|Chapter Title||AND WHO IS THE AFORESAID MARIE|
|Newspaper Title||Euroa Advertiser (Vic. : 1884 - 1920)|
|Trove Title||Written in Red; Or, The Conspiracy in the North Case. A Story of Boston|
On, THE CONSPIRACY IN THE NORTH SCASE.* S A STORY OF BOSTON. BY Cuas. MONTAGUE AND C. W. DYav. CHAPTER V.-AND WI is THE AronESs? MAncE? Detective John L lmm, whose experience had rendered his views of life rather more broad than the prosy theorist who judges the world from his commonplace associates, was not unaware of the existence of the emotional drama in real life. Too often had it been his melancholy duty to draw aside the conventional curtain with which the member of modern society endeavours to conceal his serious affairs from the eyes of his neighbour, and to catch a fleeting glimpse of the contending passions which were seething about the presumably quiet hearthstone. ,The scene which he had just witnessed did not, therefore, seem incredible in itself, but the time and the circumstanccs at and in which it had occurred rendered It, in John Lamm's esti naatian, of a most peculiar and astounding nature. As yet his ideas were too disorderly antd confused to enable him to draw logis?l deductions. The moment had not yet come for theories and explanations. He could only sland still with bated breath and rapid pulse and await the outcome of the strange situation. When Marion fainted, Stella, pale and tiembling and looking very unlike her smiling and roguih self, as the photograph had pro claimed her, ran down to her assistance, and while Annt Comfort was ambling about aim. lessly, wringing her fat hands and reflecting audibly that she couldn't see why on earth she wasn't already crazy, she was making repeated and intelligent efforts at restoration. The sprinkling of water, which Stella procured without summnoning the servants, eventually having the effect of causing the eyelids, upon which some of the drops fell, to unclose, Mlarion murmuredsome incoherent words, arose, and with her sister's help, staggered to a chair, where she sat for several minutes as motionless and as speechless as if she had been in a trance. Aunt Comfort, suddenly awakening to her re sponsibilities, ran to fan her with a book cover, murmuring continuously soothing and reassur n expresstons. Ma n did not appear to notice her, though the detective saw the girl's eyes more than once following her sister's motions in a relent lee,.qnestionmg way. Mr. Lamm hoped for some conversation which would throw hlight on thYdnaimatic charade that had beei enacted in hisairesence, but he was disappointed. Noth ng came but the uninterrupted monologue of wheezy Aunt Cofort. Neither of the sisters spoke other than in monosyllables, "until acion, suddenly flushing under some words of theelderly lady solicitous for Thornton Stack house, said imperiously , Stop! stop! I tell you! Not another word. This house was not his.. It was my father's. Whatever there may be in it which belongs to him must be sent to him. If he overcomes here again I shall go away. If he has given any orders concerning my father's funeral they must be countermanded. It would be a saarilege which I could not permit." -Aunt Comfort seemed to be too much alarmed to make any reply or to put any in quiry, and whatever remonstrance Stella had to offer against her sister's extraordinary conduct must have been uttered before the arrival of -Stackhouse, for it was evident that she had be come hopelesslyresigned to the situation. A ring at the door bell fell with startling effect upon the silence of the house. Stella fled precipitately to the upper regons, while Aunt Comfort, with her hand on her heart, stared apprehensively at the door. It was Marion herself who waved back the advancing servant with an imperious gesture and went re solutely to answer the summons. "Bless me!" Mr. Lamm exclaimed within himself. "It's my risky client!" And behold on the threshold, hat in hand, a bit flushed and embarrassed, and with an ex pression of lively solicitude as befitted the occasion, Mr. Richard Fetridge ! " Youcome ate sa ad time, sir," murmured Aunt Comfort, walking aimlessly between the door and the staircase. " I am very gladyou are here, Mr. Fetridge," Marion said, in collected tones. "If we ever needed a friend, it is at this moment." "I need not say with what eagerness I shall -avail myself of anyopportunity to anidyou, Mrs. Stickhouse," heaid, earnestly. She lookedhim directly in the eyes. "'Not Mis. Stackhouse, Marion N?orth." .He made a painful effort to appear unem barrased, but it was quite evident that he.. was gravely alarmed. - ' -iso Y?u-you-know -" he stfmiied... . -- veya.h.-ng," she returned, with o torloroi !! Good heavens!" he ejaculated, in ill-cn cealed alarm. " Vho told you ?I" - She made no reply in words, but with a sinple sture indicated the portisr- at the right:' Ina moment the two people had .dis apptar from-view, leaving-Aunt Comfort' g like a petrified figure in the museum at thedraw curtain. She was awakened'-from hir lethargy bythe voice of Stella calling iteohsly from uaive. . " aOh nt Comfort! Do come here! Do comehere ' And as the only remaainig personage in the field ofi'his veision disappeared, John Lamm, dtective, began to exhibit sundry signs of er asieration. In vain he strained his listening -isuav.nain he ventured to raisethe sash of the ziwdowto an imprudent degree; Nothing but the.ague murmur of voices and the occasional distant tound of sobbing rewarded his efforts. ''"Tobb cut off at such a point' as this!" bfeu?imed "I'd enjoy hanging the -architect Wb put sucha stupid building together There was nothing for him to do -but to con jstieazd wai. The two people remained it thepaulur for nearly hlf an hour. At the' a4ruitipn of that time the impatient watcher. o hai?a.La tare distgied and they reapere itbe. .hll... Mr. ILmm eagerly marked their rsfustiweppearane, hoping therebyto con stmact some theory of the nature of their inter Vidw. • -Marion Was very pale, colddetercseid elted. Fetridge bore traces of unwonted a oitatidp.. His face was flushed; his hand fhe accomam ed himto the door. He had p .ed it, whehetmrned impulsivelyand said, rion wan't yon recpnsider your un $• :Y? igs..". ,i "oui'?hfto ,n, Sto know Be flaab o + wsye tha straigh -oaotet o ism etifeirmo ...? ?-?.,. a:-.? .??a r?aSon. . . ~~;? ? ? ? .?6?;?;?.tt~;-'~j/:'
"It was only for your good," he murmured. "And I shall still continue.todo everything in mypower to make the terrible blow easier for you." ,e bowed constrainedly, glanced furtively up the staircase as if he hoped to see another face, and went out. The door closed. Marion caught her breath, set her teeth together, clinched herfists, and stood motion less looking at the capet. " I'd give 500 dollars to know what that girl is thinking of," thought the detective: "she can assume the most unpleasant expression for a handsome woman I ever saw. And, hang me, if I shouldn't dislike to be in a position dependent on her and incur her enmity. She would sting like a serpent the man who at tempted to throttleher." Thefair womanwith the Medea face did not remain lon' the subject of his critical contem plation. Slowly, and in the same thoughtful attitude, she began with firm step to ascend the staircase, and soon vanished frommJohn Lnm's sight and hearing. s That gentleman rapidly carne to the con clusion that there was nothig, further to be gained by longer remaining in his precarious hiding place. Carefully closing the window, he turned the key in the lock, and was pre paring to leave by way of the door, when he stopped suddenly under lhe spell of a new idea. He remained inactive just long enough to con sider the feasibility of the proposition. It was a bold step to take, but bold steps, to the verge of recklessness sometimes, were those by which le bad achieved his present eminence in 'i:-ado ipfITihstiiid'ofleaVsag by thodoor, he firstmade sire that the coast was clear, and then gotout of the window and walked rapidly around the corncr to thile front entrnce. lie pulled au:'horitatively at the bell. After a short delay the summons was answered by the still tremulous Moffett. " I am sorry, man," said 3Mr. Lmsn, "but I must see the lidies after all. Give my card to Miss Iartwood, p'ea e. " Moffett acc.ptea the proffered piece of paste bheard, on ewhich was c:lgrored LEtvi- DiLINGit.M, Police I)etectve. Aunt Comfort responded, breathless and asthmatic. She invited Johul Lamm into the reception-room. With quiet dignity the detrc tire proceeded to apolog:se and to reassure her. iieregrette I the neces.sry which forced him to call at such a time, and enlarged upon the great service she might do the cause of justice by making him acquainted with whatsoever facts of any possible bearing on the motive for the murder that sright be in her possession. It was useless. At ano'her time the amiable housekeeper might have filled his note-book with unconscious revelations; but there is a point beyond which garrulous ness becomes complete idiocy, and it is little exaggeration to say that the terrible events of the day had carried Aunt Comfort over the limit. There was abolutely nothing to be got from her but tears and gaslps and interjections. The idea of calling upon Mrs. Stackhouse to present the case was an inspiration to her and a relief to the patient Lamnm. It is true that he awaited the coining of Marion with some compunctions and no little curiosity. The -oung lady entered the room haughtily, and looked at him in a distant, unemotional way. " Did you desire my presence, sir ?' " If you please, madam," said John Lamm; "and also that of your sister, if it be pos sible." " My sister," she returned quickly, " is alto gether too young to be of any use to you in such an emergenc-. Nor do 1 choose to have her disturbed at soch a time." " I bow to your superior judgment, madam. You understand that I am a simple officer of the law with the single purpose of doing my duty. I wish to do it with as little annoyance as possible." " What do you wish, sir? I do not see how anybody in this house can aid you. We know nothing of this crime but the awful fact, and it does seem that at such a time the police might do their duty without intruding into the circle of the bereaved family." " Pardon me," said Lamm, humbly but respectfully, as he stood before her, turning his hat in his uneasy hands. " The affair is a mystery. We desire to arrest the guilty parties. Often the relatives in such cases have strong reasons for suspicions." We have none," returned Marion, deci-, sively . ..... "- No, indeed!" corroborated Aunt Comfort. "The idea of such a thing!" "You are utterly unaware of any possible motive for this crime?" Intentionally Detective Lamm cast a keen, searching glance full into the face of the stoical young woman. His idea was to intimidate rather than to observe her, for he had a furtive ay of scrutinising people without appearing to do so. It was ineffective. Not even her eyelashes quivered. "Utterly," she said, firmly. "And now, sir, are you satisfied ?" " Unfortunately, no" said Lamm, glancing uneasily at Aunt Comfort. "Could 1-would it be presumptuous in me-to ask for a private interview ?" .Marioiidrew a full breath. There was a slight quiver as she did so, which seemed to indicate that her calmness was the result of rigid repression of her spontaneous emotions. She motionedAunt Comfort towards the hall. " Well, sirP" she said as soon as they were alone. John Lamm saw that she had no intention of prolonging the interview. He resolved td break the cee of her reserve with one fell erusk. "Tell me," he said, without preface, " who is Marie Moyso!" She.could not repress the start nor the tell tale fluash that rose into her cheeks. But she made a brave effort which aroused Johu Lainni's unspoken admiration. " Why do you ask !" Only this in a faint voice, as a response to this unexpected bomb shell. "'What grit that girl has!" was ,Tohn Lamm's unuttered *.mment. Her question, however, warned him that he was on the brink of a precipice, the other side of which he could not see. Still, with his accustomed audacity, he took the leap in the dark. "Because," he said, boldly, "there is reason tobelieve that such a woman is mixed up in this affair." "Ah !" she returned, coldly, "I know nothing of her. Really, Mr. Omicer, you must excuse me if you have nothing more to say to me than this. The occasion is too grave-too solemn. You should go to Mr. orth's partner, Mr. Stackhouse. He can tell you more about it than anybody else." Did she mean to give these last words a special emphasis? The detective was not sure, but he saw that it would be more than useless to prolong the interview. He had made up his mind that Marion Stackhouse was impervious to surprise, and inaccessible to an ordinary appeal. Before he could hope to penetratethat armour he would be obliged toprepare himself with a host of factsof which he was now ignorant. So he took his leave wath the best grace possible; and once more breathed the fteer air of the quiet streets. Unquestionably it was a-relief to get out bf that house with its mysteriocis secceits ?id its unlaid ghosts. smuttered ti himself askhe 'alked away. - "At her age such self-command is as uncommon as alottery prize. Well, we'll try agin." Some inquiries assured him that it was not far to the seaside residence of Richard Fetridge. .n five minutes after leaving Marion's presence. he was bowiig before the astonished Fetridge, whom he inet on the verandah overlooking the ocean. "You here?" " So it would seem, Mr. Fetridge."' "And whrt' can you have discovered so soon?" . S"I'll tell you. It's a simple clueaid may notleadtomuch. Still I must beg leave to sk your asstance. I wish to-puts quetion, otipulating that you do notiask-ie any on return. You see,I am not ready to mak-a etdge slightly ~ frowned. Evidently he did notrelish mysteries. . - "Ask your question, Mr. Lamm." "Who is Marie Moys?" " Fetridge esprang up with a force that over turnedhis chair. "The deuce!" he ejaculated. "How came "Hy o h.e"quoth John Lnm inhismind. "This gentleman does not guard his secrets so well as the lady yonder." • - , ". "I niust remind you, Mr. Fetridge," he re turned, quietly, "that you-were ot to ia ,iametions. 'Still, I don't minietalling you that thewoman seems t'Mai -innode way connaeted with our friend Sacehause." "Humph! Ishall begin toregard youaaa wizard rather than a detectire, Mr.. Lamm ," Fetridge rmarked, with-n ..effort mo o~aesal hisasonishient. "I must ayI cannote.n. ceive by what possibility you becassekeisqed of that name. But sincs yon hive, l must mindintb.t?ityow- cig, fdt 6 m~ o , a il t÷ht whaitset'informaion yon obtin endi with. me. Nobbdy beybnd us is to Jknwb a" syhlmbe. You undestand that ?'.: "'I shioud be whioll Igootont of myhtoine" if I.didaot:" -: faaud ijbtha my, how do youspel that, --.F?s s" . '- -. . "
Fetride spelled the name and Mr. Lamm wrote it down, smiling at his own mistake. " French?" "It's a Creole name, I believe." "Oh, to be sure. And have you any idea of her whereabouts at this time?" "She was in NewYork five years ago. I cannot say-though Mr. Stackhouse, who may find it convenient to keen track of her, perhaps can-whathas become of her." The two men looked at each other. "Well," said Fetridge, impatiently, "why do you ask me this? What possible connection can shehave with this case ? Not caring to betray himself by answering this question, John Lamm deemed it prudent to IWthdraw. " I have barely time to catch the train back," he exclaimed, hurriedly, glancing at his watch in the fading light. "I'll talk with you later, Mr. Fetridge." And he was off at once at an energetic pace. But he did not leave Swampecott till he had made Mr. Moffett his firm friend. John Lamm was not of the sort to let grass grow under his feet or to neglect any clue, however unlikely, which could possibly bring him to success in an important quest. II When at last, after a long conference with the "inside man" of the late Paul North, he was in the train on his way back to the city, he began writing an advertisementto be forwarded to a correspondent in New York for insertionin the daily papersthere. "Menar Iozssor!-Any information as to whereabouts of Mario Moiselo willb. s, .org self will learn something to, her advantage by .addressibng n tg-, . It's a slim chance," muttered the detective, " but still it may lead to something." CRHAP VER'VI.-LTFr ArrFn DxEArr. At eight o'clock in.the evening of this same Friday, medical examinerJarrett sat at his desk. in the office at hishouseo busily wriling. "Upon making a careful, and complete examination of the body of the man named Paul North, I find that a ball, probably fired from a revolver of 32 calibre, at an angle of probably 20 degrees, and from a distance not exceeding three feet, entered his back near the spinal column at the seventh intercostal space ons the right side, and passed in an inward and upward direction, going through the upperper tion of the liver and completely through the lower lobe of theright lung. "The path of the ball was not arrested, show. ing that it was fired in the direction indicated. It pierced the lung nearly opposite the third rib, and left the body on the front ide, just above the rib named, " I do not find that the said Paul North could have committed suicide. The position of the entrance of the ball, and its direction, seemed to deny this possibility. "There was ample external hiemorrhage to have permitted the man to have written the words on the wall of the room in which he was found. If so, immediately the writing was con cluded, he no doubt died. "Death was painless, and resulted from in ternal hrmorrhage, caused by the opening of an artery in the right lung." The ringing of the office bell suspended the report of the autopsy over PauliNorth's body at this point. Dr. Jarrett rose to meet his caller, recog nising him at once as the reporter whom he had met a few hours previously at the house in Marlboro street. "Ah, Thomas," he said, "still onthe case, eh? A very good story, that of yours in the afternoon paper-very judicious indeed." "Thanks,' the reporter answered. "And now I want you to help me get out an equally good story, or a better one, for the morning. The autopsy was performed at the City Hos pital morgue, of course. Can't you give me the report ?" Dr. Jarrett shook his head and rubbed his chin. "There isn't a man 1 would sooner give out the report to than you, Thomas, but it wouldn't do to, have it published before it's submitted. All I can y-at this point really is that I have no doubt whatever that murder has been com mitted." Mr. Thomas fingered his watch chain. "Not a word more?" he queried. "I'll tell you what I'll do, Thomas," the medical examiner answered, after a meditative turn up and down the hall. -" You have kept a good many important secrets when .the work outyour silence. I'll tell.you who assisted in the autopsy. You could interview him without mentionmng my name in the matter." A broad smile illumined the reporter's face, and he presented the medical examiner with a very comprehensive wink. "Dr. Francis Huntress is the man," conti nued the examiner, confidentially. "He has an office where he lives, at No. -, Greenwich Park." "I know him well," said. Mr. Thomas, as he parted from the doctor; and there was full justification for the words, in the fricnjily greeting accorded to him at the surgeon's door.' Two minutes after he had'pulled at the bell-' handle, Thomas was'comfortably ensconced in' an easy chair in the doctor's study, the physician sitting opposite to him at his desk, where a drop light burned. "You are the most extraordinary fellow,"' the surgeon exclaimed, admiringly, after Thomas had stated his mission. "Some of the morgue people must have told you I was called in. o?. Well, never mind--we'll assumeyou divined it, as you have a I undredother matters supposedto be the most profound of secrets. Dot I'll tell you one thing, my black-haired friend. This is one of the most curious and remarkable cases that over came to my atten; tion !" ' "You have no doubt it was a case of murder?" questioned Mr. Thomas, busy. with his watch charm. "I can fini no other explanation. You saw the wound. You noticed how the man lay ? Now, the bulletwas a 32-calibre pistol ball. It entered at an angle of certainly not less than twenty degrees, and went upwards and inwards in that direction. I don't know whether you observed any traces of powder on the man's clothing ?" "No." "The-y were there, nevertheless. And that means that the pistol from which the fatal shot was fired coulun't have been held 'more than three feet away. At the same time we con cluded it must have been more than.two. 'And this, you see, effectually disposes of the theory' of suicide." '"An angle of twenty degrees, you say, doctor?" " About that-notexaetly." " Then the pistol was fired behind the man's back ; and was held at'what height from the floor?" "Veryeasily reckoned. About two and a half feet from the floor." "That's curionus." said Thomas, with a puziz!ed air; "'but the angle of twenty degees explain; what I 'couldn't understand.. And that is why the bullet should have enteied the wall at a.height of tenfeet from the floor." "In'deed !" exclaimed the' surgeon, 'greatly interested.; '.' well, now, if you've got the lateral angle tof"thate bullet; innce ,e already ·hove :the.npward~angle of 'it," it-?sa simple ,mit.l?nmatic?l'ronlsm to'desidejust where Paul North stood'when the shot was firesd." : Thomas drew a roll of paper from his pocket. Separating from a curled-up photographer's Sprooftheproof of a compositor, he spread it out upon the surgeon's desk. It was his dia gram of the second floor of the house in Ma-rl boro street. "There, doctor." he said, pointing with his pencil to the centre of the space between the two doors at the back of the library; " that is about the point where the bullet entered. The cartridge end'o! the ball was intact, and pro truded from the wall, pointing like the endof a finger backwards and downwards in a direction that eoold bring us very near the writing desk in the corner b the bay window." "Llo 'far distant ?" "I should say about fifteen feet." The snrgcoa made a brief mathematical cal. - "Roughly speaking," he said, "there is a rise of about asix inches to a foot in an angle of twenty degrees. Starting with a point two and a half feet from the floor the remaining seven feet and a half neceesar to attain the height of ten feet would be gained., in a hori. zontal measurement of just about fifteen feet." * "Capital !" exclaimed Tht ss; ,.wo saw the fore. olthis at ones. "It follows inevitably that the murderer must have tired from a point near the writing desk, and that North stood three orfour feetthis ride of the desk facing Lt?billL." ' . *. . . "hO better still, facing the door near where he was found." "Just asif," aid the reporter, "osmebody thensyssslls to him orteartied him so that he turned sway from his assailant for the moment." "Anidthomurdererbsad:beoa sitting beiIore the writing desk. -Exactly." --.; Thaaiss'mhoo'hbis h)'a dslioesly. '" All this sutid; vefy wll, doetor," he add; "linut it's too mathematics to .trhue., Things r th?er . oThebullet iny ;ht h • Il -p'tsdw o itj..ould.: ...... e - "
deadly ball will fil to do its work-especially. if held too near the' victim. One man, at is said, attempted to commit sunicide by holding- the pistol muzzle against his fore head. eIf he had held it a little way off it would have blown his brains out. As it was, the bullet flattened itself and slid off harmlessly. And as an igstance of the power of a spent ball, I may cite the case of that East Boston woman a short time ago, who was killed while frying douRhnuts at her kitchen stove by a bllet firedby a guard on duty at the navy yard a mile away. To enter the house the bullet bored its way through the whole thickness of the window sash and went clean through her besides." "So that you would consider it nothing astonishing that the bullet in this case, after passing completely through North's body, should still have the strength to bury itself in the walil." ' No,t' said Thomas," "though I should say unhesitatingly that it was no toy pistol. And now, doctor, I want to ask you two or three questions. In the first place, isn't it within the possibilities of medical science to determine how long a man has been dead?" "Anywherewithin twenty.four or thirty-six hours. probably yes." " With how much accuracy?" " Well, possMly witilh an hour." "As close as that?'" " I believe that most surgeons and physicians accept the proposition of an eminent surgeon and chemist who stated a few years ago that of the other organs, and then submit the clotted blood in the heart to microscopic tests. The blood, you'know, is made up of three parts the serum and the red and white corpuscles. The red corpuscles contain the life. That life remains for several days after death it the body is without disease to induce over-rapid decom position. The length of time which has elapeed since the heart ceased to beat may be deteri .mined by the amount of life in the red cor puecles.- The same test is also applied to the contents of the other vessels." " Have those tests been applied in this case, doctor" - "Yes, but merely as an experiment to com pare with the other tests'applied. Iam happy to say they showed, in a measure, the probable 'eliatility of the theory."- - "And what were those other tests?" " Most bodies become quite cold in from eight to twelve hours after death. In the cases of bodies which present certain signs that I need not detail, we know that death has not been present more than twelve hours. In from twelve to eighteen hours, however, the eyeballs become soft and inelastic, and feel flaccid. The last sign of the earliest stage of death is the rigor mnortis. This is, perhaps, the most de pendable of the signs we have to guide us at present. Of course, the rigidity. of the body may continue beyond a week, but the circum-. stances which would occasion this would be too extraordinary to be unnoticed.. .Considering all these things, I should repeat that the length: of time which Mr. North has been dead is toler ably certain;" - " AAnd from this, when did you determine that Mr. North had died?" "Perhaps Dr. Jarrett'would object to my giving that information to the Press," said the surgeon hesitatingly. "Then don't give it to the Press. Give it to me." Thomas smiled insinuatingly. "And you-what ivill you do with it?;' - "Compare'it with such other information as I already possess, to see if my suspicions are correct;" i"You suspect somebody.'' " Everybody." The surgeon laughed, and' Thomas laughed with him. There was a quiet air of unassuming ability and 'strength of character about the newspaper man which asserted itself to every body of sufficient discernment to appreciate' such a fact before he had been in his presence five m:ninutes; - The surgeon, moreover, knew him to be a man of his word. " Then I understand that this communication is confidential " he asked. " Decidedly, for the present." , "In that ease, I don't mind telling you that we came to the conclusion that Mr.'North was shot between, i-ht and nine o'clocklast night.', The resorter repeated the sentence word for word -to" be sure .there -was -no mistake, anid rolled thependant to his watch chain rapidly, attention was directed towards the glistening white trifle. ' "That?"said the reporter, glancing down and up again with a quaint smile. "That's a souvenir of a case I worked on once.; It was a woman's tooth, I suspect, at one time. It was a sort of 'a clue which I followed to success, while the rest--. But it doesn't matter. :It's. ean interesting story, so I won't 'get 'started on it. I'm not so sure the North case won't equal it.' Of course you know 'about that strange ,writing on the wall ?'" - S Yes,' "was the~snswer; "Dr.: Jarrett said there was no doubt that- a name was scrawled there. and that the writing was in blood." '" Do you think Mr. North could have written: 'it himself ?'" " Well,'that is'a leading question," answered thesurgeon, as he leaned back in his chair. "I did not see the writing." "No?" said Thomas. He- unrolled' the photographer's proof. "'Well, there it is natural size, just as it looks." ' The surgeon ecrutinised the scrawl with great interest. " Well, this is most extraordinary," he said. "Why, you may plainly mark how many timnes he was obliged to dip: his finger by the corre spoending heaviness of outline. Observe the S; the a, the h, and finally the letter following the u, where his 'strength seems suddenly to have deserted him and the finger dragged down ewarde. That makes four times." - " Yes, if he wrote it," said Thomas. "But how about that, doctor?" "' There is, at least, no conclusive reason why he might not have written it himself. It was certainly done with his forefinger. A~carefol examination of the end of that finger convinces me that it had not only been dipped in' blood, but thereafter drawn over a surtaco while wet. The difference in the degree of the 'stain'at different parts of the finger indicates' that.' How far above the floor is this writing r" "Just about a foot and a half. It is a tinted wall,'and the writing is immeliately above the footboard." In his interest the surgeon actually left -his chair and got down upon his side by his study wall, and, raising himself slightly.oa- his right elbow, began to trace with the forefinger of his right hand.' SJust the right height," he said. " Wais the writing horizontal? Did it run just parallel with the footboard ?' - " Just about." r "If a man had directed this writing from a higher point, Thomas, he would have written back-handed. How was the slore' of. the lettees?". " Natural." "And have you seen-any specimens of North's haudwristingl.Doe he fcrm hi letters thatway?" . :. Yg; as nearly sa couldhbe expected.under the circumstariesb." " ' "- Then . I should 'u-3," si ud the surgeon, rising, "that ~tt'l more= than-preisxbls - tbat' North wrote it."--.------------ "But withawound like that," suggested the reporter, "death must have been instan. taneous." " Ah, there you have failed to distinguish between speedy.death and.inatan--eons death. What is commonly eled instantaneboms death- from a shot in the heart, for instance-is by o means such. A seconid is an hour to a dying man. On the other hand, the severing of the spinal.column by a bullet would aetualy cut a thoulght in two. MIan goes into the presence of his Maker under such circumstances without an instant to prepare himself. But in a case like North's, we must take into consideration the power of the human will to prolong life." . no deferthe moment of death ?" asked the reporttr, iucreduloasly. . "Certainly. A man shot through the heart often has time to cry out a sentence.' The in credible swiftnesa of thought 'in the hour of mortal peril has been attested by the months of' hund?e of witnesses. Re~cued from impend: lng death by some' providential pood fortimne, they have declaread that they lived over the events of a lifetime fiia feaw seoonds." "But this witing on the wall was ot an act of memory..' S"'t No.; 'But with thought in a 'man of strong purpose would come quick determination and the powerto ac, even at- that moment. You: must bearin mind that Mr. North's death was caruedby the flliuig of -hie.--'rn"wh. blo-od instead of air. It was? painledstbhdMr. North's willpower would have enabled him. to prolong his life ?i ?..y'eondar-era?. nlt,.. cond ample, time for .te witing of bh:s n n Nornh. raca it slowly; a ilwun did . a , -- ' --- . " -. movaisgolapaes
The surgeon had arisen and was accompany ing the reporter to the door. Thomas stopped him by a restraining gesture. "By-the way,'doctor, stand just as you are. Now will you put your finger on that part of your body corresponding to that *here Paul North was shot P' The surgeon obliged him. Thomas, standing behind him, made several rapid measurements and calculations with his eye and hands.'.:, "There is somethiug decidedly curion ere, doctor," he said. "Stand behind me, please. Suppose me your intended victim, if it's not too great a strain on your imagination. Now see where you must hold your piotolto comply with all conditions-within three feet, pointed up wards at an angle of twenty degrees!" The surgeon, who hastened to attempt the experiment, uttered an exclamation of sur praise. " Curious.how much a man may miss when he thinks he has observed the whole, some. times "he said. "Why, I never thought of this before." - "What, doctor?" "The man. who fired that ball must have been upon his knees." " Precisely ! Precisely!" exclaimed Thomas. "Justmy thoughts exactly. What sane perona would fire a pistol at a man in any such direction in an erect attitude ?)t would be almost equally 'alisid if the assasshin"had been seated." "You are right," returned the surgeon, thoughtfully. "' e might havebeen crouching behind some article of furniture-" . wo.-. -Ie-n-'jIsssnc.sJ' kncksh O'lOown'- " Thomas interposed, turning a very meaning look upon the surgeon's face. "So. indeed! That would indicate, then, a struggle to your mind !" "It would indicate that the murderer fired in elf.defence, or from momentary passion in dueed by North's treatment of him.' "Good! Good!" cried the surgeon. "There's a theory that presents all the plausibility of life. These cold-blooded, deliberate murders are going out of fashion in this age of the world. And thereupon the horrified, murderer flees and the dying man writes his name upon the wall by which he lles.' - Thomasshook hands warmlywith the speaker. He did not'say so, but the surgeon understood the action to indicate that the reporter was congratulating him upon having arrived at the same conclusions to which he himself had come. When Thomas found himself in the cool air of the June night again, he hastened at a round pace in the direction of Newspaper Row. He was near the door of his own office when a man jumped from a horse-car and tapped him upon the shoulder. It was Detective John Lamm, direct from Swampscott. '"What's your hurry, Kingmaun?" he in quired, with the easy assurance of a familiar acquaintance. "Come up into my office a few minutes. ' I want to talk with you." tenorter Thomas consulted his watch. '- Te fact is, old man," he said, with a frank smile, "I'm rather driven to night. - It's that North mystery, you understand." "How do you know that isn't the very matter I wanted to talk with you about ?" re turned Mr. Limm, taking the reporter's arm 'with good-humoured insistence, and escorting him, half reluctantly, to his own private den, as he called it. S"Kingman, I know you, and you know me," said the detective, after they were fairly settled 'in their chairs. "It came to me when I saw you just now that we might work this case together. It wouldn't be the first that we have handled together, eh?" " You're right,'! said Thomas. " Now, I'm interested in this North mystery very, particularly, you understand." pursued Mr. Lamm, quite warming to his subject, now. that he was closetted with a tiled friend, and at an hour when he was reasonably secure from interruption. "Not for the Government, of course. Private parties. And my opinion, gathered from all I have been able to ascertain about the case, is that it is very mysterious, 'very complicated, and may baffle even the most thorough investigation." Thomas pursed up his lips, and regarded the gas jet doubtfully. - "You don't think so, eli ?" " When I hear what Thornton Stackhouse'es alibi is,.I can answer you better.'!. "Aihbi, eh'? So you have the medical ex aminer's report? Good! Just what I was after.: When did North die'?" ' with another. ' - "Do you suppose I have the doctor's repcrt on the autopsy in my coat pocket~"'! 'Mr. Lamm ventured to express a shrewd suspiecon'that his fiiend did possess, b some 'fortunate chance or other, the essential facts of that report, and Mr. Thomas quite justified that suspicion by letting him know, min strict con fJeuce,'the outcome of his intervio- with the surgeon.. The detective uttered a long, lowrwhistle. "Curious! Mighty. curious !" 'he com mented. " If you'll, be so-goodas to give me an opportunity," suggested Thomas, "I'll be pleased to ejaculate with you.! '. Umha ! You said a moment ago; Thomas. that your'opinion of the'case would depend upon the alibi of Thornton Stackhouse. . What wou!d you say if I told you that the said gentle man'e elsewhere has one weak spot in it, in volving the precise period of time that you have mentioned?" "I should say nothing, but remain in hourly expectation of Thornton Stackhouse's arrest.!' ` Very well. See that you do say nothing, for the secret is yours and mine at present. 'And so you have already convicted the poor fellow ?" John Lamm took one of the cigars which' stood upright in the upper pocket of his vest' and drew a match agaminst the under side of his chair, which was tipped back against the "I must confess." Thomas replied, "that it' looks to me something that way." "Oh, indeed, yes. The evidence is strong even stronger, probably, thlanyouknow--against him. But'then " ". . ' ,In lieu of..continuing, Lam'm lighted his "T' homas, what is your definition of a food theory of a mystery ?" he suddenly inquired, as he threw the match from him;'. "'I don't know thst I ever thought of defiSing it." "Well, I'll tell, you whit.miiie is.. A good theory is one'which thoroughly explains all the facts in the case." " Short and comprehensive,"'! said Thomas. "I subscribe to. it. That's my idea. Now, is there any fact in the case, so far known, in consistent with Thornton Stackhouse being the man ?,? " None at all." "' Ah'! . And yet I can nee plainly enough that you don't subscribe to my opmion. Is there any fact which the supposition of his guilt .leaves "There is one fact which the supposition of his guilt does not explain;:. "-Well, now we are coming to.the point. " It doesn't explain to mymlahd whypa certain individual of my acquaintance should be so anxious to convict him." " ' "Nanoe the man." "It wo uld '.be a ..beh .:of. ?pofessioal ieiquette. BurM 91 yo and I are old friends, shomas, and.never betray each other's con flilences, I don't mind saying to you that, if you can get hold of any facts tending to explain Mr. Richard Fetridge's strong interest in this case, I shall be exceedingly obliged if you wall bring them to me."' " Jupiter!" exclaimed Thomas, opening his eyes; "there is more in this case, then, than I SAnd when he left thib rocm afterahalf-liour's further convrsenitioa, it was with the convwetion that, unless some unexpected thinghappened'to determine otherwise, the North mystery would turn out to be a complication worthy .of his beat thoughts and his most skilful treanent. Asfor .Detective John' Lamm, he remaindt for fully.an hour after Thomas had left hi.m, motionless and silentin a cloud of smoke. He was quite aware that his bold stroke of enter prie? of'the morning had put himn a lng distance ahead of any otjer possible investigator in- 'the ease. o'Thiqustion was how to turn his dis coveries to the bet advantage. (rOsa o00nozrao.)