By some, he was supposed to be a murderer, whom remorse had driven from the haunts of men, and who was endeavoring to expiate his crimes by self-denial and suffering; others, asserted that he was the Wandering Jew, though his long residence at the island militated a little with the idea: however, that was balanced by his marked reverence for the New Testament, and frequent references to the coming of the Son of Man; while others insisted he was a pirate, who had buried treasure on the lonely island, and there watched over its security.
According to the police, then, Barthorpe was the actual murderer, and Burchill was an accessory before the fact. There is no evidence that Burchill was near the estate office that night.
"Because because, Paul Bevan," said Tom with sudden earnestness, as he gazed on the other's face, "because I'm a thief!" "You might be worse," replied Bevan, while a peculiarly significant smile played for a moment on his rugged features. "What do you mean?" exclaimed Tom, in amazement. "Why, you might have bin a murderer, you know," replied Bevan, with a nod.
The murderer had left not the slightest trace of his identity or his manner of entrance to the death chamber. "As I see it," said the captain when they rejoined Jenkins, "nobody broke into this house last night. But two men had admission to it. They were Mr. Douglas Campbell, the real estate man, and Mr. Henry Morley, who was calling on Miss Fulton. It's up to those two to tell what they know."
He was not a man to feel remorse never a common feeling; but surely that murderer was in a living hell, as, with fever and famine leering at him from the shadows, he made his way through the empty desolation of the wilderness.
The ground was thick-set with the mangled and hacked stumps of great chestnut-trees, and strewn with their lifeless limbs and trunks, as with members of corpses; every stump, as Jennings surveyed it with fanciful gaze, looked with its spread of supporting roots upon the surface, curiously like a great foot of a woody giant, which no murderer could tear loose from its hold in its native soil.
One of their number approached the council lodge, unarmed and making the sign for a peaceful communication. He was admitted to the council, which was still in session, and offered to give up the murderer. It was also proposed, as an alternative, that he be compelled to give everything he had to the parents of the murdered man.
I'll not beat yore head off this time, but if you ever try any monkey tricks with Bully West again " He let the threat die out in a sound of grinding teeth. Beresford spoke. His voice was gentle. Vile though this murderer was, there was something pitiable in his condition. One cannot see a Colossus of strength and energy stricken to helplessness without some sense of compassion.
Death, the arch-enemy of joy, the assassin of youth, the murderer of Jenny, Death had robbed him of his life's one treasure, and here was he loving him, watching for his face, listening for his step, like a lover. Surely this was the strangest of conclusions; but perhaps the explanation was very simple.
They asked each other whether he had committed murder or robbery. The butcher, who was an ex-'spahi', declared that he was a deserter. The tobacconist thought that he recognized him as the man who had that very morning passed a bad half-franc piece off on him, and the ironmonger declared that he was the murderer of Widow Malet, whom the police had been looking for for six months.