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The Lone Inn

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nf COpyr.qht É.P 1691 Bï TAC AüTHOR CHAPTER XI My interview with Olivia pnssed off better than I expected. If sho had ordered me out of the house, I would ouly have looked on it as the just punishment for what must have appeared my impertinent interfcreiice iu what did uot concern me. The vory fact that she listened so quietly proved that she suspected Felix was masquerading as her lover. She could only be assured of this by overheariüg his interview with Rose Gernon aml tin refOTe accepted my iuvitation to go to the Jermyn .street rooms. If their tenant was Francia, ho would resent the intrusión of Rose, but if Felix the two confedérales would rioubtless talk of their guilty secret. Thanks to a sovereign judiciously beBtowed 011 the carokeeper, I had cliscov erecl that Rose Gemon ín tended to visit Felix at 8 o'clock. H.nv the carekeeper found out I do uot kuow, but iu soine mysterioua way servan ts seeni to gain all iuformation cónoerning the doings of their superiors. It suffioed for me that Rose would be in the rooms of Felix on this evening, and that Olivia would catch thém in a trap. I had 110 pity for the givlty pair. but I was genuïnely sorry for Olivia. She little knew the torturo she vas about to undergo. I rlid and almost regrptted that 1 had in terfered in. the maller. However, i conscled myself with the reilection that it was bettcr for her to sulfer a few hours' pain tlian life'ong misery. That she agreed to go to Jermyn g reet at that hcur without a chaperon provea fcs,s desirous she was of learning the vruth. Delicately uurtured, gently bred, bhe must have feit horrified at the risk she was running of losing her good name, but soeing that her life's happiness depended upon knowing all sha flung etiquette to the winds and carne. When I found her at the foot of the stairs at 8 o'clock, I admired and respected her trom the bottom of my .heart. "Am I late?" sheasked, touching my hand with trembling fingers. "Only five minutes, " said I, looking at n;y watch. "I have beeu waiting at the head of the stairs for that time. However, we can soon walk round to Jermyn street. ' ' "Do you thiuk any one will know me, Mr. Denham?" said Olivia, tai;i:i ■; my arm. "See, I have on a plain dres.s. and this veil is a thick one. " "No ono will recognize you, ' swered soothingly. "Ñor dolthü:!; y.j will meet auy one of your acqu anees. ' ' "I should have brc; : i sy motl'.cr but that I wished her t. . :vr nothing of this treachery. if 1 ümi I have been deceived, I shall break oiï my engagement with Francis. But you will keep silent about my visit, will yon not, Mr. Denham?' ' "Noone shall hearaword froin me," I answered earnostly. ' 'But keep up your spirits, Miss Bellin. Even if you find you have been deceived there will bo some consolation in knowing that it is Felix and not Francis." "You are wrong there," she replied positively. "It is Francis. I have told yoa so aJl along. " I shrngged my shoulders without reply. Eviduntly nothing could shake her faith in the man. All I could hope for was that the two confederates would betray themselves. "What are yougoing to do, Mr. Denham?" askëd Olivia anxiously. "We will go up to the rooms of Briarfield, ' ' 1 answered, and there overhear their conversation. " "Is that not dishonorable?" she said, shrinking back. "In most cases it would be, " I replied hastily, "but it does not do to be too particular iu this matter. If you break in on them, they may deny everything. Thinking they are alone, you will hear the truth. Remember, Miss Bellin, when one deals with a villain one must beat him with his own weapons. Depend upon it, it is most necessary that Wfi should learii all. " "They can speak of nothiug I do not know." "Are you aware of the truth?" said I, somewhat startled by this remark. "I am aware of the truth," she repeated slowly, and before I could question her she flitted up the stairs. There was no time for me to ponder over her words, as it was now past 8 o'clock, and Rose Gernon might descend at any time. 1 thorefore spoko a few hasty words to the carecaker, telling him I wished to see Mr. Briarfield, and followed her at once. In two minutes we were both standing beiore the door of Briarfleld's room. "It is lockod, " said Olivia faintly. "Never mind, " answered I, producing my latchkey. "This key of mine opeus the door. I was, as you are aware, a great friend of Fraucis and learued that my key fltted the lock of his rooms some time ago. I have not forgotten the circumstauces, so it comes in usefnl now. See!" I turned the key, and the door opened noiselessly. Motioning to Miss Bellin to precede me, I followed her quietly and closed tho door behind us. We heard the mnrmur of voices in the sitting room. She as wel! as I knew its whereabouts thoroughly. The door was elightly ajar, and in front of it stretched a tall screen, with fretwork the top. Stepping through the open door in a gingerly manner, we placed oursels directly behind thesereen, so could both sce and hear without danger of being observed. Thus far our enterpriae had succesded in the most sncoeesfnl mauner, and nothing remained for us to do but to listen to tho important conversation now taking place. Felix, standing with his back against the mantelpiece, looked anxious andangry, while Roso Gernon, her hands on the table, faced him ficrcely. Evidentiy the conversatiou was not progressing in a satisfactory marnier to either. "No!" shewassayingrapidiy. "I ; cept no mouey ior what 1 have done. Yon know the ouly reward. I claim - y our lave!" "I canuot give it to you, " said Felix doggedly. "You know that as well as Ido." "Do I?" she cried passionately. "Do you dare to say that to me after all your I vows and protestations? Why did you teil me von loved me if it was but a "; "1 did iiot teil you so. " "Yes, you did, Felix - you did! 1 member the hour, tho day, wheu you swore that you would make me your ! wii'e. ' ' "Keep quiet, " 1 muttered to Olivia, ' who made au involuntary movement. "I teil you, Rose, there is some : '■ take, " said Felix angrily. "You nieau spirited hound!" "I am a mean spirited hound, "he answered wearily. "No oue knows that í better than Ido." "Some women, " continued Rose, not heeding his interruptiou, "some womeii would have yon kilied. I am not a wo! man of that kind. I'll stay and marry you." "Impossible! I am to marry Miss Bellin." ' ' You promised to give up Miss Bellin if I helped you to see your brother at the Fen inn. " "My God!" muttered Olivia, trernbling violently. "Hush!" I whispered. "Now we shall hear the truth. " "I have chauged my mind," retorted Felix in answer to the last remark of Rose. "That may be, but I have not, Mr. Felix Briarfield. I fnlfllled my promise land went down with Strent to that loneíy inu. Your brother came, and you know that he never left it agaiu. I have fulfilled my promise. I nowrequire yon to fulfill yours and reate me your wifo. " "I caimo t! I cannot!" he said in a I faint voice, wiping his brow. "Foi heaven's sake, take this money I offer you and leave me. " "I have mixed myself up with crime for your sake, and you offer to put me off with money. It is nseless. Your promise I have, and that promise I require you to keep, or else" "Or else" "I'll teil the truth to the pólice." "And tlms 'avLi youwelf in ruin with me. " f ' "I don't care, h?.e said sullenly. "Anythiiig would be better than the torI ture I am enduring at your hands." i "And what will you teil the pólice?" i asked Felix in an unuatural voice. "You know well enough. I shall teil them how you killed your brother. " "It is false!" he said passionately, "I neither saw nor laid a finger on my brother. ' ' "Indeed ! Then if you are innocent who is gnilty?" "I don't know. " "Did you not como to the Fen inn on that fatal uight when Francis came?" 'Yes, but I never saw him. " "You saw him and killed him." "It is a lie!" It was neither Felix nor Rose who spoke, Uut Olivia, who, in spite of all I 8'Wercu, ucut iry, could do, broke on the astonished pair. The rnan advanoed toward her, but she waved him back. "I defend you, sir, " she said proudly, "beoause I know that this womau speaks falsely, but I have also to demand au explanation f rom you. " Felixpaid noattention to the remark, but simply stared at her in a stupefied marmer. "Olivia," he said in a low voice, "bow did you come here?" "Ibroughther, Mr. Felix Briarfield, " said I, steppiug forward. "You, Denham! Aud for what reason?" I poiuted to Rose Gernou, who stood quietly by, with a malignant smile ou her face. "There is the reason," I retorted nieaniugly, "and Miss Bellin" - "Miss Bellin will spaak lor herself," said Olivia in a peremptory tone. "Miss Belliu speaks of what she does not understand, " iuterposed Rose venomously. "Because I deuy that Fraucis killed Félix?' ' questioned Olivia. "No, because you deny Félix killed Francia. " "Wbat do ycu mean, ï.Iiss Gernon?" 1 rapidly. "I mean tbat this man whom Miss Beliin thinks is her lover Francis is Félix Briarfield, and Félix Briarfleld," she continued, "is my lover." "No!" saiil Félix hurriedly. "It is not true!" I expected to see Olivia grow angry, but in place of this a bright smile irradiated her face as she looked at Félix. I could not conjecture the meauiug of her actiou and began to grow uneasy. Rose also looked anythiug but i able. Evidently she had met with her match in Olivia. "I overheard part of your oonversation, " said Olivia, addressing her edly. "Vcry honorable, I am sure, " retorted Rose, with a sneer. "Honor is thro.wn away on women! like you, " answcred Olivia Bcofnfnlly. I "I am glad I listeued, for it enablesme to protect the man I love against your arts. " "That is not the man you love, " said Rose spitefully. "He lies in the inarshes '■ surrounding the Fen iun, slaiu by the hand of his brother. ' ' "That is not true - I swear it is not true!" cried Félix, approaching nearer j to Olivia. "Be quiet, Francis," she said ly. "Let us hear what she has to say. " "I have to say that Félix Briarfield loved me," cried Rose angrily. "He loved me long beforo he ever saw you, but when you crossed my path he wanted to leave me. Hü iinpersonated his brother Francis, who was at that time in America, and you, poor fool, did not discover the deception. " "You are quite right. I did not," replied Olivia eaimly. "Go on. " "When his brother Fraucis carne back this month, he thought all wonld be discovered and ímplored me to save hiin. He told me of a pian whsreby he intended to decoy his brother to the Fen inn ou pretext of explanation. There he intended to kill him. " Olivia mude no remark, but placed her hand within that of Félix. I woudered she could do so, seeing that he was accused by las accomplice of a hideons crime, and made no denial. "I went down to the Fen inn with a man called Streut" "That was not his real name," I interrupted. "How do you know that?" she said sharply. "Ñever mind. I know that it is so. " "I decline to tell his real name, " said Rose, darting a furious look at me. "I cali him Strent, and by that name you knew him and knew me at the Feu inn. ' ' "I certainly did not expect Rose Streut, waiting maid, to change to Rose Gernon, actress. ' ' "You are too meddlesome, Mr. Denham," she said coolly, "and would de better to mind your own business. " "Scarcely wheu I have discovered se vile a crime." "It was he who committed it, " said ! Rose maligHantly, pointing to Félix, "He carne to the inn and killed his brother. " "It is a lie!" cried Félix in despair. "I kiid no haud on my brother. I did not even seo him. " "Wait one moment, Miss Gernon, before you make this aecusation, " said Olivia? "You say that Félix is yout lover?" "I du" "And you promised to assist him in removing Francis if he married you?" "I did." "For what reason when the removal of Francis would enable Félix to ni un y ino ander his false name?" "Ho promised not to do so, and 1 thought if I helped him to kill Franei.; I could forcé him to marry me. " "You love him greatly?" "I love him better than any one else in the world. ' ' , "I am sorry for that, " said Olivia, with a touch of pity, "because Félix is dead. ' ' "Félix dead!" said Rose incredulously. "Then who is the man?" ' 'This man is my lover, Francis Briarfield, who returned from Chile on the 6th of June." CHAPTER XII. For the moment I feit but little snrprise, as I thought Olivia was but making the same mistake she had made formerly. Yet wheu I noted that she knew the true date of her lover's return and remarked the strauge expression on the face of Rose I became instinctively couvinced that she spoke the truth. It was Francis Briarfleld who stood bofore me, and tho dead man was Felix. How the change of personality had taken place I was unable to guess, buc nevertheless feit that it was trne. Rose Gernon, with a look of disappointed rage, was the first to speak. She staruped her foot and laughed scornfully. "This is ridiculous!" she said contemptuously. "It was Francis who died. He" "Francis did not die, as you well know, ' ' interrupted the young man. "Felix feil into his own trap, and for safety I assnmed his name. I believe you were aware of this all along. " "How can that be? And if I really did know you were Francis, why did you not say so?" "Because I did not wisb to betray myself. For aught I kuow you slew my brother and were quite capable of accusing me of his murder. ' ' Rose evaded this questiou, and tossing her head, with a sneer, moved toward the door. Before she could reach it I blocked her passage. "Not yet, Miss Geruon, " said I meaniugly. "Thoughwe have discovered Felix to be Francis, we do not know how the former met with his death. " "I cannot teil you. " "I think you eau, " said Olivia quickly, "seeing Felix, hy your own confession, made all arraugements with you. " "And yet Felix is dead," seoffed Rose. "Pd feil into his own trap;." "I don't know how lie Gied," sh s:iid fBBolutely. "As regarás that I am as ighorant a yon are, though I believe Fruncís killed him. " "Ahí You thcii aoknowledge me to be Francia?" "I aoknowledge nothiug. Let me Mr. Denham. I have to attcud to uiy business. " "Not till you tpll mo where your so callod fatlicr, Strent, is to be found. " "I don't know," she said sulleuly. "Yes, you do," persiste} Olivia, "and you shall not leave this room till y ovi teil all." "If I do not go to the theater, I shall '■ be ruined. " "That does not matter to us, "said Francia mercilessly. The woman looked at ourtlnve faces, and seeing therein no hope of meroy conipromised the matter. "Lot me have a night to think over it," she entreated anxiously. "No," said Franci.s and Olivia iu one . breath. "You must teil all now. " "There is no timo," she urged. "I ; am late as it is. I must go. " "Let me speak, Briarfield, " I ínter - posed, seeing he was about to refuse again. "We do not want to make a public scandal of this - as yet. " Franois oonsulted Olivia with a look and turned to me. "You kuow more about this case than any one else, " he said quietly. "Miss Bellin and myself are quite prepared to leave the matter in your hands. ' ' "Very good. Then Miss Gernon eau go to her duties. I uudertake that she shall be forthcoming tomorrow. Oh, yes, Miss Gernou, ' ' I added ironically, "I have made all my plans. Knowing you were mixed up in this case, I engaged a detective to look af ter yon. ' ' "A detective!" she said, with a terrified look. "Yes! Ono of the smartest detectives of Scotland Yard! Permit me to escort you to the stage door of the theater and introduce you to this gentleman. Perform your part tonight and go home. Tomorrow come to these rooms at noon and teil us all you know. I am not afraid of your escaping, as my detective will watch you till we see you again. " "Supposel refuse!" said Kose viciousiy. "In that case 111 have you arrested at once as an accessory to the murder of Felix Briarfield. " "You are too strong for me, " she said eavagely. "I accept your conditions. Tomorrow 111 come here at 12 o'clock Can I go now?" "Certaiuly - provided you accept me as your escort. ' ' "As you please, " she replied disdainfully. "As for you, Miss Belliu, " she added, túrning toward Olivia, "I wish you joy of your bargain. That man is Francis Briarfield sure euough. I knew it all along and played on bis fears for my own ends. He is a coward, and Felix was worth a dozen of him. For you, Mr. Briarfield, I have nothiug but contempt. ' ' With this parting shaffc she sailedout if the door, closely followed by me. The detective was waiting on the other i side of the street and followed us j Iy. Eose glanced uneasily from side to side, but not one word wouldshe speak, nor did Iwish#ier totalk, having quite euough on my mind for the present. When we arrired at the stage door of '■ the Frivolity theater, she halted on the j step. In the light shed from the lamp above I conld see her scornful face. "What I have promised I shall do, j Mr. Denham, " she said spitefully, "but tomorrow I eau teil you nothing. With all your cleverness as a spy you have i discovered nothing but a mare's nest. " When she eutered the theater, I turned round to the detective, whom I found at my elbow. "You know what you have to do?" I said iniperatively. "Yes, sir. Isaw her face in the light. You can depend upon me. I shau't lose sight of her. " "She is to come to Mr. Briarfield's rooms tomorrow at noon. ' ' "That's all right, sir. 111 see she is Hiere." "Good. Be very careful. She is a clever woman and would baffle the devil himself. " "She won 't baffle me, " said the detective confidently and so departed on bis mission. Having thus provided for the safe keeping of Rose Gernon, I returned to Briarfield's rooms and found him alone. Miss Bellin had taken her departure during my absence. "Where is she?" I asked, glanciug round. "Olivia has gone home, " explained Francis. "If she is back before 9, her mother will never hear of this escapade, so I put her in a cab and sent her off. " "All the better, " said I, taking a seat. "Now that we are alone I wish to hear the story of yonr transformaron from Francis to Felix." "I told you I was Francis all along," he said reproachfully. "Yes, in such a way that I thought youwere Felix," I answered ironically. " You might havo trusted me, Briarfiekl. It would have been better for ns all. " "I have no doubt it would, " answered Fraucis gloomily, "but I was afraid lest yon should think I had killed Felix. " ''I knew yon wero incapable of such a thiug. " "ïhauk you," he said gratefqlly. "Had I known yon wêïe so frue a friend, I should have i!:'.!' yon my conñdant. As it was, wheu I remembered my wíld threats oí killiiig Félix, I dreaded lest, flnding him dead, you might acense me t' nis inurder. " "Who killed him?" "I dou't know. When I saw him, he ■was dead. ' ' "Aud Strent and Rose?" 'Thcy had let't the house. ' ' "What timo was this?" "About 6 in the morniug. " "And I was not up till 10 o'clo 'c. You had plenty of time to fly. But what put it into your head to place tha dead body of Felix in your bod?" "It's a long story, and I hardly know if you wil] onderstand my motares." "Yes, I do. Youwere af raid of 1 accused of the crime. It waa foolish uf you to mistrust me. I would haveaided rather than blanied you.'' "I sco that now. It was kind of you to try to avenge my death. Unfortnnatoly all your industry was dangerous to me, and I had to baffle it. " "You certainly did so very adroitly. But teil me the story. I am auxious to know what took plaoe, " Fianeis was quite tmnerved by the lata interview and before oOntinuing poured hiinself out a glas of brandy. Then, pushing the bottie toward me, he began his strange uarrative without f urther preainble. "When I wentto bed thatnight, " he said slowly, "I could not sleep for ever so long. I kept woudering if your theory could possibly bu true about the treaohery of Felix. If it were, I considered how I Should punish my brother. While thus thinking I feil asleep and didn't wake up till close on 6 o'clock in the moruiug. All my troubles cauie on me with full force, and you know how much worse things look at that hour than in broad daylight. Therewas no chance of further sleep, so I put on my and went down stairs. The first thing I s;xw was my brother Felix lying dead on the Hoor. " "Had you any idea who killed him?" "Not the slightest. I thought it was either Strent or the girl, so I went in search of them. They had fled, for I found my horse gone, so this flight confirmed me in my suspiciou. At flrst I determined to wake you up and explain all, but remembering my foolish talk of the previous night I thought you might think me guilty of my brother's death. ' ' ' 'That was a foolish idea. ' ' "Well, put yourself in my place, and you would have thought as I. " "Not a bit of it. I should have had more moral courage. ' ' "I hadn't at that moment. I thought you would denounce me and I would be hanged, so took steps to secure my mm iifot.v T weut outside and fouiid my Brotlier's horse at the side of the houso. Strent and his daughter had taken mitiu and overlooked my brother's in the hurry of their guilty flight. I saw a ineans of escape and took it. " "But what about the substitution oi yourself for Felix?" "I did that to throw off the scent. 1 guessed that your idea was right, and that Felix was niasquerading as I, so thought I might go back with safety as myself. Felix was far cleverer than I, and it was certaiu that he had provided some reasons for the absence of his real sel f while he passed himself off as me. The whole plot nurolled itself in a moment before me, and I saw in carrying it through lay my only chance of safety. " "It would have been far easier to have trusted to my friendship. " "I see that now," said Francis penitently, "but I did not then. I wauted to leave the house without your waking, so took the body of Felix softly up stairs, undiessed it and laid it in my bed. Then I folded up my clothes on the chair beside the bed and dressed myself in his snit. " ■''And the pearl ring?" "I had to part with that so as to carry out the deoeption; therefore I slipped it on the finger of the dead man. Then I locked the door of my bedroom and came down stairs again. In a few minutes I was on my way to Marshminster. " "How did you get the horse back to Fundy's stables, and what made you think of going to Bellin Hall?" "As to the first, I found Fundy'a name on the saddle, so knew Felix had hired the horse. I took it back to the stables, and, owing to my reaemblanco to Felix, easily managed to deceive tho hostler. Then, as Felix in his letter had told me he was etaying at Bellin Hall, I went there. " "Was there any suspicion?" "None at all. I told a footman I had been out for a morning ride and asked him to bring me a brandy and soda to my room. I needed the drink after all I had gone through, but my principal reason for asking him was to find out my room. " "Howfo?" "Well, I made hiin carry the trayup stairs in front cf me. Of course he took it to the room of Felix, and thus I gained my point without exciting suspicion. All the baggage, clothes, etc, of Felix were in the - . . I knew all about thora, as I had seen them plenty of times. Thoii I (íreased in a moruiug suit and went down Btaira to fiiul Olivia." "Did she gui'ss the truth?" "Not at first, but she saw fchere waa something wrong aa she kept referring to events of the previous week about whioh I kuew nothing. Luckily Mrs. Bellin did not corno dovvn to breakfast, so I was able to teil her all when the servante left the room. " "Had sbe recognized that Félix waa masquerading as yoaí" "She had more or less, but was not quite oertain. When I told her all that had occurred, she believed me at once. In Borne instinctive way she knew that I was really her lover. Theu we set to work to concert measures f or my saf ety. Olivia told uio Felix was supposed to bil in Paris at the Hotel des Etraugers and showed me his letters, bo it was decided as wisest to ke p up that flotion. She told me all that had taken place tUiring my absence, and by the time yon carne I was thoronghly fitted into the kin of Felix." "Then I came and insisted you wero PeUïi" "Yes. Yon see, I told the truth, and bo did Olivia, when 1 said 1 was Francia. But of course, as I had changed clothes with the dead man, we saw where you were making your mistake. I never thought you'd take my death so much to heart. ' ' "Seeingthat, Briarfield, youought to have told me all." "Olivia suggested as much, but I was af raid. Wheu yon asked me to ride out and see the inn, I asked for a night's grace in order to eet rid of the body. I rode out duriug the night and threw it into a pool near tho inn. " "I kuow that pool, " said I grirnly, "and traced your trail thereto. " "I am afraid I did it badly, " said Francis, with ashudder. "It was a horrible task, yet necessary, as I thought when yon saw no body the next day you Would think it was a dream or a hallucination. " "I did very nearly, " I answered gravely. "And what about Paris?" "Oh, that was very easy! When you said yon were going ihcre to look up Felix, I followed yon to Londou by the same train and crossed over to Paris at once. At tho Hotel des Etrangers I fouud Felix had bribed the manager to send on letters ro Olivia. He, of course, thought I was Felix and talked quite openly before me. Felix had invented a vt ry ingenióos plot to enlist the manager in hia service. What it was I need not teil you, but I told the manager what I wanted, and he did it vrell. Of course I paid hiiu lavishly. " "You mean he deoeived me by sayiug you had been six weeks in Paris:" "Yes, and about my goiug to Italy. Of course when you saw me you thought I was really Felix, aud that you were out of your tnind. " "How could I do otherwise. wheu your statí menta were backed up by the inan&ger? I did not know what to ruake of it." "Well, that's all I have to teil, "said Francis, "and a lot of trouble it has beeii. I wish I had told you all at first. " "What about Rose, Gernou?" "Oh, she found me out and made believe I was Felix. She wauted to marry me, as you saw. 1 had grëat trouble with her. ' ' "We'll settle her tomorrow, " said I grimly. "But, now, Francis, who do you think killed your brother?" "I can 't say. I don 't even know how hedied. " "He died, "said I, "frorn a wound in the hand intiicted by a poisoned artowhead which was taken from Bellia Hall." "And who wounded him?" demauded Fraucis, turning pale. "We'il find that out tomorrow;," i answered, "from Rose Streut, alias os ' Gmou. " (To be contlnned.)


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