FICTION

CORKSCREW No.57

James Francis Dwyer September 15 1934
FICTION

CORKSCREW No.57

James Francis Dwyer September 15 1934

CORKSCREW No.57

James Francis Dwyer

EVFERY sunny afternoon between the hours of twothirty and three-thirty, Mr. Richard Bames occupied a seat at the southeast corner of the square. During the eighteen years that he had acted as butler to Mr. William Corbett he had sat on that seat when the weather was fine, and now that Mr. Corbett was no more he continued the routine that he had followed during the long years.

Of course, that hour in the sunshine was more agreeable to Barnes now that his master had departed. From the seat in the square, known to his neighbors as "the butler’s seat,” he could l;x>k at the neat red-brick house where he had worked for long years as a servant but which was now his property. House and contents, together with an annuity of $2,5(X) a year.

Richard Bames, in those first months after his employer’s death, often thought that the annuity might have been larger. It was a nice legacy, of course, but the old man could have made it five. It was silly of Mr. Corbett to leave so much money to hospitals and charitable homes. When this mood came upon Barnes he would softly curse the memory of his late employer. "Mean old curmudgeon!” he would growl. “He deserved what he got. What did he collect the things for? Sending money on them that he might have left to me.”

IT WAS in the early spring that Mr. William Corbett met his death. After the hullaballoo had died down Richard Bames took possession of Number 19, and, as in former days, he occupied "the butler’s seat" during the warm afternoons. He "did” for himself 1 lis outward appearance did not change. As Mr. Richard Bames of the red-brick house, he was the same sedate, reserved IXTson that he had Ixvn as Barnes the butler.

He had little converse with his neighbors the watchful, talkative neighbors to whom Mr. Corbett’s death had provided such a gossip *

feast. Those neighbors were divided in their verdict concerning the part played by Barnes in that affair.

"He shouldn’t have hired the lx>y,” one group would assert, "and if he did hire him he should have been around to l;x>k after Mr. Corbett.”

‘‘The poor fellow had to have a breath of air,” the Barnes’ supporters would assert. "The only chance he had to slip out in the sunshine was when Mr. Corbett slept after his luncheon."

And so the discussion went on during the months of summer and early autumn. Keen eyes behind window curtains watched Richard Barnes as he walked each afternoon to and from the seat in the square.

“Seems as if it aged him,” the Bames’ sympathizers would murmur. "Poor fellow ! 1 le never speaks to anyone.” "Lucky man," the envious would whisper. "Got a house and twenty-five hundred for looking after an old gent that he lets get murdered while he’s sitting in the sunshine.” Richard Bames knew well that he was the subject of much discussion. He fought against a strange nervousness that had clutched him after everything had been settled as Barnes hoped it might lxsettled. It was the watchfulness of the square that troubled him The eyes behind the curtains, the tongues that discussed his gcxd fortune. He longed for a companion who was outside the critical area represented by the inhabitants ot the square.

It was then that he met the little man with the lean face. The meeting took place on an afternoon in August. Richard

Barnes, walking to his favorite seat, tripped over a length of wire left on the pathway by a careless electrician, and came down rather heavily.

THE LITTLE MAN was the only person on the square at the moment. He rushed to the assistance of Barnes.

1 le helped the ex-butler to a seat, brushed the gravel from his clothes and exuded sympathy.

“Can I get you anything, sir?” he cried. “Drop of something, sir? Awful fall for you, sir, you being a bit heavy if 1 might say so, sir."

Richard Barnes was not hurt in any way. He was irritated by the fall, but he found a strange soothing quality in the words of the little man. They constituted a verbal balm. The continuous use of the word "sir” was cheaply bought by a fall on the gravel.

“I’m all right, my man,” he said pompously. “Good of you to help.”

"Why, sir, I’m pleased at being able to help,” said the stranger. "It was a nasty fall for a well-built gentleman like yourself, sir.”

"Stupid of me," said Barnes. “Just walked out from my home. Number 19.” This little man didn't know that Richard Barnes was an ex-butler. That continuous "sirring” and the words "well-built gentleman” proved that.

The stranger looked reverently at Number 19. The redbrick house that Mr. William Corbett had willed to his butler glowed in the autumn sunshine.

“Is that your home, sir?” cried the little man. “Well, I must say, sir, that you have the prettiest house on the square.”

“It’s not bad,” said Barnes. “Small, but large enough for an old bachelor. Has dignity, y’know."

Immediately he had uttered the words he realized that they were not his own. He had heard William Corbett use them a thousand times. But as the little man had never heard Mr. Corbett’s comments on the house, it was quite in order to use the phrase.

“I should say it has, sir!” giggled the stranger. “Lots of dignity, sir. And it's not small in my opinion. I’m living in a back room so tiny that you couldn’t hang a cat in it.”

The words “hang a cat in it” grated curiously on the ears of Richard Bames, but the humility and fawning capacity of his new acquaintance was pleasing. The spirit of Bames, driven into hiding by his loneliness, came and tasked in the fellow’s flattery. Here was a man who didn’t know that he, Barnes, had been a servant. Possibly would never know.

The little man confessed that he was a newcomer to the city. He had a small pension and he rented a room in a side street some distance from the square. Like Richard Bames he came each day to the square to sit in the sunshine. He told this with many interlarded "sirs” and with a selfabasement that delighted his listener.

When Richard Bames decided to return to Number 19 the little man offered his assistance. Bashfully he gave his

shoulder to the hand of the ex-butler, and Barnes graciously condescended to use the proffered support. The extraordinary meekness of the man delighted Barnes.

THAT was the beginning of the friendship. A friendship that a psvchologist would have foreseen. The lonely ex-butler finding pleasure in the flattery of a man who was visibly impressed by the wealth of Barnes.

August and September passed. It was a regular thing for Richard Barnes to meet the little man, whose name was Sam Jelson, on the square each afternoon. They occupied the same bench, and Jelson would listen with something akin to awe while Richard Barnes expressed himself. Barnes never considered what Jelson got out of the meetings, he only knew that he, Barnes, was consoled immensely by the fawning attitude of the little man.

It was in the first week of October that Richard Barnes proffered an invitation to Sam Jelson. Barnes invited the little man to visit Number 19.

It came about in this fashion: Jelson, while listening to Barnes, whittled at a piece of soft wood with his penknife. He was proud of the penknife. When Barnes paused in his talk Jelson showed him the penknife. He had bought it at a fair. It had five blades, a small saw, an instrument for taking stones out of the hoofs of horses, a brad and a cork-

^“Corkscrews are handy,” said Jelson. “A man ought always to carry a corkscrew.

Richard Barnes looked at him. He was certain that the remark was made in all innocence. Jelson knew nothing about Mr. William Corbett or the manner in which he had met his death.

In the little silence that followed Jelson’s remark there came to Barnes a sudden idea. He had profited by the daily companionship of the little man on the square, built himself up by the flattery of the fellow; why not use him now as a weapon to kill the timidity that clutched him at odd moments? He, Barnes, had never invited a stranger to Number 19. He had never mentioned the matter of Mr.

William Corbett’s death since the will had been probated.

Possibly his annoying timidity was caused by his fear. If he could talk freely to someone, discuss the matter, he might escape the occasional nightmare. And what better listener could he have than this fawning man?

"I am interested in corkscrews,” he said pompously.

“As a matter of fact, I have a collection.”

“A collection of corkscrews, sir?” asked Jelson.

“Yes, two thousand of them.

Corkscrews from every country in the world.”

Jelson’s face expressed amazement.

“Two thousand of ’em?” he cried. “Why, sir, what do you do with ’em?”

“Nothing,“answered Barnes.

"They are in glass cases in the hall of my house.”

The face of the little man pleased Richard Barnes. It was hard for Jelson to swallow the story. Barnes was certain now that he would gain courage by showing Jelson the collection.

He might even tell the little idiot the story of Number fiftyseven.

“Would you like to see the collection?” he asked.

“Why, yes, sir!” cried Jelson. "Never saw more than two corkscrews together in my life, sir.”

“Come with me,” said Barnes. Surely this was the way to kill those annoying fears.

* I ’’OGETHER they walked across the square. Richard Barnes inserted the key in the lock of Number 19 and led his companion into the entrance hall.

Jelson’s cry of astonishment as his eyes fell upon the glass casesdelighted Richard Barnes. Now he, Barnes, was certain that he had made a mistake bv

living such a retiring life. He should have paraded his treasures to small folk like Jelson ; sucked courage from their astonishment and flattery.

Jelson was a treat. From the stiff hair on Ins round head to the thick soles of his shoes he exuded astonishment. Of course, 2,000 corkscrews of every size and design were a strange exhibit.

Barnes took on the air of a showman. He was surprised to find that he was using the same words that Mr. \\ illiam Corbett used when showing his collection to visitors. He was a little startled at the trick his memory played upon him, but he couldn't stop.

"The corkscrew,.or to use the French word, tire-bouchon, did not come into use till the seventeenth century because cork was not generally used for stopping bottles till that ix-riod.” How often he, Barnes, had listened to the voice of Mr. Corbett repeating those words ! Amazed, but unable to stop, he went on : "Although we have a mention of corks being used by the ancient Greeks and Romans. There are the lines in the Odes of Horace which are so well known:

“Corticem adstrictum pice dimovebit Amphorae."

Barnes tried to control this parrot-like effort of memory but he couldn’t. The words—Mr. Corbett’s words flowed from him in' a manner that startled him. But the face of Jelson was a delight. Jelson was impressed with the knowledge of the interlocutor. Fearfully impressed.

“These are the earliest and, of course, the crudest,” said Barnes in the best Corbett manner, “gathered from different parts of Europe, Northern Africa and the East. In the great wine countries the most progress was made. France, Germany, Italy. Here we have a silver corkscrew from Mannheim, circa seventeenth century. It has a wise motto on the cross-bar. See? Man kann des Guten zu viel haben."

“What does that mean, sir?” asked Jelson.

Richard Barnes laughed. He seldom laughed.

"It means one can have too much of a good thing,” he

cried.

This repetition of old Mr.Corbett’s chatter was really fun.

“Here now," he said, "this big brass tire-bouchon came from the Château of Chenonceau. It, too, has an inscription. Femme, argent, et rin, ont leur bien et leur renin. ‘Women money and wine have their pleasure and their poison.' ”

Barnes had a startling belief that his voice had changed, lie listened to his own words. Not only were the words those of the dead William Corbett, but the voice itself was Corbett's. He closed his eyes the better to hear what he was saying, then went on with his recital.

“Now, number fifty-seven is a gold corkscrew that was given to Marie Antoinette by the Baron de Breteuil. It bears the crest of the queen. There were originally two, as shown by the velvet case that came with this purchase, but the other. . .”

Richard Barnes pulled himself up with a little grunt of astonishment. Had he gone mad? Was he possessed by the spirit of the dead William Corlx'tt?

Jelson was looking at him with astonished eyes. The stubby finger of the fellow was pointing at the glass case.

“But it isn’t here,” said Jelson. “There’s only the label and the number.”

“Yes, yes,” muttered Barnes. “I forgot. Quite right. It isn’t there. For the moment for the moment it is somewhere else.”

HE WAS himself now. I íe recognized his own deep voice, so different from the soft tenor of William Corbett. Funny that he had blundered along like that. Unbelievable. In his stupid effort to find out if he was speaking in the voice of Corbett, he had recited that infernal rigmarole about the gold corkscrew labelled “number fifty-seven. ’ He made a great effort to cover his confusion. The little man was watching him curiously.

“Well, we’ve had enough of them for the time,” said Barnes. “Would you like a drink? Drop of sherry, perhaps?”

“Why, sir, that would lxi nice of you,” said Jelson. “I’ve only tasted sherry once in my life, sir. And you had that gold corkscrew that was used by a French queen, sir?”

“That’s what I said,” snap|H‘d Barnes.

“And someone has taken it away, sir?”

Richard Barnes glanced at the face of the little man. Was this small fool baiting hint? Had lie heard something and was now seeking proof of the story?

"The (Xilice took it,” said Barnes quietly. He drained his glass, watching Jelson over the rim. It was unfortunate that he had been tricked into this imitasse, but if he tried to dodge it would make the small man suspicious.

A mad desire to tell the whole story came to him. He considered the impulse. He had never spoken of the case to anyone. Perhaps the telling of it to this little fawning fool would stiffen his courage and bring him the nightly peace that he craved.

“Like to hear why the police are holding it?” he demanded roughly.

“Why, yes, sir,” said Jelson. “A gold corkscrew that was used by a queen —”

"I’ll tell you,” interrupted Barnes. He was himself now. Funny how the voice of Corbett had possessed him as he spoke those silly descriptions. He poured himself another glass of sherry. This fear that walked at his heels must be got rid of. Possibly repeated telling of the story would smother the terror. Perhaps.

“Ever hear of The Corkscrew Murder?” he asked. Quite cool his voice.

“No, sir,” answered Jelson. "You see I’ve lived in a distant city all my life. And I don’t Continued on page 58

Continued from page 15 Starts on page 15

read the daily newspapers very much, sir.” "Well, you’ve noticed that number fiftyseven is missing. Gold corkscrew once owned by Marie Antoinette. It was that corkscrew that killed mymy friend, Mr. William Corbett. Killed him in that chair in which you are sitting at this moment.

“Gosh!” gasped Jelson. “In this chair? With a corkscrew, sir? Why why, you’ve got me all creepy ! You have, sir.”

RICHARD BARNES smiled. Already - he was feeling better. The bare statement had brought courage. If only he had had the nerve to find audiences months ago, he would have slept better. Jelson, of course, was an ideal listener. Fawning little fool.

“Mr.-William Corbett owned this house,” continued Barnes. “He was a man of seventy. Had a mania for corkscrews. Collected them. He would give any price for unusual corkscrews. Once he gave a thousand dollars for one that had been made specially for a Scottish lord. I 11 show it to you later. I f you call its name— the name of the corkscrew is Macpherson—it makes a little tinkling sound so that you can tell where it is. The word strikes some electrical gadget in the inside of it.”

Jelson’s eyes were popping out of his head. Certainly the ideal listener. His face would make a stone man talk.

"Ifought another with a radium top,” said Barnes. “If you couldn’t find it at night, you just turned the light off. He gave five hundred for that. I thought him silly. As a matter of fact I told him that he was silly. I was in his confidence. He had made a will in my favor, and it looked as if he might spend all

“I lis money on corkscrews, sir,” giggled Jelson.

Richard Barnes glanced at the face of the little man. There was no intent behind that remark. The little man was a fool.

"We had here,” continued Barnes, “a boy who did (xkl jobs around the house. Cleaned the cutlery, ran messages, and swept the sidewalk. A boy named Tom.”

“Tom?” repeated Jelson. Barnes thought the mouth of the man twitched slightly as he repeated the name. The sherry, probably.

"Yes, Tom,” said liâmes. The fear was weakening under this attack. The fear didn’t think he had the courage to tell the story in detail. Not si ne'e that day in the court had he breathed the name of the boy. He had been afraid to.

“This Tom,” he said loudly, “was attracted hv the gold corkscrew that belonged to Marie Antoinette. Funny the attraction it had for him. Sort of hypnotized him. He I would stand there in the hall and stare at it for minutes on end.

"Often 1 would ask him what he saw in it, and he would reply: ‘Why, Mr. Barnes, a I queen owned it and it’s made out of solid gold !’ I should have told Mr. Corbett about j Tom’s attraction. I know I should. Alas, I didn’t.”

nPHAT damnable fear was getting it now.

I le was pounding it out of his system. Jelson believed, and Jelson’s belief took the fear by the throat and strangled it. The ¡little man was leaning forward in his chair, j his small grey eyes fixed on the broad, elean; shaven face of Barnes. The sherry glass ‘ slipp'd from the lingers of the listener. He waited on the words of the ex-butler with the strained attention of a cat at a mouse-hole.

Barnes straightened himself. He pulled i at his collar and rubbed his fat jowl. Now j for the punch that would knock the fear ¡ endways.

“It was on the twenty-fifth of April,” said Barnes, and he kept his voice steady as he I gave the date. “Mr. Corbett had finished ! his lunch and was dozing in the chair on which you are sitting. That very chair. I walked out on the square and sat on the i seat that 1 generally occupy. The seat which

I took the first day I spoke to you. Remember?”

Jelson nodded sharply. He was so hungry for the straight story that he showed irritation at being asked if he remembered the seat.

“I was there about fifteen minutes,” said Barnes. “Yes, about fifteen minutes.” Not 1 a quaver in his voice. He had repeated the ¡ words as a test. And Jelson’s belief was comforting. The little man was on the edge j of his chair, his head thrust forward.

“I happened to look toward the house,” : continued Barnes. "This house, y’know. I ¡ saw the door open suddenly. Open suddenly, and out on to the square—out on to the j square rushed this boy, Tom!”

Jelson made a queer throaty noise. His hands were clenched.

“He ran across the square!” cried Barnes. “At full speed! I sprang up and shouted to him. He ran faster ! There was an officer at the top of the square. Officer Bradley. He put out his hand when he heard me shouting, and he grabbed Tom. Crabbed him and held him till I came up.

“Torn was trying to say something to the policeman. He wanted to break away from the officer. The officer swore to that later. ‘Wanted to run,’ he said in court. ‘Wanted to run for sure.’

“When I came up I heard what Tom was saying. He was screaming out the name of Mr. Corbett. ‘Mr. Corbett!’ he yelled. ‘Mr. Corbett ! Someone has killed him ! Killed him while he was asleep!’ ”

Richard Barnes wiped his broad face. He was a little proud of himself. Told it without a quaver in his voice. Told it in a manner that left Jelson stunned with the dreadful reality of the thing. Of course he, Barnes, should have adopted this course months before. Recited the facts to big-eared fools like Jelson till the fear had been flattened for ever by their jx>p-eyed belief.

It was easy going now. Quite simple. He ixmred himself another glass of sherry and took up the tale.

“The policeman and I took Tom back to the house. Had to hold him tightly. Wanted to bolt. Said he didn't wish to see Mr. Corbett. Cried like the devil. Yes, sir. Cried like the devil.

“What Tom said was true. Quite true. We found Mr. Corbett dead. In that chair you are sitting on. He had been murdered.”

“Murdered?” breathed Jelson.

“For certain!” cried Barnes. “He had been struck in the back of the neck while sleeping. Struck with some instrument that left a curious starlike mark. Five points. It was strange that I—that I had seen that mark months before.”

“What mark?” asked Jelson. In his excitement he forgot the usual “sir,” but Barnes didn’t notice the omission.

T

HE FIVE-POINT mark!” answered Barnes. “The mark that looked like a star! I’ll tell you. Mr. Corbett had given a party. He had a very famous wine, a fine Château La Tour Blanche, and he wished to open that wine with the gold corkscrew that liad belonged to Marie Antoinette. A golden wine and a golden corkscrew.

"This corkscrew had to be driven in like a bradawl. Do you understand? Driven in hard. And when it was pulled out of the cork there was a five-pointed mark on the top of the cork. Mr. Corbett commented on it. The other gentlemen noticed it. They I remembered it—remembered it at the trial. I Funny it being on Mr. Corbett's neck. Funny to me till till the police searched ; Tom.”

Again came the queer throaty noise from ! Jelson. Fine listener, this Jelson.

"What did they find?” he gasped.

“Tom had the gold corkscrew in his j pocket!” cried Barnes. He steadied himself, as he made the assertion. Now he was a little afraid of his voice. It had a faint quaver in | it. He repeated the words. “Tom had the I

gold corkscrew in his pocket. The little murderer! The little liar! He said I had given it to him. Given it to him that morning to polish. The liar! The wretched little liar! Trying to—trying to jam me into it. What do you—what do you think of that?

“The police examined the corkscrew. Blood was on it ! Dried blood. They made tests with the blood of Mr. Corbett and— and the blood they found on the corkscrew. You know they classify bloods. That on the corkscrew and that of Mr. Corbett belonged to group four. It sort of nailed Tom.

“Little liar! No one—no one believed that I had given him the corkscrew. No one. He admitted that he used to stand and look at it, and long to get it in his hands. Admitted that ! From the dock ! Said it fascinated him, but he wouldn’t admit he took it. Little devil said I gave it to him. Gave it to him hours before the murder.”

Jelson spoke.

“But he denied killing Mr. Corbett?”

“Of course!” cried Bames. “He denied that, but he had the corkscrew in his pocket, and on it—on it was the blood. And he was the only one in the house !

“He was lucky. Tom, I mean. They took his age into consideration and gave him ten years. Little liar! Trying to jam me. Me! Why, I was the friend of Mr. Corbett. He left me this house. He left me an annuity. Little swine! Those five points—that star mark nailed him. The wound was made with the corkscrew, and Tom had the corkscrew. See? Had it in his pocket, and there was blood on it!”

BARNES rose. He knew he had told the story well. Very' well. Once or twice more perhaps and the fear would leave him. He would find a few persons like this idiot Jelson.

Pleased with himself, he walked into the parlor and drew the curtains. The afternoon was closing in. Jelson was left alone.

Bames returned. He switched on the light. He stood near the doorway leading into the hall. He was thinking out a polite method of getting rid of Jelson. The little man had served his purpose, now he could go.

“I have some work to do now,” began Bames, “if you would excuse me I—”

Bames paused. What the devil was the little fool staring at? He, Jelson, was looking out into the hall. Into the hall, along the walls of which were the glass cases containing the corkscrews collected by Mr. William Corbett.

The light-cluster in the dining room illuminated the cases. Richard Bames wheeled and focused his gaze on the point that interested his visitor. The wide mouth of the butler opened slowly and remained open. His rather protruding eyes were fixed, unflickering in their gaze, cognizant of nothing else in the world but the article that held them. The empty space that existed below the ticket marked “Number 57” had been filled. A gold corkscrew shone there. A gleaming corkscrew that reflected the light thrown from the dining room !

Jelson was watching Bames now. The small grey eyes were fixed on the ex-butler. There was something that suggested a hunting dog about the appearance of Jelson. The idiotic look that had prompted Bames to talk to the man had been swept away and a fierce intentness had taken its place.

Bames slumped into a chair. His gaze travelled from the gold corkscrew to Jelson, from Jelson to the corkscrew. A great silence was upon the house.

Presently a sickly smile appeared on the face of the ex-butler. He thought he understood. For an instant he was comforted.

“Why, you’ve fooled me,” he croaked. “You—you knew all the time and—and you’ve brought back the corkscrew that— that the police have been holding.”

“That isn’t the corkscrew the police are holding,” said Jelson. Cold and hard the voice of the little man. “That, Bames, is its mate. Remember there were two. Two! The one owned by Mr. Corbett and the one you stole. That you stole, Bames ! The one you gave the boy to clean didn't commit the

murder. It was done by this one that you—” !

The sherry bottle missed the head of ¡ Jelson by less than an inch. As it crashed J against the wall the little man sprang at the butler. The chair on which Bames was sitting went backward and the two men crashed to the floor.

Over and over they rolled. Bames was the heavier, but Jelson was wiry. In that first spring his muscular hands had clutched the throat of the big man, and he hung on.

They ploughed across the dining room, overturning a china cabinet and three chairs. They surged into the parlor, Bames breathing with difficulty. Jelson wondering if he could hold his grip against the awful pounding of the other’s fists.

The little man called on his fingers to 1 make a final effort. They did so. They burj rowed into the throat of Bames till the last j resistance of the ex-butler was at an end.

JELSON rose, snapped the handcuffs on the wrists of Bames, tore a cord from the | portières and tied the fellow’s fat ankles tightly. He was a little startled at the fight j that the butler had made.

He found brandy on the sideboard, drank i a glass neat, then poured some into the halfj open mouth of the man on the floor, j Barnes spluttered, opened his eyes, and j cursed in a throaty voice.

“Better now?” said Jelson. “Quite a scrapper you are.”

He caught Bames by the coat collar, jolted him into a sitting position and pushed him against the legs of a settee. He found a comfortable chair for himself and sat down. The struggle had left him a little tired.

“Long time on your track, Barnes,” he I said. “You see, I found out that there were two of those gold corkscrews. Took me three months to trace the second one. Sold at the Vanlayson side five years ago. Ilemmerson, tlx; steel king, bought it. You had a pal that worked for Hemmerson, eh? You had seen the corkscrew there. Huh, huh. Hemmerson’s place was robbed, and that corkscrew came into the possession of ¡ Richard Barnes, who wanted to murder someone with it. Fine plot you had, Dicky. Waiting for your moment.

“Old Corbett must have cut his finger the day before you did the job. That so? You put some of his blood on the gold corkscrew and gave it to Tom. 'Fold him to polish it up, then, Dicky, you drove the other cork-1 screw into the neck of old Corbett as you were going out to take your hour in the I square.”

Richard Barnes glared at the small man. Jelson grinned.

“Of course, you had to get rid of the corkscrew with which you did the job,” he went on. “Get rid of it before Tom found that Mr. Corbett was murdered. You thought there might lx a possibility of them searching you. Between the dtx>r of this house and j your jxrch on what they call the butler’s | seat you had to get rid of it. That puzzled ! me, Dicky. Took a lot of thinking. Of j course you wished it to lx in a place where it could not lx disturbed without your knowledge. Therefore it would lx somewhere about this house. Took the liberty of climbing over the gato and examining the bricks around the steps, Richard. Did it while you were sleeping. Clever of you to have made a little house for it behind that brick. Do you know—do you know that hours before I found it I thought it was calling to me. Calling from behind the bricks!”

The silence that followed was broken by Bames. He spoke with difficulty.

“There are fifteen hundred dollars in a trunk in my room,” he said. “Fifteen hun-j dred. And I could raise more—”

“You can raise nothing!” cried Jelson. He was on his feet now, a small fury. “You I big fat murderer, you. Why—why, that j boy Tom is my nephew. My nephew! Father killed in the war. I got transferred to this city because I knew Tom wouldn’t kill anyone. I—I—well, that’s enough!! I’ll ring up for a wagon to take you in. If I stayed much longer with you, there’d lx; another murder in this house!”