« AnteriorContinuar »
up all hope of finding the treasure, then?"
dangerous. Have you given wife. They treated me real kind, and asked me to come and stop at the farm. I'm going out there to-night."
"I guess not. That brings us back to where we started off. Are you still determined that you won't lend a hand to help me with Marigold?"
"My position is difficult," I said thoughtfully. "A great deal depends upon what you want me to do."
"If only I could convince you that I am on the straight, Seaton, we'd get on a darned sight faster. I treated the Squire straight all through. I've told you my story as straight as a die, and I'll prove to you now that I'm going to play straight with Marigold and her respected dad right to the finish. Look here -here's a couple of copies of the cipher." He drew them from his pocket as he spoke. "I want you to take one of them to Marigold, and tell her all you know about it. She may show it to her father or not, as she chooses. Tell her that I would like to meet her and talk to her about it, but that if she'd rather not see me I'll keep out of her wayfor the present. That's all I ask of you, Seaton.
"This other copy I mean to give to my other cousin at Blackdykes, where I'm going to stay for a bit."
"Going to stay at Blackdykes?" I exclaimed, quite taken aback by this latest development.
"Why not?" asked Morgan, He looked at me in innocent surprise. "I've been out to see Roy Tanish and his VOL, CCVII.-NO. MCCLII.
Here was a complication! I wondered how much Morgan knew of the relations between Blackdykes and Hopeton. I made a sudden resolution. Morgan had told me the whole of his story-I believed truly. I would tell him what I knew. It could do no harm that I could see.
"Look here, Morgan," said. "What do you know of Roy and his wife?"
"Nothing," he answered. "I got here yesterday, and inquired into things. The landlord told me that the Squire's son lived at Blackdykes, and as he was the only one of the family with whom I hadn't had a row, I thought I'd better call. They received me most politely when I told them who I was."
"Did you speak of the treasure?" I asked.
"Not a word," answered Morgan. "It was the lady who invited me to bring my trunk and nail it to the floora handsome woman, but not my style. Too gloomy and tombstoney for my taste."
"I'm going to tell you all I know of Roy and his wife, Morgan," I said. "I think you are walking into trouble by going there. If you don't find trouble for yourself, you are going to make it for others."
With that I told him the story of the feud between Roy and his father, and the cause of it all. Morgan listened intently while I spoke, his eyes
looking round and innocent through his glasses. I told him of the Flemish document, and how Roy's wife had stolen it in the absence of the Laird. I told him, also, that I believed, from what I had seen myself, that Roy knew nothing about this, and, as far as I could discover, had no knowledge of the treasure whatever. The fact that I had found the paper in his wife's possession, and that he was quite ignorant of its significance, seemed to show that she was playing a lone hand.
"A bit of a dark horse, is Mrs Roy," said Morgan, as I concluded. "Well, Seaton, we've cleared the air a bit with our stories, and I don't think you'd have told me yours if you hadn't begun to trust me a bit more. What am I to do now? If I go to Blackdykes, the Squire will take it that I'm in league against him, and I want to conciliate the old scoundrel for the sake of Marigold."
As I was about to reply, I heard a voice in which I could not be mistaken. Sure enough the door opened a moment afterwards and Betty Forbes walked into the room, bringing with her an atmosphere of colour and beauty. Her rich hair flamed as it caught the evening sunlight-there was a flush of heightened colour in her face-and from her brown eyes there sparkled a new excitement.
"Still here, Bob," she exclaimed as she entered. "I thought I might catch you. Please exouse this intrusion Mr Morgan. It is important that
I should speak to Dr Seaton as quickly as possible."
"That's all right, young lady," said Morgan, beaming upon Betty so amiably that one could almost imagine that his spectacles were radiating light; "I'll leave you to have it out with him," and he made as if to go out of the room.
"Just a moment, Morgan," I said, putting my hand upon his shoulder. "Has what you have to say got anything to do with the Tanishes, Betty?"
"Yes, it's about the Lairdand Marie!" replied Betty.
"Then I don't think Mr Morgan need go. He had better hear all there is to hear on that subject."
"Aha!" exelaimed Betty. "I see you have come round to my view of Mr Morgan."
"I hope your view was a favourable one, Miss Forbes," said Morgan earnestly.
"I only said that you look honest," answered Betty. "But I don't claim to be a judge of character."
Her eyes twinkled merrily as she paid him this rather dubious compliment. Morgan bowed deeply, as though overcome by her good opinion.
"Now my news," Betty went on. "You know, before you left, Bob, I said that I'd call upon Marie Tanish again at Blackdykes. A few minutes later the Dad came in, and as the pony had done very little work to-day, I thought I might just as well go at once. I left the trap at the end of the farm road and walked up to the house. As I got no answer to my knook, I wandered round to
the garden at the back, thinking that probably Marie was out amongst the flowers.
"Of course I know-everybody in the district knowsthe kind of terms that Roy and his father are on, so I was naturally astonished to hear the voice of the Monster of the Glen in the garden-and not raised in wrath either!" "The Laird at Blackdykes!" I exclaimed. "There's going to be trouble!"
"That is what I am afraid of-if Rey comes home," agreed Betty. "You know that I dislike meeting the Laird. When I heard that he was there, I stopped for a moment to think what I should do. I had no intention of eavesdropping, but I overheard a few words which showed me that the Monster and Marie are quite friendly again. What I heard was something like
gold has told me all that happened after her return with her father from America, and I know the tempers of both men. You have a lot of influence with the Laird, Bob, so I thought it best to see you at once."
"Hang it all, Betty," I protested, "I'm only Duncan's tutor and nurse. I can't go off to Blaokdykes and insist on taking the Laird home and putting him to bed."
"I don't think there is anything to be_done," declared Morgan. "From what Miss Forbes has told us, I should say the Squire was just about at the end of his interview with Mrs Roy. They had made some bargain. Probably he left soon after."
"I daresay you are right," I agreed, the more willingly as I did not want to be mixed up in the affair.
"Then you think I have been agitating myself about nothing?" said Betty in disappointed tone.
"On the contrary, it's likely that it will prove a pretty serious business," replied Morgan. "The Squire and Marie are in league for the discovery of the treasure, and Roy is being left in the dark. If ever he finds out anything, blood will flow- at least it would in the States!"
"What do you mean by the treasure?" demanded Betty.
"Seaton will tell you all about it, Miss Forbes. I must get away." Then, turning to me, he continued, "This latest news has deoided me. I am going to stay
had managed to have his own way again. I had begun this interview with him, determined that he should have no help from me in his schemes, and now I found myself willingly taking his instructions.
"By the way," he resumed,
at Blackdykes. I want to see so, I thought how Morgan more of Roy's wife. But I shall say nothing of the eipher. As I told you, I meant that Roy should have a copy, but for the present I shall keep it dark. Tell Marigold as much of my story as you think fit. Give her this copy of the cipher, and see if she can make anything of it. She may show it to her father if she likes. See if you can solve the thing yourself. Miss Forbes here will lend you a hand, and she is a cute one. We're all in the running now, and if any one of us can make good, we'll share the profits."
I took the copy of the cipher, folded it, and put it in my pocket; and as I did
we must make some arrangement to meet. I can't come to Hopeton at present, and you don't want to be seen at Blackdykes.'
"But you can both come to Kilbrennan, and either meet at our house, or leave messages for each other with me," said Betty.
"The very thing," agreed Morgan, and at that we left it.
(To be continued.)
AN AIRMAN'S EXPERIENCES IN EAST AFRICA.
BY LEO WALMSLEY.
XVI. TO NORTHE Y.
ON my discharge from the base hospital at Daresalam I was ordered by the Squadron to report to the officer in charge of A-Flight at Iringa, a "late" German military post in the Highlands, some 250 miles in from the coast. Two days later I arrived by rail at Dodoma, whence the road ran almost due south to my destination.
poor natives had to endure terrible hardships. The water softened their otherwise leathery feet, rendering them liable to constant wounds from thorns and sharp roots, and never for one minute while they were in the swamp could they take down the leads of flour or meal from their heads. Many of them were suffering from aoute dysentery or malaria, and we passed quite a number of corpses rotting in the water. The bridge over the Ruaha river was said to be in danger of being washed away at any minute, and with the floods steadily rising there was an excellent chance of our being out off completely and drowned. To add to my miseries, the wet brought on another attack of malaria. However, we staggered on as best we could, crossed the bridge in safety four hours before it was washed away, and by dusk reached dry land, I rested here for a day or two until the fever had abated, and then pushed on once more to Iringa, where I arrived on the evening of the tenth day of my safari.
The rains were becoming very heavy, and according to the natives all communication with Iringa would be broken down before the end of the week. I left early next morning with two Ford light lorries. The road was practically a canal, and the Ford was the only type of car that could make any headway at all. Thirty miles from Dodoma I had to abandon the idea of proceeding by motor, and ordered the drivers to get back as best they could, transferring my kit and stores to a dozen porters whom I procured from a local village. After three days' hard marching we reached the Ruaha river swamps, where for twelve miles the read lay under a sheet of turgid water averag- I reported to Captain Hodging 4 feet in depth. Along kinson (otherwise "Hodge "), this "road" was passing a was passing a my new Flight-Commander. continuous stream of porters, He was one of the old Henry bearing much-needed rations Farman pilots, and he had to the troops ahead. These participated in many 8