Chapter 64221095

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberXVIII
Chapter Url
Full Date1891-11-21
Page Number1
Word Count2607
Last Corrected2018-06-21
Newspaper TitleBathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (NSW : 1851 - 1904)
Trove TitleThe Mount Macedon Mystery
article text





Mr Dutton, the leader of one of the Government Survey Parties, and who has been introduced to the reader already, was frequently In Melbourne. The nature of his duties often entailed his presence at head quarters, and on these occasions Mr Dutton, though an excellent officer, deemed it no breach of trust to remain in town as long as he possibly could, and take a little relaxation from the hard life he led in the bush. From the very nature of his work he was a sharp and keen observer. Accustomed to take bearings and fix landmarks with unerring accuracy on the face of nature he insensibly carried the acute perceptive faculty into his dealings with men. After his first scrutiny of a human face he never forgot it. He took in at a glance the landmarks, so to speak, which distinguished it. The salient points were fixed in his memory and brought forth for future use when re- quired. It was during one of those visits to Melbourne that Mr Dutton was carelessly and aimlessly strolling along Elizabeth Street when a man passed him whom the surveyor thought he knew. " Who is that man ?" he asked himself. "I have seen him somewhere, but I really cannot locate him. Now Dutton was almost childishly proud of his ability to recognise faces. "I ought to have been a detective" he would say, and he would not brook the idea of being baffled on this occasion, so he turned and followed the cause of his perplexity along the street. The man turned into an hotel, but Dut- ton calmly waited outside for him deter- mined, even if he had to speak to the stranger, to find out who he was. In a few minutes he reappeared, and the curious watcher had a good view of him, but still he could not recognise him. Following closely after the unsus- picious pedestrian Dutton suddenly ejacu- lated "Jehosaphat ! it can't be him. Yet I could swear to the walk and the build. Yes, the more I look the more certain I am, but I will soon find out." Going closer to the man he suddenly called out. "Marshall?" The pedestrian in front stopped as though he had been shot, and turning quickly around with a scared look was about to any something when he checked himself with an effort, and started to resume his walk. "Why Marshall," said the surveyor, hurrying to his side. " I am delighted to see you again. We all thought you were dead, but the dead is alive again ; the lost has been found." "You", evidently mistake me for some- one else." My name is not Marshall, and I have never been lost so far as I know," the other answered coldly. "Oh, what nonsense. I am a friend, and wish you well. Of course you know me— Dutton— whom you worked with on Mount Macedon. You needn't try to conceal your identity from me, because I am delighted to see you alive and well again." "I am sorry you should be so mis- taken," returned the supposed Marshall politely, though with an effort. This is my name, and I will add my address, so that you can verify what I say if you doubt my word," he added, taking out a pencil and writing on a card, which he handed to Dutton. Then wishing the surveyor good morning he walked on. Dutton stood for a few minutes looking at the card, on which was the name of Phillip Simpson, and the address——— Terrace, Nicholson Street. At last he exclaimed. "I don't care a fig what the fellow's name is now, but it was Marshall when he worked in my camp on Macedon. I don't understand why he should change it." As he thought longer over the mooting his confidence began to desert him. "I may be mistaken after all. There are many people so alike that it is almost impossible to detect the difference, hut why did he answer to the name of Mar- shall when I called, and he appeared so frightened. Yes, it must be him, for I have never been mistaken before." Thus swaying between two opinions Dut- ton decided to call at the detective office and report his suspicions, for if Mar- shall were alive it would be a great step towards clearing up the mystery of the skeleton found in the wombat hole. He waited some time until Lynx came in, and then told him all that had hap- pened in Elisabeth Street. The impassive face of the detective

assumed a more hopeful look as he listened "If this man is really Marshall, and w can prove it the back of our difficulty will be broken, and I can see my way to the end," the officer said. "I have scarcely a doubt as to his identity," answered Dutton. "How do you know him ? He must be changed, and I suppose he has shaved?" " He still wears a beard and moustache, but the whiskers are shaved. I can scarcely tell you how I know him again, but his walk, his form, and his face are quite familiar to me." " Have you any of the men that worked with him still in your camp?" "Yes, they are nearly all with me still. "Perhaps some of them would know him again?'' "It is quite probable. If necessary you can get them to try." "I scarcely know what steps to take first," pursued the officer. " It would be premature to visit his residence at present, but I can easily ascertain if a person named Simpson does live at the address given. If I go to the house he will no doubt give me the same answers that he gave you, and his suspicions being aroused he will be harder to deal with. If you could manage to point him out to me without being recognised I would shadow him, and probably dis- cover something that would help us." ''l can easily disguise myself so that he will not know me again, and accom- pany you in the streets," said Dutton. This plan was agreed on, and after it was ascertained that a Mr Simpson did live at the address given on the card, the detective accompanied Dutton through the streets where it was thought the man they wanted would be found. On the second day they met him, and when Lynx was satisfied he would know him again, Dutton was relieved of his self imposed task. "Lynx was an adept at "shadowing," and his skill stood him in good stead now. Never had he such a difficult job be- fore, for Simpson led him a pretty dance. In hotels and clubs during the day, and private suburban houses in the even- ing, it was one eternal round of monot- onous work. At the end of a week he was about

giving up the "shadowing," idea in des- pair, when an event happened that at once relieved and assisted him. His watching had convinced him that Simpson was a hard drinker — for nearly every night ho reached his home drunk — and that he was exceedingly quarrelsome when in that state. It was eleven o'clock on a Friday night that Simpson was staggering up Elizabeth Street, apparently on his way home, with the detective bringing up tho rear. Dur- ing the day the shadowed one had im- bibed very freely, and consequently the detective was not surprised to see him turn into a low shanty in Little Lonsdale Street. Knowing the character of the place Lynx, a minute afterwards, walked into the shanty and called for a drink, as he wished to see how Simpson acted. There were three or four low looking follows lounging about the bar when he entered, and Simpson, in a noisy man- ner, invited them to have a drink, at the same time taking out of his pocket a num- ber of sovereigns. One drink followed another in rapid succession, and at last Simpson showed signs of leaving. The detective slipped silently out, and stood in the recess of a doorway. In a few moments the drunken man came out and staggered up the dark street. As the officer expected the ruffians who had seen the gold soon followed, and sud- denly surrounding their victim, knocked him down, and coolly proceeded to rob him. With a cry of police Lynx bounded amongst them and seized one of the ring- leaders. Simpson, partly sobered, rose from the ground, and assisted the de- tective to beat off his assailants, which was easily done, as the fellows soon de- camped, leaving one of their number in the strong grasp of the officer, who soon lodged him in the lock-up, leaving Simp- son to get home as best he could. "Now, thought the detective, some- thing will come of this night's work, for the man I have been shadowing will have to give evidence in the case, and as soon as I get him in the witness box he will be asked a question which he must either answer truthfully, or commit. per- jury." Next morning the detective called at the terrace in Nicholson Street, and asked to see Mr Simpson. After waiting some time that gentleman made his appearance, looking considerably the worse for his night's dissipation. "I am glad I was in time to rescue you from those scoundrels who attacked and tried to rob you last night Mr Simpson." "l am very much obliged to you in- deed for your timely help, and I hope you will accept a small reward for the service you did me," he replied, holding out a handful of sovereigns to the officer. "I must decline your liberal offer, as I only did my duty. I am a detective, and it is part of our work to arrest such scoundrels." "Oh, indeed," answered Simpson, turning slightly pale. "Did you arrest any of those men?" "Yes. There is one in custody who is to be brought before the police court to- morrow, when your evidence will be re- quired." "I would much rather the fellows had escaped, for it will do me considerable social injury when it becomes publicly known that I was in such a disreputuble quarter, and rather under the influence of drink. Could I not be left out of the case. I would make it worth anyone's trouble who could arrange that I should not have to appear," he added signi- ficantly. "The case cannot go on without you, so that it is imperative to appear. You would surely not allow a villain like that to escape unpunished." " Well, I certainly do not care to ap- pear, and under the circumstances I am sorry you arrested the man." "Why?" "Because it places me in an ignomini- ous position if I go into the witness box." "I am sorry that it has happened Mr Simpson," the officer hypocritically an- swered, "but I only did my duty, and I must leave you this subpœna to appear to-morrow morning at the city court." As he finished speaking the detective laid the subpœna on the table in front of Simpson, and wishing him good morning left the house . "I'll find out something to-morrow l fancv," he chuckled. "There is some secret about that man which he wishes to hide. His talk about social ignominy is all 'my eye.' He is really afraid he may be asked some awkward questions which he cannot easily answer, and by Jove he will."

Meanwhile Phillip Simpson sat at the table looking at the scrap of blue paper as fixedly as if it had been a death war- rant. After some time buried in deep thought he rose from the seat, and opening the front door went into the street and walked towards town. Entering a shop in Swanston Street he emerged with a strong looking portmanteau, and then directed his steps to the Bank of New South Wales. He remained there for a considerable time, and on coming out hailed a cab, and with the portmanteau drove back to his lodgings. During the afternoon he left the house with the same portmanteau, after telling the landlady he would not be back until late, and taking a cab in Gertrude Street drove towards the city. The dingy city court was crowded the following day, for the newspapers had given wide publicity to the fact that the rich and well-known Mr Simpson had been assaulted and nearly robbed by a gang of ruffians, who were only prevented from effecting their purpose by the timely arrival of Detective Lynx, who had arrested one of the gang. Before the case was called on that officer looked expectantly around for Mr Simpson, but he had not yet arrived, and when it was called on the prosecuting lawyer asked that it might be placed at the bottom of the list until a messenger was despatched for Mr Simpson, who had no doubt mistaken the time. This was at once granted, and Lynx, jumping into a cab, drove, up to Nicholson Street. "No," the landlady answered to his enquiry. Mr Simpson was not at home, and in fact had not been at the house since the previous afternoon. "I believe the fellow has cleared out and foiled me " he groaned, as he drove back. "I am reluctantly compelled to ask your worships to remand this case for seven days, so that you may issue a war- rant to compel the attendance of the wit= ness Simpson, who cannot be found, al- though served with a subpœna," said Lynx, on returning into court. Of course the magistrates had no option but to comply, and great was the surprise when it became known that the police were searching for Phillip Simpson.