|Chapter Title||THE HEAD OF THE SERPENT.|
|Newspaper Title||Euroa Advertiser (Vic. : 1884 - 1920)|
|Trove Title||Written in Red; Or, The Conspiracy in the North Case. A Story of Boston|
WRITTEN IN RED; On, THE CONSPIRACY IN THE NORTH v CASE.* a -- ch A STORY OF BOSTON. n ar CH?a. Moz-IaOo AS ,D C. W. DYI. Co CHAPTER XXI.-Tns HEADn OF THE i SEBzPExT. Without denying that the Press, in these days of sharp news competition, occasionally clogs the wheels of justice in the effort to supply the ublic'ith the latest news in great criminal C affairs (in little ones, where the interest is not y' great, there is little fault to be found), it must fe nonethe less be said thatin mot cases the H extreme publicity given to the details becomes w in itself a mighty engine of detection. °, Possessed of all the facts, the entire PO public is resolved into a detective force. The salient points of the case, which in Ft other countries are kept profoundly secret o among a few men, are in everybody's mouth. f The people are made familiar with the appear- be ance, the histories, the peculiar facts in the lves of the victim, and of those suspected of complicty in the crime. The result is that a bi ew hours afterthepublicationof theimportant al detil of a mysterious crime people begin to f ock to the offices of the great newspapers, eager to contribute the mite of information P hich they posseess. As time goes on, and the " factean a wider and wider circulation, even s thato ever-lessening circle which poverty, inorance, or stupidity isolates from the tio fountain-head of general information, the newspaper, is reached, and if there is any m suspicious fact known to any disinterested peron in the community it is more than likely M to b broght to lig ht through the same peculiar he channel.f he Thehorth case waE certainly not an anomaly OP n this respect. North and Stackhouse were too well known through their dealings with St .iepnbliecnottohave left all sorts of "clues" Co -a.na ?n?stý e aue i t-om inh thpatrle Whicht were sure to come out as soon as the dreadful as crime set everybody talking about them. To w Thomas were referred aaily several people who ha cameto the Loston Glote office for the purpose of affording, through that journal, assistance in carrying on the important investigation, which, F though as yet so little successful, had set -everybody agog with wonder. From these people the reporter learned that North andth Stackhonse had many enemies, more or less m bitter and personal, rising from their question. able business transactions; but there was b' nothing which impressed him as sufficiently h' promising to be important until the morning of m Saturday, 25th June, when a gentleman called who related a circumstance which seemed to him -pregoant with possible significance. It certainly lacked no element of romantic and fI mysterious interest. It was an episode in a Boston broker's office in which a very pretty woman figured. The k man could not recall all the dtails, but he recollected that this woman had preceded him in the occupancy of an inner office, and that 0o had heard scraps of a very animated conversa tion h of which North and Seackhouse were the n subjects. In the partition between the outer and inner offices there were a series of large d windows, which were generally in various n degrees of openness As he stood with hisack against the partition, theanarrator could not well avoid hearing the conversationbetween the broker and his fair client, and after the glimpse " he had caught of the latter, his curiosity was oonsiderably aroused. The broker semed to a have been defending the reputation of North d and Stackhouse, on the ground that it was neoessary to expect jst such phenomena in the stock market, but the woman, who appeared to have been a heavy loser in the Nicaragua Mid land, was unsparing in her denunciations of the firm, which she delivered in not especially choice English with a slight foreign accent, but in the bitterest and most vindictive tone. -"Hush!" said the broker, suddenly; "there is Mr. Stackhouse now." And sure enough the junior partner of the aforesaid firm was e crossing the office at that minute. Immediately Y there was a suppressed scream, followed by a rustle'of silk. anid the door between the inner t and outer offices closed with a violence that caused the listener to rebound from the partition. The clerks looked up from their writing. Stack house himself appeared slightly startled, but he seemed to be in a hurry, and transacted his business and hstened out in a short space of time. Meanwhile in the inner office the broker was addressing his client in tbies of solicitous alarm. What wa the matter ? -. " " And do you mean to tell me that that man' was this Mr. Stackhouse, of .orth and Stack. house " the woman said, starting up very ex citedly. - - . "To be sure he is," answered the broker. " And is it to tht man that I was entrusting my'money." she asked. There was such a danerous inflection in the Swonn's voice that the broker was apparently surprised into silence, and immediately she brok t e out in the most iolent imprecations and epithets which the listener had ever heard pass a woman's lips. v Why" said the narrator to the reporter, I feltasif I were standing outside a cage watching a mad tigress expanding her strength on'the iron bars. I didn't know what she could have against Thornton Stackhouse, but I thought I would rather be in any position than in that man's shoes with sach a woman in his wake. But as it was none of my business, I ceased to trouble myself about it." This was the extent of the informant's obser vation. He was buttonholed by a business ac quaintance at that minute, and heard and saw nomore exceptthatthe woman shortly after wards went out, and that her passion had left her very pale for one of her complexion. That this episode might be of value had not occurred to him till he had read an article in that morning's Boston Globe suggesting a conspiracy against Stackhouse; but hA desired to give the information in confidence, as he did not care to be placed in the light of an eavesdropper before his business associates. Mr. Thomas assured him that he might rest easy on that score, and hastened to follow up the new clue. It was with a glow of genuine excitement that after an hour's interview with the broker, in whose office this episode had occurred, Mr. Thomas hastened to the office of John Lamm. He met the detective at the foot of the stairs, andtheywent up together. The outer office was occupied, and Lamm led the way to his den. Scarcely a word had been interchanged. Both men were eager to speak. " I've got something that will surprise you," said Thomas; " so prepare to sponge out a few of (he figures on your eslate and begin on a new seent." S,,Yesa ? I' You have- mid your say about Marion Stackhouse. Now, Isimply want to show youn that there are others who have shown them selves to be more vindictive enemies of her husband than she has. I bring you a new anae."L ' " 0-eH.
"Not the Albert Runyon which appears in I T the anonymous letter to -orth .which you d published yesterday.: I" " No, sir; something rwore tangible than that. Madame Ravmond." ' Thomas hid expected John Lamm to present q, a face of deep professional interest, hut to his cc great chagrin the detective actually laughed. " You don't mean to say, my friend; that p! yon have but just heard of her ' Why;, I've u: been working on her for days !" Thomas stared. f " Then you don't care to. hear what I have pl Sdiscovered i" bi "fBy all means," said Lamm, regaiuing his g9 seeiousnes. " It mayb just what I need to A round off the facts already in my possession." tl . Thereporter began his story. He first re lated what his oluntary informnnant had told in him, and then of his visit to the broker. .It ap- er peared that the latter had.a distinct recollection of the episode in his office, though he professed as to attach no importance to it, to see no connec- I tion between it and subsequent events. To be to sure, the woman had acted moststrangely; but di weren't women always doing something that m no man would ever think ofP . However, the brokter:was willing toi give the reporter. every, f Ipossible aid. Tlhe wouan'esnnmo was Madame it Marie Raymond, aondshesad been a eustome dSh in sbocks feor esome twro years .She so wuan a mew-t'or. l?-omm aaland edbene. c .mearely.l uiyely,.i. in -o.a.l?eheor;cspoeimoies Li except- the 'babbei? a ranLguar " lidland- To' 'h the act of tier losses the broker wholly attri buted her conduct on the occasion in question, which had been about sic weeks previously. She was not the person to bear any defeat with an equanimity. so "And now," said John Lamin. "when does. hoe ay he was last visited by this womau ?" su " Not since that occasion. All her business wI had been doneo by mail, post-marked Nes ys York." to T"Ah ! And did he mention that he sent her w: to Richard Fetridge " - he "-No.". Y "Well, le did, Thomas, wittingly; and as th sure as you are sitting in that chair you have cc just related to me the initial scene of the ci tragedy in Paul North's house." ar Thomas stared at his friend, the detective, ib to assure himself that he was in earnest and in his right mind. But there could be no doubt eJ on either point. "And then," said the reporter, eagerly, "'you give up the idea that Marion Stack house originated the conspiracy ?" tel " "Well," returned Latnm, "I give up butl very little. My opinions have been enlarged AI and modified to suit the now facto--not At changed. However, it's not 'theories you want now, but facts. Let me give you an idea of. tri what work I have been doing since our nlast conference." . ey The detective took out his note-book, opened it upon his knee, and referred to his hiero. " Yes, Mr..Thomas, your broker quite sn" he wittingly sent Madame Raymond, alias Madame Perle, and as a matter of fact, Marie Moissot, n Creole, born in New Orleans, twenty-seven years ago, to. Richard Fetridge. .R Her con-i ference with the broker was on the 10th May. t Her appearance in Richard Fetridge's office loc was onthe llth May. Ergo, Mr. Broker-man must have casually mentioned that it was re ported in the street that North and Stackhouse e were all right because backed by Richard Fetredge." Thomas marvelled at the apparent accuracy a of his friend's statements. "In the name of wonder where have you ch been thepastforty-eight hoursn" . "M?y sources of information are confidential o but reliable," said the detective. "The ha almighty dollar will sometimes open the month let of the confidential servant that is, while the confidential servant that was, if he is approached properly, is ever ready to get his old master into ha a scrape. And besides that, I have received the confessions ofa gentleman who shall be name- 11 less, whose means of judgment are unexcep. I tional." "I understand dimly, but enough. Never mind the how ; let's have the what. ' "At once, my boy. The 11th of last May Madame Raymond visited Richard Fetridge for h, the first time. When she came in at the door he looked upon an entire stranger. She came openly to discover the exact standing of North and Stackhouse as a firm, and of North and del Stackhouse as individuale. In the midst of their conference about Stackhoase, the womanegn as these: 'Thornton Stackhouse must go to the wall, my friend, wife or no wife! He shan't n escape me, now that I know him ! The man I an have been turning heaven and earth to find ! I shall denounce him-ruin him.' Thereupon wi Fetridge, observing that this extraordinary hi speech has attracted the attention of his clerk, P, who had forgotten himself so far as to stare at the woman with his mouth open, hustles his mysterious visitor with mysterious haste into of his inner office, and not only closes the door, ho but locks it. The aconference lasted fully two hours. Fetridge came out once or twice to dis- w miss some visitor or other, and the change in his colour and manner was so marked that the it clerk was greatly impressed. So much so, in fact, that he began to wonder and to watch - for madame's r turn." "It is plain where you got your information, th Lamm. But go on. His secret is as safe with both of us as with one." "Did I not know that, Mr. Kingman F. Thomas, this offensive and defensive alliance o fa ours would never have been formed. Well, the tel clerk waited some days in vain for the return'of madame. But he avows on his honour that'he p never met a man so systematically irritable, s abstracted, and nervous as was Richard Fetridge during the interim. Finally, on the lthoflast an month, Madame Raymond visited the office a a second time. On this occasion our friend e Fetridge received her eagerly, andbadehis clerk a inform all callers thathe was out. Theyretired th to the inner office. The clerk couldnotrestrain his curiosity, and he attempted to satisfy it by m applying both eye and car to the keyhole. The door was opened upon him suddenly, and his y attitude and confusion were considered by Fet ridge good grounds for his peremptory dis- to charge."i "His unfortunate efforthad only put him into possession of the following statement from the lips of the woman; and you can easily imagine a that i means worse than nothing to him: "' Mr. Fetridge, you and I understand each other, then. You will go to New Orleans; thence to Montreal. You will find out that every word I have told youis the truth. When you return, meet mein New York. I will come tBoston with you, and we will act to gether."' " Whew !" ejaculated Thomas,. excitedly. "This is most extraordinary." D "Then what will you say to the sequel, my m booy Within two days Richard Fetridge had started upon that mysterious month's absence bi about which we were curious awhile. ago. tl You can easily understand now why he was so a long gone.. 1ew Orleans and Montreal area at long distance.apart; and the events .which he a wished to veiify happened more than trn years a I o, What events do you suppose them to be!" "There is no moral doubt about the matter. a He was investigating the history of the junior Spartner of i'orth and Stackhouse, the man I whom you yourself once said to me had no S"Th "Pff asair "" o "mplaeatpie d," sjid Thomas. "But I can dimly see a light ahead, SIfaney. Go on." "Thereis little more to be said. But that I little is much. Richard Fetridge and Madame Raymond reached Boston on the same day, June 14th. Tuesdaymght. "Until Thursday evening the woman re moined in her room. That night she wentout, and was broucht homs byFeteadge?" The detectivehesitated. " At what tiie?" demanded the reporter. "Well, sir,' answered John Lamm, im pressively, "unless my landlady has misin formed me, it must have been about half an hour subsequent to the murder of Paul North!" r CHAPTER XXII.--TnE ManDa WaPs ft A double knock at the door interrupted the it conference at this moment. John Lamme's as d sistant, admitted, whispered a few words in the ot detective's ear. S "Bring her in," said Lamm, alond. As the Sman passed out, the detective tipped Thomas a to wink. re "It's my littleamateur detective at North's," ed he murmured. . ad Immediately a spruce and bright-eyed brunette, very tastily dressed, crossed the nt threshold, with a bnght smile for her em r, player: but when she saw Thomas she hesi Er. tated and drow back. "Oh, it's all right. Don't be afraid. It's , only my partner," said Lamm, reassuringly. ice He introduced her to Mr. Thomas, closed the 5. door, and gave her s hair. th Don't be afraid to speak out," he said, kindly. "tYou're among friends." ," "I'm afraid all but to death," said the girl, sw who was evidently excited. "It this thing ow should ever come out about me! Not that I care for my present place. I'd have given" notice last week if it hadn't been for you, Mr. on Lamm." on "Now, don't go worrying, my girl. Your i- servies to the cause of justice wll not onlybe ier rewarded here, bat hereafter, as I have always ew told you. Now I see you have something to tollime. WhatisitP" " "GOrsciosu!" exclimed the girl ".I'm all in a fluster. Better ask me what it in't.
I There's so mitch I couldn't write it. - I didi't I' dare to. I--'m a thief. What do you think a I've done? .Stolen a letter." | Tho girl announced this with a half- les trilmphlnt, hall-frightened air, and looked to quickly from fac. to face, to see whether her th conductwas consideredexemplarv. ar "Oh, you're getting on," said Lamm, re- '1e pressing a tendency to smile. "You'll be well es up in the profoision in a short time." F, "I wouldn't have done: it," said the girl, so fl.ashing a grateful glance towards her em- sti ployer, "if It hadn't been for one thing., My pc brother John wrote to me yesterday tlhrthe had se got that nice placeyou promised me to gethim. be And them as remembers me, why, I remembers it, them." br And without further ado, the maid searched ev in the bosom of her dress, and producedan th envelope. go "The lady went out last night, and while be she was gone I went through her writing-desk. ri I didn't have time to do alr I'd like to. I was by too scared. But that was put all by itself in a wi drawer, and -I thought by the way it read it wi might be useful." u The detective took the letter with an indif- col ferent air ; but the- moment lie began to read it his face changed colour. Actually, Thomas did not believe that John Lamm would betray a so much agitation. But his own turn was he coming. Without a- word of comment Mr. Latmme 'th?se the hospe letter.intoahts friendl's 'Ot 'Land. -"`` " '=a-. . c.i .And this was what Thomas saw:- sir "Boston, 16th June, 1SS3. ha " My Dear Madam,-Mr. Richard Fetridge me and Mr. North, your father, are to have wl secretly a conference at the Boston h's - Marlboro street, after dinner to-night. The dii subject to be discussed is your husband. They will try to keep fromyou the object. If, now, en you are a wise woman, and value yourrepu-, ab tation and your happiness in the future, you ea' will not hesitate to secrete yourself in that dii house to them unknown, before seven o'clock. *A You may then hear all, and govern yourself an therewith.' Breathe a word of this confidential yo communication .to anybody, and all your an chances you will destroy of knowing that you co are deceived, and shamefully victimised, by fri those who should protect you best. sai "BBelieve me a woman, dear madam, who be sympathises with you, and your, he "FRIEND AND VWELL VIWasie." in Without a word Thomas hastened to open 1o his pocket-book, and to produce a second ml letter, which had been lent tohim by Inspector chi Applebee for publication in the .loston Globe.: It was the anonymous missive denouncing. t Albeit Runyon to Paul North. us Thomas laid the two epistles side by side and triumphantly thrust them under Mr. Lamm's ma eyes with a single comment-- mi "The handwriting!" Indisputable fact. The same person had he written both letters. . "'Well! well well !" murmured TohnLamm no helplesaly. to] "Who's at the bottom of your conspiracy dis now ?" Thomas whispered triumphantly..' h, my boy, you'll have to revise your facts to fit of these circumstances." The detective checked him with a warning look, and immediately addressed the maid "You say Mrs. Stackhouse went out last Ti evening. Do you know why ?" "Well, you may be sure I do. If not, I can guess," returned the maid. - "She spent all the afternoon trying to write a letter. She must have torn up a dozren, for the waste basket was half full'of scraps. And no' she went to the post-office and pat it in with her bt own hand, for Moffett saw her." me "Indeed!" saidLamm; "and we; I suppose, see have no means of knowing for whom that tro letter was meant?" ta'l "Yes, irdeed we have," returned the maid tel with an air of self-conscious shrewdness. "I l happened to be in at the time she was going w out.. It was a big, square, cream-white enve- le lope. such as she always writes on, and was written to Thornton Stackhouse, Adams-house, Boston." me "Ab ! And so she has at last answered him, Bu Thomas," he whispered in his. friend's ear dal " we must have that letter or the ones that nit she didn't send. It may give as the whole cee story." Thomas nodded. ' And this, I suppose is all?" asked the th detective, turning agai to the yonng woman. bet bol'e White =hr?oged her. houlders and , t't9'l,,Itguesnot. Weil, s , 'she me exclaimed, and enjoyed the huge anticipation the and wonder to be read in the faces of the two itt men. I " Mollie, you're a jewel," said John Lamm, Tb with genuine admiration. "If you keep on tw this way I'll get brother John's salary raised. ant Now, what is it ." as "Well, you see, sir, to begin with, Miss f Harwood went out last evening to visit a friend of hers, and while she was gone- Mrs. Stack house had a visitor." " Wansthis before or after the letter was written ?". re "This was after it was written, but before ste it was posted. He only staved half an hour, ma and afterwards she went out and took the letter ths with her." fin "By he, of course; you mean 'the friend of the the family,' Mr. Fetridge ' an The girl tossed her head with a contemptuous Hi sniff. "Friend of the family, indeed! Well, the ap family with him consists of one person, I can tell you; and that person don't scareely be in awe position to return his affections." "Ehl Eh? What's this?" said Lamm. of "Love-making!" . of "No wonder you're surprised, Mr. Lamm, up and she a married woman ! - Well, you maybehi sure I was; and if it wasn't for you I'd ive my notice at once. Never tilllastnightdidIreally suspect the baseness- of such a monster; but then I saw with my own eyes, and heard with my own ears." "So you listened to their conversation, did we you?" st "And what harm? If it was me they my suspected of thieving they'd have no hesi*. fo tancy, ladies and gentlemen though they con- CL oider themselves to be. Ieforethis, you see. I p haven't a-dared to risk it on account of Miss e Harwood, but last night, the old lady being out see and nobody about but myself, I just quietly of sidled upto thi door and peeked in. You see, bh it was warm and the light in the hall hadn't been turned on, and it was so dark you could th scarcely see your hand, but the glass doors a leading from the parlour to the verandah were th opened, and the missis and her fine gentleman in were sitting full in the stream of moonlight." Ci "Ah i How interesting you are, Miss White! at Describe their attitudes as near as you can te- of member." " Well, sir, she was fidgety and drawn away; but he was tender and kept coming nearer on tb the sofa. ' You know what the obstacles are,' th saysshe. 'Andit there were no obstacles?' h says he. ' Oh, Richard, I am a very wretched ca woman!' says she, which was true enough in all conscience. She kept tapping her foot on the carpet,with her face turned away from him, and he getting nearer and bolder all the time, I and, finally he caught her hand. 'You are I making yourself miserable, Marion' sayse he. i But she pulled herself away and got up and d nearly froze him with her look. 'You forget, a si atl syab. s h -sliEry hethkn t was getting I for you, yes,'says e. Andeshewas getthsay on his knems, she put out her hands in front of her as if to ward him off, and says, 'Oh, Richard! Richard! Am I not wicked enough already without your making me worse?' But I guess he thought not, for he kept on making her a great deal worse." "And as I understand it," said the detective, "she was not so tremendously angry, after all P" "Well, not what I call angry," returned the parlour maid,promptly. "ifithadbcen me, and me a marnried woman, Ird have knocked him down; but she only seemed to get on her Sguard to keep him just as far and no nearer. SBut then, you know, she says she ain't married, and I suppose if she's got that notion it makes a difference. 'And ah, Richard!' she says, 'when I thinkof what we two have lost be causeof our own miserable folly'-I can swear Sto them words miserablefolly-says she, ' when I think of it I almost go mad. I have punished Smyself 'by a year of torment and a wasted, ruined life. and yonu-' And then she covered her face with her hands and began to cry." " What! Marion Stackhouse! Cry! Im possible!" exclaimed the detective. td "Cry!" echoed the parlourmaid. "And e why not? I've seen the tears come into her * eyes for veryv spite. Oh, I guess you don't ii. know that 'omun. She can cuddle up and be as cunning as a kitten if she wants to. a Well,'she was very melancholy then, and sat . down and cried for a long time, and he tried e to console her, and she kept saying it was ' useless,' to 'leave her alone,' to have pity on t, her'-and that sort. And he says, ' But what's the harm, Marion, after all, since you know the l, truth and I know it. Why can't we go a long g way froh here and be happy yetP But she wouldn't hear of it. 'No,' she says, 'there's ei tishappiness for me anywhere,' and I guess r. that's true enough, too, for she's not the kind that would ever be happy it she had the ran of ur everything. 'Oh,' she says, 'you don't know be me, Richard Fetiridge, or you'd repulse me, Sinstead of sitting beside me.'" o "Did she say that? Are you sure?" broke in Thomas. .R "That, or something awfully near It, ,sir. t. 'a not taing rmy rath to eyer wocd; itt
I'll takoe my chances on getting the sense out of o thing once I hear it good. 'I know you, Marion,' says he, 'very well. You're reck less, and impulsive, and proud, but you mean to do right. You have carriedyourpridebefore this to the brink of ruining your own happiness and making a wreck of mylife, but I'll answer for your meaning to do your duty.' And she says to him,' What you call my pride, Richard Fetridge, is the'evil in se. Do you know, I sometimes believe niy mother-' and there she stopped and said, ' At times I feel as if I was possessed of the devil.' 'And Ithought to my self, others in your service have thought so besides you, young lady. But the way she said it, I can tell you, gentlemen, half beneath her breath, was enough to-give one the creeps. It even seemed to scare him for the minute. And then he tried to cheer her up. and she began to go on about her sister Stella, and to say she believedshe'd been the death of that girl. And right in the middle of it she had regulor hysteries, and ohe just sat on the sofa and wrung her hands and screams out, ' Oh, I'm wicked! wicked! wicked! I'd-give mylifoto undo what I have- done! Oh, will nothing come to my relief? Oh, I'm dying by inches!" Thomas and Lamm exchansed glances. - "There is no question," said the detective, in a low voice; "that Mrs. Stsckhouse accused herself in sueh languages"" "liot tohe faintest," said Miss White, posi criedit out e5 loud it's a wonder folk in the street didn't hear lcr. And then he grasps her hand and says, ' Come. Marion, you must tell me everythin"-even if it does criminate he whom thei wor'ld calls your husband."' "No !" interrupted both men at once. "He didn't say that, did he P?" "Ho used them words," said Miss White, emphatically. "And he was very particular about it too. I can tell you, I had both my ears wide open about that time. And she didn't seem to hear him, but kept right on. 'And,oh! Richard,' she said, ' do you suppose anything, any provocation, the worst treatment you can imagine a person to have received at another person'shands would justify a mean and cowardly crime ?' And with that he starts awa from her, and she shrieks out, ' Oh, for pity sake, don't cast me off.! I am tortured beyond bearing!' 'Confess,' he says, and she threw her arms right around his neck and whispered in his ear. And just at that moment I was nearly frightened to death by hearing the latch lock. I knew if I stayed I'dbecaughtthe next minute, and I was none too soon, either, for she lit the hall." "Confound Miss Harwood!" said the detec. tive, heartily.. " She has spoiled everything for us." ' "Yes; and for them, too,' !aid th? parlour maid. "For Mr.-Fetridge did not stay five minutes aftertshe came." " Did you see himwhen he went ? - How did he act ?" Lamm hastened to ask. "Just as usual; only a bit exclted. I'm sure of one thing, sir. Whiteverahe whispered to him, itdidn't set him against her, for it he didn't squeeze her hand and look lovingly into hereyes when he left her-then I'm no judge of such things." S (To E cove'rm' .)