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creditably. It was getting dusk by
that time, and I resolved to finish one
more window and then go for my lit
Creak! There was a snap. Bang!
I shot through space.
What happened was this: In my
clumsiness and baffled by the semi-
U the harness on a frail screen hoop,
instead of in the staunch holding
slots. One rope gave way at once.
The other swung free for a moment
tore' out of .the hook and I dropped.
That sway sideways saved my life,
for, one story descended, I landed
flat, on my back across the grated
balcony of a fire escape. I was
bruised, half-stunned. I lay still,
wondering if any bones were broken
and looking through an open window
into a small business office.
Two men were its occupants. One
an 'old man, dignified but apparently
much disturbed, was facing a young
er one, whose shrewd eyes and foxy
siaeiong glance proclaimed the
schemer. -It was the latter who
spoke, sharply, exactingly: '
"Well, Mr. Bowen, your answer?"
"I have come to accept your
terms," was the dreary reply. "It
may mean ruin to me, but I am at
-your mercy.- In that," and he placed
a packet on a table in the middle of
the room, "is thp fifty thousand dol
lars in money and salable securities."
The other lunged down upon it,
opened it, clawed over its contents
with the eager talons of a true harpy.
He4rplaced it, went over to a desk
in a corner of a room and took thence
a folded paper.
"Listen to me," spoke the old man,
leaning heavily on the cane he car
ried, as though weak and invalid.
"When you take from me that jacket
you rob me of all my available liquid
capital. Unless I can borrow to re
finance my business I am a ruined
man. At least return me one-half pf
the $50,000. Loan it to me, and let
me pay it later. My word' is as good
as my bond."
"Not much !" sneered the other. "I
want my price and I want it now.
Here is the paper through which I
can close your establishment tomor'-'
row and prevent you from sending
out a single engine built on the Lei
"But I bought the patent. I paid
for it fairly."
"And I hold an earlier transfer in
"Can you pjrove it?"
"Unfortunately, no!" groaned the
wretched John Bowen, "but you
know that it s. Levinson has died.
You have made a clever transfer,
"Which will stand in the law," de
clared the other triumphantly. "Do
you back out of the bargain?"
"No! no" cried Mr. Bowen. "Give
me the document," and he looked it
over. Then he took a match from his
pocket, ignited the paper, watched it
crumble to nothingness and took up
his hat. "I am weak and ill," he
added with a deep sigh; "the eleva
tors have stopped running. I must
ask you to help me to my machine."
"Sure enough!" piped the other
readily. "Come on," and they left
Now the instant they were gone I
seized the essence of this adventure
clearly in my mind. I believed that
a heartless villain was robbing an
honest old man. I acted quickly.
Rousing myself, I was inside the
room in a moment. I secured the
packet, I descended the fire escape, I
was down in the street.
Mr. Bowen had just stepped into
an automobile. The man who had
accompanied him to the street was
hastening back after his anticipated
booty. The chauffeur headed the ma
chine my way. I leaped to the run
"What is this?" quavered the as
"Le.t me in with you, Mr. Bowen,"
I said, rapidly. "I have something o
importance to say -to you. Sir, Ihav
"-'Miff Till iili