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THE DOCTOR'S VICTIM: * STORY…

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THE DOCTOR'S VICTIM: STORY OF THE BURKE AINI) HARE TRAGEDIES. Autb0r ,BY R" T" GASSON' of Botmi» Mary," "A Modern Ishmael," ^wtor's Doom," Maggie Ray," "Dorcaa ae' "Faithless Florence," &c., &c. CHAPTER XID. hN THE BURKERS' DEN. Pinion ^.Wo human ghouls, Burke and his com- turQ 111 iniquity, lying in ambush near the l''e high-road leading to Thistleden, segsed +. as much patience as they pos- iftujj. e home-coming of the laird and Elsie It was a bitterly cold night, and i | the sound of wheels in the dis- j 4 them that their intended victim frr^. aw*i°? nigh, the blood stemed almost i 1Q their veins. Burke had brought gf, 1Kl a small bottle of whisky, but it slal] w,011 and then the cold appeared "HP 0re mtense than before. the they come Now, don't let us play goo^ « the laird seems to have had a ^ind (,iraPP'e> do you jump up behind and 5 111 tumble the laird out, even &Ut brother." ffiUriJgj. a sore disappointment awaited the the tOilS A third person was in an^' as they recognised Gordon *valj tne men hiding in the shadow of the he roadside were filled with astonish- Wag l They. could not understand Munro. s-ters^, ? on friendly terms with Mary the tvv° ^'r^d, cramped, cold, and angry, a,^nial °nnien. llQtethered the sorry-looking to he7 had left in a field- hitched him ritej cart, and returned to the city, dispi- jj' ftiUst h Was °f opinion that Gordon Munro ri<JHVf a't3red his mind as to Mary being the notion obstinately com batted J'ouna (i^ a, wide-awake gentleman is that and the C ?r' 'ie went home with the laird anyth- Sj''l last night for a, blind, so that if he Kgj f happens to her nobody would fancy 'lad aught to do with the affair." afte,. you're right, Burke," said Hare, n a pause. "Better luck next time." ^srbt um Munro stayed at Thistleden all hein to leave early in the morning. elaSi| due at one of Dr. "Knox's auatomy k°rseh- i(f ten- On his way to the city, on and ina°f'hilviQg *ent him a horse ^UHroV '1"n to conic again that evening, in ft ^let a trap with two women Vi<)lentlv > aS 'ie Pass^ thein he started so "Surel a'sTa^,nnst to lose his seat, y°Unrrp,. cannot be mistaken. The W°!n m *s Mary Paters,»n Can that 1 1)6611 mistaken when she declared &1* wnf nUW Mary drowned? Or have I turn to M deceived ? If I could only re- 18 ^com-6 hut I dure n°t: the doctor ,Seric«s. rr'p suspicious of my fre que nt ab- tha.jj 0n s reputation has shielded me more gain, no doubt: but, 11 Map*"1!' nii«!|t as well leave Edinburgh. ?thtr w y )e going t;i Thistleden? And the W]io can she be? I wish I n Mary pS s°rt of suspense is horrible. P(ion MafilSon.s companion—the woman *[«W did not recognise—was the rri'1erl to *ien who had detor- coinr^i uP°n the advice of Mr. Buchan. ils ovvn ne ^aird of Thistleden to resume Prnn^11116' 01 faee the consequences of a Kl&ie haff8 to eompel him to do so. had go s- Ste^n" ^Mne for a walk when Mary and f, girl iZ°le, f acdnff reached Thistleden. To UP 'n London, the Idealities of special aroun^ her new home Q6Ver spf.1']ni- an<^ ^or hours together Elsie ■ D*vj!l Me'tlred "f J!1 ^and aa<:<1T^ Was leaviDg the house, gun Pr°ache(| s Jary and her companion ap- f?arWd ;n On seeing them he stopped. though ar,^ishmenti rubbing his eyes as *gain> ai^me. n= ailed lu< looked was }. mo?t gasped for breath, so in- e slit>posiiH S j^ftoui^hmeut. He had seen, as v3011 aft?r n' i's nie<3e Mary Paterson go out a€re she ° n ^unro's departure, and yet fiuit-e differently, and K a Granger. r°thei-\s i^r* Macduff/' f^aid his v, hv f u''10 could not help wonaer- hxedi > tiie laird stared at his niece so ''(J a|)sti'atte(ji^0rD.'2?' ma'am.' he answered, ^^t a»w s regarding Mary with an Tliis il?i J?aze. !shes to l,/ JS Mrs. Stephen Macduff; she 't^ her f Ve an interview with you I came '4n<j company," said Mary, quietly, n ^t is n youDg lady—who are you ?" apie, pretending ignorance of my ttr ^arv p ayif'- 'Jo j aterson—but how can it be so ? Wee?" e §u'l who left me half an hour Ah j fT- ^ckfed j48 Elsie Murray saved from the ^Uali-J*; s^lf' 'ier "ray l'ere' .^terso^ v» Pass herself off to you as Mary Z6 so, a as'ked Mary, excitedly. "It must life nn'V £ thought I could have staked a Verv ^ove f°r me- it would ^d'Urer] S11 u ng temptation to one who had ^ited t0j] life of hardship and ill-re- 1 .he la>Pri;S klsie experienced in London." -1? agitaH., S ^^tification had vanished, but ^>t)i ma n "ad increased. He was imbued ^.Islav f ^'le superstitions of the island fof.i-V>In whence his mother had come. fr6 deceivili ac/' °f ^is—suffering himself to yo,in? oy a cunning, unscrupulous But T,lman- ^at did it betoken ? 1,1 frnJ* of the present aroused X 1 US day<i«am. C0Itle into t'lie house?" he said. "A &dthe way. tn«?" n°W' what do vou wish to sav to e°ficniAr ue ev'<iently with a strong effort j "You t' Ks Station'. huak VGj assumed the name of my dear- P it anj11. "^avid Macduff. You must it nd take your own." I "I havn't the nerve bo choke the life out of a woman." I I And, as the laird did not immediately reply, Mrs. Steenie went on: "My agent, Mr. Buclian, wished to issue process against you without warning, but for the sake of the family name I refused. But any further attempt on your part to interfere with my husband's property will lead to your arrest." "What? My arrest? A civil process does not involve arrest, madam." "Forgery is a criminal offence. You forged my husband's name to a letter to his London agent, with a view to obtain the documents left in the agent's hands. That forged letter is now in the possession of Mr. Bieliait." "I will do what you wish you will not be further troubled by me." said the discom- fited laird, biting his lips to keep down his anger at being browbeaten by a woman. A sudden shower had driven Elsie home, and, not dreaming for a moment that the laird had visitors, she sought him in the library. She had advanced well into the room ere she saw Mary. Instantly the face of the suppla.nter became deathly pale; her eyes teemed as though they would start from their sockets; her whole frame trembled so violently that she could scarce k€Jep her ba'ianoe. "Mary she gasped, at length. "Yes, Elsie Murray, it is I '=> You did not wait to ascertain whether I escaped from the wreck, but hurried on her, a willing slave to your base passion of cupidity. You were not content with stealing my clothes, money, and other property—the fact that you are now wearing my best shawl is a proof that you took my bag with you when you left in the boat—but you had the supreme audacity to come here in my name, and lead the laird to believe that I could condone all the wicked- ness of 'which he has been guilty," said Mary, ness of 'which he has been guilty," said Mary, in an outburst of passionate scorn. "I thought you were dead," gasped Elsie. "The wish was father to the thought. You did not trouble yourself much about me it is impossible that you could have done so. else you must have learnt that I had escaped. "Gather up what belongs to you, and leave the house thundered the laird. You che;rt -you fraud "Dear me! And what are you. pray? She told me," waving her hand towards Mary; "said you had been guilty of what you now condemn me for. Took the name of your dead brother, didn't you, and wanted his property ?" and Elsie's fear of Mary vanished as she boldly faced the laird. "That does not in the least concern you," retorted Mary. "You cannot remain here; your own common-sense must tell you that. Indeed, if you value your life. the sooner you put some distance between you and Thistle- den the batter your chance of safety." Elsie hesitated for a few moments; then she left the room. "I will promise not to trouble you any further," said the laird, addressing his sister- in-law. "Then we will go, Mary," said Mrs. Steenie Macduff, rising. "You will surely stay and have lunch with me—or take a glass or two of my old port," said the laird. "No, thank you." said Mary, decisively. After they were gone the laird sent for Elsie, and told her she might stay if she pleased; he wanted someone to look after the female servants. And Elsie, who had promised Gordon Munro to marry him as soon as he had com- pleted arrangements for a home for her, was fain to accept the laird's offer. But, as she noted Munro's changed de- meanour towards her when he came in the evening, her heart sank within her. Had he heard of Mary's preservation? And was it the nieoe of the laird he wanted for a wife? 'The laird and I have a little private busi- ness to discuss," remarked Munro. after an early supper. ^e would have given all she possessed to be able to hear what took place at the inter- view, but Munro took care that there should be no listeners. 1 1 "You ha.d a couple of visitor to-day, laird?" said Munro, the moment the door was locked. "Yes. Did you know that a trick had been played upon me?" "That matters not: now the real one has turned up again, there is no reason why you should *.eep the false Mary. Let her go." "I have already told her she may stllY. replied the laird, somewhat testily, for the tone of the medical student was certainly dictatorial. "The asylum folk are beginning to believe that there may be some truth in the ta-ie Jessie, your niece, lia<s told everyone who will listen to her—that you drugged her wine, and then handed her over to two notorious body-snatchers for sale as a corpse, though she wa.s still alive." "No one believes the tales told by mad folk," sneered the laird. I "But if I were to acquaint the procurator- fiscal with the important fact that it was to me Miss Jessie owes her marvellous rescue I from a living death—what then, eh. laird? It would mean transportation, if not the scaffold, as sure as you are sitting there. So let me hear no more opposition to my plans with respect to the girl who made a fool of you so easily. It suits me that she should go, and to-night." And the laird dared not refuse; he was at Gordon Munro's mercy. Elsie, sent for by the laird after Gordon Munro had gone to his room, was coolly told that she must leave the house at once. "Here are JB5, though you have not the slightest claim on me. You are no relation of mine, you know, he said to the almost petrified girl. Does Mr. Munro know that you are driving me away at such an untimely hour?" she asked, despairingly. "He does, and is as much disgusted with you as I am." "He knew well enough that I was not Mary, and would have married me had she not returned. It serves me right; may God forgive me for my wickedness." Two hours afterwards, tired and footsore, not being accustomed to a walk of such a length, Elsie was on the outskirts of the city, wondering whether she could obtain a lodging at that hour-one in the morning. Suddenly, from a dark corner, sprang two men. and before she coula raise any alarm, she was garrotted and robbed of all she had—a few shillings in addition to the five £1 notes the laird had given her. The thieves had not hurt her seriously; she managed to stagger to her feet. after they had run off, and picked up from the ground a shilling they had dropped. "A single shilling between me and starva- tion! My punishment is quickly becoming I more than I can bear. What" shall I do now ?" In the Grassmarket she met a solitary I "I'd split your skull open!" I watchman, and ventured to ask him if lie knew where she could get a lodging for the night. j "H'm It's so late, ye ken. But maybe Mistress Hare winna be gane to bed. Ye miiJ'ht try her; I'll show you the way." Hare and his wife kept a common lodging- house, mostly patronised by tramps, and, so far as the old watchman knew, the girl walking beside him would be safe enough there. I At one period of her life Elsie had had some experience of poverty in London, but she shrank back dismayed when Mrs. Hare, in response to the girl's knock, opened the door. "I want a lodging. ma,'am have you a spare ],)ed"" said Elsie. trying to overcome her repugnance to the house and its mistress. "To be sure I have, my dear; come in. You're tired, I can see. A little drop o' porter will do you good." "I have not much money to spare, and cannot pay for any porter," said Elsie. "I didn't mean ye to pay for it; have a sup with me. And, feeling faint and wearied, Elsie did not refuse the drink. "'Twill help you to sleep, my dear," said fitjB treacherous woman, as she pressed the liquor on the unsuspecting girl. In a few minutes Elsie was fast asleep, and "ready for the little back room," as Mrs. Hare muttered to herself, wishing that i.er husband would come home. Hour after hour passed by, and Hare did not come home. When the city clocks struck six. although it was still dark, Mrs. Hare knew that it was too late to carry into effect the last act of the tragedy she had arranged, and, being a keenly avaricious woman, her chagrin was great. "If I only dare, I would finish the job myself, and hide the body under the straw in < the back room; but I haven't the nerve to choke the life out of a, woman. There's ten pounds gone, for it will not be easy to per- suade a girl like her to stay here another night. What's keeping him, I wonder?" When another hour had gone, and she knew the dram-shop at the corner of the close would be open, Mrs. Hare went there, seek- ing her husband. She found both him and Burke there, drinking, and, knowing that when he went out the previous evening he had no money, she supposed that the two men had either rifled a grave or in some other and less and risky way obtained a "shot, and so earned money. "Come outside—I've something to tell you," whispered Mrs. Hare to her husband. "Have a drop of gin then I'll oome," he replied. And thus another hour passed, for one drop led to others, until the woman was more than half muddled. j "Got a 'shot' for ye at home, as purty; a bit of goods as ever ye see, an' ye might I have had the money in your pockets now had I ye come home last night," she said, when outside the dram-shop. "We must keep her till to-night; dose her well with whisky," said Burke, who had heard what Mrs. Hare said. I When they entered the kitchen Elsie had I just woke from her long sleep, and, though scarce fully awake, the moment she beheld the sinister face of Burke she started to her feet, and exclaimed "That is the face of my dream The monster who was choking the life out of me," and she tried to rush past the two men. Burke caught hold of her, however, and would have forced her into the little back room at the end of the passage had not Elsie's screams brought in some of the neigh- bours. nelp Murder Let me go screamed Elsie, having bitten Burke's hand when he tried to cover her mouth. "Let the girl go—here's a policeman coming a woman cried, and with an oath Burke flung her from him, causing her to fall violently in the passage, where she lay as though stunned. And when the policeman came, Jie believed she was drunk, and sent for assistance, the result being that Elsie was taken to the station on a hand-barrow. There a surgeon was sent for, and Gordon Munro chanced to be the first "doctor" the messenger met. "My God Who would have thought it j would end like th-is!" he muttered, as lie examined the supposed drunken woman. "She is not drunk; she has had a nasty fall, causing unconsciousness," he stated, the poor girl's sad predicament arousing a faint spark of pitv in his bosom. And when she recovered Elsie was told she might go. "Heaven help me Without money"—Mrs. Hare having stolen the shilling when Elsie was asleep—"without a single friend in this city, what wi'll become of me ?'" She was 'walking slowly, tlie pain in her She was walking slowly, the pain in her head, caused by the fall in Hare's passage. still being great, when she was startled by an eager voice exclaiming: "My darling Mary But how ill you are looking. Surely you have not forgotten me?" 11 "I am not Mary Paterson. sir." said Elsie, slowly. "I am a oousin of hers, but I treated her very badly, and she has cast me off." "But, have you no friends in Edinburgh?" "Not one. I am homeless, friendless, and penniless." "Then you must come with me. My sister will welcome you for my sake. and Mary I Paterson. when her anger has cooled, will be sorry if she treated you harshly." But if Graham Campbell could have fore- seen the misery that Elsie Murray would cause in his home. he would have as readily taken a viper to his 'sister as Elsie. He Tiad <! just arrived from London by a Leith vessel, after weeks of detention in a London hospital, I through a street accident, in which he sustained a fracture a skull, having been delirious, and then without memory, until a skilful surgeon removed a piece of bone that pressed upon the bran, and thus restored the lost memory. CHAPTER XIV. A DASTARDLY DEED. The joy of Jeannie Campbell at her a brother's unexpected return was overwhelm- ing, and for some time neither of the two ] gave a thought to Elsie, who, seated in the ) next room, faint with hunger, and exhausted I J by the after-effects of the drugged liquor she had drunk, felt very ill, indeed. Jeannie had never given up hope of her Jeannie had never given up hope of her brother's return. Her lover, James Buchan, r although he was careful to conceal it from her, had for some time believed that Graham would never again be heard of. After the 1 joyful Jeannie had hugged her brother to her ¡ heart's content, and had a "good cry, to show j. how glad she was," as he ttasingly told her ] they remembered Elsie, and Jeannie went in to her. "Graham, get the brandy decanter quick The poor thing has fainted shouted Jeannie, excitedly. ) I The quiok-witted Jeannie had instantly iivined what w«^s the matter with the deathly-11 white girl who lay stretched on the hearth-1 rug, and the brandy, slowly administered in 1 teaspoonfuls, soon restored Elsie to conscious- j ness. That fainting fit aroused the compas- j sion of Jetuaue, and made her the champion i

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THE DOCTOR'S VICTIM: * STORY…