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´╗┐Title: Guy Garrick
Author: Reeve, Arthur B. (Arthur Benjamin), 1880-1936
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Guy Garrick" ***

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THE CRAIG KENNEDY SERIES

GUY GARRICK

ARTHUR B. REEVE


WITH FRONTISPIECE



 CONTENTS

  I. The Stolen Motor

  II. The Murder Car

 III. The Mystery of the Thicket

  IV. The Liquid Bullet

   V. The Blackmailer

  VI. The Gambling Den

 VII. The Motor Bandit

 VIII. The Explanation

  IX. The Raid

  X. The Gambling Debt

  XI. The Gangster's Garage

 XII. The Detectaphone

 XIII. The Incendiary

 XIV. The Escape

  XV. The Plot

  XVI. The Poisoned Needle

  XVII. The Newspaper Fake

XVIII. The Vocaphone

 XIX. The Eavesdropper Again

  XX. The Speaking Arc

 XXI. The Siege of the Bandits

 XXII. The Man Hunt

XXIII. The Police Dog

 XXIV. The Frame-Up

 XXV. The Scientific Gunman



An Adventure in the New Crime Science


CHAPTER I

THE STOLEN MOTOR


"You are aware, I suppose, Marshall, that there have been considerably
over a million dollars' worth of automobiles stolen in this city during
the past few months?" asked Guy Garrick one night when I had dropped
into his office.

"I wasn't aware of the exact extent of the thefts, though of course I
knew of their existence," I replied. "What's the matter?"

"If you can wait a few moments," he went on, "I think I can promise you
a most interesting case--the first big case I've had to test my new
knowledge of crime science since I returned from abroad. Have you time
for it?"

"Time for it?" I echoed. "Garrick, I'd make time for it, if necessary."

We sat for several moments, in silence, waiting.

I picked up an evening paper. I had already read it, but I looked
through it again, to kill time, even reading the society notes.

"By Jove, Garrick," I exclaimed as my eye travelled over the page,
"newspaper pictures don't usually flatter people, but just look at
those eyes! You can fairly see them dance even in the halftone."

The picture which had attracted my attention was of Miss Violet
Winslow, an heiress to a moderate fortune, a debutante well known in
New York and at Tuxedo that season.

As Garrick looked over my shoulder his mere tone set me wondering.

"She IS stunning," he agreed simply. "Half the younger set are crazy
over her."

The buzzer on his door recalled us to the case in hand.

One of our visitors was a sandy-haired, red-mustached, stocky man, with
everything but the name detective written on him from his face to his
mannerisms.

He was accompanied by an athletically inclined, fresh-faced young
fellow, whose clothes proclaimed him to be practically the last word in
imported goods from London.

I was not surprised at reading the name of James McBirney on the
detective's card, underneath which was the title of the Automobile
Underwriters' Association. But I was more than surprised when the
younger of the visitors handed us a card with the simple name, Mortimer
Warrington.

For, Mortimer Warrington, I may say, was at that time one of the
celebrities of the city, at least as far as the newspapers were
concerned. He was one of the richest young men in the country, and good
for a "story" almost every day.

Warrington was not exactly a wild youth, in spite of the fact that his
name appeared so frequently in the headlines. As a matter of fact, the
worst that could be said of him with any degree of truth was that he
was gifted with a large inheritance of good, red, restless blood, as
well as considerable holdings of real estate in various active sections
of the metropolis.

More than that, it was scarcely his fault if the society columns had
been busy in a concerted effort to marry him off--no doubt with a
cynical eye on possible black-type headlines of future domestic
discord. Among those mentioned by the enterprising society reporters of
the papers had been the same Miss Violet Winslow whose picture I had
admired. Evidently Garrick had recognized the coincidence.

Miss Winslow, by the way, was rather closely guarded by a duenna-like
aunt, Mrs. Beekman de Lancey, who at that time had achieved a certain
amount of notoriety by a crusade which she had organized against
gambling in society. She had reached that age when some women naturally
turn toward righting the wrongs of humanity, and, in this instance, as
in many others, humanity did not exactly appreciate it.

"How are you, McBirney?" greeted Garrick, as he met his old friend,
then, turning to young Warrington, added: "Have you had a car stolen?"

"Have I?" chimed in the youth eagerly, and with just a trace of
nervousness. "Worse than that. I can stand losing a big
nine-thousand-dollar Mercedes, but--but--you tell it, McBirney. You
have the facts at your tongue's end."

Garrick looked questioningly at the detective.

"I'm very much afraid," responded McBirney slowly, "that this theft
about caps the climax of motor-car stealing in this city. Of course,
you realize that the automobile as a means of committing crime and of
escape has rendered detection much more difficult to-day than it ever
was before." He paused. "There's been a murder done in or with or by
that car of Mr. Warrington's, or I'm ready to resign from the
profession!"

McBirney had risen in the excitement of his revelation, and had handed
Garrick what looked like a discharged shell of a cartridge.

Garrick took it without a word, and turned it over and over critically,
examining every side of it, and waiting for McBirney to resume.
McBirney, however, said nothing.

"Where did you find the car?" asked Garrick at length, still examining
the cartridge. "We haven't found it," replied the detective with a
discouraged sigh.

"Haven't found it?" repeated Garrick. "Then how did you get this
cartridge--or, at least why do you connect it with the disappearance of
the car?"

"Well," explained McBirney, getting down to the story, "you understand
Mr. Warrington's car was insured against theft in a company which is a
member of our association. When it was stolen we immediately put in
motion the usual machinery for tracing stolen cars."

"How about the police?" I queried.

McBirney looked at me a moment--I thought pityingly. "With all
deference to the police," he answered indulgently, "it is the insurance
companies and not the police who get cars back--usually. I suppose it's
natural. The man who loses a car notifies us first, and, as we are
likely to lose money by it, we don't waste any time getting after the
thief."

"You have some clew, then?" persisted Garrick.

McBirney nodded.

"Late this afternoon word came to me that a man, all alone in a car,
which, in some respects tallied with the description of Warrington's,
although, of course, the license number and color had been altered, had
stopped early this morning at a little garage over in the northern part
of New Jersey."

Warrington, excited, leaned forward and interrupted.

"And, Garrick," he exclaimed, horrified, "the car was all stained with
blood!"



CHAPTER II

THE MURDER CAR


Garrick looked from one to the other of his visitors intently. Here was
an entirely unexpected development in the case which stamped it as set
apart from the ordinary.

"How did the driver manage to explain it and get away?" he asked
quickly.

McBirney shook his head in evident disgust at the affair.

"He must be a clever one," he pursued thoughtfully. "When he came into
the garage they say he was in a rather jovial mood. He said that he had
run into a cow a few miles back on the road, and then began to cuss the
farmer, who had stung him a hundred dollars for the animal."

"And they believed it?" prompted Garrick.

"Yes, the garage keeper's assistant swallowed the story and cleaned the
car. There was some blood on the radiator and hood, but the strange
part was that it was spattered even over the rear seat--in fact, was
mostly in the rear."

"How did he explain that?"

"Said that he guessed the farmer who stung him wouldn't get much for
the carcass, for it had been pretty well cut up and a part of it flung
right back into the tonneau."

"And the man believed that, too?"

"Yes; but afterward the garage keeper himself was told. He met the
farmer in town later, and the farmer denied that he had lost a cow.
That set the garage keeper thinking. And then, while they were cleaning
up the garage later in the day, they found that cartridge where the car
had been washed down and swept out. We had already advertised a reward
for information about the stolen car, and, when he heard of the reward,
for there are plenty of people about looking for money in that way, he
telephoned in, thinking the story might interest us. It did, for I am
convinced that his description of the machine tallies closely with that
of Mr. Warrington's."

"How about the man who drove it?" cut in Garrick.

"That's the unfortunate part of it," replied McBirney, chagrined.
"These amateur detectives about the country rarely seem to have any
foresight. Of course they could describe how the fellow was dressed,
even the make of goggles he wore. But, when it came to telling one
feature of his face accurately, they took refuge behind the fact that
he kept his cap pulled down over his eyes, and talked like a 'city
fellow.'"

"All of which is highly important," agreed Garrick. "I suppose they'd
consider a fingerprint, or the portrait parle the height of idiocy
beside that."

"Disgusting," ejaculated McBirney, who, whatever his own limitations
might be, had a wholesome respect for Garrick's new methods.

"Where did you leave the car?" asked Garrick of Warrington. "How did
you lose it?"

The young man seemed to hesitate.

"I suppose," he said at length, with a sort of resigned smile, "I'll
have to make a clean breast of it."

"You can hardly expect us to do much, otherwise," encouraged Garrick
dryly. "Besides, you can depend on us to keep anything you say
confidential."

"Why," he began, "the fact is that I had started out for a mild little
sort of celebration, apropos of nothing at all in particular, beginning
with dinner at the Mephistopheles Restaurant, with a friend of mine.
You know the place, perhaps--just on the edge of the automobile
district and the white lights."

"Yes," encouraged Garrick, "near what ought to be named 'Crime Square.'
Whom were you with?"

"Well, Angus Forbes and I were going to dine together, and then later
we were to meet several fellows who used to belong to the same
upperclass club with us at Princeton. We were going to do a little
slumming. No ladies, you understand," he added hastily.

Garrick smiled.

"It may not have been pure sociology," pursued Warrington,
good-humouredly noticing the smile, "but it wasn't as bad as some of
the newspapers might make it out if they got hold of it, anyhow. I may
as well admit, I suppose, that Angus has been going the pace pretty
lively since we graduated. I don't object to a little flyer now and
then, myself, but I guess I'm not up to his class yet. But that doesn't
make any difference. The slumming party never came off."

"How?" prompted Garrick again.

"Angus and I had a very good dinner at the Mephistopheles--they have a
great cabaret there--and by and by the fellows began to drop in to join
us. When I went out to look for the car, which I was going to drive
myself, it was gone."

"Where did you leave it?" asked McBirney, as if bringing out the
evidence.

"In the parking space half a block below the restaurant. A chauffeur
standing near the curb told me that a man in a cap and goggles--"

"Another amateur detective," cut in McBirney parenthetically.

"--had come out of the restaurant, or seemed to do so, had spun the
engine, climbed in, and rode off--just like that!"

"What did you do then?" asked Garrick. "Did you fellows go anywhere?"

"Oh, Forbes wanted to play the wheel, and went around to a place on
Forty-eighth Street. I was all upset about the loss of the car, got in
touch with the insurance company, who turned me over to McBirney here,
and the rest of the fellows went down to the Club."

"There was no trace of the car in the city?" asked Garrick, of the
detective.

"I was coming to that," replied McBirney. "There was at least a rumour.
You see, I happen to know several of the police on fixed posts up
there, and one of them has told me that he noticed a car, which might
or might not have been Mr. Warrington's, pull up, about the time his
car must have disappeared, at a place in Forty-seventh Street which is
reputed to be a sort of poolroom for women."

Garrick raised his eyebrows the fraction of an inch.

"At any rate," pursued McBirney, "someone must have been having a wild
time there, for they carried a girl out to the car. She seemed to be
pretty far gone and even the air didn't revive her--that is, assuming
that she had been celebrating not wisely but too well. Of course, the
whole thing is pure speculation yet, as far as Warrington's car is
concerned. Maybe it wasn't his car, after all. But I am repeating it
only for what it may be worth."

"Do you know the place?" asked Garrick, watching Warrington narrowly.

"I've heard of it," he admitted, I thought a little evasively.

Then it flashed over me that Mrs. de Lancey was leading the crusade
against society gambling and that that perhaps accounted for
Warrington's fears and evident desire for concealment.

"I know that some of the faster ones in the smart set go there once in
a while for a little poker, bridge, and even to play the races," went
on Warrington carefully. "I've never been there myself, but I wouldn't
be surprised if Angus could tell you all about it. He goes in for all
that sort of thing."

"After all," interrupted McBirney, "that's only rumour. Here's the
point of the whole thing. For a long time my Association has been
thinking that merely in working for the recovery of the cars we have
been making a mistake. It hasn't put a stop to the stealing, and the
stealing has gone quite far enough. We have got to do something about
it. It struck me that here was a case on which to begin and that you,
Garrick, are the one to begin it for us, while I carry on the regular
work I am doing. The gang is growing bolder and more clever every day.
And then, here's a murder, too, in all likelihood. If we don't round
them up, there is no limit to what they may do in terrorizing the city."

"How does this gang, as you call it, operate?" asked Garrick.

"Most of the cars that are stolen," explained McBirney, "are taken from
the automobile district, which embraces also not a small portion of the
new Tenderloin and the theatre district. Actually, Garrick, more than
nine out of ten cars have disappeared between Forty-second and
Seventy-second Streets."

Garrick was listening, without comment.

"Some of the thefts, like this one of Warrington's car," continued
McBirney, warming up to the subject, "have been so bold that you would
be astonished. And it is those stolen cars, I believe, that are used in
the wave of taxicab and motor car robberies, hold-ups, and other crimes
that is sweeping over the city. The cars are taken to some obscure
garage, without doubt, and their identity is destroyed by men who are
expert in the practice."

"And you have no confidence in the police?" I inquired cautiously,
mindful of his former manner.

"We have frequently had occasion to call on the police for assistance,"
he answered, "but somehow or other it has seldom worked. They don't
seem to be able to help us much. If anything is done, we must do it. If
you will take the case, Garrick, I can promise you that the Association
will pay you well for it."

"I will add whatever is necessary, too," put in Warrington, eagerly. "I
can stand the loss of the car--in fact, I don't care whether I ever get
it back. I have others. But I can't stand the thought that my car is
going about the country as the property of a gunman, perhaps--an engine
of murder and destruction."

Garrick had been thoughtfully balancing the exploded shell between his
fingers during most of the interview. As Warrington concluded, he
looked up.

"I'll take the case," he said simply. "I think you'll find that there
is more to it than even you suspect. Before we get through, I shall get
a conviction on that empty shell, too. If there is a gunman back of it
all, he is no ordinary fellow, but a scientific gunman, far ahead of
anything of which you dream. No, don't thank me for taking the case. My
thanks are to you for putting it in my way."



CHAPTER III

THE MYSTERY OF THE THICKET


"You know my ideas on modern detective work," Garrick remarked to me,
reflectively, when they had gone.

I nodded assent, for we had often discussed the subject.

"There must be something new in order to catch criminals, nowadays," he
pursued. "The old methods are all right--as far as they go. But while
we have been using them, criminals have kept pace with modern science."

I had met Garrick several months before on the return trip from abroad,
and had found in him a companion spirit.

For some years I had been editing a paper which I called "The
Scientific World," and it had taxed my health to the point where my
physician had told me that I must rest, or at least combine pleasure
with business. Thus I had taken the voyage across the ocean to attend
the International Electrical Congress in London, and had unexpectedly
been thrown in with Guy Garrick, who later seemed destined to play such
an important part in my life.

Garrick was a detective, young, university bred, of good family, alert,
and an interesting personality to me. He had travelled much, especially
in London, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna, where he had studied the amazing
growth abroad of the new criminal science.

Already I knew something, by hearsay, of the men he had seen, Gross,
Lacassagne, Reiss, and the now immortal Bertillon. Our acquaintance,
therefore, had rapidly ripened into friendship, and on our return, I
had formed a habit of dropping in frequently on him of an evening, as I
had this night, to smoke a pipe or two and talk over matters of common
interest in his profession.

He had paused a moment in what he was saying, but now resumed, less
reflectively, "Fortunately, Marshall, the crime-hunters have gone ahead
faster than the criminals. Now, it's my job to catch criminals. Yours,
it seems to me, is to show people how they can never hope to beat the
modern scientific detective. Let's strike a bargain."

I was flattered by his confidence. More than that, the idea appealed to
me, in fact was exactly in line with some plans I had already made for
the "World," since our first acquaintance.

And so it came about that the case brought to him by McBirney and young
Warrington was responsible for clearing our ideas as to our mutual
relationship and thus forming this strange partnership that has existed
ever since.

"Tom," he remarked, as we left the office quite late, after he had
arranged affairs as if he expected to have no time to devote to his
other work for several days, "come along and stay with me at my
apartment to-night. It's too late to do anything now until to-morrow."

I accepted his invitation without demur, for I knew that he meant it,
but I doubt whether he slept much during the night. Certainly he was up
and about early enough the following morning.

"That's curious," I heard him remark, as he ran his eye hastily over
the first page of the morning paper, "but I rather expected something
of the sort. Read that in the first column, Tom."

The story that he indicated had all the marks of having been dropped
into place at the last moment as the city edition went to press in the
small hours of the night.

It was headed:

GIRL'S BODY FOUND IN THICKET

The despatch was from a little town in New Jersey, and, when I saw the
date line, it at once suggested to me, as it had to Guy, that this was
in the vicinity that must have been traversed in order to reach the
point from which had come the report of the bloody car that had seemed
to tally with the description of that which Warrington had lost. It
read:

"Hidden in the underbrush, not ten feet from one of the most travelled
automobile roads in this section of the state, the body of a murdered
girl was discovered late yesterday afternoon by a gang of Italian
labourers employed on an estate nearby.

"Suspicion was at first directed by the local authorities at the
labourers, but the manner of the finding of the body renders it
improbable. Most of them are housed in some rough shacks up the road
toward Tuxedo and were able to prove themselves of good character.
Indeed, the trampled condition of the thicket plainly indicates,
according to the local coroner, that the girl was brought there,
probably already dead, in an automobile which drew up off the road as
far as possible. The body then must have been thrown where it would be
screened from sight by the thick growth of trees and shrubbery.

"There was only one wound, in the chest. It is, however, a most
peculiar wound, and shows that a terrific force must have been exerted
in order to make it. A blow could hardly have accomplished it, so
jagged were its edges, and if the girl had been struck by a passing
high-speed car, as was at first suggested, there is no way to account
for the entire lack of other wounds which must naturally have been
inflicted by such an accident.

"Neither is the wound exactly like a pistol or gunshot wound, for,
curiously enough, there was no mark showing the exit of a bullet, nor
was any bullet found in the body after the most careful examination.
The local authorities are completely mystified at the possible problems
that may arise out of the case, especially as to the manner in which
the unfortunate girl met her death.

"Until a late hour the body, which is of a girl perhaps twenty-three or
four, of medium height, fair, good looking, and stylishly dressed, was
still unidentified. She was unknown in this part of the country."

Almost before I had finished reading, Garrick had his hat and coat on
and had shoved into his pocket a little detective camera.

"Strange about the bullet," I ruminated. "I wonder who she can be?"

"Very strange," agreed Garrick, urging me on. "I think we ought to
investigate the case."

As we hurried along to a restaurant for a bite of breakfast, he
remarked, "The circumstances of the thing, coming so closely after the
report about Warrington's car, are very suspicious--very. I feel sure
that we shall find some connection between the two affairs."

Accordingly, we caught an early train and at the nearest railroad
station to the town mentioned in the despatch engaged a hackman who
knew the coroner, a local doctor.

The coroner was glad to assist us, though we were careful not to tell
him too much of our own connection with the case. On the way over to
the village undertaker's where the body had been moved, he volunteered
the information that the New York police, whom he had notified
immediately, had already sent a man up there, who had taken a
description of the girl and finger prints, but had not, so far at
least, succeeded in identifying the girl, at any rate on any of the
lists of those reported missing.

"You see," remarked Garrick to me, "that is where the police have us at
a disadvantage. They have organization on their side. A good many
detectives make the mistake of antagonizing the police. But if you want
results, that's fatal."

"Yes," I agreed, "it's impossible, just as it is to antagonize the
newspapers."

"Exactly," returned Garrick. "My idea of the thing, Marshall, is that I
should work with, not against, the regular detectives. They are all
right, in fact indispensable. Half the secret of success nowadays is
efficiency and organization. What I do believe is that organization
plus science is what is necessary."

The local undertaking establishment was rather poorly equipped to take
the place of a morgue and the authorities were making preparations to
move the body to the nearest large city pending the disposal of the
case. Local detectives had set to work, but so far had turned up
nothing, not even the report which we had already received from
McBirney regarding the blood-stained car that resembled Warrington's.

We arrived with the coroner fortunately just before the removal of the
body to the city and by his courtesy were able to see it without any
trouble.

Death, and especially violent death, are at best grewsome subjects, but
when to that are added the sordid surroundings of a country
undertaker's and the fact that the victim is a woman, it all becomes
doubly tragic.

She was a rather flashily dressed girl, but remarkably good looking, in
spite of the rouge and powder which had long since spoiled what might
otherwise have been a clear and fine complexion. The roots of her hair
showed plainly that it had been bleached.

Garrick examined the body closely, and more especially the jagged wound
in the breast. I bent over also. It seemed utterly inexplicable. There
was, he soon discovered, a sort of greasy, oleaginous deposit in the
clotted blood of the huge cavity in the flesh. It interested him, and
he studied it carefully for a long time, without saying a word.

"Some have said she was wounded by some kind of blunt instrument," put
in the coroner. "Others that she was struck by a car. But it's my
opinion that she was killed by a rifle bullet of some kind, although
what could have become of the bullet is beyond me. I've probed for it,
but it isn't there."

Garrick finished his minute examination of the wound without passing
any comment on it of his own.

"Now, if you will be kind enough to take us around to the place where
the body was discovered," he concluded, "I think we shall not trespass
on your time further."

In his own car, the coroner drove us up the road in the direction of
the New York state boundary to the spot where the body had been found.
It was a fine, well-oiled road and I noticed the number and high
quality of the cars which passed us.

When we arrived at the spot where the body of the unfortunate girl had
been discovered, Garrick began a minute search. I do not think for a
moment that he expected to find any weapon, or even the trace of one.
It seemed hopeless also to attempt to pick out any of the footprints.
The earth was soft and even muddy, but so many feet had trodden it down
since the first alarm had been given that it would have been impossible
to extricate one set of footprints from another, much less to tell
whether any of them had been made by the perpetrators of the crime.

Still, there seemed to be something in the mud, just off the side of
the road, that did interest Garrick. Very carefully, so as not to
destroy anything himself which more careless searchers might have left,
he began a minute study of the ground.

Apparently he was rewarded, for, although he said nothing, he took a
hasty glance at the direction of the sun, up-ended the camera he had
brought, and began to photograph the ground itself, or rather some
curious marks on it which I could barely distinguish.

The coroner and I looked on without saying a word. He, at least, I am
sure, thought that Garrick had suddenly taken leave of his senses.

That concluded Garrick's investigation, and, after thanking the
coroner, who had gone out of his way to accommodate us, we started back
to town.

"Well," I remarked, as we settled ourselves for the tedious ride into
the city in the suburban train, "we don't seem to have added much to
the sum of human knowledge by this trip."

"Oh, yes, we have," he returned, almost cheerfully, patting the black
camera which he had folded and slipped into his pocket. "We'll just
preserve the records which I have here. Did you notice what it was that
I photographed?"

"I saw something," I replied, "but I couldn't tell you what it was."

"Well," he explained slowly as I opened my eyes wide in amazement at
the minuteness of his researches, "those were the marks of the tire of
an automobile that had been run up into the bushes from the road. You
know every automobile tire leaves its own distinctive mark, its thumb
print, as it were. When I have developed my films, you will see that
the marks that have been left there are precisely like those left by
the make of tires used on Warrington's car, according to the
advertisement sent out by McBirney. Of course, that mere fact alone
doesn't prove anything. Many cars may use that make of tires. Still, it
is an interesting coincidence, and if the make had been different I
should not feel half so encouraged about going ahead with this clew. We
can't say anything definite, however, until I can compare the actual
marks made by the tires on the stolen car with these marks which I have
photographed and preserved."

If any one other than Garrick had conceived such a notion as the "thumb
print" of an automobile tire, I might possibly have ventured to doubt
it. As it was it gave food enough for thought to last the remainder of
the journey back to town.



CHAPTER IV

THE LIQUID BULLET


On our return to the city, I was not surprised after our conversation
over in New Jersey to find that Garrick had decided on visiting police
headquarters. It was, of course, Commissioner Dillon, one of the
deputies, whom he wanted to see. I had met Dillon myself some time
before in connection with my study of the finger print system, and
consequently needed no second introduction.

In his office on the second floor, the Commissioner greeted us
cordially in his bluff and honest voice which both of us came to know
and like so well later. Garrick had met him often and the cordiality of
their relations was well testified to by Dillon's greeting.

"I thought you'd be here before long," he beamed on Garrick, as he led
us into an inner sanctum. "Did you read in the papers this morning
about that murder of a girl whose body was found up in New Jersey in
the underbrush?"

"Not only that, but I've picked up a few things that your man
overlooked," confided Garrick.

Dillon looked at him sharply for a moment. "Say," he said frankly,
"that's one of the things I like about you, Garrick. You're on the job.
Also, you're on the square. You don't go gumshoeing it around behind a
fellow's back, and talking the same way. You play fair. Now, look here.
Haven't I always played fair with you, Garrick?"

"Yes, Dillon," agreed Garrick, "you have always played fair. But what's
the idea?"

"You came up here for information, didn't you?" persisted the
commissioner.

Garrick nodded.

"Well do you know who that girl was who was murdered?" he asked leaning
forward.

"No," admitted Garrick.

"Of course not," asserted Dillon triumphantly. "We haven't given it out
yet--and I don't know as we shall."

"No," pursued Garrick, "I don't know and I'll admit that I'd like to
know. My position is, as it always has been, that we shouldn't work at
cross purposes. I have drawn my own conclusions on the case and, to put
it bluntly, it seemed to me clear that she was of the demi-monde."

"She was--in a sense," vouchsafed the commissioner. "Now," he added,
leaning forward impressively, "I'm going to tell you something. That
girl--was one of the best stool pigeons we have ever had."

Both Garrick and I were listening intently at, the surprising
revelation of the commissioner. He was pacing up and down, now,
evidently much excited.

"As for me," he continued, "I hate the stool pigeon method as much as
anyone can. I don't like it. I don't relish the idea of being in
partnership with crooks in any degree. I hate an informer who worms
himself or herself into a person's friendship for the purpose of
betraying it. But the system is here. I didn't start it and I can't
change it. As long as it's here I must accept it and do business under
it. And, that being the case, I can't afford to let matters like this
killing pass without getting revenge, swift and sure. You understand?
Someone's going to suffer for the killing of that girl, not only
because it was a brutal murder, but because the department has got to
make an example or no one whom we employ is safe."

Dillon was shouldering his burly form up and down the office in his
excitement. He paused in front of us, to proceed.

"I've got one of my best men on the case now--Inspector Herman. I'll
introduce you to him, if he happens to be around. Herman's all right.
But here you come in, Garrick, and tell me you picked up something that
my man missed up there in Jersey. I know it's the truth, too. I've
worked with you and seen enough of you to know that you wouldn't say a
thing like that as a bluff to me."

Dillon was evidently debating something in his mind.

"Herman'll have to stand it," he went on, half to himself. "I don't
care whether he gets jealous or not."

He paused and looked Garrick squarely in the eye, as he led up to his
proposal. "Garrick," he said slowly, "I'd like to have you take up the
case for us, too. I've heard already that you are working on the
automobile cases. You see, I have ways of getting information myself.
We're not so helpless as your friend McBirney, maybe, thinks."

He faced us and it was almost as if he read our minds.

"For instance," he proceeded, "it may interest you to know that we have
just planned a new method to recover stolen automobiles and apprehend
the thieves. A census of all cars in the questionable garages of the
city has been taken, and each day every policeman is furnished with
descriptions of cars stolen in the past twenty-four hours. The
policeman then is supposed to inspect the garages in his district and
if he finds a machine that shouldn't be there, according to the census,
he sees to it that it isn't removed from the place until it is
identified. The description of this Warrington car has gone out with
extra special orders, and if it's in New York I think we'll find it."

"I think you'll find," remarked Garrick quietly, "that this machine of
Warrington's isn't in the city, at all."

"I hardly think it is, myself," agreed Dillon. "Whoever it was who took
it is probably posted about our new scheme. That's not the point I was
driving at. You see, Garrick, our trails cross in these cases in a
number of ways. Now, I have a little secret fund at my disposal. In so
far as the affair involved the murder of that girl--and I'm convinced
that it does--will you consider that you are working for the city, too?
The whole thing dovetails. You don't have to neglect one client to
serve another. I'll do anything I can to help you with the auto cases.
In fact, you'll do better by both clients by joining the cases."

"Dillon," answered Garrick quickly, "you've always been on the level
with me. I can trust you. Consider that it is a bargain. We'll work
together. Now, who was the girl?"

"Her name was Rena Taylor," replied Dillon, apparently much gratified
at the success of his proposal. "I had her at work getting evidence
against a ladies' poolroom in Forty-seventh Street--an elusive place
that we've never been able to 'get right.'"

Garrick shot a quick glance at me. Evidently we were on the right
trail, anyhow.

"I don't know yet just what happened," continued Dillon, "but I do know
that she had the goods on it. As nearly as I can find out, a stranger
came to the place well introduced, a man, accompanied by a woman. They
got into some of the games. The man seems to have excused himself.
Apparently he found Rena Taylor alone in a room in some part of the
house. No one heard a pistol shot, but then I think they would lie
about that, all right."

Dillon paused. "The strange thing is, however," he resumed, "that we
haven't been able to find in the house a particle of evidence that a
murder or violence of any kind has been done. One fact is established,
though, incontrovertibly. Rena Taylor disappeared from that gambling
house the same night and about the same time that Warrington's car
disappeared. Then we find her dead over in New Jersey."

"And I find reports and traces that the car has been in the vicinity,"
added Garrick.

"You see," beamed Dillon, "that's how we work together. Say you MUST
meet Herman."

He rang a bell and a blue-coated man opened the door. "Call Herman,
Jim," he said, then, as the man disappeared, he went on to us, "I have
given Herman carte-blanche instructions to conduct a thorough
investigation. He has been getting the goods on another swell joint on
the next street, in Forty-eighth, a joint that is just feeding on young
millionaires in this town, and is or will be the cause of more crime
and broken hearts if I don't land it and break it up than any such
place has been for years." The door opened, and Dillon said, "Herman,
shake hands with Mr. Garrick and Mr. Marshall."

The detective was a quiet, gentlemanly sort of fellow who looked rugged
and strong, a fighter to be respected. In fact I would much rather have
had a man like him with us than against us. I knew Garrick's aversion
to the regular detective and was not surprised that he did not
overwhelm Mr. Herman by the cordiality of his greeting. Garrick always
played a lone hand, preferred it and had taken Dillon into his
confidence only because of his official position and authority.

"These gentlemen are going to work independently on that Rena Taylor
case," explained Dillon. "I want you to give Mr. Garrick every
assistance, Herman."

Garrick nodded with a show of cordiality and Herman replied in about
the same spirit. I could not fancy our getting very much assistance
from the regular detective force, with the exception of Dillon. And I
noticed, also, that Garrick was not volunteering any information except
what was necessary in good faith. Already I began to wonder how this
peculiar bargain would turn out.

"Just who and what was Rena Taylor?" asked Garrick finally.

Inspector Herman shot a covert glance at Dillon before replying and the
commissioner hastened to reassure him, "I have told Mr. Garrick that
she was one of our best stool pigeons and had been working on the
gambling cases."

Like all detectives on a case, Herman was averse to parting with any
information, and I felt that it was natural, for if he succeeded in
working it out human nature was not such as to willingly share the
glory.

"Oh," he replied airily, "she was a girl who had knocked about
considerably in the Tenderloin. I don't know just what her story was,
but I suppose there was some fellow who got her to come to New York and
then left her in the lurch. She wasn't a New Yorker. She seems to have
drifted from one thing to another--until finally in order to get money
she came down and offered her services to the police, in this gambling
war."

Herman had answered the question, but when I examined the answer I
found it contained precious little. Perhaps it was indeed all he knew,
for, although Garrick put several other questions to him and he
answered quite readily and with apparent openness, there was very
little more that we learned.

"Yes," concluded Herman, "someone cooked her, all right. They don't
take long to square things with anyone who raps to the 'bulls.'"

"That's right," agreed Garrick. "And the underworld isn't alone in that
feeling. No one likes a 'snitch.'"

"Bet your life," emphasized Herman heartily, then edging toward the
door, he said, "Well, gentlemen, I'm glad to meet you and I'll work
with you. I wish you success, all right. It's a hard case. Why, there
wasn't any trace of a murder or violence in that place in which Rena
Taylor must have been murdered. I suppose you have heard that there
wasn't any bullet found in the body, either?"

"Yes," answered Garrick, "so far it does look inexplicable."

Inspector Herman withdrew. One could see that he had little faith in
these "amateur" detectives.

A telephone message for Dillon about another departmental matter
terminated our interview and we went our several ways.

"Much help I've ever got from a regular detective like Herman,"
remarked Garrick, phrasing my own idea of the matter, as we paid the
fare of our cab a few minutes later and entered his office.

"Yes," I agreed. "Why, he's even stumped at the start by the mystery of
there being no bullet. I'm glad you said nothing about the cartridge,
although I can't see for the life of me what good it is to us."

I had ventured the remark, hoping to entice Garrick into talking. It
worked, at least as far as Garrick wanted to talk yet.

"You'll see about the cartridge soon enough, Tom," he rejoined. "As for
there being no bullet, there was a bullet--only it was of a kind you
never dreamed of before."

He regarded me contemplatively for a moment, then leaned over and in a
voice full of meaning, concluded, "That bullet was composed of
something soft or liquid, probably confined in some kind of thin
capsule. It mushroomed out like a dumdum bullet. It was deadly. But the
chief advantage was that the heat that remained in Rena Taylor's body
melted all evidence of the bullet. That was what caused that greasy,
oleaginous appearance of the wound. The murderer thought he left no
trail in the bullet in the corpse. In other words, it was practically a
liquid bullet."



CHAPTER V

THE BLACKMAILER


It was late in the afternoon, while Garrick was still busy with a
high-powered microscope, making innumerable micro-photographs, when the
door of the office opened softly and a young lady entered.

As she advanced timidly to us, we could see that she was tall and gave
promise of developing with years into a stately woman--a pronounced
brunette, with sparkling black eyes. I had not met her before, yet
somehow I could not escape the feeling that she was familiar to me.

It was not until she spoke that I realized that it was the eyes, not
the face, which I recognized.

"You are Mr. Garrick?" she asked of Guy in a soft, purring voice which,
I felt, masked a woman who would fight to the end for anyone or
anything she really loved.

Then, before Guy could answer, she explained, "I am Miss Violet
Winslow. A friend of mine, Mr. Warrington, has told me that you are
investigating a peculiar case for him--the strange loss of his car."

Garrick hastened to place a chair for her in the least cluttered and
dusty part of the room. There she sat, looking up at him earnestly, a
dainty contrast to the den in which Garrick was working out the capture
of criminals, violent and vicious.

"I have the honor to be able to say, 'Yes' to all that you have asked,
Miss Winslow," he replied. "Is there any way in which I can be of
service to you?"

I thought a smile played over his face at the thought that perhaps she
might have come to ask him to work for three clients instead of two.

At any rate, the girl was very much excited and very much in earnest,
as she opened her handbag and drew from it a letter which she handed to
Garrick.

"I received that letter," she explained, speaking rapidly, "in the noon
mail to-day. I don't know what to make of it. It worries me to get such
a thing. What do you suppose it was sent to me for? Who could have sent
it?"

She was leaning forward artlessly on her crossed knee looking
expectantly up into Garrick's face, oblivious to everything else, even
her own enticing beauty. There was something so simple and sincere
about Violet Winslow that one felt instinctively that nothing was too
great a price to shield her from the sordid and the evil in the world.
Yet something had happened that had brought her already into the office
of a detective.

Garrick had glanced quickly at the outside of the slit envelope. The
postmark showed that it had been mailed early that morning at the
general post office and that there was slight chance of tracing
anything in that direction.

Then he opened it and read. The writing was in a bold scrawl and
hastily executed:

You have heard, no doubt, of the alleged loss of an automobile by Mr.
Mortimer Warrington. I have seen your name mentioned in the society
columns of the newspapers in connection with him several times lately.
Let a disinterested person whom you do not know warn you in time. There
is more back of it than he will care to tell. I can say nothing of the
nefarious uses to which that car has been put, but you will learn more
shortly. Meanwhile, let me inform you that he and some of the wilder of
his set had that night planned a visit to a gambling house on
Forty-eighth Street. I myself saw the car standing before another
gambling den on Forty-seventh Street about the same time. This place, I
may as well inform you, bears an unsavory reputation as a gambling
joint to which young ladies of the fastest character are admitted. If
you will ask someone in whom you have confidence and whom you can ask
to work secretly for you to look up the records, you will find that
much of the property on these two blocks, and these two places in
particular, belongs to the Warrington estate. Need I say more?

The letter was without superscription or date and was signed merely
with the words, "A Well-Wisher." The innuendo of the thing was apparent.

"Of course," she remarked, as Garrick finished reading, and before he
could speak, "I know there is something back of it. Some person is
trying to injure Mortimer. Still---"

She did not finish the sentence. It was evident that the "well-wisher"
need not have said more in order to sow the seeds of doubt.

As I watched her narrowly, I fancied also that from her tone the
newspapers had not been wholly wrong in mentioning their names together
recently.

"I hadn't intended to say anything more than to explain how I got the
letter," she went on wistfully. "I thought that perhaps you might be
interested in it."

She paused and studied the toe of her dainty boot. "And, of course,"
she murmured, "I know that Mr. Warrington isn't dependent for his
income on the rent that comes in from such places. But--but I wish just
the same that it wasn't true. I tried to call him up about the letter,
but he wasn't at the office of the Warrington estate, and no one seemed
to know just where he was."

She kept her eyes downcast as though afraid to betray just what she
felt.

"You will leave this with me?" asked Garrick, still scrutinizing the
letter.

"Certainly," she replied. "That is what I brought it for. I thought it
was only fair that he should know about it."

Garrick regarded her keenly for a moment. "I am sure, Miss Winslow," he
said, "that Mr. Warrington will thank you for your frankness. More than
that, I feel sure that you need have no cause to worry about the
insinuations of this letter. Don't judge harshly until you have heard
his side. There's a good deal of graft and vice talk flying around
loose these days. Miss Winslow, you may depend on me to dig the truth
out and not deceive you."

"Thank you so much," she said, as she rose to go; then, in a burst of
confidence, added, "Of course, after all, I don't care so much about it
myself--but, you know, my aunt--is so dreadfully prim and proper that
she couldn't forgive a thing like this. She'd never let Mr. Warrington
call on me again."

Violet stopped and bit her lip. She had evidently not intended to say
as much as that. But having once said it, she did not seem to wish to
recall the words, either.

"There, now," she smiled, "don't you even hint to him that that was one
of the reasons I called."

Garrick had risen and was standing beside her, looking down earnestly
into her upturned face.

"I think I understand, Miss Winslow," he said in a low voice, rapidly.
"I cannot tell you all--yet. But I can promise you that even if all
were told--the truth, I mean--your faith in Warrington would be
justified." He leaned over. "Trust me," he said simply.

As she placed her small hand in Garrick's, she looked up into his face,
and with suppressed emotion, answered, "Thank you--I--I will."

Then, with a quick gathering of her skirts, she turned and almost fled
from the room.

She had scarcely closed the door before Garrick was telephoning
anxiously all over the city in order to get in touch with Warrington
himself.

"I'm not going to tell him too much about her visit," he remarked, with
a pleased smile at the outcome of the interview, though his face
clouded as his eye fell again on the blackmailing letter, lying before
him. "It might make him think too highly of himself. Besides, I want to
see, too, whether he has told us the whole truth about the affair that
night."

Somehow or other it seemed impossible to find Warrington in any of his
usual haunts, either at his office or at his club.

Garrick had given it up, almost, as a bad job, when, half an hour
later, Warrington himself burst in on us, apparently expecting more
news about his car.

Instead, Garrick handed him the letter.

"Say," he demanded as he ran through it with puckered face, then
slapped it down on the table before Guy, in a high state of excitement,
"what do you make of that?"

He looked from one to the other of us blankly.

"Isn't it bad enough to lose a car without being slandered about it
into the bargain?" he asked heatedly, then adding in disgust, "And to
do it in such an underhand way, writing to a girl like Violet, and
never giving me a chance to square myself. If I could get my hands on
that fellow," he added viciously, "I'd qualify him for the coroner!"

Warrington had flown into a towering and quite justifiable rage.
Garrick, however, ignored his anger as natural under the circumstances,
and was about to ask him a question.

"Just a moment, Garrick," forestalled Warrington. "I know just what you
are going to say. You are going to ask me about those gambling places.
Now, Garrick, I give you my word of honor that I did not know until
to-day that the property in that neighborhood was owned by our estate.
I have been in that joint on Forty-eighth Street--I'll admit that. But,
you know, I'm no gambler. I've gone simply to see the life, and--well,
it has no attraction for me. Racing cars and motorboats don't go with
poker chips and the red and black--not with me. As for the other place,
I don't know any more about it than--than you do," he concluded
vehemently.

Warrington faced Garrick, his steel-blue eye unwavering. "You see, it's
like this," he resumed passionately, "since this vice investigation
began, I have read a lot about landlords. Then, too," he interjected
with a mock wry face, "I knew that Violet's Aunt Emma had been a
crusader or something of the sort. You see, virtue is NOT its own
reward. I don't get credit even for what I intended to do--quite the
contrary."

"How's that?" asked Garrick, respecting the young man's temper.

"Why, it just occurred to me lately to go scouting around the city,
looking at the Warrington holdings, making some personal inquiries as
to the conditions of the leases, the character of the tenants, and the
uses to which they put the properties. The police have compiled a list
of all the questionable places in the city and I have compared it with
the list of our properties. I hadn't come to this one yet. But I shall
call up our agent, make him admit it, and cancel that lease. I'll close
'em up. I'll fight until every---"

"No," interrupted Garrick, quickly, "no--not yet. Don't make any move
yet. I want to find out what the game is. It may be that it is someone
who has tried and failed to get your tenant to come across with graft
money. If we act without finding out first, we might be playing into
the hands of this blackmailer."

Garrick had been holding the letter in his hand, examining it
critically. While he was speaking, he had taken a toothpick and was
running it hastily over the words, carefully studying them. His face
was wrinkled, as if he were in deep thought.

Without saying anything more, Garrick walked over to the windows and
pulled down the dark shades. Then he unrolled a huge white sheet at one
end of the office.

From a corner he drew out what looked like a flat-topped stand, about
the height of his waist, with a curious box-like arrangement on it, in
which was a powerful light. For several minutes, he occupied himself
with the adjustment of this machine, switching the light off and on and
focussing the lenses.

Then he took the letter to Miss Winslow, laid it flat on the machine,
switched on the light and immediately on the sheet appeared a very
enlarged copy of the writing.

"This is what has been called a rayograph by a detective of my
acquaintance," explained Garrick. "In some ways it is much superior to
using a microscope."

He was tracing over the words with a pointer, much as he had already
done with the toothpick.

"Now, you must know," he continued, "or you may not know, but it is a
well-proved fact, that those who suffer from various affections of the
nerves or heart often betray the fact in their handwriting. Of course,
in cases where the disease has progressed very far it may be evident to
the naked eye even in the ordinary handwriting. But, it is there, to
the eye of the expert, even in incipient cases.

"In short," he continued, engrossed in his subject, "what really
happens is that the pen acts as a sort of sphygmograph, registering the
pulsations. I think you can readily see that when the writing is thrown
on a screen, enlarged by the rayograph, the tremors of the pen are
quite apparent."

I studied the writing, following his pointer as it went over the lines
and I began to understand vaguely what he was driving at.

"The writer of that blackmailing letter," continued Garrick, "as I have
discovered both by hastily running over it with a tooth-pick and, more
accurately, by enlarging and studying it with the rayograph, is
suffering from a peculiar conjunction of nervous trouble and disease of
the heart which is latent and has not yet manifested itself, even to
him."

Garrick studied the writing, then added, thoughtfully, "if I knew him,
I might warn him in time."

"A fellow like that needs only the warning of a club or of a good pair
of fists," growled Warrington, impatiently. "How are you going to work
to find him?"

"Well," reasoned Garrick, rolling up the sheet and restoring the room
to its usual condition, "for one thing, the letter makes it pretty
evident that he knows something about the gambling joint, perhaps is
one of the regular habitues of the place. That was why I didn't want
you to take any steps to close up the place immediately. I want to go
there and look it over while it is in operation. Now, you admit that
you have been in the place, don't you?"

"Oh, yes," he replied, "I've been there with Forbes and the other
fellows, but as I told you, I don't go in for that sort of thing."

"Well," persisted Garrick, "you are sufficiently known, any way, to get
in again."

"Certainly. I can get in again. The man at the door will let me in--and
a couple of friends, too, if that's what you mean."

"That is exactly what I mean," returned Garrick. "It's no use to go
early. I want to see the place in full blast, just as the after-theatre
crowd is coming in. Suppose you meet us, Warrington, about half past
ten or so. We can get in. They don't know anything yet about your
intention to cancel the lease and close up the place, although
apparently someone suspects it, or he wouldn't have been so anxious to
get that letter off to Miss Winslow."

"Very well," agreed Warrington, "I will meet you at the north end of
'Crime Square,' as you call it, at that time. Good luck until then."

"Not a bad fellow, at all," commented Garrick when Warrington had
disappeared down the hall from the office. "I believe he means to do
the square thing by every one. It's a shame he has been dragged into a
mess like this, that may affect him in ways that he doesn't suspect.
Oh, well, there is nothing we can do for the present. I'll just add
this clew of the handwriting to the clew of the automobile tires
against the day when we get--pshaw!--he has taken the letter with him.
I suppose it is safe enough in his possession, though. He can't wait
until he has proved to Violet that he is honest. I don't blame him
much. I told you, you know, that the younger set are just crazy over
Violet Winslow."



CHAPTER VI

THE GAMBLING DEN


In spite of the agitation that was going on at the time in the city
against gambling, we had no trouble in being admitted to the place in
Forty-eighth Street. They seemed to recognise Warrington, for no sooner
had the lookout at the door peered through a little grating and seen
him than the light woodwork affair was opened.

To me, with even my slender knowledge of such matters, it had seemed
rather remarkable that only such a door should guard a place that was
so notorious. Once inside, however, the reason was apparent. It didn't.
On the outside there was merely such a door as not to distinguish the
house, a three-story and basement dwelling, of old brownstone, from the
others in the street.

As the outside door shut quickly, we found ourselves in a sort of
vestibule confronted by another door. Between the two the lookout had
his station.

The second door was of the "ice-box" variety, as it was popularly
called at the time, of heavy oak, studded with ax-defying bolts, swung
on delicately balanced and oiled hinges, carefully concealed, about as
impregnable as a door of steel might be.

There were, as we found later, some steel doors inside, leading to the
roof and cellar, though not so thick. The windows were carefully
guarded inside by immense steel bars. The approaches from the back were
covered with a steel network and every staircase was guarded by a
collapsible door. There seemed to be no point of attack that had been
left unguarded.

Yet, unless one had been like ourselves looking for these
fortifications, they would not have appeared much in evidence in the
face of the wealth of artistic furnishings that was lavished on every
hand. Inside the great entrance door was a sort of marble reception
hall, richly furnished, and giving anything but the impression of a
gambling house. As a matter of fact, the first floor was pretty much of
a blind. The gambling was all upstairs.

We turned to a beautiful staircase of carved wood, and ascended.
Everywhere were thick rugs into which the feet sank almost ankle deep.
On the walls were pictures that must have cost a small fortune. The
furniture was of the costliest; there were splendid bronzes and objects
of art on every hand.

Gambling was going on in several rooms that we passed, but the main
room was on the second floor, a large room reconstructed in the old
house, with a lofty ceiling and exquisitely carved trim. Concealed in
huge vases were the lights, a new system, then, which shed its rays in
every direction without seeming to cast a shadow anywhere. The room was
apparently windowless, and yet, though everyone was smoking furiously,
the ventilation must have been perfect.

There was, apparently, a full-fledged poolroom in one part of the
house, closed now, of course, as the races for the day were run. But I
could imagine it doing a fine business in the afternoon. There were
many other games now in progress, games of every description, from
poker to faro, keno, klondike, and roulette. There was nothing of
either high or low degree with which the venturesome might not be
accommodated.

As Warrington conducted us from one room to another, Garrick noted each
carefully. Along the middle of the large room stretched a roulette
table. We stopped to watch it.

"Crooked as it can be," was Garrick's comment after watching it for
five minutes or so.

He had not said it aloud, naturally, for even the crowd in evening
clothes about it, who had lost or would lose, would have resented such
an imputation.

For the most part there was a solemn quiet about the board, broken only
by the rattle of the ball and the click of chips. There was an absence
of the clink of gold pieces that one hears as the croupier rakes them
in at the casinos on the continent. Nor did there seem to be the tense
faces that one might expect. Often there was the glint of an eye, or a
quick and muffled curse, but for the most part everyone, no matter how
great a loser, seemed respectable and prosperous. The tragedies, as we
came to know, were elsewhere.

We sauntered into another room where they were playing keno. Keno was,
we soon found, a development or an outgrowth of lotto, in which cards
were sold to the players, bearing numbers which were covered with
buttons, as in lotto. The game was won when a row was full after
drawing forth the numbers on little balls from a "goose."

"Like the roulette wheel," said Garrick grimly, "the 'goose' is
crooked, and if I had time I could show you how it is done."

We passed by the hazard boards as too complicated for the limited time
at our disposal.

It was, however, the roulette table which seemed to interest Garrick
most, partly for the reason that most of the players flocked about it.

The crowd around the table on the second floor was several deep, now.
Among those who were playing I noticed a new face. It was of a tall,
young man much the worse, apparently, for the supposed good time he had
had already. The game seemed to have sobered him up a bit, for he was
keen as to mind, now, although a trifle shaky as to legs.

He glanced up momentarily from his close following of the play as we
approached.

"Hello, W.," he remarked, as he caught sight of our young companion.

A moment later he had gone back to the game as keen as ever.

"Hello, F.," greeted Warrington. Then, aside to us, he added, "You know
they don't use names now in gambling places if they can help it.
Initials do just as well. That is Forbes, of whom I told you. He's a
young fellow of good family--but I am afraid he is going pretty much to
the bad, or will go, if he doesn't quit soon. I wish I could stop him.
He's a nice chap. I knew him well at college and we have chummed about
a great deal. He's here too much of the time for his own good."

The thing was fascinating, I must admit, no matter what the morals of
it were. I became so engrossed that I did not notice a man standing
opposite us. I was surprised when he edged over towards us slowly, then
whispered to Garrick, "Meet me downstairs in the grill in five minutes,
and have a bite to eat. I have something important to say. Only, be
careful and don't get me 'in Dutch' here."

The man had a sort of familiar look and his slang certainly reminded me
of someone we had met.

"Who was it?" I inquired under my breath, as he disappeared among the
players.

"Didn't you recognize him?" queried Garrick. "Why, that was Herman,
Dillon's man,--the fellow, you know, who is investigating this place."

I had not recognized the detective in evening clothes. Indeed, I felt
that unless he were known here already his disguise was perfect.

Garrick managed to leave Warrington for a time under the pretext that
he wanted him to keep an eye on Forbes while we explored the place
further. We walked leisurely down the handsome staircase into the grill
and luncheon room downstairs.

"Well, have you found out anything?" asked a voice behind us.

We turned. It was Herman who had joined us. Without pausing for an
answer he added, "I suppose you are aware of the character of this
place? It looks fine, but the games are all crooked, and I guess there
are some pretty desperate characters here, from all accounts. I
shouldn't like to fall afoul of any of them, if I were you."

"Oh, no," replied Garrick, "it wouldn't be pleasant. But we came in
well introduced, and I don't believe anyone suspects."

Several others, talking and laughing loudly to cover their chagrin over
losses, perhaps, entered the buffet.

With the gratuitous promise to stand by us in trouble of any kind,
Herman excused himself, and returned to watch the play about the
roulette table.

Garrick and I leisurely finished the little bite of salad we had
ordered, then strolled upstairs again.

The play was becoming more and more furious. Forbes was losing again,
but was sticking to it with a grim determination that was worthy of a
better cause. Warrington had already made one attempt to get him away
but had not succeeded.

"Well," remarked Garrick, as we three made our way slowly to the
coatroom downstairs, "I think we have seen enough of this for to-night.
It isn't so very late, after all. I wonder if it would be possible to
get into that ladies' poolroom on the next street? I should like to see
that place."

"Angus could get us in, if anyone could," replied Warrington
thoughtfully. "Wait here a minute. I'll see if I can get him away from
the wheel long enough."

Five minutes later he came back, with Forbes in tow. He shook hands
with us cordially, in fact a little effusively. Perhaps I might have
liked the young fellow if I could have taken him in hand for a month or
two, and knocked some of the silly ideas he had out of his head.

Forbes called a taxicab, a taxicab apparently being the open sesame.
One might have gone afoot and have looked ever so much like a "good
thing" and he would not have been admitted. But such is the simplicity
of the sophistication of the keepers of such places that a motor car
opens all locks and bolts.

It seemed to be a peculiar place and as nearly as I could make out was
in a house almost in the rear of the one we had just come from.

We were politely admitted by a negro maid, who offered to take our
coats.

"No," answered Forbes, apparently with an eye to getting out as quickly
as possible, "we won't stay long tonight. I just came around to
introduce my friends to Miss Lottie. I must get back right away."

For some reason or other he seemed very anxious to leave us. I surmised
that the gambling fever was running high and that he had hopes of a
change of luck. At any rate, he was gone, and we had obtained
admittance to the ladies' pool room.

We strolled into one of the rooms in which the play was on. The game
was at its height, with huge stacks of chips upon the tables and the
players chatting gayly. There was no large crowd there, however.
Indeed, as we found afterward, it was really in the afternoon that it
was most crowded, for it was rather a poolroom than a gambling joint,
although we gathered from the gossip that some stiff games of bridge
were played there. Both men and women were seated at the poker game
that was in progress before the little green table. The women were
richly attired and looked as if they had come from good families.

We were introduced to several, but as it was evident that they were
passing under assumed names, whatever the proprietor of the place might
know of them, I made little effort to remember the names, although I
did study the faces carefully.

It was not many minutes before we met Miss Lottie, as everyone called
the woman who presided over this feminine realm of chance. Miss Lottie
was a finely gowned woman, past middle age, but remarkably well
preserved, and with a figure that must have occasioned much thought to
fashion along the lines of the present slim styles. There seemed to be
a man who assisted in the conduct of the place, a heavy-set fellow with
a closely curling mustache. But as he kept discreetly in the offing, we
did not see much of him.

Miss Lottie was frankly glad to see us, coming so well introduced, and
outspokenly disappointed that we would not take a seat in the game that
was in progress. However, Garrick passed that over by promising to come
around soon. Excise laws were apparently held in puny respect in this
luxurious atmosphere, and while the hospitable Miss Lottie went to
summon a servant to bring refreshments--at our expense--we had ample
opportunity to glance about at the large room in which we were seated.

Garrick gazed long and curiously at an arc-light enclosed in a soft
glass globe in the center of the ceiling, as though it had suggested an
idea of some sort to him.

Miss Lottie, who had left us for a few moments, returned unexpectedly
to find him still gazing at it.

"We keep that light burning all the time," she remarked, noticing his
gaze. "You see, in the daytime we never use the windows. It is always
just like it is now, night or day. It makes no difference with us. You
know, if we ever should be disturbed by the police," she rattled on,
"this is my house and I am giving a little private party to a number of
my friends."

I had heard of such places but had never seen one before. I knew that
well-dressed women, once having been caught in the toils of gambling,
and perhaps afraid to admit their losses to their husbands, or, often
having been introduced through gambling to far worse evils, were sent
out from these poker rendezvous to the Broadway cafes, there to flirt
with men, and rope them into the game.

I could not help feeling that perhaps some of the richly gowned women
in the house were in reality "cappers" for the game. As I studied the
faces, I wondered what tragedies lay back of these rouged and painted
faces. I saw broken homes, ruined lives, even lost honor written on
them. Surely, I felt, this was a case worth taking up if by any chance
we could put a stop or even set a limitation to this nefarious traffic.

"Have you ever had any trouble?" Garrick asked as we sipped at the
refreshments.

"Very little," replied Miss Lottie, then as if the very manner of our
introduction had stamped us all as "good fellows" to whom she could
afford to be a little confidential in capturing our patronage, she
added nonchalantly, "We had a sort of wild time a couple of nights ago."

"How was that?" asked Garrick in a voice of studied politeness that
carefully concealed the aching curiosity he had for her to talk.

"Well," she answered slowly, "several ladies and gentlemen were here,
playing a little high. They--well, they had a little too much to drink,
I guess. There was one girl, who was the worst of all. She was pretty
far gone. Why, we had to put her out--carry her out to the car that she
had come in with her friend. You know we can't stand for any rough
stuff like that--no sir. This house is perfectly respectable and proper
and our patrons understand it."

The story, or rather, the version of it, seemed to interest Garrick, as
I knew it would.

"Who was the girl?" he asked casually. "Did you know her? Was she one
of your regular patrons?"

"Knew her only by sight," returned Miss Lottie hastily, now a little
vexed, I imagined, at Guy's persistence, "like lots of people who are
introduced here--and come again several times."

The woman was evidently sorry that she had mentioned the incident, and
was trying to turn the conversation to the advantages of her
establishment, not the least of which were her facilities for private
games in little rooms in various parts of the house. It seemed all very
risque to me, although I tried to appear to think it quite the usual
thing, though I was careful to say that hers was the finest of such
places I had ever seen. Still, the memory of Garrick's questioning
seemed to linger. She had not expected, I knew, that we would take any
further interest in her story than to accept it as proof of how careful
she was of her clientele.

Garrick was quick to take the cue. He did not arouse any further
suspicion by pursuing the subject. Apparently he was convinced that it
had been Rena Taylor of whom Miss Lottie spoke. What really happened we
knew no more now than before. Perhaps Miss Lottie herself knew--or she
might not know. Garrick quite evidently was willing to let future
developments in the case show what had really happened. There was
nothing to be gained by forcing things at this stage of the game,
either in the gambling den around the corner or here.

We chatted along for several minutes longer on inconsequential
subjects, treating as important those trivialities which Bohemia
considers important and scoffing at the really good and true things of
life that the demi-monde despises. It was all banality now, for we had
touched upon the real question in our minds and had bounded as lightly
off it as a toy balloon bounds off an opposing surface.

Warrington had kept silent during the visit, I noticed, and seemed
relieved when it was over. I could not imagine that he was known here
inasmuch as they treated him quite as they treated us.

Apparently, though, he had no relish for a possible report of the
excursion to get to Miss Winslow's ears. He was the first to leave, as
Garrick, after paying for our refreshments and making a neat remark or
two about the tasteful way in which the gambling room was furnished,
rescued our hats and coats from the negro servant, and said good-night
with a promise to drop in again.

"What would Mrs. de Lancey think of THAT?" Garrick could not help
saying, as we reached the street.

Warrington gave a nervous little forced laugh, not at all such as he
might have given had Mrs. de Lancey not been the aunt of the girl who
had entered his life.

Then he caught himself and said hastily, "I don't care what she thinks.
It's none of her---"

He cut the words short, as if fearing to be misinterpreted either way.

For several squares he plodded along silently, then, as we had
accomplished the object of the evening, excused himself, with the
request that we keep him fully informed of every incident in the case.

"Warrington doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve," commented Garrick as
we bent our steps to our own, or rather his, apartment, "but it is
evident enough that he is thinking all the time of Violet Winslow."



CHAPTER VII

THE MOTOR BANDIT


Early the next morning, the telephone bell began to ring violently. The
message must have been short, for I could not gather from Garrick's
reply what it was about, although I could tell by the startled look on
his face that something unexpected had happened.

"Hurry and finish dressing, Tom," he called, as he hung up the receiver.

"What's the matter?" I asked, from my room, still struggling with my
tie.

"Warrington was severely injured in a motor-car accident late last
night, or rather early this morning, near Tuxedo."

"Near Tuxedo?" I repeated incredulously. "How could he have got up
there? It was midnight when we left him in New York."

"I know it. Apparently he must have wanted to see Miss Winslow. She is
up there, you know. I suppose that in order to be there this morning,
early, he decided to start after he left us. I thought he seemed
anxious to get away. Besides, you remember he took that letter
yesterday afternoon, and I totally forgot to ask him for it last night.
I'll wager it was on account of that slanderous letter that he wanted
to go, that he wanted to explain it to her as soon as he could."

There had been no details in the hasty message over the wire, except
that Warrington was now at the home of a Doctor Mead, a local physician
in a little town across the border of New York and New Jersey. The more
I thought about it, the more I felt that it was extremely unlikely that
it could have been an accident, after all. Might it not have been the
result of an attack or a trap laid by some strong-arm man who had set
out to get him and had almost succeeded in accomplishing his purpose of
"getting him right," to use the vernacular of the class?

We made the trip by railroad, passing the town where the report had
come to us before of the finding of the body of Rena Taylor. There was,
of course, no one at the station to meet us, and, after wasting some
time in learning the direction, we at last walked to Dr. Mead's
cottage, a quaint home, facing the state road that led from Suffern up
to the Park, and northward.

Dr. Mead, who had telephoned, admitted us himself. We found Warrington
swathed in bandages, and only half conscious. He had been under the
influence of some drug, but, before that, the doctor told us, he had
been unconscious and had only one or two intervals in which he was
sufficiently lucid to talk.

"How did it happen?" asked Garrick, almost as soon as we had entered
the doctor's little office.

"I had had a bad case up the road," replied the doctor slowly, "and it
had kept me out late. I was driving my car along at a cautious pace
homeward, some time near two o'clock, when I came to a point in the
road where there are hills on one side and the river on the other. As I
neared the curve, a rather sharp curve, too, I remember the lights on
my own car were shining on the white fence that edged the river side of
the road. I was keeping carefully on my own side, which was toward the
hill.

"As I was about to turn, I heard the loud purring of an engine coming
in my direction, and a moment later I saw a car with glaring
headlights, driven at a furious pace, coming right at me. It slowed up
a little, and I hugged the hill as close as I could, for I know some of
these reckless young drivers up that way, and this curve was in the
direction where the temptation is for one going north to get on the
wrong side of the road--that is, my side--in order to take advantage of
the natural slope of the macadam in turning the curve at high speed.
Still, this fellow didn't prove so bad, after all. He gave me a wide
berth.

"Just then there came a blinding flash right out of the darkness. Back
of his car a huge, dark object had loomed up almost like a ghost. It
was another car, back of the first one, without a single light,
travelling apparently by the light shed by the forward car. It had
overtaken the first and had cut in between us with not half a foot to
spare on either side. It was the veriest piece of sheer luck I ever saw
that we did not all go down together.

"With the flash I heard what sounded like a bullet zip out of the
darkness. The driver of the forward car stiffened out for a moment.
Then he pitched forward, helpless, over the steering wheel. His car
dashed ahead, straight into the fence instead of taking the curve, and
threw the unconscious driver. Then the car wrecked itself."

"And the car in the rear?" inquired Garrick eagerly.

"Dashed ahead between us safely around the curve--and was gone. I
caught just one glimpse of its driver--a man all huddled up, his collar
up over his neck and chin, his cap pulled forward over his eyes,
goggles covering the rest of his face, and shrouded in what seemed to
be a black coat, absolutely as unrecognizable as if he had been a
phantom bandit, or death itself. He was steering with one hand, and in
the other he held what must have been a revolver."

"And then?" prompted Garrick.

"I had stopped with my heart in my mouth at the narrowness of my own
escape from the rushing black death. Pursuit was impossible. My car was
capable of no such burst of speed as his. And then, too, there was a
groaning man down in the ravine below. I got out, clambered over the
fence, and down in the shrubbery into the pitch darkness.

"Fortunately, the man had been catapulted out before his car turned
over. I found him, and with all the strength I could muster and as
gently as I was able carried him up to the road. When I held him under
the light of my lamps, I saw at once that there was not a moment to
lose. I fixed him in the rear of my car as comfortably as I could and
then began a race to get him home here where I have almost a private
hospital of my own, as quickly as possible."

Cards in his pocket had identified Warrington and Dr. Mead remembered
having heard the name. The prompt attention of the doctor had
undoubtedly saved the young man's life.

Over and over again, Dr. Mead said, in his delirium Warrington had
repeated the name, "Violet--Violet!" It was as Garrick had surmised,
his desire to stand well in her eyes that had prompted the midnight
journey. Yet who the assailant might be, neither Dr. Mead nor the
broken raving of Warrington seemed to afford even the slightest clew.
That he was a desperate character, without doubt in desperate straits
over something, required no great acumen to deduce.

Toward morning in a fleeting moment of lucidity, Warrington had
mentioned Garrick's name in such a way that Dr. Mead had looked it up
in the telephone directory and then at the earliest moment had called
up.

"Exactly the right thing," reassured Garrick. "Can't you think of
anything else that would identify the driver of that other car?"

"Only that he was a wonderful driver, that fellow," pursued the doctor,
admiration getting the better of his horror now that the thing was
over. "I couldn't describe the car, except that it was a big one and
seemed to be of a foreign make. He was crowding Warrington as much as
he dared with safety to himself--and not a light on his own car, too,
remember."

Garrick's face was puckered in thought.

"And the most remarkable thing of all about it," added the doctor,
rising and going over to a white enameled cabinet in the corner of his
office, "was that wound from the pistol."

The doctor paused to emphasize the point he was about to make.
"Apparently it put Warrington out," he resumed. "And yet, after all, I
find that it is only a very superficial flesh wound of the shoulder.
Warrington's condition is really due to the contusions he received
owing to his being thrown from the car. His car wasn't going very fast
at the time, for it had slowed down for me. In one way that was
fortunate--although one might say it was the cause of everything, since
his slowing down gave the car behind a chance to creep up on him the
few feet necessary.

"Really I am sure that even the shock of such a wound wasn't enough to
make an experienced driver like Warrington lose control of the machine.
It is a fairly wide curve, after all, and--well, my contention is
proved by the fact that I examined the wreck of the car this morning
and found that he had had time to shut off the gas and cut out the
engine. He had time to think of and do that before he lost absolute
control of the car."

Dr. Mead had been standing by the cabinet as he talked. Now he opened
it and took from it the bullet which he had probed out of the wound. He
looked at it a minute himself, then handed it to Garrick. I bent over
also and examined it as it lay in Guy's hand.

At first I thought it was an ordinary bullet. But the more I examined
it the more I was convinced that there was something peculiar about it.
In the nose, which was steel-jacketed, were several little round
depressions, just the least fraction of an inch in depth.

"It is no wonder Warrington was put out, even by that superficial
wound," remarked Garrick at last. "His assailant's aim may have been
bad, as it must necessarily have been from one rapidly approaching car
at a person in another rapidly moving car, also. But the motor bandit,
whoever he is, provided against that. That bullet is what is known as
an anesthetic bullet."

"An anesthetic bullet?" repeated both Dr. Mead and myself. "What is
that?"

"A narcotic bullet," Garrick explained, "a sleep-producing bullet, if
you please, a sedative bullet that lulls its victim into almost instant
slumber. It was invented quite recently by a Pittsburgh scientist. The
anesthetic bullet provides the poor marksman with all the advantages of
the expert gunman of unerring aim."

I marvelled at the ingenuity of the man who could figure out how to
overcome the seeming impossibility of accurate shooting from a car
racing at high speed. Surely, he must be a desperate fellow.

While we were talking, the doctor's wife who had been attending
Warrington until a nurse arrived, came to inform him that the effect of
the sedative, which he had administered while Warrington was restless
and groaning, was wearing off. We waited a little while, and then Dr.
Mead himself informed us that we might see our friend for a minute.

Even in his half-drowsy state of pain Warrington appeared to recognise
Garrick and assume that he had come in response to his own summons.
Garrick bent down, and I could just distinguish what Warrington was
trying to say to him.

"Wh--where's Violet?" he whispered huskily, "Does she know? Don't let
her get--frightened--I'll be--all right."

Garrick laid his hand on Warrington's unbandaged shoulder, but said
nothing.

"The--the letter," he murmured ramblingly. "I have it--in my
apartment--in the little safe. I was going to Tuxedo--to see
Violet--explain slander--tell her closing place--didn't know it was
mine before. Good thing to close it--Forbes is a heavy loser. She
doesn't know that."

Warrington lapsed back on his pillow and Dr. Mead beckoned to us to
withdraw without exciting him any further.

"What difference does it make whether she knows about Forbes or not?" I
queried as we tiptoed down the hall.

Garrick shook his head doubtfully. "Can't say," he replied succinctly.
"It may be that Forbes, too, has aspirations."

The idea sent me off into a maze of speculations, but it did not
enlighten me much. At any rate, I felt, Warrington had said enough to
explain his presence in that part of the country. On one thing, as I
have said, Garrick had guessed right. The blackmailing letter and what
we had seen the night before at the crooked gambling joint had been too
much for him. He had not been able to rest as long as he was under a
cloud with Miss Winslow until he had had a chance to set himself right
in her eyes.

There seemed to be nothing that we could do for him just then. He was
in excellent hands, and now that the doctor knew who he was, a trained
nurse had even been sent for from the city and arrived on the train
following our own, thus relieving Mrs. Mead of her faithful care of him.

Garrick gave the nurse strict instructions to make exact notes of
anything that Warrington might say, and then requested the doctor to
take us to the scene of the tragedy. We were about to start, when
Garrick excused himself and hurried back into the house, reappearing in
a few minutes.

"I thought perhaps, after all, it would be best to let Miss Winslow
know of the accident, as long as it isn't likely to turn out seriously
in the end for Warrington," he explained, joining us again in Dr.
Mead's car which was waiting in front of the house. "So I called up her
aunt's at Tuxedo and when Miss Winslow answered the telephone I broke
the news to her as gently as I could. Warrington need have no fear
about that girl," he added.

The wrecked car, we found, had not yet been moved, nor had the broken
fence been repaired. It was, in fact, an accident worth studying
topographically. That part of the road itself near the fence seemed to
interest Garrick greatly. Two or three cars passed while we waited and
he noted how carefully each of them seemed to avoid that side toward
the broken fence, as though it were haunted.

"I hope they've all done that," Garrick remarked, as he continued to
examine the road, which was a trifle damp under the high trees that
shaded it.

As he worked, I could not believe that it was wholly fancy that caused
me to think of him as searching with dilated nostrils, like a
scientific human bloodhound. For, it was not long before I began to
realize what he was looking for in the marks of cars left on the oiled
roadway.

During perhaps half an hour he continued studying the road, above and
below the exact point of the accident. At length a low exclamation from
him brought me to his side. He had dropped down in the grease,
regardless of his knees and was peering at some rather deep imprints in
the surface dressing. There, for a few feet, were plainly the marks of
the outside tires of a car, still unobliterated.

Garrick had pulled out copies of the photographs he had made of the
tire marks that had been left at the scene of the finding of the
unfortunate Rena Taylor's body, and was busy comparing them with the
marks that were before him.

"Of course," Garrick muttered to me, "if the anti-skid marks of the
tires were different, it would have proved nothing, just as in the
other case where we looked for the tire prints. But here, too, a glance
shows that at least it is the same make of tires."

He continued his comparison. It did not take me long to surmise what he
was doing. He was taking the two sets of marks and, inch by inch, going
over them, checking up the little round metal insertions that were
placed in this style of tire to give it a firmer grip.

"Here's one missing, there's another," he cried excitedly. "By Jove, it
can't be mere coincidence. There's one that is worn--another broken.
They correspond. Yes, that MUST be the same car, in each case. And if
it was the stolen car, then it was Warrington's own car that was used
in pursuing him and in almost making away with him!"



CHAPTER VIII

THE EXPLANATION


We had not noticed a car which had stopped just past us and Garrick was
surprised at hearing his own name called.

We looked up from contemplating the discovery he had made in the road,
to see Miss Winslow waving to us. She had motored down from Tuxedo
immediately after receiving the message over the telephone, and with
her keen eye had picked out both the place of the accident and
ourselves studying it.

As we approached, I could see that she was much more pale than usual.
Evidently her anxiety for Warrington was thoroughly genuine. The
slanderous letter had not shaken her faith in him, yet.

She had left her car and was walking back along the road with us toward
the broken fence. Garrick had been talking to her earnestly and now,
having introduced her to Dr. Mead, the doctor and he decided to climb
down to inspect the wrecked car itself in the ravine below.

Miss Winslow cast a quick look from the broken fence down at the torn
and twisted wreckage of the car and gave a suppressed little cry and
shudder.

"How is Mortimer?" she asked of me eagerly, for I had agreed to stay
with her while the others went down the slope. "I mean how is he
really? Is he likely to be better soon, as Mr. Garrick said over the
telephone?" she appealed.

"Surely--absolutely," I assured her, knowing that if Garrick had said
that he had meant it. "Miss Winslow, believe me, neither Mr. Garrick
nor Dr. Mead is concealing anything. It is pretty bad, of course. Such
things are always bad. But it might be far worse. And besides, the
worst now has passed."

Garrick had already promised to accompany her over to Dr. Mead's after
he had made his examination of the wrecked car to confirm what the
doctor had already observed. It took several minutes for them to
satisfy themselves and meanwhile Violet Winslow, already highly
unstrung by the news from Garrick, waited more and more nervously.

In spite of his careful examination of the wrecked car, Garrick found
practically nothing more than Dr. Mead had already told him. It was
with considerable relief that Miss Winslow saw the two again climbing
up the slope in the direction of the road.

A few minutes later we were on our way back, Dr. Mead and Garrick
leading the way in the doctor's car, while I accompanied Miss Winslow
in her own car.

She said little, and it was plain to see that she was consumed by
anxiety. Now and then she would ask a question about the accident, and
although I tried in every way to divert her mind to other subjects she
unfailingly came back to that.

Tempering the details as much as I could I repeated for her just what
had happened to the best of our knowledge.

"And you have no idea who it could have been?" she asked turning those
liquid eyes of hers on my face.

If there were any secret about it, it was perhaps fortunate that I did
not know. I don't think I am more than ordinarily susceptible and I
know I did not delude myself that Miss Winslow ever could be anything
except a friend to either Garrick or myself. But I felt I could not
resist the appeal in those eyes. I wondered if even they, by some magic
intuition, might not pierce the very soul of man and uncover a lying
heart. I felt that Warrington could not have been other than he said he
was and still have been hastening to meet those eyes.

"Miss Winslow," I answered, "I have no more idea than you have who it
could be."

I was telling the truth and I felt that I could meet her gaze.

There must have been something about how I had phrased my answer that
caused her to look at me more searchingly than before. Suddenly she
turned her face away and gazed at the passing landscape from the car.

She said nothing, but as I continued to watch her finely moulded
features, I saw that she was making an effort to control herself. It
flashed over me, somehow, that perhaps, after all, she herself
suspected someone. It was not that she said anything. It was merely an
indefinable impression I received.

Had Warrington any enemies, not in the underworld, but among those of
his own set, rivals, perhaps, who might even stoop to secure the aid of
those of the underworld who could be bought to commit any crime in the
calendar for a price? I did not pause to examine the plausibility or
the impossibility of such a theory. What interested me was whether in
her mind there was such a thought. Had she, perhaps, really more of an
idea than I who it could be? She betrayed nothing of what her intuition
told her, but I felt sure that, even though she knew nothing, there was
at least something she feared.

At last we arrived at Dr. Mead's and I handed her out of the car and
into the tastefully furnished little house. There was an air of
quietness about it that often indefinably pervades a house in which
there is illness or a tragedy.

"May I--see him?" pleaded Miss Winslow, as Dr. Mead placed a chair for
her.

I wondered what he would have done if there had been some good reason
why he should resist the pleading of her deep eyes.

"Why--er--for a minute--yes," he answered. "Later, soon, he may see
visitors longer, but just now I think for a few hours the less he is
disturbed the better."

The doctor excused himself for a moment to look at his patient and
prepare him for the visit. Meanwhile Miss Winslow waited in the
reception room downstairs, still very pale and nervous.

Warrington was in much less pain now than he had been when we left and
Dr. Mead decided that, since the nurse had made him so much more
comfortable, no further drug was necessary. In fact as his natural
vitality due to his athletic habits and clean living asserted itself,
it seemed as if his injuries which at first had looked so serious were
not likely to prove as bad as the doctor had anticipated.

Still, he was badly enough as it was. The new nurse smoothed out his
pillows and deftly tried to conceal as much as she could that would
suggest how badly he was injured and at last Violet Winslow was allowed
to enter the room where the poor boy lay.

Miss Winslow never for a moment let her wonderful self-control fail
her. Quickly and noiselessly, like a ministering angel, she seemed to
float rather than walk over the space from the door to the bed.

As she bent over him and whispered, "Mortimer!" the simple tone seemed
to have an almost magic effect on him.

He opened his eyes which before had been languidly closed and gazed up
at her face as if he saw a vision. Slowly the expression on his face
changed as he realized that it was indeed Violet herself. In spite of
the pain of his hurts which must have been intense a smile played over
his features, as if he realized that it would never do to let her know
how serious had been his condition.

As she bent over her hand had rested on the white covers of the bed.
Feebly, in spite of the bandages that swathed the arm nearest her, he
put out his own brawny hand and rested it on hers. She did not withdraw
it, but passed the other hand gently over his throbbing forehead. Never
have I seen a greater transformation in an invalid than was evident in
Mortimer Warrington. No tonic in all the pharmacopoeia of Dr. Mead
could have worked a more wonderful change.

Not a word was said by either Warrington or Violet for several seconds.
They seemed content just to gaze into each other's faces, oblivious to
us.

Warrington was the first to break the silence, in answer to what he
knew must be her unspoken question.

"Your aunt--gambling," he murmured feebly, trying hard to connect his
words so as to appear not so badly off as he had when he had spoken
before. "I didn't know--till they told me--that the estate owned
it--was coming to tell you--going to cancel the lease--close it up--no
one ever lose money there again--"

The words, jerky though they were, cost him a great physical effort to
say. She seemed to realize it, but there was a look of triumph on her
face as she understood.

She had not been mistaken. Warrington was all that she had thought him
to be.

He was looking eagerly into her face and as he looked he read in it the
answer to the questionings that had sent him off in the early hours of
the morning on his fateful ride to Tuxedo.

Dr. Mead cleared his throat. Miss Winslow recognised it as a signal
that the time was growing short for the interview.

Reluctantly, she withdrew her hand from his, their eyes met another
instant, and with a hasty word of sympathy and encouragement she left
the room, conscious now that other eyes were watching.

"Oh, to think it was to tell me that that he got into it all," she
cried, as she sank into a deep chair in the reception room,
endeavouring not to give way to her feelings, now that the strain was
off and she had no longer to keep a brave face. "I--I feel guilty!"

"I wouldn't say that," soothed Garrick. "Who knows? Perhaps if he had
stayed in the city--they might have succeeded,--whoever it was back of
this thing."

She looked up at Garrick, startled, I thought, with the same expression
I had seen when she turned her face away in the car and I got the
impression that she felt more than she knew of the case.

"I may--see--Mr. Warrington again soon?" she asked, now again mistress
of her feelings after Garrick's interruption that had served to take
her mind off a morbid aspect of the affair.

"Surely," agreed Dr. Mead. "I expect his progress to be rapid after
this."

"Thank you," she murmured, as she slowly rose and prepared to make the
return trip to her aunt's home.

"Oh, Mr. Garrick," she confided, as he helped her on with the wraps she
had thrown carelessly on a chair when she entered, "I can't help it--I
do feel guilty. Perhaps he thinks I am--like Aunt Emma---"

"Perhaps it was quite as much to convince your aunt as you that he took
the trip," suggested Garrick.

Miss Winslow understood. "Why is it," she murmured, "that sometimes
people with the best intentions manage to bring about things that
are--more terrible?"

Garrick smiled. Quite evidently she and her aunt were not exactly in
tune. He said nothing.

As for Dr. Mead he seemed really pleased, for the patient had
brightened up considerably after even the momentary glimpse he had had
of Violet. Altogether I felt that although they had seen each other
only for a moment, it had done both good. Miss Winslow's fears had been
quieted and Warrington had been encouraged by the realisation that, in
spite of its disastrous ending, his journey had accomplished its
purpose anyway.

There was, as Dr. Mead assured us, every prospect now that Warrington
would pull through after the murderous assault that had been made on
him.

We saw Miss Winslow safely off on her return trip, much relieved by the
promise of the doctor that she might call once a day to see how the
patient was getting along.

Warrington was now resting more easily than he had since the accident
and Garrick, having exhausted the possibilities of investigation at the
scene of the accident, announced that he would return to the city.

At the railroad terminus he called up both the apartment and the office
in order to find out whether we had had any visitors during our
absence. No one had called at the apartment, but the office boy
downtown said that there was a man who had called and was coming back
again.

A half hour or so later when we arrived at the office we found McBirney
seated there, patiently determined to find Garrick.

Evidently the news of the assault on Warrington had travelled fast, for
the first thing McBirney wanted to know was how it happened and how his
client was. In a few words Garrick told him as much about it as was
necessary. McBirney listened attentively, but we could see that he was
bursting with his own budget of news.

"And, McBirney," concluded Garrick, without going into the question of
the marks of the tires, "most remarkable of all, I am convinced that
the car in which his assailant rode was no other than the Mercedes that
was stolen from Warrington in the first place."

"Say," exclaimed McBirney in surprise, "that car must be all over at
once!"

"Why--what do you mean?"

"You know I have my own underground sources of information," explained
the detective with pardonable pride at adding even a rumour to the
budget of news. "Of course you can't be certain of such things, but one
of my men, who is scouting around the Tenderloin looking for what he
can find, tells me that he saw a car near that gambling joint on
Forty-eighth Street and that it may have been the repainted and
renumbered Warrington car--at least it tallies with the description
that we got from the garage keeper in north Jersey.

"Did he see who drove it?" asked Garrick eagerly.

"Not very well. It was a short, undersized man, as nearly as he could
make out. Someone whom he did not recognize jumped in it from the
gambling house and they disappeared. Even though my man, his suspicions
aroused, tried to follow them in a taxicab they managed to leave him
behind."

"In what direction did they go?" asked Garrick.

"Toward the West Side--where those fly-by-night garages are all
located."

"Or, perhaps, the Jersey ferries," suggested Garrick.

"Well, I thought you might like to know about this undersized driver,"
said McBirney a little sulkily because Garrick had not displayed as
much enthusiasm as he expected.

"I do," hastened Garrick. "Of course I do. And it may prove to be a
very important clew. But I was just running ahead of your story. The
undersized man couldn't have figured in the case afterward, assuming
that it was the car. He must have left it, probably in the city. Have
you any idea who it could be?"

"Not unless he might be an employee or a keeper of one of those
night-hawk garages," persisted McBirney. "That is possible."

"Quite," agreed Garrick.

McBirney had delivered his own news and in turn had received ours, or
at least such of it as Garrick chose to tell at present. He was
apparently satisfied and rose to go.

"Keep after that undersized fellow, will you?" asked Garrick. "If you
could find out who he is and he should happen to be connected with one
of those garages we might get on the right trail at last."

"I will," promised McBirney. "He's evidently an expert driver of motor
cars himself; my man could see that."

McBirney had gone. Garrick sat for several minutes gazing squarely at
me. Then he leaned back in his chair, with his hands behind his head.

"Mark my words, Marshall," he observed slowly, "someone connected with
that gambling joint in some way has got wind of the fact that
Warrington is going to revoke the lease and close it up. We've got to
beat them to it--that's all."



CHAPTER IX

THE RAID


Garrick was evidently turning over and over in his mind some plan of
action.

"This thing has gone just about far enough," he remarked meditatively,
looking at his watch. It was now well along in the afternoon.

"But what do you intend doing?" I asked, regarding the whole affair so
far as a hopeless mystery from which I could not see that we had
extracted so much as a promising clew.

"Doing?" he echoed. "Why, there is only one thing to do, and that is to
take the bull by the horns, to play the game without any further
attempt at finessing. I shall see Dillon, get a warrant, and raid that
gambling place--that's all."

I had no counter suggestion to offer. In fact the plan rather appealed
to me. If any blow were to be struck it must be just a little bit ahead
of any that the gamblers anticipated, and this was a blow they would
not expect if they already had wind of Warrington's intention to cancel
the lease.

Garrick called up Dillon and made an appointment to meet him early in
the evening, without telling him what was afoot.

"Meet me down at police headquarters, Tom," was all that Garrick said
to me. "I want to work here at the office for a little while, first,
testing a new contrivance, or, rather, an old one that I think may be
put to a new use."

Meanwhile I decided to employ my time by visiting some newspaper
friends that I had known a long time on the Star, one of the most
enterprising papers in the city. Fortunately I found my friend,
Davenport, the managing editor, at his desk and ready to talk in the
infrequent lulls that came in his work.

"What's on your mind, Marshall?" he asked as I sat down and began to
wonder how he ever conducted his work in the chaotic clutter of stuff
on the top of his desk.

"I can't tell you--yet, Davenport," I explained carefully, "but it's a
big story and when it breaks I'll promise that the Star has the first
chance at it. I'm on the inside--working with that young detective,
Garrick, you know."

"Garrick--Garrick," he repeated. "Oh, yes, that fellow who came back
from abroad with a lot of queer ideas. I remember. We had an interview
with him when he left the steamer. Good stuff, too,--but what do you
think of him? Is he--on the level?"

"On the level and making good," I answered confidently. "I'm not at
liberty to tell much about it now, but--well, the reason I came in was
to find out what you could tell me about a Miss Winslow,--Violet
Winslow and her aunt, Mrs. Beekman de Lancey."

"The Miss Winslow who is reported engaged to young Warrington?" he
repeated. "The gossip is that he has cut out Angus Forbes, entirely."

I had hesitated to mention all the names at once, but I need not have
done so, for on such things, particularly the fortunes in finance and
love of such a person as Warrington, the eyes of the press were
all-seeing.

"Yes," I answered carefully, "that's the Miss Winslow. What do you know
of her?"

"Well," he replied, fumbling among the papers on his desk, "all I know
is that in the social set to which she belongs our society reporters
say that of all the young fellows who have set out to capture her--and
she's a deuced pretty girl, even in the pictures we have published--it
seems to have come down to Mortimer Warrington and Angus Forbes. Of
course, as far as we newspapermen are concerned, the big story for us
would be in the engagement of young Warrington. The eyes of people are
fixed on him just now--the richest young man in the country, and all
that sort of thing, you know. Seems to be a pretty decent sort of
fellow, too, I believe--democratic and keen on other things besides
tango and tennis. Oh, there's the thing I was hunting for. Mrs. de
Lancey's a nut on gambling, I believe. Read that. It's a letter that
came to us from her this morning."

It was written in the stilted handwriting of a generation ago and read:

"To the Editor of the Star, Dear Sir:--I believe that your paper prides
itself on standing for reform and against the grafters. If that is so,
why do you not join in the crusade to suppress gambling in New York?
For the love that you must still bear towards your own mother, listen
to the stories of other mothers torn by anxiety for their sons and
daughters, and if there is any justice or righteousness in this great
city close up those gambling hells that are sending to ruin scores of
our finest young men--and women. You have taken up other fights against
gambling and vice. Take up this one that appeals to women of wealth and
social position. I know them and they are as human as mothers in any
other station in life. Oh, if there is any way, close up these gilded
society resorts that are dissipating the fortunes of many parents,
ruining young men and women, and, in one case I know of, slowly
bringing to the grave a grey-haired widow as worthy of protection as
any mother of the poor whose plea has closed up a little poolroom or
policy shop. One place I have in mind is at ---- West Forty-eighth
Street. Investigate it, but keep this confidential.

"Sincerely,

"(MRS.) EMMA DE LANCEY."

"Do you know anything about it?" I asked casually handing the letter
back.

"Only by hearsay. I understand it is the crookedest gambling joint in
the city, at least judging by the stories they tell of the losses
there. And so beastly aristocratic, too. They tell me young Forbes has
lost a small fortune there--but I don't know how true it is. We get
hundreds of these daintily perfumed and monogramed little missives in
the course of a year."

"You mean Angus Forbes?" I asked.

"Yes," replied the managing editor, "the fellow that they say has been
trying to capture your friend Miss Winslow."

I did not reply for the moment. Forbes, I had already learned, was
deeply in debt. Was it part of his plan to get control of the little
fortune of Violet to recoup his losses?

"Do you know Mrs. de Lancey?" pursued the editor.

"No--not yet," I answered. "I was just wondering what sort of person
she is."

"Oh I suppose she's all right," he answered, "but they say she's pretty
straight-laced--that cards and all sorts of dissipation are an
obsession with her."

"Well," I argued, "there might be worse things than that."

"That's right," he agreed. "But I don't believe that such a puritanical
atmosphere is--er--just the place to bring up a young woman like Violet
Winslow."

I said nothing. It did not seem to me that Mrs. de Lancey had succeeded
in killing the natural human impulses in Violet, though perhaps the
girl was not as well versed in some of the ways of the world as others
of her set. Still, I felt that her own natural common sense would
protect her, even though she had been kept from a knowledge of much
that in others of her set was part of their "education."

My friend's telephone had been tinkling constantly during the
conversation and I saw that as the time advanced he was getting more
and more busy. I thanked Davenport and excused myself.

At least I had learned something about those who were concerned in the
case. As I rode uptown I could not help thinking of Violet Winslow and
her apparently intuitive fear concerning Warrington. I wondered how
much she really knew about Angus Forbes. Undoubtedly he had not
hesitated to express his own feelings toward her. Had she penetrated
beneath the honeyed words he must have spoken to her? Was it that she
feared that all things are fair in war and love and that the favour she
must have bestowed on Warrington might have roused the jealousy of some
of his rivals for her affections?

I found no answer to my speculations, but a glance at my watch told me
that it was nearing the time of my appointment with Guy.

A few minutes later I jumped off the car at Headquarters and met
Garrick, waiting for me in the lower hall. As we ascended the broad
staircase to the second floor, where Dillon's office was, I told him
briefly of what I had discovered.

"The old lady will have her wish," he replied grimly as I related the
incident of the letter to the editor. "I wonder just how much she
really does know of that place. I hope it isn't enough to set her
against Warrington. You know people like that are often likely to
conceive violent prejudices--and then refuse to believe something
that's all but proved about someone else."

There was no time to pursue the subject further for we had reached
Dillon's office and were admitted immediately.

"What's the news?" asked Dillon greeting us cordially.

"Plenty of it," returned Garrick, hastily sketching over what had
transpired since we had seen him last.

Garrick had scarcely begun to outline what he intended to do when I
could see from the commissioner's face that he was very sceptical of
success.

"Herman tells me," he objected, "that the place is mighty well
barricaded. We haven't tried raiding it yet, because you know the new
plan is not only to raid those places, but first to watch them, trace
out some of the regular habitues, and then to be able to rope them in
in case we need them as evidence. Herman has been getting that all in
shape so that when the case comes to trial, there'll be no slip-up."

"If that's all you want, I can put my finger on some of the wildest
scions of wealth that you will ever need for witnesses," Garrick
replied confidently.

"Well," pursued Dillon diffidently, "how are you going to pull it off,
down through the sky-light, or up through the cellar?"

"Oh, Dillon," returned Garrick reproachfully, "that's unworthy of you."

"But, Garrick," persisted Dillon, "don't you know that it is a
veritable National City Bank for protection. It isn't one of those
common gambling joints. It's proof against all the old methods. Axes
and sledgehammers would make no impression there. Why, that place has
been proved bomb-proof--bomb-proof, sir. You remember recently the
so-call 'gamblers' war' in which some rivals exploded a bomb on the
steps because the proprietor of this place resented their intrusion
uptown from the lower East Side, with their gunmen and lobbygows? It
did more damage to the house next door than to the gambling joint."

Dillon paused a moment to enumerate the difficulties. "You can get past
the outside door all right. But inside is the famous ice-box door. It's
no use to try it at all unless you can pass that door with reasonable
quickness. All the evidence you will get will be of an innocent social
club room downstairs. And you can't get on the other side of that door
by strategy, either. It is strategy-proof. The system of lookouts is
perfect. Herman---"

"Can't help it," interrupted Garrick, "we've got to go over Herman's
head this time. I'll guarantee you all the evidence you'll ever need."

Dillon and Garrick faced each other for a moment.

It was a supreme test of Dillon's sincerity.

Finally he spoke slowly. "All right," he said, as if at last the die
were cast and Garrick had carried his point, "but how are you going to
do it? Won't you need some men with axes and crowbars?"

"No, indeed," almost shouted Garrick as Dillon made a motion as if to
find out who were available. "I've been preparing a little surprise in
my office this afternoon for just such a case. It's a rather cumbersome
arrangement and I've brought it along stowed away in a taxicab outside.
I don't want anyone else to know about the raid until the last moment.
Just before we begin the rough stuff, you can call up and have the
reserves started around. That is all I shall want."

"Very well," agreed Dillon, after a moment.

He did not seem to relish the scheme, but he had promised at the outset
to play fair and he had no disposition to go back on his word now in
favor even of his judgment.

"First of all," he planned, "we'll have to drop in on a judge and get a
warrant to protect us."

Garrick hastily gave me instructions what to do and I started uptown
immediately, while they went to secure the secret warrant.

I had been stationed on the corner which was not far from the
Forty-eighth Street gambling joint that we were to raid. I had a keen
sense of wickedness as I stood there with other loiterers watching the
passing throng under the yellow flare of the flaming arc light.

It was not difficult now to loiter about unnoticed because the streets
were full of people, all bent on their own pleasure and not likely to
notice one person more or less who stopped to watch the passing throng.

From time to time I cast a quick glance at the house down the street,
in order to note who was going in.

It must have been over an hour that I waited. It was after ten, and it
became more difficult to watch who was going into the gambling joint.
In fact, several times the street was so blocked that I could not see
very well. But I did happen to catch a glimpse of one familiar figure
across the street from me.

It was Angus Forbes. Where he kept himself in the daytime I did not
know, but he seemed to emerge at night, like a rat, seeking what to him
was now food and drink. I watched him narrowly as he turned the corner,
but there was no use in being too inquisitive. He was bound as
certainly for the gambling joint as a moth would have headed toward one
of the arc lights. Evidently Forbes was making a vocation of gambling.

Just then a taxicab pulled up hurriedly at the curb near where I was
standing and a hand beckoned me, on the side away from the gambling
house.

I sauntered over and looked in through the open window. It was Garrick
with Dillon sunk back into the dark corner of the cab, so as not to be
seen.

"Jump in!" whispered Garrick, opening the door. "We have the warrant
all right. Has anything happened? No suspicion yet?"

I did so and reassured Garrick while the cab started on a blind cruise
around the block.

On the floor was a curiously heavy instrument, on which I had stubbed
my toe as I entered. I surmised that it must have been the thing which
Garrick had brought from his office, but in the darkness I could not
see what it was, nor was there a chance to ask a question.

"Stop here," ordered Garrick, as we passed a drug store with a
telephone booth.

Dillon jumped out and disappeared into the booth.

"He is calling the reserves from the nearest station," fretted Garrick.
"Of course, we have to do that to cover the place, but we'll have to
work quickly now, for I don't know how fast a tip may travel in this
subterranean region. Here, I'll pay the taxi charges now and save some
time."

A moment later Dillon rejoined us, his face perspiring from the
closeness of the air in the booth.

"Now to that place on Forty-eighth Street, and we're square," ordered
Garrick to the driver, mentioning the address. "Quick!"

There had been, we could see, no chance for a tip to be given that a
raid was about to be pulled off. We could see that, as Garrick and I
jumped out of the cab and mounted the steps.

The door was closed to us, however. Only someone like Warrington who
was known there could have got us in peacefully, until we had become
known in the place. Yet though there had been no tip, the lookout on
the other side of the door, with his keen nose, had seemed to scent
trouble.

He had retreated and, we knew, had shut the inside, heavy door--perhaps
even had had time already to give the alarm inside.

The sharp rap of a small axe which Garrick had brought sounded on the
flimsy outside door, in quick staccato. There was a noise and scurry of
feet inside and we could hear the locks and bolts being drawn.

Banging, ripping, tearing, the thin outer door was easily forced.
Disregarding the melee I leaped through the wreckage with Garrick. The
"ice-box" door barred all further progress. How was Garrick to surmount
this last and most formidable barrier?

"A raid! A raid!" cried a passer-by.

Another instant, and the cry, taken up by others, brought a crowd
swarming around from Broadway, as if it were noon instead of midnight.



CHAPTER X

THE GAMBLING DEBT


There was no time to be lost now. Down the steps again dashed Garrick,
after our expected failure both to get in peaceably and to pass the
ice-box door by force. This time Dillon emerged from the cab with him.
Together they were carrying the heavy apparatus up the steps.

They set it down close to the door and I scrutinized it carefully. It
looked, at first sight, like a short stubby piece of iron, about
eighteen inches high. It must have weighed fifty or sixty pounds. Along
one side was a handle, and on the opposite side an adjustable hook with
a sharp, wide prong.

Garrick bent down and managed to wedge the hook into the little space
between the sill and the bottom of the ice-box door. Then he began
pumping on the handle, up and down, up and down, as hard as he could.

Meanwhile the crowd that had begun to collect was getting larger.
Dillon went through the form of calling on them for aid, but the call
was met with laughter. A Tenderloin crowd has no use for raids, except
as a spectacle. Between us we held them back, while Garrick worked. The
crowd jeered.

It was the work of only a few seconds, however, before Garrick changed
the jeers to a hearty round of exclamations of surprise. The door
seemed to be lifted up, literally, until some of its bolts and hinges
actually bulged and cracked. It was being crushed, like the flimsy
outside door, before the unwonted attack.

Upwards, by fractions of an inch, by millimeters, the door was being
forced. There was such straining and stress of materials that I really
began to wonder whether the building itself would stand it.

"Scientific jimmying," gasped Garrick, as the door bulged more and more
and seemed almost to threaten to topple in at any moment.

I looked at the stubby little cylinder with its short stump of a lever.
Garrick had taken it out now and had wedged it horizontally between the
ice-box door and the outer stonework of the building itself. Then he
jammed some pieces of wood in to wedge it tighter and again began to
pump at the handle vigorously.

"What is it?" I asked, almost in awe at the titanic power of the
apparently insignificant little thing.

"My scientific sledgehammer," he panted, still working the lever more
vigorously than ever backward and forward. "In other words, a hydraulic
ram. There is no swinging of axes or wielding of crow-bars necessary
any more, Dillon, in breaking down a door like this. Such things are
obsolete. This little jimmy, if you want to call it that, has a power
of ten tons. I think that's about enough."

It seemed as if the door were buckling and being literally wrenched off
its hinges by the irresistible ten-ton punch of the hydraulic ram.

Garrick sprang back, grasping me by the arm and pulling me too. But
there was no need of caution. What was left of the door swung back on
its loosened hinges, seemed to tremble a moment, and then, with a dull
thud crashed down on the beautiful green marble of the reception hall,
reverberating.

We peered beyond. Inside all was darkness. At the very first sign of
trouble the lights had been switched out downstairs. It was deserted.
There was no answer to our shouts. It was as silent as a tomb.

The clang of bells woke the rapid echoes. The crowd parted. It was the
patrol wagons, come just in time, full of reserves, at Dillon's order.
They swarmed up the steps, for there was nothing to do now, in the
limelight of the public eye, except their duty. Besides Dillon was
there, too.

"Here," he ordered huskily, "four of you fellows jump into each of the
next door houses and run up to the roof. Four more men go through to
the rear of this house. The rest stay here and await orders," he
directed, detailing them off quickly, as he endeavoured to grasp the
strange situation.

On both sides of the street heads were out of windows. On other houses
the steps were full of spectators. Thousands of people must have
swarmed in the street. It was pandemonium.

Yet inside the house into which we had just broken it was all darkness
and silence.

The door had yielded to the scientific sledge-hammering where it would
have shattered, otherwise, all the axes in the department. What was
next?

Garrick jumped briskly over the wreckage into the building. Instead of
the lights and gayety which we had seen on the previous night, all was
black mystery. The robbers' cave yawned before us. I think we were all
prepared for some sort of gunplay, for we knew the crooks to be
desperate characters. As we followed Garrick closely we were surprised
to encounter not even physical force.

Someone struck a light. Garrick, groping about in the shadows, found
the switch, and one after another the lights in the various rooms
winked up.

I have seldom seen such confusion as greeted us as, with Dillon waiving
his "John Doe" warrant over his head, we hurried upstairs to the main
hall on the second floor, where the greater part of the gambling was
done. Furniture was overturned and broken, and there had been no time
to remove the heavier gambling apparatus. Playing cards, however,
chips, racing sheets from the afternoon, dice, everything portable and
tangible and small enough to be carried had disappeared.

But the greatest surprise of all was in store. Though we had seen no
one leave by any of the doors, nor by the doors of any of the houses on
the block, nor by the roofs, or even by the back yard, according to the
report of the police who had been sent in that direction, there was not
a living soul in the house from roof to cellar. Search as we did, we
could find not one of the scores of people whom I had seen enter in the
course of the evening while I was watching on the corner.

Dillon, ever mindful of some of the absurd rules of evidence in such
cases laid down by the courts, had had an official photographer
summoned and he was proceeding from room to room, snapping pictures of
apparatus that was left in place and preserving a film record of the
condition of things generally.

Garrick was standing ruefully beside the roulette wheel at which so
many fortunes had been dissipated.

"Get me an axe," he asked of one of Dillon's men who was passing.

With a well-directed blow he smashed the wheel.

"Look," he exclaimed, "this is what they were up against."

His forefinger indicated an ingenious but now twisted and tangled
series of minute wires and electro-magnets in the delicate mechanism
now broken open before us. Delicate brushes led the current into the
wheel.

With another blow of the axe, Garrick disclosed wires running down
through the leg of the table to the floor and under the carpet to
buttons operated by the man who ran the game.

"What does it mean?" I asked blankly.

"It means," he returned, "that they had little enough chance to win at
a straight game of roulette. But this wheel wasn't even straight with
all the odds in favor of the bank, as they are naturally. This game was
electrically controlled. Others are mechanically controlled by what are
called the 'mule's ear,' and other devices. You CAN'T win. These wires
and magnets can be made to attract the little ball into any pocket the
operator desires. Each one of the pockets contains an electro-magnet.
One set of electro-magnets in the red pockets is connected with one
button under the carpet and a set of batteries. The other series of
little magnets in the black pockets is connected with another button
and the batteries."

He had picked up the little ball. "This ball," he said as he examined
it, "is not really of ivory, but of a composition that looks like
ivory, coating a hollow, soft-iron ball inside. Soft iron is attracted
by an electro-magnet. Whichever set of magnets is energized attracts
the ball and by this simple method it is in the power of the operator
to let the ball go to red or black as he may wish. Other similar
arrangements control the odd or even, and other combinations, also from
push buttons. There isn't an honest gambling machine in the whole
place. The whole thing is crooked from start to finish,--the men, the
machines,----"

"Then a fellow never had a chance?" repeated Dillon.

"Not a chance," emphasized Garrick.

We gathered about and gazed at magnets and wires, the buttons and
switches. He did not need to say anything more to expose the character
of the place.

Amazing as we found everything about us in the palace of crooks,
nothing made so deep an impression on me as the fact that it was
deserted. It seemed as if the gamblers had disappeared as though in a
fairy tale. Search room after room as Dillon's men did they were unable
to find a living thing.

One of the men had discovered, back of the gambling rooms on the second
floor, a little office evidently used by those who ran the joint. It
was scantily furnished, as though its purpose might have been merely a
place where they could divide up the profits in private. A desk, a
cabinet and a safe, besides a couple of chairs, were all that the room
contained.

Someone, however, had done some quick work in the little office during
those minutes while Garrick was opening the great ice-box door with his
hydraulic ram, for on every side were scattered papers, the desk had
been rifled, and even from the safe practically everything of any value
had been removed. It was all part of the general scheme of things in
the gambling joint. Practically nothing that was evidential that could
be readily removed had been left. Whoever had planned the place must
have been a genius as far as laying out precautions against a raid were
concerned.

Garrick, Dillon and I ran hastily through some scattered correspondence
and other documents that spilled out from some letter files on the
floor, but as far as I could make out there was nothing of any great
importance that had been overlooked.

Dillon ordered the whole mass to be bundled up and taken off when the
other paraphernalia was removed so that it could be gone through at our
leisure, and the search continued.

From the "office" a staircase led down by a back way and we followed
it, looking carefully to see where it led.

A low exclamation from Garrick arrested our attention. In a curve
between landings he had kicked something and had bent down to pick it
up. An electric pocket flashlight which one of the men had picked up
disclosed under its rays a package of papers evidently dropped by
someone who was carrying away in haste an armful of stuff.

"Markers with the house," exclaimed Garrick as he ran over the contents
of the package hurriedly. "I. O. U.'s for various amounts and all
initialed--for several hundred thousands. Hello, here's a bunch with an
'F.' That must mean Forbes--thousands of dollars worth."

The markers were fastened together with a slip in order to separate
them from the others, evidently.

Garrick was hastily totalling them up and they seemed to amount to a
tidy sum.

"How can he ever pay?" I asked, amazed as the sum crept on upward in
the direction of six figures.

"Don't you see that they're cancelled?" interjected Garrick, still
adding.

I had not examined them closely, but as I now bent over to do so I saw
that each bore the words, "Paid by W."

Warrington himself had settled the gambling debts of his friend!

In still greater amazement I continued to look and found that they all
bore dates from several weeks before, down to within a few days. The
tale they told was eloquent. Forbes, his own fortune gone, had gambled
until rescued by his friend. Even that had not been sufficient to curb
his mania. He had kept right on, hoping insanely to recoup. And the
gamblers had been willing to take a chance with him, knowing that they
already had so much of his money that they could not possibly lose.

A horrid thought flashed over me. What if he had really planned to pay
his losses by marrying a girl with a fortune? Forbes was the sort who
would have gambled on even that slender prospect.

As we stood on the landing while Garrick went over the markers, I found
myself wondering, even, where Forbes had been that night after he
hurried away from us at the ladies' poolroom and Warrington had taken
the journey that had ended so disastrously for him. The more I learned
of what had been taking place, the more I saw that Warrington stood out
as a gentleman. Undoubtedly Violet Winslow had heard, had been informed
by some kind unknown of the slight lapses of Warrington. I felt sure
that the gross delinquencies of Forbes were concealed from her and from
her aunt, at least as far as Warrington had it in his power to shield
the man who was his friend--and rival.

The voice of Dillon recalled me from a train of pure speculation to the
more practical work in hand before us.

"Well, at any rate, we've got evidence enough to protect ourselves and
close the place, even if we didn't make any captures," congratulated
Dillon, as he rejoined us, after a momentary excursion from which he
returned still blinking from the effects of the flashlight powders
which his photographer had been using freely. "After we get all the
pictures of the place, I'll have the stuff here removed to
headquarters--and it won't be handed back on any order of the courts,
either, if I can help it!"

Garrick had shoved the markers into his pocket and now was leading the
way downstairs.

"Still, Dillon," he remarked, as we followed, "that doesn't shed any
light on the one remaining problem. How did they all manage to get out
so quickly?"

We had reached the basement which contained the kitchens for the buffet
and quarters for the servants. A hasty excursion into the littered back
yard under the guidance of Dillon's men who had been sent around that
way netted us nothing in the way of information. They had not made
their escape over the back fences. Such a number of people would
certainly have left some trail, and there was none.

We looked at Garrick, perplexed, and he remarked, with sudden energy,
"Let's take a look at the cellar."

As we groped down the final stairway into the cellar, it was only too
evident that at last he had guessed right. Down in the subterranean
depths we quickly discovered, at the rear, a sheet-iron door. Battering
it down was the work of but a moment for the little ram. Beyond it,
where we expected to see a yawning tunnel, we found nothing but a pile
of bricks and earth and timbers that had been used for shoring.

There had been a tunnel, but the last man who had gone through had
evidently exploded a small dynamite cartridge, and the walls had been
caved in. It was impossible to follow it until its course could be
carefully excavated with proper tools in the daylight.

We had captured the stronghold of gambling in New York, but the
gamblers had managed to slip out of our grasp, at least for the present.



CHAPTER XI

THE GANGSTER'S GARAGE


"I have it," exclaimed Garrick, as we were retracing our steps upstairs
from the dank darkness of the cellar. "I would be willing to wager that
that tunnel runs back from this house to that pool-room for women which
we visited on Forty-seventh Street, Marshall. That must be the secret
exit. Don't you see, it could be used in either direction."

We climbed the stairs and stood again in the wreck of things, taking a
hasty inventory of what was left, in hope of uncovering some new clew,
even by chance.

Garrick shook his head mournfully.

"They had just time enough," he remarked, "to destroy about everything
they wanted to and carry off the rest."

"All except the markers," I corrected.

"That was just a lucky chance," he returned. "Still, it throws an
interesting sidelight on the case."

"It doesn't add much in my estimation to the character of Forbes," I
ventured, voicing my own suspicions.

The telephone bell rang before Garrick had a chance to reply. Evidently
in their haste they had not had time to cut the wires or to spread the
news, yet, of the raid. Someone who knew nothing of what had happened
was calling up.

Garrick quickly unhooked the receiver, with a hasty motion to us to
remain silent.

"Hello," we heard him answer. "Yes, this is it. Who is this?"

He had disguised his voice. We waited anxiously and watched his face to
gather what response he received.

"The deuce!" he exclaimed, with his hand over the transmitter so that
his voice would not be heard at the other end.

"What's the matter?" I asked eagerly.

"Whoever he was," replied Garrick, "he was too keen for me. He caught
on. There must have been some password or form that they used which we
don't know, for he hung up the receiver almost as soon as he heard me."

Garrick waited a minute or two. Then he whistled into, the transmitter.
It was done apparently to see whether there was anyone listening. But
there was no answer. The man was gone.

"Operator, operator!" Guy was calling, insistently moving the hook up
and down rapidly. "Yes--I want Central. Central, can you tell me what
number that was which just called up?"

We all waited anxiously to learn whether the girl could find out or not.

"Bleecker seven--one--eight--o? Thank you very much. Give me
information, please."

Again we waited as Garrick tried to trace the call out.

"Hello! What is the street address of Bleecker seven--one--eight--o?
Three hundred West Sixth. Thank you. A garage? Good-bye."

"A garage?" echoed Dillon, his ears almost going up as he realized the
importance of the news.

"Yes," cried Garrick, himself excited. "Tom, call a cab. Let us hustle
down there as quickly as we can."

"One of those garages on the lower West Side," I heard Dillon say as I
left. "Perhaps they did work for the gambling joint--sent drunks home,
got rid of tough customers and all that. You know already that there
are some pretty tough places down there. This is bully. I shouldn't be
surprised if it gave us a line on the stealing of Warrington's car at
last."

I found a cab and Dillon and Garrick joined me in it.

"I tried to get McBirney," said Garrick as we prepared to start on our
new quest, "but he was out, and the night operator at his place didn't
seem to know where he was. But if they can locate him, I imagine he'll
be around at least shortly after we get there. I left the address."

Dillon had issued his final orders to his raiders about guarding the
raided gambling joint and stationing a man at the door. A moment later
we were off, threading our way through the crowd which in spite of the
late hour still lingered to gape at the place.

On the way down we speculated much on the possibility that we might be
going on a wild goose chase. But the very circumstances of the call and
the promptness with which the man who had called had seemed to sense
when something was wrong and to ring off seemed to point to the fact
that we had uncovered a good lead of some kind.

After a quick run downtown through the deserted avenues, we entered a
series of narrow and sinuous streets that wound through some pretty
tough looking neighborhoods. On the street corners were saloons that
deserved no better name than common groggeries. They were all vicious
looking joints and uniformly seemed to violate the law about closing.
The fact was that they impressed one as though it would be as much as
one's life was worth even to enter them with respectable looking
clothes on.

The further we proceeded into the tortuous twists of streets that stamp
the old Greenwich village with a character all its own, the worse it
seemed to get. Decrepit relics of every style of architecture from
almost the earliest times in the city stood out in the darkness, like
so many ghosts.

"Anyone who would run a garage down here," remarked Garrick, "deserves
to be arrested on sight."

"Except possibly for commercial vehicles," I ventured, looking at the
warehouses here and there.

"There are no commercial vehicles out at this hour," added Garrick
dryly.

At last our cab turned down a street that was particularly dark.

"This is it," announced Garrick, tapping on the glass for the driver to
stop at the corner. "We had better get out and walk the rest of the
way."

The garage which we sought proved to be nothing but an old brick
stable. It was of such a character that even charity could not have
said that it had seen much better days for generations. It was dark,
evil looking. Except for a slinking figure here and there in the
distance the street about us was deserted. Even our footfalls echoed
and Garrick warned us to tread softly. I longed for the big stick, that
went with the other half of the phrase.

He paused a moment to observe the place. It was near the corner and a
dim-lighted Raines law saloon on the next cross street ran back almost
squarely to the stable walls, leaving a narrow yard. Apparently the
garage itself had been closed for the night, if, indeed, it was ever
regularly open. Anyone who wanted to use it must have carried a key, I
surmised.

We crossed over stealthily. Garrick put his ear to an ordinary sized
door which had been cut out of the big double swinging doors of the
stable, and listened.

Not a sound.

Dillon, with the instinct of the roundsman in him still, tried the
handle of the door gently. To our surprise it moved. I could not
believe that anyone could have gone away and left it open, trusting
that the place would not be looted by the neighbours before he
returned. I felt instinctively that there must be somebody there, in
spite of the darkness.

The commissioner pushed in, however, followed closely by both of us,
prepared for an on-rush or a hand-to-hand struggle with anything, man
or beast.

A quick succession of shots greeted us. I do not recall feeling the
slightest sensation of pain, but with a sickening dizziness in the head
I can just vaguely remember that I sank down on the oil and grease of
the floor. I did not fall. It seemed as if I had time to catch myself
and save, perhaps, a fractured skull. But then it was all blank.

It seemed an age, though it could not have been more than ten minutes
later when I came to. I felt an awful, choking sensation in my throat
which was dry and parched. My lungs seemed to rasp my very ribs, as I
struggled for breath. Garrick was bending anxiously over me, himself
pale and gasping yet. The air was reeking with a smell that I did not
understand.

"Thank heaven, you're all right," he exclaimed, with much relief, as he
helped me struggle up on my feet. My head was still in a whirl as he
assisted me over to a cushioned seat in one of the automobiles standing
there. "Now I'll go back to Dillon," he added, out of breath from the
superhuman efforts he was putting forth both for us and to keep himself
together. "Wh--what's the matter? What happened?" I gasped, gripping
the back of the cushion to steady myself. "Am I wounded? Where was I
hit? I--I don't feel anything--but, oh, my head and throat!"

I glanced over at Dillon. He was pale and white as a ghost, but I could
see that he was breathing, though with difficulty. In the glare of the
headlight of a car which Garrick had turned on him, he looked ghastly.
I looked again to discover traces of blood. But there was none anywhere.

"We were all put out of business," muttered Garrick, as he worked over
Dillon. Dillon opened his eyes blankly at last, then struggled up to
his feet. "You got it worst, commissioner," remarked Garrick to him.
"You were closest."

"Got what?" he sputtered, "Was closest to what?"

We were all still choking over the peculiar odor in the fetid air about
us.

"The bulletless gun," replied Garrick.

Dillon looked at him a moment incredulously, in spite even of his
trying physical condition.

"It is a German invention," Garrick went on to explain, clearing his
throat, "and shoots, instead of bullets, a stupefying gas which
temporarily blinds and chokes its victims. The fellow who was in here
didn't shoot bullets at us. He evidently didn't care about adding any
more crimes to his list just now. Perhaps he thought that if he killed
any of us there would be too much of a row. I'm glad it was as it was,
anyway. He got us all, this way, before we knew it. Perhaps that was
the reason he used the gun, for if he had shot one of us with a pistol
I had my own automatic ready myself to blaze away. This way he got me,
too.

"A stupefying gun!" repeated Dillon. "I should say so. I don't know
what happened--yet," he added, blinking.

"I came to first," went on Garrick, now busily looking about, as we
were all recovered. "I found that none of us was wounded, and so I
guessed what had happened. However, while we were unconscious the
villain, whoever he was, succeeded in running his car out of the garage
and getting away. He locked the door after him, but I have managed to
work it open again."

Garrick was now examining the floor of the garage, turning the
headlight of the machine as much as he could on successive parts of the
floor.

"By George, Tom," he exclaimed to me suddenly, "see those marks in the
grease? Do you recognize them by this time? It is the same tire-mark
again--Warrington's car--without a doubt!"

Dillon had taken the photographs which Garrick had made several days
before from the prints left by the side of the road in New Jersey, and
was comparing them himself with the marks on the floor of the garage,
while Garrick explained them to him hurriedly, as he had already done
to me.

"We are getting closer to him, every time,'" remarked Garrick. "Even if
he did get away, we are on the trail and know that it is the right one.
He could not have been at the gambling joint, or he would never have
called up. Yet he must have known all about it. This has turned out
better than I expected. I suppose you don't feel so, but you must think
so."

It was difficult not to catch the contagion of Garrick's enthusiasm.
Dillon grunted assent.

"This garage," he put in, looking it over critically, "must act as a
fence for stolen cars and parts of cars. See, there over in the corner
is the stuff for painting new license numbers. Here's enough material
to rebuild a half dozen cars. Yes, this is one of the places that ought
to interest you and McBirney, Garrick. I'll bet the fellow who owns
this place is one of those who'd engage to sell you a second-hand car
of any make you wanted to name. Then he'd go out on the street and hunt
around until he got one. Of course, we'll find out his name, but I'll
wager that when we get the nominal owner we won't be able to extract a
thing from him in the way of actual facts."

Garrick had continued his examination of the floor. In a corner, near
the back, he had picked up an empty shell of a cartridge. He held it
down in the light of the car, and examined it long and carefully. As he
turned it over and over he seemed to be carefully considering it.
Finally, he dropped it carefully into his inside vest pocket, as though
it were a rare treasure.

"As I said at the start," quoted Garrick, turning to me, "we might get
a conviction merely on these cartridges. Anyhow, our man has escaped
from here. You can be sure that he won't come back--perhaps
never--certainly not at least for a long time, until he figures that
this thing has completely blown over."

"I'm going to keep my eye on the place, just the same," stoutly
insisted Dillon.

"Of course, by all means," reiterated Garrick. "The fact is, I expect
our next important clew will come from this place. The only thing I
want you to be careful of, Dillon, is not to be hasty and make an
arrest."

"Not make an arrest?" queried Dillon, who still felt the fumes in his
throat, and evidently longed to make someone pay the price--at least by
giving him the satisfaction of conducting a "third degree" down at
headquarters.

"No. You won't get the right man, and you may lose one who points
straight at him. Take my advice. Watch the place. There's more to be
gained by going at it cautiously. These people understand the old
hammer-and-tongs game."

Just then the smaller outside door grated on its rusty hinges. We
sprang to our feet, startled. Dillon leaped forward. Stupefying guns
had no taming effect on his nationality.

"Well, commish, is that the way you greet an old friend?" laughed
McBirney, as a threatened strangle-hold was narrowly averted and turned
into a handshake. "How are you fellows? I got your message, Garrick,
and thought I'd drop around. What's the matter? You all look as if
you'd been drawn through a wringer."

Briefly, to the accompaniment of many expressions of astonishment from
the insurance detective, Garrick related what had happened, from the
raid to the gas-gun.

"Well," gasped McBirney, sniffing the remains of the gas in the air,
"this is some place, isn't it? Neat, cozy, well-located--for a
murder--hello!--that's that ninety horsepower Despard that was stolen
from Murdock the other day, or I'll eat my hat."

He had raised the hood and was straining his eyes to catch a glimpse of
the maker's number on the engine, which had been all but obliterated by
a few judicious blows of a hammer.

Garrick was busy telling McBirney also about the marks of the tire on
the floor, as the detective looked over one car after another, as if he
had unearthed a veritable treasure-trove.

"No, your man could not have been at either of the gambling joints,"
agreed McBirney, as Garrick finished, "or he wouldn't have called up.
But he must have known them intimately. Perhaps he was in the pay of
someone there."

McBirney was much interested in what had been discovered, and was
trying to piece it together with what we had known before. "I wonder
whether he's the short fellow who drove the car when it was seen up
there, or the big fellow who was in the car when Warrington was shot,
up-state?"

The question was, as yet, unanswerable. None of us had been able to
catch a glimpse of his figure, muffled, in the darkness when he shot us.

All we knew was that even this man was unidentified and at large. The
murderer, desperate as he was, was still free and unknown, too. Were
they one and the same? What might not either one do next?

We sat down in one of the stolen cars and held a midnight council of
war. There were four of us, and that meant four different plans. Dillon
was for immediate and wholesale arrests. McBirney was certain of one
thing. He would claim the cars he could identify. The garage people
could not help knowing now that we had been there, and we conceded the
point to him with little argument, though it took great tact on
Garrick's part to swing over Dillon.

"I'm for arresting the garage-keeper, whoever he proves to be,"
persisted Dillon, however.

"It won't do any good," objected Garrick.

"Don't you see that it will be better to accept his story, or rather
seem to, and then watch him?"

"Watch him?" I asked, eager to propose my own plan of waiting there and
seizing each person who presented himself. "How can you watch one of
these fellows? They are as slippery as eels,--and as silent as a
muffler," I added, taking good-humouredly the general laugh that
greeted my mixed metaphor.

"You've suggested the precise idea, Marshall, by your very objection,"
broke in Garrick, who up to this time had been silent as to his own
plan.

"I've a brand-new system of espionage. Trust it to me, and you can all
have your way."



CHAPTER XII

THE DETECTAPHONE


I found it difficult to share Garrick's optimism, however. It seemed to
me that again the best laid plans of one that I had come to consider
among the cleverest of men had been defeated, and it is not pleasant to
be defeated, even temporarily. But Garrick was certainly not
discouraged.

As he had said at the start, it was no ordinary criminal with whom we
had to deal. That was clear. There had been gunmen and gangmen in New
York for years, we knew, but this fellow seemed to be the last word,
with his liquid bullets, his anesthetic shells and his stupefying gun.

We had agreed that the garage keeper would, of course, shed little
light on the mystery. He was a crook. But he would find no difficulty,
doubtless, in showing that there was nothing on which to hold him.

Still, Garrick had evidently figured out a way to go ahead while we had
all been floundering around, helpless. His silence had merely masked
his consideration of a plan.

"You three stay here," he ordered. "If anyone should come in, hold him.
Don't let anyone get away. But I don't think there will be anyone. I'll
be back within an hour or so."

It was far past midnight already, as we sat uncomfortably in the
reeking atmosphere of the garage. The hours seemed to drag
interminably. Almost I wished that something would happen to break the
monotony and the suspense. Our lonely vigil went unrewarded, however.
No one came; there was not even a ring at the telephone.

As nearly as I could figure it out, McBirney was the only one who
seemed to have gained much so far. He had looked over the cars most
carefully. There were half a dozen of them, in all.

"I don't doubt," he concluded, "that all of them have been stolen. But
there are only two here that I can identify. They certainly are clever
at fixing them up. Look at all the parts they keep ready for use. They
could build a car, here."

"Yes," agreed Dillon, looking at the expensive "junk" that was lying
about. "There is quite enough to warrant closing the place, only I
suppose Garrick is right. That would defeat our own purpose."

At last Garrick returned from his hurried trip down to the office. I
don't know what it was we expected him to bring, but I think we were
more or less disappointed when it proved to be merely a simple oblong
oak box with a handle.

He opened it and we could see that it contained in reality nothing but
a couple of ordinary dry cells, and some other paraphernalia. There
were two black discs, attached to a metal headpiece, discs about two
and a half inches in diameter, with a circular hole in the centre of
each, perhaps an inch across, showing inside what looked like a piece
of iron or steel.

Garrick carefully tested the batteries with a little ammeter which he
carried in a case.

"Sixteen amperes," he remarked to himself, "I don't attempt to use the
batteries when they fall below five. These are all right."

From a case he took a little round black disc, about the same size as
the other two. In its face it had a dozen or so small holes perforated
and arranged in the shape of a six-pointed star.

"I wonder where I can stow this away so that it won't attract
attention?" he asked.

Garrick looked about for the least used part of the garage and decided
that it was the back. Near the barred window lay a pile of worn tires
which looked as if it had been seldom disturbed except to be added to.
When one got tires as cheaply as the users of this garage did, it was
folly to bother much about the repair of old ones.

Back of this pile, then, he threw the little black disc carelessly,
only making sure that it was concealed. That was not difficult, for it
was not much larger than a watch in size.

To it, I noticed, he had attached two plugs that were
"fool-proof"--that is, one small and the other large, so that they
could not be inserted into the wrong holes. A long flexible green silk
covered wire, or rather two wires together, led from the disc. By
carefully moving the tires so as to preserve the rough appearance they
had of being thrown down hastily into the discard, he was able to
conceal this wire, also, in such a way as to bring it secretly to the
barred window and through it.

Next he turned his attention to the telephone itself. Another
instrument which he had brought with him was inserted in place of the
ordinary transmitter. It looked like it and had evidently been prepared
with that in view. I assumed that it must act like the ordinary
transmitter also, although it must have other uses as well. It was more
of a job to trace out the course of the telephone wires and run in a
sort of tap line at a point where it would not be likely to be noted.
This was done by Garrick, still working in silence, and the wires from
it led behind various things until they, too, reached another window
and so went to the outside.

As Garrick finished his mysterious tinkering and rose from his dusty
job to brush off his clothes, he remarked, "There, now you may have
your heart's desire, Dillon, if all you want to do is to watch these
fellows."

"What is it?" I hastened to ask, looking curiously at the oak box which
contained still everything except the tiny black disc and the wires
leading out of the window from it and from the new telephone
transmitter.

"This little instrument," he answered slowly, "is much more sensitive,
I think, than any mechanical or electrical eavesdropper that has ever
been employed before. It is the detectaphone--a new unseen listener."

"The detectaphone?" repeated Dillon. "How does it work?"

"Well, for instance," explained Garrick, "that attachment which I
placed on the telephone is much more than a sensitive transmitter such
as you are accustomed to use. It is a form of that black disc which you
saw me hide behind the pile of tires. There are, in both, innumerable
of the minutest globules of carbon which are floating around, as it
were, making it alive at all times to every sound vibration and
extremely sensitive even to the slightest sound waves. In the case of
the detectaphone transmitter, it only replaces the regular telephone
transmitter and its presence will never be suspected. It operates just
as well when the receiver is hung up as when it is off the hook, as far
as the purpose I have in mind is concerned, as you shall see soon. I
have put both forms in so that even if they find the one back of the
tires, even the most suspicious person would not think that anything
was contained in the telephone itself. We are dealing with clever
people and two anchors to windward are better than one."

Dillon nodded approval, but by the look on his face it was evident that
he did not understand the whole thing yet.

"That other disc, back of the tires," went on Garrick, "is the ordinary
detective form. All that we need now is to find a place to install this
receiving box--all this stuff that is left over--the two batteries, the
earpieces. You see the whole thing is very compact. I can get it down
to six inches square and four inches thick, or I can have it arranged
with earpieces so that at least six people can 'listen in' at
once--forms that can be used in detective work to meet all sorts of
conditions. Then there is another form of the thing, in a box about
four inches square and, perhaps, nine or ten inches long which I may
bring up later for another purpose when we find out what we are going
to do with the ends of those wires that are now dangling on the outside
of the window. We must pick up the connection in some safe and
inconspicuous place outside the garage."

The window through which the wires passed seemed to open, as I had
already noticed, on a little yard not much larger than a court. Garrick
opened the window and stuck his head out as far as the iron bars would
permit. He sniffed. The odor was anything but pleasant. It was a
combination of "gas" from the garage and stale beer from the saloon.

"No doubt about it, that is a saloon," remarked Garrick, "and they must
pile empty kegs out there in the yard. Let's take a walk around the
corner and see what the front of the place looks like."

It was a two and a half story building, with a sloping tin roof, of an
archaic architecture, in a state of terrible decay and dilapidation,
and quite in keeping with the neighbourhood. Nevertheless a bright gilt
sign over a side door read, "Hotel Entrance."

"I think we can get in there to-morrow on some pretext," decided
Garrick after our inspection of the "Old Tavern," as the crazy letters,
all askew, on one of the windows denoted the place. "The Old Tavern
looks as if it might let lodgings to respectable gentlemen--if they
were roughly enough dressed. We can get ourselves up as a couple of
teamsters and when we get in that will give us a chance to pick up the
ends of those wires to-morrow. That will be time enough, I'm sure, and
it is the best we can do, anyhow."

We returned from our walk around the block to the garage where Dillon
and McBirney were waiting for us.

"I leave you free to do what you please, Dillon," answered Garrick to
the commissioner's inquiry, "as long as you don't pinch this place
which promises to be a veritable gold-mine. McBirney, I know, will
reduce the number of cars here tomorrow by at least two. But don't, for
heaven's sake, let out any suspicion about those things I have just
hidden here. And now, as for me, I'm going uptown and get a few hours'
sleep."

Dillon and McBirney followed, leaving us, shortly, to get a couple of
men from the nearest police station to see that none of the cars were
taken out before morning.

We rode up to our apartment, where a message was awaiting us, telling
that Warrington had passed a very good day and was making much more
rapid progress than even Dr. Mead had dared hope. I could not help
wondering how much was due to the mere tonic presence daily of Violet
Winslow.

I had a sound sleep, although it was a short one. Garrick had me up
early, and, by digging back in his closet, unearthed the oldest clothes
he had. We improved them by sundry smears of dirt in such a way that
when we did start forth, no one would have accused us of being other
than we were prepared to represent ourselves--workmen who had been laid
off from a job on account of bad business conditions. We decided to say
that we were seeking another position.

"How do I look?" I asked seriously, for this was serious business to me.

"I don't know whether to give you a meal ticket, or to call a cop when
I look at you, Marshall," laughed Garrick.

"Well, I feel a good deal safer in this rig than I did last night, in
this part of the city," I replied as we hopped off a surface car not
far from our destination. "I almost begin to feel my part. Did you see
the old gink with the gold watch on the car? If he was here I believe
I'd hold him up, just to see what it is like. I suppose we are going to
apply for lodgings at the famous hostelry, the Old Tavern?"

"I had that intention," replied Garrick who could see no humour in the
situation, now that we were on the scene of action. "The place looks
even more sordid in daylight than at night. Besides, it smells worse."

We entered the tavern, and were greeted with a general air of rough
curiosity, which was quickly dispelled by our spending ten cents, and
getting change for a bill. At least we were good for anything
reasonable, and doubts on that score settled by the man behind the bar,
he consented to enter into conversation, which ultimately resulted in
our hiring a large back room upstairs in the secluded caravansary which
supplied "Furnished Rooms for Gentlemen Only."

Garrick said that we would bring our things later, and we went
upstairs. We were no sooner settled than he was at work. He had brought
a rope ladder, and, after fastening it securely to the window ledge, he
let himself down carefully into the narrow court below.

That was the only part of the operation that seemed to be attended with
any risk of discovery and it was accomplished safely. For one thing the
dirt on the windows both of the garage and the tavern was so thick that
I doubt whether so much caution was really necessary. Nevertheless, it
was a relief when he secured the ends of the wires from the
detectaphone and brought them up, pulling in the rope ladder after him.

It was now the work of but a minute to attach one of the wires that led
from the watchcase disc back of the pile of tires to the oak box with
its two storage batteries. Garrick held the ear-pieces, one to each
ear, then shoved them over his head, in place.

"It works--it works," he cried, with as much delight as if he had not
been positive all along that it would.

"Here, try it yourself," he added, taking the headgear off and handing
the receivers to me.

I put the black discs at my ears, with the little round holes over the
ear openings. It was marvellous. I could hear the men washing down one
of the cars, the swash of water, and, best of all, the low-toned, gruff
gossip.

"Just a couple of the men there, now," explained Garrick. "I gather
that they are talking about what happened last night. I heard one of
them say that someone they call 'the Chief' was there last night and
that another man, 'the Boss,' gave him orders to tell no one outside
about it. I suppose the Chief is our friend with the stupefying gun.
The Boss must be the fellow who runs the garage. What are they saying
now? They were grumbling about their work when I handed the thing over
to you."

I listened, fascinated by the marvel of the thing. I could hear
perfectly, although the men must have been in the front of the garage.

"Well, there's two of them yer won't haveter wash no more," one man was
saying. "A feller from the perlice come an' copped off two--that sixty
tin can and the ninety Despard."

"Huh--so the bulls are after him?"

"Yeh. One was here all night after the fight."

"Did they follow the Chief?"

"Follow the Chief? Say, when anyone follows the Chief he's gotter be
better than any bull that ever pounded a beat."

"What did the Boss say when he heard it?"

"Mad as---. We gotter lay low now."

"The Chief's gone up-state, I guess."

"We can guess all we want. The Boss knows. I don't."

"Why didn't they make a pinch? Ain't there nobody watchin' now?"

"Naw. They ain't got nothin' on us. Say, the Chief can put them fellers
just where he wants 'em. See the paper this morning? That was some raid
up at the joint--eh?"

"You bet. That Garrick's a pretty smooth chap. But the Chief can put it
all over him."

"Yep," agreed the other speaker.

I handed the receivers back to Garrick with a smile.

"You are not without some admirers," I remarked, repeating the
conversation substantially to him. "They'd shoot up the neighbourhood,
I imagine, if they knew the truth."

Hour after hour we took turns listening at the detectaphone. We
gathered a choice collection of slang and epithets, but very little
real news. However, it was evident that they had a wholesome respect
for both the Chief and the Boss. It seemed that the real head of the
gang, if it was a gang, had disappeared, as one of the men had already
hinted "up-state."

Garrick had meanwhile brought out the other detectaphone box, which was
longer and larger than the oak box.

"This isn't a regular detactaphone," he explained, "but it may vary the
monotony of listening in and sometime I may find occasion to use it in
another way, too."

In one of the long faces were two square holes, from the edges of which
the inside walls focussed back on two smaller, circular diaphragms.
That made the two openings act somewhat like megaphone horns to still
further magnify the sound which was emitted directly from this receiver
without using any earpieces, and could be listened to anywhere in the
room, if we chose. This was attached to the secret arrangement that had
been connected with the telephone by replacing the regular by the
prepared transmitter.

One of us was in the room listening all the time. I remember once,
while Guy had gone uptown for a short time, that I heard the telephone
bell ring in the device at my ear. Out of the larger box issued a voice
talking to one of the men.

It was the man whom they referred to as the Chief. He had nothing to
say when he learned that the Boss had not showed up since early morning
after he had been quizzed by the police. But he left word that he would
call up again.

"At least I know that our gunman friend, the Chief, is going to call up
to-night," I reported to Garrick on his return.

"I think he'll be here, all right," commented Garrick. "I called up
Dillon while I was out and he was convinced that the best way was, as I
said, to seem to let up on them. They didn't get a word out of the
fellow they call the Boss. He lives down here a couple of streets, I
believe, in a pretty tough place, even worse than the Old Tavern. I let
Dillon get a man in there, but I haven't much hope. He's only a tool of
the other whom they call Chief. By the way, Forbes has disappeared. I
can't find a trace of him since the raid on the gambling joint."

"Any word from Warrington?" I asked.

"Yes, he's getting along finely," answered Guy mechanically, as if his
thoughts were far away from Warrington. "Queer about Forbes," he
murmured, then cut himself short. "And, oh," he added, "I forgot to
tell you that speaking about Forbes reminds me that Herman has been
running out a clew on the Rena Taylor case. He has been all over the
country up there, he reports to Dillon, and he says he thinks the car
was seen making for Pennsylvania.

"They have a peculiar license law there, you know--at least he says
so--that enables one to conceal a car pretty well. Much good that does
us."

"Yes," I agreed, "you can always depend on a man like Herman to come
along with something like that---"

Just then the "master station" detectaphone connected with the
telephone in the garage began to talk and I cut myself short. We seemed
now at last about to learn something really important. It was a new
voice that said, "Hello!"

"Evidently the Boss has come in without making any noise," remarked
Guy. "I certainly heard no one through the other instrument. I fancy he
was waiting for it to get dark before coming around. Listen."

It was a long distance call from the man they called Chief. Where he
was we had no means of finding out, but we soon found out where he was
going.

"Hello, Boss," we heard come out of the detectaphone box.

"Hello, Chief. You surely got us nearly pinched last night. What was
the trouble?"

"Oh, nothing much. Somehow or other they must have got on to us. I
guess it was when I called up the joint on Forty-eighth Street. Three
men surprised me, but fortunately I was ready. If they hadn't stopped
at the door before they opened it, they might have got me. I put 'em
all out with that gun, though. Say, I want you to help me on a little
job that I am planning.

"Yes? Is it a safe one? Don't you think we'd better keep quiet for a
little while?"

"But this won't keep quiet. Listen. You know I told you about writing
that letter regarding Warrington to Miss Winslow, when I was so sore
over the report that he was going to close up the Forty-eighth Street
joint, right on top of finding that Rena Taylor had the 'goods' on the
Forty-seventh Street place? Well, I was a fool. You said so, and I was."

"You were--that's right."

"I know it, but I was mad. I hadn't got all I wanted out of those
places. Well, anyhow, I want that letter back--that's all. It's bad to
have evidence like that lying around. Why, if they ever get a real
handwriting expert they might get wise to something from that
handwriting, I'm afraid. I must have been crazy to do it that way."

"What became of the letter?"

"She took it to that fellow Garrick and I happen to know that
Warrington that night, after leaving Garrick, went to his apartment and
put something into the safe he has there. Oh, Warrington has it, all
right. What I want to do is to get that letter back while he is laid up
near Tuxedo. It isn't much of a safe, I understand. I think a can
opener would do the job. We can make the thing look like a regular
robbery by a couple of yeggs. Are you on?"

"No, I don't get you, Chief."

"Why?"

"It's too risky."

"Too risky?"

"Yes. That fellow Garrick is just as likely as not to be nosing around
up there. I'd go but for that."

"I know. But suppose we find that he isn't there, that he isn't in the
house--has been there and left it. That would be safe enough. You're
right. Nothing doing if he's there. We must can him in some way. But,
say,--I know how to get in all right without being seen. I'll tell you
later. Come on, be a sport. We won't try it if anybody's there.
Besides, if we succeed it will help to throw a scare into Warrington."

The man on our end of the telephone appeared to hesitate.

"I'll tell you what I'll do, Chief," he said at length. "I'll meet you
at the same place as we met the other day--you know where I mean--some
time after twelve. We'll talk it over. You're sure about the letter?"

"As sure as if I'd seen it."

"All right. Now, be there. I won't promise about this Warrington
business. We'll talk that over. But I have other things I want to tell
you--about this situation here at the garage. I want to know how to
act."

"All right. I'll be there. Good-bye."

"So long, Chief."

The conversation stopped. I looked anxiously at Garrick to see how he
had taken it.

"And so," he remarked simply, as after a moment's waiting we made sure
that the machine had stopped talking, "it appears that our friends, the
enemy, are watching us as closely as we are watching them--with the
advantage that they know us and we don't know them, except this garage
fellow."

Garrick lapsed into silence. I was rapidly turning over in my mind what
we had just overheard and trying to plan some way of checkmating their
next move.

"Here's a plot hatching to rob Warrington's safe," I exclaimed
helplessly.

"Yes," repeated Garrick slowly, "and if we are going to do anything
about it, it must be done immediately, before we arouse suspicion and
scare them off. Did you hear those footsteps over the detectaphone?
That was the Boss going out of the garage. So, they expect me around
there, nosing about Warrington's apartment. Well, if I do go there, and
then ostentatiously go away again, that will lure them on."

He reached his decision quickly. Grabbing his hat, he led the way out
of the Old Tavern and up the street until we came to a drug store with
a telephone.

I heard him first talking with Warrington, getting from him the
combination of the safe, over long distance. Then he called up his
office and asked the boy to meet him at the Grand Central subway
station with a package, the location of which he described minutely.

"We'll beat them to it," he remarked joyously, as we started leisurely
uptown to meet the boy.



Chapter XIII

THE INCENDIARY


"The Warrington estate owns another large apartment house, besides the
one where Warrington has his quarters, on the next street," remarked
Garrick, half an hour later, after we had met the boy from his office.
"I have arranged that we can get in there and use one of the empty
suites."

Garrick had secured two rather good-sized boxes from the boy, and was
carrying them rather carefully, as if they contained some very delicate
mechanism.

Warrington, we found, occupied a suite in a large apartment on
Seventy-second Street, and, as we entered, Garrick stopped and
whispered a few words to the hall-boy.

The boy seemed to be more than usually intelligent and had evidently
been told over the telephone by Warrington that we were coming. At
least we had no trouble, so far.

Warrington's suite was very tastefully furnished for bachelor quarters.
In the apartment, Garrick unwrapped one of the packages, and laid it
open on the table, while he busied himself opening the safe, using the
combination that Warrington had given him.

I waited nervously, for we could not be sure that no one had got ahead
of us, already. There was no need for anxiety, however.

"Here's the letter, just as Warrington left it," reported Garrick in a
few minutes, with some satisfaction, as he banged the safe door shut
and restored things so that it would not look as though the little
strong box had been touched.

Meanwhile, I had been looking curiously at the box on the table. It did
not seem to be like anything we had ever used before. One end was open,
and the lid lifted up on a pair of hinges. I lifted it and looked in.
About half way down the box from the open end was a partition which
looked almost as if some one had taken the end of the box and had just
shoved it in, until it reached the middle.

The open half was empty, but in the other half I saw a sort of plate of
some substance covering the outside of the shoved-in end. There was
also a dry cell and several arrangements for adjustments which I did
not understand. Back of the whole thing was a piece of mechanism, a
clockwork interrupter, as I learned later. Wires led out from the
closed end of the box.

Garrick shoved the precious letter into his pocket and then placed the
box in a corner, where it was hidden by a pile of books, with the open
end facing the room in the direction of the antiquated safe. The wires
from the box were quickly disposed of and dropped out of the window to
the yard, several stories below, where we could pick them up later as
we had done with the detectaphone.

"What's that?" I asked curiously, when at last he had finished and I
felt at liberty to question him.

"Well, you see," he explained, "there is no way of knowing yet just how
the apartment will be entered. They apparently have some way, though,
which they wouldn't discuss over the telephone. But it is certain that
as long as they know that there is anyone up here, they will put off
the attempt. They said that."

He was busily engaged restoring everything in the room as far as
possible to its former position.

"My scheme," he went on, "is for us now to leave the apartment
ostentatiously. I think that is calculated to insure the burglary, for
they must have someone watching by this time. Then we can get back to
that empty apartment in the house on the next street, and before they
can get around to start anything, we shall be prepared for them."

Garrick stopped to speak to the hall-boy again as we left, carrying the
other box. What he said I did not hear but the boy nodded intelligently.

After a turn down the street, a ride in a surface car for a few blocks
and back again, he was satisfied that no one was following us and we
made our way into the vacant apartment on Seventy-third Street, without
being observed.

Picking up the wires from the back yard of Warrington's and running
them across the back fence where he attached them to other wires
dropped down from the vacant apartment was accomplished easily, but it
all took time, and time was precious, just now.

In the darkness of the vacant room he uncovered and adjusted the other
box, connected one set of wires to those we had led in and another set
to an apparatus which looked precisely like the receiver of a wireless
telegraph, fitting over the head with an earpiece. He placed the
earpiece in position and began regulating the mechanism of the queer
looking box.

"I didn't want to use the detectaphone again," he explained as he
worked, "because we haven't any assurance that they'll talk, or, if
they do, that it will be worth while to listen. Besides, there may be
only one of them."

"Then what is this?" I asked.

"Well," he argued, "they certainly can't work without light of some
kind, can they?"

I acquiesced.

"This is an instrument which literally makes light audible," he pursued.

"Hear light?" I repeated, in amazement.

"Exactly," he reiterated. "You've said it. It was invented to assist
the blind, but I think I'll be able to show that it can be used to
assist justice--which is blind sometimes, they say. It is the
optophone."

He paused to adjust the thing more accurately and I looked at it with
an added respect.

"It was invented," he resumed, "by Professor Fournier d'Albe, a
lecturer on physics at the University of Birmingham, England, and has
been shown before many learned societies over there."

"You mean it enables the blind to see by hearing?" I asked.

"That's it," he nodded. "It actually enables the blind to locate many
things, purely by the light reflected by them. Its action is based on
the peculiar property of selenium, which, you probably know, changes
its electrical conductivity under the influence of light. Selenium in
the dark is a poor conductor of electricity; in the light it, strange
to say, becomes a good conductor. Variations of light can thus be
transmuted into variations of sound. That pushed-in end of the box
which we hid over in Warrington's had, as you might have noticed, a
selenium plate on the inside partition, facing the open end of the box."

"I understand," I agreed, vaguely.

"Now," he went on, "this property of selenium is used for producing or
rather allowing to be transmitted an electric current which is
interrupted by a special clockwork interrupter, and so is made audible
in this wireless telephone receiver which I have here connected with
this second box. The eye is replaced by the ear as the detector of
light--that is all."

It might have been all, but it was quite wonderful to me, even if he
spoke of it so simply. He continued to adjust the thing as he talked.

"The clockwork has been wound up by means of a small handle, and I have
moved that rod along a slit until I heard a purring sound. Then I moved
it until the purring sound became as faint as possible. The instrument
is at the present moment in its most sensitive state."

"What does it sound like?" I asked.

"Well, the passage of a hand or other object across the aperture is
indicated by a sort of murmuring sound," he replied, "the loudest sound
indicating the passage of the edges where the contrast is greatest. In
a fairly bright light, even the swiftest shadow is discoverable.
Prolonged exposure, however, blinds the optophone, just as it blinds
the eye."

"Do you hear anything now?" I asked watching his face curiously.

"No. When I turned the current on at first I heard a ticking or rasping
sound. I silenced that. But any change in the amount of light in that
dark room over there would restore the sound, and its intensity would
indicate the power of the light."

He continued to listen.

"When I first tried this, I found that a glimpse out of the window in
daylight sounded like a cinematograph reeling off a film. The ticking
sank almost into silence as the receiving apparatus was held in the
shadow of the office table, and leaped into a lively rattle again when
I brought it near an electric-light bulb. I blindfolded myself and
moved a piece of blotting paper between the receiver and the light. I
could actually hear the grating of the shadow, yes, I heard the shadow
pass. At night, too, I have found that it is even affected by the light
of the stars."

He glanced out of the window in the direction of Warrington's, which we
could not see, however, since it was around an angle of the building.

"See," he went on, "the moon is rising, and in a few minutes, I
calculate, it will shine right into that room over there on
Seventy-second Street. By using this optophone, I could tell you the
moment it does. Try the thing, yourself, Tom."

I did so. Though my ear was untrained to distinguish between sounds I
could hear just the faintest noise.

Suddenly there came a weird racket. Hastily I looked up at Garrick in
surprise.

"What is that?" I asked endeavouring to describe it. "Are they there
now?"

"No," he laughed. "That was the moon shining in. I wanted you to hear
what a difference it makes. When a ray of the sun, for instance,
strikes that 'feeler' over there, a harmonious and majestic sound like
the echo of a huge orchestra is heard. The light of the moon, on the
other hand, produces a different sound--lamenting, almost like the
groans of the wounded on a battlefield."

"So you can distinguish between various kinds of light?"

"Yes. Electric light, you would find if anyone came in and switched it
on over there, produces a most unpleasant sound, sometimes like two
pieces of glass rubbed against each other, sometimes like the tittering
laugh of ghosts, and I have heard it like the piercing cry of an
animal. Gaslight is sobbing and whispering, grating and ticking,
according to its intensity. By far the most melodious and pleasing
sound is produced by an ordinary wax candle. It sounds just like an
aeolian harp on which the chords of a solemn tune are struck. I have
even tried a glow-worm and it sounded like a bee buzzing. The light
from a red-hot piece of iron gives the shrillest and most ear-splitting
cry imaginable."

He took the receiver back from me and adjusted it to his own ear.

"Yes," he confirmed, "that was the moon, as I thought. It's a peculiar
sound. Once you have heard it you're not likely to forget it. I must
silence the machine to that."

We had waited patiently for a long time, and still there was no
evidence that anyone had entered the room.

"I'm afraid they decided not to attempt it after all," I said, finally.

"I don't think so," replied Garrick. "I took particular pains to make
it seem that the road was clear. You remember, I spoke to the hall-boy
twice, and we lingered about long enough when we left. It isn't much
after midnight. I wonder how it was that they expected to get in.
Ah--there goes the moon. I can hear it getting fainter all the time."

Suddenly Garrick's face was all animation. "What is it?" I asked
breathlessly.

"Someone has entered the room. There is a light which sounds just like
an electric flashlight which is being moved about. They haven't
switched on the electric light. Now, if I were sufficiently expert I
think I could tell by the varying sounds at just what that fellow is
flashing the light. There, something passed directly between the light
and the box. Yes, there must be two of them--that was the shadow of a
human being, all right. They are over in the corner by the safe, now.
The fellow with the flashlight is bending down. I can tell, because the
other fellow walked between the light and the box and the light must be
held very low, for I heard the shadows of both of his legs."

Garrick was apparently waiting only until the intruders, whoever they
were, were busily engaged in their search before he gave the alarm and
hurried over in an attempt to head off their escape by their secret
means of entrance.

"Tom," he cried, as he listened attentively, "call up the apartment
over there and get that hall-boy. Tell him he must not run that
elevator up until we get there. No one must leave or enter the
building. Tell him to lock the front door and conceal himself in the
door that leads down to the cellar. I will ring the night bell five
times to let him know when to let us in."

I was telephoning excitedly Garrick's instructions and as he waited for
me to finish he was taking a last turn at the optophone before we made
our dash on Warrington's.

A suppressed exclamation escaped him. I turned toward him quickly from
the telephone and hung up the receiver.

"What's the matter?" I asked anxiously.

For a moment he did not reply, but seemed to be listening with an
intensity that I knew betokened something unexpected.

"Tom," he cried abruptly, stripping the receiver from his head with a
jerk and clapping it over my own ears, "quick!--tell me what you hear.
What does it sound like to you? What is it? I can't be mistaken."

I listened feverishly. Not having had a former acquaintance with the
machine, I did not know just what to make of it. But from the receiver
of the little optophone there seemed to issue the most peculiar noise I
had ever heard a mechanical instrument make.

It was like a hoarse rumbling cry, now soft and almost plaintive, again
louder and like a shriek of a damned soul in the fires of the nether
world. Then it died down, only to spring up again, worse than before.

If I had been listening to real sounds instead of to light I should
have been convinced that the thing was recording a murder.

I described it as best I could. The fact was that the thing almost
frightened me by its weird novelty.

"Yes--yes," agreed Garrick, as the sensations I experienced seemed to
coincide with his own. "Exactly what I heard myself. I felt sure that I
could not be mistaken. Quick, Tom,--get central on that wire!"

A moment later he seized the telephone from me. I had expected him to
summon the police to assist us in capturing two crooks who had,
perhaps, devised some odd and scientific method of blowing up a safe.

"Hello, hello!" he shouted frantically over the wire. "The fire
department! This is eight hundred Seventy-second--on the corner; yes,
yes--northeast. I want to turn in an alarm. Yes--quick! There is a
fire--a bad one--incendiary--top floor. No, no--I'm not there. I can
see it. Hurry!"



CHAPTER XIV

THE ESCAPE


He had dropped the telephone receiver without waiting to replace it on
the hook and was now dashing madly out of the empty apartment and down
the street.

The hall-boy at Warrington's had done exactly as I had ordered him.
There was the elevator waiting as Garrick gave the five short rings at
the nightbell and the outside door was unlocked. No one had yet
discovered the fire which we knew was now raging on the top floor of
the apartment.

We were whirled up there swiftly, just as we heard echoing through the
hall and the elevator shaft from someone who had an apartment on the
same floor the shrill cry of, "Fire, fire!"

Tenants all the way up were now beginning to throw open their doors and
run breathlessly about in various states of undress. The elevator bell
was jangling insistently.

In the face of the crisis the elevator boy looked at Garrick
appealingly.

"Run your car up and down until all are out who want to go," ordered
Garrick. "Only tell them all that an alarm has already been turned in
and that there is no danger except to the suite that is on fire. You
may leave us here."

We had reached the top floor and stepped out. I realised fully now what
had happened. Either the robbers had found out only too quickly that
they had been duped or else they had reasoned that the letter they
sought had been hidden in a place in the apartment for which they had
no time to hunt.

It had probably been the latter idea which they had had and, instead of
hunting further, they had taken a quicker and more unscrupulous method
than Garrick had imagined and had set the room on fire. Fortunately
that had been promptly and faithfully reported to us over the optophone
in time to localize the damage.

"At least we were able to turn in an alarm only a few seconds after
they started the fire," panted Garrick, as he strained to burst in the
door.

Together we managed to push it in, and rushed into the stifle of
Warrington's suite. The whole thing was in flames and it was impossible
for us to remain there longer than to take in the situation.

Accordingly we retreated slowly before the fierce blaze. One of the
other tenants came running with a fire extinguisher in either hand from
wall rack down the hall on this floor. As well try to drown a blast
furnace. They made no impression whatever.

Personally I had expected nothing like this. I had been prepared up to
the time the optophone reported the fire to dash over and fight it out
at close quarters with two as desperate and resourceful men as
underworld conditions in New York at that time had created. Instead we
saw no one at all.

The robbers had evidently worked in seconds instead of minutes,
realizing that they must take no risks in a showdown with Garrick.
Rooms that might perhaps have given some clew of their presence,
perhaps finger-prints which might have settled their identity at once,
were now being destroyed. We had defeated them. We had the precious
letter. But they had again slipped away.

Firemen were now arriving. A hose had been run up, and a solid stream
of water was now hissing on the fire. Smoke and steam were everywhere
as the men hacked and cut their way at the very heart of the hungry red
monster.

"We are only in the way here, Tom," remarked Garrick, retreating
finally. "Our friends must have entered and escaped by the roof. There
is no other way."

He had dashed up ahead of the firemen. I followed. Sure enough, the
door out on the roof had been broken into. A rope tied around a chimney
showed how they had pulled themselves up and later let themselves down
to the roof of the next apartment some fifteen feet lower. We could see
an open door leading to the roof there, which must also have been
broken open. That had evidently been the secret method of which the
Chief had spoken to the Boss, whoever they might be, who bore these
epithets.

Pursuit was useless, now. All was excitement. From the street we could
hear the clang of engines and trucks arriving and taking their
positions, almost as if the fire department had laid out the campaign
beforehand for this very fire.

Anyone who had waited a moment or so in the other apartment down the
street might have gone downstairs without attracting any attention.
Then he might have disappeared in or mingled with the very crowd on the
street which he had caused to gather. Late as it was, the crowd seemed
to spring from nowhere, and to grow momentarily as it had done during
the raid on the gambling joint. It was one of the many interesting
night phenomena of New York.

What had been intended to be one of the worst fires and to injure a
valuable property of the Warrington estate had, thanks to the prompt
action of Garrick, been quickly turned into only a minor affair, at the
worst. The fire had eaten its way into two other rooms of Warrington's
own suite, but there it had been stopped. The building itself was
nearly fireproof, and each suite was a unit so that, to all intents and
purposes, it might burn out without injury to others.

Still, it was interesting to watch the skill and intuition of the
smoke-eaters as they took in the situation and almost instantly seemed
to be able to cope with it.

Sudden and well-planned though the incendiary assault had been, it was
not many minutes before it was completely under control. Men in rubber
coats and boots were soon tramping through the water-soaked rooms of
Warrington. Windows were cracked open and the air in the rooms was
clearing.

We followed in cautiously after one of the firemen. Everywhere was the
penetrating smell of burnt wood and cloth. In the corner was the safe,
still hot and steaming. It had stood the strain. But it showed marks of
having been tampered with.

"Somebody used a 'can-opener' on it," commented Garrick, looking at it
critically and then ruefully at the charred wreck of his optophone that
had tumbled in the ashes of the pile of books under which it had been
hidden, "Yes, that was the scheme they must have evolved after their
midnight conference,--a robbery masked by a fire to cover the trail,
and perhaps destroy it altogether."

"If we had only known that," I agreed, "we might have saved what little
there was in that safe for Warrington. But I guess he didn't keep much
there."

"No," answered Garrick, "I don't think he did. All I saw was some
personal letters and a few things he apparently liked to have around
here. I suppose all the really valuable stuff he has was in a
safety-deposit vault somewhere. There was a packet of--it's gone! What
do you think of that?" he exclaimed looking up from the safe to me in
surprise.

"Packet of what?" I asked. "What is gone?"

"Why," replied Garrick, "I couldn't help noticing it when I opened the
safe before, but Warrington had evidently saved every line and scrap of
writing that Violet Winslow had ever given him and it was all in one of
the compartments of the safe. The compartment is empty!"

Neither of us could say a word. What reason might there be why anyone
should want Warrington's love letters? Was it to learn something that
might be used to embarrass him? Might it be for the purpose of holding
him up for money? Did the robber want them for himself or was he
employed by another? These and a score of other questions flashed,
unanswered, through my mind.

"I wonder who this fellow is that they call the Chief?" I ventured at
last.

"I can't say--yet," admitted Garrick. "But he's the cleverest I have
ever met. His pace is rapid, but I think we are getting up with it, at
last. There's no use sticking around here any longer, though. The place
for us, I think, is downtown, getting an earful at the other end of
that detectaphone."

The engines and other apparatus were rolling away from the fire when we
regained the street and things were settling themselves down to normal
again.

We rode downtown on the subway, and I was surprised when Garrick,
instead of going all the way down to the crosstown line that would take
us to the Old Tavern, got off at Forty-second Street.

"What's the idea of this?" I asked.

"Do you think I'm going to travel around the city with that letter in
my pocket?" he asked. "Not much, since they seem to set such a value on
getting it back. Of course, they don't know that I have it. But they
might suspect it. At any rate I'm not going to run any chances of
losing it."

He had stopped at a well-known hotel where he knew the night clerk.
There he made the letter into a little package, sealed it, and
deposited it in the safe.

"Why do you leave it here?" I asked.

"If I go near the office, they might think I left it there, and I
certainly won't leave it in my own apartment. They may or may not
suspect that I have it. At any rate, I'd hate to risk meeting them down
in their own region. But here we are not followed. I can leave it
safely and to-morrow I'll get it and deposit it in a really safe place.
Now, just to cover up my tracks, I'm going to call up Dillon, but I'm
going up Broadway a bit before I do so, so that even he will not know
I've been in this hotel. I think he ought to know what has happened
to-day."

"What did he say?" I asked as Garrick rejoined me from the telephone
booth, his face wearing a scowl of perplexity.

"Why, he knew about it already," replied Garrick. "I got him at his
home. Herman, it seems, got back from some wild-goose chase over in New
Jersey and saw the report in the records filed at police headquarters
and telephoned him."

"Herman is one of the brightest detectives I ever met," I commented in
disgust. "He always manages to get in just after everybody else. Has he
any more news?"

"About the car?" asked Garrick absently. "Nothing except that he ran
down the Pennsylvania report and found there was nothing in it. Now he
says that he thinks the car may have returned to New York, perhaps by
way of Staten Island, for he doubts whether it could have slipped in by
New Jersey."

"Clever," I ejaculated. "I suppose that occurred to him as soon as he
read about the fire. I have to hand it to him for being a deducer."

Garrick smiled.

"There's one thing, though, he does know," he added, "and that is the
gossip of the underworld right here in New York."

"I should hope so," I replied. "That was his business to know. Why, has
he found out anything really new?"

"Why--er--yes. Dillon tells me that it now appears that Forbes had been
intimate with that Rena Taylor."

"Yes?" I repeated, not surprised.

"At least that's what Herman has told him."

"Well," I exclaimed in disgust, "Forbes is a fine one to run around
with stool-pigeons and women of the Tenderloin, in addition to his
other accomplishments, and then expect to associate with a girl like
Violet Winslow."

"It is scandalous," he agreed. "Why, according to Dillon and Herman,
she must have been getting a good deal of evidence through her intimacy
with Forbes. They probably gambled together, drank together, and---"

"Do you suppose Forbes ever found out that she was really using him?"

Garrick shook his head. "I can't say," he replied. "There isn't much
value in this deductive, long distance detective work. You reason a
thing out to your satisfaction and then one little fact knocks all your
clever reasoning sky-high. The trouble here is that on this aspect of
the case the truth seems to have been known by only two persons--and
one of them is dead, while the other has disappeared."

"Strange what has become of Forbes," I ruminated.

"It is indeed," agreed Garrick. "But then he was such a night-hawk that
anything might easily have happened and no one be the wiser. Since you
saw him enter the gambling joint the night of the raid, I've been
unable to get a line on him. He must have gone through the tunnel to
the ladies' poolroom, but after he left that, presumably, I can't find
a trace of him. Where he went no one seems to know. This bit of gossip
that Herman has unearthed is the first thing I've heard of him,
definitely, for two days."

"If Rena Taylor were alive," I speculated, "I don't think you'd have to
look further for Forbes than to find her."

"But she isn't alive," concluded Garrick, "and there is nothing to show
that there was anyone else at the poolroom for women who interested
him--and--well, this isn't getting back to business."

He turned toward the street.

"Let's go down on a surface car," he said. "I think we ought to learn
something down there at the Old Tavern, now. If these people have done
nothing more, they'll think they have at least given an example of
their resourcefulness and succeeded in throwing another scare into
Warrington. But there's one thing I'd like to be able to tell Mr.
Chief, however. He can't throw any scare into me, if that's his game."



CHAPTER XV

THE PLOT


We had been able to secure a key to the hotel entrance of the Old
Tavern, so that we felt free to come and go at any hour of the day or
night. We let ourselves in and mounted the stairs cautiously to our
room.

"At least they haven't discovered anything, yet," Garrick congratulated
himself, looking about, as I struck a light, and finding everything as
we had left it.

Late as it was, he picked up the detective receiver of the mechanical
eavesdropper and held it to his ears, listening intently several
moments.

"There's someone in the garage, all right," he exclaimed. "I can hear
sounds as if he were moving about among the cars. It must be the garage
keeper himself--the one they call the Boss. I don't think our clever
Chief would have the temerity to show up here yet, even at this hour."

We waited some time, but not the sound of a voice came from the
instrument.

"It would be just like them to discover one of these detectaphones,"
remarked Garrick at length. "This is a good opportunity. I believe I'll
just let myself down there in the yard again and separate those two
wires, further. There's no use in risking all the eggs in one basket."

While I listened in, Garrick cautiously got out the rope ladder and
descended. Through the detectaphone I could hear the noise of the man
walking about the garage and was ready at the window to give Garrick
the first alarm of danger if he approached the back of the shop, but
nothing happened and he succeeded in accomplishing his purpose of
further hiding the two wires and returning safely. Then we resumed
listening in relays.

It was early in the morning when there came a telephone call to the
garage and the garage keeper answered it.

"Where did you go afterward?" he asked of the man who was calling him.

Garrick had quickly shifted to the instrument by which we could
overhear what was said over the telephone.

A voice which I recognised instantly as that of the man they called the
Chief replied, "Oh, I had a little business to attend to--you
understand. Say, they got that fire out pretty quickly, didn't they?
How do you suppose the alarm could have been turned in so soon?"

"I don't know. But they tell me that Garrick and that other fellow with
him showed up, double quick. He must have been wise to something."

"Yes. Do you know, I've been thinking about that ever since. Ever hear
of a little thing called a detectaphone? No? Well, it's a little
arrangement that can be concealed almost anywhere. I've been wondering
whether there might not be one hidden about your garage. He might have
put one in that night, you know. I'm sure he knows more about us than
he has any right to know. Hunt around there, will you, and see if you
can find anything?"

"Hold the wire."

We could hear the Boss poking around in corners, back of the piles of
accessories, back of the gasoline tank, lifting things up and looking
under them, apparently flashing his light everywhere so that nothing
could escape him.

A hasty exclamation was recorded faithfully over our detectaphone,
close to the transmitter, evidently.

"What the deuce is this?" growled a voice.

Then over the telephone we could hear the Boss talking.

"There's a round black thing back of a pile of tires, with a wire
connected to it. One side of it is full of little round holes. Is that
one of those things?"

"Yes," came back the voice, "that's it." Then excitedly, "Smash it! Cut
the wires--no, wait--look and see where they run. I thought you'd find
something. Curse me for a fool for not thinking of that before."

Garrick had quickly himself detached the wire from the receiving
instrument in our room and, sticking his head cautiously out of the
window, he swung the cut ends as far as he could in the direction of a
big iron-shuttered warehouse down the street in the opposite direction
from us.

Then he closed the window softly and pulled down the switch on the
other detectaphone connected with the fake telephone receiver.

He smiled quietly at me. The thing worked still. We had one connection
left with the garage, anyway.

There was a noise of something being shattered to bits. It was the
black disc back of the pile of tires. We could hear the Boss muttering
to himself.

"Say," he reported back over the telephone, "I've smashed the thing,
all right, and cut the wires, too. They ran out of the back window to
that mercantile warehouse, down the street, I think. I'll look after
that in the morning. It's so dark over there now I can't see a thing."

"Good!" exclaimed the other voice with satisfaction. "Now we can talk.
That fellow Garrick isn't such a wise guy, after all. I tell you, Boss,
I'm going to throw a good scare into them this time--one that will
stick."

"What is it?"

"Well, I got Warrington, didn't I?"

"Yes."

"You know I can't always be following that fellow, Garrick. He's too
clever at dodging shadows. Besides, unless we give him something else
to think about he may get a line on one of us,--on me. Don't you
understand? Warrington's out of it for the present. I saw to that. Now,
the thing is to fix up something to call them off, altogether,
something that we can use to hold them up."

"Yes--go on--what?"

"Why--how about Violet Winslow?"

My heart actually skipped beating for a second or two as I realised the
boldness and desperation of the plan.

"What do you mean--a robbery up there in Tuxedo?"

"No, no, no. What good would a robbery do? I mean to get her--kidnap
her. I guess Warrington would call the whole thing off to release
her--eh?"

"Say, Chief, that's going it pretty strong. I'd rather break in up
there and leave a threat of some kind, something that would frighten
them. But, this,--I'm afraid--"

"Afraid--nothing. I tell you, we've got to do it. They're getting too
close to us. We've either got to get Garrick or do something that'll
call him off for good. Why, man, the whole game is up if he keeps on
the way he has been going--let alone the risk we have of getting
caught."

The Boss seemed to be considering.

"How will you get a chance to do it?" he asked at length.

"Oh, I'll get a chance, all right. I'll make a chance," came back the
self-confident reply.

It sent a shiver through me merely to contemplate what might happen if
Violet Winslow fell into such hands. Mentally I blessed Garrick for his
forethought in having the phony 'phone in the garage against possible
discovery of the detective instrument.

"You know this poisoned needle stuff that's been in the papers?"
pursued the Chief.

"Bunk--all bunk," came back the Boss promptly.

"Is that so?" returned the Chief. "Well, you're right about it as far
as what has been in the papers is concerned. I don't know but I doubt
about ninety-nine and ninety-nine hundredths per cent of it, too. But,
I'll tell you,--it can be done. Take it from me--it can be done. I've
got one of the best little sleepmakers you ever saw--right from Paris,
too. There, what do you know about that?"

I glanced hastily, in alarm, at Garrick. His face was set in hard
lines, as he listened.

"Sleepmaker--Paris," I heard him mutter under his breath, and just a
flicker of a smile crossed the set lines of his fine face.

"Yes, sir," pursued the voice of the Chief, "I can pull one of those
poisoned needle cases off and I'm going to do it, if I get half a
chance."

"When would you do it?" asked the Boss, weakening.

"As soon as I can. I've a scheme. I'm not going to tell you over the
wire, though. Leave it to me. I'm going up to our place, where I left
the car. I'll study the situation out, up there. Maybe I'll run over
and look over the ground, see how she spends her time and all that sort
of thing. I've got to reckon in with that aunt, too. She's a Tartar.
I'll let you know. In the meantime, I want you to watch that place on
Forty-seventh Street. Tell me if they make any move against it. Don't
waste any time, either. I can't be out of touch with things the way I
was the last time I went away. You see, they almost put one across on
us--in fact they did put one across with that detectaphone thing. Now,
we can't let that happen again. Just keep me posted, see?"

They had finished talking and that was apparently all we were to get
that night, or rather that morning, by way of warning of their plot for
the worst move yet.

It was enough. If they would murder and burn, what would they stop at
in order to strike at us through the innocent figure of Violet Winslow?
What might not happen to such a delicate slip of a girl in the power of
such men?

"At least," rapped out Garrick, himself smothering his alarm, "they
can't do anything immediately. It gives us time to prepare and warn.
Besides, before that we may have them rounded up. The time has come for
something desperate. I won't be trifled with any longer. This last
proposal goes just over the limit."

As for me, I was speechless. The events of the past two days, the
almost sleepless nights had sapped my energy. Even Garrick, though he
was a perfect glutton for work, felt the strain.

It was very late, or rather very early, and we determined to snatch a
few moments of sleep at the Old Tavern before the rest of the world
awoke to the new day. It was only a couple of hours that we could
spare, but it was absolutely necessary.

In spite of our fatigue, we were up again early and after another try
at the phony 'phone which told us that only the men were working in the
garage, we were on our way up to Garrick's apartment.

We had scarcely entered when the telephone boy called up to say that
there was a Mr. Warrington on long distance trying to get us. Garrick
eagerly asked to have him put on our wire.

Warrington, it seemed, had been informed of the fire by one of his
agents and was inquiring anxiously for details, especially about the
letter. Garrick quickly apologised for not calling up himself, and
relieved his anxiety by assuring him that the letter was safe.

"And how are you?" he asked of Warrington.

"Convalescing rapidly," laughed back the patient, to whom the loss of
anything was a mere bagatelle beside the letter. Garrick had not told
him yet of the stealing of the other letters. "Getting along
fine,--thanks to a new tonic which Dr. Mead has prescribed for me."

"I can guess what it is."

Warrington laughed again. "Yes--I've been allowed to take short motor
trips with Violet," he explained.

The natural manner in which "Violet" replaced "Miss Winslow" indicated
that the trips had not been without result.

"Say, Warrington," burst out Garrick, seeing an opportunity of
introducing the latest news, "I hate to butt in, but if you'll take my
advice, you'll just cut out those trips a few days. I don't want to
alarm you unnecessarily, but after to-day I want Miss Winslow never to
be out of sight of friends--friends, I said; not one, but several."

"Why--what's the matter?" demanded Warrington in alarm.

"I can't explain it all over the telephone," replied Garrick, sketching
out hastily something of what we had overheard. "I'll try to see you
before long--perhaps to-day. Don't forget. I want you to warn Miss
Winslow yourself. You can't put it too strongly. Use your judgment
about Mrs. de Lancey. I don't want to get you in wrong with her. But,
remember, it's a matter of life or death--or perhaps worse. Try to do
it without unnecessarily alarming Miss Winslow, if you can. Just fix it
up as quietly as possible. But be positive about it. No, I can't
explain more over the wire now. But--no more outings for either of you,
and particularly Miss Winslow, until I raise the ban."

Warrington had been inclined to argue the matter at first, but Garrick
of course quickly prevailed, the more so because Warrington realised
that in his condition he was anything but an adequate body-guard for
her if something unexpected should happen.

"Oh--I had a call the other day," reported Warrington as an
afterthought before hanging up the receiver. "It was from McBirney. He
says one of his unofficial scouts has told him of seeing a car that
might have been mine up this way lately."

Garrick acquiesced to the information which, to us, was not new. "Yes,"
he said, "there have been several such reports. And, by the way, that
reminds me of something. You will have to put at our disposal one of
your cars down here."

"Go as far as you like. What do you want--a racer?"

"Why--yes, if it's in perfect condition. You see, we may have to do
some unexpected sleuthing in it."

"Go as far as you like," repeated Warrington, now thoroughly aroused by
the latest development of the case. "Spare nothing, Garrick--nothing.
Curse my luck for being laid up! Every dollar I have is at your
disposal, Garrick, to protect her from those scoundrels--damn them!"

"Trust me, Warrington," called back Garrick. "I give you my word that
it's my fight now."

"Garrick--you're a brick," came back Warrington as the conversation
closed.

"Good heavens, Guy," I exclaimed when he hung up the receiver after
calling up Warrington's garage and finding out what cars were
available, "Are we going to have to extend operations over the whole
State, after all?"

"We may have to do almost anything," he replied, "if our scientific
murderer tries some of his smooth kidnapping tricks. It's possible that
McBirney may be right about that car being up there. Certainly we know
that it has been up there, whether it is now or not."

"And Herman wrong about its being in the city?" I suggested. "Well, one
guess is as good as another in a case like this, I suppose."

It had been a great relief to get back to our rooms and live even for a
few minutes like civilised beings. I suggested that we might have a
real breakfast once more.

I could tell, however, that Garrick's mind was far away from the
thought of eating, and that he realised that a keen, perhaps the
keenest, test of his ability lay ahead of him, if he was to come out
successfully and protect Violet Winslow in the final battle with the
scientific gunman. I did not interrupt him.



CHAPTER XVI

THE POISONED NEEDLE


Over a still untasted grapefruit Garrick was considering what his next
move should be. As for me, even this temporary return to a normal life
caused me to view things in a different light.

There had been, as the Chief and the Boss had hinted at in their
conversation, a wave of hysteria which had swept over the city only a
short time before regarding what had come to be called the "poisoned
needle" cases. Personally I had doubted them and I had known many
doctors and scientists as well as vice and graft investigators who had
scouted them, too.

"Garrick," I said at length, "do you really think that we have to deal
with anything in this case but just plain attempted kidnapping of the
old style?"

He shook his head doubtfully. I knew him to be anything but an alarmist
and waited impatiently for him to speak.

"I wouldn't think so," he said at length slowly, "except for one thing."

"What's that?" I asked eagerly.

"His mention of the 'sleepmakers' and Paris," he replied briefly.

Garrick had risen and walked over to a cabinet in the corner of his
room. When he returned it was with something gleaming in the morning
sunshine as he rolled it back and forth on a piece of paper, just a
shining particle. He picked it up carefully.

I bent over to look at it more closely and there, in Garrick's hand,
was a tiny bit of steel, scarcely three-eighths of an inch long, a mere
speck. It was like nothing of which I had ever heard or read. Yet
Garrick himself seemed to regard the minute thing with a sort of awe.
As for me, I knew not what to make of it. I wondered whether it might
not be some new peril.

"What is it?" I asked at length, seeing that Garrick might be disposed
to talk, if I prompted him.

"Well," he answered laconically, holding it up to the light so that I
could see that it was in reality a very minute, pointed hollow tube,
"what would you say if I told you it was the point of a
new--er--poisoned needle?"

He said it in such a simple tone that I reacted from it toward my own
preconceived notions of the hysterical newspaper stories.

"I've heard about all the poisoned needle stories," I returned. "I've
investigated some of them and written about them for my paper, Guy. And
I must say still that I doubt them. Now in the first place, the mere
insertion of a hypodermic needle--of course, you've had it done,
Guy--is something so painful that anyone in his senses would cry aloud.
Then to administer a drug that way requires a great deal of skill and
knowledge of anatomy, if it is to be done with full and quick effect."

Garrick said nothing, but continued to regard the hollow point which he
had obtained somewhere, perhaps on a previous case.

"Why, such an injection," I continued, recalling the result of my
former careful investigations on the subject, "couldn't act
instantaneously anyhow, as it must if they are to get away with it.
After the needle is inserted, the plunger has to be pushed down, and
the whole thing would take at least thirty seconds. And then, the
action of the drug. That would take time, too. It seems to me that in
no case could it be done without the person's being instantly aware of
it and, before lapsing into unconsciousness, calling for help or--"

"On the contrary," interrupted Garrick quietly, "it is absurdly easy.
Waiving the question whether they might not be able to get Violet
Winslow in such a situation where even the old hypodermic method which
you know would serve as well as any other, why, Marshall, just the hint
that fellow dropped tells me that he could walk up to her on the street
or anywhere else, and--"

He did not finish the sentence, but left it to my imagination. It was
my turn, now, to remain silent.

"You are right, though, Tom, in one respect," he resumed a moment
later. "It is not easy by the old methods that everyone now knows. For
instance, take the use of chloral-knock-out drops, you know. That is
crude, too. Hypodermics and knock-out drops may answer well enough,
perhaps, for the criminals whose victims are found in cafes and dives
of a low order. But for the operations of an aristocratic criminal of
to-day--and our friend the Chief seems to belong to the aristocracy of
the underworld--far more subtle methods are required. Let me show you
something."

Carefully, from the back of a drawer in the cabinet, where it was
concealed in a false partition, he pulled out a little case. He opened
it, and in it displayed a number of tiny globes and tubes of thin
glass, each with a liquid in it, some lozenges, some bonbons, and
several cigars and cigarettes.

"I'm doing this," he remarked, "to show you, Tom, that I'm not unduly
magnifying the danger that surrounds Violet Winslow, after hearing what
I did over that detectaphone. Perhaps it didn't impress you, but I
think I know something of what we're up against."

From another part of the case he drew a peculiar looking affair and
handed to me without a word. It consisted of a glass syringe about two
inches long, fitted with a glass plunger and an asbestos washer. On the
other end of the tube was a hollow point, about three-eighths of an
inch long--just a shiny little bit of steel such as he had already
showed me.

I looked at it curiously and, in spite of my former assurance, began to
wonder whether, after all, the possibility of a girl being struck down
suddenly, without warning, in a public place and robbed--or
worse--might not take on the guise of ghastly reality.

"What do you make of it?" asked Garrick, evidently now enjoying the
puzzled look on my face.

I could merely shrug my shoulders.

"Well," he drawled, "that is a weapon they hinted at last night. The
possibilities of it are terrifying. Why, it could easily be plunged
through a fur coat, without breaking."

He took the needle and made an imaginary lunge at me.

"When people tell you that the hypodermic needle cannot be employed in
a case like this that they are planning," he continued, "they are
thinking of ordinary hypodermics. Those things wouldn't be very
successful usually, anyhow, under such circumstances. But this is
different. The very form of this needle makes it particularly effective
for anyone who wishes to use it for crime. For instance--take it on a
railroad or steamship or in a hotel. Draw back the plunger--so--one
quick jab--then drop it on the floor and grind it under your heel. The
glass is splintered into a thousand bits. All evidence of guilt is
destroyed, unless someone is looking for it practically with a
microscope."

"Yes," I persisted, "that is all right--but the pain and the moments
before the drug begins to work?"

With one hand Garrick reached into the case, selecting a little thin
glass tube, and with the other he pulled out his handkerchief.

"Smell that!" he exclaimed, bending over me so that I could see every
move and be prepared for it.

Yet it was done so quickly that I could not protect myself.

"Ugh!" I ejaculated in surprise, as Garrick manipulated the thing with
a legerdemain swiftness that quite baffled me, even though he had given
me warning to expect something.

Everyone has seen freak moving picture films where the actor suddenly
bobs up in another place, without visibly crossing the intervening
space. The next thing I knew, Garrick was standing across the room, in
just that way. The handkerchief was folded up and in his pocket.

It couldn't have been done possibly in less than a minute. What had
happened? Where had that minute or so gone? I felt a sickening
sensation.

"Smell it again?" Garrick laughed, taking a step toward me.

I put up my hand and shook my head negatively, slowly comprehending.

"You mean to tell me," I gasped, "that I was--out?"

"I could have jabbed a dozen needles into you and you would never have
known it," asserted Garrick with a quiet smile playing over his face.

"What is the stuff?" I asked, quite taken aback.

"Kelene--ethyl chloride. Whiff!--and you are off almost in a second. It
is an anaesthetic of nearly unbelievable volatility. It comes in little
hermetically sealed tubes, with a tiny capillary orifice, to prevent
its too rapid vaporising, even when opened for use. Such a tube may be
held in the palm of the hand and the end crushed off. The warmth of the
hand alone is sufficient to start a veritable spray. It acts violently
on the senses, too. But kelene anaesthesia lasts only a minute or so.
The fraction of time is long enough. Then comes the jab with the real
needle--perhaps another whiff of kelene to give the injection a chance.
In two or three minutes the injection itself is working and the victim
is unconscious, without a murmur--perhaps, as in your case, without any
clear idea of how it all happened--even without recollection of a
handkerchief, unable to recall any sharp pain of a needle or anything
else."

He was holding up a little bottle in which was a thick, colorless syrup.

"And what is that?" I asked, properly tamed and no longer disposed to
be disputatious.

"Hyoscine."

"Is it powerful?"

"One one-hundredth of a grain of this strength, perhaps less, will
render a person unconscious," replied Garrick. "The first symptom is
faintness; the pupils of the eyes dilate; speech is lost; vitality
seems to be floating away, and the victim lapses into unconsciousness.
It is derived from henbane, among ether things, and is a rapid,
energetic alkaloid, more rapid than chloral and morphine. And, preceded
by a whiff of kelene, not even the sensations I have described are
remembered."

I could only stare at the outfit before me, speechless.

"In Paris, where I got this," continued Garrick, "they call these
people who use it, 'endormeurs'--sleepmakers. That must have been what
the Chief meant when he used that word. I knew it."

"Sleepmakers," I repeated in horror at the very idea of such a thing
being attempted on a young girl like Violet Winslow.

"Yes. The standard equipment of such a criminal consists of these
little thin glass globes, a tiny glass hypodermic syringe with a sharp
steel point, doped cigars and cigarettes. They use various derivatives
of opium, like morphine and heroin, also codeine, dionin, narcein,
ethyl chloride and bromide, nitrite of amyl, amylin,--and the skill
that they have acquired in the manipulation of these powerful drugs
stamps them as the most dangerous coterie of criminals in existence.
Now," he concluded, "doubt it or not, we have to deal with a man who is
a proficient student of these sleepmakers. Who is he, where is he, and
when will he strike?"

Garrick was now pacing excitedly up and down the room.

"You see," he added, "the police of Europe by their new scientific
methods are driving such criminals out of the various countries. Thank
heaven, I am now prepared to meet them if they come to America."

"Then you think this is a foreigner?" I asked meekly.

"I didn't say so," Garrick replied. "No. I think this is a criminal
exceptionally wide awake, one who studies and adopts what he sees
whenever he wants it. If you recall, I warned you to have a wholesome
respect for this man at the very start, when we were looking at that
empty cartridge."

I could restrain my admiration of him no longer. "Guy," I exclaimed,
heartily, astounded by what I had seen, "you--you are a wonder!"

"No," he laughed, "not wonderful, Tom,--only very ordinary. I've had a
chance to learn some things abroad, fortunately. I've taken the time to
show you all this because I want you to appreciate what it is we are up
against in this case of Violet Winslow. You can understand now why I
was so particular about instructing Warrington not to let her go
anywhere unattended by friends. There's nothing inherently impossible
in these poisoned needle stories--given the right conjunction of
circumstances. What we have to guard against principally is letting her
get into any situation where the circumstances make such a thing
possible. I've almost a notion to let the New York end of this case go
altogether for a while and take a run up to Tuxedo to warn her and Mrs.
de Lancey personally. Still, I think I put it strongly enough with
Warrington so that--"

Our telephone tinkled insistently.

"Hello," answered Garrick. "Yes, this is Garrick. Who is this?
Warrington? In Tuxedo? Why, my dear boy, you needn't have gone
personally. Are you sure you're strong enough for such exertion?
What--what's that? Warrington--it--it isn't--not to New York?"

Garrick's face was actually pale as he fairly started back from the
telephone and caught my eye.

"Tom," he exclaimed huskily to me, "Violet Winslow left for New York on
the early train this morning!"

I felt my heart skip a beat, then pound away like a sledge-hammer at my
ribs as the terrible possibilities of the situation were seared into my
brain.

"Yes, Warrington--a letter to her? Read it--quick," I heard Garrick's
tense voice repeating. "I see. Her maid Lucille was taken very ill a
few days ago and she allowed her to go to her brother who lives on
Ninth Street. I understand. Now--the letter."

I could not hear what was said over the telephone, but later Garrick
repeated it to me and I afterwards saw the letter itself which I may as
well reproduce here. It said:

"Since I left you, mademoiselle, I am very ill here at the home of my
brother. I have a nice room in the back of the house on the first floor
and now that I am getting better I can sit up and look out of the
window.

"I am very ill yet, but the worst is past and some time when you are in
New York I wish I could see you. You have always been so good to me,
mademoiselle, that I hope I may soon be back again, if you have not a
maid better than your poor Lucille.

"Your faithful servant,

"LUCILLE DE VEAU."

"And she's already in the city?" asked Garrick of Warrington as he
finished reading the letter. "Mrs. de Lancey has gone with her--to do
some shopping. I see. That will take all day, she said? She is going to
call on Lucille--to-night--that's what she told her new maid there?
To-night? That's all right, my boy. I just wanted to be sure. Don't
worry. We'll look out for her here, all right. Now, Warrington, you
just keep perfectly quiet. No relapses, you know, old fellow. We can
take care of everything. I'm glad you told me. Good-bye."

Garrick had finished up his conversation with Warrington in a confident
and reassuring tone, quite the opposite to that with which he had
started and even more in contrast with the expression on his face as he
talked.

"I didn't want to alarm the boy unnecessarily," he explained to me, as
he hung up the receiver. "I could tell that he was very weak yet and
that the trip up to Tuxedo had almost done him up. It seems that she
thought a good deal of Lucille--there's the address--99 Ninth. You can
never tell about these maids, though. Lucille may be all right--or the
other maid may be all bad, or vice versa. There's no telling. The worst
of it is that she and her aunt are somewhere in the city, perhaps
shopping. It only needs that they become separated for something,
anything, to happen. There's been no time to warn her, either, and
she's just as likely to visit that Lucille to-night alone as not.
Gad--I'm glad I didn't fly off up there to Tuxedo, after all. She'll
need someone here to protect her."

Garrick was considering hastily what was to be done. Quickly he mapped
out his course of action.

"Come, Tom," he said hurriedly to me, as he wrapped up a little cedar
box which he took from the cabinet where he kept the endormeur outfit.
"Come--let's investigate that Ninth Street address while we have time."



CHAPTER XVII

THE NEWSPAPER FAKE


Within a few minutes we were sauntering with enforced leisure along
Ninth Street, in a rather sordid part, inhabited largely, I made out,
by a slightly better class of foreigners than some other sections of
the West Side.

As we walked along, I felt Garrick tugging at my arm.

"Slow up a bit," he whispered under his breath. "There's the house
which was mentioned in the maid's note."

It was an old three-story brownstone building with an entrance two or
three steps up from the sidewalk level. Once, no doubt, it had housed
people of some means, but the change in the character of the
neighbourhood with shifting population had evidently brought it to the
low estate where it now sheltered one family on each floor, if not
more. At least that was the general impression one got from a glance at
the cheapened air of the block.

Garrick passed the house so as not to attract any attention, and a
little further on paused before an apartment house, not of the modern
elevator construction, but still of quiet and decent appearance. At
least there were no children spilling out from its steps into the
street, in imminent danger of their young lives from every passing
automobile, as there were in the tenements of the block below.

He entered the front door which happened to be unlatched and we had no
trouble in mounting the stairs to the roof.

What he intended doing I had no idea yet, but he went ahead with
assurance and I followed, equally confident, for he must have had
adventures something like this before. On the roof, a clothesline,
which he commandeered and tied about a chimney, served to let him down
the few feet from the higher apartment roof to that of the dwelling
house next to it, one of the row in which number 99 was situated.

Quickly he tiptoed over to the chimney of the brownstone house a few
doors down and, as he did so, I saw him take from his pocket the cedar
box. A string tied to a weight told him which of the flues reached down
to the room on the first floor, back.

That determined, he let the little cedar box fastened to an entwined
pair of wires down the flue. He then ran the wires back across the roof
to the apartment, up, and into a little storm shed at the top of the
last flight of stairs which led from the upper hall to the roof.

"There is nothing more that we can do here just yet," he remarked after
he had hauled himself back to me on the higher roof. "We are lucky not
to have been disturbed, but if we stay here we are likely to be
observed."

Cautiously we retraced our steps and were again on the street without
having alarmed any of the tenants of the flat through which we had
gained access to the roofs.

It was now the forenoon and, although Garrick instituted a search in
every place that he could think of where Mrs. de Laacey and Violet
Winslow might go, including the homes of those of their friends whose
names we could learn, it was without result. I don't think there can be
many searches more hopeless than to try to find someone in New York
when one has no idea where to look. Only chance could possibly have
thrown them in our way and chance did not favour us.

There was nothing to do but wait for the time when Miss Winslow might,
of her own accord, turn up to visit her former maid for whom she
apparently had a high regard.

Inquiries as to the antecedents of Lucille De Veau were decidedly
unsatisfactory, not that they gave her a bad character, but because
there simply seemed to be nothing that we could find out. The maid
seemed to be absolutely unknown. Her brother was a waiter, though where
he worked we could not find out, for he seemed to be one of those who
are constantly shifting their positions.

Garrick had notified Dillon of what he had discovered, in a general
way, and had asked him to detail some men to conduct the search
secretly for Miss Winslow and her aunt, but without any better results
than we had obtained. Apparently the department stores had swallowed
them up for the time being and we could only wait impatiently, trusting
that all would turn out right in the end. Still, I could not help
having some forebodings in the matter.

It was in the middle of the afternoon that we had gone downtown to
Garrick's office, after stopping to secure the letter from the safe in
the uptown hotel where it had been deposited for security during the
night and placing it in a safety deposit vault where Garrick kept some
of his own valuables. Garrick had selected his office as a vantage
point to which any news of Miss Winslow and her aunt might be sent by
those whom we had out searching. No word came, however, and the hours
of suspense seemed to drag interminably.

"You're pretty well acquainted on the STAR?" Garrick asked me at last,
after we had been sitting in a sort of mournful silence wondering
whether those on the other side might not be stealing a march on us.

"Why, yes, I know several people there," I replied. "Why do you ask?"

"I was just thinking of a possible plan of campaign that might be
mapped out to bring these people from under cover," he remarked
thoughtfully. "Do you think you could carry part of it through?"

I said I would try and Garrick proceeded to unfold a scheme which he
had been revolving all day. It consisted of as ingenious a "plant" as I
could well imagine.

"You see," he outlined, "if you could go over to the Star office and
get them to run off a few copies of the paper, after they are through
with the regular editions, I believe we can get the Chief started and
then all we should have to do would be to follow him up--or someone who
would lead us to him."

The "plant," in short, consisted in writing a long and circumstantial
story of the discovery of new evidence against the ladies' poolroom,
which so far had been scarcely mentioned in the case. As Garrick laid
it out, the story was to tell of a young gambler who was said to be in
touch with the district attorney, in preference to saying the police.

In fact, his idea was to write up the whole gambling situation as we
knew it on lines that he suggested. Then a "fake" edition of the paper
was to be run off, bearing our story on the front page. Only a few
copies were to be printed, and they were to be delivered to us. The
thing had been done before by detectives, I knew, and in this case
Warrington was to foot the bill, which might prove to be considerable.

At least it offered me some outlet for my energies during the rest of
the afternoon when the failure to receive any reports about the two
women whom we were seeking began to wear on my nerves.

It took some time to arrange the thing with those in authority on the
Star, but at last that was done and I hastened back to Garrick at his
office to tell him that all that remained to do was the actual writing
of the story.

Garrick had just finished testing an arrangement in a large case,
almost the size of a suitcase, and had stood it in a corner, ready to
be picked up and carried off the instant there was any need for it.
There was still no word of Miss Winslow and Mrs. de Lancey and it began
to look as if we should not hear from them until Violet Winslow turned
up on her visit to her former maid.

Together we plunged into the preparation of the story, the writing of
which fell to me while Garrick now and then threw in a suggestion or a
word of criticism to make it sound stronger for his purpose. Thus the
rest of the afternoon passed in getting the thing down "pat."

I flatter myself that it was not such a bad piece of work when we got
through with it. By dint of using such expressions as "It is said," "It
is rumoured," "The report about the Criminal Courts Building is," "An
informant high in the police department," and crediting much to a
mythical "gambler who is operating quietly uptown," we managed to tell
some amazing facts.

The fake story began:

"Since the raid by the police on the luxurious gambling house in
Forty-eighth Street, a remarkable new phase of sporting life has been
unfolded to the District Attorney, who is quietly gathering evidence
against another place situated in the same district.

"A former gambler who frequented the raided place has put many
incriminating facts about the second place in the hands of the
authorities who are contemplating an exposure that will stir even New
York, accustomed as it is to such startling revelations. It involves
one of the cleverest and most astute criminals who ever operated in
this city.

"This place, which is under observation, is one which has brought
tragedy to many. Young women attracted by the treacherous lure of the
spinning roulette wheel or the fascination of the shuffle of cards have
squandered away their own and their husband's money with often tragic
results, and many of them have gone even further into the moral
quagmire in the hope of earning enough money to pay their losses and
keep from their families the knowledge of their gambling.

"This situation, one of the high lights in the city of lights and
shadows, has been evolved, according to the official informant, through
the countless number of gambling resorts that have gained existence in
the most fashionable parts of the city.

"The record of crime of the clever and astute individual already
mentioned is being minutely investigated, and, it is said, shows some
of the most astounding facts. It runs even to murder, which was
accomplished in getting rid of an informer recently in the pay of the
police.

"Against those conducting the crusade every engine of the underworld
has been used. The fight has been carried on bitterly, and within less
than twenty-four hours arrests are promised as a result of confessions
already in the hands of the authorities and being secretly and widely
investigated by them before the final blow is delivered simultaneously,
both in the city and in a town up-state where the criminal believes
himself unknown and secure."

There was more of the stuff, which I do not quote, describing the
situation in detail and in general terms which could all have only one
meaning to a person acquainted with the particular case with which we
were dealing. It threw a scare, in type, as hard as could be done. I
fancied that when it was read by the proper person he would be amazed
that so much had, apparently, become known to the newspapers, and would
begin to wonder how much more was known that was not printed.

"That ought to make someone sit up and take notice," remarked Garrick
with some satisfaction, as he corrected the typewritten copy late in
the afternoon. "The printing of that will take some time and I don't
suppose we shall get copies until pretty late. You can take it over to
the Star, Tom, and complete the arrangements. I have a little more work
to do before we go up there on Ninth Street. Suppose you meet me at
eight in Washington Square, near the Arch?"



CHAPTER XVIII

THE VOCAPHONE


Promptly to the dot I met Garrick at the appointed place. Not a word so
far had been heard, either from Violet Winslow or Mrs. de Lancey. There
was one thing encouraging about it, however. If they had become
separated while shopping, as sometimes happens, we should have been
likely to hear of it, at least from her aunt.

Garrick was tugging the heavy suitcase which I had seen standing ready
down in his office during the afternoon, as well as a small package
wrapped up in paper.

"Let me carry that suitcase," I volunteered.

We trudged along across the park, my load getting heavier at every step.

"I'm not surprised at your being winded," I panted, soon finding myself
in the same condition. "What's in this--lead?"

"Something that we may need or may not," Garrick answered
enigmatically, as we stopped in the shadow to rest.

He carefully took an automatic revolver from an inside pocket and
stowed it where it would be handy, in his coat.

We resumed our walk and at last had come nearly up to the house on the
first floor of which the maid Lucille was. The suitcase was engaging
all my attention, as I shifted it from one hand to the other. Not so
Garrick, however. He was looking keenly about us.

"Gad, I must be seeing things to-night!" he exclaimed, his eyes fixed
on a figure slouching along, his hat pulled down over his eyes, passing
just about opposite us on the other side of the street. I looked also
in the gathering dusk. The figure had something indefinably familiar
about it, but a moment later it was gone, having turned the corner.

Garrick shook his head. "No," he said half to himself, "it couldn't
have been. Don't stop, Tom. We mustn't do anything to rouse suspicion,
now."

We came a moment later to the flat-house through the hall of which we
had reached the roof that morning and in the excitement of the
adventure I forgot, for the time, the mysterious figure across the
street, which had attracted Garrick's attention.

Again, we managed to elude the tenants, though it was harder in the
early evening than it had been in the daytime. However, we reached the
roof apparently unobserved. There at least, now that it was dark, we
felt comparatively safe. No one was likely to disturb us there,
provided we made no noise.

Unwrapping the smaller, paper-covered package, Garrick quickly attached
the wires, as he had left them, to another cedar box, like that which
he had already let down the chimney up the street.

I now had a chance to examine it more closely under the light of
Garrick's little electric bull's-eye. I was surprised to find that it
resembled one of the instruments we had used down in the room in the
Old Tavern.

It was oblong, with a sort of black disc fixed to the top. In the face
of the box, just as in the other we had used, were two little square
holes, with sides also of cedar, converging inward, making a pair of
little quadrangular pyramidal holes which seemed to end in a small
round black circle in the interior, small end.

I said nothing, but I could see that it was a new form, to all intents
and purposes, of the detectaphone which we had already used.

The minutes that followed seemed like hours, as we waited, not daring
to talk lest we should attract attention.

I wondered whether Miss Winslow would come after all, or, if she did,
whether she would come alone.

"You're early," said a voice, softly, near us, of a sudden.

I leaped to my feet, prepared to meet anything, man or devil. Garrick
seized me and pulled me down, a strong hint to be quiet. Too surprised
to remonstrate, since nothing happened, I waited, breathless.

"Yes, but that is better than to be too late. Besides, we've got to
watch that Garrick," said another voice. "He might be around."

Garrick chuckled.

I had noticed a peculiar metallic ring in the voices.

"Where are they?" I whispered, "On the landing below?"

Garrick laughed outright, not boisterously, but still in a way which to
me was amazing in its bravado, if the tenants were really so near.

"What's this?" I asked.

"Don't you recognize it?" he answered.

"Yes," I said doubtfully. "I suppose it's like that thing we used down
at the Old Tavern."

"Only more so," nodded Garrick, aloud, yet careful not to raise his
voice, as before, so as not to disturb the flat dwellers below us. "A
vocaphone."

"A vocaphone?" I repeated.

"Yes, the little box that hears and talks," he explained. "It does more
than the detectaphone. It talks right out, you know, and it works both
ways."

I began to understand his scheme.

"Those square holes in the face of it are just like the other
instrument we used," Garrick went on. "They act like little megaphones
to that receiver inside, you know,--magnify the sound and throw it out
so that we can listen up here just as well, perhaps better than if we
were down there in the room with them."

They were down there in the back room, Lucille and a man.

"Have you heard from her?" asked the man's voice, one that I did not
recognise.

"Non,--but she will come. Voila, but she thought the world of her
Lucille, she did. She will come."

"How do you know?"

"Because--I know."

"Oh, you women!"

"Oh, you men!"

It was evident that the two had a certain regard for each other, a sort
of wild, animal affection, above, below, beyond, without the law. They
seemed at least to understand each other.

Who the man was I could not guess. It was a voice that sounded
familiar, yet I could not place it.

"She will come to see her Lucille," repeated the woman. "But you must
not be seen."

"No--by no means."

The voice of the man was not that of a foreigner.

"Here, Lucille, take this. Only get her interested--I will do the
rest--and the money is yours. See--you crush it in the
handkerchief--so. Be careful--you WILL crush it before you want to use
it. There. Under her nose, you know. I shall be there in a moment and
finish the work. That is all you need do--with the handkerchief."

Garrick made a motion, as if to turn a switch in the little vocaphone,
and rested his finger on it.

"I could make those two jump out of the window with fright and
surprise," he said to me, still fingering the switch impatiently. "You
see, it works the other way, too, as I told you, if I choose to throw
this switch. Suppose I should shout out, and they should hear,
apparently coming from the fireplace, 'You are discovered. Thank you
for telling me all your plans, but I am prepared for them already.'
What do you suppose they would--"

Garrick stopped short.

From the vocaphone had come a sound like the ringing of a bell.

"Sh!" whispered Lucille hoarsely. "Here she comes now. Didn't I tell
you? Into the next room!"

A moment later came a knock at a door and Lucille's silken rustle as
she hurried to open it.

"How do you do, Lucille?" we heard a sweetly tremulous voice repeated
by the faithful little vocaphone.

"Comment vous portez-vous, Mademoiselle?"

"Tres bien."

"Mademoiselle honours her poor Lucille beyond her dreams. Will you not
be seated here in this easy chair?"

"My God!" exclaimed Garrick, starting back from the vocaphone. "She is
there alone. Mrs. de Lancey is not with her. Oh, if we could only have
prevented this!"

I had recognized, too, even in the mechanical reproduction, the voice
of Violet Winslow. It came as a shock. Even though I had been expecting
some such thing for hours, still the reality meant just as much,
perhaps more.

Independent, self-reliant, Violet Winslow had gone alone on an act of
mercy and charity, and it had taken her into a situation full of danger
with her faithless maid.

At once I was alive to the situation. All the stories of kidnappings
and white slavery that I had ever read rioted through my head. I felt
like calling out a warning. Garrick had his finger on the switch.

"Since I have been ill, Mademoiselle, I have been doing some
embroidery--handkerchiefs--are they not pretty?"

It was coming. There was not time for an instant's delay now.

Garrick quickly depressed the switch.

Clear as a bell his voice rang out.

"Miss Winslow--this is Garrick. Don't let her get that handkerchief
under your nose. Out of the door--quick. Run! Call for help! I shall be
with you in a minute!"

A little cry came out of the machine.

There was a moment of startled surprise in the room below. Then
followed a mocking laugh.

"Ha! Ha! I thought you'd pull something like that, Garrick. I don't
know where you are, but it makes no difference. There are many ways of
getting out of this place and at one of them I hare a high-powered car.
Violet--will go--quietly--" there were sounds of a struggle--"after the
needle--"

A scream had followed immediately after a sound of shivering glass
through the vocaphone. It was not Violet Winslow's scream, either.

"Like hell, she'll go," shouted a wildly familiar voice.

There was a gruff oath.

We stayed to hear no more. Garrick had already picked up the heavy
suitcase and was running down the steps two at a time, with myself hard
after him.

Without waiting to ring the bell at 99, he dashed the suitcase through
the plate glass of the front door, reached in and turned the lock. We
hurried into the back room.

Violet was lying across a divan and bending over her was Warrington.

"She--she's unconscious," he gasped, weak with the exertion of his
forcible entrance into the place and carrying from the floor to the
divan the lovely burden which he had found in the room. "They--they
fled--two of them--the maid, Lucille--and a man I could not see."

Down the street we heard a car dashing away to the sound of its
changing gears.

"She's--not--dying--is she, Garrick?" he panted bending closer over her.

Garrick bent over, too, felt the fluttering pulse, looked into her
dilated eyes.

I saw him drop quickly on his knees beside the unconscious girl. He
tore open the heavy suitcase and a moment later he had taken from it a
sort of cap, at the end of a rubber tube, and had fastened it carefully
over her beautiful, but now pale, face.

"Pump!" Garrick muttered to me, quickly showing me what to do.

I did, furiously.

"Where did you come from?" he asked of Warrington. "I thought I saw
someone across the street who looked like you as we came along, but you
didn't recognise us and in a moment you were gone. Keep on with that
pulmotor, Tom. Thank heaven I came prepared with it!"

Eagerly I continued to supply oxygen to the girl on the divan before us.

Garrick had stooped down and picked up both the handkerchief with its
crushed bits of the kelene tube and near it a shattered glass
hypodermic.

"Oh, I got thinking about things, up there at Mead's," blurted out
Warrington, "and I couldn't stand it. I should have gone crazy. While
the doctor was out I managed to slip away and take a train to the city.
I knew this address from the letter. I determined to stay around all
night, if necessary. She got in before I could get to her, but I rang
the bell and managed to get my foot in the door a minute later. I heard
the struggle. Where were you? I heard your voice in here but you came
through the front door."

Garrick did not take time to explain. He was too busy over Violet
Winslow.

A feeble moan and a flutter of the eyelids told that she was coming out
from the effects of the anaesthetic and the drug.

"Mortimer--Mortimer!" she moaned, half conscious. "Don't let them take
me. Oh where is--"

Warrington leaned over, as Garrick removed the cap of the pulmotor, and
gently raised her head on his arm.

"It's all right--Violet," he whispered, his face close to hers as his
warm breath fanned her now flushed and fevered cheek.

She opened her eyes and vaguely understood as the mist cleared from her
brain.

Instinctively she clung to him as he pressed his lips lightly on her
forehead, in a long passionate caress.

"Get a cab, Tom," said Garrick turning his back suddenly on them and
placing his hand on my shoulder as he edged me toward the hall. "It's
too late to pursue that fellow, now. He's slipped through our fingers
again--confound him!"



CHAPTER XIX

THE EAVESDROPPER AGAIN


It took our combined efforts now to take care not only of Violet
Winslow but Warrington himself, who was on the verge of collapse after
his heroic rescue of her.

I found the cab and in perhaps half an hour Miss Winslow was so far
recovered that she could be taken to the hotel where she and her aunt
had engaged rooms for the night.

We drew up at an unfrequented side carriage entrance of the hotel in
order to avoid the eyes of the curious and Warrington jumped out to
assist Violet. The strain had told on him and in spite of his desire to
take care of her, he was glad to let Garrick guide him to the elevator,
while I took Miss Winslow's arm to assist her.

Our first object had been to get our two invalids where they could have
quiet and so regain their strength and we rode up in the elevator,
unannounced, to the suite of Violet and her aunt.

"For heaven's sake--Violet--what's all this?" exclaimed Mrs. de Lancey
as we four entered the room.

It was the first time we had seen the redoubtable Aunt Emma. She was a
large woman, well past middle age, and must have been handsome, rather
than pretty, when she was younger. Everything about Mrs. de Lancey was
correct, absolutely correct. Her dress looked like a form into which
she had been poured, every line and curve being just as it should be,
having "set" as if she had been made of reinforced concrete. In short,
she was a woman of "force."

An incursion such as we made seemed to pain her correct soul acutely.
And yet, I fancied that underneath the marble exterior there was a
heart and that secretly she was both proud and jealous of her dainty
niece.

Violet sank into a chair and Garrick deposited Warrington, thoroughly
exhausted, on a couch.

Mrs. de Lancey looked sternly at Warrington, as though in some way he
might be responsible. I could not help feeling that she had a peculiar
sense of conscientiousness about him, that she was just a bit more
strict in gauging him than she would have been if he had not been the
wealthy young Mr. Warrington whom scores and hundreds of mothers and
guardians in society would have welcomed for the sake of marriageable
daughters no matter how black and glaring his faults. I was glad to see
the way Warrington took it. He seemed to want to rest not on the merits
of the Warrington blood nor the Warrington gold, but on plain Mortimer
Warrington himself.

"What HAS happened, Violet?" repeated Mrs. de Lancey.

Violet had, woman-like, in spite of her condition caught the stern look
that her aunt had shot at Warrington.

"Nothing, now," she replied with a note of defiance. "Lucille--seems to
have been a--a bad woman--friendly with bad men. Mr. Garrick overheard
a plot to carry me off and telephoned Mortimer. Fortunately when
Mortimer went up home to warn us, he found the letter and knew where I
was going to-night. Ill as he was, he came all the way to the city,
followed me into that house, saved me--even before Mr. Garrick could
get there."

Violet's duenna was considerably mollified, though she tried hard not
to admit it. Garrick seized the opportunity and poured forth a brief
but connected story of what had happened.

"Well," exclaimed Mrs. de Lancey as he finished, "you children ought to
be very thankful it isn't worse. Violet, I think I'll call up the house
physician. You certainly need a doctor. And as for you, Mortimer,--you
can't go to your apartment. Violet tells me it is all burned out.
There's an empty suite across the hall. I'll telephone the room clerk
and engage it for you. And you need a doctor, too. Now--there's going
to be no more foolishness. You're both going to stay right here in this
hotel until you're all right. Your mother and I were great friends,
Mortimer, when we were girls. I--you must let me PLAY mother--for her
sake."

I had been right about Mrs. de Lancey. Her voice softened and I saw a
catch in Warrington's throat, too, at the mention of the mother he
remembered only hazily as a small boy.

Violet and Warrington exchanged glances. I fancied the wireless said,
"We've won the old lady over, at last," for Warrington continued to
look at her, while she blushed a bit, then dropped her eyes to hide a
happy tear.

Mrs. de Lancey was bustling about and I felt sure that in another
minute every available bellhop in the hotel would be at work. As
Warrington might have said in his slang, "Action is her middle name."

Garrick rose and bade our two patients a hasty good-night, tactfully
forgetting to be offended by their lack of interest now in anything
except each other.

"I doubt if they get much chance to be alone--not with that woman
mothering them," he smiled to me, drawing me toward the door. "Don't
let's spoil this chance."

Mrs. de Lancey was busy in the next room, as we stopped to say good-bye
to her.

"I--I can't talk to you--now, Mr. Garrick," she cried, with a sudden,
unwonted show of emotion, taking both his hands in hers. "You--you've
saved my girl--there--there's nothing in this world you could have done
for me--greater."

"Mrs. de Lancey," replied Garrick, deftly changing the subject,
"there's just one thing. I'm afraid you are--have been, I mean,--a
little hard on Mr. Warrington. He isn't what you think--"

"Mr. Garrick," she returned, in a sudden burst of confidence, "I'm
afraid you, too, misunderstand me. I am not hard on the boy. But,
remember. I knew his mother and father--intimately. Think of it,
sir--the responsibilities that rest on that young man. Do you wonder
that I--I want him better than others? Don't you see--that is why I
want to hold him up to the highest standard. If Violet--marries him,"
she seemed to choke over the word,--"they must meet tests that ordinary
people never know. Don't you understand? I've seen other young men and
other young women in our circle--they were our babies once--I've seen
them--go down. But I--I am proud. The Winslows, yes, and the
Warringtons, they,--they SHAN'T go down--not while I have an ounce of
strength or a grain of sanity. Nothing--nothing but the best that is in
us--counts."

I think Mrs. de Lancey and Garrick understood each other perfectly
after that. He said nothing, in fact did not need to say anything, for
he looked it.

"I feel that I can safely resign my job as guardian," was all he
remarked, finally. "Neither of them could be in better hands. Only,
keep that boy quiet a few days. You can do it better than I can--you
and Miss Winslow. Trust me to do the rest."

A moment later we were passing out through the hotel lobby, as Garrick
glanced at his watch.

"A wonderful woman, after all," he mused, in the manner of one who
revises an estimate formed hastily on someone else's hearsay. "Well,
it's too late to do anything more to-night. I suppose those papers are
printed down at the Star. We'll stop and get them in the morning. Did
you recognise the voice over the vocaphone?"

"I can't say I did," I confessed.

"Perhaps you aren't used to it and things sound too metallic to you.
But I did. It was the Chief."

"I suspected as much," I replied. "Where do you suppose he went?"

Garrick shrugged his shoulders.

"I doubt whether we could find him in New York to-night," he answered,
slowly. "I think he must feel by this time that the town is getting too
hot for him."

There was nothing that I could say, and I played the part admirably.

"Come," he decided, as he turned from the hotel in the direction, now,
of our apartment. "Let's snatch a little rest. We'll need it to-morrow
for the final spurt."

Tired and exhausted though I was I cannot say that I slept. At least,
it may have been physical rest that I got. Certainly my mind never
stopped in its dream play, as the kaleidoscopic stream of events passed
before me, now in their true form, now in the fantastic shapes that
constitute one of the most interesting studies of the modern psychology.

I was glad when I heard Garrick stirring in his room in the early
daylight and heard him call out, "Are you awake, Tom? There are some
things I want to attend to, while you drop into the Star for those
papers. I'm afraid you'll have to breakfast alone. Meet me at my office
as soon as you can."

He was off a few minutes later, as fresh as though he had been on a
vacation instead of plunged into the fight of his life. I followed him,
more leisurely, and then rode down in the infernal jam in the subway to
execute his commission.

Then for an hour or two I fidgeted impatiently in his office waiting
for him, until finally he came downtown in the racing car which
Warrington had placed at his disposal.

He said nothing, but it was all the same to me. I had reached that
nervous state where I craved something doing, as a drug-fiend craves
the dope that sets his brain on fire again.

I did not ask where he was going, for I knew it intuitively, and it was
not long before we were again in the part of the city where the
gangster's garage was located.

We stopped and Garrick beckoned to an urchin, a couple of blocks below
the garage.

"Do you want to make a dollar, kid?" he asked, jingling four quarters
enticingly.

The boy's eyes never left the fist that held the tempting bait.
"Betcherlife," he answered.

"Well, then," instructed Garrick, "take these newspapers. I don't want
you to sell any of them on the street. But when you come to that garage
over there--see it?--I want you to yell, 'Extra--special extra! All
about the great gambling exposure. Warrants out!' Just go in there.
They'll buy, all right. And if you say a word about anyone giving you
these papers to sell--I'll chase you and get back this dollar to the
last cent. You'll go to the Gerry Society--get me?"

The boy did. The bait was as alluring as the threat terrible. After
Garrick had given him final instructions not to start with the papers
for at least five minutes, we slipped quietly around the next street
and came out near the Old Tavern, but not in front of it.

Garrick left the car--I had been riding almost on the mud guard--in
charge of Warrington's man, who was to appear to be tinkering with the
engine as an excuse for waiting there, and to keep an eye on anything
that happened down the street.

We made our way into our room at the Tavern with more than ordinary
caution, for fear that something might have been discovered.
Apparently, however, the discovery of one detectaphone had been enough
to disarm further suspicion, and the garage keeper had not thought it
necessary to examine the telephone wires to see whether they had been
tampered with in any way. The wire which he had thought led to the
warehouse had seemed quite sufficient to explain everything.

In the room which we had used so much, we found the other detectaphone
working splendidly. Garrick picked it up.

By the sound, evidently, someone in the garage was overhauling a car.
It may have been that they were fixing one up so that its rightful
owner would never recognize it, or they may have been getting ready to
take one out. There was no way of determining.

We could hear one of the workmen helping about the car, a man whom we
had listened to when the instrument first introduced us to the place.
The second machine, connected with the telephone, did not transmit
quite as clearly as the broken detective device had done, but it served
and, besides, we could both hear through this and could confirm
anything that might be indistinct to either of us alone.

"The Chief has gone up-state," remarked Garrick, piecing together the
conversation where we had broken into it.

"We had to hustle to make that boat," remarked a voice which I
recognised as that of one of the men.

"But she got off all right, didn't she?"

"Sure--he had the tickets and everything, and her baggage had already
gone aboard."

"That's Lucille, I suppose," supplied Garrick. "No doubt part of her
bribe for getting Miss Winslow into their power was free passage back
to France. We can't stop to take up her case, yet."

"My--but the Chief was mad," continued the voice of the man who must
have been not only a machinist but a chauffeur when occasion demanded.
"He had a package of letters. I don't know what they were--looked as if
they might be from some woman."

"What did he do with them?" asked the Boss in a tone that showed that
he knew something, at least, about them already.

"Why, he was so mad after that fellow Garrick and the other fellow beat
him out, that when we went down along West Street to the boat with that
other woman, he tore them up and threw them in the river."

"Did he say anything?"

"Why, I tell you he was mad. He tore 'em up and threw them in the
river. I think he said there wasn't a damn thing in 'em except a lot of
mush, anyhow."

An amused smile crossed Garrick's face as he added, parenthetically,
"Good-bye to Warrington's love letters that they took from his safe."

"At least there has been nothing they managed to get that night of the
fire that they have been able to use against Warrington," I remarked,
with satisfaction.

"Listen," cautioned Garrick. "What's that they are saying? Someone has
told the Boss--he's talking--that they can go over Dillon's head and
get back all the gambling paraphernalia? Well, I've been there, at the
raided place, to-day, and it doesn't look so. The stuff has all been
taken down to headquarters. Ah, so that is the game that is in the
wind, is it? Get it all back by a court order and open somewhere else.
Here's our boy."

The improvised newsboy had apparently stuck his head in the door as he
had been instructed, for we could hear them greet him with a growl,
until he yelled lustily, "Extry, special extry! All about the big
gambling exposure! Warrants out! Extry!"

"Hey, you kid," came a voice from the detectaphone, "let's see that
paper. What is it--the Star? Well, I'll be--! Read that. Someone's
snitched to the district attorney, I'll bet. That'll make the Chief
sore, all right--and he's 'way up in the country, too. I don't dare
wire it to him. No, someone'll have to take a copy of this paper up
there to him and tip him off. He'll be redheaded if he doesn't know
about it. He was the last time anything happened. Hurry up. Finish with
this car. I'll take it myself."

Garrick laughed, almost gleefully.

"The plant has begun to work," he cried. "We'll wait here until just
before he's ready to start. Three of us around our car on the street
are too many. He must be getting ready for a long run."

"How much gas is there in this tank?" the gruff voice of the Boss
demanded. "You dummy--not two gallons! No, you finish what you're
doing. I'll fill it myself. There isn't any time for fooling now."

There was the steady trickle of the stream of gasoline as he drew it.

"Any extra tires? What! Not a new shoe in the place? Give me a couple
of the best of those old ones. Never mind. Here are two over by the
telephone. Say, what the devil is this wire back here--cut in on the
telephone wire? Well,--rip it out! That's some more of that fellow
Garrick's work. We got rid of one thing the other night. Well, thank
heaven, I didn't have any telephone calls to-day. While I'm gone, you
go over this place thoroughly. God knows how many other things he may
have put in here."

"Confound it!" muttered Garrick, as a pair of pliers made our second
detectaphone die with an expiring gasp in the middle of a sentence of
profanity.

"Come on, Tom," he shouted.

There was no use now in remaining any longer in the room. Gathering up
the receiving apparatus, Garrick quickly carried it down and tossed it
into the waiting car around the corner. Then he sent Warrington's man
to hang around, up the street, and watch what was going on at the
garage.

Garrick was to drive the car himself, and we were going to leave
Warrington's man behind. We could tell by the actions of the man as he
stood down the street that something was taking place at the garage.

We could hear a horn blow, and I knew that the doors had opened and a
big car had been backed out, slowly. Our own engine was running
perfectly in spite of the seeming trouble with which we had covered up
our delay. Garrick jumped in at the wheel, and I followed. The man on
the corner was signalling that the car was going in the opposite
direction. We leaped ahead.

As the big car ahead slipped along eastward, we followed at such a
distance as not to attract attention. It was easy enough to do that,
but not so easy to avoid getting tied up among the trucks laden with
foodstuffs of every description which blocked the streets over in this
part of town.

Where the car ahead was bound, we did not know, but I could see that
the driver was a stocky fellow, who slouched down into his seat, and
handled his car almost as if it had been a mere toy. It was, I felt
positive, the man whom McBirney had reported one night about the
neighbourhood of Longacre Square in the car which had once been
Warrington's. This, at least, was a different car, I knew. Now I
realised the wisdom of allowing this man, whom they called the Boss, to
go free. Under the influence of Garrick's "plant," he was to lead us to
the right trail to the Chief.

It was easier now to follow the car since it had worked its way into
lower Fifth Avenue. On uptown it went. We hung on doggedly in the mass
of traffic going north at this congested hour.

At last it turned into Forty-seventh Street. It was stopping at the
ladies' gambling joint, apparently to confirm the news. I had thought
that the place was closed, until the present trouble blew over, but it
seemed that there must be someone there. The Boss was evidently well
known, for he was immediately admitted.

Garrick did not stop. He kept on around the corner to the raided
poolroom on the next street. Dillon's man, who had been stationed there
to watch the place, bowed and admitted him.

"I'm going to throw it into him good, this time," remarked Garrick, as
he entered. "I've been planning this stunt for an emergency--and it's
here. Now for the big scare!"



CHAPTER XX

THE SPEAKING ARC


"Looks pretty deserted here," remarked Garrick to Dillon's man, who had
accompanied us from the door into the now deserted gambling den.

"Yes," he grinned, "there's not much use in keeping me here since they
took all the stuff to headquarters. Now and then one of the old
rounders who has been out of town and hasn't heard of the raid comes
in. You should see their faces change when they catch sight of my
uniform. They never stop to ask questions," he chuckled. "They just
beat it."

I was wondering how the police regarded Garrick's part in the matter,
and while Garrick was busy I asked, "Have you seen Inspector Herman
lately?"

The man laughed.

"What's the matter?" I asked, "Is he sore at having the raid pulled off
over his head?"

"Sore?" the roundsman repeated, "Oh, not a bit, not a bit. He enjoyed
it. It gave him so much credit," the man added sarcastically,
"especially after he fell down in getting the evidence against that
other place around the corner."

"Was that his case, too?" I asked.

"Sure," replied the policeman. "Didn't you know that? That Rena Taylor
was working under his orders when she was killed. They tell me at
headquarters he's working overtime on the case and other things
connected with it. He hasn't said much, but there's someone he is
after--I know. Mark my words. Herman is always most dangerous when he's
quiet. The other day he was in here, said there was a man who used to
be seen here a good deal in the palmy days, who had disappeared. I
don't know who he was, but Herman asked me to keep a particular lookout
to see if he came back for any purpose. There's someone he suspects,
all right."

I wondered why the man told me. He must have seen, by the look on my
face, that I was thinking that.

"I wouldn't tell it to everybody," he added confidentially, "only, most
of us don't like Herman any too well. He's always trying to hog it
all--gets all the credit if we pick up a clew, and,--well, most of us
wouldn't be exactly disappointed to see Mr. Garrick succeed--that's
all."

Garrick was calling from the back room to me, and I excused myself,
while the man went back to his post at the front door. Garrick
carefully closed the door into the room.

While I had been busy getting the copies of the faked edition of the
Star, which had so alarmed the owner of the garage and had set things
moving rapidly, Garrick had also been busy, in another direction. He
had explored not only the raided gambling den, but the little back yard
which ran all the way to an extension on the rear of the house in the
next street, in which was situated the woman's poolroom.

He had explored, also, the caved-in tunnel enough to make absolutely
certain that his suspicions had been correct in the first place, and
that it ran to this other joint, from which the gamblers had made their
escape. That had satisfied him, however, and he had not unearthed the
remains of the tunnel or taken any action in the matter yet. Something
else appeared to interest him much more at the present moment.

"I found," he said when he was sure that we were alone, "that the feed
wire of the arc light that burns all the time in that main room over
there in the place on Forty-seventh Street--you recall it?--runs in
through the back of the house."

He was examining two wires which, from his manner, I inferred were
attached to this feed wire, leading to it from the room in which we now
were. What the purpose of the connection was I had no idea. Perhaps, I
thought, it was designed to get new evidence against the place, though
I could not guess how it was to be done. So far, except for what we had
seen on our one visit, there had appeared to be no real evidence
against the place, except, possibly, that which had died with the
unfortunate Rena Taylor.

"What's that?" I asked, as Garrick produced a package from a closet
where he had left it, earlier in the day.

I saw, after he had unwrapped it, that it was a very powerful
microphone and a couple of storage cells. He attached it to the wire
leading out to the electric light feed wire.

"I had provided it to be used in an emergency," he replied. "I think
the time has come sooner than I anticipated."

I watched him curiously, wondering what it would be that would come
next.

There followed a most amazing series of groanings and mutterings from
Garrick. I could not imagine what he was up to. The whole proceeding
seemed so insane that, for the moment, it left me nonplussed and
speechless.

Garrick caught the puzzled look on my face.

"What's the matter?" he laughed heartily, cutting out the microphone
momentarily and seeming to enjoy the joke to the utmost.

"Would you prefer to be sent to a State or a private institution?" I
rasped, testily. "What insanity is all this? It sounds like the
fee-faw-fum and mummery of a voodoo man."

"Come, now, Tom," he rejoined, argumentatively. "You know as well as I
do what sort of people those gamblers are--superstitious as the deuce.
I did this once before to-day. This is a good time to do it again,
before they persuade themselves that there is nothing in that story
which we printed in the Star. That fellow is in there now, probably in
that room where we were, and it is possible that they may reassure him
and settle his fears. Now, just suppose a murder had been committed in
a room, and you knew it, and heard groanings and mutterings--from
nowhere, just in the air, about you, overhead--what would you do, if
you were inclined to be superstitious?"

Before I could answer, he had resumed the antics which before I had
found so inexplicable.

"Cut out and run, I suppose," I replied. "But what has that to do with
the case? The groanings are here--not there. You haven't been able to
get in over there to attach anything, have you? What do you mean?"

"No," he admitted, "but did you ever hear what you could do with a
microphone, a rheostat, and a small transformer coil if you attached
them properly to a direct-current electric lighting circuit? No? Well,
an amateur with a little knowledge of electricity could do it. The
thing is easily constructed, and the result is a most complicated
matter."

"Well?" I queried, endeavouring to follow him.

"The electric arc," he continued, "isn't always just a silent electric
light. You know that. You've heard them make noises. Under the right
conditions such a light can be made to talk--the 'speaking arc,' as
Professor Duddell calls it. In other words, an arc light can be made to
act as a telephone receiver."

I could hardly believe the thing possible, but Garrick went on
explaining.

"You might call it the arcophone, I suppose. The scientific fact of the
matter is that the arc is sensitive to very small variations of the
current. These variations may run over a wide range of frequency. That
suggested to Duddell that a direct-current arc might be used as a
telephone receiver. All that you need is to add a microphone current to
the main arc current. The arc reproduces sounds and speech distinctly,
loud enough, even, to be heard several feet away from the light."

He had cut out the microphone again while he was talking to me. He
switched it in again with the words, "Now, get ready, Tom. Just one
more; then we must hurry around in that car of ours and watch the fun."

This time he was talking into the microphone. In a most solemn,
sepulchral voice he repeated, "Let the slayer of Rena Taylor beware.
She will be avenged! Beware! It will be a life for a life!"

Three times he repeated it, to make sure that it would carry. Then,
grabbing up his hat and coat, he dashed out of the room, past the
surprised policeman at the door, and took the steps in front of the
house almost at a bound.

We hardly had time to enter our own car and reach the corner of
Forty-seventh Street, when the big black automobile which we had
followed uptown shot by almost before the traffic man at the crossing
could signal a clear road.

"We must hang onto him!" cried Garrick, turning to follow. "Did you
catch a glimpse of his face? It's our man, the go-between, the keeper
of the garage whom they call the Boss. He was as pale as if he had seen
a ghost. I guess he did think he heard one. Between the news-paper fake
and the speaking arc, I think we've got him going. There he is."

It was an exciting ride, for the man ahead was almost reckless, though
he seemed to know instinctively still just when to put on bursts of
speed and when to slow down to escape being arrested for speeding. We
hung on, managing to keep something less than a couple of blocks behind
him. It was evident that he was making for the ferry uptown across the
river to New Jersey, and, taking advantage of this knowledge, Garrick
was able to drop back a little, and approach the ferry by going down a
different street so that there was no hint yet that we were following
him.

By judicious jockeying we succeeded in getting on the boat on the
opposite side from the car we were following, and in such a way that we
could get off as soon as he could. We managed to cross the ferry, and,
in the general scramble that attends the landing, to negotiate the hill
on the other side of the river without attracting the attention of the
man in the other car. His one idea seemed to be speed, and he had no
suspicion, apparently, that in his flight he was being followed.

As we bowled along, forced by circumstances to take the fellow's dust,
Garrick would quietly chuckle now and then to himself.

"Fancy what he must have thought," he chortled. "First the newspaper
that sent him scurrying up to the gambling place for more news, or to
spread the alarm, and then, while they were sitting about, perhaps
while someone was talking about the strange voices they had already
heard this morning, suddenly the voice from nowhere. Can you blame them
if they thought it was a warning from the grave?"

Whatever actually had happened in the gambling house, the practical
effect was all that even Garrick could have desired. Hour after hour,
we hung to that car ahead, leaving behind the cities, and passing along
the regular road through town after town.

Sometimes the road was well oiled, and we would have to drop back a bit
to escape too close observation. Then we would strike a stretch where
it was dry. The clouds of dust served to hide us. On we went until it
was apparent that the man was now headed at least in the direction of
Tuxedo.

We now passed the boundary between New York state and New Jersey and
soon after that came to the house of Dr. Mead where Warrington had been
convalescing until Garrick's warning had brought him, still half ill,
down to the city to protect Violet Winslow. In fact, the road seemed
replete with interesting reminiscences of the case, for a few miles
back was the spot where Rena Taylor's body had been found, as well as
the garage whence had come the rumour of the blood-stained car. There
was no chance to stop and tell the surprised Dr. Mead just what had
become of his patient and we had to trust that Warrington would explain
his sudden disappearance himself. In fact, Garrick scarcely looked to
either the right or left, so intent was he on not missing for an
instant the car that was leading us in this long chase.

On we sped, around the bend where Warrington had been held up. It was a
nasty curve, even in the daytime.

"I think this fellow ahead noticed the place," gritted Garrick, leaning
forward. "He seemed to slow up a bit as he turned. I hope he didn't
notice us as he turned his head back slightly."

It made no difference, if he did, for, the curve passed, he was
evidently feeding the gas faster than ever. We turned the curve also,
the forward car something more than a quarter of a mile ahead of us.

"We must take a chance and close up on him," said Garrick, as he, too,
accelerated his speed, not a difficult thing to do with the almost
perfect racer of Warrington's. "He may turn off at a crossroad at any
time, now."

Still our man kept on, bowling northward along the fine state road that
led to one of the richest parts of the country.

He came to the attractive entrance to Tuxedo Park. Almost, I had
expected him to turn in. At least I should not have been surprised if
he had done so.

However, he kept on northward, past the entrance to the Park. We hung
doggedly on.

Where was he going? I wondered whether Garrick might have been wrong,
after all. Half a mile lengthened into a mile. Still he was speeding on.

But Garrick had guessed right. Sure enough, at a cross road, the other
car slowed down, then quickly swung around, off the main road.

"What are you going to do?" I asked Garrick quickly. "If we turn also,
that will be too raw. Surely he'll notice that."

"Going to stop," cried Garrick, taking in the situation instantly.
"Come on, Tom, jump out. We'll fake a little tire trouble, in case he
should look around and see us stopping here. I'll keep the engine
running."

We went back and stood ostentatiously by the rear wheel. Garrick bent
over it, keeping his eye fixed on the other car, now perhaps half a
mile along on the narrow crossroad.

It neared the top of a hill on the other side of the valley across
which the road wound like a thin brown line, then dipped down over the
crest and was lost on the other side.

Garrick leaped back into our car and I followed. He turned the bend
almost on two wheels, and let her out as we swept down a short hill and
then took the gentle incline on high speed, eating up the distance as
though it had been inches instead of nearly a mile.

A short distance from the top of the hill, Garrick applied the brake,
just in time so that the top of our car would not be visible to one who
had passed on down the next incline into the valley beyond.

"Let us walk up the rest of the way," he said quickly, "and see what is
on the other side of this hill."

We did so cautiously. Far down below us we could see the car which we
had been trailing all the way up from the city, threading its way along
the country road. We watched it, and as we did so, it slowed up and
turned out, running up a sort of lane that led to what looked like a
trim little country estate.

The car had stopped at an unpretentious house at the end of the lane.
The driver got out and walked up to the back door, which seemed to be
stealthily opened to admit him.

"Good!" exclaimed Garrick. "At last we are on a hot trail!"



CHAPTER XXI

THE SIEGE OF THE BANDITS


As we watched from the top of the hill, I wondered what Garrick's next
move was to be. Surely he would not attempt to investigate the place
yet. In fact, there seemed to be nothing that could be done now, as
long as it was day-light, for any movement in this half-open country
would have been viewed with suspicion by the occupants of the little
house in the valley, whoever they might be.

We could not help viewing the place with a sort of awe. What secrets
did the cottage hide, nestled down there in the valley among these
green hills? Often I had heard that the gunmen of New York, when hard
pressed, sought refuge in the country districts and mountains within a
few miles of the city. There was something incongruous about it. Nature
seemed so perfectly peaceful here that it was the very antithesis of
those sections of the city in which he had found the gunman, whoever he
was, indulging in practically every crime and vice of decadent
civilization.

"So--the one they call the Boss has led up to the refuge of the Chief,
the scientific gunman, at last," Garrick exclaimed, with marked
satisfaction, as we turned and walked slowly back again to our car.

"Yes," I assented, "and now that we have found them--what are we to do
with them?"

"It is still early in the day," Garrick remarked, looking at his watch.
"They suspect no trouble up here. Here they evidently feel safe. No
doubt they think we are still hunting for them fruitlessly in New York.
I think we can afford to leave them here for a few hours. At any rate,
I feel that I must return to the city. I must see Dillon, and then drop
into my office, if we are to accomplish anything against them."

He had turned the car around and we made our way back to the main road,
and then southward again, taking up in earnest the long return trip to
the city and covering the distance in Warrington's racer in a much
shorter time, now that we had not to follow another car and keep under
cover. It was late in the afternoon, however, when we arrived and
Garrick went directly to police headquarters where he held a hasty
conference with Dillon.

Dillon was even more excited than we were when he learned how far we
had gone in tracing out the scant clews that we had uncovered. As
Garrick unfolded his plan, the commissioner immediately began to make
arrangements to accompany us out into the country that night.

I did not hear all that was said, as Garrick and Dillon laid out their
plans, but I could see that they were in perfect accord.

"Very well," I overheard Garrick, as we parted. "I shall go out in the
car again. You will be up on the train?"

"Yes--on the seven-fifty," returned Dillon. "You needn't worry about my
end of it. I'll be there with the goods--just the thing that you want.
I have it."

"Fine," exclaimed Garrick, "I have to make a call at the office. I'll
start as soon as I can, and try to beat you out."

They parted in good humour, for Dillon's passion for adventure was now
thoroughly aroused and I doubt if we could have driven him off with a
club, figuratively speaking.

At the office Garrick tarried only long enough to load the car with
some paraphernalia which he had there, much of which, I knew, he had
brought back with him after his study of police methods abroad. There
were three coats of a peculiar texture, which he took from a wardrobe,
a huge arrangement which looked like a reflector, a little thing that
looked merely like the mouthpiece of a telephone transmitter, and a
large heavy package which might have been anything from a field gun to
a battering ram.

It was twilight when we arrived at the nearest railroad station to the
little cottage in the valley, after another run up into the country in
the car. Dillon who had come up by train to meet us, according to the
arrangement with Garrick, was already waiting, and with him was one of
the most trustworthy and experienced of the police department
chauffeurs. Garrick looked about at the few loungers curiously, but
there did not seem to be any of them who took any suspicious interest
in new arrivals.

We four managed to crowd into a car built only for two, and Garrick
started off. A few minutes later we arrived at the top of the hill from
which we had already viewed the mysterious house earlier in the day. It
was now quite dark. We had met no one since turning off into the
crossroad, and could hear no sound except the continuous music of the
night insects.

Just before crossing the brow of the last hill, we halted and Garrick
turned out all the lights on the car. He was risking nothing that might
lead to discovery yet. With the engine muffled down, we coasted slowly
down the other side of the hill into the shadowy valley. There was no
moon yet and we had to move cautiously, for there was only the faint
light of the sky and stars to guide us.

What was the secret of that unpretentious little house below us? We
peered out in the gathering blackness eagerly in the direction where we
knew it must be, nestled among the trees. Whoever it sheltered was
still there, and we could locate the place by a single gleam that came
from an upper window. Whether there were lights below, we could not
tell. If there were they must have been effectively concealed by blinds
and shades.

"We'll stop here," announced Garrick at last when we had reached a
point on the road a few hundred yards from the house.

He ran the car carefully off the road and into a little clearing in a
clump of dark trees. We got out and pushed stealthily forward through
the underbrush to the edge of the woods. There, on the slope, just a
little way below us, stood the house of mystery.

Garrick and Dillon were busily conferring in an undertone, as I helped
them bring the packages one after another from the car to the edge of
the woods. Garrick had slipped the little telephone mouthpiece into his
pocket, and was carrying the huge reflector carefully, so that it might
not be injured in the darkness. I had the heavy coats of the peculiar
texture over my arm, while Dillon and his man struggled along over the
uncertain pathway, carrying between them the heavy, long, cylindrical
package, which must have weighed some sixty pounds or so.

Garrick had selected as the site of our operations a corner of the
grove where a very large tree raised itself as a landmark, silhouetted
in black against a dark sky. We deposited the stuff there as he
directed.

"Now, Jim," ordered Dillon, walking back to the car with his man, "I
want you to take the car and go back along this road until you reach
the top of the hill."

I could not hear the rest of the order, but it seemed that he was to
meet someone who had preceded us on foot from the railway station and
who must be about due to arrive. I did not know who or what it might
be, but even the thought of someone else made me feel safer, for in so
ticklish a piece of business as this, in dealing with at least a pair
of desperate men such as we knew them to be in the ominously quiet
little house, a second and even a third line of re-enforcements was
not, I felt, amiss.

Garrick in the meantime had set to work putting into position the huge
reflector. At first I thought it might be some method of throwing a
powerful light on the house. But on closer examination I saw that it
could not be a light. The reflector seemed to have been constructed so
that in the focus was a peculiar coil of something, and to the ends of
this coil, Garrick attached two wires which he fastened to an
instrument, cylindrical, with a broadened end, like a telephone
receiver.

Dillon, who had returned by this time, after sending his chauffeur back
on his errand, appeared very much interested in what Garrick was doing.

"Now, Tom," said Garrick, "while I am fixing this thing, I wish you
would help me by undoing that large package carefully."

While I was thus engaged, he continued talking with Dillon in a low
voice, evidently explaining to him the use to which he wished the large
reflector put.

I was working quickly to undo the large package, and as the wrappings
finally came off, I could see that it was some bulky instrument that
looked like a huge gun, or almost a mortar. It had a sort of barrel
that might have been, say, forty inches in length, and where the
breechlock should have been on an ordinary gun was a great
hemispherical cavity. There was also a peculiar arrangement of springs
and wheels in the butt.

"The coats?" he asked, as he took from the wrappings of the package
several rather fragile looking tubes.

I had laid them down near us and handed them over to him. They were
quite heavy, and had a rough feel.

"So-called bullet-proof cloth," explained Garrick. "At close range,
quite powerful lunges of a dagger or knife recoil from it, and at a
distance ordinary bullets rebound from it, flattened. We'll try it,
anyway. It will do no harm, and it may do good. Now we are ready,
Dillon."

"Wait just a minute," cautioned Dillon. "Let me see first whether that
chauffeur has returned. He can run that engine so quietly that I myself
can't hear it."

He had disappeared into the darkness toward the road, where he had
despatched the car a few minutes before. Evidently the chauffeur had
been successful in his mission, for Dillon was back directly with a
hasty, "Yes, all right. He's backing the car around so that he can run
it out on the road instantly in either direction. He'll be here in a
moment."

Garrick had in the meantime been roughly sketching on the back of an
old envelope taken from his pocket. Evidently he had been estimating
the distance of the house from the tree back of which he stood, and
worked with the light of a shaded pocket flashlight.

"Ready, then," he cried, jumping up and advancing to the peculiar
instrument which I had unwrapped. He was in his element now. After all
the weary hours of watching and preparation, here was action at last,
and Garrick went to it like a starved man at food.

First he elevated the clumsy looking instrument pointed in the general
direction of the house. He had fixed the angle at approximately that
which he had hastily figured out on the envelope. Then he took a
cylinder about twelve inches long, and almost half as much in diameter,
a huge thing, constructed, it seemed, of a substance that was almost as
brittle as an eggshell. Into the large hemispherical cavity in the
breech of the gun he shoved it. He took another quick look at the light
gleaming from the house in the darkness ahead of us.

"What is it?" I asked, indicating the "gun."

"This is what is known as the Mathiot gun," he explained as he brought
it into action, "invented by a French scientist for the purpose,
expressly, of giving the police a weapon to use against the automobile
bandits who entrench themselves, when cornered, in houses and garages,
as they have done in the outskirts of Paris, and as some anarchists did
once in a house in London."

"What does it do?" asked Dillon, who had taken a great interest in the
thing.

"It throws a bomb which emits suffocating gases without risking the
lives of the police," answered Garrick. "In spite of the fragility of
the bombs that I have here, it has been found that they will penetrate
a wooden door or even a thin brick partition before the fuse explodes
them. One bomb will render a room three hundred feet off uninhabitable
in thirty seconds. Now--watch!"

He had exploded the gun by hand, striking the flat head of a hammer
against the fulminating cap. The gun gave a bark. A low, whistling
noise and a crash followed.

"Too short," muttered Garrick, elevating the angle of the gun a trifle.

Quite evidently someone was moving in the house. There was a shadow, as
of someone passing between the light in the upper story and the window
on our side of the house.

Again the gun barked, and another bomb went hurtling through the air.
This time it hit the house squarely. Another followed in rapid
succession, and the crash of glass told that it had struck a window.
Garrick was sending them now as fast as he could. They had taken
effect, too, for the light was out, whether extinguished by gases or by
the hand of someone who realized that it afforded an excellent mark to
shoot at. Still, it made no difference, now, for we had the range.

"The house must be full of the stifling gases," panted Garrick, as he
stopped to wipe the perspiration from his face, after his rapid work,
clad in the heavy coat. "No man could stand up against that. I wonder
how our friend of the garage likes it, Tom? It is some of his own
medicine--the Chief, I mean. He tried it on us on a small scale very
successfully that night with his stupefying gun."

"I hope one of them hit him," ground out Dillon, who had no relish even
for the recollection of that night. "What next? Do you have to wait
until the gases clear away before we can make a break and go in there?"

Garrick had anticipated the question. Already he was buttoning up his
long coat. We did the same, mechanically.

"No, Dillon. You and Jim stay here," ordered Garrick. "You will get the
signal from us what to do next. Tom, come on."

He had already dashed ahead into the darkness, and I followed blindly,
stumbling over a ploughed field, then a fence over which we climbed
quickly, and found ourselves in the enclosure where was the house. I
had no idea what we were running up against, but a dog which had been
chained in the rear broke away from his fastening at sight of us, and
ran at us with a lusty and savage growl. Garrick planted a shot
squarely in his head.

Without wasting time on any formalities, such as ringing the bell, we
kicked and battered in the back door. We paused a moment, not from fear
but because the odor inside was terrific. No one could have stayed in
that house and retained his senses. One by one, Garrick flung open the
windows, and we were forced to stick our heads out every few minutes in
order to keep our own breath.

From one room to another we proceeded, without finding anyone. Then we
mounted to the second floor. The odour was worse there, but still we
found no one.

The light on the third floor had been extinguished, as I have said. We
made our way toward the corner where it had been. Room after room we
entered, but still found no one. At last we came to a door that was
locked. Together we wrenched it open.

There was surely nothing for us to fear in this room, for a bomb had
penetrated it, and had filled it completely. As we rushed in, Garrick
saw a figure sprawled on the floor, near the bed, in the corner.

"Quick, Tom!" he shouted, "Open that other window. I'll attend to this
man. He's groggy, anyhow."

Garrick had dropped down on his knees and had deftly slipped a pair of
handcuffs on the unresisting wrists of the man. Then he staggered to my
side at the open window, for air.

"Heavens--this is awful!" he gasped and sputtered. "I wonder where they
all went?"

"Who is this fellow?" I asked.

"I don't know yet. I couldn't see."

A moment later, together, we had dragged the unconscious man to the
window with us, while I fanned him with my hat and Garrick was wetting
his face with water from a pitcher of ice on the table.

"Good Lord!" Garrick exclaimed suddenly, as in the fitful light he bent
over the figure. "Do you see who it is?"

I bent down too and peered more closely.

It was Angus Forbes.

Strange to say, here was the young gambler whom we had seen at the
gambling joint before it was raided, the long-lost and long-sought
Forbes who had disappeared after the raid, and from whom no one had yet
heard a word.

I did not know his story, but I knew enough to be sure that he had been
in love with Violet himself, and, although Warrington had once come to
his rescue and settled thousands of dollars of his gambling debts, was
sore at Warrington for closing the gambling joint where he hoped
ultimately to recoup his losses. More than that, he was probably
equally sore at Warrington for winning the favour of the girl whose
fortune might have settled his own debts, if he had had a free field to
court her.

Why was Forbes here, I asked myself. The fumes of the bombs from the
Mathiot gun may have got into my head but, at least as far as I could
see, they had not made my mind any the less active. I felt that his
presence here, apparently as one of the gang, explained many things.

Who, I reasoned, would have been more eager to "get" Warrington at any
cost than he? I never had any love for the fellow, who had allowed his
faults and his temptations so far to get the upper hand of him. I had
felt a sort of pity at first, but the incident of the cancelled markers
in the gambling joint and now the discovery of him here had changed
that original feeling into one that was purely of disgust.

These thoughts were coursing through my fevered brain while Garrick was
working hard to bring him around.

Suddenly a mocking voice came from the hall.

"Yes, it's Forbes, all right, and much good may it do you to have him!"

The door to the room, which opened outward, banged shut. The lock had
been broken by us in forcing an entrance. There must have been two of
them out in the hall, for we heard the noise and scraping of feet, as
they piled up heavy furniture against the door, dragging it from the
next room before we could do anything. Piece after piece was wedged in
between our door and the opposite wall.

We could hear them taunt us as they worked, and I thought I recognised
at once the voice of the stocky keeper of the garage, the Boss, whom I
had heard so often before over our detectaphone. The other voice, which
seemed to me to be disguised, I found somewhat familiar, yet I could
not place it. It must have been, I thought, that of the man whom we had
come to know and fear under the appellation of the Chief.

We could hear them laugh, now, as they cursed us and wished us luck
with our capture. It was galling.

Evidently, too, they had not much use for Forbes, and, indeed, at such
a crisis I do not think he would have been much more than an additional
piece of animated impedimenta. Dissipation had not added anything to
the physical prowess of Forbes.

With a parting volley of profanity, they stamped down the narrow stairs
to the ground floor, and a few seconds afterward we could hear them
back of the house, working over the machine which we had followed up
from New York earlier in the day. Evidently there were several machines
in the barn which served them as garage, but this was the handiest.

They had cranked it up, and were debating which way they should go.

"The shots came from the direction of the main road," the Boss said.
"We had better go in the opposite direction. There may be more of them
coming. Hurry up!"

At least, it seemed, there had been only three of them in this refuge
which they had sought up in the hills and valleys of the Ramapos. Of
that we could now be reasonably certain. One of them we had
captured--and had ourselves been captured into the bargain.

I stuck my head out of the window to look at the other two down below,
only to feel myself dragged unceremoniously back by Garrick.

"What's the use of taking that risk, Tom?" he expostulated. "One shot
from them and you would be a dead one."

Fortunately they had not seen me, so intent were they on getting away.
They had now seated themselves in the car and, as Garrick had
suspected, could not resist delivering a parting shot at us, emptying
the contents of an automatic blindly up at our window. Garrick and I
were, as it happened, busy on the opposite side of the room.

All thought of Forbes was dropped for the present. Garrick said not a
word but continued at work in the corner of the room by the other
broken window.

"Either they must have succeeded in getting out after the first shot
and so escaped the fumes," muttered Garrick finally, "and hid in the
stable, or, perhaps, they were out there at work anyhow. Still that
makes little difference now. They must have seen us go in, have
followed us quietly, and then caught us here."

With a hasty final imprecation, the car below started forward with a
jerk and was swallowed up in the darkness.



CHAPTER XXII

THE MAN HUNT


Here we were, locked in a little room on the top floor of the
mysterious house. I looked out of both windows. There was no way to
climb down and it was too far to jump, especially in the uncertain
darkness. I threw myself at the door. It had been effectually braced by
our captors.

Garrick, in the meantime, had lighted the light again, and placed it by
the window.

Forbes, now partly recovered, was rambling along, and Garrick, with one
eye on him and the other on something which he was working over in the
light, was too busy to pay much attention to my futile efforts to find
a means of escape.

At first we could not make out what it was that Forbes was trying to
tell us, but soon, as the fresh air in the room revived him, his voice
became stronger. Apparently he recognised us and was trying to offer an
explanation of his presence here.

"He kidnapped me--brought me here," Forbes was muttering. "Three
days--I've been shut up in this room."

"Who brought you here?" I demanded sharply.

"I don't know his name--man at the gambling place--after the raid--said
he'd take me in his car somewhere--from the other place back of
it--last I remember--must have drugged me--woke up here--all I know."

"You've been a prisoner, then?" I queried.

"Yes," he murmured.

"A likely story," I remarked, looking questioningly at Garrick who had
been listening but had not ceased his own work, whatever it was. "What
are you going to do, Guy? We can't stay here and waste time over such
talk as this while they are escaping. They must be almost to the road
now, and turning down in the opposite direction from Dillon and his
man."

Garrick said nothing. Either he was too busy solving our present
troubles or he was, like myself, not impressed by Forbes' incoherent
story. He continued to adjust the little instrument which I had seen
him draw from his pocket and now recognised as the thing which looked
like a telephone transmitter. Only, the back of it seemed to gleam with
a curious brightness under the rays of the light, as he handled it.

"They have somehow contrived to escape the effect of the bombs," he was
saying, "and have surprised us in the room on the top floor where the
light is. We are up here with a young fellow named Forbes, whom we have
captured. He's the young man that I saw several times at the gambling
joint and was at dinner with Warrington the night when the car was
stolen. He was pretty badly overcome by the fumes, but I've brought him
around. He either doesn't know much or won't tell what he knows. That
doesn't make any difference now, though. They have escaped in a car.
They are leaving by the road. Wait. I'll see whether they have reached
it yet. No, it's too dark to see and they have no light on the car. But
they must have turned. They said they were going in the direction
opposite from you."

"Well?" I asked, mystified. "What of it? I know all that, already."

"But Dillon doesn't," replied Garrick, in great excitement now. "I knew
that we should have to have some way of communicating with him
instantly if this fellow proved to be as resourceful as I believed him
to be. So I thought of the radiophone or photophone of Dr. Alexander
Graham Bell. I have really been telephoning on a beam of light."

"Telephoning on a beam of light?" I repeated incredulously.

"Yes," he explained, feeling now at liberty to talk since he had
delivered his call for help. "You see, I talk into this transmitter.
The simplest transmitter for this purpose is a plane mirror of flexible
material, silvered mica or microscope glass. Against the back of this
mirror my voice is directed. In the carbon transmitter of the telephone
a variable electrical resistance is produced by the pressure on the
diaphragm, based on the fact that carbon is not as good a conductor of
electricity under pressure as when not. Here, the mouthpiece is just a
shell supporting a thin metal diaphragm to which the mirror on the back
is attached, an apparatus for transforming the air vibrations produced
by the voice into light vibrations of the projected beam, which is
reflected from this light here in the room. The light reflected is thus
thrown into vibrations corresponding to those in the diaphragm."

"And then?" I asked impatiently.

"That varying beam of light shoots out of this room, and is caught by
the huge reflector which you saw me set up at the foot of that tall
tree which you can just see against the dark sky over there. That
parabolic mirror gathers in the scattered rays, focusses them on the
selenium cell which you saw in the middle of the reflector, and that
causes the cell to vary the amount of electric current passing through
it from a battery of storage cells. It is connected with a very good
telephone receiver. Every change in the beam of light due to the
vibrations of my voice is caught by that receiving mirror, and the
result is that the diaphragm in the receiver over there which Dillon is
holding to his ear responds. The thing is good over several hundred
yards, perhaps miles, sometimes. Only, I wish it would work both ways.
I would like to feel sure that Dillon gets me."

I looked at the simple little instrument with a sort of reverence, for
on it depended the momentous question of whether we should be released
in time to pursue the two who were escaping in the automobile.

"You'll have to hurry," continued Garrick, speaking into his
transmitter. "Give the signal. Get the car ready. Anything, so long as
it is action. Use your own judgment."

There he was, flashing a message out of our prison by an invisible ray
that shot across the Cimmerian darkness to the point where we knew that
our friends were waiting anxiously. I could scarcely believe it. But
Garrick had the utmost faith in the ability of the radiophone to make
good.

"They MUST have started by this time," he cried, craning his neck out
of the window and looking in every direction.

Forbes was still rambling along, but Garrick was not paying any
attention to him. Instead, he began rummaging the room for possible
evidence, more for something to do than because he hoped to find
anything, while we were waiting anxiously for something to happen.

An exclamation from Garrick, however, brought me to his side. Tucked
away in a bureau drawer under some soiled linen that plainly belonged
to Forbes, he drew out what looked like a single blue-steel tube about
three inches long. At its base was a hard-rubber cap, which fitted
snugly into the palm of the hand as he held it. His first and middle
fingers encircled the barrel, over a steel ring. A pull downward and
the thing gave a click.

"Good that it wasn't loaded," Garrick remarked. "I knew what the thing
was, all right, but I didn't think the spring was as delicate as all
that. It is a new and terrible weapon of destruction of human life, one
that can be carried by the thug or the burglar and no one be the wiser,
unless he has occasion to use it. It is a gun that can be concealed in
the palm of the hand. A pull downward on that spring discharges a
thirty-two calibre, centre fire cartridge. The most dangerous feature
of it is that the gun can be carried in an upper vest pocket as a
fountain pen, or in a trousers pocket as a penknife."

I looked with added suspicion now, if not a sort of respect, on the
young man who was tossing, half conscious, on the bed. Was he, after
all, not the simple, gullible Forbes, but a real secret master of crime?

Garrick, keen though he had been over the discovery, was in reality
much more interested just now in the result of his radiophone message.
What would be the outcome?

I had been startled to see that almost instantly after his second call
over the radiophone there seemed to rise on all sides of us lights and
the low baying of dogs.

"What's all that?" I asked Garrick.

"Dillon had a dozen or so police dogs shipped up here quietly,"
answered Garrick, now straining his eyes and ears eagerly. "He started
them out each in charge of an officer as soon as they arrived. I hope
they had time to get around in that other direction and close in. That
was what he sent the chauffeur back to see about, to make sure that
they were placed by the man who is the trainer of the pack."

"What kind of dogs are they?"

"Some Airedales, but mostly Belgian sheep dogs. There is one in the
pack, Cherry, who has a wonderful reputation. A great deal depends,
now, on our dog-detectives."

"But," I objected, "what good will they be? Our men are in an
automobile."

"We thought of that," replied Garrick confidently. "Here they are, at
last," he cried, as a car swung up the lane from the road and stopped
with a rush under our window. He leaned out and shouted, "Dillon--up
here--quick!"

It was Dillon and his chauffeur, Jim. A moment later there was a
tremendous shifting and pulling of heavy pieces of furniture in the
hall, and, as the door swung open, the honest face of the commissioner
appeared, inquiring anxiously if we were all right.

"Yes, all right," assured Garrick. "Come on, now. There isn't a minute
to lose. Send Jim up here to take charge of Forbes. I'll drive the car
myself."

Garrick accomplished in seconds what it takes minutes to tell. The
chauffeur had already turned the car around and it was ready to start.
We jumped in, leaving him to go upstairs and keep the manacled Forbes
safely.

We gained the road and sped along, our lights now lighted and showing
us plainly what was ahead. The dust-laden air told us that we were
right as we turned into the narrow crossroad. I wondered how we were
ever going to overtake them after they had such a start, at night, too,
over roads which were presumably familiar to them.

"Drive carefully," shouted Dillon soon, "it must be along here,
somewhere, Garrick."

A moment before we had been almost literally eating the dust the car
ahead had raised. Garrick slowed down as we approached a bend in the
road.

There, almost directly in our path, stood a car, turned half across the
road and jammed up into a fence. I could scarcely believe it. It was
the bandit's car--deserted!

"Good!" exclaimed Dillon as Garrick brought our own car to a stop with
a jerk only a few feet away.

I looked about in amazement, first at the empty car and then into the
darkness on either side of the road. For the moment I could not explain
it. Why had they abandoned the car, especially when they had every
prospect of eluding us in it?

They had not been forced to turn out for anybody, for no other vehicle
had passed us. Was it tire trouble or engine trouble? I turned to the
others for an explanation.

"I thought it must be about here," cried Dillon. "We had one of my men
place an obstruction in the road. They didn't run into it, which shows
clever driving, but they had to turn so sharply that they ran into the
fence. I guess they realised that there was no use in turning and
trying to go back."

"They have taken to the open country," shouted Garrick, leaping up on
the seat of our car and looking about in a vain endeavour to catch some
sign of them.

All was still, save here and there the sharp, distant bark of a dog.

"I wonder which way they went?" he asked, looking down at us.



CHAPTER XXIII

THE POLICE DOG


Dillon pulled a whistle from his pocket and blew a short blast sharply.
Far down the road, we could hear faintly an answering bark. It came
nearer.

"They're taught to obey a police whistle and nothing else," remarked
Dillon, with satisfaction. "I wonder which one of the dogs that was. By
the way, just keep out of sight as much as you can--get back up in our
car. They are trained to worry anyone who hasn't a uniform. I'll take
this dog in charge. I hope it's Cherry. She ought to be around here, if
the men obeyed my orders. The others aren't keen on a scent even when
it is fresh, but Cherry is a dandy and I had the man bring her up
purposely."

We got back into our car and waited impatiently. Across the hills now
and then we could catch the sounds of dogs scouting around here and
there. It seemed as if every dog in the valley had been aroused. On the
other slope of the hill from the main road we could see lights in the
scattered houses.

"I doubt whether they have gone that way," commented Garrick following
my gaze. "It looks less settled over here to the right of the road, in
the direction of New York."

The low baying of the dog which had answered Dillon's call was growing
nearer every moment. At last we could hear it quite close, at the
deserted car ahead.

Cherry seemed to have many of the characteristics of the wild,
prehistoric animal, among them the full, upright ears of the wild dog,
which are such a great help to it. She was a fine, alert, up-standing
dog, hardy, fierce, and literally untiring, of a tawny light brown like
a lioness, about the same size and somewhat of the type of the
smooth-coated collie, broad of chest and with a full brush of tail.

Untamed though she seemed, she was perfectly under Dillon's control,
and rendered him absolute and unreasoning obedience.

"Now, Cherry, nice dog," we heard Dillon encouraging, "Here, up here.
And here."

He was giving the dog the scent from the deserted car. His voice rang
out sharply in the night air, "Come on Garrick and Marshall. She's got
it. I've got her on leash. Follow along, now, just a few feet behind."

Cherry was on the trail and it was a hot one. We could just see her
magnificent head, narrow and dome-like, between the keen ears. She was
working like a regular sleuthhound, now, too, slowly, picking up the
trail and following it, baying as she went.

She was now going without a halt or falter. Nose to the ground, she had
leaped from the bandit's car and made straight across a field in the
direction that Garrick had suspected they would take, only a little to
the west.

"This is a regular, old-fashioned man hunt," called back Dillon, as we
followed the dog and himself, as best we could.

It was pitch dark, but we plunged ahead over fields and through little
clumps of trees, around hedges, and over fences.

There was no stopping, no cessation of the deep baying of the dog.
Cherry was one of the best and most versatile that the police had ever
acquired and trained.

We came to the next crossroad, and the dog started up in the direction
of the main road, questing carefully.

We had gone not a hundred feet when a dark object darted out of the
bushes at the side of the road, and I felt myself unceremoniously
tumbled off my feet.

Garrick leaped aside, with a laugh.

"Dillon," he shouted ahead at the top of his voice, "one of the
Airedales has discovered Marshall. Come back here. Lie still, Tom. The
dog is trained to run between the legs and trip up anyone without a
police uniform. By Jupiter--here's another one--after me. Dillon--I
say--Dillon!"

The commissioner came back, laughing at our plight, and called off the
dogs, who were now barking furiously. We let him get a little ahead,
calling the Airedales to follow him. They were not much good on the
scent, but keen and intelligent along the lines of their training, and
perfectly willing to follow Dillon, who was trusting to the keen sense
of Cherry.

A little further down, the fugitives had evidently left the road after
getting their bearings.

"They must have heard the dogs," commented Garrick. "They are doubling
on their tracks, now, and making for the Ramapo River in the hope of
throwing the dogs off the scent. That's the game. It's an old trick."

We came, sure enough, in a few minutes to the river. That had indeed
been their objective point. Cherry was baffled. We stuck close to
Dillon, after our previous experience, as we stopped to talk over
hastily what to do.

Had they gone up or down, or had they crossed? There was not much time
that we could afford to lose here in speculation if we were going to
catch them.

Cherry was casting backward in an instinctive endeavour to pick up the
trail. Dillon had taken her across and she had not succeeded in finding
the scent on the opposite bank for several hundred yards on either side.

"They started off toward the southwest," reasoned Garrick quickly.
"Then they turned in this direction. The railroads are over there. Yes,
that is what they would make for. Dillon," he called, "let us follow
the right bank of the river down this way, and see if we can't pick
them up again."

The river was shallow at this point, but full of rocks, which made it
extremely hard, if not dangerous, to walk even close to the bank in the
darkness. "I don't think they'd stand for much of this sort of going,"
remarked Garrick. "A little of it would satisfy them, and they'd strike
out again."

He was right. Perhaps five minutes later, after wading in the cold
water, clinging as close to the bank as we could, we came to a sort of
rapids. Cherry, who had been urged on by Dillon, gave a jerk at her
leash, as she sniffed along the bank.

"She has it," cried Garrick, springing up the bank after Dillon.

I followed and we three men and three dogs struck out again in earnest
across country.

We had come upon a long stretch of woods, and the brambles and thick
growth made the going exceedingly difficult. Still, if it was hard for
us now, it must have been equally hard for them as they broke through
in the first place.

At last we came to the end of the woods. The trail was now fresher than
ever, and Dillon had difficulty in holding Cherry back so that the rest
of us could follow. As we emerged from the shadow of the trees into the
open field, it seemed as if guns were blazing on all sides of us.

We were almost up with them. They had separated and were not half a
mile away, firing at random in our direction, as they heard the dogs.
Dillon drew up, Cherry tugging ahead. He turned to the Airedales. They
had already taken in the situation, and were now darting ahead at what
they could see, if not scent.

I felt a "ping!" on my chest. I scarcely realized what it was until I
heard something drop the next instant in the stubble at my feet, and
felt a smarting sensation as if a sharp blow had struck me. I bent down
and from the stubble picked up a distorted bullet.

"These bullet-proof coats are some good, anyhow, at a distance,"
remarked Garrick, close beside me, as he took the bullet from my
fingers. "Duck! Back among the trees--until we get our bearings!"

Another bullet had whizzed just past his arm as he spoke.

We dodged back among the trees, and slowly skirted the edge of the
wood, where it bent around a little on the flank of the position from
which the continuous firing was coming.

At the edge we stopped again. We could go no further without coming out
into the open, and the moon, just rising, above the trees, made us an
excellent mark under such conditions. Garrick peered out to determine
from just where they were firing.

"Lucky for us that we had these coats," he muttered, "or they would
have croaked us, before we knew it. These are our old friends, the
anaesthetic bullets, too. Even a little scratch from one of them and we
should be hors de combat for an hour or two."

"Shall we take a chance?" urged Dillon.

"Just a minute," cautioned Garrick, listening.

The barking of the Airedales had ceased suddenly. Cherry was straining
at her leash to go.

"They have winged the two dogs," exclaimed Garrick. "Yes--we must try
it now--at any cost."

We broke from the cover, taking a chance, separating as much as we
could, and pushing ahead rapidly, Dillon under his breath keeping
Cherry from baying as much as possible.

I had expected a sharp fusillade to greet us as we advanced and
wondered whether the coats would stand it at closer range. Instead, the
firing seemed to have ceased altogether.

A quick dash and we had crossed the stretch of open field that
separated us from a dark object which now loomed up, and from behind
which it seemed had come the firing. As we approached, I saw it was a
shed beside the railroad, which was depressed at this point some twelve
or fifteen feet.

"They kept us off just long enough," exclaimed Garrick, glancing up at
the lights of the block signals down the road. "They must be desperate,
all right. Why, they must have jumped a freight as it slowed down for
the curve, or perhaps one of them flagged it and held it up. See? The
red signal shows that a train has just gone through toward New York.
There is no chance to wire ahead, either, from this Ducktown siding.
Here's where they stood--look!"

Garrick had picked up a handful of exploded cartridge shells, while he
was speaking. They told a mute story of the last desperate stand of the
gunmen.

"I'll keep these," he said, shoving them into his pocket. "They may be
of some use later on in connecting to-night's doings with what has gone
before."

We looked at each other blankly. There was nothing more to do that
night but to return to the now deserted house in the valley where we
had left Forbes in charge of Dillon's man.

Toilsomely and disgusted, we trudged back in silence.

Garrick, however, refused to be discouraged. Late as it was, he
insisted on making a thorough search of the captured house. It proved
to be a veritable arsenal. Here it seemed that all the new and deadly
weapons of the scientific gunman had been made. The barn, turned into
half garage and half workshop, was a mine of interest.

We found it unlocked and entered, Garrick flashing a light about.

"There's a sight that would do McBirney's eyes good," he exclaimed as
he bent the rays of the light before us.

Before us, in the back of the barn, stood Warrington's stolen car--at
last.

"They won't plot anything more--at least not up here," remarked
Garrick, bending over it.

In the house, we found Jim still with Forbes, who was now completely
recovered. In the possession of his senses, Forbes' tongue which the
anaesthetic gases seemed to have loosened, now became suddenly silent
again. But he stuck doggedly to his story of kidnapping, although he
would not or could not add anything to it. Who the kidnapper was he
swore he did not know, except that he had known his face well, by
sight, at the gambling joint.

I could make nothing of Forbes. But of one thing I was sure. Even if we
had not captured the scientific gunman, we had dealt him a severe and
crushing blow. Like Garrick, I had begun to look upon the escape
philosophically.



CHAPTER XXIV

THE FRAME-UP


Although I felt discouraged on our return to the city, the morning
following our exciting adventure at the mysterious house in the Ramapo
valley, Garrick, who never let anything ruffle him long, seemed quite
cheerful.

"Cheer up, Tom," he encouraged. "We are on the home stretch now."

"Perhaps--if they don't beat us to the tape," I answered
disconsolately. "What are you going to do next?"

"While you were snatching a little sleep, I was rummaging around and
found a number of letters in a table drawer, up there. One was a note,
evidently to the garage keeper, and signed merely, 'Chief.' I'll wager
that the handwriting is the same as that in the blackmailing letter to
Miss Winslow."

"What of it?" I asked, refusing to be comforted. "We haven't got him
and the prospects--"

"No, we haven't got him," interrupted Garrick, "but the note was just a
line to tell the Boss, who seemed to have been up there in the country
at the time, to meet the Chief at 'the Joint,' on Second Avenue."

I nodded, but before I could speak, he added, "It didn't say any more,
but I think I know the place. It is the old International Cafe, a
regular hang-out for crooks, where they come to gamble away the
proceeds of their crimes in stuss, the great game of the East Side,
now. Anyhow, we'll just drop into the place. We may not find them, but
we'll have an interesting time. Then, there is the possibility of
getting a strangle hold on someone, anyhow."

Garrick was evidently figuring on having driven our gunman back into
the haunts of the underworld.

There seemed to be no other course that presented itself and therefore,
rather than remain inactive until something new turned up, I consented
to accompany him in his excursion.

Forbes, still uncommunicatively protesting that he would say nothing
until he had an opportunity to consult a lawyer, had been taken down to
New York by Dillon during the morning and was lodged in a West Side
prison under a technical charge which was sufficient to hold him until
Garrick could investigate his case and fix his real status.

We had taken a cross-town car, with the intention of looking over the
dive where Garrick believed the crooks might drop in. The ride itself
was uninteresting, but not so by any means the objective point of our
journey.

Over on the East Side, we found the International Cafe, and slouched
into the back room. It was not the room devoted to stuss, but the
entrance to it, which Garrick informed me was through a heavy door
concealed in a little hallway, so that its very existence would not be
suspected except by the initiate.

We made no immediate attempt to get into the hang-out proper, which was
a room perhaps thirty feet wide and seventy feet deep. Instead, we sat
down at one of the dirty, round tables, and ordered something from the
waiter, a fat and oily Muscowitz in a greasy and worn dinner coat.

It seemed that in the room where we were had gathered nearly every
variety of the populous underworld. I studied the men and women at the
tables curiously, without seeming to do so. But there could be no
concealment here. Whatever we might be, they seemed to know that we
were not of them, and they greeted us with black looks and now and then
a furtive scowl.

It was not long, however, before it became evident that in some way
word had been passed that we were not mere sightseers. Perhaps it was
by a sort of wireless electric tension that seemed to pervade the air.
At any rate, it was noticeable.

"There's no use staying here," remarked Garrick to me under his breath,
affecting not to notice the scowls, "unless we do something. Are you
game for trying to get into the stuss joint?"

He said it with such determination to go himself that I did not refuse.
I had made up my mind that the only thing to do was to follow him,
wherever he went.

Garrick rose, stretched himself, yawned as though bored, and together
we lounged out into the public hall, just as someone from the outside
clamoured for admission to the stuss joint through the strong door.

The door had already been opened, when Garrick deftly inserted his
shoulder. Through the crack in the door, I could see the startled
roomful of players of all degrees in crookdom, in the thick, curling
tobacco smoke.

The man at the door called out to Garrick to get out, and raised his
arm to strike. Garrick caught his fist, and slowly with his powerful
grip bent it back until the man actually writhed. As his wrist went
back by fractions of an inch, his fingers were forced to relax. I knew
the trick. It was the scientific way to open a clenched fist. As the
tendons refused to stretch any farther, his fingers straightened, and a
murderous looking blackjack clattered to the floor.

All was confusion. Money which was on the various tables disappeared as
if by magic. Cards were whisked away as if a ghost had taken them. In a
moment there was no more evidence of gambling than is afforded by any
roomful of men, so easy was it to hide the paraphernalia, or, rather,
lack of paraphernalia of stuss.

It was the custom, I knew, for criminals, after they had made a haul to
retire into such places as these stuss parlors, not only to spend the
proceeds of their robberies, but for protection. Even though they were
unmercifully fleeced by the gamblers, they might depend on them to warn
of the approach of the "bulls" and if possible count on being hidden or
spirited off to safety.

Apparently we had come just at a time when there were some criminals in
hiding among the players. It was the only explanation I could offer of
the strange action that greeted our simple attempt to gain admission to
the stuss room. Whether they were criminals who had really made a haul
or mere fugitives from justice, I could not guess. But that a warning
had been given the man at the door to be on his guard, seemed evident
from the manner in which we had been met.

There was a rush of feet in the room. I expected that we would be
overwhelmed. Instead, as together we pushed on the now half-open door,
the room emptied like a sieve. Whoever it might be who had taken refuge
there had probably disappeared, among the first, by tacit understanding
of the rest, for the whole thing had the air of being run off according
to instructions.

"It's a collar!" had sounded through the room, the moment we had
appeared at the door, and it was now empty.

I wondered whether the letter which Garrick had found might not, after
all, have brought us straight to the last resort of those whom we
sought.

"Where have they gone?" I panted, as the door opened at last, and we
found only one man in the place.

There he stood apparently ready to be arrested, in fact courting it if
we could show the proper authority, since he knew that it would be only
a question of hours when he would be out again and the game would be
resumed, in full blast.

The man shook his head blankly in answer to my question.

"There must be a trap door somewhere," cried Garrick. "It is no use to
find it. They are all on the street by this time. Quick--before anyone
catches us in the rear."

We had been not a moment too soon in gaining the street. Though we had
done nothing but attempt to get into the stuss room, ostensibly as
players, the crowd in the cafe was pressing forward.

On the street, we saw men filing quickly from a cellar, a few doors
down the block. We mingled with the excited crowd in order to cover
ourselves.

"That must have been where the trap door and passage led," whispered
Garrick.

A familiar figure ducked out of the cellar, surrounded by others, and
the crowd made for two taxicabs standing on the opposite side of the
street near a restaurant which was really not a tough joint but made a
play at catering to people from uptown who wanted a taste of near-crime
and did not know when they were being buncoed.

Another cab swung up to the stand, just as the first two pulled away.
Its sign was up: "Vacant."

Quick as a flash, Garrick was in it, dragging me after him. The driver
must have thought that we, too, were escaping, for he needed only one
order from Garrick to leap ahead in the wake of the cabs which had
already started.

A moment later, Garrick's head was out of the window. He had drawn his
revolver and was pegging away at the tires of the cabs ahead. An
answering shot came back to us. Meanwhile, a policeman at a corner
leaped on a passing trolley and urged the motorman to put on the full
power in a vain effort to pursue us as we swept by up the broad avenue.

Even the East Side, accustomed to frequent running fights on the
streets between rival gunmen and gangs, was roused by such an outburst.
The crack of revolver shots, the honking of horns, the clang of the
trolley bell, and the shouts of men along the street brought hundreds
to the windows, as the cars lurched and swayed up the avenue.

The cars ahead swerved to dodge a knot of pedestrians, but their pace
never slackened. Then the rearmost of the two began to buck and almost
leap off the roadway. There came a rattle and roar from the rear wheels
which told that the tires had been punctured and that the heavy wheels
were riding on their rims, cutting the deflated tubes. At a cross
street the first car turned, just in time to avoid a truck, and dodged
down a maze of side streets, but the second ran squarely into the truck.

As the first car disappeared we caught a glimpse of a man leaning out
of it. He seemed to be swinging something around and around at arm's
length. Suddenly he let it go and it shot high up in the air on the
roof of a tenement house.

"The automobile is the most dangerous weapon ever used by criminals,"
muttered Garrick, as the first car shot down through a mass of trucking
which had backed up and shifted, making pursuit momentarily more
impossible for us. "These people know how to use the automobile, too.
But we've got someone here, anyhow," he cried, leaping out and pushing
aside the crowd that had collected about the wrecked car.

In the bottom of it we found a man, stunned and crumpled into a heap.
Blood flowed from his arm where one of the bullets had struck him.
Several bullets had struck the back of the cab and both tires were cut
by them.

As I came up and looked over Garrick's shoulder at the prostrate and
unconscious figure in the car, I could not restrain an exclamation of
surprise.

It was the garage keeper, the Boss--at last!

Policemen had come up in the meantime, and several minutes were
consumed while Garrick proved to them his identity.

"What was that thing the fellow in the forward car whirled over his
head?" I whispered.

"A revolver, I think," returned Garrick. "That's a favourite trick of
the gunmen. With a stout cord tied to a gun you can catapult it far
enough to destroy the evidence that will hold you under the Sullivan
law, at least. I mean to get that gun as soon as we are through with
this fellow here."

Someone had turned in a call for an ambulance which came jangling up
soon after, and we stood in a group close to the young surgeon as he
worked to bring around the captured gangster.

"Where's the Chief?" he mumbled, dazed.

Garrick motioned to us to be quiet.

The man rambled on with a few inconsequential remarks, then opened his
eyes, caught sight of the white coated surgeon working over him, of us
standing behind, and of the crowd about him.

Memory of what had happened flitted back to him. With an effort he was
himself again, close-mouthed, after the manner of the gangsters.

The surgeon had done all in his power and the man was sufficiently
recovered to be taken to the hospital, now, under arrest. As far as we
were concerned, our work was done. The Boss could be found now, at any
time that we needed him, but that he would speak all the traditions of
gangland made impossible.

I wondered what Garrick would do. As for myself, I had no idea what
move to make.

It surprised me, therefore, to see him with a smile of satisfaction on
his face.

"I'll see you this afternoon, Tom," he said merely, as the ambulance
bore the wounded Boss away. "Meanwhile, I wish you'd take the time to
go over to headquarters and give Dillon our version of this affair.
Tell him to hold to-night open, too. I have a little work to do this
afternoon, and I'll call him up later."

Dillon, I found, was overjoyed when I reported to him the capture of at
least one man whom we had failed to get the night before.

"Things seem to be clearing up, after all," he remarked. "Tell Garrick
I shall hold open to-night for him. Meanwhile, good luck, and let me
know the moment you get any word about the Chief. He must have been in.
that first cab, all right."

As I left Dillon's office, I ran into Herman in the hall, coming in. I
bowed to him and he nodded surlily. Evidently, I thought, he had heard
of the result of our activities. I did not ask him what progress he had
made in the case, for I had had experience with professional jealousy
before, and thought that the less said on the subject the better.

Recalling what Garrick had said, I curbed my impatience as best I
could, in order to give him ample time to complete the work that he had
to do. It was not until the middle of the afternoon that I rejoined him
in his office.

I found him at work at a table, still, with a microscope and an
arrangement which I recognised as the apparatus for making
microphotographs. Several cartridges, carefully labelled, were lying
before him, as well as the peculiar pistol we had found when we had
captured Forbes in the little room. There were also the guns we had
captured in the garage and one found in the cab which we had chased and
wrecked.

On the end of the table was a large number of photographs of a most
peculiar nature. I picked up one. It looked like an enlarged photograph
of an orange, or like some of the pictures which the astronomers make
of the nearer planets.

"What are these?" I asked curiously, as he leaned back from his work,
with a smile of quiet satisfaction.

"That is a collection of microphotographs which I have gathered," he
answered, adding, "as well as some that I have just made. I hope to use
them in a little stereopticon entertainment I am arranging to-night for
those who have been interested in the case."

Garrick smiled. "Have you ever heard?" he asked, "that the rounded end
of the firing pin of every rifle when it is examined under a microscope
bears certain irregularities of marking different from those of every
other firing pin and that the primer of every shell fired in a rifle is
impressed with the particular markings of that firing pin?"

I had not, but Garrick went on, "I know that it is true. Such markings
are distinctive for each rifle and can be made by no other. I have
taken rifles bearing numbers preceding and following that of a
particular one, as well as a large number of other firing pins. I have
tried the rifles and the firing pins, one by one, and after I made
microphotographs of the firing pins with special reference to the
rounded ends and also photographs of the corresponding rounded
depressions in the primers fired by them, it was forced upon me that
cartridges fired by each individual firing pin could be positively
identified."

I had been studying the photographs. It was a new idea, and it appealed
to me strongly. "How about revolvers?" I asked quickly.

"Well, Dr. Balthazard, the French criminologist, has made experiments
on the identification of revolver bullets and has a system that might
be compared to that of Bertillon for identifying human beings. He has
showed by greatly enlarged photographs that every gun barrel leaves
marks on a bullet and that the marks are always the same for the same
barrel but never identical for two different barrels. He has shown that
the hammer of a revolver, say a centre fire, strikes the cartridge at a
point which is never the exact centre of the cartridge, but is always
the same for the same weapon. He has made negatives of bullets nearly a
foot wide. Every detail appears very distinctly and it can be decided
with absolute certainty whether a certain bullet or cartridge was fired
by a certain revolver."

He had picked up one of the microphotographs and was looking at it
attentively through a small glass.

"You will see," he explained, "on the edge of this photograph a rough
sketch calling attention to a mark like an L which is the chief
characteristic of this hammer, although there are other detailed
markings which show well under the microscope but not in a photograph.
You will note that the marks on a hammer are reversed on the primer in
the same way that a metal type and the character printed by it are
reversed as regards one another. Moreover, depressions on the end of a
hammer become raised on the primer and raised markings on the hammer
become depressions on the primer.

"Now, here is another. You can see that it is radically different from
the first, which was from the cartridge used in killing poor Rena
Taylor. This second one is from that gun which I found on the tenement
roof this morning. It lacks the L mark as well as the concentric
circles. Here is another. Its chief characteristics are a series of
pits and elevations which, examined under the microscope and measured,
will be found to afford a set of characters utterly different from
those of any other hammer.

"In short," he concluded with an air of triumph, "the ends of firing
pins are turned and finished in a lathe by the use of tools designed
for that purpose. The metal tears and works unevenly so that
microscopical examination shows many pits, lines, circles, and
irregularities. The laws of chance are as much against two of these
firing pins or hammers having the same appearance under the microscope
as they are against the thumb prints of two human subjects being
identical."

I picked up the curious little arrangement which we had found in the
drawer in Forbes' room and examined it closely.

"I have been practicing with that pistol, if you may call it that," he
remarked, "on cartridges of my own and examining the marks made by the
peculiar hammer. I have studied marks of the gun which we found on the
roof. I have compared them with the marks on cartridges which we have
picked up at the finding of Rena Taylor's body, at the garage that
night of the stupefying bullet, with bullets such as were aimed at
Warrington, with others, both cartridges and bullets, at various times,
and the conclusion is unescapable."

Who, I asked myself, was the scientific gunman? I knew it was useless
to try to hurry Garrick. First, by a sort of intuition he had picked
him out, then by the evidence of hammer and bullet he had made it
practically certain. But I knew that to his scientific mind nothing but
absolute certainty would suffice.

While I was waiting for him to proceed, he had already begun to work on
some apparatus behind a screen at the end of his office. Close to the
wall at the left was a stereopticon which, as nearly as I could make
out, shot a beam of light through a tube to a galvanometer about three
feet distant. In front of this beam whirled a five-spindled wheel
governed by a chronometer which was so accurate, he said, that it erred
only a second a day.

Between the poles of the galvanometer was stretched a slender thread of
fused quartz plated with silver. It was the finest thread I could
imagine, only a thousandth of a millimeter in diameter, far too tenuous
to be seen. Three feet further away was a camera with a moving plate
holder which carried a sensitized photographic plate. Its movement was
regulated by a big fly-wheel at the extreme right.

"You see," remarked Garrick, now engrossed on the apparatus and
forgetting the hammer evidence for the time, "the beam of light
focussed on that fine thread in the galvanometer passes to this
photographic plate. It is intercepted by the five spindles of the
wheel, which turns once a second, thus marking the picture off in exact
fifths of a second. The vibrations of the thread are enormously
magnified on the plate by a lens and produce a series of wavy or zigzag
lines. I have shielded the sensitized plate by a wooden hood which
permits no light to strike it except the slender ray that is doing the
work. The plate moves across the field slowly, its speed regulated by
the fly-wheel. Don't you think it is neat and delicate? All these
movements are produced by one of the finest little electric motors I
ever saw."

I could not get the idea of the revolvers out of my head so quickly. I
agreed with him, but all I could find to say was, "Do you think there
was more than this one whom they call the Chief engaged in the
shootings?"

"I can't say absolutely anything more than I have told you, yet," he
answered in a tone that seemed to discourage further questioning along
that line.

He continued to work on the delicate apparatus with its thread
stretched between the stationary magnets of the galvanometer, a thread
so delicate that it might have been spun by a microscopic spider, so
light that no scales made by human hands could weigh it, so slender
that the mind could hardly grasp it. It was about one-third the
diameter of a red corpuscle of blood and its weight had been estimated
as about .00685 milligrams, truly a fairy thread. It was finer than the
most delicate cobweb and could be seen with the naked eye only when a
strong light was thrown on it so as to catch the reflection.

"All I can say is," he admitted, "that the bullets which committed this
horrible series of crimes have been proven all to be shot from the same
gun, presumably, I think I shall show, by the same hand, and that hand
is the same that wrote the blackmailing letter."

"Whose gun was it?" I asked. "Was there a way to connect it and the
bullets and the cartridges with the owner--four things, all
separated--and then that owner with the curious and tragic succession
of events that had marked the case since the theft of Warrington's car?"

Garrick had apparently completed his present work of adjusting the
delicate apparatus. He was now engaged on another piece which also had
a powerful light in it and an attachment which bore a strong
resemblance to a horn.

He paused a moment, regarding me quizzically. "I think you'll find it
sufficiently novel to warrant your coming, Tom," he added. "I have
already invited Dillon and his man, Herman, over the telephone just
before you came in. McBirney will be there, and Forbes, of course.
He'll have to come, if I want him. By the way, I wish you'd get in
touch with Warrington and see how he is. If it is all right, tell him
that I'd like to have him escort Miss Winslow and her aunt here,
to-night. Meanwhile I shall find out how our friend the Boss is getting
on. He ought to be here, at any cost, and I've put it off until
to-night to make sure that he'll be in fit condition to come. To-night
at nine--here in this office--remember," he concluded gayly. "In the
meantime, not a word to anybody about what you have seen here this
afternoon."



CHAPTER XXV

THE SCIENTIFIC GUNMAN


Our little audience arrived one by one, and, as master of ceremonies,
it fell to me to greet them and place them as much at ease as the
natural tension of the occasion would permit. Garrick spoke a word or
two to each, but was still busy putting the finishing touches on the
preparations for the "entertainment," as he called it facetiously,
which he had arranged.

"Before I put to the test a rather novel combination which I have
arranged," began Garrick, when they had all been seated, "I want to say
a few words about some of the discoveries I have already made in this
remarkable case."

He paused a moment to make sure that he had our attention, but it was
unnecessary. We were all hanging eagerly on his words.

"There is, I believe," he resumed slowly, "no crime that is ever
without a clew. The slightest trace, even a drop of blood no larger
than a pin-head, may suffice to convict a murderer. So may a single
hair found on the clothing of a suspect. In this case," he added
quickly, "it is the impression made by the hammer of a pistol on the
shell of a cartridge which leads unescapably to one conclusion."

The idea was so startling that we followed Garrick's every word as if
weighted with tremendous importance, as indeed it was in the clearing
up of this mysterious affair.

"I have made a collection from time to time," he pursued, "of the
various exploded cartridges, the bullets, and the weapons left behind
by the perpetrator of the dastardly series of crimes, from the shooting
of the stool pigeon of the police, Rena Taylor, and the stealing of Mr.
Warrington's car, down to the peculiar events of last night up in the
Ramapos and the running fight through the streets of New York in
taxicabs this morning.

"I have studied this evidence with the microscope and the
microphotographic apparatus. I have secured excellent microphotographs
of the marks made by various weapons on the cartridges and bullets.
Taking those used in the commission of the greater crimes in this
series, I find that the marks are the same, apparently, whether the gun
shot off a bullet of wax or tallow which became liquid in the body,
whether it discharged a stupefying gas, or whether the deadly
anaesthetic bullet was fired. I have obtained a gun"--he threw it on
the table with a clang--"the marks from the hammer of which correspond
with the marks made on all the cartridges I have mentioned. One person
owned that gun and used it. That is proved. It remains only to connect
that gun positively and definitely, as a last link, with that person."

I noticed with a start that the revolver still had a stout cord tied to
it.

As he concluded, Garrick had begun fitting a curious little device to
each of our forearms. It looked to me like an electrode consisting of
large plates of German silver, covered with felt and saturated with
salt solution. From each electrode wires ran across the floor to some
hidden apparatus.

"Back of this screen," he went on, indicating it in the corner of the
room, "I have placed what is known as the string galvanometer,
invented, or, perhaps better, perfected by Dr. Einthoven, of Leyden. It
was designed primarily for the study of the beating of the heart in
cases of disease, but it also may be used to record and study emotions
as well,--love and hate, fear, joy, anger, remorse, all are revealed by
this uncanny, cold, ruthlessly scientific instrument.

"The machine is connected by wires to each of you, and will make what
are called electrocardiographs, in which every emotion, every
sentiment, every passion is recorded inevitably, inexorably. For, the
electric current that passes from each of you to the machine over these
wires carrying the record of the secrets of your hearts is one of the
feeblest currents known to science. Yet it can be caught and measured.
The dynamo which generates this current is not a huge affair of steel
castings and endless windings of copper wire. It is merely the heart of
the sitter.

"The heart makes only one three-thousandth of a volt of electricity at
each beat. It would take thousands of hearts to light one electric
light, hundreds of thousands to run one trolley car. Yet just that
slight little current from the heart is enough to sway a gossamer
strand of quartz fibre in what I may call my 'heart station' here. This
current, as I have told you, passes from each of you over a wire and
vibrates a fine quartz fibre in unison with it, one of the most
delicate bits of mechanism ever made, recording the result on a
photographic film by means of a beam of light reflected from a delicate
mirror."

We sat spellbound as Garrick unfolded the dreadful, awe-inspiring
possibilities of the machine behind the screen. He walked slowly to the
back of the room.

"Now, here I have one of the latest of the inventions of the Wizard of
West Orange--Edison," he resumed. "It is, as you perhaps have already
guessed, the latest product of this genius of sound and sight, the
kinetophone, the machine that combines moving pictures with the talking
machine."

A stranger stepped in from an outer office. He was the skilled operator
of the kinetophone, whom Garrick had hired. In a few terse sentences he
explained that back of a curtain which he pulled down before us was a
phonograph with a megaphone, that from his booth behind us he operated
the picture films, and that the two were absolutely synchronized.

A moment later a picture began to move on the screen. Sounds and voices
seemed to emerge as if from the very screen itself. There, before us,
we saw a gambling joint operating in full blast. It was not the
Forty-eighth Street resort. But it was strongly reminiscent of it. From
the talking machine proceeded all the noises familiar to such a scene.

Garrick had moved behind the screen that cut off our view of the
galvanometer. One after another, he was studying the emotions of each
of his audience.

Suddenly the scene changed. A door was burst in, cards and gambling
paraphernalia were scattered about and hidden, men rushed to escape,
and the sounds were much like those on the night of the raid. Garrick
was still engrossed in the study of what the galvanometer was showing.

The film stopped. Without warning, the operator started another. It was
a group of men and women playing cards. A man entered, and engaged in
conversation with one of the women who was playing. They left the room.

The next scene was in an entirely different room. But the connection
which was implied with the last scene was obvious. Different actors
entered the room, a man and a woman. There was a dispute--there was a
crack of a revolver--and the woman fell. People rushed in. Everything
was done to hide the crime. The girl was carried out into a waiting
automobile, propped in as if overcome by alcohol and whisked away. I
found myself almost looking to see if the car was of the make of
Warrington's, so great was the impression the scene made on me. Of
course it was not, but it all seemed so real that one might be pardoned
for expecting the impossible, especially when her body was thrown, with
many a muttered imprecation, by the roadside, and in the last picture
the man was cleaning the exploded gun. One single still picture
followed. It was a huge, enlarged cartridge.

I followed the thing with eager eyes and ears. From a long list of
canned and reeled plays, Garrick had selected here and there such
scenes and acts as, interspersed with a few single, original pictures
of his own, like the cartridge, would serve best to recapitulate the
very case which we had been investigating. It carried me along step by
step, wonderfully.

Another moving and talking picture was under way. This time it seemed
to be a race between two automobiles. They were tearing along, and the
sound of the rapidly working cylinders was most real. The rearmost was
rapidly overhauling that in front. Imagine our surprise as it crept up
on the other to see the driver rise, whip out a pistol, and fire point
blank at the other as he dashed ahead, and the picture stopped.

A suppressed scream escaped Violet Winslow. It was too much like what
had happened to Mortimer Warrington for her to repress the shudder that
swept over her, and an involuntary movement toward him to make sure
that it was not real.

Still Garrick did not move from his post at the galvanometer. He was
taking no chances. He had us thrilled, tense, and he meant to take
advantage to the full in reading the truth in the dramatic situation he
had so skilfully created.

Another picture started almost on the heels of the last. It was of the
robbery of a safe. Then came another, a firebug at work in starting a
conflagration. We could hear the crackling of flames, the shouts of the
people, the clang of bells, and the hasty tread of the firemen as they
advanced and put out the blaze. The film play was one of those which
never fail to attract, where the makers had gone to the utmost extent
of realism and had actually set fire to a house to get the true effect.

The next was a scene from a detective play, pure and simple, in which
that marvellous little instrument which had served us in such good
stead in this case was played up strongly, the detectaphone. Then
followed a scene from another play in which a young girl was kidnapped
and rescued by her lover just in the nick of time. Nothing could have
been selected to arouse the feelings of the little audience to a higher
pitch.

The last of the series, which I knew was to be a climax, was not an
American picture. It was quite evidently made in Paris and was from
actual life. I myself had been startled when the title was announced by
the voice and on the screen simultaneously, "The Siege of the Motor
Bandits by the Paris Police."

It was terrific. It began with the shouts of the crowd urging on the
police, the crack of revolvers and guns from a little house or garage
in the suburbs, the advance and retreat of the gendarmes on the
stronghold. Back and forth the battle waged. One could hear the sharp
orders of the police, the shrill taunts of the bandits, the sounds of
battle.

Then at a point where the bandits seemed to have beaten off the attack
successfully, there came an automobile. From it I could see the police
take an object which I now knew must be a Mathiot gun. The huge thing
was set up and carefully aimed. Then with a dull roar it was fired.

We could see the bomb hurtling through the air, see it strike the
little house with a cloud of smoke and dust, hear the report of the
explosion, the shouts of dismay of the bandits--then silence. A cry
went up from the crowd as the police now pressed forward in a mass and
rushed into the house, disclosing the last scene--in which the bandits
were suffocated.

The film suddenly stopped. Garrick's office, which had been ringing
with firearms and shouts from the kinetophone, was again silent. It was
an impressive silence, too. No one of us but had felt and lived the
whole case over again in the brief time that the talking movies had
been shown.

The lights flashed up, and before we realised that the thing was over,
Garrick was standing before us, holding in his hand a long sheet of
paper. The look on his face told plainly that his novel experiment had
succeeded.

"I may say," he began, still studying the paper in his hand, although I
knew he must have arrived at his conclusion already or he would never
have quitted his "heart station," so soon, "I may say that some time
ago a letter was sent to Miss Winslow purporting to reveal some of Mr.
Warrington's alleged connections and escapades. It is needless to say
that as far as the accusations were concerned he was able to meet them
all adequately and, as for the innuendoes, they were pure baseless
fabrications. The sender was urged on to do it by someone else who also
had an interest of another kind in placing Mr. Warrington in a bad
light with Miss Winslow. But the sender soon realised his mistake. The
fact that he was willing to go to the length of a dangerous robbery
accompanied by arson in order to get back or destroy the letter showed
how afraid he was to have a sample of his handwriting fall into my
hands. He blundered, but even then he did not realise how badly.

"For, in certain cases the handwriting shows a great deal more than
would be recognised even by the ordinary handwriting expert. This
letter showed that the writer was, as I have already explained to Mr.
Marshall, the victim of a peculiar kind of paralysis which begins to
show itself in nerve tremours for days before the attack and exhibits
itself even in the handwriting.

"Now, my string galvanometer shows not only the effects of these moving
and talking pictures on the emotions, but also, as it was really
designed to do, the state of the heart with reference to normality. It
shows to me plainly the effect of disease on the heart, even if it is
latent in the subject. While I have been using the psychological law of
suggestion, and have been recapitulating as well as I was able under
the circumstances the whole story of the crime briefly in moving and
talking pictures, I have found, in addition, that the same heart which
shows the emotions I expected also shows the disease which I discovered
in the blackmailing letter.

"There was surprise at the sight of the gambling den, rage at the raid,
fear at the murder of the girl in the other den and the disposal of her
body, excitement over the racing motor cars, passion over the
kidnapping of the girl, anger over the little detectaphone, and panic
at the siege of the bandits, as I showed by the selection of the films
that I was getting closer and closer to the truth. And there was the
same abnormality of the heart exhibited throughout."

Garrick paused. I scarcely breathed, nor did I move my eyes, which were
riveted on his face. What was he going to reveal next? Was he going to
accuse someone in the room?

"Mr. Marshall," he resumed with a smile toward me, "I am glad to say is
quite normal and innocent of all wrongdoing--in this instance," he
added with a momentary flash of humour. "Commissioner Dillon also
passes muster. Mr. Warrington--I shall come back to, later."

I thought Violet Winslow gave a little, startled gasp. She turned
toward him, anyhow, and I saw that not even science now could shake her
faith in him.

"Mr. Forbes," he continued, speaking rapidly as I bent forward to catch
every word, "incriminated himself quite sufficiently in connection with
the gambling joint, the raid and the slanderous letter, so that I
should advise him when this case comes to trial to tell the whole truth
and nothing but the truth about his helping a gunman in order to
further what proved a hopeless love affair on his own part. Here, too,
is a little vest-pocket gun that was found under such circumstances as
would be likely to connect Forbes in the popular mind with the
shootings."

"My lawyer has my statement about that. I'll read--"

"No, Forbes," interrupted Garrick. "You needn't read. Your lawyer may
be interested to add this to the statement, however. A pistol that has
been shot off has potassium sulphide from the powder in the barrel.
Later, it oxidizes and iron oxide is found. This weapon has neither the
sulphide nor the oxide, as far as I can determine. It has never even
been discharged. No, it was not the pistol found on Forbes that figured
in this case.

"As far as that new-fangled gun goes, Forbes, it was a frame-up. You
were kidnapped by a man whom you thought was your friend, and it was
done for a purpose. He knew the situation you were in, your jealousy--I
won't dwell on that here. He held you at the house up in the valley.
You told the truth about that. He did it, the man who wrote the letter,
because he hoped ultimately to shift all the guilt on you and himself
go scot-free."

Forbes stared dumbly. I knew he had known what was coming but had held
back for fear of what he knew had always happened to informers in the
circle to which he had sunk.

"McBirney," continued Garrick, "your emotions, mostly astonishment,
show that you have much to learn in this new business of modern
detection, besides the recovery of stolen cars."

Garrick had paused for effect again.

"And now we come to the keeper of a nighthawk garage on the West Side,
a man whom they seem to call the Boss. That is getting higher up. I
find that he points, according to this scientific third degree, to one
whom I have for a long time suspected--"

A dull thud startled us.

I turned. A man was lying, face down, on the floor.

Before any of us could reach him, Garrick concluded, "This is the man
who framed up the case against Forbes, who stole Warrington's car to
use to get rid of the body of the informer, Rena Taylor, because she by
her success interfered with his gambling graft, who wrote the letter to
Miss Winslow to injure Warrington because he, too, was interfering with
his graft collection from the gambling house by threatening to close it
up. He committed the arson to cover up his identity by getting back the
letter; he planned and nearly executed the kidnapping of Miss Winslow
in order to hold up Warrington, and then hid in the country where we
ferreted him out, not far from the very scene of a murderous attack on
Warrington for his brave stand in suppressing gambling--from which this
man was weekly shaking down a huge profit as the price of police
protection of the vice."

Garrick was kneeling by the prostrate form now, not so much the accuser
as the scientist, studying a new phase of crime.

The threatened paralysis had struck Inspector Herman sooner than even
Garrick had expected.

When we had made Herman as comfortable as we could, Garrick added to
Dillon, who stood over us, speechless, "You had under you one of the
strong links in the secret system of police protection of vice and
crime, and you never knew it--the greatest grafter and scientific
gunman that I ever knew. It has been a long, hard fight. But I have the
goods on him at last."

The exposure was startling in the extreme. Herman had gained for
himself the reputation of being one of the shrewdest and most efficient
men in the department. But he had felt the lure of graft. With the aid
of the gamblers and unscrupulous politicians he had built up a huge,
secret machine for collection of the profits from the sale of police
protection against the enforcement of the law he was sworn to uphold.

He had begun to mix with doubtful characters. But he was a genius and
had become, by degrees, the worst of the gangmen and gunmen who ever
operated in the metropolis. Detailed to catch the gamblers and
gangsters, with official power to do almost as he pleased, he had
enjoyed a fine holiday and employed his leisure both for new crimes and
in covering up so successfully his tracks in the old ones, even with
Garrick on his trail, that he had been able to completely hoodwink his
superior, Dillon, by his long, detailed reports which sounded very
convincing but which really meant nothing.

As the strange truth of the case was established by Garrick, Dillon was
the most amazed of us all. He had trusted Herman, and the revulsion of
feeling was overwhelming.

"And to think," he exclaimed, in disgust, "that I actually placed his
own case in his own hands, with carte blanche instructions to go ahead.
No wonder he never produced a clew that amounted to anything. Well,
I'll be--"

Words failed him, as he looked down and glared savagely at the man in
silence.

All were now crowding around Garrick eager to thank him for what he had
done. As Warrington, now almost his former hearty wholesome self again,
grasped Garrick's hand in the heartiness of his thanks, Garrick, with
the electrocardiogram paper still in his other hand, smiled.

He released himself and turned to touch the dainty little hand of
Violet Winslow, whose eyes were so full of happy tears that she could
scarcely speak.

"Miss Winslow," he beamed, gazing earnestly and admiringly into her
sweet face, "I promised to attend to the case of that man later,--" he
added, with a nod at Warrington. "It may interest you to know
scientifically what you already know by something that is greater than
science, a woman's intuition."

She blushed as he added, "Mr. Warrington has a good, strong, healthy
heart. He wouldn't be alive to-day if he hadn't. But, more than that, I
have observed throughout the evening that he has hardly taken his eyes
off you. Even the 'talkies' and the 'movies' failed to stir him until
the kidnapping scene overwhelmed him. Here on this strip of paper I
have a billet-doux. His heart registers the current that only that
consummate electrician, little Dan Cupid, can explain."





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