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The diamond cross mystery


TheProjectGutenbergeBook,TheDiamondCrossMystery,byChesterK.
Steele
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Title:TheDiamondCrossMysteryBeingaSomewhatDifferentDetectiveStory
Author:ChesterK.Steele

ReleaseDate:June25,2005[eBook#16127]
Language:English
Charactersetencoding:ISO-646-US(US-ASCII)
***STARTOFTHEPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKTHEDIAMOND
CROSSMYSTERY***
E-textpreparedbyAlHaines

THEDIAMONDCROSS
BeingaSomewhatDifferentDetectiveStory
by



CHESTERK.STEELE

Authorof"TheMansionofMystery,"etc.
InternationalFictionLibrary
ClevelandNewYork
PressOf
TheCommercialBookbindingCo.
Cleveland
1918


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I.TheTickingWatch
II.King'sDagger
III.TheFisherman
IV.Spotty
V.Amy'sAppeal
VI.Grafton'sSearch
VII.TheColonelisSurprised
VIII.TheDiamondCross
IX.Indicted
X.TheDeathWatch
XI.NoAlimony
XII.TheOddCoin
XIII.SingaPhut
XIV.TheHiddenWires
XV.ADog
XVI.TheColonelWonders
XVII."AJollyGoodFellow"
XVIII.Amy'sTest
XIX.WordFromSpotty
XX.InTheShadows


XXI.SwirlingWaters
XXII.HisLastCase



CHAPTERI
THETICKINGWATCH

Therewasonlyonesoundwhichbroketheintensestillnessofthejewelryshop
onthatfatefulAprilmorning.Thatsoundwasthetickingofthewatchinthe
handofthedeadwoman.
Outside,therainwasfalling.Notaheavydownpourwhichsplashedcheerfully
onumbrellasandformedswollenstreamsinthegutters,whencetheyrushed
towardthesewerbasins,carryingwiththemanaccumulationofsticks,leaves
anddirt.Notawindy,gustyrain,thatmadeamangladtogetindoorsneara
genialfire,withhispipeandabook.
Itwasadrizzle;asteady,persistentdrizzle,whichahalf-heartedwindblewthis
wayandthat,asthoughneitherelementcaredmuchforthetaskinhand—thatof
thoroughlysoakingtheparticularpartoftheuniverseintheneighborhoodof
Colchesterandtakingitsowntimeinwhichtodoit.
Earlyintheunequalcontestthesunhadgivenupitsefforttopiercethroughthe
leadenclouds,andhadtakenitsbeamstootherplaces—tobusycities,tosmiling
countryvillagesandfarms.Above,around,below,onallsides,soakingthrough
andthrough,drizzlingit,soakingit,sprinklingit,half-hidingitinfogandmist,
therainenvelopedColchester—asodden,dampgarment.
Earlypaperboysslunkalongtheslipperystreets,tryingtoprotecttheirlimp
waresfrombecomingmereblotters.Thegongsofthefewtrolleycarsthatwere
sentouttotaketheearlytoilerstotheirtasksrangasthoughcoveredwitha
blanketoffog.Thethudofthefeetofthemilkmen'shorseswasmuffled,andthe


rattleofbottlesseemedtocomefromafaroff,asthoughoversomemistylake.
JamesDarcy,shiveringashearose,silentlyprotesting,fromhiswarmbed,
pulledonhisgarmentsaudiblygrumbling,thegrumblebecomingavoiced
protestasheshuffledinhisslippersalongthecorridorabovethejewelryshop
andwentdowntheprivatestairsintothemainsales-room.
Theelectriclightinfrontofthemassivesafeseemedtolearathimwitha
blearedeyelikethatofatoper,who,havingspentthenightinconvivial
company,foundhimself,mostunaccountably,onhisowndoorstepinthegray
dawn.
"Raining!"murmuredJamesDarcy,ashereachedovertoswitchonthelight
abovethelittletablewherehesetpreciousstonesintogoldandplatinumofrare
andbeautifuldesigns."Rainingandcold!Iwishthesteamwason."
Thefogfromoutsideseemedtohavepenetratedintothejewelryshop.Itswirled
aboutthegleamingshowcases,reflectedfromthecutglass,dancedawayfrom
thesilvercups,brokeintopointsoflightfromthetimesofforks,becamebroad
splotchesonthebladesofknives,and,perchance,madeitswaythroughthe
cracksintothesafe,whereitbathedthediamonds,therubies,thesapphires,the
aquamarines,thepearls,thejades,andthebloodstonesinawhitemist.The
bloodstones—
StrangethatJamesDarcyshouldhavethoughtofthemashelookedattherain
outside,hearditsdrip,drip,driponthewindows,andsawthefogandswirlsof
mistinsideandwithoutthestore.Strangeand—
First,ashegazedattheprostratebody—thehorridredblotchlikeagayribbon
inthewhitehair—hethoughtthesmall,insistentsoundwhichseemedtofillthe
roomwasthebeatingofherheart.Then,ashelistened,hisearsattunedwith
fear,heknewitwasthetickingofthewatchinthehandofthedeadwoman.
JamesDarcyrubbedhiseyes,asthoughtoclearthemfromthefog.Herubbed
themagain—hepassedhishandbeforehisfaceasifcobwebshaddriftedthere
—hetouchedhisears,whichseemednotapartofhimself.
"Tick-tick!Tick-tick!Tick-tick!"
Thesoundseemedtogrowlouder.Itwasnotherheart!


"Hello!Comehere,somebody!Amelia!what'sthematter?Sallie!SalliePage!
Wakeup!Hello,somebody!She'sdead!Killed!There'sbeenamurder!Imust
getthepolice!"
JamesDarcystartedtocrosstheroomtoreachandflingopenthefrontdoor
leadingtothestreet,thathemightcallthealarmtoothersthanthedeafcook,
whohadnotyetcomedownstairs.Mrs.Darcy'smaidhadgoneawaythe
previousevening,andwasnotexpectedinuntilnoon.Itwastooearlyforanyof
thejewelryclerkstoreport.YetDarcyfelthemusthavesomeonewithhim.
Tocrossthestoretoreachthedoormeantsteppingoverthebody—the
grotesquelytwistedbody,withthewhite,upturnedfaceandthelittlespotofred,
nearwherethesilvercombhadfallenfromthesilveredhair.AndsoDarcy
changedhismind—herantothesidedoor,fumbledwiththelock,flungbackthe
portal,andthenrushedoutintherainanddrizzle,thefogstreamingaftermmas
hepartedthemistlikelong,whitestreamersofribbon,suchastheysuspendat
thedoorfortheveryyoungortheaged.
"Hello!Hello!"shoutedDarcyintothesilentrainandmistoftheearlymorning
street,nowdesertedsaveforhimself.
Theglisteningasphalt,thegleamingtrolleyrails,thedarkanddampbuildings
seemedtoechobackhiswords.
"Hello!Hello!"
"Police!"voicedJamesDarcy."There'sbeenamurder!"
"Amurder!"echoedthemist.
Therewassilenceafterthis,andDarcylookedupanddownthestreet.Nota
person—notavehicle—wasinsight.Noonelookedfromthestoresorhouseson
eithersideoracrossfromthejewelryshop.
Thenarattlingmilkwagonswungaroundthecorner.Itwasfollowedbyanother.
"Hello!Hello!there—you!"calledDarcyhoarsely.
"What'sthematter?"askedthefirstman,asheswungdownfromhisvehicle
withawirecarrierfilledwithbottlesinhishand.


"Somebody'sbeenhurt—killed—arelativeofmine!Iwanttotellthepolice.It's
inthatjewelrystore,"andhepointedbacktowardit,forhehadrundownthe
streetalittleway.
"Oh,Isee!Darcy's!She'skilledyousay?"
"I'mafraidso."
"Accident?"
"Idon'tknow.Lookstomemorelikemurder!"
Themilkmanwhistled,sethiscollectionofbottlesbackinhiswagon,and
hurriedwithDarcytowardthestore.Theotherman,bringinghisrattlingvehicle
toastop,followed.
"Whereisshe?"whisperedCasey,assoonashereachedthesideofhisbusiness
rival,Tremlain.
"Onthefloor—rightinthemiddle—betweentheshowcases,"answered
Darcy,andhe,too,whispered.Itseemedtherightthingtodo.
"There—seeher!"
Hepointedatremblingfinger.
"Lord!Herhead'ssmashed!"exclaimedCasey."Lookattheblood!"
"I—Idon'twanttolookatit,"murmuredDarcy,faintly.
"Hark!"cautionedTremlain."What'sthatnoise?"
Theyalllistened—theyallheardit.
"It'sawatchticking,"answeredDarcy."FirstIthoughtitwasherheartbeating—
itsoundedso.Butit'sonlyawatch."
"Maybeso,"assentedCasey."We'dbettermakesurebeforewetelephoneforthe
police.Shemayonlyhavefallenandcutherhead."
"You—yougoandsee,"suggestedTremlain."I—Idon'tliketogonearher—I
nevercouldbearthesightofdeadfolks—notevenmyownfather.Youlook!"


Caseyhesitatedamoment,andthensteppedclosertothebody.Heleanedoverit
andputthebacksofhishardfingersonthewhite,wrinkledandshrunken
cheeks.Theywerecoldandwax-liketohistouch.
"She'sdead,"hewhisperedsoftly."Bettergetthepolicerightaway."
"Murdered?"askedTremlain,whohadremainedbesideDarcynearthe
showcasewherethesilvergleamed.
"Idon'tknow.Herhead'scutbad,thoughthere'snotsomuchbloodasIthought
atfirst.Wemustn'ttouchthebody—that'sthelaw.Gottoleaveituntilthe
coronerseesit.Where'sthetelephone?"
"Rightbackhere,"answeredDarcyeagerly."Policeheadquartersnumberis—"
"Iknowit,"interruptedCasey."Ihadtocall'emuponcewhenIhadahorse
stole.I'llget'em.What'sthatwatchticking?"heasked,pausing."Oh,it'sinher
hand!"andtheothertwolookedandsaw,claspedcloseinthepalmofthe
womanlyinghuddledonthefloor,awatchofuncommondesign.Itwasticking
loudly.
"Whatmakesitsoundsoplain?"askedTremlain.
"Causeit'ssoquietinhere,"answeredCasey."It'llbenoisyenoughlateron,
though!Butit'ssoquiet—that'swhatmakesthetickingofthewatchsoundso
plain."
"Itisquiet,"observedTremlain."Butinajewelrystorethere'salwaysalotof
clocksmakinganoiseand—Say!"hesuddenlycried,"there'snotaclockinthis
placeticking—noticethat?Notaclockticking!They'veallstopped!"
"You'reright!"exclaimedCasey."Thewatchistheonlythinggoinginthewhole
place!"
ThemilkmenlookedquicklyatDarcy.
"Yes,theclockshaveallstopped,"hesaid,wettinghislipswithhistongue."I
didn'tnoticeitbefore,thoughIdidhearthewatchinherhandticking—Ithought
itwasherheartbeating—IguessIsaidthatbefore—Idon'tknowwhatIam
saying.Thishasupsetmefrightfully."


"Ishouldthinkitwould,"agreedCasey."Funnythingabouttheclocksall
stopping,though.S'posetheyallrandownatonce?"
"Theycouldn't,"Darcyanswered,"Iwoundtheregulatoronlyyesterday,"andhe
pointedtothetalltimepieceintheshowwindow—thesolemn-tickingclockby
whichmanypassersbysettheirwatches."Theotherclocks—"
"Andthey'veallstoppedatdifferenttimes!"addedTremlain."That'sfunny,too."
Ifanythingcouldbefunnyinthatplaceofdeath,thisfactmightbe.Anditwasa
fact.Ofthemanyclocksinthestorenotonewasticking,andallpointedto
differenthours.Thebigregulatorindicated10:22;achronometerinashowcase
wasfivehoursandsomeminutesaheadofthat.TheclockoverDarcy'swork
tablenotedthehourof7:56.Somecheaperclocks,alarmsamongthem,onthe
shelves,whichwereusuallygoing,showedvarioushours.
Theyhadallstopped.Onlythewatchinthedeadwoman'shandwasticking,and
thatshowedapproximatelytherighttime—alittleaftersixo'clock.
"Well,we'vegottogetthepolice,"saidCasey."ThenI'vegottotravelon—
customerswaitingforme."
"You—youwon'tleavemeherealone—willyou?"askedDarcy.
"Isn'tthereanyoneelseinthehouse?"askedTremlain,fortheliving-rooms
wereabovethejewelrystore—asubstantialbrownstonebuildingofthestyleof
threedecadesago.
"OnlySalliePage,thecook.She'sdeaf,andshe'llbemoreofanuisancethana
help.Mrs.Darcy'smaidwon'tbeinuntilnoon.Idon'twanttobeleft—"
"Oh,youwon'tbealonelong,"observedCasey."Thepolicewillbehereassoon
aswesend'emword.Andhere'sacrowdoutsidealready."
Therewasone—madeupofmenandboyswith,hereandthere,afactorygirlon
herwaytowork.Theyhadseenthetwomilkwagonsinfrontofthejewelry
store—thestorewhich,thoughmostofthemorevaluablepieceswereinthesafe
—stillshowedinthegleamingwindowsmuchthatcaughttheeyeofthe
passerby.Someonesensedtheunusual.Someonestopped—thenanother.Some
onehadcaughtsight,onpeeringintothestore,oftheprostratefigurewiththat


blotchofredinthewhitehair.
Thecrowd,increasingeachminute,pressedagainstthestilllockedfrontdoors.
Thoseinthevanflattenedtheirnosesagainsttheglassingrotesquefashion.
"Hurryandgetthepolice!"beggedDarcy.
Caseywasabouttotelephone,whenTremlain,whohadgoneoutintothealley
fromthesidedoor,hurriedbacktoreport:
"Herecomesacopnow.SawthecrowdIguess.Wecanjusttellhimwhatwe
saw,Casey,andthenslidealong.I'mlateasitis."
"So'mI!"
Thepoliceman,hisheavy-soledshoescreakingimportantly,camealongthe
street,hurryingnotintheleast.Heknewwhateveritwaswouldkeepforhim.
"What'stherow?"demandedPatrolmanMulligan.
"Looksliketheoldladywasmurdered,"Caseyanswered."Iwasjustgoingto
telephonetoheadquarters."Hetoldbrieflywhatheknew,whichwas
corroboratedbyTremlain,thenthetwolefttocovertheirroutes,aftergiving
theiraddressestothepoliceman.
Thecrowdgrewlarger.Fromoutsideitlookedlikeaconventionofumbrellas.
Therainstilldrizzledandturnedtosteamandmistasitwarmedonthemany
bodiesinthethrong—amistthatmingledwiththatoftherainitself.Inspiteof
thestorm,thecrowdgrewandremained.Thosewhomightbelateatbench,
latheorloomunheededthepassingoftime.Itwasnoteverydaytheycouldbe
soclosetoamurder.
Thecrowdfilledtheentirespaceinfrontofthejewelrystore.Thebolderspirits
rattledtheknobofthelockedportals,andtappedontheglassthatwasnow
mistyandgrimyfromhandsandnosespressedagainstit.Thecrowdbeganto
surgeintothealley,whenceasidedoorgaveentranceintoMrs.Darcy'splace.
Someevenventuredtopressintothestoreitself—thestorewherethesilent
figurelayhuddledbetweentheshowcases.
"Nowthenslideoutofhere—takeawalk!"advisedMulligan,asheshovedout


someofthemenandboyswhohadentered."Getout!Youcanreadallaboutit
inthepapers.Thereporters'llbeheresoonenough,"headdedwithawinkat
Darcy."I'lllockthedoorandkeepthecrowdout.Thesleuthscanknockwhen
theygethere.Where'syour'phone.I'llhavetoreporttothestation."
Darcypointedtothetelephone,andthepoliceman,showingnomorethana
passinginterestinthebody,atwhichheglancedcasuallyashepassed,calledup
hisprecinctandreported,beingtoldtoremainonguarduntilrelieved.
"How'dithappen?"heasked,ashecamebackfromtheinstrumentandleaned
againstashowcasecontainingmuchglitteringsilver."Whodidit—when—
how?"
"Ihaven'ttheleastidea,"repliedDarcy,turningawaysoasnottoseethefaces
nowpressedagainstboththefrontandsidedoors,eachbeinglockedfromthe
inside."Ifoundherjustassheisnow,andcalledinthemilkmen,whohappened
tobepassing.Ihadcomedowntothestoreearlytodoalittlerepairjob,andthe
firstthingIsawwas—her!"
"Whattimedidithappen?"
"Idon'tevenknowthat.Alltheclockshavestopped.Idon'tusuallywindthe
watchesthatareleftforrepair,unlessI'mregulatingthem,andIhaven'tanylike
thatinnow.Theonlythinggoingisthatonewatch.
"Whatonewatch?Idohearsomethingticking,"andthepolicemanlookedat
Darcy."Whatwatch?"
"Theone—inherhand."
"Oh,Isee!Hum!Well,we'llleavethatforthecountyphysician.He'llbehere
prettysoonIguess.They'llnotifyhimfromtheprecinct.Nowhowaboutlast
night—wasthereanyrow—anynoise?Didyouhearanything?"
"Ididn'thearanything—much.There'salwaysalotofnoisearoundhereuntil
aftermidnight—theatersandmovingpictureplacesletoutabout11:30.Iawoke
onceinthenight.ButIguessthatdoesn'tmatter."
"Anybodyelseinthehousebesidesyou?"andthepolicemanyawned—forhe
hadgoneoutondog-watch—andlookedintothewet,shiny,drizzle-sweptstreet.


"OnlySalliePage,thecook.I'llcallher.There'sMrs.Darcy'smaid—Jane
Metson.Butshewentawayyesterdayafternoonandwon'tbebackuntilabout
noon.It'spasttimeSalliewasdowntogetbreakfast.I'llcallher—"
Darcymadeamoveasthoughtogototherearofthestore,whenceasidedoor
gaveentrancetothestairsleadingtotheroomsabove.
"I'llgowithyou,"saidMulligan,andheshovedhimselftoanerectpostureby
forcinghiselbowsagainsttheshowcaseonwhichhehadbeenleaningina
mannertogivehimselfasmuchrestaspossiblewithoutsittingdown—itwasa
wayhehad,acquiredfromlongpatrollingofcitystreets.
"You—you'llgowithme?"falteredDarcy.
"Yes,tocallthecook.Shewon'trunaway,"andhenoddedtowardthedead
woman.
"Oh!"TherewasaworldofmeaninginDarcy'sinterjection."YoumeanthatI
—"
"Idon'tmeannothin'!"brokeinMulligan."Ileavethattothegum-shoemen.
Comeon,ifyouwanttocallwhat's-her-name!"
Ittooksomelittletime,bycallingandpoundingoutsideherdoor,toarousedeaf
SalliePage,andlongertomakeherunderstandthatshewaswanted.Then,just
asDarcyhadexpected,shebegantocryandmoanwhensheheardhermistress
wasdead,andrefusedtocomefromherroom.Shehadservedtheownerofthe
jewelrystoreformorethanascoreofyears.
"Hark!"exclaimedMulligan,asheandDarcycamedownstairsafterhaving
rousedSalliePage."What'sthat?"
"Someoneisknocking,"remarkedhiscompanion.
"Maybeit'sthemenfromheadquarters."
Itwas—CarrollandThong,whoalwaysteameditwhentherewasacaseof
sufficientimportance,asthisseemedtobe.Theywereinsistentlyknockingat
thesidedoor,havingforcedtheirwaythroughthecrowdthatwasstillthere—
largerthanever,maintainingpositionsinspiteofthedripping,driving,drizzling


rain.
"Killed,eh?"murmuredCarroll,ashebentoverthebody.
"Gun?"askedThong,whowasmakingaquickvisualinventoryoftheinteriorof
theplace.
"No;doesn'tseemso.Looksmorelikeherhead'sbeenbustedin.Hitwith
something.DocWarrencan'tendtothatendofit.Nowlet'sgetdownto
business.Whofoundherthisway?"
"Idid,"answeredDarcy.
"Andwhoareyou?"
"Hersecondcousin.HernamewasMrs.AmeliaDarcy,andherhusbandandmy
fatherwerefirstcousins.Ihaveworkedforheraboutsevenyears—eversince
justafterherhusbanddied.Shecontinuedhisbusiness.It'soneoftheoldestin
thecityand—"
"Yes,Iknowallaboutthat.Robberyhereonce—beforeyourtime.Wegotback
someofthestufffortheoldlady.Shetreatedusprettydecent,too.When'dyou
findherlikethis?"
"Abouthalfanhourago.Igotupalittlebeforesixo'clocktodosomerepair
workonaman'swatch.Hewantedtogettheearlytrainoutoftown."
"Isee!Andyoufoundtheoldladylikethis?"askedCarroll.
"Justlikethis—yes.ThenIcalledinthemilkmen—"
"Isawthem,"interruptedMulligan."Iknow'em.They'reallright,soIlet'em
go.Wecanget'emaftertheyfinishtheirroutes."
"Um,"assentedThong."Anythinggonefromthestore?"heaskedDarcy.
"Ihaven'tlooked."
"Bettertakealookaround.It'sprobablyarobbery.Youknowthestock,don't
you?"


"Aswellasshedidherself.I'vebeendoingthebuyinglately."
"Well,havealook.Who'sthatatthedoor?"heaskedsharply,foraknockasof
authoritysounded—differentfromtheaimlessandimpatientkickingsand
tappingsofthewetthrongoutside.
"It'sDaleyfromtheTimes,"reportedMulligan,peeringout."He'sallright.Shall
Ilethimin?"
"Oh,yes,Iguessso,"assentedCarroll,withaglanceatThong,whoconfirmed,
byanodofhishead,whathispartnersaid."He'llgiveuswhat'sright.Lethim
in."
Thereporterentered,noddedtothedetectives,gaveashortglanceatthebody,a
longeroneatDarcy,pokedMulliganintheribs,lightedacigarette,whichhelet
hangfromonelipwhereitgyratedineccentriccirclesashemumbled:
"What'sthedope?"
"Don'tknowyet,"answeredCarroll."Theoldlady'sdead—murdereditlooks
like—and—"
"What'sthat?"interruptedThong."What'sthattickingsound?"
"It'sthewatch—inherhand,"repliedDarcy,andhisvoicewasahoarsewhisper.


CHAPTERII
KING'SDAGGER

CarrollandThong,proceedingalongthelinestheyusuallyfollowedincaseslike
this,keepingtotheruleswhichhadcometothemthroughtheinstructionsof
superiorofficers,andsomewhichtheyhadworkedoutforthemselves,had,ina
comparativelyshorttime,ascertainedthename,ageandsomewhatofthe
personalhistoryofMrs.AmeliaDarcy,togetherwiththatofhercousin,asthe
detectivescalledhim,thoughtherelationshipwasnotascloseasthat.
Mrs.Darcy,whowassixty-fiveyearsofage,hadcarriedonthejewelrybusiness
ofherhusband,MortimerDarcy,afterhisdeath,whichprecededhermoretragic
onebyaboutsevenyears.MortimerDarcyhadbeenadiamondsalesmanfora
largeNewYorkhouseinhisyoungerdays,andhadcometobeanexpertin
preciousstones.Manygoodwishes,andnotalittletrade,hadgonetohimfrom
hisformeremployers,andsomeoftheircustomersboughtofhimwhenhewent
intobusinessforhimselfinthethrivingcityofColchester.
Knowingthattostartanewinastrangetownwouldmeanuphillworkforhim
andhiswife,MortimerDarcyhadawaitedanopportunitytobuythebusinessof
amanwhomhehadknownforanumberofyearsandtowhomhehadsold
manydiamondsandotherstones.Thisman—HarrisonVanDorenbyname—
hadwhatwastermedthebestjewelrytradeinColchester.The"old"families—
notthatanyofthemcouldtracetheirancestrybackveryfar—likedtosaythat
"wegetallourstuffatVanDoren's."
Thisname,onlittlewhiteplush-linedboxes,containingpinsorsparklingrings,
cametomeanalmostasmuchassomeofthemoreexpensivenamesinNew
York.Youngladiescounteditapointinthefavoroftheirloversifthe
engagementcircletcamefromVanDoren's.AndMortimerDarcy,knowingthe
valueofthatclassoftrade,had,whenhepurchasedMr.VanDoren'sbusiness
fosteredthatspirit.Mrs.Darcy,onthedeathofherhusband,hadfurthercatered


toit,sothattheDarcyestablishment,thoughitwasnottherichestormost
showyinColchester,wassafelycountedthemostexclusive—thatis,ithadafull
lineofthebestgoods,beitclocksordiamonds,andithadwhat,inbygonedays,
wascalleda"carriagetrade,"butwhichisnowreferredtoas"automobile."
Thatistosay,those,asidefromacasualtradewithpeoplewhodroppedinas
theymighthavedonetoagrocery,togetwhattheyreallyneededinthewayof
jewelry,cameingasoleneorelectriccarswheretheirancestorshadcomewith
horsesandcarriage.
SoDarcy'sjewelrystorewasknown,andthoughabitold-fashionedinaway,
wasfavorablyknown,notonlytotheoldermembersoftherichfamiliesofthe
place,buttotheyoungersetaswell.Theprettygirlsandtheirwell-groomed
companionsofthe"AssemblyBall"setlikedtostopintherefortheirrings,
brooches,scarfpinsorcufflinks,andveryfrequentweretheratherlanguid
orders:
"Youmaysendit,charge."
ItwastothatclassoftradethatMrs.Darcycatered.Sheunderstoodit,andit
understoodher.Thatwasenough.Shetookapersonalinterestinthebusinessto
theextentofbeinginthestorealmosteveryday,asherhusbandhadbeenbefore
her,toadviseandbeavailableforconsultation,whetheritwasthebuyingofa
goldteethingringforthenewestmemberofthefamily,anengagementringfor
thelatestdebutante,awatchfor"son,"attaininghismajority,orperhapsnew
goldglassesforgrandpapaorgrandmama.
Thestorewasnotalargeone,andfourclerks,oneayoungwoman,withJames
Darcyandanassistant,wholookedaftertherepairworkandmadeanything
unusualinthewayofpinsorrings,constitutedtheforce.ButMrs.Darcywasas
goodasaclerkherself,andduringtheholidayrushshewasinthestorenight
andday.Thiswastheeasierforher,sincesheownedthebuildinginwhichher
displaywaskept,andlivedinaquietandtastefullyfurnishedapartmentoverthe
store.
Onthedeathofherhusband,shehadsentforhissecondcousin,whoatthattime
wasintheemployofawell-knownNewYorkjewelryhouse,andheagreedto
cometoher.
RathermorethanarepairmanandclerkwasJamesDarcy.Hewasanexpert


jewelrydesignerandasetterofpreciousstones;andoften,whensomefastidious
customerdidnotseemtocareforwhatwasshownfromtheglitteringtraysin
theshowcases,Mrs.Darcyoroneofherclerkswouldsay:
"WewillhaveMr.Darcydesignsomethingdifferentforyou."
"That'swhatIwant,"thecustomerwouldsay—"somethingdifferent—
somethingyoudon'tseeeverywhere."
AndsotheDarcytradehadgrownandprospered.
"Well,let'shearwhatyouhavetosay,"saidCarroll,afterJamesDarcyhadgiven
whatthedetectivesconsideredwas,forthetime,asufficienthistoryofhimself
andhisrelative,andhadhastilygoneoversuchofthestockaswaskeptoutside
thesafe.Thelatterhadnotbeenforcedopen—itdidnottakelongtoascertain
that."Isanythinggone?"
"Ican'tsayforsure,"answeredtheyoungman—hewasthissideofthirty.His
long,artisticfingersweretrembling,andhefeltweakandfaint."Butiftherehas
beenarobberytheydidn'tgetmuch.Thesafehasn'tbeenopened,andthebestof
thegoods—allthediamondsandotherstones—areinthat.Nothingseemstobe
gonefromthecases,thoughI'dhavetomakeabettersearch,andgooverthe
inventory,tomakecertain."
"Well,letthatgoforthetime.How'dyoufindthingswhenyoucame
downstairs?Whathappenedduringthenight?Anyofthedoorsorwindows
forced?"andthedetectivefairlyshotthesequestionsatDarcy,
"Ithinknot.Thefrontdoorwaslocked,justasitisnow.Iwentoutthesideone.
Thatwaslockedwiththespringcatchfromtheinside."
"Wasn'titbolted?"camesharplyfromThong.
"Ididn'tnoticeaboutthat.Yousee,Iwasallexcitedlike—"
"Yes,"assentedThong.
"There'saboltonthedoor!"Carrollsnapped.
"Yes,butMrs.Darcymayhaveslippeditbackherself.Shewasdownfirst,


thoughwhy,Ican'tsay.Sheseldomcamedownaheadofme,especiallyoflate
years.Igenerallyopenedthestore.Theclerksreportateighty-thirty—there's
someof'emnow."
Moreknockingshadsoundedonthefrontdoor,andthefacesoftwoyoungmen
peeredinthroughthemistyglass,thecrowdhavingmadealaneforthemon
learningthattheyworkedintheplaceofdeath.
"Let'emin,sure!"assentedThong."Wegottotalktoallof'em!
Let'emin!"
Darcydidso,Mulliganhelpinghimkeepbackthecrowdofcuriousones.
"HerecomesMissBrill,"saidoneofthemenclerkstoDarcy."What'sthe
matter?IsMrs.Darcy—?"
"Dead!Killed,I'mafraid!Thestorewon'topento-day,butthepolicewanttosee
everyone.Oh,MissBrill,comein!"andheheldouthishandtotheoneyoung
womanclerk,whodrewbackinhorrifiedfrightasshesawthesilentfigureon
thefloor.
"Oh—Oh!"shegasped,andthenshewentintohysterics,addingtothe
excitementandgivingMulliganabadfiveminuteswhilehefoughttokeepthe
crowdfromsurgingin.
ButwhenMissBrillhadbeencarriedtoarearroomandquieted,andwhenthe
shadeshadbeendrawntokeepthecuriousonesfrompeeringin,thequestioning
ofDarcywasresumed.
"Didyoucomedirectlydowntothestorefromyourroom?"askedThong.
"Yes.AssoonasIawakened."
"Whereisyourroom?"
"Intherear,onthesecondfloor—theonenextabove.Mrs.Darcyhasherrooms
infront.Thencomethoseofhermaid,JaneMetson.SalliePagesleepsonthe
topfloorwherethejanitor'sfamilylives,andhe,ofcourse,sleepsuptherealso."
"Isee,"murmuredCarroll."ThenyoucamedownstairsandfoundMrs.


Darcylyinghere—dead?"
"Iwasn'tsureshewasdead—"
"Oh,shewasdeadallright,"brokeinThong."Noquestionaboutthat.Didyou
hearanything?"
"Onlythewatchtickinginherhand.FirstIthoughtitwasherheartbeating."
"No,Imeandidyouhearanythinginthenight?"wentonthedetective."Any
queernoise?It'smightyfunnyiftherewasmurderdoneandnorobbery.Butof
courseshemighthaveheardanoiseifyoudidn't,andshemighthavecome
downtofindoutwhatitwasabout.Shemighthavecaughtaburglaratwork,
andhemayhavekilledhertogetaway.Butifitwasaburglarit'sfunnyyou
didn'thearanynoise—likeafall,orsomething.Howaboutthat,Mr.Darcy?"
"Well,no.Ididn'texactlyhearanything.Iwenttobedabouthalfpastten,after
workingatmytabledownhereawhile."
"WasMrs.Darcyinbedthen?"Thongasked.
"Icouldn'tsay.Shehadgonetoherapartment,butIdon'thavetopassnearthat
togettomyroom.Icamestraightupandwenttobed."
"Atteno'clock,yousay?"
"Alittleafter.Itmayhavebeenaquartertoeleven."
"Andyoudidn'thearanythingallnight?"CarrollshotthisquestionatDarcy
suddenly.
"No—no—notexactly,Ididhearsomething—itwasn'texactlyanoise—andyet
itwasanoise."
"Whatkindoftalkisthat?"demandedThongroughly."Eitheritwasanoiseorit
wasn't!Nowwhichwasit?"
"Well,ifyoucallaclockstrikinganoise,thenitwasone."
"Oh,aclockstruck!"andThongsettledbackinhischairmoreathisease.His


mannerseemedtoindicatethathewasonthetrackofsomething.
"Yes,aclockstruck.Itwaseitherthreeorfour,Ican'tbesurewhich,"Darcy
replied."Youknowwhenyouawakeninthenight,andhearthestrokes,you
can'tbesureyouhaven'tmissedsomeofthefirstones.Iheardthree,anyhow,
I'msureofthat."
"Well,putitdownasthree,"suggestedThong."Wasitthestrikingoftheclock
thatawakenedyou?"
"No,notexactly.Itwasmoreasifsomeonehadbeeninmyroom."
"Someoneinyourroom!"exclaimedbothdetectives.Theywerequestioning
Darcyintheliving-roomofMrs.Darcy'ssuite,theclerksbeingdetained
downstairsbyMulligan.Thecountyphysician,whowasalsothecoroner,had
notyetarrived.
"Yes,atfirstIthoughtsomeonehadbeeninmyroom,andthen,afterIthought
aboutit,Iwasn'tquitesure.AllIknowisIsleptquitesoundly—sounderthan
usualinfact,and,allatonce,Iheardaclockstrike."
"Threeorfour,"murmuredThong.
"Yes;threeanyhow—maybefour.Somethingawakenedmesuddenly;butwhat,
Ican'tsay.Iremember,atthetime,itfeltasthoughsomethinghadpassedover
myface."
"Likeahand?"suggestedCarroll.
"Well,Icouldn'tbesure.ItmayhavebeenIdreamedit."
"Butwhatdiditfeellike?"insistedThong.
"Well,likeaclothbrushingmyfacemorethanlikeahand—oritmayhavebeen
ahandwithagloveonit.Yes,itmayhavebeenthat.ThenItriedtoarouse
myself,butIheardthewindblowingandasprinkleofrain,and,asmywindow
wasopen,Ithoughtthecurtainmighthaveblownacrossmyface.Thatwould
accountforitIreasoned,so—"
"Yes,itmayhavebeenthecurtain,"saidThong,slowly."Butwhatdidyoudo?"


"Nothing.Ilaystillalittlewhile,andthenIwenttosleepagain.
Iwasonlyawakemaybetwoorthreeminutes."
"Youdidn'tcallMrs.Darcy?"
"No."
"Northeservant—what'shername?Sallie?"
"No.Therewasn'tanyuseinthat.She'sdeaf."
"Andyoudidn'tcallthejanitor?"
"No.Iwasn'tverywideawake,andIdidn'treallyattachanyimportancetoit
untilafterIsawher—dead."
"Um!Yes,"murmuredCarroll."Well,thenyouwenttosleepagain.
Whatdidyoudonext?"
"Iawakenedwithasuddenstartjustbeforesixo'clock.Ihadnotsetanalarm,
thoughIwantedtogetupearlytodoalittlerepairjobIhadpromisedforearly
thismorning.ButIhavegottensointhehabitofrousingatalmostanyhourI
mentallysetformyselfthenightbefore,thatIdon'tneedanalarmclock.Ihad
fixedmymindonthefactthatIwantedtogetupatfive-thirty,andIthinkitwas
justaquartertosixwhenIgotup.Iwasanxioustofinishtherepairjobfora
manwhowastoleaveonanearlytrainthismorning.Hemaybeinanytime
now,andIhaven'titreadyforhim."
"Whatsortofarepairjob?"askedCarroll.
"Onawatch."
"Where'sthewatchnow?"andthedetectiveflickedtheashesfromacigarthe
reporterhadgivenhim.Daleywasdowninthejewelrystore,interviewingthe
clerkswhileDarcywasonthegrillupabove.
"Thewatch,"murmuredDarcy."It—it'sinherhand,"andhenoddedinthe
directionofthesilentfiguredownstairs.
"Thewatchthatisstillticking?"


"Yes,butthefunnypartofitisthatthewatchwasn'tgoinglastnight,whenI
plannedtostartworkonit.IforgetjustwhyIdidn'tdoit,"andDarcyseemeda
bitconfused,apointnotlostsightofbyCarroll."Iguessitmusthavebeen
becauseIcouldn'tseewellwiththeelectriclightonmyworktable,"wentonthe
jewelryworker."I'vegottogetthatfixed.AnyhowIdidn'tdoanythingtothe
Indian'swatchmorethanlookatit,andImadeupmymindtoriseearlyand
hurryitthrough.SoIdidn'tevenwindit.Ican'tunderstandwhatmakesitgo,
unlesssomeonegotinandwoundit—andtheywouldn'tdothat."
"Whosewatchisit?"askedThong.
"ItbelongstoSingaPhut."
"SingaPhut!"ejaculatedCarroll."Crimps,whataname!Whobelongstoit?"
"SingaPhutisanEastIndian,"explainedDarcy."Hehasacuriostoredownon
WaterStreet.Wehaveboughtsomeoddthingsfromhimforourcustomers,
queerbeadnecklacesandthelike.Heleftthewatchwithmycousin,whotold
metorepairit.Itneededanewcase-springandsomeofthescrewswereloose."
"HowdidMrs.Darcycometohavethewatchinherhand?"Carrolldemanded.
"ThatIcouldn'tsay."
"WhatsortofamanisthisIndian—Singa—Singa—"beganThong,hesitatingly.
"SingaPhutisaquiet,studiousIndian,"answeredDarcy."Hehasnotlivedhere
verylong,butIknewhiminNewYork.Hehasdonebusinesswithmeforsome
years."
"Isheallright—safe—notoneofthemgars—youknow,thefellowsthatusea
silkcordtostrangleyouwith?"askedThong,whohadsomeimagination
regardinggarroters.
"Notatalllikethat,"saidDarcy,andtherewasthetraceofasmileonhisface.
"Heisagentleman."
"Oh,"saidCarrollandThonginunison.
Therecameanotherknockonthesidedoordownstairs.Therewaslessofa


crowdaboutnow,andMulligandidnothavetokeepbackarushasheopened
theportal.
"Dr.Warren,"reportedthepoliceman,callingupstairstoCarrolland
Thong.
"Thecountyphysician,"explainedCarroll."Bettercomedownandmeethim,
Mr.Darcy.He'llwanttoaskyousomequestions.Thenwe'llhaveanothergoat
you.Gottoaskalotofquestionsinacaselikethis,"hehalfapologized.
"Oh,sure,"assentedthejewelryworker.
"DocWarren,eh,"musedThongtohispartner,asDarcyprecededthem
downstairs."Nowwe'llknowwhatkilledher,andwe'llhavesomethingtostart
on—maybe."
"Ithinkwe'vegotsomethingalready,"observedCarroll.
"Oh,yes—maybe—andthen—again—maybenot.Comeon!"
"Morningboys!Nicecrispday—ifyousayitquick!"criedthecountyphysician,
asheshooktherainfromhiscoatandtossedhisautoglovesonashinyglass
showcase."Secondtimethisweekyou'vegotmeoutofbedbeforemytime.
What'sthematter,ifthey'vegottohaveamurder,withdoingitintheafternoon?
Ilikemysleep!"
Hewassmilingandcheerful,wasDr.Warren.Murdersandautopsieswereallin
theday'sworkwithhim.Hehadbeencountyphysicianforanumberofyears.
"Hum,yes!quiteanoldlady,"hemusedashetookoffhiscoat,whichCarroll
heldforhim.Thedoctorrolleduphisshirtsleevesandstoopeddown."Head's
badlycut—let'sseewhatwehavehere.Let'shavealight,it'stoodarktosee."
Oneoftheclerksswitchedonmoreelectriclights,andtheyglintedandsparkled
onthesilverandcutglass.Theyflashedonthewhite,stillface,andthegleams
seemedtobeswallowedupinthatredblotchinthesnowyhair.
"Um,yes!Depressedfracture.Badplace,too.Shouldn'twonderbutwhatithad
donethetrick.Mighthavebeenfromablack-jack?"andheglanced
questioninglyatthedetectives.


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