The Darrow Enigma eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 218 pages of information about The Darrow Enigma.
and the upper packet quickly slid beneath it, leaving the cards in precisely the position they occupied before cutting; For this purpose, the book continued, the nail of the right little finger is worn very long, so as to facilitate its being thrust beneath a packet of cards.  Here, I said to myself, is a possible explanation of one of the peculiarities of my plaster cast.  The long nail on the left little finger may have served its function at the gaming table.  If so, however, it would seem to indicate that our man is left-handed, while, as we have already seen, the writing upon the library slips would indicate that he is ambidextrous.  We need not, therefore, I reasoned, be surprised if we find that both little fingers have long nails.  I at once acted upon these thoughts and began a search of the gambling resorts of this city.  In order not to excite suspicion I played a little in each place, watching my opportunity to engage the proprietor in conversation.  In every case I followed the same formula.  Did he remember the gentleman who used to come there?  Foreigner,—­spoke French, a little under medium height; had a sort of halt in his walk; bit his finger nails, etc., etc.  I met with no encouragement in the down-town places, though the proprietor of one of the Hayward Place ‘dives’ had an idea such a man had been there, but only once or twice and he was not sure he could place him.  I then went up to the South End and on Decatur Street found a man who promptly responded to my inquiries:  ’Gad! that’s Henri Cazot fast enough, in all but the height and gait.  Dick there, he’ll tell you all about him.  He owes him a little debt of honour of about a hundred plunks.  He gave him his note for it, and Dick carries it around with him, not because he thinks he’ll ever get it, but he likes the writing.  M. Henri Cazot! eh, Dick?’ and he burst into a coarse laugh.  I turned to Dick for further information.  He had already produced a much-crumpled paper and was smoothing it out upon the table.

“‘There’s the article,’ he said, bringing his hand down emphatically upon it.  ’The cuss was hard up.  Luck had gone agin him and he had lost every cent he had.  Jem Macey was a-dealin’ and Cazot didn’t seem to grasp that fact, but kept bettin’ heavy.  You see, young feller, ye ain’t over likely to win at cards when yer playin’ agin the dealer.  Cazot didn’t know this and I wouldn’t tell him, for he was rather fly with the cards himself when he wan’t watched too close.  Well, he struck me for a loan; said his little girl was hungry and he hadn’t a cent to buy bread.  Gad, but he looked wild though!  I always thought he was more’n half loony.  Well, as I had helped to fleece him I lent him a hundred and took this here note.  That’s the last I ever see of M. Henri Cazot,’ and he handed the paper to me.  I glanced at the signature.  It was the same hand that had written ‘Weltz’ and ‘Rizzi’ upon the library slips.  There was that unmistakable z and the peculiar r which had just attracted my attention!  It required considerable effort on my part to so restrain my feelings as not to appear especially interested in what I had learned.  I think, however, I succeeded, as they freely answered my questions regarding Cazot and the daughter of whom he had spoken.  They knew nothing further, they said, than what they had told me.

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The Darrow Enigma from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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