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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (Oct. 8, 1905)
H l n rv
BY TON CALLOW
Y myiitfrlf.ii! friend, Enoch Voyce, find, aa
T Ft 1 you have nlieady b t. made aware. Intro
vf I duoed mo to Scotland Yard, and although In
JL V JtV 1 my previous expcrlcn e with Inspector Clair
I had nut qultp wn up to that astute of
ficer's cxk i tations, l.c appeared still to have
faith In me. I have in doubt that you will
remember that extrai rdlnury afTalr at High-
bridge 'pa, nnd of ho'V Mrs. Fentley recovered her tin k
luoe. 1 im cl not go Into It here. A!. hough, as I say, I hud
not really been of assl'tance to I.ispcrtnr Clair on that
iri ;ision. ' t tlii" time ci.me hm h" solicit me out again;
iiml Ihnt. too, for work of a similar kind.
1 was doing; some retouching I i my studio one morn
li.g, Win n toe Inspcc' lr came In, tccompanlcd by Knoch
i.yrp. Hp bad evld-ntly sought out the old man first.
After that preliminary delay biii" that talk conecrning
ordinary matters, lMth of viileh seemed essential to some
nun, the inspector approached tin- object of his visit. And
once an. iln It happened that he had been sent for from the
" It may prove to lie only n question of finger marks,
Mr. Rattenbury," he began, "or It may prove to be something-
more. I can't exactly say at the moment, but I
certainly want your help. It a goldish way, but 1 don't
suppose you mind thut."
I eagerly assured him that I w it. prepared to go nny
where, and begged th.it he would riv me some Idea of
what the case was on ' his m casion.
" it's a little matter of arson,' said Inspector Chkir,
looking frnwnlngly into the fire before which he sat.
" Figure to yourself a highly respectable town, of highly
respectable Inhabitants: sort of place where every one
goes to bed nt ten or half past, and where a concert or
a mild and Innocent 'bop' Is tin greater relaxation
I nown. The vicar dines with the banker; crime Is prac
tically unknown, and nt the usslzi s white gloves nro as
common as constables.
" There you have, I think, a pretty accurate description
of Drlmfntd Market, In the comity f Shropshire."
" And the arson?" asked Voyve. hiking at him quls
zingly. " Is as mysterious as It Is frequent." replied the In
spector, pursing up his lips. "Tl'.'v institution or that Is
found to be ablaze; a somewhat ol 1-fashloned fire engine
turns out. too late to Ktve It. A nlrht or two later a farm
outside the town Is set alight in three or four places.
There's no hope for 'hat at all. This person or that has
seen the lm ndlary; accounts difTci. and yet sc. in to point
to one particular man. In a word the thing has become
so serious and so nvmy properties have been attacked
that it becomes vitally necessary something should bo
done. Now you know the reason why I want you to go
with me to Hrlmford Market, in tlv county of Shropshire.
It should prove to tie .in easy matter," added the Inspector,
pulling thoughtfully -it bis beard " a very easy matter
We traveled down to Hrlmford Market tiint day, and
I think It was the dullest, most hlrl ly respectable looking
town I have ever encountered.
It wag as clean ns the proverbial new pin, and the
houses faced on to the broad strep's, with bright, wink
ing brass knockers and brass plates and spotless door
steps; most of them had green si. utters to the windows,
turned back by day against the walls. There was a market
cross, dating back thre or four bundled years, and there
was a town hall that lad been renovated, and there was
p public library that was too new to need renovating; and
there was, of cpurse, a bank.
I mention the bank particularly, because It concerns
this story. It was a square buildl"? standing in the cen
ter of the town, and when not referred to simply as " the
bank," was spoken of by strangers as " Ortiiman's bank."
When we arrived, the bank was n'most the first place to
which we were introduced, because its proprietor a cer
tain Mr. Orthman was the man most keenly Interested
Is the mysterious fires which had been taking place. Me
appeared to be rather i shining llgl t III the place, and was,
indeed, at that time its mayor.
He was, I think, one of the most remarkable looking
men I have ever seen. I should Imagine, especially having
n gard for his name, that be was oi remote foreign extrac
tion; In any case the type of face was a curious one. He
had a high, decidedly Intellectual 'ooking forehead, clone
cut profile, with a firm mouth and chin, dark hair, brushed
straight off the temples and foreheau and the brightest
eyes I have ever seen In a human face. They were re
markable eyes. In that they seemed literally to sparkle
and flash as the man spoke. Ther" was about them quite
a magnetic quality. For the rest, .ic looked the prosperous
citizen of a provincial town; was well dressed and well
mannered, and evidently used to d-aling with men. As he
was strongly Interested In the cases concerning which
Inspector Clair had ben summoned
" It Is a serious matter for us for the town of which
I am the chief magistrate," he said. " No property Is safe;
It. one case already the lives of Iw.i Innocent persons havo
been sacrificed. Our ti wn police eppear to be helpless.
No reward that we have offered has Induced any one to
come forward to give evidence. Yet that the cases are
the acts of an Incendiary Is perfectly clear."
I noticed one curious thing, while Mr. Nicholas Orth
man talked nis face worked exi ited'y and his eyes blazed,
quite In the manner of a man to whom this was a personal
offense. Nor was that the most remarkable thing. look
ing at him In the strong light In which he sat, I saw that
his face was a perfect network of lines nncj wrinkles, mak
ing him, on that nearer view, appear much older than I had
supposed hini to be. I have seen the face of an old person
with Just such lines a face the skin of which might have
In en, to my fancy, at least, ca pi lie of fitting a larger
tr.iiue than It covered. The thought occurred to me then,
lr looking at him; It was dismissed a moment later.
flulded by the chief constable of the town, we went to
the scene of the late t "outrage a school. Mr. Nicholas
Orthman, alike In his capacity us mayor and as a private
Individual who might some day suffer himself In like fash
Ion, accompanied us. I remember that the circumstances
were the more pathetic In that the two little children of
the caretaker Of the place had perished In the flames.
There had been no apportunlty fur getting them out, or
they had been forgotten In the eycltement. At this dis
tance of time 1 forget exactly widen was the reason.
Inspector Clair made various observations tooklng for
a footmark here, and cursing the stupidity of the local
police there, where something hai been disturbed; but I
i'i uld see that he was baffled. Moreover, there was but
small chance that any rhotogrnph o' ringer marks or foot
prints would be of use; a hundred hands had touched the
windows and the doorways; dozens of feet had wandered
over the soft earth round about the ruin of the school
house, and not one was distinguishable from another. The
only real evidence that we could g-.in at nil was that the
bend who fired the phi"e bad deliberately done so In three
different spots; the flames had been seen to break out In
t.iose three pluces at the same time
One witness was brought forward that broken, weep
ing creature, the car-taker of the school, whose little
children had been sacrificed. He was a big. burly man,
with honesty written nil over him. It would have been
slieer madness to sugg-Ht for a moment that this man had
j thing to do with the fire, but he w is able to throw some
I Klit upon the Identity of the ln ndinry.
lie had seen a man, with a cat drawn about his face,
and clad In an old and shabby overcoat, hanging about
n. ar the school. He had not liked the looks of the man and
had pointed him out .o his wife. Tile man had nothing
about him by which he could be ident Ifled at least, fa
i ially save a very remarkable pai of eyes blazing eyes,
wide open and staring. The face bail had. so far as t'.iey
could see, a swollen appearance and the Hps hanging
leoseU; altogether the face of a 'Madman. Neither the
man nor tils wife had ever
seen this suspicious char
acter about the town be
fore, and they knew most
people who lived In It.
More than that, the man
himself, on the ft'st alarm
In the dead watrlu s of the r
night, had looked out and '
had seen some one In a
cap and a shabby over-
coat running away. ',V
I obediently photo
graphed things I was told
to photograph, and then,
sadly enough, we cam
away from the place, ac
companied by Inspector
t lair and the mayor Mr. - t
Nicholas O'thman. The j? i
latter. In particular. v
seemed much upset. He K,
referred again and again
to the fires and to the ne
cessity for discovering,
if possible, the Identity
of the incendiary. Walk
ing thus down the High
treit of Brimford Mar
ket, we stopped naturally
enough before the bank, j
and there Mr. Orthman.
also quite naturally. ssked
us In. W went through
the outer office and Into
ills private room.
It was a bitterly cold
day. There was an east
wind blowing, I remcm
ber, and yet there was no I
fire in that room. The
grate was empty. It did
not appear to have had a
tire lighted in It for years.
Perhaps by our looks or
our actions we Innocently
betraytd what was In our
minds, for our host of
fend an explanation.
" I have a horror of fire
a dread of it," he said.
" it datis from the time
whin I was badly fright
ened by my clothing ,
catching fire as a child.
Fortunately," he added, f
witn a smile, " I am a
lonely man, and, there
fore, my particular crate
does not affect other peo
ple; but you will find no
in;, in my house. I clothe
myself warmly, but, that
is all. When, of course, I
say there are no fires I ex
cept the kitchen and the
servants' quarters; but I
will not have them about
I noticed that subject
affected him so much that
he was trembling;
his white hands flut
tered nervously. I saw,
too, that Knoch Voyce
was watciiing h I m
curiously and evidently
forming some opinion re.
garding him. We talked
of various matters for
some half an hour, and
Inspector Clair ponder
ously laid down the law
regarding arson and its
penalties. Then we left.
Knoch and I, with the In
spector, were staying at a
comfortable hotel not 2uo
yards from the bank.
It must have been be
tween 2 and 3 o'clock In
the morning that I awak
ened with the knowl
edge that a hand had
me in its grip mid was gently shaking my shoulder. I
started up to tind myelf face to fuce with Enoch Voyte.
He was fully dressed, and he h-di a lighted candle in
" Get up, Rattenbury." he salu ' and dress yourself.
There's a great light In the sky outside the town."
H did not take me t'.ve minutes to get into my clothes
and to find myself standing In li e deserted and silent
High street with Enoch Voyce outside the Inn. Only then
did I remember the ;ni-pector, and brenthed his name to
my companion. Enoch uttered a aintemptuous exclama
tion and suggested that the Inspector would be better for
a full night's rest. Then we set off at a great rate, guided
always by thnt glare In the distance.
Our way took us naturally past the bank. So far as
we could tell the alarm had not yet been given and the
town was ns silent as a graveyard. But In the bank, as
we hurried past, we iaw a light burning In a downstairs
room. Not in the bank Itself, b3 It understood, but In
the house adjoining, which formed part of the building
and which was, In reality, the private residence of Nich
Enoch Voyce stopped and caught my arm.
" We'll go no farther," he whispered. " We'll wait
I started a remonstrance, but ihe old man took no
notice of me. I own I was considerably surprised when he
crossed the road and tang the belt of the house. After a
moment or two a neat man servant, dressed for nil the
world as though the time had been 0 or 10 at night In
stead of 3 o'clock In the morning, uncwered the summons.
I remembered to have leen the nrtn before, when we "aad
railed with Orthman at the bank, m our way back from
the fire at the schoolhouse.
In the most casual fashion, Enj.h Voyce said that he
wanted to see Mr. Orthman. The man hesitated and then
admitted that his mister was out, but would be back
shortly. There was no disguise about h's manner, nor did
he appear to think it strange that we should call at such
an hour. Enoch said that we wovld vail, aa the matter
v. as pressing, and we were shown again Into that room
into which Nicholas Orthman had himself usnered us.
There was one window In the room, giving on to the
blank darkness outside; there wers books and papers
about, and a writing table and some chairs and a couch.
There was u heavy bookcase standing against one wall
a deep, old fashioned thing, reaching from floor to celling.
I was still at a loss to understand what we werewalt
lng for, or why we had not proceeled straight to the fire;
but I knew enough about Enoch Voyco by that time to
guess that he bnd lighted upon sime clew, and that I
should presently tie enlightened myself. And sure nough,
even while we stood In the room in which the servant had
left us we heard suddenly a sound that seemed to lieat In
upon the stillness of 'he night.
A sound of running racing f.et that tore down be-
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Suddenly, I saw against it clearly and horribly a face staring into the room a face with wild eyes, staring wide open, with loose, hanging
lips over the grinning mouth a face red and swollen and distorted.
side the house ns though of one notl. pursued. Even as
the sound broke in upon the siler ce of the night Enoch
Voyce slipped behind the end of t lie bookcase Hnd mo
tioned frantically to me to get iui 'f sie-'it. Scarcely
knowing what I did, I dropped to my knees behind the
heavy desk and peered round it at hi window That win
dow was uncurtained.
Suddenly, I saw against It clearly and horribly a
face staring Into the room a face itl wild eyes, staring
wide open, with loose, hanging lipi over the grinning
mouth a face red and swollen and distorted. Only for an
Instant did It stare like that Into tie room, to be photo
graphed Ineffaceably in my mind; then It was gone, and I
found myself, shaking- and trembling, looking Into the
eyes of Knoch Voyce.
"The man who fired the schoolhouse!" I whispered.
" What does he do here?"
We heard a great murmur of ilcer and the sound of
many pet. It came on. like a rusli.-g, roaring tide. Evi
dently on this occasion the Imend uiy had been caught at
his work, and t lie pursuit had followed hot foot. That it
was belated was cert iln, because some minutes had al
ready passed since that face had tinned In upon us at
the window. But now It came thundering at the doors of
the house. We could hear the shouting of the mob, the
screaming of women, and the in. patient thundering nt
the door. Yet the curious thing was that no attempt
siemed to be made to open the door.
The crowd, Irresolute, had drif:id nwny, and still wn
stood there, walling. Then quite calmly the door of the
room was opened, iind we saw, standing In the doorway,
Nicholas Orthman. It was obvious that he had Just been,
aroused from sleep; he was dad In a dressing gown, and
he looked at us in some surprise. Behind him, in the door
way, stood the servant who had admitted us.
" Gentlemen, I am truly sorry," said Orthman, In his
gentle voice. "A most regrettab blonder on the part
of Splcer. He seems to have had n.i Impression that I had
gone out, Instead of which he fou'lJ inc. In bed, and told
me that two gentlemen were wu' Ing to see me. There
steins to be a great tumult in the streets. Is anything
The man looked startled nnd little white, that was
all. He was toe courteous gentlen an we had met before,
it nd It was obvious that he had been roused somewhat un
ceremoniously at an ahfurd hour.
Briefly enough, Enoch Voyce told him of the fire, which
had apparently occurred outside the town; of the mob
that hud thundered at the doors of the bank. Orthman
looked round him in a dazed fashion: looked at nls serv
ant, and then back at us. He did not seem to understand
that It was possible that another fire had occurred In so
short a space of time.. Even as he looked about him, and
' seemed about to speak, we heard the mob returning, and
heard UR.lin the Imperious summons upon the door.
"Then It wasn't a dream." he said, with a smile.
" Tin re was a noise in the streets. aftiT nil! Splcer, open
The man ran to the door and opened it. nnd a flood
of people came In in a state of great excitement. The
Hist of them was a big, burly man, with the look of a
farmer about him. He marched straight up to Orthman
and faced him.
" Wi ll. Mr. Mayor," he said. In a loud tone, " so we've
tracked our man nt last! He's given us a run for It, but,
by heaven, we've got lilm! There's those that liuye seen
him run up the lane here beside the house, anil there's no
way out. Have you seen nothing?"
" The man the incendiary here?" The face of Nich
olas Orthman was a face of bewilderment. " What should
he do here? You've seen nothing, gentlemen?" lie added.
" Nothing at all," said Enoch Voyce. And I wondered
why he said that, remembering the face at the window.
Home of the crowd strayed round the house, and we
saw their faces peering in at the window, just us wn had
see n that other face; but they found nothing. How the
creature had got away It was impossible to suggest. Some
of those In the crowd begun to doubt if, after all, they had
not been misinformed, and had allowed the man to slip
through their fingers Id some other direction. Finally
they melted away, with apologies, until only the big farm
er was left, nnd it seemed that many of Ills ricks had been
burnt, and part of his house. Finally he, too, took his de
parture, and our host saw us off the premises, And prob
ably went himself back to bed. As we walked away In th
direction of the inn, I put n question to Enoch Voyce.
" Why did you say that we had seen nothing?" I asked.
" Because, my dear Rattenbury, 1 don't want blunder
ing country fools Interfering in this," snapped Voyce,
" The man, whoever he was, Is In that house, and he is be
ing shielded by Orthman. The thing Is as plain as a
pikestaff. How else do you account for the fact of the
servant waiting up fully dressed, the master who hears
nothing, and yet comes down from his bed and talks about
dreams? ( I understand exactly what It is. Poor Orth
man has a skeleton In his cupboard some crazy wretch
who gets beyond Ills control at times. And that crazy
wretch we have to find. The remarkable thing Is that the
servant Splcer is in the business, though I don't quite
understand how. However, on the next occasion well
nab our man, and, for the sake of appearances, we'll tako
the Inspector with us. Besides. In dealing with a mad
man for that's what the Incendiary Invariably is we
shall need three people, at least."
We had to wait three days for our opportunity, and
Inspector Cialr began to grow impatient. On the third
night, however, Enoch Voyce woke us both, and again
there was the glare In the sky, though this time It was
nearer. To the Inspector's bewilderment, we set out. run
ning hurd for the bank, and there again was the light In
the lower room. The hour was about the same. This time,
however, our procedure was different, for no sooner were
we In the place, having been admitted asaln by the ser
vant, than Voyce and I flung ourselves upon the man.
and securely bound and gagged him. Inspector Clair, now
fully alive to the game, lent a hand. After the gagging of
(he servant, we went can fully all over the house,
searched every room of It, and found no one. Nicholas
Orthman was evidently not In the house. Whether or not
the unfortunate man had gone out in search of the crea
ture he protected il was impossible to say. Wo found,
however, a door in the lower pari of the house unfastened.
That Enoch Voyce boiled and barred. Then we left;
everything quite naturally to him lie went with us Into
the room In which we had previously waited, Ulld tin
fasieiied tin- window, pnltlim' It up at the bottom a coupla
of Indie, liiat done, we left the liulit burning, and con
cealed ourselves In tin room.
We heard again the running feet of the man, though
on this occasion lie was not pursued; we saw ngaln that
horrible, distorted lace at the window. We saw It disap
pear, and heard the soft rattling of the handle of tho
door. Ha tiled, the creature came back again. Then the
window was raised, and the man sprung Into the room,
closed Ihe window, and fastened it. Looking round about
him for a moment. Just as we made ready to spring, hu
suddenly took of Ills cap and overcoat, and tossed them
under the couch, threw hlinmif upon the couch, and
dropped asleep in a moment.
We crept forward and looked at lilm as he lay tliero.
There was no need to hurry; we were three to one, and
could have thrown ourst Ives upon loin tiie moment ha
stirred. Looking down at the swollen face, with tho veins
Marling out of it as though they would burst, the hanging
Hps, the general coarseness of It, something curious
seemed to strike us nil. We bent nearer.
The face was changing!
Even us we looked, the coarseness was smoothed away,
the swollen blood Vessels nil. si. I. . I. the loose lips grew firm
and refined and straight. Where the skin had seemed to
swell almost to bursting, it took on a mass of lines and
wrinkles. It became white and d llcate, and showed a
clean cut profile. The face of Nicholas Orthman! The
whole thing took some fifteen or twenty minutes, and then
before us lay the other man, sleeping calmly.
We woke him as we bound him, and he made no strug
gle after the firt minute or two. It was certain that tho
unfortunate man knew nothing of his horrible night ex
cursions when he had regained his own sane self by day;
the two creatures lived opart, save that they Inhabited
the same body. The man Splcer. weeping and imploring
his pardon, was brought In. and completed the story; told
how he had watched his master steal out night after night,
und come back ami change into his normal self.
I'oor Nicholas Orthman has been well cared for sines,
and it is not In his power to do further harm now. His
nuine has almost faded out of the minds of the good peo
ple of Hrlmford Market.
NEARLY A HEART BREAK.
By "Wallace Mason.
THE river was a stream of moving
life, li.iy voices rang in a silver
challenge across the erowil.d wa
ters. M.ngling with tin m was the
sound of .triiiged instruments and
minttrel songs. It was the last day of
" Well, everything must have its ap
pointed end vcD the rxgatta," said A r
ro ton. a utile srnU ntiouMy.
The K rl. who was seated by his side on
the d.ck of the houstboat Ulow-worm,
took d up at him w ith a strange light In
heT dip brown tys.
" Slr.dl you be sorry?" she aktd in a
sweet, rch voice.
" Y. I shall be sorry," he answered
silmply. " I thoug-ht I'd grown altogether
tired of the river. It's about the tentb
year running I've b n here. But my
IntcrtFt in it has revived. I shall rtintm
ber th s regatta as long as I live."
" Why? the ak.J and she luoktd a
" I'm 40 now, Miss Basset. I've always
had everything I've wanted as long as I
can remember. I have tried mort things,
and had become a little weary of them
all. And then all at one it was Just as If
I had walked out of gloom into eternal
sunshine. These last three days are the
most perfect my life has ever knows."
" That sounds as if you were In love."
she said, smiling.
They were alone on the deck of that
"It is love," he said'; " and it is you
There was sudden silence between
them. She did not move, but herattltud
became a little rigid, her smile died.
" I cannot marry you," she said at last.
" I cure for you am I have never cared
for any other woman."
" My refusal will pain you, then. I am
glad, because it is my wish to pain you."
Arneston gated at her In blank amuse
ment. " Eight years ago I had a friend whom
I loved as I should have loved my mother
had she lived. She met a man here who
made her love him. Bhe loved him asonly
such a woman cuuld love. Bhe kept buck
no reserve of love. That woman's name
was Agnts Kt id."
The girl paused and looked at her com
The man did not speak, fine fancied
he had started that was all.
It pleased this man to win her love
that ne might cast it back at her. He
gave her up Jilted her. She came home
to us my fithtr and me her old friends.
I knew nothing of this man or of his name
until after she Ated, and then I found
some letters which told me all."
" And who was heT"
She leaned foi watd, her )s were bias
ing In the darkness.
"That man was yourself. Those let
ters were signed by you. It was you who
k 1 1 1 d this woman " 1
" I see."
The words were spoken duiy, without
any feeling whHtivcr.
" When I first met you." she continued.
" I saw a woman can always till that
1 attiacted you. I resolved to do all In
my power to make you care for ire ser
iously, i wanted you to say what you
have said tonight, that you lovtd me, that
1 might tell you this story, and give you
that as my answer."
" A kind of revenge? Well, at any rate.
Miss H.iss.t, juu have made me go
through a severe quarter of an hour. As
for my deft use, well, I will not trouble
lie raised bis hat and turned away.
Mlas Buet watched him until ths
shadows swallowed his form up.
" I don't test at all as I expected," ths
said to her.-elf In dismay. " I ihought I
should glow with satisfaction. What a
weak fool I am. If 1 hadn't told myself
nil day long und hair the night what cause
1 had to hate him, I should- ha ve loved
Everybody noticed how quiet and pals
Miss Basset was at supper, and many
wondered what had become of Arneston.
When she reached In r own little bedroom
In the Qlow-worm she found a letter
waiting for her.
Two or three newspaper cuttings flut
ter! d out of It. She read the bi ll f note:
" You will see that the Inclosed cut
tings exonerate me from the brutality
you were good enough to place to my
credit. I should have undeceived you at
the time, but it was plain to me that you
had merely pretended to like me when
I had hoped that you well, something
Mist, Basset read the clippings with
Wondering es. . Tiny 1. roily related
police court proci edings which Arneston
had bruught aeainsl an impudent scoun
drel who had passed l.im.-elf off under
that imme with the purpose of obtaining
M ii Bay.' i t Witt Ink to 1 1 eit) . a n
early tr.tin Hit fallowing morning. Shs
had hop d to be a. one. but Just as the train
was on the move the ilimr was opined
Lustily, and Anicst'.n Jumped in.
" I followed ou hl.umeh ssly " he sld.
"I've fine l o a-h again what I usked
you lust nitlit. My pride was tiirihly
hurt. But 1 love you too much to let any
thing In the world part us, and. in spite
i f all, I believe you care for me, too."
"I bilitve 1 do," was Mits Basset's
i.'.e k reply.
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