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The Mystery of a Hansom Cab by Fergus Hume (1859-1932)

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will be best to keep silent--that is, if no money is left to her, and,
as her father thought her dead, I don't think there will be any. In
that case, it would be best to settle an income on her. You can
easily find a pretext, and let the matter rest."

"But suppose, in accordance with the wording of the will, she is
entitled to all the money?"

"In that case," said Calton, gravely, "there is only one course open--she
must be told everything, and the dividing of the money left to her
generosity. But I don't think you need be alarmed, I'm pretty sure
Madge is the heiress."

"It's not the money I think about," said Brian, hastily. "I'd take
Madge without a penny."

"My boy," said the barrister, placing his hand kindly on Brian's
shoulder, "when you marry Madge Frettlby, you will get what is better
than money--a heart of gold."



"Nothing is certain but the unforeseen;" so says a French proverb, and
judging from the unexpected things which daily happen to us, it is
without doubt a very true one. If anyone had told Madge Frettlby one
day that she would be stretched on a bed of sickness the next, and
would be quite oblivious of the world and its doings, she would have
laughed the prophet to scorn. Yet it was so, and she was tossing and
turning on a bed of pain to which the couch of Procustes was one of
roses. Sal sat beside her, ever watchful of her wants, and listened
through the bright hours of the day, or the still ones of the night, to
the wild and incoherent words which issued from her lips. She
incessantly called on her father to save himself, and then would talk
about Brian, and sing snatches of song, or would sob broken sentences
about her dead mother, until the heart of the listener ached to hear
her. No one was allowed into the room except Sal, and when Dr. Chinston
heard the things she was saying, although used to such cases, he

"There is blood on your hands," cried Madge, sitting up in bed, with
her hair all tangled and falling over her shoulders; "red blood, and
you cannot wash it off. Oh, Cain! God save him! Brian, you are not
guilty; my father killed him. God! God!" and she fell back on
her disordered pillows weeping bitterly.

Dr. Chinston did not say anything, but shortly afterwards took his
leave, after telling Sal on no account to let anyone see the patient.

"'Tain't likely," said Sal, in a disgusted tone, as she closed the door
after him. "I'm not a viper to sting the bosom as fed me," from which
it may be gathered she was advancing rapidly in her education.

Meanwhile Dr. Chinston had received Calton's telegram, and was
considerably astonished thereat. He was still more so when, on arriving
at the office at the time appointed, he found Calton and Fitzgerald
were not alone, but a third man whom he had never seen was with them.
The latter Calton introduced to him as Mr. Kilsip, of the detective
office, a fact which made the worthy doctor uneasy, as he could in no
wise divine the meaning of it. However, he made no remark, but took the
seat handed to him by Mr. Calton and prepared to listen. Calton locked
the door of the office, and then went back to his desk, having the
other three seated before him in a kind of semi-circle.

"In the first place," said Calton to the doctor, "I have to inform you
that you are one of the executors under the will of the late Mr.
Frettlby, and that is why I asked you to come here to-day. The other
executors are Mr. Fitzgerald and myself."

"Oh, indeed," murmured the doctor, politely.

"And now," said Calton, looking at him, "do you remember the hansom cab
murder, which caused such a sensation some months ago?"

"Yes, I do," replied the doctor, rather astonished; "but what has that
to do with the will?"

"Nothing to do with the will," answered Calton, gravely; "but
the fact is, Mr. Frettlby was implicated in the affair."

Dr. Chinston glanced enquiringly at Brian, but that gentleman shook his

"It has nothing to do with my arrest," he said, sadly.

Madge's words, uttered in her delirium, flashed across the doctor's

"What do you mean?" he gasped, pushing back his chair. "How was he

"That I cannot tell you," answered Calton, "until I read his

"Ah!" said Kilsip, becoming very attentive.

"Yes," said Calton, turning to Kilsip, "your hunt after Moreland is a
wild-goose chase, for the murderer of Oliver Whyte is discovered."

"Discovered!" cried Kilsip and the doctor in one breath.

"Yes, and his name is Mark Frettlby."

Kilsip shot a glance of disdain out of his bright black eyes, and gave
a low laugh of disbelief, but the doctor pushed back his chair
furiously, and arose to his feet.

"This is monstrous," he cried, in a rage. "I won't sit still and hear
this accusation against my dead friend."

"Unfortunately, it is too true," said Brian, sadly.

"How dare you say so?" said Chinston, turning angrily on him. "And you
going to marry his daughter!"

"There is only one way to settle the question," said Calton, coldly.
"We must read his confession."

"But why the detective?" asked the doctor, ungraciously, as he took his

"Because I want him to hear for himself that Mr. Frettlby committed the
crime, that he may keep silence."

"Not till I've arrested him," said Kilsip, determinedly.

"But he's dead," said Brian.

"I'm speaking of Roger Moreland," retorted Kilsip. "For he and
no other murdered Oliver Whyte."

"That's a much more likely story," Chinston said.

"I tell you no," said Calton, vehemently. "God knows I would like to
preserve Mark Frettlby's good name, and it is with this object I have
brought you all together. I will read the confession, and when you know
the truth, I want you all to keep silent about it, as Mark Frettlby is
dead, and the publication of his crime can do no good to anyone."

"I know," resumed Calton, addressing the detective, "that you are fully
convinced in your own mind that you are right and I am wrong, but what
if I tell you that Mark Frettlby died holding those very papers for the
sake of which the crime was committed?"

Kilsip's face lengthened considerably.

"What were the papers?"

"The marriage certificate of Mark Frettlby and Rosanna Moore, the woman
who died in the back slum."

Kilsip was not often astonished; but he was so now. And Dr. Chinston
fell back in his chair, staring at the barrister in blank amazement.

"And what's more," went on Calton, triumphantly, "do you know that
Moreland went to Frettlby two nights ago and obtained a certain sum for

"What!" cried Kilsip.

"Yes, Moreland, in coming out of the hotel, evidently saw Frettlby, and
threatened to expose him unless he paid for his silence."

"Very strange," murmured Kilsip, to himself, with a disappointed look
on his face. "But why did Moreland keep still so long?"

"I cannot tell you," replied Calton, "but, no doubt, the confession
will explain all."

"Then for Heaven's sake read it," broke in Dr. Chinston,
impatiently. "I'm quite in the dark, and all your talk is Greek to me."

"One moment," said Kilsip, dragging a bundle from under his chair, and
untying it. "If you are right, what about this?" and he held up a light
coat, very much soiled and weather-worn.

"Whose is that?" asked Calton, startled. "Not Whyte's?"

"Yes, Whyte's," repeated Kilsip, with great satisfaction. "I found it
in the Fitzroy Gardens, near the gate that opens to George Street, East
Melbourne. It was up in a fir-tree."

"Then Mr. Frettlby must have got out at Powlett Street, and walked down
George Street, and then through the Fitzroy Gardens into town," said

Kilsip took no heed of the remark, but took a small bottle out of the
pocket of the coat and held it up.

"I also found this," he said.

"Chloroform," cried everyone, guessing at once that it was the missing

"Exactly," said Kilsip, replacing it. "This was the bottle which
contained the poison used by--by--well, call him the murderer. The
name of the chemist being on the label, I went to him and found out who
bought it. Now, who do you think?" with a look of triumph.

"Frettlby," said Calton, decidedly.

"No, Moreland," burst out Chinston, greatly excited.

"Neither," retorted the detective, calmly. "The man who purchased this
was Oliver Whyte himself."

"Himself?" echoed Brian, now thoroughly surprised, as, indeed were all
the others.

"Yes. I had no trouble in finding out that, thanks to the 'Poisons
Act.' As I knew no one would be so foolish as to carry chloroform about
in his pocket for any length of time, I mentioned the day of
the murder as the probable date it was bought. The chemist turned up in
his book, and found that Whyte was the purchaser."

"And what did he buy it for?" asked Chinston.

"That's more than I can tell you," said Kilsip, with a shrug of his
shoulders. "It's down in the book as being bought for medicinal uses,
which may mean anything."

"The law requires a witness," observed Calton, cautiously. "Who was the

Again Kilsip smiled triumphantly.

"I think I can guess," said Fitzgerald. "Moreland?"

Kilsip nodded.

"And I suppose," remarked Calton, in a slightly sarcastic tone, "that
is another of your proofs against Moreland. He knew that Whyte had
chloroform on him, therefore he followed him that night and murdered

"Well, I--"

"It's a lot of nonsense," said the barrister, impatiently. "There's
nothing against Moreland to implicate him. If he killed Whyte, what
made him go and see Frettlby?"

"But," said Kilsip, sagely nodding his head, "if, as Moreland Bays, he
had Whyte's coat in his possession before the murder how is it that I
should discover it afterwards up a fir-tree in the Fitzroy Gardens,
with an empty chloroform bottle in the pocket."

"He may have been an accomplice," suggested Calton.

"What's the good of all this conjecturing?" said Chinston, impatiently,
now thoroughly tired of the discussion. "Read the confession, and we
will soon know the truth, without all this talk."

Calton assented, and all having settled themselves to listen, he began
to read what the dead man had written.



"What I am now about to write is set forth by me so that the true
circumstances connected with the 'Hansom Cab Tragedy,' which took place
in Melbourne in 18--, may be known. I owe a confession, particularly
to Brian Fitzgerald, seeing that he was accused of the crime. Although
I know he was rightfully acquitted of the charge, yet I wish him to
know all about the case, though I am convinced, from his altered
demeanour towards me, that he is better acquainted with it than he
chooses to confess. In order to account for the murder of Oliver Whyte,
I must go back to the beginning of my life in this colony, and show how
the series of events began which culminated in the committal of the

"Should it be necessary to make this confession public, in the
interests of justice, I can say nothing against such a course being
taken; but I would be grateful if it could be suppressed, both on
account of my good name and of my dear daughter Margaret, whose love
and affection has so soothed and brightened my life.

"If, however, she should be informed of the contents of these pages, I
ask her to deal leniently with the memory of one who was sorely tried
and tempted.

"I came to the colony of Victoria, or, rather, as it was called
then, New South Wales, in the year 18--. I had been in a merchant's
office in London, but not finding much opportunity for advancement, I
looked about to see if I could better myself I heard of this new land
across the, ocean, and though it was not then the El Dorado which it
afterwards turned out, and, truth to tell, had rather a shady name,
owing to the transportation of convicts, yet I longed to go there and
start a new life. Unhappily, however, I had not the means, and saw
nothing better before me than the dreary life of a London clerk, as it
was impossible that I could save out of the small salary I got. Just at
this time, an old maiden aunt of my mother's died and left a few
hundred pounds to me. With this, I came out to Australia, determined to
become a rich man. I stayed some time in Sydney, and then came over to
Port Phillip, now so widely known as Marvellous Melbourne, where I
intended to pitch my tent. I saw that it was a young and rising colony,
though, of course, coming as I did, before the days of the, gold
diggings, I never dreamt it would spring up, as it has done since, into
a nation. I was careful and saving in those days, and, indeed, I think
it was the happiest time of my life.

"I bought land whenever I could scrape the money together, and, at the
time of the gold rush, was considered well-to-do. When, however, the
cry that gold had been discovered was raised, and the eyes of all the
nations were turned to Australia, with her glittering treasures, men
poured in from all parts of the world, and the 'Golden Age' commenced.
I began to grow rich rapidly, and was soon pointed out as the
wealthiest man in the Colonies. I bought a station, and, leaving the
riotous, feverish Melbourne life, went to live on it. I enjoyed myself
there, for the wild, open-air life had great charms for me, and
there was a sense of freedom to which I had hitherto been a stranger.
But man is a gregarious animal, and I, growing weary of solitude and
communings with Mother Nature, came down on a visit to Melbourne,
where, with companions as gay as myself, I spent my money freely, and,
as the phrase goes, saw life. After confessing that I loved the pure
life of the country, it sounds strange to say I enjoyed the wild life
of the town, but I did. I was neither a Joseph nor a St. Anthony, and I
was delighted with Bohemia, with its good fellowship and charming
suppers, which took place in the small hours of the morning, when wit
and humour reigned supreme. It was at one of these suppers that I first
met Rosanna Moore, the woman who was destined to curse my existence.
She was a burlesque actress, and all the young fellows in those days
were madly in love with her. She was not exactly what was called
beautiful, but there was a brilliancy and fascination about her which
few could resist. On first seeing her I did not admire her much, but
laughed at my companions as they raved about her. On becoming
personally acquainted with her, however, I found that her powers of
fascination had not been over-rated, and I ended by falling desperately
in love with her. I made enquiries about her private life, and found
that it was irreproachable, as she was guarded by a veritable dragon of
a mother, who would let no one approach her daughter. I need not tell
about my courtship, as these phases of a man's life are generally the
same, but it will be sufficient to prove the depth of my passion for
her when I say that I determined to make her my wife. It was on
condition, however, that the marriage should be kept secret until such
time as I should choose to reveal it. My reason for such a course was
this, my father was still alive, and he, being a rigid Presbyterian,
would never has forgiven me for having married a woman of the stage;
so, as he was old and feeble, I did not wish him to learn that
I had done so, fearing that the shock would be too much for him in his
then state of health. I told Rosanna I would marry her, but wanted her
to leave her mother, who was a perfect fury, and not an agreeable
person to live with. As I was rich, young, and not bad looking, Rosanna
consented, and, during an engagement she had in Sydney, I went over
there and married her. She never told her mother she had married me,
why, I do not know, as I laid no restriction on her doing so. The
mother made a great noise over the matter, but I gave Rosanna a large
sum of money for her, and this the old harridan accepted, and left for
New Zealand. Rosanna went with me to my station, where we lived as man
and wife, though, in Melbourne, she was supposed to be my mistress. At
last, feeling degraded in my own eyes at the way in which I was
supposed to be living, I wanted to reveal our secret, but this Rosanna
would not consent to. I was astonished at this, and could never
discover the reason, but in many ways Rosanna was an enigma to me. She
then grew weary of the quiet country life, and longed to return to the
glitter and glare of the footlights. This I refused to let her do, and
from that moment she took a dislike to me. A child was born, and for a
time she was engrossed with it, but soon wearied of the new plaything,
and again pressed me to allow her to return to the stage. I again
refused, and we became estranged from one another. I grew gloomy and
and was accustomed to take long rides by myself, frequently being away
for days. There was a great friend of mine who owned the next station,
a fine, handsome young fellow, called Frank Kelly, with a gay, sunny
disposition, and a wonderful flow of humour. When he found I was so
much away, thinking Rosanna was only my mistress, he began to console
her, and succeeded so well that one day, on my return from a
ride, I found she had fled with him, and had taken the child with her.
She left a letter saying that she had never really cared for me, but
had married me for my money--she would keep our marriage secret, and
was going to return to the stage. I followed my false friend and false
wife down to Melbourne, but arrived too late, as they had just left for
England. Disgusted with the manner in which I had been treated, I
plunged into a whirl of dissipation, trying to drown the memory of my
married life. My friends, of course, thought that my loss amounted to
no more than that of a mistress, and I soon began myself to doubt that
I had ever been married, so far away and visionary did my life of the
previous year seem. I continued my fast life for about six months, when
suddenly I was arrested upon the brink of destruction by--an angel. I
say this advisedly, for if ever there was an angel upon earth, it was
she who afterwards became my wife. She was the daughter of a doctor,
and it was her influence which drew me back from the dreary path of
profligacy and dissipation which I was then leading. I paid her great
attention, and we were, in fact, looked upon as good as engaged; but I
knew that I was still linked to that accursed woman, and could not ask
her to be my wife. At this second crisis of my life Fate again
intervened, for I received a letter from England, which informed me
that Rosanna Moore had been run over in the streets of London, and had
died in an hospital. The writer was a young doctor who had attended
her, and I wrote home to him, begging him to send out a certificate of
her death, so that I might be sure she was no more. He did so, and also
enclosed an account of the accident, which had appeared in a newspaper.
Then, indeed, I felt that I was free, and closing, as I thought, for
ever the darkest page of my life's history, I began to look forward to
the future. I married again, and my domestic life was a
singularly happy one. As the colony grew greater, with every year I
became even more wealthy than I had been, and was looked up to and
respected by my fellow-citizens. When my dear daughter Margaret was
born, I felt that my cup of happiness was full, but suddenly I received
a disagreeable reminder of the past. Rosanna's mother made her
appearance one day--a disreputable-looking creature, smelling of gin,
in whom I could not recognise the respectably-dressed woman who used to
accompany Rosanna to the theatre. She had spent long ago all the money
I had given her, and had sank lower and lower, until she now lived in a
slum off Little Bourke Street. I made enquiries after the child, and
she told me it was dead. Rosanna had not taken it to England with her,
but had left it in her mother's charge, and, no doubt, neglect and want
of proper nourishment was the cause of its death. There now seemed to
be no link to bind me to the past with the exception of the old hag,
who knew nothing about the marriage. I did not attempt to undeceive
her, but agreed to allow her enough to live on if she promised never to
trouble me again, and to keep quiet about everything which had
reference to my connection with her daughter. She promised readily
enough, and went back to her squalid dwelling in the slums, where, for
all I know, she still lives, as money has been paid to her regularly
every month by my solicitors. I heard nothing more about the matter,
and now felt quite satisfied that I had heard the last of Rosanna. As
years rolled on, things prospered with me, and so fortunate was I in
all speculations that my luck became proverbial. Then, alas! when all
things seemed to smile upon me, my wife died, and the world
has never seemed the same to me since. But I had my dear daughter to
console me, and in her love and affection I became reconciled to the
loss of my wife. A young Irish gentleman, called Brian Fitzgerald, came
out to Australia, and I soon saw that my daughter was in love
with him, and that he reciprocated that affection, whereat I was glad,
as I have always esteemed him highly. I looked forward to their
marriage, when suddenly a series of events occurred, which must be
fresh in the memory of those who read these pages. Mr. Oliver Whyte, a
gentleman from London, called on me and startled me with the news that
my first wife, Rosanna Moore, was still living, and that the story of
her death had been an ingenious fabrication in order to deceive me. She
had met with an accident, as stated in the newspaper, and had been
taken to an hospital, where she recovered. The young doctor, who had
sent me the certificate of her death, had fallen in love with her, and
wanted to marry her, and had told me that she was dead in order that
her past life might be obliterated. The doctor, however, died before
the marriage, and Rosanna did not trouble herself about undeceiving me.
She was then acting on the burlesque stage under the name of 'Musette,'
and seemed to have gained an unenviable notoriety by her extravagance
and infamy. Whyte met her in London, and she became his mistress. He
seemed to have had a wonderful influence over her, for she told him all
her past life, and about her marriage with me. Her popularity being on
the wane in London, as she was now growing old-, and had to make way
for younger actresses, Whyte proposed that they should proceed to the
colonies and extort money from me, and he had come to me for that
purpose. The villain told me all this in the coolest manner, and I,
knowing he held the secret of my life, was unable to resent it. I
refused to see Rosanna, but told Whyte I would agree to his terms,
which were, first, a large sum of money was to be paid to Rosanna, and,
secondly, that he should marry my daughter. I, at first, absolutely
declined to sanction the latter proposal, but as he threatened to
publish the story, and that meant the proclamation to the world
of my daughter's illegitimacy, I at last--agreed, and he began to pay
his addresses to Madge. She, however, refused to marry him, and told me
she was engaged to Fitzgerald, so, after a severe struggle with myself,
I told Whyte that I would not allow him to marry Madge, but would give
him whatever sum he liked to name. On the night he was murdered he came
to see me, and showed me the certificate of marriage between myself and
Rosanna Moore. He refused to take a sum of money, and said that unless
I consented to his marriage with Madge he would publish the whole
affair. I implored him to give me time to think, so he said he would
give me two days, but no more, and left the house, taking the marriage
certificate with him. I was in despair, and saw that the only way to
save myself was to obtain possession of the marriage certificate and
deny everything. With this idea in my mind I followed him up to town
and saw him meet Moreland, and drink with him. They went into the hotel
in Russell Street, and when Whyte came out, at half-past twelve, he was
quite intoxicated. I saw him go along to the Scotch Church, near the
Bourke and Wills' monument, and cling to the lamp-post at the corner. I
thought I would then be able to get the certificate from him, as he was
so drunk, when I saw a gentleman in a light coat--I did not know it
was Fitzgerald--come up to him and hail a cab for him. I saw there was
nothing more to be done at that time, so, in despair, went home and
waited for the next day, in fear lest he should carry out his
determination. Nothing, however, turned up, and I was beginning to
think that Whyte had abandoned his purpose, when I heard that he had
been murdered in the hansom cab. I was in great fear lest the marriage
certificate should be found on him, but nothing was said about it. This
I could not understand at all. I knew he had
it on him, and I could only conclude that the murderer, whoever he was,
had taken it from the body, and would sooner or later come to me to
extort money, knowing that I dare not denounce him. Fitzgerald was
arrested, and afterwards acquitted, so I began to think that the
certificate had been lost, and my troubles were at an end. However, I
was always haunted by a dread that the sword was hanging over my head,
and would fall sooner or later. I was right, for two nights ago Roger
Moreland, who was an intimate friend of Whyte's, called on me, and
produced the marriage certificate, which he offered to sell to me for
five thousand pounds. In horror, I accused him of murdering Whyte,
which he denied at first, but afterwards acknowledged, stating that I
dare not betray him for my own sake. I was nearly mad with the horror I
was placed in, either to denounce my daughter as illegitimate or let a
murderer escape the penalty of his crime. At last I agreed to keep
silent, and handed him a cheque for five thousand pounds, receiving in
return the marriage certificate. I then made Moreland swear to leave
the colony, which he readily agreed to do, saying Melbourne was
dangerous. When he left I reflected upon the awfulness of my position,
and I had almost determined to commit suicide, but, thank God, I was
saved from that crime. I write this confession in order that after my
death the true story of the murder of Whyte may be known, and that any
one who may hereafter be accused of the murder may not be wrongfully
punished. I have no hopes of Moreland ever receiving the penalty of his
crime, as when this is opened all trace of him will, no doubt, be lost.
I will not destroy the marriage certificate, but place it with these
papers, so that the truth of my story can be seen. In conclusion, I
would ask forgiveness of my daughter Margaret for my sins, which have
been visited on her, but she can see for herself that
circumstances were too strong for me. May she forgive me, as I hope God
in His infinite mercy will, and may she come sometimes and pray over my
grave, nor think too hardly upon her dead father."



Calton's voice faltered a little when he read those last sad words, and
he laid the manuscript down on the table, amid a dead silence, which
was first broken by Brian.

"Thank God," he said, reverently, "thank God that he was innocent of
the crime!"

"No," said Calton, a little cynically, "the riddle which has perplexed
us so long is read, and the Sphinx is silent for evermore."

"I knew he was incapable of such a thing," cried Chinston, whom emotion
had hitherto kept silent.

Meanwhile Kilsip listened to these eulogistic remarks on the dead man,
and purred to himself, in a satisfied sort of way, like a cat who has
caught a mouse.

"You see, sir," he said, addressing the barrister, "I was right after

"Yes," answered Calton, frankly, "I acknowledge my defeat, but now--"

"I'm going to arrest Moreland right off," said Kilsip.

There was a silence for a few moments, and then Calton spoke again.

"I suppose it must be so--poor girl--poor girl."

"I'm very sorry for the young lady myself," said the detective
in his soft, low voice; "but you see I cannot let a dangerous criminal
escape for a mere matter of sentiment."

"Of course not," said Fitzgerald, sharply. "Moreland must be arrested
right off."

"But he will confess everything," said Calton, angrily, "and then
everyone will know about this first marriage."

"Let them," retorted Brian, bitterly. "As soon as she is well enough we
will marry at once, and leave Australia for ever."


"I know her better than you do," said the young man, doggedly; "and I
know she would like an end made of this whole miserable business at
once. Arrest the murderer, and let him suffer for his crime."

"Well, I suppose it must be so," said Chinston, with a sigh, "but it
seems very hard that this slur should be cast upon Miss Frettlby."

Brian turned a little pale.

"The sins of the father are generally visited upon the children by the
world," he said bitterly. "But after the first pain is over, in new
lands among new faces, she will forget the bitter past."

"Now that it is settled Moreland is to be arrested," said Calton, "how
is it to be done? Is he still in Melbourne?"

"Rather," said Kilsip in a satisfied tone; "I've had my eye on him for
the last two months, and someone is watching him for me now--trust me,
he can't move two steps without my knowing it."

"Ah, indeed!" said Calton, quickly. "Then do you know if he has been to
the bank and cashed that cheque for five thousand, which Frettlby gave

"Well, now," observed Kilsip, after a pause, "do you know you rather
startled me when you told me he had received a cheque for that amount."


"It's such a large one," replied the detective, "and had I known what
sum he had paid into his account I should have been suspicious."

"Then he has been to the bank?"

"To his own bank, yes. He went there yesterday afternoon at two
o'clock--that is the day after he got it--so it would be sent round to
Mr. Frettlby's bank, and would not be returned till next day, and as he
died in the meanwhile I expect it hasn't been honoured, so Mr. Moreland
won't have his money yet."

"I wonder what he'll do," said Chinston.

"Go to the manager and kick up a row," said Kilsip, coolly, "and the
manager will no doubt tell him he'd better see the executors."

"But, my good friend, the manager doesn't know who the executors are,"
broke in Calton, impatiently. "You forget the will has yet to be read."

"Then he'll tell him to go to the late Mr. Frettlby's solicitors. I
suppose he knows who they are," retorted Kilsip.

"Thinton and Tarbit," said Calton, musingly; "but it's questionable if
Moreland would go to them."

"Why shouldn't he, sir?" said Kilsip, quickly. "He does not know
anything about this," laying his hand on the confession, "and as the
cheque is genuine enough he won't let five thousand pounds go without a

"I'll tell you what," observed Calton, after a few moments of
reflection, "I'll go across the way and telephone to Thinton and
Tarbit, and when he calls on them they can send him up to me."

"A very good idea," said Kilsip, rubbing his hands, "and then I can
arrest him."

"But the warrant?" interposed Brian, as Calton rose and put on
his hat.

"Is here," said the detective, producing it.

"By Jove, you must have been pretty certain of his guilt," remarked
Chinston, dryly.

"Of course I was," retorted Kilsip, in a satisfied tone of voice. "When
I told the magistrate where I found the coat, and reminded him of
Moreland's acknowledgment at the trial, that he had it in his
possession before the murder, I soon got him to see the necessity of
having Moreland arrested."

"Half-past four," said Calton, pausing for a moment at the door and
looking at his watch. "I'm afraid it's rather late to catch Moreland
to-day; however, I'll see what Thinton and Tarbit know," and he went

The rest sat waiting his return, and chatted about the curious end of
the hansom cab mystery, when, in about ten minutes, Calton rushed in
hurriedly and closed the door after him quickly.

"Fate is playing into our hands," he said, as soon as he recovered his
breath. "Moreland called on Thinton and Tarbit, as Kilsip surmised, and
as neither of them was in, he said he would call again before five
o'clock. I told the clerk to bring him up to me at once, so he may be
here at any moment."

"That is, if he's fool enough to come," observed Chinston.

"Oh, he'll come," said the detective, confidently, rattling a pair of
handcuffs together. "He is so satisfied that he has made things safe
that he'll walk right into the trap."

It was getting a little dusk, and the four men were greatly excited,
though they concealed it under an assumed nonchalance.

"What a situation for a drama," said Brian.

"Only," said Chinston, quietly, "it is as realistic as in the
old days of the Coliseum, where the actor who played Orpheus was torn
to pieces by bears at the end of the play."

"His last appearance on any stage, I suppose," said Calton, a little
cruelly, it must be confessed.

Meanwhile, Kilsip remained seated in his chair, humming an operatic air
and chinking the handcuffs together, by way of accompaniment. He felt
intensely pleased with himself, the more so, as he saw that by this
capture he would be ranked far above Gorby. "And what would Gorby
say?--Gorby, who had laughed at all his ideas as foolish, and who had been
quite wrong from the first. If only--"

"Hush!" said Calton, holding up his finger, as steps were heard echoing
on the flags outside. "Here he is, I believe."

Kilsip arose from his chair, and, stealing softly to the window, looked
cautiously out. Then he turned round to those inside and, nodding his
head, slipped the handcuffs into his pocket. Just as he did so, there
was a knock at the door, and, in response to Calton's invitation to
enter, Thinton and Tarbit's clerk came in with Roger Moreland. The
latter faltered a little on the threshold, when he saw Calton was not
alone, and seemed half inclined to retreat. But, evidently, thinking
there was no danger of his secret being discovered, he pulled himself
together, and advanced into the room in an easy and confident manner.

"This is the gentleman who wants to know about the cheque, sir," said
Thinton and Tarbit's clerk to Calton.

"Oh, indeed," answered Calton, quietly. "I am glad to see him; you can

The clerk bowed and went out, closing the door after him. Moreland took
his seat directly in front of Calton, and with his back to the door.
Kilsip, seeing this, strolled across the room in a nonchalant manner,
while Calton engaged Moreland in conversation, and quietly turned the

"You want to see me, sir?" said Calton, resuming his seat.

"Yes; that is alone," replied Moreland, uneasily.

"Oh, these gentlemen are my friends," said Calton, quietly; "anything
you may say is quite safe."

"That they are your friends, and are quite safe, is nothing to me,"
said Moreland, insolently, "I wish to speak to you in private."

"Don't you think you would like to know my friends?" said Calton,
coolly taking no notice of his remark.

"D--your friends, sir!" cried Moreland, furiously, rising from his

Calton laughed, and introduced Mr. Moreland to the others.

"Dr. Chinston, Mr. Kilsip, and--Mr. Fitzgerald."

"Fitzgerald," gasped Moreland, growing pale. "I--I--what's that?" he
shrieked, as he saw Whyte's coat, all weather-stained, lying on a chair
near him, and which he immediately recognised.

"That is the rope that's going to hang you," said Kilsip, quietly,
coming behind him, "for the murder of Oliver Whyte."

"Trapped by G--!" shouted the wretched man, wheeling round, so as to
face Kilsip. He sprang at the detective's throat, and they both rolled
together on the floor, but the latter was too strong for him, and,
after a sharp struggle, he succeeded in getting the handcuffs on
Moreland's wrists. The others stood around perfectly quiet, knowing
that Kilsip required no assistance. Now that there was no possibility
of escape, Moreland seemed to become resigned, and rose sullenly off
the floor.

"I'll make you pay for this," he hissed between hie teeth, with a white
despairing face. "You can't prove anything."

"Can't we?" said Calton, touching the confession. "You are
wrong. This is the confession of Mark Frettlby made before he died."

"It's a lie."

"A jury will decide that," said the barrister, dryly. "Meanwhile you
will pass the night in the Melbourne Gaol."

"Ah! perhaps they'll give me the same cell as you occupied," said
Moreland, with a hard laugh, turning to Fitzgerald. "I should like it
for its old associations."

Brian did not answer him, but picking up his hat and gloves, prepared
to go.

"Stop!" cried Moreland, fiercely. "I see that it's all up with me, so
I'm not going to lie like a coward. I've played for a big stake and
lost, but if I hadn't been such a fool I'd have cashed that cheque the
next morning, and been far away by this time."

"It certainly would have been wiser," said Calton.

"After all," said Moreland, nonchalantly, taking no notice of his
remark, "I don't know that I'm sorry about it. I've had a hell upon
earth since I killed Whyte."

"Then you acknowledge your guilt?" said Brian, quietly.

Moreland shrugged his shoulders.

"I told you I wasn't a coward," he answered, coolly. "Yes, I did it; it
was Whyte's own fault. When I met him that night he told me how
Frettlby wouldn't let him marry his daughter, but said he'd make him,
and showed me the marriage certificate. I thought if I could only get
it I'd make a nice little pile out of Frettlby over it; so when Whyte
went on drinking I did not. After he had gone out of the hotel, I put
on his coat, which he left behind. I saw him standing near the
lamp-post, and Fitzgerald come up and then leave him. When you came
down the street," he went on, turning to Fitzgerald, "I shrank
back into the shadow, and when you passed I ran up to Whyte as the
cabman was putting him into the hansom. He took me for you, so I didn't
undeceive him, but I swear I had no idea of murdering Whyte when I got
into the cab. I tried to get the papers, but he wouldn't let me, and
commenced to sing out. Then I thought of the chloroform in the pocket
of his coat, which I was wearing. I pulled it out, and found that the
cork was loose. Then I took out Whyte's handkerchief, which was also in
the coat, and emptied the bottle on it, and put it back in my pocket. I
again tried to get the papers, without using the chloroform, but
couldn't, so I clapped the handkerchief over his mouth, and he went off
after a few minutes, and I got the papers. I thought he was only
insensible, and it was only when I saw the newspapers that I knew he
was dead. I stopped the cab in St. Kilda Road, got out and caught
another cab, which was going to town. Then I got out at Powlett Street,
took off the coat, and carried it over my arm. I went down George
Street, towards the Fitzroy Gardens, and having hid the coat up a tree,
where I suppose you found it," to Kilsip, "I walked home--so I've done
you all nicely, but--"

"You're caught at last," finished Kilsip, quietly.

Moreland fell down in a chair, with an air of utter weariness. and

"No man can be stronger than Destiny," he said, dreamily. "I have lost
and you have won; so life is a chess board, after all, and we are the
puppets of Fate."

He refused to utter another word; so leaving Calton and Kilsip with
him, Brian and the doctor went out and hailed a cab. It drove up to the
entrance of the court, where Calton's office was, and then Moreland,
walking as if in a dream, left the room, and got into the cab, followed
by Kilsip.

"Do you know," said Chinston, thoughtfully, as they stood and
watched the cab drive off, "do you know what the end of that man will

"It requires no prophet to foretell that," said Calton, dryly. "He will
be hanged."

"No, he won't," retorted the doctor. "He will commit suicide."



There are certain periods in the life of man when Fate seems to have
done her worst, and any further misfortunes which may befall are
accepted with a philosophical resignation, begotten by the very
severity of previous trials. Fitzgerald was in this state of mind--he
was calm, but it was the calmness of despair--the misfortunes of the
past year seemed to have come to a climax, and he looked forward to the
publication of the whole bitter story with an indifference that
surprised himself His own name, and that of Madge and her dead father,
would be on every tongue, yet he felt perfectly callous to whatever
might be said on the subject. So long as Madge recovered, and they
could go away to another part of the world, leaving Australia, with its
bitter memories behind--he did not care. Moreland would suffer the
bitter penalty of his crime, and then nothing more would ever be heard
of the matter. It would be better for the whole story to be told, and
transitory pain endured, than to go on striving to hide the infamy and
shame which might be discovered at any moment. Already the news was all
over Melbourne that the murderer of Oliver Whyte had been captured, and
that his confession would bring to light certain startling facts
concerning the late Mark Frettlby. Brian well knew that the
world winked at secret vices so long as there was an attempt at
concealment, though it was cruelly severe on those which were brought
to light, and that many whose lives might be secretly far more culpable
than poor Mark Frettlby's, would be the first to slander the dead man.
The public curiosity, however, was destined never to be gratified, for
the next day it was known that Roger Moreland had hanged himself in his
cell during the night, and had left no confession behind him.

When Brian heard this, he breathed a heartfelt prayer of thanks for his
deliverance, and went to see Calton, whom he found at his chambers, in
deep conversation with Chinston and Kilsip. They all came to the
conclusion that as Moreland was now dead, nothing could be gained by
publishing the confession of Mark Frettlby, so agreed to burn it, and
when Fitzgerald saw in the heap of blackened paper in the fireplace all
that remained of the bitter story, he felt a weight lifted off his
heart. The barrister, Chinston, and Kilsip, all promised to keep
silent, and they kept the promise nobly, for nothing was ever known of
the circumstances which led to the death of Oliver Whyte, and it was
generally supposed that it must have been caused by some quarrel
between the dead man and his friend Roger Moreland.

Fitzgerald, however, did not forget the good service that Kilsip had
done him, and gave him a sum of money which made him independent for
life, though he still followed his old profession of a detective from
sheer love of excitement, and was always looked upon with admiration as
the man who had solved the mystery of the famous hansom cab murder.
Brian, after several consultations with Calton, at last came to the
conclusion that it would be useless to reveal to Sal Rawlins the fact
that she was Mark Frettlby's daughter, as by the will the money was
clearly left to Madge, and such a revelation could bring her no
pecuniary benefit, while her bringing up unfitted her for the position;
so a yearly income, more than sufficient for her wants, was settled
upon her, and she was allowed to remain in ignorance of her parentage.
The influence of Sal Rawlins' old life, however, was very strong on
her, and she devoted herself to the task of saving her fallen sisters.
Knowing as she did, all the intricacies of the slums, she was enabled
to do an immense amount of good, and many an unhappy woman was saved
from the squalor and hardship of a gutter life by the kind hand of Sal

Felix Rolleston became a member of Parliament, where his speeches, if
not very deep, were at least amusing; and while in the House he always
behaved like a gentleman, which could not be said of all his
Parliamentary colleagues.

Madge slowly recovered from her illness, and as she had been explicitly
named in the will as heiress to Mark Frettlby's great wealth, she
placed the management of her estates in the hands of Mr. Calton, who,
with Thinton and Tarbit, acted as her agents in Australia. On her
recovery she learned the story of her father's early marriage, but both
Calton and Fitzgerald were silent about the fact of Sal Rawlins being
her half-sister, as such a relation could do no good, and would only
create a scandal, as no explanation could be given except the true one.
Shortly afterwards Madge married Fitzgerald, and both of them only too
gladly left Australia, with all its sorrows and bitter memories.

Standing with her husband on the deck of one of the P. and O. steamers,
as it ploughed the blue waters of Hobson's Bay into foam, they both
watched Melbourne gradually fade from their view, under the glow of the
sunset. They could see the two great domes of the Exhibition, and the
Law Courts, and also Government House, with its tall tower rising
from the midst of the green trees. In the background was a
bright crimson sky, barred with masses of black clouds, and over all
the great city hung a cloud of smoke like a pall. The flaring red light
of the sinking sun glared angrily on the heavy waters, and the steamer
seemed to be making its way through a sea of blood. Madge, clinging to
her husband's arm, felt her eyes fill with tears, as she saw the land
of her birth receding slowly.

"Good-bye," she murmured, softly. "Good-bye for ever."

"You do not regret?" he said, bending his head.

"Regret, no," she answered, looking at him with loving eyes.

"With you by my side, I fear nothing. Surely our hearts have been tried
in the furnace of affliction, and our love has been chastened and

"We are sure of nothing in this world," replied Brian, with a sigh.
"But after all the sorrow and grief of the past, let us hope that the
future will be peace."


A white-winged sea-gull rose suddenly from the crimson waters, and
circled rapidly in the air above them.

"A happy omen," she said, looking up fondly to the grave face of her
husband, "for your life and for mine."

He bent down and kissed her.

The great steamer moved slowly out to sea, and as they stood on the
deck, hand clasped in hand, with the fresh salt breeze blowing keenly
in their faces, it bore them away into the placid beauty of the coming
night, towards the old world and the new life.

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