The Art-Music, Literature and Linguistics Forum
June 01, 2023, 05:37:32 am
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: Here you may discover hundreds of little-known composers, hear thousands of long-forgotten compositions, contribute your own rare recordings, and discuss the Arts, Literature and Linguistics in an erudite and decorous atmosphere full of freedom and delight.
  Home Help Search Gallery Staff List Login Register  

23: The Beginning of the End

Pages: [1]   Go Down
Author Topic: 23: The Beginning of the End  (Read 3 times)
Level 8

Times thanked: 53
Offline Offline

Posts: 2206

View Profile
« on: March 25, 2023, 10:49:26 am »

In a tumult of emotion Janet was staring at the red pocket-book. There it lay in the drawer, carelessly thrust in with loose papers and old letters. No attempt had been made to hide it. No doubt the drawer had been locked, and would have been opened by no one but its owner. Schwartz had not thought it necessary to conceal the book more completely. At once it flashed into Janet's mind that the German had murdered Edgar, since no one but the murderer could have become possessed of the pocket-book.

"I am just locking the last drawer," replied Janet, and, swiftly making up her mind to risk the consequences, she snatched up the red book and slipped it into her pocket. For her sister's sake it was necessary to get this evidence into her possession. Having accomplished this she locked the drawer and restored the keys to their place on the desk.

Privately Janet thought that this was just as well, as she had no very great opinion of Captain Garret. But, bad as he was, she doubted whether he would have committed murder as Schwartz had done. It was, indeed, amazing that the German should have become a criminal; for, although Janet knew well that his character was not above reproach, yet she had always thought him a good man. It was a shock to her to find that she had been so deceived. Schwartz, who had been her good friend and benefactor, was a secret assassin. Janet could not blind herself to that terrible fact.

On finding herself alone, Janet felt so anxious and distraught and horrified by her discovery, that but for the fresh air she would have fainted. As it was she did not take the Dukesfield 'bus as usual, but worked off her agitation by walking. Since the discovery of the pocket-book in Schwartz's private desk, she firmly believed that he was the criminal. In the autumn and winter he almost always wore a fur-lined coat over his evening dress, and to complete his costume, in accordance with the demands of fashion, a silk hat. Then he lived at Parkmere, and it was easy for him to walk to Goethe Cottage after committing the murder. But Janet was puzzled to find a reason for the perpetration of the crime. She knew nothing about the forged bill, as Ellis had not informed her in detail of his interview with Busham. Still, Janet knew the businesslike habits of Schwartz too well to think that he did anything without a motive, and she could not conjecture that for which he had stained his hands and risked his neck.

Full of these thoughts, Miss Gordon walked all the way to Dukesfield, no inconsiderable distance, and before seeking Myrtle Villa called on Ellis to explain her discovery. Mrs. Basket---who still believed that Janet was Mrs. Moxton---received her with the usual show of false kindness, but announced that Dr. Ellis was absent. "Though Mr. Cass is in the sitting-room," finished the fat landlady.

"Mr. Cass will do. Let me see him."

Harry was rather amazed to receive Janet, whom he had not seen---at all events, to speak to---since the night of the murder.

"Mrs. Basket announced you as Mrs. Moxton," he said, with some hesitation; "but, Ellis tells me, you are Miss Gordon?"

"Yes, I am Miss Gordon. But there is no need to let that tattling woman know the truth, she would only make mischief. Dr. Ellis is away?"

"Just went out ten minutes ago to see a patient. I expect him back in an hour."

"I cannot wait," said Janet, feverishly. "My sister will want me. You will do, Mr. Cass. Dr. Ellis informed me that you knew all about this business."

"I know everything, Miss Gordon. Anything I can do---"

"Did Dr. Ellis tell you about the red pocket-book?"

"Yes. You say it was taken from the dead body. What of it?"

Janet took the book out of her pocket and placed it on the table. "There it is," she said triumphantly. "All the papers have been taken out of it. But that is the pocket-book which the murderer stole from the corpse."

"Great Heavens! How did it come into your possession?"

"I found it by chance in the desk of Herr Schwartz."

Cass started. "Do you mean to say that Schwartz is the murderer?"

"I do. If he is not, how could he become possessed of that book?"

"It is strong circumstantial evidence certainly," said Cass, after a pause. "But Schwartz---it is incredible! I always considered him such a good fellow."

"He is, he is," said Janet, with emotion. "He has been a good friend to me. I can't conceive him guilty. Even if he is, I do not wish him punished. Let him write out a confession exonerating my sister, that is all I want."

"If he does that he puts the rope round his own neck, Miss Gordon. If your sister is to be exonerated and saved from the malignity of Busham, the confession would have to be made public."

"Then what is to be done?"

"I cannot say at present. If you will leave the pocket-book to me I will speak to Ellis, and we can come to some decision."

"Certainly I will give you the book," said Janet, rising. "I have every confidence in you and Dr. Ellis."

"Thank you. Would you mind explaining precisely how you came into possession of the pocket-book?"

"Not at all," said Janet, and she related, in a concise manner, her discovery of the book.

Having given Cass all possible information, and answered all possible questions, Janet, tired out with her emotions, and with the unusual exercise, took her leave. Cass accompanied her to the door, and promised to inform her of all that should happen in connection with this new piece of evidence. Somewhat relieved, Janet went home to Myrtle Villa.

Immediately on the doctor's return, Cass showed him the pocket-book, and repeated Janet's story. Ellis, naturally enough, was as surprised as his friend, and discussed the matter with him at length. Finally, it was decided that Ellis should see Schwartz that same evening, and hear what he had to say for himself. Owing to the exigencies of his profession as critic, Harry could not accompany his friend. The doctor was not sorry, as he thought that he could get more out of Schwartz when alone with him than in the presence of a third person. He did not take the pocket-book with him lest it should be lost, for Schwartz was a determined man to deal with. As yet Ellis could hardly credit that he was guilty, and in spite of the damning evidence found by Janet he postponed, making up his mind until he heard what the German had to say for himself. In this frame of mind he started for the Merryman Music-Hail.

Schwartz was in his private room, and as Ellis had purposely arrived rather late he was at leisure at the time. So effusively did he welcome Ellis that the doctor felt almost ashamed of his errand, but, bracing himself up with the idea that Schwartz, if not the actual criminal, yet knew something about the crime, he managed to appear sufficiently stern. At last Schwartz was forced to take notice of his visitor's unfriendly attitude.

"What is not right, doctor?" he asked anxiously.

Ellis glanced round to see that the door was closed, and cleared his throat.

"Mr. Schwartz," he said in low tones, "I have come to see you about a very unpleasant business."

The German turned paler even than he was, and his hand shook as he tried to light a cigar. "Ach! Is dat zo?"

"It is about Moxton's murder."

"Veil, veil, what apout ze murder?" queried Schwartz, impatiently.

"I should rather put that question to you, Schwartz. Why was Moxton murdered---or rather, why was he got out of the way?"

Instead of answering his question, Schwartz, in a tremor of nervous excitement, rose and locked the door. "Can you speak German?" he asked, in his own tongue, on returning to his seat.

"A little. I can speak it slowly."

"Then put your questions in that language," said Schwartz, savagely. "I can see that you have come to accuse me of being mixed up in this crime. Was it for this purpose that you called at my house?"

"I wish to know if you can tell me the reason Moxton was murdered?" said Ellis, slowly, in German.

"No, I cannot. I know nothing about it."

"Then I must tell you---that is, I must refresh your memory. Moxton was murdered by a man who wished to obtain possession of a forged bill."

The German bit his cigar through, and a portion fell on the floor. "I know nothing of any forged bill," he said angrily.

"That bill," resumed Ellis, calmly, "was placed by Moxton in a red pocket-book." Here Schwartz started and groaned. "Zirknitz saw him put it there. When the clothes of the corpse were examined, that pocket-book was missing; and, strange to say, Mr. Schwartz, it was found to-day in your desk at Goethe Cottage."

"In my desk!" gasped the man. "Who---who found it there?"

"Miss Gordon. For a jest, Miss Garret opened all the drawers of your desk, because you were foolish enough to leave your keys behind. Miss Gordon closed them again. In the lowest drawer she saw and recognised the pocket-book of her brother-in-law. That book is now in her possession---or rather, in mine, as she gave it to me."

There was silence for a few moments, and Schwartz breathed heavily. "What do you want me to do?" he said sullenly.

"Confess your guilt."

"And if I do---what then?"

"Then you must write out and sign a confession as to how you killed Edgar Moxton, and why."

"To hang myself, I suppose?" said Schwartz, who was growing alarmingly red in the face.

"No; Miss Gordon is too much indebted to you to wish for your death. Write the confession, and then fly from England. Thus Mrs. Moxton will be exonerated, and you will be safe."

"Ach! it is goot of Chanet," said Schwartz, thickly; "it is--it is--ah--ah!" He tried to rise from his seat, but suddenly gave a choking cry, and fell back, purple in the face, with staring eyes and foam on his lips.

Ellis rapidly unloosened the old man's cravat, tore off his collar, and threw open the door.

"Come here, someone," he cried. "Herr Schwartz is in a fit!"

Report Spam   Logged

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Pages: [1]   Go Up
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum

Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy