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THE LADY FROM NOWHERE A DETECTIVE…

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(PUBLISHED BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT.] THE LADY FROM NOWHERE A DETECTIVE STORY. BY FERGUS HUME, Author of "The Mystery of a Hansom Cab," The Third Volume," For the Defence," "The Lone Inn," kc., &c- [C 0 P Y r, I G H T.1 CHAPTER XIII.—ARTHUR FERRIS. The unexpected discovery that Ferris had pawned the necklace, spurred Gebb to unusual activity. No longer doubtful how to act, he hastened to pro- cure a warrant of arrest against the young man yet before doing so, and to be certain that his be- lief was not a false one, he called first at Aaron and Nathan's. These worthy Jews he questioned closely concerning the necklace, and the man who had pawned it. The ornament corresponded in every way with the description furnished by Prain, and the individual, on the evidence of his appear- ance, and of the birth mark on his right cheek, could not be mistaken for anyone but Ferris. Further more his connection with Edith, who in her turn was connected with the murdered woman, gave colour to Gebb's assumption that Ferris was the guilty person. I understand now why Miss Wedderburn fainted," said Gebb to himself. She thought when I mentioned him as her lover, that I had discovered the truth, and feared for his safety. No doubt, hav- ing informed him about that necklace, and Miss Gilmar's fear of death, he killed and robbed the woman in the hope that Dean would be blamed." If things were as Gebb surmised, Ferris in hoping that his crime would be laid to the charge of Dean, displayed an amount of cunning hardly compatible with his disposal of the plunder. lie had accom- plished the crime so cleverly, and had escaped so mysteriously, that Gebb could not understand why he had pawned the necklace so openly, the very next day, under the obviously false name of James Brown. The rashness nullified his former caution, for he might have guessed that information con- cerning the jewels would be sent to all panwshops. As a criminal, Ferris evidently had to learn the A.B.C. of his craft. Why did he not wait until the storm blew over before pawning the necklace," murmured Gebb, much perplexed, "or at least, take the stones out of their setting and sell them separately, either in London, Paris, or Amsterdam? Discovery would have been more difficult in that case. And why did he pawn them so hurriedly unless he intended to leave England? But in that case Edith Wedderburn would have known of his intended departure, and probably would have gone with him. Rum sort of cove he must be." Gebb in this manner argued the case for and against Ferris, for the young man's conduct displayed such a mixture of caution and rashness as to perplex the detective. Still it was no use, as he well knew, to waste his time in making bricks without straw, when the arrest of the culprit might enable him to gain a frank explanation of these obviously silly actions; BO Gebb, on the evidence of the pawning, procured a warrant and proceeded to take Ferris in charge. As a further mark of the man's folly, he had given a wrong name but a right address: and Gebb pro- ceeding to Chclsea asked at an Eden Street hcv.se for Mr. Brown, only to be told that Mr. Ferr;s wts the sole lodger in it. The naive simplicity of this novice in crime almost made the detective swear to his innocence on the spot. "Confound it," said Gebb, disconcerted by this, the man has gone about the pawning so openly that I really believe he is guiltless of the crime. Either that or he's a born fool, although even that is d,oubtful. Miss Wedderburn is not the sort of woman to love an idiot, although she does p'ot.ect one. Seems to me as I'm dealing with a lot of crazy folk." Ferris chanced to be absent at the time of Gebb'3 visit, but was expected back every moment; so on intimating that he wished to see the artist on a matter of importance, and would wait for his re- turn, the detective was shown into the studio. It was a, bare apartment of some size, with ample light but few decorations. Ferris seemed to be rather a hard worker than an artistic dandy, for there were scattered around none of the knick-knacks and "bibelots" which many painters love to collect. There was a sprawling lay figure near a carpeted dais for the model, specimens of work on the walls, plaster heads and unfinished pictures lying about in disorder, and on the easel, beside a rusty iron stove, a landscape picture in progress of painting. Altogether the studio looked anything but that of a Sybarite, and in no wise accorded with Prain's description of Ferris as a scamp, for scamps as a rule owe their doubtful reputations to their assiduity in gratifying all their tastes, the best and the worst. "Yet he must have been hard pushed for money to murder that old woman in order to rob her," said Gebb. So if he is economical here, I expect ho is wasteful in other ways. Hullo! here's a letter on the writing table with the Norminster postmark. Empty!" he added in disgust, finding no letter inside. Yet it is from that girl, I am certain. The handwriting is that of a woman. Hum! And yesterday's date, I see by the postmark. She has been writing to warn him. She knows all about the matter. I wish I culd find the letter. She's a deep one, that girl, and as sharp as a needle. She wouldn't have bungled the murder as Ferris has done" With this doubtful tribute of admiration Gebb calmly proceeded to turn over the papers on the writing table, and examine the drawers. But he could find no letter from Edith amongst the loose papers, and the drawers proved to be locked, which showed that Ferris was a more cautious man than his conduct in pawning the necklace indicated. How far Gebb would have proceeded with his search or how successful he would have been it is hard to say for iust as he was casting his eyes towards a bureau which he thought, might contain papers likely to illuminate Ferris and his dark ways, the door opened and the man himself entered with a brisk step. He appeared agitated and rather pale, but on the whole composed and business-like. For a moment or so he did not speak, but looked at Gebb with no very friendly expression of count- enance. On his side, the detective scrutinised the face of the newcomer with close attention, to see in what degree he corresponded to the descriptions of Prain and Martin. He beheld a tall and slender man, with an intelligent expression and brilliant blaok eyes. On his short upper lip there was a small pointed moustache, which gave him a rather military appearance, and on his right check a purple mark, the size of a sixpence, but which—his skin being so dark-did not show very conspicuously. He was dressed quietly and in good style, and to all appear- ance was a man who respected himself too much to indulge in the profligacy with which he was credited by Prain. Gebb was rather favourably impressed by him than otherwise, and could not help regretting his errard. "I am told vou are waiting to see me," said Ferris civilly. May I inouire your business?" "Is your name Arthur Ferris?^' It is; may I ask what—— I arrest vou in the Queen s name!" interrupted Gebb laying one hand on the young man's shoulder, and with the other drawing forth his war- rant. Ferris turned white even to the lips, and leaped back with an exclamation of alarm and sur- prise. The detective's action seemed to amaze him. Arrest me Why? what for? Who are you?" "My name is Gebb: I am a detective. Here is my warrant for (your arrest, Mr. Ferris, on a charge of murder." "Murder!" repeated Ferris, much agitated, as was natural. "You accuse me of murder? There is some mistake." „ People in your position always say so, replied Gebb, drilv, but there is no mistake. You mnr- dered'a woman called Gilmaron the 24th July last. "It's a lie! I no more murdered Miss Gilmar than you did." That has yet to be proved, sir. Here is my warrant, and I have a couple of men outside m case of need. However, I have no desire to make trouble, and if you come along with me quietly, I shall use you ^civilly. We can drive to the prison 511 Ferrt^who was looking round wildly, as though for some means of escape, started and recoilea at the sound of the ill-omened w°r(^ ° he echoed, hoarsely. Great God you would not take me to prison. I-am innocent, I tell you. I know nothing of this murder. "We have evidence to the contrary, Gebb, quietly," "and I advise you, sir, to hold your tongue. Anything you say now will be used in evidence against you." "I shall not hold my tongue, said Ferris, with more composure. "There is nothing I can say likely to inculpate me in the matter. I protest against your action. I protest against being treated as a criminal. "You can protest as much as you like, Mr. Fer- ris but you must come with me. You may thank vour stars that I have not put the darbies on you. Give me your word not to attempt escape, and we 11 walk out arm-in-arm no one will guess where you are going. You see I wish to make matters easy for "I shall not try to escape," Raid the unfortunate voung man, proudly, as I have done nothing wrong. If I must go to prison on this charge, I must, and I thank you. Mr. Gebb, for your civility, but I swear before God that I am innocent of this crime." 1, < With thif speecn lie resumed his nat anft "WaJked slowly out of the studio. Gebb followed forthwith, and slipped his arm within that of Ferris, no that the pair seemed to be leaving the house in a. friendly way. Two men were waiting at a distance, but on Gebb's nodding to them to intimate that his charge was amenable to reason, they walked off; and shortly afterwards the detective and Ferris got into a hansom. Gebb directed the driver whither to so and then turned to comfort his companion, for whoso despair he felt extremely sorry. Certainly, the voung man R conduct did not suggest guilt. Cheer up, Mr. Ferris," he said, kindly; if you ore innocent you will soon be out of this trouble." "I don't know however I came into it,'replied Ferris, disconsolate. "You mean kindly, Mr. Gebb therefore, in spite of what you .say regarding rnv remarks being used against me, I shall speak freely. I did not know Miss Gilmar at all. I never set eyes on her in my life; ai-id until yester- day I was not aware of her death." I see. Miss Wedderburn wrote and informed ^ouf knowC<of *Miss "WeSderburn ?" asked Ferris, in Burprise.. i_ i T "I have seen her and spoken with her; and I know from her own lips that she is engaged to vou. On your writing table I s»iv an envelope with The Norminster postmark and yesterday s date, so I guessed that she wrote to you about Miss Gilmar's ^e"*She didl I have no reason to conoeal it. But flhejdid ftot^jagfltioa tHt she bid ppnYSrsgd gittt --— — —- "Perhaps not, Mr. Ferris. She is a young lady who can keep her own counsel." She has no secrets that I know of," said Ferris, haughtily. Gebb shrugged his shoulders. She has one about you," he said, calmly. Indeed," replied the other with sarcasm. And do you know what it is, Mr. Gebb?" I did not know when I saw her, but I know now. Miss Wedderburn is aware that you killed Miss Gilmar." "Did she say so?" asked Ferris, anxiously. "No; but I guess that is her secret. You are guilty, you know!" "I swear I am not," rejoined Ferris, vehemently. "I never saw Miss Gilmar. I did not murder hei. I know nothing about the woman." Do you know anything about the diamond necklace?" "The diamond necklace!" stammered Ferris, changing colour, and with a visible start, for this leading question evidently took him by surprise. ,,Yes I the necklace you pawned on the 25th of July to Aaron and Nathan." "It—it—was—was mine," replied the young man as clearly as his consternation would let him. It was not yours," said Gebb, sharply; it was Miss Gilmar's; she wore it on the night of the murder, and it was taken from the corpse." I did not take it. I did not take it." Yet you pawned it." Yes, I pawned it, but I swear I did not take it." Then how did it come into your possession?" "I refuse to answer that question," said Ferris, sullenly. Gebb shrugged his shoulders. Just as you please," he said; "but the fact of your pawning that necklace is tho cause of your arrest. If you can explain I explain nothing. I intend to keep my business to myself." "Then you will be in danger of the gallows!" Ferris bit his lip and shuddered. I am inno- cent," he said, wonderfully calm, considering his position, but I refuse to state how I became possessed of the necklace." CHAPTER XIV.-A SURPRISING DIS- COVERY. The next day Ferris was brought up before the magistrate on the charge of murdering Miss Gilmar. He looked pale and ill, and heard the evidence of his pawning of the necklace in absolute silence. When he was asked to defend himself he refused to utter a word he declined even to engage a solicitor; so in tho face of this conduct there was nothing for it but to commit him for trial. Ferris asked for bail, but his request being refused, he was taken back to prison, still silent. He might have been a stone image for all the information tho law got out of him and everyone marvelled at his obstinacy, so dangerous to himself, so inexplicable to others. Gebb could not understand why he acted in this way and risked his neck in so obstinate a manner. Certainly Ferris declared himself to be inno- cent; but he refused to prove the truth of his words, and preserved an impenetrable silence which at once perplexed and provoked the detective. Tho only reason he could conjecture for the mulish be- haviour of the artist was that the evidence against him was too strong for disproval, and that he knew this to be the case. Still he might make an effort to save himself," thought Gebb, as he sat meditating in his office, if only to tell a lie although I don't quite see what he could say. Mrs. Presk declared that Miss Gilmar wore her jewels on that evening, and when we found the body those jewels were gone. The principal jewel—which is a necklace-was pawned the day after the murder by Arthur Ferris, who knows Miss Wedderburn, who knew Miss Gilmar; and he refuses to state how the necklace came into his possession. If he murdered the woman his possession of the diamonds is easily accounted for if he is innocent he must have obtained the necklace from the assassin. Therefore, if not guilty himself he must know who is: that is plain logic." Logic or not, the result of the argument was very unsatisfactory, and Gebb in his own mind was un- able to decide either for or against Ferris. He had that morning informed Prain by letter about the artist's committal for trial, and asked him to call at the prison to discover if possible the reason for the strange conduct of Ferris. Also, he requested Prain to call at his office, and tell him the result of the interview. So when his meditations were interrupted by a sharp knock at the door, he quite expected to see the little solicitor enter. In place of Prain, however, he beheld the burly form of John Alder, who appeared to be different from his usual genial self. You are no doubt surprised to see me here, Mr. Gebb," he said, when the first greetings had passed, "but I am greatly disturbed about Ferris. He is a friend of mine, you know." Gebb did not know about the friendship, but he was well aware that Ferris was Alder's favoured rival with Edith Wedderburn, so wondered at the tender-heartedness of the man who was distressed over the removal of an obstacle to his wooing. "Why are you disturbed?" asked Gebb, rather sceptically. What makes you worry over Ferris?" Because I am sure ho is inYiocent of this murder," replied Alder. Oh, I heard all about his arrest and commital for trial from Prain, who has gone round to see him. So I thought I would come and tell you that I am convinced of his innocence." "But he pawned the necklace, Mr. Alder; he admits that he did." Then he must bar? jbtained the necklace from someone else." "That may be, sir," said Gebb, quietly, "but if he did ho refuses to say as much. And whoso- ever give him the necklace killed Miss Gilmar." What defence does he make?" asked Alder, looking puzzled. "None. He asserts his innocence, but refuses to explain how he became possessed of the necklace. If he can't explain, or won't explain, those dia- monds will hang him." "In what way? I don't quite see how you arrive at that point." Miss Gilmar wore the necklace on the night she was killed," explained the detective; "it was gone when we found the body, so by the strongest of circumstantial evidence the assassin must havo taken it." "All this may be true, Mr. Gebb, but it does not prove that poor Ferris is guilty." I think it does," replied Gebb, coolly, seeing that he pawned the necklace in question. If he isn't the principal, he is an accessory before the fact." Won't he confess how he became possessed of the diamonds?" No, not to me. He refuses to say a word in his own defence." "Then I tell you what," said Alder, gravely, this quixotic young man is defending another person; he is shielding the assassin." If he is that shows him to be an accessory either before or after the fact," repeated Gebb. But who is the person you think he is shielding?" "Dean I believe the man killed my cousin." Does Mr. Ferris know Dean?" asked Gebb, looking up sharply. No. Nor did he know Miss Gilmar, so far as my knowledge goes," said Alder with a nod. "Ferris has been a friend of mine for many years, and f.lthough for certain reasons we are not very intimate, I am sure he is not guilty of this crime." If Ferris did not know Dean, or does not know him, I don't very well see how he can be shielding him," cried Gebb, irritably. If you will excuse mo saying so, Mr. Alder, I think you are talking sheer nonsense." "I am sorry you think so," said Alder, stiffljT. Of course I only state that Ferris is not acquainted with Dean so far as I am aware but he may know him for all that." "Why?" asked Gebb, pertinently. Because I am certain that Dean is guilty." Admitting that he is-which I don't on the strength of the romantic vow—how did For.-is be- come possessed of the necklace? I don't know. Only Ferris can explain that." "Well then, Mr. Alder, he won't explain. So on the face of it he is guilty and Dean isn't." "I tell you he is innocent!" said Alder, angrily, and my friend Mr. Basson can prove it. Basson-Clement Basson, the barrister?" said Gebb, with a staro. Why what on earth has he got to do with it? "He saw Ferris on the night of the murder I" "Saw him! Where?" "At Grangebury! In tho evening." And Miss Gilmar was murdered at Grangebury," said the detective. Why that looks as though Ferris was guilty. Your evidence rather condemns than exonerates him." Not at all," rejoined Alder, tartly. Ci I read the evidence of the murder in the daily papers, although I did not know at the time that Miss Ligram was my cousin, Ellen Gilmar." "Well. What of that?" inquired Gebb, rather puzzled by the irrelevancy of this remark. This much. Mrs. Presk and her servant were at a lecture on Dickens in the Grangebury Town Hall." "I know that." "Well, Mr. Gebb, that lecture was given by Basson 1 By Clement Basson, the barrister, who defended Dean twenty years ago?" "The same! You must know that Basson is a friend of mine," continued Alder, conversationally, and a. barrister, like myself. He is by no means well off, as ho is fonder of play than of work. I suggested to him that he should write and deliver a few lectures in order to make money, for he has a fine voice and is an excellent orator. He adopted my suggestion and wrote a lecture on Dickens but being nervous, he wished to make an experi- ment in the suburbs, before attempting to interest a London audience. I suggested that he should de- liver it in the Grangebury Town Hall, as I know many people in that suburb. He consented, and delivered the lecture on the 24-th July, that is, en the very night my cousin was murdered." "And Mrs. Presk attended the lecture with her servant," reflected Gebb. Did you know that Miss Gilmar was in Grangebury?" "I! No! She took lodgings in Paradise Row rrider the name of Ligram, you know," said Alder -X nad not set eyes 6n ner tor year«—m ract, not since she left Kirkstone Hall. Out of terror lest she should be killed by Dean, she kept her address secret from all, although I believe she occasionally wrote to Miss Wedderburn on business." "I know," replied Gebb, with a nod. "Bui Miss Wedderburn had not heard from your cousin since six months before the murder so she was not aware of Miss Ligram's-or rather Miss Gilmar's— presence in Grangebury. But what has the lecture to do with Ferris and his innocence?" I'm coming to that," said Alder, quietly. As I had suggested the lecture to Basson, I wished him to have a large audience, so I asked my friends in Grangebury to af±p"d also I invited some Lon- don acquaintances, aTrrongs* them Ferris." "Did Ferris go to the ieefure?" Yes. I saw him myself at the door, when I spoke a few words to him. He sat in a front row and Basson-who knowa him-told me that bt ItotdjtaUaJte fA4.RtJit teste* "Oh," said Gebb, meaningly. "Almost to the end!" Well, at all events, he stayed until ten o'clock." replied Alder, rather nettled. And as my cousin was killed about that time, Ferris could not have murdered her." "No! Certainly not. So far as I can see, Ferris can prove an alibi. If so why does he not defend himself in that way?" Alder shrugged his shoulders. I can't say; unless he is shielding someone. I suggest Dean, as I really believe that Dean is guilty but then- so far as I know-Ferris is not acquainted with Dean. Nor is anybody; for the man has not been heard of since he escaped from prison. But you see, Mr. Gebb, that if my cousin was murdered at ten o'clock—and the medical evidence says she was —Ferris, who was in the Grangebury Town Hall at that hour, cannot be guilty." "I admit that! I shall look into the matter," said Gebb, and let me tell you, Mr. Alder, that I think very well of you for coming forward with this evidence, as I know that Mr. Ferris is your rival." With Miss Wedderburn," said Alder, colouring. "True enough; but for all that I don't want him to be hanged when I know that he is innocent. If Miss Wedderburn marries Ferris I'll just have to put up with it, that's all." Gebb was about to express further admiration of Alder's conduct when the door opened unexpectedly, and Prain came hurriedly into the room. The little man looked worried, and with a nod to his brother lawyer, he threw himself into a chair near tho detective's desk. "Well, Gebb," he said, in a vexed tone. "I have been to see that young ass, and I can't induce him to speak." There will be no need for it," said Gebb, quietly, "I know now that he is innocent, Mr. Prain." How is that?" asked the solicitor in amazement, whereat Gebb, with the assistance of Alder, told him of the presence of Ferris in the Town Hall at the hour the murder was committed. Prain was more amazed than ever. "Great heavens!" he said, "if the man is innocent, and can prove it, as you say, why doesn't he speak out?" Because he is screening someone, I think," said Gebb. "I know he is," said Alder, and I believe that the someone is Dean." "Why?" asked Prain, with a sharp look. I believe that Dean committed the crime, Mr. Prain." Yes, but you also believe that Ferris docs not know Dean," cried Gebb, crossly; "so why ishould he shield him?" That is a paradox," said Alder, smiling. Prain looked up with a grave expression on his face. "It is a paradox which I can explain," he said shortly. "Ferris does know Dean." "He does know Dean!" cried both his hearers in amazement. "Yes! I may as well tell you both, that Arthur Ferris is the son of Marmaduke Dean." (To be Continued.)

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