The Old Man in the Corner
XXVIII. The Regent's Park Murder
By this time Miss Polly Burton had become quite accustomed to her extraordinary _vis-à-
vis_ in the corner.
He was always there, when she arrived, in the selfsame corner, dressed in one of his
remarkable check tweed suits; he seldom said good morning, and invariably when she
appeared he began to fidget with increased nervousness, with some tattered and knotty
piece of string.
"Were you ever interested in the Regent's Park murder?" he asked her one day.
Polly replied that she had forgotten most of the particulars connected with that curious
murder, but that she fully remembered the stir and flutter it had caused in a certain
section of London Society.
"The racing and gambling set, particularly, you mean," he said. "All the persons
implicated in the murder, directly or indirectly, were of the type commonly called
'Society men,' or 'men about town,' whilst the Harewood Club in Hanover Square, round
which centred all the scandal in connection with the murder, was one of the smartest
clubs in London.
"Probably the doings of the Harewood Club, which was essentially a gambling club,
would for ever have remained 'officially' absent from the knowledge of the police
authorities but for the murder in the Regent's Park and the revelations which came to light
in connection with it.
"I dare say you know the quiet square which lies between Portland Place and the Regent's
Park and is called Park Crescent at its south end, and subsequently Park Square East and
West. The Marylebone Road, with all its heavy traffic, cuts straight across the large
square and its pretty gardens, but the latter are connected together by a tunnel under the
road; and of course you must remember that the new tube station in the south portion of
the Square had not yet been planned.
"February 6th, 1907, was a very foggy night, nevertheless Mr. Aaron Cohen, of 30, Park
Square West, at two o'clock in the morning, having finally pocketed the heavy winnings
which he had just swept off the green table of the Harewood Club, started to walk home
alone. An hour later most of the inhabitants of Park Square West were aroused from their
peaceful slumbers by the sounds of a violent altercation in the road. A man's angry voice
was heard shouting violently for a minute or two, and was followed immediately by
frantic screams of 'Police' and 'Murder.' Then there was the double sharp report of
firearms, and nothing more.
"The fog was very dense, and, as you no doubt have experienced yourself, it is very
difficult to locate sound in a fog. Nevertheless, not more than a minute or two had