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Ann Artist In Crime

Ann Artist In Crime  image
Parent Issue
Day
17
Month
March
Year
1899
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

[Copyright, 1895, by G. P. Putnain's Sons.] CHAPTER II. A DARING AMD SUCCE88FÜL TRAIN ROBBERY. The train was just approaching Stamford, and froni the window in the section which he occupied Mr. Barnes was watchiug the sun glowing red over the hilltops, when he heard approaching him the gnard who had assisted him to jnmp aboard the uight before. Tho man was making mysterieus gestures, from whioh Mr. Barnes nnderstood that be was wanted. He arose and followed the porter to the smoking room. "I think -on ealled yonrself Barnes, " said the mn, "as you jurnped aboard last night. " "Ycs; what of it?" "Are yon Mr. Barnes, the detective?" "Why do you ask?" "Because, if yon are, the conductor wants to see you. Xhere was a big robbery comruitted on the train during the night. " "The devil!" "Bxactly, bnt will you come into the next coach?" "Wait a minute. " Mr. Barnes ■went back into the main p;;rt of the coach and tiptoed toward Ko. 8. Gently moving the cnrtains, he peeped in and looked long aud earnestly. He saw two men undoubtedly slceping souudly. Satisñed, therefore, that. hs conld leave his watch f or a brief period, he followed the porter into the nest coach, where he found the conductor waiting for him in the smoking room. "You are Mr. Barnes, the detective?" asked the conductor. Mr. Barnes assen ted. "Then I wish to place in your hands cfficially a most rnysterious case. We took on a lady last night at Boston, who had a ticket to South Norwalk. As we were approaching that point a short time ago she was nqtified by the porter. She arose and dressed preparatory to leaving the train. A few minutes later I was hurriedly summoned, when the woman, between hysterical sobs, informed me that she had been robbed. " "Of nmch?" " She claims to miss a satchel containing $100,000 in jewelry. " "You have stated that adroitly. She claims to miss! Whatevidencehave you that she-has met with any loss at all?" "Of conrse we cannot teil about the jewehy, but she did have a satchel, which is now missing. The porter remembers it, and we have searched thoroughly, with no success. " "We-have stopped at New Haven and at Bridgeport. How many persous have lef t the train?" "No one has left. the sleepers. " "When yon say that no one has left the sleepers, I suppose you mean you eaw no one leave?" "No! I mean jnstwhat I said. Ihave Kent the portera through the coaches, and they report that. all our passengers are in their berths. Bnt here we come to a point. If no oiie has left the train, then the thief must be aboard?" "Certainly 1" "The womau when she discovered her loss conclnded to retnain aboard and go on to New York. All the other passengers save one are booked for New York. That one is a man, and he is uow dressing, as his destinación is Stamford. If he leaves, he niay take the jewels with bim, vet what am I to do?" "State the facts of the caseto hiña. If he is innocent, hewill willingly snbmit to beiug seaxched. If, however, he refuses - well, we eau be guided by circumstances. Oall him in here now. " A few minutes later a foreign and distinctly French appearing man entered. In speech he disclosed his origin, but the accent was slight. He was of fine appearance, digiiified and gentlemanly. Mr. Barnes sat at the window looking out. The conductor with considerable hesitancy explaiued the case, concludiug witb : "You see, my dear sir, this is au awkward business, but wiïïare so snre that the thief is still aboard that" - "That you hesitate to allow me to leave the train, eh, monsieur, is it not bo? Yet why shonld there be any trouble? Au honest man must never be hurt in his f eelings when he is asked to assist the law, even tbough for the moment he ishimself a - what yon cali it - suspect? In this case it is so simple if only the honest men wil] niake no trouble. They will 'say to you, 'Search me!' You do so, and at last one comes who says, 'You insult me!' That one is of course the thief, eh, monsieur? Doyounotagree with me?" He turned toward Mr. Barnes, addressing this last remark to him. The detective looked at him a moment steadily, as was his wout when he meant to remember a face. The Frenchman retnrned the gaze undisturbed. "I said almost the same thing to the conductor before youcamein, " said Mr. Barnes. "Exactlyso. Now, then, with your permission I wíll disrobe. Look, if you please, most carefully. My honor is at stake. The more carefully you examine the less suspicionean attach tome hereafter. " The conductor made a thorough search, emptying every pocket and taking every precaution. He did not expect to flnd anything, but it was essential that extreme care should be observed. Nothing was found, and the man resumed his clothing. "Now, if yon please, I have with me but two small satchels. If the porter will bring them, I will unlock them for you. 'I have no trunk, as I only went to Boston for a day's trip. " The satchels were brought, examined and nothing found. "Now, gentlemer, I suppose I am Öffl, as w ure at niy station. LsMU ouly remaiii hore a few houvs and will then go ou to New York. If you should wish to see me again, I shall stop at the Hoffnia Hcaso. Here is my card. Au revoir !" Mr. Barnes took tlie card and scrntinized it. "What do yon think?" asked the cuuductor. "Think? Oh, yon m eau of that fellow. You Deed not worry about him. Th ere is uot a shadow of suspiciou agaiusthim - at present. Besides, should vo ever want him I could fhid hina agaiu. Here is his name - Alphonse Thauret - card genuine, too, of French j make and style of type. We can dismiss him uow and tarn our attention to the other oasseugera. Do you suürjose I "You shall have it if you wish. We Will not consult her wishes in the matter. The affair is too serious. " "Very wel], then, send her in here and let me have a few words with her aloue. Don't teil her that I ara a detective. Leave that to me. " A few minutes later a tall woman, apparently about 45 years of age, entered. She was uot handsome, yet had a pleasing face. Ás she seated herself Bhe looked keenly at Mr. Barnes in a etealthy manner, which shonld have attracted that gentleman's earnost thoueht. Apparently he did not uotice it. The woman spoke flrst. "The conductor ii as sent me in here to see you. What have you to do with the case?" "Nothing!" "Nothing? Then why"- "When I say I have nothing todo with the case, I mean simply that it rests with youwhetherl shall uudertake 5o restore to you your diamonds or not. I look after such things for this road, but if the loser does not wish any action taken by the road, why, then.we drop the matter. Do you wish me to make a search for the stolen property?" "I certainly wish to recover the jewels, as they are very valuable, bnt I am not surethat I ('t-sireto place the case in the hands of ;i detective." "Who said that I am a detective?" "Are you uot one?" Mr. Barnes hesitated a moment, but quickly decided on his course. "I am a detective connected with a private agency. Therefore I can nndertake to look vip the thief without publicity. That is your main objection to placing the case inmyhauds, isit not?" "You are shrewd. There are reasons, family reasous, why I do not wish this loss published to the world. If yon can nndertake torecover the jewelsaud keep this robbery out of the newspapers I ■would pay you well. " "I will take the case. Now answer me a few questions. First, your name aud address. " "My name is Rose Mitcliel, and I au living temporarily in a furnished flat in East Thirtieth street, New York. I have recently come froui New Orleaus, my home, indam lookiugfor suitable apartments. " Mr. Earnes took out his note book and made a memorandum of the address. "Married or single?" "Married, but my husband has been dcad for several years. " "Now about these jewels. How did it happen that you were traveliiig with so valoable a lot of jewelry?" "I have not lost jewelry, but jewels. They are nnset stones of rare beauty - diamonds, rubies, pearls and other precious stoues. When my husband died, he Itift a large fortune, but there were also large debts, which swallowed up everything save what was due him from one creditor. This was an Italian nobleman - I need inention his name - who died almost at the same time as my husband. The executors communicated with me, and our correspoudence nulmiuated in my accepting these jewels in paymentof the debt. Ireceived them in Boston yesterday, and already I have lost them. It is too cruel - too cruel!" She gripped her hands together couvulsively, and a few tears coursed down her face. Mr. Barnes mused a few moments and seemed uot to be observing her. "What was the valué of these jewels?" "Üue hundred thousand dollars." "By what express conipany weré they sent to you?" The question was a simple one, aud Mr. Barnes asked it rather mechanically, though hewas woudering if the tliief had come across the ocean - from France, perbaps. He was therefore astouished at the effect produced. The wouiau arose suddeuly, her whole nianner changed. She replied with her lips compressed tightly, as though laboring uuder some excitement. "That is riot essential. Perhaps I am telliug too much to a stranger aiiyway. Come to iny apartment this eveniug, aud I wiH give you further particnlars if I decide to leave the case in your hauds. If not, I will pay you for whatever trouble you have in the interim. Good nioruiug!" Mr. Barues watched her leave the room without offeririg to detain her or makiiig any comnient on her singular mauiier. Without rising from his seat he looked out of the window and strninmed on the pane. What he thought it would be difflcult to teil, but presently he said aloud, though there was no one to hear hiin : "I thiuk she is a liar!" Bamis relieyed. himséljlthns, he turned to his o-.vd coach. He fouud two geutlemen in thetoilet room allowiüg themselves to be searched, langhing over the matter as a lmge joke. He passed by and entered his own compartment, which the porter had put in order. Oue after aiiother the fow passengers aros3, heard of the robbery and chewfully passed through the ordeal of beiug searched. At last his patience was rewarded by seeiug the curtains of No. 8 moving, and a moment later a fine looking young man of six and twenty emerged, partijdressed, and went toward the toilet. Mr. Barnes sauntered after him, and entered the smoking room. He had acareely seated himself before a man entered, Who was evidently the otheroccupant of ectiou 8. Wiiile itvis nfcml man was ivashing, the ivüiUietuy explained to ihe other about slio icbbery, and Bngge.sted that he alljw hiniself to be search3d. By this linie tho conductor was besoming excited. ïhey were within a Eew minutes of New York, and all his passengers had been exainined save these two. Yet these two looked more aristocratie than any of the others. He was jstoniahed, therefore, to observe that the foting man addressed seemed very much disturbed. He stammered and stuttered, seeking words, aud finally in a hoarse voice addressed his companiun : "Bob, do you hear, there's been a robbery ! ' ' His friend Bob was bending over the water basiu, his head and face covered with a stiff soap lather and his hands rubbing his skin vigorously. Before replying lie dipped his head completely under the water, held it so submerged a moment, then stood erect witb eyes shut and reached for a towel. In a moment he had wiped the suds from his eyes, and looking at his friend he answered most unconcernedly : "What of it?" "But - bnt - the conductor wants to search me. '■' "All right. What are you af raid of? You are not the thief, are you?" "No- bnt"- "There is no bilt in it. If yon are innocent, letthem go through you." Then with a light laugh he turned to the glass and began arranging his cravat. His friend looked at him a moment with an expression which nooue but Mr. Barnes understood. The detective had recognized by their voices that it was Bob who had made the wager to cornrait a crime, and it was plaiu that his friend already suspected him. His fright was occasioned by tho thought that perhaps Bob had stoleu the jewels during the uight and then secreted them in his clothing, where i f found the suspicion would not be on Bob. Mr. Barnes was amused as he saw the young man actually searching himself. In a few minutes, with a sigh of intense rejief , having evidently discovered aothing foreign in his pockets, he turned to the conductor who stood waiting and expectant. "Mr. Conductor," he begau, "I fear that my conduct has seemed suspicions. I can't explaiu, but nevertheless I am perfectly willing to have you make a search. Indeed I am anxkras that it should be a thorough one. " The examination was made, and, as with the others, nothing was fouud. "Here is my card. I am Arthur Randolph, of the firm of J. Q. Randolph & Sou, bankers. " Mr. Randolph stood a tri fie more erect as he said this, and the poor conductor feit that he had done him a grievons wrong. Mr. Randolph coutinued: "This is my friend, Robert Leroy MitcheL I will vouch for him." At the name Mitchel Mr. Barnes was a trifle startled. It was the same as that which had been given by the woman who had been robbed. At this point Mr. Mitchel, a mau of 43, with a classic face, spoke : "Thanks, Arthur, I eau take care of 'myself !" The conductor hesitïited a moment, and then addressed Mr. Mitchel : "I regret very much the necessity which compels me to ask you to allow yourself to be searched, but it is my dn tv. " "My dear sir, I understand perfectly that it is your duty and have no personal feelingsagainstyou. Nevertheless I distinctly refuse. " "You refnser" The words carne from the other three mentogether. It is difficult to teil which was the most suxprised. Rand'olph turned pale and leaned against the partition for support. Mr. Barnes became slightly excited and said: "That amounts toa tacit acknowledgment of guilt, since every other man has been searched " Mr. Mitchel's reply to this was even more of a surprise than what he had said before. "That alters the case. If evety one else has submitted, so will I. " Without more ado be diyested himself of his clothing. Nothing was found. The satchels of both men were brought, but the search was fruitless. The conductor glanced at the detective helplessly, bnt that gentleman was looking out of the window. One who knew Mr. Barnes could have told that he was augry, for he was biting the end of his mustaohe. "Here we are at the Grand Central," said Mr. Mitchel. "Are we at liberty to leave the train?" Receiving an acquiescent nod, the two friends walked to the other end of the coach. Mr. Barnes abruptiy started up, and without a word jumped from the train as it slowly rolled into the great depot. He went np to a man quickly, said a few words in an undertone, and both went back toward the train. Presently the woman who had been robbed came along, and as she passed out of the building Mr. Barnes' companion followed her. He himself was about to depart, ■when, feeling a light tap npon his shoulder, he turned and faced Mr. Mitchel. "Mr. Barnes," said the latter, "I want a few words with you. Will you breakfast with me in the restaurant?" "How did you know that my name is Barnes?" "I did not know, thongh I do now," and he laughed in a complacent manner which iarred cix IZr, Esrnes. tective feit (hut this mr.n was getting the best of him at every tnm. But for all that lic was only the more determined to trap hini in the end. Accnstoined to think qnickly, lie decided to accept the invitation, consideriug that be conld lose uothing aild might gain niuch by a further acquaintauce. The two rueu therefore went below to the eating room and seated theniselves at a small table. After giving the waiter a liberal order Mr. Mitohel began : "Won'tit be best for us to onderstand one another from the outset, Mr. Barnes?" "I don 't know what you mean. " "I think you do. You asked me a moment ago how I kuew yonr name. As I said, I did not know it, thongh I suspeoted it. Shall I teil yon wby?" "Certainly, f yon wish. " "Perhaps ï am a fooi to show yon your lirst blunder in this game, since you are evidently eulisted against me, Int as I sent my friend off alone purposely for the chance of doing so I canüot resist the temptatipn. " "Stop a moment. Mr. Mitohel. I am Dot such a fcxjl as yon take me to be. I know what you are goiug to say. " "Ah, indeed! That is clever. " ' ' Yon are abont to teil me that I made an asa of jnyself wben I spoke in the coach upon refnsing to be Bearched." "Wel!, I should nut havo put it quite 60 harshly,' but the fact is this: Wheu you deliberately followed Kandolph into the toilet room, I became suspicious, beiug, as I was, at your heels. When the conductor spoke to me, I refused purposely, to watcli the effect upon you, with the result, as you now see, that I had iny suspicibn confirmed. I knew that you were a detective, aüd, that point gained, there was no further reaBon for refusing the conductor." "As I said, I acted like an ass. But I did uot ueed this warning. It will not occur again, I assure you." "Of course I see now that you overheard our conversation last night, and, such beiug the case, you naturally suspectcd me of this robbery. But I am wonderiug, if you did overhear our talk, why yoa did not watch me all night." To this Mr. Barnes made no repiy. "I have one favor to ask. " "What is it?" "That you reveal to no one the fact that I have nndei'taken to commit a crime. You of course are at liberty to play the ferret and couvict uie - if you can." "As snrely as yon commit a crime, so eurely will I convicfc you of it, " replied Mr. Barnes. "It will be perhaps to my interest to keep what I know to myself, but it will not do to inake any promises to yon. I must be free to act as circumstances direct." "Very good. I will teil yon vliere I am stopping and I give you permission to cali to seo me whenever you please, day or night. I have a Buit of rooms at the Fifth Avenue. Now let me ask you one question. Do you think that I committed this robbery?" "I will answer you with a question. Did you commit tbis robbery?" "Capital. I see I have a foeman worthyof my eteeL Well, we ■will leave both question8 unanswered for the present. " (Tobeoontinued.)