Dead Man's Rock eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 267 pages of information about Dead Man's Rock.
poor, of course, and I was unable to do anything to help for many years.  Mother was so careful; why, she even called me by my second name, so desperately anxious was she to hide all traces from that man.  Then suddenly we were discovered—­not by him, but by his mother, whom he set to search for us, and she—­for she was not wholly bad—­promised to make my fortune on the single condition that half my earnings were sent to him.  Otherwise, she threatened that mother should have no rest.  What could I do?  It was the only way to save ourselves.  Well, I promised to go upon the stage, for this woman fancied she discovered some talent in me.  Why, Jasper, how strangely you are looking!”

“Tell me—­tell me,” I cried, “who is this woman?”

“You ought to know that, for you were in the box with her during most of the first night of ‘Francesca.’”

A horrible, paralysing dread had seized me.

“Her name, and his?  Quick—­tell me, for God’s sake!”

“Colliver.  He is called Simon Colliver.  But, Jasper, what is it?  What—­”

I took the chain and Golden Clasp and handed them to Claire without speech.

“Why, what is this?” she cried.  “He has a piece exactly like this, the fellow to it; I remember seeing it when I was quite small.  Oh, speak! what new mystery, what new trouble is this?”

“Claire, Colliver is here in London, or was but a week ago.”

“Here!”

“Yes, Claire; and it was he that murdered Thomas Loveday.”

“Murdered Thomas Loveday!  I do not understand.”  She had turned a deathly white, and spread out her hands as if for support.  “Tell me—­”

“Yes, Claire,” I said, as I stepped to her, and put my arm about her; “it is truth, as I stand here.  Colliver, your mother’s husband, foully murdered my innocent friend for the sake of that piece of gold; and more, Simon Colliver, for the sake of this same accursed token, murdered my father!”

“Your father!”

She shook off my arm, and stood facing me there, by Tom’s grave, with a look of utter horror that froze my blood.

“Yes, my father; or stay, I am wrong.  Though Colliver prompted, his was not the hand that did the deed.  That he left to a poor wretch whom he afterwards slew himself—­one Railton—­John Railton.”

“What!”

“Why, Claire, Claire!  What is it?  Speak!”

“I am Janet Railton!”

CHAPTER VIII.

TELLS HOW THE CURTAIN FELL UPON “FRANCESCA:  A TRAGEDY.”

For a moment I staggered back as though buffeted in the face, then, as our eyes met and read in each other the desperate truth, I sprang forward just in time to catch her as she fell.  Blindly, as if in some hideous trance, reeling and stumbling over the graves, I carried her in my arms to the cemetery gate and stood there panting and bewildered.

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Dead Man's Rock from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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