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An Artist In Crime

An Artist In Crime image
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[Copyright, 1895, by G. P. Putnam'a Sons.] coursé I did not have any stich surn. After listening to her I changed my mind. I íound that, through oertain papers which she had, and which she did not hesitate to show me, she would be atole to ventílate a scandal which might result just as she adroitly prophesied - I mean in the rupture of my engagement. Naturally I wished to avóid that. When I told her that she shonld have the money if she wonld cali again, she became furious and said I had tricked her and now wanted a chance to hand her over to the pólice, etc. I saw that I must settle with her at once and did so on these terms : I agreed to grve her cash enough to go to Europe and the balance iu jewels. " "In jewels?" cried Mr. Barnes, startled. "Yes, in jewels. You are surprised, trat that is because you do not kuow my hobby. I üw a collector of jewels. I have $500,000 worth in these vaults. Therefore, while I had uo such amount in cash as $10,000, I eould easily give her three diamond rings, which I did, with a letter to a Paris jeweler, who would purchase them frora her. Thus ■was I rid of the woman, part of the agreernent being that she shonld never retnrn. " "Mr. Mitchel, a ïnan of your intelligence raust haveknown that such ]irom; ises are not kept by that class of people. " "True, buT I obtained from her all the documentary evidence which she had, so that I rendered her powerless to annoy me further. You said awhile ago that it w,as a serious admission for me to make that I was in tuis womaii's power. I suppose you meant that such a íact supplied a motive for this murder. liow you see that this is not true, since I eau prove that I released myself from ihat positiou a year ago. ' ' "How can you prove that?" "I have the woraan'sreceipt, in which she states that for the sum of $10,000, nr its eauivalent. she delivers to me fam i ly documenta, etc." "Have you the documents still?" "I prefer not to reply to that question. ' ' "Very good, but answer me this one: "Where did you obtain this leather case and what does it contain?" As he said this the detective picked up the case and held it before Mr. Mitchel's eye. That gentleman was evidently confused for a moment, bnt fmally answered : "It contaius some jewels. " "Jewels? That is what I thought. May I examine them?" "Not with my permission. " "Then I must do so without. " And with a quick movement the case lay open on the table. It was lined with black satin and contained gems similar to those described in the paper found in the dead woman's pocket. What seemed more important, however, was a piece of writing paper upon which Mr. Barnes found au exact copy of the list and description which he had in his pocket. The detective noticed with astonishment that though Mr. Mitchel had refused to permit this examination of the contenta of the case he made no effort to prevent it, and now sat back looking on in the most unconcerned way. "Mr. Mitchel," said Mr. Barnes, "why did yon object to my looking into this case?" "I never show my jewels -strangers. It is wrong to tempt people. " "You are impertinent, sir ! What do vou mean:" "I mean that I regúlate my lile by rule. This is one of my rules, and though I do iiot doubt your honesty, yon are a stranger to mearid so corue within the operation of iny rule. " "Yonr cool impuderice vvill not avail jou in this instance. These are the stolen jewels. " "Indeed 1 Do you discover that, as you claim to have detected the thief , simply by looking at them?" Mr. Mitchel asgnmedthatsaroasujtoue-which had several times irritatod the detective. "Have done wiih child's play," said Mr. Barnes. "I have a list of the lost jewels, and this case, with its contents, aocurately matches ;he description. What is more, this Lfí in your possession is the facsimile of the one which I have in my pocket. ' ' "Ah, uow we come to tangible f acts and leave the realm of psychology," said Mr. Mitchel, leanin forward, with evident interest. "Let me uuderstand this. You have a list of the stolen jewels. ' That paper is a facsimile of this orie here. The description, too, tallies with the case and jewels. Is that right?" ' ■ "That1 is. quite right ■ ïïow can your rèmarkable inventive ïaculty fashion a story to meet this emergency?" . "Mr. Barnes, you do me an injnstice. I am no romancer. That is the difference between myself and the criminal class, with which you deal. Those poor devils commit a crime and depend upon a sequence of lies to clear themselves. On the contrary, I follow this rule, 'Ref use tq ansjver, alljiuesUonsor swertruthfully.' Now, in this case there are sotne points as puzzling to me as to I yourself. Tlieru I shall not attenipt to i explain. Olie of them is how you can ! possibly have a duplícate list of liny jewels - for these are niius, I assure you. " "Here is the list,"said the detective, taking it frorn his pocket and coroparing it with the other, "and, by heavens," he contiuued, "the writing is the same!" "That is iuteresting. Let me look," said Mr. Mitchel. With which he aróse, ■walked around to the other side of the table and stood leauing over the detective. " You see, I do not ask you to let me take your paper from you. You might suspect that I would destroy it " Mr. Barnes handed both paixirs to him without a word. Mr. Mitchel bowed as he took them and returned to his seat. After a moruent's careful examination he handed them back, saying : "I agree with you, Mr. Barnes. The writing is the same. What deduction do you draw from that fact?" ''What deduction? Whv, I found this description of the stolen jewels in the pocket of a dït;ss bolonging to Rose Mitchel. " "Whatï Do yon mean to say that she was the woinan who was robbed?" The blank amazernent upon Mr. Mitchel's face disconcerted Mr. Barnes, for if he did not know this, the mystery seemed deejjer than ever. "Do yon mean that you did not know it?" asked Mr. Barnes. "How should I know?" This cansed a silence. Both men stopped a moment to cousider the situation. At length Mr. Barnes said coldly : "Mr. Mitchel, I am under the painful nceessity of placing you under arrest. " "Upon what charge?" "Upon the charge of having stolen jewels, and perhaps of haviug murdered Rose Mitchel." "Are you in a hnrry to take me with you?" asked Mr. Mitchel coolly. "Why do yon ask?" "Because if not I should like to ask yon one or two qnestions. " "You may do so. " "First, then, as the robbery was mitted on a rnoving tram, will you ten rae how you supposed it to have been accomplished, siiice tbe passengers were searched?" Mr. Barnes had hisown idea ou this subject, which he did not choose to teil. He thought it well, however, to pretend that he had still another theory. At least he could observe how Mr. Mitchel received it. "As you say, all were searched. The flrst was Mr. Thauret. Nothiug wás found. Let us suppose a case. This man Thauret was in the same carriage with the woman Rose Mitchel. When the train stopped at New Haven, suppose that he took the satchel, left the train and passed it to you through the window of your section, thinking that only bis carriage would be searched. After his own examination he left the train at Stamford. Why may he not have tapped upon your window and have received back the satchel?" "That would make hiru my accomplice. You are wrong. I do not know the man at all." "You admitted having met him wheii Miss Dora Reinsen introduced hirn to you. ' ' "Ouceonly - at a gamingtable. That is why I was displeased to see him in the home of ruy intended. Passing the robbery, then - for despite my denial you raay think yonr explanation correct, and a jury might agree with you - let us come to the murder. Do you suppose a man would make a wager to commit a crime and then go to the extreme of killing a woman?" "I do uot. But, having committed the robbery, and then having discovered that this woman, -who, you say, has blackmailed you, had actually taken au apartment in the same building with your affianeed, you may have gone there to urge her to leave and have killed her to save yourself. " "Plainly you do not know me. There is one point in what you say which is interesting. Did I understand that this woman had au apartment in the Thirtieth street buildiug?" "Certainly, and you knew it. "You are mistaken. Let us return to the jewels. Yuu tbink tbat these are the ïnissiug genis. If I prove tothecontrary, will you agrea not to place me under arrest?" "With pleasure, " said the detective, feeliug safe in the idea that what Mr. Mitchel offered to do was an impossibility. "Thank you ! Tliat gives me my f reedom, in exchange for which courtesy I pronaise you all the assistance in my power in finding the murderer. " Saying which, Mr. Mitchel touched an electric button, and when it was answered sent a message up stairs asking Mr. Charles to come dowu. In a few moruents that gentleman appeared. "Mr. Charles," said Mr. Mitchel, "would it be possible for me to enter these vaults without your knowledge?" "It would be iniüossible for any one to enter here without ruy knowledge, eaid Mr. Charles. "You keep my key, you not?" "Yes, sir. " "Have I ever taken it out of this building?" "No, sir." "Then you think it impossible that 1 should have been able to have a duplícate key and to have entered here without your knowledge?" "An utter iínpossibility, sir." . "Can you remember when I was here last?" "Certainly. It was abont two weeks ago, when you told me that you were going to Boston." "Thank you very rnuch, Mr. Charles. That is all." Mr. Charles retired and Mr. Mitehel looked at Mr. Barnes with a smile, saying : "You see you are wrong again. The jewels were stolen yesterday raoruing, and I have not been to this. place since, and therefore could not have placed thein in this box. Are you satisfied?" "No. If you were able to commit the robbery on the train while I wátched your section all_ night,. and to have ceeded in getting the jewels away although you were searched, yon are ingenious euough to have fouud a way of getting here without the knowledge of Mr. Charles. Or, he may be paid to lie for you. I feel too sure that these are the genis to be' so readily convinced to the contrary. ' ' "So you did watch rne tbat night. Well, I am sorry you had so much trouble. I must give you funther proof? Very good. Examine these. " He took out a pac.kage of letters and from them extractad a bilí of sale, dated five years previous, in which was once more an acctirate description of the jewels and case. In addition there was pinned to it a receipt from the New York custom house for the duties paid, which paper was also dated back. ïhis was evidence which Mr. Barnes conld not refute. Plaiuly this particular set of jewels belonged to Mr. Mitchel. "That is sufficient. It would be folly to arrest you when you could show those docuinents to any judge and be released. At the same time I süall not forget the coiucidence of these two lists, and that one of the button. " "By the way, Mr. Barnes, would yon mmd saymg where you found tbat button?" "Iu the room where the wonian was murdered. " "No wonder youvalued it. I arn surprised that you should have presented it to Miss Remsen. " There was a twinkle in Mr. Mitchel's eyewhich annoyedMr. Barnes, but he made no reply. Mr. Mitchel continued : "In cousideration of your not placing me under arrest, Mr. BarDes, I vill give you a hint. I made that wager with my friend Randolph yesterday morning - that is to say, Dec. 2. I have until Jan. 2 to coruinit the crime about which the bet was made. Should you come to the conclusión that I arn not guilty of either of those now engaging your atteutiun it might enter your head that I still have a crime on hand, and it ruight pay you to watch me. Do you catch the idea?" "There is little danger of your cornmittiiig any crime during the next month without ïny knowing it," said Mr. Barnes. "Now let us change the subject. Do you see this ruby?" takiug a large ruby f rom the case bef ore them. "I ara thinking of having it set as a present to Miss Remsen. Will she uot be envied when she -wears it?" CHAPTER VIL MR. EANDOLPH HAS A FIGHT WITH HIS COXSCIENCE. Upon leaving the vaults Mr. Mitchfil and the detective parted company, the foriner going down to TifEany's, where he left the ruby, with instructions as to how he wished it set. On the following morning Wilson's report to Mr. Barnes stated that Mr. Mitchel had spent the afternoon at the Union League club and lad aecompanied his fianoee to a private all in the evening. On the morning of the 5th, as Mr. tf itchel was dressing, a card was bronght to him which bore tbe name of his 'riend, Mr. Randolph, and that gentleman a few minutes later entered,. Mr. Vütchel was cordial in his greeting and extended his hand, but Mr. Randolph refused it, saying : "Excuse me, Mitchel, but I have come to see you about that wager I was stucM euough to make with you. " (To De contiuued.)