Chapter 147092000

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Chapter NumberIII
Chapter Url
Full Date1895-09-27
Page Number2
Word Count1968
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Narracoorte Herald (SA : 1875 - 1954)
Trove TitleA Mistaken Man. A Short Detective Story
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*' What a pity that proof i&n'fc as easy as aBi^eipn^'iriuspend Siok, "Ten minutes n ago, yon hadn't a thought of Benedict's

grnllt.: The evidsnoe against him came like „ lightning out oi a clear sky. And yon em

tiated him in a flash.

" Xhm I breathed a word Into your ear,

and immediately yon saw a murderer in that kind-hearted and honest man who is just , stepping down from the witness stand.

"Steady, steady, my jboy; we'll work own to the right man yet See! Benedict it king eabury s plaoe."

Se wti pale, and obviously snfforingfrom oitement, not nnmlngled with genuine • fear for his own safety.

In a few tspid words, he flatly denied the < Clergyman's statement. He hed not been

' with Mr Pendleton atthe hour named. He , had left the house before five minutes to


Asked about the quarrel mentioned by - Mr Seabury, he admitted that he had itn

• portuxed Mr Pendleton for money from the

estate, and had been refused. Bnt be - eoouted the suggestion that genuine ill-will

had resulted. It was no more than a differ mce of opinion on a business matter.

As to the anm of money which Mr Pendle ? ton had been seen to put into hie pooket, . and whioh bed not been found after bis

death, Benedict said that be had seen it, . but had supposed that it bad been found.

He bad been deceived by, the published statement that there was so evidence of robbery. It had been impossible for him to oommnnioate with the family, mid learn the exact facts, because he had spent the night ? following tbemurder in Hew York, and had come baok to Jersey City only just in time .1 ? for the inquest.

Pew questions were asked, I looked at the jury, and it seemed to me that the mind of every man on It was made up. It looked

' black for Benedict.

There wae a delay while Howell and - O'Mara conferred as to the desirability of

the lotter taking the stand. O'Mara per

- slated in his desire to do so, while the

lawyer, perceiving that the jury oonld never hold the coachman,. tried to diisuade him -from testifying.

Meanwhile Niok Garter get held of Mr Seabory. and was trying to shake his con ? > fidence in the accuracy of bis observation

of the time. He failed utterly. Mr Sea bury was perfeotly sure.

1 NIokwas evidently troubled.

"It's looking very bad for Benediot," he ' said, " and yet I thought Mm innooent."

"Isn't there time for that murder in six minutes ?' I asked. "Suppose Benediot got out and the murderer came in ?"

" What's he lying fori'interrupted Niok. "That's the bad point in bis case. He's jast-as confident as Mr Seabury, and one of - than isn't tdling the truth. I leave you to T judge which will be believed,

" How as to the time, six minutes isn't . enough. Remember that whoever did this : hadtofix that man Bennett, and get Mm

out of the way. Toat wasn't done In no ; time at all, and it. vriw •essential. There's ho other explanation of Bennett's flight.

He didn't do the deed himself. ~

" No, my boy. If Harold Benediot was : in that room at ten minutes past six, he did : the trick himself, and will die for it."

He slipped away, and I saw Mm talking , earnestly with Mrs Pendleton. Immediately , ha took a piece of paper from his pooket, and

began to write upon it, at her direction.

Just then O'Mara overruled bis counsel, and took the stand. .

. He told of bis presence in the house at the time named by Benediot. He had gone to talk with Mr Pendleton, and urge Mm to , reconsider Ms determination to discharge ' the witness from his employ.

O'Mara said that he waited a few minutes

, in the hall; and then, being convinced that he would hot get a chance to see Mr Pendle -. ton before dinner, he had left the home.

Ho went to a saloon at the end of the bloat, sad bad a drink. When he left that place it wasj net a quarter past six.

On bis way baok to the house he had - passed both Benedict and Bennett, though he believed that neither had seen him,

. . He noticed Bennett particularly, booause he was without his overcoat, though the night was very cold.

It had appeared from other testimony that '-Bennett had left hie overcoat behind him in

is room.

for my part, I believed that O'Mara was lying. I never saw a more vindiotive wit , ness. He kept his rat-like eyes fixed on

Benediot all the time, and seemed to take a fiendish enjoyment in the young man's - agony.

And yet I abandoned the idea of O'Mara'e guilt. He had not the vague terror and sternal watchfulness of a guilty man.

Moreover, the evidence of Mr Seabury had convinced me. I had become ashamed of any unworthy suspicions of him. His manner, when he talked with Hick in my . hearing, was absolutely convincing.

As O'Mara left the box, Hick whispered : to the assistant district attorney, who at

onoe arose and said to the coroner:

" Yon are aware, I believe, of the presence here of the famous detective whom every body knows as Nick Carter. He. believes that he can throw light upon this oase, and , be would like to ask a few questions of

certain witnesses."

"It seems to me," said the eorouer, look ing daridy at Harold Benediot, "that the ? case is already tolerably clear. I should he . surprised if the jury failed to render a . definite verdict"—whereat every man in the

box nodded. "Nevertheless, I should be much interested in hearing so celebrated an . authority as Mr Garter, and I do not doubt

that Ms questions will remove any uncer . talnty that may remain."

Hick bowed, and immediately called Mr

Seabury to the box.

*>7 heart leaped within me. I knew

twfnl power so well that I was pre

pared Jo see him call upon the guilty man i

- "»d witilg the secret ont of him in the

, ptesenoe of all of us.

"Mr SeWSraiy," he Bald, "will you ' kindly tell ns whiob door of the library you

opened when yon looked in npon Mr Pendle ton and Mr Benedict?"

'•The door between the library and the reoeptioh-room, whioh is at the front of the boose.'' responded the clergyman.

" How far did you, or any pari of your body enter that library?" demanded Hick, earnestly.

" Why. I ciln't enter it at all. Not an ueh. I just looked in."

" And you saw the deck? "

"Yes; plainly. It is a small, round elook, fastened upon the wall ever Mr Pen dleton's dosk, behind him, in fact."

Queer place for a clock;" said Nick. " I should think he would want it where he could see it. Now, Mr Seabury, would you be surprised if I told you that that olock is : not and never has been where you say it

was ?"

" Surprised ! My dear sir, I saw it with ' my own eyes, I know it was there."

A thrill of excitement, equal ini ntenaity to aov whioh had preceded it, ran through

the room,

Niok'a question had astonished every body.

If Mr Seabury . had lied about the olook, what followed ?__It was awful to think of.

Ana jf he had not lied, what possible geserai had Nick for addng the qaeenopf J

?* That will do, sir," said Nick, oalmly. " Mrs Pendleton, will you go into the box !"

The lady stepped forward reluctantly.

"Can the olook in the library be seen from the spot where Mr Seabnry eaye that

heatood ?"* asked Niok.

" It cannot," waa the reply, ottered in a lew and trembling tone. "It is right over the door-way through which he was look


"What is there on the wall at the spot where Mr Seabnry cays he saw the clock f His Pendleton sprang to her feet with a

ory of wonder.

" The mirror 1 the miner!" she ex

maimed. j

" Exactly," rejoined the detective. *' There is a mirror fastened against the wall over the fireplaoe, is there net 1"

" Yea ; a small round mirror. I eee'now how Mr Seabnry was deceived. I have aotioed the effect. If one stands in a certain piaoe by the door, he sees that dock's face in tke mirror. It looks like another cloor."

? "I think this question of time is now settled so far as Mr Benedict is concerned," said Niok, tuning to the coroner. " It is £lear that Mr Seabnry saw the deck in the mirror. The lmase was, of coarse, turned about, right for left; and thoa ten minutes before six, the hear when Mr Benedict admits that he was there, became to Mr Seabnry'a eyes tan annates after six. Is not that evident."

I never have seen anything dee hit a jury so hard as that did. They were all at sea

in an instant.

And I went with them, as the song says. All my theories were swept away.

" O'Mara," said Nick, sternly, " go into the


The ceaohman, white as a sheet, got upon I his trembling legs.

"I object 1" exclaimed Howell, desper


Just then a messenger-hoy wriggled his way through the crowd, and handed Niok a d°sratch, I had seen the detective send

4fc?a boy oat of the room oome m antes before. This was evidently an answer to a j


Niok tore open the envelop*, and glanced

at the contents.

"It won't be necessary, 0'Mara,"he said, solemnly. "This telegram is enoogh. Bennett has been oaptued, and has told


"D him!" yelled O'Mara, raising his clencbed fists, " I'll have his life 1"

A howl went up that made the

windows rattle. Every one present knew: that this was equivalent to confession.

O'Mara saw it, and lus ill-timed wrath j gave place to terror. He was a picture of a | despairing brnte. J

" Guilty!" I cried; " bnt how about the left-handed business, Niok T'

" That was nonsense," said the detective. "Mr Pendleton was strnok from behind. Anvbody might have known that."

He tuned upon the pallid prisoner.

"Bead that, yen dog !" he thundered, thru e ting the paper which he had taken from the envelope, under O'Msra's nose.

That paper was blank!

" Tricked 1'* soreamed the villainous wretoh, and he leaped at Niok'a throat.

' Of coarse, that ended it. The man was hand-cuffed so quickly that, although I was looking straight at Niok, £ did not know that he was doing it until it was all done.

Well, Bennett was actually caught about two weeks later, in England, and he really

did tell all.

O'Mara had done the deed for revenge and robbery. Bennett had heard Mr Pendleton fall, and had gone to the door of the library.

The murderer had given him half the stolen money for Mb secrecy, and Bennett had let him oat of the honse.

Then his nerve had deserted him, and he

had fled.

Take it for all in all, it was the best show in the way of an inquest that I ever saw, and I've sat by Nick's side through many a one that was far from dull.

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