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Synopsis of Previous Chapters.


Synopsis of Previous Chapters. CHAPTERS I to ni.—Elwood Randolph is driving recklessly along the winter roads When he notices smoke ascending from the chimney of /the Whispering Pines, the de-j »erted country club-house whe he had hini-j •elf locked tip that very day. Leaving his liorse and sleigh in a pine prove, he crosses the enow to the house and enters by the open door. He finds, a man's coat and hat on the hat-rack, and is about to strike nr. light when ¡ 111" sees :young girl coming downstairs with a candle. Sobbing, she rushes out and locks the <lodf\ He has recognised her as Darroel Cumberland. Then Randolph finds that the man's coat and liar have disappeared. Con- iinumg his search, he finds in the room where a fire had been tighter' and under a pile of cushions, the- dead body of Adelaide (Jtimber- land, the woman fie was engaged to marry. He suspects suicide.- but sees the marks of fin- gers on her and realises tliM. she has i>een murdered. He decides to keep silence to Carmel's visit to the house." He is puz- tied by the presence of liqueur glasses, and is On the point of emerging into the blinding Snowstorm when he hears a loud knocking. Two police officers enter and search the jtouse. Randolph enters the room after they ttave found the body, CHAPTERS tV. & V.-—Randolph asks the policemen to help him to solve the mystery if his fiancee's death. They seem to suspect him, and he tells them the story of his visit to Jile Whispering Pines. They "are still incredu- lous, and cross-question him as to his move- ments, afterwards telephoning for oiofe assis- tance. The arrival of additional police is fol- lowed by a thorough search of the house. A number of bottles of whisky and wine are flouud on the kitchen table, and a coat and hat in the closet. Then the coroiier. Dr. Perry, TUTives, and questions Elwood Randolph as to his relations with Adelaide and Carmei Cumberland. The Coroner shows Randolph a note which the latter had written to Carmel poking her to elope with him and marry him. Randolph explains that he had fallen in love 'With the younger sister, although he was engsged to the eider that I:~ tried to end an Impossible situation in the only possible way. but that Carixiel., although she loved him, had failed him. It -vas on his way back from the station that he called at the club-house. He Remembers lc^»vin^ his keys at the Cumber- land's after dinner. CHAPTERS IV &, V.Handolph asks the policemen to help him to solve the mystery of his fiance's death. Tbey seem to suspect him. and he tells them the story of his vistit to The Whispering Pines. They are still in- credulous and cross-question him as to his Xnovements, afterwards telephoning for more assistance. The-arrival of additional police is followed by a thorough search of the house. A number of bottles of whisky and wine are found on the kitchen table, and a coat and hat in a closet. Then the Coroner. Dr. Perry, Arrives, and questions Elwood Randolph as to his relations with Adelaide and Carmei Cumberland, The Coroner shows Randolph a note which the latter had written to Carmei asking her to elope with him and marry him. Randolph explains that he. had fallen in love with the younger sister, although he was en- gaged to the elder that he tried to end an impossible situation in the only possible way, but that Carmel. although she loved him, had failed him. It was on his way back from the station that lie called at the chib-bouse. He remembers leaving his keys at the Cum- berlands after dinner. CHAPTERS VI, & VII.-The Coroner re- minds Elwood Randolph that two liqueur glasses have been found in the room of the Unorder, and another, unused, in an adjoining doset" but Randolph pleads ignorance of their Jmrpose. Next morning he is arrested for the finurder of Adelaide Cumberland, despite his vrotestaticas of innocence. He hears that Carmei has been. badly burnt about the face, sud is delirious. During his examination the, magistrates, Randolph is relieved, to EAAtlwife no suspicion of complicity in the murder attaches to Carmel Cumberland. Zadok Bnpjr^the Cumberland's coachman, declares that Arthur Combepland's sleigh had been out on the previous night. This Arthur stoutly denies. Randolph conjectures that the two sisters had harnessed up the sleigh and driven to The Whispering Pines, Miss Carmei wearing a man's hat and overcoat. Randolph's lawyer friend, Clifton, calls to see him in prison. The- former tells him all he can, and, seeing in- credulity in the other's ace, protests his inno- 'Stile*. Clifton agrees to defend itim. CHAPTER VIII. Some innocents 'scape not the thunderbolt. Antony and Cleopatra." II.5. I was conscious of few hopes, but some of the pppresaion tmdey which I laboured lifted at Clifton's words- I had assured one man of my innocence! It was like a great rock in the weary desert. My gigh of relief bespoke my f feelings, and I should like to have taken his Viand, but the moment had not yet come. Something was wanting to a perfect confidence between us, and f was in too sensitive a frame of mind to risk the slightest rebaff- >■ He was ready to speak before I was. "Then, you had not been long bn the scene of crime when the police arrived ?" "I had not been in the room 'but a few Minutes, I do not know how long I was search- • tug the house." 44 The police say that fully twenty minutes Elapsed between the time they received Miss CujxtberJand's ap-peal for help and their arrival 'it the cluJb-hotLse. If you were there that *>ng- 44 I cannot say. Moments are hours at such Such a crisis. I You are not open with me," he protested.' with a return to his old distrust. Why should moments be hours with you previous to the instant when you stripped those pillows from the couch ? You are not a fanciful man, nor have you any cowardly instincts. Why .Were yon in such a turmoil going through a house where you could have expected to find nothing worse than some miserable sneak thief- This was a poser.- I had laid myself open to suspicion by one thoughtless admission, and what was worse, it was but the beginning in all probability of many other possible mistakes. Charles," sail I, as soon as I couid per- fectly control my speech" you arc quite just in Sur remarks^JLarn.. not and cannot be per- :tly open with you. • I shall tell you no lies, but beyond that.1 cannot promise. lamina Bet not altogether of, my own weaving. So far I will be frank with you. A com mop ques- tion may trip me up, others lind free and ready with my defence. Y ou have chanced upon one of tb'! former. I was in a turmoil of mind trom the moment of my entrance into tha.t fatal house, but I can give no reason for it unless I am, as you hinted, a coward." You. say you cannot be open with me? That means you have certain memories con- certed with that eight which you cannot di- vulge." Right. Charles, but no memories of guiM of active guilt, I mean. This I have previously declared to you, and this is what you must be- lieve. I am not cven an accessory before the fact. I am perfectly innocent so far as Ade- laide's death ia concerned. You may proceed on tha.t basis without fear. Thatis, if you con- tinue to take ;1,n interest in my case." I have accepted the case, and I shall con- ,tinuc with it," he assured me, with a dogged rather than genial persistence. But I should like. to know what I am to work upon, if it can not be shown that her call for help came be- fore you entered the building." That, would be the best defence possible, of course," I replied but neither fromyom standpoint nor mine is it a feasible one. I hive no proof of my assertion. I never looked at my watch from the time I left the station till I found it run down this very morning. All I know and can swear to about the; length of time I was in that building prior to the arrivalQf ths police, is that it could not have been very long. since she was not only dead mOd buried under those accumulated cushions, but in a room some little distances from the telephone." That will do for me," said he, but scarcely for those who are prejudiced against you. Everything points so indisputably to yonr guilt. The note which you say you wrote to Carmei to meet you at the station kioks very much more like one to Miss Cumber- land to meet you at the club-house. Otherwise," he pursued. what could have taken her there ? Everybody who knew her "Wilt ask that. Such a night! so soon after teeing you It is a mystery any way, but one entirely inconceivable without some such excuse for her. These lines said Come and the went for reasons which may be clear to you who were acquainted with her weak as well as her strong points. Went how ? No one knows. By chance or by intention on her part or yours Wery servant was out of the house by nine o'clock, and her brother, too. Only the sister remained, the sister whom you profess to have urged to Wave the town with you that very evening, and she can tell us nothing-may die without ever being able to do so. Some shock tc her feeling*—you may know its character and you may not— drove her into a state of apparent health into wildest dilirium in a fl.W hours. It was not your letter-if your storv is true about that letter-or she would have shown its effect immediately upon receiv- ing it that is, in the early evening. That .she did not ebnw any effect is a telling circum- stance against you, Randolph, not only contra- dicting your own story, but showing that her after condition sprang, from some sudden and extreme apprehension in connection with her antes. Did you speak V" No" I had not spoken. I had no thing, to say. I was too deeply shaken by what he had just to!d me to experience anything but the utmost confusion of ideas. Carmel beaming and beau- tj fuI at an hour I had supposed her suffering and full of struggle"! I could not reconcile it with the letter she had written me; or with that understanding with her sister which ended so hideously in The Whispering Pines. The lawyer, seeing my helpless state, pro- ceeded with his presentation of my case as it looked to unprejudiced eyes. I Miss Cumberland comes to the cbib-house so do you. You have not the keys and so go searching about the building until you find an unlocked window by which you both-enter, there are those who say you purposely leftthis window unfastened when you went about the house the day before: that you dropped the keys in her house, where they would be sure to be found and drove down to the station and stood there for a. good half-an-hour, in order to divert suspicion from yourself afterwards and create an alibi in case it should be wanted. I do not believe any of this myself, not since accepting your assurance of innocence, but-there are those who do believe it firmly. and discern in the whole affair a cool and premeditated murder. Your passion for Carmel, while not generally known, has not passed unsuspected by your or her intimates and this in itself is enough to., give colour to these suspicions, even if you had; not gone so far as to admit its power over you and the extremes to which you were willing to goto secure the wife you wished. So much for the situation as it appears to outsiders. Of the circumstantial evidence which links'you personally to this crime we have already spoken.. .It is Very strong and apparently unassailable. Buttruth is truth, and if you only felt free to bare your whole soul'to me as you now-decline, to do, I should not despairof finding-some weak link in the chain which seemg-w satisfactory to the police, and, lam forced to add to the'- general public." Charles I was very near unbosoming myself to him at that moment. But I caught myself back in time. While Carmei lay ill and uncofisckms I would not clear my name at her expense by so much as a suggestion. Charles." I repeated, but in a different tone and with a different purpose, "how do they account for the cordial that was drunk—thetwo emptied glasses and the flask which were found in the adjacent closet ? '• It's one of the affair's conceded incon- gruities. Miss Cumberland is well known to be." a temperance woman. Had the flask and glasses not come from her house you would get no one to believe that she had anything to do with them. Have you any hint to give on this point ? It would be a welcome- addition to our case." Alas! I was as much puzzled by those [ emptied cordial glasses as he was and told him so also, by the presence of the third unused one. As 1 dwelt in thought on the later cir- cumstance I remembered the observation which Conner Perry had made concerning it. 11 Coroner Perry speaks of a third and unused glass which was found with the flask," I ven- tured, tentatively. He seemed to consider it an important "item hiding some truth that would materially help this case. What do you think, or rather: what is the general opinion oil this point ? 4; I have not heard. I have seenefcho fact- mentioncd, but without i comment. It is a curious circumstance. I will make a. note of it. Yrou have no suggestion to make on the subject ? None." The clue is a small one." he smiled. So is the one offered by the arr-Ay of bottles found on the kitchen table; yet the latter may lead directly to thetrnth. Adelaide, never dug those out the cellar where they were locked up, and. I'm sure I did not. Yet I sup- pose I'm given credit for doing so." "Naturally. The key to the wine vault was the only key that was lacking from the bunch left at Miss Cumberland's. That it was used to open the wine-vault door is evident from the fact that it was found in the lock." This was discouraging. Everything was against me. If the whole had been planned with an intent to inculpate me and me only, it could not have been done with more attention to detail, nor could I have found myself more completely enmeshed. You may add this coincidence to the other," 1 conceded after I had gone so far in juy own mind. t" lswear that I had nothing to do with that key. Some other man than my- self was thirsty that night," I firmly declared. We are getting on, Charles." Do you know exactly what the club- house's wine-vault contained he-asked with a shrug of his shoulders. An inventory-was given me by the steward the morning we closed. It must be in my rooms." Your rooms have been examined. You expected that. didn't you ? Probably this inventory has been found. I don't suppose it will help any." How should it ?." Very true how should it! No thorough- fare there, of course." No thoroughfare anywhere to-day" I ex- claimed. 4'To-morrowsome loop-hole of escape may suggest itself to me. I should like to steep on the matter. I—I should like to sleep on it." 'I' He saw that I had something in mind of which I had thus far given him no intimation, and he waited anxiously for me to reconsider my last words before he earnestly remarked "A day lost at a time like this is often a day never retrieved. Think well before you bid me leave you unenlightened as to the direction in which you wish me, to work." But I was not ready, not by any means ready, and he detected this when I spoke. 44 I will see you to-morrow any time to- morrow meantime I will give you a commis- sion which you are at liberty to perform your- self or to entrust to some capable detective. The letter of whch a portion remains, was written to Carmei and she spnt me a reply which was handed me on the station platform by a man who was a perfect stranger to me. 1 have hardly any memory of how the man looked, but it should be an easy task to find him. and if you cannot do that the smallest scrap of the note he gave me, and which nrrfor- tunately I tove up and scattered to the wintts, would prove my veracity on this point, and so make it easier for them to believe the rest." His eye lightened. I presume the prospect of making any practical attempt in my behalf was welcome. 44 One thing more," I now added. My ring was missing from Miss Cumberland's hand when I tooK away those pillows. I have reason to think—or it is natural for me to, think—that she planned to return it to me by some messenger or in some letter. Do you know if such messenger or such letter has been received at my apartments ? Anyone) who knew us or who had ever remarked it on her hand would be able to identify it." 4< 1 have heard that the police are inter- ested in finding it." he replied, 44 but I have not heard that they have been successful. You encourage me much by assuring me that it was missing from her hand when you first saw her. That ring may prove our most valuable clue." 44 Yes, but you nrtust also remember that she mayhave taken it off before sue started for the club-house." That is very true." You do not know whether they have looked for it-at her home ? > I do not." Will you find out, Charlie, and will you see that I get all my letters ? I certainly will, but you must not expect* to receive the latter unopened." 44 I suppose not." I said this with more cheerfulness than he evidently expected. My -heart had been lightened of one load. The ring had not been discovered on Carmel, as I had secretly feared. "I will take good care of your interests from now on," he remarked, in a tone much more natural than any he had before used. 44 Be hopeful and show a brave front to the., District Attorney when he comes to lnterVtew you. I hear that ho is expected home to- morrow. If you are innocent you can face«, hirp and his whole office with calm assurance." Which showed how little he understood my real position. There was comfort in this very thought, however, and I quietly remarked that I did not despair. And I will not," he emphasised rising with an assumption of ease which left him as he remained hesitating before me. It was my moment of advantage, and I improved it bv proffering a request which had been more or less in my mind durng the whole of this prolonged colloquy. First thinking him for his disinterestedness, I remarked that he had shown me so much consideration as a lawyer, that I now felt emboldened to ask something from him as my friend. 44 You are free," said I 44 I am not,. Miss Cumberland will be buried before 1 leave these four walls. I hate to think of her going to her grave without one token from the man to whom she has been only too good, and who. whatever outrage he may have planned to her feelings, is not without reverence for her character and and a hSftftfelt repentance for whatever he may have. done to j^tieve Ijer. Charles, a few flowers—white—no wreath, mst a few which can be placed on her breast or in her hand. You need not say whom they are from. It would seem a mockery to anyone hut her. Lilies, Charles, or—or bride roses. I shall feel happier to know that they arc there. Will you do it ? I will." v That is all." Instinctively he held out his hand. I dropped mine, in it; there was a sligh pressure, some few murmured woi'ds, and he was gone. I slept that night. CHAPTER IX. „ I entreat you then r rcm one that so imperfectly con jeeLs You'd take no notice nor build yourself a. trouble Out of this scattering and unsure observance: It were not for your quiet. nor your good, Nor lor-thy manhood, honesty or wisdom, To let you know my thoughts. —44 Othello." I slept, though a questionof nosnwJl import- ance wast agitating my mind demanding con- sideration and a definite answer before I saw again this friend and adviser. I woke to ask if the suggestion which had come to me in our brief conversation about the bottles taken from the wine-vault, was the promising one it had then appeared, or only a fool's trick bound to end in disaster. I weighed the matter -in every conceivable way, and ended by trusting to the instinct. which impelled me to have resource to the one and only meaDS by which the scent might be diverted from its original couijpe, confusion be sown in the minds of the police and Carmei, as well as myself, be saved from the pit gaping to receive us. This was my plan. To risk the divulging of jI. certain fact, known as I believed to my- self alone, which once corroborated, as it might veryeasiJy be by some fortunate chance, would emphasise my former declarations and ultimately lead to my whole story being accepted as true. This fact was the departure of an uuknown horse and sleigh through the upper gateway of the club-house grounds simultaneously with my entrance through fhe lower one. I thought it thus safer to antedate Carmel's going. The appearance of the person driving this sleigh I would in a measure describe. No one by the greatest stretch of imagination would be apt to associate this description with Carmel, bnt it might set the authorities thinking, and if by good chance a sleigh containing a person wear- ing a Derby hat and a coat with an extra high collar should have been seen on this portion of the road* or if, as I earnestly hoped, the snow had left any signs of another horse having been tethered in the ciump of trees opposite to the one where I had concealed my own, enough of the truth might be furnished to divide public opinion and start fresh inquiry. That a woman's form had sought concealment under these masculine habiliments would not--could not, strike anybody's mind. Nothing in the -1 I- HE STARTS AT EVERY CRY, "&ARMEL UTTERS, H crime had suggested a woman's presence, much less a woman's active agency. On the con- trary, all the appearances, save such as I believed known to myself alone, spoke so openly of a man's strength, a man's methods, a man's appetite, and a man's brutal daring that the suspicion which had naturally fallen on myself as the one and only person implicated, would in shifting past* straight to another man, and, if lie could not be found return to me or be lost in a4mAze of speculation. This seemed so evident after a long and close study of the sitaation that I was ready with my confession when Mr Clifton next came. I had even fore- stalled it in a short interview forced upon me by the Assistant District Attorney and Chief Hudson. That it had made *n altogether greater impressiepn upon the latter than I had expected, gave me additional courage when I came to discuss this new lino of defence with the young lawyer. Chief Hudson believes me late,as my state- ment is, I SAw-it in his eye." Thus I went on. 4 4 And the AssiBtaht D istrict Attorney, too. At leastfthe latter is willing to give m0 the benefit of the doubt, which was more-tharc I expected. What do you suppose has happened ? Some new discovery on their part ? If so, I ought to know what it is." I have heard of no new discovey," he coldry replied, not quite pleased as J could see, either with my words or my manner. 44 An old one may have served your purpose. If another sleigh besidp yours passed through the club-house grounds at the time you mention, it left tracks which all the fury of the storm would not have entirely obliterated in the fifteen minutep elapsing between that time and their own arrival. Perhaps they remember these tracks and if you had been entirely frank t that night—" 44 I know, I know," I put in, 44 but I wasn't. Lay it to my confusion of mind-to the great shock I had received, to anything but my own blood-guiltiness, and take up the matter as it now stands. Can't you follow up my suggestion ? A witness can certainly be found who encountered that sleigh and its occupant somewhere on the long stretch of open road between The Whispering Pines and the resident district. Possibly. It would helu. You have not asked for news from the Hill." The trembling which seized and shook me at these words testified to the shock they gave me- "Carmel:" I cried. She is worse—dead!" No. She's not worse and she's not dead. But the doctors say it will be weeks before they can allow a question of any importance to be put to her. A delay may or may not be favourable to you. I am inclined to think now that it will be. You are ready to swear to the sleigh you speak of, that you saw it leave the club-house grounds and turn north ? Quite ready but you must not ask me to describe or in any way identify its occupant. I saw nothing hut the hat and coat I have told you about. It was just before the moon went under a cloud or I could not have seen that much." 11 Those clouds obscured more than the moon, I fancy," he remarked presently. ",Ionly wish that they had not risen'between ypu and me. This is the blindest case that has ever been put in my hands. All the more credit to me if I see you through it, I suppose, but—" 44 Tell me," I broke in, with equal desire to cut these recriminations short and to leam what was going on at the Cumberland house, 44 have you beffli to th £ Hill, or seen anybody who has ? Can't you give me some details of —of Carmel's condition of the sort of nurse who cares for her and how Arthur conducts him under this double affliction ?" I was there last night. Miss Clifford was in the house and received me. She told ma that. Arthur's state of mind was pitiful. He was never a very affectionate brother, you know, but now they cannot get him away from Carmel's door. He sits or stands all day just: outside the threshold and caste jealotis and beseeching looks at thqse who are allowed to enter. They say you wouldn't know him. I tried to get him to come down to see me, but Mb wouldn't leave his post." Doesn't he grieve for Adelaide ? I always thought that of the two she had the greater influence over him." Yes, but they cannot get him to enter ^the place where she lies. His duty is to the living, he says; at least his anxiety is there. He starts at every cry Carmei utters." She-cries out—then ? Very often. 11 I could hear her from where I sat downstairs." 44 And what does she say ? 44 The one thing constantly. Lila Lila Nothing more." I kept my face in shadow. If he sMr it at ill it must have looked as cold and hard as atone. After a moment I went on with my juories -4 Does he—Arthur—mention me at all ? 44 I did not discuss you greatly with Miss Clifford. I saw that she was prejudiced and I preferred not to ri 3k an argument; but she let fall this much—that Arthur felt very hard to- wards yon and loudly insisted/upon your guilt." Does the doctor—Dr. Carpenter, I presume- venture to say how long Carmel's present delirium will hold ? 44 He cannot, not knowing its real cause. Carmel fell ill before the news of her sister's death arrived at the house, you remember. It is surmised some frightful scene must have occurred between the two previous to Ade- laide's departure for The Whispering Pines." And the gentleman who brought me the— 1 her letter ? It was more than difficult for me, to speak Carmel's name. He has not come forward ? 44 Not yet, not to my knowledge at least." 44 And the ring ? "No news." The nurse—you have told me nothing about her," I now urged, reverting to the topic of gravest interest to me. Is she any one 'We know, or an importation of the doctor's ? 44 I did not busy myself with that. She's a competent woman. of course. I suppose that is what you mean ? Could I tell him that this was not what I meant at all. That it was her qualities as woman rather than her qualifications as nurse whichr were important in this case. If she were of a suspicious, prying disposition, grven to weighing every word and marking every gesture of a delirious patient, what might we not fear from her circumspection when Car- mel's memory asserted itself and she grew morerprecise in the frenzy which now exhausted itself in unintelligible cries, pr the ceaseless repetition of her sister's name. 44 Watch her, watch them aJl and bring me each and every detail of the poor girl's sick- ness. You will never regret humouring me in this. You ordered the flowers for—Ade- laide ? Yes Lilies, not bride roses." I took the rebuke. After a moment's silence, I observed :— There will be no autopsy the papers say. The evidences of death by strangulaiion are too well defined." Very true. Yet I wonder at their laxity in this. There were signs of some other agency having been at work also. Those two empty glasses smelling of cordial—innocent perhaps—yet—'• 44 Don't I can bear no more to-day. I shall be stronger to-morrow." Another feeler turned aside. His cheek I showed his displeasure, but the words were kind enough with which he speedily took his leave and left me to solitude and a long night of maddening thought. (To be continued.)

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International Rugby Footbaii.