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4I (U) [ALL RIGHTS RZSXRVID.]…

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4 I (U) [ALL RIGHTS RZSXRVID.] I THE MAN HUNT ? I Nil By TOM GALLON, 1(11 XA Author of "Tatterley," "The Great Gay Road," &c. A\ CHAPTER XII (Continued). A CONFESSION. Heatied this scrap of paper into hie hand- kerchief, and then, with much labour, dragged himself again to the window, and -held out his hand to the dog. "earer, old chap, nearer," he pleaded. "I can't reach you. But he reached him at last, and carefully fastened the handkerchief round the dog's neck. It took a long time, for Manners was weak and the little animal restless; but at last the thing was done, and knotted se- curely. And now came the supreme test. Often and often on those Sunday morning jaunts Manners, with the masterful feeling of the man who will always be obeyed in the slightest things, had trained the dog to obey his lightest wish, and to leave him at a moment's notice and go home. Often and often it had wrung his heart to do it, and to eee the little animal, with ears pricked and wistful eyes, watching him, and yet obliged to turn away and leave him. Manners had little thought then how some day this might serve him. Gripping the bars now, he drew himself up painfully, and with what strength was left to him speke with sternness to the (lcg, "Home, Rags, home!" he cried. The dog sprang up, and with the instinct of obedience ran a few yards away, and then stopped, looking back. Once again Manners, with his face close to the bars, called out that order: "Home, Rags, home!" This time the dog turned, and set off at a great rate across the grounds, not making for the house, but for the open country uor did he look back. Manners laughed softly, and let go the bars and dropped back and fainted. Meanwhile, a very unhappy man was pacing up and down Manners's rooms in Bloomsbury; that man was Erasmus Jar- man. Ordinarily the healthiest and sanest of men, he had been driven almost to dis- traction during the latter half of the pre- vious day and the night that had gone be- fore and the day that had followed that, by reason of the fact that he had heard nothing ol Robert Marsh—that mysterious man who had set out to find a young girl, who had called to see him and had been repulsed by Jarman. A deadly fear had come upon Jarman that he had offended that strange man with the clean-shaven face that was so like the face of the long-dead Arthur Manners; he could not rest or sleep for thinking of that possibility. Often and often during those hours he would think he heard a sound out- bide on the staircase, and would hurry to the hall door and open it, and would go out to listen. But nothing happened, and the big man had at last worked himself into a very fever of anxiety. For, of course, it must be remembered that Jarman was working entirely in the dark, save for the one faint clue he thought he had concerning the identity of the man who called himself Robert Marsh. For the rest, the man Murdoch Slade and the little pretty girl in black were but mere shadows, signify- ing nothing to him. So that now when Robert Marsh was gone, Jarman did not know what to do, nor where to search for I him. It was towards the evening of the day fol- lowing Robert Marsh's disappearance that Jarman went out for the last time, as he told himself, into the little hall, and stood there listening. Surely there was a sound at last, though scarcely the one he had expected. A faint sniffing sound against the bottom of the door, and then the short, sharp bark of a dog. Surprised, Jarman opened the door, and looked out. There, crouched against the wall, was a small and very dirty rough-haired terrier. It had evidently been running for miles, and was exhausted its tongue Ü was lolling out, and it seemed scarcely able to keep on its I icg3. Jarman stooped to touch it, and it drew back from him suspiciously. He was about to close the door upon it, when a thought leapt into his mind and he stood 6taring at the dog, with his breath coming and going fast. The dead Rodney Manners had had a dog, which lie had bequeathed to the girl he was to have married With a jerk Jarman pulled the door open, and snapped his fingers to the small animal, in token that it might come in; Rags slipped past him, made straight for the hearthrug in the sitting-room, and lay down. Jarman shut the outer door, and got some water and food, and fed the little crea- ture. And all the time puzzled his head to know what this nctv thit.g meant. The dog had finished his meal, and was lying with his chin on his paws, regarding Jarman with bright eyes, when the man noticed that the animal's neck was curiously muffled up with something tied about it. He stooped and looked at this, and saw at last it was a handkerchief, knotted closely about the dog's neck. For a long time Rags would not let him touch it; but at last, by dint of much coaxing, he munched to get it unfas- tened, and took it to the taMe to examine it. He found that it was knotted in two other places and, unfastening these, discovered the note twisted tightly in the folds of it. He took out the scrap of paper, and read it eagerly understood at last dimly what it meant. And as he read the note, startling though it was, h, almost cried aloud for joy at a new discovery. For in that moment of faintness the irr;ir who had written it had told the truth, and had signed it in a long scrawl—"Rodney Manners." Here was news at last, and Jarman could pet to work. He did not, of course, yet un- derstand all that the brief note conveyed, his mind merely leapt to the thought that there was treachery of some sort, of which Manners was the victim. Nor could he, of course, know to whom the house mentioned in that scrap of paper belonged. While he hurriedly made preparations for departure, he talked to the small dog curled up on the hearthrug. "I don't know your name, young fellow- but the fact that you belong to him is quite sufficient to make us friends. You've come a long journey, my little man—and I'I: won- dering if you care to take a long journey back aain, or if youul stop here and wait for him. What do you Rags seemed to understand what was said he sat up, and shook himself, and pricked up his ears. Mr. Jarman left the matter to him to decitlp; lmt when presently he had his hat and coat on. and was ready to start, he was glad to find that the dog came out of the place after him, ready to go also. There were no trains at that time of night; but that fact did not trouble Erasmus Jar- man. He knew the power of his money and, some half-hour later, with the dog curled up beside him on the cushioned seat, he was speeding away from London in a hired motor- car for the house of Mr. Boyd Litchfield. It was a bright moonlight night, and he had told the driver to take all risks, and had promised an exorbitant tip if the man hurried they flew along the roads as though it were indeed a matter of life or death. The house stood silent and deserted when they swung in at the gates and raced up to it. Under the circumstances. Jarman had expected that, and it did not trouble him. Preceded by the chauffeur carrying one of the lamps, and with the dog darting ahead, and looking back every now and then to see if they were following, Jarman came to the old workshop at the end of the grounds, and kicked open the crazy door, and called aloud. But there was no answer. "There ain't nobody here, sir," said the chauffeur, turning the light this way and that. But Jarman's quick eyes had shown him that the bench that had stood in one place so many,, years had been displaced. He put his great strength to it, and pushed it back, cry- ing out in excitement as he saw the trap- door. Flinging this back, he saw the flight of stenn, down which the dog instantly rushed, barking and whimpering eycitedlv. "Give rue the light," said the big man; iind went down the steps, looking about him. The chauffeur, kneeling at the top, was amazed to see the big man down on his knees, supporting the head of someone lying in the yioorn of that underground cellar, and mur- muring to the unconscious man as though talking to a child. Between them they got him up the steps, and Jarman managed to get some life into the colourless face with the aid of a flask he took from his pocket. The chauffeur would have assisted to lift Manners, but saw to nis amazement the big man take him up, as though ho had been a baby, swing him deftly over his shoulder, and go striding aivily through the grounds towards the motor. Stop at the first decent inn you come to then you'll have to go on for a doctor," said Jarman, curtly, as he set his burden iown tenderly in the car. Meanwhile, that er party in Murdoch Blade's car had re led London, and had made their way > Wedgwood Square. 31ade, after seeing them deposited at the house, would have driven off then and there with Adams; but Boyd Litchfield literally ;lung to Slade's arm, and insisted that he ;hould come into the house. After some iittle hesitation his request wns acceded to, md the two men went in together. "You can't—you shan't leave things like "his," spluttered Litchfield, literally holding )n to his man. You wouldn't leave a man in the lurch like this." "What do vou mean?" demanded Slade, racing him, with his hands thrust deep into the pockets of his heavy coat; "how am I ieaving you in the lurch?" You are leaving me utterly helpless," almost whimpered Litchfield. "I am in dcs- perate straits, as vou know, and anything may happen at any moment to throw suspi- c ion upon me. I'm quite innocent-" "Yes, my cowardly friend, you're quite innocent," broke in Slade, with a laugh. "But I think you forget that I told you that in this matter we sink or swim to- gether. You can't expect to benefit unless rou do some of the work and take some of the risks. What do you want of me now?" I want to know what's going to hap- pen?" answered Litchfield, striving to con- trol his voice. "Are we to remain here- waiting; or are we making a bolt for it. or what are we going to do?" For the present you're going to remain here," answered Slade, witllOut looking at him. If you doubt me at all, the best thing you can do is to bear in mind the fact that in this matter I do not stand alone; I have Grace to think of. Am I likely to de- sert you all? Keep your courage up, rvnd hold your tongue. So far as money is con- cerned, you shall have it so soon as I can spare it. Good Heavens, mAi," he added rallyingly, as he struck the other man lightly on the chest, "What is there to fear? Somo time in the future—months or veara hence, perhaps—someone will find all that remains of a man that bears no name and has no record. I have the papers from his pockets, and I have again that bunch of keys that was stolen from me, and that lets me into all his secrets. Sleep in peace, my friend, and don't worry." So he went away, leaving Litchfield in anything but an enviable frame of mind. If by any chance Slade thought at all, as he must have done, of that poor prisoner, wounded and shut away underground, he strove to dismiss the idea from 1* is mind. For the present he was safe, and the pre- sent only mattered to him. I But that night that had seen Jarman start off into the country with the dog found Murdoch Slade in his rooms, restless and afraid. The man could face anything in the I| light; darkness and silence wore him down. ) He looked out of his windows across the lighted streets, and fancied that he heard many things threatening him; now the cry of a newspaper seller shouting strange news; now a man hurrying who migh;, be hurry- ing in his direction. Unable to stand it any longer, he went out, at something near to midnight; and his feet unconsciously turned in the direction of those rooms wherein Rodney Manors had once lived, and which were now occupied by a stranger whose name he did not know. He had those keys in his pocket which would give him access to the rooms; and he stood for a long time in the street, finger- ing them and looking up at the dark win- dows. Those rooms held secrets he had not yet penetrated; someone else was moving in this story, whose name and position he did not yet know. If he could break down that la:t barrier which held him back from the very heart of the mystey he would feel more safe. He took the keys out of his pocket, and selected the one which should fit the lock of the outer door; after a quick glance to right and left he inserted it in the lock, and opened the door and went in. He found himself at the foot of the stairs, leading up !)ast many offices to the rooms above; Im began to wonder how he should explain his presence if, when he reached the top of the stairs, the door was opened and the strange man with the big beard should confront him. Nevertheless, urged by curiosity more than by anything else, he began to climb the stairs. Only when he was half-way up, and still hesitating whether to go on or not, did lie, remember that he had left that outer door leading to the street ajar. He was on tho point of returning to close it when he re- flected that circumstances might occur which would render it necessary for him to leave open his way of retreat; so he went cu until he reached the outer door of the fiat. The landing outside was in darkness; from that lie argued that. the stranger had re- tired for the night. After hesitating for a long t.me he slipped the other key into the lock and softly opened the door; and, hold- ing it w:de at the length of his outstretched arm, looked about him, and listened. There was not a breath of sound; there was no movement anywhere. Cautiously he switched on the light, and, leaving the door of the flat open, advanced on tiptoe, looking about him warily as he did so. He came to the room on the right hand of the hall in which th. man-servant Kirbv had slept; he opened the door of that in the same cautious fashion, and gently turned on the light. The bed was empty, and there was no one there. So wii-fi the tiny kitchen and also with the sitting-room, both were smpty. There was only one other room to be examined, and that was at the further tide of the sitting-room, Manners' bedroom, from which a bath-room led out. Somewhat to his astonishment he found that that room also was empty; he stood still, looking about him, and wondning what had happened. It seemed surprising that the stranger with the big beard should have given up possession so easily; he could Dnly surmise that the man had gone away for a short time, and that good luck had at- tended his own invasion of the place. He laughed at the ease with which the thing had been managed, dropped the keys back into his pocket, and began to look about him. It was possible that he might find something here of use to him in the future. He was actually whistling softly to him- self over his task, as he raked about amongst books and papers, when he sud- denly sprang across the room, and switched out the light; he had heard a sound upon the stairs. He cursed himself for his folly in leaving the outer door of the flat open, but it was too late to reach it and close it now. He felt for the weapon in his pocket, and was glad to think that he had it at hand. But this was no man's step that came hesitatingly in at the door, and after a moment reached the door of the sitting- room Slade heard the light flutter of a dress. Very quietly he moved a little, until his hand was actually on the switch of the light, and waited. A voice he knew spoke out of the darkness tremulously. "Is anyone here?" He switched on the light then, and found himself looking straight into the startled eyes of Hester Wake. She stood dumb- founded for a moment, and then gave a shrill scream: but in a moment his hand was on her lips, and he held her prisoner and silent. Be quiet I he whispered, as she struggled with him. "Vlhat do you wajit here, creeping in like a thief? She broke away from him, and got to the other side of the room; she flung that ques- tion back at him. What are you dõhg here?" she demanded. "How did you get in? "Bv the simplest method in the world, my dear," he answered insolently. "I have managed to recover the kevs you stole from me; see, here they are." lie dangled them before her eyes and laughed as he spoke. "And what has become of--of him? she panted. "You can speak the name; it's quite safe, lie retorted. "I got them from him in the simplest fashion; I don't suppose he'll re- quire them any more. So that you see all Your schemes have come to nothing, Miss iiester Wake." She looked at him out of startled eyes. "You—you've killed him!" she exclaimed. "I know it; I am certain of it. I can read it as clearly as though you had told me your- self. I know it, I know it!" She had raised her voice almost to a scream; she was making straight for the door. The man overturned a chair in his rush to seize her, caught her firmly by the wrists and dragged her away from the door, striving to silence her cries. He managed to get the outer door shut, and to drag her back into the sitting-roon, and there she still fought so desperately that he wrapped his arms about her, and literally held liei; pressed close against himself in his efforts to keep her quiet. And then suddenly she lay efuito passive in his arms, and he thought for a moment that she had fainted. But she was still for another reason. Looking down at her he saw that she held herself but. like a per- son listening to something. In his surprise he let her go, and she backed away slowly from him, looking at him with a face of horror, staring at him wildly, like one understanding some dreadful thing fully and clearly for the first time. "What the devil's the matter with vou?" he demanded, startled in his turn by the ex- pression of her face. "Once before—a long time ago it seems," she began in a low voice, "I caught hold of someone in a darkened room and tried to hold him. He beat me off and ran, and got away, but he left behind what I have found again to-night." "What was it?" he asked hoarsely. "What are you talking about? "He left behind the memory of a scent. It is not many men who scent their clothes. When you held me a moment ago that scent was in my nostrils. I know now "her voice had risen to a cry that was weird and strained—"and at last I understand. It was you that killed poor Arthur Bradshaw." lie looked at her for a moment sullenly; his face was white and his lips were work- ing. "Well, if it's any satisfaction to you to know, I did kill him," he said brutally. "He was im my way; he had begun to have a con- science, and to talk of what he meant to do, and of what lie meant to say. You're such a poor thing, and of such poor account, that it doesn't matter whether you know or not. I silenced him, as I'll silence you if neces- sary." lie made a swift movement across the room towards her: his face was the face of a fiend. She waited until he had almost reached her, and them, darting aside, caught up a heavy book and flung it with unerring aim at the one light in the room-a large reading-lamp on the table. The thing went over with a crash, and in a moment the room was plunged in darkness. He felt rather than heard the rush of her skirts as she fled past him; heard the outer door opem even while he fumbled about to find the inner one. When lie reached the landing at the head of the stairs he was in time to hear the door leading to the street slammed hard, with an echoing noise in the great silent house. I CHAPTER XIII. I I ADAMS LOSES HIS MASTER. I I It was only when Murdoch Slade stood I alone there mi the little hall of Rodney i%i aiiners' flat that he realised that in that one moment of a brutal display of temper he had said too much. This mad creature, Hester Wake, had gone flying out into London with a storv to tell; to whom might she not tell it? Ife might deny this, that, or the other, I and yet in the end the truth might dog him down and grip him and hold him. It occurred to him, too, that he was in a false position in being in that place with those keys in his hands. He had unlocked a private desk and a cabinet, but had not had time to search for anything; the keys them- selves were lying on a table near to the shattered lamp. Sheer panac at the thought of being found there seized upon the man; he groped his way out on to the landing, Closing the door after him, and only realis- ing when the door was shut that the keys were inside, and that any further entrance he might desire to make was barred to him. Outside in the street he stood for a little time, wondering what was best to be done. Thoughts of all that had happened during the past week or two came crowding upon the man; not for the first time fear was knocking heavily at his heart. He thought of the man he had left to die in that under- ground place, far from any hope of rescue; he thought of that weak creature, Boyd Litchfield, who to save his own skin would not hesitate to blurt out the story. He thought, too, of the man Adams, who had told that other story in the presence of Litch- field concerning the death of young Arthur Bradshaw. "I've brought a hornet's nest about my enrs," said the man to himself as he stood there in the dark street. "Well, I think I can fight my way through yet; at all events, I won't stay here to be caught. I'll give them all the slip for a day or two while I make up my mind how best to arrange money matters and to get away. I want a holiday, and it seems to me that just now the further I travel the better." (To be CÛ1.tinllr:.)

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