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}_JjS E S S A;^i


■. 1 [XtL EIGHTS KESIBVSD.] }_JjS E S S A;^i BY £ EMILIE SEAKCHFIELB, AUTHOBOF va_ r k "V "p.- T? < "SKOWDBOP." ETC., ETC. £ 'c. (Continued from our last.) *•!—>, o.~cry right," and her voice was sadder than before. \V ell, dear, to begin with, I came to you so soon as I heard, through a chance friend, that Rob was ill, for hi:" letter made me anxious for you both but it w;^ not till I had reached the ? station in your village that I knew that he was dead. Of course, I thought then of you only, and, dear, you remember, perhaps, that I scarce liked the idea of your coming here still, when I found you bent upon it, I thought and trusted that Pro. vidence wari so arranging matters that I might be, perhaps, permitted to iind means of convincing this Sybil Wood row that her accusations were antirely false, so far as Rob was concerned." She pau-od. I hoarsely murmured, Go on," And. Tessa proceeded. 4' In that hope I listened • for all chance gossip, for I knew she had been making secret inquiries about in the neighbou hoou—all I feared was that some rumour reach your ears but yet, with sftc by you always, I scarce thought it probable, *nd, indeed, I fancied, t)O, thrt by this time she mi!!ht huve gi .-tjii it all up as useless. The first thing of any Importance v. hich I discovered, how- Jpv^r, wa-5 that the man lodging here is a detective, *8ent by her to sift out, if possible, everything con- -necU, with tins affray," 'But why a detective ?" I asked. "Why did not iiiss Woodrow throw he matter into the hands "bt the county police, and have done?" t'^v-ausc, de;r, they did their beat at the first, and faihyj and because, too, Bob being deai; she cannot bring his body to justice and because, dea she is a malicious woman who But, "Dora, you could scarce have understood the I letter I b,he you," and picking it up from off the -floor she pointed to one sentence written therein :— J "I had known Miss Woodrpw slightly in Lon- don, and in B-, during my friendly intercourse "WiU¡ her b: the; she was thrown daily in my way. ■A little misunthn-.jtanding arose at last between Sh. Woodrow and myself, which wa', as I may as well say at once, respecting his sister. I do not, Jjowover, fed myself at liberty to explain further, tut you will holieve me, Tessa, that I was quite Ylbkizii..o.s.3 ia the affair, although, after that, our iriendship cooled considerably." Do not your eyes read that for what it must liave been-site loved him, darling, and he did Aliofc love her in? return; and now, my dearest, "strange as it may appear to you, she owes his wife grudge, and will sift the matter thoroughly, in order to overwhelm you with shame and anguish." ( I moaned feebly, and clung fast to Tessa. Now, listen to me, Dora. Rob is not what she "Would make him out to be to the world, and I think that I am in the way to prove it. That woman over the way struck me forcibly the very first time I saw her. I said to myself that she had something to do with this, my secret. I knew it, and felt it even to my very finger-tips, and I am sure of it now—as sure as though I had all the threads of evidence safe in my own keeping. Bit bit I have gathered her history, I have, as you know, listened to all her chance gossip but not till nurse told us the other night did I know that site gave out to having a son in Australia. I told, the detective, but he only smiled, and said that he Ixad known it all along. Do you believe in presen- timents, Dora ? Tessa was highly excited by this time, and her. grey eyes fairly flashed upon me. %i I do, and I am sure, too, that if that son can only tie found or traced, the mystery will be cleared. He was a waiter at the very hotel at which Rob and I Dr. Woodrow were staying at the time of the com- mittal of the murder since then he has entirely disappeared—g<<! e to Australia of course, anù-" she stopped, for she was out of breath with her long, excited speceh. And you think he is the guilty man ? I said. That is my opinion, and the detective's as well. Now, no one knows exactly of his whereabouts. "The detective has tried his mother over and over but she is shrewd and silent upon the matter, and no letter has reached her since We have sus- pected him, for—but, Dora, we must not mention this to any one else-he has met the postman daily in the fields outside the village, and bribed him into letting him examine his bag every morn- jug- Perhaps she will tell, if I go and beg her for Uob's sake," and I sprang up, as though to carry Say plan into execution at once. Hush, Dora, you do not know what you are say- ing. Our friend, the detective, says that he has a flight clue, too slight and unimportant to repeat «ven to me, but if we can raise money sufficient to pny for one of his comrades to go to Australia, Jhe thinks that they will not fail to tind their man." He must be found," I said earnestly; "and Hob must be cleared at all risks." Yes." So we two sat holding each other's hands, and .gazing into the mysterious future we both found vw hearts grow brave with the necessity. I have some mon jy," Tessa at length said. **I sold some of my trinkets the first time I went to B-, and some again to-day but I believe the man I sold them to cheated me-any way, I Jkare not sufficient even now to pay for such a journey as that. Besides, it has cost me a great 4Ieal already, in the shape of fees and bribes to one and another at B- and elsewhere for informa- tion they have given me. I did not know what to do, Don, bat come to you—can you help me ? 2 looked up wonderingly. She appeared so worn and ill in the grey, evening light—there were positively lines about her mouth and on her Sitherto smooth, white brow—she looked old and tttnckea. She was suffering even its myself, and I ttaM lip my lips to kiss her. As they touched hers, 4a low, hysterical sob burst forth from her bosom, vd I strained her to me. Yon have done and feorne too mnch," I said, soothingly. Too much, lloar Tessa, for your delicate state of health." No, not too much." I looked at her inquire wiy- She was perfectly calm now, and I felt 1IDt she had something more to say. >, It cost her a struggle to speak the word* hover- ing upon her lips; I saw it in the changefwi ex- pression of her face., I loved Rob." The words were simple and quiet; but, oh, the Tight which then burst full upon me and here I must say that naught but admiration for this -oman. who, it appeared, had somewhat of a prior damn upon my husband, filled my soul. Oh, Ifeasa I exclaimed, and he married me. Me, -who am a silly, empty-headed child compared with yoa«—you, who could have advised him in this matter, for with you by his side to have confided matter, for with you by his side to have confided in, he would, perhaps, have been yet alive—alive to clear his name. Oh, why'did he marry me ? To have once more had Rob in the land of the living I would have given up to Tessa the joy-crown -.f my love—but she was speaking Dora, my sister, it was to be. Rob never loved me in the way I loved him, and you were infinitely more suited to him than I could ever have been." U You would have been more to him than I ever was. U I fear I spoke bitterly then. Not so, darling, you filled up his life, and I COuld not have done more." And so we sat on, one alike In mind and purpose. 51; seemed, too, thab our very hearts became knit to- gether on that calm, midsummer evening. CHAPTER VII. We disposed of all our little articles of finery the "Whole of Tessa's ornaments went, with the excep- tion of her watch, and one or two rings which I forced her to kect>. So the detective at hist sailed for Australia, with such scraps of infom-ation as IForbes (the .dry man) could give him and now I think it is high time that I should give my readers an insight into the matter us it really atood. Before Rob married me he lived in London, as I ttve beforesaid, then he was manager of a City Bank, aiDd. after 14 left, was transferred c<:ly h one of uheir country branch houses. But while in London he somehow became acquainted with a young sur- geon—not very intimate, as young men sometimes are, still sufficiently so as 1!0 admit of his accom- panying Dr. Woodrow to his home, and there he first met the woman I have before mentioned, Sybil Woodrow. Dr. Woodrow and his sister were AS one may say, standing alone in the world, as I was also Hob till he met with me, which I think must in part have accounted for his regard for them. Thinking over my married life, however, 1 and collecting together such stray remarks as I had heard him make in reference to these friends of his. I cannot think that the feeling lie bore them amounted to anything like 1we; but with Rob's letter before me I can see plainly enough that, in all probability, Sybil Woodrow loved him. In 'accordance with this letter, I distinctlyremem- bered Rob's telling me that he had spent the autumn before the winter in which he had met me, at B but I was too glad in my new life with him to enquire aught respecting his past, and so the circumstance had entirely passed from my mintl. till recalled in so painful a manner that I would even now fain fling my pen aside and have done with it for ever. Yet why should I h estate ? Why should I keep silence ? Rob was innocent !—I knew it then, and I know it now and, beside3, there is yet another cause why I should go on, for she whose memory is like that of an angel to no must be spoken of— her lire, her de-xtli demands the completion of my work—and so as a small, loving tribute to her dear name I proceed. The W-jodivws, too, had chosen B for their holiday station, and, as it appeared, Rob and they had been often together, until a mis- understanding arose between them. I give you now an extract from the li Chronicle which will throw at 'east a I;1.tie light unon the matter :— Mvsuv,nious'i-Aii.YNCK.—Great commo- tion has been caused in this town during the last few days, respecting *;hu disappearance of a medi- cal gentleman. All proc. aing to discover traces of his whereabouts arc, however, strictly private, so that for theproponb no lumes will appear. It ia, nevertheless, suspected that the missing man met 'I with a violent death in the autumn of i, Tho police, it is said (and perhaps the fact is remem- bered hy some), took up the case in a feeble way at the time, but nothing was then discovered. Why the a'ikir is beingagain brought forward after so long a time is known only at present to the friends of the unfortunate gentleman, and will, doubtless, ere Ion' e hid before the public." The ab jvo actually appeared In the columns of the paper I have named, only a day or so after my arrival at Holm ,by: later on there was another ac- count, which was as follows :— With regard to the mysterious murder (wo no longer hesitate in denouncing it as such) committed in our neighbourhood, a few facts have oozed out which may be interesting to the public. The medi- cal gentleman before mentioned, who, with hi3 sister, had taken up his abode at the Bath Arms,' was last seen alive by some of the waiters at the hotel as he descended the steps of the house, with a view to taking his usual early walk on the sands, which at that hour of the day arc almost deserted. A little later, his sister also went out, and upon her return the servants remember her to have been strangely absent in manner, Towards evening we understand her to have sought an interview with the proprietress of the establishment, wherein sho is said to have stated that her brother had left her for a few days alone, but that she intended staying on till his return. latter inquiries were made through the police, as his disappearance was not understood, and foul play began to bo sus- pected, but with no result, save that the object of their search seemed to be as completely beyond their reach as though centuries had rolled since the time when first he was missed. We have no doubt as tothetruth of the above facts, and wetrust next week to be able to give a fuller account. It may, how. ever, be as well to add that one of the waiters also went away in a strange manner at the very same time, taking nothing at all with him in the shape of wearing apparel. No suspicion is attached to the man himself, but may he not be kept purposely in the background, either by tho murderer himself or some one of his friends ? Next week the public again gloated over tho fol- lowing Private information assures us that there i3 no MURDE!;T!I after all, but a MCRDEUKSS, in the case of the B inysfery. Some even go so far as to point the finger of retribution at the sister of the unfortunate man. We ourselves think of it as being more probably an AKKAIRE DU COCUK,' and as such, must necessarily involve another of the fair sex, instead of the one hinted at. Some say that her disturb" i ways and looks, her restless wanderings, &c., were evidences either of guilt itself, or guilty knowledge. If she believed her brother only to be as she had stated, meroly gone away for a few days, there sun ly was no need for all these signs of un- easiness—nevertheless, we do not beliu. o rumour in this instance." Again Nothhig new relating to our town mystery has come to light. Detectives are at work, and as it is the sister of the murdered man who is stirring in the matter, the tongue of scandal, is silent." The first twoof these accounts bear evidence to the facts as they stood, but I need scarcely say that the last two were mere suppositions in lieu of real in- formation. Rob's Istter, too, did not tell much, for from some cause his ideas had been written in a confused way. Thus in one place he spoke of there being "a murdered man," and then again of some one being alive, and there being no murder at all but throughout the whole his one cry was, I I I (in& innocent, hut have only my own tcord to say so!" After the mentioning of the quarrel with Dr. Woodrow, no names had occurred in his letter. What, oh what, did it all mean ? Tessa told me all she had discovered, and I in turn commit the same to you. Taking up the thread where the B- Chronicle let it slip, I, therefore, resume the tangled narrative. Sybil Woodrow had gone, as was said, to join her brother, and had consequently turned in the direction he always took in the course of his morning rambles, along the eastern clilf, towards a spot where a gradual descent brought her down upon the sands. It was a lovely walk, •which, perhaps, accounted for her and her brother's choice of it during their 3tay. One solitary figure was in sight as she gazed in the distance from her elevated position, and he appeared as though stoop- ing down to collect shells or sea-weed which had been washed up. Her brother was making a col- lection of the former, and she at once supposed it was he whom she saw. Once or twice she lost eight of him as tha points of the cli Ifcrossed her view, but when at last she began to desccnd tho gentle slope, ahe was greatly surprised to see, notr her brother, but Rob advanced to meet her. He Seemed, so she afftrnted, to be out of breathy and wild and terrified in maimer, and wheu she asked him if ho had seen her brother/he told her that ho had been commissioned by him to say that busi- ness compelled him to leave her tot" awhile. In reply to her-inquiries as to the nature of the busi- ness, and the probable length of his stay, he had seemed at a loss for an answer, but strongly advised her to stay on at the U Bath Arms the time ;-he and her brother had at the first intended, and then, in the case of his not having returned, to go back to London at once. Because of tlio coolness which had arisen between them, they parted there on the sands, but once or twice after, during Miss Wood row's staymB———,tLey.-tuc:.and Rob each time inquired anxiously if she had heard anything of the doctor. The answer was afwajw-44 o,• for from that day to the time I am speaking of, no trace of him had been discovered, iliws Woudrow made a little stir contrary to Rob's ausr^estion, who always told her that her brother would turn up some day, and I think, to do her justice, th..t although she felt anxious, she in part believed hi- words. I have said that they were without friends, but if so they had at least, the tiling which stands in geocl stead. Not tluit tney weie rich still, each of the two was in a way independent, and now Sybil was doably provided for. Oh, how I longed for wealth just then It seemed that we should never gain our purpose, for if this Australian scheme failed us, Tessa and I had no'other resource, for I did ni t think it right to beggar wu- child, depriving him of home and education, tr,r the sake .f the dead. I could not see my way clear. That there had been a murder there was not 1,;¡e least Uoubc, for Tessa had Mcen the body which had been dug out of ti e sands on the day of her last visit to B the day when she had a'd unwillit.gly taken me into her confidence. It could not, of euurse, be reco Tisis el, couid not be ewiseiy examined, and as she < had sever soen Dr. \Voodro>v, it mattered T-o l.e O ">* °"r np',d.



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