Chapter 100892087

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Chapter NumberII
Chapter TitleTHE RIDDLE SOLVED.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article100892087
Full Date1886-12-25
Page Number1
Corrections0
Word Count3752
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleNepean Times (Penrith, NSW : 1882 - 1962)
Trove TitleThe Mystery of Queen's Wharf
article text

CHAPTER II.

TUB RIDDLE SOLVED.

•* Who is that man ?" asked my friend the dootor ol one of the P. and O. boats, about three years afterwards, as we sat in the dress oirole of the Theatre Royal." The one, I mean, who has just come into the olub box# Tall, distinguished looking man."

" That," I replied, putting my binooulara up. " That—" and I hesitated for a moment —that is Mr. Paulooner." " Now, my hesi tation was caused by no doubt of identity, that was unmistakable, but simply by the raet that, although I bad heard of Faul ooner's return from England, where he had left his wife, I had nover seen him. Ho was Baid to have gone up oountry to ono of the Btations he still held, and I had oertainly never secu him in town. There he was, how ever, as quiet looking as ever, aocompanicd by Captain Reynolds, both as oalm and uncon cerned, apparently, as if there had been no shadow of a tragedy on either of their lives."

" Faulooner," said the doctor, " I remember the name, and am atill more sure I remem

ber the man."

" Well, you ought to. Mrs. Faulooner was not easily to be forgotten, and they wont home with you some three years ago."

By Jove. I remember aow. There had been some sensational tragedy here, and the poor little woman was very ill. But they didn't go home with us, my boy.

" What ?" I roplied, so suddenly,, that my

Iriend started.

" No, they did not," my excitablo friend, emphatically and deoidcdly not. Mrs. Faulooner wasvery ill; hysterical and all that. Couldn't bear her husband out of her sight for a moment. No man would be more attentive, either. He never loft their oabin until we got to Adelaido, and thon he took her ashore for an hour or two's rest, taking his sorvant, a sedate old soldior, with him. They went, but they nover came baok. Missed the steamer. Nothing extraordinary. It has happened beforo now. Hush I the

curtain."

That my feelings were those of intense bewilderment during tlio rest of the perform ance can easily be understood.

Wo saw the performance, of course, and equally of oourse we went out in the interval and smoked, &o. For a reason, moreover, that I could not explain, I asked my friend no more questions during tho evoning, but still the same refrain rang in my ears all the evening—" why did they land at Adolaide, and where had they gone to ?" Tho words seemed mixed up with our oyster supper at tho club, and accompanied mo to my owr lodgings, where, when left alone, I bogan to think over tho whole wretohed business again.

I remembered that no discovery had been made. I romomoered that ! had on Hnvnrnl

oooasions mildly chaffed my friend, the de teotive on his " habitual criminal" theory. I remembered again that Mr. Faulooner had returned alone, and that his wife was said to have been loft in Germany, and I remem bered also having been told by my old friend, the sub-inspaotor, that on being told that the

cabman Collins had lost his license over the watoh affair, Mr. Faulooner, who considered the man's offence a comparatively slight one, had prooured him a situation up country. Said sub-inspeotor had not thought much of this, as if " oabby" had not bean arrested so soon, he might have repented of his evil in tention and brought the watoh to the Town Hall. The watoh had been advertised daily, and no one had claimed it. Possibly the owner didn't oare about coming forward. Nevertheless the police stilt kept their 11 eye" upon Collins, ana held the watoh in oarefnl keeping.

I remembered also having heard that the father of the murdorod girl had died suddenly before the newB of her death had reached him, and that, consequently the Government reward of £200 for any information that oould lead to tho discovery of the guilty per son or persons had not been supplemented by an offer on his part. True, Mr. Faulooner added another £200, and there had been occa sional rumors of the police having found a due, but nothing had aome of them, ana even I had beoome aooufltomedto regard the affair as one of those mysteries whioh the ordinary intelligence of the police had been

unable to deal with.

Now, however, the Bight of Mr. Faulooner had re-oalled the whole oiroumstanoes to my mind with extraordinary vividness, and I seemed again to be bending over the mur dered woman and wondering at the strange nature of the wound.

Then, too, the dootor's story. Thore was nothing wonderful in tho faot that Faulooner and his wife had missed the'steamer, and that she should have been suffering from strong mental exoitement. It was only

natural.

But the reason why he Bhould have returned alone, giving it to be understood that she remained in England, was not so easy to find. Had she gone to England at all, and it not, where had she been all tho time her hus band was up country ? Was it oertain that he had been up the country. And yet a man like him oould not bo in Melbourne without being remarked, nor was Mrs. Faulooner the sort of woman who oould remain long un notioed anywhere.

All sortB of vague suspicions arose in my mind. I began to consider the advisability of mentioning what the dootor had told me to the authorities, but dismissed the idoa almost as soon as formed. The Faulaonera had already suffered soverely in the matter, and thore was every probability that they might have gono on to England in another veBBel.

So I mado up my mind to do nothing more until I had made a fow quiet ipquirios and

wont to bed. '

Even during tho next few days I oould oomo to no determination, and though Mr. Faulooner onoe stoppod me in the streot and spoke to me with his usual oomposed indif ference, and in answer to my enqniries after his wife, told me that she was travailing with some friends in Germany, I oould not mako up my mind to allude to what I had heard from the doctor.

On tho fourth day, however, I. was sitting alone in my room. I was told that some one wanted to seo mo, and, slightly to my sur prise, my acquaintance the deteotive was shown in. His namo is o( no importance, and he is not now in the country. Let us call hitn Binks for the nonco. An ordinary looking man Binks, not at all lika tho con ventional detootivo, middle height, oompaotly built, and ycry neatly dressed, with nothing

remarkable but a tyibit of holding his head

a little on one pide, when ha wanted to em

phftjiize it remark or thougt)tl?e had mtd6 a'

ttBUff neok, to judge from. bU

and he oommenoed without any P/°^lt h'ut

»' Sorry to trouble you Mr. Wainrigbtr but I've come to have a ohat with you about that

^^With^rae I "^replied shortly, feoling sur

prised and looking it.

•'Yes, air, with you?" ,

" Wliy, have you made any diasovery t j( " Yes, sir, and I've mode a journey, too. .

I notioed now that he waB muoh sunburnt, and bad the generul look of a man just re

turned from a long vovagc.

" Yep,1' he continued," I have been to Pans. Ioamo bnak yesterday, and as you are in terested I have come first; to you.

'• Why, Burely Mr. Binka you don t Buspeot m» Indeed, I don't," be anaworod with a jovial smile. " But you gave mo a clue, and before I report I want to tell you how I fol lowed it, and thon perhaps to ask your advice. It's a sad business, Mr.' W«unrignt, ana i don't half like acting on what I do know, in spite of the reward." ..

Just for one moment a vague idea of MB meaning dawned upon me, but I merely swered " go on." j

111 Buppoao/1 bo continued witli

more on one side than ever. " You know that

Mr. Faulconer has come back." v s

I nodded. ' ..

"JJut his wife iB not with h»m. • *

" No ahe is in Germany. He told meyas

'°"^Th"en you've seen him. How . does ha.

look." ? '

" Ab quiet and unconoorned as ever.

" And Mrs. Fauloonor in Germany. Would. . it surprise to you hear that she didn't go homo ^ by the Bteamei, in whoso passenger list? "

" It did surprise me when I beard it the other day." v

" Thon you have heard it." • > «' Yes, the doctor of the steamer told me bo, and I have been puz/.ling my brains ever

ainee. But the doctor also said that they • went ashore because Bhe wus ill at Ade laide, and missed the boat, and they might

easily have gone by another one." _ ? ;

" Yes, sir, easy onough, but they ditto ,t.

I've searched the list of every steamer since;, Mrs. Fauloonur never left Australia at all."

I sat in mute astonishment. " Why, where is she then."

" Ah, Bir, there'B the point. Now liaten to : me. Can you Bpare tho time." > <

MI will spate it. Goon." ' , . , ; "I suppose you and other folkB have.'" thought we were very eaayoverthiamatter,but \ bless you, there aro oases in whioh easiness is the best game. I am pretty euro now who to lay my hand on, and yet I don't half

doit. But before I begin let mo'aBk you whether Mr. Faulconer has only leoently re turned to Melbourne ? " , u

"I only saw him tho other day.1'

"And that other'quiot looking awoll with the long mouBtaoho—Captain Reynolds I.

" Why, what on earth haB he to do with

it 1 »

" Never mind, sir, you'll see. Has he been

in town." . • „

" I have seen him constantly.

" Well, sir, now I'll go on. You moy re member that once or twioe aftor tno muraer

you was a bit given to ohafl me about, wnat ? you oalled my " habitual oriminal theory 1 pretended to be huffed once or twice but, Lor bless youl I took tho hint. Supposing it

was'nt an habitual oriminal. Like moBt men ; in my line, I read a trille and when you oalled attention in court, to the wound and ihe marks of bitca I said again to myself, supposing it war'nt rats. Then I remembored the Btory of the llue Morgue murder by tho Ourang outang. But there ia only one Chimpanzee at our Zoo and he is far too gentlemanly an aoro bat for this sort of thing, beBides be had never been loose. And then I began to think thatthere are Buoh things aB lovers, and jealous lovera. in oonneotion.with young ladies, »

the murder might have been oommttted in the way it has to put us off the scent. And then I thought suddenly of tho two gentlemen Mtaa Darley waa moBt intimate with, her host

Mr Fauloonet and Captain Reynolds'. , . . ; ,

•'Good God I you don't mean to say you

suspected them." 1 ' . , ?

"No sir, emphatically I did'nt. They te

not the sort. But I waa'nt at all auto that y they badn't some idea of how it happened, at

leaBt after the inquest." . ,

" What in heavon do you mean ?"

" Catty your memory baok to the inquest. I. '

kept my eye on Mr. Fauleonor all tho time, ? he waa giving his evidence and hia faoe never <. changed until the watch was put into his hand. It ohangod then and it. was only after a steady look at the cabman that ha said. " This is not MisB Darley's watoh—-J'

" I do remember, what of that." ' ?. "Well Bir,I told you juat now I don't anspeat

MrFaulaoner of murdering this poor .;girl. .

But I tell you"—and here his head almost, ; touohedhis shoulders—" that when he^ saw ; that watoh, he knew that CollinB had not ..

driven Miss Darley that night, and that being \ a gentleman for he is that, ne spoke the truth. .

I heard him toll you afterwards that it ho •• oould punish the murderers he would." ?

I nodded. He bad done so.

"• Well, tho thought struck me aa I thought over your ahail about the " habitual oriminal". that the owner of that watoh could tell some- ,

thing about the crime and that Mr Faulconer :

knew who it was."

"Why not tako action then." ??-./ 1 •

"Not enough to no on, sir. J ooqld always . lay my hands on Mr. Fuulooner, but I relief - chiefly on the watoh, and though I did not think Mr. Faulconer guilty, I knew that tniUr tary gents bavo often had queer adventures in their youth. You remember what the oab-.

man said about tho woman who drove him'-: having a foreign accent. It atruak tge that

Mr. Faulconer might bavo had something to ; do once upon a time with Buoh a woman,

and that if she wore here and took it into hex,'.: head, that there was anything betwoen him;;

and Miss Darley, though Lord love you 1—I' . never heard of it, she might easily - have done tho thing herself or got someone else,

Collins, perhaps, though I don't think so.'

Bo I've kept my eye on him, and with what" ; result I'll toll you directly. But the main thing was the watoh, and I thought roore of it beaause the day after the inquest Captain Reynolds called at the office and asked if he might see it. I showed it to him, and I notiaed that he opened it, looked closely at the inside, and then uaid as quietly as that sort of gent always does, " oortainly not Miss

Darley's." Whon ho had gono I examined it ^ more closely than before. It waa a very-'

handBome one, Parisian make, jowolled, . and on the insido was the inaoription " Amalia .

from Rioardo;" perhaps you'vo heard the ; namca? • \

" Yes. Charaotera in tho opora, Utt Bailo -

ut Masehera'*

" Juat bo. Some opera singer I thought,

and I made moro enquiricB. But no one

in Melbourne had ever Bold such a watch, , nor could I tracu it in anyway. But my

back was up now, and after some trouble' I . got tho ohief to lot me go to Paris. I went,

and was put into communication with the '

boBB, the prcfeot they oall him. Ho was a ' stout, oomfortable-looking man, but they do ' know their work thero. I was told to go away and come back in a week. I did, and was brought face to faao with the jeweller,

who had sold the watoh eight yoars boforo - to an English ofl'iaor, who hnd a lady with him. Tho olllcur'u name wah in his'booka, F. Faulconer, —th Lancers, but ho had no distinct remombranae of tho lady oxoept that ehe had handsome dark oyno. Tho Inaorip tion was put on at tho lady's request. Ha heard her speak,, but he oould nOt remember ia what language. From the lady's manner

ha thotJ'Rht they wore p'gwiy married orlovi*-;^

— *«—«-«- . hmiohis vulaililH

nerved, but Bpoke French well. I knew now that Mr. Faulconer bad purchased the watch, but I bad etill ho cluo to the owner—and though I remained a month in Paris, that

was all the information I could obtain.

On my return I next turned my attention to try and discover the miesing watoh taken from Mies Darley, but then again I failed. It bad not been pawned or Bold, and why it ahould have been taken I could scarcely make out, except for that purpose. Adver tising brought no answer, nor did I parti cularly care about it in a caee like this. My idea_ was to let the matter rest for a little, not in the hope thiit the owner of the watoh would voluntarily come forward, but that some other clue might be obtained. Besides, I bad always Mr. Faulconer to go baok upon.

Strangely enough, that oluo came upon me in the most unexpected manner, and without my looking for it. It may seem strange, but it did, and I confess it. I am in the habit now and then, when I wnnt to smoke a meditative pipe, of strolling along that por tion of the wharves where the small coasting oraft lie. They are queer old-fashioned look ing things, moBt of them, and have an inte rest for me, I can't get up, except profes sionally, on a large steamer. Well, sir, one Saturday afternoon about three months ago, I was strolling about this place, whioh is about forty yards below where Miss Barley's bedy was found, and wont behind the half rotten fence of an old store-yard to light my pipe. My matoh-box, a gift from an old pal, accidentally fell from my hand, and rolled into a little hole alongside one of the posts. I stooped to pick it out, and in so doing pulled out also something hard wrapped up in a piece of paper. Mechanically I held it in my hand for a second before opening it, but when I did so, sir, quiet as I sit here, my heart literally jumped. The paper was stained with dark patches here and there, and inside were a pair of woman's gloves trimmed with fur, anl a watoh—the watoh described at the inquest by Mr. Faulconer as having been given by him to Miss Darley. No need to enquire about that. And then your words about the nature of the wound came back to me. No habitual criminal bad inflicted it. No man would have been so foolish as to fling the watch away, and the gloves from wbicn the fur had been torn in places were also stiff with what I could easily guess was dried blood. I was fairly on the ; track now, and on examining the paper my

suspicions were more than confirmed, for Bfter some trouble I deciphered the following words, written in what appoared to be a gentleman's hand.

" II you rnally mean what your eyes have often said, oome to the Queen's Wharf to night at half-past eleven. You oan easily get out if you try, and if you have the oourage to-morrow we can be far away together. I am not strong enough to oarry out my former

resolution."

The riddle was now easy to read; Miss .'Darley went to the wharf that night to meet

the person who wrote that letter, and wai murdered by the same hand.

" In heaven's name whose," I said, " surely

not Mr. Faulconer 1"

; " Lord, no sir," said Binks with his head . slightly turning to the appropriate side I did'nt think then that Mr Fauloonor had any .idea of it and I know now that he had'nt, but I was almost sure then that the thought he V.was going to meet her, and that the letter was written by the woman with the foreign aocent to whom he had given tho watoh and who no doubt was some one he had known before bis marriage, and some one especially he would'nt care tor his wife to hear about.

So I started on the traok again and as I oould'nt watoh Mr Faulconer who was up oountry I watahed Captain Reynolds who was living in a seoluded house at Brighton with an invalid sister, with only an old woman and Mr Faulooner's man as attendants. I modo enquiries and found out that Mr Faul ooner sometimes oame there, that the Oaptain'B sister had very delicate health, and ^seldom went out, exoept sometimes on a warm

evening, that either the old woman or Beeoher was always with her and that as you might expect she was supposed to be a trifle queer. No doubt Mr Wainright you may -ntnK lt odd that I mixed Captain Reynolds up with this matter, butyou must remember that he and Mr, Faulooner had been chums, and I knew what theBo army gents will do for one another in a troublo. So I watohed and watohed for nights, and though I saw the lady twioe she was so wrapped up that I noticed nothing but a profusion of golden hair. At last one night I managed to elimb the garden fenee and hide behind a tree iust as she oame out with the old woman. She was in high spirits, laughing and talking in a pretty minoing foreign acoent, but still there was something familiar to me in her air and figure. By-and-bye she went in again, and began to sing, Boeompanying herself at the niano. It was Amalia's first song in Vn Ballo. I had no doubt now that I had found the owner of the watoh with the inscription, but still I\ waited till, in about ten minutes, she oame forward, and I saw her standing^fullin the bright light of the open window. Mr. Wain right, I am a eool, and I hope a brave man, but that sight frightened me.

"What wasthat ? "

>Wait, sir, till you hoar more. Tli« next | morning I went to tho Chief and again ob

tained leave to viBit Paris, and there, sendine.. for,the jeweller I had seen before, [ placed in his hands a photograph I had purchased ic Melbourno. He recognised it at onoe_as the pioture of the lady who had been with Mr. Faulaoner when he had bought tha watoh." •.'There, sir," coil tinned the deteotive gravely, 'Ms. the pioture I speak of, and I ask you now, as a gbntleman and a man of feeling, what is the. best <way of working out this wretohoa

businass."

I took one look at the pioture, and then sat pmte and hcirror-strioken. a

"It was the likeness of Mrs, Faulconer.