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The Poisoned Pen by Arthur B. Reeve

Part 4 out of 6

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"Yes, yes," urged Kennedy. "Go on."

"She falls. He strikes her. He flees. He goes to - "

Kennedy laid his hand ever so lightly on the arm of the clairvoyant,
then quickly withdrew it.

"I cannot see where he goes. It is dark, dark. You will have to
come back to-morrow when the vision is stronger."

The thing stung me by its crudity. Kennedy, however, seemed elated
by our experience as we gained the street.

"Craig," I remonstrated, "you don't mean to say you attach any
importance to vapourings like that? Why, there wasn't a thing the
fellow couldn't have imagined from the newspapers, even the clumsy
description of Dudley Lawton."

"We'll see," he replied cheerfully, as we stopped under a light to
read the address of the next seer, who happened to be in the same

It proved to be the psychic palmist who called himself "the Pandit."
He also was "born with a strange and remarkable power - not meant to
gratify the idle curious, but to direct, advise, and help men and
women" - at the usual low fee. He said in print that he gave instant
relief to those who had trouble in love, and also positively
guaranteed to tell your name and the object of your visit. He added:

Love, courtship, marriage. What is more beautiful than the true
unblemished love of one person for another? What is sweeter, better,
or more to be desired than perfect harmony and happiness? If you
want to win the esteem, love, and everlasting affection of another,
see the Pandit, the greatest living master of the occult science.

Inasmuch as this seer fell into a passion at the other incompetent
soothsayers in the next column (and almost next door) it seemed as
if we must surely get something for our money from the Pandit.

Like Hata, the Pandit lived in a large brownstone house. The man
who admitted us led us into a parlour where several people were
seated about as if waiting for some one. The pad and writing
process was repeated with little variation. Since we were the
latest comers we had to wait some time before we were ushered into
the presence of the Pandit, who was clad in a green silk robe.

The room was large and had very small windows of stained glass. At
one end of the room was an altar on which burned several candles
which gave out an incense. The atmosphere of the room was heavy
with a fragrance that seemed to combine cologne with chloroform.

The Pandit waved a wand, muttering strange sounds as he did so, for
in addition to his palmistry, which he seemed not disposed to
exhibit that night, he dealt in mysteries beyond human ken. A voice,
quite evidently from a phonograph buried in the depths of the altar,
answered in an unknown language which sounded much like "Al-ya wa-aa
haal-ya waa-ha." Across the dim room flashed a pale blue light with
a crackling noise, the visible rays from a Crookes tube, I verily
believe. The Pandit, however, said it was the soul of a saint
passing through. Then he produced two silken robes, one red, which
he placed on Kennedy's shoulders, and one violet, which he threw
over me.

>From the air proceeded strange sounds of weird music and words.
The Pandit seemed to fall asleep, muttering. Apparently, however,
Kennedy and I were bad subjects, for after some minutes of this
he gave it up, saying that the spirits had no revelation to make
to-night in the matter in which we had called. Inasmuch as we had
not written on the pad just what that matter was, I was not
surprised. Nor was I surprised when the Pandit laid off his robe
and said unctuously, "But if you will call to-morrow and concentrate,
I am sure that I can secure a message that will be helpful about
your little matter."

Kennedy promised to call, but still he lingered. The Pandit,
anxious to get rid of us, moved toward the door. Kennedy sidled
over toward the green robe which the Pandit had laid on a chair.

"Might I have some of your writings to look over in the meantime?"
asked Craig as if to gain time.

"Yes, but they will cost you three dollars a copy - the price I
charge all my students," answered the Pandit with just a trace of
a gleam of satisfaction at having at last made an impression.

He turned and entered a cabinet to secure the mystic literature.
The moment he had disappeared Kennedy seized the opportunity he
had been waiting for. He picked up the green robe and examined
the collar and neck very carefully under the least dim of the
lights in the room. He seemed to find what he wished, yet he
continued to examine the robe until the sound of returning
footsteps warned him to lay it down again. He had not been quite
quick enough. The Pandit eyed us suspiciously, then he rang a
bell. The attendant appeared instantly, noiselessly.

"Show these men into the library," he commanded with just the
faintest shade of trepidation. "My servant will give you the book,"
he said to Craig. "Pay him."

It seemed that we had suddenly been looked upon with disfavour, and
I half suspected he thought we were spies of the police, who had
recently received numerous complaints of the financial activities
of the fortune tellers, who worked in close harmony with certain
bucket-shop operators in fleecing the credulous of their money by
inspired investment advice. At any rate, the attendant quickly
opened a door into the darkness. Treading cautiously I followed
Craig. The door closed behind us. I clenched my fists, not knowing
what to expect.

"The deuce!" exclaimed Kennedy. "He passed us out into an alley.
There is the street not twenty feet away. The Pandit is a clever
one, all right."

It was now too late to see any of the other clairvoyants on our
list, so that with this unceremonious dismissal we decided to
conclude our investigations for the night.

The next morning we wended our way up into the Bronx, where one of
the mystics had ensconced himself rather out of the beaten track of
police protection, or persecution, one could not say which. I was
wondering what sort of vagary would come next. It proved to be
"Swami, the greatest clairvoyant, psychic palmist, and Yogi mediator
of them all." He also stood alone in his power, for he asserted:

Names friends, enemies, rivals, tells whom and when you will
marry, advises you upon love, courtship, marriage, business,
speculation, transactions of every nature. If you are worried,
perplexed, or in trouble come to this wonderful man. He reads
your life like an open book; he overcomes evil influences,
reunites the separated, causes speedy and happy marriage with
the one of your choice, tells how to influence any one you
desire, tells whether wife or sweetheart is true or false.
Love, friendship, and influence of others obtained and a
greater share of happiness in life secured. The key to success
is that marvellous, subtle, unseen power that opens to your
vision the greatest secrets of life. It gives you power which
enables you to control the minds of men and women.

The Swami engaged to explain the "wonderful Karmic law," and by his
method one could develop a wonderful magnetic personality by which
he could win anything the human heart desired. It was therefore
with great anticipation that we sought out the wonderful Swami and,
falling into the spirit of his advertisement, posed as "come-ons"
and pleaded to obtain this wonderful magnetism and a knowledge of
the Karmic law - at a ridiculously low figure, considering its
inestimable advantages to one engaged in the pursuit of criminal
science. Naturally the Swami was pleased at two such early callers,
and his narrow, half-bald head, long slim nose, sharp grey eyes,
and sallow, unwholesome complexion showed his pleasure in every
line and feature.

Rubbing his hands together as he motioned us into the next room,
the Swami seated us on a circular divan with piles of cushions upon
it. There were clusters of flowers in vases about the room, which
gave it the odour of the renewed vitality of the year.

A lackey entered with a silver tray of cups of coffee and a silver
jar in the centre. Talking slowly and earnestly about the "great
Karmic law," the Swami bade us drink the coffee, which was of a
vile, muddy, Turkish variety. Then from the jar he took a box of
rock crystal containing a sort of greenish compound which he kneaded
into a little gum - gum tragacanth, I afterward learned, - and
bade us taste. It was not at all unpleasant to the taste, and as
nothing happened, except the suave droning of the mystic before us,
we ate several of the gum pellets.

I am at a loss to describe adequately just the sensations that I
soon experienced. It was as if puffs of hot and cold air were
alternately blown on my spine, and I felt a twitching of my neck,
legs, and arms. Then came a subtle warmth. The whole thing seemed
droll; the noise of the Swami's voice was most harmonious. His
and Kennedy's faces seemed transformed. They were human faces,
but each had a sort of animal likeness back of it, as Lavater has
said. The Swami seemed to me to be the fox, Kennedy the owl. I
looked in the glass, and I was the eagle. I laughed outright.

It was sensuous in the extreme. The beautiful paintings on the
walls at once became clothed in flesh and blood. A picture of a
lady hanging near me caught my eye. The countenance really smiled
and laughed and varied from moment to moment. Her figure became
rounded and living and seemed to stir in the frame. The face was
beautiful but ghastly. I seemed to be borne along on a sea of
pleasure by currents of voluptuous happiness.

The Swami was affected by a profound politeness. As he rose and
walked about the room, still talking, he salaamed and bowed. When=20
I spoke it sounded like a gun, with an echo long afterward
rumbling in my brain. Thoughts came to me like fury, bewildering,
sometimes as points of light in the most exquisite fireworks.
Objects were clothed in most fantastic garbs. I looked at my two
animal companions. I seemed to read their thoughts. I felt
strange affinities with them, even with the Swami. Yet it was all
by the psychological law of the association of ideas, though I was
no longer master but the servant of those ideas.

As for Kennedy, the stuff seemed to affect him much differently
than it did myself. Indeed, it seemed to rouse in him something
vicious. The more I smiled and the more the Swami salaamed,
the more violent I could see Craig getting, whereas I was lost in
a maze of dreams that I would not have stopped if I could. Seconds
seemed to be years; minutes ages. Things at only a short distance
looked much as they do when looked at through the inverted end of
a telescope. Yet it all carried with it an agreeable exhilaration
which I can only describe as the heightened sense one feels on the
first spring day of the year.

At last the continued plying of the drug seemed to be too much for
Kennedy. The Swami had made a profound salaam. In an instant
Kennedy had seized with both hands the long flowing hair at the
back of the Swami's bald forehead, and he tugged until the mystic
yelled with pain and the tears stood in his eyes.

With a leap I roused myself from the train of dreams and flung
myself between them. At the sound of my voice and the pressure
of my grasp, Craig sullenly and slowly relaxed his grip. A
vacant look seemed to steal into his face, and seizing his hat,
which lay on a near-by stool, he stalked out in silence, and I

Neither of us spoke for a moment after we had reached the street,
but out of the corner of my eye I could see that Kennedy's body was
convulsed as if with suppressed emotion.

"Do you feel better in the air?" I asked anxiously, yet somewhat
vexed and feeling a sort of lassitude and half regret at the
reality of life and not of the dreams.

It seemed as if he could restrain himself no longer. He burst out
into a hearty laugh. "I was just watching the look of disgust on
your face," he said as he opened his hand and showed me three or
four of the gum lozenges that he had palmed instead of swallowing.
"Ha, ha! I wonder what the Swami thinks of his earnest effort to
expound the Karmic law."

It was beyond me. With the Swami's concoction still shooting
thoughts like sky rockets through my brain I gave it up and allowed
Kennedy to engineer our next excursion into the occult.

One more seer remained to be visited. This one professed to "hold
your life mirror" and by his "magnetic monochrome," whatever that
might be, he would "impart to you an attractive personality, mastery
of being, for creation and control of life conditions."

He described himself as the "Guru," and, among other things, he
professed to be a sun-worshipper. At any rate, the room into which
we were admitted was decorated with the four-spoked wheel, or wheel
and cross, the winged circle, and the winged orb. The Guru himself
was a swarthy individual with a purple turban wound around his head.
In his inner room were many statuettes, photographs of other Gurus
of the faith, and on each of the four walls were mysterious symbols
in plaster representing a snake curved in a circle, swallowing his
tail, a five-pointed star, and in the centre another winged sphere.

Craig asked the Guru to explain the symbols, to which he replied
with a smile: "The snake represents eternity, the star involution
and evolution of the soul, while the winged sphere - eh, well, that
represents something else. Do you come to learn of the faith?"

At this gentle hint Craig replied that he did, and the utmost
amicability was restored by the purchase of the Green Book of the
Guru, which seemed to deal with everything under the sun, and
particularly the revival of ancient Asiatic fire-worship with many
forms and ceremonies, together with posturing and breathing that
rivalled the "turkey trot," the "bunny hug," and the "grizzly bear."
The book, as we turned, over its pages, gave directions for preparing
everything from food to love-philtres and the elixir of life. One
very interesting chapter was devoted to " electric marriage," which
seemed to come to those only who, after searching patiently, at last
found perfect mates. Another of the Guru's tenets seemed to be
purification by eliminating all false modesty, bathing in the sun,
and while bathing engaging in any occupation which kept the mind
agreeably occupied. On the first page was the satisfying legend,
"There is nothing in the world that a disciple can give to pay the
debt to the Guru who has taught him one truth."

As we talked, it seemed quite possible to me that the Guru might
exert a very powerful hypnotic influence over his disciples or those
who came to seek his advice. Besides this indefinable hypnotic
influence, I also noted the more material lock on the door to the
inner sanctuary.

"Yes," the Guru was saying to Kennedy, "I can secure you one of
the love-pills from India, but it will cost you - er - ten dollars."
I think he hesitated, to see how much the traffic would bear, from
one to one hundred, and compromised with only one zero after the
unit. Kennedy appeared satisfied, and the Guru departed with
alacrity to secure the specially imported pellet.

In a corner was a sort of dressing-table on which lay a comb and
brush. Kennedy seemed much interested in the table and was examining
it when the Guru returned. Just as the door opened he managed to
slip the brush into his pocket and appear interested in the mystic
symbols on the wall opposite.

"If that doesn't work," remarked the Guru in remarkably good English,
"let me know, and you must try one of my charm bottles. But the
love-pills are fine. Good-day."

Outside Craig looked at me quizzically "You wouldn't believe it,
Walter, would you?" he said. "Here in this twentieth century in New
York, and in fact in every large city of the world - love-philtres,
love-pills, and all the rest of it. And it is not among the
ignorant that these things are found, either. You remember we saw
automobiles waiting before some of the places."

"I suspect that all who visit the fakirs are not so gullible, after
all," I replied sententiously.

"Perhaps not. I think I shall have something interesting to say
to-night as a result of our visits, at least."

During the remainder of the day Kennedy was closely confined in his
laboratory with his microscopes, slides, chemicals, test-tubes, and
other apparatus. As for myself, I put in the time speculating
which of the fakirs had been in some mysterious way connected with
the case and in what manner. Many were the theories which I had
formed and the situations I conjured up, and in nearly all I had
one central figure, the young man whose escapades had been the talk
of even the fast set of a fast society.

That night Kennedy, with the assistance of First Deputy O'Connor,
who was not averse to taking any action within the law toward the
soothsayers, assembled a curiously cosmopolitan crowd in his
laboratory. Besides the Gilberts were Dudley Lawton and his father,
Hata, the Pandit, the Swami, and the Guru - the latter four persons
in high dudgeon at being deprived of the lucrative profits of a
Sunday night.

Kennedy began slowly) leading gradually up to his point: "A new
means of bringing criminals to justice has been lately studied by
one of the greatest scientific detectives of crime in the world,
the man to whom we are indebted for our most complete systems of
identification and apprehension." Craig paused and fingered the
microscope before him thoughtfully. "Human hair," he resumed,
"has recently been the study of that untiring criminal scientist,
M. Bertillon. He has drawn up a full, classified, and graduated
table of all the known colours of the human hair, a complete
palette, so to speak, of samples gathered in every quarter of
the globe. Henceforth burglars, who already wear gloves or paint
their fingers with a rubber composition for fear of leaving
finger-prints, will have to wear close-fitting caps or keep their
heads shaved. Thus he has hit upon a new method of identification
of those sought by the police. For instance, from time to time
the question arises whether hair is human or animal. In such
cases the microscope tells the answer truthfully.

"For a long time I have been studying hair, taking advantage of
those excellent researches by M. Bertillon. Human hair is fairly
uniform, tapering gradually. Under the microscope it is practically
always possible to distinguish human hair from animal. I shall not
go into the distinctions, but I may add that it is also possible
to determine very quickly the difference between all hair, human or
animal, and cotton with its corkscrew-like twists, linen with its
jointed structure, and silk, which is long, smooth, and cylindrical."

Again Kennedy paused as if to emphasise this preface. "I have
here," he continued, "a sample of hair." He had picked up a
microscope slide that was lying on the table. It certainly did
not look very thrilling - a mere piece of glass, that was all. But
on the glass was what appeared to be merely a faint line. "This
slide," he said, holding it up, "has what must prove an unescapable
clue to the identity of the man responsible for the disappearance
of Miss Gilbert. I shall not tell you yet who he is, for the
simple reason that, though I could make a shrewd guess, I do not
yet know what the verdict of science is, and in science we do not
guess where we can prove.

"You will undoubtedly remember that when Miss Gilbert's body was
discovered, it bore no evidence of suicide, but on the contrary the
marks of violence. Her fists were clenched, as if she had struggled
with all her power against a force that had been too much for her.
I examined her hands, expecting to find some evidence of a weapon
she had used to defend herself. Instead, I found what was more
valuable. Here on this slide are several hairs that I found tightly
grasped in her rigid hands."

I could not help recalling Kennedy's remark earlier in the case
- that=20it hung on slender threads. Yet how strong might not those
threads prove!

"There was also in her pocketbook a newspaper clipping bearing the
advertisements of several clairvoyants," he went on. "Mr. Jameson
and myself had already discovered what the police had failed to
find, that on the morning of the day on which she disappeared Miss
Gilbert had made three distinct efforts, probably, to secure books
on clairvoyance. Accordingly, Mr. Jameson and myself have visited
several of the fortune-tellers and practitioners of the occult
sciences in which we had reason to believe Miss Gilbert was
interested. They all, by the way, make a specialty of giving advice
in money matters and solving the problems of lovers. I suspect that
at times Mr. Jameson has thought that I was demented, but I had to
resort to many and various expedients to collect the specimens of
hair which I wanted. From the police, who used Mr. Lawton's valet,
I received some hair from his head. Here is another specimen from
each of the advertisers, Hata, the Swami, the Pandit, and the Guru.
There is just one of these specimens which corresponds in every
particular of colour, thickness, and texture with the hair found
so tightly grasped in Miss Gilbert's hand."

As Craig said this I could feel a sort of gasp of astonishment from
our little audience. Still he was not quite ready to make his

"Lest I should be prejudiced," he pursued evenly, "by my own rather
strong convictions, and in order that I might examine the samples
without fear or favour, I had one of my students at the laboratory
take the marked hairs, mount them, number them, and put in numbered
envelopes the names of the persons who furnished them. But before
I open the envelope numbered the same as the slide which contains
the hair which corresponds precisely with that hair found in Miss
Gilbert's hand - and it is slide No. 2 - " said Kennedy, picking
out the slide with his finger and moving it on the table with as
much coolness as if he were moving a chessman on a board instead of
playing in the terrible game of human life, "before I read the name
I have still one more damning fact to disclose."

Craig now had us on edge with excitement, a situation which I
sometimes thought he enjoyed more keenly than any other in his
relentless tracing down of a criminal.

"What was it that caused Miss Gilbert's death?" asked Kennedy. "The
coroner's physician did not seem to be thoroughly satisfied with the
theory of physical violence alone. Nor did I. Some one, I believe,
exerted a peculiar force in order to get her into his power. What
was that force? At first I thought it might have been the hackneyed
knock-out drops, but tests by the coroner's physician eliminated
that. Then I thought it might be one of the alkaloids, such as
morphine, cocaine, and others. But it was not any of the usual
things that was used to entice her away from her family and friends.
>From tests that I have, made I have discovered the one fact necessary
to complete my case, the drug used to lure her and against which she
fought in deadly struggle."

He placed a test tube in a rack before us. "This tube," he
continued, "contains one of the most singular and, among us, least
known of the five common narcotics of the world - tobacco, opium,
coca, betel nut, and hemp. It can be smoked, chewed, used as a
drink, or taken as a confection. In the form of a powder it is
used by the narghile smoker. As a liquid it can be taken as an
oily fluid or in alcohol. Taken in any of these forms, it literally
makes the nerves walk, dance, and run. It heightens the feelings
and sensibilities to distraction, producing what is really hysteria.
If the weather is clear, this drug will make life gorgeous; if it
rains, tragic. Slight vexation becomes deadly revenge; courage
becomes rashness; fear, abject terror; and gentle affection or even
a passing liking is transformed into passionate love. It is the
drug derived from the Indian hemp, scientifically named Cannabis
Indica, better known as hashish, or bhang, or a dozen other names
in the East. Its chief characteristic is that it has a profound
effect on the passions. Thus, under its influence, natives of the
East become greatly exhilarated, then debased, and finally violent,
rushing forth on the streets with the cry, 'Amok, amok,' - ' Kill,
kill ' - as we say, 'running amuck.' An overdose of this drug often
causes insanity, while in small quantities our doctors use it as a
medicine. Any one who has read the brilliant Theophile Gautier's
'Club des Hachichens' or Bayard Taylor's experience at Damascus
knows something of the effect of hashish, however.

"In reconstructing the story of Georgette Gilbert, as best I can,
I believe that she was lured to the den of one of the numerous
cults practised in New York, lured by advertisements offering advice
in hidden love affairs. Led on by her love for a man whom she could
not and would not put out of her life, and by her affection for her
parents, she was frantic. This place offered hope, and to it she
went in all innocence, not knowing that it was only the open door
to a life such as the most lurid disorderly resorts of the
metropolis could scarcely match. There her credulity was preyed
upon, and she was tricked into taking this drug, which itself has
such marked and perverting effect. But, though she must have been
given a great deal of the drug, she did not yield, as many of the
sophisticated do. She struggled frantically, futilely. Will and
reason were not conquered, though they sat unsteadily on their
thrones. The wisp of hair so tightly clasped in her dead hand shows
that she fought bitterly to the end."

Kennedy was leaning forward earnestly, glaring at each of us in turn.
Lawton was twisting uneasily in his chair, and I could see that his
fists were doubled up and that he was holding himself in leash as if
waiting for something, eyeing us all keenly. The Swami was seized
with a violent fit of trembling, and the other fakirs were staring
in amazement.

Quickly I stepped between Dudley Lawton and Kennedy, but as I did
so, he leaped behind me, and before I could turn he was grappling
wildly with some one on the floor.

"It's all right, Walter," cried Kennedy, tearing open the envelope
on the table. "Lawton has guessed right. The hair was the Swami's.
Georgette Gilbert was one victim who fought and rescued herself from
a slavery worse than death. And there is one mystic who could not
foresee arrest and the death house at Sing Sing in his horoscope."



We were lunching with Stevenson Williams, a friend of Kennedy's, at
the Insurance Club, one of the many new downtown luncheon clubs,
where the noon hour is so conveniently combined with business.

"There isn't much that you can't insure against nowadays," remarked
Williams when the luncheon had progressed far enough to warrant a
tentative reference to the obvious fact that he had had a purpose
in inviting us to the club. "Take my own company, for example, the
Continental Surety. We have lately undertaken to write forgery

"Forgery insurance?" repeated Kennedy. "Well, I should think you'd
be doing a ripping business - putting up the premium rate about
every day in this epidemic of forgery that seems to be sweeping over
the country."

Williams, who was one of the officers of the company, smiled somewhat
wearily, I thought. "We are," he replied drily. "That was precisely
what I wanted to see you about."

"What? The premiums or the epidemic?"

"Well - er - both, perhaps. I needn't say much about the epidemic,
as you call it. To you I can admit it; to the newspapers, never.
Still, I suppose you know that it is variously estimated that the
forgers of the country are getting away with from ten to fifteen
million dollars a year. It is just one case that I was thinking
about - one on which the regular detective agencies we employ seem
to have failed utterly so far. It involves pretty nearly one of
those fifteen millions."

"What? One case? A million dollars?" gasped Kennedy, gazing
fixedly at Williams as if he found it difficult to believe.

"Exactly," replied Williams imperturbably, "though it was not done
all at one fell swoop, of course, but gradually, covering a period
of some months. You have doubtless heard of the By-Products
Company of Chicago?"

Craig nodded.

"Well, it is their case," pursued Williams, losing his quiet manner
and now hurrying ahead almost breathlessly. "You know they own a
bank out there also, called the By-Products Bank. That's how we
come to figure in the case, by having insured their bank against
forgery. Of course our liability runs up only to $50,000. But the
loss to the company as well as to its bank through this affair will
reach the figure I have named. They will have to stand the balance
beyond our liability and, well, fifty thousand is not a small sum
for us to lose, either. We can't afford to lose it without a fight."

"Of course not. But you must have some suspicions, some clues. You
must have taken some action in tracing the thing out, whatever is
back of it."

"Surely. For instance, only the other day we had the cashier of the
bank, Bolton Brown, arrested, though he is out on bail now. We
haven't anything directly against him, but he is suspected of
complicity on the inside, and I may say that the thing is so gigantic
that there must have been some one on the inside concerned with it.
Among other things we have found that Bolton Brown has been leading
a rather fast life, quite unknown to his fellow-officials. We know
that he has been speculating secretly in the wheat corner that went
to pieces, but the most significant thing is that he has been
altogether too intimate with an adventuress, Adele DeMott, who has
had some success as a woman of high finance in various cities here
and in Europe and even in South America. It looks bad for him
from the commonsense standpoint, though of course I'm not competent
to speak of the legal side of the matter. But, at any rate, we know
that the insider must have been some one pretty close to the head
of the By-Products Company or the By-Products Bank."

"What was the character of the forgeries?" asked Kennedy.

"They seem to have been of two kinds. As far as we are concerned
it is the check forgeries only that interest the Surety Company.
For some time, apparently, checks have been coming into the bank
for sums all the way from a hundred dollars to five thousand.
They have been so well executed that some of them have been
certified by the bank, all of them have been accepted when they came
back from other banks, and even the officers of the company don't
seem to be able to pick any flaws in them except as to the payee
and the amounts for which they were drawn. They have the correct
safety tint on the paper and are stamped with rubber stamps that
are almost precisely like those used by the By-Products Company.

"You know that banking customs often make some kinds of fraud
comparatively easy. For instance no bank will pay out a hundred
dollars or often even a dollar without identification, but they
will certify a check for almost any office boy who comes in with it.
The common method of forgers lately has been to take such a certified
forged check, deposit it in another bank, then gradually withdraw it
in a few days before there is time to discover the forgery. In this
case they must have had the additional advantage that the insider in
the company or bank could give information and tip the forger off if
the forgery happened to be discovered."

"Who is the treasurer of the company?" asked Craig quickly.

"John Carroll - merely a figurehead, I understand. He's in New York
now, working with us, as I shall tell you presently. If there is any
one else besides Brown in it, it might be Michael Dawson, the nominal
assistant but really the active treasurer. There you have another
man whom we suspect, and, strangely enough, can't find. Dawson was
the assistant treasurer of the company, you understand, not of the

"You can't find him? Why?" asked Kennedy, considerably puzzled.

"No, we can't find him. He was married a few days ago, married a
pretty prominent society girl in the city, Miss Sibyl Sanderson. It
seems they kept the itinerary of their honeymoon secret, more as a
joke on their friends than anything else, they said, for Miss
Sanderson was a well-known beauty and the newspapers bothered the
couple a good deal with publicity that was distasteful. At least
that was his story. No one knows where they are or whether they'll
ever turn up again.

"You see, this getting married had something to do with the exposure
in the first place. For the major part of the forgeries consists
not so much in the checks, which interest my company, but in
fraudulently issued stock certificates of the By-Products Company.
About a million of the common stock was held as treasury stock - was
never issued.

"Some one has issued a large amount of it, all properly signed and
sealed. Whoever it was had a little office in Chicago from which
the stock was sold quietly by a confederate, probably a woman, for
women seem to rope in the suckers best in these get-rich-quick
schemes. And, well, if it was Dawson the honeymoon has given him
a splendid chance to make his get-away, though it also resulted in
the exposure of the forgeries. Carroll had to take up more or less
active duty, with the result that a new man unearthed the - but,
say, are you really interested in this case?"

Williams was leaning forward, looking anxiously at Kennedy and it
would not have taken a clairvoyant to guess what answer he wanted
to his abrupt question.

"Indeed I am," replied Craig, "especially as there seems to be a
doubt about the guilty person on the inside."

"There is doubt enough, all right," rejoined Williams, "at least I
think so, though our detectives in Chicago who have gone over the
thing pretty thoroughly have been sure of fixing something on Bolton
Brown, the cashier. You see the blank stock certificates were kept
in the company's vault in the bank to which, of course, Brown had
access. But then, as Carroll argues, Dawson had access to them,
too, which is very true - more so for Dawson than for Brown, who
was in the bank and not in the company. I'm all at sea. Perhaps
if you're interested you'd better see Carroll. He's here in the
city and I'm sure I could get you a good fee out of the case if
you cared to take it up. Shall I see if I can get him on the wire?"

We had finished luncheon and, as Craig nodded, Williams dived into
a telephone booth outside the dining-room and in a few moments
emerged, perspiring from the closeness. He announced that Carroll
requested that we call on him at an office in Wall Street, a few
blocks away, where he made his headquarters when he was in New York.
The whole thing was done with such despatch that I could not help
feeling that Carroll had been waiting to hear from his friend in
the insurance company. The look of relief on Williams's face when
Kennedy said he would go immediately showed plainly that the
insurance man considered the cost of the luncheon, which had been
no slight affair, in the light of a good investment in the interest
of his company, which was "in bad" for the largest forgery insurance
loss since they had begun to write that sort of business.

As we hurried down to Wall Street, Kennedy took occasion to remark,
"Science seems to have safe-guarded banks and other institutions
pretty well against outside robbery. But protection against
employees who can manipulate books and records does not seem to
have advanced as rapidly. Sometimes I think it may have lessened.
Greater temptations assail the cashier or clerk with greater
opportunity for speculation, and the banks, as many authorities will
agree, have not made enough use of the machinery available to put a
stop to embezzlement. This case is evidently one of the results.
The careless fellows at the top, like this man Carroll whom we are
going to see, generally put forward as excuse the statement that the
science of banking and of business is so complex that a rascal with
ingenuity enough to falsify the books is almost impossible of
detection. Yet when the cat is out of the bag as in several recent
cases the methods used are often of the baldest and most transparent
sort, fictitious names, dummies, and all sorts of juggling and kiting
of checks. But I hardly think this is going to prove one of those
simple cases."

John Carroll Was a haggard and unkempt sort of man. He looked to
me as if the defalcations had preyed on his mind until they had
become a veritable obsession. It was literally true that they were
all that he could talk about, all that he was thinking about. He
was paying now a heavy penalty for having been a dummy and honorary

"This thing has become a matter of life and death with me," he
began eagerly, scarcely waiting for us to introduce ourselves, as
he fixed his unnaturally bright eyes on us anxiously. "I've simply
got to find the man who has so nearly wrecked the By-Products Bank
and Company. Find him or not, I suppose I am a ruined man, myself,
but I hope I may still prove myself honest."

He sighed and his eyes wandered vacantly out of the window as if he
were seeking rest and could not find it.

"I understand that the cashier, Bolton Brown, has been arrested,"
prompted Kennedy.

"Yes, Bolton Brown, arrested," he repeated slowly, "and since he
has been out on bail he, too, seems to have disappeared. Now let me
tell you about what I think of that, Kennedy. I know it looks bad
for Brown. Perhaps he's the man. The Surety Company says so,
anyway. But we must look at this thing calmly."

He was himself quite excited, as he went on, "You understand, I
suppose, just how much Brown must have been reasonably responsible
for passing the checks through the bank? He saw personally about
as many of them as - as I did, which was none until the exposure
came. They were deposited in other banks by people whom we can't
identify but who must have opened accounts for the purpose of
finally putting through a few bad checks. Then they came back to
our bank in the regular channels and were accepted. By various
kinds of juggling they were covered up. Why, some of them looked
so good that they were even certified by our bank before they were
deposited in the other banks. Now, as Brown claims, he never saw
checks unless there was something special about them and there
seemed at the time to be nothing wrong about these.

"But in the public mind I know there is prejudice against any bank
official who speculates or leads a fast life, and of course it is
warranted. Still, if Brown should clear himself finally the thing
will come back to Dawson and even if he is guilty, it will make me
the - er - the ultimate goat. The upshot of it all will be that I
shall have to stand the blame, if not the guilt, and the only way
I can atone for my laxity in the past is by activity in catching
the real offender and perhaps by restoring to the company and the
bank whatever can yet be recovered."

"But," asked Kennedy sympathetically, "what makes you think that
you will find your man, whoever he proves to be, in New York?"

I admit that it is only a very slight clue that I have," he replied
confidentially. "It is just a hint Dawson dropped once to one of
the men with whom he was confidential in the company. This clerk
told me that a long=20time ago Dawson said he had always wanted to go
to South America and that perhaps on his honeymoon he might get a
chance. This is the way I figured it out. You see, he is clever
and some of these South American countries have no extradition
treaties with us by which we could reach him, once he got there."

"Perhaps he has already arrived in one of them with his wife. What
makes you think he hasn't sailed yet?

"No, I don't think he has. You see, she wanted to spend a part of
the honeymoon at Atlantic City. I learned that indirectly from her
folks, who profess to know no better than we do where the couple are.
That was an additional reason why I wanted to see if by coming to
New York I might not pick up some trace of them, either here or in
Atlantic City."

"And have you?

"Yes, I think I have." He handed us a lettergram which he had just
received from Chicago. It read: "Two more checks have come in
to-day from Atlantic City and New York. They seem to be in payment
of bills, as they are for odd amounts. One is from the Lorraine at
Atlantic City and the other from the Hotel Amsterdam of New York.
They were dated the 19th and 20th."

"You see," he resumed as we finished reading, "it is now the 23rd,
so that there is a difference of three days. He was here on the 20th.
Now the next ship that he could take after the 20th sails from
Brooklyn on the 25th. If he's clever he won't board that ship except
in a disguise, for he will know that by that time some one must be
watching. Now I want you to help me penetrate that disguise. Of
course we can't arrest the whole shipload of passengers, but if you,
with your scientific knowledge, could pick him out, then we could
hold him and have breathing space to find out whether he is guilty
alone or has been working with Bolton Brown."

Carroll was now pacing the office with excitement as he unfolded
his scheme which meant so much for himself.

"H-m," mused Kennedy. "I suppose Dawson was a man of exemplary
habits? They almost always are. No speculating or fast living with
him as with Brown?"

Carroll paused in his nervous tread. "That's another thing I've
discovered. On the contrary, I think Dawson was a secret drug
fiend. I found that out after he left. In his desk at the
By-Products office we discovered hypodermic needles and a whole
outfit - morphine, I think it was. You know how cunningly a real
morphine fiend can cover up his tracks."

Kennedy was now all attention. As the case unrolled it was assuming
one new and surprising aspect after another.

"The lettergram would indicate that he had been stopping at the
Lorraine in Atlantic City," remarked Kennedy.

"So I would infer, and at the Amsterdam in New York. But you can
depend on it that he has not been going under his own name nor, I
believe as far as I can find out, even under his own face. I think
the fellow has already assumed a disguise, for nowhere can I find
any description that even I could recognise."

"Strange," murmured Kennedy. "I'll have to look into it. And only
two days in which to do it, too. You will pardon me if I excuse
myself now? There are certain aspects of the case that I hope I
shall be able to shed some light on by going at them at once."

"You'll find Dawson clever, clever as he can be," said Carroll, not
anxious to have Kennedy go as long as he would listen to the story
which was bursting from his overwrought mind. "He was able to cover
up the checks by juggling the accounts. But that didn't satisfy
him. He was after something big. So he started in to issue the
treasury stock, forging the signatures of the president and the
treasurer, that is, my signature. Of course that sort of game
couldn't last forever. Some one was going to demand dividends on
his stock, or transfer it, or ask to have it recorded on the books,
or something that would give the whole scheme away. From each
person to whom he sold stock I believe he demanded some kind of
promise not to sell it within a certain period, and in that way
we figure that he gave himself plenty of time to realise several
hundred thousand dollars quietly. It may be that some of the forged
checks represented fake interest payments. Anyhow, he's at the end
of his rope now. We've had an exciting chase. I had followed down
several false clues before the real significance of the hint about
South America dawned on me. Now I have gone as far as I dare with
it without calling in outside assistance. I think now we are up
with him at last - with your help."

Kennedy was anxious to go, but he paused long enough to ask another
question. "And the girl?" he broke in. "She must be in the game
or her letters to some of her friends would have betrayed their
whereabouts. What was she like?"

"Miss Sanderson was very popular in a certain rather flashy set in
Chicago. But her folks were bounders. They lived right up to the
limit, just as Dawson did, in my opinion. Oh, you can be sure that
if a proposition like this were put up to her she'd take a chance
to get away with it. She runs no risks. She didn't do it anyhow,
and as for her part, after the fact, why, a woman is always pretty
safe - more sinned against than sinning, and all that. It's a queer
sort of honeymoon, hey?"

"Have you any copies of the forged certificates?" asked Craig.

"Yes, plenty of them. Since the story has been told in print they
have been pouring in. Here are several."

He pulled several finely engraved certificates from his pocket and
Kennedy scrutinised them minutely.

"I may keep these to study at my leisure?" he asked.

Certainly," replied Carroll, "and if you want any more I can wire
to Chicago for them."

"No, these will be sufficient for the present, thank you," said
Craig. "I shall keep in touch with you and let you know the moment
anything develops.

Our ride uptown to the laboratory was completed in silence which I
did not interrupt, for I could see that Kennedy was thinking out a
course of action. The quick pace at which he crossed the campus to
the Chemistry Building told me that he had decided on something.

In the laboratory Craig hastily wrote a note, opened a drawer of
his desk, and selected one from a bunch of special envelopes which
he seemed to be saving for some purpose. He sealed it with some
care, and gave it to me to post immediately. It was addressed to
Dawson at the Hotel Amsterdam. On my return I found him deeply
engrossed in the examination of the forged shares of stock. Having
talked with him more or less in the past about handwriting I did
not have to be told that he was using a microscope to discover any
erasures and that photography both direct and by transmitted light
might show something.

"I can't see anything wrong with these documents," he remarked at
length. "They show no erasures or alterations. On their face they
look as good as the real article. Even if they are tracings they
are remarkably line work. It certainly is a fact, however, that
they superimpose. They might all have been made from the same pair
of signatures of the president and treasurer.

"I need hardly to say to you, Walter, that the microscope in its
various forms and with its various attachments is of great assistance
to the document examiner. Even a low magnification frequently
reveals a drawing, hesitating method of production, or patched and
reinforced strokes as well as erasures by chemicals or by abrasion.
The stereoscopic microscope, which is of value in studying abrasions
and alterations since it gives depth, in this case tells me that
there has been nothing of that sort practised. My colour comparison
microscope, which permits the comparison of the ink on two different
documents or two places on one document at the same time, tells me
something. This instrument with new and accurately coloured glasses
enables me to measure the tints of the ink of these signatures with
the greatest accuracy and I can do what was hitherto impossible -=20
determine how long the writing has been on the paper. I should say
it was all very recent, approximately within the last two months
or six weeks, and I believe that whenever the stock may have been
issued it at least was all forged at the same time.

"There isn't time now to go into the thing more deeply, but if it
becomes necessary I can go back to it with the aid of the camera
lucida and the microscopic enlarger, as well as this specially
constructed document camera with lenses certified by the government.
If it comes to a show-down I suppose I shall have to prove my point
with the micrometer measurements down to the fifty-thousandth part
of an inch.

"There is certainly something very curious about these signatures,"
he concluded. "I don't know what measurements would show, but they
are really too good. You know a forged signature may be of two kinds
- too bad or too good. These are, I believe, tracings. If they
were your signature and mine, Walter, I shouldn't hesitate to
pronounce them tracings. But there is always some slight room for
doubt in these special cases where a man sits down and is in the
habit of writing his signature over and over again on one stock or
bond after another. He may get so used to it that he does it
automatically and his signatures may come pretty close to
superimposing. If I had time, though, I think I could demonstrate
that there are altogether too many points of similarity for these
to be genuine signatures. But we've got to act quickly in this
case or not at all, and I see that if I am to get to Atlantic City
to-night I can't waste much more time here. I wish you would keep
an eye on the Hotel Amsterdam while I am gone, Walter, and meet me
here, to-morrow. I'll wire when I'll be back. Good-bye."

It was well along in the afternoon when Kennedy took a train for
the famous seaside resort, leaving me in New York with a roving
commission to do nothing. All that I was able to learn at the
Hotel Amsterdam was that a man with a Van Dyke beard had stung the
office with a bogus check, although he had seemed to come well
recommended. The description of the woman with him who seemed to
be his wife might have fitted either Mrs. Dawson or Adele DeMott.
The only person who had called had been a man who said he
represented the By-Products Company and was the treasurer. He had
questioned the hotel people rather closely about the whereabouts
of the couple who had paid their expenses with the worthless slip
of paper. It was not difficult to infer that this man was Carroll
who had been hot on the trail, especially as he said that he
personally would see the check paid if the hotel people would keep
a sharp watch for the return of the man who had swindled them.

Kennedy wired as he promised and returned by an early train the
next day.

He seemed bursting with news. "I think I'm on the trail," he
cried, throwing his grip into a corner and not waiting for me to
ask him what success he had had. "I went directly to the Lorraine
and began frankly by telling them that I represented the By-Products
Company in New York and was authorised to investigate the bad check
which they had received. They couldn't describe Dawson very well
- at least their description would have fitted almost any one.
One thing I think I did learn and that was that his disguise must
include a Van Dyke beard. He would scarcely have had time to grow
one of his own and I believe when he was last seen in Chicago he
was clean-shaven."

"But," I objected, "men with Van Dyke beards are common enough."
Then I related my experience at the Amsterdam.

"The same fellow," ejaculated Kennedy. "The beard seems to have
covered a multitude of sins, for while every one could recall
that, no one had a word to say about his features. However,
Walter, there's just one chance of making his identification sure,
and a peculiar coincidence it is, too. It seems that one night
this man and a lady who may have been the former Miss Sanderson,
though the description of her like most amateur descriptions
wasn't very accurate, were dining at the Lorraine. The Lorraine
is getting up a new booklet about its accommodations and a
photographer had been engaged to take a flashlight of the
dining-room for the booklet.

"No sooner had the flash been lighted and the picture taken than
a man with a Van Dyke beard - your friend of the Amsterdam, no
doubt, Walter, - rushed up to the photographer and offered him
fifty dollars for the plate. The photographer thought at first it
was some sport who had reasons for not wishing to appear in print
in Atlantic City, as many have. The man seemed to notice that the
photographer was a little suspicious and he hastened to make some
kind of excuse about wanting the home folks to see how swell he
and his wife were dining in evening dress. It was a rather lame
excuse, but the fifty dollars looked good to the photographer and
he agreed to develop the plate and turn it over with some prints
all ready for mailing the next day. The man seemed satisfied and
the photographer took another flashlight, this time with one of
the tables vacant.

"Sure enough, the next day the man with a beard turned up for the
plate. The photographer tells me that he had it all wrapped up
ready to mail, just to call the fellow's bluff. The man was equal
to the occasion, paid the money, wrote an address on the package
which the photographer did not see, and as there was a box for
mailing packages right at the door on the boardwalk there was no
excuse for not mailing it directly. Now if I could get hold of
that plate or a print from it I could identify Dawson in his
disguise in a moment. I've started the post-office trying to
trace that package both at Atlantic City and in Chicago, where I
think it must have been mailed. I may hear from them at any
moment - at least, I hope."

The rest of the afternoon we spent in canvassing the drug stores
in the vicinity of the Amsterdam, Kennedy's idea being that if
Dawson was a habitual morphine fiend he must have replenished his
supply of the drug in New York, particularly if he was contemplating
a long journey where it might be difficult to obtain.

After many disappointments we finally succeeded in finding a shop
where a man posing as a doctor had made a rather large purchase.
The name he gave was of course of no importance. What did interest
us was that again we crossed the trail of a man with a Van Dyke
beard. He had been accompanied by a woman whom the druggist
described as rather flashily dressed, though her face was hidden
under a huge hat and a veil. "Looked very attractive," as the
druggist put it, "but she might have been a negress for all I could
tell you of her face."

"Humph," grunted Kennedy, as we were leaving the store. "You
wouldn't believe it, but it is the hardest thing in the world to
get an accurate description of any one. The psychologists have
said enough about it, but you don't realise it until you are up
against it. Why, that might have been the DeMott woman just as
well as the former Miss Sanderson, and the man might have been
Bolton Brown as well as Dawson, for all we know. They've both
disappeared now. I wish we could get some word about that
photograph. That would settle it."

In the last mail that night Kennedy received back the letter which
he had addressed to Michael Dawson. On it was stamped "Returned
to sender. Owner not found."

Kennedy turned the letter over slowly and looked at the back of
it carefully.

"On the contrary," he remarked, half to himself, "the owner was
found. Only he returned the letter back to the postman after he had
opened it and found that it was just a note of no importance which
I scribbled just to see if he was keeping in touch with things from
his hiding-place, wherever it is.

"How do you know he opened it?" I asked.

"Do you see those blots on the back? I had several of these
envelopes prepared ready for use when I needed them. I had some
tannin placed on the flap and then covered thickly with gum. On
the envelope itself was some iron sulphate under more gum. I
carefully sealed the letter, using very little moisture. The gum
then separated the two prepared parts. Now if that letter were
steamed open the tannin and the sulphate would come together, run,
and leave a smudge. You see the blots? The inference is obvious."

Clearly, then, our chase was getting warmer. Dawson had been in
Atlantic City at least within a few days. The fruit company steamer
to South America on which Carroll believed he was booked to sail
under an assumed name and with an assumed face was to sail the
following noon. And still we had no word from Chicago as to the
destination of the photograph, or the identity of the man in the
Van Dyke beard who had been so particular to disarm suspicion in
the purchase of the plate from the photographer a few days before.

The mail also contained a message from Williams of the Surety
Company with the interesting information that Bolton Brown's
attorney had refused to say where his client had gone since he had
been released on bail, but that he would be produced when wanted.
Adele DeMott had not been seen for several days in Chicago and
the police there were of the opinion that she had gone to New York,
where it would be pretty easy for her to pass unnoticed. These
facts further complicated the case and made the finding of the
photograph even more imperative.

If we were going to do anything it must be done quickly. There
was no time to lose. The last of the fast trains for the day had
left and the photograph, even though it were found, could not
possibly reach us in time to be of use before the steamer sailed
from Brooklyn. It was an emergency such as Kennedy had never yet
faced, apparently physically insuperable.

But, as usual, Craig was not without some resource, though it looked
impossible to me to do anything but make a hit or miss arrest at the
boat. It was late in the evening when he returned from a conference
with an officer of the Telegraph and Telephone Company to whom
Williams had given him a card of introduction. The upshot had been
that he had called up Chicago and talked for a long time with
Professor Clark, a former classmate of ours who was now in the
technology school of the university out there. Kennedy and Clark
had been in correspondence for some time, I knew, about some
technical matters, though I had no idea what it was they concerned.

"There's one thing we can always do," I remarked as we walked slowly
over to the laboratory from our apartment.

"What's that?" he asked absent-mindedly, more from politeness than
anything else.

"Arrest every one with a Van Dyke beard who goes on the boat
to-morrow," I replied.

Kennedy smiled. "I don't feel prepared to stand a suit for false
arrest," he said simply, " especially as the victim would feel
pretty hot if we caused him to miss his boat. Men with beards are
not so uncommon, after all."

We had reached the laboratory. Linemen were stringing wires under
the electric lights of the campus from the street to the Chemistry
Building and into Kennedy's sanctum.

That night and far into the morning Kennedy was working in the
laboratory on a peculiarly complicated piece of mechanism consisting
of electro-magnets, rolls, and a stylus and numerous other
contrivances which did not suggest to my mind anything he had ever
used before in our adventures. I killed time as best I could
watching him adjust the thing with the most minute care and precision.
Finally I came to the conclusion that as I was not likely to be of
the least assistance, even if I had been initiated into what was
afoot, I had as well retire.

"There is one thing you can do for me in the morning, Walter," said
Kennedy, continuing to work over a delicate piece of clockwork which
formed a part of the apparatus. "In case I do not see you then, get
in touch with Williams and Carroll and have them come here about
ten o'clock with an automobile. If I am not ready for them then I'm
afraid I never shall be, and we shall have to finish the job with
the lack of finesse you suggested by arresting all the bearded men."

Kennedy could not have slept much during the night, for though his
bed had been slept in he was up and away before I could see him
again. I made a hurried trip downtown to catch Carroll and Williams
and then returned to the laboratory, where Craig had evidently just
finished a satisfactory preliminary test of his machine.

"Still no message," he began in reply to my unspoken question. He
was plainly growing restless with the inaction, though frequent
talks over long-distance with Chicago seemed to reassure him. Thanks
to the influence of Williams he had at least a direct wire from his
laboratory to the city which was now the scene of action.

As nearly as I could gather from the one-sided conversations I heard
and the remarks which Kennedy dropped, the Chicago post-office
inspectors were still searching for a trace of the package from
Atlantic City which was to reveal the identity of the man who had
passed the bogus checks and sold the forged certificates of stock.
Somewhere in that great city was a photograph of the promoter and
of the woman who was aiding him to escape, taken in Atlantic City
and sent by mail to Chicago. Who had received it? Would it be
found in time to be of use? What would it reveal? It was like
hunting for a needle in a haystack, and yet the latest reports
seemed to encourage Kennedy with the hope that the authorities
were at last on the trail of the secret office from which the stock
had been sold. He was fuming and wishing that he could be at both
ends of the line at once.

"Any word from Chicago yet?" appealed an anxious voice from the

We turned. There were Carroll and Williams who had come for us
with an automobile to go over to watch at the wharf in Brooklyn for
our man. It was Carroll who spoke. The strain of the suspense
was telling on him and I could readily imagine that he, like so
many others who had never seen Kennedy in action, had not the faith
in Craig's ability which I had seen tested so many times.

"Not yet," replied Kennedy, still busy about his apparatus on the
table. "I suppose you have heard nothing?"

"Nothing since my note of last night," returned Williams impatiently.
"Our detectives still insist that Bolton Brown is the man to watch,
and the disappearance of Adele DeMott at this time certainly looks
bad for him."

"It does, I admit," said Carroll reluctantly. "What's all this
stuff on the table?" he asked, indicating the magnets, rolls, and

Kennedy did not have time to reply, for the telephone bell was
tinkling insistently.

"I've got Chicago on the wire," Craig informed us, placing his hand
over the transmitter as he waited for long-distance to make the
final connection. "I'll try to repeat as much of the conversation
as I can so that you can follow it. Hello - yes - this is Kennedy.
Is that you, Clark? It's all arranged at this end. How's your end
of the line? Have you a good connection? Yes? My synchroniser
is working fine here, too. All right. Suppose we try it. Go

As Kennedy gave a few final touches to the peculiar apparatus on
the table, the cylindrical drum before us began slowly to revolve
and the stylus or needle pressed down on the sensitised paper with
which the drum was covered, apparently with varying intensity as it
turned. Round and round the cylinder revolved like a graphophone.

"This," exclaimed Kennedy proudly, "is the 'electric eye,' the
telelectrograph invented by Thorne Baker in England. Clark and I
have been intending to try it out for a long time. It at last
makes possible the electric transmission of photographs, using the
telephone wires because they are much better for such a purpose
than the telegraph wires.

Slowly the needle was tracing out a picture on the paper. It was
only a thin band yet, but gradually it was widening, though we
could not guess what it was about to reveal as the ceaseless
revolutions widened the photographic print.

"I may say," explained Kennedy as we waited breathlessly, "that
another system known as the Korn system of telegraphing pictures
has also been in use in London, Paris, Berlin, and other cities
at various times for some years. Korn's apparatus depends on the
ability of the element selenium to vary the strength of an electric
current passing through it in proportion to the brightness with
which the selenium is illuminated. A new field has been opened by
these inventions which are now becoming more and more numerous,
since the Korn system did the pioneering.

"The various steps in sending a photograph by the Baker
telelectrograph are not so difficult to understand, after all.
First an ordinary photograph is taken and a negative made. Then
a print is made and a wet plate negative is printed on a sheet
of sensitised tinfoil which has been treated with a single-line
screen. You know a halftone consists of a photograph through a
screen composed of lines running perpendicular to each other - a
coarse screen for newspaper work, and a fine screen for better
work, such as in magazines. Well, in this case the screen is
composed of lines running parallel in one direction only, not
crossing at right angles. A halftone is composed of minute points,
some light, some dark. This print is composed of long shaded lines,
some parts light, others dark, giving the effect of a picture, you

"Yes, yes," I exclaimed, thoroughly excited.

"Well, he resumed as the print widened visibly, this tinfoil negative
is wrapped around a cylinder at the other end of the line and a
stylus with a very delicate, sensitive point begins passing over it,
crossing the parallel lines at right angles, like the other lines
of a regular halftone. Whenever the point of the stylus passes over
one of the lighter spots on the photographic print it sends on a
longer electrical vibration, over the darker spots a shorter
vibration. The ever changing electrical current passes up through
the stylus, vibrates with ever varying degrees of intensity over
the thousand miles of telephone wire between Chicago and this
instrument here at the other end of the line.

"In this receiving apparatus the current causes another stylus to
pass over a sheet of sensitised chemical paper such as we have here.
The receiving stylus passes over the paper here synchronously with
the transmitting stylus in Chicago. The impression which each
stroke of the receiving stylus makes on the paper is black or light,
according to the length of the very quickly changing vibrations of
the electric current. White spots on the photographic print come
out as black spots here on the sensitised paper over which this
stylus is passing, and vice versa. In that way you can see the
positive print growing here before your very eyes as the picture
is transmitted from the negative which Clark has prepared and is
sending from Chicago."

As we bent over eagerly we could indeed now see what the thing was
doing. It was reproducing faithfully in New York what could be
seen by the mortal eye only in Chicago.

"What is it?" asked Williams, still half incredulous in spite of
the testimony of his eyes.

"It is a photograph which I think may aid us in deciding whether it
is Dawson or Brown who is responsible for the forgeries," answered
Kennedy, "and it may help us to penetrate the man's disguise yet,
before he escapes to South America or wherever he plans to go."

"You'll have to hurry," interposed Carroll, nervously looking at
his watch. "She sails in an hour and a half and it is a long ride
over to the pier even with a fast car."

"The print is almost ready," repeated Kennedy calmly. "By the
way, it is a photograph which was taken at Atlantic City a few days
ago for a booklet which the Lorraine was getting out. The
By-Products forger happened to get in it and he bribed the
photographer to give him the plate and take another picture for
the booklet which would leave him out. The plate was sent to a
little office in Chicago, discovered by the post-office inspectors,
where the forged stock certificates were sold. I understood from
what Clark told me over the telephone before he started to transmit
the picture that the woman in it looked very much like Adel DeMott.
Let us see."=20

The machine had ceased to revolve. Craig stripped a still wet
photograph off the telelectrograph instrument and stood regarding
it with intense satisfaction. Outside, the car which had been
engaged to hurry us over to Brooklyn waited. "Morphine fiends,"
said Kennedy as he fanned the print to dry it, " are the most
unreliable sort of people. They cover their tracks with almost
diabolical cunning. In fact they seem to enjoy it. For instance,
the crimes committed by morphinists are usually against property
and character and based upon selfishness, not brutal crimes such
as alcohol and other drugs induce. Kleptomania, forgery, swindling,
are among the most common.

"Then, too, one of the most marked phases of morphinism is the
pleasure its victims take in concealing their motives and conduct.
They have a mania for leading a double life, and enjoy the
deception and mask which they draw about themselves. Persons under
the influence of the drug have less power to resist physical and
mental impressions and they easily succumb to temptations and
suggestions from others. Morphine stands unequalled as a perverter
of the moral sense. It creates a person whom the father of lies
must recognise as kindred to himself. I know of a case where a
judge charged a jury that the prisoner, a morphine addict, was
mentally irresponsible for that reason. The judge knew what he
was talking about. It subsequently developed that he had been a
secret morphine fiend himself for years."

Come, come," broke in Carroll impatiently, we're wasting time. The
ship sails in an hour and unless you want to go down the bay on a
tug you've got to catch Dawson now or never. The morphine business
explains, but it does not excuse. Come on, the car is waiting. How
long do you think it will take us to get over to - "

"Police headquarters?" interrupted Craig. "About fifteen minutes.
This photograph shows, as I had hoped, the real forger. John Carroll,
this is a peculiar case. You have forged the name of the president
of your company, but you have also traced your own name very cleverly
to look like a forgery. It is what is technically known as
auto-forgery, forging one's own handwriting. At your convenience
we'll ride down to Centre Street directly."

Carroll was sputtering and almost frothing at the mouth with rage
which he made no effort to suppress. Williams was hesitating,
nonplussed, until Kennedy reached over unexpectedly and grasped
Carroll by the arm. As he shoved up Carroll's sleeve he disclosed
the forearm literally covered with little punctures made by the
hypodermic needle.

"It may interest you," remarked Kennedy, still holding Carroll in
his vise-like grip, while the drug fiend's shattered nerves caused
him to cower and tremble, "to know that a special detective working
for me has located Mr. and Mrs. Dawson at Bar Harbor, where they
are enjoying a quiet honeymoon. Brown is safely in the custody of
his counsel, ready to appear and clear himself as soon as the public
opinion which has been falsely inflamed against him subsides. Your
plan to give us the slip at the last moment at the wharf and board
the steamer for South America has miscarried. It is now too late
to catch it, but I shall send a wireless that will cause the arrest
of Miss DeMott the moment the ship touches an American port at
Colon, even if she succeeds in eluding the British authorities at
Kingston. The fact is, I don't much care about her, anyway. Thanks
to the telelectrograph here we have the real criminal."

Kennedy slapped down the now dry print that had come in over his
"seeing over a wire machine." Barring the false Van Dyke beard, it
was the face of John Carroll, forger and morphine fiend. Next to him
in the picture in the brilliant and fashionable dining-room of the
Lorraine was sitting Adele DeMott who had used her victim, Bolton
Brown, to shield her employer, Carroll.



"Craig, do you see that fellow over by the desk, talking to the
night clerk?" I asked Kennedy as we lounged into the lobby of the
new Hotel Vanderveer one evening after reclaiming our hats from
the plutocrat who had acquired the checking privilege. We had
dined on the roof garden of the Vanderveer apropos of nothing at
all except our desire to become acquainted with a new hotel.

"Yes," replied Kennedy, "what of him?"

"He's the house detective, McBride. Would you like to meet him?
He's full of good stories, an interesting chap. I met him at a
dinner given to the President not long ago and he told me a great
yarn about how the secret service, the police, and the hotel
combined to guard the President during the dinner. You know, a
big hotel is the stamping ground for all sorts of cranks and crooks."

The house detective had turned and had caught my eye. Much to my
surprise, he advanced to
meet me.

"Say, - er - er - Jameson," he began, at last recalling my name,
though he had seen me only once and then for only a short time.
"You're on the Star, I believe?"

"Yes," I replied, wondering what he could want.

"Well - er - do you suppose you could do the house a little - er -=20
favour?" he asked, hesitating and dropping his voice.

"What is it?" I queried, not feeling certain but that it was a
veiled attempt to secure a little free advertising for the
Vanderveer. "By the way, let me introduce you to my friend Kennedy,

"Craig Kennedy?" he whispered aside, turning quickly to me. I

"Mr. Kennedy," exclaimed the house man deferentially, "are you very
busy just now?"

"Not especially so," replied Craig. "My friend Jameson was telling
me that you knew some interesting yarns about hotel detective life.
I should like to hear you tell some of them, if you are not yourself
too - "

"Perhaps you'd rather see one instead?" interrupted the house
detective, eagerly scanning Craig's face.

"Indeed, nothing could please me more. What is it - a 'con' man or
a hotel 'beat'?"

McBride looked about to make sure that no one was listening.
"Neither," he whispered. "It's either a suicide or a murder. Come
upstairs with me. There isn't a man in the world I would rather
have met at this very instant, Mr. Kennedy, than yourself."

We followed McBride into an elevator which he stopped at the fifteenth
floor. With a nod to the young woman who was the floor clerk, the house
detective led the way down the thickly carpeted hall, stopping at a
room which, we could see through the transom, was lighted. He drew a
bunch of keys from his pocket and inserted a pass key into the lock.

The door swung open into a sumptuously fitted sitting-room. I
looked in, half fearfully, but, although all the lights were turned
on, the room was empty. McBride crossed the room quickly, opened
a door to a bedroom, and jerked his head back with a quick motion,
signifying his desire for us to follow.

Stretched lifeless on the white linen of the immaculate bed lay the
form of a woman, a beautiful woman she had been, too, though not
with the freshness which makes American women so attractive. There
was something artificial about her beauty, the artificiality which
hinted at a hidden story of a woman with a past.

She was a foreigner, apparently of one of the Latin races, although
at the moment in the horror of the tragedy before us I could not
guess her nationality. It was enough for me that here lay this cold,
stony, rigid beauty, robed in the latest creations of Paris, alone
in an elegantly furnished room of an exclusive hotel where hundreds
of gay guests were dining and chatting and laughing without a
suspicion of the terrible secret only a few feet distant from them.

We stood awestruck for the moment.

"The coroner ought to be here any moment," remarked McBride and even
the callousness of the regular detective was not sufficient to hide
the real feelings of the man. His practical sense soon returned,
however, and he continued, "Now, Jameson, don't you think you could
use a little influence with the newspaper men to keep this thing off
the front pages? Of course something has to be printed about it.
But we don't want to hoodoo the hotel right at the start. We had a
suicide the other day who left an apologetic note that was played up
by some of the papers. Now comes this affair. The management are
just as anxious to have the crime cleared up as any one - if it is
a crime. But can't it be done with the soft pedal? We will stop
at nothing in the way of expense - just so long as the name of the
Vanderveer is kept in the background. Only, I'm afraid the coroner
will try to rub it in and make the thing sensational."

"What was her name?" asked Kennedy. "At least, under what name was
she registered?

"She was registered as Madame de Nevers. It is not quite a week
now since she came here, came directly from the steamer Tripolitania.
See, there are her trunks and things, all pasted over with foreign
labels, not an American label among them. I haven't the slightest
doubt that her name was fictitious, for as far as I can see all the
ordinary marks of identification have been obliterated. It will
take time to identify her at the best, and in the meantime, if a
crime has been committed, the guilty person may escape. What I want
now, right away, is action."

"Has nothing in her actions about the hotel offered any clue, no
matter how slight?" asked Kennedy.

"Plenty of things," replied McBride quickly. "For one thing, she
didn't speak very much English and her maid seemed to do all the
talking for her, even to ordering her meals, which were always
served here. I did notice Madame a few times about the hotel,
though she spent most of her time in her rooms. She was attractive
as the deuce, and the men all looked at her whenever she stirred out.
She never even noticed them. But she was evidently expecting some
one, for her maid had left word at the desk that if a Mr. Gonzales
called, she was at home; if any one else, she was out. For the
first day or two she kept herself closely confined, except that at
the end of the second day she took a short spin through the park in
a taxicab - closed, even in this hot weather. Where she went I
cannot say, but when they returned the maid seemed rather agitated.
At least she was a few minutes later when she came all the way
downstairs to telephone from a booth, instead of using the room
telephone. At various times the maid was sent out to execute certain
errands, but always returned promptly. Madame de Nevers was a
genuine woman of mystery, but as long as she was a quiet mystery, I
thought it no business of ours to pry into the affairs of Madame."

"Did she have any visitors? Did this Mr. Gonzales call?" asked
Kennedy at length.

"She had one visitor, a woman who called and asked if a Madame de
Nevers was stopping at the=20hotel," answered McBride. "That was what
the clerk was telling me when I happened to catch sight of you. He
says that, obedient to the orders from the maid, he told the visitor
that Madame was not at home."

"Who was this visitor, do you suppose?" asked Craig. "Did she leave
any card or message? Is there any clue to her?"

The detective looked at him earnestly for a time as if he hesitated
to retail what might be merely pure gossip.

"The clerk does not know this absolutely, but from his acquaintance
with society news and the illustrated papers he is sure that he
recognised her. He says that he feels positive that it was Miss
Catharine Lovelace."

"The Southern heiress," exclaimed Kennedy. "Why, the papers say
that she is engaged "

"Exactly," cut in McBride, "the heiress who is rumoured to be engaged
to the Duc de Chateaurouge.

Kennedy and I exchanged, glances. "Yes," I added, recollecting a
remark I had heard a few days before from our society reporter on
the Star, "I believe it has been said that Chateaurouge is in this
country, incognito."

"A pretty slender thread on which to hang an identification," McBride
hastened to remark. "Newspaper photographs are not the best means
of recognising anybody. Whatever there may be in it, the fact
remains that Madame de Nevers, supposing that to be her real name,
has been dead for at least a day or two. The first thing to be
determined is whether this is a death from natural causes, a suicide,
or a murder. After we have determined that we shall be in a position
to run down this Lovelace clue."

Kennedy said nothing and I could not gather whether he placed greater
or less value on the suspicion of the hotel clerk. He had been
making a casual examination of the body on the bed, and finding
nothing he looked intently about the room as if seeking some evidence
of how the crime had been committed.

To me the thing seemed incomprehensible, that without an outcry
being overheard by any of the guests a murder could have been done
in a crowded hotel in which the rooms on every side had been
occupied and people had been passing through the halls at all hours.
Had it indeed been a suicide, in spite of McBride's evident
conviction to the contrary?

A low exclamation from Kennedy attracted our attention. Caught in
the filmy lace folds of the woman's dress he had found a few small
and thin pieces of glass. He was regarding them with an interest
that was oblivious to everything else. As he turned them over and
over and tried to fit them together they seemed to form at least a
part of what had once been a hollow globe of very thin glass, perhaps
a quarter of an inch or so in diameter.

"How was the body discovered?" asked Craig at length, looking up at
McBride quickly.

"Day before yesterday Madame's maid went to the cashier," repeated
the detective slowly as if rehearsing the case as much for his own
information as ours, "and said that Madame had asked her to say to
him that she was going away for a few days and that under no
circumstances was her room to be disturbed in her absence. The maid
was commissioned to pay the bill, not only for the time they had
been here, but also for the remainder of the week, when Madame would
most likely return, if not earlier. The bill was made out and paid.

"Since then only the chambermaid has entered this suite. The key
to that closet over in the corner was gone, and it might have hidden
its secret until the end of the week or perhaps a day or two longer,
if the chambermaid hadn't been a bit curious. She hunted till she
found another key that fitted, and opened the closet door, apparently
to see what Madame had been so particular to lock up in her absence.
There lay the body of Madame, fully dressed, wedged into the narrow
space and huddled up in a corner. The chambermaid screamed and the
secret was out."

"And Madame de Nevers's maid? What has become of her?" asked
Kennedy eagerly.

"She has disappeared," replied McBride. "From the moment when the
bill was paid no one about the hotel has seen her."

"But you have a pretty good description of her, one that you could
send out in order to find her if necessary?"

"Yes, I think I could give a pretty good description."

Kennedy's eye encountered the curious gaze of McBride. "This may
prove to be a most unusual case," he remarked in answer to the
implied inquiry of the detective. "I suppose you have heard of
the 'endormeurs' of Paris?"

McBride shook his head in the negative.

"It is a French word signifying a person who puts another to sleep,
the sleep makers," explained Kennedy. "They are the latest scientific
school of criminals who use the most potent, quickest-acting
stupefying drugs. Some of their exploits surpass anything hitherto
even imagined by the European police. The American police have been
officially warned of the existence of the endormeurs and full
descriptions of their methods and photographs of their paraphernalia
have been sent over here.

"There is nothing in their repertoire so crude as chloral or
knock-out drops. All the derivatives of opium such as morphine,
codeine, heroine, dionine, narceine, and narcotine, to say nothing
of bromure d'etyle, bromoform, nitrite d'amyle, and amyline are
known to be utilised by the endormeurs to put their victims to
sleep, and the skill which they have acquired in the use of these
powerful drugs establishes them as one of the most dangerous groups
of criminals in existence. The men are all of superior intelligence
and daring; the chief requisite of the women is extreme beauty as
well as unscrupulousness.

"They will take a little thin glass ball of one of these liquids,
for instance, hold it in a pocket handkerchief, crush it, shove it
under the nose of their victim, and - whiff ! - the victim is
unconscious. But ordinarily the endormeur does not kill. He is
usually satisfied to stupefy, rob, and then leave his victim. There
is something more to this case than a mere suicide or murder,
McBride. Of course she may have committed suicide with the drugs of
the endormeurs; then again she may merely have been rendered
unconscious by those drugs and some other poison may have been
administered. Depend on it, there is something more back of this
affair than appears on the surface. Even as far as I have gone I
do not hesitate to say that we have run across the work of one or
perhaps a band of the most up-to-date and scientific criminals."

Kennedy had scarcely finished when McBride brought his right fist
down with a resounding smack into the palm of his left hand.

" Say," he cried in great excitement, "here's another thing which
may or may not have some connection with the case. The evening
after Madame arrived, I happened to be walking through the caf=82,
where I saw a face that looked familiar to me. It was that of a
dark-haired, olive-skinned man, a fascinating face, but a face to
be afraid of. I remembered him, I thought, from my police experience,
as a notorious crook who had not been seen in New York for years,
a man who in the old days used to gamble with death in South American
revolutions, a soldier of fortune.

"Well, I gave the waiter, Charley, the wink and he met me in the
rear of the caf=82, around a corner. You know we have a regular system
in the hotel by which I can turn all the help into amateur sleuths.
I told him to be very careful about the dark-faced man and the
younger man who was with him, to be particular to wait on them well,
and to pick up any scraps of conversation he could.

"Charley knows his business, and the barest perceptible sign from me
makes him an obsequious waiter. Of course the dark man didn't notice
it at the time, but if he had been more observant he would have seen
that three times during his chat with his companion Charley had wiped
off his table with lingering hand. Twice he had put fresh seltzer
in his drink. Like a good waiter always working for a big tip he had
hovered near, his face blank and his eyes unobservant. But that
waiter was an important link in my chain of protection of the hotel
against crooks. He was there to listen and to tip me off, which he
did between orders.

"There wasn't much that he overheard, but what there was of it was
so suspicious that I did not hesitate to conclude that the fellow
was an undesirable guest. It was something about the Panama Canal,
and a coaling station of a steamship and fruit concern on the shore
of one of the Latin American countries. It was, he said, in reality
to be the coaling station of a certain European power which he did
not name but which the younger man seemed to understand. They talked
of wharves and tracts of land, of sovereignty and blue prints, the
Monroe Doctrine, value in case of war, and a lot of other things.
Then they talked of money, and though Charley was most assiduous at
the time all he overheard was something about 'ten thousand francs'
and 'buying her off,' and finally a whispered confidence of which
he caught the words, 'just a blind to get her over here, away from
Paris.' Finally the dark man in an apparent burst of confidence
said something about 'the other plans being the real thing after
all,' and that the whole affair would bring him in fifty thousand
francs, with which he could afford to be liberal. Charley could
get no inkling about what that other thing was.

"But I felt sure that he had heard enough to warrant the belief
that some kind of confidence game was being discussed. To tell the
truth I didn't care much what it was, at the time. It might have
been an attempt of the dark-visaged fellow to sell the Canal to a
come-on. What I wanted was to have it known that the Vanderveer
was not to be a resort of such gentry as this. But I'm afraid it
was much more serious than I thought at the time.

"Well, the dark man finally excused himself and sauntered into the
lobby and up to the desk, with me after him around the opposite
way. He was looking over the day's arrivals on the register when
I concluded that it was about time to do something. I was standing
directly beside him lighting a cigar. I turned quickly on him and
deliberately trod on the man's patent leather shoe. He faced me
furiously at not getting any apology. 'Sacre,' he exclaimed, 'what
the - ' But before he could finish I moved still closer and pinched
his elbow. A dull red glow of suppressed anger spread over his face,
but he cut his words short. He knew and I knew he knew. That is
the sign in the continental hotels when they find a crook and
quietly ask him to move on. The man turned on his heel and stalked
out of the hotel. By and by the young man in the caf=82, considerably
annoyed at the sudden inattention of the waiter who acted as if he
wasn't satisfied with his tip, strolled through the lobby and not
seeing his dark-skinned friend, also disappeared. I wish to heaven
I had had them shadowed. The young fellow wasn't a come-on at all.
There was something afoot between these two, mark my words."

"But why do you connect that incident with this case of Madame de
Nevers?" asked Kennedy, a little puzzled.

"Because the next day, and the day that Madame's maid disappeared,
I happened to see a man bidding good-bye to a woman at the rear
carriage entrance of the hotel. The woman was Madame's maid and
the man was the dark man who had been seated in the caf=82."

"You said a moment ago that you had a good description of the maid
or could write one. Do you think you could locate her?"

The hotel detective thought a minute or two. "If she has gone to
any of the other hotels in this city, I could," he answered slowly.
"You know we have recently formed a sort of clearing house, we hotel
detectives, and we are working together now very well, though
secretly. It is barely possible that she has gone to another hotel.
The very brazenness of that would be its safeguard, she might think."

"Then I can leave that part of it to you, McBride?" asked Kennedy
thoughtfully as if laying out a programme of action in his mind.
"You will set the hotel detectives on the trail as well as the
police of the city, and of other cities, will make the inquiries
at the steamships and railroads, and all that sort of thing? Try
to find some trace of the two men whom you saw in the caf=82 at the
same time. But for the present I should say spare no effort to
locate that girl."

"Trust it to me," agreed McBride confidently. A heavy tap sounded
at the door and McBride opened it. It was the coroner.

I shall not go into the lengthy investigation which the coroner
conducted, questioning one servant and employee after another
without eliciting any more real information than we had already
obtained so concisely from the house man. The coroner was, of
course, angry at the removal of the body from the closet to the
bed because he wanted to view it in the position in which it had
been found, but as that had been done by the servants before
McBride could stop them, there was nothing to do about it but
accept the facts.

"A very peculiar case," remarked the coroner at the conclusion of
his examination, with the air of a man who could shed much light
on it from his wide experience if he chose. "There is just one
point that we shall have to clear up, however. What was the cause
of the death of the deceased? There is no gas in the room. It
couldn't have been illuminating gas, then. No, it must have been
a poison of some kind. Then as to the motive," he added, trying to
look confident but really shooting a tentative remark at Craig and
the house detective, who said nothing. "It looks a good deal like
that other suicide - at least a suicide which some one has
endeavoured to conceal," he added, hastily recollecting the manner
in which the body had been found and his criticisms of the removal
from the closet.

"Didn't I tell you?" rejoined McBride dolefully after we had left
the coroner downstairs a few minutes later. "I knew he would think
the hotel was hiding something from him."

"We can't help what he thinks - yet," remarked Craig. "All we can
do is to run down the clues which we have. I will leave the maid
to be found by your organisation, McBride. Let me see, the theatres
and roof gardens must be letting out by this time. I will see if
I can get any information from Miss Lovelace. Find her address,
Walter, and call a cab."

The Southern heiress, who had attracted more attention by her
beauty than by her fortune which was only moderate as American
fortunes go nowadays, lived in an apartment facing the park, with
her mother, a woman whose social ambitions it was commonly known
had no bounds and were often sadly imposed upon.

Fortunately we arrived at the apartment not very many minutes after
the mother and daughter, and although it was late, Kennedy sent up
his card with an urgent message to see them. They received us in a
large drawing-room and were plainly annoyed by our visit, though
that of course was susceptible of a natural interpretation.

"What is it that you wished to see me about?" began Mrs. Lovelace
in a tone which was intended to close the interview almost before
it was begun. Kennedy had not wished to see her about anything, but
of course he did not even hint as much in his reply which was made
to her but directed at Miss Lovelace.

"Could you tell me anything about a Madame de Nevers who was
staying at the Vanderveer?" asked Craig, turning quickly to the
daughter so as to catch the full effect of his question, and then
waiting as if expecting the answer from her.

The young lady's face blanched slightly and she seemed to catch her
breath for an instant, but she kept her composure admirably in spite
of the evident shock of Craig's purposely abrupt question.

"I have heard of her," Miss Lovelace replied with forced calmness
as he continued to look to her for an answer. "Why do you ask?"

"Because a woman who is supposed to be Madame de Nevers has committed
suicide at the Vanderveer and it was thought that perhaps you could
identify her."

By this time she had become perfect mistress of herself again, from
which I argued that whatever knowledge she had of Madame was limited
to the time before the tragedy.

"I, identify her? Why, I never saw her. I simply know that such
a creature exists.

She said it defiantly and with an iciness which showed more plainly
than in mere words that she scorned even an acquaintance with a

"Do you suppose the Duc de Chateaurouge would be able to identify
her?" asked Kennedy mercilessly. "One moment, please," he added,
anticipating the blank look of amazement on her face. "I have
reason to believe that the duke is in this country incognito - is
he not?"

Instead of speaking she merely raised her shoulders a fraction of
an inch.

"Either in New York or in Washington," pursued Kennedy.

"Why do you ask me?" she said at length. "Isn't it enough that
some of the newspapers have said so? If you see it in the newspapers,
it's so - perhaps - isn't it?"

We were getting nowhere in this interview, at least so I thought.
Kennedy cut it short, especially as he noted the evident restlessness
of Mrs. Lovelace. However, he had gained his point. Whether or not
the duke was in New York or Washington or Spitzbergen, he now felt
sure that Miss Lovelace knew of, and perhaps something about, Madame
de Nevers. In some way the dead woman had communicated with her and
Miss Lovelace had been the woman whom the hotel clerk had seen at the
Vanderveer. We withdrew as gracefully as our awkward position

As there was nothing else to be done at that late hour, Craig
decided to sleep soundly over the case, his infallible method of
taking a fresh start after he had run up a cul-de-sac.

Imagine our surprise in the morning at being waited on by the coroner
himself, who in a few words explained that he was far from satisfied
with the progress his own office was making with the case.

"You understand," he concluded after a lengthy statement of
confession and avoidance, "we have no very good laboratory facilities
of our own to carry out the necessary chemical, pathological, and
bacteriological investigations in cases of homicide and suicide. We
are often forced to resort to private laboratories, as you know in
the past when I have had to appeal to you. Now, Professor Kennedy,
if we might turn over that research part of the case to you, sir, I
will engage to see that a reasonable bill for your professional
services goes through the office of my friend the city comptroller

Craig snapped at the opportunity, though he did not allow the coroner
to gain that impression.

"Very well," agreed that official, " I shall see that all the
necessary organs for a thorough test as to the cause of the death
of this woman are sent up to the Chemistry Building right away."

The coroner was as good as his word, and we had scarcely breakfasted
and arrived at Craig's scientific workshop before that official
appeared, accompanied by a man who carried in uncanny jars the
necessary materials for an investigation following an autopsy.

Kennedy was now in his element. The case had taken an unexpected
turn which made him a leading factor in its solution. Whatever
suspicions he may have entertained unofficially the night before
he could now openly and quickly verify.

He took a little piece of lung tissue and with sharp sterilised
knife cut it up. Then he made it slightly alkaline with a little
sodium carbonate, talking half to us and half to himself as he
worked. The next step was to place the matter in a glass flask
in a water bath where it was heated. From the flask a Bohemian
glass tube led into a cool jar and on a part of the tube a flame
was playing which heated it to redness for two or three inches.

Several minutes we waited in silence. Finally when the process
had gone far enough, Kennedy took a piece of paper which had been
treated with iodised starch, as he later explained. He plunged
the paper into the cool jar. Slowly it turned a strong blue tint.

Craig said nothing, but it was evident that he was more than
gratified by what had happened. He quickly reached for a bottle
on the shelves before him, and I could see from the label on the
brown glass that it was nitrate of silver. As he plunged a little
in a test-tube into the jar a strong precipitate was gradually

"It is the decided reaction for chloroform," he exclaimed simply
in reply to our unspoken questions.

"Chloroform," repeated the coroner, rather doubtfully, and it was
evident that he had expected a poison and had not anticipated any
result whatever from an examination of the lungs instead of the
stomach to which he had confined his own work so far. "Could
chloroform be discovered in the lungs or viscera after so many
days? There was one famous chloroform case for which a man is now
serving a life term in Sing Sing which I have understood there was
grave doubt in the minds of the experts. Mind, I am not trying to
question the results of your work except as they might naturally be
questioned in court. It seems to me that the volatility of
chloroform might very possibly preclude its discovery after a short
time. Then again, might not other substances be generated in a dead
body which would give a reaction very much like chloroform? We must
consider all these questions before we abandon the poison theory,
sir. Remember, this is the summer time too, and chloroform would
evaporate very much more rapidly now than in winter.

Kennedy smiled, but his confidence remained unshaken.

"I am in a position to meet all of your objections," he explained
simply. "I think I could lay it down as a rule that by proper
methods chloroform may be discovered in the viscera much longer
after death than is commonly supposed - in summer from six days to
three weeks, with a practical working range of say twelve days,
while in winter it may be found even after several months - by the
right method. Certainly this case comes within the average length
of time. More than that, no substance is generated by the process
of decomposition which will vitiate the test for chloroform which
I have just made. Chloroform has an affinity for water and is also
a preservative, and hence from all these facts I think it safe to
conclude that sometimes traces of it may be found for two weeks
after its administration, certainly for a few days."

"And Madame de Nevers? "queried the coroner, as if the turn of
events was necessitating a complete reconstruction of his theory of
the case.

"Was murdered," completed Kennedy in a tone that left nothing more
to be said on the subject.

"But," persisted the coroner, "if she was murdered by the use of
chloroform, how do you account for the fact that it was done without
a struggle? There were no marks of violence and I, for one, do not
believe that under ordinary circumstances any one will passively
submit to such an administration without a hard fight."

>From his pocket Kennedy drew a small pasteboard box filled with tiny
globes, some bonbons and lozenges, a small hypodermic syringe, and
a few cigars and cigarettes. He held it out in the palm of his hand
so that we could see it.

"This," he remarked, "is the standard equipment of the endormeur.
Whoever obtained admittance to Madame's rooms, either as a matter of
course or secretly, must have engaged her in conversation, disarmed
suspicion, and then suddenly she must have found a pocket
handkerchief under her nose. The criminal crushed a globe of liquid
in the handkerchief, the victim lost consciousness, the chloroform
was administered without a struggle, all marks of identification were
obliterated, the body was placed in the closet, and the maid - either
as principal or accessory - took the most likely means of postponing
discovery by paying the bill in advance at the office, and then

Kennedy slipped the box back into his pocket. The coroner had, I
think, been expecting Craig's verdict, although he was loath to
abandon his own suicide theory and had held it to the last possible
moment. At any rate, so far he had said little, apparently
preferring to keep his own counsel as to his course of action and
to set his own machinery in motion.

He drew a note from his pocket, however. "I suppose," he began
tentatively, shaking the note as he glanced doubtfully from it to
us, "that you have heard that among the callers on this unfortunate
woman was a lady of high social position in this city?"

"I have heard a rumour to that effect," replied Kennedy as he busied
himself cleaning up the apparatus he had just used. There was
nothing in his manner even to hint at the fact that we had gone
further and interviewed the young lady in question.

"Well," resumed the coroner, "in view of what you have just
discovered I don't mind telling you that I believe it was more than
a rumour. I have had a man watching the woman and this is a report
I received just before I came up here."

We read the note which he now handed to us. It was just a hasty
line: "Miss Lovelace left hurriedly for Washington this morning."

What was the meaning of it? Clearly, as we probed deeper into the
case, its ramifications grew wider than anything we had yet expected.
Why had Miss Lovelace gone to Washington, of all places, at this
torrid season of the year?

The coroner had scarcely left us, more mystified than ever, when a
telephone message came from McBride saying that he had some important
news for us if we would meet him at the St. Cenis Hotel within an
hour. He would say nothing about it over the wire.

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