|Newspaper Title||Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931)|
|Trove Title||The Crime of a Christmas Toy|
THE Crime of a Christmas Toy.
(BY HENRY HERMAN.)
CHAPTER VI.— (Continued _\
The Metropolitan detective officers know well bow to take advantage of the work of outsiders. Tlje servants at Eaton Square and jt'ark Lane had most probably 'been talk ing, and through them the Whitehall Plaee people doubtlessly learnt that I was engag ed on this business. Their .method was.
therefore, after the standard regulation fas hion. They were shadowing me. If my movements gave them a clue, they would use it or not use it, as it suited them. It was even better than their usual course, 'from information received.' I did not mind at all. 'The more th% merrier,' I said. ' My investigations so far had been of the most preliminary nature; and going, perhaps, into dangerous company,, the presence, of the Government force made I me feel that in case of need I knew where to 1 find assistance. So I walked up the steps in front of the house with the air of a man who had been ! living there half his life. Mrs. Rooney had' seen me from the kitchen and had run at top speed to open the door for me. 'Won't you come in, Mr. Grant,' she said, 'and have a rest and a quiet chat? It's so hot, and you must be tired; and there's still a drop left in the bottle.' I retorted Hat I was very, tired, and that I preferred to go to _my. room and to lie down there. 'As you like,' the good woman answered; 'but you know you're as welcome to any place in my house as sunshine in May; and there isn't a thing that you could ask that I wouldn't do for you if it's in the means of a poor widow whose old man has been dead these ten years and left her ? ' 'Yes; it's a very sad story,' I rejoined. 'Good-afternoon;' and I went upstairs. Had Mrs. Rooney been less voluble, I might have asked her if my neighbor was at home, but now I had to discover that point for myself. I went about my room opening 'drawers and shutting wardrobes and cupboards with sharp bangs, whistling loudly and singing staves of songs all the while. Between the snatches I listened attentively, but could hear no sound. Then, finding an old brass-headed nail on the mantelpiece, I went out on the landing and shouted to Mrs. Rooney for a hammer, which the good woman brought me. I prevented her entrance by holding the door ajar and showing my face only. 'I'm not fit to tye seen, Mrs. . Rooney,' I said; and reached out my hand and took the tool, shutting the door again immediately. Then I banged .the nail into the partition with vicious raps, smashing it in and pulling it out again about half a dozen . times, until I ^thought that if my neighbor had been there lie. would have remonstrated against the pro ceeding. But there was no sound of any kind. ? I therefore went to work: to prepare for myself a comfortable seat by my ear-trampet. I had fixed the little instrument not quite four and7 a half feet from the ground. There fore, seated on an ordinary chair, my ear was just on a level with the tiny aperture. I placed the hearthrug on the floor, so that part of it sood up against the wall. On that I put a cane-seated chair, trying it first of all to assure myself that it did not creak. -Over that again I threw my Tug. Then I took off my shoes, and didn't ev.en resume my slippers, but sat down in the corner with my ear to tiie trumpet. ' No sound of any kind could I hear. There was no question about it— my neighbor was Hot within. On that spot I sat nigh on an hour before a knock at Ihe door below ana a banging of it, and stej« coming upstairs, announced to me the advent of Mr. Byrne and of another. Then I heart! a slight push against mj,door, and the creaking of the boards', as if some body wrare trying to discover if thgl^oor were locked. A moment afterwards ftfretwo men entered th& next room, I kept mfy^'ear to my trumpee for dear life. They, were talking in Frenckj which I understood ^perfectly. 'He is not there,' said one voice, in a hoarsr whisper, which I recognised as that of m? neighbor. 'DO not make so sure of that,' said the othfifei. unquestionably Brodie's, even more canSwusly than his companion's. 'Those mdRi walking up and ?down' outside are police nues. That man next to you may be a poliee n*-y| also.' ?'vDo not be. a fooV1 said the other. 'Yon '« f pect everybody and everything. I tell l /mi I asked that old woman downstairs. He Is a draughtsman- She saw bis sketches.' ''Very well, then, «ince you will have it so; but that is no ;reason why you should shout like that' Their voices dropped to a lower pitch than before, but I couid'still hear then; plainly. 'Now,', continued Count Brodie, having evidently seated himself, as I heard the move, ment of his chair, 'I want to get away from here as soon as I can. I have to dine at Lord Sleyburne's at seven, and after that 1 am going to a balL' 'Good,' said the other, 'I do not want your company. Have you brought what I asked you?' There was a pause for a few moments. 'You have had three hundred pounds from me In the last month,' replied Brodie. 'Yes,' said the other, 'I had it, and I have Ib no more. It has all gone to the patent agents, and to the stock-brokers. I lost over one hundred pounds on. Egyptians because I had not the money to give a cover to buy in time. I only want two hundred pounds now.' 'Yes,' answered Brodie, 'two hundred pounds! You speak as if they were two hundred centimes. You are not satisfied with those cursed patents of yours, that cost hundreds and never bring in a farthing. You must gamble on the Stock Exchange and squander fortunes, and yet you live in this hole, like a beggar,, I tell you I can't con tinue it I nave bad to pull to my.norns lately. I have had to lose money to divert suspicion. It is not like last year, when 1 eould liaul in. three and four hundred, pounds a- night I dare not win much jast now, and I must lose now and again.' 'What is that to me?!r retorted the other. **It is nbt necessary that you should win to be able to get me two hundred pounds. Ask your wife to give yoa the money.' 'She has given me all she could, and it might be dangerous to r-ask' for more.1* ' * 'Kubbish!' was tUe.xath'er louder rejoinder/ ^If €.'J4ad a Mfe whose btrsDaM is a jnil-' Jionaire earl, I -would :,v&& Boon make her give me what I wajated.' \: ;?::'-'::' I &ongliti£&.W^ was ^ siaaaingifitiD'asX Iie^ea to the rwords; : : '''^:4 -?'? *'?': *'I : tell 'ispUf' .'Sxepifeii Brodie, and iiis words sounded :like '?^va^^i^B^^!''dhe''';'caaaA-'So' fg-r+:-??'--':~-i%. ?;.* -'':?:-'f. v.^t ^?H^5?''^?i;. v:: ??.'£7 *l ? . '-Yiesj:?it ^ :a?th^t-^y^eE^|^n^iafe:%: wife 'who . 'nit 'iheiilsameXtime :-&:^3i%; m^te'-'olyai, British eiprlj and lie'^^6t^dW^MnaiairedL; wj[fe^.^m&d^&n^)^i^oriri'ei|^:i a^airSfe
might have heard a fly -walk on the wall. Then I could liear Brodie's remark: 'So you -would do this?' * 'Yes,' was the whispered hies., 'Then you would have. to confess that yon yourself are a returned convict.' . r 'Oh!' saia the. other; ?'it is different with me. I was discharged; I am free. But you they can take back, and make ypu serve out the remainder of your.fientenee.' _ ^ There was another 'pause, during which %1 could hear the furious tapping of Brodie's foot on the floor. ' 'r 'And what else would you tell then?' the Levantine asked, at last 'That I cannot say at present,' was the rejoinder. 'It depends.' 'you hound.'' snarled Brodie. ? ' 'As you please,' retorted -the other quiet ly; 'but I.jsvant two hundred pounds.' 'I have not got them now.' 'Let me see,' was the reply. 'It is Satur day. The banks are closed. . They will re open on Monday at ten. I will give you till Monday at two to get them.' 'And then, if I do not bring them?' 'Then I will take what steps ; I shall de cide upon.' . ? 'Ali right,' exclaimed Brodie; and without a 'further word he went to the door, unlocked it and I could hear him go downstairs. I sank back in my chair. CHAPTER VII. I never let the grass grow under my feet; and having consigned Sprat to the special care of my man-of-all-seryice, Weatherby, I travelled on that same Saturday night to Paris. I arrived there in the early morning, and went to a comfortable little hotel in the Rue Lafitte, where I generally take- up my quarters when in the capital of sunny France. . When I first started, in business as a de tective. I had placed myself in commuhicatiorL with men engaged in the. same profession all over the world. My' Paris correspondent lived in the Rue Bleue, a. short street lead ing out of the Rue Lafayette. Sunday is not held as 6aereS in Parisvas it is in London, and after my usual morning tub and a hearty breakfast, in which the Eng lish and the French methods mingled in agreeable and substantial variety, I walked to the Sue Bleue. My correspondent, Moh sieur Achart, a thiii and lithe little man, with fierce, stubby moustache, with eyes that pierced, and the quietest possible manner ever known in a Frenchman, received me: cordially. 'It is a miracle,' he said, 'to see you in Paris, Monsieur Grey. I am enchanted. You come on business, of course?' I admitted the impeachment 'I want you to help me, Monsieur Achart,' I said. 'You' have sufficient influence, I; suppose, at the Prefecture to get me the dos siers of a couple of persons to-day?' For the information of those of my readers who are not conversant with French legal procedure, I will state the following. In France, a record is kept officially of the do ings and misdoings of every Frenchman and, as far as possible, of every foreigner domi ciled in France. The moment a Frenchman is born, and his birth is registered, his dos sier, that is to say his record, is commenced, and thenceforward kept If there are no entries on the dossier, it is called 'blank,' and that means it is that bt an honest man. But any slight difference of opinion with the authorities and contraven tion of the law, and especially any charge made against a citizen, and any conviction, is immediately recorded. This dossier is especially used against prisoners brought up for their trial, and in the case of such prisoners, whether they be Frenchmen or foreigners, it js especially ex haustive. The police make the fullest pos sible enquiries, and search out the story of the subject's existence, to leave it inscribed for ever in the archives of the French police. I knew, from what I had overheard on the previous afternoon, that the dossier of Bern ard Clankton, alias Count Gyffa Brodie, and of his wife, now called Lady Bent would exist hi full at the Paris Prefecture of Police, and that my friend Monsieur Archart would most likely be able to obtain a copy of it for me on that very day, Sunday though it was. 'Of course I have,' answered the little Frenchman. 'Let me nave the names, and you shall, not have long to wait' I gave him* the names, Bernard Clankton and his wife; adding that I did not know the Christian name of the lady. 'Bernard Clankton? Bernard Clankton?' he repeated. 'Yes; I know that name well. He kept a gambling aen in the Rue Mont Thabor, where he fleeced everybody, English and Americans especially. He had a hand some wife, whom he iised as a decoy, and the fool was doing well, and must needs rob and nearly murder an old Brazilian. They arrested him at Havre, on board of one of the ^steamers, and brought him ba«k. He was sentenced to the galleys.' 'Do you know anything about his wife? I asked. 'I saw her once or twice,' Monsieur Achart answered. 'She was a lovely woman— talL ana of the English type. She seemed to me to be always half in tears, and I pitied her.' ' 'Those are the two people,' I feaid, 'whose dossiers I want' 'Very well,' answered my correspondent 'I* suppose, as you have come, on business only, you want to go back to-night?' 'I do,' was my reply. 'Very well; you shall' lunch with me at Vian's, in the Kue Daunou, an old-fashioned place, where they- give ypu something to eat that is fit to be eaten. I will bring you the copies of the dossiers; and if I cannot get copies of them to-day, I will arrange that they shall be forwarded to you direct to London. After that you can spend the afternoon with me, and go back this evening?' '? / That was, exactly what I 'wanted; and the little man was as good. as his word. I met him at two o'clock at Vian's. ; ~\ \ 'I have had some tumble over this,' . he said. , 'My friend Amadeu, at the Prefec ture, was away, and the officer on duty was not so easily persuaded. Still; he knew that I was a great friend of his colleague, and I told him that I would render, him any service in return. So here a*e the, dtfcaments, duly copied out and attested.' :- -'':. He handed me tie-two papers, and I mere ly glanced «t them fojva second, to. assure .my self tha't the xight persons were therein de scribed, and then put them liilay pocket We passed the afternoon agreeably; and that same night the express bore me back to I*on don. I had plenty, of iiine,ito '*eftd my two precious riheete of paper. Tlxe, documents were lengthy* and pourtrayed minutely the life's incidents of both^ ^d I give here tHe moire important eniiies:— , . ? ? ; ;-:''?- Clankton Bernard JEtosiHo). ..;.'.;/..?.:.? iM—S'eij; 28. ^ iBbrS1 at --3aeta, Malta. ' tfather,' : Snmph*#?: Glaakfcoa, ^ Private Royal E!ngli3^Sfel,;SSB|yph i&rmy* ^ ^otes iaat ^Stotiieiv mMfMo^ii&, ^ato%e8& 2.~? ??G^QuMa.:iP':T ^^i^^-t^f '0 '*?&* % -% ???
1869.— Jan. l:'House closed, asek-rFeb: 12: Bernard and Byrne convicted. ? ' - ;- ' . Bernard nine, months' imprisonment. 1S71.— Jan. .6: Bernard and Byrne set up gam .\ ing. house, Rue Mont Thabor, 163.. I872.r1-F42b. 10: Bernard marries Lavinia Meredith, aged twenty-two, spinster, English. .- 1880.— March 17: Bernard, Byrne, and LavJ nia accused of robbery- and attempted murder. Lavinia acquitted; Bernard convicted, ten years' transportation; ': Byrne, three years'. . * 1884.— June 3: Was drowned on beach at ' : New Caledonia. ? Meredith (Lavinia). 1850.— March 10: Born Ivy fridge, Devon shire, England. Father/^ijeoffrey Mere dith, gentleman farmer, Protestant Mo ther, ISllen Meredith, his wife, Protes^ tant 1859.— April 7: Father was killed in railway accident. 1859.— April 9:. Mother died, after premature confinement , 1867.— May 11: Came to Paris as Governess.' ' I860.— English governess at school, No./ 2 Avenue Milton, Venery Soeurs. 1872.— Feb. 10: -Marries Bernard Rosilio Clankton. 1880. — March 17: Accused complicity in rob bery and attempted murder. Acquitted. 1885.— Dec 4: Marries Eben Canstrome, judge. New Orleans, United States of America. . . : . 1890.— Jan. 3: Eben Canstrome dies at Rome. 1891.— Sept. 10: Marries the Earl, of. Bent, London. (To be continued.) -