Chapter 115565543

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Chapter Number1. V.
Chapter TitleHORACE BYRD.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article115565543
Full Date1891-06-06
Page Number4
Corrections0
Word Count3431
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleFreeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932)
Trove TitleHand and Ring
article text

HAND AND 'RING-.

? N ? By A. K. Green.

BOOK I. THE GENTLEMAN FROM TOLEDO. Chapter V. HORACE BYRD.

' But now, I am Cibin'd, cribbed, confin'd, bound in To saucy doubts and fears.' — Macbeth. Bora.ce By sd V7oa by birth and education a geolteman. He woo the con of q man of omall means bat great expectation, and hod been Feared to Icok fo?uard to the cby when ho sbonld be tbo possessor ot a large income. Bat his father dying, boih moano and expectation vaaisaed into thin air, and at the age of twenty, young Hoross found himoel? thrown upon tha T7Ofld without income, without bnsineooj, and

'What was etui worse, mmoot taoae nabito ok industry thct sarve a maa ia oaeh an emergency batter than frionda and often bettor than money its'jlf. He hod olao on invalid mother to look aftep, and two young sistora vyhom he loved with wa?m and devoted affection ; and though by the kind aess and forethought of certain relatives he was foE a time opoi'ed oil anxiety on their aoeoant, he dooo fonnd that oorae exertion on bis port would be necessary to their continued onbsist enee, and accordingly oet about the took pi find lag ouitnble employment, with maeh spirit and no little hope. Bat a long ssriea oi difappoietoeaSa taught him that joang men cannot leap at o boand into o fine qdIgpv op eveo a promising situation ; and bafflod in every wish, worn oufc with continued failures, he sank from on© otata o£ hope to another, till he wag ready to embrace ony prospect thot would ensure QGoe and comfort to the helpleoo beings he so much loved. It was while he was in this condition that Mr. Gryce — a somewhat famous police detective of N©w York— come upon him, and observing, as be thought, oomo Qigos of natarol aptitude for fio© work, oq he called it, in this elegant but decidedly hord-pnshed young geotlemon, oeiasd Opon him with an avidity that can only be ex plained by this detective's long-cherished de sire to ally himself to a gentleman oJE real gefiaementand breeding; having, as he privately admitted more them once to certain chosen frienda, a strong need oi each a person to os.iQ Mm in certain caaes where great houses were to be entared and fiae gentlemen if not fair ladies Bubjeotsd to interviews of a delicate and search in nature. To join the police force and bo a detective vma the loot contingency thofe laod occurred to Horace Byrd. But men in decidedly straitened oircu so stances cannot pick and choose too nicely ; and afteP a vaok of uncertainty and fresh disap pointment, he went manfully to bis mother and told her of the offer that had been made him. Meeting with loso encouragement than ho hod Qspeoted from the broken-down and unhappy woman, ho gave himself up to the guiding bond oft Mr. G-eyee, and, before he realised it, was enrolled among the oecret members of the New York force. He was bo(; ?eeogni28d publicly as a detective. His name was not even known to any but the highest officials. He was employed for special pntfposea, and it wns not eonDidersd deairable that he ohoald be seen at police head-quarters. Bat being a man of much ability and of a solid, reliable nature, he made his way notwithstand ing, and by the time he had been in the service a yeas.1, wao looked upon aa a good fellow and a truly valuable aoquioition to the bureau. In deed, he posBeossd more than the uoaal qualifi oationo fos hia calling, strange a-? the foot ap peared not only to himself but to the few 1 fiends acquainted with his secret. In the firofc place, he possessed much acutenaes without betraying it. Of an oony bearing and a polished addreop, h© was a man to please all and alarm none, yet he Qlwayo knew what ho waa about and what you were about, too, unlesa indeed you possecsed ' d power of diooimulGtion much beyond ordinary, when the ohanceo were that his gentlemanly in stincts woald get in bio way, making it impos sible for him to believe in a guilt that waa too hardy to bet my itoelf and too sensible to ohame 4o blush before the touch of the inquioitor.^ In tho neeond place he liked the baoinecn. Yefc, notwithstanding the theories ol that Gooial ©ode to which he once paid deference, notwith standing the frankness and candour of hio owa diopooition, he found in this purouit a nioe ad jaotment of cause to effect and effect to oauoe that at once pleased and satisfied hia aoturally EQofchemat col mind . TPTrt Ai/\ nnt- n/ilrnnrtrln/1no i-\\a 5««fc tlftf exTterm

to himaelf. On tho contrary, ho v/ao always theeoteniDg that ia another month he should look up oomo now means of livelihood, but tha com ing month would invariably bring a fresh case before his notice, and then it would be, ' Well, ofter this matter is probed to the bottom,' or 'When that criminal is mude to conFeso his guilt,' till oven his little sisters eaughfc the in fection, and would whisper over their dolls : ' Brother Horace is going to bo a great man wfeon all tho bad ood naughty people in the world are pnt in prison.5 As a iuIo, Mr. Byrd was not sonfc out of down. Bat on too oooasiou ol Mb. Ferris doniring a man of oingralafi discretion to assist him in oeitam in qameo eonnQctsd with :fcho cqdo than on trial in Sibloys thei'o happened to he a deficiency of capable mon in the baroaa, and the otiporinton dont wao obliged to veopond to the call by csnd £ag Mx. Bysd. Ho did not do it, however, with Q%t iBQliiog the pzoviep that oil pcblio geoogaitjoa

o£ this oflSoep, in his vooA capacity, wao to bo avoided. And 10 for tho wishes of hio oupoi'iovs had been respeeiod. JMo oho ouiyido of the law peracno mentioned in the fi^ot chapter cf this story suspected that tho onay, affable and oome whot distinguiohod-looMngyoGag goatlemaa who honoarod tho village hotel with his patron age woo a secret Qmi33nry o£ the New York police. Mr. Byi'd was, of all moo, then, the very one to fool fcho utooot attraction toward, and nt tho same time tho greatest shrinking from, the pur suit of such investigations as were likely toenoao

wpon ?he diacovos'y of tho mystsrious caoo of murdei' which had ao unospectodly boen pre sented to his notice. As a professional he cculd nofc foil fco asperienoe that qoick start of the blood which always follows tho recognition of a ' big affairs3 while, as a gentleman, he felt him oel£ recoil from probing into a matter that wio blackened by a possibility against which every instinct in hio nature rebelled. It vrau, therefore, with oddly mingled oensa tiooa that iao road Mr. Oroutt'o lettes, and fouud himself oompellod to admit that the coroner had poaaessad o trus? insight than himself into the feme cause of Mios Dare'a eccentric condect upon tho scene of tho tragedy. Hi& main feeling, Qos76ver, was oce of jelief. It was such a com fort to thiak ho oould proceed in the caaa with out the dread of Qtumbling upon a clue that, in some secret and ranforeoeeEi way, should connect hia imposing woman with a revolting crime. Or ao he fondly considered- But ho had not spent &ve- minufceo at the sailpoad station, where, in pursuance to the commando of Mr. Eergis, ho went to take the train for Monteith, before he saw roauon 10 again change hjs mind. For there, among the pasaoagers, awaiting tho Now York exprets, ho saw Mis9 Dare, with a firaveiling beg upon hep asm and a look on hes face 6ba£, to uay the leant, was of most uncommon charao te in a ocane of do much bustle and hurry. She was going away then — going to leave Sibloy and its mystery behind her ! She was not pleased with the discovery. Thia sudden departure looked too much like escape, and gave him, not withstanding tho aaouranee that he had received from Mr- Orcatt, an uneasy sense o£ having tam pered with faio duty as on officer of justice, in thua providing this mysterioos young woman with a warning that oould lead to a gaoulfc like this. Yet, as he stood at the depot surveying Miss Dare, in the few mio-utes they both had f,o wait, he ssked himself over and over again how any thought oE beg possessing a personal intereot in the crime which had jusit taken place ooald re tain o harboui' in her mind. She looked co noblo in her quiet aspecfe of solemn deteraaiBation, 'co superior in her young f i eoh beauty — a determi nation that, feom the lofty look it impasted, must have its birth in generous emotion, oven if her beauty was but the result of a rarely mo° delled frame ond a health of surpassing pesfso tica. He reso'ved ho would think of her no moK- is that or ony othe? connection ; that he would follow the example of her best friend, and givo his doabfcs to the wind. And yot such a burs? is suspicion that he ao soones saw a young man approaching her with the evident intention of speaking, than he felt an irresistible desire to hoar what she would have to say ; and led by this impulse, allowed himself to saunter nearer and nearer the paiz, till he stood almoft at their backs. The fi?st words he heard were : ? How lone do you expect to remain in Buffalo, Miso Dare ?' ' To which she replied : 1 1 have bo idea whether 1 shall stay a week or a month.' Then the whistle of the advancing train was hoard, and the two pressed hurriedly forward. The business which had taken Mr. Byrd to Monteith kept him in that small town all day. Bat though he thus missed the opportunity of at tending the opening of the inqoeGO at Sibloy, he did nob experience the vivid disappointment which might have been espected, hio interest in that matter having in some unaccountable way subsided from the moment he saw Iraogeae Dow take the oaro for .Buffalo. Ifc wos five o'clock when he returned to Sibley, the hour at which the Western train wag also due. In fact, it came steaming in while he stood the?£, and, an was natural, perhaps, he panned a moment to watoh the passengers alight. There were not many, and ha was about to turn toward home, when he saw o lady otep upon the platform whose appoaranoe was so familiar that he stopped, disbelieving tho evi dence of hio own senaeo. Misa Dare returned ? Miss Dare, who but a few hours before had left this very depot for the purpose, as she said, of making c visit o? more or Ises length in tho dis tant city of Buffalo ? It could not be. And yet there was no mistaking her, disguised though she was by the heavy veil that covered her Jen turea. She hod come back, and the inteiest which Mr. Byrd hod lost in Sibley, and ita pos oiblo mystery, revived with a suddenness that called no a self-conscious blush to his hosdv

cheek. ; But why had oh© oo changed hep plans? What could have occurred during the few hours that had elapcod since he? departure, to turn her about on her path and drive her homeward before heg journey wos half completed ? He could not imagine. True, it was not hia preoont business to do so ; and yet, however much he endeavoured to think of other thinRO, he found this question occupying hio whole mind long after his return to tho village hotel. She was sach a mystery this woman, it might oooily bo that she had never intended to go to Buffalo ; that ohe had only spoken of that place aa the point of her destination undeg the otreoa o£ hen oompaniou'a importunities, and that the Koal place for which cko was boand had boon somo spot vary much neater home. Tho fact thot her bnggogo had consisted only of a small bag that she carried! on her arm would lend probability to the idea, yofc, sach woo th© gonssoBG ohojootes o£

tho young dotoctivo, ho hesitated to give credit to his ouopicioQ, and indeed t-olr every pains to ditiabuco himuolf of ifc by inquiring of tho tiokot ogont whetsr it woo true, aa he had heard, that Mion Da?o had loft town on tiict day fo? a visit to hoi1 friendo in Buffalo. Ho received for his reply that she had bought a tickofc For tho place, though she evidently hod not uood if, a fact which SBQsnod to prove she wao hoDGot; in tho exprocsion of her intentions that Eaoraing, 'whatever alteration might have token place in hoi' plans during the ooimia of hor journey. Mr. Byrd did not oajoy bin nuppen1 that night, and was heartily- glad when, in o few moments after ifco completion, Mr. Forrio came in for a chat and a cigar. They had many things to diseurs. Firs'-, their own ease now drawing to a saccesufal cloio ; tho murder of the day before ; and lastly, tho few facts which had beea elicited in regard to that murder, in the inquiry which had that day been bef-ura before tho coroner. Who v?aa the man who, in bvond day light, dared to enter a house situated like this in a thickly-populated otro^t, and kill with a blow an inoffensive woman ? 6 1 cannot imagine,' declared Mr. Ferrip, as his companion reached thin point. ']- loihs aa if sho had an enemy, bat what enemy could such q person as she possess — a woman who al ways did her own work, attended to her own affaiuo, and mode it an ©special rtilo o? her life never to meddle with thosa of anybody else ?' 4 Hod she no intimctee, no relatives?' as\ed Mr. Byrd, remembering that fvogtaent o? a letter he had read— a lefer which certainly contradicted this aaoeraon in regard to her oven and quiet life. .'None thot I cm aware o?,' wnn the response. !Wasfe, I believe I have bspn told ohe hnn a aephow somewhere — a oister'fl son, for whom she had some regard, and to whom she intended to leave hor money.' 4 She had money, than ?' 4 Some five thousand, maybe. Eoporta differ about such matters.' ' Five thousand dollars is regarded na no mean (mm in a towa like this,' qaoth Mr. Byrd, care leosly. s I know it. She is culled quite rich by many. Hov7 she got her money no one knowa ; fop when she fii'st came here she was sj poor she had to eat and sleep all in ono room. Mr. O'cutt paid her something foi? his daily dinner, of course, but that oould not hove enoblsd her to ptsfc ten dollars is tho bonk aa ohe hes done every week for the lagfc ten years. And to all appearances she hao done nothing else for her living- You see, wo have paid attention to her affoira, if ohe has paid none to oura.' Mr, Byrd again remembered that scrap of a lattsi' which hod been abowa him by the coro ner, and thought to himoolf that their know ledge woo in all probability less than they sup pos°d, ' Who was that horrid erono I onw shoalder ing herself through the crowd that collected around the gate yesterday P' wa*) his remark, however- * Do you remember a wizen, toothless old wreteh, whose oye haa moFe of the Evil One in it than that; of any youog thief you seo locked up in the county gaols P' ' No ; that is, I woadee if you aseaa Sally Perkins. She is old onoagh and ugly enough to answer your desoriptkra ; and now I think of it, she hao a way of leering at you as you go by that is slightly suggestive of a somewhat bifter knowledge of the world. Whafc makes you ask about her ?' 8 Because she attracted my attention, I sup pose. You must remember that I don't know any of those peopls, and that on especially vicious-looking person like hee would be apt to awaken my outioait^.' 1 You take considerable interest in the affair,' he remarked. { Well, I do not wonder. Even my old blood hao boea oomewhat fieed by its peculiar features, I foresee that your detective inefcinefc will soon lead you to eiak a run at the game.' s Ah, then, you me no objection to my trying for the scent, if the coroner persists in demand ing it?' inquired Mr. Byrd, ao h'e followed the other (O the door. ' On the contrary,' was the polite response. And Mr. Byrd found himoelf satisfied on thai; score. Mr. Foprio had ao sooner leffc the room than the coroner came in, ' Woll,' cried toe, with no unnecessary delay, ' I want you.' Me. Byrd rose. 5 Have you telegraphed to New York ?' he asked, 'Yes, and espoct an answer every soainute. There will be no difficulty about that. The superintendent is my friend, and will not be likely to orosa me in my espvensed wish.' ' But— — ' ossoyodl the detective. 1 We have no time for buto,' broke in tho coroner. 'The inquest begins in earnest to

morroWj and the one witness we most want has not yet been found. I mean the man or the woman who can swear to seeing SDmeone approach os enter the murdered woman's house between the time the milkman loft it at half-post eleven and the hour she wcq found by Mr. Orcutt, lying upon the floor of her diniag.room in a dying condition. That auoh a witness exists I have no doubt. Three wore plenty who sqw tho tramp, and two women, at least, who are ready to take their onth that thoy not only saw him but watched him long enough to oboQi'vo him go around to tho Widow Clemmoas' Iritchoa door and turn about aguiu and come away, co if for dohio i-obdou he had changed his ssincl sbotsfc entering. Now, if thoi'o wore two witnosoeo to soo all that, 4 bore muot havo bson ono somewhere to notioo that othes person, known or unknown, who went through, the street but n few minutes before tho fesmp.' ' Have you qtsoQtioaod the tgamp, of In oay

way received from him an intimation of the pea aon why he did not go into the house nitot he come to it P' ' Ho paid he beard voices quarrelling,' ' Ah !' 'Of course he was not upon his oath, but as the eta'ement was volunteered, we have some right to credit it, perhaps,' 'Did he say'— it was Ms. Byrd now who lost a trifle of his fluency—' what soit of voices he bear.) ?' ? No ; he ig on ignorant wretch, and io, more over, thoroughly frightened. I don't believe he would knov/ a cultivated from an uncultivated voice, a gentleman's from ? qunrryman'o. At oil ©vents, we cannot trust to hia diGcnmina tion.' This instant a smart tap wao hoard ofe the do)r, and o boy entered with the expected tele gram from New York. Dr. Tredwell took it nnd f^lnnoed at its coafcents with on annoyed look. ' It is rofc wbat I espectad,' he said, shortly, after a moment of perplexed thought. And he tossed over the tologram. Ms1. Byxi took it and road : ' Expect a suitable man by the midnight ex press. He will bring a letter/' A flash mounted to the detective's brow. 5 You see, sit-,' he observed, 'I waa right when I told joa I was not the man.' Yet, when the coroner was gone and he sot down clone by himself to review the motter, he fouud he was in reality more disappointed than he cared to confess, and wcis never nearer send ing in his resignation than he was in that short half-hour which followed the departure of Dr. Tredwell. To diotraot his thoughts, ho at last west down to the bar-room, (To he continued.)