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LE ROUGE —^i,"'.• fct •r.JiaWteSi -11. EVILS '1 '1 *, a 0» V" This terrible Accusation, terribly emphasized, caused no change in Al bert's features. He preserved the same firm bearing, without bravado. "Before God," he Answered, "and by all that is most sacred on earth, I swear to you, sir., that I am innocent. I am at this moment a close prisoner, without communication with the outer world, reduced consequently to the most absolute helplessness. It is tfr rrnn^ti your probity that I hope to demontrate my Innocence." "What,an actor!" thought the mag istrate. "Can crime be strong as this?" "When you were arrested, you cried oat, '-I -am lost what ,did you mean •by that?1' "Sir. replied Albert, "I remember ihavlng uttered those words. When I •knew of what crime I was accused, I •was overwhelmed with consternation. My mind was, as it were, enlightened •by a glimpse of the future. In a mo ment, I perceived all the horror of my situation. I understood the weight of the accusation, its probability, and the difficulties I should have in de fending myself. A voice cried out to -me, 'Who was most interested In •Claudine's death!' And the knowledge of my imminent peril forced me the exclamation you speak of.*' "You do, indeed, continued the mag istrate, "appear to have had the great •est Interest in this death. Moreover, .:I win inform, you that robbery was not the object of the crime. The things thrown in the Seine have been recov ••red. We know, also, that all the widow's papers were burned. Could they compromise any one but your self? If.yomof any .any one speak." "What can I answer, sir? Nothing." "Have you often gone to see this woman?" "Three ur four times with my fath er." "One of your coachmen pretends to (have driven you there at least ten times." "Ttoe man is mistaken. BtU„yJhat matters tlie number of visits?"^ TDo you recollect the arrangement of the rooms? Can you describe •them?" "Perfectly, «lff "theiif^erl ,3two. Claudine slept in the back room." "Too were in no way a stranger to Widow Lerouge. If you had knocked -one evening at her window-shutter, do you think she would have let you to?" ''Oertaliily, elr, and eagerly."!®®® "You have been unwell these last few days?" "Very .imwell, to say the least, sir. My body bent under the weight of a burden too great for my strength. It was mot, however, tor ,oJv^our 'm.r "Why did you forbid your valet 'liubln, to call in the doctor?' "Ah! sir, how could the doctor cure my diBeaae? All his science could not make me the legitimate son of the -Ooust de Commarin." "Some very singular remarks made 'by yon were overheard. You seemed to be no longer Interested in anything .concerning your home. You destroyed a large number of papers and letters." had decided to leave the count, sir. 3&r xesolution .explains my con duct- Albert replied -promptly to the mag istrate's Questions, without the least embartasamoat. and in a 'confident tOSSL resumed the magistrate, abruptly, "tell me exactly ios yon passed your time last Tuesday e»en fagi from six o^doek aafiB midnight?'' "thiring Tuesday evening," lie stam mered, repeating the phraa^ to gain -1 hare him," thought the magis trate, starting with joy, and then ad ded aloud, "yes, from six o'clock un til midnight." am afraid, sir," answered Albert, "ftt will be difficult for me to satisfy pen. I haven't a very good memory.** "Oh. rtont tell me tbat!" Interrupted the magistrate. "If 1 had asked what 7011 were doing three months ago. on a certain evening, and at a certain tottr, could understand your hesita tion but this Js aboal Tuesday, and It is nbv Friday. Moreover, this day, so close, was the last of the carnival It was Shrove Tuesday. Tbat circum stance ought to help your memory." "That evening, 1 went oat walking," murmured Albert. "Now,'* continued the magistrate, "where did you dine?" "At home, as usual.' "No, not as usual, At the end ot your meal, you asked tor a bottle of Bordeaux, of which you drank the whole. Yon doubtless had need of sens extra excitement for your sub sctnsBt plans." *X had no plans," replied the prls mot,.with very evident uneasiness, "Too make a mistake. Two friends came to seek yon You replied to ttofr ygS& mBl to. dinner Hi W fe that you had a vrery important en gagement to keep. "That was onlv a" fiolite way of get ting rid of them, "Why?" g|f "Can you'not understand, sir? I was resigned, but not Comforted. I was learning to get accustomed to the terrible blow. Would not one seek solitude in the great..crisis of one's life?" "The prosecution prelerias tMt you wished to be left alone, that you might get to La Jonchere. During the day, you said, 'She cannot resist me.' Of whom were you speaking?" "Of some one to whom I had writ ten the evening before, and who had replied to me. I spoke the words, with her letter still in my hands.'' "This letter was, then, from a .wo man?" ,,V„. "Yes." "What have you done wl£h n7» "1 have burned it." "This precaution leads me to sup pose that you considered the letter compromising." "Not at all, sir It treated entirely of. private matters.'' M. Daburon was sure that this let ter came from Mademoiselle d'Ar lange. Should he nevertheless ask the question, and again hear pro nounced the same of Claire, which always aroused sucfh painful emotions within him? He ventured to do so. "From whom did this letter come?" he asked. "Prom one whom I cannot name." "Sir," said the magistrate, severely, "1 will not conceal from you that your position is greatly compromised. Do not aggravate it by this culpable re ticence. You are here to tell every thing, sir." "My own affairs, yes not those of others." Albert gave this 'ast answer in a dry tone. "Gently," tihought the magistrate. "I have not got him yet." Then he quickly added, aloud: "Continue. Af ter dinner what did you do?" "I went out for a walk." "Not immediately. The bottle emp tied, you smoked a cigar in the dining room, which was so unusual as to be noticed. What kind of cigars do you usually smoke?" "Trabucos." "Do you not use a cigar-holder, to keep your Hps from contact with the tobacco?" "Yes, sir," replied Albert, much sur prised at this series of questions. "At what time did you go out?'.? "About eight o'clock." "Did you carry an umbrella?'' "Yes," "Where did you 50?" "I walked about." "Alone, without any object, all the evening?'' "Yes, sir." "Now, trace out your wanderings for me very carefully.*' "Ah! sir, that is very difficult to do. I went out simply to walk about, for the sake of exercise, to drive away the torpor which had depressed me for three days. I dont know whether you can picture to yourself my exact con dition. I was half ont of my mind. I walked about at hazard along the quays. I wandered through the streets "All that Is very improbable." in terrupted the magistrate. M. Daburon however, knew that it was at least possible. Had he* not himself, one night, in a similar condition, traversed all Paris? What reply could ne nave made, had somo one asked him next morning where he had been, except that he had not paid attention, and did not know? But he had forgotten this and his previous hesitations, too, had all vanished. As the inquiry advanced, the fever of investigation took possession of him. He enjoyed the emotions of the struggle, his pas sion for his calling became stronger than ever. He was again an investi gating magistrate, like the fencing master, who, once practicing with bis dearest friend, became excited by the clash of the weapons, and, forgetting himself, killed him. CHAPTER XXIL "So," resumed M. Daburon, "you net absolutely 00 one who can affirm tfcat hs saw you? You did not speak to «. living -soul? You entered no place, Mt sven a cafe, or a theater, Or tobacconist's to light ons of your fkrorHs txabneoar "Ho, sir." "Well 1m a great misfortune for you, yes, a wery «reat misfortune for I must lafona you, that It was pre cisely during this Tuesday evening, between eight «'«leck and midnight, that Widow Lerouge was assassinated. Jnatiee can point sat the exact hour. Again, sir, yonr own interest, 1 reeommead yon to nteet—to make a strong appeal to yoar memory." This pointing ont of the exact day and hoar of the murder seemed to astound Albert He raised his hand to his forehead with a despairing ges ture. However, he replied Is a calm voice: "I am very unfortunate, sir bat I can reoolleet nothing.'' The magistrate slowly raised ons by one, the large pieces of paver that covered the articles seised In Albert's rooms. "We will pass," he continued, "to the examination ot the charges which weigh against you. Will yon plsase come nearer? Do you recognize these articles as belonging to yourself?", "Yes, sir they are all mine." "Well, take this Hon. Wild broka ltr» "T, sir, ta fencing wife M. de Oourt lvoii. who oan hear wtUMW to It" mv- mmmm. £v^--V "He will be heard. Where is the broken end?'' "I do not know. You must ask Lu bin, my valet" "Exactly. He declares that he htft Look at this cigar end, found ou tht scene of the crime, and tell me •o1 what brand It is, and bow it was smoked." "It is a traS&cos, and was -smoked in a cigar-holder." "Like these?" persisted the magis trate, pointing to athe cigars and th« amber and meerschaum-holders founri In the viscount's library. "Yes," murmured Albert, "it is fatality—a strange coincidence." "Patience that is nothing as yet The assassin wore glove3. The victit in the death-Struggle, seized his hands and some pieces of kid re* Trained in her nails. These have been preserved, and are here. They are oj a lavender color, are they not? Now here are the gloves which you wore ot Tuesday. TbBy, "too, are lavender and they are frayed. Compare thest pieces of kid with your own gloves Do they not correspond? Are they not of the same cclor, the same skin?' Albert was terrified. A cold per spiration bathed his temples, and glided, drop by drop, (down his cheeks In a choking voice he kept repeating: "It is horrible, horrible!" '•"''Finally," pursued the inexorable magistrate, "here are the trousors yov wore on the evening of the murder It Is plain that not long ago they wer* very wet and, besides the mud on them, there are traces of earth. Be sides that, they are tern at the knees Wc will admit, for the moment, that you might not remember where you went on that evening but who would believe that you do not know where you lore your trousers and how you frayed your gloves?" What courage could resist such as saults? Albert's firmness and enerpy were at an end. H1B brain whirled. He -Cell hearfiy into a vhalr. exclaim ing: "It is eamigh to drive me mad." "Do you admit," Insisted the mag istrate, whose gase had become firm ly fixed upoa the prisoner, "do you admit that Widow Lerouge could on ly have been stabbed ,by you?" "I admit," protested Albert, "that I am the victim of one of those terrible fatalities which make men doubt lie evidence of their reason. 1 am Inno cent." "Then tell me where you passed Tuesday evening." "Ah, sir!" cried the prisoner, "I should have to But restraining hlmitlf. be added, la a faint voice: "I have made the only answer that I can make." M. Daburon rose, having now reach ed his grand stroke. "It is, then, my duty," sail he, with a shade-ef Irony, "to supply your failure of memory. 1 am going to re mind you ot where you went end what you did. On Tuesday evening, at eight o'clock, after having obtained from the wine you drank, the dreu'l tal energy yoo needed, you left )our home. At thirty-five minutes past eight, you took the train at the fit. Lasare station. At nine o'clock, you alighted at the station at Ruetl." And, not disdaining to employ old Tabaret's Ideas, the investigating magistrate repeated, nearly word fur word, the tirade improvised the night before by the amateur detective. Every sentence, every word, told. The prisoner's assurance, already shaken fell, little by Itttle, Just like the outer coating of a wall when rid dled with bullets. And now." continue-! the lnves'l gatlng mav rtrate, "listen to good u* vice do 9-1 persist la a system denying impossible to sustain. Civ* •n Jurtk'j, rest assured. Is ignorant ot nothirg thick It i« Import tnt 10 know. Believe me seek to deserve the Indulgence ot yoar lodges con fess your guilt*' if. Daburon did not believe that his prisoner would still persist In assert- tng his lnnoeenoe. Albert la spite of his great prostration, Cosnd, la ons (that such and such particulars etoet ot Ms wtlL atfksieut I to jjciat him It a»at~be an strength to recover himself and again protest: "You are right, Bir," he said, in a sad but firm voice "everything seems to prove me guilty. In your place, I hunted for it, and cannot find it. 1 should have spoken as you have done must tell you that the victim received yet all the same, 1 swear to you that the fatal blow from the sharpened end of a broken foil. This piece of stuff, on which the assassin wiped his weap on, is a proof of what I state." "I beseech you, sir, to order a most minute search to be made. It is im possible that the other half of the foil is not to be found." "Orders shall be given to that ef fect. Look, here is the exact imprint of the murderer's foot traced on thii uttieet of paper. I will place one ol your boots upon It and the sole, as you perceive fits the tracing with the utmost precision. This plaster wa* poured into the hollow left by tht heel you observe that It Is in all re spects similar in shape to the heels of your own boots. I perceive, too, the mark of a peg, which appears in both." "It is true—perfectly true." "That is so," continued M. Dabu ron "yet listen further, before at tempting to defend yourself. Tht criminal had an umbrella. .The end of this umbrella sank in the clayey soil the round of wood which placed at the end of the silk, was found molded in the clay. Look ai this clod of clay, raised with the ut most care and now look at your urn-' brella. Compare the rounds. An they alike, or not?'' "These things, sir," attempted Al bert, "are manufactured in largt quantities." "Well, we will pass over that proof I am Innocent." "Come now, do you really—^—" be gan the magistrate. "I am innocent," Interrupted Albert "and I repeat it, without the least hope of changing in any way your eonvllction. Yes, everything speakB against me, everything, even my own bearing before you. It is true, my courage has been shaken by these in credible, miraculous overwhelming coincidences. I am overcome because I feel the impossibility of proving my lnnocenca.^ But I do not despair. My honor and my life are in the hands of God. At this very hour, when to you I appear lost—for I In no way deceive myself, sir—I do not despair of a com plete justification. I await confi dently.' 'What do you mean?" asked the magistrate. "Nothing but what I say, sir." "So you persist in denying your guilt?" "i "I am innocent." "But this is folly ':f'' "I am innocent. "Very well," said if. Daburon "that Is enough for to-day. You will hear the official report of your examination read, and will then be taken, back to solitary confinement. 1 exhort you to reflect. Night will, perhaps, bring on a better feeling if you wish at uny time to speak to me, send word, and will come to you." The unhappy magistrate, after Al bert left, heaped the bitterest re proaches upon himself. He was in despair. He had never so hated Al bert—that wretch, who, stained with a crime, stood in the way of his hap piness. Then, too, he cursed old Tab aret Alone, he would not have de cided so quickly. He would hive waited, thought over the matter, ma tured his decision, and certainly have perceived the inconveniences, which now occurred to him. It was precisely this unfavorable moment that M. Tabaret chose for re appearing before the magistrate. "What answers did he make?" he asked, even before he had closed 'the door. "He Is evidently guilty," replied the magistrate, with a harshness very different to his usual manner, "I have come," he said, modestly, "to know if any investigations are necessary to demolish the alibi plead ed by the prisoner." "He pleaded no alibi," replied the magistrate, dryly. "How," cried the detective, "no ali bi? Pshaw I ask pardon he has, of course, then, oonfessed everything." "No," Baid the magistrate, impa tiently, "he has confessed nothing. He acknowledges that the proofs are de cisive he cannot give an account of how he spent hiB time but he pro tests bis innocence." In the center of the room, M\ Tab aret stood with his mouth wide open, and his eyes staring wildly, and alto gether in the most grotesque attitude his astonishment could effect "Not an filtbi, nothing?" murmured the old fellow. "No explanations? l%e idea. It is Inconceivable. Not an alibi? We must then be mistaken he cannot be Che criminal. That Is certstn." The Investigating magistrate felt that the old amateur must have been waiting thr result of the examination at the wine-shop round the corner, or else that he hAd gone mad. "Unfortunately," said he, "we are not mistaken. It is but too clearly shown that M. de Oommarln is the murderer. However, if you like, you can ask Constant for his report of the examination, and read it over while I put these papers in order." "Very well," said the old fellow, with feverish anxiety.. When he had finished, he arose with pale and dis torted features. "Sir," said he to the "magistrate, in a strange voice, "I have been the in voluntary cause of a terrible mistake. This man is innocent" "Gome, come," said M. Daburon, without stopping his preparations for departure, "you are going out of your mind, my dear M. Itebaret How, after all that yon have read, can—" "Yes, sir, yea It is because I have read this that 1 mi treat you to paoss, or we shall add one more mistake to the sad Ust of judicial errors. Read this examination over carefully there is not a reply but which declares this unfortunate man innocent, not a word but which throws out a ray of light And he Is still In prison, still In soli tary confinement?" "He Is and there he will remain. It yen please,'' interrupted the mag istrate. "It becomes you well to talk in this manner, after the way you spoke last night, when I hesitated so much." "But sir," cried the old detective, "I still say precisely the same. Ah, wretched Tabaret! all is lost no one understands you. Pardon ms. sir, It 1 lack the respect due to yoa hut yon have not grasped my method. It Is, however, very simple. Given a crime, with all the circumstances and details, I construct bit by bit a plan ot accusation, which 1 do not guarantee until It Is entire and per fect It a man Is found to whom this plan applies exactly In every partio ular, the author ot the crime is found otherwise, ose has laid hands upon an innocent person. It to not sufficient MUmi nothing. This Is infallible. Now, la this case, how have I reached the culprit? Through proceeding by in ference from the known to the un known. I have examined his work and I have formed an idea of the worker. Reason and logic lead us to what? To a villlan, determined, audacious, and prudent, versed In the business. And do you think that CHAPTER XXIII. M. Daburon surveyed the detective pityingly, much as he would have locked at a remarkable monomaniac. When the old' fellow had finished: My worthy M'. Tabaret" the magis trate said to him "you have but one fault. You err through an excess of subtlety. You acoord too freely to others the wonderful sagacity with which you yourself are endowed^ Our man has failed in prudence, simply because he believed his rank would place him above suspicion." "No, sir, no a thousand times no. My culprit—the true one—he whom we have missed catching feared every thing. Besides, does Albert defend himself? No. He is overwhelmend because he perceives coincidences so fatal that they appear to condemn him, without a chance of escape. Does he try to excuse himself? No. He sim ply replies, 'It is terrible.' And yet all through his examination I feel a re ticence that I cannot explain." "I can explain It very easily and I am as confident as though he had con fessed everything. I have more than sufficient proofs of that" "Ah, sir, proofs! There are always enough of those against an arrested man. They exist against every inno cent man who was ever condemned. Proofs. Why, I had them in quanti ties against Kaiser, the poor little tailor, who—" "Well," interrupted the magistrate, hastily, "if it is not he, the most in terested one, who committed the crime, who then is it? His father, the Count de Commarin." "No the true assassin is a young man." M. Daburon had arranged his papers and finished his preparations. "You must then see that I am right. Come, good-by, M. Tabaret, and make haste and get rid of all your foolish ideas." He moved toward the door but M. Tabaret barred his exit. "Sir," said the old man, "in the name of Heaven, listen to me. He is innocent, I swear to you. Help me, then, to find the real culprit. Sir, think of your remorse, should you cause an But the magistrate would not hear more. He pushed old Tabaret aside, jand hurried out. I "Ah!" he exclaimed, "Albert is in jnocent: and it is I who have cast suspicion upon him. It is I, fool thit I am, who have infused into the ob stinate spirit ot this magistrate a con viction that I no longer destroy. He is Innocent, and Is yet enduring the most horrible anguish. Suppose be should commit suicide. But I will not abandon him. I have ruined him 1 will save him. I must I will find the culprit and he shall pay dearly for my mistake, the scoundrel!" After seeing the Count de Commarin safely in his carriage at the entrance of the Palais de Justice, Noel Gerdy seemed inclined to leave him. Rest ing one hand against the half-opened carriage door, he bowed respectfully, and said: "When, sir, shall I have the honor of paying my respects to you?" "Come with me now said the old nobleman. The barrister, still leaning forward, muttered some excuses. He had, he •aid, important business he must positively return home at once. "Come," repeated the count, In a tone which admitted of no reply. Noel obeyed. "You have found your father," said M. de Commarin, in a low tone "but I must warn you, that at the same time you lose your independence." The carriage started and only then did the oount notice that Noel hai very modestly seated himself oppo site him. This humility seemed to displease him greatly, "Sit by my side, sir," he exclaimed "are you not my son?" The barrister without replying, took his seat by the side of the terrible old man. As soon as he left his carriage, and reached bis own room, the old noble man recovered his haughtiness. Noel having fully recovered himself, stood erect cold as marble, respectful bat no longer humble The father and son exchanged glances which had nothing ot sympathy nor friendliness. "Sir," said the count, at length, In a harsh voioe, "henceforth this house Is yours. From this moment you are die Viscount de Commarin you re gain possession of all the rights of which you were deprived. Listen, he tore yon thank me. I wish, at once, to relieve you from all misunderstand ing. Remember this well, sir had I been master of the situation, I would never have recognized yoa Albert should have remained in the position I& which I plaoed him." ::r: Buch a man would neglect a precaution that would not be omitted by the stupidest tyro? It is inconceivable. What! this man is so skillful as to leave such feeble traces that they escape Gevrol's practiccd eye, and you thlrik he would risk his safety by. leaving an entire night unaccounted for? It's impos sible. I am sure of my system as of a sum that has been proved. The as sassin has an alibi. Albert has plead ed none then he is Innocent." v.''^viC^v^i-v-M -vi'^. "*.'••' 'I understand you, sir," replied Noel. "I don't think that I could ever bring myself to do an act like that by which you deprived me of my birthright but I declare tbat, if I had the misfortune to do sq, I should afterward have acted as you have." "I have no claim, sir, upon your affection I do not ask for it, but I Insist at all times upon the utmost deference. It is traditional in our house, that a son shall never interrupt his father when he is speaking that you have just been guilty of. Neither do children judge their parents that also you have just dona. I provided the necessary funds for the expenses of Albert's household, completely, dis tinct from my own, for he had his own servants, horses, and carriages and besides that I allowed the unhap py boy four thousand francs a month. I have decided, in order to put a stop to all foolish gossip, and to make your position the easier, that you should live on a grander scale this matter concerns myself. Further, I will tncrease your monthly allowance to six "thousand francs which I trust you will spend as nobly as possible, giving the least possible cause for ridicule. Do you fence?" "Moderately well." "That will do. Do you ride?*' "No but in six months I will be good horseman, or break my neck.* "You must become a horseman, and not break anything. You will occupy the other wing of the house and there will be a separate entrance to your apartments. Servants, horses, car riages, furniture, such as become a viscount, will be at your service, with in forty-eight hours. On the day of your taking possession, you must look is though you had been installed there for years. This very evening, the workmen shall be here and in the first place, I must present you to mj servants." To put his purpose into execution, the count moved to touch the bell rope. Noel stopped him. "Permit me, sir," he said to the oount, "without overstepping the bounds of the utmost respect, to sayi 1 few words. I am touched more than I can express by your goodness and vet I beseech you, to delay its mani Testation. The proposition I am about io suggest may, perhaps, appear to rou worthy of consideration. It seema to me that the situation demands the greatest delicacy on my part. I am certain to be judged with the utmost severity. If I install myself so sud denly In your house, what will be said? I shall have the appearance of conqueror, who thinks little, so long is he succeeds, of passing over the body of the conquered. I beseech you, then, sir, to permit me tor the present in no way to change my mode of liv ing. I let public opinion the better familiarize itself with the Idea of coming change. Being expected, I thall not have the air of an intruder in presenting myself. I shall obtain (he good opinion of all those who have envied Albert and I shall secure as champions all those who would to morrow as?ail me, if my elevation ?ame suddenly upon them. Besides, by this delay, I shall accustom myself Io my abrupt change of fortune." "Perhaps It would be wisest," mur mured the count. This assent, so easily obtained, sur prised Noel. His confidence increased he recovered all his former assurance. "I must add, sir," he continued, "that there area few matters concern ing myself which demand my atten tion. "Let us occupy ourselves about Al bert." said Noel. "What can now be done for Albert?'* asked the couqt. "What, sir!" cried Noel, with ar dor, "would you abandon him, when he has not a friend left in the world? He is still your son, sir, he Is my brother. All members of the family are jointly liable. Innocent, or guilty, he has a right so count upon us and we owe him our assistance." "What do you then hope for, slrf saked the count "To save him. if he is Innocent and I love to believe that be iB. I am barrister, sir, and I wish to defend him. I will find new accents to imbue the judges with my own convictions. I will save him, and this shall be my last cause." "And if he should confess," said the count, "if he has already oonfessed?" "Then,* sir, I will render him the last service, which, in such a mlsfor* tune, I should ask ot a brother. will procure him the means ot avoid ing judgment." "That is well spoken, sir," said the count, "very well, my son!" And he held out his band to Noel, who pressed it bowing a respectful acknowledgment Noel had the hardihood to again Interrupt the old nobleman. "Sir," said he, "when you bado me follow you here, I obeyed yoa, as was my duty. Now another and a sacred duty calls me away. Madame Gerdy is at this moment dying. Ought I to leave the death-bed ot her who filled my mother's place?*' "Valerie!" murmured the count "She has done me great harm, she has ruined my whole life but ought I to be implacable? She Is dying from tits accusation which Is hanging over Al bert, our son. It was 1 who was the cause ot it all. Doubtless, la this last hour, a word from me would he a great consolation to bar. I will ae company you, sir." (TO BE CONTINUED). W. O. Can ton wine pays the meet for hides and tun. Aereas tht street from the shoe taetorr, •w-.-i." j' ••ii/V.