|Chapter Title||THE END OF A CLUE.|
|Newspaper Title||Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)|
|Trove Title||Double Cunning. The Tale of a Transparent Mystery|
THE TALE OF A TRANSPARENT MYSTERY
CHAPTER LXXXVIL THE END OF A CLUE.
[BY GEO. MANVILLE FENS.]
Plain enough to thee, reader, bat a time of myBtery and conjecture to all at Helmthorpe, where Uncle Wash, stayed on, feeling sure that he should find there the clue to his nephew'B disappearance. it had been, too, a'time of horror to thOBe at the retired old mansion, where legal enquiries followed the events just recorded ; and 8am Barton gave evidence of his SUB- -picions respecting some one being hidden in the Wilderness, consequent upon the- be- • baviour of his dog, and the discovery of the spirit flask and the spade; but he Baid no more than was dragged ont of him by a not very enquiring legal gentleman ; and Lady Fanshaw's secret was safe with him and with her husband. For B8 soon as he had well recovered consciousness Bhe told him all, as she knelt humbly by hiB side, even while, motionless and cold, and beyond the power of working further ill, George Carleigh lay in his own room, dead, in the pit he had digged for another. This secret died with him, none divining more than the fact that he had certain chemicals in a cabinet in his own room. " Death by misadventure,the Jury called it at the inquest; and it was as good a verdict as many that these sapient Coroner-instructed councils return. It was one day when, tempted by the lovely spaing weather, Lady Fans haw was slowly walking up and down the garden, weak and terribly wasted, but evidently on the high road to Tecovery, for there was a calm, restful look in her eyes, as she leant heavily upon Sir Harry's arm, Judith was talking to Uncle Range about the enquiries he haa afoot in town. Sir Robert was letter writing, so that conversation was uninterrupted between the old American and Judith, for a warm intimacy had sprung up, the old man consulting her in every step, and even at times going so far as to let off what he called a joke—a sort of verbal balloon to, as he expressed it, see which way the wind blew. " We shall find him at last." he was saving. "Now we've made that discovery down yonder, my mind feels at rest." " Oh, Mr. Range!" cried Judith reproachfully. "Well, I can't help it, my dear; but it do. I don't feel now that he s come to much harm." " But this suspense is EO dreadful, Mr. B&nge." " Yes, my dear—to me," said the old man, drily, and with not so much as a twinkle in his eyes. Judith-sighed. " The fact is, my dear, to speak plainly, yon upset him BO much that he's gone off somewhere to forget yon." " Then it's very cruel of him." cried Judith passionately. " Don't you think it is. Mr. Bange?" " Ah, l : m an old bachelor as don'tunderctand these sorter things, my dear; bat I -shouldn't hev thought it was. ** But it was." Ah, very well, then, my .dear,'it Was ; and he- has gone off to New Zealand, or Siberia, or the North Pole with an expedition, and we shan't hear from him, p'raps, for years." "fiat It seems so thoughtlessly cruel for him to fail to write to those who care for him all this time." • " Meaning me, of course, my dear," said iJnrfe Range. " Fm them as-care for him." - " fle ought to have written to you, Mr. Ranee." " Well, you see, he did begin that letter to me, .but it was cut off like before it was finished-. - Bless your little heart, my dear, might just as well have written letters to ~a cinnamon, bear as to me, I should never ' have written hack." "But you would have known what had become ox him." ""Wen,"yes,"" said thebld~man coolly; "but do yon .know, I'm thinking that we need not worry ourselves about him any more." "Oh.Mr. Range!" "He s sure to turn up again some time, so dont you fret, It's very kind of you to have taken.so much interest in him; but let it go BOW,-for I'm 'bout settled in my own mind what's "the cause of it all." _ You feel sore that you know ?" " Yes, my dear," said the old man, in his -way. " Fact is—there's-no doubt about it— he's gone off with some gaL" Judith Btarted/from him with her eyes flashing— "How dare you?'..she cried. "It's not true. You >don't know your ^nephew, sir, or yon would not bring againBt him such a shameful charge." What, about taking a fancy to some yonng lady, marrying .her, and going for a long - trip!" ' ~ . It 4s not true !" cried J adith again ; and, darting an indignant look at the old man, she hurried-into the house. ' "Poor f eaid the dry old fellow, laughing softly, without making a wrinkle in his face (all herself poor ? Why, the pretty little pnss j& ae .richln pll soils of good things as a oneen. Myifaow she sticks up for iiim. He's a lucky chap, my A. L. EL, that he is, •Hallo 1 whatfr he rignallingaboufc?" • fie walked slowly across the lawn to where Sam Burton was standing With .hiB. gun under . Ills arm, /and with a handsome dog which .looked furtively at the old American, and. then backed behind his master. saidjSam, [*m training. . . walk in the •'jtODu tins morning." - ••Nothing I, should like better, keeper," •aid- the old man ; "my legs don't fit well under tables. I like feeing ont among the trees." •'• " So do I, dr,"*' said the keeper, as they talked .on; and he _£rew .quite chatty after .las fashion, a certain amount of intimacy, having sprung up between him and his - -master's guest - . "Wiell, Sam Burtom" said Uncle Wash., til riling upon him, suddenly, " you haven't. hrought me out here for'nothing. What is itf' Sam hesitated and gave his head a rub after til tang his hat on one side j and then, as they were well ont in the pine wood, he stopped iftort.' .Well, sir," he -said, suddenly, "it's like tfran here. I like yon, sir, suae , as I liked Mr. Arthur; and though you and I didn't get on at "first——" "That'll do, my lad," Baid Uncle Wash. " The finest thing in the world is to be a citizen of the United States: but if I iia&l't been born-an AMurrycan 1 should have liked Ym-lmlijr.m^ '' . ," Yon would, sir ?' said Sam. "Yes, my Tad. Of coarse, I see it all. Jfjn atnek up for your master, and wanted so. keep ful that quiet because of the disgrace r -v' iye, or, that weer it." •• And, of course, you were not taken with my queer wayB. Bat there, let that go, Now, then, what is itf' - " Well, it's this, sir. I Was always a bit 'thickheaded about anything as hadn't to do id' the birds and porchers acid that sort, and * since I weer badly from my hurt I've been worse. Itfa been a sort o'feight fnmyyead ^rhether I should hart the maister ana my lady by Wiring about all I'know'd, and so I hev been a~bit closer than a' might ha' been wont. Look here, sir. One day I weer out - here wi'my Bess, and I fan her skretching and tewing and taring about just wheer you are standing, and at last she tore out this here from under the fir-pins just as you see.". He drew a handkerchief from out of one of the .inner pockets of his shooting-Jacket, leaned his gun up against a tree, and, going down'on one knee, deliberately untied two cr three knots, and displayed the little heap Of Range's curly hair and beard. The <ud man dropped upon his-knees, -and examined the hair for a lew moments, and . then drew is a long breath. "He"it up again," he said quietly: and when this was done, he rose and clapped the keeper on the shoulder, adding, " I ought to be a bit mad with yon, my lad," he said," for if you'd give-methat at first, it would have saved a lot o' trouble. But there, you've spoke out at last. I see it all now." " Yon do, sir! Well," said Sam. rubbing his ear, " it's been a'most too much for me. ' I never could get that hair to fit wi' what weer down yonder, and when it weer all hrowt to light, I couldn't mak nowt of it then." " Yewll get five hundred pound for yew're wedding, Sam Burton, after all, and I dessay my boy will make it another. Here, give me that handkerchief, One of them hairs is the end of the- clue I've been thinking out. I shall soon find him now." He snatched the handkerchief from the keeper, and went straight back to the house, and into the library where Sir Robert was, in good old-fashioned style, sealing up a large letter with wax and crest. "1 found him," cried Uncle Wash, triumphantly, and in ignorance that Judith, who was ever on the watch for news, had seen him coming and followed him in. " Found him ?' cried Sir Robert, dropping the wax. " Yes; ifs aU as plain as a pikestaff now. Why we've been blind as bats." "I dont understand yon, Mr. Range," said Sir Robert; " but I daresay you're right." a - Oh, I might have known from the first. Trick, sir, by some of our chaps from over yonder. Theyve smelt his coin, and followed him- up. See here 1"
He threw the handkerchief on the table, and undid the knots. "Well—that is some hair," said Uncle Robert. " Yes, sir: his hair!—my boy's hair! Kidnapped, and shut up somewhere till he pays." " Oh I" It was poor Judith who uttered a deep sigh as Bhe stood with a horrified look in her eyes. " Yew there, my dear? Nevermind. Yon had to know. Good-by, and bless you. Next time we meet I'll bring my boy." But Judith caught him by the arm. " I'm going, too!" she said quickly. " Uncle Robert, you must." "Going? With me?" cried Uncle Wash. " Yes ! cried Judith, excitedly. " I shall go. Now," she added, in a c^uick whisper, " unsay those wicked words, sir !" " Wall, miss," said Uncle Wash, blindly, " there is only one gal in the wide world for my boy, and that gal, my dear, is yew."