Chapter 162354540

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Chapter NumberV
Chapter TitleDE MORTUIS NIL NISI BONUM.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162354540
Full Date1899-01-21
Page Number38
Corrections0
Word Count1933
IllustratedY
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleThe Red-Headed Man
article text

THE NOVELIST.

THE RED-HEADED MAN.

BY FERGUS HUME,

Author of "The Mystery of a Hansom Gab," "The Clock Struck One," "The "Rain

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

11B. VASS MADE HIS APFEARAHCB.

CHAPTER V.—'"IE MORTUIS NIL

NISI BONUM."

"A mail and a woman! ' repeated jjarrei thoughtfully. "Who told you that, Mr.

TorryY"

"The third cabman," replied the detec

live. "Main is his name, i touml nun

along with Henry and Bike on the cabstand near Mortality-lane.''

"Had you any difficulty in. making him speak?"

"No, not the least. He was quite willing to give information and assist the police in every way. Why do you suggest a diffi

cult v?"

"Why," said Barrel, "if this man and woman were actually the assassins it is pos sible they might have bribed Main to si lence.7' ,

"And thereby roused Jus suspicions, re torted Torry sharply. Nothing of the sort. Alain did not know'that a corpse lay down the lane, so there was no need for the pair io purchase his silence."

"They came out of Mortality-lane? '

"Yes. Main says that after the other two cabs drove away) he almost decided to go home himself, as lie despaired of getting a fare at so late an«hour. However, on the chance, he waited for twenty minutes or so, and his patience was rewarded shortly be

fore one o'clock. A man and a woman came out of Mortality-lane, and got into the

cab which drove off."

"Then it left just before our cabs came back?" . .

"No doubt; the assassins ran the tlimg very line. Well, the woman told Alain to drive to Northumberland-avenue, near the theatre. There the two alighted, and dis

missed the cab."

"What did they do next? I suppose Main noticed ill which direction they

ivent?"

"No, indeed," replied Air. Tony with a vexed air. "lie got his money and went straight home, leaving the man and woman manning 011 the pavement in front of the Avenue.Theatre."

"What route did he take from Mortality lane to Northumberland-avenue?"

"Down 'Arundel-streel and along the Lin hankment," replied Tony promptly.

•*"1 suppose," sai.d Barrel reflectively, that he did not notice any, one near Cleo patra's Needle as he drove along?"

"No. 1 asked him if he did, but lie de-. clared that he was too much taken up with managing his horse, which was rather un ruly, to cast a look to right or left. He drove straight to his destination, then re turned home by going up the Avenue. '

"Can he describe the pair?"

"H'ni!" said Tony, dubiously, "not very dearly. The woman was tall, fair-haired, dressed 111 black and veiled. I know alt that, as I have seen her dead body and dress. The man was not so tall as the woman, with a black beard, and wore a soft hat and a long overcoat almost to his heels. He held his tongue, leaving the woman to give the directions and pay the

lure."

"Were they agitated?"

"The man. seemed move agitated than the

woman."

"Perhaps he killed Alt'. Gren't."

"Perhaps he did; we have no evidence to show who struck the blow. But who is Air. Grent?"

"The dead man. Tie is, or rather was, Mr. .Jesse Grent, the banker."

"Oh!" said Tony, rubbing his plump hands with niueli satisfaction, "you have found out that much. This case is becom ing important, for Air. Jesse Grent is well known, 1 can tell you. He is very rich, very philanthropic, and two years ago stood for Parliament in the Conservative in terest. Now I wonder wliat took so re spectable a man into so disreputable q neighbourhood. In disguise, too. H'm, it looks queer.^ Air. Great is not so good as 1

thought him."

"A cu may as well speak in the past, Torry; the man is dead."

"Dead! Alurdered!" 6aid the detective, thoughtfully. "A sad ending for a respec table banker. Tell me what you learnt

from Harcot.

"1 have told you," replied Darrel. "The shirt was made for Jesse Grent, of Wray bridge, and of Grent and Leighbounie, Bankers, Fleet-street."

"Quite so," said Torry, getting on his feet. "Well, whereHaroot^information ends Afr. Leighbourne's may begin. Come along. Air. Barrel, let us pay a visit to Fleet

street."

"Very good. Wait until I put on my

mat."

While Frank was getting ready for the visit Toiry eanplp.veu his time in making notes in liis secretive little book. Inci dental! j* he enquired about the mummy, and on receiving _ an explanation about the Ancient Peruvians and their customs, evin ced sonio disgust _ at the unsatisfactory result of Barrel's visit to the archaeologist. Still, lie thought the information woi'ih noting.

"Doesn't seetm to hear much on the

case," he said philosophically. "Still, there j is no knowing liow important it may be." j

"1 agree with you there," said Frank, ; taking up hat and gloves. "That Green

I HA .

Image, to my mind, symbolises something which may elucidate the whole mystery."

"It sounds too romantic to have any practical value," grumbled To try, as they went out. "It is a l'ar cry loom Jxmdon to Peru."

Nothwithstanding this diversion _ of opinion, the subject seemed to be of so little importance that both novelist and detective dropped the discussion. In a few moments they found themselves in a hansom, and rattled quickly eastward until they descend ed before the unpretentious building which is one of the most famous private Banks in the City of London. The firm of Grent and Leighbourne is nearly one hundred years old, having been, established shortly after the French Revolution, and is much patro nised by county families. It had been founded by Mr. Ebenezer Grant, who had afterwards taken his chief clerk, Leigh bourne, into partnership. J.t was the grand sons of this pair who were now the repre sentatives of the Bank, and one of these, Jes.se Grent, had been barbarously assassi nated in Mortality-lane. As yet, to all ap pearances, the catastrophe of his death was unknown.

"They would have the shutters up else," said Tony, who had c-ommcnted on this fact to his companion. "Depend upon it, Mr. Barrel, you and I are about to startle the firm of Grent & Leighbourne."

In answer to the detective's enquiries the visitors were requested to give their cards, which were taken in to Mr. Leigh bourne. In a< few minutes his hell rang, and they, were shown into a soberly-furnish ed room, which was occupied by a hand

some young man. He was about thirty/ years of age, with curly black hair and a small black moustache smartly pointed, so as to give him quite a> jaunty ail". Elegantly dressed, he seemed rather like a West-End dandy than a sedate, methodical hanker. With all the composure of a. man of the world he received his visitors, hut there was an uneasy look about him which did not escape the vigiltuit eyes of Tony.

"Be seated, gentlemen," said lie, waving his hand towards two chairs. "I understand you wish to see me?"

"Ave you Mr. Leighbourne?" asked Bar rel, who could net conceal his astonishment at the age and appearance of the hanker.

"1 am Mr. Frederick Leighbourne, sir. Prrhl.ips it is my father you wish to see. In that ease, I must inform you that he is now in Paris, where jie has been for some weeks. Ir. his absence, and in the absence of our other partner, Mr. Grent, I act as the re presentative of the firm."

"Mr. Grent!" repeated Tony slowly. "Is

he absent also?"

"Yes. He left for Italy last Saturday."

"Are you sure?" asked the detective, meaningly,

"Certainly. Mr. Grent. told me he was going. No doubt he is in Milan by this

time."

"I am afraid lie is not, Mr. Leighbourne." The young man turned pale and looked from one to the other of liis visitors. "What do you mean?" he asked anxiously.

"I mean," said Tony, "that Mr. Grent has taken a longer journey than you are

aware of."

"A longer journey? How do you know?" "Because I am a detective."

Leighbourne became even paler than be fore, and pushed hack his chair with a quick, nervous movement. "A detective!" he muttered faintly. "Why—why does a detective call on me?"

"To inform you of Mr. Grant's death," interposed Barrel, astonished at this un necessary display of emotion

"Bead! Mr. Grant dead!" _ Frederick Leigh bourne rose in an indescribable state of agitation. "Why, on Friday last, when he said good-by to ine, be was in excellent

health." -

"Health has nothing to do with his death," said Tony drily, "Have you heard of this Mortality-lane murder?"

"Yes, yes; that is, I saw—I saw some thing about it in the evening papers," stammered the banker hurriedly; "but it lias notliing—nothing

"It has everything to do with Mr. Grent, if that is what you mean," said Darrel. "On Sunday morning last, shortly before 1 o'clock, your partner was murdered!"

"Murdered!" Leighbourne's voice leaped an. octave. "Oh, my Godt"

"Stabbed to the heart,"

"But by whom—by -whom?" "By an unknown woman."

Leighbourne's face, which had changed from white to red, and then back again, assumed an expression of profound asto nishment. "A woman!" he repeated. "Murdered by a woman! Impossible! I thought Here he checked himself on observing the attentive attitude of his auditors. "Is the woman in custody?" he asked calmly.

"No," replied Torry, who had noticed the hesitation of the young man. "She is dead also."

"Bead also," repeated Leighbourne — "but not murdered?"

"Yes; she was stabbed to the heart by some unknown man."

"Has lie been arrested?''

Darrel could not forbear a dry laugh. , "If lie bad been arrested, Mr. Leigh bourne, he would not be unknown.. No; the mur

derer escaped, and we. have come to ask ; for your assistance in finding him."

Leiglibourne resumed his seat with, what

Appeared to be an air of relief. "I!" he, murmured. "Good heavens, gentlemen, how can I possibly assist you?"

"Ob," said Tony, looking keenly at the

young man, "that is very easy. You may know of something in Mr. Grent's past life which may supply the motive for this

crime."

"I know nothing of Mr. Grent's past life but what is good and honest," the

banker answered.

"My dear sir," said the detective, "you know that when there is any trouble, one must always look for a woman. Now—."

"There is no woman in this ease," inter rupted Leigliboume sliarply.

"Oh, pardon me, sir. Mr Grent was killed by a woman. And a short time ago you were beginning to make some remark thereon, when you stopped and changed the subject."

Leigh bourne coloured and looked em barrassed. "1 did bo because I thought it impossible that Mr. Grent could have met his death at the hands of a woman. So far as I know, he was never connected

with one."

"Was he not married?" asked Frank.

"Oh, yes; but of course I mean, with any other woman than his wife. Donna Inez is different."

"Donna Inez? Who is she?".

"Mrs. Grent; but as she is a Spanish' American, she prefers to be called so:"

"A Spanish-American," repeated Darrel;

from South America?"

"Yes; she is a native of Lima."

"And Lima is in. Peru. Strange!"

Darrel looked at Tony, and Tony gazed at Darrel. Mrs. Grent came from Pern; and the Green Image had been obtained

from a Peruvian tomb. The coincidence— if it was \ine—was strange. *