Chapter 162357231

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Chapter NumberXIX
Chapter TitleANOTHER PUZZLE.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162357231
Full Date1899-03-11
Page Number37
Corrections0
Word Count1887
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.

HERE ABE THE BANK-NOTES," UE SAID IN EXCITED TONES.

CHAPTER XIX.—ANOTHER

PUZZLE.

Decidedly, this ease was full of surprises; and Torry, with all his life-long experience, could recall 110 affair in connection with which so many unexpected things had halt

pened. The reappearance of the long-lost banknotes was not the least of these strange occurrences. Both detective and Secretary were so startled that they could only stare .stupidly at the parcel lying be fore them on 1 lie table, and wait to hear what Captain Manuel had to say. The Spaniard sat down, and lost 110 time in detailing how the lost property had come again into his possession.

"Yes!"' said he, twisting his moustache, "it is really strange. I stay, as you know, Ml'. Policeman, at the Guelpli Hotel, Jer jnyn-,street. Well, last night, on 9 of the c-locK', a parcel—that pareel—was left with the porter of the house by a stranger to give it to me. 1 was amusing myself at the theatre, and not until midnight did I return to find this (he pointed to the package) in my room, 011 the table. I open it; I find the money of my Society, so I am much astonished. AH night I sleep not, but I wonder. This morning 1 go to the office of Mr. Policeman, but lie is out. Then I come to tell Mr. Yass that the lost money is with me, and I find Mr. Police man is here, i enter, I tell my story, and— voila tout" finished Manuel, with a French expression and French grace.

"How strange," said Yass, who appeared to he fascinated by Manuel's recital.

"Most extraordinary," chimed in Torry, with bis eyes fixed on the parcel of hank notes. He was trying to fathom the mean ing of this restoration of stolen property, but could not. The thought crossed his mind that Manuel might have stolen the money himself, and was playing the comedy of restoration to save himself from figuring as a corpse with a tomb image beside him. Hut, then, the Captain had no need to become a thief since the money continued always in his possession; and, if he had risked his neck to get it lie certainly would not thus tamely surrender his plunder. No! it was not Manuel who was the thief; but Torry failed to conjecture who could

be. Nor could he fathom the motive of the robber in thus making restitution. It was inexplicable.

"What do you make of it, sir?" asked Manuel, looking at Torry's thoughtful face. , ....

"J don't know what to make of it," re sponded the detective.

"At all events," cried Yass eagerly, "this restitution shows that Mr. (front did not take the money. As he is dead lie could not have restored it."

"That is true," said Torry, ironically; "but Great might have been robbed of the money, and then his assassin, feeling com punction, might thus give it up."

' all y

Manuel sneered. "If that is all you have to say T think it foolish," he said. "A man would not commit two murders for money and (hen give up what had cost liini so dearly to S»»V

J rue again, said the detective thought fully. "Well, we must find some other ex pi,-mat -ion. We may arrive at one by mak ing a few enquiries. You did not sec the man who brought hack flic notes, t'ap

tain?"

"No; 1 amused myself as 1 remarked," said the Spaniard: "hut to the porter 1 spoke of him."

"What did the porter say?" '

"That this man possessed red hair and beard." _

"Aha.!" cried Torry cracking his fingers, "the same disguise us that assumed by Grent. Was this man a gentleman?"

Manuel,shrugged his shoulders. "Hut who can say," he replied, "tins man had on a large coat, and a hat 011 his eyes. Only the beard and hair did the porter sec."

"Still, his mode of speech?"

"Mr. Pol iceman, he said hut four Avoi ds. What could he known of Jiis rank by four words?"

"What were the four words?"

" For Captain Manuel, this," repeated the Spaniard. "And then, sir, this man gave the packet, aud departed,"

"llumpli. 1 wonder if be is the assas-in." "No," cried Yass with energy. "The 111111'

derer would not. run the risk of arrest. 1 For my part," added the secretary empha tically, "I do not believe that the two crimes have anything to do with one another."

"In that ease it is strange that they should occur almost simultaneously."

"A coincidence." , '

"That may be, Mr. Yass," said Manuel unrolling the parcel and showing the notes. "But here we have something which is not a coincidence, and which I can explain not. These notes."

"Well,, sir," asked Torry. "'What aliout

them? Tliev are your hank notes."

"Not really; ihc numbers are different."

li." murmured the detective with "Oil, oh." liuirmun

interest, "it. would seem that this assassin is a verv ingenious fellow in hiding his

"liferent." trail. So the numbers are dif

"Yes, every number. 1 have a list here of the numbers marked 011 the bank notes 1 bestowed on Mr. (Irent, Look for your self, Sir. Policeman, there is no number in the notes equal to the numbers in the list. It is strange."

"It is maddening," cried Torry with vexa tion. "r do not believe we shall over un ravel this mystery. Let me see."

He" took the fist presented l»y Manuel, and compared ihe numbers'on it; with those of the har.ic notes; but 111 nol one instance

ivore they Ilic name. There wore twenty notes, each for five hundred pounds, in all ten thousand; luit the numbers in every case were different.

"It is sfrange, as yon say, Captain Man uel," observed Torry frowning. "Five hun dred pound bank notes are not easily chan ged: yet. the assassin has changed twenty of them, and we cannot trace any one of the transactions."

"Why do yon insist that the assassin changed the notes?" asked Yass a trifle pell ishly.

"because T believe that these notes were the motive for the murder of Mr. Grent."

"Jn that ease he would have had them in his possession on the night he was murder

ed. whereas "

"Whereas, my dear "MY. Vass. you denv that he took them out of the private safe."

"I do." renlied Vass stoutly. "They were there after Mr. Grent departed."

"Then whosoever took tliem must have possessed the hey, since the safe was not broken open."

"I sunpose so. But you can't suspect me. sir. Mr, Leiglibourne saw, with me, that the notes were in the safe on Friday: and as T was ill for two or three days ami ab sent from the Bank, I could not have taken them. Also." continued Vass, de fending himself with vigour, "if T had stolen them, T should have put Captain Manuel off with some excuse, and not have jeopardised mv character and liberty by confessing that the money was gone."

"Ouite so," assented Torrv sweet'v—he bad been employed in copying the lY-t of Cantain Manuel, and the numbers of the notes into his noeket-book—"but permit me to observe, Mr. A ass, tba.t you talk too much. No one. so far as I know, lias accused you of theft."

The secretary turned red. and with some confusion sat down. Manuel. who had been listening with ill-concealed imnaliencc. re stored the notes and list to liis pocket.

"So far as I am concerned." said he, nut ting on his bat. "my connection with these matters is at an end. The ineiiev of the Society has been recovered, and I liave no further interest in Mr. Great or his death.'

"Have you any interest in bis niece, Cap

tain?"

"ltios!" swore tlm Soaniard. reddening, "what lias tbat to do witli you?"

"Ob, nothing: but 1 im,''>rsta"d that you are in love with lAonna Maria."

"I may he, or T may not b»." relumed Manuel, in a haughty and offensive tone. "Tn a.nv ca.-e it is not for cor man people to criticise the private affairs of their superiors:" and with a scathing glance the captain strode out of the room.

"T owe von one for that, mv "nod sir." theught Torry, rather mortified, the more so as Vass was smiling. However, hisannovanee did not betrav itself in his. face, which was as suave and bland as eve**. I-Te turned composedly towards the still smiling seeve

tarv.

"1- Mr. Loighhourno in his oflice? ' he

asled.

"doth of the Mr. Leiehheoreo; are here. \\ bli'h ore do you OPMuirC for''"

"Tto father. T wish to se him "

"What, about?" stammered Vass ner Vcwdv.

"That is "'v business. f!o and ask if I ear see hhn."

V.ii- .lid noi like I a he ordered about in this fashion, esnecial'v hv an iufcior. lull as ]jo iv.s secretb" afra.rl of the do4e,.j |yo. he nhcvod I'ini wit'u.ut arruinent. To,. )?<• snll was that in about live minutes Torry found himself alone with Mr. heiglibom-no, senior. >t

"Veil wish to see inc. I believe, said the banker.

Torrv looked at the portly "Id man. who resembled so rlesclv his son. Frederick, and replied with all pronintness. "Ves, T de sire to ask yon a few uuesl ions."

"Abut are the detective charred with t'1" discovery of my late partner's murderer?"

"1 ani. and to assist me in doing so 1 wish to question you."

"j>y all means," replied keighb.uinie gra ciously. "1 am most anxious- that the scoun.ilrel should lie caught and punished. He killed a good man."

".Mi! lio you consider that the late .Mr. (?rent v.as a good man, sir':"

? "Most certainly-: an excellent and upright ! gen!Ionian."

! "Had he no faults?"

"We all have faults," said Leichhoui lie i enigmatically. "But are these the ques

tions von wish to put to me?"

'•Some of them. If you will permit me to conduct tiiis examination in my own way 1 mav arrive at some result."

''Very well, sir," said the hanker with some stiffness,. "I am at your service."

' "Then tell me what you consider was Mr. Grent's gravest fault?"

"To my mind he was too speculative." "Aha; he speculated?"

"Ves, and not in the safest way." "He lost money?"

l.eighhoiinie hesitated. "Ves, he lost money," was his reply; "hut 1 do not

"In fact," interrupted Torry shai-ply. "if Mr. Grout hlad lived lie would have been a ruined man."

"How dare you say so?" cried 1 leigli bourne. much agitated.

"Because it is true." - "J do not say so."

"Oh, I can guess the truth from what you don't say. Mr. Grent was rubied, and, seeing no way of recovering himself in Knglaiid resolved fo IIv. Sn some way—I don't know how—he became possessed of

ten thousand pounds which wlas in his pri vate safe, aud was prepared to fly iyith Mis's Hhrgone to tSouth America when he was killed. Now, what do you say?"

"Say?" echoed Lcighourfte, "that every;

word you have uttered is false."