low, and Darrall between them as they slept.
A poor precaution. If he had desired his liberty
lie might easily have secured it so heavy was
their sleep from the fatigue of travel, that they
were soon oblivious to all mundane things.
The gravity of the charge against him, was
sufficient to keep Wallace wakeful during the
early hours, and though the handkerchief, with
the infinitesimal drop of blood upon it actually
had no bearing whatever upon it, he realized
that in the inflamed state of public opinion it
might nerve as an important circumstance linked
•with whatever proofs they might succeed in
bringing against him—of political antagonism.
Since it was the only tangible evidence which
could be presented before the jury as a clue to
the mystery of Steale's death, connecting him
with it, it might serve to hold him for trial and
detain liini from Marguerite's side.
After thinking the matter over carefully, lie
decided in his own mind—since it had no real
bearing on the case—that for his own preser
vation there would be nothing wrong in poss
essing himself of this supposed clue in order to
prevent its being brought into court.
It was a hazardous undertaking, yet succes^g
ful. so deep was the slumber of the officers
Rising cautiously from the bed ho quietly secured
this bit of evidence and throwing it upon the
glowing coals watched it burn to ashes then
returning to his bed. he was himself soon lost
in the deep sleep of exhausted nature.
At daylight he was aroused by the deputy and
after a substantial breakfast they again took the
road. Darrall composed and cheerful no incident:
occuring to delay their progress toward tin?
Luckily the handkerchief was never missed,
until nearing their journey's end, the deputy,
making an inventory of his pockets discovered
No suspicion arose in his mind as to what, hail
become of it. He took it for granted that it was
dropped from his pocket, as such things often
nre. He regarded it himself as of but little value
•as evidence, since the origin
ibeen so readily accounted for
and his wife, separately and
"other, without the slightest
"You see," extending his hand to the latter.
"I am likely to have a need for your services
of which neither of us thought when we spoke
"Yes. No words I feel are necessary to assure
you of my willingness to serve you again."
of the stain bad
by both Darra?!
apart from each
A serious disturbance, however, arose when the
loss was reported, and the officer was compelled
to make the journey over the same road the
.^following day in a fruitless search for it.
"rL Upon their arrival in Frankfort, Darrall im
mediately summoned his friends, Judge Randolph
By this time Judge Randolph had arrived
Creeting his young friend cordially he expressed
a deep sympathy with him, in the unfortunate
situation which had been developed.
Both Randolph and Sothern seemed greatly
impressed with the gravity of the case. Knowing
as much as they did of the issue of the challenge
upon which Steale's death followed so quickly,
they were keenly apprehensive of the danger to
Darrall if that circumstance should become
known—whether he were innocent or guilty of
the charge-- particularly just at this time while
the excitement was still so intense over party
"His own wo'ds replying to your challenged"
an acknowledgment of the justice of your cause
—taken in conn etion with what I already knew
of the man. gave me some hint of course how the
matter stood. 1 am prepared to serve you, trust
ing implieity in the truth of whatever you may
confide to me," said Sothern.
"You remember I told you the. day of his death,
that old story of his youth? When you asked me
•g his object in using a false name, 1 only hinted
to you of the rumors rife at the time because
I had too deej) a regard for the young girl, whom
he was said to have wronged to say anything
that would keep alive that old story of the past.
Knowing then the character of the man, I
thought I could guess the probable cause of your
"You can testify to this in court, sir, of
own knowledge?" asked the Judge.
"I can, with further details if necessary and
believe I can bring others to prove it."
"But my friends." answered Darrall. "The
case can never come to court.. At the inquest
you will find that they have not a scrap of ev
idence against me."
S a a a a it is if
answered the. Judge.
"That fact, until this moment, was known oiiVy
to you. that man, my wife, and myself. He could
never have confided it to another for his own
"The Challenge?" asked the Judge.
"lie refused," answered Sothern, "his excuse,
as I said before of such a nature that I do not
believe he could have confided in another at
least within the few hours intervening between
my visit and bis death. Besides, he was out of
town the next day, 1 have, learned, and the ban
quet following so close, 1 hardly think he had
mentioned the challenge."
"The blood., stained handkerchief?" ftsked the
"Has been destroyed the little stain upon it
came from the scratch of a rose thorn upon my
finger," showing them the sear. "Believing I
was doing no wrens*, I secured it and watched it
?lnirn to ashes. Tliev think it lost upon the road
'They found him la th!
shrubbery to one side
and have sent the deputy to scour the country
in search of it," answered Darrall.
"That is well," said the Judge.
"The burden will rest upon them to connect
me with his death, without one tangible clue so
far as 1 can learn. They cannot do it and if by
any possible chance—from the causes you have
mentioned—they hold me for a trial, it will
be from these circumstances alone, out of which
they could scarcely make a case."
"And these circumstances," said Judge Ran
dolph—evidently weighing them all carefully in
his own mind. "These circumstances if proven, as
I believe they can be from what you and Sothern
tell me—and there are others no doubt, of which
you have not yet informed me—would furnish
the most powerful motive for the deed, known
to the human heart. A motive my boy, strong
enough to prove any man guilty, perhaps, but
at the same time so strong as to acquit any man
before any jury in this state."
"Well then my friends, if it should come to
that, I'd sooner die."
"1 do not think it will come to that." q'
interposed Sothern. "Rather than take
chance of opening up this dead man's pas
show him to the world in his true colors,
they find they have nothing substantial
which to rest the case, I believe the investi
will be dropped."
"The fact of the arrest being made up
slight a clue as the handkerchief is rathe
quieting. It locks to me as if someone bad
all, acquainted with the old story and your
riage, has taken a long .chance in havinj
arrested, hoping—if no other clues are fo
to urge political grounds for your quarre
they can succeed in picturing Steale a mar
his political views, and efforts to bring
to the people, ground down to the earth and
dened with debt, they will be ready to tur
rend you. If they charge that, this is ini
beginning of an effort of the Anti Relief
to rid themselves of the whole administrat
as they are beginning to assert, I am told
iiiv boy, innocent or guilty it will go hard
"I have thought of it all, and if it com
that issue, I'd sooner die, myself a martj
that cause than any other."
The Judge shook his head. "A noble
iiuent. 1 understand--but for an innocent in
believe me, there
Think of a man
hold up his head to walk erect among his fe The clo
nen to look the world square in the facissassin,
fwould be my case if, to save myself—I flood-staii
ihis story to appear as an explanation of°
... challenge, and so divert attention anif the trs
sympathy of the public to my wife51
screen myself. No! Life at that
ire had 1
woul(,L nftt^J^^X-pirth tin?'
Luck to 1
"I did challenge this
When he refused, I soug
force a challenge from
did seek to compass his
because lie had wrongei
and either he or I mus
sassin. Whenever it be
necessary in the managi
of my case, I will furnis'
with all the partii-uln:
far as know them. W'
nwait the inquest.
between lawyers—in those days as now—
often to blows after court, and controversie
Steale's animus toward him, Darrall had "Thai
to iv an
understand the true reason) had been quicl
resent. Such disagreements alone were no'f(|]
sufficient importance to hold a man, like Darj
suspected of such a deed. should
With the calling of the last witness an eler Qppn
of real danger was brought into the case.
In Steale's Secretary then sworn, Sothern
ognized Steale's friend the man who was 'ijt
him that day at the country post-office whet
unmasked him. He knew Steale's secret, wf
he keep it?
His testimony was long drawn out, cove
the friendly relations between Darrall and Si
until within the past year, of the eAmlty
The inquest hold upo
liody of Col. Steale, soo
veloped the political cam
and its issues as the 11
The well known est
ment of Darrell and S
formerly fast friends
sustaining to each othe
relation of tutor and
was dwelt upon. Severa
nesses were brought foi
to swear to heated pel
controversies, between th
men in the court roc
MAGAZINE SECTION PA
xml | txt