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THE FOUR JUST MEN,

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THE FOUR JUST MEN, BY EDGAR WALLACE, Author of "Writ in Barracks." Unofficial Despat-jbee, "Smithy," etc.. etc. CHARACTERS IN THE STORY. MANUEL GARCIA, the Carlist leader, a refugee in England, who will be "ae good as dead" if a Bill just introduced by a member of the English Government passes into law. LEON GONSALEZ. POICC YRT, and GEORGE MANFRED. Carlisfcs. engaged in a con- spiracy to kill the English Minister. THEEY. or GAUMONT, a well-known criminal, the instrument by which the con- spirators hope to effect the asnnssination. SIR PHILIP RAMON. the English Foreign (secretary, responsible for the introduction of the Aliens Extradition 'Political Offc-noee) Bill), who t receives a threatening letter eigneci by the Four Just Men." SYNOPSIS. PROLOGT"E.-Leon Gonsalez. Poiccart, George Manfred, and Thery. in the Cafe of the Nations, Cadiz, discuss the measures to be taken to ensure the safety of Manuel Garcia, and decide that the British Minister i6 to be killed. CHAPTER i.-The" Daily Magapiione" con- tains an account of a £5{) reward offered by the English Foreign Secretary (Sir Philip Ramon) for information as to the authors of a letter received by him a nd signed by the "Four Just Men." in which he is threatened with murder if he does not with- Heavy, black-looking Fosters scared down from blank walls. draw the Aliens Extradition (Political OfÃenocG) Bill. The Four Just Men" con sider that justice as meted out here cr earth 16 inadequate, and have ='e* them eelves about correcting the law The- hav- already committed sixteen murders, and have so far defeated all efforts to identify them. CHAPTER II,-A letter from the 'err Just Men." ar-oealmg t" tho u-jmbers to UM their influence to force the withdrawal cf the Bit!, in order to save the life of the Foreign Secretary, is mysteriously intro- duced into the lobby of the House of C~m- m-one. In the rarne room, underneath c fable, is also discovered a fuse'.ess infeml machine, which h.a.s tcea put there by the Ju?t Four "as an earnest that on* threat is no idle one." CHAPTER III. ONE THOUSAND POUNDS 17EWARD, To say that England was stirrpd to ito depthsâto quote more than one leading article on the subjectâby the extraordinary occurrence in the House of Commons would be stating the matter exactly. The first intimation of the esistencs of tho Four Just Men had been received with pardonable derision, particularly by tho&3 newspapers that were behindhand with th-3 j first news. Only tha Daily Megaphone" had truly and earnestly recognised how real was the! <tan>?er which threatened the Minister in charge of the obnoxious Act. Now. however, even ths most scornful could not ignore the i significance of the communication that had so mysteriously found its way into the very heart of Britain's most jealously guarded inctitution. The story of the "Bomb Out. | rage." filled the page3 of every newspaper j throughout the country, and the latest j daring venture of the Four was placarded tho length and breadth of the Isles. Storks, most apocryphal, of the men who: were responsible for the newest sen-ation made their appearance from day to day. and thera was no ether topic in the mouths j of men wherever they met. but the strange quartette who seamed to hold the lives of the mi.hty in the hollows of their hnd,3. Never since the days of the Fenian out- rages had the mind of the public been so filled with apprehension as it was during the two days following the appearance in the Commons of th3 blank bomb," as one journal felicitously described it. Perhaps not exactly the same kind of apprehension, since there was a general belief, which grew out of the trend of the letters, that the Four menaced nena other, than one man. The first intimation of their intentions had excited widespread interest. Hut the face that the threat had been launched from a small French town, and that in consequence the danger was very remote, had somehow robbed the threat, of some of its force. buch was the vague reasoning of an ungeographi- cal pec pic that did not realiis,3 that Dax is no farther from London than Aberdeen. But here was the Hidden Terror in the Metropolis itself. Why, argued London, with suspicious sidelong glances, every man we rub elbows with may be one of the Four, and we none the wiser. Heavy, black-looking pesters stared down from blank walls, and filled the breadth of every police notice-board. .il.000 REWARD. Whereas, on August 18. at about 4.201 o'clock in the afternoon. an iiifern,a, m{'h'ni' was deposited in the members smoke-room by some person or persons un- known. And whereas there is reason to believe that the person or persons implicated in the disposal of the aforesaid machine arc members ol an crganifsd body of criminalo known as "The Four Just Men," against i whom warrants havo b-een issued on charges of wilful murder in London. Paris, j New York, New Orleans. Sattle iTT.S.A.), j Barcelona, Tomsik, Belgrade. Christiana,! Capetown, and Caracas. Now, therefore, the above reward will be paid by his Majesty's Government to any person or persons who shaH lay such in- j formation as shall lead to the pprehen- sioii of any or the whole of the persons styling themselves "The Four Just men" I and identical with the band before men- tioned. And, furthermore, a free pardon and the reward will be paid to any member of the band for such information, providing the i person laying such information has neither committed ncr has been an accessory b-efor3 or after the act of any of the fol- lowing murders. (Signed) RYDAY MONTGOMERY. His Majesty's Secre- tary of State for Home Affairs. J. B. CALFORT. Commissioner of Police. (Here followed a list of the sixteen crimes alleged against the four men.) GOD SAVE THE KING. All day long little knots of people gathered before the broad sheets, digesting the mag- nificent, offer. It was an unusual hue and cry. differing: fronf those with which Londoners were best; acquainted. For there was no appended des- j criptior of the men wanted; no portraits by which they might be identified, no stereo j typed, "when !ast seen was wearing a dark I blue serge suit, cloth cap, check tie," on which the searcher might base his scrutiny of the passer-by. It was a search for four men whom no person had ever consciously seen, a hunt for a will o' the wisp, a groping in the dark after indefinite shadows. Detective Superintendent. Falmouth. who was a very plain-spoken man die once! brusquely explained to a Royal personage that he hadn't got eyes in the trick of his head\ told the Assistant Commissioner exactly what he thought about it. You can't eaten men when you haven't got the slightest who or what you're looking for, For the sake of ar<;umnt, they might be women for ?'! we knowâtheymfght be Chinamen or niers; they might be tall or !!hMt; they m'shtâw?? we don't even know their nationality! They've don't even crimes in almost every country in the world. J They're n't French because they killed a I j man in Paris, or Yankee bccause they strangled Judge Anderson.' "The writing," said the CommiEsioner, referring to a bunch of letters he held in i his hand. "Latin: but that may be a fake. And sup- tpose it isn't? There's no difference between the handwriting of a Frenchman, Spaniard, Portuguese, Italian, South American, Creole -and. as I say, it might be a fake, and pro- bably is," "What have you done?" asked the Com- m i nc r. "We've pulled in all the suspicious charac- ters we knew. We cleaned out Little Italy. combed Bloomsbury, been through Soho, and searched all the colonies. We raided a place at Nunhcad last nightâa lot of Armenians Iive down there, but- The detective's face bore a hopeless look. "As likely as not." ho went on, "we should j find them at one of the swagger hotelsâthat s if they were fools enough to bunch together; but yea may bo E're they M living apart, and meeting at s-sme unlikely spot once or twice a day." He parsed, and tapped his fingers absently on the big dock at which he nrd his superior sat. "We've had de Courville over," he resumed. "He saw ths Soho crowd, and what is more important, saw his own man who lives amongst themâand it's none of them. I'll at !east he swears, and I'm pre- pared to accept his word." The Commic?ioner shook his head patheti- cal!y. "They're in an awful stow in Downing- ho said "They do not know exactly what is going to happen n>3xt." Mr. Falmouth rose to his feet with a sigh and fingered tho brim of hio hat. Nice time ahead of usâI don't think," he remarked paradoxically. "What aro the people thinking about it?" asked the Commissioner. Youve seen the papers?" Mr. Commissioner's shrug was uncompli- mentary t6 British icurra--sm. The papers? Who in Heaven's name is soing to talis the slightest notice of what is in tho papers?" he «.a;d petulantly. "I rim, for one," replied the calm detec- tive; "cewsrapers are more often than not lord by tho j ^blio; and it seems to met he i-d-zii c.' runnin, t new, idea of running a newspaper in a nutshell is to wr.te so that th-, public will rav. 'That's i gmartâit's what I've said all ;:¡!cng. Bv.t the public t-henuc-lvcsâhave ye11 had an opportunity of gathering their idea?" Letcctivj Falmouth nodded. "I wa talking in the park to a man onlv this eveningâa ma-:rer-man by the look of him. and presumably inteHiTent. 'What's your idea of this Four Just Men business?" I 16kd, 'It's very queer.' he raid; 'do you think there's anything in it?'âand that." concl1dd the diegnsted upalico-officer, "is all th? P'Ibl?c thinks about m." hut if there w? sorro.? at Scotland Yard, Flee.-street itself was all a-t witter with pleasurable excitement. Here was great new;, indeed: news that might be heralded across doublo columns, blared forth in headlines, I w,suted by pla<3.rdr, il'ius'rated, diagra-miscd, and illuminated by statistics. Io it tho Mafia?" asked the "Comet" noisily, and went on to pre. o that it was. The Evening World," with its editorial mind lingering lovingly in the sixties, mildly â suggested a vendetta, and instanced "The Co re lean Brother- The "Megaphone stuck to the story of the Four J"st Men. and printed pages of details concerning their nefarious acts. It disinterred from 4dt,6ty fi1-E, Cantmental and; Aniencan. the full circumstances of each murder; it gave the portraits and careers cf the men who were slam, and, whilst in no way palliating the offence of the Four, yet :3 forth justly and dispassionately the lives of tho victims, showing the sort of men they were. It accented warily the reams of contribu- tions that flowed into the office; for a news- paper that has received the stigma "yellow" exercises more oaution than its more sober competitors. In rewsp-ip-erland a. dull lie 13 j seldom detected, but an interesting exaggera- tion drives an unimaginative rival to hys- terical denunciations. And reams of Fo-\t Men anecdotes did j flow in. For. suddenly, as if by magio, every outside contributor, every literary gentleman who made a speciality of personal cotes, every kind of man who wrote, discovered that he had known the four intimately all his life. "When I was in Italy wrote the author of "Come Again" (Hackworth rezi, Book Mart, 7.<:1,), "I remember I heard a our-iotis story about these Men of Blood. Orâ No f:pot in Lsndon is moro likely to prove the hiding place of the Four Villains than Tidal Basin," vrotD another gentleman who fit-ruck "Collins" in the north-east corner of his manuscript. "Tidal Basin in the reign of Charles II. was known as, "Who'e Collins5" asked the super-chief of the Megaphon? of hie hard-worked editor. "A liner," described the editor wearily, thereby revealing that even the newer jour- nalism has not driven the promi&cuou;? con- tributor from his hard-fought field; "he does police-courts, fires, inquests and things. Lately he's taken to literature, and writes Picturcsquc. Bits of Old London, and Famous Tombstone? of Korns:?y. eipics Throughout the office or the newspaper the same thing was happening. Every cable that arrived, every piece cf information that reached the sub-editor's basket- was coloured with the imp-ending tragedy uppermost in m-en's mind-s. Even the police-court reports contained some all'6ion to the Four. It was j the overnight drunk and disorderly's justifi- cation for his indiscretion. "The lad has always been honeet," said the peccant errand boy's tearful mother: it's reading thece horrible stories about the Four Foreigners that's made him turn out lik9 this"; and the magistrate took a lenient view of the offence. To all outward showing. Sir Philip ifamon, the man mostly interested in the develop- ment of the plot, was the least concerned. He refused to bo interviewed any further; be declined to the possibilities of assassination even with the Premier, and his answer to letters of appreciation that came to him from all parts of the country was an announcement in the Morning Post askiag his correspondents to be good enough to refrain'from persecuting him with picture postcards, which found no other repository than his waste paper basket. Ho had thought of adding an announcement of his intention of carrying the Bill through Parliament ?x whatever cost, and was only deterred by th" fear of theatricality. To Falmouth, upon whrm had naturally devoiv-ed the duty of protecting the Foreign Secretary from harm. Sir Philip wa-s un- usually erateic-tfci, and incidentally permitted that a-stute officer to get a glimpse of the terror in which a threatened man lives. Do you think there a any danger, super- intendent?" he asked, not once but a Boore of times: and the officer, stout defender of an infallible police force, was very re- assuring. For," a-s he argued to himself. what is the v.,se of frightening a man who is half- acarcd to e'eath already? If nothing hatpone h'J will see I have spoken the truth, and if âifâveil, he won't bo a.ble to call me a liar. c-ir Philip was a constant source cf interest to the detective, who must ha,ve shown his thoughts once or twice. For the Foreign Secretary. who was a remarkably shrewd man, intercepting a curious glance of the police-officer, said sharply, "You wonder why I still Go on with the Bill knowing the danger? Well, it will surprise you to learn that I do not know the danger, nor can I imagine it! I have never been conscious of physical pain in my life, and, in spite of the fact that I have a, weak heart, I have never had so much as a single ache. What death will be. what pangs or peace it may bring, I have no conception. I argue with Epic let us that the fear o.f death is by way of beir.ig an impertinent assumption of a krowledge of the hereafter, and that we have no reason to believe it is any worse condi- tion than our present. I am not afraid to die-but- I am afraid cf dying." Quite so, sir," murmured the sympathetic but wholely uncomprehending detective, who had no rfcind for nico distinctions. But," resumed tho Ministerâho was sit- tirtg in i; study in Portland-placeâ" if I cannot imagino the enact process of dissolu- tion. I can imagine, and have exr-erienced. the result cf breaking faith with the* ohau- celleries, and I havp certainly no intention cf a:} in:; up a store of future embarrass- ments for fear of something that may after all be comparatively trifling." Which picoo of reasoning will be sufficient to indicate what the Opposition of the hour was ploo-cd *o term The tortuous mind of tho rigb- honourable gentleman." And Ircpectc- Falmouth, listenirig with every indication of attention, yawned inwardly and v.ondeiod who Epictetus was. I have taken all possible precautions, sir." said the dotcctivp in the pause that fol- lowed tho rccital ci this creed. I hope yo.1 v.on't mind for a week cr two being followed about by some of mv men. I want you to allcw two or three officers to remain in the i,-e here, and, of course, thero wili bo quite D, number on du< at the Foreign CKfice." Sir Philip expressed his approval, and later, when he and the defective drove down to the House in a closed brougham, he understood why cyclist* rode br-fcro and cn either sid-e of the carriage, .'ind why two cats followed the br'u^ham into Palace Yard. At Notice time. wkt.t a House rparscly filled. Sir Philip rose in his i:sco and ;;av notiM that ho would novo the second read- in; of the Aliens Extradition (Political -dai- or, to L-e Offonces) Bill on Tuesday week, or, to be exact, in ten days That evening Manfred met Gonsalez zii Nort.h Tower Gardens and rernarked on fa'ry-'ike rplcndour of tho Crystal Pa-lacc grounds by n;ght. A G^ar^s" band was playing the overture to Tannbijuser, and the men talked music. TIwn "What of The-5" asked Manfred. Poiccart. has him to-day; he is showing him tho sights" They both Arched. "And you?" askcrl Gonsalet. "I have had an interesting dov; I met that delightfully naive detcctive in Green Park, who asked ma wha,t I thought cf c-ur- tlo w<>vemrnt in Gonsalez commented on tho movement in G minor, and Man trod ncdded his hcad, k-eeping time with the music. "Aro w c az,lvli. Leon quietly. Man!red still nodded and softly whispered the number. He ^t.opred with the fin a' crash of tho band, and ýJin(" in tho applauso that greeted tho musicians. I have taken a plaoe." he said, elappirn his hai ds. "We had better come together." if Is everything thore?" iTanfrod looked at his companion with a twinkle in his eye. "Almost everything." Tho band broke into the National Anthem, and the two men rose and uncovered. The throng about tho band-e.tand melted away in the gloam. and Manfred and his companion turned to go, Thct-candr ⢠of fairy lamps gleamed in the grounds, and there was a strong smell of ga-3 in the air Not that way this time?" questioned, rathe; than asserted. Gonsalez. Afcst oertainlv not that way," replied Manfred decidcdly. (TO BE CONTINUED TO-MORBOW.) THE REV. JOHN KERNICK. Who is leaving Conway-road Wesleyan Church. Cardiff.

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