Press enter after choosing selection

An Artist In Crime

An Artist In Crime image
Parent Issue
Day
24
Month
March
Year
1899
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

[Copyright, 1S95, by G. P. Putiiam'a Sons.] CHAPTER III. MS. BARNES DISCOVERS Ail ARTISTIC MÜRDER. While the meal was progressing, a man silently passed through the room. No 011e would have guessed that he had any special motive in doing so, for he noticed no one. Neither wonld one have snpposed that Mr. Barnes observed him, for he had his back turned. Yet this was the same individual who npon his instruction had followed Rose Mitchel when eho left the train. Breakfast over, the two men started to leave the restaurant. Keaching the stairway which leads above to the ruain floor, Mr. Barnes courteously stood aside to allow his companion to ascend first. Mr. Mitchel, however, with a wave of. the hand, doclined and followed Mr. Barnes. Whether eithor hr.d any special design in this was a thcraght occupying the minds of both as they silently passed up stairs. Mr. Mitchel had a slight advantage, in that beiug behind ise oonld watch the detective. There seemed, however, to be little to see. To be sure the man who had passed throngh the restaurant vrns id.'Y leuning against the doorway, but as soon us Mr. Barnes' hcad appeared, and ccrtainly before he conld have been noticed by Mr. Mitchel, he stepped out iino the stres!, crossed over and disappeared into 1he bank building opposite. Had aiiy signal passed between these two detectives: Mr. Mitchel, dospito his shrewdness in sending Mr. Barnes up stairs ahead of him, saw none, yet this is what occurred: , Mr. Barnes said lidien and walked away. Mr. Mitchel stood in tho doorway, gazing after him till he saw him enter the elevated railroad station ; then, looking carefnlly about, he himself walked. rapidly toward Sixth avenue. He did not glance behind, or he might have seen the man in the bank step out and walk in the same direction. They had been gone about flve minutes when Mr. Barnes once more appeaied upon the scène. He stopped iu the doorway where the other detective had been leaning. Keenly scanning the panftling, his eye presently rested upon what he was seeking. Faintly written in pencil were the words "No. - East Thirtieth. " That was all, but it told Mr. Barnes that Rose Mitchel had been followed to this address, and as it tallied with that which she herself had given to him he knew now that she could be fonnd when wanted. Wetting his finger against the tip of his tongue, he drew it across the words, leaving uothing but a, dirty smudge. "Wilson is a keen one," thought the detective. "He did this trick well - saw my nod, wrote that address and got out of sight in an instant. I wonder if he can keep an eye on that shrewd seoundrel. Pshaw 1 I am giving the fellow too much credit. I must leave it to Wilson for today anyway, as I must get through with this Pottingill matter. ': Half an hour later he was at heudquarters talking with his assistants. Meanwhile Wilson followed Mr. Mitchel to Broadway, theu down to the Casino, where he stopped to bny tickets ; iheu out again and down Broadway to the Fifth Avenue hotel, which he entered. He nodded to the clerk, took his key and passed up stairs. Evidently he lived there. Wilson, of conrse, had no further definite instructions. Froin Mr. Barnes' backward nod he had understood that he was to shadow this man, and, under the circumstauces, it was his simple duty to do this until rclieved by further orders. In these days of telephpnes it is easy enough to make hurried reports to headquarters and then continue the pnrsuit. The Fifth Avenue is not a ing place íd which to watch a inun, provided the n an knows that he is being watched. It has tbree exits- one on Broad-way and oue eaoh oa Twentythird and on Twenty-fourth street. Wilson flattered hiinselí that Mr. Mitchelwas unsuspicious, and therefore whiohever waylie ínlgliUeave Tli5T)ñnaíng he -would first return his key at the desk. He conseqneDtly ke.pt that point in view. Kelt half an htrar had elapsed when his mau appeared, ave up his key, as oxpected. and passed out by the Broadway (oor. Crossing the avenne he walked down Twewty-third jtree-t eastward. Wilson followed cantiously, going through the park. Ac Third avenue Mr. Mitobel climbed the ele.vuted stairway, and Wilson was cciapolled to do the same, thongh thia bronght him unpleasantlv close. Botli mea took the same train, Mr. Miichel iu the first coach, Wilson in the last. At Foity-second street Mr. liitclvel left the train and crossed the bridge, bntinstead of takiug the annex for the Grand Central depot, as onc ia expeoted to do, he slipped through the crowdto the maiu platform aud took a train going back down town. Wilson raanaged to get the sanie train, bnt he realized at once that his man eitherlniewthat hewas followed or else ■was taking extraordinary precautions. At Thirty-fourth street station the trieb waa repeated, Mr. Mitchel crossiug ovei the bridge and then taking at) v.n tov u train. What pnzzled Wilsr.u ■ ' tbal lic could not detect that his ia: u bad noticed him. It seemed barely possibic, as they had encountered crowds st büth pïaces, that he had escaped unobserv.ed. He -was more satisfied oí this when _ at Forty-second street agüin Mr. Mitchel once more left the train, crossed the bridge, and this time went forward, taking the coach for the Grand Central. Evidently all the maneuvering had merely been prompted by caution, and not having observed his shadow the man was sibont to continue to his trne destination. Mr. Mitchel) had entered the coach by the first gat e, and was seated, oniei lv in the ?qiner aa WilgL?n passed du, going in by the gate at the oppositecnd. A moment later the guard slammed the gate at Wilson's end and pulled the bellrope. As quick as a flash I Mr. Mitchel jumped up, and before he could bo preveuted had left the coach just as it started, carryingaway Wilson, completelyontwitted and duinfounded. ' As soon as the train stopped he darted down stairs and ran back toward the Third avenue station, but he kjjew it was useless, as it proved. He eaw nothing of Mr. Mitchel. Wilsou was greatly disheartened, for he was most anxious to stand well with Mr. Barnes, his chief. Yet in revolving over the occurrences of the last half hour he could uot see how he could have preveuted the escape of his man, since it was evident that he had intentionally acted in a way to prevent pnrsnit. If one bnt knows or snspects that he is being fihadowed the Third avenue elevated road, with its bridgea at Thirty-fourth and Forty-second streets, offers the most effectual means of eluding the most skillful detective. If Wilson had kuown anything whatever about tho man who had escaped bim, he might have been able to guess his destination, and so have caught up with him agaiu by hurrying ahead and meeting bina, as he had frequently done whou followiug noted crimináis with whose haunts bewas aoquaiuted. In this instance hewas }y in the dark, so could do nothing but swear. Il he could not report where Mr. Mitchel had gane, at least hemight discover at what time he retnrued to his hotel, and possibly Mr. Barnes might receive sorae valnable hint by the lapse of timo. With this ideaWilson retnrued to the Fiftb Avenue hotel and waited patiently. He telcphoned to headquarters, ouly to hear that Mr. Barnes bad goue back to Boston (o bring PettingilJ to New York. Seven o'clock arrived, and yet bis vigil w:is unrewarded. It snddenly occnrrerl tohim that, asho had seen Mr. Miuïiei purchase tickets for the Casino, 1.1 :. might be a good place to watcb, th' . -■'.] of course there was no certainty thut they were for that night. Ugon this meager hone_ he hastened ug town anrï stationed himseïf where lio con ld keep an eye on all who eutered. At 10 miuutes past 8 he was abont concludiDg that bis task was useless when a cab stopped, and, to bis intense satisfaction, he saw Mr. Mitchel alight and then band out a handsoniely drossed wonian. Wilson bad prepared hiraself for this posaibility by purchasing a ticket of admissiou, so that he followed the couple into tho theater, determmed not to lose sight of bis unin again. The opera over, he found it easy to shadow the two, as the wouiau declined the proffered cab, perchauce because the exhilarating though cold night air made a walk hoine inviHng. He was, ever, somewhat amazed at last to see them enter the very apartment house on Thirtieth street to wbich he had traced Rose Mitchel in themorning. His mimi was at once set at ease, for siuce both of his birds had flown to the saiue dovecot it seemed plain that thoy were connect ed. Evideutly it was to this house that Mi'. Mitchel had goue after eluding him in the morning. At least so argued the astute detective. Wilson had waited oppotte the buildings perhapa au hout, lulled into abstractiou of thought by the silence of the neighborbood, when he was startled by hearing a piercing shrielr, loud and long continued, which then died away, and all was stiÜagahi. Whether it carne from thè apartinent house or one of tbe private dwellings next to it he was in doubt. ïhitt it was a woman's cry he feit sure. Was it a cry of pain or the shriek of nightmare? He could not teil. That solitary, awfnl cry, disturbing the deathlike stillness, secnicd niicanny. It made liim shiver and draw his cloak closer abont hiin. If it had only been repe:ited, after he was on the alert, he would have feit better satisfied, but though he listeued iutently he heard nothing. Ten minutes later another thing occnrred which attracted his attentiou. A liglu, in a window ou the fifth floor was extingnished. There was ceitainly nothing suspicioua about this, for lights are u.ially put out-when one retires. He n5tioed it because it was the only light ■which showed from any of the Windows during bis vigiL While lie was thinking of this the door opposite opened, and a man emerged. Judging it to be Mr. Mitchel, he hastily followed. That there might certainly be no mistaks Wilson walked rapidly enough toreach the avenue corner ahead of the man wheu he crossed, so timing himself that lie passea in front of the other just as tbey botk reached the street lamp. T;iking a quiok but thorongh look, Wilson saw that itwas not Mr. Mitchel, so he abandoned the pursnit, going back quickly toward the apartment house. He had proceeded bnt a few paces when he met Mr. Mitchel coming rapidly toward him. Breathing a aigh of relief, he passed, then crossed the street, aud with his usua! skill readily kept Mr. Mitcliel iu aigbt until ise eutered tlie Fiftli Avenue hotel; Wilsou saw him take his key aud go np stairs, so that he feit that his vigil was over for that night. Lookiug at his watch, he ïioted that it was just 1 o'clook. Going iuto the readiug rooru, ha wrote a report of the day's occurrences, aud theu, calliug a messenger, sent it to headqtiarters addressedtoMr. Barnes. This done, ho feit entitled to hurry home for a short sleep short, because he knew it would be his duty to be on the watch again the next day and until he received further instructious fioru Mr. Barnes. Mr. Barnes had immediately after his arrival obtained the requisition papers for which he had telegraphed, and vrhich he fouud awaiting him. With these he had returned to Boston the same day, and obtaining his prisouer succeeded iu oatching the midnight train once more, arriving in New York with the loss of but a single day froni the new case which fo absorbed all his interest. Thtisthe moriiing after that onwliich the jewel robbery had boen discovered he ênteredjiis offices qpite earlv, having áelfvered bis pri.sömTr afc poTIee headqnarters. Wheuhereacl Wilsou'g letter, the only sign which he gave of dissatisfaction Vfas a uervons piüJ at oue comer of his mustache. He read tho paper through three times, thou tote it earefnlly into tiny pieces, loing it so accurately that they were all nearly of the same size and shape. Any oue wbo should atternpt to piece togetber a note whioh Mr. Barnes had thus destroyed would have a task. Standing Isy the window, be tossed theni high in the air and sawthera scatterefl by Üie wind. At half past 8 o'clook he etood before the apartment house iu Kaat Thirtieth street. The janitor wus sweeping froni the parement a light snow Nvhich had faüeu iu the early hours of the moruing. Ttfr. TSarues, ■svltlioa"}; speaitliig to lie man, walked iato the vestibule and scanned the ïiaines over the letter boxes. Noue of them ooutaiued the one which he Bought, but there was uo card in No. 5. Recalling that in Wilson'a report a light had disappeared from a window oa tiio fifth fioor, ho kuew that it conld not be uuoccïipied. To get in he resorted to v. trick often practiced by sneak thieves. Ho raug the.bell of No. 1, aud wheii the door silcntly swting open he walked in, apologizing tothe .servant on the first lundiDg'for having "rung the wrong bell, ' ' and proceeded up to the fifth hoor. Here he rang the bell of the private hall belonging to that special apartraent. He could have rung the lower bell of this apartmeut at the outset, but howi.slicd to makeit impóssible tor any one to ieave at ter his signal announced visitara. He stood sevoral minutes and heard no sound from within. A second pull at the bell produced no bettLT results. Taking a finu bold of the doorkuob, lie slowly turned it, making not the slightest noise. To his surprise, the door yielded wben he pressed, and iu a moment he had passed in and closed it bebind him. His first idea was that, aft er all, ho had eutered an empty apartment, but a glanoe iuto the rooiu at the farther end of the hall showed bina that it was a ftirnished parlor. He hesitated a moment, then walked stealthily toward that room, and, looking in, saw no 011e. He tiptoed back to the hall door, turned the key, took it from the lock and dropped t into his pocket, j Again he pas.sed forward to the parlor, this time entering it. It was elegantly and tastefully furoished. The Windows opened on the street. Bctween them stood a cabinet writing desk, open, as though recently nsed. Beside it was ac enamel piano lamp, possibly the same which had fnrnisbed the light which Wilson had suddenly missed several hotirs before. Opposite the v. indows a pair of folding glass doors comnmuicated with an apartment bevond. These v( re closed. Peeping through a part of the pattern cut in the glasa, Mr. Barnes con ld iust distingnish the form of a woman in bed, her long hair hanging downfroin the pillow. This sight made hin nncertain u.s to the nest move. This ;:s po.ssibJy Mrs. Rose Mitchel. as she had asnoanced herself. She waf asleep, and lie had entered her apart ment without any warrant for doing so True, he looked upon her with some sus picion. but the most innocent freqoentl ƒ suffer in this way, and without better reason than he had be kncw tbat he could uot account legally for whax, he was duing. As he stood by the glass door -Mgitating fca nbanced to louk down. Instantly his fye was attracted by that which, mado bini shiver, as accustomed as he was to stracge sights. It was a tiny red Stream, which had managed to pass under the door and had tben run along the edgo of the oarpet for t)n' spaceof a few inches. Instantly he stooped, dipped liis finger into it aud then ejaoulated under his breath : "Blood and clotted." Standing npright, be once moro peered iutü the room. The figure iu bod had not moved. Without fnrther besitation he slowly slid the doors apart. One glanee within.andnrnrninring the single ■word "-Morder!" Mr. Barnes was no Jonger slo-w iu his actious. Stepping across a big pool of blood which stained the carpet, he stood at the side of the bed. He recognized the features of the woinau who had claüned that s!je had beeu robbed of her diamonds. She seeraed sleeping, save that there was an expression of paiu on the featnres, a contractiou of the skin between tbe eyebrows, and oue corner of the mouth drawu aside, the whole kept iu this positiou by the rigidity of death. The marnier of her death was as simple as it was cruel. Her tbroat had been ent as she slept. This seerued indicated by the fact that she was ciad iu her nigbtdress. One thing that puzzled Mr. Barnes at once was tbe pool of blood near the door. It was fully six feet from the head of tbe bed, and while there was another just by the bedstead, forined by blood which had trickled from the wouud, runniug down the sheets and so dropping to the floor, tho two puols did not commnnicate. "Well," thonght Mr. Barnes, "lam first ou the sceue this time, andiiobusybodies sball tnmble things about till I have studied their significance. " This room had not been designed for a sleeping aparfcment, but rather as a, dining room, which npon occasion could be opened into the parlor, converting the two into oue. There was oue window npou u,i ;:i,'..], .', and m au asjgle was a haudsome carved uuk ruuutel, witb fireplace böJuw. Mr. Barnes raised the curtain over the wimluw, lettting in more light. Lookiug aronud, honotieedahnost iuimediately two things - first, that a basin stood on a washstand half filled with water, the color of which plainly indicated that the mnrderer had washed off telltale marks before takiug his departnre; secoud, that in the replace was a pile of ashes. "The scoundrel bas bnrned eyidence against hiiu aud deliberately washed the blood from his person before going away. Let ïne see, what was it that Mitchel said, 'I should have stopped to wash the staiu from the oarpet while fresh, aud aJso from the dog's mouth. ' That is what he told his frieud he wonld do if bitten while committiug a crime. In tiiis iustaiice the 'staiu ou thecarpet' was top muela for him, but he washed it from himself. Cau-it be that aman lives who, contemplatiug a deed of this cbaracter, wonld make a wager that he would uot bc detected? Bali ! It is iinpossible. " Thns thonght Mr. Barues as he studied i!ie evidence before him. He ïiext tume.'l to the womau's clothing which lay on a chair. Ho rnminaged through the pocket, bat fonud uothiug. Iu bandliug the petticoat he uoticed that a piece had beeu out from the buud. Examiiiiug theother garments, he soou saw that the same had beeu done to thein all. Liko a flash, au idea struck him. (ioing over to the bed, he searched for sumo mark ou the garments which vere ou the corpse. He con ld fiud uoue until he lifted the body np aud turned it over, when he fonud that a piece had been cut from the uightdress. "That accounts for the blood by the door, " thonght Mr. Barnes. "He took her out of the bed to get her nearer to the light, so that he conld fiud the in itials marked on the clothing. While she lay by the door the blood flowed and accumulated. Theu he pnt her back in bed, so that he wonld not need to step over her in walking aoout the room. What a calculating villaiu ! Thereis one significant fact here. Her name canuot have beeu Rose Mitchel, or there would have beeu no reasou for destroying these marks, siuce sho had given that name to several. " Mr. Barnes nest brushed the charred ashes frorn tbe grate upon a riewspaper aud carried thein to the wiudow in the front room. His examinatiou satisfied hirn of two thiugs - the mtirderer had burned the bits of cloth ent from the varions gíirments and aJso a number of letters. ïhat the fellow was studiously oareful was plaiii from the fact that the bnruing had been thoroughly done. Nothing had escaped the fíame save two buttons vith a bit of cloth attached and various corners of envelopes. With disgust Mr. Barnes threw the ashes back where lie had found them. Next he paid his attention to the cabinet desk, which stood open. He pulled out all the drawers and peered into every nook and cranny, but his search was fruitless. He fonnd nothing but blank paper and envelopes, aud these of coinmon kind. (To l)e oontinued.)