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A Strange Story

A Strange Story image
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The sadáest digappearance of whieh I remember ever to have :ead was that of Captain t.;uth, of the India army, who oame home on lease frpra Caloutt-a to be married to a Miss Ling, in Hertfordghire, Captain Routh arriyed at Southarapton, and was identified as liaving heen a pas senger by the coach from tïat place to London. ' But after having lately aocomplished so many huodred miles, be never attained that place, such a little way off, where his bride awaited him. - He ueither carne nor wrote. She read his nfïne in the list of passengers by the Europa, and looked for him hour by hour, in vain. What excuses must not ber% love have made for him ! How she must have clung to one frail chance after another, until her last hope left her ! How iufiuitely more terrible must such vague wretchedness have been to bear, than if she had known him to have been struck down by the fatal sun ray of 'Bengal, or drowned in Indian seas. Where was he? What cuuld have become of him ? ïhis young lady had a cousin of the name of Penrhyn, about hpr oyn age, who had beeu broughc up in the same family, and, although mucl) attacbed to her, bad not been hitherto considered to entertain towards her wanner feelings than those of kmship. But as month after month, aud year after year. went by without tidings of the missing bridegroom, he began to court her as a lover. She, for {ïer part, refused to listen to his addressee, bui bpr mother favored them; and, plunged into melanclioly, the girl did not take the pains to repulse hím which probably she would otherwise have done. She accepted, or at least sbe did uot reject, a ring of bis, which sbe even wore on her ílnger; but whenjjyer he spoke to her, or tendérpd her sny service, she turned from him with something like loathing. Whether this was remarked upon so muo-, befpre tbc following crcpms.tanceB occurred, it would be 'interesting to ieijrn ; but all who knew them nöw testifyj that wberaas in enrly days she had taken pleasure in hor cousin's society, it seemed to become absolutcly hateful to her, subsequeut to her calamity. About three years after Capt. Routh's disappearance, a brother-officer and frieud of his, one Major Brooks, having busineLS in Kiiglaud, waa inyitcd into Hertfordsbire by Mrs. Ling, at the ur! gent request of her daughter. So fur, however,' from being overeóme by the as8Qciation of the Major's presence with her lost lover, Miss Ijing sëemed to take pleasure in nothing so much as in hearing him talk of his 'missing fnend. Mr. Penrhyn appearp f.o have taken this in some dudgeon ; perhap8 he grew ap! prehensivë that a present rival might be more fatal to hig hopep than the memory of an absent one ; )Jut, at all eventa, the two gentlemen quarreled. Mr. Penrhyn - who lived in the neigbborbood - protested that he would pof enter the house during the Major's stay, and remained at bis own residence. Puring this eBtraDgemect, tbe eonvereaiion betwec Biooks and Miss Ling had Capt. Routh for its topio more than ever. In speaking of the absence of all clue to wliat had becorae of him, the Major observed: "There is one thing that puzzles me almost as inuch as the loss of my poor fnend himself. You say that his luggage was found at the inn where the coaeh stopped in London ? " Jt was," said the lady. " I am thankfuí $o say that I have numberless tokens of hi? dear self." 'Í There is one thing, which, though, I wonder that hq parted with," pursued the Major, " and did not always carry a.b.oqt with him, as he promised to do. I was with him in the bazaar of Calcutta, when h,Q boflght for you that twisted ring"- " That ring," cried the poor girl, 'Hhat ring ? " and with a frightful shriek she instant! ayooned away. Her mother. paroe running in to kiiow what was the matter ; Brooks made somo evasive explanation, but, while she was ppplying restoratives, inquired, as oarg lessly as'ho coqlt, " who had given to her daughter that beautitVjl ring 'l " " Oh, Willy Penrhyn," said she, - "That is the ouly present, poor fellow, he (jould ever get Rachel to accept." Upon 'this Major Brooks went straight to Penrhyn's house, but was denied admittance; whereupon he wrote to him the following letter : - 'i Sir - I have just seen a ring upon the hand of the betrothed wife of my murdered friend, Herbert Routh ; ho bought it for that purpose himself, bui you presented it. I know he always wore it on his little finger, and never parted vith it by any chance. I demand, thereforo, to know by what means you became possessed of it. I ehall require to see you in person at five o'clock this afternoon, and shall take no denial. "James Brooks." The Major arrived at Mr. Penrhyn's house at the time specified, but found him a dead man. 3e had taken poison upon the receipt of the above jetter; and so, as is aupposed, departed the oniy human being that could have unravelled the rpygtery of the missing Captain Routh. Still, it is barely possibie that he may not have been his murderer after ■all ; f he were, it is surely the height of impryjdence to haye given awy a thing ao eagiiy 'ideuti'd, ud that to tfoe very person of all otherg from wh,fim he ghould have concealed it.


Old News
Michigan Argus