|Chapter Title||MR. JOHNSTONE|
|Newspaper Title||Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||The Story of a Jewelled Belt|
XHB STORY OF A JHWBLLBD BELT.
. II* P. S. Qbjkn. (gilt Sight* vfHn'pHM
o h a p S Vllt JOHHSSGNB MROirai.
Tag next cvenlug Johnstone wat illtiiijl an armchair in hit bedroom, ^Ther* were deep wrluklet about his niiroing eyes, orowVfeet ntthei corners, and singular aresoent wrinkles following the arob of the eyebrows, «l*io« a tuglioittou otMephtitophellnn cunningand worry to tb« iharp,woubled face, For. undoubtedly,, Johnttone «u in a state of auxiclj, it not of fear. He knew now that Chester was Noovering. aud that the to? whichhe had endeavoured to break lie ohstn that Chester was weaving about him bad felled. Had headed with his ordinary decision Ue would have long before this been in comparative safety, with the tea between him and hl» pursuer» but be bad lingered on indecisively,asa moth circle* around a light whioh will shvivel it tu return for iU servility end homage, There are people who seek to explain the fatuousness ov the murderer iu this way, bat e rational and comprehensive ex. plauation to at all eases has never been evolved. The robber flies with hid looll. The criminal of letter grade than the murderer seeks safety at the first note of danger. Only the arckeffender who bat dipped sacrf. lentous handi in the fountain of life, yI-Ko has violated the temple of humanity, lingers about hit old haunts, armoured in * carelessness which it like paralysis. Johostone, whose fear and rageliad been violent enough a few days back to have led him to attempt Chester's life, was now awaltiug developments—anxious and perturbed enough, but, in view of the gravity of the danger which threatened Elm, strangely indifferent* He wat an intelligent man. and might bave done good tervioe to bit genera, tion under other circumstances if be bad not become what be was, and if what had happened had never happensd, and, in fine, if the Fates bad chosen to tpin the thread* of bit life into an altogether different tenure, whioh they didn't and couldn't have done, and 10 there's au end ©f it. What an irritating thing that little word " if it. Johnstone just at present wat waiting for Dilke. He wa* far from trust ng that polished scoundrel, but he relied upon (be colonel'a ignorance of his crime. His own intelligence would have led him to have suspected Dilke of crime had their positions been reversed, but he did not give the colonel cr^it for the pene. tralion which the blackleg had displayed, aud already turned to acoount by betray, inghim. This was not because he thought Dlllw stupid. He know bim as a consummate sharper, and a man without acute Intelligence can new succeed in this profession, lilt fault in Dtlke'i inability to see through his guilt was only another instance of that fatal security in which be wat reposing. At he waited, etept sounded upon the stairs leading to bit flat. There wis more than one person ascending—two or three, liven now he did not take alarm. "Dilke'a brought Wends," was hit mental comment, Somebody knocked at the door. "ComeTn," tatd Johnstone, without rising from hit chstr. t , , A? thlt invitation the door owned. Chester entered first, then Lord Dart, and at the heel* of the lattor we« a quiet, looking man with that official ait aeoom* panyttt h?s ouieteees whioh the ordinary man never noUees. but whioh tte criminal mi almost with the itttUnct by which the itartled deer went* the lurk« ink beast of prey whose aroma comet to it flown the wiaa, Bail he made no move. But over bis face flitted an expression of despair, He knew that the end had come, It watOhetter thatspoke, MYoU*!* MUM)« fthtttOM r ^ur^msn, ofteer," taid Oh^ttoTt fhe deteetive ndvwietd with a Mir of haWeuttt. lehMtMa wa^ed him baeknooeeation torthow things," hsttid. got a eah round the eowar" idthedi in Wa wlat "and M we «an drtre there without any lul^
that Johnstone shuddered n short mute he inquired, "Whaumlaoouiedefr 'You're ohirged with the murder 4 and robbery of diehard Leigh in Melbourne," responded the officer. " Who charges me with the murder P" Johnstone tion asked. Sttmttf,) Well," taid the deteotive, " Mr. Chester here does, but we've token the uase over now, and we charge you." i "Well," said Johnstone, calmly, "I intend to save you a good deal of trouble, I did murder the old man. You know," he went on, with a brutal coolness that aroused a feeling of disgust in Chester and made Dart's tauguiuc cheeks pale," I'd been working for thirty years, uoy and man, and at the end was no nearer wealth or even inde> »ndenoe than when £ started, Bten I had expensive tastes. You can't And imagine, gentlemen," he said, turning bis sharp eyes on Chester and his friend, 11 what it meant to be dabbling up to my elbows every day in gems and gold, and yet to have to let it ail go to gay young swells and sceuted ladles, and do the best X could for the gratification of my tastes on the fe)*' itouudt I drew every Saturday, t could have taken away in one hand enough wealth to have set me up for life any day, and more than oneeX was inclined to do so, only that I knew that detection and arrest would overtake me before I had even tasted the flavour of champagne. So I waited. Then this old fool came along, and I taw at once that he was mad, When I rlvetted the belt on htm and he left, X tracked him to the Orient Company's office, and saw him lake a berth for Melbourne, 1 threw up my billet at Fink's, and went out In the same boat in the steerage, and watched him till I got an opportunity to put him out of the way aud get his belt. What good," he asked, cynically," was wealth to htm P He bad tasted all the pleasures of life, and bis palate for what wealth can give had perished. Mine was tingling wltb desire. Wine, gambling, caAs, horses, dice, glorious thing* X had never known, beckoned me on, and I followed their invitations. Well, I got the belt, and I've had a good time slnce- 'clever fellow," he said, ad. dressing Chester, "but you bad a narrow escape. Xtow would it have been if I had killed y<»« the oUter night P" " In that uase»" replied Chester, " X think your chances of e»oepe would have ^^OMevlr^^^puttn the detective, « we'd have got you at last for something or another. The criminal doesn't stop at one crime." . ^ . , But," said Johnstone, contemptuously, "you ordinary police would newr have been § matoh for me. Scores of crimes are committed every day in London uuder your very noses that you never ^eThe 'deteotlve looked aettted at this •petch, f and rattled his handcuffs im» What did you do it with?" inquired Chester, curiously. Johnstone smiled grimly. "It's an old trick." he replied. "X hit him with a sand.bag, and the same thing would haw flnished you if your tkull hadn't been so thick." "Ah," said Chester, almost pleasantly, «you MM N will find the rope less likely to "Perhaps," said Johnstone, eoolly, rising at he spoke, and moving towards a chest of drawers, The detective vrat by hit aide imrne. tricks, Johnstone," he said, l l"0fl needn't f«w("1he witoner taid,with a laugh. "About half the itoaUtfom thelfdt we hew." At he •poke, he dipped hit hand into one of the drawers? wtd drew out a leather pouch. "There they are," he said, as he handed it to the deteetive. The officer took the bulky puree, and You'U afile Johnstone went »that I've saved you acme trouble hy my ewfMiion." s .. , The detective nodded. «WelU" proceeded Johnstone, "Ml tave vouandthe hangman tome more," twifiactionheput swnething that look like a sill inte htt mouth, The detective aeiaed Wt wHrt, butasoundat Ihmgh he had cracked % nut between hi H was beaX and with a ghu^
, "Mule acid," he laid. "Ite's ei> aptd us after all, I'll attend to the est, gentlemen, you ntsdn't stay." The fficer wat evidently chsgrlned. Neil- morhing Lord part and Clieiltr ere leated costly in the swell olub In hich it wat their custom to spend a iod deal of their time while In London, n the little marble>topped table standng before them was a box of prime avannahs, whose brown, ripe colours uggested endlest journgytngi in the otot'land of smokers, Sestde thtt a lender bottle of golden @«scon wine- Dart's favourite tipple—oscillated hrough its last disturbance, Chester, hose faoo was at times hidden in the hite wresthtng mists, was talking, hile Dart took his elg&r from his mouth o laugh long and loudly at his friend's emarks. " Yes I one of the best jokes I have eard for a very long time," said hester. " It is to t but have you the message ith your asked Lord Dart. " X have it here. Listen," and he ead as follows i— , Criminal Investigation Department, Melbourne To Richard Chester, London. . We have this day arrested reter Newton tor murderolman whose bedyyoutnspsotsdin Morgue. Will wire tailor newt later on." "There," said Chester, as he threw thej>aperon the tablo," what doyou think 11 It's decidedly rieh, and worthy of the reputation which the colonial police have made for themselves. X suppose that by this time they are complimenting themselves on their marvellous sagacity. " Yes," aald Chester, with a laugn i 1 "and, by Jove, how muat the sulky Vacchut of Lonsdale.street—the pain, fully obliging l>eter Newton-feel f I'll wager that he holds me responsible for his arrest, and is furious at his own simplicity, How he must curse me 1" And Chester roared again till the Gascon wine danced in the slender glasses. He was in a good humour that morning. , " It's all very well for you to laugh," interrupted Dart, himself smiling." but how about poor old sulky Peter P "Oh, he's all right, Ned. I'm just ping to tend a statement of the case iown to Scotland Yard, and a word from such a quarter as that will soon set the publican at liberty. But X can't help thinking how he must look," and he chuckled again, " Well, Dick." remarked his friend, " don't you think you'd better start right ahead, for you see, as the suffering frog once observed, that what's merely fun to you is death to the other party, Here, waiter, pens, ink, and papw at once." The necessary materials having been brought, Chester scratched away for a few minutes, then, enclosing what he had written in an envelope, he handed it over to the waiter with an impressive instrue* tion to lose no time in delivering it at Scotland Yard. , " And now take these things away, he said, pointing with hit cigar to the writing materials, . . . . . " Wait one moment, Dick, there's one thing more in connection with this affair that must be finished itraight off," and at he apoke Lord Dart teiaed a pen and busied himself in writing, for a few " There I" he exclaimed, throwing the pen down, and handing a slip of paper to It wat a cheque on the Bank of tttfaa&rrHLs Dick read it, and, folding it neatly, put it away. Then he grasped Lord Dart ! 1 "I with rd won it from anyone else but you, Ked," he said, " I'm very glad nobody else won it hut you, Dtck t and, neediest to lay, I learnt one very valuable lesson by my trip to the Antipodes, It is this i Whenever Lord Dart feelt inclined to underrate wonft'e assertions, M kit say to him* <liook here, Ned, doibt away if pUue, but dont he such a do buteUed fool as to wager that even the last and most unlikely thing in the world may not hnpoen,' And again, there's Mother valuable awuisU 1&&I have made in connection with Uis cm* and that to that l have a new yank* y**br*n newunpree^ented — ** tau in Ue drawiniMOoms of Ituwrne that bytfrtoe of it I tot j a a n a a ' A - away» M
"WelMt wasn't so utter ^ ll," uientod Dloki "but there's no uestion about it's profitableness to me," " Xn more ways than one," added Lord art, significantly, Diok smiled, pleasantly, "That jutt reminds me," he said, talng from the&hle. "X have au ppointment with Miss Leigh. So eood> ye, for the present, rnd. old man." As Chester, left. Dart remarked to imself, "I often wanted to do Diok a tood turn, but he wat so deuced proud te would uever let me help him. How hat X have done it t feel decidedly etter." Decidedly few men could have lost a ortune of £30,000 with better grace han the cheery peer. A half an hour afterwards Marian eigh and Chester were engaged in arnest conversation. On a table Wore hem rippled aud sparkled a heap of gems. The bright light s lie open window wltb the fair freshness of spring, and lit up the room, the gems, and the lady's eyes, which had a fund tght of their own at they retted on Chester's fabe. "So it is true, Mr. Chester," laid MCartan, sadly. "And X was rightly Informed." Yes, X am certain that he it dead." " Oh, my poor father—my poor father 1 Dying in that far away land, with, per. Ivapt, nc one betide htm." "Dear Mitt Leigh," taid Chester, mpatheuaally, "let me remind you at even the worst news, providing it it certainty, is better than the auspente which your lingering doubt at to your father's fate would have kept you in," "But. Mr. Chester, of what did my father die P" And Marian looked at htm inquiringly through a mist of tears. "That Xcannot tell you," aatd Dick, choking down his icruples. "He was lodging at a little pubhc house in Mel> bourne, The police did not know what the cause ot death wat, and the doctor who wat called in to examine the body was at a similar lost. But enough of this for the present, Miss Leigh,' he concluded, kindly. " My poor, harmless father," she cried t " he was my best and only friend." Chester took her hand in his. " Will you let one who loves you no less than he did fill hit pltoe," he whispered, tenderly. Marian blushed, and turned her face st Leigh—Marian 1" he went on, "listen to me. X love you more than . can say, and X think that I oan make you happy. X am willing to try if you will give me the right. X would willingly die for three words from you, Oh I do not refuse to say them." Was this, indeed, the cool, Mltoepretsed Chester P Marian turned her bright eyes upon him. The tears had all gone. " What are they P" she aatd with can. dour, though the rosy tint wat still in her oheekt. I love you I" " X love you I" the repeated. Lord Dart would have been delighted at the manner in which the lovers looked at each other. After a time Ohetter taid," What will you do with the«e gems, Marian P" " Shall X have them set and wear them it my wedding P" "No, dear, answered Chester, for to him—who knew 1 the scenes through which they had passed—the idea wat W^Wouid it not be better, seeing what i trouble they have beenauooiated with, to sell them or put them away tor ever!" "Just as you please, Dick," said Mtltl^tt* And so Chester evaded the necessity ot telling Marian tike true story of her tather'ideath, and rid her and himself ot the glittering things which had had a baptism of blood, One mm acM*. At Chester and Marian, now Marian Chattels stepped into the oertitM whieh w*k to take them to the Dover Math Lord Dart eame and tht^ hands witottem. "Ooodthye. Dick, eld man," taid he. "and a long end haw»HH to you heth. sweetly, " end X sAfi tht - you will have sense one to take ^Ewd but when their c m