Behind The Bolted Door?
The Greatest Mystery Story of the Year
THE sharp metal was now cutting him to the finger joints. His body seemed to have a weight of tons. His wrist was twisting off. Yet, even so, for another moment he held, while once more he wrenched himself lurchingly upward. And at that last moment his left foot found the floor again. Then his right heel caught. He pulled himself gradually, dizzily, to the level, rolled himself inward, and was safe.
And of that night’s story one more chapter, the last at the Casa Grande, had come to an end.
A FACE IN A LANDAULET-
1_T E found Willings in the Fisher outer ■*hall. And, still gasping, he told him all that it was necessary to tell.
“But, gad, Doctor,” gasped Willings in his turn, “gad, you—you invited it, you know—talking like that before those lads themselves!”
“Perhaps I did.”
“Have you seen McGloyne yet? And are you going to have him grab them all?”
“I haven’t seen him—and I don’t intend
to-” by then he was rapidly being
overtaken by the weakness of the full physical reaction—“and I’ve no intention of
having him grab any of
“What? Look here— but, of course, if you still want to keep this
part of it from me-
“I’ll have to, son, for a while at any rate.”
“All right. But at least why did you want that elevator thug to know you knew?”
“Maybe because I — wanted to learn
“Well, I guess you’ve learned it now!” “Yes”—and Laneham swallowed anew —“I think I have ”
“And yet you’re going to let things stand at that? But all right, all right. And what comes now?”
“Why, for my part—I guess I’ll have to make it home and bed.”
“I should say so!” Then Willings looked towards the Fisher door. “Do you want to say good-night to McGloyne?"
“No. Because that, and the condition of my hands would call for explanations. We’ll go along right now. I’ll ’phone him from the house.”
AT 390 McGloyne’s two patrolmen were still on guard—the two brought for
the arrest of Jimmy! But the big detective chief was already calling for them— which also gave the Doctor a chance, to make some partial explanationAnd, then, when Jimmy had been sent up to his bed, they told D. Hope.
“And you’re not going to make an arrest?” Her indignation and her complete
> Y XllPSIK.—Judge 11 ¡shop and Dr. Laneham are summoned In 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 conics 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 Witlings, who had been at the apartment a short time before to secure a contribution from Mrs. Fisher; and to clear him, Dr. Laneham, who is a noted psychoanalyst, decides to investigate the crime. He is handicapped by the police, but finds a charred part of a magazine, in Mr. Fisher’s apartment, which he believes may prove un attempt to destroy evidence. Willings und a young woman, Daphne Hope, a fellow-worker at the settlement, in the meantime, locate Jimmy and capture him
inability to understand surged up like Willings’.
But her protests were of no more avail than his. And, “Well,” she said, giving up at last, “at any rate we know we’ve gone another step. First it was Jimmy, then it was Maddalina, and now it’s those elevator beasts!”
“It’s only a matter,” added Willings, “of knowing where the step will lead us to.”
“It will probably lead nowhere,” said the Doctor. “And I doubt very much if it is the next step-”
It was not? When the first hint to that young Jamaican that he was suspected had brought that murderous response!
“Then if it isn’t, in the Lord’s name,” demanded Willings, “what will the next 9tep be?”
“I don’t know yet myself. But we’ll know it when we make it,” was all that Laneham answered. A speech that he himself was later to remember.
It was the Doctor, too, who proposed the thing that was to bring the night’s record to the full. Though it was now after midnight, sleep was still out of the question. And, “Supposing I call up Collett and a car,” he suggested, “and we go out, as we’ve done before, for a little freshening night air?”
THEY went gladly, and they took the limousine. Though not an open car, with its windows down it was almost the same thing. And it gave them full freedom to talk without their chauffeur’s overhearing themIn a few minutes they were speeding to the Park.
They talked very little. It was enough just to sit quietly and try to forget things. The wind was again snow-laden. And as it washed their temples gust on gust, it seemed gradually to carry away all the obsessions of the day upon its cooling
ARTHUR E. McFARLANE
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 arrival of Laneham and Bishop. It has. been given out in the papers that Mrs Fisher’s valuable pearls arc still in a secret safe in the apartments, and the following 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 her. Maddalina is secured and confesses to having stolen money from Mrs. Fisher. She tells of a paper that she and Jimmy had signed ¡Or the dead ivoman; 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 vo'ices and knocking within. As they are leaving the building a strange assailant makes an effort to hurl Dr. Laneham down the elevator shaft.
streams. They went north around the reservoir, skirted the lake and the ponds and the new plantations, and came back down the east drive to the Plaza gate. They would sleep now. The Doctor’s prescription had been good. And, turning west along Fifty-ninth street, they started home-
They had reached the Circle when they found themselves stalled in a crush of theatre supper traffic. There was the usual starting-and-stopping tangle of other limousines and taxis and landaulets. D. Hope was looking out of one window, and Willings out of the other. But Willings at least was hardly conscious of looking at anything in particular, until suddenly his eyes were halted. They had fallen upon the face of a young man in the last landaulet to draw alongside him. His first thought was that he had seen that young man somewhere before, his next that in any case he would remember his face now for a long time to come.
It was a fine face, a good face, a face pale and aquiline and slenderly intellectualBut in every feature there was a haggardness, and in the eyes a seared hollowness which sent Willings’ hand to the Doctor’s knees—to draw his attention to him, too.
Just at that moment, however, the lan' daulet drew ahead again.
“What was it?” Laneham asked.
“Oh, nothing. Only a poor devil that I guess has had his smash, all right.”
“In the grey car?”
“Yes, I was thinking he’d make a case for you.”
And then, next moment, their own car came abreast again.
“Why,” the Doctor whispered, “it’s Glasbury-”
“The playwright, one of the tenants
who moved out of the Casa Reale. Don’t you remember my ‘law of dispersal’? Lord, he has had his smash, no doubt of that!”
A/TEANWHILE D. Hope was still gazing quietly from the other window. And both had resolved tacitly not to trouble her, when something in their very silence stirred her attention. And she, too, turned aud looked.
Next moment Willings and the Doctor were looking, startledly, at each other.
They had seen, first, that Glasbury was known to her. She recognized himAnd, as she did, her face seemed to fill and grey with premonition. The landaulet moved on again.
And then — “Who — who is it?” she asked, her voice barely audible.
“Who is it?” repeated Laneham. “Why, but D. Hope—-you knew him!”
“I—I don’t know his name.” That grey fear upon her face every moment grew“And—and he didn’t look like that before.” Again the two men could only stare at each other bewilderedly.
“What—what is his name?” asked D. Hope. There was a dry, nervous catch in her voice.
“It’s Glasbury, the playwright,” Laneham answered. “And until two days ago he was living at the Casa Reale, the Casa Grande annex. You didn’t know that?” “No.” Her lips had fallen apart, and she appeared to be unable to bring them together again. “But I know it can’t matter—can’t have any connection with anything, .no matter where he lived.” Once more both men sat wordless.
“D. Hope,” said the Doctor at last. “Tell us—we don’t understand. You mean that there’s no connection whatever between your knowing him—and—and poor Mrs. Fisher?”
“Oh, I didn’t say that. I meant no connection with her death. There couldn’t have been! Why, it — it’d be perfectly frantic!”
Laneham leaned forward to the chauffeur’s speaking tube-
“Collett,” he said, “will you keep that grey landaulet in sight?”
And the rest can be told very rapidly.
'T'HE grey landaulet had turned west again. And not one of the three but knew instinctively that Glasbury was on his way back to the Casa Reale now—or it might be the Casa Grande itself.
Two minutes more, indeed, and he was dropping out at the Casa Reale entrance.
“I thought—they told me-” said the
Doctor, “that he had moved.”
In the same moment D. Hope was speaking out again.
“Oh, and isn’t his face enough? Could a man with a face like that have anything, even remotely, to do with such a thing?” But now he was coming out again. And once more they could study his face for themselvesBut this time, at their first glance, all three perforce drew their breath. The man’s lips were frozenly parted. His cheeks were drawn. And his eyes were wide with newly encountered, or newly remembered horror. Horror, too, to abide with him both in the light of day and in the nightmare of dreams!
“Willings,” said the Doctor quietly, “will you take the first taxi, and go home with D. Hope. I must keep track of Glasbury now, till I learn at least where he is going to-night. But I hope I shan’t be long.” And, a few minutes later, the Doctor was following the grey landaulet alone.
It took him to the St. Hilaire, one of the small bachelor-apartment hotels off Longacre Square. And, when Glasbury
had had time to take his elevator, Laneham went on to the desk.
He spoke to the night clerk.
“I want to leave Mr. Glasbury a note.” “He’s just come in. You can telephone.” “No, a note will do ” And picking up a card and envelope, he was stepping aside to write it when the clerk spoke again.
“Oh, I say, maybe this is meant for you. I remember him saying some one was to come in.” And he slid a letter across the glass.
It was addressed to a Courtney Jones, “to be called for.” But the name was of no account. It "mattered neither then nor later. It was the writing which, from the first instant, held the Doctor’s eyes. If six words could offer any proof, he had that night, when little expecting to himself, taken his third stepFor the writing on that envelope was, line for line, the writing of the “murder note.”
GLASBURY, THE LITTLE BROWN STUDY, AND AN INTERLUDE.
MEANWHILE D. Hope and Owiy wulings were on their way back to 390. A big fire still blazed in the library, and a smaller one in the little study at the end of the passage behind it. Without really knowing what they did, for their thoughts were on nothing around them, they went on into the brown little room, and threw their out-of-door things upon the lounge.
D. Hope let herself tremulously down in the Doctor’s leather inglenook-
“Now, if you don’t want to,” said Willings, “don’t tell me another word.”
“Oh, I might have told you this, at the beginning: it is that Zancray thing again — the thing I was holding back — back there at the very first.’
“I thought it was.”
“And I’m only holding it back because it was a pro-mise to Mrs. Fisher.”
But, for the moment, she broke off at that, and began to talk again about Glasbury.
“You do feel that he couldn’t have done it, don’t you?” It was a plea.
“Yes, yes, indeed, I do.”
“Of course he had that look when he came out, there at the Casa RealeBut how can you say that that proves anything?”
“No one would say it.”
“When it’s clays after her death, too! And even—even suppose him capable of killing a person-—I mean in the sense that the Doctor says we all are, under passion or anger enough—could you possibly think of him as stealing from a money envelope, and trying to rifle a jewel safe, and—and intriguing with some low fury of an Italian lady’s maid?”
“Of course you couldn’t. I don’t know any more about him, personally, than you do. Before to-night I’ve seen him only once. And I’ve never spoken to him at all. But we—we all know about him as a dramatist. He’s about the wholesomest and finest and cleanest in the whole new school. And I’ve heard people say how fine he is as a man as well.”
“Yes, and I have, too, oftenOh, I
don’t mean Mrs. Fisher-!” For she
had seen the look of puzzlement which, in spite of him, had again begun to come into Willings’ face. “You’re not going to think that? Not when you knew her almost as well as I did?”
He caught her hand. “Hardly, hardly. I’m not altogether a rotter. And if you
say another word-”
“But I will, I will!” she continued quiveringly. “If it’s only for her 9ake— and the poor dear woman hardly cold in her grave! There are some people you knotv are good. Most of us you can’t tell about. Maybe we’re good and maybe we’re not. I know Mrs. Fisher was romantic. I know she’d do perfectly crazy things—never caring how they’d look to other"peoipje.. But that she was ever anything but—but-*-”
“And if there was any way I could make you understand without telling you
-” she was half hysterical. “It was
a promise, the last word, too, that she said to me on earthThat’s why I feel that, unless it is simply to keep some one
innocent from being convicted-”
“I know. And please-” He caught
her other hand.
“And yet do you know, it was just a sort of joke, when she said it, just a sort of joke. That’s why I know it couldn’t possibly matter!”
“And it can’t.”
“If you could have seen her eyes, and
heard her voice, as she asked me-!
And yet I know what the Doctor will think! I know what he must be thinking already—that for some reason I’m simply trying to cover Mr. Glasbury.”
“But you’ll never think that, will you? Never for even the merest, merest little minute? Oh. tell me now, just what you think of me?”
HE did not misunderstand her. And, up to then, in all the months they had known each other there had been no word of love between themHe knew that she wanted him to tell her how thoroughly he believed in her, and that he would keep on believing even if the Doctor did not. It was the language of friendship she wanted, or believed she wanted. But with his first word, he knew, and she knew, how much more than friendship was speaking from him—like something long pent up.
“You know what I think of you-!”
He dropped down beside her. “It’s the thing I’ve thought from almost the day I met you. And I’ll think it—I’ll feel it till I die!”
It was as sudden as that. And, from the first moment, all memory of Glasbury, of MrsFisher, of the Doctor, went out of both of them.
“Why—why, Mr. Willings-!” He
thought at first that she was trying to draw her hands away. But she was only folding one of his into hers: “Oh, what do you mean?”
“Oh, nothing that—that-” and she
could feel the tremor run through him— “that I have any right in the world to say.”
AND then, for a time, it was Miss D. Hope who could not speak.
“But—but you have a right,” she whispered at last—“any man has—to say—say anything.”
“I haven’t. I haven’t. But I’m going to say it.” Her hand tightened swiftly over his anew. “And then afterwards if
you want to consider it unsaid-” He
had to begin again.
“Oh, say it,” she murmured, “say it.” “Then I will, and it’s this, that even from the first time I saw you—before I'd even spoken to you—I thought you were the finest girl I’d ever seen. I—I kept away from you—for reasons. And I oughtn’t to be—be saying things now. But I—I cared for you all the time—and always more—and now—Oh, I love you, that’s all, and I always will—and if you’ll only give me a little time—I feel every minute how crazy and absurd it is of me to be speaking nowYou know what my income is—or was—at The House—about six hundred a year—and residence ! And now I don’t know that I can go on taking that. In a sense I haven’t any future at all-”
“You have. You have. Every or.e knows you have.”
“Not but what I’d make one soon enough, some way, if only—if only you
“I love you,” she said, and now she had both his hands in hers. “I always have— and I always will.”
“Oh, you can’t—you couldn’t!”
“I can’t!” She laughed at him. “Little you know!”
“And I’ve no right whatever to say it nowLook here, when I have made my future-”
“Maybe,” she said, “you have made it. Anyway, you’ve made mine.”
“Oh, D. Hope—Daphne! Love!” And his arms were around her.
BUT even then she caught his fingers again, and imprisoned and enlaced them within hers.
“Oh, you’ve said it now. And you can never get away from it-”
“But I must. And listen—when I have made my future—really—won’t you let me just come to you and say it then? It —it isn’t mst the question of money, you know-”
“I told you long ago that you have more than I have.” And she laughed again.
“Well, say you have. But there’s — there’s the very position I’m in.now—I mean if McGloyne had had his way I suppose at the present moment I’d be in the Tombs.”
“Yes, and I. I’d be with you! Even there-”
She stopped. Some one was opening the street door below.
It was the Doctor-
“Oh, I can’t see him again, now,” she said, “not to-night.”
From the little study a door gave access to the rear landing, and, still holding Willings’ hand in hers, she slipped out to it.
“Tell him about it for me—I mean about the promise—and that it was just that Zancray thing again. I’ll—I’ll talk to him, myself, in the morning.”
Continued on page 69
Behind the Bolted Door?
Continued from page 28
And, a few minutas later, Willings was listening to the Doctor’s story alone.
“I’m very glad D. Hope has gone to bed,” he said. “With her belief in Glasbury I don’t know how she would have taken it.”
“And you think,” Willings asked him, trying to keep his mind on what he said, “that there can be no possible doubt about the identity of the handwriting?”
“Oh, there’s always doubt in an absolute sense.”
T_T E went to his desk and once more
-*• brought out the murder note itself. And they looked at it together.
They had decided that writing — the upper and—at first—unknown writing— as Elzeverian; as having the beautifully diminutive, delicately upright Gothic of old manuscripts and old druggists’ prescriptions. There had been all of that in writing on that addressed envelope. And now, as if Laneham had it in front of him, he saw it again.
We bave now readied the point where it must be either murder or suidde.
“If Glasbury did not write that,” he said, “no one did.”
Then, in Mrs. Fisher’s hand:
Couldn't it be made to look like an aeci-
And then, like a seal, that little death’s head. It, too—there could be no doubt of it—had been drawn by Glasbury’s penAnd, for the matter of that, in the drawing of it, there was a sort of gaiety!
There were other things which Willings might well have been thinking of in that hour, but he could not.
We have now reached the point where it must be either murder or suicide.
They went back over it again.
“In one way,” said the Doctor, “it admits of an interpretation absolutely simple and innocnt.”
“Simple and innocent!”
The younger man still saw the expression — that memory horror — which had looked out from the hollowness of Glasbury’s young face.
“Simple and innocent. And yet we both of us feel how much the man must
“Well, I suppose we may call this the third step!”
“Yes, and once more we’ll get really to work in the morning.”
AN ELEVATOR OPERATOR, THE MATTER OF A WILL, AND ANOTHER “RETURN.”
T> UT the first development next day, as it came to Willings, seemed to have nothing to do with Glasbury whatever. D. Hope was late for breakfast. So was the Doctor. And as he waited, from the Doctor’s office Willings suddenly began to hear a new voice.
It was a voice which he knew at once was either that of a negro or a mulatto.
It was steadily rising—from terror apparently. And presently it was pleading for mercy!
“Sure, boss, sure we done that! Was it true?” And now there was a note of cowering evasion: “Lord a’ mercy, boss, ain’t I tellin’ you that, true or not, it didn’t go to hurl nobody—not nohow it didn’t! Them police officers, they was a-at us, an’ a-ai us, an’ befo’ Gawd, I couldn’t rightly say now jest what we did tell them ! But they’ll tell you—they’ll tell you we sure didn’t have nawthin’ to do with that— that thing up there in the Fishers’! . . Boss ! Why, befo’ Gawd, don’t you-all remember I was one of the boys what done hailped you an’ the Judge to break in? An’ if I sure had knowed what was waitin’ for us in there, could I ’a’ done that, now, could I ’a’ done that?" The voice was now running up into cracking arpeggios.
“You heard what I told the Inspector,” Laneham answered. “And all I can tell you more is that you’re being watched now, every minute, and every one of you. If you try even to go to the roof again-—”
“Which we won’t, boss! No more o’ that! An’ befo’ Gawd, if we could ever ’a’ knowed they’d be putin’ it on us-!"
“Another thing: If you start talking again—even to the police-”
“We won’t! We won’t! Heavens above, didn’t we take our Gawd’s oath at the start-off that we wouldn’t?”
Then, next moment, he was trying to take that back.
“Yes,” said the Doctor, “I know quite well that you did!”
And, with his early-morning visitor bursting into new promises and protestations, Laneham showed him out and started him down the stairs.
AS he passed the breakfast room, goggle-eyed, his color a muddy paste, Willings saw him plainly, and as he had already guessed, it was that Casa Grande elevator man, or “boy,” who had taken them down in his car, when the Doctor had talked so amazingly the night before.
. . . Presumably, it was he, too, who
had attempted, the same night, to hurl Laneham down the open shaft!
In the present, however, the Doctor had nothing more to say of the matter.
“When the time comes,” he said, “I’ll let him talk. Till then, son, you just forget about it, too.”
What was more, a few minutes before he had received another urgency call from the sanatorium at Wardsdale.
“I’ll have to leave within an hour,” he explained, “and before then I must get in touch, if possible, with the Judge and McGloyne.”
“And our first work?” asked Willings —meaning that of D. Hope and himself.
“If, by the time you’ve had your breakfasts I could have the contents of Glasbury’s office wastepaper baskets, I could answer that at once. As it is, I think you’d just better go out on that ‘mund’ search again, and not think of anything else till noon.”
Before he had drunk his coffee he was in touch with the big Inspector. He told him of Glasbury, without reserve. And, though, as in the case of the elevator men, he persuaded him not to make any
immediate arrest, he arranged to have Glasbury thoroughly shadowed — on the street by a regular Headquarters’ man, and inside the St. Hilaire by an officer lately assigned to special service in a big hotel across the way. Also he told McGloyne that Glasbury had his working office in the Savoy Building. And he asked him to have one of his “pigeons” get him the contents of Glasbury’s wastepaper baskets at once.
FINALLY, McGloyne himself again remembered the floor plans he had promised Laneham; the blue prints would be ready by evening, he said, and he should have them then.
Then McGloyne, in his turn, reported on Maddalina.
“She’s sure the original hell-in-petticoats!” he said. “Hard through an’ through ! There’s no third degree invented that’ll ever get anything out of her. An’ her friends are huntin’ her yet in the hospitals.”
“Good. And you’ll have to keep them doing that. For if once it gets out that she’s in police hands, I tell you again it’ll undo about everything we’ve done so far, and that in half a minute!”
Again McGloyne promised.
“But Fisher heard of it some way,” he added. “He knows we’ve got her. And he was around to-day just as crazy eager to see her put through, as he was when I thought we could put it up to butler Jimmy! You’d say, wouldn’t you, that last night would ’a’ shook him out of all o’ that? But, by gee—it turned me kind o’ sick—I believe he’d volunteer to strap her in the Chair himself! Lord, I don’t know how he’ll act when he hears of Glasbury, Well, so long. An’ I’ll get after that wastepaper—whatever you want with it— P. D. Q.!”
MEANWHILE, the Judge was still to see. He'arrived just as Laneham was getting into his car. And he took him with him to the station.
He told him in the fewest possible words of that new “return” the night before; of the attempt to kill him in the elevator shaft; of Glasbury, and what they now knew of that murder note. And, then, leaving him no time for comment, he turned and asked him point blank:
“Bishy, you have always been Mrs. Fisher’s legal confidant. You knew more of her affairs than any one else. Will you tell me why almost her last act on earth should have been to make her will?” “Good God,” said Bishop, “do you tell me that?”
“You heard Maddalina speak of a writing, a ’scritto’ she had had to witness. That was what it was. Jimmy told us last night, after you had gone.”
“And now, old man, will you say to me that she had never, within the weeks before, spoken of making a new will to you?” Again it was the Judge’s expression that made his-answer.
“Is it Zancray once more?” asked Laneham. “Is this the thing, of no importance, that you felt justified in keeping to yourself?”
When Bishop replied at all, it was only
after slowing taking hold of himself. And then it was with another question.
“Laneham, if there was such a will—if Mrs. Fisher attempted, that morning, to make one for herself, what was her reason for such haste as that? You remember her call for me to come and see her in the afternoon.”
“And more. If she made such a will— if that sort of melodrama is to enter into it—-where did that will go to?”
“I don’t know. The police search was thorough enough, and it revealed nothing. Furthermore, there are wills and wills, just as there may be different sorts of suicide pacts.”
“By this time, too,” Laneham continued levelley, “you must have noticed that there have been two distinct species of return
“Stop it! Stop it!” Bishop threw himself back, and twisted in his seat. “You ask me to think that your—your spectre, or your demon, has been making his accursed returns for that?"
“I ask nothing, and I suppose nothing. I only know that Mrs. Fisher made a will, or something that Jimmy believed was a will, in all ha9te and not three hours before her as yet inexplicable death. And we’ve got a long way now past believing that we’ve been following any mere attempt to steal her pearls.”
“Enough! — Laneham, for Heaven’s sake!” The Judge made a motion to stop the car and get out. “Is that your psychoanalysis? Man, you start my hair ! . .
And if there was any such document, all I hope and pray is that your devil friend may soon find it and be satisfied.”
IN the afternoon the Doctor called McGloyne again from Wardsdale.
He learned first that Glasbury had apparently been away from his office since the day of the murder. Anyway, since then his waste-baskets had been empty. And according to the people at the St. Hilaire, on the day of Mrs. Fisher’s funeral, he seemed to have been out of the city.
“I’m takin’ new measures, too, said the detective chief, “in the matter of coverin’ them Fisher rooms. I’m not dependin’ any longer on bars an’ bolts. O’ course, I’m keepin’ all that, an’ my outside men as well. But in addition I’m puttin’ two inside, Sergeant Hooley an’ a plainclothesman. It ain’t the job I’d like myself—but it’s got to be done. An’ if need be I’ll take my turn along with
“I know it, Inspector. And perhaps tomorrow night we can watch together.” He did not get back from Wardsdale till after midnight. And at about half past one he was awakened by the telephone. He had the feeling, too, of knowing, at least in part, what was coming. For, since the day of the murder, had not every night call been a sort of notice, or a new warning and portent?
It was McGloyne who was speaking. “Dr. Laneham? . . . I’m callin’ you from my house, where a call has just come in for me. Your man, or whatever he is, has been back in them devilled rooms
again. He’s killed Hooley—done for him with the same smash on the temple that killed Mrs. Fisher. And they don’t know yet but what he’s finished my other man along with him. . . . Did he get away again? Oh, sure he did! An’ no more trace of him than ever ! But get up there, won’t you, the quickest you can, an’ learn anything you can yourself.”
THE SECOND MURDER.
I_T E tapped only on Willings’ door. Wilings answered at once. And it was in the limousine that they really finished dressing. At the Casa Grande a police car had arrived just ahead of them. It held a detail under Captain McGowan of the Central Bureau. And McGloyne had given him orders to look for the Doctor. Another physician had also been called— one Hämmerling, from the Drive. And they all went in together.
Running their elevator was the selfsame young West Indian operator who had visited and pleaded with Laneham that afternoon, and now his twitching countenance showed a degree of terror that, once seen, kept them from looking at him again. But he took them up in some way. The police officers gave him little heed. For, by then, was there any one in the Casa Grande who was calm? And they pushed out into the crowd of tenants moving fearfully about in the corridor.
There, one of the patrolmen left on outside guard that night took charge of them and led them through.
McGowan asked him only a single ques-
“The locks were right again?”
“Not a one of them touched, Can’. We had to use our keys to get in ourselves. That was what kep’ us, or we’d ’a’ been in there the moment we heard Hooley go down!”
“Where is he?”
“Right in beyond, where the devil got him. We left him so for evidence.”
DOOLEY was lying diagonally across the front of the fireplace in Mrs. Fisher’s little library. Almost directly above his head, indeed, was that inlaid Bikri shield which masked the tiny wallsafe itself. Two patrolmen were stooping over him.
“I’s no use, Cap’.” said one of them. “He was dead, you’d say. before he hit the floor. He likely never knew what killed
But the two physicians could at least verify the cause of death. It was what McGloyne had said it had been, a blow that had crushed in the temple even as Mrs. Fisher’s had been crushed in. Once the blood had again been wiped away, too, there was visible exactly the same clean, inch-round hole as had been left in the side of Mrs. Fisher’s brow.
“No bullet wound, of course,” said Dr. Hammerling; “for it goes in only about an inch. It was enough, though.”
“And made by the same instrument.” But McGowan was hurrying them on
i into the middle room, where lay the ; wounded plainclothesman. j “How is it with you, Grogan?” he asked
THE man did not answer. He was still unconscious. He had lost much blood. And from his lips there still came the heavy, stertorous breathing resultant from shock.
A basin of water stood near. And while Laneham bathed his head with it, his fellow physician felt along the suture lines for a possible fracture.
“I don’t find anything,” he said at last. “A little concussion, maybe. But I doubt if there’s even that.”
Calling for a hand mirror he made an eye test. The pupils were almost normal. “Right. Nothing the matter what-
And next moment, with a sudden throwing out of his hands, and a first starting stare, Plainclothesman Grogan had begun to come to again.
Plainly, though, he was still living in the moment when he had received his blow.
“Get him!” he cried. “Get him! He went that way — to’rds the swimmin’ tank!’
“Now, now, now,” said McGowan. “Just you sit tight a little. We’ll get him, all right, in time!”
“Turn them other lights on ! Turn them —Ah-hl”
And with that there came the first words of real consciousness.
“Where am I? An’ where—where’s the Sergeant?”
“You’re where you got your crack, Grogan. An’ the Sergeant, don’t you ask us about him. You just go ahead an’ tell us what you know.”
THEY propped him up against a chair, and he looked now this way, now that, like a child that has just fought itself awake, but only half awake, from night-mare.
“An’ he’s gone, now?" he asked. “He’s
“Oh, gone this half hour, the devil.” “An’ devil he was! Captain, you’ve named him. Devil he was in all the meanin’ of it. But have you called the Father? For I say to you that Pm worse hurted than I look!”
“You’re all right, I tell you,” and McGowan gave him another drink. “Now, out with it, Billy, and set us right on this.” “Set you right! Set you right! There’s no man’ll ever do that. But I’ll you all I I seen an’ know, if that’ll help.”
“Get to it. First, where did he come from?”
“He came from nowhere, an’ he went nowhere, if he ain’t in the room there with the swimmin’ tank, where the first murder was done. But I’ll be honest with you, Cap’, from the beginnin’; I couldn’t lie with the Sergeant layin’ dead in there. It’s like we both were sleepin’.” “Sleeping?”
“It don’t sound likely now. An’ I wouldn’t have thought, meself, that I could ever have slept—not in these rooms. For I was feared of the post, feared. The stories I’ heard—even if I’d only be-
lieved the half—had put the dread in me. An’ I doubt if the Sergeant, for all his joshin’, enjoyed it any too well himself. But we were both of us dog-weary when sent in. An’ what with the heat bein’ left on, an’ every winda’ tight down, an’ the dark an’ all-”
“You had no lights burning?” Laneham halted him.
‘‘Not a one! Accordin’ to the Inspector’s orders. What good, indeed, to be lyin’ hid there, with a lot of electrics goin’? But we were both of us close by switches so that, if the time come, we could have light enough with a thumb twist. . . . Well, I didn’t have the time even for that!”
“Doctor”—he seemed to know Laneham—“I’ve said I was likely sleepin’. But if I was, I began to dream it before I woke! An’ I’ll never tell you whether I was dreamin’ or wakin’ when I seen him first.”
“Where did he come from?”
“From nowhere, I’ve told you, unless it was that swimmin’ place, where he done his first murder. An’ where else would he come from? An’ he was all in white— savin’ his face. If there was no lights, too, there was the shadows from the moon, which were light enough for him. An’ when I got my eyes on him, he’d just spied the Sergeant, an’ was swingin’ clear to do for him !
“Cap’, did you ever have the feelin’ in your sleep that you must wake—an’ you thried to wake, but you couldn’t wake? Did you ever thry to call out, an’ all the sound you could make went sand-dry inside your throat? An’ did you ever thry to move, an’ not a limb, not a muscle could you move? An’ if that could come to me wakin’ could it come from anything but a devil’s spell laid on? I don’t know what he hit the Sergeant with. His back was to’rds me. But he didn’t strike him till he’d swung once an’ twice an’ three times, like some goff player offerin’ at a ball ! An’ then, with the Sergeant’s death cry, he give a kind of deep-down little laugh, and jumped away, an’ ran for this room here.
“He ran for this room here, an’ then I knowed that, up to then, he hadn’t knowed of me—or, if he had, he had forgotten. For at the sight of me he went back a pace. But it was only a pace. An’ then he lepped, an’ leppin’ he strook me as he passed. I’d got to one knee, an’ had one arm to guard with. It was that an’ that alone that saved me. An’ after that I kep’ my senses long enough to see him once more as he passed through to that swimmin’ pool—yes, an’ through the wall of it, for the door was closed then!—like the way he’d come. An’ the boys from outside were in that room while I could still see him passin’ through!”
TN the next room Father McLean, the ■*Department chaplain, was now praying over Hooley. And there was silence till he finished. Then the dead man was carried to the outer hall, and Grogan was helped after him.
“If you want to know more,” he said, “ask the Sergeant there.”
But the patrolmen who had been on post in the corridors were still to question.
Had they seen anything? Either before they had burst into the rooms, or after? Nothing at all.
Grogan had said that Hooley’s slayer had passed through the wall of the swimming pool after they were inside. Hadn’t they seen even a shadow?
“We weren’t lookin’ for any then,” said one of them. “But it might be so. We’ll believe anything now. And Grogan—we had run first to him—he was screechin’ ‘He’s in there ! He’s in there !’ But when we’d got the lights on and could look, nothin’ was changed in that swimmin’ place by so much as a dust spot!”
Laneham made sure of that for himself. Then he walked back to the little library and the fireplace, and lifting the Bikri shield looked at the outer door of the miniature safe. It seemed not to have been touched. But he called up the Electric Protection night office again. As on the previous night, there had been no alarm.
At that moment McGloyne himself ar-
“What are you going to do.this time?” the Doctor asked him.
“You may ask it!” he answered. “For I’ve got Hooley’s blood upon me, now. Do? —what can I do? But no doubt I’ll go the same old circuit, tappin’ walls an’ lookin’ at windows.” He called one of his aides. “Send Grogan in again. There’d ought to be at least a little more that he can tell us.”
“Grogan,” he asked the wounded man, “you say he was all in white?”
“Like a sheeted ghost,” Grogan answered, and he himself was still almost as pale as one. “Always, o’ course, exceptin’ for his face.”
“Yes, and what do you think yourself he was, ghost, man or devil?”
“Does a ghos’ carry anything he can strike a man dead with? An, Captain, would he laugh, too, when he done it?” “Then you think,” said McGloyne, with a shake of his jaw, “that he’s just plain devil?”
“Nor I didn’t say that, neither.”
“Then what is it you do think? Oh, go ahead, tell us, tell us.”
“Captain”—and at that first note in Grogan’s voice, now a whisper again, once more they had that feeling of knowing what was coming—“have you ever heerd tell, in the Old Coontry, of men that, tempted of evil, have sold their souls to the evil one himself?”
“Well? Well? And if I have?-”
“To clench your bargain, as they say, you’ve first to kill the one you should by rights be lovin’ best. But, once you have, it’s settled. An’, in the hours when you ain’t soul-wrung with penitence, more killin’ is all your pleasure. As for the rest, you can go annywhere, you can do annything. An’ to pass through a wall is nawthin’—nawthin’ at all!”
“All right,” said McGloyne. “We’ll say that your man is blood-paid an’ Devilbought. What kind of figure of a man would you say he was?”
“I’d say he was a yoong man.”
“And I’d say he was slim an’ slender, an’ light on his feet.”
“For a minute I thought I could see his eyes. An,’ oh, the depth they had ! An’, for all he was joyin’ in his killin’ then, oh, the misery he’d been through to win to it!” “And you heard him laugh?”
“That I did ! That I did. And it was a kind of voice so hollow deep you’d say it had come from the Pit itself!”
'C' IVE minutes later the Doctor was calling up the St. Hilaire, Glasbury’s apartment hotel, and was speaking to a new house detective there on duty.
“It’s Doctor Laneham calling. Have you anything to report now?”
“I have, sir,”
“Mr. Glasbury went out about two hours ago, at one-twenty. An’ it’s only just now that he’s come in again.”
“Did Morris trail him?”
“And where did be go?”
“He went to his office, in the Savoy Buildin’. Morris saw him in an’ out o’
“Yes, and did Morris notice anything about him when he came out?”
“He did. An’ I noticed it, too, when he come back here to the St. Hilaire. If we hadn’t knew where he’d been, we’d ’a’ said that he‘d iust come back from croakin’ some one!”
To be continued.