Paul’s reason for advertising
the name of Lemuel Krill was a very natural one.
He believed that in the past of the dead man was to
be found his reason for changing his name and living
in Gwynne Street. And in that past before he
became a second-hand bookseller and a secret pawnbroker
might be found the motive for the crime. Therefore,
if a reward was offered for the discovery of the murderer
of Lemuel Krill, alias Aaron Norman, something
might come to light relative to the man’s early
life. Once that was known, the clue might be obtained.
Then the truth would surely be discovered. He
explained this to Hurd.
“I think you’re right,
Mr. Beecot,” said the detective, in his genial
way, and looking as brown as a coffee bean. “I
have made inquiries from the two servants, and from
the neighbors, and from what customers I could find.
Aaron Norman certainly lived a very quiet and respectable
life here. But Lemuel Krill may have lived a very
different one, and the mere fact that he changed his
name shows that he had something to conceal.
When we learn that something we may arrive at the motive
for the murder, and, given that, the assassin may
“The assassin!” echoed
Paul. “Then you think there was only one.”
Hurd shrugged his shoulders.
“Who knows?” he said. “I speak
generally. From the strange circumstances of
the crime I am inclined to think that there is more
than one person concerned in this matter. However,
the best thing to be done is to have hand-bills printed
offering the five hundred pounds reward. People
will do a lot to earn so much money, and someone may
come forward with details about Mr. Krill which will
solve the mystery of Norman’s death.”
“I hope you will gain the reward yourself, Hurd.”
The detective nodded. “I
hope so too. I have lately married the sweetest
little wife in the world, and I want to keep her in
the way she has been accustomed to be kept. She
married beneath her, as I’m only a thief-catcher,
and no very famous one either.”
“But if you solve this mystery
it will do you a lot of good.”
“That it will,” agreed
Billy, heartily, “and it will mean advancement
and extra screw: besides the reward if I can get
it. You may be very sure, Mr. Beecot, that I’ll
do my best. Oh, by the way,” he added, “have
you heard that Mr. Pash is being asked for many of
“No. Who are asking for them? Not
that nautical man?”
Hurd shook his head. “He’s
not such a fool,” said he. “No!
But the people who pledged the jewels are getting
them back - redeeming them, in fact.
Pash is doing all the business thoroughly well, and
will keep what jewels remain for the time allowed
by law, so that all those who wish to redeem them
can do so. If not, they can be sold, and that
will mean more money to Miss Norman - by
the way, I presume she intends to remain Miss Norman.”
“Until I make her Mrs. Beecot,” said Paul,
“Well,” replied Hurd,
very heartily, “I trust you will both be happy.
I think Miss Norman will get a good husband in you,
and you will gain the sweetest wife in the world bar
“Everyone thinks his own crow
the whitest,” laughed Beecot. “But
now that business is ended and you know what you are
to do, will you tell me plainly why you warned me
against Grexon Hay?”
“Hum,” said the detective,
looking at Paul with keen eyes, “what do you
know about him, sir?”
Beecot detailed his early friendship
with Hay at Torrington, and then related the meeting
in Oxford Street. “And so far as I have
seen,” added Paul, justly, “there’s
nothing about the man to make me think he is a bad
“It is natural you should think
well of him as you know no wrong, Mr. Beecot.
All the same, Grexon Hay is a man on the market.”
“You made use of that expression
before. What does it mean?”
“Ask Mr. Hay. He can explain best.”
“I did ask him, and he said
it meant a man who was on the marriage market.”
Hurd laughed. “Very ingenious and untrue.”
“Certainly. Mr. Hay knows
better than that. If that were all he wouldn’t
think a working man would warn anyone against him.”
“He guessed you were not a working
man,” said Paul, “and intimated that he
had a liaison with a married woman, and that
the husband had set you to watch.”
“Wrong again. My interest
in Mr. Hay doesn’t spring from divorce proceedings.
He paints himself blacker than he is in that respect,
Mr. Beecot. My gentleman is too selfish to love,
and too cautious to commit himself to a divorce case
where there would be a chance of damages. No!
He’s simply a man on the market, and what that
is no one knows better than he does.”
“Well, I am ignorant.”
“You shall be enlightened, sir,
and I hope what I tell you will lead you to drop this
gentleman’s acquaintance, especially now that
you will be a rich man through your promised wife.”
“Miss Norman’s money is
her own,” said Paul, with a quick flush.
“I don’t propose to live on what she inherits.”
“Of course not, because you
are an honorable man. But I’ll lay anything
you like that Mr. Hay won’t have your scruples,
and as soon as he finds your wife is rich he’ll
try and get money from her through you.”
“He’ll fail then,”
rejoined Beecot, calmly. “I am not up to
your London ways, perhaps, but I am not quite such
a fool. Perhaps you will enlighten me as you
Hurd nodded and caught his smooth
chin with his finger and thumb. “A man
on the market,” he explained slowly, “is
a social highwayman.”
“I am still in the dark, Hurd.”
“Well, to be more particular,
Hay is one of those well-dressed blackguards who live
on mugs. He has no money - ”
“I beg your pardon, he told
me himself that his uncle had left him a thousand
“Pooh, he might as well have
doubled the sum and increased the value of the lie.
He hasn’t a penny. What he did have, he
got through pretty quickly in order to buy his experience.
Now that he is hard up he practises on others what
was practised on himself. Hay is well-bred, good-looking,
well-dressed and plausible. He has well-furnished
rooms and keeps a valet. He goes into rather
shady society, as decent people, having found him
out, won’t have anything to do with him.
But he is a card-sharper and a fraudulent company-promoter.
He’ll borrow money from any juggins who is ass
enough to lend it to him. He haunts Piccadilly,
Bond Street and the Burlington Arcade, and is always
smart, and bland, and fascinating. If he sees
a likely victim he makes his acquaintance in a hundred
ways, and then proceeds to fleece him. In a word,
Mr. Beecot, you may put it that Mr. Hay is Captain
Hawk, and those he swindles are pigeons.”
Paul was quite startled by this revelation,
and it was painful to hear it of an old school friend.
“He does not look like a man of that sort,”
“It’s not his business
to look like a man of that sort,” rejoined the
detective. “He masks his batteries.
All the same he is one of the most dangerous men on
the market at the present in town. A young peer
whom he plucked two years ago lost everything to him,
and got into trouble over some woman. It was
a nasty case and Hay was mixed up in it. The
relatives of the victim - I needn’t
give his title - asked me to put things right.
I got the young nobleman away, and he is now travelling
to acquire the sense he so sadly needed. I have
given Mr. Hay a warning once or twice, and he knows
that he is being watched by us. When he slips,
as he is bound to do, sooner or later, then he’ll
have to deal with me. Oh I know how he hunts
for clients in fashionable hotels, smart restaurants,
theatres and such-like places. He is clever, and
although he has fleeced several lambs since he plucked
the pigeon I saved, he has, as yet, been too clever
to be caught. When I saw you with him, Mr. Beecot,
I thought it just as well to put you on your guard.”
“I fear he’ll get little
out of me,” said Paul. “I am too poor.”
“You are rich now through your
promised wife, and Hay will find it out.”
“I repeat that Miss Norman’s
money has nothing to do with me. And I may mention
that as soon as the case is in your hands, Mr. Hurd - ”
“Which it is now,” interpolated the detective.
“I intend to marry Miss Norman and then we will
travel for a time.”
“That’s very wise of you.
Give Hay a wide berth. Of course, if you meet
him, you needn’t tell him what I have told you.
But when he tries to come Captain Hawk over you, be
on your guard.”
“I shall, and thanks for the warning.”
So the two parted. Hurd went
away to have the bills printed, and Paul returned
to Gwynne Street to arrange with Sylvia about their
early marriage. Deborah was in the seventh heaven
of delight that her young mistress would soon be in
a safe haven and enjoy the protection of an honorable
man. Knowing that she would soon be relieved from
care, she told Bart Tawsey that they would be married
at the same time as the young couple, and that the
laundry would be started as soon as Mr. and Mrs. Beecot
left for the Continent. Bart, of course, agreed - he
always did agree with Deborah - and so everything
was nicely arranged.
Meanwhile Pash worked to prove the
will, pay the death-duties, and to place Sylvia in
full possession of her property. He found in one
of the safes the certificate of the girl’s birth,
and also the marriage certificate of Aaron Norman
in the name of Lemuel Krill. The man evidently
had his doubts of the marriage being a legal one if
contracted under his alias. He had married
Lillian Garner, who was described as a spinster.
But who she was and where she came from, and what her
position in life might be could not be discovered.
Krill was married in a quiet city church, and Pash,
having searched, found everything in order. Mrs.
Krill - or Norman as she was known - lived
only a year or two after her marriage, and then died,
leaving Sylvia to the care of her husband. There
were several nurses in succession, until Deborah grew
old enough to attend alone on her young mistress.
Then Norman dismissed the nurse, and Deborah had been
Sylvia’s slave and Aaron’s servant until
the tragic hour of his death. So, everything
being in order, there was no difficulty in placing
Sylvia in possession of her property.
Pash was engaged in this congenial
work for several weeks, and during that time all went
smoothly. Paul paid daily visits to the Gwynne
Street house, which was to be vacated as soon as he
made Sylvia his wife. Deborah searched for her
laundry and obtained the premises she wanted at a
moderate rental. Sylvia basked in the sunshine
of her future husband’s love, and Hurd hunted
for the assassin of the late Mr. Norman without success.
The hand-bills with his portrait and real name, and
a description of the circumstances of his death, were
scattered broadcast over the country from Land’s
End to John-O’Groats, but hitherto no one had
applied for the reward. The name of Krill seemed
to be a rare one, and the dead man apparently had
no relatives, for no one took the slightest interest
in the bills beyond envying the lucky person who would
gain the large reward offered for the conviction of
Then, one day Deborah, while cleaning
out the cellar, found a piece of paper which had slipped
down behind one of the safes. These had not been
removed for many years, and the paper, apparently placed
carelessly on top, had accidentally dropped behind.
Deborah, always thinking something might reveal the
past to Sylvia and afford a clue to the assassin,
brought the paper to her mistress. It proved to
be a few lines of a letter, commenced but never finished.
But the few lines were of deep interest.
“My dear daughter,” these
ran, “when I die you will find that I married
your mother under the name of Lemuel Krill. That
is my real name, but I wish you to continue to call
yourself Norman for necessary reasons. If the
name of Krill gets into the papers there will be great
trouble. Keep it from the public. I can
tell you where to find the reasons for this as I have
written - ” Here the letter ended abruptly
without any signature. Norman apparently was
writing it when interrupted, and had placed it unfinished
on the top of the safe, whence it had fallen behind
to be discovered by Deborah. And now it had strangely
come to light, but too late for the request to be
“Oh, Paul,” said Sylvia,
in dismay, when they read this together, “and
the bills are already published with the real name
of my father.”
“It is unfortunate,” admitted
Paul, frowning. “But, after all, your father
may have been troubled unnecessarily. For over
the fortnight the bills have been out and no one seems
to take an interest in the matter.”
“But I think we ought to call
the bills in,” said Sylvia, uneasily.
“That’s not such an easy
matter. They are scattered broadcast, and it
will be next to impossible to collect them. Besides,
the mischief is done. Everyone knows by this
time that Aaron Norman is Lemuel Krill, so the trouble
whatever it may be, must come.”
“What can it be?” asked the girl anxiously.
Paul shook his head. “Heaven
only knows,” said he, with a heavy heart.
“There is certainly something in your father’s
past life which he did not wish known and which led
to his death. But since the blow has fallen and
he is gone, I do not see how the matter can affect
you, my darling. I’ll show this to Pash
and see what he says. I expect he knows more
about your father’s past than he will admit.”
“But if there should be trouble, Paul - ”
“You will have me to take it
off your shoulders,” he replied, kissing her.
“My dearest, do not look so pale. Whatever
may happen you will always have me to stand by you.
And Deborah also. She is worth a regiment in
So Sylvia was comforted, and Paul,
putting the unfinished letter in his pocket, went
round to see Pash in his Chancery Lane office.
He was stopped in the outer room by a saucy urchin
with an impudent face and a bold manner. “Mr.
Pash is engaged,” said this official, “so
you’ll ’ave to wait, Mr. Beecot.”
Paul looked down at the brat, who
was curly-headed and as sharp as a needle. “How
do you know my name?” he asked. “I
never saw you before.”
“I’m the new office-boy,”
said the urchin, “wishin’ to be respectable
and leave street-’awking, which ain’t what
it was. M’name’s Tray, an’
I’ve seen you afore, mister. I ’elped
to pull you out from them wheels with the ‘aughty
gent as guv me a bob fur doin’ it.”
“Oh, so you helped,” said
Paul, smiling. “Well, here is another shilling.
I am much obliged to you, Master Tray. But from
what Deborah Junk says you were a guttersnipe.
How did you get this post?”
“I talked m’self int’
it,” said Tray, importantly. “Newspapers
ain’t good enough, and you gets pains in wet
weather. So I turns a good boy” - he
grinned evilly - “and goes to a ragged
kids’ school to do the ’oly. The
superintendent ses I’m a promising case,
and he arsked Mr. Pash, as is also Sunday inclined,
to ’elp me. The orfice-boy ’ere went,
and I come.” Tray tossed the shilling and
spat on it for luck as he slipped it into the pocket
of quite a respectable pair of trousers. “So
I’m on m’waiy to bein’ Lord Mayor
turn agin Wittington, as they ses in the panymine.”
“Well,” said Beecot, amused,
“I hope you will prove yourself worthy.”
Tray winked. “Ho!
I’m straight es long es it’s
wuth m’while. I takes m’sal’ry
‘ome to gran, and don’t plaiy pitch
an’ torse n’more.” He
winked again, and looked as wicked a brat as ever walked.
Paul had his doubts as to what the
outcome of Mr. Pash’s charity would be, and,
being amused, was about to pursue the conversation,
when the inner door opened and Pash, looking troubled,
appeared. When he saw Paul he started and came
“I was just about to send Tray
for you,” said he, looking anxious. “Something
unpleasant has come to light in connection with Krill.”
Beecot started and brought out the
scrap of paper. “Look at that,” he
said, “and you will see that the man warned Sylvia.”
Pash glanced hurriedly over the paper.
“Most unfortunate,” he said, folding it
up and puffing out his cheeks; “but it’s
too late. The name of Krill was in those printed
bills - a portrait also, and now - ”
“Well, what?” asked Paul, seeing the lawyer
“Come inside and you’ll
see,” said Pash, and conducted Beecot into the
Here sat two ladies. The elder
was a woman of over fifty, but who looked younger,
owing to her fresh complexion and plump figure.
She had a firm face, with hard blue eyes and a rather
full-lipped mouth. Her hair was white, and there
was a great deal of it. Under a widow’s
cap it was dressed a la Marie Antoinette, and
she looked very handsome in a full-blown, flowery
way. She had firm, white hands, rather large,
and, as she had removed her black gloves, these, Paul
saw, were covered with cheap rings. Altogether
a respectable, well-dressed widow, but evidently not
Nor was the girl beside her, who revealed
sufficient similarity of features to announce herself
the daughter of the widow. There was the same
fresh complexion, full red lips and hard blue eyes.
But the hair was of a golden color, and fashionably
dressed. The young woman - she likewise
was not a lady - was also in black.
“This,” said Pash, indicating
the elder woman, who smiled, “is Mrs. Lemuel
“The wife of the man who called
himself Aaron Norman,” went on the widow; “and
this,” she indicated her daughter, “is