Newspaper Page Text
This story throbs with real
ism in the word's narrowest
meaning. It is a faithful ren
dering of an authentic experi
ence in the career of a high
official of a detective agency
whose name is a household
word throughout the English
speaking world. Real names of
persons and places are some
times disguised. In all other re
spects the amazing, often thrill
ing, always gripping facts are
recorded just as they happened.
"A million and a half," observed
Felix Hazard. "That is a whole lot
"Huh!" grunted the fat, heavy
Jowled man who sat glowering at him
through a pair of gold-rimmed nose
glasses. "A whole lot more than the
Transcontinental Express company
can afford to lose, let me tell you."
Hazard's lean, intense visage was
frankly incredulous. He glanced at
the inscrutable countenance of his
burly chief (the four were in the lat
ter's room at the Sutherland Detec
tive agency), and then at the fourth
member of the partya young man,
tall, slender, very fair and anemic
looking, and fastidiously attired.
"A million and a half," repeated
Hazard. "Robbing express wagons and
vans, it "would appear, has been ele
vated from the level of petty larceny
to the lofty rank of an exact science."
"Very true," admitted the president
of the Transcontinental. "But it hap
pens that we are up against the real
thing in roguery. Such outrages can
be perpetrated only by a well-organ
ized gang of intelligent rascals.
"Besides, don't think for a minute
that they are going it blind, they
never take anything but valuable
"Is that true?" Hazard suddenly
"True'" the other stormed. "Haven't
I every reason for knowing how true
it is? Humph!"
"I'll tell you in a few words," went
on the latter as soon as his choler
subsided, "how it was possible for our
losses to mount up to such a prodi
gious amount within the period of little
more than nine weeks. The scoundrels
ar operating all over the country.
Stuff stolen in one city is shipped to
another to be disposed ofhere, there,
everywhere it is gone before we can
get track of it. A few weeks more
at the same rate and the Transconti
nental will be on the recks
"How do you kn that is their
method?" asked Hazard
"It is obvious. Of the th~usands
of dollars' worth of plunder taken
from our wagons right here in Chi
cago not a dollar's worth has teen
traced by the police nothing has
shown up through the regular crcok
channels. Or else th^ pclice are too
stupid to find anything
i "Has any other company besides
"If so it has kept the matter con
The pale young man, who so far
had been indifferently attentive, even
bored, now interposed in a listless,
"They naturally would, you know,"
was his comment.
Hazard contemplated him a moment
and considered the two, father ard
son: Ferdinand Butler, head of one
of the country's largest corporations,
and Harry Butler, manager of the con
cern's most important office. He ad
dressed the son:
"You, I presume, personally took
the matter of the Chicago losses to
the police. What have they done?"
Harry Butler lit a cigarette and
flipped away the match. "Nothing,"
he replied unemotionally.
For some time the burly chief had
remained silent and motionless behind
the barricade of his desk. He now
"I suppose you appreciate the fact,
Mr. Butler, that this is a pretty big
undertaking. Leave the matter with
us a few days. You shall hear from
It may seem odd that a Sutherland
operative should not jnly be a guest
at an elaborate Lake Shore society
'function, but, by reason of her beauty,
grace and charm, that she should at
tract more attention than any of the
scores of other ladies who represent
ed the flower of Chicago's, as well as
some other cities', most exclusive and
This signal honor, if so it may he
regarded, fell to Helen Bertel on the
night following the conference with
At Helen's request no men were
presented save where introductions
were absolutetly unavoidable. As
may be imagined, more than one of
the men gained his point with the
hostebs, and the girl was obliged to be
agreeable for a time, then tactfully,
as she told Felix Hazard arterwards,
make a "graceful getaway."
One of these males, however, she
THE SECRET SIX
Taken from the
Notebook of an Old Detective
by Charles Edmonds Walk
And With Names end Pieces Hidden Published is a Prool That
Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction
seemed to find especially amusing. In
deed, Helen laughingly told her hos
tess as much when that lady offered
to relieve her of his embarrassing
presence. Mrs. Miller-Crosby was her
self a shrewd woman.
"My dear!" she protested in a hor
rified whisper. "You don't suspect.
Why, he is Han'y Butler, son
Said Helen soberly:
"I sincerely trust that no occasion
will arise for me to suspect anyone
here. It simply .occurred to me that
by attaching one man tonight I can
avoid seeming rude to others Mr.
Butler is less dull than some I have
been obliged to be pleasant to, that is
Observing that Harry Butler was
waiting close by, she excused herself
and rejoined him.
"Let's get out of this crowd," said
he. "Herethis way." And he guided
her deftly through the outer fringe of
In the conservatory they found a
seat amongst a screen of palms and
hanging baskets of orchids. Butler
"What do you think," he abruptly
began, "there are detectives here to
nightright among the guests, by
Jove! Nobody has any idea who they
are. Why, you might be one
Helen was so taken unawares that
she could not find words for a moment,
so surveyed the other in silence. She
knew that another Sutherland opera
tive, Ferndale, was present tonight,
and wondered whether he had been in
But Harry Butler revealed the
source of his information.
"Jack told me." (Jack was Mr. Mil
ler-Crosby, whom Helen mentally
blessed.) "But he wouldn't point 'em
out. Mighty mysterious about it. Told
me not to mention it to anybody else
The girl had recovered herself. She
favored the young man with one of
her rare smiles.
"And of courso you haven't," said
"Why, no of course not. Only to
you. You know, there's been no big,
swell affair this winter unless some
body's jewels have been stolen. Raf
fles, you know."
For some unexplained reason Helen
was on tenterhooks, alert, keyed up
with expectancy, as if something un
common were about to happen.
And at that very instant something
did happen. A woman screameda
piercing, agonizing scream that
shrilled above the .nurmur of voices,
above the sound of dancing feet and
the throbbing strains of the orchestra.
The two startec" fror^ their bench.
The scream was near at hand, just in
side a dooiway opening upon a short
gallery that connected with the la
dies' dressing-room. It rose in a climax
of mortal terror. Then came the
sharp, electrifying crack of an auto
A clatter of running feet. Si
While the outburst still thrilled
every hearer Helen was hastening to
the dressinx-rcom. Within that brief
period the tumult had begun and end
ed. Her companion was left behind,
forgotten. Dumfounded men wero
pouring in from the supper and ball
rooms. But she was just an instant
ahead of the first arrival just in time
to witness what the others missed.
In the corridor a man running to
ward the conservatory collided with
her in a headlong fashion that nearly
swept her from her feet. In the flash
ing vision she had of him she saw
that he was dressed formally that,
save for two extraordinary details, he
might have been any one of the male
But his right hand gripped a big
automatic pistol, and his features
were concealed by a black mask.
She recollected Harry Butler, then,
with a little pang of alarm yet, he
must take his chances. And surely,
after the shooting, he would not al
low a masked man to pass him in the
conservatory without making an ef
fort to stop him.
Her delay was only momentary. In
the dressing-room she first noticed
that a window was wide open, through
which an icy wind was "billowing the
curtains. Upon the floor lay a man
and a woman, motionless, apparently
lifeless. The woman she did not
know but the man was Ferndale, the
other Sutherland operative. His right
hand still clutched a blue-barreled au
Helen turned first to him, where
two or three of the men joined her,
and knelt beside him. A larger group
of both men and women gathered ex
citedly about the woman on the floor.
Experienced in such emergencies,
the girl's deft fingers soon ascertained
that Ferndale was not dead that the
blood clotting one side of his head
was merely from a torn scalp where a
steel-jacketed bullet had plowed its
Even while thus engaged she was
not insensible of the agitated ejacula
tions and disconnected remarks from
the second group.
"Mrs. Charters Murdered!
Who is that man?
Diamond dog-collar gene. He's
dead too. Pistol still in his
The men were now questioning
Helen regarding what had happened.
"I was not here," she explained
calmly, but rapidly. "I happened
to be near and arrived first. But it
is plain that a robbery has been com
mitted, and that this man, in trying to
protect the victim, was nearly mur
dered. One of the villains is still in
the house. He ran past me toward the
conservatory, where I left Mr. Butler."
A man went over to close the win
dow which opened upon the porte
cochere roof. At the very instant he
raised his hands to the sash an ex
cited outcry came up from below. The
words were plainly distinguishable in
side the room.
"Here's one of 'em' Fell
from the roof. Dead!
From the Miller-Crosby ball Helen
Bertel brought two important clues.
The first of these was a torn scrap
of note-paper that had been found
in Mrs. Charters' bodice. It suffices
to say of this that it afforded a strik
ing example of the thieves' resource
fulness in availing themselves of a
clandestine flirtation to lure Mrs.
Charters to the ladies' dressing-room
at a specified time. The note was
merely a scrawled line, signed with
the initials of a well-known name that
had frequently been coupled with the
dashing and wealthy young wHow'a.
Ferndale, with his eyes zealously
upon the costliest jewels at the ball,
was particularly solicitous of Mrs.
Charter's $40,000 diamond dog-collar.
Without, of course, imagining its
cause, as the hour for the tryst in the
dressing-room approached her increas
ing nervousness and agitation aroused
his curiosity, and when she slipped
furtively away he followed to the very
Thus he heard the first sounds of
tumult and struggle, and entered in
time to confront two masked men. The
three promptly commenced a three
cornered fusillade. Ferndale believed
which, a few minutes later, was dis
covered to be truethat he va
wounded the man who plunged
through the window.
Mrs. Charters was Insensible upon
the floor when he arrived, her rare
diamond ornament already reaved
from her throat. Otherwise she was
not in the least injured.
The masked man who collided with
Helen doubtless get rid of the telltale
face covering and mingled with the
guests for Harry Butler maintained
that he never even so much as saw an
armed masked man in the conserva
The most interesting clue, frcm
Hazard's viewpoint, had to do with
the man who fell into the snow from
thf porte-cochere rocf.
It transpired that he was not killed
r.cr even seri'usly injured but before
he recovered Helen fished fro'ii one of
his peckets a curious bit ot paper. It
was the peculiar particulars which
this sheet here that suggested the ap
pellation "The Secret Six," by which
later came to be distinguished one cf
the most notorious and daring bands
of criminals in the country's annals of
crime. The paper appeared thus:
No. 2 cover room & evit fm prt-eochere
roof No 4 pass bundle to No 1 at appted
place 3, 5 & 6 wait with auto as ordered
to cover re/reat & lend aid if necessary.
Thus it will be seen that the rob
bery was planned deliberately down
to its smallest detail.
Indeed, the plot was carried to a
successful and sensational climax
right at the massive stone pillars aha
huge wrought-iron grille that consti
tuted the Miller-Crosby gate. The
wounded man was being led away by
a policeman to await at the spot men
tioned the coming of a patrol-wagon,
already summoned. As the two
emerged upon th6 walk the police
man was set upon and overpowered
by three masked men, all armed with
businesslike automatics. The prison
er was bundled int aii automobile
and, right from the midst of a group
of curiousand frightenedchauf
feurs, whisked away into the night.
During the ensuing fortnight almost
the entire Sutherland force, not only
of the Chicago main office but at
every branch in the United States,
was bending every effort to run to
earth the "Secret Six" and their con
federates. But it was Felix Hazard
wlio finally drove the principal mem
bers of the crime syndicate to cover.
That the six principals for the time
being eluded the police was in a meas
ure disappointing but a more vital is
sue was at stake, one far more serious
than the capture of the criminals.
Helen Bertel at the time was in
The Transcontinental^ president,
only half convinced, sat like cno
"W-w-what you s-say isisdamme,
it's inconceivable!" he spluttered In
response to Hazard's asseverations.
"I can't see how it is possible."
Way, it Is quite simple," said
,jgai ib&^^Jtitmi&Ji&z^i&tf&kZi jtjjjStaa^ft^W-swb. ^ii
THE TOMAHAWK, WHITE EARTH, MINN.
Hazard patiently. "It yon will examine
the lists of the hundreds of parcels
that have been stolen, you will see
that every one of them was in some
way handled in the Chicago main of
ficethat is, either consigned here in
the first instance, or sent here fr?m
some other city, or else relayed here
while in transit.
"The deduction is inevitable that
somebody in the Chicago main office
has kept track of every valuable par
cel, doubtless marked them for identi
fication by the confederate chosen to
steal them. I presume they have a
"Another thing you may learn by
consulting the list of thefts: those in
Chicago were, without exception,
committed within a circumscribed
area, a territory comprising not more
than a half dozen city blocks. Do you
appreciate the significance of that cir
cumstance? It is thisa conclusion
I arrived at on the day of your first
visit here: the thefts could not go on
for so long uninterrupted without po
lice connivance. It is absurd to think
that any large number of the fore*
could be corrupted or coerced, so the
way they worked it was for the
wagons bearing marked parcels to
drive to a neighborhood known to be
'safe.' There the wagons could be
leisurely looted without fear of hin
"Another thing," Hazard pursued
"at least one of the six has entree to
Chicago's most fashionable society, as
accurate knowledge on their part of
Mrs. Philip Charters' intimate affairs
and the episode of the Miller-Crosby
ball indicate. For I am firmly con
vinced that the jewel and express
thieves are one and the same crowd."
Hazard's buzzer sprang into activ
ity. He snatched up his telephone
and received a message from the out
A messenger had just arrived with a
"Send him right in," ordered
Hazard and a few seconds later a
girl entered softly and laid an enve
lope upon his desk.
He ripped it open and hastily
scanned this note:
Suspect has been engaged off and on
all morning preparing what I think is
codp letter It is short, on single sheet,
size of postcard, and typewritten Five
of these are ready to mail. No chance to
see them Crawford
The reader's eyes lighted with sat
isfaction. He tore the sheet into tiny
bits, and after a moment's contem
plation of the abject figure opposite
"Mr. Butler, I believe the opportun
ity I have been waiting for is about
at hand. Tonight, or tomorrow night,
I believe the Secret Six will all meet
together somewhere. We have only
not to lose sight of the one whose
identity we are positive of to round
up the whole crowd."
Mr. Eutler went gloomily away, and
a few seconds later a brisk, dapper in
dividual breezed into Hazard's room.
His manner indicated suppressed ex
"What is it, Crawford?" quietly
"I've been fired," returned the other.
"A few minutes after I sent you the
note frcm the Transcontinental^
Dearborn street office a man entered
and was closeted with the suspect for
perhaps twenty minutes. When he
went away he had the five letters,
stamped, addressed, ready to mail.
Couldn't be trusted to any of the office
force, you see. I got my hat and
overcoat, meaning to follow him."
"Well?" "I was called hack and told to wait
a minute. I waited thirty. Then Mr.
Harry Butler called me into his pri
vate rffice and tolff me that if the
Sutherlands couldr't supply him with
a man more competent than I am,
why, he could get along without any.
Then he told me to beat itor words
to that effect."
"And the man who took the let-
"Of course I lost him. But I suc
ceeded in mugging him."
"Good! Give Miss Loftis the film
with instructions to make the usual
number of duplicates. Fill in a de
scription form, then get back on the
job. You mustn't lose sight of your
quarry for a second."
The evening of December 22 was
blustery and snowy and, outside the
limitPd radius of the street lamps,
almost unbelievably dark. As Helen
left the "L" station and hurried along
F.illert~n avenue in the direction of
Lincoln park and the lake (whence
dn ve the boisterous wind), her hands
elbow deep in a great muff, her chin
snuggled warmly in her sable collar,
her mind was animated by a single
thoughtto get to the bright coziness
of her two rooms as soon as possible.
In consequence she paid but slight
heed to a big closed touring car that
drew up at the curb and halted a few
yards ahead of her and when, as she
drew abreast of it and its tonneau
d^ora were flung open ani four
masked men poured out, she was
taken wholly by surprise.
A fifth masked man remained in the
In a twinkling she was surrounded.
Any direction she looked she peered
into the sinister muzzle of an auto
matic pistol. Before she had time
to collect her scattered wits a heavy
cloth was thrown over her head from
behind and twisted tight. Next she
was entirely enveloped in a long dark
mantle so that she became merely a
If she had been minded to raise an
outcry, it was impossible to do so
now. She had been afforded no time
even to free hands from the muff.
His Right Hand Gripped a Big Automatic Pistol and His Features Were Con
cealed by a Black Mask.
Her arms were clasped, not roughly
but firmly, to her sides. She felt her
skirts wrapped snugly around her
ankles. Then she was bodily lifted
and deposited in the automobile,
which at once plunged away, she could
not guess whither.
Not a word had been spoken by her
It would seem that the abductors
could have chosen an hour no more
suitable for the successful perpetra
tion of the outrage. Helen was help
less at the mercy of an unscrupulous
gang, and apparently without hope of
immediate succor from any source.
In a fashionable South side neigh
borhood things were happening, too,
on this memorable night of December
22. Despite the cold and storm and
wind-driven snow, in every cross
street bounding an area of which a
certain well-appointed flat-building
was the center, automobiles were
waiting. Muffled figures moved like
wraiths hither and thither, keeping
the house under surveillance from
every possible angle.
At eight a big touring car, cur
tained, dashed up to the curb, and
four muffled figures carried a shape
less bundle into the house. No one
was near enough at the moment to
form any conception of the bundle's
nature. The watchers saw it carried
Into the house. They heard the door
slammed. They saw the automobile
hurry away. Then they closed in,
tightening the cordon around the si
Up a flight of stairs the
bundle was carried, four men stagger
ing beneath its weight. It was de
posited gently upon a couch in a rich
ly furnished room, peculiar in that it
had no windows and only one door.
The four men withdrew, locking the
door after them, and the lights were
As soon as Helen cculd free herself
from the many folds in which she was
swathed, she found herself in pitch
black darkness, unhurtsave for her
outraged feelingsand without the
least idea of her whereabouts.
Outside, the cordon of de
tectives still waited and watched.
Only five men were known to be in
the house a sixth had not as yet beeu
A Sutherland operative on a near
by corner was startled by the appari
tion of a big, high-powered roadster
W' yl iySjj if JJjj
as it drove skidding through the snow
at break-neck speed. It halted within
a pace for him, and a white, pinched
face peered into his. A quavering
voice that he scarcely recognized de
moded to be told where Felix Hazard
might be found.
"Ferndale!" exclaimed the surprised
detective. "What's happened?"
"I must find Hazard right off. Miss
Bertel has been kidnaped."
The detective wasted no time in
talking. He whistled in a peculiar
manner. The whistle was taken up
and repeated, hither, yonder, from a
score of invisible sources, like the
echoing plaint of some night bird.
From out the dark and the swirling
snow Hazard appeared to the two.
He harkened to no more than a dozen
words of Ferndale's dismaying report,
when the quiet neighborhood began to
buzz like a disturbed beehive.
The lights in the prison room
came on slowly, and Helen beoam
aware of two ghostly, fantastic fig
ures who stood over by the door. Two
men they were, manifestly, albeit
each was entirely covered with a sort
of domino that hid every line.
With a swift, noiseless, gliding
movement, the two weird forms closed
in upon her but she deftly eluded
them. Then darkness again. Thus
handicapped amid strange surround
ings, she was obliged to yield when
each of her /rists was seized in a
She was propelled along the hall to
a stairway and up this to another
story. At last they halted before a
double door, which swung apart as if
by its own volition.
Filled with wonder, Helen surveyed
a spacious room draped wholly in
dead, lusterless blackfloor, walls
and ceiling. In the center of the floor
stood an oval table, around which
were arranged six chairs, all the
same ebon hue. Three of the chairs
were occupied by fantastic counter
parts cv the two robed figures holding
her wrists. The sole illumination was
from six wax tapers that burned at
each of the six places.
A pair of black velvet portieres part
ed at onp end cf the room and a sixth
figure entered one garbed from head
to foot in a long formless robe like
the others, with the exception that it
was snow-white instead of black. T'his
apparition seated itself at the hs^d of
For perhaps a full minute ti^re was
neither sound nor motion frcn any of
the strange masked compauy. Then
the white domino arose anr addressed
the others. At the first sound of his
voice Helen started and looked close
ly at the neutral robe that betrayed
nothing of its wearer's identity.
"You all have seen the captive i3
there any doubt as to her identity?"
There was no answer and the hol
low voice continued to issue from be
neath the mask.
"It is positive, is it, that she is a
detective from the Sutherland con-
The five ghoulish figures remained
silent, motionless, but Helen felt that
every eye was upon her. Then the
"What is your verdict?"
The white leader appeared to pon
der a minute. Then he announced:
The leader clapped his hands thrice,
and now entered a gigantic negro, as
black as the room's hangings. He car
ried a silken cord, perhaps a yard in
length. One end terminated in a loop
through which he passed the other
end, thus forming a noose. He tested
the cord's strength, glancing from it
to Helen's throat. Then he walked
toward her. At the same time her
captors shoved her forward.
The negro opened his arms to re
ceive her. And in the instant of pass
ing she determined her defense. She
could not hope to overpower the giant,
or even to resist him long, but she
meant n% to yield as long as breath
was in her.
She fell forward, so that her shoul
der, when she rose, came up under
the outstretched right arm. At the
same time she grasped the wrist with
hGth hands and jerked it downward.
She heard the man groan but instant
ly his free hand caught the heavy coil
cf her hair and her head was pulled
So deftly and quickly that she could
net make a move to resist, the noose
slipped to her throat and was drawn
tight. Firmly holding the cord, the
black placed a knee in the small of
her back and pushed her away from
She heard a shot. The hand hold
ing the cord loosened its grasp and
the negro sank limply to the floor.
The room was plunged into dark
ness. A momentary subdued stir, then
Felix Hazard's voice rang out:
"We've got 'em. A lightquick!"
A half-dozen electric torches flashed.
But, save for Helen, the lifeless form
at her feet and the invaders, the room
was empty. The Secret Six had van
Safe her own roomsHazard
wculd not leave her until he saw her
under Mrs. Hewitt's capable protec-
tionHelen expressed a belief that
the mysterious Six had not meant to
murder her in cold blood. But Hazard
"They would stop at nothing," said
he. "And who in the world would
have thought of a tunnel a block long
in a neighborhood so eminently re
spectable!" His tone was bitter. "The
entire six of them walked away from
the whole Sutherland force as if we
were so many blind sheep."
"We'll get them sooner or later,"
declared the girl. "Don't forget that
we now know the ringleader."
"You are positive about the voice?"
"Yes, positive. It was Harry Bufr
(CouyrUfht, 1915. by W. Q. ChapmaaJ