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The labor world. [volume] (Duluth, Minn.) 1896-current, August 20, 1910, Image 2

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:l f,7
Half a
Author of "The Strollers*** "Un­
der the Rose." "The Lady
of the Mount." Etc.
Copyright, 1909, by the Bobbs
Merrill Company.
He had but time to run to the rear
door, unbolt It and dash out when a
crashing of woodwork filled the place
and Mr. Gillett looked In.
When John Steele began to recover
he was dimly aware that he was In a
four wheeler which rattled along slow­
ly through streets. At his side sat a
figure that stirred when he did, spoke
In crisp official accents. The police
agent had come well armed and, more­
over, had taken the precaution for
this little journey of providing a cab
In front and one behind, containing
'those who knew how to act should
the necessity arise.
Furtively the prisoner felt his pock­
et The memorandum book contain­
ing the paper that had cost so much
was gone. He looked at the agent.
Had It been shifted to Mr. Gillett's
possession, or (dimly he recalled his as­
sailant's last words) had Rogers suc­
ceeded in snatching the precious evi­
dence from his breast before escaping?
In the latter case it had undoubtedly
ere this been destroyed. In the for­
mer it would presumably soon be trans­
ferred to the police agent's employer.
To regain the paper, if it existed,
would be no light task. Yet it was the
pivot upon which John Steele's for-
/'H'* *r
tunes hung. The principal signer was
in all likelihood making his way out
of London now. He would in a few
hours reach the sea and after that
disappear from the case.
The carriage suddenly stopped be­
fore an eminently respectable and se­
date front, and not long after John
Steele, somewhat to his surprise, found
himself in Lord Ronsdale's rooms. The
nobleman sat behind a high desk. One
drawer of the desk was slightly open­
ed. The police agent he addressed
first—he should remain in the hall with
his men.
"There is no need for many words
between us, Mr. Steele." Lord Rons
dale's accents were sharp. "Had you
listened to what Mr. Gillett, on my
behalf, wound have said to you that
sight in the gardens at Strathora
House we might possibly, both of us,
have been saved some little annoy­
ance. We now start at about where
we were before that little contre­
John Steele silently looked at Lord
Ronsdale. His brain had become
clear, his thoughts lucid. He could
build up a story, yes, but if be could
have known what had taken place be­
tween Mr. Gillett and this man a few
minutes before, when the police agent
had stepped in first and tarried here
a. brief period before ushering him in!
Had Mr. Gillett delivered to his no
ble patron the memorandum book and
.. other articles filched from John Steele's
pockets? That partly opened drawer—
what did it contain? The nobleman's
hand lingered on the edge of it. With
an effort the other resisted allowing
his glance to rest there. He sat down
in a stiff, straight backed chair.
"Mr. Gillett, in the garden at Strat­
hora House." said Lord Ronsdale,
"was authorized by me to offer you
one chance of avoiding exposure and"
—deliberately—"the attendant conse
quences. You were to.be suffered to
leave London, this country, with the
stipulation that you should never re
turn." John Steele shifted slightly.
"You did not expect this"—quickly—
"you had not included that contingency
"I confess," in as even. emotlonled
voice, "your lordship's coropfatMiac
amazes me.*' S
"An 4 yon would have accepted
"Why discuss what could never have'
been considered?" was the brusque
Lord Ronsdale frowned. "That al­
ternative is still open. Refuse and—
you rfill be in the hands of the author­
ities tonight. Resist"— His glittering
eyes left no doubt whatever as to his
"I refuse.**
"In that case"—Lord Ronsdale half
rose his face looked drawn, but de­
termined he reached as if to touch a
bell—"you force the issue, and'^
"One moment." As he spoke John
Steele stepped toward the fireplace.
He gazed downward at a tiny white
ash on the glowing coals. A little film
that might have been—paper? 'In a
matter so Important we may consider
a little longer lest," still regarding the
hearth, 'there may be after regrets."
He lifted now his keen glowing eyes.
"In one little regard I did your lord­
ship an Injustice."
"In what way?"
"In supposing that you yourself mur­
dered Amy Gerard," came the unex­
pected response. The other started
violently. "Your lordship will forgive
the assumption in view of what occur­
red on a certain stormy night at sea
when a drowning wretch clung with
one hand to a gunwale and you, in
answer to his appeal for succor, bent
over and"—
"Ifs a lie!" The words fell in a
sharp whisper.
"What?" John Steele's laugh sound­
ed mirthlessly. "Your lordship knows
what I mean, how the true facts in
this case of Amy Gerard have come to
John Steele's glance was straight,
direct. If the other had the paper.
had read it, he would know.
"I think you had better tell
Lord Ronsdale said at last.
"If yqur lordship did not kill the wo­
man, if the Frisco Pet did not, then
who did?" Ronsdale leaned forward.
John Steele studied the nobleman with
a purpose of his own. "Why, she kill­
ed herself," he said suddenly.
"How?" The nobleman uttered this
word, then stopped. John Steele wait­
ed. Had Lord Ronsdale been sur­
prised at bis knowledge? He/could
hardly tell from his manner whether
or not he had the affidavit and had
read it.
"How—interesting! May I ask bow
It occurred?"
"Oh, it is all very commonplace!
Your lordship bad received a threaten*
ing letter and called on the woman.
She wanted money. You refused. She
already had a husband living in
France, a ruined gambler tf the
bourse, but had tricked you into think­
ing she was your wife. You had dis­
covered the deception and discarded,
her. From a music hall singer she
had gone down—down until she, once
beautiful, courted, bad become a mere
-'What she was, associate of one like
Dandy Joe, cunning, unscrupulous. At
your refusal to become the victim of
their blackmailing scheme she in her
anger seized a weapon. During the
struggle it was accidentally dis­
Was Lord Ronsdale asking himself
how^the other bad learned this? If
Rogers had escaped with the paper
John Steele knew Ronsdale might well
wonder that the actual truth should
have been discovered. He would not
under those circumstances even be
aware of the existence of a witness of
the tragedy. But was Lord Ronsdale
assuming a manner, meeting subtlety
with subtlety?
"At sound of the shot Joe, Who
had been waiting below in the kitchen
with the landlady, rushed upstair*.
You explained how it happened! were
willing enough to give money now to
get away quietly without being drag-
man's confederate, greedy for gats
even at such a moment,
Would the police accept the story of
MlpKtati. Tiere vpere signs of a strug
gle. At that Instant some one entered
house, came stumbling up the
itairs.* It was the—Frisco
"Joe hurried you out toward a rear
exit, but not before," leaning slightly
tdward Lord Ronsdale, "an Impression
of your face, pale, drawn, had vaguely
stamped itself on the befuddled brain,"
bitterlyr "of the fool brute. You lost
notime in making your escape. Little
yas said between you and Joe, but he
roved amenable to your suggestion,
'be way out of the difficulty was
found. He hated the Pet, who had
once or twice handled him roughly for
abusing this poor creature. You gave
Joe money to have the landlady's tes­
timony agree with his. She never got
that money," meaningly, "but gave the
desired evidence. Joe had found out
The speaker stopped. There re­
mained a crucial test. If Lord Rons
dale had the paper what John Steele
was about to say would cause him no
surprise. He would be prepared for it
The words fell sharply:
"The landlady's son, Tom Rogers,
was at the time in the house, in hiding
from the police. He was concealed
above in a small room or garret
Through a stovepipe opening, disused,
he looked down into the sitting room
below and heard, saw all!"
The effect was instantaneous, mag­
ical. Lord Ronsdale sprang to his feet.
John Steele looked at him, at the wav­
ering face, the uncertain eyes. No
doubt existed now In his mind. Gillett
had not secured the paper or he would
have given it to his patron when they
were alone. That fact was patent
The document was gone irretrievably.
There could be no hope of recovering
it. The bitter knowledge that it had
really once existed would not serve
John Steele long. But with seeming
resolution he went on: "I had the
story from his own lips," deliberately,
"put In the form of an affidavit, duly
signed and witnessed."
"This is a subterfuge.**
"It is true."
"Where—is the paper? You did not
have it at Strathora. If you had you
would have taken advantage of it"
John Steele looked at the drawer.
The affidavit was not there, but some­
thing else was.
Lord Ronsdale sank back into his
chair. "You have, out of fancy, con­
structed a libelous theory, one that
you would be laughed at for advanc­
ing. A cock and bull story about a pa­
per that doesn't exist that never ex­
isted." A sound at the door caused
him to turn sharply. Mr. Gillett came
*1 have here a paper that one of our
men has just turned" over & me."
John Steele started, but neither of the
others noticed. "He found it at the
last place we were. Evidently it had
beeh dropped by the' fellow who was
there and who fled at our coming." As
hie spoke he stepped nearer the desk,
In his hand a paper.
"What la it?" Lord Ronsdale de­
manded testily.
Mr. Gillett did not at once answer.
He. looked at John Steele. The latter
stood like a statue. Only his eyes were
turned toward the nobleman, to the
thin aristocratic hand yet resting on
the edge of the drawer.
"If your lordship will glance at it?"
said Mr. GUlett, proffering the sheet
The nobleman did so. His face
changed. His eyes seemed unable to
leave the paper. Suddenly he gave a
smothered explanation, tore the sheet
once and started up, took a step to­
ward the fire.
"Stop!" The voice was John Steele's.
He stood now next to the partly open­
ed drawer, in his hand that which had
been concealed there—something bright
shining. Lord Ronsdale* wheeled, look­
ed at the weapon and into the eyes be­
hind It. "Place those two bits of pa­
per there—on the edge of the desk!"
ORD RONSDALE seemed almost
to forget caution—almost, but
not quite. Perhaps he was de­
terred by the look on John
Steele's face—scornful, mocking, as If
half inviting him-to cast all prudence
to the winds. This bit of evidence
that he had not calculated upon—it was
bard to give it up, but no other course
remained. Besides, another—Gillett—
knew of its existence. Lord Ronsdale
felt he could not depend on that per­
son in an emergency of this kind.
The nobleman moved towarid the
desk. The paper fluttered from his
cold fingers. When once more John
Steele buttoned his coat the affidavit
had again found lodgment in bis waist­
coat pocket.
What John Steele bald was for Lord
Ronsdale alone. After Gillett bad
gone he laid down a condition.
"And If I refuse to let you dictate in
a purely private concern?" L6rd Rons
dale, white with passion, bad answer
"The end" will be the same for you.
As matters stand Sir Charles no doubt
thinks still that you would make a
desirable parti for his niece. His wife,
Lady Wray, unquestionably shares
that opinion. Their combined influ­
ence might in time prevail and Joce­
lyn Wray yield to their united wishes.
This misfortune with cutting deadli­
nes* of tone, "it is obvious must be
averted. You will consent to with­
draw all pretensions in that direction
pr you will force me to make public
.this paper, A. fuU exposition of the
case I think would materially affect
would hire
Charles and Lady W*ay*s attitude
The dead
the desirability of an alliance be­
tween their family and yours."
"And yourself? Yon forget" with
a sneer, "how It would affect your
*You Wfr* tM* ybursetf, and*--"
John Steele stepped toward Mm.
"Stop or—. I have once been almost
on the point of killing you tonight.
Don't"— He broke off. "The condition?
You consent or not?"
"And if I—you would"
"Keep your cowardly secret? Yes!"
Lord RoiiBdaie nodded: his head
slowly, indicating that he would cease
his attentions to Jocelyn Wray. And
is he did so a venomous expression
tame into bis face.
A day a month after that night in
Lord Ronsdale's rooms Captain,For
sythe, calling on John Steele, found
himself admitted to the sitting room.
The rooms were partly dismantled, a
number of boxes littering the place
Indicating preparations to move. John
Steele came in. His face was paler
than It had
With tlie confession given me on her
deathbed by the landlady that sbe had:
testified falsely to protect her good
for nothing son and acknowledging
that another whom she did not know
by name, but whom she described
minutely, had entered the house onjthe
fatal night—with this confession in
your hands a world of trouble might
have been saved. As it is," he ended
half ruefully, "you have, found me
most unlike the proverbial friend in
need, who'is"—
"A friend Indeed," aaid John Steele,
placing a hand on the other's shoulder,
While a smU£ somewbaf constrained
lighted bis face for a, moment, "who
at once rose to the occasion, hastened
to London on the receipt of a letter
that was surely a test of friendship"—
"Oh, I don't know about that!"
quickly. "Test of friendship, Indeed!"
Captain Forsythe looked slightly em­
barrassed beneath the keien Searching
eyes. "DOn't think of it or— Be­
sides," brightening, "I bad to come.
Telegram from Miss Wray, dofc't you
"Miss Wray!" Steele's hand fell
suddenly to his side. He looked with
abrupt, swift inquiry at the other.
Captain Forsythe bit his lips. "By
Jove, forgot!" he murmured. "Was
not to say anything about-that."
"However,.as you have"— John
Steele regarded him steadily. "You
received a telegram from"—
"At the same time tbat your letter
intercepted me at Brighton."
"Asking- you to.Tetu^ai to London
"Exactly. She—wanted to see me."
"About?" John
like that^of
a man who had recently suffered samp
severe illness.
A short time passed. They talked
on various topics. The military man
puffed more quickly. It seemed the
irony of' fate or friendship that now
that he was just beginning to get bet­
ter acquainted with Steele the latter
should inconsistently determine to
leave London.
"Anything I can do for you when
you're away 7" began Captain For
sythe. "Command me if there is.
Needn't say"—
"There's only one thing." John
Steele looked at him. His voice was
steady, quiet "And we've already
spoken about that. You will let me
know If Ronsdale doesn't keep to the
letter of the condition?"
"Very well." Captain Forsythe's ex­
pression changed slightly, but the
other did not appear to notice.
"I shall leave with you certified cop­
ies of all the papers," said Steele in a
short matter of fact tone. "These, to­
gether with the one you furnished me,
are absolutely conclusive."
"The one I furnished you!" Captain
Forsythe rested his chin On the knob
of his stick. "Odd about that wasn't
It—that the day in the library at Strat­
hora House, when I was about to tell
you how I had better success the sec­
ond time I visited the landlady, we
should have been Interrupted? And,"
looking at the other furtively, "by
Jocelyn Wray." Steele did not an­
swer. "If I had only seen the drift
of your inquiries, had detected more
than a mere perfunctory Interest!
eyes asked
a question The other nodded. "Of
course. Not difficult to understand.
Her desire to hush up tfce affair.: Her
fear," with a short laugh, "lest the
scandal become known. A guest at
Strathorn House had been"—
"I don't think it
"You found out" shortly, "that she,
too, had learned—knew"—
"Yes she made me aware of that at
once when she came to see me with
Sir Charles. It was she sent your lug­
"Sir Charles? Then he also"—
"No. You—you need feel nio appre­
hension on that score." A peculiar
expression came into the other's glance.
"You see, bis niece told him it was not
her secret asked him to help her, to
trust her. Never was a man more
perplexed, but he kept the word be
gave ber on leaving for London and
forbore to question her. Even when
they drove through London In tbat
(To be Concluded.)
Miwle u4 taoalcftt
mereUudtM ot every
description. KdUoa
and Victor talking
machine* band and
orchestra toatru
menta, piano* and
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