Newspaper Page Text
One Franc Piece J
By Arnold Fredericks
Copyright The Frank A.Mun8eyjCompany
Duvnll addressed tho man in
rrencli. From his long residenco In
Paris lio spoke It perfectly. "Tho old
man who occupied this room was n
cripple, I am told," ho sold.
"Yes, monsieur. Ho could ic&rce
ly walk from rheumatism.'
"You saw him, then, oftenr
"Oh, yes, monsieur. Prom tho Cay
wo loft Havre"
"Did ho havo tho doctorT"
"I could not Bay. His attendant,
Mr. Gunther, rubbed hli lega with a
liniment, ho said.
Duvall painted to soveral yellow
pots on tho bed-shoots and on a
towel. "Herd's some of it now," ho
aid, puzzled. "Looks as though ho
really had it."
"Did you doubt It, then?" asked the
"Yes, my dear Lefevre. I confess
that I did. You will ndmit that if he
really was as crippled as he appeared
ho could never have helped his man
Gunther carry tho body " He paused
m thought a new idea had occurred
"You are on tho wrong track, mon
ami. He was no fake, as you call it."
"Perhaps not," said Duvall, who
was gazing at a bit of tissue-paper
covered with lather which lay on tho
side of the washstand. He picked it
up and glanced at it through a small
magnifying-glass he drew from his
"Shaving-paper," he remarked med
itatively. "Kvidcntly," laughed tho prefect.
Loveic became suddenly interested.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"(jur.tlier is blond. Tho hairs h
this paper are black. Old man Hauss
mnn didn't shave, I suppose, since ho
woie n full beard. What, do you mako
Lefevre looked puzzled. "What do
you?" ho asked.
"1 don't know," said Duvall, laugh
inc. "Let's see if we can find any
thing else." j
Suddenly iKUi'dnrted toward' tho
wliito wood of the door and began to
e.vamlna it eageily through his glass.
His face became giave. Then he bent
over nnd began to examine tho dark
led carpet directly beneath whom ie'
stood, oMi4od.Iduso..a jea,mhig ob
ject beneath, tbejicrth caught h,is,ye
jHe-'dartoUihls htfrid toward. it then jc-,
tended it to Lamotte. "Do you recog
nize this?" he asked.
The young man turned palo. "It
It belonged to poor old1 Vernon," ho
gasped. ' '
"But how did it conic 'here?" cried'
"Gentlemen," said Duvall in a sol
emn voice, "the purser, Ir. Vernon,
was murdered in thigroon. No doubt
ho was decoyed here, by so'mo mes-i
age from Haussman. Tills is his pin.
Tho face of tho door, although it has
been carefully washed, shows unmis
takably the presence of blood stainB.
They have been washed from the sur
face of the paint, but not from tho
tiny hair-cracks. There are also traces
on tho carpet. Nodoubt ho was seized
and stabbed as soon as lie enterod the
room and before,ho couid make any
outer'- Th"e" windows of'" the state
rooms on tlis deck, '-instead of being
round portholes lika'lbosa' on the
lower decks, arc square, and quite
large enough-io .admit. ofthepaHsage
of a body.
"""this" Xe4)ow Haussnian Is no crip
ple, tuvllqyc me.' ,Ilo passed the body
through -ao hlHconredcrnte, (iuntlier,
ho btood'nUtvlde; and tumbled it
ov.'iJ the. rail. "Than, bavins; secured
tl.o 'keys- to both the pursers olllco
ond'Onustffo itoiii liis pock.els, one of
tl.em ricuccndcd t the dook below,
tttik tho packnge"'iiom thy tafe and
' i.:rcie back without iboin'c detected."
"And tbr key foiftul on. thf puir.ei'a
C.cuk v.hcn tlia'ioQm wn..i unlocked in
1 the morniiii',?" Rbked Lel'evrol
"Was tosi'.cd onto. tlie desk .through
the ijurass-grutudwjurt'ow,, fipm outside
, after 'the dop'r bod bdon locked. The
dent it" mado In' tlie top of the Jesk
was plairtly eviUeijt."
' The prefect looked at his filcnd in
' admit ation.
".Wonderful, mon ami," he said.
"You arc Hie beat detective in the
i wor)d." ' Y . ,
, "You ,flatt,ejj -me, Lefevre," Duvall
2 replied. "I have always, maintained
that that honor belonged to'you."
' As he spoke CapUlu Bonnot enter
ed the room. ' j
DuvaH'wpnt up lo him at once.
'i !'I tiilnlt I haveVolyed tits mystery,
Captain; Bonnot,", ho 'said', " "V.ernon
i watmunddrechjn'thls room by'.HauBB-
mun and his companion, and his body
th'rn -OiVorboardV' -- ' ' (
, Ci'ptpn B"Qnnpt regarded tbe young
3 map. with a kriy face. "
"You 'are quite wrong, my friend,"
he said., 'jPoor "Venon's body baa
Just beon 'found,' terribly 'mangled, In
c tbe forward hold. He must have fall
J en, by accident, though tho hatchway.
Captain Bonnot, of tbe IUclioJltu.
had been notified of tho discovory of
tho body in the forward hatch Just as
ho and Mr. Gcrmalno wero leaving
Ho at once communicated tho news
to M. Lefevro and Duvnll. Tho latter
seemed decidedly puzzled ns they
mado their way along tho deck.
Having Just woiked out a theory, ap
parently substantiated by tho facts,
that tho purser had been murdered in
tho room of the man Haussman nnd
his companion and then thrown
overboard, he was unablo to under
stand the presence of tho murdored
man's body In tho hold.
Of coutse, he mlsht still havo been
mado away in thu way Duvall had in
dicated and his body then thrown in
to the forward hold, but why should
the mm derers have gono to tho
trouble, and exposed themselves to
the danger of carrying tho body long
the deck to the hatch when they could
have easily disposed of it through tho
Expel ienco had taught him that in
such peculiarities, howevor.were to be
found the solution ot most mystorious
crimes; ho therefore accompanied
tho captain with considerable eager
Tho body had Just been brought to
the deck, nnd lay surrounded by a hor
rified group composed ot Mr. Ger
malne, Mr. Morris, and several of the
ofllcers and men.
It presented a gruesomo appear
ance. Five days had elapsed since tho
disappearance of the unfortunate man,
tho vessel having been at that tlmo
on her second day out. Captain Bon
not explained, In answer to questions
from Mr. Germaine, that tho covers
of tho forward hatchway had been left
open during the first night at sea on
account of tho heat; that on the
morning of the second day, and Just
prior to the discovery of Vernon's dis
appearance, they had been closed.
It had apparently not occurred to
any one that tho purser could be In
the hold along with tho cargo; the
tightly closed hatches seemed to pre
clude any such possibility,
t 'There was a quantity ot heavy-machinery
In the forward hold and a
number ot large packing-cases, but
owing to tho great weight of this por
tion of tho cargo it occupied a com
paraflvoly small' space; hence thero
was.a, distance of perhaps twenty-flvo
feet" from ihe' combing of tho hatch
way to tho cases. Apparently tho
purser had fallen into tlie hatchway
by accident and been either instantly
killed or so severely wounded that he
was unablo-to call ,for help.
Tho ship's physician, hastily sum
moned, made a 'careful examination ot
tho body. Owing to the heat and tho
length of time it had been in the hold,
it presented a frightful appearance;
but the clothing, tho small dark mus
tache, tho papers and other objects In
tho pockets, left no doubt ns to Its
Tho doctor repoited that . com
pound fracture of Jhe skull indicated
that death had" piobably been Instan
taneous. Tho man had evidently
pitched headlong upon tho heavy
mass of machineiy, as both his head
and face wero frightfully crushed and
Duvall, firm In the belief that tho
body of tho purser had been thrown
into tho hold after death, requested
tho doctor to search carefully for
other wounds; ljut nono were ap
parent. His theory seemed to col
lapse completely. Yet, how account
for tho minute bloodstains on the
door of Hnussman's room?
A still further surprise, however,
awaited the little group surrounding
When the pockets wero searched
nnd tho various papers, letters, and
trinkets belonging to tlie dead mau
had been collected on tho de.sk in a
little pile, tho doctor drew from one
of tho sido pockets of the coat a
ciunipled envelope, which Mr. Morris
immediately ucoiaicu to uo tne one
entiusted by him to the purser.
An examination Allowed the seal
bad been broken, apparently by tho
force of tho fall. Inside tho enve
lope were a one-franc rJeco of tho
period of the first Napoleon and a
letter addiossed to Mile. Estello
The captain handed tho package
over to Mr. Motrin,
"This Is your property, sir," .ho re
marked sadly. "I i egret that tho seal
Is broken, but apparently tho con
tents, ai heretofore described by you,
"Yes," replied tho banker; "but
why should the puiser havo had thin
in his pocket instead ot in tho safe?"
"That, my dear, sir, wo Bhall in all
probability never know; I am glad,
however, that tho affair boa bo far
been cleat ed up. Vernon is dead.
Your packago U returned to you.
There Is nothing mora tbat wo can
Dovall took M. Lofevro by tho arm.
"Come," he ald, "lot us go to tho
liotcL We can accomplish. ' nothing
.nioio Jiorc.'.'i ,4.J,U. wwrt , V,W1
As ho passed tho body ot tho purser
ho felt carefully In tho pocket which
had contained tho letter, ns though
searching for Bomothing; but evident
ly did not find It. ,
As they 'wero descending tho gang
plank Mr. Morris joined them.
"I am going to deliver this packago
to Miss Mercler at once," ho snld.
"What Is tho address?" ns'kod
"Hotel Rochnmbeau. It is a small
French hotel on Twenty-Second
Street. I understand that Merclcr's
daughtor Is employed thoro ns a maid.
Would you gentlemen caro to go
along? Wo might learn something
about this curious affair. I confess I
am by no means satisfied with tho
outcomo of it."
"Nor I," romarkod Duvall grimly.
"A very clover and mystorious crimo
has been committed on board tho
Richelieu, and wo know no mora nbout
It now than wo did at tho Btart. Both
M. Lofevro ami myself will bo glad
to accompany you, but first wo must
go fro our hotol.
"My wlto Is expecting us thero at
five o'clock." Ho glanced at his watch.
"Why not go there first and then go
on to tho Rochamboau? Mrs. Duvall
has been making somo investigations
that may prove of value."
Mr. Morris agreed. Ho seemed to
take a deep interest in tho affair. In
twenty minutes they had reached the
hotel on Forty-Second Street where
tho Duvnlls were stopping.
Mrs. Duvall had not yot appeared.
After seeing the prefect comfortably
installed In nn adjoining suite, tho
whole party gathered in tho parlor of
Duvall's apartment to await Grace's
As they waited Duvall explained to
Mr. Morris, much to tho latter's sur
prise, the discoveries ho had made on
board tho ship.
"Tho purser, Vernon," ho said in
conclusion, "was In Haussman's room
that night. The presence of his scarf
pin under the berth, the blood-stains
on the door to my mind prove it. I
bcliove that bo did not fall into the
hold accidentally, but was thro.vn
there. Why, I cannot imagine. Furth
er, I believe that tho package you
havo in your pocket was opened, for
some reason, either in the purser's
office or in Haussman's room before
It was placed In Vernon's pocket. Ho
could have had no reason to havo it
there himself. Why should the pur
ser tako an apparently valueless pack
age fiom the safe, put it in his pocket,
and then go arid fall into the hold? It
"Highly so," assrntcd Mr. Morris.
"But whether the package was opened
purposely, or the seal broken by acci
dent in Vernon's fall will probably
never bo known."
"On the contrary," said Duvall,
drawing from his pocket tho three lit
tle envelopes of dust which h had
removed from tbe floors of tbe three
rooms, "I hope to find out in a very
"How?" asked tho banker, regard
ing him with surprise.
"May I look at the packago you
have In our pocket?" asked Duvall.
"Certainly." Mr. Morris handed over
to him the crumpled enyelope.
Duvall pointed to tho seal.. It had
originally been about the size of a
half-dollar, and" quite thick, with the
imprint of tha banker's seal-ring in
tho center. This imprint had been
broken squarely across, but not other
wise greatly damaged. A considera
ble portion of the outer .part of the
seal, however, had flaked oft and was
"I see" said tho banker; "but
doubtless tho remainder ot tho wax is
to bo found in the purser's pocket."
"No," replied Duvall. "I looked."
Then he opened the thico packages of
dust, spread each out carefully on a
sheet ot paper, and began to examine
them with n powerful magnifying
glass. Suddenly he gave an exclamation of
satisfaction. "Look," he said, hand
ing tho glass to Lefevre and Mr. Mor
ris in turn. There, clearly visible
under tbe glass, were a dozen or more
flakes ot the tamo green sealing-wax
which was to ";e seen on tho package
'Mr. Morris Held in his band.
"Which room did they come from?"
asked tho prefect eagerly.
"From Haussman's, as I expected.
The man was In bis berth almost con
tinuously throughout tho trip. He.
practically never left his room. To
that fact we owe the preservation of
these bits ot evidence. The room was
not swept." j,
'And why do you think the fellow
remained in his room so closely?"
asked Mr. Morris.
"Because," said Mr. Duvall, "he, is
undoubtedly a criminal well known' to
the police. His long beard, his rliou
mntismI believe to be merely a dis
guise. This morning I found oa a
piece of shaving-paper in his room a
quantity of black hairs, mixed with
soap. Ho bad been shaving. It must
have bees him, for his companion,
Gunther, Is light. w
"But -why should ho Bhavo?" asked
"Because, at tho first opportunity,
he doubtless intended to throw aaido
his false beard and appear clean
shaven. His rheumatism would go
with It. "Wo shall no doubt find blm
a vigorous nnd hoalthy man ot thirty
five, rather palo, with a small cut
a'emowhere on his face."
"Why the cut?" asked tho protect.
"Together with tho hair and lathor
on tho Bhaving-paper," said DuVall,
laughing, "I found little blood."
You aro observant, Mr. Du.vall,"
Bald, tbe banker, regarding his com
panion with admiration,
"Ono has to bo in' this business.
Those Httlo things are tho ones 'that
count. But 1- wpnder what can havo
happened to Grace?" Ho glanced at
hlB watch, and asho did bo the 4ele-pbono-bell
When Duvall turned from the in-
PUTS THE "HEART"
W CITY CHARTER
Miss Florence Allen..
Miss Florence Allen, a Cleveland
O., lawyer, recently scored a notable
success when she defended before
the supreme court of Ohio a suffrago
amendment to the charter of East
Cleveland, curving the women of that
city the ballot in all local elections.
Male lawyers throughout the stato
contended that the amendment waa
trument his face wor a curious
smile. "I havo Just had word, from
Mrs. Duvall," he announced. "She has
followed tho two men, Gunther nnd
Haussman, to a hotel, where they
have registered under tho names ot
Gratz and Hartmann. She is watch
ing tho hotel, and will wait there until
"What hotel is it?" Mr. Morris
"Tho Rochamboau!" Duvall re
plied gravely. "Wo had better havo
a talk with Mile. Mercler at once."
"But what possible reason can these
fellows havo for going to a hotel
where they know we, or at least I, am
certain to proceed as soon as I land.
It seems to mo an extremely foolish
move on their part."
Duvall, who was engaged In getting
a revolver from his traveling-case,
turned to tho banker quickly. "Not
at all, Mr. Morris. I can think of sev
eral good reasons why these fellows
should do as they have dons. In the
first place, remember that they have
no reason whatevsr to bcllovo that
they are under suspicion. They think
that tho body ot the purser will be
discovered, the package found in his
pocket, nnd the letter promptly deliv
ered to Miss Mercler by you. As soon
as they know this has been dono they
will know that their plan has suc
ceeded, their crime unsuspected, and
they free to go their way In peace.
That is one reason for their going to
the Rochnmbeau, and a good one,
especially as it is a hotel greatly pat
ronized by French people, and not an
unlike place for them to select in any
event. Their very presence disarms
"But let us suppose for the moment
that they fear they might be under
suspicion, nnd will bo followed. Sup
pose they want to find out whether or
not tho affair of Mr. Vernon's death is
likely to be further investigated. They
will watch to see who comes to the
hotel. Already, no doubt, they havo
gained the confidence of Mile Mer
cler, the maid. It you, Mr. Moiris, ar
rive accompanied by M. Lefevre and
myself; if our questioning ot Mile
Mercier shows that our suspicions
have been aroused, these men are in a
position to know it, and instantly bo,
on their guard.
"There is, however, still another
reason, and peihaps the best for their
going to the hotel. Wo assume tbat
the message old Mercier sent to his
daughter contained ijomething of
ralue. 'Otherwise there would havo
beon no reason for these men to sacri
fice a human lite to obtain it. Is it not
highly probable that this message re
fers to something only Intelligible to
tbe daughter herself? Is it not possi
ble that, without her aid, hor coopera
tion, it becomes useless to them?For
all "we know it may constitute, with
tho franc piece, a cryptogram of
which Mile. Mercier alone can supply
the key. It is even possible that her
father has previously advised her con
cerning it, and tbat theBO men hope,
to gain Tier confidence, and get pos
session of her secret. We aro dealing
with an unscrupulous pair of Bcoun-
drels, gentlemen, and they have some
thing of great value at stake, of that
(To be continued.l
E. W. COBLE CO.
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