Chapter 160740982

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Chapter NumberLXXXVIII
Chapter Url
Full Date1885-07-11
Page Number45
Word Count1952
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleDouble Cunning. The Tale of a Transparent Mystery
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No other hotel would suit Judith but the

Grand, where Range's portmanteau was lying, and here they had been for three weeks waiting in hope and despair for news.

"Yew see," said Uncle Wash., "this London's a place that takes the conceit out of a man. Out at home we talk about Eng land being a bit of an island, and London just as if it was one of our mighty cities: but

when you come to move about in it, my dear, there seems to be no beginning ,to it, and no end."

" Ah! it's a bigplace," said Sir Robert.

"Big, sir, don't express it," said Uncle Wash. " I've been out and about ever since I come here; and whenever I think I've

seen about all of it, I keep finding that there's ever so much more. I'm beginning to think that there's a small bit o' country that yew call Yorkshire, and all the rest of England is London."

" But have you no news?"

" Nary bit, my dear. These private detec tive chapB is very clever at talking and mak ing enquiries, but they never seem to ask in the right place. No wonder; London's a wonderful place, where yew might hide a thousand Arthur Lincoln Ranges away, and no one be a bit the wiser. It's so big—yes, it is big."

" Why not try Scotland Yard now ?"

" Don't think it would be any good, sir ; don't indeed. It makes me that mad"

"Stop!" cried Judith, suddenly. "Don't think me foolish, Mr. Range, but you said ' mad' just now."

" Right, my dear—mad; it does make me mad."

" It is only an idea of mine," said Judith. " That hair cut off," she continued, hesitat ingly ; " don't they—oh ! I can't say it people who are supposed to be mad ?"

Uncle Wash, gave the table a tremendous bang with his huge fist.

"If my time was to come over again I should like to be a woman—lady !" he cried. "That's as likely aB can be. Excuse for keeping him shut up somewhere. We haven't tried that yet. I'm off!"

The next morning advertisements appeared in all the morning papers.

" Five Hundred Pounds Bewabd !

"Missing.—A young gentleman about twenty eight years of age, fair complexion, well built ; speaks with slight American accent. Supposed to have been kidnapped and kept a prisoner in some private madhouse. Information to be given to Washington Bange, Grand Hotel, Charing Cross, London, W.C."

"We shall find him now!" said Uncle Wash., folding the Times for Sir Robert to see that morning. "I haven't shown it to her."

Sir Robert nodded his satisfaction, and then breakfast was eaten ; and Judith was

looking forward to another weary day of waiting.

She was disappointed, for Uncle WaBh. had sprung a mine of whose power he was unaware till the post came in.

Five hundred pounds reward! It was a large sum; and there were a good many people who were anxious to win the prize. In fact, the letters came in by delivery after delivery, till the party in their private room looked at each other in dismay.

Not that they were allowed to read them in peace, forcardafter card was brought in.

First there were the private enquiry agents —gentlemen who made enquirieBiin cases fo divorce, &c. These had (already been set to work, but one after the other came a perfect regiment of these porfessional gentleman seeking an interview, and promising success on the grounds that they all had been accus tomed to lunacy cases.

" But this is not a lunacy case," burst in Judith angrily.

- Precisely, ma'am—assumed lunacy. In fact, I may say," continued one who may be taken as a type of the whole, assumed lunacy has been my speciality, and u the case is placed in my bands you may rest assured that in a very few days the young gentleman will be restored to his friends.

Judith was for employing the professional gentlemen one by one, but Uncle Wash, was

B0" Very6 well," he said. " Find him, and

here's five hundred pounds the day you bring him home." .,

"Thank you—yes, of course, said one roan; "I muBt ask you, though, for a cheque for preliminary expenses. Sir, you may con sider your relative found and restored to tne bosom of his family." w .

"Find him, then," said Uncle Wash, bluntly. "I've offered a good fee—no clue, B Judith looked troubled, and was ready to oppose this course ; but Sir Robert sided •with the American, and the private en quirers were bowed out. Tt i„

" It isn't the money, my dear," said Uncle Wash. " I don't care how many thousand dollars it costs, but it's no use to pay money away for nothing. If any of these fellows is worth a cent hell take tbe case up on spec. Those who are not worth a cent are of no use

to us."

Then there were the letters.

The number of observant elderly ladies who knew where "that unfortunate young man was concealed" was astounding* iney had always felt sure that there was some mystery about him since he was first brought to the house, and they had said so. _ Any one who had seen him go out with his keeper could tell in a moment, and all that was necessary was for the advertiser to come down to Blank Town or such and such a suburb, of course bringing the money, and the suspense wonld be at an end.

Judith's eyes sparkled as she heard the first of these letters read. When she had heard the others written in a similar strain, she looked at Sir Robert in a puzzled way.

"No good, my dear, 'said the old gentle man, shaking his head, .

"Guessnot," said Uncle Wash, in assent. " Seems as if we've only got to offer a big enough reward, and we can find anything

W PosTafter post brought in letters, and for

hours and houis Judith and Uncle Wash, read and destroyed some as absolutely useless, made extracts, and ctogholed others as being worthy of further notice.

At the end of three days they found them selves with investigations to make that would, if fairly conducted, last them for three months. , .

For the man they sought was kept a prisoner in Scotland, in Jersey, in the north west of Ireland, at an old manor near Cromer, down in Cornwall, at a lunatic asylum in Anglesea—in short, he was every where. There was no doubt about it—every correspondent bad found him ; and the only thing to settle was where to go first.

" What do you say, Uncle, dear ? said Judith; " we ought not to waste time.'

" No," Baid Sir Robert; " so I say let s get back to Helmthorpe. Wetshall do no good

in running after moonshine."

"Oh, uncle! cried Judith ( pititully. " What do you think, Mr. Range ?"

"No use to waste time and money over one of those letters," said the old man, shaking his head. ,, T ....

" But we must do something, said J nditn. "It is such terrible work sitting here ana knowing that he may be watching and wait ing for us to come day after day.

"Let's have dinner," said Uncle Wash. " I can think better then."

Judith looked at the old man with honor and disgust as he crossed the room, but before he reached the bell the door opened, and the waiter with a profound look of dis gust upon his countenance, produced by the number of callers he had shown up, and letters be h&d brought, hauded a card upon

a " Reverend Frederick Farleigh," read

Uncle Wash.

" Says his business is of great importance, "Show him up," cried Uncle Wash, grimly. "Perhaps we may get some truth from a member of the Church." ,

The waiter withdrew, and a few minutes after returned to usher in the curate m charge


He looked quicnly round and bowed to

JU" Mr. Washington Range ?" he said quickly.

"That's me," said Uncle Wash. " Yew've come about the advertisement?" he continued, sharply, for he was_ hungry and exasperated by weariness and disappointment.

" Exactly." ,

" And yew've seen a gentleman somewhere who answers to the description ?"

"Wel^sir, we've got two hundred and

fourteen who answer exactly to the descrip tion, and when we've seen all then we ll come and look at your man, but I don'tthink you get the reward."

" Reward!" cried the visitor excitedly. " I want no reward. I can show you where Mr. Arthur Range, the gentleman who was staying at this hotel, is now detained.'

" Here, stop !" cried Uncle Wash. " How did you know he stayed at this hotel _

" He gave me his card," said tbe visitor. " For heaven's sake, gentlemen, don t treat the matter so cavalierly !"

" Oh ! uncle—Mr, Range—pray listen to

^•Yo^are^iiss Nesbitt?" cried Farleigh


" Yes," said Judith, starting up.

" He begged me to write to you and air

Robert FanBhaw."

" Then—hang it all, sir, cried Sir Robert, starting up, " why didn't you ?"

" Because I was blinded by the specious

representations of the men who are with him

—his brothers." . , „

" Brothers!" cried Uncle Wash. Why, he never had no brother. Here, this will do.

Where is he?"

" Not a dozen miles from here, gentlemen. " You can take us to the place?

11 Certainly. You need not look doubtful. The poor fellow is kept prisoner. They declare he is a—is not in his right mind. _ u

"I shall soon be not in my right mind,

cried Sir Robert, stamping to the bell, which

he rang furiously.

It was answered directly.

" Here, put back our dinner for two hours,

he cried. " Cab to the door at once. Now, Mr. Farleigh, are you ready ? Shall we take a policeman?" „

" I hardly think it will be necessary, was the reply. " You know how those are armed

whose cause is just."

" Right," cried Sir Robert. No, no, my

dear, not now."

" Yes, uncle, 1 must go too." „ .

"No, my dear," said Uncle Wash. This time we most go alone. There, yon shall see us [again to-night, and please Cod we wont come alone." ,, ,

Judith gave way, for a sadden dread had assailed her. She had been all eagerness to help and discover Range; but now the dis

covery had been made, an intense desire came over her prompting a retreat. She wanted to get hack to Helmthorpe. She could not meet Arthur Range. What would he think of her if he found that she had been so eager to trace bim ont ?

Animated by these quite novel feelings, she

stood listening as the door closed, and then I ran to the window to look out and see the

little party enter a cab, which was driven quickly away.

"1 sp'ose, said Uncle Wash., "there'll be no need for me to use this."

He took a revolver from his pocket, and examined the charges.

" Not the slightest, sir," said Sir Robert,

rather stiffly. " We keep police here to do |

our fighting for ub. All we have to do is to find out where our friend is, and the law will

do the rest."