Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

8 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



EXPtRiENGES OF A ¡ DETECTIVE. j 11 By James McGova.n, NO. M.—THE GASFiTTER/S BLACK- MAILER. [ szr the man down as either lunatic or a lover j it toe firs-t «;anc>». Saah nervous excitement and t jerking "nd twisting could come oniy of tusanity »r love, and of the two I was inclined to favour she iuUer. Your I >ver is often more of a madman than a real lunatic. Hi-t caas, he is convinced, is in ire urgent than any that, cc'uld be conceived, 4,rd nothing br.t death «r deliverance can remedy ir-atter. No mild or easy measures will suit h iu, and if once be conceives the idea that the .world mass be split «p in two halves to right his wrODS, you must set about splitting the world on the instant, or ear. his undying hatred. It takea f lowe weeks of asarried life to restore him to reason. I've got into a desperate bad fix, and nothing but. a murder ov a robbery can me out of it," lie said, with that appearance of calmness which means the tooss in sense excitement. I've bQod this tor a long time now, but I can bear it no lor, "So yeu've come here to give yourself zr, and thus prevent the murd.u-I answered, with àifii- • culty repressing a smile. I don't know—I ùCln know what I've come here for and I'm not sure whether I'm likely to bathe murderer or the murdersd," he confusedly j returned, He was a little fellow, very thin-faced, and had a curious habit of jerking his head at the end of every purace he uttered. His hands also were atfactedj for they would not keep still a moment, ai:d 1 had to put some pens and books aud I blotting-pads out of their reach, or they would all nave been destroyed. He gave his name ah William Hughes, and said that he was a onus. touuder and gasfitter by trade but it was diffi- cult. to get him tu settle to give these details. His trouble was uppermost on his mind, and the chief part of thai trouble was that he did not know bow vo put it before me. it's your duty to prevent crime, at any rate," he at last ooserved, ''and there's sure to be atgreat crime committed it something isn's done s47Ga to > prevent it. I've bought a revolver and a, long- biaded knife and a bottle of laudanum, and some tning is .-are to happen one of these niglits.1 "You're surely in lu'.e" I remarked with great apparent gravity, as the dreadful ^phalanx was rolled forth on my ears. •'That's it I am," he said, brightening up as if I had made a wonderful discovery. ''Then I should say the cure for that V5 to get married, I as politeiy suggested. "Ytl, I know that, but that's just my difficulty —I get married. They won't let me, the t hanged rogues nd blood-suckers 1" Wu(-) Are tile.;ia 'tile i-el;iti-ies' "2*o, nn. It's the oiker girl's relatives that are jbjectia^ I wnistled aloud. "The other giri2 Good gracious then there are two V' Yes. The fact is, I did a foolish thing about a year and a-haif ago. I was fitting up some luotres in a. house out of Mmtc-street, when I got acquainted with one of tbe, servants, a smart taoiemaid. He r name is Mai.-y Sparnon, It was j ail in iun, you know, io„- 1 was halt-engaged at the time, but I met her several times, and sparked her about, and took h r to u bail. One night—it was a Sunday night—I was out at the house, and we began larking, and I wrote out a line promis- ing to marry her. It WtS an in iu but the inmate she read it she folded it up and put it in her pocket, saying to the other servants, "You »ra witnesses, lor you Saw him write it." I got frightened then, and never went back, and I never jjgard any more about it till about six weeks ago. V>w in that time l got on to be foreman, and saved some money, and was to have been married soon, but that infernal blood-sucker has spoiled ad tili "You mean this Mary Sparnon ? Her and hac brorlier-ioul the brother's the w rst. lie oame to the shop one day and asked forme. The smell o: him would have knocked you uown, and he could scarcely stand, he was so dnuh:. lje said lie bad come to ask me a very important question—whether I was about to be married 2 I said 'Y,s,' and then he steadied him- self agaiast the wail, and asked why it was that Maiy had never been consulted. I could only t,.ii l aim that Mary had nothing to do with it, and t that I was to marry my real sweetheart, a Miss Fauny Dwyer, a dressmaker, over in New Town. TbdÐ at: tired U). and used some beautiful lan- guage, aud said he would never sdk.w ma to j i D1_ny another »o long as Mary held my written promise to marry her. k-Lor a iia came round a biT" and saia it uvght be ar ranged, and he w, !Uld not go to w. Fanny and ex- pose me if I puid them thirty pounds by way' of \:ùlHpensation. I Hr,,mcuEn SOT GO TO FANNT TF I PAID TriilM THIiiTY POUNDS. 1 was glad to agree, and I paid him tfmty pounus I 6ut of my savingf, and which I had intended to I help t.> furnish my house. I was so gsad to get the matter settled that I !lev'r thought of gettir- :> ?".r off his hand premising to make no more caiis on me, and he pretended that he had mis** the paoer of agreement which lus ^sisv-er he.d, but would send is me in a day or twn, II "Then he came on you for more money :So, not then, but you see I was now in a worse iix, for I couldn't get married through the loss of the thirty pounds, and had to tell Fanny I r,ad lost it through a hole in my pocket. S.e was quite content, and ■ympathised: with me so much that I felt a, if I bad stolen the money or it. A working man can't save money very fast, so it just meamt that I would neea to ivait a waole year longer. I could ha ve stood even that, out in fcwo, months eiuie Daniel tsp-rnon asking other thirty pounds. And you gave it? ■>• «. T I oouldn't, for I hadn't it to give. ouu i offereil him tea to give up the paper, ana lie re- fuo;ed. He wouldn't give up the paper at all, tnd if 1 didn-'c pay over that ten pounds at once he d go and ten yanny all about it. It was that I was afraid of all along-of her hearing about it—i- would look so like I had just been fooling her all, tbo w:s and courting Mary at the same tims. And you paid it I would have paid it, but the villain went on to ted me that a frieud of his—a sreafc brute o £ a Geix-an mason—who works along with him,f was A Gft2AT BRUTE Of A GKB.MAN* rA:;O: WAS EAGER ro MUEPES ME. to murder ine, and always wanting to find ,ui whew I hved. I said if I was to ha murderer 11 [ might as wen keep my money, and I bought the revolver to be ready for him." g But. you seem to ba still alive? "Yes hut how Jong'will it last? After I got i, owiv I tiiought I would manage the ;he wreic.i i t H^inrnv own way, and appeal to Mary h r Jn_a>. e- an :i%Aj ,a that she rather liked me, could easily wheedle her if I got and tuoJg ;rom her brother. A kiss and her a aood with a woman, you know, ieiul.jagoa oris■ righfc wny you can get »nd i- you mortal tL,ing. I'm pretty them to agree «o ». y made sure I'd have that Mi*r* it! H noci-mcuity. ha,:tnt put that beastly tJ,e>.ruta of a and aha never went oq to guard his f lt thafc I could Without W» oy her^a u „a;j ,0 .,g «:4 fore o*m» strong, and I'm i):, Once I mustered up courage to stop them and try to speak to her, but the Ger- man begun to snout at me in broken English and to swear like a trooper, as I understood it, in j German, so I was glad to get out of the way. I could not make out all that he said, but I under- stood him to say cl;at fae knew me well, and that i: I dared to marry 1'auny he would murder me the same n'glit Then it is protectitea you want ? He threat- ened you with bodily violence." "'No, icau protect myself, for though I'm wee 1 m a tenib'e fedovv to hgtit. It's deliverance I want metit. 1-can neither eat, nor sleep, nor work for tninking of it, wfi(-i I can see that Fanny be- gins to look queer at me, as if sha thought I was not q'lite right in t-he head." wc-)zidewal- it,for you do lo,)kia little 'off,' I sm.:iag!y observed, and you mu-t have looked very queer wheu you were laying off that story about the thirty pounds slipping through ar hole JU your pockec. What do you wish to do?—to charge them with conspiring to extort money fiom you ?" Yes, something of that kind. If I could just ) frjghtëu them into thinking that I'm.not frightened of them, I wouldn't care though they got off. Besides, I've no evidt-nc,) against Mary Sparnou or the German, and I've no witnesses to prove that I gavts D niei Sparnon tho money. Perhaps you could work up the case 8owehoow so as to fix them ail neat.y, like fowls ou a sput. I'm sure they deser ve a deal more than they'll get tor the months of torture they've inflicted on me. If it hadn't (wen for Fanny I'd have .swallowed that laudanum long ago, just to be doe witii ic, but t then I remembered that a dead sweetheart is of no use oo anybody, and that she'd maybe marry somebody else, so that pulled me back." W el.i, your be-it pi in would be to send for me the nexi; time the brother tries to extort money from you or arrange with him to meet the whole j three of them to settle the matter, and place me somewhere to overhear it all. I suppose you have quite resolved not to marry. the table maid, this Mary Sparnon ?" "Couldn't think of such a thing-never did. She's a nice girl to flirt with, but then that's not th-H kind oi woman you want t, make a wife of." I I found also that Mary Sparnon had giveu up her place at Minto-street to go and keep house for her brother, who had roeeutly lost his wife. Sparnon inmseif was a mason, but worked rather her brother, who had roeeutly lost his wife. Sparnon inmseif was a mason, but worked rather fiUuliy, tiniugu there was nothing titfui ill his con- I sumption ct whisky. It was therefore difficult for I anyone togesto seethe grirlwithou., the rist of also meeting her brother. Hughes had more than once made the attempt without success, but then | his faculties had become ao demoralized that the J ordiuary cunning of the lover seemed to have left J him. From the fact tlias.Mary tiparnon had not I once made a personal demand upon Hugliuo, it j seemed to me probable that the conspiracy rested j soley with her brother and tiie big German. J These two had threatened much, but done nothing j -wbat was more likely then than that they did j not mean to use their power, but to go on blaeding j the poor -a,-fitter as Joug as he had a penny to I give? From all I could giean, Sparnon was a low ( wretch, and would have bartered his soul for a gill of whisky, wiiiie Mary appeared to be a, bright, ) cheerful lass, fall of fun and innocent frolic. It i struck we, therefore, as not unlikely that I m'ffht be able to nip him up on some other charge, for a j man such as he would not stick to one crime, and | that then the persecution of the gasfitter would j cease. I therefore sa.d some hopeful thing3 t*> Hughes, and dismissed him, merely stipulatistg that I¡e must not thiak ot either murder or suicide, at least uzitil I isad completely failed. He gave the pledge most heartiiy.and then, in the ful- ness of his heart, explained to me w^at ho had hinted at en enter!ug. The robbery tiiat he I, feared would come off was a scheme he had formed for attacking Sparnon some night when he should be more than ordinarily drunk, aud taking from his person the paper which he was using as such a powerful engine of oppression and terror against I Huebes. If you know any very clever thief," he sugges- tively added, "and should happen to mention to him what I've told you, and that thief, in tho course of his ordinary work, should find that he had got hold of that paper, why, you might ^:ay to him that I wouid give ten pounds uov/n for it any time. You see ?" I did see with perfect clearness, but I hastened to assure him that my business Was not to incite anyone to commit a crime, but to do all in my power to prevent nny being: committed. *rI suppose yo'i've f ned fctiat plan already, a ad did not succeed ?'' I added, hitting straignt a.6 the mark. "Well, yes; I did arct some of my shopmates ( SUhini drunk one uigiit and then ripe his pouchas," he frankly answered, flashing a little nevertheless, 1 "but they couldn't nnd thfj paper. ferhaps :X)U could wheedle it from him, or Lind out where it is hidden?" I sat and stared at tha man. If ha had not spoken so innocently, I shouid have kicked fcim out of the place. As it was, I pretended to get i into a great rage, and said— NV )rse and worse Instead of inciting others to ctirne, vcu want, me to do it myself! And you know you've only come to me after failing your- self. 1> a good mind to lock you ? for attemp- ted robcerv on your O\'ll1 confession." "Gtwd God what have I said?"' lie exelkimed in the greatest aiiirm, w th his head jerking away like that of a Chinese mandarin. I thank I'll shoot myself and be done with it." you've j a-t promised not to do tbtet till I fail," I returned, relaxing a little. "Away you go, ind I pull you througii so that$ou get married t > one of tlie girls, youTi promise rae a bit of the brktescalcp, and—ir I wish it—a kj<s of the bride. The probability is I shall not wisTa it, bat i that depends on what the bride is like." Promise ? he would have promised me l/he whole caks to mysei', and went away quite certain that the end of bis troubles was at hand. I thought j it not impossible that they were, but, enviously, my idea w;>s that he might make the best of the foolish slip by taking Mary after all, and getting j the dressmaker to give him up. If she already J thva^lit him badf insane it would not ba difficult I to convince her that he was not tivo best man for a husband. The same evening, Hughes was brought into the < Central very mucfa damaged about the face, and I "xauY wk;;e both br ought in vebt much IX\MA*SJCD." charged with creating a d'istjurbauce. Along with him was a big German^' who was similarly damaged, and ei),-arged with a like offence. They were kept apart with great; ^difficulty, and, in the storm of words which followed, it was dimly indicated that eaet. accused the other of following him and annoying him, and efich volubly declared his intention of having the jolinnr's blood. They were release/i on leaving a deposit, and let out by different doors with half aau hour's interval. onner vetter knock mal! If I only him had in mein own cOaatry!" said the German, and then a great whai'lop of his huge list* tini/ued the sentence as lie disappeared. "It's a good thing I hadna le revolver wi' me," esplained Hughes confidtt niially to me as he wacj let out. I was jnst trying to see Mary when i met the brme on tho stai;* and he began to swear at me, and theu the fight .began." N,!Xt forenoon I was out at CariKigie-street in whveh Sparnon lived, and dropped Lito a etit-y I near the foot of the stair to see if 1; could pick u4) anything against the drunken IDa.C,n. To my f/urprise Sparuoa was not in debt; cir difficulty, though so dissipated and idle, b it -.the woman hastened to explain by paying a very bigli com- pliment to Mary Sparnou. It's her that keeps him cht and tak's care o' his money, and keeps'tho house above his tieid," she said. "My certie he'll miss her when she leaves him, and in a month there winna be a stick in the place, or a shirt on his back. They cam' into a heap o' siller lately, bat it wad have been.) awa' in a week if Mai v hadna taen it oot o' his pouch. when he was druuk and it for him." "Is Mary sDeaking of leaving him, then 1, Oij, no, but onvilt,d,v half, an e'e m their heid can see that that's no' far off. That sweet- heart o' hers is never awa' t'rae her, and there was a grand fpcht ..1.Joot her on the stair hist nicht- twa frer her atance—did ye ever hear the like? So feicht aboot it, and gied ane anither bhjidy noses, till the police cam aud took them baithawa' T j Dear me, she must be very fa3craaiing, i re- j niarkad, liughing so long and heartily that the 1 WOMAN' surprise was EXCITCI^ AikI which one do you think she is to marry ?" I Oh, the German mason, of cuursa.' "jlie—the what?" "The big German -be'$ no bomy, as weel I wat, but they say he's raol gnid-bearted, and a big nafr, lump that she can just tvidst roond her j pinkie." Goodness and do you mean to tell ma he is a sweetheart?" j Of course he is. He lodes next. door to them, [ but hu's hardly a meecit in his ain door, ant' Mary -M is getting her providing—but naebody is to ken t onyf'ing aboot that but me." Oli, of course. And sha'll be married soon, I aupiwse!" NVeel, it's no quite settled, but I think ii'l ccme aff in June." I "Iraplitn. In three months. And I suppose some of thia money that they came into lately ¡ will be used to buy her outfit ?" Na, na Mary has her ain hainingrp, and; the other money belongs to her brother. She dotssna need to be behauden to him for a penny, and only gied up her place and cam to look after him in j pity—for he's been a sair wreck since his wife de'eJ. Ye ken twa heids may lie on ae ced, and ia:,Illb tpll wtiaur the !tick I was about to reply, when the woman gave me a warning look, and looked up smilingly at a customer who was enfcerinsr, and whom she pleasantly greeted as Mary." This gentleman kens youv brother, and was just speaking aboot ye," she hastened to add, a little to my annoyance. Mary turned upon me a of bright, surprised eyes which made my reply a very confuted and in- coherent one. She was really very pretty, and I I did not wonder at the G<»rmau losing bis heart ou her, or at the gasnttergiving her a written promise of carriage. With very irtle persuasion I should bfc -3 written rnch a paper myself, thuagh quite (frtain that my own wife would not appreciate the UIh compliment to her bei.. Mary got her mes- sage, aad was turning to leave the shop when she said to me— Did yon w:*nt to see wo or my brother D*niei?!| Another look like that and I should have been ready to fight the big German myself. A stern recollection of duty recalled me, and made me cease to en vy Henry VIIL of his capital plan of div iree. I want to speak with you for a moment," I replied, following her out of tba shop. "Do you know a fellow named William Huhes" I used to know him," she very frankly replied, with a look which again made me envy Henry VIII. He was a lad of mine—not a right sweat- heart, you know, but-ub- a nice enough fellow." Didn't he promise to marry you ?" "-No, nothing of the kind. I didn't go with him long enough for thar, Besida3, he bad a j sweetheart of his own," j "Then why are you forcing money out of j h*, in? "Forcing money out of him? me? I don't know what you mean, sir," and she looked both indignant and tearful. I have no seen him for ever so long." That may be, but did he not sign a paper promising to marry you ? "Oh, yes—I forgot about that. But it was only for a lark he never mecmt it to be real." "If you think so why have you given that paper to your brother as a means of forcing money out of Wiiiiam Hughes?" I did not; I never gave him the paper, and I conld not, for I burned it long ago." "And did you not incite a German named Hans Schaltre to assault Hughes, or murderously attack him, or threaten to take his life?" I never did, but I've heard my brother trying to make Hans jealous by telling him about the gastittar—just in tun, you know. Hans does not understand it all, for be doesn't know much ISegiish, and the Scotch bothers him more, but; it is '\lery funny to see him fire up, and roll his eyes, and get excited when we tell him that the gasfitter is coming to see me." "What? are you in the conapiracy too?" I re- i proachfuliy exclaimed. > "Tut,ye, it's fine fun.' j But aren't you to marry the German ? f BUT abint toctto makey the germamV* j I don't know whether I will or not," she said with a pretty pont and a deep blush, which made me think Henry VIII. a perfect saint. "At any rate," she added, I like to make him jealous, for then bo's far fonder of me after." "Oh, you perverse little cutty I cried, "I've a good mind tc but I chauged my mind, re- membering the prejudices of some persons, and came back to stern duty. • Didn't your brother get soma money lately ?" "Yes, it was left him by somebody, and I wish thsy had kept it, for it just set him on the drink, and he has hardly ever been right since." j "That money was forced out of Hughes by threats about that written promise," I sternly re- turn ad. Is your brother at Perhaps he may be able to explain matters." The brother was hot at home, and, when the girl fairly realised that I was in earnest, she burst into tears, and implored me to have mercy on her brother, who at times was scarcely responsible for i his actions. I got the name of the public-house he frequented, but did not find him there, and indeed I afterwards learned that he had made a change | that day and gone to work. In the afternoon the gasfitter appeared before me with elation in his step, and the brightest happinesa streauiinc from r his eyes. "Look! just look!" he cried, and then he quickly brought out a Lunch cf bank-notes and counted over thirty before my eyes. "I've got | the money back, and it's all explained. It was only a joke alter nil,ttid Sparnon was only haying some fun. Mary came to the shop and explained it all, and spoke so nice that I kissed her and asked her to be bridesmaid at my wedd'ng—and she is to do it! I was so glad that I thought I could have eaten her, and of course I signed a paper binding myseif to take no action against her paper binding myself to take no action against her brother." "You did 5" I snappishly exclaimed, trying to j i put on a ferocious look. After me spendiug so much time and pains on the case, and accumnla- ting evidence enough to secure a conviction, you must step in and spoil it ail. Weil, there is not much encouragement for a hard-working detective after all. I could have forgiven you, too," I added, in a more confidential tone, "if you bad only chosen Mary instead of the dressmaker, for then you see she would have been the bride, and then—of course you remembered what the agree- ment was?" then—of course you remembered what the agree- ment was?" "C, well, you can have it yet when I get j married," he said very humbly, and not seeing the twinkle in my eye. Don't want it now," I retnrned, in the same ) discontent tone. I dislike dressmakers exceed- ingly, but pretty tablemaids oh and I smacked my lips like a girl eating chocolate creams. "You I have muddled the whole business, and—and—I've a good mind to arrest you for that attempted I robbery which you confessed the last time you were here." ) I brought out a pair of handcuff?, as an excuse for biding the grin which would be out, but I sup- pose he had caught a glimpse of the expression in time, for his look of solemnity vanished, and he took my hnnd and wrung it warmly till tbe tears stood thick in hi3 eyes. In the exuberance of his relief he wished to press upon me the restored money, but I reminded him tbat it ne uia he would not be married for a year to corns. So he went away happy as a king., leaving me think- ing of Mary- 10 of her cherry lips or pretty eyes, but of her loving woman's heart, which had so promptly suggested thd giving up of her own slowly-won, hard-earned money to save her dissi- pated brother from the clutches of the law.


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