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- Capitola The Madcap - 1/61 -


CAPITOLA THE MADCAP

PART II OF

THE HIDDEN HAND

BY

MRS. EMMA D. E. N. SOUTHWORTH

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. The Orphan's Trial II. Old Hurricane Storms III. Cap's Visit to the Hidden House IV. The Hidden Hollow V. The Hidden House VI. The Inmate of the Hidden House VII. Cap's Return VIII. Another Mystery at the Hidden House IX. Cap Frees the Captive X. Cap in Captivity XI. An Unexpected Visitor at Marsh's Cottage XII. Cap "Rests on her Laurels" and "Spoils for a Fight" XIII. Black Donald XIV. Glory XV. Cap Captivates a Craven XVI. Cap's Rage XVII. Capitola Caps the Climax XVIII. Black Donald's Last Attempt XIX. The Awful Peril of Capitola XX. The Next Morning XXI. A Fatal Hatred XXII. The Court-Martial XXIII. The Verdict XXIV. The End of the War XXV. The Fortunate Bath XXVI. The Mysterious Maniac XXVII. The Maniac's Story XXVIII. End of the Lady's Story XXIX. Prospects Brighten XXX. Capitola a Capitalist XXXI. "There shall be light at the eventide."--Holy Bible

CAPITOLA THE MADCAP SEQUEL TO THE HIDDEN HAND

CHAPTER I.

THE ORPHAN'S TRIAL

"We met ere yet the world had come To wither up the springs of youth, Amid the holy joys of home, And in the first warm blush of youth. We parted as they never part, Whose tears are doomed to be forgot; Oh, by what agony of heart. Forget me not!--forget me not!"

--Anonymous.

At nine o'clock the next morning Traverse went to the library to keep his tryst with Colonel Le Noir.

Seated in the doctor's leathern chair, with his head thrown back, his nose erect and his white and jeweled hand caressing his mustached chin, the colonel awaited the young man's communication.

With a slight bow Traverse took a chair and drew it up to the table, seated himself and, after a little hesitation, commenced, and in a modest and self-respectful manner announced that he was charged with the last verbal instructions from the doctor to the executor of his will.

Colonel Le Noir left off caressing his chin for an instant, and, with a wave of his dainty hand, silently intimated that the young man should proceed.

Traverse then began and delivered the dying directions of the late doctor, to the effect that his daughter Clara Day should not be removed from the paternal mansion, but that she should be suffered to remain there, retaining as a matronly companion her old friend Mrs. Marah Rocke.

"Umm! umm! very ingenious, upon my word!" commented the colonel, still caressing his chin.

"I have now delivered my whole message, sir, and have only to add that I hope, for Miss Day's sake, there will be no difficulty thrown in the way of the execution of her father's last wishes, which are also, sir, very decidedly her own" said Traverse.

"Umm! doubtless they are--and also yours and your worthy mother's."

"Sir, Miss Day's will in this matter is certainly mine. Apart from the consideration of her pleasure, my wishes need not be consulted. As soon as I have seen Miss Day made comfortable I leave for the far West," said Traverse, with much dignity.

"Umm! and leave mama here to guard the golden prize until your return, eh?" sneered the colonel.

"Sir, I do not--wish to understand you," said Traverse with a flushed brow.

"Possibly not, my excellent young friend," said the colonel, ironically; then, rising from his chair and elevating his voice, he cried, "but I, sir, understand you and your mother and your pretty scheme perfectly! Very ingenious invention, these 'last verbal instructions.' Very pretty plan to entrap an heiress; but it shall not avail you, adventurers that you are! This afternoon Sauter, the confidential attorney of my late brother-in-law, will be here with the will, which shall be read in the presence of the assembled household. If these last verbal directions are also to be found duplicated in the will, very good, they shall be obeyed; if they not, shall be discredited."

During this speech Traverse stood with kindling eyes and blazing cheeks, scarcely able to master his indignation; yet, to his credit be it spoken, he did "rule his own spirit" and replied with dignity and calmness:

"Colonel Le Noir, my testimony in regard to the last wishes of Doctor Day can, if necessary, be supported by other evidence--though I do not believe that any man who did not himself act in habitual disregard of truth would wantonly question the veracity of another."

"Sir! this to me!" exclaimed Le Noir, growing white with rage and making a step toward the young man.

"Yes, Colonel Le Noir, that to you! And this in addition; You have presumed to charge my mother, in connection with myself, with being an adventuress; with forming dishonorable 'schemes,' and in so charging her, Colonel Le Noir, you utter a falsehood!"

"Sirrah!" cried Le Noir, striding toward Traverse and raising his hand over his head, with a fearful oath, "retract your words or--"

Traverse calmly drew himself up, folded his arms and replied coolly:

"I am no brawler, Colonel Le Noir; the pistol and the bowie-knife are as strange to my hands as abusive epithets and profane language are to my lips; nevertheless, instead of retracting my words, I repeat and reiterate them. If you charge my mother with conspiracy you utter a falsehood. As her son I am in duty bound to say as much."

"Villain!" gasped Le Noir, shaking his fist and choking with rage; "villain! you shall repent this in every vein of your body!"

Then, seizing his hat, he strode from the room.

"Boaster!" said Traverse to himself, as he also left the library by another door.

Clara was waiting for him in the little parlor below.

"Well, well, dear Traverse," she said, as he entered. "You have had the explanation with my guardian, and--he makes no objection to carrying out the last directions of my father and our own wishes--he is willing to leave me here?"

"My dear girl, Colonel Le Noir defers all decision until the reading of the will, which is to take place this afternoon," said Traverse, unwilling to add to her distress by recounting the disgraceful scene that had just taken place in the library.

"Oh! these delays! these delays! Heaven give me patience! Yet I do not know why I should be so uneasy. It is only a form; of course he will regard my father's wishes."

"I do not see well how he can avoid doing so, especially as Doctor Williams is another witness to them, and I shall request the doctor's attendance here this afternoon. Dear Clara, keep up your spirits! A few hours now and all will be well," said Traverse, as he drew on his gloves and took his hat to go on his morning round of calls.

An early dinner was ordered, for the purpose of giving ample time in the afternoon for the reading of the will.

Owing to the kind forbearance of each member of this little family, their meeting with their guest at the table was not so awkward as it


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