Chapter 160741399

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Chapter NumberXCI
Chapter TitleTOO LATE.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160741399
Full Date1885-07-18
Page Number45
Corrections0
Word Count1257
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleDouble Cunning. The Tale of a Transparent Mystery
article text

CHAPTER XCL

" Here, you come alone o' me, mates," said Isaac, and the two bulldogs gave their peg like stumps of tails a bit of a twitch right and left, and then began to sniff at the man's trousers, and going so far as to begin licking the bottom of a leg where there had been a splash of something connected with his trade. "*wiVS

" Yes, do take 'em away, Isaac; they howl and bark dreadful, and I'm afraid of them tearing me to pieces."

" I'd tear them to pieces if they did— wouldn't I, mates!?" wiiiSJ

The dogs looked up at him amiably, for there was something so meaty in the odour he exhaled that they were quite ready to

make friends.

Here Jane uttered a sigh, and sobbed as she raised her apron to her eyes.

" Oh ! I say, come now. Jane, don't do that. I ain't a bit jealous, for he is a loony, you know."

"That I'm sure he is not."

" YeB he ie, old girl. Come, now, don't be hard on a fellow who's always been true to yon."

"I never ask you to."

" No. but I have been all the same; and I've only got to set up in business on my own account, and there's a connection for me directly. Come, now, what do yon say ?"

'No!" cried Jane, angrily. "I won't—I won't. And, oh, I say, go away, do; here they are."

" I shan't go till you say yes."

"Then Mr. John will come and find you with the dogs."

" I don't care for Mr. John, big as he is. I1 was only going to feed the poor beggars."

•' Oh ! but do go." " 1 shan't."

" You'll get me into no end of a row."

" Then you Bay yes, and I'll stop and Btick np for you. I say, Jane, yon know."

The sound of wheels that the pair had heard was followed by the loud clang of the gatebell, and the two dogs set up a deep Baying noise.

"They'll half-kill me; that Mr. Prank ain't a bit like a parson sometimes, and he quite scares me."

"He'd better mind what he's up to," growled Isaac. " He wouldn't scare me." 4

" Will you go? I must answer the bell."

" All right, then," said Isaac. " I'm off." It was in the side yard of the old house, just by the kitchen entry, that this conversa tion took place, and the butcher slipped out of the door in the wall, leaving it ajar, while Jane hurried away to the gravel walk to ope the great iron gates.

" Why, it ain't them," she muttered, as she reached the end of the path.

" We want so .see your master directly," said Farleigh, sharply, " Open the gate 1

Jane obeyed, and the three gentlemen' pressed forward.

" Now, girl, don't stop," said Uncle Wash. ".Lead on. Guess, Sir Kobert, you'd best do a bit of sentry and scout."

" Master ain't at home, sir."

" But we must see him at once," cried Far leigh. " Where is Dr. Parkins."

" He's out, too, Sir." " Mr. John Range 1"

"Yes, sir; he's ont too, and missus, and. they've took Mr. Arthur too."

" Taken him ?" cried Uncle WaBh.

" Yes. sir; they had the fly night afore last, and Mr. Arthur was that bad after trying, to get away again that Mr. John took and. carried him down to the carriage,"

" Where have they gone ?"

" She don't know, sir," said a fresh voice; and Isaac came up.

" Who are you ?" cried Sir Robert, angrily. "I'm her young man, sir."

" Don't you believe a word he says, sir," cried Jane angrily; " he ain't."

" Yes, I am, sir; I'm the butcher lad here.

Do you know Mr. Arthur—him as tried to - get away again the other night, and thev caught him in Palmer'e medder ?"

"I never heard of this," said Farleigh. " Fact, Bir, all the eame," said Isaac.

" Know him, of course ? We have come to take him away. Do you know where they've gone?"

" No, sir ; only I think they've hooked it. Them dogs has been howling awful for some thing to eat, and Jane here had to Bign to me as 1 went by in our cart, and 1 left her

Jingle's mutton chops, for she'd got nothing.

to eat herself."

" Too late !" said Uncle Wash., bitterly.

"Yes," said Farleigh, "they must have seen the advertisement."

*"That's so," said Uncle Wash. "Well, we've learnt something. They've been keep ing him, pretending he's mad.

" There, what dia I tell you, Jane ?" struck. in Isaac. " I always said he was all right."

"Had you seen him, then?" said Uncle Wash,

" Had I seen him ?" cried Isaac, in scornful

tones. "Oftens. He used to make signs to me outer winder. It was me as made Jane

here send him up the file, when he cut through - the winder bar and got out the night he broke his arm."

Uncle Wash, and Sir Robert turned to Farleigh.

" Yes, that's quite correct," said the curate, "I saw him afterwards and felt that he was not insane; but they somehow made it appear that he was."

" Well, now to trace the fly," said Uncle Wash. " They will not come back here.

We can follow them now. It would moBt" likely be the Btation fly."

"No, it warn't," said Isaac, sharply; "it were a fly drove by a chap I used to know; but I didn't think anything about it then."

" Never mind; we've got some threads to work by."

"And you'll easy know him, sir, for his. head looks just like a baby's, and smooth and.

round as a billiard ball." 1 ?»

"Here, let's see inBide the house," cried Uncle Wash.; "we may find something to trace him by there."

Jane hesitated for a few moments, and then led the way in, lit a lamp and a candle, and on going through the honse it was evident,. from the state of the bedrooms, that there bad been a hasty packing up for flight—only a few necessariea having been taken, the rest left.

behind.

Lastly, they stood] in the room that had been Range's prison, but there was nothing, to see but the traces of a severe struggle. Chairs overturned, the table broken, and carpet torn up and lying in a heap.

Uncle Wash, knitted his brow, as he examined the doors and windows attentively.

"No,"he said, "poorlad, he couldn't get out. They took care of that."

There was nothing more to be done in the

house. The plan was to trace the fly; and. its occupants had had forty-eight hours'

Btart.

" Please what had I better do, gentlemen ?"' said Jane, looking from one to the other in a helpless way.

Each looked at her in turn and shook his head. •

But there was an exception.

Isaac, after promising to follow the fly to the station and give all the information he

could about the driver he had eeen on the?? night of the flight, Blipped back to Jane.

"I'll tell you what to do," he whispered, grinning.

" Well, what ?" said Jane, anxiously.

" 6ay you'll have me, and then everything. will come right."