Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

17 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



-=- r-W Ar,% IF &AID v arm |E|» all "we By WILLIAM L.E i CHAPTER XXIJI. Places Matters in a New Light. The words npnii the second dip of paper were: | SItice believes ebat Sybil still Joves Wilfrid .Hag bee..Hb>s istucorrect. Tellllimeo. The girl is meroiy usirtsr tlnghes for bet own put- poses She Joves Arthur I have just learnt the truth. Something that will aatociahyon. Rambold. Who waa Arthur Rnmbold f I had never beard mention of him. This was certainly a new featcro of the affair. Sybil bad a secret lover of whom L was in ignorsuce. She was no donbt IItill in com nm oration with him and tbrotfgb him hart Jenrnli of Eric's wbezeabouls and other facts that had surprised met. 1 tead end is-read ibei letter much pnzz'ed. She was only tiding me lor her own pllrposu-or In plaiu English she was fueling me. 1 felt angry with myaelf tor not being more Wary. The train stopped ai P teston, and then rushed nOltb IIRain ItS I rat atme in the corner of the carriage thinking deeply-, and wondering who was this man Rnmbold. Ati Carlisle another surprise was in store for )M. for I found s hnrited note from Sybil saying that sbe bad anfortnna: elv been ierogni«e,.{ by a friend anj compelled ti> leave. She had gone oo to Glasgow, and would await me there at tbo Central Station Hotel. Therefore, by the Scotch express at two o'clock that morning I tiaveiltd up to Glasgow, sinri Oil arrival found to my chagtin that the had stayed thero one night, and attain left. There was a note for me, spying that she had gone to Dnmftiea, bat that it would be best for me not to follow. "Return to Newcastle, and await me," she wrote. "Myqaick movements are imperative for my own safety. I caftnot t ell you in a iettet What baa happened, bnt will explain all when we meet." By what train did the lady leave ?'" 1 in- qoired of the hall-pcrtei who bad banded me the Httter. "The six-twenty last nigbt,»u" was tho roan's ttaawef. I got her ticket. X lfrst-clnsa one to Port WMiUtt." Then the went north—not south," I ex- claimed. surprised. or eonrse." Sybil had n.Med ms'llf hfcr letter by sftyiog that the had gone to Dumfries, when really the had travelled In the opposite direction. She bad purposely misled me. The lady left hurriedly, it would appear." Yes, sir. About five o'clock » gentleman called to sea her, and she met him in tbo hall. She was very pale, I noticed, as though she was surprised at big. Visit, or rftther upset. Bat tbey wen teat together. She returned an hour later, wrote this letter, which ahe told me lo give to yon if you called, and then left for Fort William." And did the mart call again ?" Yen. She said bo would, and she told me 50 tell him that she had gone to Edinburgh. told hi to that, aud he seemed very fnrprised, bet WMt Rwey. He was in evening dresit, nnd it seemed as though they had intended dining together. Sbe seemea," added the man rather aaeeringly, to be more like a. lady's-maid than a lady." Bot the gontleman, describe him to me." Ob, be was a raihet short, pedgy man, fair, With a baldish bead." Was it Parbam ? The description soiled him, lie gave no card ?" Mo. Re met the young lady here in the hall. If, idea was that his presence was very un- welcome, as she seemed in great fear lest he sbaold return before aba could get away." Hub the men left Glasgow ?" u I think so. I saw him on the platform feboht nine, Jost before the Edinburgh express left. He's probably gone on there. He seemed faite a gentleman." They uppaaied to be friendly ?" Perfectly. Only she evidently did not 6X. pb<tt to meat turn. She asked the nah*e of a hotel at Fort William, and I told bef to go to tbe Station." w Then she's there," I exclaimed quickly. tbe Station." w Then she's there," I exclaimed quickly. Probably. She arrived there this morning." I I tipped the man, and after idling in Glasgow some hours, left for Fort William, determined to disobey Sybil's order to go back to Newcastle. It Wat a long bat picturesque journey. When I arrived I went at once to the hotel to enquire if Mca Morton vete there. The manageress shook her head, saying "There was a. Mrs Morton, a young woman like a lady's maid, who artived here yesterday morning, andjleft hero last evening. A lady was awaiting ber-her mistress, 1 think." What was her name ?" «• Mrs Rumbold," was the answer, after re- foninfe to the visitors' book. Rnmbold I the name of her secret lo*er." Was the yonng 01 old ?" Elderly, with grey hair. A rather stiff, formal kind of person." "Whete have they gone 1" I I beard Mis Rnmbold say that she wonted to rc to Oban. So perhaps they've gone there." There was a boat down to Oban in three hours' time, therefore I took it, passed down the bottlli. inl Loch and by the islands cf Lis more, places to well-Known to the traveller to Scotland to need any description, and that same evening found myself in Oban, the Charing-cross of the High- lands. I had been there soTornl times before, and always stayed at the Gteat Western. Therefore I took the hotel omnibus, and on alighting asked if a Mm Knmbold was staying there. The reply was a negative one, therefore I Went round to several other hotels, finding at taat that she and her maid bad taken a room at the Alexandra that mtoning, bnt had and- denly ebanged their plans, and had left at two o'clock by train for the Bonth, bat whether for Glasgow or Edinburgh was not known. I therefore lost track of them. Sybil had ap- parently Hutsceasfnlly escaped from her male visiter at Glasgow, while at the same lime Mis Rumbold —pi obablv the mother of the man she loved in secret—bad awaited her up at Foit William. For what reason" Why was she now mas- querading as maid of the mother of her lever ? Again, if her visitor in Glasgow WKII really Parbam, he noaht havo very quickly obtained knowledge of her whereabouts, for only a few days before I had watched him arranging that ingenious plot against her in Dean'g-lr&T:J-IL plot which would have no doubt been carried tato execution if Sytil bad been present. I hesitated how to act. If they had gone south, it was useless for Tie to temain in Oban. iler appointment wiih me waa in Newaaetie, and it beemed certain tbat the would eoooer or later reeli me there. Bnt at that moment my curiosity was atoused. re- garding this Mra Rnmbotd. as to who and what fehe wat, and further, as to the identity of Arthnr, about whom the dead man had known so leech. "They ammated to be hicndiy," said the hotel porter. I left Oban and went back to Glasgow. My friend, the ball porter, at the Central Stuiion, was talkative, but had not seen the lady agxin. It struck me that an the bald-beaded man had met bar in Glasgow, and bh she bad left a mes- sage for bim that IIbe bad gone to Edinburgh bho would naturally avoid both {dicta, or ut any rite not bait tbei< Had she gone on to Dumfries ? She had left a metsaee for me that slie witit theie. Would she hdw go there in order to see if I weie await- ing her inatewd cf at Newcastle. Dumfries, the town of Burns, was on my way down to Carlisle, therefore I resolved tj mnke a bait there for all iictw or two to enquiif. I remained the night in Glasgow, for I was fogged ont by so much travellifg, find nest d«y in-t before twelve, I alishied at Onirtfrie*. I had never bean there before, bnt outside tho s,.Ivttict) I iiow the l(ttilwity [Ioitl, and entering, asked whether alra U a cuboid was Ma.ji'fc there. Ye", sbe was. Did I wisb to see her aaned the lady clork in the bureau. I replied in the uffirmative, and sent her my name, Mr Mortou," written on a slip of paper. The waiter returned with a carious look apon his fitco. I saw in an instant thsttaotnetbioc had ocernred, and was not surprised when he said- Mrs Rambold has a bad headache, air, and would be glad if you'd call again about five or six. The chambermaid says she's lying Jowo." "Is tbere another person with bet ?" 1 in- quired. Her own maid, I mean." No, air. She's aloue," Ate you quite sure of that ?" Quite. 1 took her name when she arrived in the hotel. Sbo has no maid." And no lady friend ? "Nf. She's entirely alone." That suiprifed me. Had Sybil patted from her and Rone straight on to Newcastle in order to find me ? Tiiere was nothing to be done but to wait until half-past five, and call again on Mrs Ru mbold. I therefore took a room at the hotel, and lunched its the coffee-room. The womnn'a excute made me suspicious tint IIhe wished to avoid meetinp me, anu tbat when I rctiuned at six I "hould find her gone. So I passed tbe lime in wriiii.>g letters, and remained in patience till half-past live, who!! 1 sent up again to know if she wonld receive me. The answer came back that she was still too unwell, and I sont woid to her that 1 could wait, as I wished to see her upon a very impor- tant matter. My determination showed her that I did not intend that she should escape therefore, just before the dinner KOTS rang the waiter came to me and said 'blat the lady was In the small dtltw- ing-room upstairs, and would see me. "1 bsva not the honour of yonr acquaintance Mr Morton, and am rather curio an ?oknow what yon want wnh me." I ascended the stairs wondering what would be the outcome of my interview. I wanted to ascer- tain who the woman was, and tbe nature of tbe relatione between her and Sybil. h Whan I antetad tbe room a i at her elderly lady with whitish hair, several y brtuhed back, and attirsd in deep black rose to meet me, bowing stiffly and saying I bave not tbe honour of your acquaintance, Mr Morton, and am rather carious to know what you want with me." Well, madam," I replied, tbe fact is I want to die you a question. The Honourable Sybil Burnet bail been travelling with you dressed as h lady's maid and I am here to learn where she bas now gone." The woman started in aatpiise, and glared at me. She probably, from my disguise as a work. iug man, put me down aa 81 detective. -1 And my reply to 100, lIir, is that Mice Sybil's destination is her own affair. We patted, and she has gone south. Tbat is all I know." But you also know the reason why ebe is masqnerading at a maid why, at Fort William and at Oban you made people believe she was your maid. You bad a motive, and I think you may its well admit it.' I do not sen your right to question me about mv private affairs," aba exclaimed angrily, This is monstions." "I liave no desire to pry loto your effaiis; madam," I answsred, quite coolly. 1, Che Honourable Sybil is a trioud of mine, and I am anxious to know ber wbereaboule," I said. "But I cannot tell you what 1 don't know my- self. She went on to Carlisle, that's all I know." She parted from you snddenly. Why 1'" I asked. Shall I tell yon? Htóaoso sbe is in fear of being followed," I exclaimed, and, smil- ing, added, "I think, madam, that I hold greater knowledge of the family thau perhaps oven yon do yourself. I bave known the Seate-liffe all my life. Old Lady Scercliff is greatly upset regard- ing Sybil's orotraolod absence. They are beginning to think that something baa happened to ber. I can now tell her that Bbe has beca with you, maequerading as your maiS, and that you refuse all information concerning ber. You know. I daresay, that the police are actively try- ing to find ber ou the application of her brother, Lord Scarcliff ?" ) My threat caused her some consternation, I could see that from the way she fumed nnd fidgetled. "To tell Lady Scercliff such a thing would only be to throw a blame upon myself of which I am entirely innocent," she protested. I assure you that if I knew vvbere she had gone, I would tell you," No, pardon me, madam. You wonld not. You beltevs that I'm a detective." Itour actions ceitsinly betray you," she ex, claimed resentfully. Y&n\e been watching o. clonely— for what reason ?" Well," I leplied, slowly. The fact is I am fully awaie of tbo aecte: lovo existing be- tween Sybil Unmet and Arthur Rumbold." Sybil and Arthur ?" she cried, turning pale and looking me straight in the fxce. What do yon mean ? Arthur- my boy. Arthur ?" I nodded iu the affirmative. Who are yon ?" she exclaimed, starting np breatbleasiy ftom her chair. She was in fbar of ma, I saw. Who ate you that you should know this ?" aba .ca.ped. Willian: Morton," was my cool reply. I though; I Met my name up to yoo tbis morning." CHAPTEK XXIV. Complications and Confessions. Nixt morning, after a night jaarney, I called at the DouglaM Hotel, in Newcastle, and was informed that Mis Morton had acrived on the previous evening. At last I bad 1110 her to eartb. She sent word that she wonld tee me in balf- an-hour, thetefora I idled along Grainger-atiaet, West, killing time until she .nade her appeai- ance. She approached me in the ball of the hotel smiling merrily and potting out her hand in welcome. Her black dress seemed Blightly the worse for wear owing to her constant travelling, yet sbe was aa neat and dainty as ever, a votnan Mtheae striking beauty caused evexy bead to be turned as she passed. We went out, turning to walk tovards Blsckott-street, and then amid the bnetle of the trefGo began to talk. She asked me when I bad arrived, and bow I had fared in London. I told bet nothing 01 the success of my adver- tisements, or the diecoveiy of the plot so ingeni- ously formed against her, and allowed ber to believe that I had only just arrived from Lon don. I was waittng to eee wbetbec she would explain her joarney to Scotland, and her com- panioosbip with Mis ttumbold. dut lib. aaid bottling. We walked on together through Albion-place, and preeently fouul our- selves in Leaze-pnik, that pretty promenade, gay irt summer, but somewhat cheetleat on that gray wiutiy morning. You were lecognined in Carlisle," I exclaimed, aftbr we had been chatting soma time. Tell me about it. I wan IIulpfiwed to get vour note, and I confers I was also some- I what alarmed. Was the petson wh3 itcognieed you an enemy or a liietid." A friend," was her,prompt reply. It Has bit vety friendliness wonlo, 1 kuew, be falsi to my inteiaats, so T bad to fly. Uu recognised one, even in tbis dress, stopped me in the street, raised his bllt and spoke. Hot 1 discerned bis intention, tberefoie I passed on with affected indignation and without answering. Had I cpencil my trotitli my vuice migbt hava betiayod I roa. I went on to Glasgow." Anrl there ? Wn«t happened ?" She ulanted at ine ut quick suspicion. I saw eho Wile cmlalu,s"ed by my qnesiion. H'ippei.ea obe echoed n6rvou<-lj*. What do toc mtan ?" Wo were iu the Park, and quite alone, theie- ioie I halted, »nl looking bei sltKigbt iu tl>e (ace ".daimed j Something hapi eued iheie, Sybil. Why { don t joe tail me 7" "Sybil," she said In a tone of reproach. am I no longer Tibbie tD you, as of old ? You are changed, Wilftid-chatiged towards me There is something in your manner so very uunanal. j What is it ?" I desire to know the truth," I said, in a bard voice. You are trying to keep back things from me which I ought to know. I trust you, and yet yon do not trust me in return. In- deed, it seems very much as thongh yoa are II trying to deceive me." "Inm not," she protested, you still misjudge ive, Wilfrid, and merely becaoeo there Bre cer- 'tain tbinpg which it wonld be against my own interests to explain at tbis moment. Every women is permitted to bave secrets surely I may have mine. If you were in reality my hus- band, then it would be different. Hitherto, you have been generosity itself towards me. Why withdraw it now, at the eritical moment when I most require your aid and protection." Why f" Because in Glasgow I was recognised by one of my (nemies." sbe said. An I yon don't know what a narrow escape I bad. lie traced me—and came from London to hnnt me down and de- nounce me. Yet I managed to meet bim with such careless ease that he was disarmed, and hesitated. And while he hesitated I escaped. tie ia still following me. He may be bare, in Newcastle, foe all 1 know. If we meat again, Wilfrid," she added, in a hoarse, determined voice. If W4 meet again it wiJl all be hopeless. My doom will be sealed. I shall frill myself." No. no," 1 urged. "Comel don't contem- plate such a step as tbat." I fear to face him. I can cover,face him." Yoa mean John Parbam." Who told you ?" she started quickly. How did you know his name ?" I guessed it. Tbev told me at the botel that yon bad had a visitor, and that yon had soon afterwards escaped to the north." Do you actually know Parhom ?" 1 met bim once," was my reply, but I did not mention the fellow's conueciton with the bouse with the fatal staira. Does be know that we are friends P" How can I teli ? Bot why do you fear him?" Ab, it is a long story. 1 dure not face that man. Wilfiid. Surely that is suffiaieiit. No, it is not sufficient," I replied. "Yon managed to escape ond get up to Fort William." Ah the mau at tho hotel told you so, I eup pose," "bo said. Yes, I did escape, and nar- rowly. I was betrayed." By whom ?" Unwittingly betrayed by a friend 1 think, she replieod, aa we walked on together towards the lake. On a winter's morciug there are few people in LeazesPark, therefore we had the plnee to ourselves, save for tbe keeper strolling idly Borne distance away. ■ Sybil," 1 exclaimed piesenlly, baiting again, and laying my hand upon her sbonlder, wby are you not straightforward and outspoken with me ?" I recollected tbe postseript of the dead man's letter which I bad secured in Nionchester-she allegation that sbe was playing me false. ner eyes ttete cast down in confusion at my plain nr-etion, yet the next instant she assumed a foolSnee* that was trnly surprising. to I don't understand yoa," she deolaied with a light iiervooa little laugh. Then I suppose I must apeak more plainly, [ said. It is a pity, Sybil, that you did not sell me the truth from your own lips." She went pale as her eyes met mine in qaick anxiety. The irnth-ahout what ?" About your Jove for Arthur Rumbold," I said veiy gravely, my gaza still bxed steadily apon here. In an instant ber gloved bauds clenched them- salves, her lips twitched nervously, and aho placed her band upon ber heart as though to slop its wild beating. My love?" Ibe gasped IJJaDkly-" My love for Arthni Rnmbold ?'* Yes, your love for bim," Ab. Surely you are cruel, Wilfiid, to speak of him —after—after all that has lately bap- pened," sbe burst forth in a choking voice. You cannot know the trae facts-You cannot dream the truth, or that man's name would never pass your lips." No," I said gravely. "1 do not know the tenth. I am in utter ignorance. I only know that you met Mrs Rnmbold at Fort William and :rav<<Ued back with her to Dumfries." That is Quito true," sbe answered. I have no wi4ii to conceal it." "But you love for her son-you have con- cealed that." .1 A woman wbn loves truly does not always proclaim it to the world," was the reply. Then if you Jove him why areyon in hiding ? Why are yon masqueiading as my ivife ? I de- manded, seriously. I was, I admit, piqued by bar attitude, which I perhaps misjudged MH defiant. Sbe 6hiugged hsr shoulders slightly, but met my g*ze unflinchingly. Yoa promisad me your assistance," she sighed. If YOII now regiet your promise I wil- lingly release you from it." I have no wish to be released," I answered. i only desire to know the truth By a fortu- nate cirenmstance, Sybil, I bave discovered yorr secret lovo for Arthur Itumtold-and yet at Kyball yoa said you had decided to marry Ellice Wineloe." A woman does not always marry tbe man she really lovas," aha argued. It is a regrettable -fact, but horribly true." Then yon love this man, Arthur Kambold. Come, do not tell me an nntrutb. We ate old enough friends to bo frank with each other," Yes, we are. I am frank with you. and tell you that you have blamed yourself for assisting me, now that you have discoveicd my folly." Folly of wbat ?" Of my love. Is it not folly to love a man whom one can never marry ?" Then be ia already married, perhaps ?" She was silent, and glar-eirg at ber 1 saw that toa-taatoodinher magnifictot. eyea. She waa thinking cf him, without a doubt. I recollected those words penned by the dead man that allegation that she was fooling me. Yes. What he said was correct. The scales bad now fallen from my eyea. I read the truth iu bar white countenance, that face so very beantiful, bnt, alas, to false. Who was Nelio, she man with whom sbe cor- responded bv means of that cipher—the man the trusted ao implicitly ? Waa be identical with Arthur Rumbold ? Had she killed the writer of that extraordinary letter because be knew the tmtb because she was in terror of exposure and ruin ? My knowledge Of Rumbold had entirely upaet all her calculations. In those moments of her hesitancy and confusion sbe became a changed woman. Her admission had been accompanied by a firm defiance that ntterly astounded me. I noticed bow agitated fib. had become. Her small bands were nosDbtioR and the was now white to the lips. Yet sbe waa still determined not to reveal her secret. Ab, yoa can never know, Wilfiid, what I hava snfIerej-wbd I am suffering now," sbe said in a deep intense voico, as me stood there together in the }(&rdenB. YOt, have tbongbt me va, and careless, and yon've often told me that 1 was like a. butterfly. Yes, I admit it-l admit all my defects. When I was old enough to leave the schoolroom, eocicty attracted me, I saw Cynthia, the centre Of A smart set, courted, flattered, and admired, and like every other girl. I was enviona. I vipd with her successes, until I, too, became popular. And yet wbat did popu- larity and amaitness mean ? Ab, I can only think of the pftat with disgust." Then, with a sigh sho added, Yon, of coarse, caunot believe it, Wilfrid, but I am now M. changed woman." I do believe you, Tibbie," was my blank reply, tot want of something else to eay. Her small hands were trembling, and the was white to the lips. Yea," she went on, I see the folly of it an now, the emptiness, the soul-killing wear and tear, the disgraceful shame and mean subter- fuges. The woman who bas success in one Bet stands aloue, friendless, with a dozen others con etantly trying to hatl her from ber pedestal, and ever ready wilb biuer tongues to propagate grave insinuations and scandal. It ia woman to woman: end tbe feels aie always deadly. I'm tired of it all, and have left it., I hope, for ever." Tben it was some adventure in that gey circle, I lake it, that is responsible for yohr pre- sent position ?" I said alowly. Ah," she slgbad. in a low hoarse voice. I- I never dreamed of tbo pitfalls got for iae, and in my ittexpetienoe believed in thtt boneety of everyone. But snrely I wa* not alone. Beneath a dress shirt beats tbe hfArt of many a bin-k- guard, and in oat Loadon drawiug-roomH are to be found poisons whose catears, if exposed, would startle tbe world. There aie men witb world- famous names wbo might to he in the criminal dock, but whose very social po-iiion is theifsatftttuatd and womf-n with titles who poea as chnrity pattens, hat. aie rcere adven- turoeseji. Our little world,. Witftid, indeed, a IItllUljlO one, a circlo ot class and ctiminalitv i TittfTlv uo<;oncfeivfcb'e by the public, wbo only know of ns toiout; "e nefftp#pot». 1 bad sr.cceft", because. I suppose, of wliat people aie pleased to e»ll i»y tood look*, bnt —bur, alas! I 1*11 a victim-1 frll into a liap ingenionaly se; for mc, and wbt-n I sungeled to ful mysolf fine 1 only fell deeper and deeper into ibn bls<l>- diy intdgno. Sou the 'no now," .,lle cded ] after a btief pta .e, a deaperaie woouu ttlau raros nought for life, only for her good name. I I live to defend tbat before-the world, for my I poor mother's sake. Daily I mn goadsd on to j Kill myself and end it all. 1 should have deny j so had not Providence sent yon lo me, Wilfiid, to aid and counsel me. Yet the Now hns again fallen, lIod I now see no way to vindicate my- self. The net has closed around roe-aud-aud j — I coast die," And she butst into a sudden torrent cf tears. Were they tears of remorse, or of heart-broken bitterness ? There is no other way," ahe added in a. faint desperate voice, bar trembling baud closing upon my wrist. YOtl mast leave me to myself Go f back to London and remain silent. And when tbey discover me dead you will still remain 10 ignotanca—but sometimes you will think of me— think of me, Wilfrid," she sobbed, as an un- happy woman who bas fallon among unscrupu- lous enemies." But this is madness," I ctied. Yon surely will not admit yourself vanquished now 7" No, not madness, only foresight. Yon, too, aie in deadly peril, and mast teave me. With me, hope is now dead-tbere is only the grave." She spoke those last words so calmly and de- terminedly that I was thoroughly alarmed. I refused to leave ber. The fact that Pnrbara had discovered her showed that all hone of escape was now cut off. Tbis she admitted to me. Standing before raG, her countenance wbitellnct haggard, I saw bow terribly desperate she was. Her chin then sank opon her breast and she sobbed bitterly. I placcd my baud tenderly tipoa her shoalder, full of sympathy. Th; story of yonr nnhappinass. Tibbie, is the story of yoar love, Is it not f" I asked, slowly. Her chest rose and fell slowly as sbeiaised her tearful eyes to mine, and in reply, said in a low faltering voice. Listen, and 1 will tell yon. Before I die it is only right that you should know tbe truth- youwhoaremyontyfriend." And sbe burst again in a flood of teais, stirred by the painful remembrance of tbe p.\?t. I stood there holding tier for tbe first time in my arm3. And she buried ber face upon my shoulder, trembliog and sobbing as oar two hearts beat in unitou. (To be continued.)





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Conscience v. Law. .




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