Chapter 9781716

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Chapter NumberVIII. (Continued).
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article9781716
Full Date1897-12-04
Page Number13
Corrections0
Word Count3224
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.

A MELBOUKXE DETECTIVE STORY.

By C. H. CHO. .LEV.

CHAPTER VU I. (Continued).

It was Dorothv Her hair was down A gi cat spht.Ii uf Wood rcddeneil her while cuffs and collar She was choking as she tried to get her bieatb, and in hei right hand she held a revolver, xvith the linn, blue Brooke still culling from the muz. le

' DoroUix, dearest," I cried, "Dorothy, I mean Arc }ou hurt* Tor God's sake tell me what has happened "

She shook her head, and her teeth chat tered as she clung to me and I supported her with my arm round hei waist

Presently she recoveied her breath suffi

ciently to gasp, "I'm not hint, I shot

hin "

"With that'" and I put out my hand to take the revolvet winch she clutched in her fingers, when her eje fell upon it, and with a shudder she threw it on the flooi

Sinclair stood be.ide us on the landing as she did so

She saw him before I did, and quickly disengaging herself from me, she leant against the ivall and mechanically put her hands to her hair, but it was in a state for which even hei feminine skill could do nothing

Smclaii took in the situation at a glance

"_ou have used tins, Miss Lister'" he said, picking up the revolver

"Yes," she nodded

"I seo j ou are upset Whoro is Cor

field >"

"In there," whispered Dorothj, pointing to a door near the head of a flight of steps above us

"Is he much hurt-or dead, possibly'"

Dorothy tried to speak, but the word, would not come, and she shook her head, with a piteous, fiiçhtuied look

"I see j ou aie not m a fit state to answer questions,' »aid Sinclair kindh Orr W in ton, take the lady to the dining oom, mil give her n glass of brandv .lulonej wdl help nie Come here,' he culled to "Ualonej, who came in from the verandah us he spoke

Dorotlij pulled herself together with an

effort

"No, I won't go away till I know the woist," she sud "I am all right now Don't trj to make mt It's no use," she replied to me, as I, loo, begged her to come

awaj

Sinclair looked at her with admiration

"Excuse me, Miss Lister, but jou're a plucky woman Ia this the room'" ho said, as with the constable, who had joined us, we stood in fiont of the door that she had pointed out

Hei whispered "Yes" was scarcely neccs san, for I saw a thin trickle of blood is suing from beneath it

Sinclair tried the door, but it would not

open

"Ile can't be dead," said I, with a flash of liopc, "for be has locked the door "

"No he hasn't," answ cred Dorothj "It's the library He keeps the latchkey that opens it, and I slammed it when I ran

out "

"We must break it in," said Sinclair "W heie are the servants'"

"He gave them all leave to go out this afternoon," sVie inswercd

Sindair w Impel ed something to Malone), who went downstairs, and stepping himself into a neighbouring room, he brought out

a chair

' Sit down, Miss Lister," he said, "if \ou v on't go I think vou had bett« do so "

"No, no, I re ill) can't, but thank j ou for tho clian," and she sank weanlv into it

Just as I rctuiued fiom the dimngioom, wliere I had been foi a glass of wine, winch I made Dorothj swallow, Maloney appeared

with an a\e m his hand

' Shall I 1 nock it in, sir' he a.l ed ' Yes," said Sinclair

'lho baclc of the ave descended with a craöh upon the hcavv dooi One of the panels was sluttcicd, but the lock still held Again he swung it round with oil his strength, mid loud ibove the noise of its fall upon the splintumg wood there nmg out two reports, in such quick succès sion as to make almo.t one

So staithng was the effect that we hung back foi a becond and looked nt each other, before entering thiough the brokin dooi When we did «o, the blinds w<rc down, mid what made it hauler to see m the twilight w is the cloud ot smol e that lill ii the loom )iut on the floor, wheio the smoke wie. thiel c.t, wc grailmllj discerned a hideous heap I .hall not attempt to deanbe it .luther than to saj, that buido it lav a double-banellcd tim, and that it

had once -Len Coi field

He had placed both bancls in his mouth bcfoie ho pulled the tnggei? and the room presented mi appetrance which I shall not soon folget, though luckilv the light was dun, mid mv time in it was \eiy shoit

I icmcmbered Dorothj, and was at tH. dooi just in time to stop her as she ap pro. ched it with tiembling steps

' _ on can t pc-siblj go in there " I ened, sei. mg her bv tho shouldei ' Come doini stairs with mo at once and calling to [ Sinclair to look for us in the dinmgroom when we weio wanted, I dragged her

nwav

"But what does it mean, Gnald» What Ins happened ' ' she asked, clinging to ni}

ann

'It means that you did not kill Corfield He is dead and the noise we heard was the repoit of the gun with which he bhot him self "

¡She burst into n torrent of sobs, but I made no effort to restrain hci, 1 now mr thal teais win the best thine, to leheve hoi ouistiung feelings She was Rtil! civing when she threw herself upon o sofa in the dmingroom, and I watched her for a time m silence, but m the ten minutes tint elapsed befoie Smcloit and Malouet carne down again, she had rccoveiod sufficient.} to tell mo what had happened previous to

oui aimai

She had just concluded when Sinclair came into the loom, and walked up to the

sofa

"Well, how is tho patient'" he said checi ilv

"Better, thank YOU," said Doroth}, with a finn* smile, ' I just feel a little w eak and gidd} "

' No wonder, no wonder It may do von good to know that }ou probably hurt Cor field verv slightly V mere sciatch that bled a little on the head or neck most likelv

It's deuced haid to find either of them, so I can't sav for cn tam," he added in a vv luspcr to me

' it does do me a gre it deal of good, ' Dotothv said cr-rnesUv " Vnd is-and is Ml Coi field quite dead now » '

"Dead " faid Sinclair gnmlv ' Yes he is-well dead He has dodged vour bullet and the hangman's rope Misa. Listci, and is at another bar by this time if the parsons loll IIB true But how did it nil h ippen '"

Doioth} sighed, and was going to speak, when I interposed

"Don't bother Miss Listel now, Sin clan," I said "She has given the main facts to me, and is seaieelv up to repeatin¡, them &he ought to be taken home at

once "

' Of course she ought-cei tam!}-vciv in considerate of mo not lo flunk of it,' ie plied Smclnii, but befoie she gois I hive some medicine to give hu that should do hci mole good }et " ind he took a puce ot papci from his pocket

"Wini is it'" she asked

"Rend it," he said, giv ing it to her

A bright emile lit up her face as she lead it, and, pasting it to mc, she said, "You aie right, Mr Sinclur, that is very good mcdi

cine, and I think jon arc the cloveiest doctor I have ever met with "

On the paper wcie scrawled the few words, "Cunningham and Parker aie both innocent," and thej wcie eigned willi Coi

field's name

Sinclin was delighted with Dorotliv's ap prcciation oí his efforts He «ent Malonej to bring the cab to the doot, and suggested that I should take hei home, and meet him later at the bunack.

In spit« of our peisuabions, howevci, she firmly declined to be cscoi ted by iu)j one She was quite well now, she said It waa gettuig dark, and no one would notice hei,

. All Uighto Remrved, ,

and she could slip into tim house unseen ]

to change her clothe"

As usual, she had hei own wa\, and, thanking us in a broken -voice for the help that our timely iimval hid given, she stepped into the cab and drove off

"\. hat are join plans, Sinclair' ' I asked when she had gone

"I have not much to do," he answered "I'm sending Mulonej to get instructions fiom headqiuitcis and for i doctor-the latter meielj a mattei of form Ugh'" he said with a shuddci, fcomg to the side board ' Wheic's the whiski ' Hit thought of that loom makes me pcifeetly Mek '

"I supposed j ou weie too old a soldier to suffer m that waj," I sud, following his example, ' but I must admit I feel queer "

"Well, it's the best ending to the business, anyhow Sit down and tell me what that young woman has told jon Hy Jove' she's a daisv, and I'd rather have lost my right hand th in been live minutes later "

"\es, we were just m time," I replied "To begin with, she gave me these," and I hinded to lum a diess stud with the jewel gone from it, and an L .haped piece of white

paper

"The pearl stud, bj all that s höh '" he exellimed "But whits this papei ' It's getting rathei daik "

I got up and Jit the gn. ' It's the peal I stud, no doubt," I said "And now, do you recognise the papci It's stamp paper, and theie's no gum left on it "

"Oh, whj did he confess'' groaned Sin clair in ludicious distre^ Hay alwajs do it Where did she lind the_c "

'Hie stud Bonievvheie m the bedroom, the papei at the back of the fireplace in the study I suppose ho threw it on the fire, and the draught saved it It w as these got her into tiouble," I continued 'He had evidentl\ distovcrcd her and was sus.pi clous He pietendtd to go out this after noon, a id, coming back, caught her in the stiidj, where she was i\anuning this very bit of papei, which had just atti acted hei attention He told hei to give it to linn, but she refused, and thmst it into her pocket 'lhere wen some words Ile told hei he had found her out, that it had boen his intention to kill hei as he had killed his wife, but tint now he had changed his

mind "

' But what the devil made lum confess the mindel if ho was not going to put her out of the w ay too ."'

"Wait a bit Tie w as not going to kill her, he said, because he had thought it over and made up his mind to many her"

"Alan v hei ' Was the man mad*" cjacu

latcd Sinclair

"1 believe he was in a wa}, but there was no madness hore Do you remember what I told }ou about IIIB mesmeric influence over

his wife'"

"Yes, but, good God, he wasn't going to trv tint again'' cued Sinclair CNcitcdly "He might as well try to mesmerisa a

hones "

"He was goinß to liy it He stood there, with his back to the dooi, and told hci so She defied bim at first, told linn that it was only over weak minds that be had n chance, told him how she hated and de tested linn

"He smiled, and said he admired her for it, but that he had made n study of these biibjccts, and had a tbcoi} that the begin nmg was evil}thing, and he was going to test it He had only to mnke hoi union bcious once, Ile said, ami the rest would

he e wv

' He took a bottle of chloroform-not with Gould and Oliver's label-iiom a cabi net on the wall and, soaking a Imndker chief w ith it, approached bel

"God knows it there is any truth in his Ihcoiv, or what he would hive done, but natinally the pool girl, brave as she is, was temfied She began to su earn for help, but he only laughed, mid told hei he had dis missed Hie bei vants till b o clock

"He did not lock the dooi, but, as there was no table m the middle of the room round which to dodge, she had little chance of escape, and ho gi iduall} drove her into i eoiner When she baw bel 1 ist chaine

gone MIL bl ought out the icvolvci and

pointing it at lum, told linn she would shooi iiini through the head if he came a step clo.ei, uni did not promise to let hei leave

the loom and the house

.meian nibbed his hands with admira

tion And she d have done it, loo, bj jmt.0,' he mutteied

Ihat frightened lum 'Icontinued 'Ile stood wheie he w is and isked her w hether

slic would m hei turn promise to fight lum fair and . ty nothing of the oonveisation m that loom While «he was considering Ins

oller she was tin own foi a moment off he\ cuan! and he lushed at hei

The-damned sneaking hound'" cried

Sincl in

He rushed at her and caught her bj the tin oat with one hand, while with the other ho tl'PPcd the ann that held the revolver It was then I must have heard her cij out

Tliej vvieotlcd and struggled together for a lew seconds for she is a stion. worn m and had one hand free he ti j HIE to throttle hei so that ho might secure the rev oh el, and she to get his hand .tom hei tin oat and bung theievolverdown to a level where she could lire At last juil us she felt herself giving w i\, she henil me edi and with a final efiort sha wienehed heisclf free, and

fired point blank

i lie bullet is j ou snv, probably gave lum R flesh wound in the neck At any rate, he fell, and just after we heard the pistol shot she escaped fiom the room The rest } ou 1 now "

'Its the queerest story I have ever heaid," said Sinclair, when I had finished. ' and Iheie aie verv few girls that woitlu show the pluck of Miss Listet "

I quite agree iv lth a on," I answered warm!}, ana evidcu.lv Sinclair's thoughts were running in the same dnection as mine for ho snd, afler a pause, ' Vnd she's saved her young man right enough, anv how If he don t keep str ..{.lit and love her all his life he ought to '

Yes ' I assented getting up "I don't suppo-c }ou want me any longer If not,

111 co '

f don't want }OU," he said, regarding me with a smile I suspected to be compas sionatc, but wouldn't you like to hear my idea of what happened on Thursda} ini,ht" <

\es, if YOU have one"

I "ea it all, as clear as da) light," ho snid, beginning to pace up and down the room, and speaking m his short, jerky way ' Cor held put his wife into the cab, and took her

out again '

How could he do that for a start' '

Nothing casiei Have vou forgotten the mesincii-m business nlieadj, after all wive been heal mg of it And even w ltb out it He s a big man, she a little woman Parker was tluee paits druuk Do jou see inn dilheultj now

No,' I said, ' go on

The rest is simple He pul out the light chloiolormod his wife, tied tho nindi cr chief round her nee! to tluow the blame ou Cunningham, who he 1 new meant to travel bv that bus rot out at W illiams road w hen Cunniiiijh un h iilcd it, and popped the bottle into his poc'et Coi field w is tile man w ith the hat, wo 1 now til it \\ e 1 now the bottle was in ins possession from the turn, we 1 now the lundi ctchief was From tile told paint That he must have stolen, anil these two things weie îeally the onlv evidence agunsl Cunningham In idilitioii we have the pearl lound in the bus and the biolen stud in ins bedtoom If jou want mv moie there is Ins confes-

sion and suicide when he siw the tame was

up

\nd what about Pill ei and the cab'

He told Cunningham Mr. Corfield was in the cab bec mse he thought so Mind jon neither of them ever sud thej saw her theie, an! with the curtain down mid the rain and breath on the window, no one could .ce inside wabout lool mr \s soon as Parker did look he s ivv she vv as n t there and drove off Iverjtlimg is accounted for, even to Coi field getting wet llnough lhat happened when he inn down from A\ illiams load to Ch lpcl ntieet to "o to the chemist s Coinj, iq in the bus from Chapel street to \S dil uns load mid bicl

aeaui would not tai e more than a quaiter ot an lioui II at Coi lu Id filled in bj sav mg that he was vv uting tor the ran and lingini up the chemist

.nil what do von tlnnl is the true his tory of Pin! or s conduct uft(ivvaul9

Ah' Theie \ou have me We must got tint fiom linn sud feuiclau but I tlnnl what Coi held his said piobablj true in the main It is possible the mcsnieiism

came in again theie

?vr".i ? " i f] " "i "i" a -" wv.

Yes," I said the whole thing looks clent enough now Most of it was ai ringed In Corfield mid Cunninghams fill in with Pmkei was a puie coincidence

L\oitlv It a a biautiful find, spoilt onlv bv tile confession lhere aie one or two details to lind out vel how he got the bindi crchief where the pcail was set how I old paint e une into his poel ets and pei

hips ii few mole But the muni point is bettled, mid In) almost soirv '

llieie was a little ot wheels at the door, followed h\ a step on the verandah

J he doctor " he «md with ii sigh "I suppose I must go up to thal slaughter house agmn Will } on come

No. thanl }ou, ' I an.wcied Good

night '* _.

<-To b« Continued Commenced October 9 )