PALE- ALES AND STOUT IN ICASIK. BOTTLE STORES :-PENAETH^ROAD, CARDIFF. 1965c
THE DOCTOR'S VICTIM: STORY OF THE BURKE AND HARE TRAGEDIES. 4uth BY R. T. CASS ON, '"tlT Mary," "A Modern Ialimael," doctor's Doom," Mapgie Ka.y," "Dorcas Qe> "Faithless Florence," &c., £ c. CHAPTER XVII. j Gordon munro s peril. Macduff was at last released from and her cousin Mary would have opjj ^.er to live with her but tor the strong hQ,POSitiun of her friends. Mr. Buchan, Gra- ^ere ^mpbell, ajid Mrs. Steenie Macduff aH(j j vehemently opposed to the plan, to j n. y Mary gave way. She had hinted cW>SSle' on *ier ia"st v*slt P1^01' to the dis- *"hat "she would give her cousin a °&e J aQd the dis-appointiiient was a galling OOU}J SucU a, young woman as Jessie, who "all nc>t hear to be thwarted. She refused Hien .s'^ance from Mary, and, on the re.com- 0bta1ja U ^r" M'Norrie, managed to to a situation as companion and nurse ft old lady at Liberton, a village °f miles south of the city. The "'ere light, the salary good, and Jessie tri 'ufl,ve stayed there contented had she Gordon Munro one day when visiting tress doing some business for her mis- ,uiv au lmexPe°ted pleasure, Jessie. Jon w K* you leave Morningside? I heard ■asked rfe ,a»u*n at liberty, but no one I have A amv me y°u had gone. 3s OoiY>r, .'nS with an old lady at Liberton, "Anrt ni0D' Gordon," she replied. denpn^re y°u contented to eat tlie bread 'stle<k8Q^e—y°u' the niece of the Laird of pTise Q' he asked, in well-feigned sur- !}aPpier ^)r<^on- I am quite content; much w"iien I lived at Thistleden, oar j°U ^lfe whinis of the laird, who ^6ry kin j; muoh for me. Mrs. Heseldine is "R ,d. me. ftot?'1 Se c^rie •' Why, slie is a miser, is sha "she lk ^liere !loa'ri^n& money, I believe, but her. is notlung of the miser's greed about J ts e, eeps a good table, pays her four wages, and is kind and con- [ I tyas^gr'10arc^ng money, does she ? I wish Jessie h-S]0Q 01 ^,avoui'ite nephew." ^as not reP^y she feared that Munro s°tne lno „ endeavour to induce her to get 0vfred jle ^or him • and, as she undoubtedly +C6rit in tl J6 1 during that lerribie °ffoiid l'6- d'sseeting-room, she did not wish 1 ftiiivt VIn' c"u'd be avoided. n- « S°ing, Gordon; Mrs. Heseldine Said a-cj.' "ve, and I must be there," she a P*1180- tlu.H „idmse to meet me at the cross roads, J eight L'lxicton, to-morrow night at you?'' ttien I will let you go. Will be thert." ^fused atyVr *°l 'ier ore welfare had she t Ve iWrf'11 meet him she would then Jrture f sPared much distress of mind, i- J^knou- °^ -lowed bv a horrible death. ^2 UT Munro, he had been seen „ hand ,J Captain Blair, chief of ^^Pulsorii Uves (>f whom Munro had been i Diablo .'s.vi'"ra a member. Since that w_n''ght1 ,when the young medical j J* hsr (r.,r, c.ailght playing the spv upon the ?,°t befcn tl° !n Major Weir's land, he had °llght tii U troubled by them. But now, Dosiit-6 ca,Ptain, Munro was. doubtless, 06 intri'+i t() *le^P them to obtain adinit- £ house of the Liberton miser, + t?'tlburtr'i.eS° w was CMilled bv some of the People. The fame she had ob- wide a hoarder of money h.id spread far ilP°U hp-' ;ln'1 Irlany attempts to make a. raid \r tirne ,ricPes had Inen made, from time 1' Uritlg the previous twentv vears. 1 e oI,| 1. r°red su«'^ssful. however, and at ,heved she could afford to t„ ,SUc!! enterprises. Surrounded by ^iniilap u ^et height, the only gate, "ok <fei^ht, arnifd witli spikes, notched forded e, grounds round the house 1 >0fih(i))nrla n|° V a couple of ferocious offer^ri >Hin6d not to touch food of any j Libpi't a- s anoer- or after nightfall, 1^iar iQ°n ,,miSer had good reasons for sunrv^rSe ^r0!U would-be burglars. tl Sln^ thieves had succeeded in > beoi their difficulties would only °Hble wf," ^*he walls of the house were °^tftr 1 n a sheet-iron casing between the ^dloxv 1 "Uier wall; every d(V)r and T'^st evA. were similarly protected; j 't jn j.61 y chimney had strong iron bars r ^essif. \t s^°ne w°rk across the inside. h'<d acduff w-as the only servant who eUtv >90n Av'th Mrs. Heseldine more than ^6a^; and, if Dr. M'Norrie had ^'0nlTj ^^Sht of Jessie's true nature, he PaUion tn ave recommended her as com- extra a 'ady. The doctor regarded W lia~- lQary story told him by Jessie— 'n^ heen drugged by the laird and '°n. ^he tea-chest—as an hallucina- £ ll° hade/„?Cto^ ,had. seen Gordon Munro, j k ICnov'aSSUred that Jessie went to frip-i t r°01n? to see a skeleton, and had si»ijf1 into temporary insanity by ^t. ?°t a human head in a large glass I 0f Uothin asylu™ doctor, knowing little f tfi Gordon Munro's detriment, gave j this explanation. He thought that ,ch an aborle as that of Mrs. Hesel- i^r(J&aKiUej ,yet cheerful: with light and r'c, ^hitie.s a kind, yet eccen- Auf] le.Ss would complete the cure. Jessi° ^'ouhl probably have done had fuptin.s> ^i1"airi come under"the evil and cov- Mur,^ ll^nce of Gordon Munro. r,e he Vvhad not left Je ssie mam" moments a a's accosted bv a stranger, attired! "A fel- ,do fanner. S Words with vou, Mr. }>Iunio, otlier- "Snatching the first roll of bank-notes." wise Number Nine," said the man, taking him by the arm. Gopdon Munro felt his blood run cold, and his knees shake as his memory went. back to that terrible experience in Major Weir's de- serted abode. He had lately begun to hope that Oaptain Blair and his band had for- gotten his existence as one of their number. Vain hope The captain was waiting until Number Nine could be of use to the gang; then he would be compelled to fulfil the oath of allegiance he had been forced to tr'<e to save his life. "What do you want with me?" asked Munro, in a voioe which trembled in spite of his endeavours to prevent it. "The young lady from whom you just now parted-you art on good terms with her?" "Yes," replied Munro, not daring to pre- varicate. "You must get her to arrange matters for a visit by some of our brotherhood to the house of her mistress. How you will manage this little matter is for yourself to decide I believe you can do it if you try, and, there- fore, you must not think of failure. That would be set down as disobedience, and you have seen the penalty we attach to such an offence." "But it will probably be a work of time," said Munro. "We are prepared to expect that, and will, therefore, give you a fortnight. The old pedlar will henceforth call upon you three times a week. You understand ?'' "Yes, I understand," the quiet tones giving no indication of the fury raging within his breast. "For your own sake, do *tf6t attempt to deceive us, for you will fail," said the stranger, as he walked rapidly away. Gordon Munro racked his brain in the endeavour to discover some way out of the difficult position in which he found himself, but his fears of Captain Blair and his band were too strong to be easily overcome. And he felt that he had no option but to comply with the demands made upon him. Jessie Macduff was half-inclined t-o ignore the promise she had made to Munro—to meet him again. She knew instinctiveiy that lie did not care for her, except so far as he could make use of her to help him in his schemes for his worldly advancement; but he had saved her life, and the slight affection she had previously felt for the handsome young student had thereby been strengthened into a warmer feeling. And when they met at the appointed hour the following evening, and Munro noted the deep blush on Jessie's cheeks as lie pressed her hand warmly, keeping it in his own for several minutes, he knew his task would not be an impossible one. Gradually drawing her out about her mistress's habits, lie was soon in possession of the knowledge that Mrs. Heseldme was not a miser in the sense that she was fond of counting her money. So far as Jessie knew, her mistress had not indulged in such a miserly trait since the girl's entry into her service. "Then, if you were to borrow a few from a bundle of notes, she would not know it, provided they were replaced?" "No Gordon, I oannot do that. Do not again tempt me to rob those who a.re kind to me. The agony of mind I endured at Thistleden, every d-ay fearing that the laird would discover the loss of the money I stole from him for you, was so terrible that I can- not again contemplate it." "Is this vour gratitude, Jessie, for having saved your life?" he asked, reproachfully. "It was my love for you that then prompted me to shield you from the ruffians who would ruthlessly have sacrificed you to their greed of gain. Does that love find no response in your breast, dear Jessie?" "Mistress is so kind to me; it would be the basest ingratitude," said Jessie, mus- ingly. "Love is a stronger feeling, dear Jessie. Besides, look at the vast difference between your gratitude to Mrs. Heseldine for her kindness to you as her companion and your indebtedness to me. It is not as though you would do her any harm, for she would never know of her temporary loss." "But it is simply impossible to get at her money. It is kept in an iron cupboard in her bedroom, and she never parts with the keys. "Where are they kept at night t' "Under her pillow." "Ah! Then you sleep in the same room?" "Yes; she has been somewhat nervous since she fancied she s'aw [l. man's face peep- ing into the room early one morning after she had opened the shutters, the night being a very hot one." ?" "Is she a sound sleeper?" "No; quite the reverse. She a wakes at the slightest noise." "Is the key of the cupboard on the bunch with the rest of her keys?" "Yes." "Then you must have thfm ift peeeee- sion sometimes, if only for a couple of minutes. Take the impression of the two keys of her bedroom and the cupboard in soap. and let me have them. I will get keys made from the impressions, and when the old lady next goes to one of the city festi- vals you can manage to get me a few notes without the remotest risk of discovery. He was looking into her eyes 'with the gaze of a basilisk, and, though she could not have explained the feelings by which she was governed, she felt herself powerless to resist him. And, as he noted her agitation, he knew that he had won. Henceforth she was his-body and soul. "You will do this for me, dear Jessie?" he whispered. "Yes, cordon; I cannot resist your plead- ings. But you will not ask me to repeat the-" "No, no; it will be a temporary loan. Take the first parcel of notes you see. Do not wait to count them, for fear one of the servants may discover you with the cupboard door open." And the infatuated, misguided girl pro- mised to lose no time in carrying out his behests. "I will come here every evening at the same hour, in the hope of meeting you, dear Jessie. If you have not arrived at half-past eight I shall understand that you are not ooming. But get the key impressions as soon as you cz. n. "Yes, dear Gordon. I must go now, or mistress will suspect something. I told .:ler I had no lover." On the following evening Jessie was at the rendezvous a. few minutes after eight, with two pieces of soap or which were impressed the wards of the keys necessary to obtain secret admission to the iron cupboard in which Mrs. Heseldine kept her treasure. "You have done wonders, dear Jessie. I will bring the keys to-morrow evening and, as the Cord Provost's ball takes place to- morrow night, and Mrs. Heseldine will be present, you will be able to try if they fit before she returns home." "You may go now." I "But she has asked me to accompany her, and I would like to go," said Jessie, with a slight pout. "You might not have such a chance for a long time. No, Jessie, you must feign sudden illness, but do not be so bad as to induce your mistress to stay at home you understand ?" "Yes, Goidon." she replied, but her tone was not so cordial as before, for she could see through his professions. To have his own ends served, whatever the consequences, was evidently all he cared for. But. before they sa.id good-night he iiad managed to chase the gloom from her brow, and to imbue her with the belief that lie would shortly carry out his promise, and make her Mrs. Munro. As Munro had premised, Mrs. Heseldine would ha.ve given up her intention to go to the ball on hearing from Jessie that she was not well, but to this Jessie would not listen. At midnight, when the rest of the household were asleep, Jessie tried the new key in the lock of the money cupboard, and it fitted admirably. Hastily snatching the first roll of bank-notes that caught her eye, she closed I and secured the iron safe, and, cautiously re- locking the door of the bedroom, went again to the adjoining room. her mistress not caring for even her companion to sleep in her bed-1 room when she was not there. Mrs. Heseldine had taken with her the keys of the gate and the outer door, and the bath-chairmen who brought her home at two in the morning saw her safely inside the grounds; the dogs then guarded their mis- tress. That day the old lady was too tired to leave her bed, and thus Jessie was able to go out to meet Gordon Munro without her mistress's knowledge. "I have done it, Gordon; here are the I notes. I have not looked at them, but hope 1 there will be enough. I could not untie the string around the parcel, for fear—but don't laugh at me—that the Evil One should be peeping over my shoulder." "Why, Jessie, they are all notes of £ 20 each How many, I wonder?" He slowiy and carefully counted them— fifty in all; Jessie had robbed her kind mistress of £ l,OuO 011, Gordon, let me take them back," she cried, trembling with fears of what would follow discovery. "Nonsense, Jessie! What would lie gained by that? You would have to open and examine other parcels to ascertain what is in them, and would run a great risk of being caught while so doing. Besides, when would you again have the opportunity? Your mis- tress does not often go away in the evening." Munro had coolly pocketed the notes, and Jessie saw that it was useless to argue the matter. "You had better let me have the keys, Jessie; if any bother is made they must not be found in your possession." And she was only too glad to be rid of tliein. "You will be careful, Gordon; I believe she knows the numbers of every note she has in her possession." "The devil she does That's awkward; but it's easily got over. Good night, Jessie. Had he known that his meeting with Jessie had been watched—that their conversa- tion had almost all been overheard by an un- seen witness—he would not have felt so light- hearted as he did when walking back 10 the city. It was dark, and the road was a lonely one. Once he stopped, thinking he heard a footfall behind him, but on turning he could see nothing. He was passing the end of a narrow lane when three men sprang out of the hedge and seized him. One of them flung a mantle Gver his head, and so stifled his cries for help and, in spite of his resistance, he was quickly bound by the arms and legs and carried lie knew not whither. Presently he knew that his captors were entering a building, and then, with a sinking heart, lie realised that lie was once more in the power of Captain Blair and his band, of whom he had himself been sworn a mem- ber. Why had he been subjected to such an outrage ? What did the captain know ? It was impossible he could have learnt anything about the theft of the notes. When the mantle was taken from him, and he could look around, he found that his sur- mise was correct. Again he was in a lighted room, with the masked men seated around a big table. And again the stern; deep voice of the captain broke the silence. "Number Seven, tell us all you know of Number Nine's treachery to his brethren." "Number Nine was requested to arrange matters with a young woman with whom he is acquainted, and who is in the service of •a lady at Liberton, for a visit by some de- puted members of our brotherhood. Instead of carrying out the instructions he received, Number Nine determines to keep the plunder himself. He has on his person at this mo- ment the sum of a thousand pounds, stolen from the lady's secret receptacle." "Number Nine, we await your explana- tion, said the captain, and his voice was even sterner than before. "What explanation am I expected to give ? I should have informed the old pedlar when he called to-morrow that I had obtained this money," said Munro, in a tone he tried to make indifferent. "You have ignored the instructions expli- citly given you. We intended to possess our- selves of the greater portion of the old lady's wealth, leaving her sufficient to live upon. She will soon miss the sum you have stolen, and your young lady friend will certainly bt suspected, as the latest addition to the house- hold. What chance will there be, then, of our succeeding in the main object? But your brethren shall decide. Number One, what say you, is Number Nine guilty or not guilty?" "Guilty And the question went round the table. the wretched prisoner giving strong evidence of the anguish he was suffering by an involun- tary groan every time the fatal word was uttered. There were ten present, exclusive of the captain, and, if his life depended upon it, Munro could not luave told, when al) had voted, how many were in his favour, "Number Nine. the members of our band are equally divided as to your guilt, and it becomes my duty to give the casting vote. You are but young, and it is possible you thought you would be able to do as we wished after" securing a portion for your own imme- diate necessities, of which we probably know more than you imagine. The offence you have committed is not a direct act of treachery to your brethren; therefore, I give my vote in your favour. Loose him." "You will now hand over to the common stock the money spoken of by Number Sev. n," went on the captain, after Munro had been freed from his bonds. "Your share will be two portions, and here is the amount in notes that cannot be identified, seeing they are ell j new. Number Seven, conduct Number Nine j into the road again." j It was evident that the robber chief made some secret sign to the man known as Number I Seven, for Munro was blindfolded before being I led from the place into the high road. Not I )t until he reached his lodgings did he count | the notes given to him by Captain Blair. He I was the possessor of £160, and, as he con-
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trasted the amount with that taken from him, he cursed the foolish curiosity which had induced him to venture into the old house known as Major Weir's Land. CHAPTER XVIII. BURKE'S PUNISHMENT. A few days after the departure of David Macduff from Edinburgh, Niary Paterson and her aunt took possession of a house at Gil- merton, a village a few miles south of the city. Mrs. Steenie's wealth enabled her to live in good style, and, with three female servants and a gardener who slept in the house, their friends thought the two women would be quite safe from any attempts that might be made to molest them by their. enemy, the laird. uraliam Campbell was somewhat annoyed that Mary had not exacted from her uncle his written permission to her marriage, but he gave no hint to Mary of his feelings. And, as for her, such an idea never once occurred to her. She had entered upon her twenty-first year, and when that was com- pleted she would be independent of her uncle'g sanction. A coolness had sprung up between Miary and Jeannie Campbell, greatly to the annoy- ance of Jeannie's brother. Jeannie had re- sented what she regarded as Mary's interfe- rence in the matter of Elsie Murray, Jeannie having invited Elsie to return, after Mary's departure. Graham Campbell was much attached to his only sister, and would not. oppose her wishes with regard to Elsie but he could not understand why Jeannie should thus make ajriend of a girl who could act as Elsie had done. Fortunately, Mary never mentioned Elsie's name, but she was awara of her false cousin's return to the Campbells, for she quietly declined to accept an invita- tion to tea. sent by Jeannie through her brother, j "It was not by my desire, dear Mary, that Elsie came back to us. Jeannie 'has always 3 said she would like a companion, and sW- somehow took to Elsie. I do not like to interfere, although it is certainly strange that my sister should apparently be taken witfe one who did you so great an injury." "I know it is not your doing. Gra,ham;- but do not again ask me to go with' you so long as niv unworthy cousin stays with you. I,> hope you do not think me either vindictive or uncharitable; but it is my tirm belief that Elsie's repentance has not been genuine, and that, given an opportunity, she will embrace any chance of enriching herself at the expense of her benefactors." Graham Campbell did not care to go on with the subject. He was of opinion that Elsie was neither better nor worse than the average girl would have been in similar cir- cumstances. She had yielded to a great temptation; but that she would again give way he did not believe. And thus it came about that Graham Campbell was a regular visitor at the new abode of Mary and her aunt Alice. *nd he sometimes stayed all night, Mrs. Steenie Macduff having taken a great liking to the young man. Daft Jamie was not long in discovering Mary's new home, and. being always sure of a warm welcome, often visited Gilmerton, occasionally taking possession for the night of a warm corner in the stable near the house, where a heap of straw and several horse-rugs were kept for his accommodation. Just after dusk set in one evening, three' weeks after the laird's supposed departure for Carlisle, Daft Jamie was on his way to Gilmerton, walking very slowly, for he had stepped on a flint stone, and, as he never wore shoes or stockings, his left foot was cut severely, when lie heard footsteps behind him. He was walking by the side of a road. in the shadow of the high hedge, and thought he had not been seen. Diving further into the hedge, lie waited the coming of the men, his keen ears having told him there were more than one. It was not yet so dark but that when they passed his place of conceal- ment he recognised the laird and Burke, and, to the alarm of the "daftie," they stopped nearly opposite to him. For several minutes they stood there, Jamie holding his breath lest his presence should be discovered; then the laird turned back towards the city, whilst Burke went on in the direction of Gilmerton. "You murderin' villains said Jamie, shaking his fists in both directions. "So you would kill Bonnie Mary and the other lady who is so kind to poor Daft Jamie? Ye shall not dae't! Jamie says sac The "natural" knew- of a roundabout way to the back of the house, and, almost forget- ting his sore foot in his anxiety to impart his startling intelligence to his old friend, Mary, he soon arrived at the back door of the house. It was the servants' half-yearly hiring day, and the three female ser- vants had left that day; their successors were not to arrive until the evening of the following day. The gardener bad asked for leave for a. couple of days, and, knowing this, Graham Campbell had come out to sleep at the house, to the great relief of Mrs. Mac- duff, who had been extremely nervous since the abortive attempt to blow up the cottage of the Lindsays. "That's Daft Jamie's knock," .said Mary, as his summons at the back door was heard. "I will go and give him some supper in the kitchen." She went, followed by Graham CampbelT, but as soon as lie saw it was really Daft Jamie lie returned to the sitting-room to assure Mrs. Macduff of the fact. Jamie lost no time in telling Mary what he had heard whilst hiding in the hedge-bottom. And, though his communication was some- what incoherent—the result of his intense excitement—Mary gathered that a robber wa* coming at midnight; that he intended to effect an entrance into the house bv th« scullery window which, by some mean* or other, ne knew had no fastener; and lie aIs. knew, it seemed, that all the servants were away. Mary recognised the need of caution ift imparting the startling intelligence to lie* lover, lest her aunt should be alarmed, but she managed it very cleverly. She called b-raham out of the room, under the that the bolt of the back door wanted grow