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   Chapter 24 BETWEEN THE ACTS

That Mainwaring Affair By A. Maynard Barbour Characters: 31581

Updated: 2017-11-28 00:07


For the ten days next ensuing the public craving for sensational developments in the Mainwaring case seemed likely to be gratified to an unusual degree. To the exciting scenes of the court-room was added the suicide of Mrs. LaGrange, immediately followed by news of the discovery that Richard Hobson, the unwilling witness in the previous day's proceedings, had absconded, leaving not the slightest indication of even the direction in which he had vanished. By many the suicide of the one and the sudden disappearance of the other, occurring simultaneously, were considered as prima facie evidence that the two, so closely associated with each other, had been in some way connected with the Fair Oaks tragedy.

From this phase of the affair, however, public attention was speedily diverted by the report that proceedings to contest the old will had been instituted, but in the name of Ralph Mainwaring and his brother, Harold W. Mainwaring; his son, the sole heir under the will of Hugh Mainwaring, having altogether withdrawn from the contest. This had caused an open rupture between father and son, and the latter had established himself in a suite of apartments at the Murray Hill.

Young Mainwaring's course occasioned great surprise; many commended his wisdom, but few gave him credit for the genuine sense of honor which had actuated him.

"A neat little stroke of diplomacy," said one club-man to another, "and worthy of Hugh Mainwaring himself! There is no show for him, anyway, and it's much better policy to yield the point now, don't you see, than to fight it out along with that pig-headed father of his."

"He understands on which side his bread is buttered, and don't you forget it, my dear boy," was the laughing rejoinder. "It's always best to stand in with the winning side; he won't lose anything in the long run, and he knows it."

Such remarks occasionally reached young Mainwaring, making him exceedingly indignant.

"You may say, once and for all," he said to a reporter who was interviewing him in his apartments at the Murray Hill, "that in withdrawing from this contest I am not currying favor with Harold Scott Mainwaring. He and I are the best of friends, but that fact would not hinder me from giving him a fair and square fight if there were the slightest doubt as to the validity of his claim. But there isn't; he has proved his right, legally and morally, to the property, and that's enough for me."

"But Mr. Ralph Mainwaring must have some tenable ground for contesting his claim," said the reporter, tentatively, hoping to get some of the inside facts of the case.

Young Mainwaring froze instantly. "I have nothing whatever to say, sir, regarding the governor's action in this matter; any information you desire on that point you will have to obtain from him."

The next development in the Mainwaring case was a report to the effect that the whereabouts of Harold W. Mainwaring could not be ascertained, and it was generally supposed among his London associates that he had followed his brother to America by the next steamer. As this report was supplemented by the further facts that he was a man of no principle, heavily involved in debt, and deeply incensed at Ralph Mainwaring's success in securing for his son the American estate in which he himself had expected to share, public speculation was immediately aroused in a new direction, and "that Mainwaring affair" became the absorbing topic, not alone at the clubs and other places of masculine rendezvous, but at all social gatherings as well.

Regarding the principal actors in this drama, however, around whom public interest really centred, little could be definitely ascertained. To many, who, on the following morning, read the details of the suicide at the Wellington, it was a matter of no small wonder that the name of Harold Scott Mainwaring was not once mentioned in connection with that of the woman shown by the preceding day's testimony to have been so closely related to him. Perhaps no one was more surprised at this omission than Merrick himself but if so, his only comment was made mentally.

"He's got the cinch on them all around, and he'll win, hands down!"

The inquest, held at an early hour, was merely a matter of form, the evidence of intentional suicide being conclusive, and the interment, a few hours later, was strictly private. Excepting the clergyman who read the burial service, there were present only the two sons of the wretched woman.

It was their first meeting since learning of the strange relationship existing between them, and Walter LaGrange, as he entered the presence of the dead, cast a curious glance, half shrinking, half defiant, at the calm, stern face of Harold Mainwaring, who had preceded him. His own face was haggard and drawn, and the hard, rigid lines deepened as his glance fell for an instant on the casket between them. Then his eyes looked straight into those of Harold Mainwaring with an expression almost imploring.

"Tell me," he demanded in low, hoarse tones, "is it true that I am-what she once said and what report is now saying-the son of Hugh Mainwaring?"

"It is true," the other replied, gravely.

"Then curse them both!" he exclaimed, while his hands clinched involuntarily. "What right had they to blight and ruin my life? What right had they to live as they did, and let the stigma, the shame, the curse of it all fall on me? A few months since I had the honor and respect of my classmates and associates; to-day, not one will recognize me, and for no fault of mine!"

"Hush!" interposed Harold Mainwaring; "I know the wrong which has been done you,-they have wronged me, also, far more deeply than you know,-but this is no time or place to recall it!"

The calmness and kindness of his tones seemed to soothe and control his excited companion.

"I know they have wronged you," the latter replied; "but they have not ruined you! You have not only friends and wealth, but, more than all, your father's name. I," he added bitterly, "am a pauper, and worse than a pauper, for I have not even a name!"

For a few moments Harold Mainwaring silently studied the haggard young face confronting him, in which anger was slowly giving place to dull, sullen despair; and his own heart was suddenly moved with pity for the boy.

"Robbed of his birthright before he was born," reared in an atmosphere of treachery and deceit calculated to foster and develop the evil tendencies already inherited; yet, notwithstanding all, so closely akin to himself.

"Walter," he said, gravely, at the same time extending his hand across the casket, "I realize the truth of much that you have said, but you need not allow this to ruin or blight your life. Mark my words, your future from this time forth is, to a great extent, in your own hands; your life will be what you make it, and you alone. See to it that it is not blighted by your own wrong-doing! Be yourself a man of honor, and I will assure you, you can depend upon me to stand by you and to help you." Walter LaGrange raised his eyes in astonishment at these words, containing a pledge of probably the first genuine friendship he had ever known in his young life. He gave a look, searching, almost cynical, into Harold Mainwaring's face; then reading nothing but sincerity, he took the proffered hand, saying brokenly,-

"Do you really mean it? I supposed that you, of all others, would despise me; and it would be no great wonder if you did!"

"It will depend entirely upon yourself, Walter, whether or not I despise you. If I ever do, it will be the result of your own unworthiness, not because of the wrong-doing of others."

There were signs in the boy's face of a brief struggle between the old pride, inherited from his mother, and the self-respect which Harold Mainwaring's words had but just awakened.

"If it were the other fellow," he said, slowly, "the one the old man intended to make his heir, had made me such a proposition, I would tell him to go to the devil; but, by George! if you will stand by me, it's all right, and I'll be man enough anyway that you'll never regret it."

A few days later, Walter LaGrange, penniless and friendless, had disappeared, whither his former associates neither knew nor cared. In a large banking establishment in one of the principal western cities,-a branch of the firm of Mainwaring & Co.,-a young man, known as the ward of Harold Scott Mainwaring, was entered as an employee, with prospect of advancement should he prove himself worthy of responsibility and trust. But of this, as of many other events just then quietly transpiring behind the scenes, little or nothing was known.

Meanwhile, as the days slipped rapidly away, the party at the Waldorf was not idle. There were conferences, numerous and protracted, behind dosed doors, telegrams and cablegrams in cipher flashed hither and thither in multitudinous directions, while Mr. Sutherland seemed fairly ubiquitous. Much of his time, however, was spent in the private parlors of the English party, with frequent journeys to the court-house to ascertain the status of the case. From one of these trips he returned one evening jubilant.

"Well," said he, settling himself comfortably, with a sigh of relief, "the first point in the case is decided in our favor."

"That is a good omen," Mr. Barton replied cheerfully; "but may I inquire to what you refer?"

"I have succeeded in getting the date for the hearing set for the next term of court, which opens early in December."

"I am glad to hear it; a little time just now is of the utmost importance to our interests. Did you have any difficulty in securing a postponement until the next term?"

"Whitney, of course, opposed it strongly. He said his client wanted the matter settled at the earliest possible moment; but I told him that so long as Ralph Mainwaring persisted in butting against a stone wall, just so long a speedy settlement was out of the question; it was bound to be a hard fight, and would be carried over into the next term in any event. Then I had a private interview with Judge Bingham, and, without giving particulars, told him that new developments had arisen, and, with a little time in which to procure certain evidence, we would have our opponents completely floored,-they would not even have an inch of room left to stand upon,-while under present conditions, Mainwaring, so long as he had a shilling, would, if beaten, move for a new trial, or appeal to a higher court,-anything to keep up the fight. So he will grant us till December, which, I am inclined to think, will be ample time."

"It looks now," said Mr. Barton, producing a telegram, "as though we might succeed in securing that evidence much sooner than we have anticipated. What do you think of that?" and he handed the despatch to Mr. Sutherland.

The face of the latter brightened as he glanced rapidly over the yellow sheet.

"The dickens! McCabe has left the city!" he exclaimed.

Mr. Barton bowed. "Which means," he said in reply, "that he has evidently struck the scent; and when he once starts on the trail, it is only a question of time-and usually not any great length of time, either-before he runs his game to cover."

"Well," ejaculated Mr. Sutherland, rubbing his hands together enthusiastically, "I, for one, want to be 'in at the death' on this, for it will simply be the finest piece of work, the grandest denouement, of any case that has ever come within my twenty years of legal experience!"

Mr. Barton smiled. "My brother is evidently of the same opinion with yourself," he said. "I received a cablegram from him to-day, requesting me to inform him at once of the date set for the hearing, as he stated he would not, for a kingdom, fail of being present at the trial."

With the announcement that the case of Mainwaring versus Mainwaring had been set for the opening of the December term of court, the public paused to take breath and to wonder at this unlooked-for delay, but preparations for the coming contest were continued with unabated vigor on both sides. Contrary to all expectations, Ralph Mainwaring, so far from objecting to the postponement of the case, took special pains to express his entire satisfaction with this turn of affairs.

"It is an indication of conscious weakness on their part," he remarked with great complacency, as he and Mr. Whitney were dining at the club on the following day. "They have evidently discovered some flaw in their defence which it will take some time to repair. I can afford to wait, however; my attorneys and experts will soon be here, and while our side could easily have been in readiness in a much shorter time, this, of course, will give us an opportunity for still more elaborate preparation, so that we will gain an immense advantage over them."

"I suppose, Mr. Mainwaring," said one of his listeners, giving a quick side-glance at his companions, "I suppose that during this interim a truce will be declared, and for the time being there will be a cessation of hostilities between the parties in interest, will there not?"

"Sir!" roared Ralph Mainwaring, transfixing the speaker with a stare calculated to annihilate him.

"I beg pardon, sir, I intended no offence," continued the irrepressible young American, ignoring the warning signals from his associates; "it only occurred to me that with such an immense advantage on your side you could afford to be magnanimous and treat your opponent with some consideration."

"I am not accustomed to showing magnanimity or consideration to any but my own equals," the other rejoined, with freezing dignity; "and the fact that my 'opponent,' as you are pleased to designate him, is, for the present, allowed liberty to go and come at his pleasure, although under strict surveillance, is, in this instance, sufficient consideration."

"Harold Scott Mainwaring under surveillance? Incredible!" exclaimed one of the party in a low tone, while the first speaker remarked, "I certainly was unaware that the gentleman in question was to be regarded in the light of a suspected criminal!"

"It is to be presumed," said Ralph Mainwaring, haughtily, stung by the tinge of irony in the other's tone, "that there are a number of points in this case of which people in general are as yet unaware, but upon which they are likely to become enlightened in the near future, when this person who has assumed such a variety of roles will be disclosed in his true light,-not that of a suspected criminal merely, but of a condemned criminal, convicted by a chain of evidence every link of which has been forged by himself."

There was an ominous silence as Ralph Mainwaring rose from the table, broken at last by an elderly gentleman seated at a little distance, who, while apparently an interested listener, had taken no part in the conversation.

"Begging your pardon, Mr. Mainwaring, I would judge the charges which you would prefer against this young man to be unusually serious; may I inquire their nature?"

The words were spoken with the utmost deliberation, but in the calm, even tones there was an implied challenge, which was all that was needed at that instant to fan Ralph Mainwaring's wrath into a flame. Utterly disregarding a cautionary glance from Mr. Whitney, he turned his monocle upon the speaker, glaring at him in contemptuous silence for a moment.

"You have decidedly the advantage of me, sir, but allow me to say that the person under discussion has not only, with unheard of effrontery, publicly and unblushingly proclaimed himself as a blackmailer and knave, capable of descending to any perfidy or treachery for the purpose of favoring his own base schemes, but he has also, in his inordinate greed and ambition,

unwittingly proved himself by his own statements and conduct to be a villain of the deepest dye; and I will say, furthermore, that if Harold Scott Mainwaring, as he styles himself, ends his days upon the gallows in expiation of the foul murder of Hugh Mainwaring, he will have only himself to thank, for his own words and deeds will have put the noose about his neck."

Having thus expressed himself, Ralph Mainwaring, without waiting for reply, left the room accompanied by Mr. Whitney. The latter made no comment until they were seated in the carriage and rolling down the avenue; then he remarked, casually,-

"I was surprised, Mr. Mainwaring, that you failed to recognize the gentleman who addressed you as you were leaving the table."

"His face was somewhat familiar; I have met him, but I cannot recall when or where. I considered his tone decidedly offensive, however, and I proposed, whoever he might be, to give him to understand that I would brook no interference. Do you know him?"

"I have never met him, but I know of him," the attorney replied, watching his client closely. "He is the Honorable J. Ponsonby Roget, Q. C., of London. I supposed of course that you knew him."

"J. Ponsonby Roget, Queen's Counsel? Egad! I have met him, but it was years ago, and he has aged so that I did not recognize him. Strange!" he added, visibly annoyed. "What the deuce is he doing in this country?"

"That is just what no one is able to say," replied the attorney, slowly. "He is stopping at the Waldorf, with our friends, the English party, but whether as a guest or in a professional capacity, no one has been able to ascertain."

"Zounds, man! why did you not give me this information earlier?"

"For the good and sufficient reason, Mr. Mainwaring, that I did not learn of the facts myself until within the last two hours. My attention was called to the gentleman as I entered the club. I assumed, of course, that you knew him, at least by sight, and when he addressed you I supposed for the instant that you were acquaintances."

"But how came he at the club? None of the party from the Waldorf were with him."

"He was there as the especial guest of Chief-Justice Parmalee, of the Supreme Court, the gentleman on his left. Judge Parmalee spent much of his life in London, and the two are particular friends."

"Well, it's done, and can't be undone, and I don't know that I regret it," Ralph Mainwaring remarked, sullenly. "If he chooses to identify himself with that side of the case he is at liberty to do so, but he has my opinion of his client gratis."

Mr. Whitney made no reply, and the drive was concluded in silence.

Meanwhile, Ralph Mainwaring had no sooner left the club than a chorus of exclamations, protests, and running comments arose on all sides.

"Harold Scott Mainwaring the murderer of Hugh Mainwaring! That is carrying this farce beyond all bounds!"

"If he cannot get possession of the property in any other way, he will send the new heir to the gallows, eh?"

"He will attempt it, too; he is desperate," said one.

"He may make it pretty serious for the young fellow," said another, thoughtfully. "You remember, by his own statements he was the last person who saw Hugh Mainwaring alive; in fact, he was in his library within a few moments preceding his death; and after all that has been brought to light, it's not to be supposed that he had any great affection for his uncle."

"What is this, gentlemen?" said a reporter, briskly, appearing on the scene, note-book in hand. "Any new developments in the Mainwaring case?"

"Yes, a genuine sensation!" shouted two or three voices.

"Gentlemen, attention a moment!" said a commanding voice outside, and an instant later a tall, well-known form entered.

"The ubiquitous Mr. Sutherland!" laughingly announced a jovial young fellow, standing near the entrance.

"Sutherland, how is this?" demanded one of the elder gentlemen. "Have you a private battery concealed about your person with invisible wires distributed throughout the city, that you seem to arrive at any and every spot just on the nick of time?"

"That is one of the secrets of the profession, Mr. Norton, not to be revealed to the uninitiated," replied the attorney, while a quick glance flashed between himself and the Queen's Counsel.

"There is one thing, gentlemen," he continued, with great dignity, "to which I wish to call your attention, particularly you gentlemen of the press. I am aware of the nature of the 'sensation' of which you made mention a moment ago, but I wish it distinctly understood that it is to be given no publicity whatever. The name of my client is not to be bandied about before the public in connection with any of Ralph Mainwaring's imputations or vilifications, for the reason that they are wholly without foundation. We are thoroughly cognizant of that gentleman's intentions regarding our client, and we will meet him on his own ground. In the coming contest we will not only establish beyond all shadow of doubt our client's sole right and title to the Mainwaring estate, but we will, at the same time, forever refute and silence any and every aspersion which Ralph Mainwaring may seek to cast upon him. Even were there any truth in these insinuations, it would be time enough, when the charges should be preferred against our client, to brazen them before the public, but since they are only the product of spleen and malignity, simply consign them to the odium and obloquy to which they are entitled."

"That is right!" responded two or three voices, while the reporter replied, courteously,-

"We will certainly respect your wishes, sir; but you see the public is on the qui vive, so to speak, over this case, and it is our business to get hold of every item which we can to add to the interest. You have checked us off on some rather interesting matter already, I believe."

"Perhaps so," said Mr. Sutherland, quietly, "but I can promise you that before long there will be developments in the case which will give you boys all the interesting matter you will need for some time, and they will be fact, not fabrication."

As the result of Mr. Sutherland's prompt action, the newspapers contained no allusion to that evening's scene at the club; but even his energy and caution were powerless to prevent the spread of the affair from lip to lip. Mentioned scarcely above a whisper, the report rippled onward, the waves widening in all directions, with various alterations and additions, till it was regarded as an open secret in all circles of society. It reached young Mainwaring in his rather secluded bachelor quarters at the Murray Hill, and he bowed his head in shame that a Mainwaring should stoop to so disgraceful an exhibition of his venomous rage and hatred. It reached Harold Scott Mainwaring, and the smouldering fire in the dark eyes gleamed afresh and the proud face grew rigid and stern. Donning overcoat and hat, he left his apartments at the Waldorf; and started forth in the direction of the club most frequented by Ralph Mainwaring and Mr. Whitney.

He had gone but a short distance when he met young Mainwaring. The young men exchanged cordial greetings, and, at Harold's request, his cousin retraced his steps to accompany him.

"Why are you making such a stranger of yourself; Hugh? I have scarcely seen you of late," said Harold, after a little general conversation.

"Well, to be frank with you, old boy, I haven't been around so often as I would like for two reasons; for one thing, I find people generally are not inclined to regard our friendship in the same light that we do. You and I understand one another, and you don't suspect me of any flunkeyism, or any ulterior motive, don't you know,-"

"I understand perfectly," said Harold, as his cousin paused, seeming to find some difficulty in conveying his exact meaning; "and so long as you and I do understand each other, what is the use of paying any attention to outsiders? Whether we were friends, or refused to recognize one another, their small talk and gossip would flow on forever, so why attempt to check it?"

"I believe you are right; but that isn't all of it, don't you know. What I care most about is the governor's losing his head in the way he has lately. It is simply outrageous, the reports he has started in circulation!"

Hugh paused and glanced anxiously into his cousin's face, but the frank, brotherly kindness which he read there reassured him.

"My dear cousin," said Harold, warmly, "nothing that Ralph Mainwaring can ever say or do shall make any difference between us. There are but two contingencies in this connection that I regret."

"And those are what?" the younger man questioned eagerly.

"That he bears the name of Mainwaring, and that he is your father!"

"By Jove! I'm with you on that," the other exclaimed heartily, "and I hope you'll win every point in the game; but I've been awfully cut up over what he has said and done recently. I know that he intends to carry his threats into execution, and I'm afraid he'll make it deucedly unpleasant for you, don't you know."

They had reached the club-house, and Harold Mainwaring, as he paused on the lowest step, smiled brightly into the boyish face, regarding him with such solicitude.

"I understand his intentions as well as you, and know that it would give him great delight to carry them into execution; but, my dear boy, he will never have the opportunity to even make the attempt."

Young Mainwaring's face brightened. "Why, are you prepared to head him off in that direction? By Jove! I'm right glad to know it. Well, I'll be around to the Waldorf in the course of a day or two No, much obliged, but I don't care to go into the club-rooms

to-night; in fact, I haven't been in there since the governor made that after-dinner speech of his. Good-night!"

As Harold Mainwaring sauntered carelessly through the club-rooms, returning the greetings of the select circle of friends which he had made, he was conscious of glances of interest and undisguised curiosity from the many with whom he had no acquaintance. No allusion was made to the subject which he well knew was in their minds, however, until, meeting Mr. Chittenden, the latter drew him aside into an alcove.

"I say, my dear Mainwaring, are you aware that your esteemed kinsman has you under strict surveillance?"

Mainwaring smiled, though his eyes flashed. "I am aware that he has made statements to that effect, although, thus far, his 'surveillance' has interfered in no way either with my duties or pleasures, nor do I apprehend that it will."

"My dear fellow, it is simply preposterous! The man must be insane."

"Is he here this evening?" Mainwaring inquired.

"No; to tell the truth, he has not found it so very congenial here since that outbreak of his; he seldom is here now, excepting, of course, at meals. Mr. Whitney is here, however."

"I came here," Harold Mainwaring replied, "with the express purpose of meeting one or the other, or both; on the whole, it will be rather better to meet Mr. Whitney."

"No trouble, no unpleasant words, I hope?" said the elder man, anxiously.

"Mr. Chittenden, when you knew me as Hugh Mainwaring's private secretary, you knew me as a gentleman; I trust I shall never be less."

"You are right, you are right, my boy, and I beg your pardon; but young blood is apt to be hasty, you know."

A little later Harold Mainwaring strolled leisurely across the large reading-room to a table where Mr. Whitney was seated. The latter, seeing him, rose to greet him, while his sensitive face flushed with momentary excitement.

"Mr. Mainwaring, I am delighted to meet you. I had hoped from the friendly tone of that rather mysterious note of yours, upon your somewhat abrupt departure, that we might meet again soon, and, though it is under greatly altered circumstances, I am proud to have the opportunity of congratulating you."

The younger man responded courteously, and for a few moments the two chatted pleasantly upon subjects of general interest, while many pairs of eyes looked on in silent astonishment, wondering what this peculiar interview might portend.

At last, after a slight pause, Harold Mainwaring remarked, calmly, "Mr. Whitney, I understand that, when the coming litigation is terminated, your client intends to institute proceedings against me of a far different nature,-criminal proceedings, in fact."

The attorney colored and started nervously, then replied in a low tone, "Mr. Mainwaring, let us withdraw to one of the side rooms; this is rather a public place for any conversation regarding those matters."

"It is none too public for me, Mr. Whitney, as I have nothing unpleasant to say towards yourself personally, and nothing which I am not perfectly willing should be heard by any and every individual in these rooms to-night. You have not yet answered my inquiry, Mr. Whitney."

The attorney paused for a moment, as though laboring under great excitement, then he spoke in a tone vibrating with strong emotion,-

"Mr. Mainwaring, regarding my client's intentions, you have, in all probability, been correctly informed. I believe that he has made statements at various times to that effect, and I am now so well acquainted with him that I know there is no doubt but that he will attempt to carry out what he has threatened. But, Mr. Mainwaring, I wish to say a word or two for myself. In the coming litigation over the estate, I, as Ralph Mainwaring's counsel, am bound to do my part without any reference to my own personal opinions or prejudices, and I expect to meet you and your counsel in an open fight,-perhaps a bitter one. But this much I have to say: Should Ralph Mainwaring undertake to bring against you any action of the character which he has threatened," here Mr. Whitney rose to his feet and brought his hand down with a ringing blow upon the table at his side, "he will have to employ other counsel than myself, for I will have nothing whatever to do with such a case."

He paused a moment, then continued: "I do not claim to understand you perfectly, Mr. Mainwaring. I will confess you have always been a mystery to me, and you are still. There are depths about you that I cannot fathom. But I do believe in your honor, your integrity, and your probity, and as for taking part in any action reflecting upon your character, or incriminating you in any respect, I never will!"

A roar of applause resounded through the club-rooms as he concluded. When it had subsided, Harold Mainwaring replied,-

"Mr. Whitney, I thank you for this public expression of your confidence in me. The relations between us in the past have been pleasant, and I trust they will continue so in the future. As I stated, however, I came here to-night with no unfriendly feeling towards yourself, but to ask you to be the bearer of a message from me to your client. Ralph Mainwaring, not content with trying by every means within his power to deprive me of my right and title to the estate for years wrongfully withheld from my father and from myself, now accuses me of being the murderer of Hugh Mainwaring. I Say to Ralph Mainwaring, for me, that, not through what he terms my 'inordinate greed and ambition,' but through God-given rights which no man can take from me, I will have my own, and he is powerless to prevent it or to stand in my way. But say to him that I will never touch one farthing of this property until I stand before the world free and acquitted of the most remote shadow of the murder of Hugh Mainwaring; nor until the foul and dastardly crime that stains Fair Oaks shall have been avenged!"

Amid the prolonged applause that followed, Harold Mainwaring left the building.

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