Heppner gazette-times. (Heppner, Or.) 1925-current, August 09, 1928, Page PAGE THREE, Image 3

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"I'll tell you, Ahmad," he cried.
"I'll tell you all. I'm Strumburg,
just as you said, and a fugitive from
justice, too. And I haven't any
thing against Southley. Even my
father couldn't have proved his
claim In a test, and he's dead. Let
me go, Ahmad: Don't raise your
talons against me." -
The wild How of words- died
away, and for an instant the form
in the shadow halted. Then It
moved slowly forward again.
"I tell you I'll go away, and never
return again. We never had any
real proofs. Ahmad! Let me go!
And at that Instant I felt Alex
ander's breath against my ear.
"You heard, didn't you, Long?" he
"Then the work's done."
I felt the stir as his arm reached
up to the electric switch on the
wall. He presed it Unknown to
me the wrecked lighting plant had
been repaired. All the great chan
deliers of the library flashed on at
The first impression was blind
ness. But as my eyes became ad
justed to the sudden glare, I knew
at least part of the truth at last
The form of the tiger had been
most real and convincing at the
edge of the dim and Ineffective can
dlelight But It was no more ter
rible than the counterfeit giraffes
that the clowns parade in a circus
ring, when the glare from the chan
deliers came down. Before us,
stripped of all delusion, Ahmad Das
rested on his hands and feet on
the floor. He held his body low, his
legs almost straight to give the ef
fect of length. Over him, in a rath
er ingenious way, was thrown a
great, tawny tiger skin. The four
legs were fastened with some sim
ple device to his ankles and wrists,
and the great head, filled out with
some light substance, rested on his.
I leaped and seized Alexander's
"Good Heavens!" I yelled In hli
"That's only part of It That In
sane hoax couldn't have broken
Hayward's neck!"
But Alexander wriggled out of
my grasp.
"Of course it didn't break Hay
ward's neck," he said. "The real
"murderer of Hayward slipped one
over on us Improvised some busi
ness that wasn't written in the
play. . I've got the real murderer of
Hayward, dead, down in the boat"
Alexander Pierce spent most of
the rest of the evening answering
questions.. There were more things
to And out than ever I thought I
could possibly learn.
First, he took us down to the
boat beside the water, and lifted the
tarpaulin that covered the thing in
the bottom. A dead animal lay
therein a creature large as the
largest hound, yellow, with spots of
black. It was a powerful animal,
long-clawed and white-fanged; and
my breath stopped at the sight of it
"A tiger?" I demanded.
"Tiger, nothing!" Alexander an
swered. "You ought to be enough
of a naturalist to know that a tiger
has stripes. This beast has spots.
He weighs two hundred pounds,
and a tiger twice as much. Besides,
you don't find tigers in Southern
Florida. It's plain to me, old Doc
Long, that you don't know the his
tory of Florida very well."
"Evidently I don't I don't re
member reading about such a crea
ture as this "
"Please speak respectfully of him.
I'd have much preferred to have
left him alive, but we'll need him
for proof of that wild story we have
to tell- the coroner's jury tomorrow
afternon. If you remember, there
was a time when Southern Flordla
was still the home of the Jaguars
the greatest of American felines."
I remembered that I had heard
something about it.
"Most of them were exterminated
a good many years ago. You can
still find 'ehi In a few remote re
gions of Southern Texas. I sup
posed myself that they were all
gone here even In such a wild part
nf the Stato as this. Long, you see
here what Is probably the last of
the Florida Jaguars a creature as
heavy as a leopard, and one of the
strongest jawed and shouldered fe
lines in the world,
"And since you won't rest til I
tell you the rest of It, I might as
well say that this big cat was the
base on which Ahmad and Southley
worked out their plot They knew
about this Jaguar.
"When Hayward and his son bore
down upon them here after trao-
lng them all the way from England
Southley and Ahmad saw a
chance to take advantage ol this
big, tawny creature in the swamp.
I suppose you know by now what
the Haywards were.
"Blackmailers, of course," I an
Alexander gritted his teeth.
"You've taken plenty long to
guens It, but you're right at last
"Their real name is Strumburg.
They are crooks themselves. The
elder Strumburg was a confederate
In crime In Southley s own youth.
I use the word guardedly, Long, and
I think it Is true. I haven't any
doubt but that Southley's early life
wouldn't bear Investigation. But
that doesn't' matter now. It's a joy,
my boy, to come to the aid of one
who has come to his own aid,
Southley rose above that other life,
"I think that he escaped after a
particularly recklesscrime. It was
n't a crime that benefitted him fi
nancially, he says; but yet the hue
and cry that was raised Beared him
from his criminal ways. A man
was shot, and though there were
tainly would have gone to prison
for twenty years at least, according
to the way men were sentenced In
those days. First he went to India
and Africa, and made his fortune.
Then he came to America, as An
drew Lasson. And all the time he
lived in deadly fear that the long
arm of the British law would reach
out for him.
"Then the eldec Strumburg found
him out He adopted the name of
Roderick, and sent out inquiries for
this Andrew Lasson. He offered a
huge reward to be paid a year after
we found him, and of course Lasson
or Southley as we call him now
was to pay the reward. He came
here at last with his vicious son,
and the work of blackmail began.
They told old Southley in the gray
twilight of his days what to expect
In case he didn't come through with
their demands.
"They said they had proofs that
would put htm back in prison. The
terror of his long years came back
as never before, and he didn't have
the strength and judgment to fight
it any longer. Old age was upon
him. He gave way, again and again.
And even today he wouldn't be free
If it hadn't been for the real hero
of Southley Downs his servant
Ahmad Das.
"Ahmad Das Is a mystic. Long,
you're a doctor, and you don't be
lieve in prenatal influence. You
say It's all bunk. Yet it is true that
Ahmad Das's mother was attacked
by a tiger, that the creature, died
when Ahmad Das was born and
it is true that Ahmad has the most
remarkable, natural, catlike grace
of any man I ever saw. Of course
he Just pretended the rest his pro
pensities toward creeping around
on his hands and knees. It all lent
(toward the effect He's a mystic,
I tell you perhaps a believer in
the theory of reincarnation of
souls; and that dark, oriental mind
of his conceived an idea that I don't
think most Anglo-Saxons would
have ever though of
"He knew he couldn't kill the
Haywards. That was murder, and
would defeat their own aims in that
it might draw attention to the past
life of Southley. He knew that
Southley couldn't satiate their ra
pacious appetites. They would
cling and suck til the last cent was
gone. Southley bought those
clothes paid for their cars. Other
things were planned for this win
ter. So Ahmad Das conceived of
the desperate scheme of scaring the
Strumburgs or Haywards as they
called themselves from the estate
by means of the tiger legend.
"Ahmad Das had all the material
in the world to work with. He
knew it when he thought out the
plan. This jaguar a tawny streak
in the jungle, and leaving Its track
in the mud was, of course, his
greatest card. His own natural
feline grace and Hayward's natur
ally superstitious nature were cards
too. Wicked man usually are super
stitious. Of course Ahmad couldn't
get the jaguar into the house; but
It was a simple matter to rig up
thaHiger skin. Every day he put
a piece of meat out on a certain
Hat rock on the hillside. It wasn't
human blood and flesh you saw
there. It was good red beef; and
Ahmad Das got blood stains on his
shirt carrying it down there. And
it wasn't any time at all until they
got that big cat so that he stayed
around the jungle at the base of the
hill. The inside work couldn't be
done in bright light so It was nec
essary to pretend that the lighting
plant was broken. The faint light
of candles gavo just the proper at
mosphere. "I'm crazy about the whole
scheme, Long. It worked out to
perfection except for one thing. No
body had counted on the jaguar
killing Hayward." ,
"What were you doing with that
shirt and the beef blood?"
"Simply making the necessary
tests so to prove my story to the
Jury tomorrow. If I hadn't Free
man would have had poor Ahmad
the most faithful soul in the world
convicted and. hung for murder
by now mentally, at least."
"And, lastly, how did you come
to be Involved in this affair at all?
Did you come just because I sent
for you?
"I'm a private detective, Long,"
was his quiet answer. "I don't work
for the State, although the State
employes me sometimes. " Southley
himself wrote for me to come to
help him out I told him I couldn't
at first that was some weeks ago
but I knew a young man that would
be of the greatest assistance to him
in the hour of need. That young
man had been in two or three bad
messes before the affair at Wild
marsh, and the story of the cobra
curse, and the Mole. Southley had
met the young man in a visit in
Tampa, and he liked him. So the
next day this young chappie and
what a bone-head he has been got
a letter from Southley asking him
down for a week's shooting, fishing,
and rest. He was a doctor, and his
name was Long."
Vilas left on the night train. He
packed his bag in silence, and was
rowed over to the railroad track
whence he could go to. the station.
When midnight hung still and
mysterious over the water world,
Josephine and I found ourselves
alone on the great veranda.
"Let's walk down to the water's
edge," she suggested. "It's drying
up so quickly. It will be gone in a
few days more."
"And I will be gone, too," I told
her. . I
, She walked in front of me, down
the narrow path. And I was strug
gling for words that wouldn't come.
"Did you know, Miss Southley,
that Alexander was responsible, for
my invitation here?" I asked her at
last '.'
She did not even turn her head.
"I found it out tonight"
"Do you see what that means?
That I was sent here to serve. And
all I did was make mistakes.
"They started on the day we met
when I let you -go without pro
viding means of ever seeing you
again," I went on. "Fate protected
me then. I wonder if I can ask it
to protect me now after all the
other mistakes I've made. And the
worst of them all the ones that
hurt most are the things that I
said and thought of you."
Her voice was scarcely more than
a whisper when she answered me.
"They hurt me, too."
"They showed me up as the poor
er clay," I told her sadly. "They
exposed me a doubting and sus
picious man, and a blind man, too.
One who is unable to believe in his
finer instincts. Of course, I see now
why you brought the pistol in your
vanity bag. Tell me, Josephine! It
was for no other reason than to pro
tect yourself from Vilas Hayward,
if worse came to worst?"
"I don't believe you are done
doubting yet, or you wouldn't ask,"
she said. "That was just part of
the reason, Dr. Long. The other
was that I was so afraid so afraid,
all the time."
"You were with Vilas always as
part of the blackmail your father
paid. You were part of the price
of silence, and you submitted .be
cause you realized something of the
power that the Haywards held over
your father. What your father told
the detective that you were to be
Vilas's wife was from compulsion,
not from choice." ,
She nodded.
"And for the same reason you
couldn't come to my defense that
night in the den when I had struck
Vilas. And the' reason that vou
toldHhe detective of my quarrel with
wayward that day as I was leaving
was not that you were afraid Vilas
would be implicated, but why was
It Josephine?
"I don't think you should ask me
that You've thought ill of me so
many times. The reason was "
"Yes." "
"That I wanted you to stay, Dr,
We were silent a long time. And
all the while I was searching about
In a mind suddenly gone empty for
the words I wanted to say. They
For Vacation
You go away to play not to worry. A neat wallet of
American Express Travelers Checques is as much a part
of a well ordered vacatlo nas a traveling bag. These
Cheques represent peace of mind over the funds upon
which your good time depends.
American Express Travelers Cheques are a form of "per
sonal money" spendable as cash, but only by the proper
owner. They enable anyone to carry any amount of funds
at all times without fear of loss. They also entitle their
holders when traveling to very opportune and helpful assist
ance from American Express offices in this country and
around the world.
S The method of using Travelers Cheques Is simplicity It
self. When you buy them you write your name on each
Cheque, thus making it your own. When you wish to spend
one you write your name a second time on the Cheque in
the presence of the person accepting It
No Identification other than your second signature is
necessary. ,
If your "American" Express Travelers Cheques are lost or
stolen (uncounterslgned or not exchanged for value) your
money is refunded.
Farmers & Stockgrowers National
Heppner 2Ulk
simply wouldn't come.
And then I became aware of
something rapturous past words to
tell. Something was stealing along
my arm, so light that I -could hardly
feel it through my coat sleeve, and
finally it nestled at the hollow of my
elbow. And then I found myself
whirling, and speaking breathless
"Youll forgive me, Josephine
all those things I said and did?"
I pleaded. "Oh, sweetheart"
And no mortal eyes could believe
the change in her that came when
I spoke these words. It was one of
the miracles of these latter days.
At first she simply waited! as if
for me to continue. And then, after
a while, she made me an answer.
Part of it was Just words. Part
was the look that the moonlight
showed on her face. But what was
by a thousand times the biggest
part the part no human being could
nave been hopeful enough to be
lieve, was a thing that her arms did.
And then
What happened then is a secret
between us and the marshes; and
the marshes are famous for not tell
ing their secrets. One of their sec
rets is a ring that Vilas had given
Josephine; and it lies in the mud
of their bottom today. After a
while a great owl hooted and call
ed from the Island, hoping to repeat
his trlnmph of a few nights before.
But Josephine turned her face just
long enough to laugh at him.
New Assistant: "Gentleman asks
if this flannel shirt will shrink."
Proprietor: "Does it fit him?
"No, it's too large."
"Yes, of course it shrinks."
"What does your father do?"
"And you?" -
"I take after my father."
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