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The Blackfoot optimist. [volume] (Blackfoot, Idaho) 1907-1918, April 08, 1915, Image 3

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Exploits of Elaine
A Detective Novel and a Motion Picture Drama
The Well-Known Novelist and tho II
| Creator of the "Craig Kennedy" Stories ||
Presented in Collaboration With the Pathe Players and the Eclectic Film Company
Copyright, 1914, by the Star Company All Foreign Bight» iteeerved
■erleg of murders and other crimes,
principal clue to the criminal is the warn.
Ing letter which Is sent the victims, signed
with a "clutching hand." T'*e latest vic
tim of the mysterious assassin Is Taylor
Dodge, the Insurance president. His
daughter, Elaine, employs Craig Kennedy,
the famous scientific detective, to try to
unravel the mystery. What Kennedy ac
complishes Is told by his friend Jameson,
a newspaper man. Enraged at the deter
mined effort which Elaine and Craig Ken
nedy are making to put an end to his
crimes, the Clutching Hand, as this
strange criminal Is known, resorts to all
■ sorts of the most diabolical schemes to
put them out of the way. Each chapter
of the story tells of a new plot against
their lives and of the way the great de
tective uses all his skill to save this pret
ty girl and himself from death.
With the ominous forefinger of his
Clutching Hand extended, the Master
Criminal emphasized his instructions
lo his minions.
"Perry Bennett, her lawyer, is in
favor again with Elaine Dodge," he
was saying. "She and Kennedy are
on the outs even yet. But they
may become reconciled. Then she'll
have that fellow on our trail again,
before that happens we must 'get' her
It was in the latest headquarters
to which Craig had chased the crim
inal, in one of the toughest parts of
j New York's great river front section,
j "Now,"'vvent on the Clutching Hand,
!'I want you, Slim, to follow them.
I See what they do—where they go. It's
: her birthday. Something's bound to
j occur that will give you a lead. All
; you've got to do is to use your head.
jGet me?"
I ****** *
; It was, as Clutching Hand had said.
] Elaine's birthday. She had received
(many callers and congratulations, in
j numerable costly and beautiful to
jUens of remembrance from her count
j less friends and admirers. In the
j conservatory of the Dodge house
] Elaine, Aunt Josephine and Susie Mar
|tin were sitting discussing not only
ithe happy occasion, but more, the many
j strange events of the past few weeks.
"Well, said a familiar voice behind
jthem, "what would a certain blonde
j young lady accept as a birthday pres
sent from her family lawyer?"
; All three turned in surprise.
: "Oh, Mr. Bennett," cried Elaine,
j "How you startled us!"
; Elaine hesitated. She was thinking
jnot 'bo much of his words as of Ken
jnedy. To them all, however, it
! seemed that she was unable to make
jup her mind what, in the wealth of
I her luxury, what she would like,
j Susie Martin had been wondering
j whether, now that Bennett was here,
jshe was not de trop, as she looked, at
jher wrist watch mechanically. As
jshe did so, an idea occurred to her.
I "Why not one of these?" she cried
j impulsively, indicating the watch. "Fa
Ither has some beauties at the shop."
; "Oh. good," exclaimed Elaine, "how
j sweet!"
j "Then let's all go to the shop," said
■ Bennett. "Miss Martin will personally
(conduct the tour, and we shall have
jour pick of the finest stock."
j It was too gay a party to notice a
j sinister figure following them in a cab.
I Chatting with animation, the three
; moved over to the watch counter,
iwhile the crook, with a determination
jnot to risk missing anything, entered
ithe shop door, too.
j "Mr. Thomas," asked Susie as her
(father's clerk bowed to them, "please
(show Miss Dodge the wrist watches
(father was -telling about."
j Unobserved, the crook walked over
jnear enough to hear what was going
j At last, with much banter and yet
Icare, Elaine selected one that was in
jdeed a beauty and was about to snap
jit on her dainty wrist when the clerk
j "I beg your pardon," he suggested,
j"but I'd advise you to leave it to be
(regulated, if you please."
Reluctantly Elaine handed It over
to the clerk.
A moment later they went out and
entered the car again.
As they did so, Slim, who had been
ooking over various things in the
ext case as if undecided, came up to
watch counter.
"I'm making a present," he remarked
nfldentally to the clerk. "How about
se bracelet watches?"
The clerk pulled out some of the
;aper ones.
No," he said thoughtfully, pointing
t a tray in the showcase, "something
e ended by picking out one iden
ly like that which Elaine had se
d, and started to pay for it.
etter have It regulated," repeated
o," he objected hastily, shaking
«ad and paying the money quick
ly. "It's a present—and I want it to
He took the watch and left the store
In the laboratory, Kennedy was
working over an oblong oak box, per
eighteen inches in length and
hair as high, m the hox 1 could see,
besides other apparatus, two good
sized spools of fine wire.
"What's all that?" 1 asked inquisi
"Another of the new instruments
that scientific detectives use," he re
sponded, scarcely looking up, "a little
magnetic wizard, the telegraphone."
"Which is?" I prompted.
"Something we detectives might use
to take down and 'can' telephone con
versations and other such conversa
tions. When it is attached properly
to a telephone, it records everything
that Is said over the wire. The record
ia not made mechanically on a cylin
der, but electro-magnetlcally on this
Craig continued to tinker tantallz
ingly with the machine which had
been invented by a Dane, Valdemar
He had scarcely finished testing the
telegraphone when the laboratory door
opened and a clean-cut young man
Kennedy, I knew, had found that the
routine work of the Clutching Hand
case was beyond his limited time and
had retained this young man, Raymond
Chase, to attend to that.
Just now what worried Craig was
the situation with Elaine, and I fan
cied that he had given Chase some
commission in connection with that.
"I've got it, Mr. Kennedy," greeted
Chase with quiet modesty.
"Good," responded Craig heartily. "I
knew you would."
"Got what?" I asked a moment later.
Kennedy nodded for Chase to an
'T've located the new residence of
Flirty Florrie," he replied.
I saw what Kennedy was after at
once. Flirty Florrie and Dan the Dudu
had caused the quarrel between him
self and Elaine. Dan the Dude was
dead. But Flirty Florrie might be
forced to explain it.
"That's fine," he added, exultingly.
"Now I'll clear that thing up."
He took a hasty step to the tele
phone, put his hand on the receiver
and was about to take It off the
hook. Then he paused, and I saw
his face working.
Finally his pride, for Kennedy's was
a highly sensitive nature, got the bet
ter of him.
"No," he said, half to himself, "not
• • • • • * , •
Elaine had returned home.
Alone, her thoughts naturally went
back to what had happened recently
to interrupt a friendship which had
been the sweetest in her life.
"There must be some mistake," she
murmured pensively to herself, think
ing of the photograph Flirty had given
her. "Oh, why did I send him away?
Why didn't I believe him?"
Mechanically, she put out her hand
to the telephone.
She was about to take off the re
ceiver, , when something seemed to
stay her hand. She wanted him to
come to her.
• ••••••
Craig's eye fell on the telegraphone.
and an idea seemed to occur to him.
"Walter, you and Chase bring that
thing along." he said a moment later
At last we came to the apartment
house at which Clia3e had located the
"Now, Chase," he directed, "you
needn't go in with us. Walter and 1
can manage this now. But don't get
out of touch with me. I shall need
you any moment—certainly, tomor
Kennedy slipped on a badge in
scribed: "Telephone inspector."
"Walter," he smiled, "you're elect
ed my helper."
We entered the apartment house
hall and found a negro boy in charge
of the switchboard.
"You look over the switchboard.
Kelly," he winked at me, "while 1 test
out the connections back here. There
must be something wrong with the
wires or there wouldn't be so many
He had gone back to the switch
board while the negro, still unsuspi
cious, watched without understanding
what it was all about.
"I don't know," Craig muttered final
ly for the benefit of the boy, "but I
think I'll have to leave that tester,
after all. Say, If I put it here, you'll
have to be careful not to let anyone
meddle with it. If you do, there'll be
the deuce to pay. See?"
Kennedy had already started to fas
ten the telegraphone to the wires he
had selected from the tangle.
At last he finished and stood up.
"Don't disturb it and don't let any
one else touch it," he ordered. "Bet
ter not tell anyone—that's the best
way. I'll be back for it tomorrow,
"Yas, sah," nodded the boy, with a
bow, as he went out.
Back in the new hang-out, the
Clutching Hand was laying down the
law to his lieutenants and heelers,
when Slim at last entered.
"Huh!" growled the master crim
inal, conveying the fact that he was
considerably relieved to see him at
last. "Where have you been? I've i
been off on a little job myself, and;
got back."
Slim apologized profusely.
"Yes, sir," he replied hastily, "well,
I went over to the Dodge house, and
I saw them finally. I followed them
Into a jewelry shop. That lawyer
bought a wrist watch. So I bought one
just like it. I thought perhaps we
"Give it to me," growled Clutching!
Hand, seizing it the moment Slim dis-,
played it. "And don't butt in—see?"
From the capacious desk the mas-!
ter criminal pulled a set of Bmalli
drills, vises, and other jeweler's tools
and placed them on the table.
"All right," he relented. "Now, do :
you see what I have just thought of-—
no? This is just the chance. Look at
Carefully he plied his hands to the
job, regardless of time.
"There," he exclaimed at last, hold
ing the watch where they could all'
see It. "See!"
He pulled out the stem to set the
hands and slowly twisted It between
his thumb and finger. He turned the
hands until they were almost at the
point of three o'clock.
Then he held the watch out where
all could see.
As the minute hand touched three,!
from the back of the case, as if from
the chasing Itself, a little needle, per-j
haps a quarter of an inch, jumped out.!
It seemed to come from what looked;
like merely a small Insect in the deco-!
ration. j
"You see what will happen at the!
hour of three?" he asked.
No one said a word, as he held up :
a vial which he had drawn from his!
pocket. On It they could read the la-'
bei, "Ricinus."
"One of the most powerful poisons'
In the world," l»e exclaimed. "Enough 1
to kill a regiment!"
They fairly gasped and looked at It!
with horror, exchanging glances.:
Opening the vial carefully, he .
dipped in a thin piece of glass and
placed a tiny drop In a receptacle
back of the needle and on the needle
"I've set my invention to go off at
three o'clock," he concluded. "To
morrow forenoon, it will have to be
delivered early—and I don't believe
we shall be troubled any longer by
Miss Elaine Dodge," he added, ven
Calmly he wrapped up the appar
ently innocent engine of destruction
and handed it to Slim.
"See that she gets it in time," he
said merely.
"I will, sir," answered Slim, taking
It gingerly.
Flirty Florrie had returned that aft
ernoon, late, from some expedition
on which she had been sent.
Rankling in her heart yet was the
death of her lover, Dan the Dude.
Thus, when she arrived home, she
went to the telephone to report and
called a number, 4494 Greenwich.
"Hello, chief," she repeated. "This
is Flirty. Have you done anything
Craig Kennedy Seized Elaine's Arm,
Ripped the Watch
yet in the little matter We talked
"Say—he careful of names—over
the wire," came a growl.
"You know—what I mean."
"Yes. The trick will be pulled off
at three o'clock."
"Good!" she exclaimed. "Good-by
and thank you."
With his well-known caution
Clutching Hand did not even betray
names over the telephone if he could
help it.
Flirty hung up the receiver with
satisfaction. The manes of the de
parted Dan might soon rest In peace!
• ••••••
The next day, early In the forenoon,
a young man with a small package
carefully done up came to the Dodge
"From Martin's, the jeweler's, for
Miss Dodge," he said to Jennings at
the door.
Elaine and Aunt Josephine were
sitting in the library when Jennings
announced him. '
"Oh, it's my watch," cried Elaine.
"Show him in."
Elaine put the watch on her wrist
and admired it.
"Is it all right?" asked Slim.
"Yes. yes," answered Elaine. "You
may go."
Early the same morning Kennedy
went around again to the apartment
house and, cautious not to he seen
by Flirty, recovered the telegraphone
Together we carried it to the labora
There he set up a little Instrument
that looked like a wedge sitting up on
end, in the face of which was a dial.
Through it he began to run the wire
from the spools, and, taking an ear
piece, put another on my head over
my ears.
He turned a switch and we listened
First came several calls from peo
ple with bills, and she put them off
most adroitly.
Then we heard a call that caused
Kennedy to look at me quickly, stop
the machine and start at that point
over again.
"That's what I wanted," he said, as
we listened in:
"Give me 4494 Greenwich."
"Hello, chief. This Is Flirty. Have
you done anything yet In the little
matter we talked about?"
"Say—be careful of names—over
the wire."
"You know—what I mean."
"Yes, the trick will be pulled off at
three o'clock."
"Good! Good-by, and thank you!"
Craig paused and considered a min
ute, then moved to the telephone.
"There's only one thing to do, and
that's to follow out my original
scheme," he said energetically. "In
formation, please."
"Where is Greenwich 4494?" he
asked a moment later.
The minutes passed. "Thank you,
sir," he cried, writing down on a pad
an address on the West side, near
the river front. Then turning to me,
lie exclaimed, "Walter, we've got him
at last!"
Craig rose and put on his hat and
coat thrusting a pair of opera glasses
into his pocket, in case we should
want to observe the place at a dis
tance. I followed him excitedly. The
trail was hot.
• ••••••
Kennedy and I came at last to the
place on the West side where the
crooked streets curved off.
Instead of keeping on until he came
to the plane we sought, he turned off
and quickly slipped behind the shelter
of a fence. There was a broken board
in the fence and he bent down, gaz
ing through with the opera glasses.
Across the lot was the new hang
out, a somewhat dilapidated, old-fash
ioned brick house of several genera
ticftis back. Through the glass we
could see an evil-countenanced crook
slinking along. He mounted the steps
and rang the bell, turning as he
From a small aperture In the door
way looked out another face, equally
evil. Under cover, the crook made
the sign of the Clutching Hand twice
and was admitted.
"That's the place, all right.," whis
pered Kennedy with satisfaction He
hurried to a telephone booth, where
he called several numbers. Then we
returned to the laboratory.
From the table he picked up a
Broke the Beautiful Bracelet and
Off Her Wrist.
small coil over which I had seen him
working and attached it to the bell
and some batteries. He replaced it
on the table, while I watched curi
"A selenium cell," he explained.
"Only when light falls on it does it
become a good conductor of electrici
ty. Then the bell will rtng."
Just before making the connection
lie placed his hat over the cell. Then
he lifted the hat. The light fell on
it and the bell rang. He replaced the
hat and the bell stopped.
Just then there came a 'knock at
the door. I opened it.
"Hello, Chase," greeted Kennedy.
"Well, 1 ve found the new headquar
ters all right—over on the West side."
Kennedy picked up the selenium
cell and a long coil of fine wire,
which he placed in a bag. Then he
took another bag already packed, and,
shifting them between us, we hurried
Near the vacant lot, hack of the
new headquarters, was an old broken
(low- house. Through the rear of it
we entered.
I started bank in astonishment as
we entered and found eight or ten
policemen already there. Kennedy
had ordered them to be ready for a
raid, and they had dropped in one at
a time without attracting attention.
"Well, men," he greeted them, 'T
you found the place all right
Now, In a little while Jameson will
return with two wires. Attach them
to the bell which I will leave here
When it rings, raid the house. Jame
son will lead you to it. Come, Wal
ter," he added, picking up the bags.
• *••**•
Ten minutes later, outside the new
headquarters, a crouched-up figure,
carrying a small package, his face
hidden under his soft hat and up
turned collar, could have been seen
slinking along until he came to the
He went up and peered through the
aperture of the doorway'. Then he
rang the bell. Twice he raised his
hand and clenched It in the now fa
miliar clutch.
A crook inside saw it through the
aperture and opened the door. The
figure entered and almost before the
door was shut tied the masking hand
kerchief over his face, which hid his
identity from even the most trusted
lieutenants. The crook bowed to the
chief, who, with a growl as though of
recognition, moved down the hall.
As he came to the room from which
Slim had been sent on his mission,
the same group was seated in the
thick tobacco smoke.
"You fellows clear out," he growled.
"1 want to be alone."
"The old man is peeved," muttered
one, outside, as they left.
The weird figure gazed about the
room to be sure that he was alone.
• ••••••
When Craig and 1 left the police he
had given me most minute instruc
tions which I was now following out
to the letter.
"I want you to hide there," he said,
indicating a barrel back of the house
next to the hangout. "When you see a
wire come down from the headquar
ters, take It and carry it across the
lot to the old house. Attach it to the
bell; then wait. When It rings, raid
the Clutching Hand joint."
I waited what seemed to be an In
terminable time back of the barrel.
Finally, however, I saw a coil of fine
wire drop rapidly to the ground from
a window somewhere above. 1 made a
dash for it, as though I were trying to
rush the trenches, seized my prize
and, without looking back to see where
it came from, beat a hasty retreat.
Around the lot 1 skirted, until at
last I reached the place where the
police were waiting. Quickly we
fastened the wire to the bell.
We waited.
Not a sound from the bell.
• •*••••
Up In the room in the joint the
hunched-up figure stood by the table.
He had taken his hat off and placed it
carefully ou the table and was now
Suddenly a noise at the door startled
him. He listened. Then he backed
away from the door and drew a revol
As the door slowly opened there en
tered another figure, hat over his eyes,
collar up, a handkerchief over his
face, the exact counterpart of the
For a moment each glared at the
"Hands up!" shouted the first fig
ure, hoarsely, moving the gun and
closing the door with his foot.
The newcomer slowly raised his
crooked hand over liis head, as the blue
steel revolver gaped menacingly.
With a quick movement of the other
hand the first sinister figure removed
the handkerchief from his face and
straightened up.
It was Kennedy!
"Come over to the center of the
room," ordered Kennedy.
Clutching Hand obeyed, eyeing his
captor closely.
"Now lay your weapons on the ta
He tossed down a revolver.
The two still faced each other.
"Take off that handkerchief!"
It was a tense moment. Slowly
Clutching Hand started to obey. Then
he stopped. Kennedy was just about
to thunder, "Go on," when the criminal
calmly remarked, "You've got ME all
right, Kennedy, but in twenty minutes
Elaine Dodge will be dead!''
He said it with a nonchalance that
might have deceived anyone less as
tute than Kennedy. Suddenly there
(lashed over Craig the words: "THE
There was no fake about that. Ken
nedy frowned menacingly. If he
killed Clutching Hand, Elaine would
die. If he fought he must either kill
or be killed. If he handed Clutching
Hand over Elaine was lost. He looked
at his watch. It was twenty-five min
utes of three.
"What do you mean—tell me?" de
manded Kennedy with forced cairn.
"Yesterday Mr. Bennett bought a
wrist watch for Elaiue," the Clutching
Hand said quietly. "They left it to
be regulated. One of my men bought
one just like it. Mine was delivered
to her today."
"A likely story!" doubted Kennedy
For answer the Clutching Hand
merely pointed to the telephone.
Kennedy reached for it.
"One thing," interrupted the Clutch
ing Hand. "You are a man of honor."
"Yes—yea. Go on."
"If I tell you what to do, you must
promise to give me a fighting chance."
"Yes, yes."
"Call up Aunt Josephine, then. Do
Just as I say."
Covering Clutching Hand. Kennedy
called a number. "This is Mr. Ken
nedy, Mrs. Dodge. Did Elaine receive
a present of a wrist watch from Mr.
"Yes," she replied, "for her birth
day. It came this forenoon."
Kennedy hung up the receiver and
faced the Clutching Hand, puzzled as
the latter said: "Call up Martin, the
Again Kennedy obeyed.
"Has the watch purchased for Miss .
Claine Dodge been delivered?" he
usked the cierk.
"No," came back the reply, "the
watch Mr. Bennett bought is still here
being regulated."
Kennedy hung up the receiver. He
was stunned.
"The watch will cause her death at
three o'clock," said the Clutching
Hand. "Swear to leave here without
discovering ray Identity and I will tell
you how. You can save her! In that
watch," he hissed, "I have set a poi
soned needle In a spring that will be
released and will plunge it into her
arm at exactly three o'clock. On the
needle is ricinus!"
Craig advanced, furious. As he did
so Clutching Hand pointed calmly to
the clook. It was twenty minutes of
With a mental struggle Kennedy
controlled his loathing of the creature
before him.
"All right—but you'll hear from
me—sooner than you suspect," he
shouted, starting for the door.
Then he came back and lifted hlS'
hat, hiding as much as possible the
selenium cell, letting the light fall
on It.
"Only Elaine's life has saved you."
With a last threat he dashed Qut.
He hailed a cab, returning from some
steamship wharves not far away.
"Quick!" he ordered, giving the
Dodge address on Fifth avenue.
Minute after minute the police and
I waited. Was anything wrong?
Where was Craig?
Just then a tremor grew Into a
tinkle, then came the strong burr of
the bell. Kennedy needed us.
With a shout of encouragement to.
the men I dashed out and over to the
old house.
Meanwhile Clutching Hand himself
had approached the table to recover
his weapon and had noticed the queer
little selenium cqll.
"The deuce!" he cried. "He's
planned to get me anyhow!"
Clutching Hand rushed to the door—
then stopped short. Outside he could
hear the police and myself.
Clutching Hand slammed shut his
door and pulled down over It a heavy
wooden bar.
At the desk he paused and took out
a piece of cardboard. Then, with a
heavy black-marking pencil, he calmly
printed on it, while we battered at the
barricaded door, a few short feet away.
He laid the sign on the desk, then
on another piece of cardboard, drew
crudely a hand with the index finger
pointing. This he placed on a chair,
indicating the desk.
Just as the swaying and bulging
door gave way, Clutching Hand gave
the desk a pull. It opened up—his get
He closed It with a sardonic smile
in our direction, just as the door
crashed in.
We looked about. There was not a
soul In the room, nothing but the sele
nium cell, the chairs, the desk.
"Look!" I cried, catching sight of
the index finger, and going over to the
We rolled back the top. There on
the flat top was a sign:
Dear Blockheads:
Kennedy and I couldn't wait.
Then came that mysterious sign of
the Clutching Hand.
We hunted over the rooms, but
could find nothing that showed a clue.
Where was Clutching Hand? Where
was Kennedy?
In the next house Clutching Hand
had literally come out of an upright
piano into the room corresponding to
that he had left. Hastily he threw off
his handkerchief, slouch hat, old coat
and trousers. A neat striped pair of
trousers replaced the old, frayed and
baggy pair. A new shirt, then a sporty
vest and a frock coat followed.
As he put the finishing touches on
he looked for all the world like a be
whiskered foreigner.
At the door of the new headquarters,
a few seconds later, I stood with the
"Not a sign of him anywhere,"
growled one of the officers.
Elaine was sitting in the library
reading when Aunt Josephine turned
to her.
"What time is it, dear?" she asked.
Elaine glanced at her pretty new
"Nearly three, Auntie—just a couple
of minutes," she said.
Just then there came the sound of
feet running madly down the hallway.
They jumped up, startled.
Kennedy, his coat flying and hat
jammed over his eyes, had almost
bowled over poor Jennings in his mad
race down the hall.
"Well," demanded Elaine haughtily,
Before she knew what was going on
Craig hurried up to her and literally
ripped the watch off her wrist, break
ing the beautiful bracelet.
He held it up, gingerly. Elaine was
speechless. Was this Kennedy? Was
he possessed by such an inordinate
jealousy of Bennett?
As he held the watch up, the second
haid ticked around and the minute
hand passed the meridian of the hour.
A viciously sharp needle gleamed
out—then sprang back into the filigree
work again.
"Well," she gasped again, "what's
the meaning of this?"
Craig gazed at Elaine in silence.
Should he defend his rudeness, if
she did not understand? She stamped
her foot, and repeated the question a
third time.
"What dc. you mean, sir, by such
Slowly he bowed.
"I just don't like the kind of birth
day presents you receive," he said,
turning on his heel. "Good afternooq!"

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