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An Artist In Crime

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

[Copyright, 1895, by G. P. Putnam's Sons.J "Why, stupid, that is what I send you down there for. As the postmaster js an acquaintance of mine I could get the addreES, should it reach him, without having you thei-e. But that is only a f aint hope. We know that the hild is in EaLt Orange. East Orange has just BO many houses. You must examine every one, if necessary. Now go, and if yon don 't find the child I have ao further need of you. I give you this conamission partly as a chance to redeem yonr other mistake and partly because you have seen the child once and could recognize her. " "111 find her," said Lucette, and she departed. A week later Mr. Barnes was in New Orleans, where he devoted hinjself to discovering, if possible, the early histories of Mr. Mitchel and the inurdered woman. Weeks passed, and he made no progress. One ruomiug in the Jatter part of April he was feeliug sornewhat deBpondent over his ill success, when, as be glanced listlessly throngh The Picayune the following paragraph caught lis eye : "Mr. .Barnes, the celebrated New York detective, is ;u the city and stopping at the St. Charles hotel. It is believed that he is in search of a desperate criminal, and probably the iiewa loviiig world will soon be treated to one of the famous detective's cleverelncidationsof some mysterious crime. " This both annoyed and puzzled Mr. Barnes. He had not told any one his true name and could not guess how the reporters had f ouud. his ident'tv. While he was thinking of it a card was brought to him which büre the name, "Ricliard Sef ten. ' ' He directedthat the gentleman should be shown to his room, and soon after a man of about 35, with dark complexión," black hair and keen hazel eyes, entered, bowing politely and saying: "ïliis is Mr. Barnes, I believe. " "Be seated, Mr. Sefton," said Mr. Barnes coldly, "and then teil me why you believe me to be Mri Barnes, when I legistered as James Morton. " "I do not believe you to be Mr. Barnes, ' ' said the other, coolly seating hiruself "I was inaccurate in using that expression. I know that you are Mr. Barnes. ' ' "Ohl You do! And how, pray, do yon know that I arn Mr. Barnes?" "Because it is my business to know people. lama detective like yourself. I have come to help you. " " You have come to help me! Youare very kind, I am sure. But since you are so very clever, perhaps you would not mind telling me how you kuow that I need help and in what direction. " "With pleasure. You need help beasuse, pardon my saying it, yon are working on a case in which time is precious to you, and you have already wasted about six weeks. I say wasted, because you have learned nothing that will aid you in your search. " "In my gearch for what?" "Mr. Barnes, jou are notovercordiaL There should be sume fraternal courtesy between ub. I have come to you as a friend, honestly wishing to aid you. I have known that you were in the city for gome time. I have heard of you, of course. Who in our business has not? Therefore I have spent a great deal of spare time watching you. 1 did so simply to notice and perhaps to learu sornething from your methods. In this way I became acquainted with the f act, first, that you are interested in the name Mitchel, and, secondly, in the name Leroy. I have simply put the two together and jumped to the conclusión that you are trying to learn something about Leroy Mitchel. Am I right?" "Bef ore I repJy to you, Mr. Sefton, I must have more assurance of your good will and responsibility. How do I know that you are a detective at all?" "Quite right! Here is my badge. I am in the department here. " "Very well so f ar, but now how can you prove that you have any good reason for assisting me?" "Yon are a hard man to help, I declare. Why, what object but a friendly ene can I have?" "I am not prepared to answer that at present. Perhaps I shall be able to do so later." "Oh, very well! You can look me np all yon want to. I can stand it, I assure yon. But, really, I did want to help, though of course I have no right to intrude. As you say you do not need me, why I" - "I did not say that I would not accept your aid. You must not think me ungracious. I am simply a detective, and careful from habit. I certainly should not speak coufidentially to a man that I meet for the first time, and so disclose any of my own purposes. But it is different with you. You must have htjd a defmite ilea by which you expect to give me assistance or you wc-.ld not have come here. If you are earnest and honest, I see no reason why you should not disclose the main purpose of your visit at once. " "If only to prove my honestly I will do so I believe you are looking for Le roy Mitchel. If so, I can teil you how to find him in a few hours, or, at the worst, in a day or two. " "You know of a Leroy Mitchel who is now in this city?" "I do. He is over in Algiers, a worker in one of the carhouses. He is a common, dranken brute, and that is the only reason why there would be any difficulty about finding him. When he is sober, he is easy to see, but as soon as he gets some money he is off on ano! her "Certainly- that is; 1 did unow sucn a woman once. But sbe bas not been in ZTew Cr'eaDS Cor years. Aï oae ilrne any oue could have given you her address. I see now that tbis man is the one whoin you want, for once be passed as this woman's husbaud. " "You are sare of this?" "Positive. " "When and where can I see this man?" "He works in. the shops of the Louisiana and Texas railroad, over in Algiers. You can find hiru through the foreman. " "Mr. Sefton, it raay be that you have given me information which will be of service to me. Il so, you will not regret it. I will myself examine into the matter. For the present, if I do not make a confidant of you, you must attribute it to caution rather than to distrust. " "Oh, I am not easily offended. I would act in the same manner in yonr place. But you will find that lam your frlend. You can count on me to aid you on demand. I won 't trouble you again till yon send for me. A note to headquarters will reach rae quickest. Good moruing. " "Good morning, Mr. Sefton, and thank you." Mr. Barnes extended his hand, feeling that perhaps he had been unnece.sarily discourteous. Mr. Sefton took it with that genial smile of friendship so common to the native southerner. Left alone, Mr. Barnes at once prepared for a trip to Algiers, determined not to let any more time be lost. He reached the shops just af ter the men had knocked off fcr luncheon. The foreman, however, told hirn that Leroy Mitchel had been at work in the morning, so he waited patiënt ly. When the men carne back to resume ■work, the foremau pointed out a man who he said was Leroy Mitchel. The fellow had a bad face, and if ever he was a gentleman he had sunk so low through drink that no evidence of it remained in his appearance. Mr. Barnes went up to him and asked when he sould have a talk with him. "Now, if yon pay for it, " replied the man insolentiy. "What do you mean?" asked the detective ' ' Jnst what I say, ' ' said the other. "We get our pay here by the hour, and if you want my time, why, you'll have to pay for it at union rates. " And he laughed as though a good joke had been propounded. "Then," said Mr. Barnes, taking in the kind of a man with whom he had to deal, "I'llengage you on a job that I have for you and pay you doublé "wages as Irme as T nse vnn. " "Now yon are talking," said the fellow. " Where'll we gu'r" "I thinfc I'll take yon to my hotel. " And thitber they proceeded. Up in his own rooni again Mr. Barnes feit at ease, while his corapanion certainly made himself comfortable, selecting a rocking chair and putting his feet up on the window si 11. "Now then," began Mr. Barnes, "I want to ask yon a few questions. Are you prepared to answer them?" "That will depend on what they are. If you don't ask impertinent questions er ones that I think I ought to et more than doublé wages for answering - why, I am with you. ' ' "In thefirst place, then, are you willing to say whether you ever knew a wotaan who called herself Rose Mitchel?" "Well, rather. I lived with her till she broke me." "Do yon know where she is now?" "I don't, and I don't care to. " "Suppose I were to teil you that she is dead, and that she had left $100,000 which is nnclaimed?" The man jumped to his feet as thongh shot and stood staring at the detective. He gave a long, low whistle, and a keen, tricky gleam came into his eye, which Mr. Barnes noted. At length he spoke : "Are you giving me this straight?" "I am telling yon the truth. The woman is dead, and. that amount of property is wher# I can get it for the man who can prove that he is entitled toit. " "And who would that be;" He waited eagerly for the reply, and Mr. Barnes saw that he was playing trump cards. "Why, Mr. Mitchel, that is what I am down here for. Yon see, I thought the party would be willing to pay me a good commission for proving him the heir, and that is why I am hunting him ap. I started out with the idea that I might find her husband. He would have a claim. " "I see. " Saying which, he sat down and seerced lost in thought. The detective deemed it well to wait for him to peak again, which he did. "See here," he exclaimed. "How much do you want for getting this money for me?" "I cannot get it at all unless you are the woman's husband," replied the detective. "Well, I am her husbaDd. Didn't I teil you I lived with her till she broke me?" "Yes, but are yon legally married to her?" "Why, to be sure. Don't I teil yon I am her husband?" "Then, in the name of the law, I arrest you," said Mr. Barnes, suddenly rising and standing over the man. "Arrest me," said the fellow, jumping up, pale with fright. "What for?" "Rose Mitchel has been mnrdered, and the man who killed her has confessed that he was hired to do it by you." "He's a blasted liar." "I hope so for your sake. But as you admit that you are her husband, you are the man we are looking for. 111 have to take you to New York. " "But, I say," said the fellow, now thoroughly alarmed, "tbere is a big mistake here. I've been lying to you ; I'm not the woman's husband, and my name is not Mitchel. " "That won 't do, my man. I had yon pointed out to me by Sefton, the detective here." "But he is the very man that hired me to pass off as Mitchel to yon." Mr. Barnes chuckled as he found his rnse snccessful. He had suspected all aloug that the New Orleans detective was trying to lead.him off on a wrong scent and now tliought he saw a nance to turn the tables upon him and get some valuable information. "That is a very thin story," said he, "but if you will teil me all you know, perhaps I may believe you. " "Yon bet I'll give yon the whole story straight to get out of this scrape. In the first place, my name is Arthur Chambers. I was up in the world once, had money and was respectable. But drink changed all that. Now anybody can buy me for a few dollars, and that is what Sefton did. He came to me abont a week ago and told me that a detective was down here from up nortü nosing around for this MitcbeL He. said it was important to an employer of his up in New York to have this detective balked ; that he was hired to do it, and to make him lose time ; that time, in some way, wae an important item." "You say, " interrupted M#. Barnes, "that Sefton told you he was hired by Borne one in New York to throw me off the scent?" ' ' That 's what he said , ' ' replied Chambers. Mr. Barnes easily guessed who was employing Sefton, and once more he paid the tribute of admiration for the caution and ingenious gcheming of Mr. Mitchel. "Qi" on," said the detective. "There ain'tmuch more to teil. Sefton hired me to play off that I was Mitchel, and he gave me a cock and buil yacn to feed you with about a woman named Rose Mitchel "' "What was that story?" "Say, look here," said Chambers, his confidence and cunning returning as he feit himself out of danger of arrest. You don't want that fairy tale. You would rather have the story, wouldn't you?" ''Certainly." 'Well, I'm an old timer, lam. There ain't much that's happened in the Croscenfc that I coukin't remember if I was paid for It. ' ' "See here, my man, you are not dealing with Sefton now. You teil me what I want to know, and if I find it is true I'll pay yon for it. But if you play any tricks, I'll make it warm for you. " "That's all right. Supposel begin by telling yon that this Rose Mitchel, that you say was murdered, was known down here chiefly as Rose Moutalbon. La Montalbon, shewas generally called. " "La Montalbon?" repeated Mr. Barnes. "Then was she an actress?" "Actress? Well, I guess shewas; considerable. But not on the stage. No, she kept a gambling dsn on Royal street. Fitted up like a palace, too, and many a yonng fooi has lost his last dime in that "But what abont Mitchel? Do you know whether he was connected with her in any wayr'' "I can't give you that dead straight. There was some niystery there. I used to go to e Boyal street place, and I knew Mitchel in a sort of way. He was always hanging around there. Then there was a while that he didn't show up, and then he turned cp again and was introduced as La Mootaïbon's hnsband. There was a story going that he had married another girl and deserted her - a young creóle, I think, though I never heard her name. " "Did yon know anything abont a child, a girl?" "That was another queer part of it. There was a girl, Jittle Rosy. Some said it was the creola's, but La Montalbon always claimed it was hers. " "What became of Mitchel?" "About a year after he passed as La Montalbon 's husband he skipped out - vaniahed. Severa 1 years after that there was another sensation. The child was kidnaped. La Montalbon offered big rewards to recover her, but she never did. Then about three years ago her place began to run down ; she lost money, and liiially she, too, disappeared. " "If this story is true, it may be quite important. Do you think yon could identify this man Mitchel?" "Well, I don't know f or certain. But, see here, come to think of it, there were two Mitchels, and both narued Leroy too." "Are you sure of that?" "Pretty sure. They were consins. The other fellowwas yonnger. I didn't know him myself. He was a Young Men's Christian association sort of a boy, and not quite in my line. Bnt 1 sort of remera ber hearing that he was in love with the creóle girl. But, say, I'll teil you who can give it to you straight as a shingle. " "Ah, who is that?" "Au old man named Nenilly. He knew all about the creóle, and so must know about the Mitchels. I think he was in La Moutalbon's power. She knew something about him and blackmailed him, as she did lots of others. Now that she is dead yon might make him open his mouth. " " Very good. Gefc me his address, and then see what you can find out about the other Leroy Mitchel, the good boy. Discover what became of him and I'll pay yon wel!. Meanwhiledon't let Sefton know that yon are not carrying ont his scheme. " "Say, pard, I tumble to yon now. You suspected Sefton and yon playee yonr cards to draw me out. Well, yon did it neat, and now I'm with you. Good day. When I see you again, I'l! haya some news for yon. " Tlie íoilowing flay Xilr. Barnes called ! at tbe bachelor home of Mr. Neuilly. : The handsome old man received hirn in stately fashion and courteously asked the detective to explain his mission. For a moment Mr. Barnes did not know how to proceed. He at last said ; "Mr. Neuilly, I have come to ask yonr aid iu the cause of justice. I have besitated to do this, not wishing to disturb you. That I do so now is due to the fact that every other resource has been tried and has failed me. " "Proceed, sir, " said the host, with a courteous bow. "I am seeking certain information about a woman who was known as La Montalbon, and" - An iustantaneous change came over the face of Mr. Neuilly. His hospitablesmile of welcome vanished. He rose erect and stiffly said : "I know nothing of that woman, and must wihh you a very good morning," ■with which he deliberately began to walk f rom the room. Mr. Barnes for a moment was noTplused, but saw that he must act quicklyor lose all chance of gaining any information from this man. "One moment, Mr. Neuilly," hesaid. "You certainly would not refuse to help me convict her murderer. " As he expected, the last word brought him back. "Murderer? Did you mean to intimate that she has been rnnrdered?'1 Saying this he stopped for a second, artd then slowly returned and sat down again. "Eose Montalbon was murdered in New York some months ago. I believe that I am on the track of the guilty trian. Will you aid me?" "That depends upon circumstances. Yon say the woman is dead. That alters my position in this matter very much. I had reasons, good ones to me, for refusing to colmarse with yon on this subjixjt. But if the woman is dead the objections vauish. " Mr. Barues thought he understood. Here was one of those ■svho had been ruled by fear, as Charubers had said. "What I want from you, Mr. Neuilly, is very simple. You either can or vou cannot give me the information that ] wish. Did you know a man named Leroy Mitchel who was at one timerthis woman 's husband?" "I kuew him very well. He was a scoundrel of the deepest dye, for all that he had the manners of the polished gentleman. " "Do you know what becameof him?" "No; he left this city suddenly anc; has never returned. ' ' "Did you know little Rose Mitchel?" "Many a time has she sat upon my knee. This man was her father. He wronged one of the sweetest little girls that ever lived." "Yon knew this girl? Knew her name?" "Idid." "What was it?" "That is a secret I have guarded for too many years to be willing to yield it dow to a strauger. You must show roe good reasons for giving it to yon before I teil it." "I will explain. This man Mitchel is now in Xewr York. He is abont to marry a sweet, good woinan. Yet I think that he murdered Rose Montalbon, or Mitchel, to get her ont of his way. I think that e was blackmailing him. Besides, he has his child w.ih him." Mr. Neuilly started np and paced the room for some time, much agitated. Finally he stopped and said : "Yonsayhehas thechildwith him?" "Yes. Here is her likeness. " He handed Mr. Neuilly the photograph made by Lucette. Mr. Neuilly looked at it, muttered "Very like, very like!" then remained silent for some moments; finally he said: "And you think he mnrdered thi woman, Montalbon ?k "Ido."" ' "It would be terrible to hang tba child's father. What dishonor! Wha dishonor! But justice is justice I" H seemed to be talking rather to himsel: than to Mr. Barnes. Suddenlyhe turnee and said : "I cannottell you the name for whic: you ask. Bnt I will go with you to New York, and if this story of yours is tru I will move heaveu and earth to se justice done. That villain must not ruin another yonng lif e. ' ' "Good," exclaimed the detective, de lighted with the result of his visit. "One more point, Mr. Neuilly. Whu do you know of the existente of anothe Mr. Leroy Mitchel?" "I never met him, though I knew o: him. There was a mystery about tha which I never could nnravel. I thin that he loved this same girl. At au rate, shortly after she died he lost hi reason, and is now in an insane asyluna Of course he cannot help us. " Mr. Barnes, after arranging where t meet Mr. Neuilly, returned to the St Charles to make his own preparation for going north. Up in his room h found Chambers awaiting him. "Well, " said the detective, "what have your learned?" "Nothing that will please you, I am sorry to say. Ouly I have found the other Mitchel. He is a lunatic in au asylnm ont in the suburbs. Bnt the fellow up north is yonr man sure. This one, they say, went crazy because his sweetheart gave him the mitten. " "Did you find out the woman 's name?" "I could aot do that. It seems as carefully bidden as thongh it was a state secret. That gives you an insight into what the creóle pride is. " "Very well. I tbick you have worked for me faithfully. Here is a $100 bilí. Will that satisfy you?" "Perfectly. I wish you luck. " An hour later a telegram was handed to Mr. Barnes, which read: Have found the child. Lucette. In the afternoon Mr. Barnes started for New York accompanied by Mr. Neuilly. That same night Mr. Robert Leroy Mitchel received a telegram which read : Barnes off for New York. Has oíd Neuilly with him. If the last named knows nnything. you must be careful. Seïton, After readiri this Mr. Mitchel pletecf his toiljft, uied the di'spatch to light a cigarette and then took his ancee to the opera. Will be continued.