Part 1 out of 6
THE SILENT BULLET
CRAIG KENNEDY'S THEORIES
I The Silent Bullet
II The Scientific Cracksman
III The Bacteriological Detective
IV The Deadly Tube
V The Seismograph Adventure
VI The Diamond Maker
VII The Azure Ring
VIII "Spontaneous Combustion"
IX The Terror In The Air
X The Black Hand
XI The Artificial Paradise
XII The Steel Door
CRAIG KENNEDY'S THEORIES
"It has always seemed strange to me that no one has ever endowed
a professorship in criminal science in any of our large
Craig Kennedy laid down his evening paper and filled his pipe
with my tobacco. In college we had roomed together, had shared
everything, even poverty, and now that Craig was a professor of
chemistry and I was on the staff of the Star, we had continued
the arrangement. Prosperity found us in a rather neat bachelor
apartment on the Heights, not far from the University.
"Why should there be a chair in criminal science?" I remarked
argumentatively, settling back in my chair. "I've done my turn at
police headquarters reporting, and I can tell you, Craig, it's no
place for a college professor. Crime is just crime. And as for
dealing with it, the good detective is born and bred to it.
College professors for the sociology of the thing, yes; for the
detection of it, give me a Byrnes."
"On the contrary," replied Kennedy, his clean-cut features
betraying an earnestness which I knew indicated that he was
leading up to something important, "there is a distinct place for
science in the detection of crime. On the Continent they are far
in advance of us in that respect. We are mere children beside a
dozen crime-specialists in Paris, whom I could name."
"Yes, but where does the college professor come in?" I asked,
"You must remember, Walter," he pursued, warming up to his
subject, "that it's only within the last ten years or so that we
have had the really practical college professor who could do it.
The silk-stockinged variety is out of date now. To-day it is the
college professor who is the third arbitrator in labour disputes,
who reforms our currency, who heads our tariff commissions, and
conserves our farms and forests. We have professors of
everything--why not professors of crime"
Still, as I shook my head dubiously, he hurried on to clinch his
point. "Colleges have gone a long way from the old ideal of pure
culture. They have got down to solving the hard facts of
life--pretty nearly all, except one. They still treat crime in
the old way, study its statistics and pore over its causes and
the theories of how it can be prevented. But as for running the
criminal himself down, scientifically, relentlessly--bah! we
haven't made an inch of progress since the hammer and tongs
method of your Byrnes."
"Doubtless you will write a thesis on this most interesting
subject," I suggested, "and let it go at that."
"No, I am serious," he replied, determined for some reason or
other to make a convert of me. "I mean exactly what I say. I am
going to apply science to the detection of crime, the same sort
of methods by which you trace out the presence of a chemical, or
run an unknown germ to earth. And before I have gone far, I am
going to enlist Walter Jameson as an aide. I think I shall need
you in my business."
"How do I come in?"
"Well, for one thing, you will get a scoop, a beat,--whatever you
call it in that newspaper jargon of yours."
I smiled in a skeptical way, such as newspapermen are wont to
affect toward a thing until it is done--after which we make a
wild scramble to exploit it.
Nothing more on the subject passed between us for several days.
I. The Silent Bullet
"Detectives in fiction nearly always make a great mistake," said
Kennedy one evening after our first conversation on crime and
science. "They almost invariably antagonize the regular detective
force. Now in real life that's impossible--it's fatal."
"Yes," I agreed, looking up from reading an account of the
failure of a large Wall Street brokerage house, Kerr Parker &
Co., and the peculiar suicide of Kerr Parker. "Yes, it's
impossible, just as it is impossible for the regular detectives
to antagonize the newspapers. Scotland Yard found that out in the
"My idea of the thing, Jameson," continued Kennedy, "is that the
professor of criminal science ought to, work with, not against,
the regular detectives. They're all right. They're indispensable,
of course. Half the secret of success nowadays is organisation.
The professor of criminal science should be merely what the
professor in a technical school often is--a sort of consulting
engineer. For instance, I believe that organisation plus science
would go far to ward clearing up that Wall Street case I see you
I expressed some doubt as to whether the regular police were
enlightened enough to take that view of it.
"Some of them are," he replied. "Yesterday the chief of police in
a Western city sent a man East to see me about the Price murder:
you know the case?"
Indeed I did. A wealthy banker of the town had been murdered on
the road to the golf club, no one knew why or by whom. Every clue
had proved fruitless, and the list of suspects was itself so long
and so impossible as to seem most discouraging.
"He sent me a piece of a torn handkerchief with a deep
blood-stain on it," pursued Kennedy. "He said it clearly didn't
belong to the murdered man, that it indicated that the murderer
had himself been wounded in the tussle, but as yet it had proved
utterly valueless as a clue. Would I see what I could make of it?
"After his man had told me the story I had a feeling that the
murder was committed by either a Sicilian labourer on the links
or a negro waiter at the club. Well, to make a short story
shorter, I decided to test the blood-stain. Probably you didn't
know it, but the Carnegie Institution has just published a
minute, careful, and dry study of the blood of human beings and
"In fact, they have been able to reclassify the whole animal
kingdom on this basis, and have made some most surprising
additions to our knowledge of evolution. Now I don't propose to
bore you with the details of the tests, but one of the things
they showed was that the blood of a certain branch of the human
race gives a reaction much like the blood of a certain group of
monkeys, the chimpanzees, while the blood of another branch gives
a reaction like that of the gorilla. Of course there's lots more
to it, but this is all that need concern us now.
"I tried the tests. The blood on the handkerchief conformed
strictly to the latter test. Now the gorilla was, of course, out
of the question--this was no Rue Morgue murder. Therefore it was
the negro waiter."
"But," I interrupted, "the negro offered a perfect alibi at the
"No buts, Walter. Here's a telegram I received at dinner:
'Congratulations. Confronted Jackson your evidence as wired.
"Well, Craig, I take off my hat to you," I exclaimed. "Next
you'll be solving this Kerr Parker case for sure."
"I would take a hand in it if they'd let me," said he simply.
That night, without saying anything, I sauntered down to the
imposing new police building amid the squalor of Center Street.
They were very busy at headquarters, but, having once had that
assignment for the Star, I had no trouble in getting in.
Inspector Barney O'Connor of the Central Office carefully shifted
a cigar from corner to corner of his mouth as I poured forth my
suggestion to him.
"Well, Jameson," he said at length, "do you think this professor
fellow is the goods?"
I didn't mince matters in my opinion of Kennedy. I told him of
the Price case and showed him a copy of the telegram. That
"Can you bring him down here to-night?" he asked quickly.
I reached for the telephone, found Craig in his laboratory
finally, and in less than an hour he was in the office.
"This is a most bating case, Professor Kennedy, this case of Kerr
Parker," said the inspector, launching at once into his subject.
"Here is a broker heavily interested in Mexican rubber. It looks
like a good thing--plantations right in the same territory as
those of the Rubber Trust. Now in addition to that he is
branching out into coastwise steamship lines; another man
associated with him is heavily engaged in a railway scheme from
the United States down into Mexico. Altogether the steamships and
railroads are tapping rubber, oil, copper, and I don't know what
other regions. Here in New York they have been pyramiding stocks,
borrowing money from two trust companies which they control. It's
a lovely scheme--you've read about it, I suppose. Also you've
read that it comes into competition with a certain group of
capitalists whom we will call 'the System.'
"Well, this depression in the market comes along. At once rumours
are spread about the weakness of the trust companies; runs start
on both of them. The System,--you know them--make a great show of
supporting the market. Yet the runs continue. God knows whether
they will spread or the trust companies stand up under it
to-morrow after what happened to-day. It was a good thing the
market was closed when it happened.
"Kerr Parker was surrounded by a group of people who were in his
schemes with him. They are holding a council of war in the
directors' room. Suddenly Parker rises, staggers toward the
window, falls, and is dead before a doctor can get to him. Every
effort is made to keep the thing quiet. It is given out that he
committed suicide. The papers don't seem to accept the suicide
theory, however. Neither do we. The coroner, who is working with
us, has kept his mouth shut so far, and will say nothing till the
inquest. For, Professor Kennedy, my first man on the spot found
"Now here comes the amazing part of the story. The doors to the
offices on both sides were open at the time. There were lots of
people in each office. There was the usual click of typewriters,
and the buzz of the ticker, and the hum of conversation. We have
any number of witnesses of the whole affair, but as far as any of
them knows no shot was fired, no smoke was seen, no noise was
heard, nor was any weapon found. Yet here on my desk is a
thirty-two-calibre bullet. The coroner's physician probed it out
of Parker's neck this afternoon and turned it over to us."
Kennedy reached for the bullet, and turned it thoughtfully in his
fingers for a moment. One side of it had apparently struck a bone
in the neck of the murdered man, and was flattened. The other
side was still perfectly smooth. With his inevitable
magnifying-glass he scrutinised the bullet on every side. I
watched his face anxiously, and I could see that he was very
intent and very excited.
"Extraordinary, most extraordinary," he said to himself as he
turned it over and over. "Where did you say this bullet struck?"
"In the fleshy part of the neck, quite a little back of and below
his ear and just above his collar. There wasn't much bleeding. I
think it must have struck the base of his brain."
"It didn't strike his collar or hair?"
"No," replied the inspector.
"Inspector, I think we shall be able to put our hands on the
murderer --I think we can get a conviction, sir, on the evidence
that I shall get from this bullet in my laboratory."
"That's pretty much like a story-book," drawled the inspector
incredulously, shaking his head.
"Perhaps," smiled Kennedy. "But there will still be plenty of
work for the police to do, too. I've only got a clue to the
murderer. It will take the whole organisation to follow it up,
believe me. Now, Inspector, can you spare the time to go down to
Parker's office and take me over the ground? No doubt we can
develop something else there."
"Sure," answered O'Connor, and within five minutes we were
hurrying down town in one of the department automobiles.
We found the office under guard of one of the Central Office men,
while in the outside office Parker's confidential clerk and a few
assistants were still at work in a subdued and awed manner. Men
were working in many other Wall Street offices that night during
the panic, but in none was there more reason for it than here.
Later I learned that it was the quiet tenacity of this
confidential clerk that saved even as much of Parker's estate as
was saved for his widow--little enough it was, too. What he saved
for the clients of the firm no one will ever know. Somehow or
other I liked John Downey, the clerk, from the moment I was
introduced to him. He seemed to me, at least, to be the typical
confidential clerk who would carry a secret worth millions and
The officer in charge touched his hat to the inspector, and
Downey hastened to put himself at our service. It was plain that
the murder had completely mystified him, and that he was as
anxious as we were to get at the bottom of it.
"Mr. Downey," began Kennedy, "I understand you were present when
this sad event took place."
"Yes, sir, sitting right here at the directors' table," he
replied, taking a chair, "like this."
"Now can you recollect just how Mr. Parker acted when he was
shot? Could you-er--could you take his place and show us just how
"Yes, sir," said Downey. "He was sitting here at the head of the
table. Mr. Bruce, who is the 'CO.' of the firm, had been sitting
here at his right; I was at the left. The inspector has a list of
all the others present. That door to the right was open, and Mrs.
Parker and some other ladies were in the room--"
"Mrs. Parker?" broke in Kennedy.
"Yes: Like a good many brokerage firms we have a ladies' room.
Many ladies are among our clients. We make a point of catering to
them. At that time I recollect the door was open--all the doors
were open. It was not a secret meeting. Mr. Bruce had just gone
into the ladies' department; I think to ask some of them to stand
by the firm --he was an artist at smoothing over the fears of
customers, particularly women. Just before he went in I had seen
the ladies go in a group toward the far end of the room--to look
down at the line of depositors on the street, which reached
around the corner from one of the trust companies, I thought. I
was making a note of an order to send into the outside office
there on the left, and had just pushed this button here under the
table to call a boy to carry it. Mr. Parker had just received a
letter by special delivery, and seemed considerably puzzled over
it. No, I don't know what it was about. Of a sudden I saw him
start in his chair, rise up unsteadily, clap his hand on the back
of his head, stagger across the floor --like this--and fall
"Then what happened?"
"Why, I rushed to pick him up. Everything was confusion. I recall
someone behind me saying, 'Here, boy, take all these papers off
the table and carry them into my office before they get lost in
the excitement.' I think it was Bruce's voice. The next moment I
heard someone say, 'Stand back, Mrs. Parker has fainted.' But I
didn't pay much attention, for I was calling to someone not to
get a doctor over the telephone, but to go down to the fifth
floor where one has an office. I made Mr. Parker as comfortable
as I could. There wasn't much I could do. He seemed to want to
say something to me, but he couldn't talk. He was paralysed, at
least his throat was. But I did manage to make out finally what
sounded to me like, 'Tell her I don't believe the scandal, I
don't believe it.' But before he could say whom to tell he had
again become unconscious, and by the time the doctor arrived he
was dead. I guess you know everything else as well as I do."
"You didn't hear the shot fired from any particular direction?"
"Well, where do you think it came from?"
"That's what puzzles me, sir. The only thing I can figure out is
that it was fired from the outside office--perhaps by some
customer who had lost money and sought revenge. But no one out
there heard it either, any more than they did in the directors'
room or the ladies' department."
"About that message," asked Kennedy, ignoring what to me seemed
to be the most important feature of the case, the mystery of the
silent bullet. "Didn't you see it after all was over?"
"No, sir; in fact I had forgotten about it till this moment when
you asked me to reconstruct the circumstances exactly. No, sir, I
don't know a thing about it. I can't say it impressed itself on
my mind at the time, either."
"What did Mrs. Parker do when she came to?"
"Oh, she cried as I have never seen a woman cry before. He was
dead by that time, of course."
"Bruce and I saw her down in the elevator to her car. In fact,
the doctor, who had arrived; said that the sooner she was taken
home the better she would be. She was quite hysterical."
"Did she say anything that you remember" Downey hesitated.
"Out with it Downey," said the inspector. "What did she say as
she was going down in the elevator?"
"Tell us. I'll arrest you if you don't."
"Nothing about the murder, on my honour," protested Downey.
Kennedy leaned over suddenly and shot a remark at him, "Then it
was about the note."
Downey was surprised, but not quickly enough. Still he seemed to
be considering something, and in a moment he said:
"I don't know what it was about, but I feel it is my duty, after
all, to tell you. I heard her say, 'I wonder if he knew.'"
"What happened after you came back?"
"We entered the ladies' department. No one was there. A woman's
automobile-coat was thrown over a chair in a heap. Mr. Bruce
picked it up. 'It's Mrs. Parker's,' he said. He wrapped it up
hastily, and rang for a messenger."
"Where did he send it?"
"To Mrs. Parker, I suppose. I didn't hear the address."
We next went over the whole suite of offices, conducted by Mr.
Downey. I noted how carefully Kennedy looked into the directors'
room through the open door from the ladies' department. He stood
at such an angle that had he been the assassin he could scarcely
have been seen except by those sitting immediately next Mr.
Parker at the directors' table. The street windows were directly
in front of him, and back of him was the chair on which the
motorcoat had been found.
In Parker's own office we spent some time, as well as in Bruce's.
Kennedy made a search for the note, but finding nothing in either
office, turned out the contents of Bruce's scrap-basket. There
didn't seem to be anything in it to interest him, however, even
after he had pieced several torn bits of scraps together with
much difficulty, and he was about to turn the papers back again,
when he noticed something sticking to the side of the basket. It
looked like a mass of wet paper, and that was precisely what it
"That's queer," said Kennedy, picking it loose. Then he wrapped
it up carefully and put it in his pocket. "Inspector, can you
lend me one of your men for a couple of days?" he asked, as we
were preparing to leave. "I shall want to send him out of town
to-night, and shall probably need his services when he gets
"Very well. Riley will be just the fellow. We'll go back to
headquarters, and I'll put him under your orders."
It was not until late in the following day that haw Kennedy
again. It had been a busy day at the Star. We had gone to work
that morning expecting to see the very financial heavens fall.
But just about five minutes to ten, before the Stock Exchange
opened, the news came in over the wire from our financial man on
Broad Street: 'The System' has forced James Bruce, partner of
Kerr Parker, the dead banker; to sell his railroad, steamship,
and rubber holdings to it. On this condition it promises
unlimited support to the market."
"Forced!" muttered the managing editor, as he waited on the
office phone to get the composing-room, so as to hurry up the few
lines in red ink on the first page and beat our rivals on the
streets with the first extras. "Why, he's been working to bring
that about for the past two weeks. What that System doesn't
control isn't worth having--it edits the news before our men get
it, and as for grist for the divorce courts, and tragedies,
well--Hello, Jenkins, yes, a special extra. Change the big
heads--copy is on the way up--rush it."
"So you think this Parker case is a mess?" I asked.
"I know it. That's a pretty swift bunch of females that have been
speculating at Kerr Parker & Co.'s. I understand there's one
Titian-haired young lady--who, by the way, has at least one
husband who hasn't yet been divorced--who is a sort of
ringleader, though she rarely goes personally to her brokers'
offices. She's one of those uptown plungers, and the story is
that she has a whole string of scalps of alleged Sunday-school
superintendents at her belt. She can make Bruce do pretty nearly
anything, they say. He's the latest conquest. I got the story on
pretty good authority, but until I verified the names, dates, and
places, of course I wouldn't dare print a line of it. The story
goes that her husband is a hanger-on of the System, and that
she's been working in their interest, too. That was why he was so
complacent over the whole affair. They put her up to capturing
Bruce, and after she had acquired an influence over him they
worked it so that she made him make love to Mrs. Parker. It's a
long story, but that isn't all of it. The point was, you see,
that by this devious route they hoped to worm out of Mrs. Parker
some inside information about Parker's rubber schemes, which he
hadn't divulged even to his partners in business. It was a deep
and carefully planned plot, and some of the conspirators were
pretty deeply in the mire, I guess. I wish I'd had all the facts
about who this red-haired female Machiavelli was--what a piece of
muckraking it would have made! Oh, here comes the rest of the
news story over the wire. By Jove, it is said on good authority
that Bruce will be taken in as one of the board of directors.
What do you think of that"
So that was how the wind lay--Bruce making love to Mrs. Parker
and she presumably betraying her husband's secrets. I thought I
saw it all: the note from somebody exposing the scheme, Parker's
incredulity, Bruce sitting by him and catching sight of the note,
his hurrying out into the ladies' department, and then the shot.
But who fired it? After all, I had only picked up another clue.
Kennedy was not at the apartment at dinner, and an inquiry at the
laboratory was fruitless also. So I sat down to fidget for a
while. Pretty soon the buzzer on the door sounded, and I opened
it to find a messenger-boy with a large brown paper parcel.
"Is Mr. Bruce here?" he asked.
"Why, no, he doesn't--" then I checked myself and added "He will
be here presently. You can leave the bundle."
"Well, this is the parcel he telephoned for. His valet told me to
tell him that they had a hard time to find it, but he guesses
it's all right. The charges are forty cents. Sign here."
I signed the book, feeling like a thief, and the boy departed.
What it all meant I could not guess.
Just then I heard a key in the lock, and Kennedy came in.
"Is your name Bruce?" I asked.
"Why?" he replied eagerly. "Has anything come?"
I pointed to the package. Kennedy made a dive for it and
unwrapped it. It was a woman's pongee automobile-coat. He held it
up to the light. The pocket on the right-hand side was scorched
and burned, and a hole was torn clean through it. I gasped when
the full significance of it dawned on me.
"How did you get it?" I exclaimed at last in surprise.
"That's where organisation comes in," said Kennedy. "The police
at my request went over every messenger call from Parker's office
that afternoon, and traced every one of them up. At last they
found one that led to Bruce's apartment. None of them led to Mrs.
Parker's home. The rest were all business calls and
satisfactorily accounted for. I reasoned that this was the one
that involved the disappearance of the automobile-coat. It was a
chance worth taking, so I got Downey to call up Bruce's valet.
The valet of course recognised Downey's voice and suspected
nothing. Downey assumed to know all about the coat in the package
received yesterday. He asked to have it sent up here. I see the
"But, Kennedy, do you think she--" I stopped, speechless, looking
at the scorched coat.
"Nothing to say--yet," he replied laconically. "But if you could
tell me anything about that note Parker received I'd thank you."
I related what our managing editor had said that morning. Kennedy
only raised his eyebrows a fraction of an inch.
"I had guessed something of that sort," he said merely. "I'm glad
to find it confirmed even by hearsay evidence. This red-haired
young lady interests me. Not a very definite description, but
better than nothing at all. I wonder who she is. Ah, well, what
do you say to a stroll down the White Way before I go to my
laboratory? I'd like a breath of air to relax my mind."
We had got no further than the first theatre when Kennedy slapped
me on the back. "By George, Jameson, she's an actress, of
"Who is? What's the matter with you, Kennedy? Are you crazy?"
"The red-haired person--she must be an actress. Don't you
remember the auburn-haired leading lady in the 'Follies'--the
girl who sings that song about 'Mary, Mary, quite contrary'? Her
stage name, you know, is Phoebe La Neige. Well, if it's she who
is concerned in this case I don't think she'll be playing
to-night. Let's inquire at the box-office."
She wasn't playing, but just what it had to do with anything in
particular I couldn't see, and I said as much.
"Why, Walter, you'd never do as a detective. You lack intuition.
Sometimes I think I haven't quite enough of it, either. Why
didn't I think of that sooner? Don't you know she is the wife of
Adolphus Hesse, the most inveterate gambler in stocks in the
System? Why, I had only to put two and two together and the whole
thing flashed on me in an instant. Isn't it a good hypothesis
that she is the red-haired woman in the case, the tool of the
System in which her husband is so heavily involved? I'll have to
add her to my list of suspects."
"Why, you don't think she did the shooting?" I asked, half
hoping, I must admit, for an assenting nod from him.
"Well," he answered dryly, "one shouldn't let any preconceived
hypothesis stand between him and the truth. I've made a guess at
the whole thing already. It may or it may not be right. Anyhow
she will fit into it. And if it's not right, I've got to be
prepared to make a new guess, that's all."
When we reached the laboratory on our return, the inspector's man
Riley was there, waiting impatiently for Kennedy.
"What luck?" asked Kennedy.
"I've got a list of purchasers of that kind oil revolver," he
said. "We have been to every sporting-goods and arms-store in the
city which bought them from the factory, and I could lay my,
hands on pretty nearly every, one of those weapons in twenty-four
hours--provided, of course, they haven't been secreted or
"Pretty nearly all isn't good enough," said Kennedy. "It will
have to be all, unless--"
"That name is in the list," whispered Riley hoarsely.
"Oh, then it's all right," answered Kennedy, brightening up.
"Riley, I will say that you're a wonder at using the organisation
in ferreting out such things. There's just one more thing I want
you to do. I want a sample of the notepaper in the private desks
of every one of these people." He handed the policeman a list of
his 9 "suspects," as he called them. It included nearly every one
mentioned in the case.
Riley studied it dubiously and scratched his chin thoughtfully.
"That's a hard one, Mr. Kennedy, sir. You see, it means getting
into so many different houses and apartments. Now you don't want
to do it by means of a warrant, do you, sir? Of course not. Well,
then, how can we, get in?"
"You're a pretty good-looking chap yourself, Riley," said
Kennedy. "I should think you could jolly a housemaid, if
necessary. Anyhow, you can get the fellow on the beat to do
it--if he isn't already to be found in the kitchen. Why, I see a
dozen ways of getting the notepaper."
"Oh, it's me that's the lady-killer, sir," grinned Riley. "I'm a
regular Blarney stone when I'm out on a job of that sort. Sure,
I'll have some of them for you in the morning."
"Bring me what you get, the first thing in the morning, even if
you've landed only a few samples," said Kennedy, as Riley
departed, straightening his tie and brushing his hat on his
"And now, Walter, you too must excuse me tonight," said Craig.
"I've got a lot to do, and sha'n't be up to our apartment till
very late--or early. But I feel sure I've got a strangle-hold on
this mystery. If I get those papers from Riley in good time
to-morrow I shall invite you and several others to a grand
demonstration here tomorrow night. Don't forget. Keep the whole
evening free. It will be a big story."
Kennedy's laboratory was brightly lighted when I arrived early
the next evening. One by one his "guests" dropped in. It was
evident that they had little liking for the visit, but the
coroner had sent out the "invitations," and they had nothing to
do but accept. Each one was politely welcomed by the professor
and assigned a seat, much as he would have done with a group of
students. The inspector and the coroner sat back a little. Mrs.
Parker, Mr. Downey, Mr. Bruce, myself, and Miss La Neige sat in
that order in the very narrow and uncomfortable little armchairs
used by the students during lectures.
At last Kennedy was ready to begin. He took his position behind
the long, flat-topped table which he used for his demonstrations
before his classes. "I realise, ladies and gentlemen," he began
formally, "that I am about to do a very unusual thing; but, as
you all know, the police and the coroner have been completely
baffled by this terrible mystery and have requested me to attempt
to clear up at least certain points in it. I will begin what I
have to say by remarking that the tracing out of a crime like
this differs in nothing, except as regards the subject-matter,
from the search for a scientific truth. The forcing of man's
secrets is like the forcing of nature's secrets. Both are pieces
of detective work. The methods employed in the detection of crime
are, or rather should be, like the methods employed in the
process of discovering scientific truth. In a crime of this sort,
two kinds of evidence need to be secured. Circumstantial evidence
must first be marshalled, and then a motive must be found. I have
been gathering facts. But to omit motives and rest contented with
mere facts would be inconclusive. It would never convince anybody
or convict anybody. In other words, circumstantial evidence must
first lead to a suspect, and then this suspect must prove equal
to accounting for the facts. It is my hope that each of you may
contribute something that will be of service in arriving at the
truth of this unfortunate incident."
The tension was not relieved even when Kennedy stopped speaking
and began to fuss with a little upright target which he set up at
one end of his table. We seemed to be seated over a powder
magazine which threatened to explode at any moment. I, at least,
felt the tension so greatly that it was only after he had started
speaking again, that I noticed that the target was composed of a
thick layer of some putty-like material.
Holding a thirty-two-calibre pistol in his right hand and aiming
it at the target, Kennedy picked up a large piece of coarse
homespun from the table and held it loosely over the muzzle of
the gun. Then he fired. The bullet tore through the cloth, sped
through the air, and buried itself in the target. With a knife he
pried it out.
"I doubt if even the inspector himself could have told us that
when an ordinary leaden bullet is shot through a woven fabric the
weave of that fabric is in the majority of cases impressed on the
bullet, sometimes clearly, sometimes faintly."
Here Kennedy took up a piece of fine batiste and fired another
bullet through it.
"Every leaden bullet, as I have said, which has struck such a
fabric bears an impression of the threads which is recognisable
even when the bullet has penetrated deeply into the body. It is
only obliterated partially or entirely when the bullet has been
flattened by striking a bone or other hard object. Even then, as
in this case, if only a part of the bullet is flattened the
remainder may still show the marks of the fabric. A heavy warp,
say of cotton velvet or, as I have here, homespun, will be
imprinted well on the bullet, but even a fine batiste, containing
one hundred threads to the inch, will show marks. Even layers of
goods such as a coat, shirt, and undershirt may each leave their
marks, but that does not concern us in this case. Now I have here
a piece of pongee silk, cut from a woman's automobile-coat. I
discharge the bullet through it--so. I compare the bullet now
with the others and with the one probed from the neck of Mr.
Parker. I find that the marks on that fatal bullet correspond
precisely with those on the bullet fired through the pongee
Startling as was this revelation, Kennedy paused only an instant
before the next.
"Now I have another demonstration. A certain note figures in this
case. Mr. Parker was reading it, or perhaps re-reading it, at the
time he was shot. I have not been able to obtain that note--at
least not in a form such as I could use in discovering what were
its contents. But in a certain wastebasket I found a mass of wet
and pulp-like paper. It had been cut up, macerated, perhaps
chewed; perhaps it had been also soaked with water. There was a
washbasin with running water in this room. The ink had run, and
of course was illegible. The thing was so unusual that I at once
assumed that this was the remains of the note in question. Under
ordinary circumstances it would be utterly valueless as a clue to
anything. But to-day science is not ready to let anything pass as
"I found on microscopic examination that it was an uncommon linen
bond paper, and I have taken a large number of microphotographs
of the fibres in it. They are all similar. I have here also about
a hundred microphotographs of the fibres in other kinds of paper,
many of them bonds. These I have accumulated from time to time in
my study of the subject. None of them, as you can see, shows
fibres resembling this one in question, so we may conclude that
it is of uncommon quality. Through an agent of the police I have
secured samples of the notepaper of every one who could be
concerned, as far as I could see, with this case. Here are the
photographs of the fibres of these various notepapers, and among
them all is just one that corresponds to the fibres in the wet
mass of paper I discovered in the scrap-basket. Now lest anyone
should question the accuracy of this method I might cite a case
where a man had been arrested in Germany charged with stealing a
government bond. He was not searched till later. There was no
evidence save that after the arrest a large number of spitballs
were found around the courtyard under his cell window. This
method of comparing the fibres with those of the regular
government paper was used, and by it the man was convicted of
stealing the bond. I think it is almost unnecessary to add that
in the present case we know precisely who--"
At this point the tension was so great that it snapped. Miss La
Neige, who was sitting beside me, had been leaning forward
involuntarily. Almost as if the words were wrung from her she
whispered hoarsely: "They put me up to doing it; I didn't want
to. But the affair had gone too far. I couldn't see him lost
before my very eyes. I didn't want her to get him. The quickest
way out was to tell the whole story to Mr. Parker and stop it. It
was the only way I could think of to stop this thing between
another man's wife and the man I loved better than my own
husband. God knows, Professor Kennedy, that was all--"
"Calm yourself, madame," interrupted Kennedy soothingly. "Calm
yourself. What's done is done. The truth must come out. Be calm.
Now," he continued, after the first storm of remorse had spent
itself and we were all outwardly composed again, "we have said
nothing whatever of the most mysterious feature of the case, the
firing of the shot. The murderer could have thrust the weapon
into the pocket or the folds of this coat"--here he drew forth
the automobile coat and held it aloft, displaying the bullet
hole" and he or she (I will not say which) could have discharged
the pistol unseen. By removing and secreting the weapon afterward
one very important piece of evidence would be suppressed. This
person could have used such a cartridge as I have here, made with
smokeless powder, and the coat would have concealed the flash of
the shot very effectively. There would have been no smoke. But
neither this coat nor even a heavy blanket would have deadened
the report of the shot.
"What are we to think of that? Only one thing. I have often
wondered why the thing wasn't done before. In fact I have been
waiting for it to occur. There is an invention that makes it
almost possible to strike a man down with impunity in broad
daylight in any place where there is sufficient noise to cover up
a click, a slight 'Pouf!' and the whir of the bullet in the air.
"I refer to this little device of a Hartford inventor. I place it
over the muzzle of the thirty-two-calibre revolver I have so far
been using--so. Now, Mr. Jameson, if you will sit at that
typewriter over there and write--anything so long as you keep the
keys clicking. The inspector will start that imitation
stock-ticker in the corner. Now we are ready. I cover the pistol
with a cloth. I defy anyone in this room to tell me the exact
moment when I discharged the pistol. I could have shot any of
you, and an outsider not in the secret would never have thought
that I was the culprit. To a certain extent I have reproduced the
conditions under which this shooting occurred.
"At once on being sure of this feature of the case I despatched a
man to Hartford to see this inventor. The man obtained from him a
complete list of all the dealers in New York to whom such devices
had been sold. The man also traced every sale of those dealers.
He did not actually obtain the weapon, but if he is working on
schedule-time according to agreement he is at this moment armed
with a search-warrant and is ransacking every possible place
where the person suspected of this crime could have concealed his
weapon. For, one of the persons intimately connected with this
case purchased not long ago a silencer for a thirty-two-calibre
revolver, and I presume that that person carried the gun and the
silencer at the time of the murder of Kerr Parker."
Kennedy concluded in triumph, his voice high pitched, his eyes
flashing. Yet to all outward appearance not a heart-beat was
quickened. Someone in that room had an amazing store of
self-possession. The fear flitted across my mind that even at the
last Kennedy was baffled.
"I had anticipated some such anti-climax," he continued after a
moment. "I am prepared for it."
He touched a bell, and the door to the next room opened. One of
Kennedy's graduate students stepped in.
"You have the records, Whiting" he asked.
"I may say," said Kennedy, "that each of your chairs is wired
under the arm in such a way as to betray on an appropriate
indicator in the next room every sudden and undue emotion. Though
it may be concealed from the eye, even of one like me who stands
facing you, such emotion is nevertheless expressed by physical
pressure on the arms of the chair. It is a test that is used
frequently with students to demonstrate various points of
psychology. You needn't raise your arms from the chairs, ladies
and gentlemen. The tests are all over now. What did they show,
The student read what he had been noting in the next room. At the
production of the coat during the demonstration of the markings
of the bullet, Mrs. Parker had betrayed great emotion, Mr. Bruce
had done likewise, and nothing more than ordinary emotion had
been noted for the rest of us. Miss La Neige's automatic record
during the tracing out of the sending of the note to Parker had
been especially unfavourable to her; Mr. Bruce showed almost as
much excitement; Mrs. Parker very little and Downey very little.
It was all set forth in curves drawn by self-recording pens on
regular ruled paper. The student had merely noted what took place
in the, lecture-room as corresponding to these curves.
"At the mention of the noiseless gun," said Kennedy, bending over
the record, while the student pointed it out to him and we leaned
forward to catch his words, "I find that the curves of Miss La
Neige, Mrs. Parker, and Mr. Downey are only so far from normal as
would be natural. All of them were witnessing a thing for the
first time with only curiosity and no fear. The curve made by Mr.
Bruce shows great agitation and--"
I heard a metallic click at my side and turned hastily. It was
Inspector Barney O'Connor, who had stepped out of the shadow with
a pair of hand-cuffs.
"James Bruce, you are under arrest," he said.
There flashed on my mind, and I think on the minds of some of the
others, a picture of another electrically wired chair.
II. The Scientific Cracksman
"I'm willing to wager you a box of cigars that you don't know the
most fascinating story in your own paper tonight," remarked
Kennedy, as I came in one evening with the four or five
newspapers I was in the habit of reading to see whether they had
beaten the Star in getting any news of importance.
"I'll bet I do," I said, "or I was one of about a dozen who
worked it up. It's the Shaw murder trial. There isn't another
that's even a bad second."
"I am afraid the cigars will be on you, Walter. Crowded over on
the second page by a lot of stale sensation that everyone has
read for the fiftieth time, now, you will find what promises to
be a real sensation, a curious half-column account of the sudden
death of John G. Fletcher."
I laughed. "Craig," I said, "when you put up a simple death from
apoplexy against a murder trial, and such a murder trial; well,
you disappoint me--that's all."
"Is it a simple case of apoplexy?" he asked, pacing up and down
the room, while I wondered why he should grow excited over what
seemed a very ordinary news item, after all. Then he picked up
the paper and read the account slowly aloud.
JOHN G. FLETCHER, STEEL MAGNATE, DIES SUDDENLY
SAFE OPEN BUT LARGE SUM OF CASH UNTOUCHED
John Graham Fletcher, the aged philanthropist and steelmaker, was
found dead in his library this morning at his home at
Fletcherwood, Great Neck, Long Island. Strangely, the safe in the
library in which he kept his papers and a large sum of cash was
found opened, but as far as could be learned nothing is missing.
It had always been Mr. Fletcher's custom to rise at seven
o'clock. This morning his housekeeper became alarmed when he had
not appeared by nine o'clock. Listening at the door, she heard no
sound. It was not locked, and on entering she found the former
steel-magnate lying lifeless on the floor between his bedroom and
the library adjoining. His personal physician, Dr. W. C. Bryant,
was immediately notified.
Close examination of the body revealed that his face was slightly
discoloured, and the cause of death was given by the physician as
apoplexy. He had evidently been dead about eight or nine hours
Mr. Fletcher is survived by a nephew, John G. Fletcher, II., who
is the Blake professor of bacteriology at the University, and by
a grandniece, Miss Helen Bond. Professor Fletcher was informed of
the sad occurrence shortly after leaving a class this morning and
hurried out to Fletcherwood. He would make no statement other
than that he was inexpressibly shocked. Miss Bond, who has for
several years resided with relatives, Mr. and Mrs. Francis Greene
of Little Neck, is prostrated by the shock.
"Walter," added Kennedy, as he laid down the paper and, without
any more sparring, came directly to the point, "there was
something missing from that safe."
I had no need to express the interest I now really felt, and
Kennedy hastened to take advantage of it.
"Just before you came in," he continued, "Jack Fletcher called me
up from Great Neck. You probably don't know it, but it has been
privately reported in the inner circle of the University that old
Fletcher was to leave the bulk of his fortune to found a great
school of preventive medicine, and that the only proviso was that
his nephew should be dean of the school. The professor told me
over the wire that the will was missing from the safe, and that
it was the only thing missing. From his excitement I judge that
there is more to the story than he cared to tell over the 'phone.
He said his car was on the way to the city, and he asked if I
wouldn't come and help him--he wouldn't say how. Now, I know him
pretty well, and I'm going to ask you to come along, Walter, for
the express purpose of keeping this thing out of the newspapers
understand?--until we get to the bottom of it."
A few minutes later the telephone rang and the hall-boy announced
that the car was waiting. We hurried down to it; the chauffeur
lounged down carelessly into his seat and we were off across the
city and river and out on the road to Great Neck with amazing
Already I began to feel something of Kennedy's zest for the
adventure. I found myself half a dozen times on the point of
hazarding a suspicion, only to relapse again into silence at the
inscrutable look on Kennedy's face. What was the mystery that
awaited us in the great lonely house on Long Island?
We found Fletcherwood a splendid estate directly on the bay, with
a long drive-way leading up to the door. Professor Fletcher met
us at the porte cochere, and I was glad to note that, far from
taking me as an intruder, he seemed rather relieved that someone
who understood the ways of the newspapers could stand between him
and any reporters who might possibly drop in.
He ushered us directly into the library and closed the door. It
seemed as if he could scarcely; wait to tell his story.
"Kennedy," he began, almost trembling with excitement, "look at
that safe door."
We looked. It had been drilled through in such a way as to break
the combination. It was a heavy door, closely fitting, and it was
the best kind of small safe that the state of the art had
produced. Yet clearly it had been tampered with, and
successfully. Who was this scientific cracksman who had
apparently accomplished the impossible? It was no ordinary hand
and brain which had executed this "job."
Fletcher swung the door wide, and pointed to a little compartment
inside, whose steel door had been jimmied open. Then out of it he
carefully lifted a steel box and deposited it on the library
"I suppose everybody has been handling that box?" asked Craig
A smile flitted across Fletcher's features. "I thought of that,
Kennedy," he said. "I remembered what you once told me about
finger-prints. Only myself has touched it, and I was careful to
take hold of it only on the sides. The will was placed in this
box, and the key to the box was usually in the lock. Well, the
will is gone. That's all; nothing else was touched. But for the
life of me I can't find a mark on the box, not a finger-mark. Now
on a hot and humid summer night like last night I should say it
was pretty likely that anyone touching this metal box would have
left finger-marks. Shouldn't you think so, Kennedy?"
Kennedy nodded and continued to examine the place where the
compartment had been jimmied. A low whistle aroused us: coming
over to the table, Craig tore a white sheet of paper off a pad
lying there and deposited a couple of small particles on it.
"I found them sticking on the jagged edges of the steel where it
had been forced," he said. Then he whipped out a pocket
magnifying-glass. "Not from a rubber glove," he commented half to
himself. "By Jove, one side of them shows lines that look as if
they were the lines on a person's fingers, and the other side is
perfectly smooth. There's not a chance of using them as a clue,
except--well, I didn't know criminals in America knew that
"Why, you know how keen the new detectives are on the
finger-print system? Well, the first thing some of the up-to-date
criminals in Europe did was to wear rubber gloves so that they
would leave no prints. But you can't work very well with rubber
gloves. Last fall in Paris I heard of a fellow who had given the
police a lot of trouble. He never left a mark, or at least it was
no good if he did. He painted his hands lightly with a liquid
rubber which he had invented himself. It did all that rubber
gloves would do and yet left him the free use of his fingers with
practically the same keenness of touch. Fletcher, whatever is at
the bottom of this affair, I feel sure right now that you have to
deal with no ordinary criminal."
"Do you suppose there are any relatives besides those we know
of?" I asked Kennedy when Fletcher had left to summon the
"No," he replied, "I think not. Fletcher and Helen Bond, his
second cousin, to whom he is engaged, are the only two."
Kennedy continued to study the library. He walked in and out of
the doors and examined the windows and viewed the safe from all
The old gentleman's bedroom is here," he said, indicating a door.
"Now a good smart noise or perhaps even a light shining through
the transom from the library might arouse him. Suppose he woke up
suddenly and entered by this door. He would see the thief at work
on the safe. Yes, that part of reconstructing the story is
simple. But who was the intruder?"
Just then Fletcher returned with the servants. The questioning
was long and tedious, and developed nothing except that the
butler admitted that he was uncertain whether the windows in the
library were locked. The gardener was very obtuse, but finally
contributed one possibly important fact. He had noted in the
morning that the back gate, leading into a disused road closer to
the bay than the main highway in front of the house, was open. It
was rarely used, and was kept closed only by an ordinary hook.
Whoever had opened it had evidently forgotten to hook it. He had
thought it strange that it was unhooked, and in closing it he had
noticed in the mud of the roadway marks that seemed to indicate
that an automobile had stood there.
After the servants had gone, Fletcher asked us to excuse him for
a while, as he wished to run over to the Greenes', who lived
across the bay. Miss Bond was completely prostrated by the death
of her uncle, he said, and was in an extremely nervous condition.
Meanwhile if we found any need of a machine we might use his
uncle's, or in fact anything around the place.
"Walter," said Craig, when Fletcher had gone, "I want to run back
to town to-night, and I have something I'd like to have you do,
We were soon speeding back along the splendid road to Long Island
City, while he laid out our programme.
"You go down to the Star office," he said, "and look through all
the clippings on the whole Fletcher family. Get a complete story
of the life of Helen Bond, too--what she has done in society,
with whom she has been seen mostly, whether she has made any
trips abroad, and whether she has ever been engaged--you know,
anything likely to be significant. I'm going up to the apartment
to get my camera and then to the laboratory to get some rather
bulky paraphernalia I want to take out to Fletcherwood. Meet me
at the Columbus Circle station at, say half-past-ten."
So we separated. My search revealed the fact that Miss Bond had
always been intimate with the ultra-fashionable set, had spent
last summer in Europe, a good part of the time in Switzerland and
Paris with the Greenes. As far as I could find out she had never
been reported engaged, but plenty of fortunes as well as foreign
titles had been flitting about the ward of the steel-magnate.
Craig and I met at the appointed time. He had a lot of
paraphernalia with him, and it did not add to our comfort as we
sped back, but it wasn't much over half an hour before we again
found ourselves nearing Great Neck.
Instead of going directly back to Fletcherwood, however, Craig
had told the chauffeur to stop at the plant of the local electric
light and power company, where he asked if he might see the
record of the amount of current used the night before.
The curve sprawled across the ruled surface of the sheet by the
automatic registering-needle was irregular, showing the ups and
downs of the current, rising sharply from sundown and gradually
declining after nine o'clock, as the lights went out. Somewhere
between eleven and twelve o'clock, however, the irregular fall of
the curve was broken by a quite noticeable upward twist.
Craig asked the men if that usually happened. They were quite
sure that the curve as a rule went gradually down until twelve
o'clock, when the power was shut off. But they did not see
anything remarkable in it. "Oh, I suppose some of the big houses
had guests," volunteered the foreman, "and just to show off the
place perhaps they turned on all the lights. I don't know, sir,
what it was, but it couldn't have been a heavy drain, or we would
have noticed it at the time, and the lights would all have been
"Well," said Craig, "just watch and see if it occurs again
to-night about the same time."
"All right, sir."
"And when you close down the plant for the night, will you bring
the record card up to Fletcherwood?" asked Craig, slipping a bill
into the pocket of the foreman's shirt.
"I will, and thank you, sir."
It was nearly half-past eleven when Craig had got his apparatus
set up in the library at Fletcherwood. Then he unscrewed all the
bulbs from the chandelier in the library and attached in their
places connections with the usual green silk-covered flexible
wire rope. These were then joined up to a little instrument which
to me looked like a drill. Next he muffed the drill with a wad of
felt and applied it to the safe door.
I could hear the dull tat-tat of the drill. Going into the
bedroom and closing the door, I found that it was still audible
to me, but an old man, inclined to deafness and asleep, would
scarcely have been awakened by it. In about ten minutes Craig
displayed a neat little hole in the safe door opposite the one
made by the cracksman in the combination.
"I'm glad you're honest," I said, "or else we might be afraid of
you--perhaps even make you prove an alibi for last night's job!"
He ignored my bantering and said in a tone such as he might have
used before a class of students in the gentle art of scientific
safe-cracking: "Now if the power company's curve is just the same
to-night as last night, that will show how the thing was done. I
wanted to be sure of it, so I thought I'd try this apparatus
which I smuggled in from Paris last year. I believe the old man
happened to be wakeful and heard it."
Then he pried off the door of the interior compartment which had
been jimmied open. "Perhaps we may learn something by looking at
this door and studying the marks left by the jimmy, by means of
this new instrument of mine," he said.
On the library table he fastened an arrangement with two upright
posts supporting a dial which he called a "dynamometer." The
uprights were braced in the back, and the whole thing reminded me
of a miniature guillotine.
"This is my mechanical detective," said Craig proudly. "It was
devised by Bertillon himself, and he personally gave me
permission to copy his own machine. You see, it is devised to
measure pressure. Now let's take an ordinary jimmy and see just
how much pressure it takes to duplicate those marks on this
Craig laid the piece of steel on the dynamometer in the position
it had occupied in the safe, and braced it tightly. Then he took
a jimmy and pressed on it with all his strength. The steel door
was connected with the indicator, and the needle spun around
until it indicated a pressure such as only a strong man could
have exerted. Comparing the marks made in the steel in the
experiment and by the safe-cracker, it was evident that no such
pressure had been necessary. Apparently the lock on the door was
only a trifling affair, and the steel itself was not very, tough.
The safe-makers had relied on the first line of defence to repel
Craig tried again and again, each time using less force. At last
he got a mark just about similar to the original marks on the
"Well, well, what do you think of that?" he exclaimed
reflectively. "A child could have done that part of the job."
Just then the lights went off for the night. Craig lighted the
oil-lamp, and sat in silence until the electric light plant
foreman appeared with; the card-record, which showed a curve
practically identical with that of the night before.
A few moments later Professor Fletcher's machine came up the
driveway, and he joined us with a worried and preoccupied look on
his face that he could not conceal. "She's terribly broken up by
the suddenness of it all," he murmured as he sank into an
armchair. "The shock has been too much for her. In fact, I hadn't
the heart to tell her anything about the robbery, poor girl."
Then in a moment he asked, "Any more clues yet, Kennedy?"
"Well, nothing of first importance. I have only been trying to
reconstruct the story of the robbery so that I can reason out a
motive and a few details; then when the real clues come along we
won't have so much ground to cover. The cracksman was certainly
clever. He used an electric drill to break the combination and
ran it by the electric light current."
"Whew!" exclaimed the professor, "is that so? He must have been
above the average. That's interesting."
"By the way, Fletcher," said Kennedy, "I wish you would introduce
me to your fiancee tomorrow. I would like to know her."
"Gladly," Fletcher replied, "only you must be careful what you
talk about. Remember, the death of uncle has been quite a shock
to her --he was her only relative besides myself."
"I will," promised Kennedy, "and by the way, she may think it
strange that I'm out here at a time like this. Perhaps you had
better tell her I'm a nerve specialist or something of that sort
--anything not to connect me with the robbery, which you say you
haven't told her about."
The next morning found Kennedy out bright and early, for he had
not had a very good chance to do anything during the night except
reconstruct the details. He was now down by the back gate with
his camera, where I found him turning it end-down and
photographing the road. Together we made a thorough search of the
woods and the road about the gate, but could discover absolutely
After breakfast I improvised a dark room and developed the films,
while Craig went down the back lane along the shore "looking for
clues," as he said briefly. Toward noon he returned, and I could
see that he was in a brown study. So I said nothing, but handed
him the photographs of the road. He took them and laid them down
in a long line on the library floor. They seemed to consist of
little ridges of dirt on either side of a series of regular round
spots, some of the spots very clear and distinct on the sides,
others quite obscure in the centre. Now and then where you would
expect to see one of the spots, just for the symmetry of the
thing, it was missing. As I looked at the line of photographs on
the floor I saw that they were a photograph of the track made by
the tire of an automobile, and I suddenly recalled what the
gardener had said.
Next Craig produced the results of his morning's work, which
consisted of several dozen sheets of white paper, carefully
separated into three bundles. These he also laid down in long
lines on the floor, each package in a separate line. Then I began
to realise what he was doing, and became fascinated in watching
him on his hands and knees eagerly scanning the papers and
comparing them with the photographs. At last he gathered up two
of the sets of papers very decisively and threw them away. Then
he shifted the third set a bit, and laid it closely parallel to
"Look at these, Walter," he said. "Now take this deep and sharp
indentation. Well, there's a corresponding one in the photograph.
So you can pick them out one for another. Now here's one missing
altogether on the paper. So it is in the photograph."
Almost like a schoolboy in his glee, he was comparing the little
round circles made by the metal insertions in an "anti-skid"
automobile tire. Time and again I had seen imprints like that
left in the dust and grease of an asphalted street or the mud of
a road. It had never occurred to me that they might be used in
any way. Yet here Craig was, calmly tracing out the similarity
before my very eyes, identifying the marks made in the photograph
with the prints left on the bits of paper.
As I followed him, I had a most curious feeling of admiration for
his genius. "Craig," I cried, "that's the thumb-print of an
"There speaks the yellow journalist," he answered merrily.
"'Thumb Print System Applied to Motor Cars'--I can see the Sunday
feature story you have in your mind with that headline already.
Yes, Walter, that's precisely what this is. The Berlin police
have used it a number of times with the most startling results."
"But, Craig," I exclaimed suddenly, "the paper prints, where did
you get them? What machine is it?"
"It's one not very far from here," he answered sententiously, and
I saw he would say nothing more that might fix a false suspicion
on anyone. Still, my curiosity was so great that if there had
been an opportunity I certainly should have tried out his plan on
all the cars in the Fletcher garage.
Kennedy would say nothing more, and we ate our luncheon in
silence. Fletcher, who had decided to lunch with the Greenes,
called Kennedy up on the telephone to tell him it would be all
right for him to call on Miss Bond later in the afternoon.
"And I may bring over the apparatus I once described to you to
determine just what her nervous condition is?" he asked.
Apparently the answer was yes, for Kennedy hung up the receiver
with a satisfied, "Good-bye."
"Walter, I want you to come along with me this afternoon as my
assistant. Remember I'm now Dr. Kennedy, the nerve specialist,
and you are Dr. Jameson, my colleague, and we are to be in
consultation on a most important case."
"Do you think that's fair?" I asked hotly, "to take that girl off
her guard, to insinuate yourself into her confidence as a medical
adviser, and worm out of her some find of fact incriminating
someone? I suppose that's your plan, and I don't like the ethics,
or rather the lack of ethics, of the thing."
"Now think a minute, Walter. Perhaps I am wrong; I don't know.
Certainly I feel that the end will justify the means. I have an
idea that I can get from Miss Bond the only clue that I need, one
that will lead straight to the criminal. Who knows? I have a
suspicion that the thing I'm going to do is the highest form of
your so-called ethics. If what Fletcher tells us is true that
girl is going insane over this thing. Why should she be so
shocked over the death of an uncle she did not live with? I tell
you she knows something about this case that it is necessary for
us to know, too. If she doesn't tell someone, it will eat her
mind out. I'll add a dinner to the box of cigars we have already
bet on this case that what I'm going to do is for the best--for
Again I yielded, for I was coming to have more and more faith in
the old Kennedy I had seen made over into a first-class
detective, and together we started for the Greenes', Craig
carrying something in one of those long black handbags which
Fletcher met us on the driveway. He seemed to be very much
affected, for his face was drawn, and he shifted from one
position to another nervously, from which we inferred that Miss
Bond was feeling worse. It was late afternoon, almost verging on
twilight, as he led us through the reception-hall and thence onto
a long porch overlooking the bay and redolent with honeysuckle.
Miss Bond was half reclining in a wicker chair us we entered. She
started to rise to greet us, but Fletcher gently restrained her,
saying, as he introduced us, that he guessed the doctors would
pardon any informality from an invalid.
Fletcher was a pretty fine fellow, and I had come to like him;
but I soon found myself wondering what he had ever done to
deserve winning such a girl as Helen Bond. She was what I should
describe as the ideal type of "new" woman,--tall and athletic,
yet without any affectation of mannishness. The very first
thought that struck me was the incongruousness of a girl of her
type suffering from an attack of "nerves," and I felt sure it
must be as Craig had said, that she was concealing a secret that
was having a terrible effect on her. A casual glance might not
have betrayed the true state of her feelings, for her dark hair
and large brown eyes and the tan of many suns on her face and
arms betokened anything but the neurasthenic. One felt
instinctively that she was, with all her athletic grace,
primarily a womanly woman.
The sun sinking toward the hills across the bay softened the
brown of her skin and, as I observed by watching her closely,
served partially to conceal the nervousness which was wholly
unnatural in a girl of such poise. When she smiled there was a
false note in it; it was forced and it was sufficiently evident
to me that she was going through a mental hell of conflicting
emotions that would have killed a woman of less self-control.
I felt that I would like to be in Fletcher's shoes--doubly so
when, at Kennedy's request, he withdrew, leaving me to witness
the torture of a woman of such fine sensibilities, already hunted
remorselessly by her own thoughts.
Still, I will give Kennedy credit for a tactfulness that I didn't
know the old fellow possessed. He carried through the preliminary
questions very well for a pseudo-doctor, appealing to me as his
assistant on inconsequential things that enabled me to "save my
face" perfectly. When he came to the critical moment of opening
the black bag, he made a very appropriate and easy remark about
not having brought any sharp shiny instruments or nasty black
"All I wish to do, Miss Bond, is to make a few, simple little
tests of your nervous condition. One of them we specialists call
reaction time, and another is a test of heart action. Neither is
of any seriousness at all, so I beg of you not to become excited,
for the chief value consists in having the patient perfectly
quiet and normal. After they are over I think I'll know whether
to prescribe absolute rest or a visit to Newport."
She smiled languidly, as he adjusted a long, tightly fitting
rubber glove on her shapely forearm and then encased it in a
larger, absolutely inflexible covering of leather. Between the
rubber glove and the leather covering was a liquid communicating
by a glass tube with a sort of dial. Craig had often explained to
me how the pressure of the blood was registered most minutely on
the dial, showing the varied emotions as keenly as if you had
taken a peep into the very mind of the subject. I think the
experimental psychologists called the thing a "plethysmograph."
Then he had an apparatus which measured association time. The
essential part of this instrument was the operation of a very
delicate stop-watch, and this duty was given to me. It was
nothing more nor less than measuring the time that elapsed
between his questions to her and her answers, while he recorded
the actual questions and answers and noted the results which I
worked out. Neither of us was unfamiliar with the process, for
when we were in college these instruments were just coming into
use in America. Kennedy had never let his particular branch of
science narrow him, but had made a practice of keeping abreast of
all the important discoveries and methods in other fields.
Besides, I had read articles about the chronoscope, the
plethysmograph, the sphygmograph, and others of the new
psychological instruments. Craig carried it off, however, as if
he did that sort of thing as an every-day employment.
"Now, Miss Bond," he said, and his voice was so reassuring and
persuasive that I could see she was not made even a shade more
nervous by our simple preparations, "the game--it is just like a
children's parlour game--is just this: I will say a word--take
'dog,' for instance. You are to answer back immediately the first
word that comes into your mind suggested by it--say 'cat.' I will
say 'chain,' for example, and probably you will answer 'collar,'
and so on. Do you catch my meaning? It may seem ridiculous, no
doubt, but before we are through I feel sure you'll see how
valuable such a test is, particularly in a simple case of
nervousness such as yours."
I don't think she found any sinister interpretation in his words,
but I did, and if ever I wanted to protest it was then, but my
voice seemed to stick in my throat.
He was beginning. It was clearly up to me to give in and not
interfere. As closely as I was able I kept my eyes riveted on the
watch and other apparatus, while my ears and heart followed with
mingled emotions the low, musical voice of the girl.
I will not give all the test, for there was much of it,
particularly at the start, that was in reality valueless, since
it was merely leading up to the "surprise tests." From the
colourless questions Kennedy suddenly changed. It was done in an
instant, when Miss Bond had been completely disarmed and put off
"Night," said Kennedy. "Day," came back the reply from Miss Bond.
Did I detect or imagine a faint hesitation?
Yes, it was plain that time. But the words followed one another
in quick succession. There was no rest. She had no chance to
collect herself. I noted the marked difference in the reaction
time and, in my sympathy, damned this cold; scientific third
"Quartier Latin." "Students."
"Apaches." Craig gave it its Gallicised pronunciation, "Apash."
"Really, Dr. Kennedy," she said, "there is nothing I can
associate with them--well, yes, les vaches, I believe. You had
better count that question out. I've wasted a good many seconds."
"Very well, let us try again," he replied with a forced
unconcern, though the answer seemed to interest him, for "les
vaches" meant "the cows," otherwise known as the police.
No lawyer could have revelled in an opportunity for putting
leading questions more ruthlessly than did Kennedy. He snapped
out his words sharply and unexpectedly.
"Electric light," he emphasised. "Broadway," she answered,
endeavouring to force a new association of ideas to replace one
which she strove to conceal.
"Safe." "Vaults." Out of the corner of my eye I could see that
the indicator showed a tremendously increased heart action. As
for the reaction time, I noted that it was growing longer and
more significant. Remorselessly he pressed his words home.
Mentally I cursed him.
"Steel." "Pittsburg," she cried at random.
"Strong-box," No answer.
"Lock." Again no answer. He hurried his words. I was leaning
forward, tense with excitement and sympathy.
"Key." Silence and a fluttering of the blood pressure indicator.
As the last word was uttered her air of frightened defiance was
swept away. With a cry of anguish, she swayed to her feet. "No,
no, doctor, you must not, you must not," she cried with
outstretched arms. "Why do you pick out those words of all
others? Can it be--" If I had not caught her I believe she would
The indicator showed a heart alternately throbbing with feverish
excitement and almost stopping with fear. What would Kennedy do
next, I wondered, determined to shut him off as soon as I
possibly could. From the moment I had seen her I had been under
her spell. Mine should have been Fletcher's place, I knew, though
I cannot but say that I felt a certain grim pleasure in
supporting even momentarily such a woman in her time of need.
"Can it be that you have guessed what no one in the world, no,
not even dear old Jack, dreams Oh, I shall go mad, mad, mad!"
Kennedy was on his feet in an instant, advancing toward her. The
look in his eyes was answer enough for her. She knew that he
knew, and she paled and shuddered, shrinking away from him.
"Miss Bond," he said in a voice that forced attention--it was low
and vibrating with feeling "Miss Bond, have you ever told a lie
to shield a friend?"
"Yes," she said, her eyes meeting his.
"So can I," came back the same tense voice, "when I know the
truth about that friend."
Then for the first time tears came in a storm. Her breath was
quick and feverish. "No one will ever believe, no one will
understand. They will say that I killed him, that I murdered
Through it all I stood almost speechless, puzzled. What did it
"No," said Kennedy, "no, for they will never know of it."
"Never--if in the end justice is done. Have you the will? Or did
you destroy it?"
It was a bold stroke.
"Yes. No. Here it is. How could I destroy it, even though it was
burning out my very soul?"
She literally tore the paper from the bosom of her dress and cast
it from her in horror and terror.
Kennedy picked it up, opened it, and glanced hurriedly through
it. "Miss Bond," he said, "Jack shall never know a word of this.
I shall tell him that the will has been found unexpectedly in
John Fletcher's desk among some other papers. Walter, swear on
your honour as a gentleman that this will was found in old
"Dr. Kennedy, how can I ever thank you?" she exclaimed, sinking
wearily down into a chair and pressing her hands to her throbbing
"By telling me just how you came by this will, so that when you
and Fletcher are married I may be as good a friend, without
suspicion, to you as I am to him. I think a full confession would
do you good, Miss Bond. Would you prefer to have Dr. Jameson not
"No, he may stay."
"This much I know, Miss Bond. Last summer in Paris with the
Greenes you must have chanced to hear, of Pillard, the Apache,
one of the most noted cracksmen the world has ever produced. You
sought him out. He taught you how to paint your fingers with a
rubber composition, how to use an electric drill, how to use the
old-fashioned jimmy. You went down to Fletcherwood by the back
road about a quarter after eleven the night of the robbery in the
Greenes' little electric runabout. You entered the library by an
unlocked window, you coupled your drill to the electric light
connections of the chandelier. You had to work quickly, for the
power would go off at midnight, yet you could not do the job
later, when they were sleeping more soundly, for the very same
It was uncanny as Kennedy rushed along in his reconstruction of
the scene, almost unbelievable. The girl watched him, fascinated.
"John Fletcher was wakeful that night. Somehow or other he heard
you at work. He entered the library and, by the light streaming
from his bedroom, he saw who it was. In anger he must have
addressed you, and his passion got the better of his age--he fell
suddenly on the floor with a stroke of apoplexy. As you bent over
him he died. But why did you ever attempt so foolish an
undertaking? Didn't you know that other people knew of the will
and its terms, that you were sure to be traced out in the end, if
not by friends, by foes? How did you suppose you could profit by
destroying the will, of which others knew the provisions?"
Any other woman than Helen Bond would have been hysterical long
before Kennedy had finished pressing home remorselessly one fact
after another of her story. But, with her, the relief now after
the tension of many hours of concealment seemed to nerve her to
go to the end and tell the truth.
What was it? Had she some secret lover for whom she had dared all
to secure the family fortune? Or was she shielding someone dearer
to her than her own reputation? Why had Kennedy made Fletcher
Her eyes dropped and her breast rose and fell with suppressed
emotion. Yet I was hardly prepared for her reply when at last she
slowly raised her head and looked us calmly in the face.
"I did it because I loved Jack."
Neither of us spoke. I, at least, had fallen completely under the
spell of this masterful woman. Right or wrong, I could not
restrain a feeling of admiration and amazement.
"Yes," she said as her voice thrilled with emotion, "strange as
it may sound to you, it was not love of self that made me do it.
I was, I am madly in love with Jack. No other man has ever
inspired such respect and love as he has. His work in the
university I have fairly gloated over. And yet--and yet, Dr.
Kennedy, can you not see that I am different from Jack? What
would I do with the income of the wife of even the dean of the
new school? The annuity provided for me in that will is paltry. I
need millions. From the tiniest baby I have been reared that way.
I have always expected this fortune. I have been given everything
I wanted. But it is different when one is married--you must have
your own money. I need a fortune, for then I could have the town
house, the country house, the yacht, the motors, the clothes, the
servants that I need--they are as much a part of my life as your
profession is of yours. I must have them.
"And now it was all to slip from my hands. True, it was to go in
such a way by this last will as to make Jack happy in his new
school. I could have let that go, if that was all. There are
other fortunes that have been laid at my feet. But I wanted Jack,
and I knew Jack wanted me. Dear boy, he never could realise how
utterly unhappy intellectual poverty would have made me and how
my unhappiness would have reacted on him in the end. In reality
this great and beneficent philanthropy was finally to blight both
our love and our lives.
"What was I to do? Stand by and see my life and my love ruined or
refuse Jack for the fortune of a man I did not love? Helen Bond
is not that kind of a woman, I said to myself. I consulted the
greatest lawyer I knew. I put a hypothetical case to him, and
asked his opinion in such a way as to make him believe he was
advising me how to make an unbreakable will. He told me of
provisions and clauses to avoid, particularly in making
benefactions. That was what I wanted to know. I would put one of
those clauses in my uncle's will. I practised uncle's writing
till I was as good a forger of that clause as anyone could have
become. I had picked out the very words in his own handwriting to
Then I went to Paris and, as you have guessed, learned how to get
things out of a safe like that of uncle's. Before God, all I
planned to do was to get that will, change it, replace it, and
trust that uncle would never notice the change. Then when he was
gone, I would have contested the will. I would have got my full
share either by court proceedings or by settlement out of court.
You see, I had planned it all out. The school would have been
founded--I, we would have founded it. What difference, I said,
did thirty millions or fifty millions make to an impersonal
school, a school not yet even in existence? The twenty million
dollars or so difference, or even half of it, meant life and love
"I had planned to steal the cash in the safe, anything to divert
attention from the will and make it look like a plain robbery. I
would have done the altering of the will that night and have
returned it to the safe before morning. But it was not to be. I
had almost opened the safe when my uncle entered the room. His
anger completely unnerved me, and from the moment I saw him on
the floor to this I haven't had a sane thought. I forgot to take
the cash, I forgot everything but that will. My only thought was
that I must get it and destroy it. I doubt if I could have
altered it with my nerves so upset. There, now you have my whole
story. I am at your mercy."
"No," said Kennedy, "believe me, there is a mental statute of
limitations that as far as Jameson and myself are concerned has
already erased this affair. Walter, will you find Fletcher?"
I found the professor pacing up and down the gravel walk
"Fletcher," said Kennedy, "a night's rest is all Miss Bond really
needs. It is simply a case of overwrought nerves, and it will
pass off of itself. Still, I would advise a change of scene as
soon as possible. Good afternoon, Miss Bond, and my best wishes
for your health."
"Good afternoon, Dr. Kennedy. Good afternoon, Dr. Jameson."
I for one was glad to make my escape.
A half-hour later, Kennedy, with well-simulated excitement, was
racing me in the car up to the Greenes' again. We literally burst
unannounced into the tete-a-tete on the porch.
"Fletcher, Fletcher," cried Kennedy, "look what Walter and I have
just discovered in a tin strong-box poked off in the back of your
Fletcher seized the will and by the dim light that shone through
from the hall read it hastily. "Thank God," he cried; "the school
is provided for as I thought."
"Isn't it glorious!" murmured Helen.
True to my instinct I muttered, "Another good newspaper yarn
III. The Bacteriological Detective
Kennedy was deeply immersed in writing a lecture on the chemical
compositions of various bacterial toxins and antitoxins, a thing
which was as unfamiliar to me as Kamchatka, but as familiar to
Kennedy as Broadway and Forty-second Street.
"Really," he remarked, laying down his fountain-pen and lighting
his cigar for the hundredth time, "the more one thinks of how the
modern criminal misses his opportunities the more astonishing it
seems. Why do they stick to pistols, chloroform, and prussic acid
when there is such a splendid assortment of refined methods they
"Give it up, old man," I replied helplessly, "unless it is
because they haven't any imagination. I hope they don't use them.
What would become of my business if they did? How would you ever
get a really dramatic news feature for the Star out of such a
thing? 'Dotted line marks route taken by fatal germ; cross
indicates spot where antitoxin attacked it'--ha! ha! not much for
the yellow journals in that, Craig."
"To my mind, Walter, it would be the height of the dramatic--far
more dramatic than sending a bullet into a man. Any fool can
shoot a pistol or cut a throat, but it takes brains to be
"It may be so;" I admitted, and went on reading, while Kennedy
scratched away diligently on his lecture. I mention this
conversation both because it bears on my story, by a rather
peculiar coincidence, and because it showed me a new side of
Kennedy's amazing researches. He was as much interested in
bacteria as in chemistry, and the story is one of bacteria.
It was perhaps a quarter of an hour later when the buzzer on our
hall door sounded. Imagine my surprise on opening the door to
discover the slight figure of what appeared to be a most
fascinating young lady who was heavily veiled. She was in a state
almost bordering on hysteria, as even I, in spite of my usual
"Is Professor Kennedy in?" she inquired anxiously.
"Yes, ma'am;" I replied, opening the door into our study.
She advanced toward him, repeating her inquiry.
"I am Professor Kennedy. Pray be seated," he said.
The presence of a lady in our apartment was such a novelty that
really I forgot to disappear, but busied myself straightening the
furniture and opening a window to allow the odour of stale
tobacco to escape.
"My name is Eveline Bisbee," she began. "I have heard, Professor
Kennedy, that you are an adept at getting at the bottom of
"You flatter me;" he said in acknowledgment. "Who was so foolish
as to tell you that"
"A friend who has heard of the Kerr Parker case," she replied.
"I beg your pardon," I interrupted, "I didn't mean to intrude. I
think I'll go out. I'll be back in an hour or two."
"Please, Mr. Jameson--it is Mr. Jameson, is it not?"
I bowed in surprise.
"If it is possible I wish you would stay and hear my story. I am
told that you and Professor Kennedy always work together."
It was my turn to be embarrassed by the compliment.
"Mrs. Fletcher, of Great Neck," she explained, "has told me. I
believe Professor Kennedy performed a great service for the
Fletchers, though I do not know what it was. At any rate, I have
come to you with my case, in which I have small hope of obtaining
assistance unless you can help me. If Professor Kennedy cannot
solve it, well, I'm afraid nobody can." She paused a moment, then
added, "No doubt you have read of the death of my guardian the
Of course we had. Who did not know that "Jim" Bisbee, the
southern California oil-magnate, had died suddenly of typhoid
fever at the private hospital of Dr. Bell, where he had been
taken from his magnificent apartment on Riverside Drive? Kennedy
and I had discussed it at the time. We had commented on the
artificiality of the twentieth century. No longer did people have
homes; they had apartments, I had said. They didn't fall ill in
the good old-fashioned way any more, either in fact, they even
hired special rooms to die in. They hired halls for funeral
services. It was a wonder that they didn't hire graves. It was
all part of our twentieth century break-up of tradition. Indeed
we did know about the death of Jim Bisbee. But there was nothing
mysterious about it. It was just typical in all its surroundings
of the first decade of the twentieth century in a great,
artificial city--a lonely death of a great man surrounded by all
that money could buy.
We had read of his ward, too, the beautiful Miss Eveline Bisbee,
a distant relation. As under the heat of the room and her
excitement, she raised her veil, we were very much interested in
her. At least, I am sure that even Kennedy had by this time
completely forgotten the lecture on toxins.
"There is something about my guardian's death," she began in a
low and tremulous voice, "that I am sure will bear investigating.
It may be only a woman's foolish fears, but--I haven't told this
to a soul till now, except Mrs. Fletcher. My guardian had, as you
perhaps know, spent his summer at his country place at Bisbee
Hall, New Jersey, from which he returned rather suddenly about a
week ago. Our friends thought it merely a strange whim that he
should return to the city before the summer was fairly over, but
it was not. The day before he returned, his gardener fell sick of
typhoid. That decided Mr. Bisbee to return to the city on the
following day. Imagine his consternation to find his valet
stricken the very next morning. Of course they motored to New
York immediately, then he wired to me at Newport, and together we
opened his apartment at the Louis Quinze.
"But that was not to be the end of it. One after another, the
servants at Bisbee Hall were taken with the disease until five of
them were down. Then came the last blow--Mr. Bisbee fell a victim
in New York. So far I have been spared. But who knows how much
longer it will last? I have been so frightened that I haven't
eaten a meal in the apartment since I came back. When I am hungry
I simply steal out to a hotel--a different one every time. I
never drink any water except that which I have surreptitiously
boiled in my own room over a gas-stove. Disinfectants and
germicides have been used by the gallon, and still I don't feel
safe. Even the health authorities don't remove my fears. With my
guardian's death I had begun to feel that possibly it was over.
But no. This morning another servant who came up from the hall
last week was taken sick, and the doctor pronounces that typhoid,
too. Will I be the next? Is it just a foolish fear? Why does it
pursue us to New York? Why didn't it stop at Bisbee Hall?"
I don't think I ever saw a living creature more overcome by
horror, by an invisible, deadly fear. That was why it was doubly
horrible in a girl so attractive as Eveline Bisbee. As I listened
I felt how terrible it must be to be pursued by such a fear. What
must it be to be dogged by a disease as relentlessly as the
typhoid had dogged her? If it had been some great, but visible,
tangible peril how gladly I could have faced it merely for the
smile of a woman like this. But it was a peril that only
knowledge and patience could meet. Instinctively I turned toward
Kennedy, my own mind being an absolute blank.
"Is there anyone you suspect of being the cause of such an
epidemic?" he asked. "I may as well tell you right now that I
have already formed two theories--one perfectly natural, the
other diabolical. Tell me everything."
"Well, I had expected to receive a fortune of one million
dollars, free and clear, by his will and this morning I am
informed by his lawyer, James Denny, that a new will had been
made. It is still one million. But the remainder, instead of
going to a number of charities in which he was known to be
interested, goes to form a trust fund for the Bisbee School of
Mechanical Arts, of which Mr. Denny is the sole trustee. Of
course, I do not know much about my guardian's interests while he
was alive, but it strikes me as strange that he should have
changed so radically, and, besides, the new will is so worded
that if I die without children my million also goes to this
school--location unnamed. I can't help wondering about it all."
"Why should you wonder--at least what other reasons have you for
"Oh, I can't express them. Maybe after all it's only a woman's
silly intuition. But often I have thought in the past few days
about this illness of my guardian. It was so queer. He was always
so careful. And you know the rich don't often have typhoid."
"You have no reason to suppose that it was not typhoid fever of
which he died"
She hesitated. "No," she replied, "but if you had known Mr.
Bisbee you would think it strange, too. He had a horror of
infectious and contagious diseases. His apartment and his country
home were models. No sanitarium could have been more punctilious.
He lived what one of his friends called an antiseptic life. Maybe
I am foolish, but it keeps getting closer and closer to me now,
and--well, I wish you'd look into the case. Please set my mind at
rest and assure me that nothing is wrong, that it is all
"I will help you, Miss Bisbee. To-morrow night I want to take a
trip quietly to Bisbee Hall. You will see that it is all right,
that I have the proper letters so I can investigate thoroughly"
I shall never forget the mute and eloquent thanks with which she
said good night after Kennedy's promise.
Kennedy sat with his eyes shaded under his hand for fully an hour
after she had left. Then he suddenly jumped up. "Walter," he
said, "let us go over to Dr. Bell's. I know the head nurse there.
We may possibly learn something."
As we sat in the waiting-room with its thick Oriental rugs and
handsome mahogany furniture, I found myself going back to our
conversation of the early evening. "By Jove, Kennedy, you were
right," I exclaimed. "If there is anything in this germ-plot idea
of hers it is indeed the height of the dramatic--it is
diabolical. No ordinary mortal would ever be capable of it."
Just then the head nurse came in, a large woman breathing of
germlessness and cheerfulness in her spotless uniform. We were
shown every courtesy. There was, in fact, nothing to conceal. The
visit set at rest my last suspicion that perhaps Jim Bisbee had
been poisoned by a drug. The charts of his temperature and the
sincerity of the nurse were absolutely convincing. It had really
been typhoid, and there was nothing to be gained by pursuing that
Back at the apartment, Craig began packing his suitcase with the
few things he would need for a journey. "I'm going out to Bisbee
Hall tomorrow for a few days, Walter, and if you could find it
convenient to come along I should like to have your assistance."
"To tell you the truth, Craig, I am afraid to go," I said.
"You needn't be. I'm going down to the army post on Governor's
Island first to be vaccinated against typhoid. Then I am going to
wait a few hours till it takes effect before going. It's the only
place in the city where one can be inoculated against it, so far
as I know. While three inoculations are really best, I understand
that one is sufficient for ordinary protection, and that is all
we shall need, if any."
"You're sure of it?"
"Very well, Craig. I'll go."
Down at the army post the next morning we had no difficulty in
being inoculated against the disease. The work of immunising our
army was going on at that time, and several thousands of soldiers
in various parts of the country had already been vaccinated, with