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Newspaper Page Text
THE MUTE WITNESS
By Victor Redcliffe
Two persons were conversing in a
photoplay theater, though -not with
speech. Said one in rapid finger
play, as the lights came on at the
"The hero of the piece swore!"
"Yes, I noticed that," came swiftly
from the deft hands of the other one,
"and the heroine, while according to
the screen pathetically lamenting the
loss of home, fortune and friends,
was really saying: 'For goodness'
sake, quit squeezing my sore arm!' "
A young man seated to the left of
the mute twain eyed the always mov
ing but unobtrusive pair of hands
first curiously, then with interest and
finally with a quick glow in his face
that betokened the sudden birth of
some striking idea. When the duo,
evidently lovers, arose to leave the
theater he followed them closely, but
circumspectly. They proceeded to a
respectable looking house, apparent
ly the home of the young lady. Her
escort bade her good night with
much finger play and a parting kiss
and returned to the street Close on
his heels the young man who had fol
lowed the pair touched him on the
arm, halting him under an electric
street light. The other drew back
suspiciously, but he of the shadow
trail restored confidence by talking
on his own fingers. , This is what he
"I noticed you at the movie show.
You were able to understand just
what the actors were speaking when
the films were, taken." i
"That is correct," came the prompt
reply. "Are you one of us?"
"No, not deaf and dumb a novice.
My name is Bruce Watson. I am a
detective. I am working on a big
case- and your lip reading proficiency
gave me a suggestion. Tell me, can
you quite accurately trace what a
person is saying from the movement
of their lips?"
"Not in simple offhand conversa
tion, but where the speakers are ex
cited and expressive, or are of an em
phatic temperament, yes. If you
wish a fair test, say something and
see if I can translate it"
Watson drew back ten feet, kept
his feet in the light and enunciated
a rather involved sentence from
Shakespeare. In a flash the mute
told it off on his nimble finger tips.
Watson took the arm of his com
panion and led him to a near restau
rant, where they could be at their
He Was Helpless.
ease. As he had told Spencer Wray
burn, the mute, he was a. novice at
the use of the signs and' could re
ceive better than he could talk. He
now utilized a tab of paper to sim
Concisely he explained the situa
tion. A client stood sorely in need
of his services and, just beginning
his detective career, WatSQn was
anxious to prove of service to James
Bentley. He did not impart to Wray
burn, however, the fact that Bentley