|Chapter Title||MR. FERRIS.|
|Newspaper Title||Cairns Post (Qld. : 1884 - 1893)|
|Trove Title||Hand and Ring|
Hand and Bing.
BY AXXA. KATHABTNE GHEEX.
CHAPTER XIX-(CONTINUED) .
But this discovery, while it robbed the affair of its most dramatic feature, could not affect in any serious way the extreme significance of the remaining real and com- promising facts which told so heavily against this unfortunate mau. Indeed, the well known baseness of the father made it easier to distrust the son, and Mr. Ferris had just come to the conclusion that bis duty com- pelled him to draw up au indictment of the would-be suicide, when tho door opened, and Mr. Byrd and Mr. Hickory came iu.
To see these two men iu conjunction was a surprise to the District Attorney. He, how- ever, had no time to express himself on the
subject, for Mr. Byrd, stepping forward, j
immediately remarked :
" Mr. Hickory and I have been in consul- tation, sir ; and we have a few facts to give you that we think will alter your opinion as to the person who uvurdered Mrs. Clem
" Is thia so ?" cried Mr. ferris, looking at HicVory with D. KIITOCÚ indicative oï doubt,
nbashëcf iïïàîviaua"v~wltlà an~empnaavsvci& cided enough to show the state of his feelings on the subject. " After I last saw you a woman came in my way and put into my hands so fresh and promising a clue, that I dropped the old scent at once and made instanter for the new game. But I soon found I was not the only sportsman on this trail. Before I had taken a dozen steps I ran upon this gentleman, and, finding lum true grit, struck up a partnership with him that has led to our bringing down the quarry together."
" Humph !" quoth the District Attorney. " Some very remai kable discoveries must have come to light to influence the judg- ment of two such men as yourselves."
"You are right," rejoined Mr. Byrd. " In fact, I shoidd not be surprised if this case proved to be one of the most remark- able on record. It is not often that equally convincing evidenco of guilt is found against two men having no apparent connection."
" And have you collected such evidence ?"
" And who is the person you consider equally open to suspicion with Mr. Hil
Craik Mansell, Mrs. Cleminens's nephew."
The surprise of the Distrijt Attorney was, as Mr. Hickory in later days remarked, nuts to bim. Thc solemn nature of the business he was engaged upon never disturbed this hardy detective's sense of the ludicrous, and he indulged in one of his deepest chuckles
aa he met the eye of Mr. Ferris.
" One never knows what they are going to run upon in a chase of this kind, do they, sir? " he remarked, with the greatest cheer- fulness. "Mr. Mansell is no more of a
gentleman than Mr. Hildreth ; yet, because
he is the second one of his caste who has
attracted our attention, you are naturally very much surprised. But wait till you hear what we have to tell you. I am confident you will be satisfied with our reasons for suspecting this new party." And he glanced at Mr. Byrd, who, seeing no cause for delay, proceeded to unfold before the District Attorney the evidence they had collected
against Mr. Mansell.
It waa strong, telling, and seemingly con- clusive, as -we already know, and awoke in ^V^_ >i\ii\t\ «if Al r. >Vrri» ttae Kreatcst -pcr the fncta'urged against Mr. ManséïTwere ot
the Bame circumstantial character and ol almost the same significance as those a'readj urged against Mr. Hildreth, but that tho association of Miss Dare's name with this new theory of suspicion presented difficulties if it did not involve consequences, calculated to make any friend of Mr. Oreutt quail. And Mr. FerriB was such a friend, and knew ver; well the violent nature of the shock whiol: this eminent lawyer would experience al discovering the relations held by this trustee woman toward a man suspected of crime.
Then Miss Dare herself ! Was this bean tiful and cherished woman, hitherto belier et by all who know her to bc set high abov< the reach of reproach, to be dragged dowi from her pedestal and submitted to th< curiosity of the rabble, if not to its insinua- tions and reproach ? It seemed hard ; ever to this stern, dry searcher among dead men's bones, it seemed both hard and bitter. Anc yet, because he was an honest man, he hac no thought of paltering with his dnty. Hi could only take time to make sure what tba duty was. He accordingly refrained fron expressing any opinion in regard to Mr Mansell's culpability to the two detectives and finally dismissed them without an;
But a day or two after this he sent for them again, and said :
" Since I have seen you I have considered, with due carefulness, the various facts presented me in support of your belief that Craik Mansell is the man who assailed the Widow Clemmens, and have weighed them agaimjt the equally significant facts pointing toward Mr. Hildreth as the guilty party, and find but one link lacking in the former chain of evidence which is not lacking in the latter and that is this : Mrs. Clemmens, in the one or two lucid moments which returned to her after the assault, gave utterance to an exclamation which many think was meant to serve as a truide in determining tho person of her murderer. She said, ' Bing,' as Mr. Byrd here will doubtless remember, and then ' Hand,' as if she wished to fix upon the minds of those about her that the hand uplifted against her wore a ring. At all events, such a conclusion is plausible enough and led to my making an experiment yester- day, which has, for ever, set the matter at rest in my own mind. I took my stand at ^;-'v<ta>*j^-"ls^>» WMhg^._iu»t in the,ajtj¿
?track, and, while in. * thia position, ordered my clerk to advance upon me from behind with his hands clasped about a stick of wood, which he was to bring down within an inch of my head. This was done, and while his arm was in the act of descending, I looked to see if by a quick glance from the corner of my eye I could detect the broad seal ring I had previously pushed upon his little finger. I discovered that I could ; that indeed it was all of the man which I could distinctly see without turning my head completely around. The ring, then, is an important feature in this case, a link without which any chain of evidence forged for the express purpose of connecting a man with this murder must necessarily remain incomplete and conse- quently useless. But amongst the suspicious circumstances brought to bear against Mr. Mansell, I discern no token of a connection between bim and any such article, while we aU know that Mr. Hildreth not only wore a ring on the day of thc murder, but considered the circumstance so much in bis own dis- favour, that he slipped it off his finger when he began to see the shadow of suspicion falling upon him."
"You have, then, forgotten the diamond I picked up from the floor of Mrs. Clemmens's dining-room on the morning of the murder?" suggested Mr. Byrd, with great reluctance.
"No," answered the District Attorney, shortly. " But Miss Dare distinctly avowed that ring to be bera, and you have brought me no evidence as yet to prove her statement false. If you can supply such proof, or if you can show that Mr. Mansell had that ring
on his hand when he entered Mrs. Clemmens'
house on the fatal morning-another fact, which, by-the-way, 'rests as yet upon inference only-I shall consider the case against him as strong aa that against Mr. Hildreth; otherwise, not."
TO BS COHTBTOID.