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Baron De Streuss' Proposal
The Baron adjusted his eyeglass with shaking fingers. His face now was waxen-white as
he spread out the newspaper upon the table and read the paragraph word by word.
TERRIBLE CRIME IN THE CITY
Early this morning the body of a man was discovered in a narrow passageway leading
from Crooked Friars to Royal Street, under circumstances which leave little doubt but
that the man's death was owing to foul play. The deceased had apparently been stabbed,
and had received several severe blows about the head. He was shabbily dressed but was
well supplied with money, and he was wearing a gold watch and chain when he was
There appears to be no further doubt but that the man found in the entry leading from
Crooked Friars had been the victim of a particularly murderous assault. Neither his
clothes nor his linen bore any mark by means of which he could be identified. The body
has been removed to the nearest mortuary, and an inquest will shortly be held.
Streuss looked up from the newspaper and the reality of his surprise was apparent. He
had all the appearance of a man shaken with emotion. While he looked at his two
companions wonderingly, strange thoughts were forming in his mind.
"Von Behrling dead!" he muttered. "But who - who could have done this?"
"Until this moment," Bellamy answered dryly, "it was not a matter concerning which we
had any doubt. The only wonder to us was that it should have been done too late."
"You mean," Streuss said slowly, "that he was murdered after he had completed his
bargain with you?"
"I suppose," the Baron continued, "there is no question but that it was done afterwards?
You smile," he exclaimed, "but what am I to think? Neither I nor my people had any
hand in this deed. How about yours?"
Bellamy shook his head.
"We do not fight that way," he replied. "I had bought Von Behrling. He was of no further
interest to me. I did not care whether he lived or died."
"There is something very strange about this," the Baron said. "If neither you nor I were
responsible for his death, who was?"