Chapter 162354108

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Chapter NumberIII
Chapter TitleMr TORRY'S THEORY.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162354108
Full Date1899-01-14
Page Number38
Corrections0
Word Count2043
IllustratedY
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleThe Red-Headed Man
article text

THE NOVELIST.

THE RED-HEADED MAN.

BTTFERGUS JIUME,

Author of "The Mystery of a Hansom Cab/' "The Clock Struck One," "The "Bain

bow Feather," "Madame Midas," "Monsieur Judas," &c.

cuEiona, MuiMrocni) DAnncu his ete fixed on one of the images.

CHAPTER III.—MR. TORRY'S

THEORY.

"The Green Image," repeated Barrel, vondcringly; "what do yon mean?"

"Why," said the detective. "I should rather say the clue of the two Green

images, liere tney are.'

Out of his pocket Torry produced two little clay images in the shape of mummies, each six' inches in length, and coloured a deep green. The lifeless faces, the swatli t ings and bandages of the rigid forms were | perfectly modelled iu clay, aud on the

breast of each there was a representation of the sun rayed round with spiral flames. These idols—as they doubtless were— ap peared to be of great antiquity, and were undoubtedly line specimens of ceramic art. That the relics of a dead and gone civiliza tion should be connected with a modern criminal case amazed Frank not a little.

"Egyptian workmanship without a doubt," said he,' examining one of the little figures, "although I am not learned in such matters. Where did you get them?"

One was found iu the pocket of the dead woman, the other on the ground near the body of the man. Another proof, to my mind, that there is a connection between

the two crimes."

"Curious," murmured DSrrel, his eyes fixed on one of the images. "I wonder what they symbolise. If we could learn that we might discover the motive for this

double crime."

"You don't know ilie meaning of these idols, I suppose, sir?"

Darrel shook his head. "No," said lie, "but 1 am acquainted with an Egyptologist who might tell us all about them. I'll take them to him if you like, Mr. Torry."

"Take one—as they are precisely the same," replied the prudent detective, "and ask your friend what it represents; some god, 110 doubt. But look here, Mr. Barrel," added Torry, in a livelier tone, "1 have answered all your questions; now you must reply to some of mine."

"Willingly. What is it you wish to

know?"

"Tell me all that took place, from the time you saw the red-lieaded man in Drurv-lane until the_ moment you dis covered his dead body."

To this natural request Darrel assented readily, and narrated liis Saturday night —or rather Sunday morning—adventure in Drury-lane. The detective listened in silence, his keen eyes fixed on the narra tor; and when Darrel ceased he put a series of questions to him, noting the re plies to the same in a little book.. It may be here remarked that Mr. Torry used a cypher known to no one but himself, so, even if he lost his pocket-book, there was no chance of its contents becoming known. His examination was long and minute.

"You say that this man spoke like an educated gentleman?"

"Certainly; his accent was most re fined."

"At what time did he address you first."

"Shortly after 12 o'clock.'

"How Jong did it take you to walk to Mortality-lane?"

"Ten minutes more or less I should think. Altogether it was twenty minutes past midnight when he left me."

"The drive to throw you oft" the scent took seme time, 1 suppose?''

Darrel calculated. "About forty minutes, more or less," he said. "We got back to Mortality-lane shortly after the clock struck 1. Then I had some talk with the cabman who had misled me, according to instruc tions, aud I remember him saying he was going home, because it was after 1 o'clock."

"Then the murder must have been com mitted between half-past 12 and 1 o'clock in the morning?"

"Yes, I am sme it was. Bike and myself found the corpse shortly after 1 o'clock. It was still warm," said Darrel, with a shud

der.

"The red-headed man was not at his ease with you, I suppose?"

"On the contrary, lie Itept a safe distance between us; and all the time he had his right hand in the breast of his coat."

"Oh, that was a revolver," said Torry indifferently, "we foun\4 it when the body was searched. But," added the detective with emphasis, "we did not find the valu

ables he earned."

"Valuables! What valuables?"

"I can't say. Papers, or jewels, or money; one of the three, I am certain."

"What reason have you to think that he possessed valuables?" asked Dan-el, becom ing the questioner in his turn.

Torry shrugged his plump shoulders. "He wouldn't have carried a revolver else," he remarked.

"That might have been to protect himself against bad characters, such as he suspected ane to be," objected Frank captiously.

"No," replied Torry decisively. "I don't think so. 'He purposely assumed shabby clothes so that there would be nothing in his appearance to suggest that he was worth robbing. A thread-bare vagrant slinking through the midnight streets, would attract no notice save that of a policeman, and he would not dare to use his revolver iji that ease."

"Why not?" asked Darrel rather ob tusely.

"Because he would Have run the risk of arrest, and his real name — which—obvi ously, he was anxious to conceal—would have come out. No, Mr. Darrel, the dead man had some valuable object, or, perhapB, some money, in his possession, and carried

the revolver to protect himself against pos-' sible robbery; and that supposition," con- ? eluded tlie detective, nibbing his plump knees "brings we to my theory."

"To your theory?"

Terry pointed to the image held by Dar rel. "To be precise I should say to my clue —the clue of the Green Image."

"J don't quite see bow you bring this clay i

doll into the matter."

"Well," said Tony, "it is all theory, I admit; but my belief is this—The red-haired

man carried some valuables, money, or ' jewels, or papers, to the woman in. Mor tality-lane. When he delivered up the jewel—for the sake of clearness we 11 say jewel—she gave him tlie Green Image."

"Why?"

"As a kind of receipt, I suppose. Red hair took the image in Ids l-ight hand, in tending to put in into his pocket. At that moment, having the jewel in her possession, the woman struck ait luiin with the knife she carried; and he, thrusting out his left hand to protect, himself, cauglit at and tore the lace of her mantle. Naturally, as he had

received liis death-wound—he was stabbed

to the heart, you know—the Image fell from his clasp and was found on the ground near his body."

"Very ingenious," admitted Darn-el, scep tically, "but pure theory."

"No doubt. Every detective must theorize to some extent in order to have a basis to work on. Rut you must admit that my theory is a feasible one."

"Certainly. But as regards this second mummy V"

"Oh! I believe that after committing the murder this woman went olf to meet her assassin near Cleopatra's Needle. She gave him the jewels, which he doubtless expected to receive, and lie gave ber, also as a rec eipt, the image of the second mummy. This she put in her pocket, and was turning away when he stabbed her. Then he tried to throw the body into the waiter, but, being interrupted, fled, leaving his work un

done."

"Bui," objected Barrel, finding flaws with the true instinct of criticism, "why do you suppose that the assassin gave this image to liis victim? Ii\ the other case, when she was the assassin, she gave the iirst mummy to red-hair; it is possible, therefore, that she had this second one in her pocket."

"Not if my theory is correct," retorted Torry, nettled. "The woman gave the first Image to red-hair as a receipt for the jewel; in her turn she received the second figure on delivering up the jewel to the person she met,"

"Well, admitting as much, why, having obiuined-what he wanted, should he have, killed her?"

"Bind out that and I'll find the muiderer," said Tony, grimly. "Well, Mr. Darrel, here is vour detective novel in real life. What do you think of the plot pro vided by chance?"

"Plot!" echoed Barrel. "I should rather call it a riddle—and one quite impossible to guess."

"All, sir, you'll never make a detective if this mystery discourages you so early."

"But 1 don't see how you intend to begin."

"Well," said Torrv, "in the first place there is the clue of the initials. I'll go to that shop in Bond-street, and find out what the letters 'J. G.' stand for. Thus I may arrive at the identity of the man, and thereby be able to learn something of his past life. In his past life 1 may dis cover the motive for the crime. In itself the marked shirt is a good starting point, but there is also the clue of the four wheek-r."

"The four-wheeler ?" repeated Frank. "The one driven by Henry which the red haired man used as a blind, or the second owned by Bike, in which I followed?"

"Neither. 1 am alluding to the third cab, which was not on the stand when you returned at 1 o'clock."

"i dcu't see what Ibat cab has to do with the business."

"Mr. Darrel! Air. Barrel!" cried Torry gently. "You may be a good novelist, but if you'll pardon my saying so, sir, you are a very bad detective. Is it not reasonable to suppose that the woman, anxious to get as speedily as possible from the scene of her crime, would come up Mortality-lane and jump into the third cab? Also, you must not forget that she had a rendezvous

at Cleopatra's Needle, and perhaps had to ; drive quickly to be in time.

"Yes; but in coming into contact with the third cabman she ran the risk of be

ing—recognised. She must have known

that when the murder was discovered tlie i

police would probably guess her flight in ] the four-wheeler, and enquire about her j from the driver. He would give her de- ] scription, and" !

"Oh, that is all very well," said Torry, ] dismissing this objection with a wave of

his plump hand, "but the woman never ; guessed lor a moment that chance would j intervene; and that _ by means of her ] death we should obtain evidence of her : crime. She thought she would escape scot- ? free; also, I daresay, she was disguised, j Or it might he that she was too agitated j to pay attention to the risk she ran. Any

how 1 am certain that she -used the third ] cab to get away; and I am going to look j

up the driver." i

"How will you find him?" I "By questioning Henry and Bike. More- '?

over, he may be on the cab-stand himself. { I tell you what, Mr. Darrel." cried Torry, j getting on his short legs, let us make a ; division of labour. You go to Harcot and Harcot in Boud-street to find out what is

the name attached to the letters *3. G./ and I'll Bee to the cabman."

"Very good, Mr. Tony, When and, where am I to see you?"

The detective pencilled an address on .his card, and threw it across the table. "My private office,, where we won't be dis turbed,"" said ? he. "Eighty, Peter-street, Strand. Come at 4 o'clock this afternoon.

By-the-way, you might then be able to give

me some information about the idol/'

"I'll try." said Barrel. "My friend lives near the British Museutn, so I shall have time to run up and see him. But there is one thing you are not certain of yet."

"Sir," replied Mr. Torry drily, "there are many things of which 1 am not certain. But this special thing" _

"You don't know if the individual who killed the woman at Cleopatra's Needle is

male or female."

"A male—a man. I'll stake my profes sional reputation on it."

"Why are you so sure?"

"Why?" echoed the detective, "because the woman ran so great a risk m commit ting the murder—sue would only risk so much for a man."