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An Artist In Crime

An Artist In Crime image
Parent Issue
Day
31
Month
March
Year
1899
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

[Copyright, 1895, by G. P. Putnam'g Sons.J Once more returuiug to the room ■wbere the corpse lay lie noticed a truuk f rom which protruded a part of a garment. Raisiug the lid he found everythingwithin in a promiscuous pile. Evidently it had beeu hastily searched anc carelessly repacked. Mr. Barues took ea3h article out andjexaiuiued it closely. Everythiug upon iWiich a name ruighl have beeu written showed a place where a piece had been cnfc out. "There must be some good reason for hidiug this man 's identity, or the scoundrel would not have been so thorough in his work, " thonght Mr. Barnes. Just then, in replacing the clothüig, he heard a crinkling souud which indicated that a bit of paper was in the pocket of the gnrmeni. Hastily he withdrew it, and was delighted to observe writiug. "A clew at last," he nmnnnred, hnrryiug to the front room window to read it. This was what he found : LIST OF JEWELS. One diamond, 16J4 earats $15,000 One eioerald, 15f-3oarata ' 15,000 One rnby, 15% cartit 20,000 Ono sapphire, ]tj c:.f:.is. 5.UO0 One pdart, pvar sIuiim u, i.li'i tu 10,000 Ono peuj i , . . One pearl, . One ppar!, bhtck, . Ono oanary üinmoin ;, . On topaz, OU i-arats r,.,, The ten ewel.s are all p rf'ctt ;;i, 1-r ,, thcirkind. The flrst fcmr Hrueut i !: .'- y ulike. The pear shaped pearLs ;upc hiiuilr i i ?'.-■■ miei Khape, as are also the (;;.' prul .-■. . . mr} diamond is oblong; and the Kp..z ut ■::,-i,;. The lot are conrninocl in a iii ■"-■-.. i It ither case 4 6 inches in siüe, lii i . :. ■ ■ .ck :itin. Each jewel fits in a special ( ■ -Min anti is hekl in place by a gold v.m; cl ij, The case has the nanio "MITOEXL" il) gold letters across the band which ütraps uround it. This was all, uo name being .sigiied. ïïr. Barnes regretted this last tact, but feit that he held a most important paper iu his hand, since it seetned to be corroborativo of the womau's statement that ehe had lost a lot of unset jewels. It was of great value to have so minute a description of the stolen gerns. Folding the paper carefully, he placed it in his wallet, and then returned to the vicinity of the corpse. Looking closely at the cut in the neck, the detective determined that the agsas8in had nsed au ordinary pocketknife, for tht) wouud was neither deep nor long. It severed the jugnlar vein, which seemed to have been the aim of the mnrderer. It v?as from this circumKtaoce that the detective decided that the woman had been attacked as she lept. This aronsed the question, "Did the mtirderer have the means of entering tha house without attracting attention?: ' Either he must have liad a nightkey, or else some one must have admitted him. Mr. Barnes started as the thonght reenrred to him that Wilson had seeii Mr. Mitchel enter the house some timo before the screani was heard and depart some time after. Was this the woman who had aucompamed him to the theater? If .so, how could she have retired aud fallen asleep so qnickly? Evidently furthor light must be tbrown upon this aspect of the case. While ineditating the detective's eye roamed abont the room, and iinally rested npou a shining object which lay on the floor uear the trnuk. A ray of light from the front window just reached it and made it glitter. Mr. Barnes looked at it for some moments mechanically, stoqpiiig presently to jack t Ugx with little thonght of wliat Jie did. He had ecarcely examined it, liowever, before a gleam of triumph glisteued in his eye. He held in his hand a bnttou, which va cut a carneo, npou which wascarved the proflle head of a wornu, beneath which appeared the name " Juliet. " CHAPÏER IV. WAMOND CÜT DIAMOND. Mr. Barnes, after discovering the carneo button, iminediately left the apartmeut. With little loss of time he reached the Fitth Avenue hotel. He fonnd Wilson sitting in the lobby and learned f rom fai'm that Mr. Mitchel had nat yet come down stairs. He made hifj BObordinate happy by complimeuting him opon hisworkand exonerating him from blaine becanse of his having lost his mau for a few houi-s the day before. With the button in his pocket Mr. Barnes found it easy to be good uatnred. If the trutliuvpre,.kfiowu, he was chuckling to himself. The thought which proved snch :i f uud of merrimest was the idea that his man np 6tairs had proved himsell just as human as ordinary crimináis, since he had left behind him the very telltale mark wiiieh he had boasted would not be fauud after he had comniitted his crime. Kxteraally, liowever, there was uo sign to Show that Mr. Barnes was in any way excited. He calinly asked at the desk for Mr. Mitchel, and sent np his card jnst as any ordinary visitor might have done. In a few minutes the hallboy roturned with the cnrt message, "Come np. " Mr. Barnes was shown up one flight of stairs into a snit of two rooms and a bath overlooking ïwenty-third street. The room which he passed into from the ball was fltred np like a bachelor 's parlor. Comfortable stnffed chairs and two safas, a folding reading chair, an upright piano in maliogany case with bandsome piano lamp beside it, a carved center table on which stood a reading lamp, cigar oase in bronze, photo albnm8, handsome pictnres on the walls in gold frames, elegant vases on the mantel, an onyx clock, a full sized figure of a Moor carved in wood serving as a card reoeiver - in fact, everything about the place was significant of wealth, lurury and refinement Could this be the den of a murderer? It seemed not,unless there might be some powerfnl hidden motive, which wonld make a man wko was evidently a gentleman stoop to such a crime. According to Mr. Barnes' experience such a motive must involve a woman. As yet there was no woruan iu this case, nave the corpse which he had just left. All this flashed through the detective's niind as he noted his surronudings in a few swift glances. Then he heard a voice froia the uext room say: "Corue in, Mr. Barnes. We must not stand upon cereinony with one another. " Mr. Barnes, in answer to the iuvitation, crossed iuto the adjoining room and noticed at once th at the sleeping apartmeut was as luxurions as the parlor. Mr. Mitchel was standing in front of a mirror shaviug himself, being robed in a si Ik ïnorning wrapper. "Pardon this iutrnsion," began Mr. Barnes. "But yon told ine I might caü at auy time, and" - "Ko excuses necessary, except from me. , But I must finish shaving, you know. A man cairt talk with larher on oue side of his face. " "Certainly not. Don't hurry. I can wait. " "Thank you ! Take a seat. Yon will find that armchair by the bed comfortable. This is au odd hour ts be making one's toilet; but, the fact is, I was out late last night. " "At the club, I snppose," said Mr. Barnes, wishing to see if Mr. Mitchel would lie to hün. In this ho was disappointed, for the reply was : "No; I went to the Casino. LUHan Russell, you kuow, has returned. I had proiuised a frieud to go, so we went. " "A gentleman?" "Are you rtot getting inquisitive? No; nota gentleman, but a lady. In f act, that is her picture ou that easel. " Mr. Barnes looked and saw an oil painting representing 'a marvelously beautiful head - a brunette of strong emotions and great will power, if her portrait were truthful. Here was a significant f act. Mr. Mitchel said that he had been to the Casino with this woman. Wilson claimed rhat they had gone to the house where the murdered woniAn lay. It wótud seem that Mr. Mitchel's friend must live there, and thus he had gained aceess the night bef ore. Bid he know that the other also lived there and did he go into her apartment after leaving his companion? As this passed through Mr. Barnes' mind his eyes wandered across the bed. He saw a waisteoat, upon whioh he observed two buttons similar to the oue which he had Becreted in hie pocket. Stealthily he eached his hand toward the bed, but lis tingers had scarcely touched the waisteoat when Mr. Mitchel said without turning f rom his shaving: "There is noruoney iu that waisteoat, Mr. Barnes." "What do yon mean to insinúate?" aid Mr. Barnes angrily, withdrawing lis hand quickly. Mr. Mitchel paused a moment before replying, deliberately made one or two more sweeps with his azor, theu turned and faced the detectve. "I mean, Mr. Barnes, that yon forgot bat I was looking into a rairror. " "Yonr remark indicated that I meanfc osteal." "Did it? I am sorry. But really yon honld not adopt a .thief's stealthy methods if yon are soeensitive. When I nvit.e a gentleman i ui o my private room, I do not expect to have him finBering jny clothing wbile my back in urned. ' ' "Take cai-e, Mr. Mitchel. you are peaking to a detective. Ií I did stretch my hand toward yonr clothing, it was with uo wrong intent, and you know it. " "Certainly I do, and wbat is more I mow just what yon werf wishing to do. You must not get angered so easily. I' liould not have used the words which I id, but to teil you the truth I ytae liqued. ' ' "I don't onderstand. " "It hurt my feelings to have yon treat me just like anordinary criminal. That ron shonld think I would let yon come n here and make whatever examinaious yon have in yonr mind right belore my vry eyes wouuded my pride. I ever should have tunacd my baofe npon you exoept that I faced a mirror. I told rou I know what yon wished to do. It was to examine tbe buttons on my vest, waR it not?" Mr. Barnes was staggered, but did ot show it. Oalmly he said: "As you kuow, I overheard yonr conersation ou the train. Yon spoke of íaviug a et of five curious buttons nd"- "Pardon me, I said eix, not five." Once more Mr. Barnes had failed to trap lie man. He siigsested five, hoping that Ir. Mitchel might claim that to have een the original nnmber, thus elimiating the last one. "Of course yon did say tsix, now I remeiubor." he continued, "and I think 'ou will admit it was not unnatnral cu' riosity wbich led me to wish to see them, hat - that - well, that I might recogize them again. " "A very laudable intent. But, my eur Mr. Barnes, I have told you that you may cali upon me at any time and ask me any questions you please. Why lid yon uot frankly ask me to show you ihe buttons?" ' ' I should have done so. I do so now. ' ' "They are in the vest. Yon may examine tbem if you desire it. " Mv. Barnes took up the vest, and wae pnzzled to find six bnttons, three of liet and three of Romeo. Still he was satisfled, for they were ideutical with the one in his pocket. It occurreci tohim that this man wbo was so careful in his precantions mighfc have lied as to the nuinber in the set, aud have said six when in reality there were seven. A few quetstions abont the buttons seemed opportune. "These are verybeautiful, Mr. Mitchel, aud uniqne too. I have never heard of carneo buttons before. I thiuk yon said they were made expressly for you. ' ' Mb. Mitehel dropped into a cushioned rocker before he replied : "These buttons were made for me, and they are exquisito specimens of the graver's art. Oariieo buttons, however, are not so uncornmon as you suppose, though they are more usually worn by women, and, iu fact, it was a woman's idea to have these ent. I should not have'1 - "ByJove!" said Mr. Barnes, "the Romeo button: are copies from your likeuess, and good portraits too." "Ah! You have noticed that, have yon?" "Yes, and the Juliets are copies of that picture." Mr. Barnes was getting excited, for if these buttons were portraits, and the oue in his pocket was that of the womau whose likeness stood on the easel, it was evident that they were connected. Mr. Mitehel eyed him keenly. ' ' Mr. Barnes, you are disturbed. What is it?" buttons which has caused it. Now teil me your reason for coming here this niorning. " Mr. Barnes thonght the time had come to strike a deciding blow. "Mr. Mi t che), first answer one qnestion, and thiuk well before you reply. How many buttouii were made for this set?" "Seven," answered Mr. Mitehel, so promptly that Mr. Barnes could only repeat, amazed : "Seveu? But you said six only a moment agol" "I kuow what I said. I never forget any statement that I make, and all my statements are accurate. I said that six is the entire set. Now you ask me what was the original number, and I reply seven. ís that clear?" "Theii the other button has been lost?" "Not at all. I kuow where it is. " "Then what do yon mean by saying íhat tlie set now is only six?" ' ' Excuse me, Mr. Barnes, if I decline to answer that qnestion. I have replied now to several since I asked you why yon carne here this morning. " "I will tell you, " said the detective, playing his trump card, as he thought. "I have been examining the place where jour crime was committed, and I have fonnd that seventh button!" If Mr. Barnes expected Mr. Mitchel to recoil with fear. or tremble, or do anythiug tliat au ordinary criminal does when bronght face to face with evidenoe of his guilt, he must have been disappointed. But it is safe to assurne that by this time soskillfnl a man as Mr. Barnes did not expect so cousuuimate an actor as Mr. Mitchel to betray feeling. He did ishow some interest, however, for he arose froin his ehair, and walkiug up to Mr. Barnes he asked .simply: "Have you it with you? Maylseeit?" Mr. Barnes hesitated a moment, wondering if he risked losing the button by handing it to him. He decided to give it io him and did so. Mr. Mitchel looked at it closely, as though an expert, and after several ïnoments of silence he to.ssed it carelessly into the air, cttebing it as it carne down, and theu said : "This would make a pretty siiuation in a play, Mr. Barues. Follow me. Detective discovers crime and tinds curious button. Goes straight to criminal and boldly tells liim of the fact Criminal admits that he has bnt eix buttons out of seven aud asks to see the button fonnd. Detective foolisbly hands it to him. Then criminal smiles blandly and says: 'Mr. Detective, now I have seven buttons, and my set is complete again. What are yon going to do about it?' " "And the detective wonld reply," said Mr. Barnes, falling into the humor of the situation, "Mr. Criminal, I will jnst take that back by f orce. " "Exactly. You catch the spirit of the stage picture. Theu flglit betweeu two men, applause front thegallery, and viotory for either party, na the author baa decided. That is the way it would be dönein a'pïay. But jureallife it is different. I simply hand you back yonr button tiras, " handing button to Mr. Barnes and bowing politely. Then lie reiiiiaked : "Mr. Barnes, you are welcoaue to that. It is not a part of myset!" "Not i part of your set?" ecinx?(l the detective, dumfounded. "Kot a part of iny set. I am sorry to disappoint you, bnt so it is. I will even explain. for I synipathize with you. I toltl you tlie set '.vas on;;iual!y se ven 8o it was, but the seventh bmton bas the he.acl of Shakespeare on it. Allseven were siven to ru; by my friend, but as I con ld wear but sis I returned to her this o(Jd Shakaspeare botton, which I had made into a breastpin, aud kept tiie others, thns reducilig the set of buttons to eix. The seventh is no longer a button, you see. " "But how do yoti account for the f act that this button which I have is plainly a portrait of your friend and a oounterpart to those on yonx vest?" "Mydear Mr. Barnes, I don 't account for it, I don 't have to, you know. That sort of thiug is your business." "What if I suould decide to arrest you at once and ask a jury to determine whetlier your original set included this button or uot?" "That would be inconvenient to me, of coorse. But. it is on e of those things that we risk every day - I inean arrest by some blnndering detective. Pardon me, do not, got angry again. I do not alinde to yourself. I am quite surfrthat you are top shrewd to arrest me. " "Aud why so, pray?" "Because I am surely not going to run awiiy, in the fir.sr place, and, secondly, yon would ga in norhing, since it would be so easy for me to prove all that I havo told you, and in yonr mind you are eayitíg to yourself that I have iiot lied to yon. Really I have not. " "I have only cue thing inore to say to yon, Mr. Mitchel, " said Mr. Barnes, rising. "Will yon show me that .seventh button, or breastpiuï" "That is asking a great deal, bot I will grant your request upon oue coudition. ïhink well beíore yon tuake ihe bargaiu. "When I made that wager. I did not calcúlate the possibility of eutaiigling iu my scandal the name of the wonian wliom I love dearest ou eartb. That is the portrait of the woruau who will booq become my wife. As I have said, she basthe other buttou and wears it coustantly. Youwill gain uothing by fceeing it, for it will simply corrobórate my word, which, I think. yon believe ïiow. I will take yon to her, and she will teil yon of these buttons, if yon prouiise me never to annoy her in any way in conneotiou with this affair. " "I will givo you that promise cheerfnlly. I hav no wish to anuoy a lady. " "That is for yon to decide. Meet me in the lobby at noon precisely, and I will take you to her honse. And now will yon excuse me while I complete my toilet:" (Tobeeontinued.)