Chapter 9779864

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Chapter NumberVII.
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article9779864
Full Date1897-11-20
Page Number13
Corrections0
Word Count4355
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957)
Trove TitleThe Last Fare: A Melbourne Detective Story
article text

THE LAST FARE.*

IA MELBOURNE DETECTIVE STORY.

I B) C. H. CHOMLEY. ' CHAPTER VIL

It vvis nituial that the newspapers should make the most of the Dandenong road mur der The position of the people concerned, idded to the mvsti'tv connected with it gue it in mtetest gieutet linn that as a nile ittiching to cumis, even on the grtnd seile, uiid columns were v ritten upon the subject It seemed indeed tint the mvsterv was not to list long tor, after giving lum the full and fair trial, on ex parte evidence, for which the Australian press has such an cumble leputntion, morning md evening jumnils metiopohun and pinvinctnl one md ill lound Ciiiininghnni gutltv and the eabninn his acces-oiv m grentei 01 less de giec tccoiduig to individual writers

t isles

-luv hid got veiv little out of Sinclur 1 hough fiequentlv interne« ed, he kept the nutter ot the peails, like two bottles, and the minks on the h liidkertluef it seciet, and 1 steadih icpclled the udvalices ot the Í reporters who, know ing I w is more or less

in Suicljii's confidence, attempted to in

tcrvievv me

The use which hid been so îepellent to me it lirst non occupied all in) thoughts Hie fiseinntion iihnli eier) problem lues foi i mind once embirked on it was sti engtltened b) n») intimate knoAvIedge of Hie liumin factors in it, und the weight) personal issues that hung upon its solu

tion

-herefoie, I shut miselt up in in) room on Sunda) morning equipped with all the Aftlbourne pipers for tlie neck mid a plen tifgl suppl) of tobacco to aid me in digest nig their contents

1 reid them through, ciery word, in irking ¡iii) passages, hints, 01 theories that tiuplu sised import int dtliuls, or tint might be helpful in suggesting ot negati» ing possi

bibties

When I had finished and ie.*ead mi ex

tracts two or three fitts staled me iel) pla i nl> in the flit* and showed me that it would be eNtremel) difiiiult to tonntet Puker with eithei Cunningham or Corheld in spite of the ptesumptiou agutist all ot

them

Hie fit st of these was Gutui's st ttement

sitorn to so positn eli, that Mrs Coriieldgot into the omnibus it Cb lpt1 stttet This the ptpets poopoohtd is Sinti ni bul dom, but I had seen the lu in did lie aid his endtnet, and was not piepaicd to dtal tilth it so eui iluil)

1 lie second was Cunningham s alitement that a ni in ssealing t lett lt.it and in oiei

loat got out it W iib mis load ind passed lum on the step of the omnibus 1 his also the p pers tinted with contempt, as, of course, hi beling Cunningham to be guilt!", the» wcie bound ti do If it were tiue, bon eitr, it Aias ol the utmost importante, since it suggested thtt the mm dei ti might be, no1 Coi held, Pirler ni (.uiiiunghim, but home othet min n ho liad t iken ads antagt ot tin first muddle of aflairs to get elm may and out of dinget

A moiuentiir) Hush ot light came to me as I thought lins mau might baie dropped tin bottle into Cunninghams po kit ' Lut then theie was the damning lact impossible lo explain iwai, that Cun lilliginni lill idv lind chloroform in his pos session, and ni) blain is us immcdi ttelv in i whirl again Aiheii 1 lemembetetl that then ilso Pin kei, tot field, ind ( unningh un must all bo l)ing about Mis Coi held s pre since m the cib, which, it the) Avert all innocent scemtd i motncltss proceeding

1 gate it up ind resol»ed for the pic sent to belteic Cunningham ind Gunn onl» tiking as proiisionnl facts that Mis Coiheld did get in at Chapel stiett and that a man diesscd as C unninghani (le- set ibed did gel out at Williams road

Again, ugaiiiRt Cunningham's credibility, if not his innocence, stood the fuet that he hud not only bought Chloroform that night but had neglected to sign for it, and con cciiled his action from the police and from Dorothy.

'My brain refused to work any longer. I would follow one track that seemed lead- ing mc to the open till all pi ogress along it was blocked by some solid fuct 1 could neither get round nor lcmove. I was rest- less und excited and longed for the sight of Doiothy. It was not likely I should get it, but still theic w-ns no harm in going down to St. Kilda and calling at Miss Lis- tel 's.' Possibly Dorothy had not got the situation, or not entered on the duties yet, in which case her aunt would certainly abk me to dine with them.

When I had made up my mind to go, I remembered that it was not so much on pleasure as on duty I was bent. It was unpardonable of me not to have warned Dorothy before that she must be careful while in Corfield'» house; and it was a re- lief, to lind it not after all mere weakness but necessity, that made' mc bleak my re- solve not to flutter moth-like round the candle which could only bum my wings. Yes, I must risk hem tache for Doiothy's sake, so I dressed as quickly as I could and stinted on my wulk to St. Kilda.

When 1 gol there a muid came to the door.

"Miss Dorothy vv-as not at home. She had left yeste-iday afternoon, and would not be back for some days." She did not know vvhcie she hud gone, but could in- quire, 01 pcrhups 1 would come in and see Miss Lister myself.

"No, ii did not'matter, and she need not trouble to give any name "

1 did not feel inclined for an inlcivievv with Alisa Lister, and left the house veiy tmcertain what to do. My s^cps, uncon- sciously turned not homewards,,but, iii ihe direction of Corfield'-, house iu,p.ittlvein. There weic no tiunis .nuning yet, alf,it was Sunday morning, but it wus ii bright, cool day, very tempting for a walk,,and neatly an hour nfterwuids I found myself in Mnnro-streel, within n hundred yards ol' the

Pan held gitcs

I could not iKibsibl) go in In ftct it would be ter) unwise to be seen in that ncighhouihood it all and thinking all the time »lint i fool I hld bten ind lucuun*, to lettttii, I nptoithtless found ni)self walk nig slonli tt linds the house but on the side of the toad fuit liest from it _s I passed the kilt 1 looked up at the building ii« iinei put nas hidtltu b) the tices, but theic was it fi*,iiie sttnding on the bil

tom

It siiggtsted Doroth)-hut the cap, the tic! hut the sptct icles-1 laughed us I thought how stupid 1 had bim not to le incmbci Hu st neic just n hut 1 might ex peel Al) doubts s an,shed t second aftei

nirds nilen a handkcichief llutteitd from

bet band an 1 she signalled mc to stop 1 rom the houst to Hit toad ii is not fal ind it brought nie bick to Uti data of childhood, in which ne lui lssidnousli pnctised the ut ni til 1 sin bei begin t > apt ik upon bei filions Unit nut nu ] c >plc aii)wnere ne truie m the strict a ln-.li g ils.mise J non ftuce agutist nhich I lint OACihun*. with tht brinches ol pint ticis lomplicoh li 1 me from Hie housi to n Inch it bl longed ind I was safe norn obsen ilion uhilt I waited to reid bet messagt

I o to sidt gilt ' she signalled and as soon as 1 nodded Unit 1 understood wnnng her hand to the right to slion me the duettion to follow »In disapptaied hastili through one of the big rrenih win dow« Hit side gate Has not hard to find

indeed ittnuld bt in but ont plate On tilt left Corfield s grounds ldjoiiitd those ot mother residcnct 1 lit houst fronted elostl) on the stiett but tn the ne.liI and ii the bath tht girden ii is as I sud ixten-iic and boundtd b) stuets running respiitml) at tight (inglis nid ptrtllcl to Munro stielt upon windi Hie front gilts opent I

I turned the euuer und wilkel ilong i high close fence foi ni ni» i bundled linds bifoie 1 taint lo t little gitt ir t ttlitt doot, cullculli used lot foot trilhe on!) near which I wutcd

I had not been theic many seconds it hen it »vus tautiously openttl and i hand tin list through the apeltme beckoned me to come

in

I did so, and found Dorothy waiting: for me behind it, holdm? s small brown leather

bag in her fund Of course it was Dorothy, 6U1CI it lould be no one else, but htr dt guise was so complete that, in spite of ni*r 1 unvvlcdge, it was with difficult) I could ti ace the slightest re_e~iblance to the biri 1 knew in the middle »ted woman ground vvtinkled who tood beloic me

' let tis go tvv iv ii im the gtte she sud, in c.st itiv 01 the iv nits or their irie.id. shoul 1 corni in mel she lei tilt w i) to 4 thic.it ot ^uiu and wattle scrub, giovvn up round i dead white gum that must Lava bien a nee when the house was built, pel haps lortv \eirs igo

Sit down she .--uti no one is hkel) ti see tis heie, and I shan t be missed tor at quai tei ot an lum while the muster is at ilinnci I am suppose 1 to be having minc

W ould vou know me

Indeed I would not \ our disguise it mirvellous, 1 answered but I luve some thing more important to sav to von which \ou must not lorget It \ou are discovered hete, und Corfield is the man vou thml, vou tun lonsidei ible daniel \oa must be cuustantlv on vom guaid it indeed )ou should stat itali I think it would be uiueU wiser to givi ii up

Dorothv smiled

Mv dear I er-tld, I cm t possibl) give it up, she said but 1 tin constant.) on my giiHi-d *_nd don t think 1 underrate the nsk 1 lun perhaps I exaggerate it Look here ' md slipping bet hand into the bosom ot her diess sin brought out a tiny silver

mountcd lev oh et

Pooh' what is the use of a thing like that* 1 said I don t suppose It would kill a. mosquito, mid it is improbable that jon could lut a hi) stack "

'1 xcuse me, she answered "it will kill it dog 1 know, because I shot aunt's big pug bv mistake-and he died, and I can Hit sparrows if the) tie not far away I hare prnttsed revolvei slnoting, and know all about it '

1 looked it her with surprise ' You are a wondeiful vvonnn then," I said "but anr danger von ire hkel) to nip could not be met with i nvolvei Suppose, to take in cxtremi ease that he tried ippoison jou '

She stood up and turnet-, her bael on me, standing with bet arms kkmlbo and hum ming t snitch ot some tune, then, swing uiglieiselt-uddenlv round she lookwl dow n at me leaning against the tree trunk, and said mimi) He h is '

Good bein ins' I cued jumping to mr feet -surel) von0c not serious If vou

aie, I c m t let vou stay here another minute Y\ hv, vou look pale and ill now "

'Hush,' she Bald steitil), living a firm li uni on ni) lim ' Do you w mt to briug c> er) one ni the place out to look for me' '

I beg voui pirdon ' I said, 'but jou shin t retuin to that blackguard's house if I t tn pievent it

"lou ian t prevent it, ' she said, with an lrutating smile, and as for my looking p-Je, that is nonsense How can \ou pon siblv tell whether Mrs lenninga :s ia her not mai health or nat when you have never seen her before''"

Don t fool now-, Dorothy, I said angrily. "You told nie that man has tried to poisou you. Is that tiucS"

"Yes, I think it is," she said. "I believe be knows who I am; but 1 have given no sign' th.it I know' he Busjiecta me."

"Tell me the exact ti nth, a_ far a. you can," I said.

"Ver)*1 we'l, but T catmbt -«-ait hen**, loq¿^< .Sit down' again, and let us keep out .of l sight." - I '*, « - _.->,>..

She told'nic'sdorily flint he luid looked. at her closely in the,first instance ivhen she interviewed him-about the situation, but she was suie he rf-id'ïioSireeogni-se her theil.

She attributed lier success over the other

applicants to her acquaintance with several ol his fads, upon which she was nble lo give the right answers to his questions, for he was a very fussy ' man. Early that morning he had surprised her som ching the study for any

| thing that might be hidden in odd nooks or [Corners. There was nothing very sus ipicious in her conduct, as she might reason I ably have been putting the room in order, but* she wa« nfi'.ud.thal when startled by his -liddell appearance she had for a second spoken in her natural voice. At any into, Ire stared very haid at her, A nasly look carne into his eyes, and she thought she saw his mouth twitch at the corners, with a smile lie tried to hide. She gave no sign thal'she bud noticed anything, and con- gratulating lu.'-,* in-a, jocular tone, upon her industry, and,.said nothing mofe.

At jiine o'clock she bieakfnsted in, her own inoiii.' A cup'of te-U wits .sent up lo' .her fiom the diniiigropm, vvhcie Corfield was ot lircakfalitr'-»It vins her habit not to

drink while eating, but to sip her tea as she_ read a book ' (¡I-"the paper when, she had

finisheik'-iurifis nloriiiiig .shc'hád'riot chunk »

more than it mouthful ot the tea when she hail lo go downstiiiis to see ihe cook.

' On her l etui n she expeiienced it queer sick * feeling, which she might have disre- garded under' other dieu instances, but

anotliei spoonful of te» seemed *o aggia sate it, and betug an unusually htalthy pu son, ne» et suh.ett to attacks ot the kind, she lesolitd to drink no tuon ind keel) bet eAcs A et) wide open Hie sickness gtadu al!) nore of) and she lilt hctncll again non It was i gre it icbef to me that the endence of an) attempt against Dototh) »»us so »ague and shadow), still it n is se nous enough that tbcie should be ci cn a suspinon of uni tiling of the kind

When she hid htuslitd I sill, After what lou haie told me 1 sec it would be madness foi you to remain

it is a inn lue« »»luth I choo«c to in- dulgí mi sill in she answered toollv

II )ou don t liait the house foi the sake of toniiuonscnst mil joins und raine, 1 shall baie to into!tu the point 1 threatentd

!l"i cits bli/ed ingnli, and i íecognised l)oi ot li) eli irly enough ui'-t*. Mis Jen

nings now

dei aid 1 shall bile )ou "did ne» er for giAC )cu u »ou do ¡AnAthing^'ofjt.he kind," she cued Don t-don t spoil my pi ins," she went on iii myng hu tone to one of t-ittii. tis Hunk what dcptnds on it I

promise to be eaiclul mid I wop t sta) here long By to monow I should be ebie lo discoid ci el) thing it time is tin) thing to cliston! I mai be nil wrong in what I think, ind if 1 um not-won t eitn that tea A Inch I hale I ipt be nottli coming here tor* It will show the kind ot mau Coi held is '

When mil ion le ne if I suy nothing now ' ' 1 asked, shaken a little by bet ichemenci

lo monow night, ' she answered ' Will that do-and lou t in come and meet me licit ut h ill past ten to mollow morning Ile stints to (illili his tiaiu at a quilltt-l past tin A ou lint bein veil good so 1 n Don I spoil ii non, but say "t is '

Knolling wlint it meint to bet 1 tould not u-ist hu tiger ttnful tnticat», and with a ping ot jt iloiisi it my lit ut 1 said, Will 1 will mike u but (.um If you will pi omi e to lettie to mon ns night, to see me lo mollow morning anti not lo cat or diini tn) thing lb it (onus from Hit house httsstiu Uns and Ultu I will promise to tilt io slips to gtt lou out soonei '

It is i li uyini she ti nil, smiling und holding out hu Jin nu Mia! t hands on it A ou don t sttm to bt inxious t' out ins dung of st uiution

No 1 langhtd, though 1 did not feel mile li like laughing -suth t plump per son as Alls "innings should bl -bit *o hold out foi n dai oi HA o 1 nt 1 suppose 1 must 1.0 now

its i »penally if mu art going to bt rude sin saul Good gun.lons I nus foigttting the bug winch was it illy all 1 tame lo sec ion about It has the aslit» from t lut in tin studi on I hursdni night-Unit weic none uiyiibtte else-and some pot kit linings

Dont 'ook so Inghtcntil of it,' elie qun'/iiigll lidded ¡is I t lok the big doubt

lull! 1! I lol s pet fee ti) ¡espectable anil is quite in keeping with tour lien lint nul (out, if you onlv tis to imagine you liai» liten i hying teiuiis somtiiheic andaré til in. loin Hannels home Tomorrow, at hull past Un

She uns starting for the house, IA hen Î called her bael Get samples of all Ul- gulu lou have in the house, Dorothy," 1 said "I can't explain non if you are in a hurry,

but you shall hear to morrow morning" ,

"All right," she nodded, with a ptuxW

«wntraction "ot > h-îc' eyebrow». _»** ''I ~«*yj^

ctinotiF^but 1 cm wail Go out quietlv

An nvoir *

Bhtf'ilî-TpplireÛ »raon0' the tiee. und after wjutuu. for i minute 01 two, I slipped stealthily out of the tate

.?Doroth) s position *.rcaUv troubled mi* but ¡f she 1 ept hi r promise it seejned scarce.-, possibli tint she could conn to any harm, in I l lomtoilcl mist li ffir inv weikness b) the leflcetion lint stieii0th it .nimd on mj put would have incmred lor me her undjing hostilltv and dishl e

t hurried home w ondit mg if tilt nain, in the bi¿ wen lcillv going to tel' mc unv tiring I had little hope thev wdtild but my uurioSil) was sufhi cut to male me leave, almost unliisloJ tin dinner winch ml Iilndludv pluccd on the tub e with a elattcr of the piules that io proved ni) lateness witluut w ostini. wor*ds Wien I nfleivvurds bit,(,id for'the loan of tt siev c, a cohnder, and nome milk dishes, I believe Mrs Blake thoiith* mo mud- foi she got them with suspicious ulacntj, and watched mc from n fife dis tance down the passngc is I toul them from mv dom, -when, she lind left them

Hie ashes cii'losed in a brown paper pinn 1 v in the bag It wus not ii huge one, and m_ hopes of a lind fell, is I s ivv how îunooent they looked when 1 puurul them into the sieve, through -vv Inch I passed tiifin to (,et rid of tin large! cindns I examined the 1st ei carefully lind found nothing but the ordinary nfusi oi a lire little lumps of cnidei, coke, and unburnt

coil

I hen I turned my attention to tim fine» particle«, and shook what 1 could of them through the colander Uhu majority con msted of leiy hue cinders, coa) dust, or ml pilpable ash, jual the content« of t|io Biuvc

on a reduced scull

A few little pieces, la i small foi tho sieve, too big for the colan 1er, remained in tin latter I«'-> I them o el, and felt very disappoint«! tnal n piece of independent dç-cctivc- work si « d be fiuitless, though

X Jj.ul tucd,^ m d c up my mind that it

would be so

T wats mechanically pressing the runuming cinders'ivi-lf/ny thumb, crushing thiin lill they vyuti «mel. enough to pass through tin Uijçt-^Klip] }¡*!¡ji(J¿iiu({ oui next move the Tv hile,. » hon m) ¡Uluilion was alliai ted to one haidci *j_tii*H the rest 1 pressed hi wily upon it '"Still it did not go through the hole, but, my thumb slipping, it tue tin flesh beneath my nni^. mu* bounced iw ly

After I had nu oin mil suela 1 my thumb a little, I picked up the cinder to ixamino it Wore close!) It was not i cinder, coko, or uhy product II i oui, but uudoubtidl) « »crap of nu titi oí »unie kind

My pulso boil fust as T realised tin»I I had after all iiiuid something outn.de the run of comn.oi.pliie. hies, huwivci much oi little it might mean

X washed it clem with anxious hngcis, and took it to the light ihore 1 s \vv that it was a little met ii ring, brass mont hkclv, bub blackened bv the. lire It looked like the eyelet of a boot What could that

mian ' '

' J t suggested nothing-nothing w hatov ir

A"d yet it was ccrtainl) nn eyelet, or else -mj tye fell upon ill's !iat rucie on the wall -or else tho ventil tor of a hat-yes, it slq.lcli felt hut

those ludicrously nommoiiplace wards wng like truinpet tones in my ears, and the ivholi ucvne flashed across mi Corfield

u_.V-r.ihq tóprilerer \v\\,\i his nwii^iityds Had Hot CtiiiiiiDglmin seen a ni mawiiku soft felt HJi^jjet dljVv-ii froiti t|.6 onrnibus11 The in «iiuqiiwiis tiuo winch .«(dune to believe fh It^stuttmeilt s -* v i

ililjll. t^iian »v uß Çqtfiijd J/o had Rot wet ¿OHÍf. bael fruin WiUmTOS'-Snitl to the ihe aWi? ?¥. fiK'l'01 *)rleel' ty MiM ."- lmi

iwoi-i au open- hat ah the thcietau which he had slipped beneath his tout aflei the murder, and could substituto for the other when he pjcused

.\ hat was Parker's patt in the afluir then ' Coi held and his wife must have en tucd Hu omnibus toc.il.iu, and she could never have been m the nb at all A hiuvy bnbi from Corfield must havi induced him to tell tint story, to hide himself in ordit to tlitovv suspicion upon Cunningham It wa*, piobabl) intçndul that ho should ncvei be i aught, nix) lb it Corhild should (,et lura out of the lounti) bil), finding that the hue und ci v w is too keen, niul suspecting per haps that Doiotli) |nd seen lum ni the gnith.ii, iftei slioltcuiig Ins dupe for a day and a half, Coifield had lcsolved to aneri

bec. |nm and tmst to the strong piesuinp juin, n^I'mri Clniftiiiglyiflj1 making linn the

-.ole sciptgoat u i. !u|li I

7l h'iit)iià-ei,^t.ijit}'-f!'Pafl>Îi^ufr(n1etl tpo, it

>«ukLi(ot imic/i tuiiibli Corfiifdi

1 -"Well Dorothj mid 1 had .ffictUiUl) spoilt

ttat l,tyli pa/li^nij-l tliijj; .Hs '). thought

, what u cold blooded dev iii tin man nail)

.mist bu I üc.i.Vlq<l,T...c¿,íllMtvCoFí.|C)o.oth)

With tin ividmcc we lind thcrq could be no 1 eiison for hei 1 cmaiiiing unv longci 1 w ould look, up Sine! 111 now Ile h\ id in tin hannels, and I should probably find lum nt bonn Pcihnps he would amst Coi l.elil on (hat-evidence, 01, if he eoiild get no wanant ho would watch bim. At anv rite Doiothj would be sitft

I hen J ncollictcd that 1 still had the

poclçet linings to ixnniine I was gbui-j lo unwntp them, when 11 chill af apprehension seined mc What an idiot I had bun to play this lone hand

There was absolute!) no proof beyond m) own wolli thal I lind found the -ventilator einong tile ashes And Corfield s lawyer ?was not hltilv to make little of the fact that I, à pLrfLCtly mu.U-lioiit.cd poison, wos .collecting ovidenci to provo the guilt of a man against whom I had a strong préjudice, und was leagued foi that purjioso with 1 ivoiiinn who lind oin strongei still

Allagctlin I felt Hint I lud buen rnlhci u. fool, and 1 dended not to touch the pocket lining« except 111 bindair s presence If it was nofc^osMblp to lepau the nuscliief I -.lind (loilPsiHuPuld at l(-asl îefiain from com milting mv"iiioi 1

1 Willi ft" jsAllilt ''enl «E Ihn conie.t taken Out of nvty .I'liliuiiid thu various imple aicn(M to ¿Tip Bhki« kitchen und weht back b> my room to pick tho .she» pnic more A l'Mlfiè wau a strong temptation to pop-tliDlitllif bit of nu tal buck nenin among them, and lit bind tir lind It there How ever, somitluiig held mc bncl -mullan per )uips, honest) possibl) It is immntoiiul tunic I lcsolved to spoil tin ti 11th and wrapping the \ en Wit 1 iircfullv 111 piper, I *(iut it aw 11 111 mv wnstcott pool el

I hen I sttlbeil 'ort'i to seel -.meian ni the barracks 111 n vcij distuibod and e\ cited frnme of mind

( lo bL continued Coiumenced Octobu 9 )