OCR Interpretation


Wheeling Sunday register. [volume] (Wheeling, W. Va.) 1882-1934, August 15, 1897, Image 9

Image and text provided by West Virginia University

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092523/1897-08-15/ed-1/seq-9/

What is OCR?


Thumbnail for 9

PUBLISHED BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT.
FOR THF^EfENCE,
BY FERGUS HUME.
Author of “The Mystery of a Hansom Cab,” “Madame Midas, The
Queer Story of Adam Lind,” “The Lone Inn,” “The
Masquerade Mystery,” “A Marriage Mystery,”
,‘The Carbuncle Clue,” &c., &c.
COPRIGHTED, 1897, BY FERGUS HUME. »
SNYOPSIS OF PREVIOUS CHAP
TERS.
CHAPTERS I to ill.—Lawrence Jen.
% retired major, who has 8ee“ *
service in West Africa, purchases a .
house in Surrey which he calls ,
•Ashantee.” He adopts tw*o boys, {
Maurice Alymer and David Sarj>y
Growing up, they both fall in l0'^
the same girl. Isabella Dallas, 1 .
vors the suit of the fonney* a ,
dinner at Major Jen s Dr. Ltwald is a
guest. He is a mysterious man. skill .
ed apparently in palmistry and othe
occult sciences. Studying ‘ _ !
hand, he tells him he is doomed to
life in death if he marries. During
the interview it transpires that not
only the two young tnen but Etwald I
himself is in love with Mi*s Dallas. ,
The lady is urged by a negro servant, ,
•killed in the mysteries of °bi’*°
rv Etwald. whom she calls a great ,
man. Etwald is shown a curious stick
by Major Jen which came from for-1
eign parts, the grasping of which is
certain death. An old tramp, named
Battersea, a protege of Miss Dallas s
speaks to Dido, the negress. and tells .
her that the doctor only merit oned ,
two-words to him—“The devil stick
The negress sorted and threw up her ^
hands in surprise.
CHAPTER IV.—VOODOO! VOODOO! ]
Evidently there was an understand- j
ing between these two strange crea
tures and thereby an occult connection
with the ideas and doings of Dr. Et
wald What the trio were plotting
against Isabella and her lover remains
to be seen; but it can be guessed easily
that the message of the devil-stick
carried by Battersea to Dido was of
some significance.
Battersea himself knew nothing of
Its esoteric meaning, but to the nejfess
the mention of the emblem conveyed a
distinct understanding. She let her
arms fall listlessly by her side, and.
with an unseeing gaze she stared at
the green tree3 bathed in hot sun
shine. After a moment or so, she mut
tered to herself in negro jargon, and
clenched her hands.
“Baal! the wand of sleep! the bnng
er of death!” , A
“What are you saying. Dido? asked
Battersea, his feeble intellect scared
by the fierce gestures and the unknown
tongue.
“I sav deep things which you no un
derstand. Look at ole Dido, you white
man.”
Battersea whimpered, and rubbing
one dirty hand over the other, did as
he was requested with manifest unwil
lingness. With an intensity of gaze.
Dido glared at him steadily, and swept
Mr hands twice or thrice across his
In a moment or so the tramp
■^a^state of catalepsy, and she
fjSSgB , WK
‘|||> •
’V e ’-i:' ‘ 0 :
I^^HJH0onTe-st o k
^Hi^^he house of Major Jen. In a
IHle room, on the wall, with swords
pH av
As he said this in a monotonous tone
Dido looked across the tree-tops to
where the red roofs of “Ashantee”
showed themselves against the blue
July sky. She shook her fist at the
distant house, and again addressed her
self imperiously to Battersea, com
manding:—
“Tell ole Dido ob de debble-stlck.”
“It is green, with a handle of gold,
and blue stones set into the gold.”
Dido bent forward and touched the
tramp on his temples.
"See widin dat stick.” she muttered
eagerly. “I wish to see.”
“There is a bag in the handle.” re
peated Battersea, with an effort.
“Under the bag a long needle,” then
after ^ pause, “the needle is hollow.”
“Is der poisen in de bag, white
man?”
“.Vo, the poison is dried up.* ’
/is der poison in de hollow ob de
0fedle?”
• “No, said Battersea again. The
•oison is dried up.”
At this moment a noise in the house
Hmsturbed Dido, and with a pass or two
Kthe released Battersea front the hyp
Hnotic spell. He started, rubbed his
•eyes and looked drowsily at the tall
| negress. who had resumed her impas
I give attitude.
I “What have you been doing. Dido?”
" he asked stupidly.
"Obi,” was the brief reply. “Yon i
hab told ole Dido what she wish about!
de debble-stlck.”
"The devil-stick." repeated the tramp
in wide-eyed surprise. “S’elp me. I
don't know anything of it. Dr. Etwald
met me and ses he. ‘You go to Miss
Dallas, and * ses. T docs:’ and he ses,
‘You’ll see Dido,’ and I ses. ‘I will;*
. and he ses, ’Say to her "devil-stick.” ’
an’ I ses. Right y’are, sir.’ But es to
knowing—”
“Dat nuffin.” said Dido, with a lord
ly wave of her hand. “I black: you
hab de black blood in youse also. I
m*»k you do Obi. Ym!”
“What’s Obi? What’s you forkin’
of?” asked Battersea rather nervous
ly. “An’ ow does you know I hev
black blood?”
“Obi say dat to me. Your mudder
black.”
“Yah!” cried Battersea derisively,
“You’re out of it. My mother white,
but my father.” here he hesitated, and
then resumed—“Yes. you’re right.
Dido; my father was a negro! A See
dee boy who was fireman on a P. and
0. liner.”
“I hab seen dat." replied Dido, nod
ding her head. “Black blood in youse.
an’ I can do Obi on you. I send your
spirit to de house of Massa Jen. You
tell me ob de debble-stick.” ♦
Battersea drew back and began to
whimper again.
"I knows es you were at that devil
ry.” he said, nervously. “When you
ciaps your eyes on me I gets afeard.”
“Dat’s so. • But I take care ob you. |
Now git to de kitchen: dere am food
for you.”
The old man’s eyes brightened in
anticipation of a feast, and he shuffled
off round the corner as quickly as his
age would allow him. Dido looked
fcgfter him for a moment, considering
rtbe message he had brought from Dr.
Etwald. and then began to think of
the devil-stick.
l She knew very well what It was; for
V
her grandmother had been carried uu j
as a slave from the West Cbast of Af- ;
rica, and knew all about Ashantee so- j
eery and fetish rites. These she had :
repeated to he granddaughter Dido, ;
with the result that Dido, cherishing
these recollections, knew exactly how
to use the wand of sleep. She had >
spoken about it to Dr. Etwald, quite j
ignorant that Jen kept one as a curt- |
ositv, and now Etwald had intimated •
through Battersea that he wished her j
to do something in connection with the j
stick. What the something might be, ,
Dido, at the present moment, tviid
not guess.
She had exerted her magnetic and
hypnotic influence over Battersea, not
that she wished for a detailed descrip
tion of the wanc^ for already she knew
its appearance, but because it might
happen that it would be necessary to
use the tramp for certain purposes con
nected with the discovery of secrets.
Dido exercised a strong influence over
this weak old creature, partially on
account of his half-negro blood, and
partially because he had terrified his
feeble brain by her dark hints of OLd
worship.
Battersea was supposed to be a «
Christian; but the barbaric fluid in his j
veins inclined him to the terrible gro
tesqueness of African witchcraft, and
Dido and her words stirred some dim I
instinct in his mind. The negress saw |
that accident had placed in her way a 1
helpless creature, who might be of use |
in her necromantic business; therefore I
by hypnotizing him once or twice, she !
I contrived to keep him within her power, j
All of which fantasy would have been t
■ denied by the average British news
paper reader, who cannot imagine such
things taking place in what he calls
euphoniously a Christian land. But
this happened, for all this denial.
Having dismissed Battersea, the ne
gress turned to seek Isabella. She
was so devoted to her nursling, that
she could hardly bear to be away from
her; and since her infancy Isabella had
scarcely been absent an hour from her
strange attendant. The girl had gone
out into the drawing room, where Mrs.
Dallas was still sleeping; and there,
relieved for the moment from the pry
ing eyes of the negress, she took a letter
out of her pocket. It was from Maurice,
stating that he was coming to see her
that afternoon at three o'clock, as he
had something particular to say.
It was now close upon the hour, and
Isabella wTSs wonderiug how she could
get rid of Dido, whom she did not wisn
to be present at the coming interview.
The inborn jealousy of the woman
and her advocacy of Dr. Etw aid’s suit,
made her an unpleasant third at such
a meeting. Moreover, Maurice instinct
ively disliked this sullen creature, aud
was never quite easy in her prest.nce.
Finally, Isabella decided to slip
round ay rii* u.*i, U'oih*.-■%»*
au-out the devil-stick on the veranda,
j after a glance to assure herself that
■ the pair were in earnest conversation,
Isabella put on a straw hat aud ran
lightly away to see her lover. She
i passed out by a side door, danced like
a fairy across the intervening space
of lawn, and slipped laughingly into
the narrow path, which wound through
the wood to the avenue near the gates.
Just as she emerged into the open,
she heard a sharp click, and saw Mau
rice approaching. He was dressed in
his flannols, aud looked particularly
handsome, she thought; the more so
when she beheld his face lighting up at
her unexpected appearance. The mag-;
netism of love drew them irresistibly
together, and ia less time than it takes
to write. Isabella was lying on the
broad breast of her lover, and he was
fondly kissing her lips.
“My own dear love,” he murmured,
softly. "How good of you to meet me!”
“1 came down here to escape Dido,”
explained Isabella, slipping her hand
within his. "You don't like her to be
with us!”
"I don't like her in any case, my
darling. She is like a black shadow' of
evil always at your heels. I must get
your mother to forbid her trespassing
upon our meetings.”
"My dear Maurice, how can you pos
sibly do that, when you refuse to tell
my mother of our engagement!”
"Oh. I had a reason for keeping our
engagement secret, but it is no longer
necessary, and to-day—at this moment
—I am going straight to ask your moth- 1
er to give me this dear hand in mar- 1
riage. If she consents, we will soon get I
rid of Dido.”
“But my mother may not consent,"
said Isabella, a trifle nervously.
“Why not? I have a profession and
a small property. We love one another
dearly, so I don’t see what grounds
she has for refusal.’’
“Dido!”
“Well, Dido can do nothing.” said
Maurice, in a jesting tone, “unless you
want her to forbid the banns.’’
“She may even be able to do that,”
replied Isabella, seriously. “My mother
is af id of her. and is often influenced
in ! er decisions by Dido.”
“Wr . the black witch! Bah! She
is only servant.”
“She is something more than that in
Barba does.”
"Oh. you mean that Obi rubbish, ray
dearest!’’ said Maurice, slipping his j
arm round the slender waist of the girl, i
“It is on that very account that I j
wish to tell your mother of our engage-1
raent: for I must rescue you from the :
nfluer.ee of that dark Jezebel. She is j
dangerous.”
“I know she is: but she hates you.” i
*1 don't care for her hate.” replied
Maurice, carelessly. “It is a poor thing i
and cannot possibly harm me. But I
don’t care how she attempts fb prevent
our marriage. Surely Mrs. Dallas will
not !et herself be guided in so important
a business by the will and feelings of
that black wench.”
“My mother is weak where Dido is
concerned." said Isabella, shaking her
head.
“And so are you. my dear.” responded
Maurice, kissing her. “Both of you are
weak, and have yielded up your wills
to that weak woman. But the an
nouncement of our engagement will
give mo some influence in the house,
and do away with all that. It will be a
light between black and white magic,
and T. as a civilized wizard, intend to
win.”
“Why do you particularly wish to
announce our eng^gepjent to-day?"
“Maurice grew serious, and paused
at the top of the drive, just out of
sight of the house, to reply to this
question. ,. , . „T
* “My dear child,” he said slowly, I
kept our engagement secret on account
of David. I have seen for a long time
that he loves you, and knowing his
fiery temper, I did not wish to provoke
a quarrel by telling him that you had
promised to be my wife. But last night
the truth was forced from me at din
ner, and David declared that he in
tended to ask you to marry him.
“But I don’t love him. I love you.
“I knew that, but he didn’t. He
knows now that we love one another,
but he is ignorant that we are engaged.
When the fact is publicly announced,
he mav give up his idea of marrying
you. and so a quarrel may be averted
' “Are you afraid of quarreling with
k*“Yes! Not on my own account, but it
distresses our good Major to see us at
variance. We nearly quarreled over
you last night, though, upon my word,
added the young man. half to himseir.
"I believe Etwald promoted the row.
“Etwald!” repeated Isabella. ‘‘Dr.
i Etwald?”
“Yes. he is in love with you.
“I know he is.” replied the girl qui
' etly. “But, of course. I could never be
i his wife; the more so, as I fear him.
But Dido wishes me to marry him.
“Oh hang Dido,” cried Maurice, \ ig
| orousiy. “I wish she would mind her
own business.”
| \t this moment, as if summoned by
his remark, Dido appeared round the
bend of the path. She looked straight
before her. turning neither to right nor
left and passed the pair like on in a
sleeping fit. The negress seemed to
be under the inlluence of some strange
excitement, and ran stumbling down
i to the gate.
“Voodoo! Voodoo!” she cried hoarse
i ^“Oh.” said Isabella, nervously. “Dr.
; Etwald must be at hand. When Dulo
! says ‘Voodoo’ he comes.”
CHAPTER A’.—HR- ETWALD’S
WARNING.
“When Dido says ‘Voodoo’ he comes,”
repeated Maurice, greatly puzzled. “Are
you talking of Dr. Etwald?”
“Yes! He seems to possess some
strange power over Dido, for she al
ways knows when he is approaching.
See, Maurice, Dido is waiting at tne
gate; in a few moments you will see
Dr. Etwald enter it!” .
The two young people looked stead
fastly at the brilliantly-colored figure
of the negress standing in a statuesque
attitude near the great iron gate. On
either side of her waved the summer
foliage of the trees, overhead the sun,
! like a burning eye, looked down from
I a cloudless sky, and beyond the dusty
' white road showed distinctly through
I the slender bars of the gate. All was
; bright and cheerful, and English, but
' in that sinister red figure, with its
black face and hands, there was a sug
I cestion of evil which seemed to dom
: inate and poison the whole beautiful
scene. Maurice felt Isabella shudder
with nervous dread as she pressed
closely to his side. „
“Dearest, you must not be afraid,
said he glancing down anxiously at
her face. You must throw off the terror
i you have of this woman. It the
lo^y——^
“At this moment he. broke off his
! speech with an ejaculation of surprise
for true to the prognostication of isa
i bella—in answer to the expectant atti
i tude of the negress—Dr. Etwald turned
in at the gate.__—
ing is not a lost one. after all. Dido
can still call spirits from the vasty
deep!”
“She has called flesh and blood,” re
plied Isabella with a shiver. “But there
is nothing strange about Dr. Etwald's
; appearance just now. Dido did not call
; him; she simply felt that he was at
| hand, and went to meet him at the
1 gate.”
They continued to watch the pair,
and saw Dido throw herself at the feet
| of Etwald, who raised his hand over
j her in a threatening manner. He
! pointed into the wood with an impe
rious gesture, and in a slinking atti
tude the usually stately Dido passed
out of sight into the little path down
which Isabella had come to meet Mau
rice. When the gleam of her red
dress disappeared Etwald wiped his
face and walked briskly up the avenue
towards the young couple.
“Shall we go on or wait for him
here?” asked Isabella in a whisper.
“Wait!" replied Maurice in the same
tone. “I shall not let him think that
either of us is afraid of his charlatan
tricks.”
Dr. Etwald approached, with what
was meant for a smile on his usually
sombre face, and took off his hat to
Miss Dallas. But he did not speak
as he made his salutation, so the girl
was forced, by reason of this uncom
fortable silence, to make the first ob
servation.
“Good morning, doctor. I suppose
you have come to see my mother.”
“Partly, Miss Dallas, and partly to
see you; also this gentleman.”
"To see me!” said Maurice, looking
at his rival. “Then why did you not
go to Ashantee?”
Etwald shrugged his shoulders.
"I never give myself unnecessary
trouble." he answered calmly, "and,
of course. I knew that I should find
you here."
"By what right do you say that?”
demanded Maurice sharply.
"By the right of our conversation
last night. Mr. Alymer. You have
forstalled me, I see. No matter.” add
ed Etwald with a sneer. "To-day to
you. To-morrow to me.”
All this was quite unintelligible to
Isabella, who looked from one to the
other of her companions, in bewilder
ment. not guessing .for the moment,
that she was the bone of contention
between them. She saw the suppress
ed mockery on Etwald's face, and
noted also that Maurice, roused by the
quiet insistence of the doctor, had
much difficulty in keeping his temper. \
Knowing how her lover disliked Et- J
wald. and fearing lest there should be j
a quarrel between the two men, she
cut the Gordian knot by hastily pro
posing that they should go up to the
house.
At the same time she was afraid
lest further trouble should occur there
in. for it seemed to her that Etwald
had paid his visit for the express pur
pose of making himself disagreeable.
However, he did not say anything
further at the moment, but walked be
side Isabella towards the Wigwam.
Behind them Maurice strolled slowly,
fuming and fretting at the attitude as
sumed by Etwald at the side of Isa
bella. She cast a backward glance at
his frowning face, and to avert possi
ble trouble she began hastily to ques
tion the doctor about the strange con
duct of Dido.
"What was the matter wdth my
nurse. Doctor ” she asked. "What
have you been doing to her?"
"She was agitated, my dear young
lady, and I have calmed that agita
tion." - . 1 . 1
... . .all ill l . 1 i i » ^
'
“After having caused it,” said Mau
rice in a significant tone.
The doctor looked at the young man
calmly. . .
“What possible reason have you to
make such an accusation?” he Re
manded. . ' ."X
“I think it is my fault, said Isabella
hastily. “I remarked that Dido was
alwajs agitated when you came to
this house.” ^
“I can explain that in a^neasure.
Miss Dallas. If you remember I cured
Dido of a bad nervous headache by
hypnotic suggestion. Her mind, there- !
fore, became habituated in responding
to mine; and doubtless she feels a
kind of impression which tells her
that I am near."
“In ether words,’ said Maurice,
pointedly, you have obtained In in
fluence over her."
"It is not improbable.” rejoined Et
wald, in measured tones. "I am one
Df those people, Mr. Alymer, who
can by strengtb of will and power of
character obtain power over anyone I
wish.”
As he spoke Etwald cast a sudden
glance at Isabella. The girl was look
ing towards the house, out of which
her mother had just emerged, and did
not see the menace in his regard;
but Maurice noted the gaze and felt
enraged at all it implied.
In plain words, Etwald intimated in
a veiled manner that Isabella was a
nervous subject, over whom he could
obtain influence. If he so chose, by
the unlawful means of hypnotism.
This power Maurice was determined
he should not gain, and by asking a
direct question he tried to force Et
wald into a confession of illegitimate
practices. By this he hoped to warn
Isabella, and make her afraul or trust
ing herself too much to the doctor’s
company.
"\ou have been in the West Indies,
Doctor," asked Maurice, bluntly.
"I have been all over the world, Mr.
Alymer,” parried Etwald dexterously.
"Do you know anything of Voodoo
worship?”
“i Kuow something of most things, ,
assented the doctor. “But I confess 1
take but little interest ia African bar
barities.”
“Oh! what about Dido and her meet
ing you?”
"1 have explained that to the best of j
my ability,” responded Etwald, coldly,
“and new, Mr. Alymer, as our hostess
is approaching, you must excuse my
replying to any further questions. i£
you want further insight into my char
acter, call upon me at Deanminster.”
“That I shall certainly do,” said
Maurice, for he was resolved to learn
all he could about this strange man,
so that he could protect Isabella from
his arts.
“Ah!” said the doctor, with irony,
“we shall see if you will venture so
far.”
Before Maurice could take up the
implied challenge, which threw
doubts upon his moral courage, Mrs.
Dallas auvanced heavily to meet her
visitors. Isabella had already flitted
like a white butterfly into the drawing
room; and her mother received the
two young men alone. Her reception
was, as usual, ponderous and vague.
“So pleased to see you, Mr. Alymer.
Dr. Etwald, I am charmed. It is a
delightful day, is it not? Reminds
me of Barbadoes.”
“I have never been in Barbadoes,”
said Maurice, towards whom her lan
guid gaze was directed. “But Dr. El
wald may be able to answer your ques
tion, Mrs. Dallas.” t
“I know the W^st Indian Ip’yT-*
,,1^,,u**i** lib *tifly does re*
mind me a little of the climate there;
but it is scarcely hot enough.”
“No.” murmured Mrs. Dallas, sink
ing into a large chair. “You are right.
1 have been in the sun all the morn
ing, and only now am I beginning to
feel warm. I shall certainly go back
to Barbadoes.”
Mrs. Dallas had made this threat so
many times that nobody paid any at
tention to it, and, not expecting an an
swer, she began to fan herself slow
ly. Through her half-closed eyes she
looked anxiously at the subtle face of
Etwiiid. With the instinct of a wo
man, she guessed that something im
portant had brought the doctor to see
her; he was not a man to Waste his
time on visits of ceremony.
Now Mrs. Dallas was secretly afraid
of Etwald, as she had received hints
from Dido—in whose truth she implic
itly believed—that the doctor knew
more about secret things than most
people. She dreaded lest his visit
should portend harm, and so, in some
trepidation, waited for him to speak.
But Etwald, guessing her frame of i
mind, took his time, and it was only
w’hen Isabella approached with some
tea for her mother that he broke the
silence.
“Don’t go away, Miss Dallas,” he
said, entreatingly. “I have something
to say to your mother which concerns
you.” \
Isabella turned pale, for she guessed
what was coming. As Etwald had
raised his voice purposely,, Mauricer
who was standing by the tea table, also
pricked up his ears. Mrs. Dallas, with
some curiosity, raised herself to look
closer at Etwald, and he, seeing that
his auditory was attentive, prepared
to launch his thunderbolt.
My dear Mrs. Dallas,” said he, in
a soft voice, “you must have seen for
a long time that my visits have not
been made here without an object
To-day I come to ask you and your
sweet daughter a question.”
“What is it?” asked the mother, de
voured by curiosity.
“Pray don’t ask it.” said Isabella,
better informed by Etwald's glance as
to his purpose. “It will only give you
pain.”
“I must risk that.” said the doctor,
slowly. “Mrs. Dallas. I love your
daughter, and I wish to marry her;
Miss Isabella, will you be my wife?”
Here Maurice set down his cup with
a crash, and strode across the room,
where he faced Etwald in no very
pleasant frame of mind.
“I shall answer that question. Dr.
Etwald,” he said, loudly. “Miss Dal
las shall not and cannot marry you.
She has promised to become my Wife.”
“Isabella.” said Mrs. Dallas in an ag
grieved tone. “Is this true?”
“Perfectly true,” assented Isabella.
“I love Maurice. I wish to marry him.”
And slipping her arm within that of
her lover, she prepared to face the
storm.
"You are a disobedient girl,” cried
Mrs. Dallas, making no attempt to con
trol her temper. "You shall not marry
without my permission. Mr. Alymer,
I am astonished at you: I am disap
pointed* in you. It is not the act of a
gentleman to steal away the affections
of my daughter without informing me
of your intentions.”
"I had my reasons for not doing so,
Mrs. Dallas.” replied Maurice, quickly.
"But I was about to tell you of our
engagement when Dr. Etwald fore
stalled me by making his unexpected
ofTer.’ *
“Unexpected, Mr. Alymer!” smiled
Etwald. "Alter my statement last
ssut .._ . -1
t
“Unexpected so far as time and placa
are concerned,” said Maurice, firmly.
“But as you have asked Miss Dallas to
marry you, take your refusal from her
own Ups.” ,. .
“Miss Dallas!” said Etwald, in no
wise moved by his speech.
“Isabella!” cried her mother in an
angry tone. ...
Isabella looked calmly at them both.
“I love Maurice. I intend to marry
him,” she repeated, and an obstinate
expression came over her face.
“In that case,” said Etwald. rising,
“I must take my leave, and shall con
tent with that answer until such time
as you are free; then," he added, cool
lv. “I shall ask you again.”
* “I shall never be free,” said Isabella,
proudly. . „ ...
“Oh, yes. you will; when Mr.
mer is dead.” ,
"Dead!” shrieked Mrs. Dallas, all
her superstition roused by the word.
“Come away from that man. Isabella.
"Maurice dead!” repeated the girl,
with a pale cheek . .
The young man shrugged his shoul
ders. A,(
"Pooh! pooh! Some nonsense that
Dr Etwald was talking about last
night,” he added, contemptuously.
“He says if I marry it will be a case
of life in death, whatever that means."
Etwald rose to his feet and stretched
out a menacing hand. f>
“I have warned you, Alymer, he
said, sternly. “Your marriage, after
or before it. means life in death.
Take cire! Ladies.” he added, with a
bow. “I take my departure.”
Outside, Etwald found Dido waiting
for him. He looked at her significant
* “I have failed,” he said. ‘‘There Is
nothing left but the devil-stick."
CHAPTER VI.—A STRANGE OC
OCCURRENCE.
Maurice returned home after a some
what stormy interview with Mrs. Dal
las. For once the mother of Isabella
was roused out of her habitual indiffer
ence. and she refused absolutely to ac
cept Alymer as ner son-in-law. In
vain the lovers implored her to give
some reason for her strange refusal,
but beyond expressing a personal dis
like for Maurice she declined to explain
her conduct. The young man saw In
this uncalled-for behavior the host-le
influence of Dido.
-It is because that black woman dis
trusts me that you object,” he said,
when Mrs. Dallas had talked herself
hoarse. “I wonder that an English
lady, a Christian and an educated pri
son. shou’d be dominated by that un
civilized creature.”
“Dido has nothing to do with m> re
fusal!” said the widow, coldly; and,
although 1 take her ;advice in «
things I do not in this. I don t wish
Isabella to marry you. and I request
you to leave my house—”
“Mother!” cried Isabella, with a pale
“And nev°r come back to it again,
finished Mrs. Da'.la3. sharply.
Maurice went to the window of th
room, which opened on the veranda,
and put on his hat.
“As a gentleman. I must accer* >°’ir
dismissal.” he said, quietly, but I de
cline to give up Isabella. (
“And I,” cried the girl, s'wear to re
main true to Maurice!
“You’ll do nothing of the sort, said
her mother, violently. ”1 forbid you
*ven to think of that young man. *ou
shall marry whom I choose.”
“Dr. Etwald. 1 suppose?
“Nol i^lr- ***
_“You wish Isabella
to marry him?”
“Yes. He loves Isabella much more
than you do, and he asked permission
—which you didn’t—to pay his ad
dresses to her. I consented, and so,”
Mrs. Dallas raised her voice, “he will
marry her.”
“I refuse to marry Mr. Sarby.” said
Isabella, vehemently. “I hate him!”
| “That’s no matter,” replied her
mother, coldly. “You must marry
him.”
“Must!” repeated Maurice, with
great indignation.
“Yes, Mr. Alymer. Must! Must!
Must! If you want an explanation of
that you can ask”— (Here Mrs. Dallas
paused with a strange smile, and add
ed slowly) “Major Jen.”
“The Major! My guardian!” cried
Alymer, quite thunderstruck. "Is he
against me?”
“Ask him!” ' •' -:
“I don’t believe it."
“Ask him,” repeated Mrs. Dallas.
“Nor I,” said Isabella. “The Major
i is a kind man and he wants to see me
[ happy. He is—”
“That is enough.” Interrupted Mrs.
j Dallas, rising in a cold fury. “I want
no further speeches from you. Go to
your room, Isabella. Mr. Alymer,
your way lies yonder,” and with a
swift gesture she pointed to the win
dow.
Resigning himself to the Inevitable,
Maurice gave one glance at Isabella
and went outside with a heavy heart.
Dido was standing upon the veranda,
with her eyes glowing like two coals.
Yet there was on ill-concealed expres
sion of triumph in her gaze, which
Maurice, in his then disturbed and an
gered statfe of mind, could ill Irrook.
He paused abruptly as he passed her,
and asked a direct question.
“Why do you hate me, Dido?”
The negress glared savagely at
him.
"Voodoo! said she in a harsh voice.
"What do you mean fry that jargon?”
he demanded in angry tones.
"Voodoo!” said Dido again, and show
ed her teeth in anything but a pleasant
fashion.
“Bah! you black parrot!" muttered
Maurice, scornfully, and he turned
upon his heel. As he vanished ^own
the walk Dido clapped her hands to
gether with great satisfaction, and be
gan to sing in low tones. Her song
was barbaric in words, and strange be
yond all telling in the music. It rose
and fell, and moaned and drawled In a
curiously painful manner. In the
drawing-room Mrs. Dallas had risen to
her feet at the first deep contralto note,
and now stood rocking herself to and
fro with an expression of alarm on her
face. Isabella was terrified in her
turn by Dido’s song and her mother's
strange conduct, though by this time
she should have been used to these ec
centricities.
"Mother, what is it? What does
Dido sing?”
Mrs. Dallas, closing her eyes, con
tinued rocking herself to and fro, say
ing but one word in answer.
"Voodoo!” she said, and that was all.
But it was enough for Isabella. She
shrieked and ran out of the room.
Then Dido, still singing, appeared at
the window, and looked at Mrs. Dallas
with an expression of triumph.
"Why do you sing the death song?”
asked Mrs. Dallas, opening her eyes.
"Be cause de master bab doomed dat
yaller-h’ar!” said Dido, and continued
her song.
In the meantime, Maurice walked
slowly homeward, puzzling out in his
own mind, as to what could be the
meaning of these Btrange things. He
could not see why Mrs. Dallas objected
^ easily accommodated^
Judge—You are charged with being drunk and disorderly. What bar. you
^Prisoner—I’ve got a great deal to say if you’ll give mo time.
Judge—Sixty days. _ ___»«■
to him as a son-in-law nor could he
surmise the meaning of the mysterious
word "Voodoo.” pronounced so signin
cantlv by Dido. However, lie saw
plainly that the negress was the dis
turbing element in the Dallas house- (
hold, and by a half-hypnotic control
over the weak will of her mistress she
could act as she pleased. Tbe wMow
had been born and brought up in tn
Barbadoea. She was a half-educated
woman of feeble intellect; and having
been left, during tl.e time her mind
and and character were being formed,
sulelv to the society of black servants,
she bad imbibed—not unnaturally—
many of the debased superstitions or
Africa. Dido knew this, and ny means
of her claims to a knowledge of ON,
she was enabled to rule Mrs. Dallas,
and. also, as has been stated, to exor
cise a powerful influence ov.r the plas
tic mind of Isabella.
-But I'll spoil her designs in that quar
ter.” muttered Maurice, as his thoughts
I led him to this conclusion. "Isabella sha..
not be dragged down to the level of her
mother. I shall marry her. and so de
stroy the Influence of that vile negrt gs.
This was easier said than done. M
Maurice, simple and upright In conduct
and character, was no match for the un
scrupulous machinations of Dido. She
hated the young man. and was deter
mined that he should not marry her
nursling. But whether t-he had. like Dr.
Dallas, a preference for David over l)r.
Etwald. Maurice could not determine T» *
more he thought over affairs, the more
incoherent and complicated did they be
come; so Alymer gave up tnc task In de
spair. Then It occurred to him that Mrs.
Dallas had referred him to Major Jen;
«o to his guardian Maurice went the mo
, . -• - . Hto- hr Rut to
hlR sOTprltf* the Major was not to
found.
"Major gone out. sir,” explained Jag
gard, to whom Maurice applied for infor
mation. "He got a message from Dr.
Etwald. and went to see him. Be back
to dinner, sir. J b'lleve.” •
"Where is Mr. Sarby?”
"Gone over to Brance Hall, sir.”
VHo. hoi” thought Maurice, as he turn
ed away. "So David has gone to see
Lady Meg and the Countess. Now if he
is in love with Isabella, and Mrs. Dallas
favors his suit, I wonder why he acts in
that way.” *
The question he could not answer, so
dismissing It from his memory, he retired
to the smoking-rom with a pipe and a
novel. When Jen and David returned he
Intendfd to question l»oth. and, if pos
sible, get to the bottom of these thicken
ing msterief.
"Hang it!” soliloquised Maurice over his
book; "since yesterday everything seems
to have gone wrong. That negress and
Dr. Etwald are at the bottom of affairs.
But I can’t we their reasons for mixing
up things so.” *
Then he laid aside his hook to think, and
I through the smoko curling from his pipe,
he stared Idly at the opposite wall. It
chanced to be that upon which the bar
baric weapons before alluded to were ar
ranged, and conspicuous anfbng them
glittered the handle of the devil-stick.
Recalling the mention of Voodoo, and Et
wald's reft re nee to African witch-craft,
Maurice connected In hi* own mind the
devil-stick with those barl*ar1sms. and on
the Impulse of the moment he rose to ex
amine the magic wand. Handling It
carefully—for he dreaded the poison, al
though It was said to be dried up—he won
dered if Dido could make use of it were
it In her possession.
"I heard Mrs. Dallas say that Dido's
people came from Ashantee.” sololiquised
Maurice, ‘so I have no doubt she can
work the Infernal thing. IVrhaps she
knows enough to fill the bag with fresh
poison. If the did so. I wouldn't trust
myself near her. She would be sure to ex
periment on me.”
At this moment Major Jen. looking
slightly worried, entered the room, and
seeing the devil-stick In the hand of
Maurice, he stopped short with an ejacu
lation of surprise.
"You are lookinr at that thing. Maur
ice?” said he, wonderingiy. "Now that Ut
strange.”
•“Why should It be s’range?”
“Because I have Just been talking
about It with Dr. Etwald.”
”Oh'.” said Maurice, his thoughts fly
ing back to »he mysterious Influence
which he had seen Etwald exercise over
Dido. "And what was the doctor say
ing?”
Major Jen threw him«e’f Into a chair,
and frowned.
“A great deal. He saw the devi!-stick
the other right—’*
"Last night!”
"Yes, last night: and to-day he sent a
note, asking if I would ride over and see
him this afternoon. I did so. and he then
explained that he wished to buy that
thing!”
“The devil-stick? Why?”
’1 can’t say. He explained that he had
been in the Barbadoes; and that he took
a great interest in the subject bf African
fetish worship; He had heard of these
•wands of sleep.’ as th«-y are called, and
greatly wished to obtain one. but he was j
unable to do to. Since serin? mine he I
has been seized with a desire to possess
it.”
“Why?” said Maurice again.
“As a curloaity, I suppose. I’va told
you all he told me. But I refused to sell
it to him. and he teemed greatly vexed,
a display of Irritation which in its turn
vexed me. I was quite annoyed when X
left him.*^
“Why don't you wish to sell It, Unci*
Jen?"
“Dccause It ls« a dangerous thing to
handle. Although the poison Is dried up. ,
yet there may be enough In It to kill a
man. If I parted with It and. anyone was
Injured by It I should never forgive my
self. Pray put It up. Maurice; I dislike
to see you touch It. To-night, after din
ner. I shall lock It up in a safe placa.
David Is right; It should not be on tha
wall there.”
“David has gone over to see Taidy M«*g.,H
“Yes. I don’t tWnk he will be hack
until after dinner." said Jen. rising. "8<>
you and I had better sit down as soon a*
we are dressed. I am very hungry."
"t'nclo Jen, I want to ask you soma
thlng."
-What Is It?" o*ked the Major, pausing
at the door.
“Do you wish David to marry Isabella
Dallas?"
Jen I esltated.
"I really can't fay," he said. “That la
a matter wtyich lies In the hands of thn
girl herself. If she likes you better thanr
David-" ' _ . *
"She does!’* -j
“What? Have you spoken to her?"*
“I have, and to Mrs. Dallas, who de
cline* to mnctlonVuir engagement. Sha
wants Isabella ta marry David, and
said-—" ]
"I can guess whnfshe said.” Interrupted
Jen. hastily. "No Inure of thla till aftei
dinner, my dear lAd. Then 1 11 explain
all” \ /
“Explnlrt what?"
"Why Mrs.
■ marry David.’
the Major e ty
ment, so Mau
room In a very
1 luwMvjjr
mystery
was a
did not ret
a tete-a-tete with hla guardian,
talked of Indifferent things, a
not until they were once
smoking-room with cigars
that the Major consented to
subject of Mrs. Dallas’
"Now. my boy. 1
TIere Jen atopped
the wall.
"What Is the matter
In surprise.
"The devll-stlck’" gasp
a shaking hand at the
stick!"
Maurice looked—the
gone!
fTo be
'in: WAS HEADY.
- ^
Certain Things Had To Be Done First, <
of Course, but They Were Disposed'
Of.
Dolby and his wife were going out
the other evening, and Dolby gave him
self up to the comfort# of his pipe and
morris chair until 20 minutes before
time to start. Then he "flew around"
in this fashion.
"Here, Mary," to his wife, "Just lay
out my things, will you? Put thf
studs in my shirt, won’t you? And
just slip the buttons into my cuffs.
Don’t forget, a clean collar, and I guess
I’ll change my underwear if you'll lay
out a suit. And can't you find time to
change my suspenders to my even
I ing trousers and put a little liquid
| dressing on my shoes? Then I'll want
| you to tie my tie and—O, Just brush
! my hat up a little, won’t you? Yes,
and there’s a string needed in one of
my evening shoes. See to it, won’t
you, dear? Where’* my comb and”
brush? No, thpy’re not where I left
them last, for I left them right here
on the dresser. I can swear that I
did. Find them, please, and then take
the whisk broom and brush my coat
a little. I think that there is a little)
spot on the collar that you’ll have to
sponge out, and there I* a button ^
needed on my trousers. I forgot to
tell you before. Can't you button thi*
blamed collar for me? It’s so stiff £
can’t do a thing with it Now tie my
tie, please, and slip a cl^an handker
chief into my coat pocket, and then
good Lord, woman, it's time we wero
off now! And here you’re not half
dressed! What have you been doing?
Here I’m nearly ready, and you—well,
if you women don’t beat the Dutch
when it come* to dilly-daliyfng. I've
a good mind to go off without yon,
to teach you to be ready on time neaf
time we’re going any place! Now,
hurry up. Here I’m all ready."—Ne*
York World.
-o-—
ACCOMPLISHED.
- *1 I
“It’s very difficult to tell a good can
teloupe wi tasting it," remarked
the caler.
‘‘Yes,’’ Mrs. Sinnlck: "but out
cook can L At ail event* she nevez
lets one ge to the table."
9
"I have r home.” the loiterer sighed.
The millionaire replied,
"If you one, 'twould make yon
What th did to yon.’*
"Whe Chart* signed?**
asked a south of Londoa
board sc
"
don Tit

xml | txt