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PAID IN HIS OWN COIN., Issue 8012, 14 September 1889, Supplement
PAID IN HIS OWN COIN.
By Edward J, Goodman, Author of 'Too Curious.’ VOL 111.-CIIAPTER XII. THE DOCTOK, Helen had just finished her early break’last. Torn, with his accustomed punctuality, had gone oil' to bu.-jii.ess, and the other members of lire family had not yet appeared. So she s 1,0 at the tablo_ alone. Her mornings weiv now occupied only three times u weak, end this was not one of what she called her “ busy days. one Lad been, doing just a little hotter than she had drum some time before ; but lie. responsibilities still weighed ueavily upon her. Under ordinary circumstances she might have borne her burdens lightly, and even Lured with composure that terrible crisis now impending, when Mr Cuppies notion would lie heard, and judgment would, ■of course, hu pronounced lu.vanst Ik-t To merely pecuniary troubles she had been •accustomed for many a year ; they oid not ■crush her spirit. She could be cheerful ami hopeful even in the m'rdit cf the worst monetary difficulties. But now she felt profoundly depressed. Mark Elliot had not visited the house for ■several days, and nothing had occurred to alter the p-aiulul relations between them. Nothing, at least, so far as he was concerned; but her heart was melting, had melted, indeed, towards him. She felt for him far more than for herself. She thought how lonely, how sad ho must he, and how muen to blame siio had been for bis indiscretions. If he only would come to her and confess -his error, frankly own that he had forgotten bee and himself in the presence of that fair woman, she would mrgive him at oneo at a touch she would t'icld. flat it could not be. She could not but feel the strict, stern logic of the proposal she had made to him that their engagement should be at au eno. Even if they could bo entirely reconciled, how could they marry, and how could she continue to torture him again with hope deferred ?
While occupied in these sail musings, her reflections were suddenly interrupted bj tho abrupt entry of her cousin and triend. Never before bad Jane V\ynd called upon her at so early an hour, and the fact alone alarmed her. But her apprehension was much more strongly excited by the first glance she cast at ber cousin s countenance. It was pale and grave as that of one who had just suffered some heart-breaking loss ; her eyes were red as though with watching or weeping, and her limbs seemed to tremble under her. , ,
Helen had not time to ask her what had happened, for Jane spoke at once. “ Oh, Lonnie dear 1” she cried, “I have dreadful nows for you i but I cannot tel! you all now. Much of what you said to me about—about my husband, I fear, is true, tint I must not talk of that. Something must ba done at once, for Mark’s life, I am afraid, is in danger.” “ Mark’s life in danger ?” echoed Helen, for the moment losing her presence of mind. “ What is that you say? In what way—from whom ?” _ j “I don’t know —I am not quite sure,’ replied Jane. “ But Air Crayke came to see my husband last night, and I heard them talking about some plan to injure Mark. I caunot say exactly what it is. But they went out ‘of tho house together at rniilnit-'lit, and my husband has not yet returned.”
Startling as the news was, and eager as she might, he to learn further details, Helen now saw that there was hut one thing to be done. If any danger threatened Mark, he must at once be warned of it. idero would ha time enough for questions and explanations after that.
“Jane,,” she said, “wo must go to D Elliot at (.•nee. You can tell mo more on the way, ami all to him when we sre hire. Without further delay -he left tho room, hastily prepared for her departure, then in a few minutes joined her cousin and quitted the house With her.
As the two ladi i sped al mg the afreets on their way to Mark Elliot’s surgery, Jane told her cousin, as well as she could in that hurried wain, the story of In:r night’s experiences. “ I only heard some scraps of their convcrsation here and there, Lcunie,” she said. “ I could not catch more than a few words. 45 Whose words?” asked Helen.
“My husband’s,” replied Jane. “Mr Crayke spoke in so low a tone that I could not make out what ho said.
‘•But wha- did your husband say ?”
“Ho accused Mr Crayke of attempting to murder Uncle Matthew, and of deceiving and betray ing him. Then he declared that he would denounce Mr Untyke for what he had done.” “Well?” u That was all 1 heard on the stairs, and when I had got to the ontsioe steps they were talking about Dr Elliot.” “ What were they saying ?” “ I hoard my husband ask: ‘ Why should you kill that man?’ but I could not hear what Mr Crayke replied. Then Mr Urayke seemed to make sonic proposal that they should do something, and I heard him say : ‘At my house to-morrow morning.’ Abel said afterwards ; ‘He will not drink with you ;’ and I don’t know what followed for some time, but Mr Crayke was evidently trying to persuade my husband to go out with him. He seemed reluctant 1o do so at first. He said; ‘ I will have nothing to do with this business ;’ but Mr Crayke appeared to bo threatening him, and so ho consented, and the last words I hoard him say were : ‘I will take no part in your act.’ ” “ After that ?’’
“ After that they went out together, and 1 heard them dose the street door.” “Jennie,” said Helen, “ these men have been conspiring against Dr Elliot’s life. I see it all. He has been doing his utmost to find out the facts of that attempt upon my father, and they are both afraid of his inquiries. Thank God you have made this discovery, and I can only pray that we may be in time to prevent the mischief they are plotting.” No more was said, and the two women hastened on their way, Jane panting for breath and almost fainting from exhaustion ns she painfully endeavored to keep pace with her cousin’s hurried steps. Thus it was with a feeling of intense anxiety that Helen arrived with Jan»at Dr Elliot’s surgery. His assistant was there, and informed her. to her dismay, that the doctor was from home, having been up all night attending to some urgent case. “ When do you expect him back ?” asked Helen. “It isbard to say, Miss Musgrave,’ replied the assistant. “He may come in here before he goes elsewhere, or ho may not, according to circumstances. I know he has an appointment for ten o’clock this morning.” “An appointment ? Where ?” inquired Helen.
The assistant looked at her with some embarrassment, and hesitated. “Well,” he said, “you see it is not exactly a professional engagement. The fact i«, it is a nrivate matter.” “Pray,” Helen pleaded, burning with impatience, “do not keep this appointment secret, it is urgently necessary that we should see Dr Elliot before be goes to it. If it is what I suppose, it may be to him a matter of life or death.”
“ Really !” said the assistant. “Of course, if yon tell me so, that alters the case. I was not to mention the fact to anyone, but he had an appointment this morning with Mr Oliver Crayke at Gore House.”
Helen exchanged a rapid glance with Jane.
“ What is to be done ?” asked the latter. “I don’t know,” replied Helen. “Let me think.” She reflected for a moment, then seemed so obviously desirous of speaking privately to her cousin that thefassistant courteously btepnod aside. “jane,” she whispered, “we must go at once to Of.ro House. It is now nine o’clock, and we can get there within half an hour. If we remain here we shall only lose precious time, and may bo too late. On our way wo must go to a police station and obtain assistance.” Then turning to the young man, she said : “Please tell Dr Elliot, if he should come in, that Mrs Wyntl and I will wait for him in the street near Gore House, as it is of the greatest importance that we should see him before he calls there.”
The assistant, much surprised to receive such a message, promised to deliver it, and then the two ladies left the house. There was a police station close at hand, where Dr Elliot was well known through his attendance at inquests, and services often rendered by him in eases of accident or sudden illness. Thither went Helen with her cousin, and she hud no difficulty in persuading the inspector on duty to grant her the assistance of two officers in plain clothes, '.('he mere statement that the popular doctor was in danger of his life war quite sufficient, and few questions were asked.
“Saunders and Kelly,” said the inspector, “go with these ladies and do what is necessary.” Forthwith the policemen set out with Helen and Jane, and, hailing a cab, the party proceeded with all speed to the neighborhood of Gore House. On the way the men questioned Mrs Wynd as to the facts within her knowledge, and she told her strange story to them as she had told it to Helen.
“ Looks queer, doesn’t it, Bob : ’ said Saunders to his companion. “That it does, Tom,” replied the other. In little more than half an hour they had arrived within a few paces of the house, and alighted. Then they walked to the gate and paused. “Twenty to ten,” observed Saunders, looking as his watch, “\ou say the j doctor was to be here by ten ?” “ Ho was,” answered Helen. “Then we bad better wait for him,” remarked Saunders : “ don’t you think so, Bob ?" “ Well, I don’t know that,” replied Kelly. “ Suppose ho has come down a hit earlier ?” “It is not likely,” said Saunders. “ But of course it might be so, Ha ! here’s Simmomis ; perhaps he Can tell us.” Siinmoiids was a policeman in uniform and on duty, who was at that moment slowly approaching. “ Halloa, Saunders I” he cried ; “ what’s “P •” . , “Have you seen anyone go in here lately ?” asked Saunders. “ Yes,” replied the policeman ; “ about a quarter of au hour age.” “ Did you recognise him ?” “ Yes. It was tire doctor—Elliot.” “Oh, heavens 1” exclaimed Helen; “what is to be done ?” 11 Well, miss,” replied Saunders, “ there is only one thing we can do, and we must he sharp about it, too.” He tried the gate, but it was fast closed. “ Here, Bob,” ho said, “givens a back. We must not stand upon ceremony iu a case like this.”
Kelly, understanding his companion’s request, placed his bauds against the wall and stooped. In an instance Saunders was oa ids shoulders and had clambered over the wall. The next moment he had opened the gate and rejoined the others. They a!i entered tho wild, neglected garden and surveyed the quaint and dismal house. There seemed no sign of lift; about it, and a deep stillness reigned around. The police oliiccrs panned to consider the position, and exchanged a few words in whispers. Helen, anxious and impatient, exclaimed : “Wo must not lose time. Pray let ns go in at once !’’ “ Well, miss,” replied Humidors, “that’s easier said than done. It won’t do to knock at the front door. We had bettor look about a bit first.” Thereupon tho two men proceeded _to search aiming the grounds, while keeping the ladies well in sight. Presently Kelly crf'il : “ Halloa ! what's this ? Tom, come hfr:; I” His colleague joined him where ho stood, close by a clump of buehes, and there, crouching behind the stunted trees, they found toe hideous dwarf, Jabcz. looking tcrror-Hncken and muttering to him-clf. “Here, come out of this!” exclaimed Saunders, dragging him forward. “Now’ thou, old camel-leopard, whut's up?” “He did it—he did it I” cried JaGz, pointing to the home. “ Jlo"did it ?” echoed Saunders. “Who did what ? ’ “ The master,” replied tho dwarf, “the master! He made him urea in lie matte him dream.” Helm caught the strange words, and was seized by a terrible suspicion. Could they m; an that Oliver Crayke had given Mark Elliot a Heaping draught like that vuth which her father had been drugged ? ‘‘ For Cod’s rake,” she cried, “do not let us wait here ! Cannot vve get into the house ?”
“ Stop a hil,” said Saunders coolly, and look:;)!' around him, “ there must be a hack way somewhere. Here, Mr Crookshanks, yon go ahead and take ns in.” Ho pushed the dwarf forward, and Jabcz seemed to understand what was required of him, for he shambled away to the rear of the premise?, the others billowing him. There ho pointed to a door which bad been left open, and they all entered, preceded by their guide. Traversing a paved passage, they soon arrived in the dirty, disordered kitchen, and followed the dwarf through it to the door. Here Saunders stopped his companions, and said : “ You ladies had better wait here while I and my Did make a search. ’ Bub at that moment Helen heard a sound —the sound of a voice proceeding from the further end of the passage, and, heedless ol the policeman’s warning, darted past him and rus bed forward. Swiftly she ran along the nassa"o, passed the wide oak stairs, and through The hall, to the door of Oliver Crayke’s sitting room, and in a moment she was in that apartment. “Mark,” she cried, “stop! Do not drink !”
For there sat Dr Elliot opposite to Oliver Crayke at the table, on which stood a bottle, and at that instant ho was raising a glass of wine to his lips. At once he set it down, and started up with a look of intense astonishment.
“ Helen !” bo cried. “ You here ?” Helen fixed her eyes on Oliver Crayke. He, too, bad risen, and seemed wholly unmoved. Then he deliberately took up the gkfs which Dr Elliot had placed upon the table. “ Do not let him touch it!” exclaimed Helen. But Crayke raised the glass to his lips and drained the contents at a draught, saying ; “Nay. It is quite harmless.” And still he stood there, calm and at his case." Helen was bewildered. Her suspicious dearly were unfounded, and Mark was safe. By this time Jane Wynd, accompanied by Saunders and Kelly, had entered the room, causing Dr Elliot still greater surprise. “What?” he asked, looking from one to the other?. “ What is the meaning of “My husband, my husband!’ exclaimed Mrs Wynd ; “where is he ?” Arain the astonishment of Dr Elliot was manifest, and he turned to Oliver Crayke with an inquiring glance. “ Is Dr Wynd here ?” he asked. “ Uc is not hero,” was Crayko’a slow arid deliberate reply. . . TT “ He is,” cried Jane; “it is not true. _ lie is in this house —he came here mat night. Oh, Mr Crayke ! what— what have you done with him?” .. Oliver Crayke made no reply. The police officers exchanged glances and whispers. “ Tom,” said Kelly, “there’s something wrong here.” “ Ilidic you are,” replied the other. Then, addressing Oliver Crayke, Saunders said : , “ We are polioe officers. Wc have no rmbt to search your house without your periniaaion, but if you will allow ua, we will do so.” “ Do so, then,” answered Crayke. Saunders thru said to his brother officer : “ Kelly, you stay here with the ladies and Mr Crayke,” and turning to _ ho added ; “ Doctor, step outside with me. Dr Elliot went out with the policeman ; but before the latter could say a word, he naught sight of the dwarf, who stood at a few* paces distant near the foot of the staircase, to which ho pointed with a trembling finger. “ Doctor.” said Saunders, “ there s something in the wind. This fellow has thing to show us. Let us follow him.” For the dwarf bad moved a step nearer to the ■>tails, and wan beckoning to the others to approach. They advanced, and Jahez limped up the rotten, creaking stairs, Dr Elliot and Saunders close behind him, till they reached the first-floor lending. Thence
the dwarf led them along a corridor, in which there were several doors, all closed. Before one of these ho now stopped, pointing at it with a scared look. “What’s in here?” asked Saunders. “ Can’t you speak ?” “ He’s there,” eaid Jabrz ; “the master made him dream.” “ What do you mean by that?” inquired the police oflicer, “ Dreams— horrible dreams,” replied the dwarf, “ lie did it; he dal it.” “I can make nothing of this creature,” said Saunders. “ We’d better look in, doctor, and see what’s up.” Then turning the handle of the door, the police officer entered the room, Mark Elliot
following him. They saw nothing remarkable at the first glance, only the curtained bed and the scanty, old-fashioned furniture about the room. Then they approached the bed, and, putting aside the curtains, beheld a sight from widen they shrank with horror. For there upon that bed, lying all his length upon his hack, his arms resting motionless by iiis side, with livid face, closed eyes, and parted lips, they saw the figure of a man, or what had been a man. “Great heavens !” cried Dr Elliot. “It is Abel Wynd—and dead !'” The policeman was surprised, lint was too experienced in his craft to show excitement. “ Now, doctor,” he said, “wo must bo careful. Tills is a queer business, and everything we geo and do will afterwards have to he matters of evidence. In the first place, wo must examine the room and the bed, and remember well if we find anything.” Dr Elliot, who also had had experience of many a case of sudden and auspicious death, allowed the police officer to take the initiative in everything, Saunders first surveyed tiie room and the bed minutely, taking note of every prominent object in it, and making memoranda in his pocket-book. He directed Dr Elliot’s attention to many things, but touched nothing. Then ho proceeded to search the bed as well as he could without disarranging it, and by the dead man’s side he observed a small glass bottle, three-parts filled with some colorless liquid. Of this he took possession, requesting Dr Elliot to note the exact spot where it was found.
“The body,” he said, “we must not disturb until I have made my report, hat do you think of this business, doctor?” “ A case of suicide ?” suggested Mark. “Aye—or of something else,” replied Saunders. “It is a rum case, anyhow.” Then, after reflecting a moment, he added : “ Now wo had better go down below.” Outside the door they found Jabcz, still trembling, and muttering to himself. “ He knows something of this affair,” said Saunders, “and wo must take care of him. Here, come along with us, old bundleback.”
Then, sending the dwarf forward, and followed by Dr Elliot, the descended tho stairs. When at the foot, Dr Elliot stopped the officer. “ Wait hero a moment,” he observed. “ I will not keep you long.” His object was to seek Helen and tell ber the tragic news, in order that she might break it gently to tho dead man’s wife. Approaching the door of the sitting room, where the rest of the party were still assembled and standing in silence, he called to Helen, and beckoned her to come out to him in the ha!!.
Helen joined him, and he whispered ; “Abel Wyod is lying dead up there, and yon must get Jane Wyud away.” iStartled as she whs at this intelligence, Helen uttered no exch-iruion and made no remark, in an instant she saw the necessity of composure and caution. But her care was useless, for at this moment Mrs WynJ rushed nut, and seemed to guess what had been discovered, as she cried : “Dr Elliot—my husband ! He is dead ! I know ho is dead murdered—cruelly murdered by that wicked man—that lalu« friend who betrayed and deceived him ! Oil, tell mo ! for God’s sake do not keep me in Misnensc ! la it not true ?”
“Jennie, dear,” said Helen, putting her arms around her cousin. “ it is true—your husband is dead !” “ Oh, God !” cried Mrs Wynd. “ Where in he ? Take me to him ! f will—l must sec him ! Oh !my poor Abel murdered ! murdered !’’
In vain did Helen try to persuade her to keep cairn, and desist from her desire to loo;: upon her husband's body. Her agony of grief seemed so acute that they thought it might he dangerous to cheek her ; so, accompanied by Mark and Helen, and followed by Saunders, she was led upstairs, and taken to the room where lay all that remained of Abel Wvnd.
It was a painful scene, hut happily of brief duration, for Jane Wyiul, weak and wasted as she was, soon sank exhausted and fainting to the ground, and then they carried her away.
Meantime Oliver Crayke stood unmoved in silence, even as he had stood all the while that dread discovery was being made. No sign of surprise, of terror, of regret, or of guilty consciousness did ho display when the news was brought. No figure of wood or stone could be more infeasible or passionless than be appeared. Saunders took out his note book, and said :
“A man has been found dead in your bouse, sir, under very strange circumstances. You aro not obliged to give any explanation about it; but it is my duty to tell you that whatever you state may be used as evidence against you. Now, sir, have you anything to say ?”
“ Nothing,” replied Oliver Crayke. ( To he continued.)
PAID IN HIS OWN COIN., Issue 8012, 14 September 1889, Supplement
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