Chapter 18894303

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Chapter NumberIII
Chapter TitleTELL THE WHOLE TRUTH.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18894303
Full Date1887-04-09
Page Number13
Corrections0
Word Count1454
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893)
Trove TitleA Long Chase
article text

CHAPTER III.

TELL THE WHOLE TRUTH. j

" I cannot take your case, sir, was young Nick s abrupt remark, as he took the seat, previously occupied by his father.

" Why ?" demanded the banker, flushing at the rude tone of the dctoctivo.

" Because you do not trust mo."

"How-wha-what do you mean?" stammered

the banker.

" I meau that to get any help from mc you must tell me the whole truth. I do not ask your con- fidence. It is yours to give or withhold. Only do not insult me by any partial statement."

Instead of resenting the'detective's sharp words, the banker only wrung his hands and groaned.

'. Oh, my Mabel ! My child."

Then, leaning eagerly towards the detective, he

cried :

" Tell me, sir, what do you suspect-what do you know ?"

" I know nothing, and until yon givo me your confidence, I shall suspect nothing."

" Sir, sir," moaned the banker, in a low voice, " have pity on a heart-broken father."

"I do pity you, sir j pity you from my heart ¡ but help you I cannot unless you confide in me."

" But you will judge her kindly ?"

The banker, with all the might and powev his millions gave him, yet pleaded like a child with the detective.

" It is not my place to judge her at all, sir," he said, gently. " Tell me everything and I will find her. That I can promise you."

And he spoke with such conviction that the banker eagerly caught his hand and cried :

" You shall know all. She is innocent-before Heaven she is innocent-in intention at least. Oh, my Mabel, my darling ! Why can I not fathom this mystery, and say you are innocent in fact.

" Listen. It was not until early this morning that I discovered that the safe in my library had been opened and robbed !"

" Ah ! How much !"

" One hundred thousand dollars." "Bonds?"

" Bills. One hundred one thousand dollar bills." "Have you the numbers of the bills ?"

" No."

" Well, ne%'or mind. How was the safe opened ?'> "Properly. By the combination. There was no violence used."

" You had not left it open ?"

" I am positive I did not. Besides it was closed this morning when I went to it.*

"Did anybody know the combination besides yourself?"

"My-my daughter." In a scarcely audible

voice.

The detective looked sorrowfully at the banker. " Did your daughter know the money was there ? " Yes," in tlie same low whisper of agony. "Anybody else?" "No."

" Not even your wife ?" "No."

" It was an unusual thing to have so much money in cash in your safe, was it not?"

" Yes."

" Why did you have it there last night ?"

' «Sir, sir!"

The banker sprang from his chair, and with ghastly face, panted hoarsely :

" Havo you no mercy ? Will you tear my heart from my breast ? Do you not see your questions are killing me ? Why did I put it there ?" he cried wildly. " I put it there-I put it-because-"

He suddenly stopped, and then holding his hands out piteously, went on mournfully :

" If you had known her sir. She was an angel gentle, good, pure."

Then, with a sudden return of vehemence, ho

cried :

" She was innocent of intention, I tell you. I oare not for the money. Let it go. It is my daughter, my Mabel, I want."

" And you shall have her, sir," said the detective soothingly. «' But don't you see, if your daughter is what you say-"

" She is, she is*."

" Then somebody has only made use of her. Let me know all about the money. It is not to recover the money, but to find your daughter through it that I wish. Tell me why you put the money in the

safe ?"

" Mabel knew I was to have a payment of a hun- dred thousand dollars yesterday monning, and was curious to know how such a large sum would be transferred. She was totally ignorant of business forms. When I told her it would be by check, she jestingly pretended to be greatly disappointed, and said she had hoped it would be in a big bank notes, because she had never seen any big bills. She asked me if I couldn't have it paid in big bills so she could see them. She might have had My eyes if she had asked for them. I went down town my- self and got the bills, and showed them to her. It was when I put theta in the safe that I told her the combination."

" Your daughter left Home yesterday aftornooa, and j'ou discovered your loss of money this mor» ing ?"

"Yea."

"You are quite sure nobody but yourself and daughter knew the combination?"

" Positive."

" But she mijjht have told somebody ?"

" So she might." The hanker spoke with eager hope.

"But who? Was she fond of this young man to

whom Bhe was betrothed '"

" Oh, he is guiltless. You shall seo him." " You know him well, then ?"

" He ki my cashier and has been with ma since boyhood. I would trust him with millions.

" Ho knew, I suppose that you had this sum of money at your house ?"

" Yes ; but I assure you-"

" Oh, I do not suspect him, I am only getting knowledge. You aro sure that unless ho learned the combination from your daughter he was ignor-

ant of it?"

" Positive."

" Suppose you had died suddenly, who could have opened your safe if you had not, by chano1, told your daughter?"

" I have provided for that."

"How?"

" My wife has a small safe of her own in her dress- ing room. In that safe was always kept a sealed envelope in which-"

" Excuse me. Why did you not toll your wife

tho combination ?"

" Because she had no need to go to the safe, and would vary likely have forgotten it. So I wrote it out and pub it in a scaled envelope, and to make assurance doubly sure, I wroto it in a cipher which which we had used in a spirit of romance before we wore married. Besides this, I have the combination written out. And kept in my box at the Safe Deposit. Nobody knows of that, and it would bo found only after my death, by my executor."

"Have you looked to see if your wife's safe or the envelope in it has been tampered with ?"

" No."

" Let nothing be disturbed there until I have been to your house."

" You take the case, then ?" "Yes."

"And you aro Bure you can find my daughter ?" " Perfectly sure."

" Oh, sir, I thank you for the hopo you give me. I shall nob speak of the payment for your services. You may make your own charges and I will not dis- pute them. When will you commence your search ?"

" At once. I will be at your house within half

an hour.

" I shall want to talk with your wife and your

cashier. What is his name ?"

" Kalpk Moreland."

" Now gi ve me your daughter's photograph. You will go home at once ?"

" Yes."

" And if your wife's safe has not yet been opened,

do not allow it to be touched. One thing moro. ' Trust no one-not a soul-not your wife, nor Ralph Moreland, not me even, until you have grasped me by the hand so. This sign is important, for when we meet again you may not know me. Again I say trust no one. Ten minutes from now if such a one a3 I should stand before you do not believe it is I until I have pressed your hand thus. Nevertheless, if a rag-picker, a woman, or any person whatever should press your hand so, you may be sure it is I."

" But, sir," exclaimed the astonished banker, my wife ia as anxious as I about my daughter, and so is Kalph. Both are almost prostrated with grief."

" I do not doubt it, but my experience has taught me that when more than two know a thing, it is no secret. Say to them that you have engaged a detective, but do not repeat our conversation. Now, good-day. for we must lose no time."