The Red Cloud chief. (Red Cloud, Webster Co., Neb.) 1873-1923, August 09, 1907, Image 6

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    mi twwhhtb wttfh-
Autlmi- of "The Matter Mummer." "A
Prince of .S'fmien." "Mutertiut
Mr. Sahlii," "Annn the
AAvenlw t" Vic,
Copyright. 1005, 1000, by Little. Ilrown,
ami Company.
(Continued from Page Throe.)
ment how It eome.s about that a young
lady, brought up In the country hero,'
nnd, from all I eau learn, an ordinary,!
unambitious, virtuous sort of young'
person, should disappear from Knglaud
In search of a missing brotheer and re
turn In a few months the companion of
one of the most dangerous and bril
liant members of the French secret
service. This sort of thing Is elenn be
yond me, 1 must admit. I will be frank
with you, Duucouibc. I have met with
dllllcultles In this case which I have
never met with before peculiar dllll
cultles." "Go on!" Duucombc exclaimed eag
erly. "I have many sources of information
In Paris," Spencer continued slowly.
"I have acquaintances among waiters,
cabmen, cafe proprietors, detectives
nnd many such people. I have always
found them most useful, I went
among them making careful Inquiries
nbout Phyllis Poynton and her brother.
They were like men struck dumb.
Their mouths were closed like rat
traps. The mention of either the boy
or the girl seemed to change them as
though like magic from pleasant, talka
tive men and women, very eager to
make the best of their little bit of In
formation, Into surly Idiots, Incapable
of understanding or answering the
slightest question. It was the most
extraordinary experience I have ever
come across."
Dunconibo was breathlessly inter
ested. "What do you gather from It?" he
itsked eagerly.
"I can only surmise," Spencer said
wlowly "I can only surmise the exist
ence of some power, some force or
combination of forces, behind all this,
the nature of which I am entirely ig
norant. I am bound to admit that
there Is a certain amount of fasclna
tlon to me In the contemplation of any
wuch thing. The murder of that poor
girl, for Instance, who was propoMnn
to give you Information, tutcivsU me
Uuncoinbe shuddered at the recol
lection. The whole scene was before
lilm once more, the whole series of
events which bad made his stay in
Paris so eventful, lie laid his hand
' tipoh Spencer's arm.
"Siieneer," he. said, "you speak as
though your task were accomplished.
It Isn't. Phyllis Poynton may Indeed
be where you say, but If so It Is Phyl
lis Poynton with the halter about her
neck, with the fear of terrible things
la her heart. It Is not you and I who
uro the Jailers of her captivity. It Is
omo power which has yet to be dis
covered. Our task Is not Mulshed yet.
Tonight I will try to question her
nbout this network of Intrigue Into
which she seems to have been drawn.
If she will see you, you, too. shall ask
her about It. Don't think of deserting
tts yet."
"My dear Duncombe," Spencer said,
"I may as well confess at once that
the sole Interest I felt In Lord Hun-
ton's offer was that It Is closely con
nected with the matter we have been
"You shall have my entire conti
nence, Spencer," Duncombe declared.
"The man who called himself Fielding
was badly wounded, and he passed
liere almost unconscious. He entrust
ed the paper or letter, or whatever It
was, he stole from De Kothe's mes
ficnger, to his so called daughter, and
she In her turn passed It on to me. It
is at this moment In my possession."
Spencer looked very serious.
"My dear fellow," he said, "I con
gratulate you upon your pluck, but not
upon your discretion. You are Inter
fering In what may turn out to bo a
very great matter a matter hi which a
few lives are like the pawns which are
swept from the chessboard. Does any
one know this?"
"She and I only. You heard her
"A man threw up hor window nnd
climbed In. He demanded the packet.
He searched the room. When he left
her, bo declared that he should return
at 11! tonight and If she did not hand It
to him then he threatened her."
Siieneer smiled and rubbed his hands
Hoftly together.
"Iteally," he murmured, "this Is most
Interesting. 1 am with you, Duncombe
with you altogether. There Is only
one more question."
"You did not know Phyllis roynton.
Von took up this search for her out of
your friendship for Polham. You are
a rlchjuau, young, strong with every
i,:tp:ii,'ty for enjoyment. What Imltices
you to rlsdc your 1 1 ft? in nn adventure
of this sort? You hop, I don't mince
Then Duneombo liopiuno grave. Ills
fare fell Into firm, lmrd lines, yet as lie
l poke there was something boyish
lmut hit expression,
"It Is a fair question," ho answered.
'You won't uiiderstiiiid me. I don't
understand myself. I've a brilliant
"A ?mtn Mi re i tin her window and
cllmhed In."
galaxy of fools behind me. They've
made the pages of history Interesting.
They've been the butt always of wiser
men such as you, Spencer. The ghi in
Unit room may bo Phyllis Poynton or
the worst adventuress who ever lied
her way through the mazes of Intrigue,
but I love her! She's In my life, a part
of It. If I lose her well, you know
what life is like when the tlame has
gone and only the embers burn."
Spencer nodded very softly.
"That Is sulllclent!" he said. "You
speak of things which I myself do not
understand, but that Is nothing. I
know that they exist. Hut"
"Hut what about Polham?"
Duncombe's face clouded over.
"Polham has no prior claim," he an
swered. "As soon as she Is safe he
shall know the whole truth. I would
tell him at tills moment but that I am
a little arrald of him. He would never
understand as we can the intricacy of
the situation. And now to the pro
saic." He rang the bell.
"t! roves," he told the butler, "I nm
hungry, lirlng me In anything you can
rake up for supper on a tray and a pint
of champagne."
Spencer raised his eyebrows and
mulled. Dunco'mbc nodded,
"For her, of course," he said. "I nm
going to take It In, and I want you to
stay here. It Is past 11 o'clock al
ready." (HAPTHU XXIII.'
WAS never," she declared, "quite
so pleased to see any one in all
my life. 1 was wondering when
ever it would occur to you that
I was starving."
lie set the tray down for her. placed
a chair In front of the table and busied
himself opening the wine. All the time
he was looking at her.
"Whatever have you been doing to
yourself?" he asked at length.
She laughed softly.
"Oh, I had to amuse myself some
how," she answered. "I've done my bnlr
a new way, rearranged all my ornn
incuts, and really I don't think n man
has a right to such a delightful mani
cure set. I felt terribly nervous In the
lavatory, though. I could hear some
one In the billiard room all the time."
"That's all right," he declared. "I'vo
locked the door there and have tho
key In my pocket. No one can get In
from that side."
"Please talk and don't watch me,"
she begged. "I'm nsbauied to be bo
Ho smiled nnd helped her to some
more chicken. If he talked ho was
scarcely conscious of what he said.
All the time his eyes kept straying
toward her. She had taken off her
Jacket and was dressed simply enough
In a blouse of some soft white mate
rial and a dark skirt. Kverythlng,
from the ornaments at her neck, tho
dull metal waist band and the trim
shoes, seemed to him to be carefully
chosen and the best of their sort. Sho
wore no rings, and her lingers had tho
rosy plnkness of health. If she had
seemed graceful to him before In the
drawing room of Ituntou House and
surrounded by some of tho most beau
tiful women In the country, sho seem
ed more than ever so now seated In
the somewhat worn chair of his llttlo
studio. The color, too, seemed to havo
come back to her cheeks. She seemed
to have regained In somo nicasuro her
glrllshness. Her eyes were over ready
to laugh Into his. She chatted away
as though the world, after all, contained
nothing more serious for her than for
any other girl. Duncombe hated to
strike another note, yet ho knew that
soouer or later It must be doue.
"You are quite sure that you will
not have anything else?" he asked.
"Absolutely, thanks! I hnve never
enjoyed mysejf so much in my life."
He glanced at his 'watch. It was
half past 11.
"1 am afraid," he said, "that I am
going to be a nuisance to you, but
one's friends often are that. I want
to be your friend. I want to prove
myself such. I am not an Inquisitive
person by any means, but fate has de
clared that I should be your Inquisitor.
There are some questions which I am
bound to ask you."
Her face grew suddenly grave.
"There Is so little." she murmured,
"which I can tell you." J
"We shall see," he answered. "In
tho first place, Lord Ituntou has been
hero. He Is one of my oldest friends
and a very good fellow. Ho came to
tell mo that De Itothe bad been robbed
In his house of some valuable papers.
He came partly to ask my advice. All
the time I was sitting opposite to him
with those papers In my pocket."
She looked at him strangely.
"Perhaps," she said quietly, "you
gave them up to him."
"I did not," he answered. "You know
very well that I did not."
"It was your duty," she said In a low
tone. j
"Perhaps so. On the other hand," he
continued, "you trusted me. The pa
pers are safe."
"Does ho know thnt you have them?"
she asked.
"He knows nothing."
She looked at him steadfastly not
with any appearance of doubting his
word, and yet as though she were re
volving something in her mind con
cerning him.
"I am thinking." she said, "how much
bettor It would have been for both of
us If we had never met."
"The fates thought otherwise," he
answered. "I searched Paris for you
only to find you at my gates. The fates
meant you to bo my friend. We must
be careful not to disappoint them."
She shook hor head a little wistfully.
"You have been very good to me,"
she said, "but you don't understand"
"Precisely!" be Interrupted. "I don't
understand. I want to. To begin with,
what In this world Induced you to
throw In your lot oven for an hour with
the man who called himself Fielding?"
"I can answer no questions concern
ing myself," she said sadly.
He smiled.
"Come," he said, "it isn't so serious
as all that, is It? Sooner or later your
friends are sure to find you, and they
will not be content with such a state
ment as that. You were summoned
one day to Paris by or on behalf of
your brother, who had unaccountably
disappeared there. You Immediately
appear to have followed suit. You bad
no friends hi Paris. Neither, I think,
had he. I believe I am correct In say
ing that you had neither of you ever
been there before, if your brother has
fallen Into bad hands, and If those
same people are trying to work upon
your fears by leading you Into this sort
of thing well, I have friends who are
powerful enough to bring you safely
out of any den of thieves In the world.
You are in an Impossible situation, my
dear young lady. Nature never meant
you for an adventuress. There is no
necessity for you to become ono. Why
do you look at me like that?"
There was terror In her face. IIo
had hoped to reassure hor, to give hor
courage. On the contrary, every word
he spoke only seemed to Increase her
"Oh, I am afraid!" sho murmured. "I
wish 1 had taken my chance. 1 ought
not to have burdened you for a mo
ment with my affairs. I have given
you tho right to ask mo questlous
which I cannot answer."
lie was perplexed.
"If you have given promises to these
people" lie began.
"Oh, there Is no question of prom
ises," she Interrupted. "I am hero of
my own free will. I refuse to answer
any questions. 1 pray only If you
would be generous that you ask mo
none, thnt you keep me until tomor
row niul let me go not only from this
place, but out of your life. Then In
deed I will be grateful to you."
lie took .her hand In his. Sho yield
ed It without any attempt at resist
ance, but It lay In his palm a cold, dead
"I am only concerned for your good,"
he said gently. "It Is your hnpplness
only that I am anxious for. You were
not born or trained for a life of lies
nnd crime. I want to save you from It
beforo it Is too late."
"What I do," sho said slowly, "I do
of my own free will."
"Not quite, I think," ho answered,
"but let that pass. Listen! If yon will
not talk to mo about theso things, will
you talk to my friend, Jarvls Spencer?
He Is a gentleman and a journalist by
profession, but ho Is also ono of the
cleverest amateur detectives In Eng
land." Sho held up hor hands with n llttlo
gesturo of horror. Her eyes were
alight with fear.
"No!" she cried. "No! A thousand
times no! Don't let him come near ine,
please! Oh, I wish I could make you
understand!" sho continued helplessly.
"You yourself In Paris only a few
weeks ago were In torrlblo danger. A
girl who only gave, or meant to glvo
you, Information about my brother aud
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me was murdered. You, too, would
have been killed If you hnd found any
thing out."
He would have answered her lightly,
but the memory of Mile. Flossie lying
dead upon the bed in that gloomy little
room suddenly rose up before him, and
the words died away upon his lips. He
was silent for a moment and glanced
again at his wateh. It wanted only five
minutes to 12. lie came and leaned
over her ehalr.
"Phyllis." he said, "what am I to do
about you? I cannot let you go out of
my life llku this. No, you must listen
to me for a moment. When Pelhain
sent for me after you had disappeared
he hhowed me your picture. I am not
exactly the sort of man of whom
knight errants are made. I havo never
gone a mile out of my way to meet
any woman In my life. My life here
has seemed of all things the best to mo.
I am a dull, unambitious sort of fellow,
you know, slueo I settled down here,
nnd I expected to go on for the rest of
my days pretty much In the same way.
And yet when Pelham showed me your
picture It was different. I made him
give it up to me. I told him liar that
I was that I could not carry the mem
ory of your face In my mind when It
was already engraven in my heart.
And I .went off to Paris, Phyllis, llko
the veriest Don Quixote, and I camo
back very sad Indeed when I could not
find you. Then you came to Ituntou
House and the trouble began. I did
not care who you were, Phyllis Poyn
ton, Sibyl Fielding or anybody else. I
let the others dispute. You were your-,
self, anil I love you, dear. Now do you
understand why I cannot let you go
away like thlsV"
He had both her hands In his now,
but her face was turned away. Then,
without any warning, there came a
soft rapping at the door which led Into
the library,
Duncombe reached It In a couple of J
strides. He opened It cautiously and
found Spencer standing there.
TO be continued.
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