Part 4 out of 7
remain against your will."
"Indeed! Why could you not have said as much before? Neither
Isabel nor I care to remain here a day longer than is necessary;
we have simply been awaiting your pleasure. Wilson, bring me the
morning papers; I want to see what boats are expected. We will
take the first steamer home. Mr. Thornton, will you and the young
ladies accompany us, or do you prefer to remain in exile a while
"Well," replied that gentleman, smiling genially, "speaking for
myself, I would more than half like to stay and see this thing
through; but the ladies are in the majority, and I will abide by
their decision. How is it, Edith? I suppose, as the novelists
say, you will be 'torn by conflicting emotions.'"
"You horrid old papa! Of course, if auntie is going back, I shall
go with her. What do you say, Winifred?"
"I have very little choice, one way or the other," Miss Carleton
replied, more quietly than was usual for her; "whatever you and
Uncle William decide, will suit me."
"Ab, here are the papers!" said Mrs. Mainwaring, adjusting her
eye-glasses. "These dreadful American dailies!" she exclaimed, as
she scanned the pages; "one never knows where to find anything. Ah,
here it is, and just what we want! The 'Campania' sails Thursday,
at three o'clock. That will suit us exactly."
"To-morrow! so soon!" exclaimed two or three voices.
"Certainly," she replied, rising. "I shall have the maids begin
packing at once; and, Mr. Thornton, I shall instruct Wilson to
attend directly to your luggage, for you would never think of it
until within an hour of sailing."
Her departure seemed the signal for the breaking up of the little
company. Mr. Whitney lingered a few moments at Miss Carleton's
side, with a few murmured words of regret that she was to leave so
soon, to which she listened courteously, though making little
response. After he had gone she remained standing where he had
left her, gazing dreamily out on the river and the distant bluffs.
Merrick, slowly sauntering up and down the veranda, had observed
the whole scene, and now watched the fair young face with a
suggestion of a smile in his kindly eyes.
"H'm!" he soliloquized; "Whitney is a bigger fool than I've given
him credit for if he thinks he stands any show in that direction.
If I'm not mistaken, I know which way the wind blows, and it's
dollars to doughnuts she'll lose that far-away expression of hers
before she's been aboard the 'Campania' many hours. I'd like to be
aboard myself and watch the transformation scene."
The attorney's voice here broke in upon his cogitations.
"I say, Merrick, that was a regular bomb you threw at Mainwaring
with regard to young Scott! How did you discover he was an
"I very easily ascertained that he was not an American; that he was
of English descent followed as a matter of course. I am not sure
whether he is of English birth."
"You seem to be keeping an eye on him."
"It is my business just now to be posted regarding every one
associated with this place. I've been keeping an eye on you for
the last thirty minutes."
The attorney colored, and hastily reverted to the original topic of
conversation. "Have you seen anything of him since he left us?"
"Since his resignation of the salary as well as the position of
private 'secretary?" queried the detective, half to himself, with
a tone of amusement, which Mr. Whitney failed to comprehend. "Yes;
I met him to-day at the Murray Hill."
"At the Murray Hill! Is he stopping there?"
"He evidently was this morning. So was I. Possibly we were both
'stopping' on the same business; I cannot say."
The detective's face was a study, as was also the attorney's.
"I supposed," said the latter, after a short pause, "from the tenor
of his note, that he intended to leave the city at once."
"Possibly he does," replied the other, enigmatically, and, having
consulted his watch, turned abruptly in another direction.
"Say, what will you do about him? Shall you watch him?" Mr.
Whitney called after the vanishing figure.
Merrick looked back over his shoulder with a peculiar smile. "I
shall not lose track of him," he said, slowly; "he is too
The Mainwaring party was among the latest arrivals at the pier on
the following day, owing to the dilatoriness of Mr. Thornton, Mrs.
Mainwaring's efforts to the contrary notwithstanding. At the last
moment he appeared, serenely and smilingly unconscious of that
lady's frowns of displeasure, to the infinite amusement of his
daughter, who whispered to Miss Carleton,-
"Poor papa! See how auntie glares at him, and he does not even
But even Mrs. Mainwaring's facial muscles relaxed slightly at the
sight of the beautiful ocean greyhound lying in the harbor, her
flags waving and streamers fluttering in the breeze, awaiting only
the captain's orders to start on her homeward course.
The decks were crowded with humanity, for the most part laughing
and chatting gayly and singing bits of song, though here and there
were sad, tear-stained faces, where long farewells, some of them
perhaps the last farewells, were being spoken.
"Thank heaven, there'll be no tears shed on this occasion!" said
Isabel Mainwaring; "unless," she added, with a glance of scorn
towards Miss Carleton's escort, "Mr. Whitney should contribute a
few. I detest such vulgar demonstrations in public!"
The attorney certainly did not look very cheerful, and even Miss
Carleton's sunny face was somewhat overcast, though why, it would
seem difficult to determine, since she seemed to have no regrets
at leaving America.
"Mercy me!" ejaculated Mrs. Mainwaring, "what a dreadful crowd! It
is far worse than when we came over. Hugh, I wonder if your father
examined the ship's list. I particularly requested him to do so.
I wished to ascertain whether there would be any friends of ours on
board. One does not care to make acquaintances promiscuously, you
"I don't think the governor investigated the subject very
thoroughly," young Mainwaring replied, with a laugh. "I noticed
when we registered there were three or four pages of names preceding
ours, and I don't think he gave the matter much attention. If I had
time I would look it up for you, mother, but we must go ashore in
a few moments."
"If I am not mistaken, my dear lady," said Mr. Thornton, who had
overheard the conversation, "you will have little time or inclination
for looking up acquaintances on this trip."
"May I ask why?" Mrs. Mainwaring demanded.
"I think," he replied, maliciously, "that you and Isabel will be too
much occupied in cultivating the acquaintance of mal de mer to care
for your best friends."
"How's that, Thornton? Think it will be rough?" inquired Ralph
"The captain tells me the wind is freshening every moment, and we'll
have a decidedly choppy sea before night. I'm thinking we'll have a
"In that case, perhaps mamma and I will not be the only victims,"
said Isabel Mainwaring.
"I fear not," responded Mr. Thornton. "Were it not or my inherent
chivalry, I should turn back; but I cannot leave you ladies to meet
your fate alone."
Amid the general confusion of leave-taking, Mr. Whitney turned
towards Miss Carleton, saying in a low tone, as he took her hand,-
"I have received cordial invitations both from yourself and Mr.
Thornton to visit your home, and I feel assured of a welcome should
I accept your courtesy; but, pardon me, Miss Carleton, if, after so
brief an acquaintance as ours, I inquire whether I might ever hope
for a welcome from you other than that of a friend?"
The beautiful brown eyes met his own frankly, but all the laughter
and sunshine had gone out of them. They were serious and had almost
a look of pain.
"I am sorry, Mr. Whitney," she said, simply; "but it would be very
unjust if I led you to hope that I could ever regard you other than
as an esteemed friend."
"Pardon me for troubling you," he said, gently. "Believe me always
your friend, and forget that I ever asked for more than friendship,"
and, releasing her hand, he passed on to the others.
The final adieus were spoken; Ralph Mainwaring and his son,
accompanied by the attorney, went ashore; and Miss Carleton, not
caring just then to meet the curious glances of her companions,
walked slowly towards the forward part of the deck. She had gone
but a few steps, however, when she caught sight of the familiar
figure of Mr. Merrick at a little distance, in conversation with a
tall, slender man, with dark, piercing eyes. He was speaking
rapidly in low tones, but his usually non-committal face wore an
expression of unmistakable satisfaction. Suddenly he turned and
walked swiftly in Miss Carleton's direction. Their eyes met, and
in response to her glance of recognition he quickly crossed to
where she was standing.
"I have but a few seconds left, Miss Carleton," he said, a genial
smile lighting up his face; "but I am glad of an opportunity to
wish you a pleasant trip. Are you a good sailor?"
"I hardly know," she answered. "I have had so little experience on
the sea. Why? Shall we have a stormy passage, do you think?"
"Nothing dangerous; a little rough, perhaps; but with congenial
company, such as I trust you will find," and his eyes gleamed with
kindly merriment, "you will hardly mind that. Good-by, Miss
Carleton; bon voyage; and if I can ever in any way serve you as a
friend, do not fail to command me," and before she could reply he
had vanished in the crowd. She looked in vain for any trace of
him; then turning to glance at his companion of a moment before,
discovered that he had disappeared also.
A moment later the great ocean liner glided majestically out from
the harbor amid prolonged cheers and a final flutter of farewells;
but she was well out upon the tossing waves ere Miss Carleton turned
from watching the receding shore to join her friends, as yet having
found no solution of the problem perplexing her, nor even the
meaning which she felt must be concealed in the words of the
They had not been out many hours before it became evident that Mr.
Thornton's unfavorable predictions regarding their journey were
likely to be fulfilled. The sea was decidedly "choppy" and the
motion of the boat anything but exhilarating.
When the hour for dinner arrived, Mr. Thornton, his daughter, and
Miss Carleton were the only members of their party to venture forth
to the dining-saloon, the others preferring to have a light repast
served in their own apartments. The captain, having discovered in
Mr. Thornton an old-time friend, had ordered seats for him and his
party at his own table, and the young ladies, finding their appetites
rather an uncertain quantity, had plenty of opportunity for observing
their fellow-passengers, particularly an Anglomaniac of the most
pronounced type, in the person of a callow youth seated opposite
them, whose monocle, exaggerated collar, and affected drawl afforded
them considerable amusement.
"Winifred," said Miss Thornton, as they were leaving the
dining-saloon, "do you see that young Englishman at the farther
Her cousin glanced carelessly in the direction indicated, noting the
fine, athletic figure seated, back towards them, at some distance,
attired in heavy English tweed.
"Yes. What of him?"
"Nothing in particular; only the sight of him is such a relief, you
know, after that wretched caricature at our table."
"Poor little harmless dudelet!" mused Winifred, with a smile; "his
self-complacency will be short-lived whenever he meets Isabel. She
will simply annihilate him with one of those glances of hers!"
At Miss Carleton's suggestion, they went on deck; but Edith grew so
rapidly ill that her cousin assisted her below to their own elegant
suite of apartments, which adjoined, on one side, those occupied by
Mrs. Mainwaring and her daughter, while on the other was comfortable
state-room belonging to Mrs. Hogarth.
Finding Mrs. Mainwaring and Isabel already reduced to a state of
abject helplessness which required the attendance of both maids as
well as of the stewardess, Miss Carleton left Edith in Mrs. Hogarth's
care, and, wrapping herself warmly, again went on deck. The wind was
increasing and she found the decks nearly deserted, but the solitude
and the storm suited her mood just then, and, wrapping her rug
closely about her, she seated herself in a comparatively sheltered
place, alone with her own thoughts.
As she recalled the parting interview with Mr. Whitney, another face
seemed to flash before her vision, and a half-formed query, which
had been persistently haunting her for the last few hours, now took
definite shape and demanded a reply. What would have been the result
if that other, instead of leaving without one word of farewell, had
asked for the hope of something better and deeper than friendship?
What would her answer have been? Even in the friendly shadow of the
deepening twilight she shrank from facing the truth gradually forcing
itself upon her.
A solitary figure pacing the deck aroused her from her revery. As
he approached she recognized the young Englishman of whom Edith had
spoken. Dressed in warm jacket, with cap well pulled down over his
eyes and hands clasped behind him, he strode the rolling deck with
step as firm and free as though walking the streets of his native
city. She watched him with admiration, till something in his
carriage reminded her of the young secretary at Fair Oaks, and in
the sudden thrill of pleasure produced by that reminder there was
revealed to her inner consciousness a confirmation of the truth she
sought to evade.
She watched the retreating figure with flashing eyes and burning
cheeks. "It is not true!" she exclaimed, to herself, passionately.
"I do not care for him! It was only a fancy, a foolish infatuation,
of which, thank heaven, neither he nor any one else shall ever know."
But the monarch who had taken possession of her heart, call him by
what name she chose, was not to be so easily dethroned.
Meanwhile, the young English stranger passed and repassed, unconscious
of the figure in the shadow, unconscious of the aversion with which
one of his countrywomen regarded him because of his resemblance to
another. He, too, was vainly seeking the solution of problems which
baffled him at every turn, and waging an ineffectual warfare against
the invisible but potent sovereign - Love.
All that night the storm raged with increasing fury, and morning
found the entire Mainwaring party "on the retired list," as Miss
Carleton expressed it. She herself was the last to succumb, but
finally forced to an ignominious surrender, she submitted to the
inevitable with as good grace as possible, only stipulating that
she be left entirely to herself.
Towards night the storm abated slightly, and, weary of her own
thoughts, which bad been anything but agreeable, and bored by the
society of her companions in misery, she wrapped her rug warmly
about her and ventured out on deck. The air, laden with salt
spray, seemed invigorating, and without much difficulty she found
her way to her sheltered corner of the preceding evening. She had
been seated but a few moments, however, when the young Englishman
made his appearance, as preoccupied and unconscious of his
surroundings and as free from any symptoms of discomfort as when
she had last seen him. The sight of him was the signal for the
return of the thoughts which had that day kept her company. She
cast a wrathful glance upon the unconscious young stranger just
then passing, his perfect health and evident good humor under
existing circumstances adding to her sense of injury and
exasperation. She grew ill, and determined to return at once to
her apartments, but found her progress against the gale slower and
more difficult than she had anticipated. Dizzy and faint, she had
just reached the stairs when a sudden lurch threw her violently to
one side; she staggered helplessly and would have fallen, but at
that instant a strong arm was thrown about her and she felt herself
lifted bodily. With a sigh of relief she turned her head towards
her rescuer, supposing him one of the officers of the ship, only to
discover, to her horror, that she was in the arms of the young
Englishman. His face was in the shadow, but the light falling on
her own face revealed her features, and at that instant she heard a
"Great heavens! can it be possible?"
Something in the tone startled her and she listened, hoping he would
speak again. He did not; but she noted the tenderness with which
she was borne down the stairs and put in care of the stewardess.
Again she listened eagerly for his voice, but his words were brief
and in an altered tone.
During the succeeding twenty-four hours in which Miss Carleton tossed
in misery, one thought was uppermost in her mind, - to discover, if
possible, the identity of the stranger who had come to her assistance.
The only information obtainable, however, was that he was evidently
a gentleman of wealth, travelling alone, and apparently with no
acquaintance on board with the exception of a young English officer.
She determined, at the earliest possible moment, to meet her
mysterious rescuer and thank him for his kindness, but was unable
to carry her plan into immediate execution. Meantime, she learned
that he had twice inquired for her.
On Sunday afternoon, their fourth day out, the storm had ceased and
the weather was gradually clearing, and Miss Carleton, somewhat pale
but quite herself again, came out for a promenade. She found quite
a number of passengers on deck, but for some time she looked in vain
for her unknown friend. At last, after several brisk turns, she
saw him standing at a little distance, talking with the tall,
dark-eyed man whom she had seen in conversation with Mr. Merrick.
The younger man's cap was thrown back, revealing to Miss Carleton
the fine profile, almost classical in its beauty, of the secretary
at Fair Oaks. For a moment her pulse throbbed wildly. She felt a
thrill of pleasure, not unmingled with a twinge of the resentment
which she had been nursing for the last few days. Then she walked
calmly in his direction, saying to herself, -
"At least, I will thank him for his kindness. I am no love-lorn
peasant maid wearing my heart upon my sleeve!"
She had nearly reached his side, though he was unaware of her
presence, when the young English officer approached from the other
side and, slapping him familiarly upon the shoulder, exclaimed,-
"Well, Mainwaring, my boy, you've kept your sea-legs well on this
The tall, dark-eyed man withdrew, and Miss Carleton, utterly
bewildered, turned and slowly retraced her steps. Mainwaring! What
did it mean? She heard the name distinctly, and he had taken it as
a matter of course, replying pleasantly and quietly, as though he
had known no other name. The mystery which she had thought to solve
had only deepened tenfold. She was aroused by the cheery voice of
"Well, well, Miss Carleton, glad to see you out! I congratulate
you on your speedy recovery. How are the ladies? and how is my
old friend Thornton?"
They took a few turns up and down, chatting pleasantly, till Miss
Carleton, looking into the face overflowing with kindliness and
good humor, said,-
"Captain, I have a great favor to ask of you."
"Granted, my dear young lady, to the half of my kingdom!"
"May I have your permission to examine the list of cabin passengers?"
The captain elevated his shaggy eyebrows and his eyes twinkled with
merriment. "Ah! anxious to learn if some particular friend is on
board, I suppose. Some one was inquiring of me the other night
regarding your identity."
"Indeed!" said Miss Carleton, a world of inquiry in her eyes.
"Yes; Mr. Mainwaring, the gentleman conversing with Lieutenant Cohen
over there. He and I both went to your assistance the other evening,
but, much to my regret, he was quicker than I. He remarked to me
after he came back on deck that he had supposed you were a stranger,
but that your face looked familiar. He asked your name, and whether
you were with Mr. Thornton and his daughter, stating that he had met
you. Correct, I presume?"
"Quite so," said Miss Carleton, quietly.
"And now about that passenger list, Miss Carleton; you have my
permission to examine it, and I will accompany you myself."
She thanked him. "Are you acquainted with Mr. Mainwaring?" she
"Never met him until this trip. On first learning his name, I
supposed him to be a member of your party, as he is evidently a
gentleman; but I soon learned that he was alone."
A few moments later the register was opened for Miss Carleton's
inspection, but she did not have to search long. Half-way down the
first page she found, in the familiar writing of the secretary, the
name which she sought - "Harold Scott Mainwaring."
Thanking the captain for his courtesy, Miss Carleton returned to
her accustomed seat on deck, and, since one is never more alone
than when surrounded by a crowd of utter strangers, she felt at
liberty to pursue her own thoughts without interruption.
She could scarcely credit what her own ears had heard or her eyes
had seen. Harold Scott Mainwaring! What could it mean? Could it
be possible that the secretary, having familiarized himself with
the family history of the Mainwarings, was now masquerading under
an assumed name for some object of his own? But she dismissed
this idea at once. She had assured him at Fair Oaks that she
believed him incapable of anything false or dishonorable, and she
would abide by that belief until convinced otherwise. But if this
were indeed his name, what had been his object in assuming the role
of Scott, the secretary? Which was genuine and which assumed? Who
could tell? As if in answer to her thoughts, she saw the subject
of them approaching. He was alone and looking in her direction,
and on reading the recognition in her glance, his own face lighted
with a smile that banished the last shade of resentment and
suspicion from her mind, albeit there was a question in her eyes
which prepared him in a measure for her first words. With a smile
as bright as those with which she had been accustomed to greet him
at Fair Oaks, she extended her band, saying, slowly,-
"Mr. Mainwaring, this is indeed a surprise!" She watched him
closely, but there was not the quiver of an eyelash, only a slow,
inscrutable smile, as he replied,-
"Miss Carleton, I will add to that, and say that this is the
pleasantest surprise of my life."
She blushed at the implied meaning of his words, and he added,-
"I have not seen you on deck until to-day."
"Not last Friday evening?" she inquired, archly. His smile deepened.
"I did not know that it was you at that time until after I had
started below. Did you recognize me?"
"I thought I recognized your voice; and I have often wished to thank
you for your kindness, but this is my first opportunity, as I have
not been out since until to-day."
"Please do not mention it. Had I dreamed who it was thus braving
the storm, I would have offered my assistance earlier. I have not
yet recovered from my surprise on discovering the identity of my
fellow-passenger that evening."
"Indeed!" laughed Miss Carleton; "my presence here is very easily
explained. It is simply the result of one of Mrs. Mainwaring's
numerous whims, as she suddenly decided upon an immediate return to
England. I think, however, that the surprise was mutual."
"Accordingly, I suppose that mutual explanations should follow,"
he answered, lightly. Then added, more seriously, "Miss Carleton,
I am aware that there is much in my conduct that must seem
inexplicable to you. In a few weeks everything will have been
made clear, in the natural course of events; but, if you would be
at all interested to hear, I would greatly prefer that you should
have a perfect understanding of the situation before the facts
become generally known."
"I should greatly appreciate such a mark of confidence," she replied.
"If agreeable to you, Miss Carleton, let us pass around to the other
side; it is less crowded there. My friend and I have two chairs,
and, as he has gone to his state-room to do some writing, we shall
be in no danger of interruption."
When comfortably seated, the young man said, "It is a strange story
which I have to tell, but I will try not to tax your patience too
severely. One week ago this afternoon, Miss Carleton, in passing
through the hall at Fair Oaks, I accidentally overheard a portion
of your conversation with Mr. Whitney, as you related to him the
story of the unfortunate love and death of my father, Harold Scott
Miss Carleton started violently, but said nothing, and, after a
slight pause, the speaker continued,-
"My earliest recollections are of a home in Australia, with
foster-parents, whose name it is unnecessary to mention, but whose
care and love for me seem, as I now look back, to have equalled that
bestowed by natural parents upon their own child. Not until I had
reached the age of fifteen years did I ever hear of my own father.
I then learned that he had given me, at birth, into the keeping
of my foster-parents, with instructions that, unless he himself
should call for me, I was not even to know of his existence until
within five or six years of my majority. I learned, further, that
his action in thus placing me in the hands of others had been
solely on account of deep trouble and sorrow, of which he wished me
to know nothing until I had reached the years of manhood. When
giving me into their keeping he had also given them a small packet,
containing a sealed letter, which was to be read by me on my
twenty-first birthday, if he had not himself claimed me before that
time. I was told that, while I was too young to retain any
remembrance of him, he frequently visited me and manifested the
greatest devotion to his child, but as I grew older he remained
away, writing occasionally to my foster-father.
"In the last letter received from him, when I was about five years
of age, he stated that he was going to Africa to make a fortune for
his son. Nothing further was heard from him until there came tidings
of his death at sea, in the manner which you recently related.
"Of all this I, of course, knew nothing until ten years later, but
what was told me at that time made a deep impression upon me. Of my
mother I could learn absolutely nothing; but for my father, of whom
I had no personal knowledge, and concerning whom there seemed so
much that was mysterious, I felt a love and reverence almost akin to
adoration, and I longed for the day to come when I could read the
letter he had left for me and learn the whole secret of that sad
"My twenty-first birthday arrived, and the mysterious little packet
was placed in my hands. It contained a few valuable keepsakes and
my father's letter, written out of the bitter anguish of a broken
heart. He told the story of his disinheritance, with which you are
familiar; but the loss of the property he cared little for in
comparison with the loss of his father's love; but even that was as
nothing to the sorrow which followed swiftly and which broke his
heart. He stated that, because of this great sorrow, he had placed
me in the hands of trusted friends that I should be banished from
the false-hearted woman who had borne me and who believed me dead,
as it was his wish that neither of us should ever know of the
existence of the other."
Harold Mainwaring paused for a moment, and Miss Carleton, who had
been listening with great interest, exclaimed, -
"And is it possible, Mr. Mainwaring, that, in all these years, you
have had no knowledge concerning your mother?"
"It is a fact, Miss Carleton, that I do not even know her name, or
whether or not she is living. I only hope and pray that I may
never knowingly meet her, for her heart and life must be - pardon
the expression - as false and as black as hell itself."
There was a look on his face which Miss Carleton had never seen.
Gradually, however, his features softened, and he continued,-
"In accordance with my father's wish, expressed in the letter, that
I should complete my studies in England, I sailed for that country
within a few weeks of my twenty-first birthday; and while there I
learned that part of my story which is of more especial interest to
all parties concerned at the present time.
"I had been but a few months in England when I felt a great desire
to visit, incognito, the old Mainwaring estate. Accordingly, under
the name by which you have known me, I arrived at the estate, only
to learn that the home of my father's boyhood, and of the Mainwarings
for several generations, had passed into the hands of strangers.
My grandfather had died within two years of my father's marriage,
and the younger son had sold the estate and gone to America.
Incidentally, I was directed to an old servant of my grandfather's,
who yet remained on the place and who could give me its whole
history. That servant, Miss Carleton, was old James Wilson, the
father of John Wilson, Ralph Mainwaring's present valet."
"Ah!" ejaculated Miss Carleton, her face lighting with pleasure; "I
have seen the trusty old fellow hundreds of times, you know. Indeed,
he could give you the history of all the Mainwarings for the last
three hundred years."
"He gave me one very important bit of history," Harold Mainwaring
replied, with a smile. "He told me that old Ralph Mainwaring, after
the departure of his son for Australia, failed rapidly. He was
slowly but surely dying of a broken heart, and, though he never
mentioned the name of his elder son, it was evident that he regretted
his own harshness and severity towards him.
"On the night before his death he suddenly gave orders for an
attorney to be summoned, and was so insistent in his demand, that,
when it was ascertained that his old solicitor, Alfred Barton, the
father of the present firm of Barton & Barton, had been called out
of the city, a young lawyer, Richard Hobson by name, who had formerly
been an articled clerk in Barton's office, was called in in his
stead. A little before the hour of midnight, in the presence of his
son, Hugh Mainwaring, Richard Hobson, the attorney, and Alexander
McPherson, an old and trusted Scotch friend, Ralph Mainwaring caused
to be drawn and executed a will, completely revoking and setting
aside the process of law by which Harold Scott Mainwaring had been
disinherited, and restoring to him his full rights as the elder son,
McPherson and the attorney signing the will as witnesses."
Miss Carleton's eyes dilated and her breath came and went swiftly,
but she spoke no word save a single, quick exclamation.
"James Wilson, the servant, was also present, but in an obscure
corner, and his presence seems to have been unnoticed. The next
morning, at five o'clock, Ralph Mainwaring passed away, happy in
the thought that he had at last made reparation for his injustice
to his elder son. Within two months the old Scotchman died, and
Richard Hobson was then the sole surviving witness of the last will
and testament of Ralph Maxwell Mainwaring.
"This was all the direct information I could obtain from Wilson,
but from other sources I learned that Hugh Mainwaring was never the
same after his father's death. He grew stern and taciturn, and
would allow no mention of his brother's name, and within two years
he had disposed of the estate and left England forever; while a few
years later tidings were received of the death of Harold Scott
Mainwaring at sea. I also learned that about this time Richard
Hobson suddenly rose from the position of a penniless pettifogger
to that of an affluent attorney, though he was engaged in
questionable speculations far more than in the practice of law.
"I visited the chambers of Barton & Barton, and learned through
them that everything had been adjusted in accordance with the terms
of the will in their possession, which disinherited the elder son;
but Hugh Mainwaring's action in disposing of the estate had excited
"Having pledged them to secrecy, I disclosed my identity and
related to them the story of the old servant. To my surprise, they
were inclined to give the story credence; and, acting upon their
advice, I obtained all possible information regarding Hugh
Mainwaring, and, when my studies were completed, sailed for America,
with the express determination to secure proof in verification of
the facts which I had already gathered, and to establish my claim
as the legal heir of the Mainwaring estate. I was not without means
to do this, as my father had accumulated considerable property
during the few years he lived in Australia, and my foster-parents
are people of wealth.
"You will understand now, Miss Carleton, why I took the position of
private secretary to Hugh Mainwaring. You will realize how eagerly
I studied the correspondence between him and Richard Hobson, from
which I learned that the latter was extorting large sums of money
as the price of his silence regarding some fraudulent transaction,
presumably the destruction of the will; and perhaps you can imagine
my feelings on discovering, one day, among Hugh Mainwaring's private
papers, a memorandum to the effect that the will had never been
destroyed, but was still in existence and in his possession. I
knew that to make any demand upon him for the document would be
worse than useless, as he would never admit my claim. I must find
it for myself. I searched for that will as for hidden treasure, and,
Miss Carleton, I found it!"
"Oh!" she exclaimed, unable to repress her emotion, "I am so glad!
Do tell me how and when!"
"I found it on the last day of Hugh Mainwaring's life, within two
hours after he had signed his own last will and testament."
"What a strange coincidence!"
"It was strange; and it was my discovery on that day which formed
the subject of my thoughts on the following night, the night of the
murder, and which kept me pacing my room until three o'clock in
"Did Mr. Mainwaring know of your discovery?"
"No; I had no opportunity to see him that evening until too late,
even if I had chosen to broach the subject to him at that time."
"Might he not have discovered in some way that you had found the
"I think not. Why do you inquire?"
"It only occurred to me if it might not be possible that he had
reason to think his secret had at last been discovered, and, rather
than face the consequences, committed suicide; but it seems
improbable. But to think that you are the son of the one whom I
have always considered the noblest of all the Mainwarings, and that
you, and not Hugh, are the rightful heir to the old Mainwaring
estate! I am more than glad, and Hugh will be glad also. He will
not begrudge you one shilling or have one unkind thought towards
you, though I cannot say the same for his father."
"Hugh is a noble-hearted fellow," said Harold, warmly. "He has
promised me his friendship, and I believe he will stand by it."
He spoke briefly of his plans; of his business in London for a few
days; and, when the will should have been probated in the English
court, of his return to America to establish his claim there.
"Mr. Mainwaring," said Miss Carleton, after a pause, "I am
inexpressibly glad to learn what you have told me, and you have my
sincerest wishes for your immediate success. I appreciate, more
than I can tell, your confidence in permitting me to be the first
to know of your good fortune. May I be the first to congratulate
He took the proffered hand; but, looking into the beautiful eyes
sparkling with happiness, his own face grew serious, as he replied,-
"I thank you for your congratulations and your good wishes, Miss
Carleton, but I sometimes question whether my discovery, on that
particular day, of the will - the last link in the chain of
evidence against Hugh Mainwaring - was a matter for congratulation."
"How is that?" she inquired, quickly.
"Do you not see that when all these facts become known, they may be
used by my enemies to direct suspicion against me as the possible
murderer of Hugh Mainwaring?"
"Who would think of such a thing?" she exclaimed, indignantly.
"Ralph Mainwaring will," was his prompt reply.
"He might try to incite the suspicions of others against you, but he
would know in his own heart that his insinuations were unfounded."
"I have no fear of him," said Harold, with a smile; "I only mentioned
it to show that I do not anticipate upon my return to America that
my pathway will be strewn with roses."
He paused a moment, then added, "I had this in mind, Miss Carleton,
when I asked you once whether your confidence in me were strong
enough to stand a heavy strain, if necessary."
She blushed slightly at the reminder, and a look of quick
comprehension flashed across her face, as, for an instant, she
dropped her eyes before his earnest gaze. When she again looked
up the luminous eyes met his own unwaveringly, as she replied, in
firm, low tones,-
"I will believe in you and trust you to the fullest extent, whatever
"I thank you more than I can express," he answered, gravely; "for,
believe me, Miss Carleton, I value your confidence and friendship
far above any and every other."
"I did not suppose you needed any assurance of my friendship; though,
after your sudden departure from Fair Oaks, I felt somewhat doubtful
whether you cared for it."
He did not reply at once, and when he did, it was evident he was
repressing some strong emotion. "I feel that there is an explanation
due you for my manner of leaving Fair Oaks. I am aware that it had
the appearance of rudeness, but I can only say that it was from
necessity and not from choice. There is something more which I hope
some day to tell you, Miss Carleton, but, until I can speak as I
wish to speak, it is best to remain silent; meanwhile, I will trust
to your friendship to pardon whatever in my conduct may seem abrupt
The conversation was terminated at this point by the appearance of
Lieutenant Cohen, whom Harold Mainwaring introduced as an old
classmate, and presently all three adjourned to the dining-saloon.
To Harold Mainwaring and Miss Carleton the remainder of the voyage
passed swiftly and pleasantly, and the friendship begun at Fair Oaks
deepened with each succeeding day. Though no word of love passed
between them, and though Miss Carleton sometimes detected on the
part of her companion a studied avoidance of personal subjects, yet,
while wondering slightly at his self-imposed silence, she often
read in his dark eyes a language more eloquent than words, and was
content to wait.
It was his desire that the other members of her party should still
remain in ignorance of his real identity; and, as the greater part
of the voyage proved somewhat rough, he had little difficulty in
preserving his secret. Mr. Thornton and daughter soon made their
appearance and greeted the quondam secretary with unaffected
cordiality, but Mr. Thornton was too deeply engrossed in renewing
acquaintance with one or two old friends to pay much attention to
the younger man, while Edith felt in duty bound to devote herself
to the entertainment of Mrs. Mainwaring and Isabel, a task which
Miss Carleton was not at all disposed to share. Not until the last
few hours of the trip, when fair weather had become an established
fact and land had been sighted, did Mrs. Mainwaring and her daughter
appear on deck, and in the general excitement Harold Mainwaring
escaped their observation.
The parting between himself and Miss Carleton was necessarily brief.
She gave him her address, saying,-
"I would be delighted if you could consider yourself our guest while
in London, and I hope at least that I may see you often before your
"I thank you, Miss Carleton," he replied. "If present circumstances
would admit of it, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to
accept your invitation, but under existing conditions it is, of
course, impracticable. I cannot now say how long I will remain in
London, but I wish to make my stay as brief as possible, and to that
end shall devote almost my entire time to business; but," he added,
with a peculiar smile, "I shall not repeat the offence committed at
Fair Oaks. You may rest assured I shall not return to America
without seeing you, and I hope at that time to be able to speak
more definitely regarding my future."
There was that in his eyes as he spoke that suffused the fair
English face with lovely color and caused a tender, wistful smile
to linger about the sweet mouth long after he had left her side.
He was one of the first to land, and Miss Carleton, watching from
the deck, saw, almost as soon as he had reached the pier, a
fine-looking gentleman in the prime of life step quickly out from,
the crowd, and, grasping him cordially by the hand, enter at once
into earnest conversation. Harold Mainwaring turned towards the
steamer for a parting salute, and, as both gentlemen raised their
hats, she recognized in the new-comer, Alfred Barton, the junior
member of the firm of Barton & Barton. She watched them until
they disappeared in the crowd, then, turning to rejoin her
companions, she noted, standing at a little distance, the slender,
dark-eyed individual whom she had observed on previous occasions,
also watching the scene with a smile of quiet satisfaction, much
like that which Mr. Merrick's face had worn at the beginning of the
LOVE FINDS A WAY
Less than three weeks later, Harold Mainwaring entered Miss
Carleton's private drawing-room in Mr. Thornton's London home.
Soon after her arrival in the city she had received from him a
brief note of apology, stating that unexpected business of the
greatest importance would render it impossible for him to call as
early as he had anticipated; hence this was their first meeting
since the leave-taking on board the "Campania."
As Miss Carleton stepped forward with cordial smile and hand
extended to welcome her visitor, she was shocked at the change in
his appearance. He was pale, almost haggard, and deep lines about
the mouth and eyes told of some intense mental strain. She gave
a low cry of astonishment, for it seemed as though years, instead
of only a few weeks, had intervened since she had seen that face.
"Mr. Mainwaring, you have been ill!" she exclaimed.
"No, Miss Carleton," he replied, his face lighting with a rare
smile; "I have been perfectly well, but loss of sleep and constant
care and anxiety have told rather severely on me. Nothing more
serious, I assure you."
"Anxiety!" she repeated, at the same time motioning him to a seat
by her side. "Surely you do not anticipate any difficulty in
establishing your claim?"
"No difficulty so far as its validity is concerned. My attorneys
assure me there can be no question as to that with such irrefutable
proofs in my possession, but some unlooked-for complications have
arisen, and we have had to prepare ourselves to meet them. But I
did not call to burden you with my perplexities, Miss Carleton.
Tell me of yourself. I trust you have been well since I last saw
"Yes, I am usually well," said Miss Carleton, who thought she
detected on the part of her visitor an avoidance of any details
concerning himself; "but I have been rather bored of late." Then,
in answer to his look of inquiry, she continued, "Of course, on
account of Hugh Mainwaring's death, we have been living very
quietly since our return, but, notwithstanding that fact, society
has been paying due homage to the prospective increase of fortune
and added social position of the Mainwarings. I am not particularly
fond of society in the ordinary sense of the word, you know, and I
have found it exceedingly tiresome."
"From reports, I should judge 'society' to be very fond of yourself,"
he remarked, with a smile.
"After its own fashion," she replied, smiling in return; "but it
becomes very monotonous. It is the same old round, you know, only
that just now it bows a little lower than formerly, while it mingles
condolences and congratulations in the most absurd manner. One
hears, 'Such a dreadful affair! so shocking, don't you know!' and
'Such delightful fortune! I quite envy you, my dear!' all in the
same breath. I am only awaiting what society will say when the real
facts become known."
Harold Mainwaring made no reply, but a strange pallor overspread
his already pale face, at which Miss Carleton wondered.
"I have thought very often of you during these past weeks," she
continued, "and felt quite impatient to learn how you were
progressing, and your note was so brief, you know. It left so much
unsaid. I fear you forget how interested I am in all that concerns
"No," he replied, slowly, "I do not forget; and I appreciate your
interest in me even though I may not seem to, - even though I am
forced, as you say, to leave so much unsaid which I had hoped to
Something in his manner, more than in what he said, thrilled her
with a vague, undefinable sense of impending evil, and, during the
slight pause which followed, she dreaded his next words, lest they
should in some way confirm her apprehensions. He said nothing
further, however, and when she spoke it was with an assumed
lightness and cheerfulness which she was far from feeling.
"I hoped to have the pleasure of meeting you often ere this, and
my uncle and cousin would have been so glad to welcome you to
their home during your stay in London, but they have just gone out
of town for a few days."
"Ordinarily, Miss Carleton," he replied, quietly, "I should be
pleased to meet them, but on the present occasion, as I sail,
to-morrow, I naturally care to see no one but yourself."
"To-morrow!" she exclaimed, while her own cheek suddenly paled.
"Do you return so soon?"
"Yes," he replied, observing her emotion, and speaking rapidly to
conceal his own feelings; "my business is at last completed. I
have been detained longer than I expected, and I found the
situation more complex than I anticipated, but I shall return well
equipped for the battle."
"And you will win, I am sure. Tell me something regarding your
plans," she added, with a wistful smile that touched her companion
for more than he cared to betray.
"Mr. Alfred Barton goes with me to America," he said, speaking
cheerfully; "and we have already cabled instructions to Mr.
Sutherland, my New York attorney, regarding the initiatory steps.
Mr. Barton and myself will be accompanied by James Wilson, the old
servant who witnessed the execution of the will," - Miss Carleton's
eyes brightened, - "and also by a thoroughly competent, first-class
Scotland Yard officer."
She gave a low exclamation. "I see what a powerful witness old
Wilson will make; but the detective, what will you do with him?"
"We are going to investigate the murder of Hugh Mainwaring," he
"Why, surely, you cannot mean - " she hesitated. "You do not think
that suspicion will be directed against any of the guests at Fair
Oaks, do you?"
"My dear Miss Carleton, I cannot say at present. Perhaps," he added,
slowly, looking steadily into her eyes, "perhaps, when all is over,
suspicion will be directed against myself so unmistakably that public
opinion will pronounce me guilty."
"I cannot believe that," she cried; "and even were it so, - should
the whole world pronounce you guilty, - I would still believe you
innocent; and I think," she added, quickly, "that is your object in
employing a detective: by finding the real murderer, you will
establish your own entire innocence."
"May God grant it!" he replied, with a fervor she could not
understand. "I thank you, Miss Carleton, for your kind words; I
shall never forget them; and, however the battle goes, I can feel
there is one, at least, whose friendship and confidence are mine,
can I not?"
"Most assuredly, Mr. Mainwaring. But why do you speak as though
there were a possibility of defeat or failure? I am so confident
that you will win, after the story of your life that you have given
me, that I am all impatience to learn the outcome of the contest,
just as having read one chapter in some thrilling romance I am eager
for the next."
He smiled at her comparison. "Real life, as well as romance,
sometimes contains startling surprises, Miss Carleton. The next
chapter might prove less pleasant."
She looked keenly into his face for a moment, and her manner became
as serious as his own.
"There must be something," she said, "of which you have not told me;
if so, I will not ask your confidence until you choose to bestow it,
nor do I trust you, personally, any the less. It only seemed to me,
with your prospects of success, and the great wealth and enviable
position so soon to become yours, there could be no unpleasant
anticipations for the future."
A bitter smile crossed his face, as he inquired in low, tense tones,
"Of what avail are wealth and position to one who finds an
insurmountable barrier placed between himself and all that he holds
most precious on earth?"
"I fear I do not understand you," she replied. "I cannot imagine
any barriers surrounding you; and did they exist, my judgment of
you would be that you would find some way to surmount or destroy
"There are some barriers, some fetters," he said, gently, "against
which humanity, even at its best, is powerless."
"Yes," she answered, a touch of sadness in her voice; "and there are
sometimes sorrows and troubles in which even the closest and warmest
friendship is powerless to aid or comfort."
"Don't allow yourself to think that of your friendship for me," he
said, quickly. "Assured of your confidence and sympathy, I shall
be ten times stronger to face whatever the future may bring. If I
succeed in what I am about to undertake, I shall one day tell you
all that your friendship has been worth to me. If I fail, the
thought that you believe in me and trust me, while it will not be
all that I could wish, may be all that I can ask."
"And if you should fail," she queried, slowly, "would you give me
no opportunity to show you, and others, my confidence in you, even
"My dear Miss Carleton," he replied, in tones tremulous with
suppressed feeling, "much as I appreciate your kindness, I would
never, now or at any future time, willingly mar your life or your
happiness by asking you to share any burden which might be laid
upon me. I would at least leave you to go your way in peace, while
I went mine."
"And I?" she asked, reproachfully. "Would it contribute to my
happiness, do you think, to remember the sorrow and suffering which
I was not allowed to share?"
"Could you not forget?"
The young man sprang to his feet abruptly, his face working with
emotion, and took two or three turns about the room. At last he
paused, directly in front of her, and, folding his arms, stood
looking down into the beautiful eyes that met his own so
unflinchingly. He was outwardly calm, but the smouldering fire
which seemed to gleam in his dark eyes told of intense mental
"Miss Carleton," he said, slowly, in low tones, but yet which
vibrated through her whole being, "you are almost cruel in your
kindness; you will yet make a coward of me!"
"I have no fear of that," she answered, quietly.
"Yes, a coward! Instead of remaining silent as I intended, and
keeping my trouble within my own breast, you will compel me in
self-defence to say that which will only give you pain to hear,
thereby adding to my own suffering."
"Perhaps you misjudge," she replied, and her voice had a ring of
pathos in it; "any word of explanation - no matter what - would be
less hard for me to endure than this suspense."
"God knows I would make full explanation if I could, but I cannot,
and I fear there is nothing I can say that will not add to your
suspense. Miss Carleton, you must need no words from me to tell
you that I love you. I have loved you almost from the first day
of our meeting, and whatever life may have in store for me, you,
and you alone, will have my love. But, loving you as I do, could
I have looked forward to the present time, could I for one moment
have foreseen what was awaiting me, believe me, you should never
have known by word or look, or any other sign, of my love."
He paused a moment, then continued. "If that were all, I might
have borne it; I could have locked my love forever within my own
heart, and suffered in silence; but the fact that you have given me
some reason to believe that you were not wholly indifferent to me,
- the thought that I might in time have won your love, - makes the
possibilities of the future a thousand times harder to bear. It is
harder to forego the joys of Paradise when once you have had a
glimpse within! It was to this I alluded when I spoke of the
insurmountable barrier placed between myself and all that I hold
holiest and best on earth!"
"But I do not understand!" she cried, her lovely color deepening
and her eyes glowing with a new light, until Harold Mainwaring
confessed to himself that never had he seen her so beautiful. "What
barrier could ever exist between you and me?"
For an instant he looked at her in silence, an agony of love and
longing in his eyes; then drawing himself up to his full height,
he said, slowly,-
"Not until I can stand before you free and clear from the faintest
shadow of the murder of Hugh Mainwaring, will I ever ask for that
most precious gift of your love!"
Her face blanched at the mere possibility suggested by his words.
"But you are innocent!" she cried in swift protest, "and you could
prove it, even were suspicion directed against you for a time."
"Even admitting that I were, the taint of suspicion is sometimes as
lasting as the stain of crime itself."
She arose and stood proudly facing him. "Do you think I would fear
suspicion? To hear from your own lips that you love me and that
you are innocent would be enough for me; I would defy the whole
He did not at once reply, and when he spoke it was slowly and
reluctantly, as though each word were wrung from him by torture.
"My dear Miss Carleton, even to you I cannot say that I am innocent."
There was a moment's pause, during which she gazed at him,
speechless with astonishment; a moment of intense agony to Harold
Mainwaring, as he watched whether her faith in him would waver.
But she gave no sign, though she scanned his face, as the condemned
criminal scans the document handed him as the fateful day approaches,
to ascertain whether it contains his pardon or his death sentence.
"Understand me," he said at last, gently, unable longer to endure
the terrible silence, "I do not admit that I am in any way guilty,
but until I am fully acquitted of any share in or knowledge of the
death of Hugh Mainwaring, I can make neither denial nor admission,
one way or the other."
"But you still love me?" she inquired, calmly.
"Miss Carleton, - Winifred, - how can you ask? You are, and always
will be to me, the one, only woman upon earth."
"That is sufficient," she answered, with a strange, bright smile;
"my faith in you is perfect, and faith and love can wait."
"Wait, my love! until when?" he cried.
"If needful, until Eternity's sunlight dispels Earth's shadows!
Eternity holds ample compensation for all of Earth's waiting."
"But, my darling," he said, half protesting, while he folded her to
his breast, "you know not the risk you may be running; I cannot
accept the sacrifice that may be involved."
"My decision is taken, and it is irrevocable," she answered, with
an arch smile; then added, "There can be no barriers between us,
Harold, for Love will find a way!"
AN UNFORESEEN FOE
Though nearly six weeks had elapsed since the death of the master
of Fair Oaks, and as yet no light had been shed on that mysterious
event, the interest of the public mind in the affair had in no wise
abated during this brief interim. On the contrary, its curiosity
had been so whetted by the partial revelations of the inquest, that
it had eagerly followed each step of the legal proceedings leading
towards the inevitable contest over the property, ready to hail
with delight the appearance of the Mainwaring skeleton when it
should step forth from its long hiding to disclose the secrets of
As early as possible, a petition, setting forth the terms and
conditions of the last will and testament of Hugh Mainwaring, and
praying for letters of administration in accordance therewith to be
issued to William H. Whitney, the executor named in said will, had
been filed in the district court. A few days thereafter, the
petition of Eleanor Houghton Mainwaring, for letters to be issued
to Richard Hobson, was also filed. The hearing in the application
for letters of administration occupied several days; very little
evidence was adduced, however, which had not already been given at
the inquest, and in due time an order was issued by the court,
appointing Mr. Whitney administrator of the estate, with instructions
that the same be adjusted according to the terms of the lost will.
From this order, Eleanor Houghton Mainwaring, through her attorney,
Hobson, had appealed, and the contest had at last begun.
For greater convenience during the legal proceedings, Ralph
Mainwaring had closed the suburban residence, dismissing what
servants were no longer needed, though still retaining the new
coachman, and had removed to Hugh Mainwaring's city residence,
where he and his son made themselves perfectly at home, dining
with Mr. Whitney at his club. Mrs. LaGrange, having been
compelled to resign her position at Fair Oaks, had also removed
to the city and taken apartments in a convenient hotel until the
termination of her suit.
The afternoon of the second day since the opening of the case was
drawing to a close; the testimony on the appellant's side had been
taken, and it was expected that the respondent would be heard on the
following day, when an event transpired which completely overthrew
all proceedings had thus far, and which promised the waiting public
developments as startling as could be desired.
This event was none other than the filing in the district court of
a document purporting to be the last will and testament of the father
of the deceased Hugh Mainwaring, by the terms of which the Mainwaring
estate, as it then existed, together with the bulk of his other
property, passed to Harold Scott Mainwaring, an elder son who had
been previously disinherited, but was by this will restored to his
full rights. With this document, worn and yellow with age, was filed
a petition, setting forth the claims of one Harold Scott Mainwaring,
the lawful, living, and only son of the said Harold Scott Mainwaring
named in the will, but since deceased, and sole heir of the
Mainwaring estate, and praying for letters of administration to be
issued to George D. Sutherland, attorney for the said lawful heir.
The court adjourned amid intense excitement, just as the newsboys
were crying the headlines of the evening papers,-
"A New Heir to the Mainwaring Property! Discovery of Will secreted
more than Twenty-five Years! Millions wrongfully withheld from the
Strangely enough, the two most interested in this unexpected turn
of affairs were among the latest to learn the surprising news.
Ralph Mainwaring, having felt slightly indisposed, and knowing that
his side would not come up for hearing until the following day, had
made himself as comfortable as possible in the elegant apartments
which he had appropriated to his own use, while his son had left
the court-room at an early hour to devote the remainder of the
afternoon to letter-writing.
The latter glanced up from his writing and nodded pleasantly, as
Mr. Whitney, pale with excitement, was ushered by the butler into
"Mr. Mainwaring, is your father in?" the attorney inquired, hastily.
"I believe so," replied the young man, smiling broadly; "the last I
knew, the governor was luxuriating in his rooms up-stairs; I think
you will find him there now. How's the case coming on, sir?" he
added, as the attorney turned quickly towards the hall. "Anything
"Yes; decidedly new!" Mr. Whitney answered, rather brusquely; "you
had better join us up-stairs!" and he disappeared.
The young man's face grew suddenly serious, and, springing from his
chair, he swiftly followed the retreating figure of the attorney,
arriving just in time to hear the latter exclaim, in reply to some
question from his father,-
"Well, sir, the storm has burst!"
Ralph Mainwaring was, as his son had said, "luxuriating" in a superb
reclining chair, his eyes half closed, enjoying a fine Havana, but
the attorney's words seemed to produce the effect of an electric
"The deuce, sir! what do you mean?" he demanded, instantly assuming
an upright position.
"I simply mean that what I have expected and dreaded all along has
at last come to pass."
"Then, since it was not unexpected, it is to be presumed that you
were at least prepared for it! That shyster and his designing
client must, at the last moment, have exerted their inventive
faculties to a remarkable degree!"
"On the contrary," said the attorney, quietly ignoring the other's
sarcasm, and handing copies of the evening papers to father and
son, "I am satisfied that neither Hobson nor his client has any part
in the developments of this afternoon."
A brief silence followed, during which the attorney watched the two
men before him, noting the strange contrast between them, never
until that moment so apparent. Young Mainwaring's boyish face grew
pale as he read, and he occasionally glanced at Mr. Whitney, as
though seeking in his face either confirmation or contradiction of
the report, but he remained calm and self-possessed, preserving his
gentlemanly bearing to the close of the interview. The face of the
elder man, however, rapidly assumed an almost apoplectic hue, the
veins standing out from his temples like whip-cords, and when he
spoke his voice trembled with rage. He was the first to break the
silence, as, with an oath, he flung the papers upon the floor,
"It is a lie from beginning to end! The most preposterous
fabrication of falsehood that could be devised! The 'will,' as it
is called, is nothing but a rank forgery, and the man who dares
assert any claim to the estate is a damned impostor, and I'll tell
him so to his face!"
"I examined the document very carefully, Mr. Mainwaring," said the
attorney, "and I shall have to admit that it certainly had every
appearance of genuineness; if it is a forgery, it is an exceedingly
"Do you mean to tell me that you believe, for one moment, in this
balderdash?" demanded Ralph Mainwaring, at the same time rising and
striding about the room in his wrath. "The utter absurdity of the
thing, that such a will ever existed, in the first place, and then
that it would be secreted all these years only to be 'discovered'
just at this critical moment! It is the most transparent invention
I ever heard of, and it is a disgrace to your American courts that
the thing was not quashed at once!"
"That could not very well be done," said Mr. Whitney, with a quiet
smile; "and as the matter now stands, the only course left open for
us is to prepare ourselves for a thorough investigation of the case."
"Investigation be damned!" interrupted the other, but, before he
could proceed further, he was in turn interrupted by young
"I say, governor, you'd best cool down a bit and listen to what Mr.
Whitney has to say; if this thing is a forgery, we surely can prove
it so; and if it isn't, why, all the bluster in the world won't help
it, you know."
His father faced him with a look of withering contempt. "'If' it
is a forgery! I tell you there are no 'ifs' about it. I suppose,
though, you are just fool enough that, if any man made a pretence
of a claim to the estate, you would simply hand it over to him,
and thank him for taking it off your hands!"
"That's just where you are wrong, governor. I would fight him, fair
and square, and he would have to prove a better claim than mine
before he could win. But the point is this, don't you know, you can
fight better with your head cool and your plans well laid beforehand."
"The young man is right," said Mr. Whitney, quickly; "there is every
indication that our opponent, whoever or whatever he may be, is well
prepared for contesting the case. I understand he has plenty of
evidence on his side and the best of legal counsel."
"Evidence, I suppose," interposed Ralph Mainwaring, with a sneer,
"in support of a document that never existed, and a man that never
lived on the face of the earth; for Harold Mainwaring never had a
living son. Have you seen this remarkable individual?"
"I believe no one in this country has seen him as yet, sir. He is
expected to arrive on the 'Umbria,' which I understand is due the
early part of next week."
The face of the other showed slight surprise at this statement, but,
before he could speak, the young man inquired,-
"I say, Mr. Whitney, what sort of a man is this attorney, Sutherland?
Is he another Hobson?"
Mr. Whitney shook his head significantly. "Mr. Sutherland is one of
the ablest men in his profession. I consider him a fine jurist, an
eloquent pleader, and a perfect gentleman. I had some conversation
with him after court adjourned, and while he, of course, stated no
details, he gave me to understand that his client had a strong case.
He also informed me that Barton & Barton, of London, had been
retained in the case, and that his client would be accompanied to
this country by the junior member of the firm, Alfred Barton."
"By Jove, that looks bad for us!" ejaculated young Mainwaring,
while his father exclaimed, impatiently,-
"Barton & Barton? Impossible! that is mere bombast! Why, man,
the Bartons, father and sons, have been the family solicitors of
the Mainwarings for the past fifty years. The old firm of Barton
& Sons had charge of the settlement of the estate when it passed
into Hugh Mainwaring's possession at the death of his father."
"So I had understood," said the attorney; "I have heard Mr.
Mainwaring himself speak of them."
"And," continued the other, "only a few days before sailing for
America, I called at their chambers in London and told them of
Hugh's intentions regarding my son and received their
congratulations. Now, sir, do you mean to tell me, in the face
of all this, that Barton & Barton are retained by this mushroom
claimant, whoever he is? Pooh! preposterous!"
Mr. Whitney shook his head slowly. "Mr. Sutherland is not the man
to make any misstatements or allow himself to be misinformed. All
I have to say is, if those attorneys are retained in the case, it
certainly looks as though our opponent must have some tenable
ground in support of his claim. I am inclined to think they will
make us a hard fight, but I am confident that we will win in the
end. The main point is this: we must be prepared to meet them on
whatever ground they may take, and, after hearing their side and
the proof they set up, we can easily determine our line of defence."
"To the deuce with your line of defence! I tell you, Whitney, there
is just one point to be maintained, and, by my soul, it shall be
maintained at any cost!" and the speaker emphasized his words by
bringing his clinched hand down upon a table beside him with
terrific force "that point is this: Harold Scott Mainwaring never
had a living, lawful son; no such person exists, or ever has
existed on the face of the earth, and I can prove what I say."
"Have you absolute proof of that?" Mr. Whitney inquired, quickly.
"I have," replied Ralph Mainwaring, triumphantly, while his cold,
calculating gray eyes glittered like burnished steel. "If any man
thinks I have been asleep for the past twenty-one years, he is
deucedly mistaken. Mr. Whitney, since the day of that boy's birth,"
pointing to his son, "I have had but one fixed resolve, which has
been paramount to everything else, to which everything else has
had to subserve, - the Mainwaring estate with its millions should
one day be his. Not a day has passed in which this was not
uppermost in my mind; not a day in which I have not scanned the
horizon in every direction to detect the least shadow likely to
intervene between me and the attainment of the dearest object of
my life. When the news of Harold Mainwaring's death reached
England, in order to guard against the possibility of a claim ever
being asserted in that direction, I set myself at once to the task
of finding for a certainty whether or not he had left any issue.
I never rested day or night until, after infinite labor and pains,
I had secured the certificate of the attendant physician to the
effect that the only child of Harold Mainwaring died within an
hour from its birth."
"Have you that certificate now?" inquired the attorney.
"Not here; it is among my private papers at home."
"Cable for it at once; with the death of Harold Mainwaring's child
fully established, the will would cut no figure, one way or another."
"That will," said Ralph Mainwaring, fiercely, turning upon Mr.
Whitney with an expression which the latter had never seen, "let me
tell you, will cut no figure one way or another in any event. That
will, remember, is a forgery; and, if necessary, I will prove it so,
if it takes my last shilling and the last drop of my heart's blood
to do it; do you understand?"
The attorney understood, and was more than ever convinced in his ow
mind that the old will filed that day was genuine.
Meanwhile, in another part of the city, Mrs. LaGrange sat alone in
her apartments, awaiting the coming of Richard Hobson. It was
considerably past the hour which he had set and daylight was slowly
merging into dusk, yet enough light still remained to show the
changes which the last few weeks had wrought in her face. Her
features looked pinched and drawn, and a strange pallor had replaced
the rich coloring of the olive skin, while her dark eyes, cold and
brilliant as ever, had the look of some wild creature suddenly
brought to bay. She shuddered now, as, from her window, she saw the
cringing form of Hobson approaching the building.
"To think," she exclaimed to herself, passionately, "that that
creature is the only one to whom I can go for counsel or advice! I
loathe the very sight of him; fool that I was ever to place myself
within his power! I thought I could use him as a tool like the
rest; but it is like playing with edged tools; yet I dare not let
A moment later, she heard a stealthy, cat-like tread in the corridor
outside, followed by a low, peculiar tap at the door, and Hobson
She crossed the room slowly, keeping her face in the shadow, and,
motioning him to a chair, seated herself opposite, watching him
"You are late," she said, coldly, in response to his greeting.
"Admitted, my lady," he replied, in his usual unctuous tones, "but
I naturally wished to ascertain all the facts possible regarding
this new deal, and, seeing Whitney nosing about on the trail, I
decided to remain within ear-shot and pick up what information I
"What did you learn?"
"Nothing very definite, and yet enough, perhaps, to give us our
cue until further developments. My dear lady, what do you think of
this new turn of affairs?"
"The whole thing is simply preposterous; a piece of the most
consummate audacity I ever dreamed of!"
"Ha! I thought it would strike you as particularly nervy. It is
the most daring bit of invention I have seen for some time; and it
must be a pretty cleverly concocted scheme and pretty well backed
with the ducats also, for I learned to-night that the 'heir,'"
laying special emphasis on the word, "has secured the services of
Barton & Barton, and those birds are too old to be caught with
chaff; besides, you know as well as I the part that firm has taken
in the Mainwaring affairs."
"Barton & Barton? Incredible! The case is hopeless then for Ralph
Mainwaring: he is a fool if he expects to win."
"Just what I was leading up to. Whitney is no match even for this
man, Sutherland, and he will be a mere child in the hands of the
Bartons. Now, the question is, where do we come in? As you say,
Ralph Mainwaring's case is hopeless, unless - " and he looked
significantly at his client.
"I do not think I quite catch the drift of your meaning," she answered,
"Has it not occurred to you that there are not two people in existence
who can so quickly tear to shreds the scheme of this impostor as
you and I? There is not a human being living outside of myself who
knows the real facts concerning that will; and who could give such
effective and convincing testimony regarding Harold Mainwaring's
son as yourself?"
"Admitting all this, what do you propose?"
"When Ralph Mainwaring has staked his highest card and finds that
the game is irrevocably lost, what will he not give at the last
critical moment for assistance such as we can then furnish him?"
"And which course would you pursue in that event?" she asked, a
tinge of irony in her tone. "Would you deny that such a will ever
existed in face of whatever evidence may be brought forward in its
support? or would you admit being a party to the destruction of
"My dear madam, I am perfectly capable of conducting this affair
to our mutual satisfaction and without running my head into any trap,
as you so pleasantly suggest. And right here allow me to say that
it would be just as well for you not to make those insinuations
which you are so fond of throwing out at random. As I said before,
no living person outside of myself, including even yourself, knows
the facts regarding that will. You have your own surmises, but they
are only surmises, and you had best keep them to yourself as you
know enough of me by this time to know it will be to your interest
to accept my suggestions and fall in line with my plans."
Her face was in the shadow, and he did not see the scornful curl of
her lip or her peculiar expression, as she remarked coldly,-
"You are only wasting words and time in your efforts to intimidate
me. You have not yet made any suggestions or outlined any plans.
I have asked you what you propose to do."
"I have not time to go into details, but, briefly stated, I propose,
when the right opportunity presents itself, to prove, first, that
this document filed to-day is a forgery. If I can show conclusively
that the original will was accidentally lost, or intentionally
destroyed, or if I happen to have the original in my possession,
- under any of these conditions I gain my first point. Then, through
your testimony, I shall demonstrate unequivocally a still more
important point, that this so-called heir is a gross impostor, that
no such individual exists."
"And for this, you expect - what?"
"For this I shall demand a handsome remuneration, to be divided, of
course, between yourself and myself, and Ralph Mainwaring will only
too gladly give the half of his kingdom for such services."
"And your testimony would have so much weight with Ralph Mainwaring
and the Bartons, and with every one else who has any knowledge of
your London history!"
Hobson winced visibly, but before he could reply she continued:
"You are talking the most arrant foolishness. You know that those
men would not allow your testimony in court; they would very quickly
procure evidence to show that your word, even under oath, is
worthless; that you are a liar, a perjurer and a - "
"Not so fast, not so fast, my lady. If past histories are to be
raked up, I know of one which embraces a much wider area than London
alone; Melbourne, for instance, and Paris and Vienna, to say nothing
of more recent events!"
"Do your worst, and I will do mine!" she replied, defiantly. "That
is nothing to the point, however. What I have to say is this: You
are a fool if you think that you or I can ever extort money from
Ralph Mainwaring. He would give no credence whatever to anything
that you might say, and if once my identity were revealed to him,
he would go through fire and blood rather than that one shilling of
his should ever become mine."
"And what do you propose to do?" he asked, sullenly. "Do you
intend to give up the game?"
"Give up? Never! I would give my life first! I will yet have my
revenge on the Mainwarings, one and all; and I will repay them
double for all the insult and ignominy they have heaped upon me."
"That is to the point; but how will you accomplish it?" said Hobson,
in a more conciliatory tone, for each feared the other, and he
thoroughly understood the spirit of his client. "Let us be
reasonable about this; you and I have too much at stake and too
many interests in common for us to quarrel like children."
"If I were differently situated, I can assure you we would then have
very few interests in common," she replied, bitterly.
"Well, supposing you were, what would you do in this case?" he
inquired, softly, apparently taking no notice of her remark, but
in reality making a mental note of it for future reckoning.
"Defeat Ralph Mainwaring, by all means; if necessary, produce
testimony to show that this will is genuine. If he spends his last
shilling to fight the case, so much the better. Then, when the
case is settled and this so-called heir is master of the situation,
or supposes himself so, bring suit to show that he is an impostor,
and assert my own claim as the nearest living heir."
Hobson whistled softly. "A plan worthy of your ambition, my lady,
but hardly feasible. It is one thing to assert a claim, and
another to be able to establish it. Through your over-ambition
you would lose in the end, for, should you succeed in dispossessing
this stranger, Ralph Mainwaring would surely come forward with his
claim, and you would be beaten."
"When I lay down arms to a Mainwaring, I will lay down my life also,"
she answered, proudly.
"You think so, perhaps; but let me tell you the best course for you
to pursue is to make terms, either with Ralph Mainwaring, as I
first suggested, or else with this new-comer - should he prove
victorious - by threatening to expose his whole scheme."
Mrs. LaGrange made no reply, and Hobson, rising to take leave, saw
her face for the first time and paused, surprised at its strange
"Well?" he said, with a look of inquiry.
"My thoughts were wandering just then," she said, with a faint
smile, and her tone was so changed the voice scarcely seemed her
own. "I was wishing, just for the moment, that this stranger,
whoever he may be, was in reality the one he claims to be. I
would need no attorney to make terms with him then!"
"You forget; he would be a Mainwaring!"
"Yes; but he would be the only Mainwaring and the only human being
I could ever have loved, and I would have loved him better than
my own life."
"Love!" repeated Hobson, with a sneer. "Who would ever have
thought to hear that word from your lips! But how about your son,
Walter; do you not love him?"
"Him!" she exclaimed, passionately; "the price I paid hoping to
win Hugh Mainwaring! I am proud of him as my own flesh and blood,
but love him? Never!"
"But you have not yet told me what you think of my last suggestion,"
he said, tentatively, watching her closely. Her manner changed
instantly; rising with all her accustomed hauteur and turning from
him with a gesture of dismissal, she replied,-
"Come to me later, when I shall have measured lances with our new
opponent, and you shall have your answer."
He would have spoken, but her dismissal was final, and with
darkening face he left the room.
The sudden turn of affairs in the Mainwaring case excited no small
amount of comment, and for the next ensuing days speculation was
rife concerning the recently discovered will, but more particularly
regarding the new and unknown claimant. At the clubs and elsewhere
it formed the principal topic of conversation, and Ralph Mainwaring
was loud in his denunciations of the one as a forgery, and of the
other as an impostor. To all such remarks, however, as well as to
the questions of the curious, Mr. Sutherland had but one reply,
accompanied by a slow, quiet smile; that on the day set for the
hearing, he would not only prove the validity of the will, but
would also establish, beyond all doubt or question, the identity
of the claimant.
As a result, public curiosity was so thoroughly aroused, that upon
the arrival of the "Umbria," an unusual crowd of reporters was
assembled at the pier, notwithstanding a pouring rain, and the
gang-plank had no sooner been thrown down than a number of the
more ambitious rushed on board, eager to be the first in gaining
some bit of information or personal description. Their efforts,
however, were unsuccessful, as the individuals whom they most
desired to meet remained in their state-rooms and declined to be
interviewed. Not until the crowd had about dispersed and the
patience of a few of the more persistent was nearly exhausted, was
their zeal rewarded by the sight of a party of four Englishmen, who
hastily left the boat, completely enveloped in heavy mackintoshes,
and, taking a closed carriage which was awaiting them, were driven
rapidly to the Waldorf Hotel.
At the hotel the party still remained inaccessible to all visitors,
with the exception of Mr. Sutherland, who spent much of his time
in their apartments. It was ascertained that the party consisted
of two gentlemen, one of whom was accompanied by a valet, the
other - presumably the attorney - by a clerk, but all efforts
towards gaining any more definite information prove absolutely
futile. The arrival by the next steamer of another stranger, an
elderly gentleman, who immediately joined the party at the Waldoff,
after having registered under an evident alias, only served to
deepen the mystery.
Upon the arrival of the day set for the hearing of the proof in
support of the ancient will, the court-room was, at an early hour,
packed to its utmost capacity. Occupying a prominent place were
Ralph Mainwaring and his son, accompanied by Mr. Whitney, the
sensitive face of the attorney more eager and alert than ever!
At some distance from them, but seated rather conspicuously where
she could command a good view of all that occurred, was Mrs.
LaGrange, while in a remote corner of the court-room, partially
concealed by the crowd, was Richard Hobson.
Within a few moments preceding the appointed hour, Mr. Sutherland
appeared. His entrance caused a sudden hush of expectation
throughout the crowd and all eyes were immediately turned in his
direction. Accompanying him was a gentleman whose bearing commanded
universal admiration, and whom the Mainwarings instantly recognized
as the English barrister whose connection with the case they had
deemed so incredible. But a still deeper surprise awaited them.
Immediately following the attorneys was a young man whose features
and carriage were familiar, not only to the Mainwarings, but to
scores of spectators as well, as those of the private secretary of
the deceased Hugh Mainwaring, whose testimony at the inquest had
created so much of a sensation, and whose sudden disappearance
thereafter had caused considerable comment. There was a ripple of
excitement through the court-room, and the Mainwarings, father, and
son, watched the young man with strangely varying emotions, neither
as yet fully comprehending the real significance of his presence
"The secretary!" exclaimed Mr. Whitney, in a low tone. "Can it be
possible that he is concerned in this?"
"He is probably the hired tool by means of which this has been
brought about. I might have known as much!" replied the elder man,
his old hatred and wrath reviving with greater intensity than ever,
but before he could proceed further his glance fell on the
He was a tall, elderly gentleman, with snow-white hair and beard,
but with form erect and vigorous, and with piercing eyes which met
those of Ralph Mainwaring with a flash, not of recognition alone,
but of disdain and defiance that seemed to challenge him to do his
With a muttered oath, the latter half rose from his chair, but at
that instant his attention was arrested by the two men bringing up
the rear; one, small and of uncertain age, the other, older even
than he appeared, and bearing the unmistakable air of an English
servant. As Ralph Mainwaring recognized James Wilson, the last
relic of the old Mainwaring household, he suddenly grew pale and
sank back into his chair, silent, watchful, and determined; while
his son and the attorney, quick to note the change in his appearance,
made neither inquiries nor comments, but each drew his own
There was one other to whom the white-haired gentleman did not seem
an utter stranger. Mrs. LaGrange from her post of observation had
watched the entering party with visible signs of excitement. Her
lips curled in a mocking smile as she caught sight of the secretary,
but glancing from him to his companion, she involuntarily recoiled
in terror, yet gazed like one fascinated, unable to remove her eyes
from his face. Suddenly the piercing eyes met her own, their look
of astonishment quickly changing to scorn. She flushed, then paled,
but her eyes never faltered, flashing back mocking defiance to his
anger and scorn for scorn.
Meanwhile, the quondam secretary, seated between the attorneys on
the one hand and his elderly companion on the other, seemed alike
unconscious of the many curious glances cast in his direction and
of the dark looks of Ralph Mainwaring now fastened on him. At a
little distance was the old servant, his immovable features expressing
the utmost indifference to his surroundings, looking neither to the
right hand nor to the left.
Not so with the remaining member of the party, the so-called "clerk!"
Seated beside the English barrister, his eye seemed to sweep the
entire court-room with a glance that omitted no details, not even
the cringing form of Hobson, who quailed and seemed to be trying to
shrink still further into concealment as he felt himself included
in the search-light of that gaze. But no one saw the slip of paper
which, a moment later, was handed to Alfred Barton, and by him
passed to Mr. Sutherland. There was a hurried filling out of blanks
lying among the papers on the table, a messenger was despatched, two
or three men edged themselves into the crowd in Hobson's vicinity,
- and that was all!
Promptly at the time appointed the case was called. There was
perfect silence throughout the court-room as Mr. Sutherland arose,
holding in one hand the ancient will, and with breathless attention
the crowd listened for the opening words of what was to prove one
of the fiercest and most bitter contests on record, and of whose
final termination even the participants themselves little dreamed.
After a few preliminaries, Mr. Sutherland said, addressing the court,-
"Before proceeding farther, your honor, I will give orders for the
subpoena, as a witness in this case, of one Richard Hobson, alias
Then turning towards the crowd in the rear of the courtroom, he added,
"Let the papers be served at once."
There was a stir of excitement and a sudden craning of necks in the
direction indicated by the attorney's glance, where three men had
sprung forward in obedience to his orders.
Hobson, at the first mention of his name, had glanced quickly about
him as though seeking some means of escape, but on hearing the
alias - the name he had supposed unknown in America - he paused for
an instant, seemingly half paralyzed with terror. But the sight of
the approaching sheriff broke the spell, and he made a sudden lunge
through the crowd in the direction of an open window. His progress
was speedily checked by one of the deputies, however, and after a
short, ineffectual struggle he sullenly submitted.
"Bring the witness forward," said Mr. Sutherland, with his calm,
slow smile; "we may call upon him before long, and he would probably
prefer a seat convenient to the witness stand."
As he was seated opposite and facing the English party, it was noted
that the face of the old servant lighted up with a look of
recognition, and he watched the new-comer with evident interest.
Hobson, having carefully avoided the eyes of both Alfred Barton and
the private secretary, soon became aware of Wilson's scrutiny, and
after regarding him fixedly for a moment seemed suddenly to recognize
him in turn, and also to realize at the same time the import of his
presence there, which, apparently, did not tend to lessen his
Slowly Mr. Sutherland unfolded the document he held, yellow with
age, the edges of its folds so frayed and tattered as to render the
writing in some places almost illegible. Slowly, in deep, resonant
tones, he read the opening words of the old will; words of unusual
solemnity, which caused a hush to fall over the crowded court-room:
"In the name of God; Amen. Know all men, that I, Ralph Maxwell
Mainwaring, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, but now
upon my death-bed, soon to appear in the presence of my Maker, do
make and publish this, my last will and testament; hereby revoking
and setting aside any and every will at any time heretofore made
Then followed, in quaint phraseology, the terms of the will; by
which the full right and title of the first-born son, under the
English law, were conveyed to Harold Scott Mainwaring, and all legal
processes theretofore entered into, depriving him of such rights,
were forever annulled; restoring to the said Harold Scott Mainwaring,
as his rightful inheritance, the entire family estate, including
other valuable property; the said property at his death to pass to
his eldest living son, or in case of his dying without issue, to
revert to his brother Hugh, were the latter living, if not, to the
nearest living heirs of the Mainwarings; but on no account was any
portion of the estate or property to pass to the wife of Harold
Scott Mainwaring, should she survive him.
As the reading of the will progressed, Hobson's feelings, too deep
and genuine at that moment for disguise, were plainly mirrored in
his face. Having for years believed the old will destroyed, as he
now listened to the words dictated to himself upon that memorable
night, so long ago, it was little wonder that to his cowardly soul
it seemed like a voice from the dead, and that astonishment, fear,
and dread were depicted on his features, merging into actual terror
as the attorney at last pronounced the names of the witnesses,
Alexander McPherson and Richard Hobson.
For a few seconds his brain reeled, and he saw only the face of the
dying man as it looked that night, - stern and pale, but with dark,
piercing eyes, deep-set, within whose depths still gleamed the
embers of a smouldering fire which now seemed burning into his
inmost soul. Trembling from head to foot, Hobson, with a mighty
effort, regained his scattered faculties and again became conscious
of his surroundings, only to find the eyes of the secretary fixed
upon his face, and, as he shrank from their burning gaze, the truth
flashed suddenly upon him.
"The face of old Mainwaring himself!" he muttered in horror; then
added, with an oath, "Fool that I was not to have known it sooner!
That woman lied!"
The first witness called to the stand by Mr. Sutherland was James
Wilson. There were many present who noted the resemblance between
him and his son, John Wilson, who had given testimony at the
inquest, though unaware of the relationship between them.
"Mr. Wilson," said the attorney, after the usual preliminaries, "I
understand you were for a number of years in the employ of Ralph
Maxwell Mainwaring, the testator whose name is affixed to this will;
is that so?"
"Yes, sir," was the reply, while the attention of the crowd was at
once riveted upon the witness.
"Will you state how long you were in his employ, and in what
"I was his valet, sir, from his twenty-fifth year until the day of
his death, a little above thirty-five years, sir; and during his
last illness, of about three months, I was with him constantly,
you might say, sir."
"Do you recognize the document just read in your hearing as anything
which you have heard before?"
"That I do, sir."
"State when and under what circumstances you have previously heard
"At the death-bed of Mr. Ralph Mainwaring, sir, twenty-five years
ago the seventeenth of last November. I was present at the making
of that will, sir, the night before Mr. Mainwaring died. I heard
him give those words to the lawyer, and then heard them read to
him before the will was signed."
"By whom was it drawn?"
"By Richard Hobson, sir; the man sitting there," pointing to the
shrinking figure of Hobson.
"Do you positively identify that man as the writer of this will?"
"That I do, sir," with marked emphasis; "when one once sets eyes
on the likes o' him, he's not likely to forget him soon."
"Was Richard Hobson the attorney of Mr. Mainwaring?"
"Ah, no, sir," with evident scorn; "his attorney was Mr. Alfred
Barton, the father, sir, of this gentleman," indicating the English
barrister, while the interest of the crowd deepened.
"How, then, was this man employed to draw the will?"
"Mr. Barton was out of town, sir; and as Mr. Mainwaring was dying
and naught would satisfy him but to have a lawyer, they brought Mr.
"State the circumstances under which this will was drawn; was Mr.
Mainwaring influenced by any one to make it?"
"He was influenced by none but his own conscience, sir. You see,
sir, three or four years before, he was very angry with his elder
son, and cut him off without a shilling and gave everything to Mr.
Hugh. But it broke his heart to do it, for Mr. Harold was his
favorite, as indeed he was everybody's, though he never mentioned
his name again until the night he made the will. Well, sir, all
that day we knew he was dying, and he knew it, and he was restless
till late at night, when of a sudden he tells us to get his lawyer.
Mr. Hugh tried to put him off, and told us his mind was wandering;
but 'twas no use; and the carriage was sent for Mr. Barton, and
when word was brought back that he was out of town, it was sent
again and brought back his clerk. Everything was all ready, and
he was propped up in bed by pillows, his eyes burning as though there
was fire in them. He repeated those words while the lawyer wrote
them down, and then had them read to him, and at fifteen minutes
of twelve o'clock the will was signed and sealed."
"You were present during the drawing up of the will?"
"Yes, sir, I was present through it all, but not where the others
saw me. When the lawyer came, Mr. Hugh told me to leave the room;
but as I was going his father called me back and bade me stay,
and I was standing at the foot of the bed, hidden by the curtains
of the canopy, so none but the old gentleman saw me."
"Who else was present?"