The Hampstead Mystery eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 321 pages of information about The Hampstead Mystery.

Taylor smiled sourly.

“You’re a deep one,” he said.  “Here’s the other glove.”  He dipped his hand into the deep pocket of his driving coat and produced a glove.  “I suppose you knew I’d have it on me.  Five shillings, and it’s yours.”

“The pair are worth about five shillings to me,” said Crewe as he paid over the money.  “Do you remember what time it was when Mr. Holymead engaged you at Hyde Park?”

“Eleven o’clock.”

“You are quite sure as to the time?”

“I heard one of the big clocks striking as he was getting into my cab.”

Taylor took his departure, and Crewe, after wrapping up the left-hand glove which he had to return to Inspector Chippenfield, put the other one in his safe.

“We are getting on,” he said in a pleased tone.  “This means a trip to Scotland, but I’ll wait until the inquest is over.”

CHAPTER IX

At the inquest on the body of Sir Horace Fewbanks, which was held at the Hampstead Police Court, there was an odd mixture of classes in the crowd that thronged that portion of the court in which the public were allowed to congregate.  The accounts of the crime which had been published in the press, and the atmosphere of mystery which enshrouded the violent death of one of the most prominent of His Majesty’s judges, had stirred the public curiosity, and therefore, in spite of the fact that every one was supposed to be out of town in August, the attendance at the court included a sprinkling of ladies of the fashionable world, and their escorts.

Both branches of the legal profession were numerously represented.  All of the victim’s judicial colleagues were out of town, and though some of them intended as a mark of respect for the dead man to come up for the funeral, which was to take place two days later, they were too familiar with legal procedure to feel curiosity as to the working of the machinery at a preliminary inquiry into the crime.  They were emphatic among their friends on the degeneracy of these days which rendered possible such an outrageous crime as the murder of a High Court judge.  The fact that it was without precedent in the history of British law added to its enormity in the eyes of gentlemen who had been trained to worship precedent as the only safe guide through the shifting quicksands of life.  They were insistent on the urgency of the murderer being arrested and handed over to Justice in the person of the hangman, for—­as each asked himself—­where was this sort of crime to end?  In spite of the degeneracy of the times they were reluctant to believe in such a far-fetched supposition as the existence of a band of criminals who, in revenge for the judicial sentences imposed on members of their class, had sworn to exterminate the whole of His Majesty’s judges; but, until the murderer was apprehended and the reason for the crime was discovered, it was impossible to say that the English judicature would not soon be called upon to supply other victims to criminal violence.  The murder of a judge seemed to them a particularly atrocious crime, in the punishment of which the law might honourably sacrifice temporarily its well-earned reputation for delay.

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The Hampstead Mystery from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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