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An Artist In Crime

An Artist In Crime image
Parent Issue
Day
21
Month
July
Year
1899
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

[Copyright, 1895, by G. P. Putnam's Sons.J CHAPTER XIV. AN IKTEBRUPTED WEDDING. During the time spent by Mr. Barnes jn tbe south his spies in New York discovered little or nothing against the persons whom they-had been charged to ■watch. Indeed frorn the standpoint of a detective tho aotions of all had been most uninteresting. The usual round of social affairs, the customary nuraber of theater or opera parties, the regular afternoon teas - in fact,the ordinary routine life of the man or woman of fashion ■was all that could be observed. Yet of course these weeks did not pass without any occurrence of note. The chief one perhaps waa the naming of the day upon which the wedding of Mr. Mitchel and Miss Retósen was to occur. This was May 5, the very day upon which Mr. Barnes would reach New York with Mr. Neuilly. Thns fate seemed hnrrying on a climax which was to occur on the wedding day. In New Orleans a detective was geeking evidence upon which he hoped to convict a man of the heinous crime of rmirder, while in New York a beautiful woman was bestowing her faith upon this eame man, and, with the assistance oí mauy flngers, preparing to bedeck herseï in bridal finery for his delectation. Meauwhile the man himself acted inost unooncernedly . He seemed to crusider himself beyond the risk of danger, and lie accepted his happiaess as does one who had honorably earnecl it. Of much interest to us, in the light of fast approaching eveiits, was the curions couduet of Dora Remsen during this period. It will be remeínbered that Mr. Eandolph had lost an opportunity of declariug himself, and that he warned the yonng lady against Mr. Thauret as oue not to be trusted. This kind of advice, it is to be presuined, is offerod by the one giving it, with some idea, however distant, that it may be accejited. Yet the histories of ruany lives would show that ouly a small percentage of imilar advice has ever boeu received with acqniescence. Indeed, it might also be said that mauy persons have been hurried into each other's ariiis by thu iuterference of wiseacres, whcn perhüps, if left to themselves, tliey would have drifted apart. At least 'so it seemed ?n thif case. Mr. íhauret had hecbree not only a constant vifsitor at the house of the Eerusens, but he seemed a welcome ons. He certainly was a most entertaining man, aud his manners uttorly proachuble, He had traveled. and riot otly had seen tho wórld, but had observed it, which is another thing. The result of tlns was that he had a fund oí uarrative always at his disposal, and hia conversation was so attractive that ho easily monopolizad the attention of a coterie at any social gathering. Mr. Randolph uoted with growing uneasiiiess that Dora was always one of the group who lia tened to thejsejtaies. What disturbed him most was that aíter tbs greatest aruount oí' time speut and wasted iu seeking soiac flagrant defect in the man 's character ho was at last compelled to acknowledge to hiroself that he had nothing against Mr. Thauret except a prejuclice. Bat that prejudice was as great if net gi-eater than ever. He delernnned at length to speak to Mr. Mitchel about it, and did so oue afternoon when the rooms were crowded, his ïival beiug as usual the center of an attentive group. "Mitchel," heegan, "hcwthe deuce did that feCuw' Thauret get into this famjly?" "Dora met Irira somewhere, I believe. Why?" "Why? Can yon Bsk thnt?" "Can I? Why, oertainly Icau. I did askyoii- Why:" "I declare, Mitchel, yon are either as blind as a bat or else you have eyes only for Miss Ecnly. Don't you see the danger that the younger sister is in, assooiating with that man?" "Wel!, now, Randoiph, to be candid, I must admit I do not see the danger. What is it?" "Why, suppose - snppose she feil in love with him? Suppose she marrie'd him!" "Well, whatthen?" "What then? You would provoko a saint. Yon talk as coolly abont that child's thröwing herself a.way on a - a nobody - as (hough wo were discussing a shot at billiards. " "Randoiph, my friend, let me give you a bit of advieo. When a man wishes to marry a girl, there are two important rules whioh he must observe, and both of thein I believe yon have neglected. " "What do you meani" "Eefore I espbin let me ask you a question. Am I right in snpposing that you wish to marry Dora yourself ?" "Wel!, that is rather pointed. However, I wil! admit the truth. I would bo happy to have her love." '-'Very well. Iwill teil you those two rules. The first is, 'Never speak ill of your rival. ' The second is, 'Don't be too late asking for the young lady. ' " Raudolph looked at Mr. Mitchel a moment intently, then offered his hand, rvhich was grasped warmly. He said simply, "I thank you," and walked over to the group where Dora was. After awhile, taking advantage of an opportune lull, he leaned over her and said in an undertone: "May I have a few words of conversation with you?" She looked up at him, evidently surprised at his tone, and asked : "ís it important?" "Very," he replied succinctly, and excusing herself to the company she perajitted him to lead her into the nest room, where shesatbeside biin on the sofa to whMi hejnvite'i. Ki' y'J'h ; ruotion. Aífer a brief silence, during whicb each thought intently, lie began : "Jliss Dora, I wish yon to listen to me, if you pïease, to the end. I think you kuow tliai I love yon. " He paused just a moment, ■rehile she trembled slightly, blushed, and drooped her bead. He contirmed : "I h:ive never told yon this before in words, I know, but yon are a woman and mnst have reád my heart longago. Yon areall so clever at that eurt of thing. I am only a man, and I have not been able to read yours at all. I really do not know whether you care for me or not. Once I thought that you did, bnt of late - but no matter. 1 will not go into that. In brief, then, I have only to say that it wuuld make me supreruely happy to know that yotí would some day be my wife. In exchange I offer 'you a lifelong devotiou. And now- I think - that is all I have to say. Dora - little sweetheart - do you, could you trust yourself to me?" He had gently taken her hand wbile he spoke, and the fact that she had neither resisted nor withdrawn it had encouraged him to the more affectionate terms which he used at the end of his love speech. She besitated awhile, then gently disengaging her hand and looking at him -with just a suspicion of a tear in her eye she said almost in a whisper : "Do you care very much?" " Very much ! I cannot tell you how much. " He tried to recapture her hand, but she eluded him. Agaiu she asked a quertion : "Money is not an object to you in this?" "Miss Remsen, you insult me. " "No, no!" she said qnickly. "You misunderstand. I did not mean my money. I can't explain, yet you must answer my question. Would j'ou mind if - oh, how hall I say it? Suppose I did something that cost you a lot of ruoney" - "Oh, I see, " exelaimed I.Ir. Randolph, brighteniüg tip. "You mean you are extravagant s Don't let that bother you a mimt Yon may cost me as much money ; : 5 un can possibly spend. I wil] never complain. " She seemed much relieved, but she did not speak at once. Her eyes wandered away from him, and following har gaze he saw them reach and rest upon Mr. Thauret. A jealous pang darted throngh his heart. He was about to speak when she turced (o him and said with suppressed emotion : "I hope yon wi 11 not be angry with me and that you wi 11 not tLink evil of me. Thero is somethirjg I cannot explain, yet which, if I could, yon would not object to. Bnt until I can tell you about it - I caunot - I cannot - give you an answer. Would you - would you be willing to -yait?" ïhere was a tone of entreaty in hor voice. "Hcw long?" asked Mr. Randoiph, Still irritated, and wonderijig if the Eomething which she could not teil was in any way connectefï with Mr. Thauret. "Would you ïuiiid - if I asked you to wait tili - weil, say (ho new year?" "That is a long time, but if it is your will, I must." "Oh, thank you !" Tbat was all sbo said, but there was a hint of rapture in her speech, there were tears in her eyes, and for oue brief ecstatic moroent he thought that there was love in her heart, and that that love was for him. With au impulse that he couid uot control, and which she did not check, he drew her to him and softly touched hor lips with bis own. He feit satisfied, thongh she left him immediately and went at once to Mr. Tfaanret, wliogreeted her with evident warmth. There is Bomethiug, magnetism, if you please, but a something that biuds two trne lovers' hearts se that an impulse in the one excites an answering sensation in the other. The oddest fact in this conuectiou is that, thongh ono may faucy himself deeply in love, he is not till he ïas received one of these instantaneous njessages which Cupid tickg over love's elegraph. Áíter that be is enslaved. ïis better judgment is gone. He will argae in the lonely honrs of the uigbt ;hat he has made a mistake, that the woman is not destined to make him mppy, that she has this, that or the othcr fault, but it counts for nothing save that he suffers. That one stab has slaiu bis manhooci, and he camiot con!rol his actions. As soon as he meets :he woman again, act as she may, his love is aflame once more. Sbe may i 11 :reat him, she may ignore him, it matters uot i slio attracts him. Thus ifrwas with poor Mr. Randolpb. Throughout the many weelcs that followed ho suffered much. He ca lied his love all the unpleasant things that jealousy could suggest. But invariably the recollection of that one moment, wben sho had seemed in that indistiiict, indescribable wny to have yieldeu hwwhole self , her whole soul to him, would flash across his mind, and at once his reasou was silenced, and he wotild say : "She could not have done that if she were false. She loves me., but there is something that I do not understand which makes her treat me so. She told me so, and said. that when she could teil it to me I should uot mind. Well, I must be patiënt and wait. I must trusfc her; she must be, she is, true!" And then gradual ly all the old doubts would creep over him again, and the suffering would be as poiguant as before. It was about a month after the conversation related wben a somewhat similar one occurred between the same young lady and Mr. Thauret. Ho had caJled one afternoon, when Dora was alone, and so had the field to himself. He spoke to her of all those things which he had fonnd most interesting to her, and she was enjoying his society very much, when suddenly, as twilight approaohed and the room grew slightly darkened, he began to touch upon a more tender theine. He spoke of himself, of the wandering life that he had led, of the fact that he was alone in the world without a living relative. He nientioned, as though it were of no importance, that he was of noble blood. Then he drew a touching picture of a man who, while really of a most afiectionate nature, was compelled to live a loveless life because there was none to wbom he could turn for that sort of comfort. Then he asked her geutly, very gently, whether she had ever thought upon the subject herself, aud -whetber she had feit a yearuing for the coropanionship of one who would be all in all to her. His pleadingwas very pretty to listen to, and she heard him as though much impressed, but her reply was not exactly what he evideutly hoped it would have been. "Oh, yes," said she, "I have thought of all that in a vague sort of way. But, you Fee, I have been in love with mr beautiful Queen for so long that I cannot imagine a life without her. And yet" - there was a tremor in her vcice - "I ain goiug to lose her soon. She will go away for awhile, and then I fancy I shall feel that loneliness of which you speak. So if you want to hear my real ideas upon that subject, you must wait till af ter the wedding. " She said this last with a tone of deep meaning, and Mr. Thauret semed to accept her remark as a hint, for he changed the subject. Shortly afterward he went away. As he walked down the avenue there was almost a triumphant emile upon his face. This, however, was not reported to Mr. Barnes, for the sp7 was behind and could not see his face. It was only a few nights af ter this that Mr. Mitchel was walking home from the club, accompaied by Mr. Thauret, when the latter tnrned the couversation upi the Miss Remsens. "They certainly are charruing girls, " said he, "but one would need to be rich to aft'ord the luxury of marrying one of thern. I suppose they have nothing until the death of the mother. " Mr. Mitchel thought that be understood the object of the question, and for reasons of his own was glad to reply to it. "Oh, not at all," said he. "The father lefteachof thema handsomosum - $50,000, in fact - which they are to receive as soon as married. The bulk of the money, of course, went to the widow, but her interest is only for life, and then it is to be equally divided between the girls. I think it is somewhere near $500,000." "You are a fortúnate fellow. I wish I had your luck. " "My dear Thauret, can a man of your intelligence believe in such a stupid thing as luck? It no more exists than its antithesis, ill luck. Every man succeeds or not, according to his own skill in guidiug his lift. Now you envy me my marriage to Emily, wheu nertainly her sister Dora is just as charm.ng and. rich er too." "Miss Dora i charming, trisen ïrat that does notmake me a snccessfiU suicor. But what do you iian by sajino that she is richer?" "Why, you see, her sister is devcted to her aud has promised her a gift of 10,000 the day she marries, upou on condition. ; ' "And that condition is?" "That the husband shall be satisfactory to her. ' ' There was a silence for several minutes, finally broken by Mr. Thauret : ' ' Well, in the light of your approaching marriage, which will make you the only man in the faruily, I presume your influence would count. If I should wish to marry Miss Dora, I suppose you would favor my suit?" "That is not a new idea to me, I vare. you. All I íieed say is that when yon gain Dora's consent you shall have mine. " "Thank you." Mr. Thauret said this with snppressed einotiou, and after that neither man spoke until they said good night at Mr. Mitchel's hotel. Mr. Thanret, upon reaching bis own room, smoked a cigar and blew little ringlets over his head, thus occnpying hiinself till long after ínidnight. He seeined to be building castles, and f rom the satisfied expression on nis ïace they must have been grand ones. Thus mattere stood when the day dawUed upon wbich the rnarriage was to ocenr. Everything was bnstle and confusión, at the home of the Remsens. The baátíesmaias arrived early, helped to doek the bride, and then stood áround in delighted admirativa; Dora was in ecstasies. Two nniguifleeut bouquets had been sent to her, one entirely of carnatiou pinks, froiB Mr. Eandolph and the other a fine assortraeiit óf cut flowers, atnong which were threè beautifnl calla lilies. tied with long white satïn ribbons. ïhese were the gift of Mr. Thauret. She stood admiring the flowers for a, few moments, tben tenderly untied the pinks, and, taking a few ach color, mude, a small bouquet, which ?he piuiied jtist at the opening of ber dress near the throat. Thus they uear enongh to exhale a fragrance of which she would be continually conis. Just before leaving the house, bowever, .she took the callas and carried them with lier in her gloved hand. Before the day was over a littlo tragedy occurred, of which she was not ouly innocent, but rmoonscious. In the throng entering the church her pinks were swept froin her breast, and in her excitement she did not observe her loss. Mr. Randolph, however, the groom's best ruan, noted carefully that she carried flowers and that tkey were not his. Subsequently slie, in reply to a question frorn him, admitted who had sent them, and though he made do remark he slept little that night. Thus easily men suffer. Ernily was dressed - but there, why should I attempt to describe what only a Worth could have furnished and only vvealth could afford? If you can imagine the most beautiful shade and quality of pearl colored si Ik, and add to that the finest of lace, and to that the mos marvelous profusión of tiny ribbon bows, then, as I hinted, recall that the genius of Worth designed the gailuent, perhaps you will imagine all that I could teil yon. At least I ruay say that as the bride entered the church on the arm of that magnificent man, Mr. Van Rawlston, who, as her father's dearest friend, had been invited to take his place, every woman present took one lingering look at the woman and _he_r gown and LjcuTüriirT. ö "Ser negiAjor m expresa her adiniration. Moreover, I will say that the stiin of all that praise was not enough fnlly to describe Emily Remsen, who luoked every inch "aroyal queen," as Dora delightedly told every one for years afterward. But after the bridal party had passed people naturally looked for the groom, and they wondered not to see him. Whisperiug occurred, and inquines were ruade without satisfactory response. Some tbought that there had been a mistake, and that the signal had been given to the bride and her friends too soon. It was an awkward situation, because, of course, once having reached the altar, they could not turn and leave the church again. Consequently they simply stood and waited. Every one at length grew so nervous that save for (he organ there gradually stole over the whole erlific.e a solemn silehce. People were awed, and fearing at last, as the minutes patsed and stil! the groom did not appear, that something dreadful either had or was about to ocour they almost held tbeir breaths. A few intímate friends went ont on tiptoe, but the door to the vestry room was giiarded by a man in livery, who would say nothing but that no one could be admitted. Meanwbile an exciting scène, though a brief one, was being enacted behind that door. Just as the two parties were about to start on their way to the altar a carriage had driven up furiously, and from it had alighted Mr. Barnes. He quickly entered the building and went straightway into ths vestryroom, brushing aside the man at the door. Once in the presence of the groom and bis . tlemen attendants, he astonished thern by saying: "Thank God, I am not too late. " "Are yon quite sure?" said Mr. Mitchel, with provoking calmness. "I have como here to stop this wedding," said the detective, a little excited; "You mean to delay it. That you are doing uow, its I sbould be on iny way to the altar to join my bride. " "I teil you, I come to stop this wedding altogether, and" - "One moment, Mr. Barnes. There is no time to lose, and I do no'c wish you to speak too openly. Let me talk for you. Vou have reasons, which I eau guess, for wishing mo not to be married. Am I right?" "I have said as mucfa. " "Of eourse, but that is impossible. " "Nothing is impossible, Mr. Barnes. Read that if you picase. " Taking from his pocket a folded paper, he handed it to Mr. Barnes, who took it nervonly, read it and looked up an:; "ïhis is an outrage, Mr. Mitchei, and" - "And yon have given me your word not to further iuterfere at this time. If yan will meet me at my hotel at 2 o'clock, I will tinswer whatever other demands you have upon me. I think you know that you may trust me to keep the engagement. Ncrw, gïntlemen, we will proceed. " Saying which, he and bis friends filed out of the room and down the aislo of tbc, ebureb, much to the relief of the immense thröng awaiting theru, leaving Mr. Barnes utterly discomfited. The cereniony thea proceeded without further delay, and in half au hour Mr. and Mis. Leroy Mitchaí were taken in their cariiage t Fifih Avenue hotel. Mr. Barnes did not wait to see thern leave the catbedral, bat höirfed away almost immediately aft er having read the document whieli Mr. Mitchel had banded to biia. Tbis was a certifícate of ruarriage dated the day V. , and perfonued at the ni&yor's office. Thus, whatever reason the detective had ior stopping the marriage the telegram froni Kofton had ena Mr. Mitcbel to once inore ontv.it Mr. Barnes by simply allowiug a civil coutract to antedate the religiotisceieiiioiiy. OHAPTEE XV. .MP.. MITCHEL EXPLAINS A FEW TH1NCÍS. Immediately npon kis arrival in New York Mr. Barnes went to bis office. Here he was slightly surprised to flud Luccttf!. "Well," said he tersoly. "I oamo hcro," said the girl, "so that I could report to yon the minute you got here. ïhere is no timeto lose. " "Why, what is np?" " Your plau about ruy getting inforruation from the East Ürange postoffice did not work. The man said that, thongh he wou ld lika to serve you, he was afraid it might be coustrued into tampering with the mails; that yon wonld need au order froru the postmaster general. I went to work then on the other line and begau a systematic examination of every house in the place. It was hard work, but at lastlfound the child. Yóu don 't want details now, because she has been taken away again. Mitcbel went down yesterday and brought her to New York. ' ' "Why did you not followhim and see wbere he took her?" "I did, and this time I ara sure he did not suspect that I was after hiin. He took the child to the Remsens. " "To the Remsens? What can that mean?" "I don 't know. But Mitchel and Miss Remsen are to be married at St. Patrick's cathedral at 10 o'clock this morninLj_' "Not if I cnn stop it," replied the detective, and he hasteued up to the chnrch with tho result told in the last chapter. Promptly at 2 o'clock Mr. Barnes presentcd himself at the Pifth Avenue hotel accompanied by Mr. Neuilly. They were asked to go up to Mr. Mitchel's apartments, and there they were greeted by that gentleman as affably as though they had beeu of bis wedding party. Indeed he began tbecunversation iu rather a jocular way, sayïng: "Ah! Mr. Barnes, deiighted that now I can entertain you more at my leisure. This moruiug, you seo, I was in a great hnrry. You called at a very inopportune time, and I am afraid that I was rather abrupt. " "Mr. Mitchel, I am not in the humor for nonsense. This is a very serious visit, I assure you. This gentleman is Mr. Neuilly of New Orleans, and he has come all this distance to aid the causL. ei justice. ' ' (To ba continued )