Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

there. I never so much as saw her, to my knowledge, in my life! I am very sorry,' says I. "To tell you the truth; I don't think you are the murderer, but I must take you

to Union Hall in a cab. However, I think it's a case of that sort, that, at present, at all events, the magistrate will hear it in private.

A private examination took place, and then it came out that this young man was acquainted with a cousin of the unfortunate Eliza Grimwood, and that, calling to see this cousin a day or two before the murder, he left these gloves upon the table. Who should come in, shortly afterwards, but Eliza Grimwood ! • Whose gloves are these ?' she says, taking 'em up. "Those are Mr. Trinkle’s gloves,' says her cousin. "Oh !' says she, they are very dirty, and of no use to him I am sure. I shall take 'em away for my girl to clean the stoves with.' And she put 'em in her pocket. The girl had used 'em to clean the stoves, and, I have no doubt, had left 'em lying on the bedroom mantel-piece, or on the drawers, or somewhere ; and her mistress, looking round to see that the room was tidy, had caught 'em up and put 'em under the pillow where I found 'em. 6 That's the story,

Sir."

II. THE ARTFUL TOUCH.

“ One of the most beautiful things that ever was done, perhaps," said Inspector Wield, emphasising the adjective, as preparing us to expect dexterity or ingenuity rather than strong interest,“ was a move of Sergeant Witchem's. It was a lovely idea !

“ Witchem and me were down at Epsom one Derby Day, waiting at the station for the Swell Mob. As I mentioned, when we were talking about these things before, we are ready at the station when there's races, or an Agricultural Show, or a Chancellor sworn in for an university, or Jenny Lind, or anything of that sort; and as the Swell Mob come down, we send 'em back again by the next train. But some of the Swell Mob, on the occasion of this Derby that I refer to, so far kiddied us as to hire a horse and shay; start away from London by Whitechapel, and miles round; come into Epsom from the opposite direction; and go to work, right and left, on the course, while we were waiting for 'em at the Rail. That, however, ain't the point of what I'm going to tell you.

6 While Witchem and me were waiting at the station, there comes up one Mr. Tatt; a gentleman formerly in the public line, quite an amateur Detective in his way, and very much respected. “Halloa, Charley Wield,' he says. • What are you doing here? On the look out for some of your old friends! “Yes, the old move, Mr. Tatt.'

Come along,' he says, 'you and Witchem, and have a glass of sherry.' We can't stir from the place,' says I, till the next train comes in; but after that, we will with pleasure.' Mr. Tatt waits, and the train comes in, and then Witchem and me go off with him to the Hotel. Mr. Tatt he's got up quite regardless of expense, for the occasion ; and in his shirt-front there's a beautiful diamond prop, cost him fifteen or twenty pound-a very handsome pin indeed. We drink our sherry at the bar, and have had our three or four glasses, when Witchem cries, suddenly, “Look out, Mr. Wield ! stand fast! and a dash is made into the place by the swell mob-four of 'em-that have come down as I tell you, and in a moment Mr. Tatt's prop is gone ! Witchem, he cuts 'em off at the door, I lay about me as hard as I can, Mr. Tatt shows fight like a good 'un, and there we are, all down together, heads and heels, knocking

6

em.

about on the floor of the bar—perhaps you never see such a scene of confusion! However, we stick to our men (Mr. Tatt being as good as any officer), and we take 'em all, and carry 'em off to the station. The station's full of people, who have been took on the course; and it's a precious piece of work to get 'em secured. However, we do it at last, and we search 'em ; but nothing's found upon 'em, and they're locked up; and a pretty state of heat we are in by that time, I assure you !

“I was very blank over it, myself. to think that the prop had been passed away; and I said to Witchem, when we had set 'em to rights, and were cooling ourselves along with Mr. Tatt,' we don't take much by this move, anyway, for nothing's found upon 'em, and it's only the braggadocia* after all.' What do you mean, Mr. Wield ?' says Witch

Here's the diamond pin !' and in the palm of his hand there it was, safe and sound ! Why, in the name of wonder,' says me and Mr. Tatt, in astonishment, 'how did you come by that?" "I'll tell you how I come by it,' says he. 'I saw which of 'em took it; and when we were all down on the floor together, knocking about, I just gave him a little touch on the back of his hand, as I knew his pal would ; and he thought it was his pal; and gave it me!' It was beautiful, beau-ti-ful!

Even that was hardly the best of the case, for that chap was tried at the Quarter Sessions at Guildford. You know what Quarter Sessions are, Sir. Well, if you'll believe me, while them slow justices were looking over the Acts of Parliament, to see what they could do to him, I'm blowed if he didn't cut out of the dock before their faces ! He cut out of the dock, Sir, then and there; swam across a river; and got up into a tree to dry himself. In the

* Three months imprisonment as reputed thieves.

tree he was took-an old woman having seen him climb up -and Witchem's artful touch transported him !"

III. -THE SOFA.

"What young men will do, sometimes, to ruin themselves and break their friends' hearts," said Serjeant Dornton, "it's surprising! I had a case at St. Blank's Hospital which was of this sort. A bad case, indeed, with a bad end !

“ The Secretary, and the House Surgeon, and the Treasurer, of Saint Blank's Hospital, came to Scotland Yard to give information of numerous robberies having been committed on the students. The students could leave nothing in the pockets of their great-coats, while the great-coats were hanging at the Hospital, but it was almost certain to be stolen. Property of various descriptions was constantly being lost; and the gentlemen were naturally uneasy about it, and anxious, for the credit of the Institution, that the thief or thieves should be discovered. The case was entrusted to me, and I went to the Hospital.

“Now, gentlemen,' said I, after we had talked it over; 'I understand this property is usually lost from one room.'

“Yes, they said. It was.

6( I should wish, if you please,' said I, 'to see that room.'

“ It was a good-sized bare room downstairs, with a few tables and forms in it, and a row of pegs, all round, for hats and coats.

"Next, gentlemen,' said I, do you suspect anybody?'

“Yes, they said. They did suspect somebody. They were sorry to say, they suspected one of the porters.

'I should like,' said I,' to have that man pointed out to me, and to have a little time to look after him.'

“He was pointed out, and I looked after him, and then I went back to the Hospital, and said, 'Now, gentlemen, it's not the porter. He's, unfortunately for himself, a little too fond of drink, but he's nothing worse. My suspicion is, that these robberies are committed by one of the students; and if you'll put me a sofa into that room where the pegs are—as there's no closet—I think I shall be able to detect the thief. I wish the sofa, if you please, to be covered with chintz, or something of that sort, so that I may lie on my chest, underneath it, without being seen.'

"The sofa was provided, and next day at eleven o'clock, before

any of the students came, I went there, with those gentlemen, to get underneath it. It turned out to be one of those old-fashioned sofas with a great cross beam at the bottom, that would have broken my back in no time if I could ever have got below it. We had quite a job to break all this away in the time; however, I fell to work, and they fell to work, and we broke it out, and made a clear place

I got under the sofa, lay down on my chest, took out my knife, and made a convenient hole in the chintz to look through. It was then settled between me and the gentlemen that when the students were all up in the wards, one of the gentlemen should come in, and hang up a greatcoat on one of the pegs. And that that great-coat should have, in one of the pockets, a pocket-book containing mark

for me.

ed money

“ After I had been there some time, the students began to drop into the room, by ones, and twos, and threes, and to talk about all sorts of things, little thinking there was anybody under the sofa-and then to go upstairs. At last there came in one who remained until he was alone in the room by himself—a tallish, good-looking young man of one or two and twenty, with a light whisker. He went

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »