A week after his discovery of the identity of the dead man, Fanks,
having slipped his detective skin for the time being, was seated in
the writing room of the Athenian Club, with the “Morning Planet”
newspaper on his knee. He was not reading it, however, but was looking
absently at a long and lean young man, who was writing letters at a
near table.

Francis Garth, of the Middle Temple, barrister and journalist, was
one of the few West End men who knew the real profession of Rixton,
alias Fanks. In fact, there was very little he did not know; and
Fanks–as it will be convenient to call the detective–was debating as
to whether he should question him about the Tooley Alley crime. He was
urged to this course by the remembrance that he had seen Garth at the
inquest. This had been held on the previous day. The jury had brought
in a verdict of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown,
and the conduct of the case had been placed officially in the hands of
Fanks. So far all was ship-shape.

And now the detective found himself at a standstill. No evidence had
been brought forward implicating either Mrs. Boazoph or Dr. Renshaw;
and, doubtful as was Fanks as to their honesty, he could gain no clue
from the one or the other of them likely to elucidate the mystery.
Failing this, he had determined to learn if possible all about the
previous life of the deceased, and in this way discover if anyone was
likely to be a gainer by his death. Garth, who had known the late Sir
Gregory intimately–who had been present at the inquest–was the most
likely person to furnish these details; and Fanks was waiting for an
opportunity of addressing him. On the result of the projected
conversation would depend his future movements.

“I say, Garth,” said Fanks, “how much longer will your correspondence

“I shall be at your service in ten minutes,” replied Garth, without
desisting from his occupation. “What do you wish to talk about?”

“About the death of your friend, Sir Gregory Fellenger.”

Garth looked up and turned round with alacrity.

“Is the case in your hands, Fanks?”

“Yes; and I want some information from you.”

“I shall be happy to give it. But wait for a few minutes; I am just
writing about it to a friend of mine–and yours.”

“Humph! and the name?”

“Ted Hersham, the journalist.”

They looked at one another, the same thought occupying both their

“Has your reason for writing anything to do with the left arm of our
friend?” asked Fanks, after a pause.

Garth nodded and returned to his work. When he had sealed, directed,
and stamped the letter Fanks spoke again.

“Garth?” he said; “I say, Garth?”

“Yes! What’s the matter?”

“Don’t send that letter till after our conversation.”

“Ah! You guess why I am writing to him.”

“My remark of a few moments ago ought to have shown you that,” said
Fanks, dryly. “Yes; I guess your object, and I want you to leave the
case in my hands. It is too difficult a one for you to manage alone.”

“I know that it is difficult, Fanks, but I wish to solve this

“Because Fellenger was your friend?” asked Fanks.

“Because Fellenger was my cousin,” replied Garth.

The announcement took Fanks by surprise, as he had not known of the
relationship. He was aware that Fellenger and Garth had been close
friends, but he knew little of the former, save as a club
acquaintance, and the latter was very reticent about his private
affairs, although he was curious concerning the affairs of others.

“So you wish to revenge the death of your cousin,” he remarked after a
thoughtful moment.

Garth shrugged his shoulders.

“Hardly that,” he replied; “between you and me, I did not care
overmuch for Fellenger. He was a bad lot, and we only held together
because of our relationship. But I should like to find out what took
him to Tooley’s Alley and who killed him.”

“A laudable curiosity. Do you suspect anybody?”

“Not a soul. I am as much in the dark as–you are.”

“I may not be so much in the dark as you think,” said the other.

“Then why did you ask me to assist you?” retorted Garth, sharply. “See
here, Fanks, tell you all that I know if you will promise to keep me
posted up concerning the progress of the case.”

Fanks twisted his ring and reflected.

“I agree,” he said briefly, “but you must not meddle–unless I tell
you to do so.”

“Agreed!” And the pair shook hands on the bargain.

“And now,” said Fanks, grimly, “that letter, if you please.”

After a moment’s hesitation Garth handed it over. He had a great
respect for the mental capacity of his friend, and on the whole he
judged it advisable to carry out the agreement which had been

“Though I would send that letter if I were you,” he expostulated;
“Hersham has—-”

“I know what Hersham has,” interrupted Fanks; “but I want him to see
me, not you. Wait till we know how we stand at the present moment.
Come into the smoking-room and answer my questions.”

“What a peremptory chap you are,” grumbled Garth, as they left the
room. “Evidently you don’t confide in my discretion.”

“I am about to do so,” said Fanks, who understood the art of
conciliation; “we will work together, and all that I know you shall
know. But you must let me manage things in my own way.”

In his heart Garth was flattered that Fanks should have chosen him as
his coadjutor, and, dominated by the stronger will of the detective,
he quietly took up the position of an underling. Garth was self-willed
and not usually amenable to reason; but Fanks had the law at his back,
without which Garth could not hope to do anything. Hence his

“Come, now, old fellow,” said Fanks, amiably, “we have a hard task
before us; so you must make it easier by answering my questions.”

“Go on,” said Garth, lighting a cigar; “I always give in to a man who
has had more experience than myself.”

Fanks laughed at this delicate way of adjusting the situation, but as
he wished to keep on good terms with the touchy lawyer he let the
remark pass in silence. When they were fairly settled, and he saw that
they had the smoking-room to themselves, he took out his pocket-book
and began his examination as to the past of the dead man.

“The Fellengers are a Hampshire family, I believe?”

“Yes,” replied Garth, with a nod; “Sir Gregory was the fourth baronet
and only son. The family seat is Mere Hall, near Bournemouth.”

“You are Sir Gregory’s cousin?”

“I am, on the mother’s side.”

“Who is the present baronet? Yourself or somebody else?”

“Somebody else,” said Garth, with a sigh. “I should have told you if I
had been his heir. I wonder at so clever a man as you asking so very
frivolous a question.”

“I have my reasons,” said Fanks calmly. “Well, and who is the heir?”

“My cousin, Louis Fellenger; he is twenty-five years of age, and as
great a prig as ever lived.”

“Where does he reside now?”

“I believe that he has gone to Mere Hall to take possession of the
property. But he did live at Taxton-on-Thames, a village near

“Do you know Sir Louis intimately?”

“No. I have only seen him once or twice. He is a bookish, scientific
man, and an invalid;–at least,” corrected Garth, “he has always a
doctor living with him; a tall, fat brute, called Binjoy, who twists
him round his finger. He has been with him for years.”

“A tall, fat brute,” repeated Fanks, smiling at this amiable
description. “Has the gentleman in question a long, brown beard?”

“No, he is clean shaven. A pompous creature, fond of using long words,
and proud of his voice and oratorial powers. Something like
‘Conversation Kenge’ in ‘Bleak House.'”

“Humph!” said Fanks, rather struck by the description, which was not
unlike that of Renshaw, “we will discuss Dr. Binjoy later on. In the
meantime, just enlighten me as to your precise relationship with the
present baronet.”

“It’s easily understood. Gregory’s father, Sir Francis–after whom I
was named–had a brother and sister. She married my respected father,
Richard Garth, and I am the sole offspring.”

“And the brother was the father of the present Sir Louis?”

“Exactly. There is a great deal of similarity between all three cases.
Gregory was an only child and his parents are dead; Louis is an only
child, and his parents have also gone the way of all flesh; I am an
only child, and I am likewise an orphan.”

Fanks made a note of the family tree in his book.

“So far so good,” he said, with a nod. “Sir Gregory is dead and Sir
Louis has succeeded him; if Louis dies without issue, you are the
heir. And failing you?”

“The property goes to the Crown,” replied Garth. “Louis and I are the
sole representatives of the Fellengers.”

“The race has dwindled considerably. Now what about your dead cousin.
He was a trifle rapid, I believe?”

“A regular bad lot; but I kept in with him because–well, because he
was useful to me. Understand?”

“Perfectly,” replied Fanks, who knew of Garth’s financial
difficulties. “We will pass that. Have you any idea what took him to
Tooley’s Alley?”

“Not the slightest. I saw him two days before his death–on the
nineteenth–and he said nothing about going there then.”

“Did he behave as usual towards you?”

“No. He was out of sorts. He had lost a lot of money at cards, I
believe, and he was crabbed in consequence.”

“There was no other trouble; no financial difficulty?”

“Not that I know of. Fast as he was, he could not get through ten
thousand a year before the age of twenty-eight.”

“I have known men who have done so,” said Fanks dryly. “However, if it
was not a question of money, what about the inevitable woman?”

“I don’t think it was that, either,” demurred Garth. “It was a man he
met–a negro–not a woman.”

“True. Well, you were at the inquest?”–

“How do you know?” asked Garth, starting.

“I saw you there in the crowd.”

“You see everything, Fanks.”

“It is my business to see everything, Garth. It is because you were at
the inquest that I sought you out to-day. Now that you have explained
to me your relationship to Sir Gregory I understand why you were
present. But to return to the main point. You heard the theory of Dr.

“Yes,” replied Garth reflectively. “There might be something in that
secret society business. Not, mind you, that Gregory was the man to
meddle with rubbish of that kind. He was too much of a fool; but one
never knows; a man does not have a cross tattooed on his arm for

“Do you think that it is the mark of a revolutionary society?”

“I can’t say; I should like to know. That is why I was writing to
Hersham. Of course you know that he—-”

“I know that he has a cross tattooed on his arm also. And it is for
that reason that I reject your secret society business.”

“It isn’t mine. I am merely following the lead of Renshaw.”

“Then you are following a will-o-the-wisp,” retorted Fanks. “See here,
Garth. I have known Hersham for a long time; he is the son of a
clergyman in the Isle of Wight. He was brought up to the law like
yourself; and also like yourself, he left it for journalism. As you
know, he is a merry, open-minded creature, who could not conceal a
secret if his life depended upon it. Do you think that if he had been
mixed up with secret societies that he would have been able to conceal
the fact from me?”

“Then why is there a cross tattooed on his left arm?” asked Garth.

“I intend to see him and find out. I noticed it long ago; but made no
remark on it, thinking that it was the result of some school-boy
freak. Now it has assumed a new importance in my eyes. Therefore you
must let me interview Hersham, and choose my own time and place for
doing so.”

“I suppose you are right. Tear up that letter, please.” Fanks held out
the letter.

“Tear it up yourself,” he said.

This Garth did without further remark, and looked at his friend.

“What do you intend to do now?” he asked.

“Continue this conversation for a few minutes longer. You were
intimate with the dead man, Garth. Did you ever notice this cross?”

“I did not,” said Garth, promptly, “or I should have asked what it
meant. By Jove!” he added, with a start. “Then all that obliteration
business must be nonsense.”

“Of course,” assented Fanks, smoothly. “I came to that conclusion long
ago. Fellenger had no cross on his arm when he entered Tooley’s Alley.
It was tattooed that night by the negro.”

“What makes you think that?”

“I found a few grains of gunpowder on the tablecloth of the room in
which they were together; gunpowder is used in tattooing. Again, the
arm, when Renshaw showed it to me, was raw, as though the operation
had been done lately.”

“But why should Gregory go to Tooley’s Alley to be tattooed?”

“Tell me that, and the mystery of his death is at an end,” said Fanks,
significantly. “But I am certain that Fellenger voluntarily let this
negro tattoo his arm; and so came by his death.”

“Came by his death,” echoed Garth in astonishment. “What do you mean?”

“Why,” answered Fanks, seriously, “I mean that the needle used for the
tattooing was poisoned; and so–,” he shrugged his shoulders, “–the
man died.”

Informed of this astounding fact, Garth stared at his friend in blank
astonishment. The detective resumed his cigar, and waited.

“You cannot be in earnest,” said the barrister after a pause.

“Why not? The theory is feasible enough. It was proved at the inquest
that the man died from blood-poisoning.”

“Yes. But it might have been administered in the liquor. The pair had
drinks, remember.”

“I have not forgotten,” said Fanks quietly, “but on your part remember
that no trace of poison was found in the stomach; while the blood was
so corrupted, as to show that the deceased had been inoculated with
some powerful vegetable poison. There was no mark on the body, save
the cross on the left arm; and, by your own showing, it was not there
when Fellenger went to Tooley’s Alley. The assumption is that it was
done there; as is more than confirmed by the presence of gunpowder.”

“Again, according to Mrs. Boazoph, there was no struggle; therefore
the deceased must have passed away quietly. My inference is that this
negro desired to kill Sir Gregory–or else he was instructed to do so
by some one else who wished for the death of your cousin. What then so
easy, as for the negro to have a poisoned needle prepared to execute
the tattooing. Quite unaware of the danger, Fellenger–for some
unknown reason–would permit the insertion of the fatal needle. As the
work went on, he would gradually be inoculated with the poison. When
the gunpowder and acids were applied the job would be finished, and he
would pull down his sleeve, quite ignorant that to all intents and
purposes he was a dead man. Then he sat and chatted with the negro
till the end came; when he sank into a state of coma and died. When
certain that the death was an assured fact, the negro took his
departure. Oh, it is all as plain as day to me;–all excepting one

“And that fact?”

“Why did Fellenger get a negro in Tooley’s Alley to tattoo him.”

Garth reflected.

“I can only conclude that a secret–”

“Rubbish!” said Fanks, contemptuously, “you and your secret societies.
I tell you that is all nonsense. Even assuming that the cross is an
emblem of some association–which I do not grant for a moment–we have
proved that it was not tattooed on your cousin’s arm when he went to
keep his appointment; therefore he could not at that time have been a
member of your mythical society. If, on the other hand, he was being
made a member–a ceremony which would not have taken place in a low
pot-house–why should he be killed? These societies admit living men
to work their ends; they have no use for dead bodies.”

“That is all true enough, Fanks. We must reject the idea of a secret
society. But in an affair of robbery and murder–”

“In such an affair, the method of procedure would be different. A
bludgeon–a sand-bag–a knife–any of these weapons if you please. But
if this negro had designed to rob Fellenger, he need not have
ingratiated himself into his confidence to permit the performance of
so delicate an operation as that of the poisoned needle. No. We must
reject that theory also.”

“Then what do you think was the motive of the murder?”

“I am not a detective out of a novel, Mr. Garth. Ask me an easier

He rose from his seat and began to walk to and fro. “The whole mystery
lies in the tattooing,” he muttered to himself. “If I can only find
out why Sir Gregory permitted that cross to be tattooed; and why he
went to Tooley’s Alley to have it done, I shall discover the

“Hersham has a tattooed cross on his left arm,” said Garth, “perhaps
he can explain the riddle.”

“Perhaps he can; perhaps he can’t,” returned Fanks, sharply. “The
coincidence is certainly curious. I shall see and question Hersham;
but there is much to be done before then. You must help me, Garth.”

“I am willing to do whatever you wish, my friend.”

“Ah,” said Fanks with a smile, “you have a touch of detective fever. I
suffer from it myself notwithstanding my experience. The unravelling
of these criminal problems is like gambling; a never-failing source of
excitement; and, like gambling, chance enters largely into their

“I don’t see much ‘chance’ in this case.”

“Don’t you think again. Why, the very fact that you and I should know
that Hersham has a tattooed cross on his left arm is a chance. Such
knowledge–which is mere chance knowledge–might lead to nothing; on
the other hand, it may help to find the man who killed your cousin.”

“Surely you do not suspect Hersham?”

“Certainly not. Why should I suspect him on the evidence of the
tattooed cross. For all I or you know, it may be a simple coincidence,
such as crops up constantly in real life. No. I don’t suspect

“Do you suspect anyone?”

“I don’t suspect any special person of committing the murder; but I
suspect some people, and particularly one individual, of knowing more
than they chose to say. But this is beside the point. I wish you to
help me.”

“By all means. What is it you want me to do?”

“You know the chambers of your cousin; by my desire they have been in
the hands of the police since his death. Fellenger’s valet is also
there–detained by my desire. Now I wish to search the chambers for
possible evidence and to examine him. You must take me there at once.”

“Is it necessary when, by your own showing, you are all-supreme

“My friend,” said Fanks, solemnly, “it is my experience that when the
lower orders–to which this valet belongs–come into contact with a
detective they are quite useless as witnesses, for the very simple
reason that the presence of the law paralyses them. To avoid this
danger you must introduce me into the chambers as a sympathising
friend only. You can question the servant in my presence, and having
got rid of him in the meantime, we can search the chambers together.”

“But the police may recognise you.”

“The police have their instructions; they will recognise me as Mr.
Rixton, of the West End.”

Garth fell in readily with this scheme, and together the two men left
the club. As they proceeded along Piccadilly–the dead man’s chambers
were in Half-Moon Street–Fanks resumed the conversation from the
point where it had been broken off.

“You have answered my questions capitally, Garth. Now, as we are
working together, I shall reply to anything you like to ask me.”

The barrister, restored to a sense of importance by the thought of the
part he was about to play in the forthcoming interview with the valet,
availed himself readily of the opportunity of learning the plans of
the detective. Fanks had no hesitation in confiding them to him, as,
foreseeing that Garth would be necessary to the elucidation of the
mystery, he wished to interest him in the case as much as possible. He
was well aware that Garth was not the man to give up an idea when once
it had fixed itself in his head, and his present idea was to
investigate the mystery of his cousin’s death. With characteristic
wisdom Fanks, who never wasted a person or an opportunity, made use of
this new factor in the case to further his own ends. Such economies
aided his frequent successes in no small degree.

“What are your plans?” asked Garth, taking advantage of the

“As yet I cannot be certain of them; but, so far as I can see at
present, they include the search and examination of chambers and
valet, a conversation with the landlady of the Red Star, a visit to
Taxton-on-Thames, and an interview with Dr. Renshaw.”

“Why with the latter gentleman?”

“Because Renshaw is too confidential with Mrs. Boazoph, because he was
too conveniently on the spot at the time of the murder for my liking;
and, finally, because Renshaw had a cut-and-dried theory of the motive
of the crime prepared on the instant.”

“You don’t trust the man?”

“I think that his conduct is suspicious; but I do not accuse him of
anything–as yet.”

“He does not look a man to be feared,” said Garth, disbelievingly; “he
was very timid in giving his evidence at the inquest.”

“That is one reason why I mistrust him. Dr. Renshaw is acting a part,
but I am unable to say whether he is mixed up in this especial affair.
I have my suspicions, but, as you know, I never like to speak unless

Garth looked curiously at the detective.

“You hint at the guilt of Mrs. Boazoph,” he said, doubtfully.

“Do I? Then I should hold my tongue. There is no doubt that the negro
committed the crime in the way that I told you of. But I believe that
he acted as the agent of a third party–not Mrs. Boazoph. I wish to
find out that party to hang him or her as an accessory before the

“You can’t hang him or her.”

“Perhaps not; but I can imprison him or her.”

“Do you think that Mrs. Boazoph knows the motive of the crime?”

Fanks reflected.

“Yes, I think she does,” he said, quietly; “it is my belief that the
motive for which you and I are searching is to be found in the past
life of Mrs. Boazoph.”

“Her past is known to the police, is it not?”

“It is known for the last twenty years only. She appeared in London
twenty-one years ago, but who she is and where she came from, the
police know no more than you do.”

“Then how can the motive be found in—-”

“Garth,” said Fanks, pausing, and touching the other with his finger,
“I have presentiments and premonitions; these rarely deceive me. In
this instance they point to Mrs. Boazoph. Do not ask me why, for I can
tell you no more. But I am sure that we are going forward on a dark
path; at the end of that path we will find–Mrs. Boazoph.”

“I never thought that you were so superstitious, Fanks.”

“I do not regard myself as so, I assure you. But,” and here Fanks
became emphatic, “I believe in my instinct, in my presentiment.”

Garth walked along in silence, rather inclined to ridicule the
apparent weakness of Fanks. However, he judged it wiser to keep these
thoughts to himself, and merely asked another question relative to the

“I am at a loss about the negro,” said Fanks, “as I do not know where
to search for him. Under these circumstances I think it necessary to
follow the clue I hold in my hand. The going of your dead cousin to
Tooley’s Alley to keep his appointment.”

“How do you know that it was an appointment?”

“I learnt that much from Mrs. Boazoph. She said that the white man
came first and was asked for by the black man. That is an appointment,
and I wish to find out who made it.”

“How can you discover that?”

“Well, I hope to do so by searching the chambers of your cousin. There
must be a letter or some sign whereby Fellenger knew where to meet the

“The letter may have been destroyed.”

“Possibly. From your knowledge of your cousin’s character would you
think it probable that he would destroy the letter making the

“No,” said Garth, after a moment’s thought. “If the appointment was
made within the last month I should think that the letter was still in

“On what ground?” asked Fanks, eagerly.

“Well, Gregory used to read all his letters and then drop them into
the drawer of his desk. At the end of the month he went through the
pile, and the letters that were worth nothing were destroyed. So if
that letter making the appointment is in existence it will be in the
drawer of the desk.”

“Good! This is a chance I hardly hoped to have.”

“Chance again?”

“Yes; chance again,” replied Fanks, good-humouredly. “How many men
burn their letters; but for the fortunate circumstance that your
cousin saved his for a month it would be almost hopeless to think of
gaining a clue; but now there is more than a hope.”

“Provided that the appointment was made by letter.”

“Of course,” assented Fanks, gravely; “we must always take that into
consideration. But a question on my side. Did it strike you at the
inquest that there was a resemblance between Doctors Renshaw and

“I can’t say that it did. Renshaw is much older than Binjoy, and he
wears a full beard, whereas Binjoy is shaven clean. Still they are
both burly; both have fine voices, and indulge in long words and
stately Johnsonian dialogue. You surely do not think the two men are
one and the same?”

“I have such an idea,” said Fanks, dryly, “strange as it may appear.
But as my opinion is mainly founded on your description I may be
wrong. At all events Renshaw goes to India next week. If I find Binjoy
in the company of Sir Louis Fellenger after Renshaw’s departure, I
shall admit my error. Otherwise–well, I must get to the bottom of the

“I have only seen each of them once,” said Garth, “so do not depend
altogether on my powers of description.”

“I won’t. I depend on nothing but my own eyesight. For instance, if I
see a black man wearing a green overcoat with brass buttons, I shall
have a reasonable suspicion that I see the assassin of your cousin.
Hullo! what is the matter?”

For Garth was leaning against the iron railings of Green Park with a
look of dread on his face.

“By heaven, Fanks, you may be right!”

“About what?”

“About Renshaw and Binjoy being one and the same man.”

“Indeed; what makes you think so,” asked Fanks, dryly.

“Because Binjoy has a negro servant who wears a green coat with brass