Chapter 65518036

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Chapter NumberI
Chapter TitleFOUND DEAD
Chapter Url
Full Date1891-05-15
Page Number5
Word Count8067
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleEuroa Advertiser (Vic. : 1884 - 1920)
Trove TitleWritten in Red; Or, The Conspiracy in the North Case. A Story of Boston
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'WRIITTEN IN RED; On, THE CONSPIRACY IN THE NORTH CASE.* A STORY OF BOSTON. BY CatS. MONTsrAUE AND C. W. DYen. CHAPTER I.-FOUD DrAD. The private office of North and Stackhouse, State street bankers and brokers, contained on the morning of 'Friday,' 16th June, 1887, a group of anxious and excited men, whose con. versation plainly indicated that their uneasiness was caused by the continued and unexplained absence of Paul North, the senior partner. In State street circles, North and Stackhouse were classed among the "plungers." For the first two years of the firm's existence, indeed, there had been but slight departare from the conservative policy followed by Mr. North, who, when in the brokerage business on his own acicount, had been content with a modest office in a comparatively quiet street leading eastward from Post-office square. But under the lead of Mr. Stackhouse-an energetic man of forty, ten years his partner's junior-banking had been added to brokerage, and the firm had become known as the pro. moter of many daring enterprises. Nicaragua Midland was a specialty with North and Stackhouse. In season and out of eason, Nicaragua Midland had been " boomed" with a persistency that caused some of the older mignates of " the street" to shake their heads ominously, but which had attracted, neverthe less, the admiration and co-operation of a mul titude of people. Not all who invested their earnings under the advice of North and Stackhouse had, it is true, found the venture profitable. But for the most part the losers had b:orne their ill-fortune manfully, without complain ing. Few angry outbursts from disappointed patrons had disturbed the opitimistic hopes of the bright-eyed speculators, who month after month had made the rooms of these State street" bankers and brokers .their _favourite hasints. Twelve days previous to this June morning in 1887, however, a curious letter in an un known hand had been laid on Mr. North's desk. The writing was an odd sort of scrawl, uncertain in its lines, but legible enough. This Was the missive: "My Dear Sir,-I am a desperate man, ruined by your manipulations of the property entrusted to your hands. I must have money enough to begin life again. I only ask for a little back out of all you robbedme or, but that little I must have. There is only one thing for you to do. Draw a cheque for one thousand dol lars, payable to bearer, and enclose it, addressed to me, at the poet-office, Boston. If you fail in this. Iswear to shoot you down as I would a mad dog. If you are wise, you will not refer this matter to the police. That act would' be your death-warrant.-DAEwr SvTIoc-rEY." Paul North, to whom personally this threaten ing letter was addressed, had consulted his partner in some little uneasiness of mind. "It's all nonsense," Mr. Stackhouse had said confidently. "A mere practical joke of some broker who wants to frighten you. A few of them werenipped in the last turn of the market in our favour, you know, and perhaps they hold North and Stackshouse responsible. But if the matter disturbs you at all, why turn the letter over to the police. They'll attend to it. We must look after Nicaragua Midland very sharply this week, North, and have no time to bother our heads about trifles." Nevertheless, Mr. North had troubled him self about the matter sufficiently to put the letter into the hands of Inspector Applebee for such action as seemed proper. Upon the advice of that quietly efficient per sonage, a decoy letter had been written by Mr. North, enclosmga cheque for 1,000dol., payable to bea er. An officer in citizen's clothes had been sta tioned on duty constantly at the post-office, but o Daniel Stickney had called for the letter addressed to his name. As a precaution against any possible over sight, payment of the cheque had been stopped at the bank, a precaution which, thus far, had proved equally useless. "Just as I told you," Stackhouse had said to his partner after a few days. "A broker's practical joke." The letter soon passed out of mind, for busi ness cares weighed heavily on both partners. "What had long been feared had taken place. The markethad become very "bearish." All stocks felt the mysterious influence of de pression, and among the very first to fall was Nicaragua Midland. So absorbed and anxious had Br. North become that he could talk and think of little ex cept the market and its prospects. Was it altogether on the subjectofNicaragua Midland that he had held conference late in the afternoon of the 15th of June, with one of the - chief investors,' though not a director in the Niearaeua Midland-Mr. Rtichard Fetridge ? Whether or not, the interview bad not been finished at the office; for the two msen had been seen to walk away together; still talking earnestly. Old Jobson, the veteran clerk of the firm, had looked after them as they pasned up the street. -"It's a tight time for North and Stack house," he had said to himself,, shaking his head. "If things don't take an upward. turn very soon, I'm afraid to-morrow's meeting of Nicaragua directors will do precious little good!"." Thejuoniorpartnerhad left the' dffe' hours before, outwardly calm. Whatever his fore bodings may have been, Thornton Stackhouse was not the man to allow'his troubles to show theinselves in look or manner."'.' Paul North was the father-in-law of his busi ness associate, and Thornton Stackhodise made his home in summer .time at Mr. North's spacious villa at S.vampacott, from whose broad windows the occupants enjoyed an ex bilarating prospect of the sail-flecked ocean.., "At ten o'clock in the morning of this Friday, t- e 16fh of June, the directors of Nicaragua Midland had assembled, pursuant to call, in the office of North andStackhouse. Half an hour later every face wore a look of anxious' expec. tntion. S".I don't understand it-at all," exclaimed Stackhouse, nervously walking up and down. "North is the most punctual of men, as you all 'know; He must be ill." '?. !" echoed-one of the directors. " Wasn't North all right when you left him at Swamp sbott this morning ?"'' M?r. Stackhouse waved his hand impatie~tly.. ".I didn't go down to the shore, last ,ight," e returned, shortly. "Stayed in town with a friend. I leftorthhere in this office about three o'clock in the afternoon, aiid haven't laid. t- ...- eyes'hi nce!" - ; .. :.. - " -'. ' "Why dn' yon te? raph to his" house " ,sied little ma nnear thedoor; " It's strange . l?hmsn'tsent some word himse'f before this .... :~e:B ut X h'e dl, ad ,his :dausgh: 4r ll -

for"otteu to send Justlikewomesenl" the testy little bachelor added. . The suggestion was acted upon instantly. After an interminable de!ay'a' resuonse came,' evoking a simultaneous murmur of dismay and the interchange of apprehensive looks. • ''- . . " SWIsC , Jme 1e -., "Mr. orth mast have stared in town. .e.Lhas not been here since yesterday morniig'. " Strasnge !! ejaculated Stackhouse, ringing the bell ashe spoke. "Send Mr. Jobson in;"s he added, the next moment, to the waiting messenger. . . The old clerk was in the room before the messenger had left it, trembling all over with senile agitation, .' Atiwhat time did Mr. North leave the office yesterday afternoon?" Stackhouse demanded, -abruptly. "it was after five o'clock, sir.". " Wies he alone ?" " No, sir.' Mr. Fetridge was with him"." "Probably Vent out of town somewhere with' Fetridge," suggested one of the directors. "Delayed--missed a train. Very provoking ' On this day, too; of all others ! Butsend round to Fetridge's office and see if he has been heard from." Unasked, the old clerk took.upon himself the duty of messenger, and the party anxiously awaited his return. ' But one qiuestion and answer wereinterchanged meanwhile. "Has Nicaragua been quoted to-day, Stack. house"' the little old bachelor queried. " Yes.' Offered at 9.' No takers. "Off a'point e already, you see.', n: -I.;, a,. -.:'.~,??,.: - I hth sound of foosteps audvoics in the outer otfice atnounced to the:anxious eard of, Stack'. house the coming of Mr: Fetridge himiself. 'The i broker stepped forward. ,.We,11., " It was evident at first eight that the new camer was unduly agitated. 'lie was astalwart, hand some fellow, certainly not beyond thirty years of age. "I cannit imagine where North is any more than you," he exclaimed, without waiting for question. "'I walked up the street with him yesterday afternoon, after a talk in his office." "Where did you leave him:" Fetridge flushed and seemed considering a reply. All eyes were turned on him. "I don't know the exact point," he said, at last. "At the corner of State and Washington streets, 3 think it was." Stackhouse, who was very nervous and more affected than the occasion seemed to require, stared at Fetridge blankly, as if utterly ata loss to account for his confusion. "His town house is closed for the summer," he suggested, his eyes still on Fetridge'a face. "He must have gone to some hotel." "Send a messenger to make the rounds!" excitedly demanded the little hacheler. Richard Fetridge seemed to find the sitsation nnaccountablyembarrassing. Hehadnoadvice to offer. Stackhouse particularly appeared to disconcert him. Murmuring something about having left a man waiting for him at his office, and that he presumed Isorth would be found speedily, he hastened out and betook himself in the direction of his place of business. The necessity of haste in his return, however, seemed 1 to become less obvious to him after he reached the open air. He stood stock still with his foot upon the flight of stairsleadingto hisoffice, and t then, under the stress of a sudden thought, . wheeled abruptly and walked energetically back up the street. In five minutes he was in police headquarters at Pemberton square, inquiring anxously of the official to whom the clerk referred him whether any notification of the disappearance of Paul t North had been sent to him. The official pro fessed ignorance of the matter. "When was he last seen, sir?"'' "Yesterday afternoon about five o'clock, going up State street from his office," Fetridge I rejoined, avoidingfurtherdetail. .And hastened to add: "He has a town house at-Marlboro street, you know. Perhaps it isn't my place to suggest it, but don't the police in such cases I have authority to enter a man's premises ] Fetridge hesitated. The official observed him narrowly, wondering, no doubt, why he was so i obviously agitated. - " Undoubtedly; if his friends desired it, and - had any reason to believe that there was any thing the matter, the police would enter the house." " Fetridge thereupon urged the official to obtain permission from Thornton Stackhouse to m make a search of the premises. He was unable to giveany dietrect reason, and unwilling to put into words any definite suspicion, but he .showed,. by_his conduct that he had both. Eventually a messenger' was despatchedin' search of Stackhounse,who thereupon responded in person. He seemed a little surprisedto see Fetridge, and the official noted that there was 1 a constrainedness and a lack of cordiality i between the two men. Their opinions, hoir-) ever. coincided upon the matter in question. C " By all means," said Stackhouse, " search a the house in Marlboro street. It is my resi dence as well as North's, and I authorse you t -if the men sent are discreet and trust worthy." The official arose. " Then I will send word at once by telephone to Station 4. You don't happen to have a key 1 to the house about you ?" " Why, no," returned the partner. " My i keys are in my wife's care at Swampscott, or I should have gone to the house myself." The message was sent, and while the police of the 4th division were acting in accordance therewith, Stackhouse and Fetridge sat waiting at headquarters, the quiet broken only by the scratching of the busy pen of a clerk. No. - Marlboro street was a broad, brown house, the cpunterpart of half a hundred other dwellings within a stone's throw of Paul North's town residence. As the sergeant and patrolman of the 4th division neared the place they observed the outer door at the entrance. and saw that all the windows in the basement and first storey were barred or shuttered. Curtains, closely drawn,lent a cheerless and deserted appearance to the windows above. "And yet," remarked the sergeant, as he went up the steps, " somebody has been here. The outer door is open ; the vestibule door un. locken." It was indeed true, and led at once to the conclusion that Paul North was within. The officer rang the bell. But though the summons was repeated again and again it awoke no responsive life inside the walls of the darkened, echoing house. The sergeant calmly came to the conclusion that an entrance must be forced, and after a brief inspection of the premises, sent Johnson, the officer, in quest of a ladder. The ladder was obtained from the nearest depository of the fire department, and the officers were soon in the rear of Paul North's residence. It took but a minute to open the door of the yard. In another minute, the ladder rested against a brick wall, and Officer Jmohnson, with a curious pieceof flexible steel in his grasp, had pushed back the lock of a curtained window in the second story. "A bedroom," said the sergeant, pulling tup the curtain wirh some difficulty v when they were both inside;, "bed untouched, however. Door openinto thatdarkrosminfront. Other door open-to the corridor, nodoubt.". : The sergeant led the way through a door diagonally opposite the window by which they hadgained entran . ex ie ted. 'It was the cerridor,-as he·.had aeseebtddd He sef out peer into the rooms a9s he wentalong, buthemet with an6obstaclet att eryoutset. ::: 'At the head of the broad front staircase: the door "refused to yield to his ~ressure beyond a limited degree. Officer Johnson was about to push the door vcigorously when he was stopped bj' a warning gesture from: his superinr. "As the patrolman stepped liack the sergeant, pressing against the door as lightlye.ase possible, insinuated his way into the unvisited room. A half-stifled cry brought his auburdinat to his side. '.' Doni't mnove it!' Don't' touch it!e':.whis pered the' sergeant, putting an: admonitory hand 0n:the officer's' shoulder. It'was .by no means horror :w. hich inspired his utterance. Beth men looked down upon a' figure;:lying with' outstretched, i clutching ' hands, 'close against the door. - With the.caution of expierience the sergeant Suent down,' and placedhis hand over the heart. " Dead!" he said in a moment, half to him elf,liai.lf to his.cnmpanion, and straightened up without losing his composuire. ' - Officer Johnson, new to the force and to this kind of experience, by no means preserved his presence of mind in the emergency, and held fast to the sergeant. The room, seen through the twilight, had a weird, uncanny look; the tables, enswathed in their coverings, seemed coffin shaped, and the chandelier, in its shroud of brown holland, might have been a ghost pointing down to the inanimate figure on the floor. "What's that on thewall by the door?" whispered Officer Johnson, pointing with shak tog fnger., The sergant had opened the window almost beIfore his companion had finished the sentence. Li the glai± of the sudden instresming, sun" light on tha tinthd wall, low down, near the 'dooraI.whic the lb dy lay, was a scrawl'n t . toethareStakbaus--tockhouj -': . I -Thu the sergeant. as.they.bthast?a~d with 'i 'allthlre'es..- .

there," said the officer, positively. p:"What ever the rest may mean, that much is certain.'" Hoe was stll gazing at the .nessage when he received a peremptory order to proceed to the station and notify tie authorities.' ' "For therere'' a' hue an I'cry; comiig oiit of this ng, or I'm' idUprophet;" the sergeant And as- he waited -for the coming "of his 'a sociates the sergeant' looked downrthought fully at the silent figure:.:What anuprbar and comiotiou in the community would follow this discovery,. so quietly ..made in the . nt chamber! The sergeant was ,philosopher enoughin hie way to think of this and to mutter to himself as he kept his lonely watch-, "Within: twenty-four hours, for all you lie there so silent and utter nio sound, the thoughts and conjectures of a million peop 's will 'centre aboit you, and Heaven knows how.many lives and loves you will make and break before you are through with them!" : The sergeant was quite right. The arm of a dead, nian may -have -a tremendous power to threaten and contiol, and Paul.North dead might work more mischief still than Paul North living.. CHAPTER II.-A PERFUkEm-AS OF A Woxar. Philosophically reflecting, Sergeant Parr con tinued, nevertheless, a careful scrutiny of the apartment. It was beyond a doubt a library, for the backs of books showed behind the sheets that covered certain articles of furniture of large bullk..The adjoining room. was in all probabilitythe sleepingr chamber of the master of the housb.., casual inspection satisfiedthe 'officer that'the bed had not boen occupied'since it was last made up. ' But there was something -more important I still in the sergeant's estimation to be ascer tained, and on that he had ample time to reach a settled conviction.: It was evident at first sight that the man on the floorhad come to his I death by reason of a bullet wound. If his own hand had. been responsible for the deed, the suicidal weapon must be somewhere about. And as a careful search failed to reveal any trace of such a weaponi, the sergeant had madeuphis mind long previous to the arrival of the investigatingparty that the case woas a very serious one and involved at 'the outeta deep mystery. The seee 'soon changed. The room gradually filled with alert and' dignified men, whose profession made their attendance at such times a matter of too frequent: occurrence to permit of their exhibiting any other; senti ment in the presence of the grim witness of violent death than a keen and speculative busi ness iiterest.- In" ''the "vestibule below, two officers were stationel to challenge everybody who attempted to enter the house. 'Already in front' of'' the building,' so quickly. and mysteriously does evil news' disseminate itself; was gathered a throng "which stared with' fascinated horror at the upper windows and at everyfresh ingoer and ontcomer. Sergt. Parr had long since recognised In spector Applebee, andhad whispered in his ear that it was going to be a" big case." " " So?" said the inspector, lifting his eye brows and half smiling. A moment later he was grave and apparently unconcerned. Dr. Jarrett, the medical examinerfor the dis trict in which the body was found, came to the scene in a carriage. Till he arrived nothing ws done. C The State imposes upon the judg ment and good sense of these officials grave re ponsibilities. In three minutes after his horse stopped in front of the house, Dr. Jarrett was at work examining, questioning, weighing the evidences in his own mind. The casual observer would have looked in vain amongst those quiet officialsfor theinevit able reporter. Evidently the newspaper man wasbarred out ! Not at all. The public who look for a notebook, and expect to find in such circumstances a meddlesome young man writ ing withghoul-like activity, would never have suspected the short, thick-set, black-haired, gentlemanly young man who talked to each i person present in an easy way, which showed that he was personally acquinted with every one.. Instead. of flourishing a note book-the insignma of the property of the reporter of the c theatre, and of the beginners in the profession -this man had no better use for his hands than i a mechanical fondling of the pendant to his t watch chain -a trick which in some mysterious t manner seemed to help him to think. Al though he was young, his experience in criminal f affairs, combined with his natural ability, had made his sagacity equal to that of anybody resnt, while his trstworthiness and re- 1 iability enabled him to be oftentimes in im mportt cases, a confidant of the authorities. Phies"ws'iingman F. Thomes; of-'tho--elltonC Globe. The medical examiner arose from a brief inspection of the body, which was already identified as that of Paul Noxth, the. State. Street financier.. Everybody looked at him curiously, .but his imperturbable face told no 1 tales. . ' '. "Nothinig has been disturbed " he asked of the sergeant.. " We knw our business, sier. Everything is exactly as we found it"- i "Ah !" No more and no less, caime in a I matter-of-fact tone from the medical examiner's lips. '., .. ,.. :.:. Well, doctor," said Lir. Thomas, " how is it ?" '" I shall perform an autopsy.' This was said quietly. • The medical ex aminer refrained from advancing his opinion at this stage, but Thomas understood that the determination to, perform an autopsy in dicated serious suspicion on, the' physician's part. ' -]' There was a' tremuldous tou?h' on a hisI shoulder, and he turned to meet the eyes of a man whom he did not' know. - " What-what is that writing 'on the wall I down there by the door ?" asked a shaking " This is a friend of the family, doctor," interposed Inspector Applebee, -by way 'of accounting for this unfamiliar presence here. "He was Mr. North's partner. Naturally he is verysiiuch overcoine." In tones that were a trifle steadier, Mr. Stackhouse repeated his question. Bending down to seek an answer himself, he started back, and would have fallen but for the opportune aid of the newspaper masn. 'A horrible sight ! I cannot look at it," he muttered, puttinghis hand over his eyes. "Tell me what you make it out ?"'' A glance of intelligence passed between the inspector and the sergeant. Each divined per- fectly what had brought such a shock to :the' mind of Paul North's partner. Each' under stood fully the man's unspoken fear. Meanwhile Dr. Jarrett, applying certain mysterioustests, seemed more intent upon de termining the medium of this strange message than the message itself. - - Written in blood," he said, eventually, looking steadily- at Stackhouse;. "and the condition of the forefinger of the right hand seems to indicate that the dead man wrote it.' Ho paused and Stackhouse sank into a. chair. " Baut, what odds ?- The Writing will endure, gentlemen. W?Vo have otherthings to do." He gave the inspector a' meaning look and resumed his work. ' Thomas lost not a detail of this scene> ' But now, withll inspector' Anplebee as his close companion,: the library and the: adjoin ing room wereexamined minutely. - , The .room Ihad been used very recently. Regarding that point, there was no possibility ?-Chairsihadbeeenmoved fromtheirisacustomed places. On' the openeddesk, which' Mr. Stack house at once identified as his 'partner's, stood, amid a heap of tumbled -papers, a drop light. Near by, a burnt match.' Obviously the windows had not been touched. . The adjoining room, vouched for as Paul North's chamber by his partner, soon re covering his self-control, bore no traces of occupancy.- As the door was :open be tween -it and .the library, it woo plain that the master of the house must havs paissed through the room. He had not slept there, for the bed's surface was unruffled, and not a fold of the pillows had been disturbed. " One thing is evident," said Thomas. "This man was not killed fjr money. I saw the doctor take a well-filled pocket-book from his person, end not a thingin the house appears to have been disturbod." A call from Dr. Jarrett summoned the two men back into the chamber of death. S"You had better look for the l.slet, gentle. men," he said, quietly. -''It is evident that it went clear through him, and it is surely no where about his clothing." Instantly everbody was examining the room, lthe furniture, the walls, the carpet. But, for some time, it appeared that the ball had been spirited away as mysteriously as the fatal weapon from which it had been fired. "Hallo!" exclaimed Thomas, suddenly, as he pointed to' the wall, "what's that up there above that picture ?" . •Thomas-was pointing to anlight protuberance in the surface of the wall, directly opposite the bay window, near the ceiling. "What, that?" exclaimed the inspector. ",Impossible ! It is.quite ten feetaway frbm the flrir;" ay fr• .i But it's a 'lbullet,' none e.the ilees,'" said Thomas;,' whhad already mounted on a chair and begun to ascertain- the distaine of the punctureabove the carpet. -, ' :' You rn right, iuspectol, he bad. ?-it li biss fpet eloen inchea fromathe flour,, and as La~-r~a~~~;~,uu ~ sb~; ~ fifi

: : I can't understand that at all,": said the inspector.~ " It .must have been; deflected in its course- somehow to .havegot there. • The man was evidently shot in :the breast. His clothes in front are simplyone mass of blood. Ah! ?:I see.. There- was more -than; one shot fired., !This is a stray ball.' The. house was searched from top to bottom. Nowhere was' any trace of intrusion. i " If Mr. North slept here at all last night," said the inspector, " it must have been in his chair in his library." .Dr. Jarrett assented. Sergeant Parr, who had been notified from the fourth -division that he need no longer remain on duty in the place, willingly volunteered to take, as he went out, a message to the captain in charge of the division.. - !"I have sent for an. ambulance," Dr. Jarret explained to the group that ;surrounded him-in Paul North's chamber. "'The body will be taken, to the -.morgue, and I will hold an autopsy at'once. -As Mr. North's partner is here, I will waive the usual for. malities and state beforehand that there is little doubt that an inquest will take place, though Iwould ask reporters not to make any such direct announcement." Mr. Stackhouse bowed. " I quite understand, sir," he said, "and whatever testimony I can give I shall offer most willingly. But now I feel thatI should take the terrible news to the family-my wife, you know, was Mr. North's daughter. As Mr. Stackhouse went his way up the shady side of- Marlboro Street, an initiated observer would hardly have failed to note that another man followed -in his wake upon the opposite pavement.: - The quiet reporter meanwhile had busied himself in making a diagram of the second storey of the North house, which appeared the next morning in his paper. Thomas sat cross-legged on one of the chairs in the unoccupied chamber through which the officers had originally entered, making a rough sketch on the back of an envelope with astubby pencil, when he was slightly startled by the unexpected presence of a man at his elbow. - Well, Thomas?" "Alh, inspector.' ""How does it look to you?" . "Queer.". - .! What are you going to say about it?" 'f That its a dead, mystery-unless we make some unexpected discovery in. the next half hour." . " Well, maybe you're right. Maybe." "It's- no . suicide,"- said Thomas, affably; "that's plain enough. "And as there has been no robbery, it does 't'appear as yet why he should have beeu killed'" -. -"But of course you have your theory'" . "Wh'en it comes to a matter of theories," returhed Applebebe,. mischievously, "a' plain' policeman like myself can't hold a candle to you newspaper fellows."!- " " "I see, you don't intend to answer ques tions," said Thomas. " I suppose I may state that the police are already on the track of the murderer, and that important arrests, are momentarily expected ?''" "State what you please.You will, anyway," the inspector returned, with a slight frown. "No, I didn't come to answer questions, as you say. I came to ask.them." "Better than nothn nothing. What are they ?" " In the first place, did you know North ?" "Just to the same extent that I know hun dreds of men.' I have seen him, talked with him-you know how and where." "In the line of your work, you mean?" "Exactly. HewaswhatIcallaprofesasional acquaintance. When we met in a crowd I saw North, the wealthy broker, but he saw only the crowd.; Poorfellow!" with all his resources he couldn't stop 'that bullet. Meantime, nobody thinks it worth while to shoot simple K. F. Thomas."-r------ . - t eimp.. "Well, I doubt that, too. I've heard the proposition seriously discussed at headquarters. Joking aside, what does rumour say about North a private life ' Was he still young in spite of -his fifty years, or was he one of your quiet stay-at-homes?" . F "' So far. as rumour. reached me,- he was a business man and nothing else. - Anybody that ever saw Paul North, it seems to me, would say that he was too much engrossed in his life-long chase of the almighty dollar to have time for follies." . . . - "'Then, as to hisfamily? . "Theytell me he has two daughters both beauties. I never saw them, however.' His wife, I-believe,'is dead." "How did he stand in financial circles?'.. --.Thom" utits.a.eoantempotuoua)sau is.,' ": North and Stackhouse ? ::Ask anyproker." "LBadf?"-- - - - - "Better put it that they showed too, much eantriae to pleaseconservative business men. Thats the .ost charitable constructioh:Ican put on it." "You' didn't invest anything in their - 'ail road, did you, Thomas ?" the inspector asked, quizzically." - ' " " ~Did I. No, sir. I'm not Jay Gould, and, if I had. been, I should have known .enough to have kept out'of Nicaragua Midland. That was a frautd, inspector; one of those frauds you can suspect, but never prove; one of the numerous " suppressed' stories kept on file in a newspaper office; one of the truths you can't print because-it would libel some high-toned rascal whom-the law is framed to protect !'" " - Humph! You have nosa very high opinion of-North and Stakhouse?"" .. Thomas shrugged his shoulders. - - '!Socially, theyre gentlemen. :. Men who handle' millions can never come down to the level of common thieves." " They must be, then, enrmordsly rich " "On the contrary, they are regarded as ex-. tremely shaky." . .. " So? ` And what have they done with these millions? -' ." -". ' "Got caught in-their own trap. An unex 'pected taist in the- market burnt their hands off. Oh, it's all the same in stocks. You 'can: think yourself ever so clover --but 'm talking too much, inspector. I am saying things on my mere. surmises that no newspaper would dare to print. 'Still, you wanted my opinion, and you have it. ' It will be of no use," I sup- . pose, to ask yours in return?" '' - - Thomas gave Applebee' a keen look, under the influence of which the inspector momen torily closed his eyes, as if afraid that the re porter might surprise his thoughts there. S" Some clients of North and Stackhouse have no very pleasant feelings towards them, I pre sume, on account of this Nicaragua scheme ?" he adroitly queried, as if to change the subject.. It was adroit for: that reason. . While appear ing to avoid a direct answer, he was, in reality, putting the very question which he desired to have answered. Did the reporter suspect? There was not the faintest indication, either in his manner or his' quiet reply, that he did. - - " Some of the poor fools who invested' their money in that scheme would very likely hold the firm morally responsible for ruining'them." S"Bh i!" said the inspector, as he turnedaway. "I suppose so. But I'm forgetting my case in listening to you." The fact wdas, Inspector Applebee was en. deavouring to establish some . connection between the anonymous threatening letter which, ten days before, had been placed in his hands by the late Paul North, and this violent death. "But, in that case," he thought, " why has not the money being called for- at the post office? Is it possible that the writer'- of-ttht - letter was in a position to know that. ithe matter hlad been placed in my hands? I must move cautiously m this affair or ruin it at the outset." Not long after Mr. Thomas's departure, most of Applebee's associates left the house, the medical examiner going first of all. Paul North's body had been taken away in the undertaker's waggon, but the inspector. and one officer still remained upon the premises. .. Quite by accident, as he was coming down the staircase which connected the library floor with the storey above, after a prowl through the darkened rooms in the upper part of the house, the inspector's eye caught the gleam of some thing white. . . - He picked it up. It was a tiny lace handkerchief, such as a dainty woman often carries, but a man never. This was the thought that flashed through the inspector's mind to give place in stantly to another " - - ' That subtle, delicate perfume! In all hiisloneg experiene Inspector Applebee had inever in haled ito like. . ' Ah!" he thought as he held p the fiiny laceandlooked at it more closely. "But I might have known it from the first. .- A woman in the case !" He pressed it again to his nose and put it carafullyaway in a- pocket-book. Op- secoad thought he removed't, 'and made doubly sure of retainrig the perfumei by wapping it in heavy gloed writing paper. "' Some day," he relected, "I may meet this scent Somewhere, and it will e bebetter not to have to trust to mymemory to recallit."" CHAPTER IIl;-hfa. 'uif Assuans Cao. S PrIro?a'n RELATx IONws. .. About two o'celock in the afternoon of the lay Paul North was fiuad deadl, Detective -I e'tuajzstli? wine tZl.ks h~'dtdn.t ;iIh0

" Mr. Lamm ?" questioned. Mr. : ?Richard Fetridge. "That is my name, sir.' - "Excuse me. I know you. I need,-your, service at once.' I have unlimited money atmy disposal. You have been recommended to :me by trusted friends as most discreet in your, alling. Come with me !" And without giving Mr. Lamm time to make demur to these hurried, disjointed remarks, Richard Fetridge, still with the detective's arm in his grasp, hurried him down Tremont street, up Beacon street and Somerset street, and so into Pemberton square. If Detective Lamm' had a momentous suspicion that this imperative gentleman was demented, a sidelong glance reassured him on that point. He had made physiognomy a study, and in his companion's face he read not lunacy, but unusual excite-.' ment. The two were in Mr. Fetridge's private ofice, and the door secured against intrusion before Detective Lamm's ris--rtis declared him self. "Pardon my abruptness," said Fetridge. "Pressing business must be my excuse. Not to waste timein preambles, Detective Lamm, I want to retain your services in a matter of vital interest to me. You shall fix the amount of compensation yourself. Now will you undertake this service ?" Mr. Lamm looked at him calmly. "That depends somewhat upon the nature of the business in hand," he said, drily. " Oh, it's perfectly legitimate," went on Mr. Fetridge. 'It's this terrible murder in Marl boro street-the killing of Paul North. He was my friend: I am on intimate terms with the family, and I wish to be kept fully' posted on the prograss of the work of detecting the mLa. You have a keen interest in this matter, air !" " Why, detective," said Fetridge, edging his chair closer, "I have good reason to be eager in this matter. As man to man, I tell you here that I believe the guilty man in this case to be Paul North's partner !" The detective remained utterly unmoved, but grave and attentive. "Mr. Thornton Stackhouse?" "01f course,". said Fetridge quickly."" I make this statement absolutely in confidence: I wouldn't condemn the man publicly on my simple suspicions." "Oh, or course not." "But I tell you, air," Fetridge resumed, pacing the floor excitedly, " I know the mau to bea villain. I know him for a scoundrel, and -good heavens! Poor North! Poor Marion! What a misfortune!" 'A man more agitated than Mr. Richard. Fetridge over a similar affair certainly had never fallen under Detective Lasmm's observa tion. He dropped suddenly into a chair, and was pressing his hands against his temples as if to still the throbbing of a violent.headache. The detectivewatchedhim under his eyebrows. Now that he knewhis name he remembered that he had heard of him as a young lawyer who had recently fallen heir to a large fortune, and it seemed. to him.too that he could dimly recall having heard him referred to as the Apollo Belvidere of State Street. " You will, of course, acquaint me with the reasons for your suspicions ?" Mr. Lamm' mildly suggested, by way of bringing his now motionless client to a realisation of his sur reundings. Fetridge awoke from his trains' with a-start. ' ' ' ' " Reasons ?" he echoed. "'?6 !i Certainly not! WaVyshould I" " It might be well for me to work on at the start, Mr. Fetridge." Fetridge was now on0 his feet again, and took two or three turnsup and down the apartment in thoughtful silence. i " No," he said at last, pausing in front of the detective.i "No, I see no reason for telling you-not yet, certainly. It would not aid- you isnthe least. It would simplyconvinceyou that Stackhouse might have had a motive, and' a strongone. As for anything elseo you would be left as much in the daik as Iam." ' u "I would urge upon you-"- '" '" ' '. "' Itis useless,"iinterruptdFetridge. "! There are family reasons for my silence.' I am' a friend of the family. Why; if it hadn't been so I should have gone at once with all I know to the police; -But there are some things, Lamm, c which the least' said about the better?-and Stackhouse's incentive to this deed of violence is one of them." S" Umla" (the detective had a habit' of pre facing his discourse with this reflective grunt); "North had quite a family ?' '' - " He has two daughters, sir." Fetridge had resumed his walk. "'What? -Don't you kiow e? Th destI Marion, is Thorinton Stackhouse's wife.' The younger, Stella, is seventeen." ' 'S And Mrs. North ?"' "Dead these lftecn years. Her sister Com fort Harwood, is the housekeeper. The family are atthe beach at Swampscott-still, I pre sume, in ignorance of the awful cloud which is hanging over them. Poor girls ! Poor old Aunt Comfort ! I say, Lamm, you'll undertake the case, won't you ? If there is any disgrace lean save this bereaved family, I am bound to do it. I want to employ you to hunt up evidence in behalf 'of the family and to report to me as rapidly as possible. In fact, I wish to kniow, if it can be done, all the evidence the police have when the inquest is called. I won't' conceal fromnyou that the attitude I shall take on' that occasion may be governed largely by what you tell me., 'And, by the way, when is the inuest likely to be held?" u "It is a delay of days or weeks, as the police determine." "Very.,well, and' in the imeantime I' may count upon your undivided services. - You un derstand what I want. y'I am' always at my office here, or you· 'ay 'telegraph me at the Beach.. Whenever there is any development in this sad affair,' I desire to know it with as brief delay as'possible. Whether it helps or hinders my suspicions of Stackhouse in the case is not to the presentpurpose. Facts are what I' ish to :acertain ; and thereis nobody: who ean arrive at the facts more surely or more quickly. than you-and this is not flattery, either!" :' - Mr. Lamm ioade a deprecatory gesture. ' "Well, Mr. Ftridge, no. man cant make fairer offerythan you've made, and under the circunmstances, I'll be very' glad to. take up the ease and' see what:'Icanmake"of it. 'Count upon me to let you know, whef I have found aiythig ofthe slightest value." ' "I certainly shall, detective," ,:returned Fetridge, whose face expressed the satisfaction he felt at securing such an ally.: And so the conference ended. Detective' Lsmm, now 'trning his steps to ivards his own office, not far away, bethought' himself that this man .Stackhouse," whom he' knew very well by sight, would be likely to oc-' cupy a large share of his timei and attention for many daysto come It came as a surprise, even to his imper: turbable nature, to find that the first face to loik into his as he ientered his' offlie wes tse face 'of:Thorntori Stackhouse. lsut' Detective Lamni was quiite eqial to the occasioi. ; "' Were you waitiing to see me"? he asked, in hismost matter-of-fact tones. A quick look had assured him that the banker, though less excited in manneb than his recent client,' was certainly not positively free from agitation. - " Yes," said Mr. Stackhouse, taking a chair in response to the detective's beckoning iunvita-' tion. "My name is Thornton Stackhouse. :1I have come almost directly from the house of! my partoer, Paul North. You know of course, about his death-his murder?" SMr. Lemm ohewed, twirling a pen ,between' his fingers, and waited for his companio 'to continue. ' "Perhaps I need not recount all the cireum;. stances, detectivw, that combine to' make this a very dificult and delicate case. " TYoui will readily understand, without my saying-any thing further, that the very best and most con fdenitial advice is requisite. Anid that is precisely why Icame here, Mr. Lamm,.to en list your services in getting at the facts-all the facts-of this mysterious.crime. Now, can I secure you?, There will be a handsome com pensation-you will have, ail the-time-and money needed to carny on your investigation." Detective Limm, lboking at the wall and stillttwirling the pen in his hands, seemed to be considering what'engagements he had made with which his new comnisson miglt coflicet. At least, sucrh'was the impression of Thornton Stackhouse. " I don't kdow," the detective said, slowly at last. ' "I have a great deal of buseiness just now-more than I can properly handle, in fact. It depends upon. what you want. Was there any particular point you wished to present to my attention. Mr. Staekhose; or a as it simply that you wished me to ascertain facts and re. port to you ?" - or. Staekhouse looked at the doorwith some vague asprehension. W'Ve shnal not be disturbed," said the de tective; "I-tprans the lock ase Ieame in." - " Mr; Stackhouse brought his chair close to the detective. When he spoke it was in very low tones; hardly abovea whisper. - ."' ir. Lasm. you may have read in the after noon papers that a name was written on the ,wall closaetowhere my.parmtr lay dead.!' -:. -:A nod and a reneowd twirling of the pen.' i "That:name, IMr',Lamm, was meant to ber mine-was mine-i"'' SThe deteetid5."riaieed his. eyebroois -. a?i "You are going to ask me' how-dI hor'"!i

,mi'ht'ave meant Stilk or Stoch.or Stockholmi. 'ann so on: :butI hadl a keener and truer sight than the officers there.,: ': , ,: . . Now,,detective, that name was written by some enemy of mindr wlho seeks .to implicate' me in;this terrible. affair.':I am convinced of. the fact. And,'being: so.convinced,. a:man of your experience:does not need told that I dismiss the idea thati]Paul;North, wrote;that name on the wall as utteily.out of the question.'!: S.Theo- grave, listening face near his.wore no' look of surprise, as Mr. Lamm. nodded his full Iuderstanding of his visitor's thdughts.., , ! :. -"North being: put aside; we must :look fors the guilty party in" another quarter. Mr. Lamm, you don't happen to'recollect 'who it was at the' meeting of: Nicaragua directors; of which the papers published an account. testified' that he pwted with Paul North lateyesterday aftecousi ?" - Mr. Lamm'did not appear to.recollect,'for he: pursed up his lips, shrugged his rshoulders slightly, and said nothihng; :. " liWell, detective, that man was Mr. Richard: Fetridge, of whom' youe may have heard-a young lawyer of considerable'property, who has had dealings with our firm;" " Richard Fetridge," repeated the detective, slowly; " well ?" "Mr. Fetridgo stated, after considerable hesitation, which I couldn't help noticing, that he left Mr. North about five o'clock, after a business interview with him at our office. What the nature of that conference between them was Ican't say. Mr. Fetridge and I did not like each other, I'm free to say it, and latterly I fancied that he grew even more curt and unpleasant in his manner towards me than befosre. Not that cared for that, you under stand; I would not have given the matter a moment's thought but for this terrible affair. Nor even now, if Fetridge's strange conference and his hesitancy about saying where he left Mr. North were not put in : "more peculiar light by certain other facts that have come to my knowledge." "New facts?" " Yes. Fetridge and North were seen to" gether at a much later hour than five o'clock the afternoon of the' murder." ' The statement was made pointedly', a?nd the detective gave evidence of interest. ""Are you sure ?" he asked. " Absolutely sure." ' Mr.' Stackhouse's voice had sunk to a confidential whisper.. A busi ness acquaintance whose word is beyond ques tion has told me that" he saw the two men walking up 'the 'PubliO Gardens . at' seven o'clock last evening, going in the direction of Marlboro street." SLamm threw off the mask'df reserve. : "' And that is, to your mind;,a most valuable, a most important, piece of evidence? " In con junction with Mr. Fetridge's- conduct and course, you would consideritvery significant ?' " So significant," returned Stackliouse, '! that but' for the fact that Iwant to have the crimilal so tangled in the mesh when' he- is caught that there can be no 'possible escape, I should before thishave given the information to the police." ' ' "Then your theory is- " suggested the detective. '" What theory could a man hive under the eir^vmatnihcesl Richard Fetridge gained my prtr;er'scdonfidence-got into the family on a friendly footing-saw it was of no use to keep up his scheme of ' working' poor Mr. N?orth any further, enticed himi to this interview and subsequent coiference'at his house, and there murdered him.".. " Murdered him??" echoed Mr. Lamm, with not a shade of difference in the tone of his voice, quite as if he expected just such arevelation. " Not only murdered him," Stackhousewent on, his voice now full and strong under the stress of excitement ; " but tried to fasten the guilt of the crime upon me. Richard Fetridge wrote my name there in the blood of his victim Richard Fetridge and no other. I feel as certain of it as if I had been witness of the deed. He is my enemy; I have felt it for a long time, and in the hostility, andno doubt his dread lest his scheming with North should come to light through my examination of his affairs, he has done his utmost to discredit and dishonour me. Now you see why I want Richard Fetridge watched ; why I want him followed at every step; 'why I want his guilt established by in controvertible proof." (TO Bo COmrNUE?n.) :