Death to the Inquisitive! A story of sinful love
Obvious typographic errors have been corrected.
THE SCARLET HOUSE OF SIN.
Death to the Inquisitive!
A STORY OF SINFUL LOVE.
LURANA W. SHELDON,
W. D. ROWLAND, PUBLISHER
23 Chambers Street
W. D. ROWLAND.
|I.||THE WHITECHAPEL MYSTERY||5|
|II.||A SUICIDAL ATTEMPT||12|
|III.||RESCUED BY THIEVES||20|
|IV.||THE SHAME-BORN CHILD||26|
|VI.||A PAINFUL REMINISCENCE||40|
|VII.||THE BREATH OF PASSION||47|
|VIII.||A MIDNIGHT CRIME||54|
|IX.||MAURICE SINCLAIR ESCAPES WITH HIS VICTIM||61|
|X.||THE SCARLET HOUSE OF SIN||65|
|XI.||JULIA WEBBER LAYS PLANS FOR REVENGE||73|
|XII.||A SINFUL LOVE||77|
|XIII.||THE CONTRACT BROKEN||85|
|XIV.||IN CENTRAL PARK||93|
|XVI.||A DEER HUNT IN NEWFOUNDLAND||104|
|XVII.||BY THE ASHES OF A GUILTY HOUSE||112|
|XVIII.||STELLA IS RESTORED TO HER LOVER||120|
|XIX.||SAFE IN THE ARMS OF LOVE||126|
|XX.||DR. SEWARD'S EXPERIMENT||133|
|XXI.||A PERFECT UNION||140|
|[Pg 4]XXII.||"QUEEN LIZ"||145|
|XXIII.||ELIZABETH FINDS FRIENDS||149|
|XXIV.||STELLA CONFIDES IN HER HUSBAND||153|
|XXV.||THE CAPTAIN'S STORY||159|
|XXVI.||SORROW AND REJOICING||163|
|XXVII.||THE MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE||168|
|XXIX.||THE HOME IN NEW YORK||181|
|XXX.||SAM LEE DISCOVERS A FARO GAME||188|
|XXXII.||FACE TO FACE||200|
|XXXIII.||"I HAVE NO NAME"||205|
|XXXIV.||THE LADY VAN TYNE WILL FIGHT FOR HER HONOR||211|
|XXXV.||STELLA AND ELIZABETH||218|
|XXXVI.||A LAST ESCAPE||226|
|XXXVII.||FIVE YEARS AFTER||229|
MISS LURANA W. SHELDON.
DEATH TO THE INQUISITIVE.
A STORY OF SINFUL LOVE.
CHAPTER I. THE WHITECHAPEL MYSTERY.
A piercing shriek echoed throughout the entire length and breadth of thegloomy passage, hushed as it was in the brief hour of repose thatusually intervened between the vice-rampant hour of midnight and theever reluctant dawn.
It seemed as if the very light shrank from penetrating the loathsomewindings of that wretched quarter of London, and as to pure air, itsimply refused to enter such illy ventilated nooks and[Pg 6] crevices, whilethe poisoned vapors that filled the narrow precincts were always tryingto escape and failing through their own over-weight of reeking odors.
The scream of the dying woman was carried indistinctly to the ears ofthe sleeping inmates simply because the air was too heavy with viletobacco and whiskey, stale beer fumes, and the exhalations of festeringgarbage heaps to transmit anything in other than a confused andindistinct manner.
Nevertheless there was something so extraordinarily frightful in theshriek that it did succeed in reaching the ears of nearly every habitueof the place, who, shrieking in their turn aroused the others, and oneby one frowzeled heads and wrinkled faces issued from broken windows andrapidly, with shuffling footsteps, men and women crawled frominnumerable dark passages and darker doorways, and with suspiciousglances at each other, sneaked in and out through the slime and rubbish,in a half curious, half frightened search for a glimpse of that horribletragedy.
I say sneaked about, and I use the word[Pg 7] advisedly as the lawyers say,inasmuch as these degraded members of the human family,—thesede-humanized fag ends of the genius Homo, did not walk, run, or performany other specified motion in their perambulations.
On the contrary, they hugged the walls and the gutters; they weredistrustful of the laws of gravitation and equilibrium, preferring tolean more or less heavily on walls and other supports, with bodies bentand faces averted, while the rapidity with which they appeared anddisappeared was best appreciated by the Police who were supposed toguard this particular section of Whitechapel, but who religiouslyconfined their guardianship to the outer walls, while the denizens ofthe multitudinous alleys or passages were free to perpetrate theirmurders, ply their nefarious trades and revel and rot in the stench oftheir own degradations.
One by one these creatures crawled from their hiding places.
Men were seen clutching the rags of their scanty clothing while theirbleared eyes scanned every inch of the broken pavements.
Women, with odd garments thrown carelessly[Pg 8] about their shoulders,joined in the search, and for a brief time no word was spoken.
Finally an old creature, dirtier if possible than the rest, bent inform, and with one long brown fang extending down over her shrunkenchin, hobbled from a gloomy doorway and in a strident, nasal tone gaveher opinion to these searchers of iniquity.
"Hit's Queen Liz thet's done fer, HI knowed 'er yell; You'll find 'ersomewheres down by the Chinaman's shanty. HI spects 'e's knifed 'er."
"Good enough for 'er, the stuck hup 'uzzy," exclaimed one of thewretched beings that followed closely at the woman's heels.
"To think of 'er livin' 'ere for two years hand not speakin' to no onebut that greasy yaller-skin. HI knowed 'e'd get sick of 'er 'fore long."
"S'pose you think hit's your turn next," snapped up another bedraggledfemale, whereupon a vicious battle ensued between the two while the menand women halted in their search to watch, what to them was the veryessence of life,—a fight.
But the old crone who had first spoken crawled[Pg 9] on until she reached theChinaman's quarters, and there sure enough, a Mongolian, swarthy andgreasy, his beady eyes blazing with excitement, was bending over andtrying with poor success to withdraw a villainous looking weapon, halfknife, half dagger, from the breast of an apparently dying woman.
The victim was a familiar figure in the Alley, and her clean, handsomeface with its "hands-off" expression had long since won her the name of"Queen Liz."
While her failure to mingle with the other women or receive the beastlyattentions of the men had made her an object of hatred to all concerned,still she had won their respect by her evident ability to defend herselfat all times and in all circumstances, while the love she plainly boreher beautiful babe, a child of about two years, was a never ceasingsource of wonderment and ridicule to these hardened mortals.
It was true that Queen Liz spent much time in the quarters of thisparticular Mongolian while there were many more eligible parties of herown nationality in the passage, but Queen Liz was [Pg 10]evidently above herstation, and as the Mongolian in question was possessed of more worldlygoods than were his neighbors, it was reasonably supposed that shesought the comforts and luxuries of Chinese fans and Oolong inpreference to the other shanties with their ever prevalent aroma ofstale beer.
Nevertheless Queen Liz was not wholly overwhelmed by the wealth of SamHop Lee, because it was rumored that at certain intervals a gentlemanfrom the outside world; a member of actual London society was seen goingin and out of the narrow passage, Liz always accompanying him on theseexits and entrances, for protection, it was generally supposed.
The sight of the stranger in their own lawful precincts brought always amixture of sentiments to the thieves and sharpers who infested thesegloomy byways.
Here was an excellent opportunity for operations in their own particularline of business, but here also was a woman armed with the usual weaponsof the alley, ready and anxious to meet in mortal combat any and allthat should dare lay hands upon herself or guest.
Thus Queen Liz was let pretty severely alone by all, and her life pastand present was a mystery too obscure to be in any danger of beingsolved by the beer muddled brains of her neighbors.
But now Queen Liz was lying in the slime and mud of the alley with thedeadly knife sticking firmly in her side, and as this uncanny assemblageof human scavengers drew nearer, Sam Lee gave one more vigorous pull atthe weapon, and withdrawing it, turned its blade to the light of aflickering tallow dip, and instantly, in the eyes of each and every onepresent, he was acquitted of the horrible deed.
The knife was of a make unknown in the alley and only to be found in thepossession of a man to whom money is no object and who could well affordto follow his own fancies in the design