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IKTEW BLOOMFIELD, Il., TUESDAY, JANUAKY 20, 1880.
An Independent Family Newspaper,
18 PUBLISHED IVBRT TUKSIUT BT
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atlon. The Battle for the Cedars.
I1Y I'HESSLY W. MORItlB.
TTOW circumstances change the opln-
J. J. ions of some men r
These thoughts, opposite to the reason
ing of the previous day,' flashed quickly
through Evan's mind, while he spent a
minute in examining the will.
"Where did you discover this V"
asked Evans, glancing up from' his ex
" How did it happen that you knew
nought of it before ?"
" All is explained," replied the master
of The Cedars, " by the fact that I found
the will in a secret drawer, which I
suppose has not been opened for years,
of course. I discovered the drawer and
its contents accidentally. Ha, hal we
can checkmate old Wylle now, and all
impostors in whose name be may bring
But there came to the mind of the
man the reccollectlon of a narrative,
hidden away in a secret drawer, and
he knew how falsely applied the term
" Will you let Wylle go ahead till the
last V" asked Evans, "or will you make
him aware of the fact that you hold the
winning card Immediately ?"
" Would I stretch out my hand to
prevent him or her from stepping over
a precipice ? No I They may proceed to
the very last step they can take. Then
they shall be waked from the dream
they have had."
Evans agreed with the master of The
Cedars in his plan. They continued to
discuss their schemes.
" You must remain with me to-night,
Evans," said the master of The Cedars,
presently, " and we will celebrate this
lucky turn in my fortunes. What say
Evans demurred a little at first, but
finally accepted the invitation.
Night soon mantled the earth. Dark
shadows fell around The Cedars. The
owl hooted in the distance, and the
mournful cry of the whip-poor-will
come from nearer at hand.
Within the library lights shone bright
ly. The master of The Cedars had ap
parently forgotten the lesson that he
had so lately been taught, the lesson
that had cost him nearly his life, and
was drinking wine in large quantities.
And Evans departed from his usual
custom, and drank considerably.
The two men were Jubilant.
" It is an era in my life, Evans," cried
the master of The Cedars; "one well
worth rejoicing over."
The hours sped. A great clock in an
adjoining apartment struck the hour of
The lawyer's brain was not much
accustomed to wine, like that of his
host, and he sank back in his cushioned
chair and slept soundly.
The minutes glided away.
The master of The Cedars was sleepless
enough. He sat and mused, his heart
beating quickly, keeping time with his
triumphant thoughts. A few hours
previous how precarious had seemed his
hold upon the Cashel fortune. Now
Why sounded the moan of the sea in
his ear? Why before his vision Was
a white babe, flouting on the waves ?
After all, had he fullen asleep t He
sprang to bis feet, and at the same
moment the great clock sounded out a
stroke, repeating it eleven times.
It was midnight.
The last stroke of the clock died away,
and there was an instant of deep silence.
Then there came a long.mournful sound
that echoed through the stone mansion
like a cry of agony. There was a brief
pause, and theu it was repeated. The
blood of the master of TheCednrs .was
heated with wine. He seized a lamp
and Btarted from the library.
" I will teach some fool better than to
be playing his tricks," he muttered.
Again and again sounded the solemn,
mournful wail, to guide the man In
his course. The cries were coming from
a remote part of the building.
They ceased, but the master of The
Cedars kept on his way. The wine he
had taken added to his courage, and in
liis anger he felt determined to reach
the bottom of the mystery.
At length he reached the bottom of a
long oaken stairway, carved in fanciful
design. This stairway led into a part
of the mansion that was unused, and
which echoed to the tread of human
footsteps scracely once in a year.
The master of The Cedars paused. lie
possessed brute courage, but it was not
strange that he hesitated here, under the
circumstances. He considered for a
moment, and then was about to turn
back, when once again that cry rang
out. It sounded so near at hand that
the mau started in sudden fright.
He looked about him, but beheld no
one. Once more he was about to retrace
his steps, when he chanced to glance
up the stairway. Far up it, at the head,
he perceived a dim light, and in the
light stood what Beemed to be a tall
human figure, faintly outlined.
Brighter and brighter grew the light,
till the figure was defined clearly to
The master of The Cedars stood for
a time as though he was fascinated.
Then, with a wild exclamation of super
stitious fear, he turned and fled. '
The face of the figure was like the
one that often came before his vision,
looking out of the waters of the sea, at
Swiftly the terrified man sped from
one hall to another, till he reached the
library. He grasped Evans and Bhook
him till he awoke.
" Oh, Evans," he cried in terror, " I
have seen a wraith, a ghost, a dream 1"
"The devil 1" exclaimed Evans, still
" No, not the devil, but worse. His
'Whose ghost V" asked Evans, more
wide awake, and becoming a little
frightened himsel, looking wildly about
The master of The Cedars became
" I heard some Btrange cries," he
returned, "and followed the sounds till
I came to au oaken stairway in the west
wing. There, at the head of the stair
way, I beheld a tall figure, bIiowu by a
" Perhaps your imagination deceived
you," said Evans, trembling some.
"No! I tell, you no!"
The two men sat down, and there was
Outwardly, the master of The Cedars
was now calm enough, but his hands
were clenched till the nails were eating
into the palms, and a dead weight was
sinking upon his heart.
The clock struck one. The stroke
caused the two to start.
" Let us retire," whispered Evans.
" I think we will both feel better in bed.
Besides, we need some rest."
The suggestion was acted upon, and
ten minutes later the heads of both
rested on soft pillows, They were in
apartments that adjoined and opened
into each other. The doors between
were left unclosed.
The wine that Evans had drank, had
lost its effect on him. He could sleep
no longer, but tossed about restlessly.
He fancied that something oppressive
and frightful was in the very air.
" I believe this cursed place is haunt
ed," he muttered.
At last be sank into a slight doze.
A dull thud as of the contact of some
bodies, and which seemed to fairly
shake the building, roused Evans. He
sprang to a sitting posture. In an
instant a pistol shot rang out, reverber
ating through the stone mansion with a
hundred echoes. It was followed by a
terrible cry of pain, a cry that seemed
scarcely human in its agony.
Dark clouds hung overhead, so black
and thick (hat not a single star shone
through. Zig-zag flashes of lightning
ran across the sky, at times. The thun
der reverberated through the heavens
with deep muttering. The wind sighed
with mournful sound. The tokens of
a violent storm were surely abundant.
Along a lonely road that was scarcely
wide enough for his steed, a solitary
traveler was riding. The forest stretched
out on either side of him. He had been
galloping madly, but the diflleulties of
the path caused him to slacken his pace.
The darkness was so dense that the
man could distinguish nothing, not
even the branches of the tall trees that
reached above him, between earth and
sky, being visible. And the flashes of
lightning only served to blind aud
Btartle him and his beast.
Surely the traveler was greatly belat
ed, for it was some hours past midnight.
No man would willingly be out at such
an hour with such a storm threaten
ing! " I have lost my way, evidently,"
muttered tbe man, as the path became
more and more difficult.
" It is useless to continue farther in
the course that I am traveling."
He changed his course in the opposite
This change did not better the case
any. The man discovered presently that
he was wandering aimlessly in the
woods. Tbe overhanging branches
brushed roughly against him, and his
horse stumbled over logs and roots. The
lightning flashed more frequently, and
the roll of the thunder became louder
and deeper. Still the storm seemed to
be merciful, for it did not burst upon the
At length the man dismounted and
slowly picked his way along, leadlrig
his horse by the reins of the bridle.
The lightning's flashes showed a tall
figure, with haudsome face aud long
red beard. Could it be Victor ?
It was no other.
His horse followed, obedient to his
touch ; but very slow was the progress
they made. Victor considered that it
mattered little whether he made any
or not, for what could aimless wander
ing in the darkness of a great forest
" If I could only And a shelter of any
kind from the coming Btorm, I would
ask no more," Victor muttered to him
self. As if in answer to his words, a light
flashed up before him. His heart .bound
ed joyously. Then it seemed as if he
was destined to be disappointed, for the
" A mere wlll-o'-the-wlsp," cried Vic
But in a moment he beheld It again.
It was fixed, not a deluBlve iynia fatum
to decoy him into swamp or marsh.
The foliage of a tree had hidden it from
him for a time.
The light was not far away, and, with
an exclamation of relief, Victor con
tinued toward it. His course was easy
enough, though occasionally the trunk
of a huge tree or low-swinging branches
would hide it from sight.or tho blinding
light of heaven would dim it till It was
When it was apparently but a few
rods away, there came a flash which
revealed a building that Victor could
almost touch. He felt around it till he
found an entrance at which no door was
swung. Doubtless it was a new stable;
aud Victor led his horse in, the animal
giving a whinny of pleasure. Evident
ly, the structure was but a few feet
square, and was occupied by no
other living creature. Victor left it,
and walked on toward what he suppos
ed must be the dwelling house of a
family. He discovered that the light
was shining through a small window in
the Bide of the building. He could not
avoid a glance through, into the apart
Before a fire blazing In an open fire
place was the figure of a woman, bowed
low. Her body was moving back and
forth, keeping time with a wild melody
which she was singing in a voice uncul
tivated, but clear and musical, and
which came audibly to Victor as he
Victor judged that the building was
naught but a rude hut,as he could see no
furniture in It save a rude table, a few
stools, and a couch. A candle was
burning on the low mantle.' Victor
wondered if the woman was the sole
occupant of the hut, but soou discovered
that it was not so, for, as he stood, a
rough door opened, and a strange figure
entered. Victor was startled. Was tbe
being before bis sight human ? Doubt
less It was, but how indescribably
hideous ! He was of great stature, with
long arms, and shoulders broad as a
giant's. Ills features were distorted so
that his face was a caricature upon
humanity as horrible to look upon as
as that of an Inhabitant of Hades might
be. In his eyes was no light of intelli
gence, and he grinned and gibbered,
gazing about with idiotic stare.
Such was the creature that appeared
before the startled gaze of Victor, who
could" not but wonder for the moment
If he were having an ugly dream, and
this the distorted figure of his vision.
But, no ; it was all real.
" Oeorglo," said the woman, " did the
threateniugs of the storm rouse you, as
they did me?"
Her English was not quite perfect, but
There was no reply save a wild
Victor stood at the window hesitating.
He asked himself the question should lie
enter tills place where this horrible
creature was? The threw himself
down before the fire, while a peal of
thunder shook the hut. " Hark !" cried
the woman. " Georgio, what a night
this would be for our purpose. How
grand, Oeorglo, it would be to have
the very elements celebrate our re
Btill the idiot only laughed wldly.
" Oeorglo, let us enact the tragedy,"
continued the woman, her voice gather
ing strength, and tremulous with emo
tion. " Brave fellow ! where is the
The idiot sprang to his feet with an
agile bound. He disappeared through
the doorway by which he had entered.
Almost instantly he returned with a
burden in his arms.
" A human figure!" murmured Vic
tor. "A man, as I live I What means
this ? Is he to be a victim ?"
The idiot held the figure erect. Victor
shuddered. Before him wag the man
who called himself Lionel Cashel, mas
ter of The Cedars.
'Strange! Impossible!" muttered
Victor. " Was I deceived ?"
The idiot grinned and gibbered, while
the womau rose.lifted high her clenched
hand. She was tall, of middle age
apparently, and had certainly once been
It was a strange, dramatic scene. The
flickering firelight cast wierd shadows
on the wall, the woman's face was glow
ing with wild rage, and the idiot con
tinued to grin and gibber. How unreal
it all seemed ! yet it was no scene 'of
the Imagination, but an actual, vivid
This act of the drama was to become
more tragical still.
The woman advanced a step; her lips
parted, and a cry came from them.
"Revenge, Oeorglo! Revenge!"
The idiot struck the figure in bis
grasp a terrific blow upon the side of
the head with his hand.
Victor heard no cry from the master
of The Cedars.
The blow was repeated upon face and
head and heart.
" Though my deadliest foe, I cannot
see him die thus !" cried Victor.
He hastened along the side of the
hut, and, as he expected, found a door.
"To the death, Georgio! To the
death !" came In a wild scream from
Victor threw his weight against the
door. At the same Instant a peal from
heaven's artillery shook the earth ; tbe
wind swept by with a wild howl ; a
wierd blue flame seemed to light the
universe; the rain came down in tor
rents, a perfect deluge.
The storm had burst at last.
Victor's efforts availed nothing. The
door stood firm, and he could not effect
He walked back to the window.
It was a wild sight that met his view.
The idiot had his hapless victim pros
trate upon tbe floor, his long fingers
wound and Interlocked about the throat.
Great Heaven ! he is dead already,"
cried Victor, sick at heart.
"To the death, Oeorglo! To the
death !" sounded the cry of the woman,
audible even above the roar of the
" Murder ! murder !" shouted Victor,
with all the strength of his voice.
" Fiends, cease 1"
But his repeated cries were unheeded.
Doubtless the patter of the rain, the
howl of the wind, the crashing of the
elements, drowned them. The sound of
voices would be carried from the Interior
outward, while that without would be
unheard by the occupants of the hut.
Besides, Victor could see this tragedy,
and was listening, straining his senses to
catch the sounds, and the very motion
of the lips of the participants was an aid
to his hearing ; while the womau and
the idiot were absorbed in their work.
At length the idiot ceased from his
murderous assault, and looked toward
the woman with a grin of delight.
" Elolsa, sweet Elolsa," came to Vic
tor In a wild wail, "sleeping beneath
the skies of your sunny South, you
shall be avenged ! By your wrongs I
The idiot raised the prostrate figure of
the master of The Cedars. Victor was
astonished beyond degree ; for upon the
face was no sign of blood or bruise or
"Is this the work of necromancy?"
cried he. "Can a man be murdered,
and give forth no sound ? Can he be
beaten and stamped and choked, and no
marks left upon him ?"
Evans leaped" from his couch, cold
chills of terror running over him. He
felt that that wild scream was the death
cry of some creature; could it have
proceeded from the master of The Ce
Evans was immediately relieved of
fright upon that point, for a voice came
to him from the adjoining apartment,
" Evans I Evans ! are you awake ?"
" Yes," answered Evans.
" Come here."
The lawyer entered tbe apartment of .
tbe master of The Cedars. A lamp was
" Evans, did you hear those sounds ?"
asked the master of The Cedars, who
was half dressed, and sitting on thelde
of his bed. J
" Yes, I heard them," Evans return
ed. " This place must be haunted."
" Those sounds are inexplicable at
present, Evans," said the master of The
Cedars ; " but nevertheless they were
not at all ghost-like. I believe they
Then he added in a hollow tone,
" The occurrences of this night are
mysterious; but I will fathom them
Evans glanced into bis face, and saw
there tbe evidences of deep emotion.
In the man's eyes was a strange terrified
look. Evans did not think him a
coward, so be could not explain this to
" Cashel is a braver man than I am ;
then why this singular expression of
fear in his face?" was the lawyer's
But Evans had not beheld a face, that,
living, he would dread more than that
of any spectre! The master of The
Cedars, lying on his couch, in the silent
hours of the night, had thought about
the presence he had beheld, and had
told himself that the figure was but a
creature of the Imagination ; If not that,
an apparition indeed. But the fear that
it was real could not be driven away;
and that fear tormented him dread
fully. The silence that had fallen between
the two men was broken by a peal of
"There is going to be a storm," said
" Yes," assented the master of The
Evans had taken a seat For some
time the two sat silent, listening to the '
repeated and long-continued peals of
thunder. At length the master of The
Cedars rose to his feet, and grasped his
coat firmly in his hand. He was very
pale, but set his lips resolutely.
" I do not propose to be tormented
with doubts any longer," he said. " We
can as easily reach the solution of this
mystery now as at any time. Ay ! more
easily. Come, Evans."
He walked to a table where a pair of
richly mounted pistols were lying, and,
picking up one, gave it to Evans, retain
ing the other himself ; then he started
from the apartment. Evans hesitated
for a moment, and then followed after
him. To be continued.