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[All rights reserved.] I BETWEEN MTDNIGHT AND DAWN. By INA LEON CASSILIS, Author of "Strangely Wooed—Strangely Won "Guilty without Crime;" "The Mystery of Weeping Cross," &c., Ate. 18 411 that we see or seem But a dream within a dream ?" —tieU/ar Allan P.r.. CH 4 PTER XXXIV. THE LABOURS, • "Breathinj1; stern farewells. From greyand ivied walls, where ruin greenly dwells." Byron, "Has any fresh evidence cropped up? Have you heard of any clue, that you wish to go to Ding, wall? "asked Laurence Desborough. He was in Una's drawing-room. He had come by appoint- ment to escort her and Evelyn Barrington to the Row, and the two girls, ready habited for the ride were sitting on the sofa. Una had written that morning to Desborough stating her intention of going with Evelyn to Dingwall the day after to-morrow," and asking Desborough to accompany her. No clue worthy of the name," she replied "but I have an idea of my own, and I want to verify it." "Of course," said Desborough, "if you wish to go, I am at your service." "Thanks. Here are the horses." On the road the party met Max Caerlyon, riding with two ladies and'a brolhar barrister. Una reined her horse back to Caerlyon's side for ii few moments, letting Desborough ride on with Evelyn but, she soon r, joined the two, a;in' uncing as Sh3 did so that she had asked Caerlyon to accompany them to Dingwall. Whatever Desborough really felt about this arrangement, he pretended to find it very agreeable, and said it was fortunate they had metCHerlyon, not suspecting that the supposed rencontre was pre-arranged. Caerlyon saw Una that evening, and the "order of procedure" on the morrow was settled. "I only hope," Max said, anxiously, as he took leave, that the weather will favour us; otherwise the whole thing must be postponed." The weather, however, proved propitious, and the parly left by an early train from Euston- square. From Dingwall they walked to the wood, and, not without some difficulty, found their way to Dead Man's Hollow, for Una could no longer guide her companions as she had done on the day of the murder, and Caerlyon knew his way better than she did, having, since that first time, visited the spot in his professional capacitv. Desborough seemed bewildered by the intricacies of the woo t, and prophesied more than once that they would all lose thomselves. Very keenly, though covertly. Caerlyon watched Desborough when at length the place of the mur- der was reached, but the man betray- d no con- sciousness of guilt; such emotion as ha showed was only consistent in one who beheld the spot where a friend was brutally murdered. But this stoicism was no more than Caerlyon expected, and did not for a moment divert his suspicions. He knew the world too well to fall into that popular superstition which holds that a murderer must needs betray his guilt when confronted with the corpse of his victim or brought to the scene of his crime. This is true of such an one as Macbeth—a man by no means wholly bad—but there are men whose consciences are so dead, whose sensibilities are so blunted, that, without an effort, they can face their crime with far greater equanimity, indeed, than many a disinterested individual, who has no reason to shrink from the scene of a murder, save the horror ot unlawful blood shedding which is.furtunateiy, instinctive in most of us. Dead Man's Hollow bore ample traces of its gvttn notoriety. The long grasN and fern were trampled down, the underwood was broken and in some places crushed to the earth, which strewed with fragments of boughs, portions of which had been carried off as mementos. Names, too, and devices had been cut into the bark of some of the trees, and great pieces of bark had been peeled off. in order, pro' >ably, to serve the same purpose as the dissevered bits of boughs. The whole dell looked as if a tempest had swept over it; and so It had—a tempest of vulgarity and bad taste, and no hurricane ever wrought more mischief than these. Desborough stood by, with folded arms, while Una went slowly over the ground between the spot where her husband was struck by the assas- sin's blow and the gully into which the body was flung. He wondered what whim had induced her to make this examination, the object of which neither Miss Harrington nor Caerlyon seemed to understand. And well he might wonder, since the object of Una's journey to Dingwall Wood had nothing at all to do with the wood itself, and the examination of the ground was merely a blind. Presently the girl came to Dellborough's side. I am ready to go now." she said, quietly. He could see that. she was agitated, though she reso- lutely controlled herself. "Has your journey been in vain?" he asked, anxiously. I cannot tell yet," Una answered, truly enough. I think not; but I will I ell you later." It seems strange," Desborough went on, that the police have not be. able to discover anything mnre of the man who was with Herbert at the races" Why so strange ?" said Caerlyon, joining them. I have no doubt myself tint that man was the murderer, but lie was not new at crime, and was well able to bwfBe the not very brilliant intellects of detective policemen." So it seems," returned Desborough, thought- fully, as they all turned away from the dell; and no more wns RSlid on the subject. Caerlyon had intended, as they crossed the field on their way to the Dingwall road, to make some rematk aboul, the Larches, and so lead to a request from Una to explore the ruin, when Evelyn un- consciously played into his hands, by suddenly pointing to tlie house and asking whose it waS, It belonged, I was told," said Caerlyon, to a Squire Tollemache, who, assisted by his son, ran through his property, and now the place is in ruins." "Is that the Squire Tollemache you were talking of one day at Ercildoune?" asked Desborough. "The same. I daresay we could get into the place if we tried. Do let us try," said Una and Evelyn, almost in a breath. Ruined houses are rather dangerous places to explore." remllrked r>-sborough. "One never knows where a broken plank or a worm-eaten staircase may give way, and let you down %-ith a crash." A solidly-built country house would hardly bo reduced to such decay in the course of ten or fifteen years' neglect," said Caerlyon, smiling a little; "our ancestors knew how to build for the time to come." And we can walk carefully," added Una. There was no more to be said, and Desborough followed where Una led. As they approached The Larches they saw that the use was surrounded by tolerably extensive grounds, entered from the front by large carriage gatos, which now hung rusty and broken on their hingt's. The lodge was closed, the broken windows were boarded up, the door was cut about and de- faced by the jack-knives of natives, who had carved their names or sundry artistic devices thereon. The broad drive was covered with weeds; the trees looked gaunt and straggling. If any of the party had been versed in arboriculture they would have seen that these trees had been neg- lected for a much longer period than ten or even fifteen years: in some places the branches grew so wide and low that carriages and horsemen would have found passage difficult. Traversing what had once beeu a pleasant, but was now a mere wilderness, the explorers found themselves before the long low frontage of the house, which certainly presented a dismal nppear- anee. Some of the windows were whole: but many were entirely, others partly, broken. The ivy climbed freely wherever it listed, long tendrils hanging loosely and waving to and fro in the wind. Weeds grew on the once trim terrace. Everywhere dirt and neglect reigned supreme. Thehatt-door was fast shut, but a trial of one of I the French windows opening on to the terrace proved that entrance at this point could be easily effected. A shower of glass fell wit hin, and the casement fell back from hinges too rusty to stand I a vigorous onslaught. The room was large, and almost void of furniture, the ook panelling dirty and defaced, while spiders held high jinks" in all the corners, and even extended their webs across the ceiling. What a wretched place!" said Desborough, looking round him. Who could imagine this being a home?" Una shuddered, and went out into the hall. The same ruin everywhere met the eye. The broad staircase was filthy, but otherwise not damaged, but the chambers opening from the long corridor above were counterparts, in » more or less degree, of the reception-rooms. In one of those, however* was a curious old worm-eaten cabinet, which I attracted Una's attention, and in looking at it and questioning Desborough on the subject of old cabinets in general, she did notseain to notice that Caerlyon hnd left them, but even as she looked round for him, he returned, explaining that he had been exploring some of the rooms on the other side of the corridor. There is another floor above this," said Evelyn,, is there not? Let us go and see what that i&. like." Ascending the stairs, which could not be immediately found, and presently were discovered I behind a door, the party entered a corridor some- what similar to that they had left, but lower and narrower, and the chambers opening from it were evidently those formerly occupied by servants. At the extreme end was ahugeiron-cliiinpedoaken door, the apparent purpose of which was to en-I tirely shut off some portion of the building from the rest. Such a door in such a place could hardly pass unnoticed. Unll. was, at this time, walking in advance. Desborough by her side. Pointing to the door, she said, Wonderingly- Where in the world does this door lead to ? How strange to have a great dungeon-looking door hke that up here." I wish I could enlighten you," said Desborough, smiling. "Perhaps there is a dungeon behind it." I shall see," answered Una, and she advanced to the door, and IBid her fingers on the handle. The door yielded to her touch, but ere it had opened an inch, and before a glimpse of what lay beyond could be obtained, Desborough sprang forward and seized the girl's arm almost roughly, his face white with terror. "Are you mad?" he cried. "Stand back— Then, as he met Una's amazed look, he Bushed scarlet, stammered, and forced a laugh. I was so afraid for vout" he eaid, I—I thought—there might be—some—some danger. One never knows in these old houses." "I do not know what very great danger there can be, Mr. Desborough." observed Caerlyon, coldly, and somewhat haugtttity and as he spoke he opened the door, and disclosed what at first looked like a blank space; but, bending a little forwards, he beheld a wide and deep well, above which the outer walls of the house rose on all sides, so that fi-om without nothing was visible. "What a horrible place!" said Una, looking down; and Evelyn asked what it could be in- tended for. I suppose," said Desborough, who had now recovered his presence of mind, the Tollemaches used In the old times to push through t,his door anyone they wanted to get rid of. I know of a similar contrivancein an n'd manor iio ise in York- shire, and that memory flashed suddenly into my head when I saw you open the door, Lady Una. You must forgive me-" I have nothing to forgive," said she. "I might have stepped across the threshold, and been dashed to pieces below." But Desborough was wondering within himself whether Max Caerlyon was satisfied with the explanation given. He made no remark, except, as lie closed the door again, to express surprise that it had not been locked or ba: red up. They traversed the rest of the building, but failed to find anything of special interest, and all breathed more freely when they reached the pure spring air outside once more. One feels as if one had been in a vault! said Evelyn, shivering. "And that horrible well!— think of the bones that may be lying at the bottom I certainly thought for a moment, Air. Desborough, that you knew about the well! I I ? lie echoed. I never saw the old house be- fore. I don't know what ma^e me suddenly re- member that place in Yorkshire where there is a door like that, opening upon a deep well-an in- spiration, I suppose." "A fortunate inspiration I" said Caerlyon, who overheard the reply, as it was intendc-d he should and there was no irony in his voice, whatever there was in his mind; but when he bade Una I' farowel' at her own door his eyes met hers vith a fiitsh of triumph The ruse had been a. perfect success. What must be the next step ? I CHAPTER XXXV. A LOCK OF HAIR. I wart," said Max Caerlyon, about a fortnight after the Dingwall journey, "a lock of Laurence Desborough's hair." He was sitting by Una's side on the sofa one evening b • had called on busir ess," and perhaps few counsel would object to transacting business with so lovely a client, especially when the client I had no objection to counsel's arm as a support, and counsel's shoulder as a resting-place for her head. "A lock of Desborough's hair!" repeated Una, looking up into her lover's handsome iace why do you want it?" "Surety you can guess: to analyse it." Una mused for a moment; then her delicate lips began quivering she smiled—laughed out. Comedy is so close to tragedy, and the comedy of this idea was irresistible. In a moment there flashed into her mind the position of her pleading with Desborough for a lock of his htir, and his yielding to her prayer, under the cond impression that she wanted to wear it next to her heart, whereas it would go straight to the laboratory of an analytical f-homist. Caerlyon laughed too. How could he help it? "Perhaps he would refuse," he said, after a pause. Then I will sulk," replied Una, promptly. "Nor will I give him one of my own in relurn. He shall have something elsa—a flower will be best. He would hardly dare to hold to a refusal."s Besides, he would not suspect you. When shall you see him ? "To-morrow morning." Then I shall hear from you again. Una, you know I have been making inquiries with a view to finding out the truth concerning that. 'uncle' of Desborough's. Also I see the necessity of dis- covering where Desborough lived in London while I was at Ercildoune, and whether he was at home on the Dingwall race day. We cannot neglect any collateral evidence, since the only evi- dence of identity is founded on a vision or spiri- tual discernment, and could hardly be accepted by a jury. For such work the services of a detective are indispensable, and I have discovered a fellow who. I think, will do the work admirably. I believe I shall succeed in proving that the 'uncle' was a complete fabrication; in finding out where Desborough lived and in unearthing the fact that on the Dingwall race day Desborough was ttway from his rooms. I may even succeed in tracing him to Dingwall. I have long ceased to believe in the uncle. My impression is that he was afraid to be in the same house with you and me, lest I should discover his feelings towards you, and the uncle' was an excuse to make a graceful escape." He is a very clever man," said Una, but he has met his match And he had—in the woman as we!! as the man— for Laurence Desborough had no suspicion when, the next morning, Una came forward smiling to greet him that the pretty white hands were bait- ing a trap for him. Hut it was not till he rose, reluctantly enough, to go that Una, who, throughout the interview, had retained her reticent manner, unbent, and looking up to him archly, as he held her hands in his, said— Mr. Desborough, I want to ask you a favour ?" "Mr. Desborough he repeated, reproachfully. Una's eyes fell; her colour rose. It caRt her no small effort to use the man's Christian name. Laurence." she said, after a pause. My dear one! you know there is nothing I could refuse you." "A very simple thing,"she said,with that coaxing manner that nothing masculine can ever resist," a lock of your hair." Hfreyes were fixed full on his face as she spoke, and she saw a sudden flash across his features— not of transport, as should become a lover to whom his mistress prefers such a request, but rather a "tarOed look, as of a man abruptly confronted with something equally unexpected and unwelcome; the next second he smiled. You shall have it," he said, on one condi- tion." No conditions!" lifting her finger; those are for me to make." But you will give me a curl nf your own hair in exchange?'* No," shaking the golden curls;" you shall have this"—taking a flower from the bosom of her dress. And she took up from a table near a little \lR it, of scissors. The next moment a lock of the coal-black hair was in her hand, and the flower from her dress in Laurence Desborough's. "Now go," said she, half laughing; "you have been here too long already, and Darnleigh is coming shortly. I shall have a scene with hiin if he meets you here. Good-bye! you may come again when I write, not before." So she got rid of him, and, when he was gone, »he quickly and shuddermgly wrapped up the lock of hair in paper, and locked it in her desk and then she went to her room sr.d washed her hands. Before 'he evening that lock of roal-black hair was in the laboratory of one of the most eminent analytical chemists of the day. Una Herbert was a sadly unromantic inamorata. (To be c01ltinut.J..)

.. .--------GHOSTS AND GHOST…