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r rtsrr AUTHOR. O/* ^ • WEIL—d yy/E SIAN of y* HOUX* COPYRIGHT, I£>07_BOBB^-^CRR-ILL Co • As They Peered Into the Dusky Space Below. SYNOPSIS The story opens at Harvard where Col R [ rt Wmb r. I'. S \.. visiting. saw the guiiid' of vminK Mercer lie met Cary Merecr. brother nl the dead stud tit Threi t ears later. In Chh ago. In llMb Co) Winter overheard Cary Mercer ap parently planning to kidnap An hie, tie ■ i| nel ward, and to gain possession of Aunt R« hi . i a Winter s millions A Miss Smith was mi ntlotted apparently .as a cm plrat \ (treat flna m ia I magn ite tv;.4 id the train on wldeh Col. Win ter n t Ids Aunt lb he. . a, Miss Smith and An lr C<d Winter learned that the flnate il magnate is Kdwln S Keateham Winter aided by Ar hie. cleverly frus trated a hold-up on the train, lie took a re it liking to Miss Smith, despite ler pins plot \rchie mvsteri* mi.'ly dts.inp. .11 ed in I 'ris aa. Itlood in a neiit'.y room at tin lioli 1 entitled fears for tin ’ ■ 4 s iir. Tin- I,ad's voice was heard ot * r thi telephone. Iioweyer. and a mln ut* r a w4 man's voice tl at of Miss Smith Col Winter and a detective s-t '■i:t f..r the emplt mansion owned by Arte.id a Harvard graduate Tint wire its t tty a an ■ 'cplosion within. Mir .r «t 1 lit 1 -4 11 • ■ I Winter that Ar hie 'all !■• '.lied Tile colonel saw a vision flit!.i or from the supposedly haunted It a.IS Miss .1 met Smith. Col V\ • r himself admitted that he loved Miss Merest told Winter that Ar • el oyerlmanl plans for a coup e ad ' 44 eii kidnapi d < »in of M r • ’ frlet .|« on returning the boy to his aunt | d atia sled for speeding and when ' • r •■■•,! from the police station to his 44 4 ' ' 1 141 lias Untie. Mercer 4 a U1 f4 SSed I’4 foT (Illy detaining Keateham. M- ’ 1 • Ilf4- story, relating how a m ml his scoundrel scent tv. A'k - id mined him, the blow killing ■ M< i • r was holding him prison •a in rdcr that he could not get control 1 ' r..,ul v,'lilch was the pet project of r of i i< college friend. Mndieott \unt Rein a i-h saw Archie In a ml: two men Then he vanlsln I ^ • Unwed in an auto into the Chinese t and by the use of a mysterious jade ornann iit she secured a from an influential Chinaman bov would be returned. Archie i and told his story. Atkins, for ma • piurv to Kialehum. being his 1' rut per. < Jot Winter and Tra< y a t to the "hnunted house." They ■ ' Keateham, apparently stabbed to <1* ' lb itiliam was not dead. Iiovv ‘ ' C 'rv Mercer tippeared on the scene, ” mtia believing his actions suspicious aril ,iiser\lng blood on his cuffs and ,r - Mrs Mllllccnt Melville, in l"t !' 1 her husband, revealed that she al ■information to "leak" to Atkins j I "Hr dlreeied themselves at Atkins ,fl ' Keateham assault. Vnknowingly M - Melville had inaili4 herself a tool for s dark scheme in stocks. CHAPTER XV.—Continued. •Mi th<>ir instantly expressed desire ' i sen the hidden way, the colonel led >l'rn to the patio. He walked to the ei iL-i'i column which once before had uiterested him; he pressed a eon " iCd spring under the boldly carved '' -‘o pointed llower; instantly, the en '■1Vl‘ *ide of the columns swung as a lin' i might swing. As they peered hito the dusky space below, the cofo ,u'l who had put down his arm, I’1' 'd an electric button and the "Htt light Hooded the shaft, revealing an ingenious ladder of cleats fitted into steel Uprights. Here," said the colonel, "is a secret "ay from the patio to the cellar. The eelini extends a Tittle beyond the patio *tnd there is a way down from the yard to the cellar—I can quickly show you, if .von like.” *o. thank you,” replied Warnebold, "ho was a man of full habit and older than the colonel, “1 will take your per sonal experience instead.” 1 hen if you will go out into the • a'd with me 1 will show you where ‘l ‘harming pergola ends in a vine wreathed sun-dial of stone that you may tun at and not move; but press your foot on a certain stone, the whole dial swings round on a concealed turn table such as they have in garages, you know. You will have no difficulty in finding the right stone, because an inscription runs round the dial: '.Mas vale tarde que nunca:' and the stone is directly opposite nunca.' When you have moved away your dial you will see a gently inclining tunnel, high enough for a man to walk in without stooping, wide enough for two, and much better ventilated than the New York subway. That tunnel leads to a I secret door opening directly into the cellar, so skillfully contrived that it ! looks like an air-shaft. This door is only a few feet from the shaft to the patio. We have found a bolt and put it on this entrance, hut there wasn't any before; nor did any one in the house know of the secret passage." Tho colonel went on to say that on questioning the architect he averred that he had never mentioned the secret passage to his knowledge—ex cept that very recently, only a few dap s before, at a dinner, he had barely alluded to it: and one of the gentle men present, an easterner, bad asked him where lie got a man to make such a contrivance—it must take skill. He had mentioned the name of the work man. The colonel had hunted up the artisan mentioned, only to find that he had left town to take a job some where; no one seemed to know where. Of course he had inquired of every body. The name of the easterner was Atkins. “Atkins," rrit'il \\ ameboid, at mis turn of the narrative, "Keatcham s secretary? Why, he's the boldest and slyest scoundrel in the l nited States! He started a leak in Keatcham's office that made him a couple of hundred thousands and lost us a million and might have lost us more if Mercer hadn't got on to him. Keatcham wouldn’t believe he had been done to the extent he was at first—you know the old man hafes to own to any one's getting the better of him; it’s the one streak of vanity I've ever been able to discover in him. Otherwise, he’s cold and keen as a ra.’.or on a frosty morn ing. He was convinced enough, howj ever, to discharge Atkins; the next news I had. he was trying to send him to tiie pen. Gave us instructions how to get th(‘ evidence. No allusion to his past confidence hi the fellow, simply 1 the orders—as if w-e knew all the preliminaries. Wonderful man, Mr. Keatcham, Col. Winter." "Very,” agreed the colonel, dryly. Hy this time the warrior and the man of finance were on easy terms. Warnebold remained three days. Be fore he left the patient had been pro nounced out of danger and had re vived enough to give some succinct business directions. Mercer had been sent to look out for the cement deal; and Keatcham appeared a little re lieved and brighter when he was told that Mercer was on his way. ••He will put it through if it can be put,” he said said weakly to Warne bold; “he’s moderately smart and per fectly honest.” Such words, Warne bold explained later to Mrs. Winter, coming from Keatcham, might be re garded almost as extravagant com mendation. "Your cousin's fortune is made,” he pronounced, solemnly; “he can get Atkins’ place, I make no doubt.” Mrs. Winter thought that Mercer was a very valuable man. "Only always so melancholy; I've been afraid he had something serious the matter with his digestion. It's these abominable quick lunches that are ruining the health of all our steady young men. I don’t know but they are almost as bad as chorus girls and late suppers. Well, Mrs. Winter, I’m afraid we shall not have another chance at bridge until 1 see you in New York, nut, anyhow, we stung the colonel once—and with Miss Smith playing her greatest game, too. Pity she can’t induce Mr. Keatcham to play;, but he never touches a card, hardly ever takes anything to drink, doesn't like smoking especially, takes a cigarette once in a while only, never plays the races or bets on the run of the vessel—positively such icy virtue gives an ordinary sinner the cramps! Very great man, though, Mrs. Winter, and a man we are all proud to follow; be may be overbearing; and he doesn't praise you too much, but somehow you always have the consciousness that he sees every bit of good work you do and is marking it up in your favor; and you won’t be the loser. There is no question he has a hold on his associates; but he certainly is not what I call a genial man.” Only on the day of his departure did Warnebold, in young Arnold’s lan guage, "loosen up" enough to tell Arnold and the colonel a vital incident. The night of the attack a telegram was sent to Warnebold in Keatcham's confidential cipher, directing the cam paign against Tracy to be pushed hard, ordering the dumping of some big blocks of stock on the market and arranging for their dummy purchasers. The naming of Atkins as the man in charge was plausible enough, presum ing there had been no knowledge of the break in his relations with Keatch am. The message was couched in Keatcham's characteristic crisp phrase ology. Hut for the receiver's knowl edge of the break and but for the previous long-distance conversation, it had reached its mark. The associates of Keatcham were puzzled. The hands were the hands of Esau, but the voice was the voice of Jacob. There had been a hurried consultation into which the second long-distance telephone from San Francisco broke like a thunderclap. It decided the hearers to keep to their instructions and disre gard the cipher dispatch. “And didn’t you send any answer?" the colonel asked. “Oh, certainly; we had an address given, the Palace hotel, Mr. John G. Makers. We wired Mr. Makers—in cipher: ‘Dispatch received. Will at tend to it.’ 1 signed. And I wired to the manager ol' the hotel to notice the man who took the dispatch. It wasn’t a man, it was a lady." "A lady?" “Yes, she had an order for Mr. Makers’ telegrams. Mr. Makers gave the order. Mr. Makers himself only stopped one night and went away in the morning and nobody seemed to re member him particularly; he was a nondescript sort of party." "Hut the lady?" The colonel's mouth felt dry. "The lady? She was tall, tine figure, well dressed, dark hair, the telegraph girl thought, but she didn't pay any special attention. She had a very pleasant, musical voice." "That doesn't seem to be very defi nite." remarked the colonel, with a crooked smile. It didn't look like a clew to Warne bold, either; but he was convinced of one thing, namely: That it would pay to watch the ex-secretar.v. "And.” chuckled he, “there's a cheer ful side to the affair. Atkins is loaded to the guards with short contracts; and the Midland is booming; if the rise continues, he can’t cover without losing about all he lias. By the way, we got another wire later in the day demanding what we were about, what it all meant that we hadn’t obeyed in structions. Same address for answer. This time we thought we had laid a nice trap. Hut you can’t reckon on a hotel; somehow, before we got warn ing, Mr. Makers had telephoned for his dispatch and got it." "Where did he telephone from?” "From his room in the Palace." "I thought he had given up his room ?" "He had. Flui—somebody telephoned to the telegraph office from somewhere in the hotel and got Mr. Makers' wire. You can get pretty much everything except a moderate bill out of a hotel." "I see," said the colonel, and im mediately in his heart compared him self to the immortal “blind man;” for his wits appeared to him to be tramp ing round futilely in a maze; no near er the exit than when the tramp began. That night after Warnebold had de parted, leaving most effusive thanks and expressions of confidence, Winter was standing at his window absently looking at the garden faintly colored by the moonlight, while his mind was plying back and forth between half a dozen contradictions. He went over the night of the at tack on Keatcham; he summoned every look, every motion of Janet Smith; in one phase of feeling he cudgeled himself for a wooden fool who had been absolutely brutal to a defenseless woman who trusted him; • he bated himself for the way he would \ not see her when she looked toward 1 him; no wonder at last she stiffened. ] and now she absolutely avoided him! But, in a swift revulsion against his own softness, he was instantly laying i on ihe b'ows as lustily because of his | incredible, pig-headed credulity. How absolutely simple the thing was! She cared for this scoundrel of an At kins who had first betrayed his em ployer and then tried to murder him. Very likely they had been half en gaged down there in Virginia; and he had crawled out of his engagement; it would be quite like the,cur! Later he found tint just such a distinguished, charming woman, who had family and friends, was what he wanted; it would be easy enough for him to warm up his old passion, curse him! Then, he had met her and run in a hunch of plausible lies that hrd convinced her that he had been a regular angel in plain clothes; hadn't done a thing to Cary or to her. Atkins was such a smooth devil! Winter could just pic ture him whining to the girl, putting his life in her hands and all that rot; and making all kinds of a tool of her— why, the whole hand was on thp board! So she was ready to throw them all overboard to save Atkins from getting his feet wet. That was why she looked so pale and haggard of a morning sometimes, in spite of that ready smiles of hers; that was why her eyes were so wistful; she wasn't a false woman and she sickened of her squalid part. She loved Aunt Rebecca and Archie—all the same, she would turn them both down for him; while as to Rupert Winter, late of the United States army, a worn-out, lame, elderly idiot who had Hung away the profes sion he loved and every chance of a future career in order to have his hands free to keep her out of danger —where were there words blistering enough for such puppy-dog folly! At this point in his jealous imaginings the pain in him goaded him into motion; lie began furiously pacing the room, although his lame leg, which he had been using remorselessly all day, was vending jabs and twists of agony through him. But after a little he halted again before the casement window. The wide, darkening view; the great, silent city with its myriad lights; the shining mist of the bay; the foot-hills with their sheer, straw colored streaks throngh the forests] and vineyards; the illimitable depths of star-sown, violet sky—all these touched his fevered mood with a sud den calm. Mis unrest was quieted, as one whose senses are cooled by a run ning stream. “You hot-headed southerner!” he up braided himself, “don't get up in the air without any real proof!” Almost in the flitting of the words through his brain he saw her. The white gown, which was her constant wear In the sickroom, defined her fig ,ure clearly against a clump of Japan plum-trees. Their purplish red foliage rustled; and an unseen fountain be yond made a delicate tinkle of water splashing a marble basin. Her face was hidden; only the moonlight gently drew the oval of her cheek. She was standing still, except that one foot was groping back and forth as if trying to find something. Hut, as he looked, his face growing tender, she knelt on the sod and pulled something out of the ground. This something she seemed to dust off with her handkerchief— he could not see the object, but he could see the flutter of the handker chief; and when she rose the white linen partly hid the thing in her hand. Only partly, because when she passed around the terrace wall the glow from an electric lantern, in an arch, fell full upon her and burnished a long, thin blade ol steel. He looked down on her from his un lighted chamber; and suddenly she looked up straight at the windows of the room where she thought he was sleeping; and smiled a dim, amused, weary, tender smile. Then she sped by, erect and light of foot; and the deep shadow of the great gateway took her. All he could see was the moonlight on the bluish-green lawn; and the white electric light on the gleaming rubber-trees and dusty palms. He sat down. He clasped his hands over his knee. He whistled softly a little Spanish air. He laughed very gently. "My dear little girl,” said he, ' I am going to marry you. You may be swindled into helping a dozen mur derers; but I am going to marry you!” CHAPTER XVI. The Real Edwin Keatcham. One Sunday after Mrs. Melville Win ter and Archie came to Casa Fuerte, Mr. Keatcham sent for the colonel. There waa nothing unusual in such a “Col. Winter, I Must Beg You Not to Let Those Persons in Again.” th* Room \ summons. From the beginning of his illness he had shown a curious, inex pressive desire for the soldier’s com pany. He would have him sit in the room, although too weak to talk to him, supposing he wished to talk, which was not at all sure. “I-like-to see-him-just-sitting-there," he faltered to his nurse; “can't-he-read-or-play-sol itaire-like-the-old-lady?” Sometimes Winter would be con scious that the feeble creature in the bed, with the bluish-white face, was staring at him. Whether the glassy eyes beheld his figure or went beyond him to unfinished colossal schemes that might change the fate of a con tinent, or drifted backward to the pov erty-stricken home, the ferocious toil and the unending self-denial of Keatcham’s youth on the Pacific slope, the dim gaze gave no clew. All that was apparent was that it was always on Winter, as he curled his legs under his chair, wrote or knitted his brow over rows of playing-cards. At the very first, Keatchani'a mind had wandered; he used to shrink from imaginary people who were in the room; he would try to talk to them, distressing himself painfully, for he was so weak that his nurses turned his head on the pillow; he would feebly motion them away. In such aberra tions he would sometimes appeal, in a changed, thin, childish voice, to the obscure, toil-worn pioneer woman who had died while he was a lad. “Mother, I was a good boy; I always got up when you called me, didn't I? I helped you iron when the other boys were playing—mother, please don’t let that old woman stay and cry here!" Or he would plead: “Mother, tell her, say you tell her I didn’t know her son would kill himself—I couldn’t tell—he was a damn coward, anyhow—excuse me, mamma, 1 didn't mean to swear, but they make me so awful mad!” There was a girl who came, some times, from whose presence he shrank; a girl he had never seen; nor, indeed, had he ever known in the flesh any of the shapes which haunted him. They had lived; but never had his eyes fallen on them. Nevertheless, their presence was as real to him as that of the people about him whom he could hear and touch and see. It did not take Winter's imagination long to piece out the explanation of these ap parltlons; they were specters of the characters in those dramas of ruthless conquest which Mercer had culled out of newspaper “stories” and affidavits and court reports and forced upon Keatcham's attention. Miss Smith helped him to the solution, although her own Ignorance of Mercer's meth od was puzzling. "How did he ever know old Mrs. Ferris?” she said. "He called her Ferris and he talks about her funny dress—she always did wear a queer little basque and full skirt aft er ull the world went Into blouses— but how did he ever come across her? They had a place on the James that had been In the family 100 years and had to lose on account of the Tidewa ter; and Nelaou Ferris blew his brains out.** “Don't you know how?” asked t^e colonel. "Well, I’ll tell you my gue^ sometime. Who Is the girl who seems to make him throw a fit so?" “I’m not sure; I Imagine It is poor Mabel Ray; there were two of them, sisters; they made money out of their Tidewater stock and went to New York to visit some kin; and they got scared when the stock fell and the dividends stopped; and they sold out at a great loss. They never did come back; they had persuaded all their kin to invest; and the stopping of the dividends made it difficult for some of the poor ones—Mabel said she couldn't face her old aunts. She went on the stage in New York. She was very pretty; she wasn’t very strong. Any way, you can Imagine the end of the story. I saw her In the park last win ter when Mrs. Winter was In New York; she turned her face away—poor Mabel!” Through Janet Smith s knowledge of her dead sister's neighbors. Win ter got a dozen pitiful records of the wreckage of the Tidewater. “Mighty interesting reading,” he thought, grimly, "but hardly likely to make the man responsible for them stuck on himself!" Then he would look at the drawn face on the pillow and listen to the babblings of the boy who had no childhood; and th« frown would melt off his brow. lie did not always talk to his moth er when Ills mind wandered; several times he addressed an invisible pres ence as “Helen" and "Dear,” with an accent of tenderness very strange on those inflexible lips. When he talked to this phantasm he was never angry or distressed; his turgid scowl cleared; the austere lines chiseling his cheeks and brow faded; be looked years younger. Hut for the most part, it was to no unreal creature that he turned, but to Col. Rupert Winter. He would address him with punctilious civility, but as one who was under some obli gation to assist him, saying, for in stance, "Col. Winter, 1 must beg you not to let those persons in the room again. They annoy ne. But you needn't let Mercer know that. Please attend to it ymisself, and get them away. Miss Smith says you will. Ex plain to them that when I get up I will investigate their claims. I'm too sick now!” (TO BE CONT’NUED.) From Bad to Worse. A miner In Scotland was visited by a friend, and among the places of in terest shown was the pit mouth. See ing the cage lowered with the stout steel rope, the friend exclaimed: “My word! 1 shouldn't like to go down there on that rope." “Why.'' ex claimed the miter, Aw wadna Ilk to gang doon there witkoot it! I»n don News. Cannot Boil Her. New York physicians are worried because of a hospital inmate whe has been disseminating typhoid germs for 450 days, as it Is against the laws o£ New York stats to boil her.