Chapter 162355276

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Chapter NumberIX
Chapter TitleCAPTAIN MANUEL.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162355276
Full Date1899-02-04
Page Number37
Corrections0
Word Count2052
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 FEUQV3 HUME,

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

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

"MAY I ASK. SIB, wny YOU INSISTED UPON SEEING UK?"

CHAPTER IX.—C APT A EST MAXELL. .

The Spaniard was even darker tlian is usual with people of his race; also he had an aquiline nose and hair very straight, glossy, and black. His eyes were large and

brilliant; Ins month rather full and a trifle j sensual; and his lean, alert figure was pecu- I liarly straight and upright. Added to these ] advantages he wore a heavy black nious- I iache, which he twirled at times with an ! .insolent air; so that on the whole he was I a remarkably handsome man. Hut there j

was something uncivilized about him; a strange wild look which suggested the soi dier of fortune. Probably he was what he represented himself to be—a Peruvian gentleman serving as a captain in the army of the Republic; but to Tony—who was well read for a man of his "position—be

seemed more like a buccaneer or filibuster. It was Captain Kidd in a frock coat.

At the present moment lie appeared much agitated, and, leaning on his stick with both hands, challenged the regard of Leighbourne and Tony. Vass had thrown himself into a chair, and as iiis pale face testified, seemed to be overcome with con sternation. On the unexpected surorise of

this sudden arrival there ensued a short, si- ; lence; so finding that no one spoke, Cap- j

tain Manuel addressed himself to all three on the subject of the robbery.

"J gave Mr. Crent £10,000 some three weeks ago," said he, his foreign accent be coming more pronounced in bis excitement, "and 1 visit your Rank this day to obtain

it. Dios! what do I find!"

"You find that Mr. (front is dead," said Tony smoothly.

"Yes, sir; and niv money gone—money gone, sir—sir—sir!" to Leighbourne. /'I know you are a master in this Hank. You will return to me my money."

"'That entirely depends upon the circum stances of the case, Senor Manuel." replied the Haulier, who looked pale but com posed. "Vass, perhaps you can throw some light on this subject?"

"On my soul I can't, sir," cried Vass, starting to his feet. "I only know that Mr. Crent told niche had received in Rank notes the sum of £10,001) from Captain Manuel some three weeks ago. lie kept the money for some time down at Wray House; lmt as he was going to Italy, he did not think it would tie safe to leave it

there; so he brought it up to the Bank and told me to place it in his private safe 1 did so in bis presence, and lie locked

the door. Afterwards lie went, away, and j 1 heard nothing more of him until the . news, came of tiie murder." I

"If this is true, my money should be. j right," said Manuel sharply. _ i

"It is not in the safe," cried Yass wildly. "When Captain Manuel came to-day to ask for his money, 1 told him that 1 could not give it to liiin. as 1 had no authority to do so. He wj.-'luHl flicn to see if it was all

right, so in his presence f opened the sale, 1 only to find that the notes were gone." j

"'Well. Mr. (Ii'ci11 could not, have taken ; tliem," said Leiglihourno. ;

"No, no," said Vans; "lie did not. I tell you lie locked the safe in my presence."

"Could he mil have returned?" asked ,

Tony. _ j

Not without some one in the Hank see

ing him." _

"Hut after office hours?"

Lven then the porter would have seen him." gir.aned Yass, who seemed very wretched. "There are only two out ranees to the Hank, and dames, the porter, has the keys of both. No one can go or eomo without passing him; he is bound to see

all who enfer." !

"Did .ii.u ask him if Mr. (fie'il re-' turned?" I

"Yes—hut he says no. Like myself'— j lie saw Mr. Crent 'last, on Friday." j

Hero Captain .Manual interposed ; sharply. "All this is well, sir.-, but to roe ; unnecessary. My money is what 1 wish. You give it to me."

"I'll speak to iiiy father- about it." said Leiglibounu- quickly. "You shall not lose your money if" I can help it. Hut I would point out to you. sir, that the hank is liui responsible for the amount.''

"Not responsible?" echoed Manuel, strik- • ing his stick furiously on tiie floor. i

"No," answered the hanker firmly. ; "Your money was not deposited with our ! firm, but placed by you in the keeping of Mr. Grent. He, therefore, was respon sible for its safety."

"Hut be is dead, and cannot repay nie."

"His estate is no doubt large enough lo i repay you. 1 shall speak to my father, j as 1. said before. He is one of the exe

colors; and 1 have no doubt he will refund 1 this ten thousand pounds out of the pro- i perty left by Mr. (front on receiving proof

that you paid the money." I

"T have a paper signed by Mr. (front, ! staling- that he received the money," said

Manuel sullenly, "and this gentleman." , waving his stick toward* ("ass, "was told

by Mr. Orenl that the money was mine." 1

Vass looked up eagerly. "Mr. (frent said that the money belonged to some So

ciety," said lie. j

"It does. To a Society of which 1 am

the representative." . !

"Oli! uli! oh!" cried Torry, in three dif- '

ferent keys; lie was struck by a new idea, and looked directly at Manuel. '"Has your Society anything to do with. Peru?''

"Possibly," returned Manuel, superci liously, but my Society, sir, has/nol-hiag to do with you."

"Ah," said the detective ironically; "1 am not a Green Image."

This time Captain Manuel was fairly taken by surprise. Evidently the random shot of the detective had unexpectedly hit the mark. The Spaniard flushed a dusky red, stepped forward; on second thoughts step ped back, and recovered his former serenity with an effort.

"I don't know what you mean," lie said !

sullenly.

Torry whistled softly, but said nothing. The attitude of the Spaniard confirmed the suspicions lie entertained concerning the Mummy. Evidently it was the badge of

some Secret Society to which Manuel be- I longed. If so, as the token had been found ? near both the victims, tliev must have been murdered by order of the Association. Hut lor what reason? Plainly because the ten thousand pounds which represented the funds of the Society had been stolen. Hut who was the thief? Here Tony came to a pause, as his knowledge or imagination could lead him 110 further. However, to dis cover more, he determined to have Manuel watched; but in the meantime he was wise enough to hold his tongue.

Seeing that the detective made 110 reply, Manuel turned his back on bim with a slung of contempt and walked smartly to wards the door. There lie turned and ad dressed Leiglibourne.

"I shall expect repayment of that money within a fortnight," lie said coldly. "Other

wise "

"Well," cried the banker defiantly, "'otherwise?".

"You will have to deal with the Society," replied Manuel with grim significance, and disappeared as suddenly as he had entered. The three men left behind looked at one another.

"What does lie mean by that threat.?" asked Leiglibourne uneasily.

"He means assassination, 1 fancy," said Torry, coolly.

"Assassination!" ei'ied Yass, starting up. "You mean ?"

"Well," said the detective thoughtfully, "of course, 1 may be wrong: but it strikes me this Secret Society to which Manuel re fers, and of which he apparently is the treasurer, is an Association somewhat after the fashion of the Italian Carlamari. .That Society was founded for patriotic purposes, tempered by assassination. Probably Manu

el's Association is formed to overturn the present Government of bis beloved country. To do so funds are needed, and the ten thousand pounds given to Air. Grent are doubtless the moneys of the Society. Fail ing Mr. ft rent, who is dead, the Society re presented by Manuel will, no doubt, hold the Hank rosjioiisible; and, if the moneys are not refunded, may attempt to kill those who represent the Hank. Say you, Mr. Leigbbourne, and. Mr. Yass J tore."

"Hah," cried Leighbnurne, with a forced laugh. "You are trying to frighten us. People don't do such things nowadays."

"Don't they?" rejoined Tony drily. "What about the Anarchists? Hut. I'll tell you one thing, gentlemen; whichever one of you is killed, the image of a Mummy will be

found l>euide him."

"Whai ?" cried V;lks aghast — "do yon think that this Society you speak of killed

Mr. Grent ?"

toiug by oirciin slar.tia' evidence, ! "Hut tor what reason?"

"Hemuse 1 fancy Mr. Grent stole that money, and intended to holt to America

with it."

".impossible!" said Yass. "I lei! you 1 saw the money in the safe after he left."

"Well, if lie did not take it himself, some one who had the key of the sale must base done .-o, by his older."

The secretary rose with a very red face.

"Do you mean to say that I took the 1 money?" . I

"1 was not aware that- I. accused you, Mv. j Yass," said Tony drily.

"Hut you do accuse me. Only Mr. Grent and myself can open that safe, which is in his private room. I swear he did not take the money, and 011 my oath I declare that I am guiltless. Don't you believe me, sir?" cried Yass, turning appealingly towards. Leiglibourne.

"Ves, i believe you," replied the bankei emphatically. "J am sure you never took the money out of the safe."

"Would I be such a fool?" said Yass, turning again towards Torry. "The money was in banknotes, in two bundles of live thousand pounds each. Twenty notes of five hundred pound each—ten in one bun dle, the same nunilier in the other. Manuel lias the numbers of these not?s, so it is likely that 1 could do anytliing with banknotes of such value of which the numbers are known

to their owner? I could not change a 1

single one without being found out, and !

48ieH>Wt)r.L benefit would the theft do me? I am neither a foo! nor a criminal, Mr.

Torry."

The detective could not but ,be stmck by this reasoning, which was feasible enough. In the face of the known value and known

numbers of the notes, it was ridiculous to ? suspect Vass. To steal the moiley under the circumstances would have been simply to court arrest, and the detective, taking a commou-sense view of the question, ac quitted Vass of the robbery.

_ "J "believe you to be innocent,'" lie said ge nially; "but who is guilty?"

"I do not know," replied tiie secretary gloomily. "Other than myself and Mr. Grent, no one-could have stolen those notes. Mr. Grent did not, I did not; so 1 can't see how they have disappeared."

"Might not the key of the safe have been

stolen?"

Vass produced a bunch of keys out of his pocket and selected one. "Here is my key," said he, holding it up. - "It is' never off this chain, or out of my possession."

Torry nodded and crossed "over to the desk 011 which Mr. Grent's bunch ot keys still lay. Amongst them lie' found a key similar' in all respects to that shown by

Vass.

"So here's is Mr. Grent's key," he said, comparing it with the secretary's, "and sate on his chain, in -his rooms which no one could have entered since the murder. It is very strange. I don't exactly see my way," he scratched his chin thoughtfully, then

cried—"The hat!"

"What hat?" asked Leighbourne, amazed at the irrelevancy of the remark.

"The hat of the dead woman which was made for Donna Maria Sandoval. I must question her at once about that, and then —wejl we'll see."