Logansport Pharos-Tribune from Logansport, Indiana on November 21, 1897 · Page 22
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Logansport Pharos-Tribune from Logansport, Indiana · Page 22

Logansport, Indiana
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 21, 1897
Page 22
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llie Urn CHAPTER X"V. OSE was not a coward; but she felt that she would have given ten years of her life not to have to enter that sick room alone. There was no help for it; the faint, wailing cry of her unhappy patient had not died away when, cold and horror struck, not daring to define her fears, she opened the door and crossed the room to his bedside. She was too late; she knew that as soon as her reluctant eyes met those of the unlucky exiJe. He was alive, but there was no hope. Already his eyes seemed to be growing glassy, he drew breath with difficulty, and the black shadow of death was on his face. Rose suppressed a cry. "What has he done to you?" she cried hoarsely. The sick man gasped for breath and writhed as he lay. "I don't know," said he In a strangled voice. "I was as.leep, and I awoke In pain. Now—the pain— is less—my limbs feel dead—my throat swells—I am dying " Rose fled across the room to the fireplace, and plaolni; her finger on the button of the electric bell, held It there while the dying man, with more and more difficulty, went on speaking. "Why ring? Nothing can be done— I feel it—I^do not care. You onlv can gfvi m« comfd'rr?:'lie'continued in a breaking voice. "My boy " H« broke down altogether on the whispered word. Rose, still with her finger on the bell, answered him In a low, hoarse voice, thrilled with passionate pity. "Don't fear, don't doubt me. If your child is alive, I will find him, save him, at the risk of my own life; I swear it. I swear it." The sick man had struggled up to his •Ibow, and'was looking at Rose with •yse in which the light of life was burn- Ing faint and dim. "I believe you," he whispered. "I am •atliified." At that moment Rose heard the distant sound of coming footsteps coming 'quickly toward the room. She opened •the door, and told the approaching chambermaid to send at once for a doctor, and to ask either the manager or Ms wife to come upstairs without delay. JB less than two minutes, during which time the sick man had refused to take an emetic which Rose prepared, and had been seized with sickness and a kind of convulsion, breathing at the same time with ever-increasine difficulty, there was a light tap at the door and the manager of the hotel came in. Mr. Branson was a man Rose felt that she could trust. •'This jjentlemun," said she, '-has been poisoned," "I was down stairs. I had left him asleep. Coming up, I found a man leaving this room. It was Mr. Cilchester" "Mr. SHehester! Oh, Impossible! I "Vw him off myself this morning." "He has returned then," The manager looked more than in- 'Tredulous. "I will make Inquiries," said he coldly. "But in any case Mr. Silchester can iave had nothing to do with the poisoning of this gentleman. Here is the doc- ior." To Rose's great annoyance and disappointment, it was the same who had Ittended her patient previously. As Jhe expected, he was quite at a loss. He Sooked at the sick man, and felt his jmlse, which was feeble arid irregular it was Rose who made the next dis- Kovery. "His limbs are swollen, sir; look at that arm. And he is cold and clammy. Doesn't that point to poison? The question is only:—What poison?" But the doctor did not know. After hearing a full account of the symptoms already observed by the nurse, the only suggestions he could make were, "Arsenic" and "An emetic." Rose said she had wished to administer the latter, but the patient had refused to allow it. Both men were now, she felt, looking at her with suspicion. There was a silence, none of the three knowing what to do or to say, which was broken by the sick man. He was in pain evidently, but he had been watching and listening, and he now spoke in a peremptory tone, though his voice •was faint and weak. "Nurse Revel," said he, "come here." Rose obeyed; and the dying man laid his right hand, which was cold and clammy, on her arm. "You know," said he slowly, and with many pauses for breath, "who has done this, and—though you can neve—bring him to—justice—you are now warned. I give to you—these gentlemen are witnesses—my cloak, it is in there," and he pointed to the wardrobe, "and what money I have about me, and everything else of mine that is found in this room. All upon trust—remember our compact, my trust" He sank back, exhausted, supported la her arms, and with a moan of pain, and a painful struggle for his failing breath, fell sideways upon her shoulder. Th«y thougct it was all over, but h« regained enough strength to raise his head and whisper huskily in her ear, "My boy, my child!" One more long, piteous, unwilling fight for breath, and hia lifeless heal Ml heavllr doiro again, vhile ROM was still murmuring, in a deep, sweet voice of consolation:— "I will find your boy, if he is to TJO found; I will be sister, mother, guardian to him, as long as he needs it; I will shrink from nothing in his service, for the sake of my bond with you. I swear." The last words trembled on her lips, for she knew that the ears of the unhappy exile were deaf for ever. Not a sound had come from the two spectators of this pitiful scene. They did not move until the nurse, slowly and reverently, laid the body down on the bed. Then doctor came forward and touched the dead man. "Dead!" he said. "Under very mysterious circumstances. The unfortunate gentleman seemed to intimate," he continued, turning to Rose with new deference and some nervous hestitation, "that you, madam, could give some explanation." Rose gave no answer, and the doctor did not press it. For there was a dignity in her tall, erect figure, an expression of passionsite solemnity in her white face, in her great black eyes, which commanded the deepest respect, and seemed to change the whole type of her black-browed countenance from mere haughtin««s to..majesty. For she felt the great responsibility, the certain danger of the task she had taken upon herself, the oath she had, with all the earnestness of which sh* was capable, sworn into the ears of a dying man. "There must be an inquest," said the manager shortly, breaking the silence with annoyance in hig tone. "Then you will have to give evidence, and we may get at something." "I should like to make a, statement to you presently, sir," said Rose, turning to him. "I don't know that I can make the affair seem less mysterious, but I can at least explain the words he used." "When you please, madam," said the manager. Then, turning, he said, "Have you been able to come to any conclusion, doctor, concerning the cau»e of death?" "Yes," answered the other decidedly. He had been examining, first the body of the dead man, and then the array of bottles on the little table beside the bed. "I should think it was undoubtedly suicide—temporary insanity, no doubt." Rose shot at him a glance of contempt Irom her black eyes. The manager also looked rather Bceoticil. "You'll keep this as quite as you can doctor, won't you^ For my sake said lie," "I ilon't want these circumstances known all over town. I'll have the body tuKun away for the inquest, and if you can prove it's suicide so much the better" Still a mystery tli° occurrence remained, there was no denying that. Gradually it was borne in upon the minds of the two men, that she was certainly innocent of any share in the strangers death. "Well, doctor, there is no more for you to do here," said the manairer, ; 'I w:ll shut up this room and we will talk this over downstairs." The doctor assented readily enougtu He was conscious of not having appeared to advantage from beginning to end of this affair, and his desire to avoid undue publicity was to the full as strong as hia companion's. Rose lingered behind the two men, as they left the room, to perform certain reverent offices In consequence of tnls impret&loc. Mr. Branson, when they all entered his private room downstairs, gave the doctor, instead of his confidence, a stiff glass of whisky and water. Rose stood silently by while the two men talked in low tones. She gathered that they were consulting as to the best means, not of solving the mystery, but of hushing it up. In this discussion she took no part. And it was not until the doctor had finished his whisky and water, shaken hands, and left to go home, that she again spoke. "Now that fool is gone," she began contemptuously, "I can tell you all I know." Mr. Branson save a short lausrh. ""I had no Idea the case was a serious one," said he regretfully, "or I should have sent for a better man. As it was, I sent for the nearest." "You need not reproach yourself," Rose said, in a gravely reassuring tone; "the greatest physician in the world could have done very little better, I firmly believe. You shall judge for yourself." j Then, seeing that, for all reasons, the manager was a person in whom she : could confide, she related to him in full : detail all the circumstances of her com- ' ing; her mistake at the outset, her ' softness of the sable-tails with whicK it. waa lined struck her even more tha*. upon her first sight of the cloak. She next felt in the pockets of the velveteen coat, in which she had, by the sick man's wish, found nis purs'e; but they contained nothing more of any consequence, except two small keys which proved to belong to his portmanteau and dressing-biig. Both these she opened, examining their contents carefully. Both were fitted up handsomely with gold or silver-gilt In the dressing-bag Rose found a bundle of private papers and letters. She hesitated, with these in her hand. The dead man had apparently put in her such boundless confidence that she felt that she was free to examine them if sbe chose; on the other hand, Mr. Branson's arguments had had so little effect upon her that she did not need to try to discover proofs of the truth of the dead man's story. She therefore put the papers back into the bag, and relocked it. In the portmanteau she found, besides clothes, a book or two and a small Russia leather writing case, with two secureily fastened locks. She put back everything as she found it, and locked the portmanteau as she haC done the bag. Sbe had done everything reverently, in the presence conversations with the sick man and ; of tne dea " d man 7 taking the gift he hau with Mr. Silchester, her dismissal, under orders, of the woman sent as nurse, tie strange compact which the sick man had forced upon her, his immovable despondency, and finally her meeting with Mr. Silchester outside the door of the sick room, just as she heard the dying man's cry. Mr. Branson put by no means so much faith, in th« dead man's story a» made her of these possessions as a trust for the benefit of his son, in whose existence she believed as firnuy as in her power to save him from his father's enemies. For her enthusiasm had caught light, and it blinded her to the dangers and difficulties which might lie In the way of her wild quest. Then, after once more solemnly gazing on the face of the dead man, and forming with her lips words expressive of her loyalty Rose herself had been tempted to do. iij, Sllchetfv had been » pretty con- to his wishes, as if in the belief that Bt£ni Visitor >» th«"hotel', sometimes that would comfort him, she crept out for a Say or tvt>, more often for a few of the room, locking the door behind hours only. He had given his London her. address, and Mr. Branion, going to his \ Rose wsnt first to the manager's of- offle«, brought back a hook in which flee, and informed Mr. Branson that «the he had entered it—No. —Lincoln's Inn , "was going to follow his advice and con- fields. There had never been anything suit the police. He was relieved to hear IB the least suspicious in Mr. Sil- , this, but did not tell her that, if she had cheater's manner or movements, i been an hour later in coming to this de"And I can tell you," continued the cision, he should have taken the step Manager, "that in this business one upon himself. He told her where the soon gets to spot a shady character. 1 chief police station was, and offered to am afraid I rather incline, myself, to put the boot on the other leg, and to think that the unfortunate gentleman who has just died upstairs had some very good reason for getting out of. the world his own way, instead of waiting for his fate to be settled by the law." Rose Revel broke in with vehemence and decision. "I will not believe it, I cannot believe it! Indeed," she went on more calmly, "I can show you some proof of his rank. No one but a very great personage could afford to wear such a cloak as his, and then; is C crown or coronet on his pocket-books, purses, everything." "One swallow doesn't make a summer, and it takes more than stamped coronets to make a king. The unfortunate man may have been a colossal swindler, and Mr. Silchester may have been tho solicitor (I believe he is a solicitor) who was put on his track. In any case my advice to you is this: communicate with the police. If the dead man's itory is true," and Mr. Branson almost shrugged his shoulders, "they may help you to find the child. If it is false, they will find out that for you without any difficulty. In the meantime you shall have the money and the rest of the things he gave you in my presence; and if the police should have to request you to restore them to previous owners, you won't blame me." Even the account of the stranger's compact with Rose, sealed by a gift of five hundred pounds, did not satisfy Mr. Branson. ''"That he was very anxious to secure your services I can see," he admitted. "But I think that perhaps, if he had lived a little longer, you might have found that he had not told you the real Cor the dead man. When she rejoined | re ason why he wanted them. If he wa* a swindler, for instance, he may have wanted you to help him to escape from justice." Rose made no answer to this suggestion, but she remained entirely unconvinced. At her request, Mr. Branson made inquiries of the waiters and servants, irith a view to learning whether Mr. Silchester had been seen to enter the hotel that evening, as she described. No one had seen him. Rose pointed out that this was not conclusive, as the them in the corridor, the doctor went on a few steps toward the staircase, while the manager locked the door of the room. Rose seized the opportunity of speaking to him rapidly, in a low voice. "You don't believe Mr. Silchester had a hand in it? Come into his room. He went in there when he left me outside this door." "I tell you," answered the manager quickly, "that he left this morning, and hasn't returned. He left some luggage in the dressing-room, as he often does, and took away the key. I myself found the door locked when I came up- get a cab, but she said she preferred to walk, it would do her good; and, after a. nominal breakfast, she started on her errand. Mr. Branson, whose confidence in his fellow-creatures had been much impaired by the rude shocks of experience, gave directions to one of the waiters, who had been employed incidentally as an amateur detective upon occasion, to fol!ow r and watch her movements at a discreet distance. This precaution was quite uncalled for. Rose Revel, although she *ould pursue a given object with a steadiness and pertinacity which sometimes approached perilously near to unscrupulousness, wap an honest and straightforward woman in the main, only cunning when she found herself unequally pitted against the cunning, and incapable of deceiving any person whom she believed to be worthy of confidence. These not uncommon characteristics vl the stronger sort of women were in Rose accompanied by a very feminine tenderness of heart, which had so far found its chief outlet in her passionate love for her sister. It happened, however, that her actions on this particular morning wer«- mysterious enough to afford an apparent justification of Mr. Branson's eau tion. CHAPTER XVII. N LEAVING the •hotel, Rose turned to the left, on her way to the chief police station. She had not gone far when her attention was attracted by the sight of a figure _^__ in front of her which she recognized as that of the tall, fair young man whom she ruspected of having mysterious communication with Mr, Silchester. He was walking at a. leisurely pace, with his head well back as before, his soft, wide-brimmed hat tilted elightly on one side, his caped cloak streaming and flapping in the wind. Rose instantly decided that she would follow him. Down Parker street he went, she after him; through the mar- stairs this afternoon after he was gone." | tnig young i ady declared that, as soon hotel was not very full, and at the time j ket, and with many a turning toward she was having tea with the young lady the docks, he always at the same saunt- In charge of the office most of the visitors were at dinner. On the other hand, However, because the nurse was persistent, Mr. Branson went into the room Mr. Silchester had used during his stay, and crossed to the dressing-room door. ; ^^ p^ggd There he uttered an exclamation of sur- p eve j pris«: for the door was unfastened, and the key was in the lock. "Now, do you see there is something i ^' «""'"" , , . iur. DI tiusun in wh^t I say? asked Rose, excited and triumphant. "1 see there may be," answered the i ""',1" "Jl" « . TT- ,_ j j cany part or manager cautiously. He had drawn open the door and entered tne dressing- room. as the nurse left her, she resumed her place at the office desk, and could not ering pace, she always cautious and not too close behind. An unsavory neighborhood, thisi to which he was leading the way, full of uninviting lodging houses and the cheapest sort of eating- have failed to see Mr. Silchester, if he ! houses; not at all the kind of place CHAPTER XVI. HERE was no trace of suny luggage, unless an end of thin coarse string and a tiny shred of sacking had been part of iu Rose picked up both these trifles carefully, and they left the room together without further comment. But Mr. Branson locked th«i door of this room also and took away the key. The doctor, waiting in the corridor and looking nervous asked if they had made any discoveries. "Nothing of any consequence," said the manager, whose opinion of the doctor's sagacity was not much higher that out, especially as. Miss declared she saw him go by, she might sa.y she was on the watch for him. Rose, however, elicited from fact that there was another staircase, used by the servants, which was but little frequented in the evening. She decided in bar own mind that it was by this means that Mr. Silchester had made hia escape out of the hotel, after what she did not hesitate to call the murder of her patient. When Rose left the manager, both •were more strongly convinced than before of the truth of their own particular view of the case. She watched all night by the dead man, so much absorbed by her thoughts and speculations that it Tvas"hot until the morning that it occurred to her to find out the value of the present the sick man had made her on his death bed. In the purse and. the pocket-book she found a sum of nearly fifteen hundred pounds in gold and notes. She next examined the fur cloak. Taking it down from the peg on which it hung, the first thing she remarked was its enonnons weight. She ' supposed that It was only used for traveling, as a strong man would have found it difficult to walk far under such * burden. It was made o( very fln« 4ar* bl«« aloft. M* tb« ricb oolor iqd . where a gentleman of the type of the fastidious-looking stranger would be expected to ta!« his pleasure. He was, indeed, made tha subject of some uncomplimentary comment of the "chaffing" sort, but he bore it with such stolid imperturbability as to raise the question whether he was not too much self- absorbed even to hear it. Rose had long since decided that it was business which brought him to this neighborhood, and the conviction was strengthened by the shrill cry of one small boy to another:— '"Ere's the m^ican, Sam." This remark proved to her that thi* was not his first visit. At the door of one of the more respectable looking of the shabby lodging houses he stopped, and, admitting himself by a latch-key, disappeared at once from Rose Revel's eyes. She passed the house quickly, and entering one of the poor eating houses on the opposite sid« of the street, sat down at a table from which she could watch the door by which the young man had passed in. There were few people in the dingy room; a couple of sailors, making a late broafcfast, who subdued their talk at sight of the nune's uniform; a quiet man dozing over a newspaper at the far end; that wai «IL Rose asked for a roll and butter, and, eating as slowly as walttbed until .nearly half af nour later, the poeticai-iooTting gentleman came out again. She got a goo*, view of him, noted theamug expression of his face and the pompous air with which he walked. Then, only waiting long enough to give him time to turn the corner of the street, she paid for he roll and went out Rose had conceived the idea that she might find the missing child, whom sh' firmly believed to be alive, in thi house. If it really was the intention of Mr. Silchester and his apparent con federate to take the young prince America., was not this low lodging house, close to the docks, a likely plac for them to keep him in hiding unti they found a fitting time for carrying out their intention? With excitement which she found i hard to subdue to the point of concealment, Rose rang the bell, and listenec to the slow footsteps of a slipshod woman wh« came along the passage to open th» door. . For the first time, as Rose Revel stoofl at the door of the Liverpool lodging house, her belief in the strange story told by her late patient wavered. If it were true, the young child of whom she was in search was lawfully King of Sergania; and surely the "divinity' which "doth hedge a king" would keep even the infant monarch of a tenth-rate state from such degrading surroundings as these. So Rose thought, beginning to feel that she was on a wild-goose chase; and it was with evident diffidence that she addressed the woman who opened the door, substituting a different question for that which she had prepared about the child. There is a gentleman stopping here on the flr»t floor," she hazarded, feel- Ing sure that the fastidious looking Btrangar would be content with nothing Iw th*m the beet accommodation the poor plac« afforded, and speaking with •ore ^implicit J of Manner tha» was M- tural t» her, "a Tery distinguished looking gentleman who goes about in a cloak and eye-glasses. I have a mes- •ajfe for him. Is he In?" The woman, a dark-haired native of Lancashire, who wore the orthodox shawl no longer round her head but round her shoulders, gazed at the nurse with shrewd curiosity. "What's his name?" she asked, and Rose perceived at once that the woman herself did not know the name of her lodger, and also that she regarded him with curiosity and suspicion. "Mr. Morton," answered Rose, therefore, with much promptitude. The woman opened the door a little further, as if still in doubt. "He don't expect any visitors, as I knows," she said dubiously. "He's out mostly. He may be cut now, for all I know." "Can I go up and see?" "Ay. But you must take the blame yourself if he don't want you." Rosa passed her, and began to ascend the narrow staircase. "Stop!" cried the mistress of the house suddenlj'; and, running after the visitor, she detained her with a strong hand. "I'd better go up first, maybe," she added, as she rushed past Rose. It had occurred to the landlady that the meeting between her lodger and the visitor might not be without interest. So she knocked at the front door of the front room on the first floor, and, receiving no answer, put her head in. She withdrew it again immediately, and shut the door, saj'ing in a low voice, "No, he ain't in." Rose noticed the lowering of the voice, and her curiosity was instantly roused. There was someone in mo room, she was sure. All her belief In the exile's story instantly returned. "I can leave my message with the boy," she hazarded quickly. The landlady looked at her with a glance which seemed to Rose to be full of suspicion. "What boy?" she asked sharply. "There's no boy here. And I should just like to know who you are, coining Spying about the place." "I'm looking for a child who has be«n carried away from his guardians," said Rose boldly, "and I'm sure you'd rather I should come by myself than that I should bring a policeman with me to search the house. We had information Lnat the boy was likely to be fo»nd here, *nd I was sent to find out if this were the case." "There's DO child here," said the woman sullenly and suspiciously. "Who's that in the room, then?" "A gentleman that came with Mr. Morton." "May I see him?" The woman hesitated, looking at the nurse out of the corners of her eye* with a puzzled expression. "You can if you like, if you won't go near him or disturb him. He's as!e«p— or talf asleep, as he has been nearly ever since he came." "When was that?" asked ROM. "Two days age." 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