Chapter 111036432

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Chapter NumberX
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1896-08-05
Page Number7
Word Count3527
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleEvening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931)
Trove TitleThe Crime of a Christmas Toy
article text

??— — THE' Grime' of a Christmas Toy.


— '—- *- CHAPTER X.— (Continned.)

The round disk of light was full on Jasper Byrne's face for some ten or twelve seconds. 'He does look bad,' said the policeman softly. 'He looks ais if a hospital wouldn't be able to de much good to him. But they won't take him in at this-time of niaht.'

?I think they will,' I replied. 'They'll take him in at the Free Hospital in Gray's Inn-road, if I can only find a. cab/' 1-e policeman's bull's-eye flashed into my face and travelled over me. 'Go on then,' he said; 'and I hope' you'll eucceed. Stop for a moment,' . he added; 'you might ;gire. me; your name.' 'George Grant,' I rejoined,' '212 Blvedere road.' . The policeman flashed his light at me again, and jotted down the name and address in his book. 'Eun on,'. he said. 'The sooner a doctor sees your pal the better it will be for Mm.' On Westminster Bridge I met a crawling, and the offer of three shillings was suffi cient to ensure the driver's best services. 1 shall not soon forget Mrs. Hooney's face Tvhen, after ringing and knocking as if I had intended to tear the house down, she opened the door. The poor woman fairly screamed. 'Is it Mr. Byrne?' she said; 'or is it his guost? Good heavens! he isn't dead, is he?' 'No, he isn't dead,' I said, 'but he may die. unless we do something Immediately to bring him round.' ?Poor Mr. Byrne!' blubbered Mrs. Rooney, when I had carried the man upstairs and laid him on his bed. 'What have they been do iug to him, the villains'? And you,' Mr. Grant; what have you been and done to your self, looking for all the world as if you'd been trying to sweep the streets? And look at your clothes!' -

'Run, Mrs. Rooney,' I interrupted; 'make a cup of coffee as strong and as hot as you can, and fly for your life.' She looked at me for a second hi amazed inquiry. 'Run!' I went on. 'This man's life may depend on what you do.' I lighted a candle. Byrne lay upon his bed like a log. But for a barely perceptible breathing, he might have been dead. His face was grey', his lips nearly green, his eyes closed. That he was suffering from some narcotic poisoning was beyond question; but to my mind he was not suffering from nar cotic poisoning alone. The feebleness of the pulse, the absence of perspiration, and, when I tried it, the swift effect of the light of my candle upon the pupils, proved to me that there was a preponderance most likely of ano- ( thei- venom, probably a metallic one. i Mrs. Rooney soon came, with a steaming ] cup of coffee in her hand. I administered a j spoonful of it at a time, as best I could, to the patient, and though It had but little visi ble effect upon him, I knew, from the slight ly stronger breathing and from the weak ef fort to rouse himself, that I had done right. I did not care to bear the responsibility of this man's life or death, especially as I was perfectly in the dark about what had happen ed to him. Therefore I sent Mrs. Rooney for her doctor, who arrived about half an hour afterwards in hot haste, not at all overpleas ed at being called out of ;his bed at that time of the morning. He was a grumpy man, pre maturely bald, with stubby, reddish-brown ?whiskers. When he saw, Byrne he shook his

'The man has been taking opium,' he said; 'that's as plain as daylight. A filthy habit, and he deserves all he has got.' 'But what are we to do, doctor?' I asked. 'Do?' he growled. 'I wish I'd known it R-as a case like this when I was called out of my bed just as I got a wmk-pf sleep, after being up half the night with an accident case. Do? No use trying a stomach pump with him: he'$ soaked with it. Might try aa emetic. Put cold wet towels on his head and chest Try and keep him awake. If you haven't any compound camphor liniment in the house, put a poultice of mustard and ca yenne pepper on him, and as soon as it's day light, you can send for some sal volatile and let him breathe that' ? 'I've given him a portion of a cup of cof fee,' I said. 'I suppose I wasn't doing Trrong?' 'Not at all,' he said, gruffly. 'Punch him — jump on him— but keep him awake. Good morning.' ' ? 'What's that nice gentleman's name?' I asked Mis. Rooney, when the surgeon had left the room. ? 'That's Doctor Benderley,' she said- 'He's not very nice, as a rule; but I never knew him to be a boor like that'

It struck me very forcibly that Doctor Ben derley carried on his shoulders a very grave responsibility, and that if Jasper Byrne died, serious questions might' be put to the worthy doctor as to whether or nay he had given the case sufficient attention. The treatment which he prescribed I knew to be quite cor rect hi the case of poisoning by. opium, but I feared, and, indeed, thought I knew, that' opium was not the only dangerous substance with which Byrne had been drugged. Mrs. Rooney and myself spent the next few hours hi carrying put Dr. Benderley's instruc tions, slightly varied in such a manner as my common -«ense ? and .general medical .know-' ledge warranted; V It was nearly nine o'clock before J felt a little, easier. The pulse had become stronger, the?l-reathing more free, and the movements less. painful and palsied. I had barely time to wstsh, and dress my self hi decent elbthing, when Mrs. Rooney came to me and said, 'If -you please,- Mr, Urant, there's a gentleman downstairs wants to see you. He won't give me his name', but he says that he knows Mr. George Grey, arid that, that will be introduction enough for you ' . .- . ?;...'. '?./:?: -.. . . . , - I asked Mrs. Rooney to' show the gentleman into my room. - My visitor proved to be Mr. Inspector War der, of the Criminal investigation Depart ment of the Metropolitan Police, whom -I knew to be charged with the unravelling or the Senfrey mystery.- He looked at me with a smile, and held out his hand. 'My name's Warder/' he «ai& ?—.'** suppose you know me?'. ? ? ? * 'ies,' I replied, 'I do know you.' 'You'll forgive nje4f I take a seat,' he adfr ei without further ado, and suited the action to the word. 'So you are *G. G'?' he con tinued. 'Yes,!* I replied, closing' the door. 'I am 'G. G.,' but that Is no reason why all the world should know it.' 'Eight,'1 he answered- 'Xotfre quite right. I'll moderate ihe exuberance of my voice. You've got taia^Senfrey case In hand for the familv?'

'Yes,' I -repliea; 'I nave.' 'Well,' he -went on, patting Jiis knees and looking down -at 'Hie 'floor as If hfe were try tog to find '-a' sixpence wMeb somebody had lost there, ul ve also got fhe «enfirey «ase in hand; and it Stnkes me fhat whatever you find out, when it comes to the real thing and you want the man'— ce looked at me straight at that word— 'orjthe woman who did it lock e(i up, you'll 2i&ve to come to one of us to* do it.' \juite right,' T. said;. 'absolutely right 1, should come to ©ne'krf yon to do it' 'Well,' he conjtiaroed, tapping iiis knee with bis open palm, *'F11 3ob straightforward fn& above-boam witfc ^ouf J'vfe fceen fraying yon shadowed, .and I've kept ap an even running with you until last night. Xost night, tije ?oan uho was shadowing you watched that toffee-house In tJbe Belvtedere-road, and stay ud until the shop was 5dosfed^at midnight, «nd«: for an. hour after thai^bnt as 4t was pouring cats and does, lie thought ihaFjiobody would. come out In tiffllliBU^v w^melf? ana ^went

borne to change Ms clothes. He went baek| at half-past three in the m&rning aid stayed, 1 but the shop remained €hut,and when we j broke into it about an hour and a half ago, ; we found that the two men who lived thiere ? and the girl had hooked %— got out by w«y - .of the timberryard 'at the Back. .And. when we inquired further into the business, we found that you'd got out of your place about three in the morning, and my men opposite ; here tell me that you and another man came home shortly after, that' , : i 'All that3 s quite true, Mr. Warder,' I said. ! He held out his hand again. j 'Let's be pals,' .he. said. 'Tib Warder and you're G/ G. I'm not one of those 'who want all the fat for themselves and leaVe an the gristle and work to others. I've j seen enough of you to know that you're a j deep one. But, as I said before, - in any case when it.comes to the (real business, you'll, have to come to one of us.' . ' 'Quite right again,' T said. 'What I 'want to propose to you is this, j Let that 'one of us' be me. You live In this j house and you cain get on faster than I can. j I don't want to .take your credit 'away from you, and we both are working for the same end. If you promise that when vou want

an arrest made I shall make it, I won't work against you. Is it a bargain?' 'It is,' I said; 'and the best .proof that I. can give you that I'm straightforward is this. —Come with me.' I went to the next room:and showed him' Byrne. 'So that's the man,' he said, when we were in my room again, 'whom you brought here? Did you find him in that hole?' ? 'I did.' , 'And you got him out through the sky light?' he exclaimed, looking at, me. in won derment 'It must have been a , stiff, job.' 'It was a stiff job,' I said. 'They've been trying to murder him, and I promise you, Warder, that though these two men and the girl have got away, you shall lay your hand upon the shoulder of the principal vil lain before a fortnight's over our heads. Let us give him rope enough — that's all'. 'All right,' he answered; and shaking my hand again, said, 'Good-tjye, for the present,' and went away. As I looked out of the window, I could see him enter Mrs. Garrison's house opposite. There were three men instead of two at that moment walking up and down in the street below. A cab was waiting by the kerb a little farther down the roadway, and I had little doubt that Mrs. Garrison's house held quite a force. Shortly after, that I went out and tele graphed to Humphrey, who brought me a fresn supply of linen, and also. Sprat. I felt that the little doggie was my inaseotte, and did not care to be without him.

Byrne got better with, astonishing rapidity. That same evening I could see that he was out of immediate danger. I passed the next three or four days in bestowing all my at tention upon my neighbor. I carefully avoid- j ed all reference to his rescue or to his con- j nection with Count Brodie, and he seemed to be afraid of questioning me. Now and then he .would look at me with a gaze of puzzled enquiry, and twice or thrice he said, 'You've been very good to me, Mr. Grant You j risked your life for me,' evidently endeavor ing to elicit an expression from me or a ques tion; but I always said, 'Don't mention it. All you've got to do is to get better.' Inspecor Warder called every morning, and on the Sunday morning, after he had left me, Mrs. Rooney came running up to me in hot haste. 'Do you know who that gentleman is who comes to see you every day?' 'Of course I do,' I answered. j 'You don't mean to say so!' she exclaimed- j 'I've just seen Mrs. Garrison, and she says \ that that gentleman is Mr. Inspector Warder, f and he's of Scotland Yard— one of the tip-top men.' . . **Oh!' I rejoined. 'Mrs, Garrison is in discreet' « 'But what's he doing here?' asked Mrs. Rodney. 'I ain't got no. .thieves nor no burg lars hi the house,' . ? . . 'Of course you haven't,' I said; 'but you know poor Mr. Byrne .has .nearly been killed, and surely you don't want that matter to pass without being -inquired into.' ?'Oh, is that it? You' don't mean to say so? Of course, you can't expect a poor widow with her old inan dead these ten j ^years-^ — ' N 'Of course I can't,' I said. 'Don't you trouble your head about it, and dotf t tell any body who that gentleman is, even now that you do know; especialy not Mr. Byrne.' 'Hush!' She put her finger to her lip in token of understanding and walked down stairs, as if thereby putting her seal upon the promise of secrecy. On the Monday morning I was sitting in Byrne's room. He had got up and was turn ing out a number of odds and ends from his trunk. Sprat, who had become quite friendly with my neighbor, was .prowling., about the room, poking his little nose into this corner and that, sniffing in all sorts of places; He had come across a little packet wrapped in

brown paper, which was lying near-the heap which Byrne had turned out of his box, and he commenced to sneeze violently, and tapped the thing with Ms paw, trying to, turn it over. 'Oh, please leave that alone, Master Sprat,', said Byrne jocularly. 'It mightn't be good for you if you threw that about' I picked the thing up. It was rather a heavy -little parcel, -about six inches' long and three inches broad and as deep. I felt-it, and Bt gave a hard metallic resistance to my touch. -? : -.?-??-..?-. : 'What's this?' I asked. ' / K 'Oh/'said Byrne^ looking at me ; cautiously for a whiles and' then pulling himself ipge: ther, 'you're a.gootL- sort.. -YonVe- been a true Mend in need, -and I-^on?t mind-ielling1 yon. That's one of- my inventions.1 Itfs a Christmas toy— a surprise bbs£:- I wanted to take ©ut a patent for it'— here he looked at me again,, and paused for a moment— 'that villain Brodie promised tp lend me the '.mo- ney.' This was the first mention of Broflle's name that had escaped his lips; '*btit as I evinced no surprise, he, went on: 'Yon see,' he said, opening file patipei -and, to my asto nished eyee, producing &ree little boxes iden tical with that diabolic vone that had killed Irf-rd Senfrey, -}yqu send one of these to a friend.r He opens! .it; and finds' himself in the midst of a glare of red or:igreen:flie.-andjie: thinks Satan has jumped ont of the box in flames It's harmles enough, though it might frighten timid people.1' I felt the color fade oat of my cheeks, and I had to hold my breath. 'Do you make these things?' I gasped. 'Oh, yes, of course,' he said. 'I make lots of 'things like that I'm always making things like ihat Only, }£b just nay tock* I never ican get anybody $6 work my Inven tions.*' ? ' v ' Z Rooked at, one of 'the Jifctle boxes; but he took it out, of ifiy hand. 'And';4u»w,4o you work It?' ^ asked, while my heart thumped agamsOny irlbB. ' - 'You see this little 3-and fastened tof the bottom of lie box Ijy the JBny, Securely sol dered «hp,' be (saiSL, pointing out «ach.j)a3*tiele aa he went on. '*That?s the -detonator. - The slightest rupture will cause an explosion, which will set Gxe ipj&xe phospho-tinder'next to it, arid thus toithe red, time, pr green fire with which Ihe hox is filled, ^ When jbu want to~send-it«o ffiat it ?can be opened -without 'an .explosion, yon feave the -detonator hanging loose Inside ^s it is now. ^ But H yon*wjshia,; show of fireworks, yon taurefully i-ull ifcjfe fifc-1 'tonator through this little aperture tin ihe top of the i-ox; you ^dose toe twx la £|ie jsame guarded manner; thenryou. fasten thelietonat ing baud to the outside by ^hte (toy leiifo which you close, .catting off, Jf Beefes^ ?sary, ^thcsnperflnous part *-f -the p8xi&.''vJ $a.z had suited his action to the worBs. *?Now

f?aid as T was- toid,~ and the result was a glare ofc aied fire arid red smofcey which filled the room. Jquickly -dropped the box on the little table by;- my side, for it was getting red hot. ' ?-:. ?:'?;. .-...':. ,' ? ..?'.? ' . - ' AU^nis while .1 felt us if a ball were stick ing in my Jhroatj arid .were choking me. * 'You say,' I asked, 'that Count Brodie promised to help you to patent this toy?' I had iritehtionally called Brodie 'Count' so as to let him know I knew the scoundrelly Mal tese. He again looked at me inquiringly, but after a momentary pause, simply- jinswered, 'Yes.' He was evidently a shrewd inan and a deep one. Was he trying to pumpvme by leading me on? I did not care. 'Did you give any of these things to Gonnt Brodie?' I ventured to question. The reply was prompt: 'I sent three to him a little over -a fortnight ago, when he. was staying with Lord and Lady Bent at Farlowe Towers.' 'A little over, a fortnight ago?' I asked, hardly believeing my ears. ? ' 'Yes,' he said, 'a little over a fortnight ago. I remember, it well, because it was on my birthday, May the eleventh. ; But he swears that he never got them.'

I rose and approached a little more closely. 'Do you know, Mr. Byrne,' I asked, 'that Lord Senfrey was murdered shortly after that through a box exactly similar. to this one?' - 'Of- course I know that,' he answered, witnout hesitation. 'If it hadn't been for that, I should have tried to bring- it out my self, but Brodie begged and prayed of me to let it rest for a while.' ? . '.. VBut if the boxes didn't reach him, what had ^e to fear?' I demanded. 'I can't say,'' was the . rejoinder,. . 'He swears that he never got them. But, you see, he isn't the kind of man who would care to have his mode of life inquired into.' 'Will you make me a present of a couple of these.'' I asked. 'By all means,' he answered. . 'I don't know who you are,' he added, looking straight at me, 'nor why you've taken such an interest in me; and,' he went on slowly and deliberately, 'I'm not going to inquire, unless you tell me of your own accord. All 1 know is that but for you I should be a dead man at this hour. You'- saved my life, and this is but a little thing I can do for you. I was afraid to speak about this up to now,, be cause one never knows how a man might be dragged into a business that he knows no thing about Brodie says that the things never reached him,* but he's such a liar, you know. People might have said that I had a hand in this dreadful murder, but I assure you that I had not nor do-I know how it was accomplished- My boxes may frighten peo ple, but they wouldn't hurt them, nor could they kill a rat unless they were tampered with.'

When I went back to my room after that I sat down for a while in silent triumph. The proofs of the murderer's guilt were in my hands. Those diabolical boxes— the piece of paper, part of a sheet such as was constantly used in Lord Bent's house— 4he lettering upon it written with a 'J' pen sideways— Lady Bent's habitual writing— and last of all, Lord Senfrey's letter to Brodie, which showed that the writer' was aware of Lady Bent's bigamous marriage, and thus gave a motive for the crime— all. pointed unmistakably to Brodie and Lady Bent as accomplices in the dastardly deed. . I was just deliberating ; upon what would be the wisest eoruse to take, when Mrs. Roo ney ushered Luigi Orano into my^ room. {To be continued.)