The Eye of a Needle
Another true Mounted Police detective story narrating the strange case of the murder which was seen and yet not seen
T. MORRIS LONGSTRETH
THE reservation for the Indians of Sucker Creek on the remote shores of Lesser Slave Lake had just been created by an Order-in-Council, and Moostoos, chief of the Northern Cree band, was proud of the territory over which he was the undisputed lord.
It is true that 15,000 acres is a mere pittance in land for one who has lived through the period when all of Canada’s Northwest was a hunting ground. But the invading whites had changed the face of things and now, in 1904, Moostoos was grateful for the restricted area which, as the servants of the Government had made clear, was assured to him and his followers.
The occasional adventurer who pursued his weary way from the outpost of Athabasca Landing through this country of the Lesser Slave might well have smiled at Moostoos’ pride of ownership. To the traveller the Reserve was just another stretch of muskeg and poplar, evergreen brush and sand, heartbreaking obstacles to fortune: but Moostoos knew it as home, and when he discovered that two white men were cutting timber illicitly on the Reserve, Moostoos hastened to the Mounted Police detachment at Buffalo Bay, not far off, to assert his new rights.
Sergeant Anderson was in charge. Of his fifteen years’ service with the Force, seven had been spent in the North country, which afforded the nearest approach to Anderson’s native Iceland that the Canada of 1904 had to offer. The sergeant accompanied Moostoos back to the Reserve, the culprits were caught red-handed, and Anderson made short shrift of them. With the trespassers on their way out, after paying for the damage done, Moostoos grew expansive and confidential with his red-coated white friend. As they paddled back to the detachment, he spoke of his many responsibilities, the necessity of being always on the alert, of keeping the young men in check, of preserving one’s inheritance intact. Only a few weeks earlier, the chief said, two white strangers had entered the Reserve from the East, camping for the night. Several of the band had spoken to them. One was tall, the other short. The next morning both men had been around, but the day after that the tall man was gone. No one had seen him leave. Two days later the short man had gone away. There was talk among the older Indians that all was not well. Moostoos’ cows had gone, strangely enough, to the men’s camp, bawling and even pawing over the ashes of their fire. Cows rarely . . .
Found in the Ashes
IT WAS an interminable and seemingly purposeless tale, but Anderson soothed the chief by promising to return and investigate, and that same evening he camped at the Reserve to interview the gossips. They had nothing startling to tell. Two Indian boys, curious and sharp-eyed, had seen the strangers pitch camp and had been given tea by them. They saw four pack horses and a black collie dog. The tall man wras sewing up a leather gunstock with waxed thread. He used a long needle and a queer leather thing across hls palm to push with. He had a black beard and mustache, and his face was thin. The short man was middle-aged,
with a dark-brown beard that was going grey. He walked slowly, with a slight stoop.
“Where were they going, did they say?” asked Anderson.
“The tall man said they were going to the lake, meaning the Lesser Slave,” one of the boys replied,
“and I told him it was a short journey through the bush.”
“Did they go?”
“Three days later the short man went. He took the four horses. He had to tie the dog to the tree because it would not stay with him.”
Anderson, liking their sharp-eyed observations, probed for more, but this was all they knew except that Mrs. Moostoos had sent a boy to the strangers’ fire for soap ashes. He had found a burnt button and piece of charred cloth in the ashes.
“Tomorrow you can show me the place,” said Anderson.
As the sergeant came into view of the deserted camp site, his eyes narrowed. The fireplace covered a space at least six feet by three, with the ashes several inches deep at the outside. It seemed incredible that a three days’ camp fire, particularly in mid-September, could furnish such a quantity of ashes. On hand and knee the tall, fair-haired, blueeyed Icelander circled the place. Anderson was in his element. He had a passion for detail and a satisfaction in bringing about justice intensified by his long Mounted Police service. At his heels followed the wide-eyed Indian boys, while Moostoos stood dignifiedly aloof, missing no detail.
A few flakes of earth staining the grey of the ashes at the centre of the pile led the sergeant to probe the foot of lush there. His fingers searched the depths delicately, feeling for foreign substances; frozen earth and ash, charred embers, a piece of bone. That was nothing; wild game has bones and neat men burn their refuse when they go. Anderson searched on, covering the area. His fingers met on something soft and yielding. A thrill of repulsion went through him as he discovered that he was holding a lump of flesh, a part of a heart. He placed it in a small box with the piece of bone and continued the search, finding more bone, more charred flesh. It was a little sickening.
The task of going through so great a pile of ashes was too tedious for one man, Anderson decided, and fingers were too clumsy a sieve. A few feet from the fireplace was a worn spot where the strangers had slept. It seemed innocent enough, but the eyes of the frontiersman focused on a few particles of rusty-colored matter. Blood and brains, flashed through the policeman’s mind, now turned totally suspicious, and the particles were added to his collection.
A large slough sparkled in the sunshine a hundred and fifty yards away.
“Is that where they got their water?” Anderson asked. Moostoos nodded.
“Can you get me a rake?”
While one of the boys was racing on the errand, Anderson, who had made a hobby of photography, got his camera and snapped fiieplace and slough, each from
several angles. The waters of the slough were four feet deep and the policeman waded in, wielding the rake, while Moostoos, stirred from his usual composure, did the same. It was an unsatisfactory as well as chilly method, but the searchers crossed and re-crossed until Moostoos finally stumbled upon something, a camp kettle with a piece of stovepipe wire tied to it. A jabber from the shore showed the Indian boys dancing excitedly and pointing to the kettle while talking to Moostoos. Anderson knew enough of the language to understand. This was the kettle that the strangers had used when the boys visited the camp.
The early autumn darkness discouraged a further search of the slough, and Anderson determined to postpone further probing until he could devise some instrument better than a rake. He had learned enough, however, to think wrell of Moostoos’ suspicions and decided to return to the detachment alone in order to avert any suspicion in the mind of the short, middleaged man who walked slowly with a slight stoop and who was still in the settlement waiting for a boat to take him across the lake on the way to Athabasca Landing and the outside.
The Rag-Covered Bundle
ANDERSON had already talked wdth him, as the Mounted Police invariably did with strangers, and now' sought him again. Charles King admitted that he had been on the Reserve with a stranger whom he had met on the tiail near the Sand Hills. The stranger, King said, had given his name as Layman. He had
stayed only the one night in King’s camp, pulling out the following afternoon, on foot as he had come, with the intention, King thought, of going on to Sturgeon Lake to prospect. Layman’s equipment, as far as King could remember, consisted of a pack containing two pairs of blankets, a fry pan, a lard pail for kettle, some provisions and a revolver.
Anderson, interspersing his conversation with these enquiries so casually as not to alarm King, grew more and more puzzled. Certainly there was nothing of the murderer in King’s appearance. He described himself as a farmer from the States and was obviously uneducated. He looked far from prosperous, having nothing but his outfit, much of which he had just sold, having decided to return to Edmonton to try his luck elsewhere, but there was nothing to indicate degradation or brutality in him, and for a moment Anderson wondered if his own thoughts were not ill-founded if not ridiculous. The bones, the flesh, the heart, might prove to be all animal. It would be wiser to step cautiously. That afternoon two constables slipped away on the eighty-fivemile trail to Sturgeon Lake with instructions to discover if Layman had arrived there.
By good fortune a freighter arrived from Sturgeon Lake the next morning, and his denial that any stranger had come to the settlement, or passed him on the trail reinforced Anderson in conviction. The policeman determined to leave nothing to chance, and arrested Charles King without delay on the charge of having murdered his fellow traveller. The accused man, while admitting that he had thrown the kettle into the slough, asserted his innocence with dispassionate reiteration.
Anderson then checked over all King’s effects, now augmented by the articles which he had sold and which the sergeanl had ordered retrieved.
They were disappointingly noncompromising; the usual pick, shovel and gold pan of the prospector, a bear trap and fifty smaller traps, a new rifle and a double-barrelled shotgun, clothing, provisions, and camp utensils, with some needles and thread. The four horses two bays, one brown and a sorrel bore distinguishing marks, and three had brands. Nothing bore evidence of having belonged to Layman, and Anderson, puzzled but stubborn in his suspicion, returned to the Reserve with a window screen for a sieve.
The Indians, attracted by the unusual kind of hunt, readily agreed to aid, and while Moostoos and Anderson sifted the ashes through the screen, Constable Lowe and several barelegged bucks trod the slimy bottom of the icy slough. It probably was a funny sight, those aborigines shuffling along, balancing on the slippery mud, probing with their toes, solemn and alert; but the ash sifters had no time to watch. Anderson had already found several pieces of bone resembling skull bone, while Moostoos picked out a large, oddly-shaped needle with
part of the eye broken off.
Suddenly there was a grunt of triumph from the slough and an Indian held up a pair of dripping objects, a pair of ankle boots with brass eyelets tied by the laces.
Anderson noted that the toes were reinforced, with one heel slightly askew. Stuffed into one was a ragcovered bundle. Anderson spread the contents on dry ground. They were amazing; a gold sovereign case, a cheap new watch, a miner’s scales with weights, a gold nugget pin, a watch chain, an empty cartridge and an unused one. A tiny white metal object remaining was fingered by the thoughtful sergeant before he realized that he was holding the missing part of the needle found by Moostoos in the ashes.
The policeman held the fragment as something treasured. Its implications were sinking home. No mutter what else developed, the splinter of steel had already linked the boots in the slough with the ashes and the bones and flesh. King had admitted throwing the kettle into the slough; the fragment of needle might yet be eloquent in establishing his connection with the skull bones; it might even—being a most unusual needle - reveal the identity of the victim whose nationality was hinted by the sovereign case. King, thought Anderson, was nearer the scaffold than he suspected.
But nearly everything remained to be done in the way of checking movements of the prisoner and suspected victim, of tracing their pasts when their identities were established, of ransacking the neighborhood for more evidence, of leaving nothing hidden in the slough. The problem of the slough had kept Anderson tossing restlessly through the previous night until his mind determined upon an ambitious plan. He would drain the place, diverting the water to a creek a quarter mile distant. He explained his scheme to Moostoos, and the chief, already devoted to his rôle as assistant Sherlock, promised to supply labor from his band at low cast. It was mid-October and to delay for official approval meant postponement until spring, so Anderson gave the word to go ahead.
The Squaw’« Visit
V\ 7TTH Constable Lowe on his way to Edmonton W escorting King and carrying a letter in which Anderson earnestly recommended that he be allowed to conduct the investigation outside, the sergeant set to work gathering up the loose ends of the case. First, the odd heel on the boot found in the slough and different in size and shape from King’s boots suggested a search for tracks. But the Swan Hills trail showed nothing, so Anderson returned to the Reserve, where immediately he struck ore. Joseph, an old Cree, distinctly remembered having heard a shot the night before King left the Reserve. Thinking the white men might have shot his dog, he went to the camp the next morning and saw the tracks leading into the slough. A squaw confirmed Joseph’s story about the shot.
Casimir Cardinal said that he had met the two white men the day after their arrival at the Reserve, and had shaken hands with the tall man with the black beard. Next morning the same man came to his house, saying he had lost three horses. He stayed for dinner while Casimir’s boys helped find them. He wore a black coat and hat, khaki vest, blue overalls, and a belt with a bright smooth buckle; his ankle boots had large brass eyelets and big nails in the shoes. The tall man told Casimir that the horses were his and that he was going to hunt and use his traps. The boy added that the black collie dog was very fond of the tall man and followed him everywhere.
Remembering the crooked heel, Anderson scrutinized the ground around Casimir’s house. At a shaded spot he found one impression, a clear-cut print, identical in shape and arrangement of nails with the heel of the boot found in the slough. Casimir’s information was constructive; and Anderson reflected that if one were bent on committing a murder, an Indian Reserve, with its sharp eyes for steel needles and belt buckles, was hardly the best, place.
Meanwhile the two constables sent to Sturgeon Lake had come back with the definite information that no one named Layman, or for that matter no stranger whatever, had appeared during the last month, nor had anyone been seen on the trail from the Reserve. A white trader, however, had met King the day he left the Reserve and had been asked to buy the entire outfit, horses and all, for $300. Another white man had camped opposite King on his way to the Lesser Slave, and King had enquired about the trail to Sturgeon Lake but had made no mention of Layman having gone there. This was the first direct evidence that King was lying, for
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when arrested he had told of Layman making for the lake. The constables interviewed all the Indians living on the Sturgeon Lake trail. They had seen no stranger pass.
While the slough draining had been going on, Anderson made a final sift of the ashes, recovering vest buckles, boot eyelets, and bones with the distinctive zigzag joint formation of the skull. When the slough bottom was revealed and carefully raked over it yielded only one object, but this was important, for it was a belt buckle, a smooth white metal affair that Casimir identified as the one worn by the tall man who had dinner at his house.
The activities of the Mounted Police had by now become of absorbing interest to the Sucker Creek Indians, and it was no longer necessary to p.-od them for what they knew about King and Layman. The difficulty, rather was to discriminate between fact and imagination in the stories they had to tell. One such contribution puzzled Anderson. A squaw confessed to having visited the men’s camp to deliver a pair of mocassins, or so she told her husband; but for this transaction she had chosen an exceedingly early morning hour. The sergeant salted away another bit of information; An Indian had noticed two pairs of snowshoes tied to one of the pack horses as King was leaving, together with an unusually large number of traps. Anderson recalled that traps and two pairs of snowshoes had been stolen from a half-breed’s shack at the foot of the Swan Hills some time in August, and Swan Hills was on the route taken by King and Layman in coming to the Reserve.
Did the motive for the murder, if it was murder, lie in one or the other of these pieces of information? Perhaps King had stolen the breed's property against Layman’s wishes and then killed the latter to prevent his reporting to the Police. The hypothesis, in the light of King’s quiet temperament, was hardly a strong one, but any assumption from the mocassin woman’s story seemed equally far-fetched. Anderson, tucking the new knowledge in his memory, prepared to drive King’s horse» back along the trail taken by King and Layman, for they and he would be needed in Edmonton.
At the crossing of the Athabasca the boy in charge of the ferry remembered having ferried the two men and the four horses across, and he identified the animals. The men had been quarrelling continually, he said, and the tall man, who seemed to be boss, was very angry. The short man was called Charlie. They had many traps, including the big one for bear. His descriptions tallied with the facts. For the ferry service the tall man had given him a watch in a leather case.
At Sion Settlement a young Englishman at once recalled the two men who had passed about the end of August. They had stopped at his place, saying that they were en route to Peace River to trap and prospect. The tall man called Ted, who seemed to be boss, had invited him to go along provided he could finance his share. Ted said he had come from Australia but had been in Kent, England, previous to coming to Canada. He had recently been in Nelson, British Columbia. The short man, Charlie, had a gold watch which he wanted to trade for a horse. A settler’s wife confirmed the Englishman’s story.
Clue of the Sailor’s Palm
ANDERSON reached Edmonton to find that the Mounted Police had been successfully pushing the case. Medical examination had proved the bones human and part of a skull. Constable Lowe had made a round of the merchants, exhibiting a list of King’s possessions, and had at last found a horse dealer who remembered an Australian or Englishman who had paid $150 for the horses, saying he was going to Peace River. But his name was not Layman.
With the date to guide him as to time, Lowe unearthed a harnessmaker who had sold the four saddles and accessories and particularly remembered the tall man, who had himself made up six canvas pack bags, sewing them with a sailor’s palm. Lowe recalled the seamless canvas bag in King’s possession.
The proprietor of a tent and mattress company described a sailor’s palm which he had sold to an Englishman, and he was sure he could identify the instrument. A general merchant testified to the sale of a complete outfit to two strangers in August, and the salesman who had waited
on them swore to the bear trap and gold pan in King’s outfit. The tall Englishman had paid for these goods by cheque.
Constable Lowe tried to make his voice casual as he asked to see the account. The men’s names were King and Hayward.
“I remember now,” said the salesman. “Hayward was the Englishman. He gave the cheque for $306 and showed us his pass book with that balance in a bank at Nelson, over in British Columbia. The stuff he bought cost $105 and we gave him the difference in cash. The cheque was all right, but I don’t think Hayward had any other money; in fact he said he hadn’t. What’s the trouble?”
With an evasive answer and the new data, Lowe left the merchant’s to check up on the hotels and boarding houses, soon finding a register which showed the names of E. Hayward and C. King on August 15. The proprietor needed little prompting. The tall man was Hayward; and before setting forth on the Peace River trip they asked if the trunks could be left.
This was getting better and better, Lowe thought. As he stood, with the trunks before him and the three-keys taken from Charles King in his hand, the constable realized how decisive his next act would be.
The first key inserted in the lock of the trunk marked “Hayward” w’ould not turn.
The second key also was useless.
With the insertion of the third the lock yielded and the lid swung open, disclosing a suitcase which another key fitted, and among the first objects seen were four marine discharge certificates showing that Edward Hayward had been an able seaman. So that was the why of the sailor’s palm. Lowe found a letter signed, “Your sincere brother, George,” and another from a friend in Phoenix, B.C. King’s trunk was less fruitful, but it contained a letter from Utah and a railway receipt for passage from Lethbridge to Calgary on August 13.
Sergeant Anderson received the news with the utmost satisfaction. Thus far it was proved that Hayward had certain possessions, horses, saddles, bear-trap and pan, which King had in some way acquired. To be sure, the prisoner’s defense
would try to show that the Englishman had made the purchases on King’s behalf or that King had subsequently taken them over and broken up the partnership. But what of the broken needle, the buried sovereign case, the sailor’s palm? Anderson resumed the investigation with new enthusiasm, while Inspector Worsley, second in command at Edmonton, wrote to Hayward’s brother in England. The riddle of the traps remained. Hayward ha,d bought thirty-one small game traps and the bear one. But King had sold fifty-one at the Lesser Slave. Had King brought in the extra twenty or had they been stolen from the breed’s shanty?
The black collie was traced to an old German woman down by the river flats, who admitted having given the dog to an Englishman with black hair.
Nothing remained to be done at Edmonton, but full preparations for the case demanded a much more extensive knowledge of the two men, so Anderson started for Nelson, B.C.
Curiously, there was no record of an account in Hayward’s name at any bank, but the cheque for $306 located the deposit at a small settlement not far away. Nothing was known of Hayward, but hotel registers revealed that he had come to Nelson in August. He had worked in a shingle mill. A signed time cheque showed the same writing as on the bank cheque, and a jewellery shop produced a record of repairs made to a watch for E. Hayward. The numbers of the case and works tallied with those written in the notebook found in the murdered man’s trunk at Edmonton. But no store in Nelson or Calgary or Edmonton had sold the new rifle, and Anderson was forced to believe it had been bought before reaching Canada.
Details of knowledge came daily in answer to Anderson’s questions. At Michel, B.C., railway construction men remembered Edward Hayward, the exsailor, who had left to go to Peace River. One remembered the small nugget pin, another the sovereign case, another a shotgun in a black case. But no one knew anything of Charles King. Even Hayward’s heavy boots studded with Hungarian tacks, the miner’s belt with its flat, wide, silverlike buckle were recalled, and two or three said that Hayward had
frequently spoken of his people in England. One brother was captain of one of the Clan Line boats.
What Was the Motive?
THE new year had come and Anderson, finding everyone from Moostoos to Michel in agreement about Hayward, started to check back on King’s movements. A report from Utah had given King the reputation of being a quiet, temperate, and inoffensive person. Nothing derogatory was known about him. Further enquiries showed that the two must have met on the train to Calgary, whence the acquaintance so casually begun was to run its tragic course a month later on the Northwestern reserve.
The motive, however, was still to be found. If King was the temperate and inoffensive creature that he looked and that the authorities in Utah reported him to be, what had happened to transform him into a monster at the Reserve? It was true that he had no money, but neither had Hayward after the outfit had been procured. The stolen breed’s property was an unconvincing explanation. There was some other reason, Anderson told himself; something had happened in the stillness of the September night in the bush-surrounded camp beside the slough. Why had King done it? Would it ever be known?
The date of the preliminary hearing was fast approaching. Anderson busied himself with the Crown Prosecutor in preparation, while the Officer Commanding at Edmonton assumed the tremendous task of arranging for the assembling of eighty witnesses scattered between Southern British Columbia and the Peace River.
A letter from the Hayward family in England had arrived enclosing Edward Hayward’s last two letters and his photograph. The first letter had been written from Nelson, and mentioned Ted’s intention of leaving for the trip of several hundred miles and that he had about $350. The second was from Edmonton and definitely stated that he was bound for the Peace River country with a nam named Charles King, whom he described as a trapper and good shot and from whose experience he expected to benefit.
The letter from England said that Edward Hayward owned a gold watch and chain to which was attached a gold sovereign case. He also had a gold nugget pin and scales for measuring gold. The writer, a brother, regretted that he would he unable to come to Canada, but hoped that the Police suspicions would prove to be unfounded and that his brother was still alive.
To those interested in the trial, the value of the brother as a witness, with his ability to identify the sovereign case and pin and scales, was so obviously great that the O. C. replied, urging his presence at the trial. A cable replied that he would make the trip, and Anderson returned to Lesser Slave Lake to round up his Indian witnesses.
It was with satisfaction carefully concealed that Inspector Strickland, the Officer Commanding the Mounted Police at Edmonton, received his orderly’s word that a Mr. Hayward from England was waiting to see him. The murdered man’s brother was shown in; a bronzed, well set-up man of middle age with an air that spoke of the sea. In sailor fashion he came
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at once to the point, producing the Mounted Police correspondence as identification.
With Mr. Hayward’s story finished, the inspector sat silent, attempting to efface the impression made by his visitor’s words, telling himself that in a world of fact there was no room for this fantastic thing, and certainly not in a Mounted Police sanctum. Yet the face of the man opposite! was not the face of a visionary; his voice | was quiet and convincing in its earnestj ness.
“I know what any practical man will | think,” he said at the end. ‘‘I understand that I will never be allowed to tell this ¡ as evidence. But it occurred, and I felt | that I had to tell you about it, believe or j disbelieve as you will.”
“I believe you,” said the inspector firmly.
The story that he had just listened to, told by the sea captain in an emotionless, straightforward way, amounted to this;
A Remarkable Story
ON THE night of September 17, 1904, Henry Hayward had gone to bed at his usual hour in good health, his mind at rest, and with nothing past, present, or anticipated to unsettle him. His slumbers were disturbed by dreams, but unlike most dreams, to which he was not ordinarily subject, these stood out in crystal-like clarity. In the first a succession of pictures had passed across his mind. He seemed to be the passive spectator of events transpiring in a strange land of rivers and wooded spaces. He woke with a sense of foreboding, but forced himself back to sleep.
Again he dreamed and again he saw the wilderness. But this time it was not empty. He made out a campfire, and two figures wrapped in blankets lying close by. Moonlight shone on the face of one of the sleepers—his brother Edward, who, even in the dreamer’s sleep, was remembered as having said that he was going into the Canadian Northwest. As the dreamer watched, held in a spell of fearful premonition, one of the figures stirred cautiously and edged himself from beneath his covering of blankets. He moved silently to where a pile of equipment was stacked and grasped a gun. Stealthily he approached the still sleeping man. Again the moonlight shone on Edward’s face. The other raised the firearm carefully, took aim, and noiselessly fired. The sleeper made a convulsive gesture, half twisting over. The assassin fired again. The victim drooped to an awful stillness.
“It is for that reason,” Mr. Hayward concluded, “that I decided to come to Canada. We had received Ted’s letter telling us about his plans just a few weeks earlier, and my first feelings when I woke were that his news had brought about my dream. In fact, I tried to think of it as a joke on myself and told people about it. Someone got hold of it and an account appeared in the newspaper. Here it is. You will see from the date that this was only a few days after the date when the murder must have taken place on the Reserve you speak about.”
Inspector Strickland’s fingers closed on the newspaper clipping, and as he read, while his amazement deepened, yet the undeniable assurance of the dated paper ¡ brought him back from the atmosphere of unreality conjured up by Captain Hayward’s recital. The evidence was there, healthily before the eyes, intelligible to juries. Not that it would ever be used; no defense counsel or for that matter no ! judge would accept it, and there was sufficient evidence without. But the whole curious affair was impressive just the same.
The trial began. A long succession of witnesses built up the discovery of the remains in the ashes of the campfire on Moostoos’ Reserve; then, retracing their steps, they showed how Edward Hayward had left British Columbia to seek adventure and fortune in the Peace River, how Charles King had simultaneously left
Utah with the same intention. The two had met on the train to Calgary. King had had trapping and hunting experience, Hayward had a little capital; they had joined forces. The Edmonton witnesses described the partners' purchases. Anderson's witnesses from along the trail to Athabasca Landing marked the men’s advance, identifying King and Hayward’s photograph. Now the two were quarrelling, later they appeared to be in good spirits. They arrived at the Reserve and were seen and visited by a number of the witnesses. Hayward called on one of the Indian*.
The second night old Joseph heard the
shot and next morning paid his visit to the camp, noting the extraordinarily large campfire. Hayward was never seen again, nor had the Indians living near his alleged destination even heard of him. King suddenly departed, abandoning his trip, selling the outfits. The announcement of Anderson’s discoveries rained successive blows on the murderer’s hopes, with the broken eye of the needle the mast impressive of all. The slough and Hayward were linked together, the slough and the ashes, the ashes and the body; and a celebrated authority, brought across the continent to testify, swore that the bones formed part of a human skull. The mosaic was com-
plete, its piecing together the result of a masterful patience. There were few who doubted the result.
On March 9, 1905, Charles King was found guilty of murder of Edward Hayward and sentenced to be hanged on May 10. The defense appealed for a new trial, the principal reason being that counsel for the defense had mentioned King’s failure to give evidence in his own behalf. The application was granted. Once more the Mounted Police laboriously produced the many witnesses, once more the halting Indians and the mute exhibits told their story. The result was the same, and Charles King, still asserting his innocence
answered to justice on September 30,1905.
The Sucker Creek Indians were rewarded by a grateful Government for their assistance in bringing the murder to light. Anderson, already a staff sergeant, in due course became an inspector for his indefatigable and intelligent efforts. The North country was by these efforts the more secure for the law-abiding.
The motive was never cleared up. Some said avarice, some said fear from the quarrel over the stolen snowshoes. But the wise man in charge of the case remembered the clandestine visit of the squaw who sold mocassins and was reminded of a proverb from the French.