|Chapter Number||XXI (CONTINUED)|
|Chapter Title||THE MEDEA WEEPS!|
|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, HVery well," said Thomas, "if you'll attendE ORT - ASE." d STORY OF BOSTON. Br Catss. Moarsouse C. W. Dras. CHAPTER XI(cos-rum-n).-Tnxg Manse Waers l Sthe et of that which destre lour maid hadn my --ttention to the noik she posted. It is but 11 clto tell was merely accumulative, and corroboae i"You of whabetter bshe hain a hulready told. Mr. Lamm atisfied himself of this fact bvcrosenexsmina that Marion North was the sly of ients,. and?" sent the w'de-awake Molly White away at last, Well pleased with herself, to resume, whin "And new," said the detective, hastily, turn that I still believe in the conspiracy. But ingbow to the facts soin as they were alonase, "itThomas; and remains for us to find out what Mrs. Stackhooae hsa wriorth from being to wire, to schemer beus "Very well," said Thomas, "if you'll attend tomes the letters which she destroyed I'hatll theurn myexcit able and emotional naturshe of thed. It remars bleut pmo'clock, an at Swampscotther Stackhose has re-been on to Coed it et." But tha "Yas arion's hand, nota hurer theat iled "Ilam going," maid Thomas ; "but before I oaul wanorth now what you think. Is yourt conviction still that a conspiracy existed,-and thatMarion North was the brans o iit."t?" "WA hasty ?"judgment is lable to recall," etrned thcuse detective; "but I mst confess that I stil beleve in the conspiracy. Butd. 'Ilcould give abetter reason than that for -o~ur reluctance to accept the evidence," he I bowd " But never mind. Bythe ase, Thomas; want kM you stomem rt +mae you e. aioen North from bewoing the schemer be, and epmoe isn't always so close-mouthed as he comes the to beol. IDot is plain that madthe exourit ofiiea so an.ious toget their hands on Stella able'I had emsupposed because she ran away."ble WmanOht yes; bust they previously suspected cAnd nt the vengeane of this odness, why Creole. Howl dono t ow; n or why. But tm hat itu Was Marion's handkerchef on the stairs inll, the aorth house th Paul North now Im tdehas discovered." apparet. d not. I dojnot beieve she had anything o to d €, So I seup/s?.ed. a'li wasiprgat edi~ I I-.th it." "Why?" "Becausesl don't." John Lammr laughed. rie could Applebee; a' this is most importan that forll y our reluctance to accept the evidence," andthe said. "But nsa-er mind. By the way, I want 'to tell you somethingabout that will make you smile.i Wleth-herl got it don't matter; but, asyon know, such 'vegotafmiend ortwoinpembertousquare, and As pplebee woudisn't always so cl-mouthed as heive. "te deafrdaidyou show your rejudice aa~oiust ought the details. WDoyou know what was the outcomade ofur out further Investi ton, with their acmeastomed friends so anxiousmped to get their hands on Stella Northa gil ?"rty o"nOh, yea; huto they preaviously mospected " Antd inh n the name of goodness, why?"di "Well, I'll tell youThomas. Ie t's a good a shU . u onamy nrst ovist o joke on our friend Applebee. It soema he found a handkerchief o the stats in the North house th day the murder was discovered." t a * "Itisnewstome." "So I supposed. Well, it was impregnated with a peculiar perfume. 'Ahal' cries our friend Applebee; 'this is moat important, I'll take it a chemistnd at sout whatit is, adthe eI'll go sumelling aboutl thecommuity till I light re it, and e then-' Sort of a French detective sleuth-hound kind of anafiair, you know, such asApplebee would be likely conceive." "I'm afraid you showyor prejudice against byYu yo." safiedi kpb the deprrtment there, Lamter. But never s mind the detaios. oWhat was the outcome oftr it f" "The outcome," aeid Lame, with a quiet laugh, "was that Applebe e found t whe scent on hella north, anod the whole department, with out further investigation, with theiraccstiomed _ thEenn mo menr of the.ban onedi "an aftrwr celerity, jumped tot the conlusion that Stell North was the guilty party." "H•mph" ejaculated the reporter; "they couldn't have gne very far ift e tdid not dis cover that the two gias use the same puerfume. Ifound that out on my first visit." "Haon Applebee wasn't sorlucky. The hand kerchief was Mfarion's, of eourse. But a little mistake likde that doese't count with the dpart. met, I suppoe. All ino th e family iut, joking asdre, Thomas,t he fact hasamot serhos aide teo." "'You "think s." - "Another nai in the coffin fo that srplendid woman at Swampscitt. Thomas, I'm sorry oro her. Ireullym. I udmireher too much not to pity her." "leadeed!" replied the reporter, biting his moustache viciously. "Your monduet~hardly seems to bear out your statement. To my mind, you showsa feverish anxiety to convict her of a crime that is utterly ieapossible for a wonon of her nature to commit." a'Impoossblelo" "Impossible l" o'Even ina Tmoment ef p ou n e aelf, to give hemnel up, when the passion was oven." "Even, we will say, inna struggle to prevent u Icide-ueven by aecidont, if you please? -e' "Do not imagine for a moment that she wouldhave concealed her part in the crime, ILamm. I tell you, the more I study this woman's nature through her sister Stenla the .nane I am convinced that ohe worshipped the very ground Paul North trod upon. It ohs were guilty, oven in the most indirect manner, lbrnging about his death, the world would haove known of the fatality that n shet," Lammtr sighed and shook hishean "I hate to destroyyour confidence o tinSall North's sister, Thomas, hut I should not he doing my duty by you assa friend if I kepiback. what litle I know of the matter. Let me ask Sou one question. Do you hesleve in hereditary iees?" g . - "To some extent. Why?". Without replying immediately in words, the "stective unlocked his desk and afterward" a ,,small drawer in the upper port of it, whence he -extracted a folded document. "I have borrowed this from a friend who is an officer in a certain charitable inotitution"," oid Lames. "I will simply rend you the = 9eading of it Dsath-bed confess'os cf Mary hfy oveland, in which hse avers that she was the mother of the abandoned infant afteroward known as Hattie Maynard, who entered the Temperance Bioem en March 3, liil3.' I will simply add for your informatico, Dougman, thai Mary Anne Loveland was ihe notorious character who served her iso-n in prison for -complicity insa capital offence, and that Mottle Maynard is now Marion Stack-housae" .-Thomas made a gesture as if to take the Iaper ; but Lamom hastened to put it underlock anky again. - _ "You nesd not be afread," he said, "that this document will sever sea the light of day. I have given my word of honour to the friend whofurniohed me with it not to let it pass out of my possession. The secret -i seafe but I
exposure of this unfortunate woman which is coming as sure as fate." "If she is guilty," said Thomas, moodily, "letit come. I will put no block in the way of justice. But poor Stella will die of shame,' he added, mentally. And the reflection was followed by a heavy sigh. urs ERsXXIII.-DnEncNO WE NaT. And now Reporter Thomas was making a determined though apparently hopeless effort to obtain possession of the letter which Marion Stackhouse had written to her husband. Not only hopeless the quest seemed, but dangerous. In the ordinary routine of his duties he would unhesitatingly have rejected an enterprise of so obnoxious and disagreeable a nature. But the case was becoming desperate, and it was no longer a business, no longer even a personal interest. The mournful pleading of the big blue eyes of Stella North nerved him for the ignoble task. The remembrance of some tears which he had seen that morning trembling on the long lashes stimulated him to unprecedented effort. He was in that mood where to obtain success he would stopat nothing short of crime. He hardly knew himself in this new ile ; but he played the spy and the sneak that day as he never played it before or since. It was easy enough to assure himself of the existence of the letter. Fifteen minutes after holding conference with Detective Lamam at the latter's office, Kingman Thomas was walking boldly to the desk at the Adams-house. "'. "Good morisn.'- tha lu~ack-o Iit was 'not yea noon oroths evenerus 0aturdsy. " Goodmorning," said Thomas. 1"Can you tell me whether Mr. Stackhouse is in the hotel?" "Not in his room," returned the clerk, with a queer smile. "His key is here." "Curious !" said Thomas, with an assump tion of troubled reflection. "I wonder if hee's got my letter. I wrote him a letter last night and posted it at Swampscott," he continued by way of explanation. "Can you tell me whether he has it yet?" The clerk took a look in the pigeon-hcle marked S, and Thomas caught a momentary glimpse of a square white envelope in his hand. But the clerk cast it back immediately and taurned to the reporter. "There is a letter for him here with the Swampscott postmark," he said. "It may be yours." "A square, eream-white envelope?" queried Thomas, "that looks like apiece of woman's stationery ?" "Yea." 1Ah, that's the one! He hasn't got it. Thank you." . "Are you going to wait and see him?" the clerkinquired, with 'anothersmile: ... "Why?" asked Thomas, scenting something unusual. "Onlythere are a dozen or so ahead of you that's all.. I thought I'd let you know." "Indeed! And where are they all?" " Oh, waiting about here." - "Business men?" "Well, they have that look. Since the failure Mr. Stackhouse seems to have been con siderablyin demand." "Oh,I see." " Consequentiy, if it's anything important you'd do well to hunt him up, as this letter is likely to be here sometime. Thomas thanked his informant. As he turned away from the desk a daring subterfuge by which he might obtain possession of the letter came into his mind, but he dismissed it with impatient horror. " What am I thinking of ?" he exclaimed, mentally. "Forgery ! Tampering with the mail ! I must season my impetuosity with a little reason." He sauntered out as far as the doorway, and stood there in a brown study. "No, there is nothing for me to do," he thought, "but to wait here for the man' to claim his letter, howeverlong that may" be.' I must trust to luck and a determined effort to get a glance at it after he has read it." The warning of the clerk made the outcome look dubious. These men waiting about here must be creditors or business associates whohad pressing reasons to see Stackhouse. The clerk's significant air had insinuated that the junior partner was avoiding them. He was not then to be found at the office of North and Stackhouse ? Evidently not, or these men would not come here to wait for him. Never. theless if his wife had sent the letter thither, it ?ust be because he had directed her to do so. If he deemedit a matter of so muchimportance, would he not find some way of obtasning his letters without calling? It was at the precise moment when this thought was taking form in the reporter's mind that he observed a district messenger boy leaving the office. The boy was just putting his hat upon his head, and Thomas caught a square white envelope. In an instant he comprehended what must have taken place since he had left the desk. Thornton Stackhouse had sent the lad to the clerk for his letters. A word at the desk con firmed the reporter's suspicious, and in another minute he was upon the heels of the messenger. His task at present seemed simplicity itself. To follow this messenger boy till he was finally led into the presence of the man whose commission he executed was a task that certainly called for none of the higher expedients of Mr. Thomas's genius. The boy took a course southward, and con. tinued straight up Wasfington street until he reached Union Park street, when he turned short to the right, and a few minutes after. wards entered the door of a drinking saloon in Shawmut avenue. Thomas had no special associations with the place, though he knewof it in a general way. Taking the precaution not to enter immediately, and, thus give anybody who might be on the watch an idea that there was anything other than a coincidence in his arrival on the heels of the messenger boy, Thomas loitered into the place and passed directly into the bar, where he called for a drink. There were two or three men standing at the bar, but at the moment of his entrance nothing was to be seen either of the messenger or of Thornton Stackhouse. A number of booths ranged alongside the side of the room opposite the bar, however, attracted his attention, and, in accordance with his surmises, Mr. Thomas was pleased very shortly to see the messenger emerge from one of these places. The boy had ocarcelypassed out when the reporter, swallow ing at a gulp the beverage which he had ordered, placed the payment therefor on the counter and loungeddownpast the compartment from which the hoyhad issued. HIisexpectations were entirely correct. There oas Thornton Stackhouse reading-devouring would be a more accurate word-the letter which had been posted at Swampscott the night before. Fearful of attracting attentiono Thomas increased his pace, but precau tions were needless. The man was absorbed, completely oblivious to all his surroundings. Even in the momentary glimpse he had of him the reporter 'was startled into the- belief that the contents of the letter* had utterly over whelmed and dazed the man who had received' it. The paper was crumpled fiercely between his hanvdS, and he was glaring at it with ocarcely the look of sasity in hes eyes. Thomas slipped nastily into the next booth, The brief vasion which bad just been granted him was certainly not calculated to lessen his mination to become possessedof it. - Bathow? . .• This was a problem which might well puzzle AMr. Thomas. The greater the importance of the letter the more carefullywould its possessor "'-ard it. if he destroyed it, there wis little nopo that so shrewd .a man as. Sinekhouse weuld be satisfied with'leaving it insa condition which would not proelude its restoration. If he carried it away with him, under what pos aible p~retence could the reporter could get it? Hte certaminy eould not ask him for it ; he was scarcely prepared even in his present fever of eagerness to resort to violence. 'Were he so inclined, how could he even hope for she opportunity of stealing it? 'Never theless, Thomas compressed his lips and awaited patiently the course of evente. I-e had not long to wait for a change in the situation. He heard Stackhouse crushing the paper and marmuring undistinguishoble words below his breath. Thou, again, he fancied, from the sounds, that the man had risen to his feet and was leaving the booth. A cautious reconnoitre assured the reporter that he was correct in this surmise. Stackhouse had passed to the bar, and he heard him in no very steady voice ask for brandy. Where was the letter ? Actuated by an absurd hope, the reporter slipped into the booth which Stackhouse had just vacated. A minute's search assured him that Stuackhouse had not committed the un pardonable indiscretion of leaving even the remnants of the document upon the floor. Un doubtedly he had not torn it up, but had replaced it bodily in his pocket. After drinkin~ the brandy, Stackhouse went out, and the reporter followed him from the saloon. Thomas was not, however eo absorbed in the actions of his intended victim that he was oblivious of other things. It was qaite plain t him that two of the men who had:been louna ing at the bar suddenly became alert and lost all interest in the place as soon as Stackhsuse hod left it. So eager were they to get into the street that they jostled Mr.. Thomas on their way. They were ordinary-looking men. Nothing about them was calculated to linger in the m'emzory or to attrac?t a second glance.
I One of them sauntered over to the other side of the street. The other kept along just i front of Thomase. - The reporter frowned. These details were no enigma to him. He recognised at once the precautionary measures of the policedepart ment. These, then, were Thornton Stack house's constant companions, and the reporter realised that their presence made his quest, if not more dangerous, at least vastly mre diffi cult. Still he went on. The detectives followed Stackhouse. Thomas followed the detctives. Did Stackhouse know of his double espionage There were no evidences that he did, or that he cared one way or the other. He went forward at a good pace, his eyes always downward or straight ahead. What a walk he was leading them! Apparently he had forgotten that there were any means of cnveyance about the city. Ignoriag alike horse-cars and cabs, Thornton Stackhouse went from the bar-roominShawmut avenue to the Chelsea ferry, at the fot of Hanover street. The four men, who were not all conscious of their association of interest, passed on to the ferry boat together. After the boat was out in the stream, for the first time Stackhouse's conduct became spi clous. He glanced about him, and wandered from point to point, apparently with two objects in view. He seemed to be trying gt as far as possible from other people, and as near as possible to the rail. A dlark suspicion entered the reporter's mind. Was ThorntonStackhousecontomplating suicide? Whether or no, it was not at all happily enabled him to watch the proceedings from a safe distance, for the two detctives doubtless imbued with the same suspicion which had occurred to Thomas, kept close upon the heels of the unfortunate man. Evidently they had no intention of permitting their prey to escape them through the medium of violent death. Justice inexorably endeavours to e even this door of refuge to the victims whom she proposes to sacrifice. Stackhouse once lost his temper. H t ed hotly upon one of his tormentors. "Come, sir!" he said, in a voice of spreed passion. "End this farce. If myy safety is o important to you, arrest me, acd have don with it!" The man regarded him with a cold stre. 'Excuseme, sir," he said, gruffly. "I don't know you." - The officer shruggedhisshoulders, and turned indifferently to a view of the landscape. Stack hoiuse bithis lip; his anger vanished; hbeco moody. His eyes were cast down, and he no longer looked about him. , When the ferry boat reached the other ide, Stackhbonse disembarked, and for a time wan dered aimnlesly about the water "rnt. His hands were clasped behind him, andhis . hung down. - - With the same outward bearing, he ook a ferry boat back to the city, and set out ne more upon oneof his interminable walk. The was a new feature added to his conduct. -At nearly every -drinking, saloon he stopped and ordered liquor.. His walk bhcame uns dy, ut he went on like, a man who had a definite end in view. The frequent visits' to the als puzzled Thomas at first. Suddenly he had an inspiration. f "The letter from his wife was a terrible blow to him. He seeks oblivion. This is his second effort to obtain it.. The first was death, and it was denied him. The second though tmpo rary, is quite as effective, and will be secured when he has imbibed a sufficient quantity of alcohol!". Thomas began to have a vague hop. His suspicions became certainty very soon. Thorn ton Stackhouse entered at last a thirdclas hotel at the north end, and paid for a rom. The call-boy came down after a few minutes for a bottle of brandy, and Stackhouse locked him self in with it. Even the experienced King man Thomas shuddered. That a n who had occupied the position in the world of the late junior partner of North and Stackhose should be reduced to an extremity of this ind filled him with a feeling akin to pity. But nothig shook his resolution. Whether it tended to ave this miserable exile from respectability or to give him the final kick which should desty his last hold of the bushes on the sk of the precipice, the bit of svidence now i Stck house's possession must be secured. A private word or two in the ear of the pro. prietor secured thereportera roomen thesecond floor immediately adjoining that occupied by the man in.whom all his interest centred. There was a cemmunicatinjdoor, but it was looked on the othereide.- Against the door the reporter remainedlistening, conjecturing, planning, for quite two hours. The audible evidences of Staekhouse'spresence had for some time ceased. Thomas realised that it was time to act He began a great clamour upon the door. There was not a sound in answer. Thomas left his room, and sought out the proprietor. "You know me, don't you-Thomas, of the Boston Globe ? Well, I want to save youtroubl. There is every reason to believe that that man in the room next to mine has made away with himself." "No!" exclaimed the proprietor, aghast. ' Quite so, sir. I have suspected him for some time.- I can account for the sounds I have heard in no -other manner. They d. denly ceased, and for some time Ihave been making noise enough to raise the dead. e doesn't respond. . -Within four minutes the door of. Mr. Stack house's room was opened, and half a doen men rushed into the chamber. Stackhouse laypon the bed, motionless. ' His coat and vet were thrown carelessly over the chair. "He is drunk'!" cried one of thedetctives. "He is dying," said Thomas. "Whee are his papers? We must have his name.'. With admirable coolness, before them all, Thomas took a pocket-book from the coat which lay upon the chair,andwasproceeding to inves tigate its contents. . - . - An authoritative hand was'. suddenly laid upon his shoulder, and one of: the'detectives whispered in his ear- . "Are you crazy, Thomas? What isth matter with you? Ton knowwell enough who the man is. None of your tricks, please. Put back thatpocket.book.': -, ' ' The reporter had a faint flush inhis chek, but he yielded without protest. - The square white envelope was already in his possession. - An hour later he read the letter. Its nen filled him with astonishment and excitement. It was certainly not what he expected, ut it seemed to him pregnant with posibiliti. He hastenedto seek John Lamm: but the office of the detective was closed, and he wasunable to find him. , - - "It's fate!" cried Thliomas.."I shall '"at alone, and, fortune helping. me, I shall save Stella North and her sister Marion!" And on that Saturday evening he took the train for Swampscott. (T . Eo an CON-erhcsr .)