THE RED STAR ADVERTISEMENT

Greatly to the surprise of Garth, the detective appeared to be
decidedly disappointed at this announcement.

“You don’t seem to be overpleased at what I have told you,” he said in
a tone of pique. “Yet it makes the case easier to you.”

“I confess that I do not think so,” was Fanks’ reply. “I shall give
you my reasons after I have examined your cousin’s rooms. At present I
must say that you have puzzled me.”

Fanks’ refusal to discuss the subject of the negro did not at all
please Garth; especially as he considered that his discovery had
placed the solution of the case in their hands. But to his
protestations the detective only reiterated his determination to keep
silent, until the rooms had been searched. With this Garth was forced
to be content; although he could not conceive the reason of such
extraordinary conduct; and he ascended the stairs with an ill-grace.

“Were I in your place, I should follow out the clue of the negro
without delay,” he said, as they rang the bell.

“Were you in my place you would do as I am doing, and take time to
consider your movements,” retorted Fanks as the door was opened.

Venturing on no further remonstrance Garth walked into the chambers,
followed by his friend. The servant who admitted them was a
light-complexioned, light-haired young fellow, who appeared to be
thoroughly frightened. His first remark exposed the reason of his
terror.

“I am afraid you can’t come in, sir,” he said to the cousin of his
late master, with a backward glance, “the police are here.”

As he spoke a policeman made his appearance overflowing with official
importance. Prompted by Fanks the barrister at once addressed himself
to this Jack-in-office.

“I am the cousin of the late Sir Gregory Fellenger,” he said, “and I
wish to go into the sitting-room for a few minutes.”

“You can’t enter, sir,” said the policeman, stolidly.

“Why not; my friend here, Mr. Rixton—-”

The officer started and looked at Fanks. Evidently he saw his orders
in the face of the detective; for he at once moved aside and granted
the desired permission. The valet Robert was astonished at this sudden
yielding; but he entertained no suspicion that there was any
understanding between the policeman and the fashionably-dressed young
man who had been introduced as Mr. Rixton. At a glance the detective
saw that he had to deal with a timid, simple creature, who might be
trusted to tell the truth out of sheer nervous apprehension. The
discovery afforded him satisfaction.

“I am much obliged to you, officer,” said Garth, slipping a shilling
into the policeman’s hand. “We shall not stay long. Robert, show us
into the sitting-room, if you please. I wish to ask a few questions.”

A terrified expression flitted across the face of the mild valet, but
like a well-trained servant, he merely bowed and preceded Garth along
the passage. Fanks lingered behind.

“Maxwell!” he said to the policeman, “has anyone been here this
morning?”

“Yes, sir!” replied, the man, in a low tone. “A young lady, sir; very
pretty, with dark ‘air and blue eyes. She asked to see Robert, sir.”

“Oh, indeed! And how did you act?”

“I wouldn’t let her see him, sir. He don’t know she called.”

“Quite right. What did she say when you refused?”

“She was upset, Mr. Fanks, and insisted on seeing him. I said as he
was out, so she said as she would call this afternoon at three
o’clock.”

Fanks glanced at his watch. It was a quarter past two, so this unknown
woman might be expected in a short space of time. Fanks was curious to
see her and to learn the reason of her coming; as it might be that she
was indirectly connected with the ease. As yet there was no woman
mixed up in the matter with the doubtful exception of Mrs. Boazoph;
but from long experience Fanks was sure that the necessary element
would yet appear. It seemed as though his expectations were about to
be realised.

“Was she a lady, Maxwell, or an imitation of one?”

“A real lady, sir; she gave me half a sov., sir.”

“You had no business to take the money,” he said, half smiling at
Maxwell’s definition of what was a real lady.

“I couldn’t help it, sir,” said Maxwell, piteously, “she would give it
to me, sir. I am ready to return it, sir, if she should come back.”

“Well! We shall see; show her into the sitting-room if she calls
again; has that valet been out to-day?”

“No, sir; he seems too frightened to go out. He does nothing but go
about the ‘ouse ‘owling. A poor miserable thing, Mr. Fanks.”

“Has he said much to you?”

“Never a word, sir; he ‘olds his tongue and ‘owls; that’s all.”

This behaviour of the servant struck Fanks as strange; but he did not
make any comment thereon to the policeman. Again desiring Maxwell to
show the young lady into the room when she called, he went in search
of Garth. To his surprise he found the barrister alone.

“Where is Robert?” asked Fanks, sharply.

“I sent him out; thinking that we would search the room first.”

“That won’t do; we shall want his assistance, call him in at once.”

Garth nodded and rang the bell. In a few minutes Robert, looking more
terrified than ever, made his appearance. With a glance at Fanks to
bespeak his attention–for the detective was lounging idly in a
chair–Garth began his interrogation at once.

“Robert,” he said, with great deliberation, “how long have you been in
the service of my cousin?”

“Four years, sir.”

“Was he a kind master?”

“A very kind master, sir. I would not wish for a better place.”

“Do you remember the twenty-first of June?” asked the barrister, in
true police-court style.

“Yes, sir,” replied the man with a shiver. “It was the night that my
master was murdered.”

“At what time, did Sir Gregory leave the house?”

“I don’t know, sir.”

“You don’t know,” repeated Garth, while Fanks pricked up his ears.
“Were you not in attendance on him?”

“No, sir. My master received a letter by the five o’clock post which
seemed to upset him very much. After a time he recovered and sent me
out to get seats for the theatre. When I got back at six he was gone.
I never saw him again,” declared the man in a shaking voice, “never
again till I was called on to identify his dead body.”

“You had no idea where your master was going?”

“No, sir! He did not tell me.”

“When you left Sir Gregory to get seats for the theatre how was he
dressed?”

“In a frock coat and light trousers, sir; but when I saw the body it
was clothed in moleskin trousers and a flannel shirt.”

“Did you ever see that disguise in his possession?”

“I can’t say that I ever did, sir,” replied the valet, hesitatingly.
“But the week before a parcel came for Sir Gregory, which he would not
let me open. I was about to do so when he stopped me. I think the
parcel contained the clothes–the disguise.”

“Why do you think so?”

“Because the parcel was soft, and felt like clothes. Besides it came
from Weeks and Co., of Edgeware-road; and they sell more workmen’s
clothes than anything else.”

“On what day did the clothes arrive?” asked Flanks, idly.

“On the fourteenth, sir. I am certain of the date, because Sir Gregory
was taken ill in the morning.”

“Taken ill!” repeated Garth. “At what time was he taken ill?”

“At breakfast, Mr. Garth, when he was reading the paper. He gave a cry
and I came in to find him in a faint like. I got him a glass of
brandy, and he dressed and went out. The parcel arrived in the
afternoon.”

“What paper did your master take in?”

“The ‘Morning Post,’ sir,” replied the man, turning to Fanks, who had
asked the question.

“The ‘Morning Post’ of the fourteenth. And where is the paper?”

“My master put it away, sir.”

“Oh! Do you happen to know where he put it?”

“No, sir. I was out of the room at the time.”

Fanks sank back in his chair and nodded to Garth to continue the
conversation; which the barrister did at once.

“How long had your master been in town before the murder?” he asked.

“About a month, sir. Before that we were at Mere Hall in—-”

“I know where it is,” said Garth, impatiently. “But about that letter
which came by the five o’clock post on the day of the crime. Did you
see it?”

“I saw the envelope when I brought it in, sir.”

“Was the handwriting a man’s or a woman’s?”

“It was in female handwriting I am certain, sir.”

“Your master was agitated when he opened it?”

“Very agitated, sir. He had an attack like that of the previous week
when he was reading the paper.”

“The letter was from a woman?”

“I supposed it was, sir, judging from the handwriting.”

“Had Sir Gregory anything to do at that time with any particular
woman?”

Robert grew even paler than usual, and placed his hand on his throat
with a nervous gesture. He replied, with difficulty, his eyes on the
ground.

“Not that I know of, sir,” he said hoarsely.

Fanks was satisfied that the servant was lying, but he made no
attempt to intervene. On the contrary, he signed to Garth to conclude
his examination and to let the man go. This the lawyer did forthwith.

“That is all, Robert; you can go. I shall remain here with Mr. Rixton
for a few minutes longer.”

When the servant had taken his departure, Garth turned eagerly to his
friend. “Well, Fanks, and what do you think of all this?”

“I think that there is a woman at the bottom of it as usual.”

“Mrs. Boazoph?”

“No, a younger and a prettier woman than Mrs. Boazoph. We will talk of
that later. In the meantime I wish to see that letter and the
advertisement.”

“What advertisement?”

“The one in the ‘Morning Post’ which upset your cousin on the
fourteenth; in which drawer does he stow his letters?”

Garth went to the desk. He tried the middle drawer, but it was locked;
as were the other drawers. “He used to place his papers in the middle
drawer,” said Garth, “but you see that it is closed.”

“I thought it might be,” said Fanks, producing a bunch of keys, “so I
brought these with me.”

“No good. No skeleton keys will open these locks. They are of special
construction, and Gregory was very proud of them.”

“These are the keys of the desk, Garth. They were found in the dead
man’s pockets; and I brought them with me, in case the drawers should
be locked. I was right, it seems. And now let us make our search.”

He opened the middle drawer and revealed a mass of letters all in the
envelopes in which they had come.

The two men went carefully through the pile; and in ten minutes they
were rewarded by finding the object of the search. The envelope, the
address of which, as had been stated by Robert, was in female
handwriting, contained three documents. Two printed slips cut from a
newspaper; a piece of cardboard in the shape of a five-rayed star,
painted red, and inscribed with some writing. Slips and star read as
follows:

The first printed slip, dated 14th June:

“Tattooed cross left arm. I alone know all. I alone can save you. If
you wish to feel secure, meet me when and where you please.”

The second printed slip, dated 16th June:

“Tattooed cross left arm. I wish to feel secure. Name time and place,
and I shall be there.”

The cardboard star, painted red:

“Good!” said Fanks, surveying this documentary evidence with much
satisfaction. “We have more than hearsay to go on now. The case is
shaping better than I expected.”

“You were right about an appointment having been made,” said Garth.
“These slips and that star prove it.”

“Yes! He who runs may read–now; but you were not so confident of my
foresight a few minutes ago. Well, we have made a step forward. Here
is the slip asking for the appointment; here is your cousin’s reply,
leaving the question of the appointment to the first advertiser: and
finally here is the ingenious pictorial information indicating the Red
Star in Tooley’s Alley, as the meeting-place. Sir Gregory disguised
himself in the workman’s clothes bought from Weeks and Co., on the day
that the first notice appeared; kept the appointment between six and
seven; and so walked blindfolded into the trap of the Red Star, where
he met with his fate. The assassin laid his plans uncommonly well; but
she made one mistake.”

“She! You don’t mean to say that the murderer is a murderess?”

“No! The negro killed Sir Gregory; that is beyond all doubt. But as I
said before, it is my opinion that the negro was inspired by a third
party. Can’t you see that the address on that envelope is in female
handwriting?”

“Certainly I can. But that does not prove that a woman inspired the
crime; you go too fast, Fanks.”

“Perhaps I do, and, after all, I may be mistaken. But that address is
in no feigned hand; it was written by a woman. If a woman had nothing
to do with this death why should she bait the trap to lure the man to
his doom. And again, the directions on the cardboard star are in an
angular female hand. Both address and directions are in the
handwriting of an elderly woman.”

“Come now!” cried Garth, disbelievingly. “You can’t tell the woman’s
age from her handwriting.”

“I can tell that she is elderly. These angular, spiky letters were
formed by a woman who learned to write in early Victorian days. Female
handwriting has altered of late, my friend. The new woman goes in for
masculine handwriting, as well as for masculine dress. If a girl of
the present day had written this address, it would have been in a bold
and manly hand. As it is, I bet you five pounds that it was scribbled
by a woman over fifty.”

“It may be so; but this is all deduction.”

“Most of the evidence in criminal cases is circumstantial and
deductive. Another thing makes me think that it is a woman. There is a
great deal of useless mystery here. A man would not have troubled
about that. He would have inserted a third advertisement appointing
time and place; but this woman can’t resist a touch of the mysterious.
Therefore she devises this silly cardboard star; sends it through the
post; and so betrays herself.”

“How can she betray herself when there is no address?”

“There is no address; but there is a postmark. Look at the envelope.”

Garth picked up the paper, and saw that the postmark was
Taxton-on-Thames.

“Why!” he cried in astonishment, “that is where my cousin Louis
lives.”

“Yes, and it is where Dr. Binjoy lives, which is more to the purpose,”
said Fanks, dryly. “Did I not tell you that I was right to doubt that
gentleman.”

Garth looked again at the envelope. “You say that this handwriting is
that of an elderly woman. I suppose you are thinking of Mrs. Boazoph?”

“Indeed I am not. I give Mrs. Boazoph more credit than to murder a man
in her own hotel and advertise the fact so openly. She is not a fool.
But patience, Garth, we are not yet at the end of our discoveries.”

He again searched the drawers. In many of them there was nothing
likely to attract his attention; but in the lowest drawer on the right
hand side, Garth made a discovery. It was that of a pretty girl’s
photograph, and this he showed to Fanks with a laugh.

“Gregory always had a weakness for pretty faces,” he remarked. “Do you
not think that his taste was good?”

Fanks looked reflectively at the picture. It was that of a girl just
budding into womanhood, with a delicate face, and rather sad eyes. The
name of the artist was not printed at the foot, as is usual, nor was
the address of the studio inscribed thereon. Nevertheless, on the back
of the photograph the detective found writing which startled him.

“Garth!” he cried eagerly, “give me that envelope. Ah, I thought so.”

“What is the matter?” asked Garth, astonished at the excitement of the
usually calm Fanks.

“Look at the envelope; look at the back of the photograph; compare the
handwritings.”

Fanks placed them side by side on the desk. On the envelope was the
address of Sir Gregory in Half-Moon Street; on the photograph, an
inscription which ran as follows: “Emma. Born 1874; died 1893.” The
handwriting on both was one and the same. Garth drew a long breath.

“By George, that is strange,” he said, after a pause, “the woman who
wrote the one, wrote the other; there isn’t a shadow of difference
between the writings. You are right, Fanks, the penmanship is that of
an elderly woman; no doubt the mother of the girl.”

“That is my opinion also; but the girl, Garth? Who is she?”

The lawyer reflected and frowned. “I did hear that my cousin was
entangled with some woman,” he said with reluctance. “But that was
many months ago. In fact, there was a rumour of a marriage. I asked
Gregory if this was so, and received a prompt denial. But for all
that,” added Garth, looking at the portrait, “there might have been
some truth in the rumours. I never saw this lady; but my cousin could
be very secretive when he liked. Seventy-four to ninety-three; just
nineteen. Poor creature! Whosoever she was, I am certain that he
treated her badly.”

“You may judge him too harshly.”

Garth shook his head with a gloomy air. “I knew my cousin well,” he
said. “He would have killed any woman with unkindness.”

They looked at one another, and back at the photograph. There was
something sinister in the fact that the two articles were inscribed in
the same handwriting. The writing on the photograph recorded the
decease of a pretty woman; that on the envelope had lured the baronet
to his death. Was it possible that the follies of Sir Gregory had come
home to him in so fearful a fashion. The two men could not but incline
to this opinion.

“Well!” said Fanks, after a long pause, “I should like to ask Robert
what he knows about this woman.”

“Very probably he knows nothing.”

“I am not so certain about that,” replied Fanks, “When you asked him
about a woman–about a possible entanglement, he could hardly speak
for fear; and he told a lie about it. He is a servile hound, that
fellow, and I daresay he did all Fellenger’s dirty work for him. We
must have him in and force the truth from his unwilling lips.”

“Will you go away after you have seen him?” said Garth, who was
beginning to weary of the matter.

“No. I wish to wait and see–a girl.”

“A girl! What girl?”

“A young lady who called this morning to see Robert. Maxwell told her
the necessary lie that Robert was out, so she said she would call
again this afternoon at three.”

“It is past three now,” said Garth, glancing at the clock.

“All the better; she may appear at any moment. Maxwell has my orders
to show her in here.”

“And then?”

“And then I shall find out why a lady should call upon that miserable
dog of a valet. In the meantime touch the bell and have him in.”

“Shall I question him?”

“If you please. I wish to remain incognito.”

Robert answered the bell so promptly as to suggest the probability
that he had been stationed at the keyhole. His face, however, was as
vacant and miserable as ever, so even if he had overheard, Fanks did
not think that he had sufficient brains to be dangerous. The valet
waited mutely for orders, with a cowed look on his face, and rubbed
one lean hand over the other. He was an uncomfortable creature in
every respect.

“Robert,” said Garth, in as mild a tone as was possible, “I was
authorised by the police to look over my cousin’s papers. I have done
so with the assistance of Mr. Rixton, and we have made several
discoveries.”

“Yes, sir,” said the man, moistening his dry lips.

“Do you know Taxton-on-Thames?”

“No, sir; I never heard of it.”

Startled by this calm denial, Fanks bent forward to observe the man’s
face. He was satisfied by a glance that Robert had spoken the truth;
he had never heard of Taxton-on-Thames. This discovery puzzled the
detective.

“Did your master–your late master–know of it?” he interpolated.

“Not that I am aware of, sir; he never mentioned the name to me.”

“Robert,” said Garth, solemnly, “you denied some time ago that Sir
Gregory was entangled with a woman. Think again and answer truly.”

Robert shifted from one foot to the other and looked uneasily at his
questioner. Then he made an evasive reply.

“Sir Gregory was connected with no woman at the time of his death,” he
said, doggedly.

“That may be; but was he connected with a woman in 1893?”

The valet started back with a gasp.

“How did you hear of that?” he asked, shaking in every limb.

“I heard it from no one; but I guessed it from this picture.”

With a sudden movement he thrust the photograph under the eyes of the
pale and trembling creature. After one glance Robert recoiled with an
ejaculation of horror, and covered his face with his hands. Expecting
revelations, Fanks waited and watched.

“Come!” said Garth, quietly, “I see that you recognise the woman. Her
name, if you please?”

“I–I–promised never to speak of her.”

“You must–for your own sake.”

“I dare not. Let me go, Mr. Garth!”

He broke away from the lawyer, but before he could reach the door he
was in the grip of Fanks. “Come, Robert,” said the latter, soothingly,
“you must make the best of a bad job. I know that you were devoted to
your master. At the same time he is dead, and it is necessary that the
mystery of his death should be cleared up. On the whole,” added Fanks,
looking into the eyes of the servant, “I think it advisable that you
should confess.”

“The woman you speak of had nothing to do with the death of my
master.”

“I am not asking you that. I am inquiring her name. Answer!”

The sudden imperiousness in the detective’s tone made Robert’s heart
sink within him. He was incapable of a prolonged struggle, and
forthwith answered with all submissiveness–

“I–I–don’t know her real name.”

“What did she call herself?”

“Emma Calvert.”

“Ah! And what did you call her, Robert?”

The valet looked at Garth with a look of malicious triumph. “I called
her Lady Fellenger,” he said slowly.

Garth sprang up with a sudden exclamation, but he was stopped by
Fanks, who rapidly questioned the valet. “Was Emma Calvert really and
truly the wife of your master?”

“Yes, sir; they were married quietly in a Hampstead church. She was in
a dressmaker’s shop, and my master was very much in love with her. I
heard that she was engaged to another gentleman, but she threw him
over, and married Sir Gregory before they went to Paris.”

“So rumour was right for once,” said Garth, shrugging his shoulders.
“Well, whether Gregory was married or single matters little to me. I
am not the heir.”

“It may matter a great deal to the case,” remarked Fanks, dryly.
“Perhaps, Robert, you can tell me where Emma Calvert came from?”

“I do not know; my master knew, but he never told me. Lady Fellenger
did not speak of her past in my presence.”

“And where is she now?”

“Dead; she died in Paris.”

“I see that you are telling the truth. She died in 1803.”

“How did she die?”

“I can’t answer you,” burst out Robert, in a frenzy. “You will drive
me mad. Night and day I have her dead face before me. Look at me,” he
continued, holding out his trembling hands. “I am a wreck of what I
was once. All through the death of Emma Calvert, of Lady Fellenger.”

The two listeners arose to their feet. What dark mystery was connected
with the death of this woman that could so move the man? In searching
for one murder had they stumbled upon another?

“Did she meet her death; by foul play?” asked Garth, sternly.

“No! No! I swear it was not that; but she did not get on well with my
master. He wearied of her, he neglected her; she was very proud and
impulsive; and one night after a great scene–she–she—-”

“Well, man–well?”

“She–she destroyed herself.”

“Great heavens!” cried Garth, confirmed in his worst fears. “Suicide?”

“She drowned herself in the Seine,” said Robert, in a low voice.

As he spoke a woman appeared on the threshold of the open door. Robert
gave one look at her, and raised his hands with a cry. “The dead!” he
moaned, retreating from the woman. “The dead returned to life. I saw
her laid out. I saw her buried; yet she is there–there!” and with a
cry he fell on the floor in a fit.

The others made no attempt to assist him. They were staring spellbound
at the woman. She was the original of the photograph which Garth held
in his hand.

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