A Man of No Imagination
A Thrilling Tale of the Relentless Pursuit of Canadian Justice After a Daring Criminal.
By Owen Johnson in Everybody’s Magazine.
INSPECTOR FRAWLEY, of the Canadian Secret Service, stood at attention, waiting until the scratch of a pen should cease throughout the dim, spacious office and the Honorable Secretary of Justice should acquaint him with his desires.
“Well, Inspector, you returned this morning?” said the Secretary.
“An hour ago, sir.”
“A creditable bit of work, Inspector Frawley—the department is pleased.”
“Thank you, indeed, sir.”
“Does the case need you any more ?”
“I should say not, sir—no, sir.”
“You are ready to report for duty?”
“Oh, yes, sir.”
'T think I'm ready now, sir—yes, sir.”
“Glad to hear it, Inspector, very glad. You’re the one man I wanted.” As though the civilities had been sufficiently observed, the Secretary stiffened in his chair and continued rapidly: “It's that Toronto affair; you’ve read the details. The government lost $350.000. We caught four of the gang, but the ringleader got away with the money. Plave you studied it? What did you make of it. Sit down.”
Frawley took action stiffly, hanging his hat between his knees and considering.
“It did look like work from the States,” he said thoughtfully. “I beg pardon, did you say they’d caught some of the gang?”
“Four—this morning. The telegram’s just in.”
The Honorable Secretary, a little strange yet to the routine of the office, looked at Frawley with a sudden desire to test his memory.
“Do you know the work?” he asked; “could you recognize the ringleader?”
“That might not be so hard, sii;,” said Frawley, with a nod; “we know pretty well, of course, who’s able to handle such jobs as that. Would you have a description anywhere?”
The Honorable Secretary rose, took from his desk a paper, and began to read. In his seat Inspector Frawley crossed his legs carefully, drew his fists up under his chin, and stared at the reader, but without focusing his glance on him. Once during the recital he started at some item of description, but immediately relaxed. The report finished, the Secretary let it drop into his lap and waited, impressed, despite himself, at the thought of the immense galleries of crime through which the Inspector was seeking his victim. All at once into the ur seeing stare there flickered a light of understanding. Frawley returned to the room, saw the Secretary, and nodded.
“It’s Bucky,” he said tentatively. A moment his glance went reflectively to a far corner, then he nodded slowly, looked at the Secretary, and said with conviction : “It looks very much, sir, like Bucky Greenfield.”
“It is Greenfield,” replied the Secretary, without attempting to conceal his astonishment.
“I would like to observe,” said Frawley thoughtfully, without noticing his surprise, “that there is a bit of an error in that description, -sir. It’s the left ear that’s broken. Furthermore, he don’t toe out—excepting when he does it on a purpose. So it’s Bucky Greenfield I’m to bring back, sir?” “Well, Buck is clever—there’s no gain-saying that—quite at the top of the profession. Then, he’s expecting me.” “You?” “They’re a queer lot,” Frawley explained with a touch of pride. “Crooks are full of little vanities. You see, Buckv knows I've never dropped a trail, and I think it’s rather gotten on his nerves. I think lie wasn’t satisfied until he dared me. He’s very odd —very odd indeed. It’s a little personal. I doubt, sir, if I bring him back alive.” He had slight doubt of Greenfield’s final destination, for the flight of the criminal is a blind instinct for the south as though a frantic return to barbarism. At this time Chile and the Argentine had not yet accepted the principle of extradition, and remained the Mecca of the law-breakers of the world. made a neat job of it, didn’t I?” “You did,” admitted Frawley with an appreciative nod. “But you were wrong—you were wrong—you should have kept off. The Canadian Government ain’t like your bloomin’ democracy. It don’t forgive—it don’t forget. Tack that up, Bucky. It's a principle we’ve got at stake with you!” “Since things are aboveboard—listen here,” said Greenfield with sudden seriousness. “Bub, you’ll not get me alive. Nothing personal, you understand, but it’ll have to be your life or mine. If it comes to the pinch, look out for yourself-” Frawley clutched the saddle, then flung his arms about the neck of his mule. His head was reeling, the indignant blood rushed to his nostrils and his ears, his lungs no longer could master the divine air. Then suddenly the mules stopped, exhausted. Through the maelstrom the guide shrieked to him not to use the spur. Frawley felt himself in danger of dying, and had no resentment. From Stockholm the chase led to Copenhagen, to Christiansand, down the North Sea to Rotterdam. From thence Greenfield had rushed by rail to Lisbon and taken steamer to Africa, touching at Gibraltar, Portuguese and French Guinea, Sierra Leone, and proceeding thence into the Congo. For a month all traces disappeared in the veldt, until by chance, rather than by his own merits, Frawley found the trail anew in Madagascar, whither Greenfield had come after a desperate attempt to bury his trail on the immense plains of Southern Africa. “He’s going to make sure T stay here,” said Frawley to himself, seeing that Greenfield made no attempt to increase the lead. “Well, we’ll see.” .Twelve hours later Greenfield’s horse gave out. Frawley uttered a cry of joy, but the handicap of half a day was a serious one ; he was exhausted, famished, and in the bag there remained only sufficient water to moisten his lips. it’s over. Bub,” he continued, raising himself excitedly on his elbow, “here’s something strange, only you won’t understand it. Do you know, the whole time I knew just where vou were—I had a feeling somewhere in the back of my neck. At first you were ’way off, over the horizon ; then you got to be a spot coming over the hill. Then I began to feel that spot growin’ bigger and bigger—after Rio Janeiro, crawling up, creeping up, Gospel truth, I felt you sneaking up on my back. It got on my nerves. I dreamed about it, and that morning on the trail when you was just a speck on any old hoss—I knew ! You—you don't understand such things, Bub, do This time Greenfield did not laugh* but his hand closed convulsively over the butt, and he gave a savage sigh of delight. His limbs contracted violently, his head bore heavily on the shoulder of Frawley, who heard him whisper again :
The Secretary nodded, penciling Frawley’s correction on the paper.
“Bucky—‘well, now, that is odd !” said Frawley musingly. He rose and took a step to the desk. “Very odd.” Mechanically he saw the straggling papers on the top and arranged them into orderly piles. “Well, he can’t say I didn’t warn him !”
“What !” broke in the Secretary in quick astonishment, “you know that fellow ?”
“Indeed, yes, sir,” said Frawley, with a nod. “We know most of the crooks in the States. We’re good friends, too—so long as they stay over the line. It’s useful, you know. So I’m to go after Bucky?”
The Secretary, judging the moment had arrived to be impressive, said solemnly :
“Inspector Frawley, if you have to stick to it until he dies of old age, you’re never to let up until you get Bucky Greenfield! While the British Empire holds together, no man shall rob His Majesty of a farthing and sleep in security. You understand the situation ?”
“I do, sir.”
The Honorable Secretary, only half satisfied, continued:
“Your credit is unlimited—there’ll be no question of that. If you need to buy up a whole South American government—buy it ! By the way, he will make for South America, will he not?”
“Probably—yes, sir. Chile or the Argentine—there’s no extradition
“But even then,” broke in the Secretary with a nervous frown—“there are ways—other ways?’
“Oh, yes.” Frawley, picking up a paper-cutter, stood by the mantel tapping his palm. “Oh, yes—there are other ways ! So it’s Bucky—well, I warned him !”
“Now, Inspector, to settle the matter,” interrupted the Secretary, anxious to return to his routine, “when can you go on the case?”
“If the papers are ready, sir-”
“They are—everything. The Home Office has been cabled. To-morrow every British official throughout the world will be notified to render you assistance and honor your drafts.” Inspector Frawley heard with approval and consulted his watch.
“There’s an express for New York leaves at noon ” he said reflectively— then, with a glance at the clock, “thirty-five minutes ; I can make that, sir.”
“Good, very good.”
“If I might suggest, sir—if the Inspector who has had the case in hand could go a short distance with me?” “Inspector Keech shall join you at the station.”
“Thank yon, sir. Is there anything further?”
The Secretary shook his head, and springing up, held out his hand enthusiastically.
“Good luck to you, Inspector—you have a big thing ahead of you, a very big thing.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“By the way—you’re not married?” “No, sir.”
“This is pretty short notice. How long have you been on this other case?”
“A trifle over six months, sir.” “Don’t you want a couple of days to rest up? I can let you have that very easily.”
“It really makes no difference—I think I’ll leave to-day, sir.”
“Oh, a moment more, Inspector
“How long do you think this ought to take you?”
Frawley considered, and answered carefully :
“It’ll be long, I think. You see. there are several circumstances that are unusual about the case.”
“Inspector Frawley,” said the new Secretary, “I hope I have sufficiently impressed upon you the importance of your mission.”
Frawley stared at his chief in surprise.
“I’m to stick to him until I get him.” he said in wonder; “that’s all, isn’t it, sir?”
The Secretary, annoyed by his lack of imagination, essayed a final phrase. “Inspector, this is my last work,” he said with a frown ; “remember that you represent His Majesty’s government—you are His Majesty’s government! I have confidence in you.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Frawley moved slowly to the door and with his hand on the knob hesitated. The Secretary saw in the movement a reluctance to take the decisive step that must open before him the wide stretches of the world.
“After all, he must have a speck of imagination,” he thought reassured.
“I beg pardon, sir.”
Frawley had turned in embarrassment.
“Well, Inspector, what can I do for you ?”
“If you please, sir,” said Frawley, “I was just thinking—after all, it has been a bit of a while since I’ve been home—indeed, I should like it very much if I could take a good English mutton-chop and a musty ale at old Nell’s, sir. I can still get the two o’clock express.”
“If you’d prefer not. sir,” said Frawley, surprised at the vexation in his answer.
“Not at all—take the two o’clockgood day, good day!”
Inspector Frawley, sorely puzzled, shifted his balance, opened his mouth, then with a bob of bis head answered hastily :
“A—good day, sir!”
“SAM GREENFIELD, known as “Bucky,” age about 42, height about 5 feet 10 inches, weight between 145 and 150. Hair mouse-colored, thinning out over forehead, parted in middle, showing scalp beneath ; mustache would be lighter than hair—if not dyed; usually clipped to about an inch. Waxy complexion, light blue eyes a little close together, thin nose, a prominent dimple on left cheek— may wear whiskers. Laughs in low key. Left ear lobe broken. Slightly bow-legged. While in conversation strokes chin. When standing at a counter or bar goes through motions, as if jerking himself together, crowding his elbows slowly to his side for a moment, then, throwing back his head, jumps up from his heels. When dreaming, attempts to bite mustache with lower lip. When he sits in a chair places himself sidewise and hangs both arms over back. In walking strikes back part of heel first, and is apt to waver from time to time. Dresses neatly, carries hands in sidepockets only—plays piano constantly, composing as he goes along. During day smokes twenty to thirty cigarettes, cutting them in half for cigarette-holder and throwing them away after three or four whiffs. After dinner invariably smokes one cigar. Cut is good likeness. Cut of signature is facsimile of his original writing.”
With this overwhelming indictment against the liberty of the fugitive, to escape which Greenfield would have to change his temperament as well as his physical aspect, Inspector Frawley took the first steamer from New York to the Isthmus of Panama.
Yet though Frawley felt certain of Greenfield’s objective, he did not at once strike for the Argentine. The Honorable Secretary of Justice had eliminated the necessity for considering time. Frawley had no need to guess, nor to risk. He had simply to become a wheel in the machinery of the law, to grind slowly, tirelessly, and inexorably. This idea suited admirably his temperament and his desires.
He arrived at Colon, took train for Panama across the laborious path where a thousand little men were scratching endlessly, and on the brink of the Pacific began his search. No one had heard of Greenfield.
At the end of a week’s waiting he boarded a steamer and crawled down the western coast of South America, investigating every port, braving the yellow fever at Guayaquil, Ecuador, and facing a riot at Callao, Peru, before he found at Lima the trail of the fugitive. Greenfield had passed the day there and left for Chile. Dragging each intermediate port with the same caution, Frawley followed the trail to Valparaiso. Greenfield had stayed a week and again departed.
Frawley at once took steamer for the Argentine, passed down the tongue of South America, through the Straits of Magellan, and arrived at length in the harbor of Buenos Ayres.
An hour later, as he took his place at a table in the Criterion Gardens, a hand fell on his shoulder and some one at his back said :
He turned. A thin man of medium height, with blue eyes and yellow complexion, was laughing in expectation of his discomfiture. Frawley laid down the menu carefully, raised his head, and answered quietly:
“Why, how d’ye do, Bucky?”
“We shake, of course,” said Greenfield, holding out his hand.
“Why not? Sit down.”
The fugitive slid into a chair and
hung his arms over the back, asking immediately :
“What took you so long? You’re after me, of course?”
“Am I?” Frawley answered, looking at him steadily. Greenfield, with a twitch of his shoulders, returned to his question:
“What took you so long? Didn’t you guess I’d come direct?”
“I’m not guessing,” said Frawley. “What do you say to dining on me?” said Greenfield, with a malicious smile. “I owe you that. I clipped your vacation pretty short. Besides— guess you know it yourself—you can’t touch me here. Why not talk things over frankly? Say, Bub, shall it be on me?”
A waiter sidled up and took the order that Greenfield gave without hesitation.
“You see, even the dinner was ready for you,” he said with a wink; “see how you like it.” With a gesture of impatience he pushed aside the menu, squared his arms on the table, and looked suddenly at his pursuer with the deviltry of a schoolboy glistening in his eyes. “Well, Bub, I went into your all-fired Canady.”
“So you did—why?
“Well,” said Greenfield, drawing lines with his knife-point on the map, “one reason was I wanted to see if His Majesty’s shop has such an all-
fired long arm-”
“And the other reason was I warned you to keep over the line.”
“Why, Bub, you are a bright boy!” “It ain’t me, Bucky,” Frawley answered, with a shake of his head; “it’s the all-fired government that’s after you.”
“Good—first rate—then we’ll have a little excitement !”
“You’ll have plenty of that,
“Maybe, Bub, maybe. Well, I
“Don’t I know it?” cried Greenfield, striking the table. “What else do you think I did it for?”
Frawley gazed at him, then said slowly: “I told them it was a per-
“Sure it was ! Do you think I could keep out after you served notice on me? Dyour English
pride and your English justice! I’m a good enough Yank to see if your dinky police is such an all-fired cute little bunch of wonder-workers as you say! Bub—you think you’re going to get Mr. Greenfield—don’t you?”
“I’m not thinking, Bucky-”
“I’m simply sticking to you.” “Sticking to me !” cried Greenfield with a roar of disgust. “Why, you unimaginative, lumbering, beef-eating Canuck, you can’t get me that way ! Why in tarnation didn’t you strike plump for here—instead of rubbin’ yourself down the whole coast of South Ameriky?”
“Bucky, you don’t understand the situation properly,” objected Frawley, without varying the level tone of his voice. “Supposing it had been a bloomin’ corporation had sent me— that’s what I’d have done. But it’s the government this time—His Majesty’s government ! Time ain’t no consideration. I’d have raked down the whole continent if I’d had to— though I knew where you were.” “Well, and now what? You can’t touch me, Bub,” he added earnestly. “I like straight talk, man to man. Now, what’s you game?”
“All right then,” said Greenfield, with a frown, “but you can’t touch me—now. There’s an extradition treaty coming, but then there’d have to be a retroactive clause to do you any good.” He paused, studying the expression on the Inspector’s face. “Tnere’s enough of the likes of me here to see that don’t occur. Say, Bub?”
“Well ?” “You deal a square pack, don’t you ?”
“That’s my reputation, Bucky.” “Give me your word you’ll play me square.”
Inspector Frawley, leaning forward, helped himself busily. Greenfield, with pursed lips, studied every movement.
“No kidnapping tricks?”
Without lifting his eyes Frawley sharpened his knife vigorously against his fork and fell to eating.
“No fancy kidnapping?”
“I’m promising nothing, Bucky.” There was a blank moment while Greenfield considered. Suddenly he shot out his hand, saying with a hod: “You’re a white man, Bub, and I never heard a word against that.” He filled a glass and shoved it toward Frawley. “We might as well clink on it. For I rather opinionate before we get through this little business— there’ll be something worth talking about.”
“Here’s to you then, Bucky,” said Frawley, nodding.
“Remember what I tell you,” said Greenfield, looking over his glass, “there’s going to be something to live for.”
“I say, Bucky,” said Frawley with a lazy interest, “would they serve you five-o’clock tea here, I wonder?” Greenfield, drawing back, laughed a superior laugh.
“Bub, I’m sorry for you—’pon my word I am.”
“How so, Bucky?”
“Why,. you plodding little English lamb, you don’t have the slightest suspicion what you’re gettin’ into!” “What am I getting into, Bucky?” Greenfield threw back his head with a chuckle.
“If you get me, it’ll be the last job you ever pull off.”
‘‘Oh, yes,” said Frawley, with a matter-of-fact nod, “I understand.” “I ain't tried to bribe you,” said Greenfield, rising. ‘‘Thank me for that—though another man might have been set up for life.”
“Thanks,” Frawley said with a drawl. “And you’ll notice I haven’t advised you to come back and face the music. Seems to me we understand each other.”
“Here’s my address,” said Greenfield, handing him a card; “may save you some trouble. I’m here every night.” He held out his hand. “Turn up and meet the profesh. They’re a clever lot here. They’d appreciate meeting you, too.”
“Perhaps I will.”
Greenfield took a few steps, halted, and lounged back with a smile full of mischief.
“By the way, Bub—how long has His Majesty’s dinkies given you?” “It’s a life appointment, Bucky.” “Really—bless me—then your bloomin’ government has some sense after all.”
The two men saluted gravely, with a parting exhange.
“Now Bub—keep fit.”
“Same to you, Bucky.”
The view of Greenfield sauntering lightly away among the noisy tables, bravado in his manner, deviltry in his heart, was the last glimpse Inspector Frawley was destined to have of him in many months. True, Greenfield had not lied ; the address was genuine, but the man was gone. For days Frawley had the city scoured without gaining a clue. No steamer had left the harbor, not even a tramp. If Greenfield was not in hiding, he must have buried himself in the interior.
It was a week before Frawley found the track. Greenfield had walked thirty miles into the country and taken the train for Rio Mendoza on the route across the Andes to Valparaiso.
Frawley followed the same day,
somewhat mystified at this sudden change of base. In the train the thermometer stood at 116 degrees. The heat made of everything a solitude. Frawley, lifeless, stifling, and numbed, glued himself to the air-holes with eyes fastened on the horizon, while the train sped across the naked, singeing back of the plains like the welt that springs to meet the fall of the lash. For two nights he watched the distended sun, exhausted by its own madness, drop back into the heated void, and the tortured stars rise over the stricken desert. At the end of thirty-six hours of agony he arrived at Rio Mendoza. Thence he reached Punta de Vacas, procured mules and a guide, and prepared for the ascent over the mountains.
At two o’clock the next morning he began the climb out of hell. The tortured plains settled below him. A divine freshness breathed upon him with a new hope of life. He left the burning conflict of summer and passed into the aroma of spring.
Then the air grew intense, a new suffocation pressed about his temples —the suffocation of too much life. In an hour he had run the gamut of the seasons. The cold of everlasting winter descended and stung his senses. Up and up and up they went—then suddenly down, with the half-breed guide and the tireless mule always at the same distance before him ; and again began the insistent mechanical toiling upward. He grew listless and indifferent, acquiescent in these steep efforts that the next moment must throw away. The horror of immense distance rose about him. F"rom time to time a stone disloged by their passage rushed from under him, struck the brink, and spun into the void, to fall endlessly. The face of the earth grew confused and dropped in a mist from before his eyes.
Then as they toiled still upward, a gale as though sent in anger rushed down upon them, sweeping up whirlwinds of snow, raging and shrieking, dragging them to the brink, and threatening to blot them out.
For a day they affronted the immense wilds until they had forced themselves thousands of feet above the race of men. Then they began to descend.
Belpw them the clouds lapped and rolled like the elements before the creation. Still they descended, and the moist oblivion closed about them, like the curse of a world without color. The bleak mists separated and began to roll up above them, a cloud split asunder, and through the slit the earth jumped up, and the solid land spread before them as when at the
dawn it obeyed the will of
the Creator. They saw the hills and the mountains grow, and the rivers trickle toward the sea. The masses of brown and green began to be splashed with red and yellow as the fields became fertile and fructified ; and the insect race of men began to crawl to and fro.
The half-breed, who saw the scene for the hundredth time, bent his head in awe. Frawley straightened in his saddle, stretched the stiffness out of his limbs, patted his mule solicitously, glanced at the guide, and stopped in perplexity at the mute, reverential attitude.
“What’s he starin’ at now?” he muttered in astonishment ; then, with a glance at his watch, he added anxiously, “I say, Sammy, when do we get a bit to eat?”
In Valparaiso he readily found the track of Greenfield. Up to the time of his departure, two boats had sailed: one for the north, and one by the Straits of Magellan to Buenos Ayres. Greenfield had bought a ticket for each, after effecting the withdrawal of his account at a local bank. Frawley was in perplexity: for
Greenfield to flee north was to run into the jaws of the law. The withdrawal of the account decided him. He returned to Buenos Ayres by the route he had come, arriving the day before the steamer. To his discomfiture Greenfield was not on board. By ridiculously casting away his protection he had thrown the detective off the track and gained three weeks. Without more concern than he might have shown in taking a trip from Toronto to New York, Frawley a third time crossed the Andes and set himself to correcting his first error.
He traced Greenfield laboriously up the coast back to Panama and there lost the trail. At the end of two months he learned that Greenfield had shipped as a common sailor on a freighter that touched at Hawaii. From here he followed him to Yokohama, Singapore, Ceylon and Bombay.
Thence Greenfield, suddenly abandoning the water route, had proceeded by land to Bagdad, and across the Turkish Empire to Constantinople. Without a pause, Frawley traced him next into the Balkans, through Bulgaria, Roumania, amid massacre and revolution to Budapest, back to Odessa, and across the back of Russia by Moscow and Riga to Stockholm. A year had elapsed.
Several times he mig'ht have gained on the fugitive had he trusted to his instinct; but he bided his time, renouncing a stroke of genius, in order to be certain of committing no error, awaiting the moment when Greenfield would pause and he might overtake him. But the fugitive, as though stung by a gad-fly, continued to plunge madly over sea and continent. Four months, five months behind, Frawley continued the tireless pursuit.
From Madagascar, Frawley followed him to Aden in Arabia, and by steamer to Melbourne. Again for weeks he sought the confused track vainly through Australia, up through Sydney, down again to Tasmania and New Zealand on a false clue, back to Queensland, where at last in Cooktown he learned anew of the passing of his man.
The third year began without appreciable gain. Greenfield still was three months in advance, never pausing, scurrying from continent to continent, as though instinctively aware of the progress of his pursuer.
In this year Frawley visited Sumatra, Java, and Borneo, stopped at Manila, jumped immediately to .Korea, and hurried on to Vladivostok, where he found that Greenfield had procured passage on a sealer bound foi* Auckland. There he had taken the steamer by the Straits of Magellan back to Buenos Ayres.
There, within the first hour, he heard a report that his man had gone on to Rio Janeiro, caught the cholera, and died there. Undaunted by the epidemic, Frawley took the next boat and entered the stricken city by swimming ashore. For a week he searched the hospitals and the cemeteries. Greenfield had indeed been stricken, but, escaping with his life, had left for the northern part of Brazil. The delay resulted in a gain of three months for Frawley, but without heat or excitement he began anew the pursuit, passing up the coast to Para and the mouth of the Amazon, by Bogota and Panama into Mexico, on up toward the border of Texas. The months between him and Greenfield shortened to weeks, then to days without troubling his equanimity. At El Paso he arrived a few hoims after Greenfie1d had left, going toward the Salt Basin and the Guadalupe Mountains. Frawley took horses and a guide and followed to the edge of the desert. At three o’clock in the afternoon a horseman grew out of the horizon, a figure that remained stationary and attentive, studying his approach through a - spy-glass. Suddenly, as though satisfied, the stranger took off his hat and waved it above his head in challenge, and digging his heels into his horse disappeared into the desert.
Frawley understood the challenge —the end was to be in the desert. Failing to move his guide by threat or promise, he left him clamoring frantically on the edge of the desert and rode on toward where the figure of Greenfield had disappeared on the horizon in a puff of dust.
For three days they went their way grimly into the parched sands, husbanding every particle of strength, within plain sight of each other, always at the same unvarying walk. At night they slept by fits and starts, with an ear trained for the slightest hostile sound. Then they cast aside their saddles, their rifles, and superfluous clothing, in a vain effort to save their mounts.
The horses, heaving and staggering, crawled over the yielding sands like silhouettes drawn by a thread. In the sky not a cloud appeared ; below, the yellow monotony extended as flat as a dish. Above them a lazy buzzard, wheeling in languid circles, followed with patient conviction.
On the fourth morning Frawley’s horse stopped, shuddered, and went down in a heap. Greenfield halted and surveyed his discomfiture grimly, without a sign of elation.
“That’s bad, very bad,” Frawley said judicially. “I ought to have sent word to the department. Still, it’s not over vet—his horse won't last long. Well, I mustn’t carry much.”
He abandoned his revolver, a knife, $200 in gold, and continued on foot, preserving only the water-bag with its precious mouthful. Greenfield, who had waited immovably, allowed him to approach within a quarter of a mile before putting his horse in motion.
The fifth day broke with an angry sun and no sign on the horizon to relieve the eternal monotony. Only the buzzard at the same distance aloft bided his time. Hunter and hunted, united perforce by their common suffering, plodded on with the weary, hopeless straining of human beings harnessed to a plow, covering scarcely a mile an hour. From time to time, by common consent, they sat down, gaunt, exhausted figures, eying each other with the instinct of beasts, their elbows on their bony knees. Whether from a fear of losing energy, whether under the spell of the frightful stillness, neither had uttered a word.
Frawley was afire with thirst. The desert entered his body with its dry mortal heat, and ran its consuming dryness through his veins ; his eyes started from his face as the
sun above him hung out of the parched sky. He began to talk
to himself, to sing. Under his feet the sand sifted like the soft protest of autumn leaves. He imagined himself back in the forest, marking the rustle of leafy branches and the intermittent dropping of acorns and twigs. All at once his legs refused to move. He stood still, his gaze concentrated on the figure of Greenfield a long moment, then his body crumpled under him and he sank without volition to the ground.
Greenfield stopped, sat down, and waited. After half an hour he drew himself to his feet, moved on, then stopped, returned, approached, ard listened to the crooning of the delirious man. Suddenly satisfied,'he flung both arms into the air in frenzied triumph, turned, staggered, and reeled awav, while back over the desert came
the grotesque, hideous refrain, in maddened victory:
“Yankee Doodle Dandy oh!
Yankee Doodle Dandy!”
Frawley watched him go, then with a sigh of relief turned his glance to the black revolving form in the air— at least that remained to break the horror of the solitude. Then he lost consciousness.
The beat of wings across his face aroused him with a start and a cry of agony. The great bird of carrion, startled in its inspection, flew clumsily oft" and settled fearlessly on the ground, blinking at him.
An immense revolt, a furious anger brought with it new strength. - He rose and rushed at the bird with clenched fist, cursing it as it lumbered awkwardly away. Then he began desperately to struggle on, following the tracks in the sand.
At the end of an hour specks appeared on the horizon. He looked at them in his delirium and began to laugh uneasilv.
“I must be cut of my head,” he said to himself seriously. “It’s a mirage. Well, I suppose it is the end. Who’ll they put on the case now? Keech, I suppose ; yes. Keech ; he’s a good man. Of course it’s a mirage.”
As he continued to stumble forward, the dots assumed the shape of trees and hills. He laughed contemptuously and began to remonstrate with himself, repeating:
“It’s a mirage, or I’m out of .nv head ” He began to be worried, saying over and over: “That’s a bad
sign, very bad. I mustn’t lose control of myself. I must stick to him —stick to him until he dies of old age. Bucky Greenfield! Well, he won’t get out of this either. If the department could only know !”
The nearer he drew to life, the more indignant he became. He arrived thus at the edge of trees and green things.
“Why don’t they go?” he said-angrily. “They ought tb, now. Come, I think I’m keeping my head remarkably well.”
All at once a magnificent idea came to him—he would walk through the mirage and end it. He advanced fui iously against an imaginary tree, struck his forehead, and toppled over insensible.
Frawley returned to consciousness to find himself in the hut of a halfbreed Indian, who was forcing a soup of herbs between his lips.
Two days later he regained nis strength sufficiently to reach a ranch owned by .Englishmen. Fitted out by them, he started at once to return to El Paso; to take up the unending search anew.
In the late afternoon, tired and thirsty, he arrived at a shanty where a handful of Mexican children were lolling in the cool of the wall. At the sound of his approach a woman came running to the door, shrieking for assistance in a Mexican gibberish. He ran hastily to the house, his hand on his pistol. The woman, without stopping her chatter, huddled in the doorway, pointing to the dim corner opposite. Frawley, ,* following her glance, saw the fjgure of a man stretched on a hasty-[bed of leaves. He took a few quick steps and recognized Greenfield.
At the same moment the bundle shot to a sitting position with a cry : “Who’s that?”
Frawley, with a quick motion, covered him with his revolver, crying: “Hands up. It’s me, Bucky, and I've got you now !”
“That’s it, Bucky—Hands up !” Greenfield, without obeying, stared at him wildly.
“God, it is Frawley!” he cried, and fell back in a heap.
Inspector Frawley, advancing a step, repeated his command with no uncertain ring:
“Hands up! Quick!”
On the bed the distorted body contracted suddenly into a ball.
“Easy, Bub,” Greenfield said between his teeth. “Easy; don’t get excited. I’m dving.”
Frawley approached cautiously, suspiciously.
“Fact. I’m cashin’ in."
“What’s the matter?”
“Bug. Plain bug—the desert did the rest.”
“Tarantula bite—don’t laugh, Bub.”
Frawley, at his side, needed but a glance to see that it was true. He ran his hand over Greenfield’s belt and removed the pistol.
“Sorry,” he said curtly, standing up. 1
“Quite keerect, Bub !”
“Can I do anything for you?”
Suddenly, without warning, Greenfield raised himself, glared at him, stretched out his hands, and fell into a passionate fit of weeping. Frawley’s English reserve was outraged.
“What’s the matter?” he said angrily. “You’re not going to show the white feather now, are you?”
With an oath Greenfield sat bolt upright, silent and flushed.
“Dyou, Bub—show some im-
agination,” he said after a pause. “Do you think I mind dying—me? That’s a good one. It ain’t that—no—it’s ending, ending like this. After all I’ve been through, to be put out of business by a bug—an onery little bug.”
Then Frawley comprehended his mistake.
“I say, Bucky, I’ll take that back,” he said awkwardly.
“XTo imagination, no imagination,” Greenfield muttered, sinking back. “Why, man, if I’d chased you three times around the world and got you, I’d fall on you and beat you to a pulp or—or I’d hug you like a long-lost brother.”
“I asked your pardon,” said Frawley again.
“All right, Bub—all right,” Greenfield answered with a short laugh. Then after a pause he added seriously: “So you’ve come—well, I’m glad
Frawley made an effort, failed, and answered helplessly :
"No, Bucky, no, I can’t say I do understand.”
“Why do you think I ran you into Rio Janeiro?” said Greenfield, twisting on the leaves. “Into the cholery? What do you think made me lay for this desert? Bub, you were on my back, clinging like a catamount. I was bound to shake you off. I was desperate. It had to end one way or t’other. That’s why I stuck to you until I thought it was over with you.” “Why didn’t you make sure of it?” said Frawley with curiosity; “you could have done for me there.”
Greenfield looked at him hard and nodded.
“Keerect, Bub; quite so!”
“Why didn’t you?”
“Why!” cried Greenfield, angrily. “Ain’t you ever had any imagination? Did I want to shoot you down like a common ordinary pickpocket after taking you three times around the world? That was no ending! God, what a chase it was !”
“It was long, Bucky,’’ Frawley admitted. “It was a good one!”
“Can’t you understand anything?” Greenfield cried querulously. “Where’s anything bigger, more than what we’ve done? And to have it end like this—to have a bug—a miserable, squashy bug beat you after all !”
For a long moment there was no sound, while Greenfield lay, twisting, his head averted, buried in the leaves.
“It’s not right. Bucky.” said Frawley at last, with an effort at sympathy. “It oughtn’t to have ended th’’c v-ny.”
“It was worth it!” Greenfield cried. “Three years! There ain’t much dirt we haven’t kicked up ! Asia, Africa—a regular Cook’s tour through Europe, North and South Ameriky. And what seas, Bub !” His voice faltered. The drops of sweat stood thickly on his forehead ; but he pulled himself together gamely. “Do you remember the Sea of Japan, with its funny little toy junky? Man, we’re beaten out Columbus, Joois Verne, and the rest of them—hollow, Bub!” “I say, what did you do it for?” “You are a rum un,” said Greenfield with a broken laugh. The words began to come shorter and with effort. “Excitement, Bub ! Deviitry and cussedness !”
“How do you feel, Bucky?” asked Frawley.
“Half in hell already—stewing for
my sins—but it’s not that—it’s-”
“That bug ! Me, Bucky Greenfield —to go down and out on account of a bug—a little squirmy bug! But I swear even he couldn’t have done it if the desert hadn’t put me out of business first! No, by God! I’m not downed so easy as that!”
Frawley, in a lame attempt to show his sympathy, went closer to the dying man :
“I say, Bucky.”
“Wouldn’t you like to go out, -standing, on your feet—with your boots on?”
Greenfield laughed, a contented laugh.
“What’s the matter, pal?” said Frawley, pausing in surprise.
“You darned old Englishman,” said Greenfield affectionately. “Say, Bub.”
“The dinkies are all right—but— but a Yank, a real Yank, would ’a’ got me in six months.”
“All right, Bucky. Shall I raise you up?”
“Would you like the feeling of a gun in your hand again?” said Frawley. raising him up.
“A bug—a little-”
Then he stopped and appeared to listen. Outside, the evening was soft and stirring. Through the door the children appeared, tumbling over one another, in grotesque attitudes.
Suddenly, as though in the breeze he had caught the sound of a step, Greenfield jerked almost free of Frawley’s arms, shuddered, and fell back rigid. The pistol, flung into the air, twirled, pitched on the floor, and remained quiet.
Frawley placed the body back on the bed of leaves, listened a moment, and rose satisfied. He threw a
blanket over the face, picked up the revolver, searched a moment for his hat, and went out to arrange with the Mexican for the night. In a moment he returned and took* a seat in the corner, and began carefully to jot down the details on a piece of paper. Presently he paused and looked reflectively at the bed of leaves.
“It’s been a good three years,” he said reflectively. He considered a moment, rapping the pencil against his teeth, and repeated: “A good
three years. I think when I get home I’ll ask'for a wreek or so to stretch myself.” Then he remembered with anxiety how Greenfield had railed at his lack of’ imagination and pondered a moment seriously. Suddenly, as though satisfied, he said with a nod of conviction :
“Well, now, we did jog about a bit!”