Part 1 out of 4
THE RED SEAL
by Natalie Sumner Lincoln
IN THE POLICE COURT
Te Assistant District Attorney glanced down at the papers in his
hand and then up at the well-dressed, stockily built man occupying
the witness stand. His manner was conciliatory.
"According to your testimony, Mr. Clymer, the prisoner, John
Sylvester, was honest and reliable, and faithfully performed his
duties as confidential clerk," he stated. "Just when was Sylvester
in your employ?"
"Sylvester was never in my employ," corrected Benjamin Augustus
Clymer. The president of the Metropolis Trust Company was noted
for his precision of speech. "During the winter of 1918 I shared
an apartment with Judge James Hildebrand, who employed Sylvester."
"Was Sylvester addicted to drink?"
"Was he quarrelsome?"
"Was Sylvester married at that date?"
At the question a faint smile touched the corners of Clymer's clean
shaven mouth and his eyes traveled involuntarily toward the
over-dressed female whose charge of assault and battery against her
husband had brought Clymer to the police court as a "character"
witness in Sylvester's behalf.
"Sylvester left Judge Hildebrand to get married," he explained.
"He was a model clerk; honest, sober, and industrious."
"That is all, Mr. Clymer." The Assistant District Attorney spoke
in some haste. "You may retire, sir," and, as Clymer turned to
vacate the witness box, he addressed the presiding judge.
Clymer did not catch his remarks as, on stepping down, he was
button-holed by a man whose entrance had occurred a few minutes
before through the swing door which gave exit from the space
reserved for witnesses and lawyers into the body of the court room.
"Sit over here a second," the newcomer said in an undertone,
indicating the long bench under the window. "Has Miss McIntyre
"Miss McIntyre - here?" Clymer stared in amazement at his questioner.
"No, certainly not."
"Don't be so positive," retorted the lawyer heatedly, his color
rising at the other's incredulous tone. "Helen McIntyre telephoned
me to meet her, and - by Jove, here she comes," as a slight stir
at the back of the court room caused him to glance in that direction.
A gray-haired patrolman, cap in hand, was in the lead of the small
procession which filed up the aisle, and Clymer gazed in astonishment
at Helen McIntyre and her twin sister, Barbara. What had brought
them at that hour to the police court?
The court room was filled with men, both white and black, while a
dozen or more slatternly negro women were seated here and there.
The Assistant District Attorney's plea for a postponement of the
Sylvester case on the ground of the absence of an important witness
and the granting of his plea was entirely lost on the majority of
those in the court room, their attention being wholly centered on
Helen McIntyre and Barbara, whose bearing and clothes spoke of a
fashionable and prosperous world to which nearly all present were
Barbara, sensitive to the concentrated regard which their entrance
had attracted, drew closer to Dr. Amos Stone, their family physician,
who had accompanied them at her particular request. Except for Mrs.
Sylvester, she and her sister were the only white women in the room.
Before they could take the seats to which they had been ushered,
the clerk's stentorian tones sent the girls' names echoing down
the court room and Barbara, much perturbed, found herself standing
with Helen before the clerk's desk. There was a moment's wait and
the deputy marshal, who had motioned to one of the prisoners sitting
in the "cage" to step outside, emphasized his order with a muttered
imprecation to hurry. A slouching figure finally shambled past him
and stopped some little distance from the group in front of the
"House-breaking," announced the clerk. "Charge brought by -" He
looked up at the two girls.
"Miss Helen McIntyre," answered one of the twins composedly.
"Daughter of Colonel Charles McIntyre of this city."
"Charge brought by Miss Helen McIntyre," continued the clerk,
"against -" and his pointed finger indicated the seedy looking man
slouching before them.
"Smith," said the latter, and his husky voice was barely audible.
"Smith," repeated the clerk. "First name -?"
"John," was the answer, given after a slight pause.
"John Smith, you are charged by Miss Helen McIntyre with
house-breaking. What say you - guilty or not guilty?"
The man shifted his weight from one foot to the other and shot an
uneasy look about him.
"Not guilty," he responded.
At that instant Helen caught sight of Benjamin Clymer and his
companion, Philip Rochester, and her pale cheeks flushed faintly at
the lawyer's approach. He had time but for a hasty handshake before
the clerk administered the oath to the prisoner and the witnesses
in the case.
Rochester walked back and resumed his seat by Clymer. Propping
himself in the corner made by the bench and the cage, inside of
which sat the prisoners, he opened his right hand and unfolded a
small paper. He read the brief penciled message it contained not
once but a dozen times. Folding the paper into minute dimensions
he tucked it carefully inside his vest pocket and glanced sideways
at Clymer. The banker hardly noticed his uneasy movements as he
sat regarding Helen McIntyre standing in the witness box. Although
paler than usual, the girl's manner was quiet, but Clymer, a close
student of human nature, decided she was keeping her composure by
will power alone, and his interest grew.
The Judge, from the Bench, was also regarding the handsome witness
and the burglar with close attention. Colonel Charles McIntyre, a
wealthy manufacturer, had, upon his retirement from active business,
made the National Capital his home, and his name had become a
household word for philanthropy, while his twin daughters were both
popular in Washington's gay younger set. Several reporters of local
papers, attracted by the mention of the McIntyre name, as well as
by the twins' appearance, watched the scene with keen expectancy,
eager for early morning "copy."
As the Assistant District Attorney rose to question Helen McIntyre,
the Judge addressed him.
"Is the prisoner represented by counsel?" he asked.
For reply the burglar shook his head. Rising slowly to his feet,
Philip Rochester advanced to the man's side.
"If it please the court," he began, "I will take the case for the
His offer received a quick acceptance from the Bench, but the scowl
with which the burglar favored him was not pleasant. Hitching at
his frayed flannel collar, the man partly turned his back on the
lawyer and listened with a heavy frown to Helen's quick answers to
the questions put to her.
"While waiting for my sister to return from a dance early this
morning," she stated, "I went downstairs into the library, and as
I entered it I saw a man slip across the room and into a coat
closet. I retained enough presence of mind to steal across to the
closet and turn the key in the door; then I ran to the window and
fortunately saw Officer O'Ryan standing under the arc light across
the street. I called him and he arrested the prisoner."
Her simple statement evoked a nod of approval from the Assistant
District Attorney, and Rochester frowned as he waived his right to
cross-examine her. The next witness was Officer O'Ryan, and his
testimony confirmed Helen's.
"The prisoner was standing back among the coats in the closet," he
said. "My automatic against his ribs brought him out."
"Did you search your prisoner?" asked Rochester, as he took the
"Find any concealed weapons?"
"A burglar's kit?"
"Did the prisoner make a statement after his arrest?"
"No, sir; he came along peaceably enough, hardly a word out of
him," acknowledged O'Ryan regretfully. He enjoyed a reputation on
the force as a "scrapper," and a willing prisoner was a
disappointment to his naturally pugnacious disposition.
"Did you search the house?"
"Sure, and haven't I been telling you I did?" answered O'Ryan; his
pride in his achievement in arresting a burglar in so fashionable
a neighborhood as Sheridan Circle was giving place to resentment at
Rochester's manner of addressing him. At a sign from the lawyer,
he left the witness stand, and Rochester addressed the Judge.
"I ask the indulgence of the court for more time," he commenced,
"that I may consult my client and find if he desires to call
"The court finds," responded the Judge, "that a clear case of
house-breaking has been proven against the prisoner by reputable
witnesses. He will have to stand trial."
For the first time the prisoner raised his eyes from contemplation
of the floor.
"I demand trial by jury," he announced.
"It is your right," acknowledged the Judge, and turned to consult
Stepping forward, the deputy marshal laid his hand on the burglar's
"Go inside," he directed and held open the cage door, which
immediately swung back into place, and Rochester, following closely
at the prisoner's heels, halted abruptly. A fit of coughing shook
the burglar and he paused by the iron railing, gasping for breath.
"Water," he pleaded, and a court attendant handed a cup to
Rochester, standing just outside the cage, and he passed it over
the iron railing to the burglar. Then turning on his heel the
lawyer rejoined Clymer, his discontent plainly discernible.
"A clear case against your client," remarked Clymer, reading his
thoughts. "Don't take the affair to heart, man; you did your
best under difficulties."
Rochester shook his head gloomily. "I might have - Jove! why didn't
I ask for bail?"
"Bail!" The banker suppressed a chuckle as he eyed the threadbare
suit and tattered appearance of the burglar, who had resumed his
seat in the prisoner's cage. "Who would have stood surety for that
"I would have." Rochester spoke with some vehemence, but his words
were partly drowned by the violent fit of coughing which again shook
the burglar, and before he could finish his sentence, Helen McIntyre
stood at his elbow. She bowed gravely to Clymer who rose at her
approach, and laid a persuasive hand on Rochester's sleeve.
"Will you come with us?" she asked. "Barbara and Dr. Stone are
ready to leave. The doctor wishes to -" As she spoke she looked
across at Stone, who stood opposite her in the little group. He
failed to catch both her word and her eye, his gaze, passing over
her shoulder, was riveted on the burglar.
"Something is wrong," he announced and pushed past Barbara. "Let
me inside the cage," he directed as the deputy marshal kept the gate
closed at his approach. "Your prisoner appears ill."
One glance at the burglar proved the truth of the physician's
statement and the gate was hastily opened. Stone bent over the man,
whose spasmodic breathing could be heard distinctly through the
court room, then his gaze shifted to the other occupants of the cage.
"The man must have air," he declared. "Your aid here." Looking up
his eyes met Clymer's, and the latter came swiftly into the cage,
followed by Rochester, and the deputy marshal slammed the door shut
"Step out this way," he said, as Clymer aided the physician in
lifting the burglar, and he led them into the ante-room whence
prisoners were taken into the cage.
Stretching his burden on the floor, Stone tore open the man's shirt
and felt his heart, while Clymer, spying a water cooler, sped across
the room and returned immediately with a brimming glass.
"Here's water," he said, but Stone refused the proffered glass.
"No use," he announced. "The man is dead."
"Dead!" echoed the deputy marshal. "Well, I'll be - say, doctor,"
but Stone had darted out of the room, and he turned open-mouthed to
Clymer. "If it wasn't Doctor Stone I would say he was crazy," he
"Tut! Feel the man's heart and convince yourself," suggested
Clymer tartly, and the deputy marshal, dropping on one knee, did so.
Detecting no heart-beat, the officer passed his hand over the dead
man's unshaven chin and across his forehead, brushing back the
unkempt hair. Under his none too gentle touch the wig slipped
back, revealing to his astonished gaze a head of short cropped, red
Clymer, who had followed the deputy marshal's movements with
interest, gave a shout which was echoed by Rochester and Dr. Stone,
who returned at that moment.
"Good God!" gasped Clymer, shaken out of his accustomed calm.
The deputy marshal eyed the startled men.
"You don't mean -" he stammered, and paused.
For answer Dr. Stone straightened the dead man and removed the wig.
"James Turnbull," he said gravely, and turning, addressed Rochester,
who had dropped down on the nearest chair. "Cashier of the
Metropolis Trust Company, Rochester, and your roommate, masquerading
as a burglar."
THE GAME OF CONSEQUENCES
R 0 Chester did not appear to hear Dr. Stone's words. With eyes
half starting from their sockets he sat staring at the dead man,
completely oblivious of the others' presence. After watching him
for a moment the physician turned briskly to the dazed deputy
"Summon the coroner," he directed. "We cannot move the body until
His curt tone brought the official's wits back with a jump and he
made for the exit, only to be stopped at the threshold by a
sandy-haired man just entering the room.
At the word coroner, Rochester raised himself from his bent attitude
and brushed his hand across his eyes.
"No need for a coroner to diagnose the case," he objected. "Poor
Turnbull always said he would go off like that."
Stone moved nearer. "Like that?" he questioned, pointing to the
still figure. "Explain yourself, Rochester. Did Turnbull expect
to die here in this manner?"
"No - no - certainly not." The lawyer moistened his dry lips. "But
when a man has angina pectoris he knows the end may come at any
moment and in any place. Turnbull made no secret of suffering from
that disease." Rochester turned toward Clymer. "You knew it."
Benjamin Clymer, who had been gazing alternately at the dead man
and vaguely about the room, looked startled at the abrupt question.
"I knew Turnbull had bad attacks of the heart; we all knew it at
the bank," he stated. "But I understood the disease had responded
"There is no cure for angina pectoris," declared Rochester.
"No permanent cure," amended Stone, and would have added more, but
Rochester stopped him.
"Now that you know Turnbull died of angina pectoris there is no
necessity of sending for the coroner," Rochester spoke in haste, his
words tumbling over each other. "I will go at once and communicate
with an undertaker." But before he could rise from his chair the
sandy-haired man, who had conducted a whispered conversation with
the deputy marshal, advanced toward the group.
"Just a moment, gentlemen," he said, and turned back a lapel of his
coat and displayed a metal badge. "I am Ferguson of the Central
Office. Do you know the deceased?"
"He was my intimate friend," announced Rochester before his
companions could reply to the detective's question, which was
addressed to all. "Mr. Clymer, here, can tell you that Jimmie
Turnbull, cashier of his bank, was well known in financial and
"How came he here in this fix?" asked Ferguson with more force than
"A sudden heart attack - angina pectoris, you know," replied
Rochester glibly, "with fatal results."
"I wasn't alluding to what killed him," Ferguson explained. "But
why was the cashier of the Metropolis Trust Company," he looked
questioningly at Clymer whom he knew quite well by sight, "and a
social high-light, decked out in these clothes and a wig, too?"
leaning down, the better to examine the clothing on the dead man.
"He had just been held for the Grand Jury on a charge of
house-breaking," volunteered the deputy marshal. "I reckon that
brought on his heart-attack."
"True, true," agreed Rochester. "The excitement was too much for
"House-breaking" ejaculated the detective. "Dangerous sport for
a man suffering with angina pectoris, aside from anything else.
Who preferred charges?"
"The Misses McIntyre," answered the deputy marshal, to whom the
question was addressed. "Like to interview them?"
"No, no!" Rochester was on his feet instantly. "There is no
necessity to bring the twins out here - it's too tragic!"
"Tragic?" echoed Ferguson. "Why?"
"Why - why - Turnbull was arrested in their house," Rochester was
commencing to stutter. "He was their friend -"
"Caught burglarizing, heh?" Ferguson's eyes glowed; the case
already whetted his remarkably keen inquisitorial instinct which
had gained him place and certain fame in the Washington police force.
"Are the Misses McIntyre still in the building?"
"They were in the court room just before we brought Turnbull's body
here," responded the deputy marshal. "I guess they are still
waiting, eh, doctor?"
Stone, thus appealed to, nodded. "I agree with Mr. Rochester," he
said, and the gravity of his manner impressed Ferguson. "It is
better for me to break the news of Mr. Turnbull's death to the young
ladies before bringing them here. Therefore, with your permission,
Ferguson - He got no further.
Through the outer entrance of the room came Helen McIntyre and her
sister Barbara, conducted by the same bowing patrolman who had
ushered them into the court room an hour before.
"My God! Too late!" stammered Rochester under his breath, and he
turned in desperation to Benjamin Clymer. The bank president's
state of mind at the extraordinary masquerade and sudden death of
his popular and trusted cashier bordered on shocked horror, which
had made him a passive witness of the rapidly shifting scene.
Rochester clutched his arm in his agitation. "Get the twins out
of here - do something, man! Don't you know that Turnbull was
in love with -"
His fervid whisper penetrated further than he realized and one of
the McIntyre twins looked inquiringly in their direction. Clymer,
more startled than his demeanor indicated, wondered if she had
overheard Rochester's ejaculations, but whatever action the banker
contemplated in response to the lawyer's appeal was checked by a
scream from the girl on his right. With ashen face and trembling
finger she pointed to Turnbull's body which suddenly confronted her
as she walked forward.
"Who is it?" she gasped. "Babs, tell me!" And she held out her
Her sister stepped to her side and bent over Turnbull. When she
looked up her lips alone retained their color.
"Hush!" she implored, giving her sister a slight shake. "Hush!
It is Jimmie Turnbull. Can you not see for yourself, dear?"
It seemed doubtful if Helen heard her; with attention wholly
centered on the dead man she swayed on her feet, and Dr. Stone,
thinking she was about to fall, placed a supporting arm about
"Do you not know Jimmie?" asked her sister. "Don't stare so,
dearest." Her tone was pleading.
"Perhaps the young lady has some difficulty in recognizing Mr.
Turnbull in his disguise," suggested Ferguson, who stood somewhat
in the background but closely observing the scene.
"Disguise!" Helen raised her eyes and Ferguson, hardened as he
had become to tragic scenes, felt a throb of pity as he caught
the pent-up agony in her mute appeal.
"Yes, Miss," he said awkwardly. "The burglar you caught in your
house was Mr. Turnbull in disguise.
Barbara McIntyre released her grasp of her sister's arm and
collapsed on a chair. Stone, still supporting Helen, felt her
muscles grow taut and an instant later she stepped back from his
side and stood by her sister. As the two girls faced the circle
of men, the likeness between them was extraordinary. Each had
the same slight graceful figure, equal height; and feature for
feature, coloring matching coloring, they were identical; their
gowns, even, were cut on similar lines, only their hats varied in
shape and color.
"Do I understand, gentlemen," Helen began, and her voice gained
steadiness as she proceeded, "that the burglar whom Officer O'Ryan
and I caught lurking in our house was James Turnbull?"
"He was," answered Ferguson, and Stone, as the twins looked dumbly
at him, confirmed the detective's statement with a brief, "Yes."
The silence that ensued was broken by Barbara rising to her feet.
"Jimmie won his wager," she announced. Her gaze did not waver
before the concentrated regard of the men facing her. "He broke
into our house - but, oh, how can I pay my debt to him now that
he is dead!"
"Hush!" Helen laid a cautioning hand on her sister's arm as the
latter's voice gained in shrillness, the shrillness of approaching
"I am all right, Helen." Barbara waved her away impatiently.
"What caused Jimmie's death?"
"Angina pectoris," declared Rochester. "Too much excitement brought
on a fatal attack." Barbara nodded dazedly. "I knew he had heart
trouble, but -" She stepped toward Turnbull and her voice quivered
with feeling. "Don't leave Jimmie lying there; take him to his
room, doctor," turning entreatingly to Stone.
The physician looked at her compassionately. "I will, just as soon
as the coroner views the body," he promised. "But come away now,
Babs; this is no place for you and Helen." He signed to the deputy
marshal to open the door as he walked across the room, Barbara
keeping step with him, and her sister following in their wake.
At the door Barbara paused and looked back.
"Will there be an inquest?" she asked.
"That's for the coroner to decide," responded Ferguson. "As long
as Mr. Turnbull entered your house on a wager and died from an
attack of angina pectoris the inquest is likely to be a mere
formality. Ah, here is the coroner now," as a man paused in the
Helen McIntyre moved back from the door to make room for Coroner
Penfield. Having had occasion to attend court that morning, he
was passing the door when attracted by the group just inside the
room. Courteously acknowledging Helen's act, Penfield stepped
briskly across the threshold and stopped abruptly on catching sight
of the lonely figure on the floor.
"Won't you hold an autopsy, Ferguson?" asked Clymer, breaking his
"No, sir, we never do when the cause of death is apparent," the
detective bowed to Coroner Penfield. "Isn't that so, Coroner?"
Penfield nodded. "Unless the condition of the body indicates foul
play or the relatives specially request it, we do not perform
autopsies," he answered. "What has happened here?" and he gazed
about with quickened interest.
"Mr. Turnbull, who masqueraded as a burglar on a wager with Miss
McIntyre died suddenly from angina pectoris," explained the deputy
"Just a case of death from natural causes," broke in Rochester.
"Please write out a permit for me to remove Turnbull's body, Dr.
Helen McIntyre took a step forward. Her eyes, twice their
accustomed size, shone brightly, in contrast to her dead white
face. Carefully avoiding her sister's glance she addressed the
"I must insist," she began and stopped to control her voice. "As
Mr. Turnbull's fiancee, I -" she faltered again. "I demand that
an autopsy be held to determine the cause of his death."
THE ROOM WITH THE SEVEN DOORS
Mrs. Brewster regarded her surroundings with inward satisfaction.
It would have taken a far more captious critic than the pretty
widow to find fault with the large, high-ceilinged room in which
she sat. The handsome carved Venetian furniture, the rich hangings
and valuable paintings on the walls gave evidence of Colonel
McIntyre's artistic taste and appreciation of the beautiful. Mrs.
Brewster had never failed, during her visit to the McIntyre twins,
to examine the rare curios in the carved cabinets and the tapestries
on the walls, but that afternoon, with one eye on the clock and the
other on her embroidery, she sat waiting in growing impatience for
the interruption she anticipated.
The hands of the clock had passed the hour of five before the buzz
of a distant bell brought her to her feet. Hurrying to the window
she peeped between the curtains in time to see a stylish roadster
electric glide down the driveway leading from the McIntyre residence
and stop at the curb. As she turned to go back to her chair Dr.
Stone was ushered into the library by the footman. Mrs. Brewster
welcomed her cousin with frank relief.
"I have waited so impatiently for you," she confessed, making room
for him to sit on the sofa by her side.
"I was detained, Margaret." Stone's voice was not over-cordial;
three imperative telephone calls from her, coming at a moment when
he had been engaged with a serious case in his office, had provoked
him. "Do you wish to see me professionally?"
"Indeed, I don't." She laughed frankly. "I am the picture of
Stone, observing her fine coloring and clear eyes, silently agreed
with her. The widow made a charming picture in her modish tea-gown,
and the physician, watching her with an appraising eye, acknowledged
the beauty which had captivated all Washington. Mrs. Brewster had
carried her honors tactfully, a fact which had gained her popularity
even among the dowagers and match-making mothers who take an active
part in Washington's social season.
"Then, Margaret, what do you wish to see me about?" Stone asked,
after waiting without result for her to continue speaking.
She laughed softly. "You are the most practical of men," she said.
"It would not have been so difficult to find a companion anxious to
spend the whole afternoon with me for my sake alone."
"Colonel McIntyre, for instance?" he teased, and laughed amusedly
at her heightened color. "Have a care, Margaret; McIntyre's
flirtations are all very well, but he is the type of man to be
deadly in earnest when once he falls in love."
"Thanks for your warning," Mrs. Brewster smiled, then grew serious.
"I sent for you to ask about Jimmie Turnbull's death this morning.
Barbara told me you accompanied them to the police court."
"Yes. Why weren't you with the girls?"
"Because I was told nothing of their trip to the, police court
until they had returned," she replied. "How horribly tragic the
whole affair is!" And a shiver she could not suppress crept down
"It is," agreed Stone. "What possessed Jimmie Turnbull to play so
mad a trick?"
"His wager with Barbara."
Stone leaned a little nearer. "Have you learned the nature of that
wager?" he asked, lowering his voice.
"No. Babs was in so hysterical a condition when she returned from
the police court that she gave a very incoherent account of the
whole affair, and she has kept her room ever since luncheon,"
explained Mrs. Brewster.
Stone looked puzzled. "I understood that Jimmie was attentive to
Helen McIntyre and not to Barbara," he said. "But upon my word,
Barbara appeared more overcome by Jimmie's death than Helen."
Mrs. Brewster did not reply at once; instead, she glanced carefully
around. The room was generally the rallying place of the McIntyres.
It stretched across almost the entire width of the house; the
diamond-paned and recessed windows gave it a medieval air in keeping
with its antique furniture, and the seven doors opening from it
led, respectively, to the large dining room beyond, a morning room,
billiard room, the front and back halls, and the Italian loggia
which over-looked the stretch of ground between the McIntyre
residence and its neighbor on the north. Apparently, she and Dr.
Stone had the room to themselves.
"I cannot answer your question with positiveness," she stated.
"Frankly, Jimmie appeared impartial in his attentions to the twins.
When he wasn't with Barbara he was with Helen, and vice versa."
Stone gazed at her in some perplexity. "Are you aware that Helen
stated at the police court this morning that she was Turnbull's
"What!" Mrs. Brewster actually bounced in her seat. "You - you
"I was a bit surprised myself," acknowledged the physician. "I
thought Rochester - however, that is neither here nor there. Helen
not only announced she was Jimmie's fiancee but as such demanded
that a post-mortem examination be held to determine the cause of
Mrs. Brewster's pretty color faded and the glance she turned on her
cousin was sharp. "Why should Helen suspect foul play?" she demanded.
"For that is what her request hinted."
"True." Stone pulled his beard absentmindedly. "Ah, here is Colonel
McIntyre," he exclaimed as the portieres before the hall door parted
and a tall man strode into the library.
McIntyre was a favorite with the old physician, and he welcomed his
arrival with warmth. Exchanging a word of greeting with Mrs.
Brewster, McIntyre drew up a chair and dropped into it.
"I called at your office, doctor," he said. "Went there at once on
learning the shocking news about poor Turnbull. Why in the world
didn't he announce who he was when my daughter had him arrested as
a burglar? He must have realized that prolonged excitement was bad
for his weak heart."
Mrs. Brewster, who had settled herself more comfortably in her corner
of the sofa on McIntyre's arrival, answered his remark.
"I only knew Jimmie superficially," she said, "but he had one
distinguishing trait patent to all, his inordinate fondness for
practical jokes. Probably the predicament he found himself in
was highly to his taste - until his heart failed."
Her voice, slightly raised, carried across the room and reached the
ears of a tall, slender girl who had stood hesitating on the
threshold of the dining worn door on beholding the group by the
sofa. All hesitation vanished, however, as the meaning of Mrs.
Brewster's remark dawned on her, and she walked over to the sofa.
"You are very unjust, Margaret," she stated, and at sound of her
low triante voice McIntyre whirled around and frowned slightly.
"Jimmie was thinking of the predicament of others, not of himself."
"What do you mean, Helen?" her father demanded.
"Why, how could Jimmie reveal his identity in court without
involving us?" she asked. "Good afternoon, doctor," recollecting
her manners, and her attention thus diverted, she missed the sudden
questioning look which Mrs. Brewster and her father exchanged. "No,"
she continued, "Jimmie sacrificed himself for others."
"By becoming a burglar." McIntyre laughed shortly. "Don't talk
arrant nonsense, Helen."
The girl flushed at his tone, and Dr. Stone, an interested onlooker,
marveled at the fleeting flash of disdain which lighted her dark
eyes. Stone's interest grew. The McIntyre family had always been
particularly congenial, and the devotion of Colonel McIntyre (left
a widower when the twins were in short frocks) to his daughters had
been commented on frequently by their wide circle of friends in
Washington and by acquaintances made in their travels abroad.
Colonel McIntyre had married when quite a young man. Frugality and
industry and a brilliant mind had reaped their reward, and, wiser
than the majority of Americans, he retired early from business and
devoted himself to a life of leisure and the education of his
daughters. Their debut the previous autumn had been one of the
social events of the Washington season, and the instant popularity
the girls had attained proved a source of pride to Colonel McIntyre.
His chief pleasure consisted in gratifying their every whim, and
Dr. Stone, knowing the family as he did, wondered at the faintly
discernible air of constraint in the girl's manner. Usually frank
to a sometimes embarrassing degree, she appeared to some disadvantage
as she sat gazing moodily at the tips of her patent-leather pumps.
Dr. Stone's attention shifted to Colonel McIntyre and lastly to
the pretty widow at his elbow. Had Dame Rumor spoken truly in the
report, widely circulated, that the colonel had fallen a victim to
the charms of Margaret Brewster, his daughters' guest? If so, it
might account for the young girl's manner - however devoted
McIntyre's daughters might be to Mrs. Brewster as a friend and
companion, they might resent having so young a woman for their
Not receiving any reply to his remarks, McIntyre was about to
address his daughter again when she spoke.
"Jimmie will be justified," she declared stoutly. "Has the coroner
held the autopsy yet, Dr. Stone?"
"Autopsy!" McIntyre spoke with sharp abruptness. "I thought it was
clearly established that Jimmie died from angina pectoris?"
"It is so believed," responded Stone. His mystification was growing;
had not Helen informed her father of the scene which had transpired
at the police court, and of her request to the coroner? "I
understand the post-mortem examination will be made this afternoon,
A heavy paper knife, nicely balanced between McIntyre's well
manicured fingers, dropped to the floor as a step sounded behind
him and the butler, Grimes, stopped by his side.
"Mr. Rochester just telephoned that his partner, Mr. Harry Kent, is
out of town, Miss" - bowing to the silent girl. Grimes always
contented himself with addressing his "young ladies" by the simple
prefix "Miss," and never added their given names, because, as he
expressed it, "them twins are alike as two peas, and which is which,
I dunno." Considering himself one of the family from his long
service with Colonel McIntyre, he kept a watchful eye on the twins,
but their pranks in childhood had often exasperated him into giving
notice, which he generally found it convenient to forget when the
first of a new month came around.
"Mr. Kent will be back to-morrow," added the butler, as silence
followed the delivery of his message. "Mr. Rochester wishes to know
if he can transact any business for you."
"Please thank him and say no." The girl's color rose as she caught
her father's disapproving look. The colonel waited until the butler
had disappeared before addressing her.
"Why did you send for Harry Kent?" he questioned. "You know I do
not approve of his attentions to Barbara. Rochester is well
"Speaking of Rochester "- Mrs. Brewster saw the gathering storm
clouds in the girl's expressive eyes, and broke hastily into the
conversation. "I see by the paper, Cousin Amos" - she turned so
as to face Dr. Stone -" that Mr. Rochester declared positively
that Jimmie Turnbull died from angina pectoris."
"What's Philip's opinion worth?" The young girl smiled disdainfully.
"Philip seems to think that having shared an apartment with Jimmie,
gives him intimate knowledge of Jimmie's health. Philip is not a
"No," acknowledged her father. "But here is a medical man who was
on the spot when Jimmie died. What's your opinion, Stone?"
Stone, suddenly conscious of the keen attention of his companions,
spoke slowly as was his wont when making a serious statement.
"Rochester's contention that Jimmie died from angina pectoris would
seem borne out by what transpired," he said. "Undoubtedly Jimmie
felt an attack coming on and used the customary remedy to relieve
"And what was that remedy?" questioned Mrs. Brewster swiftly.
"Amy1 nitrite." Stone spoke with decision. "I could detect its
presence by the fruity, pleasant odor which always accompanies the
"Ah!" The exclamation slipped from Mrs. Brewster. "Is the drug
administered in water?"
"No, it is inhaled - take care, you have dropped your handkerchief."
Stone pulled himself up short in his speech, and bent over but the
young girl was too quick for him, and stooped first to pick up her
As she raised her head Stone caught sight of the tiny mole under
the lobe of her left ear. It was the one mark which distinguished
Barbara from her twin sister. Colonel McIntyre had addressed his
daughter as Helen, and she had not undeceived him - Why? The
perplexed physician gave up the problem.
"The drug," he went on to explain, "amyl nitrite comes in pearl
capsules and is crushed in a handkerchief and the fumes inhaled."
Mrs. Brewster leaned forward suddenly. "Would that cause death?"
Stone shook his head in denial. "Not the customary dose of three
minims," he answered, and turning, found that Barbara had stolen
from the room.
BARBARA ENGAGES COUNSEL
Bidding a hasty good morning to the elevator girl, Harry Kent,
suit-case in hand, entered the cage and was carried up to the
fourth floor of the Wilkins Building. Several business
acquaintances stopped to chat with him as he walked down the
corridor to his office, and it was fully fifteen minutes before he
turned the knob of the door bearing the firm name - ROCHESTER AND
KENT, ATTORNEYS - on its glass panel. As he stepped inside the
anteroom which separated the two offices occupied respectively by
him and his senior partner, Philip Rochester, a stranger rose from
the clerk's desk.
"Yes, sir?" he asked interrogatively.
Kent eyed him in surprise. "Mr. Rochester here? " he inquired.
"No, sir. It am in charge of the office."
"You are!" Kent's surprise increased. "I happen to be Mr. Kent,
junior partner in this firm."
"I beg your pardon, sir." The dapper clerk bowed and hurrying to
his desk took up a letter. "Mr. Rochester left this for you, Mr.
Kent, before his departure last night."
"His departure!" Kent deposited his suit-case on one of the chairs
and tore open the envelope. The note was a scrawl, which he had
some difficulty in deciphering.
"Dear Kent," it ran. "Am called out of town; will be back Saturday.
Saunders gave me some of his cheek this afternoon, so I fired him.
I engaged John Sylvester to fill his place, who comes highly
recommended. He will report for work to-morrow. Ta-ta - PHIL."
Kent thrust the note into his pocket and picked up his suit-case.
"Mr. Rochester states that he has engaged you," he said. "Your
"Here, sir." The clerk handed him a folded paper, and Kent ran his
eyes down the sheet from the sentence: "To whom it may concern"
to the signature, Clark Hildebrand. The statement spoke in high
terms of John Sylvester, confidential clerk.
"I can refer you to my other employers, Mr. Kent," Sylvester
volunteered as the young lawyer stood regarding the paper. "If you,
desire further information there is Mr. Clymer and -"
"No, Judge Hildebrand'S recommendation is sufficient." And at Kent's
smile the clerk's anxious expression vanished. "Did Mr. Rochester
give you any outline of the work?"
"Yes, sir; he told me to file the papers in the Hitchcock case, and
attend to the morning correspondence."
"Very good. Has any one called this morning?"
"No, sir. These letters were addressed to you personally, and I
have not opened them," Sylvester handed a neatly arranged package
to Kent. "These," indicating several letters lying open on his desk,
"are to the firm."
"Bring them to me in half an hour," and Kent walked into his private
office, carefully closing the door behind him. Opening his suit-case
he took out his brief bag and laid it on the desk in front of him
together with the package of letters. Instead of opening the letters
immediately, he tilted back in his chair and regarded the opposite
wall in deep thought. Philip Rochester could not have selected a
worse time to absent himself; three important cases were on the
calendar for immediate trial and much depended on the firm's
successful handling of them. Kent swore softly under his breath;
his last warning to Rochester, that he would dissolve their
partnership if the older man continued to neglect his practice, had
been given only a month before and upon Kent's return from eight
months' service in the Judge Advocate General's Department in France.
Apparently his warning had fallen on deaf ears and Rochester was
indulging in another periodic spree, for so Kent concluded, recalling
the unsteady penmanship of the note handed to him by the new clerk,
Kent was still frowning at the opposite wall when a faint knock
sounded, and at his call Sylvester entered.
"Here are the letters received this morning, sir, and type-written
copies of the answers to yesterday's correspondence which Mr.
Rochester dictated before leaving," Sylvester explained as he
placed the papers on Kent's desk. "If you will o.k. them, I will
mail them at once."
Kent went through the letters with care, and the new clerk rose in
his estimation as he read the excellent dictation of the clearly
"These will do admirably," he announced. "Sit down and I will reply
to the other letters."
At the end of an hour Sylvester closed his stenographic note book
and collected the correspondence, by that time scattered over Kent's
"I'll have these notes ready for your signature before lunch," he
said as he picked up a newspaper from the floor where it had tumbled
during Kent's search for some particu1ar letter heads. "I brought
in the morning paper, sir; thought perhaps you had not seen it."
"Thanks." Kent swung his chair nearer the window and opened the
newspaper. He had purchased a copy when walking through Union
Station on his arrival, but had left it in the cafeteria where he
had snatched a cup of coffee and hot rolls before hurrying to his
He read a column devoted to international affairs, scanned an
account of a senatorial wrangle, and was about to turn to the second
page, whistling cheerily, when his attention was arrested by the
BANK CASHIER DIES IN POLICE COURT
JAMES TURNBULL, MISTAKEN FOR BURGLAR,
SUFFERS FATAL ATTACK OF ANGINA PECTORIS
Kent's whistle stopped abruptly, and clutching the paper in both
hands, he devoured the short account printed under the scare heads:
"While masquerading as a burglar on a wager,
James Turnbull, cashier of the Metropolis Trust
Company, was arrested by Officer O'Ryan at an
early hour yesterday morning in the residence of
Colonel Charles McIntyre.
"Officer O'Ryan conducted his prisoner to the
8th Precinct Police Station, and later he was
arraigned in the police court. The Misses
McIntyre appeared in person to prefer the
charges against the supposed burglar, who, on
being sworn, gave the name of John Smith.
"Philip Rochester, the well known criminal
lawyer, was assigned by the court to defend the
prisoner. Upon the evidence submitted Judge
Mackall held the prisoner for trial by the grand
"It was just after the Judge's announcement
that 'John Smith,' then sitting in the prisoners
cage, was seized with the attack of angina pectoris
which ended so fatally a few minutes later.
It was not until after he had expired that those
rendering him medical assistance became aware
that he was James Turnbull in disguise.
"James Turnbull was a native of Washington,
his father, the late Hon Josiah Turnbull of
Connecticut, having made this city his permanent
home in the early '90s. Mr. Turnbull was looked
upon as one of the rising young men in banking
circles; he was also prominent socially, was a
member of the Alibi, Metropolitan, and Country
Clubs, and until recently was active in all forms
of athletics, when his ill-health precluded active
"Officer O'Ryan, who was greatly shocked by
the fatal termination to Mr. Turnbull's rash
wager, stated to the representatives of the press
that Mr. Turnbull gave no hint of his identity
while being interrogated at the 8th Precinct
Station. Friends attribute Mr. Turnbull's
disinclination to reveal himself to the court, to
his enjoyment of a practical joke, not realizing
that the resultant excitement of the scene would
react on his weak heart.
"Mr. Turnbull is survived by a great aunt; he had
no nearer relatives living. It is a singular
coincidence that the lawyer appointed by the
court to defend Turnbull was his intimate friend,
Philip Rochester, who made his home with the
Kent read the column over and over, then, letting the paper slip
to the floor, sat back in his chair, too dumb-founded for words.
Jimmie Turnbull arrested as a burglar in the home of the girl he
loved on charges preferred by her, and defended in court by his
intimate friend, both of whom were unaware of his identity! Kent
rumpled his fair hair until it stood upright. And Jimmie's death
had followed almost immediately as the result of over-excitement!
Kent's eyes grew moist; he had been very fond of the eccentric,
lovable bank cashier, whose knack of performing many a kindly act,
unsolicited, had endeared him to friends and acquaintances alike.
Kent had seen much of him after his return from France, for Jimmie's
attention to Helen McIntyre had been only second to Kent's devotion
to the latter's sister, Barbara. The two men had one bond in common.
Colonel McIntyre disliked them and discouraged their calling, to the
secret fury of both, but love had found a way - Kent's eyes kindled
at the recollection of Barbara's half-shy, wholly tender reception
of his ardent pleading.
Turnbull's courtship had met with a set-back where he had least
expected it - Philip Rochester had fallen deeply in love with Helen
and, encouraged by her father, had pressed his suit with ardor.
Frequent quarrels between the two close friends had been the outcome,
and Jimmie had confided to Kent, before the latter left on the
business trip to Chicago from which he had returned that morning,
that the situation had become intolerable and he had notified
Rochester that he would no longer share his apartment with him, and
to look for other quarters as quickly as possible.
So buried was Kent in his thoughts that he never heard Sylvester's
knock, and it was not until the clerk stood at his elbow that he
awoke from his absorption.
"A lady to see you, Mr. Kent," he announced. "Shall I show her in?"
"Certainly - her name?"
"She gave none." Sylvester paused on his way back to the door.
"It is one of the Misses McIntyre."
"Good Lord!" Kent was on his feet, straightening his tie and
brushing his rumpled hair. "Here, wait a minute "- clutching a
whisk broom in a frantic endeavor to remove some of the signs of
travel which still clung to him. But he had only opportunity for
one dab at his left shoulder before Barbara entered the office.
All else forgotten, Kent tossed down the whisk broom and the next
instant he had clasped her hand in both of his, his eyes telling
more eloquently than his stumbling words, his joy at seeing her
"This is a business call," she stated demurely, on you and Mr.
Rochester." Her lovely eyes held a glint of mischief as she
mentioned Kent's partner, then her expression grew serious. "I
want legal advice."
"I am afraid you will have to put up with me," Kent moved his chair
closer to the one she had selected by the desk. "Rochester is out
"What!" Barbara sat bolt upright. "Where - where's he gone?"
"I don't know "- Kent pulled Rochester's letter out of his pocket
and re-read it. "He did not mention where he was going."
Barbara stared at him; she had paled.
"When did Philip leave?"
"Last night, I presume." Kent tipped back his chair and pressed
a buzzer; a second later Sylvester appeared in the doorway.
"Did Mr. Rochester tell you where he was going?" he asked the clerk.
"No, sir. Mr. Rochester stated that you had his address.
"I?" Kent concealed his growing surprise. "Did he leave any message
for me, other than the letter?"
"At what hour did he leave the office?"
"I can't say, sir; he was still here when I went away at five
o'clock. He gave me a key to the office so that I could get in
this morning." Kent remained silent, and he added, "Is that all,
"Yes, thanks," and the clerk retired.
As the door closed Barbara turned to Kent. "Have you heard about
Her voice was a bit breathless as she put the question, but Kent,
puzzling over his partner's eccentric conduct, hardly noted her
"Yes. I saw the account just now in the morning paper," he answered.
"A shocking affair. Poor Turnbull! He was a good fellow."
"He was!" Barbara spoke with unaccustomed vehemence, and looking
at her Kent saw that her eyes were filled with tears. Impulsively
he threw his arm about her, holding her close.
"My heart's dearest," he murmured fondly. "If there is anything
- anything I can do -"
Barbara straightened up and winked away the tears. "There is," she
said tersely. "Investigate Jimmie's death."
Kent gazed at her in astonishment. "Please explain," he suggested.
"The morning paper states very plainly that the cause of death was an
attack of angina pectoris."
"Yes, I know, and that is what Philip Rochester contends also."
Barbara paused and glanced about the office; they had the room to
themselves. "B-but Helen believes otherwise."
Kent drew back. "What do you mean, Babs?" he demanded.
"Just that," Barbara spoke wearily, and Kent, giving her close
attention, grew aware of dark shadows under her eyes which told
plainly of a sleepless night. "I want to engage you as our counsel
to help Helen find out about Jimmie's death."
"Find out what?" asked Kent, his bewilderment increasing. "Do you
mean that Jimmie's death was not the result of a dangerous heart
disease, but of foul play?"
Barbara nodded her head vigorously. "Yes."
Kent sat back in his chair and regarded her in silence for a second.
"How could that be, Babs, in an open police court with dozens of
spectators all about?" he asked. "The slightest attempt to kill
him would have been frustrated by the police officials; remember,
a prisoner especially, is hedged in and guarded."
"Well, he wasn't so very hedged in," retorted Barbara. "I was there
and saw how closely people approached Jimmie."
"Did you observe any one hand him anything?"
"N-no," Barbara drawled the word as she strove to visualize the
scene in the court room; then catching Kent's look of doubt she
added with unmistakable emphasis. "Helen and I do not believe
that Jimmie died from natural causes; we think the tragedy should
be investigated." Her soft voice deepened. "I must know the
truth, Harry, dear; for I feel that perhaps I am responsible for
"You!" Kent's voice rose in indignant protest. "Absurd!"
"No, it isn't If it had not been for my wager with Jimmie, he
never would have entered our house disguised as a burglar."
"What brought about the wager?"
"Last Sunday Helen was boasting of her two new police dogs which
Philip Rochester recently gave her, and said how safe she felt.
We've had several burglaries in our neighborhood," Barbara explained,
"and when Jimmie scoffed at the dogs, I bet him that he could not
break into the house without the dogs arousing the household. I
never once thought about Jimmie's heart trouble," she confessed,
and her lips quivered. "I feel so guilty."
"You are inconsistent, Babs," chided Kent gently. "One moment you
reproach yourself for being the cause of bringing on Jimmie's heart
attack, and the next you declare you believe he died through foul
play. You," looking at her tenderly, while a whimsical smile
softened his stern mouth, "don't go so far as to claim you murdered
him, do you?"
"Of course I didn't!" Barbara spoke with indignant emphasis, and
her fingers snapped in uncontrollable nervousness. "Jimmie was
very dear" - she hesitated - "to us. Neither Helen nor I can leave
a stone unturned until we know without a shadow of a doubt what
"That is easily proven," declared Kent. "An autopsy -"
"Helen asked the coroner to hold one."
Kent stared - the twins were certainly in earnest.
"My advice to you is to wait until you hear the result of the
post-mortem from Coroner Penfield," he said gravely. "Until we know
definitely what killed Jimmie, speculation is idle."
Barbara rose at once. "I thought you would be more sympathetic,"
she remarked, and her voice was a bit unsteady. "I am sorry to
have troubled you."
In an instant Kent was by her side. "Barbara," he entreated. "I
promise solemnly to aid you in every possible way. My only
happiness is in serving you," his voice was very tender. "I slave
here day in and day out that I may sometime be able to make a home
for you. Don't leave me in anger."
"I was not angry, only deeply hurt," Barbara confessed. "I have so
longed to see you. I - I needed you! I -" The rest was lost as she
bowed her head against Kent's broad shoulder, and his impassioned
whispers of devotion brought solace to her troubled spirit.
"I must go," declared Barbara ten minutes later. "Father would make
a fearful scene if he knew I had been here to see you." She picked
up her hand-bag, preparatory to leaving. "Then I can tell Helen
that you will aid us?"
"Yes." Kent stopped on his way to the door. "I will try and see
the coroner this afternoon. In the meantime, Babs, can't you tell
me what makes you suspect that Jimmie might have been killed?"
"I have nothing tangible to go on," she admitted. "Only a woman's
Kent did not smile. "Instinct," he repeated thoughtfully. "Well,
does your instinct hazard a guess as to the weapon, the opportunity,
and the motive for such a crime? Jimmie Turnbull hadn't an enemy
in the world."
Barbara looked at him oddly. "Suppose you find the answer to those
conundrums," she suggested. "Don't come to the elevator; Margaret
Brewster may see you with me, and she would tell father of our
"Is Mrs. Brewster still with you?" asked Kent, paying no attention
to her protests as he accompanied her down the corridor. "I
understood she planned to return to the West last week."
"She did, but father persuaded her to prolong her visit," Barbara
was guilty of a grimace, then hailing the descending elevator she
bolted into it and waved her good-by to Kent as the cage shot
When Kent reentered his office he found Sylvester hanging up the
"Mr. Clymer has telephoned to ask if you will come to the Metropolis
Trust Company at once," he said, and before Kent could frame a
reply he had darted into the coat closet and brought out his hat and
cane, and handed them to him.
"Don't wait for me, but go out for your luncheon," directed Kent,
observing the hour. "I have my key and can get in when I return if
you should not be here," and not waiting to hear Sylvester's thanks,
he hurried away.
The clock over the bank had just struck noon when Kent reached the
fine office building which housed the Metropolis Trust Company, and
as he entered the bank, a messenger stopped him.
"Mr. Clymer is waiting for you in his private office, sir," he said,
and led the way past the long rows of mahogany counters and plate
glass windows to the back of the bank, finally stopping before a door
bearing the name, in modest lettering- BENJAMIN AUGUSTUS CLYMER.
The bank president was sensitive on one point; he never permitted
initials only to be used before his name. The messenger's
deferential knock was answered by a gruff command to enter. Clymer
welcomed Kent with an air of relief.
"You know Colonel McIntyre," he said by way of introduction, and
Kent became aware that the tall man lounging with his back to him
in one of the leather covered chairs was Barbara's father. Colonel
McIntyre returned Kent's bow with a curt nod, and then Clymer
pushed forward a chair.
"Sit down, Kent," he began. "You have already handled several
confidential affairs for the bank in a satisfactory manner, and
I have sent for you to-day to ask your aid in an urgent matter.
Before I go further I must ask you to treat what I am about to say
as strictly confidential."
"Certainly, Mr. Clymer."
"Good! Then draw up your chair." Clymer waited until Kent had
complied with his request. "You have heard of Jimmie Turnbull's
sudden and tragic death?"
"As you know, he was cashier of this bank." Clymer spoke with
deliberation. "Soon after word reached here of his death, the
vice-president and treasurer of the bank had a careful examination
made of his books and accounts." Clymer paused to clear his throat;
he was troubled with an irritating cough. "Turnbull's accounts
were found in first class order."
"I am sure they would be, Mr. Clymer," exclaimed Kent warmly. "Any
one who knew Jimmie would never doubt his honesty."
McIntyre turned in his chair and regarded the speaker with no
friendly eye, but aside from that, took no part in the conversation.
Clymer did not at once resume speaking.
"To-day," he commenced finally, "Colonel McIntyre called at the
bank and asked the treasurer, Mr. Gilmore, for certain valuable
negotiable securities which he left in the bank's care a month ago.
Mr. Gilmore told Colonel McIntyre that these securities had been
given to Jimmie Turnbull last Saturday on his presentation of a
letter from McIntyre requesting that they be turned over to the
bank's cashier. McIntyre expressed his surprise and asked to see
the letter " - Clymer paused and took a paper from his desk. "Here
is the letter."
Kent took the paper and examined it closely.
"This is perfectly in order," he said. "A clear statement in
Colonel McIntyre's handwriting and on his stationery.
For the first time Colonel McIntyre addressed him.
"The letter is in order," he acknowledged, "and written on my
stationery, but it was not written by me. The letter is a clever
THE VANISHING MAN
It still lacked twenty minutes of nine o'clock that night when Harry
Kent turned into the Saratoga apartment hotel, and not waiting to
take one of the elevators, ran up the staircase to the apartment
which had been occupied jointly by Jimmie Turnbull and Philip
Rochester. Kent had already selected the right key from among those
on the bunch he had found in Rochester's desk at the office, and
slipping it into the key-hole of the outer door, he turned the lock
and walked noiselessly inside the dark apartment.
The soft click of the outer door as it swung to was hardly
noticeable, and Kent, pausing only long enough to get his breath
from his run up the staircase, stepped into the living room and
reached for the electric light switch. Instead of encountering the
cold metal of the switch his groping fingers closed over warm flesh.
Startled as he was, Kent retained enough presence of mind to grasp
the hand tightly; the next second a man hurled himself upon him and
he gave back. Furniture in the path of the struggling men was
overturned as they fought in silent desperation. Kent would have
given much for light. He strained his eyes to see his adversary,
but the pitch darkness concealed all but the vaguest outline. As
Kent got his second wind, confidence in his strength returned and he
redoubled his efforts; suddenly his hands shifted their grip and he
swung his adversary backward, pinning him against the wall.
A faint, sobbing breath escaped the man, and Kent felt the whole
figure against which he pressed, quiver and relax; the taut muscles
of chest and arms grew slack, collapsed.
Kent stood in wonderment, peering ahead, his hands empty - the man
Drawing a long, long breath Kent felt his way back to the electric
switch and pressed the button, lighting both the wall brackets and
the table lamps. With both hands on his throbbing temples he gazed
at the over-turned chairs; they, as well as his aching throat,
testified to his encounter having been a reality and not a fantastic
dream. His glance traveled this way and that about the room and
rested longest on the opposite side of the room where he had pinned
the man to the wall. Wall -! Kent leaned against a tall highboy
and laughed weakly, immoderately. He had pushed the man straight
against the door leading into Rochester's bedroom, and not, as he
had supposed, against the solid wall.
The man had been quick-witted enough to grasp the situation; his
pretended weakness had caused Kent to relax his hold, a turn of
the knob of the door, which swung inward, and he had made his escape
into the bedroom, leaving Kent staring into dark, empty space.
Gathering his wits together Kent hurried into the bedroom - it was
empty; so also was the bathroom opening from it. From there Kent
made the rounds of the apartment, switching on the light until the
place was ablaze, but in spite of his minute search of closets and
under beds and behind furniture he could find no trace of his
late adversary. Kent stopped long enough in the pantry to refresh
himself with a glass of water, then he returned to the living room
and sat down in an arm chair by the window. He wanted time to think.
How had the man vanished so utterly, leaving no trace behind in the
apartment? The window in Rochester's room was locked on the inside;
in fact, all the apartment windows were securely fastened, he had
found on his tour of inspection; the only one not locked was the
oval, swinging window high up in the side wall of the bathroom;
only a child could squeeze through it, Kent decided. The window
looked into a well formed by the wings of the apartment house, and
had a sheer drop of fifty feet to the ground below.
But for his unfortunate luck in backing the man against the bedroom
door instead of the wall he would not have escaped, but how had the
man realized so instantly that he was against a door in the pitch
darkness? It certainly showed familiarity with his surroundings.
Kent sat upright as an idea flashed through his brain - was the man
Kent scouted the idea but it persisted. Suppose it had been Philip
Rochester awakened from a drunken slumber by his entrance in the dark;
if so, nothing more likely than that he had mistaken him, Kent, for
a burglar and sprung at him. But why had he disappeared without
revealing his identity to Kent? Surely the same reason worked both
ways - the man who had wrestled with him was as unaware of Kent's
identity as Kent was of his - they had fought in the dark and in
Kent laughed aloud. The situation had its amusing side; then, as
recollection came of the scene in the bank that morning, his mirth
changed to grim seriousness. At his earnest solicitation and backed
by Benjamin Clymer's endorsement of his plan, Colonel McIntyre had
agreed to give him until Saturday night to locate the missing
securities; if he failed, then the colonel proposed placing the
affair in the hands of the authorities.
Kent's firm mouth settled into dogged lines at the thought; such a
procedure meant besmirching Jimmie Turnbull's name; let the public
get the slightest inkling that the bank cashier was suspected of
forgery and there would be the devil to pay. Kent was determined
to protect the honor of his dead friend, and to aid Helen McIntyre
in her investigation of his sudden death.
Jimmie Turnbull had been the soul of honor; that he had ever stooped
to forgery was unbelievable. There was some explanation favorable
to him - there must be. Kent's clenched fist struck the arm of his,
chair a vigorous blow and he leapt to his feet. Wasting no further
time on speculation, he commenced a systematic search of the
apartment, replacing each chair and table as well as the rugs which
had been over-turned in his recent tussle, after which he tried the
drawers of Jimmie's desk. They were unlocked. A careful search
brought nothing to light but receipted bills, some loose change, old
dinner cards, theater programs, tea invitations, and several packages
Turning from the desk Kent walked over to the table which he knew
was Philip Rochester's property; he recalled having once seen Jimmie
place some papers there by mistake; having done so once, the mistake
might have occurred again. Taking out his partner's bunch of keys,
he soon found one that fitted and opened the drawers. He had half
completed his task, without finding any clew to the missing
securities, when he was interrupted by the sound of the opening of
the front door, and had but time to slam the drawers shut and pocket
the keys when the night clerk of the hotel stepped inside the
apartment and, closely followed by a sandy-haired man, walked into
the living room. He halted abruptly at sight of Kent.
"Good evening, Mr. Kent," he exclaimed, and took in at a glance the
orderly arrangement of the room. "Pardon my unceremonious entrance,
but I had no idea you were here, sir; we received a telephone
message that a burglar had broken in here."
"You did!" Kent stared at him. Was he right, after all, in his
conjecture; had the man been Philip Rochester? It would seem so,
for who else, after taking refuge elsewhere, would have telephoned
a warning of burglars to the hotel office? "Have you any idea who
sent the message, Mr. Stuart?"
"I have not; it was an out-side call -" Stuart turned to his
companion. "Sorry I brought you here on an idiotic chase, Mr.
"That's all right," responded the detective good naturedly. "Would
you like me to look through the apartment just to see if any one
really is concealed on the premises, Mr. Kent?" he asked, and added
quickly, seeing Kent hesitate, "I am from the central office; Mr.
Stuart can vouch for me."
Kent's hesitation vanished. "I'd be obliged if you would, Ferguson."
As he spoke he led the way to Rochester's bedroom. "Come with us,
Stuart," as the clerk loitered behind.
"Guess not, sir; I'm needed down at the desk, we are short-handed
to-night. Let me know how the hunt turns out," and he stepped into
the vestibule. "Good night."
"Good night," called Kent, and he accompanied Ferguson as far as the
bathroom door, then returned to his inspection of Rochester's table.
He had just completed his task when the detective rejoined him.
"No trace of any one," the latter announced. "Some one put up a
joke on Stuart, I imagine. Find what you wished, sir?"
Kent was distinctly annoyed by the question. "Yes," he replied
Ferguson ignored his curt tone. "Will you spare me a few minutes
of your time, Mr. Kent?" he asked persuasively. "I won't detain
"Certainly." Kent moved over to the chair in the window which he
had occupied before and pointed to another, equally as comfortable.
"What can I do for you?" he asked as Ferguson dropped back and
stretched himself in the soft depths of the big chair.
"Supply some information," answered the detective promptly. "Just
a minute," as Kent started to interrupt. "You don't recall me, but
I met you while working on the Chase case; you handled that trial
in great shape," Ferguson looked admiringly at his companion. "Lots
of the praise went to your partner, Mr. Rochester, but I know you
did the work. Now, please let me finish," holding up a protesting
hand. "I know you've carried Mr. Rochester in your firm; he's dead
wood." Kent was silent. What the detective said was only too true.
Rochester, realizing the talent and industry which characterized
his younger partner, had withdrawn more and more from active
practice, and had devoted himself to the social life of the National
"This is rather a long-winded way of reaching my point," finished
the detective. "But, Mr. Kent, I want your assistance in a puzzling
"Go on, I'm listening." As he spoke, Kent drew out his cigar case
and handed it to Ferguson. "The matches are on the smoking stand
at your elbow. Now, what is it, Ferguson?"
His companion did not reply at once; instead he puffed at his cigar.
"Did you read in the paper about Mr. Turnbull's death?" he asked
when the cigar was drawing to his satisfaction, and as Kent nodded
a silent affirmative in answer to his question, he asked another.
"Did you know him well?"
"Did he have an enemy?"
"Not to my knowledge." Kent was watching the detective narrowly;
what was he driving at? "On the contrary Turnbull was extremely
"With Colonel McIntyre?" Ferguson had hoped to surprise Kent with
the question, but his companion's expression did not alter.
"N-no, perhaps he was not over-popular with the colonel," he
admitted slowly. "What prompts the question, Ferguson?"
The detective hitched his chair nearer. "I'm going to lay all my
cards on the table," he announced. "I need advice and you are the
man to give it to me. Listen, Mr. Kent, this Jimmie Turnbull
masquerades as a burglar night before last at the McIntyre house,
is arrested, a charge brought against him for house-breaking by Miss
Helen McIntyre, and shortly after he dies -"
"From angina pectoris," finished Kent, as the detective paused.
"So Mr. Rochester contended," admitted Ferguson. "We'll let that
go for a minute. Now, when Miss McIntyre saw Turnbull's body, she
demanded an autopsy. Why?"
"To discover the cause of death," answered Kent quietly. "That is
"Sure. And why did she wish to discover it?" He waited a brief
instant, then answered his own question. "Because Miss McIntyre
did not agree with Rochester that Turnbull had died from angina
pectoris - that is obvious, too. Now, what made her think that?"
"I am sure I don't know" - Kent's air of candor was unmistakable
and Ferguson showed his disappointment.
"Hasn't Miss McIntyre been to see you?"
"No," was Kent's truthful answer; Barbara was the younger twin and
her sister was therefore, "Miss McIntyre."
"You must recollect, Ferguson," he added, "that had Miss McIntyre
called to see me about poor Turnbull, I would not have discussed
the interview with any one, under any conditions."
"Certainly. I am not asking you to break any confidences; in fact,"
Ferguson smiled, "I must ask you to consider our conversation
confidential. Now, Mr. Kent, does it not strike you as odd that
apparently the only man in Washington who really disliked Turnbull
was Colonel McIntyre, and it is his daughter who intimates that
Turnbull's death was not due to natural causes?"
"Oh, pshaw!" Kent shrugged his shoulders. "You are taking an
exaggerated view of the affair. Colonel McIntyre is an honorable
upright American, and Turnbull was the same."
"People speak highly of both men," acknowledged the detective.
I saw Mr. Clymer, president of Turnbull's bank this afternoon, and
he paid a fine tribute to his dead cashier."
Kent drew an inward sigh of relief. Benjamin Clymer had proved
true blue; he had not permitted Colonel McIntyre's desire for
immediate publicity and belief in Turnbull's guilt to shake his
faith in his friend.
"You see, Ferguson, there is no motive for such a crime as you
suggest," he remarked.
"Oh, for the motive," - Ferguson rubbed his hands nervously together
as he shot a look at his questioner; the latter's clear-cut features
and manly bearing inspired confidence. "We know of no motive," he
"And we know of no crime having been perpetrated," rapped out Kent.
"Come, man; don't hunt a mare's nest."
"Ah, but it isn't a mare's nest!" Ferguson remarked dryly.
Kent bent eagerly forward - "You have heard from the coroner -"
"Not yet," Ferguson jerked forward his chair until his knees
Had either man looked toward the window near which they were sitting,
he would have seen a black shadow squatting ape-like on the window
ledge. As Kent leaned over to relight his cigar, the face at the
window vanished, to cautiously reappear a second later.
"The case piqued my interest," continued the detective after a pause.
"And I made an investigation on my own hook. After the departure of
the McIntyre twins and Coroner Penfield, I went back to the court
room and poked around the prisoners' cage. There I found this."
He took out of his pocket a small bundle and carefully unwrapped
the oil-skin cover.
"A handkerchief?" questioned Kent as the detective did not unfold
the white muslin, but held it with care.
"Yes. One of the prisoners in the cage told me Turnbull dropped it
as Dr. Stone and the deputy marshal carried him into the ante-room.
Smell anything?" holding up the handkerchief.
"Yes." Kent wrinkled his nose and sniffed several times. " Smells
Ferguson nodded. "Good guess; I noticed the odor and went at once
to Dr. McLane. He told me the handkerchief was saturated with
"Amyl nitrite," repeated Kent reflectively. "It is given for angina
"Yes. Well, in this case it was the remedy and not the disease
which killed Turnbull," announced Ferguson triumphantly.
"Nonsense!" ejaculated Kent. "I happen to know that the capsules
contain only three minims - I once heard Turnbull say so."
"True, but Turnbull got a lethal dose, all right; and he thought he
was taking only the regular one. Devilishly ingenious on the part
of the criminal, wasn't it?
"Yes. Have you detected the criminal?" Kent put the question with
unmoved countenance, but with inward foreboding; the detective's
mysterious manner was puzzling.
"Not yet, but I will," Ferguson hesitated. "The first thing was to
establish that a crime had really been committed."
Kent bent down and sniffed again at the handkerchief to which a
faint fruity aroma still clung.
"How did you discover that?" he asked.
"Dr. McLane and I took the handkerchief to a laboratory and the
chemist found from the number of particles of capsules in the
handkerchief, that at least two capsules - or double the usual
dose - had been crushed by Turnbull and the fumes inhaled by him;
with fatal results."
"Hold on," cautioned Kent. "In the flurry of the moment, Turnbull
may have accidentally put two capsules in the handkerchief, meaning
only to use one."
"Mr. Kent," the detective spoke impressively, "that wasn't Turnbull's
"Not his own handkerchief!" exclaimed Kent. "Then, are you sure
that Turnbull used it?"
"Yes; that fact is established by reputable witnesses; Dr. Stone,
Mr. Clymer, and the deputy marshal," Ferguson spoke with increasing
earnestness. "That is a woman's handkerchief - look at it."
Ferguson laid the little bundle on the broad arm of Kent's chair and
with infinite care folded back the edges of the handkerchief,
revealing as he did so, the small particles of capsules still
clinging to the linen. But Kent hardly observed the capsules, his
entire attention being centered on one corner of the handkerchief,
which had neatly embroidered on it the letter "B."
STRAIGHT QUESTIONS AND CROOKED ANSWERS
Colonel McIntyre, with an angry gesture, threw down the newspaper
he had been reading.
"Do you mean to say, Helen, that you decline to go to the supper
to-night on account of the death of Jimmie 'Turnbull?" he asked.
McIntyre flushed a dark red; he was not accustomed to scenes with
either of his daughters, and here was Helen flouting his authority
and Barbara backing her up.
"It is quite time this pretense is dropped," he remarked stiffly.
"You were not engaged to Jimmie - wait," as she attempted to
interrupt him. "You told me the night of the burglary that he was
nothing to you.'"
"I was mistaken," Helen's voice shook, she was very near to tears.
"When I saw Jimmie lying there, dead" - she faltered, and her
shoulders drooped forlornly -" the world stopped for me."
"Hysterical nonsense!" McIntyre was careful to avoid Barbara's eyes;
her indignant snort had been indicative of her feelings. "Keep to
your room, Helen, until you regain some common sense. It is as well
our friends should not see you in your present frame of mind."
Helen regarded her father under lowered lids. "Very well," she said
submissively and walked toward the door; on reaching it she paused,
and spoke over her shoulder. "Don't try me too far, father."
McIntyre stared for a full minute at the doorway through which Helen
took her departure.
"Well, what the -" He pulled himself up short in the middle of the
ejaculation and turned to Barbara. "Go and get dressed," he directed.
"We must leave here in twenty minutes."
"I am not going," she announced.
"Not going!" McIntyre frowned, then laughed abruptly. "Now, don't
tell me you were engaged to Jimmie Turnbull, also."
"I think you are horrid!" Barbara's small foot came down with a
"Well, perhaps I am," her father admitted rather wearily. "Don't
keep us waiting, Babs; the car will be here in less than twenty
"But, father, I prefer to stay at home."
And I prefer to have you accompany us," retorted McIntyre. "Come,
Barbara, we cannot be discourteous to Mrs. Brewster; she is our
guest, and this supper is for her entertainment."
"Well, take her." Barbara was openly rebellious.
"Barbara!" His tone caused her to look at him in wonder; instead
of the stern rebuke she expected, his voice was almost wheedling.
"I cannot very well take Mrs. Brewster to a caf at this hour
without causing gossip."
"Oh, fiddle-sticks!" exclaimed Barbara. "I don't have to play
chaperon for you two. Every one knows she is visiting us; what's
there improper in your taking her out to supper? Why" - regarding
him critically -" she's young enough to be your daughter!"
"Go to your room!" There was nothing wheedling about McIntyre at
that instant; he was thoroughly incensed.
As Barbara sped out happy in having gained her way, she announced,
as a parting shot, "If you can be nasty to Helen; father, I can be
Colonel McIntyre brought his fist down on a smoking table with such
force that he scattered its contents over the floor. When he rose
from picking up the debris, he found Mrs. Brewster at his elbow.
"Can I help?" she asked.
"No, thanks, everything is back in place." He pulled forward a
chair for her. "If agreeable to you I will telephone Ben Clymer
that we will stop for him and take him with us to the Caf St.
Marks; or would you prefer some other man?"
"Oh, no." She threw her evening wrap across the sofa and sat down.
"Are the girls ready?"
"They - they are indisposed, and won't be able to go to-night."
"What! Both girls?"
"Yes, both" - firmly, not, however, meeting her eyes.
"Hadn't I better stay with them?" she asked. "Have you telephoned
or Dr. Stone?"
"There is no necessity for giving up our little spree," he declared
cheerily. "The girls don't need a physician. They" - with meaning,
"need a mother's care." He picked up her coronation scarf from the
floor where it had slipped and laid it across her bare shoulders;
the action was almost a caress. She made a lovely picture as she
sat in the high-backed carved chair in her chic evening gown, and as
her soft dark eyes met his ardent look, McIntyre felt the hot blood
surge to his temples, and with quickened pulse he went to the
telephone stand and gave Central a number.
Back in her chair Mrs. Brewster sat thoughtfully watching him. She
had been an unobserved witness of the scene with Barbara, having
entered the library in time to hear the girl's last remarks. It was
not the first inkling that she had had of their disapproval of
Colonel McIntyre's attentions to her, but it had hurt.
The widow had become acquainted with the twins when, traveling in
Europe just before the outbreak of the World War, and had made the
hasty trip back to this country in their company. Colonel McIntyre
had planned to bring the twins, then at school in Paris, home
himself, but business had kept him in the West and he had cabled
to a spinster cousin to chaperon them on the trip across the
Atlantic Ocean. Nor had he reached New York in time to see them
disembark, and thus had missed meeting Mrs. Brewster, then in
her first year of widowhood.
The friendship between the twins and Mrs. Brewster had been kept
up through much correspondence, and the widow had finally promised,
to come to Washington for their debut, visiting her cousins, Dr.
and Mrs. Stone. The meeting had but cemented the friendship between
them, and at the twins' urgent request, seconded with warmth by
Colonel McIntyre, she had promised to spend the month of April at
the McIntyre home.
The visit was nearly over. Mrs. Brewster sighed faintly. There
were two courses open to her, immediate departure, or to continue
to ignore the twins' strangely antagonistic behavior - the first
course did not suit Mrs. Brewster's plans.
Barbara, who had left the library through one of its seven doors,
had failed to see Mrs. Brewster by the slightest margin; she was
intent only on being with Helen. The affection between the
twins was very close; but while their facial resemblance was
remarkable, their natures were totally dissimilar. Helen, the
elder by twenty minutes, was studious, shy, and too much given
to introspection; Barbara, on the contrary, was whimsical and
practical by turns, with a great capacity for enjoyment. The twins
had made their debut jointly on their eighteenth birthday,
and while both were popular, Barbara had received the greater
amount of attention.
Barbara tip-toed into the suite of rooms which the girls occupied
over the library, expecting to find Helen lying on the lounge;
instead, she found her writing busily at her desk. She tossed down
her pen as her sister entered, and, taking up a blotter, carefully
laid it across the page she had been writing.
"Thank heaven, I don't have to go to that supper party," Barbara
announced, throwing herself full length on the lounge.
"So father gave it up," commented Helen. "I am glad."
"Gave up nothing," retorted her sister. "He and Margaret Brewster
"What!" Helen was on her feet. "You let them go out alone together?"
"They can't be alone if they are together," answered Barbara
practically. "Don't be silly, Helen."
Helen did not answer at once; she had grown singularly pale. Walking
over to the window she glanced into the street. "The car hasn't
come," she exclaimed, and consulted her wrist watch. "Hurry, Babs,
you have just, time to dress and go with them."
"B-b-but I said I wouldn't go," stuttered Barbara, completely taken
"No matter; tell father you have changed your mind." Helen held out
her hand. "Come, to please me," and there was a world of wistful
appeal in her hazel eyes which Barbara was unable to resist.
It was not until Barbara had completed her hasty toilet and a
frantic dash downstairs in time to spring into the waiting limousine
after Margaret Brewster, that she realized she had put on one of
Helen's evening gowns and not her own.
Benjamin Clymer was standing in the vestibule of the Saratoga, where
he made his home, when the McIntyre limousine drew up, and he did
not keep them waiting, as Colonel McIntyre had predicted he would
on the drive to Clymer's apartment house.
"The clerk gave me your message when I came in, McIntyre," he
explained as the car drove off. I called up your residence and
Grimes said you were on the way here."
Barbara, tucked away in her corner of the limousine, listened to
Mrs. Brewster's animated chatter with utter lack of interest; she
wished most heartily that she had not been over-persuaded by her
sister, and had remained at home. That her father had accepted her
lame explanation and her presence in the party with unaffected
pleasure had been plain. Mrs. Brewster, after a quiet inquiry
regarding her health, had been less enthusiastic in her welcome.
Barbara was just stifling a yawn when the limousine stopped at the
entrance to the Caf St. Marks.
Inside the caf all was light and gaiety, and Barbara brightened
perceptibly as the attentive head waiter ushered them to the table
Colonel McIntyre had reserved earlier in the evening.
"It's a novel idea turning the old church into a caf ," Barbara
remarked to Benjamin Clymer. "A sort of casting bread upon the
waters of famished Washington. I wonder if they ever turn water
"No such luck," groaned Clymer dismally, looking with distaste
at the sparkling grape juice being poured into the erstwhile
champagne goblet by his plate. "The caf is crowded to-night,"
and he gazed with interest about the room. Colonel McIntyre, who
had loitered behind to speak to several friends at an adjacent table,
took the unoccupied seat by Mrs. Brewster and was soon in animated
conversation with the widow and Clymer; Barbara, her healthy
appetite asserting itself, devoted her entire attention to the
delicious delicacies placed before her. The arrival of the
after-the-theater crowd awoke her from her abstraction, and she
accepted Clymer's invitation to dance with alacrity. When they
returned to the table she discovered that Margaret Brewster and
her father had also joined the dancers.
Barbara watched them while keeping up a disjointed conversation
with Clymer, whose absentminded remarks finally drew Barbara's
attention, and she wondered what had come over the generally
entertaining banker. It was on the tip of her tongue to ask him the
reason for his distrait manner when her thoughts were diverted by
his next remark.
"Your father and Mrs. Brewster make a fine couple," he said.
"Colonel McIntyre is the most distinguished looking man in the caf
and Mrs. Brewster is a regular beauty."
Instead of replying Barbara turned in her seat and scanned her
father as he and Mrs. Brewster passed them in the dance. Colonel
McIntyre did not look his age of forty-seven years. His hair,
prematurely gray, had a most attractive wave to it, and his erect
and finely proportioned figure showed to advantage in his well-cut
dress suit. Barbara's heart swelled with pride - her dear and
handsome father! Then she transferred her regard to Margaret
Brewster; she had been such a satisfactory friend - why oh, why did
she wish to become her step-mother? The twins, with the unerring
instinct of womanhood, had decided ten days before that Weller's
warning to his son was timely - Mrs. Brewster was a most dangerous
"How is your sister?" inquired Clymer, breaking the silence which
had lasted nearly five minutes. He was never quite certain which
twin he was talking to, and generally solved the problem by
familiarizing himself with their mode of dress. The plan had not
always worked as the twins had a bewildering habit of exchanging
clothes, to the enjoyment of Barbara's mischief loving soul, and
the mystification of their numerous admirers.
"She is rather blue and depressed," answered Barbara. "We are both
feeling the reaction from the shock of Jimmie Turnbull's tragic
death. You must forgive me if I am a bore; I am not good company
The arrival of the head waiter at their table interrupted Clymer's
"This gentleman desires to speak to you a moment, Miss McIntyre,"
he said, and indicated a young man in a sack suit standing just back
"I'm Parker of the Post," the reporter introduced himself with a bow
which included Clymer. "May I sit down?" laying his hand on the back
of Mrs. Brewster's vacant chair.