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“ You go
her were these two persons destined to put her enemies in the wrong. Mrs. Ferhave, and then they were to see one an- rier need not, and would not, vex herself other do more.
with any such ridiculous fancies. “ Mrs. Ferrier,” he now said, “I have But the next day was to her an anxious made up my mind feeling myself justified and tiresome Sunday. A certain dread of by the necessity - to start on my expedi- being alone crept over her; and in the tion to-morrow.'
afternoon she took a fly, and drove to call where, Mr. M'Quantigan?” on an invalid friend at Warwick, proposing “ I go, Mrs. Ferrier, into Somersetshire. to remain for the night in that friend's I hope
to put a long ending to all your house; and her company was gladly and troubles."
readily accepted. It was drawing towards “Oh, I pray that you may be successful, the evening of the following day (Monday)
, Mr. M'Quantigan!”
when she got back to her house at Leam“ Nor do I doubt that I shall. But I ington. On her table was lying a letter want to have a night in London. Or I am addressed to Mr. M‘Quantigan. But the not sure " -- and he lowered his voice transparency of the envelope displayed " whether it will be wise to go the most some printed characters inside. It was
surely the pamphlet which Mr. Murphy Perhaps not. Well, I am prepared, had told her to expect, and which he bad over and above what I promised, to pay all so earnestly asked her to read. She had the expenses of your journey."
not much desire to read it; but anything Could
you let me have twenty pounds was welcome which could afford some diat once ?
version to her thoughts. So she at once “ Yes, if I have as much in the bouse. I tore open the envelope, and got at the conwill see.” The amount was found, and tents of it. given to him.
li And now,
Mrs. Ferrier, There was no such thing as a pamphlet. I've taken the liberty to ask my correspond- The printed paper appeared as if cut out of ents to send any of my letters, after to a newspaper.
On the side she first saw day, to your house here ; you don't ob- were several fragmentary advertisements.
She turned it round, and read on the re“ Not at all, Mr. M'Quantigan. I am verse. . It entirely consisted of one paraonly too glad to oblige you in any way.” graph, and these were the words :
" There's a friend of mine, just written a pamphlet exposing the Jesuits. You'd do 66 FATAL ACCIDENT
CHLOROme a favour, my dear madam, if you'd read FORM. On Monday last, an inquest was and recommend it. It'll reach you, I held at the “ Three Screws” Tavern, in shouldn't wonder, to-morrow, or Monday. Camden Town, on the body of a young woIt'll come, very likely, in a common en- man, of the name of Mary Smith. It apvelope, addressed to me
- pray open
pears that the unfortunate deceased suffered And now, good-bye.".
frequently from neuralgia; and that she Good-bye, Mr. MʻQuantigan! and I was in the habit of seeking relief from trust, when we meet again, you will have chloroform. On the fatal night she seemto congratulate me.”
ingly imbibed an overdose of the dangerous “ I shouldn't wonder. Or it may reach preparation, and thereby met her untimely you through the papers beforehand. Good- I death. An open bottle of chloroform was bye !” and be was gone.
found beside her bed. The medical man in And now, for the very first time, it did attendance deposed that any quantity of occur to Mrs. Ferrier that she might have this anæsthetic, beyond a limited amount, tusted this man too far. The idea did cross would infallibly kill the inhaler of it. Verher, could he intend cutting the knot by dict Accidental Death.” any sort of crime? Then she reflected that it was a little absurd to transfer the With feelings she never could have anideas of another age and country to the se- alysed up to her dying day, Mrs Ferrier cure and self-restrained society in which took hold of the letter, which the envelope she lived and moved herself. Doubtless, if had also contained ; for a letter, though not the Irisbman talked as if violence were a long one, it proved to be. Thus was it meditated, it was but his rough and down- written : right way of putting matters. That wicked Miss March was vulnerable enough by “ DEAREST MURPHY,- I think there moral weapons. There could be no reason will be time for you to receive this before for assailing her with any act which would you start from Leamington. I send you a
very comforting and encouraging extract, , dominion over her; and it was going to which has caught my eye in a newspaper. cast her down into an abyss of blood. Would It
proves the wisdom of the means devised anybody, knowing how all bad happened, by us. Rely on my having all ready. To account her scatheless of the murder ? make all sure, I will just recapitulate the could she venture to declare as much of directions already given. Stop, on your herself? What knowledge had she of this way from Bridgewater, before you come to Irishman, that she should have given him a the great gates of D Hall, at a gate in confidence hardly to be exceeded if he had the wood. Enter inside (it is never locked); indeed been her husband ? Had he not turn into a by-path — first turning on the given her ample warning ? At all events. right; that will take you to a door in a how deceitful and dangerous a character wall, which will happen to be unlocked. was his ! Would any woman, unless carried Go into the garden, turn to the right, and away by passion, have treated with him you will find yourself in front of the house. after the ridiculous presumption with which Enter by a glass door, at which you will her first advances had at first inspired him ? see a light; go through a vestibule, up a Had she not outraged all womanly feeling? pair of stairs, and the very first door (on And could she plead any womanly honesty, the left hand) will be the door. She will as entitling her to claim acquittal from the certainly come here on Monday. Perhaps awful charge which might shortly be it will be as well for me not to see you. brought against her?
She started to her feet. Was there anything now to be done ? Could she, at this
supreme moment, interfere ? and, if so — And now there burst upou Mrs. Ferrier's how? Should she telegraph to Miss March, mind, in all its appalling certainty, the and warn her? Miss March, by this time, knowledge that a great and dreadful crime was probably a guest at that house in which was on the very brink of its accomplish- the murder was to be done. And that ment, and that she stood in the position of house she only knew as “ D. - Hall.” By instigator and first contriver of it.
the description of it in the letter, it wa Eva was to be mirilered — murdered probably a place of some distinction ; an that very night, in a way which. would anyone living at Bridgewater, from, which, make it appear that she had died by her apparently, it was not very distant, would own incaution. Fearful, in that moment, guess at once, most likely, what was the were the thoughts of Eva's unrelenting, house intended. Mrs. Ferrier turned to but not designedly cruel enemy; And her the postmark of the letter. Not Bridgethoughts — when first she awoke from the water, but Chelford was the name on the black stupor into which that awful letter envelope. In fact, although Bridgewater had cast her — her thoughts took shape in was the proper post-town, Chelford was the conviction not to be resisted by her: much nearer. And Miss Varnish, choosing “ A few hours will make me a murderer !” to post this letter with her own hands, had
Yes, indeed ; no way of escape appeared. chosen the town to which she was in the The shadow of that night, in which the constant habit of going. horrid deed was to be done, was descending
If Mrs. Ferrier could get to Bridgeon the earth already; and the murderers water, she might find this Hall, which must and their victim were very far away. Mur. lay between Bridgewater and Chelford, and derers!. But how could she exempt herself prevent the crime wbich would brand her from the fearful title ? True it was, she name with infamy, and her soul with guilt, had never desired, never intended, a crime through a stretch of uncounted ages. Could like this. In her utmost anger against Eva, it be done? Great wonders of travelling such an idea had never crossed her brain were now to be done. She hastily rang the for one instant. But she could not, on that bell. The servant appeared. plea, account herself excusable now. On “ Susan,” she said, “ run over to the Bank parting with M.Quantigan two days before, with this ;” and Mrs. Ferrier put a cheque, it had struck her that he talked like one that she had hastily written, into her hand. who had some lawless enterprise in hand. “ The Bank may not be closed even now. Now, she only marvelled that his whole Bring me the money, in Bank of England design had not been patent to her thoughts notes, as quickly as you can. Run as fast at once. It ought to have been, and it as you can, for God's sake!”. would have been, but that her one idea had The girl was not backward in obeying. driven her beyond the bounds of justice Mrs. Ferrier went upstairs, and hastily and reason. She had given an evil spirit | assumed her cloak and bonnet, and popped
all the money in her desk into her pocket. indeed, she had never been alone before), It was not much; for Mr. M.Quantigan had was able to think of all the woe, never, it taken twenty pounds from her when they might be, to know an ending, which was parted on the Saturday. She was standing gathering darkly upon her. She saw Eva before the front door of her house, when dying - dying by the hand of a murderer, Susan came running home.
of whose violence, she believed, she was "Obl if you please, ma'am, I - ran all the only cause and contriver. She forethe way as hard as I could, but the — bank saw the heart-broken misery of Richard,
was shut already - some time, the peo- and of the hatred into which his love ple said. It must have been quite closed towards herself would then turn. What before you sent me, ma'am. Here is the even if her share in the matter were never cheque, ma'am.”
made known to him? What if the doers “What am I. to do? But give me the of the deed succeeded in their apparent cheque; some of the tradesmen may be design of making the death appear an acable to let me have the money. Susan, cidental one ? Even then the secret, fes good-bye; you've been a good servant. tering in her own bosom, would render her Think as well of your wretched mistress as miserable and guilty for evermore whenyou can.
You will very likely never see ever she saw or thought of Richard. But me again."
she had a strong persuasion that things And off Mrs. Ferrier hastened, leaving would be worse than this. How many a the girl, so lately breathless with exertion, murder, contrived with all possible skill, DOWbreathless again with astonishment. had been detected, and laid bare to the When her mistress had turned out of sight, stroke of justice! And was it not very she went indoors again, and told the cook likely that, in this case, the watchful suspishe was dreadfully afraid poor mistress had cion of a lover would peer through the gone out of her wits with all the worry she disguises with which this crime was to be so had bad. And sure and certain, the al surely sbrouded. manack said that it was to be full moom that Mrs. Ferrier had no subject wherewith very day.
to divide or distract her dreadful thoughts. Meantime, the lady, who might, indeed, The feelings which an hour before had been have envied those unhappy ones whose so tense in her, had now died out altofaculties have deserted them, contrived, gether. The thought that a very few hours from one or two of her tradesmen, to ob- might make her a murderess, bad burnt up tain the money so fearfully wanted. Then every other fear or feeling within her. she hurried to the railwaỹ-station, and What now, to her was the dread of her stated ber desire to have a special train, son's foolish marriage? What even were which, in the quickest possible manner, the facts which, artfully tendered for her should take ber as far as Bridgewater. At acceptance, had set poor Eva in the light Cbelford, she quickly discovered, there was of an adventuress of the very worst class ? no station at all
. After a delay, that im- Mrs. Ferrier now considered that, while plied no fault in the arrangements, but her own suspicions had created many of which was agonising when she thought how the facts, she had accepted many more on precious was her time, the engine was the witness of that Irishman she had made made ready, and she had the relief her assistant. And what credit could ever of feeling that she was progressing towards be due to the word of a would-be mura possible deliverance from her horrible derer? position. The officials, who knew her by Mrs. Ferrier hardly made the effort to name, sopposed that a summons from some justify herself now. She could no more go sick friend possibly the captain, her son on repeating that her duty — herstrict - had induced this agitated and sudden duty -- had led her into the design, which journey.
a wicked man, unauthorised by herself, was Her tradesmen had been well aware that going to bring to a criminal issue. Selfshe was likely to have money in the Leam- delusion was gone; and only self-tormentington Bank. Money in the bank, indeed ! ing remained. What duty could she verily The four hundred pounds, which that mon- plead ? The meditated marriage might ster M.Quantigan might shortly claim from have been imprudent, disastrous, disgraceher as the promised wages of murder, were ful. It might have been her actual duty awaiting his announcem-ot that no more very seriously to remonstrate with her son. was to be dreaded from Miss March. But, she now saw very well, it could never
The train shrieked on. The light of day be her duty to carry her opposition further. faded ; and the unhappy woman, alone (as, | The captain was of age; and reason, revela” tion, and law, which all combine in placing She stood on the now quiet platform. children under the control of their parents, The station-clock declared it to be five as long as they fall short of maturity - minutes past ten, and it was as bright & combine, with equal certainty, in declaring moonlight night as ever an English October that when perfect manbood be come, par- beheld. She spoke to the person who had ental authority must pass away. Children opened her carriage-door. who resist their parents are verily trans- “ I am in the greatest agony and distress gressors. But alike transgressors are the possible. I have come that is, I have parents who would take advantage of the found myself summoned to a house someaffection, the weakness, or the poverty of where near Bridgewater, and I only know their children, to prolong their authority that its name begins with a D., and that it beyond its due season.
is somewhere between Bridgewater, and Something of this, as especially applicable Chelford; nearer Chelford, I understand to her own case, our hero's unhappy moth- - it is some · Hall.'” er felt, as she was whirled on her long “ A Hall' on the road to Cbelford, night journey, and endeavoured to hope ma'am, and its name beginning with D. ? that she might not yet be too late. It was I shouldn't wonder if it might be Deveringnot certain that she would. The Leaming- ton Hall that you want, ma'am. Perhaps ton station-master had informed her that, you know the gentleman who owns it - a as soon as she had started, he should tele- Mr. Campion, ma’am?” graph on to Birmingham; and that the “ Campion! no, I do not know who lives Birmingham official would, at her desire, there. But I think that, very likely, it is also telegraph on to Bristol.
the place I want.” By thus making known her want before- Again that name of Campion! But Mrs. hand, she might save some material delay. Ferrier had matters of life and death beIr nothing untoward occurred it was likely fore her now, and to take a wrong journey she might arrive at Bridgewater by ten. would ruin her beyond remedy. Possessed of this information, Mrs. Ferrier “It's of the utmost importance — it's tried calmly to consider whether she might more to me than my own life,” she went on, succeed in finding Miss March before the that I should reach this place before midcrime were irrevocably done. She might night! Can you assure me that it is the hope to get to Bridgewater two hours be- same? Pray tell me, is there a wood near fore midnight. Before twelve o'clock it was it?” hardly probable that the wicked atrocity Her informant could not say; but one of would be performed. “D— Hall,” it the porters was able to supply the needed inmight be hoped, would prove not beyond a formation. Deverington Hall
was very two hours' journey from Bridgewater. The thickly planted around with wood. night would be favoured with a full moon, • And, for Heaven's sake tell me all you and promised to be remarkably clear. How can about it! It is entered by gates opening did this unhappy woman pray that nothing on to the road ?” unforeseen might hinder her.
6. Yes, ma'am, it is. But a little way beThe train shrieked on. Warwickshire fore you come to them there's a private enwas left far away, and she was carried to trance through a gate into the wood, and wards the southerly regions of England. thence into the garden, ma'am. That's All the little stoppages and hindrances what the family use.” of her journey we need not here note down. " It is the same - it must be the same !" For her, a life of torment was comprehended For the directions given in that horrible in every one of them; but, upon the whole, letter, wbich Mrs. Ferrier still held in her the course of her progress was timed well, possession, exactly tallied with this man's and little interruption befel her. It is a description. greater marvel that her senses did not wholly “It must be Deverington Hall; there's desert her; but on reaching Bridgewater, a no other house at all like it between here very few minutes after ten, she commanded and Chelford, ma'am, I very well know.” herself sufficiently to arrange the journey “ Then I want to go, as quickly as I can, that lay before her still. If ladies travelling to Deverington Hall
, and I will give any in special trains are not entitled to special sum you can name, to be speedy. What attention, we should wish to be informed will be my quickest way." what manner of persons are. Mrs. Ferrier “ If you're not afraid of the open air, found the station authorities at Bridgewater ma'am, a gig would take you the fastest.” very ready to hear and answer all she had “ Then get me one, I implore you. How to say
long will it take me to get there?
« That depends on the way you go, They drove for half-an-hour, and emerged ma'am.” And the conveyance was sent for out of the shadow of the woods aforesaid.
Only that stretch of common lay between Not many minutes had passed, ere the them and the woods which immediately gig was in readiness, outside the station. girdled Mr. Campion's mansion. Mrs. The policeman on duty assisted Mrs. Fer- Ferrier, absorbed in her one thought, had rier to get in, and the station-master been silent all the while. Nor had the dri. brought a rug for her. She sate herself ver presumed to disturb her. But now he down by the driver.
halted at the very threshold of the open “ The lady wants to get to Deverington ground, and told the lady that the night Hall as soon as ever you can drive her was darker than he had ever had any idea there,” said the policeman to the other. of; and that to cross the common would be “Can you take her by the short way ?” out of the question entirely. She started
“It's impossible, unless the night is very in terror at his words. good indeed,” the driver answered.
« Dark? - it cannot be! Did you not “ But it surely is,” said Mrs. Ferrier; hear it was a full moon! Why, it was in the " there is not a cloud on the sky, and it is a almanac!” full moon."
• Well, ma'am whether it was in the They were on the shady side of the sta- almanac, or not, all I can say is, I dont see tion; but the clearness of the night was it here! Will you just be kind enough to without a single speck.
look yourself, ma'am ? ” “ Are you sure, ma'am, it's the full moon ?' She threw back her dark, thick veil, and asked the man who was to drive Mrs. Fer- looked at the sky. Dark it was, indeed. rier.
What bad happened to the night? Had The policeman here pulled an almanack clouds come over the heaven ? Clouds ! out of his pocket. 6 Full moon ? Yes - There was a full attendance of the stars in yes; full moon on the thirteenth - that's the firmament; it seemed as if the muster
bad included all. And the Milky Way “ Then ma'am we can go the short way, was there. But what of the full moon ? as you wish it.”
Mrs. Ferrier turned her eyes to the quarter • Do, for mercy's sake, and be quick ! in which the Queen of Heaven might be How long will it take us to get there ?" expected to show herself, and then she per
“ Not more than three quarters of an ceived that the moon was totally eclipsed. hour, ma'am ; hardly so much.”
Totally eclipsed ! Instead of the round " Thank God for that!” and off they of shining silver, there was but a disc of drove. And Mrs. Ferrier's heart beat high rusty red; and stars were now the only with hope of saving the girl her son loved, comforters of the night. There was a mo from the terrible fate impending over her. ment in which Mrs. Ferrier forgot that this
She could arrive at Deverington Hall by had happened in the course of the heavenly eleven o'clock, and it was next to impossible way, and felt as if the very skies themselves that anything before that hour could have were dooming her to destruction. That been done. She threw ner ve over her awful eclipse might take away her hopes for face, and resolved herself into as much ever. She clasped her hands in anguish, composure as was possible to her.
almost as if beseeching the host of heaven We must just describe the way by wbich, to give her the light, without which she must at her special instance, Mrs. Ferrier was be- perish for ever. Then she spoke to the ing carried now. For a mile or two it lay driver. along a good high road. Then it wound " What, then, am I to do? I remember through overhanging woods, which left no hearing, a few days ago, that this was to be. superfluous light at any time. But the But other matters had utterly driven it out real hindrance consisted' in about the last of my head. Can you not go on? Oh, I mile of all. That latest stage passed through am ruined and wretched for ever if we do an open common, and was no proper road not reach there in time! I implore you go at all. The common, or down, was broken on if you can!” up in several places with gravel pits, and
• Indeed, ma'am, I'm really most sorry; other excavations. In tolerable weather, but we can't. We should be sure to roli and by day, or by a strong moonlight, the into one of these quarries here about.” way might easily be threaded. In the dark “ Gracious heaven! This is maddening! it was like an enchanted ground, full of Let us go on foot. Let us walk! I will perils at every step.
give you any money; the whole value of