The Case Of The Registered Letter





"Oh, sir, save him if you can--save my poor nephew! I know he is

innocent!"



The little old lady sank back in her chair, gazing up at Commissioner

von Riedau with tear-dimmed eyes full of helpless appeal. The

commissioner looked thoughtful. "But the case is in the hands of

the local authorities, Madam," he answered gently, a strain of pity

in his voice. "I don't exactly see how we could interfere."



"But they believe Albert guilty! They haven't given him a chance!"



"He cannot be sentenced without sufficient proof of his guilt."



"But the trial, the horrible trial--it will kill him--his heart

is weak. I thought--I thought you might send some one--some one

of your detectives--to find out the truth of the case. You must

have the best people here in Vienna. Oh, my poor Albert--"



Her voice died away in a suppressed sob, and she covered her face

to keep back the tears.



The commissioner pressed a bell on his desk. "Is Detective Joseph

Muller anywhere about the building?" he asked of the attendant who

appeared at the door.



"I think he is, sir. I saw him come in not long ago."



"Ask him to come up to this room. Say I would like to speak to him."

The attendant went out.



"I have sent for one of the best men on our force, Madam," continued

the commissioner, turning back to the pathetic little figure in the

chair. "We will go into this matter a little more in detail and see

if it is possible for us to interfere with the work of the local,

authorities in G--."



The little old lady gave her eyes a last hasty dab with a dainty

handkerchief and raised her head again, fighting for self-control.

She was a quaint little figure, with soft grey hair drawn back

smoothly from a gentle-featured face in which each wrinkle seemed

the seal of some loving thought for others. Her bonnet and gown

were of excellent material in delicate soft colours, but cut in the

style of an earlier decade. The capable lines of her thin little

hands showed through the fabric of her grey gloves. Her whole

attitude bore the impress of one who had adventured far beyond the

customary routine of her home circle, adventured out into the world

in fear and trembling, impelled by the stress of a great love.



A knock was heard at the door, and a small, slight man, with a kind,

smooth-shaven face, entered at the commissioner's call. "You sent

for me, sir?" he asked.



"Yes, Muller, there is a matter here in which I need your advice,

your assistance, perhaps. This is Detective Muller, Miss--" (the

commissioner picked up the card on his desk) "Miss Graumann. If

you will tell us now, more in detail, all that you can tell us about

this case, we may be able to help you."



"Oh, if you would," murmured Miss Graumann, with something more of

hope in her voice. The expression of sympathetic interest on the

face of the newcomer had already won her confidence for him. Her

slight figure straightened up in the chair, and the two men sat down

opposite her, prepared to listen to her story.



"I will tell you all I know and understand about this matter,

gentlemen," she began. "My name is Babette Graumann, and I live

with my nephew, Albert Graumann, engineering expert, in the village

of Grunau, which is not far from the city of G--. My nephew Albert,

the dearest, truest--" sobs threatened to overcome her again, but

she mastered them bravely. "Albert is now in prison, accused of

the murder of his friend, John Siders, in the latter's lodgings

in G--."



"Yes, that is the gist of what you have already told me," said the

commissioner. "Muller, Miss Graumann believes her nephew innocent,

contrary to the opinion of the local authorities in G--. She has

come to ask for some one from here who could ferret out the truth

of this matter. You are free now, and if we find that it can be

done without offending the local authorities--"



"Who is the commissioner in charge of the case in G--?" asked Muller.



"Commissioner Lange is his name, I believe," replied Miss Graumann.



"H'm!" Muller and the commissioner exchanged glances.



"I think we can venture to hear more of this," said the commissioner,

as if in answer to their unspoken thought. "Can you give us the

details now, Madam? Who is, or rather who was, this John Siders?"



"John Siders came to our village a little over a year ago," continued

Miss Graumann. "He came from Chicago; he told us, although he was

evidently a German by birth. He bought a nice little piece of

property, not far from our home, and settled down there. He was a

quiet man and made few friends, but he seemed to take to Albert and

came to see us frequently. Albert had spent some years in America,

in Chicago, and Siders liked to talk to him about things and people

there. But one day Siders suddenly sold his property and moved to G--.

Two weeks later he was found dead in his lodgings in the city,

murdered, and now--now they have accused Albert of the crime."



"On what grounds?--oh, I beg your pardon, sir; I did not mean--"



"That's all right, Muller," said the commissioner. "As you may

have to undertake the case, you might as well begin to do the

questioning now."



"They say"--Miss Graumann's voice quavered--"they say that Albert

was the last person known to have been in Siders' room; they say that

it was his revolver, found in the room. That is the dreadful part

of it--it was his revolver. He acknowledges it, but he did not

know, until the police showed it to him, that the weapon was not in

its usual place in his study. They tell me that everything speaks

for his guilt, but I cannot believe it--I cannot. He says he is

innocent in spite of everything. I believe him. I brought him up,

sir; I was like his own mother to him. He never knew any other

mother. He never lied to me, not once, when he was a little boy,

and I don't believe he'd lie to me now, now that he's a man of

forty-five. He says he did not kill John Siders. Oh, I know, even

without his saying it, that he would not do such a thing."



"Can you tell us anything more about the murder itself?" questioned

Muller gently. "Is there any possibility of suicide? Or was there

a robbery?"



"They say it was no suicide, sir, and that there was a large sum of

money missing. But why should Albert take any one else's money?

He has money of his own, and he earns a good income besides--we

have all that we need. Oh, it is some dreadful mistake! There is

the newspaper account of the discovery of the body. Perhaps Mr.

Muller might like to read that." She pointed to a sheet of newspaper

on the desk. The commissioner handed it to Muller. It was an

evening paper, dated G--, September 24th, and it gave an elaborate

account, in provincial journalese, of the discovery that morning of

the body of John Siders, evidently murdered, in his lodgings. The

main facts to be gathered from the long-winded story were as follows:



John Siders had rented the rooms in which he met his death about

ten days before, paying a month's rent in advance. The lodgings

consisted of two rooms in a little house in a quiet street. It was

a street of simple two-story, one and two family dwellings, occupied

by artisans and small tradespeople. There were many open spaces,

gardens and vacant lots in the street. The house in which Siders

lodged belonged to a travelling salesman by the name of Winter. The

man was away from home a great deal, and his wife, with her child

and an old servant, lived in the lower part of the house, while the

rooms occupied by Siders were in the upper story. Siders lived

very quietly, going out frequently in the afternoon, but returning

early in the evening. He had said to his landlady that he had many

friends in G--. But during the time of his stay in the house he had

had but one caller, a gentleman who came on the evening of the 23rd

of September. The old maid had opened the door for him and showed

him to Mr. Siders' rooms. She described this visitor as having a

full black beard, and wearing a broad-brimmed grey felt hat. Nobody

saw the man go out, for the old maid, the only person in the house

at the time, had retired early. Mrs. Winter and her little girl

were spending the night with the former's mother in a distant part

of the city. The next morning the old servant, taking the lodger's

coffee up to him at the usual hour, found him dead on the floor of

his sitting-room, shot through the heart. The woman ran screaming

from the house and alarmed the neighbours. A policeman at the

corner heard the noise, and led the crowd up to the room where the

dead man lay. It was plain to be seen that this was not a case of

suicide. Everywhere were signs of a terrible struggle. The

furniture was overturned, the dressing-table and the cupboard were

open and their contents scattered on the floor, one of the window

curtains was torn into strips, as if the victim had been trying to

escape by way of the window, but had been dragged back into the

room by his murderer. An overturned ink bottle on the table had

spattered wide, and added to the general confusion. In the midst

of the disorder lay the body of the murdered man, now cold in the

rigour of death.



The police commissioner arrived soon, took possession of the rooms,

and made a thorough examination of the premises. A letter found

on the desk gave another proof, if such were needed, that this was

not a case of suicide. This letter was in the handwriting of the

dead man, and read as follows:



Dear Friend:



I appreciate greatly all the kindness shown me by yourself and your

good wife. I have been more successful than I thought possible in

overcoming the obstacles you know of. Therefore, I shall be very

glad to join you day after to-morrow, Sunday, in the proposed

excursion. I will call for you at 8 A.M.--the cab and the

champagne will be my share of the trip. We'll have a jolly day

and drink a glass or two to our plans for the future.



With best greetings for both of you,

Your old friend,

John

G--, Friday, Sept. 23rd.



An envelope, not yet addressed, lay beside this letter. It was

clear that the man who penned these words had no thought of suicide.

On the contrary, he was looking forward to a day of pleasure in the

near future, and laying plans for the time to come. The murderer's

bullet had pierced a heart pulsing with the joy of life.



This was the gist of the account in the evening paper. Muller

read it through carefully, lingering over several points which

seemed to interest him particularly. Then he turned to Miss Babette

Graumann. "And then what happened?" he asked.



"Then the Police Commissioner came to Grunau and questioned my

nephew. They had found out that Albert was Mr. Siders' only friend

here. And late that evening the Mayor and the Commissioner came

to our house with the revolver they had found in the room in G--,

and they--they--" her voice trembled again, "they arrested my dear

boy and took him away."



"Have you visited him in prison? What does he say about it himself?"



"He seems quite hopeless. He says that he is innocent--oh, I know

he is--but everything is against him. He acknowledges that it was

he who was in Mr. Siders' room the evening before the murder. He

went there because Siders wrote him to come. He says he left early,

and that John acted queerly. He knows they will not believe his

story. This worry and anxiety will kill him. He has a serious heart

trouble; he has suffered from it for years, and it has been growing

steadily worse. I dare not think what this excitement may do for

him." Miss Graumann broke down again and sobbed aloud. Muller laid

his hands soothingly on the little old fingers that gripped the arm

of the chair.



"Did your nephew send you here to ask for help?" he inquired very

gently.



"Oh, no" The old lady looked up at him through her tears. "No, he

would not have done that. I'm afraid that he'll be angry if he

knows that I have come. He seemed so hopeless, so dazed. I just

couldn't stand it. It seemed to me that the police in G-- were

taking things for granted, and just sitting there waiting for an

innocent man to confess, instead of looking for the real murderer,

who may be gone, the Lord knows where, by now!" Miss Graumann's

faded cheeks flushed a delicate pink, and she straightened up in

her chair again, while her eyes snapped defiance through the tears

that hung on their lashes.



A faint gleam twinkled up in Muller's eyes, and he did not look at

his chief. Doctor von Riedau's own face glowed in a slowly mounting

flush, and his eyes drooped in a moment of conscious embarrassment

at some recollection, the sting of which was evidently made worse

by Muller's presence. But Commissioner von Riedau had brains enough

to acknowledge his mistakes and to learn from them. He looked across

the desk at Miss Graumann. "You are right, Madam, the police have

made that mistake more than once. And a man with a clear record

deserves the benefit of the doubt. We will take up this case.

Detective Muller will be put in charge of it. And that means, Madam,

that we are giving you the very best assistance the Imperial Police

Force affords."



Miss Babette Graumann did not attempt to speak. In a wave of

emotion she stretched out both little hands to the detective and

clasped his warmly. "Oh, thank you," she said at last. "I thank

you. He's just like my own boy to me; he's all the child I ever

had, you know."



"But there are difficulties in the way," continued the commissioner

in a business-like tone. "The local authorities in G-- have not

asked for our assistance, and we are taking up the case over their

heads, as it were. I shall have to leave that to Muller's diplomacy.

He will come to G-- and have an interview with your nephew. Then he

will have to use his own judgment as to the next steps, and as to

how far he may go in opposition to what has been done by the police

there."



"And then I may go back home?" asked Miss Graumann. "Go home with

the assurance that you will help my poor boy?"



"Yes, you may depend on us, Madam. Is there anything we can do for

you here? Are you alone in the city?"



"No, thank you. There is a friend here who will take care of me.

She will put me on the afternoon express back to G--."



"It is very likely that I will take that train myself," said Muller.

"If there is anything that you need on the journey, call on me."



"Oh, thank you, I will indeed! Thank you both, gentlemen. And now

good-bye, and God bless you!"



The commissioner bowed and Muller held the door open for Miss

Graumann to pass out. There was silence in the room, as the two men

looked after the quaint little figure slowly descending the stairs.



"A brave little woman," murmured the commissioner.



"It is not only the mother in the flesh who knows what a mother's

love is," added Muller.



Next morning Joseph Muller stood in the cell of the prison in G--

confronting Albert Graumann, accused of the murder of John Siders.



The detective had just come from a rather difficult interview with

Commissioner Lange. But the latter, though not a brilliant man, was

at least good-natured. He acknowledged the right of the accused and

his family to ask for outside assistance, and agreed with Muller

that it was better to have some one in the official service brought

in, rather than a private detective whose work, in its eventual

results, might bring shame on the police. Muller explained that

Miss Graumann did not want her nephew to know that it was she who

had asked for aid in his behalf, and that it could only redound to

his, Lange's, credit if it were understood that he had sent to

Vienna for expert assistance in this case. It would be a proof of

his conscientious attention to duty, and would insure praise for

him, whichever way the case turned out. Commissioner Lange saw the

force of this argument, and finally gave Muller permission to handle

the case as he thought best, rather relieved than otherwise for his

own part. The detective's next errand was to the prison, where he

now stood looking up into the deep-set, dark eyes of a tall,

broad-shouldered, black-bearded man, who had arisen from the cot at

his entrance. Albert Graumann had a strong, self-reliant face and

bearing. His natural expression was somewhat hard and stern, but it

was the expression of a man of integrity and responsibility. Muller

had already made some inquiries as to the prisoner's reputation and

business standing in the community, and all that he had heard was

favourable. A certain hardness and lack of amiability in Graumann's

nature made it difficult for him to win the hearts of others, but

although he was not generally loved, he was universally respected.

Through the signs of nagging fear, sorrow, and ill-health, printed

clearly on the face before him, Muller's keen eyes looked down into

the soul of a man who might be overbearing, pitiless even, if

occasion demanded, but who would not murder--at least not for the

sake of gain. This last possibility Muller had dismissed from

his mind, even before he saw the prisoner. The man's reputation

was sufficient to make the thought ridiculous. But he had not made

up his mind whether it might not be a case of a murder after a

quarrel. Now he began to doubt even this when he looked into the

intelligent, harsh-featured face of the man in the cell. But Muller

had the gift of putting aside his own convictions, when he wanted

his mind clear to consider evidence before him.



Graumann had risen from his sitting position when he saw a stranger.

His heavy brows drew down over his, eyes, but he waited for the

other to speak.



"I am Detective Joseph Muller, from Vienna," began the newcomer,

when he had seen that the prisoner did not intend to start the

conversation.



"Have you come to question me again?" asked Graumann wearily. "I

can say no more than I have already said to the Police Commissioner.

And no amount of cross-examination can make me confess a crime of

which I am not guilty--no matter what evidence there may be against

me." The prisoner's voice was hard and determined in spite of its

note of physical and mental weariness.



"I have not come to extort a confession from you, Mr. Graumann,"

Muller replied gently, "but to help you establish your innocence,

if it be possible."



A wave of colour flooded the prisoner's cheek. He gasped, pressed

his hand to his heart, and dropped down on his cot. "Pardon me,"

he said finally, hesitating like a man who is fighting for breath.

"My heart is weak; any excitement upsets me. You mean that the

authorities are not convinced of my guilt, in spite of the evidence?

You mean that they will give me the benefit of the doubt--that they

will give me a chance for life?"



"Yes, that is the reason for my coming here. I am to take this

case in hand. If you will talk freely to me, Mr. Graumann, I may

be able to help you. I have seen too many mistakes of justice

because of circumstantial evidence to lay any too great stress

upon it. I have waited to hear your side of the story from

yourself. I did not want to hear it from others. Will you tell it

to me now? No, do not move, I will get the stool myself."



Graumaun sat back on the cot, his head resting against the wall.

His eyes had closed while Muller was speaking, but his quieter

breathing showed that he was mastering the physical attack which

had so shaken him at the first glimpse of hope. He opened his eyes

now and looked at Muller steadily for a moment. Then he said: "Yes,

I will tell you: my life and my work have taught me to gauge men.

I will tell you everything I know about this sad affair. I will

tell you the absolute truth, and I think you will believe me."



"I will believe you," said Muller simply.



"You know the details of the murder, of course, and why I was

arrested?"



"You were arrested because you were the last person seen in the

company of the murdered man?"



"Exactly. Then I may go back and tell you something of my

connection with John Siders?"



"It would be the very best thing to do."



"I live in Grunau, as you doubtless know, and am the engineering

expert of large machine works there. My father before me held an

important position in the factory, and my family have always lived

in Grunau. I have traveled a great deal myself. I am forty-five

years old, a childless widower, and live with my old aunt, Miss

Babette Graumann, and my ward, Miss Eleonora Roemer, a young lady

of twenty-two." Muller looked up with a slight start of surprise,

but did not say anything. Graumann continued:



"A little over a year ago, John Siders, who signed himself as coming

from Chicago, bought a piece of property in our town and came to

live there. I made his acquaintance in the cafe and he seemed to

take a fancy to me. I also had spent several years in Chicago, and

we naturally came to speak of the place. We discovered that we had

several mutual acquaintances there, and enjoyed talking over the

old times. Otherwise I did not take particularly to the man, and

as I came to know him better I noticed that he never mentioned that

part of his life which lay back of the years in Chicago. I asked a

casual question once or twice as to his home and family, but he

evaded me every time, and would not give a direct answer. He was

evidently a German by birth and education, a man with university

training, and one who knew life thoroughly. He had delightful

manners, and when he could forget his shyness for a while, he could

be very agreeable. The ladies of my family came to like him, and

encouraged him to call frequently. Then the thing happened that I

should not have believed possible. My ward, Miss Roemer, a quiet,

reserved girl, fell in love with this man about whom none of us

knew anything, a man with a past of which he did not care to speak.



"I was not in any way satisfied with the match, and they seemed to

realise it. For Siders managed to persuade the girl to a secret

engagement. I discovered it a month or two ago, and it made me very

angry. I did not let them see how badly I felt, but I warned Lora

not to have too much to do with the boy, and I set about finding

out something regarding his earlier life. It was my duty to do this,

as I was the girl's guardian. She has no other relative living, and

no one to turn to except my aunt and myself. I wrote to Mr. Richard

Tressider in Chicago, the owner of the factory in which I had been

employed while there. John had told me that Tressider had been his

client during the four years in which he practiced law in Chicago.

I received an answer about the middle of August. Mr. Tressider had

been able to find out only that John was born in the town of Hartberg

in a certain year. This was enough. I took leave of absence for a

few days and went to Hartberg, which, as you know, is about 140 miles

from here. Three days later I knew all that I wanted to know. John

Siders was not the man's real name, or, rather, it was only part of

his name. His full name was Theodor John Bellmann, and his mother

was an Englishwoman whose maiden name was Siders. His father was a

county official who died at an early age, leaving his widow and the

boy in deepest poverty. Mrs. Bellmann moved to G-- to give music

lessons. Theodor went to school there, then finally to college, and

was an excellent pupil everywhere. But one day it was discovered

that he had been stealing money from the banker in whose house he

was serving as private tutor to the latter's sons. A large sum of

money was missing, and every evidence pointed to young Bellmann as

the thief. He denied strenuously that he was guilty, but the

District Judge (it was the present Prosecuting Attorney Schmidt in

G--) sentenced him. He spent eight months in prison, during which

time his mother died of grief at the disgrace. There must have been

something good in the boy, for he had never forgotten that it was

his guilt that struck down his only relative, the mother who had

worked so hard for him. He had atoned for this crime of his youth,

and during the years that have passed since then, he had been an

honest, upright man."



Graumann paused a moment and pressed his hand to his heart again.

His voice had grown weaker, and he breathed hard. Finally he

continued: "I commanded my ward to break off her engagement, as I

could not allow her to marry a man who was a freed convict. Siders

sold his property some few weeks after that and moved to G--.

Eleonora acquiesced in my commands, but she was very unhappy and

allowed me to see very little of her. Then came the events of the

evening of September 23rd, the events which have turned out so

terribly. I will try to tell you the story just as it happened,

so far as I am concerned. I had seen nothing of John since he left

this town. He had made several attempts before his departure for

G-- to change my opinion, and my decision as to his marriage to my

ward. But I let him see plainly that it was impossible for him to

enter our family with such a past behind him. He asserted his

innocence of the charges against him, and declared that he had been

unjustly accused and imprisoned. I am afraid that I was hard

towards him. I begin to understand now, as I never thought I

should, what it means to be accused of crime. I begin to realise

that it is possible for every evidence to point to a man who is

absolutely innocent of the deed in question. I begin to think now

that John may have been right, that possibly he also may have been

accused and sentenced on circumstantial evidence alone. I have

thought much, and I have learned much in these terrible days."



The prisoner paused again and sat brooding, his eyes looking out

into space. Muller respected his suffering and sat in equal

silence, until Graumann raised his eyes to his again. "Then came

the evening of the 23rd of September?"



"Yes, that evening--it's all like a dream to me." Graumann began

again. "John wrote me a letter asking me to come to see him on that

evening. I tore up the letter and threw it away--or perhaps, yes,

I remember now, I did not wish Eleonora to see that he had written

me. He asked me to come to see him, as he had something to say to

me, something of the greatest importance for us both. He asked me

not to mention to any one that I was to see him, as it would be

wiser no one should know that we were still in communication with

each other. There was a strain of nervous excitement visible in his

letter. I thought it better to go and see him as he requested; I

felt that I owed him some little reparation for having denied him

the great wish of his heart. It was my duty to make up to him in

other ways for what I had felt obliged to do. I knew him for a

nervous, high-strung man, overwrought by brooding for years on what

he called his wrongs, and I did not know what he might do if I

refused his request. It was not of myself I thought in this

connection, but of the girl at home who looked to me for protection.



"I had no fear for myself; it never occurred to me to think of

taking a weapon with me. How my revolver--and it is undoubtedly

my revolver, for there was a peculiar break in the silver

ornamentation on the handle which is easily recognisable--how this

revolver of mine got into his room, is more than I can say. Until

the Police Commissioner showed it to me two or three days ago, I

had no idea that it was not in the box in my study where it is

ordinarily kept." Graumann paused again and looked about him as

if searching for something. He rose and poured himself out a glass

of water. "Let me put some of this in it," said Muller. "It will

do you good." From a flask in his pocket he poured a few drops of

brandy into the water. Graumann drank it and nodded gratefully.

Then he took up his story again.



"I never discovered why Siders had sent for me. When I arrived at

the appointed time I found the door of the house closed. I was

obliged to ring several times before an old servant opened the door.

She seemed surprised that it had been locked. She said that the

door was always unlatched, and that Mr. Siders himself must have

closed it, contrary to all custom, for she had not done it, and

there was no one else in the house but the two of them. Siders

was waiting for me at the top of the stairs, calling down a noisy

welcome.



"When I asked him finally what it was so important that he wanted

to say to me, he evaded me and continued to chatter on about

commonplace things. Finally I insisted upon knowing why he had

wanted me to come, and he replied that the reason for it had already

been fulfilled, that he had nothing more to say, and that I could go

as soon as I wanted to. He appeared quite calm, but he must have

been very nervous. For as I stood by the desk, telling him what I

thought of his actions, he moved his hand hastily among the papers

there and upset the ink stand. I jumped back, but not before I had

received several large spots of ink on my trousers. He was profuse

in his apologies for the accident, and tried to take out the spots

with blotting paper. Then at last, when I insisted upon going, he

looked out to see whether there was still a light on the stairs, and

led me down to the door himself, standing there for some time

looking after me.



"I was slightly alarmed as well as angry at his actions. I believe

that he could not have been quite in his right mind, that the strain

of nervousness which was apparent in his nature had really made him

ill. For I remember several peculiar incidents of my visit to him.

One of these was that he almost insisted upon my taking away with me,

ostensibly to take care of them, several valuable pieces of jewelry

which he possessed. He seemed almost offended when I refused to do

anything of the kind. Then, as I parted from him at the door, not

in a very good humour I will acknowledge, he said to me: 'You will

think of me very often in the future--more often than you would

believe now!'



"This is all the truth, and nothing but the truth, about my visit

to John Siders on the evening of September 23rd. As it had been

his wish I said nothing to the ladies at home, or to any one else

about the occurrence. And as I have told you, I destroyed his

letter asking me to come to him.



"The following day about noon, the Commissioner of Police from

G-- called at my office in the factory, and informed me bluntly that

John Siders had been found shot dead in his lodgings that morning.

I was naturally shocked, as one would be at such news, in spite of

the fact that I had parted from the man in anger, and that I had no

reason to be particularly fond of him. What shocked me most of all

was the sudden thought that John had taken his own life. It was a

perfectly natural thought when I considered his nervousness, and his

peculiar actions of the evening before. I believe I exclaimed,

'It was a suicide!' almost without realising that I was doing so.

The commissioner looked at me sharply and said that suicide was out

of the question, that it was an evident case of murder. He

questioned me as to Siders' affairs, of which I told only what every

one here in the village knew. I did not consider it incumbent upon

me to disclose to the police the disgrace of the man's early life.

I had been obliged to hurt him cruelly enough because of that, and

I saw no necessity for blackening his name, now that he was dead.

Also, as according to what the commissioner said, it was a case of

murder for robbery, I did not wish to go into any details of our

connection with Siders that would cause the name of my ward to be

mentioned. After a few more questions the commissioner left me.

I was busy all the afternoon, and did not return to my home until

later than usual. I found my aunt somewhat worried because Miss

Roemer had left the house immediately after our early dinner, and

had not yet returned. We both knew the girl to be still grieving

over her broken engagement, and we dreaded the effect this last

dreadful news might have on her. We supposed, however, that she

had gone to spend the afternoon with a friend, and were rather

glad to be spared the necessity of telling her at once what had

happened. I had scarcely finished my supper, when the door bell

rang, and to my astonishment the Mayor of Grunau was announced,

accompanied by the same Police Commissioner who had visited me

in my office that morning. The Mayor was an old friend of mine

and his deeply grave face showed me that something serious had

occurred. It was indeed serious! and for some minutes I could

not grasp the meaning of the commissioner's questions. Finally I

realised with a tremendous shock that I--I myself was under

suspicion of the murder of John Siders. The description given by

the old servant of the man who had visited Siders the evening

before, the very clothes that I wore, my hat and the trousers

spotted by the purple ink, led to my identification as this

mysterious visitor. The servant had let me in but she had not

seen me go out.



"Then I discovered--when confronted suddenly with my own revolver

which had been found on the floor of the room, some distance from

the body of the dead man, that this same revolver had been identified

as mine by my ward, Eleonora Roemer, who had been to the police

station at G-- in the early afternoon hours. Some impulse of loyalty

to her dead lover, some foolish feminine fear that I might have

spoken against him in my earlier interviews with the commissioner

had driven the girl to this step. A few questions sufficed to draw

from her the story of her secret engagement, of its ending, and of

my quarrel with John. I will say for her that I am certain she did

not realise that all these things were calculated to cast suspicion

on me. The poor girl is too unused to the ways of police courts, to

the devious ways of the law, to realise what she was doing. The

sight of my revolver broke her down completely and she acknowledged

that it was mine. That is all. Except that I was arrested and

brought here as you see. I told the commissioner the story of my

visit to John Siders exactly as I told it to you, but it was plain

to be seen that he did not believe me. It is plain to be seen also,

that he is firmly convinced of my guilt and that he is greatly

satisfied with himself at having traced the criminal so soon."



"And yet he was not quite satisfied," said Muller gently. "You see

that he has sent to the Capital for assistance on the case." Muller

felt this little untruth to be justified for the sake of the honour

of the police force.



"Yes, I'm surprised at that," said Graumann in his former tone of

weariness. "What do you think you will be able to do about it?"



"I must ask questions here and there before I can form a plan of

campaign," replied Muller. "What do you think about it yourself?

Who do you think killed Siders?"



"How can I know who it was? I only know it is not I," answered

Graumann.



"Did he have any enemies?"



"No, none that I knew of, and he had few friends either."



"You knew there was a sum of money missing from his rooms?"



"Yes, the sum they named to me was just about the price that he

had received for the sale of his property here. They did me the

honour to believe that if I had taken the money at all, I had done

so merely as a blind. At least they did not take me for a thief

as well as a murderer. If the money is really missing, it was for

its sake he was murdered I suppose."



"Yes, that would be natural," said Muller. "And you know nothing

of any other relations or connections that the man may have had?

Anything that might give us a clue to the truth?"



"No, nothing. He stood so alone here, as far as I knew. Of course,

as I told you, his actions of the evening before having been so

peculiar--and as I knew that he was not in the happiest frame of

mind--I naturally thought of suicide at once, when they told me

that he had been found shot dead. Then they told me that the

appearance of the room and many other things, proved suicide to have

been out of the question. I know nothing more about it. I cannot

think any more about it. I know only that I am here in danger of

being sentenced for the crime that I never committed--that is

enough to keep any man's mind busy." He leaned back with an intense

fatigue in every line of his face and figure.



Muller rose from his seat. "I am afraid I have tired you, Mr.

Graumann," he said, "but it was necessary that I should know all

that you had to tell me. Try and rest a little now and meanwhile

be assured that I am doing all I can to find out the truth of this

matter. As far as I can tell now I do not believe that you have

killed John Siders. But I must find some further proofs that will

convince others as well as myself. If it is of any comfort to you,

I can tell you that during a long career as police detective I have

been most astonishingly fortunate in the cases I have undertaken.

I am hoping that my usual good luck will follow me here also. I am

hoping it for your sake."



The man on the cot took the hand the detective offered him and

pressed it firmly. "You will let me know as soon as you have found

anything--anything that gives me hope?"



"I will indeed. And now save your strength and do not worry. I

will help you if it is in my power."



After leaving the prison, Muller took the train for the village of

Grunau, about half an hour distant from the city. He found his way

easily to Graumann's home, an attractive old house set in a large

garden amid groups of beautiful old trees. When he sent up his card

to Miss Graumann, the old lady tripped down stairs in a flutter of

excitement.



"Did you see him?" she asked. "You have been to the prison? What

do you think? How does he seem?"



"He seems calm to-day," replied Muller, "although the confinement

and the anxiety are evidently wearing on him."



"And you heard his story? And you believe him innocent?"



"I am inclined to do so. But there is more yet for me to investigate

in this matter. It is certainly not as simple as the police here

seem to believe. May I speak to your ward, Miss Roemer? She is at

home now?"



"Yes, Lora is at home. If you will wait here a moment I will send

her in."



Muller paced up and down the large sunny room, casting a glance

over the handsome old pieces of furniture and the family portraits

on the wall. It was evidently the home of generations of well-to-do,

well-bred people, the narrow circle of whose life was made rich by

congenial duties and a comfortable feeling of their standing in the

community.



While he was studying one of the portraits more carefully, he became

aware that there was some one in the room. He turned and saw a tall

blond girl standing by the door. She had entered so softly that

even Muller's quick ear had not heard the opening of the door.



"Do you wish to speak to me?" she said, coming down into the room.

"I am Eleonora Roemer"



Her face, which could be called handsome in its even regularity of

feature and delicate skin, was very pale now, and around her eyes

were dark rings that spoke of sleepless nights. Grief and mental

shock were preying upon this girl's mind. "She is not the one to

make a confidant of those around her," thought Muller to himself.

Then he added aloud: "If it does not distress you too much to talk

about this sad affair, I will be very grateful if you will answer

a few questions."



"I will tell you whatever I can," said the girl in the same low

even tone in which she had first spoken. "Miss Graumann tells me

that you have come from Vienna to take up this case. It is only

natural that we should want to give you every assistance in our

power."



"What is your opinion about it?" was Muller's next remark, made

rather suddenly after a moment's pause.



The directness of the question seemed to shake the girl out of her

enforced calm. A slow flush mounted into her pale cheeks and then

died away, again leaving them whiter than before. "I do not know

--oh, I do not know what to believe."



"But you do not think Mr. Graumann capable of such a crime, do you?"



"Not of the robbery, of course not; that would be absurd! But has

it been clearly proven that there is a robbery? Might it not have

been--might they not have--"



"You mean, might they not have quarreled? Of course there is

that possibility. And that is why I wanted to speak to you. You

are the one person who could possibly throw light on this subject.

Was there any other reason beyond the dead man's past that would

render your guardian unwilling to have you marry him?"



Again the slow flush mounted to Eleonora Roemer's cheeks and her

head drooped.



"I fear it may be painful for you to answer this," said Muller

gently, "and yet I must insist on it in the interest of justice."



"He--my guardian--wished to marry me himself," the girl's words

came slowly and painfully.



Muller drew in his breath so sharply that it was almost like a

whistle. "He did not tell me that; it might make a difference."



"That ... that is ... what I fear," said the girl, her eyes

looking keenly into those of the man who sat opposite. "And then,

it was his revolver."



"Then you do believe him guilty?"



"It would be horrible, horrible--and yet I do not know what to

think."



There was silence in the room for a moment. Miss Roemer's head

drooped again and her hands twisted nervously in her lap. Muller's

brain was very busy with this new phase of the problem. Finally

he spoke.



"Let us dismiss this side of the question and talk of another phase

of it, a phase of which it is necessary for me to know something.

You would naturally be the person nearest the dead man, the one, the

only one, perhaps, to whom he had given his confidence. Do you know

of any enemies he might have had in the city?"



"No, I do not know of any enemies, or even of any friends he had

there. When the terrible thing happened that clouded his past,

when he had regained his freedom, after his term of imprisonment,

there was no one left whom he cared to see again. He does not seem

to have borne any malice towards the banker who accused him of the

theft. The evidence was so strong against him that he felt the

suspicion was justified. But there was hatred in his heart for one

man, for the Justice who sentenced him, Justice Schmidt, who is now

Attorney General in G--."



"The man who, in the name of the State, will conduct this case?"

asked Muller quickly.



"Yes, I believe it is so. Is it not an irony that this man, the

only one whom John really hated, should be the one to avenge him

now?"



"H'm! yes. But did you know of any friends in G--?"



"No, none at all."



"No friends whom he might have made while he was in America and

then met again in Germany?"



"No, he never spoke of any such to me. He told me that he made few

friends. He did not seek them for he was afraid that they might

find out what had happened and turn from him. He was morbidly

sensitive and could not bear the disappointment."



"Why did he return to Germany?"



"He was lonely and wanted to come home again. He had made money

in America--John was very clever and highly educated--but his

heart longed for his own tongue and his own people."



Muller took a folded piece of paper from his pocket. "Do you know

this handwriting?"



Miss Roemer read the few lines hastily and her voice trembled as

she said: "This is John's handwriting. I know it well. This is

the letter that was found on the table?"



"Yes, this letter appears to be the last he had written in life.

Do you know to whom it could have been written? The envelope, as

I suppose you know from the newspaper reports, was not addressed.

Do you know of any friends with whom he could have been on terms

of sufficient intimacy to write such a letter? Do you know what

these plans for the future could have been? It would certainly be

natural that he should have spoken to you first about them."



"No; I cannot understand this letter at all," replied the girl. "I

have thought of it frequently these terrible days. I have wondered

why it was that if he had friends in the city, he did not speak to

me of them. He repeatedly told me that he had no friends there at

all, that his life should begin anew after we were married."



"And did he have any particular plans, in a business way, perhaps?"



"No; he had a comfortable little income and need have no fear for

the future. John was, of course, too young a man to settle down

and do nothing. But the only definite plans he had made were that

we should travel a little at first, and then he would look about

him for a congenial occupation. I always thought it likely he

would resume a law practice somewhere. I cannot understand in the

slightest what the plans are to which the letter referred."



"And do you think, from what you know of his state of mind when

you saw him last, that he would be likely so soon to be planning

pleasures like this?"



"No, no indeed! John was terribly crushed when my guardian insisted

on breaking off our engagement. Until my twenty-fourth birthday I

am still bound to do as my guardian says, you know. John's life and

early misfortune made him, as I have already said, morbidly sensitive

and the thought that it would be a bar to anything we might plan in

the future, had rendered him so depressed that--and it was not the

least of my anxieties and my troubles--that I feared ... I feared

anything might happen."



"You feared he might take his own life, do you mean?"



"Yes, yes, that is what I feared. But is it not terrible to think

that he should have died this way--by the hand of a murderer?"



"H'm! And you cannot remember any possible friend he may have

found--some schoolboy friend of his youth, perhaps, with whom he

had again struck up an acquaintance."



"Oh, no, no, I am positive of that. John could not bear to hear

the names even of the people he had known before his misfortune.

Still, I do remember his once having spoken of a man, a German he

had met in Chicago and rather taken a fancy to, and who had also

returned to Germany."



"Could this possibly have been the man to whom the letter is

addressed?"



"No, no. This friend of John's was not married; I remember his

saying that. And he lived in Germany somewhere--let me think--yes,

in Frankfort-on-Main."



"And do you remember the man's name?"



"No, I cannot, I am sorry to say. John only mentioned it once. It

was only by a great effort that I could remember the incident at all."



"And has it not struck you as rather peculiar that this friend, the

one to whom the cordial letter was addressed, did not come forward

and make his identity known? G-- is a city, it is true, but it is

not a very large city, and any man being on terms of intimate

acquaintance with one who was murdered would be apt to come forward

in the hope of throwing some light on the mystery."



"Why, yes, I had not thought of that. It is peculiar, is it not?

But some people are so foolishly afraid of having anything to do

with the police, you know."



"That is very true, Miss Roemer. Still it is a queer incident and

something that I must look into."



"What do you believe?" asked the girl tensely.



"I am not in a position to say as yet. When I am, I will come to

you and tell you."



"Then you do not think that my guardian killed John--that there

was a quarrel between the men?"



"There is, of course, a possibility that it may have been so. You

know your guardian better than I do, naturally. Our knowledge of

a man's character is often a far better guide than any circumstantial

evidence."



"My guardian is a man of the greatest uprightness of character. But

he can be very hard and pitiless sometimes. And he has a violent

temper which his weak heart has forced him to keep in control of

late years."



"All this speaks for the possibility that there may have been a

quarrel ending in the fatal shot. But what I want to know from

you is this--do you think it possible, that, this having happened,

Albert Graumann would not have been the first to confess his

unpremeditated crime? Is not this the most likely thing for a man

of his character to do? Would he so stubbornly deny it, if it had

happened?"



The girl started. "I had not thought of that! Why, why, of course,

he might have killed John in a moment of temper, but he was never

a man to conceal a fault. He is as pitiless towards his own

weakness, as towards that of others. You are right, oh, you must

be right. Oh, if you could take this awful fear from my heart!

Even my grief for John would be easier to bear then."



Muller rose from his chair. "I think I can promise you that this

load will be lifted from your heart, Miss Roemer."



"Then you believe--that it was just a case of murder for robbery?

For the money? And John had some valuable jewelry, I know that."



"I do not know yet," replied Muller slowly, "but I will find out,

I generally do."



"Oh, to think that I should have done that poor man such an

injustice! It is terrible, terrible! This house has been ghastly

these days. His poor aunt knows that he is innocent--she could

never believe otherwise--she has felt the hideous suspicion in my

mind--it has made her suffering worse--will they ever forgive me?"



"Her joy, if I can free her nephew, will make her forget everything.

Go to her now, Miss Roemer, comfort her with the assurance that you

also believe him to be innocent. I must hasten back to G-- and go

on with this quest."



The girl stood at the doorway shaded by the overhanging branches of

two great trees, looking down the street after the slight figure of

the detective. "Oh, it is all easier to hear, hard as it is, easier

now that this horrible suspicion has gone from my mind--why did I

not think of that before?"



Alone in the corner of the smoking compartment in the train to G--,

Muller arranged in his mind the facts he had already gathered. He

had questioned the servants of John Siders' former household, had

found that the dead man received very few letters, only an

occasional business communication from his bank. Of the few others,

the servants knew nothing except that he had always thrown the

envelopes carelessly in the waste paper basket and had never seemed

to have any correspondence which he cared to conceal. No friend

from elsewhere had ever visited him in Grunau, and he had made few

friends there except the Graumann family.



The facts of the case, as he knew them now, were such as to make it

extremely doubtful that Graumann was the murderer. Muller himself

had been inclined to believe in the possibility of a quarrel

between the two men, particularly when he had heard that Graumann

himself was in love with his handsome ward. But the second thought

that came to him then, impelled by the unerring instinct that so

often guided him to the truth, was the assurance that in a case of

this kind, in a case of a quarrel terminating fatally, a man like

Albert Graumann would be the very first to give himself up to the

police and to tell the facts of the case. Albert Graumann was a

man of honour and unimpeachable integrity. Such a man would not

persist in a foolish denial of the deed which he had committed in

a moment of temper. There would be nothing to gain from it, and

his own conscience would be his severest judge. "The disorder in

the room?" thought Muller. "It'll be too late for that now. I

suppose they have rearranged the place. I can only go by what the

local detectives have seen, by the police reports. But I do not

understand this extreme disorder. There is no reason why there

should be a struggle when the robber was armed with a pistol. If

Siders was supposed to have been interrupted when writing a letter,

interrupted by a thief come with intent to steal, a thief armed

with a revolver, the sight of this weapon alone would be sufficient

to insure his not moving from his seat. I can understand the open

drawers and cupboard; that is explained by the thief's hasty search

for booty. But the torn window curtain and the overturned chairs

are peculiar.



"Of course there is always a possibility that the thief might have

entered one room while Siders was in the other; that the latter

might have surprised the robber in his search for money or valuables,

and that there might have been a hand-to-hand struggle before the

intruder could pull out his revolver. Oh, if I could only have seen

the body! This is working under terrific difficulties. The marks

of a hand-to-hand struggle would have been very plain on the clothes

and on the person of the murdered man. But this letter? I do not

understand this letter at all. It is the dead man's handwriting,

that we know, but why did not the friend to whom it was addressed

come forward and make himself known? As far as I can learn from the

police reports in G--, there was no personal interest shown, no

personal inquiries made about the dead man. There was only the

natural excitement that a murder would create. Now a family,

expecting to make a pleasure excursion with a friend in a day or

two and suddenly hearing that this friend had been found murdered

in his lodgings, would be inclined to take some little personal

interest in the matter. These people must have been in town and at

home, for the excursion spoken of in the letter was to occur two

days after the murder. Miss Roemer's remark about the dread that

some people have as to any connection with the police, is true to

a limited extent only. It is true only of the ignorant mind, not

of a man presumably well-to-do and properly educated. I do not

understand why the man to whom this letter was addressed has not

made himself known. The only explanation is--that there was no

such man!" A sudden sharp whistle broke from the detective's lips.



"I must examine the dead man's personal effects, his baggage, his

papers; there may be something there. His queer letter to Graumann

--his desire that the latter's visit should be kept secret--a visit

which apparently had no cause at all, except to get Graumann to the

house, to get him to the house in a way that he should be seen

coming, but should not be seen going away. What does this mean?



"Graumann was the only person against whom Siders had an active

cause of quarrel for the moment. There was one other man whom he

hated, and this other man was the prosecuting attorney who would

conduct any case of murder that came up in the town of G--.



"Now John Siders is found murdered--is found killed, in his

lodgings, the morning after he has arranged things so that his

antagonist, his rival in love, Albert Graumann, shall come under

suspicion of having murdered him.



"What evidence have we that this man did not commit suicide? We

have the evidence of the disorder in the room, a disorder that

could have been made just as well by the man himself before he ended

his own life. We have the evidence of a letter to some unknown,

making plans for pleasure during the next days, and speaking of

further plans, presumably concerning business, for the future. In

a town the size of G--, where every one must have read of the murder,

no one has come forward claiming to be the friend for whom this

letter was written. Until this Unknown makes himself known, the

letter as an evidence points rather to premeditated suicide than to

the contrary. Oh, if I could only have seen the body! They tell

me the pistol was found some little distance from the body. Is it

at all likely that a murderer would go away leaving such evidence

behind him? If Graumaun had killed Siders in a hasty quarrel, he

might possibly, in his excitement, have left his revolver. But I

have already disposed of this possibility. A man of sufficient

brains to so carefully plan his suicide as to conceal every trace

of it and cast suspicion upon the man who had made him unhappy, such

a one would be quite clever enough to throw the pistol far away

from his body and to leave no traces of powder on his coat or any

such other evidence.



"If I were to say now what I think, I would say that John Siders

deliberately took his own life and planned it in such a way as to

cast suspicion upon Albert Graumann. But that would indeed be a

terrible revenge. And I must have some tangible proof of it before

any court will accept my belief. This proof must be hidden

somewhere. The thing for me to do is to find it."



The evidence gathered at the time of the death went to show that

Siders had been paid a considerable sum in cash for the sale of

his property at Grunau. And there was no trace of his having

deposited this sum in any bank in G-- or in Grunau, in both of

which places he had deposited other securities. Therefore the

money had presumably been in his room at the time of his death.

A search had been made for this money in every possible place of

concealment among the dead man's belongings, and it had not been

found. Muller asked the Police Commissioner to give him the key

to the rooms, which were still officially closed, and also the

keys to the dead man's pieces of baggage. Commissioner Lange

seemed to think all this extra search quite unnecessary, as it

did not occur to him that anything else was to be looked for

except the money.



It was quite late when Muller began his examination of the dead

man's effects. He was struck by the fact that there was scarcely

a bit of paper to be found anywhere, no letters, no business papers,

except bank books showing the amount of his securities in the bank

in G-- and in Grunau, and giving facts about some investments in

Chicago. There was nothing of more recent date and no personal

correspondence whatever. The same was true of the pockets of the

suit Siders had been wearing at the time of his death. A man of

any property or position at all in the world gathers about him so

much of this kind of material that its absence shows premeditation.

The suit Siders had been wearing when he was killed was lying on

the table in the room. It was a plain grey business suit of good

cut and material. The body had been prepared for burial in a

beseeming suit of black. Muller made a careful examination of the

clothes, and found only what the police reports showed him had

already been found by the examination made by the local authorities.

Upon a second careful examination, however, he found that in one of

the vest pockets there was a little extra pocket, like a change

pocket, and in it he found a crumpled piece of paper. He took it

out, smoothed and read it. It was a post office receipt for a

registered letter. The date was still clear, but the name of the

person to whom the letter had been addressed was illegible. The

creases of the paper and a certain dampness, as if it had been

inadvertently touched by a wet finger, had smeared the writing.

But the letter had been sent the day before the death of John

Siders, and it had been registered from the main post office in

G--. This was sufficient for Muller. Then he turned to the desk.

Here also there was nothing that could help him. But a sudden

thought, came to him, and he took up the blotting pad. This, to

his delight, was in the form of a book with a handsome embroidered

cover. It looked comparatively new and was, as Muller surmised, a

gift from Miss Roemer to her betrothed. But few of the pages had

been used, and on two of them a closely written letter had been

blotted several times, showing that there had been several sheets

of the letter. Muller held it up to the looking-glass, but the

repeated blotting had blurred the writing to such an extent that it

was impossible to decipher any but a few disconnected words, which

gave no clue. On a page further along on the blotter, however, he

saw what appeared to be the impression of an address. He held it

up to the glass and gave a whistle of delight. The words could be

plainly deciphered here:



MR. LEO PERNBURG,

"FRANKFURT AM MAIN,

"MAINZER LANDSTRASSE."



and above the name was a smear which, after a little study, could

be deciphered as the written word "Registered."



With this page of the blotter carefully tucked away in his

pocketbook, Muller hurried to the post office, arriving just at

closing hour. He made himself known at once to the postmaster, and

asked to be shown the records of registered letters sent on a

certain date. Here he found scheduled a letter addressed to Mr.

Leo Pernburg, Frankfurt am Main, sent by John Siders, G--, Josef

Street 7.



Muller then hastened to the telegraph office and despatched a

lengthy telegram to the postal authorities in Frankfurt am Main.

When the answer came to him next morning, he packed his grip and

took the first express train leaving G--. He first made a short

visit, however, to Albert Graumann's cell in the prison. Muller

was much too kind-hearted not to relieve the anxiety of this man,

to whom such mental strain might easily prove fatal. He told

Graumann that he was going in search of evidence which might throw

light on the death of Siders, and comforted the prisoner with the

assurance that he, Muller, believed Graumann innocent, and believed

also that within a day or two he would return to G-- with proofs

that his belief was the right one.



Three days later Muller returned to Grunau and went at once to the

Graumann home. It was quite late when he arrived, but he had

already notified Miss Roemer by telegram as to his coming, with a

request that she should be ready to see him. He found her waiting

for him, pale and anxious-eyed, when he arrived. "I have been to

Frankfurt am Main," he said, "and I have seen Mr. Pernburg--"



"Yes, yes, that is the name; now I remember," interrupted the girl

eagerly. "That is the name of John's friend there."



"I have seen Mr. Pernburg and he gave me this letter." Muller laid

a thick envelope on the girl's lap.



She looked down at it, her eyes widening as if she had seen a ghost.

"That--that is John's writing," she exclaimed in a hoarse whisper.

"Where did it come from?"



"Pernburg gave it to me. The day before his death John Siders sent

him this letter, requesting that Pernburg forward it to you before

a certain date. When I explained the circumstances to Mr. Pernburg,

he gave me the letter at once. I feel that this paper holds the

clue to the mystery. Will you open it?"



With trembling hands the girl tore open the envelope. It enclosed



still another sealed envelope, without an address. But there was

a sheet of paper around this letter, on which was written the

following:





My beloved Eleonore:



Before you read what I have to say to you here I want you to promise

me, in memory of our love and by your hope of future salvation, that

you will do what I ask you to do.



I ask you to give the enclosed letter, although it is addressed to

you, to the Judge who will preside in the trial against Graumann.

The letter is written to you and will be given back to you. For

you, the beloved of my soul, you are the only human being with whom

I can still communicate, to whom I can still express my wishes.

But you must not give the letter to the Judge until you have assured

yourself that the prosecuting attorney insists upon Graumann's guilt.

In case he is acquitted, which I do not think probable, then open

this letter in the presence of Graumann himself and one or two

witnesses. For I wish Graumann, who is innocent, to be able to

prove his innocence.



You will know by this time that I have determined to end my life by

my own hand. Forgive me, beloved. I cannot live on without you

--without the honour of which I was robbed so unjustly.



God bless you.



One who will love you even beyond the grave,

Remember your promise. It was given to the dead.

JOHN.



"Oh, what does it all mean?" asked Eleonora, dropping the letter

in her lap.



"It is as I thought," replied Muller. "John Siders took his own

life, but made every arrangement to have suspicion fall upon

Graumann."



"But why? oh, why?"



"It was a terrible revenge. But perhaps--perhaps it was just

retribution. Graumaun would not understand that Siders could have

been suspected of, and imprisoned for, a theft he had not committed.

He must know now that it is quite possible f





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