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FRANK MORTIMER, ) . .". rr
Mtoyp. AK INDEPENDENT FAMILY NEWSPAPER. oTeDoLrr
. - . l:z . -" -- .. .. .s ,
"Vol. IV. IVov 331oomficld, J?n,., July 13, 1870. IVo. 3g.
la Published Weekly,
At New Bloomfield, Tcnn'a.
ONE DOLLAR FER YEAR I
I TV ADVANCE.
The Groysoii Mystery
HOW IT WAS SOLVED.
BY F. D. L.
SHORTLY afterwards, Father Grcyson
was carried back to his bed up stairs,
it being evident that he only needed an op
portunity to sleep off the effects of the opi
ate. Miss Wyndham, with characteristic
obstinacy, took her stand by his bedside,
and would not allow even Dote to share her
vigils, declaring that she would watch
Phil was indignant over this arrange
ment, but there seemed no other way than
to humor her. Somebody must remain
with the sick man through the night since
there was no assurance he would not be
molested a second time. Phil felt that the
duty was his. He even told Honoria of the
attempt that had already been made on
Father -Greyson. She listened with a
blanched face, but remained perfectly' un
moved. "I am as well able to protect Mr. Grey
son as you are," she said. " You can sleep
with one ear open as the saying is. I prom
ise to call you on the slightest alarm."
She would make no other concession.
Nevertheless, Phil was determined not to
go to bed again, and when the house was
restored to something like quiet, he brought
a book from the library, and sat down to
. Five minutes later, Rob, the coach-boy,
came in with the message that Father
Greyson wished to see him again. Really
surprised, he hastened to his bedroom, find
ing him flushed and excited, while Honoria
was trying in vain to quiet him. She look
ed up rather crossly.
" Mr. Greyson will not get a wink, of
sleep to-night,if you humor all his whims,'"
"Don't mind her, Phil," whispered the
poor old man. " She would not go for you
but Rob happened to pass by the door, and
I called to him."
V What can I do for you ?"
"It is that paper," he said, querulously.
" I have changed iny mind about it. Dote
must see it this very night. She must
know my secret before I die, and then I
can hear her say with her own lips that she
forgives me. I want you to take it to her.
" I would not trust it to any hands but
yours, Phil, God bless you."
lie laid the paper in Phil's palm. Miss
Wyndham saw it, and a lurid Jight blazed
suddenly in her eyes. She made a swift
gesture as if she would gladly have torn it
away from him, and then drew back, pale,
"Go away, Phil Meredith," she said,
harshly. "If lam to be Mr. Grayson's
nurse, I shalVinsist that he is not disturbed
Phil did go, wondering vaguely what had
cme over Honoria. Dote had not retired,
aid she immediately answered his tap at
htr door. He gave her the paper, briefly
repeating Father Greyson's message and
tfen went back to his book again.
jit was with varied and conflicting emo
tions that Dote Erricson received the pa.
per which had been sent to her. She sat
down, holding it in her hand, fully aware
that Father Greyson's cherished secret was
written out therein for her perusal, and yet
hesitating to make herself mistress of it.
That secret had been a great puzzle to
her, especially for the past day or two.
How long it had existed she did not know ;
perhaps for years, it might be for only a few
weeks. And yet there had always been
something peculiar in the manner of her
adopted father towards herself. It had
troubled her before now. At last the whole
mystery was to be made clear.
' The night was sultry, and her windows
were wide open, as she sat revolving these
thoughts. Every breath of air brought
into the room wafts of perfume from the
helliotropes and geraniums on the balcony
outside. Her back was in that direction,
and she sat facing a pier-glass that hung
against the opposite wall.
Several minutes went byperhaps ten or
fifteen. She was falling irito a reverie over
that magic paper, when a slight rustling
sound attracted her attention. Looking up,
the next moment, she started suddenly to
her feet, fairly dumb with horror, for she
saw reflected in the glass a tall, ghostly
form moving straight towards her from the
At first she could neither move nor cry
out every faculty seemed paralyzed. Then
controlling herself by a powerful effort, she
faced slowly about, and the spectral form
came to an abrupt pause.
She saw before her a small form draped
in white, and black, burning eyes glaring
at her from what seemed to be deep 'hol
lows ii the face. A short, sharp scrutiny,
such as only brave women could have given
at such a time, soon convinced her that the
ghostly lineaments on which she gazed
were not the features of a human counte
nance at all, but of a mask.
This discovery sent the blood back to
her heart again. Of a mortal visitant she
had but very little dread. Help was near
and could easily be summoned. .At last
she found voice.
" Who are you ?" she asked. " Why are
The figure solemnly shook its head, with
the evident intention of terrifying her more
than ever. Seeing that the movement pro
duced no such effect, probably, and that
she was growing bolder every minute, it
advanced a step or two, slowly raising one
of its arms pointing to the paper she held
in her hand, and saying in a deep, hollow
voice that nevertheless had a strangely fa
miliar sound :
" Theodosia Erricson, I am come for that
paper and you must give it up."
Dote was fully herself now. The angry
blood flushed her face hotly.
"I shall not," was her firm reply.
A low, mocking laugh broke upon her
ear a laugh horrible enough to have cur
dled one's blood.
" You do not know a single line that the
paper contains!" her strange visitor asked.
"Then open it and satisfy your curiosi
ty." She mado a defiant gesture. " I do not
intend you shall frighten me from so doing
by coming here in that masquerade cos
tume," she said, slowly unfolding the docu
ment to show how determined she was.
As she had suspected, it was a letter from
Father Greyson. " I am about to disclose
to you the carefully-guarded secret of many
years, dear Dote," it began. She had read
this sentence and no more when she sud
denly felt violent hands laid hold on her, a
sponge that gave out a powerful and sick
ening odor was pressed firmly to her nos
trils and held there ; then a dizzy, dreamy
sensation seemed to come upon her, and
everything was blank
When she came to a realizing sense of
her condition, she was lying helpless upon
the floor, in a strangely weak and languid
state. Her visitor was gone, the lamp was
out, and worse than all the rest, that pre
cious message of Father Greyson's was no
where to be found when she finally stag
gered to her feet to look for it. The thief
in the night had accomplished his or her
object. For some reason, that letter seemed
to be of value .to somebody else, and had
therefore been stolen from her.
With considerable difficulty she made her
way to the closet, and took down a bottle
of old wine that happened to be there.
Hastily swallowing half a glass, it had the
effect of clearing her head, somewhat, and
she had sense enough remaining to give the
bell-rope a smart pull.
The excitement of the evening had driven
sleep from Phil, and he consequently sat
till past midnight in the library trying to
The loud ringing of Dote's boll brought
him suddenly to his feet. His first confused
idea was that Father Greyson had fallen
violently ill again, and Miss Wyndham was
trying to summon assistance. On stepping
into the hall, however, and observing which
boll was in motion, his alarm took a new
"What can have happened to Dote?" he
thought, darting up stairs at the top of his
She was seated in a chair beside the ta
ble, when he reached her apartment, very
pale and in deep distress.
"Father Greyson's letter !" she cried out
to him, helplessly. "Somebody has come
into the room and taken it. O, Phil, what
shall I do?"
The truth flashed suddenly upon his
mind. . The mysterious perr jnage who had
attempted to prey upon both Father Grey
son and himself had become aware of the
transfer of the paper, and therefore paid
Dote a visit, thus succeeding in accomplish
ing his or her base design at last. Why
had he not put her on her guard 1
"0, Dote," he exclaimed, standing be
fore her whiter and more shaken than she
was herself, "this house is haunted by a
devil, to-uight. I might have warned you,
and thus have spared you what you must
"Never mind, Phil," she said, sweetly,
taking his hand and holding tight to it
while she told him all that had occurred.
but in low tones, for the servants were al
ready thronging in to learn what was the
matter, and she did not care to have them
hoar the ghostly recital. It was scarcely
concluded when a scream from Mrs. Hen.
derson, who had crossed the hall to enter
Father Greyson's bed-room, echoed sudden.
ly through the house, calling them all in
that direction, and awakening fresh fears in
poor Phil's mind.
It was a sad sight they looked upon the
next moment the culminating horror of
that wretched night. Father Greyson lay
on his couch, stiff, dead I The first sight of
his ghastly face was, enough to show them
that. Honoria Wyndham had fallen for
ward among a pile of cushions beside the
bed, and lay there writhing and moaning
like one in a fit.
I do not like to dwoll on the scene that
followed Dote's despair, Phil's grief, the
cries and sobs of the servants, and the gen
eral confusion that prevailed. Suffice it to
say Honoria soon recovered from the effects
of the chloform, (for that deadly opiate had
been at work here as well as elsewhere in
the house, that night,) and was enabled to
answer their eager inquiries. But she
could thro no light on the mannor in
which the drag had been administered to
herself, or, at least, such was her declara
tion. She thought somebody must have
stolen stealthily upon her from behind.
When the first stupefaction was over,
and she realized that Father Greyson was
really dead, she threw herself on the couch
beside him, giving away to the most vio
lent demonstrations of grief. Her cries
and shrieks were enough to frighten
" My husband 1 my dear, dear husband !"
she moaned. "Have you no word of com
fort for me no last tender message of love?
Have you died without so much as confess
ing your secret and mine ? God pity me
God help and pity."
There were curious, Btartlcd looks on
every face. Dote sank shivciing into the
nearest chair. Phil seemed like a person
in a dream as ho stooped to raise the sor
'You are beside yourself with grief you
do not know what you are saying," he be
gan. " Let me entreat you to be calm."
"O, Phil," she cried, "that man was
my husband. Old and gray as he was
I loved him. We were afraid of you and
Dote, and we were, married in secret.
Great God 1 that he should be taken from
mo like this !"
She wrung her hands in a convulsive fit
of weeping. Dote, sitting in a chair close
by seemed like a statue carved in stone.
She drew her hand once or twice across her
brow, and then got up slowly, looking into
Ilonoria's face with a steady, burning
" What are your proofs of the romantic
story with which you have been entertain
ing us?" she asked, in a clear, cold voice.
A resentful flush crept into Ilonoria's
face, but she preserved perfect self-control.
" This ought to be sufficient evidence"
she said, taking a marriage-certificate from
her bosom, and spreading it open before
Dote and Phil. "I wanted to tell you in
the first place, but Mr. Greyson would
not hear to it. He knew you would be
angry, and has kept putting it off. He
wrote out a confession, though, and sent it
to you to-night, Dote. Can you deny
Poor girl, she could not. With a face
white as was that of the dead man. she
tottered to the door, turning to wring Phil's
hand as he followed her, and to say, in a
"But we will at least try if surgical aid
will not bring him to us again and then we
can hear the story from his own lips."
A physician was accordingly sent for
from the nearest village, who made futile
efforts to restore Father Greyson to life,
His decision was that the deceased had
come to his doath from an overdose of
chloroform. The weakened state ' of his
system had probably helped to render the
effect of the drug fatal. By whom it had
been administered, and for what purpose
was still a matter for conjecture.
After the strange revelation that had
been made, Phil would have suspected
Honoria but for the fact that she, too, was
found to have been put under the influence
of the same opiate. If she was really
Father Greyson's widow, (and he could not
deny the evidence of the certificate in her
possession,) she had married him for his
money, no matter what she might say to
the contrary ; and what was more probable
under such circumstances, than that she
should seek to make away with a life that
stood between her and half a million ?
But the insensible condition in which
she had been discovered by those who first
entered Father Greyson's bedroom, seemed
conclusively to prove that the foul deed
had been committed by some person out
side of the household. It was even uncer
tain whether there had been an intent to
kill, or merely to cause insensibility. A
profound mystery enveloped the whole affair,
Early on tho following morning, Mr. Ar
thur Clayton and Mr. Green, the family
solicitor, come over from the village
Both expressed the deepest consternation
respecting the singular events that had
transpired during the night. The latter
immediately set about putting the )apera
of the deceased to rights. At the end of
half an hour Phil and Dote were summoned
to the library, when he communicated the
startling intelligence that the will which
he had drawn up less than a year previously
was nowhere to be found, nor was thore
any other to supply its place.
This was singular to say the least. Mr,
Clayton, being present, suggested a wot
"Mr. Greyson must have destroyed the
will when he married Miss Wyndham.
He probably intended to draw up another,
Mr. Green gave a dissatisfied grunt.
" Some very singular circumstances have
transpired in this house that ought to be
inquired into, and that will be," he said.
Mr. Clayton nodded approval.
" Your duty in the matter is very clear
r. May I ask what were the terms of the
" The property of the deceased was to-
be equally divided between Mr, Meredith
and Miss Erricson.
For several minutes there was silence in
tho room, which was suddenly broken by
Dote saying sharply, "Phil I don't believ
Father Greyson ever man led that woman.
I have been thinking it all over. That was
not the revelation he had to make. I rsad
the first line of his letter, and it said the
secret was one he had kept for many year.
This matter is of recent occurrence."
The lawyer looked up, keen and quick
Mr. Clayton changed color, and seemed
" The matter ought to be thoroughly
investigated," the latter remarked, trying
to appear unconcerned. "Many womatt
would perjure her soul for half a tnillioa.
You must test the validity of the marriage
" Humph 1 yes," grunted Mr. Green.
"That shall be my work,' cried Phitf1
I cannot sit by and see Dote's inheritance
as well as my own snatched from us by a
" Am I to understand that if the certifi
cate is genuine, neither Mr. Meredith nor
Miss Erricson can claim any part of the
property left by their adopted father?" not
in Mr. Clayton.
" Such is the fact. Unfortunately, the
adoption was never made legal, and in the
absence of a will, the property falls to the,
widow, if widow there be.
Phil felt the full force of this remark.
The certificate was given by the clergyman.
of a village some ten miles away, ne or-
tierea a noi se to be saddled and rode direct
ly thither. Dote awaited his return with
feverish impatience. Several hours drag
ged by. When he first made his appear
ance far dowu the avenue, she saw him, and
ran out to meet him.
"O, Phil," she cried, "what have von.
"All is lost, dear Dote," he said, un
steadily. "The clergyman remembered
tho parties perfectly. They came to his
house late one evening, and seemed in
great hurry, lie could not identify the maat
though he describes him as being eld an
aecrepia, ana evidently suffering from flt
health, for he was closely muffled. lie gave
an accurate description of tbe ladv. howev
er, one that tallies exactly wltl Miss Wynd
ham's appearance." ,
Neither could recall the prolonged ab
sence of the parties in question during the
day when the certificate was dated. But
they made frequent excursions together,
and such an absence might have passed un
Honoria met them, as they walked slow
ly up the path. Her eyes were red and
swollen, and her hands trembled as she ex
tended one to each.
"Forgive me for having deceived you
so," she plead, in a tremulous voice. "Ik
was not my wish, but hit, And do not think
I want all this money, and am ungrate
ful enough to turn two such friends away
penniless. I shall immediately take steps
for having fifty thousand dolhug settled on
each of you." ,
Both Dote and Phil felt this was only oi
fered as a bribe to prevent any further aV
tempt to investigate the matter of the ma
rlagc, .and made them consequently tb
more certain that tbe terrible myBtcry
would yet be made plain if proper steps'
were taken. As there was no deceit in either