Chapter 162356088

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Chapter NumberXIII
Chapter TitleA SOLDIER OF FORTUNE.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162356088
Full Date1899-02-18
Page Number38
Corrections0
Word Count2040
IllustratedY
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleThe Red-Headed Man
article text

THE RED-HEADED MAN.

BY FEEGUS HUME, . -

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

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

"let us hear tour mtstedt," satd frakk.

CHAPTER XIII.—A SOLDIER OF

FORTUNE.

Having collected all obtainable evidence ] for the time being at Wray House, the j detective and his coadjutor returned to i town. Before their departure, however. I

Blake noted the address of his old school fellow, and promised to pay him a visit at an early date. Darrel, knowing that Roderick wished to assist in finding out the mystery, resolved to ask Torry if he would permit him to do sp. This request he made when they were in the train on their nay back to Waterloo.

"What do you think of my friend Blake?" he asked abruptly.

"A pleasant young gentleman, but flip pant," replied Torry. "Not much earnest ness of purpose there."#

"1 am sorry you think so, as Blake is anxious to assist us in this matter. It seems that he was a. great friend of Mr. (bent's, and is naturally angered bv this cowardly assassination; also he has nothing to do, and wishes to employ his time. What do you say?"

"Humph! Mr. Blake is the lover of Miss Haigone."

"Yes; ho is engaged to many hex1. Is that any bar to your utilising his services?"

"It xnight he, sir. You see, this Lydia liaigone is the woman who called at

it rent's chambers 011 that Saturday." ,

"Are rou sure?" said Frank, somewhat j startled.'

"As sure as one can.be in this world of | mi-takes," replied Torry drily. "At all : events, she wears on the third finger of her : right hand a silver ring set with three tur- j <:milestones. Meeknoticedthatringaswoni j

by the veiled lady who visited Gi-ent. At | !iowing to the confused manner of j Omnia Maria. I fancied she might be the j

'individual. However, I was wrong. The

evidence of the ring assures me that Lydia j D uremic paid that visit. Why?"

"There is nothing peculiar in her paying j

a visit to her employer."

"(?'vent was not her employer then. She j had left his service some time. Yow, j

l>«mna Marin is"

"I won't hear a woi'd against that lady,"

interrupted Dai-rel hotly. j

"Because she is beautiful. Your ro- i msnce again. Well, as you please; but i yon must admit that it'is strange she j should faint at the sight of Die Mummy." i

"Vass fainted in the same way." " ! "I know ho did, and Miss Sandoval gives ' the same explanation for her fainting as he did. Both of them saw the Muilimy on (bent's desk, and its connection with his murder came so forcibly to their memories that they fainted. Now, I said before, and I say again, that the explanation is feeble

and untrue."'.

"But surely you don't think Donna Maria

guilty of the crime?"

"N'o: don't jump to conclusions. T thick both she and Vass axe innocent y.imugh, hut I fancy they know something 11- ci v to clear up the mvsterv of the

it they would only speak'out."

lorry, cried Darrel, earnestly, "I am vr Donna Marin wishes to discover the • issir. ol her uncle. Y'ou heard her sav "Oh, yes. I heard her say so. Words! words! words! Why does she not own

up"

Own up what?" enouired Frank, obsti

nately.

'"'.'he truth."

"She doesn't know it."

"Mm may not know all of it, but she knows half, -and Yass knows the othei hah. If fiic.se two would only put theii halves together, we might arrck'tiiis^mv

is iissasKm/' titprinug assassin/'

"But why should they not speak out?"

argued Darrel.

"Because they are shielding some one."

"Whom?"

Torry looked straight at the young man "Ti l us say Donna Inez."

"You are mad."

"Bah! I am only theoretical," retort of Ton v. coolly. "Listen. So far as I eav see by the iiiijxerfeot and scattered evi dome wc have collected, fhex'e is a clioiw oi two motives to account for this cilme ('me is that Grent was murdered for tin sake of that ten thousand pounds."

"But you can't prove that he had tin jiioiw. ' Yass says "

"! knoAV what Yass savs—that the monej war in the sale after Grent vent. Well thai seems to dispose of the robbery mo io.r. All the same, T would have you re member that when you met Grent he, hue on bun some valuable which he fancied yoi might lake from him. I suggested at oui first conversation that it might be a jewel Yew, I know that if he carried anything t< I he rendezvous with Julia Brawn it w.ni thai stolen money."

"Rubbish. I say again that you c-.in'i prove how it came into Grout's posses

"Yass: might have taken it out of th safe and given' it to his master next day."

"Torry," said Darrel, gravely, "whe Yass left the Bank on Friday night tli

money was in the safe."

"Are you certain of that?"

"5 am. Leighbourne told me that )i saw if there before be left the office. Vai left the Bank in Leighbourne's compan; The next day he was ill."

"'Who was—Yass or Leighbourne?"

"The former. Don't_ you remembc Leighbourne told us so?"

326

"Ah, yes," cried Torry, with a recollec tion of the conversation with the banker. "And I thought it was an unnecessary piece of ,information. Leighbourne said that Vass had been absent from the Bank • from Saturday till the day we called—that was Tuesday "

"Then,'- said Frank gravely, "you see how unjust your suspicious are. Va.ss could not have given Greet the moucy, since he—Grent—was murdered on Sunday morning."

"H'm! that disposes of the robbery theory. Still," cried Torry, striking his knee with open hand, "I am content to be lieve that Grent had the money on that night. However, let that pass, and let us come to the second motive—jealousy."

"Jealousy!" repeated Frank contemptu ously; "surely you don't believe that Donna Inez was jealous of Julia Brawn?"

"No; but she might have been jeafens of Lydia Hargone."

"Why, so far as J can see, Grent had no thing to do with the governess.''

"So far as you can see," said Torry, sig nilicantly. "Nevertheless, on the evi dence of the ring, Miss Hargone paid a visit to Grent's chambers 011 the day, so to speak of his murder."'

"'that doesn't prove that there was love between them."

''It proves that there was communica tion and understanding," retorted Torry lartl.v.

"Well," said Frank, wearied of the dis cussion, "we are only spinning ropes of sand in talking theory. What about Blake? Can I tell him tlbc case, and say you'll let

him assist?"

"'Yes," replied Torry promptly. "He may help us by revealing the secret doings of Lydia Hargone."

"He'll never do that," rejoined Darrel coldly. "Blake is a gentleman, and is en gaged to Miss Hargone."

"I dare say. I don't say that he'll assist us purposely in that way; but, my dear sir, your friend is a chatterbox, and can't keep a secret. He'll ,say things lie shouldn't say, ami will regret revealing them after wards. Tell him all, enlist his services, and." added Torry signilieantlv, "let him

talk."

"It seems rather a shabby thing to do," said Darrel reluctantly.

"All is fair in love and war and detec tive work, sir. Your conscience is too fine spun."

"I am afraid it is," replied Darrel gloomily, "However, I promised to help you, and I shall keep my promise."

Thai evening as Torry was off on a man i hunt of his own, and did not require Dar | rel's assistance, the young man sat down ! as usual to his work. But in spite of his , resolution to write he was unable to do so, i for the beautiful face of Maria was con I stanlly before his eyes, and her deep, rich ; voice sounded always in his ears. Her

image was indelibly impressed 011 his mind, ; and notwithstanding all endeavours he

could not rid himself of that charming phantom. In- place of scribbling, realistic | prose he felt more inclined to compose , amorous poetry, for be had entered into 1 the kingdom of love, lured thither by a ? woman s face, a woman s voice, a woman's i 110 very patient spirit, the torments which

are there inflicted on newcomers. A

| womans' face, a woman's voice, a woman's

; absence; of such parts were liis torments j composed.

i Darrel recognised that it was impossible

to write while in this vein, so be threw : dowu his pen in despair, and wandered ? forth on his nightly quest for adventures.

But the spirit to seek them did not move I him, and in place of observing the life I around him, he turned his eyes inward to ; contemplate the loved image of Maria Sand , oval. Disappointed, worried, and racked with a thousand doubts, this lover of a day ; turned homeward, where he retired to bed 1 and did his best to sleep.. For the most

part of the night he courted slumber in vain, but towards morning exhausted nature claimed lier rights, and Darrel slept heavily until 10 o'clock. \Y bile he was idling over ; bis _ breakfast, with a tired face and 110 ap

petite, Roderick Blake was announced, and : entered fresh as a rose to greet his friend.

| "How are you, my boy?" said the Irishman, 1 who was in exuberant spirits. "You see, 1 : haven't lost'much time in looking you up. Breakfast, is it? Ham, eggs, and'fish; a mighty good notion of a meal it is. Faith, I don't"mind assisting you to clear the

1 table."

| "Sit down, and welcome. I haven't got ] any appetite myself," said Darrel.

j Blake required 110 second invitation, but,

; taking off his gloves, drew a chair up to the i table, and did wonders as a trencherman.

The food melted like snow before his ! lienlthy appetite, and all the time he was i chatting and laughing, and making himself

generally agreeable. His sunny, clean-sha vc-n face twinkled all over with humour, and liis incessant flow of conversation, more or less trivia], did much to raise Dan-el's ' spirits. He even acknowledged the service i Blake had done him in banishing care.

I "And I'm glad to see," lie added, "that

you have not lost the appetite for which you were renowned at school."

| "Faith no! But it's little chance I've had ! of satisfying that appetite," replied Blake

airily.

| "What! have you been hard up?" I "No; but I'm hard up now."

"Yet you. talk of marrying," said Frank, reprovingly.

"Not ut present. Lydia>^ will rwait till I fltn rick," replied:ike other. "We ore both young and can take our time,"

'How do'you intend to become rich?" '

"Not by working, my dear boy," rejoined Blake, lighting lus pipe, "but by inheri

tance,"

"Another Irish uncle?"

"Faith, no; a grand-aunt, who is mighty ill at present. 111 come in for her money when she fills 'the last vacancy for an angel."

1 barrel could not help laughing at the oddity of the remark, the more especially as :t was accompanied by a sly wink. Then he became grave.

"I'm afraid you are an awful scamp,. Blalte."

"dust so," said Roderick, complacently. "I'm a rolling-stone; and, faith, I've been rolling all over the world these ten years."

"Oh!" remarked Frank, with a recollec tion of the case; "lmve yon been in South

America?"

"Von bet. Sir; in every part of it."

"In Peru?" "Yes."

"In Lima?"

".Mather; for two years."

"You know a good deal about the place, I suppose?" m

Blake shrugged his shoulders. "I knew more than was good for me," he said, with

a gloomy look.

"Have you ever come across this sort ot filing?" asked Darrel, and produced the

Green linage.

"Heaven and earth!" cried Blake, his

florid face growing white. "Where did you get that accursed idol?"