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f iTHE'MYSTERY - .<.JJlIil.d'…


f iTHE'MYSTERY < JJl I i l.d or LOUDON# CASTLE. JOHN K. LEYS,. <• ■>' AT7TH0R OF Bolton Square Tragedy," Tlte Lindsays £ c. (ALL Mawn BSSHBTED.] CHAPTER Xir. 42CHXB AND HIS FRIENDS HOLD A C0U5CIti OF WAR. JTHXB Archie MacAlliater reached Miilbolm* it WM Jong past the usual dinner-hour. Where in the world have you been ?" said -Leslie to him, as she met him at the gate at the foot of the garden. I went for a swim in the El van, and then I took a ramble on the other side of the river." "Something has happened, Archie; or you have found out something. I see it in your face." It is clear that I would not be of much use as a detective-officer, since I seem to tell everything by may looks but you would make a capital one, or I'm Very much mistaken." "That's rank flattery, Archie; and you know I kate •flattery." "To be sure. I forgot you had that strange eccentricity of character." "Now you're laughing at me, and t don't like to be laughed at. I pe fioa't mean to tell ma more .than yon-can help; and you think I am curious, but I'm not. Only-" i "Only you would like to know. Well, I have dii- covered something-" "About the mystery at the castle ? Oh, j. Archie Yes," said he, his face becoming grave again. r^TSot much but one or two queer circumstances. I have no intention of hiding anything from you, Leslie," he went on, passing his arm affectionately round his sister's waist. But you must get me something to eat first. I'm as hungry as a hunter. I'm nearly dying for food." <4 You look like it, I must say," cried Leslie, look- ing up at her brother's sunburnt face with admiration. I shall get tea ready at once-it is nearly tea-time JIOW-and yon may have some cold meat with it. That is all you deserve." And quite enough only do be quick about it." Before the meal was over, Dr. Gardiner came up the^srdeit-path. He came into the parlour, took a cop ef tea from Archie's eldest sister, Jeanie, who always presided at the tea-table and as Archie seemed to be prolonging his repast indefinitely, he made an excuse for getting Leslie to step out into the garden with him. Archie, happening to look up as they left the room, raw a smile on Jeanie's face. What is it, Jeanie ?" he asked. What is amus- ing you ?" Oh, nothing," she answered but almost involun- tarily she let her eyes wander in the direction of the window. Glancing through it, Archie saw the young doctor and Leslie going very slowly along one of the paths, side by side. By Jove, you don't say so, Jeanie he cried, lay- ing down his knife and fork. Jeanie gave him a warning look, and glanced at her mother, who was tranquilly perusing a week-old newspaper by the window. "I don't want mother to see anything yet," she said in a soft, low tone it would only disturb her, *nd make her uneasy. And, indeed, I don't know anything myself." But you think ?'' "Yes I think Dr. Gardiner is in love with Leslie v .—very much in love, too." But she is only a girl." "And whom else, do you imagine, young men care to fall in love with ?" A child, I mean." She will be two and twenty next March." "ILeaUy ? And do you think she cares for Tom?" "Not yet, I think; but I fancy she may come to-do no." "He is a thoroughly good fellow," said Archie, emphatically. Yes; but I imagine Leslie would prefer some one Inth a little more life about him." Tom is lively enongh." w But Leslie is a little romantic; and I think Dr. Gardiner is too staid and sober-minded for her. Whether that is the reason or not. I can't say but I don't think he has found his way to her heart. Don't on any account tease Leslie about it," added Jeanie, in an earnest tone. Of course not. What do you take me for ?" Well, I'm going to break up their he said a few moments afterwards. You can come if you like, Jeame." No, thank you," said Miss MacAllister, with jnst a touch of reserve in her tone. I believe you are going to talk over that absurd story that has gone abroad about the people at Loudon Castle. I don't believe a word of it; but Leslie is full of it. I don't think it is proper to interfere in other people's affairs in that way." Archie made no further effort to persuade Jeanie to join them but made his way into the garden, and at an arbour at the further end of the enclosure he found Tom Gardiner and Leslie. She was sitting with her hands in her lap, looking, to ten the truth, a little bored. The doctor was standing near, lean- ing against the tree that formed one of the door- posts. As soon as she saw her brother, Leslie sprang up. "Now, Archie," she cried, "you are going to tell J■OB what you have found out, aren't you ?" "Yes," he replied, sitting down beside her. Don't go away, Tom," he added, as the young doctor began to move away. Two heads are better than oae, and perhaps-three may be better than two." Archie then- went on to describe his finding of the boat, his meeting with Fleming, and his identifying the old man as a Glasgow lawyer of indifferent repute. The question is now," he continued, what ought to be my next step ? I confess I can't make up my Blind." Do you really think, Archie," said the young doctor, speaking with some deliberation, that there is any necessity for a next step' ? You have tried to put Liza's story to the proof, and have only made a mess of it. Why meddle any more with what does not concern you ? If we had any solid ground for supposing that the German was keeping' some one a prisoner at the castle, I would not oppose vour domg your best to find out who it was, and what reason be had for doing such a thing. But have mriatWj ourselves that there is nothing of that sort going on now, at any rate. Then just think how trivial the circumstances are on which you are braid- ing up your belief in the existence of some plot or mystery. The German provides himself with a means for crossing the river. What of that ? He moors the little boat to the bank under some trees; Why not? He talks to a lawyer, a disreputable lawyer, if you like. What has that to do with it ? Is every one who holds converse with a rascally lawyer to be held guilty of a crime? Really, it is too absurd." For, Gardiner, this was a long speecn. w nen ne had finished, there was no reply and he looked tranquilly round to see what effect his words bad had. But the young doctor's composure was for once overthrown by what be saw in Leslie's face. > The.girl's eyes were positively blazing with indigna- tion, and a look of scorn was on her lips. The doctor recoiled as if she bad struck him, and the next moment an indignation as strong as Leslie's own )>urned in his breast. > Archie, hcrtrever," saw nothing of all this. "I daresay you are right, Tom," he said. Per- haps I am a little too fond of my own opinion but I do think that Brandt is engaged in some work that won't bear the light. In the first place, there is 'Liza's story which, at the time, you believed in yourself. Then we know that the German lied when he told Mr. Spence he bad been from home when, his letter arrived. On the contrary, we know that he went off (going all the way to "Morris ,Green to avoid observation) as soon as he got the letter. My firm belief is, that he spirited the "bine lady" away before he admitted us into the house, and for all I know she may have been brought back, and may be there now. Finally, do not forget that I heard-Fleming Eay distinctly, though indirectly, that he knew of some misdeeds of which Brandt had been guilty^. 'If yon don't give me what I am entitled to,' he said, I will, apht., We all know wbglt that 1 I I qmte agree with you, Archie," said Leslie, ana I honour you for what you* say." A defirmt look thrown at Gardiner accompanied these words, but the young doctor pretended not to see it." "Supposing all that were true," he said, what can you do ? Tell the police ? You can see yourself that that would be absurd, when you know of no specifio j crime that you can accuse Brandt of, and have no Evidence to offer. I don't see what you can do, how- aver willing you may be." chap 19 Brave hearts soon find out ways and means of helping those that need help," broke in Leslie, im- petuously- Suppose I had fallen into the hands of -some scoundrel who. for purposes of his own, wished me dead, yet had not the courage to kill me? Suppose I were shut up as this poor creature has been, and had succeeded, after months of captivity, in making my sad case known to one or two people, what would YO" think if they stopped to hesitate, and reason, and ask for proof, when all the time I might be dying of confinement anri a broi.?;! heart ? I think The girl stopped, unable to go on. Her^ br- fiacdutfC. f vri't fixed on the-ground. He knew very well that Leslie's words were aimed at him. My dear Lessie," said Archie, calling her by the pet name she had gone by in her childhood, "if I am rash, you are simply cracked. How you do jump to conclusions! And, at any rate, supposing I that there is some poor creature kept in seclusion at the castle (and I agree with you in thinking that very likely there is), how can we possibly help her, unless we first of all sit down to consider ways and means ?" Get half-a-dozen men and break into the castle," said Leslie, clenching her little fi. t. The smile that crossed Dr. Gardiner's face at this simple suggestion did not tend to restore the girl's equanimity. iNo, no, Leslie," said her brother; that would never do. We must first make sure that some woman really is there against her will. What I have been thinking is, that if we could find out something of Brandt's past life, if we could discover who his associates have been and what his circumstances are, we might in that way find a clue to his actions." I really don't see, Archie, what right you have to pry into a man's arTairs in that way," said Dr. Gardiner. And what I say ie, that if Dr. Gardiner is too— E' rudent to aid you, and if you can find no better elper than I am, I will be delighted to give you all the belp I can," said Leslie. Wounded by this speech the young doctor moved slowly away. Leslie," said her brother, don't you see that Gardiner has a position to keep up, and that his living depends on his character for steadiness, and so on ?' Brave men should not think or those things when a woman is in danger," said Leslie, with a ring in her voica. Oh, that I were a man! But I am only a girt, and I can do nothing." Yes you can, Leslie. Go down the castle path as often as you can, and listen for that strange sound we both heard. If you hear it again, that will be a sign (if we do not deceive ourselves in the nature of the sound) that the mysterious blue lady has been brought back to London Castle." I will. I will go every night. I shall take Swallow with me for protection and I will keep a watch on the castle as much as I can. And lyou?" I think I will go to Glasgow and see Fleming. I will try to work on his fears—tell him that more is known of the connection between Brandt and him than he imagines, hint that he is in danger from the police, and offer him a bribe to turn round upon Brandt." What a splendid idea, Archie! But that will be very di'Kciiit, won't it ?" Very difficult; and I am not at all cut out for that kind of work. I have only one principle to guide me-that is, I must, persuade Fleming that in serving me, he is in rea ity serving his own interests, and saving his own skin." When will you start ?'' The sooner the better. To-morrow morn;ng." I will be up in time to give you breakfast," said Leslie, rising. As they left the arbour they came upon the doctor walking by himself in the garden. "Well, have you come to any decision?" he asked, an they approached him. Yes," answered Archie; "lam going to try to find out what the secret was about which Fleming threatened to split. You won't do anything rash, I hope," said Gardiner. with some ansiety in his tone remember that it is not lawful to do evil that good may come." Some things that would not be right under ordinary circumstances are justifiable in a case of necessity," returned the other. Dr. Gardiner took his leare, and he was hardly out of hearing when Leslie said to her brother: Dr. Gardiner is a cold-blooded, selfish creature; bethinks only of his own ease and safety. I am very sorry you asked him to consult with you." No, no, Leslie," said her brother; he is not what you say. But I think he is apt to be over- cautious." CHAPTER XX. AN unexpected ALLY. THE City of Glasgow is not one of the airiest and most cheerful of places inhabited by mortal men, but it would be difficult to find even within its boundaries a spot more like a "well" contrived to give a scanty supply of lieht to the cells of a prison, than Piper's court, Argyle-street. Piper's-court is, in fact, a small area of pavementsurroundedby buildings so lofty that the in- habitants of the lower stories cannot by any possibility catch a glimpse of the sky. Eainsometimescomesthere, but wind never that is effectually shut out. It is only heard rumbling in the chimneys far overhead. The buildings which compose the court are let out in offices of one or two rooms each, mostly tenanted by commis- sion agents, struggling coal merchants, and the like. On the fourth storey of one of those barrack-like houses Archie MacAllister found Mr. Mungo Fleming's name painted in black letters on a door. On the ground glass, which formed the upper half of i the door. the name was repeated with the addition of the. words, Writer, and Notary Public." Archie opened the door, and surprised a small, pale-faced youth in the act of throwing his pen at the bottom of a drawer which he had made into a target. I Mr. Fleming is not in, is he ? asked the visitor. No." M Will he be long out- do you think ?" I don't know. Who will I say was wanting him ?" «' Never mind that I want to see him." The boy picked up his pen, and prepared to take another shot with the utmost coolness. Look here, my young man," cried Archie, vault- ing over the counter that stood before him, and seiz- ing the astonished yomh by the scruff of the neck i" will you answer my questions ? I want to see your master. Where is he, eh ?" I tell vou I don't know. Let me be." Has he been here to-dfty Not that I know of," said the youth cautiously. "Is he ill?" Maybe." Is he at his own house ?" "I don't know. He may be here after dinner- time." Archie released the youth, and spent two hours in the streets as best he could. Then he returned to Piper's-conrt. Mr. Fleming in now ?" No." said the boy. Where does he live?" "Frederick-street." What number ?'' Fifty-nine." Archie went off in a bad temper with himself and everybody else and in a few minutes found himself at the mouth of n." close ''in Frederick-street, which led toa dozen small houses arranged in fats. After some trouble, he found the one he wanted. The door was opened by a middle-aged, slatternly woman, whose black hair was hanging about her ears. Is Mr. Fleming at home ?" asked MacAllister. What may ye want wi' him ?" was the answer. I want to see him on business-very important business." The woman seemed to hesitate. "U What's your name ?" He doesn't itnow my name-as yet." Without saying anything more, the woman de- liberately closed the door, put the chain up, and opened it again. as if to intimate that while she was determined to provide against a sudden raid on the part of the enemy, negotiations were not yet closed. After a minute or two she returned, and silently admitted her visitor. After showing him into a dingy little parlour, she departed, saying that Mr. Fleming was no'very weel," but would be with him in a few minutes. A quarter of an hour elapsed, and then the door opened, and the old lawyer entered the poom. He had made an attempt to wash and shave himself; but several small cuts which he had given himself in the process, ineffectually treated with morsels of postage stamp borders, did not add to the comeliness of his appearance. His eyes were watery; and he seemed sT to be recovering from the effects of a drinking- bout.. chap 20 "Yon have come to see me on business ?" he otio. Yes," said Archie. I have come to warn you that you are in danger." The old man started. He was evidently alarmed; and Archie hastened to press his advantage. Things are being found out about your friend, Mr. Brandt," he said with a grim smile. IIWLatthin--s? What do you mean ? Don't try to bully me, sir. I'm not a man to be bullied. If you have any business with me, say it out at once. If not, you c an go; and the sooner the better." Just as you please, Mr. Fleming," said Archie, taking up his hat. I came here in a friendly spirit; but if you don't care to meet my advances, so be it. You will have yourself to blame, though, for whatever may happen to you." "1-1 don't understand you, young gentleman, By the way, you have not told me your name." My name's neither here nor there." I saw yon yesterday," said the old lawyer, with a keen look. bending forward as he spoke. It was near Loudon Castle." Very true. Mr. Fleming, do you think this man Erandt is treating you fairly ? I believe he is a very slippery customer. Did you get to Loudon Castle yesterday? No? I thought not. He never intended that you should set foot within the place." The old man's face wore a puzzled expression. Why r" he asked. If you don't know, I have a Tery gcod guess," 1 Archie, with a smile. I can't tell what he has h« add«d. lewCTinehis voi<e: "but T have reason to believe that he, has netted a very large sum." How do you knov, asked Mr. Fleming, qnickly. I know that about a year ago he was quite a poor man. Since that time he ha.s spent several hundred wounds, in and about Loudon Castle. Doesu't that look as if he had become possessed of a large sum of inoucx. iomchow o- (To be continued.) 8