Chapter 58902765

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Chapter NumberXVI
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58902765
Full Date1891-07-24
Page Number1
Corrections0
Word Count1475
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleEvelyn Observer, and South and East Bourke Record (Vic. : 1882 - 1902)
Trove TitleO'Neil McDarragh, The Irish Detective; Or, The Strategy of a Brave man
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OIItAPTEIl XVI. tight ahead of him, under the shade of a tree which bordered a garden path, stood a tall ingure in white. The detective came to a halt. Ito would have faced a man or bract with. out thequiver of a musele, but there was something so startling in the white figure standinog so motionless before him that for a moment he was rooted, as it were, to the spot. Only for one second, however, did he per mit himself to stand thus paralyseed with terror. * W\ho' there ?' he cried, though his voice was tremulous. lie received no reply. Again he onlled, and at the same instant ho moved a atop forward. Tihn flguro receded from him. The backward movement encouraged the man, who was rapidly recovering his nerve' and pluck, hearing that he might fail to capture the strange apparition, or discover its nature, hee leaped forward on a run. There wasi a turn in the path and when O'Neil, within three seconds' time, reached the turn, he found that the figure had van. inhed. He now procced?d to make a thorough in. ventigallon. Ifi walked round in every direotion,hoping that the strango appearance might once more hoe revealed, fio saw nothing of it again, at least for that night. IIo now blamed himself for disturbing the strange figure by calling to it, SVWhy the deuce didn't 1 looeap fur it instead of aseking,like a frightened school girl," who's thoro?"' he muttered. Ho spn t an hour looking about,but saw no. thing to reward hbl search. At length he again returned to the house, and etretched himself out upon the library lounge. " 78 Early In the evening a traphad been soet. A number of photographs had been put upon the library table, among them one of a female. O'Neil had arranged thialitlelteet withhis own ihands, and he had suanored a number of the ploturo cards with red thalk, so that a perason could not handle them without leav. ig tlinger mtarke on a:y thing else that he might touch. It was daylight when O'Neil MIDarragh awolre. Ilo had not been disturbed, and felt car. tain that the phltograph thiet had not bhoe around. The detective was less concerned abouttho thief than he was about the apparitionu he had seen, lie felt so certain that the thief had not been around that le did not think it worth while to look at the photographle to see if one wan gone. hllortly after daylight he was joined by iMr. Pation. '\Vell, exclaimed the latter, ' I suppose you have a series of eotrtlinlg adventures to relate, and at last the skeleton in this house has bee aunineaed 1' SI have nothing to relate.' 'Then our visitor has not been hero last nighti.' ' No, Hit.' As Mr. Patton epohe be moved toward the table where whr e pllotograple had been plased. IYour pictures, I suppose, remain as you left them ?' 'Certainly.' ' But seel they have been handled,' ex. rlnimed Alr, Patton, 'aend your lady ucard to goon.' VoeWlht?' cried O'Neil, turning white nod rod by turns, ' l'rllon you removed it youreelf.' SIl have not touohed themo,' S\Vell, ollleneel haone.' O'Neil lol tarragh here stopped toward the table. 'lie' photogralphi was really glone. 'itll detective was mortified, and, what was emorn, greatly nestonllcled, Upon eenter gl tl e libtriry he ulouod the doer lohilnd hint atlnd found it eloisd le (t0h .mtornhtig I and there wos inot thie leant daub of red elhtnlle aneywluere. 't'out thief lian bleen hoere, and hain ludled yoel I iroooueno you mnuet have slopt too soeundly. Ito onsrtalnly lmulst loavu ee blhrn, nnd I nnest hInvo hone nuleoip all lthn l'e,' alid O'NeIl, ranlkly, SWell, It is onoiurgitlllg to know that hr

would come while you were in the room. If you are on tbo alert ort timoyou may catch him.' 7' ' I don't think I shall lel p again until this mystery is solved,' nsaid ONeil, in an absent sort of way., A little thim wa spent in discussing the matter, wher the detective raid: 'You must manage to send all your men from the stables to-day.' * I can do that easily enough.' 'Do so, and we will sea what will come of it. I have not abanged my opinion yet as to the proper way to proceed to solve the mystery, and I shall not until I have made a thorough test,' At the breakfast-table O'Neil agnin met Mr. Patton and Mise Lucy. Alter brankfast an houro' pleasant converse was passed, when M'Darragh left the house for a stroll. The first thing he did was to go and en. amiuo under the sunlight the spot where lihe had seen the apparition. No footsteps were visible, owing to the fuoot that the ground beneath the heavy gravel was quite dry. Tire oflicer strollrd down to the beach. While walking along, listening to the beat of the waves no they flol upon the shore, he becamo lost in a reverie. After a while e e came to a place where oame lashermen were just landing from their boants. The detective at once engaged in converea. tion with them. lIe had a way of making his talk very in. leroeting, and after a while he was on terms of familiarity with them. lie talked fishing an though he had ones reou a oeaucoart man irlmeel. * You never have any wreoke on this part of the coast 1' he said. 'No, ir; thire ships generally go ashore cio or seven miles to the seaward, along the heaoh.' ' Have there been any wrecks lately I' ' No, air; not for five winters,' replied the fsherman, SOnoe in a while dead bodies float uehoro here, I suppose ?' 'Yes, sir; we piok up a great many In the course of the year. * How long since you found a body 7' ' Oh, last week we pioked up the body of a woman,' * What was done with the body you lound last weekl' SThe coroner hold an inquest and adver. tised a description of the body, and she was buried where a great many other unclaimed bodies have been buried-in the strangers' graveyard.' ' Was it the body of a young woman or an old woman 1' O Oh, it was the body of an old woman.' The detective lost alt interest at once In the relic from the sea. . 71 . After some further talk, he continued his walkr along the beaoh, little dreaming that ua few more questiorn might have revealed to him a fact which would have been of wonder ful interest to him, and connected him directly with a tragedy which was already fast upon hie mind. After two hours' walk our hero returned to the house where he otayed over night, and where, for ones in his professional career, he had been fooled. Mr.Patton had gone to the city. lie loft a note stating that the ollicer could carry on thi investigations in the stable at his leisure, as the men wore all away, and would be until evening. After a pleasant evening the family retired, and the detective once moreset about employing the hours of the night in watch Tlhis night rhe did not sloop, and in the morning he hatd nothing to report. During the day following the second night's vigil, a startling incident befell Miss Luoy Patton. This young lady had been walking along the road, when suddenly a man leaped from behind the well bordering the road, and had soized hold of her. Being a resolute girl, siro had wrested her. sell free, and had run for dear lifo towardo the house. Tho man lhad followed her a certain dia. tance, but finally turned and disappeared through a belt of woods. This inoident annoyed Mr. Patron very muob, and heo consulted with the detective oncorning the outrage. 'From the dersription of the young lady, it seemed that the man was dressed in a common Irishman's garb ' but,' added the lady,'he had fine features and a delicato look, and, in fact, was a remarkably handsome mWhat colour were his eyes ?' 'They were blue, anud now that I come to recolleet they had a peculiar stare,' cried lies Patton, ' and, after all, I should not be surprised it I had had an adventure with a lunatir.' That evening, an M Darragh sat out on the lawn under the shade of a tree, he muttered to himself : ' Well, I'll be done up in a emall packago if I am not considerably bothered. I came down hero on a simple case, and I have struok the most singular relies of little mye. teries that it has ever been my fortune to on. counter.'