Collection Title: Barry Dock news
Institution: The National Library of Wales
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ALL RIGHTS BMMVBD THE LADY IN ITHE BLACK MASK
[ALL RIGHTS BMMVBD.] THE LADY IN THE BLACK MASK BY TOM GALLON, Anthof of Tatted.y." Meg the Lady." The Great Gay Road," &c. CHAPTER VII. THE KEY. Ruth, thus suddenly face to face with that formidable old woman. Lady Woodmason, whom she had seen but once before in her life, and that on the actual night of the tragedy, was at a loss for a moment how to reply; for this seemed to be a sudden prob- ing to the very heart of the business. Lady Woodmason, for her part, calmly seated her- aelf, spread out her ample skirts, and looked at the girl quizzically through her glasses. "Well—why don't you answer me?" she demanded. "How do you come to know my name? "I should like to know nrst how you come to be here at all, and how you have dis- covered where I was," answered Ruth boldly. "Someone has played the traitor, and I want to know nrst where I stand. You know that every one is searching for me, don't you?" "That's nothing to do with me," retorted the old lady. "Suffice it that I am here, and that, for the moment at least, until I know more about you, I am your friend. I am always on the weaker side, and on the losing side—there is that element of sport in me. Come now; answer my question.. So far as I know, you have never set eyes on me before in your life; yet you knew me directly I entered the room." "I came to the masked ball at your house in Misa Marsh's dress," answered Ruth elowly. "I saw you standing at the top of the stairs, and you blamed me for being late." "What dress was I wearing?" snapped the old lady. "Heliotrope panne and old lace," answered Ruth at once. "Well, you couldn't have seen that in the newspapers," said the old lady with a short laugh, "because they don't take any notice of an old frump like me. Only it's just possible that in this amazing business you are only sticking to the cock-and-bull story that others are telling. How am I to believe you? Ruth moved a step nearer to the old woman, and held out her hands appealingly. Here, if she could but persuade her of the truth of her story, was the one witness that could help her; she grasped at the slender hope held out to her. "Why should I lie to you?" she asked wistfully. "How could aach a story be invented? I did change places with Damia that night; and I did come to your house, and dance there with several men. Mr. Morris Loader came in that night, and s&t out a dance with me." "You ve got it all pat, at any rate," was Lady Woodmason's comment. "What time did Loader come in ? "After half-past two, only a little time before I left. He called the motor brougham for me a little before three o'clock." "Why didn't you speak to me when you were going?" asked the old lady, after a long pause. "I was afraid to speak to anyone, for fear the fraud should be discovered," answered Ruth. "I saw you at one end of the room, talking to some people, and I slipped out eo that you shouldn't notice me. I swear to you that all that I have told you is true. Now won't you tell me how you came to find out that I was here? "No, I won't," was the instant answer. "I should be betraying secrets if I did. Sumce it that I have heard all the story, and it seems to me that you have got your- self into a pretty pickle. I know in my own mind that what you have said is true; that's clear enough to me. But how in the world am I going to make anyone else believe it? Until I walked into this room I didn't know anything about you, and cer- tainly did not know that I had ever seen you before. It's a plot, my child-a deep plot; and they've caught you in the middle of it. Now tell me something about your- self—and who you are. I'm not such a dragon as I look, and I may be able to do something for you." So Ruth, reassured, sat down and told that little, simple story of herself, and all that happened to her up to the point of her setting off for the dance at Lady. Wocd- maaon'a house. In her artless fashion she spoke of her own love story, and all her hopes in regard to it. The old lady nodded from time to time, but did not interrupt the now of the story. "And where does this boy of yours live? she asked at last. "In the other set of chambers—across the landing there," answered Ruth. "I aee. And when you bolted you natu- rally came straight to him. Quite a reason- able thing to do, but very foolish. I suppose someone knows that you're engaged to him; they're bound to look here sooner or later for you. Why, he might even tell it to a fellow-clerk, without thinking what he was doing." "He hasn't got a fellow-clerk," said Ruth. "He's a conndential secretary." "Well—he might let it out to his em- ployer; he might even ask his advice," sug- gested Lady Woodmason. "He wouldn't do that; that's the last thing on earth he would do," exclaimed Ruth sharply. "Why do you say that?" "Because his employer is Morris Loader," said Ruth. "Oh—that was only an acci- dent; it just happens so." Lady Woodmason rose to her feet. "My child—you're in a very hornet's nest," she said emphatically. "Why, a thousand things might happen. Loader might come up here to look for this boy of yours, and come plump on you. I* don't understand that business of your nnding him in the library that night; not being hysterical, nor given to delusionk myself, I can't say whether, if the truth be told, you weren't overwrought and excited, and didn't imagine the whole thing. There—there—don't look so upset- although goodness knows you've had enough to upset anyone within the past few days. I'm only trying to show you the danger you're in. If I have been able to nnd .out where you were and to come to you, a dozen other people might do it. You've got to get &way." "There's no place I can go to," said Ruth bitterly. "I've got to stay here, and trust to luck. "You've got to do no such thing." snapped the old lady.. "Trusting to luck never did any good in this world yet, and never will. You want someone to take care of 'vou and to see you through this business. I'm an idle old woman, and I don't see why I shouldn't take up the job." "You? The girl looked at her incredu- lously. "Well—what's the matter with me?" she retorted. "Besid'es, I shall like the fun of the thing-the sport of it. I didn't care a snap of the fingers about you before I came into this room; I simply wasn't in- terested. But I know you to be innocent— a mere victim of circumstances; in a word, I like you. And I'm going to whisk you off into the country, and you can lie low there until those dunderheaded police people find out something about the matter." "I can't do that," said Ruth. "To begin with, I can't possible leave Clement; he's been ao very good to me." "His goodness is likely to coat you pretty de&r," retorted Lad!y WoodmaaM. "Yon've got to conie &W41 from this platen, Md y
tACZ VALD&. A pompous railway director recentty entered a nrst-clasa carriage of the railway he controlled. Soon after he took his seat be was accosted by a< ticket-collector,. Ticket, pkase." said that worthy. ?1 haven't one," rfplied the director. "Then you must come out of that/* "Oh, no. My face is my ticket, my good man." "Is it? snapped the collector. "Then &!I I can say is that you are travelling nrst-clasa with a. third-<;lasa ticket." Then the director wished he hadn't been so funny. CUTTING THEM DOWN. A suburban minister, during his discourse one Sabbath morning, said: "In each blado of grass there M a sermon." The following day one of his Nock di:t- covered the good man pushing a lawn-mower about his garden, and paused to say: "Well, parson, I'm glad to see you engaged ia cut- ting your sermons short." THIS TEAR, NEXT YRA,23 NBVEB. A debtor, on being sued, acknowledged he had borrowed the money, but declared that the plaintiff knew at the time it waa & Kathleen Mavourneen loan. "A Kathleen Mavourneen- loan?" que&- tioned the Court, with a puzzled look. "That's it, your lordship—one of the jt may be for years, and it may be for evet' aort. THE HEIGHT OF MEANNM8. The dinner WH3 over, and the last man to (cave the cloak-room saw Pat, the custodian of the coats, looking very miserable. "Well, Pat," be said, "what's the matter? 11 Well, Pa Haven't they paid you very well for looking after the things?" "Sure, aor," replied the dejected one, "it isn't that they hawn't paid me, but, be- gorra, they've taken the bob I put in the plate aa & decoy THB BISHOP WON. A bishop waa visiting some housea in a well-known mining district. On entering one of the houses he saw, to his great sur- prise, a number of men seated in a circle on the floor, in the middle of which was a bright copper kettle. bright much interested in workmen and their ways, he inquired of one of the men what was going on< "We're trying," said the miner, "to see who can tell the biggest lie, and the kettle will be presented to the man who tells it." The bishop, greatly shocked, exclaimed, "Why, my good man, I never told a lie in my life." The miners, thinking that his lordship was competing for the prize, unanimously cried, "Gi'e 'im t' kettle."
PICKINGS FROM PUNCH
PICKINGS FROM "PUNCH." The Earl Marshal has issued an omcial list of Standard Bearers for the Westminster Abbey procession. Some disappointment haa been caused in Carmelite House by the omis- sion of a Standard Bread Bearer. The Women's Social and Political Union has presented a cup to the three-montha-old eon of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, who accompanied his parents when they came to London on the occasion of the presentation to the House of Commons of a petition in favour of Women's Suffrage. The young fel- low's age is, of course considerably below the average of those who are in favour of the proposed reform. Not a few British workmen felt, when the outline of the Insurance Bill was published, that "there must be a catch in it some- where" It now turns out that they were right. It appears that when one of them falls out of employment a Labour Exchange will try its best to find him another job be- fore he gets the insurance money. "Piga that pay" is the title of a para-d graph in a contemporary. These, surely, may be seen any day at a fashionable restaurant. "English lady teacher desires Japanese puppies, four or five to form a class."—* Advt. in "North China Daily Neww." Fortunately, just before the hounds began to arrive, the important word was corrected to "pupils." "The Cranleigh School XI. put up record last year with fourteen runs out of sixteen games."—"The Observer." The competition for the average bat mast have been very keen. "The engine will be pained in special colours, and the boiler will be furnished with brass bands."—"Locomotive Maga- zine." The way boilers are pampered now-a-days ig disgusting. Time was when they l
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