Chapter 162356535

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Chapter NumberXVI
Chapter TitleTHE TURQUOISE RING.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162356535
Full Date1899-02-25
Page Number38
Corrections0
Word Count1860
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleThe Red-Headed Man
article text

CHAPTER XVI.—1THE TURQUOISE

RING. *

Hue, then, was a new complication, and one entirely unforeseen. The dead man, laise to his reputed character for upright ness and loyalty to ins wife, had been in Joie with Lydia Hargone; and she, accord ing to Donna Inez, while pretending an .(flection for Blake, was devoted to Frede rick Leigh bourne. Tony was fi0 perplexed over the matter that he determined to adopt a frank and open policy, and visit Djuia and Leiglibourne in turn. From one or the other he hoped to arrive at the truth of the accusations directed against them liv

Mrs. (frent.

With this iden tlie detective drove to

fleet-street the next morning, and sent in ; lus card to Frederick Jjeighlionrne, with a request tor an immediate interview. The young hanker was annoyed by the visit, «i)Hi very iijiskj]j'u]]y showed his annoyance uiion 1 orrv was admitted into his room

fins peevishness, however, the detective eared Jittle so long as lie secured an inter view, and he seated himself near Fredrick

witn a .smiling face.

'•It's a. fine morning, sir," he said cheer

luliy,

"Very," re-plied Frederick drily, "hut I liardly presume that you came to tell me

*0.'

No, sir, that s very true. I came to Have an interview with you about this

ease."

at your service, sir. Go on." ,

Well, sir, said Tony, abruptly, "I saw Mrs. Grunt yesterday.".

, Frederick started nervously, and looked anxiously at Tony "And what did she say. he asked, with an attempt at light

eon versa tion.

"That her husband was in love with Miss

Hnrgone."

Mlint s a lie!'' exclaimed Leiglibourne loudly; then checking his passion, lie added, "it is the idle talk of a jealous woman. Mr. (.rent was devoted to his wife, but she sus pected him to he in love ivith every woman he spoke to. What else did she say?"

"That Miss Hargone was in love with

you. '

Leiglibourne turned pale and then flushed violent red, after which he jumped up in a furious rage. "Did you come here to in sult me, Mr. Tony?" he enquired in

strangled voice.

"J ?" ejaculated the detective with well feigned surprise. "Mv good sir, what puts such an idea into your head? I know that Miss Hargone does not love you, for"

"Why do you suppose so!'" demanded Frederick angrily.

"Because she is engaged to Mr. Blake." aid Tony, j(leased with the success of his

manoeuvre.

Leiglibourne muttered something under his breath not exactly complimentary to Blake, and took a turn up and down the

apartment.

"Are ou in-dove with Miss Hargone?"

asked Torrv demurely.

"Mind your own business," cried Frede rick, turning savagely on the man.

, "I am minding it,".answered the detec

tive sharply. "I wish to know all about i Miss Hargone, as it is my impression she

is implicated in this murder."

"It is not true! It is not true! Miss Hat ?gone is a good, true, pure woman."

• ''(111," sneered Tony; "yet she naid a visit to (.'rent's chambers 011 the dav he was

j killed. Hullo!"

He uttered this exclamation in sheer as : touishnient, for Frederick, in a frenzy of

1 rage, had flung himself violently forward j and was clutching at his throat. Torry,

though fat and short, was stronger than his I assailant, and in a few minutes forced back i Leiglibourne into his eliair. While the young man sat there panting and furious, he wiped his forehead, and spoke to him sharply.

"You have told me all I wish to know, Mr. Leiglibourne, and without words. You lovo^Miss Hargone."

"Yes, I do," said Frederick, sullenly; "and it is a lie that she visited Greni,"y

"It is true," retorted Tony, "and I'll prove it to you in a few days, sir. More, I believe that she was about to elope with Grent to Italy when, Iris death put an end

to her schemes."

"No, 110; I'll not believe it. She did not love C!rent. She does not love lilake. I am the only one she cares for."

"It is my opinion that she cares only for

lierscli.

"At any rate, she lias nothing to do with this crime," muttered Frederick.

"That is just what I am going to find

out

"What? Do you intend to call on Miss Hargone and repeat this infamous conversa

tion?"

"I do," replied Tony, and, with a short

nod, left the room.

J.ieighbourne remained seated for some moments with a mixed expression Of dismay and anger on his face. Then, he seized his nat, and, leaving the Bank, jumped into the first hausoin, telling the cabman to drive to Waterloo Station. Here he found that a train was leaving for Wraybridge in fifteen minutes, and at once purchased a ticket. Thinking that Tony might be about, the young man kept himself in the background, and watelied the entrance to the station. Soon he saw the detective drive up, buy a ticket, and take his seat in the train. Plain ly it was no use to go to Wraybridge by the same train, as Jus presence might rouse the suspicions of ToiTy, so Mr. Leiglibourne tore up Jris ticket and ran to the telegraph office. Here he sent a wire. It was addres sed to "Hargone, Wray House, Wray

bridge/ . ,

" In the meantime Torry, net suspecting Frederick's prompt^ action, was ginning along to his destination, and "wondering over the new features presented by the case. Especially did he wonder thait Donina Inez, who manifested such hatred towards Lydia Hargone, should tolerate her in'the bouse. This complaisance almost made Torry doubt the truth of Mrs. Great's accusation. How ever, he resolved to force a confession out of Lydia by using cunning, as he had done in the case of Leighbourne. „

On arriving at- Wraybridge, Torry dis pensed with a fly, as he had so much to think about in connection with this very puzzling case that he concluded. to walk. The distance from the railway station was considerable, and it took quite halt an hour for Torry, plump and short-winded, to reach Wray House. At the great iron gates he found a telegraph boy, just about to mount his bicycle on the return journey to the office. In a moment Tony's thoughts flew back to Leighbourne's de meanour, and he spoke at once to the tele graph boy.

"Hullo, my young friend!" said he art fully. "Do you know if there is a lady called Hargone living hereabouts?"

The boy grinned, and pointed to *the gates. "She lives inside there," -he said "I've just taken a telegram to lier."

"That's queer," replied Torry with a chuckle. "You're a smart lad; here's a shilling for you."

"Thankee, sir," said the boy jubilantly, and mounting his bicycle went off in a cloud of dust.

"Ah," thought the detective as he walked up to the mansion, "so you have been forewarned, have you, Miss Hargone? That young rascal is smarter than 1 thought. I should have seen you first. Well, iniss, we'll see who is the sharper— you or I."

Torry had not the same difficulty in enter ing the house as on the previous occasion, for the footman, knowing that he was tile detective in charge of the Grent murder ease, received him with i-espect and awe. He showed him into the same pleasant room, in which he had conversed with

Donna Maria, and took his card to Miss Ilargone. In a short time that lady, sus piciously calm and alarmingly sweet, made her appearance, and welcomed Torry with much cordiality. This, as the sagacious de tective guessed, was the effect of the tele gram, which had advised her of his visit and probable questions. Miss Hargone had been forewarned: consequently, to Tony's grim amusement, she was fore

armed.

"Hood day. Mr. Torry." said she glibly. "I hope yon have come to tell us that the assassin ol' poor Mr. (Jrent has been

found."

"Well, no, miss," replied Torry with feigned simplicity. "1 came down to ask if you know anything about; it. That is, do von know any one whom 11 r. Client re garded as his enemy?"

"I, sir?" cried Lydia indignantly, but with a slight tremour in her voice. "How can I possibly know such a thing. I was not in Mr. Grent's confidence."

"Yet you knew him well enough to visit liini at liis chambers in Duke-street."

Lydia's eyes flashed. "How dare you, how dare you!" she gasped. "Do you come here to blacken'my character?"

"I come here to ask you why you visited Mr. Grent on the Saturday of Iris death."

"I did not! I deny that I visited him!" "Spare me these dencais," said Torry contemptuously. "You went to Duke street veiled, and thought to escape recog nition; but that silver rinc on your finger was recognised."

"This ring?" said Lydia, with a look of surprise. "Ah! now 1 see it all." *

".All what?" asked Torry, wondering at her composure.

"One moment," said Miss Ilargone, and touched the boll. When, the servant ap peared, she gave him some instructions in a. low voice; and when lie withdrew re turned to Torry. "I deny that 1 visited Mr. Grout," she said coolly; "and I can prove that what. I say is true. You go by the evidence that I wore this ring on that day?"

"Yes; it is a. peculiar ring, and was recog nised when you removed your glove to pay

the cabman."

"Well, we shall see. Here is Donna

Maria."

The Spanisb girl entered the room with a sad expression. She started when she saw Torry. but recovering herself, came forward with an air of composure, and bowed gravely. Then she turned to Lydia. "You sent for me, 1 believe," said she coldly.

"Yes, dear," replied the other, lidding out the disputed ring in the palm of her hand. "I wish you to tell Mr. Torry how I lost this ring."

"How can that possibly interest him," said Maria, arching her brows.

"Pardon me, it does interest me," said Tony, eagerly. "I should like to. know."

"In that case I shall explain," answered Maria gravely. "Two months ago Miss Hargone lost her ring iii the garden. We searched for it, but could not find it. A week before the death of my poor uncle, I picked it up in a flower bed, and slipped it on my linger, intending to return it. As you can see, I have done so. That is all."

"When did you return it?"

"When Miss Hargone came done here after the death of my uncle,"

"And you wore it previously?" "I did."

"On the third finger of the right hand?" "Yes-—but why do you

"I ask these questions, miss, because that I ring was seen on your finger on the Saturday' you visited your uncle's cham bers."

Donna Maria turned pale. "I—I. did i ——she faltered.

"You told me a falsehood before," said i Toriy coldly. "Do you intend to tell me

another?" j

"No!" cried Maria, raising her head proudly. "I did visit those rooms."