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The Man in Lower Ten by Mary Roberts Rinehart

Part 4 out of 5

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withdrawn the supports, and I stood among ruins.

I suppose it is the maternal in a woman that makes a man turn to
her when everything else fails. The eternal boy in him goes to
have his wounded pride bandaged, his tattered self-respect repaired.
If he loves the woman, he wants her to kiss the hurt.

The longing to see Alison, always with me, was stronger than I was
that morning. It might be that I would not see her again. I had
nothing to say to her save one thing, and that, under the cloud that
hung over me, I did not dare to say. But I wanted to see her, to
touch her hand - as only a lonely man can crave it, I wanted the
comfort of her, the peace that lay in her presence. And so, with
every step outside the door a threat, I telephoned to her.

She was gone! The disappointment was great, for my need was great.
In a fury of revolt against the scheme of things, I heard that she
had started home to Richmond - but that she might still be caught
at the station.

To see her had by that time become an obsession. I picked up my
hat, threw open the door, and, oblivious of the shock to the office
force of my presence, followed so immediately by my exit, I dashed
out to the elevator. As I went down in one cage I caught a glimpse
of Johnson and two other men going up in the next. I hardly gave
them a thought. There was no hansom in sight, and I jumped on a
passing car. Let come what might, arrest, prison, disgrace, I was
going to see Alison.

I saw her. I flung into the station, saw that it was empty - empty,
for she was not there. Then I hurried back to the gates. She was
there, a familiar figure in blue, the very gown in which I always
thought of her, the one she had worn when, Heaven help me - I had
kissed her, at the Carter farm. And she was not alone. Bending
over her, talking earnestly, with all his boyish heart in his face,
was Richey.

They did not see me, and I was glad of it. After all, it had been
McKnight's game first. I turned on my heel and made my way blindly
out of the station. Before I lost them I turned once and looked
toward them, standing apart from the crowd, absorbed in each other.
They were the only two people on earth that I cared about, and I
left them there together. Then I went back miserably to the office
and awaited arrest.



Strangely enough, I was not disturbed that day. McKnight did not
appear at all. I sat at my desk and transacted routine business
all afternoon, working with feverish energy. Like a man on the
verge of a critical illness or a hazardous journey, I cleared up
my correspondence, paid bills until I had writer's cramp from
signing checks, read over my will, and paid up my life insurance,
made to the benefit of an elderly sister of my mother's. I no
longer dreaded arrest. After that morning in the station, I felt
that anything would be a relief from the tension. I went home
with perfect openness, courting the warrant that I knew was waiting,
but I was not molested. The delay puzzled me. The early part
of the evening was uneventful. I read until late, with occasional
lapses, when my book lay at my elbow, and I smoked and thought.
Mrs. Klopton closed the house with ostentatious caution, about
eleven, and hung around waiting to enlarge on the outrageousness
of the police search. I did not encourage her.

"One would think," she concluded pompously, one foot in the hall,
"that you were something you oughtn't to be, Mr. Lawrence. They
acted as though you had committed a crime."

"I'm not sure that I didn't, Mrs. Klopton," I said wearily.
"Somebody did, the general verdict seems to point my way."

She stared at me in speechless indignation. Then she flounced out.
She came back once to say that the paper predicted cooler weather,
and that she had put a blanket on my bed, but, to her disappointment,
I refused to reopen the subject.

At half past eleven McKnight and Hotchkiss came in. Richey has a
habit of stopping his car in front of the house and honking until
some one comes out. He has a code of signals with the horn, which
I never remember. Two long and a short blast mean, I believe, "Send
out a box of cigarettes," and six short blasts, which sound like a
police call, mean "Can you lend me some money?" To-night I knew
something was up, for he got out and rang the door-bell like a

They came into the library, and Hotchkiss wiped his collar until
it gleamed. McKnight was aggressively cheerful.

"Not pinched yet!" he exclaimed. "What do you think of that for
luck! You always were a fortunate devil, Lawrence."

"Yes," I assented, with some bitterness, "I hardly know how to
contain myself for joy sometimes. I suppose you know" - to
Hotchkiss - "that the police were here while we were at Cresson,
and that they found the bag that I brought from the wreck?"

"Things are coming to a head," he said thoughtfully "unless a little
plan that I have in mind - " he hesitated.

"I hope so; I am pretty nearly desperate," I said doggedly. "I've
got a mental toothache, and the sooner it's pulled the better."

"Tut, tut," said McKnight, "think of the disgrace to the firm if
its senior member goes up for life, or - " he twisted his
handkerchief into a noose, and went through an elaborate pantomime.

"Although jail isn't so bad, anyhow," he finished, "there are
fellows that get the habit and keep going back and going back."
He looked at his watch, and I fancied his cheerfulness was strained.
Hotchkiss was nervously fumbling my book.

"Did you ever read The Purloined Letter, Mr Blakeley?" he inquired.

"Probably, years ago," I said. "Poe, isn't it?"

He was choked at my indifference. "It is a masterpiece," he said,
with enthusiasm. "I re-read it to-day."

"And what happened?"

"Then I inspected the rooms in the house off Washington Circle.
I - I made some discoveries, Mr. Blakeley. For one thing, our man
there is left-handed." He looked around for our approval. "There
was a small cushion on the dresser, and the scarf pins in it had
been stuck in with the left hand."

"Somebody may have twisted the cushion," I objected, but he looked
hurt, and I desisted.

"There is only one discrepancy," he admitted, "but it troubles me.
According to Mrs. Carter, at the farmhouse, our man wore gaudy
pajamas, while I found here only the most severely plain

"Any buttons off?" McKnight inquired, looking again at his watch.

"The buttons were there," the amateur detective answered gravely,
"but the buttonhole next the top one was torn through."

McKnight winked at me furtively.

"I am convinced of one thing," Hotchkiss went on, clearing his
throat, "the papers are not in that room. Either he carries them
with him, or he has sold them."

A sound on the street made both my visitors listen sharply. Whatever
it was it passed on, however. I was growing curious and the
restraint was telling on McKnight. He has no talent for secrecy.
In the interval we discussed the strange occurrence at Cresson, which
lost nothing by Hotchkiss' dry narration.

"And so," he concluded, "the woman in the Baltimore hospital is the
wife of Henry Sullivan and the daughter of the man he murdered. No
wonder he collapsed when he heard of the wreck."

"Joy, probably," McKnight put in. "Is that clock right, Lawrence?
Never mind, it doesn't matter. By the way, Mrs. Conway dropped in
the office yesterday, while you were away."

"What!" I sprang from my chair.

"Sure thing. Said she had heard great things of us, and wanted us
to handle her case against the railroad."

"I would like to know what she is driving at," I reflected. "Is she
trying to reach me through you?"

Richey's flippancy is often a cloak for deeper feeling. He dropped
it now. "Yes," he said, "she's after the notes, of course. And
I'll tell you I felt like a poltroon - whatever that may be - when
I turned her down. She stood by the door with her face white, and
told me contemptuously that I could save you from a murder charge
and wouldn't do it. She made me feel like a cur. I was just as
guilty as if I could have obliged her. She hinted that there were
reasons and she laid my attitude to beastly motives."

"Nonsense," I said, as easily as I could. Hotchkiss had gone to
the window. "She was excited. There are no 'reasons,' whatever
she means."

Richey put his hand on my shoulder. "We've been together too long
to let any 'reasons' or 'unreasons' come between us, old man," he
said, not very steadily. Hotchkiss, who had been silent, here came
forward in his most impressive manner. He put his hands under his
coat-tails and coughed.

"Mr. Blakeley," he began, "by Mr. McKnight's advice we have arranged
a little interview here to-night. If all has gone as I planned,
Mr. Henry Pinckney Sullivan is by this time under arrest. Within a
very few minutes - he will be here."

"I wanted to talk to him before be was locked up," Richey explained.
"He's clever enough to be worth knowing, and, besides, I'm not so
cocksure of his guilt as our friend the Patch on the Seat of
Government. No murderer worthy of the name needs six different
motives for the same crime, beginning with robbery, and ending with
an unpleasant father-in-law."

We were all silent for a while. McKnight stationed himself at a
window, and Hotchkiss paced the floor expectantly. "It's a great
day for modern detective methods," he chirruped. "While the police
have been guarding houses and standing with their mouths open
waiting for clues to fall in and choke them, we have pieced together,
bit by bit, a fabric - "

The door-bell rang, followed immediately by sounds of footsteps in
the hall. McKnight threw the door open, and Hotchkiss, raised on
his toes, flung out his arm in a gesture of superb eloquence.

"Behold - your man!" he declaimed.

Through the open doorway came a tall, blond fellow, clad in light
gray, wearing tan shoes, and followed closely by an officer.

"I brought him here as you suggested, Mr. McKnight," said the

But McKnight was doubled over the library table in silent
convulsions of mirth, and I was almost as bad. Little Hotchkiss
stood up, his important attitude finally changing to one of chagrin,
while the blond man ceased to look angry, and became sheepish.

It was Stuart, our confidential clerk for the last half dozen years!

McKnight sat up and wiped his eyes.

"Stuart," he said sternly, "there are two very serious things we
have learned about you. First, you jab your scarf pins into your
cushion with your left hand, which is most reprehensible; second,
you wear - er - night-shirts, instead of pajamas. Worse than that,
perhaps, we find that one of them has a buttonhole torn out at the

Stuart was bewildered. He looked from McKnight to me, and then at
the crestfallen Hotchkiss.

"I haven't any idea what it's all about," he said. "I was arrested
as I reached my boarding-house to-night, after the theater, and
brought directly here. I told the officer it was a mistake."

Poor Hotchkiss tried bravely to justify the fiasco. "You can not
deny," he contended, "that Mr. Andrew Bronson followed you to your
rooms last Monday evening."

Stuart looked at us and flushed.

"No, I don't deny it," he said, "but there was nothing criminal
about it, on my part, at least. Mr. Bronson has been trying to
induce me to secure the forged notes for him. But I did not even
know where they were."

"And you were not on the wrecked Washington Flier?" persisted
Hotchkiss. But McKnight interfered.

"There is no use trying to put the other man's identity on Stuart,
Mr. Hotchkiss," he protested. "He has been our confidential clerk
for six years, and has not been away from the office a day for a
year. I am afraid that the beautiful fabric we have pieced out of
all these scraps is going to be a crazy quilt." His tone was
facetious, but I could detect the undercurrent of real

I paid the constable for his trouble, and he departed. Stuart,
still indignant, left to go back to Washington Circle. He shook
hands with McKnight and myself magnanimously, but he hurled a look
of utter hatred at Hotchkiss, sunk crestfallen in his chair.

"As far as I can see," said McKnight dryly, "we're exactly as far
along as we were the day we met at the Carter place. We're not a
step nearer to finding our man."

"We have one thing that may be of value," I suggested. "He is the
husband of a bronze-haired woman at Van Kirk's hospital, and it is
just possible we may trace him through her. I hope we are not going
to lose your valuable co-operation, Mr. Hotchkiss?" I asked.

He roused at that to feeble interest, "I - oh, of course not, if you
still care to have me, I - I was wondering about - the man who just
went out, Stuart, you say? I - told his landlady to-night that he
wouldn't need the room again. I hope she hasn't rented it to
somebody else."

We cheered him as best we could, and I suggested that we go to
Baltimore the next day and try to find the real Sullivan through
his wife. He left sometime after midnight, and Richey and I were

He drew a chair near the lamp and lighted a cigarette, and for a
time we were silent. I was in the shadow, and I sat back and
watched him. It was not surprising, I thought, that she cared for
him: women had always loved him, perhaps because he always loved
them. There was no disloyalty in the thought: it was the lad's
nature to give and crave affection. Only - I was different. I had
never really cared about a girl before, and my life had been
singularly loveless. I had fought a lonely battle always. Once
before, in college, we had both laid ourselves and our callow
devotions at the feet of the same girl. Her name was Dorothy - I
had forgotten the rest - but I remembered the sequel. In a spirit
of quixotic youth I had relinquished my claim in favor of Richey
and had gone cheerfully on my way, elevated by my heroic sacrifice
to a somber, white-hot martyrdom. As is often the case, McKnight's
first words showed our parallel lines of thought.

"I say, Lollie," he asked, "do you remember Dorothy Browne?" Browne,
that was it!

"Dorothy Browne?" I repeated. "Oh - why yes, I recall her now. Why?"

"Nothing," he said. "I was thinking about her. That's all. You
remember you were crazy about her, and dropped back because she
preferred me."

"I got out," I said with dignity, "because you declared you would
shoot yourself if she didn't go with you to something or other!"

"Oh, why yes, I recall now!" he mimicked. He tossed his cigarette
in the general direction of the hearth and got up. We were both a
little conscious, and he stood with his back to me, fingering a
Japanese vase on the mantel.

"I was thinking," he began, turning the vase around, "that, if you
feel pretty well again, and - and ready to take hold, that I should
like to go away for a week or so. Things are fairly well cleaned
up at the office."

"Do you mean - you are going to Richmond?" I asked, after a scarcely
perceptible pause. He turned and faced me, with his hands thrust in
his pockets.

"No. That's off, Lollie. The Sieberts are going for a week's
cruise along the coast. I - the hot weather has played hob with me
and the cruise means seven days' breeze and bridge."

I lighted a cigarette and offered him the box, but he refused. He
was looking haggard and suddenly tired. I could not think of
anything to say, and neither could he, evidently. The matter between
us lay too deep for speech.

"How's Candida?" he asked.

"Martin says a month, and she will be all right," I returned, in the
same tone. He picked up his hat, but he had something more to say.
He blurted it out, finally, half way to the door.

"The Seiberts are not going for a couple of days," he said, "and if
you want a day or so off to go down to Richmond yourself - "

"Perhaps I shall," I returned, as indifferently as I could. "Not
going yet, are you?"

"Yes. It is late." He drew in his breath as if he had something
more to say, but the impulse passed. "Well, good night," he said
from the doorway.

"Good night, old man."

The next moment the outer door slammed and I heard the engine of the
Cannonball throbbing in the street. Then the quiet settled down
around me again, and there in the lamplight I dreamed dreams. I was
going to see her.

Suddenly the idea of being shut away, even temporarily, from so great
and wonderful a world became intolerable. The possibility of arrest
before I could get to Richmond was hideous, the night without end.

I made my escape the next morning through the stable back of the
house, and then, by devious dark and winding ways, to the office.
There, after a conference with Blobs, whose features fairly jerked
with excitement, I double-locked the door of my private office and
finished off some imperative work. By ten o'clock I was free, and
for the twentieth time I consulted my train schedule. At five
minutes after ten, with McKnight not yet in sight, Blobs knocked at
the door, the double rap we had agreed upon, and on being admitted
slipped in and quietly closed the door behind him. His eyes were
glistening with excitement, and a purple dab of typewriter ink gave
him a peculiarly villainous and stealthy expression.

"They're here," he said, "two of 'em, and that crazy Stuart wasn't
on, and said you were somewhere in the building."

A door slammed outside, followed by steps on the uncarpeted outer

"This way," said Blobs, in a husky undertone, and, darting into a
lavatory, threw open a door that I had always supposed locked.
Thence into a back hall piled high with boxes and past the presses
of a bookbindery to the freight elevator.

Greatly to Blobs' disappointment, there was no pursuit. I was
exhilarated but out of breath when we emerged into an alleyway, and
the sharp daylight shone on Blobs' excited face.

"Great sport, isn't it? I panted, dropping a dollar into his palm,
inked to correspond with his face. "Regular walk-away in the
hundred-yard dash."

"Gimme two dollars more and I'll drop 'em down the elevator shaft,"
he suggested ferociously. I left him there with his blood-thirsty
schemes, and started for the station. I had a tendency to look
behind me now and then, but I reached the station unnoticed. The
afternoon was hot, the train rolled slowly along, stopping to pant
at sweltering stations, from whose roofs the heat rose in waves.
But I noticed these things objectively, not subjectively, for at the
end of the journey was a girl with blue eyes and dark brown hair,
hair that could - had I not seen it? - hang loose in bewitching
tangles or be twisted into little coils of delight.



I telephoned as soon as I reached my hotel, and I had not known how
much I had hoped from seeing her until I learned that she was out
of town. I hung up the receiver, almost dizzy with disappointment,
and it was fully five minutes before I thought of calling up again
and asking if she was within telephone reach. It seemed she was
down on the bay staying with the Samuel Forbeses.

Sammy Forbes! It was a name to conjure with just then. In the old
days at college I had rather flouted him, but now I was ready to
take him to my heart. I remembered that he had always meant well,
anyhow, and that he was explosively generous. I called him up.

"By the fumes of gasoline!" he said, when I told him who I was.
"Blakeley, the Fount of Wisdom against Woman! Blakeley, the Great
Unkissed! Welcome to our city!"

Whereupon he proceeded to urge me to come down to the Shack, and to
say that I was an agreeable surprise, because four times in two
hours youths had called up to ask if Alison West was stopping with
him, and to suggest that they had a vacant day or two. "Oh - Miss
West!" I shouted politely. There was a buzzing on the line. "Is
she there?" Sam had no suspicions. Was not I in his mind always
the Great Unkissed? - which sounds like the Great Unwashed and is
even more of a reproach. He asked me down promptly, as I had hoped,
and thrust aside my objections.

"Nonsense," he said. "Bring yourself. The lady that keeps my
boarding-house is calling to me to insist. You remember Dorothy,
don't you, Dorothy Browne? She says unless you have lost your
figure you can wear my clothes all right. All you need here is
a bathing suit for daytime and a dinner coat for evening."

"It sounds cool," I temporized. "If you are sure I won't put you
out - very well, Sam, since you and your wife are good enough. I
have a couple of days free. Give my love to Dorothy until I can do
it myself."

Sam met me himself and drove me out to the Shack, which proved to
be a substantial house overlooking the water. On the way he confided
to me that lots of married men thought they were contented when they
were merely resigned, but that it was the only life, and that Sam,
Junior, could swim like a duck. Incidentally, he said that Alison was
his wife's cousin, their respective grandmothers having, at proper
intervals, married the same man, and that Alison would lose her good
looks if she was not careful.

"I say she's worried, and I stick to it," he said, as he threw the
lines to a groom and prepared to get out. "You know her, and she's
the kind of girl you think you can read like a book. But you can't;
don't fool yourself. Take a good look at her at dinner, Blake; you
won't lose your head like the other fellows - and then tell me what's
wrong with her. We're mighty fond of Allie."

He went ponderously up the steps, for Sam had put on weight since
I knew him. At the door he turned around. "Do you happen to know
the MacLure's at Seal Harbor?" he asked irrelevantly, but Mrs. Sam
came into the hall just then, both hands out to greet me, and,
whatever Forbes had meant to say, he did not pick up the subject

"We are having tea in here," Dorothy said gaily, indicating the door
behind her. "Tea by courtesy, because I think tea is the only
beverage that isn't represented. And then we must dress, for this
is hop night at the club."

"Which is as great a misnomer as the tea," Sam put in, ponderously
struggling out of his linen driving coat. "It's bridge night, and
the only hops are in the beer."

He was still gurgling over this as he took me upstairs. He showed
me my room himself, and then began the fruitless search for evening
raiment that kept me home that night from the club. For I couldn't
wear Sam's clothes. That was clear, after a perspiring seance of a
half hour.

"I won't do it, Sam," I said, when I had draped his dress-coat on
me toga fashion. "Who am I to have clothing to spare, like this,
when many a poor chap hasn't even a cellar door to cover him. I
won't do it; I'm selfish, but not that selfish."

"Lord," he said, wiping his face, "how you've kept your figure! I
can't wear a belt any more; got to have suspenders."

He reflected over his grievance for some time, sitting on the side
of the bed. "You could go as you are," he said finally. "We do it
all the time, only to-night happens to be the annual something or
other, and - " he trailed off into silence, trying to buckle my
belt around him. "A good six inches," he sighed. "I never get
into a hansom cab any more that I don't expect to see the horse fly
up into the air. Well, Allie isn't going either. She turned down
Granger this afternoon, the Annapolis fellow you met on the stairs,
pigeon-breasted chap - and she always gets a headache on those

He got up heavily and went to the door. "Granger is leaving," he
said, "I may be able to get his dinner coat for you. How well do
you know her?" he asked, with his hand on the knob.

"If you mean Dolly - ?"


"Fairly well," I said cautiously. "Not as well as I would like to.
I dined with her last week in Washington. And - I knew her before

Forbes touched the bell instead of going out, and told the servant
who answered to see if Mr. Granger's suitcase had gone. If not, to
bring it across the hail. Then he came back to his former position
on the bed.

"You see, we feel responsible for Allie - near relation and all
that," he began pompously. "And we can't talk to the people here at
the house - all the men are in love with her, and all the women are
jealous. Then - there's a lot of money, too, or will be."

"Confound the money!" I muttered. "That is - nothing. Razor

"I can tell you," he went on, "because you don't lose your head over
every pretty face - although Allie is more than that, of course.
But about a month ago she went away - to Seal Harbor, to visit Janet
MacLure. Know her?"

"She came home to Richmond yesterday, and then came down here
- Allie, I mean. And yesterday afternoon Dolly had a letter from
Janet - something about a second man - and saying she was
disappointed not to have had Alison there, that she had promised
them a two weeks' visit! What do you make of that? And that isn't
the worst. Allie herself wasn't in the room, but there were eight
other women, and because Dolly had put belladonna in her eyes the
night before to see how she would look, and as a result couldn't
see anything nearer than across the room, some one read the letter
aloud to her, and the whole story is out. One of the cats told
Granger and the boy proposed to Allie to-day, to show her he didn't
care a tinker's dam where she had been."

"Good boy!" I said, with enthusiasm. I liked the Granger fellow
- since he was out of the running. But Sam was looking at me with

"Blake," he said, "if I didn't know you for what you are, I'd say
you were interested there yourself."

Being so near her, under the same roof, with even the tie of a
dubious secret between us, was making me heady. I pushed Forbes
toward the door.

"I interested!" I retorted, holding him by the shoulders. "There
isn't a word in your vocabulary to fit my condition. I am an
island in a sunlit sea of emotion, Sam, a - an empty place surrounded
by longing - a - "

"An empty place surrounded by longing!" he retorted. "You want your
dinner, that's what's the matter with you - "

I shut the door on him then. He seemed suddenly sordid. Dinner, I
thought! Although, as matter of fact, I made a very fair meal when,
Granger's suitcase not having gone, in his coat and some other man's
trousers, I was finally fit for the amenities. Alison did not come
down to dinner, so it was clear she would not go over to the
club-house dance. I pled my injured arm and a ficticious, vaguely
located sprain from the wreck, as an excuse for remaining at home.
Sam regaled the table with accounts of my distrust of women, my one
love affair - with Dorothy; to which I responded, as was expected,
that only my failure there had kept me single all these years, and
that if Sam should be mysteriously missing during the bathing hour
to-morrow, and so on.

And when the endless meal was over, and yards of white veils had
been tied over pounds of hair - or is it, too, bought by the yard?
- and some eight ensembles with their abject complements had been
packed into three automobiles and a trap, I drew a long breath and
faced about. I had just then only one object in life - to find
Alison, to assure her of my absolute faith and confidence in her,
and to offer my help and my poor self, if she would let me, in her

She was not easy to find. I searched the lower floor, the verandas
and the grounds, circumspectly. Then I ran into a little English
girl who turned out to be her maid, and who also was searching.
She was concerned because her mistress had had no dinner, and
because the tray of food she carried would soon be cold. I took
the tray from her, on the glimpse of something white on the shore,
and that was how I met the Girl again.

She was sitting on an over-turned boat, her chin in her hands,
staring out to sea. The soft tide of the bay lapped almost at her
feet, and the draperies of her white gown melted hazily into the
sands. She looked like a wraith, a despondent phantom of the sea,
although the adjective is redundant. Nobody ever thinks of a
cheerful phantom. Strangely enough, considering her evident sadness,
she was whistling softly to herself, over and over, some dreary
little minor air that sounded like a Bohemian dirge. She glanced
up quickly when I made a misstep and my dishes jingled. All
considered, the tray was out of the picture: the sea, the misty
starlight, the girl, with her beauty - even the sad little whistle
that stopped now and then to go bravely on again, as though it
fought against the odds of a trembling lip. And then I came,
accompanied by a tray of little silver dishes that jingled and an
unmistakable odor of broiled chicken!

"Oh!" she said quickly; and then, "Oh! I thought you were Jenkins."

"Timeo Danaos - what's the rest of it?" I asked, tendering my
offering. "You didn't have any dinner, you know." I sat down
beside her. "See, I'll be the table. What was the old fairy tale?
'Little goat bleat: little table appear!' I'm perfectly willing
to be the goat, too."

She was laughing rather tremulously.

"We never do meet like other people, do we?" she asked. "We really
ought to shake hands and say how are you."

"I don't want to meet you like other people, and I suppose you always
think of me as wearing the other fellow's clothes," I returned meekly.
"I'm doing it again: I don't seem to be able to help it. These are
Granger's that I have on now."

She threw back her head and laughed again, joyously, this time.

"Oh, it's so ridiculous," she said, "and you have never seen me when
I was not eating! It's too prosaic!"

"Which reminds me that the chicken is getting cold, and the ice
warm," I suggested. "At the time, I thought there could be no place
better than the farmhouse kitchen - but this is. I ordered all this
for something I want to say to you - the sea, the sand, the stars."

"How alliterative you are!" she said, trying to be flippant. "You
are not to say anything until I have had my supper. Look how the
things are spilled around!"

But she ate nothing, after all, and pretty soon I put the tray down
in the sand. I said little; there was no hurry. We were together,
and time meant nothing against that age-long wash of the sea. The
air blew her hair in small damp curls against her face, and little
by little the tide retreated, leaving our boat an oasis in a waste
of gray sand.

"If seven maids with seven mops swept it for half a year
Do you suppose, the walrus said, that they could get it clear?"

she threw at me once when she must have known I was going to speak.
I held her hand, and as long as I merely held it she let it lie warm
in mine. But when I raised it to my lips, and kissed the soft, open
palm, she drew it away without displeasure.

"Not that, please," she protested, and fell to whistling softly again,
her chin in her hands. "I can't sing," she said, to break an awkward
pause, "and so, when I'm fidgety, or have something on my mind, I
whistle. I hope you don't dislike it?"

"I love it," I asserted warmly. I did; when she pursed her lips
like that I was mad to kiss them.

"I saw you - at the station," she said' suddenly. "You - you were
in a hurry to go." I did not say anything, and after a pause she
drew a long breath. "Men are queer, aren't they?" she said, and
fell to whistling again.

After a while she sat up as if she had made a resolution. "I am
going to confess something," she announced suddenly. "You said,
you know, that you had ordered all this for something you - you
wanted to say to me. But the fact is, I fixed it all - came here,
I mean, because - I knew you would come, and I had something to
tell you. It was such a miserable thing I - needed the accessories
to help me out."

"I don't want to hear anything that distresses you to tell," I
assured her. "I didn't come here to force your confidence, Alison.
I came because I couldn't help it." She did not object to my use
of her name.

"Have you found - your papers?" she asked, looking directly at me
for almost the first time.

"Not yet. We hope to."

"The - police have not interfered with you?"

"They haven't had any opportunity," I equivocated. "You needn't
distress yourself about that, anyhow."

"But I do. I wonder why you still believe in me? Nobody else does."

"I wonder," I repeated, "why I do!"

"If you produce Harry Sullivan," she was saying, partly to herself,
"and if you could connect him with Mr. Bronson, and get a full
account of why he was on the train, and all that, it - it would
help, wouldn't it?"

I acknowledged that it would. Now that the whole truth was almost
in my possession, I was stricken with the old cowardice. I did
not want to know what she might tell me. The yellow line on the
horizon, where the moon was coming up, was a broken bit of golden
chain: my heel in the sand was again pressed on a woman's yielding
fingers: I pulled myself together with a jerk.

"In order that what you might tell me may help me, if it will," I
said constrainedly, "it would be necessary, perhaps, that you tell
it to the police. Since they have found the end of the necklace - "

"The end of the necklace!" she repeated slowly. "What about the
end of the necklace?"

I stared at her. "Don't you remember" - I leaned forward - "the
end of the cameo necklace, the part that was broken off, and was
found in the black sealskin bag, stained with - with blood?"

"Blood," she said dully. "You mean that you found the broken end?
And then - you had my gold pocket-book, and you saw the necklace in
it, and you - must have thought - "

"I didn't think anything," I hastened to assure her. "I tell you,
Alison, I never thought of anything but that you were unhappy, and
that I had no right to help you. God knows, I thought you didn't
want me to help you."

She held out her hand to me and I took it between both of mine. No
word of love had passed between us, but I felt that she knew and
understood. It was one of the moments that come seldom in a
lifetime, and then only in great crises, a moment of perfect
understanding and trust.

Then she drew her hand away and sat, erect and determined, her
fingers laced in her lap. As she talked the moon came up slowly
and threw its bright pathway across the water. Back of us, in
the trees beyond the sea wall, a sleepy bird chirruped drowsily,
and a wave, larger and bolder than its brothers, sped up the sand,
bringing the moon's silver to our very feet. I bent toward the

"I am going to ask just one question."

"Anything you like." Her voice was almost dreary. "Was it because
of anything you are going to tell me that you refused Richey?"

She drew her breath in sharply.

"No," she said, without looking at me. "No. That was not the



She told her story evenly, with her eyes on the water, only now
and then, when I, too, sat looking seaward, I thought she glanced
at me furtively. And once, in the middle of it, she stopped

"You don't realize it, probably," she protested, "but you look like
a - a war god. Your face is horrible."

"I will turn my back, if it will help any," I said stormily, "but
if you expect me to look anything but murderous, why, you don't
know what I am going through with. That's all."

The story of her meeting with the Curtis woman was brief enough.
They had met in Rome first, where Alison and her mother had taken
a villa for a year. Mrs. Curtis had hovered on the ragged edges of
society there, pleading the poverty of the south since the war as
a reason for not going out more. There was talk of a brother, but
Alison had not seen him, and after a scandal which implicated Mrs.
Curtis and a young attache of the Austrian embassy, Alison had
been forbidden to see the woman.

"The women had never liked her, anyhow," she said. "She did
unconventional things, and they are very conventional there. And
they said she did not always pay her - her gambling debts. I didn't
like them. I thought they didn't like her because she was poor
- and popular. Then - we came home, and I almost forgot her, but
last spring, when mother was not well - she had taken grandfather
to the Riviera, and it always uses her up - we went to Virginia Hot
Springs, and we met them there, the brother, too, this time. His
name was Sullivan, Harry Pinckney Sullivan."

"I know. Go on."

"Mother had a nurse, and I was alone a great deal, and they were
very kind to me. I - I saw a lot of them. The brother rather
attracted me, partly - partly because he did not make love to me.
He even seemed to avoid me, and I was piqued. I had been spoiled,
I suppose. Most of the other men I knew had - had - "

"I know that, too," I said bitterly, and moved away from her a
trifle. I was brutal, but the whole story was a long torture. I
think she knew what I was suffering, for she showed no resentment.

"It was early and there were few people around - none that I cared
about. And mother and the nurse played cribbage eternally, until I
felt as though the little pegs were driven into my brain. And when
Mrs. Curtis arranged drives and picnics, I - I slipped away and went.
I suppose you won't believe me, but I had never done that kind of
thing before, and I - well, I have paid up, I think."

"What sort of looking chap was Sullivan?" I demanded. I had got up
and was pacing back and forward on the sand. I remember kicking
savagely at a bit of water-soaked board that lay in my way.

"Very handsome - as large as you are, but fair, and even more erect."

I drew my shoulders up sharply. I am straight enough, but I was
fairly sagging with jealous rage.

"When mother began to get around, somebody told her that I had been
going about with Mrs. Curtis and her brother, and we had a dreadful
time. I was dragged home like a bad child. Did anybody ever do
that to you?"

"Nobody ever cared. I was born an orphan," I said, with a cheerless
attempt at levity. "Go on."

"If Mrs. Curtis knew, she never said anything. She wrote me charming
letters, and in the summer, when they went to Cresson, she asked me
to visit her there. I was too proud to let her know that I could
not go where I wished, and so - I sent Polly, my maid, to her aunt's
in the country, pretended to go to Seal Harbor, and really went to
Cresson. You see I warned you it would be an unpleasant story."

I went over and stood in front of her. All the accumulated jealousy
of the last few weeks had been fired by what she told me. If
Sullivan had come across the sands just then, I think I would have
strangled him with my hands, out of pure hate.

"Did you marry him?" I demanded. My voice sounded hoarse and strange
in my ears. "That's all I want to know. Did you marry him?"


I drew a long breath.

"You - cared about him?"

She hesitated.

"No," she said finally. "I did not care about him."

I sat down on the edge of the boat and mopped my hot face. I was
heartily ashamed of myself, and mingled with my abasement was a
great relief. If she had not married him, and had not cared for
him, nothing else was of any importance.

"I was sorry, of course, the moment the train had started, but I
had wired I was coming, and I could not go back, and then when I
got there, the place was charming. There were no neighbors, but we
fished and rode and motored, and - it was moonlight, like this."

I put my hand over both of hers, clasped in her lap. "I know," I
acknowledged repentantly, "and - people do queer things when it is
moonlight. The moon has got me to-night, Alison. If I am a boor,
remember that, won't you?"

Her fingers lay quiet under mine. "And so," she went on with a
little sigh, "I began to think perhaps I cared. But. all the time
felt that there was something not quite right. Now and then Mrs.
Curtis would say or do something that gave me a queer start, as if
she had dropped a mask for a moment. And there was trouble with the
servants; they were almost insolent. I couldn't understand. I
don't know when it dawned on me that the old Baron Cavalcanti had
been right when he said they were not my kind of people. But I
wanted to get away, wanted it desperately."

"Of course, they were not your kind," I cried. "The man was
married! The girl Jennie, a housemaid, was a spy in Mrs. Sullivan's
employ. If he had pretended to marry you I would have killed him!
Not only that, but the man he murdered, Harrington, was his wife's
father. And I'll see him hang by the neck yet if it takes every
energy and every penny I possess."

I could have told her so much more gently, have broken the shock
for her; I have never been proud of that evening on the sand. I
was alternately a boor and a ruffian - like a hurt youngster who
passes the blow that has hurt him on to his playmate, that both
may bawl together. And now Alison sat, white and cold, without

"Married!" she said finally, in a small voice. "Why, I don't think
it is possible, is it? I - I was on my way to Baltimore to marry
him myself, when the wreck came."

"But you said you didn't care for him!" I protested, my heavy
masculine mind unable to jump the gaps in her story. And then,
without the slightest warning, I realized that she was crying. She
shook off my hand and fumbled for her handkerchief, and failing to
find it, she accepted the one I thrust into her wet fingers.

Then, little by little, she told me from the handkerchief, a sordid
story of a motor trip in the mountains without Mrs. Curtis, of a
lost road and a broken car, and a rainy night when they - she and
Sullivan, tramped eternally and did not get home. And of Mrs.
Curtis, when they got home at dawn, suddenly grown conventional and
deeply shocked. Of her own proud, half-disdainful consent to make
possible the hackneyed compromising situation by marrying the rascal,
and then - of his disappearance from the train. It was so terrible
to her, such a Heaven-sent relief to me, in spite of my rage against
Sullivan, that I laughed aloud. At which she looked at me over the

"I know it's funny," she said, with a catch in her breath. "When I
think that I nearly married a murderer - and didn't - I cry for
sheer joy." Then she buried her face and cried again.

"Please don't," I protested unsteadily. "I won't be responsible if
you keep on crying like that. I may forget that I have a capital
charge hanging over my head, and that I may be arrested at any

That brought her out of the handkerchief at once. "I meant to be
so helpful," she said, "and I've thought of nothing but myself!
There were some things I meant to tell you. If Jennie was - what
you say, then I understand why she came to me just before I left.
She had been packing my things and she must have seen what condition
I was in, for she came over to me when I was getting my wraps on, to
leave, and said, 'Don't do it, Miss West, I beg you won't do it;
you'll be sorry ever after.' And just then Mrs. Curtis came in and
Jennie slipped out."

"That was all?"

"No. As we went through the station the telegraph operator gave
Har - Mr. Sullivan a message. He read it on the platform, and it
excited him terribly. He took his sister aside and they talked
together. He was white with either fear or anger - I don't know
which. Then, when we boarded the train, a woman in black, with
beautiful hair, who was standing on the car platform, touched him
on the arm and then drew back. He looked at her and glanced away
again, but she reeled as if he had struck her."

"Then what?" The situation was growing clearer.

"Mrs. Curtis and I had the drawing-room. I had a dreadful night,
just sleeping a little now and then. I dreaded to see dawn come.
It was to be my wedding-day. When we found Harry had disappeared
in the night, Mrs. Curtis was in a frenzy. Then - I saw his
cigarette case in your hand. I had given it to him. You wore his
clothes. The murder was discovered and you were accused of it!
What could I do? And then, afterward, when I saw him asleep at
the farmhouse, I - I was panic-stricken. I locked him in and ran.
I didn't know why he did it, but - he had killed a man."

Some one was calling Alison through a megaphone, from the veranda.
It sounded like Sam. "All-ee," he called. "All-ee! I'm going to
have some anchovies on toast! All-ee!" Neither of us heard.

"I wonder," I reflected, "if you would be willing to repeat a part
of that story - just from the telegram on - to a couple of
detectives, say on Monday. If you would tell that, and - how the
end of your necklace got into the sealskin bag - "

"My necklace!" she repeated. "But it isn't mine. I picked it up
in the car."

"All-ee!" Sam again. "I see you down there. I'm making a julep!"

Alison turned and called through her hands. "Coming in a moment,
Sam," she said, and rose. "It must be very late: Sam is home. We
would better go back to the house."

"Don't," I begged her. "Anchovies and juleps and Sam will go on
for ever, and I have you such a little time. I suppose I am only
one of a dozen or so, but - you are the only girl in the world. You
know I love you, don't you, dear?"

Sam was whistling, an irritating bird call, over and over. She
pursed her red lips and answered him in kind. It was more than
I could endure.

"Sam or no Sam," I said firmly, "I am going to kiss you!"

But Sam's voice came strident through the megaphone. "Be good, you
two," he bellowed, "I've got the binoculars!" And so, under fire,
we walked sedately back to the house. My pulses were throbbing
- the little swish of her dress beside me on the grass was pain
and ecstasy. I had but to put out my hand to touch her, and I
dared not.

Sam, armed with a megaphone and field glasses, bent over the rail
and watched us with gleeful malignity.

"Home early, aren't you?" Alison called, when we reached the steps.

"Led a club when my partner had doubled no-trumps, and she fainted.
Damn the heart convention!" he said cheerfully. "The others are
not here yet."

Three hours later I went up to bed. I had not seen Alison alone
again. The noise was at its height below, and I glanced down into
the garden, still bright in the moonlight. Leaning against a tree,
and staring interestedly into the billiard room, was Johnson.



That was Saturday night, two weeks after the wreck. The previous
five days had been full of swift-following events - the woman in
the house next door, the picture in the theater of a man about to
leap from the doomed train, the dinner at the Dallases, and Richey's
discovery that Alison was the girl in the case. In quick succession
had come our visit to the Carter place, the finding of the rest of
the telegram, my seeing Alison there, and the strange interview with
Mrs. Conway. The Cresson trip stood out in my memory for its
serio-comic horrors and its one real thrill. Then - the discovery
by the police of the seal-skin bag and the bit of chain; Hotchkiss
producing triumphantly Stuart for Sullivan and his subsequent
discomfiture; McKnight at the station with Alison, and later the
confession that he was out of the running.

And yet, when I thought it all over, the entire week and its events
were two sides of a triangle that was narrowing rapidly to an apex,
a point. And the said apex was at that moment in the drive below
my window, resting his long legs by sitting on a carriage block,
and smoking a pipe that made the night hideous. The sense of the
ridiculous is very close to the sense of tragedy. I opened my screen
and whistled, and Johnson looked up and grinned. We said nothing. I
held up a handful of cigars, he extended his hat, and when I finally
went to sleep, it was to a soothing breeze that wafted in salt air
and a faint aroma of good tobacco. I was thoroughly tired, but I
slept restlessly, dreaming of two detectives with Pittsburg warrants
being held up by Hotchkiss at the point of a splint, while Alison
fastened their hands with a chain that was broken and much too short.
I was roused about dawn by a light rap at the door, and, opening it,
I found Forbes, in a pair of trousers and a pajama coat. He was as
pleasant as most fleshy people are when they have to get up at night,
and he said the telephone had been ringing for an hour, and he
didn't know why somebody else in the blankety-blank house couldn't
have heard it. He wouldn't get to sleep until noon.

As he was palpably asleep on his feet, I left him grumbling and went
to the telephone. It proved to be Richey, who had found me by the
simple expedient of tracing Alison, and he was jubilant.

"You'll have to come back," he said. "Got a rail-road schedule

"I don't sleep with one in my pocket," I retorted, "but if you'll
hold the line I'll call out the window to Johnson. He's probably
got one."'

"Johnson!" I could hear the laugh with which McKnight comprehended
the situation. He was still chuckling when I came back.

"Train to Richmond at six-thirty A.M.," I said. "What time is it

"Four. Listen, Lollie. We've got him. Do you hear? Through the
woman at Baltimore. Then the other woman, the lady of the
restaurant" - he was obviously avoiding names - "she is playing our
cards for us. No - I don't know why, and I don't care. But you be
at the Incubator to-night at eight o'clock. If you can't shake
Johnson, bring him, bless him."

To this day I believe the Sam Forbeses have not recovered from the
surprise of my unexpected arrival, my one appearance at dinner in
Granger's clothes, and the note on my dresser which informed them
the next morning that I had folded my tents like the Arabs and
silently stole away. For at half after five Johnson and I, the
former as uninquisitive as ever, were on our way through the dust
to the station, three miles away, and by four that afternoon we
were in Washington. The journey had been uneventful. Johnson
relaxed under the influence of my tobacco, and spoke at some length
on the latest improvements in gallows, dilating on the absurdity of
cutting out the former free passes to see the affair in operation.
I remember, too, that he mentioned the curious anomaly that permits
a man about to be hanged to eat a hearty meal. I did not enjoy my
dinner that night.

Before we got into Washington I had made an arrangement with Johnson
to surrender myself at two the following afternoon. Also, I had
wired to Alison, asking her if she would carry out the contract she
had made. The detective saw me home, and left me there. Mrs.
Klopton received me with dignified reserve. The very tone in which
she asked me when I would dine told me that something was wrong.

"Now - what is it, Mrs. Klopton?" I demanded finally, when she had
informed me, in a patient and long-suffering tone, that she felt
worn out and thought she needed a rest.

"When I lived with Mr. Justice Springer," she began acidly, her
mending-basket in her hands, "it was an orderly, well-conducted
household. You can ask any of the neighbors. Meals were cooked
and, what's more, they were eaten; there was none of this 'here
one day and gone the next' business."

"Nonsense," I observed. "You're tired, that's all, Mrs. Klopton.
And I wish you would go out; I want to bathe."

"That's not all," she said with dignity, from the doorway. "Women
coming and going here, women whose shoes I am not fit - I mean,
women who are not fit to touch my shoes - coming here as insolent
as you please, and asking for you."

"Good heavens!" I exclaimed. "What did you tell them - her,
whichever it was?"

"Told her you were sick in a hospital and wouldn't be out for a
year!" she said triumphantly. "And when she said she thought she'd
come in and wait for you, I slammed the door on her."

"What time was she here?"

"Late last night. And she had a light-haired man across the street.
If she thought I didn't see him, she don't know me." Then she
closed the door and left me to my bath and my reflections.

At five minutes before eight I was at the Incubator, where I found
Hotchkiss and McKnight. They were bending over a table, on which
lay McKnight's total armament - a pair of pistols, an elephant gun
and an old cavalry saber.

"Draw up a chair and help yourself to pie,' he said, pointing to
the arsenal. "This is for the benefit of our friend Hotchkiss here,
who says he is a small man and fond of life."

Hotchkiss, who had been trying to get the wrong end of a cartridge
into the barrel of one of the revolvers, straightened himself and
mopped his face.

"We have desperate people to handle," he said pompously, "and we
may need desperate means."

"Hotchkiss is like the small boy whose one ambition was to have
people grow ashen and tremble at the mention of his name," McKnight
jibed. But they were serious enough, both of them, under it all,
and when they had told me what they planned, I was serious, too.

"You're compounding a felony," I remonstrated, when they had
explained. "I'm not eager to be locked away, but, by Jove, to
offer her the stolen notes in exchange for Sullivan!"

"We haven't got either of them, you know," McKnight remonstrated,
"and we won't have, if we don't start. Come along, Fido," to

The plan was simplicity itself. According to Hotchkiss, Sullivan
was to meet Bronson at Mrs. Conway's apartment, at eight-thirty that
night, with the notes. He was to be paid there and the papers
destroyed. "But just before that interesting finale," McKnight
ended, "we will walk in, take the notes, grab Sullivan, and give
the police a jolt that will put them out of the count."

I suppose not one of us, slewing around corners in the machine that
night, had the faintest doubt that we were on the right track, or
that Fate, scurvy enough before, was playing into our hands at last.
Little Hotchkiss was in a state of fever; he alternately twitched
and examined the revolver, and a fear that the two movements might
be synchronous kept me uneasy. He produced and dilated on the scrap
of pillow slip from the wreck, and showed me the stiletto, with its
point in cotton batting for safekeeping. And in the intervals he
implored Richey not to make such fine calculations at the corners.

We were all grave enough and very quiet, however, when we reached
the large building where Mrs. Conway had her apartment. McKnight
left the power on, in case we might want to make a quick get-away,
and Hotchkiss gave a final look at the revolver. I had no weapon.
Somehow it all seemed melodramatic to the verge of farce. In the
doorway Hotchkiss was a half dozen feet ahead; Richey fell back
beside me. He dropped his affectation of gayety, and I thought
he looked tired. "Same old Sam, I suppose?" he asked.

"Same, only more of him."

"I suppose Alison was there? How is she?" he inquired irrelevantly.

"Very well. I did not see her this morning."

Hotchkiss was waiting near the elevator. McKnight put his hand on
my arm. "Now, look here, old man," he said, "I've got two arms and
a revolver, and you've got one arm and a splint. If Hotchkiss is
right, and there is a row, you crawl under a table."

"The deuce I will!" I declared scornfully.

We crowded out of the elevator at the fourth floor, and found
ourselves in a rather theatrical hallway of draperies and armor.
It was very quiet; we stood uncertainly after the car had gone,
and looked at the two or three doors in sight. They were heavy,
covered with metal, and sound proof. From somewhere above came
the metallic accuracy of a player-piano, and through the open
window we could hear - or feel - the throb of the Cannonball's

"Well, Sherlock," McKnight said, "what's the next move in the
game? Is it our jump, or theirs? You brought us here."

None of us knew just what to do next. No sound of conversation
penetrated the heavy doors. We waited uneasily for some minutes,
and Hotchkiss looked at his watch. Then he put it to his ear.

"Good gracious!" he exclaimed, his head cocked on one side, "I
believe it has stopped. I'm afraid we are late."

We were late. My watch and Hotchkiss' agreed at nine o clock, and,
with the discovery that our man might have come and gone, our zest
in the adventure began to flag. McKnight motioned us away from the
door and rang the bell. There was no response, no sound within. He
rang it twice, the last time long and vigorously, without result.
Then he turned and looked at us.

"I don't half like this," he said. "That woman is in; you heard me
ask the elevator boy. For two cents I'd - "

I had seen it when he did. The door was ajar about an inch, and a
narrow wedge of rose-colored light showed beyond. I pushed the door
a little and listened. Then, with both men at my heels, I stepped
into the private corridor of the apartment and looked around. It
was a square reception hall, with rugs on the floor, a tall mahogany
rack for hats, and a couple of chairs. A lantern of rose-colored
glass and a desk light over a writing-table across made the room
bright and cheerful. It was empty.

None of us was comfortable. The place was full of feminine trifles
that made us feel the weakness of our position. Some such instinct
made McKnight suggest division.

"We look like an invading army," he said. "If she's here alone, we
will startle her into a spasm. One of us could take a look around
and - "

"What was that? Didn't you hear something?"

The sound, whatever it had been, was not repeated. We went
awkwardly out into the hall, very uncomfortable, all of us, and
flipped a coin. The choice fell to me, which was right enough,
for the affair was mine, primarily.

"Wait just inside the door," I directed, "and if Sullivan comes,
or anybody that answers his description, grab him without ceremony
and ask him questions afterwards."

The apartment, save in the hallway, was unlighted. By one of those
freaks of arrangement possible only in the modern flat, I found the
kitchen first, and was struck a smart and unexpected blow by a
swinging door. I carried a handful of matches, and by the time
I had passed through a butler's pantry and a refrigerator room I
was completely lost in the darkness. Until then the situation had
been merely uncomfortable; suddenly it became grisly. From
somewhere near came a long-sustained groan, followed almost instantly
by the crash of something - glass or china - on the floor.

I struck a fresh match, and found myself in a narrow rear hallway.
Behind me was the door by which I must have come; with a keen desire
to get back to the place I had started from, I opened the door and
attempted to cross the room. I thought I had kept my sense of
direction, but I crashed without warning into what, from the
resulting jangle, was the dining-table, probably laid for dinner.
I cursed my stupidity in getting into such a situation, and I
cursed my nerves for making my hand shake when I tried to strike a
match. The groan had not been repeated.

I braced myself against the table and struck the match sharply
against the sole of my shoe. It flickered faintly and went out.
And then, without the slightest warning, another dish went off the
table. It fell with a thousand splinterings; the very air seemed
broken into crashing waves of sound. I stood still, braced
against the table, holding the red end of the dying match, and
listened. I had not long to wait; the groan came again, and I
recognized it, the cry of a dog in straits. I breathed again.

"Come, old fellow," I said. "Come on, old man. "Let's have a look
at you."

I could hear the thud of his tail on the floor, but he did not move.
He only whimpered. There is something companionable in the presence
of a dog, and I fancied this dog in trouble. Slowly I began to work
my way around the table toward him.

"Good boy," I said, as he whimpered. "We'll find the light, which
ought to be somewhere or other around here, and then - "

I stumbled over something, and I drew back my foot almost instantly.
"Did I step on you, old man I exclaimed, and bent to pat him. I
remember straightening suddenly and hearing the dog pad softly
toward me around the table. I recall even that I had put the
matches down and could not find them. Then, with a bursting horror
of the room and its contents, of the gibbering dark around me, I
turned and made for the door by which I had entered.

I could not find it. I felt along the endless wainscoting, past
miles of wall. The dog was beside me, I think, but he was part and
parcel now, to my excited mind, with the Thing under the table.
And when, after aeons of search, I found a knob and stumbled into
the reception hall, I was as nearly in a panic as any man could be.

I was myself again in a second, and by the light from the hall I
led the way back to the tragedy I had stumbled on. Bronson still
sat at the table, his elbows propped on it, his cigarette still
lighted, burning a hole in the cloth. Partly under the table lay
Mrs. Conway face down. The dog stood over her and wagged his tail.

McKnight pointed silently to a large copper ashtray, filled with
ashes and charred bits of paper.

"The notes, probably," he said ruefully. "He got them after all,
and burned them before her. It was more than she could stand.
Stabbed him first and then herself."

Hotchkiss got up and took off his hat. "They are dead," he
announced solemnly, and took his note-book out of his hatband.

McKnight and I did the only thing we could think of - drove
Hotchkiss and the dog out of the room, and closed and locked the
door. "It's a matter for the police," McKnight asserted. "I
suppose you've got an officer tied to you somewhere, Lawrence?
You usually have."

We left Hotchkiss in charge and went down-stairs. It was McKnight
who first saw Johnson, leaning against a park railing across the
street, and called him over. We told him in a few words what we
had found, and he grinned at me cheerfully.

"After while, in a few weeks or months, Mr. Blakeley," he said,
"when you get tired of monkeying around with the blood-stain and
finger-print specialist up-stairs, you come to me. I've had that
fellow you want under surveillance for ten days!"



At ten minutes before two the following day, Monday, I arrived at
my office. I had spent the morning putting my affairs in shape,
and in a trip to the stable. The afternoon would see me either a
free man or a prisoner for an indefinite length of time, and, in
spite of Johnson's promise to produce Sullivan, I was more prepared
for the latter than the former.

Blobs was watching for me outside the door, and it was clear that
he was in a state of excitement bordering on delirium. He did
nothing, however, save to tip me a wink that meant "As man to man,
I'm for you." I was too much engrossed either to reprove him or
return the courtesy, but I heard him follow me down the hall to the
small room where we keep outgrown lawbooks, typewriter supplies and,
incidentally, our wraps. I was wondering vaguely if I would ever
hang my hat on its nail again, when the door closed behind me. It
shut firmly, without any particular amount of sound, and I was left
in the dark. I groped my way to it, irritably, to find it locked
on the outside. I shook it frantically, and was rewarded by a
sibilant whisper through the keyhole.

"Keep quiet," Blobs was saying huskily. "You're in deadly peril.
The police are waiting in your office, three of 'em. I'm goin' to
lock the whole bunch in and throw the key out of the window."

"Come back here, you imp of Satan!" I called furiously, but I could
hear him speeding down the corridor, and the slam of the outer
office door by which he always announced his presence. And so I
stood there in that ridiculous cupboard, hot with the heat of a
steaming September day, musty with the smell of old leather
bindings, littered with broken overshoes and handleless umbrellas.
I was apoplectic with rage one minute, and choked with laughter
the next. It seemed an hour before Blobs came back.

He came without haste, strutting with new dignity, and paused
outside my prison door.

"Well, I guess that will hold them for a while," he remarked
comfortably, and proceeded to turn the key. "I've got 'em fastened
up like sardines in a can!" he explained, working with the lock.
"Gee whiz! you'd ought to hear 'em!" When he got his breath after
the shaking I gave him, he began to splutter. "How'd I know?" he
demanded sulkily. "You nearly broke your neck gettin' away the
other time. And I haven't got the old key. It's lost."

"Where's it lost?" I demanded, with another gesture toward his
coat collar.

"Down the elevator shaft." There was a gleam of indignant
satisfaction through his tears of rage and humiliation.

And so, while he hunted the key in the debris at the bottom of the
shaft, I quieted his prisoners with the assurance that the lock had
slipped, and that they would be free as lords as soon as we could
find the janitor with a pass-key. Stuart went down finally and
discovered Blobs, with the key in his pocket, telling the engineer
how he had tried to save me from arrest and failed. When Stuart
came up he was almost cheerful, but Blobs did not appear again that

Simultaneous with the finding of the key came Hotchkiss, and we went
in together. I shook hands with two men who, with Hotchkiss, made
a not very animated group. The taller one, an oldish man, lean and
hard, announced his errand at once.

"A Pittsburg warrant?" I inquired, unlocking my cigar drawer.

"Yes. Allegheny County has assumed jurisdiction, the exact locality
where the crime was committed being in doubt." He seemed to be the
spokesman. The other, shorter and rotund, kept an amiable silence.
"We hope you will see the wisdom of waiving extradition," he went
on. "It will save time."

"I'll come, of course," I agreed. "The sooner the better. But I
want you to give me an hour here, gentlemen. I think we can
interest you. Have a cigar?"

The lean man took a cigar; the rotund man took three, putting two
in his pocket.

"How about the catch of that door?" he inquired jovially. "Any
danger of it going off again?" Really, considering the
circumstances, they were remarkably cheerful. Hotchkiss, however,
was not. He paced the floor uneasily, his hands under his
coat-tails. The arrival of McKnight created a diversion; he carried
a long package and a corkscrew, and shook hands with the police and
opened the bottle with a single gesture.

"I always want something to cheer on these occasions," he said.
"Where's the water, Blakeley? Everybody ready?" Then in French he
toasted the two detectives.

"To your eternal discomfiture," he said, bowing ceremoniously. "May
you go home and never come back! If you take Monsieur Blakeley with
you, I hope you choke."

The lean man nodded gravely. "Prosit," he said. But the fat one
leaned back and laughed consumedly.

Hotchkiss finished a mental synopsis of his position, and put down
his glass. "Gentlemen," he said pompously, "within five minutes
the man you want will be here, a murderer caught in a net of
evidence so fine that a mosquito could not get through."

The detectives glanced at each other solemnly. Had they not in
their possession a sealskin bag containing a wallet and a bit of
gold chain, which, by putting the crime on me, would leave a gap
big enough for Sullivan himself to crawl through?

"Why don't you say your little speech before Johnson brings the
other man, Lawrence?" McKnight inquired. "They won't believe you,
but it will help them to understand what is coming."

"You understand, of course," the lean man put in gravely, "that what
you say may be used against you."

"I'll take the risk," I answered impatiently.

It took some time to tell the story of my worse than useless trip
to Pittsburg, and its sequel. They listened gravely, without

"Mr. Hotchkiss here," I finished, "believes that the man Sullivan,
whom we are momentarily expecting, committed the crime. Mr.
McKnight is inclined to implicate Mrs. Conway, who stabbed Bronson
and then herself last night. As for myself, I am open to

"I hope not," said the stout detective quizzically. And then Alison
was announced. My impulse to go out and meet her was forestalled
by the detectives, who rose when I did. McKnight, therefore, brought
her in, and I met her at the door.

"I have put you to a great deal of trouble," I said contritely, when
I saw her glance around the room. "I wish I had not - "

"It is only right that I should come," she replied, looking up at
me. "I am the unconscious cause of most of it, I am afraid. Mrs.
Dallas is going to wait in the outer office."

I presented Hotchkiss and the two detectives, who eyed her with
interest. In her poise, her beauty, even in her gown, I fancy she
represented a new type to them. They remained standing until she
sat down.

"I have brought the necklace," she began, holding out a white-wrapped
box, "as you asked me to."

I passed it, unopened, to the detectives. "The necklace from which
was broken the fragment you found in the sealskin bag," I explained.
"Miss West found it on the floor of the car, near lower ten."

"When did you find it?" asked the lean detective, bending forward.

"In the morning, not long before the wreck."

"Did you ever see it before?"

"I am not certain," she replied. "I have seen one very much like
it." Her tone was troubled. She glanced at me as if for help, but
I was powerless.

"Where?" The detective was watching her closely. At that moment
there came an interruption. The door opened without ceremony, and
Johnson ushered in a tall, blond man, a stranger to all of us: I
glanced at Alison; she was pale, but composed and scornful. She met
the new-coiner's eyes full, and, caught unawares, he took a hasty
backward step.

"Sit down, Mr. Sullivan," McKnight beamed cordially. "Have a cigar?
I beg your pardon, Alison, do you mind this smoke?"

"Not at all," she said composedly. Sullivan had had a second to
sound his bearings.

"No - no, thanks," he mumbled. "If you will be good enough to
explain - "

"But that's what you're to do," McKnight said cheerfully, pulling
up a chair. "You've got the most attentive audience you could ask.
These two gentlemen are detectives from Pittsburg, and we are all
curious to know the finer details of what happened on the car Ontario
two weeks ago, the night your father-in-law was murdered." Sullivan
gripped the arms of his chair. "We are not prejudiced, either. The
gentlemen from Pittsburg are betting on Mr. Blakeley, over there.
Mr. Hotchkiss, the gentleman by the radiator, is ready to place ten
to one odds on you. And some of us have still other theories."

"Gentlemen," Sullivan said slowly, "I give you my word of honor
that I did not kill Simon Harrington, and that I do not know who

"Fiddlededee!" cried Hotchkiss, bustling forward. "Why, I can tell
you - " But McKnight pushed him firmly into a chair and held him

"I am ready to plead guilty to the larceny," Sullivan went on. "I
took Mr. Blakeley's clothes, I admit. If I can reimburse him in
any way for the inconvenience-

The stout detective was listening with his mouth open. "Do you mean
to say," he demanded, "that you got into Mr. Blakeley's berth, as
he contends, took his clothes and forged notes, and left the train
before the wreck?"


"The notes, then?"

"I gave them to Bronson yesterday. Much good they did him!"
bitterly. We were all silent for a moment. The two detectives
were adjusting themselves with difficulty to a new point of view;
Sullivan was looking dejectedly at the floor, his hands hanging
loose between his knees. I was watching Alison; from where I stood,
behind her, I could almost touch the soft hair behind her ear.

"I have no intention of pressing any charge against you," I said
with forced civility, for my hands were itching to get at him, "if
you will give us a clear account of what happened on the Ontario
that night."

Sullivan raised his handsome, haggard head and looked around at me.
"I've seen you before, haven't I?" he asked. "Weren't you an
uninvited guest at the Laurels a few days - or nights - ago? The
cat, you remember, and the rug that slipped?"

"I remember," I said shortly. He glanced from me to Alison and
quickly away.

"The truth can't hurt me," he said, "but it's devilish unpleasant.
Alison, you know all this. You would better go out."

His use of her name crazed me. I stepped in front of her and stood
over him. "You will not bring Miss West into the conversation," I
threatened, "and she will stay if she wishes."

"Oh, very well," he said with assumed indifference. Hotchkiss just
then escaped from Richey's grasp and crossed the room.

"Did you ever wear glasses?" he asked eagerly.

"Never." Sullivan glanced with some contempt at mine.

"I'd better begin by going back a little," he went on sullenly. "I
suppose you know I was married to Ida Harrington about five years
ago. She was a good girl, and I thought a lot of her. But her
father opposed the marriage - he'd never liked me, and he refused
to make any sort of settlement.

"I had thought, of course, that there would be money, and it was a
bad day when I found out I'd made a mistake. My sister was wild
with disappointment. We were pretty hard up, my sister and I."

I was watching Alison. Her hands were tightly clasped in her lap,
and she was staring out of the window at the cheerless roof below.
She had set her lips a little, but that was all.

"You understand, of course, that I'm not defending myself," went on
the sullen voice. "The day came when old Harrington put us both
out of the house at the point of a revolver, and I threatened - I
suppose you know that, too - I threatened to kill him.

"My sister and I had hard times after that. We lived on the
continent for a while. I was at Monte Carlo and she was in Italy.
She met a young lady there, the granddaughter of a steel
manufacturer and an heiress, and she sent for me. When I got to
Rome the girl was gone. Last winter I was all in - social
secretary to an Englishman, a wholesale grocer with a new title,
but we had a row, and I came home. I went out to the Heaton boys'
ranch in Wyoming, and met Bronson there. He lent me money, and
I've been doing his dirty work ever since."

Sullivan got up then and walked slowly forward and back as he
talked, his eyes on the faded pattern of the office rug.

"If you want to live in hell," he said savagely, "put yourself in
another man's power. Bronson got into trouble, forging John
Gilmore's name to those notes, and in some way he learned that a
man was bringing the papers back to Washington on the Flier. He
even learned the number of his berth, and the night before the
wreck, just as I was boarding the train, I got a telegram."

Hotchkiss stepped forward once more importantly. "Which read, I
think: 'Man with papers in lower ten, car seven. Get them.'"

Sullivan looked at the little man with sulky blue eyes.

"It was something like that, anyhow. But it was a nasty business,
and it made matters worse that he didn't care that a telegram which
must pass through a half dozen hands was more or less incriminating
to me.

"Then, to add to the unpleasantness of my position, just after we
boarded the train - I was accompanying my sister and this young lady,
Miss West - a woman touched me on the sleeve, and I turned to face
- my wife!

"That took away my last bit of nerve. I told my sister, and you
can understand she was in a bad way, too. We knew what it meant.
Ida had heard that I was going - "

He stopped and glanced uneasily at Alison.

"Go on," she said coldly. "It is too late to shield me. The time
to have done that was when I was your guest."

"Well," he went on, his eyes turned carefully away from my face,
which must have presented certainly anything but a pleasant sight.
"Miss West was going to do me the honor to marry me, and - "

"You scoundrel!" I burst forth, thrusting past Alison West's chair.
"You - you infernal cur!"

One of the detectives got up and stood between us. "You must
remember, Mr. Blakeley, that you are forcing this story from this
man. These details are unpleasant, but important. You were going
to marry this young lady," he said, turning to Sullivan, "although
you already had a wife living?"

"It was my sister's plan, and I was in a bad way for money. If I
could marry, secretly, a wealthy girl and go to Europe, it was
unlikely that Ida - that is, Mrs. Sullivan - would hear of it.

"So it was more than a shock to see my wife on the train, and to
realize from her face that she knew what was going on. I don't
know yet, unless some of the servants - well, never mind that.

"It meant that the whole thing had gone up. Old Harrington had
carried a gun for me for years, and the same train wouldn't hold
both of us. Of course, I thought that he was in the coach just
behind ours."

Hotchkiss was leaning forward now, his eyes narrowed, his thin
lips drawn to a line.

"Are you left-handed, Mr. Sullivan?" he asked.

Sullivan stopped in surprise.

"No," he said gruffly. "Can't do anything with my left hand."
Hotchkiss subsided, crestfallen but alert. "I tore up that cursed
telegram, but I was afraid to throw the scraps away. Then I looked
around for lower ten. It was almost exactly across - my berth was
lower seven, and it was, of course, a bit of exceptional luck for
me that the car was number seven."

"Did you tell your sister of the telegram from Bronson?" I asked.

"No. It would do no good, and she was in a bad way without that to
make her worse."

"Your sister was killed, think." The shorter detective took a small
package from his pocket and held it in his hand, snapping the rubber
band which held it.

"Yes, she was killed," Sullivan said soberly. "What I say now can
do her no harm."

He stopped to push back the heavy hair which dropped over his
forehead, and went on more connectedly.

"It was late, after midnight, and we went at once to our berths.
I undressed, and then I lay there for an hour, wondering how I was
going to get the notes. Some one in lower nine was restless and
wide awake, but finally became quiet.

"The man in ten was sleeping heavily. I could hear his breathing,
and it seemed to be only a question of getting across and behind
the curtains of his berth without being seen. After that, it was
a mere matter of quiet searching.

"The car became very still. I was about to try for the other berth,
when some one brushed softly past, and I lay back again.

"Finally, however, when things had been quiet for a time, I got up,
and after looking along the aisle, I slipped behind the curtains of
lower ten. You understand, Mr. Blakeley, that I thought you were
in lower ten, with the notes."

I nodded curtly.

"I'm not trying to defend myself," he went on. "I was ready to
steal the notes - I had to. But murder!"

He wiped his forehead with his handkerchief.

"Well, I slipped across and behind the curtains. It was very still.
The man in ten didn't move, although my heart was thumping until I
thought he would hear it.

"I felt around cautiously. It was perfectly dark, and I came across
a bit of chain, about as long as my finger. It seemed a queer thing
to find there, and it was sticky, too."

He shuddered, and I could see Alison's hands clenching and
unclenching with the strain.

"All at once it struck me that the man was strangely silent, and I
think I lost my nerve. Anyhow, I drew the curtains open a little,
and let the light fall on my hands. They were red, blood-red."

He leaned one hand on the back of the chair, and was silent for a
moment, as though he lived over again the awful events of that more
than awful night.

The stout detective had let his cigar go out; he was still drawing
at it nervously. Richey had picked up a paper-weight and was
tossing it from hand to hand; when it slipped and fell to the floor,
a startled shudder passed through the room.

"There was something glittering in there," Sullivan resumed, "and
on impulse I picked it up. Then I dropped the curtains and stumbled
back to my own berth."

"Where you wiped your hands on the bed-clothing and stuck the dirk
into the pillow." Hotchkiss was seeing his carefully built
structure crumbling to pieces, and he looked chagrined.

"I suppose I did - I'm not very clear about what happened then.
But when I rallied a little I saw a Russia leather wallet lying in
the aisle almost at my feet, and, like a fool, I stuck it, with
the bit of chain, into my bag.

"I sat there, shivering, for what seemed hours. It was still
perfectly quiet, except for some one snoring. I thought that would
drive me crazy.

"The more I thought of it the worse things looked. The telegram was
the first thing against me - it would put the police on my track at
once, when it was discovered that the man in lower ten had been

"Then I remembered the notes, and I took out the wallet and opened

He stopped for a minute, as if the recalling of the next occurrence
was almost beyond him.

"I took out the wallet," he said simply, "and opening it, held it
to the light. In gilt letters was the name, Simon Harrington."

The detectives were leaning forward now, their eyes on his face.

"Things seemed to whirl around for a while. I sat there almost
paralyzed, wondering what this new development meant for me.

"My wife, I knew, would swear I had killed her father; nobody would
be likely to believe the truth.

"Do you believe me now?" He rooked around at us defiantly. "I am
telling the absolute truth, and not one of you believes me!

"After a bit the man in lower nine got up and walked along the
aisle toward the smoking compartment. I heard him go, and, leaning
from my berth, watched him out of sight.

"It was then I got the idea of changing berths with him, getting
into his clothes, and leaving the train. I give you my word I had
no idea of throwing suspicion on him."

Alison looked scornfully incredulous, but I felt that the man was
telling the truth.

"I changed the numbers of the berths, and it worked well. I got
into the other man's berth, and he came back to mine. The rest was
easy. I dressed in his clothes - luckily, they fitted - and jumped
the train not far from Baltimore, just before the wreck."

"There is something else you must clear up," I said. "Why did you
try to telephone me from M-, and why did you change your mind about
the message?"

He looked astounded.

"You knew I was at M-?" he stammered.

"Yes, we traced you. What about the message?"

"Well, it was this way: of course, I did not know your name, Mr.
Blakeley. The telegram said, 'Man with papers in lower ten, car
seven," and after I had made what I considered my escape, I began
to think I had left the man in my berth in a bad way.

"He would probably be accused of the crime. So, although when the
wreck occurred I supposed every one connected with the affair had
been killed, there was a chance that you had survived. I've not
been of much account, but I didn't want a man to swing because I'd
left him in my place. Besides, I began to have a theory of my own.

"As we entered the car a tall, dark woman passed us, with a glass
of water in her hand, and I vaguely remembered her. She was
amazingly like Blanche

"If she, too, thought the man with the notes was in lower ten, it
explained a lot, including that piece of a woman's necklace. She
was a fury, Blanche Conway, capable of anything."

"Then why did you countermand that message?" I asked curiously.

"When I got to the Carter house, and got to bed - I had sprained my
ankle in the jump - I went through the alligator bag I had taken
from lower nine. When I found your name, I sent the first message.
Then, soon after, I came across the notes. It seemed too good to be
true, and I was crazy for fear the message had gone.

"At first I was going to send them to Bronson; then I began to see
what the possession of the notes meant to me. It meant power over
Bronson, money, influence, everything. He was a devil, that man."

"Well, he's at home now," said McKnight, and we were glad to laugh
and relieve the tension.

Alison put her hand over her eyes, as if to shut out the sight of
the man she had so nearly married, and I furtively touched one of
the soft little curls that nestled at the back of her neck.

"When I was able to walk," went on the sullen voice, "I came at
once to Washington. I tried to sell the notes to Bronson, but he
was almost at the end of his rope. Not even my threat to send them
back to you, Mr. Blakeley, could make him meet my figure. He didn't
have the money.

McKnight was triumphant.

"I think you gentlemen will see reason in my theory now," he said.
"Mrs. Conway wanted the notes to force a legal marriage, I suppose?"


The detective with the small package carefully rolled off the rubber
band, and unwrapped it. I held my breath as he took out, first,
the Russia leather wallet.

"These things, Mr. Blakeley, we found in the seal-skin bag Mr.
Sullivan says he left you. This wallet, Mr. Sullivan - is this the
one you found on the floor of the car?"

Sullivan opened it, and, glancing at the name inside, "Simon
Harrington," nodded affirmatively.

"And this," went on the detective - "this is a piece of gold chain?"

"It seems to be," said Sullivan, recoiling at the blood-stained end.

"This, I believe, is the dagger." He held it up, and Alison gave
a faint cry of astonishment and dismay. Sullivan's face grew
ghastly, and he sat down weakly on the nearest chair.

The detective looked at him shrewdly, then at Alison's agitated face.

"Where have you seen this dagger before, young lady?" he asked,
kindly enough.

"Oh, don't ask me!" she gasped breathlessly, her eyes turned on
Sullivan. "It's - it's too terrible!"

"Tell him," I advised, leaning over to her. "It will be found out
later, anyhow."

"Ask him," she said, nodding toward Sullivan. The detective
unwrapped the small box Alison had brought, disclosing the trampled
necklace and broken chain. With clumsy fingers he spread it on the
table and fitted into place the bit of chain. There could be no
doubt that it belonged there.

"Where did you find that chain?" Sullivan asked hoarsely, looking
for the first time at Alison.

"On the floor, near the murdered man's berth."

"Now, Mr. Sullivan," said the detective civilly, "I believe you can
tell us, in the light of these two exhibits, who really did murder
Simon Harrington."

Sullivan looked again at the dagger, a sharp little bit of steel
with a Florentine handle. Then he picked up the locket and pressed
a hidden spring under one of the cameos. Inside, very neatly
engraved, was the name and a date.

"Gentlemen," he said, his face ghastly, "it is of no use for me to
attempt a denial. The dagger and necklace belonged to my sister,
Alice Curtis!"



Hotchkiss was the first to break the tension.

'Mr. Sullivan," he asked suddenly, "was your sister left-handed?"


Hotchkiss put away his note-book and looked around with an air of
triumphant vindication. It gave us a chance to smile and look
relieved. After all, Mrs. Curtis was dead. It was the happiest
solution of the unhappy affair. McKnight brought Sullivan some
whisky, and he braced up a little.

"I learned through the papers that my wife was in a Baltimore
hospital, and yesterday I ventured there to see her. I felt if she
would help me to keep straight, that now, with her father and my
sister both dead, we might be happy together.

"I understand now what puzzled me then. It seemed that my sister
went into the next car and tried to make my wife promise not to
interfere. But Ida - Mrs. Sullivan - was firm, of course. She
said her father had papers, certificates and so on, that would stop
the marriage at once.

"She said, also, that her father was in our car, and that there
would be the mischief to pay in the morning. It was probably when
my sister tried to get the papers that he awakened, and she had to
do - what she did."

It was over. Save for a technicality or two, I was a free man.
Alison rose quietly and prepared to go; the men stood to let her
pass, save Sullivan who sat crouched in his chair, his face buried
in his hands. Hotchkiss, who had been tapping the desk with his
pencil, looked up abruptly and pointed the pencil at me.

"If all this is true, and I believe it is, - then who was in the
house next door, Blakeley, the night you and Mr. Johnson searched?
You remember, you said it was a woman's hand at the trap door."

I glanced hastily at Johnson, whose face was impassive. He had his
hand on the knob of the door and he opened it before he spoke.

"There were a number of scratches on Mrs. Conway's right hand," he
observed to the room in general. "Her wrist was bandaged and badly

He went out then, but he turned as he closed the door and threw at
me a glance of half-amused, half-contemptuous tolerance.

McKnight saw Alison, with Mrs. Dallas, to their carriage, and came
back again. The gathering in the office was breaking up. Sullivan,
looking worn and old, was standing by the window, staring at the
broken necklace in his hand. When he saw me watching him, he put
it on the desk and picked up his hat.

"If I can not do anything more - " he hesitated.

"I think you have done about enough," I replied grimly, and he went

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