MoboReader> Literature > The Lost Lady of Lone


The Lost Lady of Lone By Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte Sout Characters: 35993

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:02

An hour's ride through some of the most crowded streets of London brought her to her destination-a tall, dingy, three-storied brick house, in a block of the same.

She paid and dismissed the cab at the door, and then went up and rang the bell.

It was answered by an old woman, in a black skirt, red sack, white apron, and white cap.

"Well, to be sure, ma'am, you have taken me unexpected; but I'm main glad to see you so soon. Come in, and I'll make you comfortable in no time," said the woman, with kindly respect, as she held the door wide open for her mistress.

"Any one been here sin' we left Mrs. Rogers?" inquired the traveller.

"No, ma'am-no soul. It is very lonely here without you. Let me take your bag, ma'am. It do seem heavy," said Mrs. Rogers, as she held out her hand and took hold of the handle of the satchel.

"Na, I thank ye. It's na that heavy neither," exclaimed the girl, nervously jerking back the bag, and following her conductor into the house and up stairs.

An unlikely house to be the shelter of thieves and the receptacle of stolen goods. There was a look of sober respectability about its dinginess that might have appertained to a suburban doctor with a large family and a small practice. An old oil cloth, whole, but with its pattern half washed off, covered the narrow hall-an old stair-carpet of originally good quality, but now thread-bare in places, covered the steps. This was all that could be seen from the open door by any chance caller. But upstairs all was very different.

As the girl reached the landing, the old woman opened a door on her left and ushered her into a bright, glaring room, filled up with cheap new furniture, in which blinding colors and bad taste predominated. Carpets, curtains, chair and sofa covers, and hassocks, all bright scarlet; cornices, mirrors, and picture frames, (framing cheap, showy pictures,) all in brassy looking gilt. Through this sitting-room the girl passed into a bedroom, where, also, the furniture was in scarlet and gilt, except the white draperied bed and the dressing-table. Here the girl threw herself down in an easy-chair saying:

"I'll just bide here a bit and wash my face and hands, while ye'll gae bring my breakfast."

"Yes, ma'am. What would you like to have?" inquired the woman.

"Ait meal parritch, fust of a', to begin wi' twa kippered herrings; a sausage; a beefsteak; twa eggs; a pot o' arange marmalade; a plate of milk toast, some muffins, and some fresh rolls," concluded the girl.

"Anything more, ma'am?" dryly inquired Mrs. Rogers.

"Nay-ay! Ye may bring me a mutton chop, wi' the lave."

"Tea or coffee, ma'am?"

"Baith, and mak' haste wi' it," answered the girl.

The old woman, smiling to herself, went out.

The girl being left alone, fastened both doors of her room, hung napkins over the key-holes, drew close the scarlet curtains of her windows, and then sat down on the floor and opened the bag and turned out its contents on the carpet.

Fortunatus! what a sight! Well might her fellow-passenger have heard a crash when the bag slipped from her lap to the bottom of the car!

About twelve little canvas bags filled with coins, and marked variously on the sides-£50, £100, £500, £1,000.

She gazed at the treasure in a sort of rapture of possession! How fast her heart beat! She did not think that there was so much money in the whole world! She began to count the bags, and add up their marked figures, to try to estimate the amount. There were two bags marked one thousand, four marked five hundred, three marked one hundred, and three marked fifty pounds-in all twelve little canvas bags containing altogether four thousand four hundred and fifty pounds.

What a mine of wealth! How she gloated over it! She longed to cut open the little canvas bags and spread the whole glittering mass of gold and silver on the carpet before her, that she might gaze upon it-not as a miser to hoard it, but as a vain beauty to spend it. How many bonnets and dresses and shawls and laces and jewels this money would buy? How she longed to lay it out! But she dared not do it yet. She dared not even open the canvas bags. She must conceal her riches.

She began to put the bags back in the satchel.

In doing so, she perceived that she had not half emptied it-there was something in each of the buttoned pockets on the inside. She opened the pockets and turned out their contents.

Rainbows and sunbeams and flashes of lightning!

Her eyes were dazzled with splendor. There was set in a ring a large solitaire diamond in which seemed collected all the light and color of the sun! There was a watch in a gold hunting case, thickly studded with precious stones, and bearing in the center of its circle the initials of the late owner, set in diamonds, and which was suspended to a heavy gold chain. There was a snuff-box of solid gold encrusted with pearls, opals, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, amethysts and sapphires, in a design of Oriental beauty and splendor.

There were also diamond studs and diamond sleeve-buttons-each a large solitaire of immense value, and there were other jewels in the form of seals, lockets, and so forth; and all those delighted her woman's eyes and heart. But, above all, the golden box, set with all sorts of flaming precious stones, with its splendid colors and blazing fires dazzled her sight and dazed her mind.

"I will keep this for mysel'," she said, as she put it in the bosom of her dress-"I will, I will, I WILL! He shall na hae this again. I'll tell him it was lost or sto'en."

Then she opened the satchel and began to put away the other jewels, until she took up the watch, looked at it longingly, put it in the bag, took it out again, and finally, without a word, slipped it into her bosom beside the box.

Next she trifled with the temptation of the diamond ring. She slipped it on and off her finger. She had large beautiful hands in perfect proportion to her large beautiful form, and the ring that had fitted the banker's long thin finger fitted her round white one perfectly. So, she took the jewelled box from her bosom, opened it, put the diamond ring in it, then closed and returned it to its hiding place.

Finally retaining the box, the watch and the rings, she replaced all the jewels and the money-bags in the satchel, and put the satchel for the present between the mattresses of her bed. While thus engaged she heard her old attendant moving about in the next room, and she knew that she was setting the table for her breakfast.

So she hastened to smooth the bed again, and snatch the napkins off the keyholes, and unlock the doors lest her very caution should excite suspicion.

Then at length she took time to wash the railroad dust from her face, and brush it from her hair.

And finally she passed into her sitting-room where she found the table laid for her single breakfast.

Presently her housekeeper entered bringing one tray on which stood tea and coffee with their accompaniments, and followed by a young kitchen maid with another tray on which stood the bread, butter, marmalade, meat, fish, etc., with their accompaniments.

When all these were arranged upon the table, Rose Cameron sat down and fell to.

Being a very perfect animal, she was blessed with an excellent appetite and a healthy digestion. She was therefore, a very heavy feeder; and now bread, butter, fish, meat, marmalade disappeared rapidly from the scene, to the great amusement of the housekeeper and kitchen maid, who had never seen "a lady" eat so ravenously.

When the breakfast service was removed, she went back into her bedroom, locked the door, and covered the keyholes as before, and took the satchel from between the mattresses, and opened it to gloat over her treasures; for she quite considered them as her own. Again she was "tempted of the devil." She thought of the fine shops in London, and the fine ready-made dresses she could buy with the very smallest of these bags of money.

"Why should I no'? What's his is mine! I'll e'en tak the wee baggie, and gae till the fine shops," she said to herself. And selecting one of the fifty pound bags, she replaced the others in the satchel, and put the satchel in its hiding place.

She got ready for her expedition by arraying herself in a cheap, dark-blue silk suit, and a straw hat with a blue feather. Then she carefully locked her bedroom door, and took the key with her when she left the house.

Her ambition did not take any very high flights, although she did believe herself to be a countess. She knew nothing of the splendid shops of the West End. She only knew the Borrough and St. Paul's churchyard, both of which she thought, contained the riches and splendors of the whole world. She went to the nearest cab-stand, took a cab, and drove to St. Paul's churchyard, (in ancient times a cemetery, but now a network of narrow, crowded streets, filled with cheap, showy shops.) She spent the best part of the day in that attractive locality.

When she returned, late in the afternoon, the canvas bag was empty and the cab was full, for Rose Cameron, the country girl, ignorant of the world, but having a saving faith in the dishonesty of cities, refused to trust the dealers to send the goods home, but insisted on fetching them herself.

She displayed her purchases-mostly gaudy trash-to the wondering eyes of Mrs. Rogers, and then, tired out with her long night's journey and her whole day's shopping, she ate a heavy supper and went to bed. Such excesses never seemed to over-task her fine digestive organs or disturb her sleep. After an unbroken night's rest she awoke the next morning with a clear head and a keen appetite, and rang for the housekeeper to bring her a cup of tea to her bedside.

While waiting for her tea she wondered if her "guid mon" would arrive during the next twenty-four hours.

And that revived in her mind the memory of her supposed rival. During the preceding day she had been so absorbed in the contemplation of her newly-acquired treasures in jewelry and money that she had scarcely thought of what might then be going on at Castle Lone.

Now she wondered what happened there; whether the marriage had failed to take place; but, of course, she said to herself, it had failed. Lord Arondelle would never commit bigamy-but how had it failed? What had been made to happen to prevent it from going on? And what had the bride and her friends said or thought?

Above all, why had Lord Arondelle, married to herself as she fully believed him to be, why had Lord Arondelle allowed the affair to go so far, even to the wedding-morning, when the wedding-feast was prepared, and the wedding guests arrived?

It must have been done to mortify and humiliate those city strangers who sat in his father's seat, she thought.

Oh, but she would have given a great deal to have seen her hated rival's face on that wedding-morning when no wedding took place?

No doubt "John" would tell her all about it when he arrived. And oh! How impatient she became for his arrival!

Her reflections were interrupted by the entrance of the housekeeper with a cup of tea in one hand and the Times in the other.

"Good morning, ma'am. And hoping you find yourself well this morning! Here is your tea, ma'am. And here is the paper, ma'am. There's the most hawful murder been committed, ma'am, which I thought you might enjoy along of your tea," said the worthy woman, as she drew a little stand by the bedside and placed the cup and the newspaper upon it.

"A murder?" listlessly repeated Rose Cameron, rising on her elbow, and taking the tea-cup in her hand.

"Ay, ma'am, the most hawfullest murder as ever you 'eard of, on an' 'elpless old gent, away up at a place in Scotland called Lone!"

"Eh!" exclaimed Rose Cameron, starting, and nearly letting fall her tea-cup.

"Yes, ma'am, and the most hawfullest part of it was, as it was done in the night afore his darter's wedding-day, and his blessed darter herself was the first to find her father's dead body in the morning."

"Gude guide us!" exclaimed Rose Cameron, putting down her untasted tea, and staring at the speaker in blank dismay.

"You may read all about it in the paper, ma'am," said the housekeeper.

"When did it a' happen?" huskily inquired the girl, whose face was now ashen pale.

"On the night before last, ma'am. The same night you were traveling up to London by the Great Northern. And bless us and save us, the poor bride must have found her poor pa's dead body just about the time you arrived at home here, ma'am, for the paper says it was ten o'clock."

"Ou! wae's me! wae's me! wae's me!" cried Rose, covering her ashen-pale face with her hands and sinking back on her pillow.

"Oh, indeed I'm sorry I told you anything about it, ma'am, if it gives you such a turn. I did hope it would amuse you while you sipped your tea. But la! there! some ladies do be so narvy!"

"An' that's the way the braw wedding was stappit!" cried Rose, without even hearing the words of her attendant.

"Yes, ma'am," replied Mrs. Rogers, not understanding the allusion of the speaker, "that was the way the wedding was stopped, in course. No wedding could go on after that, you know, ma'am, anyhow, let alone the bride falling into a fit the minute she saw the bloody corpse of her murdered father, and being of a raving manyyack ever since. Instead of a wedding and a feast there will be an inquest and a funeral."

"Was-there-a-robbery?" inquired Rose Cameron in a low, faint, frightened tone.

"Ay, ma'am, a great robbery of money and jewelry, and no clue yet to the vilyuns as did it! But won't you drink your tea, ma'am?"

"Na, na, I dinna need it now. Ou! this is awfu'! Wae worth the day!" exclaimed the horror-stricken girl, shivering from head to foot as with an ague.

"Indeed, I am very sorry I told you anything about it, ma'am. But I thought it would interest you. I didn't think it would shock you. But, indeed, if I were you, I wouldn't take on so about people I didn't know anything about. And you didn't know anything about them. You haven't even asked the names," urged the worthy woman.

"Na, na, I did na ken onything anent them; but it is unco awfu'!" said Rose, in hurried, tremulous tones.

Not for all her hidden treasures would she have had it suspected that she even remotely knew anything about the murder or the man who was murdered.

"And yet you take on about them. Ah! your heart is too tender, ma'am. If you are going to take up everybody else's crosses as well as your own, you'll never get through this world, ma'am. Take an old woman's word for that."

"Thank'ee, Mrs. Rogers. Noo, please gae awa and leave me my lane. I'll ring for ye if I want ye," said Rose, nervously.

"Very well, ma'am. I'll go and see after your breakfast."

"Oh, onything at a'! The same as yestreen. Only gae awa!" exclaimed the excited girl, too deeply moved now even to care what she should eat for breakfast.

When the housekeeper had left her alone she gave way to the emotions of horror and fear which prudence had caused her to restrain in the presence of the woman. She wept, and sobbed, and cried out, and struck her hands together. She was, in truth, in an agony of terror.

For now she understood the hidden meaning of her lover's words, when on the night of the murder he had said to her, under the balcony, "Something will happen to-night that will put all thoughts of marrying and giving in marriage out of the heads of all concerned." And she comprehended also how the meaning of the fragmentary conversation she had overheard between her lover and his companion, as they approached her from the house: "You have brought the curse of Cain upon me." "It could not be helped." "If the old man had not squealed out," and so forth.

Sir Lemuel Levison had been robbed and murdered, and she-Rose Cameron-had been accessory to the robbery and the murder! She had lain in wait under the balcony while the burglars went in and slaughtered the old banker, and emptied his money chest. She had received the booty, and carried it off, and brought it to London. She had it even then in her possession!

She was liable to discovery, arrest, trial, conviction, execution.

With a cry of intense horror she covered up her head under the bedclothes and shook as with a violent ague. She had suspected, and indeed, she had known by circumstance and inference, that the money and jewels contained in the bag she had brought from Castle Lone, had been taken from the house, but she had tried to ignore the fact that they had been stolen. But now the knowledge was forced upon her.

She had been accessory both before and after the facts to the crime of robbery and murder, and she was subject to trial and execution. It all now seemed like a horrible nightmare, from which she tried in vain to wake.

While she shivered and shook under the bedclothes, the housekeeper came up and opened the door and said:

"Mr. Scott have come, ma'am. Will he come up?"

"Ay, bid him come till me at ance!" cried the agitated woman, without uncovering her head.

A few minutes passed and the door opened again and her lover entered the room still wearing his travelling wraps.

"Rose, my lass, what ails you?" he inquired, approaching the bed, and seeing her shaking under the bedclothes.

"It's in a cauld sweat, I am, frae head to foot," she answered.

"You have got an ague! Your teeth are chattering!" said Mr. Scott, stooping over her.

"Keep awa' frae me! Dinna come nigh me!" she cried, cuddling down closer under the clothing. She had not yet uncovered her face or looked at him.

"What is the meaning of all this, Rose?" he inquired, in a tone of displeasure.

"Speer that question to yoursel'! no' to me!" she answered, shuddering.

"Look at me!" said the man, sternly.

"I canna look at you! I winna look at you! I hae ta'en an awfu' scunner till


"What have I done to you, you exasperating woman, that you should behave to me in this insolent manner?" demanded the man.

"What hae ye dune till me, is it? Ye hae hanggit me! nae less!" cried the girl, with a shudder.

"Hanged you? Whatever do you mean? Are ye crazy, girl?"

"Ay, weel nigh!"

"But what do you mean by saying that I have hanged you? Come, I insist on knowing!"

"Oh, then I just ken a' anent the murder up at Lone Castle! Ye hae drawn me in till a robbery and murder, without me kenning onything anent it until a' was ower, and me with the waefu' woodie before me!"

"Rose, if I understand you, it seems that you think I was in some sort concerned in the death of Sir Lemuel Levison?"

"Ay, that is just what I be thinking!" said the shuddering girl.

"Then you do me a very foul and infamous injustice, Rose! Look at me! Do I look like an assassin? Look at me, I say!" sternly insisted the man.

"I canna luke at ye! I winna luke at ye! I hae lukit at ye ower muckle for my ain gude already!" cried the girl, cowering under the clothes.

"See here, lass? I say that you are utterly wrong! I had no connection whatever with the death of the banker! I would not have hurt a hair of his gray head for all that he was worth! Come! I answer you seriously and kindly, although your grotesque and horrible suspicion deserves about equally to be laughed at or punished. Come, look into my face now and see whether I am not telling you the truth."

"And sae ye did na do the deed?" she inquired at length, uncovering her head and showing a pale affrighted face.

"My poor lass, how terrified you have been! No, of course, I did not. But how came you to know anything about that horrible affair?"

Rose took up the morning paper and put it in his hands.

"Ah! confound the press!" muttered the man between his teeth.

"What did ye say?"

"These papers, with their ghastly accounts of murders, are nuisances, Rose!"

"Ay sae they be! But ye didna do the deed?"

The man made a gesture of impatience.

"Aweel, then sin ye had na knowledge o' the deed until after it was done, what did ye mean by saying that something wad happen, wad pit a' thoughts o' marriage and gi'eing in marriage out the heads o' a' concerned?-when ye spak till me under the balcony that same night?"

"I meant-I meant," said the man, hesitating, "that I would let the preparations for the wedding go on to the very altar, and then before the altar I would reject the bride! I had heard something about her."

"Ah! I thought ye did it a' for spite!"

"But Rose, I never thought you were such an utter coward as I have found you out to be to-day!" said the man reproachfully.

"Ay' I can staund muckle; but I canna staund murder!"

"It is not even certain that there has been any murder committed. The coroner's jury have not yet brought in their verdict. Many people think that the old man fell dead with a sudden attack of heart-disease, and in falling, struck his head upon the top of that bronze statuette, which was found lying by him."

"Ay! and that wad be likely eneuch! for na robber wou'd gae to kill a man wi' siccan a weepon as that," said Rose, who had begun to recover her composure.

Then the man began to question her in his turn:

"You brought the satchel safely?"

"Ay, I brought it safely."

"Where is it?"

"Lock the door and I'll get it."

The man locked the door. While his back was turned, Rose jumped out of bed and slipped on a dressing-gown. Then she put her hand in between the mattresses and drew out the bag.

"Have you examined its contents?" inquired the man.

"Na, I hanna opened it once," replied the girl, unhesitatingly telling a falsehood.

"Oh! then I have a surprise for you. Sir Lemuel Levison was my banker. He had my money, and also my jewels, in his charge. He delivered them to me last night a few minutes before I brought them out and gave them to you. You know I wished you to take them to London because-I meant to reject Miss Levison at the altar, and after that, of course, I could not return to the castle for anything. Don't you see?"

"Ay, I see! But stap! stap! Noo you mind me about the bag. When you brought out the bag that night, I heard you and a man talking. You said to the man, 'You hae brocht the curse o' Cain upon me.' Noo, an ye had naething to do wi' the murder, what did ye mean by that?"

The man's face grew very dark. "She cross-questions me," he muttered to himself. Then controlling his emotions, he affected to laugh, and said:

"How you do twist and turn things, Rose! One would think you were interested in convicting me. But I had rather think that you are a little cracked on this subject. I never used the words you think you heard. The servant had brought me the wrong walking-stick, one that was too short for me, and so I said, 'You have brought that cursed cane to me.'"

"Ou, that indeed!" said the credulous girl, "But what did he mean when he said, 'It could na be helpit. The auld man squealed?'"

"I don't know what he meant, nor do I know whether he used those words. Probably he did not; and you mistook him as you have mistaken me. But I am really tired of being so cross-questioned, Rose. Look me in the face, and tell me whether you really believe me to be guilty or not?" he said, in his most frank and persuasive manner.

"Na, na, I canna believe ony ill o' ye, Johnnie Scott," replied the girl.

And, in fact, the man had such magnetic power over her that he could make her believe anything that he wished.

"Now let us look into this satchel," he said, proceeding to open it.

He took out the bags of money.

"There is one bag gone! fifty pounds gone!" he exclaimed.

"Na, that canna be, gin it was in the bag. I hanna opened it ance," said the girl, unhesitatingly.

The man paid no attention to her words, but took out the jewels and began to examine them.

"Confound it! The watch and chain are gone, and the solitaire diamond ring is gone, and-" here the man broke out into a volley of curses forcible enough to right a ship in a storm, and said: "The jewel snuff-box, worth ten times all the other jewels put together, is gone! How is this, Rose?"

"I dinna ken. How suld I ken? I took the bag frae your hands, and I put it back intil your hands, e'en just as I took it, without ever once seeing the inside o' it," boldly replied the girl.

A volley of curses from the man followed, and then he inquired:

"Was the bag out of your possession at any time since you received it?"

"Na, not ance."

"Then that infernal valet has taken the lion's share of the prog! I wish I had him by the throat!" exclaimed the man, with a torrent of imprecations.

"What do ye mean by a' that?" inquired Rose.

"I mean, that servant I believed in has robbed me, that is all," said the man.

With her recovered spirits Rose had regained her appetite. She now rang the bell loudly.

The housekeeper answered it.

"Is breakfast ready?" inquired the hungry creature.

"Yes, madam; and I will put in on the table just as soon as you are ready for it," answered the old woman.

"Put it on now, then," replied the girl.

The housekeeper left the room.

Rose made a hasty toilet while her husband was washing the railway dust from his face and head.

And then both went into the adjoining parlor, where the morning meal was by this time laid.

After breakfast the man went out.

The woman remained in the house. She was in a very unenviable state of mind. She was not yet quite easy on the subject of the murder at Lone Castle. For although her husband and herself might have no connection with the crime, still they had undoubtedly been lurking secretly about the house on the very night of its perpetration, and therefore might get into great trouble. And, besides, she was frightened at having secreted the costly watch and chain, snuff-box, and other jewels, from her Scott, and then told him a falsehood about them. What if he should find her out in her dishonesty and duplicity?

She did not dream of giving up her stolen property. She would risk all for the possession of that precious golden box, whose brilliant colors and blazing jewels fascinated her very soul; but where could she securely hide it from her husband's search? At that moment it was with the watch and the diamond ring under the bolster of her bed. But there it was in danger of being discovered, should a search be made.

She went into her bedroom and looked about for a hiding-place.

At length she found one which she thought would be secure.

The gilt cornice at the top of her bedroom window was hollow. She climbed up on top of her dressing bureau, and reaching as far as she could she pushed first the snuff-box, (which also contained the diamond ring,) and then the watch and chain, far into the hollow part of the cornice, over the window.

There she thought they would be perfectly safe.

The next few days passed without anything occurring to disturb the peace of this misguided peasant girl.

Every morning the man who called himself Lord Arondelle, but who was known at the house he occupied only as Mr. Scott, and who professed to be the husband of the young woman-went out in the morning and remained absent until evening.

Every day the girl, known to her servants as Mrs. Scott, spent in dressing, going out riding in a cab, and freely spending the money that her husband lavished upon her, and in gormandizing in a manner that must have destroyed the digestive organs of any animal less sound and strong than this "handsome hizzie" from the Highlands.

On the Monday of the week following the tragedy at Castle Lone, however, Mr. Scott came home in the evening in a state of agitation and alarm.

"Where is that satchel with the money?" he inquired as he entered the bedroom of his wife.

She stared at him in astonishment, but his looks so frightened her that she hastened to produce the bag.

He took from it a little bag of gold marked £500, and threw it in her lap, saying:

"There, take that!" And before she could utter a word, he hurried out of the room.

She ran down stairs after him, calling:

"John! John! what ails you? What hae fashed ye sae muckle?"

But he banged the hall door and was gone.

"That's unco queer!" said Rose, as she retraced her steps, up stairs, feeling a vague anxiety creeping upon her.

"He'll be back sune. He has na gane a journey, for he has na ta'en e'en sa mickle as a change o' linnen, or a second collar," she said, as she regained her room, and sank down breathless into a chair.

The bag of gold he had left her next attracted her attention. £500-ten times as much as she had ever possessed in her life. The contemplation of this fortune drove all speculations about the movements of "John" out of her head. "John" was always queer and uncertain, and would go off suddenly sometimes and be gone for days.

"I winna fash mysel' anent him! He may tak' his ain gait, and I'll tak' mine!" she said to herself, as she resolved to go out the very next day and buy what her heart had long been set upon-a cashmere shawl!

The next morning's papers however contained news from Lone, which, had Rose taken the trouble to look at them, must have thrown some light upon the sudden departure of Mr. Scott.

They contained this telegraphic item, copied from the evening papers:

"The coroner's inquest that has been sitting at Lone, returned last night a verdict of murder against Peters, the valet of the late Sir Lemuel Levison, and against some person or persons unknown. The valet has been arrested and committed to gaol to await the action of the grand jury. It is said that he is very much depressed in spirits, and it is supposed that he will make a full confession, and save himself from the extreme penalty of the law by giving up the names of his confederates in the crime, and turning Queen's evidence against them."

Rose did not read the papers at all. They did not interest that fine animal.

She went shopping that day, and bought a blazing scarlet cashmere shawl. Mr. Scott did not return in the evening, but she was not troubled. She had a roast pheasant, champagne, and candied fruits for supper, and she was happy.

She went shopping the next day, and bought a flashing set of jewels.

Mr. Scott did not return in the evening, but she had another luxurious supper, and was still happy. In this way a week passed, and still Mr. Scott did not come back. But Rose shopped and gormandized and enjoyed her healthy animal life.

Then she felt tempted to wear her gold watch and chain when she dressed to go abroad. So one morning she put it on, and went out. She had not the slightest suspicion of the danger to which she exposed herself by wearing it. She was not afraid of any one finding it in her possession, except her husband. So she wore it proudly day after day.

One morning, about ten days after the departure of "Mr. Scott," the postman left a letter for her. It was a drop-letter. She opened it and read.

It was without date or signature, and merely contained these lines:

"Business detains me from you longer than I had expected to stay. Do not be anxious. I will return or send very soon."

Rose was not anxious. She was enjoying herself. Now after shopping and eating and drinking all day, she went to the theatre at night. The theatre-one of the humblest in the city-was a new sensation to her, and her first visit to one was so delightful that she resolved to repeat it every evening.

"I shanna fash mysel' anent Johnnie ony mair. He'll come hame when he gets ready," she said in her heart.

But weeks grew into months, and "Johnnie" did not come home.

Rose's five hundred pounds had sunk down to fifty pounds, and then indeed she did begin to grow impatient for the return of her husband. Suppose the money should give out before he came back?

One day, while she was disturbing herself by these questions, she went out shopping as usual. When she had made her purchases she looked at her watch, and found that it had stopped. She was too ignorant to know what was the matter with it. She only knew that when she wound it up it would not go.

So she asked the dealer from whom she had bought her goods to direct her to a watchmaker.

The dealer gave her the address of a jeweller not far off.

She took her watch to "Messrs. North and Simms, Watchmakers and Jewellers," and asked an elderly man behind the counter, who happened to be one of the firm, if he could make her watch "gae" while she waited for it in the shop. And she detached it from its chain and handed it to him.

Mr. North received the rich, diamond-studded, gold repeater, and looked at the tawdry, ignorant, vain creature that presented it, with astonishment.

Then he examined the initials set in diamonds, and a change came over his face. He went to his desk, taking the watch with him. He drew out a small drawer, took from it a photograph, and compared it with the watch in his hand. Then he placed both together in the drawer and locked it and beckoned a young man from the opposite counter, scribbled a few words on a card and sent him out with it.

Rose, who had watched all these movements without the least suspicion of their meaning, now moved toward the jeweller and said:

"Aweel then, hae ye lookit at my watch and can ye na mak it ga?"

"The spring is broken, Miss, and it will take a little time to repair it. You can leave it with me, if you please," replied Mr. North.

"Indeed, then, and I'm nae sic a fule! I'll na leave it with you at a'. If you canna mak it gae just gie it till me," she said.

Now Mr. North did not wish his customer to leave his shop yet a while. The truth was that photographs of the late Sir Lemuel Levison's watch and snuff-box, in the possession of his legal steward, had been copied and the copies distributed by London directory to every jeweller in the city, as a means of discovering the stolen property, and finally detecting the criminals.

Messrs. North and Simms had received a copy of each.

And when Rose presented the rich watch to be repaired, Mr. North had at first suspected and then identified the article as the missing watch of the late Sir Lemuel Levison. And he had locked it in the drawer with the photographs, and dispatched a messenger to the nearest police station for an officer.

His object now was to detain Rose Cameron until the arrival of that officer.

"Will you look at something in my line this morning, Miss?" he inquired.

"Na. Gi'e me my watch, and I will gae my ways home," she answered.

"I have a set of diamonds here that once belonged to the Empress Josephine. They are very magnificent. Would you not like to see them?"

"Ou, ay! an empress's diamonds? ay, indeed I wad!" cried the poor fool, vivaciously.

Mr. North drew from his glass case a casket containing a fine set of brilliants, which probably the Empress Josephine had never even heard of, and displayed it before the wondering eyes of the Highland lass.

While she was gazing in rapt admiration upon the blazing jewels, the messenger returned, accompanied by a policeman in plain clothes.

"Excuse me, Miss, I wish to speak to a customer," said the jeweller, as he met the officer and silently took him up to the farther end of the shop to his desk, opened a little drawer and showed him the watch and the photographs.

Then they conferred together for a short time. The jeweller told the policeman how the watch had fallen into his hands; but that the pretended owner, finding that he could not repair it while she waited, had refused to leave it, and insisted on taking it home with her.

"Give it to her. Let her take it home. She can then be followed and her residence ascertained. I think, without doubt, that we have now got a certain clue to the perpetrators of the robbery and murder at Castle Lone."

* * *

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