Chapter 162354979

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Chapter NumberVIII
Chapter TitleTHE ROBBERY
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162354979
Full Date1899-01-28
Page Number38
Corrections0
Word Count1971
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleThe Red-Headed Man
article text

CHAPTER vnr.—THE RORRERV.

1 he rooms which belonged to Jesse Grent were in Duke-street, St. James's, and were very comfortably furnished in a plain and unpretentious manner. Evidently the dead man had been simple in his tastes, and not withstanding his wealth had refrained from indulging in luxury, 'these chambers were looked after by the landlord of the house, a retired butler, who appeared dignified enough to be a bishop, yet who was plainh alnud of the law as personified by Tony, lie answered the many questions of the de tective with anxious humility, but the in tormation lie gave was worth little.

Air. Grent was a good tenant, he said, hut capricious in his comings and goings, which, in the butler s opinion, might be due to the tact that ins house at Yv raybridge was nt>

VTy ei^t ^Bfcarioe from town. It was only

when Mr. Grent was very late that he re nuinwl all night at liis chambers. On the day of the murder—it was a Saturday—Mr. Grent had notified tliat he was going to Italy, and would probably be away two

weeks. It was at 5 o'clock that he had said this; then he had dined at his club, and evidently had gone to the theatre. The

. , r fiaw "hn when he returned at 10 30

m the evening. That was the last lie saw

pt him, and he did not know if Mr. Grent

« ,Rone °'ut t!iat night.

"But he did go out," said Torrv, "and never returned Could you not see in the morning that his bed had not been slept

"Beg pardon," replied the butler—Meek

?i-as J-<lS name> anfl Meek his nature—"but

Mr. Grent was a very peculiar gentleman,

"f to/d me never to go into his

rooms unless he rang the bell, so, as he (lid not ring the bell, I did not venture into his rooms. When I heard that lie was murdered I did."

"-And found the bed unslept in?"

"Yes, Sir. He must have gone out about eleven, but I did not hear him."

"Did Mr. Grent receive visitors here?"

"Sometimes, Sir," replied Meek. "He had one in the afternoon of that Saturday —a tali dark gentleman, who looked like a foreigner. He was.in some armv, too," added garrulous Mr. Meek, "for when I took up his card to Mi. Grent I saw lie was a Captain/

^'Captain Manuel?"

"It was Captain something, sir, but I

Cfl)? ^ rouieinber exact name."

H in, said Torry, thoughtfully, "I nave no doubt it is the same person I

.1"? 'injny niind- An>" other visitors?"

A lady caine sometimes, Sir. She came shortly after the Captain on that Satur day.

y What was her'name?"

'I can't say. Slie never gave her card, and always wore a heavy veil/'

^ou could not identify her in iinv ' way? * i

"Not by her personal appearance, Sir:

nut she did wear a peculiar ring. On ' Saturday she was paying her cab, and took oft her right-hand glove to find a piece of gojd winch had slipped into a corner of her purse. I then noticed that on the third finger she wore a silver riug set with three bright blue stones."

"Turquoise stones, no doubt," said Torrv J 1 make a note of that, as I should like to Jcnow who this woman is."

tt but, i cried Meek, in dismav,

you don t think this lady has anything to do with the murder?"

Torry shrugged his shoulders. "As to

that,; he remarked, tritely. "I can onlv

say that a woman is at the bottom of every trouble. This may be the woman con cerned in tins especial affair."

At this moment Mr. Leighbourne ar rived, according to appointment, and, with iorrv, he was conducted upstairs into the chambers of the late Mr. Grent. These had a damp, musty smell, as though they had been uninhabited for some time, and both bedroom and sitting-room were in a state of great confusion. Travelling rugs, dressing bags, and portmanteaux were scat tered about the sitting-room, and in the bedroom there were piles of shirts, heaps of clothes, and all the impedimenta of a man bound on a long journey. What par ticularly struck Torry was the presence of a large Amencau trunk, hall-full of wearing apparel.

1 hat is a big box to take on a. short jour

liey, said he thoughtfully. j

"I don't call a jouniey to Italy a short

one, replied Leighbourne, who looked wor- ' ncd and ill, and sj»ke sharply. "It takes tnvo days and two nights to reach Florence."

"Maybe, Sir. But Mr. Grent intended to staj- only two weeks, according to Meeit

here.

"Yes, sir, chimed in the deferential but ler, 'only two weeks."

"Iu which, case," continued the detective, I he would hardly need so many clothes. A portmanteau of that size and a dressing-bag , would have contained ample, unless," added ! Torry looking at Leighbourne, "Mr. Grent was a masher."

Tbe young banker laughed. "No, indeed," said he, with assumed lightness," 1113- poor friend cared nothing for dress."

"Then." said Torry, decisively, "you may be sure tie intended to take a much, longer

| journey than you ,suppose." 1

I "But he said "He was going to Italy."

"He might have Said so as a blind, but be certainly dad not intend to go there, or " added Torry, with emphasis, "if he did it was to fleaoh Aaples or Brindisi and catch an outgoing liner to Australia. Hah' Ikmry stopped speaking and slapped his thigh.

"What is the matter, Sir?" asked the butler nervously.

"Oh, you are there," said Torry, turning sharplyon him. "Then you can go down'

HI need you I'll ring."

„ Gau*t I be of service herai Sir?" urged I

SfrV0 Vnaia "with curiosity. '

If I need you I'll ring," repeated Torry, ? and pointed towards the door. The butler was obliged to go, and withdrew with mani fest unwillingness. Torry saw him de

scend the stairs, and locked the outer door' of the chambers, after which he returned to Leighbourne, who watched this conduct

with ill-concealed nervousness.

"Why do you send Meek away?" he asked, with souie hesitation.

"Because I wish to speiak to j'ou pri

vately," replied Torry, promptly. "You J are not open with me, Mr. Leighbourne."

"What do you mean?" demanded the

:young man, flushing. I

"Is your Bank solvent?" asked Torry, in

Jus turn.

The other jumned to liis feet in a violent' vage. 'Solvent!-" he cried, "or bourse-it ip

solvent. '? How .dare you hint that anything is wrong with our busrares."

"I hint," replied Torey, "because I wish to know the reason Mb. Grentrimtended to. bolt to South America." -

"To South America!" repeated Leigh? bourne, in a stupefied tone. "How do you knewne thought of going there?"

. "Because I believe Mr. Greatintended fcp> go to Genoa, and take ifihe fret boat Ufa, Beru."

"Why Peru?"

"Oh, that ia a fancy of mine," rejoined Torry with a shrug. "Mr. Great has a Sparmsh wife; the murder was com united with a Spanish knife; and two tomb images from Peru are mixed -up in the. matter; therefore I believe that if Mr. Grent bhosu any place of refuge, hie would go to Lima."

"Buit why should he want a refuge?"

, "That is whait 1 ask you," said the deteof tive, coolly. "I am sure you will be able td supply the reason; so to give you time to make up your mind, I'll look for the ticket to Italy."

Leaving LeigMxmrne sitting much astoni shed "in the chair, Torry crossed the rooni to a writing-table placed directly under thft window, so as to get all available light. Op this lay many papers tossed about in con fusion; and through these Torry looked rapidly, but without finding any railway tickets. Tllie middle drawer was not locked, and in this the detective discovered at bunch of keys, one of which fitted the other draw ers of the escritoire. Within were letters and bills an'd memoranda; but none of these did Torry examine very closely, as, at the present, moment he was bent on discovering the ticket to Genoa or Naples. All his search proved futile, so he desisted with ft lowering face and glanced round the room, Leighbourne, who had been biting his fin gers, brightened up at this failure, and

sneered.

"You see, things are not as you think,"

lie said in a tone of relief.

"One moment," returned Torry drily, I am not yet at the end of mv re

sources."

llis keen eye had caught sight of.a fur travelling-coat hanging up in a distant cor ner; and towards this he walked. On purchasing the ticket, he thought, Mr. Grent would probably put it ill the breast pocket of his travelling-coat, so as to run 110 risk of leaving it behind. As he had been disguised on the night of his murder, it was improbable that lie would have taken it with him to Mortality-lane.

"If anywhere," said Torry, putting hie hand into the breast pocket of the fur coat,

"it will be here. Hullo!"'

The exclamation was drawn from him in sheer astonishment. He had found not one ticket, but two: and both were made out by Cook, from London to Genoa.

"Two tickets!"' cried Torry in amaze ment. "Then lie intended to take some one with him."

Leighbourne jumped up and looked at the two tickets over Torr.v's shoulder. "It is very strange," 6aid he at length. "You are right, Mr. Torry; Mr. Grent intended to go away. Hut why to Genoa?"

"To catch the boat to Lima, of course." "There is no line to Lima from Italy."

"There is a line of steamers to Buenos Ayres, however," said Torrv briskly. "I know that_ for a fact. I wonder who the

woman is?"

"The woman?"

"Yes. You needn't tell me Mr. Grent intended to take a male companion. I have it," cried Torry, suddenly. "He arranged to bolt with the woman he met."

"With the woman who killed him? Im possible."

"Bah! the woman did not kill him. It was the uian who struck the blow. Yes, yes," murmured the detective, his eyes lighting up with joy. "I see it all. Grent met this woman in ord^r to "bring her back here and fly with her. While they were talking in Mortality-lane they were interrupted by the man—probably the lover or the husband of the woman—and out of jealousy he killed Grent. It is as plain as day." .

"But it is impossible. T tell you!' cried Leighbourne furiously. "Mr. Grent was der votedly attached to Iris wife. He would not leave her for another woman."

"Then lie must have contemplated bolting because of money troubles," said the detec tive promntl.v. "Own the truth. Mr. Leigh bourne. Was Grent in difficulties?"

Before the hanker could reply there came a furious knocking at the outer door, and

the two men looked at one another in a

startled manner. Torry recovered himself at once, and without a word ran to the door and threw it open. To his surprise, Vass, the secretary, looking much agitated, ran past him into the room. lie was fol lowed at a more leisurely pace by a tall, dark man. who looked like a foreigner, and who was also agitated, but in a lesser de gree than Vass.

"Captain Manuel!" cried Leighbourne quicldv. "Mr. Vass, what is the matter?"

"Bobbery!" gasped the secretary. "Rob

bevv!"

"What are you saying?" said the banker, while Torry listened attentively.

"Mr. Grent's private safe has been robr lied!" cried Vass—"robbed of ten thousand pounds in notes!"

"Yes," said Captain Manuel, in very good English, "and that money belongs to-me."