Newspaper Page Text
THE ARGUS, TUESDAY, JANUARY 22, 1907.
l Story erf Manhattan
Byi BURTON E STEVENSON
Author of "The Holladay Case"
Copyright, 1 9 O , by Henry Holt and Com pony
' CHATTER V.
S a matter of course, the affair
, at tbe Marathon created a
t great public sensation. The
' 'papers overflowed -with de
tails, theories, suggestions to the police,
letters from interested readers.
It has long been a habit of ine,
when any particularly abstruse crim
inal mystery Is before the public, to pin
my faith to the Record. Its other fea
tares I do not aumire, but I knew that
Jim Godfrey was its expert iu crime,
and ever since my encounter with him
In the Ilolladay case I have entertain
ed the liveliest admiration of his acu
men and audacity. If a mystery was
possible of solution, I believed that he
would solve it. so It was to the Record
I turned now and read carefully every
word he wrote al ut the tragedy.
I was sitting In my room on the
evening of the second day after the
affair, smoking a postprandial pipe
and reading the Record's stenographic
report of the coroner's Inquest, when
there came a knock at my door and my
landlady entered. She held in her hand
a paper which had a formidable legal
"Have you found another apartment
yet, Mr. Lester?" she asked.
Xo, I haven't, Mrs. Fitch." I said.
"I'm afraid I've not been as diligent In
looking for one as I should have been."
"Well, I've just got another notice."
and she sighed wearily. "They're going
to begin tearing down the louse day
after tomorrow. I can't find another
house, so I'm going to put my furniture
in storage. I've told the men to come
for it tomorrow."
"All right," I said. "If I can't find
an apartment to suit, I'll put my stuff
In storage, too, and stay at a hotel for
awhile. I'll know by tomorrow noon,
I settled back in my chair and took
up my paper again, when a sudden
thought brought me bolt upright. Here
was an apartment, two rooms an l bath.
Just what I wanted, empty and. more
over, so situated that I should be ad
mirably placed for close at hand study
of the tragedy. I glanced at my watch.
It was only half past 7, and I hurried
into my coat in a sudden fever of im
patience lest some one else should get
there before me.
Twenty minutes walk brought me to
tbe Marathon apartOent house, and as
I step, xl into the vestibule I saw sit
ting by the elevator a nil faced man
whom I recognized instantly as Illg-
glns, the janitor. lie rose as I ap
"You have an apartment here to
rent, haven't you?" I asked.
"Not Jest now, sir," he answered.
"There will be next week if th walk
in delegates leaves us alone. You
see, th house Is being remodeled."
"Oh, I said, more disappointed than
I cared to show, "I thought perhaps
there was one I could move. Into at
once. Next week won t do me any
He moistened his lips and scratched
his head, eying me undecidedly.
"May I ask your name, sir?" he said
I banded him a card which had also
the address of my firm, Graham &
Royce. He read It slowly.
"We've got one apartment, sir," he
said, looking up when he had mastered
it; "two rooms an bath but It needs
a little cleanln up. When do y' have
f have It?"
"I nave to move In tomorrow." I an
wered, and I told him briefly why,
May I look at this apartment?"
He hesitated yet a moment, then
straightened up with sudden resolu
"You kin see it If you waut to, sir.
he said, "but first I must tell you that
It's soot fourteen, where they was a a
munler two days ago."
A murder.'" I repoated. ".On. yes;
I did see something about it in the
papers. Well, that doesn't make any
difference; I'm not afraid of ghosts."
"Then that's all right, sir," he said
with a sigh" of relief, and motioned
toward the elevator.
The car stopped and he led the way
down the hall.
"Here we are." he sr.id. pausing be
fore a door and producing a bunch of
keys. "Which reminds me that I'll
"Yes," I answered, rousing myself
with an effort; and I gave him such dl-
one else been In the rooms?" I asked. I
"Say, that's funny!" he cried. "I'd ,
purty nigh fergot It. Early this
mornin'they was somelnxly a wo-j
man." He came close to me and
"D' y know who I think it was? That
Croydon woman T'
I stared at him iu amazement.
"Weren't you sure?"
"No; she had a veil wrapped round
her head an' she was dressed different.
But it was her I know it."
"And what did she want?" I asked,
more and more astonished.
"She wanted t' see th' rooms, but I
told her they was closed. I tell you, I
was dead afeared t' come up here with
her. How'd I know but she'd take a
shot at me? Then she wanted f rent
em sight unseen, an' offered a month's
rent in advance, but I told her we
didn't rent soots t single women, which
was true. Mebbe I was kind o' rough,
but I was a-skeered t' have her around,
fer I kind o believe she's crazy, so
purty soon, after some more talkin",
she give it up an went away."
As we went down In h elevator
tne car stopped. A man and a woman
were waiting to be taken up. At the
man I did not even glance, for his
companion held my eyes. Such fierce,
dark, passionate beauty I had never
seen lefore, "and my nerves w'ero still
tingling with the sight of it as I left
the building and turned westward to
ward my rooms.
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'It's soot fourteen, where they uas a a
have t git a key fer you the other
tenant lost his leastways, it wasn't
found ou him. Or mebbe you'd rather
I'd change th' lock?
"Oh, do," I assured him. "Auother
key will do," and we entered together.
I examined the room with keen inter
est. Evidently everything had been
left just as it was on the night of the
crime; only the body had been re
moved, and it, I knew, was at the
morgue waiting identiflcatfon.
Higgins led the way into the bed
ronm and opened the door of tbe bath
"I shall bring my own furniture," I
said. "But I haven't any carpets. Ier
haps I can buy these. They seem pret
"They are, sir," agreed Higgins,
"They're good carpets, and as good as
Hi' day they was put down. It'll make
It lots easier for us if we don't have t'
take 'em up.'
"AH right," I agreed. "Find out what
they're worth. When can you have the
He looked at me and scratched his
head again. Then, remembering sud
denly the nature of janitors, I took out
my purse and tipped him
"Have them ready by tomorrow
afternoon," I said. "Get a man to help
you, If necessary. I'll expect to be at
home here tomorrow night."
"That's all right, sir," he assured me
instantly, and just then the elevator
bell rang. "There," he added, "it's them
confounded artists, too lazy t walk
downstairs. I'll be back in a minute,
I looked about the room. There was
the corner where Miss Croydon had
cowered, and from which she had shot
at Thompson's assailant. There was
the spot where Thompson himself
had fallen. He had-lain extended
on the carpet, while the what was
that? A tlnv cnfi T-L-Ta ftaiiortif mv orA
a reflection of the light overhead. I
sprang from my chair and stooped
above the place, but could see nothing.
I returned " to my chair and again
caught the reflection This time I
marked it exactly in the pattern of the
carpet, rent to it carefully, put down
my hand nothing yes, a little hard
point pressed into the carpet, so minute
I could not pick it up. I moistened my
finger, and an instant later under the
light I saw that I had. found a dia
mond! "Well, have y got it all fixed, sir?"
asked a voice from tbe door, and I
turned with, a start to Bee Higgins
OR three days Thompson's
body lay enthroned on its
couch at the morgue, but of
the thousand. of people who
filed past it not one could give a single
clew to its identity.
Fublic interest waned and dwindled
and passed on to other things. Even
with me, living at the very scene of
the crime, it faded in an astonishing
way; it no longer occupied my
thoughts. Over my evening pipe it wa
not tue details or tue mystery I con
jured up, but a vision of a dark face
An inquiry of the janitor developed
the fact that it was my neighbors, Mr.
and Mrs. Treinaine, whom I had met
that evening as I loft the elevator,
They had the apartment just across the
hall from mine, and I had thought, o
course, that I must meet them fre
quently, but three days had passed and
I had caught not a glimpse of them
their Lours for coming and goiu
seemed radically different from mine.
I heard the sudden opening of u door
a stream, shrill, full of terror.
Rarely have I been so startled as
was by that voice. In an instant I wa
in the hall. A red light streamed
through the open door of the apartment
opposite, silhouetting a woman's figure
staring, with clasped hands.
I sprang past her, pulled down the
burning curtains and threw them into
the hall, where Higgins, who had run
up the stairs, stamped out the Haines
The room was full of smoke, but It
was evident that the fire had spread no
farther. I opened the window and the
smoke was whirled away.
Ah, bon diel" cried Mrs. Treinaine
in a queerly broken but very charmin
mixture of French and English. "What
a chance! What good fortune that you
were iu your room, m'sieur!"
She had closed the window with a
nervous shiver at the cold aud then
stepped back into the full light.
fairly gasped as I looked at her,
Charming she had been gowned ac
cording to the New York fashion; now
she was radiant in a costume whose
gorgeousness seemed just the setting
her beauty needed. At the moment it
completely dazzled me, but I was able
afterward, in a calmer mood, to
analyze it the crimson petticoat, the
embroidered chemise with its fold upon
fttld of lace, showing through the silken
shoulder scarf; the necklace of gold
beads and bracelets, studs, brooches
what not. The sight of Higgins stand
ing staring at this vision with open
mouth brought me to my senses.
"I am very happy to have been there,
madame," I said, and started toward
But you will not go," she protested.
"M'sieur Tremaine will be here in a
moment. He will desire to thank you
Tne words were accompanied ny a
smile there was no' resisting. I falter
Higgins was still staring from the
hall. Mrs. Tremaine stepped forward
and calmly shut the door In his face.
In that instant a quick shiver ran
through me, as though I, had been
suddenly imprisoned with a wild beast
a shiver that had in it something
fearfully delightful. And let me add
here that the emotion which Cecily
for so I came to know her raised In
me was not in the least admiration in
the ordinary sense of the term, but
rather an overpowering fascination,
such as one sometimes feels in watch
ing a magnificent tigress pacing back
and forth In her cage. Such. I believe,
was the feeling she inspired In most
men, even in Tremaine himself.
She smiled at me again as she swept
past me to a couch in one corner and
sank upon it.
"Sit, m'sieur," she said, and motion
ed me to a chair close at hand. "I was
very lonesome. I was weary of talk
ing to my own body."
I cannot reproduce the soft dialect
pour a libation to honor tne escape."
Cecily, who had been hanging on his
lips, flew to the next room and was
back In a moment with decanter and
glasses three of them aud she Joined
us with nn l-gipcrturbnb'e matter of
eourfo air which somewhat surprised
me. Only I noticed she left a little
wine in her prlass, and with It she ap
proached a square cage of fine gilt
mesh hanging over the radiator in the
warmest corner of the room.
"She's a most extraordinary woman."
Tremaine said, with a smile that seem
ed a little forced. "She's about to do
what no oth?r woman In the world
would dare do. and she thinks nothing
of I(. Come and see."
Cecily had already reached the cage
and was bending over it, humming
a weird little refrain that roe and fell
and turned upoa itself, reminding me
faintly of the negro spirituals I had
once heard at a camp meeting In the
Jersey woods. After a moment I saw
a movement within the cage and a
head erected itself, a broad, triangular
bead, deep orange barred with black,
with eyes like coals of fire. It swayed
s Cecily fitted
she spoke. Any effort to do so makes . to and fro, to and fro. a
It appear grotesque, so I snail not try. WOrd to the refrain queer, chopped
At first it puzzled me occasionally, but soft cresle words.
Mlas Fannie McWamee,
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I soon came to understand her per
"So was I," I said, smiling at the
quaint expression. "I was growing 1 she not urettv?"
very sick of my own body. Have j-ou I Gradually we
been in New York lougV" . Tremaine and I
"Less than a month, m'sieur; and I
do not like it. It is too cold, too gray.
"Alt, you have come iu a bad time,
I said, wondering at her almost child
ish expression of misery. "Wait until
June. Then you will seel"
"June! Ah, we shall not remain' so
long I at least! I have promised to
stay one month' longer, but more than
She reached out and took up a ciga
rette from a pile which lay ou a taboret
beside the couch.
"It was thus the curtaius caught.
she laughed, and, after a whiff or two,
flung the still Mazing taper over her
shoulder. "Pouf! And they were all
m llame. A moment before I was
longing for excitement, any excite
ment whatever, but that sudden burst
of fire frightencu me. I rnshed out
cried for help, and," she finished, with
a charming litth gesture, "spoiled your
smake. Try one of these."
mere was no resisting her. It was
like playing with fire. I took a ciga
rette and lighted it.
"At Foml-Corre there "was much to
do," she continued, with a little sigh.
"Here there is nothing but to smoke,
"Fond-Corn?" I queried.
"Just beyond St. Pierre," she ex
plained, closing her eyes with delight
nt the memory "There was our bone
I can see It again In its grove of cocoa
trees running down to the gray sand,
with the waves lapping gently over It.
Tambou! How I sigh for it!" and she
stretched her arms above her head with
a gesture of infinite longin
A key rattled iu the lock, the door
opened and a man came In. It was
quite in keeping with the dream the
enraged husband with naked scimiter.
Even here in New York it was hardly
the proper thing to be discovered thus.
though not till that instant had 1
thought of it.
"Ah, now," I said to myself, "stllet
tos and pistols' You're in a ticklish
place, my friend.
But before I could rise, Cecily had
sprung from the couch and thrown her
arms about his neck.
"Oh, coument ou ye, doudoux? she
asked In a voice like well, I have never
heard anything to compare with It.
"Toutt douce, the ct ou?" he an
swered, and kissed her. Then he per
ceived me, seemingly for the first time,
"Oh, c;i .iojolli, oui. Oh, thou art
pretty, pretty. Fe-Fe! Pa ka fai molu
pe! I do not fear her, not nt all! Is
had drawn nearer,
and I felt myself
yielding to the fascination of the song,
even as the serpent did. It was not
very large, nor seemingly very formi
dable, so I did not even think of fear
when Cecily opened the little door of
the cage and drew it forth. She held it
between thumb and finger just behind
the head and by a slight pressure she
forced itn jaws ap::rt. Then she poured
the wine down its throat, drop by
drop. Finally she returned it to Its
cage and shut the door.
When It was over and she was lying
again on the couch, panting with a
kind of fearful exhaustion, I turned to
Tremaine, who was mopping his fore
"I've got a kind of superstitious hor
ror of that snake," he said apologetic
ally as he met my eyes. "I've seen a
ot of them, but none ever affected me
Just as this oue does."
"What is it?" I asked, astonished by
iiis pallor, ly the tremUing of his
iand as he put away his handkerchief
and reached for a cigarette. He light
ed it before he answered, inviting me
by a gesture to help myself.
'It's a fer-de-lane" he said at last,
"oue of the dea'"Mct serpents in the
world, aud 'ibis particular variety Is
slid to be especially deadly, a sort of
cjeme de la muie. as It were. Its bite
kill a man in three minutes if it hap
pens to strike an artery. It does more
than that. It turns him to a swollen,
rotten piece of carrion. I've seen it."
And he leaned back to blow a ring to
ward the ceiiing.
I sat, petrified, with my cigarette
halfway to my mouth.
(To Be Continued.)
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She poured the wtne down its throat,
drop by drop.
though this I somehow doubted. "Good
evening, sir," he said, standing with
his arm still about his wife and gazing
at me with a look so sharp that I found
myself for an Instant unable to meet It.
His wife uttered in his ear a sen
tence so rapid that I. was utterly unable
xo eaten me woras, put I suppose It ex
plained the reason of. my presence, for,
he turned to me Instantly with out
"Cecily tells me that your presence
of mind prevented a general conflagra
"Lester," I said. "I am your neigh
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"My name is Tremaine, and I'm ex- .
ceedlngly glad to meet you," he con- '
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