The Mystery of a Hansom Cab
Fergus Hume (1859-1932)
Part 5 out of 6
"Come on, sir," cried Felix, who had just caught sight of him, "a
racket awaits you."
Frettlby awoke with a start, and found himself near the lawn-tennis
ground, and Felix at his elbow, smoking a cigarette.
He roused himself with a great effort, and tapped the young man lightly
on the shoulder.
"What?" he said with a forced laugh, "do you really expect me to play
lawn tennis on such a day? You are mad."
"I am hot, you mean," retorted the imperturbable Rolleston, blowing a
wreath of smoke.
"That's a foregone conclusion," said Dr. Chinston, who came up at that
"Such a charming novel," cried Julia, who had just caught the last
"What is?" asked Peterson, rather puzzled.
"Howell's book, 'A Foregone Conclusion,'" said Julia, also looking
puzzled. "Weren't you talking about it?"
"I'm afraid this talk is getting slightly incoherent," said
Felix, with a sigh. "We all seem madder than usual to-day."
"Speak for yourself," said Chinston, indignantly, "I'm as sane as any
man in the world."
"Exactly," retorted the other coolly, "that's what I say, and you,
being a doctor, ought to know that every man and woman in the world is
more or less mad."
"Where are your facts?" asked Chinston, smiling.
"My facts are all visible ones," said Felix, gravely pointing to the
company. "They're all crooked on some point or another."
There was a chorus of indignant denial at this, and then every one
burst out laughing at the extraordinary way in which Mr. Rolleston was
"If you go on like that in the House," said Frettlby, amused, "you
will, at all events, have an entertaining Parliament."
"Ah! they'll never have an entertaining Parliament till they admit
ladies," observed Peterson, with a quizzical glance at Julia.
"It will be a Parliament of love then," retorted the doctor, dryly,
"and not mediaeval either."
Frettlby took the doctor's arm, and walked away with him. "I want you
to come up to my study, doctor," he said, as they strolled towards the
house, "and examine me."
"Why, don't you feel well?" said Chinston, as they entered the house.
"Not lately," replied Frettlby. "I'm afraid I've got heart disease."
The doctor looked sharply at him, and then shook his head.
"Nonsense," he said, cheerfully, "it's a common delusion with people
that they have heart disease, and in nine cases, out of ten
it's all imagination; unless, indeed," he added waggishly, "the patient
happens to be a young man."
"Ah! I suppose you think I'm safe as far as that goes," said Frettlby,
as they entered the study; "and what did you think of Rolleston's
argument about people being mad?"
"It was amusing," replied Chinston, taking a seat, Frettlby doing the
same. "That's all I can say about it, though, mind you, I think there
are more mad people at large than the world is aware of."
"Yes; do you remember that horrible story of Dickens', in the 'Pickwick
Papers,' about the man who was mad, and knew it, yet successfully
concealed it for years? Well, I believe there are many people like that
in the world, people whose lives are one long struggle against
insanity, and yet who eat, drink, talk, and walk with the rest of their
fellow-men, apparently as gay and light-hearted as they are."
"Half the murders and suicides are done in temporary fits of insanity,"
went on Chinston, "and if a person broods over anything, his incipient
madness is sure to break out sooner or later; but, of course, there are
cases where a perfectly sane person may commit a murder on the impulse
of the moment, but I regard such persons as mad for the time being;
but, again, a murder may be planned and executed in the most
"And in the latter case," said Frettlby, without looking at the doctor,
and playing with a paper knife, "do you regard the murderer as mad?"
"Yes, I do," answered the doctor, bluntly. "He is as mad as a person
who kills another because he supposes he has been told by God to do
so--only there is method in his madness. For instance, I believe
that hansom cab murder, in which you were mixed up--"
"I wasn't mixed up in it," interrupted Frettlby, pale with anger.
"Beg pardon," said Chinston, coolly, "a slip of the tongue; I was
thinking of Fitzgerald. Well, I believe that crime to have been
premeditated, and that the man who committed it was mad. He is, no
doubt, at large now, walking about and conducting himself as sanely as
you or I, yet the germ of insanity is there, and sooner or later he
will commit another crime."
"How do you know it was premeditated?" asked Frettlby, abruptly.
"Any one can see that," answered the other. "Whyte was watched on that
night, and when Fitzgerald went away the other was ready to take his
place, dressed the same."
"That's nothing," retorted Frettlby, looking at his companion sharply.
"There are dozens of men in Melbourne who wear evening dress, light
coats, and soft hats--in fact, I generally wear them myself."
"Well, that might have been a coincidence," said the doctor, rather
disconcerted; "but the use of chloroform puts the question beyond a
doubt; people don't usually carry chloroform about with them."
"I suppose not," answered the other, and then the matter dropped.
Chinston made an examination of Mark Frettlby, and when he had
finished, his face was very grave, though he laughed at the
"You are all right," he said, gaily. "Action of the heart a little
weak, that's all--only," impressively, "avoid excitement--avoid
Just as Frettlby was putting on his coat, a knock came to the door, and
"Brian is gone," she began. "Oh, I beg your pardon, doctor--but
is papa ill?" she asked with sudden fear.
"No, child, no," said Frettlby, hastily, "I'm all right; I thought my
heart was affected, but it isn't."
"Not a bit of it," answered Chinston, reassuringly. "All right--only
But when Frettlby turned to go to the door, Madge, who had her eyes
fixed on the doctor's face, saw how grave it was.
"There is danger?" she said, touching his arm as they paused for a
moment at the door.
"No! No!" he answered, hastily.
"Yes, there is," she persisted. "Tell me the worst, it is best for me
The doctor looked at her in some doubt for a few moments, and then
placed his hand on her shoulder.
"My dear young lady," he said gravely, "I will tell you what I have not
dared to tell your father."
"What?" she asked in a low voice, her face growing pale.
"His heart is affected."
"And there is great danger?"
"Yes, great danger. In the event of any sudden shock--" he hesitated.
"He would probably drop down dead."
KILSIP HAS A THEORY OF HIS OWN.
Mr. Calton sat in his office reading a letter he had just received from
Fitzgerald, and judging from the complacent smile upon his face it
seemed to give him the greatest satisfaction.
"I know," wrote Brian, "that now you have taken up the affair, you will
not stop until you find out everything, so, as I want the matter to
rest as at present, I will anticipate you, and reveal all. You were
right in your conjecture that I knew something likely to lead to the
detection of Whyte's murderer; but when I tell you my reasons for
keeping such a thing secret, I am sure you will not blame me. Mind you,
I do not say that I know who committed the murder; but I have
suspicions--very strong suspicions--and I wish to God Rosanna Moore
had died before she told me what she did. However, I will tell you all,
and leave you to judge as to whether I was justified in concealing what
I was told. I will call at your office some time next week, and then
you will learn everything that Rosanna Moore told me; but once that you
are possessed of the knowledge you will pity me."
"Most extraordinary," mused Calton, leaning back in his chair, as he
laid down the letter. "I wonder if he's about to tell me that he killed
Whyte after all, and that Sal Rawlins perjured herself to save
him! No, that's nonsense, or she'd have turned up in better time, and
wouldn't have risked his neck up to the last moment. Though I make it a
rule never to be surprised at anything, I expect what Brian Fitzgerald
has to tell me will startle me considerably. I've never met with such
an extraordinary case, and from all appearances the end isn't reached
yet. After all," said Mr. Calton, thoughtfully, "truth is stranger than
Here a knock came to the door, and in answer to an invitation to enter,
it opened, and Kilsip glided into the room.
"You're not engaged, sir?" he said, in his soft, low voice.
"Oh, dear, no," answered Calton, carelessly; "come in--come in!"
Kilsip closed the door softly, and gliding along in his usual
velvet-footed manner, sat down in a chair near Calton's, and placing
his hat on the ground, looked keenly at the barrister.
"Well, Kilsip," said Calton, with a yawn, playing with his, watch
chain, "any good news to tell me?"
"Well, nothing particularly new," purred the detective, rubbing his
"Nothing new, and nothing true, and no matter," said Calton, quoting
Emerson. "And what have you come to see me about?"
"The Hansom Cab Murder," replied the other quietly.
"The deuce!" cried Calton, startled out of his professional dignity.
"And have you found out who did it?"
"No!" answered Kilsip, rather dismally; "but I have, an idea."
"So had Gorby," retorted Calton, dryly, "an idea that ended in smoke.
Have you any practical proofs?"
"That means you are going to get some?"
"Much virtue in 'if,'" quoted Calton, picking up a pencil, and
scribbling idly on his blotting paper. "And to whom does your suspicion
"Aha!" said Mr. Kilsip, cautiously.
"Don't know him," answered the other, coolly; "family name Humbug, I
presume. Bosh! Whom do you suspect?"
Kilsip looked round cautiously, as if to make sure they were alone, and
then said, in a stage whisper--
"That was the young man that gave evidence as to how Whyte got drunk?"
"Well, and how do you connect him with the murder?"
"Do you remember in the evidence given by the cabmen, Royston and
Rankin, they both swore that the man who was with Whyte on that night
wore a diamond ring on the forefinger of the right hand?"
"What of that? Nearly every second man in Melbourne wears a diamond
"But not on the forefinger of the right hand."
"Oh! And Moreland wears a ring in that way?"
"Merely a coincidence. Is that all your proof?"
"All I can obtain at present."
"It's very weak," said Calton, scornfully.
"The weakest proofs may form a chain to hang a man," observed Kilsip,
"Moreland gave his evidence clearly enough," said Calton, rising, and
pacing the room. "He met Whyte; they got drunk together. Whyte went out
of the hotel, and shortly afterwards Moreland followed with the coat,
which was left behind by Whyte, and then someone snatched it from him."
"Ah, did they?" interrupted Kilsip, quickly.
"So Moreland says," said Calton, stopping short. "I understand; you
think Moreland was not so drunk as he would make out, and that after
following Whyte outside, he put on his coat, and got into the cab with
"That is my theory."
"It's ingenious enough," said the barrister; "but why should Moreland
murder Whyte? What motive had he?"
"Pshaw! another idea of Gorby's," said Calton, angrily. "How do you
know there were any papers?"
The fact is, Calton did not intend Kilsip to know that Whyte really had
papers until he heard what Fitzgerald had to tell him.
"And another thing," said Calton, resuming his walk, "if your theory is
correct, which I don't think it is, what became of Whyte's coat? Has
Moreland got it?"
"No, he has not," answered the detective, decisively.
"You seem very positive about it," said the lawyer, after a moment's
pause. "Did you ask Moreland about it?"
A reproachful look came into Kilsip's white face.
"Not quite so green," he said, forcing a smile. "I thought you'd a
better opinion of me than that, Mr. Calton. Ask him?--no."
"Then how did you find out?"
"The fact is, Moreland is employed as a barman in the Kangaroo Hotel."
"A barman!" echoed Calton; "and he came out here as a gentleman of
independent fortune. Why, hang it, man, that in itself is sufficient to
prove that he had no motive to murder Whyte. Moreland pretty well lived
on Whyte, so what could have induced him to kill his golden goose, and
become a barman--pshaw! the idea is absurd."
"Well, you may be right about the matter," said Kilsip, rather
angrily; "and if Gorby makes mistakes I don't pretend to be infallible.
But, at all events, when I saw Moreland in the bar he wore a silver
ring on the forefinger of his right hand."
"Silver isn't a diamond."
"No; but it shows that was the finger he was accustomed to wear his
ring on. When I saw that, I determined to search his room. I managed to
do so while he was out, and found--"
"A mare's nest?"
"And so your castle of cards falls to the ground," said Calton,
jestingly. "Your idea is absurd. Moreland no more committed the murder
than I did. Why, he was too drunk on that night to do anything."
"Humph--so he says."
"Well, men don't calumniate themselves for nothing."
"It was a lesser danger to avert a greater one," replied Kilsip,
coolly. "I am sure that Moreland was not drunk on that night. He only
said so to escape awkward questions as to his movements. Depend upon it
he knows more than he lets out."
"Well, and how do you intend to set about the matter?"
"I shall start looking for the coat first."
"Ah I you think he has hidden it?"
"I am sure of it. My theory is this. When Moreland got out of the cab
at Powlett Street--"
"But he didn't," interrupted Calton, angrily.
"Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that he did," said Kilsip,
quietly. "I say when he left the cab he walked up Powlett Street,
turned to the left down George Street, and walked back to town through
the Fitzroy Gardens, then, knowing that the coat was
noticeable, he threw it away, or rather, hid it, and walked out of the
Gardens through the town--"
"In evening dress--more noticeable than the coat."
"He wasn't in evening dress," said Kilsip, quietly.
"No, neither was he," observed Calton, eagerly, recalling the evidence
at the trial. "Another blow to your theory. The murderer was in evening
dress--the cabman said so."
"Yes; because he had seen Mr. Fitzgerald in evening dress a few minutes
before, and thought that he was the same man who got into the cab with
"Well, what of that?"
"If you remember, the second man had his coat buttoned up. Moreland
wore dark trousers--at least, I suppose so--and, with the coat
buttoned up, it was easy for the cabman to make the mistake, believing,
as he did, that it was Mr. Fitzgerald."
"That sounds better," said Calton, thoughtfully. "And what are you
going to do?"
"Look for the coat in the Fitzroy Gardens."
"Pshaw! a wild goose chase."
"Possibly," said Kilsip, as he arose to go.
"And when shall I see you again?" said Calton.
"Oh, to-night," said Kilsip, pausing at, the door. "I had nearly
forgotten, Mother Guttersnipe wants to see you."
"Why? What's up?"
"She's dying, and wants to tell you some secret."
"Rosanna Moore, by Jove!" said Calton. "She'll tell me something about
her. I'll get to the bottom of this yet. All right, I'll be here at
"Very well, sir!" and the detective glided out.
"I wonder if that old woman knows anything?" said Calton to
himself, as he, resumed his seat. "She may have overheard some
conversation between Whyte and his mistress, and intends to divulge it.
Well, I'm afraid when Fitzgerald does confess, I shall know all about
MOTHER GUTTERSNIPE JOINS THE MAJORITY.
Punctual to his appointment, Kilsip called at Calton's office at eight
o'clock, in order to guide him through the squalid labyrinths of the
slums. He found the barrister waiting impatiently for him. The fact is,
Calton had got it into his head that Rosanna Moore was at the bottom of
the whole mystery, and every new piece of evidence he discovered went
to confirm this belief. When Rosanna Moore was dying, she might have
confessed something to Mother Guttersnipe, which would hint at the name
of the murderer, and he had a strong suspicion that the old hag had
received hush-money in order to keep quiet. Several times before Calton
had been on the point of going to her and trying to get the secret out
of her--that is, if she knew it; but now fate appeared to be playing
into his hands, and a voluntary confession was much more likely to be
true than one dragged piecemeal from unwilling lips.
By the time Kilsip made his appearance Calton was in a high state of
"I suppose we'd better go at once," he said to Kilsip, as he lit a
cigar. "That old hag may go off at any moment."
"She might," assented Kilsip, doubtfully; "but I wouldn't be a bit
surprised if she pulled through. Some of these old women have nine
lives like a cat."
"Not improbable," retorted Calton, as they passed into the
brilliantly-lighted street; "her nature seemed to me to be essentially
feline. But tell me," he went on, "what's the matter with her--old
"Partly; drink also, I think," answered Kilsip. "Besides, her
surroundings are not very healthy, and her dissipated habits have
pretty well settled her."
"It isn't anything catching, I hope," cried the barrister, with a
shudder, as they passed into the crowd of Bourke Street.
"Don't know, sir, not being a doctor," answered the detective,
"Oh!" ejaculated Calton, in dismay.
"It will be all right, sir," said Kilsip, reassuringly; "I've been
there dozens of times, and I'm all right."
"I dare say," retorted the barrister; "but I may go there once and
catch it, whatever it is."
"Take my word, sir, it's nothing worse than old age and drink."
"Has she a doctor?"
"Won't let one come near her--prescribes for herself."
"Gin, I suppose? Humph! Much more unpleasant than the usual run of
In a short time they found themselves in Little Bourke Street, and
after traversing a few dark and narrow lanes--by this time they were
more or less familiar to Calton--they found themselves before Mother
They climbed the rickety stairs, which groaned and creaked beneath
their weight, and found Mother Guttersnipe lying on the bed in the
corner. The elfish black-haired child was playing cards with a
slatternly-looking girl at a deal table by the faint light of a tallow
They both sprang to their feet as the strangers entered, and
the elfish child pushed a broken chair in a sullen manner towards Mr.
Calton, while the other girl shuffled into a far corner of the room,
and crouched down there like a dog. The noise of their entry awoke the
hag from an uneasy slumber into which she had fallen. Sitting up in
bed, she huddled the clothes round her. She presented such a gruesome
spectacle that involuntarily Calton recoiled. Her white hair was
unbound, and hung in tangled masses over her shoulders in snowy
profusion. Her face, parched and wrinkled, with the hooked nose, and
beady black eyes, like those of a mouse, was poked forward, and her
skinny arms, bare to the shoulder, were waving wildly about as she
grasped at the bedclothes with her claw-like hands. The square bottle
and the broken cup lay beside her, and filling herself a dram, she
lapped it up greedily.
The irritant brought on a paroxysm of coughing which lasted until the
elfish child shook her well, and took the cup from her.
"Greedy old beast," muttered this amiable infant, peering into the cup,
"ye'd drink the Yarrer dry, I b'lieve."
"Yah!" muttered the old woman feebly. "Who's they, Lizer?" she said,
shading her eyes with one trembling hand, while she looked at Calton
and the detective.
"The perlice cove an' the swell," said Lizer, suddenly. "Come to see
yer turn up your toes."
"I ain't dead yet, ye whelp," snarled the hag with sudden energy; "an'
if I gits up I'll turn up yer toes, cuss ye."
Lizer gave a shrill laugh of disdain, and Kilsip stepped forward.
"None of this," he said, sharply, taking Lizer by one thin shoulder,
and pushing her over to where the other girl was crouching; "stop there
till I tell you to move."
Lizer tossed back her tangled black hair, and was about to make
some impudent reply, when the other girl, who was older and wiser, put
out her hand, and pulled her down beside her.
Meanwhile, Calton was addressing himself to the old woman in the
"You wanted to see me?" he said gently, for, notwithstanding his
repugnance to her, she was, after all, a woman, and dying.
"Yes, cuss ye," croaked Mother Guttersnipe, lying down, and pulling the
greasy bedclothes up to her neck. "You ain't a parson?" with sudden
"No, I am a lawyer."
"I ain't a-goin' to have the cussed parsons a-prowlin' round 'ere,"
growled the old woman, viciously. "I ain't a-goin' to die yet, cuss ye;
I'm goin' to get well an' strong, an' 'ave a good time of it."
"I'm afraid you won't recover," said Calton, gently. "You had better let
me send for a doctor."
"No, I shan't," retorted the hag, aiming a blow at him with all her
feeble strength. "I ain't a-goin' to have my inside spil'd with salts
and senner. I don't want neither parsons nor doctors, I don't. I
wouldn't 'ave a lawyer, only I'm a-thinkin' of makin' my will, I am."
"Mind I gits the watch," yelled Lizer, from the corner. "If you gives
it to Sal I'll tear her eyes out."
"Silence!" said Kilsip, sharply, and, with a muttered curse, Lizer sat
back in her corner.
"Sharper than a serpent's tooth, she are," whined the old woman, when
quiet was once more restored. "That young devil 'ave fed at my 'ome,
an' now she turns, cuss her."
"Well--well," said Calton, rather impatiently, "what is it you wanted
to see me about?"
"Don't be in such a 'urry," said the hag, with a scowl, "or I'm
blamed if I tell you anything, s'elp me."
She was evidently growing very weak, so Calton turned to Kilsip and
told him in a whisper to get a doctor. The detective scribbled a note
on some paper, and, giving it to Lizer, ordered her to take it. At
this, the other girl arose, and, putting her arm in that of the
child's, they left together.
"Them two young 'usseys gone?" said Mother Guttersnipe. "Right you are,
for I don't want what I've got to tell to git into the noospaper, I
"And what is it?" asked Calton, bending forward.
The old woman took another drink of gin, and it seemed to put life into
her, for she sat up in the bed, and commenced to talk rapidly, as
though she were afraid of dying before her secret was told.
"You've been 'ere afore?" she said, pointing one skinny finger at
Calton, "and you wanted to find out all about 'er; but you didn't. She
wouldn't let me tell, for she was always a proud jade, a-flouncin'
round while 'er pore mother was a-starvin'."
"Her mother! Are you Rosanna Moore's mother?" cried Calton,
"May I die if I ain't," croaked the hag. "'Er pore father died of
drink, cuss 'im, an' I'm a-follerin' 'im to the same place in the same
way. You weren't about town in the old days, or you'd a-bin after her,
"The werry girl," answered Mother Guttersnipe. "She were on the stage,
she were, an' my eye, what a swell she were, with all the coves a-dyin'
for 'er, an' she dancin' over their black 'earts, cuss 'em; but she was
allays good to me till 'e came."
"'E!" yelled the old woman, raising herself on her arm, her eyes
sparkling with vindictive fury. "'E, a-comin' round with di'monds and
gold, and a-ruinin' my pore girl; an' how 'e's 'eld 'is bloomin' 'ead
up all these years as if he were a saint, cuss 'im--cuss 'im."
"Whom does she mean?" whispered Calton to Kilsip.
"Mean!" screamed Mother Guttersnipe, whose sharp ears had caught the
muttered question. "Why, Mark Frettlby!"
"Good God!" Calton rose up in his astonishment, and even Kilsip's
inscrutable countenance displayed some surprise.
"Aye, 'e were a swell in them days," pursued Mother Guttersnipe, "and
'e comes a-philanderin' round my gal, cuss 'im, an' ruins 'er, and
leaves 'er an' the child to starve, like a black-'earted villain as 'e
"The child! Her name?"
"Bah," retorted the hag, with scorn, "as if you didn't know my
"Sal, Mark Frettlby's child?"
"Yes, an' as pretty a girl as the other, tho' she 'appened to be born
on the wrong side of the 'edge. Oh, I've seen 'er a-sweepin' along in
'er silks an' satins as tho' we were dirt--an' Sal 'er 'alf
Exhausted by the efforts she had made, the old woman sank back in her
bed, while Calton sat dazed, thinking over the astounding revelation
that had just been made. That Rosanna Moore should turn out to be Mark
Frettlby's mistress he hardly wondered at; after all, the millionaire
was but a man, and in his young days had been no better and no worse
than the rest of his friends. Rosanna Moore was pretty, and was
evidently one of those women who--rakes at heart--prefer the
untrammelled freedom of being a mistress, to the sedate bondage of a
wife. In questions of morality, so many people live in glass houses,
that there are few nowadays who can afford to throw stones. Calton did
not think any the worse of Frettlby for his youthful follies. But what
did surprise him was that Frettlby should be so heartless, as to leave
his child to the tender mercies of an old hag like Mother Guttersnipe.
It was so entirely different from what he knew of the man, that he was
inclined to think that the old woman was playing him a trick.
"Did Mr. Frettlby know Sal was his child?" he asked.
"Not 'e," snarled Mother Guttersnipe, in an exultant tone. "'E thought
she was dead, 'e did, arter Rosanner gave him the go-by."
"And why did you not tell him?"
"'Cause I wanted to break 'is 'eart, if 'e 'ad any," said the old
beldame, vindictively. "Sal was a-goin' wrong as fast as she could till
she was tuk from me. If she had gone and got into quod I'd 'ave gone to
'im, and said, 'Look at yer darter! 'Ow I've ruined her as you did
"You wicked woman," said Calton, revolted at the malignity of the
scheme. "You sacrificed an innocent girl for this."
"None of yer preachin'," retorted the hag sullenly; "I ain't bin
brought up for a saint, I ain't--an' I wanted to pay 'im out--'e paid
me well to 'old my tongue about my darter, an' I've got it 'ere,"
laying her hand on the pillow, "all gold, good gold--an' mine, cuss
Calton rose, he felt quite sick at this exhibition of human depravity,
and longed to be away. As he was putting on his hat, however, the two
girls entered with the doctor, who nodded to Kilsip, cast a sharp
scrutinising glance at Calton, and then walked over to the bed. The two
girls went back to their corner, and waited in silence for the
end. Mother Guttersnipe had fallen back in the bed, with one claw-like
hand clutching the pillow, as if to protect her beloved gold, and over
her face a deadly paleness was spreading, which told the practised eye
of the doctor that the end was near. He knelt down beside the bed for a
moment, holding the candle to the dying woman's face. She opened her
eyes, and muttered drowsily--
"Who's you? get out," but then she seemed to grasp the situation again,
and she started up with a shrill yell, which made the hearers shudder,
it was so weird and eerie.
"My money!" she yelled, clasping the pillow in her skinny arms. "It's
all mine, ye shan't have it--cuss ye."
The doctor arose from his knees, and shrugged his shoulders.
"Not worth while doing anything," he said coolly, "she'll be dead
The old woman, mumbling over her pillow, caught the word, and burst
"Dead! dead! my poor Rosanna, with 'er golden 'air, always lovin' 'er
pore mother till 'e took 'er away, an' she came back to die--die--ooh!"
Her voice died away in a long melancholy wail, that made the two girls
in the corner shiver, and put their fingers in their ears.
"My good woman," said the doctor, bending over the bed, "would you not
like to see a minister?"
She looked at him with her bright, beady eyes, already somewhat dimmed
with the mists of death, and said, in a harsh, low whisper--" Why?"
"Because you have only a short time to live," said the doctor, gently.
"You are dying."
Mother Guttersnipe sprang up, and seized his arm with a scream
"Dyin', dyin'--no! no!" she wailed, clawing his sleeve. "I ain't fit
to die--cuss me; save me--save me; I don't know where I'd go to,
s'elp me--save me."
The doctor tried to remove her hands, but she held on with wonderful
"It is impossible," he said briefly.
The hag fell back in her bed.
"I'll give you money to save me," she shrieked; "good money--all mine--all
mine. See--see--'ere--suverains," and tearing her pillow open,
she took out a canvas bag, and from it poured a gleaming stream of
gold. Gold--gold--it rolled all over the bed, over the floor, away
into the dark corners, yet no one touched it, so enchained were they by
the horrible spectacle of the dying woman clinging to life. She
clutched some of the shining pieces, and held them up to the three men
as they stood silently beside the bed, but her hands trembled so that
sovereigns kept falling from them on the floor with metallic clinks.
"All mine--all mine," she shrieked, loudly. "Give me my
life--gold--money--cuss ye--I sold my soul for it--save me--give me my
life," and, with trembling hands, she tried to force the gold on them.
They said no word, but stood silently looking at her, while the two girls
in the corner clung together, and trembled with fear.
"Don't look at me--don't," cried the hag, falling down again amid the
shining gold. "Ye want me to die,--I shan't--I shan't--give me my
gold," clawing at the scattered sovereigns. "I'll take it with me--I
shan't die--G--G--" whimpering. "I ain't done nothin'--let me live--give
me a Bible--save me, G--cuss it--G--, G--." She fell back
on the bed, a corpse.
The faint light of the candle flickered on the shining gold,
and on the dead face, framed in tangled white hair; while the three
men, sick at heart, turned away in silence to seek assistance, with
that wild cry still ringing in their ears--"G--save me, G--!"
MARK FRETTLBY HAS A VISITOR.
According to the copy books of our youth, "Procrastination is the thief
of time." Now, Brian found the truth of this. He had been in town
almost a week, but he had not yet been to see Calton. Each morning--or
something very near it--he set out, determined to go direct to
Chancery Lane, but he never arrived there. He had returned to his
lodgings in East Melbourne, and had passed his time either in the house
or in the garden. When perhaps business connected with the sale of his
station compelled his presence in town, he drove straight there and
back. Curiously enough he shrank from meeting any of his friends. He
felt keenly his recent position in the prisoner's dock. And even when
walking by the Yarra, as he frequently did, he was conscious of an
uneasy feeling--a feeling that he was an object of curiosity, and that
people turned to look at him out of a morbid desire to see one who had
been so nearly hanged for murder.
As soon as his station should be sold and he married to Madge he
determined to leave Australia, and never set foot on it again. But
until he could leave the place he would see no one, nor would he mix
with his former friends, so great was his dread of being stared at.
Mrs. Sampson, who had welcomed him back with shrill exclamations of
delight, was loud in her expressions of disapproval as to the
way he was shutting himself up.
"Your eyes bein' 'ollow," said the sympathising cricket, "it is nat'ral
as it's want of air, which my 'usband's uncle, being a druggist, an'
well-to-do, in Collingwood, ses as 'ow a want of ox-eye-gent, being a
French name, as 'e called the atmispeare, were fearful for pullin'
people down, an' makin' 'em go off their food, which you hardly eats
anythin', an' not bein' a butterfly it's expected as your appetite
would be larger."
"Oh, I'm all right," said Brian, absently, lighting a cigarette, and
only half listening to his landlady's garrulous chatter, "but if anyone
calls tell them I'm not in. I don't want to be bothered by visitors."
"Bein' as wise a thing as Solomon ever said," answered Mrs. Sampson,
energetically, "which, no doubt, 'e was in good 'ealth when seein' the
Queen of Sheber, as is necessary when anyone calls, and not feelin'
disposed to speak, which I'm often that way myself on occasions, my
sperits bein' low, as I've 'eard tell soder water 'ave that effect on
'em, which you takes it with a dash of brandy, tho' to be sure that
might be the cause of your want of life, and--drat that bell," she
finished, hurrying out of the room as the front-door bell sounded,
"which my legs is a-givin' way under me thro' bein' overworked."
Meanwhile, Brian sat and smoked contentedly, much relieved by the
departure of Mrs. Sampson, with her constant chatter, but he soon heard
her mount the stairs again, and she entered the room with a telegram,
which she handed to her lodger.
"'Opin' it don't contain bad noose," she said as she retreated to the
door again, "which I don't like 'em 'avin' had a shock in early life
thro' one 'avin' come unexpected, as my uncle's grandfather were dead,
'avin' perished of consumption, our family all being disposed to the
disease--and now, if you'll excuse me, sir, I'll get to my
dinner, bein' in the 'abit of takin' my meals reg'lar, and I studies my
inside carefully, bein' easily upset, thro' which I never could be a
Mrs. Sampson, having at last exhausted herself, went out of the room,
and crackled loudly down the stairs, leaving Brian to read his
telegram. He tore open the envelope and found the message was from
Madge, to say that they had returned, and to ask him to dine with them
that evening. Fitzgerald folded up the telegram, then rising from his
seat, he walked moodily up and down the room with his hands in his
"So he is there," said the young man aloud; "and I shall have to meet
him and shake hands with him, knowing all the time what he is. If it
were not for Madge I'd leave this place at once, but after the way she
stood by me in my trouble, I should be a coward if I did so."
It was as Madge had predicted--her father was unable to stay long in
one place, and had come back to Melbourne a week after Brian had
arrived. The pleasant party at the station was broken up, and, like the
graves of a household, the guests were scattered far and wide. Peterson
had left for New Zealand EN ROUTE for the wonders of the Hot Lakes, and
the old colonist was about to start for England in order to refresh his
boyish memories. Mr. and Mrs. Rolleston had come back to Melbourne,
where the wretched Felix was compelled once more to plunge into
politics; and Dr. Chinston had resumed his usual routine of fees and
Madge was glad to be back in Melbourne again, as now that her health
was restored she craved for the excitement of town life It was now more
than three months since the murder, and the nine days' wonder was a
thing of the past. The possibility of a war with Russia was the one
absorbing topic of the hour, and the colonists were busy preparing for
the attack of a possible enemy. As the Spanish Kings had drawn
their treasures from Mexico and Peru, so might the White Czar lay
violent hands on the golden stores of Australia; but here there were no
uncultured savages to face, but the sons and grandsons of men who had
dimmed the glories of the Russian arms at Alma and Balaclava. So in the
midst of stormy rumours of wars the tragic fate of Oliver Whyte was
quite forgotten. After the trial, everyone, including the detective
office, had given up the matter, and mentally relegated it to the list
of undiscovered crimes. In spite of the utmost vigilance, nothing new
had been discovered, and it seemed likely that the assassin of Oliver
Whyte would remain a free man. There were only two people in Melbourne
who still held the contrary opinion, and they were Calton and Kilsip.
Both these men had sworn to discover this unknown murderer, who struck
his cowardly blow in the dark, and though there seemed no possible
chance of success, yet they worked on. Kilsip suspected Roger Moreland,
the boon companion of the dead man, but his suspicions were vague and
uncertain, and there seemed little hope of verifying them. The
barrister did not as yet suspect any particular person, though the
death-bed confession of Mother Guttersnipe had thrown a new light on
the subject, but he thought that when Fitzgerald told him the secret
which Rosanna Moore had confided to his keeping, the real murderer
would soon be discovered, or, at least, some clue would be found that
would lead to his detection. So, as the matter stood at the time of
Mark Frettlby's return to Melbourne, Mr. Calton was waiting for
Fitzgerald's confession before making a move, while Kilsip worked
stealthily in the dark, searching for evidence against Moreland.
On receiving Madge's telegram, Brian determined to go down in the
evening, but not to dinner, so he sent a reply to Madge to that effect.
He did not want to meet Mark Frettlby, but did not of course,
tell this to Madge, so she had her dinner by herself, as her father had
gone to his club, and the time of his return was uncertain. After
dinner, she wrapped a light cloak round her, and repaired to the,
verandah to wait for her lover. The garden looked charming in the
moonlight, with the black, dense cypress trees standing up against the
sky, and the great fountain splashing cool and silvery. There was a
heavily-foliaged oak by the gate, and she strolled down the path, and
stood under it in the shadow, listening to the whisper and rustle of
its multitudinous leaves. It is curious the unearthly glamour which
moonlight seems to throw over everything, and though Madge knew every
flower, tree, and shrub in the garden, yet they all looked weird and
fantastical in the cold, white light. She went up to the fountain, and
seating herself on the edge, amused herself by dipping her hand into
the chilly water, and letting it fall, like silver rain, back into the
basin. Then she heard the iron gate open and shut with a clash, and
springing to her feet, saw someone coming up the path in a light coat
and soft wide-awake hat.
"Oh, it's you at last, Brian?" she cried, as she ran down the path to
meet him. "Why did you not come before?"
"Not being Brian, I can't say," answered her father's voice. Madge
burst out laughing.
"What an absurd mistake," she cried. "Why, I thought you were Brian."
"Yes; in that hat and coat I couldn't tell the difference in the
"Oh," said her father, with a laugh, pushing his hat back, "moonlight
is necessary to complete the spell, I suppose?"
"Of course," answered his daughter. "If there were no moonlight, alas,
"Alas, indeed!" echoed her father. "They would become as
extinct as the moa; but where are your eyes, Puss, when you take an old
man like me for your gay young Lochinvar?"
"Well, really, papa," answered Madge, deprecatingly, "you do look so
like him in that Goat and hat that I could not tell the difference,
till you spoke."
"Nonsense, child," said Frettlby, roughly, "you are fanciful;" and
turning on his heel, he walked rapidly towards the house, leaving Madge
staring after him in astonishment, as well she might, for her father
had never spoken to her so roughly before. Wondering at the cause of
his sudden anger, she stood spell-bound, until there came a step behind
her, and a soft, low whistle. She turned with a scream, and saw Brian
smiling at her.
"Oh, it's you," she said, with a pout, as he caught her in his arms and
"Only me," said Brian, ungrammatically; "disappointing, isn't it?"
"Oh, fearfully," answered the girl, with a gay laugh, as arm-in-arm
they walked towards the house. "But do you know I made such a curious
mistake just now; I thought papa was you."
"How strange," said Brian, absently, for indeed he was admiring her
charming face, which looked so pure and sweet in the moonlight.
"Yes, wasn't it?" she replied. "He had on a light coat and a soft hat,
just like you wear sometimes, and as you are both the same height, I
took you for one another."
Brian did not answer, but there was a cold feeling at his heart as he
saw a possibility of his worst suspicions being confirmed, for just at
that moment there came into his mind the curious coincidence of the man
who got into the hansom cab being dressed similarly to himself. What
if--"Nonsense," he said, aloud, rousing himself out of the train
of thought the resemblance had suggested.
"I'm sure it isn't," said Madge, who had been talking about something
else for the last five minutes. "You are a very rude young man."
"I beg your pardon," said Brian, waking up. "You were saying--"
"That the horse is the most noble of all animals--Exactly."
"I don't understand--" began Brian, rather puzzled.
"Of course you don't," interrupted Madge, petulantly; "considering I've
been wasting my eloquence on a deaf man for the last ten minutes; and
very likely lame as well as deaf."
And to prove the truth of the remark, she ran up the path with Brian
after her. He had a long chase of it, for Madge was nimble and better
acquainted with the garden than he was but at last he caught her just
as she was running up the steps into the house, and then--history
They went into the drawing-room and found that Mr. Frettlby had gone up
to his study, and did not want to be disturbed. Madge sat down to the
piano, but before she struck a note, Brian took both her hands
"Madge," he said, gravely, as she turned round, "what did your father
say when you made that mistake?"
"He was very angry," she answered. "Quite cross; I'm sure I don't know
Brian sighed as he released her hands, and was about to reply when the
visitor's bell sounded, they heard the servant answer it, and then
someone was taken upstairs to Mr. Frettlby's study.
When the footman came in to light the gas, Madge asked who it was that
had come to the door.
"I don't know, miss," he answered; "he said he wanted to see
Mr. Frettlby particularly, so I took him up to the study."
"But I thought that papa said he was not to be disturbed?"
"Yes, miss, but the gentleman had an appointment with him."
"Poor papa," sighed Madge, turning again to the piano. "He has always
got such a lot to do."
Left to themselves, Madge began playing Waldteufel's last new valse, a
dreamy, haunting melody, with a touch of sadness in it, and Brian,
lying lazily on the sofa, listened. Then she sang a gay little French
song about Love and a Butterfly, with a mocking refrain, which made
"A memory of Offenbach," he said, rising and coming over to the piano.
"We certainly can't approach the French in writing these airy trifles."
"They're unsatisfactory, I think," said Madge, running her fingers over
the keys; "they mean nothing."
"Of course not," he replied, "but don't you remember that De Quincy
says there is no moral either big or little in the Iliad."
"Well, I think there's more music in Barbara Allan than all those
frothy things," said Madge, with fine scorn. "Come and sing it."
"A five-act funeral, it is," groaned Brian, as he rose to obey; "let's
have Garry Owen instead."
Nothing else however would suit the capricious young person at the
piano, so Brian, who had a pleasant voice, sang the quaint old ditty of
cruel Barbara Allan, who treated her dying love with such disdain.
"Sir John Graham was an ass," said Brian, when he had finished; "or,
instead of dying in such a silly manner, he'd have married her right
off, without asking her permission."
"I don't think she was worth marrying," replied Madge, opening
a book of Mendelssohn's duets; "or she wouldn't have made such a fuss
over her health not being drunk."
"Depend upon it, she was a plain woman," remarked Brian, gravely, "and
was angry because she wasn't toasted among the rest of the country
belles. I think the young man had a narrow escape--she'd always have
reminded him about that unfortunate oversight."
"You seem to have analysed her nature pretty well," said Madge, a
little dryly; "however, we'll leave the failings of Barbara Allan
alone, and sing this."
This was Mendelssohn's charming duet, "Would that my Love," which was a
great favourite of Brian's. They were in the middle of it when suddenly
Madge stopped, as she heard a loud cry, evidently proceeding from her
father's study. Recollecting Dr. Chinston's warning, she ran out of the
room, and upstairs, leaving Brian rather puzzled by her unceremonious
departure, for though he had heard the cry, yet he did not attach much
importance to it.
Madge knocked at the study door, and then she tried to open it, but it
"Who's there?" asked her father, sharply, from inside.
"Only me, papa," she answered. "I thought you were--"
"No! No--I'm all right," replied her father, quickly. "Go down stairs,
I'll join you shortly."
Madge went back to the drawing-room only half satisfied with the
explanation. She found Brian waiting at the door, with rather an
"What's the matter?" he asked, as she paused a moment at the foot of
"Papa says nothing," she replied, "but I am sure he must have been
startled, or he would not have cried out like that."
She told him what Dr. Chinston had said about the state of her
father's heart, a recital which shocked Brian greatly. They did not
return to the drawing-room, but went out on the verandah, where, after
wrapping a cloak around Madge, Fitzgerald lit a cigarette. They sat
down at the far end of the verandah somewhat in the shadow, and could
see the hall door wide open, and a warm flood of mellow light pouring
therefrom, and beyond the cold, white moonshine. After about a quarter
of an hour, Madge's alarm about her father having somewhat subsided,
they were chatting on indifferent subjects, when a man came out of the
hall door, and paused for a moment on the steps of the verandah. He was
dressed in rather a fashionable suit of clothes, but, in spite of the
heat of the night, he had a thick white silk scarf round his throat.
"That's rather a cool individual," said Brian, removing his cigarette
from between his lips. "I wonder what--Good God!" he cried, rising to
his feet as the stranger turned round to look at the house, and took
off his hat for a moment--"Roger Moreland."
The man started, and looked quickly round into the dark shadow of the
verandah where they were seated, then, putting on his hat, he ran
quickly down the path, and they heard the gate clang after him.
Madge felt a sudden fear at the expression on Brian's face, as revealed
by a ray of moonlight streaming full on it.
"Who is Roger Moreland?" she asked, touching his arm--"Ah! I
remember," with sudden horror, "Oliver Whyte's friend."
"Yes," in a hoarse whisper, "and one of the witnesses at the trial."
MR. CALTON'S CURIOSITY IS SATISFIED.
There was not much sleep for Brian that night. He left Madge almost
immediately, and went home, but he Aid not go to bed. He felt too
anxious and ill at ease to sleep, and passed the greater part of the
night walking up and down his room, occupied with his own sad thoughts.
He was wondering in his own mind what could be the meaning of Roger
Moreland's visit to Mark Frettlby. All the evidence that he had given
at the trial was that he had met Whyte, and had been drinking with him
during the evening. Whyte then went out, and that was the last Moreland
had seen of him. Now, the question was, "What did he go to see Mark
Frettlby for?" He had no acquaintance with him, and yet he called by
appointment. It is true he might have been in poverty, and the
millionaire being well-known as an extremely generous man, Moreland
might have called on him for money. But then the cry which Frettlby had
given after the interview had lasted a short time proved that he had
been startled. Madge had gone upstairs and found the door locked, her
father refusing her admission. Now, why was he so anxious Moreland
should not be seen by any one? That he had made some startling
revelation was certain, and Fitzgerald felt sure that it was in
connection with the hansom cab murder case. He wearied himself
with conjectures about the matter, and towards daybreak threw himself,
dressed as he was, on the bed, and slept heavily till twelve o'clock
the next day. When he arose and looked at himself in the glass, he was
startled at the haggard and worn appearance of his face. The moment he
was awake his mind went back to Mark Frettlby and the visit of Roger
"The net is closing round him," he murmured to himself. "I don't see
how he can escape. Oh! Madge! Madge! if only I could spare you the
bitterness of knowing what you must know, sooner or later, and that
other unhappy girl--the sins of the fathers will be visited on the
children--God help them."
He took his bath, and, after dressing himself, went into his
sitting-room, where he had a cup of tea, which refreshed him
considerably. Mrs. Sampson came crackling merrily upstairs with a
letter, and gave vent to an exclamation of surprise, on seeing his
"Lor, sir!" she exclaimed, "what 'ave you bin a-doin'--me knowin' your
'abits know'd as you'd gone to bed, not to say as it's very temptin' in
this 'ot weather, but with excuses, sir, you looks as if you 'adn't
slept a blessed wink."
"No, more I have," said Brian, listlessly holding out his. hand for the
letter. "I was walking up and down my room all last night--I must have
"Ah! 'ow that puts me in mind of my pore 'usband," chirped the cricket;
"bein' a printer, and accustomed like a howl to the darkness, when 'e
was 'ome for the night 'e walked up and down till 'e wore out the
carpet, bein' an expensive one, as I 'ad on my marriage, an' the only
way I could stop 'im was by givin' 'im something soothin', which you,
sir, ought to try--whisky 'ot, with lemon and sugar--but I've 'eard
tell as chloroform--"
"No, d--it," said Brian, hastily, startled out of his
politeness, "I've had enough of that."
"Achin' teeth, no doubt," said the landlady, going to the door, "which
I'm often taken that way myself, decayed teeth runnin' in the family,
tho', to be sure, mine are stronger than former, a lodger of mine
'avin' bin a dentist, an' doin' them beautiful, instead of payin' rent,
not avin' ready cash, his boxes bein' filled with bricks on 'is
departure from the 'ouse."
As Brian did not appear particularly interested in these domestic
reminiscences, and seemed as if he wanted to be left alone, Mrs.
Sampson, with a final crackle, went down stairs and talked with a
neighbour in the kitchen, as to the desirability of drawing her money
out of the Savings Bank, in case the Russians should surprise and
capture Melbourne. Brian, left alone, stared out of the window at the
dusty road and the black shadows cast by the tall poplars in front of
"I must leave this place," he said to himself; "every chance remark
seems to bear on the murder, and I'm not anxious to have it constantly
by my Bide like the skeleton at the feast."
Suddenly he recollected the letter which he held in his hand, and which
he now looked at for the first time. It proved to be from Madge, and
tearing it open hastily, he read it.
"I cannot understand what is the matter with papa," she wrote.
"Ever since that man Moreland left last night, he hae shut himself up
in his study, and is writing there hour after hour. I went up this
morning, but he would not let me in. He did not come down to breakfast,
and I am getting seriously alarmed Come down to-morrow and see me, for
I am anxious about his state of health, and I am sure that Moreland
told him something which has upset him."
"Writing," said Brian, as he put the letter in his pocket,
"what about, I wonder? Perhaps he is thinking of committing suicide! if
so, I for one will not stop him. It is a horrible thing to do, but it
would be acting for the best under the circumstances."
In spite of his determination to see Calton and tell all, Fitzgerald
did not go near him that day. He felt ill and weary, the want of sleep,
and mental worry, telling on him terribly, and he looked ten years
older than he did before the murder of Whyte. It is trouble which draws
lines on the smooth forehead and furrows round the mouth. If a man has
any mental worry, his life becomes a positive agony to him. Mental
tortures are quite as bad as physical ones, if not worse. The last
thing before dropping off to sleep is the thought of trouble, and with
the first faint light of dawn, it returns and hammers all day at the
weary brain. But while a man can sleep, life is rendered at least
endurable; and of all the blessings which Providence has bestowed,
there is none so precious as that same sleep, which, as wise Sancho
Panza says, "Wraps every man like a cloak." Brian felt the need of
rest, so sending a telegram to Calton to call on him in the morning,
and another to Madge, that he would be down to luncheon next day, he
stayed indoors all day, and amused himself with smoking and reading. He
went to bed early, and succeeded in having a sound sleep, so when he
awoke next morning, he felt considerably refreshed and invigorated.
He was having his breakfast at half-past eight, when he heard the sound
of wheels, and immediately afterwards a ring at the bell. He went to
the window, and saw Calton's trap was at the door. The owner was
shortly afterwards shown into the room.
"Well, you are a nice fellow," cried Calton, after greetings were over.
"Here I've been waiting for you with all the patience of Job, thinking
you were still up country."
"Will you have some breakfast?" asked Brian, laughing at his
"What have you got?" said Calton, looking over the table. "Ham and
eggs. Humph! Your landlady's culinary ideas are very limited."
"Most landladies' ideas are," retorted Fitzgerald, resuming his
breakfast. "Unless Heaven invents some new animal, lodgers will go on
getting beef and mutton, alternated with hash, until the end of the
"When one is in Rome, one musn't speak ill of the Pope," answered
Calton, with a grimace. "Do you think your landlady could supply me
with brandy and soda?"
"I think so," answered Fitzgerald, rising, and ringing the bell; "but
isn't it rather early for that sort of thing?"
"There's a proverb about glass houses," said Calton, severely, "which
applies to you in this particular instance."
Whereupon Fitzgerald laughed, and Calton having been supplied with what
he required, prepared to talk business.
"I need hardly tell you how anxious I am to hear what you've got to
say," he said, leaning back in his chair, "but I may as well tell you
that I am satisfied that I know half your secret already."
"Indeed!" Fitzgerald looked astonished. "In that case, I heed not--"
"Yes, you need," retorted Calton. "I told you I only know half."
"Hum--rather difficult to answer--however, I'll tell you what I know,
and you can supply all deficiencies. I am quite ready--go on--stop--"
he arose and closed the door carefully.
"Well," resuming his seat, "Mother Guttersnipe died the other night."
"Is she dead?"
"As a door nail," answered Calton calmly. "And a horrible
death-bed it was--her screams ring in my ears yet--but before she
died she sent for me, and said--"
"That she was the mother of Rosanna Moore."
"And that Sal Rawlins was Rosanna's child."
"And the father?" said Brian, in a low voice.
"Was Mark Frettlby."
"And now what have you to tell me?"
"Nothing," echoed Calton, surprised, "then this is what Rosanna Moore
told you when she died?"
"Then why have you made such a mystery about it?"
"You ask that?" said Fitzgerald, looking up, in surprise. "If I had
told it, don't you see what difference it would have made to Madge?"
"I'm sure I don't," retorted the barrister, completely mystified. "I
suppose you mean Frettlby's connection with Rosanna Moore; well, of
course, it was not a very creditable thing for her to have been
Frettlby's mistress, but still--"
"His mistress?" said Fitzgerald, looking up sharply "then you don't
"What do you mean--was she not his mistress?"
"No--his wife!" Calton sprang to his feet, and gave a cry of surprise.
"Why, Mother Guttersnipe did not know this--she thought Rosanna was
"He kept his marriage secret," answered Brian, "and as his wife
ran away with someone else shortly afterwards, he never revealed it."
"I understand now," said the barrister, slowly. "For if Mark Frettlby
was lawfully married to Rosanna Moore--Madge is illegitimate."
"Yes, and she now occupies the place which Sal Rawlins--or rather Sal
Frettlby ought to."
"Poor girl," said Calton, a little sadly. "But all this does not
explain the mystery of Whyte's murder."
"I will tell you that," said Fitzgerald, quickly. "When Rosanna left
her husband, she ran away to England with some young fellow, and when
he got tired of her she returned to the stage, and became famous as a
burlesque actress, under the name of Musette. There she met Whyte, as
your friend found out, and they came out here for the purpose of
extorting money from Frettlby. When they arrived in Melbourne, Rosanna
let Whyte do all the business, and kept herself quiet. She gave her
marriage certificate to Whyte, and he had it on him the night he was
"Then Gorby was right," interposed Calton, eagerly. "The man to whom
those papers were valuable did murder Whyte!"
"Can you doubt it? And that man was--"
"Not Mark Frettlby?" burst out Calton. "Surely not Mark Frettlby?"
Brian nodded, "Yes, Mark Frettlby."
There was a silence for a few moments, Calton being too much startled
by the revelation to say anything.
"When did you discover this?" he asked, after a pause.
"At the time you first came to see me in prison," said Brian. "I had no
suspicion till then; but when you said that Whyte was murdered for the
sake of certain papers, I, knowing full well what they were and to whom
they were of value--guessed immediately that Mark Frettlby had killed
Whyte in order to obtain them and to keep his secret."
"There can be no doubt of it," said the barrister, with a sigh.
"So this is the reason Frettlby wanted Madge to marry Whyte--her hand
was to be the price of his silence. When he withdrew his consent, Whyte
threatened him with exposure. I remember he left the house in a very
excited state on the night he was murdered. Frettlby must have followed
him up to town, got into the cab with him, and after killing him with
chloroform, must have taken the marriage certificate from his secret
pocket, and escaped."
Brian rose to his feet, and walked rapidly up and down the room.
"Now you can understand what a hell my life has been for the last few
months," he said, "knowing that he had committed the crime; and yet I
had to sit with him, eat with him, and drink with him, with the
knowledge that he was a murderer, and Madge--Madge, his daughter!"
Just then a knock came to his door, and Mrs. Sampson entered with a
telegram, which she handed to Brian. He tore it open as she withdrew,
and glancing over it, gave a cry of horror, and let it flutter to his
Calton turned rapidly on hearing his cry, and seeing him fall into a
chair with a white face, snatched up the telegram and read it. When he
did so, his face grew as pale and startled as Fitzgerald's, and lifting
his hand, he said solemnly--
"It is the judgment of God!"
Men, according to the old Greek, "are the sport of the gods," who,
enthroned on high Olympus, put evil desires into the hearts of mortals;
and when evil actions were the outcome of evil thoughts, amused
themselves by watching the ineffectual efforts made by their victims to
escape a relentless deity called Nemesis, who exacted a penalty for
their evil deeds. It was no doubt very amusing--to the gods--but it
is questionable if the men found it so. They had their revenge,
however, for weary of plaguing puny mortals, who whimpered and cried
when they saw they could not escape, the inevitable Nemesis turned her
attention from actors to spectators, and made a clean sweep of the
whole Olympian hierarchy. She smashed their altars, pulled down their
statues, and after she had completed her malicious work, found that she
had, vulgarly speaking, been cutting off her nose to spite her face,
for she, too, became an object of derision and of disbelief, and was
forced to retire to the same obscurity to which she had relegated the
other deities. But men found out that she had not been altogether
useless as a scapegoat upon which to lay the blame of their own
shortcomings, so they created a new deity called Fate, and laid any
misfortune which happened to them to her charge. Her worship is still
very popular, especially among lazy and unlucky people, who
never bestir themselves: on the ground that whether they do so or not
their lives are already settled by Fate. After all, the true religion
of Fate has been preached by George Eliot, when she says that our lives
are the outcome of our actions. Set up any idol you please upon which
to lay the blame of unhappy lives and baffled ambitions, but the true
cause is to be found in men themselves. Every action, good or bad,
which we do has its corresponding reward, and Mark Frettlby found it
so, for the sins of his youth were now being punished in his old age.
No doubt he had sinned gaily enough in that far-off time when life's
cup was still brimming with wine, and no asp hid among the roses; but
Nemesis had been an unseen spectator of all his thoughtless actions,
and now she came to demand her just dues. He felt somewhat as Faust
must have felt when Mephistopheles suggested a visit to Hades, in
repayment of those years of magic youth and magic power. So long ago it
seemed since he had married Rosanna Moore, that he almost persuaded
himself that it had been only a dream--a pleasant dream, with a
disagreeable awakening. When she had left him he had tried to forget
her, recognising how unworthy she was of a good man's love. He heard
that she had died in a London hospital, and with a passionate sigh for
a perished love, he had dismissed her from his thoughts for ever. His
second marriage had turned out a happy one, and he regretted the death
of his wife deeply. Afterwards, all his love centred in his daughter,
and he thought he would be able to spend his declining years in peace.
This, however, was not to be, and he was thunderstruck when Whyte
arrived from England with the information that his first wife still
lived, and that the daughter of his second was illegitimate. Sooner
than risk exposure, Frettlby agreed to anything; but Whyte's demands
became too exorbitant, and he refused to comply with them. On
Whyte's death he again breathed freely, when suddenly a second
possessor of his fatal secret started up in the person of Roger
Moreland. As the murder of Duncan had to be followed by that of Banquo,
in order to render Macbeth safe, so he foresaw that while Roger
Moreland lived his life would be one long misery. He knew that the
friend of the murdered man would be his master, and would never leave
him during his life, while after his death he would probably publish
the whole ghastly story, and defame the memory of the widely-respected
Mark Frettlby. What is it that Shakespeare says?--
"Good name in man or woman
Is the immediate jewel of their souls."
And after all these years of spotless living and generous use of his
wealth, was he to be dragged down to the depths of infamy and
degradation by a man like Moreland? Already, in fancy, he heard the
jeering cries of his fellow-men, and saw the finger of scorn point at
him--he, the great Mark Frettlby, famous throughout Australia for his
honesty, integrity, and generosity. No, it could not be, and yet this
would surely happen unless he took means to prevent it.
The day after he had seen Moreland, and knew that his secret was no
longer safe, since it was in the power of a man who might reveal it at
any moment in a drunken fit, or out of sheer maliciousness, he sat at
his desk writing. After a time he laid down his pen, and taking up a
portrait of hic dead wife which stood just in front of him, he stared
at it long and earnestly As he did so, his mind went back to the time
when he had first met and loved her. Even as Faust had entered into the
purity and serenity of Gretchen's chamber, out of the coarseness and
profligacy of Auerbach's cellar, so he, leaving behind him the
wild life of his youth, had entered into the peace and quiet of a
domestic home. The old feverish life with Rosanna Moore, seemed to be
as unsubstantial and chimerical, as, no doubt, his union with Lillith
after he met Eve, seemed to Adam in the old Rabbinical legend. There
seemed to be only one way open to him, by which he could escape the
relentless fate which dogged his steps. He would write a confession of
everything from the time he had first met Rosanna, and then--death. He
would cut the Gordian knot of all his difficulties, and then his secret
would be safe; safe? no, it could not be while Moreland lived. When he
was dead Moreland would see Madge and embitter her life with the story
of her father's sins--yes--he must live to protect her, and drag his
weary chain of bitter remembrance through life, always with that
terrible sword of Damocles hanging over him. But still, he would write
out his confession, and after his death, whenever it may happen, it
might help if not altogether to exculpate, at least to secure some pity
for a man who had been hardly dealt with by Fate. His resolution taken,
he put it into force at once, and sat all day at his desk filling page
after page with the history of his past life, which was so bitter to
him. He started at first languidly, and as in the performance of an
unpleasant but necessary duty. Soon, however, he became interested in
it, and took a peculiar pleasure in putting down every minute
circumstance which made the case stronger against, himself. He dealt
with it, not as a criminal, but as a prosecutor, and painted his
conduct as much blacker than it really had been. Towards the end of the
day, however, after reading over the earlier sheets, he experienced a
revulsion of feeling, seeing how severe he had been on himself, so he
wrote a defence of his conduct, showing that fate had been too strong
for him. It was a weak argument to bring forward, but still he felt it
was the only one that he could make. It was quite dark when he
had finished, and while sitting in the twilight, looking dreamily at
the sheets scattered all over his desk, he heard a knock at the door,
and his daughter's voice asking if he was coming to dinner. All day
long he had closed his door against everyone, but now his task being
ended, he collected all the closely-written sheets together, placed
them in a drawer of his escritoire, which he locked, and then opened
"Dear papa," cried Madge, as she entered rapidly, and threw her arms
around his neck, "what have you been doing here all day by yourself?"
"Writing," returned her father laconically, as he gently removed her
"Why, I thought you were ill," she answered, looking at him
"No, dear," he replied, quietly. "Not ill, but worried."
"I knew that dreadful man who came last night had told you something to
worry you. Who is he?"
"Oh! a friend of mine," answered Frettlby, with hesitation.
Her father started.
"How do you know it was Roger Moreland?"
"Oh! Brian recognised him as he went out."
Mark Frettlby hesitated for a few moments, and then busied himself with
the papers on his desk, as he replied in a low voice--
"You are right--it was Roger Moreland--he is very hard up, and as he
was a friend of poor Whyte's, he asked me to assist him, which I did."
He hated to hear himself telling such a deliberate falsehood, but there
was no help for it--Madge must never know the truth so long as he
could conceal it.
"Just like you," said Madge, kissing him lightly with filial pride.
"The best and kindest of men."
He shivered slightly as he felt her caress, and thought how she
would recoil from him did she know all. "After all," says some cynical
writer, "the illusions of youth are mostly due to the want of
experience." Madge, ignorant in a great measure of the world, cherished
her pleasant illusions, though many of them had been destroyed by the
trials of the past year, and her father longed to keep her in this
frame of mind.
"Now go down to dinner, my dear," he said, leading her to the door. "I
will follow soon."
"Don't be long," replied his daughter, "or I shall come up again," and
she ran down the stairs, her heart feeling strangely light.
Her father looked after her until she vanished, then heaving a
regretful sigh returned to his study, and taking out the scattered
papers fastened them together, and endorsed them,
"My Confession." He then placed them in an envelope, sealed it, and put
it back in the desk. "If all that is in that packet were known," he
said aloud, as he left the room, "what would the world say?"
That night he was singularly brilliant at the dinner table. Generally a
very reticent and grave man, on this night he laughed and talked so
gaily that the very servants noticed the change. The fact was he felt a
sense of relief at having unburdened his mind, and felt as though by
writing out that confession he had laid the spectre which had haunted
him for so long. His daughter was delighted at the change in his
spirits, but the old Scotch nurse, who had been in the house since
Madge was a baby, shook her head--
"He's fey," she said gravely. "He's no lang for the warld."
Of course she was laughed at--people who believe in presentiments
generally are--but, nevertheless, she held firmly to her opinion.
Mr. Frettlby went to bed early that night, the excitement of
the last few days and the feverish gaiety in which he had lately
indulged proving too strong for him. No sooner had he laid his head on
his pillow than he dropped off to sleep at once, and forgot in placid
slumber the troubles and worries of his waking hours.
It was only nine o'clock, so Madge stayed by herself in the great
drawing-room, and read a new novel, which was then creating a
sensation, called "Sweet Violet Eyes." It belied its reputation,
however, for it was very soon thrown on the table with a look of
disgust, and rising from her seat Madge walked up and down the room,
and wished some good fairy would hint to Brian that he was wanted. If
man is a gregarious animal, how much more, then, is a woman? This is
not a conundrum, but a simple truth. "A female Robinson Crusoe," says a
writer who prided himself upon being a keen observer of human
nature--"a female Robinson Crusoe would have gone mad for want of
something to talk to." This remark, though severe, nevertheless contains
several grains of truth, for women, as a rule, talk more than men. They
are more sociable, and a Miss Misanthrope, in spite of Justin McCarthy's,
is unknown--at least in civilised communities. Miss Frettlby, being
neither misanthropic nor dumb, began to long for some one to talk to,
and, ringing the bell, ordered Sal to be sent in. The two girls had
become great friends, and Madge, though by two years the younger,
assumed the ROLE of mentor, and under her guidance Sal was rapidly
improving. It was a strange irony of fate which brought together these
two children of the same father, each with such different histories--the
one reared in luxury and affluence, never having known want; the
other dragged up in the gutter, all unsexed and besmirched by the life
she had led. "The whirligig of time brings in its revenges," and it was
the last thing in the world Mark Frettlby would have thought of
seeing: Rosanna Moore's child, whom he fancied dead, under the same
roof as his daughter Madge.
On receiving Madge's message Sal came to the drawing room, and the two
were soon chatting amicably together. The room was almost in darkness,
only one lamp being lighted, Mr. Frettlby very sensibly detested gas,
with its glaring light, and had nothing but lamps in his drawing-room.
At the end of the apartment, where Sal and Madge were seated, there was
a small table. On it stood a large lamp, with an opaque globe, which,
having a shade over it, threw a soft and subdued circle of light round
the table, leaving the rest of the room in a kind of semi-darkness.
Near this sat Madge and Sal, talking gaily, and away on the left-hand
side they could see the door open, and a warm flood of light pouring in
from the hall.
They had been talking together for some time, when Sal's quick ear
caught a footfall on the soft carpet, and, turning rapidly, she saw a
tall figure advancing down the room. Madge saw it too, and started up
in surprise on recognising her father. He was clothed in his
dressing-gown, and carried some papers in his hand.
"Why, papa," said Madge, in surprise. "I--"
"Hush!" whispered Sal, grasping her arms. "He's asleep."
And so he was. In accordance with the dictates of the excited brain,
the weary body had risen from the bed and wandered about the house. The
two girls, drawing back into the shadow, watched him with bated breath
as he came slowly down the room. In a few moments he was within the
circle of light, and, moving noiselessly along, he laid the papers he
carried on the table. They were in a large blue envelope much worn,
with writing in red ink on it. Sal recognised it, at once as
the one she had seen in the possession of the dead woman, and with an
instinctive feeling that there was something wrong, she tried to draw
Madge back, as she watched her father's action with an intensity of
feeling which held her spell-bound. Frettlby opened the envelope, and
took therefrom a yellow, frayed piece of paper, which he spread out on
the table. Madge bent forward to see it, but Sal, with a sudden terror
drew her back.
"For God's sake no," she cried.
But it was too late; Madge had caught sight of the names on the
paper--"Marriage--Rosanna Moore--Mark Frettlby"--and the whole awful truth
flashed upon her. These were the papers Rosanna Moore had handed to
Whyte. Whyte had been murdered by the man to whom the papers were of
"Oh! My father!"
She staggered blindly forward, and then, with one piercing shriek, fell
to the ground. In doing so, she struck against her father, who was
still standing beside the table. Awakened suddenly, with that wild cry
in his ears, he opened his eyes wide, put out feeble hands, as if to
keep something back, and with a strangled cry fell dead on the 'door
beside his daughter. Sal, horror-struck, did not lose her presence of
mind, but, snatching the papers off the table, she thrust them into her
pocket, and then called aloud for the servants. But they, already
attracted by Madge's wild cry, came hurrying in, to find Mark Frettlby,
the millionaire, lying dead, and his daughter in a faint beside her
As soon as Brian received the telegram which announced the death of
Mark Frettlby, he put on his hat, stepped into Calton's trap, and drove
along to the St. Kilda station in Flinders Street with that gentleman.
There Calton dismissed his trap, sending a note to his clerk with the
groom, and went down to St. Kilda with Fitzgerald. On arrival they
found the whole house perfectly quiet and orderly, owing to the
excellent management of Sal Rawlins. She had taken the command in
everything, and although the servants, knowing her antecedents, were
disposed to resent her doing so, yet such were her administrative
powers and strong will, that they obeyed her implicitly. Mark
Frettlby's body had been taken up to his bedroom, Madge had been put to
bed, and Dr. Chinston and Brian sent for. When they arrived they could
not help expressing their admiration at the capital way in which Sal
Rawlins had managed things.
"She's a clever girl that," whispered Calton to Fitzgerald. "Curious
thing she should have taken up her proper position in her father's
house. Fate is a deal cleverer than we mortals think her."
Brian was about to reply when Dr. Chinston entered the room. His face
was very grave, and Fitzgerald looked at him in alarm.
"Madge--Miss Frettlby," he faltered.
"Is very ill," replied the doctor; "has an attack of brain fever. I
can't answer for the consequences yet."
Brian sat down on the sofa, and stared at the doctor in a dazed sort of
way. Madge dangerously ill--perhaps dying. What if she were to die,
and he to lose the true-hearted woman who stood so nobly by him in his
"Cheer up," said Chinston, patting him on the shoulder; "while there's
life there's hope, and whatever human aid can do to save her will be
Brian grasped the doctor's hand in silence, his heart being too full to
"How did Frettlby die?" asked Calton.
"Heart disease," said Chinston. "His heart was very much affected, as I
discovered a week or so ago. It appears he was walking in his sleep,
and entering the drawing-room, he alarmed Miss Frettlby, who screamed,
and must have touched him. He awoke suddenly, and the natural
consequences followed--he dropped down dead."
"What alarmed Miss Frettlby?" asked Brian, in a low voice, covering his
face with his hand.
"The sight of her father walking in his sleep, I suppose," said
Chinston, buttoning his glove; "and the shock of his death which took
place indirectly through her, accounts for the brain fever."
"Madge Frettlby is not the woman to scream and waken a somnambulist,"
said Calton, decidedly, "knowing as she did the danger. There must be
some other reason."
"This young woman will tell you all about it," said Chinston, nodding
towards Sal, who entered the room at this moment. "She was present, and
since then has managed things admirably; and now I must go," he said,
shaking hands with Calton and Fitzgerald. "Keep up your heart, my boy;
I'll pull her through yet."
After the doctor had gone, Calton turned sharply to Sal
Rawlins, who stood waiting to be addressed.
"Well," he said briskly, "can you tell us what startled Miss Frettlby?"
"I can, sir," she answered quietly. "I was in the drawing-room when Mr.
Frettlby died--but--we had better go up to the study."
"Why?" asked Calton, in surprise, as he and Fitzgerald followed her up
"Because, sir," she said, when they had entered the study and she had
locked the door, "I don't want any one but yourselves to know what I
"More mystery," muttered Calton, as he glanced at Brian, and took his
seat at the escritoire.
"Mr. Frettlby went to bed early last night," said Sal, calmly, "and
Miss Madge and I were talking together in the drawing-room, when he
entered, walking in his sleep, and carrying some papers--"
Both Calton and Fitzgerald started, and the latter grew pale.
"He came down the room, and spread out a paper on the table where the
lamp was. Miss Madge bent forward to see what it was. I tried to stop
her, but it was too late. She gave a scream, and fell on the floor. In
doing so she happened to touch her father. He awoke, and fell down
"And the papers?" asked Calton, uneasily.
Sal did not answer, but producing them from her pocket, laid them in
Brian bent forward, as Calton opened the envelope in silence, but both
gave vent to an exclamation of horror at seeing the certificate of
marriage which they knew Rosanna Moore had given to Whyte. Their worst
suspicions were confirmed, and Brian turned away his head, afraid to
meet the barrister's eye. The latter folded up the papers
thoughtfully, and put them in his pocket.
"You know what these are?" he asked Sal, eyeing her keenly.
"I could hardly help knowing," she answered; "it proves that Rosanna
Moore was Mr. Frettlby's wife, and--" she hesitated.
"Go on," said Brian, in a harsh tone, looking up.
"And they were the papers she gave Mr. Whyte."
Sal was silent for a moment, and then looked up with a flush.
"You needn't think I'm going to split," she said, indignantly,
recurring to her Bourke Street slang in the excitement of the moment.
"I know what you know, but I'll be as silent as the grave."
"Thank you," said Brian, fervently, taking her hand; "I know you love
her too well to betray this terrible secret."
"I would be a nice 'un, I would," said Sal, with a scorn, "after her
lifting me out of the gutter, to round on her--a poor girl like me,
without a friend or a relative, now Gran's dead."
Calton looked up quickly. It was plain Sal was quite ignorant that
Rosanna Moore was her mother. So much the better; they would keep her
in ignorance, perhaps not altogether, but it would be folly to
undeceive her at present.
"I'm goin' to Miss Madge now," she said, going to the door, "and I
won't see you again; she's getting light-headed, and might let it out;
but I'll not let any one in but myself," and so saying, she left the
"Cast thy bread upon the waters," said Calton, oracularly. "The
kindness of Miss Frettlby to that poor waif is already bearing
fruit--gratitude is the rarest of qualities, rarer even than modesty."
Fitzgerald made no answer, but stared out of the window, and thought of
his darling lying sick unto death, and he able to do nothing to save
"Well," said Calton, sharply.
"Oh, I beg your pardon," said Fitzgerald, turning in confusion. "I
suppose the will must be read, and all that sort of thing."
"Yes," answered the barrister, "I am one of the executors."
"And the others?"
"Yourself and Chinston," answered Calton; "so I suppose," turning to
the desk, "we can look at his papers, and see that all is straight."
"Yes, I suppose so," replied Brian, mechanically, his thoughts far
away, and then he turned again to the window. Suddenly Calton gave vent
to an exclamation of surprise, and, turning hastily, Brian saw him
holding a thick roll of papers in his hand, which he had taken out of
"Look here, Fitzgerald," he said, greatly excited, "here is Frettlby's
confession--look!" and he held it up.
Brian sprang forward in astonishment. So at last the hansom cab mystery
was to be cleared up. These sheets, no doubt, contained the whole
narration of the crime, and how it was committed.
"We will read it, of course," he said, hesitating, half hoping that
Calton would propose to destroy it at once.
"Yes," answered Calton; "the three executors must read it, and then--we
will burn it."
"That will be the better way," answered Brian, gloomily. "Frettlby is
dead, and the law can do nothing in the matter, so it would be best to
avoid the scandal of publicity. But why tell Chinston?"
"We must," said Calton, decidedly. "He will be sure to gather
the truth from Madge's ravings, and he may as well know all. He is
quite safe, and will be silent as the grave. But I am more sorry to
"The detective? Good God, Calton, surely you will not do so!"
"I must," replied the barrister, quietly. "Kilsip is firmly persuaded
that Moreland committed the crime, and I have the same dread of his
pertinacity as you had of mine. He may find out all."
"What must be, must be," said Fitzgerald, clenching his hands. "But I
hope no one else will find out this miserable story. There's Moreland,
"Ah, true!" said Calton, thoughtfully. "He called and saw Frettlby the
other night, you say?"
"Yes. I wonder what for?"
"There is only one answer," said the barrister, slowly. "He must have
seen Frettlby following Whyte when he left the hotel, and wanted
"I wonder if he got it?" observed Fitzgerald.
"Oh, I'll soon find that out," answered Calton, opening the drawer
again, and taking out the dead man's cheque-book. "Let me see what
cheques have been drawn lately."
Most of the blocks were filled up for small amounts, and one or two for
a hundred or so. Calton could find no large sum such as Moreland would
have demanded, when, at the very end of the book, he found a cheque
torn off, leaving the block-slip quite blank.
"There you are," he said, triumphantly holding out the book to
Fitzgerald. "He wasn't such a fool as to write in the amount on the
block, but tore the cheque out, and wrote in the sum required."
"And what's to be done about it?"
"Let him keep it, of course," answered Calton, shrugging his
shoulders. "It's the only way to secure his silence."
"I expect he cashed it yesterday, and is off by this time," said Brian,
after a moment's pause.
"So much the better for us," said Calton, grimly. "But I don't think
he's off, or Kilsip would have let me know. We must tell him, or he'll
get everything out of Moreland, and the consequences will be that all
Melbourne will know the story; whereas, by showing him the confession,
we get him to leave Moreland alone, and thus secure silence in both
"I suppose we must see Chinston?"
"Yes, of course. I will telegraph to him and Kilsip to come up to my
office this afternoon at three o'clock, and then we will settle the
"And Sal Rawlins?"
"Oh! I quite forgot about her," said Calton, in a perplexed voice. "She
knows nothing about her parents, and, of course, Mark Frettlby died in
the belief that she was dead."
"We must tell Madge," said Brian, gloomily. "There is no help for it.
Sal is by rights the heiress to the money of her dead father."
"That depends upon the will," replied Calton, dryly. "If it specifies
that the money is left to 'my daughter, Margaret Frettlby,' Sal Rawlins
can have no claim; and if such is the case, it will be no good telling
her who she is."
"And what's to be done?"
"Sal Rawlins," went on the barrister, without noticing the
interruption, "has evidently never given a thought to her father or
mother, as the old hag, no doubt, swore they were dead. So I think it
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