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- THE GOLD BAG - 1/45 -


THE GOLD BAG

by CAROLYN WELLS

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. THE CRIME IN WEST SEDGWICK

II. THE CRAWFORD HOUSE

III. THE CORONER'S JURY

IV. THE INQUEST

V. FLORENCE LLOYD

VI. THE GOLD BAG

VII. YELLOW ROSES

VIII. FURTHER INQUIRY

IX. THE TWELFTH ROSE

X. THE WILL

XI. LOUIS'S STORY

XII. LOUIS'S CONFESSION

XIII. MISS LLOYD'S CONFIDENCE

XIV. MR. PORTER'S VIEWS.

XV. THE PHOTOGRAPH EXPLAINED

XVI. A CALL ON MRS. PURVIS

XVII. THE OWNER OF THE GOLD BAG

XVIII. IN MR. GOODRICH'S OFFICE

XIX. THE MIDNIGHT TRAIN

XX. FLEMING STONE

XXI. THE DISCLOSURE

THE GOLD BAG

I

THE CRIME IN WEST SEDGWICK

Though a young detective, I am not entirely an inexperienced one, and I have several fairly successful investigations to my credit on the records of the Central Office.

The Chief said to me one day: "Burroughs, if there's a mystery to be unravelled; I'd rather put it in your hands than to trust it to any other man on the force.

"Because," he went on, "you go about it scientifically, and you never jump at conclusions, or accept them, until they're indubitably warranted."

I declared myself duly grateful for the Chief's kind words, but I was secretly a bit chagrined. A detective's ambition is to be, considered capable of jumping at conclusions, only the conclusions must always prove to be correct ones.

But though I am an earnest and painstaking worker, though my habits are methodical and systematic, and though I am indefatigably patient and persevering, I can never make those brilliant deductions from seemingly unimportant clues that Fleming Stone can. He holds that it is nothing but observation and logical inference, but to me it is little short of clairvoyance.

The smallest detail in the way of evidence immediately connotes in his mind some important fact that is indisputable, but which would never have occurred to me. I suppose this is largely a natural bent of his brain, for I have not yet been able to achieve it, either by study or experience.

Of course I can deduce some facts, and my colleagues often say I am rather clever at it, but they don't know Fleming Stone as well as I do, and don't realize that by comparison with his talent mine is insignificant.

And so, it is both by way of entertainment, and in hope of learning from him, that I am with him whenever possible, and often ask him to "deduce" for me, even at risk of boring him, as, unless he is in the right mood, my requests sometimes do.

I met him accidentally one morning when we both chanced to go into a basement of the Metropolis Hotel in New York to have our shoes shined.

It was about half-past nine, and as I like to get to my office by ten o'clock, I looked forward to a pleasant half-hour's chat with him. While waiting our turn to get a chair, we stood talking, and, seeing a pair of shoes standing on a table, evidently there to be cleaned, I said banteringly:

"Now, I suppose, Stone, from looking at those shoes, you can deduce all there is to know about the owner of them."

I remember that Sherlock Holmes wrote once, "From a drop of water, a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other," but when I heard Fleming Stone's reply to my half-laughing challenge, I felt that he had outdone the mythical logician. With a mild twinkle in his eye, but with a perfectly grave face, he said slowly

"Those shoes belong to a young man, five feet eight inches high. He does not live in New York, but is here to visit his sweetheart. She lives in Brooklyn, is five feet nine inches tall, and is deaf in her left ear. They went to the theatre last night, and neither was in evening dress."

"Oh, pshaw!" said I, "as you are acquainted with this man, and know how he spent last evening, your relation of the story doesn't interest me."

"I don't know him," Stone returned; "I've no idea what his name is, I've never seen him, and except what I can read from these shoes I know nothing about him."

I stared at him incredulously, as I always did when confronted by his astonishing "deductions," and simply said

"Tell this little Missourian all about it."

"It did sound well, reeled off like that, didn't it?" he observed, chuckling more at my air of eager curiosity than at his own achievement. "But it's absurdly easy, after all. He is a young man because his shoes are in the very latest, extreme, not exclusive style. He is five feet eight, because the size of his foot goes with that height of man, which, by the way, is the height of nine out of ten men, any way. He doesn't live in New York or he wouldn't be stopping at a hotel. Besides, he would be down-town at this hour, attending to business."

"Unless he has freak business hours, as you and I do," I put in.

"Yes, that might be. But I still hold that he doesn't live in New York, or he couldn't be staying at this Broadway hotel overnight, and sending his shoes down to be shined at half-past nine in the morning. His sweetheart is five feet nine, for that is the height of a tall girl. I know she is tall, for she wears a long skirt. Short girls wear short skirts, which make them look shorter still, and tall girls wear very long skirts, which make them look taller."

"Why do they do that?" I inquired, greatly interested.

"I don't know. You'll have to ask that of some one wiser than I. But I know it's a fact. A girl wouldn't be considered really tall if less than five feet nine. So I know that's her height. She is his sweetheart, for no man would go from New York to Brooklyn and bring a lady over here to the theatre, and then take her home, and return to New York in the early hours of the morning, if he were not in love with her. I know she lives in Brooklyn, for the paper says there was a heavy shower there last night, while I know no rain fell in New York. I know that they were out in that rain, for her long skirt became muddy, and in turn muddied the whole upper of his left shoe. The fact that only the left shoe is so soiled proves that he walked only at her right side, showing that she must be deaf in her left ear, or he would have walked part of the time on that side. I know that they went to the theatre in New York, because he is still sleeping at this hour, and has sent his boots down to be cleaned, instead of coming down with them on his feet to be shined here. If he had been merely calling on the girl in Brooklyn, he would have been home early, for they do not sit up late in that borough. I know they went to the theatre, instead of to the opera or a ball, for they did not go in a cab, otherwise her skirt would not have become muddied. This, too, shows that she wore a cloth skirt, and as his shoes are not patent leathers, it is clear that neither was in evening dress."


THE GOLD BAG - 1/45

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