Chapter 146835743

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Chapter NumberXV
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146835743
Full Date1891-07-16
Page Number1
Corrections0
Word Count1472
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

Woveltet.

fHeil Mar

THE IRISH DETECTIVE ;

Or. THE 'STRATEGY OF A

BRAVE MAN.

By OLD SLEUTH

CHAPTER XV.—(Continued,)

Upon making himself and business known in the proprietor of the mansion, the latter

said ' . * .6

* I.aisi gladyouhave come, sir, although the business in hand ;wionld not he worth sericas attention, ^ro it cot fhr the mystery connected with the affair. In fact, I wpnld. . willingly give almost , any amount as a re ward, to have the matter lolly .and eatie 1301only cleared op.' *

* Yon say that itis an Important matter, but you forget that yea have not'stated any of the circumstances to me.* . . 1 r

' I eopposed your chief had told yoo all

about the singular affair.' * . •. . , . • . 4 No, air; in our hueiness we never reoeive instructions beyond' the simple command, . go.'findi disoover, or investigate^his,:that, or

something:: we areleft to hear the facts and construe them ourselves:' ; ,

* Oh, Ibeg your pardoriT cxdaimed JTr. i Fatton, the gentlemen,. ae he .explained: ' For a week br ten daya paBt, a remarkahle thief has gained aopess to this house, I say ... remarkable thief,"from the faot that the rob-;

her, whoever he is, has oertafnly been in this honseiialf-a-dozen times, and ;hi8 presence has never been discovered, and we have only . learned-of his visits through missing articles; wbibtawere known to have been in our posses eion daring the previous days.'

* Did yoo watch for him ?' ' No, sir."

' What were the articles stolen ?'

There, eir, is where the mystery comes in;;

, the eingnlar thief, vrithopportnnityto carry J

1offvalaa'bJe articles, has only pilfered piotnreB j

of lemales.'":

. The* detective gazed' at the gentlemen in j .amazement. j

In fact, ho really did" believe that he was ] listening to a story from a rich old mono- '

maniac. /

Mr. Fatton observed the doubting look j

upon the of fioer'e face, and said :

* My friend, yoo must accept my story fast as I state it, and believe me when I add a still more remarkable incident. . I went to

. Sydney and purchased a nnmber of photo- j graphs. Among the lot wae only one picture of a handsome female, the photograph of some actress. I placed all the pictures on the parlour table, and beside'them a porte raonaie with some money in. For two nights

I watched. The third night I did not watch, j

and that night the photograph of the female j

was stolen and all the others were left, and j

the pocket-book containing the .money lay ] untouched in plain eight, just where I had ]

pinned it.' '

The detective began to grow greatly in

terested in the affair, and at once he set Mb 1 fine mental powers in motion, by asking a ] few brief and painted questions: " "'

' How many servants have yon ?' * Four that sleep In the house.*

-JfAU females?' ' uM 69

•Fes, eir.' - * Have you any male servants ?'

' Yes, sir; three inen connected with my stable, and a gardener.' *

' None of them sleep in the house ?'

•No.'

.• Do they sleep on the premises at all?'

* Yes, sir; in the apartment over the stalls in my stable,'

' Are they all marriedmen?' ' All but one.' :

' Are you certain that these robberies have always taken place at night,'

Yes, sir.'

* Yon say one of the men servants is an- :

married?'

'Yes.*

* How old a man is he ?' ' A youth of seventeen.'

* Is he ever employed in the house during the day?'

•Yes.'

The detectiTe was thoughtful a moment,

? and.at length said:

* 1 think we will have no difficulty in un

ravelling this mystery.'

I ' 1 trust your confidence trill be verified; : but in the outset, allow me to tell you that II think you will find it a more diffinqi* mB$. j ter than you anticipate.'

M'Darragb felt that he had struck avery : simple case, and thought that it would not

take Mm. long to olaar up the seeming mystery.

In answer to the remark of the owner of , the house, the detective said

* 1 donot think that there will be any diffi culty in Bolving the mystery; bnt to lead directly to the matter, I must ask you to in troduceme.to your household, as a business guest. Your servants nor any one else muBt have no idea of my true character.,

* That is all easily arranged,* said Mr. : Fatton.

•One more -question. Has the news of your mysterious losses gone abroad, i' 'No, sir.

, 4 How do you know that your servants ' « ^BBtrange story ?'

* We have not made confidants of our ser ? vantsj they know nothing about the rob

? hery, as I have had them all under the

strictest surveillance.'

< That is fortunate, and makeB my investi

gations all the eaBler.'

The detective was handsomely dressed, his manners WerQ polished, and altogether he /was a very pleasing person.

In the eyening, pt tbp dinner-table, the deteotive was introduced tq Mrs, Fatton and her daughter,

The ladies had EBfOpe. find

W«e well-informed, - - .

They found the stranger, Mr. M'Darragh, ? equally well informed, and before the meal was finished, they were perfectly charmed with the gentleman who had teen introduced as a business friend of the head of the house. 7

At length the hour arrived for .the ladieB to retire, and the detective and Mr Patton were alone in the pmrlor.

'How do you intend to proceed in the matter of the robbery asked the host.

* I shall watch to-night.'

•In the honBef

'In and out; yon must leave me a key.'

Awhort time elapsed and Mr. Patton re tired, and the detective was left alone.

For folly , an hour jhe detective eat and communed with himself. At length, rising to his feet, and crossing the room, he extin guished the light, and stealing on tiptoe to the library where he had left his travelling bag, he prepared himself for business.

Onr hero felt confidant in his own mind that there was no great mystery in the seem ingly Bingnlar robberies.

He had made his mind up just where to lie ana look for the thief, and had no donbt that his sns'puuons would be verified.

Having arrayed himself for the adventure

hehad inhand, the detective stole from the,

house and hid himself in tbeBhrnbhery near the stable. - ,

- There was a faint glimmer of light in the upper window of the stable, and that fact appeared already as a confirmation of his theory, ae the honr was after mid-night.

What other object wonld a stableman have for a light, unless he were poring over some thrilling work of fiction ana pleasing an ex citable imagination V

The deteotive approaohed the stable after having lain concealed awhile, and studied, liow he might secure a position from whence he might peer through that window through which came the glimmer of light.

: o He saw a, free near by, and being a good

-climber he ascended the tree.

' His pnrpb~se wae accompliflhed.

The.treewas near the.stable,and from the position he cbnld see plainly within.

. He could see no one, nor cbuld he discover the burning lamp from whence the ray of light came.

A moment he was perplexed, then with a low laugh, he descended from the tree.

He bad been the viotim of an optical illu

sion. . ,

The supposed glimmer turned oat to be : merely a reflection from one of the upper windows of the dwelling.

The deteotive walked round and. ronnd, feeling rather foolish at meeting with no better reward for hiB cunning.

The night was hot, and the heavens were spangled with myriads of stars.

The deteotive arrived at -the conclusion

that he wonld re-enter the house, and enjoy a little sleep upon the library lounge, feeling ABBared that a. step, however light and stealthy, wonld arouse him. 7 •

He had often ventured to sleep before when on the watch, and had never failed to wake at the proper time.

! His censes were.well trained and his hear ing, even when asleep, wonderfully acute; like an old hnnter, he was not at all dazed when snddeniy -awakened.

He did not . anticipate, however, that he wonld be disturbed, etill, it was part of his

training to be on the watch at all times, and. he went toward the house.

Hehadgonebnta few Bteps when a strange apparition crossed his path.