For the ten days next ensuing the public craving for sensational development_n the Mainwaring case seemed likely to be gratified to an unusual degree. T_he exciting scenes of the court-room was added the suicide of Mrs. LaGrange, immediately followed by news of the discovery that Richard Hobson, th_nwilling witness in the previous day's proceedings, had absconded, leavin_ot 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 th_wo, so closely associated with each other, had been in some way connecte_ith the Fair Oaks tragedy.
From this phase of the affair, however, public attention was speedily diverte_y 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; hi_on, the sole heir under the will of Hugh Mainwaring, having altogethe_ithdrawn from the contest. This had caused an open rupture between father an_on, and the latter had established himself in a suite of apartments at th_urray Hill.
Young Mainwaring's course occasioned great surprise; many commended hi_isdom, but few gave him credit for the genuine sense of honor which ha_ctuated him.
"A neat little stroke of diplomacy," said one club-man to another, "and worth_f Hugh Mainwaring himself! There is no show for him, anyway, and it's muc_etter policy to yield the point now, don't you see, than to fight it ou_long 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 wit_he winning side; he won't lose anything in the long run, and he knows it."
Such remarks occasionally reached young Mainwaring, making him exceedingl_ndignant.
"You may say, once and for all," he said to a reporter who was interviewin_im in his apartments at the Murray Hill, "that in withdrawing from thi_ontest I am not currying favor with Harold Scott Mainwaring. He and I are th_est of friends, but that fact would not hinder me from giving him a fair an_quare fight if there were the slightest doubt as to the validity of hi_laim. But there isn't; he has proved his right, legally and morally, to th_roperty, and that's enough for me."
"But Mr. Ralph Mainwaring must have some tenable ground for contesting hi_laim," said the reporter, tentatively, hoping to get some of the inside fact_f 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 o_hat point you will have to obtain from him."
The next development in the Mainwaring case was a report to the effect tha_he whereabouts of Harold W. Mainwaring could not be ascertained, and it wa_enerally supposed among his London associates that he had followed hi_rother to America by the next steamer. As this report was supplemented by th_urther facts that he was a man of no principle, heavily involved in debt, an_eeply incensed at Ralph Mainwaring's success in securing for his son th_merican estate in which he himself had expected to share, public speculatio_as immediately aroused in a new direction, and "that Mainwaring affair"
became the absorbing topic, not alone at the clubs and other places o_asculine rendezvous, but at all social gatherings as well.
Regarding the principal actors in this drama, however, around whom publi_nterest 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 Mainwarin_as not once mentioned in connection with that of the woman shown by th_receding day's testimony to have been so closely related to him. Perhaps n_ne was more surprised at this omission than Merrick himself but if so, hi_nly 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 evidenc_f 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 existin_etween them, and Walter LaGrange, as he entered the presence of the dead, cast a curious glance, half shrinking, half defiant, at the calm, stern fac_f Harold Mainwaring, who had preceded him. His own face was haggard an_rawn, and the hard, rigid lines deepened as his glance fell for an instant o_he casket between them. Then his eyes looked straight into those of Harol_ainwaring with an expression almost imploring.
"Tell me," he demanded in low, hoarse tones, "is it true that I am—what sh_nce 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 liv_s they did, and let the stigma, the shame, the curse of it all fall on me? _ew 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 don_ou,—they have wronged me, also, far more deeply than you know,—but this is n_ime or place to recall it!"
The calmness and kindness of his tones seemed to soothe and control hi_xcited companion.
"I know they have wronged you," the latter replied; "but they have not ruine_ou! You have not only friends and wealth, but, more than all, your father'_ame. I," he added bitterly, "am a pauper, and worse than a pauper, for I hav_ot even a name!"
For a few moments Harold Mainwaring silently studied the haggard young fac_onfronting him, in which anger was slowly giving place to dull, sulle_espair; and his own heart was suddenly moved with pity for the boy.
"Robbed of his birthright before he was born," reared in an atmosphere o_reachery and deceit calculated to foster and develop the evil tendencie_lready inherited; yet, notwithstanding all, so closely akin to himself.
"Walter," he said, gravely, at the same time extending his hand across th_asket, "I realize the truth of much that you have said, but you need no_llow this to ruin or blight your life. Mark my words, your future from thi_ime forth is, to a great extent, in your own hands; your life will be wha_ou make it, and you alone. See to it that it is not blighted by your ow_rong-doing! Be yourself a man of honor, and I will assure you, you can depen_pon me to stand by you and to help you." Walter LaGrange raised his eyes i_stonishment at these words, containing a pledge of probably the first genuin_riendship he had ever known in his young life. He gave a look, searching, almost cynical, into Harold Mainwaring's face; then reading nothing bu_incerity, 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 o_he 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'_ords had but just awakened.
"If it were the other fellow," he said, slowly, "the one the old man intende_o make his heir, had made me such a proposition, I would tell him to go t_he devil; but, by George! if you will stand by me, it's all right, and I'l_e 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 bankin_stablishment in one of the principal western cities,—a branch of the firm o_ainwaring & Co.,—a young man, known as the ward of Harold Scott Mainwaring, was entered as an employee, with prospect of advancement should he prov_imself worthy of responsibility and trust. But of this, as of many othe_vents just then quietly transpiring behind the scenes, little or nothing wa_nown.
Meanwhile, as the days slipped rapidly away, the party at the Waldorf was no_dle. There were conferences, numerous and protracted, behind dosed doors, telegrams and cablegrams in cipher flashed hither and thither in multitudinou_irections, while Mr. Sutherland seemed fairly ubiquitous. Much of his time, however, was spent in the private parlors of the English party, with frequen_ourneys to the court-house to ascertain the status of the case. From one o_hese trips he returned one evening jubilant.
"Well," said he, settling himself comfortably, with a sigh of relief, "th_irst point in the case is decided in our favor."
"That is a good omen," Mr. Barton replied cheerfully; "but may I inquire t_hat you refer?"
"I have succeeded in getting the date for the hearing set for the next term o_ourt, which opens early in December."
"I am glad to hear it; a little time just now is of the utmost importance t_ur interests. Did you have any difficulty in securing a postponement unti_he next term?"
"Whitney, of course, opposed it strongly. He said his client wanted the matte_ettled at the earliest possible moment; but I told him that so long as Ralp_ainwaring persisted in butting against a stone wall, just so long a speed_ettlement was out of the question; it was bound to be a hard fight, and woul_e carried over into the next term in any event. Then I had a privat_nterview with Judge Bingham, and, without giving particulars, told him tha_ew developments had arisen, and, with a little time in which to procur_ertain evidence, we would have our opponents completely floored,—they woul_ot even have an inch of room left to stand upon,—while under presen_onditions, Mainwaring, so long as he had a shilling, would, if beaten, mov_or 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 b_mple time."
"It looks now," said Mr. Barton, producing a telegram, "as though we migh_ucceed in securing that evidence much sooner than we have anticipated. Wha_o 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 evidentl_truck the scent; and when he once starts on the trail, it is only a questio_f time—and usually not any great length of time, either—before he runs hi_ame to cover."
"Well," ejaculated Mr. Sutherland, rubbing his hands togethe_nthusiastically, "I, for one, want to be 'in at the death' on this, for i_ill simply be the finest piece of work, the grandest denouement, of any cas_hat has ever come within my twenty years of legal experience!"
Mr. Barton smiled. "My brother is evidently of the same opinion wit_ourself," he said. "I received a cablegram from him to-day, requesting me t_nform 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 bee_et for the opening of the December term of court, the public paused to tak_reath and to wonder at this unlooked-for delay, but preparations for th_oming contest were continued with unabated vigor on both sides. Contrary t_ll expectations, Ralph Mainwaring, so far from objecting to the postponemen_f the case, took special pains to express his entire satisfaction with thi_urn of affairs.
"It is an indication of conscious weakness on their part," he remarked wit_reat complacency, as he and Mr. Whitney were dining at the club on th_ollowing day. "They have evidently discovered some flaw in their defenc_hich it will take some time to repair. I can afford to wait, however; m_ttorneys and experts will soon be here, and while our side could easily hav_een in readiness in a much shorter time, this, of course, will give us a_pportunity for still more elaborate preparation, so that we will gain a_mmense 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 b_eclared, and for the time being there will be a cessation of hostilitie_etween the parties in interest, will there not?"
"Sir!" roared Ralph Mainwaring, transfixing the speaker with a star_alculated to annihilate him.
"I beg pardon, sir, I intended no offence," continued the irrepressible youn_merican, ignoring the warning signals from his associates; "it only occurre_o me that with such an immense advantage on your side you could afford to b_agnanimous and treat your opponent with some consideration."
"I am not accustomed to showing magnanimity or consideration to any but my ow_quals," the other rejoined, with freezing dignity; "and the fact that my
'opponent,' as you are pleased to designate him, is, for the present, allowe_iberty 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 th_arty in a low tone, while the first speaker remarked, "I certainly wa_naware that the gentleman in question was to be regarded in the light of _uspected criminal!"
"It is to be presumed," said Ralph Mainwaring, haughtily, stung by the ting_f irony in the other's tone, "that there are a number of points in this cas_f which people in general are as yet unaware, but upon which they are likel_o become enlightened in the near future, when this person who has assume_uch a variety of roles will be disclosed in his true light,—not that of _uspected criminal merely, but of a condemned criminal, convicted by a chai_f evidence every link of which has been forged by himself."
There was an ominous silence as Ralph Mainwaring rose from the table, broke_t last by an elderly gentleman seated at a little distance, who, whil_pparently an interested listener, had taken no part in the conversation.
"Begging your pardon, Mr. Mainwaring, I would judge the charges which yo_ould prefer against this young man to be unusually serious; may I inquir_heir nature?"
The words were spoken with the utmost deliberation, but in the calm, eve_ones there was an implied challenge, which was all that was needed at tha_nstant to fan Ralph Mainwaring's wrath into a flame. Utterly disregarding _autionary 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 th_erson under discussion has not only, with unheard of effrontery, publicly an_nblushingly proclaimed himself as a blackmailer and knave, capable o_escending to any perfidy or treachery for the purpose of favoring his ow_ase schemes, but he has also, in his inordinate greed and ambition, unwittingly proved himself by his own statements and conduct to be a villai_f the deepest dye; and I will say, furthermore, that if Harold Scot_ainwaring, as he styles himself, ends his days upon the gallows in expiatio_f the foul murder of Hugh Mainwaring, he will have only himself to thank, fo_is 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 unti_hey were seated in the carriage and rolling down the avenue; then h_emarked, casually,—
"I was surprised, Mr. Mainwaring, that you failed to recognize the gentlema_ho addressed you as you were leaving the table."
"His face was somewhat familiar; I have met him, but I cannot recall when o_here. I considered his tone decidedly offensive, however, and I proposed, whoever he might be, to give him to understand that I would brook n_nterference. Do you know him?"
"I have never met him, but I know of him," the attorney replied, watching hi_lient closely. "He is the Honorable J. Ponsonby Roget, Q. C., of London. _upposed of course that you knew him."
"J. Ponsonby Roget, Queen's Counsel? Egad! I have met him, but it was year_go, 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. "H_s stopping at the Waldorf, with our friends, the English party, but whethe_s 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 o_he facts myself until within the last two hours. My attention was called t_he 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 tha_ou were acquaintances."
"But how came he at the club? None of the party from the Waldorf were wit_im."
"He was there as the especial guest of Chief-Justice Parmalee, of the Suprem_ourt, the gentleman on his left. Judge Parmalee spent much of his life i_ondon, 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 wit_hat side of the case he is at liberty to do so, but he has my opinion of hi_lient 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 o_xclamations, protests, and running comments arose on all sides.
"Harold Scott Mainwaring the murderer of Hugh Mainwaring! That is carryin_his farce beyond all bounds!"
"If he cannot get possession of the property in any other way, he will sen_he 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 wh_aw Hugh Mainwaring alive; in fact, he was in his library within a few moment_receding his death; and after all that has been brought to light, it's not t_e 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 a_nstant 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 _rivate battery concealed about your person with invisible wires distribute_hroughout the city, that you seem to arrive at any and every spot just on th_ick of time?"
"That is one of the secrets of the profession, Mr. Norton, not to be reveale_o the uninitiated," replied the attorney, while a quick glance flashe_etween himself and the Queen's Counsel.
"There is one thing, gentlemen," he continued, with great dignity, "to which _ish to call your attention, particularly you gentlemen of the press. I a_ware 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 publicit_hatever. The name of my client is not to be bandied about before the publi_n connection with any of Ralph Mainwaring's imputations or vilifications, fo_he reason that they are wholly without foundation. We are thoroughl_ognizant of that gentleman's intentions regarding our client, and we wil_eet him on his own ground. In the coming contest we will not only establis_eyond all shadow of doubt our client's sole right and title to the Mainwarin_state, but we will, at the same time, forever refute and silence any an_very aspersion which Ralph Mainwaring may seek to cast upon him. Even wer_here any truth in these insinuations, it would be time enough, when th_harges should be preferred against our client, to brazen them before th_ublic, but since they are only the product of spleen and malignity, simpl_onsign 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 th_ui vive, so to speak, over this case, and it is our business to get hold o_very item which we can to add to the interest. You have checked us off o_ome rather interesting matter already, I believe."
"Perhaps so," said Mr. Sutherland, quietly, "but I can promise you that befor_ong there will be developments in the case which will give you boys all th_nteresting matter you will need for some time, and they will be fact, no_abrication."
As the result of Mr. Sutherland's prompt action, the newspapers contained n_llusion to that evening's scene at the club; but even his energy and cautio_ere powerless to prevent the spread of the affair from lip to lip. Mentione_carcely above a whisper, the report rippled onward, the waves widening in al_irections, with various alterations and additions, till it was regarded as a_pen secret in all circles of society. It reached young Mainwaring in hi_ather secluded bachelor quarters at the Murray Hill, and he bowed his head i_hame that a Mainwaring should stoop to so disgraceful an exhibition of hi_enomous rage and hatred. It reached Harold Scott Mainwaring, and th_mouldering fire in the dark eyes gleamed afresh and the proud face grew rigi_nd stern. Donning overcoat and hat, he left his apartments at the Waldorf; and started forth in the direction of the club most frequented by Ralp_ainwaring and Mr. Whitney.
He had gone but a short distance when he met young Mainwaring. The young me_xchanged cordial greetings, and, at Harold's request, his cousin retraced hi_teps to accompany him.
"Why are you making such a stranger of yourself; Hugh? I have scarcely see_ou 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 _ould like for two reasons; for one thing, I find people generally are no_nclined to regard our friendship in the same light that we do. You and _nderstand one another, and you don't suspect me of any flunkeyism, or an_lterior motive, don't you know,—"
"I understand perfectly," said Harold, as his cousin paused, seeming to fin_ome difficulty in conveying his exact meaning; "and so long as you and I d_nderstand each other, what is the use of paying any attention to outsiders?
Whether we were friends, or refused to recognize one another, their small tal_nd 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 _are most about is the governor's losing his head in the way he has lately. I_s 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 eve_ay or do shall make any difference between us. There are but tw_ontingencies 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 hop_ou'll win every point in the game; but I've been awfully cut up over what h_as said and done recently. I know that he intends to carry his threats int_xecution, and I'm afraid he'll make it deucedly unpleasant for you, don't yo_now."
They had reached the club-house, and Harold Mainwaring, as he paused on th_owest step, smiled brightly into the boyish face, regarding him with suc_olicitude.
"I understand his intentions as well as you, and know that it would give hi_reat delight to carry them into execution; but, my dear boy, he will neve_ave the opportunity to even make the attempt."
Young Mainwaring's face brightened. "Why, are you prepared to head him off i_hat direction? By Jove! I'm right glad to know it. Well, I'll be around t_he Waldorf in the course of a day or two No, much obliged, but I don't car_o 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, returnin_he greetings of the select circle of friends which he had made, he wa_onscious of glances of interest and undisguised curiosity from the many wit_hom he had no acquaintance. No allusion was made to the subject which he wel_new was in their minds, however, until, meeting Mr. Chittenden, the latte_rew him aside into an alcove.
"I say, my dear Mainwaring, are you aware that your esteemed kinsman has yo_nder strict surveillance?"
Mainwaring smiled, though his eyes flashed. "I am aware that he has mad_tatements to that effect, although, thus far, his 'surveillance' ha_nterfered in no way either with my duties or pleasures, nor do I apprehen_hat 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 tha_utbreak 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 meetin_ne or the other, or both; on the whole, it will be rather better to meet Mr.
"No trouble, no unpleasant words, I hope?" said the elder man, anxiously.
"Mr. Chittenden, when you knew me as Hugh Mainwaring's private secretary, yo_new 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 bloo_s 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 t_reet him, while his sensitive face flushed with momentary excitement.
"Mr. Mainwaring, I am delighted to meet you. I had hoped from the friendl_one of that rather mysterious note of yours, upon your somewhat abrup_eparture, that we might meet again soon, and, though it is under greatl_ltered circumstances, I am proud to have the opportunity of congratulatin_ou."
The younger man responded courteously, and for a few moments the two chatte_leasantly upon subjects of general interest, while many pairs of eyes looke_n in silent astonishment, wondering what this peculiar interview migh_ortend.
At last, after a slight pause, Harold Mainwaring remarked, calmly, "Mr.
Whitney, I understand that, when the coming litigation is terminated, you_lient intends to institute proceedings against me of a far differen_ature,—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 publi_lace for any conversation regarding those matters."
"It is none too public for me, Mr. Whitney, as I have nothing unpleasant t_ay towards yourself personally, and nothing which I am not perfectly willin_hould be heard by any and every individual in these rooms to-night. You hav_ot 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 al_robability, been correctly informed. I believe that he has made statements a_arious times to that effect, and I am now so well acquainted with him that _now there is no doubt but that he will attempt to carry out what he ha_hreatened. But, Mr. Mainwaring, I wish to say a word or two for myself. I_he coming litigation over the estate, I, as Ralph Mainwaring's counsel, a_ound to do my part without any reference to my own personal opinions o_rejudices, and I expect to meet you and your counsel in an ope_ight,—perhaps a bitter one. But this much I have to say: Should Ralp_ainwaring undertake to bring against you any action of the character which h_as threatened," here Mr. Whitney rose to his feet and brought his hand dow_ith a ringing blow upon the table at his side, "he will have to employ othe_ounsel 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 yo_erfectly, Mr. Mainwaring. I will confess you have always been a mystery t_e, and you are still. There are depths about you that I cannot fathom. But _o believe in your honor, your integrity, and your probity, and as for takin_art in any action reflecting upon your character, or incriminating you in an_espect, I never will!"
A roar of applause resounded through the club-rooms as he concluded. When i_ad 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 wil_ontinue so in the future. As I stated, however, I came here to-night with n_nfriendly feeling towards yourself, but to ask you to be the bearer of _essage from me to your client. Ralph Mainwaring, not content with trying b_very means within his power to deprive me of my right and title to the estat_or years wrongfully withheld from my father and from myself, now accuses m_f being the murderer of Hugh Mainwaring. I Say to Ralph Mainwaring, for me, that, not through what he terms my 'inordinate greed and ambition,' bu_hrough 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 _ill never touch one farthing of this property until I stand before the worl_ree 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 bee_venged!"
Amid the prolonged applause that followed, Harold Mainwaring left th_uilding.