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EXPERIENCES OF A DETECTIVE.

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EXPERIENCES OF A DETECTIVE. BY JAMES"M-GOVAN, Brought to Bay," Hunted Down," strange Clues," "Traced and Tracked," "Solved Mysteries," &c. No. XXVI.—TRACED THROUGH A BREACH OF PROMISE. so ft 0WUfer °f a small jewellery bhop in Nicol- thU"St?'eefc v, a3 one morning engaged in doing out j window in company with the one watchmaker tjj. e01 ploy, when a snake ring set with a single M'riond and a set of 12 silver spoons suddenly aU* There was something so magical ie V l'le Vanls'1'r!R' those articles that the filer's breath was almost taken away when he a»ised that they were gone. The man helping to was a clever workman, named Peter Ramsay, bi ?l)arr'ec'j about 30, and inclined to be dissipated, i if ''af^ worked for Paterson for years, so the \>a no!; at **rst £ usPect him indeed it u™8 Gainsay who first noticed the disappearance, .f^ing, Where is the snake ring?" j it's on the counter there. I put it there after th° sa'^ Paterson. who looked after bu*TSe,things himself. Ramsay looked and looked te ,nc^ no trace of the ring. The usual con- Tbui t'le w'ndow were spread over the counter, W n0t a sou^ keen 'u the shop that morning themselves, so Paterson turned from the H1'C.aow he was dressing with perfect confidence VtK cou'd lay his hand on the gem almost his eyes shut. It was then that his breath lll°st left him, for the ring had vanished. Now k,is a small article and could easily be -°aeu 0r swallowed, but presently they dis- yered that along with the ring had gone a dozen e Ver spoons, wrapped in brown pai^er, with the j; ePtion of one tied on outside the parcel for in the window. «w M man not '3een invented who could Of tl a ljarce^ that at a gulp, to say nothing Co u Case containing the snake ring, so Paterson cil" only conclude that the missing articles must ner be in his man's pockets or somewhere the shop. j* *hey couldn't have been stolen," remarked when they had both searched every room Dla^ln-' ^or there hasn't been a person in the beto 8*nce the shop was opened. If I didn't know I'd think they were stolen by me." •loth" iewe^er stared and sweated, but said th leg. The snake ring was worth £ 8 10s, and IrI e spoons about £4.-altogether too much for a "m a small business to lose. Poet couldn't have put them into any of my »jn .ts by mistake," continued Ramsay, be- o, to feel his pockets and turn out their j. tents. His employer made no demur, and iriv^Say turned out every pocket, and even sUGO 'lls rnaster to aid in the search, and cceeded in showing that wherever the articles they were not about his person. As soon as ,uc' been made certain, the jeweller rather ,5?]y said to his man— Up to .Police Office and ask them to fe a down a detective." He eyed Ramsey rather im^c;°usly as he spoke, but the look produced no P^sion. the at's what I was going to propose,"said pe. ^^chniaker serenely, and accordingly he ap- Cttnf at tfle Central and explained all the cir- lin?S-tances to me. He even asked me to search bee m orc'er to °lear bis character, bat as he had jj .Q Unaccompanied from Nicolson-street I did oil k- k 'fc likely that anything would be found fcbo T> There was nothing particularly roguish I Ramsay's face, but my impression was that *?ith not. care to Pay moMy to SURh » man of getting a receipt. His breath also smelt hisky, which is a bad thing so early in the I went back with him to the shop, and on Ca tried to draw from him an opinion on the but without success. When I got to the jJrJ11 wanted to search it, but Mr Paterson said, ther testily— Oh, you needn't bother; I've gone over it *lce. The things are gone—that's certain. Some J^taust havo opened the glass door without us J^'cing it, and snatched the things off the ^ter" tat ere was therefore nothing for me to do but down a description of the articles stolen. which task Ramsay donned an apron and to his work in the back shop. When I had Ujj;? I drew the jeweller to the door with a ^y»io« 0f the hand, and then said to him in a .:eper- th* Fe yon quite sure that man has not taken •7, things r •« jt, don't know," was the distracted answer. &J>YtK-a mystery to me. I never knew him to take »«d T y°u might keep an eye on him," sijjj A took down Ramsay's address accordingly, shadowed him for three days without dis- the fln £ anything. I even searched his lodging be i^oriling after the disappearance, as soon as *rtici for the shop, but found nothing. The r» Wero not pawned or sold, and Ramsay ar ftny one likely to buy them, so at last I compelled to consider myself baffled. ha, *his an^ one at t^at staSe had questioned me on extraordinary case I might have ad- ^ild a solution was possible, but in my stra guesses should never have thought of the clue I am now to set before the reader. Hp tinie inside of six months after the dis- tan tance of the snake ring and sil ver spoons, a J017aer *be e>ilame<i David Mackay was walking round OW3 with his sweetheart, a milliner TOY 3 Je ssie Petrie, when the two quarrelled. A I !fs quarrel seems such a simple and everyday this *bat it is hardly worth recording, but in WJ?*'6 it led to extraordinary results. These W*8 were engaged to be married they had said W £ ,a11 is to sai<^ they Fiad vowed, and filj and talked, and whispered secrets to their beLj".vfn Jessie suddenly took the idea into her hj3 jhat her lover had grown a little careless in 4 to > tions' an^ to rouse him up with llilh wholesome jealousy so on that fine 5irt'II,er evei"n £ sh0 astonished him by not only ln2 horribly with another man, but ended by off with the same favoured mortal. Under Wql. reatinent no two men will act alike. One ajjj J^dignantly turn from the flirting one at once ./orevifr, no matter what the wrench may be time another will deal out a retaliating the same kind, by way of bringing the •b0s^}ler, senses, and this course was the on6 yijhy David Mackay. The worst of' tis that any scheme of this kind is tried by ;i woman the CatTled out with supremo success, while, when P^fortunate is a man, there is generally a limp in the execution. Jessie Petrie had if her flirtation so well that it looked as by "ad merely got separated from her lover perf cr°wd round a military band there itjjjJ^Bing, so she was prepared to look and even oifended, next day when her jeal* s"oald come to her boiling with wrath and h#J~^ay, only in this case the lover did not to come. A night's thinking had given all the details of a promising j)lan ijJ^C| t,> according to his own statement, he put IW Practice the very next day. He lived in "^street, and chanced to know a very *hdh^V0 name^ Kate Finlay, serving in a 1(1>Plt} the same street. He had never been in ^ith this girl, or spoken to her of love, or v with her, but he had known her for many itto s' attd guessed that she was just of the dash- foj^^tute to help him with his plot. He there- popped into the shop at bis dinner hour and Sayift Potion frankly before her, concluding by ^1™ °nlywanfc y°« to help me to make by walking out with me once or twice, if no objection ?" to i^lsction Kate had no objection—was eager UigPf&m, indeed, and gleefully proposed that <i .J? for the first of the series. 1 ,even pretend to kiss you occasionally Sow jfc loving, and I might perhaps say to that we are engaged, continued fuh delighted with her kindness, all in <■ yen know." 11 right, so as you only pretend you know," A 7Ja*e's demure reply. jiUjjthen Mackay's opinion of her rose tenfold, "e declared he would give her a grand when her own wedding came off in return hep er goodness. Now, Kate had a sweetheart of wmown, as Mackay dimly understood, but as he i?ther dissipated, it struck the enterprising here was a chance to make a good ex- So^8' therefore, dressed herself in her best aa she was free that night, and duly met lity feay at the appointed place, which was some swV^tance from the milliners' shop m Lothian- 111 w^i°h Jessie Petrie was employed. The •Was that when the milliner apjjeared OjjJ^tmg to find her humble slave in waiting she ^Or him shake hands with another girl much afte e right and attractive than herself, and then, irtf] ^ew moments' palpable flirting, give the I^ttch8 arm, and walk off with her aa pleased as e will come back," she said, with a frightful ^ll u' heart, and a resolve to let him hear when he did but though she lin ttn<^ took a circular tour Mackay did not hopj r»So she had to walk home alone, still that he would turnup and explain all. night she did not see him at all, but one of h* ^'Miners had to tell her that she had seen him Meadows with a girl, whose every ribbon ti^j,, 'gather and feature were bnrned into Ho\* she felt I don't know, as I have w a woman, but I should fancy she ^•Ueh0r8e tban a man, seeing that women are so ,In?re sensitive by nature. Now, indeed,she all her heart of the little bit of ^»t it° u 'n which she had indulged, and vowed 8b°uld be the very last she should ever try 80 ^I'nd to the truth, but all that f^two i n°t bring back her lover, who, a day i"*hrio ?r' ^^lared in hearing of one of her §tj}4 that he and Kate Finlay were t° be married, a statement which blush ins 1Y ooKSrmad. Several others heard the same statement from his own lips, and even Kate's mother repeated it with great gusto, and declared that she herself was delighted, as Mackay, though now only a working joiner, must some day drop into the business of his father, by whom he was employed. Poor Jessie's wrath and grief now merged into direst alarm, for she saw that she was to lose the only man she loved, and in such a way that she could not blame him, but had rather to admire his spirit. She had been the first offender-it was clear to her there- fore that she must be the first to crave forgive- ness. It was terribly humiliating to a woman, but she felt buoyed up by the thought that she was likely by that course to cut out a designing woman, and regain her own supremacy over Mackay. Accordingly, after crying for a whole night, and making her eyes scarcely fit to be seen, Jessie one morning got away from her work for an hour, and intercepted Mackay as he was going back from breakfast. She intended the meeting to appear a chance one, and made a move as if to cross the street to avoid him but as he stalked on with apparent indifference she bad to come down even from that height and hurry after him and lay a hand on his shoulder. Of course, when he turned round she burst into tears, and ex- pected him to take her arm and lead her off to some quiet place, such as George-square or Park- place, but he only stood Icoltin? at her, stern and silent, so she made the last concession by stam- mering out— Have you lost all your love for me, Davie?" Is that all you've got to say ?" he fiercely de- manded. No; I know I did wrong, but you surely never thought I cared for anybody but you," was her humbled reply, and she laid a gentle hand on his arm as she spoke, which did more to soften him than her words. Still he thought it wise not to give in too easily. Perhaps it is too late now," he said m a dis- satisfied tone, though his heart was really leaping with joy. It is a queer way to show your love for a man to go and hang on to another as you did in the Meadows that night." How too late?" tremuously returned Jessie, making a motion as if to take off her engagement ring. Have you lost your love for me, or found someone you like better ?" This direct appeal was too much for Mackay, and he handsomely admitted that his love was un- altered, and that no one but Jessie could make him happy. But they told me you had taken up with another girl, and I made up my mind never to speak to you again," said Jessie. What will she sav ?" Ob, I daresay that can be managed," said Mackay, looking very serious, but feeling that a leap into heaven would be a poor exchange. Perhaps when I explain matters to her she will see that it would be useless to think of me," and he there and then proved that he believed he would be set free by beginning to talk of their house and how it should be furnished, and how soon the marriage could be celebrated. Having thus filled up every moment of his breakfast hour, he concluded by telling his intended wife that he had an engagement to meet KatA Finlay that night, and that the meeting would be their last, and occupy but a few minutes of their precious time. In that arrangement, it will be seen, Kate herself was not considered seriously, but when evening came and Kate met him he got a sudden shock. It is all right with Jessie and me now," he joyously remarked, so we need not go a walk to night. I shan't forget how much I owe to you for your help." What do you mean ?" returned Kate, in a voice of steel—cold blue steel. Doyou mean to go back on your promise to marry me?" "Promise? I never promised," said Mackay, perfectly aghast at the change in Kate's manner. "You know it was all in fun, as we arranged." "You may think it fun, but I don't," was the frightfully serious reply. "My mother heard you say it, and lots of others, and surely you can't be so mean as to back out of it now, especially after giving me an engagement ring," and Kate, to his utter amazement, proudly dis- played a snake ring on the fourth finger of her left hand. An engagement ring he faintly gasped. You must be dreaming. I never saw that ring before." "Oh, don't try to shume out of it now," said Kate, snappishly. "Everybody has admired the ring, and everyone knows I got it from you, with other presents, so you must either keep your promise and marry me, or pay for it." Oh—ah—now I see it's all a plan to black- mail me," cried Mackay, and you want to be paid for your trouble. Well, tell me your price, and I'll see what I can do. I meant to give you a present anyway, so it's about as broad as it's long." "Kate thought for a moment, and then plumped out— "£500 "Five hundred devils yelled Mackay in sur- prise. What, do you think I'm rich man ? I would't give you five hundred shillings." Very well. I'1! have to go to Court as a breach of promise case," said Kate, lD freezing tones, and perhaps my lawyer will tell me to sue for more than that. You know your father has a good business, and everybody says you're in partnership with him." "Then everybody is wrong," groaned Mackay in reply. "I'm only a plain joiner earning thirty shillings a week." "Well, that can all be proved in Court," was Kate's callous answer, and so they parted—this time without kissing. If Mackay's heart had been light as a feather in the morning it was heavy as lead at night, and the moment he appeared before Jessie Petrie her quick eye detected the change. "KatH Finlay won't release me, and threatens to SU3 me for s500 breach of promise," was his heart-broken explanation. I expected that," said Jessie. I didn't," said Mackay, which was terribly true. •• You should not have been so hasty as to promise," said Jessie in tears. "I didn't—it was all arranged just to make you jealous," was his humiliating confession. She perfectly understood that it was all a farce. And now she says I gave her an enage- ment ring and some other presents. That is false, at any rate, for I never saw the ring till to-night. I can swear that in any court. Oh, well, such a har is sure to be found out, so you needn't fret about it," said Jessie, "especially as you have me," and the way she clung in to him made him thmk she was right, and lifted the heaviest of the burthen off his brain. For a few weeks Mackay made a desperate attempt, through his lawyer, to buy off the relent- less Kate; but all bis efforts failed, and the breaca of promise case duly appeared m the Court of Session records, the hearing being fixed for an early date. I do not usually take much interest in such records, but in the present case I noticed that among the presents said to have been given by Mackay to the plaintiff, Kate FInlay, there figured prominently "a snake ring sind a dozen silver spoons." The first seemed to have been given as an engagement ring, and the second as part of the nonae furnishing, but it was the odd coincidence of the two being mentioned together so soon after the loss of such articles at the shop in Nioolson-street that roused my curiosity, and in passing the s.iop 1 went in and astonished Mr Paterson by asking it a joiner named Mackay had been working about the shop on the day of the robbery. The answer was a prompt negative, so I was compelled to look further afield. I got Kate's address and went to the house, but, though I saw something, I failed to see her, as she was at her work. I then reflected a little, and went back to Nicolson-street and got the jeweller to go with me to the shop in Bristo-street in which Kate was employed. She was serving a customer when we entered, and I had time to notice that she wore a snake ring set with a single diamond. The eyes of the jeweller became goggled and fixed as he noticed the gem, and in a moment he trod hard on my toe to inti- mate that he identified the ring as that stolen from his shop." You have raised an action for breach of pro- mise against David Mackay," I said to her, with- out giving my name, "and I have been up at your mother's sseing the spoons and also the case of the ring which you got from the defendant-is that the ring on your finger ?" Kate stared at us both rather haughtily, and then snappel out— o. Yes-are you a lawyer ?" No, not exactly, but connected with the law," I vaguely answered. Oh, a lawyer's clerk ?" she loftilv concluded. Well, what do you want with me ?' Oh, nothing, only to know where Mackay bought the presents before he gave them to you." I don't know. I never asked," she answered, looking a little uneasy, and scanning me more closely. I think 1 have seen you somewhere before V' "In his answers Mackay declares that he did not give you these presents," I calmly continued. Are you prepared to swear that he did ?" "Of course I am, if ho lets the case go to court," she hurriedly answered. She would not let us examine the ring off her finger, but as the case bore Pat arson's name and the spoons bis label there was no doubt of the identity of the plunder, so after consultation I went to Mackay's home and thence to a building near the Meadows at which he was working, and profoundly astonished him by arresting him for being concerned in the robbery of the snake ring and spoons. How could I steal them when I have never clapped eyes on them You have seen the ring at least," I answered. Only once—on Kate's finger. I know nothing about it. I can swear that." But she swears she got them from yott," I curiously returned. Hutt A woman who can lie like her wfll swear anything. Are they really stolen goods ? They are undoubtedly." Then I'm glad of it, for Kate must be the thief. I hope you'll convict her and give her 10 years for it. She deserves it all.' He thought he had settled it all nicely, and was petrified when, instead of letting him resume his work, I took him away with me. As we walked to the Central his manner and his whole conversa- tion gave me the impression of a man perfectly innocent. He told me frankly the whole of his escapade with Kate, and in the course of the narrative chanced to say that he knew she had a sweetheart of her own—a watchmaker, whom he had only once seen. He did not know the man's name, but he believed him to be dissipated, and the description so closely tallied with that of Peter Ramsay that I felt sure they were the same. A visit to Kate's mother proved that Ramsay had frequently visited her daughter, and with the case thus all in my hand I went down to Kate, and said to her abruptly— You said you got those things from David Mackay; are you sure you did not get them from Peter Ramsay ? Don't answer unless you like. My name is James M'Govan." Kate looked at me steadily for some moments, with her cheeks slowly paling then her eyes fell to the counter, and then she,, had to catch at the edae for support I did gei them from Ramsay, and I only said the reverse to punish Mackay.' "And you said you could swear to It., "I re- flectively observed. Is this a falsehood also ? Oh, no, I have a witness who saw him give them to me," she humbly answered, and the wit- ness turned out to be her own mother. I did not arrest her, but took her with me as far as Paterson's shop, where I bad Ramsay called to the front. He appeared terribly staggered when his eyes fell on Kate's flushed face, but I did not give him time to say anything. "lhavoreeoveredtLusnake ring and spoons, and I want you to put on your things and come with me," I significantly remarked. "All right, sir," he answered, looking ready to drop into his boots, and in a few moments he was on his way to the Central with his wrist fastened to my own. I suppose I'll get off easier if I plead guilty ? he inquiringly remarked, as we neared the place. I thought it likely, and then asked him how he came to damage his character for life by such a robbery. I don't know yet how I did it," was his frank reply. It was just a sudden temptation. I had the things in my hand while the maister was busy settin' the window, and I tucked the ring case in to the string round the spoons, and threw them on the top of the glass case on the other side of the counter. Nobody ever thought of looking up there among the dust—indeed you couldn't get up to it without steps. I left them there a fortnight, and then took them down and gave them to Kate." Ramsay got three months' imprisonment, and Kate was so humiliated by the disclosures tnat she went abroad without another word of a breach of promise action. Mackay's marriage came off not long after, and for a wonder he remembered to send me a piece of the bridescake.

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