Page:Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.djvu/77

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41
CARABOO

Dr. Wilkinson resolved on going to London to consult the Foreign Office, and to obtain funds for the present relief of the Princess, and her restoration to her native land.

Mrs. Worall left Bath, taking Caraboo with her. But the wide circulation of the story led to her detection.

On the following Monday, a Mrs. Neale called on a Mr. Mortimer, and urged him to go to Knole and tell Mrs. Worall that she knew the girl very well, for she had lodged in her house in the suburbs of Bristol. At the same time a youth arrived from Westbury, a wheel-wright's son, who had met her upon her first expedition to Almondsbury, and remembered seeing her at a public-house by the roadside, where a gentleman, feeling compassion for her weariness, had taken her in and treated her to beefsteak and hot rum and water.

Mrs. Worall was much disconcerted, but wisely said nothing to her guest of what she had heard, and took Caraboo next day in her carriage to Bristol under the plea that she was going to have Mr. Bird, the artist, complete the portrait of the princess on which he was engaged, and desired a final sitting. But instead of driving to Mr. Bird's studio, the princess was conveyed to the house of Mr. Mortimer, where she was shown into a room by herself, whilst Mrs. Worall had an interview with Mrs. Neale elsewhere. This lady was attended by her daughter, and their story both surprised and confounded the kind magistrate's wife. After a protracted discussion, she returned to Caraboo, and told her plainly that she was convinced that she was an impostor. When Caraboo heard that Mrs. Neale had denounced her, she burst into tears and her fortitude gave way. She made a few feeble attempts to keep up the deception, but finally made a full confession.