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About Corvallis gazette. (Corvallis, Benton County, Or.) 1900-1909 | View Entire Issue (Feb. 9, 1906)
T X AMystery
I ohe of Two 1
4 7777 yrff y Continents S
1 Mouaday i
Y y" STEVENSON J
" He nodded exultantly.
"That's It Now, who was the wom
an? From the first I was certain It
could not be his daughter the very
thought was preposterous. It seems
almost equally absurd, however, to
suppose that Ilolladay could be mixed
up with any other woman. lie cer
tainly has not been for the last quarter
of a century but before that well. It's
not so certain. And there's one strik
ing point which seems to Indicate his
"Yes you mean, of course, her re
semblance to bis daughter."
Trecisely. Such a resemblance must
exist a resemblance unusual, even
striking or it would not for a moment
have deceived Rogers. We must re
member, however, that Rogers' office
was not brilliantly lighted and that he
merely glanced at her. Still, whatever
minor differences there may have been,
she had the air, the general appearance,
the look, of Miss Ilolladay. Mere facial
resemblance may happen In a hundred
ways by chance, but the air, the look,
the 'altogether,' Is very different it in
dicates a blood relationship. My the
ory Is that she is an illegitimate child,
perhaps tout or five years older than
I paused to consider. The theory
was reasonable, and yet it had Its
"Now, let's see where this leads us,"
he continued. "Let us assume that
Ilolladay has been providing for thi3
Illegitimate daughter for years. At
last, for some reason, he is induced to
withdraw this support, or, perhaps, the
girl thinks her allowance insufficient..
At any rate, after, let us suppose, In
effectual appeals by letter, she does
the desperate thing of calling at his
office to protest in person. She finds
him Inexorable we know his reputa
tion for obstinacy when he had once
made up his mind. She reproaches
him she Is already desperate, remem- j
ber and he answers with that stinging
sarcasm for which he was noted. In
an ecstasy of anger she snatches up
the knife and stabs him; then, in an
agony of remorse, endeavors to check
the blood. She sees at last that it is
useless, that she cannot save him, and
leaves the office. All this is plausible.
' "Very plausible," I assented, look
ing at him in some astonishment. "You
forget one thing, however. Rogers tes
tified that he was intimately acquaint
ed with the affairs of his employer
and that he would inevitably have
known of any Intrigue such as you
My companion paused for a mo
ment's thought I
"I don't believe that Rogers would ;
bo Inevitably have known of It" he !
said at last. "But, admit that then
there Is another itheory. Holladay has
not been supporting his illegitimate
child, who learns of her parentage and
goes to him to demand her rights. That
fits the case, doesn't it?"
"Yes," I admitted. "It also Is plausi
ble." "It is more than plausible," he said,
quietly. "Whatever the details may
be, the body of the theory Itself fs un
impeachable It's the only one which
fits the facts. I believe It capable of
proof. Don't you see how the note
helps to prove It?"
I started at the word, and my suspi
cions sprang into life again. I looked
at him quickly, but his eyes were on
the cloth and he was rolling up innu
merable little pellets of bread.
"That note," he added, "proved two
things. One was that the writer was
deeply interested in Miss Holladay's
welfare; the other was that he or she
knew Rogers, the clerk, intimately
more than intimately; almost as well
as a physician knows an old patient"
"I admit the first," I said. "You'll
have to explain the second."
"The second is self evident How
did the writer of the note know of Rog
"His Infirmity Y'
"Certainly his color blindness. I con
fess I'm puzzled. How could any one
else know It when Rogers himself
flidn't know It? That's what I should
like to have explained. Perhaps there's
only one man or woman In the world
who couli know. Well, that's tie one
who wrote the note. Now, who Is it?"
"But" I began quickly, then stopped.
Should I set him right, or was this a
trap he had prepared for me?
His eyes were not on the cloth now,
but on me. There was a light in them
I did not quite understand. I felt that
X must be sure of my ground before I
"It should be very easy to trace the
writer of the note," I said.
"The police have not found it so."
"No. It was given to the doorkeeper
by a boy just an ordinary boy of from
twelve to fourteen years. The man
didn't notice him especially. He said
there was no answer and went away.
How are the police to find that boy?
Suppose they do find him. Probably
all he could tell them would be that a
man 6topped him at the corner and
gave him a quarter to take the note to
the coroner's office."
"He might give a description of the
man," I ventured.
"What would a box's descriotion.be
wui uit Tt Trunin "be at xne uest vague
and Indefinite. Besides, they've not
even found the boy. Now, to return to
the note." .
We had come, to the coffee and cigars,
and I felt it time to protest. ...
"Before we return to the note, Mr.
Godfrey," I said, "I'd like to ask you
two direct questions. What interest
have you in the matter?"
"The interest of every Investigator
of crime," he answered, smiling.
"You belong to the detective force,
"I have belonged to it At present
I'm In other employ." '
'.'And what was your object In bring
ing me here this evening?"
"One portion of my object has been,
accomplished. The other was to ask
you to write out for me a copy of the
"But who was it pursued us up
"Oh, I have rivals I" he chuckled. "I
flatter myself that was rather neatly
done. Will you give me a copy of the
note, Mr. Lester?" -
"No," I answered squarely. "You'll
have to go to the police for that I'm
out of the case."
He bowed across the table to me
with a "little laugh. As I looked at him
his Imperturbable good humor touched
"I'll tell you one thing, though," I
added; "the writer of the note knew
nothing of Rogers' color blindness.
You're off the scent there."
"I am?" he asked amazedly. "Then
how did you know it, Mr. Lester?"
"I suppose you detectives would call
It deduction. I deduced it."
He took a contemplative puff or two
as he looked at me.
"Well," he exclaimed at last, "I must
Bay that beats me! Deduced it! That
was mighty clever."
Again I bowed my acknowledgments.
"And that's all you can tell me?" he
"I'm afraid that's all."
"Very well. Thank you for that
much," and he flicked the ashes from
his cigar. "Now, I fear that I must
leave you. I've a good deal of work
to do, and you've opened up a -very
Interesting line of speculation. . I as
sure you that I've passed a very pleas
ant evening. I hope you've not found
"Quite the contrary," I said heartily.
"I've enjoyed myself Immensely."
"Then I'll ask you one last favor.
My cab is at the door. I've no fur
ther use for It, and I beg you'll drive
home In it"
I saw that he really wished it
"Why, yes, certainly," I assented.
"Thank you," he said.
He took me down to the door, called
the cab and shook hands with me
"Goodby, Mr. Lester," he said. "I'm
glad of the chance to have met you.
I'm not really such a mysterious in
dividual. It's merely a trick of the
trade. I hope we'll meet again some
"So do I," I said, and meant it
I saw him stand for a moment on the
curb looking after us as we drove
away, then he turned and ran rapidly
up the steps of the elevated.
The driver seemed In no hurry to get
me home, and I had plenty of time to
think over the events of the evening,
but I could make nothing of them.
What result he had achieved I could
not imagine. And yet he had seemed
satisfied. As to his theory, I could not
but admit that It was ah adroit one;
even a masterly one a better cue, cer
tainly, than I should have evolved un
aided. The cab drew up at my lodging and
I sprang out tipped the driver and ran
up the steps to the door. My landlady
met me on the threshold.
"Oh, Mr. Lester!" she cried. "Such a
time as I've had this night! Every five
minutes there's been somebody here
looking for you, and there's a crowd of
them up in your room now. I tried to
put them out out they wouldn't go!"
I WAS quite dazed for the moment
"A crowd of them In my room!"
I repeated. "A crowd of whom,
- Mrs. Fitch?"
"A crowd of reporters! They've been
worrying my life out They seemed to
think I had you hid somewhere. I
hope you're not in trouble, Mr. Lester?"
"Not the least in the world, my dear
madam," I laughed. And I breathed a
long sigh of relief, for I had feared I
know not what disaster. "I'll soon fin
ish with the reporters." And I went
on up the stair.
Long before I reached my rooms I
heard the clatter of voices and caught
the odor of various qualities of tobac
co. They were lolling about over the
furniture, telling stories, I suppose, and
they greeted me with a cheer when I
tntered. They were such jovial fel
lows that it was quite Impossible to
feel angry with them. And, besides, I
knew that they were gentlemen; that
they labored early and late at meager
ialariea for the pure love of the work;
that they were quick to scent fraud or
trickery or unworthiness and inexora
ble In exposing it; that they loved
to do good anonymously, remaining ut
terly unknom save to the appreclafiyo
few behind the scenes. So I returned
their greeting smilingly and sat me
down in a chair which one of them
obligingly vacated for me.,
"Well J" I began, looking about at
"My dear Mr. Lester,' said the one
who had given me the chair, "permit
me to Introduce myself as Rankin of
the Planet These gentlemen" and he
Included them in a wide gesture "are
my colleagues of the press. We've been
anxiously awaiting you here In order
that we may propound to you certain
"All right; fire away," I said.-
"First we'd like to have yoyr theory
of the crime. Your work this after
noon convinced us that you know how
to put two and two together, which is
more than can be said for the ordi
nary mortal. The public will want to
know your theory the great public."
"Oh, but I haven't any theory," I
protested. "Besides, I don't think the
great public is especially interested in
me. You see, gentlemen, I'm quite out
of the case. When we cleared Miss
Holladay our connection with it ended."
"But is Miss Holladay cleared?" he
persisted. ; "Is it not quite conceivable
that In those two hours she was absent
They greeted me with a cheer when I en
tered. from her carriage she may have
changed her gown, gone to her father's
office, and then changed back again?
In that case, would she not naturally
have chosen a green gown, since she
never wore green?"
"Oh", nonsense!" I cried. "That's
puerile. Either she would disguise her
self effectually or not at all. I suppose
if you were going to commit a capital
crime you would merely pu on a high
hat because you never wear onel I'll
tell you this much: I'm morally cer
tain that Miss Holladay Is quite Inno
cent; so, I believe, is the district at
torney." "But how about the note, Mr. Les
ter? What did it contain?"
-"Oh, I can't tell you that, you know.
If s none of my business."
"But you ought to treat us all alike,"
"I do treat you all alike." v
"But didn't Godfrey get it out of
- "Godfrey!" I repeated. "Get It out of
mer. .. -
(To be Continued.)
Chas. W. Moore, a machinist, of Ford
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Greatest healer on earth for burns,
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The activity in railroad construction
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You Doubtless want to know
BURTON E. STEVENSON
DEALING WITH ROMANCE AND MYSTERY
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