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Title: The Nine of Hearts - A Novel
Author: Farjeon, B. L. (Benjamin Leopold)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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_No. 107_

HARPER'S HANDY SERIES

Issued Weekly

------------------------------------

Copyright,1885, by Harper & Brothers

December 17, 1886

Subscription Price per Year, 52 Numbers, $15

------------------------------------

Entered at the Post-Office at New York, as Second-class Mail Matter



THE NINE OF HEARTS


A Novel

By B. L. FARJEON AUTHOR OF "GREAT PORTER SQUARE" "THE BRIGHT STAR OF
LIFE" "GRIF" ETC.


------------------------------------

_Books you may hold readily in your hand are the most useful, after
all_ Dr. Johnson



NEW YORK

HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS

1886



CONTENTS

Part the First
The Trial of Edward Layton.

    I. A Strange Decision.

   II. The Evidence of James Moorhouse, Coachman.

  III. The Evidence of Adolf Wolfstein, Waiter.

   IV. The Evidence of Lumley Rich, Detective Officer--The
           Nine of Hearts.

    V. The Evidence of Ida White, Lady's Maid.

   VI. Description of the Last Day's Proceedings--Extracted
           from a Daily Paper.


Part the Second
The Cable Message from America.


Part the Third
The Mystery of the Nine of Hearts.

    I.

   II.

  III.

   IV.

    V.

   VI. The Day after the Derby.

  VII.



THE NINE OF HEARTS.



PART THE FIRST.

THE TRIAL OF EDWARD LAYTON.



I.

A STRANGE DECISION.


This morning, at the Central Criminal Court, Mr. Justice Fenmore
resumed the trial of Edward Layton for the wilful murder of his
wife, Agnes Layton, on the morning of the 26th of March, by the
administration of poisonous narcotics in such quantities as to produce
death. Extraordinary as was the excitement caused by yesterday's
proceedings, the public interest in this mysterious murder was
intensified by the strange decision arrived at by the prisoner on this
the third day of his trial.

The Attorney-general, Mr. J. Protheroe, Q.C., and Mr. Standing
conducted the case on behalf of the Crown.

The widely spread rumor that an episode of a startling character was
impending, received confirmation immediately upon the entrance of the
prisoner in the dock. He presented a care-worn appearance, and while
the usual formalities were in progress, it was observed that he and his
counsel (Mr. Bainbridge, Q.C.) were in earnest consultation, and it
appeared as if the learned gentleman were endeavoring to overcome some
resolution which the prisoner had formed. At the termination of this
conversation Mr. Bainbridge, turning to the Bench, said,

"I have to claim your lordship's indulgence for a statement which I
find it necessary to make. It is in the remembrance of your lordship
that on the first day of this trial the prisoner was undefended, being,
as it appeared, resolutely determined to defend himself. Yesterday
morning--that is, upon the second day of the trial--I informed your
lordship that the prisoner had been prevailed upon by his friends to
intrust his defence to me. Being satisfied in my own mind that nothing
would occur to disturb this arrangement--which I venture to say was
an advisable one--I did not feel called upon to mention that the
prisoner's consent to accept legal aid was very reluctantly given. That
this was so, however, is proved by what has since transpired. Both in
writing and by word of mouth the prisoner now insists upon conducting
his own case, and has distinctly informed me that he will not permit
me to act for him. I am empowered to say that his decision is not in
any sense personal to myself. It is simply, and regrettably, that he
has resolved not to be defended or represented by counsel. In these
circumstances I have no option but to place myself in your lordship's
hands."

Prisoner. "My lord--"

Mr. Justice Fenmore. "Silence. Your counsel will speak for you."

Prisoner. "My lord, I have no counsel. I am defending myself, and no
person shall speak for me."

Mr. Justice Fenmore. "Prisoner at the bar, it is my duty to tell you
that the decision at which you have arrived is grave and unwise."

Prisoner. "Of that, my lord, I am the best judge."

Mr. Justice Fenmore. "You may not be. It is scarcely necessary for me
to point out to you, a man of intelligence and good education, that
there are points in every case, and especially in a case so momentous
as this, which an unjudicial, or, to speak more correctly, a mind not
legally trained, is almost certain to overlook."

Prisoner. "I understand your lordship, and I thank you but if my
acquittal of the terrible crime for which I am now being tried is to
be brought about by legal technicalities, I shall prefer not to owe my
release to those means. I, better than any man here--unless, indeed,
the actual murderer be present--know whether I am innocent or guilty,
and in the course I have determined to pursue I am acting in what I
believe to be my best interests. Your lordship has referred to me as
a man of intelligence and good education. These qualifications will
sufficiently serve me, but I do not rely upon them alone. I have really
had some sort of legal training, and as I assuredly know that I shall
conduct my own defence in a manner which will recommend itself to my
heart and my conscience, so do I believe that, if I choose to exercise
it--and I suppose most men in my position would so choose--I have
legal knowledge sufficient for my needs. The learned counsel who has
addressed your lordship has put the matter most fairly. My consent that
he should defend me was reluctantly given, and I reserved to myself
the right to withdraw it. He has mentioned that this withdrawal is
not personal to himself. It is true. To him, above all others, would
I intrust my defence, were it not that I have cogent and imperative
reasons for trusting no man. I shall not displease one so earnest and
high-minded as he when I state that he once gave me his friendship,
and that I felt honored by it. Your lordship will pardon me for this
statement, the admission of which I feel to be unusual in such a case.
I have made it only for the purpose of emphasizing his correct view. My
lord, I stand upon my rights. I will conduct my own defence."

The trial was then proceeded with.



II.

THE EVIDENCE OF JAMES MOORHOUSE, COACHMAN.


The first witness called was James Moorhouse, whose examination was
looked forward to with great interest, as likely to tell heavily either
for or against the prisoner. He is a sturdy man, of middle age, with an
expression of intense earnestness in his face, and although he gave his
evidence in a perfectly straightforward manner, it was apparent that
his sympathies were with the prisoner.

The Attorney general. "Your name is James Moorhouse?"

Witness. "It is, sir."

The Attorney-general. "Were you in the prisoner's employment?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "In what capacity?"

Witness. "As his coachman."

The Attorney-general. "For how long were you so employed?"

Witness. "For a matter of three years."

The Attorney-general. "Are you a teetotaler?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "During the three years you worked for the
prisoner were you in the habit of driving him out regularly?"

Witness. "Yes, sir pretty nearly every day."

The Attorney-general. "Were you the only coachman on the establishment?"

Witness. "I was, sir."

The Attorney-general. "Being in his employment so long, you are, I
suppose, perfectly familiar with his figure?"

Witness. "I am, sir without hearing his voice, I should know him in the
dark."

The Attorney-general. "You are sure of that?"

Witness. "Quite sure, sir."

The Attorney-general. "Is your eyesight good?"

Witness. "It is very strong. I can see a longish way."

The Attorney-general. "You have been in the habit of driving the
prisoner often at night?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "And your eyes, therefore, have got trained to
his figure, as it were?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "You have had to look out for him on dark nights
from a distance?"

Witness. "I have had to do that, sir."

The Attorney-general. "When the people were coming out of a theatre,
for instance?"

Witness. "Yes, sir; and at other places as well."

The Attorney-general. "Therefore, it is not likely you could be
mistaken in him?"

Witness. "It is hardly possible, sir."

The Attorney-general. "You remember the night of the 25th of March?"

Witness. "Yes, sir, and the day too."

The Attorney-general. "Why do you include the day in your answer?"

Witness. "Because it was the hardest day's work I have done for many a
year."

The Attorney-general. "The hardest day's driving, do you mean?"

Witness. "Yes, sir. I was on the box from eleven o'clock in the morning
till an hour past midnight."

The Attorney-general. "Driving your master, the prisoner?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "And no other person?"

Witness. "Not till evening, sir. It was about--"

The Attorney-general. "We will come to the particulars presently. You
were not driving all the time?"

Witness. "No, sir; the horses couldn't have stood it."

The Attorney-general. "Do you mean that there were stoppages?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "Did the prisoner usually work his horses so
hard?"

Witness. "Not at all, sir. He was a good master to man and beast."

The Attorney-general. "Why do you look so frequently at the prisoner?"

Witness. "I can't tell you, sir, except that I shouldn't like to say
anything to hurt him."

The Attorney-general. "But you are here to speak the truth."

Witness. "I intend to speak it, sir."

The Attorney-general. "For reasons which you have given, your
remembrance of what occurred on the 25th of March is likely to be
exceptionally faithful?"

Witness. "For those and other reasons, sir."

The Attorney-general. "Now, commence on the morning of that day. What
were your first instructions?"

Witness. "To be ready with the carriage at eleven o'clock."

The Attorney-general. "You were ready?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "In what way did you fix the time? By guessing?"

Witness. "By my watch, sir--the best time-keeper in London."

The Attorney-general. "At eleven o'clock, then, you were on the box,
waiting for your master?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "He came out to you?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "Did he tell you immediately where to drive to?"

Witness. "Not immediately, sir. He stood with his hand on the carriage
door, and seemed to be considering."

The Attorney-general. "Did he remain long considering?"

Witness. "For three or four minutes, sir--which seemed a longish time."

The Attorney-general. "And then?"

Witness. "Then he told me to drive to Finchley."

The Attorney-general. "What address did he give you?"

Witness. "None in particular, sir. He said, 'Drive to Finchley, on the
road to High Barnet. I will tell you when to stop."

The Attorney-general. "Well?"

Witness. "I drove as directed, and when we were about midway between
Finchley and High Barnet he called to me to stop."

The Attorney-general. "Were you then at the gate, or in the front of
any house?"

Witness. "No, sir. We were on the high-road, and there was no house
within twenty yards of us."

The Attorney-general. "Are you familiar with the locality?"

Witness. "No, sir, I am not."

The Attorney-general. "You had never driven your master there before?"

Witness. "Never, sir."

The Attorney-general. "Would you be able to mark the point of stoppage
on a map of the road between Finchley and High Barnet?"

Witness. "I will try, sir, but I shouldn't like to be positive."

(A map was here handed to the witness, who, after a careful study of
it, made a mark upon it with a pencil.)

The Attorney-general. "You will not swear that this is the exact spot?"

Witness. "No, sir."

The Attorney-general. "But to the best of your knowledge it is?"

Witness. "Yes, sir, to the best of my knowledge."

The Attorney-general. "The prisoner called to you to stop. What then?"

Witness. "I drew up immediately, and he got out."

The Attorney-general. "What were his next instructions?"

Witness. "He told me to wait for him, and to turn the horses' heads."

The Attorney-general. "Towards London?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "Did he say how long he would be away?"

Witness. "About five or ten minutes, he said."

The Attorney-general. "In point of fact, how long was it before he
returned?"

Witness. "Thirty-two minutes by my watch."

The Attorney-general. "You always time yourself?"

Witness. "Yes, sir, always it's a habit."

The Attorney-general. "Did he make any remark upon his return, about
his being away longer than he expected?"

Witness. "No, sir. He seemed to be occupied with something."

The Attorney-general. "Occupied in thinking of something?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "When he left you, in which direction did he go?"

Witness. "He walked on towards High Barnet till he came to a bend in
the road. He went round that and I lost sight of him."

The Attorney-general. "Did he return the same way?"

Witness. "No, sir he startled me a bit."

The Attorney-general. "How?"

Witness. "I was looking out for him in the direction he had taken, when
I suddenly heard him speak at my elbow."

The Attorney-general. "How do you account for it?"

Witness. "He must have taken a short cut back across some fields. If
I had been on my box I might have seen him, but I was standing in the
road, and there was a hedge, more than man high, on the side he came
back to me."

The Attorney-general. "What did you do when he reappeared?"

Witness. "I prepared to start."

The Attorney-general. "Did he tell you immediately where to drive to?"

Witness. "No, sir. He stood considering, just as he did when we first
set out."

The Attorney-general. "And then?"

Witness. "He told me to drive back the way we had come, but not to
drive too quickly."

The Attorney-general. "You did so?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "Where did you next stop?"

Witness. "Midway between Finchley and Crouch End."

The Attorney-general. "At a house?"

Witness. "No, sir; at a part of the road where there were no houses."

The Attorney-general. "He called to you, as before, to stop?"

Witness. "Yes, sir. He got out, and said, 'Moorhouse, meet me here in
about an hour or an hour and a quarter.' I said, 'Yes, sir,' and I
asked him whether I should bait the horses at an inn we had passed half
a mile down the road. He did not answer me, but walked quickly away."

The Attorney-general. "Can you say why he did not answer you?"

Witness. "No, sir, except that he did not hear me."

The Attorney-general. "You spoke distinctly?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "Have you observed, at any time during your
employment, that he was at all deaf?"

Witness. "No, sir; but he seemed, the whole of that day, to have
something on his mind which kept him from thinking of anything else, or
attending to it."

The Attorney-general. "After he walked quickly away, what did you do?"

Witness. "As I had more than an hour to spare I drove back to the inn
I spoke of, and baited my horses, and had a bite of bread-and-cheese
myself."

The Attorney-general. "Anything to drink?"

Witness. "A bottle of ginger-beer."

The Attorney-general. "Timing yourself as usual, were you back on the
spot you left the prisoner at the end of the hour and a quarter?"

Witness. "To the minute."

The Attorney-general. "Was he waiting for you?"

Witness. "No, sir. I saw nothing of him for another two hours."

The Attorney-general. "Did he return by the road he quitted you?"

Witness. "No, sir. He came back another way."

The Attorney-general. "As before?"

Witness. "Yes, sir, as before."

The Attorney-general. "What time was it then?"

Witness. "Seven o'clock."

The Attorney-general. "Was it getting dark?"

Witness. "It was already dark, sir, and beginning to drizzle."

The Attorney-general. "What were the next instructions?"

Witness. "To drive to the Metropolitan Music Hall, Edgeware Road."

The Attorney-general. "You drove there?"

Witness. "Yes, sir, and my master got out."

The Attorney-general "Saying what?"

Witness. "Moorhouse,' he said, 'I don't know how long I shall remain
here. It may be an hour or only a few minutes. Keep near.'"

The Attorney-general. "You obeyed his instructions?"

Witness. "Yes, sir. I kept within hail, and my master came out at
half-past nine."

The Attorney-general. "Alone?"

Witness. "No, sir. He was accompanied by a man."

The Attorney-general. "A young or an old man?"

Witness. "I can't say."

The Attorney-general. "But you saw him?"

Witness. "Only his back. They walked away from the carriage."

The Attorney-general. "There is generally something in the gait of a
man which, within limits, denotes his age--that is to say, as whether
he is young or old? Cannot you be guided by that fact?"

Witness. "No, sir. I paid no particular attention to him. It was my
master I was chiefly observing."

The Attorney-general. "You have not the slightest idea as to the age of
the man who came out of the Metropolitan Music Hall with the prisoner?"

Witness. "Not the slightest, sir."

The Attorney-general. "Did you observe nothing particular as to his
dress? Was there any peculiarity about it?"

Witness. "I observed nothing particular about him. Whatever I might
say of the man, paying such little attention to him, wouldn't be worth
much."

The Attorney-general. "I recognize that you are giving your evidence
in a very fair manner, and if I press you upon any point it is for the
purpose of assisting your memory. You recollect that the prisoner on
that night wore a coat of a distinct pattern?"

Witness. "Yes, sir. He had on an ulster with a Scotch check, which
couldn't be mistaken."

The Attorney-general. "What was it lined with?"

Witness. "With blue cloth."

The Attorney-general. "He wore this ulster when he entered the music
hall?"

Witness. "Yes, sir, and when he came out of the music hall."

The Attorney-general. "It is this which makes me think it likely you
might have observed some distinguishing mark in the dress of the man
who came out with him?"

Witness. "I have nothing in my mind, sir, respecting his dress."

The Attorney-general. "Very well, I will no longer press it. As to his
height?"

Witness. "As well as I can remember, he was about the same height as my
master."

The Attorney-general. "Did you notice the color of his hair, or
whether it was long or short?"

Witness. "No, sir."

The Attorney-general. "If it had been long white hair, you would most
likely have noticed it?"

Witness. "In that case, yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "We may assume, then, that he had not long white
hair?"

Witness. "I think I am safe in saying that much."

The Attorney-general. "Or white hair at all?"

Witness. "I shouldn't like to commit myself there, sir. If his hair had
been white and short, I don't think it would have struck me."

The Attorney-general. "Did he and the prisoner walk out of sight?"

Witness. "No, sir. They walked to the corner of a street, and stood
there talking for a little while--I should say for fifteen or twenty
minutes. Then the man went away, down the street, which hid him from
me, and my master returned to the carriage."

The Attorney-general. "While they were talking, their backs were still
turned to you?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "Was there anything observable in their manner of
conversing? Were they calm? Did they remain perfectly still?"

Witness. "No, sir. My master was calm enough, but his companion
appeared to be very excited. My master seemed to be trying to persuade
him to do something."

The Attorney-general. "From their attitude, should you have assumed
that his arguments prevailed?"

Witness. "I can't possibly say, sir."

The Attorney-general. "Well, then, the man went away and the prisoner
returned to you. What were his next directions?"

Witness. "To drive to Bloomsbury Square, and stop where he directed me."

The Attorney-general. "You did so?"

Witness. "Yes, sir. When we reached the square in Queen Street he
pulled the check-string, and I stopped there. He got out of the
carriage and looked about him."

The Attorney-general. "As if in search of some person?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "Did he make any remark to you?"

Witness. "He said, 'If you see a young lady in a gray cloak pass by,
you can tell her I am in the square.'"

The Attorney-general. "Did he remain with you after that?"

Witness. "No, sir; he walked right round the square. When he came up to
me he asked if I had seen a young lady dressed as he had described. I.
told him no, I hadn't, and he bade me keep a sharp lookout, and left me
again."

The Attorney-general. "To walk round the square again?"

Witness. "Yes, sir. He walked round three or four times, I should say,
and every time he came up to me he asked me if I was sure I had not
seen the young lady; if I was sure she had not passed me. I gave him
the same answer as I did before, and he left me again. He could not
have been more than half-way round when I saw a lady in a gray cloak
coming my way. She was walking hurriedly, and looking about her. I
advanced to speak to her, but she started back the moment I made a step
towards her, and ran to the other side of the road, and crossed into
the square at a distance from me. I should have gone up to her had I
not been afraid to leave my horses; but seeing that she began to walk
round the square in the opposite direction my master had taken, I was
satisfied that they must meet."

The Attorney-general. "In point of fact, did they meet? Relate what you
saw that bears upon it."

Witness. "A little while afterwards I saw them together, talking to
each other. They did not walk on the pavement close to the houses, but
on the other side, close to the railings. I don't know how many times
they made the circle of the square, but they must have been away about
twenty minutes or so. Then they came up to me together, and my master
opened the door of the carriage, and the lady got in. When she was
inside, he said to me that there was no occasion for me to mention what
I had seen or that he had spoken to me about the lady."

The Attorney-general. "All this time was it raining?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "Did they have umbrellas?"

Witness. "Neither of them, sir."

The Attorney-general. "They must have got wet?"

Witness. "They couldn't help getting wet."

The Attorney-general. "Did they seem to mind it?"

Witness. "They didn't say anything about it."

The Attorney-general. "While they were walking round the square, did
they meet any persons?"

Witness. "A few passed them, and they got out of their way, it seemed
to me."

The Attorney-general. "As if they desired to avoid observation?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "That would be a reasonable construction to put
upon the circumstance of their walking, during their conversation, on
the least-frequented side of the square, near the railings?"

Witness. "Yes, I think so."

The Attorney-general. "Although the neighborhood is a fairly busy one
during the day, are there many people passing through Bloomsbury Square
at night?"

Witness. "Not many, I should say."

The Attorney-general. "The square is not very well lighted up?"

Witness. "Not very."

The Attorney-general. "Did you see a policeman while you were waiting?"

Witness. "One, and only once."

The Attorney-general. "Did he speak to you?"

Witness. "No, sir."

The Attorney-general. "He passed on through the square?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "Reference has been made to an ulster of a
peculiar pattern which the prisoner was in the habit of wearing. You
said it was an ulster which could not be mistaken. Are you certain of
that?"

Witness. "Quite certain."

The Attorney-general. "Is it within your recollection how long the
prisoner has worn this ulster?"

Witness. "He had it made last year."

The Attorney-general. "Would you recognize it if you saw it?"

Witness. "Oh yes."

The Attorney-general. "Is this it?" (Ulster produced.)

Witness. "Yes, that is it."

The Attorney-general. "You swear to it?"

Witness. "I do."

The Attorney-general. "You have said that the prisoner came out of his
house wearing this ulster. Now, on the occasions you have described,
when the prisoner left his carriage and returned to it, was this ulster
ever off his back?"

Witness. "He wore it all the time."

The Attorney-general. "You are positive he did not at any time leave
you with this ulster on, and return wearing another?"

Witness. "I am positive of it."

The Attorney-general. "After the lady got into the carriage, and the
prisoner told you there was no occasion for you to mention what you had
seen, or that he had spoken to you about the lady, what did he do?"

Witness. "He told me to drive to Prevost's Restaurant, in Church
Street, Soho, and then he got into the carriage."

The Attorney-general. "At any time during the night did you see the
lady's face?"

Witness. "Not at any time."

The Attorney-general. "Were you familiar with Prevost's Restaurant?"

Witness. "No, I had never been there, and I was in doubt where Church
Street was. I had to inquire my way."

The Attorney-general. "Could not the prisoner tell you?"

Witness. "I asked him, and he said he could not direct me."

The Attorney-general. "However, you found the restaurant?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "And then?"

Witness. "My master and the lady entered the restaurant."

The Attorney-general. "What did your master say to you?"

Witness. "He told me to wait near the door."

The Attorney-general. "Did you know what time it was when you drew up
at the restaurant?"

Witness. "It was ten minutes to eleven."

The Attorney-general. "How long were you kept waiting?"

Witness. "Exactly an hour and five minutes."

The Attorney-general. "That will bring it to five minutes to twelve?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "Did the prisoner then come from the restaurant?"

Witness. "Yes, accompanied by the lady."

The Attorney-general. "It was still raining?"

Witness. "Raining hard now."

The Attorney-general. "Did he appear flurried? Was he excited?"

Witness. "His movements were very hurried, which I thought was due to
the rain, and perhaps to his having had a little too much wine. He
opened the door of the carriage quickly, and the lady jumped in, to
avoid the rain, I suppose. My master got in quickly after her."

The Attorney-general. "But he gave you instructions?"

Witness. "All he said was, 'Home!'"

The Attorney-general. "Calmly?"

Witness. "No, sir. Although he only said one word, I noticed that his
voice was thick. It was because of that I suspected he had taken a
little too much wine."

The Attorney-general. "Did you observe that he had his ulster on?"

Witness. "Yes, he had it on."

The Attorney-general. "You drove home--and then?"

Witness. "My master got out, helped the lady out--no, I am making a
mistake."

The Attorney-general. "Commence again."

Witness. "My master got out, opened the street door with his latch-key,
then returned to the carriage and helped the lady out, and they both
passed into the house."

The Attorney-general. "Were his actions steady?"

Witness. "They were not, sir. He seemed to be in a strange hurry."

The Attorney-general. "Did he say nothing to you?"

Witness. "Nothing. And thinking my day's work was over, I took the
horses to the stable. I was glad enough."

The Attorney-general. "The prisoner was in the habit of carrying a
latch-key?"

Witness. "Yes, and always let himself into the house."

The Attorney-general. "Did you observe whether the gas in the hall was
lighted?"

Witness. "It was. It was always kept on when my master was out. His
habit was to turn it off himself, the servants sometimes being abed."

The Attorney-general. "Now, during the time you were in the prisoner's
employment, had you ever passed such a day as this you have described?"

Witness. "Never."

The Attorney-general. "Did you ever know him to come home with a lady,
alone, at that hour of the night?"

Witness. "Never."

The Attorney-general. "All the incidents of the day were unusual?"

Witness. "Very unusual. I thought them very strange."

The Attorney-general. "The question I am about to put is, in another
form, partly a repetition of one you have already answered. Did you
ever know the prisoner to come home in the carriage late at night with
a strange lady--that is, with any other lady than his wife?"

Witness. "Never. With a gentleman sometimes, and sometimes with more
than one gentleman; but never with a strange lady."

The Attorney-general. "He occasionally came home late with friends?"

Witness. "Oh yes; but then his wife was always with him."

The Attorney-general. "During the last few months was this usual?"

Witness. "No. Mrs. Layton was an invalid, and seldom drove out--not
once during the last three or four months at night."

The Attorney-general. "On the day we have gone through--the 25th of
March did you see anything of Mrs. Layton?"

Witness. "No, sir, she was seriously ill."

The Attorney-general. "That, however, is not within your personal
observation?"

Witness. "No, sir. My duties were outside the house."

The Attorney-general. "The lady whom he brought home on the night of
the 25th of March was not his wife?"

Witness. "No, sir. Mrs. Layton had been confined to her room for
several weeks."

The Attorney-general. "You are quite positive on this point?"

Witness. "Quite positive, sir."

The Attorney-general. "That will do."

(To the surprise of every person in court, who expected that the
witness would be subjected to a long cross-examination, the prisoner
asked but few questions.)

Prisoner. "You say that at five minutes to twelve I came out of
Prevost's Restaurant?"

Witness. "You and the lady, sir."

Prisoner. "It was a dark night?"

Witness. "It was, sir."

Prisoner. "Did I call for you?"

Witness. "No, sir. I saw you come out of the restaurant with the lady,
and I drew up at once. I was within half a dozen yards of the door."

Prisoner. "When the lady and I got into the carriage, as you say, and I
called out, Home!' you observed that my voice was thick and my manner
flurried?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

Prisoner. "Did it occur to you then, or does it occur to you now, that
the voice which uttered that word was not my voice?"

Witness. "No, sir."

Prisoner. "You are certain it was my voice?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

Prisoner. "I wore my ulster?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

Prisoner. "You drove home, and you saw me open the street door with a
latch-key and pass into the house with the lady?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

Prisoner. "Still with my ulster on?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

Prisoner. "Did I turn my face towards you?"

Witness. "No, sir."

Prisoner. "If I had done so, could you have recognized my features in
the darkness?"

Witness. "Scarcely, sir."

Prisoner. "You know nothing more?"

Witness. "Nothing more, sir."

Prisoner. "I do not put the question offensively--you have been a good
servant, and I have never had occasion to find fault with you--but you
are positive that the version you have given of my later movements is
correct?"

Witness (who appeared much distressed). "I am positive, sir."

Prisoner. "I have nothing more to ask, Moorhouse."

Witness. "Thank you, sir."

Re-examined. "You are a strict teetotaler?"

Witness. "Yes, sir."

The Attorney-general. "Did you take any ale or spirits during the day?"

Witness. "No, sir. I have touched neither for years."

The Attorney-general. "The prisoner's figure being familiar to you, and
your eyesight being so strong that you could distinguish him in the
darkness, is it likely that you could be mistaken in him on this night?"

Witness (reluctantly). "It is not likely, sir."

The Attorney-general. "Scarcely possible?"

Witness. "Scarcely possible, sir."



III.

THE EVIDENCE OF ADOLF WOLFSTEIN, WAITER.


The next witness called was Adolf Wolfstein, a waiter in Prevost's
Restaurant.

The Attorney-general. "Your name is Adolf Wolfstein?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "What is your trade?"

Witness. "I am a waiter."

The Attorney-general. "Where are you employed?"

Witness. "At Prevost's, in Church Street, Soho."

The Attorney-general. "How long have you been in employment there?"

Witness. "A little more than seven weeks."

The Attorney-general. "Do you remember the date on which you entered
your present service?"

Witness. "Yes, it was the 25th of March."

The Attorney-general. "So that the 25th of March is impressed upon your
memory?"

Witness. "It is for another reason impressed upon my memory."

The Attorney-general. "Simply answer the questions I put to you. You
are a German?"

Witness. "No, I am French."

The Attorney-general. "But your name is German, is it not?"

Witness. "Wolfstein is. It was my father's name, who settled in France
when he was a young man."

The Attorney-general. "You understand English perfectly?"

Witness. "Oh yes; perfectly. I spoke it when I was a boy."

The Attorney-general. "Look at the prisoner. Do you recognize him?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "Did you see him on the 25th of March?"

Witness. "Yes. Monsieur came to the restaurant on that day."

The-Attorney-general. "At what hour?"

Witness. "At eleven o'clock at night."

The Attorney-general. "Was he alone?"

Witness. "No; monsieur had a lady with him."

The Attorney-general. "Did he occupy a private room? If you wish to
explain yourself on this matter you can do so."

Witness. "I was coming down-stairs when I saw monsieur enter from
the street with a lady. He looked about him, and seeing me, asked if
he could have supper in a private room. I showed monsieur and madame
up-stairs to a room in which I served."

The Attorney-general. "What occurred then?"

Witness. "I handed monsieur the _menu_."

The Attorney-general. "In English, the bill of fare?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "What did he order?"

Witness. "Tortue claire."

The Attorney-general. "In English, clear turtle soup?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "Did he consult the lady?"

Witness. "No."

The Attorney-general. "Was he long in selecting the kind of soup he
ordered?"

Witness. "No. It was on the instant."

The Attorney-general. "He merely glanced at the bill of fare?"

Witness. "That is so."

The Attorney-general. "Did you get the soup and place it before him?"

Witness. "I first asked monsieur, For two?' He said, quickly, 'Yes, for
two.' Then I served it."

The Attorney-general. "In a tureen?"

Witness. "Yes, in a tureen."

The Attorney-general. "When you placed the soup before him, did he
order any wine?"

Witness. "I handed monsieur the wine-list, and he said, 'Champagne.' I
asked him of what kind. He said, 'The best.'"

The Attorney-general. "You brought the best?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "That is, the most expensive?"

Witness. "Of necessity."

The Attorney-general. "When you placed the wine before him, did you
observe anything that struck you as unusual?"

Witness. "Yes; it was that, like other people, they should have been
drinking their soup, or have finished it; but they had not drunk it."

The Attorney-general. "Had it been served from the tureen into their
plates?"

Witness. "No, not a spoonful. It was as I brought it--not touched."

The Attorney-general. "As they were not eating, what were they doing?"

Witness. "They were engaged in conversation."

The Attorney-general. "Very earnestly?"

Witness. "Very earnestly."

The Attorney-general. "And speaking very low?"

Witness. "Very low."

The Attorney-general. "Did you hear anything they said?"

Witness. "Not a word."

The Attorney-general. "Upon observing that they had not commenced their
soup, did you make any remark?"

Witness. "Yes. I said, 'Does not monsieur like the soup?'"

The Attorney-general. "What was his answer?"

Witness. "He answered, 'Oh yes, it is very good,' and slightly pushed
the tureen away with his hand."

The Attorney-general. "Indicating that he had done with it?"

Witness. "I regarded it so, and I removed it."

The Attorney-general. "Did he object to its being removed?"

Witness. "No, not at all."

The Attorney-general. "Did the lady object--did she seem surprised?"

Witness. "No; she said not a word, nor did she look surprised."

The Attorney-general. "Your answer to the last question causes me to
ask whether the lady was old or young?"

Witness. "But I do not know."

The Attorney-general. "You said she did not look surprised?"

Witness. "It is that she did not appear surprised. She did not look up.
In truth, she had her veil down."

The Attorney general. "Had she removed her cloak?"

Witness. "No."

The Attorney-general. "Did she keep it on all the time she was in the
room?"

Witness. "Yes; all the time."

The Attorney-general. "Now, when you asked the prisoner if he liked the
soup, and he answered, 'Oh yes, it is very good,' you were surprised to
find that they had not drunk a spoonful?"

Witness. "Why, yes, it was surprising."

The Attorney-general. "Did the prisoner pour out the champagne?"

Witness. "I filled a glass for madame and one for monsieur."

The Attorney-general. "Did the prisoner order another dish?"

Witness. "I asked monsieur, 'What will you have to follow?' and handed
him the _menu_--the bill of fare. He said, 'Salmon cutlets.' 'For two,
monsieur?' I asked. 'For two,' he said. I served them."

The Attorney-general. "Did he at any time summon you by ringing the
bell?"

Witness. "No. It appeared to me that monsieur did not wish to be
disturbed therefore I did not disturb him, but I noticed--"

The Attorney-general. "You noticed what?"

Witness. "That, as with the soup, monsieur ate nothing, and helped
madame to nothing. I waited till I thought it was time, and then I went
to the table and asked whether he did not like the salmon cutlets.
Monsieur answered, 'Oh yes, they are very good,' and pushed them away
as before. I removed them, as with the soup. What will monsieur have to
follow?' I asked. 'Ices,' he said. 'Vanille?' I asked. 'Yes,' he said,
'Vanille.' I brought them. They were not eaten."

The Attorney-general. "Did they drink the wine?"

Witness. "Monsieur once raised his glass to his lips, but tasted it
only, and as if he had no heart in it."

The Attorney-general. "Did he order anything else?"

Witness. "No. When I asked him, he said, 'The bill.' I brought it."

The Attorney-general. "What did it amount to?"

Witness. "One pound four shillings."

The Attorney-general. "How much of the champagne was drunk?"

Witness. "Half a glass--not more."

The Attorney-general. "Did not the lady drink any of hers?"

Witness. "Not any."

The Attorney-general. "Did the prisoner make any remark as to the
amount of the bill?"

Witness. "Oh no; he gave me a sovereign and a half-sovereign, and said,
'That will do.'"

The Attorney-general. "Meaning that you could keep the change?"

Witness. "I took it so, and he said nothing."

The Attorney-general. "A good customer?"

Witness. "A very good customer. Not many such."

The Attorney-general. "Without a murmur or a remark, the prisoner paid
you thirty shillings for half a glass of champagne?"

Witness. "That is so. It was, as I say, surprising. I did not forget
it."

The Attorney-general. "It was not a circumstance to forget. You say
that the lady who accompanied the prisoner did not remove her cloak or
veil. Was that the case the whole of the time she was in the room?"

Witness. "The whole of the time."

The Attorney-general. "Her gloves--did she wear those the whole of the
time?"

Witness. "But, no. I remember once seeing her hand ungloved."

The Attorney-general. "Her right or left hand? Be particular in your
answer, and think before you speak, if it is necessary. My object is to
ascertain whether the lady was married, and wore a wedding-ring."

Witness (smiling). "But a wedding-ring matters not. Those wear them who
are not married."

The Attorney-general. "Reply to my question. Was it her right or her
left hand which you saw ungloved?"

Witness. "I cannot remember."

The Attorney-general. "Try."

Witness. "It is of no use. I cannot remember."

The Attorney-general. "Can you remember whether it was a small or a
large hand?"

Witness. "It was a small white hand."

The Attorney-general. "The hand, presumably, of a lady?"

Witness. "Or of a member of the theatre. Who can tell? We have many
such."

The Attorney-general. "Were there rings upon her fingers?"

Witness. "I observed one of turquoises and diamonds."

The Attorney-general. "Was it a ring with any particular setting by
which it could be identified?"

Witness. "A ring set with diamonds and turquoises. That is all I know."

The Attorney-general. "Would you recognize it again if you saw it?"

Witness. "I cannot say. I think not. I did not particularly remark it."

The Attorney-general. "Did you remark the color of her gloves?"

Witness. "They were black gloves."

The Attorney-general. "Of kid?"

Witness. "Yes, of kid."

The Attorney-general. "At what time did the prisoner and his companion
leave the restaurant?"

Witness. "It must have been about twelve."

The Attorney-general. "Why do you say 'It must have been about twelve?'"

Witness. "Because I did not see them leave the room."

The Attorney-general. "You can, however, fix the time within a few
minutes?"

Witness. "Oh yes. At a quarter to twelve, as near as I can remember, I
had occasion to go down-stairs. When I returned, after three or four
minutes, monsieur and madame were gone."

The Attorney-general. "Were you aware that they had a carriage waiting
for them?"

Witness. "Only that I heard so. I did not see it."

(The witness was then briefly cross-examined by the prisoner.)

Prisoner. "You say that you saw me enter the restaurant from the
street, and that I asked you if I could have supper in a private room?"

Witness. "That is so."

Prisoner. "Did you show me into a private room?"

Witness. "Yes."

Prisoner. "Where other persons could not enter?"

Witness. "Oh no; it was a room for six or eight persons."

Prisoner. "During the time I was there, did you attend to other persons
besides me?"

Witness. "Yes."

Prisoner. "The room was not strictly private?"

Witness. "As private as I have said."

Prisoner. "What was the first thing I did when I went to the table you
pointed out to me?"

Witness. "You removed your overcoat. It was wet with rain; and it
surprised me that madame did not remove hers, which was also wet with
rain."

Mr. Justice Fenmore. "Do not make remarks. Simply answer the questions
put to you."

Witness. "Yes, my lord."

Prisoner. "What did I do with the overcoat when I had taken it off?"

Witness. "You hung it up behind you."

Prisoner. "On a peg in the wall?"

Witness. "Yes."

Prisoner. "Was this peg quite close to the table at which I sat?"

Witness. "No, it was at a little distance."

Prisoner. "At the back of me?"

Witness. "Yes."

Prisoner. "Did I put the overcoat on before I left the room?"

Witness. "Yes."

Mr. Justice Fenmore. "You have said in examination that you did not see
the prisoner and his companion leave the room."

Witness. "But when I returned, after being away for three or four
minutes, monsieur was gone, and the coat was also gone."

Prisoner. "Then you did not see me put on the overcoat?"

Witness. "No."

Prisoner. "I have nothing more to ask you."

Re-examined. "Would you be able to recognize the overcoat which the
prisoner wore?"

Witness. "Oh yes; it was remarkable."

The Attorney-general. "Is this it?" (Ulster produced.)

Witness. "Yes; it is the same."

At this stage the court adjourned for luncheon.



IV.

THE EVIDENCE OF LUMLEY RICH, DETECTIVE OFFICER.--THE NINE OF HEARTS.


Upon the reassembling of the court, the first witness called was Lumley
Rich.

The Attorney-general. "You belong to the detective force?"

Witness. "I do."

The Attorney-general. "On the 26th of March were you called to the
prisoner's house?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "At what hour of the morning?"

Witness. "At seven o'clock."

The Attorney-general. "Was the prisoner in the house at the time?"

Witness. "He was not."

The Attorney-general. "Whom did you see for the purpose of information?"

Witness. "The prisoner's coachman, James Moorhouse, and Ida White,
lady's-maid, and other servants."

The Attorney-general. "What passed between you and the coachman?"

Witness. "I asked him at what time on the previous night the prisoner
returned home. He said at about twenty minutes past twelve, and that
the prisoner entered his house accompanied by a lady, opening the
street door with his latch-key. I asked him if he had seen the prisoner
since, and he replied that he had not. I asked him from what part of
his dress the prisoner took the latch-key, and he replied, from the
pocket of the ulster he wore."

The Attorney-general. "Although the prisoner was not at home, was this
ulster in his house?"

Witness. "Yes, it was hanging on the coat-rack in the hall."

The Attorney-general. "Did you take possession of it?"

Witness. "I did."

The Attorney-general. "Did you search the pockets?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "What did you find in them?"

Witness. "The latch-key of the street door and a playing-card."

The Attorney-general. "Nothing else?"

Witness. "Nothing else."

The Attorney-general. "Is this the latch-key?" (Latch-key produced.)

Witness. "It is."

The Attorney-general. "Is this the playing-card?" (Playing-card, the
Nine of Hearts, produced.)

Witness. "It is."

The Attorney-general. "How do you recognize it?"

Witness. "By a private mark I put in the corner."

The Attorney-general. "There was absolutely nothing else in the pockets
of the ulster?"

Witness. "Nothing else."

The Attorney-general. "Did you see the prisoner before you left the
house?"

Witness. "I did."

The Attorney-general. "Describe what passed."

Witness. "The prisoner suddenly made his appearance while I was
questioning the servants, and inquired my business there. I told him
I was an officer, and that I was there because of his wife being
found dead in her bed. 'Dead!' he cried; 'my wife!' and he rushed to
her room. I followed him. He looked at her and sunk into a chair.
He seemed stupefied. I had his ulster coat hanging on my arm, and I
told him I had taken possession of it. He nodded vacantly. A moment
or two afterwards he laid his hand upon the ulster, and demanded to
know where I had obtained it. I informed him from the coat-rack in
the hall. He cried, 'Impossible!' and as it seemed to me he was about
to speak again, I informed him that anything he said might be used in
evidence against him. 'In evidence!' he cried, 'against me!' 'Yes,' I
replied; there has been murder done here.' 'Murder!' he cried; 'and I
am suspected!' To that remark I did not reply, but repeated my caution.
He said, 'Thank you,' and did not utter another word."

The prisoner did not cross-examine the witness; and this was the more
surprising as it was remarked by all in court that upon the production
of the playing-card, the Nine of Hearts, he was greatly agitated.



V.

THE EVIDENCE OF IDA WHITE, LADY'S-MAID.


The next witness called was Ida White, an attractive-looking woman
about thirty years of age.

The Attorney-general. "What is your name?"

Witness. "Ida White."

The Attorney-general. "Do you know the prisoner?"

Witness. "Yes; he was my master."

The Attorney-general. "In what capacity were you employed?"

Witness. "I was lady's-maid to his wife, my poor dead mistress."

The Attorney-general. "Were you in her service before she was married?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "What was her maiden name?"

Witness. "Agnes Beach."

The Attorney-general. "When you first entered her service were her
parents alive?"

Witness. "Both of them."

The Attorney-general. "Do they still live?"

Witness. "No. Mrs. Beach died on my mistress's wedding-day; Mr. Beach
died in February of this year."

The Attorney-general. "Was your late mistress very much affected at her
mother's death?"

Witness. "She almost lost her reason. She fell into a fever, and was
scarcely expected to live. It was weeks before she recovered."

The Attorney-general. "Have you any knowledge of the circumstances of
your mistress's engagement with the prisoner?"

Witness. "She was very much in love with him."

The Attorney-general. "And he with her?"

Witness. "I don't think so."

The Attorney-general. "And according to your observation, not being in
love with her, he engaged himself to her?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "Was she a good-looking woman?"

Witness. "She would not generally be considered so."

The Attorney-general. "Is this a fairly good likeness of her?"

(Photograph of the deceased produced, which, after the witness had
examined it, was handed to the jury. It represented a woman, very
plain, with a face which seemed to lack intelligence.)

Witness. "It is very like her."

The Attorney-general. "Was she strong-minded?"

Witness. "No, she was not but she was very obstinate when she took it
into her head."

The Attorney-general. "How old was she at the time of her engagement
with the prisoner?"

Witness. "Twenty-eight."

The Attorney-general. "Do you know the prisoner's age at the time?"

Witness. "My mistress told me he was twenty-four."

The Attorney-general. "Was she well-formed?"

Witness. "No."

The Attorney-general. "Had she a good figure?"

Witness. "No."

The Attorney-general. "Many plain women have some peculiar attraction,
either in manners or features. Had she anything of this kind to
distinguish her?"

Witness. "I cannot say she had."

The Attorney-general. "But there might have been other attractions. Was
she brilliant in conversation?"

Witness. "On the contrary. She had very little to say for herself upon
general subjects."

The Attorney-general. "But she was passionately in love with the
prisoner?"

Witness. "Passionately."

The Attorney-general. "Did she limp?"

Witness. "Yes. One leg was shorter than the other."

The Attorney-general. "Had she known the prisoner for any length of
time before the engagement?"

Witness. "For a few weeks only, I believe."

The Attorney-general. "In what way did he make her acquaintance?"

Witness. "He came to the house."

The Attorney-general. "In a friendly way?"

Witness. "He came first upon business."

The Attorney-general. "To see whom?"

Witness. "My mistress's father, Mr. Beach."

The Attorney-general. "Upon what business?"

Witness. "Upon betting business, my mistress said."

The Attorney-general. "What was Mr. Beach's occupation?"

Witness. "He was a book-maker."

The Attorney-general. "A betting man?"

Witness. "Yes. He used to make large books."

The Attorney-general. "On racing?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "Was he an educated man?"

Witness. "No."

The Attorney-general. "Would you call him a vulgar man?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "Did he move in good society?"

Witness. "He did not."

The Attorney-general. "But he was rich?"

Witness. "Very rich. He drank a great deal of champagne."

The Attorney-general. "You say the prisoner first came to the house
upon business. Do you know upon what particular business?"

Witness. "It was something about horses, and bets he had made upon
them."

The Attorney-general. "Bets which he had lost?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "How was it that your mistress became acquainted
with him on that occasion, when the fact was that he came upon
business?"

Witness. "He was asked by Mr. Beach to stay to dinner, and he stayed."

The Attorney-general. "Mr. Beach, you say, was not in good society. Had
he any desire to get into it?"

Witness: "He was crazy about it."

The Attorney-general. "Upon the first occasion of the prisoner dining
at Mr. Beach's house, did your mistress make any remark with reference
to the prisoner?"

Witness. "She never ceased speaking about him. She said she had seen
the handsomest man in the world."

The Attorney-general. "Narrate as briefly as you can what occurred
between your mistress and the prisoner up to the time they were
engaged."

Witness. "He came five or six times to the house, and every time he
came my mistress was more and more in love with him. I understood from
what she told me that he was in difficulties, and that he had lost a
great deal of money at horse-racing."

The Attorney-general. "Did he keep racing horses?"

Witness. "I did not understand that, but that he had been betting
upon horses. There was money owing not only to Mr. Beach, but to
other book-makers as well, and the prisoner wished Mr. Beach to
arrange the whole matter. 'Those things are easily arranged,' I said
to my mistress; 'all you have to do is to pay.' 'But supposing you
haven't the money to pay?' asked my mistress. 'I thought Mr. Layton
was a gentleman,' I said. 'There are poor gentlemen as well as rich
gentlemen,' my mistress said, 'and my papa gets a lot of money out of
all sorts of people.' That was true enough; I have heard him and his
friends chuckling over it many times, and Mr. Beach used to call them
a lot of something fools. I heard a great deal about 'swells,' as Mr.
Beach called them, being ruined by backing horses, and I knew that that
was the way he had grown rich. He used to say that he had got a lot of
stuck-up swells under his thumb. '_I_ can arrange Mr. Layton's business
with papa,' my mistress said; and when I found her practising songs at
the piano, out of time and out of tune--for she had no ear for music--I
knew that she was making up to him. It came about as she wished, and
one night she told me she was the happiest woman in the world--that Mr.
Layton had proposed and she had accepted him."

The Attorney-general. "Were there rejoicings in the house?"

Witness. "A good many big dinners were given, but I can't say much for
the company. My mistress was sometimes very happy, and sometimes very
miserable. To-day she complained that he was cold to her, to-morrow she
would go on in the most ridiculous way because he gave her a flower, as
though it was better than a big diamond."

The Attorney-general. "Did he seem to be wanting in attention to her
during the courtship?"

Witness. "He wasn't a very warm lover, as far as I could see. But my
mistress was so much in love that she put up with anything. He had only
to give her a smile or a pleasant word, and you would think she was in
heaven."

The Attorney-general. "How did the prisoner get along with Mr. Beach?"

Witness. "I know they had words on two or three occasions."

The Attorney-general. "About what?"

Witness. "About the settlements. My mistress told me, and she said her
father was a screw."

The Attorney-general. "A screw! What was meant by the word?"

Witness. "That he was mean and sharp, that was what she meant."

The Attorney-general. "Go on. That her father was a screw--"

Witness. "And wanted to bind Mr. Layton down too tight. He had
conversations with her about it."

The Attorney-general. "He! Who?"

Witness. "Mr. Layton."

The Attorney-general. "Did he seek these conversations?"

Witness. "Oh no; they were of her seeking. She was afraid that
something might occur to break off the engagement. She said to me more
than once, 'If anything goes wrong, I sha'n't care to live.' I never in
all my life saw a woman so madly in love as she was."

The Attorney-general. "Do you know the result of those conversations
about the settlements between the prisoner and your mistress?"

Witness. "Both Mr. Beach and Mr. Layton stood out, and I don't believe
either of them would have given way if my mistress had not taken it up.
She and her father had some warm scenes."

The Attorney-general. "By 'warm' do you mean 'angry?'"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "Whose money was it that was in dispute?"

Witness. "Mr. Beach's. He was rich; Mr. Layton had no money to settle.
My mistress used to say, 'I know that I am not very handsome, but I can
make Mr. Layton comfortable all his life, and I am sure we shall get
along very well together. Papa shall do whatever I want.'"

The Attorney-general. "Then is it your impression that the prisoner
paid court to her for her money?"

Witness. "I don't think he would have looked at her else."

The Attorney-general. "And that your mistress was aware of it?"

Witness. "She must have had some notion of it, but it couldn't have
been a pleasant thing for her to talk much about, and it seemed to me
that she was glad to avoid it. She didn't think she was as plain as she
was. No woman does."

The Attorney-general. "How was the matter finally arranged?"

Witness. "The money was settled upon my mistress, and after her death
it was to go to Mr. Layton."

The Attorney-general. "Do you know what the amount was?"

Witness. "My mistress told me it was £20,000."

The Attorney-general. "Which would come absolutely into the prisoner's
possession when his wife died?"

Witness. "I understood so. My mistress did say something else about the
settlement. 'There's one thing I would like put in about the money,'
she said, 'and that is, that it shouldn't be his if he married again;
but I would not dare to mention it.'"

The Attorney-general. "Did she give you a reason for not daring to
mention it?"

Witness. "Yes; that he would break the engagement."

The Attorney-general. "Now, about the wedding. Was it a private or
public wedding?"

Witness. "Not private--oh no, not at all! there were at least a hundred
at the wedding breakfast, and any amount of champagne was opened."

The Attorney-general. "What kind of company?"

Witness. "Mixed--very much mixed."

The Attorney-general. "Be more explicit. Were there many of Mr. Beach's
set there?"

Witness. "They were all of his set."

The Attorney-general. "But some of the prisoner's friends were there as
well?"

Witness. "Not one. There were words about it."

The Attorney-general. "On the wedding-day?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "Words between whom?"

Witness. "Between Mr. Beach and Mr. Layton. I heard Mr. Beach say, I
gave you thirty invitations to fill up and Mr. Layton answered, didn't
fill up one of them. I didn't intend that a friend of mine should meet
such a crew as I knew you would get together.' 'Not good enough for
you, I suppose?' said Mr. Beach. 'No,' said Mr. Layton, 'decidedly not
good enough,' and then he walked away."

The Attorney-general. "Did your mistress make any remark on the
subject?"

Witness. "No she was too happy to find fault with anything. She was
delighted, too, with the wedding presents. There was nearly a room full
of them."

The Attorney-general. "Many of them from the prisoner's friends?"

Witness. "Not one."

The Attorney-general. "Do you mean to inform the court that not a
single friend or relative of the prisoner's was present, and that among
the wedding presents there was not a single token from his connections?"

Witness. "Not a single one."

The Attorney-general. "Well, they were married, and they went away?"

Witness. "Yes; they took the night train to Paris."

The Attorney-general. "Did you accompany them?"

Witness. "No."

The Attorney-general. "Did your mistress's mother die before they left?"

Witness. "No; some hours afterwards, and a telegram was sent on to them
in Paris, at the Hotel Bristol."

The Attorney-general. "What is the next thing you remember?"

Witness. "A telegram arrived from Mr. Layton, requesting me to come to
Paris immediately. We received the telegram at about two o'clock on the
day after the wedding, and I went by the night train."

The Attorney-general. "Did any person meet you?"

Witness. "Yes; Mr. Layton. He said my mistress was very ill, and he
took me to the hotel. She was in bed, and she remained there for
several weeks. I attended her the whole of the time."

The Attorney-general. "Did she have good doctors?"

Witness. "The best that could be got."

The Attorney-general. "Was the prisoner attentive to her?"

Witness. "Pretty well; _I_ shouldn't have liked it."

The Attorney-general. "What do you mean by that?"

Witness. "Well, he never sat by her bedside for any length of time; he
never held her hand; he never kissed her. Oh, it is easy to tell when a
man loves a woman!"

The Attorney-general. "How long was it before she was able to get
about?"

Witness. "Quite three months."

The Attorney-general. "Did she then return to England with her husband?"

Witness. "Not for another month. They went to Italy, and I went with
them."

The Attorney-general. "Did the prisoner's attentions to his wife
undergo any marked change after her convalescence? Was he more
affectionate--more lovingly attentive?"

Witness. "Not that I saw. All he seemed to crave for was excitement.
It was nothing but rushing here and rushing there. Every night some
theatre or entertainment to go to; every day riding about, and dining
out at different places."

The Attorney-general. "So that there was not much of home life?"

Witness. "None at all."

The Attorney-general. "Was this state of things agreeable to your
mistress?"

Witness. "I am not sure. Sometimes she suggested to her husband that
they should spend a quiet evening at home, but he always replied that
he had tickets, or had taken seats, for some place of entertainment.
When she spoke to me of the life they were leading, she used to say
how attentive her husband was to her, and how he was always looking
out for something to amuse her. But I did not regard it in that light;
I thought it was more for himself than for her that he kept up such a
round of excitement. It helped him to forget."

The Attorney-general. "To forget what?"

Witness. "That he was a married man."

The Attorney-general. "During those early days were there any quarrels
between them?"

Witness. "No, not what you can call quarrels. Sometimes she complained,
or found fault, but he seldom at that time answered her in any way to
cause a quarrel--that is, so far as he was concerned. It was different
afterwards. There were occasions during their honey-moon--if you can
call it a honey-moon--and at first when they were settled at home, when
his silence provoked my mistress, and made her madder than an open
row would have done. But the more she stormed the quieter he was, and
these scenes always ended in one way: Mr. Layton would leave the house,
and remain absent for a good many hours. Then my poor mistress would
torment herself dreadfully, and would cry her eyes out, and rave and
stamp about like a distracted creature. 'He will never come back!' she
would say. 'I have driven him from me! He will make away with himself!
What a wretch I am!' A ring at the bell or a knock at the door would
send her flying down-stairs to see if it was her husband. I was really
afraid sometimes that she would go quite out of her mind. Then, when he
came back, she would rush up to him and throw her arms round his neck,
and sob, and fall upon her knees to ask forgiveness. It was a dreadful
life to lead."

The Attorney-general. "In what way would the prisoner receive these
tokens of penitence on the part of your mistress?"

Witness. "In just the same way as he received her scoldings. The
one remark I heard him make to her in those days--not always in the
same words, but always to the same effect--was, 'You should have
more control over yourself.' I used to wonder that a man could be so
provoked and keep so cool. But a person may be cold outside and hot
inside."

The Attorney-general. "Do you think that was the case with the
prisoner?"

Witness. "Yes, I do think so."

The Attorney-general. "Well, they came home and settled down?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "Now about the home they occupied? Did they rent
it, or was it their own property?"

Witness. "It was their own property. My mistress said it was purchased
partly with her own money, and that it was included in the settlements."

The Attorney-general. "What do you mean by 'partly with her own money?'
money she had saved or inherited?"

Witness. "No money she won upon races."

The Attorney-general. "Was she, then, in the habit of betting?"

Witness. "She used often to put money on a horse. She would say, 'Papa
has given me a good tip, and I am going to put twenty or thirty pounds
on. If you like, Ida, you can have half a sovereign with me.'"

The Attorney-general. "And did you?"

Witness. "Yes, because she wished me, and because I knew I was safe.
Mr. Beach was a very knowing man. My mistress would back a tip he
gave her at twenty-five to one. I have known her back it at fifty to
one. She would do this sometimes before the weights appeared. Then
her father would say, 'Aggie' (that is what he called her)--'Aggie,
your horse is at ten or twelve to one. I am going to hedge part of
your money for you.' As my half-sovereign was in my mistress's bet, of
course I went with her and I more often won than lost."

The Attorney-general. "Without going minutely into the technicalities
of horse racing and betting, may we take it that the principle of the
hedging you have spoken of is wise, from a gambling point of view?"

Witness. "Oh yes. By backing a likely horse at a long price, as my
mistress had the opportunity of doing through her father, and by laying
against it if it comes to a short price, you reduce the chances of
losing. That is good hedging."

The Attorney-general. "Can anybody do that?"

Witness. "Well, not exactly. Those who are behind the scenes have the
best advantage. As a rule the people who back horses are gulls. That
is why the book-makers make fortunes. They are playing at a game they
know nine out of ten who bet with them are playing at a game they don't
know. That is how it is. I have heard Mr. Beach say, 'The devil is on
our side.'"

The Attorney-general. "Meaning on the side of the book-makers?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "Were you fond of betting yourself?"

Witness. "I hated it. I only did what my mistress advised me to do, to
please her."

The Attorney-general. "To return to the house which was partly paid for
with the money your mistress won. Did the prisoner take an active part
in the selection of the furniture?"

Witness. "He did nothing whatever. Everything was done by my mistress,
and she was disappointed because he would not go with her to the
different establishments she visited. But in the end she argued as she
always did when he was in question. He was quite right, she said; she
could not expect him to trouble himself about such things; it was a
woman's business, and, by leaving everything to her, it showed that he
believed she had good taste."

The Attorney-general. "When they were settled in London what kind of
society did they keep?"

Witness. "At first the same as used to come to Mr. Beach's house. Mr.
Beach brought them, but Mr. Layton was rude and uncivil to them, and
after a time they stopped away. I must say, if he was rude and uncivil
to them, they were quite as rude and uncivil to him, and if he had met
them with the temper they displayed, nothing could have prevented the
occurrence of disgraceful scenes. He behaved to them in exactly the
same way he behaved to my mistress when they disagreed. He left the
house, and did not return till they were all gone."

The Attorney-general. "Were they in the habit of coming to the house
without receiving an invitation from its master?"

Witness. "I believe so. My mistress would say, 'Papa is going to bring
three or four friends to dinner.' He would look at her and say nothing;
and when the dinner was served Mr. Layton would be absent. Mr. Beach
would then take the head of the table, and I have heard him, when he
was filled with champagne--he scarcely ever drank anything else but
champagne and whiskey--speak very angrily about 'the stuck-up pride of
his fine gentleman son-in-law.' The other guests were not behindhand in
abusing him."

The Attorney-general. "Although they were eating at his table and
drinking his wine?"

Witness. "Yes. At other times in the evening, when Mr. Layton was at
home with my mistress, Mr. Beach would make his appearance unexpectedly
with his friends but Mr. Layton would never remain in their company.
It seemed to me that Mr. Beach did these things to vex Mr. Layton, and
that it was a kind of battle between them as to who should be master."

The Attorney-general. "A battle, however, in which the prisoner did not
take any violent part?"

Witness. "But it ended in his being left the master of the field."

The Attorney-general. "Explain."

Witness. "After twelve months or so Mr. Beach's friends ceased entirely
to come to the house. Then, when Mr. Beach came, he came alone."

The Attorney-general. "On those occasions did the prisoner remain at
home?"

Witness. "Yes, whenever Mr. Beach was alone Mr. Layton remained in."

The Attorney-general. "How did they pass the time?"

Witness. "Playing billiards generally."

The Attorney-general. "Now, in all the questions I have asked and
you have answered, there are two subjects upon which no definite
information has been forth-coming. Give your best attention to them.
Are you aware that before or at the time of the prisoner's engagement
with your mistress he had been or was engaged to another lady? Take
time. You have said that you were in the confidence of your mistress,
and that she used to speak freely to you. At any period during these
communications did she refer to another engagement?"

Witness. "It was in this way, and I can't answer the question in any
other."

The Attorney-general. "Answer it as best you can."

Witness. "At one time my mistress said, 'I wonder if Mr. Layton, before
he saw me, was ever in love?' That was the way it was first introduced.
I did not know how to answer her without running the risk of hurting
her feelings, but she pressed me, and I was forced to say I thought
it very unlikely that a gentleman as good-looking as he was should
not have had his fancies. She pressed me further until I said there
were very few men of his age who had not been in love. She appeared
distressed at this, but soon brightened up, and said, 'What is that
to me so long as he is mine?' But it weighed upon her mind, as was
proved by her telling me at another time that she had asked Mr. Layton
whether he had ever been in love, and that he would not give her any
satisfaction--which, to my mind, was quite as good as his confessing
that he had been. These conversations between my mistress and me took
place in the early days, and for some time after her marriage she did
not say anything more about it. But when she was laid on a sick-bed--I
mean within a few months of her being murdered--"

The Attorney-general. "Do not say that. It is for the jury to decide.
Say within a few months of her death."

Witness. "Well, within a few months of her death she told me at least
half a dozen times that she had discovered he had been in love with
another lady, and that she believed he was so when he married her. She
said it was wicked and abominable, and that if she saw 'the creature'
she would kill her."

The Attorney-general. "Supposing this to be true, your mistress never
discovered who this other lady was?"

Witness. "Never to my knowledge."

The Attorney-general. "As to your mistress's attachment to her husband,
did it ever, in your knowledge, grow weaker?"

Witness. "I don't exactly know how to describe it. She loved and hated
him all at once. She was torn to pieces with love and jealousy."

The Attorney-general. "Is that all you can tell us upon this subject?"

Witness. "That is all."

The Attorney-general. "I come now to the second subject. It is
concerning the prisoner's family. You have informed us that not one
was present at the wedding, and that not one recognized the union by
sending a wedding present. Now, are you aware whether he had parents,
or brothers or sisters?"

Witness. "All that I heard was that he had a father living. But I did
not hear that till more than a year after the marriage."

The Attorney-general. "Who told you then?"

Witness. "My mistress. Although she confided nearly everything to me,
she kept this to herself for a long time."

The Attorney-general. "Did not her father, Mr. Beach, speak about it?"

Witness. "I never heard him; I had very little to do with him. I had
understood, at the time of the marriage, that Mr. Layton's father
was abroad, but I had reason to believe afterwards that this was not
so--that he was in England."

The Attorney-general. "Did the prisoner ever speak of it?"

Witness. "I never heard him."

The Attorney-general. "Did the prisoner's father never come to the
house?"

Witness. "Never."

The Attorney-general. "Do you know whether he is alive at the present
time?"

Witness. "I heard that he was dead. My mistress said so."

The Attorney-general. "Did the prisoner go into mourning?"

Witness. "He wore crape upon his hat for several weeks."

The Attorney-general. "Now, concentrate your attention upon the day and
the night of the 25th of March. I wish you to narrate, concisely, all
that passed, within your own knowledge, concerning the prisoner and his
wife from the morning of the 25th of March until the morning of the
26th."

Witness. "At ten o'clock in the morning of the 25th my mistress's bell
rang, and I went to her room. My instructions were, never to enter her
room in the morning until she rang for me. There were two bell-ropes,
one on each side of the bed, so that on whichever side she was lying
one of them was within reach of her hand."

The Attorney-general. "Stop a moment. Did the prisoner and his wife
occupy one room?"

Witness. "No."

The Attorney-general. "For how long had this been the case?"

Witness. "For a good many months. Ever since things began to get worse
between them."

The Attorney-general. "Proceed. You heard your mistress's bell ring,
and you entered her room at ten o'clock."

Witness. "She said that she had passed a very bad night, that she had
had dreadful dreams, and that she was afraid something terrible was
going to happen to her. She asked me if her husband was up, and I
told her that he had just entered the breakfast-room, that I had met
him on the stairs, and that he inquired whether she were awake, as he
wished to speak to her before he went out. My mistress said that she
also wished to speak to him, and she asked me if I knew where he was
going. Of course I did not know, and I told her so. She often asked me
questions which she must have known very well were not possible for me
to answer. I washed her, and tidied up the room, and then she desired
me to go and tell my master to come to her. I knocked at the door of
the breakfast-room three or four times, and receiving no answer, I
opened it. My master was sitting at the table, and he started up when
I entered, just as if I had aroused him from a dream. His face was
very pale, and he held a letter in his hand. I noticed that he had not
touched the breakfast. I gave him my mistress's message. He nodded,
and went to her room at once. The moment he entered my poor mistress
began to talk, but he stopped her and ordered me out. 'Keep in the next
room,' my mistress said to me--'I may want you.' I went into the next
room, and remained there quite half an hour, until my mistress's bell
rang again. My master rushed past me as I opened the door, and I saw
that my mistress was dreadfully agitated. She was sitting up in bed,
and--"

The Attorney-general. "Stop! While you were in the adjoining room did
you hear anything?"

Witness. "Not distinctly."

The Attorney-general. "Do you mean by that that you could not
distinguish the words that were spoken by your master and mistress?"

Witness. "I could not distinguish the words. I could only hear their
voices when they spoke loudly."

The Attorney-general. "Did they speak loudly on this occasion?"

Witness. "Very loudly."

The Attorney-general. "In merriment?"

Witness. "Quite the contrary. They were quarrelling."

The Attorney-general. "That is your understanding of their voices?"

Witness. "I could not be mistaken. Nearly the whole of the time their
voices were raised to a high pitch."

The Attorney-general. "Which of the two voices made the stronger
impression upon you?"

Witness. "My master's. I am certain he was threatening her, as he had
done many times during the last few months."

The Attorney-general. "That is an improper remark for you to make.
Confine yourself strictly to the matter in hand, and to the time you
are giving evidence upon. When you entered your mistress's room she was
sitting up in bed, dreadfully agitated, and your master rushed past
you?"

Witness. "Yes, and she called out after him, 'Never, while I am alive!
You wish I were dead, don't you, so that you may be free to marry
again? But I sha'n't die yet, unless you kill me!"

The Attorney-general. "You are positive she made use of these words?"

Witness. "Quite positive."

The Attorney-general. "Did the prisoner make any reply?"

Witness. "None; and his silence appeared to infuriate my mistress. She
cried out after him, 'You are a villain! you are a villain!'"

The Attorney-general. "Did you see the prisoner again during the
morning?"

Witness. "No. In a few minutes I heard the street door open and close,
and my mistress told me to run and see whether it was her husband going
out. I went to the front-room window, and saw him enter the carriage
and drive away. I returned to my mistress and informed her of it. She
was in a furious state, and if she had had the strength she would have
dressed herself and followed him; but she was too weak, unassisted, to
get out of bed."

The Attorney-general. "Upon that point you are also positive?"

Witness. "Quite positive."

The Attorney-general. "Did your mistress make you acquainted with the
cause of the quarrel between her and the prisoner?"

Witness. "She told me a good deal. She said that when she married him
it was the worst day's work she had ever done, and that he had deceived
her from first to last. All he wanted was for her to die but although
he had treated her so vilely, she had him in her power."

The Attorney-general. "What did she mean by that? Did she explain?"

Witness. "Not clearly. She spoke vaguely about papers and acceptances
for money which she had, and which he wanted to get hold of. 'He should
have them, every one,' she said, 'and do whatever he liked, if he would
be true to me. But he is false, he is false, and I will be revenged
upon him!'"

The Attorney-general. "Did you acquire this knowledge all at one time?"

Witness. "No. My mistress spoke at odd times during the day, when I
went in and out of her room."

The Attorney-general. "Nothing else said?"

Witness. "Nothing that I can remember."

The Attorney-general. "Did the prisoner return to the house during the
day?"

Witness. "No."

The Attorney-general. "Did you leave the house during the day?"

Witness. "No."

The Attorney-general. "Or night?"

Witness. "No."

The Attorney-general. "You remained in attendance upon your mistress?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "Did she make any inquiries about her husband?"

Witness. "Oh yes. In the afternoon and evening she asked me a dozen
times at least whether he had come home."

The Attorney-general. "At what time on the night of this day did you
cease attendance upon your mistress?"

Witness. "At nine o'clock. She told me I need not come into the room
again unless she rang."

The Attorney-general. "What then did you do?"

Witness. "I went to my own room to do some sewing."

The Attorney-general. "When you left your mistress's room was there a
table by her side?"

Witness. "Yes; it was always there."

The Attorney-general. "There were certain things upon it?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "What things?"

Witness. "A decanter of water, a tumbler, and a bottle of lozenges."

The Attorney-general. "Was there a label on this bottle?"

Witness. "Yes; it was labelled 'poison.'"

The Attorney-general. "Were those the sleeping-lozenges your mistress
was in the habit of taking?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "What was their color?"

Witness. "White."

The Attorney-general. "How many of the lozenges were in the bottle?"

Witness. "I am not sure. Ten or a dozen, I should say."

The Attorney-general. "Being labelled poison, it could not be mistaken
that they were dangerous to life?"

Witness. "There could be no mistake. My mistress had told me that if
a person took three or four of them at once he would go to sleep and
never wake again."

The Attorney-general. "Was it considered safe to leave such dangerous
narcotics within her reach?"

Witness. "She was a very prudent woman. She was fond of life; she
dreaded the idea of death."

The Attorney-general. "Were there any other articles on the table?"

Witness. "Pen, ink, and paper, and a book."

The Attorney-general. "At what time did you go to bed?"

Witness. "I can't be quite exact as to the time, but it was about
twelve o'clock."

The Attorney-general. "Where was your bedroom situated?"

Witness. "On the second floor."

The Attorney-general. "And your mistress's?"

Witness. "On the first floor."

The Attorney-general. "By going out of your bedroom door into the
passage and leaning over the balustrade, could you see down to the
ground-floor?"

Witness. "Yes, pretty clearly. It was a straight view."

The Attorney-general. "You went to bed, you say, at about twelve
o'clock. Before you retired had your master returned home?"

Witness. "Yes. I was undressing when I heard the street door open and
close. Then I heard a carriage drive away. I stepped out of my room
softly and looked over the balustrade to make sure that it was my
master. At the moment I looked down I saw him turning off the gas in
the hall."

The Attorney-general. "And you saw nothing more?"

Witness. "No."

The Attorney-general. "And heard nothing more?"

Witness. "Yes, I heard something. I remained in the passage on the
second floor, bending over the balustrade, and it seemed to me to be a
very long time before my master made any movement. I should say five
or six minutes passed before I heard him, very, very softly, ascend
the stairs to the first floor. Perhaps I was fanciful, through being
alone so long in my own room; but the silence in the house, and then
the sound of my master coming up the stairs much more quietly than was
usual with him, made me nervous, I don't know why. I fancied all sorts
of things."

The Attorney-general. "Never mind your fancies. Did you hear any other
footsteps besides those of your master?"

Witness. "I am not sure. I can't say. It never entered my mind that
anybody could be with him, and yet I could not help fancying things. To
speak the truth, I was so upset that I went into my own room and locked
the door. I listened with my ear at the bedroom door, and I heard the
handle of my mistress's room being turned."

The Attorney-general. "And then?"

Witness. "I was already partially undressed, and I went to bed."

The Attorney-general. "Did you sleep soundly?"

Witness. "No. I woke up suddenly with the idea that the street door had
been opened and closed again. I lay in bed, frightened, but hearing
nothing more, presently fell asleep again."

The Attorney-general. "There were no cries, no voices loudly raised?"

Witness. "I heard none."

The Attorney-general. "Did you sleep soundly after that?"

Witness. "No. I was dozing off and waking up the whole of the night--a
hundred times, it seemed to me. How I have reproached myself since that
when I saw my master put out the gas in the hall I did not have the
courage to go down to him!"

The Attorney-general. "At what time in the morning did you usually
rise?"

Witness. "At half-past seven, unless my mistress required me earlier."

The Attorney-general. "Was that the hour at which you rose on the
morning of the 26th of March?"

Witness. "No; I rose much earlier--at six or a quarter past six I can't
say exactly to a minute, because I did not look at my watch."

The Attorney-general. "Then, after dressing, did you go down-stairs?"

Witness. "Yes, with a candle in my hand It was dark."

The Attorney-general. "Any sound in the house?"

Witness. "None."

The Attorney-general. "Did you listen at your mistress's bedroom door?"

Witness. "I stood there for a moment, but I heard nothing."

The Attorney-general. "After that, what did you do?"

Witness. "I went down to the hall."

The Attorney-general. "To the street door?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "On which side of the hall was the coat-rack?"

Witness. "On the left from the house, on the right from the street."

The Attorney-general. "Did you look at it?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "What did you observe?"

Witness. "That my master's ulster was hanging up in its usual place."

The Attorney-general. "You are positive that it was in its usual place?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "Would you recognize the ulster again?"

Witness. "Most certainly it is a coat of a very peculiar pattern."

The Attorney-general. "Is this it?" (Ulster produced.)

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "Was the prisoner's hat hanging in its usual
place?"

Witness. "No, it was not there."

The Attorney-general. "Did you look at the street door?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "Did you observe anything?"

Witness. "Yes, something surprising."

The Attorney-general. "What?"

Witness. "That the chain was not up, and that it was not locked, as was
always done by my master himself when he returned home late. On other
occasions it was done by a servant. Then, I thought, it could have been
no fancy of mine that I heard the street door open and shut in the
middle of the night."

The Attorney-general. "Proceed with an account of your movements after
the discovery."

Witness. "I was alarmed, and I considered for a little while what I
ought to do. Then it suddenly occurred to me that the door of the
bedroom my master occupied was not quite closed when I had passed it
on my way down-stairs. I went up quietly to convince myself, and I saw
it was not shut. I touched it with my hand very gently and timidly,
and it swung open. Thinking it my duty to acquaint my master with the
circumstance of the street door chain not being up, I ventured to step
into the bedroom and to call, 'Sir!' I held the candle above my head,
and to my astonishment saw that there was no one in the room, and that
the bed had not been occupied during the night. I went boldly into the
room and convinced myself. No one was there, no one had been there.
The bed was just as it had been made on the previous day. Now really
alarmed, I hurried to my mistress's bedroom, and knocked at her door.
There was no answer. I knocked again and again, and still there was
no answer. I opened the door and entered. My mistress was lying quite
still in bed. I stepped quietly to her side and bent over. My heart
almost stopped beating as I looked at her face, there was something
so awful in it. 'Madam! madam!' I cried, softly, and I ventured to
push her by the shoulder. She made no movement; she did not speak. I
cried to her again, and pushed her again, and then a suspicion of the
horrible truth flashed upon me. I raised her in my arms, and she fell
back upon the bed. I scarcely know what happened after that. I began to
scream, and I think I became hysterical. The next thing I remember was
the servants rushing into the room and me pointing to the dead body of
my mistress."

The Attorney-general. "Do you remember saying anything to the effect
that your master had murdered her?"

Witness. "I should not like to swear to it; but it may have been in my
mind because of the cruel life they had led together, and because of
what had passed between them on the previous morning."

The Attorney-general. "After a time you became calmer and more
collected?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "Had one of the servants gone for a policeman?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "Shortly afterwards a detective officer, Lumley
Rich, entered the room?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "What was his first question when he had
convinced himself that your mistress was dead?"

Witness. "He asked if anything in the room had been touched or
disturbed, and I said, 'No, nothing had been touched or disturbed.'"

The Attorney-general. "In consequence of the officer's question upon
this point, was your attention directed to the table by the bedside?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "Was everything upon the table as you had left it
at nine o'clock on the night before, when you ceased attendance upon
your mistress?"

Witness. "The pen, ink, and paper were there. The decanter was there,
with very little water in it, and I was horror-struck to see that the
bottle of sleeping-lozenges was quite empty. I made a remark to that
effect to the detective. Turning to the mantle-shelf, I saw upon it the
tumbler which, when I left my mistress's room the night before, had
been on the table by her side."

The Attorney-general. "You say that during the day of the 25th of March
your mistress spoke vaguely about papers and acceptances for money
which she held, and of which the prisoner desired to obtain possession.
Do you know anything further concerning those papers and acceptances?"

Witness. "Nothing."

The Attorney-general. "Do you know if any were found after your
mistress's death?"

Witness. "I do not know."

The Attorney-general. "You saw your master when he entered the house at
seven o'clock in the morning?"

Witness. "Yes."

The Attorney-general. "Was he wearing an overcoat on that occasion?"

Witness. "No."

The Attorney-general. "What was his appearance?"

Witness. "Very haggard; as though he had had no sleep--as though he had
passed a dreadful night."

The Attorney-general. "That will do."

(In accordance with the plan of defence which the prisoner seemed to
have laid down for himself, his cross-examination of this witness was
very brief.)

Prisoner. "You say that when you were in the room adjoining my wife's
bedroom, during my interview with her on the Morning of the 25th of
March, you heard our voices raised to a high pitch, and that of the two
voices mine made the stronger impression upon you?"

Witness. "Yes, I did say so."

Prisoner. "You mean, of course, by that, that I was speaking loudly and
violently?"

Witness. "Yes, I do mean it."

Prisoner. "Do you adhere to that statement?"

Witness. "Yes, I adhere to it."

Prisoner. "And to your conviction that I was threatening my wife?"

Witness. "Yes."

Prisoner. "As I had threatened her many times before?"

Witness. "Yes."

Prisoner. "You have heard me threaten her many times during the last
few months?"

Witness. "Yes."

Prisoner. "In as loud and violent a tone as you say I used on this
occasion?"

Witness. "No, not so loudly and violently as on this occasion; but that
did not make it less dreadful."

Mr. Justice Fenmore. "We do not want your opinions. Confine yourself to
the statement of facts."

Prisoner. "Are you aware that my life is at stake?"

Witness. "Yes."

Prisoner. "And that the evidence you have given is almost, if not
quite, fatal against me?"

Witness. "I do not know anything about that. I have said only what is
true."

Prisoner. "Is it not possible that, having a prejudice against me, you
may have allowed your imagination to warp your reason?"

Witness. "If by that you mean that I am inventing things against you,
it is not true. I have only told what I heard."

Prisoner. "And you heard my wife, when I left the room, call after me
the words you have already given in evidence, to the effect that she
believed I wished her dead, but that she would not die yet, unless I
killed her?"

Witness. "I heard her say so."

Prisoner. "And that she called after me that I was a villain?"

Witness. "I heard her say so."

Prisoner. "In the description you have given of your movements on the
night of this fatal day, you say that, upon hearing the street door
open and close, you came out of your bedroom, and leaning over the
balustrade, looked down into the hall?"

Witness. "Yes, that is true."

Prisoner. "And that you saw me putting out the gas in the hall?"

Witness. "Yes."

Prisoner. "You are certain it was I?"

Witness. "Yes. You had your ulster on, and as you had to stand on
tiptoe to put out the gas, your face was raised to the light, and I saw
it plainly."

Prisoner. "You saw my face plainly?"

Witness. "As plainly as I see it now."

Prisoner (with a movement of impatience). "I have no further questions
to ask you."

The Court then adjourned.



VI.

DESCRIPTION OF THE LAST DAY'S PROCEEDINGS--EXTRACTED FROM A DAILY PAPER.


"The trial of Edward Layton for the murder of his wife came to a
singular and unsatisfactory termination late last night. That the
public interest in the case had reached an almost unprecedented height
was proved by the large number of persons who were unable to obtain
admission to the court.

"On the previous evening the evidence for the prosecution had closed,
and there was a painful and eager expectancy in the minds of all
present as to the line of defence which the prisoner intended to adopt.
This line of defence--if, indeed, it can be called a defence--was as
surprising as it was brief.

"The prisoner, addressing the judge and the jury, intimated that it
was not his intention to call witnesses on his behalf. Most of the
witnesses for the prosecution, he said, had given their evidence
fairly, and if they had committed themselves to misstatements and
discrepancies, it was more because they were either misled or
mistaken--in the case of one witness, Ida White, because she was
strangely prejudiced against him--than that they had a desire to make
the case against him even blacker than it was. It had happened before,
and would doubtless happen again, that a man found himself thrust
into such an unhappy position as he himself stood through no fault
of his own, and that he was unable to say or do anything to prove
his innocence. Sometimes it was with such a man a matter of honor,
sometimes a matter of conscience. In his own case it sprung from both
his honor and his conscience that his lips were sealed, and the utmost
he could say for himself was that he was an innocent man, with so dark
an array of evidence against him as to almost incontestably prove him
to be guilty. All that he could do was to declare most solemnly that
the accusation upon which he was being tried was false, and that he
stood before them as unstained by crime as they were themselves. What
could be said truly in his favor was that his character, and to some
extent his blameless life, were a refutation of the charge. Evidence of
character was generally called in mitigation of impending punishment.
He did not intend to call such evidence, because, by so doing, it would
be a half-admission that he stood there a guilty instead of an innocent
man. He knew perfectly well how lame and impotent these weak words must
sound in the ears of those who were sitting in judgment upon him; but
this he could not help. It was but part of the fatal web in which he was
entangled. That he and his wife had lived unhappily together was not to
be disputed; but even in this most serious crisis of his life he denied
the right arrogated by the legal profession to rip open a man's private
affairs and expose to the vulgar gaze what he desired should be hidden
from it. The last thing he would do, even if he were in ten times the
peril in which he then stood, was to drag other persons into the case,
and to allow them to be blackened and vilified as he had been. 'I can
scarcely doubt,' said the prisoner, 'what your verdict will be. Were I
in your place, I should most likely decide as you will decide; but none
the less will it be a solemn fact that though you are legally right,
you are morally wrong. I must be content to let the case rest as it has
been presented to you, and to abide the issue, though it may cost me my
life.'

"Never in a criminal court, in the case of a man arraigned upon so
grave a charge, has there been heard a defence so weak and strange;
but it is nevertheless a fact that the prisoner's earnest and, to all
appearance, ingenuous manner produced a deep impression upon all who
heard him; and when he ceased speaking there was, in the murmurs of
astonishment that followed, an unmistakable note of sympathy.

"After a slight pause the Attorney-general rose to sum up the case
against the prisoner, and his incisive judicial utterances soon
dispelled the impression which the prisoner's earnestness had produced.
He said that in the circumstances of the case his speech would be
briefer than it otherwise would have been. He had a duty to perform,
and he would perform it, without, he hoped, any undue severity or
harshness. Unhappily the evidence was only too clear against the
prisoner, and unhappily the prisoner had strengthened the case against
himself. This was not a matter of sentiment it was a matter of justice,
and justice must be done. With slight limitations, around which the
prisoner threw a veil of silence, contenting himself to cast suspicion
upon them by some kind of mysterious implication which no person could
understand, and not venturing to give them a distinct and indignant
denial--with slight limitations, then, the prisoner had admitted the
truthfulness of the evidence brought against him. As the prisoner had
not directly referred to these doubtful points in the evidence, he
would himself do so, and endeavor to clear away any latent doubt--if
such existed--in the minds of the jury. First, with respect to the
ulster. The prisoner did not deny that he wore this ulster on the
whole of the day his coachman, James Moorhouse, was driving him to
various places, and it was only upon his arrival home at midnight that
he endeavored to shake the coachman's evidence as to whether, when he
entered the carriage, upon leaving Prevost's Restaurant, and upon his
issuing from the carriage when the coachman drew up at his house, he
still had this ulster on. What his motive was in endeavoring to shake
the coachman's testimony upon this point it was impossible to say. He
(the learned counsel) had most carefully considered the matter, and the
only conclusion he could arrive at was that the prisoner was anxious to
instil a doubt into the minds of the jury, that it was not he who left
the restaurant at ten minutes to twelve and entered his carriage, and
that it was not he who alighted from the carriage and opened his street
door. But supposing, for instance, that this argument had a foundation
in fact, was it not easy for the prisoner to prove what he had done
with himself between ten minutes to twelve on the night of the 25th of
March and seven o'clock on the morning of the 26th? Surely some person
or persons must have seen him, and had he produced those persons there
would have been a reasonable _alibi_ set up, which it would be the duty
of every one engaged in this case seriously to consider. Indeed, he
would go so far as to say that, admitting such evidence to be brought
forward and established, there could not be found a jury who would
convict the prisoner of the charge brought against him. It would then
have been proved that the prisoner had not seen his wife from eleven
o'clock on the morning of the 25th of March until seven o'clock on
the morning of the 26th, and as it was during the night of those days
that the unhappy lady met her death, it would have been impossible to
bring the prisoner in guilty. But, easy as this evidence must have
been to produce, there is not only no attempt to produce it, but in
his lamentably impotent speech the prisoner does not even refer to
it. In his mind, then, and in the minds of all reasonable men, there
could not be a doubt that this was the case of one who, in despair,
was catching at a straw to save himself. The learned counsel touched
briefly but incisively upon every point in the evidence concerning
which the prisoner had maintained silence, and had made no endeavor to
confute. For instance, there was the lady whom he had met in Bloomsbury
Square, whom he took to Prevost's Restaurant, whom he regaled with a
supper which neither he nor she touched--a distinct proof that they
were otherwise momentously occupied. The evidence with respect to
this lady is irrefragable. She was no shadow, no myth, no creation
of the imagination; she was a veritable being of flesh and blood.
All the efforts of the prosecution had failed to trace her, and the
just deduction was that she was somewhere in biding, afraid to come
forward lest she should be incriminated and placed side by side with
the prisoner in the dock. The prisoner did not deny her existence, nor
that she and he were for several hours in company with each other.
Were he innocent, what possible doubt could exist that he would bring
her forward to establish his innocence? Were both innocent, would not
she of her own accord step forward to prove it? The prisoner, in his
address, made certain allusions to honor and conscience, by which he
would make it appear that he was guided by his honor and his conscience
in the singular method of his defence; and it may be that there existed
in him some mistaken sense of chivalry which induced him to do all
in his power to screen the partner in his crime. It would have been
better for him had he brought his honor and his conscience to bear
in the unhappy engagement into which he entered with the unfortunate
lady who afterwards became his wife; but it had been amply proved that
the marriage was not, on his side at least, a marriage of affection.
Distinctly he married her for her money, and distinctly he would be
a great gainer by her death. Thus, then, there existed a motive, and
not a novel one--for the tragedy has been played many times in the
history of crime--for his getting rid of her. He (the counsel for the
prosecution) did not wish to press hardly upon the prisoner, who was
a man of culture and education, and must feel keenly the position in
which he stood, whatever might be his outward demeanor. But it devolved
upon him to impress upon the jury not to allow any false sentiment to
cause them to swerve from the straight path of duty. They must decide
by the evidence which had been presented to them, and it was with a
feeling the reverse of satisfactory that he pointed out to them that
this evidence could lead to but one result.

"The summing up of the learned judge (which, with the
Attorney-general's speech, will be found fully reported in other
columns) was a masterly analysis of the evidence which had been
adduced. He impressed upon the jury the necessity of calm deliberation,
and of absolute conviction before they pronounced their verdict.
Circumstantial evidence was, of all evidence, the most perplexing and
dangerous. It had, in some rare instances, erred but these exceptions
were, happily, few and far between. It had, on the other hand, led to
the detection of great criminals, and without its aid many heinous
aggressors against the law would slip through the hands of justice.
He dismissed the jury to their duty, and he prayed that wisdom might
attend their deliberations.

"At half-past three o'clock the jury retired, and it was the general
impression that the case would be ended within the hour. The prisoner
sat in the dock, shading his eyes with his hand. Not once did he look
up to the court. He seemed to be preparing himself for his impending
fate. But four o'clock, five o'clock, six o'clock passed, and the
suspense grew painful. It was clear that there was not that agreement
between the jury which all in court, including even the prisoner, had
expected. At twenty minutes past six the foreman of the jury entered
the court, and informed the judge that there was no chance of the jury
agreeing upon a verdict.

"The Judge. 'Is there any point of law upon which you desire
information?'

"The Foreman of the Jury. 'None, my lord.'

"The Judge. 'Is there any discrepancy in the evidence which the jury
wish cleared?'

"The Foreman of the Jury. 'No, my lord. It is simply that we cannot
agree.'

"The learned judge then intimated that, after so long and patient a
trial, he could not lightly dismiss the jury from their duties, and he
bade the foreman again retire to a further consideration of the case.
The court, he said, would sit late to receive the verdict.

"Seven o'clock, eight o'clock, nine o'clock passed, and then the
learned judge sent for the foreman of the jury, and inquired whether
any progress had been made towards an agreement.

"The Foreman of the Jury. 'None, my lord. There is no possible chance
of the jury agreeing upon a verdict.'

"It was remarked that no person in court appeared to be more surprised
than the prisoner, and when the jury were called in and dismissed by
the judge from their duties, Edward Layton, before he was removed
from the dock by the jailers, leaned eagerly forward to scan their
countenances.

"Nothing further transpired, and this unexpected chapter in the Layton
mystery was closed."



PART THE SECOND.



THE CABLE MESSAGE FROM AMERICA.


At ten o'clock on the night following this exciting day, Mr.
Bainbridge, Q.C., and his friend, Dr. Daincourt, were chatting together
in the dining-room of the lawyer's house. They had met by appointment,
and were now conversing over the strange incidents of the Layton trial.

"Its termination," said Dr. Daincourt, "is in harmony with the whole of
the proceedings. I am afraid, when Layton is put again upon his trial,
that there will be no further disagreement on the part of the jury, and
that his conviction is certain."

"With the evidence as it stands at present," said Mr. Bainbridge,
thoughtfully, "you are right in your conclusion. But there is here
a mystery to be brought to light which, discovered, may lead to a
different result. Almost unfathomable as this mystery now appears
to be, its unravelment may, after all, depend upon a very slender
thread. Fortunately, Layton's second trial cannot take place for a
month. Before that month expires I hope to be able to lay my hand upon
evidence which will prove him innocent of the charge."

"To judge from his attitude," said Dr. Daincourt, "he is indifferent as
to the result."

"You are mistaken," said the lawyer; "it is only that he will not owe
his release to certain means which I believe it to be in his power
to disclose. Has it not occurred to you that he has been anxious all
through to keep something in the background?"

"Yes," replied Dr. Daincourt, "that has been my impression; but it
might be something which would more firmly fix his guilt. Is it your
intention to follow up the case?"

"To the last link in the chain."

"The chain, if there be one, is safely hidden, and I cannot for the
life of me see a single link."

Mr. Bainbridge, leaning back in his chair, did not reply for a few
moments, and then he said,

"I have two links to commence with. One of these is shadowy; the
other is certain and tangible." And then, with the air of a man whose
thoughts were engaged upon an important subject, he exclaimed, "If I
could only discover its meaning!"

"The meaning of what?"

The lawyer took a pack of cards from a drawer and selected a card,
which he handed to Dr. Daincourt.

"The Nine of Hearts," said the doctor.

"The card," said the lawyer, "that was found in the pocket of Layton's
ulster."

"Is this your tangible link?" asked Dr. Daincourt, turning the card
over in his hand.

"It is my tangible link," replied the lawyer.

Dr. Daincourt shrugged his shoulders. "You are adding mystery to
mystery."

"I think not," said the lawyer. "You were not in the court when the
Nine of Hearts was produced."

"No."

"That and the latch-key of Layton's street door were the only articles
found in the pockets of the ulster. When the evidence relating to these
articles was being given, I closely observed Layton's face. I knew, but
he did not, that these two articles were all that were discovered in
the pockets of the incriminating coat. When the latch-key was held up
he smiled faintly; he was not surprised. But when the Nine of Hearts
was produced there flashed into his eyes a startled look--a look of
bewilderment and astonishment; indeed, there was something of horror in
his face. I needed no further sign to make me positive that he had no
previous knowledge of the card, and that it was the first time he had
seen it."

"Something of horror, you say."

"It was my impression, and I cannot account for it. Not so with his
bewilderment and astonishment. To my mind they are easily explained."

"He asked no questions concerning the card?" remarked Dr. Daincourt.

"He asked no questions," said the lawyer, somewhat irritably,
"concerning a hundred matters upon which the witnesses should have been
hardly pressed. Can you not see that this accentuates my conviction
that the Nine of Hearts is a link in the chain?"

"Yes, supposing you had not already arrived at a false conclusion with
respect to poor Layton's knowledge of the possession of the card."

"I will stake my life and reputation," said the lawyer, earnestly,
"upon the correctness of my conclusion. I will stake my life and
reputation that, until that moment, Edward Layton did not know that the
card was in his pocket."

"Then somebody must have placed it there."

"As you say, somebody must have placed it there."

"But in the name of all that is reasonable," exclaimed Dr. Daincourt,
"what possible connection can you trace between a playing-card,
whether it be the ace of clubs, or the king of spades, or the nine of
hearts--it matters not which--what possible connection can you find
between _any_ playing-card and the awful charge brought against Layton?"

"That," said the lawyer, drumming upon the table with his fingers, "is
what I have to discover. You do not know, doctor, upon what slight
threads the most important issues hang."

"I think I do," said Dr. Daincourt, with a smile.

"I do not refer to the general issues of human life," said the lawyer,
in explanation; "I refer to legal matters, especially to criminal cases
the solution of which rests upon circumstantial evidence. Circumstances
the most remote, and apparently absolutely worthless and trivial, have
been woven by a legal mind into a strand strong and firm enough to drag
a prisoner out of the very jaws of death."

"And this Nine of Hearts is one of those slender threads?" said Dr.
Daincourt, in a tone of incredulous inquiry.

"Very likely. You may depend I shall not lose sight of it."

"You spoke of two links," said Dr. Daincourt, "and you have shown me
that which you believe to be a tangible one. What is the link which you
say is shadowy and less dependable?"

"I will explain. The jury were discharged, being unable to agree upon
their verdict. It may leak out through the press by-and-by--pretty
much everything _does_ leak out through the press nowadays--but it
is not known at present to the public how many of the jury were for
pronouncing the prisoner guilty, and how many for pronouncing him
innocent."

"I have heard rumors," said Dr. Daincourt.

"I," said the lawyer, "have positive information. Eleven of them
declared him guilty, one only held out that he was innocent. Arguments,
persuasions, logical inferences and deductions, the recapitulation of
the evidence against him--all were of no avail in this one juryman's
eyes. He would _not_ be convinced; he would _not_ yield. He had made up
his mind that the prisoner was innocent, and that he, at least, would
not be instrumental in sending him from the dock a felon."

"I can see nothing in that," said Dr. Daincourt.

"There are," continued the lawyer, "in civil and criminal records,
instances of a like nature, some of which have been privately sifted,
with strange results, after the cases have been finally settled. I
recollect one case which may bear upon this of Layton's. I do not say
it does, but it may. It occurred many years ago, and the jury were
locked up a barbarous length of time without being able to come to
an agreement. There was no possible doubt, circumstantially, of the
prisoner's guilt; the evidence was conclusive enough to convict twenty
men. One person, however, would not give in, and that person was on
the jury. The prisoner was tried again, and unhesitatingly acquitted.
During the time that had elapsed between the first and second trials
additional evidence was found which proved the prisoner to be innocent.
The juryman who held out on the first trial happened to have been some
years before a friend of the prisoner, a fact, of course, which was not
known when the jury were empanelled. After the result of the second
trial he publicly declared that he had been guided by his feelings and
not by the evidence."

"And you think that something of the sort may have happened in this
case?"

"Had you been on the jury, what would have been your verdict?"

"Guilty."

"Had _I_ been on the jury, what would have been _my_ verdict? Despite
my firm conviction that Layton is an innocent man, I should have
brought him in guilty. It was not my opinion I had to be guided by, it
was the evidence and the evidence in Layton's case, as it was presented
to the court and appears in the papers, indisputably proclaims him to
be a guilty man. Again, when the verdict was pronounced I watched his
face; again I saw there a startled look of wonder and astonishment; to
his own mind the evidence against him was conclusive. Then it was that
I observed him for the first time gaze upon the jury with some kind
of interest and attention. Not once during the trial had he looked at
them in any but a casual way, and I should not be surprised to learn
that he was ignorant of their names. This is most unusual. Ordinarily
a prisoner pays great attention to the jury upon whose verdict his
fate hangs. He gazes upon them with deepest anxiety, he notes every
change in their countenances, is despondent when he believes it to be
against him, is hopeful when he 'believes it to be in his favor. Not
so with Layton. When the jury were empanelled, and their names called
over, he paid not the slightest attention to them he did not turn his
eyes towards them; he might have been both deaf and blind for all the
interest he evinced."

"Perhaps you are not aware," said the doctor, "that he is very
short-sighted, and that without his glasses it would have been
impossible for him to distinguish their features."

"I am quite aware of it," said the lawyer "but he had his glasses
hanging round his neck, and it is remarkable that not once during the
trial did he put them to his eyes. I have here," and the lawyer tapped
his pocket-book, "a list of the names, social standing, and businesses
or professions of the jurymen engaged on this Layton mystery. As
regards only one of them is my information incomplete. I know their
ages, whether they are married or single, whether they have families,
etc. I know something more--I know the name of the one man who would
not subscribe to the verdict of guilty which the other eleven, almost
without leaving the box, were ready to pronounce. Curiously enough,
this dissentient is the person respecting whom I have not yet complete
particulars. I am acquainted with his name, but have not been supplied
with his address. I shall, however, obtain it easily, if I require it."

"What is his name?" asked Dr. Daincourt.

"James Rutland," replied the lawyer.

At this moment there was a knock at the door, and a man-servant made
his appearance.

"A telegraph lad, sir," said the servant, "has brought this message,
and is waiting to know whether it is correct, and whether there is
any answer. He says he has been to your rooms in the Temple, and was
directed on here to your private address, the instructions being
that the message was to be delivered immediately, either at your
professional or private residence."

Mr. Bainbridge opened the telegram and read it. It was unusually
lengthy, and from the expression of his face appeared to cause him
great surprise.

"Let the lad wait in the hall," he said to his servant, "and you come
up the moment I ring."

"Very well, sir," said the servant, and he left the room, closing the
door softly behind him.

"I have been taking a leaf out of your book," said Dr. Daincourt.
"You seem to learn so much from observing the faces of people, that I
have been rude enough to watch your face while you were perusing the
telegram."

"What have you learned?" asked the lawyer.

"Nothing," replied Dr. Daincourt, smiling, "except that it appears
almost as long as a letter, and that it has caused you surprise."

"It has caused me something more than that--it has absolutely startled
me."

"You must forgive my rudeness. I spoke lightly, not seriously. If you
have anything particular to attend to, don't mind me I will go."

"No," said the lawyer, "I want you, and I think you will be as startled
as I am myself. This is a cable message from Pittsburg, America, and,
as you judged, it is more like a letter than a telegram. See, it covers
three sides of paper I will read it to you:

"'_From Archibald Laing, Box_ 1236, _P. 0., Pittsburg, U. S., to Mr.
Bainbridge, Q. C., London_.

"'Reports of the result of Edward Layton's trial for the murder of his
wife have been cabled here and published in the papers. There will, of
course, be a new trial. If at or before that new trial you establish
Layton's innocence, I hold myself accountable to you for a fee of
twenty-five thousand dollars. If you will employ yourself to that end,
I have cabled to Messrs. Morgan & Co., bankers, Threadneedle Street,
to pay upon your demand the sum of ten thousand dollars, five thousand
dollars of which are your retaining fee, the other five thousand being
an instalment towards any preliminary expenses you may incur. This sum
of ten thousand dollars is independent of the twenty-five thousand
mentioned above, and of course your own professional bill of costs will
be paid in addition. Messrs. Morgan & Co. are empowered to advance
you any further sums that may be necessary for your investigations.
Set every engine afoot to obtain the acquittal of Edward Layton spare
no expense. If a million dollars is necessary, it is at your command.
Send to me by every mail full and detailed accounts of your movements
and proceedings; omit nothing, and make your own charge for this and
for everything else you perform in the task I ask you as a favor to
undertake. Your reply immediately by cable will oblige, and, up to one
hundred words, is prepaid. I do not wish Edward Layton to know that I
have requested your mediation on his behalf. It is a matter entirely
and confidentially between you and me. I write to you by the outgoing
mail. Perhaps you may obtain some useful information from a Mr. James
Rutland I cannot furnish you with the gentleman's address, but Edward
Layton and he were once friends.'"


Dr. Daincourt drew a deep breath.

"Startling indeed," he said. "This Archibald Laing must be the man of
whom we have heard as making an immense fortune by speculating at the
right moment in the silver-mines. If so, he is good for millions. Do
you know anything of him?"

"Not personally," replied the lawyer; "only from report and hearsay.
He is an Englishman, and must be an amazingly shrewd fellow; and that
he is in earnest is partly proved by this cable, in which no words are
spared to make his meaning clear."

While he was speaking to his friend, the lawyer was busily engaged
writing upon a blank telegraph form, which was enclosed in the envelope
delivered by the messenger.

"What will you do in the matter?" asked Dr. Daincourt.

"Here is my reply," said the lawyer, and he read it aloud:


"_From Mr. Bainbridge, Q.C., Harley Street, London, to Archibald Laing,
Box_ 1236, _P. 0., Pittsburg, U. S_.

"'Your cable received. I undertake the commission, and will use every
effort to establish Layton's innocence, in which I firmly believe.
There is a mystery in the matter, and I will do my best to get at the
heart of it. I will write to you as you desire.'"


He touched the bell and the servant appeared.

"Give this to the telegraph boy," he said, "and pay his cab fare to the
telegraph office, in order that there shall be no delay."

When the servant had departed, the lawyer rose from his chair and paced
the room slowly in deep thought, and it was during the intervals in his
reflections that the conversation between him and Dr. Daincourt was
carried on.

"Is it not very strange," said the lawyer, "that I am advised in this
cable message to seek information from the one juryman who pronounced
Layton innocent, and whose address I have not obtained?"

"Yes, it is, indeed," replied Dr. Daincourt, "very strange."

"Of course I shall find him; there will not be the least difficulty
in that respect. Tell me, doctor. It was proved at the trial that
Mrs. Layton's death was caused by an overdose of morphia, taken in
the form of effervescing lozenges. It was established that she was
occasionally in the habit of taking one of these lozenges at night to
produce sleep, and her maid swore that her mistress never took more
than one, being aware of the danger of an overdose. The usual mode of
administering these noxious opiates is by placing one in the mouth
and allowing it to dissolve; but they will dissolve in water, and the
medical evidence proved that at least eight or ten of the poisonous
lozenges must have been administered in this way, in one dose, to the
unfortunate lady. The glass from which the liquid was drunk was round,
not by her bedside, but on the mantle-shelf, which is at some distance
from the bed. It is a natural inference, if the unfortunate woman had
administered the dose to herself, that the glass would have been found
on the table by her bedside. It was not so found, and the maid declares
that her mistress was too weak to get out of bed and return to it
unaided. These facts, if they be facts, circumstantially prove that the
cause of death lay outside the actions of the invalid herself. The maid
states that when she left her mistress the bottle containing about a
dozen lozenges was on the table by her mistress's bedside, and also a
glass, and a decanter of water; and that when she visited her mistress
at between six and seven o'clock in the morning there were no lozenges
left in the bottle, and the glass from which they were supposed to be
taken, dissolved in water, was on the mantle-shelf. Now, in my view,
this circumstance is in favor of the prisoner."

"I cannot see that," observed Dr. Daincourt.

"Yet it is very simple," said the lawyer. "Let us suppose, in
illustration, that I am this lady's husband. For reasons into which it
is not necessary here to enter, I resolve to make away with my wife
by administering to her an overdose of these poisonous narcotics,
and naturally I resolve that her death shall be accomplished in such
a manner as to avert, to some reasonable extent, suspicion from
myself. I go into her bedroom at midnight. Our relations, as has been
proved, are not of the most amiable kind. We are not in love with each
other--quite the reverse--and have been living, from the first day of
our marriage, an unhappy life. Indeed, my unhappy life, in relation
to the lady, commenced when I was engaged to her. Well, I go into her
room at midnight, resolved to bring about her death. She complains
that she cannot sleep, and she asks me to give her a morphia lozenge
from the bottle. I suggest that it may more readily produce sleep
if, instead of allowing it to dissolve slowly in her mouth, she will
drink it off at once, dissolved in water. She consents. I take from
the table the bottle, the decanter of water, and the glass I empty
secretly into the glass the eight or ten or dozen lozenges which the
bottle contains; I pour the water from the decanter into the glass,
and I tell my wife to drink it off immediately. She does so, and sinks
into slumber, overpowered by a sleep from which she will never awake.
Perhaps she struggles against the effects of the terrible dose I have
administered to her, but her struggles are vain. She lies before me
in sure approaching death, and both she and I have escaped from the
life which has been a continual source of misery to us. The deed being
accomplished, what do I, the murderer, do? There are no evidences of
a struggle; there have been no cries to alarm the house; what has
been accomplished has been well and skilfully accomplished, and I am
the only actual living witness against myself. What then, I repeat,
is my course of action? Before I killed her I removed the bottle, the
glass, and the decanter from the table by the bedside. I wish it to
be understood that she herself, in a fit of delirium, caused her own
death. This theory would be utterly destroyed if I allowed the glass
from which the poison was taken to be found at some distance from the
unfortunate lady's bedside. Very carefully, therefore, I place not only
that, but the decanter which contained the water, and the bottle which
contained the lozenges, within reach of her living hand. To omit that
precaution would be suicidal, and, to my mind, absolutely untenable
in rational action under such circumstances. Do you see, now, why the
circumstance of the glass being found on the mantle-shelf is a proof of
my innocence?"

"Yes," replied Dr. Daincourt, "I recognize the strength of your
theory--unless, indeed, you had in your mind the idea that it would be
better to throw suspicion upon a third person; say, for the sake of
argument, upon the maid."

"That view," said the lawyer, "demolishes itself, for what _I_ would
naturally do to divert suspicion from myself, a third person would
naturally do to avert suspicion from him or herself."

"True," said Dr. Daincourt; "you seize vital points more readily than
I. Have you any theory about the strange lady who accompanied Layton
home from Prevost's Restaurant?"

"I have a theory upon the point," replied the lawyer, "which, however,
at present is so vague and unsatisfactory that it would be folly to
disclose it."

"And the Nine of Hearts," said Dr. Daincourt, "you have not mentioned
that lately--have you forgotten it?"

"No," said the lawyer, "it is my firm opinion that round that Nine of
Hearts the whole of the mystery revolves."



PART THE THIRD.

THE MYSTERY OF THE NINE OF HEARTS.


"_From Mr. Bainbridge, Q. C., to Archibald Laing, Esq_.

"Dear Sir,--Last night I received your cable from Pittsburg, and sent
you a message in reply, accepting the commission with which you have
been pleased to intrust me. This morning I called upon Messrs. Morgan
& Co., Bankers, Threadneedle Street, and learned from them that they
were prepared to advance me the ten thousand dollars of which you
advised me. I drew upon them for that amount, and received from them
a notification that they would honor my further drafts upon them the
moment they were drawn. I asked them whether, in the event of my
desiring to draw say five thousand pounds, I was at liberty to do so.
They said yes, for even a larger amount if I required it. I did not
explain to them the reason of my asking the question, but I will do so
to you. It has happened, in difficult cases, that information has had
to be purchased, and that a bribe more or less tempting has had to be
held out to some person or persons to unlock their tongues. I have no
reason to suppose that anything of the sort will be necessary in this
case, but I wish to feel myself perfectly free in the matter. I am
satisfied with your bankers' replies, and I shall spare neither money
nor exertion in the endeavor to unravel the mystery which surrounds the
death of Mrs. Edward Layton.

"It is scarcely possible you can be aware of it, but it is nevertheless
a fact that, apart from my professional position in this matter, I take
in it an interest which is purely personal, and that my sympathies are
in unison with your own. Were it not that I have had some knowledge
of Mr. Layton, and that I esteem him, and were it not that I firmly
believe in his innocence, I should, perhaps, have hesitated to engage
myself in his case, and you will excuse my saying that your liberal
views upon the subject of funds might have failed to impress me. It
is, therefore, a matter of congratulation that I enlist myself on Mr.
Layton's side as much upon personal as upon professional grounds. The
time has been too short for anything yet to be done, but it will be a
satisfaction to you to learn that I have a slight clew to work upon.
It is very slight, very frail, but it may lead to something important.
Your desire for a full and complete recital of my movements shall be
complied with, and I propose, to this end, and for the purpose of
coherence and explicitness, to forward the particulars to you from
time to time, not in the form of letters, but in narrative shape.
This mode of giving you information will keep me more strictly to the
subject-matter, and will be the means of avoiding digression. After
the receipt, therefore, of this letter, what I have to say will go
forth under numbered headings, not in my own writing, but in that of a
short-hand reporter, whom I shall specially employ. I could not myself
undertake such a detailed and circumstantial account as I understand
it is your desire to obtain. Besides, it will save time, which may be
of great value in the elucidation of this mystery.

   "I am, dear sir, faithfully yours,

                   "HORACE BAINBRIDGE."



I.

What struck me particularly in your cable message was that portion of
it in which you made reference to a Mr. James Rutland. It happens,
singularly enough, that this Mr. James Rutland was on the jury, and
that he was the one juryman who held out in Mr. Layton's favor, and
through whose unconquerable determination not to bring him in guilty
has arisen the necessity for a new trial. Eleven of the jury were for a
conviction, one only for an acquittal--this one, Mr. Rutland.

The first thing to ascertain was his address, which you could not give
me. However, we have engines at our hand whereby such small matters are
easily arrived at, and on the evening of the day after the arrival of
your cable message I was put in possession of the fact that Mr. Rutland
lives in Wimpole Street. I drove there immediately, and sent up my card.

"I have called upon you, Mr. Rutland," I said, "with respect to Mr.
Edward Layton's case, in the hope that you may be able to give me some
information by which he may be benefited."

Mr. Rutland is a gentleman of about sixty years of age. He has a
benevolent face, and I judged him, and I think judged him correctly, to
be a man of a kindly nature. Looking upon him, there was no indication
in his appearance of a dogged disposition, and I lost sight for a
moment of the invincible tenacity with which he had adhered to his
opinion when he was engaged upon the trial with his fellow-jurymen.
However, his conduct during this interview brought it to my mind.

"It is a thousand pities," he said, in response to my opening words,
"that Mr. Layton refused to accept professional assistance and advice.
I was not the only one upon the jury who failed to understand his
reason for so doing."

"It is indeed," I observed, "inexplicable, and I am in hopes that
you may be able to throw some light upon it. I have come to you for
assistance."

"I can give you no information," was his reply; "I cannot assist you."

"May I speak to you in confidence?" I asked.

"Yes," he said, "although I have nothing to tell. To any but a
gentleman of position I should refuse to enter into conversation upon
this lamentable affair; and, indeed, it will be useless for us to
converse upon it. As I have already said, I have nothing to tell you."

This iteration of having nothing to say and nothing to tell was to me
suspicions, not so much from the words in which the determination was
conveyed as from the tone in which they were spoken. It was flurried,
anxious, uneasy; a plain indication that Mr. James Rutland could say
something if he chose.

"Speaking in confidence," I said, taking no outward notice of his
evident reluctance to assist me, "I think I am right in my conjecture
that you believe in Mr. Layton's innocence."

"I decline to say anything upon the matter," was his rejoinder to this
remark.

"We live in an age of publicity," I observed, without irritation; "it
is difficult to keep even one's private affairs to one's self. What
used to be hidden from public gaze and knowledge is now exposed and
freely discussed by strangers. You are doubtless aware that it is known
that there were eleven of the jury who pronounced Mr. Layton guilty,
and only one who pronounced him innocent."

"I was not," he said, "and am not aware that it is known."

"It is nevertheless a fact," I said, "and it is also known that you,
Mr. Rutland, are the juryman who held out in Mr. Layton's favor."

"These matters should not be revealed," he muttered.

"Perhaps not," I said, "but we must go with the age in which we live.
Mr. Layton's case has excited the greatest interest. The singular
methods he adopted during so momentous a crisis in his life, and the
unusual termination of the judicial inquiry, have intensified that
interest, and I have not the slightest doubt that there will be a great
deal said and written upon the subject."

"Which should not be said and written," muttered Mr. Rutland.

"Neither have I the slightest doubt," I continued, "that your name will
be freely used, and your motives for not waiving your opinion when
eleven men were against you freely discussed. We are speaking here, if
you will allow me to say so, as friends of the unfortunate man, and I
have no hesitation in declaring to you that I myself believe in his
innocence."

He interrupted me.

"Then, if you had been on the jury, you would not have yielded to the
opinions of eleven, or of eleven hundred men?"

He spoke eagerly, and I saw that it would be a satisfaction to him to
obtain support in his view of the case.

"I am not so sure," I said "our private opinion of a man when he is
placed before his country charged with a crime has nothing whatever to
do with the evidence brought against him. Let us suppose, for instance,
that you have been at some time or other, under more fortunate
circumstances, acquainted with Mr. Layton."

"Who asserts that?" he cried, much disturbed.

"No person that I am aware of," I replied. "I am merely putting a
case, and I will prove to you presently that I have a reason for doing
so. Say, I repeat, that under more fortunate circumstances you were
acquainted with Mr. Layton, and that you had grown to esteem him. What
has that purely personal view to do with your functions as a juryman?"

"Mr. Bainbridge," he said, "I do not wish to be discourteous, but I
cannot continue this conversation."

"Nay," I urged, "a gentleman's life and honor are at stake, and I am
endeavoring to befriend him. I am not the only one who is interested in
him. There are others, thousands of miles away across the seas, who are
desirous and anxious to make a sacrifice, if by that sacrifice they can
clear the honor of a friend. See, Mr. Rutland, I will place implicit
confidence in you. Last night I received a cable from America, from Mr.
Archibald Laing."

"Mr. Archibald Laing!" he cried, taken by surprise. "Why, he and Mr.
Layton were--"

But he suddenly stopped, as though fearful of committing himself.

"Were once friends," I said, finishing the sentence for him, and, I was
certain, finishing it aright. "Yes, I should certainly say so. Read the
cable I received." And I handed it to him.

At first he seemed as if he were disinclined, but he could not master
his curiosity, and after a slight hesitation he read the message but he
handed it back to me without remark.

"Mr. Archibald Laing," I said, "as I dare say you have heard or read,
is one of fortune's favorites. He left this country three or four years
ago, and settled in America--where, I believe, he has taken out letters
of naturalization--and plunged into speculation which has made him a
millionaire. No further evidence than his cable message is needed to
prove that he is a man of vast means. Why does he ask me to apply to
you for information concerning Mr. Layton which I may probably turn to
that unhappy gentleman's advantage?"

"I was but slightly acquainted with Mr. Laing," said Mr. Rutland. "He
and I were never friends. I repeat once more that I have nothing to
tell you."

I recognized then that I was in the presence of a man who, whether
rightly or wrongly, was not to be moved from any decision at which he
had arrived, and I understood thoroughly the impossible task set before
eleven jurymen to win him over to their convictions.

"Can I urge nothing," I said, "to induce you to speak freely to me

"Nothing," he replied.

I spent quite another quarter of an hour endeavoring to prevail upon
him, but in the result I left his house no wiser than I had entered it,
except that I was convinced he knew something which he was doggedly
concealing from me. I did not think it was anything of very great
importance, but it might at least be a clew that I could work upon, and
I was both discouraged and annoyed by his determined attitude.

On the following morning, having paved the way to further access to
Mr. Edward Layton, I visited the unhappy man in his prison. He was
unaffectedly glad to see me, and he took the opportunity of expressing
his cordial thanks for the friendliness I had evinced towards him.
I felt it necessary to be on my guard with him, and I did not, thus
early, make any endeavor to prevail upon him to accept me as his
counsel in the new trial which awaited him. There were one or two
points upon which I wished to assure myself, and I approached them
gradually and cautiously.

"Are you aware," I said, "of the extent of the disagreement among the
jury?"

"Well," he replied, "we hear something even within these stone walls. I
am told that eleven were against me and one for me."

"Yes," I said, "that is so."

"A bad lookout for me when I am tried again. Mr. Bainbridge," he said,
"it is very kind of you to visit me here, and I think you do so with
friendly intent."

"Indeed," I said, "it _is_ with friendly intent."

"Is it of any use," he then said, "for me to declare to you that I am
innocent of the horrible charge brought against me?"

"I don't know," I said, "whether it is of any use or not, because of
the stand you have taken, and seem determined to take."

"Yes," he said, "upon my next trial I shall defend myself, as I did on
my last. I will accept no legal assistance whatever. Still, as a matter
of interest and curiosity--looking upon myself as if I were somebody
else--tell me frankly your own opinion."

"Frankly and honestly," I replied, "I believe you to be an innocent
man."

"Thank you," he said, and I saw the tears rising in his eyes.

"Do you happen," I said, presently, "to know the name of the juryman
who was in your favor?"

"No," he replied, "I am quite ignorant of the names of the jurymen."

"But they were called over before the trial commenced."

"Yes, that is the usual course, I believe, but I did not hear their
names. Indeed, I paid no heed to them. Of what interest would they
have been to me? Twelve strangers were twelve strangers; one was no
different from the other."

"They were all strangers to you?" I asked, assuming a purposed
carelessness of tone.

"Yes, every one of them."

"And you to them?"

"I suppose so. How could it have been otherwise?"

"But when they finally came back into court, and the foreman of the
jury stated that they could not agree, you seemed surprised."

"Were you watching me?" he asked, suspiciously.

"Do you not think it natural," I said, in reply, "that every person's
eyes at that moment should be turned upon you?"

"Of course," he said, recovering himself--"quite natural. I should have
done the same myself had I been in a better place than the dock. Well,
I _was_ surprised; I fully anticipated a verdict of guilty."

"And," I continued, "although you may not remember it, you leaned
forward and gazed at the jury with an appearance of eagerness."

"I remember that I did so," he said; "it was an impulsive movement on
my part."

"Did you recognize any among them whose face was familiar to you?"

"No; to tell you the truth, I could not distinguish their faces, I am
so short-sighted."

"But you had your glasses hanging round your neck. Why did you not use
them?"

It amazed me to hear him laugh at this question. It was a gentle,
kindly laugh, but none the less was I astonished at it.

"You lawyers are so sharp," he said, "that there is scarcely hiding
anything from you. Be careful what questions you ask me, or I shall be
compelled"--and here his voice grew sad--"to beg of you not to come
again."

I held myself well within control, although his admonition startled me,
for I had it in my mind to ask him something concerning the surprise
he had evinced when the Nine of Hearts was produced from the pocket
of his ulster; and I had it also in my mind to ask him whether he was
acquainted, either directly or indirectly, with Mr. James Rutland. His
caution made me cautious; his wariness made me wary; I seemed to be
pitted against him in a friendly contest in which I was engaged in his
interests and he was engaged against them.

"I will be careful," I said; "you must not close your door against
me, although it is, unhappily, a prison door. I am here truly as a
sympathizing friend. Look upon me in that light, and not in the light
of a professional man."

"You comfort me," he said. "Although I may appear to you careless and
indifferent, you know well enough it is impossible that I can be so;
you know that I must be tearing my heart out in the terrible position
in which I have been forced by ruthless circumstance. Make no mistake I
am myself greatly to blame for what has occurred. It has been folioed
upon me by my sense of honor and right and truth. Why, life once spread
itself before me with a prospect so glad, so beautiful, that it almost
awed me! But, after all, if a man bears within him the assurance that
he is doing what he is in honor bound to do, surely that should be
something! There--you see what you have forced from me. Yes, I _did_
look eagerly forward when I heard that the jury could not agree. At
least there was one man there who believed me to be innocent, and
without the slightest knowledge of him I blessed him for the belief."

He gazed round with the air of a man who was fearful that every
movement he made was watched and observed by enemies, and then he said,
in a low tone,

"I need a friend."

I replied, instantly, following the tone that he had used, "I am here;
I will be your friend."

"It is a simple service I require," he said; "I have a letter about
me which I wish to be posted. What it contains concerns no one whom
you know. It is my affair and mine only, and rather than make it
another man's I would be burned at the stake, though we don't live in
such barbarous times;" and then he added, with a sigh, "But they are
barbarous enough."

"I will post the letter for you," I said. He looked me in the face,
a long, searching, wistful look, and as he gazed, I saw in his eyes
a nobility of spirit which drew me as close to him in sympathy and
admiration as I had sever been drawn in my life to any man.

"Dare I trust you?" he said, still preserving his low tone. "But if not
you, whom can I trust?"

"You may trust me," I said; "I will post the letter for you faithfully."

"Not close to the prison," he said. "Not in this district. Put it into
a pillar-box at some distance from this spot."

"I will do as you desire."

"Honestly and honorably?" he said.

"Honestly," I responded, "and honorably, as between man and man."

"You are a good fellow," he said, "I will trust you. I can never hope
to repay yon, but one day, perhaps, you may live to be glad that you
did me even this slight service." And he slipped the letter into my
hand, which I as secretly slipped into my pocket. Then I said,

"May I come to see you again?"

"Do. You have lightened the day for me--and many a day in addition to
this!"

Soon afterwards I left him. I was honorably careful in the carrying out
of his directions. I did not take the letter from my pocket until I was
quite three miles from the prison, and then I put it into a pillar-box
but before I deposited it there, I looked at the address. Layton had
not extracted a promise from me that I should not do so, and I will
not say, therefore, whether, if he had, I should have violated it. I
was engaged, against his will and wish, in his vital interests, and I
might have broken such a promise however that may be, my surprise was
overwhelming when I saw that his letter was addressed to "Miss Mabel
Rutland, 32 Lavender Terrace, South Kensington."

Rutland! Why, that was the name of the one juryman who had held
out upon Layton's trial, and from whom I had vainly endeavored to
obtain some useful information! Of all the cases I have been engaged
in, this promised to be not only the most momentous, but the most
pregnant and interesting. Rutland! Rutland! Had it been a common name,
such as Smith or Jones, I might not have been so stirred. It was no
chance coincidence. I was on the track, and with all the powers of my
intellect I determined to carry it to a successful issue.


------------


_Cable message from Mr. Bainbridge, London, to Mr. Archibald Laing, U.
S_.

"Who is Miss Mabel Rutland, and is there any relationship between her
and Mr. James Rutland? Also, in what relation does she stand to Edward
Layton? Can you give me any information respecting the Nine of Hearts?"


_Cable message from Mr. Archibald Laing, U S., to Mr. Bainbridge,
London_.

"Miss Mabel Rutland is the niece of Mr. James Rutland. She and Mr.
Edward Layton were once engaged to be married. The breaking off of the
engagement caused great surprise, as they were deeply in love with each
other. I do not understand your reference to the Nine of Hearts."


_Cable message from Mr. Bainbridge to Mr. Archibald Laing_.

"The Nine of Hearts I refer to is a playing-card. I have reasons for
asking."


_Cable message from Mr. Archibald Laing to Mr. Bainbridge_.

"I know nothing whatever concerning the Nine of Hearts."



II.


The information you give me in your cable that Miss Mabel Rutland and
Edward Layton were once engaged to be married is of the utmost interest
to me. You will doubtless in your letters explain more fully what you
know, but I do not wait for letters from you. Time is too precious for
me to lose an hour, a moment. I feel confident, before you enlighten me
upon this point, that I shall ferret out something of importance which
may lead to the end we both desire. I may confess to you at once that
the case has taken complete hold of me, and that, without any prospect
of monetary compensation, I should devote myself to it. That Edward
Layton is bent upon sacrificing himself in some person's interests
seems to me to be certain. It would take something in the shape of a
miracle to convince me that he is guilty of the crime of which he is
charged. I have elected myself his champion, and if it be in the power
of man to bring him out of his desperate strait with honor, I resolve,
with all the earnestness of my heart and with all the strength of my
intellect, to accomplish it. The intelligence that Mr. James Rutland is
uncle to the young lady to whom Edward Layton was engaged may be of use
to me. I do not yet despair of obtaining useful information from him.

My inquiry respecting the Nine of Hearts was not idly made. This
particular playing-card, which was found in the pocket of Layton's
ulster, and of which he had no knowledge, is, I am convinced, an
important feature in the case.

I have already enlisted the services of three or four agents, and as
I intend to spare no expense, it may be that I shall call upon your
bankers for a further sum of money, which I feel assured you will not
begrudge.

Certain events are working in my favor. Of those that do not
immediately bear upon the matter I shall make no mention, but those
that do shall find a record here.

For some portion of the day after my interview with Edward Layton
in prison, I was, apart from my practical work, engaged upon the
consideration of the question whether I should call upon Miss Mabel
Rutland, at 32 Lavender Terrace, South Kensington. I went there in
a cab, and reconnoitred the house outside, but I did not venture to
enter it. It is one of a terrace of fourteen mansions, built in the
Elizabethan style. No person could afford to reside there who was
not in a position to spend a couple of thousand a year. The natural
conclusion, therefore, is that Miss Rutland's people are wealthy.

That in the absence of some distinct guide or clew or information I
should have been compelled to present myself at the address, for the
purpose of seeking an interview with the young lady to whom Edward
Layton's letter was addressed, was certain; but chance or destiny came
here to my assistance.

Dr. Daincourt called upon me at between ten and eleven o'clock in the
night.

"I make no apology for this late visit," he said; "I have something of
importance to communicate.

"When you spoke to me last night about the jury, you gave me the list of
names to look over. I glanced at them casually, and gathered nothing
from them, until Mr. Laing's cable message arrived from America.
That incident, of course, impressed upon my mind the name of Mr.
James Rutland. It was strange to me; I was not acquainted with any
person hearing it. But it is most singular that this afternoon I was
unexpectedly called into consultation upon a serious case--a young
lady, Miss Mabel Rutland, who has been for some time in a bad state.
The diagnosis presents features sufficiently familiar to a specialist,
and also sufficiently perplexing. Her nerves are shattered; she is
suffering mentally, and there is decided danger."

"Miss Mabel Rutland," I said, mechanically, "living at 32 Lavender
Terrace, South Kensington."

"You know her?" exclaimed Dr. Daincourt, in astonishment.

"I have never seen her," I said, "but I know where she lives."

"Is she related," inquired Dr. Daincourt, "to the one juryman who held
out upon Edward Layton's trial?"

"There is no need for secrets between us," I replied; "but it will be
as well to keep certain matters to ourselves."

"Certainly. I will not speak of them to any one. It is agreed that what
passes between us is in confidence."

"Miss Mabel Rutland is niece to the Mr. James Rutland who was on the
jury."

"That is strange," exclaimed Dr. Daincourt.

"Very strange," I said; "but I shall be surprised if, before we come to
the end of this affair, we do not meet with even stranger circumstances
than that. Proceed, I beg, with what you have to tell me concerning
Miss Rutland."

"Well," said Dr. Daincourt, "her parents are in great distress about
her. I saw and examined her, and I am much puzzled. There is nothing
radically wrong with her. There is no confirmed disease; her lungs
are sufficiently strong; she is not in a consumption, and yet it may
be that she will die. It is not her body that is suffering, it is her
mind. Of course I was very particular in making the fullest inquiries,
and indeed she interested me. Although her features are wasted, she
is very beautiful, and there _rests_ upon her face an expression of
suffering exaltation and self-sacrifice which deeply impressed me. In
saying that this expression rests upon her face, I am speaking with
exactness. It is not transient; it does not come and go. It is always
there, and to my experienced eyes it appears to denote some strong
trouble which has oppressed her for a considerable time, and under
the pressure of which she has at length broken down. I could readily
believe what her parents told me, that there were times when she was
delirious for many hours."

"Has she been long ill?" I inquired.

"She has been confined to her bed," replied Dr. Daincourt, "since the
26th of March."

"The 26th of March," I repeated; "the day on which Mrs. Edward Layton
was found dead."

Dr. Daincourt started. "I did not give that a thought," he said.

"Why should you?" I remarked. "I may confess to you, doctor, that I
apply almost everything I hear to the case upon which I am engaged. I
shall surprise you even more when I ask you whether, during the time
you were in 32 Lavender Terrace, you heard the name of Edward Layton
mentioned?"

"No," replied Dr. Daincourt; "his name was not mentioned. Bainbridge, I
know that you are not given to idle talk; there is always some meaning
in what you say."

"Assuredly," I said, "I am not in the mood for idle talk just now.
Events are marching on, doctor, and I am inclined to think that we are
on the brink of a discovery. You have not yet told me all I wish to
know concerning Miss Mabel Rutland. What members of the family did you
see?"

"Her mother, her father, and herself," replied Dr. Daincourt.

"Do those comprise the whole of the family?"

"I do not know; I did not inquire."

"Give me some description of her parents."

"Her father," said Dr. Daincourt, "is a gentleman of about sixty years
of age."

"Is there any doubt in your mind that he is a gentleman?"

"Not the slightest."

"Attached to his daughter--entertaining an affection for her?"

"I should certainly say so, but at the same time not given to
sentimental demonstration."

"As to character, now?" I asked. "What impression did he leave upon
you?"

"That he was stern, self-willed, unbending. Hard to turn, I suspect,
when once he is resolved."

"Like his brother," I observed, "Mr. James Rutland, who was on Layton's
trial. Those traits evidently run in the family. Now, as to his wife?"

"A gentle and amiable lady," said Dr. Daincourt, "some eight or ten
years younger than her husband; but her hair is already grayer than
his; it is almost white."

"She and her daughter resemble each other," I remarked.

"Yes; and there is also on the mother's face an expression of devotion
and self-sacrifice. Her eyes continually overflowed when we were
speaking of her daughter."

"Not so the father's eyes?"

"No; but he showed no want of feeling."

"Still, doctor," I said, "you gather from your one visit to the house
that he is the master of it--in every sense, I mean."

"Most certainly the master."

"Ruling," I remarked, "with a rod of iron."

"You put ideas into my head," said Dr. Daincourt, in a somewhat
helpless tone.

"If they clash with your own, say so."

"They do not clash with my own, but I am not prone so suddenly to take
such decided views. I should say you are right, Bainbridge, and that in
his house Mr. Rutland's will is law."

"Would that be likely," I asked, "to account in any way for the
expression of self-sacrifice you observed on the faces of mother and
daughter?"

"It might be so," said Dr. Daincourt, thoughtfully.

"Proceed, now," I said, "and tell me all that passed."

"But little remains to tell," said Dr. Daincourt. "I informed the
parents that their daughter was suffering more from mental than from
physical causes; that it was clear to me that there was a heavy trouble
upon her mind, and that, until her trouble was removed, there was but
faint hope of her getting well and strong. 'I am speaking in the dark,'
I said to the parents, 'and while I remain in ignorance of the cause,
it is almost impossible for me to prescribe salutary remedies.' 'Can
you do nothing for her?' asked the father. 'Can you not give her some
medicine?' 'Yes, I can give her medicine,' I replied, 'but nothing that
would be likely to be of benefit to her. Indeed, the medicine already
in her room is such as would be ordinarily prescribed by a medical man
who had not reached the core of the patient's disease.' 'If she goes
on as she is going on now,' said the father, what will be the result?'
'Her strength is failing fast,' I replied; 'what little reserve she has
to draw upon will soon be exhausted. If she goes on as she is going
on now, I am afraid there will be but one result.' The mother burst
into tears; the father fixed his steady gaze upon me, but I saw his
lips quiver. 'We have called you in, Dr. Daincourt,' he said, 'because
we have heard of wonderful cures you have effected in patients who
have suffered from weak nerves.' 'I have been happily successful,'
I said, in effecting cures, but I have never yet succeeded where a
secret has been hidden from me.' At these words the mother raised
her hands imploringly to her husband. 'Do you think that a secret is
being hidden from you in this case?' asked the father. 'It is not for
me to say,' I replied; 'it is simply my duty to acquaint you with the
fact that your daughter's disease is mental, and that her condition
is critical. Until I learn the cause of her grief, I am powerless to
aid her.' 'Will you oblige me by calling to-morrow?' asked the father,
after a slight pause. 'Yes,' I said, preparing to depart, 'I will call
in the afternoon, and, if you wish, will see your daughter again.' He
expressed his thanks in courteous terms, and I took my leave. I should
have come here earlier, Bainbridge, to relate this to you, but I have
had other serious cases to attend to. A doctor's time is not his own,
you know."

"I have something to tell you, doctor," I said, "with reference to your
new patient, which will interest you. Mabel Rutland was once engaged
to be married to Edward Layton, and I believe there was a deep and
profound attachment between them."

"You startle me," he said, "and have given me food for thought."

When he bade me good-night, it was with the determination to extract,
if possible, from Mabel Rutland's parents some information respecting
her mental condition which might be used to her benefit. For my part,
I must confess to the hope, unreasonable as it may appear, that he may
also be successful in obtaining some information which will assist me
in the elucidation of the mystery upon which I am employed.


_Cable message from Mr. Bainbridge, London, to Archibald Laing, U. S_.

"Give me what particulars you can of Miss Mabel Rutland and her
parents, and of her brothers and sisters, if she has any."


_Cable message from Air. Archibald Laing, U. S to Mr. Bainbridge,
London_.

"Miss Mabel Rutland has no sisters. She has only a twin-brother,
Eustace, to whom she was passionately attached and devoted. This
brother and sister and their parents comprise the family. Mr.
Rutland is of an implacable and relentless disposition, impatient
of contradiction, and obstinate to a degree. These qualities were
exercised in my favor some years ago, when I paid court to Miss
Rutland, in the hope of making her my wife. Her father would have
forced her into a marriage with me, but when I could no longer doubt
that she loved Edward Layton, I preferred to retire rather than render
her unhappy. By so doing, I think I won her esteem, and it is for her
sake I wish Layton to be cleared of the charge brought against him.
It is my belief that she still loves him, and she must be suffering
terribly. If Layton is convicted, it will break her heart. I know
very little of her brother Eustace. He was at Oxford when I was in
London, and I met him only once or twice. Mrs. Rutland is a sweet lady,
gentle-mannered, kindly-hearted, and I fear domineered over by her
husband."



III.

I thank you for the information contained in your last cable. It gives
me an insight into the generous motives which have prompted you to
step forward on Edward Layton's behalf, and I am gratified in being
associated with you in the cause. When a counsel finds himself _en
rapport_ with his client, it is generally of assistance to him he works
with a better spirit.

Three days have passed since I wrote and despatched to you the second
portion of the narrative of my proceedings and progress. I was waiting
anxiously for something to occur--I could not exactly say what--which
would serve as an absolute stepping-stone. Something _has_ occurred
which, although I have not yet discovered the key to it, will, I
believe, prove to be of the utmost importance. You will understand
later on what I mean by my use of the word "key;" and when I tell you
that this which I call the stepping-stone is nothing more or less than
the Nine of Hearts, you will give me credit for my prescience on the
first production of that card in the Criminal Court. I felt convinced
that it would be no insignificant factor in the elucidation of the
Layton mystery.

I may say here that the progress we have made is entirely due to Dr.
Daincourt. What I should have done had he not been unexpectedly called
in to our assistance, it is difficult to say. I should not have been
idle, but it is scarcely likely that, within so short a time, my
actions would have led to the point we have now reached. Dr. Daincourt
has allowed himself to be prompted by me to a certain extent, and
his interest in his beautiful patient has been intensified by the
friendship existing between us, and by the esteem we both entertain for
Edward Layton.

In accordance with the promise Dr. Daincourt gave to Mr. Rutland,
he called upon, that gentleman on the day following his first visit
to the house. During the interval Miss Rutland's condition had not
improved; it had, indeed, grown worse. There was an aggravation of the
feverish symptoms, and her speech was wild and incoherent. Perhaps it
would be more correct to say that it was wild and incoherent to those
who were assembled at her bedside. I hold to the theory that there
is a method in dreams, and I also hold to the theory that there is a
method in the wildest utterances produced by the wildest delirium. I
speak, of course, as a lawyer. Dr. Daincourt's position with respect to
Miss Rutland was that of a physician. Had _I_ heard the words uttered
by Miss Rutland in her fevered state, I do not doubt that my legal
training would have enabled me to detect what was hidden from Dr.
Daincourt and the young lady's parents.

During this second visit to Miss Rutland, her father requested Dr.
Daincourt to give him a private interview, in the course of which
he elicited from the doctor an accentuation of the views which Dr.
Daincourt had expressed on the previous day. Mr. Rutland made a vain
attempt to combat these views. He would have been glad to be assured
that his daughter was suffering from a physical, and not from a mental
malady; but Dr. Daincourt was positive, and was not to be moved from
his conviction. He emphasized his inability to treat the case with
any hope of success, and he repeated his belief, if Miss Rutland were
allowed to continue in her present condition without any effort being
made to arrive at the cause of her mental suffering, that there could
be but one result--death before the end of the year.

At the commencement of this interview between Mr. Rutland and Dr.
Daincourt, Mrs. Rutland was not present; but after it had lasted some
twenty minutes or so, her anxiety became so overpowering that she
knocked at the door of the room in which the conversation was taking
place, and begged to be admitted. The issue at stake was so grave that
Mr. Rutland could not refuse, and thus it was that she was present when
Dr. Daincourt spoke in plain terms of the serious condition of his
beautiful patient. The mother's distress was pitiable, but it appeared
to produce no impression upon her husband.

"And yet," said Dr. Daincourt, in narrating the affair to me, "I am
sure that Mr. Rutland was inwardly suffering, and I am also sure that
he has a sincere affection for his daughter."

The interview terminated by Mr. Rutland requesting Dr. Daincourt to
call again the next day, to which request the doctor gave a reluctant
assent.

He called on the following day, with the same result. Again he saw the
patient; again he had an interview with Mr. Rutland, at which Mrs.
Rutland was present; again he emphasized his view of the young lady's
condition; and again Mr. Rutland requested him to pay another visit
upon his daughter. Dr. Daincourt objected. He told Mr. Rutland that,
as matters stood, his visits were useless, and that in the absence of
necessary information it was his distinct wish to be relieved from them.

"And I feel it my duty," he said to the father, "to inform you that if
you intend to do nothing further than it seems to me is your present
intention, you are playing with your daughter's life."

These were grave words to use, but Dr. Daincourt is no ordinary
man. His knowledge and experience lead him intuitively to correct
conclusions, and in his professional capacity be will not be trifled
with.

"In these circumstances," he said to Mr. Rutland, "I must beg of you to
summon some other physician in whom you have greater confidence."

"I have the fullest confidence in you," said Mr. Rutland.

"You have not shown it," was Dr. Daincourt's rejoinder. "It is
as though you have determined that you, and not I, shall be your
daughter's physician."

However, he allowed himself to be prevailed upon to pay Miss Rutland
yet another visit. But he gave his consent only upon the express
stipulation that it should be his last, unless Mr. Rutland placed him
in possession of information which would enable him to fully understand
the case.

I come now to this fourth interview, which was pregnant with results.

Upon presenting himself at the house he was received by Mrs. Rutland,
who said to him,

"My husband has consented that I should tell you all you desire to know
with respect to our dear child."

"You have prevailed upon him to consent," said Dr. Daincourt.

"Yes," replied Mrs. Rutland, "I have, thank God! prevailed upon him to
consent. Dear doctor, you will save my child, will you not?"

"I will do all that lies in my power," said Dr. Daincourt.

"What is it you wish to know?" asked Mrs. Rutland.

"Everything that concerns your daughter," said Dr. Daincourt, "with
respect to her disposition, habits, likings, and affections. She has
a terrible weight upon her mind, and you must certainly have some
suspicion of the cause. You may have more than a suspicion, you may
have a positive knowledge. You must hide nothing from me. Unless you
are prepared to be absolutely and entirely frank in your disclosures,
I cannot undertake to continue my visits. You are her mother--you love
her tenderly?"

"I love her with all my heart and soul," said Mrs. Rutland, weeping.
"If my daughter is taken from me, I shall not care to live!"

"In deep sincerity, then," said Dr. Daincourt, "I declare to you that
you may be acting as your daughter's enemy instead of her friend if you
do not open your heart and mind to me freely and without restraint.
Relate as briefly as you can, without omitting important points, the
story of her life."

It was a simple, touching story which Mrs. Rutland disclosed, fragrant
with all that is sweetest in woman. The Rutlands have but two children,
Mabel and Eustace, who came into the world within a few minutes of
each other. Between these children existed a most profound and devoted
love, and to tear Eustace away from Mabel was like tearing the girl's
heartstrings. The lad's love was the weaker of the two, as is usually
the case, but he nevertheless adored his sister, who repaid him tenfold
for all the affection he lavished upon her. They grew up together,
shared each other's pleasures, had secret and innocent methods of
communicating with each other which afforded them intense delight, and
were inseparable until they reached the age of eighteen, when Eustace
went to college. Hitherto his studies had been conducted at home, a
home of peace and harmony and love; for, stern and implacable as Mr.
Rutland was, he loved his children and his wife; but he loved something
else equally well--his honor and his good name. While Eustace was
absent at college, he and Mabel corresponded regularly.

"But," said the mother, "neither my husband nor myself was ever able
to understand Eustace's letters to his sister. They were always
written in the form of mystery-letters. It had been their favorite
amusement when they were children to discover and invent new methods of
corresponding with each other, of which only they possessed the secret.
'There, mamma,' Mabel would say, with a laugh, giving me one of my dear
Eustace's letters from college, 'read that!' But it might as well have
been written in Greek for anything that I could make of it. Words and
figures were jumbled together, without any meaning in them that I could
discover, and the entire page was a perfect puzzle. Then Mabel would
take the letter from me, and read it off as easily as possible; and I
remember her saying once, 'If Eustace and I ever have any real secrets,
mamma, we shall be able to tell them to each other through the post,
without any person in the world being one bit the wiser.' Little did
I think that the time would arrive when her words would bear a fatal
meaning."

Eustace, then, being at college, and Mabel at home, it unfortunately
happened that the lad fell into evil ways. He got mixed up with bad
companions. The hours that should have been employed in study were
wasted in gambling and dissipation, and his career at college was by no
means creditable. His father had set his heart upon Eustace obtaining
honors at Oxford, and he was sorely and bitterly disappointed when
the reports of his son's proceedings reached him. Unfortunately these
reports did not come to his ears until much mischief had been done, and
it was at about this time that Eustace returned home, declaring that he
would never go back to college.

At about this time, also, momentous events were occurring in Mabel's
life. A beautiful girl, with an amiable and sweet disposition, with
most winning ways, and with a wealthy father moving in a good social
position, it was not to be wondered at that she had suitors for her
hand; but there were only two whose affection for her was regarded
seriously by the family. One of these was Mr. Edward Layton, the other
Mr. Archibald Laing.

Mabel's father favored the suit of Archibald Laing; Mabel's uncle,
the gentleman who was upon the jury in the trial, favored the suit of
Edward Layton. He was never weary of sounding the young man's praises,
and it may be that this rather strengthened Mabel's father against
Edward Layton. However, the young lady had decided for herself. She
had given her heart to Edward Layton, and there grew between them an
absorbing and devoted attachment.

While these matters were in progress, both Archibald Laing and Edward
Layton were admitted freely to the house, and thus they had equal
chances. But when the lady whom two men are in love with makes up her
mind, the chances are no longer equal. It was not without a struggle
that Archibald Laing abandoned his pretensions. From what afterwards
transpired, he could not have loved Mabel with less strength than
Edward Layton did. It was no small sacrifice on his part to relinquish
his hopes of winning Mabel for his wife, more especially when her
father was on his side. There were interviews of an affecting nature
between him and Mabel. There were interviews, also, between him and
Edward Layton. The two men had been friends long before they came into
association with Mabel Rutland, and it speaks well for the generosity
and nobility of their natures that this affair of the heart--the like
of which has been the cause of bitter feuds from time immemorial--did
not turn their friendship into enmity. In the estimate of their
characters at this period Archibald Laing showed the higher nobility,
for the reason that it devolved upon him to make a voluntary and
heart-rending sacrifice. He informed the young lady's parents that he
gave up all hope of obtaining their daughter's hand, and at the same
time he declared that if it ever lay in his power to render Mabel or
Edward Layton a service, he would not hesitate to render it, whatever
might be the cost. Nobly has he redeemed this pledge.

He suffered much--to such an extent, indeed, that he determined to
leave the country, and find a home in another land. He bade the
Rutlands farewell by letter, and sailed for America, where he settled,
and realized an amazing fortune.

The field was thus left free for Mabel and Edward. Mr. Rutland was
seriously displeased. He had been thwarted in a wish that was very
dear to him, and he was not the kind of man to forget the defeat.
Although Edward Layton was allowed to come to the house, Mr. Rutland
received him without favor, and it was only upon the imploring and
repeated solicitations of his wife and daughter that he consented to
an engagement between the young people. It was a half-hearted consent,
and caused them some unhappiness. More than once he declared in their
presence, and in the presence of his wife, that if anything ever
occurred which would cast the slightest shadow of doubt or dishonor
upon Edward Layton, no power on earth should induce him to allow the
marriage to take place. It was not necessary for him to impress upon
them that, above everything else in the world, he was jealous of his
good name. They knew this well enough, and were in a certain sense
proud in the knowledge, because the stainless reputation he bore
reflected honor upon themselves. But they did not see the cloud that
was hanging above them. It gathered surely and steadily, and brought
with it terrible events, in the whirlpool of which the happiness of
Mabel and Edward was fated to be ingulfed.

The cause lay not in themselves. It lay in Eustace Rutland. It was he
who was responsible for all.

He was in London, in partial disgrace with his father. He was without
a career; he had already contracted vicious and idle habits; he was
frequently from home; and although his father questioned him severely,
he would give no truthful account of his movements and proceedings.
Some accounts he did give, but his father knew instinctively that they
were false or evasive. As he could obtain no satisfaction from his son,
Mr. Rutland, aware of the perfect confidence which existed between
Eustace and Mabel, applied to her for information; but she would not
utter one word to her brother's hurt. Her father could extract nothing
from her, and there gradually grew within him an idea that there was a
conspiracy against him in his own home, a conspiracy in which Edward
Layton was the principal agent. It was natural, perhaps, that he should
think more hardly of this stranger than of his own children.

Had he set a watch upon his son, he might have made discoveries which
would have been of service to all, and which might have averted
terrible consequences. But proud and self-willed as he was, it did not
occur to him to do anything which in his view savored of meanness. His
son Eustace went his way, therefore, to sure and certain ruin. When he
was absent from home he corresponded regularly with his sister, and Mr.
Rutland sometimes demanded to see this correspondence.

"You can make nothing of it, papa," said Mabel. "Eustace and I do not
correspond like other people."

He insisted, nevertheless, upon seeing these letters, and Mabel showed
them to him. As he could not understand them, he demanded that she
should read them intelligibly to him; but it being a fact that there
was always something in Eustace's correspondence which would deepen his
father's anger against him, the young girl refused to read them. This,
as may be supposed, did not tend to pacify Mr. Rutland. It intensified
the bitterness of his heart towards those whom he believed were
conspiring against him. He applied to Edward Layton.

"You are in my daughter's confidence," he said to the young man, "and
as you have wrung from me a reluctant consent to an engagement with
her, I must ask you to give me the information which she withholds from
me."

He met with another rebuff. Edward Layton declared that he would it
violate the confidence which Mabel had reposed in him. At one time Mr.
Rutland said to Edward Layton,

"My son has been absent from home for several days. Have you seen him?"

"Yes, sir," replied Edward, "I have seen him."

But he would say nothing further.

He was in a most painful position. Mabel had extracted from him a
solemn promise that he would reveal nothing without her consent, and he
was steadfastly loyal to her. He had another reason for his silence,
and, in the light of that reason, and of the feelings which Mr. Rutland
harbored towards him, he felt that the happiness he hoped would be his
was slipping from him.

The explanation of this other reason, which unhappily was a personal
one, brings upon the scene a person who played a brief but pregnant
part in this drama of real life, and who is now in his grave. This
person was Edward Layton's father.

"What was the nature of the relations," said Mrs. Rutland, "between
this gentleman and my dear son Eustace I do not know. All that I do
know is that they were in association with each other, and, I am
afraid, not to a good end. It came, also, by some strange means, to the
knowledge of my husband, and a frightful scene occurred between him and
Edward Layton, in which Mabel's lover was dismissed from the house.
My husband withdrew the consent he had given to the engagement, and
used words which, often since when I have thought of them, have made
me shudder, they were so unnecessarily cruel and severe. 'If from this
day,' my husband said to the young gentleman, 'you pursue my daughter
with your attentions, you will be playing a base and dishonorable
part. If you wish me to turn my daughter from my house, you can by
your actions bring about this result. But bear in mind, should it come
to pass, that she will go from my presence with my curse upon her--a
beggar! I am not ignorant my duties with respect to my children. I have
not been sparing of love towards them. Hard I may be when my feelings
are strongly roused, but I am ever just. In the secrets that are being
hidden from me there is, I am convinced, some degrading and shameful
element otherwise, it is not possible that you should conspire to keep
them from me. If the matter upon which you are engaged were honorable,
there would be no occasion to keep it from my knowledge. Do not
forget that you have it in your power to wreck not only my daughter's
happiness, but her mother's and mine, if that consideration will have
any weight with you.' There was much more than this, to which Mr.
Edward Layton listened with a sad patience, which deepened my pity for
him. He bore, without remonstrance, all the obloquies that were heaped
upon him by my unhappy husband, who soon afterwards left the room with
the injunction that Mr. Layton was on no account to be allowed an
interview with my daughter. Then Mr. Layton said to me, 'I must bear
it. If the happiness of my life is lost it will be through the deep,
the sacred love I bear for your child. I devote not only the dearest
hopes of my life, but my life itself, to her cause. Fate is against us.
A man can do no more than his duty.'"

From that day to this Mabel's mother has never seen Edward Layton.
When she heard of his marriage into a family whose position in society
was to say the least equivocal, she was in great distress, fearing
the effect the news would have upon her dear daughter. Mabel Rutland
suffered deeply, but during that time of anguish she appeared to summon
to her aid a certain fortitude and resignation which served her in good
stead. It astonished her mother, one day, to hear her say,

"Do not blame Edward, mamma he is all that is good and noble. Although
he is another lady's husband, and although our lives can never be
united, as we had once hoped, I shall ever love and honor him."

"Time will bring comfort to you, my darling," said the mother, "and it
may be that there is still a happy fate in store for you. You may meet
with another man, around whom no mystery hangs, to whom your heart will
be drawn."

"Never, mamma," replied Mabel. "I shall never marry now."

What most grievously disturbed Mrs. Rutland was the circumstance that,
even within a few weeks of Edward Layton's marriage, he corresponded
with her daughter. Her father was not aware of this. He usually rose
late in the morning, and it devolved upon Mrs. Rutland to receive the
correspondence which came by the first post. The letters that Edward
Layton wrote to Mabel were invariably posted at night, from which it
would appear that the young man was aware that they would fall into
the hands of Mabel's mother, and that Mr. Rutland, unless he were made
acquainted with the fact, was not likely otherwise to discover it. When
Mrs. Rutland gave her daughter the first letter from Mr. Layton, Mabel
said to her,

"Do not be alarmed, mamma. This letter is in reply to one I wrote to
Mr. Layton. I may have other letters from him which I beg you to give
me without papa's knowing. It may appear wrong to you, but it is really
not so. Everything is being done for the best, as perhaps you will one
day learn."

Sad at heart as Mrs. Rutland was, she had too firm a trust in her
daughter's innate purity and sense of self-respect not to believe what
she said, both in its letter and in its spirit, and thus it was that
the secret of this correspondence was also kept from Mr. Rutland. By
pursuing the course she did, Mrs. Rutland preserved, to some extent,
peace in the household.

Thus matters went on for two years, until Eustace Rutland's wild
conduct produced a terrible disturbance. His absences from home had
grown more frequent and prolonged; he became dreadfully involved, and
Mr. Rutland received letters and visits from money-lenders (a class
of men that he abhorred) in connection with his son's proceedings.
Incensed beyond endurance, he banished Eustace from the house, and
forbade him ever again to enter his doors.

"It seemed to be fated," said Mrs. Rutland, "that there should be
always something in our family that it was necessary to conceal from my
husband's knowledge. He banished Eustace from home, but that did not
weaken my love for our dear lad. Three times during the past year I
have seen Eustace, and I have not made my husband acquainted with the
fact. What could I do? Had I asked his permission he would have sternly
refused it, and had I told him that I could not resist the impulse
of my heart to fold my dear boy in my arms, it would only have made
matters worse for all of us."

She related to Dr. Daincourt a circumstance which had deeply angered
her husband. Among the presents the father had given to his daughter
was a very costly one, a diamond bracelet of great value, for which
Mr. Rutland had paid no less than five hundred guineas. One evening
a dinner-party was given at the house, and Mr. Rutland particularly
desired that Mabel should look her best on the occasion. He said
as much to his daughter, and expressed a desire that she should
wear certain articles of jewellery, and most especially her diamond
bracelet. He noticed at the dinner-table that this bracelet was not
upon Mabel's arm; he made no remark before his guests, but when they
had departed he asked Mabel why she had not worn it.

"I have so many other things, papa," she replied, "that you have given
me. It was not necessary."

"But," said her father, "I desired you particularly to wear the
bracelet. Is it broken? If so, it can be easily repaired. Let me see
it."

Then the mother saw trouble in her daughter's face. Mabel endeavored,
to evade her father's request, and strove to turn the conversation
into another channel. But he insisted so determinedly upon seeing the
bracelet that she was at length compelled to confess that it was not
in her possession. Upon this Mr. Rutland questioned her more closely,
but he could obtain from her no satisfactory information as to what had
become of it. Suddenly he inquired if her purse was in her room. She
answered yes, and he desired her to bring it down to him. She obeyed;
and when he opened the purse he found only three or four shillings in
it.

"Is this all you have?" he inquired.

"Yes, papa," she said, "this is all."

"But it was only yesterday," said Mr. Rutland, "that you asked me for
twenty pounds, and I gave it to you. What have you done with the money?"

Upon this point, also, he could obtain no satisfactory information. He
was greatly angered.

"I thought," he said "when Mr. Layton married into the family of a
professional sharp--a fit connection for him--that the conspiracy in my
house against my peace of mind, and, it seems to me, against my honor,
would come to an end. It was not so. I perceive that I am regarded
here as an enemy by my own family, not as a man who has endeavored all
through life to perform his duties in an honorable and straightforward
way. Go to your room, and let me see the diamond bracelet before this
month is ended, or let me know what you have done with it. If you have
lost it," he added, gazing sternly upon his daughter, "find it."

Before the month was ended Mabel showed him the diamond bracelet; but
her mother was aware that there were other articles missing from among
her daughter's jewellery.

Mrs. Rutland having come to the end of her narrative, Dr. Daincourt
began to question her.

"Your daughter," he said, "was taken ill on the 26th of March, and I
understand that she has been confined to her bed since that day. Were
there any premonitory symptoms of a serious illness, or was the seizure
a sudden one?"

"It was quite sudden," replied Mrs. Rutland. "I went into her room
early in the morning, and found her in a high state of fever."

"Has she been sensible at all since that time?"

"No."

"Not sufficiently sensible to recognize any one who attended her?"

"No; she does not even know me, her own mother."

"What did the physician whom you first called in say about the case?"

"He said that she had brain-fever, and that it had been accelerated by
her having caught a violent cold through wearing damp clothing."

"Do you think she wore that clothing in the house?"

"No."

(Dr. Daincourt has certain ways and methods of his own. He is in the
habit of keeping in his pocket-book a tablet of the weather from day to
day.)

"If your daughter did not wear damp clothes in the house," he said, "she
must have worn them out of the house."

He took his pocket-book from his pocket and consulted his
weather-tablet. "I see," he said to Mrs. Rutland, "that from the 12th
till the 25th of March there was no rain. The weather was mild and
unusually warm during those days, but on the evening of the 25th of
March it began to rain, and rained during the night. Your daughter must
have been out during those hours in the bad weather. What were her
movements on that evening? Remember, you must keep nothing from me if
you wish me to do my best to restore your child to health."

Still, it was with some difficulty that he extracted from Mrs. Rutland
the information he desired to obtain. Obtain it, however, he did. Mrs.
Rutland informed him that Mabel had gone out on the evening of the
25th of March, and did not return home until nearly one o'clock in the
morning. Mr. Rutland was not aware of this. Mrs. Rutland had stopped up
for her daughter, and had let her in quietly and secretly. The young
girl was pale and greatly agitated, but she said nothing to her mother.
She kissed her hurriedly, went to her bedroom, and was found the next
morning in the condition Mrs. Rutland had described.

"Being in a fever from that day," said Dr. Daincourt to the mother,
"your daughter has seen no newspapers?"

"No."

"And she is ignorant of the peril through which her former lover,
Edward Layton, has passed, and in which he still stands?"

"She is ignorant of it," said Mrs. Rutland.

"Have any letters arrived for her during her illness?"

"Yes, two. One in the handwriting of Mr. Layton, the other from my dear
boy Eustace."

"Have you those letters?"

"Yes."

"Have you opened them?"

"No. My daughter made me give her a solemn promise that I would never
open one of her letters, and I have not done so."

"But," said Dr. Daincourt, "this is a matter of life and death. I must
ask you to give me those letters, and I will take upon myself the
responsibility of opening them. I must ask you for something more. Your
daughter has a desk?"

"Yes."

"The key of which is in her room?"

"Yes."

"Bring down the desk and the key. Ask me no questions concerning my
motives. I am in hopes that I shall be able to discover the true cause
of your daughter's illness, and that will enable me to adopt towards
her the only treatment by which it is possible she can recover."

Mrs. Rutland brought down the desk and the key. In the mother's
presence Dr. Daincourt opened the desk. There were in it no letters
from Edward Layton, but it contained two of what Mrs. Rutland called
the mystery-letters which Eustace was in the habit of writing to his
sister. These letters were in their envelopes, the post-marks upon
which indicated their order of delivery.

Dr. Daincourt could make nothing of them, and Mrs. Rutland could not
assist him. They were written upon small single sheets of note-paper,
and appeared to be a perfect jumble of incomprehensible words; around
the margin of these words were a number of figures and alphabetical
letters as incomprehensible as themselves. Searching further in the
desk, he made a startling discovery--three playing-cards, each of them
being the Nine of Hearts. He asked Mrs. Rutland--who appeared to be
almost as startled as he was himself by the discovery--whether she
could give him any explanation of the cards, and she said that she
could not. Then Dr. Daincourt said that he would take the playing-cards
and the letters away with him.

"At the same time," he observed to Mrs. Rutland, "if it is any
consolation to you, I undertake your daughter's case, and will do the
best for her that lies within my skill and power."

He then went to see Miss Rutland in her bed, wrote out a prescription,
gave certain instructions, and left the house.

"I have come to you," said Dr. Daincourt to me, "with these letters
and the playing-cards; I will leave them with you. You said that the
Nine of Hearts was a tangible link in the chain of Edward Layton's
innocence. Is it not most mysterious and strange that three of these
identical cards should be found in Miss Rutland's desk, and that one
should be found in the pocket of Edward Layton's ulster which he wore
on the 25th of March? Does not this circumstance, in conjunction with
what you now know of Mabel Rutland's movements on that night, go far
to prove that the lady whom Edward Layton met in Bloomsbury Square was
none other than his old sweetheart? Heaven knows what conclusions are
to be drawn from the coincidence. I will make no comments indeed, I
almost tremble to think of the matter. Your legal mind will, perhaps,
enable you to deduce something from Eustace's letter to his sister
which may be of service to you and Edward Layton. To me they are simply
incomprehensible. Before I visit Miss Rutland to-morrow I will call on
you. You may have something to say to me. I sincerely trust I shall not
be the means of bringing fresh trouble upon her and hers."

With that he wished me good-night, and I was left alone. I set myself
sedulously to the task of discovering the key to these mysterious
letters. Dr. Daincourt had not opened the two sealed letters which had
arrived during Miss Rutland's illness, and I did not immediately do
so. I felt a delicacy with respect to Edward Layton's letter to the
young lady which he had given me in prison to post for him. I put them
aside, and selecting the first of the two letters from Eustace Rutland
which had been found in Mabel's desk (judging from the post-marks on
their envelopes which of the two she had first received, for they bore
no date), I devoted myself to a study of it. This is an exact copy of
the singular communication, the size of the paper and the arrangement
of the words, and of the figures and alphabetical letters, being
faithfully followed:


T 20 X 2 C 14 H 7 E 3

17 D B face birds the stares 9

6 in runs back got I F M 10 in your hundred send 11 J trees the money
won are A 1 8 death river diamond gayly me K T 19 on bracelet four
singing 18 R instantly cherry the the W 12

13 B 5 N 16 P 15 V 4 U


It appeared to me that the first thing I had to consider was the
relation, if any, that the alphabetical letters and figures bore to
the words to which they formed a frame. I did not lose sight of the
suggestion which immediately arose that this framework of figures and
alphabetical letters might be placed there as a blind, although the
evident care and pains which had been bestowed upon them was opposed
to the suggestion. But then, again, the care thus exercised might be
intended to more deeply mystify any strange person into whose hands the
missive might fall. In order not to deface or mutilate the original,
I made two exact copies of it for my own purposes, using as a kind of
ruler one of the playing-cards which Dr. Daincourt had also found in
Mabel Rutland's desk.

There were two words in the missive which soon attracted me. These were
the third word, "diamond," in the fifth line, and the second word,
"bracelet," in the sixth line. "Diamond bracelet." I did not doubt that
this was the diamond bracelet which Mr. Rutland had presented to his
daughter, and which she could not wear at the dinner-party because it
was not at that time in her possession. Here, then, was a clew, but
here I stopped. No ingenuity that I could bring to bear enabled me to
connect other words with "diamond bracelet." I cudgelled my brains
for at least half an hour. Then all at once it occurred to me (what
in the excitement of my pursuit I may very well be excused for not
having thought of before) that the playing-card, the Nine of Hearts,
must bear some relation to the missive. I placed it upon the paper.
Every word was hidden by the surface of the card; only the figures and
the alphabetical letters were visible. "Doubtless," thought I, "if I
cut out the pips of a Nine of Hearts, and place it upon the paper, I
shall see certain words which will form the subject-matter upon which
Eustace Rutland wrote to his sister." In that case the mystery was
confined to nine words which, whatever their arrangement, would not
be too difficult to intelligibly arrange. I would not mutilate Miss
Rutland's playing-cards. I had packs of my own in the house, and from
these I selected the Nine of Hearts and cut out the pips. It was not
an easy matter, and in my eagerness I pretty effectually destroyed the
surface of my table; but that did not trouble me. My interest was now
thoroughly aroused, and grew keener when, placing the Nine of Hearts
upon Eustace Rutland's mystery-letter, I found these words disclosed:

Face--stares--in--send--money--death me--instantly--the.

Here, then, in these nine words, was the communication which Eustace
Rutland intended his sister to understand. I copied them on a separate
sheet of paper, and arranged them in different ways until I arrived at
their correct solution:

"Death stares me in the face send money instantly."

Congratulating myself upon my cleverness, I came to the conclusion that
Eustace Rutland, being banished from his father's house, and not being
able to obtain from his father the funds necessary for his disreputable
career, was taking advantage of his sister's devoted affection for
him, and was in the habit of calling upon her to supply him with
money--which, no doubt, the young lady did to the best of her ability.
Curiosity led me to the task of endeavoring to discover whether the
alphabetical letters and the figures in the framework bore any relation
to this communication. With only the nine words exposed through the
pips of the Nine of Hearts which I had cut away, I saw that the first
word, "death," was the sixth, and the second word, "stares," was the
second, and the third word, "me," was the seventh. The sequence of the
figures, therefore, was 6, 2, 7. Now, how were these three figures
arranged in the framework? The figure 6 came after the letter M, the
figure 2 came after the letter X, the figure 7 came after the letter
H. Satisfied that I had found the key, I began to study how these
figures from 1 to 9, representing the nine words in the communication
and the Nine of Hearts in the playing-card, were arranged in the
framework in such a manner as to lead an informed person at once to the
solution. There must be a starting-point with which both Eustace and
his sister Mabel were acquainted. What was this starting-point? One of
the letters of The Alphabet. What letter? A. Starting, then, from A in
the framework, I found that the figures from 1 to 9 ran thus: 6, 2,
7, 3, 9, 1, 4, 5, 8. Upon following, in this order, the course of The
words which were exposed by the playing-card with the nine pips cut
out, I came to the conclusion that I had correctly interpreted this
first mystery-letter. I was very pleased, believing that the key I had
discovered would lead me to a correct reading of Eustace's second and
third letter to his sister.

So absorbed had I been in the unravelling of this mystery-letter,
which occupied me a good hour and a half, that I had lost sight during
the whole of that time of the two words which had at first enchained
my attention--"diamond bracelet." "Death stares me in the face send
money instantly" had appeared to me so reasonable a construction to be
placed upon the communication of a man who must often have been in a
desperate strait for want of funds, that the thought did not obtrude
itself that these words might be merely a blind, and that, in the words
that remained after the obliteration of this sentence, the correct
solution was to be found. The longer I considered, the stronger became
my doubts: with "diamond bracelet" staring me in the face, I felt that
I had been following a Will-o'-the-wisp.

I had asked Dr. Daincourt the date of the dinner-party at which Mr.
Rutland had detected the absence of the diamond bracelet on his
daughter's arm. That date was the 8th of September. I examined the
post-mark on the envelope of Eustace Rutland's first communication; it
was the 26th of September. Mr. Rutland had laid upon his daughter the
injunction that the diamond bracelet was to be shown to him before the
end of the month. What month? September. She had produced it in time,
and her brother's missive must have conveyed to her some information
respecting the missing article of jewellery. The elation of spirits in
which I had indulged took flight; I had _not_ discovered the clew.

I set myself again to work. I felt now as a man feels who is hunting
out a great mystery or a great criminal, and upon the success of whose
endeavor his own safety depends. It seemed to me as if it were not so
much Edward Layton's case as my own in which I was engaged. Never in
the course of my career have I been so interested. I determined to set
aside the words, "Death stares me in the face, send money instantly,"
and to search, in the words that remained, for the true meaning of
Eustace Rutland's first communication. I copied them in the order in
which they were arranged, and they ran as follows:


   T    20    X    2    C    14    H    7    E     3

  17                                               D

   B               birds      the                  9

   6       in   runs       back    got   I         F

   M                                              10

                 your      hundred

  11                                               J

         trees   the             won    are
   A                                               1

   8            river  diamond  gayly              K

   T                                              19
         on     bracelet     four    singing

  18                                               R

                     cherry     the

   W                                              12

  13     B    5    N   16     P   15    V    4     U


I counted the number of words; there were twenty-two. Now, was the true
reading of the communication contained in the whole of these twenty-two
words, or in only a portion of them, and if in only a portion, in
what portion? In how many words? There lay the difficulty. The words
"diamond bracelet" gave me a distinct satisfaction, but there were
other words which I could not by any exercise of ingenuity connect them
with, such as "birds"--"trees"--"river"--"gayly"--"cherry"--"singing."
Undoubtedly the communication was a serious one, and these words seemed
to be inimical to all ideas of seriousness. How to select? What to
select? How to arrange the mystery? What was the notation? Ah, the
notation! I had discovered the notation of the sentence I had set aside
for the time. What if the same notation would lead me to the clew
I was in search of? The arrangement of the figures from 1 to 9 was
arbitrated by the first letter in the alphabet, A. I would try whether
that arrangement would afford any satisfaction in the twenty-two words
that remained. It would be an affectation of vanity on my part if I
say that this idea occurred to me instantly. It did not do so. It was
only after long and concentrated attention and consideration that it
came to me, and then I set it immediately into practical operation.
The first figure in the sentence I had discovered was 6. I counted six
in the present arrangement of the words. It ended with the word "Got."
Crossing out the word "Got," and placing it upon a separate sheet of
paper, I proceeded. The second figure in the sentence I had discarded
was 2. I counted two on from the word "Got," and arrived at "Your." I
crossed out this word "Your" and proceeded. The third figure in the
sentence I had discarded was 7. I counted seven words on from "Your,"
and came to "Diamond." I treated this word in a similar way to the last
two, and continued the process. "Got your diamond." Now for "Bracelet."
The next figure was 3. I counted on three words from "Diamond" and came
to "Bracelet."

I was more excited than I can describe. There is scarcely anything in
the world that fills a man with such exultation as success, and I was
on the track of success: "Got your diamond bracelet." The following
figure was 9. I counted on nine and came to the word "Back." "Got your
diamond bracelet back." I continued. The next figure was 1. This was
represented by the word "I." The next figure was 4, represented by the
word "Won." The next figure was 5, represented by the word "Four." The
next figure was 8, represented by the word "Hundred." I continued the
same process and came back to the figure 6, represented by the word
"On." The next figure was 2, represented by the word "Cherry."

I stopped here, for a reason, and I read the words I had crossed out
and written on a separate sheet of paper. They ran thus:

"Got your diamond bracelet back I won four hundred on Cherry."

It was not without a distinct reason that I paused here. Mixing with
the world, and moving in all shades and classes of society, I must
confess--as I have no doubt other men would confess if they were
thoroughly ingenuous--to certain weaknesses, one of which is to put
a sovereign or two (seldom more) upon every classic horse-race,
and upon every important handicap during the year. I nearly always
lose--and serve me right. But it happened, strangely enough, that
in this very month of September, during which Eustace Rutland sent
his mysterious communications to his sister Mabel, one of the most
celebrated handicaps of the year was won by a horse named Cherry, and
that I had two sovereigns on that very horse. It started at long odds.
I remembered that the bet I made was two sovereigns to a hundred, and
that I had won what is often called a century upon the race. I was
convinced that I had come to the legitimate end of Eustace Rutland's
letter: "Got your diamond bracelet back. I won four hundred on Cherry."

This young reprobate, then, was indulging in horse-racing. His sister
Mabel had written to him an account of the scene between herself and
her father at the dinner-party. She had given him her diamond bracelet
to extricate him from some scrape, and he had been luckily enabled, by
his investment on the horse Cherry, to redeem it most likely from the
pawnbroker--in time for his sister to exhibit it to her father. So as
to be certain that I had got the proper clew, and had arrived at the
gist of Eustace's communication, I wrote down the words that remained,
which were,

"Birds--the--the--in--are the trees--runs--rivers--gayly--singing."

It was an easy task now for me to apply the same test to these
remaining words, and I found that they formulated themselves in this
fashion:

"The river runs gayly. The birds are singing in the trees."

I was curious to ascertain whether there were any special sign in
the framework of Eustace Rutland's communication by which the person
engaged with him in the mystery-letter could be guided. I counted the
words in each sentence. The words in the first sentence were nine--the
Nine of Hearts. The number of words in the second sentence was eleven.
The number of words in the third sentence was eleven. After the
alphabetical letter A in the framework I saw the figure 11, and I was
satisfied, the last eleven words being meaningless, that it was the
second sentence of eleven words, referring to the diamond bracelet
and to his winning on Cherry, that Eustace wished his sister Mabel
to understand. At the same time I was satisfied in my own mind that,
without the Nine of Hearts to guide him, a man might spend days over
the cryptograph without arriving at the correct solution.

I had taken no count of the passing time. Engrossed and absorbed in my
occupation, I was surprised, when it had reached what I believed to be
a successful termination, to find that it was nearly six o'clock in the
morning.



IV.


Dr. Daincourt called while I was dressing, after a few hours' sleep.
I am not usually a dreamer, but I had a dream so strange that I awoke
with the memory of it in my mind. It was of hands--ladies' hands--every
finger of which was covered with rings. Holding the theory, as I have
already explained, that the imagination during sleep is not creative,
but invariably works upon a foundation of fact, I was endeavoring to
trace the connection between my singular dream and some occurrence or
circumstance within my knowledge, when Dr. Daincourt entered.

"Well," were his first words, "have you made anything of the letters
which I left with you last night?"

"I was employed only upon one," I said, "which kept me up until six
o'clock this morning. I don't begrudge the time or the labor, because I
have discovered the clew to Master Eustace Rutland's communications to
his sister."

"That means," said Dr. Daincourt, excitedly, "that you have discovered
the mystery of the Nine of Hearts."

"In so far," I replied, "as respects the playing-cards found in Miss
Rutland's desk--yes, I have discovered that part of the mystery; but I
have not yet discovered the mystery of the particular Nine of Hearts
which was found in the pocket of Edward Layton's ulster."

I showed Dr. Daincourt the result of my labors on the previous night,
and he was delighted and very much interested, but presently his face
became clouded.

"I am still disturbed," he said, "by the dread that the task you are
engaged upon may bring Miss Rutland into serious trouble."

"I hope not," was my rejoinder to the remark, "but I shall not allow
considerations of any kind to stop me. Edward Layton is an innocent
man, and I intend to prove him so."

"If he is innocent," said Dr. Daincourt, "then Miss Rutland must also
be innocent."

"Undoubtedly," I said, with a cheerful smile, which did much to
reassure the worthy doctor.

"Have you opened the two sealed letters," asked Dr. Daincourt, "which I
brought from Mrs. Rutland's house?"

"No," I replied. "I have devoted myself only to the first of the opened
letters found in Miss Rutland's desk. I shall proceed immediately with
the second, and then I shall feel myself warranted in opening and
reading the letters which arrived for Miss Rutland during her illness.
By-the-way, doctor, I have had a singular dream, and upon your entrance
I was endeavoring to track it. It was a dream of ladies' hands, covered
with rings."

"Any bodies attached to the hands?" inquired Dr. Daincourt, jocosely.

"No; simply hands. They seemed to pass before my vision, and to rise
up in unexpected places pretty, shapely hands. But it was not so much
the hands that struck me as being singular as the fact that they were
covered with rings of one particular kind."

"What kind?"

"I must have seen thousands of rings upon the shapely fingers, and
there was not one that was not set with diamonds and turquoises."

A light came into Dr. Daincourt's face.

"And you mean to tell me that you can't discover the connection?"

"No I can't for the life of me discover it."

"That proves," said Dr. Daincourt, "how easy it is for a man engaged
upon a serious task to overlook important facts which are as plain as
the noonday sun."

"What facts have I overlooked, doctor?"

"Have you the newspapers in the room containing the reports of the
trial?"

"Give me the one containing the report of the third day's proceedings?"

I handed it to him, and he ran his eyes down the column in which the
evidence of the waiter in Prevost's Restaurant was reported.

"The waiter was asked," said Dr. Daincourt, "whether the lady who
accompanied Edward Layton were married, and whether there were rings
upon the lingers of her ungloved hand?"

"Yes, yes," I cried, "I remember! And the waiter answered that she wore
a ring of turquoises and diamonds. Of course--of course. That explains
my dream."

"Yes," said Dr. Daincourt, "that explains it."

"I need no further assurance," I said, "to prove that it was Miss
Rutland who was in Edward Layton's company on the night of the 25th
of March, but I wish you to ask her mother whether the young lady
possesses such a ring, and is in the habit of wearing it. Your face
is clouded again, doctor. You fear that I am really about to bring
trouble upon Miss Rutland. You are mistaken I am working in the cause
of justice. If I prove Edward Layton to be innocent, no shadow of
suspicion can rest upon Miss Rutland. You must trust entirely to me.
Can you not now understand why Edward Layton refused to be defended by
a shrewd legal mind? He would not permit a cross-examination of any of
the witnesses which would bring the name of Mabel Rutland before the
public. To save her honor, to protect her from scandal and calumny, he
is ready to sacrifice himself. He shall not do so. I will prevent it.
Your patient is in a state of delirium, you tell me. She knows nothing
of what passes around her, she recognizes no one, she has not heard of
the peril in which Edward Layton stands. Say that she remains in this
state of ignorance until Edward Layton is sentenced and hanged for a
crime which he did not commit--say, then, that she recovers and hears
of it--reads of it--why, she will go mad! It would be impossible for
her to preserve her reason in circumstances so terrible. There is a
clear duty before us, Dr. Daincourt, and we must not shrink from it.
I need not urge upon you to use your utmost skill to restore Mabel
Rutland to health, and to the consciousness of what is passing around
her. If before Edward Layton is put again upon his trial I do not clear
him, I shall not hesitate to make some kind of appeal to Miss Rutland
which, even should she remain delirious, shall result in favor of the
man who is so nobly and rashly protecting her good name."

"Remember," said Dr. Daincourt, gravely, "that she is in great danger."

"You man that she may die soon?"

"Yes."

"But not suddenly?" I asked, in alarm.

"I think not suddenly."

"Still," I said, "there is a chance of her being restored to health?"

"Yes, there is a chance of it."

"If the worst happens," I said, "is it likely that she would recover
consciousness before her death?"

"It is almost certain that she would."

"Then it would be necessary," I said, "to take her dying deposition.
Doctor, it is my firm conviction that the man and the woman who entered
Edward Layton's house after midnight on the 25th of March were not
Edward Layton and Mabel Rutland."

"But the coachman drove them home!" exclaimed Dr. Daincourt.

"So he said."

"And took them from Prevost's Restaurant."

"So he said. Recall that part of the coachman's evidence bearing upon
it. He says that Edward Layton, accompanied by a lady, issued from the
restaurant at five minutes to twelve; that Layton appeared excited;
which he, the coachman, attributed to the fact of his having taken
too much wine. To rebut this we have the evidence of the waiter, who
declared that Layton simply tasted the wine that was ordered. He could
not have drunk half a glass. The man and the woman who came from the
restaurant jumped quickly into the carriage, and but one word, 'Home!'
was uttered in a thick voice. Now, Layton, in his ridiculously weak
cross-examination, put two questions to the witness. 'Did it occur to
you,' he asked, 'or does it occur to you now, that the voice which
uttered that word was not my voice?' The witness replied that it had
not occurred to him. Then Layton said, 'You are certain it was my
voice?' And the witness replied, 'Yes, sir.' To me, these two questions
put by Layton are convincing proof that it was not he who entered the
carriage from Prevost's Restaurant."

"But he wore his ulster," said Dr. Daincourt.

"Here, again," I said, "we have evidence which, to my mind, is
favorable. The waiter testifies that when Layton entered the room
in which the supper was ordered he took off his ulster and hung it
on a peg in the wall, at some distance from the table at which he
sat. Moreover, he sat with his back to the coat. Layton, in his
cross-examination, asked the waiter, 'Did I put the overcoat on before
I left the room?' The waiter replied, 'Yes.' The judge intervened with
the rebuke, 'You have said in examination that you did not see the
prisoner and his companion leave the room.' And the witness replied,
'But when I returned, after being away for three or four minutes,
monsieur was gone, and the coat was also gone.' The prisoner put his
last question to the waiter, 'You did not see me put on the overcoat?'
And the witness answered, 'No.' Doctor, I see light. Bring me news of
the ring set with turquoises and diamonds. I shall be at home the whole
of the evening."

After Dr. Daincourt's departure I made a hurried breakfast, went
through my correspondence, and resumed my task of examining Eustace
Rutland's letters to his sister. The second opened communication was
exactly of the same shape and form as the first which I had deciphered.
I give here an exact copy of it:


   K    10    N   17    D     6    L   13    C     1

   3                                               R

   A     of     to      distraction   start       19

  12     awfully     yours     an  till   I        E

   X     at       love        hard    night        5

   7                                               W

   F     up     angel    chester  power  my       11

  14     corner     her    ida   all  o'clock      G

                                                   2
   S     is         death      in       will       T

  20

         nine        I        do       Tuesday    15

   M                                               H

   8    J    16      V        4    B     18    P   9


The notation of the nine figures, representing the nine pips in the
playing-card, in Eustace's first communication, was 6, 2, 7, 3, 9, 1,
4, 5, 8. Taking as my guide the alphabetical letter A, I found that the
notation in Eustace Rutland's second communication was 3, 6, 1, 5, 2,
9, 4, 8, 7. I placed the playing-card, with its pips cut out, over the
paper, and the following was revealed:

"Of--street--at--night--chester corner o'clock--nine--Tuesday."

Arranging these words according to the new notation of figures, they
formed this sentence:

"At corner of Chester Street Tuesday night nine o'clock."

"Now," thought I, "this may have been an appointment."

If so--and nothing was more likely--I could derive no assistance from
it. It conveyed no information, and contained nothing which would
assist me in my inquiries. It was very likely that I should light upon
something further, and I proceeded with my task. The figure immediately
following the alphabetical letter A was 12, which meant, if I were on
the right track, that the second sentence in this communication was
composed of twelve words. I followed the same process I had previously
employed, and the twelve words formed themselves thus:

"Awfully hard up ida is an angel I love her to distraction."

So as to finish this communication, I unravelled the last ten words,
and found them to be,

"I will do all in my power yours till death."

This I set aside as being intended to convey no meaning. The first
sentence, making an appointment at the corner of Chester Street,
was, whether correct or not, of little importance. I concentrated my
attention upon the second sentence of twelve words: "Awfully hard up
ida is an angel I love her to distraction."

So the young scamp was hard up again, and knew that his sister would
respond to his appeal. And he was in love, too, and ida was an angel.
Ida, of course, with a capital I.

I jumped to my feet as if I had been shot. Ida! What was the name of
Mrs. Layton's maid who had given such damning evidence against the man
I meant to set free? Ida White!

Not a common name. An unusual one. I walked about the room in a state
of great excitement. Ida White, the angel, and Eustace Rutland,
the scamp. But the woman must be at least eight or ten years older
than Eustace. What mattered that? All the more likely her hold upon
him. Young fools frequently fall in love with women much older than
themselves, and when the women get the chance they don't let the
youngsters escape easily. Yes, opposite to each other stood two
men--one a worthless ne'er-do-well, the other a martyr! Opposite to
each other stood two women--one a scheming woman of the world, the
other a suffering, heart-broken girl! I would save the noble ones. Yes,
I would save them! The chain was forming link by link.


*    *    *    *    *    *


I broke off here to despatch telegrams to two of my confidential
agents. My instructions to them were to employ themselves immediately
in discovering where Ida White, the maid who had given evidence against
her master at the trial, was living, and having found it, not to lose
sight of her for a single moment, but to set a strict watch upon her,
and to take note of her proceedings and movements, however trivial they
might be. These telegrams being despatched, I returned to my task.

The two sealed letters which Dr. Daincourt had received from Mrs.
Rutland lay before me. I took up the first, which I knew to be in
Eustace's handwriting. I opened it. It was of a similar nature to the
two I had already examined and interpreted. There is no need here to
repeat the details of the process by means of which I read this third
communication, a copy of which I also append:


   C    11    S    2    J    11    A    7    N    13

   8                                               G

   H     know      am      I    me    address      1

  16     I          I           be        an       D

   M     me        awful        me       the      19

   4                                               L

   X     innocent laid     to   that  guilty      15

  20     find       do       against     you       R

   K     not     charge     am    not   desert     9

  14      old       swear        may      where    B

  V                                               10

  3     F   17    P    6     W   12    E    5      T


I will simply say that the notation was 7,1, 9, 5, 6, 3, 4, 8, 2, and
that the words resolved themselves into the following:

"Yon know where to find me. The old address."

"An awful charge may be laid against me. I am not guilty."

"Do not desert me. I swear that I am innocent."

I decided that the whole of this was intended to be conveyed to
Mabel Rutland's understanding, and that in the last of Eustace's
communications to his sister there was not one idle word.

"An awful charge may be laid against me." That charge, undoubtedly,
was the murder of Mrs. Layton. "I am not guilty. I swear that I
am innocent." But all guilty men are ready to swear that they are
innocent. Not a moment was to be lost in setting my agents to work to
discover Eustace Rutland's address as well as the address of Ida White.
I quickly opened the letter which Edward Layton had written in prison
to Mabel Rutland, and which I had posted. It was very short, to the
following effect:


"Dear Miss Rutland,--All is well. Have no fear. Do not write to me
until you hear from me again. Believe me, faithfully yours,

   "Edward Layton."


Thus it was that he endeavored to keep from the woman he loved the true
knowledge of the peril in which he stood. To save her good name, he was
ready to go cheerfully to his death.



V.


I rose early this morning in the expectation of a busy day. Dr.
Daincourt called on Saturday evening, as I had expected, and narrated
to me the result of his inquiries respecting Mabel Rutland's jewellery.
Among it there was a ring set with turquoises and diamonds which had
been given to her by her mother, and which she wore constantly. Dr.
Daincourt had received from Mrs. Rutland further instances of the
profound attachment which Mabel bore for her twin-brother.

"Deep as was her love," Mrs. Rutland had said, "for Mr. Layton, there
is in her love for her brother an element so absorbing that she would
not hesitate to make the most terrible sacrifices for his sake. My
poor Eustace! It is weeks since I saw him, and I have no idea where he
is. He is not altogether to blame, doctor he has been led away by bad
companions. Ah, when I think of him and Mabel as little children, and
see them, as I often do, playing their innocent games together--when
I think of the exquisite joy we drew from them, and of the heavenly
happiness they were to us, it seems to me that I must be under the
influence of some horrible dream, that things have changed so!"

At half-past nine o'clock one of my confidential agents, Fowler by
name, made his appearance.

"Found, sir," was the first thing he said to me.

"Who?" I quickly asked.

"Ida White. Living at Brixton. The drawing-rooms. Quite a swell in her
way, sir."

"Is she living alone?"

"So far as we can make out. There are two men now on the watch, one to
relieve the other."

"And Mr. Eustace Rutland?" I asked.

"Haven't got track of him yet, sir. The week is rather against us."

"What do you mean by that?"

"Why, sir, you don't forget that it is Derby week, do you? I suppose
you backed one, but I can give you the straight tip if you want it."

"I backed Paradox for a couple of sovereigns," I said. (Where is the
man who does not take an interest in the Derby?)

"Not in it, sir. There is only one horse will win, and that is Melton."

"But," I said, coming back to the all-engrossing subject I was engaged
upon, "what difference will the Derby week make to you?"

"Well, you see, sir, London is so full. There is too much rushing about
for calm, steady work. In such a task as ours a man wants a double set
of eyes this week. Suppose my lady takes it into her head to go to the
Derby? It will be all a job not to lose sight of her."

"What lady do you refer to?"

"Ida White, to be sure. She's a bit of a blood, sir, and the result of
the Derby may mean a lot to her."

"Does she bet, then?"

"There is not much doubt of that, sir."

"How did you discover it?"

"Oh, easily enough. We have ways of our own. Why, sir, when I found
out last night where she lives, what did I do an hour afterwards but
present myself to the landlady of the house and ask her whether she
could let me have a room for a week or two? I didn't tell you that
there was a bill in her window, 'A Bedroom to Let to a Single Young
Man.' Well, if I ain't a single young man, what is that to do with
anybody--except my wife? I'm a soft-spoken chap when I like, and
before the landlady and me are together five minutes I'm hand-and-glove
with, her, and already a bit of a favorite. So I take her room and
sleep there last night, and the first thing this morning down-stairs I
am at the street door when the postman comes with the letters. Well,
sir, would you believe it, he delivers five letters, and every one of
them for Miss Ida White? I, opening the door for the postman, take the
letters from him, and hand them one by one to the landlady, who comes
puffing and panting up from the basement she weighs fourteen stone if
she weighs an ounce. 'Miss Ida White,' says I, giving her the first
letter. 'Miss Ida White,' says I, giving her the second letter. 'Miss
Ida White,' says I, giving her the other three, one by one. 'Why, it is
quite a correspondence!' All these letters are from Boulogne, sir, from
betting firms. I know them by their outsides; I believe I should know
them by the smell. Then, sir, there's something else. My lady is fond
of newspapers. What kind of newspapers? Why, the sporting ones, to be
sure. The _Sportsman_, _Sporting Life_, _Sporting Times_, _Referee_,
and the like. Put this and that together, and what do you make of it,
sir?"

"You are progressing, Fowler," I said.

"Yes, sir, we're moving. The landlady, bless her heart, she doesn't
suspect what the letters from Boulogne are, but in less than a brace of
shakes I worm out of her that Miss Ida White has received any number of
them since she came to live in the house."

"Have you an idea what horse she has backed?"

"I have an idea that she has backed half a dozen, and that neither of
the favorites is among them. When a woman bets, she wants fifty to one
as a rule, and as a rule she gets it, and has to part."

I debated a moment or two, and then I showed Fowler one of the
envelopes addressed by Eustace Rutland to his sister.

"Are you certain that none of the envelopes you saw this morning were
addressed in this handwriting?"

"Quite certain, sir."

"I should like to see the house that Miss Ida White lives in, Fowler."

"Nothing easier but I shouldn't go as I am, if I were you."

"Why not?"

"Well, you see, she had a pretty long examination in court at the
Layton trial, and you were there all the time. She has sharp eyes in
her head, has Miss Ida White, and she might recognize you, and smell a
rat."

"You are right. I had better not go."

"I don't see why you shouldn't, if you let me fix you up."

"Fix me up?"

"Yes, sir."

He took from his pocket a small box of paints, and two or three sets of
wigs and whiskers and mustaches.

"I always travel with them, sir. I can make myself into another man
in five minutes or so, and as for a change of clothes, any handy
cheap-clothes shop will serve my turn. Put on these sandy whiskers and
mustaches--always hide your mouth, sir--and this sandy wig, and let me
touch you up a bit, and your own mother wouldn't know you."

I doubted whether she would when I looked at myself in the glass after
carrying out Fowler's instructions, and in less than a quarter of an
hour we were riding in a four-wheeled cab to Brixton. We alighted
within a couple of hundred yards of Miss Ida White's lodgings, and
Fowler took me boldly into the house, requesting me on the way thither
to try and discover the men working under him who were keeping watch
upon the lady's-maid's movements. To his gratification, I failed to
discover them.

"Then you didn't see me give the office to them?" he asked.

"No," I replied.

"I did, though, under your very nose. That is a guarantee to you, sir,
that the thing is being neatly done. Miss White is in the house. If she
were not, my men wouldn't be in the street. Did you hear the snapping
of a lock down-stairs?"

"No."

We were sitting at the window of Fowler's room, which was situated on
the second floor. It was the front room, and we could therefore see
into the street.

"It was the key turning in my lady's room. She is going out. There's
the street door slamming. You heard that, of course?"

"Yes, I heard that."

"And there is Miss Ida White crossing the road to the opposite side of
the way, and there, sir, are my men following her, without her having
the slightest suspicion that she is being tracked."

My sight is strong, and I had a clear view of Ida White. She was
stylishly dressed, and was certainly good-looking.

"It is my opinion," said Fowler, "that she feathered her nest when she
was in Mrs. Layton's service but I don't care how much money she may
have saved or filched, if she goes on betting on horses the book-makers
will have every penny of it."

There was nothing more to be done, and feeling somewhat ill at ease in
my disguise, I prepared to leave.

"I will see you out of the street, sir," said Fowler. "It happens often
enough that watchers are watched, without their being aware of it."

Before I bade Fowler good-day I impressed upon him that no money was to
be spared in the business had intrusted to him, and that he had better
engage two or three more men, to be ready for any emergency that might
occur. He promised to do so, and I made my way home.



VI.

THE DAY AFTER THE DERBY.


Before commencing an account of what has been done, and what
discovered, I cannot refrain from writing one sentence. Success has
crowned our efforts.

There is no need here to minutely describe our proceedings on Monday
and Tuesday. Sufficient to say that I was in constant communication
with Fowler--who As a most trustworthy fellow, and shrewd to the tips
of his nails--and that I had occasion on Tuesday to again assume my
disguise. On Tuesday night I saw Dr. Daincourt, and was glad to learn
from him that there was an improvement in Miss Rutland's condition.

"Due," he observed, "in a great measure to certain assurances I
imparted to her in a voice so distinct and cheerful as to impress
itself upon her fevered imagination."

"That is good news," I said. "You are administering what she
requires--medicine for the mind."

I come now at once to the account of one of the most exciting days--the
Derby Day of 1885--I have ever passed through. Fowler was in my house
at seven o'clock in the morning, and brought with him a suit of clothes
which he wished me to wear. He had forewarned me that he intended to
make a change in his own appearance, and I was therefore not surprised
when he presented himself in the guise of a well-to-do farmer who had
come to London to see the Derby.

"Miss White is going, sir," he said, "and we are going, too. I
have been living in the house with her these last two days, and it
is important that she should not recognize me. I have a piece of
satisfactory information for you. It is an even bet that before this
day is out I bring you face to face with Mr. Eustace Rutland."

"If you do," said I, "you will lose nothing by it. Bring me into the
same room as that young man, and I will wring from him what I desire to
know."

"Don't get excited, sir," said Fowler. "Keep cool. You have had a good
night's rest, I hope?"

"Yes, I slept well."

"That's right. Make a hearty breakfast, as I am going to do. We shall
need all our strength. It is going to be a heavy day for us."

"Where does Ida White start from?" I asked.

"I can't tell you, sir. I pumped the landlady of the house, but she
knew nothing except that a new bonnet had arrived for our lady-bird.
Miss White is as close as wax, but that new bonnet means the Derby, if
it means anything. She can't very well start before nine o'clock, and
we shall be on the watch for her not later than half-past eight. I have
six men engaged in the affair, sir. It will cost something."

"Never mind the cost," I said "it is the last thing to be considered."

"That is the way to work to success. Many a ship is spoiled for a
ha'porth of tar. We shall come out of this triumphant, or my name is
not Fowler."

His confident, hopeful manner inspired me with confidence, and after
partaking of a substantial breakfast we both set out for Brixton.
Fowler had hired a cab by the hour, with a promise of double fare to
the driver, to whom he gave explicit instructions. We did not enter
the house; we lingered at the corner of a street at some distance from
it, and at twenty minutes to ten Miss Ida White closed the street door
behind her. Secret signals passed between Fowler and his men, and we
followed the lady's-maid, the cab which Fowler had engaged crawling in
our rear without attracting attention. Miss White sauntered on until
she came to a cab-stand, and entering a cab, was driven away. We were
after her like a shot. Two other cabs started at the same time, and I
learned from Fowler that they were hired by his men.

"Don't think I have drawn off all my forces, sir," he said. "Although
Miss White has left the house, there are two men on watch, who will
remain there the whole of the day. She has started early. It will make
it all the easier for us."

Miss White's cab stopped at Victoria Station, and we stopped also.

"She's a smart-looking woman, sir," whispered Fowler to me.

"She has a splendid complexion," I remarked.

"Put on, sir," said Fowler, smiling.--"put on. Leave a lady's-maid
alone to learn the tricks of the face."

Ida White purchased a first-class ticket for Epsom Downs, and we did
the same. Had I followed my own judgment I should have avoided the
carriage in which Miss White travelled, but Fowler pushed me in before
him, and got in afterwards, and being under his command, I did not
hesitate. He had purchased a number of newspapers, and shortly after we
started he surprised me by opening a conversation with a stranger. He
spoke with a Lancashire accent, and I should have been deceived by his
voice had he not been sitting by my side. The subject, of course, was
the Derby, and he appeared to be eager to obtain information as to the
merits and chances of the various runners.

Meanwhile, Miss White, who had also purchased every sporting paper
she saw, had taken from her pocket a Racing Guide, in which the
performances of the horses were recorded. She studied this Guide with
great seriousness, and was continually consulting the newspapers to
ascertain how far the opinions of the sporting prophets agreed with
the information of the authority with which she had provided herself.
"So," thought I, "this young woman, whose whole soul seems wrapped up
in racing matters, is the same young woman who in court declared that
she hated races and betting men." Before we were half an hour on our
journey I felt perfectly at ease in her presence. It was clear that she
considered herself safe, and among strangers. The conversation between
Fowler and the gentleman became more animated; others joined in, and I
observed that Miss White's attention was attracted to their utterances,
Every now and then she made a memorandum in a small metallic book,
and before we arrived at Epsom Downs she allowed herself to be drawn
into conversation, and freely expressed her opinions upon the horses
that were to run for the blue ribbon of the turf. I did not venture to
address her, but Fowler had no fear, and extracted from her the names
of the horses she believed to have the best chances. He slapped his
thigh, and declared that he should back them.

We alighted at Epsom Downs, and rode to the race-course. The great
rush of the day had not yet set in, but although the Grand Stand was
scarcely a third part filled, there were already many there who had
taken up a favorable position from which to see the principal race of
the day. Fowler improved upon his acquaintance with Miss White, and I
obeyed the instructions he managed to convey to me not to stick too
close to him. I did not lose sight of him, however, and presently he
came and said to me, in an undertone,

"It's all right, sir; I'm making headway. I've told her where I come
from in Lancashire, and that I am a single man with a goodish bit of
property which has just fallen to me through the death of my father.
I've given her my card--I had some printed yesterday in case they might
be wanted. We are going up-stairs to have a bit of luncheon before the
races commence."

Up-stairs we went to the luncheon-room, where Fowler called for a
bottle of dry champagne, in which we drank good-luck to each other. It
was only by great exertions that we managed, after lunch, to squeeze
ourselves into the Grand Stand. The crush was terrific up the narrow
stairs, and Miss Ida White would have fared badly had it not been for
Fowler's gallant attentions.

I have no intention to describe the race. It presented all the usual
features of a Derby, to which I paid but little heed, my attention
being concentrated upon Miss Ida White. She was greatly excited. There
were some book-makers on the Grand Stand shouting out the odds, and she
must have invested at least a dozen sovereigns on different horses, the
odds against which ranged from 40 to 60 to 1.

The race was over. Melton was hailed the winner. I knew that Miss White
had not backed Melton for a shilling, and I watched the effect the
result of the race had upon her. Her lips quivered, her eyes glared
furiously about. "Ida is an angel, is she?" thought I. "Ah! not much of
the angel there."

A stampede commenced to the lower ground. The Grand Stand was half
empty. Then it was that I saw a man who had just come up give a secret
look of intelligence to Fowler, after which he strolled a few paces
away, and stood with his back towards Miss White. Fowler joined him
with a negligent air, and very soon returned.

"I am very sorry you lost," he said to Miss White, "and quite as sorry
that I must wish you good-by."

He took her aside, and had a brief conversation with her, in the course
of which he slipped something into her palm, upon which her fingers
instantly closed. Shaking hands with her, he beckoned to me, and we
left the Grand Stand.

"What did you give her?" I asked.

"Only a card," he said, "with an address in London, to which she
could write to me if she felt inclined. I told her that I had never
seen a lady I admired so much, and that I hoped she would give me the
opportunity of becoming friends with her. In an honorable way--oh,
quite in an honorable way!" he added, with a laugh.

"And what are you leaving her for now?" I inquired.

"Because I know where Mr. Eustace Rutland is to be found," he replied.
"It will take two or three hours to get to the place, and I suppose it
is best to lose no time."

"Decidedly the best," I said "but how about Ida White?"

"She is safe enough. My men are all around her. She won't be left
for an instant, wherever she may go. The gentleman I entered into
conversation with in the train was one of my fellows. You are a great
lawyer, sir, but I think I could teach you something."

"I have no doubt you could. Where does Eustace Rutland live?"

"In Croydon, at some distance from the station."

We did not reach Croydon until past six o'clock, and it was nearly
another hour before we arrived at the address which Fowler had received.

"That is the house, sir," he said, pointing to it. "It doesn't look
very flourishing."

It was one of a terrace of eight sad-looking tenements, two stories in
height, and evidently occupied by people in a humble station of life.

"Before we go in, sir," said Fowler, "I must put you in possession
of the information I have gained. Mr. Eustace Rutland does not live
there"--I started--"but Mr. Fenwick does. The young gentleman has
thought fit to change his name that is suspicious. He has lived there
the last two weeks, having come probably from some better-known
locality, the whereabouts of which I shall learn by-and-by. When I say
he _came_ from some better-known locality I am not quite exact it will
be more correct to say that he was _brought_ from some better-known
locality. He was very ill, scarcely able to walk, and is still very
weak, I am given to understand. Now, sir, what do you propose to do?
Do you wish me to go in with you, or will you see this young gentleman
alone, without witnesses?"

"You are the soul of discretion, Fowler," I said, "and of shrewdness.
I must see the young gentleman alone, and without witnesses. Meanwhile
you can remain in the house, ready at my call, if I should require you.
Keep all strangers from the room while I am closeted with him."

I knocked at the door, and inquired of the woman who opened it for Mr.
Fenwick. She asked me what I wanted, and who Mr. Fenwick was.

"Mr. Fenwick lodges here," I said. "I am a friend of his, and I wish to
see him."

"How do you know he lodges here?" asked the woman.

"Simply," replied Fowler, "because we happen to have received a letter
from him with this address on it. What's your little game, eh, that you
want to deny him to us?"

As he spoke he pushed his way into the passage, and I followed. The
woman looked helplessly at us, and when Fowler said, with forefinger
uplifted warningly, "Take care what you are about," she replied, "I
don't know what to do; I am only following out my instructions."

"Your instructions," said Fowler, "were not to prevent Mr. Fenwick's
friends from seeing him."

"I was told to admit no one," the woman said.

"And pray who told you?" demanded Fowler. "The lady?"

"Yes, sir," said the woman. "Miss Porter."

"Oh, Miss Porter," exclaimed Fowler. "A friend of ours also.
Dark-skinned. Black hair. Black eyes. Red lips. White hands. Rather
slim. About five foot four."

"Yes, sir," said the woman.

Fowler had given a pretty faithful description of Miss Ida White.

"Well, then," said Fowler, whose ready wit compelled my admiration,
"there is no occasion to announce us to Mr. Fenwick. Show this
gentleman the room, and while they're chatting together I will have a
little chat with you."

"It is on the first floor," said the woman.

"Of course it is," said Fowler; "the first floor front, the room with
the blind pulled down. Do you think I don't know it? How is the young
gentleman?"

"Not at all well, sir."

I heard this reply as I ascended the stairs, in compliance with a
motion of Fowler's head. When I arrived at the door of the room
occupied by Fenwick, otherwise Eustace Rutland, I did not knock, but I
turned the handle and entered. A young gentleman who had been lying on
the sofa jumped up upon my entrance, and cried,

"Who are you? What do you want?"

I closed the door, and turned the key in the lock.

"What do you do that for?" he exclaimed.

"You will very soon know," I replied. "I am here for the purpose of
having a few minutes' conversation with Mr.--shall I say Fenwick?"

"It is my name."

"If I did not come as a friend I should dispute it, and even as a
friend I shall venture to dispute it. Your proper name is Eustace
Rutland."

He fell back upon the sofa, white and trembling.

"What do you mean? Why are you here?" he gasped.

"I will tell you," I said. "The time for evasion and concealment is
past. Your sister--"

"My sister!" interrupted Eustace. "I do not understand you."

"You do understand me. You have a sister--a twin-sister--whose name is
Mabel. She lies at the point of death, and you have brought her to it."

He covered his face with his hands, and I judged intuitively that there
sat before me a young man who, weak-minded and easily led for evil as
he might be, was not devoid of the true instincts of affection.

"Did you know of her condition?" I asked.

"No," he replied, in a trembling voice. "Is it true? Is it true?"

"It is unhappily true, and it may be that it lies in your power to
rescue from the grave the innocent young girl who has devoted her life
and happiness to you."

"My God! my God!"

"I will not deceive you. Such happiness cannot come to pass if you are
guilty."

"I am not guilty!" he cried, starting to his feet. "God knows I am not
guilty!"

"Swear it," I exclaimed, sternly.

"By all my hopes of happiness," he exclaimed, falling upon his
knees--"by my dear Mabel's life, by my dear mother's life--I swear that
I am innocent!"

He was grovelling on the floor, and 1 assisted him to rise.

"And being not guilty," I said, solemnly, "you were content to remain
in hiding while another man was accused of the crime which neither he
nor you committed! And being not guilty, you would have waited until he
was done to death before you emerged once more into the light of day!
I believe you when you say you did not know of your sister's peril,
but you knew of the peril in which Edward Layton stood. Don't deny it.
Remember, the time of evasion has passed."

"Yes," he murmured, "I knew it."

"Why did you not come forward," I said, indignantly, rushing as if by
an inspiration of reasoning to the truth, "to affirm that you and Ida
White were in Prevost's Restaurant, in the very room in which Edward
Layton and your sister entered, on the night of the 25th of March?
Why did you not come forward to affirm that it was you who--by a
devilish prompting--took Edward Layton's ulster, unknown to him, from
the peg upon which it was hanging, and went out with your paramour to
the carriage in which he and your sister had arrived? Answer me. Why
did you not do this, to prevent a noble and innocent man from being
condemned for a murder which he did not commit?"

"It was no murder!" cried Eustace. "It was no murder! She died by her
own hand!"

"She died by her own hand!" I echoed, bewildered by this sudden turn in
the complexion of the case.

"Yes," said Eustace, "by her own hand. Upon the table by her bedside
there was written evidence of it."

"Which you removed!" I cried.

"No, not I, not. I! Of which _she_ took possession!"

"Speak plainly. Whom do you mean by she--Ida White?"

"Yes."

I paused. Truth to tell, I was overwhelmed by these disclosures.

"Bear this steadfastly in mind," I said, presently, in a calm, judicial
tone. "You are in the presence of a man who has sworn to rescue the
innocent. You are in the presence of a man who has sworn to bring the
guilty to justice. Upon me depends your fate. I can save or destroy
you. If by a hair's-breadth of duplicity and evasion you attempt to
deceive me, your destruction is certain. This is the turning-point of
your life. Upon your truthfulness rests your fate. Open your heart to
me, not as to your enemy, but as to your friend, and relate to me,
without equivocation, the true story of your life, from the time you
commenced to plunge into dissipation and disgrace."

Awed and conscience-stricken, he told me the story. In the course of
his narration I was compelled frequently to prompt and encourage him,
but that, in the result, it was truthfully told I have not a shadow of
doubt.

His career at college ended, he came to London. There he made the
acquaintance of Edward Layton's father, a man who, although well on in
years, was as weak-minded as he was himself. They entered into a kind
of partnership, in which, no doubt, the elder man, now in his grave,
was the leader and prompter. From Eustace's description of Edward
Layton's father I recognized a man weak-minded as Eustace himself was,
and whose inherent honor and honesty were warped by his fatal passion
for gambling. Old Mr. Layton, for a long time, kept his infatuation
from the knowledge of his son, and it was not until he was actually
involved in crime and disgrace that Edward became aware of it. Long
before this Edward had, through his engagement with Mabel Rutland,
been employed in the helpless task of endeavoring to save her beloved
brother, but when the knowledge of his own father's disgrace was forced
upon him, he knew that all hope of Mabel's father consenting to his
marriage was irretrievably gone. It was not only that the young and the
old man had lost money in betting--it was that they had actually been
guilty of forging bills, which Mr. Beach, the father of the woman whom
Edward Layton afterwards married, held in his possession. It was this
that first took Edward Layton to Mr. Beach's house. Mabel had implored
him to save her darling brother, against whom Mr. Beach had threatened
to take criminal proceedings. I do not at this moment know whether
Edward Layton had revealed to Mabel the disgrace which hung also above
his father but that is immaterial. Agnes Beach, Mr. Beach's only child,
saw and fell in love with Edward Layton, and her father, disreputable
as he was, being devoted to his daughter, was guided by her in all that
subsequently transpired. The bills he held he determinedly refused to
part with, unless Edward Layton married his child.

In the terrible position in which he was placed, knowing that Mabel
Rutland was lost to him forever--knowing how deeply and devotedly she
loved her brother Eustace--knowing the disgrace which hung over his
own name, he saw no other way to prevent utter ruin than to enter into
this fatal engagement, and to marry a woman whom he did not love. But,
with a full consciousness of the disreputable connection he was about
to form, he laid no pressing injunction upon his father to recognize
the unhappy union; and, indeed, old Mr. Layton, aware that he was in
Mr. Beach's power, was by no means desirous to meet him. Love lost,
honor lost, the sword hanging over his head, Edward Layton submitted
to the sacrifice. There was no duplicity on his part. Agnes Beach knew
full well that he did not love her. He received, as he believed, the
whole of the forged bills which Mr. Beach held, and it was not until
some time after his marriage that he discovered that three of these
fatal acceptances had been withheld from him. At the time he made this
discovery he was leading a most unhappy life with his wife, and on more
than one occasion she taunted him with the power she held over him.

It was shortly after the marriage that weak-minded Eustace made the
acquaintance of Ida White. She was an attractive woman, well versed in
the wiles of her sex, and she played upon him and entangled him to such
an extent that there was no escape for him. It is unnecessary here to
enter into the details of this connection. It is sufficient to say that
Ida White held Eustace Rutland completely in her power, with a firm
conviction that if she could induce him to marry her, she could, after
the marriage, obtain the forgiveness of Eustace's father--which would
insure her a life of ease and luxury. But there was still a certain
firmness in the young man.

"Marry me," she said.

"I will marry you," Eustace replied, "when I get back the forged
acceptances."

Where were they? In Mrs. Layton's possession.

Close as was the intimacy which existed between the unhappy lady
and her maid, Mrs. Layton retained so jealous a possession of these
incriminating documents that Ida White was not able to lay her hands
upon them. In the company of Eustace Rutland she was supping in
Prevost's Restaurant on the night of the 25th of March. She had slipped
away from Mrs. Layton's house, as she had often done before, to meet
her young and foolish lover. She saw her master and Mabel enter the
room, and observed Layton taking off his ulster. Then the idea suddenly
entered her head that Eustace and she should personate her master
and the young lady--with a full knowledge how deeply those two were
compromised by their being together and arrive home before them, by
which time, doubtless, Mrs. Layton would be asleep. She knew that under
her pillow Mrs. Layton kept the documents which Eustace frantically
desired to obtain, and the possession of which would make her, Ida
White, his wife. If Mrs. Layton awoke and resisted while the forged
bills were being abstracted, Eustace would be at hand to use force, if
necessary; and it was principally from the wish to compromise her lover
so deeply that he would not dare to break his promise to marry her that
she determined to put her idea into execution. She knew that ordinarily
Edward Layton kept the latch-key of the street door in the pocket of
his ulster. She disclosed the scheme to Eustace, and threatened him
with exposure if he did not do as she desired. It was she who took the
ulster from the wall of the restaurant, and it was she who, secretly
and expeditiously, assisted Eustace to put it on; then they stole out
together and entered the carriage. Before acquainting Eustace with her
design she had ascertained that Edward Layton's carriage was waiting
for him and for Mabel. She trusted to her own resources to keep her
master out of his house after she and Eustace had entered it.

Here a word is necessary as to the true meaning of Edward Layton's
proceedings during the day and night of the 25th of March. Abandoned
as were the hopes in which he and Mabel had once fondly indulged, she
still relied upon his efforts to save her brother from harm. Eustace
had lost heavily upon certain races. He had made a despairing appeal
to her, and she called upon Layton to assist the erring lad. It was in
the endeavor to discover Eustace that Edward Layton had driven from
place to place to obtain from him the information necessary to rescue
him from his peril. Mabel had, by letter, engaged to meet Edward Layton
in Bloomsbury Square at ten o'clock on the night of that day, in order
that he might relieve her anxiety with respect to her brother. How they
met, and what transpired after they met, have been already sufficiently
detailed.

Ida White's man[oe]uvres were successful up to a certain point. She
and Eustace entered the carriage, were driven home, and, unsuspected,
obtained entrance into the house. The correspondence between Eustace
and Mabel had been for some time conducted through the medium of the
system of the Nine of Hearts, and it was either by an oversight or by
accident that Eustace, during the drive from Prevost's Restaurant to
Edward Layton's house, took from his own pocket one of these cards and
let it drop into the pocket of the ulster. But when they were safely in
Layton's house, and crept stealthily and noiselessly into Mrs. Layton's
bedroom, they made the horrible discovery that Mrs. Layton, in a moment
of frenzy, had emptied the bottle of poisonous narcotics, and had by
her own will destroyed herself. The proof was at her bedside: When she
had swallowed the fatal pills, the horror of the deed overwhelmed her.
She summoned up sufficient strength to rise in her bed, to take paper
and the pen from the inkstand, and before the death-agony commenced in
her sleep, to write upon that paper the confession which fixed upon her
the crime of suicide.

Having reached this point of the strange story, I demanded to know from
Eustace Rutland what had become of that confession.

"Ida took possession of it," he said, "and I have not seen it from that
moment to this."

"Why did you not come forward and make this public?" I cried.

"Because," was his reply, "Ida told me that, if what we had done became
known, nothing could save us from the hangman."

"Did she obtain possession of the forged acceptances?"

"Yes."

"How was it that the tumbler from which the fatal draught was taken was
on the mantle-shelf?"

"Ida placed it there."

It was enough. The entire facts of this mysterious case were clear to
me. I required nothing more to prove Edward Layton's innocence than the
possession of the document written almost in her death-throes by his
unhappy wife.

I unlocked the door and called up Fowler. Briefly and swiftly I told
him what was necessary, and said it was not at all improbable that this
document was in Ida White's lodgings at Brixton; and I had scarcely
uttered the words before a rat-tat-tat came at the street door.

"It is she!" cried Eustace.

"Who?" I asked, in great excitement.

"Ida," he replied.

"It serves our turn exactly, sir," muttered Fowler to me, and then
addressing Eustace, he said, "Is that your bedroom?" pointing to a
communicating door.

"We will go in there. Let the lady come up."

We disappeared, leaving the communicating door partially open, and the
next minute I heard Ida White's voice.

"Cursed luck!" she cried. "I've lost eighty-five pounds to-day. I tell
you what it is, Eustace--if we can't wheedle your old governor into
forgiving us after we are married, we shall have to turn book-makers
ourselves. You shall take the bets, and I will do the clerking. It will
be a novelty, and we shall make pots of money."

Eustace did not reply.

"Why don't you speak?" she continued. "Are you struck dumb?"

Then came Eustace's voice, like the cry of a despairing soul:

"You are a devil! Why have you driven me to this? I hate you, hate you,
hate you! You fiend, you have killed my sister!"

Fowler did not wait for me to act. He seized me by the arm, and pulled
me after him into the room.

"What!" screamed Ida "you two!"

"Yes," said Fowler--and in the midst of my own excitement I could not
avoid observing the expression of calm satisfaction on his face--"we
two."

"What are you here for?"

"For reasons, Ida White," replied Fowler, "which may or may not be
fatal to yourself. Follow what I am about to say. We have here a
confession from this young gentleman which, if true--that is, if it can
be proved by documentary evidence--will bring undoubted disgrace upon
you, but neither death by the hangman's hands nor penal servitude for
life."

She recoiled, and echoed,

"Death! Penal servitude for life!"

"It is exactly as I have said. Death by the hangman's hands or penal
servitude for life. All is known. Your theft of the ulster at Prevost's
Restaurant, and everything else. Your liberty at this moment rests upon
a written document. If it never existed, or if you have destroyed it,
you are doomed. If it exists, you are saved."

"You are a madman!" she cried, but her face was blanched, and her
figure expressed the most abject terror.

"I am an officer of the law," said Fowler. "Now do you understand? If
the confession written by Mrs. Edward Layton, and which, after her
death, you took from the table by her bedside, is in existence, you
have nothing to fear. If it is not, you are a lost woman. No words, no
parleying! It is life or death for you! The moment has come. Decide.
Which way?"

Utterly overpowered, Ida White replied, with hands tremblingly raised,
as if for mercy,

"I have the paper."

"Where?"

Her hands wandered to her pocket, and she took a purse from it.

"Here!"

"There is something else, lady-bird."

"What?"

"The papers you stole from underneath your mistress's pillow. Ah!
you have those also! Hand them over. Thank you, lady-bird. Very
satisfactory --very satisfactory indeed. A happy termination to a most
remarkable case!"



VII.

"August 27, 1885.

"Dear Mr. Laing, My intermediate letters will have placed you in
possession of all that has occurred. Edward Layton is released with
honor, and it has been the subject of hundreds of leading articles
that the obstinacy of one juryman, who refused to be guided by
circumstantial evidence, saved a noble young fellow from an unjust
death. A great blow has been struck against the jury system. Eleven men
wrong, and one man right!--people could hardly believe it. But it was
so in this instance, and I have no doubt it has been so in others. You
being now a married man, domestically happy and contented, the news I
have to impart will give you pleasure. Edward Layton is in Switzerland.
He has gone upon a long summer and autumn tour. Alone? No. Mabel
Rutland, restored to health, is with him. Well, but that is not enough?
I take a satisfaction in prolonging the interest. I could almost fancy
myself a novelist. Mr. and Mrs. Rutland are also of the company, and it
is Mr. Rutland himself who invited Edward Layton to travel with them.
In less than a year from this date the lovers will be united, and faith
and self-sacrifice will be rewarded. Mr. James Rutland, Mabel's uncle,
to whose obstinacy Edward Layton undoubtedly owes his life, and before
whose obstinacy Justice should bow, is also travelling with them. No
one else? Yes. Mabel's brother, Eustace, repentant, humbled, reformed.

"I have had painted for me a very simple picture on a large canvas. It
is the Nine of Hearts, which I intend shall always occupy the place
of honor in my house. It cannot fail to attract attention, and when
inquiries are made about it I shall have a story to tell.

"With a full appreciation of your rare generosity, I remain, dear sir,

"Yours faithfully,

"Horace Bainbridge."



THE END.





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