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LONDON [Vol. II]
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wanted five minutes to nine o'clock when Anthony Tidkins reached the corner of
Oxford Street and the Edgeware Road.
A cab was standing a few yards up the latter
thoroughfare; and as the driver was sitting quietly on his box, without
endeavouring to catch a fare, it instantly struck the Resurrection Man that his
unknown patroness might be the occupant of the vehicle, and was waiting for him.
He accordingly approached the window, and by the
reflection of a shop gas-light, perceived the veiled lady inside.
"Is it you!" she said, unable to distinguish
his countenance beneath his slouched hat.
"Yes, ma'am. All right," he cried to the
driver;. and, opening the door, entered the cab.
It then moved rapidly away — the driver
having evidently received his instructions beforehand.
"Draw up the window," said the lady.
"You remember your promise to be blindfolded?'
"I have forgotten nothing that passed between us,
He had taken off his hat upon entering the vehicle; and
Adeline now drew over his head a large flesh-coloured silk cap, or bag, fitted
with a string that enabled her to gather it in and fasten it round his
neck — but not so tightly as to impede the free current of air.
"I am sorry to be compelled to subject you to any
inconvenience," she said, loathing herself at the same time for being
compelled to address this conciliatory language to such a man — a
murderer by profession.
"Don't mention it, ma'am: it's all in the way of
A profound silence then ensued between them.
On his part the Resurrection Man, who was intimately
acquainted with London and all its multitudinous mazes, endeavoured to follow in
his mind the course which the vehicle was taking; and for some time he was
enabled to calculate it accurately enough. But it presently turned off to the
left, and shortly afterwards took several windings, which completely baffled his
reckoning. He accordingly abandoned the labour, and, trusted to accident is
furnish him with the clue which he desired.
On her side, Adeline was a prey to the most horrible
emotions. Now that she had carried the dread proceedings up to the point which
they reached, she recoiled from urging them to the awful catastrophe. Vainly did
she endeavour to tranquillise herself with the specious reasoning that she would
not become a murderess, since her hands were not to do the deed, — or
that even if that name must attach. itself to her, she was justified in adopting
any means, however extreme, to rid herself of a remorseless enemy: — vainly
did she thus argue: — the crime she was about to commit, or to have
committed for her, seemed appalling! Often during this long ride was she on the
point of declaring to her terrible companion that she would stop short and
abandon the murderous project at once: and then would come soul-harrowing
remembrances of Lydia's tyranny, accompanied by violent longings after
Thus did nearly three quarters of an hour pass, when the
cab suddenly halted.
"Put on your hat — draw up your
cloak-collar — and hold down your head as you alight," said
Adeline in a rapid whisper.
The Resurrection Man understood her; and the darkness of
the night favoured the precautions which Lady Ravensworth had suggested to
prevent the driver, who opened the door, from observing that Tidkins's face was
covered with the flesh-coloured silk.
"Walt until our return," said Adeline:
"we may not be back for two, or even three hours; — but in any
And she placed a piece of gold in the man's hand [-273-]
then took the arm of Tidkins and hurried him across the fields — for
such he could feel the soil upon which he was walking to be.
In this manner did they proceed for upwards of half an
hour, when they reached the fence surrounding the gardens of Ravensworth Hall.
Adeline opened the wicket by means of a key which she had with her, and hurried
her companion through the grounds to the private door at the southern extremity
of the mansion. This she also opened and looked again when they had entered. She
then conducted the Resurrection Man up the staircase, and finally into her
Guiding him to a chair, she released him from the silk
cap; but when it was removed, he could perceive nothing — for the
room was quite dark.
"My enemy is certain to come hither shortly,"
whispered Adeline "it may be directly-or it may be in an hour; — still
she is sure to come. I shall conceal you behind a curtain — in case the
wrong person might happen to enter the room by accident. But when any one
comes in, and you hear me close the door and say 'WRETCH!' rush upon her — seize
her by the throat — and strangle her. Are you strong enough to do
this? — for no blood must be shed."
"Trust to me, ma'am," returned Tidkins.
"The woman — whoever she may be — will never speak
again after my fingers once grasp her neck."
Adeline then guided him behind the curtain of her bed;
and she herself took her pest near the door.
And now succeeded a most appalling interval of nearly
twenty minutes, — appalling only to Adeline: for her hardened
accomplice was thinking far more of the additional sum he was about to earn,
than of the deed he was hired to perpetrate.
But, Adeline — oh, her thoughts were
terrible in the extreme! Not that she dreaded the failure of the deadly plot,
and a consequent exposure of the whole machination: — no — her
plans were too well laid to admit that contingency. But she felt her mind
harrowing up, as it were, at the blackness of the tragedy which was in
Twenty minutes, we said, elapsed: — twenty
years of mental agony — twenty thousand of acute suffering, did that
interval appear to be.
At length a step echoed in the corridor;-nearer and
nearer it came.
[-274-] Good God! what
pangs lacerated the heart of Lady Ravensworth! — and even then — far
as she had gone — she was on the point of rushing forward, and
crying, "No! no! — spare-spare her!"
But some demon whispered in her ear, "Now is the
time for vengeance!" — and she retained her post — she
stifled the better feelings that had agitated within her — she
nerved herself to be merciless and unrelenting.
She knew that the stop approaching was that of Lydia;
for Lydia allowed none of the other servants to enter her mistress's own private
chamber. The reason of this must be obvious to the reader:-Lydia only repaired
thither for the sake of appearances — and not to do the work which
it was her duty to perform. No — that had been left for Adeline
herself to excute!
And now the handle of the lock was agitated — the
door opened — and Lydia, bearing a light, entered the room.
Instantly Adeline closed the door violently — exclaiming,
"WRETCH, your time is come!"
Lydia started — and dropped the light.
But in another second the Resurrection Man, springing
like a tiger from his lair, rushed upon her from behind the curtain — seized
her throat with his iron grasp — and threw her on the floor as
easily as if she were a child.
The light had gone out — and the fearful
deed was consummated in the dark.
A low gurgling — a suffocating sound — and
the convulsions of a body in the agony of death, were the terrible indications
to Adeline that the work was indeed in awful progress!
Faint and sick at heart. — with whirling
brain — and bright sparks flashing from her eyes — Lady
Ravensworth leant against the door for support.
Two minutes thus elapsed — the gurgling
sound every instant growing fainter and fainter.
Adeline felt as if her own senses were leaving her — as
if she were going mad.
Suddenly a low, hoarse voice near her whispered,
"It's all over!"
Then Lady Ravensworth was suddenly recalled to the
consciousness of her perilous position, — awakened to the necessity
of carrying out all her pre-arranged measures of precaution to the end.
"We must now dispose of the body," she said,
in a low and hurried tone. "You must take it on your back, and carry it for
a short distance, whither I will lead you. But, first — here is a
bag: it contains two hundred and fifty sovereigns-fifty more than I promised
The Resurrection Man clutched the gold eagerly: — the
weight was sufficient to convince him that his patroness was not deceiving him.
While he was hugging his ill-earned gains, Adeline
hastily felt her way to the bureau, opened it, and took forth her casket of
jewels. She left the door of the bureau open, and the key in the lock.
The Resurrection Man now suffered her to replace the
silk cap over his head — what would he not have done for one who
paid so liberally!
Then, taking the body upon his back, he was led by
Adeline from the boudoir.
They descended the stairs, and passed out of the mansion
by the private door, which Adeline closed but left the key in the lock.
She conducted him through the grounds once more, leaving
the wicket open — and proceeded across a field, in one corner of
which was a large deep pond.
A pile of stones was near the brink.
"Throw the body upon the ground," said
The Resurrection Man obeyed, and seated himself quietly
Adeline averted her eyes from the pale countenance, on
which a faint stream of struggling moon-light stole through the darkness of the
night; — and rapidly did she busy herself to secure her casket of
rich jewels and several huge stones about the corpse. This she did by means of a
strong cord, with which she had provided herself; for — fearful
woman!-she had not omitted one single detail of her horrible plan — nor
did she hesitate to sacrifice her precious casket to aid in the assurance of her
When this labour was finished, — and it did
not occupy many minutes, — Adeline rolled the body down the
precipitous bank into the pond.
There was a splash — a gurgling sound; and
all was still.
"By God!" murmured the Resurrection Man;
"this is the cleverest woman I ever met in my life. I really quite admire
The words did not, however, reach the ears of Lady
Ravensworth; — or she would have recoiled with abhorrence from that
fearful admiration which she had excited in the mind of such a miscreant — a
resurrectionist — a murderer!
"Every thing is now finished," said Adeline,
breathing more freely. "Let us depart."
She led her companion across the fields: — her
delicate feet were wet with the dew; — and though she felt
wearied-oh! so wearied that she was ready to sink, — yet that
woman — within a few weeks of becoming a mother — was
armed with an almost superhuman energy, now that it was too late to retreat and
her enemy was no more.
When they reached the cab, the driver was sleeping on
his box; and before he was well awake, the Resurrection Man had entered the
"Back to the place where you took up my
companion," said Adeline, as she followed Tidkins into the cab.
And now she was journeying side by side with one who had
just perpetrated a cold-blooded murder, — she the promptress — he
In three quarters of an hour they again stopped at the
corner of the Edgeware Road, Adeline having removed the cap from the
Resurrection Man's head a few minutes previously.
The cab was dismissed: — Tidkins had vainly
looked to discover its number. Adeline, by bribing the driver, had provided
against that contingency also!
"Any other time, ma'am," said Tidkins,
"that you require my services — or can recommend me to your
friends — "
"Yes — certainly," interrupted
Adeline. "Good night."
And she hastened rapidly away.
"It's no use for me to attempt to follow her."
murmured the Resurrection Man to himself: "she is too wary for that."
He then pursued his way homewards, well con tented with
his night's work.
And Adeline regained admittance to her own mansion,
having so well contrived matters that the [-275-]
housekeeper never suspected she had once quitted it during the day or night.
Between three and four o'clock in the morning the rain
began to pour down in torrents, and continued until past eight, — so
that Lady Ravensworth was enabled to assure herself with the conviction that
even the very footsteps of herself and Anthony Tidkins were effaced from the
ground. belonging to the Hall, and from the fields in one of which was the pond
to whose depths the corpse of the murdered victim had been consigned.
chapter < | THE MYSTERIES OF
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