the world. What do you say, Nell t"

Nellie all this time was pulling a twig to pieces and had her eyes oast down, but ehe, for a time, made no reply. At last she vouchsafed to look up and said t "I urn sore I don't know what to answer. I could never bs happy if I was a man and had the same fate as you seem to tbink. But come, Jack, cheer up old boy, let us see yoa in good spirits, to-day when we explore the eaves."

Jack made no answer hut went on filling up his pipe; but at last replied in a low tone:

" Nell, never mind what I said just now. I j shall take your advice and wait a little time I until something occurs that will prove my love ! for the only girl I can ever oare for."

By this time the black boy had rounded up the horses, and the party having broke up

camp a start was made for the Oaves. Alter1 half an hour's quick riding across oountry, down vale and up stiff climbs, the horsemen cried out " look out, there is a man over yonder near that

hut."

"I wonder who the fellow it?" said Tom to Jack.

*' I tbink I have a kindof feeling that his ap pearance is familiar to me," said Jack. When the party had reined op and spoken to the old man, Jack said, " Is not your name O'Toole?"

At this the stranger made a gesture ot (ear and denied the remark. All of us were now

close np to him, and the anecdote that had been related the previous evening came back fresh to oar minds. Jack declared he was the miner, named O'Toole, who had killed his wife on the west coast of New Zealand and then es caped to Australia. The polios had traced him to the coast where be had kept hidden for some time, and when the mail steamer left for Mel bourne the criminal quietly took passage across to Melbourne by the Omeo, one of (Ctleckan, Blackwood's steamers. Here, after five years' enjoyment of freedom, had the murderer lived. He had been engaged in proBpeoting in the neighbouring ranges for gold, which he fonnd a little at times and soli to the nearest bank.

After we had arrived at the Oaves I decided to ride back and interrogate O'Toole. When I reaohed the hut I found the door open, and on entering I saw lying on the floor O'Toole, but he was then groaning, and on Bpeaking to him I was able to get out these words: " Yes, I am O'Toole, I knew yoa as soon as you spoko, but I could not admit that I was tne man. The night I killed my wife-poor woman-I war beside myself with drink. It was my work; but, oh t what a miserable life I have led since. It has been a perfeot torment for me. Every night her spirit comes to tne in my dream. I dream and then when I awaken I am in a cold perspiration after it. I cannot get anything to rid my sleep of the torments. I have been for

days past in mortal dread of my orime finding | me out. To-day you came ana I took you to! be a detective. 80 after you rode away a feel

ing of despair over-took me, and I made up my j mind to die rather than be handed over to the j police. As soon as you rode away I took up! my knife and inflicted a cut on my arm where j the main artery is, and look here under my I

coat; see the pool of blood. I cannot live

much longer. I have done lor myself and all! will be over." Suddenly rising from the floor, O'Toole made the sign of the croBS and falling

back again be uttered a groan and was a j

corpBe.

The next thing for me to do was to return to the Oaves and tell the rest of the party of what

had occurred.

. . . . .

A hurried return was decided npon,-and on the road to the station I told Nellie all that I had learned from O'Toole, and she looking into my faoe said he had died a better death than to be hanged, as I would have in duly bound informed the authorities. In the quiet of the evening, after we had done the last stage of the ride, Jack asked Neilfe it she was induced to give up station life would she go for atrip to the metropolis, as on arriving at the station Jack found a letter from his home in England, an nouncing the sudden death of his father, leaving Jaok a fortune of £6000 a year and a country

seat in Dorsetshire.

Nellie made no secret of her wishes, and in a few moments said 1 " It was at one time a case of wliioh I liked best. But sines Tom has deserted me I soon found out which one I loved, and you, Jack, are the one."

» . . » *

My next business was to tell Mr. M'Kenzie of my suite, and also to hand him my resigna tion as on employi on Goondi Vale. He gladly gave _ his consent, and by arrangement the marriage was fixed for the third week in Janu i ary, in Sydney. Our visitors soon returned to

the city. A line received from Tom told me that be bad proposed to-and been accepted by-Miss Cameron; while Mclvor, the new ar rival, had made a match with tbe jrounger Miss McKeuie, so that a double wedding was to take place.

But mention must be made of Xmas Day at Goondi Vale. We had suoh a jolly lime. All were in gay spirits.

Old Mac. made the whiskey go round all the hands, to try and make his memoiy forget that he was going to lose his girls, which had given their hearts to men who promised to be better

keeocrs than he had nrnvod as tniuiLer nf o)d j

| Goondi.

-H.V.C.