|Newspaper Title||Eastern Districts Chronicle (York, WA : 1877 - 1927)|
|Trove Title||Maoriland Ho! Nature's Enchanting Wonder Isle. A Weird and Entrancing Romance|
IIORILAfiD HO I
fature's Enchanting |
§A Weird and Entrancing j
. .? ---?-*
CHAPTER XVIII.- OojrentoBii.
'Thert is nothing unusual in the room, ly note than, ia to be found in many of
>e eountryinns in New Zealand. Apart om the1 bed and tho scanty furniture, atie «e«a the partition against which hit itioh rests is of matchboard, papered ver, ;biit the thin timber has shrunk eon diribly, revealing wide chinks and tims from floor to ceiling.
i. fin tries to amuse himself with an old £&ewiipaper, end. that failing, he begins to '^(rbndor if there is a tenant in the nest i/rooro, and whether b. lady or otherwise. F By,»nd bye his thoughts take flight back Wards' to, Pinefalls and Uiss Weldon. rtHowHong his reverie lasishe lias no idea. Perhaps one hour, perchance two I He lis suddenly brought back to his surround* 1 incs by the eoond of voices in the cor ridor. Acting on some strange impulse of the moment, he rises and put* out the lamp.
. It is Mrs Eeegan who is speaking.
" lndade, your worship, the divil him '.elf could not himself spake wid the noise rOf the blagnards. Bad cess to the whole ?Jjojc and dioe of them. But a poor, lone ? woman has to git her livtn', and can't .select her customers. . Now, here's a room , where ye can be as quiet as mice 'Jn a church."
In a moment twenty long slender bars of light gleam athwart the darkened room .trhere Temple Vune iB seated.
VI think this will do," says a smooth, .toft Voice. " I trust we are sufficiently removed from the noisy crowd below, At"
? "Quite so, your worship. This is the "quietest spot in the house. It's away fiora everything," responds the hostess, ^placing the candle she had been carrying
00 the table.
_ "Bight you are, mother; send the ?liquor and the other things along sharp," ordered another personage, with a voice quite the opposite of the first speaker.
' . For five minutes there is a shuffling of 'feet, intermingled with jingling of glasses Vttid decanters, brought from some other ipart of the premises, together with an Increase of light. Then the door is
Temple Vane had nothing of the low vulgar eavos-dropper in his composition. .Hi* first idea was to make a noise, so that -the party in the next room might have, 'dognirance of his close proximity, for he
SConld hear every word they said as dis ;'J5|ibtfy as if he had been seated atnongst Qpiett,
But the first two or three words spoken nrniad his curiosity to such an extent that
in at the speakers through the i
jAntks ia the partition. There wen i three persons present-Mr Jocelyn and 'Us guests.
~ Yane reeogniped- one of the trio inatafit ^ywByiney Stliiok, theex-shanty tceeper, and Itstraok him that the featlires of the .WW. tin) were familiar to him, but he oonlfl not fix them in his remembrance <*t the moment.
" We can talk here undisturbed, Mr Jooelja1," said Black, filling-the magis " tiate's glass, then helping himself. "Yon
<rere saying how easy - it would be to get Into ? General Ashfonl's place at Glen eotirt"'
u Buh f not so loud, Black," cries the (nkgi strata, holding up his hand. "There may be soine bne in the next room."
»- " So thtreaiay. I'll see, at all events," Jbe >ay*i emStoog up one of the candles. ' ? - " Ourse it dl, to business, or we '.hall be fooling ail night," interjects the third personage, taking the light out of 'Black ft hand, and forcibly thrusting him 'Jbaokinto his chair. "It strikes me both you and his honor (ironically) are grow ing to be like a pair of old women. Mother Keegan .told you plainly enough that there was not a soul jn this part of die crib. Isn't that enough?"
41 My dear Barjew, your dashing dis ll^fetd of Number One will lesd you into a scrape (me of these fine days, rejoins Jooelyn, softly. " I have found it au ei Cellent maxim to take nothing on trust. Buspeot ?every taan and woman to he rogues, and you will never have to com plain of being fgot at and deceived."
''Oh, bust your homilie*; keep them lor your fine friends," retorts Barjew, Mjlenlr. " y«r my part I want to know jrotarpUnrespecting General Aehford."
;; "I nn sorry those rude, boisterous
'* below distcrbed our little chat,"
xieljn^inMs smooth^ conciliating
time I" Sydney Blaok grows livid, and there are eharp, double-edged Muggers in his eyes as they tura towards tlie speaker.
" Well, what has the sticking up of the Bank to do with it ?" he says, hoarsely.
. Jocelyn ahrtfj^liie shoulders. "Sim ply this, my friend. After the robbery of the Dank the djreotors declined the rink and responsibility of the valuables.
Luckily the thieves, who took between : three and four thousand pounds Hard cash
from thtf bank's coffers, had no idea that | these gems lay under their very nose."
" It a never too late to mend," cries ] Baijew, with an oath.
Mr Jocelyn laughs a soft, pleasant fipple. " What is your meaning foe ap plying the old "saw" in this case, Bar jew ? I'm afraid you meditate evil, my friend. It would be unfair to take ad
vantage of my friendly, and I may add confidential chat, to couooot a soheme to plunder Glencourt."
"Hear him I" cried Barjew, with mock ing sarcasm. " Hear the respectable, well-to-do citizen ; an alderman, and a Justice of the Peaoe into the bargain, j There is no heed to plan or soheme.' Wby should :honesty be suspected,
The captain nods a reply, at the same time puffing a full cloud of fragrant smoke from bis cigar.
" Of course General Ashford is a dead shot," he says, presently, not seeming to heed the remark of his companion, " and I have no doubt anything in the way of burglars ~would receive a warm reception; yet the treasure, such as tho one in ques tion, is worth the risk. -Wliat d'ye say 1" k
" Tut, Jocelyn ; show your Jlatid, with out any further beating about the bush,"
The magistrate laughs pleasantly. It J is a way he has of adroitly using his- foil when pressed mto a corner. "Egadl I have little to Bhow," he says. " I sim
ply state the factB that one of my friends I has a magnificent and costly set of valu-1
ables hid within an old bureau in hiB bed-1
room, that is all. If you, my friends,
have an idea that these gems should see |
the light of day, and be turned into cur rent ooin of the realm, that is your affair. I certainly cannot'give you an introduc tion to Mr Ashford, but see, here is a plan of his house and grounds." As he spoke Mr Jocelyn drew from his breast pocket a sheet of paper, on which was lined a rough plan of Glencourt.
Both of his companions bent over it, I and began to study (he lines carefully.
"ThiB square chamber heta, to the! right of the second corridor, is General |
"I suppose that's it?*" says Black,
placing his finger on a spot marked with |
"That's it, my friend."
" Humph 1 A risky piece of business. I Two s'aircases, and onlyone outlet."
"Thereis the window."
Barjew looks at the magistrate. " You seem to know the place well enough," he
"No,byt I have studied this sketch, my friend. If I wanted to get into this room secretly, the window would certain ly be my mode of'ingress,"
The.tliree men sat in silence for some time, Black afid Baijew intent on the plan before them, Mr Jocelyn smoking and looking at die pair with a glance which it is utterly impossible to des
cribe. .. «.
"And these gems are worth several thousand pounds," -says BarjeWj looking towards the magistrate!
"Fiveor six thousand; perhaps more
" Ah 1 aqd how many men are there altogether about the estate ?"
" Oh, a dozen' or more, but ?-hey are mostly fellows who are employed at wi ekly wages, and have their homes at Stanton. < Besides Ashford's own man, Sergeant Gunn, there is only the gar dener and three or four females who re
side at the house."
" I think we may try and. persuade Sir George Ashford to part wift his dia monds," responds Black, with a peculiar
" Oh, do yon think so I In that case I know a party who will purchase them
that is, if you are disposed to sell again," says his worship.
" It's just a matter of business' with us. Nothing more," puts in Barjew, with one of his hoarse laughs. " All We require is a little profit."
" Just so," adds tbejeaptain. "By the way, when will you begin negotiations withmy friend, the General 1"
Barjew and.Black whispered together for a moment. When the lattor answered, -" we- will interview General Ashford to-morrow evening. The sooner We, arrange this matter the better for all eon-* ceraed. Ring the bell, Jocelyn, if you
please, the liquor is out."
Temple Vane had overheard every word that bad been said. Moreover, he had the use of his eyes to help him com prehend the full purport and design-oif Mr Jocelyn and his companions, though both the purpose and its manner of ao romjplishment had been bat vaguely set
|oe of aome ugly Recognition of
"Zane like a
the inn. Hit thoughts were .ehftos, with nothing clear or decided. 01 one tiling ha was certain, however, viz., tlmt the BO callod Mr Jocelyn vras none other than Jocelyn Vanbnrougli, the qtiondnm lover of Riah Barjcw, Every look and movement of the man had made his iden tity a certainty in the mind of the young iijsii. Kor wna the recognition of Barjew and Sydney Blaok loss assured. But he was puzzled to account for their seeming intimacy. _ .
Nothing like a good cigar to bring rambling thoughts into ft plain and rea soning focus. In fifteen minutes Temple Vane began to debate within himffolf in'
.'Ralph Jooelyn, alias Jocelyn van b(trough, yoil are a cunning scoundrel, and these men are your tools, but to what extept I have yet to discover. Evident ly a well-laid scheme has been digested by these men to plunder1 Glencourt, and perhaps murder my worthy father. -Humph 1 Did the Bank refuse the cus tody of theBe precious stones ? I doubt
it. - Rather they were withdrawn and1 given as security elsewhere in order to pay my debts. Now, what shall I do ? Hide for bare life and 'give information to the police ? Hum I I will return to Glencourt, prepare the General for his saturnal visitors, ond-and leave the rest to fate."
He cast the stump of a cigar away, and
went into the bar. Behind it the hostess sat knitting.
" It's a lovely night, sir, praise the Lord," said she, with a bend of her
"True. A beautiful night as you say, madam," responded Vano. " A pood dinner, and ' two or three hours rest has quite invigorated me. As I have a long Journey before me I have determined to take advantage of the splendid weather, and push on my way."
" What! to-night ?" ejaculated Mrs Keegan.
" To-Bight, madam, I would rather be out under this soft moonlight than in bed, believe me. Of course I shall pay for my room all the same," at the same time placing a sovereign on the counter.
Money, the everlasting open sesame to the'eoarsest and the most refined, old or young, plain or comely, found its power here with Widow Keegan. She smiled as Bhe took the money. To pay with such suaviter in mode revealed the gintlemin the rale gintlemin.
" Shall I send for your valise, sir ?"
" Thank you, no ; I shall run up for it myself, if I shall not be disturbing your customers in No. 4," he said.
The " widdy's " manner changed in an instant. "Och, the drvil flyaway wid the villains. Shure, my old legs are ach ing to the bone running up and down after them. The 'magistrate's gone to bed, an' its right glad I'am. 1'our change, sir."
Eleven o'clock was striking as Temple Yihe rode away from the " Golden Dol phin." Haifa mile away he turned in the saddle to listen to the wild noise which boomed along on the still night air from the riotous crew dancing to the strains of Ruddy, the fiddler.