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An Artist In Crime

An Artist In Crime image
Parent Issue
Day
14
Month
April
Year
1899
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

[Copyright, 1895, by G. P. Putnani's Sons.] "Mr. Thauret, " said Dora, "you are laughing at Mr. Barnes, and that is not good natured. Mr. Barnes says he knows tbe thief. I believe him. " "Pardon I I believe him also. I did not mean to laugh. Bnt tell me, Mr. Barnes, how did the man secrete the dianaands - I suppose they were diamonds, were they not?" "Dianionds and otber jewels. But let me ask how wonld you have hidden them had you been in his place?" This time the shot went home. Plainly the Freuchnian dict not like the snggestion of being himself the criminal. He qnickly recffvered his eqnauimity, however, and answered : "Do you know, Ihavethougbt of that ■yery thing. Of ccrarse I would probably make a bni;gle of it. Stil] I have thonglit of ii wiy. " "Á way by which he conld have bidden the jewels, so that a nearch conld not havefound them, ;:id yet iu a place accessiblo to himself ufterwardï" "I think so. Perhaps I ;au wrong, but I thiük mylittie plan would do that mtieli-. ïhe nevrspapor says the jewels were uuset gtouee. ï should have pushed them iuto the i-üke ui soap in the washroom. No oue would think to look for them there, aud, even if so, there wonld be uothiujj; uguhi.st me. Aftenvard I should have goiie back, taken the soap, and the jewels would have been mine. " "You are mistaken. " "How so?" "You were the fir&t person searched, and I watched you til! yon left the train. It would have been ciifflcult for you to come to New York from Stainl'ord on another train, and then gain access to tlie coaches on a .side track and in the hands of the scrubwoinen. Even then you wonld have f ai led, for I took all the soap away and substitnted new cakes before the second man was searched." A smile on Mr. Mitchel's face proved that he was listening, and that he was pleased at the detective's cleverness. The Frenchmau shruggcd his shoulders and said, laughing : "There, yon see, I should never make a thief. Besides, there was the satchel. I had forgotten about that. One could uot bidé a satchel in a cake of soap. " "But he could throw it out of the window to mislead the man who picked it up, " replied the detective. "You are shrewd, Mr. Barnes," said Mr. Thauret, after a keen scrutiuy, which Mr. Barnes thought betokened uueasiness. "But," liecontiuued, "will you tell me how you think the thief hid the treasnre on the train?" "He hid it off the train," said Mr. Barnes quickly, and to his satisfaction both his men started slightly. Evideutly Mr. Mitchel decided that it was time for him to enter the game, for he crossed and joined the gronp, .aying as he did so: "Are you all discussing the train robbery?" "Oh, yes!" said Dora. "And it is just lovely, the way Mr. Barnes has found cmt all about it!" "Fouud out all abuut it? Has he indeed?" "Yes! He knows who the thief is, and that he hid the jewels otf the train." "How very clever of you, Mr. Barnes, to discover that. Where elsc could he have hidden them, since the train itself and everybody on it was searched?" It irritated Mr. Barnes the way in .which Mr. Mitchel aïwaysseeined to belittle his skill. He was a trifle angry theiefore as he made his nusr. bold stroke. "I will teil you, ladies aud gentlemen, where the thief might have hidden the jewels, on the train - a place which lio one thonght of searohing, not even mysülf. " "Oh, tell us!" exclaimed Dora. The two men looked interested, nothing more. Emily had come behind Mr. Mitchel and siyly slipped her hand within his. "The woman carried the jewels in a satchel. Suppose the thief had stolen the satchel and thrown i t from the window. Missing that, the vroinau would have uaturally concluded that the jewels were gone, would she not? Very well. The thief might have bidden the jewels in her own pocket whi Ie she .lept. " Mr. Barnes had iioped mach from this proposition. but it was a distinct failure. Either that was not the thief 's method or else Mr. Mitchel and Mr. Thauret were both innocent. Both smiled incredulously. The former spoke : "That is too farfetched, Mr. Barnes. How do yon suppose that he would regain possessiou of the gems?" "Bymurdering the woman," answered the detective, Again he failed, for neithor of the men winced. Mr. Barnes was foiled for the moment, but not en tirely discouraged. The start which both ineii had made wlien he suggested that the stolen property had been hidden off the train etill remained tobe explaiued. "Come, come, Mr. Barnes," said Mr. Mitchel, patting his sboulder familiarly. "Don 't let this case upset you so. When you go so far for a theory, you do not show the skill which you displayed in traoking Pettingill. Wby, even I can get you a better one than that. " ' ' You mnst not think me quite a fooi, Mr. Mitchel. If my theory seems preposterous, it does not follow that it is the only one at my command. We detectives must look at these cases from all lights. I will wager that I eau teil yon what your theory isr" "Uood! I am glad New York has puch a clever man to defend her. I accept your wager. Here, I will write my idea on a bit of paper. If you guess it, I owe jou aa inviíatioa to_a COSO ner. " Mr. Mitchel wrote a few lines on the back of an euvolope and handed it to Dora. "You tbink," said Mr. Barnes, "that the thief might have siniply hauded the satchel and jewelry to a confedérate at a station decided upou in advance. " "Bravo, Mr. Barnes!" said Dora. "You are a great detective. Yon have wou your wager. That is what is written here. " "I owe you a dinuer, Mr. Barnes, and it eliall be a good one, " remai-ked Mr. Mitohel.. "Wonld Mr. Barnes like to win another?" asked tihe Prenchmau, with Blow distinctness. "I would, " said the detective sharply. "Then I will wager with yon that if yoB ever clear up the ujystery you will be obliged to adniit that sone of the theories advanced is the correct oue. " "I canuot accept that bet," said Mr. Barnes slowly, "because I aMl sure that we have not mentioued the rrue rnethod adopted. " "Ah, you have another theory, " Mr. Thauret almost sneered. "I have, and it is the correct one, " retorted Mr. Barnes, "but I prefer uot to disclose it. " "I think you are quite right, Mr. Barnes," said Emily. "In fact, knowing you by reputatiou as a man of great shrewdness, I have not thought that you were telling us your true ideas. It would have been f oolish to do so. ' ' "Perhaps, though sometimes what seenis f oolish may be wise. " "Quite true. And now, gentlemen, I regret the necessity of disrnissmg you, but I have a ball on hand for tonight aud runst beg you to excuse us that we may prepare for it. You know in the fashiouableworldwe train for a ball as athletes do for their sports. You will forgive niy sending you away. " This was her way, and men never re6ented it. Tbr y simply obeyed. Mr. Barnes was de! ghfed that both the other men wouUi louve with him. He had prepared a trap for Mr. Mitchel, but uow he would eutice two birds into it. CHAPTER VI. ÏIR. BARNES' TRAP. It must uot be supposed from what has been related that Mr. Barnes had lost any of his old time skill. ïhat he did uot yet quite understand the case upon wbich he was working is little to be wondered at wben it is remembered that less than two days had elapsed since the robbery had occurred, and that a greatpartof this time he had necessarily been absent from the city upon another case. After his disappointment at discovering that the button which lio had found was less valuable than he had at first supposed, he had decided upon a mode of procedure from which he hoped to gain inucb. He had seen many men fiinch wheu brought unexpectedly into the presence of their murdered victirn. He knew that many in a fit of passion, or even in cold blood, might have the nerve to tak e human life. Few resisted a shudder wheu shown the gbastly, matilated. perhaps decomposing corpse. When he left the hotel that morning, it was about 10 o'clock. VVhile he had been convinced by Mr. Mitchel that the button fouDd at the scène of the mnrder was not oue of the original set, or rather that it could not be proved that it had been, he was equally satisfied that the fact that it presented a portrait of Miss Renisen was significant. ïhus, after all, it was possible that Mr. Mitchel had mnrdered the woman, or at least he had visited the apartment. In ei t her case, supposing that he knew the woman was dead, it would be idle to take him up three flights of stairs to confront him with the body, for that would give hini ampie premouition of what was about to occnr, and he would readily control his counteinince. This is what the detective did : He went at once to the coroner and told him enough to have him render his ussiütauce. Therefore during the time which had elapsed the coroner had impaneled a jury, taken thein to the scène of the crime and theú adjourned the inquest, leaving the doctors to perform the antopsy. The body had been taken down to a room 011 the first tloor which opened directly on the main hall. Here it was laid out upou a table, ao placed 4hat the gaping wonnd and now hideons face would at once meet the gaze of any oue euteriug. The doctors had been instructed to postpone their work untilthe arrivul of the detective. Thus Mr. Barnes knew, as he led the way down stairs, that his trap was set. As they reached the main hall he spoke: "Gentlemen, I ara about to ask a favor of you. You were both on the train whea the robbery was committed. Tliere is a question in relation to it which I should like to ask both of yon andhear'each answerseparately. Would you oblige me?" "With pleusuro," said the Frenchmau. "I have álready told you that you may ask mis any questions, " said Mr. Mitehel. "Thank yon !:' Turning to the ballboy, who, of ccrarse, had been taught his part, he coutinued, "Can we h'nd a room where we eau talk privately for a few minutes?" "Yes, sir; step this way," and the boy led thein toward the one where the corpse lay. "Mr. Mitchel," said Mr. Barnes, "will you wait a few minutes? I veill not detaiu you long. " Mr Mitchel bowed, and the Frenchman followed the detective into the room, the boy cloeing the door after him. Nothing was to be seen save the table bearingthe body, the doctors being hiddeu in a room beyond. Mr. Barnes stopped near the corpse and sirnply gazed steadfastly at Mr. Thauret, who in turn looked iutently at the murdered woman. Not a muscle nioved to show auy agitation. Mr. Barnes waited, but apparently nothing was to happen. Yet he was determined that the othor should speak first that he might draw sorae deduotion fvom his words. Therefore he maintaiued a stolid silence. (To Do contlnuoi ! . )