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The Herapath Property By J. S. Fletcher Characters: 15827

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


the second warrant

Davidge preserved a strict silence as he and Triffitt went down in the elevator, but when they had reached the ground floor he took the reporter's arm again, and as they crossed the entrance hall gave it a significant squeeze.

"You'll see two or three rather heavy swells, some of 'em in evening dress, hanging about the door," he murmured. "Look like residents, coming in or going out, puffing their cigars and their cigarettes, eh? They're my men-all of 'em! Take no notice-there'll be your friend Carver outside-I gave him a hint. Join him, and hang about-you'll have something to do a bit of newspaper copy about presently."

Triffitt, greatly mystified, joined Carver at the edge of the pavement outside the wide entrance door. Glancing around him he saw several men lounging about-two, of eminently military appearance, with evening dress under their overcoats, stood chatting on the lower steps; two or three others, all very prosperous looking, were talking close by. There was nothing in their outward show to arouse suspicion-at any other time, and under any other circumstances Triffitt would certainly have taken them for residents of the Herapath Flats. Carver, however, winked at him.

"Detectives," he said. "They've gathered here while you were upstairs. What's up now, Triffitt? Heard anything?"

"Piles!" answered Triffitt. "Heaps! But I don't know what this is all about. Some new departure. Hullo!-here's the secretary and the Professor."

Cox-Raythwaite and Selwood just then appeared at the entrance door and began to descend the steps. Davidge, who had stopped on the steps to speak to a man, hailed and drew them aside.

"What has gone on up there?" asked Carver. "Anything really--"

Triffitt suddenly grasped his companion's shoulder, twisting him round towards the door. His lips emitted a warning to silence; his eyes signalled Carver to look.

Burchill came out of the doors, closely followed by Dimambro. Jauntily swinging his walking-cane he began to descend, affecting utter unconsciousness of the presence of Cox-Raythwaite, Selwood, and Davidge. He passed close by the men in evening dress, brushing the sleeve of one. And the man thus brushed turned quickly, and his companion turned too-and then something happened that made the two reporters exclaim joyfully and run up the steps.

"Gad!-that was quick-quick!" exclaimed Triffitt, with the delight of a schoolboy. "Never saw the bracelets put on more neatly. Bully for you, Davidge, old man!-got him this time, anyhow!"

Burchill, taken aback by the sudden onslaught of Davidge's satellites, drew himself up indignantly and looked down at his bands, around the wrists of which his captors had snapped a pair of handcuffs. He lifted a face white with rage and passion and glanced at Cox-Raythwaite and Selwood.

"Liars!" he hissed between his teeth. "You gave me safe conduct! It was understood that I was to come and go without interference, you hounds!"

"Not with me, nor I should think with anybody, my lad," exclaimed Davidge, bustling forward. "Not likely! You forget that you're under arrest for the old charge yet, and though you'll get off for that, you won't go scot-free, my friend! I've got a second warrant for you, and the charge'll be read to you when you get to the station. You'll clear yourself of the charge of murder, but not of t'other charge, I'm thinking!"

"Second warrant! Another charge!" growled Burchill. "What charge?"

"I should think you know as well as I do," replied Davidge quietly. "You're a bigger fool than I take you for if you don't. Conspiracy, of course! It's a good thing to have two strings to one's bow, Mr. Frank Burchill, in dealing with birds like you. This is my second string. Take him off," he added, motioning to his men, "and get him searched, and put everything carefully aside for me-especially a cheque for ten thousand pounds which you'll find in one of his pockets."

When the detectives had hurried Burchill into a taxi-cab which suddenly sprang into useful proximity to the excited group, Davidge spat on the ground and made a face. He motioned Cox-Raythwaite, Selwood, and the two reporters to go down the street; he himself turned to Dimambro. What he said to that highly-excited gentleman they did not hear, but the Italian presently walked off looking very crestfallen, while Davidge, joining them, looked highly pleased with himself.

"Of course, you'll stop payment of that cheque at the bank first thing tomorrow, gentlemen," he said. "Though that'll only be for form's sake, because I shall take charge of it when I go round to the police-station presently-they'll have got Burchill searched when I get there. Of course, I wasn't going to say anything up there, but Mrs. Engledew has been in with us at this, and she took Burchill and Dimambro in as beautifully as ever I saw it done in my life! Clever woman, that! We knew about her diamonds, gentlemen, within a few hours of the discovery of the murder, and of course, I thought Barthorpe had got them; I did, mistaken though I was! I didn't want anybody to know about those diamonds, though, and I kept it all dark until these fellows came on the scene. And, anyway, we didn't get the real culprit through the diamonds, either!"

"That's what we want to know," said Selwood. "Have you got the real culprit? Are you certain? And how on earth did you get him-a man that none of us ever suspected!"

"Just so!" answered Davidge with a grim laugh. "As nice and quiet-mannered a man as ever I entered as a candidate for the gallows! It's very often the case, gentlemen. Oh, yes-it's true enough! He's confessed-crumpled up like a bit of tissue paper when we took him-confessed everything to me just before I came along here. Of course we didn't get him through anything we've heard tonight; quite different line altogether, and a simple one."

"We should like to know about it," said Cox-Raythwaite. "Can't you give us a mere outline?"

"I was going to," answered Davidge. "No secret about it. I may as well tell you that after hearing what Barthorpe Herapath insisted on saying before the magistrate, I began to feel that he was very likely telling the truth, and that somebody'd murdered and robbed his uncle just before he got to the offices. But, of course, there was nothing to connect the murder and robbery with any person that I knew of. Well, now then, this is how we got on the track. Only two or three days ago a little, quiet man, who turned out to be a bit of a property-owner down at Fulham, came to me and said that ever since Mr. Jacob Herapath's murder he'd been what he called studying over it, and he thought he ought to tell me something. He said he was a very slow thinker, and it had taken him a long time to think all this out. Then he told me his tale. He said that for some time Jacob Herapath had been waiting to buy a certain bit of land which he had to sell. On November 12th last he called to see Jacob at these offices, and they agreed on the matter, price to be £5,000. Jacob told him to come in at ten o'clock next morning, and in accordance with his usual way of doing business, he'd hand him the money in cash-notes, of course. Well, the chap called next morning, only to hear of what had happened, and so his business had fallen through. And it wasn't until some time later-he's a bit of a slow-witted fellow, dullish of brain, you understand," continued Davidge indulgently, "that he remembered a certain conversation, or rather a remark which Jacob Herapath made during that deal. This man, James Frankton, the manager, was present when the deal was being effected, and when they'd concluded terms, Jacob said, turning to Frankton. 'I'll get the money in notes from the bank this afternoon, Frankton, and if I don't give it to you in the meantime, you'll find the notes in the top left-hand drawer of my desk tomo

rrow morning.' Well, that was what the man told me; said he'd been bothering his brains in wondering if Jacob did draw that money, and so on-Frankton, of course, had told him that he knew nothing about it, and that as Jacob was dead, no more could be done in the matter. Now on that, I at once began some inquiries. I found out a thing or two-never mind what-one was to trace a hundred pound note which Frankton had cashed recently. I found, only yesterday morning, that that note was one of fifty similar notes paid to Jacob Herapath by his bankers in exchange for his own cheque on the afternoon of November 12th. And, on that, I had Frankton watched all yesterday, last night, and today, and as I said, I arrested him tonight-and, in all my experience I never saw a man more surprised, and never knew one who so lost his nerve."

"And his confession?" asked Selwood.

"Oh! ordinary," answered Davidge. "Jacob had made an appointment with him for half-past eleven or so. Got there a bit late, found his master sitting at his desk with a wad of bank notes on the blotting-pad, a paper of pearls on one side of him, a lot of diamond ornaments at the other-big temptation to a chap, who, as it turns out, was hard up, and had got into the hands of money-lenders. And, oh, just the ordinary thing in such cases, happened to have on him a revolver that he'd bought abroad, yielded to temptation, shot his man, took money and valuables, went home, and turned up at the office next day to lift his hands in horror at the dreadful news. You see what truth is, gentlemen, when you get at it-just a common, vulgar murder, for the sake of robbery. And he'll swing!"

"'Just a common, vulgar murder, and he'll swing!'" softly repeated Cox-Raythwaite, as he and Selwood walked up the steps of the house in Portman Square half an hour later. "Well, that's solved, anyway. As for the other two--"

"I suppose there's no doubt of their guilt with respect to their conspiring to upset the will?" said Selwood. "And that's a serious offence, isn't it?"

"In this eminently commercial country, very," answered Cox-Raythwaite, sententiously. "Barthorpe and Burchill will inevitably retire to the shelter of a convict establishment for awhile. Um! Well, my boy, good night!"

"Not coming in?" asked Selwood, as he put a key in the latch.

The Professor gave his companion's shoulder a pressure of his big hand.

"I think," he said, turning down the steps with a shy laugh, "I think Peggie will prefer to receive you-alone."

the end

* * *

THE MYSTERY STORIES OF

J. S. FLETCHER

"We always feel as though we were really spreading happiness when we can announce a genuinely satisfactory mystery story, such as J. S. Fletcher's new one." -N. P. D. in the New York Globe.

THE MIDDLE TEMPLE MURDER [1918]

"Unquestionably, the detective story of the season and, therefore, one which no lover of detective fiction should miss."-The Broadside.

THE TALLEYRAND MAXIM [1920]

"A crackerjack mystery tale; the story of Linford Pratt, who earnestly desired to get on in life, by hook or by crook-with no objection whatever to crookedness, so long at it could be performed in safety and secrecy."-Knickerbocker Press.

THE PARADISE MYSTERY [1920]

"As a weaver of detective tales Mr. Fletcher is entitled to a seat among the elect. His numerous followers will find his latest book fully as absorbing as anything from his pen that has previously appeared."-New York Times.

DEAD MEN'S MONEY [1920]

"The story is one that holds the reader with more than the mere interest of sensational events; Mr. Fletcher writes in a notable style."-Newark Evening News.

THE ORANGE-YELLOW DIAMOND [1921]

"... A rattling good yarn. ... An uncommonly well written tale."-New York Times.

THE CHESTERMARKE INSTINCT [1921]

"Mr. Fletcher is a master of plot. ... To tell a story as well as this is a literary achievement."-Boston Transcript.

THE BOROUGH TREASURER [1921]

"As mystifying a tale as even Mr. Fletcher himself has written."-New York Times.

THE HERAPATH PROPERTY [1921]

Numerous complications lead from the murder of Jacob Herapath and the search for his will.

SCARHAVEN KEEP [1922]

The mystery of the disappearance of Bassett Oliver, famous actor.

RAVENSDENE COURT [1922]

Two men are struck down by an unseen hand, at the same time in widely separated places-who killed them?

$2.00 net each at all booksellers or from the Publisher

ALFRED A. KNOPF, New York.

* * *

Transcriber's Notes

The advertisement "The Mystery Stories of J. S. Fletcher" has been moved from the front of the book to the back.

Spacing around ellipses and em-dashes is as in the original.

The following corrections have been applied:

Advertisement: "As mystifying{original had mystifyng} a tale as even Mr. Fletcher himself has written."

Page vi: XXIV{original had XIV} Cold Steel

Page 18: but when she had left the room to make ready for the drive Mr.{original omitted period} Tertius turned to Selwood.

Page 66: the detective, armed with a magnifying glass, was examining the edges of the door, the smooth backs of chairs, even the surface of the desk, presumably for finger-marks{original had fingermarks}.

Page 72: "Mr. Selwood!" she exclaimed imploringly. "You-I can't.{The original text has no em-dash, and it's not clear what the author's intention was. Click on the thumbnail image on the left to show the original text.} You open it, and-"

Page 85: "Pardon," interrupted Burchill, "a{original had A} holograph?

Page 128: And it was as well that he was not looking{original had look-} at Triffitt

Page 160: perhaps you'll{original had you'l} drop me a line and make an appointment at your office some day-then I'll call, d'you see?"{original omitted closing quotation mark}

Page 166: "So long as justice is done," remarked Peggie.{original omitted period}

Page 178: There were peculiarities about the fellow, said Triffitt{original had Triffit}, which you couldn't forget

Page 186: "All right," said Triffitt, "keep{original had Keep} a still tongue as regards me

Page 186: {original had a quotation mark here}Outside Triffitt gave his companion's arm a confidential squeeze.

Page 187: Markledew{original had Markledek} listened to Triffitt's story next day in his usual rapt silence.

Page 196: "Then we'll get to work," said Davidge. "{original omitted quotation mark}Mr. Triffitt, I can't ask you to come with us

Page 201: "I haven't{original had haven'} the least objection to Cox-Raythwaite's presence, nor yours," said Barthorpe.

Page 211: Peggie Wynne, who during Barthorpe's last speech had manifested signs of a desire to speak, and had begun to produce a sealed packet from her muff.{original had a superfluous quotation mark here}

Page 214: as they{original had ast hey} went on, quietly rose from his chair.

Page 218: Is it not probable that if he wanted to make a will he{original had be} would have employed me

Page 273: Peggie{original had Peggy} Wynne had never been so glad of anything in her life as for Selwood's immediate presence at that moment

Page 287: You follow me? As soon as I've taken action, or run him to earth, I'll ring up Scotland Yard, and{original had an} then--"

Page 293: "Nine o'clock," he remarked. "{original omitted this quotation mark}Come on-we'll go in. Now, then, Mr. Triffitt," he continued,

The following unusual spellings are as printed:

Page 143: He flung Markledew's half-sheet of notepaper before the news editor, and the news editor, seeing the great man's sprawling caligraphy{sic}, read, wonderingly:-

The following words appear with and without a hyphen. They have been left as in the original.

bank-notes/banknotes

business-like/businesslike

hearth-rug/hearthrug

note-book/notebook

note-paper/notepaper

parlour-maid/parlourmaid

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