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The Trey 0' Hearts
A Noralisad Version of the Motion Picture Drama of th Sun Nam
Produced by the Universal Film Co.
By LOUIS JOSEPH VANCE
AMuit "TAt fulfill Hunkr,""Tlu Bran BfiuC'Tht Bel," tk.
Dlaitntnl with Photof ripbt from the Picture Predictiea
Copyright, I9M, by
CHAM Bid L
The Message of the Roue.
. Lapped deep In (be leather-bound
luxury of an ample lounge-chair,
walled apart from the world by the
venerable solitude of the library of
London's most exclusive club, Mr.
Alan Law sprawled (largely on the
nape of his neck) and, squinting dis
contentedly down his nose, admitted
that he was exhaustively bored.
Now the chair filled so gracelesBly
stood by an open window, some twen
ty feet below which lay a sizable
walled garden, an old English garden
In full flower. And through the win
dow, now and then, a half-hearted
breeze watted gusts of warm air,
eauve and enervating with the heavy
fragrance of English rosea.
Mr. Law drank deep of it, and In
plte of his spiritual unrest, sighed
slightly and shut his eyes.
An unspoken word troubled the
depth of bis consciousness, so that
old memories stirred and struggled to
Its surface. The word was "Rose,"
and for the time seemed to be the
name neither of a woman nor of a
flower, but oddly of both, as though
the two things were one. His mental
vision, bridging the gap of a year, con
jured up the vision of a lithe, sweet
silhouette in white, with red roses
at her belt, posed on a terrace of the
Riviera against the burning Mediter
Mr. Law was dully conscious that
he ought to be sorry about something.
But he was really very drowsy Indeed;
and so, drinking deep of wine-scent
of roses, he fell gently asleep.
The clock was striking four when
he awoke; and before closing his
eyes he had noticed that Its bands
Indicated ten minutes to four. So he
could not have slept very long.
For some few seconds Alan did not
move, but rested as he was, Incredu
lously regarding a rose which had ma
terialized mysteriously upon the little
table at bis elbow. He was quite sure
It had not been there when he closed
his eyes, and almost as sure that It
was not real.
And In that Instant of awakening
the magic fragrance of the rose-garden
seemed to be even more strong and
cloying sweet than ever.
Then he put out a gingerly hand
and discovered that It was real beyond
all question. A warm red rose, fresh
plucked, drops of water trembling and
sparkling like tiny diamonds on the
velvet of Its fleshy petals. And when
Impulsively he took It by the stem, he
discovered a most Indisputable thorn
which did service for the traditional
Convinced that he wasn't dreaming,
Alan transferred the rose to his sound
hand, and meditatively sucked his
With Red Rosea at Her Belt
thumb. Then he jumped up from the
chair and glared suspiciously round
the room. It was true that a prac
tical Joke In that solemn atmosphere
were a thing unthinkable; still, there
was the rose.
There was no one but himself In
Perplexed to exasperation, Alan fled
the club, only pausing on the way out
to annex the envelope he found ad
dressed to him In the letter-rack.
It was a blank white envelope of
good quality, the address typewritten,
the stamp English, and bore a Lon
don postmark half Illegible.
Alan tore the envelope open in absent-minded
fashion and started as
If stung. The enclosure was a sim
ple playing card a trey of hearts!
' As for Alan Law, he wandered
homeward in a state of stupefaction.
He could read quite well the message
of the rose. He would not soon for
get that year-old parting with his
Rose of the Riviera: "You say you
love me but may not marry me and
we must part. Then promise this,
that If ever you change your mind,
you'll tend for me." And her prom
ise: "I will send you a rose."
But the year had lapsed with never
Louie JoDeuh Vance
a sign from her, so that he had grown
accustomed to the unflattering belief
that Bhe had forgotten him.
And now the sign had come but
what the deuce did the trey of hearts
When morning came, London had
lost Alan Law. No man of his ac
quaintancenor any woman had re
ceived the least warning of his dis
appearance. He was simply and suf
ficiently removed from English ken.
The Sign of the Three.
Out-of-doors, high brazen noon, a
day in spring, the clamorous life of
New York running as fluent as quick
silver through Its brilliant streets.
Withln-doors, neither sound nor sun
beam disturbed a perennial quiet that
was yet not peace.
The room was like a wide, deep
well of night, the haunt of teeming
shadows and sinister silences.
Little, Indeed, was visible beyond
the lonely shape that brooded over
It, the figure of an old man motion
less In a great, leather-bound chair.
His hair was as white as his heart
was black. The rack of his bones,
clothed in a thick black dressing
gown with waist-cord of crimson silk,
from the thighs down was covered by
a black woollen rug. He stared un
thinkingly at nothing: a man seven
eighths dead, completely paralyzed
but for his head and his left arm.
Presently a faint clicking signal dis
turbed the stillness. Seneca Trine put
forth his left hand and touched one
of a row of crimson buttons embedded
In the desk. Something else clicked
this time a latch. There was the
faintest, possible noise of a closing
door, and a smallish man stole noise
lessly into the light, paused beside the
desk and waited respectfully tor leave
"A telegram, sir from England."
"Give it me!"
The old man seized the sheet of yel
low paper, scanned It hungrily, and
crushed It In his tremulous claw with
a gesture of uncontrollable emotion.
"Send my daughter Judith here!"
Two minutes later a young woman
In street dress was admitted to the
chamber of shadows.
"You sent for me, father?"
She found and placed a chair at the
desk, and obediently settled herself
"Judith tell me what day is this?"
"My birthday. I am twenty-one."
"And your slater's blrthduy: Rose,
too, is twenty-one."
"You could have forgotten that," the
old man pursued almost mockingly.
"Do you really dislike your twin-sister
The girl's voice trembled. "You
know," she said, "we have nothing In
common beyond parentage and this
abominable resemblance. Our natures
differ as light from darknesB."
"And which would you say was
"Hardly my own: I'm no hypocrite.
Rose Is everything that they tell me
my mother was, while 1" the girl
smiled strangely "I think I am more
your daughter than my mother's."
A nod of the white head confirmed
the suggestion. "It Is true. I have
watched you closely, Judith, perhaps
more closely than even you knew.
Before I was brought to this" the
wasted hand made a significant ges
ture "I was a man of strong pas
sions. Your mother never loved, but
rather feared me. And Rose Is the
mlmr of her mother's nature, gentle,
unselfish, sympathetic. But you, Ju
dith, you are like a second self to
An accent of profound satisfaction
Informed his voice. The girl waited
In a silence that was tensely expect
ant. "Then, If on this your birthday I
were to ask a service of you that
might Injuriously affect, the happiness
of your sister?"
The girl laughed briefly: "Only
"And how far would you go to do
"Where would ycu stop in the serv
ice of one you loved?"
Seneca Trine nodded gravely. And
after a brief pause, "Rose Is In love,"
"Oh, I know I know!" the father
affirmed with a faint ring of satisfac
tion. "I am old, a cripple, prisoner of
this living tomb; but all things I
should know somehow I come to
know In course of time!"
"It's true that Englishman she
scraped an acquaintance with on the
Riviera last year what's his name?
Law, Alan Law."
"In the main," the father corrected
mildly, "you are right. Only, he's not
English. His father was Wellington
Law, of Law & Son."
She knew better than to interrupt,
but her seeming patience, was belled
by the whitening knuckles of a hand
that lay within the little pool of blood
And presently the deep voice rolled
on; "Law and I were once friends;
then It came to pass that we loved
one woman, your mother. I won her
alt but her heart: too late she real
ized it was Law she loved. He never
forgave me, nor 1 him. Though he
married another woman, still he held
from me the love of my wife. I could
not sleep for hating him and be was
no better off. Each sought the other's
ruin; It came to be an open duel be
tween ub. In Wall street. One of us
had to fall and I held the stronger
hand. The night before the day that
was to have seen my triumph, I
walked In Central park, as was my
habit to tire my body so that my brain
might Bleep. Crossing the East drive
I was struck by a motor-car running
at high speed without lights. I was
picked up Insensible and lived only
to be what I am today. Law tri
umphed In the street while I lay help
less; only a living remnant of my
fortune, remained to me. Then his
We Both Loved One Woman.
chauffeur, discharged, came to me and
sold me the truth; It was Law's car
with Law at the wheel that had struck
me down a deliberate attempt at as
sassination. I sent Law word that I
meant to have a life for a life. For
what was I better than dead? I prom
ised him that, should he escape, I
would have the life of his son. He
knew I meant It, and sent his wife
and son abroad. Then he died sud
denly, of some common ailment they
said; but I knew better. He died of
fear of me."
Trine smiled a cruel smile: "I had
made his life a reign of terror. Ever
so often I would send Law, one way
or another mysteriously always a
trey of hearts; It was my death-sign
for him; as you know, our name,
Trine, signifies a group of three. And
every time he received a trey of
hearts, within twenty-four hours an
attempt of some sort would be made
upon his life. The strain broke down
his nerve. . . ,
"Then I turned my attention to tho
son, but the distance was too great,
the difficulties Insuperable. The Law
millions mocked all my efforts; their
alliance with the Rothschilds placed
mother and son under the protection
of every secret police In Europe. But
they dared not come home. At length
I realized I could win only by playing
a waiting game. I needed three
things: more money; to bring Alan
Law hack to America; and one agent
I could trust, one Incorruptible agent
I censed to persecute mother and son,
lulled them Into a sense of false se
curity, aad by careful specu'ntlons
repaired my fortunes. In Rose I had
the lure to draw the boy back to
America-; in you, the one person I
"I sent Rose abroad and arranged
that she should meet Law. They fell
In love at slghh Then I wrote inform
ing her that the man she had chosen
was the son of him who had murdered
all of me but my brain. It fell out as
1 I foresaw. You can Imagine the scene
of passionate renunciation pledges
of undying constancy the arrange
ment of a secrot code whereby, when
she needed him, she would send blra
a single rose the birth of a great ro
mance!" The old man laughed sardonically.
"Well, there is the history. Now the
rose has been sent; Law is already
homeward bound; my agents are
watching his every step. The rest la
In your hands."
The girl bent forward, breathing
heavily, eyes aflame In a face that had
assumed a waxen pallor.
"What Is It you want of me?"
"Bring Alan Law to me. Dead or
alive, bring him to me. But alive, If
you can compass it; I wish to sea him
die. Then I, too, may die content."
The hand of hot-blooded youth stole
forth and grasped the Icy band of
"I will bring him," Judith swore
"dead or alive, you shall have him
Tha Trail, of Treachery.
But young Mr. Law was sole agent
of his own evanlshment; just as he
was nobody's fool, least of all his own.
The hidden meaning of the trey ot
hearts perplexed him with such dis
trust that before leaving London, he
dispatched a code cablegram to hla
confidential agent In New York.
What do you know about th tray ot
starts? Answer Immediately,
The answer forestalled his arrival
Trlne's death sign for your father. For
Qod's sake, look to yourself and keep
away from America.
But Alan had more than once vis
ited America Incognito and unknown
to Seneca Trine via a secret route of
his own selection.
Eight days out of London, a second
class passenger newly landed from
one of the C.-P. steamships, he walked
the streets of Quebec and dropped
out of sight between dark and dawn,
to turn up presently in the distant
Canadian hamlet of Bale St. Paul, ap
parently a very tenderfooted American
woods-traveler chaperoned by a taci
turn Indian guide picked up heaven
knowswhere. Crossing the St. Lawrence by night,
the two struck off quietly Into the
hinterland of the Notre Dame range,
then crossed the Maine border.
On the second noon thereafter,
trail-worn and weary, as lean as their
depleted packs, the two paused on a
ridge-pole of the wilderness up back
of the Allagash country, and made
their midday meal In a silence which,
if normal In the Indian, was one of
deep misgivings on Alan's part.
Continually his gaze questioned the
northern skies that lowered porten
tously, foul with smoke a country
wide conflagration that threatened all
northern Maine, bone-dry with
Only the south offered a fair pros
pect. And the fires were making
southward far faster than man might
hope to travel through that grim aud
Even as he stared, Alan saw fresh
columns of dun-colored smoke spring
up In the northwest. '
Anxiously he consulted the Impas
sive mask of the Indian, from whom
his questions gained Alan little com
fort. Jacob recommended forced
marches to Spirit lake, where canoes
might be found to aid their flight;
and withdrew Into sullen reserve.
They traveled far and fast by dim
forest trails before sundown, then
again paused for food and rest. And
as Jacob sat deftly about preparing
the meal, Alan stumbled off to whip
the little trail-side stream for trout.
Perhaps a hundred yards upstream,
the backlash of a careless cast by his
weary hand hooked the state of Maine.
Too tired even to remember the ap
propriate words, Alan scrambled
ashore, forced through the thick un
dergrowth that masked the trail,
found his fly, set the state of Maine
free and swinging on his heel
brought up, nose to a Bapllng, trans
fixed by a rectangle of white paste
board fixed to Its trunk, a trey of
hearts, of which each pip had been
neatly punctured by a 22-caliber bul
let. He carried It back to camp, mean
ing to consult the guide, but on sec
ond thought, held his tongue. It was
not likely that the Indian had over
looked an object so conspicuous on
So Alan waited for him to speak
and meantime determined to watch
Jacob more narrowly, though no other
suspicious circumstance had marked
the several days of their association.
The first half of the night was, as
the day, devoted to relentless prog
ress southward; thirty minutes of
steadv logging, five minutes for rest
No n'nre question as to the need for
such urgent haste; overhead the north
wind muttered without ceasing. Thin
veils of smoke drifted through the for
est, hugging the ground, like some
weird acrid mist; and ever the cur
tained heavens glared, livid with re
By midnight Alan bad come to the
bounds of endurance; flesh, bone and
sinew could no longer stand the strain.
Though Jacob declared that Spirit
lake was now only six hours distant,
as far as concerned Alan he might
have said 600. His blanket once un
rolled, Alan dropped upon It like one
The sun was hle:h when he awak
ened and sat up, rubbing heavy eyes,
stretching aching limbs, wondering
what had come over the Indian to let
him sleep so late
Of a turidon re was assailed by sick
ening fenrs th 't needed only the brief
est Investigation to confirm. Jacob
had absconded with every valuable
Item of thlr equipment.
Nor was his motive far to seek.
Ovwnlpht the fire had made tre
wendrua g".!r.s. And ever and anon
the wind "n,ild bring down the roar
of the holocaust, dulled by distance
but not unlike the growling of wild
animals feeding on their kill.
Alan delayed long enough only to
swallow a frw mruthfula of raw food,
gulped water from a enritif;, and set
out at a dog trot oi th? trail to Spirit
For hours hi t.i'undered blindly on,
holding to the trail nj".i;'!y by instinct.
At length, panting, gasping, half
blinded, hi staggered Into a little nat
ural clearing and plunged forward
headlong, so bewildered that he could
not have said whether he was tripped
or thrown; for even as he stumbled a
heavy body landed on his back and
crushed him savagely to earth.
In less than a minute he was over
come; his wrists hitched together, his
ankles bound with heavy cord.
When his vision cleared he found
Jacob within a yard, regarding him
with a tace as immobile as though it
had jeen cast In the bronze it resem
bled. Beyond, to one side, a woman In
a men's hunting costume stood eye
ing the captive as narrowly as the In
dian, but unlike him with a counte
nance that seemed aglow with a fierce
exultancy over his downfall.
But for that look, he could have be
lieved hen the face that had brought
him overseas to this mortal pass. Fea
ture for feature, even to the hue of
her tumbled hair, Bhe counterfeited
the woman he loved; only those eyes,
aflame with their look of Inhuman
ruthleBsness, denied that the two were
He sought vainly to epeak. The
breath rustled In his parched throat
like wind whispering among dead
Thrusting the Indian roughly aside,
the woman knelt 4 la his place by
"No," she said, and smiling cruelly,
shook her head "no, I am not your
Rose. But I am her sister, Judith, her
twin, born in the same hour, daughter
of can you guess whose daughter?
But see this!" She flashed a card
from within her hunting shirt and held
It before his eyes. "You know It, eh?
The trey of hearts the symbol of
Trine Trine, your father's enemy,
and yours, and Rose's father and
mine! So, now, perhaps you know!"
A gust of wind like a furnace blast
swept the glade. Tbe woman sprang
up, glanced over-shoulder Into the for
est, and signed to the Indian.
"In ten minutes," she said, "these
woods will be your funeral pyre."
She stepped back. Jacob advanced,
picked Alan up, shouldered his body,
and strode back into the forest. Ten
feet In from the clearing he dropped
the helpless man supine upon a bed of
dry logs and branches.
Then, with a single movement, he
Overhead, through a rift In tha
foliage, a sky waa visible whose ebon!
darkness called to mind a thunder
The heat was nearly Intolerable;
the voice of the fire was very loud.
A heavy, broken crashing near by
made Alan turn his head, and he saw
a brown bear break cover and plunge
on Into the farther thickets forerun
ner of a mad rout of terrified forest
folk, deer, porcupines, a fox or two, a
wildcat, rabbits, squirrels, partridges
a dozen more. . . .
Two minutes had passed of the ten.
Something was digging uncomfortably
Into Alan's right hip the automatic
pistol In his hip pocket, of which
Jacob had neglected to relieve htm.
Then a sharp, spiteful crackling
brought him suddenly to a sitting posi
tion, to find that the Indian had
thoughtfully touched a match to the
pyre before departing. At Alan's feet
the twigs were blazing merrily.
It would have been easy enough,
acting on Instinct, to snatch his limbs
away, but he did not move more than
to strain his feet as far as their bonds
permitted. Conscious of scorching
heat even through his hunting boots,
he suffered that torture until a tongue
of flame licked up, wrapped Itself
round tbe thick hempen cord and ate
Immediately Alan kicked hla feet
free, lifted to a kneeling position, and
crawled from the pyre.
As for his hands Alan's hunting
knife was still in Its sheath belted
to the small of his back. Tearing at
the belt with his hampered fingers, he ;
contrived to shift it round until the
sheath knife stuck at the belt-loop
over his left hip. Withdrawing and
conveying the blade to his mouth, he
Sawed the Cords Against th Razor
gripped It firmly between his teeth,
and sawed the cord round his wrist
against the razor-sharp blade.
Before Alan could turn and run he
saw a vanguard of flames bridge 60
yards at a hound and start a dead
pine blazing like a torch.
And then he was pelting like a mad
man across the smoked-filled clearing,
and In less than two minutes broke
from the forest to the pebbly shore of
a wide-bosomed lake, and within a
few hundred teet of a substantial
dam, through whose spillway a heavy
volume of water cascaded with a roar
rivaling that of the (orest-fire Itself.
Two quick glances showed Alan two
things: that his only way of escape
was via the dam; that there was a
solitary canoe at mid-lake, bearing
swiftly to th farther chore Judith.
Trine and the Indian the latter wield
ing the paddle.
In the act of turning toward tbe
dam he saw Jacob drop the paddle.
The next Instant a bullet from a Win
chester .30 kicked up a spurt of peb
bles only a few feet In advance of
He quickened his pace, but the next
bullet fell closer, while the third ac
tually bit the earth beneath hla run
ning feet as he gained the dam.
Exasperated, he pulled up, whipped
out his pistol and fired without aim.
At the same time, be noted that tbe
distance between dam and canoe had
A Tremendous Weight Tor at His
lessened perceptibly, thanks to the
strong current sucking through the
His shot flew wide, but almost In
stinctively bis finger closed again
upon the trigger, and he saw the pad
dle snap In twain, Its blade falling
overboard. And then the Indian fired
again, his bullet droning past Alan's
As he fired in response Jacob start
ed, dropped his rifle and crumpled up
In the bow of the canoe.
Simultaneously earth and heavens
rocked with a terrlflo clap of thun
der. He turned again and ran swiftly
along the dam, toward two heavy tim
bers that bridged the torrent of tbe
Then a glance aside brought him up
with a thrill of horror; the suck of
the overflow had drawn the canoe
within a hundred yards of the spill
way. The dead Indian In Ub bow, the
living woman helpless in its stern,
It swept swiftly onward to destruc
tion. His next few actions were wholly
unpremeditated. He was conscious
only ot her white, staring face, her
strange likeness to the woman that he
He ran out upon the bridge, threw
himself down upon the Innermost tim
ber, turned, and let his body fall back
ward, arm extended at length, and
swung, braced by hi feet beneath
the outer timber.
With a swiftness that pasBed con
scious thought, he was aware of the
canoe hurtling onward with the speed
of wind, Ita sharp prow apparently
aimed directly for his bead. Then
hands closed round his wrists like
clamps; a tremendous weight tore at
his arms, and with an effort of Incon
ceivable difficulty he began to lift,
to drag the woman up out of tbe foam
ing Jaws of death.
Somehow that Impossible feat was
achieved; somehow the woman gained
a hold upon his body, shifted It to his
belt, contrived Inexplicably to clamber
over him to the timbers; and some
bow he in turn pulled himself up to
safety, and sick with reaction sprawled
prone, lengthwise upon that foot-wide
bridge, above the screaming abyss.
.Later he became aware that the
woman had crawled to safety on the
farther shore, and pulling himself to
gether, Imitated her example. Solid
earth underfoot, he rose and stood
swaying, beset by a great weakness.
Through the gathering darkness a
ghastly twilight in which the flaming
forests on the other shore burned with
an unearthly glare he discovered the
wan, writhen face of Judith Trine
close to his and he heard her voice, a
scream barely audible above tbe com
mingled voices of tbe conflagration
and the cascades:
"You fool! Why did you save me?
I tell you, I have sworn your death!"
The utter grotesqueness of It all
broke upon his Intelligence like the
revelation of some enormous funda
mental absurdity In Nature. He
laughed a little hysterically.
Darkness followed. A flash of light
ning seemed to flame between them
like a fiery sword. To Its crashing
thunder, he lapsed into unconscious
ness. When he roused, it was with a shiv
er and a shudder. Ratn was falling
In torrents from a sky the hue of
slate. Across the lake dense volume
of steam enveloped the fires that
fainted beneath the deluge. A great
hissing noise filled the world, muting
even the roar of the spillway.
He waa alone.
But in his hand, tattered and bruised
by th downpour, lie found a rose.
f ' L J K v. v .
fl I II II I
V' ' it,
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