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[ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.] THE MISSING MILLIONAIRE; OR, Who Killed Rose Hammond ? BY M. O. ROWSELL. CHAPTER XXV. PANYER LANE AGAIN. MIGSON'S WHARF contained rich store before September waned into chill October. The "Albatross" had sailed into port in all her resuscitated beauty. Her captain, a man of brains ashore as on sea, had made good use of his enforced leisure along the Gold Coast. Among other strokes of business he had speculated in a share of a gold-dust venture, and the gold had proved magnifi- cent. While thus feathering his own nest, the captain did not forget the interests of the Panyer Lane firm, and he arrived in London with his head full of the sale and barter and commercial transactions which he had to propose to the two partners. His honest, bronzed faced clouded over with disappointment when he learned that neither the one nor the other of them was in town. The head clerk in Panyer Lane told him that Mr. Cleeves was away down at De Vere Court, and, in fact, now came rarely to the office. He did not speak in very regret- ful tones. Panyer Lane seemed as if it; could spare the senior partner's presence without a tear shed, for Cleeves's fascinations were reserved for other scenes than the clerks' office, and there were times when only the necessity of daily bread induced them to put up with his morose humours and haughty insolence respect for Temple, great as it might be, hardly counterbalancing their dis- satisfaction. Mr. Temple had met with a bad accident a fortnight since, and had been at death's door, and the bulletins from St. Wolfram's were still far from cheering. Yes the accident had occurred at St. Wolf- ram's, not far from the Vicarage. He had been set upon by ruffians, who had almost lone him to death, and left him, stunned and bleeding from several wounds, in a ditch. The worst had gone dangerously near the temple, and brain-fever had supervened. No the miscreants had got off. Not a very difficult matter in that lonely spot, within so short a distance from the sea as it was. Nothing was easier than to sneak off in a boat, and dart away into concealment among the thickets patched along the lonely inlets af the neighbourhood. It might have been the work of poachers—that seemed the only explanation for Mr. Temple was a man who never made enemies—though, of course, ifc. did not follow that he had none. It was the more regrettable, as business had of late been looking up a bit; and the "AII)atross"-oh, yes, it was Mr. Temple himself who had informed them of her safety, the night before his accident. Of course, Mr. Cleeves was aware of the plea- sant circumstance, but Mr. Cleeves had said he had important private affairs engrossing his time, and if the "Albatross" business demanded his immediate attention, it was presumable that he, the head clerk who spoke, had enough brains to give the attention; and this presumption being well warranted, the affairs of the richly-ladened ship were ex cellently well looked after. Besides the head Klerk's share in the direction of the matter, it was wonderful what intelligence Blinker displayed in his branch of the work of un- loadillg the cargo. The man's honesty was unimpeachable, and both Cleeves and Temple were accustomed to leave him in charge of the wharf with a confidence that sometimes astonished those who were less thoroughly acquainted with his idiosyncrasies. His bodily strength seemed to have profited by his curious mental vacancy. His taciturnity was only a superadded qualification for his post. Blinker was not to be pumped of the affairs of Migson's, much less bribed, though he dearly loved money. The chink of a silver sixpence delighted "Softy's" ear as greatly as the crackle of a bank-note has been known to charm the most brilliant intellects. The worst of Blinker was the ineradicable hatred, amounting to malice, which he bore to anyone who had the ill- luck to offend him. He was as implacable as an elephant, and since his tongue so rarely stirred, it was not always possible to know his real estimate of those about him. Among the treasures which the captain had brought home were some diamonds, for which he had made a barter in kind, satis- factory to the native seller of the gems but the test of their market value in Europe was yet to be made. A morning or so after his arrival, Captain Smith, took the little case containing the stones from his pocket, and began to examine them-while he was waiting to see a man by appointment—in the little office at the wharf apportioned to Temple. Blinker, who was pottering about outside among the new wares, and occasionally came to the office door for instructions where to stow them, displayed a supreme indifference at the sight of the stones, though his eye had just before gleamed joyously enough when the capt ain tendered him a shilling for some smal I personal service the man had performed for him. Suddenlyaloud shout from below attracted Smith's attention, as if some accident to the ever-working crane had occurred, and he rushed out in such haste to ascertain what was the matter, that he left his treasure on the desk, signing hurriedly to Blinker to stay where he was, in charge. The mishap below was more awkward than disastrous. A bale of some rich gold embroideries had burst its ligaments after being attached to the crane, and the precious material had tumbled incontinently into the mud, whither the tide was rapidly rising. The work of carefully getting the stuff together without permanent injury occupied all hands for the next quarter of an hour, and Captain Smith lent his assistance, for- getful for the moment of all else. The re- membrance, however, of his diamonds soon flashed upon him, and he hurried to relieve Blinker of his responsibilities. There were six diamonds in all, and five of them lay on the little scrap of dark green velvet in which they were kept. The sixth was in Blinker's hands, and he was examin- ing it with careful scrutiny by the light of the office window, through which the midday sunlight streamed brilliantly. So absorbed was he in his occupation that only when Smith entered the office, aftei pausing for a moment in the doorway, did he become .aware of his return. Then he laid the stone beside its companions with a grunt of approval, using his left hand, the fingers of his other hand being engaged in pressing upon the defective feature as if it were pain- ing him. "You've got something theer, cap'n," he said, with a smile whose shrewdness stag- gered the captain. "Think so?" said Smith, drily. As pretty a little bit of glarss as ever the Arcade's got ter show," said Blinker, passing out into the warehouse, as he continued the conversation. Yes; it's an eye-opener, I'm inclined to think," said the captain, still more drily. "What d'yer say?" challenged Blinker, returning, and looking the captain full in the face with his eye, and both arms heaped up With small packages. "A fine stone." Foin enough for you to be wrappin' of 'em up afore you leave 'em that way again." You know a good thing when you see it," said the captain. "For why, not bein' seen every day," sententiously said Blinker, "it needs vally- ing when you do spot it." I shouldn't have guessed you to be such a Dbilosopher," smiled the captain. Blinker only answered by nitcfimg up IllS braces, and shambling away to the open trap-door to help swing the crane, and for the rest of the day, he was silent according to his wont, especially after one of his lapses into loquacity. In the course of the afternoon Mr. John- stone looked in at Panyer Lane. He had been away in the north, but having read some account in the papers of the murderous attack on Temple, he called to ascertain if the reported details were correct, adding that lie thought of going to St. Wolfram's to see if he could be of any service, since he knew the interest that his friend Elmore took in the young man. Moreover, the moii I h which Temple was to take for con- sidet i-tion of Elmore's proposition was near- ing iis end. Johnstone, however, said that he was also aware of the return of the missing ship; that in itself would probably influence Temple's decision. Meanwhile, that, the victim of the outrage would have any future to decide upon as far as this world was concerned, seemed very doubtful, and Mr. J ohnstone departed with a heavy be,.i,i-I. for St. Wolfram's. As he crossed the park with the intention of calling first at the Grange, he met Cleeves. It was past seven o'clock, and nearly dark, and Johnstone, who had not been very favourably impressed with him on the occasion of meeting him at Mr. Belton's, had more than half a mind to avoid passing him by turning off along a side-path. lie changed his mind, however, and raising his hat as they came up wiLh each other, bade him good-evening, adding that maybe Cleeves had been to St. Wolf- ram's. Cleeves, whose countenance by the dim light looked ominously sullen, replied that he had been at the Vicarage to make a business call on Mr. Carteret. "Thenye'll have heard the latest of Mr. Temple ?" said Johnstone. Cleeves smiled superciliously, and shrugged his shoulders. "One hears so much of Mr. Temple," lie said, that I confess I did not make very close inquiry. These injuries always have to take their course. As far as I can under- stand, he has himself to blame for them. He knows that the neighbourhood has a bad reputation after dark. Poachers, and even smugglers, are not stamped out yet. What on earth took him that way, I cannot con- ceive. The vicar tells me that Mr. Elmore is using that old, half-ruined place down by the shore, to store some of his goods in." "And in that, case ? said Johnstone. In that case lie may have requested Temple to see after them, since he himself dares not show his face- "Dare!" blazed Johnstone. "What are you saying? You'll never lend yourself to the belief that Elmore is guilty of that foul crime—that accusation some villain has invented for his own ends ?" "Then why doesn't he come forward and clear himself? said Cleeves, with a mocking laugh. Perhaps the innate caution of Mr. John- stone from beyond the Tweed silenced the indignant words which rushed to his lips. 61 Really, my dear sir," went on Cleeves., if you as his friend have the slightest notion of where he is concealing himself, you would do him a good turn by giving a bint to the detective department in Scotland Yard. The longer Elmore persists in keeping out of the way, of course the blacker it looks against him and he must be run down at last-it is inevitable." "You think so ? "I am convinced of it; the police are so hot upon it. They are so positive, you see, that he is their man. I have it from Detec- tive Jackson's own lips." You have been in communication with him ? They—er—it appears that they spotted a certain little dinner Elmore gave at the Métropole on the night of the murder, and as one of his guests on the occasion they sought me out." "It is to be presumed that they know of the motive for the crime," sarcastically- said Johnstone. "They have evidence that I Elmore was acquainted with the girl?" lie added, as Cleeves lifted his head question- ingiy. That he knew that there was such a person as Rose Hammond ? "She was a St. Wolfram's woman," said Cleeves, and Elmore beilig 1, Oi that ilk. Varra conclusive, nae doubt," SM>i!Johnstone. "The poor girl appeal's to have borne a good character in 8t.. Vin- cent Street, but married tio-" "Seemingly," shrugged Cleeves. "But you know it is not difficult to wear wedding-ring. It does not help you much." It should help_far enough, I'm thinking, to prompt inquiries after Mr. Hammond," said Johnstone. Cleeves laughed. "Mr. Hammond appears to have been an unknown quantity in St. Vincent Street." "Mr. Hammond may own an alias. Mr. Hcimrnond, the husband of the murdered woman, may have wearied of his wife. The world does not want for dirty actions, Mr. l/ieeves." Aiul Johnstone passed on, leaving Cleeves standing on the edge of the path, looking ^r'en<^ James Elmore. What does that sententious meddler want down here?" he muttered to himself, as he pursued his way, lashing with the light cane he carried the wayside grass and ferns. Cleeves had been to the old Chantry, leaving De Vere Court by a circuitous route, he had made his way to the old Cliatti,t-y, where lie was admitted by the guardian of the ancient pest-house. The day had been lowering, and as evening set in a heavy sea- mist enveloped the level land for some j distance in. The one point visible to Cleeves as the man opened the door was his vigilant eye. It seemed to gleam with preternatural clearness and intelligence, but its promise was disappointing. Never had Blinker been more tactiturn. "Anything fresh ?" inquired Cleeves, as he halted inside the courtyard, while Blinker locked the door, and restored the inner bolts to their places. The man made no reply beyond a slight shake of the head, as he stood with about the animation of a well-made scarecrow near the foot of the winding staircase and pre- pared to follow. "Keep where you are," commanded Cleeves. I can go alone." The man obeyed for the length of time that Cleeves was visible, which was some distance up on account of the broken condi- tion of the masonry. Then he shambled round to a remote angle of the building, the base of whose wall was densely bramble and weed grown. Pushing some of this aside with his foot, he knelt down and removed several loose stones close to the ground. The gap thus disclosed, showed a more capacious hollow within, and wriggling into the gap on all-foi'-s, Blinker, after turning to replace the brambles, was lost to sight. Having overcome the perils of his ascent, Cleeves reached the door of the room in which his prisoner sat, gazing apathetically into the illmy atmosphere illumined by the hanging lamp. She looked more like a dream woman than a creature of actual life, her face colourless as the folds of the white cling- ing, wrapper-like gown she wore. The removals from the Grange had included an oak chest filled with garments of old- world pattern-sacques and mantles and petticoats of rich brocades and old time- yellowed lace. Whether this had been by chance or intention, it had served a good purpose, for the woman had beguiled the awful tedium of captivity in fashioning these habiliments into wearable attire. Some of them needed but slight alterations, and the white, warm-lined paduasoy wrapper was a welcome change in that damp place from the thin summer gown she had worn on the fatal occasion of her visit to the wharf. It seemed to Cleeves that never had Norna looked more beautiful than at that, moment seated in the great old carved chair, Lhe light of the lamp restirJg upon her beautiful hair, careles.sTy tied hack from the broad brow, and touching the fathomless depths of her eyes, veiled by the long laslies-eyes weary and tear-worn, I but touched with the beauty of some hope that despair and suffering might not crush. I CHAPTER XXVI. I IN DURANCE. "MR. CLEEVES The slight rustle of the old arras curtains concealing the door roused Norna from her listless attitude. Like some fever-stricken victim on whom the fell grip of disease has relaxed to seize again more cruelly—like the ray of light shining in the storm to perish next instant in the clouds, Noma's misery had been tenfold increased by that moment of hope which had come to her. The lorture of doubt Jest after all the man in the boat had not been Horace appalled her. The dis- tance, the glamour of moonlight, the hurry of the moment, her own eagerness fathering the belief that it was her husband came back upon her mind with the chill of ice-cold waves—for it had not been Temple, then it was an enemy, since any disinterested person would scarcely have passed the matter over. Common-sense and humanity would have prompted measures for her rescue. Yet she had been so convinced that it was Horace— the boat had been so near, the light so bril- liantly clear upon his features; but the days bad passed—how many she had not kept count; they might have been weeks, years, centuries, for the weary hopelessness of them. How many a time she had longed for death to hush away thought in utter forget- fulness-if, indeed, death is a forgetfulness. At least, death would have shielded her from persecution, from this hideous mesh of mys- tery entangling her. Only the exercise of the strong, pure belief she held in the supre- macy of good over evil, of truth over lies, in the unchanging, unchangeable trust in mutual love, bound her to this life. Even as she sat listening to the swell of the water seething sullenly in the mist round the walls, the yearning to fling herself upon the mercy of wind and waves—to make a last, effort for this life or sink into peace- held her in thrall so deeply that she had not heard the stealthy pushing of the bolls, and only when the arras stirred she lifted her eyes with the listlessness that had grown habitual, thinking it might be Nance re- turning from her little turret-chamber, whither she had gone, or Blinker, who always put in an appearance about that hour of the evening, coming as he went, mute as a statute, and deep to boot, judging from the absolute imperviousness of his face. "Mr. Cleeves and she rose with a shrink- ing terror in her eyes, mingled with defiance, that conjured a slnile to his-thin, mocking lips but he did not speak, as he let the arras drop behind him and advanced a few paces into the room. "I fear I startled you," he said, in tones that fell soft and musical as dropping water, and fraught with a respectful sympathy that quickened her attention. "Believe me, Mrs. Temple-" She started, and he passed his delicate, long fingers over his lips, sweeping the gentle smile away into a melancholy gravity. "Yes," he went on, "Mrs. Temple, the whirligig of time brings round curious revolutions. My worthy partner was per- haps wise in his secret methods of securing so great a prize as Miss Norna Hatherleigh, since the knowledge how many sought to compete in the race for such wealth—that is, to wear the colours of such a charming lady as-" He paused and took a catching breath, which might have meant an effort to subdue agitation, and his melancholy com- posure regained its way. "All the same, these clandestine marriages rarely make for happiness," he added- Is that your experience, Mr. Cleeves?" said Norna, coldly. He started, and one of his oblique glances shot from beneath his lowered eyelids. "You are crllel," he replied, "as women love to be, as a cat is with a, mouse-" "Or a human monster with a trapped creature," she interrupted, quickly. Once more he winched visibly under her cold, keen glance. If I made a secret marriage," went on Norna, "I am not aware that, I had not the right to do as-" You pleased," laughed Cleeves. "As I judged best." "Setting Mr. Elmore's consent not at a, pin's value." A strange, mirthless laugh broke from Norn a. Poor Uncle James was not worthy to be consulted," said Cleeves, writhing. consulted," said Cleeves, writhing. "That is how I regarded it," said Norna. "My uncle has no legal claim upon me "Butthe tie of blood." She shivered. I do not know by what, right you are here to-to remind me of it," she said, haughtily. ( To be continued).


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