Behind The Bolted Door?
SYNOI'SIS—Judge Bishop and Dr. Laneham dre summoned to the fashionable duplex apartments of Mrs. Hansi Fisher, a wealthy society woman, who is interested in welfare work to the extent of employing prison-gate help. They are admitted by Jimmy, the man-servant, who shows signs of alarm, but no one comes to receive them. After waiting for some time they start'to investigate and find that the lower apartments are deserted, the servants' having suddenly left. The two men then try to break into the rooms of Mrs. Fisher above, but the three doors leading off the corridor are locked in turn as they try to get in. They hear voices and a strange knocking inside, but when a door is broken down they find nothing in the apartments—but the body of Mrs. Fisher, who has been dead two hours. There is absolutely no door or window by which an escape could have been made. The police suspect a young settlement worker named Willings, who had been at the apartment a short time before to secure a contribution from Mrs. Fisher ; and to cleai' him, Dn. Laneham, who is a noted psychoanalyst, decides to investigate the crime. He is handicupped by the police, but finds a charred part of a magazine, in Mr. Fisher's apartment, which he believes may prove an attempt to destroy evidence. Willings and a young woman, Daphne Hope, a fellow-worker at the settlement, in the meantime locate Jimmy and capture him after an exciting automobile chase. Jimmy tells his story to the effect that he had found the body of Mrs. Fisher near the swimming pool. There was no one in the apartment but, before he could summon help, the body was secretly moved to the couch. This was before the ari'ival of Laneham and Bishop. It has heen given out in the papen'8 that Mrs. Fisher's valuable pearls are still in a secret safe in the apartments, and the follovñng night someone enters the apartments in an effort to locate the safe, eluding the guards placed all over the building. Maddalina, Mrs. Fisher's maid, is located in the Italian quarter and an effort made to get her to Dr. Laneham's home by sending a medical health officer after hér. Maddalina is secured and confesses to having stolen money from Mrs. Fisher. She tells of a paper that she and Jimmy had signed for the dead woman ; which Jimmy then states was a will. McGloyne comes to Laneham's home determined to arrest both Maddalina and Jimmy. He declares that a story of the visit paid to the Fisher apartments by parties after the pearls is merely a “plant” to discredit him; but, when they go to the apartments that night, they hear strange voices and knocking within. As they are leaving the building a strange assailant makes an effort to hurl Dr. Laneham down the elevator shaft. It is found that a playwright named Glasbury is the wiritér of certain notes that were found in the murdered woman's room, and that his rooms adjoined hers. While Laneham is following this clue word comes that the mysterious visitor has returned again to the apartment and killed one of the officers on guard, and wounded another policeman.
SEEN FROM AN ELEVATOR, AND THE CONTENTS OF A WASTEPAPER BASKET
"WELL, Doctor,” asked Willings, “what now?”
A question already asked and answered many times that week. Yet now no answer seemed humanly possible.
But Laneham did answer. Even then he still lifted his face, four-square and unyieldingly, to all the powers of darkness.
“We keep on as before,” he said. “If we have to do with the devil-world, the morethan-natural, once more that must prove itself. In the meantime all we really know is that between one and three this morning Glasbury was in his office in the Savoy
“Yes, but that alone-”
“I know. I know. But there is nothing supernatural in his being there at such an hour. And if at the same time we are to believe that some secondary ‘bloodpaid’ devil-image of him was here in the Casa Grande killing Hooley, that must be told me from the lips of the man himself. Till then there is enough for us to work upon in other ways.”
And next morning brought them, among other things, the first contents of Glasbury’s office waste basket.
■\AfHAT did the Doctor hope to find ’ ’ amid such mere debris of the man’s every-day working life? Apparently nothing, with any certainty. It was only one means among a dozen. But it was at least a possibility. And the fact that, after being away from his office for days, Glasbury should return to it at such an hour, to tear up anything whatever, seemed at least to promise something.
The Central Bureau “pigeon” who had rifled the basket might well have been the uncombed and dirty son of one of the Savoy scrubwomen. But he knew all he needed to know.
“Your guy’s come back in this mornin’, too,” he told Laneham. “So this bein’ a Sata’day, see, an’ only half a day, maybe I’ll be switchin’ youse some more this afternoon.”
What he had “switched” this first time he had carried to Seventy-second street in a battered, dog-eared old suit-case. And when they had opened it, they seemed to have proof enough in its contents alone that Glasbury must have spent the entire two hours that night in his office and nowhere else. For that old suit-case was half filled; and every sheet of paper and envelope had been torn and retorn till scarcely a piece was to be found larger than a postage-stamp.
“I must leave you two to work on it alone,” said the Doctor. “You know what we have to look for. In the first place,”— and again he brought out the murder note,—“we must make absolutely certain, word for word and letter for letter, of the identity of the writing. In the second place, here you have Mrs. Fisher’s writing, too. You must look at every scrap for anything that even remotely resembles it. And after that, somewhere, by chance or luck, there may be something else.”
He left them, and they went to work.
T ANEHAM’S big flat-topped desk stood behind them. Willings cleared it off, and spread out handful after handful of those tiny fragments, so that there might be as much as possible under their eyes at once.
“I know,” he told D. Hope, “that this is mighty hard on you.”
“No,” she answered, “it isn’t. Because I know that the more we learn, the sooner we’ll prove Mr. Glasbury innocent.”
But it became evident almost immediately that at least half of that torn paper had once been merely the manuscript, or the successive manuscripts, of a play! It established the identity of Glasbury’s writing. He had penned the murder note— there could no longer be any doubt of that. But a play? Why should any man, however haunted go to his office at one in the morning to destroy a play? Certainly there was little hope of getting an answer from any internal evidence in the play itself. It would have taken weeks to piece its thousand shreds and tatters togetherMeanwhile they faced a blank wall.
As far as they could, they put the bits of manuscript aside, and began to sort out everything that looked like the remains of correspondence.
THERE was little difficulty in getting the pieces of individual letters together. There were many of them, for they represented the accumulated mail of several days. But it was only a matter of matching paper with paper.
But in no case did any of those letters tell them anything. Not one that could by any stretch of imagination be taken for the writing of Mrs. Fisher. Most of them were business letters. The only puzzle was why they should have been destroyed at all.
Outside the manuscript, or manuscripts, of the play; there were only two examples of Glasbury’s own writing. Both were the beginnings of letters. And because his stationery, a heavy, hand-laid bond, was as distinctive as his writing, they also were comparatively easy to put together.
One of those beginnings read: —
Dear Harry: I should have answered you at once. But, without going into it now. ever since Saturday . . .
Saturday was the day of the murder. The other :—
Gentlemen: I very greatly regret that owing to circumstances not under my control, I have not heen in my office for several days, and therefore . . .
And it, too, had ended there.
In both there was a something about the writing—a rigid tremor, a sort of quivering powerlessness—that seemed of itself to show that the hand could go no further.
“It’s as if his will power had suddenly been snapped,” said Willings.
But that they had known, or felt, before. Again they had learned nothing that was new.
They went back to the first business letters and began to work through them a second time.
1V/TEANWHILE, the Doctor had gone directly to the Savoy Building.
In a sense, he had gone only to get its general topography, and, even as in the case of the Fisher apartment in the Casa Grande, to study the arrangement of the doors and corridors on Glasbury’s particular floor.
But he had hardly reached the Savoy elevators when some one touched him lightly and spoke to him. It was Morris, McGloyne’s “outside man.”
“He an’t come down yet,” he said, “but if you’d like to go up and take a little look around in the halls?”
And, since Glasbury would not know , either of them even if they came upon him face to face, Laneham told the man •to lead ahead.
The Savoy was an old building, the typical flimsy seven-story fire-trap of the 80’s. It had only one entrance, with an open stairway mounting from landing to landing around the elevator shaft. They walked up.
Glasbury’s office was on the fourth floor. His door was almost exactly across the hall from the further elevator. A postman was just entering. And passing quickly, they started on up to the floor above.
But when, on the halfway landing, they came opposite again, and could look through the elevator shaft, Laneham saw that Glasbury’s door was topped by an old-fashioned fan-light. From the ceiling level, therefore, an observer in the further elevator could command at least a part of his rooms. In the same moment Morris had the same thought.
“Could you get the use of an elevator?” Laneham asked him.
“Sure I can. I got in right with the starter, as my beginnin’. I can run a car, too, at that.”
And, two minutes later, they had their own car, and were going slowly up alone.
' I '0 give himself a possible opportunity of observing Glasbury, himself unobserved—that had been the Doctor’s only thought. And as their car came gradually to a stop half way above the fourthfloor level, he found, by standing well over to the left, he could see, through the fanlight and an inner open door, the young playwright’s desk, his shoulder, and then, as he moved, more and more plainly his half-averted face.
Again, what did it say? What story, wnat explanation of hideous mystery, spoke from it? At that moment it held only a suffering blankness, a hunted misery to wring the heart.
But as Laneham still watched, the man’s shoulder moved again. His hands went out. He seemed to be opening his mail. And next moment that blank misery in his face had changed again—to horror, and to the same horror it had worn that night as he came from the Casa Reale!
The look was there, and Laneham was half prepared for it. But for what followed, nothing had prepared him. On Glasbury’s desk a letter fluttered, held in a hand that shook and shook. Then on a sudden that shaking stopped, and the hand went blindly into an open drawer. It came out again. At Glasbury's right temple there flickered the swift, level glitter of polished nickel. A click, then another. And Laneham, powerless even to move, knew that Glasbury was trying to shoot himself.
LJ E was trying to. But, because of some merciful defect, the weapon refused to serve him. And next moment he let it drop heavily to the desk again. Once more, too, his look was changing— to the expression of the man who believes, harriedly, that he can not die, and tells himself that in death itself there would be no escape for him. Then, trembling and shaking, he got to his feet. Standing over his waste-basket, he was tearing that letter—whatever it was—into such shredded bits as the Doctor had already seen. Somehow he steadied himself. His every feature now said desperately that, whatever must be faced, he would still endure and face it through !
A few minutes more and he moved quickly to the door, took an elevator, and was in the street again. And Laneham, following, was telephoning to McGloyne.
“Yes, yes,” he repeated; “for Glasbury’s own sake—to save his life—though I think there is no more danger now. But watch him every moment. . . Yes, and make absolutely certain of getting me everything from this morning’s basket.”
A BOUT two o’clock the contents of lhat ^ second basket reached 39'0.
It held little compared with the first, but it held enough: again the three cleared the big desk and went to work. The doctor said nothing as to what they might expect to find. He merely laid out that murder note once more, and once more began to match tatter against tatter.
But it was no matter of hand-writing, but of paper itself that first brought his hands to a halt.
“Willings, look here,” he said jerkily. He was holding a tiny strip of that waterlined, almost transparent foreign notepaper known as onion-skin.
“Where have you seen that before? You don’t recognize it?”
In the meantime he had found a second strip, this time bearing a line of writing.
“But at any rate you recognize the pen work? You don’t? But I see. Of course the other was in Italian.”
And as Willings and D. Hope stood waiting, he crossed to his desk and brought back the letter, the love letter he had taken from Maddalina in the ambulance.
He translated parts of it: “You are an angel of heaven. . . Of a surety my love will now endure forever. . . And you shall have at least two of them for yourself.”
“We decided some time ago,” he said, “that ‘two of them’ referred to two of those fifty-dollar notes which our precious Maddalina took from Mrs. Fisher’s money letter. Well it would seem that her lover friend has now been writing to Glasbury. But let us get the whole letter together.”
A THING that promised to be easy. ■‘Y Small though they were, those bits of “onion-skin” now seemed to stand out from everything else.
Again they went to work. And they had scarcely begun—Laneham had just spread himself out a second little pile—when, looking again, he suddenly put his hand over it, and spoke quickly to D. Hope.
“Without asking why,” he said, “will you just let Willings and me finish this alone?”
And, to give her something to do, he asked her to go out for the rest of the afternoon, and go on with the search for that lost magazine with its clue-word
“Try some of the scientific publications,” he said, “the German chemical journals, and that sort of thing.”
Not until she was gone did he lift his hand again.
Beneath it lay three scraps of that slippery “onion-skin”: on each piece were smears and blotches of fresh blood.
“My Lord!” cried Willings.
Neither spoke again till the last terrible little shreds had been fitted into place, the whole letter was together, and it could be read.
It ran as follows:—
The signore Glasbury,
This is twise I rite and I will not rite again, we can not dare now to go back again to try get them pearls so now you must pay. last night the police leave two guards, they will not guard again. We too, can kill in those fisher rooms, we need 5,000$. You get it for us tonigt. We come at ten. After that we troble you no more. I give you the marks from him I kill last night, so you will know.
And the entire bottom of the letter was one daub of what—there could be no doubting it—was the life-blood of Sergeant Hooley.
A MEETING IN GLASRURY’S APARTMENTS
TT was a second murder note, and one -*■ more ghastly, almost, than the first. For a time neither could touch it again. But, blood-smeared and dreadful, the thing was
“The—the beast must have written it,” said Willings, “as soon as he got back to his diggings.”
“Little question. He can hardly have needed to re-moisten his fingers! . . . Well, so much for poor Grogan’s ghostdemon. So much for his apparition from nowhere that passed through the solid walls!”
Willings read the hideous screed again.
“But Doctor, what does this mean?— ‘We, too, can kill in those Fisher rooms’? It’s perfectly evident that the Italian devil believes that Glasbury did it. If he didn’t-”
He was stopped by a warning in Laneham’s face. And at the same instant the Doctor covered everything with a newspaper.
D. Hope had come back again.
She had come back again, and her eyes were shining. “Doctor,” she cried with her first breath. “This is twice I've been a good detective. I’ve found it!”
“Found your ‘rnund’ magazine. It’s a medical one, in German. Here is the name in full, with the date: it’s an old number . . They had it at Koelble & Scheuer’s.”
“But where is it? Didn’t you bring it with you?”
For all his habitual« repression, he was this time by far the most excited of the
“They had only one copy left, and it had just been ordered.”
“Well, we can get another somewhere.
In the meantime there’ll be one in the Physicians’ and Surgeons’ Library. And I’ll go down there at once. Oh, don’t mistake me. There mayn’t be anything in it at all. But if there is!”
“But what about to-night?” Willings was ready to believe that Laneham had already forgotten the existence of those blood-daubed paper scraps beneath the newspaper.
“Oh, I’m not forgetting to-night. And, Willings, old man, before I go, for a minute I must talk to you.”
HE did. Then, by telephone, he got McGloyne and his man Morris and made certain arrangements with themIf, at ten that night, those Italian jewel thieves and murderers expected to be in Glasbury’s rooms at the Casa Reale, he, Laneham, was clearly going to do everything in his power to prepare for them. And he did not leave the house until he
But, having gone, hour after hour went by before he returned. Five o’clock passed, and six. He called up to say that he could not be home for dinner. They did not see him again, indeed, till after eight. And then—a first glance at his face told the story: they knew that he had taken one more step — and that again he had found the thing he sought! It was unmistakable.
But not less obvious was it that he had no thought of going into anything
“There’s only one thing we must do tonight,” h e said; “we’ve a little ambush to fix up. And we’ve barely time for •it as it is. Willings, we’ll get back first to the Casa Grande.’
He told him, on the way, that Glasbury was still at the St. Hilaire; Morris had just made sure of thatAnd Morris was to warn them too, when Glasbury left to meet his blackmailers. For it was evident that he intended to meet them.
“And now, son, a second time: you’ve volunteered to take the main risk tonight. But if you feel that you’ll be running uncalled-for chances?”
“Not for a moment!” ’
A T the Casa Grande they found McGloyne, in plain clothes. He had with him, at last, those promised floor plans.
“I’d have done better just to have turned you over the originals,” he said; “for everything was tied up while the blue printers kept us waiting.”
“It’s all right,” Laneham told him; “and I guess we know by now a part of what we’re going to learn from them!”
He carried the rolled sheets into the room behind the telephone-board and spread them out-
“There you have it. The Fisher apartment in the Casa Grande, here, and Glasbury’s bachelor rooms, here, in the Casa Reale admin. They abut at Mrs. Fisher’s little writing-room.” McGloyne stifled an exclamation, and the Doctor turned to him. “But, right now,” he said, “whatever appearances seem to be, I ask you to take my word for it that never for a moment has there been anything that could lie against the honour of either of them.”
McGloyne dropped his hands“As you say, Doctor, as you say. Only it’s brought them death an’ hell. Well, now to business.” He handed Laneham a latch-key. “There’s one thing you’ll be needin’.” “Good.”
“It’s for Glasbury’s middle room. When are you going over?”
“At once. For Willings and I would like to get a preliminary look around.”
They all walked around the block to the entrance of the Casa Reale together.
T) UT McGloyne got no furU ther than the entrance.
A message had just come in for him. It was a warning from Morris. Glasbury was on his way.
“No time for any lookin’ around!” said the Inspector.
“But my men are placed.
Payton’s planted on the inside. You’ll find him there. An’ if Mr. Willings is still wantin’ to make a second?”
“I am,” said Willings“That was my first thought.”
“Well an’ good. Get in then, get in, the quickest you know how!”
In another minute Willings and the Doctor were in Glasbury’s rooms. “Officer Payton.” The Doctor called. “Right here.” Payton, a lanky “special” showed his head from behind the curtain of the trunk closet. “And you’ll find more cover,” he said, “back of a big desk in a den place at the other end ”
They hurried through to it. The desk was an old-fashioned, low-bodied, highbacked secretary. It had been placed across the corner by the window; and nothing could have offered better concealment. Willings slipped behind it, and pulled it in again. And once more he had an automatic in his pocket. Laneham made him take it.
“But never fear,” he reassured him; “you won’t need to use itRemember though, try to see Glasbury first, and then give them time to talk.” And he was
I_IE could hardly have left the elevators A A before Glasbury was entering. It seemed to Willings that they must have met. But he was alone. And, throwing on the lights, he came slowly through to the little study. “Try to see Glasbury first”! —it was as if Glasbury had known he was there! While Willings still crouched uncertainly, the young playwright crossed to his desk and began to write somethingHe rose from it, with a face once more filled with a white but resolute despair—and Willings showed himself.
“Who—who are you?” With his first backward leap Glasbury’s hand went to his own coat pocket; “and what are you doing here?”
Yet it was not what he said nor the words he used that struck through Willings’ memory.
He tried to explain his presence in a single sentence. He said that he was a friend, that he knew why he, Glasbury, was there, and that he would find a second friend and ally in the further room.
“We’ve seen the letter they sent you,” he whispered rapidly; “and we’re here to meet them, too. You weren’t going to pay them?”
“No, no. Never that!”
“Then what were you going to do?— You have a gun, haven’t you?”
“I haveAnd this time one I can depend upon. There—there’ll be two of the fiends. I was going to try to do for both
of them—and then,” he whispered it dryly—“then finish with myself.”
It was what Willings had thought. And at that very moment from the hall there came a sound of footsteps.
“But you won’t do anything now, will you? You’ll just leave everything to us?”
And, in another minute, what was to follow had begun.
From his “cover” of course Willings could at first see nothing. He only knew that Glasbury’s visitors had let themselves in with their own key. They seemed, in fact, to be entirely familiar in his rooms.
“Allora—now!” said one of them, the Italian, doubtless Hooley’s murderer. And the other, suspecting an ambush, went straight on through to the rooms beyond. He went directly indeed to that trunk closet where the “special,” Payton, was lying and discovered him!
With a stumbling rush, Payton leaped out. But he was not quick enough. Even before he could raise his voice, a blackjack did its work, and he went down like the dead-
Instantly, as though by a kind of reflex action, the Italian whirled back to the hall doors and shot their bolts: for the present, at least, no one could interrupt from outside. Next moment both blackmailers were fleeing towards the little room where Willings was concealed.
He jumped for them. And before they could use their weapons—almost before he knew himself that he was using his— he had put a bullet through the shoulder of the man with the black-jack.
“Hands up !” he shouted.
“The hell I will !” And, “winged” though he was, the man tried with his other hand to pull his gun.
Outside, with curses and shoulderdrives, McGloyne and his detail could be heard trying desperately to burst their way in. “What the devil! What’s gone wrong with them locks! Put yourselves at ’em again !”
The time was short. And now the young Italian had sprung for Willings.
“Nom’ de Dio, but I get you anyway!” he screamed, and pressed his weapon squarely against his side.
“I guess not!” Willings twisted it away again, even as the explosion came. With a second wrench and jerk, the gun went through the window. “Not this time, I think!”
T N all his life before, Mr. Walter, or A Owly, Willings had never engaged in even an imitation of a gun-fightBut now it seemed to him to be something wholly natural and eminently satisfying. That he might be killed did not worry him at
all. If he was, there was a Daphne Hope, who would know just how it happened. Also he was there to take care of Glasbury ; and through it all he manoeuvred to keep Glasbury behind him.
He was down on the floor now — they all were — but he was still fighting. He had some one by the throat. And in some way he managed to get hold of the winged man’s
It was the Doctor. In almost complete collapse the young playwright was passing from one fainting fit to another. And, “Oh, my God!” he was crying, “Oh, my God!” The Doctor looked up and caught Willings’ gaze fixed on him. That voice—would they ever forget it? It was the lost-soul voice they had heard twice before in the Fisher rooms-
Continued on page 75
black-jack. Then suddenly he knew that Laneham and McGloyne and McGloyne’s men were inside. Another burst of shots, and then the thud, thud, thud of subduing night-sticks. And when, amid smoke and the salty smell of powder, Willings again found himself sitting up and looking around, he became gradually aware that Glasbury was still behind him, and some one was working over him.
THE SOLUTION NEAR!
The final instalment of this remarkable mystery story will appear in the next issue. Perhaps you have already guessed the solution. Don’t be too sure, however. There are surprises a-plenty in the last chapters and strange developments as yet unguessed.
Behind the Bolted Door ?
Continued from page 26
“Well, at any rate,” said Willings, “it was a human voice.” Then he turned back to help the others.
V EN minutes later two would-be A jewel thieves and blackmailers sat trussed and ready for the patrol wagon. But in the little room of the high-backed desk, Laneham was having a last word with McGloyne:
“You must leave Glasbury with me. For the next few days he’d have to go into hospital in any case.”
“As you say.”
“Till further notice, too, I’ll ask you not to try to talk to the two worthies out there, eitherAnd, if possible, keep it absolutely quiet that you’ve even caught them.”
“You mean keep it even from Fisher?”
“Fisher? Oh-h. Oh, if you want, tell him. But no one else.”
“But, Lord,” McGloyne protested, “when you might say we’ve got the thing cleared up!”
“Cleared up? Inspector, once more, who killed Mrs. Fisher? Those two thug9 in the handcuffs don’t know. Why and how was she killed? Do you know that? And how did the murderer get in? Ha9 any one of those questions been answered? Has any part of the real mystery been solved? No. But, if you will give me the opportunity, to-night I think we can at last begin.”
McGloyne shook his head uncomprehendingly. But the matter wa9 in Laneham’s hands. “Doctor,” he said, “what do you want to do?”
“Several things, one of which will again, convince you that I’ve lost my sensesBut first of all—and nothing could be gained by letting any one else know this—first of all I want a chance to take Willings and go back to Mrs. Fisher’s rooms, and be free if need be to spend the entire night making another search.”
“Another search? An’ what for?”
“A certain tiny pellet of fused white metal,” Laneham answered, “which should still be somewhere near or in the swimming-pool.”
FOUND BY THE SWIMMING-POOL, AND MORE OF ZANCRAY
ÄTINY pellet of fused white metal, ^ somewhere near, or in, the swimming-pool! Not a bullet, obviously. But, if not, what could it be?
Laneham offered no explanationMcGloyne did not know nor Willings. And yet, as Willings stood there looking straight before him, one might have said that already, at the bottom of his soul, he half suspected.
Meanwhile he waited in the Casa Grande till the Doctor had taken Glasbury to 390. But within half an hour Laneham was back again.
“Jacobs can take care of him quite well now,” he said. “Judge Bishop is down there too—with D. Hope and Jimmy. I’ve told them, if they’ll wait, we may be able to report on something else."
And again they went up to that murderhaunted swimming-pool room.
Once more they had only to throw on the electrics in the great alabaster bell hanging above the pool to have light enough. But the Doctor had also brought along a pocket flash.
He closed and locked both doors, so that they would not be interrupted. On one of the dusty green flower benches lay a long-handled brush. He picked it up and handed it to Willings.
“I want you to sweep around the edge of the pool with this,” he said. “But wait a minute; I think we can make our first verification from the water itself.”
He stepped back to the pool, bent far over its barrier-like brim, and took up a little in his palm.
“If what I believe to be true is true,” he said, “this water should be salt.”
And, after holding back a moment, each in turn dipped a finger in and tasted it.
It was salt.
“But mightn’t it—isn’t it just sea salt?” Willings asked.
“No; this is common salt. And there’s all the difference in life—or death—between them hereWell, now to our real
Willings followed him, and took up his brush again.
The Doctor explained roughly.
ACCORDING to McGloyne, no matter what might have been done in Fisher’s own rooms, no cleaning work of any sort had been done about the pool since the hour of the crime. Therefore, anything that had been on the floor then, if not so small that it could be carried out on some one’s shoes, should still be there-
“It may be only the minutest globule,” he said, “like a droplet from a plumber’s iron. But we must try to find it. At first, though, my own work will be higher up.” “How do you mean?” Willings asked him.
“I’m going to lo,ok first for some place where a file, a very small file, has been
And crossing to the other side of the room, he began to run his eyes along the
For a moment Willings himself stood awaiting further instructionsAnd while he did he followed Laneham. It was evident, moreover, that he was working according to some definite plan or course. If his eyes had started at the wall, they had moved rapidly to the ceiling, then along it to that great, whitely-radiant, moon-like bell. But there he looked again at Willings, and the younger man took up his brush, and turned away to his own work. He saw only that the Doctor had mounted the flower stand. And next moment he gave a little triumphant gasp.
“It’s here!” he cried. “Oh, no, never mind about the details now. I’ll just go to work again with you, and maybe we’ll get everything!”
There was no second brush. But, dropping almost face down, Laneham laid his flashlight in front of him upon the tiles, and began to sweep them levelly with its little searching beam.
“It’s an even chance our drop of metal is in the water,” he said. “But, at least we must look outside first. Up there near the faucets and the nickel work-”
I_J E got no further. A second time his -*■ -*■ search had ended before it really had begunTo the right of the faucets was a small marble step. In the corner between it and the side of the pool, some dust and fluff had gathered; and there, in the midst of it, was something that glittered faintly.
The Doctor picked it up. It looked exactly as he had said it might look. One would have said it was some little solder globule left by plumbing work. But, handing it to Willings, “What do you notice first?” he asked.
“Why, its weight! The thing’s as heavy as gold.”
“Yes; it’s platinum.”
“Platinum!” Willings stared at him. “Yes, platinum. But in itself there is nothing in that.”
“Oh, no; not in itself.” Willings’ voice had fallen to a whisper, and into his face there had come a look never brought to it by any mere droplet of heavy metal. “Doctor,” he said, “I want to tell you something”
“It’s the evidence—the Zancray stuff— that I’ve been holding out. I believed implicitly till this minute that it couldn’t matter, and my only idea was to protect the innocent. But I’ve got to tell you now.” And, still standing by that grisly swimming-pool, he did.
“Willings! And you didn’t see the importance of that at the beginning?” “How could I? But it means, doesn’t it, that the thing will be cleared up? That the cloud will—will be lifted from me?” “Oh, surely, surely!”
“Very well. Then, when we get back to 390, before you ask anything else of me, may I speak for a moment to D. Hope?”
A ND what he had to say to her he ^ again said in the little brown study.
“I thought you’d want to be the first to know,” he began. “It’s at least different with me in one way now, from what it was yesterday.”
“Do you think,” she asked, “that anything can make things different with me— unless you want to change, yourself?”
He caught her in his arms again. “But you know what I meant. I can anyway feel a little nearer to you now.”
“Can you?” She laughed up into his eyes with the joy of it. And he clasped her closer.
“Oh, I love you, love you!” he whispered.
“You do? Only you don’t want to say as yet that you’re engaged?” “No, not till—till-”
“Till you have about a hundred times more money than you really need. I9 that it?” she asked him. “Oh, very wellFor I can wait. But now we must go to the others.”
And, in another five minutes, they were once more with the Doctor and Judge Bishop and Jimmy in the library.
The Doctor went to his point at once. “Willings, here, has just been telling me something,” he said, “and something to the last degree important. No, I won’t say what it was; but it was his ‘Zancray evidence,’ the thing he felt justified in holding back at the beginning. And all three of you have confessed to doing the same thing; you have your holdbacks, too. Now, once again, to prevent the martyring of some one who may be guiltless, I ask you to speak before it is too late. In a few hours Glasbury may confess; but until he does-”
A look that seemed to ache in the eyes of D. Hope turned him first to her.
“You told us,” he said, “that you were keeping silent because of a promise given Mrs. Fisher. If in these last hours you feel, for any reason, that morally you are now released from it—-—?”
“Oh, I do! I do!” she cried. “But, Doctor, may I—just for the present—can’t you let me tell it just to you?”
“By all means. It may be better so.” And he drew her with him into his office.
IVA INUTE after minute passed; they could hear her sobbing. Then for a long time the Doctor seemed to be asking questions. And when he opened the door again D. Hope was still crying, but with a sort of happiness.
Laneham asked his last question in the doorway :
“And you’d never suspected that?” “No. Oh, I knew she was ambitious. I could feel that marriage hadn’t satisfied
“I should think it hadn’t.”
“-And that she wanted to lead some
sort of bigger life. I felt at times that she’d begun. But—even then—I didn’t suspect that it was that!”
“No, I suppose that no one could have.” The Doctor himself was greatly moved“Poor woman ! Poor, poor woman ! And Glasbury—! D. Hope, if you still pray, won’t you say something to-night for him?”
He turned away to Jimmy.
“And now, my son, isn’t there something coming from you?”
“Doctor Lyneham, don’t hask me! I can’t! An’ it eyn’t any matter of protecting the h’innocent. For I don’t know who did it and who didn’t, no more now than hever! I’m only trying to protect a good nyme—the nyme of one that’s dead, too, and that I’d go to ’Ell for!”
“Jimmy,” said D. Hope, taking his hand, “if you mean Mrs. Fisher’s name, it needs no protection now. And if you can only add something to what the Doctor knows already maybe everything will be understood again.”
“You think so, Miss?” And even then he hung back “Your—your ’and on your ’eart, you can promise that?”
“I can, Jimmy; I can!” -A ND a second time, confessor and confessed were still talking when they came out again.
“You h’understand, now,” Jimmy was saying, “about that voice. I wasn’t lying. Hafter the murder I ’eard nothing. What I wa9 speaking of was the voice9 I’d ’eard before.”
“I know,” said Laneham. “But, old man, if you’d just told me at once—what
you’ve told me now-!”
“That’s true. Hif I ’ad! But anyways, I’ve told you now.”
And if that famous Frenchman and psychologist Emile Zancray had never made his claim that the friends in the case always conceal something which, being known, would make all clear, he would have made it then !
Meanwhile Laneham wa9 looking at the
“And now, Bishy, there’s only you. I’ve had three contributions, and put them together. All that is lacking is the fourth.” “Laneham!” Bishop began again to put him off. “I—I—I—I give you my professional word-!”
“Yes, and in a way, so did all the rest of them.”
“I tell you it’s absurd—as crazy as—as some of your dream theories.”
“All right,” the Doctor answered quietly, “supposing we try it on the basis of those crazy dream theories.”
“And what do you mean by that?” “Just this, that since Mrs. Fisher’s murder, at least once and probably twice, you’d had a certain dream. Well, instead of making your confession, supposing you simply tell me it?”
“What?” The Judge’s hands lifted themselves almost in a posture of defence. “Laneham, this—this is no time, and no occasion, for—for foolery!”
“What I proposed is very far from being foolery. It’s the soundest of sound psychology. All I ask now is that you tell me that dream. But, of course, if you fear the test?-”
“Fear it? Fear it? Why, if it’s a challenge, then, in the Lord’s name, come along! I’ll take my turn in confessional!”
'T'EN minutes afterwards he came out again, and his face was that of a man in awe.
“Laneham,” he 9aid, “I would never have believed it, never!”
“Well, you know, now.”
“I do!” One might have thought that he had just stepped down from the criminal bench, after pronouncing a death sentence..“And now I know, too, why she sent for me. But to get at it in this way
“Oh, we mustn’t believe it absolutely, even now. In every legal sense, it is still to be proven.”
“Proven ! The only question remaining is how did they get in?”
“If they did get in. Well, I think that, too, should be demonstrable.”
“Demonstrable?” Again Bishop repeated the word-
“The proof of guilt must come the first.” “Oh, the courts will be equal to that.” “Oh, no, Bishy; as you know yourself, in these cases it’s exactly the thing they’re not equal to.” “And you propose to establish it yourself?”
“I believe it possible.”
“But how, how?”
“Say, if you like by one more psychoanalyst method that I mentioned to you on our ride up-town a week ago— trance and medium.”
“Trance and medium?” Once more Bishop could only echo the phrase.
“In fact, I am going to McGloyne in the morning to ask if to-morrow night he will let me hold, in MrsFisher’s rooms, and if possible midway between the rooms where the two murders took p¡ace. something that you could only call a spiritualist seance.”
A SEANCE IN THE CASA GRANDE
“T TOLD you, Inspector, that you’d say again that I’d lost my senses.”
“But, hell, Doctor, hell! And what do you expect to get out of it?”
Laneham had found McGloyne in Mrs. Fisher’s library, where HoMey had been killed. They were standing almost on the spot itself.
“Perhaps we may hear the voice again, or be able to produce some further knocking.”
“Voice an’ knockin’! Dr. Laneham, you’ve got a long way beyond that. Now tell me your idear. What is any seance goin’ to do? Come, now—speakin’ man to man?”
And, “speaking man to man,” Laneham told him:
“I hope it may do this: give us Mrs. . Fisher’s murderer. In fact, I hope it may even make our murderer convict himself.” “All right—go ahead. I give you my blessin’. An’ who do you want to have there? Glasbury, first of all?"
“If he’s physically up to it by to-night.” “An’ if he’s not? You’ll postpone it?” “Yes, for a day or two.”
“Good. You’ll be wantin’ those elevatorboys, too?”
“Both of them. Will you see to that?” “They’ll be there!”
“And I’d like to have Grogan—your patrolman who was with poor Hooley when they got him. Then, of course, there will be yourself and Willings and Judge Bishop and myself.”
“What about Fisher? Oh,” McGloyne hastened to explain, “I don’t want him. He’s got to be too much for me. No more mercy in him than the death-house itself. I’ve been fightin’ him off of Glasbury ever since he heard of him. You can leave him out for all of me. But, o’ course, when you’re goin’ to hold it in his own apartments-”
“Yes, of couise, we must have him. I’d have asked him myself.”
BUT the Doctor offered no further explanations to any oneIf what he proposed to do now was unusual beyond anything that had gone before it, it was evident that his reasons and his justification were to be offered with the end alone. He asked Willings to help him make his preparations. But he did not tell him what, this time, those preparations were to be. Later that afternoon Bishop sought him out in those Fisher room9 themselves. But Laneham had as little to say to him.
For the matter of that, after the first minutes, the Judge, like McGloyne, confined his remarks mostly wholly to the question of Professor Fisher.
“I’ve nothing more to a9k as to just what you’re fixing up here,” he said. “Maybe you will get something out of
“I trust so.”
“But I think you’ve made a mistake in letting the Professor even hear of it. For he’s coming, all right—don’t worry about that. Not that he can get it clear what you’re up to, any more than the rest of us. But he’s been told that Glasbury hasn’t really confessed as yet. He figures, no doubt, that your seance is to do that part of it. And he insists that Glasbury shall be present no matter what his condition, and the thing go on to-nightIn fact, the man’s eyes gloat at the thought of it. I— I—damn it, Laney, making every allowance, I could hardly keep my hands from
“Well,” said Laneham, after a minute of silence, “if Glasbury can go through it at all, I think we’d better make it to-
“If he can! Why the man’s condition is pitiable enough as it is. And, as a physician, you know the strain a seance can put on the nerves of even the normal healthy man.”
“Well, if he suffers a second collapse, I’ll merely say that I’ll never allow anything he may say or do to be used against him in the courts!”
“That’s as you say, Bishy,” the Doctor persisted. “But if he can go through it to-night-”
And he turned back to the nearest window, where Willings was awaiting his preliminary orders-
TJE had decided in the end to use the morning-room, the room between Mrs. Fisher’s bed-room and the library. But in practically every room he was doing some-
First of all, he had brough i in half a dozen full-length mirrors.
“We’ll hold the seance in this room,” he said. “But we must be able to command the whole apartment. And we can do it in this way—by leaving all the doors open, and putting these mirrors where they ought to be. You’ll have noticed that in the door leading to the pool there’s one already.”
At the same time he was making every window absolutely dark. “It’s necessary,” he explained, while he himself began to hang the first lengths of some heavy black “mourning cloth.” “And I believe the medium will also wish to control all inside lights.”
So far this was his first real mention of the medium.
“Where are you getting her?” Willings ventured to ask.
“Through Peterson and the Psychical Society,” he answered laconically“She’s done a good deal of work for them.”
But no one except Laneham really saw that medium until the night, when they were taking their places for the seance itself.
And at first they did not see her then. For that middle room, like the whole apartment, was in almost absolute darkness, and the medium was still in her cabinet. The Doctor had made that for her by simply cutting off one corner of the room with another curtain of black. In front of the cabinet they could make out the lines of a table, and of the chairs which awaited them about it. The Doctor was still going and coming between the table and the open door.
Willings and the Judge arrived first, with Glasbury. And Bishop began at once to make a last protest.
“Laneham,” he whispered, “once more you see the shape the man is in. And if he were a thousand times guilty-”
“I know,” the Doctor said, “I know. But the thing must go on now.”
Fisher came next. He chose a chair directly opposite Glasbury’s, and his gaze seemed to feed and batten upon him.
Then Patrolman Grogan, very white, was brought in. And after him, in McGloyne’s keeping, were the two West Indian elevatormen.
For another moment Laneham waited. Then he closed the door, found his way to his own chair,—the one nearest the cabinet,—and the last light went out. There was a sort of rustle of the sable curtain. One could feel, rather than see, that the medium had come forth. And next moment she was lighting some kind of dim and tiny lamp.
T T merely made the darkness visible.
It did not even let them see her face. Apparently she was wholly covered by a kind of grey-white cowl, pierced at the eyes. But even of that Willings could not be certain. He only knew that she was motioning them to place their hands upon the table. Then, when they had done it, as if with the mere passing of her own hand that little light began gradually to die down. It died and died, so slowly that they did not really know when it was wholly gone. And, while the darkness seemed tangibly to creep upon them, all sat silent, rigid and unmoving.
For a minute they sat so—for two, for three; ten minutes, indeed, it might have been. And then-
Slowly at first, then more quickly, the table itself was moving.
T T was not rising from the floor, as -*■ tables are supposed to do at seances. It was not “turning,” or moving from side to side. It was as if its surface had become charged and wavelike, as if it were rising and pushing itself against their palms in waves of living power. Willings knew, from the little out-breathed gasps of those about him, that the others felt it also. And he looked again at the mediumIn one sense, he could not see her. In another he could see her with a distinctness more than earthly. For the outline of her head and shoulders seemed pricked out in a species of wavering, shifting phosphorescence. And, at the same moment, from the direction of the library and the little writing-room, he heard a sound, a sound of knocking.
It was the knocking that had followed the murderAnd, even as then, it seemed to stop his heart. He knew, too, that the same shudder was going through the circle from end to end.
He looked back at the medium. That phosphorescence was gone. Save for a moving greyness, one could no longer have said that the woman was even there.
A ND then the next thing followed. The ■‘A Doctor, after placing his mirrors, had closed all the doors and locked themBut now—there could be no doubt of it— slowly, without the help apparently either of hand or key, one of those doors was opening.
From the nearest mulatto elevator-man came a long, shuddering whine of terror.
“Oh, h’avens above, boss,” he said, “h’avens above! My Lawd, let me out!” “If you go out now,” breathed Laneham, “you go alone.”
At the same moment the knocking had come again. And the fellow dropped back into his chair in a new reaction of fear.
“Boss,” he began, “I—I—I-”
For something was moving and swelling out the curtain of the cabinet. It was more like an emanation than an actual presenceThe medium was still there. But next moment they all felt that the door from the library was opening. And Willings, his skin lifting like fur, knew that some one, or something, was passing through the room.
The thing, whatever it was, was passing through to the doors that led to the bedroom and dressing-room and swimming-pool. But at the first door it stopped. It knocked again—with the very hand of death—and, “Oh, God! Oh, my God, my God !” it cried.
They were Glasbury’s words, and it was Glasbury’s voice. And yet, beside him, Willings could feel the man himself. He put out his hands and touched him—a touch that came back to him in an answering shudder.
But the medium now was speaking: “Whom do you seek?”
“Him who knows,” the answer came. “And how will you know him?” she asked again.
“By what he will know—the signs of death and the things of death.”
U'OR a moment there was silence again, 1 silence almost more unnerving than the horrid sing-song of the dialogue itself. Then:
“And what are the things of death?” the medium asked.
Again one of the elevator-men tried to get to his feet.
“Sit down,” whispered the Doctor, “or it will be the worse for you.”
“What are the things of death?” the cowled figure asked again.
The tiny lamp was apparently alight again, and moved by the medium’s hand it threw a disk of light upon the table. Again the answer came:
“The first is this.”
Willings put out his hand as if to guard himself. But there was no need. What was falling from nowhere upon the centre of that table was nothing that could harm. At first—in that half darkness—it seemed a liquid. Then, as it piled itself up, they could see that it was merely common salt!
Yet, at that same moment, there was a sound as of some one getting jerkily up from his place, and then forcing himself back to his seat again.
“And tli'e second is this.”
Again from nowhere there dropped into that disk of light a tiny wire. It was not gold. It did not seem to be silver. In a curling, springing spiral it danced before them elfishly, then was gone.
“And the third is this.”
Once more the table was clear. Then, where the salt had been, there appeared first a green-covered magazine, and then —in its place—a little pile of grey-brown, fluttering ashes.
A GAIN some one had tried to rise, with T*. the gasp of one who tries to breathe through a throat dried gaggingly.
But, at the moment, no one gave heed. For—all could hear it plainly—the door began to open to those rooms behind them, to the bedroom and dressing-room. There remained only the door to the swimmingpool itself. And then, from the other side of that door came a third sound of knocking.
“Hell!” choked McGloyne. “Hell!”
“She must come out!” The thing in that middle room was speaking again. “She must come out.” For a moment the voice waited, then it spoke again. “The woman who is dead is seeking some one. He, and only he, must open to her.”
Again, too, came the knocking. Yet still no one stirred.
“Then,” continued the voice, “then I must open to her!”
To be continued.