+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

"O father, father!" cried the frightened
girl, "how can you ask? I will never
leave you!"

That night, Philip Cartwright and his
daughter left Glenoak, never to return.


IT was about a fortnight after Glenoak
had been deserted by its owners that the
much-injured Mr. Spinks, whilst debating
with himself the knotty question whether
it were best to retain his situation, in the
hope of further plunder, or to throw it up
in vindication of his outraged dignity, was
unpleasantly surprised by a second visit
from Mr. D'Oiley, accompanied by Dr.
Simpson, Judge Griffin, Mr. Inspector
Tanin, and half a dozen constables.

"Now, Mr. Spinks," said Inspector
Tanin, "you'll be good enough, if you
please, sir, to set all hands on, to remove
the ice out of that there ice-house of
yours. I have a search-warrant, sir, to
.search these premises. And do you know
what this is, Mr. Spinks? It's a warrant
for the arrest of Philip S. Cartwright,
whensoever and wheresoever he can be found in
the territory of the United States."

"On what charge?" asked Mr. Spinks.

"Murder," replied the inspector, laconically.

Mr. Spinks was persuaded. Mr.
Cartwright's slaves were ordered to open Mr.
Cartwright's ice-house and remove the ice.

Be it known to the reader that every
country-house in America is provided with
an excellent ice-house of the simplest and
most practical kind. It consists of a deep
excavation in the earth, roofed over with a
pointed thatch. These ice-houses are
always well filled in the winter, and
rarely, if ever, quite emptied during the
summer. It was long past dark before
the men at work in the ice-house at
Glenoak had removed all the loose ice
from the pit. The lower layers were
hard as granite, and could only
be broken up by the pickaxe: so that the
work went on slowly, by torch-light. At
last Mr. Inspector, who had descended
into the pit to superintend this final operation,
called to those above for a stout rope.
The rope was not immediately
forthcoming; and when the submissive Spinks
(who had been despatched to get one
from the cart-house) returned with it in
his hand the excitement of the spectators
was intense. Uncle Ned, at his most
urgent request, had been exempted from
the ordeal of this expedition to Glenoak.

"Now pull!" cried Mr. Inspector from
the bottom of the pit, "and pull gently."

The rope came up heavily. No wonder.
There was a dead body fastened to the end
of it. That dead body was the body of
John Ackland. All present who had ever
seen Ackland recognised it at once,
in despite of the lacerated skull and
partially mangled features. For the ice had
so wonderfully preserved the hideous secret
confided to its frozen clasp, that the
murdered man looked as freshly dead as if he
had perished only an hour ago.

In the subsequent search of Glenoak a
copy of John Ackland's letter to his cousin
was found in Mr. Cartwright's desk. He
had not taken the precaution of destroying
it. Doubtless he had felt that if once the
body of John Ackland were discovered at
Glenoak, it little mattered what else was
discovered there. And when he learned
from his overseer that Uncle Ned had been
sold to D'Oiley, he knew that he was a
ruined man, and that his paramount concern
was to place himself as quickly as possible
beyond the reach of the law.

Mr. D'Oiley's triumph was great. He
had worked hard for it. Never had he
exercised so much ingenuity and patience
as in the moral manipulation whereby he
had finally elicited from Uncle Ned the
revelations which had led to the discovery.

This was the substance of them: Philip
Cartwright, whilst riding with his
unfortunate guest through his own plantation,
had slackened pace, and falling a little to
the rear of his companion's horse,
deliberately shot John Ackland through the
back of the head. The wounded gentleman
immediately fell from his saddle.
Cartwright quietly alighted, and finding
that there was still a faint flutter of life
left in his victim, beat him about the head
till he beat the life out of him with the
butt-end of his gun. He then carefully
examined the mare which Mr. Ackland
had been riding, wiped every trace of
blood from the saddle, turned it, and with a
sharp cut of his whip started the beast into
a gallop, in a direction away from the
house. Thus left alone with the dead
body, his next care was to dispose of it.
All this happened in broad daylight, a
good hour before sundown. Mr.
Cartwright's own slaves were still at work in the
surrounding fields. They must have heard
the report of the firearm; they might
possibly have witnessed the fall of the
victim. But what of that? They were
slaves. Philip Cartwright well knew that