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Chapter NumberV
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1895-01-30
Page Number4
Word Count2232
Last Corrected2016-08-23
Newspaper TitleWestern Star and Roma Advertiser (Toowoomba, Qld. : 1875 - 1948)
Trove TitleThe Great Ruby Robbery: A Detective Story
article text



A Detective Story.

(By Grant Allen).


For the next ten days or so Mr. Gregory was busy, constantly busy. Without doubt, he was the most active

and energetic of detectives. He carried out so fully his own official principle of suspecting everybody, from China to Peru, that at last poor Persis got fairly

mazed with his web of possibilities. Nobody was safe from his cultivated and

higbly-trained suspicion—not Sir Everard in his studio, nor Lady Maclure in her boudoir, nor the butler in his pantry, nor Sir Justin O'Byrne in his rooms in St. James's. Gregory kept an open mind against everybody and everything. He even doubted the parrot, and had views as to the intervention of rats and terriers. Persis got rather tired at last of his perverse ingenuity ; especially as she had a very shrewd idea herself who had stolen the rubíes. When he suggested various doubts, however, which seemed remotely to implicate Sir Justin's honesty, the sensitive American girl " felt it go on her nerves," and refused to listen to him,

though Mr. Gregory never ceased to en- force upon her, by precept and example, his own pet doctrine that the last person on earth one would be likely to suspect is always the one who turns out to have

done it.

A inorhlng or two later, Persis looked out of her fwindo w as she was dressing her hair. She dressed it herself now, though she was an American heiress, and, there fore, of course, the laziest of her kind ; for she had taken an unaccountable dislike, somehow, to that quiet girl Bertha. On this'particular morning, howéver, when Persis looked out, shesw Bertha.engaged

in close, and apparently very intimate, I conversation withthe.Hampstead postman. Thin sight disturbed ibe unstable equili brium^ her equanimity not a little". Why should Bertha go to the door to the postman át all ? Surely it was no part ot thé duty of Lady Maclure's maid to take in thèletters ! And why should she want to go piying into the question of who wrote to Miss Remanet ? For Persis, intensely conscious herself that a note from Sir Juktin lay on top of the postman's bundle—-stifi recognised it at once, by the peculiar shape, of the broad rough en velope—jumped to the natural femiûirie conclusion thai: Bertha.must needs be influenced by some abstruse motivé of which she hferself, Persis, was, to isay the very least, a component element. Tis a human-fallacy, We're all o£ us prone to see everytMng from a personal standpoint ; indeed, the-one, quality which makes a manor a.woman "into .a possible novelist, good," bad, or indifferent, is just ^ that special power of throwing himself or herself into a great many people's person alities,, alternately. And this is. a power possessed on án average by not one in a thousand mentor not one in ten thousand

women. . •

Persis rang the bell violently." Bertha came, op, aQ smiles : "Did you want any thing, miss?' Persis could have choked her. " Yea,". she answered, plainly, taking.the bull by the horos ; "T want to know what yon were doing down there,

prying .into other -people's letters with ¡

the postman !" |

Berthalooked-np at her, ever bland; she answered at once, without a second's hesitation: "The postman's my young man, miss ; and we hope before very long now to get married."

" Odious thing !" Persis thought. " A glib lie always ready on the tip of. her tongue for every emergency."

But Bertha's fall heart was beating violently.. Beating with, love and hope

and deferred anxiety.

A little later in the day. Persia men tioned the incident" casually to Lady Maclure—mainly in order to satisfy her self that the girl had been lyins. Lady Maclure, however, gave a qualified as

sent :— :

"I ieKcwSshe's engaged to thé post man,?' she said. / " 1 thvpk Tye heard so ; though I make it a rule, you see, my dear, to know as little as I can of these people's love afiairs. Thëy're so very un interesting. : But Bertha certainly told me she wouldn't leave ine to. get married for an indefinite period. That was only ten days ago. She said her young man ?wasn't just yet in -a position to make a home foijfer,"; --i/'x.

" Perhaj«?¿f®¿rMsWuggested, erimly,

" something has occurred meanwhile to ; better herjpoätibn; Such strange things

crop up. may have, come inio a -

fortune !"

"PerhapSEO," Lady Madure replied, languidly. The subject bored , her. " Though, if so, it must really have been

very sudden ; for I think it was the morn- i

ing before you lost yonr jewels she told

mo so." .'

Persis thought that odd, but she made

nó. comment.

' Before dinner that evening she burst suddenly .into Lady Maclure's room for a

minute. Bertha was dressing her lady's j hair.' Friends, were contin« to dine—j among them Sir Justin. " How do these | pearls go with my complexion, Lady Maclure ?" Persis asked rather anxiously ; for Bhe specially wished to. look her best thai «venins, for one of the party.

,iJOh, charming !" her hostess an swered, with her society smile. " Never saw anytbirig enityou better, Persis."

" Except my poor rubies !" Persis . cried, rather. ruefully, for colorrd gew gaws, are dear to the savage and the woman. "J wish Í could get them back ! Iswonder that 'man Gregory hasn't suc ceed ed jn finding them/'

Lady Maclure drawled

o9^":!**you may be sure by ibis time they^re safe at Amsterdam. That's the . ' oiày pÉw» in;.Europe now to look for

thank, j 'Vi. .

"Why to Amsterdam, my lady?" BéíSthá iñtb^)Qsed súddenly, with a quick

' ' 'I

Lady Maclure threw her head back in iarp^^^tWWirönted an intrusion. " What do youwant to know that for, child'?'! ¿hetasked, -somewhat curtly. "Why, to be cut, :of course. All the

diamond-cutters in,the ¿world ère con - centcated -in Amsterdam ; and .the first

thing''a*'thief- does when lie-steals big jewelflis ¡to -send them across; and have fJiem;TOtV»3iew«hape8 so that they can't

- be identified." .. . . ..

^ 1 1S..ÍJ. '

cal m -air .of knowledge, "are always done by experienced thieves; who know the ropes well, and aré in league.with re

ceivers tlie whole world over. "But

Gregory has his eyè on Amsterdam, I'm sure, and we'll soon hear something."

"Tes, my lady," Bertha answered, in her acquiescent tone, and. relapsed into



^ Four days later, , about nine at night, that hard-worked man, the posty on-the beat^ stood loitering outside Sir Everard Madure s house, jöpenly ¡defying the rules of the department, in close conference

with Bertha.. . |

Well, any news?" Bertha asked,! trembling over with excitement, for slie was a. very different person outside with her lover from tli3 demure and im perturbable model maid who waited on my lady.

Why, yes," the posty answered, with a low laugh of triumph. " A letter from

Amsterdam ! And I think we've fixed it !"

Bertha almost flung herself upon him. "Oil, Harry !" she cried, all eagerness, " this is too good to be true ! Then in just one other month we can really get

married !"

There was a minute's pause, inarticu lately filled, up by sounds unrepresentable through the art of the type-founder. Then Harry spoke again. " It's an awful lot of money !" he said, musing. " A regular fortune ! And what's more, Bertha, if it hadn't been for your clever ness we never should have got it !"

Bertha pressed his hand affectionately.

Even ladies' maids are human.

" Well, if I hadn't been so much in love with you," she answered, frankly, "I

don't think I could ever have had the wit

to manage it. But, oh ! Harry, love makes one do or try anything !"

If Persis had heard those singular words, she would have felt no doubt was any longer, possible.


Next morning, at ten o'clock, a police man came round, post haste, to Sir Everard's. He asked to see Miss Remanet. When Persis came down, in her morning ! rap, he had but a brief message from head

quarters to give her: " Your'jewels are found, miss. Will you step round and identify them ?"

Persis drove back with him, all tremb ling. Lady Maclure accompanied her. At the police-station they left their cab, and entered the ante-room.

A little group had assembled there. The first person Persis distinctly made

out in it was Sir Justin. A great terror seized her. Gregory had so poisoned her mind by this time with suspicion of every body and everything she came across,

that she was afraid of her own shadow. But - next moment she saw clearly he wasn't there as prisoner, or even as witness ; merely as spectator. She ac knowledged him with a hasty bow, and cast her eye rftund again. The next person she definitely distinguished was Bertha, as calm and cool as ever, but in the very centre of the group, occupying as it were the place of hpnor which naturally belongs to the prisoner on all similar oc casions. Persis was not surprised at that ; she had known it all along ; she glanced meaningly at Gregory, who stood a little behind, looking by no means triumphant. Persis found his dejection odd ; but ,he was a pround detective, and perhaps some

one else had effected the capture J

''These are your jewels, I believe," the inspector said, holding them up ; and

Persis admitted it.

" This is a painful case," the inspector went on. "A very painful case. We grieve to have discovered such a clue against one of our own men ; but as he owns to it himself, aud intends to throw himself on the mercy of the Court, it's no use talking about it. He won't attempt to defend it ; indeed, with such evidence, I think he's doing what's best and wisest."

Persis stood there, all dazed. "I—Ï. don't understand," she cried, with a swimming brain. " Who on earth are you talking about ?" • '

The inspector pointed mutely with one hand at Gregory ; and then for the first time Persis saw he was guarded. She clapped her hand to her head. In a mo ment it .all broke in upon her. When she had called in the police the rubies had never been stolen at all. It was Gregory who stole them !

She understood it now, at once. The real facts cam<5 back to her. She had taken her necklet off at night, ' laid it carelessly down on the dressing table (too full of Sir Justin), covered it acci dentally withherlace pocket-handkerchief, and straightway forgotten all about it. Next day she missed it, and jumped at conclusions. When Gregory came, he spied the rubies askance under the corner of the handkerchief—of course, being a woman, she had naturally looked every where except in the place where she laid :them—and knowing it was a safe case he had quietly pocketed them before her very eves, all unsuspected. He felt sure nobody could accuse him of a robbery which was committed before he came, and which he himself had been called in to investigate.

"The worst of it is," the inspector went on, '* he had woven a very ingenious casé against Sir Justin O'Byrne, whom we were on the very point of arresting to-day, if this young woman hadn't come in at the eleventh hour, in the veiy nick of time, and earned the reward by giving us the clue that led to the discovery and recovery of the jewels. They were brought over this morning by an Amster

dam detective.

Persis looked hard at Bertha. Bertha answered her look. "My young man was the postman, miss," she explained quite simply ; " and after what my lady said, I put him up to watch Mr. Gregory's delivery for a letter from Amsterdam. I'd suspected him from the very first ; and when the letter came, we had him arrested at once, and found out from it who were the people at Amstedam who

had the rubies."

Persis gasped with astonishment. Her brain was reeling. But Gregory in the background put in one last word.:—

" Well, I was right, after all," he said, with professional pride "I told you the last person you'd dream of suspecting was sure to be the one that actually did it."

Lady O'Byrne's rubies were very much admired at Monte Carlo last season. Mr.

Gregory has found permanent employ ment for the next seven years at Her

Majesty's quarries on the isle of Portland, Bertha and her postman have retired to Canada with five hundred pounds to buy a farm. And everybody says Sir Justin O'Byrne has beaten the record, after all, even for Irish baronets, by making a marriage at once of money and affection.


Mrs. Naggs : ' The paper says new laws are to be passed to make marriage more difficult.' Mr. Naggs : ' Wish to goodness they'd done so long ago.'