"A splash of chloroform . . ."

The drunken man was staggering -- but he was quite alive, when the thoughtful gentleman stumbled upon him in the thick Melbourne night, and hailed a cab to take him home.

By the time the cabdriver was in the proper neighborhood and was turning around to ask directions, the cabbie discovered he was driving around an unconscious man . . . slumped forward with a chemical-soaked handkerchief tied around his mouth Unconscious -- or dead New Zealand lawyer and writer Fergus Hume achieved immediate, widespread attention for his first novel, "The Mystery of a Hansom Cab," when it first appeared in 1886.

This remarkable novel, when published in England, became more the talk of London than even Conan Doyle's "A Study in Scarlet," issued soon thereafter. Hume's other detective novels included "The Opal Serpent" and "The Silent House."

In its original form, The Mystery of a Hansom Cab has reached the sale of 375,000 copies in this country, and some few editions in the United States of America. Notwithstanding this, the present publishers have the best of reasons for believing, that there are thousands of persons whom
Chapter 1. What the Argus Said2015-05-25
The following report appeared in the Argus newspaper of Saturday, the 28th July, 18 -Truth is said to be stranger than fiction, and certainly the extraordinary murder which took place in Melbourne on Thursday night, or rather Friday morning, goes a long way towards verifying this saying
Chapter 2. The Evidence at the Inquest2015-05-24
At the inquest held on the body found in the hansom cab the following articles taken from the deceased were placed on the table:-1. Two pounds ten shillings in gold and silver. 2. The white silk handkerchief which was saturated with chloroform, and was found tied across the mouth of the decease
Chapter 3. One Hundred Pounds Reward2015-05-24
V. R. MURDER. 100 POUNDS REWARD. Whereas, on Friday, the 27th day of July, the body of a man, name unknown, was found in a hansom cab. AND WHEREAS, at an inquest held at St. Kilda, on the 30th day of July, a verdict of wilful murder, against some person unknown, was brought in by the jury. The
Chapter 4. Mr. Gorby Makes a Start2015-05-23
Well, said Mr. Gorby, addressing his reflection in the looking-glass, Ive been finding out things these last twenty years, but this is a puzzler, and no mistake. Mr. Gorby was shaving, and, as was his usual custom, conversed with his reflection. Being a detective, a
Chapter 5. Mrs. Hableton Unbosoms Herself2015-05-23
Mrs. Hableton was a lady with a grievance, as anybody who happened to become acquainted with her, soon found out. It is Beaconsfield who says, in one of his novels, that no one is so interesting as when he is talking about himself; and, judging Mrs. Hableton by this statement, she was an extremely f
Chapter 6. Mr. Gorby Makes Further Discoveries2015-05-22
When Mr. Gorby left Possum Villa no doubt remained in his mind as to who had committed the murder. The gentleman in the light coat had threatened to murder Whyte, even in the open street - these last words being especially significant - and there was no doubt that he had carried out his
Chapter 7. The Wool King2015-05-22
The old Greek legend of Midas turning everything he touched into gold, is truer than most people imagine. Mediaeval superstition changed the human being who possessed such a power into the philosophers stone - the stone which so many alchemists sought in the dark ages. But we of the nin
Chapter 8. Brian Takes a Walk and a Drive2015-05-21
When the gentlemen entered the drawing-room a young lady was engaged in playing one of those detestable pieces of the morceau de salon order, in which an unoffending air is taken, and variations embroidered on it, till it becomes a perfect agony to distinguish the tune, amid the perpetual rattle of
Chapter 9. Mr. Gorby is Satisfied at Last2015-05-21
In spite of his long walk, and still longer drive, Brian did not sleep well that night. He kept tossing and turning, or lying on his back, wide awake, looking into the darkness and thinking of Whyte. Towards dawn, when the first faint glimmer of morning came through the venetian blinds, he fell into
Chapter 10. In the Queen’s Name2015-05-20
It was a broiling hot day - one of those cloudless days, with the blazing sun beating down on the arid streets, and casting deep, black shadows - a real Australian December day dropped by mistake of the clerk of the weather into the middle of August. The previous week having been really
Chapter 11. Counsel for the Prisoner2015-05-20
Brian Fitzgerald was arrested at a few minutes past three oclock, and by five all Melbourne was ringing with the news that the perpetrator of the now famous hansom cab murder had been caught. The evening papers were full of the affair, and the Herald went through several editions, the demand
Chapter 12. She was a True Woman2015-05-19
Melbourne society was greatly agitated over the hansom cab murder. Before the assassin had been discovered it had been looked upon merely as a common murder, and one of which society need take no cognisance beyond the bare fact of its committal. But now that one of the most fashionable young men in
Chapter 13. Madge Makes a Discovery2015-05-19
Madge stepped into the cab, and Calton paused a moment to tell the cabman to drive to the railway station Suddenly she stopped him. Tell him to drive to Brians lodgings in Powlett Street, she said, laying her hand on Caltons arm. What for? asked the lawyer, in
Chapter 14. Another Richmond in the Field2015-05-18
There is an old adage that says Like draws to like. The antithesis of this is probably that Unlike repels unlike. But there are times when individualism does not enter into the matter, and Fate alone, by throwing two persons together, sets up a state, congenial or unconge
Chapter 15. A Woman of the People2015-05-18
Bourke Street is a more crowded thoroughfare than Collins Street, especially at night. The theatres that it contains are in themselves sufficient for the gathering of a considerable crowd. It is a grimy crowd for the most part. Round the doors of the hotels a number of ragged and shabby-looking indi
Chapter 16. Missing2015-05-17
The next day Kilsip called at Caltons office late in the afternoon, and found the lawyer eagerly expecting him. The detectives face, however, looked rather dismal, and Calton was not reassured. Well! he said, impatiently, when Kilsip had closed the door and taken his seat.
Chapter 17. The Trial2015-05-17
In spite of the utmost vigilance on the part of the police, and the offer of a large reward, both by Calton, on behalf of the accused, and by Mr. Frettlby, the much-desired Sal Rawlins still remained hidden. The millionaire had maintained a most friendly attitude towards Brian throughout the whole a
Chapter 18. Sal Rawlins Tells All she Knows2015-05-16
And, indeed, such was the case. Sal Rawlins had made her appearance at the eleventh hour, to the heartfelt thankfulness of Calton, who saw in her an angel from heaven, sent to save the life of an innocent man. It was at the conclusion of the trial; and, together with Madge, he had gone down to his of
Chapter 19. The Verdict of the Jury2015-05-16
Next morning the Court was crowded, and numbers were unable to gain admission. The news that Sal Rawlins, who alone could prove the innocence of the prisoner, had been found, and would appear in Court that morning, had spread like wildfire, and the acquittal of the prisoner was confidently expected
Chapter 20. The “Argus” Gives its Opinion2015-05-15
The morning after the trial was concluded the following article in reference to the matter appeared in the Argus -During the past three months we have frequently in our columns commented on the extraordinary case which is now so widely known as The Hansom Cab Tragedy. We c
Chapter 21. Three Months Afterwards2015-05-15
A hot December day, with a cloudless blue sky, and a sun blazing down on the earth, clothed in all the beauty of summer garments. Such a description of snowy December sounds perchance a trifle strange to English ears. It may strike them as being somewhat fantastic, as was the play in A Midsum
Chapter 22. A Daughter of Eve2015-05-14
After Sal had gone, Brian sank into a chair beside Madge with a weary sigh. He was in riding dress, which became his stalwart figure well, and he looked remarkably handsome but ill and worried. What on earth were you questioning that girl about? he said abruptly, taking his hat off, and
Chapter 23. Across the Walnuts and the Wine2015-05-14
Moore, sweetest of bards, sings -Oh, theres nothing half so sweet in life As loves young dream. But he made this assertion in his callow days, before he had learned the value of a good digestion. To a young and fervid youth, loves young dream is, no doubt, ver
Chapter 24. Brian Receives a Letter2015-05-13
Notwithstanding the hospitable invitation of Mr. Frettlby, Brian refused to stay at Yabba Yallook that night, but after saying good-bye to Madge, mounted his horse and rode slowly away in the moonlight. He felt very happy, and letting the reins lie on his horses neck, he gave himself up unres
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