Chapter 146835405

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Chapter NumberV
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146835405
Full Date1891-06-11
Page Number1
Corrections0
Word Count2091
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Narracoorte Herald (SA : 1875 - 1954)
Trove TitleO'Neil M'Darragh, the Irish Detective; or, The Strategy of a Brave Man
article text

CHAPTER V.

MDarragh was not a man to be deterred from a purpose, it there had been a dozen Indian Jacks tpm his track, in place of one vagabond.

Alter the countrymen and village settlers had gene away, he arranged for a room in the tavern, and was shortly after Bhown to -itf* ,.s. #.— •- ,? ?

Once within the apartmentMldtted't'o him, he glanced at his watch and saw that it was just a quarter to eleven o'clock.

He made no movement as though be in

tended to retire.

Oa the contrary, he opened his satchel and commenced changing his clothes, indicating ifcafc'fae had seme purpose in view Infore the approach ef the earning dawn.

Wails thus engaged in changing his dress, he would occasion ally mntter to himself, in lo^slinbst inaudible tehes.

Daring bis soiilcqdy, the detective com pleted his change,- and before the icoktcg gl&ssin the room there appeared, in place of the seeming Irishman:. who had entered, an mdmary^pbking.fartn-haud. .

Hsiiad trgasierred his weapons to the hew clothes he had assumed, which indicated,

.-also,.that he anticipated the possibility of an'

encounter before isis return.

Eaising a window cautiously in hia room, he discovered that' it opened upon a

shed.

; Cautiously stealing Acros3 the roof, O'Neil found that it adjoined another shed, and ihe

roof or the latter slanted down to within six feet of the ground.

Ones down in the yard, our hero moved stealthily along until he reached the fence

which bordered the road.

A few mom seta later ha was moving swiftly along the latter.

0/er the road he went, occasionally pass

iag straggling residences, from the vpper ] windows of which glimmered a faint red light.

At length he earns to a dense patoh oi ] woods through which the road he was tra versing wound its way.

He had passed far into the woods, and was moving more cautiously along, owing to • lack of knowledge of the locality and Ike den sity of the darkness, when suddenly he oame to a dead stop.

While moving along he had heard a cough,

which evidently came from the. lips of a ;

• , .?

He had heard Indian Jack speak but a few j worde, but so keen was his observation that 1 he thought he actually, recognised the man's voice by bi3 cough.

From the directions which M'Dairagh had

received, be felt eathfied that he was in the : near vicinity ef Eidge Grove, and the latter i was the point of. hie . destination when ha

started.

Had M'Darragh been acquainted with the locality he would have knows better what to do.

He was, however, not only at the disad

vantage of being on a road which he had not ] travelled before, but he was also lost iu the darkness.

Slowly he moved along, when once again he heard a cough.

This time the person .who coughed seemed ; to be only a yard or two distant.

A few momenta passed.

The deteotive did not dare to move a step.

Finally he became impatient,and dropping on his hands and knees determined to creep forward.

Bbfore doing so, however, he drew his pistol from his pocket and carried it between hi3 teeth, resolved' to be ready for any emer

gency.

' He had ja3t commenced to crawl forward when ho was again brought to a halt by a very startling incident.

The surrounding stillness was broken by a

shrill whistle.

"Aha i" whispered M'Darragh," that tells the story."

The occasion for his remark was the fact that the whistle indicated that the man he had been following was there by appoint

ment.

Accepting the conclusion that the fellow j was Indian Jack, and recognising that the j appointment .was in the vicinity of Bidge G/ove, great significance could b8 attached

to the whistle caii. .

The momsnt he heard the w'aislla O'Neil ]

laid low.

A moment pissed, when the shrill whietle again broke the stillness. -

M Dirragh once more commenced to creep

forward.

He felt certain that something was in pro gress that needed watching, whether Indian Jack were the whistler or not.

Thus cautiously he crept forward until he reached a position where he could see the

outlines of a man.

Alter a moment's careful survey, he de termined upon taking a long and desperate

chance.

The plan which ONiil M-Darrag'a deter mined to put into execution was to make a long detour around, and creep up within ear

shot.

He had jast resolved to attempt this plan, when he observed a figure coming down the

road.

To his .astonishment he saw that the figure J

was mat of a' woman."

Q'iieiily'he rase his fsat arid struck into

the woods Co the let: of the road.

After going far euosgh he made a second turn, and entered au oat field.

The grain was quite high, and after walk ing upright for eome distance he creep H on

his hands and kaees and crawled toward the

point where he could discern the two figures , standing.

He was now compelled to move with the

utmost care.

lis felt Chat no better opportunity would ever cfier to ascertain facts.

Again he fell that, as young Trends!! bad

been murdered, most probably the object of j this meeting which he wsb watching was to lay plans for consummating a second assae

siBalioE.

Stealthily, but surely, O'Neii crept until he

had reached a point within twenty feet of j whets the parties stood.

He now came to a halt.

Although the parties spoke ia a low tone, , he could distinctly hear their voices, and by close attention managed to dietingnish a part cf what wee said.

The detective hsd heard Mrs. Turner

rpsak when she met her husband at the rail-: way station, and so weli grounded had been the cfilrer's suspicions that he was not at all surprised when fao recognised by the woman's

voice that she was Indian Jack's com panion.

The first words that he heard were stari linaly suggestive.

Mrs. Turner was the speaker, and she

said:

" Marion will come up on the 5 20 train to morrow evening."

" Too early !" answered the Indian.

"It cannot be helped. You knew she is a

terribly self-willed creature. j

"You managed the other nutsr well. | Jack, I have not heard the lead areata of j suspicion." j

" Than you have not had your ears open !' .

" Why, what do you mean?" exclaimed the woman in a terrified tone oi voice.

" I mean just what I say."

' \ouwi3ti us to believe that suspicion has bs£3 directed fcowardaTarntr and myself,

80jy3 ^aakeyour services appear of greater'

*' \ou are mistaken ; I have only told you

the truth."

" From what quarter did the talk

ariEei"

"It Is common talk all over the city of

Sycney."

*. It 13 .falsa 1 I have caused the most diligent inquiries to he made, and it is the general impreseion that Trendall has run

away !"'

M/Darragh overheard this remark dis tinctly, as unimportant as it may appear to the reader, it caused a thrill to tremble through 0 NeiFe veins.

It revealed a certain possibility to him. and once again was the marvellous keen ness of his powers of observation demon

strated.

In answer to the woman's assertion, Indian

Jack said :

'? I heard Jonathan Turner named in ccn neciisc-wrth- his -.disappearance-only—this

night!"

" By whom?"

" A number of gossips at the tavern, and, what was more, a man in disguise asked me

directly what I knew about the murder of ,

Trendall!"

" A man in disguise, you say I"

" Who was he ?"

" I do not hnow ; but, between you and j, me, there are deteotives on ear track, and j that is why this'busiaess thai yoU want done-;

to-marrow will fae so risky/'

Tee woman, after verydoss questioning,

finally paid:

" Tills matin? for .to-morrow must be i postponed, iu the meantime it is better that you should boeearos around, hero until mat

ters settle down a bit."

" I must have money !"

" You shall: I will meet you to-morrow

in Sydney "

" Ail right. Where shall we meet ?"

The woman named a certain house in a well-known locality, and gave the halt-breed other directions, all of which were distinctly overheard by the detective.

At length they separated.

The woman leaped the fence nimbly, and moved rapidiy up the road towards the large house that loomed in the distance.

Indian Jack stood and watched her until she had passed beyond sight, when he mur

mured to himself:

" Don't like that woman. Some day when she gets through with Indian Jack, he will be missing like all the rest that, stand in her

way J'

O'Neal overheard this remark, and made up his mind that some day he would takG advantage of Jack's mean opinion of the

woman who had employed him to carry out '

her wicked work.

In these brief moments, also, the listening officer had an opportunity to run over several

matters in his mind.

Of . one thing he was oonvinced—Mrs. Jonathan Turner, the young and handsome wife of the reputed owner of Bidge Grove,

was an adventuress.

In her conversation with Indian Jack sho had shown an .intimate acquaintance with certain suspicious localities in the oity of Sydney, which would have been unknown to

an honorable woman.

While stili thinking over these metiers, he saw the Indian move away.

Having learned all that he wished to for the time being, he concluded not to follow

the half-breed.

When the latter had passed frcm view, the detective crawled from his place of conceal ment and started down the road through the weeds tcwards.the hotel where he had taken lodgings for the night.

Ever and anon,as he wailied along the dark road, he would whisper in a lpw tone to him

self!

We have before intimated that his com panions in the force had come to the conclu sion that he was a man who had an extraor dinary history which had never been made

known.

Same years previous to his lest appearance in the city,M Darragh had spent two years in New South Wales, engaged in professional

duties.

It was aurinig the two years mentioned that he acquired a knowledge of faces end localities, which upon several occasions had astonished his fellows, who looked upon him

as a stranger.

His comrades bad come to speak of him as the man of mystery. '

" By George 1" muttered M'Darragb, as he proceeded on hia way upon the eventful night of which we are writing, "it is straDge that in taking hold of the matter of this missing bridegroom I should be led right on tp the track of the business which brought me here to Sydney.

At this moment pur hero's thoughts were interrupted by thB:eound of a falling log.

He came tG a halt and listened. j He knew that some one was near by.

Whether it was Indian Jack or not he could

not tell.

He felt thst he did not wish to be discovered by any one.

Muttering to himself, he said:

• I have discovered so much,it might stand

me in stead to still keep upon the track of , thai fellow." 2

Having thus resolved, he moved stealthily forward, whan he once again heard that tell

tale cough.

This time the sound seemed to come from a quarter which went to show that the haif breed was in the woods directly opposite the spot where the officer stood.

The latter stepped "across 'a. gully, and moved toward the plSce from' whence the Boiicd bad come, and again came to a halt

and listened.

It was still so dark, thai when moving, the

detective was literally compelled to grope his ,

way.

After listening a moment or two, he again beard the cough, and this time it sounded further away, proving- that the half-breed was making his vray deeper into the

woods.

Again the detective stavted in cautious pur

suit.

A few steps brought him to a fence. Over this he climbed, and at once fonnd himself amidst a thick undergrowth of brambles.

A certain easpicion had flashed through 0 Neil M'Darragh's mind, and it was with high hopes of making an important dis covery, that with the utmost oare he moved

along.