The Case Of The Pocket Diary Found In The Snow





CHAPTER 1. THE DISCOVERY IN THE SNOW





A quiet winter evening had sunk down upon the great city. The

clock in the old clumsy church steeple of the factory district had

not yet struck eight, when the side door of one of the large

buildings opened and a man came out into the silent street.



It was Ludwig Amster, one of the working-men in the factory,

starting on his homeward way. It was not a pleasant road, this

street along the edge of the city. The town showed itself from

its most disagreeable side here, with malodorous factories,

rickety tenements, untidy open stretches and dumping grounds

offensive both to eye and nostril.



Even by day the street that Amster took was empty; by night it

was absolutely quiet and dark, as dark as were the thoughts of the

solitary man. He walked along, brooding over his troubles.

Scarcely an hour before he had been discharged from the factory

because of his refusal to submit to the injustice of his foreman.



The yellow light of the few lanterns show nothing but high board

walls and snow drifts, stone heaps, and now and then the remains

of a neglected garden. Here and there a stunted tree or a wild

shrub bent their twigs under the white burden which the winter had

laid upon them. Ludwig Amster, who had walked this street for

several years, knew his path so well that he could take it

blindfolded. The darkness did not worry him, but he walked somewhat

more slowly than usual, for he knew that under the thin covering of

fresh-fallen snow there lay the ice of the night before. He walked

carefully, watching for the slippery places.



He had been walking about half an hour, perhaps, when he came to a

cross street. Here he noticed the tracks of a wagon, the trace

still quite fresh, as the slowly falling flakes did not yet cover it.

The tracks led out towards the north, out on to the hilly, open

fields.



Amster was somewhat astonished. It was very seldom that a carriage

came into this neighbourhood, and yet these narrow wheel-tracks

could have been made only by an equipage of that character. The

heavy trucks which passed these roads occasionally had much wider

wheels. But Amster was to find still more to astonish him.



In one corner near the cross-roads stood a solitary lamp-post. The

light of the lamp fell sharply on the snow, on the wagon tracks,

and - on something else besides.



Amster halted, bent down to look at it, and shook his head as if in

doubt.



A number of small pieces of glass gleamed up at him and between

them, like tiny roses, red drops of blood shone on the white snow.

All this was a few steps to one side of the wagon tracks.



"What can have happened here - here in this weird spot, where a cry

for help would never be heard? where there would be no one to bring

help?"



So Amster asked himself, but his discovery gave him no answer. His

curiosity was aroused, however, and he wished to know more. He

followed up the tracks and saw that the drops of blood led further

on, although there was no more glass. The drops could still be seen

for a yard further, reaching out almost to the board fence that

edged the sidewalk. Through the broken planks of this fence the

rough bare twigs of a thorn bush stretched their brown fingers. On

the upper side of the few scattered leaves there was snow, and blood.



Amster's wide serious eyes soon found something else. Beside the

bush there lay a tiny package. He lifted it up. It was a small,

light, square package, wrapped in ordinary brown paper. Where the

paper came together it was fastened by two little lumps of black

bread, which were still moist. He turned the package over and

shook his head again. On the other side was written, in pencil,

the lettering uncertain, as if scribbled in great haste and in

agitation, the sentence, "Please take this to the nearest police

station."



The words were like a cry for help, frozen on to the ugly paper.

Amster shivered; he had a feeling that this was a matter of life

and death.



The wagon tracks in the lonely street, the broken pieces of glass

and the drops of blood, showing that some occupant of the vehicle

had broken the window, in the hope of escape, perhaps, or to throw

out the package which should bring assistance - all these facts

grouped themselves together in the brain of the intelligent

working-man to form some terrible tragedy where his assistance, if

given at once, might be of great use. He had a warm heart besides,

a heart that reached out to this unknown who was in distress, and

who threw out the call for help which had fallen into his hands.



He waited no longer to ponder over the matter, but started off at

a full run for the nearest police station. He rushed into the room

and told his story breathlessly.



They took him into the next room, the office of the commissioner

for the day. The official in charge, who had been engaged in

earnest conversation with a small, frail-looking, middle-aged man,

turned to Amster with a question as to what brought him there.



"I found this package in the snow."



"Let me see it."



Amster laid it on the table. The older man looked at it, and as

the commissioner was about to open it, he handed him a paper-knife

with the words: "You had better cut it open, sir."



"Why?"



"It is best not to injure the seals that fasten a package."



"Just as you say, Muller," answered the young commissioner, smiling.

He was still very young to hold such an office, but then he was the

son of a Cabinet Minister, and family connections had obtained this

responsible position for him so soon. Kurt von Mayringen was his

name, and he was a very good-looking young man, apparently a very

good-natured young man also, for he took this advice from a

subordinate with a most charming smile. He knew, however, that this

quiet, pale-faced little man in the shabby clothes was greater than

he, and that it was mere accident of birth that put him, Kurt von

Mayringen, instead of Joseph Muller, in the position of superior.



The young commissioner had had most careful advice from headquarters

as to Muller, and he treated the secret service detective, who was

one of the most expert and best known men in the profession, with

the greatest deference, for he knew that anything Muller might say

could be only of value to him with his very slight knowledge of his

business. He took the knife, therefore, and carefully cut open the

paper, taking out a tiny little notebook, on the outer side of which

a handsome monogram gleamed up at him in golden letters.



"A woman made this package," said Muller, who had been looking at

the covering very carefully; "a blond woman."



The other two looked at him in astonishment. He showed them a

single blond hair which had been in one of the bread seals.



"How I was murdered." Those were the words that Commissioner von

Mayringen read aloud after he had hastily turned the first few

pages of the notebook, and had come to a place where the writing

was heavily underscored.



The commissioner and Amster were much astonished at these words, but

the detective still gazed quietly at the seals of the wrapping.



"This heading reads like insanity, said the commissioner. Muller

shrugged his shoulders, then turned to Amster. "Where did you find

the package?"



In Garden street."



"When?"



"About twenty minutes ago."



Amster gave a short and lucid account of his discovery. His

intelligent face and well-chosen words showed that he had observation

and the power to describe correctly what he had observed. His honest

eyes inspired confidence.



"Where could they have been taking the woman?" asked the detective,

more of himself than of the others.



The commissioner searched hastily through the notebook for a

signature, but without success. "Why do you think it is a woman?

This writing looks more like a man's hand to me. The letters are

so heavy and - "



"That is only because they are written with broad pen," interrupted

Muller, showing him the writing on the package; "here is the same

hand, but it is written with a fine hard pencil, and you can see

distinctly that this is a woman's handwriting. And besides, the

skin on a man's thumb does not show the fine markings that you can

see here on these bits of bread that have been used for seals."



The commissioner rose from his seat. "You may be right, Muller.

We will take for granted, then, that there is a woman in trouble.

It remains to be seen whether she is insane or not."



"Yes, that remains to be seen," said Muller dryly, as he reached

for his overcoat.



"You are going before you read what is in the notebook?" asked

Commissioner von Mayringen.



Muller nodded. "I want to see the wagon tracks before they are

lost; it may help me to discover something else. You can read the

book and make any arrangements you find necessary after that."



Muller was already wrapped in his overcoat. "Is it snowing now?"

He turned to Arnster.



"Some flakes were falling as I came here."



"All right. Come with me and show me the way." Muller nodded

carelessly to his superior officer, his mind evidently already

engrossed in thoughts of the interesting case, and hurried out

with Amster. The commissioner was quite satisfied with the state

of affairs. He knew the case was in safe hands. He seated

himself at his desk again and began to read the little book which

had come into his hands so strangely. His eyes ran more and more

rapidly over the closely written pages, as his interest grew and

grew.



When, half an hour later, he had finished the reading, he paced

restlessly up and down the room, trying to bring order into the

thoughts that rushed through his brain. And one thought came

again and again, and would not be denied in spite of many

improbabilities, and many strange things with which the book was

full; in spite, also, of the varying, uncertain handwriting and

style of the message. This one thought was, "This woman is not

insane."



While the young official was pondering over the problem, Muller

entered as quietly as ever, bowed, put his hat and cane in their

places, and shook the snow off his clothing. He was evidently

pleased about something. Kurt von Mayringen did not notice his

entrance. He was again at the desk with the open book before him,

staring at the mysterious words, "How I was murdered."



"It is a woman, a lady of position. And if she is mad, then her

madness certainly has method." Muller said these words in his

usual quiet way, almost indifferently. The young commissioner

started up and snatched for the fine white handkerchief which the

detective handed him. A strong sweet perfume filled the room.

"It is hers?" he murmured.



"It is hers," said Muller. "At least we can take that much for

granted, for the handkerchief bears the same monogram, A. L., which

is on the notebook."



Commissioner von Mayringen rose from his chair in evident excitement.

"Well?" he asked.



It was a short question, but full of meaning, and one could see that

he was waiting in great excitement for the answer. Muller reported

what he had discovered. The commissioner thought it little enough,

and shrugged his shoulders impatiently when the other had finished.



Muller noticed his chief's dissatisfaction and smiled at it. He

himself was quite content with what he bad found.



"Is that all?" murmured the commissioner, as if disappointed.



"That is all," repeated the detective calmly, and added, "That is

a good deal. We have here a closely written notebook, the contents

of which, judging by your excitement, are evidently important. We

have also a handkerchief with an unusual perfume on it. I repeat

that this is quite considerable. Besides this, we have the seals,

and we know several other things. I believe that we can save this

lady, of if it be too late, we can avenge her at least."



The commissioner looked at Muller in surprise. "We are in a city

of more than a million inhabitants," he said, almost timidly.



"I have hunted criminals in two hemispheres, and I have found them,"

said Muller simply. The young commissioner smiled and held out his

hand. "Ah, yes, Muller - I keep forgetting the great things you

have done. You are so quiet about it."



"What I have done is only what any one could do who has that

particular faculty. I do only what is in human power to do, and

the cleverest criminal can do no more. Besides which, we all know

that every criminal commits some stupidity, and leaves some trace

behind him. If it is really a crime which we have found the trace

of here, we will soon discover it." Muller's editorial "we" was a

matter of formality. He might with more truth have used the

singular pronoun.



"Very well, then, do what you can," said the commissioner with a

friendly smile.



The older man nodded, took the book and its wrappings from the

desk, and went into a small adjoining room.



The commissioner sent for an attendant and gave him the order to

fetch a pot of tea from a neighbouring saloon. When the tray

arrived, he placed several good cigars upon it, and sent it in to

Muller. Taking a cigar himself, the commissioner leaned back in

his sofa corner to think over this first interesting case of his

short professional experience. That it concerned a lady in distress

made it all the more romantic.



In his little room the detective, put in good humour by the

thoughtful attention of his chief, sat down to read the book

carefully. While he studied its contents his mind went back over

his search in the silent street outside.



He and Amster had hurried out into the raw chill of the night,

reaching the spot of the first discovery in about ten or fifteen

minutes. Muller found nothing new there. But he was able to

discover in which direction the carriage had been going. The hoof

marks of the single horse which had drawn it were still plainly to

be seen in the snow.



"Will you follow these tracks in the direction from which they have

come?" he asked of Amster. "Then meet me at the station and report

what you have seen."



"Very well, sir," answered the workman. The two men parted with a

hand shake.



Before Muller started on to follow up the tracks in the other

direction, he took up one of the larger pieces' of glass. "Cheap

glass," he said, looking at it carefully. "It was only a hired cab,

therefore, and a one-horse cab at that."



He walked on slowly, following the marks of the wheels. His eyes

searched the road from side to side, looking for any other signs

that might have been left by the hand which had thrown the package

out of the window. The snow, which had been falling softly thus far,

began to come down in heavier flakes, and Muller quickened his pace.

The tracks would soon be covered, but they could still be plainly

seen. They led out into the open country, but when the first little

hill had been climbed a drift heaped itself up, cutting off the

trail completely.



Muller stood on the top of this knoll at a spot where the street

divided. Towards the right it led down into a factory suburb;

towards the left the road led on to a residence colony, and straight

ahead the way was open, between fields, pastures and farms, over

moors, to another town of considerable size lying beside a river.

Muller knew all this, but his knowledge of the locality was of

little avail, for all traces of the carriage wheels were lost.



He followed each one of the streets for a little distance, but to

no purpose. The wind blew the snow up in such heaps that it was

quite impossible to follow any trail under such conditions.



With an expression of impatience Muller gave up his search and

turned to go back again. He was hoping that Amster might have

had better luck. It was not possible to find the goal towards

which the wagon had taken its prisoner - if prisoner she was - as

soon as they had hoped. Perhaps the search must be made in the

direction from which she had been brought.



Muller turned back towards the city again. He walked more quickly

now, but his eyes took in everything to the right and to the left

of his path. Near the place where the street divided a bush waved

its bare twigs in the wind. The snow which had settled upon it

early in the day had been blown away by the freshening wind, and

just as Muller neared the bush he saw something white fluttering

from one twig. It was a handkerchief, which had probably hung

heavy and lifeless when he had passed that way before. Now when

the wind held it out straight, he saw it at once. He loosened it

carefully from the thorny twigs. A delicate and rather unusual

perfume wafted up to his face. There was more of the odour on the

little cloth than is commonly used by people of good taste. And

yet this handkerchief was far too fine and delicate in texture to

belong to the sort of people who habitually passed along this

street. It must have something to do with the mysterious carriage.

It was still quite dry, and in spite of the fact that the wind had

been playing with it, it had been but slightly torn. It could

therefore have been in that position for a short time only. At

the nearest lantern Muller saw that the monogram on the handkerchief

was the same in style and initials as that on the notebook. It was

the letters A. L.









CHAPTER II



THE STORY OF THE NOTEBOOK





It was warm and comfortable in the little room where Muller sat.

He closed the windows, lit the gas, took off his overcoat - Muller

was a pedantically careful person - smoothed his hair and sat down

comfortably at the table. Just as he took up the little book, the

attendant brought the tea, which he proceeded at once to enjoy. He

did not take up his little book again until he had lit himself a

cigar. He looked at the cover of the dainty little notebook for

many minutes before he opened it. It was a couple of inches long,

of the usual form, and had a cover of brown leather. In the left

upper corner were the letters A. L. in gold. The leaves of the

book, about fifty in all, were of a fine quality of paper and

covered with close writing. On the first leaves the writing was

fine and delicate, calm and orderly, but later on it was irregular

and uncertain, as if penned by a trembling hand under stress of

terror. This change came in the leaves of the book which followed

the strange and terrible title, "How I was murdered."



Before Muller began to read he felt the covers of the book carefully.

In one of them there was a tiny pocket, in which he found a little

piece of wall paper of a noticeable and distinctly ugly pattern.

The paper had a dark blue ground with clumsy lines of gold on it.

In the pocket he found also a tramway ticket, which had been crushed

and then carefully smoothed out again. After looking at these

papers, Muller replaced them in the cover of the notebook. The book

itself was strongly perfumed with the same odour which had exhaled

from the handkerchief.



The detective did not begin his reading in that part of the book

which followed the mysterious title, as the commissioner had done.

He began instead at the very first words.



"Ah! she is still young," he murmured, when he had read the first

lines. "Young, in easy circumstances, happy and contented."



These first pages told of pleasure trips, of visits from and to good

friends, of many little events of every-day life. Then came some

accounts, written in pencil, of shopping expeditions to the city.

Costly laces and jewels had been bought, and linen garments for

children by the dozen. "She is rich, generous, and charitable,"

thought the detective, for the book showed that the considerable

sums which had been spent here had not been for the writer herself.

The laces bore the mark, "For our church"; behind the account for

the linen stood the words, "For the charity school."



Muller began to feel a strong sympathy for the writer of these

notices. She showed an orderly, almost pedantic, character,

mingled with generosity of heart. He turned leaf after leaf until

he finally came to the words, written in intentionally heavy letters,

"How I was murdered."





Muller's head sank down lower over these mysterious words, and his

eyes flew through the writing that followed. It was quite a

different writing here. The hand that penned these words must have

trembled in deadly terror. Was it terror of coming death, foreseen

and not to be escaped? or was it the trembling and the terror of an

overthrown brain? It was undoubtedly, in spite of the difference,

the same hand that had penned the first pages of the book. A few

characteristic turns of the writing were plainly to be seen in both

parts of the story. But the ink was quite different also. The

first pages had been written with a delicate violet ink, the later

leaves were penned with a black ink of uneven quality, of the kind

used by poor people who write very seldom. The words of this later

portion of the book were blurred in many places, as if the writer

had not been able to dry them properly before she turned the leaves.

She therefore had had neither blotting paper nor sand at her disposal.



And then the weird title!



Was it written at the dictation of insanity? or did A. L. know,

while she wrote it, that it was too late for any help to reach her?

Did she see her doom approaching so clearly that she knew there was

no escape?



Muller breathed a deep breath before he continued his reading.

Later on his breath came more quickly still, and he clinched his

fist several times, as if deeply moved. He was not a cold man,

only thoroughly self-controlled. In his breast there lived an

unquenchable hatred of all evil. It was this that awakened the

talents which made him the celebrated detective he had become.



"I fear that it will be impossible for any one to save me now, but

perhaps I may be avenged. Therefore I will write down here all

that has happened to me since I set out on my journey." These were

the first words that were written under the mysterious title. Muller

had just read them when the commissioner entered.



"Will you speak to Amster; he has just returned?" he asked.



Muller rose at once. "Certainly. Did you telegraph to all the

railway stations?"



"Yes," answered the commissioner, "and also to the other police

stations."



"And to the hospitals? - asylums?"



"No, I did not do that." Commissioner von Mayringen blushed, a

blush that was as becoming to him as was his frank acknowledgment

of his mistake. He went out to remedy it at once, while Muller

heard Amster's short and not particularly important report. The

workingman was evidently shivering, and the detective handed him a

glass of tea with a good portion of rum in it.



"Here, drink this; you are cold. Are you ill?" Amster smiled sadly.

"No, I am not ill, but I was discharged to-day and am out of work

now - that's almost as bad."



"Are you married?"



"No, but I have an old mother to support."



"Leave your address with the commissioner. He may be able to find

work for you; we can always use good men here. But now drink your

tea." Amster drank the glass in one gulp. "Well, now we have lost

the trail in both directions," said Muller calmly. "But we will

find it again. You can help, as you are free now anyway. If you

have the talent for that sort of thing, you may find permanent work

here."



A gesture and a look from the workingman showed the detective that

the former did not think very highly of such occupation. Muller

laid his hand on the other's shoulder and said gravely: "You wouldn't

care to take service with us? This sort of thing doesn't rate very

high, I know. But I tell you that if we have our hearts in the right

place, and our brains are worth anything, we are of more good to

humanity than many an honest citizen who wouldn't shake hands with us.

There - and now I am busy. Goodnight."



With these words Muller pushed the astonished man out of the room,

shut the door, and sat down again with his little book. This is

what he read:



"Wednesday - is it Wednesday? They brought me a newspaper to-day

which had the date of Wednesday, the 20th of November. The ink

still smells fresh, but it is so damp here, the paper may have

been older. I do not know surely on what day it is that I begin

to write this narrative. I do not know either whether I may not

have been ill for days and weeks; I do not know what may have been

the matter with me - I know only that I was unconscious, and that

when I came to myself again, I was here in this gloomy room. Did

any physician see me? I have seen no one until to-day except the

old woman, whose name I do not know and who has so little to say.

She is kind to me otherwise, but I am afraid of her hard face and

of the smile with which she answers all my questions and entreaties.

"You are ill." These are the only words that she has ever said

to me, and she pointed to her forehead as she spoke them. She

thinks I am insane, therefore, or pretends to think so.



"What a hoarse voice she has. She must be ill herself, for she

coughs all night long. I can hear it through the wall - she sleeps

in the next room. But I am not ill, that is I am not ill in the

way she says. I have no fever now, my pulse is calm and regular.

I can remember everything, until I took that drink of tea in the

railway station. What could there have been in that tea? I suppose

I should have noticed how anxious my travelling companion was to have

me drink it.



"Who could the man have been? He was so polite, so fatherly in his

anxiety about me. I have not seen him since then. And yet I feel

that it is he who has brought me into this trap, a trap from which

I may never escape alive. I will describe him. He is very tall,

stout and blond, and wears a long heavy beard, which is slightly

mixed with grey. On his right cheek his beard only partly hides a

long scar. His eyes are hidden by large smoked glasses. His voice

is low and gentle, his manners most correct - except for his giving

people poison or whatever else it was in that tea.



"I did not suffer any - at least I do not remember anything except

becoming unconscious. And I seem to have felt a pain like an iron

ring around my head. But I am not insane, and this fear that I feel

does not spring from my imagination, but from the real danger by

which I am surrounded. I am very hungry, but I do not dare to eat

anything except eggs, which cannot be tampered with. I tasted some

soup yesterday, and it seemed to me that it had a queer taste. I

will eat nothing that is at all suspicious. I will be in my full

senses when my murderers come; they shall not kill me by poison at

least.



"When I came to my senses again - it was the evening of the day

before yesterday - I found a letter on the little table beside my

bed. It was written in French, in a handwriting that I had never

seen before, and there was no signature.



"This strange letter demanded of me that I should write to my

guardian, calmly and clearly, to say that for reasons which I did

not intend to reveal, I had taken my own life. If I did this my

present place of sojourn would be exchanged for a far more agreeable

one, and I would soon be quite free. But if I did not do it, I

would actually be put to death. A pen, ink and paper were ready

there for the answer.



Never, I wrote. And then despair came over me, and I may have

indeed appeared insane. The old woman came in. I entreated and

implored her to tell me why this dreadful fate should have overtaken

me. She remained quite indifferent and I sank back, almost fainting,

on the bed. She laid a moist cloth over my face, a cloth that had

a peculiar odour. I soon fell asleep. It seemed to me that there

was some one else besides the woman in the room with me. Or was

she talking to herself? Next morning the letter and my answer had

disappeared. "It was as I thought; there was some one else in my

room. Some one who had come on the tramway. I found the ticket on

the carpet beside my bed. I took it and put it in my notebook -



"I believe that it is Sunday to-day. It is four days now since I

have been conscious. The first sound that I remember hearing was

the blast of a horn. It must come from a factory very near me.

The old windows in my room rattle at the sound. I hear it mornings

and evenings and at noon, on week days. I did not hear it to-day,

so it must be Sunday. It was Monday, the 18th of November, that

I set out on my trip, and reached here in the evening - (here?

I do not know where I am), that is, I set out for Vienna, and I know

that I reached the Northern Railway station there in safety.



"I was cold and felt a little faint - and then he offered me the

tea - and what happened after that? Where am I? The paper that

they gave me may have been a day or two old or more. And to-day is

Sunday - is it the first Sunday since my departure from home? I do

not know. I know only this, that I set out on the 18th of November

to visit my kind old guardian, and to have a last consultation with

him before my coming of age. And I know also that I have fallen

into the hands of some one who has an interest in my disappearance.



"There is some one in the next room with the old woman. I hear a

man s voice and they are quarrelling. They are talking of me. He

wants her to do something which she will not do. He commands her

to go away, but she refuses. What does he mean to do? I do not

want her to leave me alone. I do not hate her any more; I know

that she is not bad. When I listened I heard her speaking of me as

of an insane person. She really believes that I am ill. When the

man went away he must have been angry. He stamped down the stairs

until the steps creaked under his tread: I know it is a wooden

staircase therefore.



"I am safe from him to-day, but I am really ill of fright. Am I

really insane? There is one thing that I have forgotten to write

down. When I first came to myself I found a bit of paper beside me

on which was written, 'Beware of calling in help from outside. One

scream will mean death to you.' It was written in French like the

letter. Why? Was it because the old woman could not read it? She

knew of the piece of paper, for she took it away from me. It

frightens me that I should have forgotten to write this down. Am

I really ill? If I am not yet ill, this terrible solitude will make

me so.



"What a gloomy room this is, this prison of mine. And such a strange

ugly wall-paper. I tore off a tiny bit of it and hid it in this

little book. Some one may find it some day and may discover from it

this place where I am suffering, and where I shall die, perhaps.

There cannot be many who would buy such a pattern, and it must be

possible to find the factory where it was made. And I will also

write down here what I can see from my barred window. Far down

below me there is a rusty tin roof, it looks like as if it might

belong to a sort of shed. In front and to the right there are

windowless walls; to the left, at a little distance, I can see a

slender church spire, greenish in colour, probably covered with

copper, and before the church there are two poplar trees of

different heights.



"Another day has passed, a day of torturing fear! Am I really

insane? I know that I see queer things. This morning I looked

towards the window and I saw a parrot sitting there! I saw it quite

plainly. It ruffled up its red and green feathers and stared at me.

I stared back at it and suddenly it was gone. I shivered. Finally

I pulled myself together and went to the window. There was no bird

outside nor was there a trace of any in the snow on the window sill.

Could the wind have blown away the tracks so soon, or was it really

my sick brain that appeared to see this tropical bird in the midst

of the snow? It is Tuesday to-day; from now on I will carefully

count the days - the days that still remain to me.



"This morning I asked the old woman about the parrot. She only

smiled and her smile made me terribly afraid. The thought that this

thing which is happening to me, this thing that I took to be a crime,

may be only a necessity - the thought fills me with horror! Am I in

a prison? or is this the cell of an insane asylum? Am I the victim

of a villain? or am I really mad? My pulse is quickening, but my

memory is quite clear; I can look back over every incident in my life.



"She has just taken away my food. I asked her to bring me only eggs

as I was afraid of everything else. She promised that she would do it.



"Are they looking for me? My guardian is Theodore Fellner, Cathedral

Lane, 14. My own name is Asta Langen.



"They took away my travelling bag, but they did not find this little

book and the tiny bottle of perfume which I had in the pocket of my

dress. And I found this old pen and a little ink in a drawer of the

writing table in my room.



"Wednesday. The stranger was here again to-day. I recognised his

soft voice. He spoke to the woman in the hall outside my room. I

listened, but I could catch only a few words. 'To-morrow evening

- I will come myself - no responsibility for you.' Were these words

meant for me? Are they going to take me away? Where will they take

me? Then they do not dare to kill me here? My head is burning hot.

I have not dared to drink a drop of liquid for four days. I dare

not take anything into which they might have put some drug or some

poison.



"Who could have such an interest in my death? It cannot be because

of the fortune which is to be mine when I come of age; for if I die,

my father has willed it to various charitable institutions. I have

no relatives, at least none who could inherit my money. I had never

harmed any one; who can wish for my death?



"There is somebody with her, somebody was listening at the door.

I have a feeling as if I was being watched. And yet - I examined

the door, but there is no crack anywhere and the key is in the lock.

Still I seem to feel a burning glance resting on me. Ah! the

parrot! is this another delusion? Oh God, let it end soon! I am

not yet quite insane, but all these unknown dangers around me will

drive me mad. I must fight against them.



"Thursday. They brought me back my travelling bag. My attendant

is uneasy. She was longer in cleaning up the room than usual to-day.

She seemed to want to say something to me, and yet she did not dare

to speak. Is something to happen to-day then? I did not close my

eyes all night. Can one be made insane from a distance? hypnotised

into it, as it were? I will not allow fear alone to make me mad.

My enemy shall not find it too easy. He may kill my body, but that

is all - "



These were the last words which Asta Langen had written in her

notebook, the little book which was the only confidant of her

terrible need. When the detective had finished reading it, he closed

his eyes for a few minutes to let the impression made by the story

sink into his mind.



Then he rose and put on his overcoat. He entered the commissioner's

room and took up his hat and cane.



"Where are you going, Muller?" asked Herr Von Mayringen.



"To Cathedral Lane, if you will permit it."



"At this hour? it is quarter past eleven! Is there any such hurry,

do you think? There is no train from any of our stations until

morning. And I have already sent a policeman to watch the house.

Besides, I know that Fellner is a highly respected man.



"There is many a man who is highly respected until he is found out,"

remarked the detective.



"And you are going to find out about Fellner?" smiled the

commissioner. "And this evening, too?"



"This very evening. If he is asleep I shall wake him up. That is

the best time to get at the truth about a man.



The commissioner sat down at his desk and wrote out the necessary

credentials for the detective. A few moments later Muller was in

the street. He left the notebook with the commissioner. It was

snowing heavily, and an icy north wind was howling through the

streets. Muller turned up the collar of his coat and walked on

quickly. It was just striking a quarter to twelve when he reached

Cathedral Lane. As he walked slowly along the moonlit side of the

pavement, a man stepped out of the shadow to meet him. It was the

policeman who had been sent to watch the house. Like Muller, he

wore plain clothes.



"Well?" the latter asked.



"Nothing new. Mr. Fellner has been ill in bed several days, quite

seriously ill, they tell me. The janitor seems very fond of him.



"Hm - we'll see what sort of a man he is. You can go back to the

station now, you must be nearly frozen standing here."



Muller looked carefully at the house which bore the number 14. It

was a handsome, old-fashioned building, a true patrician mansion

which looked worthy of all confidence. But Muller knew that the

outside of a house has very little to do with the honesty of the

people who live in it. He rang the bell carefully, as he wished no

one but the janitor to hear him.



The latter did not seem at all surprised to find a stranger asking

for the owner of the house at so late an hour. "You come with a

telegram, I suppose? Come right up stairs then, I have orders to

let you in."



These were the words with which the old janitor greeted Muller. The

detective could see from this that Mr. Theodore Fellner's conscience

must be perfectly clear. The expected telegram probably had

something to do with the non-appearance of Asta Langen, of whose

terrible fate her guardian evidently as yet knew nothing. The

janitor knocked on one of the doors, which was opened in a few

moments by an old woman.



"Is it the telegram?" she asked sleepily.



"Yes" said the janitor.



"No," said Muller, "but I want to speak to Mr. Fellner."



The two old people stared at him in surprise.



"To speak to him?" said the woman, and shook her head as if in doubt.

"Is it about Miss Langen?"



"Yes, please wake him."



"But he is ill, and the doctor - "



"Please wake him up. I will take the responsibility."



"But who are you?" asked the janitor.



Muller smiled a little at this belated caution on the part of the

old man, and answered. "I will tell Mr. Fellner who I am. But

please announce me at once. It concerns the young lady." His

expression was so grave that the woman waited no longer, but let

him in and then disappeared through another door. The janitor stood

and looked at Muller with half distrustful, half anxious glances.



"It's no good news you bring," he said after a few minutes.



"You may be right."



"Has anything happened to our dear young lady?"



"Then you know Miss Asta Langen and her family?"



"Why, of course. I was in service on the estate when all the

dreadful things happened."



"What things?"



"Why the divorce - and - but you are a stranger and I shouldn't

talk about these family affairs to you. You had better tell me what

has happened to our young lady."



"I must tell that to your master first."



The woman came back at this moment and said to Muller, "Come with

me, please. Berner, you are to stay here until the gentleman goes

out again."



Muller followed her through several rooms into a large bed-chamber

where he found an elderly man, very evidently ill, lying in bed.



"Who are you?" asked the sick man, raising his head from the pillow.

The woman had gone out and closed the door behind her.



"My name is Muller, police detective. Here are my credentials."



Fellner glanced hastily at the paper. "Why does the police send

to me?"



"It concerns your ward."



Fellner sat upright in bed now. He leaned over towards his visitor

as he said, pointing to a letter on the table beside his bed, "Asta's

overseer writes me from her estate that she left home on the 18th of

November to visit me. She should have reached here on the evening

of the 18th, and she has not arrived yet. I did not receive this

letter until to-day."



"Did you expect the young lady?"



"I knew only that she would arrive sometime before the third of

December. That date is her twenty-fourth birthday and she was to

celebrate it here."



"Did she not usually announce her coming to you?"



"No, she liked to surprise me. Three days ago I sent her a telegram

asking her to bring certain necessary papers with her. This brought

the answer from the overseer of her estate, an answer which has

caused me great anxiety. Your coming makes it worse, for I fear -"

The sick man broke off and turned his eyes on Muller; eyes so full

of fear and grief that the detective's heart grew soft. He felt

Fellner's icy hand on his as the sick man murmured: "Tell me the

truth! Is Asta dead?"



The detective shrugged his shoulders. "We do not know yet. She

was alive and able to send a message at half past eight this evening."



"A message? To whom?"



"To the nearest police station." Muller told the story as it had

come to him.



The old man listened with an expression of such utter dazed terror

that the detective dropped all suspicion of him at once.



"What a terrible riddle," stammered the sick man as the other

finished the story.



"Would you answer me several questions?" asked Muller. The old

gentleman answered quickly, "Any one, every one."



"Miss Langen is rich?"



"She has a fortune of over three hundred thousand guldens, and

considerable land."



"Has she any relatives?"



"No," replied Fellner harshly. But a thought must have flashed

through his brain for he started suddenly and murmured, "Yes, she

has one relative, a step-brother."



The detective gave an exclamation of surprise.



"Why are you astonished at this?" asked Fellner.



"According to her notebook, the young lady does not seem to know of

this step-brother."



"She does not know, sir. There was an ugly scandal in her family

before her birth. Her father turned his first wife and their son

out of his house on one and the same day. He had discovered that

she was deceiving him, and also that her son, who was studying

medicine at the time, had stolen money from his safe. What he had

discovered about his wife made Langen doubt whether the boy was his

son at all. There was a terrible scene, and the two disappeared

from their home forever. The woman died soon after. The young man

went to Australia. He has never been heard of since and has probably

come to no good."



"Might he not possibly be here in Europe again, watching for an

opportunity to make a fortune?"



Fellner's hand grasped that of his visitor. The eyes of the two men

gazed steadily at each other. The old man's glance was full of

sudden helpless horror, the detective's eyes shone brilliantly.

Muller spoke calmly: "This is one clue. Is there no one else who

could have an interest in the young lady's death?"



"No one but Egon Langen, if he bear this name by right, and if he

is still alive."



"How old would he be now?"



"He must be nearly forty. It was many years before Langen married

again."



"Do you know him personally?"



"Have you a picture of Miss Langen?"



Fellner rang a bell and Berner appeared. "Give this gentleman Miss

Asta's picture. Take the one in the silver frame on my desk"; the

old gentleman's voice was friendly but faint with fatigue. His old

servant looked at him in deep anxiety. Fellner smiled weakly and

nodded to the man. "Sad news, Berner! Sad news and bad news. Our

poor Asta is being held a prisoner by some unknown villain who

threatens her with death."



"My God, is it possible? Can't we help the poor young lady?"



"We will try to help her, or if it is - too late, we will at least

avenge her. My entire fortune shall be given up for it. But bring

her picture now."



Berner brought the picture of a very pretty girl with a bright

intelligent face. Muller took the picture out of the frame and put

it in his pocket.



"You will come again? soon? And remember, I will give ten thousand

guldens to the man who saves Asta, or avenges her. Tell the police

to spare no expense - I will go to headquarters myself to-morrow."



Fellner was a little surprised that Muller, although he had already

taken up his hat, did not go. The sick man had seen the light flash

up in the eyes of the other as he named the sum. He thought he

understood this excitement, but it touched him unpleasantly and he

sank back, almost frightened, in his cushions as the detective bent

over him with the words "Good. Do not forget your promise, for I

will save Miss Langen or avenge her. But I do not want the money

for myself. It is to go to those who have been unjustly convicted

and thus ruined for life. It may give the one or the other of them

a better chance for the future."



"And you? what good do you get from that?" asked the old gentleman,

astonished. A soft smile illumined the detective's plain features

and he answered gently, "I know then that there will be some poor

fellow who will have an easier time of it than I have had."



He nodded to Fellner, who had already grasped his hand and pressed

it hard. A tear ran down his grey beard, and long after Muller had

gone the old gentleman lay pondering over his last words.



Berner led the visitor to the door. As he was opening it, Muller

asked: "Has Egon Langen a bad scar on his right cheek?"



Berner's eyes looked his astonishment. How did the stranger know

this? And how did he come to mention this forgotten name.



"Yes, he has, but how did you know it?" he murmured in surprise.

He received no answer, for Muller was already walking quickly down

the street. The old man stared after him for some few minutes,

then suddenly his knees began to tremble. He closed the door with

difficulty, and sank down on a bench beside it. The wind had blown

out the light of his lantern; Berner was sitting in the dark

without knowing it, for a sudden terrible light had burst upon his

soul, burst upon it so sharply that he hid his eyes with his hands,

and his old lips murmured, "Horrible! Horrible! The brother

against the sister."



The next morning was clear and bright. Muller was up early, for he

had taken but a few hours sleep in one of the rooms of the station,

before he set out into the cold winter morning. At the next corner

he found Amster waiting for him. "What are you doing here?" he

asked in astonishment.



I have been thinking over what you said to me yesterday. Your

profession is as good and perhaps better than many another."



"And you come out here so early to tell me that?"



Amster smiled. "I have something else to say."



"Well?"



"The commissioner asked me yesterday if I knew of a church in the

city that had a slender spire with a green top and two poplars in

front of it."



Muller looked his interest.



"I thought it might possibly be the Convent Church of the Grey

Sisters, but I wasn't quite sure, so I went there an hour ago. It's

all right, just as I thought. And I suppose it has something to do

with the case of last night, so I thought I had better report at

once. I was on my way to the station."



"That will do very well. You have saved us much time and you have

shown that you are eminently fitted for this business."



"If you really will try me, then - "



"We'll see. You can begin on this. Come to the church with me now."

Muller was no talker, particularly not when, as now, his brain was

busy on a problem.



The two men walked on quickly. In about half an hour they found

themselves in a little square in the middle of which stood an old

church. In front of the church, like giant sentinels, stood a pair

of tall poplars. One of them looked sickly and was a good deal

shorter than its neighbour. Muller nodded as if content.



"Is this the church the commissioner was talking about?" queried

Amster.



"It is," was the answer. Muller walked on toward a little house

built up against the church, which was evidently the dwelling of

the sexton.



The detective introduced himself to this official, who did not look

over-intelligent, as a stranger in the city who had been told that

the view from the tower of the church was particularly interesting.

A bright silver piece banished all distrust from the soul of the

worthy man. With great friendliness he inquired when the gentlemen

would like to ascend the tower. "At once," was the answer.



The sexton took a bunch of keys and told the strangers to follow

him. A few moments later Muller and his companion stood in the

tiny belfry room of the slender spire. The fat sexton, to his own

great satisfaction, had yielded to their request not to undertake

the steep ascent. The cloudless sky lay crystal clear over the

still sleeping city and the wide spread snow-covered fields which

lay close at hand, beyond the church. On the one side were gardens

and the low rambling buildings of the convent, and on the other

were huddled high-piled dwellings of poverty.



Muller looked out of each of the four windows in turn. He spent

some time at each window, but evidently without discovering what he

looked for, for he shook his head in discontent. But when he went

once more to the opening in the East, into which the sun was just

beginning to pour its light, something seemed to attract his

attention. He called Amster and pointed from the window. "Your

eyes are younger than mine, lend them to me. What do you see over

there to the right, below the tall factory chimney?" Muller's voice

was calm, but there was something in his manner that revealed

excitement. Amster caught the infection without knowing why. He

looked sharply in the direction towards which Muller pointed, and

began: "There is a tall house near the chimney, to the right of it,

one wall touching it. The house is crowded in between other newer

buildings, and looks to be very old and of a much better sort than

its neighbours. The other houses are plain stone, but this house

has carvings and statues on it, which are white with snow. But the

house is in bad condition, one can see cracks in the wall."



"And its windows?"



"I cannot see them. They must be on the other side of the house,

towards the courtyard which seems to be hemmed in by the blank

walls of the other houses."



"And at the front of the house?"



"There is a low wall in front which shuts off the courtyard from a

narrow, ill-kept street."



" Yes, I see it myself now. The street is bordered mainly by

gardens and vacant lots."



"Yes, sir, that is it." Muller nodded as if satisfied. Amster

looked at him in surprise, still more surprised, however, at the

excitement he felt himself. He did not understand it, but Muller

understood it. He knew that he had found in Amster a talent akin

to his own, one of those natures who once having taken up a trail

cannot rest until they reach their goal. He looked for a few

moments in satisfaction at the assistant he had found by such

chance, then he turned and hastened down the stairs again.



"We're going to that house?" asked Amster when they were down in

the street. Muller nodded.



Without hesitation the two men made their way through a tangle of

dingy, uninteresting alleys, between modem tenements, until about

ten minutes later they stood before an old three-storied building,

which had a frontage of four windows on the street. "This is our

place," said the detective, looking up at the tall, handsome

gateway and the rococo carvings that ornamented the front of this

decaying dwelling. It was very evidently of a different age and

class from those about it.



Muller had already raised his hand to pull the bell, when he stopped

and let it sink again. His eye caught sight of a placard pasted up

on the wall of the next house, and already half torn off by the wind.

The detective walked over, and raising the placard with his cane,

read the words on it. "That's right," he said to himself. Amster

gave a look on the paper. But he could not connect the contents of

the notice with the case of the kidnapped lady, and he shook his

head in surprise when Muller turned to him with the words: "The lady

we are looking for is not insane." On the paper was announced in

large letters that a reward would be offered to the finder of a red

and green parrot which had escaped from a neighbouring house.



Muller rang the bell and they had to wait some few minutes before

the door opened with great creakings, and the towsled head of an

old woman peered out.





"What do you want?" she asked hoarsely, with distrustful looks.



"Let us in, and then give us the keys of the upstairs rooms."

Muller's voice was friendly, but the woman grew perceptibly paler.



"Who are you?" she stammered. Muller threw back his overcoat and

showed her his badge. "But there is nobody here, the house is

quite empty."



"There were a lady and gentleman here last evening." The woman

threw a frightened look at Muller, then she said hesitatingly:

"The lady was insane and has been taken to an asylum."



"That is what the man told you. He is a criminal and the police are

looking for him."



"Come with me," murmured the woman. She seemed to understand that

further resistance was useless. She carefully locked the outside

door. Amster remained down stairs in the corridor, while Muller

followed the old woman up the stairs. The staircase to the third

story was made of wood. The house was evidently very old, with

low ceilings and many dark corners.



The woman led Muller into the room in which she had cared for the

strange lady at the order of the latter's "husband." He had told

her that it was only until he could take the lady to an asylum. One

look at the wall paper, a glance out of the window, and Muller knew

that this was where Asta Langen had been imprisoned. He sat down

on a chair and looked at the woman, who stood frightened before him.



"Do you know where they have taken the lady?"



"No, sir.



"Do you know the gentleman's name?"



"No, sir.



"You did not send the lady's name to the authorities?" *



"No, sir.





* Any stranger taking rooms in a hotel or lodging house must

be registered with the police authorities by the proprietor of the

house within forty-eight hours of arrival.





"Were you not afraid you would get into trouble?"



The gentleman paid me well, and I did not think that he meant

anything bad, and - and - "



"And you did not think that it would be found out?" said Muller

sternly.





"I took good care of the lady."



"Yes, we know that."



"Did she escape from her husband?"



"He was not her husband. But now tell me all you know about these

people; the more truthful you are the better it will be for you."



The old woman was so frightened that she could scarcely find

strength to talk. When she finally got control of herself again

she began: "He came here on the first of November and rented this

room for himself. But he was here only twice before he brought the

lady and left her alone here. She was very ill when he brought her

here - so ill that he had to carry her upstairs. I wanted to go

for a doctor, but he said he was a doctor himself, and that he could

take care of his wife, who often had such attacks. He gave me some

medicine for her after I had put her to bed. I gave her the drops,

but it was a long while before she came to herself again.



"Then he told me that she had lost her mind, and that she believed

everybody was trying to harm her. She was so bad that he was taking

her to an asylum. But he hadn't found quite the right place yet,

and wanted me to keep her here until he knew where he could take her.

Once he left a revolver here by mistake. But I hid it so the lady

wouldn't see it, and gave it to the gentleman the next time he

came. He was angry at that, though I couldn't see why, and said I

shouldn't have touched it."



The woman had told her story with much hesitation, and stopped

altogether at this point. She had evidently suddenly realised that

the lady was not insane, but only in great despair, and that people

in such a state will often seek death, particularly if any weapon

is left conveniently within their reach.



"What did this gentleman look like?" asked Muller, to start her

talking again. She described her tenant as very tall and stout

with a long beard slightly mixed with grey. She had never seen

his eyes, for he wore smoked glasses.



"Did you notice anything peculiar about his face?"



"No, nothing except that his beard was ver heavy and almost covered

his face."



"Could you see his cheeks at all?"



"No, or else I didn't notice."



"Did he leave nothing that might enable us to find

him?"



"No, sir, nothing. Or yes, perhaps, but I don't suppose that will

be any good."



"What was it? What do you mean?"



"It gave him a good deal of trouble to get the lady into the wagon,

because she had fainted again. He lost his glove in doing it. I

have it down stairs in my room, for I sleep down stairs again since

the lady has gone."



Muller had risen from his chair and walked over to the old writing

desk which stood beside one window. There were several sheets of

ordinary brown paper on it and sharp pointed pencil and also

something not usually found on writing desks, a piece of bread from

which some of the inside had been taken. "Everything as I expected

it" he said to himself. "The young lady made up the package in the

last few moments that she was left alone here."



He turned again to the old woman and commanded her to lead him down

stairs. "What sort of a carriage was it in which they took the lady

away?" he asked as they went down.



"A closed coupe."



"Did you see the number?"



"No, sir. But the carriage was very shabby and so was the driver."



"Was he an old man?"



"He was about forty years old, but he looked like a man who drank.

He had a light-coloured overcoat on."



"Good. Is this your room?"



"Yes, sir."



They were now in the lower corridor, where they found Amster walking

up and down. The woman opened the door of the little room, and took

a glove from a cupboard. Muller put it in his pocket and told the

woman not to leave the house for anything, as she might be sent for

to come to the police station at any moment. Then he went out into

the street with Amster. When they were outside in the sunlight, he

looked at the glove. It was a remarkably small size, made for a

man with a slender, delicate hand, not at all in accordance with the

large stout body of the man described by the landlady. Muller put

his hand into the glove and found something pushed up into the

middle finger. He took it out and found that it was a crumpled

tramway ticket.



"Look out for a shabby old closed coupe, with a driver about forty

years old who looks like a drunkard and wears a light overcoat. If

you find such a cab, engage it and drive in it to the nearest police

station. Tell them there to hold the man until further notice. If

the cab is not free, at least take his number. And one thing more,

but you will know that yourself, - the cab we are looking for will

have new glass in the right-hand window." Thus Muller spoke to his

companion as he put the glove into his pocket and unfolded the

tramway ticket. Amster understood that they had found the starting

point of the drive of the night before.



"I will go to all coupe stands," he said eagerly.



"Yes, but we may be able to find it quicker than that." Muller took

the little notebook, which he was now carrying in his pocket, and

took from it the tramway ticket which was in the cover. He compared

it with the one he had just found. They were both marked for the

same hour of the day and for the same ride.



"Did the man use them?" asked Amster. The detective nodded. "How

can they help us?"



"Somewhere on this stretch of the street railroad you will probably

find the stand of the cab we are looking for. The man who hired it

evidently arrived on the 6:30 train at the West Station - I have

reason to believe that he does not live here, - and then took the

street car to this corner. The last ticket is marked for yesterday.

In the car he probably made his plans to hire a cab. So you had

better stay along the line of the car tracks. You will find me in

room seven, Police Headquarters, at noon to-day. The authorities

have already taken up the case. You may have something to tell us

then. Good luck to you."



Muller hurried on, after he had taken a quick breakfast in a little

cafe. He went at once to headquarters, made his report there and

then drove to Fellner's house. The latter was awaiting him with

great impatience. There the detective gathered much valuable

information about the first marriage of Asta Langen's long-dead

father. It was old Berner who could tell him the most about these

long-vanished days.



When he reached his office at headquarters again, he found telegrams

in great number awaiting him. They were from all the hospitals and

insane asylums in the entire district. But in none of them had

there been a patient fitting the description of the vanished girl.

Neither the commissioner nor Muller was surprised at this negative

result. They were also not surprised at all that the other branches

of the police department had been able to discover so little about

the disappearance of the young lady. They were aware that they

had to deal with a criminal of great ability who would be careful

not to fall into the usual slips made by his kind.



There was no news from the cab either, although several detectives

were out looking for it. It was almost nightfall when Amster ran

breathlessly into room number seven. "I have him! he's waiting

outside across the way!" This was Amster's report.



Muller threw on his coat hastily. "You didn't pay him, did you?

On a cold day like this the drivers don't like to wait long in any

one place."



"No danger. I haven't money enough for that," replied Amster with

a sad smile. Muller did not hear him as he was already outside.

But the commissioner with whom he had been talking and to whom

Muller had already spoken of his voluntary assistant, entered into

a conversation with Amster, and said to him finally: "I will take

it upon myself to guarantee your future, if you are ready to enter

the secret service under Muller's orders. If you wish to do this

you can stay right on now, for I think we will need you in this case."



Amster bowed in agreement. His life had been troubled, his

reputation darkened by no fault of his own, and the work he was

doing now had awakened, an interest and an ability that he did not

know he possessed. He was more than glad to accept the offer made

by the official.



Muller was already across the street and had laid his hand upon the

door of the cab when the driver turned to him and said crossly,

"Some one else has ordered me. But I am not going to wait in this

cold, get in if you want to."



"All right. Now tell me first where you drove to last evening with

the sick lady and her companion?" The man looked astonished but

found his tongue again in a moment. "And who are you?" he asked

calmly.



"We will tell you that upstairs in the police station," answered

Muller equally calmly, and ordered the man to drive through the

gateway into the inner courtyard. He himself got into the wagon,

and in the course of the short drive he had made a discovery. He

had found a tiny glass stopper, such as is used in perfume bottles.

He could understand from this why the odour of perfume which had

now become familiar to him was still so strong inside the old cab.

Also why it was so strong on the delicate handkerchief. Asta Langen

had taken the stopper from the bottle in her pocket, so as to leave

a trail of odour behind her.









CHAPTER THREE



THE LONELY COTTAGE





Fifteen minutes after the driver had made his report to Commissioner

Von Mayringen, the latter with Amster entered another cab. A

well-armed policeman mounted the box of this second vehicle. "Follow

that cab ahead," the commissioner told his driver. The second cab

followed the one-horse coupe in which Muller was seated. They drove

first to No. 14 Cathedral Lane, where Muller told Berner to come

with him. He found Mr. Fellner ready to go also, and it was with

great difficulty that he could dissuade the invalid, who was greatly

fatigued by his morning visit to the police station, from joining

them.



The carriages then drove off more quickly than before. It was now

quite dark, a gloomy stormy winter evening. Muller had taken his

place on the box of his cab and sat peering out into the darkness.

In spite of the sharp w





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