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Chapter NumberXCIV
Chapter TitleYES
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160741632
Full Date1885-07-25
Page Number46
Corrections0
Word Count1165
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleDouble Cunning. The Tale of a Transparent Mystery
article text

CHAPTER XCIV.

It was Lady Faiwbaw who insisted upon going back to Helmthorpe. Sir Harry had opposed her in his gentle, tender way, but she waB so firm that he yielded, and they re turned after a couple of months' travel on the continent in company with Sir Robert and Judith, who played the part of guides to two American friends who did not require much persuasion to visit at the old Priory once again.

A glorious afternoon,' one of those rich, mellow September days which made Uncle Wash, declare England was not so very bad

after all.

He was seated beneath one of the spread ing trees with Sir Robert, who had been en joying his afternoon hookah and had dropped asleep.

There waB no one looking, aB the old American satisfied himself, after a furtive look round and much listening, during which his large ears twitched in rather a wild animal

fashion.

Satisfied of this, he softly extricated a steel box from his pocket, a knife from his vest, sued, cutting off a piece of twist tobacco, thruBt it into his mouth.

" That's better," he said, with a sigh of satisfaction. " That's the only thing I have again' grand society—a man can't have a

bonest chew.

"And has to take his pleasure like by stealth," he added, after an enjoyable in terval. " Ah! there they go—bleBS her. Makes a man wish he was young again, and .Arthur Lincoln Range."

He needed renammg, for the gentleman— be would have disowned the title—who was by Judith Nesbitt's side was very brown and foreign-looking with his cloBely-cut hair, which came down in a tpoint above his fore bead, while beard and moustache were of the same peculiar cut.

They were deep in ^conversation, which ceased as they came suddenly across Sir Barry and Lady Fanshaw upon .one of the garden seats.

Their approach was not heard, and they did not hear Sir Harry's low, huBky voice; and it was as well, for he waB speaking very earnestly.

"No, he'was'saying, "I will not hear one word from you. VI by should L dear wife ? You say yon wonld confess. What is there to confess that J do not know. Are you not happy ?"

"Happy ? she cried reproachfully. "Oh, yes; but it is always on my mind that I should humble myself to you to the very dust."

" My wife humbled f No," he said softly. ** There, sweetheart, be at rest. You could tell me nothing I did not see for myself."

" Harry I" she wailed.

"Hush, dearest!" he whispered. " I awoke to it all that awful day when I saw the boy I had loved so well purified by death: and then by degrees what seemed to be one tangle of horrors slowly grew plain and straight. I saw the long and bitter Btruggle of the woman 11 had made my wife against temptation, burdened with a knowledge that would have driven others mad. " Wile," he said, in slow and Bolemn tones, " George Carleigh is dead, and with him died the past."

? * * * •

"And—oh ! I hardly like to talk abcnt.it, Arthur—it makes me jealous."

"Then never a word will I speak again, I swear," said Range tenderly.

"On ! but I must know, dear. I could not bear not to know. But you shouldn't have let them love you. Two women t Oh, Arthur I how could yon be so base!"

"Base?"

"No, I don't mean base," cried Judith hastily. " You ought not to be so horribly handsome, dear."

" I don't think it was my looks," he said, laughing. "But, there, let it all go. It's like a nightmare, but I don't mind. I'd go through another year like that — I'd go through seven or even fourteen—like Jacob of old, to win my Rachel at last."

"Hash, Arthur!—don't, pray don't, talk lake that!" she whispered. " I must know about that dreadful, handsome woman, though. Yon didn't love her ?"

" No," he said. " How could I when you robbed me of the power ?"

"And — and while you were at that dreadful house where I found you ?"

"She was not so bitter and cruel there." be said, speaking frankly. " She was re pentant and sorry, I am sure, for what I was suffering."

"Oh! Arthur, I don't quite like that!"

" But it moved her to write to get me set free, Judith, darliDg; I had been three days, as I told you, without food, and I believe I should have died."

"Arthur!" she whispered; and, she clung to Mb arm.

"Well, you would have me tell you. There now, let'B talk of something else."

"But are you sure you never loved her—a bit?"

" Look in my eyes for the answer," he said. " Poor woman!" he continued, after Judith bad obeyed and uttered a low, satisfied sigh; '* I believe she and her great faithful St. Bernard dog of a husband stood between me axid that scoundrel Sheldrake many a time. The fellow was like a disappointed fiend at last."

"Oh, Arthur, dear, you should have given up and paid them !"

"I would if I had known what I know now," he said tenderly, "but I was furious and mad."

"No, no ; not mad, dear!"

"Not mad as some people call madness," he s&id, smiling; " but there, I fought them obstinately, and I won."

"And won't they return?" asked Judith. "No," he Bsid grimly. "If I had them hunted down I should nave to punish John Pannell and his wife, and I don't want to do that,"

He spoke so sternly that Judith watched him curiously for a few minutes.

" Now tell me about my other rival!" she cried merrily.

"What! poor Jane?" he said, laughing. " Poor lass! She was out walking witb that man the butcher, who tried to help me, and as soon as she saw me she burst out crying, and hoped I wouldn't be angry with her, be cause she said she'd promised to marry Isaac!"

"And were you very angry?" said Jndith, archly.

"Terribly." he said, merrily. "I've told Isaac to get himself as good a business as ha can buy in London, and that there's the money when — oh! I hate to talk about money, Judith. Tell me. When is it to be ?"

" I don't know," said Judith. " Alice will settle that. You men are so stupidly im patient."

"Impatient?" he whispered. "Jndy, darling, say ' Yes' for a month from now, or I shall go mad indeed!"

"The dressing-bell at last!" cried Sir Robert, starting from his nap. "Hallo! Look at that, Washington Range, my fine fellow. See how my little brigadier has con

quered ^our ugly boy! How happy the gipsy

The fact was Judith had just said " Yes !'•

THE END.