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(ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.) SHROUDED IN MYSTERY; CIt, WHICH GIRL DID HE MARRY' BY J, SKIPP BORLASE, Author (,f "For True Love's Sake," "Thi-M Level); Wttucn," "Darker than Death," "An Ocaan Secret," "Recalled to Lite," "Riches to Stain," "Who Killed John Cameron?" "Sword and L hes," *l;oliee iiiakiter," &c. CHAPTER LXXXV. NARRATES HOW LADY HOWARTH WAS RESCUED BY HER HUSBAND AND THE PINNER. Jim NutaJl hadn't the slightest wish to linger on the way, for he was fearful of re- cognition and re-arrest. For the same reason lie eschewed the main thoroughfares, and induced the baronet to cross the river by the wishing stones instead of by the bridge, though ground was rather lost than gained by the proceeding. When some five minutes later the baronet noticed in what direction they were proceed- ing, he said to Nuttall: "We've turned up the bridle road leading to Manchester. We are going towards Ghost- P, lane. What is this for?" "Because we are going to the haunted nun- nery," replied the pinner shortly. "What? Is she there, then, after all? Yet iao, it cannot be Sir Henry uttered the first seven words in accents of surprise, but the last five words in tones of incredulity, but Jim Nuttall made answer: "She's there and yet a long way from there. I could even take you to her by a much shorter cut and without going ■*ear the nunneiy at all, but then I've got >> think of the best way of getting at her gven more than of the quickest plan of getting near her/' and perceiving, that the otd pinner was taking a kind of pleasure in being Sphinx-like and mysterious, Sir Harry forbore from questioning him further. At last the gloomy and half ruinous old house was reached, and fishing the front door Ikey out of his breeches* pockeft the dinner hurriedly inserted it in the lock. A minute later they were inside the deserted mansion, and the door was securely locked behind them. Then Nuttall heaved a sigh of apparently Intense relief and satisfaction, thereafter ex- claiming: "Now if I'd but a pot of strong old October ale, I'm blest if I wouldn't forestall my com- in, fortune by giving a guinea- for it." "You should have thought of the ale while eoming along, and when twopence would have procured the very best," said the baronet. "Coming along I thought a deal too much about my thousand pounds to risk the loss of a single moment on the way. 'Taint much more than an hour ago that I escaped from the watch, who were hauling me along in the direction of Packer street and the Flying Horse on the charge of trespass, a.nd I know not what else." "Well, well, never mind about all that now. Take me as quick as possible to my poor wife. That is to say if you really can." "Trust me for that. Come along, and you shall be with her in next to no time. I know of something tna.t'll do the business finely, and our four arms will be none too few to work it. either. It's that I've had in my Blind's eyes all the way along." With this more than ever incomprehensible utterance the pinner led the way to the secret chamber and nointed to the hole that may be .t&id to have formed its only article of furni- ture, and the rope that hung adown it. "That's the way," end Fmj going down first in order to give you confidence. First, however, we want a lighted! candle to orna- ment each of our hats with, for you see we must have our hands at liberty. There's one, and kindled in a second', too, for mine's a stunning flint and steel. Stick it in your hat band, and here goes number two in mine. Now, in another minute I'll be at the bottom of the bottomless hole, which isn't more than twenty yards deep at the most, and even part of that is above ground and only in the thickness of the brick wall, and if there wasn't once an easier way of getting down it than there is at present, why I'm preciously mistaken." The conclusion of this speech, came up out ef the apparent depth profound, and m a later Jim shouted up it: "Now then, here I be on wha.t the schul- lard's cafl terry firmer once more. Don't hs afeared, Sir Harry, for it's all plain sailing, and rm holding the rope steady at th2 bot- tom." "All right," responded the baronet, and then down' he went into the yawning gulf in turn, and directly he had landed on the earthen floor of the! subterranean, passage he exclaimed, "But where is she?" "Help me to carry this long plank," re- joined Nuttall, pointing, to the one which Halcamus Greenwood had olid down the almost precipitous incline upon a former occa- sion, which the reader will doubtless re- member. "It's to ding down the door of her prison with," he added, "for there a.re doors, aye, and strong ones too, even down here. If there hadtn't been I'd have got at her and brought her out myself, for I am very sure that I could have trusted- to your honours honour about the reward?" "Of course you could," responded the baro- net curtly, and then -they went on and on in silence, carrying the plank between thorn,, until they reached the Templars' Chapel. "Now, that's the barrier that we have got to knock down," said Jim Nuttall pointing towards the mildew and fungus-covered door. "There is the keyhole which I spoke to her and she answered me back through. It's to be hoped that the hinges and the staples are corroded and' rotten, for then a swing or two of this plank will about do the business; hut if they aren't, then we have some pre- vious stItt v work cut out for us." "Speak to her through the keyhole again," rejoined! the baronet nervously." Tell her that you have come to rescue her, and not to be frightened at the noise that you are about to make." "Whv don't you tell her so yourself?" asked t.he pinner in considerable surprise. "Because I don't want her to know that I am here. There are matters between us— but there, there, you need1 not be told about thom—su I beseech you to do what I have asked of you without further question." Jim Nuttall immediately complied by put- tin" his mouth to the keyhole and; shouting through it: "Did you think I was never coming back?" Well, here I be. two and a half hours later than I promised, but I suppose it's better late than never. Fve got a mate with me, and a. big board, and the two of us are going to thump the door down, so please stand clear of it, my gal—my lady I mean—for fear that it might; fall inwards and give you an ugly Jwock." 0 In answer to these words of mingled oom- fort and warning there came from within a shrill cry of thankfulness and joy, which sti- mulated the two men to lay hold of the board t.gain, and! commence swinging it, battering- ram fashion, against the door. Bang—bang—bang—it had little effect at first., and its wielders had begun to fear that a would b&ve none, when suddenly, befara a blow only a littie more powerful than the preceding ones, the door suddenly collapsed, and fell crashing inwards, revealing in an in- stant of time the dumpy Norman pillars, the low vaulted' roof, and the sculptured tombs with their hideous phosphorescent seeming transparencies of the Templar's Chapel. On the top of one of those monuments, and at the crossed feet of the stone knight who lay recumbent thereon, tu inkled an almost expiring fragment of candle, and standing beside it, with pallid face, parted lips, and wildlv longing eyes, was Ruth Howarth, leaning for support on the cold hard marble, than which her countenance was still whiter. At the pitiful sight Sir Harry could rest- rain himself no longer, and with a glad cry he rushed past the pinner and clasped her in his arms, exclaiming the while "Ruth, my wife, I know all, and I forgive you. Your sister Rose—Rose I say, has ex- plained everything, and convinced me that you were far more sinned against than sinning in everything that you either said or did;. I am come to take you home—yes, home—as well as, I hope, to comfort and to happiness. "No, no," wailed out Ruth, to his infinite surprise, Home with you would mean Dame Dorothy over again—Dame Dorothy who murdered your first wife, and tempted your mad daughter to murder me,your second, by telling liei that I was a wehr-wolf and ought to be killed. She was to feel for my heart against my naked side with one hand and then thrust a bodkin or a scissors into it with the other. No, far rather would I remain and perish in this awful place than I would live in a palace if its roof also sheltered Dame Dorothy." "And yet, what am I talking about ?" con- tinued Ruth, passing the back of her hand across her eyes as though-to collect her scat- tered faculties. "What aura I talking and thinking about? for the old hag—the deceitful and murderous old hag—was burnt to death in the north wing. Her skirts caught fire just as she was on the point of murdering me, and with the same dagger that she slew your tirst wife with—the one that was thrust in her bedroom—the bureau with the hideous carved figures, all blood-stained. Aye, she boasted that she had done it, and oh. with what fiendish glee But as she is no more—as she has met her well-deserved fate, I will go with you—yes, I will go with thankfulness and joy, and I thank you from my heart for forgiving and forgetting so much." She took her husband's arm as she con- cluded and lie at once turned round towards Jim Nuttall, and perceiving from his wide- open mouth and horror-filled eyes, that he had overheard everything that Ruth had so un- guardedly uttered, lie, unperceived by her, tapped his forehead significantly with the forefinger of his disengaged hand, in order to intimate to the pinner that her sufferings had affected her reason, though he didn't believe it for a single instant himself, or at all events he had jumped to the conclusion that there was "much reason in such madness," as well as that reason, pure and simple, would return to her almost as soon as she was in the midst of pleasant and cheerful surround- ings. As for the pinner, his thoughts took the exact impression the baronet bad hoped they would as the result of his quick, pantomimic action, and, muttering half aloud, "Poor lady, poor lady!" he at once began to rack his brains concerning the best and easiest method of returning to the upper world. He knew that by no possibility would they be able to get the rescued girl up through the reputed bottomless pit into the haunted nunnery, for the rope WM not strong enough to bear two, and she certainly would be in- capable of climbing it alone. But the trap-door leading up to the viper's hole and the ruinous oastle keep? Ah that was a very different matter, for it wasn't more than some eight feet above the floor of the subterranean passage, so that Sir Harry could lift the lady up in his arms quite high enough for him (Jim) to get a good, firm grip of her from above, after he had ascended first, and, having pulled her through the orifice, he could next give the baronet some substantial assistance towards effecting the ascent also. Explaining the fact of their position and the deductions tha.t he had drawn therefrom to Sir Harry, he cordially agreed with them, and the consequence was that they were carried most successfully into effect; but, as necessarily similar description of a. twice- recorded feat would assuredly be lacking in interest, we need merelv state here that, con- siderably under an hour from the time of her being rescued out of Templars' Chapel, Lady Howarth was surrounded by every possible iuxury and comfort at Lisbon Hall, her bus- band's temporary abode, and that it was by that time sufficiently evident that horror and suffering had neither robbed her of her reason nor even to any great extent injured or im- paired her health. CHAPTER LXXXVI. MOST EXTRAORDINARY REVELA- TIONS—A CONFESSION CONTAINED IN AN IRON SNUFF-BOX. It can be every whit as easily imagined as described how, once together, mutual reve- lations and explanations led up to an almost complete understanding between husband and wife. In the course of them Sir Harry declared that Dame Dorothy had even tried to make him believe tha.t the ratafic essence had been obtained in order to poison him, and Ruth narrated how the diabolical housekeeper had prompted his innocent, half-witted daughter, twice in one night, to destroy her: on the first occasion by setting fire to her skirts, and on the second by thrusting a bodkin or scissors into her heart, because she was a wicked wehr-wolf who had destroyed her mother, and who, unless so disposed of, would ere long destroy her; going on to describe how, at a later hour, the hag had followed her into the north wing, and attempted there to despatch her herself, boasting gleefully that she had disposed of her predecessor in like manner, when she had at last felt assured that it was out of her (the narrator's) power to escape and tell the tale and how, finally, and at the last mo- ment, a retributive Providence had meted out to tier a death by fire through a candle flame igniting her skirts in a very similar fashion, save for the intervention of a living hand, as she had so fiendishly plotted with respect to her. and that this had been the beginning of the conflagration which had almost destroyed the interior of Clegg Hall. Sir Harry listened and believed, and he 'would have done so even had not the calcined bones which had been found in the ruins confirmed his young wife's tale. Little did lie dream that ere another couple of hours had passed away a much more ter- rible and appalling proof would be in his possession of the Dame's malignity and her consequent crimes—aye, even further and fresh crimes, which as yet he did not even suspect. But we must not anticipate. Leaving Ruth in charge of her old favourite, the cook, who was now housekeeper pro tern. as well, and to whom he gave instruc- tions that his wife and his daughter should not be allowed to come in contact with eaeh other until his return, the baronet departed with Jim Nuttall. who all this while had been feasting in the kitchen, for the old house in the wood, in order to request Mr. Radcliffe to hand the pinner over the thousand pounds' reward, and also to assure him of the recovery and safety of his daughter. He found old John in a condition in which he could barely understand what was said to him, and Parson Dick's man still in close attendance upon him; but Mrs. Radcliffe, whom the good news excited until she was almost beside herself with joy, ushered Sir Harry and his companion into the upstairs chamber in which, the corpse of Halcamus] Ureenwood still lay, begging the baronet to take especial notice of it on her husband's behalf, and telling Jim Nuttall to take all the money that he could find, adding that most of it was probably still buried in the mattress, but that she could not enter the apartment again herself. Well, Jim Nuttall found every coin, and the baronet took note that every injury which the decayed had received had been from the fangs and claws of the dog. There, too, was his pistol lying close by, and clear indi- cations that he had come in through the window, as the creeping plants were all broken, and there was garden soil on the top of tne leaden porch, on the floor of the room, and on his boots. So Sir Harry assured Mrs. Radcliffe on rejoining her, just as Parson Bellos had done, that her husband had nothing to fear as the result of an inquest or of any other legal pro- ceedings, and then set off again for Lisbon Hall, on the doorstep of that "mansion of the superb view" finding a man awaiting him who had an old iron snuff-box in his hand 'which was evidently blackened by the action of fire, and which he tendered to the baronet, saying: "This was found in the ruins of the house- keeper's room at Clegg Hall, Sir Harry, and if the fire had raged but a little bit more furiously there its contents would have been destroyed. Some of ns read what's inside, which, perhaps, was wrong, but we hope you'll excuse it, because if we hadn't done so we might have pitched the old thing away as being only a bit of useless rubbish but murder will out, they say, and 'we think you'll be able to make a murder out of what's in there just as clearly as we have done." So Sir Harry took the blackened iron (or, for that matter, it might once have been brass) snuff-box into his private study, and locked the door to guard against interrup- tion, and then, opening it, discovered some tightly-foldecl-up scraps of paper, which had evidently once been the leaves of a small account book, for there were the money columns ruled in red ink. The heat had turned' the paper brown, and he had to finger it very carefully lest it should crumble away in his touch. The writing, however, was clearly legible, and ran as follows, in a series of disconnected sentences that had evidently been written on many and divers occasions — "He has married a. ba,refooted beggar's v, ench, and he has put her over me, and I haw to obey and call her my lady '—I who have been as good as mistress here for years, and who was fool enough to hope that one day I would be the mistress. "He tires of her—aye, already—in a few months. The wine cup is more winsome to him than her beauty. He would give as much to be rid of her as six months ago he would have given to win her, and she, the fool. is jealous of me—of me who am almost old enough to be her mother, though still a handsome woma.n. or, at least, there are many who say so. She treats me like dirt because of it, but, perhaps, she will become dirt the fir "The beggar's wench bad said to me what I will never look over or forgive. Thank hf-uA en, my master could do better without her than Avithout me. I am his right hand, she onlv a beautiful picture or image. Bah and how sick of her he has become, and she at. II lays all the fault of it at my door. Well, I should feel complimented at that, for in truth he has never treated me as any other than a useful old woman. Old? I am only forty-five, and my figure is a perfect one. I'm sure mv skin is still as white as milk and smooth as satin where it hasn't been exposed to the air. "She has insulted me again. She shall die for it. Her death would be a relief to him and a joy to me. "I hate her more than ever-ten times more than ever. I hate her so much that I hate her innocent child for being so like her. "At last—at last I triumph. I have killed her, and, better still, I was able to whisper my hate into her ear before I did it. The world will think that after that accident on the stairs she destroyed herself through an insane jealousy of me. Her husband thinks it already. Even the doctors don't suspect any other. She has to be buried in unblessed ground like a brute beast. My cup of joy is full. "Her daughter grows yearly more like her. The little minx already begins to order me about. She looks at me with her mother's eye, I hate her, too, and I will gratify my hate by winning her love and driving her mad. Her father is much am ay. The horrors of the north wing are handy. I know some ghastly tales, too. Yes, I will drive her mad. "He has brought me another mistre&s. Yes, after all these years he ha.s brought me another mistress. Again a, girl, and again I have to give up my keys and rule. Once more I am a very menial. Oh I hate her as much as I did the other, and I will be avenged on her also. I shall die the mistress of Clegg Hall, or I shall die mad—mad through disappointment and spite. I 'wonder whether I am at all mad as it is? Well, no matter, I will be mad with a method—at all events till I have settled also with her. "I shall settle with her this very night, and, as my own time can't be far off, I will leave him this record as a legacy." This was all, but it came as a full elucida- tion and clearing up of the mystery which Ruth's story had only in part unravelled. "One day she shall know of it," he mut- tered to himself, "but at the present her nerves are not strong enough to bear it." He then locked the box and its restored contents carefully away, and went to see his afflicted daughter. (To be continued.)