Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Jimmy Drury: Candid Camera Detective
Author: O'Hara, David
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 "Jimmy Drury: Candid Camera Detective" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



[Illustration: SETTING HIS CAMERA FOR A CLOSE-UP, JIMMIE SQUINTED
THROUGH THE FINDER. (_Page 54_)]



                             JIMMIE DRURY:
                        CANDID CAMERA DETECTIVE


                                   BY
                              DAVID O’HARA


                            _ILLUSTRATED BY_
                              F. E. Warren


                            GROSSET & DUNLAP
                        PUBLISHERS : : NEW YORK

                          Copyright, 1938, by
                         GROSSET & DUNLAP, Inc.
                         _All Rights Reserved_
               _Printed in the United States of America_



                                CONTENTS


  CHAPTER                                                           PAGE
  I. Out from the Fog                                                  1
  II. Magic of the Dark Room                                          11
  III. The Dark Room                                                  22
  IV. Tom Howe’s Ears                                                 36
  V. The Candid Camera Clicks Again                                   50
  VI. John’s Hideout                                                  57
  VII. Big Timers Stage a Rehearsal                                   67
  VIII. A Millionaire Pitcher                                         85
  IX. A Fortunate Shot                                                92
  X. The Alaskan Match Clue                                          103
  XI. Strange, White Balls                                           114
  XII. The Silver-Fox King’s Treasure                                127
  XIII. Jimmie Sets a Trap                                           141
  XIV. The “Haunted House”                                           151
  XV. Nature Lends a Hand                                            157
  XVI. The Trap is Sprung                                            165
  XVII. Jimmie Brushes the Floor                                     175
  XVIII. In the Bubble Man’s Lair                                    183
  XIX. At Last, the Terror’s Picture                                 193
  XX. The Zero Hour                                                  201
  XXI. More About Diamonds                                           208



                             JIMMIE DRURY:
                        CANDID CAMERA DETECTIVE



                               CHAPTER I
                            OUT FROM THE FOG


A heavy fog had come sweeping in from the lake. Lights from street lamps
glowed dimly like great, bleary eyes. Store windows were mere blankets
of pale white light.

Jimmie Drury hated fog. He was thinking as he crossed the Madison Street
bridge: “Perhaps the devil is a monster breathing out fire, but when his
fires are banked he must breathe out cold, gray fog which is worse.
He——”

Just then the thing happened. A shadowy figure stepped from behind a
steel girder of the bridge. A husky voice said:

“As you are!”

Jimmie’s figure went rigid. Involuntarily his right hand gripped
something hard and round in his right side pocket. Something struck his
chest. There was a blinding flash. Then Jimmie went down like an empty
sack and out like a match.

When he came to he found himself the center of a curious group
surrounded by fog. A policeman was bending over him. His first sensation
was one of surprise that he was still alive. Then, like an electric
shock, a thought came to him:

“Did—did he get it?” he stammered. His hand went to his belt.

“No,” he answered his own question, “he didn’t get it. But did I get
him? That’s the question.”

“Poor dear,” sighed a bespectacled old lady at the edge of the crowd,
“he must be delirious. It’s the shock.”

“Back, all of you,” the policeman interrupted her. “Give him air.”

“Fog, you mean,” Jimmie laughed. “I—I’m all right, officer. I—” He tried
to rise but sank back dizzily.

“Take it easy,” the officer advised.

“Officer,” said Jimmie, “do you know Tom Howe?”

“Tommy Howe, that keen young detective? Who of the force don’t know
him?” The officer laughed hoarsely.

“Get him on the phone at the State Street Station right away if you
can.” Jimmie’s tone was eager, tense with excitement. “It—it’s terribly
important. Tell him to meet me at the Daily Press offices. By the
elevator, sixth floor.”

“And who shall I say you might be?” inquired the officer.

“Jimmie Drury. You must know my father,” the boy replied eagerly. “He’s
Howard Drury,——”

“Chief sports editor of the Press. Sure, I know him. And you’re his son,
right enough. The resemblance is plain. Right, my lad—But, say!” the
policeman’s tone changed. “Don’t I get in on this? It was me that found
you. Don’t forget that.”

“Sure! Oh, sure you do!” Jimmy exclaimed. “And now,” he strove again to
rise, “with you—your help I can walk.”

“Right! Up you come. And now, clear out, all of you!” The officer waved
a hand at the crowd that, like a fade-out in the movies, vanished into
the fog.

“All—all right, we’re off.” Jimmie swayed dizzily, then, with the grip
of a strong hand on his arm, made his way slowly back across the bridge.

At the far side of the bridge they halted for a moment at a call-box.

“What did you say your name was?” asked the officer absent-mindedly.

“Jimmie Drury, of the Press.”

“Ah, yes, of the Press,” the officer mumbled. Then, into the receiver,
“That you, Mike? This is Denny Sullivan. And is Tom Howe there? He is?
That’s good. Put him on the wire.”

There was a moment’s wait during which Jimmie ran his fingers carefully
over something black and hard hanging at his belt, then indulged in a
sigh of satisfaction.

“That you, Tom?” the officer boomed. “This is Denny Sullivan.”

“Yes, Denny.”

“Say. There’s a boy here. I picked him up on the bridge a bit ago. Says
you’re to come to the Press offices, sixth floor by the elevator. What
do you know about that?”

“His name? Why, it’s Jimmie Drury.”

“What’s that? Oh, you will? You’ll be over at once? That’s good.”

“What do you know about that?” Denny Sullivan exclaimed as he hung up.
“Tom says he’ll be right over.”

“I knew he would,” Jimmie smiled.

“Well, we’ll be getting on up,” said the officer. “Give me your arm.”

Passing through double doors, they made their way up an inclined runway,
crossed a long corridor, turned right, caught an elevator and were
whisked away to the sixth floor.

There, after passing down one more corridor, they came to a large room
where desks, chairs, and typewriters of all descriptions loomed out of
the darkness of the place.

On their approach a tall, slender man rose slowly from his place beside
a bank of telephones.

“Oh!” he exclaimed. “It’s you, Jimmie. And,” with a laugh, “pinched
again! What did he do this time, Denny?” He turned to the officer.

“Went out like a bad electric bulb,” said the officer. “And no cause at
all, unless it was a sudden flash of light.

“You see,” Denny went on, “I had just reached the bridge when that flash
came. First I thought it might be a shot. But there was no sound. I made
a dash for it. And there was this boy. I——”

“It was that man!” Jimmie, no longer able to control himself, broke in.
“The one they call the Silent Terror.”

“The Silent Terror! No!” John Nightingale, the young reporter stared.
“It couldn’t have been!”

“But it was! I just got a glimpse of him,” Jimmie insisted. “He said,
‘As you are!’ I felt something hit my chest, not very hard and I
thought, ‘I’ve been hit. Perhaps I’m going to die.’ Then everything
faded.”

“But the bright light?” said John.

“Oh, that—that was my idea.” Jimmie grew excited. “You know I’ve been
experimenting in every sort of way with my candid camera.”

“Yes, I know. You——”

“Last thing I tried,” Jimmie broke in, “I hung the camera on my belt
with a flat flash-light beside it. I put a flash bulb in the light. Then
I connected up an electric push button that would open the camera and
shoot off the flash all at the same time.”

“And I suppose,” John Nightingale drawled, “that you went right out and
hunted up this Silent Terror and said, ‘Beg pardon. Let me take your
picture.’”

“No! No! It wasn’t like that,” Jimmie laughed. “That was an accident;
what father would call a ‘fortunate coincidence.’”

“But you were ready for him,” John insisted. “That’s foresight.”

“I was ready for anything interesting that might happen ten feet from
where I stood. But think!” Jimmie grew excited again. “I may have the
picture of the Silent Terror right here in my little candid camera.
Won’t that be something.”

“It will indeed,” said John Nightingale, visibly impressed. “But here is
Tom Howe, the ace detective.” His voice changed. “What do you know, Tom?
Our young cub reporter has met the Silent Terror face to face, and lives
to tell the story.”

“What!” said Tom Howe, who, save for his deep-set, piercing eyes, looked
little the part of a detective.

“And he thinks he took his picture,” the reporter added.

“If he did,” Tom said soberly, “he has done a real service to his city.
We’ve got to get that man and get him quick. At present, in some way
quite unknown to us, he is putting people to sleep at a distance and
robbing them on the streets. But criminals are never satisfied. In time
he will double the dose, whatever it is, and his victims will never come
to life. It is always that way with crime.”

“But how about the picture?” he demanded, turning eagerly to Jimmie.

“It—it’s not developed yet,” Jimmie stammered.

“Come on. We’re in luck,” the reporter exclaimed. “Scottie just went
back to the darkroom. Took some pictures of the fight out at the park—to
illustrate your father’s write-up, you know,” he explained to Jimmie.
“He just went back to develop them. Come on, we’ll all go back to the
dark room.”

“What’s all this?” put in a soft feminine voice.

“Oh, hello, Mary Dare,” John Nightingale exclaimed. “Been doing night
life in the great city?”

“Out on a show that somebody thought should be exposed.” The young,
red-headed lady reporter, who looked little more than a girl, laughed
merrily. “But what’s the big excitement?”

“Jimmie thinks he got a picture of the Silent Terror with his candid
camera,” John explained. “Come on back with us and we’ll watch this
Silent Terror come out on the film.”

And so the five of them marched toward the magic dark room of a great
city newspaper where many a picture destined to condemn a guilty man to
the electric chair or set an innocent one free has first seen the red
glow of the photographer’s magic lamp.



                               CHAPTER II
                         MAGIC OF THE DARK ROOM


Scottie McFadden, a veteran photographer of the Press, was discovered to
be entrenched in his favorite dark room.

“Can’t come out for another quarter hour,” his voice sounded out through
the walls. “These fight pictures must be out for the early edition. What
have you got?”

“One of Jimmie’s candid camera shots,” John Nightingale winked at his
friends as he shouted through the dark room walls.

“Candid camera!” came roaring out from the dark room, “You may as well
all go home. Nothing big will ever come from a picture the size of a
postage stamp.”

“May be bigger than you think this time,” was John’s reply. “Anyway,
we’ll wait.”

“And while you’re all waiting,” he added in a lower tone, “I’ll hop down
to Jerry’s for two quarts of coffee and a sack of sinkers,” and away he
went.

“Coffee and doughnuts,” Jimmie thought with a start. “That was what I
was after. Wonder what became of that black bag? Bet that fellow got
it.”

His father was working late that night because of the heavy-weight
boxing bout. Jimmie had begged permission to stay down-town and go home
with him on the late theater train and permission had readily been
granted. Later when Howard Drury, his father, was ready to start his
story he had sent Jimmie out for refreshments. These were always carried
in a small, black leather bag.

“Say!” Jimmie exploded suddenly, wheeling about to face Tom Howe, the
young detective. “I’ll bet I know why that Silent Terror came to pick on
me.”

“Why?” Tom Howe stared.

“I was carrying a small black bag.”

“Sure, that’s it,” Tom agreed, quick to seize upon the clue. “Thought
you were a messenger carrying money from some small theater to the
central vault.”

“That’s it,” Jimmie agreed.

This much decided upon they all lapsed into silence. They were a quiet
group, these reporters and the detective, when there was nothing really
serious to be talked about.

Jimmie now found time to think back over the days that had led up to
this moment. Think, he did, and like all the thoughts of youth, his were
long, long thoughts.

The old lady on the bridge had called Jimmie a “poor dear.” She would
not have called him that had she seen him streaking down the field for a
touchdown last autumn. Jimmie had a small, almost childish face, but he
was large, six feet in his stockings, 170 pounds, which is not bad for a
17-year-old high school boy.

But Jimmie was not all football. Truth is, he took football as a matter
of duty. Loyalty to his school demanded it. Jimmie’s interest was
centered on cameras. When eight years old he had been taken to the Press
photograph department. There he had asked Scottie McFadden so many and
such astounding questions that at first Scottie stood staring and at
last drove him, in a good-natured manner, from the place, declaring he’d
be fired for getting no work done.

Jimmie’s first hard-earned dollar had gone for a camera of a sort. For
years after that all he could earn, beg or borrow went for cameras and
equipment. His proudest hour came when, on his seventeenth birthday, his
wealthy uncle Bob had presented him with a truly wonderful miniature
camera.

“It’s a Gnome,” he confided to Scottie. “Takes twenty-four pictures in
about as many seconds. Got a wide-angle lens that will almost take
pictures in the dark. And fast! Say! There’s not a camera made that’s
faster. It—it’s a real dwarf.”

“A Gnome, is it?” Scottie had drawled. “Well, you’ve got to show me,
son. I don’t go in for these baby cameras that you can lose in your
pocket. Give me a box with a strap that goes over your shoulder and a
ground glass at least three inches across. Candid camera, is it? Well,
my camera is candid, too. See those pictures I took of the baseball boys
in action?”

“Yes,” said Jimmie. “They were great!”

“Sure they were,” Scottie agreed. “And why? Because they were taken with
a real camera.”

Jimmie’s chance to show Scottie what his Gnome would do came sooner than
he had expected. With his father’s aid he had secured a summer job with
the Press as copy boy. The results had been surprising.

To many the job of copy boy would not prove exciting. To jump when
someone in the large editorial room shouts, “Boy!”, to go racing away to
Miss Peter’s desk on the third floor or Mr. Bill’s on the seventh and to
keep this up for long hours is tiring to say the least. Yet, for Jimmie,
every office, the composing room, the roaring press-room held a charm
all its own.

It was, however, his little candid camera that brought his great
opportunity. Perhaps it was because he always jumped promptly while
other boys lagged that John Nightingale began to take an interest in
him. More than once he paused to chat with the lad. Then, one day, right
out of a clear sky he leaped up from answering a phone call to exclaim:

“Come on, boy! You’re drafted for something really big.”

“I—I—what?” Jimmie stammered.

“Got your little camera, haven’t you?”

“Yes, sure,” Jimmie stared.

“Percy Palmer’s been found dead. Come with us. You’re going to take his
picture.”

“Percy Palmer, the millionaire? Oh, I—” Jimmie held back.

“Sure! Come on! You’re drafted, I tell you.”

And Jimmie went.

While they were on their way in a taxi John explained that two
photographers were home sick and three out on big stories.

“So that left only you,” John finished.

“But, I—Well, you see——”

“Yes, I know, but I’ve seen some of your shots,” John broke in. “They’re
good. Good enough for me. You wait. We’re a full half hour ahead of the
other papers. It will be a scoop. You’ll see one of your pictures on the
front page under a screaming head-line.”

And he did.

That was not all there was to it either. Jimmie had just finished
reading a book called, “Mysteries of Real Life.” The part cameras have
played in solving death mysteries had been told in this book in detail.
After making the shots of the dead man required by the reporter, he took
a number of others on his own. These pictures, when developed and
enlarged, were presented to the coroner’s jury and went far toward
helping to prove that this was a case of suicide and not of murder.

After that, on many a summer afternoon Jimmie did not answer to the call
of “Boy!”, for he was not there, but was off with his good pal, John,
shooting a story.

Needless to say, Jimmie went in stronger than ever for candid cameras.
He haunted a shop window where telescopic lenses were displayed, spent
many hours studying methods of taking pictures in the dark with the aid
of infra-red rays and dreamed strange dreams of thrilling photographic
adventures.

Needless to say, none of those dreams had been more fantastic than the
thing that had just happened to him there on the bridge in the fog.

It had begun with a book he had read on his day off. For once he had
abandoned camera craft and had lost himself in a western story of wild
adventure. The hero of this story shot from the hips and always got his
man.

“Why not?” Jimmie whispered, thinking of his camera. “A shot from the
belt, a touch of the button, a click, a flash, and there you have it, a
picture.”

He tried it and with good results. By training his eye to measure
distances accurately he could set his camera for eight, ten, or fifteen
feet and get a fairly sharp picture three times out of four.

“But when will you use it?” Jimmie’s father objected. “Of course, you
might meet the president on the street and shoot him. But if you did
you’d get nabbed. If you happened to meet a hold-up man and flashed a
bulb in his face he’d shoot you and investigate afterwards.”

“You never can tell,” was Jimmie’s reply. “There’s no harm in being
prepared.”

Shortly after that a fresh sensation made the headlines of all the
papers. A strange new type of hold-up man was abroad on the city
streets. A man crossing the Roosevelt Road viaduct heard a hoarse voice
say: “As you are.” He saw an arm lifted in the shadows, felt a soft push
at his chest, reeled dizzily, and some ten minutes later came to himself
to find his wallet and watch gone.

“How was it done?” This was the headline for the next day’s paper. That,
as time passed, became the question of the hour.

This man who soon became known as the Silent Terror struck again; this
time in a tunnel leading to a suburban station. A woman hurrying to a
train heard those same words, “As you are,” saw a hand, felt something
touch her, and that was all. She was found a moment later lying
unconscious. Her purse was gone. She returned to consciousness ten
minutes later and was, apparently, none the worse for the adventure.

“Get that man!” was the cry of the police. “How does he do it?” the
papers demanded. And they offered prizes, a hundred, five hundred, a
thousand dollars, for the answer.

“Electricity,” said some; “gas” said others; “a new form of mysterious
life and death.” But how? How?

A man on the Municipal Pier and a woman on the Washington Street bridge
were the next victims. The man had a weak heart. He barely escaped
death.

Tom Howe, one of the keenest young detectives in the city service, was
assigned to the case. He was a friend of John Nightingale and had become
greatly interested in Jimmie Drury. The three of them put their heads
together but no solution appeared.

“And now,” Jimmie thought, sitting there in the newspaper office at
night waiting for Scottie, the veteran photographer, “it’s happened to
me. If only I got that fellow’s picture.”

“All right!” He started at the sound of a voice. “All right, Jimmie, me
boy.” It was Scottie. “Give me that cigar lighter with the bit of baby
ribbon inside. That thing you call a candid camera ... I’m ready to
develop that film.”

“All—all right. Here it is,” Jimmie stammered. Then they all crowded
excitedly into the narrow dark room; John Nightingale, Tom Howe, Denny
Sullivan, Jimmie, and that red-haired girl named Mary Dare.



                              CHAPTER III
                             THE DARK ROOM


Jimmie had experienced many a thrill watching his pictures come into
being on the shiny film, but never such a one as this. “So much depends
upon it,” he thought as a chill ran up his spine. And much did; the fate
of a man gone wrong, the safety and happiness of many he might yet
spring upon unsuspectedly in the night; yes, perhaps the very lives of
some might depend upon that picture. How eagerly, then, the five of them
waited as Scottie rattled paper, held the white ribbon of film to the
light, then began moving it dexterously through the developing solution.

Hushed silence followed. Jimmie was thinking, “What sort of person is
this Silent Terror? Is he short or tall, dark or light? Will he be
masked? How are we to know him? What distinguishing mark does he bear
that will brand him for the future? What——”

“Why, Jimmie!” Scottie broke in upon his thoughts, “there’s nothing on
this ribbon of yours!”

“Noth—nothing,” Jimmie stammered. Then, excitedly, “Yes, sure there is.
Just one picture! There at the end. It—it’s coming through!”

“So it is!” said Scottie. At once he devoted all his attention to that
end of the film.

“Think of wasting a whole film on one little picture,” Scottie murmured.

“Money well spent,” put in Tom Howe. “There’s a thousand dollar reward
on that man’s head.”

Eagerly they crowded together for a look as Scottie held the tiny square
to the light.

“He’s there!” John Nightingale whispered.

“There!” Mary Dare echoed.

“Wait,” cautioned Scottie the veteran. Many a picture had he seen go
wrong in the making.

Sensing the tense excitement about him and consumed by a desire to tease
a little, Scottie held the film in the solution for what to the watchers
seemed an endless period of time.

“There,” he drew a long breath at last. “She should be done to a turn.”

Holding the film up with one hand, he examined it through a large
magnifying glass.

“Jimmie! Jimmie!” he exclaimed. “I might have known it! You got only his
ear. Why in time didn’t you ask the gentleman to turn around?” The laugh
that followed was mirthless. Scottie had wanted to see Jimmie succeed.

“An ear!” Jimmie murmured.

“An ear!” Mary repeated.

“Must be a profile,” said John hopefully.

“Nope. See for yourselves,” Scottie held out the glass. “Only an ear.”

“More than that,” said Tom Howe after a look. “There’s a shoulder and
the back of the neck. There’s as much character shown in a man’s neck as
in the shape of his nose.

“And that ear!” he exclaimed after a closer look. “It’s priceless, that
picture. There’s not another ear in the world like it. Jimmie, allow me
to congratulate you.” He gripped the boy’s hand tightly.

“All right,” sighed Scottie. “Since it’s important we’ll wash it, then
put it in the fixin’ bath and make it permanent.”

“And, Scottie,” Tom Howe put in eagerly, “just as soon as you can, make
me an enlargement, big as the negative will stand. Will you?”

“It’s a good, sharp negative,” Scottie admitted. “Though how that
happened with a boy shooting with a pill box from the hip, I can’t see.
Your enlargement will be ready first thing in the morning, Tom.”

“I’ll be here bright and early,” Tom turned to go. The others followed
him out into the dim, religious light characteristic of the editorial
room of a great newspaper at night.

“I’m sorry the picture wasn’t better,” Jimmie said as Tom Howe came out
from the dark room.

“You need not be.” Tom fixed his deep-set piercing eyes upon him. Tom
was short and slender, yet there was that about his eyes which told each
new-comer that here was a person not to be trifled with. “You got his
ear and the back of his neck,” he went on. “That’s a lot. You might have
got a bullet,” he added soberly. “That was a novel and daring thing to
do, shooting a picture from the belt.”

“But only an ear,” Jimmie protested. “What can you tell by that?”

“Much,” said Tom. “Ears are neglected by most detectives. I have made a
sort of specialty of them. Come over to my room and I’ll show you my
collection of ears.”

“Collection of ears?” Jimmie was shocked.

“Oh, I don’t keep them in alcohol.” Tom laughed. “They’re not real,
though they seem so at a little distance. You’ll find them interesting.
Come at noon and we’ll have lunch together.”

“That—Say! That will be grand!” said Jimmie.

“Here’s the address,” Tom pressed a bit of cardboard into his hand. “Go
up as far as the elevator will take you, climb two flights of stairs,
knock sharply three times, wait sixty seconds, then knock again. If you
get no response, turn and walk down again,” Tom laughed shortly, “for
I’ll either be dead or shall have forgotten an appointment, neither of
which has happened in five years.

“And now,” he put out a hand, “good-night and thanks for letting me in
on this.”

“That’s all right,” Jimmie stammered. To be thanked by a truly famous
young detective, that was something.

Jimmie passed his father’s office on the way back. A green shade drawn
over his eyes, he was pounding furiously at the typewriter keys.

“Be ready in twenty minutes,” his head jerked back for a second. “We’ll
make the train O. K.” Once again his eyes, behind thick glasses, were
fixed on his pencilled copy.

“Wonder if he knows,” thought Jimmie. He was thinking of his night’s
experience.

“John,” he said, after retracing his steps to the reporter’s desk, “you
won’t put my name in the story?”

“It would make a peach of a story,” John laughed low. “Can’t you see it?
Boy—candid-camera bug—shooting from the hip—gets picture of the Silent
Terror.”

“Yes, but you won’t use it.” It was Tom Howe who suddenly broke in upon
their talk. He had retraced his steps to discuss this very thing. “We
can’t let him know we have his picture, not just yet,” he went on.
“Might scare this Terror off. And we _must_ get that man!”

“Oh! All right.” With a sigh the reporter crumpled a paper in his hand.
“A word from the voice of the law is all that’s needed.”

“Wish there were more like you.” Tom put a hand on his shoulder. “Many a
catch has been thwarted by a newspaper story released too soon. When we
get that man you’ll have first chance at the story, you have my word for
it.”

“Thanks, old man.” John slouched down over his desk to take up once more
the task of answering phone calls about a saloon brawl, a pick-pocket in
the park, and some young drunks who had rammed their car into a viaduct.

“Such,” he sighed, “is a reporter’s life.”

As for Jimmie, he was vastly relieved. “Let that story get into the
paper,” he thought, “and let mother read it and my career as a ‘rising
young newspaper man’ will be at an end.” His mother was “afraid for
him.” That was her way of expressing it. Jimmie was fond of his mother
but he did not like to have her be afraid.

Beside his father in a seat of the suburban train Jimmie glanced
sidewise twice. Then he realized that his father knew all about the
affair at the bridge. Someone had told him the whole story.

“Father, that—” he cleared his throat, “that was what you’d say is in
the nature of an accident.”

“Yes,” his father seemed to agree, “an accident.”

“Might have happened to anyone,” Jimmie went on, greatly encouraged.

“Just anyone,” said his father.

“It won’t be in the paper?”

“No.”

“Father, promise that you won’t tell mother. You won’t tell her, will
you?” There was a note of anxiety in the boy’s voice.

“No. I think not.”

“Then——”

“Then you will be able to continue your work? Is that it?” His father
smiled.

“Yes, I——”

“Son,” his father broke in, “I may be wrong, but I have a feeling that
you should go on. You may in time make a worth-while contribution to the
safety of this city’s people with your candid camera.”

“Look out there!” He pointed to row after row of flat buildings speeding
past them. “People live out there. Thousands and thousands of simple,
kindly people. Hardly one of them feels perfectly at ease and safe. Why?
Because criminals are free to roam the city streets.

“As I look at it,” his tone was serious, “it is the duty of each one of
us to do what he can to make those people safe.

“I don’t want you to get yourself injured or killed. No father wants
that. But I also don’t want you to grow up soft—to be afraid. I want you
to be brave, strong. You can never be that until you have faced real
dangers. Don’t be fool-hardy or reckless, but when an opportunity for a
real service presents itself don’t be afraid to step in.”

“Thanks. Oh, thanks,” Jimmie stammered. What he was thinking was, “I’ve
got a real dad.”

At that same hour John Nightingale and Mary Dare, the red-headed lady
reporter, sat at a table in a basement eatshop drinking coffee and
discussing Jimmie.

“What sort of a boy is this Jimmie Drury?” Mary asked.

“Oh, just another boy,” John drawled.

“John!” Mary’s voice rose, “you know that’s not true. No boy is just
another boy. What sort of boy _is_ he?”

“Wa—al,” John grinned, “he won a baseball game once. That was in his
grade school days. Regular Jack Armstrong finish, it was.”

“Tell me about it.”

“Well, then, let me,” John grumbled. “It was the end of a series.
Jimmie’s team was playing off a tie with the Holmes school for the
championship. No end of excitement, you know. Last half of the ninth
inning, score tied, seven and seven. Two men out and Jimmie up to bat
and——”

With a slow grin overspreading his thin face, John paused to lift his
cup for a good long draw at the coffee.

“John!” Mary stamped her foot.

“Oh, yes,” John pretended to start. “Of course. What does Jimmie do but
swat a home-run into the tall grass? And after running the bases what
did he do?”

“What?”

“Kept right on running. Streaked it for home.”

“Why?”

“Far as I can figure it out he didn’t want anybody making a fuss over
him.”

“Splendid!” exclaimed Mary.

“Jimmie’s popular in high school,” John went on. “And yet, I’m sure he
never tried for popularity. He likes doing things, all sorts of things.
If this makes him popular that’s O. K. with Jimmie. If it doesn’t,
that’s O. K. too.

“He was outstanding as a basketball star on his team,” he went on after
ordering another cup of coffee. “But I’ll swear you’d never guess it to
see him play. He didn’t do any dancing about, not a useless motion, but
every now and again you’d see him have the ball, watch it shoot up and
in, then hear the crowd roar. You can’t make much out of a kid like
that,” he ended with a drawl.

“No,” Mary agreed. “But in the end he’ll make a lot out of himself.
You’ll see. I love the way he looks you straight in the eyes. So many
boys look all over the lot while you’re looking at them, as if they had
something to hide. Nothing like that with Jimmie.”

“That’s right,” John agreed. “I look for him to go places and do things.
Well,” he rose, “tomorrow’s another day. See you in the morning.” He
disappeared through a narrow door that led to the depot and his train.

Late as it was when Jimmie at last found himself in bed he did not fall
asleep at once. The new wine of adventure had set his blood on fire. He
had tried something strange. It had worked. “At least,” he thought with
a chuckle, “I shot an ear. Next time I’ll do better.”

Would he? What was to follow? Would they get their man? And that
thousand dollar reward? Who would be the lucky one? He thought of John.
John Nightingale, the reporter, was always hard up, always shabby. He
borrowed money on Mondays before paydays.

Then he thought of Mary Dare. She, too, was poor. She had not been a
reporter very long. Her salary was small. What would not the reward do
for these?

“She’ll get on,” John had said, speaking of Mary, “Dare’s the right name
for her. She’s not afraid to tackle anything.”

Tom Howe? Well, he didn’t know so much about Tom.

But suppose he got the reward himself? Instantly he thought of that
telescopic lens, of screens and filters for light and of strange new
films that permitted one to take pictures in the pitch dark, without a
flash. In the midst of these dreamings he fell asleep.



                               CHAPTER IV
                            TOM HOWE’S EARS


Next day the fog hung even heavier than before over the city. It was
because of this, perhaps, that Jimmie witnessed a strange bit of street
drama and made a new friend, all of which was to play a large part in
his life in the near future.

He had been sent to a publisher for a picture of an author who recently
had become quite famous. The publishing house was a small concern and
had its offices in an old building on a narrow street over which the
elevated cars rattled and thundered.

Having secured the picture Jimmie was on his way back when a figure came
gliding toward him through the fog.

“Like a snake,” Jimmie thought, as he watched the man approach. The
man’s face, he noticed as they came closer together, matched his gait.
He had the beady eyes, the long nose, and the protruding lips of a
snake. Involuntarily, Jimmie looked at his ear as he passed. It was a
strange ear, little and dried up like an autumn leaf. But it was not the
ear of the Silent Terror.

“Ears _are_ different,” he told himself. “I’m going to start studying
them.”

This set him thinking of his engagement to meet Tom Howe at noon. He
thought of the detective’s instructions. “Go as far as the elevator will
take you. Climb two flights of stairs.” Surely a strange place to live.

Then he remembered what Tom had said about his collection of ears. He
was both mystified and intrigued. He would be glad when the noon hour
came.

With all this day-dreaming he had failed to note the figure of a huge
man who moved slowly along before him. When at last he became conscious
of the man he was obliged to slacken his pace to avoid running into him.

The man took long, slow steps, like someone from the country. Evidently
he had expected the fog to turn to rain for he wore a heavy rain coat
that flapped loosely about him.

Then, of a sudden, Jimmie noticed someone else. It was the snake-like
man. “I’m going to meet him again,” he thought with a start. “How did he
get here?”

There could be only one answer to this question. The snake-man had
crossed the street, had doubled on his tracks, gone racing through the
fog in the opposite direction for a block or two, then had recrossed the
street and was now walking back the way he had come.

“But why?” Jimmie all but said these words out loud.

The answer was not long in coming.

As the sneaking little man came opposite the large one who lumbered on
before Jimmie his hand flashed out and snatched something from the
pocket of the big man’s coat.

Jimmie’s lips were parted for a sharp warning when something quite
unusual happened. The little man spun half around, arose in the air like
an airplane taking off, then shot away into the fog to land solidly on
the pavement a full fifteen feet from his starting point.

A gruff voice said, “There! That will teach you to keep your hands out
of other people’s pockets!” At that the big man bent over to pick up the
bill-fold that had been snatched from his pocket and which, with the
blow, had been knocked from the small man’s hand.

Jimmie took it all in like a flash. The little fellow had tried to
snatch a purse. The big man had caught him at it and knocked him into
the middle of the street.

“Boy, mister! That was great!” the words slipped unbidden from Jimmie’s
lips.

The big man whirled about. “Oh, a boy!” he smiled broadly.

“But won’t you have him arrested?” Jimmie asked in surprise.

“No—o, I guess not,” the big man drawled. “He’s just a dirty little cur.
Guess he’ll remember this.”

“But he’s a pick-pocket,” Jimmie protested. “Probably got a long record.
I saw him do it. We—we could convict him.”

“Yes,” the other agreed. “But see. The fog has swallowed him up.”

“That’s right,” Jimmie agreed. “But say!” Jimmie was struck by a sudden
idea. “This would be a peach of a story. I’m from the Press. Mind if I
take your picture?”

“In this fog?” The man stared at him.

“Sure. My candid camera gets ’em in any weather. Just a minute.”

Jimmie backed up, squinted through his finder, twisted a screw, pressed
a button, then said,

“Thanks, that’s great.”

“Just like that,” the big man grinned. “Let me see that thing.”

Reluctantly Jimmie turned over his camera.

“Neat little trick,” said the man. “How much do they cost?”

“A little over a hundred dollars,” Jimmie took back his treasure with a
sigh of relief.

“Thunder! That’s a lot for a thing you can hide in the palm of your
hand,” the big man exclaimed.

“Made like a watch,” said Jimmie proudly. “When you’ve got one you’ve
got something. I took a picture of a fellow’s ear last night. May send
him to prison.”

“Well, I’d say he’d better cover up his ears,” laughed the big man. “By
the way, you might like to see what was in that bill-fold.”

“Sure—sure, I would,” Jimmie moved closer.

“There it is.”

Jimmie saw a slip of paper. “Huh!” he chuckled. “Check for a half
million. Stage money, I suppose.”

“Real money. Want to see me cash it? Come on. We’ll get a taxi at the
next corner. Be at the bank in fifteen minutes.” With his head in a
whirl the boy followed his strange new friend to the corner, entered a
taxi and was whisked away.

Three hours later when he started for Tom Howe’s room his thoughts were
still spinning. He had stumbled on a peach of a news story for good old
John Nightingale. And there was to be more; indeed, very much more than
he at that moment dreamed.

When, promptly at the appointed hour, he entered the building in which
Tom’s room was located he found himself in one of the city’s most
celebrated sky-scrapers. Like a giant needle it pierced the sky.

“Two flights above the last stop,” he thought with a thrill. “Up among
the pigeons, bats and stars.”

In this he was not so far from being wrong. Tom’s place was a snug
little spot just beneath the clock.

“From this high pinnacle,” Tom said as Jimmie, having entered the room,
stood staring, “I look down upon the crooked little world that is a
great city. See!” he pointed at a powerful telescope resting on a
tripod. “Take a squint.”

Jimmie took one squint into the telescope, then gazed long and
earnestly. Those spider-like creatures moving over the sidewalk seeming
all arms and legs were turned once more by this magic glass into men and
women. Those large black bugs crawling along the street became autos.

“What I just said is more truth than fancy,” said Tom. “Fact is, in
these days when I have no more pressing matters to hold my attention I
train my telescope on a certain garage.”

“Garage? Why?” Jimmie asked in surprise.

“In that garage,” said Tom, his voice took on a note of mystery, “are
stored two trucks. Under the hoods of these trucks are hidden unusually
powerful motors. These trucks, I am convinced, are being held in
readiness for one of the largest and boldest robberies in the city’s
history.”

“Wha—what will they steal?” Jimmie asked.

“That’s what we don’t know,” was Tom’s surprising reply.

“Then why——”

“When five of the city’s most dangerous criminals are seen together and
when three of them are known to have purchased these trucks, had
powerful motors installed in them and stored them, it is time for the
city’s detective force to be up on their toes.”

“But why don’t you arrest them now?” Jimmie asked.

“Got nothing on them. But we will have,” Tom paced the floor. “We will.
And we’ll get them. You’ll see. All are dangerous men. Three have been
charged with murder. No matter. When those trucks are loaded the police
will strike and then——”

“Next day’s headlines will read, ‘Tom Howe killed in gun battle,’” said
Jimmie, with a dry laugh.

“Perhaps,” Tom agreed. “We’re looking for a better story than that.”

“Oh!” Jimmie exclaimed as his eye was caught by a large picture on Tom’s
desk. “You have it.”

“Yes, your shot from the hip. A fine enlargement,” Tom enthused.
“Scottie sent it over an hour ago.”

“Good old Scottie,” Jimmie chuckled. “He likes to kid me about my candid
camera.”

“Yes, but he’s beginning to believe in it,” Tom took the enlargement
from the table. “You stick by Scottie. He’ll give you anything you want.
Providing what you want is right and for the good of all.

“Look at that picture,” he said a few seconds later. “Peach of an ear.
Not another like it in the world.”

They were looking at an enlargement of a picture of the Silent Terror.
Perhaps the only one in existence, it was the one taken by Jimmie on the
eventful night before. For a full minute they stood staring at it in
silence.

To Jimmie there was something about the picture that made him shudder.
Is it true that some men are so evil, so terrifying by nature, that even
before you have looked them in the eye you fear them? It would seem so,
for Jimmie now found himself trembling from head to foot.

“It’s last night,” he told himself angrily. “I’m not over that shock. I
mustn’t be such a softie!”

Then, that he might the sooner gain control of himself, he forced
himself to recall what Tom had said to him about the man’s ear.

“Wha—what’s strange about the ear?” he at last managed to ask.

For an answer his host turned a small knob to open a broad, shallow
cabinet. “Here,” he said, “are my ears.”

“Great guns!” Jimmie exclaimed. “They look real!”

“Don’t they, though!” Tom’s face beamed. “Done in wax. The exact
reproduction of two hundred famous ears, many of them of crooks, living
and dead. A clever little hunch-back lady, a marvelous sculptress, does
them for me.

“What I want you to do,” he said, “is to pick one out that exactly
matches this ear of the Silent Terror.”

“That should be easy,” said Jimmie. “There are so many.”

“Take your time.” Smiling in a strange way the young detective sat down
behind his telescope.

For a full five minutes Jimmie studied those ears. From time to time Tom
heard him murmur, “Nope, not quite. Not at all, in fact. Nor this. Nor
that.”

“Say—ee!” he exclaimed at last. “They’re all different. But then,” his
voice changed, “I suppose you picked them because they’re odd.”

“Not at all,” replied Tom. “If I had ten thousand ears, you’d not find
two that matched.”

“By the way!” he said, changing the subject, “did you ever happen to
notice that your nose is crooked?”

“No. And it’s not,” said Jimmie.

“Take a look,” Tom handed him a glass.

“What? Why! It is crooked.” Jimmie was dismayed. “If—if I were a crook
they’d spot me by my nose.”

“Oh, no!” Tom laughed. “Take a look at mine. It’s crooked too. There are
a thousand people down there below us going to lunch. If you looked at
them one after the other you’d probably find they all had noses slightly
off the true. Watching them go by gets to haunt you if you look too
long.

“But ears,” he went back to his original subject, “people don’t fuss
much with their ears. Men do not try to disguise their ears as they do
their eyes and noses. That’s why I’ve taken up the study of ears. In a
crowd of ten thousand I could spot the Silent Terror’s ear. Soon I shall
be carrying a reproduction of it in my pocket.”

“Have one made for me,” Jimmie’s tone was eager.

“I will,” said Tom. “Be sure you study it well.”

“I’ll be the first to spot him,” said Jimmie.

“If you are so fortunate,” replied Tom. “Be on your guard. He’s a
dangerous man and, as time goes on, will become more desperate.

“And now,” he laughed, “classes for the morning are over. Shall we have
lunch?”



                               CHAPTER V
                     THE CANDID CAMERA CLICKS AGAIN


It was after their lunch that Tom Howe drew from an inner pocket
something resembling a thin pack of cards. Though they were alone in a
booth with their backs to the wall he glanced sharply about him before
unfolding the packet which proved to be ten small pictures glued to a
single strip of black cloth.

“These,” he said, half concealing the pictures, “are my special charge,
though your friend, the Silent Terror, is beginning to crowd in upon
them.”

“Five,” said Jimmie in a whisper. “_The five?_”

“Absolutely,” Tom’s voice was husky. “Front view and profile of each.
Reading from left to right, Black Dolan; Piccalo, the Pipe; Pagan, the
Fence; Stumps Sharpe; and Tungsten Tom. Every one of them has a criminal
record. When five such men get together there’s bound to be trouble.” He
folded up the packet and returned it to his pocket. “I don’t mind
telling you I’m off in a few minutes to look over a small job they are
suspected of pulling.”

“Small? Thought you said they were big.”

“When something big is planned it calls for money. Crooks get money in
their own way. This time they opened up the safe of a movie company and
got away with several fat bundles of currency.

“You might like to go along,” Tom suggested. “Might give you a scoop for
your paper. Far as I know the thing’s been kept quiet.”

“A scoop! Oh, boy!”

This was the second time that a story had loomed large on Jimmie’s
horizon. He thought of John Nightingale; good old hard-working John who
had done him so many favors.

“A scoop for John,” he said aloud. “That will be grand!”

“Got your camera?”

“Sure! Always have it.”

“You’ll be able to get some pictures, I think. They always help. Shall
we be off?”

“Right now,” Jimmie sprang to his feet. They were away.

The suite of offices they entered a few moments later were quite modern.
Clicking typewriters, mahogany desks, and the latest floodlights told
plainly that at least one moving-picture organization was doing very
well. They were in the central office of a large syndicate controlling
many theaters.

“Are you from the Detective Bureau?” inquired a short, fat man with
pudgy fingers.

Tom nodded.

“They took it all! Everything!” The man wrung his fat hands.

“Where’s the safe?” Tom demanded shortly.

“It is in the back. Come this way, please. The police have been here.
Everything has been guarded. Nothing was touched.” The man led the way
back.

“Hello, Tom,” the police officer on duty greeted.

“Hello, Jerry. What kind of a job?” asked Tom.

“Neat. Professional, all right. Cut up the safe with oxyacetylene torch.
Easy as opening a can of peas.”

“H’m,” said Tom as he entered the place. “Not much of a safe. Easy
money, I’d say. But we’ll try to make ’em pay. We usually do, in the
end, don’t we, Jerry?”

“I’ll say you do, Tom,” Jerry grinned. “Who’s the Boy Scout?” He eyed
Jimmie suspiciously.

“He’s from the Press,” Tom explained. “Special friend of mine. Keen with
his candid camera. Only person that’s ever photographed the Silent
Terror.”

“The Terror!” Jerry whistled through his teeth. The look he bestowed
upon Jimmie was one of genuine respect.

“All right, Jerry,” Tom said with a grin. “Strike a pose so Jimmie can
get a picture. Usual stuff. Stand and point at the wrecked safe.”

Jerry smiled. Then his face sobered as he struck the pose.

Jimmie got his picture, three shots. Not quite satisfied with the “usual
stuff” he wandered about the small room looking for others. In the
corner, propped against the wall was a section of the safe containing
the lock.

“Got in their way, so they removed it,” Jerry chuckled.

Suddenly, as Jimmie looked at this section, his figure stiffened, for
all the world like that of a panther who has scented a covey of grouse.

Setting his camera for a close-up, he squinted through the finder, then
clicked it three times.

“Mind sitting on the floor and looking at that through this?” he said to
Tom as he took a three-inch magnifying glass from his pocket.

“No, I—” Tom hesitated.

“Do your stuff,” Jerry roared in good-natured glee. So Tom posed while
Jimmy took his picture.

“All right,” said Jimmie. “I’ll hurry over with the pictures.”

“Tell your friend John to get me on the phone. I’ll give him the
details,” said Tom.

Jimmie did a fade-out while Tom and his police friend remained to search
for tools that might have been left behind, to study the cigaret stubs
and burnt matches on the floor, and the window that had been jimmied, to
test everything for possible fingerprints and, in short, to conduct a
thorough investigation of a piece of work done by experts in their line.

Needless to say, the Press scored a scoop and Jimmie got his full share
of credit. To Tom’s surprise, he saw that instead of the picture of
Police Officer Jerry doing his regular stuff, they had used his own
picture, the one of him pointing at the broken scrap of steel containing
the safe’s lock.

Beneath the picture he read, “Famous young detective discovers valuable
clue.”

“Now what?” Tom thought. “Just one more of those newspaper half-truths,
I suppose. I can’t say I like them.”

The fact is that that line beneath the picture told the whole truth,
only it was done in advance of the discovery. With Jimmie’s help, Tom
was to uncover a valuable clue from that same scrap of steel, though at
that moment he knew nothing about it.



                               CHAPTER VI
                             JOHN’S HIDEOUT


Jimmie lived with his father and mother in an old-fashioned house in The
Glen, a suburban village near the city.

John Nightingale, too, had a place in The Glen. And what a place it was!
To the few who knew about it—and they were very few indeed—it was known
as “John’s hideout.” It was well named. The Glen was an old village. One
of the first settlers had been a Judge Stark, a man with grand and
costly ideas. He had been fond of large rooms, fine horses, and trees.
With plenty of money at hand, he had walled in ten rolling acres of
land, built a huge castle-like house in the center and broad stables at
the back, laid winding drives and paths all over it and planted it thick
with all manner of trees.

The Judge had now been dead for many years. His two sons, preferring
city penthouses to a tree-grown estate, had abandoned the great house.
It had been closed for years and was showing signs of decay.

The Judge’s trees, planted with such care, had continued to thrive. In
one corner of the estate, some distance from the house, was a thick
clump of pines. So closely planted were they and so interlaced were
their heavy branches that the space beneath them seemed dark even at
noonday.

In the center of this cluster of pines was John’s hideout. Having made
the acquaintance of one of the Judge’s sons, John had sought and
received permission to erect a portable structure there. The hideout
consisted of two small rooms made entirely of 2×2 timbers and three-ply
boards. Even the roof was of ply-board, heavily painted. It resembled
nothing quite so much as two huge packing boxes set up side by side.
When an autumn rain came pelting down on the roof it was as if a hundred
imps were beating upon it with drumsticks. Since Jimmie Drury was a
normal boy with the blood of Robin Hood, Long John Silver and all the
rest coursing through his veins, it was only natural that he should
become very fond of John’s hideout.

Nor did his father object. John Nightingale was not a thrifty person, to
be sure. He borrowed money three days before pay-day and his clothes
were more often frayed than otherwise. But he was honest, clean, and
friendly, the sort of fellow who makes a good and generous big brother.
And to Jimmie’s father this was quite enough.

John was young, not yet twenty-five, but he had been places and seen
things. There was nothing Jimmie liked quite so much as sitting by
John’s glowing fire sipping a cup of his famous bitter-sweet chocolate,
and listening to his low drawl as he told of crossing the ocean on a
cattle ship or shipping as an able-bodied seaman earning his way peeling
potatoes and washing dishes “down to Rio” or “across to Shanghai.”

“Folks are queer,” John would drawl. “Queer and just alike, too. If you
hang about the water-front in Liverpool, Rio, Boston, or Shanghai, and
if you don’t watch out you’ll be robbed. But if you go back to some
quiet little village near any of these harbors you’ll find kindly,
hard-working, gentle folk who are glad to help you and wish to do you no
harm.”

“But tell me about these places in Chicago?” Jimmie would insist.

“What places?” John would ask, as if he did not know.

“The places where you eat with a feeling that there’s a knife at your
back,” Jimmie would hunch forward expectantly in his chair.

“Oh, those places!” John would grin. “You’re safe enough there if you’re
in the know. They spot you soon enough. They read your stuff in the
papers. If a reporter doesn’t go around exposing them, these places you
know, on the near west side, where the light-fingered fellows, the
hold-up men, and a bank robber or two hang out he’s as safe as in a
church. I think they really enjoy our company. Some of them,” John would
chuckle, “are poets and novelists gone wrong. They have the desire to
create or destroy. It’s easier to destroy than create so that’s what
they do.

“But, of course,” he would hasten to add, “you wouldn’t know what I mean
by all that. And I’m not going to take you there, so let’s talk about
that place on the near north side where you get real Swedish cooking,
big rings of cold meat in a sort of candied jelly, minced chicken,
strange, rich desserts and real coffee. All spread out on a long, bare
wooden table where you can help yourself.”

“Um,” said Jimmie.

“We’ll go there the very next time,” was John’s instant decision.

John had written a small book on “Places to eat.” Some day he would be a
famous novelist, Jimmie was sure of that. He never grew tired of
listening to John as, in slow, melodious rhythm, he read aloud some
short piece of fiction that he had just finished writing.

For the most part John’s stories found their way to the waste basket,
but every now and again his name was featured on the cover of a
well-known magazine. This, of course, filled Jimmie, his ardent young
admirer, with delight.

It was in this very hideout on the evening of that day on which he had
gone to view with Tom Howe the remains of a blown safe that Jimmie told
John of his great discovery in the fog.

It had been his idea in the first place to secure a short news story
with a picture telling how a giant from the north woods had knocked a
pick-pocket into the middle of the street with his bare fist.

As his acquaintance with this big, rough-spoken man had grown, his ideas
had grown with it.

Now, as John sat with a steaming cup of chocolate before him he said:

“It’s a feature story. That’s what it is!”

“For the big Saturday edition,” John smiled expectantly.

“Yes, or perhaps even a magazine article.”

“All ready. Shoot! And here’s how!” said John. They clicked their cups
and drank, after which Jimmie told his story. He told how he and the man
from the north had met in the fog, how the pick-pocket had gone spinning
into the street and how he, Jimmie, had asked the stranger for a story.

“When he showed me that check for a half million bucks the one that
pick-pocket nearly got, I wouldn’t believe it was real,” said Jimmie.

“Don’t blame you,” John drawled.

“But it was good! Real turkey!” Jimmie exclaimed. “He took me to the
First National. Such a bank as that is! He didn’t just go to a teller
and ask for a half million. He went to a department that deals only with
raisers, dealers and manufacturers of furs. There he said, ‘Hello, Joe,’
to a man at a desk. Then he sat down at the desk, and showed the check.
Joe whistled. ‘Good business,’ was all he said.

“‘Sure,’ my big friend grinned. Then he said, ‘I want so much cash, a
draft on this bank, one on that one, so much on deposit.’ Just like
that.”

“Just like that,” John chuckled. “I’d like to try it just once.”

“But it was all real,” Jimmie protested. “He’s the silver fox king.”

“That’s a large order,” said John.

“He told me about it,” Jimmie went on enthusiastically. “You don’t get
to be the silver fox king all at once. There was a time when only wild
silver fox skins were sold. Then someone caught a pair of silver foxes
alive.

“He and his brother bought them, paid a lot of money for them. And when
a family of little foxes arrived what do you think?” he asked.

“Can’t guess,” said John.

“They were all red foxes, worth about $10.00 apiece. All except one. He
was a cross-fox. You see,” Jimmie leaned forward, “silver foxes are sort
of freaks, like a white calf in a herd of red cattle.”

“What could you do about that?” John asked.

“You have to try and try again. First you get a cross fox, half red and
half silver. You keep the ones that are most silver and raise more and
more foxes. That’s what my big friend, Harm Stark, did. And in the end,
when he and his brothers were nearly broke, they began getting real
silver foxes. And now they raise thousands every year. He just sold
their prime skins for a half million. He’s promised to show them to me.
He wants us to come to dinner with him at the Morrison. He’ll give you
the whole story. Won’t that be grand!”

“It sure will,” John beamed. “But where do you come in?”

“I get in on the dinner,” Jimmie grinned broadly.

“A half million in silver fox skins,” John mused. “What a haul for some
big-time crook!

“Jimmie!” he exclaimed, “have another cup of chocolate.”



                              CHAPTER VII
                      BIG TIMERS STAGE A REHEARSAL


“What’s that you were saying about wanting a camera with a telescopic
lens?” Scottie asked Jimmie next morning.

“Said I’d give anything I own for a telescopic lens to fit my candid
camera,” Jimmie replied.

“Oh! That’s it,” Scottie exclaimed. “Then your possessions are safe
enough. They don’t make a telescopic lens for a toy camera. Not yet.”

“It’s no toy,” Jimmie protested. “Remember that enlargement you made for
me?”

“Sure.”

“Well, it’s important evidence. Tom Howe told me so. In the end it may
help send a man to the jug.”

“Well, if Tom says that it must be so,” replied Scottie. “Tom’s Irish
and I’m Scotch. But the Micks and Macks won the great war, so they say,
and we still march side by side.

“But that,” he added, “won’t get you a telescopic lens for your camera,
for there’s never a one that’ll fit it.

“Nevertheless,” he glanced in the corner, “there’s a box camera over
there I once rigged up with a telescopic lens. The lens is still on it.
All you have to do is to look at the ground glass in the back to get
your focus. That is, if it’s less than a hundred feet. If it’s more you
don’t have to look. I don’t mind lending it to you for a few days.”

“Say! That will be great!” Jimmie enthused. “I—I’ll show you some real
stuff.”

“I hope so, my boy. I sure do hope so,” said Scottie.

Scottie was growing old. All too soon another would be taking his place.
He loved boys though he had none of his own. Deep down in his heart he
had hid a warm spot for Jimmie. “He’ll do,” he murmured to himself as
Jimmie marched proudly away with his new-found treasure, “He’ll get
there. Never doubt it.”

The two days that followed were busy ones for Jimmie. One of the copy
boys was sick, another on a vacation. Jimmie was obliged to resume his
regular place in line and answer once more to the call of “Boy.”

This he did not entirely regret. He was able to look with new eyes upon
the great institution to which he belonged. Since his little excursions
to the outside, the make-up room, the thundering press room and the
quiet offices of special editors all had a new meaning for him.

“We’re all working with one end in view,” said Mr. Strong, the editor,
taking a moment from his many busy hours to chat with him. “We’re
keeping the public informed regarding important matters. We’re helping
to fight crime and trying to encourage people to live decent and
respectable lives.”

“Yes, sir,” replied Jimmie, too much awed by the greatness of the man to
say more.

Important things did happen despite the boy’s busy days. He and John had
their dinner with Harm Stark, the silver-fox king. Such a dinner it was!
A private dining room with paneled walls such as Jimmie had never seen
before. Real, solid silver service there was too. And such food! Chicken
legs encased in fancy paper at the ends, mashed potatoes, yellow with
butter, and side dishes the boy could not so much as name.

Harm Stark, in his own broad, open-hearted way, gave John a real story.
He told of his early struggle and final success, told how acres of fox
farms had widened and how they were fenced and guarded. He told of
feeding, training and selecting the foxes.

“And after that,” he sighed, “comes the harvest. They’re all here and
sold, a half million dollars worth. Here right in the city. Some day
I’ll give you a ring on the phone and take you over to see them. Of
course, they’re not mine any more, but Solomon Zimmerman won’t mind
showing them. He’s as proud of them as I am.”

Jimmie hoped the ring on the phone might come very soon. Had he but
known it, that particular phone call, costing only one buffalo nickel,
was to be of the utmost importance to him. It is often so in life, a
simple lifting of the receiver, a murmur, “Give me Randolph 1223,” may
mean success or failure, victory or defeat, even life or death to
someone. You may be sure that when that call did come Jimmie was ready
to listen.

One other thing occurred which, strange to say, was in the end to be
closely connected with the silver fox king’s phone call. It happened
during the noon lunch hour when Tom Howe came over to make his report.

“Your scratch clue was a real one,” Tom said with a friendly smile.

“My scratch clue?” Jimmie stared at him in surprise. Then, of a sudden,
he remembered. When he had accompanied Tom to the scene of that
safe-robbery, he had taken pictures other than those required by his
paper. On the section of the steel door, cut away with the use of an
oxyacetylene torch, he had discovered some scratches. Having recently
read a book on strange clues, he had thought it worth while to
photograph these scratches. When the picture had been enlarged they
stood out very plainly. It was this that had led him to print the
picture of Tom Howe looking at that broken bit of steel and, supposedly,
discovering fresh clues. As he recalled all this he smiled as he said:

“I’m glad they were the real thing. What did you do about it?”

“First thing I did was to scrape the surface of the safe where those
scratches showed,” said Tom.

“What for?” Jimmie asked eagerly.

“It’s a well known fact,” Tom replied, “that, even if one of two metals
is much harder than the other, when one scratches the other some of it
comes off.

“I wanted to know whether there really was tungsten in that steel. I
sent the scrapings to the laboratory. They burned it by electric arc and
studied its spectrum. That’s pretty scientific,” he grinned. “There was
tungsten all right. So I sent out Tungsten Tom’s pictures to several
manufacturers and I got my man; that is, I proved that he had worked at
the Carter Machine-Tool Company’s plant and that he did rob them.”

“How’d they catch him,” Jimmie asked.

“You’d be surprised,” Tom laughed. “He was carrying it away in his
card-board lunch box. They suspected that someone was doing that so they
set a powerful electro magnet beside the narrow alley-way through which
all employees must leave. When Tungsten Tom’s lunch box came near it,
that electro magnet smelled steel. It drew in Tungsten’s lunch box and
held it fast. So that was that.”

“Pretty slick,” Jimmie smiled in admiration.

“Thanks to your aid,” the young detective went on. “We’ve got enough
right now to make a good case against Tungsten. But we don’t want to
spring it. We want to get his whole gang. We——”

He broke short off to stare into the street. “Can you beat that?” he
exclaimed. “There’s one of those trucks now. Come on! we’ll have to
follow. This may be the big hour.”

Seizing Jimmie by the arm he pushed him into a taxi and they were away.

“See that large, black truck up ahead?” Tom said to the driver.

“Yes, sir.”

“Follow it. Don’t lose it.”

“Yes, sir.”

They turned a corner, dodged a street car, got caught by a light, lost
their scent for a time, then picked it up again.

“You remember that garage I was watching from my lofty perch?” said Tom.

“Sure, I do,” said Jimmie.

“We’re following one of the two trucks stored there by Tungsten and his
gang. Crooks store trucks for a purpose. On the side you’ll read the
words:

                          TOWN’S END TRANSFER

“They’ll transfer something, right enough,” Tom laughed. “Perhaps today,
though I doubt it. Not at noon. This may be a rehearsal.”

“Rehearsal?” Jimmie stared at him.

“Sure. Crooks have to be up-to-date. No movie producer ever rehearsed an
act oftener or more thoroughly than crooks do some big play they are
going to make. Getting in, getting out, the cop on his beat, the number
of people likely to be on the street, every curve that the car or truck
must make, are important; those and a hundred other things. They——”

“There,” he exclaimed, “they’re pulling up to that place a half block
ahead, preparing to back in.

“Stop here, driver,” he commanded. “They can’t see us. Here’s your fare.
Turn around and get away quietly.”

“Right. Thanks.” The taxi slid silently away.

“Here!” said Tom drawing something flat from his inside pocket and
snapping it into the form of an oblong box. “Take this. It’s your lunch
box. At least we’ll pretend it is.” From another pocket he produced a
paper bag. After inflating this he dropped it to his side.

“This,” he said, “is a street of small factories for the most part. It
is the noon hour. Slouch a little as you walk. We are workers going to
eat our cold lunch with a cup of hot coffee at the place round the
corner. Come on. We’ll cross the street and walk down past where the
truck stands.”

Jimmie felt his blood tingle as they crossed the street then sauntered
down the sidewalk. He was thinking of sudden sallies, burst of machine
gun fire and all the rest.

Everything, however, was quiet enough. The street seemed almost
deserted. It was an old section of the city. Four-story buildings lined
the street on either side. On one was the sign of a candy manufacturer,
on another that of a job printer and a third of some novelty dealer.

“Don’t look like a place where big-time crooks could make a grand haul,”
said Tom, talking out of the side of his mouth. “Still you never can
tell.”

“Look,” said Jimmie. “They’re backing the truck into that alley.”

“That’s right,” Tom’s figure stiffened. “This may be something real
after all.”

“Two men are getting out,” said Jimmie.

“Going inside. Perhaps it’s only a rehearsal after all.”

The men were gone for some time. The building on the corner, just ahead
of Tom and his companion was vacant. Large, dusty windows on each side
showed it to have been a store.

“Come on around the corner,” said Tom. “We can watch through those
windows without being seen.”

Through those dusty windows they did watch but it was little enough they
learned. In time the two men came out, carrying nothing. After they had
climbed back into the truck, they drove away at a rapid rate.

“Just a rehearsal,” said Tom. “Wish I’d been able to come close enough
to get a real look at them, but I didn’t dare.”

“If I’d had my telescopic camera,” said Jimmie, “I could have taken
their pictures.”

“Too bad you didn’t,” sighed the detective. “Well, better luck another
time.”

After that they folded up lunch box and paper bag and looked up a truly
good eating place to enjoy a real lunch.

In Jimmie’s room at home was a great, old-fashioned, over-stuffed
rocking chair. It was frayed and moth-eaten but oh, so comfortable! When
the day was over and supper done, Jimmie loved to sit in this chair with
feet propped up on the window sill, there to listen to the robins chirp,
to watch twilight darken into night, and think things through.

There was plenty to think about these days. As he sat there a few hours
after his truck chasing expedition with Tom, he found himself in a
somber mood.

It was all well enough, he was thinking, to dream of having a part in
bringing criminals to justice, but when you were up against the real
thing——

“Ah, that’s different,” he sighed.

And then, of a sudden, his spirits and determination rose. “We’ll get
him!” he murmured. “We will!”

He was thinking of the Silent Terror. Even now a thrill ran up his spine
as he seemed to hear those words, “As you are!”

His determination at this moment to do his full duty was stronger than
ever, for the papers that day had carried broad headlines about the
Silent Terror’s last attack. Jimmie had read how a girl, little older
than himself, had been sent from a laundry to bring the payroll. On her
return she cut through an alley. They had found her four hours later
wandering only half-conscious and hysterical, empty-handed and murmuring
about a man and a bubble.

“What man? What bubble?” they had asked. To these questions she found no
answer. But to all it was plain that the Silent Terror had struck again.

“I took his picture,” Jimmie groaned. “And got only an ear. An ear! It
may be well enough for a whiz of a detective like Tom Howe, but who else
could tell that ear if he saw it? Practically no one.”

Other matters called for thought. There were the five big-time crooks
who, Tom thought, were preparing something big. Was Tom right? And had
they, in following that truck, discovered the scene of that proposed big
haul? In such a poor section? It did not seem possible. And yet——

“One thing’s sure,” Jimmie sighed. “We’ve got the goods on Tungsten Tom.
He was in on that safe-breaking and I helped to prove it, my little
candid camera and I.” He got no little satisfaction from that. It is
good to be really doing things. Was he to be in on the whole affair?
Would he see them all dragged into the net, one at a time; Black Dolan,
Piccalo, and all that ugly five? He hoped so. And yet, he shuddered at
the thought.

He looked at his watch, nine o’clock. Time for sport flashes. He snapped
on the radio to catch the commentator in the midst of his talk:

“Tomorrow,” came from the radio, “will witness an event of unusual
interest in the world of sport. If you have wondered what the city’s
richest people look like, the De Metzes, the Marmons, the Morton
Armours, and all the rest, be sure to come to the ball game. They will
all be there, right down in the box seats. Why? Because the young
society baseball pitcher, J. Ogden Durant, is to start for the
Bear-cats.”

“Durant!” Jimmie exclaimed to the empty room. “Gee! Oh, gee!”

Just at that moment he wished he had no job. He was a great baseball
fan. And never had there been a game he longed so to see. To sit up
there and howl himself hoarse for his hero! Ah! That would be life.
L-I-F-E spelled in big letters.

He scarcely heard the further comments of the announcer as he went on:

“Perhaps this is the first time in the history of baseball that a
millionaire’s son has risen to the rank of a big-leaguer. It surely is
the first time one has stood in the pitcher’s box. Give him a hand,
ladies and gentlemen. Give him a hand. He deserves it.”

All this time Jimmie sat with his eyes closed, seeing himself in the
past, as a rather small boy. A golf course joined The Glen on the west.
It was a large and expensive course, patronized, for the most part, by
the rich of the near-by city. A patch of woods lined this course on one
side. Into the tall grass of this little forest, golf balls often
bounced and were lost. On a Saturday the village boys went there in
search of balls.

One day Jimmie had pounced upon a ball, a split second before a larger
boy had prepared to scoop it up. There had been an argument and a race.
To escape his pursuer, Jimmie raced out upon the green. He was just in
time to get in the way of a long drive. The golf ball struck him in the
very tender portion of his anatomy.

With a howl he went into the air, then came down in a heap like a
wounded soldier. He did not cry, not even when three of the foursome of
rich young golf players that made up the party, let out loud roars of
laughter. He arose stiffly and started back toward the forest.

Then it was that J. Ogden Durant, young son of a rich stockyards owner,
and one of that party, had endeared himself to Jimmie’s heart. He it
was, of the four, who did not laugh. Though it had not been his shot
that felled the boy, he hurried on ahead of his companions, caught up
with Jimmie and said:

“Sorry, old man. That was a hard shot. They had no right to laugh. The
thing might have been serious.”

Then, in a way that no one could see, he had slipped two brand new golf
balls into Jimmie’s sweater pocket.

There are certain events in every small boy’s life that he never
forgets. This was one in Jimmie’s. There was that in the face, the
voice, the general action of J. Ogden Durant that marked him as a “real
guy.”

In the years that followed Jimmie had saved every picture of Durant
appearing on the Society Page. He had followed his career with the
keenest interest. And now——

“Aw, gee! What a break!” he groaned. He seemed to hear that call he had
come to know so well, “Boy!” For once he almost hated it.



                              CHAPTER VIII
                         A MILLIONAIRE PITCHER


It was on the way to the city next morning that, riding with his father,
Jimmie brought up the coming ball game.

“Durant is pitching today,” he suggested.

“Yup.” His father’s face was buried in the morning paper.

“That will be one swell game,” Jimmie ventured.

“Yup.”

For some little time Jimmie said no more. Then, feeling ready to burst,
he exclaimed:

“Gee! There are times when I really wish I was a good liar.”

“Why? What’s up?” His father’s head came out from behind the paper.

“I want to go to that game something fierce. And if only I could tell
’em my grandmother had died or—or something, I—” Jimmie paused for
breath.

“You’d get to go to the game,” his father smiled.

“Yes, but I couldn’t get away with it,” he said.

“No,” said his father, “I hope not. But you’ll go all the same.”

“Why—wha—what?” Jimmie was fairly bowled over by this sudden bombshell.

“You have a camera with a telescopic lens,” suggested his father.

“Yes, oh, yes. It’s Scottie’s.”

“And it works?”

“Swell.”

“Then I’ll take you along to get some shots of Durant pitching. We’ll
have to get them. This game is one of the big society events of the
season. They——”

“Say, that’s great!” Jimmie exploded. “It—why it——”

“Never mind the fireworks,” his father checked this burst of enthusiasm.
“The umpires have been crowding the photographers back off the side
lines. Their shots of pitchers in action have not been so hot. With that
telescope lens of yours you may do credit to your candid camera crowd.”

“What a break!” Jimmie murmured. “Boy, oh, boy! What a break!”

At the appointed hour Jimmie found himself seated beside his father in
the grand-stand. They were in the midst of a large and enthusiastic
crowd, for Jimmie’s father purposely had asked for seats outside the
press box. The reserved seats were packed with the city’s richest
society people. J. Ogden Durant, popular young society bachelor, was
about to make his bid for stardom.

If J. Ogden seemed a strange name for a pitcher, the good-natured crowd
soon put an end to that.

“’Ray for Oggie,” some big voice shouted. At once the throng took it up:

“’Ray for Oggie! ’Ray for Oggie!”

As “Oggie” stepped into the pitcher’s box the same big voice shouted:

“Atta boy, Oggie! Bear down on ’em! Pitch to ’em, boy! We know you,
Oggie. You’ll do!”

When Oggie turned his face up into the sun to acknowledge the compliment
the crowd went wild.

Just then Jimmie sighted his camera and took a shot. “That should be a
winner.” His father smiled his approval.

“Do you think he can pitch?” Jimmie asked.

“He has a record as a sticker,” answered his father. “Unlike most
pitchers, he gets better as the game goes on. If they keep him in there
for four innings he’ll win the game.”

That his father was a good judge of ball players Jimmie knew right well
and admired him for it. Now he found himself hoping that Ogden Durant
might stay those four innings.

That there was at least one onlooker who did not agree with Jimmie’s
views soon became evident. Busy as Jimmie was getting pictures for his
father, he found time to glance along the seats to a spot some fifty
feet away where a man with a long, thin face and a fog-horn voice was
bellowing from time to time:

“Take him out! He’s rotten! Who said he could pitch? Another ball! What
did I tell you? Take him out! Send him back to the stock yards!”

“Who’s your friend?” Jimmie’s father asked teasingly.

“He’s no friend of mine,” Jimmie replied almost in anger. “I’m for
Oggie.”

Oggie was in need of friends. In the first inning he gave a base on
balls that let in a run. In the third he filled the bases, got out of
this hole only by chance, then allowed a two-bagger to bring in another
run.

Jimmie saw the manager look toward the bull pen. At the same time the
man with the fog-horn voice, standing up with his face very red, was
shouting, “Take him out! Back to the stockyards! Ma—a! Ma—a!”

“I wish someone would swat him!” Jimmie exclaimed.

“He’s asking for it,” his father replied. “He’ll probably get it.”

Oggie was given one more inning and this time he made good. No runs were
scored. What was more, in his time at bat he hit out a Texas leaguer and
brought in a run. Then the society ladies in the reserved seats
screamed.

But the man with a red face bawled all the louder:

“Take him out!”

“There’s something behind all his noise,” said Mr. Drury. “Something I
don’t like. It’s sure to come out in the end.”

It did come out and that very soon. Oggie pitched a hitless inning. At
this the heckler bawled out in a voice that all could hear:

“Take him out! He’s one of the idle rich. A millionaire. A murderer!”

Enough had been said. The guards surrounded the man and bore him away.
But before this happened, just as he turned half about to face the
guards, Jimmie aimed his camera, glanced at the ground glass, made a
quick adjustment and snapped his picture. Why did he do this? He did not
know. He was not to regret it, for this picture was to form a link in a
long chain that had started the day he had shot the Silent Terror’s.



                               CHAPTER IX
                            A FORTUNATE SHOT


Jimmie was tired. The ball game was over. It was evening now and he and
his father were on their way home. The events of that day had been
exciting enough, but all days come to an end. He leaned back in the seat
and closed his eyes. Cameras and silver fox skins, blown safes, speeding
trucks, policemen in uniform, a ball game in full swing, and Tom Howe’s
piercing eyes passed across his mental vision.

Because, for the moment, he wished to forget all these things, he opened
his eyes. When he looked at his father he realized with almost a shock
that he too must be tired. Yes, there were tired lines about his mouth
and wrinkles around his eyes he had never noticed before.

“Dad,” he said, “why do you work so late?”

“To get my work done.” The wrinkles about his father’s eyes gathered
into a smile.

“Couldn’t someone else do your work?”

“Oh! Undoubtedly,” the smile broadened. “But if they did they’d want the
pay.”

“But why work so hard?” Jimmie persisted.

“Well,” his father drawled, “there’s the grocer and the milk man to pay.
There are taxes. The old house needs a new roof. And your college days
are only a year away.”

“Oh, yes, college,” Jimmie said thoughtfully. He had often dreamed of
college.

“Dad,” he said after a moment of silence, “how much have I cost you?”

“Well—” his father hesitated, “the income tax man allows me four hundred
dollars exemption for having you around. Perhaps that’s about right.”

“Four hundred a year and I’ll be eighteen when I’m through High.”

Jimmie figured for a moment. “Why that’s over eight thousand dollars!”

“What? Oh, yes, I suppose it is.” His father lapsed into silence.

“What do you expect to get out of it?” Jimmie demanded.

“Why! Nothing! Probably nothing except the fun of seeing you grow up.
Some people like to raise pigs, just to see them grow. Some raise horses
and some raise boys for the same reason.”

“Then,” said Jimmie, and there was a note of finality in his voice,
“you’re not going to work nights to send me to college.”

“What? Don’t you want to go to college?” his father stared.

“Sure, I do. But look! You know Bill Baley and the Dale boys. They go to
college.”

“Yes.”

“Bill’s father works hard.”

“Too hard. That’s right.”

“The Dale boys live off their grandfather and he works hard.”

“He sure does, son.”

“Bill and the Dale boys dance and play tennis, live in fraternity
houses, wear good clothes and study some in college but somebody has to
work too hard so they can keep it up.”

“Well,” his father was smiling again. “What’s the answer?”

“Work!” Jimmie was not smiling. “If I go to college I’ll earn my keep.
I’ll find a college town with an up-to-date newspaper. I’ll develop the
candid camera and telescopic lens ideas as far as I can, then I’ll make
them give me a job. And I’ll _work_, not just sit and wait for checks
from home.”

“Son,” there was a warm light in his father’s eye. “I like to hear you
say that. The greatest discovery any boy ever made is the fact that
every tub must stand on its own bottom, every fellow pull his own oar,
make his own way in the world.

“But, son,” his tone was deeply serious, “no one ever succeeded in a
newspaper office without hard work and long hours. It’s the workingest
place in the world.”

“I know,” said Jimmie. And at once his mind was busy on the problems
that might lie before him tomorrow, and all the other tomorrows to come.

Next day Jimmie had the very unusual experience of seeing one of his own
candid camera shots on the front page of the Press. This, however, was
overshadowed by a startling discovery made shortly after his negatives
taken at the ball game had been developed.

The picture, of course, was a candid shot of the city’s new idol, the
millionaire pitcher. Inside the paper, on the sports page, were a half
dozen other shots of Ogden Durant. Surely this was Jimmie’s big moment.
As he came into the office Scottie, the scarred veteran of many
pictures, shouted a cordial greeting.

“You made good, boy!” he exclaimed, slapping him on the back. “Did it
with that old box of mine. I’m proud of you.”

Nothing could have pleased Jimmie half so much, especially as it came
from Scottie.

But the big things of that day were not over. Scarcely had Jimmie taken
his humble place in the row of waiting copy boys, when his father
stepped out into the corridor and beckoned to him.

He followed his father into his office only to find with a start of
surprise and joy that “Oggie” Durant, his idol was waiting for him
there.

“He came in to thank us for the fine pictures,” Jimmie’s father smiled.
“So I thought he’d like to meet the photographer.”

“You don’t mean—” The young millionaire looked at Jimmie in surprise.

“Yes.” There was a note of pride in the father’s voice. “Jimmie’s been a
camera bug for a long time. He’s with us for the summer so I drafted him
into my service yesterday.”

“Well! Shake!” Oggie gave Jimmie’s hand a true pitcher’s solid grip.

Never had Jimmie been happier than at this moment. To be shaking the
hand of a young man who had been born rich, who might at that moment
have been lolling on some beach surrounded by a bevy of beauties, or
coasting along in some palatial yacht, but who had chosen the long years
of labor and practice that makes a man a professional pitcher, that was
a joy indeed.

“Og—I mean, Mis—mister Durant,” Jimmie burst out suddenly, “do you
remember me?”

“Why, no, I—I can’t say I do.” The great pitcher looked him over.

“You gave me two golf balls,” Jimmie confided, “quite a long time ago.
I—I’ve got them yet. Per—perhaps it sounds silly, but they’re as new as
when I first got them.”

“I gave you golf balls?” Durant looked at him again. “Why, yes, now I do
recall. Burton Keating hit you with a long shot.”

“Yes—yes, that was the time,” Jimmie exclaimed, pleased that he had not
been quite forgotten.

“Well now isn’t it strange,” said Durant with a queer smile, “how our
every little act comes back to haunt us?”

“Mis—mister Durant,” Jimmie burst out again, “will you do me a favor?”

“Gladly. Name it.” The great one smiled.

“Autograph a baseball for me,” Jimmie’s tone was eager.

“Is that all? I shall be glad to do that,” laughed Durant. “In fact,
I’ll do more. I’ll pass the ball down the line to all the members of the
team and have them sign it.”

“That—ah—that will be swell!” said Jimmie.

“But these pictures?” Durant’s voice took on a puzzled note. “How could
you take them? I can’t say I saw you on the diamond.”

“I’ll say not,” exclaimed Jimmie. “It isn’t allowed. Wait! I’ll show
you.” He was away and back again in the same moment.

“See!” he held up Scottie’s old camera. “Telescopic lens.”

“That,” the pitcher took the camera and examined it closely, “that’s a
wonderful idea. But this camera now.” He hesitated. “It really doesn’t
look very new. Is it up-to-the-minute?”

“No,” Jimmie grinned. “It isn’t much more than up to the
day-before-yesterday. But I had to make it do.”

“We’ll correct that,” said Durant. Taking out a small, blank book, he
entered some notes; then, without further comment, returned the book to
his pocket.

Five minutes later Jimmie was back in his place in the row of copy boys.
But not for long. It was Scottie who now called him out. “Jimmie,” he
said, “here’s a negative I found in your lot of baseball shots. Looks
like some sort of a row. What’s it all about? And do we keep it?”

“Oh, yes. Er—let’s see! Now, I know.”

“Here’s a print,” suggested Scottie.

The moment his eyes fell upon that print Jimmie knew there was something
unusual about the central figure in the picture, but cudgel his brain as
he might he could not, for a long time, tell what it was. When it did
come it was with the force of a blow on the head.

Taking the picture to a bright corner of the great, busy room, he
studied it for a long time. When his turn for answering the call, “Boy,”
came, he thrust it into his pocket.

Fortunately his errand that time took him to the art department. There,
while he was awaiting a series of drawings he picked up a magnifying
glass and through this took another look at the picture.

Barely did he escape dropping the glass.

“The ear!” he said aloud. “It’s the ear.” Glancing about to make sure no
one saw him, he took a thin box from his pocket and compared its
contents to the ear of the central figure in the picture. The shot was
of the man who had attempted to rattle Ogden Durant by his abusive
language at the ball park; the shot Jimmie had taken on pure hunch as
the man was being ushered from the grounds.

“The ear,” he thought, as his hand shook. “It’s the ear of the Silent
Terror. That man at the ball park was the Silent Terror. I’ve taken his
picture again. How strange!”

“Here you are,” said a voice close beside him. It was the artist with
the pictures.

“Oh! Oh, yes!” the boy stammered. Thrusting the unusual photograph once
more into his pocket he went on his way, walking almost in a daze.



                               CHAPTER X
                         THE ALASKAN MATCH CLUE


It goes without saying that at his first opportunity Jimmie called Tom
Howe on the phone, then paid another visit to his lofty perch atop the
sky-scraper.

“Good boy,” the young detective exclaimed when Jimmie had told of this
fresh discovery. “You’re doing great work. Keep it up and we’ll get that
Silent Terror before he becomes too dangerous.

“This picture,” he went on thoughtfully, “is a little better than the
first one. I suggest,” he smiled a winking smile, “that you try a front
view or profile next time. However, we get a little more of his face
this time and we have learned much of his character. That helps.”

“What have you learned?” Jimmie asked.

“That he is the crank type of criminal,” replied Tom. “He evidently
hates everyone who is rich. Durant’s playing gave him an excellent
opportunity to voice his hate and perhaps do some damage to the son of a
rich man.

“By the way!” he exclaimed. “When does Durant pitch again?”

“I—I don’t know,” said Jimmie.

“Phone your father and ask him.” Tom’s tone was eager. “It’s important.”

Jimmie took down the receiver. A moment later he announced: “He pitches
next Wednesday.”

“Hm. Five days from now. We may have our man by then and we may not.
Anyway it’s well worth knowing.”

“Why is that important?” Jimmie asked.

“Because this Silent Terror might repeat his performance at the ball
park at the first opportunity.”

“That’s right! He is!” Jimmie exclaimed. “And then you can nab him.”

“That’s it,” said Tom. “And for that reason, I suggest that no story be
given to the Press regarding your discovery.”

“No story,” Jimmie’s face fell.

“Just one more minor tragedy for you.” Tom smiled good-naturedly. “I
understand what all these little scoops mean to a promising young
newspaper man. But when we do our best to serve the people of a great
city we must expect a disappointment now and then. Just wait! The time
will come when the great story will break. Then you shall have the first
look in.”

“I’ll not say a word,” Jimmie promised.

“Have to get over to the ball park before long and talk to the guards
who threw that fellow out.” Tom’s mind was at work on the case. “Not
much chance that they’ll be able to help. Unless the fellow got violent
and did some real damage, which he probably didn’t, they turned him
loose at the gate. Their description of the man might help.

“Such a man,” he went on after a moment’s silence, “usually works alone.
This one possesses a strange secret, one which permits him to put his
victims asleep while still some distance from them. He is not so likely
to share that with another. And yet, if some big time crooks convinced
him that he could do more harm to the very rich by joining up with them
he might consent. Then his power to do harm would be greatly increased.

“The ball park can wait.” He squinted through his telescope. “Remember
that truck we followed?”

“Yes.”

“They’ve made two more rehearsal trips to that alley. I’ve men watching
them. And yet, I can’t see what big thing they could pull there.

“Of course,” Tom went on thoughtfully, “big crooks do sometimes go in
for fine furs and there is a small outfit storing fur coats in a large
vault there. But who would risk his life and liberty for a few bundles
of second-hand muskrat coats? The idea is too preposterous to be
considered.”

“They may be using one of the rooms in that building for storing loot,”
suggested Jimmie.

“I’ve had that in mind. So far nothing has been taken in, unless—” Tom
paused for thought. “Unless it was in small packages of great value
hidden in their clothing. There was a jewel robbery just last night.
This morning the truck made one of those mysterious journeys. But the
idea of carrying a pound or two of diamonds on a truck! No, it won’t
do.” Tom laughed a dry laugh.

“By the way,” he exclaimed, “I’m due to go over to look into that jewel
robbery now. Want to go along?”

“I sure do!” exclaimed Jimmie. He was on his feet at once.

A short time later Tom and Jimmie entered the small back room of the
diamond merchant’s shop.

“You won’t find many clues here,” said the uniformed policeman in charge
of the case. “Slickest job I ever saw.”

“Hm,” said Tom. “You’d hardly think there’d been a robbery, except,” he
looked down at the floor, “quite a lot of burned matches. They always
are important. I have known a match to send a man to prison for ten
years.

“You’d think,” he turned to Jimmie, “that crooks would use flashlights.
Sometimes they do. More often they don’t. Light’s too penetrating. The
gleam of a match or candle doesn’t carry far. This fellow——

“Say!” He picked up a match and examined it closely. “This at least is
unusual. These matches are of the type used in the very far north,
Alaska, Siberia.

“See!” He held the stub of a burned-out match to view. “He got two
instead of one that time. The two stubs still hold together at the end.

“Those northern matches,” he went on after examining two others, “are
made in blocks. They are small and come a hundred to the block. They are
sulphur matches. A machine splits a small block of corkpine from end to
end into a hundred tiny pieces. The block is not cut quite through. The
tips of all the hundred ends are dipped in a sulphur compound and become
matches. They are handy to carry. This man has been in the north. I’ll
bet on that. He used the matches and came to like them so he still
carries them. I’ll have the records searched for a safe-cracker who has
been in the north.”

“This one wasn’t cracked. The combination was worked,” suggested the
policeman.

“Which might make it an inside job and might not,” said Tom. “The
listening-in devices these boys have for telling when the tumblers of
the lock fall are nothing short of wonderful.

“Let’s see what else we can find.” He began looking around the room.

“Some candle drippings on this ash tray,” said Jimmie.

“That’s right.” Tom pounced upon the tray. “Got tired of his matches and
chanced lighting a stub of a candle. They often do. He used this tray as
a candle-stick. Here’s where he stuck it.

“Cheap trinket,” he added. “I’ll take it along. Might find a finger
print.”

“You’ll not find any,” said the officer. “Finger print man was here an
hour ago. Sprinkled powdered white lead everywhere. Never a print did he
find.”

“Guess that’s about all,” said Tom.

After leaving Tom, Jimmie returned to his post in the editorial rooms,
to his duties and to the jigsaw puzzle work of fitting together in his
mind the events of the day. There was not a spot in that great
institution that he did not know or that did not fascinate him. He loved
the smell of printer’s ink and fresh paper. The click of many
typewriters and the roar of presses stirred his blood. He never tired of
watching that fragile, apparently endless ribbon of clean, white paper
glide through the presses to come out printed and folded in complete
newspapers.

Three spots he liked best of all, the editorial room, the photographic
department, and the art room. In these men born to create were at work.
The click-click of a typewriter produced a story that would be read by
eager millions. The dark-room brought out pictures almost as though by
magic. In the art room men created pictures that made men laugh and
forget their troubles. That was a little world all its own!

As the boy sat there waiting his call he thought of these things. But
most of all his mind was busy on the many mysteries that suddenly had
thrust themselves into his life. What of that strange man whose picture
he had twice taken? How could he, by a single gesture, put his victims
to sleep, to rob them and leave them unconscious? Was this some strange
new form of hypnotism? He did not think so. But what was it? One fact
troubled him. He had been given an opportunity to study the man out at
the ball park. He had failed to do so because he had not considered him
important at the time. Then, too, he had been busy with his camera.

“I would recognize his voice on the instant,” he assured himself. “But
his face. I wonder if I could recognize it again if I saw it. I wonder—”
Had he but known it he was to look once more at this man and still be
unable to picture him in his mind.

He was interested, too, in Tom Howe’s five “bad ones.” He wondered if
any of those five desperate and cunning criminals had really taken part
in the recent safe crackings. Tungsten Tom did appear to be involved in
the first one. But the second, the diamond robbery? Only time could
tell.

He wondered, in a vague sort of way, why those men had two trucks? What
did they hope to carry away? Why did not Tom Howe and his associates
arrest them at once and prevent them from committing other crimes?

“Wants to catch them with the goods on them,” he assured himself. “Wants
to get them all and put them behind bars for a long time.”

“Behind bars,” he whispered. He tried to picture a great prison and
could not, for he had never seen one. What a strange, fantastic place it
must be! And what a queer, upside down world it was in which such
terrible places were needed.

And then it was time to go home with John Nightingale, to enjoy a feast
of bitter hot chocolate, beef-steak broiled over coals, baked potatoes
and ginger snaps. What a strange, good, bad, sad, glad world it was! And
how good it was to be alive and to have a job where you could be where
so much was happening every day.



                               CHAPTER XI
                          STRANGE, WHITE BALLS


Supper was over in the hideout. A grand supper it had been. When time
had come for bittersweet chocolate and cakes John had blown out the
lamp. Only the gleams from the cracked stove-lids dancing on the wall
dispelled the darkness of the room.

They remained seated there for a long time, the two of them, the boy and
the man. Not a word was spoken. There is companionship in silence. It
was Jimmie who first broke the silence.

“I heard something today about Mary Dare crowning somebody with a
chair,” he said. “What was it?”

“She crowned him, all right,” John chuckled. “They had to take six
stitches in his scalp. Had it coming too, that fellow did. Mary’s good!
Trouble is,” his voice took on a worried note, “she’s too blamed good.
Get herself killed if she don’t look out.”

“But what happened?” Jimmie insisted.

“The office got a tip that a twelve-year-old girl was chained up in a
basement somewhere on the west side; chained like a dog. The Police were
about to look into it.

“Mary hopped right into a cab and beat the police to the spot, which
sometimes isn’t such a hard thing to do.” John chuckled dryly.

“Well, when Mary gets there and sees that child with wrists and ankles
black and blue, looking at her wild-eyed, she just hunts up a rock and
cracks the lock as if it was a walnut.

“And just then—” John paused.

“Then what?” Jimmie demanded eagerly.

“Just then that man, father of the child, came in. He was a big brute
and was furious. He’d chained the girl because she didn’t always obey
him. Yes, she’d been there all day, and she’d stay all night if he
chose. This was his house. That sort of talk, you know.” John drew in a
deep breath.

“Then what?” Jimmie leaned forward in his chair.

“Mary stood up for the girl. The man made a pass at her. Mary grabbed a
heavy chair and told him to stand off or she’d crown him. He stepped in
and she made good—smashed the chair over his head.”

“Good stuff!” Jimmie exclaimed.

“That’s Mary,” John sighed. “Regular red-head. But all I’ve got to say
is, she’s usually on the right side of every argument.” Once again he
lapsed into silence.

“John,” said Jimmie after a time, “did you go to college?”

“College?” John started. “Oh! Sure!”

“Graduate?”

“Yes, of course. Most people who get anywhere at all these days do, I
guess.

“Worked my way,” he added after a brief pause.

“You did? Was it hard?” Jimmie asked.

“No—o. Not hard. In fact, I think it was the softest four years of my
life. Work four or five hours a day, play and study the rest. What more
could you ask?”

“I’m going to work my way through college,” Jimmie declared.

“You are?” There was surprise in John’s voice, surprise and a new note
of respect. “But I thought maybe——”

“That my father would send me? Most boys expect that, I guess. But
I—well, I’d rather work,” Jimmie replied modestly.

“Well, old son,” John rumbled, “in that case you’ll have to learn how to
choose.”

“Choose? Choose what?”

“Between things you might do. There are a lot of things in college.
First there’s work. You say you don’t want to dodge that. Then there’s
study, which you can’t dodge. Then there’s sports, football, baseball,
tennis, everything. After that there’s social life, which means more or
less, girls.

“I’m no beauty,” John laughed low, “but for every laddy there’s a
lassie, and I might have gone in for that. But I didn’t. You have to
choose. Choose—” his voice trailed off.

“I played baseball some,” he went on after a time. “Still can swing a
fair to middling racket in tennis. Learned to beat a typewriter and did
a stretch on the college paper. That’s how I got to be the way I am now,
I guess. I——”

He broke off short to listen intently. “Thought I heard a car,” he
murmured. “Must have been mistaken.”

“Did you like it?” Jimmie asked after a pause.

“Like what?” John groped for a thought. “Oh, college? Sure. It was a
grand life. It’s not so much what you learn in classrooms that counts.
It’s rubbing minds with bright men. Some of the professors are smart,
some of your fellow students are too. You talk and argue and discuss and
that way you learn to think. You——

“That _is_ a car!” He sprang to his feet. “Coming right up the circular
driveway. Thundering queer, I’d say, this time of night! Come on!”

Gripping a flashlight he let himself out noiselessly into the moonless
night. Jimmie followed closely at his heels.

“We’ll just keep to the shadows,” John whispered. “Probably nothing
unusual. But you never can tell. May be one of the owners of the old
place coming out to pick up some antique. Lord knows the place is full
of ’em.

“Look out,” his whisper rose. “There’s a rather deep rut right here. Now
we’ll get up to that big lilac bush.

“It’s not like the Starks to come out here at this time of night,” he
went on in that low whisper. “Not like ’em to come at all, for that
matter. When I’ve talked to them about the place they’ve always sort of
acted as if it were haunted. Still, probably there’s nothing to this.
Have a look all the same, and those people in the car’ll be none the
wiser unless——”

“Look out now,” he warned. “Don’t go that way. I’ve noticed that lights
from cars flash across here. Let’s scoot along these bushes.”

So, with his breath coming short and quick Jimmie followed across the
grass-grown, bush-entangled estate.

“Now,” John breathed at last, “we’ll slip up to that big elm and have a
look——”

“They’re inside,” Jimmie whispered. “See that faint gleam of light in
the big, old library.”

“That’s right,” John pressed the boy’s arm hard. “Dim light. That looks
a little queer. Not a flashlight, too steady for that. Candle probably.
Would you bring a candle to such a place if you had a right to be
there?”

“Guess not,” said Jimmie, as a chill ran up his spine.

Just then some hoot owl in a pine let out a prodigious laughing hoot.
Jimmie jumped. John laughed low.

“Nerves,” he whispered. “We all have ’em.”

“Come on,” he led the way in the dark. “The window to the right is
almost covered by ivy and there’s a stone seat beneath it just high
enough to stand on.”

One more breathless moment and they were at the window looking in. There
were three men in the room, Jimmie could see that at once. Only two
faces could be seen. The third was entirely in the shadows but his hands
beneath the light could be seen plainly.

It was an unusual light, the stub of a candle with a small copper shade
which fitted over it.

The hands of the man who could not be seen were unusual hands. Long,
slender, white and flexible, they might belong to a writer, a musician,
a painter, or a card-shark.

The hands were doing strange things. They were disappearing, one at a
time, and coming back into the light bringing each time probably from a
pocket, something resembling a large egg.

“May be real eggs,” Jimmie thought. “Blown eggs of some rare bird.”

He did not believe this. One thing was sure, the gleaming white balls
were handled with the care usually bestowed upon rare eggs.

Jimmie did not like the faces he saw. They had hard eyes that gleamed
like glass balls. One man was short and stout, the other tall and thin
with a beak-like nose.

The short man began to speak. The tall one hushed him up. Then he
started to speak. He, in turn, was interrupted by the invisible owner of
the hands.

After that, one by one, the egg-like things were returned to their
former place.

Jimmie knew there were beads of perspiration on his nose. He felt cold
all over. It was strange standing there seeing much but understanding
nothing.

The trio sat down. The hands disappeared. The third man was still
invisible.

There was more talk, quite a lot of it, none of which was heard by
Jimmie and John.

Then other hands appeared, the hands of the short, stout man.

“Two fingers gone on his left hand,” Jimmie whispered.

“Good eyes, boy,” John whispered back.

The hand with two fingers gone opened a small bag and spread it flat.

“A leftie,” John whispered.

“Gold,” whispered Jimmie as something on the flattened bag gleamed
yellow beneath the candle.

“Looks like nuggets,” said John. “How strange.”

The slender, bony hand of the slim man appeared. As the right hand was
opened and spread flat on the table there came a flash of light.

“Diamonds,” said John.

Instantly Jimmie thought of the recent diamond robbery.

“John!” he whispered. “What I wouldn’t give for my candid camera and
three flash bulbs.”

“You’d get us both shot,” said John.

“Probably,” Jimmie agreed. “But I’ll tell you what! I’ll set a trap
here. If they come back again I’ll get them.”

“A trap? How?”

“Tell you later. Look!” Jimmie’s whisper rose shrill. “There are three
pairs of hands. The man we can’t see gets the gold and diamonds.”

“It’s a split,” said John. “Or he’s been offered a risky job and is
accepting his pay in advance.”

“Look out!” Jimmie warned. “They’re coming out. Duck. Their car light
may shine on us.”

Their car light did not shine on them because there was no light. The
powerful motor purred, then the big car slid away into the night like a
black ghost.

“We’ll go in and have a look,” said John. “I have a key.

“Big, clumsy, old-fashioned affair, this lock,” he muttered as he thrust
the heavy brass key into the lock. “No bother at all for even a common
house breaker.

“There,” he pushed the door open.

For a full moment they stood there listening. “Gone for good,” said
John, snapping on his flashlight.

“For this time at least,” Jimmie amended. He was thinking of the trap he
meant to set.

“People nearly always leave clues,” said John, flashing his light about.

“Matches,” said Jimmie. “They must have lit that candle. “Let’s have a
little light on the floor.

“Yes!” He bent over. “Here’s the stub. Looks—why! Say, it looks for all
the world like the matches we found on Tom Howe’s last case. It would be
funny——”

He did not finish, for his eyes had caught a gleam from the table. John
had seen it too. He pounced upon the thing.

“A gold nugget!” Jimmie exclaimed.

“Must have rolled off that sack when it was flat. See! It’s almost
round.” He held it to the light.

“That gold may have been stolen,” John went on as he stowed the bit of
gold in his purse. “If it was you could tell what mine it came from by
examining this nugget.”

“How?” Jimmie asked in surprise.

“By its color.” John began flashing his light about. “The gold from each
mine is a different shade of yellow. Some is almost red. It’s the other
metal mixed with it, copper, silver, and the like.

“Well,” he sighed, “guess that’s about all.”

“One more thing,” said Jimmie. “They left their stub of a candle. Here
it is.”

“Oh, that,” said John with a gesture.

“Rough on the bottom,” said Jimmie as he thrust the candle into his
sweater pocket.

“What do you say we call it a day?” said John. “These night prowls get
me down.”

“O. K.,” said Jimmie. “Lead the way.”



                              CHAPTER XII
                     THE SILVER-FOX KING’S TREASURE


Next day two interesting people entered Jimmie’s life. One had been
there before, the other was an entire stranger. Each in his own way was
to play a part in unraveling the mysteries that had become a part of the
boy’s every wakeful thought.

It was fairly early in the day when, sitting in the row of copy boys
waiting for his call, he saw a rather strange looking old man wandering
in a confused manner up and down the hall.

“Some old crank,” was Tim Dougherty’s instant comment. Tim also was a
copy boy. “They’re always coming in here looking for things they can’t
have. Let him go. The cop’ll pick him up.”

For a time Jimmie did “let him go.” In the end, however, a combined
feeling of friendly interest and curiosity got the better of him. The
man was small and gray haired. He wore thick glasses and baggy trousers.
There was about him for all that an air of quiet dignity that Jimmy
liked.

“Oh well,” he said, standing up, “I’m tired of sitting. I’ll give him a
steer in the right direction.”

“Why bother?” said Tim. But Jimmie was gone.

“I am looking for the morgue,” said the little old man in answer to a
friendly word from Jimmie.

“But this is a newspaper office, not the morgue,” Jimmie laughed in
spite of himself.

“The laugh is on you, young man,” said the stranger. “There is a morgue
in every large newspaper office. There is one here, only I have
forgotten where it is.

“You see,” he went on before Jimmie could reply, “I want to find out
about heavy water.”

“Heavy water!” Jimmie exclaimed as he thought, ‘He is a nut after all.’
“Water always weighs the same,” he added politely.

“Wrong again.” The old man smiled. “It all depends upon your proportions
of hydrogen and oxygen. That is just what I wish to read about. You must
have clippings about it in your morgue.”

“Clippings!” Jimmie exclaimed. “Clippings in the morgue! Oh, sure. It’s
over this way.” Suddenly he had recalled that the files where pictures
and clippings were kept was often called the morgue.

“You, no doubt, think me a trifle strange,” the old man half apologized.
“Old clothes and all that. Truth is, I haven’t time for dressing up. I
have a chemical laboratory and it is astonishing what a busy place that
can be, truly astonishing. Here is my card.” He pressed a paste-board
square into the boy’s hand. “Come and see me sometime. I will show you
things that will astonish you.”

“I—I’ll come,” said Jimmie. He said this just to be polite. The time was
to come when he would gladly visit those laboratories and the results
were to be nothing short of tremendous.

“Take this heavy water,” the old man went on. “Someone discovered that.
It may revolutionize many things. Many forms of insect life cannot live
in it nor can some fishes. Others thrive in it. Many plants are
immensely benefited by it. You would think——”

“Here we are at the morgue,” said Jimmie. “This is George Beck. He’s in
charge of it.

“George, this man wants to see the clippings about heavy water,” he
explained. “May he?”

“Surely,” said George. “Right this way, please.”

“Well, goodbye son,” said the old man. “I’ll be seeing you.”

“Oh—oh, yes. Goodbye,” said Jimmie.

“What’d he want?” Tim asked when Jimmie returned to his seat.

“Wanted to know about heavy water,” Jimmie grinned broadly.

“What’d I tell you?” exclaimed Tim. “Regular nut.” Jimmie made no reply.

Late in the morning, once more in his place after running a dozen
errands, Jimmie was dreaming of the trap he was to set that night when
he heard a loud booming voice say:

“Is there a boy by the name of Jimmie Drury here?”

“Why, yes,” came in a feminine voice. “He’s one of our copy boys.”

“Want to see him,” boomed the other voice.

“It’s Harm Stark, the silver fox king,” said Jimmie, springing to his
feet.

“Here I am,” he called.

“Oh, there you are,” Harm Stark roared. “I had one old time getting by
the policeman at the elevator. Thought I was some crook, I guess. Come
along with me. I’ll show you things.”

“Just a minute,” Jimmie hurried to say a few words to the man at the
desk. The man smiled, threw a hasty glance at Jimmie’s giant, then
nodded. At once Jimmie was away.

Once on the sidewalk Stark hailed a taxi, crowded Jimmie in beside him,
then called a number.

One habit Jimmie had formed which he was to live to regret was that once
inside a taxi he felt as if he were in a room with shades down. The
world of streets outside meant nothing to him, if another had given
orders; nor did he pay any attention to the direction and destination
toward which the cab was going. His whole interest was in the person who
rode with him.

It was so today. Harm Stark was an interesting man. He had been
everywhere that was north. He talked in a drawling voice of Fairbanks,
Dawson, Nome, of Fort McMurray, and Great Slave Lake.

When the taxi at last came to a halt Jimmie had no idea of the direction
they had taken nor of the distance that they had traveled.

“This is the place,” said Harm Stark, fairly lifting Jimmie out of the
car. “Not much for looks but the vaults are good.”

“Vaults?” said Jimmie.

“Sure! Don’t you know, furs are kept in vaults.”

“To prevent them from being stolen?” Jimmie asked.

“Partly that. More because they must be kept at a cool, even
temperature, air conditioned, you might say. Heat is bad for them.

“Hello, Sol!” exclaimed Harm Stark, grasping the hand of a short, pudgy
man who greeted him at the door with a smile. “I just wanted to show
Jimmie here some of my fox skins.”

“But they are _my_ skins now.” The man rubbed his small hands together
nervously.

“Sure they are. You bought them,” Stark laughed good-naturedly. “But
lookin’ at them won’t do them any harm.”

“You can’t be too keerful,” said the short man. “Remember they cost me a
half-million dollars.”

“Yes, and you’ll turn it into a million,” Stark laughed again.

“Ach! The market is already down!” exclaimed the little man. “I lose my
shirt.”

“If you do you can have mine,” Stark slapped the little man on the back.
“Come on. Lead the way.”

Reluctantly, the little man led the way. After he had worked the
combination lock on a heavy steel door, they were ushered into a room as
cool and damp as a November morning. Their nostrils were greeted by a
strange oily smell. It was one of the rarest sights Jimmie had ever
looked upon; hundreds and hundreds of silver fox skins with fur as soft
as silk.

“What fine lady would not give you a grand hug for one of these?” said
Harm Stark, reading the look of admiration on Jimmie’s face.

“I know one that would,” smiled Jimmie.

“Ho! So you have a girl!” Stark roared. “I don’t blame you!”

“It’s my mother,” said Jimmie with a grin.

“Ah. There you’re right.” The big man’s voice was a little less gruff.
“You’re dead right.”

When they were at last in the outer room Stark murmured a few words in a
low tone to the little man.

“Yes, Mr. Stark! With pleasure!” the little man exclaimed. “A fine
skin.”

“It had better be!” said Stark. “You might fool the Queen of England but
you can’t fool the silver-fox king.”

“No, and I vouldn’t even try,” said the little man. “Vait!”

He stepped across the room to say a few words to a girl at a desk. She
hurried away to return a few minutes later with a small, paper-wrapped
package.

“Well!” Stark boomed when they were once more on the street. “You have
seen the world’s finest collection of fox skins. How would you like to
see a thousand beautiful ladies all dolled up in them and walking down
that Boulevard of yours?”

“That would be swell,” said Jimmie. Truth was, he had scarcely heard,
for of a sudden the street with its low, old-fashioned brick business
structures, had become hauntingly familiar to him. He had a feeling that
he had been there before. But when? And why? For the life of him he
could not recall.

“I feel as if I should know,” he told himself. “As if it were
tremendously important that I should know. And yet——”

Wrack his brain as he might, he found no answer to this question. And so
they drove away.

“Well, good luck, son,” Harm Stark said as they left the taxi, at the
news building. “I’ll be hobbling along.”

“Wait,” Jimmie exclaimed. “You’re leaving your package.”

“That’s right,” Stark reached for the brown paper package. “I meant that
for you. You are to give it to that best girl of yours.”

“My mother?”

“Who else?” Harm Stark smiled broadly.

“Gee! Thanks—I don’t know how to thank you for such a swell present,”
said Jimmie. “I know she’ll be thrilled with it.”

“I shouldn’t wonder,” said Stark as he turned to go striding away.

Jimmie was doubly sure she would like it, when, on meeting the
red-haired lady reporter, Mary Dare, he paused to unwrap it and show it
to her.

“A silver fox!” Mary exclaimed. “A beauty! Oh! I never saw a grander
one!”

“It’s for my mother,” said Jimmie. “She’s got silver-gray hair to match
it and day after tomorrow is her birthday.”

“Jimmie, you’re a dear!” the lady reporter exclaimed. Then she did a
strange thing. She grabbed Jimmie and kissed him on the cheek.

“She may be hard-boiled about her work,” Jimmie said to John a few
minutes later. “But she’s a softie inside just the same, the right kind
of a softie.”

“I wouldn’t doubt it,” said John.

On his way home that night Jimmie absentmindedly pulled a card from his
pocket. On it he read, “Dr. Amos Andre.” “Now where did I get that?” he
asked himself. Then he remembered, it was the card of the little, old
man who wanted to know all about heavy water. He thrust it back into his
pocket. He might want to ask this old man something. Why not make a
collection of such cards? Paul Leach, one of the star reporters had a
stack of them two inches high. He could direct you to most any person or
any sort of place, just by consulting these cards.

As Jimmie sat in his big chair after dinner that night a disturbing
sense of things half thought through and unfinished seemed to haunt him.
The feeling that the part of the city surrounding the silver-fox storage
plant came back to him more strangely than before. Closing his eyes he
pictured the low, old-fashioned business structures. Then, of a sudden,
he gave a great start. Could it be that this feeling was connected to
that other taxi journey, the one he and Tom Howe had taken while
following that truck owned and operated by men known to be gangsters?
The thought was startling, yet, for the moment he could discover no
ground for believing it true.

“I’ll find my way back there,” he told himself. “I surely will, and
soon. Perhaps tomorrow.”

One other scene remained vividly pictured on the walls of his memory:
three men sitting at a dimly lit table fingering gold nuggets, diamonds
and—and “bubbles,” he said aloud. “Or perhaps they were rare eggs.”

Bubbles? The thought was queer. Whatever had put that in his head. One
does not handle bubbles, much less carry them in his pocket.

One other feeling haunted him. This also seemed groundless, yet it
remained with him. This was the feeling that he had seen that
mysterious, more than half invisible man who had been seated in the
shadows behind the light in the ancient mansion. There had been
something vaguely familiar about the restless movement of his long
fingers. It all seemed to be somehow connected up with some voice, a
loud voice. But what voice? For the life of him he could not tell.

Of a sudden, all this was driven from his mind.

“The trap!” he thought, springing to his feet. “I was going to set that
camera trap tonight.”



                              CHAPTER XIII
                           JIMMIE SETS A TRAP


It was well after dark when he set out from his home that night. In a
leather bag he carried a strange assortment of items. An old camera with
a good lens and shutter, coils of wire, some dry batteries, flashlight
and flash bulbs were mingled with various types of tools.

He headed straight for the big, shadowy, abandoned house. Had John been
at the hideout he most surely would have passed that way and taken him
along. The old house had always inspired within him a sense of dread.
“As if it were haunted,” he had said more than once. John was off on a
special reporting job so there was nothing to do but go alone, for his
“trap” must be set.

Arrived at the old house he paused for a moment to look and listen. If
those men staged a sudden return he must be prepared for instant flight.

Hearing no sound, he applied John’s key and found himself inside the
vast, echoing castle. From somewhere a bat sprang into the air to go
snap-snapping away. The silence that followed seemed to speak of
grandeur that was gone forever, of splendid prancing horses, high traps,
liveried coachmen, and grand ladies.

“How different it must have been,” he thought to himself.

But he must be about his task. Shaking himself free of dreams he began
flashing his light about the room. It at last came to rest on a framed
picture, the faded print of a moonlit bay.

“That’ll do,” he told himself.

Removing the picture from its hook he pried away the board that had for
so long held the picture in place, then with a sharp knife cut out the
golden moon. When he returned the picture to its spot the old camera was
securely attached to it. Its lens had replaced the paper moon that had
done duty all too long.

“There,” he breathed.

Tiptoeing to the door he listened again. A robin chirped sleepily to his
mate. No other sound disturbed the silence of the night.

After that, sometimes inside, sometimes out among the bushes at the side
of the house, the boy worked busily. At last, with a heavy sigh of
satisfaction he murmured:

“There! Now let ’em come. The trap is set.”

After locking the door he hurried home and to bed, there to dream of
diamonds and silver-fox skins, of a man with a long face who tossed
white balls in the air by twos, threes and fours, of safes and gold
nuggets, haunted houses and pictures with cut-out moons. Then morning
came and it was another day.

On that day Jimmie received a glorious surprise; also, he and Tom Howe
made one or two astonishing discoveries.

“Package for you there,” Scottie said as Jimmie looked into the
photographer’s room for a cheery “Good morning!”

“For me?” Jimmie exclaimed.

“Came in care of my department, insured. Must be valuable,” said
Scottie, “I signed for it.”

It was valuable, indeed. After removing the wrappings Jimmie found
inside the latest, most elaborate and perfect camera yet made. “And a
telescopic lens with a telescope for a sight!” he exclaimed. “What does
it mean?”

A card attached to the camera answered this question. On this card he
read:

“To Jimmie Drury from ‘Oggie’ Durant.”

“Boy, oh boy!” Jimmie did a wild dance about the room. As he quieted
down and turned back to the box from which he had unwrapped the camera
something he had overlooked fell to the floor. It was a big-league
baseball autographed by every member of the team.

“What a day!” Jimmie exclaimed. “How will I ever work now?”

But all that long day he answered to the call of:

“Boy!”

Down to the press rooms, up to the literary editor, across to the
Woman’s Department and back to the Art Department he sped, always
finding time to tell of his good luck and to receive sincere
congratulations.

“What I won’t do with that new camera!” he exclaimed over and over.

Toward the close of that day Jimmie sat dreaming in his chair. What
pictures he would take now! He would get some lulus of Oggie Durant in
his next ball game. He surely would. But what of the Silent Terror?
Would he be in his place razzing the millionaire pitcher? And would they
get him? How many more people would hear those fateful words: “As you
are?” And how many would waken once again to the light of day as he had
done?

“We must get him! Get him!” He clenched his fists tight. “We will. We——”

He was recalled from his revery by a voice at his elbow.

“Day dreaming?” It was Tom Howe, the young detective.

“Yes—no, I—” Jimmie stammered confusedly.

“Well, snap out of it,” said Tom. “Come on down to the Plaza. I’ve got a
thing or two to tell you.”

“And I’ve got something to show you,” said Jimmie, reaching for his
camera.

“There’s been a fresh development down there in the block where we saw
those crooks stop their truck. You know the place?” said Tom.

“Yes,—ah, yes,” Jimmie had a vaguely uneasy feeling that he should know
more.

“There’s a mysterious tapping at night,” said Tom. “As if someone were
working underground, perhaps cutting a tunnel toward some vault.”

“Vault,” Jimmie thought with a start, “those silver fox skins are in a
vault.” He started to speak but in the end said nothing. What chance was
there that this was the same location? There were thousands of city
blocks.

“A night watchman has been hearing it,” Tom went on. “Has heard it two
nights. His firm manufactures machinery for binderies, all massive
stuff. Couldn’t be after that. Question is, what are they after? That’s
what we’ve got to find out.

“By the way!” he exclaimed, “You remember those Alaskan matches we found
on the floor?”

“By the diamond safe?” suggested Jimmie.

“Yes. Well, there’s a man wanted for robbing a safe full of placer gold
up on Great Bear lake. Somehow he got out of the country.

“Two things are strange about that.” Tom paused for emphasis. “One is
that the owner of that mine has his offices right here in this city, the
other is that the description of the man fits Stumps Sharpe, one of the
big-time crooks I’m looking for. He has two fingers off his left hand.
So has Stumps.”

“Two fingers off,” Jimmie started up. “So had the man in the old house!”

“Old house?” said Tom. “What man? What house?”

“I haven’t had a chance to tell you,” said Jimmie. “It was like this——”

He went on to tell of his strange experience with John looking into the
old house at night, of the invisible man with hands of an artist or a
card-shark, the four white balls, the diamonds, the bag of gold nuggets
and all the rest.

“And here’s the stub of the match they used,” he concluded, digging into
his pocket.

“Same kind of a match!” Tom became greatly excited. “That _must_ be
Stumps. What do you know about that! Using that old house for a meeting
place! You and John may be a lot of help to us.”

“That’s what I thought,” Jimmie agreed. “I’ve got a trap set.”

“A trap?” Tom’s brow wrinkled.

“Sure. We’ll get their picture. You see,” he explained eagerly, “I’ve
placed flash bulbs attached to flash lights close to the door. By a
switch and wires outside I can set them off without being seen. At the
same time I can open the shutter to a camera hidden behind a picture.”

“Keen!” said Tom. “Only you can’t pull off your stunt until the zero
hour. Don’t shoot too soon or you’ll scare them away.”

“I’ll wait ’till I see the whites of their eyes,” said Jimmie. “One
thing more,” he added, “We found one of those gold nuggets.”

“Whe—where is it?” Tom demanded.

“John Nightingale has it.”

“That’s great!” said Tom. “I’ll get it. Then I’ll take it to that owner
of the gold mine. He’ll have samples of his placer gold. We’ll have some
of it and this nugget tested. See if they’re the same gold. If it is
we’ve got a case against Stumps.”

“And you’ll arrest him?” said Jimmie.

“No—o. Not yet,” Tom drawled. “We’ve got a strong, broad net out. We’ll
gather the whole bunch in at once. You see, if we don’t——”

To Jimmie the workings of a city detective was a matter of great
mystery. They might have a clear case on a man but would not take him
in. How strange!

“Here’s the stub of a candle I found in the old house,” he said, digging
once again into his pocket. “It’s rough on the bottom.”

“Let me see,” Tom turned it over. “Oh! Ah! Looks as if it might be the
one used in that diamond robbery. And if it is! Then the pattern of that
ash tray we took from that diamond merchant’s back room is on its
bottom. And that was Tungsten Tom you were looking at, back there in
that old house. Boy! But you’ve been seeing things.”

“And if it is you’ll take them in, Stumps and Tungsten? Two cases?” said
Jimmie.

“No—o. Not yet,” was Tom’s slow reply.



                              CHAPTER XIV
                          THE “HAUNTED HOUSE”


That evening Jimmie’s father and mother were to be in the city with
friends. It often fell to the lot of this popular Sports Editor to
entertain big men of his own little world who happened to be in town.
So, once again Jimmie was all set to dine with John Nightingale in the
hideout.

For once, without knowing why, he wished his mother was to be home, that
he might eat a delicious hot meal such as only a mother can prepare,
then curl up and listen to the radio.

The weather was bad. There was a cold wind suggesting autumn. There was
a threat of storm in the sky.

As he and John entered the hideout Jimmie’s eyes were greeted by a great
panful of unwashed dishes, and an unswept floor.

“What we need around here,” he said soberly, “is a woman. Women keep
places warm and clean while you are away. And they meet you at the door
with a smile.”

“Yes,” John grinned good-naturedly, “if it’s pay day.

“The only trouble with that,” he said, striking a match to light the
fire, “is that a woman would want a stove without cracks in the lids.”

“Then she’d want a gas range,” added Jimmie.

“Yes, and after that an electric refrigerator, an automatic water heater
and all the rest that makes for a real home which we haven’t got. So—o,”
John drawled, “what say we wash the dishes?”

Wash them they did and after that they prepared a meal of pork chops,
brown gravy, french fried potatoes, and apple turnovers.

After the meal John sat thoughtfully by the fire. Jimmie was half
asleep. The fire gleamed brightly through the cracks in the lids. All
was peace among the pines, when, quite without warning there came a
knock at the door.

“Who’s that?” John sprang to his feet.

Jimmie thought of that other night’s adventure and of the trap he had
set. His skin had begun to crawl when the door burst open and a smiling
face beneath a tumbled mass of red hair looked in upon them.

“Behold the woman,” said John with a sweeping gesture. It was Mary Dare.

“Why the dramatics?” she asked with a laugh.

“We were discussing the merits of women,” said John.

“And John said a woman wouldn’t like cracked stove-lids,” put in Jimmie.

“I think they’re lovely,” said Mary. “But jokes are off. I’ve come on an
errand. It’s important.”

“Have a chair,” said John.

“For just one minute,” said Mary, seating herself. She perched on the
edge of her chair as she explained, “Tom Howe sent me. He couldn’t come.
He thinks there is stolen treasure hidden in that big, old house on this
estate. He has a direct tip from a certain man who sells information. He
wants us to search the house.”

“Tonight?” John sprang to his feet.

“Cellar to garret.” The girl nodded.

“But listen,” exclaimed John. At that instant there came a distant peal
of thunder. “It’s going to rain.”

“Orders are orders,” said Mary, becoming a trifle dramatic herself. “The
law must be served.”

“All right,” said John. There was a tired note in his voice. He reached
for his coat. “Come on, Jimmie. We must search that house.”

As they marched away Jimmie was thrilled, John just plain tired, and
Mary? Who knows what a woman thinks at such a time?

“Probably thinking what a grand story it will make,” Jimmie told
himself. “Anyway, she’s no fraidy.”

As they approached the deserted mansion Jimmie felt a chill course up
his spine. Never before had the place seemed so dark and forbidding.
Already black clouds were sweeping across the sky. The moon, hidden for
a moment, came out with a strange, startling light, then disappeared for
good. The wind went rushing through the pines. Involuntarily they began
speaking in whispers.

“That thunder sounds like a warning to us to stay away,” the girl
agreed, much to Jimmie’s astonishment. “But we’re not going to stay
away.” There was a note of finality in her voice.

“There may be gold hidden there,” said Jimmie, “or diamonds or—or just
nothing at all.”

“That’s what we’re to find out,” said the girl. “Well, here we are,” she
laughed a short little laugh. “Anyway, nothing’s got us yet.”

John unlocked the door and let them in. As he did so a fresh burst of
wind rushing past them stirred draperies long hanging in decay. It
closed a distant door with a bang like the report of a gun. Then, as if
it would precede them in their search, it went whispering away up the
deserted stairs.

Their search from cellar to attic, was long and thorough and quite
fruitless. They had just begun going over the attic when the storm which
had long been brewing broke upon the old house in a tumult of wild fury.

“Think of the men and women, yes, and little children who have lived
here in days long gone by,” whispered Mary. “Think how many times they
have shuddered at just such a storm as this. And yet, the chimneys, so
old that bricks fall from their tops, still stand while those who
shuddered are all gone.”

As she finished speaking the three tired searchers fell silent.



                               CHAPTER XV
                          NATURE LENDS A HAND


The attic was immense. It had never been finished off into rooms. It
contained a rare assortment of cast-off things that had accumulated over
a period of years. To really do a thorough job of searching seemed
impossible. And yet——

“We’ve got to get done with this,” said Jimmie, after prying into a
dozen dusty chests of drawers. “You can’t tell when those men might come
here again and then——”

“We’d be trapped,” said Jimmie and saw the girl’s hand tremble.

“Say!” the boy exclaimed. “Here’s a queer sort of box. Looks Oriental.
Such queer hinges. Dragons done in green with yellow eyes. Let’s have a
look.”

As he lifted the heavy lid he moved the box a little and there came
forth the clank of steel.

“Oh!” the girl breathed. “Battle axes, or something.”

“No,” said Jimmie, ten seconds later with an uncertain laugh,
“head-hunter’s weapons from Borneo or somewhere. See!” He lifted a heavy
affair with a keen blade. “I’ve read about these. You tap the victim
with the small end, then cut off his head with the blade. Stained with
blood many a time, like as not. Man that got these must have traveled.”
He dropped the axe with a clang that rose above the roar of thunder.

“Hey! What’s that?” John came rushing over to them.

“Just an echo from out of the past,” Jimmie laughed.

“Look!” said John, calling them to the half-round window. “Did you ever
see a wilder sight.”

“Never,” Mary Dare gripped his arm hard.

Since the old house stood on the crest of the hill they could see far
away across the treetops.

The wind was at its wildest.

“See how the trees twist and sway,” the girl whispered.

“As if each one had some monstrous serpent twined about it crushing out
its life,” said Jimmie.

“Gosh, how the old house shakes and shudders!” the girl exclaimed, as a
tremendous peal of thunder fairly set the massive beams creaking.

“They say,” John’s tone was impressive, “that when the foundation of
this house was laid they dug down twenty feet to the limestone rock and
set it there. I am not sure that’s true but there is a wine-cellar
beneath the main cellar.”

“Perhaps that’s where the treasure is hidden,” suggested Mary.

“Not there,” said John. “I was down there only two days ago. Two great
casks and three wicker-covered flasks in a dark corner was all I found.

“But look!” he exclaimed. “It’s getting worse.”

This was true. Never in all his life had Jimmie seen such forks and
chains of lightning. Beside this, fourth of July with all its rockets
paled into insignificance.

“The heavens declare the glory of God,” John murmured, quoting from a
very old book. “Day unto day uttereth speech,

“And night unto night sheweth knowledge.”

“Stop!” exclaimed Mary. “It’s wild enough without that.”

“Well,” John shook himself as if to drive away a spell, “guess we’d
better——”

He did not finish for at that instant there came such a flash and roar
as none of them had ever before experienced.

Mary sprang back clutching her eyes as if blinded. Jimmie stood rigid as
a statue. He was thinking, “I am about to die.” Then came in a flash, “I
shall not die. Lightning kills instantly.”

“John! Mary! Are you hurt,” he called.

“I—I can’t see,” Mary answered.

“Of course not. I dropped my flashlight. It’s pitch dark,” Jimmie
laughed in spite of himself.

There came a minor flash of lightning.

“There!” Mary exclaimed. “I’m all right.”

But by the light of that flash Jimmie had seen something. John was lying
on the floor.

“John!” he called. “Are—are you hurt?” A great wave of cold fear swept
over him.

“No, not—not ser—seriously.” John’s words came slowly and sounded far
away, as if he had gone somewhere and was just coming back.

“Where’s that flash-light?” Jimmie murmured. “Here—here it is. But it—it
won’t work.”

“There’s a fountain pen flash-light in my pocket,” John drawled. “Wait.
I—I’ll get it.”

A moment later a pencil of light appeared and John struggled to his
feet.

“We—we’ve got to get down out of here,” he managed to say. “That bolt
struck the chimney. It may have set the house on fire. We’ll be
trapped.”

The stairway was near the massive chimney. As Jimmie passed close to it
he stumbled over a loose brick.

“John was right,” he thought. “It did strike the chimney.”

As they reached the third story, the second, then the first, an
increasing feeling of relief came over them.

“Cold bolt,” said John as they once more reached the living room. “Cold
bolts don’t set anything on fire. They——

“Say!” his tone changed. “What’s that? Look! Only look!”

As his pencil of light played over the floor before the broad fireplace
it revealed masses of broken mortar and bricks scattered far and wide.
The lightning had done its work well.

This was not what held their eyes glued to the spot. Mingled with the
debris were scores of white and blue flashes of light.

“Unset diamonds,” John muttered thickly. “Thousands of dollars worth.
The lightning destroyed their place of hiding.

“Here! Quick!” He snatched the evening paper from his pocket. “Spread
this out, Mary. Then you two start gathering them up and putting them on
the paper while I catch their gleam with this bum lamp.”

For a full ten minutes after that the storm was forgotten. When the wind
died down, they did not know. After the last peal of thunder rolled away
in the distance and the last flash of lightning came, silence engulfed
the room.

One thing John’s keen eye did catch. From time to time his gaze wandered
to the beginning of that winding drive leading to the house.

At last, with a low exclamation he whispered, “That’s all. And just in
time. A high-powered car just drove into the place. It will be here in
about sixty seconds. Mary, fold that paper carefully and bring it along.
Both of you come on. I know a way out.”

The way they followed was narrow and winding. It led to servant’s
quarters and a back door.

One moment more and they stood shaking in a dark corner.

“John,” Jimmie whispered hoarsely, “the trap is set.”



                              CHAPTER XVI
                           THE TRAP IS SPRUNG


“The trap is set.” John repeated the words after Jimmie without
realizing their full meaning. The truth is he had all but forgotten that
Jimmie had laid plans to take a flashlight picture of the mysterious
persons using this old house as a hideout. Even now he had only a vague
impression of batteries, wires, a camera and flash bulbs.

“The trap is set,” he repeated slowly. “But to spring it now might be
dangerous.”

“Come on,” said Jimmie. “We’ve got to get their picture.”

“A picture taken in that room might go far toward convicting them,” John
said slowly. “If these diamonds really were stolen they can be
identified and if the men are photographed in the place the diamonds
were found——”

“That will get them,” Jimmie whispered eagerly. “I’ll spring the trap,
you and Mary start for the hideout. We—we wouldn’t like to have them
catch up with us, not with those diamonds in our hands.”

“Mary will start for the hideout.” There was a note of authority in
John’s voice. “I’ll go with you. When you throw the switch for the
flash-picture I’ll fire off this old cannon. I’ve got a gun, you know.
Or, perhaps you didn’t. Anyway, I have. Regular cannon! My uncle used it
out west. They may think it’s a police trap and beat it.”

“Fine!” Jimmie exclaimed. “But come on. There’s not a second to lose.”

Mary faded into the night. Slipping and sliding over the drenched grass
the two boys moved around the house to the spot where the switch was
hidden.

“Good!” Jimmie whispered hoarsely. “Switch isn’t wet at all. Should work
fine.”

“Listen! They’re here.” Jimmie felt John’s hand tremble on his shoulder.
“Wait until you’re sure they’re inside and then——”

“The flash,” Jimmie was thrilled to the very roots of his hair.

They heard the rattle of a key, then the creak of a rusty hinge.

“Now,” John’s whisper could scarcely be heard.

At that instant the moon, coming out from behind a cloud, shone through
a window bringing out three figures. They were standing in the doorway.

“Great!” John murmured aloud. “Let ’em have it.”

There followed a blinding flash, a loud roar, then deep, moonlit
silence.

This silence was broken by a sudden rush of heavy feet, then the purr of
a motor. This picked up, became a pulsing roar, then faded away in the
distance.

“Gone! What did I tell you,” John laughed. “Cowards. Crooks are all like
that. Like rats or snakes they’ll only fight when they’re cornered.

“Come!” Once more he was on the move. “There may be a few more sparklers
in there. No matter how they came there, whether they were stolen or are
part of the old Judge’s fortune long lost to the family, we’ll gather
them in.”

Jimmie’s feelings were a tumult as he once again entered the old house.
A score of questions crowded his busy brain. What of those diamonds?
Whose were they? Had they remained long hidden in a recess of the
chimney or had they recently been stolen and stored there?

More important still was the picture. Was it a success? He must get that
old camera at once. And he did. With this securely attached to his belt
he joined John in his search for diamonds. He found three. They seemed a
little queer to him as he had seen very few diamonds. Perhaps, after
all, they were only imitations. This thought gave him a sinking feeling.
To risk one’s life for a few bits of glass, that would be terrible.

From time to time he paused to listen. What if those men came back?

But they did not come. At last John rose with a sigh. “Guess we’d better
call that good. I—I’m tired. We’ll sneak home. Not down the drive. That
might be dangerous.”

In absolute silence they tiptoed out of the place. John turned the key
in the door. Then they were away.

After that for a full quarter hour they went dodging and weaving about
among the brush and trees.

When at last they arrived at the dense clump of pines, it was on the
side opposite John’s entrance.

“From here we crawl,” he said in a low voice.

Suiting actions to words he dropped on hands and knees to start crawling
through the black caverns beneath the pines. Once again Jimmie followed.

“There,” John sighed, as at last he stood up to grasp the latch to the
hideout, “we’re here.”

“But—but where do you suppose Mary is?” Jimmie stammered.

“Here I am,” came in a whisper as the door opened. “I didn’t dare to
light a lamp. I—I’m frozen.”

“We’ll make a fire. Smoke won’t show in the night.” John lifted one
cracked lid of the stove, took paper and wood from the box in the
corner, placed it in the stove, scratched a match, and soon the crackle
of a wood fire cheered the heart of the tired trio.

“Look!” the girl whispered as she spread John’s newspaper on the floor,
then allowed a pencil of light to play upon it.

Like many white, winking eyes, the stones that men have fought and died
for gleamed up at them.

“Thousands of dollars worth,” Jimmie whispered. “If those men knew where
we were at this moment!”

“But they don’t. Thank God for that!” Mary sighed.

“Listen!” Jimmie whispered. “What’s that?”

A low, strange sound had reached his ears. For a full minute they stood
at breathless attention. Then, as the sound, much nearer and louder now
burst on their ears, they laughed.

“Some old hoot-owl talking to his mate in the night,” Jimmie murmured.
After that for sometime there was silence.

Through the cracks in John’s stove lids the light of the fire gleamed
cheerily. From time to time the dry wood popped and crackled. Other than
these, no light, no sound disturbed the night. And the moments, waiting
there as Jimmie did for the next move in this strange drama, were long.

“We’ll bury them,” said John, rousing at last. “Bury them out under the
pines.”

It took no great stretch of imagination on Jimmie’s part to know that he
spoke of the diamonds.

Emptying his sugar bowl, John poured the handful of sparkling gems into
it, replaced the lid, then led the way into the night.

Without a light and with only the owl as a witness, they buried the bowl
beneath a tree, and, after carefully rearranging the fallen
pine-needles, stole silently back into the hideout.

“They say,” suggested John, “that women brew marvelous tea. The tea
kettle is hot.”

Mary responded to his invitation. So, in the small hours of the night
they drank a toast to the future in a steaming cup.

After that Jimmie saw Mary to her train, then crept sleepily back to his
own cozy bed.

“Life,” he thought, “is not so bad, but all this excitement cuts into a
fellow’s sleeping program.”

Tired as he was he was not able to at once quiet his active brain. That
picture? Had it been a success? What would it reveal? Who were those
men? Had he at last taken a picture showing a real front view or
profile? Would Tom Howe say the instant he saw them, “Yes, this is so
and so. Boy! We’ll take them now!” Or would his face go blank at sight
of them?

As his mind quieted down he thought of matters farther afield. “Clues,”
he thought dreamily. “How very little it takes to put a finger on the
guilty man. He drops matches, lights a candle, blows it out and forgets
it. He leaves through a window, his knee leaves a pattern in the dust.
These little things get him. Why does he care to go on with it?” To this
question he could find no answer.

He was almost asleep when a sub-conscious thought working its way to the
surface brought him up with a jerk wide awake once more.

“Bubbles!” he whispered excitedly. “It might be that! Who knows? I’ll
work that out. If only the Terror would strike again! And yet, what a
wish?”

At that he settled back on his pillow. Two minutes later nature’s demand
for repose took him to dreamland.



                              CHAPTER XVII
                        JIMMIE BRUSHES THE FLOOR


As he rode down town next morning Jimmie carried the precious old camera
with the unusual flashlight picture, taken by the trap in the old house,
in a case safely strapped over his shoulder.

“The way Kentucky mountaineers carry their guns,” he assured himself.
“No one can take it from me.”

As a thought came to him with sudden shock he whispered, “Glass
bubbles.” Then, digging deep in his pocket he brought forth the card of
Dr. Amos Andre, the little old chemist who had a laboratory all his own
and who was interested in heavy water.

“I’ll go and see him as soon as I can,” he told himself. “I am sure he
is a man who can be trusted. He’ll be able to tell me whether there’s
anything to my theory. And if there is, I’ll take it to Tom Howe.”

At that, feeling quite pleased with himself for doing the old gentleman
who wanted to know all about heavy water a friendly turn, he folded the
card and stowed it carefully away in a small pocket of his coin purse.
There it was to remain until what John Nightingale would have called the
dramatic moment, had arrived.

He was keenly disappointed to find when he reached the office that
Scottie had been sent out of town on a special assignment.

“Won’t be back until late in the day,” he was told. “One of the other
boys will do anything you want done.”

“Ho kay,” said Jimmie. But it was not O. K. Not by a long shot. Only
Scottie should be entrusted with that precious film. So the camera still
hung under his coat while he looked into other matters.

Following out a hunch that had come to him the night before, he got Tom
Howe on the phone.

“Tom,” he said, “you told me about a mysterious tapping. What place was
that?”

“Not so loud,” Tom cautioned. “Phones sometimes have ears. On Washington
between Honore and Hawthorne.”

“I’m going over there at the noon-hour,” said Jimmie. “Got a hunch.”

“Right,” said Tom. “Let me know what you find out.”

The discovery he made in the block on Washington Avenue was startling
enough. Hurrying back to the office he begged an hour’s leave of
absence. The leave granted, he got Tom on the phone, then raced away to
his sky-scraper room.

“Tom! Tom!” he exclaimed quite out of breath from climbing the stairs,
“Know what? That tapping is in the same block as that fur storage
place.”

“Sure! I knew that!” Tom smiled.

“And a half million dollars worth of fox skins are stored there,” Jimmie
breathed.

“What? How do you know that?” Tom was on his feet.

“I’ll tell you,” said Jimmie. He proceeded to tell his story of the
Silver Fox King.

“Jimmie, you’re a wonder!” Tom exclaimed.

“Beginner’s luck,” Jimmie grinned. “But, Tom!” he demanded, “Don’t you
think those crooks are tunneling to get those furs?”

“Undoubtedly,” Tom agreed. “They’ll come up through the cement floor of
the fur storage vaults, then take the skins out to the alley to load.”

“And if a fellow was to be watching at some window across the street he
might see how they made the entrance to that tunnel of theirs.”

“He might.”

“And if there was light, he could get a picture of them.”

“At that distance?”

“With my telescopic camera.”

“Perhaps. But it would be necessary to exercise the greatest care,
Jimmie.” Tom was very much in earnest. “We must catch this entire gang
with the goods on them. We simply must. We——”

He broke off short for at that moment his phone jangled loudly.

Jimmie heard him say in a casual tone, “Yes?” Then, excitedly, “That
right? Again! Subway to the Washington Street station? I’ll be right
down.”

“It’s the Silent Terror!” he exclaimed as he dropped the receiver. “He’s
struck again. In broad day-light, not five blocks from here.” He reached
for his coat.

“May I go with you?” Jimmie’s voice rose.

“Yes—yes, certainly.”

“And may I take this?” Jimmie asked.

“Yes, sure.” Tom did not even look.

Jimmie dropped a small clothes brush into his pocket.

A moment more and they were on their way. At the outer door Jimmie
seized a newspaper and threw a nickel at the boy as he ran.

They arrived at the subway quite out of breath. A row of blue-coats kept
the crowd back, but Tom Howe and Jimmie passed at once. The subway had
been cleared. Three policemen stood over a small, gray-haired man who
apparently was struggling to regain consciousness.

“The—the pay—pay—roll,” he murmured thickly. “Is—is it gone?”

“That’s all right,” one of the officers reassured him. “Tell us what
happened.”

“I—I was taking the pay-roll from the bank when some—something happened.
I—I saw a hand. I heard a voice, and—and then I must have had some sort
of sinking spell.”

“Same old story,” Tom said in a low tone to Jimmie.

“The Bubble Man,” Jimmie said.

“What’s that?” Jimmie made no reply.

“Tom,” Jimmie gripped his arm, “will they mind if I sort of brush around
the floor?”

“Who? They?” Tom nodded at the officers. “No, I guess not. But why——”

“Don’t ask me. I’ll explain later.” Dropping on hands and knees the boy
began brushing the floor in a wide circle. He used Tom’s clothes brush.
When at last his circle had narrowed to a spot the size of a man’s hat
he placed a single square of newspaper on the polished floor of the
subway and appeared to brush an invisible something onto the paper.
Truth was, his arduous brushing appeared to have caught only three
insignificant bits of paper, one of them a fragment of a chewing gum
wrapper.

“There,” he sighed, as, having folded the bit of newspaper neatly, then
wrapped it in another square, he thrust it into his pocket.

Tom was too busy asking questions, examining the victim’s clothing and
looking for possible clues to pay any attention to his actions.

When at last they walked out into the street, Tom said,

“Same old stuff! No information worth considering. But we’re going to
get that man. We’ve got to do it.”



                             CHAPTER XVIII
                        IN THE BUBBLE MAN’S LAIR


One hour later, with his small package of sweepings in his pocket and
with the camera still under his arm, Jimmie found himself on the tenth
floor of a down-town office building. On the glass of the door he read:

                            Dr. Amos Andre,
                           Consulting Chemist

“That’s it,” Jimmie whispered. “The very thing! Consulting chemist.”

“Doctor Andre,” he burst out before he was fairly through the door, “I
want you to heat something for me. Heat it good and hot.”

“To what temperature?” The doctor stared at him.

“Hot enough to melt glass.”

“That is easy. What have you there?” The doctor pointed at Jimmie’s
paper package.

“That,” said Jimmie, “is what I want to know. Shake the contents of this
into one of those heating things of yours and see what comes of it.”

“Very well.” The doctor took the package and followed instructions. “A
hot flame now,” he murmured. “There it is. The bits of paper burn
quickly and we have——”

Jimmie held his breath. What would they have? Nothing? Just nothing at
all?

“Ah,” the chemist breathed, “you were right. There is something left. A
very little glass.”

“Good! Oh, good!” Jimmie was all but dancing a jig. “How—how much do I
owe you?”

“Nothing, my boy. Nothing at all.”

“Dr. Andre, tell me,” Jimmie was in deadly earnest now, “would it be
possible for one to produce a gas that would put a person to sleep but
not kill them?”

“Certainly,” said the chemist. “There are several such gases.”

“Doc—doctor,” Jimmie stammered again, “would it be possible to blow some
of this gas into a glass bubble so thin that it would burst at the
slightest compact?”

“That,” said the doctor, “I could not say for sure. I am not an
authority on glass. I could, however, send you to a man who is. There’s
the man who does my test tubes for me. He is what you might call a
‘keen’ glass blower.”

“Will you send me to him?”

“Certainly.”

“But—but first,” Jimmie insisted eagerly, “do you think the amount of
gas in a bubble like that the size of an indoor baseball would put a
person to sleep—almost at once?”

“It is entirely possible; in fact, quite probable that it would do so,
providing the gas was compressed and if the bubble struck closely enough
to the person’s face.

“And is there a gas that under those circumstances would kill a person?”
Jimmie drew in a long breath.

“Yes. Instantly,” was the startling reply.

“Thanks—oh, thanks,” Jimmie headed for the door.

“But the glass blower!” The doctor stopped him. “Did you wish his
address?”

“Yes! Yes! Sure!”

Slowly the old man scrawled an address on a slip of paper.

“There it is, my son.”

“Doctor Andre, I’m sorry I can’t tell you more,” Jimmie apologized.
“You—you’ll know more very soon, I am sure.”

“That is quite all right,” the old man bowed him out.

“Yes. He’ll know much more,” the boy thought grimly. “But will I be here
to tell him?”

Arrived at the glass-blower’s place, Jimmie plied the astonished man
with questions for a full ten minutes. His answers were, “Ja, I tink
so!” “It might be so. Aber, I cannot say.” “Ja, some glass iss thin like
paper. It break very easy. Some it is thick unt tough. Maybe you throw
it on the floor unt it do not break.” “Ja. Ja.” “Nein, it cannot be so.”

At last, wearied by the boy’s persistence, he said:

“Wait, I show you, maybe!”

After heating glass until it was in molten form, he left the room to
return with a package of yellow powder. To this he applied a match. The
powder burned with a blue blaze. Jimmie smelled burning sulphur. After
drawing some of the sulphur fumes into a pair of hand bellows, the glass
blower thrust a long tube into his molten glass, puffed the fumes into
the tube, removed the end of the tube from the pool of glass and, with
three quick puffs, blew a bubble of thin glass the size of an indoor
baseball. With a deft twist he closed the hollow glass ball and severed
it from his tube.

“Now,” he breathed, “you stand there. I stand here unt I throw the glass
bubble.”

The next instant the glass bubble struck Jimmie’s chest. It chanced to
hit a button and burst with a low pop, at the same time treating the boy
to a large dose of sulphur fumes.

“That—that’s the answer,” Jimmie sputtered, trying to get a breath.
“Thanks—thanks a lot.”

At that, to the glass blower’s astonishment, he dashed for the door and
was away.

When Tom Howe had been told of Jimmie’s theory, that the Bubble Man
filled fragile glass bubbles with gas and burst them by throwing them at
his victim, and when he had heard of the test just made, he was
convinced.

“That’s the answer sure as shooting,” he exclaimed. “And that is the
reason we must get him. In time he will use a deadly poison gas and add
murder to his list of specialties.

“And that gives me an idea!” he sprang to his feet. “At least it’s worth
looking into. An old woman who keeps a boarding house phoned only
yesterday that one of her roomers who at times had a wild look kept his
room cluttered with tubes, vials and packages of chemicals. She was
afraid to turn him out. Wanted to know if we would please look into the
matter. We will, and that right now.”


“Oh! Yer from the Police! I’m that relieved!” said the broad-faced
boarding-house keeper as Tom and Jimmie appeared at her door a half hour
later. “Go right up. Here’s the key. The room’s number ten. He’s out
jest now. And may Heaven bless ye if he returns right soon.”

“We’ll chance it,” Tom replied grimly.

One whiff at the room suggested a laboratory. Three minutes of looking
convinced them that they were in the chemist’s den.

“Here are fragments of glass bubbles,” said Tom. “That’s proof enough.
But where does he keep his poison gas?”

Stepping to a door he opened it. “Ah! A dark closet.” He threw on his
flashlight. “There,” he breathed. On the shelf were six black, steel
tubes. Stepping quickly forward, he turned one about, then caught a deep
breath. On the back side of that tube was a label marked:

“Poison.”

“God grant that we are in time,” he whispered. “Let’s see.” He turned
the other tubes about. “Three labeled, and three unlabeled. We’ve got to
get that man. We’ll set a watch but he may suspect, may escape us. He——”

A step sounded in the hall. Jimmie dodged as if to miss a glass bubble.
Tom clicked something, in his pocket.

It was only the landlady. “He’s that wild lookin’ at times,” she
murmured. “What is there to be done?”

“Nothing at present,” Tom Howe replied in as steady a tone as he could
command. “We’ll have him watched.”

“Will ye, now?” The woman heaved a great sigh of relief. “May Heaven
bless ye fer that now.”

It was impossible for Jimmie to read Tom’s thoughts as they left the
place. His own feeling was one of intense relief. He had faced the
Bubble Man once and had heard his sharp order: “As you are.” His gas
bubbles had been harmless then. But what about now?


“I have something I want to do tonight,” Jimmie said to his father late
that afternoon.

“For how long?” His father gave him a sharp look.

“All night.”

“I hope,” his father’s face took on a worried look, “that you’re not
going into anything dangerous. You know, son, we can’t help worrying
about you when we don’t know where you are, mother and I.”

“I know,” Jimmie replied slowly. “But this time it is nothing dangerous.
I shall sleep in the men’s lounge until midnight. After that I’ll be in
the office of a publishing firm on the third floor of a building
watching what goes on across the street and, perhaps, shooting a few
pictures.”

“That doesn’t sound very dangerous. O. K., son, I’ll see you in the
morning.”

Jimmie’s plan was to watch the section of street that lay back of that
fur-storage place. If anyone was tunneling toward that building he must
enter and leave from that side. But how? Through the door of a vacant
building? Through a basement window? Perhaps, and perhaps not. He wanted
to know.

There were, however, other matters to be attended to before he took up
his night’s work.

“Let me see,” he thought. “Scottie should be back. And there’s that
picture we took with the trap last night. Boy, oh, boy! How life does
whirl about us.”

“And we’re to meet Tom Howe at seven, John, Mary and I. The big story’s
sure to break soon. And such a story!” He hurried away to find Scottie.



                              CHAPTER XIX
                     AT LAST, THE TERROR’S PICTURE


“That—” Tom Howe spoke slowly, with a suggestion almost of awe in his
voice, “That is the most remarkable picture I have ever seen. In fact,
the thing it reveals is almost unbelievable.”

He paused to cast a sweeping glance at his companions. Not one of them,
Tom, John, or Jimmie, said a word. They were waiting for the revelation
they all knew must come.

Down deep inside himself, Jimmie was the most excited of them all, for
the picture which Tom held with fingers that trembled was the one taken
by the old camera set as a trap in the abandoned mansion. What story did
it tell? He could only wait with the rest.

Scottie had done the picture and pronounced it first class. They had
gathered, the four of them, in a small, secret room for a look at it.
Naturally, Tom had the first good look.

“That man,” Tom pointed a pencil, “the one in the center, is the Silent
Terror.”

“The Terror! Terror! Silent Terror!” they echoed.

“Not a doubt about it,” Tom was emphatic. “It’s a halfside view. Look at
that ear! There’s only one of its kind in the world. See for yourself.”

After placing a flat box containing a wax reproduction of an ear on the
table, he held a magnifying glass before the picture.

One look was enough to convince them. “It is! It is!” They were agreed.

“But what—” Jimmie could not go on. Instead he sat staring in
astonishment.

“What is he doing in such company?” John asked. He had recognized in one
of the others the notorious Sharpe.

“The others,” said Tom, “are Stumps Sharpe and Tungsten Tom. There can
be but one answer to that question. These professional crooks read about
the Silent Terror and decided that he had something they wanted, silent
death for those who opposed them. So they hunted him up and struck some
sort of a bargain with him.”

“And we saw them at it!” Jimmie exclaimed, recalling the night he and
John had watched this terrifying trio in the old mansion.

“And I had a gun on me,” John groaned aloud.

“I’m glad you didn’t use it,” said Tom. “We’ll get them and all their
pals. If we don’t send them up for trying to get away with those silver
fox skins we’ll take them for that diamond robbery. You’ve got the
proof, the diamonds,” he turned to John.

“Oh, no you won’t,” was John’s surprising reply.

“Why—what—” they all turned upon him.

“I took the diamonds over to the man whose safe was robbed,” he
explained. “He said the diamonds we took from the old house were very
nice stones, very fine indeed, and worth a lot of money. But—” he heaved
a sigh, then added, “he’d never seen them before.”

“Never seen——”

“They were cut in an old-fashioned manner that belongs to another
generation,” John went on. “It seems more than probable that the
eccentric old Judge hid them there many years ago.

“So—o,” he concluded, “I’ve filed them away in a vault for future
reference.”

“Then,” said Tom, “we’ll get that gang with the goods on them, the night
they come after those furs. Only—” deep lines appeared on his face.
“That will be taking a desperate chance. If the Terror puts deadly
poison in his silent messengers, his bubbles, you know, the city will be
obliged to employ some new detectives on the morning after.

“Let me see,” he puzzled for a moment. “I would throw a guard about the
place now only they might get wise. No, I’ll watch that garage. The
truck will give them away.”

“And tonight,” Jimmie said, “I’ll try for a picture from across the
street.”

“That—why, yes, I guess that will be O. K.” said Tom. “Even if they see
you they won’t suspect anything. A boy can go anywhere.”

And so the party broke up.

Late that night Jimmie made his way to that dark and forbidding section
of the city in which the tapping had been heard.

Assured by the watchman of the near-by factory that the tapping was
going on again, he took his place well in the shadows behind a window.

His watch was long. Twice he fell asleep to awake with a start. To keep
himself awake he set himself wondering about many things. There was the
ball game that would be played day after tomorrow. Would the Bubble Man
be there? Or, would Tom Howe get him before that? There was the reward.
He wished he might get in on that. It would pay for his first year at
college. People said it was best not to work the first year. Yet he must
work unless——

Was his watch to be futile? Was his theory all wrong? Did those men
enter some other way? He took to studying the windows, the tall
first-story windows, the coal chute and all other possible entrances.
Repair work was going on in the street, had been for days. A new water
main was being laid. A cave-in had delayed the work. The place was
boarded up to hold the earth in place. Seemed like streets in this city
were always torn up. Seemed like——

Once again he fell asleep to wake with a start. This wouldn’t do. Dawn
was approaching. A milk wagon lumbered down the street. Those men would
leave with the dawn.

Rising, he began pacing the floor. He had kept this up for a quarter of
an hour when he stopped dead in his tracks to stare in astonishment.
Then he reached for his new camera with the telescopic lens.

What had happened? Two of the boards in that street embankment had been
lifted aside. A man dressed in a workman’s garb, was coming out. Jimmie
guessed he was no ordinary workman. Waiting until his full profile was
exposed, the boy snapped his picture twice. Not much light, but perhaps
enough for a sort of shadow picture.

Another man came out, another and yet another. The boards were replaced.
The three men marched down the street. There was in their walk more of a
lockstep than the slow slouch of tired workmen.

Jimmie went down to drink a steaming cup of coffee, then to sleep for
two hours in a big, soft chair.

After that he burst into Scottie’s studio to place a film on his table
and exclaim:

“Develop those, Scottie. They’ll make us famous.”

“Like fun they will!” Scottie laughed.

Nevertheless he did develop them, and, mere shadow pictures taken at
dawn though they were, Tom Howe recognized them at once as pictures of
Piccalo, the Pipe, Stumps Sharpe, and Black Dolan.

“MY PALS!” he exclaimed. “I have a direct tip that the job is to be
pulled tonight and I have a feeling that we shall all meet in the alley
by that fur storage place by the moonlight.”

“And the Bubble Man,” suggested Jimmie.

“We haven’t got him yet,” Tom frowned. “I set a watch but someone must
have tipped him off. I feel sure enough that he’s got a supply of his
infernal bubbles with him. Question is, what kind of gas is in ’em,
sleeping or killing?”

“Perhaps we’ll get him at the ball game tomorrow,” Jimmie suggested.

“We’ll get him tonight or he’ll get us,” Tom flashed back grimly.



                               CHAPTER XX
                             THE ZERO HOUR


It was night. The small clock on Tom Howe’s desk was ticking its way
toward nine. Tom sat by the window. With one eye squinting through his
telescope, he kept up a running conversation with Jimmie. Tom did most
of the talking which was unusual for him. Perhaps this gave him an
outlet for the excitement bottled up inside of him.

“Something tells me things will be popping soon,” he said, shifting his
position a little. “Well, let them start. We’ll be right on their tail.

“Wonder if they ever thought it strange that a large sign should be put
up on the storage place back of their garage and then a flood-light
trained on it.”

“Probably not,” said Jimmie. “There are flood-lights all over the city.”

“It helps anyway.” Tom smiled. “I can see every car or truck that
leaves, just as if it were day. We’ll get them if they make a move.”

“And the Bubble Man?” Jimmie suggested.

“Yes,” Tom’s brow wrinkled. “There’s the Bubble Man. I don’t mind
admitting he’s got me worried. You see, we’re used to automatics, even
machine guns, but a fellow like that—it—it’s sort of like hunting
rattle-snakes for years, then coming on one of those puffing adders. You
don’t know how to go after him.

“But we’ll get him,” his voice picked up. “You’ll see.

“And mind you!” He wheeled about. “You’re out of this.”

“Aw! Say! Now——”

“Absolutely out of it until after the mop-up.” Tom’s voice was steady
and firm. “Reporters come in after the fight. You’ll get your story and
the pictures right enough. But a fight like this is nothing for a boy.”

“Oh, all right,” Jimmie agreed reluctantly.

“Sometimes I think,” Tom droned, squinting through his telescope, “that
it’s no sort of a thing for any decent fellow to be in this detective
business.

“And yet,” he paused for a space of seconds, “if some of us didn’t go in
for it where’d everyone else be? Always in fear of their lives. It’s
war! That’s what it is.” His voice rose. “War against crime. Not so many
years ago there was a terrible war in Europe. Millions of fine fellows
were killed. And yet, when you ask the boys who lived through it what
they were fighting for they’ll tell you they don’t know.

“But we know!” He struck the table with his fist. “In this war against
crime we know we’re fighting for the safety of simple, honest, kindly
people, a whole city full of them. And in the end we’ll win. We——

“There!” he exclaimed springing to his feet. “There goes their truck!
Come on! This is our zero hour!”

A half hour later, from his hiding-place behind a trash box in the dark
alley beside the fur storage warehouse, Jimmie was witnessing a strange
sight. The basement of the storage place had been built out under the
alley. The outlaws, having tunneled to this basement, had made one hole
up into the large storage room and another up through the alley. Now,
like a pack of rats carrying away grain, they were passing up bundle
after bundle of silver-fox furs worth a king’s ransom. And no one was
there to stop them; at least, no one appeared to be. It was eerie,
fantastic, impossible, like a scene played on the movie screen. And yet
it was intensely real.

By their shadowy profiles Jimmie recognized them. He could almost call
the roll, Tungsten Tom, Black Dolan, Stumps Sharpe. And back of all, in
the shadows, where he could scarcely be seen at all, not moving, but
very real for all that, was another. Jimmie found his stiff lips
refusing to form the name even in a whisper. Still he thought it, “The
Bubble Man,” and shuddered.

The long procession of bundles was slowing when, at last, that alley
became a scene of quick action. A figure sprang out here, another there
and one there. Not a word was spoken above a whisper, but Jimmie knew it
was the pinch.

As he sprang to his feet he saw something gleam white then saw a figure
fall. Another gleam, another plunging figure. The Bubble Man was getting
in his terrible work.

Jimmie seemed to see the word, “Poison.” “Poison gas,” he muttered.
“That man must not escape.”

He sprang forward. There came a blinding burst of light. He staggered
for an instant. Then, realizing that he had, without knowing it touched
off the flash-bulb on his belt beside his candid camera, he made one
flying leap for a pair of legs. He and the Bubble Man fell in a heap. At
the same instant, with a pop-pop that could scarcely be heard, two
bubbles in the mad chemist’s hands exploded.

The Bubble Man lay still. Striving to regain his feet Jimmie felt once
more that strange sensation of dizziness. Without so much as a groan he
sank to the pavement. For an instant he saw six black tubes, three
marked poison. Was there poison in those bubbles? Was he going to die?
Jimmie went to sleep.

Sometime later he felt himself to be climbing out of a pit filled with
sliding sand. Where was he? In his own good world or another?

With a heroic effort he forced his eyes open to find Mary Dare looking
down at him and to hear her exclaim joyously,

“He’s opened his eyes! He’s coming ’round. Thank God, it was not
poison.”

“Did—did they get them?” Jimmie whispered.

“Every one,” said Mary.

“And the Bubble Man?” Jimmie tried to sit up.

“He’s dead. Couldn’t take his own medicine. Bad heart, the doctor
thinks.”

“That’s good,” Jimmie whispered. “We got him at last.”



                              CHAPTER XXI
                          MORE ABOUT DIAMONDS


The whole affair left Jimmie feeling dizzy and a little sick. He was
willing enough, next morning, to accept his father’s suggestion that he
remain at home all day.

As he reclined on a heap of pillows in the sun-room, gazing dreamily out
of the door, he saw Joe, Dick, Jerry, and Ned, his good school pals,
practicing kick-offs and runs in the vacant lot across the way.

“Football,” he thought. “I used to play that.” Then, waking to sudden
reality, he exclaimed, “Week after next high school opens and I have one
more year of it. Hurray!”

Closing his eyes he called it all back, the gay throng, the shouting,
the school yells, the band, the kick-off, the good feel of the ball as
it dropped into his waiting arms, then the dash down the field.

“School days, school days,” he hummed. Yes, school days. They began next
week. All these newspaper thrills would, for the time at least, belong
to the past. They would remain only as half-forgotten dreams. Was he
sorry? He did not know. Perhaps——

“Here’s the paper, son,” said his mother. “Such a remarkable picture on
the front page.”

It was remarkable. Even the editor had admitted it. “THE BUBBLE MAN’S
LAST TOSS,” Jimmie read above it, and below, “MOST UNUSUAL PICTURES EVER
PRODUCED, TAKEN BY A BOY’S CANDID CAMERA.”

“Why!” Jimmie sat up. “I took that picture.”

“You, son!” his mother’s eyes widened. “How could you?”

“I did, for all that,” Jimmie admitted reluctantly. “Well,” he thought,
“the cat’s out of the bag. The whole story of the Bubble Man is here and
my part in his capture too. This will be the end of my newspaper career
for this year. And who cares? One week till school starts.”

Then he told his mother the whole story. At the end he said, “When the
Bubble Man went into action I got excited and pressed my switch. The
flash bulbs exploded. The distance happened to be right. So—o, I got
that picture. Played into luck, that’s all.”

“I think,” said his mother soberly, “that you played into luck all the
way through. And now,” she sighed, “I hope you are ready to be just a
boy again.”

“I am,” said Jimmie simply.

Jimmie heard the ball game on the radio. It was a grand scrap. “Oggie,”
his idol, pitched a glorious game and won. Needless to say, there was no
Bubble Man in the grand-stand to razz him.

Three days later, when Jimmie made a short visit to his old haunts in
the News Building, he came upon Tom Howe, John Nightingale, and Mary
Dare. They were gathered in a corner and seemed both happy and excited
about something.

“Here’s Jimmie now!” John exclaimed. “Shall we tell him?”

“No! Wait!” Mary protested. “Let’s all go down to the Purple Mug for a
cup of coffee. This must be done in the proper setting.”

“Now,” said Jimmie, fifteen minutes later, “what’s it all about?” He was
fairly bursting with curiosity.

“It’s about all of us,” said Mary.

“May I tell him?” she turned to her companions.

“Sure! Certainly!” they agreed.

“First,” she said, “there is the reward for the capture of the Bubble
Man. Tom just collected that.”

“Great!” exclaimed Jimmie. “Congrat——”

“Wait!” Mary held up a hand. “Half of it was awarded to a boy named
Jimmie Drury.”

“But say!” Jimmie burst out.

“Fair enough,” Tom insisted. “I tried to have them give it all to you
but they claimed I’d had a part in it.”

“Five hundred dollars,” Jimmie thought. “My first year in college.”

“But say!” he burst out once more. “John and Mary had a hand in it too.”

“We’ve been taken care of in another way.” There was a happy smile in
John’s eyes. “Perhaps you’ve forgotten the diamonds we found in the old
house.”

“Oh, oh, yes,” said Jimmie.

“They weren’t stolen at all,” Mary broke in. “They were part of the
Judge Stark estate.”

“We turned them over to the Stark boys,” John continued. “They thought
we should have some sort of reward. The old place is to be sub-divided
and sold. There’s a small house, used to be a coachman’s house, in one
corner by the drive.”

“A perfectly ducky little house,” Mary exclaimed. “All built of stone.”

“And they are giving us a deed to it,” said John.

“Us?” said Jimmie. Then, as the light broke in upon him, “You two are
going to live there. Mary and John.”

“After a clergyman has said a few kind words to us,” John admitted.

“And is there a stove in it with cracked lids?” Jimmie asked.

“No, but we’ll move in the one from the hideout,” said Mary. “We
couldn’t do without that. And we’ll be looking for you at least once a
week for bitter chocolate and broiled steak.”

“Never fear. I’ll be there,” exclaimed Jimmie. “And many
congratulations.”

And so this story ends, as all stories must. But you may be sure that
Jimmie will have many happy hours with his friends around the stove with
the cracked lid, and that he will have, too, many more adventures as
thrilling as those recounted in these pages.


                                THE END

                       [Illustration: Endpapers]



                          Transcriber’s Notes


--Copyright notice provided as in the original—this e-text is public
  domain in the country of publication.

--In the text versions, delimited italics text in _underscores_ (the
  HTML version reproduces the font form of the printed book.)

--Silently corrected palpable typos; left non-standard spellings and
  dialect unchanged.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Jimmy Drury: Candid Camera Detective" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home