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57V/ILLRHAUBEN OF. O cur\AX.' of TOE. CflANSJN<5 ETC. ETC ETC. . 1S97, (5Y WILL. CHATTER 1. -The body of Tgcob Benton Is found murdered on the lawn near his house. CHAPTEB m. ! Dr. Lampkin and Hendricks turned round thu house, taking the walk to the left. As they -were passing the drawing room windows Hendricko glanced in. i "I see another young lady and two young men in there," he said; "mem- j berg of the house party, no doubt" | "Shall you search the honse?" asked : Lampkin. I "I'd begin there first if it were not for disappointing the police. They think yon don't know your business if you don't address your first inquiries to the i corpse." "I think I should begin at the honse, ' too," said Lampkin. "Why, old man?" ' "I don't like the looks of that fellow MontcaHtle." Hendrioks said nothing. "It look* to me as if there were some •ort of secret understanding between him and this Miss Benton," the doctor went on, watching Heudrioks' inexpressive face. The detective stopped suddenly, turned and surveyed the Bide, his sharp gray eyes fixed now on the windows, again on the doors. "Oh, beg pardon!" he said. "Yon were flaying that Montcastle—yes, he started out to catch the 1:30 train for New York, but for some reason or other decided not to leave." "Are you sure of that?" asked Lamp- kiu excitedly. "As sure as I can be of any of my deductions," replied the detective, allowing his glance to rove down into the garden, where, at the end of the north walk, he could see a policeman on guard. "How can you be so devilish accurate?" asked the doctor. Heudricks smiled. He drew tha note- the motive. Who was first' on tie scene ?" "Mr. Stanwood, a guest of the house." Lampkin saw a strange, baffled expression cross the face of the detective. "I beg yonr pardon, gentlemen," he said, as if to divert their attention from himself. "I forgot to introduce yon. Mr. Benton, this is ray friend, Dr. Lampkin.'' "The hypnotic physician of New York?" said Ralph. "Glad to make your acquaintance. I have heard a friend of mine, Ds, Fralick, speak of your work." He turned to Hendricks. "Have you seen my—the body?" he asked. '' Jnst going," replied Hendrioks. "It ii down this way, I believe." "Yes, clown the wide walk on the left, beyond the bed of rosebushes. My father wau fond of walking there at night. He was troubled with insomnia and often went out there to conquer it." "I gee," remarked Hendricks; "too much brain work." "Yes, he has been delving into scientific things and forming plan* for new inventions in his line. When he the building from I 80t a new idea, he always spent several ' sleepless nights over it" "That'ai the way with them all," returned the detective, and then his glance fell on Ralph's right hand. "I see you have knocked the skin off your hand," he said, taking it in his own and looking at it closely. ' 'You ought to be careful with it. I have known little things like that to give men a lot of trouble." ' 'I bruised it on the bar in the gym nasinm at the club," said the young man, quickly withdrawing his hand. "Do you mean to say—how could it give me trouble?" "Inflammation and a thousand and one microbes," said Hendricka, turning toward the north walk. ".Rub a little "CbnM the mnfderer have been *> close as that?" he asked. "It seems to me that my father"— Ralph did not finish his sentence. The detective looked at him inquiringly as if to encourage him to proceed and then turned his attention to the tracks. Stepping back to the grass, be went along the edge of the walk in the direction of the house for about 35 feet, then stopped, crossed the walk and began to search through a bed of high grass. They saw him stoop and pick up something. It was a revolver. "Here's the weapon," he said indifferently, "88 caliber." Benton was the first to approach. He extended his hand for the weapon. "I beg yonr pardon," said Hendricks politely. He stepped backward, holding the revolver very carefully by the tip of the barrel. "You see, doctor," he went on, turning to Lampkin, "this thing also has a damp and a dry side." " I see." replied the doctor, looking at the revolver without touching it. "It's a poor rale that won't work two ways, you see," said the detective, with a smile. He took a white silk handker chief from his pocket and wrapped th weapon in it "Can't be too careful in j handling a thing like this after a mur jder, "he continued. "There is no tell ' ing what a single spot or scratch migh unfold." He remained standing on the edge o the walk for several minutes withou speaking, his eyes first on the footprin and then on the grass where he hai found the revolver. Ralph Benton am Stanwood had moved down toward th body, leaving Hendricks and the docto together. "What is it?" whispered Lampkin. "I can't make head or tail of it,' said the detective, frowning, "and sometimes when I get stumped this way I become so nerrous I can't advance an book from his pocket, opened it and J took out th« newspaper clipping. "It's a time table," he said. "You see, a pencil mark has been drawn here at the 1:30 train. That shows why the clipping was preserved. I know it came from an afternoon paper because the •chedule was changed yesterday. From the ragged edge of the paper, I can see that it was half cut, half torn, from a newspaper by an excited person in a deuce of a hurry. From the way it had been crammed into the book all in a wad and from the fact that the light of the electric lamp at the corner would reach to the spot where we found the book I judge it was consulted again after the cab started and that it slipped from the bauds of the owner." "Unnoticed by him?" asked Lampkin. "Perhaps he knew it and was in too great a hurry to stop to regain it. You know Montoastle said, as if it were on the tip of his tongue, that it contained nothing of importance. That looks as if bo had since he lost it calculated on the consequences of its being found." But why didn't he pick it up later?" "Alight have been afraid the place was watched. I"— A door leading to the back veranda was opened. "Sh!" said Hendricks, covertly sliding the book into the pocket of his coat. Ralph Benton came down the steps and slowly approached them. "Mr. Minard Hendricks, I believe," he began. "I am Ralph Beuton. My •ister told me you hud come. If there Is anything, Mr. Hwiclricks, that I can do to help yon, I shall be only too will- Ing. J want this thing rnn to the ground',. Robbery was evidently not the motive, and if my father had an enemy"— "Ha,3 an examination been made to •how that your father was not robbed?" Dr. Lampkin saw the young man •tart For fully 20 seconds he stared at vaseline on it." , Lampkin saw Ralph draw a deep, free breath and his face brighten. "Thanks," he said. "lam as tough as an ox. I'll go down with yon, if you have no objection. The police gave orders to keep every one away till you had seen the body. " "Come ou, perfectly welcome," said Hendricks cordially. The walk upon which the murdered man lay had recently been covered with fresh sand like the drive in front of the house. HB lay on his back face upward, shot through the forehead. "Stopl" cried Hendricks to Benton and the doctor as they were about to step on to the walk. "Keep to the grass. I want to preserve the tracks there in the sand. Mr. Benton, has no one been near him since he was killed except that Mr. Stanwood?" "I believe not," replied Ralph. ".No one has been near him since we came, sir," said the policeman, drawing near. "We had orders"— "I know," interrupted the detective impatiently. "Mr. Benton, which do yon think are Mr. Stanwood's tracks?" "I—I really don't know," replied Ralph. "Two men have been near him," said Hendricks. "We must first find which *ItCC another young lady and two young men in there," he said. Hendricks with a wavering expression <rf the eye without replying, and then bt Mid awkwardly: "I don't know—that is—I—I only •thought it did not look that way. Yon «e, my father's valuables are always kept in the safe in his laboratory." •Men have been killed for very small tracks were made by Mr. Stanwoofl. Send for him, please." Ralph nodded to the policeman, who hastened to the house. Hendricks stepped carefully from the grass to tha body. He stooped, picked up something so minute that the others could not tell what it was and put it into the pocket of his waistcoat. "What did you find?" asked Ralph. Without noticing the question Hea- dr.cks bent down and began to examine the bullet hole in the forehead of the dead man. "Did yonr father smoke?" The detective looked straight at the young man. "No," replied. Ralph, "never to my knowledge." At that moment Stanwood came hurriedly across the grass. "Did yon want to see me, sir?" he asked. Hendricks stood up straight. "I'm sorry to disturb you," he said, "but I wanted to ask from which direction you approached the body when yon discovered the murder." "We were all over in the center walk," answered Stanwood. "I came in to the right of him—just there, I think, near his left arm." "Yes, I see your tracks," said Hendricks. "But yon did not have on those boots?" "No; I hastily put on my slippers. I had little time to dress after Miss Hastings rapped on my door." "Ah, she gave the alarm!" said Hendricks. "Miss Hastings is a guest of my sister, " explained Ralph, "a young lady from Boston." Heudricfcs nodded reflectively. "Did you have a light when yon found the body, Mr. Stanwood?" "No, sir."' "You struck a match to look at him?" "No, I did not." "I soe the murderer's tracks," said Hendricks qnickly, as if to divert their attention from his last question. "He did not wear broad heeled slippers, but boots of a rather stylish appearance," He stepped tackward, holding the revolv cr very carefully. inch. For the love of human justice^ doctor, focus some of your hypnotic business on me. First quiet me, make me thoroughly receptive, and then suggest to me that I have an all seeing eye. It is the only thing that will save my reputation. I am an idiot, a starin simpering idiot." "Can yon really talk so stupidly anc attend to business?" asked Lampkin. "I have never seen, your match. Whai is the trouble?" "Can't for the life of me understand why the murderer was so careful to toss his weapon into the grass. And then here is another mystery. Do you see the tracks leading from the body in the center of the walk?" "Quite plainly now," replied Lampkin, "but I should not have noticed them if you had not pointed them out." "Come here." Hendrioks stepped along the edge of the grass in the direction of the houso about ten yards farther. He pointed to the tracks in the walk. "Can you imagine anything more perplexing than that?" 1 'What? I don't unders'rtnd." "The blamed things end nghtthere," doctor," said the detective, with a grim smile of defeat. "It is as if the wearer •of the boots had suddenly taken wings. [ cannot imagine any possible way for aim to have ceased walking at that point I say, Mr. Benton," raising his voice, "would you mind sending for £he gardener? I presume yon have one." "Ob, yes, rl replied Benton. "I'll Dring him myself." ''Thank you very much," replied Sendricks. And when the young man had left he went back to the dead man and carefully retraced his steps, singling out each track the supposed murderer ]ad made till they ended at the point mentioned. Lampkin had an idea and drew near lis friend. 'I see the imprint of a wheel on the «pposite side," he said. "Could he have jumped to the grass and escaped in some sort of vehicle?" "I thought of the jump because his toes do turn toward the grass over there," replied the detective, "but there is so sign of his having made a landing. As to the wheel, my friend, don't tell me yon don't know how that was made." "But I don't," confessed -Lampkin. "It will dawn on you," Hendricks returned, nervously chewing his mustache and pulling his beard. CHAPTER IT. The gardener was coming with Benton. The old man was pale and trembling with excitement. "Don't be frightened," said the detective kindly. ' 'It is not yon I'm after, but I want you to help me run the villain down. What's yonr name?" "Wilson, sir; John Wilson. I've been gardener here, sir, for"— "Did you put this sand here yesterday?" interrupted Hendricks. "Yes, sir. The master told me as long as it was going on the drive in front that I mighs as well put it in the walks to kill the crab gragg. The sand •monnta," said Hendricks, still stndy- j As Hendricks spoke he glanced round j B et ? Ter y hard, sir, when it has rained Ing the young man'eface. "If noexam- • at their faces, and Dr. Lampkin fancied j on Jt » ^ |* becomes almost the same Ination has yet been made, it would be • his eyes dwelt longer on Ralph Beaton's ; *° cement" to ttr.that johberr-w^aot, than on that of any one else. "What time did yon do it?" I RtlDh's e.Tefl wew downomst 1 "Abpnt,4 o'clcci, «.ir. I haren't ye» flmdhed the whole walk. The other end"— " Yon used a wheelbarrow to bring the sand from that pile up there and you scattered it on with a hoe?" . "Yes, sir, :! replied the old man wonderingly. " My' shovel was carried of in one of the carts. Master would not allow the heavy cart wheels to cut the turf here, and I had to use my barrow. ' "You stood on the sides and smoothec the sand with a rake?" "Yes, sir, but I didn't know you was here. I"— Hendricks glanced at Lampkin and smiled. "There's a hang up compliment; for yon," he said. Then he pointed to where the tracks ended so abruptly anc said to Wilson: "Have yoc been sweeping or raking in this sand here since the body was found?" "Why, no, sir. I haven't been down here at all. They told us in the kitchen that the policemen would not allow any of us to see the master." "That certainly is very remarkable, " broke in Ralph Benton, looking at the tracks. "Mr. Hendricks, where do yon think the murderer stood when he fired at my father?" Hendricks seemed not to have heard the question. He was looking toward the house. "I see some men coming," he said. "Ah, it is the chief and tho coroner!" He went forward to meet them, and Lampkin saw him shaking hands with the men and bowing. "The jury for the inquest are gathering," said Ralph to Lampkin. "I'll go to the house and see about where it will be held. Will yon go np, doctor?" "No, thanks," replied Lampkin. "I'll wait for Hendricks. I see he is coming. " The chief and the coroner stopped to speak to Ralph, and Hendricks came back to Dr. Lampkin. "I have just thought of something," he said, pointing to the tracks near the dead man. "Yon see, they look as if they came from the side gate. ' ' "Yes. Then you don't think the crime was committed by any member of the household?" replied the doctor. "I can't see what that's got to do with it," said Hendricks, stroking his chin thoughtfully. "Ah, I'm glad the gun is ahiningl" he said, stooping toward the grass and sighting across the level ground at the gate which opened from a side street. "Nature often lends me a helping hand. There is no artificiality about her, and she won't be tampered with." "I don't follow you," said Lampkin, mystified. "It is the dew again," explained Hendricks. "On the front lawn awhile ago, before the sun rose, we had only the frosty appearance to guide us, but now in the sunlight the whole surface of the grass is a carpet of green bespangled with blue, red and yellow diamonds — that is, except a path leading direct from this point to that gate over there." Lampkin came to the side of the detective and sighted over the sward at the gate. "Too fine for my eyes," he said. Ah, now I see what you mean! By Jove, it is wonderfully clear!" The trouble is that it knocks smoothness out of another theory, marked the detective with a frown. "What is that?" "Never mind now. There are too many real things that demand immediate attention," replied Hendricks. 'What shall you do next?" asked the doctor. "To kill time while the jury is get- ing together I'll show you that my dewdrop theory is correct," was the reply. "If you will come with me to ;hat walk over there, I'll show yon ;racks crossing the sand in a direct line :rom here to the gate. " the re- led the way across the grass to the walk. "There yon are, " he said, pointing to tracks in the sand. "And coming this way, too," added "They do not go out again, bnt are lost up there in the middle of the other walk," said the detective. "Doctor, there is a unt to crack. It is the blamed- est puzzle I ever tackled. The whole thing is in a frightful muddle. I was never in my life so hampered with conflicting circumstances. One minute I smell a rat as big as a barn, and the next the scent is wafted away on a cyclone from an unexpected direction." As he spoke Hendricks crossed the walk, opened the gate and examined the ground near the sidewalk. Lamp- tin heard him grunt and crossed over to him. "What is it?" he asked. "As I half guessed," answered Hen dricks. "A hansom was driven up here last night. I see the wheel marks near the edge of the sidewalk." "Ah, became in a hansom, then!" exclaimed the doctor. "That's strange." "I tell yon I'm frightfully mixed, and this complicates matters more than ever," said Hendricks, pointing up the Hendrlcks took a folded ruler from hit pocket and got down on his kneef. walk. "There are the footprints of a man and woman going from the gate toward the house." Hendricks took a folded ruler from hi» pocket and got flown on his tiieeg. He first meaiurea the tracks leading to where the dead man lay aad then compared the measurement with those going toward the honse. "Impossible to be accurate in this dry, gravelly sand," he said. "The masculine tracks are very nearly the same size, and that's as near as I can come to it. I shall find ont what this means, however, if I work on it tho rest of my born days." "J saw you pick up something beside the body and put it into yonr pocket, but could not see what it was, "said the doctor. "Is it a secret from me?" The detective laughed good hnmored- ly and put hk fingers into his vest pocket. "Shan't keep a thing from yon. old man," he replied. "I'd trust yon with my head. Do you see this tiny thing?" "It looks like the burned end of a match," returned the doctor, allowing Hendricks to drop it into his palm. "Does it look like an ordinary burned end of a match?" asked Hendricks, warming up to a revelation and smiling boyishly. "I believe so, except that perhaps it is very short." "Short? I should think BO when less than a quarter of an inch of it has been left unbnrned. Now imagine it blazing and let me see yon hold it between your fingers." Lampkin made the attempt, holding the bit of wood as near to tbe end as possible. "It is all I could have done," he said. "And it would have burned my fingers, I am sure. The fellow that struck it must have had a tough cigar to light." "And been anxions to smoke," added Hendrickg tentatively. Then he laughed softly. "Oh, I see now," began the doctor eagerly, and then he stopped suddenly. "But, no; Stanwood said he did not strike a match, and Ralph Benton said his father did not smoke." "The murderer does, though, and paused to light a cigar after he had fired a revolver within 200 yards of a house full of men and women," said Hendricks, with a dry laugh. "At least, that's about all the explanation I can get ont of the end of the match. However, there is one thing you have not yet thought of as an explanation for the match having burned down so short." "What is that?" "I wonder it did not occur to yon that it might have continued to burn on the ground after it fell from the hand of the man who Struck it." "I have always said I was an ass, said Lampkin. "A 5-year-old child could have thought of that." "Then the 5-year-old child would have been far from the truth," said the detective, enjoying tbe eanie he was playing. He held the piece of match between the nail of his thumb and forefinger and extended it toward the doctor. "You see,"he began, "that the match has burned evenly all round; no farther on one side than another." "That's plain," replied Lampkin. Hendricks returned the tiny bit of wood to his pocket and took a match from bis case and struck it. Wateh this," he said, and when the match was half consumed he laid it still burning on the ground. The flame was instantly diminished, for only the top of the match continued to burn. Presently it went out, and Hendricks picked it up. "See," he said, with a gratified smile. ' 'The unburned part, owing to the moisture of the earth, is longer where it lay against the sand. When I picked up the match near the body of the dead man, it was lying fiat on the sand as this one was just now." So you know it was held unusually long in somebody's fingers?" said Lamp- dn. "I have still another proof of it." "Whact«th4t?" Hendrwks took out his lens and held it over the piece of match he had found near the corpse. "If you will look closely," he said, 'you'll see slight indentations at the ?ery edge of the fire line on two sides of it." "I sea," exclaimed Lampkin. "They were made by finger nails." "Exactly," returned the detectiye, 'and nails which were pressed down firmly for some reason or other." "You are siuaply wonderful," said Dr. Lampkin admiringly. "But what became of the burned, charred part of the match?" Good! Yon are progressing!" cried Sendricks, slapping bis companion ,pn the shoulder. "I looked for it. It must oave clung a little while to the clothing of tbe murderer, for I found it on the walk half way between the body and the 6pOt where the tracks ended. I did not pick it up because it could be of no use to me." Lampkin's brow was contracted thoughtfully. "What do you dedccefrom tbe whole match idea?" he asked. "Absolutely nothing so far," replied the detective. "Later I may see some reason for a person desiring to see the face of a man he has shot down in the darkness and running the risk of being captured in order to do so.'' ' 'That much is certainly interesting," replied Lamjpkin. "It looks a little as if he were ia doobt as to whom he had shot, doesn't it?" Hendricks stepped from behind the trunk of a big rree to get a view of the spot where the body lay. "I see quite a crowd over there," he said. "Itisiteynell, the coroner, and his men. Let's join them. The inquest, I understand fro«3 the chief, was delayed BO that I might be present We got here quicker than was expected, as if I'd wait to take a bath and eat a hot breakfast while such a matter as this was in the wind." 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