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WHO IS GUILTY



WHO IS GUILTY



BY •

PHILIP WOOLF, M.D.



CASSELL & COMPANY, Limited
739 & 741 Broadway, New York



Copyright,
1886,
By O. M. DUNHAM.



Press of W. L. Mershon Si Co.,
Rahway, N . J.



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.

PAGE.
THE STORM 9

CHAPTER n.

THE DISCOVERY, 21

CHAPTER HI.
A WARNING, 37

CHAPTER IV.
A BEGINNING, 4I

CHAPTER V.

ON THE TRAIL 50

CHAPTER VI.

AN EXPLORING EXPEDITION 66

CHAPTER VH.

WISDOM AND BEAUTY, 78

CHAPTER Vni.

WEAVING HEMP, 86



VI CONTENTS.

CHAPTER IX.

PAGE.

A LEGAL OPINION, lOO

CHAPTER X.

A NEW ARRIVAL Il8

CHAPTER XI.

A LECTURE AND A SURPRISE, .... I34

CHAPTER XII.

MISS CHURCHILL ON THE TRAIL, . . . I48

CHAPTER XIII.

CUNNING MATCHES CUNNING, .... 162

CHAPTER XIV.

MISS CHURCHILL RECEIVES A WARNING, . . \^\

CHAPTER XV.

A VISIT AND A DISAPPEARANCE, . . . I95

CHAPTER XVI.

LIGHT AND DARKNESS, 207

CHAPTER XVII.

DISCOVERED AT LAST 230



WHO IS GUILTY?



CHAPTER I.



THE STORM.



LESBIA VILLA, where the mutilated body-
was found, is in Cypressville, and Cypress-
ville is a fashionable summer retreat within a few
miles of a great city.

It was a pleasant morning in early autumn ; a
gray, gusty morning with filmy clouds speeding
across the gloomy sky. The distant hills and the
ocean were enveloped in a trail of mist which, in
the hollows of the woods, was changed to a thick
fog. The invigorating, blustering wind, blowing
inward from the ocean, was plowing furrows
through the mist, tearing it into shreds, and tossing
it in the air as invisible vapor. The trees quivered
in wild ecstasy, regardless of the fact that their
leaves were changing color, and that each wind-
puff whirled about their dead companions in a
wild, Macabre dance. A pleasant morning ; not-
withstanding its threats of rain and its premature



10 WHO IS GUILTY?

chilliness, especially pleasant to two persons who
stood on the lawn before the large and quaint
Queen Anne house, known throughout Cypressville
as " Woodbine Cottage ". It was in the days
before lawn-tennis had become a fashion, and the
man and the woman were concealing their deeper
feelings under the mask of the useful but unex-
citing croquet.

The woman was young and pretty, with unusually
bright eyes, and with a certain wildness in her
gayety suggesting an intensely nervous disposition.
She was, seemingly, indifferent to the game, or she
had not full control of her arms, for she struck her
ball recklessly and always sent it wide of the
mark.

The man was tall and strongly built. His eyes
were blue with a mild, amiable light in them. An
elaborate blonde mustache and side whiskers orna-
mented his face, and his manners and actions sug-
gested those of a soldier. He was, in fact. Captain
Travers of the British army, on a furlough for the
purpose of restoring the health that he had lost in
India. He had been introduced to the inmates of
the cottage several weeks before by his friend
Doctor Dubois, and in the cottage he had remained
an honored guest ever since. The covert, tender
glances that he cast at his companion indicated
that the athletic warrior was in love.

An unusually bad shot of the young lady
loosened his tongue.

•* Really, Miss Gower, you are not well this



THE STORM. 11

morning," he said with great solicitude. " You
are awfully nervous and your face has lost all its
smiles. I hope that the letter you received a while
ago didn't contain bad news ! "

" It was a common-place enough letter, Captain
Travers," she answered with a forced smile. " But
I am not well this morning, and I fear I shall not
be able to accompany you in the visit to our friends
as I intended."

" Then I won't go either ! "

" But you must," she said firmly. " We have
been accused of selfishly keeping you and Doctor
Dubois to ourselves. The open-air party was given
on your account."

** It's a beastly day. Miss Gower, and the end of
the season, and I prefer to remain here."

" You must obey me, sir," she answered with a
light laugh that ended in a sigh. " I will retire to
my own room and try to forget my headache in
sleep."

" You do look awfully pale," said the sympa-
thetic captain. " Hadn't you better see the
doctor ? "

She started and shivered.

" Any thing but that ! " she said wildly. " I
mean," she explained with a forced smile, " I have
a horror of being regarded as an invalid."

"But if I must go, I should like to hear the
doctor's opinion. See, he is coming down the
steps now ! "

" And I refuse his prescription in advance," she



1 2 tVHO IS G UIL TV?

said hastily, throwing down her mallet. " Good
morning, Captain Travers, and I hope you will
have a very pleasant time."

With the words she waved him a farewell, and
with a whispered " God bless you ", disappeared in
a direction opposite that in which the doctor was
coming.

The doctor was small as to height, hardly touch-
ing the rule at five feet three inches. He was
forty-five years of age, but was prematurely bald,
and the coarse, gray hair that fringed his skull was
as rigid as steel wire. His cheeks were closely
shaven, but a wiry, gray mustache curved upward
under his eagle nose and overshadowed a large
mouth ornamented with the whitest and strongest of
teeth. Shaggy, coarse eyebrows projected over a
pair of bright, penetrating gray eyes, and marked
the base of a high, narrow forehead. It was a
ruddy, smiling, intelligent face, indented with the
furrows of thought, and winning the admiration it
deserved. For Doctor Dubois was a world-famous
man, an honored member of all the important
scientific societies foreign and native, with a multi-
tude of distinguished friends, hosts of grateful
patients ; vain, tender-hearted ; a great admirer of
women, and fully appreciating his own talents. He
was dressed in a suit of formal black, and his one
eccentricity was revealed in a narrow, blood-red
necktie that encircled his neck.

He approached the captain, watch in hand. " It's
ten o'clock, Travers, and time to be off."



THE STORM. 13

" Miss Gower has refused to come ! "

" That is no excuse for you ! Mr. Morris has
refused to come ; that is no excuse for me. You
are going and I am going," he said authoritatively,
" and we intend to smoke a cigar on the way.
Light up and cheer up."

" She has changed awfully of late," sighed the dis-
consolate captain. " I once thought I had a chance,
but I'm afraid I must give it up. The bloom has
faded from her cheeks, and all her energy has
changed into nervousness."

" I will listen to you as we walk, Travers.
We must not lose time. Come ! "

They walked over the sloping lawn, and emerged
into a quiet little lane overarched by trees.

" What was her excuse for not coming ? " asked
the doctor, after a pause.

" A headache."

" Morris was more honest. The truth is, that
the people we are going to see are unexpectedly
honored with the visit of a man whom Morris and
his niece dislike. Why, I don't know or care.
This man is a Mr. Hugo Addison, who returned
from a long pleasure voyage in his yacht, after he
and his yacht were supposed to have been swallowed
up in the waves. This individual is to be a guest
of our friends ; I believe he has even the intention
of giving us all a little trip in his yacht. Be this so
or not, he is the real cause why Morris and his
niece do not accompany us, although I am ordered
to give a more diplomatic excuse for their absence."



14 WHO IS GUILTY?

" But she is really ill, doctor."

" She will recover ! " was the dry answer.

" Poor little thing ; it worries me awfully ! "

" You will recover, too ! See here, Travers, I can
only spare myself a few days' vacation. Let me beg
of you not to overwhelm me with your confidence
until we return to the city."

The captain accepted the hint and remained
silent ; but he thought only the more. He walked
onward with a shadow on his face and gloom in
his heart.

They both received a very hearty welcome at
their journey's end from the jovial Mr. Tenterden
and his guests, who, despite the theatening weather,
were also engaged in the unstimulating game of
croquet, and gay words and gayer laughter defied
clouds and piping winds.

The women of the party had thrown shawls or
wraps over their shoulders on emergmg from the
house ; but as their blood became warmed by
exercise these were carelessly thrown aside or sen-
timentally carried by happy cavaliers.

The natural joy of hearty youth was increased
by the knowledge that the season was nearly at
an end, and that in a few days, the great dusty
city would absorb these pilgrims of summer and
fashion, and the little village be surrendered to
dust, desolation and the vulgar aborigines who
were neither rich nor fashionable.

The doctor avoided the tempting snares that were
set for him, but the helpless captain was appropri-



THE STORM. IS

ated by a vivacious blonde with an elaborate head
of red hair, and a pretty but insipid face. Miss
Selina Carlyle was doubtless very attractive ; but
she only wearied the moody captain.

" I really didn't expect to see you, Captain
Travers. Your friends have kept you so cruelly
secluded that I thought I should never see you."

" I came over here with the Indian malaria in my
blood, and seclusion was what I needed."

" Yes, but they might have amused you with some
company," continued the very pert young lady,
" though I suppose, under the circumstances, they
would find it difficult ? "

" May I ask why ? "

" Don't you really know ? " she asked, with
an affectation of great surprise. " Forgive me,
then ! your seclusion has been very complete. But
I really fear we shall not be able to enjoy the yacht
voyage after all, it does so look like rain. But I
suppose you don't care ? "

" I fear, not greatly."

" But they say that Mr. Addison's yacht is such a
great curiosity. He has been away a year, and he
gathered odd things from all parts of the world, till
I am told it is a perfect little palace. And how
strange it was ; all his friends really mourned his
death, supposing the newspaper report was true, and
that he had been drowned, and none of us knew
that he was in the land of the living, until he himself
appeared with the happy news. I suppose you don't
know him, Captain Travers ? "



l6 WHO IS GUILTY?

" I have not that honor."

" Of course not. How absurd to ask ! But I
know you will like him ; he is such a perfect gentle-
man ! And so chivalrous ! Always doing some
charity or delighting his friends with some delicious
little surprises. I am so glad you have come ! "

" Miss Gower is ill, and at first I had no intention
of coming without her."

" I didn't know she was invited! " said Miss Selina,
with a little spiteful, cattish purr. " One can see
that you are not curious. But do tell me about
India and tigers ! I perfectly dote on both ! "

While the captain was suffering this martyrdom,
the doctor was quietly walking about, exchanging a
few pleasant words with all the pretty women, and
honoring the men with an abrupt nod of the head.
But his was a social, not gregarious nature; and
where one or two would have amused, a greater
number of chattering people only bored him ; and
he crept away to enjoy a cigar in solitude.

Leaving the lawn, he entered a quiet little path
that led downward to the gate, where he was sud-
denly confronted by a gentlemanly man who had
seemingly been running, for he was out of breath. A
tall man, with russet-colored side whiskers and
mustache ornamenting a pale, excited face.

" Pardon me," he gasped, " but can you tell me
if Miss Gower is here ? "

" She is at her home — Woodbine Villa ! "

" I have been there ; but was told that she had
gone out."



THE STORM. 17

" She is not here ! " said the doctor, with a shrug
of the shoulders.

The man paused irresolutely, then murmured, with
a frown :

" It will be too late, too late ! " and, turning on his
heel, disappeared.

" A madman ! " said the doctor quietly, puffing
away the incident in a cloud of smoke.

As the morning wore away, the expected pleasure-
trip became the topic of general conversation, and
its liberal, agreeable owner, of general commenda-
tion. When, in the afternoon, the women retired to
prepare for what promised to be a boisterous voyage*
a few of the more active men descended the bluff
leading to the shore, and walked out on the private
dock to smoke their cigars and to watch for the
expected yacht.

Among'the idlers on the dock were Doctor Dubois
and the wearied captain, who would have faced a
score of tigers rather than again submit himself to
the society of the vivacious but spiteful Miss Selina
Carlyle, whose wearisome conversation had made
him disgusted with the world in general and himself
in particular.

There had been several light showers in the after-
noon, of a few minutes' duration each, but now a
heavy storm, was threatening. The doctor glanced
up at the sky and while holding his hat on his head
puffed vigorously at his cigar.

" A breezy day, doctor ! " said the stout man
standing beside him.



l8 WHO IS GUILTY?

"■ Too breezy for a trip on the water, Mr. Ascham;
at least for me. I shall lie in the veranda on the
least windy side of the house, and leave sea-sickness
to my friends."

" It would be a shame to desert us when we most
need you, doctor. But, I say," he added, suddenly,
turning to his friends, " look yonder, and tell me
if you recognize the figure pulling away so lustily
in yonder row-boat. If it isn't Tom Merton I'll eat
my head ! What do you say, Ascham ? "

" I say it is Tom Merton, and it looks as if he
were pulling away from some of his creditors."

" Yes ; and I am hanged if he isn't going aboard
the sail-boat yonder, that has been hovering around
here the entire morning. Look ! it is sailing down
toward the city, and will have somc^of its sails
ripped in its hurry to get along ! Doctor, if a body
is fished up and lands at the morgue, look in its
pockets, and if you discover bad cigars and lots of
unpaid bills, call it Tom Merton. But, I say, isn't
it a little late for Hugo ? He was to be here with
his yacht at one, and it's nearly four."

" The threatening weather is holding him back,
and Tom Merton is a fool to brave it. But come,
doctor, let us beat a retreat before the squall reaches
us."

They had hardly reached the veranda, where the
women had already gathered, than a vivid flash of
lightning cut a flaming zig-zag path through the
black clouds, and was almost immediately followed
by a loud, reverberating peal of thunder. The entire



THE STORM. 1 9

landscape was concealed under a ghastly, greenish
fog, through which the forked lightning cut its way.
The wind had died away, but now suddenly rose
with a shriek from a new quarter, bringing with
it a rain that poured down in sheeted masses to the
earth.

The storm passed as suddenly as it had appeared.
A bright blue sky was overhead, and a warm sun-
light shone down on the soaked earth. There was
a sudden cry of '* Max ! " " Max ! " as a tall figure,
with strongly-marked and strongly-lined features,
walked up the gravel pathway and ascended the
steps leading to the veranda.

The new-comer was unknown to Captain Travers,
who was attracted by the characteristically firm,
handsome face.

"A good leonine head that," he said, turning to
the young woman near him, *' with its gray mane
and honest eyes. Pray, who is it ? "

" That is Mr. Hugo Addison's servant and
devoted friend."

" You didn't come up through the storm. Max,
surely ? "

" I obeyed orders ; which were that the yacht '
should reach here by a certain time. I have lost
three hours from the storm."

" Is your master aboard ? "

•" No, he had an appointment in the village. Last
night he sent me down to the city for the yacht — it
has just been scraped — he said he would meet me
here."



20 WHO IS GUILTY?

" But we haven't caught a ghmpse of hhii all
day."

" He said he would come," repeated the old man
firmly, " and come he will. Please inform him that
I am waiting his orders in the yacht."

But the afternoon passed away, and still the man
for whom all waited did not appear.

" This is very strange ! " said the burly Mr.
Ascham, consulting his watch for the twentieth time.
" I think I'll drop over to Lesbia Villa to see what
the matter is. Doctor, would you like a little
walk ? "

" I do not object ! "

" May I also come ? " asked Captain Travers, anx-
ious to escape from his sad thoughts.

" By all means," nodded the doctor. " Come, we
shall have a pleasant little promenade at least.
They tell me that Mr. Addison's house is delight-
fully quaint."



CHAPTER II.



THE DISCOVERY.



IT was a large, quaint house of many gables,
built on a terrace, and surrounded by many acres
of rich cultivated ground. Facing the street the
ground was laid out in lawns and flower-beds ;
facing the narrow lane at the back was an extensive
orchard and kitchen-garden. To the right, from
the street, was a glass house of large dimensions,
coQtaining not only tropical plants, but fruit trees
of full height, and rare shrubs that would not bear
exposure to the changeable climate.

Unfortunately, evidences of neglect were every-
where : grass was growing in the pathways ; the
statues on the lawn were overgrown with moss ;
the basin of the marble-fountain was filled with
dust and dead leaves ; windows were broken in the
hot-house ; boring-beetles had eaten to the hearts
of many trees, and the canker-worms were busy in
defoliating many more.

The house itself defied all regularity ; numerous
miniature roofs shot in all directions from the main
roof ; angles and gables were everywhere, with
quaint windows peeping through the woodbine and
ivy ; with chimneys in impossible positions ; with



2 2 WHO IS GUILTY?

roof edges running almost to the ground, when
they should have been high in the air ; with
abruptly-ending balconies, seemingly having no
supports ; a veranda that twisted and contorted
itself like an ungraceful snake ; possibility defied,
impossibility converted into fact with the result — a
building that satisfied the utilitarian and the artist
at the same time, even if it had been planned by an
inspired madman !

" He must have employed a great many work-
men to keep the place in order," said the doctor,
pausing at the gate to admire the picturesque scene.

" He did employ a great many before he went
away. But he has been absent a year and, as you
see, the place has suffered from a year's neglect."

" It looks lonely enough despite its attractions."

" It will soon look busy, as I am told he intends
to alter the house and improve the grounds. At
present it is cheerless."

They pushed open the rusty iron gate, ascended
the broad grass-grown path, and finally paused
before a massive oak door, the rich carvings of
which had gathered additional beauties from age.

" Old ocean approaches pretty close," said the
doctor, gazing downward on a broad stretch of
water that, toward the left, was only separated
from the boundary of the estate by a narrow belt
of sand.

" He has a poet's love for the ocean," answered
Mr. Ascham, " and for books. The entire floor,
on both sides of the door, he has devoted to his



THE DISCO VER Y. 23

library ; and in the library we shall find him
absorbed in some old book, after his long absence
from them, and perfectly oblivious of the passage
of time."

Mr. Ascham spoke with a surety he did not feel ;
and the hand that raised the heavy knocker was
slightly tremulous. The blows fell slowly and sol-
emnly, and were heard reverberating from the many
angles of the hall within. They were repeated
again and again but they brought no human
response.

" None but the dead would fail to hear that clat-
ter," said the captain impatiently.

" Have a little patience, Travers," answered the
doctor. '* And while waiting, admire the sunset in
the ocean yonder. I'll wager you never saw a
prettier sight in all your travels ! "

" It is beautiful," said the captain, after facing
the dazzling west for a few moments in silence.
" By Jove ! you can see the twilight conquering
the light."

Mr. Ascham was growing alarmed as well as im-
patient.

They left the veranda, and now stood in the path-
way, looking up at the house.

" All the windows are closed, on this side at
least," said the doctor. " We have had our walk
for nothing ! "

The captain had left his companions and dis-
appeared around an angle of the house. In a
moment he returned, with a startled face, and the



24 WHO IS GUILTY?

words : " There is a window open on this side, and,
by Jove ! I don't like the appearance of things."

A narrow flower-bed skirted the side of the
house, to which the captain drew his companions'
attention. There was an open window some ten
feet from the ground, and beneath this window the
flowers were crushed down as if by some heavy
iDody falling on them.

" Look there ! " exclaimed the now thoroughly
excited captain, pointing to a mass of ivy that had
been pulled from the wall. *' What do you call that
stuff on the bruised leaves, doctor ? "

" Blood ! " was the calm answer. " I am not a
detective, gentlemen ; but the hand that grasped
that ivy was covered with blood. It would be
wiser to summon the authorities ! "

" Hang the authorities ! " said the impetuous
captain. " While we are waiting for red-tape to
arrive some poor fellow may die. At any rate I
am going to run the risk and enter the house. I
won't sneak away, fearing for the consequences,
when my friend's friend may need my aid ! "

This gallant speech was gratefully acknowledged
by Mr. Ascham, to whose natural feebleness of age
were now added excitement and terror.

" It's easy to climb in at the open window," con-
tinued the captain, "and in I'm going."

" Don't disturb any thing within or without,"
whispered the cautious doctor. " If a crime has
been committed, what seem trifles to us will prove
of the greatest importance to others. Climb in



THE DISCO VER V. 25

from the other side — on the side opposite the
blood marks, captain."

" All right, doctor, and here goes ! "

The captain was tall of figure and strong of
limb, and the window was almost within reach of
his outstretched hands. He grasped the ivy with
one hand, made a leap, and easily caught hold of
the window sill with the other hand. In a moment
he had pulled himself up and disappeared from his
friends' view. In a brief space he reappeared at
the window with pale, perspiring and horrified
face.

" A dead body, doctor ! " he gasped. *' Dead
and covered with blood ! "

Mr. Ascham staggered at the words and caught
hold of a tree trunk for support. The doctor was
calm and undisturbed.

" Open the door, captain," he said quietly ;
" perhaps I may be of some use. The door is to
your right as you are facing us ; around the angle."

The doctor, drawing his trembling friend after
him, passed around to the front of the house, and
after much hesitancy from the inside, the oak door
was finally opened.

The sun had set, and the interior of the house
was dark and gloomy.

" Wait where you are, Ascham," said the doctor
with authority. " You are not in a condition to
come with us, and you will be of use afterward.
Show me the way, captain ! "

" It's right here," said the captain, pointing into



26 WHO IS GUILTY ?

the large, dark room on the right side of the hall.
" Near the window ! "

Yes ; near the window the body of a man, with
its pale, blood-dabbled face turned upward to the
ceiling !

The doctor stooped down beside it, raised the
stiff head for a moment, gently dropped it, and then
rose to his feet.

" We are too late, captain," he said quietly.
" He has been dead some six hours, and died from
a pistol bullet in his brain ! "

" Suicide, perhaps," said the captain, conquering
his own fear in the presence of the calm doctor.

" Suicide ? Impossible ! The wound is from
behind and above. He was murdered, captain,
brutally murdered ! "

" What is to be done ? "

" We are trespassers, and must wait for the law.
Nothing can be done until the law, personified by
an intellectual coroner or deputy, puts in its ap-
pearance. We have gone so far and must now
continue to the end. Escort our helpless friend
home, and then as quickly as possible notify the
authorities. My punishment shall be to wait here


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