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- Dyke Darrel the Railroad Detective - 40/44 -
Not many hours later, as the young Jewess sat alone, her grandfather having gone some distance off on business, she was startled by Sampayo suddenly reappearing, a look of intense anxiety on his face.
"Senora," he said politely, drawing from his breast the poignard, "can you tell me from whom your father bought this?"
"I do not know his name, but I believe he is a fisherman and lives in yonder village," Miriam answered simply.
"Should you know him again? Pardon my asking, but it is very important I should discover the owner of this weapon. By doing so I may be able to bring a murderer to meet his doom, and avenge the death of my best friend!"
Miriam gazed at him compassionately, a serious light in her dark eyes.
"I will help you," she said suddenly, moved as it were by a strange impulse; "I have long wished for occupation--some useful work, though I should have liked something less terrible than helping to trace a murderer; still, I will aid you if I can."
"Thank you. But if he never came here again?"
"I shall not wait for that. To-morrow I will visit those huts in which the fishermen dwell; I may then find the man who sold the poignard, or at least a clew to the mystery."
Diniz took one of the small hands in his, and pressed it reverently to his lips.
"You will not go alone; I will be your companion. Together we shall work better. But your father will he consent to your accompanying me?"
"My grandfather loves me too dearly, and trusts me too fully, to refuse me anything. He need not know the errand upon which I am bent," a faint blush rising to her cheeks.
After making all necessary arrangements for the next day, Sampayo left the Jewess, to wait impatiently until the hour arrived for him to start on his melancholy errand.
It was still early when he left the crowed streets, to walk quickly in the direction of a small fishing village, some distance off.
Half way he saw the tall, graceful figure of a young girl, whose long veil of soft silky gauze hid her face from passers-by. He recognized her at once--it was the beautiful Jewess. So, hastening his steps, he soon stood before her.
"Senora," he said gently.
The girl started, turned, then smiled through the screening folds of gray.
"It is you? I was afraid you would not come," in a relieved tone.
"I am too anxious to find that man, to lose the chance you have so kindly given me. I only hope I am not putting you to any inconvenience," Diniz said, gallantly.
"Not at all. I am only too happy to be of some use," earnestly.
For many hours they wandered about from house to house, Miriam having armed herself with a large sum of money, hoping by acts of charity to gain access into the poor dwellings.
They were almost despairing of finding a clew to the whereabouts of the fisherman, when three little children, poor and hungry-looking, playing outside a tiny hut, attracted Miriam's attention.
Stooping, she spoke gently to the little things, and won from them the tale of their excessive poverty, which she promised to relieve if they would take her to their mother.
This they willingly did, and Miriam found a pale, delicate-looking woman, who, notwithstanding the raggedness of her dress, still bore traces of having been at one time different to a poor fisherman's wife.
Encouraged by the soft tones of her mysterious visitor, the woman gradually unburdened her troubled heart by telling her the history of her wretched life; how she had been doomed to follow her husband, an Indian chief, to death; but, loving life better, she escaped with her little children, but would have died of hunger on the seashore if Jarima, her second husband, had not rescued her and offered her his name and home.
"He is very good to me and my children; the past seems but a dream now. If only we had money, all would be well."
Miriam, with a few gentle, consoling words, slipped a few bright coins into the tiny brown hands of the astonished babies; then, with a sigh, she bade the grateful mother adieu and went out to where Diniz was waiting.
He read by her face that she had no better tidings, and, drawing her hand through his arm, he turned away.
"Will it never come--the proof I want?" he said, half bitterly.
Scarcely had the words left his lips when a glad cry of "Father!" rent the air, and three small forms bounded over the white shingle towards a tall man, dressed in white linen.
Almost convulsively Miriam pressed Sampayo's arm to arrest his hasty steps.
"We need go no farther," she whispered. "That is the man you want; and if he is that woman's husband, his name is Jarima."
"Thank Heaven! To-morrow he will be arrested and the truth discovered," Diniz muttered.
Silently they watched the man walk towards his humble home, the children clinging lovingly to his hands. The woman came forward with a bright smile, holding up her face to receive his caress.
"There can be no doubt. It is Jarima, and the man who sold the poignard."
"Luiz's murderer," Dinis added between his set teeth.
Almost feverishly Sampayo hurried Miriam away. He was anxious to tell Lianor of his success, and bring the assassin to justice.
Some distance from the Jew's shop he bade Miriam adieu, promising to call and let her know the result.
On reaching Don Garcia's palace Diniz was surprised at the sounds of bright music, mingled with happy voices, that floated on the air.
Satzavan was the first to meet him, and he went forward with a welcoming smile.
"Where is Lianor?" Diniz asked anxiously, glancing round the deserted halls.
"In the grounds. Don Garcia has his home full of guests in honor of his daughter's betrothal with Manuel Tonza."
"Lianor betrothed, and to him!" in consternation.
"Yes," sadly; "her father has commanded her to accept him, and, since she lost poor Falcam, she is indifferent whom she weds."
"But Tonza above all other men!" bitterly.
With a dark shadow on his brow, Diniz followed the young Indian into the spacious grounds, where Lianor, surrounded by many richly-dressed ladies, was sitting.
"I cannot speak to her before all those people. Go, Satzavan, and bring her to me."
The youth darted off obediently, and presently returned to the tree where Diniz stood almost hidden by its shady branches, leading Lianor, whose face wore a look of some wonder.
"Diniz, is it really you? Have you brought me any news?" she asked eagerly.
Sampayo took her outstretched hand and kissed it reverently.
"Yes," he said softly; "good news."
"What is it? Tell me!"
"I have discovered the man who, I think, struck the blow by instigation of the real murderer. Until he is taken I can do nothing further."
"But who is he? How did you find him?"
"He is a poor fisherman, named Jarima, and it was through a young Jewess, Phenee's grandchild, to whom the poignard was sold, I found him."
"That was very good of her to help you."
"It was, indeed. The whole morning she has searched with me for the man, and at last our labor was rewarded. To-morrow Jarima will be under arrest."
As the words left his lips, a sudden movement amongst the trees startled them.
"I am sure that was some one," Lianor cried, turning pale, and clasping Diniz's arm.
Satzavan glided noiselessly away, but soon returned to say no one had passed by.
Possibly the noise was occasioned by the wind rustling through the leaves.
"Very likely," Lianor said quietly, "though it made me nervous. Suppose any one overheard us?"
"Rest assured, dear, that nothing now can come between me and my
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