|Chapter Title||DR. RICHARD JENKINS.|
|Newspaper Title||Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||The Story of a Jewelled Belt|
THE STOEY OF A fe^j&LEB . BELT. -»>'- '>-'< ^.ji'l V BY P. E. QTTIHK. (The Bight of Re-publication ^Reservet^.) CHAPTER III. |HB. EICHABD JENKINS.
THE landlord was evidently in a surly humour. That, indeed, was the normal condition of this excellent man, induced by a ball-dog temperament bestowed upon him, by nature, which a conattentions devotion to bis own delectable liquors intensified. •• He had a round head clothed in stubbly hair of a curious hue, made up of a desperate struggle between its original red and the grey of advancing years. . The flesh beneath his e;es was puffy and inflamed, and there and in his little pig eyes the veins ran in angry streaks. He had no nose to speak of, but a surplusage of -flesh on cheeks and chin which made up in quantity, at least, for the lack of prominence in that useful organ. Mr. Chester saw that he was a man who would have to be handled tenderly if any useful information was to be extracted from him.. "I've called," he remarked blandly, " with reference to this advertisement. I believe it's yours, Mr. Newton." " Yes, it's mine," said the landlord ; "and what.of thatP" " Well," said Chester, " I want to find out something about him." " Oh, you do, do you P" said the landlord in the same dogged way. "Yes," continued Chester, quietly. "I would like to know, for instance, what kind of looking man he was." " Come, now," said the landlord, abruptly, " what's your little game, anyhow P Are you a • D ?"' " Well, no, Mr. Newton, I can't say that I am," replied Chester. " Then what's your game P" persisted the landlord. "Did you come to pay his bill. You can do that if you like. I ain't goin' to object." And ^be blowsy individual smiled, as a tickled bull-dog might be supposed to smile, at his own ready wit. " Yes," said Chester, " perhaps I have come to pay his bill if he happens to be the man I'm looking for. That I do not know yet. If you can satisfy me that your absentee lodger is the person I'm looking for, it is therefore to your interest
to do so." "Well," answered. Peter, " I don't see no harm in that. It don't matter to me who pays, as long as I get my money. It's about five weeks since he came here with his luggage—one big box, locked very fast. There wasn't much in it besides clothes." "Oh, you opened it, then, Mr. Newton P" put in Chester. The landlord rested his chin on his hand and glared angrily at Chester. " Didn't you say you wasn't a ' D' P" he asked furiously. " Of course I did, Mr. Newton," replied Chester in a conciliatory tone. " Well, then, what does it matter to you whether I opened his box or not P I didn't take anything out, anyhow," growled the landlord." " Of course not, Mr. Newton. Nobody would suspect you of such a thing," hurriedly returned Chester, for he saw by the Ted light in the landlord's eyes that further negotiations were endangered. " Well, he had clothes enough in his box to cover a few weeks' board, and, although he didn't pay me, I let him run a bill for 'a few wefeks till I thought he'd about slept and eaten his security out. He" aiiKV drink at all hisself, though he'd phout for anybody that jukedhim, though, you see, as he hadn't the stuff I didn't, give all the drinks he ordered. He told: me he could lay hiB hand on any quantity of money, so I asked him to Bettle up one day. He looks a bit put out when I asks him this, ao!d I begun to'smellarat. 1 ''''Coaii Mifc".I s&ys, 1 •I've been had more'n o&cji.before, and l'm not goin'to he had again ; jjq pay what you owe, or out you go.'j; ' • .1 'i . " He put on a bit of side at this, and laid he could buy me oufypub and ail. You needn't bother about that, mate,' Iftoldhim. * A small matteraf a tenner or so i s , _ Then Tie "TaKl me he Tiai valuable flecurity which'he meant to realise .on. I told Lim there wasplenty of pawnshops
in Melbourne, but 'e turned up his nose when I mentioned them. " h i * v e „J° the test and Wealthiest jew'ller in town,' he says, ^tiite bke a swell, and then I knows he was j pitching, for he didn't wear no ery, and I'll swear he had none in ox." ... 8 he said this he looked half suspiciously at Chester, whose quiet "Precisely, precisely,"reassured him however. "And what happened then P" inquired Chester. " Well, he went out that morning to realise his security, and 'e never come back, juBt as I thort," replied the landlord bitterly ; " and that's all I knows of him, and I don't want no more of his sort at the Golden Crown again." " Very strange proceeding on his part, certainly," said Chester, absently. " Strange," echoed Newton scornfully. "Not a bit of it. It ud have been strange if he did come back." And he seized a glass and polished it venomously with his geological towel. " By the way," said Chester, after a slight pause, " you did not tell me what he was like in appearance." "That's easily done," said the land-; lord. V He was about my height, but very thin, with grey side levers, and carried hisself like a soldier. He was a bit bald on the head, and had the mark of a knock on it. Dressed in seedy grey tweed, 'lastic side boots, and brown hardhitter hat. That's his appearance when he left, but if ever Peter Newtcn meets him again that appearance 'ill be slightly altered," and he delivered a vigorous blow at the air as if to indicate beyend the possibility of a doubt the means by which the proposed alteration was to be effected. Chester was somewhat startled by the information supplied by the landlord of the Golden Crown. The description fitted in exactly with that of the drowned man. He had hardly expected to find his identity out so simply, but it was beyond the possibility of a doubt in his own mind.
Still, his work was only half done. He had to trace the missing man up to the time of his death or murder, as he was determined it really was. Murder! Could it be possible that the villainouslooking landlord could have had a hand in his taking o£E ? He looked at Newton again, at the dingy bar with it listless, but evil-looking loafers, ripe for any crime, and decided that it was not at all impossible. His meditations were interrupted by the coarse tones of the landlord's voice. " Is he the chap you were looking for P If so, here's his bill, and when you find him, give him my compliments, and tell him that he'd better not show his nose at the Golden Crown again." " I am not sure yet, my friend. If it is, you needn't worry about being angry with him. He won't feel it. I suspect in fact, that he's been killed, perhaps accidentally, and perhaps murdered," and, as he said this, he looked keenly into Newton's face. No sign of fear or guilt, however, appeared upon that continental expanse of degraded flesh. A faint look of surprise passed over it for a moment, and then it resumed its animal immobility. " If he is the man I'm looking for I'll pay you, never fear. Meanwhile, give those pleasant-looking customers of yours in the bar a drink, and have one yourself if you're not frightened." And, throwing a couple of half-crowns upon the counter, Chester strode out, glad to be rid of the den, with its reeking fumes and degraded inmates. "Phaugh !" he said, as he spat on the pavement, "what a place for a decent man to put up at! You could hardly find a worse hole in Whitechapel. No doubt Melbourne is going ahead very fast. I wonder how many such breedingplaces of moral and physical filth thelre are in the city ?" But his visit to the Golden Crown had done a good deal for him in the way of solving the mystery he had become interested in. He had no doubt that the missing* lodger from the Golden Crown was .identical' with the man whose, body had been viewed by him in the morgue. 'Despite the assertions of Newton, Chester was convinced that the story of the lodger was correct with regard to having a valuable security in his possession, and the existence of this security must have been known to the murderer or murderers. He had left the Golden Crown in the /morning, and he could not have been murdered in the daytime. JHad he in the interval visited any of the Melbourne "jewellers to realise upon his security,
and what was the nature of that security P These were the next points to be solved. Chester had no means of finding out what he wanted than by personal inquiry among the jewellers of the city. This he resolved to enter upon at once. As the lodger had informed Newton that he was going to a leading jeweller to realise his security, Chester determined to try the biggest shops first. These are in Collins-street. The first was a fine establishment, with a grand display of glittering metals and gen ;ems in the window, and into this Chi ester sauntered. A polite individual in a black suit, with a smooth face and the quick eye and supple hands of the practical jeweller, advanced to meet him. Chester handed him a card. " I may tell you," he began," that I am seeking a person in whom I am interested and who has, I fear, met with an untimely end. I hope that you will not think me exacting if I ask you a few questions on the matter." " Certainly not," said the jeweller, politely, " but may I ask firBt if youare a member of the Criminal Investigation Branch P I know most of the Melbourne officers of the detective force. " No," said Chester, with a smile; " I fear I can't claim the distinction you mention, Ithough it is the second time to-day that I have been asked that question. I' am pursuing inquiries which are, however, in the interests of justice, and may, before long, lead to the intervention of the Police department." " In that case I am at your service," said the jeweller. " Very well, Mr. " " My name is Markham, one of the partners, you know," interrupted the jeweller. " Thank you," proceeded Chester. " The person for whom I am looking called himself Richard Jenkins. He left his lodgings about ten days ago, in the morning, with the avowed intention of seeking some first-class jeweller's establishment to raise money upon something in his possession. Have you had anybody in during that time with that object ?"
The jeweller hesitated. " Yes," he Baid after a pause, " there was a man in here about the time you mention upon just such an errand." "Very good," said Chester. "What was the security P" "Excuse me," said the jeweller, politely, "there are difficulties in the wa,y of revealing that. As you know, it is necessary in our business to preserve secrecy with reference to transactions of this kind at times. They are, in fact, confidential as between ourselves and our clients." , , tt " Is this a case of that description P asked Chester. "Well, it is in a way," replied Mr. Markham. " The person in question bound me over to secrecy. Of course, if you were a police officer, and required this information, I would only be too happy to give it. But you have informed me that it is not so. And unless I understand more about the matter than I do at present, I could not justify myself in breaking confidence in the way you suggest." "In that case," said Chester, "was your client a man of this description P" and he proceeded to describe the personal appearance of Richard Jenkins, together with the clothes he had worn, as described by the landlord of the Golden Crown that morning. " That certainly is an accurate description of the person with whom I had dealings upon the day in question," said Mr. Markham. "Very well," went on Chester. " Would you feel justified in telling me why he desired you to keep the nature of his security a secret P" Markham remained silent. "At least, you can tell me whether he was afraid that if his possession of the security in question were known he might be in danger of some kind." "Perhaps," said Mr. Markham, cautiously. . ,, ]flll "Was he afraid of being robbedP asked Chester. " Worse," said Mr. Markham. " How P" inquired Chester. " He was afraid of being murdered," said the jeweller. " And God Jielp. him," said Chester, solemnly, "I fear that he has been murdered." " You don't-mean to say so, said the jeweller, agitatedly, , . " I do^ indeed, unfortunately, Chester went on. " A person answering his description was found in the Tarra. The
inquest resulted in complete ignorance as to the identity of the deceased, who was evidently a stranger in Melbourne, and a verdict of accidental death was returned—quite unjustifiably, in my own Opinion. This body found in the Tarra had a depressed mark about the middle, such as might have been produced by a metal belt worn tightly in life. Do you happen to know whether Mr. Jenkins wore Buch aJbeltP" inquired Chester. " He did," replied Markham at once. " That belt was the security he wished to realise upon P" inquired Chester. "Yes," said the jeweller; "itwas a jewelled belt of great value, consisting of two thin plates of gold, enclosing a quantity of precious stones, quite £10,000 worth." Indeed," exclaimed Chester, surprised at the jeweller's statement, " so much! Then, as he was here before he was murdered and realised upon the belt, it is something at least to know that his assassins were foiled in the object for which they committed the crime." "On the contrary," said Markham, "I gave him £100 for one stone only—a diamond—and he then left my establishment with the belt of treasure still about him."
"Is that so?" said Chester. "Then our next step must be in the direction of tracing the murderers. I am afraid that will be a pretty stiff piece of work." "If it is any use to you," said the jeweller, " I can tell you who made and rivetted the belt on the unfortunate man." "Yes, that might be valuable," said Chester. " The work was very neatly done, and was of so unusual a character that I asked Jenkins who did it. He told me it was Finks & Co., of London. It was done by one of their best workmen, and only the manager and this workman knew that Jenkins carried so much wealth about with him." "Ah," said Chester, "then it must have been discovered by somebody in Melbourne. " I think," he added, his thoughts returning to the ruffianly company at the Golden Crown—" I think I know who might have made the disoovery and done the deed."
"I hope you will be successful, Mr. Chester, in bringing them to justice," said the jeweller. "Of course, you know where to find me should you want my evidence at any time." "Yes," said Chester, rising and proffering his hand to the jeweller. " Allow me to thank you for your courtesy. The body was found on the day succeeding his visit to your shop. He must consequently have been destroyed and robbed upon the night of that visit. Your information is most important in establishing the man's identity and his possession of treasure. I think I can show the police sufficient grounds for reopening the case. Goodday !" And Chester betook himself without delay to the office of the Superintendent of Police. (To be continued.)
Ii was no other than Mr. Gladstone himself who, in a speech at Dalkeith in 1878, wishing to compliment the loyalty of his audience and the Scottish nation in general, described Scotland as "The Land o' the Leal." Two days afterwards the following letter appeared in the Daily News ;— " Sm,—If Sootchmen have a failing it is, as all the world knows, an excess of modeBty; and so I hope you will allow me to point out to the readers of Mr. Gladstone's epeeoh at Dalkeith that the land described in Lady Nairne's song is not, as they might infer, Scotland, but heaven. There may not be muoh difference between the two plaoes; and indeed the following lineB in the song are obviously a correct description of my native country :— ' There's nae sorrow there. John, There's neither cauld nor care, John, The day's aye fair, John, In the Land o' the Leal.' Bat all the same, in justice to heaven and the self-depreciation of Sootchmen, and Lady Nairne's poetical accuracy, I trust you will permit me to make this correction." How HE TBIED 10 FETCH THEM.—He had obtained a place in a real eBtate office (says an American paper), and was doing everything he could for the interests of ms employers. The other evening he was at a social gathering and was asked to sing.. He responded with " Home, Sweet Home." His friends were a little surprised at the Belection, but he was heartUy applauded. Stepping forward, he said—" 1 am glad you liked the song. There is nothing like ' Home, Sweet Home and let me say that the obmpany I represent is selling homes on tennis to suit, within twelve minutes' ride of the city. Everybody ought to have a home. If you don't want to live there, it's the chance of your life for an investment."