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   Chapter 18 SHOW ME THE MAN WHO WORE THOSE BOOTS

Winsome Winnie and other New Nonsense Novels By Stephen Leacock Characters: 4407

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


The remains of the unhappy club man were buried on the following day as reverently as those of a club man can be. None followed him to the grave except a few morbid curiosity-seekers, who rode on top of the hearse.

The great city turned again to its usual avocations. The unfathomable mystery was dismissed from the public mind.

Meantime Transome Kent was on the trail. Sleepless, almost foodless, and absolutely drinkless, he was everywhere. He was looking for Peter Kelly. Wherever crowds were gathered, the Investigator was there, searching for Kelly. In the great concourse of the Grand Central Station, Kent moved to and fro, peering into everybody's face. An official touched him on the shoulder. "Stop peering into the people's faces," he said. "I am unravelling a mystery," Kent answered. "I beg your pardon, sir," said the man, "I didn't know."

Kent was here, and everywhere, moving ceaselessly, pro and con, watching for Kelly. For hours he stood beside the soda-water fountains examining every drinker as he drank. For three days he sat on the steps of Masterman Throgton's home, disguised as a plumber waiting for a wrench.

But still no trace of Peter Kelly. Young Kelly, it appeared, had lived with his uncle until a little less than three years ago. Then suddenly he had disappeared. He had vanished, as a brilliant writer for the New York Press framed it, as if the earth had swallowed him up.

Transome Kent, however, was not a man to be baffled by initial defeat.

A week later, the Investigator called in at the office of Inspector Edwards.

"Inspector," he said, "I must have some more clues. Take me again to the Kelly residence. I must re-analyse my first di?resis."

Together the two friends went to the house. "It is inevitable," said Kent, as they entered again the fateful billiard-room, "that we have overlooked something."

"We always do," said Edwards gloomily.

"Now tell me," said Kent, as they stood beside the billiard table, "what is your own theory, the police theory, of this murder? Give me your first theory first, and then go on with the others."

"Our first theory, Mr. Kent, was that the murder was committed by a sailor with a wooden leg

, newly landed from Java."

"Quite so, quite proper," nodded Kent.

"We knew that he was a sailor," the Inspector went on, dropping again into his sing-song monotone, "by the extraordinary agility needed to climb up the thirty feet of bare brick wall to the window-a landsman could not have climbed more than twenty; the fact that he was from the East Indies we knew from the peculiar knot about his victim's neck. We knew that he had a wooden leg--"

The Inspector paused and looked troubled.

"We knew it." He paused again. "I'm afraid I can't remember that one."

"Tut, tut," said Kent gently, "you knew it, Edwards, because when he leaned against the billiard table the impress of his hand on the mahogany was deeper on one side than the other. The man was obviously top heavy. But you abandoned this first theory."

"Certainly, Mr. Kent, we always do. Our second theory was--"

But Kent had ceased to listen. He had suddenly stooped down and picked up something off the floor.

"Ha ha!" he exclaimed. "What do you make of this?" He held up a square fragment of black cloth.

"We never saw it," said Edwards.

"Cloth," muttered Kent, "the missing piece of Kivas Kelly's dinner jacket." He whipped out a magnifying glass. "Look," he said, "it's been stamped upon-by a man wearing hob-nailed boots-made in Ireland-a man of five feet nine and a half inches high--"

"One minute, Mr. Kent," interrupted the Inspector, greatly excited, "I don't quite get it."

"The depth of the dint proves the lift of his foot," said Kent impatiently, "and the lift of the foot indicates at once the man's height. Edwards, find me the man who wore these boots and the mystery is solved!"

At that very moment a heavy step, unmistakably to the trained ear that of a man in hob-nailed boots, was heard upon the stair. The door opened and a man stood hesitating in the doorway.

Both Kent and Edwards gave a start, two starts, of surprise.

The man was exactly five feet nine and a half inches high. He was dressed in coachman's dress. His face was saturnine and evil.

It was Dennis, the coachman of the murdered man.

"If you're Mr. Kent," he said, "there's a lady here asking for you."

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