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THE; MYSTERY COTIDON CIASTLE. >" B1" JOHN K. LEYS, AUTHOR OJ The Bolton Sevan Tragedy," ° The Lindsays? 4~ rUoJ. Bianra HKSEBTHD.J CHAPTER XV HI. — DISCOVERY. rna question now arose, to what place had Brandt retaken himself that Tuesday evening? If that juestion could be answered, there would be good Wwnd for hoping that the mystery of London Castio be solved. days Archie spent in the endeavour to Bad o « what station the German had left the train. jSut all his efforts in this direction were in vain. A fcw^BfcatioiM beyond Morris Green a junction was flHMM, at which the passengers from the Carnhill Em »*nged carriages, and from which they might proceed in any one of several directions. It was by Bomeans pleasant work to go about questioning guards and porters, but Archie would not have minded that if he had met with any measure of success. One result, indeed, he had, though it was merely of a negative kind. He could not gather that Brandt had ever been seen on ftie railway after that Tuesday evening, either at Morris Green or anywhere else. From this Archie inferred that be had returned by road. Sorely, then, he argued, he might have taken his sister ana the mysterious lady away by road too. It was all so vague, so uncertain, that there were tomes when Archie was tempted to believe that Liza had been romancing when she^told him of her inter- ™^h -be blue lady," ami that some natural tiiOTgh unusual souod was all that he and his sister had heard, when they fancied tbejf heard the moan- ingprsceed from the grounds surrounding the castle. there was, however, one thing more to be done, and then, Archie was persuaded, be would be at the end of his tether. He could proceed along the three or four main roads that could be reached from the castle, making enquiries m he went as to whether the German had gone that way accompanied by two ladies, and had come back alone two days afterwards, /J" J1!*8 aac^5er tedious and ur.pleasant ta?k. Archie told his srater as he returned each day that he had discovered nothing, and had been asked as manv questions as he himself had put. Everybody wanted toknow what he was fmak'ng enquiries for and the amenity of baling the curiosity of the people at the nam wma almost insuperable. Faremoit among these tronMesome- questioners was tyoot-b named Dickie I>avis, whom Archie remem- bered rnnmn^ about the streets of.Kildennv, a bare- legged, ugly, impertinent little varlet. He l" ved with an old woman whose reputation was none of the best. What Dickie's parentage was nobody knew, and no- body cared. Old Mrs Jamesoft s.'id the child had been left with her, aad that she had. continued to keep him out of charity. Knowing that he was no favourite, Dickie learned at an l age to "feud for himspl' Many peonle aid that he lived as much by poaching and stealing 88 by working; and certainly he never remained lone on any one farm. In appearance Dickie was not over the middle height, but he was stontiy built and strong His red hair and freckled face were familiar .ights m parishes. Lately. Dickie had got possession, somehow or otb»r, of a donkey and cart, and with his cuddy he went about collecting eggs, travelling by day and sleeping on the roadside bv night, or sleeping by day and travelling at night, with complete indifference as to whether his journeys were made by sunlight or by moonlight. This fellow Archie encountered once or twice and he became so curous and minute in his enquiries aa to the name of the person whose track Arrhie was following, and as to the reason he had for wishing to get word of brm, that Archie told him sharply oaine occasion to mind his own business. "There's mair nor me suld dae that." retorted Dickie, as he gave his donkey a cut with his stick Md moved away, loosing over his shoulder with a corse-laugh, vfrc*l'e coa^ not help wonder'ng whether the fellow knew more than he had been willing to admit. His expression was so like that of a malicious boy, something from a pure love of mis- Jfiiet, that Archie was nearly running after him to try to lorce him to make a clean breast of it. But, after taking a fow steps in pursuit, he stopped, Convinced of the folly of what he had been about to do. No forcing was likely to-avail. even if there was anything to reveal; and. if coaxing and bribery could do anything, clearly this was not the time for it. After exploring all the inns for several miles round without bearing any intimation that Brandt had been seen on the road. Aroiiie was forced to confess to himself that he had reached the end of a blind alley, and could go no further. It was humiliating to have to confess this to Leslie and she seemed almost as sorry for his want ot success-as he was himself. It was only two days after the search was abandoned that Archie took it into his bead to go down to the river for a swim. The best place for this purpose, the only private place, indeed, where the water wai deep enough, was the pool just below the White flocks, and thif-her the young man made his way, totally disregarding the injunctions which the new tenant of the Cast'e had promulgated with regard to trespassers. Having chosen a secluded spot, Archie undressed and plunged into the water. Then, having swum across the river, he amused himself by swimming along the opposite-basic underthe overhanging trees, diving every now and then to avoid a branch which "was partly submerged. The branches at that part of 5be wood hung over tbetsteeam for several feet, form- ing-s. danse leafybowec. whose floor was the water, and wboae thki rooc fof .foliage was impervious both to j on. and wind. chap 18 As be was slowly swimming along in this water- arcade, Arcbie-noticcd-an object in front of him, which at first he could not make out. The next moment »cry surprise.escaped his lips. iVu Abroad, shallow'boat,roughly—indeed, clumsily- pat together, but quite capable of conveying three or Hour pettMrns-ower a smooth piece of water like the peoL Aacbfe-eefeed it -by the gunwale, and looked over the&tfcfe^raftjxfc wonder. Who brought it there ? What was- tfae-.purpose ?orwhich it had been made, and mcoredin. that safe retreat? Did it beiong^o any.of the neighbouring farmers ? OeKtaioly not. What farmer would hide a boat miliar a thick-canopy^of trees, in a place where there warano-toad, no possibility-of anyone meddling with ifc? Or^cooldit both e.handiwork of some adventurous achoolboyfr? Archie- remembered well his own school- )lByjapaajka,.and felt-certain that no boys could have joo0strnctediso»snbstajitial and; solid a vessel. "Ceald it belong -to poachers ? It was possible, but Teiyunlikely. Except at this spot and one or two others, the | river. was fordable everywhere for These sng^estioM darted through ArcKie's mind oia^- to be rejected, and then he noticed another facL The boat-hadno rowlocks. How, then, was sh^te-be propelled, if not by oars ? "l^etertntned to find oat. he searched all round 4KT. She-wasntoored bv-a piece of short rope to a "&tønt-lmmch.and:1J,t"first.sight that was the only link -connecting her withithe land. But on going round to her head, Archie-found that beneath the water- liao-eetorng Tmg- was secured to her bows, and that to5thi&xing there-wasiattached a rope which passed Tnaterwater*7ia, htfclo^further scrutiny told hijqa that time was aBothepyhook. exactly similar at the other end of the -strange*craft. This totd Archie all he wished to know. He innnediatelv swam over to fhe oilier sWevof-tHenfeE. On the other, the castle side, the thick wood began- "to fringe the stream just 4>pp}Sfte-4&,the>spDt*wfoererthe boat was moored. /hrhw-weam .straight for that point, and having TMedied ithe began>.to '-search the bank under water, place wbcre itzwas-well sheltered by the trees; a fe^r mmntes his guess proved to have been xight. He-found arpnlley with a rope passing through it. There^cooid no .longer be the least doubt. This was evidently a secret means of communication between the castle and the outside world, which Bnmdt's ingenuity had contrived—oae which he could use whenever he wished his movements to be unknown to the people areund Kildenny. If he had chosen fas in all probability he had chosen) to go and come by this way the week before, the fact that Archie had not been able to find that any one had ■oen him either ontlse read or at the railway-stations, would be amply accounted fer. And if he had secretly conveyed some one away from the castle, there could not be a doubt that he had selected this way. All this passed through Archie's mind as he hurriedly himself on the bank of river. As soon as he had got on his clothes, he went up to the White Rocks, and crossing the river by them as he had often done when be was a boy, he made his way through the trees to the place where the boat was moored. There was soma difficulty in finding the axact spot, for the underwood, which was composed lartly of young fir-trees and partiy of bramble bushes, jras unusually dense. But he persevered, for he had > definite object in view. He wished to find out how jxactly it was that the German's path lay, after the jiver was crossed. h. r d Having at last reached the boat, Archie found, as -'1. bad anticipated, that 5- narrow winding path, ikilfully made so as to takb full advantage of all natural aids, had been made through the wood. It was not always easy to follow, for evidently it was used but Archie managed to keep to it, and found that it Jed him at last out of the wood, and iined a sequestered gr*s-gro*n lane,, m ,ts SrnTled to a parish-road about » wile aw»v from Sitting d *wn on a lart-o stone by the wayside, Archie p&B&ed to reflect on the admirable nature of the Germans expedient. Heye he had provided a passage, almost as secret as if it had been underground. iv which he could leave the castle, reach any part of Lho country, a';d return. quite unobserved by any of his neighbours. The thick wood through which Archie had just passed belonged to the castle property, and had, no doubt, been lot along with it; so that the German's private way lay entirely within his own grounds. The road by which Archie MacAllister was now sitting was in reality bnt a mile from Loudon Castle. and bare'y three miles from his inother'shouse. And et it was practically as far removed from that neigb- 'io::rhood as if it had been in the ne\t country.. cw r> the scattered inhabitants ever thought of fording he river. The nearest rridges were several miles iway; and people simply confined their walks fnr business or for pleasme to that side cf the stream on which they happened to be. Supposing, -aid Archie to himself, that my suspicious are correct, ind that the blue lady' is really in this man's power, there was nothing to prevent his taking her across the rivar al;d if he had a conveyance and a jood horse waiting here in readiness, they might be half way across Scotland before the morning." As these thoughts passed through tfffe young man's mind. he observed an elderly person coming towards him with, a shuffling vet rapid stride. Archie rose from the stone on which he had been sitting, and went slowly on, meeting him. As tha stranger drew marer, Archie recognised him—or rather he partly identified him. It was the man whom he had last seen in the company of Frank Selden, Ada's husband —a pang went through Archie's heart as he re- membered it-atthe Waverley Station at Edinburgh the man with regard to whom rcbie had a vague unpleasant association in his mind. What could he be doing here ? Can you tell me. young gentleman, where Loudon Cattle is ?" asked the stranger. He looked decidedly worse than he had done when I Archie had seen him at the Waver!ey Station, more than a year before. His face was blotched, and his eves were waterv, while his eyelids twitched un- pleasantly. In shoit, he seemed like a man who was fond of strong waters. ''Loudon CastleP echned Archie. "You are not Far from it as the.crow flies, but you are on the wrong side of the river. You must either go round by the Chapelhill-bridge or the .^rauniton-bridge, unless you care to wade aecross. It is about a foot and a half to two feet deep. I think Brampton-bridge is the nearest way dryshod, but that is about six miles round." The stranger looked piizded, as if these directions were not in accordance with his previous information And as Archie stood looking at him. the man's name and the circumstances under which he had first seen him, flashed on his memory. chap ] S MacAJlister remembered now very well that about three years before he had been a spectator of a frac >~ :n one of the streets of Glasgow, and in consequence he had to attend at the police-court the ne ;t day in the capacity of a witness. While waiting for the ease to be called, he had found himself much inter ested in another case which was being tr ed. This disreputable looking elderly man was the lawyer who had conducted the defence and Archie bad been much impressed at the time by the cleverness and un-scrupulousness which he had displayed. His con- duct had, indeed, been such as to call down some animadversions from the bench: and Archie had turned to a younT solicitor of his acquaintance who was sitting near him. and had learred from bis friend ;hat the elderiy lawyer's name was Mungo Fleming, and that he had a great reputation for skill and s'^arp practice in the lower walks of the profession. hut not for anything else. All this recurred to MacAllister's mind in a moment. Which is the way to the nearest bridge ?" Flem- ing asked in an irritated way. rchiepointed out the road which led to Brampton- bridge, aud went oil himself in the opposite direc- tion. Happening to look hack a moment afterwards, he saw that the old lawyer had changed his mind, or had only been pretending to go to the bridge. He had turned, and was slowly coming back MacAllister however, told himself that it was no business of his 0, observe the man's movements, so he went on hi: way. Shortly afterwards he came to a field-path which seemed to run back. nearly parallel to the road h ■ which he had come. Hoping that it might condw; him back to the river, beyond the dense wood wh:n he had just come through, Arrhie turned down it He was deceived, however. The path merely le into a field of oats and after losing ten minutes j) this way. the young man retraced his steps. The path ran side by ftde with the high road and Archie had nearly reached the po'nt where the two ways met, when he heard loud voices close to him p; the other s'de of the thick hedge, which separate the road from the path. The voices were those o: Fleming and Mr. Brandt. They seemed to bt quarelling. or at least annoyed with each other. I told you to wait at the comer, and not come on to the cr-stle," said the German. I waited long enough- I don't believe the ca.-tk is anywhere near here. I met a young man, and he said that it stands on the other side of the river, and that, there is no bridge." That's no business of youra," said Brandt, roughly. "Perhaps not. But I see you were deceiving me again. You always have deceived me. I don't believe you are as poor as yon say. And I mean to have my rights, even if T should have to split on you. Here the German interrupted his companion, speaking in a lower, and in what seemed to Archie a conciliatory, tone. By the time he had finished, the two men were out of hearing. Archie had been standing still, lost in surprise Here was new evidence that the German was con cerned in some nefarious design, one in which he had had Fleming's help. The words that had fallen from the lawyer could. bear no other meaning. But how was this fresh knowledge to be turned to account ? This question served the young man with ample food for reflection during his walk home. (To be c-niinued.) chap IS




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