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y EDGAR morette:
(Copyright. 1599, by Frederick A Stokes Company.]
CHAPTER I—Scene of story is In Now
fork city. Tlmo, early evening, last day
>f year. Cable train collides with cab,
throwing to ground cabman and passen
ger also seated outside. Latter disappears;
hen, Inside the cab, body of man shot
lead is discovered. Sturgis, reporter, ex
imines cab and surroundings.
CHAPTER ll—Later that evening, at
llag dinner party, Sturgis, in impromptu
llscusslon. maintains reliability of cir
tumstantlal evidence. Dr. Murdock, fa
nous chemist, wagers in reply $5,000 to $lOO
that from any dally paper he can select an
insolvable riddle. Sturgis takes bet.
CHAPTER Hl—Case selected is of two
nystcrious shots fired that afternoon in
ir near Knickerbocker bank. Man had
leen seen running from hank with valise,
md arrested. Man said he stole valise
rom bank stops and was shot at. Valise
ontalned nothing of interest.
CHAPTER IV—Sturgis secures appolnt
nent with Dunlap, president of bank, to
islt Bfone of shooting early next morning,
hen Induces his friend Dr. Thurston to
ome to his rooms while he arranges data
f the two strange cases.
CHAPTER V—From observations made
tius far and Induct! ce reasoning thereon
eporter has concluded: (1) dead man in
ab was bookkeeper about 50 years old ro
elvlng good salary; (2) wound caused by
ullet fired at close quarters; (2) might
ave shot himself; (4) shooting had not
ccurred In cab; (5) right arm broken by
eavy instrument; ami (6) cabman was
rugged, and young man who escaped In
olvod in some way in crime. Cab mys
>ry also noted as possible sequel to bank
CHAPTER Vl—Sturgis calls for Sprague,
rtist friend, to get his company during in
stigation at bank, but artist has appolnt
ent with some fair sitter whose portrait
s is making.
CHAPTER VII - Agnes Murdock tin
targe of her father's household since her
other’s death) finds her father In ills
udy. She, in reply to a question concern
g attentions of a Thomas Chatham,
tows her dislike of the persistent suitor,
er father Intimates she shall not be fur-
■CHAPTER VIH-M.ss Murdock’s final
ittlng for portrait induces artist to ask
Bivllcge of calling at Irr home, which site
ladiiy grants. Bellbcy brings note for
Kites. This is road wth evident annoy-
Ece. and she drops it. it remains forgot
■n when she waves studio.
■CHAPTER IX—Promptly at time agreed
Btnlap meets Sturgis. Reporter begins
wig and careful examination in bank. Ue-
Blver in bookkeeper’s desk shows two
■CHAPTER X—Examination completed,
Burgls questions banker regarding rella-
Blty of Arbogast, head bookkeeper, then
Bnounces Arbogast to be a defaulter with
Batham. accountant who l as frequently
■amined condition ot hooks, as acconi
■ce. Message Arbogast sent fha:hatn
■ciphered from marks on a blotter.
■CHAPTER XT—Reporter has now rom
■ted diagram showing movements of
■bogast and Chatham and one other
■ose identity is as yet completely veiled,
■bogast at last moment had found a note
■ irh ( rinsed him to suspect ids nrcom-
Be. He tired wounding him in hand and
Bsabout to (ire again when unknown eon-
Brntor rushed in and struck his arm.
■is action resulted in turning weapon and
■ king Arbogast shoot himself Dunlap
■ncredulmis. hut verifies story in part by
■er identifying body of Arbogast at
BIIAPTER Xll—Thinker calls upon Mrs.
Biogast. While with her she receives let
■ written by her husband telling of de-
Bration and expected flight. He has by
■stake allowed a depositor to overdraw
Bount, Chatham has discovered mis-
Be, and for ;■ ar i t losing position Vrbo-
Bt allows himself to lie used by Chatham
Bl a Mr. Seymour. By f ils entries Sey-
Bur has drawn $250,000. Change in method
keeping was about to expose the
HtUr. Arbogast tells his wife to give
confession ns soon as he has cs-
A1 ’TER XIII—The a f ternoon of crime
liad had occasion to use tole
■iif. Sturgis learns he had been con-
Bted with tin Manhattan Chemical com-
Bv a mysl irlous concern not known to
■mert '.il agencies. At office of chemical
■ccrn Sturgis places detectives.
■ IAPTER XlV—Sprague next morning
Ba If tier Mlt s Mut dock had
and decides to return it iii per-
Hr APTEU XV—He reaches her home,
H is announced just in linn* to interfere
■> implied thre at of Chatham, who bus
his attentions upon Agm s. and with
lo .king paper knife in hand bus
“if 1 don't marry you. no one
shall." After Chatham leaves, Acres
■ - w ty t’. hysterical wi ping, but Is
comforted I y her now accepted lover
BIAPTEIi XVl—Sturgis traces Chnt
■'s movements as far as Dr. Thurston’s
Doctor had just developed Roent
■ ray photograph showing position of
in accountant’s forearm.
XVII Reporter now goes to
of Manhattan chemical office De-
report Chatham to have twice
the place, hut not seen to have
out cltlier time. Murdock’s house is
■an street directly lichlnd chemical
Here Sturgis gains admission,
Chatham’s excited voice
”to give the whole thing
IK XVlll—Sturgis has come tc
■"far view of chemical office, but gives
reason desire for interview with
regarding recent experiments,
asks reporter into laboratory,
remembers engagement aiid
XIX- Mi '.ay Rpriyn.- onl
■ tho two go for wart ints and police to
chemical concern. Arriving, Slnr-
skeleton key opens two doors,
police and detectives he and
H:ue descend to cellar, follow an nn-
B-ound passage and come to Murdock s
Here Is found a vat from
reporter carefully fishes out a lot
■a! Which appear < to |„- a (lattenecl
■cinii'. t ii;i 1 void do." said 1 lie (le-
Hir sharply: "\vc belong- to t lie |io
■ and '.'e saw Chat ham cut er this
the incut icon of the | '(dice, t lie old
Hk pa roll i. on t face lee:,me a shade
and her eyes plistcncd.
thin, if lie do l.c hidin' here.
as ’ml Know it." she said.
a short interval; "liul ye/ can
|HI 'nm. if ye/ loike; ye/ can foind
B'i:< upon she turned and lire iblecl
lug- the intrude r-- to their own
■rv found thcm-ches in a narrow
B|:iv. On the rifrlit was a rickety
Hc:isr leading to business offices in
■ippc r part of the Iniildintf; on the
Bn door op. nine into the r
tin 1 1 ;. 1 1 ai i < I■. mical ec.: 11 pa n\, a m I
eno of the hall another door
■ PRIVATE OFFICE.
H NO ADMITTANCE.
One of tiie deleetires tried this doot
and found it locked. Whereupon lu
jiluecd itis shoulder to it t.ncl prepared
to force it in.
"Wait <1 minute,” said Stnrpis; “let
me sec if 1 cannot open it.”
The detective stepped aside with a
quizzical expression upon ids fa e.
"1 pucs.s you will find it pretty ; olid
for your wi-ipht," said he.
Tlie reporter took from ins pocket a
pice'c of bent wire. and. with a few
dexterous turns of the wrist, he shot
the bolt of the lock.
“You would make an expert cracks
man,” said the detective. “I didn’t
know you possessed that accomplish
ment in addition to ail your oilier
The four men entered tlie private
office. The room was quite dark, tlie
shutters heinp closed and tlie blinds
drawn. As their eyes became accus
tomed to Ihe obscnrTy they were able
to dist inpnisli the outlines of a desk,
a table, and a few chairs.
Sturpis went at once to a door in
tlie corner. With the aid of his skel
eton key in* had soon thrown this
open. After peering l for an instant
into the darkness, lie took from his
pocket a candle, which he liphtec!
Then, beckoning to his companions,’
he started cautiously to descend. The
other men followed him and soon
found themselves in the cellar, which
they proceeded to search.
On the street side there was a recess
extendinp for a few feet under the
nru in front of tlie house. The open
inp above was covered by an iron prat
inp. over which was a wooden cover
securely fastened on the inside by a
chain and padlock. A number of car
boys were carefully piled along the
east wall to within a few feet from
the rear of the building. Here, in the
northeast corner, rose narrow shelv
ing. on which were arranged a collec
tion of bottles containing a varied as
sortment of chemicals.
Tlie detectives searched the cellar.
"Our man is not here, tit any rate."
said the leader, when nt last he had re
turned to the foot of tin* stairs; "per
haps ha’ll try tn give ns tin* slip by
way of the roof. Come along. .Tim;
h.t’s go upstairs now. Hello! what are
you doing there. Mr. Sturpis? Think
you’ll find him in one of those bottles?"
The reporter appeared to be closely
inspec ting the chemicals on the nar
"Who knows?” he replied, coolly,
continuing his examination.
Tlie and teetive bit his lip and looked
the unpleasant tilings lie thought it
best not to say.
“Well, Jim and I will take a look
upstairs while you are busy here M
And tin* two men went up the dark
stairway. Sprague remaining behind
with the reporter.
“None so blind as those that won’t
see." stiid the latter, sententiously.
At the same time he placed his hand
upon one of the shelves and gave it a
lateral push. It responded slightly.
and tin* entire shelving, with the door
which it concealed, opened outward.
“I thought so.” continued the re
porter; "this looks as if it might lead
somewhere. Will yon come, Sprague?”
"How did you find tlie combination
so quickly?" asked the artist, prepar
ing to follow ids friend.
“it is not a combination—only a
concealed bolt. Our friends of the de
tective force night have discovered it
themselves if they had taken the trou
ble. The first tiling I noticed was that
a truck had recently been wheeled
through the cellar in tlie direction of
this door, from under the grating on
the street side. And this truck was
not here; neither was a large ease
which we know was delivered here to
day. The trail extended clear up to
the wall below the shelving; and yet
no true’; even unloaded, could pass
belowflit. t !<iv. vsi.* in If. The conclusion
was evident. ! sounded the hack of the
-liel.iiu* and found that il covered an
ope; ing of some kind. After that, all
that remained was to notice that one
of the shelves was slightly soiled in
just one spot, ns though by the re
peated contact oi a hand. From this. 1
nrgned that the licit tints; he attached
tu this board. And it was. That is all.”
As lie spoke, the reporter erti red a
dark and narrow passage.
’Don’t shi t the floor,” said he to his
companion, who followed him.
At that moment, however, the artist
stumbled; and, instinctively holding’
out Ids hands to save liitnsi if from fall
ing, lie released his hold of the door,
which closed with a slam.
“That i.s unfortunate.” said Sturgns;
“we may ha e to lose some time in
learning how to work the bolt from
this side. Hold on; it will he prudent
to keep open a line of retreat, incase
of unforeseen emergencies. Hello! we
are in luck. Nothing concealed on litis
side; the bolt in plain sight; works
easily. All’s well. Then let us go on;
unless I uni greatly mistaken, we shall
find another 1 \it on the other side.”
After following Hie underground
passage for some distance the men
•limbed some steps and' reached a
qui re hambor. on one side of which
ose a stairway lending to a door
above. Tli" rj-uii was surmounted t,y n
■ kylight. which was wide open, admit
:ng *a draught of cold air from the
Sturgis set down his lighted candle
and proceeded to examine his sur
roundings. In the inidf'K 0 ’.in 01
stood a ruck, upon which lay a long
pine box. A table and a chair consti
tuted the only furniture of the place.
At one side there was a long, low,
lead-lined link, filled to the depth of
about two icet with <1 dark viscous
liquid. .Near it lay a few empty ear
boys. In the floor there was what
seemed to be a hot-air register, of large
size and of peculiar construction. The
walls were bare, unbroken, save by the
projection of the mouthpiece of a
speaking 1 tnbi, and by a set of shelves
filled with flasks, crucibles, alembics
and tin* other paraphernalia of a chem
After the reporter had finished- re
connohering he sat down upon the
long box in deep thought. Sprague ob
served him with silent curiosity for
awhile, and then, with growing impa
"I say. old man,’’he ventured'at last
to ask. "did you bring me here, armed
to the teeth, to sec you go off into a
Sturgis started like a man suddenly
awakened from a deep sleep.
“Eh? What? Oh. yes—those confi
dences. 'Well, you stan in with yours.
lam trying 1 1 - find the denouement of
my story. 1 feel that it is just within
mf grasp; ami yet I cannot seem to
see it yet. Hut I can listen to you while
I am thinking, boon.”
“1 have not any story to toll,” said
Sprague, somewhat offended at his
triend’s apparent indifference to what
he had to say.
“Oh, yes. you have." retorted Stur
gis, with a conciliatory smile; "you
said you had news to tell me. Well, tell
may. 1 am listening most respectful
ly, in spite of my apparent absorp
“Whai a strange fellow you are, Stur
gis," laughed Sprague, good-naturedly.
"All 1 wanted to tell you—and you are
the first to hear of it—is the, to me,
rather important fact that 1 am en
gaged to be married."
“You are?" exclaimed Sturgis, with
genuine pleasure. "1 congratulate you,
old fellow, from the bottom of my
He seized the artist's hand and shook
:t in his hearty grasp.
“To tin- original of the picture you
wanted to show me yesterday?” he
"Then sin- was not betrothed to tlie
other fellow, after all?"
“No; that seems to have been a mis
"1 am glad of that, very glad.” said
the reporter. "Hy the way. you have
not yet told me the young lady's
"L thought I had mentioned it yes
terday morning. Didn’t 1? No? My
fiancee is Miss Murdock."
At the sound of this name Sturgis
started visibly, and a shadow crossed
"Miss Murdock?” he echoed.
“Yisaid Sprague. "What is it?
You do not seem pleased.”
Then, is a sudden thought struck
"I hope I am not trending on your
oes. old fellow.” he said, putting his
hand gently upon his friend’s shoul
der and trying to rend his .bought iii
his clear gray eyes. “Hul howabsurtl!
Of course you cannot be a rival for
Miss Murdock’s affections, since you
do not even know her—"
“No," laughed Sturgis, regaining his
composure, "1 am not y our rival. As to
tlie other point, while I can hardly
claim an acquaintance with the young
lady. 1 think I saw her not more than
a couple of hours ago.”
"A couple of hours ago!" exclaimed
Sprague; "why, I was w ifh her myself
"1 know that now, although 1 was
not aware of it at the time.”
"What, were you at the Murdocks’at
the same time as 1 was?” asked
"1 had just come from there when
i ir• } you. ! was in Murdock's study
while you were—er —busy in the par
"In Murdoch's study? How long
were you there?”
“About half an hour, T should judge.”
replied Sturgis, "and perhaps 15 min
utes more in the hall, while Murdock
"I suppose Chatham was still with
him?” mused Sprague.
Sturgis started at the name.
“Chatham!” lie ejaculated; "what do
you know about Chatham?”
"What, are you interested in Chat
ham?” asked the artist, curiously. “I
BEGAN TO SEETHE AND BOIL.
know very little about him, only that
In is one of my disappointed rivals."
And he thereupon related to the re
porter what he knew of Chatham's
Sturgis listened with deep attention
to his friend’s narrative, and 11 ini anted
in silence long after the artist hud
At last he started up with a sudden
clamalion, and, walking over to the
side of the lank, he looked lulu the
depths if jt oily contents, a- if fas
cinate)! by sonic horrible tli’r.j he £ ,aw
Sprague came and stood hi side him
and prized curiously into the viscous
liquid. There was nothing then that
he could see.
“W hat is it?" he asked.
Without ft plying. Sturgis took from
his pocket a hone-handled knife and
carefully dipped one end of the handle
into the fluid in the leaden tank. At
once the liquid began to s.ethe and
boil, giving - out dark, pungent fumes.
"1 thought so.” muttered the re
porter. under Ids breath; ‘‘that man is
truly a gt i ins—-the genius of evil.”
“Who?” asked Sprague.
Sturgis made no reply. His eyes
were wandering about the room, as if
in search of something.
“Hand me a couple of those long
glass tubes from that shelf yonder,”
he said, earnestly.
The artist complied with the request.
Dipping these tubes into the oily
liquid, Sturgis, after considerable ditli
culty. managed to seize with them a
small dark object which lay at the Ii t
tom of the tank. With infinite precau
tion he brought it to the surface. It
had the appearance of a flatten) and lead
“What is it?” inquired Sprague.
“Sit down," answered Sturpi in a
low. tense voice. “I have Just found
the last link which completes my eha'i;
of evidence: I am now pro pa veil to tell
yon such a story as you will scarcely
credit, even with the absolute proofs
Till; LEAD-LINED VAT.
Sprague seated himself up) u the
long pine box: and Sturgis, dropping
into the only chair, began his narrat iv.
As he talked, he carelessly whittled
ihi' cover of the wooden bov with the
knife which he still held in his hand,
lie began with an account of his in
vestigation at the Knickerbocker bank,
and explained the result of Ills obsc rva
tions and inferences down to the time
and his visit to Murdock's house, omit
ting. however, to mention any of tiie
names of the actors in the reconstruct
“So you see." he concluded, “we have
established the identity of the body
in the cab. and of the young man who
disappeared after the cab was npsi t.
But one of the most salient features
of the ease, from the start, was the
fact that neither of these two men
had derived much, if any. pecuniary
profit from his crime. The bookkeep
er. its we have seen, was a mere cat's
paw in the control of the accountant,
ami his posthumous confession has
given us the explanation of the power
exerted over him by bis accomplice.
It was not so easy to establish the
"unlive which controlled the actions of
he accountant, who was himself only
a tool in the hands of a higher intelli
gence. The dens ex innehinn of this
•rime is a man of genius who lias hardly
ppeared upon the scene .-it all. but
whose traces I have found at every
turn. He was the brains of the whole
rheme; the other men in his hands
were mere puppets. Through the ac
countant. this masterspirit managed
the bookkeeper: and (he accountant
himself was controlled by him more
lireetly. but no less surely. If he held
he former through his fear of expo
si;"e and consequent ruin, ho influenced
the latter through even more potent
motives. He is the father of a beauti
ful girl, whom he did not scruple to
use as a decoy. The price agn and upon
for the accountant‘s assistance was t lie
hand of this daughter, for whom the
young man had doubtless conceived a
passionate love. Whether of not the
leader would have had tl < power to
carryout Ids part of the eoul raet mat
ters littb : for it is highly prob; ble that
he never had the slightest intention of
so doing. He evidently realized very
early in the game that the b> ikkeeper
• •mild not long escape the clutches of
the law. Hut as he had taken every
precaution to prevent him from know
ing any thing of his very exist) nee, the
fate of the unfortunate bookkeeper
would have mattered little to this
h artle.-- villain, had not the probabil
ity remained that, when brought to
ay, tin bookkeeper would denounce
the aeeonntart's connection with the
■ rime. 1 iii.- would have latii < xtreme
ly awkward, since the aceou taut was
very I k) ly in possession of -nine dan
gerons secrets. The .if■ ; 1 w. y out of
the diflieulty was to quietly ippress
i he now useless bookkeeper. is,plun
was decided upon, anil w ouhl ■ nibtless
have be en carried into ex- . t'mn, had
not fate otherwise decreed. \Herthe
bookkeeper’s death, under tie eirctim
-tanees which I have relateil.il became
quite probable that the aer. uni ant's
connection with the ease wo ibe dis
covered; for lock had bei n against
him from the start, ami he became
more and more entangled in the chain
of eircniostantial evidence of whose
existence his lender was soon fully
aware. In the first place, tin account
ant "its wounded; and thn not only
partially disabled, but also what is
far worse—conspicuously marked, A
man who carries his arm in a ling can
hardly fail to tit tract attention, espe
cially when this distinguishing mark
is accompanied by another equally
glaring one in the form of a head of
brilliant red hair—”
“Hold on, Sturgis!” Interrupted
Sprague, who had been listening with
growing interest; “don't you know the
“Ves." replied the reporter; “his
name is Thomas Chatham.”
“Thomas Chatham!” exclaimed
Sprague, as the image of the miserable
voting man came to his mind.
"Vefi," replieil Sturgis, answering his
thought, “the man you met only a few
There was a brief silence, broken at
last by Sprague, who asked:
"Has lie escaped?”
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“That depends upon how we look at
it," he sai I, gravely, at length; "he lias
paid the penalty of his crimes."
"What do you mean?"
‘ Te is dead." answered the' reporter.
“Dead? I tut I tell you I saw him —"
"I know; hut he has died since."
"No;" the reporter’s voice sank to a
"Murder?" repented the artist, star
tled. “Hut how do you know 1 hat ?"
"This lump of lead tells the story,”
said Sturgis, holding up the shapeless
piece of metal which he had taken out
iif the vat.
“What is it? A bullet?"
"Yes; the bullet which Chatham car
ried in his arm from the time that he
wits wounded by Arbngnst, the bull’d
w hieh has enabled me to t race him step
by step, from his flight from the over
turned cab to Dr. Thurston’s and finally
to his death in this very room; the
bullet whose peculiar shape is record
ed in this shadow picture taken by
Thurston by means of the Roentgen
So saying, he banded Sprague (he
photograph. Hut the artist had ceased
“In this very room ?" he mused aloud,
looking about him with awe.
‘■'tes. The story is simple enough.,
I’he man whose instrument Chatham
was is not one who would care to be
.lumbered up with tools, which become
posit i\ely dangerous as soon as they
cease to be list fill. This mail, totally
unhampered hy pity, grid il title or fear,
letcrininet! to destroy the accountant,
whose discovery might have imperiled
ids own welfare. What mattered a
human life or two, when weighed
against the possible loss of his own
life or liberty, or of Ids high social
standing and his i nornions wealth; for
tliis man is both renowned and rich,
ami he appears to have brought whole
stile murder to a science."
"Do you mean to say that wholesale
murder can be indulged in with im
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