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The Rajah's Ruby

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ICopyright, 1S93, by Amcricau Press Association.] fCONTINUED.] "xnat's my prettyJMiss Gilder," wal his conclusión, "and if I am not mistaken she is about to make a cali on Dr. Maidhoff. She has not the appearance of a young lady in need of his professional services, and I shouldn't wonder if she wants to discuss my cali upon her. Fact is, I feel a little unwell myself and think I ought to see the doctor as soon as I can." A minute later he was walking along the street a short way behind the young lady, upon whose inovements he kept watch. Simpson was not amiss in his suspicion of her intention. She turned into the gate of Dr. Maidhoff 's home and was admitted with only a momentary delay. Waiting a very brief time, he followed her. The servant, telling him that the doctor would be engaged for a few moments, showed him into the sitting room. This was what Simpson wished, but he feit that his fortune was almost too good to last. Seating himself in the chair nearest the door of the doctor's office, he was no sooner left alone than he sof tly rose and placed his ear as close as he could get it to the crevice. It was running great risk, but couldn't be hclped. Any movement of the doctor could be anticipated by the eavesdropper, but he could not detect the approach f one f rom theotherdirection, nor could he conceal what he was doing from sucü a orv?. These risks. however, are acceptt-d as a matter of course by the profession. Every word uttered a few feet away was heard distinctly by the listener, who only prayed that no other patients would arrive for some minutes, or until the conversation was over. "What makes you think so?" was the trst remark which reached his ears and was uttered by Dr. Maidhoff. "He looked so sharply at every thing. It seemed to me he would never take his iyes off the safe in the dining room." "He may be contemplating a raid npon it," was the jocose comment of the doctor. "No; he is no burglar, but I believe he is liero on business connected with the ruby. Dcar me, doctor, I can hardly sleep nights, I am so worried." "Haven't I assured you there is no cause for fear? Then you know there is, or rather was, a regular detective here. He was sent at my request, and if he has not already gone home disgusted with the business he will soon doso." "How do you know he will?" "Why, how should I know except from Ms own lips?" "I wonder if those men always teil the ïruth?" The listener smiled and said in his tnind, "She ought to be a detective, for my hardest task will be to outwit her." "Did he make any inquines of you ;oncerning the - ah - affair of last week?" "He started to do so, but I gave him such a plain hint that the subject was a painful one to me that he did not repeat it." "You didn't give any thing away. Miss Gilder?" "I think not, but he confused me for a moment by his abrupt question. I am sure that if he continued I would have tripped.'" "Well, my good friend, I cannot share your uiisgivings. Nothing is more natural than for a man to look over the property which he contemplates purchasing, and I cannot see anything suspicious in the cali of this gentleman on you. I trust you looked becomingly sad when he referred to the death of your beloved aunt?" That this was a hypocritical query was proved by the audible laugh which accompanied it. The young lady said reprovingly: "I assure you, doctor, that I can see nothing to laugh at in this business. I shall not ceaso to worry until" "Until when?" he asked as she hesitated. "Oh, until it is settled and the whole matter off our hands. " "And that will be the case pretty soon. Take my advice, Miss Gilder, and think no more of it, except to sinile over the clever way in which the whole thing bas been managed. But I believe a patiënt is in the next room." The waiting "patiënt" whisked silently to the other side of the apartment, where he was demurely seated when the doctor, having bidden Miss Gilder good day, opened the other door to invite him into his office. The face of the physician showed that he was a little startled when he recognized in his visitor the gentleman whom he had been talking about to the young lady. Despite his assurances to her he was not entirely free from suspicion, though he sought to conceal it by his manner. He must have reflected that if Mr. Simpson was really a detective he had been given a fine opportunity to piek up some interesting points. And it was just there that Folsom Simpson made a brilliant display of his skill. Ha told a straight story to the doctor about his cali at the residence of the late Miss Livermore, made so many inquines about the property, looked so truthful when he said he thought he had better have a little more medicine, and, in short, played his part so well that when he departed the doctor, looking af ter hún, said to himself: "What a goose Miss Gilder ia to imagine that he is a detective!" CHAPTER VI. MAX MANSON HAD ALREADY CAUOIIT A NI'.W SOUND. Deteutivu max manson wüen he ee out to track the two natives of HindooBtan was confident that, if the missing gom was ever recovered, it would be through his efforts rather than those of his clever comrade, Folsom Simpson. "E". believed th::t his rotund friend had deBbe rately thrown the opportunity in his war. .' I wimsi "It would be just like him. Ho came to Ellenville unwillingly, but in obedience to oraers. üe staid long enough to help me to the true theory and Btaya behind to go through the form of doing Bomething. That owlish look when I put the question to him was with a view of deceiving me. Folsom is a clever fellow, but I can read him." It proved not very difficult to trace the aliens. Traveling with their packs, it was their custom to spend several days at different villages and towns. When through with any place, they did not walk to the uext harvest field, but traveled by rail. Before leaving Ellenville Manson made some inquiries, the result of which was not altogether satisfactory. He found that the peddlers had never been arrested for the suspected robbery of Miss Livermore. There was considerable suspicion expressed concerning them, but it never went to the point of interfering with their movements. "Dr. Maidhofï told me that those two men were arrested and subjected to rigid exaniination without proving anything against them. What could his object have been in deceiving me?" It was hard to answer the question. After all it did not seem of special importance, and he Boon dismissed it from his 1 houghts. The agent at Ellenville remembered that the two men had bought tickets for a point about 20 miles away. The fact that it was in the direction of New York caused Manson some uneasiness, for his fear was that they might elude him by going straight to the metropolis and sailing for Europe. He decided that if he should find they had gone directly to the city he would telegraph to Chief Varick and set him at work. Leaving the train at the point indicated, he quickly gained tidings of the fellows. They had left the town only two days before, still proceeding in the direction of New York. Their tickets would carry them alarmingly close to the metropolis, and Manson's misgivings increased. A surprise awaited him when he once more left the train and succeeded after some inquiries in gaining track of the men. That morning they had bought tickets for Wingfield, whither they had undoubtedly gone with their packs and trinkets. The curious feature of this last move was that Wingfield, instead of being to the westward, lay in a directly opposite course. The East Indians had turned back over their own trail. "That's queer," reflected Manson, "but those people are as cunning as the cobras of their own country, and probably they are indulging in this deliberation for the purpose of throwing off al! possible suspicion." It was past 11 o'clock when the detective stepped upoji the platform at Wingfield, which, as far as he could teil with the aid of the moonlight and a few oil lamps, was of about the same size as Ellenville. and, like that primitivo town, contained but a single house for the entertainment of man and beast. Making his way thither, he found the landlord smoking his pipe in the barroom and on the point of retiring. His visitors had departed, and of hia guests only a couple were visible to the belated arrival. They were the East Indians whom he was seeking. There could be no mistake on that point, for a single glance was sufficient to identify them, with their swartny skins, their jet black hair and eyes, their white, glassy teeth and their half oriental garb. They were seated in chairs in one corner of the room talking in their native tongue. Naturally they glanced up at Manson as he carne in, and nodding to them as well as the landlord he registered and stated that he would probably spend several da)Ts in the village. It was a vast relief to the detective to find that he had run down the couple in such a brief time and with comparatively little trouble. He fully believed that one of them at that moment had the rajah's ruby about his garments, for it was not to be supposed that after once getting their hands on it they would take the risk of forwarding it to India, or indeed of allowing it to pass out of their possession unless compelled as a matter of precaution to take the step. Quite confident on this point, the struggle, as the detective now viewed it, narrowed down to a conflict of wit and cunning between him and these swarthy miscreant8, who had traveled so many thousand miles to commit the robbery. His theory, as intimated elsewhere, was that the fellows arriving in Ellenville had carefully looked over the ground and decided that the safer course for them was to bribe Dr. Maidhoff to secure the gem for them. Doubtless they came prepared to pay a large price, for it could not have been the infringió valué of the ruby, great as it was, which gave it such worth in the eyes of the descendant of ítí first owners. The physician had secured the prize, as he could readily do, and the detective was inclined to suspect that he had not hesitated at the crime of murder in order to carry out his part of the bargain. He had received the wages of his treachery, and the messengers of evil were making their way homeward with the priceless jewel and doing so with a deliberation that they might well believe would ward off all suspicion. Manson nat down for a brief talk with the landlord before retiring for the night. He apparently bestowed little attention on the fellows in the corner, but he wanted the chance to stady them, to make a preliminary survey of the ground, as inay be said. On their part they seemed to f eel no interest in him, but every time he stole a glance atthedusky countenances, with their red feit skull caps, from which gilt tassels dangled, he encountered those snaky eyes which instantly flitted their looks in another direction. "It is impossible that they should suspect me," was his conclusión, "any more than they may suspect all strangers. I am sure they are fully armed, and the couple will be dangerous to attack." They continned conversing with considerable animation, being free with their gestures and apparently deeply interested in what each was saying. "If I only understood Hindoostani," thought Manson, "I might be able to piek up a valuable pointer or two, for they must f eel free to talk their lingo before any people besides their own." Suddenly they rose, and one of them Baid to the landlord in fair English: "We go to bed, please." "All right," he replied, with a yawn, glad to find that he was about to gain the sleep for which he was yearning. "Hl be back with you in a minute," he added, addressing Manson, who nodded and said he was ready also to retire. At the time of writing his name on the well thumbed book of the hotel Manson noticed the two signatures uf the natives, which were simply "Wichman" and "Lugro," so that it may be said their identification was omplete. Nothing was to be gained by questioning the host, who not only was sleepy, but was stupid. So he followed him up stairs behind his tallow candle and along the uncarpeted hall. "Your room is next to them chaps," said the landlord as he turned about to leave, "butl guess they ain't dangerous." "I have no fears," replied Manson, closing the door, locking and bolting it. Now that he was alone, however, he naturally asked himself whether it was possible to make any use of what, under other circumstances, would clearly have been an advantage. "If they would only talk in English," he muttered as he heard the hum of their voices, "I could catch something possibly worth knowing, but as it is I might as well be a mile away from them." The professional instinct led him softly to unfasten his door and to thrust out his head, with his ear closo to the next door. As he did so a thrill passed through him. Wichman and Lugro wero conversing in English. ' 'He watch me - he watch you - he af ter us," was the astonishing remark of one of them. "I see dat," replied his companion. "Tomorrer he bring anoder officer- he takeus to jail - he huntour pockets - our bundies - our everyt'ing - he t'ink he find it - den what we do?" "Mebbe won't find it," suggested the other. "Why he no find it?" "Mebbe we hide it." "Where? In woods?" "No, he watch us tomorrer. He see us - we hide it here in dis room, for he no look here." "Dunno, dunno," commented the other in a voice which showed nevertheless that he was impressed by the proposal of his companion. "Dis best place. He no look here. Leave it here two, free days - mebbe two, free weeks - den como back, stay one night, get it 'gin!" This auiazing conversa tion now ceased. For several minutes only a word or two was r.ttered, and then it was in their native tongue. But the listening Max Manson had already caught a new sound. It was such as would have been made by a man cutting an opening in the wooden surbase of his room with a keen edged knife. He was confident he knew what the sound meant. CHAPTER VII. "I DON'T THINK YOU HAVE GOT THE RAJAH'S RUBY." The following morning, when the two sepoys appeared on the front porch of the Wingfield hotel, Max Manson was in the act of saying goodby to the landlord. "I must take the next train to New York," said he; "the distance to the station is so short I'll walk, but I have no time to lose." Nevertheless he stood a few minutes after one of the aliens started in the direction of the station. When the detective reached that point, the fellow was lounging among several waiting passengers. Without seeming to pay attention to him Max observed that he bought no ticket. There could be na doubt that he had gone thither to watct Manson. The latter bought with some ostenta tion a ticket for the metropolis and entered the smoking car of the train, which drew up a few minutes later. The glance which he cast at the platform showed the East Indian still there, where he doubtless staid until after the cara had steamed away. "He knows I am booked for New York," reflected Manson, "and is sure that I will go straight through, but I have some doubts on that point." The first station at which the train drew up was about 10 miles away. There the detective disembarked and a half hour later boarded the cars in the opposite direction. Before they carne to a halt he took a cautious survey of the platform. If the Asiatic was there, he intended to stay on the train, for it was necessary above everything that his return to Wingfleld should be unknown and unsuspected by those fellows. The coast seemed to be clear, and he stepped out, a number of other people doing the same, to say nothing of Beveral who took their departure from the place. Manson was specially anxious to get back to the inn without detection by the foreigners. He made his way along and through the street with the greatest possible precaution. It was to be supposed that the peddlers would be absent by that time retailing: their knickknacks through the neighborhood. Manson was confident, therefore, when he ascended the steps of the hotel, without ha ving caught the flrst glhnpse of them, that he had Jiothing to fear in the vay of discovery. The landlord naturally showed some surprise at seeing liis late guest again, but the latter, shaking hiin heartily by the hand, said: "Strange that I should have forgotten something. With your permission 1 would like to go to my room for a few minutes." "Of course, of course," was the response; "jes' make yerself at home. l'll be glad to have you stay a week." [OÜNXLHUm]


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