|Newspaper Title||Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931)|
|Trove Title||The Crime of a Christmas Toy|
THE ? „ f Crime of a Christmas Toy.
? ?— ? (BY -HENRY HERMAN)
Orans oowed with the same formal and courtly -race which I had noticed on the pre vious occasion. 'I come agahV' he said, with a forced smile; 'I not able 6tay away.' He seateg himself on the chair by the bed side, stroking the coverlet with hisropen palm. I saw that he made sereral fruitless attempts to speak, while his eyes wandered hither and thither all over the room, as if in search of -the spirit that had fled out, of -that chamber to the great Unknown. 'I find t'e place,' he went on, with a tre mulous voice, 'where tley bury her.' He shook his head. ''Shocking!' ? he said. 'It break my heart' . I sat silently by for a while, deliberating with myself whether or not this could be the kind of man to trust with the knowledge that the scoundrel Brodie had destroyed his sis
ters nappmess, ana thereby her life. I re flected, however, that I intended to have the villain laid by the heels before the day was out; and, therefore, not much danger could arise. 'I'm glad you've come, Signor Orano,' I said, 'because I've something to communicate to you which will, at 'any rate, alter your opinion about the dead Lord Senfrey.' He leaned, forward. 'Yes! Yes! Yes!' he exclaimed eagerly. 'You have to say ? What have you to say? Tell me. I am waiting. ' I am anxious.' 'You'd better come with me into the next room. ''The. man who lives there has resided iii this house all the while your sister has oc cupied this room. He will be able to give you much information.' He Tose tremblingly. ; His eyes gleamed feverishly,- and I saw that his teeth were hard set 'Well! well!' he cried, with feeble hoarse ness. 'I am waiting.' I led the way. 'Mr. Byrne,' I said, when I had knocked and entered the other room, 'this is Signor Luigi Orano.' Byrne looked up and gasped slightly; but he steadied himself. ' Oh, yes,' he answered, hi a voice of per fect commonplace, 'I know the gentleman. He is brother of the girl who killed herself in the next room.' 'Yes,' he. interposed. 'I am her brother.' The gentleman,' he went on, pointing to me, 'he promise you can tell me somel'ing about her.' Byrne's looks wandered from Orano to me, and from me back to Orano. ? 'What do you want me to eay?' he asked me. at last 'I want you to tell this gentleman,' I .said, fixing my gaze upon Byrne, so that he flinch ed under it and had to cower back, 'that it was not Lord Senfrey, but Gyffa Brodie, who enticed his sister to this place.' - Byrne again looked at me shiftily, and paused for a moment or two hi silence. 'Mr. Byrne,' I said, 'I expect you to tell ffie truth.' 'Well,' he retorted, with a slight shiver, 'I think, perhaps, it is' better that I should tell the truth, and have it off my chest Bro die got this' gentleman's sister to come and live here, so that he could call on her without his business being known. He used to come ! and see me, and from my room he. could I easily get into the next one without Mrs. Roo Bey being aware of it.' How far his connec tion, with the girl went, I don't know. He never stayed here more than an hour or eq,' Orano had risen, with his face an olive grey, and a half insane glitter hi his eye. He babbled some incoherent* words in Italian, and then looked at Byrne and at me. [ 'Say again,' he gasped at last, pantingly.
I 'I not believe I hear.' I Byrne hesitated, but I was not to be baf fled. 'Oblige, -the gentleman,' I eaid, 'Repeat [ what you said just now.' Byrne's face had gone nearly white in the task. There was a terrible dread written up on every feature. 'I don't like this.' he said; 'and I see no advantage in it' 'Do it to oblige me,' I said. 'Your sister,' Byrne repeated,, slowly and ; hesitatingly, 'came here at Count Brodie'e *fn ! fitigation, and for the purpose of being able' to be visited by bimV' .. I 'Lord Senfrey never come htere?' Orano hissed between his' teeth, peering into Byrne's | eyes, as if he wished to scorch the truth out , of them. ' 'Never,' answered Byrne. I 'That you swear?' was the fervent ques tion. 'Lord Senfrey never came here. That I can swear,' Byrne repeated. Orano etood looking round the place like one dazed. Then he moistened his lips with his tongue, and after a gasp or two, put his hat on his head and walked out without say in? a word. 'That man will kill Brodie,' said Byrne, 'if he can catch him; and a good riddance it ! will be of a filthy hound.' 'I don't think he will kill Brodie,' I re torted: I 'And why not, pray?' asked Byrne. 'Because he'll not get the chance, I think. I 1 shall have Brodie arrested to-day for at I tempting to poison you.' I Byrne rose, and crossing his arms over his I chest stood hi front of me. I 'Who are you,- if I may -ask?' he de manded.'. I 'You know who I am,' I replied. I 'I know who you say you are,' he went on I determinedly, 'and I know that you saved my I We. That covers a lot of things. But you're I not doing all this, and you've not done all I thus, simply because you^love me so, -for it I doesn't stand ' to reason. What's your game?' , - I 'You'll; find that out soon enough,' I w.ent I on; 'and if you?ll be reasonable, I'll take care . I that no harm comes to you.' -. -;' I I 'But if Fm, not reasonable?' he rejoined j I sturdily, and, as I thonght, viciously. , I ??'Wel^'3'.^hfci.'jLnJtha£ cas^ I should not be ! I able to- prevent certain;; disagreeable' u events ' I which might or might not occur.' I He walked up and down, and then looked I at me again. . I ( 'You don't look like a detective,' he said; I 'but I'd like to bet a sovereign to a penny; I Piece that you are -one, and a devilishly clever I one.' *--?? ? ? i
'You've got ^Bur life,' I eaid.- 'You-.your-;} self say that without me. you would be a dead j man. Be thankful' for small mercies, and j trust -to PrpFijJence,; ot Eather to me, for the' rest' / -_;? ,.. ; . ? .',_. . ; ,. ... ? .-; :' A. step 'obI the laaalng; and the opening of toy room 4oj-r, attracted , my attention. at that foment, aria . going 4ntoi|ny , Sitfle ?apartment I found -Waip^rv^iere;^ ;'-r:. '/V' ;.' ' / ' ' ?':. ': 'Well, QiiJBrJ'- said the inspector, effusively, 'how are-^j^t^^X?^:!:.,,, ;,.,;.,;?.,; s ,.,tv:, 'Like a house pn -fflaei^}! replied. :.; *Tm gp mg to keep inyiplrbmiae' 'to ^yp'u to-day,, farid you shall leollar one i)f tie biggest vlllaiiis hi °ir day.'. '?J^X^ tv;.'' 4:^.'U.\«'y'vv''''\::^ The mep^toir's eyes gleamed. : -: * - , ' i 'Bravo!*5 ie^ialii ; ^Thkt's a promise ,^ell; kept And wlio ??is ~ iiie gratlemRn, liray?*' -:'[ ]:/'x ''The genaein^^I said, 'is the man who calls himself f-Ms*Ea Broafe^Jcrarit, If shou ^1«-ise. ?-.-z./H&H^,.-?;.-?:^-:^-;:- .::???? i-.-'--:' ???:-??:-'?--??'?? 'Oh, I know the gehtieman^'' repUeflthe ln ! pectar, lis^i^t$^0^i:^:^-^i^i^i^ I '°ng time.* 1 41 w«^s thought there was aom^-. i tQing fly afout Mm;*i4y he kept such denc ^ good cotxsm^^^'^'^T^^^}^^ - 'That man^.-i^M^'^^V.^I^^fe^Js;: well enough ;io^^-^i;#^-^ary;oBr|to-;-'i%w^ street or '^iiii^i(^H§j^^i&^a^^Sfe^l^^if ^arrant for that anan's iarest on ^e charge of inciting those jnea in fiie Belvedere-road to
murder him. /: You'd toetter go with him and: Stake out a warant and execute it, and Td flke to be with you when you do execute ifc!' ?''?;? 'Right!' said the inspector. VYbu stroke' my back, and I'll stroke your back., Yon shall come with me, 'and the little job shall be carried out in the most approved first-class .style.' ' ' ' ' ? ?. ?-: . ;.: ' r J 'Now,' I said, 'if yon don't mind, -we'll gof and see Mr. Byrne.' My neighbor opened his eyes wide when I introduced the inspector to him. 'This,' I said, 'is Mr. Inspector Warder, of the Criminal Investigation Department, and I've brought him. 'to. you for the purpose flif seeing you righted. Up till now you were not strong enough to bear any. excitement, but to-day yon're, well enough- to apply, for a, war rant against that scoundrel Brodie for hav ing attempted to murder .you.'! .'.'.- , ; Byrne was sitting oh the side of 'Ms bed as I spoke, and inoved his legs uneasily. - 'Brodie?' he. said, as if endeavoring to gain time. 'You want, me to apply for a warrant against Brodie'?' , . ? . ;'? 'Yes,' I replied; 'I jknow that it was he who instigated those other people, to murder you. If I hadn't been .perfectly aware of that fact I should never have attempted to fescue you. Now you've got the whole truth of in' _ 'You want to- get Brodie arrested on the eharge of attempting to murder me?' Byrne asked, with a nearly vacant stare. 'Yes; and you'd better put your hat on and go with this gentleman to Bow-street,' 1 said. . Byrne sat still. 'You don't seem to be very eager for this job, Mr. — Mr. Byrne, I believe,' interposed Warder. - Byrne still eat hesitating. j ^'You se^^he^saW,i^ere;are-whe^'& with in wheels.- ; I'm out of iM cjatcbes how, and
: i li take care T. don t get into them again; and, | if I might be left alone; I'd prefer it' I Warder looked at me that moment I slightly nodded my head, and the detective j understood me perfectly. 'Mr. Byrne,' he said, 'I think Tve got a little to say in this matter as well. You tell me that that man Brodie attempted to mur der you, or incited other people to murder you. Now, whether you like it or whether you don't, murder and attempted murder are both offences that we cannot allow to go un punished, and you'll just have to come.' 'Oh!' retorted Byrne. 'Have to?' 'You have not borne in mind my promise,' I said. 'I'll take care that as little incon venience as possible shall befal you if you come with us.' He looked at me with nervous inquiry. 'If not?' he asked. . 'If not,' I said, 'I shall let matters take their course.' He sat for another moment. or two swing ing his legs to and fro. Then he jumped up. 'All right,' he said, 'if it has got to be, it has got to be, so here goes,' and he put on his hat ??''..- That very forenoon the warrant was grant ed, and while Byrne returned to James-, street,, followed at a short distance by ivpo trusty representatives of the detecive police, Warder and myself went to the Olympian Club. It was about luncheon time, and I thought that very probably Brodie .would be there at that time of day. The hall-keeper, however, inf ormed us that Brodie had not: yet been to the club that morning. -. ' ?. - 'He's sure to come here within the' next half-hour,' he said, 'for I've three or four letters for him, and two of them a^e marked important' . 'George,' said a cheery v.oice at that mo ment, 'what are you -doing here?' I looked round, and saw General Mas singer. 'Business,' I replieVL. with a smile, 'partly ofymy own,, partly of yours^iGeneraL' ] 'Business of mine?' asked. the : old soldier, with' a quaint surprise. 'Yes,' business of yours,' I said, 'Ifs about your friend, Count Gyffa Brodie.' . 'My friend!' snorted the General hi dis gust 'My friend! Hang the fellow! I'd hang him myself if they wouldlet me have my way with him. He's a rogue— a clever rogue, but a dirty rogue.' 'Quite right,' I said. 'It's for that reason: I came. This gentleman here,' I added, pointing to Warder, 'is a police inspector, and he's going to rid your club of the Oouiit for some time, at any rate.' -
o-ue vjrtjueriu stepped up to waraer ana; gripped him by thi^ hand 'and shook it warmly^ *?- , - . . ,- ... :~\ ;'. 1 'Thank you,' he said, 'thank you. If you^ don't mind,' he added with gnsto, 'FU stay and see it done.' 'I don't mind in the least,' rejoined the In spector; 'the more the merrier.' -- It was agreed that Warder should wait un der the portico, whilst I and the General watched from within the -dosed doors. Two of Warder's men were ready at the street corner to give .assistance if necessary. Fully half an hour elapsed before I saw Brodie sauntering leisurely up the street He looked right and left, as if searching for .hid den foes. At a short distance from the dub; he paused' and gazed steadily in ifrdnt of him, but no enemy being visible to his mind, he went on. The moment he passed into the! portico, Warder put his hand upon hia ghoul-, der. 'I want to speak to you, sisr/' the officer said. . ; 'To me?' replied Brodie, turning pale at the words. '' ?-???=??' - -.' ? ^. - *.'Yes, to you,' said Warder. 'I am Inspec tor Warder, of the Metropoijitep J»oUce, andl airiest you on the eharge of complicity in an attempted murder.' . ??: - Brodie staggered back, and leaned against the column of the portico, 'as if about to taint He roused himself, however, and : stretched out a fumbling' hand towards his pocket: Warder was upon him in an mstant and grip-; ped -him firmly, while jhe |wp me'nfrom thej street corner came rnniing ^ ;a±?top spaed. ; In' the selfsame 'flash pt. pink, 'Sjiitjpeygc, . a.: man rushed out from the semi-gloona of the next portico. . Wardey -iad I«iniog^:r jBrodie' from behiaa, and Luigi Orano, for^w# he,' sprang upon the Maltese, and boldiiig a^vol-^ ver point-blank. |n hi4^a^.fi|ed. '-^S ^£ The deteetiye 3mnp^-'Jia^:iyi|feL%i= littler cry, whflsj: ?*?£., r^d, W&gj& J®3i&$!&&~£& ^over itiin and ov^ijie hall IBipT. '*m$aii.oi!r-j ..,-s.i/; t TBrodie '^aye a.i^ild ^ jjtpup 3h|ff7^tfp'Sib»; and feU.:to'iiie^ground.. ^'j-.-^r^r . 'J ? ^?*;-::f ': : The, two poBe^»0j»; --;pi^iMCi^i9|'.itbj'jheir1 Inspertor's assistance,' made a dash - at the Italian, jbufr; ibefo%, itfiey ', ^eoig^^e^be '3um, two more shots etabbM the air,'and two niore bullets buried thems^iy^^^Brodip'Js body. ? iieneral- Massinger and . myself had -Bwnng open the haU do^r and rushed out in horror, ; My prgca«tjpns .had j-been: gseSiejs. ^Thej Italian had revenged his sister. ? 'I ?''? ' '?' ''/''-'' '.'? 'TiT^^PB^Ry^gTTJft^-^^^^ . | and a wretejieq. ^wqmaja gh^ijsMaj^isift.jfWskK*1' LjmflTi '. '^who 'whs \ diii^g'giiig. ?^ie^j^i!wllli*-nuii ^XHt-^Hfit' j^.-idowai-iBp^^ilhe^^gfti^^t^^e^vi^^ aiiS he ^oV^j MfflB^ll & helDlt.' - ^S'^*'- -\-wX&' '.
r ^ ?':'??' ?jwi..^- .-.?;;?.: :kv- ,;..-?.--- ,:/ \: . One scleatj result had ' sprung froni :Brbdie*s aw^ul -'4eattar-^m^lyV-'1tie'.aba}lute proof b^ I«or!d ^enf^y'4g^j|ljiiessnessi»f; gpy inicit cpit neetion 'wtflr Maria Orano.1 'I could assure that broken-hearted girl, widowed -without having been a wife, that the memory of her dear, dead, was1 ?; untarnished. .But what ter ror lay hi store'lor that^household' if the honor-^ -«d; wife of Hiat trusting; that,'npright, that no-' ble-mnided husband were proven to be; the ac complice of a murderer* I made. up my mind at that moment to t^y my utmost to stay the blow. The' real assassin, I '- thought,' had.:met with Jbis doom.. ,;He, at any late, was the histigator, and that poor woman could, not have been, to say the wqrst^of it, more than a tool in his hands— a frightened, abjectly miserable, invpluntarjr tool, : f thought Her whole life's' history Tiefore'ste married this scoundrel, and after -her mar riage, pointed to such a conclusion. The first thing to discover was whether or not Brodie actually received the parcel sent by; Byrne. The villain haa'deniea ever ol* taming possession of .it .But that was. np^ thing. Such a man would lie with a smile upon his face at the slightest provocation much more eo when tie thought his precious neck in danger. - ? - Dear old General Massinger, who had watched Brodie's arrest with every mark of glee depicted ? oh nis Weather-bronzed face, looked grave when he quietly shook my hand as I \vas about 'to jjo away, ' 'I didn't want the l'dgue to be killed,' the old soldier said. 'I wanted him to be laid by. the heels and kicked, out; but this is much more terrible than I ever expected. He must have been mixed up in a lot of villainy.' 'He has, dear General,' I replied— 'more than you can guess 'at present' At this the old soldier's. spirits seemed 'to revive. -.??;.?. ^. --;;??? v* -?'. ?-?-?.? -! ? ??'? --? ?? . 'I 'itigaghijBd,? hje ''?jpaidi. *'I.-never ^feed/his looks, George; and I said to Colonei Vicar only yesterday, 'Vicar,1 J said, 'that man.wU3 be hanged!' and, to' tell you the truth, Fm rather sorry I was wrong.' \ I walked away from the. Olympian Cmb with a load upon my mind. I was in honor bouna to brmg the news of the dreadful event immediately to Rhowdon House. ' At that time I .was not schooled in the necessities and exigencies of my profession as I became soon after, and I rather- dreaded the task. I quickly saw,, however, that procrastination would -be worse than useless, and therefore took a cab' to Park Lane. ' 'The Earl's with my lady, and £-ord and Lady Senfrey in the, study,' said the portly old hall-keeper, in reply to my query if JLord Bent were in the house; and I felt that I had arrived in the midst of a small family con clave; .and, as a matter of fact, when I was ushered, into the rather , sombre and oldfas hioned apartment, I found myself with quite a little crowd of people. Lady- Bent arid Lady Senfrey were sitting on a big Chesterr field sofa, and Lady Georgina was Jeaning back languidly hi an arm-chair by her step mother's fiide. ? . Lord Senfcey was nervously, fidgeting on a stiff-backed old oak chair at the head of ifiie writing table, whilst opposite' the Earl, and facing, me, in the centre of the: writing table, sat Mr. Oscar Hume, evidently busily engaged; with somethmg or other; for I could hear his peri travelling over the paper/ The Earl rose as I entered, and came, to me and .held out his hand. ; ; i 'I'm glaxl to see you, George,' he said; 'you come just at the right moment We were wondering if we were nearer any probable solution of the terrible mystery.' - ? - I looked round, and my eyes met those of Lady Bent She flushed beneath my gaze, and I saw her turn pale. A pitiful glance, ^like a p|ayer- for mercy, shot from-her eyes 'towards me, and callous as I thought I was, I felt it quiver through me. How would she bear the news I brought? (To/toe continued.)