Chapter 162355696

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Chapter NumberXI
Chapter TitleUNEXPECTED EVIDENCE
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162355696
Full Date1899-02-11
Page Number37
Corrections0
Word Count1911
IllustratedY
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleThe Red-Headed Man
article text

THE NOVELIST.

THE RED-HEADED MAN.

V J'v: BY .FERGUS" HIJMB, ; . . , . ...

Author of "The Mystery of a Hanflom Oahi" "The'Clock/Struck Gne,'.' ''The "BftUtl,

bow Feather," "Madame Midas," "Monsieur Judas,

OK THE THUD FINGER OF BED RIGHT BAND WAS A SILVER RIKO SET WITH THREE BtOS

CHAPTER XI-UNEXPECTED EVI

pence ?.

. ' When Torry stated so coldly that Julia Brawn was dead, Donna Maria turned' pale, ? trembled violently, and would have fallen, but that Darrel. noticing her fairitirie con

dition, sprang tor ward iu time to "catch •her in his arms. In a moment, however, she hastily withdrew herself from his em brace, and recovei'ed her self-composure. Seating herself on a sofa, she remained silent for a few minutes, but the pallor of her face, and the trembling of her lips, showed how difficult it was for her to com mand her feelings. When she found her voice again, it was to explain the reason of

her emotion.

"After the death of my uncle," slie said, in low tones, "anything of a similar nature frightens roe. That poor girl! It seems terrible that she should have met with the same tragic eud as Mr. Greut."

Donna Maria spoke excellent English, with but a slight foreign accent, so it was evident that Tier teacher, Miss Hargone, lind instructed her thoroughly well. Darrel, who, as a writer, had some claim to be a judge, was amazed by the fluency of her speech and the extent of her vocabulary. Apparently the young girl was a bora lin guist, since she spoke, almost faultlessly, a tongue other than her own; but, perhaps, her undeniable beauty affected the heart of Darrel sufficiently to render him enthu siastic in liis judgment. Torry, less sus ceptible, paid little attention to the girl's beauty or intelligence. He. saw in her merely a witness to be interrogated, not a woman to be wooed; and ? forthwith pro ceeded to examine her in a cold-blooded manner, sufficiently exasperating to his ar

dent companion.

"Will yoli permit me, miss, to ask you a few questions?" lie said politely.

"On what subject?" asked Donna Maria, with haughty astonishment.

"On the subject of tliis murder." "I know nothing about it."

"You know the name of the dead wo

man?"

"If she wore that hat which I gave to my maid only a fortnight ago, I believe her to be Julia Drawn. Hut, on the oilier hand, sir. she may have given the bat to some

one else."

"That i-s very true," replied Tony gravely, while Darrel sat silently admiring the beauty of Maria Sandoval; "but this woman was tall and fair, with blue eyes and a scar on her right temple."

''That is her; that is Julia," cried Maria quickly. "ISiie got that scar from falling from a tree when she was a girl. Poor creature! When was she killed?"

"A little over a week ago."

Donna Maria started and fixed her black eyes on Tony. "A week ago?" she re peated. "On what day?"

"On a Sunday morning; half an hoy, more or less, after Mr. Grent was mur dered." _ . •

"lioly Virgin!" cried the girl, half rising.

"Where?"

"Hear Cleopatra's Needle on the Thames

'Embankment."

"1 read in the newspapers that a crime had been committed there," said Maria, hurriedly; "hut 1. did not think " :

"That there was a connection between her murder and that of Mr. Grent," finished Torry, with significance.

This time Maria fairly rose to her feet, and seemed much agitated. "Connec tion?" she stammered. "Impossible!" What could Julia have to do with Mr.

Grent'"

"That is what 1 wish to liiul out, miss. Julia Drawn met Mr. Greut in Mortalitv

lniic, and "

"Killed hint?"

| "No; hut she was accompanied by some | unlmown man, who did. Afterwards she

li.nd. her confederate went to Cleopatra's Needle, and there she was murdered."

"Tiy her confederate?"

Darrel uttered an ejaculation. "That is i new idem," lie said, approvingly. "It

might be so."

"Impossible," said Torry, roughly. "If Julia was killed by her accomplice, there would have been no need for the second I Mummy. Eh?"

The query was drawn from the defec tive by a sudden start on Hie part of Maria when lie mentioned the Green Image. "What do you know about it, miss?" he

asked, brusquely.

"About—about what?" she said, ner

vously.

1 Ever confident in the power of a sur

prise to extort the truth, by unexpectedly | skulling the nerves, ? Torry drew' the .clay

idol, which he always carried with Jiiiii, from Iris .pocket, ami tossed it lightly into i the lap or Maria*-.i "About that," he said,

abrujitlj;.. j .

[ Thelgifl . gave, a fipnt cry. and looked

down tittO'licr;hl]j as though a snake;won;. I coiled In A, then qhictly swooned away. ?" ;

"Aha?" s;\id Toirjuiimoved, "a - guilty; I con*.cicit<"?."' « f i ? M . -

"You brufc," cried Darrel, starting to his feel, "don't you see the porn- girl has ! fainted? llmg the bell; call the ser

vant s."

| "Do neither," shouted; the detective, | savagely; w'kave the matter to me. (let waler out of that vase of flowers, and

sprinkle it on her face. ,1 have smelling sails here, which I always carry for cases of this kind. - Oh, it is not. the first time I have seen ladies faint when brought intc

contact with the law."

"What do'you mean?" asked Darrel, an grily, as he sprinkled the white face with

water.

"I mean," said Torry, holding a bottle under Maria's nostrils* "that we shall have some strange revelations when this lady recovers."

"She is recovering now," cried Prank, eagerly, "thank God."

Donna Maria heaved a long sigh, and the colour began to slowly return to her cheeks. Then she opened her eyes languidly, and sat up with an effort. Torry had been ju dicious enough to put the image into his pocket again,' and, at the first moments of lier recovery, Maria could not collect her scattered, senses sufficiently to remember what had occurred. Suddenly the memory came back, and, flushing a deep crimson, she staggered to her feet, and stepped for ward as if to leave the room. Torry placed himself in her way.

"No, madam," said he, sternly, "you do [ not leave until you explain."

! "Excuse.me,.sir, J am not well," faltered I Maria appealingly.

I But the detective was not to be baffled

| by such feminine wiles. "You must remain

and answer my questions," lie said coldly.

"Torry," cried Frank, who was moved by I the obvious distress of the girl, "this lady i is ill. You can question her another time." j "I intend to question her now."

i "You shall not do so unless she con

sents.'-'

. "Oh," said Torry, sneering, "of course, if

Miss Sandoval is afraid "

"I afraid?" interrupted Maria, her courage and coolness coming back at the contemptuous word. "Enough, sir. I shall reniain and answer any questions you choose to put to me."

She seated herself like a queen about to receive the homage of courtiers, but found time to flash a glance of gratitude on Dar rel for his championship. The young man felt his pulses thrill at the-look in those glorious dark eyes, and sat down with ra pidly-beating pulses. Torry the cold blooded, long past the age of sentiment, merely nodded in dry approval of the lady's sense, and produced his notebook in order to note her replies.

"Why did you faint at the sight of the Green Image,, miss?"

"Because it. is connected in niy mind with Mr. Grcnt, and the memory of his. tragic death was too much for my nerves."

"What had Mr. Grcnt to do with the mummy?''

"J don't know. One day J:saw an image, such as the one you showed me, on his desk. I asked him what il was, and lie ex plained that it was the syinbbl 'of a So ciety.."

"Of a Secret Society ?" . "Yes."

"Let us say of a Peruvian Secret So ciety."

Maria hesitated. "Mr. Grant said thai

the image came from Peru,, hut he did not explain that the Society - belonged to the same place." "~

"What do you know about this Society?" "Nothing more than 1 have told you." * "But" you are a native of Peru, miss?"

"1 am; the daughter of Mrs. Great's bro ther, and born in Lima. 1 came over to England to be a companion to my aunt."

"Then you must have heard about this secret Society in your native land?"

"You mistake, sir," replied Donna Maria, coldly. "1 heard nothing."

"Was no mention made of the Mummy?" "Not in. my hearing. My sole knowledge of the image you speak of was gained from Mr. Grant." .

"You have told me everything," he said. "Everything."

Tony reflected. "Do you know if Mr. Grant was mixed up with this Society in any way?"

."lie. never said so. I cannot say."

"Well,", said Tony, rather disappointed by the failure of his efforts, "let us return to the subject, of your maid. Her name was .Julia Brawn?"

"It was."

"How long was she in your service?" "Close on-a year."- ?

"When did she leave you?"

"About a week before the murder of Mr. Grent."

"You dismissed her?"

"No," said Maria calmly; "she was an excellent servant, and I was sorry to lose her. She left me of her own free will."

"For what' reason?" : ' J.

"1 understood she was about Uf be married." • . (

"Alia!" murmured Torry; "so there'.was ii lover., after all, and 1 dura say he kjjlled Grant out pf jealousy. Perhaps Julia fwas libi. an,accomplice so much as a-victim." lie' tlnftight for a few moments, then A oti

tinucd his examination, '"Dp yd" bjiow

the name" -of the man "sheintended to marry?" ""

"No; I never heard her mention his

name.'"

"Do you know if any man called to walk

out with her here?"

".Sir!" cried Maria, indignantly. "I do

277

not take sufficient interest in my servants to spy on them."

• "Beg pardon—i«gr pardon," said Tony, hastily. "Quite right. I should, not have asked that question. ? So Julia Brawn left you?"

"yes; and I gave her that hat when she went away."

"Did Mr. Grent take any notice of her while she was in this house?"

"Not that I know of," replied Donna Sandoval coldly. "I do not think that he was even aware of her existence."

"Strange. Yet he met her in Mortality

lane."

"You say so," said Maria, scornfully. "Oh, it is true. I can prove it. She"

"Don't trouble yourself to explain, sir. If Julia nietj Mi-. Great she must have had some motive; hut I tell you he quite overlooked her here. I can think of no reason why a gentleman, of my uncle's position should make an appointment with

u servant."

"About as much reason as he had for disguising himself."

-Maria sighed and shook her head. "It is a mystery/' she declared. "I cannot understand it at all. Do you wish to ask me further questions, sir?

"Yes. Did you visit Mr. Grent's rooms in Duke-street on the day of his death?','

Tin: girl bit her lip and clenched her hands. "No," she said coldly. "No."

"Humph," thought Tony. "That is a

lie."