ARREST EVADED

The transcontinental express was speeding on its way along the banks of
the mighty River Ganges, between Agra and Benares, on a dark night at
the beginning of the rainy season. On reaching Allahabad two English
officers boarded the train, and on displaying their tickets were
shown to their places in one of the three roomy compartments of the
luxuriously appointed sleeping-cars.

The lamp was shaded by a green silk blind, and the hermetically closed
gauze musquito curtains of one of the upper berths indicated that it
was tenanted by a sleeping traveler.

Not having very far to go, the new-comers stretched themselves on their
couches without undressing and began to converse in a low tone of voice.

“Have you heard about this terrible business at Baroda?” inquired the
taller of the two.

“No,” replied the other. “I am only just down from the hills and have
hardly seen a newspaper or spoken to a civilized being since we landed
at Bombay.”

“Well,” continued the former, “do you remember that young German Count
whom we had on board on our voyage out and who‘rooked’ us so terribly
at cards?”

“By Jove, I should think I did! Why, he won a couple of hundred off
me. Never saw such infernal luck. Wasn’t his name Dalberg or Waldberg,
or something of the kind? He was awfully spooney on old Fitzpatrick’s
pretty daughter, now that I think of it. What’s become of the fair
Florence?”

“She’s dead, poor girl.”

“Dead! You don’t mean to say so! Why, she looked the very embodiment of
health and happiness on board. What on earth did she die of?”

“Well, the story is a sad one, and makes my blood boil whenever I think
of it. It appears that old Fitzpatrick invited Waldberg, whose father
he had met in Europe, to visit him at Baroda, and had him staying at
his house for quite a number of weeks. The only return which the
cursed scoundrel saw fit to make for all the hospitality and kindness
lavished on him by the colonel was to betray the latter’s daughter
under a promise of marriage.

“Unable to conceal her shame any longer, and driven to desperation
by the sudden disappearance of her lover from Baroda, the poor girl
committed suicide. She was seen by some natives, who were on their way
down the river, to throw herself into the stream, but on quickly rowing
to the spot they were unable to find any trace of her body, which
had evidently been dragged under by the crocodiles which infest the
Wishwamitra.

[Illustration: FLORENCE FITZPATRICK’S SUICIDE.]

It is said that she left a letter imploring her father’s pardon, and
stating the reasons which had led her to put an end to her life. The
old man’s grief, I hear, is something heart-rending, and in the agony
of the first moments, he allowed the secret of his daughter’s ruin by
Count von Waldberg to escape his lips. His frenzy against the latter is
beyond all description, and he has sworn to hunt him down, wherever he
may have fled to, to bring him to account.”

While Captain Clery—for it was he—was in the act of thus describing
the fate of poor Florence Fitzpatrick, the curtains of the upper berth
were slightly pushed aside, and the head of a man might have been seen
to bend forward as he listened intently to the story. But at the last
words thereof he hurriedly closed the curtains again and disappeared
from view.

This incident had escaped the notice of the two officers, and Captain
Clery continued as follows:

“But this is not all. There are some very ugly suspicions concerning
Waldberg in connection with the murder of a rich Hindoo widow, who was
found dead, with her skull fractured, among the ruins of an ancient
temple, in a wood adjoining the Fitzpatrick bungalow. Her servants have
since made disclosures which conclusively prove that Waldberg had been
her lover during almost the entire period of his stay at Baroda. A
quarter of an hour before her body was discovered, Waldberg is said to
have visited her apartments alone, and a considerable amount of money
and jewels are ascertained to have been abstracted therefrom. Moreover,
in the letter which Florence left for her father she hinted that one of
the reasons of her suicide was that she believed her lover to have been
guilty of a terrible crime and declared that her last interview with
him had taken place near the ruins of the temple above mentioned, just
before the body of the murdered woman was discovered. An unfortunate
Bengalee beggar, who was found hovering over the corpse of the widow
as if about to rob it of its jewels, was publicly put to death a few
days later on the charge of having killed her. The execution took place
in the presence of Waldberg, who is now believed to have been the real
assassin and who was invited by the Guicowar to witness the horrible
scene. It appears that the count was unable to bear the sight, and that
he fainted away, creating a great commotion thereby. A few hours later
he suddenly left Baroda, informing the colonel by letter that he was
called away on most urgent business. He has not been heard of since,
but the police are on the look out for him.”

A few minutes later the train steamed into the station of Allahabad,
and the two officers, gathering up their cloaks, swords, and other
traps, left the sleeping-car.

As soon as the express had again started on its way to Calcutta the
man who had displayed such an intense interest in the conversation of
Captain Clery and his friend cautiously descended from his berth and
began to dress himself as noiselessly as possible. Drawing the blind
aside for a moment from the lamp, the dim light thereof revealed the
features of Frederick von Waldberg. As soon as he had finished dressing
he repaired to the cabinet de toilette of the sleeping-car, taking
with him a small leather dressing-case. When he emerged therefrom
a few minutes later it was to be seen that he had shaven off the
short beard which he had allowed to grow during his stay at Baroda.
Anxious, however, to avoid attracting the attention of the conductor
to this metamorphosis, he threw a light Inverness cape overcoat over
his shoulders, pulled the collar over his ears, and, drawing his soft
felt traveling hat low down over his eyes, sat motionless in a corner,
apparently fast asleep.

The morning after his arrival at Calcutta, Frederick took passage
on a sailing ship bound for Havre. He was dressed in the garb of a
workingman, and gave his name as Franz Werner, and his trade as that
of a painter and decorator. He informed the skipper that, his health
having been broken by a long stay in the murderous climate of Bengal,
the doctor had prescribed the long sea voyage round the Cape as his
only hope of recovery. He gave this as the reason for his preferring
to return to Europe by a sailing ship instead of by one of the mail
steamers via the Suez Canal.

Once again Frederick had succeeded in evading capture and arrest for
his crimes.