Newspaper Archive of
The Saguache Crescent
Saguache , Colorado
December 23, 1943     The Saguache Crescent
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December 23, 1943

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m'a THE SAGIIACHE i i II III SOMBRERO0000;00\\; N Elsa Chatileld, UoUywood artist, is e this odd reception ef the news I had low. It will come as a surprise, I off from the will of her Aunt Kitty, who for him. know; it will seem out of place, died from an overdose of morphine. . , ,, . ur detective and Hunt It really doesnt matter, Barry, perhaps, to some of you. But it is Barry. an ornate ' o az he amplified "Chesebro and I are something that seems to be neces- Rogers, & professional sleuth, g to M - &tlan, Mexico, on a cruise with Margaret through. We're quits. He's kicked sary." and Dwight Nichols. Arriving there they me out of his organization. I've Sam Chatfield was now well find that Elsa and her party had pre- been sitting here resting a bit after launched upon his little speech; eede.a them_by plane. They dine a t the getting my stuff together, and '.hink- there was earnestness unon his face ucno ox tsa's father, Sam unameld, in " " " "  ' m his manner You all know, of whum Rogers questions about his visit to ,,'.  ..,, " ,. ,,.,o. o, .. ,h ..h, h ma ou mean you're nreo: course, of the death of my sister, _.a'ter"Els'a I=s'seenb 13arr-and-Rogers "Yes " Katherine, in California, now more Y Y , evidently flying for her life on horseback. "Why--what? ' than a year ago. At odd times since Suddenly she dismounts and James Chesebro, a mine owner, reins up. Elsa strikes, him across the face with her qirt, again and again. CHAPTER VII But h'Isa was not through with him. A moment later when her horse dropped to all four feet, she came wilhin striking distance, and again tl quirt lashed out to cut Chesebro, across the shoulders this time. Chesebro was too dignified to run froth her; an upraised arm to fend off the lightninglike quirt was his only defense. "Elsa[" I shouted, starting from our place beside the oxcart. "Elsal" But she didn't hear me. Chesebro was now rolling along the ground, alive to his danger but as yet un- able to escape the lashing whip. "Elsal Stop it[ Stop it!" I shout- l, moving rapidly down upon her, ogers at my heels. The rigid arm relaxed, the quirt' Slowly fell from her nerveless fin- gers, the quirt which later was to play so vital a part in our tragic story. The rage that had stirred Elsa to a frenzy melted quickly away. Rog- ers released her and went to help Chesebro to his feet. Suddenly Elsa turned into my arms, soft and yield- ing, trembling weakly. "Oh, Barry" she said. A sob shock her body convulsively. "Oh, Barry--I said that someday I'd pull off his legs. But that's not enough. I'm going to kill him instead!" Chesebro was put gently to bed in an enormous room furnished in an- cient black walnut; the high ceiling and the great length and breadth of the room gave me the feeling al- most of being in a cathedral. In an incredibly short time, con- sidering that this was Mexico, the doctor arrived. "It is the heart, yes," he said at last, speaking English with a strong rhythmic accent. "He's had an at- tack; it is light, but he shall re- main in bed for several days. Why the face like this?" he nquired, in- dicating the bruised flesh. "He did not fall on the face, no?" "There was an--argument, Doc- tor Cruz," Rogers replied slowly, "in which he was severely beaten. With a whip." "Ah!" responded Doctor Cruz and shrugged his shoulders discreetly. I went into town with the doctor when he left that early afternoon. As I explained to Huntoon Rogers, it was best that someone of us sought out Reed Barton, to tell him of what had happened. "You're coming out again, of course, for the evening?" Rogers in- quired, "Yes. I wouldn't miss a fiesta, I don't suppose Chesebro's condition will make any difference in their plans." "I think not." George Rumble, lingering in the shade of a clump of bananas, came to life. "I believe I'll go along with you. All right is it, Doc?" he asked of Doctor Cruz. "You bet," responded the Mexi- can physician. And so we rode into town together. Doctor Cruz dropped me a few minutes later in a side street where over a doorway let into a glaring white wall was a s!gn bearing Chese- bro's name. It was the siesta hour, but I entered its comfortable shady interior where the heat of the day apparently had not penetrated. A youthful Mexican sitting idly at a typewriter looked up, and got quick- ly out of his chair. "A sus ordenes, senor," he said. "Senor Barton; is he in?" I in- quired in Spanish. "St, senor; por esta puerta," he said rapping gently, then opening the door into the inner office. Reed Barton sat with his feet upon the top of his desk, smoking a cigarette, and gazing dreamily out into a small patio where a fountain dripped and a ruby throated hum- ruing bird was busy among the flow- ers. "Hello, old man," I said. Reed took his feet from the desk, got slowly from his chair and dropped his cigarette into an ash tray. He held out his hand. "I dropped in just now to tell you some news." ".'What news?" '&l thought you ought to know about it. Chesebro's had a heart attack. The doctor has put him to bed out at Sam Chatfleld's." "What brought that on?" "Eisa beat him up quite badly with a whip a while ago; almost cut him to ribbons. The attack fol- lowed." "Well," he said with surprisingly little show of interest, "it doesn't mean anything to me, Barry, to now about it. Thank you, though, /or your trouble." "q don't und=-tand--" I began at 'Elsa, of course. The man is mad, Barry. About her." That evening at the rancho is one that none of us who was present will ever forget, an evening not of full fiesta, but of gay and typical dances, the zapateados, an evening that ended so tragically. Chesebro was lying motionless in bed. Because of the painful injuries inflicted by the lash of Elsa's whip, he did not turn his head when we came into the room, merely inquired quietly who we were. "I'm glad you came in," he said from his pillow. "Sit down, won't you?" "We'll not stay," Rogers told him, going up to the bedside and looking down upon the bandaged occupant. "Can we get you anything? Do any service for you, Chesebro?" "Thank you, no. I'm all right. I'll be up and about in a few days." He rested a moment before he con- tinued. "They are very kind to me, both Sam and Senora Chat- field. I couldn't ask more devoted, thoughtful attention." "Oh, I'm sure you're well cared for," I said. "It was a--" I started to say something of the beating Elsa had given him, but paused, afraid to irritate his sensibilities. Chesebro waited a moment for me to go on, then said: "I don't 'She had gone mad with hatred of him. blame Elsa. I blame only myself for having underestimated Elsa's capabilities." "Elsa is," began Rogers, a half- humorous note in his voice, "sur- prisingly full of capabilities." "Yes," said Chesebro, matter-of- factly, "that's true.- But she didn't know; she couldn't have known that I was experiencing a little trouble with my heart--and I shouldn't have done what I did. You find me very contrite, gentlemen. Elsa, I'm sure, will forgive me when she comes in to see me, as I've been promised later on she will do." We said good night and withdrew from the huge, dimly lighted room where dark shadows in the far cor- ners could have concealed a host of evil spirits. There was an odd, constrained si- lence when we entered the living room, a slight hush of expectancy and a stiffening of the occupants in the chairs. Dwight and Margaret had arrived. Rumble was there, having come out with me from town. Sam and Berta were sitting with them. Elsa had not yet made her appearance, and Reed Barton came In a moment or two after we entered. He was dressed pic- turesquely as a charro, the Mexican cowboy, and evidently was deter- mined to have a part in the eve- ning's festivities: He wore a short leather jacket, a soft red tie, long leather pantaloons as tight as he could sit down in, bespangled with silver buttons and chains. I detected a look of disappoint- ment in his face as he glanced around the room and did not find Elsa. Berta, dressed in black vel- vet and heavily rouged, coquettish- ly made a place for him beside herself, and indicated her husband with her fan, as if he were only waiting for the attention of all be- fore saying something. "I--" he began hesitantly. "I am suggesting something for this partic- ular time--it is still early--which has nothing whatever to do with the evenins'l festivitiee. Tlv will fol- that occurrence there have been in- timations that the authorities are not satisfied with the official find- ings. I discover that among you there are two who are actively pros- ecuting an inquiry into the circum- stances surrounding Katherine's death. "Since all of us here"--he looked around the room--"Eisa will be here shortly--knew her or had some deal- ings, or association of some sort, with her, I shall ask'Mr. Rogers to conduct an examination. I want him, and through him the authori- ties in California, to be satisfied. Neither Berta nor I have been avail- able for questioning hitherto, and I hope Mr. Rogers will not feel con- strained, because we are his hosts, in questioning us. Of course, Mr. Chesebro cannot be with us, and is at present in no condition to undergo questioning, but that, perhaps, can be done later, if it has not already been done." "Thank you, Mr. Chatfield. It is indeed a surprise. I had been hop- ing soon to suggest that something like this be arranged. I'm sure that Mr. Madison will be grateful for this opportunity, now that the matter is, so to speak, out in the open. Of course," he hesitated, looking in- tently at Sam Chatfield, "there is in the death of your sister--or, for that matter, in the death of anyone else--a set of facts. We are un- certain just what those facts are. The district attorney's office doubts the validity of what purports to be facts in the Katherine Chatfield case. There was a stir in the doorway and Elsa entered the room, pausing on the threshold to survey us as we sat listening, solemn-faced and stiff- ly, as if to a schoolmaster, while Rogers talked. She was always love- ly; her hair of an almost golden sheen, the level gray eyes, the firm, erect carriage which was empha- sized tonight by the costume she wore. She was dressed as a China Poblana. "Am I interrupting?" she asked from the threshold. "No, dear; come in," said her father. "We were expecting you to join us." He made a place for her at his side. A faint smile flitted across her face at the sight of Reed Barton, and she nodded to him, slightly aloof now, this person, who so ar- dently had hoped that Reed would come like a caballero and sing love songs to her on the deck of the Ori- zaba. "I presume there is little need to do so, but perhaps it is best to re- mind you all that Katherine Chat- field died of an overdose of mor- phine." At Rogers' words, Elsa, who had just sat down, lifted her head high, her nostrils opening wider as if she sniffed danger. "The overdose probably was much in excess," continued Rogers easily, "of what she was accustomed to take. In the circumstances only two conclusions are possible. Either she administered the overdose herself, in which case it was suicide. Or, it was given to her by someone de- siring her death either forcibly, or by the aid of some preliminary an- esthetic administered quickly before she was aware of her danger--such as chloroform. In which latter case, of course, it is murder. "Mr. Chatfield quite recently told Barry Madison and me that both he and Mrs. Chatfield were spend- ing the night at the house the night his sister died. Elsa, of course, was there. ome time ago Reed Barton informed me that, in the na. ture of his work for Mr. CF.esebro, he ran many personal errands for him, and that on this particular eve- ning he had been instructed to de- liver a book to her. "And I have just discovered in talking with George Rumble that he had been engaged to do some pub- licity work for Miss Chatfield, and that on the evening of her death he was present in the house for a short time, that the two argued, and that he left threatening to sue her for his money. "Dwight," Rogers said, with m smile, "so far as I know, you and Margaret are the only ones here, excepting Barry Madison and my- self, who have not been shown to have been present that night. How about it? Are you keeping some- thing to yourself?" Dwight Nichols shifted his crossed legs and tapped the ash from the tip of his cigarette. "I believe I told you a long time ago, Hunt, that I might be accused 'of having a motive in Kitty Chat- feld's slaying--if.that's what it was. I profited to the extent of a couple of hundred thousand dollars at her death, because of some property owned in joint tenancy. But there it ends. I didn't happen to be at the house at any time that evening sh* died." ,'ro BE ODN'rINUO) CRESCENT II I IIIIIII Ph/Ih'pa" ..F THOSe. NEW RATION 'TOIENS' Ration coupons are to be replaced by ration tokens They will look like the little chips used in playing fiddle-de-winks. Uncle Sam is mak- ing nine hundred million of 'era to replace ration books. The public doesn't know whether to feel re. lieved or scared. The chips will be red and olua with yellow edges. A lot of folks are going tv be poisoned by eating them for cough lozenges or indiges- tion tablets. If you swallow your quota by mis- take and go to your ration board chairman he will simply recommend an operation. You may not be in the food from now on but you will certainly be in the chips. __e__ Red ones will be for meats, and yellow ones for vegetables, fruits, canned goods, etc. (Neither color will be any good on a trolley--Ed. note.) Washington announces that the ra- tion chips will throw off "an ultra violet glow." That'll be nice. But it would be nicer if they had had no glow and could be dissolved in milk and taken asta breakfast food in a pinch. Why the ultra violet glow? Can it be possible that in the confusion of so many bureaus in Washington they got the ration bureau and th,, dimout boards intertangled? It's going to be good fun. Thers was not much excitement in just tearing coupons out of a drab old book. But fancy being able to come across with an ultra violet glow for a pound of hamburger! Many a butcher won't know wheth- er he is selling groceries or getting a violet ray treatment. He may be a stubborn fellow and sell on a green ray only. Of course it is going to cause pocket and handbag complications. With the new ration tokens in your possession you will be afraid to throw away any bus token, washer, sinker, chip or identification disk for fear of making a mistake. We look for plenty of arguments on buses as a result of people try- ing to put ration tokens in the box. And as a resuR of other people try- ing to get the grocer to take bus tokens. The simplest course may be to pass a law requiring all bus drivers to carry groceries and insist that all grocermen be willing to take cus- tomers out for a ride. Back on the Copper Standard The mint is going to quit making the new steel penny, or "Whatizzit," early next year. This is good news to millions of perplexed citizens. Na matter what Washington does with a penny, it should leave it the same general shade. The non-fad- ing red cent. is an American tradi- tion. A citizen may not mind taking a quarter to the bank cashier to have it ver, tfied; h9 may not balk at sub- mitting a half-dollar to a numisma- tist for identification, but when he has to consult a color chart to see whether he has just been handed forty cents in dimes or four cents in pennies it is harrowing. The new penny is of steel with a zinc coating. It could be a dime, a washer or a bath plug. We have a copper shortage, admit- tedly, but our scientists should be smart enough to make a cent that by any other metal will look as red. There is an old saying that a bad penny always comes back. That's the trouble with this one. It looks as if the fellow who has been down in Washington changing the shapes, sizes and colors of post- age stamps has been switched to the United States Mint. We talk so much in billions these days that it is hard to get down to pennies. But it is time to call a halt. Money goes so fast, that no- body has much time to worry over its weight, shape and shade but it would be comforting to know that its last red cent hasn't developed per- nicious anemia. @ Washington urges that people use electric lights only on indoor Christ- mas trees this year. And it is prob- ably right. But we can think of nothing that makes so much for morale and a big spiritual uplift than a Christmas tree all aglow on the lawn. 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