Chapter 162357226

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Chapter NumberXX
Chapter TitleTHE UNEXPECTED HAPPENS.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162357226
Full Date1899-03-11
Page Number37
Corrections0
Word Count1963
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleThe Red-Headed Man
article text

CHAPTER XX.—THE UNEXPECTED

HAPPENS.

If Torry had found that Donna Maria was-an obstin'ate woman he speedily dis covered that Mr. Leighbourne was a fool.' Old, narrow-minded, and egotistical, the

oauker was oue 01 tliose pig-headed men.

who are the despair of reasonable, mortals. Once an idea wiaa put into his head it could not be got out again, and lie con stantly referred to his age and worldly ex perience as legitimate, reasons for his en tertaining the most preposterous ideas. He resembled closely those dogged, mulish Kings, Charles I. and Louis XVI., and was as had to detil with as the two of them rolled into one. Never was there a man less open to conviction.

Hi is unpleasant old person regarded his late partner as a martyr, and, beyond a tendency to rash speculatiqlh, he coiild not be got to see that Grent had any faults. He denied that Grent could, by any possi bility, have taken the money; he declined to believe that the good man had contem plated eloping with Lydia Hargone, and pointedly insulted Tony for daring to make such statements. The end of the interview was that Torrv left in a rage, and vowed that lie would not see Mr. Leiglibourne again until lie could prove the truth of his declarations. He might have saved himself the trouble, for tbe banker was determined to canonise his partner, and in the true spirit of bigotry would rather hhve suffered death than believe any single statement de trimental to bis intention, By the time the conversation with Leiglibourne was ended Terry felt inclined to commit murder himself, and regretted that this patriarchal

ass had not been killed instead of Grent.

In the hope of finding some consolation after his l'a.tc trying interview, Tony drove as rapidly as a hansom could take him to DamTs rooms.. But here lie fell out of the frying-pan into the fire, for Blake wns with the novelist, and appeared to pe in a great rage. He was quarrelling with Darrcl, who was trying to paeifv him. but on seeing the detective he immediately left his friend to attack the newcomer.

"Here is the man himself," cried llode rick furiously. "Come, sir, what, have you to say to the scandalous way in which vou have behaved towards Hiss Hargone?"

"Oil, ho!"' said Tony, leisurely taking a seat, "so she has set you on to me, has sheVy

"No. she hasn't," almost shouted Blake: "but she complained that you insulted her."

"If I did, Mr. Blake, it was in the exer cise of my duly. 1 asked Miss Hargone for certain information which 1 knew she possessed, and she declined to give it to me. As to insulting the lady, ] did 110 such tiling." f

"There, Blake," said Barrel soothingly, "that, is a very reasonable and polife expla nation; so instead of bawling 'at the toil of your voice, suppose you sit down and dis

cuss the matter like a Christian.

Still looking red and angry the Irishman flung himself petulantly .into a chair. "I am willing to hear what you have to Say. Mr. 'lorry," he growled sulkily, but with

the dignified air of one who awaits an ex planation.

"1—1 have nothing to say. I have rather .something to ask."

"What is it.?" '

"Why did Miss Hargone send Julia to meet Grent in that fawn-coloured mantle?"'

"She did not. She gave the mantle to the girl as a wedding gift."

"Strange that she should give it to her on the very day of the murder."

"Not at all. It seems to me, Mr. Tony, that you suspect Miss Hargone of com plicity in the crime?"'

"T fancy she knows something about it." "Then permit me to tell you, .sir. that she <3 oes not. That old seainp of a Grent tried to make love to her. and she repulsed him. Why. then, should she have agreed to go away with him. and leave me, to whom she was engaged—and is engaged,"

finished Blake.

"Oh," said Tony sarcastically, "you have no money."

"What of that. Grent. was ruined by speculation when lie died. He had no money."

"J beg your pardon; be bad ten thousand pounds."'

"The money of the Society. You can't prove that lie had it."

"1 hope to do so soon," retorted Tony, nettled by the sneer.

Blake rose to his feet, and put on his hat. "I shall argue no more," he said wrntlitully. "You believe that the lady, who is to be my wife, is connected witli these crimes; so to me they become a personal matter. J wanted to'assist in finding the assassin out of sheer idleness; now I intend to discover the truth, in order to clear the character of Miss llargone."'

"1 hope you will he successful," murmur

ed Darrcl.

"Certainly 1 shall be successful,"' retorted Blake, pausing at the door. "1 am con vinced that the Emerald linage .Society killed these two wretched people; and I tell you that .Manuel is the criminal. When you see rue again, Mr. Terry, I shall bring vou such proofs of his guilt that even you will be convinced. In (he meantime, I wisli you every success; but I warn you that you "are working on wrong lines. Leave off sus pecting ladies who are innocent, and devote yourself, as I intend to do, to hunting down the iniquitous Association of the Green Mummy. Then you will learn the truth. Good dav." Ami, finishing thus abruptly, Blake put on his hat and took himself off, leaving Tony and Barrel looking at each oilier in some doubt,

"There is n good deal of -sense in what he says," remarked Barrel. "After all, the image is the main clue."

"Clue or not," said 'Tony, "I know that Manuel is innocent.."' ^ ,

"How do you know that?"

"Because tin' ten thousand pounds has been brought, back." _

"You don't say so!" cried Frank, greatly; surprised. "Well,.fact.does beat lietion in realizing impossibilities. The same bank notes brought back. Well, well, it is rno-fc extraordinary."

"Not the same banknotes," corrected. Tony, cautiously. "The same amount of money, but tiie 'numbers of the notes are

different. Whosoever stole the notes lias changed them all, and returned others. But, you see, Manuel cannot have killed Great for the sake of that money; as, in that case, he would not restore his plunder. He is innocent, as I said before."

"Then who is guilty?"'

"The man who restored those notes," said Tony pioinplly.

"How were they restored?"'

"A red-haired, red-bearded man called at Manuel's hotel last night, and gave tliem to the porter."

"A red wig again, the same kind as (..rent wore," said Frank, musingly. "That is strange. There is no possibility of tlie man being traced?"

"No! He came out. of the darkness, ful filled bis mission, and vanished again into

the night. Nothing is known of him. Still, you may find him.

"I!" exclaimed Frank, amazed. "You Sest."

"Indeed, I am quite in earnest!" pro tested Toriy. 'listen! I left the tracing of the numbers of the stolen notes to Grent's Hank, but all these weeks the Bank has failed to obtain information. I fear, there fore, that they have bungled the matter, and 1 wish to place it in more eapable hands—yours, for instance."

"I fear I can do but little, Tony."

"A man with brains can do anything," retorted the detective. "See here, Mr. Barrel, this is a list of the numbers of the original notes which were stolen from the private safe; and here is another with the numbers of the restored notes. Now, you take these two lists, and go round to every Bank in the United Kingdom until you find the changed notes. Then discover who changed them. If you are success ful ."

"Well!" said Dnrrel, taking the lists, "if

I am successful?1'

"In that ease," finished Tony, "the mys

which has perplexed us so long, will

be at an end."

"You mean, wc shall cateli the assassin?" "Yes; the assassin who changed those

notes."

"But, 1 say," said Darrel doubtfully, you have yet to prove that Grent had the ten thousand pounds on him when he was

was murdered."

"I'll prove that when you Hud out who thai iged the notes."

"By forcing the assassin to confess?"

"No! in another way. 1 am beginning to see light, in all tins darkness."

"Another theory?"

"Well, yes; but one which will shortly he cl anged into fact. You go, Mr. Barrel, and fulfil your mission; 1 shall remain here to work at the case iu my own way. But for the satisfactory solution of this'criminal problem, sir, I depend upon one thing."

"And that- one thing, Mr. Tony?"

"Is Chance! Chance, sir, which solves nine riddles out of ten."

"That is not very complimentary to the detective profession."

"Detectives," said Tony with a shrug, "only work miracles—in novels."

After making this statement Tony walk ed to the door; hut there pausing .for a moment or so, turned towards Darrel.

"By-the-way," said he, "the restoration of those banknotes is known only to four people—yoiuself, Yass, myself, and Manuel.

You need not mention the fact to any one else. It would be wiser not to do so,"

"Why ?" asked Frank looking up

Because the person who restored them

inadvertently hint at the restitution;

may inadvertently Dint at tne restitution;

ami if nothing is said about it openly he will thus condemn himself."

"Perhaps so, Tony: but there is one per son 1 should like to mention the mailer

to."

"Who is that?"

"Donna Maria. Like yourself, I fancy she knows something, and is shielding someone. Should I trace the person who changed these notes lie may turn out to be the in dividual she is shielding. If 1 tell her the name and assure Iter that restitution has been made she may tell all she knows."

Tony nodded bis head approvingly. "There is something iu that," said lie. "1 git e you lea ve to make a confidant of Donna Maria; but let me tell you, sir, if you suc ceed in getting a confession out of Iter .you will be the cleverest man in the world."

"1 11 lake my chance of that," replied Darrel, and they parted.

For the next week Torrv was engaged in advertising for the tramp who had found the body of Julia Brawn. It struck him that Julia might have worn some jewellery — a brooch, a" ring, or a locket—of which the tramp had probably robbed her. Could he see such jewellery he m igh t find some trace of her supposed lover; since lovers usually make such gifts to those whom they adore. Of course, the idea was purely theo retical, and it might probably turn out to be worth nothing. Mill Tony was like a drowning man clutching at a straw. The advertising for the lost tramp was the straw lie grasped at.

\\ liile thus engaged Darrel made his ap pearance in a >\ale of great excitement, ami announced that he had been successful. In a suburban Bank lie had discovered traces of two of the original notes which had been exchanged for two others which bore the numbers of those restored.

"Fvideutly," he said, "the man changed them before the date of the murder and sub.-tiluted the second lot so that they could not be traced by Manuel's list."

"'1 bat is a truism," cried Tony impa t ienily. "1 know* the notes were changed and the reason for changing them. But who is the man who did so?"

"Can't you guess his name':" asked Dal

le!.

"No," retorted Tony sharply, "I can't." "It is Frederick Deighbourne."