Chapter 162356922

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Chapter NumberXVII
Chapter TitleMORE MYSTERIES.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162356922
Full Date1899-03-04
Page Number38
Corrections0
Word Count1830
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 FERGUS HUME,

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

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

"we ALL HAVE FAULTS," SAID LEIGrBOUHNE ENIGMATICALLY.

CHAPTER XVIL—MORE MYSTERIES.

It was with a triumphant smile on her lips that Lydia heard what Maria said about the ring and visit. When Torry was

assured of the truth she snoke to him with

composure and some insolence.

"You see, sir/' said she, "1 did not wear my ring on that day, nor did 1 visit Mr. Great's chambers. You owe me an apology

for your doubts."

"It would seem so," replied Torry, with affected humility. "Do you think jl owe ill'. 1-icighbourne one also?"

"Mr. Leighbourne?" echoed Miss Har gone coolly. "You mean the elder Mr. .Leighbourne?"

"1 mean the younger; the one ftom whom you received a telegram."

The unexpectedness of this query threw Lydia off' her guard, "flow do you know I received a telegram rrom linn?" she

aslced.

"1 met the telegraph boy, and he told

me."

"Told you that I had received a tele

gram?"

"Yes," said Torry truthfully.

"From Mr. Leighbourne, junior."

"Yes," said Torry falsely. "Of course, you'll, deny it."

"No," said Lydia with brazen assurance; "why should I deny it?"

"Why indeed, miss, seeing that i.ir. Frederick Leighbourne loves you."

"Does he, indeed? That is news to me." '"Ah," sneered the detective, "will it be news to Mr. Blake?" .

"Sir!" cried Miss Hargone, rising with a flush of anger, you are insolent."

"No," said Torry, who wished to make her lose her temper that she might speak incautiously, "I am only candid. Donna Maria will agree with me, miss, that you .ire a very lucky young lady to be loved by three men. To be sure," added Torry, as to himself, "there are only two now."

Donna Maria, who had sat pale, "calm, and silent during this conversation, darted a llaming glance a. Lydia, but still said no thing. The look made the governess quail, but retaining her self-command she pre tended ignorance. She had a difficult part to play, but she played it well._

"I do not quite understand," said she quietly. "Perhaps, sir, you will explain. Who are my lovers?"

"Mr. Blake, to whom yon are engaged; ill'. Frederick Leighbourne, with whom you have some understanding; and the late Sir.

Grent."

Lydia grew red. "I am engaged to Rode rick Blake," she said, "and he trusts me too much to believe your insinuations. With ill'. Leighbourne I have nothing to

do."

"Save in the way of telegrams," put in Torrv drily.

"That telegram contained an intimation that- Mr. Leighbourne had found a situa tion for me," .cried Lydia hotly. "1 asked him to interest himself on my behau."

"In that case you will not* mind showing me the telegram, miss?"

"I cannot; I tore it up."

"You can collect the pieces, and"-—" "I threw the nieces into the fire."

"Iteallv? A fire in summer time—how strange."

At this last thrust Miss Hargope lost her temper. "Understand, Mr. Torry," she cried, "that the telegram concerns me and no one else. I decline to show it to you."

"I quite believe that; as it has to do \ with this murder." - 1

"You dare to accuse me of that?" gasped Lydia, jumping up.

Torry shrugged his shoulders. "No." he said, coolly, "I don't think you killed the man yourself, but you knew who did."

"Jt'is a lie/' said tlie governess, in. a pas sionate voice, and sat down again.

"It is the truth," said Doima Maria, gravely, and when. Lydia turned an amazed face towards her she repealed solemnly—

"ft is the truth."

"Oh, cell," chuckled the detective," rubbing his hands at the idea of a quarrel between the two women, "now we shall hear some thing amusing."

At first Lydia could not believe that her friend was in earnest, and stammered out something about not understanding. To this Maria made a prompt and sharp

reply.

"You understand well enough. _ My ' aunt complained of your conduct willi Mr.

Gravt. I did not believe that you would behave so, with a married man "old enough to be your father. It was to show that I believed in your innocence that I asked you down here. My aunt objected to the invitation, but I insisted upon its being sent. You accepted; jfou came; you

areliere."

"Here, to save you trouble, cned Lydia, venomously. "You would not have askca me had it not been to get something out

of me."

"Yrou judge me by yourself," said Donna Sandoval, coldly. "Tasked you here to re concile you, if possible, with my aunt; but she refuses to be reconciled, as she be lieves that you permitted Mr. Grent to make love to you."

"It is not true; it is not true. Remem ber," said Lydia, with a sneer, "it was not I wlio called at Mr. Grant's chambers."

"I know it: but it was you who sent my maid Juiia to see Mr. Grent in Mortality

lane."

"Hal" cried Tony, much surprised. "Are you sure of that?"

"I am. I can prove it."

Lydia was pale and uneasy, and avoided

the eye of the detective. Nevertheless, as the situation was awkward, and even dange rous, she assumed a defiant air to mask tlic

fear she felt.

"Hew can you prove it?" she demanded.

"By means of that fawn-coloured mantle trimmed with Black lace."

"Your mantle?" said Torn', recollecting

a previous conversation with "Marin.

"No, not mine; it belongs to Miss Har gonc."

"Tint you said "

"1 know what I said," interrupted Maria, reddening' slightly—"that the mantle was mine. 1 lied in order to shield Lydia. Yes," she continued, addressing Miss Hargone di rectly. "I was your friend, and as such de fended you against the aspersions of my aunt; but now, as I find that you trapped me by that ring into confessing that I vi sited my uncle in London; when I see that, to save yourself, you are -willing to sacri fice me, I renounce your friendship, and I order you to leave this house. Never dare to show your face here again."

Lydia, who had turned red and pale by turns, now rose to her feet, with a malig nant expression on her face. "I shall go," said she, slowly, "and only too willingly;

but first "

"First." interrupted Torry, "you must explain how Julia Brawn became possessed

of vour mantle."

"I gave it to her in the same way that Donna Maria presented her with the hat. Jf," she continued insolently, "articles of cast-off clothing are to be taken as evidence of mv connection with the crime, Donna Maria is as guilty as I am.""

"Not so," corrected the Spanish girl. "I gave the hat to Julia a long time ago—in

fact, a week before she left my service, and : she left that quite seven days before the murder. But as to your mantle, when I was lip in London, on the day when the crime was committed—Saturday "

"Pardon,'the 'inurder took place 011 Sun day morning after midnight," said Torry, precisely.

"Well, on the day before the murder I saw Miss Hargone iu Piccadilly. She wore

that mantle."

"I did not!" contracted Lydia, very pale.

"You did. Mr. Vass was with me, and can prove it. I believe you gave that mantle to Julia, so that she might meet Mr. Grent and delude him into "'o belief that she was you."

"Ah!" cried Torry, reco re

double ticket. "Then*you, miss, wev '?

woman with whom Mr. Great intendei tu < travel to Genoa?"

"No, no, no!" cried Lydia in her turn.

"I utterly deny it. Whv should I have met j Mr, Grent? I swear I did not meet him." j

"No," sneered Maria, "you sent J ulia in

your mantle." 1

"I did not. Julia came to my lodgings that day and told me she was going to be

married the next. As a wedding present I 1 gave her the mantle, for which I had no further use. Julia said nothing about meet ing any one. When I heard of her death I was much astonished. But I shall no longer remain to be insulted here," she cried in a fury. "I shall pack my box and leave at once."

"The best thing you can do," said Torry, who was scribbling in his notebook. - " ,

"But before I go," said Lydia, turning at the door with a venomous look, "I should advise you, Mr. Torry. to ask Donua Maria why she visited her uucle secretly." And, spitting out the last word like an augry cat, the fair /Lydia, disgraced but impeni

tent, left the room.

"All in good time," remarked Torry, tearing a leaf out of his book. "Will you kindly send a servant with this to the tele graph office, miss?"

Donna Maria touched the bell, a servant appeared, and to him Torry delivered *the I leaf on which be had scribbled.

"Send tin's to the telegraph office at Wraybridge Railway Station," he said. "If any one of you can ride a bicycle, make him the messenger. I wish this wire dis patched as promptly as possible."

When the servant retired Donna Maria asked with some curiosity for details of the important message which was to be sent olf in such haste. Torry replied to her promptly and frankly—

"It is a message to my friend, Mr. Dar rel, bliss, telling him to take a detective with him and await Miss Hargone's arrival at Waterloo Station."

"What! do you intend to have her arres ted?"

"Not yet," replied Tory with significance. "1 intend to have her watched. The

_ . . de tective will not lose sight of her, so, if she is really concerned iu this murder, she will sooner or later betray herself by some indiscreet action. But now, Miss," added the detective cheerfully, "you must answer me a few questions."

"Certainly," replied Donna Maria;- with an embarrassed look. "You know, 1 am only too happy to assist you iu every way."

"H'm!" said Torry doubtfully. "What about. Mr. Vass? You met him on that day?"

"Yes; in Piccadilly."

"Was it by appointment?"

"No, by accident." j "Did he see your uncle?" "Not that I know of."

"Then what was he' doing in the West End, so far from the Bank?"

"He casually mentioned that he was exe cuting a commission for Mr. Frederick Leighbourne."

"Do you know what the commission was?" * ; .

"No," replied Maria haughtily, "I do

not/'

"You saw Mr. Grent, I believe?"

"Yes, for some ten minutes or so." ? "On business?"

"On private business," said Maria with emphasis.

"H'm!, Would you mind explaining what that private business was about?"

"I should mind very much." "You refuse to explain?"

"Yes," said Miss Sandoval. "I refuse— absolutely!"