Chapter 135843227

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Chapter NumberXCI
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1891-10-12
Page Number2
Word Count2627
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleNewcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954)
Trove TitleMinnigrey: A Romance
article text MINNIGREY. A ROmAZCLE. / • CHAPTER XCI (Continuecd. 'Of course, Mr. Townshend,' ob served the lawyer, 'in your experience, there have been cases in which the ends of justice have been furthered by extra-judicial proceedings?' * The officer replied in the affirma. tive. 'I have some reasons to suspect that a valuable antique ring and watch, belonging to a client of mine, have been disposed of by a fellow re siding in the New Cua, and known by the name of Nibbling Ned.' Mr. Townshend nodded--as much as to say that he knew the individual. 'Now,' continued the speaker, what I want is not so much to re cover the property-!though that is a consideration--as-- as 'Shall I finish it for you?' de manded the thief-faker, with a grin. 'You want a pull on Nibbling Ned by to-morrow you shall have one.' The terms were soon arranged; and with this understanding they parted. CHAPTER 0IL. Ne'er he I found by thee o'er-awed, In that thrici-hallowd eve abroad, When ghosts, as cottage maids believe, Their pebbled beds permitted leave; And goblins haunt o'er field and fen O'er mine, or flood, the haunts of men ! -- COaaIuS. MUr. Townshend was one of those active persons who seldom suffer the gras to grow beneath their feet. True, there was no electric telegraph into those days-science had not yet used the lightning as the winged mes senger of thought; but in place of it, there was a widely organ ised system of espoinage. London was divided into districts - the police work-ed upon system- and information was obtained and acted upon with a celerity which must have appeared marvellous to the un initiated. It was about ten in the morning fol lowing the thief taker's interview with Markland when the former entered the ofcice of the lawyer. Giving a familiar nod of recognition he silently placed upon the table the watch and ring of Edward Howard. The eyes of the old man sparkled with delight. ' You have kept your uord,' he said. 'I always do, whether for good or evil,' replied the nificer. 'I never yet promised a man that I would hang him, that I didn't keep my word !' 'How did you procure them?' in quired the lawyer, with a shudder, for he did not feel quite at his ease in company with a man who made and kept such~terrible promises. 'Easily' enough!' replied Towns hend; 'from your description tf the articles I had a shrewd guess at the value, and the party into whose hands they had fallen; the event proves that I was not mistaken. Upon my giving the fellow my word that he should be held scathelees in the affair, and returning him the purchase money he * gave them up.' 'You had no positive information, then ?' 'None !' Markland did not know which-to feel the most surprise at--the extra ordinary tact of his visitor, or the simplicity of the purchaser of the stolen property in returning it., Had /he reflected for a few minutes, he would have understood that a re p?tation like the thief-taker's could only be sustained by continual suc cess; and that to insure it, no means would be left untried of securing the man who either gave false informa tion or refused to assist him; indeed, that without a certain degree of con fidence between the officer and the trader, it would be impossible to do business. 'Have you traced the possession of them,' inquired the lawyer, anxiously, 'to Nibbling Ned the broker ?' Mr. Townshend informed him that he had. Ned, it seems, had sold them three days previously to the party * from whom the officer procured them for one hundred and twenty pounds -about a third of their value. ' What do you wish to do with the *; fellow ?' inquired the thief-taker. 'What can I do with him?' 'Transport him !' -: The lawyer smiled. Or Or hang 1im!' added the speaker, sinking his voice; 'that is, if it became a very particular point with you. He is in terribly bad odour at the Old · Bailey already-has had three narrow escapes. Give the judge an opportu nity--indict Nibbling Ned only for stealing an egg, and they'd hang him for the shell. If you wish to tame him, you have only to show him the s wag--if you want to remove him from the country, send for me.' Markland was too much delighted with the success of the speaker not, to act liberally for the service he had ren dared. It was absolutely necessary, for the success of his grandson's schemes, that Gus and his friends should believe that he was dead--it was the only way to disarm them. "The thief-taker and the lawyer • separated, mutually contented. At the appointed hour Nibbling Ned made his appearance at the office; he entered it with that kind of insolent swagger which denotes a sense of conscious importance. The lips of the man of law were drawn slightly down at the corners into a half-sarcastic smile, and his cold .grey eye encountered the broker's ? with a mocking expression, which made that very respectable person gridually change his course, vulgar •bearing for a more respectful de meanbur. 'Well, old gentleman,' he said, .',you have had time to consider i' 'ilucre coeneiefred!' was the reply. 'The answer,' continued Ned; 'the · answer? I am a man of business; with me time is money.' 'Time,' replied the lawyer, 'is equally precious with me. I suspect that we have both lived long enough to appreciate its value. By.the-bye,' he added, ' what is the hour now ?' His visitor drew from his fob a heavy silver watch, and named the hour. ' So late !' observed Markland, in a tone of pretended surprise, at the same time referring to his grandson's watch. Nibbling Ned recognised the article in an instant, and felt that he was a poorer man by a thousand pounds than he had calculated. 'By the bye! what is your busi ness with me ?' ' My business !' faltered the ruffian. ' Your business!' repeated the lawyer, coolly, at the same time wiping his forehead with his delicate cambric handkerchief in such a manner as to display the antique diamond heirloom of the Howards upon his finger. His visitor gazed upon it as though he were fascinated. ' Why-you-of course you know-' 'Not at present,' said the old man; 'and unless it is something very pres sing, I should advise you to call some other time. I am just now particu larly engaged in a criminal case. A young gentleman--a client of mine- has be'en robbed of a valuable watch and ring. It is true that we have re covered the property, but have not yet laid hands on the thief.' 'Thief !' gasped nibbling Ned, who began to feel extremely uneasy at the tone the conversation was assuming. 'What else do you call a man who possesses himself of the property of others ?' continued his tormentor; 'but you can remain if you think proper. I expect Townsend in a few minutes -as you seem to be a person of some knowledge of the world, perhaps you can assist him !' At the name of the renowned Bow street officer, the courage of the broker was completely subdued. He felt that he had been outwitted; the respectable rogue had proved too much for the reputable one. He was in the power of the man whom he came to bully and extort money from. For several moments he stood star ing at the old lawyer with a sort of stupid admiration. 'You &re a devilish clever old fel low !' he observed at last. Markland smiled; his professional vanity was tickled at the compliment from one who was so excellent a judge. 'And have played your game fairly,' continued the speaker; 'I lost deal-can't help it--the cards were against me. May I speak plainly?' he added. 'As frankly as you please,' said the lawfyer. Ned approached the chair in which Markland was sitting, and, lower ing his voice, inquired if there was any one within hearing. De spite his self possession, the old man could not avoid betraying something like alarm at the proximity of the ruffian to his person, and the furtive glance~of his keen dark eye as he asked the question. There is,' replied the lawyer. 'In dependent of my clerks in the outer ofice, who would rush in at the faint est sound of my voice, Townshend and two of his runner are in°the adjoin ing room.' The ruse--for it was nothing more -saved him. The name of the thief taker once more cowed the courage of -the rascal, who had advanced with the determination of possessing himself of the evidence of his crime, and, if necessary, of silencing their possessor. 'You wished to speak to me?' con tiaued the lawyer.. 'I did.' 'Speak freely.' 'I suppose you have no intention of paying me the thousand pounds in return for my services ?' ' Not a thousand pence !' replied the lawyer, who, the instant Ned had re treated from the side of his chair, had seized the occasion of dropping the watch and ring into his iron safe, which closed witha spring. 'But in return for the services you allude to, I will make you a yet more valuable compensation.' The broker stared. 'Your life !' 'My life ?' repeated the ruffian. ' Which Townshend assures me,' coolly observed Mr. MaIrkland, 'is entirely at my mercy. Your antece dents are known to me. Justice has long fixed her eyes upon you-your name is marked upon the black list at the Old Bailey: your next appear ance there will be your last.' SAnd what,' inquired Ned, who felt the resistless force of the argu ment, 'do you expect in return for your forbearance ?' 'Silence !' replied the lawyer; 'ab solute silence as to the escape of my client and your sharein it. You have already been handsomely rewarded; be content-your safety depends upon yourself !' 'I understand!' muttered the fel low, with a icowl; 'your client is a rich villain-I am a poor one.' 'Exactly so.' "' And this youcall justice ?' 'It is law!' the "old man replied, with a chuckle; 'which in its wis dom does not allow one rogue to extort money from another. Good day: you may pass through the outer office without the least alarm you are something like a mad dog.' 'How so ?' 'As long as you wear the muzzle you are safe; remove it, and you will find a hundred arms raised against you.' A dark scowl passed over the coun tenance of Nibtling Ned as he left the private room of the respectable Mr. Markland: With a rapidity, the result of long experience in his pro fessional pursuits, the ruffian glanced at the shutters and fastenings of the windows; he had noticed also that the iron safe, where the evidence against him was deposited; and the thought struck him that he might possess himself of them yet. The watch and ring once in his hands, it would be his turn to triumph. ' We shall see !' he muttered, as he descended the staircase; 'we shall se!' Be did see. O=[?iJIER ci?. And looking into eyes where, blue And beautiful, like skies see through Che sleepy wave--for him there shone A heaven more worshipped than his own. -MOOR'S 'LOVES OP THE ANGELS.' When tle disease is of the heart, there is no balm like the presence of the loved object whose image is en shrined there. In a few days the frst blush of returning health began to mantle on the pale cheek of M?innie, to whose presence our hero was now freely admitted: her physicians plainly perceiving that his society was a more efficient remedy than all their science could prescribe. How glorious are the dreams of youth--how intoxicating the pic tures which it draws-a home of love and happiness-of years well spent-the exchange of mind with mind! In these delicious inter views between the lovers, time few so swiftly that not even the shadow of his wing rested on the sun lit hours. By the exertions of the Earls of Windermere and Mforeton, the right of our hero was admitted by the House of Peers in much less time than is usually taken by that august body in ddciding upon the claims of its members. No opposition was offered--uo rival claimant appeared; and within three months of the death of Lady Blanche the son of her murdered brother was summoned by writ to take his seat. The day was a proud one for old Madge Lee and MHichael Manton; the former of whom, despite her great age, insisted on being present to witness the reception of her de scendant among the hereditary legis-. lators of the land. It was the reward of her long life of fidelity and love it would have been cruel to refuse it. In the gallery with the old gipsy woman Lady Jane, Minnie, and a host of friends, was the Earl of Eserick's companion in adversity Viscount Mandeville. Even his coun tenance wore an expression of happi ness; he forgot the sadness of his own heart in the triumph of our hero. As the eyes of Gus encountered his, he felt that something was wanting to complete his satisfaction-it was the happiness of his friend. Their long companion ship--adventures in foreign lands hair-breadth 'scapes by flood and field-all flashed upon him, and he felt that he would willingly have re signed the fortune and honours of his race to have seen once more upon the features of Frank the same sunny, cheerful smile which had lightened their wanderings in other days. Lanah, who since his return to London had taken up his abode with our hero--despite the melancholy which he felt from the cruel dis appointment he had experienced in the loss of his wife and child, threw off the gloom which oppressed him, and accompanied the party to the House of Lords. He naturally felt a degree of pride in one of his race taking his seat among the heredi tary rulers of his country; but the gipsy was unprovided with an order of admission, and the ofcials were inexorable. Leaving them with a half-mnttered curse, he strolled into the cloisters of the abbey, to await the conclusion of the ceremony. The spot was well calculated to awaken reflection in a breast even as callous as his. But a lew weeks pre: vious, on that very spot, he had en countered two beings full' of life and energy. Conscience whispered to him that it was no justification of their death that their souls had been laden with crime; true, one of them had deeply injured him; but neither divine nor human law had made him his judge. The death of his wife and child at times appeared as the punishment of his offence. 'As for the old man,' he thought, 'who sleeps in Dingley, he deserved his doom, for his hand was yet red with blood. He was slain with his crime unrepented: I should have given him time!' he murmured; 'I should have given him time !' His reflections next wandered to the lone house in the New Cut, and the fearful end of Paul Kemp. The gipsy felt little remorse for the death of the ex-lieutenant, but the form of Edward Howard seemed to rise like an accusing spirit against him. He remembered the mute agony of his desparing glance as he left him bound in that fearful den. (lo 1e continued.)