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PUBLISHED BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT, WHATSOEVER ? MAN1 SOWETH. BY WILLIAM LE QUEUX, Author of "Who Giveth This Woman r" Th House of the Wicked," The Idol of the Town." "Fairebt Among Women," ".Whoao Findoth a Wife," &c., &e. (COPYRIGHT.1 CHAPTER XXIII.—PLACES MATTERS IN M NEW LIGHT. The words upon the second slip of paper were: Ellice believes that Sybil still loves Wilfrid Hughes. This is incorrect. Tell him bO. The girl is merely using Hughes for her own pur- poses. She loves Arthur Rumbold. I have just learnt the truth--ooniething that will aetonitsh you. Rum bo id! Who Was Arthur Itumbold 1 had never heard mention of him This was ceiUinly a n'e v feature of the affair. Sybil had a becret lover of whom I was in ignorance. She was no doubt still in communication with him, and through him. had learnt of Eric's whereabout* and other facts that had surprised me. I read and re-read the letter much puzzled. She was only using me for her own purposes—or in plain English she was fooling me! I was angry with myself for not being mor. wary. The train stopped at Preston, and then rushed Tiorth again, as I sat aloue in the corner of the carriage thinking deeply, and wondering who w this man Rumbold. At Carlisle another surprise was in store for me. for I found a hurried note from Sybil saying that she had unfortunately been recognised b\ a friend and compelled to leave. She had gone on to Glasgow, and would await me there at the Central Station Hotel. Therefore, by the Scotch express at two o'clock that morning I travelled up to Glasgow, and on arrival found to my chagrin that she had stayed there one night, and again left. There was a note for me, aaying that bile had gone to Dumfries, but that it would I}Ø best for me not to follow. "ldurn to Newcastle*,and await me," she wrote. My quick movements are imperative for my own safety. I cannot tell you in a tetter what has happened, but will explain all when Wlie meet." "By what train did the ladv leaver" 1 in- quired of the hall-porter who had handed me the letter. The six-twenty last night, dir." was the man's answer. I got her ticket—a hrst-clas6 one t. William." Then she went north—not south," I ex- claimed, surprised. "Of course." Sybil had misled me in her letter by saying that she had gone to Domfr. when really she had travelled in the opposite direction. She I .ad purposely misled me. "The ladv left hurriedly, it would appear." y e. sir. About five o'clock a gentleman called to see her, and she met him in the ha:t1. She was very pale, I noticed, as though she .v Mirpriscd at his visit, or rathEtt. t. Bat they went out together. She returned an hoar later, wrote this letter, which, she told me to give to you if you called, and then left for: Fort William." "And did the man call again! "Yes. She said he would, and she told me 10 tell him that she had gone to Edinburgh. 1 told him that, and he seemwd very furprtaed, but went away. He wa& in evening dress, and it seamed as thongh they had intended dining together. She seemed," added the man rather sneoringly, "to be more like a lady's-maid than r. lady." But the z(,iii lerrap. describe Iiim to me." i >U he was a rather short, podgy man, fair. with a haUiieh head U ir Parham? the description suited him, He gave no oardr" o. Fie met the voitug lady here rn the lull My ilea was !bat his presence was very Tin- webeme, as she seemed in great fear lest he shou'd return before she could get away." Has the man left Glasgow?" ( I. think so. I saw him on the platform about nine, just before the Edinburgh express J«ft He's probably gone on there. He seexred i quite a, gentleman." "They appeared to be friendlyt" Perfectly. Only she evidently did not ex- pect to meet him. She asked the name ot a hct•. 1 at Fort William, and I told her to go t« the Station." "Then she's there!" I exclaimed quickly. Probably. She arrived there this morning." 1 tipped the man. and after idting in Glasgow sonv- left ior Fort William, dotk,,ralimed to disobey Sybil's order to go back to Newcastle. lf, v.i.s a long but. picturesque journey. When T arrived 1 went at once to the hotel to inopuire if Mrs. Morton were there. Ti>~ manageress shook her head, saying; Th was a Mrs. Morion. a young wom-an like a lady's maid, who arrived here yesterday ii I ii, and left here tafit evening. A lady was awaiting her—her mistress. I think." What was her name?" I.'umbold," was the answer, after re- fprring to ihp visitor's book. "Kumbold!" The name of the secret lover. Was she old or young?" "Eld.Mly, with grey hair. A rather stiff, formal rcind of person." Wlitre have they goner" I-Ni is. Rumbold say that she wanted to go to Oban. So perhaps they've gone there." There wars a boat down to Oban in three hours time, therefore I took it, nas.^ed down HIP-boa u ti- nt 1 i,o(-It and by the island of Lismore. places ice veil-known to the traveller to Scotland to ived any description, a rid that same* even rag found iiiysplt in Oban. the Clin ring (of the High- la mi~. I had bn there several times before, and alun;^ stayed at the Great. Western. Therefore Tt;i,, hotel omnibus and on alighting asked if a Mis. L'umbold was staying there. Th • reply was a negative one, therefore I round 10 several other hotels, finding at that li;, aud her maid had taken a room at the Alexandra that morning, but had sud- denly changed their plans, and had left at two o'clock by train for the south, but whether for Ghi-gow ')r Edinburgh was not known. I therefore lost track of them. Sybil had ap- parently successfully escaped from her male visitor at Glasgow, whilE- at the same time Mrs. Htliuhold-probably the mother of the man she J()votl ii1 secret—had awaited her up at Fort William. For what reason ? Why was she now masquerad- ing as maid of the mother of her ]over? Again, 1 f her visitor in Glasgow was really Parhain. he must have very quickly obtained knowledge oi her whereabouts, for only a few days before I had watched him arrange that minions plot against her in Dean's Yard--a which would have no doubt boon carried into execution if Sybil had been present. I Iwsitafed how to act. t I. they had gone south, it was useless for m to remain in Oban. Her appointment with me was in Newcastle, and it seemed certain that she would sooner or later seek me there. But at; that moment; my curiosity was aroused re- garding this Mrs. Rumbold, as to who and what (■■•he was. and further, as to the identity of Arthur, about whom the dead man had known so much. r lcft Oba It and went back to Glasgow. My friend, the hall-porter, at the Central Station, v a^ talkative, but had not seen the lady again, if si ruck me that; as the bald-headed man had m. hpr in Glasgow, and as she had left a toes- for him thai I)p bad goue to Edinburgh she naturally avoid both places, or at ■an^ rate not halt there. Had sh- gone on to Dumfries? She had left a message for me that she was there. Would idie go there in order to see if I were a waiting instead of at Newcastle. Dumfries, the town of Burns, was on my way dmvn to Carlisle, therefore I resolved to make a halt there for an hour or two to inquire. 1 remained the night in Glasgow, for T waa fagged out by so much travelling, and next day, just before twelve. I alighted at Dumfries. I had never been there before, but outside the station I saw the Railway Hotel, and enter ing, asked whether Mrs Rumbold was staying there. Yes. she was. Did I wish to sp- hor? asked the lady clerk ill the bureau. I replied in the affirmative, and sent her lm7 n snie. tr, Morton, WnHên on a. stip of paper. The waiter returned with a, curious look upon his face- Iin an instant that something haci C'-curred, and was not surprised when he said UUUIIH.M has a bad headache, sir, and would nf hd if you'd call again about five or six- The chambermaid says she'n lying down." Is there a nether person with her?" I in. quired. "Her own maid, I mean." "No, sir. She's alone." Arc you quite sure of that?" Quij. I took her name when 6he arrived ill The ho cel. She has no maid." And no ladv friend." No. She's entirely alone That surprised me. Had Sybil parted freof, ?:er and gone straight en to Nerwcaetle is cnier to 5ld 3ae ? Thore ▼36 natkiTOg to te derJe lant to wait till À ive, vo GIll w&*+, is Mrs. Kuinbold. i ttierefore took a room at the hotel, and lunched in the coffee-room. The woman's excuse made me suspicoug that olteo wished to avoid meeting me, and that when I returned at six I should find her gone. So I passed the time in writing letters, and .remained in patience until half-past five, when I sent, up again to know if she would receive* me. The answer came back that she was wtill too unwell, and I sent word to her that I could wait, as I wished to see her upon a very impor- tant matter. My determination showed her that I did not intend that she should eecape; therefore, just before the dinner gong rang the waiter came to me and said that the lady was in the small draw- ing-room upstairs, and would see me. I ascended the stairs wondering what would be Lbe outcome or my interview. I wanted to ascer- tain who the woman was and the nature of the relations between her and Sybil. When I 4nntered the room a rather elderlj lad v with whitish hair severely brushed back and attired in deep black rose to meet me, bowing stiffly and saying: I have not the honour of your acquaintance, Mf. Morton, and am rather curious to know what you want with me." Well, madam." I replied, the fact is I waut: to ask you a question. The Honcmrahlo Sybil Burnet has been travelling with you dressed as a lady's maid, and I am here to learn where she has now gone." The woman started in surprise, and glared at me. She probably, from my ditsguitie as a work- ing man, put me down as a detective. And my reply to you, sir, is that Miss Sybil's destination is her own affair. We parted, and she has gone south. That is all I know." But you also know the reason why she is masquerading as a maid why at Fort William and at Oban you made people believe she was your maid. You had a motive, and I think you may as well admit it." I do not see your right to question me about my private affairs!" bhe exclaimed angrily. "This is monstreus!" "T have no desire to pry into your affairs, madam." I answered, quite coolly. Th# Honourable Sybil is a friend of mine, and I am anxious to know her whereabouts," I said. But I eanuot tell you what I don't know my- self. She went on to Carlisle—that's all I know." "She parted from you suddenly. Why?" I asked. "Shall T tell you? Because she is in fear of being fcllnwed." I exclaimed, and, smil- ing, added, I think, madam, that I hold greater knowledge of the family than perhaps even you do yourself. I have known the Scarcliffs all my life. Old Lady Scarcliff is greatly upset regard- ing- Sybil's protracted absence. They are beginning to think that something has happeued to her. I can now tell her that she ha6 been with you, masquerading as your maid, and that ycu refuse all information concerning her. You know, 1 daresay, that the police are actively try- ing to find her on the application of her brother, Lord Scarcliff ?" M\ threat caused her some consternation. I could pe that from the way 6he fumed and fidgetted. "To tell Lady Scarcliff such a thing would only be to throw a. blame upon myself of which I am entirely innocent." she protested. "L assure >ou that if I knew where she had gone, I would fell you." :\0. pardon iiif,. madam. You would not. You believe that I'm a detective." Your actions certainly betray you," she ex- claimed re-entfully. "You've been watching us ctot-ely—for what reason?" Well." I replied "The fact is, I am fully aware of the secret low, existing bet woe n Sybil Burnet and Arthur Rumbold." "Sybil and Arthur?" she cried, turning pale mid looking me straight in the face. "What do you mean ? Arthur—my boy, Arthur!" I nodded in the affirmative. ..<" "Who are your" she exclaimed, starting up bresithle^Iy from her chair. She was in fear of me, I saw. Who are you that you shoaki know this?" she gasped. "William Morton," was my cool reply. "I thought I sent my name up to you thie morning!" CHAPTER XX IT— COMPLICATIONS AND CONFESSIONS. Next morning. after a night journey, I called at the Douglas Hotel, in Newcastle, and was informed that Mt-s. Morton had arrived on the previous evening. At last I had run lier to earth. —— She sent word that she would see me in half. Ion hour. therefore I idled along Grainger Street Wect, killing time until she made her appear- ance. She approached aae in the hall of tho hotel smiling merrily and putting out her hand rn welcome. Her black drees seemed slightly the worse for wear owing to her oonetant travelling, yet she was as neat and dainty as ever, a woman. whose striking beauty caused every head to be turned a8 she passed. We went out, turning to walk towards Biacketj St reot, and then amid the bustle of the traffic began, to talk. She asked me when I had arrived, and how I had fared in London. I told her nothing of the success of my adver- tisements, or the discovery of the plot so ingeni- ously formed against her, and allowed her to believe that I had only just arrived from Lon- don. I was waiting to see whether she would explain her journey to Scotland, and her com- panionship with Mis. Rumbold. But she said nothing. We walked on together through Albion Place, and presently found our- selves in Leazes Park, that pretty promenade, gay in summer, but somewhat cheerless on that grey wintry morning. You were recognised in Carlisle," I exclaimed after we had been chatting some time. "Tell me about it. I was surprised to get your note, and I confess I was also somewhat alarmed. Was the person who recognised you an enem v or a friend f" A friend," was her prompt repVy. But his very friendliness would, I knew, be fatal to my interests, so I had to ity. He recognised me, even in this dress, stopped me in the street, raised his hat and spoke. But I discerned his intention, therefore I passed on with affected indignation aud without answering. Had I opened my mouth my voice might have betrayed me. F went on to Glasgow." Aud there? What happened?" Shp glanced at me in quick suspicion. I saw; slvv was embarrassed by my question. Happened?" she echoed, nervously. "What do you mean?'* were in US* Park, and quite alone, there- fore f halted, and looking her straight in the face exclaimed— "Something happened there, Sybil. Why don't you tell me?" Sybil." she said in a. tone of reproach. "Am I no longer Tibbie to you, as of old ? You are changed, Wilfrid—changed towards me. There is something in your manner 90 very unusual. What is it I desire to know the truth," I said in a hard voice. You are trying to keep back things from me which I ought to know. I trust you, and yet you do not trust me in return. In- deed, it .seems wry mueh. as though you are trying to deceive me." I am not," she protested." You still misjudge me, Wilfrid, and merely because there are cer- tain things which it would be against my own interests to explain at this moment. Every woman is permitted to have secrets: surely I may have mine. If you were in reality my hus- band, then it would he different. Hitherto, you have been generosity itself towards me. Why withdraw it now. at the critical moment when I most require vour aid and protection." Why ?" "Because in Glasgow I was recognised by on8 of my enemies," she said. Ah you don't know 1 what a narrow eecape I had. He traced mc-and came from London to huut ntc down and de- 7iounc«> me. Yet 1 managed to meet him uitli such careless case that he was disarmed, and hesitated. And whitt he hesitated I ^scaped. He is still following mc. He may be J.(\re, in ♦iewcasMe, for all I know, ft we meet again, Wiltril." vshe added in a hoai>e, determined voice. If we meet again it will all be hopeless. My doom will be sealed. I shall kill myself." t No, 110," I urged. Come, don't contemplate such a step as that!" "T feat- to face him. I can never face him." "You mean John Parharu." "Who told you?" she started quickly- "(low i did ycu know his name I guessed it. They told me at thf, liatel that you had had a visitor, aud that y<m had soon afterwards escaped to the north." rr Do you actually know Parham?" I met him once," was nty reply, but I did not mention the fellow's connection with the house with the fatal -t^it s. Do<s lie know that we are frinds Koiv I t<dl r But w hy do you tear him A'1, .1S a long story. I darp not, tAcA tb-at mall, WilfnJ. Surely that in "So. ft, i6 not I replied. yoll managed tc escape aud get, up to Fort William." Ah The man^at the hotel told you so, 1 sup. pose." she said. Yes, I did escape, and nar- rowly. I was^betrayed." By whom ?" "Unwittingly betrayed by a friend, I think," she replied, as we walked on together towards the lake. On a winter's morning there are few people in Leazes Park, therefore we had (he place to onrsehes. save for the keeper strolling idly 50nl" distance away. f ?rbU I exclaimed presently, half'.nr again, and laying hand upon her shoulder, why are y^x not stirajg forward and with mfF" I recollected the postscript of the dead man's letter which I had secured in Manchester—thf allegation that she was playing me false. Her eyes yere cast down in contusion at my plain question, yet the next instant she assumed a boldness that was truly surprising. 1 don't understand you," she declared with a light nervous little laugh. "Then I ..appose T must speak more plainly," said. It is a pity, Sybil, that you did not tell me the truth from your own lips." She went paie as her eyes met mine in quick anxiety. "The t i-iii li-abotit what?" "About your love for Arthur Kumbold," I said very gravely, my gaze still fixed steadily upon hers. In an instant her gloved hands clenched them- selves, her lips twitched wervously, and she placed her hand upon her heart as though to stop ito wild beating. My lover" she ga&ped blankly—" My love for Arthur ti n I I)-o!(i yion-e for him." h! Surely you are cruel, Wilfrid, 10 s;x%ak of liini—after—after all that has lately hap- pened," she burst forth in a choking voice. "You cannot know the true facts—you cannot dream the truth, or that man's name would never pa^s your lips." "No," I said gravely. "I do not know the truth. I am in utter ignorance. I only know that you met Mrs. Kumbold at Fort William and travelled back with her to Dumfries." "That is quite inw," she answered. 1 have JloO wish to conceal it." "But your love for her son—you have con- cealed that!" "A woman who loves truly does noi; always proclaim it to the world," was the reply. Then if you love him why are you in hid- ing? Why are you masquerading as my wife?" I demanded seriously. I was. I admit. piqued by her attitude which I perhaps misjudged as defiant. She shrugged hor shoulders slightly, but met my gaze unflinchingly. "You premised me your assistance." she sighed. If you now regret your promjfc* & willingly release you from it." I have no wish to he released," I aiisivili I only desire to know the truth. By a fortunate circumstance, Sybil. I have disco voted your secret love for Arthur Rumbold-aud yet at Kyhall you said you had decided to marry Ell ice Winsloe." "A woman does not always marry the man she really loves." she argued. "It is a regret- able fact, but; horribly true." "Then you Jove this man, Arthur Humbotd. Come, do not tell me an untruth. We are old enough friends to be frank with each other." Yes. we are. I am frank with you, and tell, you that you have blamed yourself for assisting me, now that you have discovered my folly." Folly of what ?" Of my love. Is it not folly to love a mail whom one can never marry?" "Then he is already married, perhaps?" She was silent and glancing at her I saw that tears stood in her magnificent eyes. She was thinking ef him, without; a doubt. I recollected those words penned by the dead man: that allegation that she was fooling me. Yes. What he said was correct. The scales had now fallen from my eveo. I read the truth in her white countenance, that face so very beauti- ful, but. so false. Who was Nello, the man with whom she cor- responded by means of that cipher—the man she trusted so impli( Was he "dentical with Arthur Kumbo]d.P Had she killed the writer ot Ihaf, extraordinary letter because he knew tiie truth • because she was in terror of exposure and ruin ? My knowledge of Kumbold had entirely upset all her cakuiations. In those moments of her hesitancy and confusion she became a changed woman. admission had been accompanied by a twin defiance that utterly astounded me. I noti ed how agitated she had become. Her small hands were trembling: and she was now white 10 the lips. Yet she was still determined not to reveal secret. "Ah! you can nev-n- know. Wilfrid, what I ave suffered—what I am suffering now," she raid in a deep intense voice, it., we stood there fo £ o( Her in t he gardens. "You have thought me gay and < a relets, and you've often told me that I \1;1, like 1 butterfly. Yes. I admit it—I admit all my <I"ff,d, When I was old enough to leave (lie schoolroom, society attracted me. I saw Cynthia, j he centre of a smart courted, flattered, and admired, and like every other girl, 1 was envious. I vied with her successes, until T. too, became popular. And yet what did popu- larity and smartness mean? All! I can only think of the past, with disgust." Then, with a sigh, she added, You, of course, cannot believe it, Wilfrid, but I am now a changed woman." I do believe you. Tibbie." was my blank reply, for want of something else to say. 0> "Yes." she went oil. "I see the folly of it all now, j lie emptiness, the soul-killing wear and tear, the disgraceful shams and mean subter- fuges. The woman who has success in our set stands alone, friendless, with a dozen others con- stantly trying to hurl her from her pedestal, and ever ready with bitter tongues to propagate gravo insinuations and scandal. It is woman to woman and the feuds are always deadly. I'm tired of it all, and have left it, I hope, for ever." "Then it was some adventure in that gay circle. I take it. that is responsible for your present position?" I 6aici slowly. Ah she sighed in a low hoarse voice. I-I dreamed of the pitfalls set for me, and in my ^experience believed in the honesty of everyone. Hut surely I was not alone! Be- neath a dress shirt beats the heart of many a blackguard, and in our London drawing-rooms are to be found persons whose careers, if ex- posed, would startle the world. There are men with world-famous names who ought to be in the criminal dock, but whese very social position is their safeguard: and women with titles who pose an charity patrons, but are mere adven- turesses. Our little world, Wilfrid, j, indeed, a strange one, a circle of class and criminality utterly unconceivable by the public who only know of us fhrough the newspapers. I had gucce.s because, I suppose, of what people are pleased to call my good looks, but-but. alas: I fell a victim—I fell into a trap ingeniously set for me. and when I struggled to set myself free T Quly fpll deeper and deeper into the black- guardly intrigue. You see me now!" she cried after a brief pause, "a desperate woman who cared nought for life, only for her good name. I live to defend that before the world, for my poor mother's sake. Daily I am goaded on to kill myself and end it all. I should have done so had not Providence sent you to me. Wilfrid, to aid and counsel mc. Yet the blow has again fallen. and I now see no way to vindicate my- self. The net ha. closed around me-and-and —I must die And she burst into a sudden torrent of tears. Were they tears of remorse, or of heart-broken bitterness? "There ib no other way!" she added in a faint des-perate voice, her trembling hand closing ttfioii my wrist. "You must leave me to my- self. Go back to London and remain silent. And when they discover me dead you will still remain in ignorance—but sometimes you will think of me—think of me, Wilfrid," she sobbed, '■ as an unhappy woman who has fallen among u 11.* rupulous enemies." But this is madness! I cried. "You surely will not admit yourself vanquished now?" No not madness, only foresight. You, too, arc in deadly peril, and must leave me. With me. hope is now dead—there is only the grave." She spoke those last words so calmly and determinedly that I was thoroughly alarmed. I refused to leav.'her. The fact that Parham had discovered her showed that all hope of escapo \a now cut off. This she admitted to me. Standing before me, her countenance white and haggard, 1 saw how terribly desperate she was. Her chin then sank upon her breast and sho sobbed bitterly. I pla< (\| my hand tenderly upon her shoulder, full ot sympathy. ,vo "The story of your unhappiue. Tibbie, is the tdory of your love. Is it not ?" I asked, slowly. Her ciiest rose and fell slowly as she raised her tearful eyes to mine. and in reply, said in do low faltering voice. Listen, and I will tell you. Before I die it is only right that you should know the truth you who are my ollh- friend." And she burst again into a flood of tears, stirred by the painful remembrance of the past I stood there holding her for the first time iu my arms. And he buried her face upon mv shoulder, trembling and sobbing as our two hearts beal in unison. (To be Continued.) --==:=



























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