After which speech

“What the deuce are you doing here?” asked the detective, angrily,
“and why did you run away when you saw me?”

“As to my being here,” replied Garth, sitting up and wiping his face,
“I came down to watch my cousin, of whom I was suspicious; and I ran
away because, on catching sight of you in the twilight, I took you for
Louis Fellenger.”

“Oh! And for what purpose are you down here?”

“I have told you. I suspect that my cousin, through his medical
friend, is concerned in the murder of Sir Gregory.”

Fanks frowned, and Garth having got on his feet, they walked on
together. He wished that Garth would leave the case to him, and
resented the presence of the young lawyer on the spot. “Where are you
staying?” he asked, abruptly.

“At the Pretty Maid Inn. I suppose you are there also, as it is the
only comfortable lodging in the village.”

“Yes, I am there, and, now as I have dropped across you, we may as
well go back to supper. I had intended having a look at the Hall, but
on second thoughts I shall go back with you to pump Mrs. Prisom.”

“I know Mrs. Prisom very well,” said Garth; “she is an old servant of
our family, but I do not see what you can learn from her.”

“I may learn nothing, on the other hand I may learn a great deal. She
was well acquainted with the father of the late baronet.”

“And she was well acquainted with my mother, and with the father of
the present baronet. But in what way do you expect her to help you?”

“Well, I’ll tell you. I want to find out if there is anything in the
family history of the Fellengers likely to have induced Sir Gregory to
submit to that tattooing.”

“I am a member of the family, and I don’t know of any reason,” said
Garth.

“Mrs. Prisom belongs to a generation before you,” replied Fanks, “and
it is possible that she may know something. Of course, it is only
fancy on my part. Still, a drowning man clutches a straw, and I am
clutching at this. We may learn something.”

Garth shook his head. He knew the history of his family, and there was
nothing he could recall likely to touch on the subject of a tattooed
cross.

Mrs. Prisom received them both with great dignity, and in half an hour
they were seated at a well-spread table. Both did justice to the
viands set before them; and during the progress of the meal they
chattered about the case. While they were thus conversing Fanks
elicited an important fact concerning Sir Louis.

“I don’t know why you should suspect your cousin,” he said, in reply
to a remark of Garth’s. “Mr. Vaud told us that both Sir Louis and
Binjoy were at Taxton-on-Thames on the night of the murder. The first
was ill, and the second was in attendance.”

“True enough,” replied Garth, frankly; “all the same, you proved that
Binjoy was masquerading in London on the evening of the twenty-first.”

“Yes; it is strange that Sir Louis should say that Binjoy never left
his side. I suppose you suspect your cousin on that account?”

“By no means. I suspect my cousin because he was himself in London on
that night.”

Fanks leaned back in his chair, and stared at the barrister. “What is
that you say?” he cried. “Was Sir Louis in Tooley’s Alley on that
evening?”

“Oh, I won’t go so far as that. But Louis certainly went up to London
on that night. I found that out from Mrs. Jerusalem.”

“And who is Mrs. Jerusalem?”

“She was the housekeeper of Sir Louis at Taxton-on-Thames. When he
came in for the title he brought her here. I saw her yesterday, and
she inadvertently admitted that much.”

“How did you get that out of her?”

“Well, it was a fluke. She is an old servant of our family, like Mrs.
Prisom. I met her while out walking, and she recognised me. I made her
promise not to tell Sir Louis that I was here.”

“But what excuse did you make?”

“None,” said Garth, coolly. “I’ll tell you a secret, Fanks. Mrs.
Jerusalem likes me and hates Sir Louis. She was a foster-sister of my
mother’s, and she desires to see me in the place of my scientific
cousin.”

“Indeed,” said Fanks, eyeing Garth in a strange manner; “and has she
done anything likely to forward your interest in that respect?”

“I suppose you mean to hint that she would like to clear Sir Louis out
of my path by accusing him of the murder?” said Garth, coolly; “well,
you are about right. Mrs. Jerusalem connects the absence of Sir Louis
from Taxton-on-Thames with the death of Sir Gregory. She saw the
report of the inquest, you know; she recognised–as she thinks–the
description of Binjoy’s servant Caesar, and, by putting two and two
together, she told me yesterday that it is her firm conviction–on the
slightest of proofs, remember–that Louis killed Gregory by means of
the black man.”

“Humph!” said Fanks, thoughtfully; “I must see this lady. But if she
dislikes Sir Louis and Binjoy why does she stay in the service of the
former?”

Garth shrugged his shoulders. “One must live,” he said, “and Mrs.
Jerusalem has a very easy time of it with my cousin. When my mother
died, and we were as poor as rats, my father got Louis’s father to
take Mrs. Jerusalem into his service, and she has been there ever
since. Oh, she will not tell my cousin that I am here,” concluded
Garth, with a satisfied nod.

“Mrs. Prisom may,” suggested Fanks. “You may be sure that a good deal
of gossip goes on between inn and Hall. How long have you been here?”

“About three days.”

“Then you may be certain that your cousin knows of your presence in
the village. If he has any danger to fear from you he will take his
measures accordingly. I don’t like your Mrs. Jerusalem, Garth; she
ought to be true to her salt.”

“I can’t help that,” retorted Garth, sulkily. “She would willingly
keep house for me if I had a house to keep, but as I have not she
stays where she is. But what do you think of her suspicions? Do yours
point in the same way?”

“They did not,” replied Fanks, promptly; “but your discovery of Sir
Louis’s visit to town on that night puts quite a different complexion
on the case. All the same, I can come to no conclusion until I see
this spy of yours.”

“She isn’t a spy,” said Garth, gloomily. “I did not drag the
information out of the creature. She thought that she was doing me a
good turn by betraying my cousin. She thinks that if he killed Gregory
he ought to suffer, and let me have the property.”

“And what do you think?” asked Fanks, with a keen glance.

“I don’t want to build up my life on the ruins of another man’s; it is
a bad foundation. I know you believe that I wish to get my cousin into
trouble, but you are wrong. I would help Louis to escape if I could.”

“There may be no necessity for that; we have proved nothing against
him as yet. I hardly think that a man who has committed a crime would
put down money to hunt out himself, and thereby lose the benefit he
gained by his wickedness. No, no, Garth, I do not believe Sir Louis is
such a guilty fool. However, I shall give my opinion when I see him
and question Mrs. Jerusalem.”

“Will you tell my cousin that I am here?”

“Certainly. There is nothing to be gained by concealment. You only
place your honour in the hands of that Jerusalem creature, and make
yourself her accomplice. However, I am ready to bet you that Sir Louis
knows you are here through Mrs. Prisom.”

Garth made no reply, but stating that he was weary, went off to bed.
The detective, left alone, thought over what he had been told, and
found himself unable to come to any conclusion. He did not like the
way in which Garth was acting, but, all the same, he believed that the
lawyer had no ill intentions towards his cousin, despite Crate’s
opinion to the contrary. The young man laughed as he thought how he
had picked up the trail of Garth when it had been lost by the astute
Crate. “I am afraid that Crate will never make a success of the
detective business,” thought Fanks, lighting his pipe. “But I don’t
agree with him about Garth; and I don’t agree with Garth about Sir
Louis. Certainly, it is strange that Sir Louis should have feigned
illness, and shielded Binjoy, and then have gone up to town on that
night. What the deuce were he and his medical friend doing there? Dr.
Turnor knows; I believe that Sir Louis was alone with Binjoy in the
Great Auk Street house. It is odd, to say the least of it. I wonder if
that negro was the actual Caesar, or Binjoy or Sir Louis in disguise.
At all events, he wasn’t Hersham, for that young man has exonerated
himself clearly enough. H’m. I’ll reserve my decision as to Mrs.
Jerusalem’s story till I see Sir Louis. Perhaps the secret of the
crime is to be found at Mere Hall, after all. No, no, no!” said Fanks,
getting on his feet with an emphatic stamp. “The secret is connected
with that tattooed cross. I wonder who can tell us about it.”

At, this moment, as if in answer to his query, the door opened, and
Mrs. Prisom came in to clear away the dinner things. As a rule, she
left this duty to the parlour maid, but as Garth, an offshoot of the
great Fellenger family, was dining under her roof, she would let no
one but herself attend to him. She looked surprised when she saw that
Garth was not in the room. At once Fanks explained the absence of his
friend.

“Mr. Garth has retired to bed,” he said, “as he is very tired. I shall
go myself soon, as your country air makes me sleepy, but at present I
should like to have a chat with you, Mrs. Prisom.”

Mrs. Prisom smiled in an expansive manner, and expressed the honour
she felt at such a request, adding that she dearly loved a chat.

“All the better,” thought Fanks, as she cleared away the dishes. “You
will be the more likely to tell me what I want to know.”

In a few minutes the table was tidy, and Mrs. Prisom, at Fanks’
request, had brought in her knitting. He guessed that she would talk
better with the needles clicking in her active hands, and herein he
judged wisely, for thus employed Mrs. Prisom would gossip for hours,
provided she had a good listener.

“I suppose you knew the mother of Mr. Garth?” said Fanks, plunging at
once into the history of the Fellenger family.

“Miss Eleanor? Ah, that I did; but she was a proud young lady, and
didn’t care to play with me, even as a child, because I was the
daughter of the steward. They were all proud, the Fellengers, except
Sir Francis.”

“That was Sir Gregory’s father?”

“Yes. There was Sir Francis, the eldest and the merry one; Mr.
Michael, the father of the present Baronet, Sir Louis, he was proud,
too; and then Miss Eleanor, who married Mr. Garth. But I liked Sir
Francis the best of all,” concluded the old lady, with a sigh.

There was a look in her eyes as she said this, which made Fanks think
that she had been in love with the gay baronet, in the old days.

“He was a bonny man, Sir Francis Fellenger,” she resumed. “Never a
maid but what he had a smile for, and many a kiss did he take without
the asking,” laughed Mrs. Prisom. “Oh, he was a merry blade. But all
sailors have those ways.”

“Was Sir Francis a sailor?” asked Fanks, suddenly.

“He was a Captain in the Navy before he came into the title,” said
Mrs. Prisom, “then he settled down and married Miss Darmer, a
Shropshire lady. But she died, poor soul, when Sir Gregory was born,
and it was five weeks after her death, that Sir Francis was killed by
being thrown from his dog-cart.”

“Sir Francis was a sailor?” asked Fanks, abruptly. “I suppose when he
went to sea and came home a middy, he had anchors, and ships, and true
lovers’ knots, and such like things tattooed upon his skin.”

“He just had,” replied Mrs. Prisom, laughing. “He had quite a fancy
for that sort of thing. He told me he learnt how to do it in Japan.”

“He learnt how to do it,” echoed Fanks, leaning forward in his
excitement.

“Yes, yes; and very clever he was at drawing such pictures on the
skin. I shall never forget how angered my mother was when Sir
Francis–Master Francis he was then–insisted on pricking those blue
marks on my arm.”

“Did he do that?” demanded the detective, little expecting what would
follow.

“He did, sir; the mark of it remains to this day,” and Mrs. Prisom
drew up the sleeve of her left arm. Fanks bent forward, and saw
tattooed thereon–a cross. Was he then about to unravel the mystery of
the tattooed cross which had puzzled him for so long?

Fanks restrained his joy at this important discovery; he was afraid
lest Mrs. Prisom should cease to speak should she think that the
revelation was of consequence to him. That she should have the same
symbol as that possessed by Hersham, as that attempted on Sir Gregory,
appeared to hint at its owning a certain significance. What that
significance might be he now set himself to discover.

“Why did Sir Francis choose a cross to tattoo on your arm, Mrs.
Prisom,” he asked, as the old lady pulled down her sleeve.

“I cannot say, Mr. Fanks. I fancy it was because he could draw a cross
better than anything else. You see it is St. Catherine’s cross, with
four arms and a wheel–at least, that is what Sir Francis called it.”

“It is St. Catherine’s cross,” said Fanks, recalling the mark on
Hersham’s arm. “Perhaps Sir Francis attached some meaning to it. Do
you know if he tattooed anyone else with the same symbol?”

At this remark Mrs. Prisom suddenly desisted from her occupation, and
not only refused to speak but taxed Fanks with trying to fathom her
meaning for some ill purpose. “Why should you come down here, and ask
questions about Sir Francis Fellenger?” she asked, with a troubled
look; “why do you wish to know all these things?”

There was no help for it. If Fanks wished to learn the truth he would
have to tell her the real purpose of his visit; and then out of love
for the memory of Sir Francis she might do what she could to aid him
to discover the person who had murdered Sir Gregory. Resolving to risk
all on the casting of this die, he spoke out boldly and to the point.
Yet he approached the old lady with a certain amount of caution.

“I have an important reason for asking you these questions,” he said,
in an earnest tone, “and I shall tell you my reason shortly. But first
say if you regretted the death of Sir Gregory.”

“I regretted it because he was the son of his father, but I did not
care over much for him. He was a bad man, Mr. Fanks, a very bad man. I
loved the father as an old playmate, and as one who was always kind to
me and mine; but the son–ah!” Mrs. Prisom shook her head and sighed.

“You know that he was murdered?”

“Yes; but they never found out who murdered him.”

“No; they are trying to find out now. You may be able to help me to do
so.”

“Help you?” said the old lady, in a frightened tone. “Who are you,
sir?”

“My name is Fanks, as, you know, Mrs. Prisom. But what you do not know
is that I am a detective, anxious to learn who killed Sir Gregory.”

“I know nothing of the murder, sir. I am a simple old body, and cannot
help you in any way.”

“Oh, yes, you can, Mrs. Prisom. You can help me by relating all you
know about this tattooing.”

“But what can the death of Sir Gregory have to do with an old story of
man’s treachery and woman’s folly?”

“More than you think. The whole secret of the death lies in the
explanation of that tattooing. Come, Mrs. Prisom, you must tell me all
you know.”

Mrs. Prisom thought for a moment, and then made up her mind. “I’ll do
what I can,” said she. “Those who are concerned in this tale are dead
and gone; and, so long as it does not hurt the living, I see no reason
why I should not gratify your curiosity; but I must ask you not to
repeat what I tell you, unless you are absolutely obliged to do so. It
is no good spreading family scandals, but as you have appealed to me
to help you to revenge the murder of my old, playfellow’s son, I will
confide in you.”

Fanks assured Mrs. Prisom that he would be as reticent as possible
about her forthcoming history, and would not use it unless compelled
to do so. Satisfied on this point, Mrs. Prisom commenced; at the same
moment Fanks took out his note-book to set down any important point.

“The other person who was tattooed,” said Mrs. Prisom, “was Madaline
Garry.” Fanks whistled softly and made a note in his book. “Only a
thought which struck me,” he explained. “Madaline Garry; was she also
tattooed with a cross?”

“Yes, sir. Madaline and Jane Garry were the daughters of old Captain
Garry, a retired naval officer, who lived in Damington. I knew them
both very well, as we used to meet on terms of equality in parish
work. Jane was the quiet one, but Madaline was a flighty girl, fond of
admiration and dress. She attracted the attention of Sir Francis, and
it was thought at one time that he would marry her. However, he did
not do so, but brought home the lady from Shropshire to Mere Hall.
Still, Madaline must have been fond of him, for she let him tattoo on
her arm a cross similar to this one of mine, I saw it one day while
she was changing her dress, and remarked it. She said Sir Francis had
pricked it on her arm as a sign that she was engaged to him, and that
it was like a wedding ring. I warned her against Sir Francis, and
mentioned the lady of Shropshire to whom he was said to be paying his
addresses. She laughed at this, and said Sir Francis would marry her.
‘If he doesn’t,’ she added, ‘I shall know how to avenge myself.'”

“Did she know that you had a cross on your arm also?”

“Oh, yes, I told her; but I never expected to marry Sir Francis, and
he did me no harm. I can’t say the same of Madaline. He acted badly
towards her. I don’t say that Sir Francis was a good man,” added Mrs.
Prisom, in a hesitating manner; “but he was good to me. He certainly
should have married Madaline Garry.”

“Did he go about tattooing all the girls he was in love with?”

“He was not in love with me,” rejoined Mrs. Prisom, with dignity, “and
I only let him tattoo me because I was a schoolgirl and his old
playfellow. I knew no better then; but Madaline was a grown woman when
he loved her, and marked her with the cross. I suppose it was to bind
her to him;–not that it did much good, for shortly afterwards he
married Miss Darmer, and in a rage at his desertion Madaline took up
with an old admirer–Luke Fielding was his name–and she married him
almost on the same day that Sir Francis led his bride to the Hall.”

“Did she ever forgive him?”

“She said she did,” replied Mrs. Prisom, with hesitation; “but I have
my doubts of that. At all events, she was stopping at the Hall within
the year of her marriage.”

“How was that?”

“Well, you see, sir, in nine months after the marriage Mr. Fielding
died, leaving Madaline with no money and a little child. About the
same time Lady Fellenger died at the birth of the dead Sir Gregory.
Somebody was wanted as a nurse, and Madaline asked Sir Francis if she
could come. She was poor, you see, and wanted money, although after
the death of her husband she was living with her father. At first Sir
Francis would not let her come–feeling ashamed-like, no doubt–but in
some way she prevailed against him, and went to the hall as the nurse
to the heir.”

“And what about her own child?”

“She took him also, by permission of Sir Francis.”

“Oh! was the child of Madaline a son?”

“Yes. Her son and that of Sir Francis were born almost on the same
day; she insisted that her son should come to the Hall also, so Sir
Francis agreed in the end.”

“And Madaline Garry nursed the heir–that is, the late Sir Gregory?”

“She did,” assented Mrs. Prisom. “Till Sir Francis was killed, as I
told you, five weeks after the death of his wife. His body was brought
home and buried; but, almost immediately after the funeral, Madaline
disappeared with her child. She was never heard of again; and I have
no doubt that by this time she is dead.”

“How long ago is it since she disappeared?” asked Fanks.

“Twenty-eight years, sir. Where she and the child went, I do not know;
for she had no money. Poor soul; I was sorry for her.”

“And her sister and Captain Garry?”

“Captain Garry died soon after. Madaline was his favourite child; he
never held up his head after she disappeared. When the Captain died,
Miss Jane went to some relatives in Scotland.”

“And the heir?”

“Sir Gregory? Oh, Dr. Binjoy got another nurse for him.”

Fanks glanced up in astonishment. “Dr. Binjoy!” he repeated. “Was he
here?”

“Of course he was, sir,” replied Mrs. Prisom, with a slight shade of
surprise, “he was at the births of both Madaline’s child and Sir
Gregory. Afterwards, when the father of Sir Louis died, he asked Dr.
Binjoy to look after his son, who was sickly. The doctor agreed; and
he has been with Sir Louis ever since.”

“Yet now they are about to part.”

“It seems strange, doesn’t it, sir?” said Mrs. Prisom, “but ever since
Dr. Binjoy has been here with Sir Louis, they have got on badly. I
think it was the chemistry which kept them together; for their
characters are quite unlike one another.”

“You like Sir Louis?”

“Yes. But I don’t like Dr. Binjoy. No. Not though I have known him for
so many years. He was a lover of Madaline Garry also, but she would
have nothing to do with him. I am glad he is leaving Sir Louis.”

“Was Binjoy friendly with Sir Gregory?”

“I can’t say, sir. I do not think he had much love for him; because he
was the heir and kept Sir Louis out of the property.”

“Oh; and no doubt Binjoy wanted Sir Louis to have the property, so
that he could get a share of the money.”

“I think so, sir. They said that Dr. Binjoy was always very gay; and
used to go to London to lead a fast life.”

“Who said that? Did you ever go to Taxton-on-Thames?”

“No, Mrs. Jerusalem told me. You know she was the housekeeper of the
late Mr. Garth; and, after his death, she went to keep house for Sir
Louis at Taxton-on-Thames. When Sir Louis came in for the property he
brought her here.”

“Is she a native of this village?”

“Oh, yes; she was a school friend of mine, though I never liked her
over much. I believe she was in love with the late Mr. Garth. At all
events, she is devoted to his son. I wonder she left him to keep house
for Sir Louis. But, as poor, young Mr. Garth had no money, I suppose
she had to do the best she could for herself.”

In Fanks’ opinion, the love of Mrs. Jerusalem for the late Mr. Garth
explained why she was so anxious to benefit the son; but it did not
indicate why she should hate Sir Louis. Mrs. Prisom’s next words
enlightened him on this point.

“It is more strange,” pursued Mrs. Prisom. “Because Mr. Michael, the
father of Sir Louis, treated Mrs. Jerusalem very badly. Yes, almost as
badly as Sir Francis did Madaline Garry.”

“I wonder Sir Francis was not afraid that Madaline Garry would avenge
herself for his treatment,” said Fanks, now satisfied as to the cause
of Mrs. Jerusalem’s hatred for Sir Louis.

“I think he was afraid,” replied Mrs. Prisom, rising and rolling up
her work. “I can’t explain what he said to me in any other way.”

“What was that?” said Fanks, eagerly.

“I was at the Hall one day, shortly after the death of Lady
Fellenger,” said the landlady, “and I saw him in his study. He was
grieving greatly for the death of his wife; but he also told me how
pleased he was at the birth of an heir. While he was talking, Madaline
entered, and spoke about something; then she nodded to me, and went
away. As the door closed after her, Sir Francis looked anxious.
‘Nancy,’ he said, turning to me–he always called me ‘Nancy,'” said
Mrs. Prisom, in parentheses. “‘Nancy,’ he said, all in a flutter like,
‘if it should chance as I die, and anything goes wrong about my son,
remember that cross I tattooed on your arm; and if you want any
further proof, look in this desk.’ Just then, we were interrupted, and
he did not say any more. I never saw him again,” added Mrs. Prisom,
with emotion, “for he was brought home dead that day week.”

“Can you understand what he meant?”

“No, sir,” said Mrs. Prisom, rising. “I can only say from the look he
gave the door, that he was afraid of Madaline. What he meant by the
cross and the desk I know no more than you do. But he was wrong in
thinking that Madaline would harm his child–for that was what he
thought, I’m sure–for she went away a week after his death with her
own, and Sir Gregory grew into a fine, young gentleman, though wild,
very wild.”

After which speech, Mrs. Prisom, exclaiming that it was close on ten
o’clock, left the room; and Fanks sat meditating over the strange
history he had heard, far into the night. Already he saw a connecting
link between the story of Madaline Garry and the tragedy of Tooley’s
Alley.

The outcome of Fanks’ midnight meditations, was that he resolved to
devote himself entirely to following the clue afforded by Mrs.
Prisom’s story of the tattooed cross. The dead father had chosen the
symbol of St Catherine’s martyrdom for some unknown purpose; the
murdered son had perished while the same emblem was being tattooed on
his arm. For some reason he had wished to be marked in such a way, and
the murderer had taken advantage of the wish to inoculate the blood of
his victim with a deadly poison. If then, Fanks could learn the
significance of the cross, he might be able to fathom the mystery of
the death. The question he asked himself was, whether he could find
out the truth concerning the cross in the study of the late Sir
Francis.

The warning which the dead man had given to Mrs. Prisom, seemed
strange to the detective. That it was dictated by fear of Madaline
Garry, he felt sure; but as she had passed away, and had foregone her
vengeance it would seem that the warning was useless. Nevertheless,
Fanks resolved to see the desk referred to by Mrs. Prisom, and to
search for the evidence hinted at by Sir Francis. Also, for reasons of
his own, which the reader may guess, he wired to Hersham at the
Fairview vicarage, to seek an explanation from his father relative to
the cross tattooed on his arm. The tale of the Reverend Hersham might
show why the special symbol of Sir Francis was figuring on the skin of
a young man who had nothing to do with the Fellengers and their mad
freaks. After concluding the first part of his scheme by despatching
this letter, Fanks proceeded to the second, and walked to Mere Hall to
see the desk referred to by Mrs. Prisom. Garth had refused to
accompany the detective to the Hall; and gave his reason for such
refusal. “It is no good my going,” he said, “I don’t wish to see my
cousin; and if, as you think, he knows that I am here, there is no
longer any reason why I should stay in Damington. I shall go up to
town by the midday train, and leave you to find out if he has anything
to do with the crime.”

“Well, as I know all you know, and a great deal more besides, I don’t
think it is necessary for you to stay,” said Fanks, dryly. “I’ll
follow up the clue afforded by the malice of Mrs. Jerusalem. Return to
town by all means, and if you want anything to do, just join Crate in
watching the Red Star Hotel in which Mrs. Boazoph lies ill.”

This Garth promised readily enough, much to the amusement of Fanks, as
the latter was simply throwing him into the society of Crate in order
to afford that person a chance of learning the connection–if any–of
Garth with the crime. He was assured in his own mind that Garth was
innocent, but he was willing to afford Crate some innocent amusement,
by setting him to find the mare’s nest of his own imagination. When
Garth, therefore, departed, Fanks smiled in his own quiet way; and
went off to solve the more difficult riddle which awaited him at Mere
Hall.

When he was nearing the Hall, a woman stepped out of a gap in the
hedge almost in front of him. She was dressed in a black silk dress
with lavender coloured shawl over her shoulders; and she wore also a
bonnet of grey velvet made Quaker fashion, and close fitting over the
ears. But it was not at her dress that Fanks looked; he was staring at
the most malignant countenance he ever saw in his life. She was pale
and thin-lipped; her hair and eyes and eyebrows were of a light, sandy
hue; and she had a stealthy, observant way with her, which made Fanks
mistrust her on the instant. Like an apparition she arose from the
ground; and laid one thin hand on his breast to detain him.

“One moment, Mr. Fanks,” she said, in a perfectly unemotional voice.
“You must speak to me before you go to Mere Hall.”

“Why must I?” demanded Fanks, with a stare, “and how is it you know my
name?”

“Mr. Garth told me your name and your errand.”

“Oh!” cried Fanks, remembering Garth’s excuse for retiring to bed on
the previous night. “So you are Mrs. Jerusalem?”

“That is my name; and I wish to tell you–”

“I wish to hear nothing,” said Fanks, roughly. “Mr. Garth had no
business to speak about me. What is there between you and him that he
should act in this underhand way without telling me? He said he was
going to bed last night. Instead of that, he sneaks out and sees you.”

“There you are wrong,” replied Mrs. Jerusalem, still without a trace
of emotion. “Mr. Garth did not come to me. On the contrary, it was I
who came to him at the inn while you were talking to Mrs. Prisom. He
came out of his bedroom to see me for a few moments; and then I went
away.”

“And why did he not tell about this meeting?” asked Fanks, angrily.

“Because I asked him not to. I wished to take you by surprise. If you
had heard of my midnight visit, you might mistrust me; as it is–”

“As it is, I mistrust you still. Well, Mrs. Jerusalem, we will waive
the point. I know you accuse Sir Louis of this murder. Is it to betray
the master whose bread you eat, that you have sought this meeting?”

“That is just why I am here,” was the quiet reply. “I hate my
master–”

“Because his father, Michael Fellenger, treated you ill. I know all
about that, Mrs. Jerusalem.”

“Ah!” said the woman, coldly. “I see you employed your time with Mrs.
Prisom to good purpose. Well, you can understand that I hate Sir
Louis, and I would gladly see Francis Garth sit in his place?”

“And for this purpose you have concocted a story against Sir Louis.”

“I have concocted no story. I tell the truth. Sir Louis and Dr. Binjoy
went up to London on the night of the murder; although they now
pretend that the one was ill, and the other attended him. They sent me
out of the house on that night; but I suspected, I watched, I
discovered. Do you know why the pair went up to London?” she
continued, grasping Fanks by the arm. “To kill Sir Gregory. Do you
know why they killed Sir Gregory? To get money for their scientific
experiments. Do you know how they killed Sir Gregory? Ask them about
the poisoned needle. Yes. They made use of their scientific knowledge
to slay the man whose money they wanted.”

“Who put the advertisement in the paper?”

“Ask Mrs. Boazoph, she knows.”

“Does she?” said Fanks, disgusted with her malignity, “and perhaps you
know about the tattooed cross?”

“No, I don’t know about the tattooed cross,” said Mrs. Jerusalem, “but
I daresay Madaline Garry can tell you.”

“Madaline Garry? Do you know her? Is she still alive?”

“I know her, she is still alive. See Sir Louis, Mr. Fanks,” said the
woman, stretching out her lean hand, “tear the mask off the lying face
of Dr. Binjoy who loved Madaline Garry and ask him where she lives;
and what evil he has worked with her aid?”

More Fanks would have asked, but with a sudden movement she eluded his
detaining hand, and before he could recover from his astonishment she
was far down the road to the village, gliding like an evil shadow into
the sunny distance. Fanks thought of following her, but on second
thoughts he pursued his journey to the Hall. “Sir Louis and Binjoy
first,” he muttered, “afterwards Mrs. Jerusalem and Madaline Garry.”

Despite his belief in the evidence of Mrs. Jerusalem, which was
obviously dictated by a malignant spirit, he caught himself wondering
if she was really right, and if, after all, Sir Louis was guilty. But
the moment afterwards he rejected this idea, as it was incredible that
Sir Louis would commit a crime and then offer a reward for the
detection of the assassin. Still Fanks admitted to himself that if Sir
Louis was not frank, he would find it difficult to come to a decision
touching his innocence or guilt.

On sending in his card at Mere Hall, the detective was admitted into
the study of Sir Louis Fellenger. Here he found not the baronet but
his old acquaintance Dr. Renshaw, who advanced boldly and introduced
himself as Dr. Binjoy. In place of wearing a thick brown beard he was
clean-shaven, and his face looked young, fresh-coloured, and smooth.
For the rest he was as tall and burly as ever, as unctuous in his
speech; and to complete the resemblance between himself and the doctor
of Tooley’s Alley, there lurked an unmistakable look of anxiety in his
grey eyes. It was impossible to think how he hoped to deceive so
clever a man as Fanks by so slight a change in his personal
appearance; but he evidently thought Fanks knew nothing of the truth,
for he came forward with a bland smile, prepared to carry on the
comedy.

“My dear sir,” said Binjoy, with magnificent pompousness, “your card
was brought to Sir Louis, but he has been busy in his laboratory, and
is rather untidy in consequence, he deputed me to receive you. Pray be
seated.”

Fanks smiled slightly and sat down, while Dr. Binjoy, rendered uneasy
by the silence, carried on a difficult conversation.

“I presume, Mr. Fanks, that you have come to report your doings to Sir
Louis touching this unfortunate death of my friend’s predecessor in
the title. May I ask if you have any clue to the assassin?”

“Oh, yes,” said Fanks, quietly; “you will be pleased to hear, Dr.
Binjoy, that I have every hope of arresting the right man.”

Binjoy turned grey and looked anything but delighted. Indeed an
unprejudiced observer would have said that he looked thoroughly
frightened. But he controlled himself so far as to falter out a
question as to the name of the guilty man. Fanks mentioned the name of
Renshaw, and thereby reduced his listener to a state of abject terror.

“Renshaw is innocent, sir,” said the doctor, tremulously, “I would he
were here to defend himself; but he is in India at present, at Bombay.
I received a letter from him, dated from Aden.”

“How strange,” said Fanks, innocently; “Dr. Turnor got a letter from
him also.”

Binjoy saw that he had over-reached himself, and bit his lip. “We need
discuss Renshaw no longer,” he said, coolly. “Let us talk of other
matters till Sir Louis enters.”

“By all means,” said Fanks. “Let me ask you, Dr. Binjoy, what you
were doing at Dr. Turnor’s in Great Auk Street on the night of the
twenty-first?”

Binjoy went pale again, and stammered out a denial. “I was not in town
on that night,” he protested. “I was attending on Sir Louis, who was
ill. I never left the house at Taxton-on-Thames.”

“Oh, yes, you did. You went up with Sir Louis.”

“Prove it, prove it,” gasped Binjoy, with white lips.

“I can prove it by the mouth of Mrs. Jerusalem. She saw you leave; she
saw Sir Louis return alone.”

“A lie! A lie!”

“It is not a lie, and you know it. It is time to have done with this
farce, Dr. Binjoy. I know who you are. I know all about your
impersonation and disguise. I know why you called yourself Renshaw. I
traced you to Plymouth and saw you disembark; I followed you to this
place, and now I have you.”

Binjoy stared wildly for a moment at seeing his mask of lies fall away
from him, and then sank back in his chair with a shiver, moaning and
crying. “It is a lie, a lie,” was all he could gasp.

“It is not a lie,” said a voice at the door, and Fanks turned to see
Sir Louis. “It is not a lie,” repeated the baronet. “Binjoy is
Renshaw; he went up with me to town on the night of the twenty-first.
If you want to know who killed my cousin, Mr. Fanks, there is the
assassin.”

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