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THE L'AllZZ CZHTUTZL, L'AZZZ, men.
E:3;Eiip!c2fo .of Elate J y Dzttctivm 00c! amf a Mothn Actor. Drama By ARTHUR B. REEVE TUWeJ-KiKwmNoyebt and ll Creator of 0HGIgKainedj"Stone Pmtii la CoIUboratiM WiCh the Pathe Players asd ' . ; the. Eclectic rdm Cocnpeay , Cori1t. W brcW tor Cof AB Fensta IU(bo lUwM ' SYNOPSIS. . The New Tork police are mystified by aeries of murders and other crimes. The firlnclpal clue to the- criminal le the wani ng letter which le sent the victim, tamed with a "clutching- hand." The lat est victim of the mysterious aaaasstn la Taylor Dodge, the Insurance president. His daughter. Elaine. employs Craig Kennedy, the famous scientific detective. to try. to unravel the mystery. What Kennedy accomplishes Is told by his friend Jameson, a newspaper man. fin raged at the - determined effort which Elaine and Craig Kennedy are making to put an end to his crimes, the Clutching Hand, as this strange criminal Is known, resorts to all sorts of th most diabolical achemes to put ther out of the way. Each chapter of the sto.." tells of a new ?lot against their live., and of the way he great detective uses all his skill to Save this pretty girl and himself from eain. SEVENTH EPISODE . 1 nv woubio trap. Mindful of the sage advice that a time of pace is best employed in pre paring for war, I was busily engaged in cleaning my automatic gun one (morning as Kennedy and I were seat ed in our living room. Our door buzzer sounded, and Ken nedy, always alert, Jumped up, push ing aside a great pile of papers which had accumulated in the Dodge case. Two steps took him to the hall, where the day before he had installed a peculiar box about four by six inches, MtimaHt In ttnvn A vnv with a Ion a. like box of similar size above our bell I and speaking tube In the hallway be- J low It He onened it. disclosing; an ob- long plate of ground glass, . . - . . f "I thought the seismograph ar rangement was not quite enough after that spring-gun affair," be remarked, "so I have put in a sort of teleview of my own invention so that I can ce: down into the vestibule downstairs. Well Just look who's here!" "Some new-fangled perlscopo ar rangement, I suppose V I queried, Mov ing slowly over toward It However, one look was enough to Interest me. I can express it only pa slang. There, framed In the little thing, waa a vision of as swell a "chicken" as I have ever seen. I whistled under my breath. "Urn!" I exclaimed shamelessly, "A peach! Who's your friend?" I had never said a truer word than in my description of her, though I did 'not know it at the time. She was in deed known as "Gertie the Peach" in the select circle where she belonged. Kennedy had opened the lower door and our fair visitor was coming upstairs ; lng me quickly and pushing me into my room. "I want you to wait there and watch her carefully' Kennedy opened tne aoor, aiscios lng a very excited young woman. "Oh, Professor Kennedy," she cried, all In KraatTi with milHl Amotion. "I'm to glad I found you in. I can't tell you. Oh my Jewels! They have been . stolen and my husband must not know of it Help me to recover them please!", "Just a moment my dear young lady." Interrupted Craig, onaing- ai last a chance to get a word in edge ways. "Do you see that table and all those papers? Really, I can't take your case. I am too busy, as it Is, even to take the cases of many of my own Atlanta " : . "But please, Proressor Kennedy please!" she begged. "Help me. It means on, 1 can 1 ten you now muuu it means to me!" She had come close to him and had laid her warm, little soft band on his, in ardent ntreaty. From my hiding place in my room, t could not help seems that she was sing every charm of her sex and per sonality to lure him on. as she clung confidingly to him. Gertie had thrown her arms abou.t Kennedy, as if in wildest devotion. I wondered what Elaine would have thought if she had a picture of that! WU. r uv MV,,vw , m please help met", Still Kennedy seemed utterly unaf fected by her passionate embrace. Carefully he loosened her fingers from about . ola necs ana - removed uv plump, enticing arms. Gertie sank Into a chair, weeping, while Kennedy stood before her a mo ment in deep abstraction, . .. . - . 1.. hi. ' rinaiiy ae seemea w iuo "v mind to something. His manner toward her changed. He took a step to her side. "X wCl help you." he said, laying his ; hand a her shoulder. "If it is pos- do yon live?" "At Eazlehurst" she replied, grate- fs2y. "Oh, Mr. Kennedy, how can 1 aver t!:?-i tcuT" ' . CI s jjraed overcome with gratl tz? tzl -fcre Lis hand, pressed It, cr. 1 V ii. : a nizTxtx" he added, carefully U ; l i tzn4 "TU U ready in ( -trrti taa room where I . r"l,tr:t, Ccxtx?" 1 vt! uat done. Then hit second thought seemed to approve It. "This la a trap of the Clutching Hand, Walter," he whispered, adding tensely, "and we're going to walk right into it" , "But, Craig," I demurred, "that's foolhardy. Have her trailed any thingbut" He shook his head, and with a mere motion of his hand brushed aside my objections as he went to a cabinet across the room. . From' one shelf he took out a small metalv bo and from another a test tube, placing the test tube in his waistcoat pocket and the small box in his coat pocket with excessive care. Then he turned and motioned to me to follow him out into the other room. I did so, stuffing my'"gatt" Into my pocket "Let me introduce my friend, Mr. Jameson," said Craig, presenting me to the pretty crook. The introduction quickly over, we three went out to get Craig's car, which he kept at a nearby garage, e e e e e e That forenoon Perry Bennett was reading up a case..' In the outer of flee Milton Schofleld, his office boy, was industriously chewing gum and admiring bis feet, cocked up on the desk before him. The door to the waiting room opened and an attractive woman of Perhaps thirty, dresBed in extreme mourning, entered with a boy. irii. . .i m a iv. 11 lull Last a gmucvj ui bvuiu i iu "little dude." He was in reality about fourteen years old, but waa dressed to look much younger. "Did you wish to see Mr. Bennett V asked the precocious Milton, politely, on one hand, while on the other he made a wry grimace. "Yes here is my card," replied the woman, It was deeply bordered in black. Even Milton was startled at reading it: "Mrs. Taylor Dodge." He looked at the woman in open- mouthed astonishment Even he knew that Elaine's mother had been , dead for years. The woman, however, true to her name in the artistic coterie in which she was leader, had sunk into a chair and was sobbing convulsively, as only "Weepy Mary" could. It was so effective that even Milton was visibly moved. He took the card In, excitedly, to Bennett. "There's a woman outside says she is Mrs. Taylor Dodge!" he cried. If Milton had had an X-ray eye he could have seen her take a cigarette from her handbag and light it non chalantly the moment he was gone. As ror Bennett, Milton, who was watching him closely, thought he was about to discharge him on the spot for bothering him. He took the card. and his face expressed the most ex treme surprise, then anger. He thought a moment "Tell that woman to state her busi ness In writing," he thundered curtly at Milton. As the boy turned to go back to the waiting room, Weepy Mary, hear ing him coming, hastily shoved the cigarette into her "son's" hand. "Mr. Bennett says for you to write out what It is you want to see him about," reported Milton, indicating the table before which she was sitting. Mary had automatically taken up sobbing with the release of the ciga rette. She looked at the table on which were letter paper, pens and Ink. T may write here?" she asked. "Surely, ma'am," replied Milton, still very much overwhelmed by her sorrow. "Weepy Mary" sat there, writing and sobbing, In the midst of his sympathy, how ever, Milton sniffed. Tnere was u unmistakable odor of tobacco smoke about the room. He looked sharply at tha "son." and discovered the still smoking cigarette, It was too much for Milton's out raged dignity. - Bennett did not allow him that coveted privilege. This up start could not usurp It He reached over and seized the boy by the arm, and swung him around tin he faced a sign In the corner on the wall. "See?" he demanded. The sign read, courteously: "No 8moklno In This Office Please. "PERRY BENNETT. "LAs-en mv arm." snarled the "son, putting the offensive cigarette dell anttr Into his moutn. There was every element of a gaudy mlxnn. when the outer door of tne or- flee suddenly swung open and. -Elaine Dodxe entered. .. ' " i - y Gallantry was Milton's middle name, and he sprang forward to hold the door, and then opened Bennett'i door, 11 ba ushered In Elaine. a naased "Weeny Mary," who waa atni wrltine- at the table and cry in hltterlT. Elaine hesitated and looked at her curiously. Even after Milton had opened Bennett's door, the MttiM nnt resist another glance. In .n-tiveir Elaine seemed to scent Ecsnett wis still stuSyizx the tlxck "Who Is that woman?" she asked, stni wondering aboat the identity of the nlobe outside. . At first he said nothing. But finally, seeing that , she had noticed it he handed Elaine the card, reluctantly. Elaine read it with a gasp. The look of surprise that crossed her face was terrible. Before she could say anything, how ever, Milton had returned with the sheet ot paper on which "Weepy Mary" had written and handed it to Bennett . : ' .. Bennett , read It with uncontrolled astonishment "What is it?" demanded Elaine. : He handed it to her, and she read: As th lawful wife and widow of Taylor Dodge I demand my son's 'rights and my own. MRS. TAYLOR DODGE. Elaine gasped at it "She my father's wife!" she ex claimed. "What effrontery! , What does she mean?" Bennett hesitated. "Tell me," Elaine cried. "Is there- can there be anything in it? No no- there isn't" , Bennett spoke in a low tone. "I have heard a whisper of some scan dal or other connected with your fath erbut " . He paused. Elaine was first shocked, then indig nant "Why such a thing is absurd. Show the woman in!" "No please Mies Dodge. Let me deal with her." By this time Elaine was furious. "Yes I will see her." She pressed the button on Bennett's desk, and Milton responded. "Milton, show the the woman in. she ordered, "and that boy, too." As Milton turned to crook his finger at "Weepy Mary," she nodded surrep titiously and dug her fingers sharply into "son's" ribs. "Yell you little fool yell," she whispered. Obedient to his "mother's" com mands, and much to Milton's disgust the boy started to cry in close imita tion of his elder. Elaine was still holding the paper in her hands when they entered. "What does all this mean?" she de manded. ' ' "Weepy Mary,", bet ween sobs, man aged to blurt out, "You are Miss Elaine Dodge, aren't you? Well, it 1 "l Ji l . imimuj,.)u ) m 1 I L , 11 - There Stood Her Arch Enemy, the Clutching Hand. means that your, father married me ' when I was only seventeen and this boy is our son your half-brother." "No never," cried Elaine vehem ently, unable to restrain her disgust "Weepy Mary" smiled cynically. "Come with me and I will show you the church records and the minister who married us." "You will?" repeated Elaine defiant ly. "Well, I'll Just do as you ask. Mr. Bennett shall go with me." "No, no. Miss Dodge don't go. Leave the matter to me," urged Ben nett "I will take care Of her. Be sides, I must be in court in twenty minutes." ; v Elaine paused, but she was thor oughly aroused. "Then I will go with her myself," she cried defiantly. , In spite of every objection that Ben nett made, "Weepy Mary," her son and Elaine went out to call a taxicab to take them to the railroad station where they could catch a train to the little town where the woman asserted she had been married- , . Meanwhile, before a little country church in the town, a closed automo bile had drawn up. , . , r ; As the door opened a figure, humped up and masked, alighted. . V , It was the Clutching Hand. The car had scarcely,, pulled away when he gave a long rap, followed by two short taps, at the door of the vestry, a secret .code, evidently. , ' ' Inside the vestry room a man well dressed, but with a very sinister face, heard the knock and a second later opened the door. "What-not ready yet?" growled the Clutching Hand. "Quick now get on those clothes. I heard the train whis tle as I came in the car. In which closet does the minister keep them? The crook, without a word. Went to a closet and. took out a suit of clothes of biaistsrlxl cut Then he hastily put then on, aillzg some atdewt!c! era, which he tad tmrht with tin. 'At a tout Ce sans Us Cld; o osjaateJ If. ?VsZ7 Lltry" tzA tc? "son," had arrived at the little tumtl down station and had taken the only vehicle in sight Tery ancient car riage.' : . . , "y. . It ambled along until, at-last it pulled up before the vestry room door of the church, Just as the bogus min ister was finishing his transformation from a frank crook. Clutching Hand was giving him his final instructions. Elaine and the others alighted and approached the church, while the an clent vehicle rattled away. ' - "They're coming!" whispered the crook, peering cautiously out of the wladow. ''s Clutching Hand moved silently and snakelike into the closet and shut the door.. - .: 1 :' , "How do you do, Doctor Carton?" greeted "Weepy Mary." I guess you don't remember me." The clerical gentleman ' looked at her fixedly a moment "Remember you?" he repeated.. "Of course, my dear. , I remember every one I marry." "And you remember to whom you married me?" "Perfectly. To an older man a Tay lor Dodge." Elaine was overcome. r ' "Won't you step In?" he said suavely. "Your friend here doesnt seem well" . They all entered. "And you you say you married this this woman to Taylor Dodge?" queried Elaine, tensely. : The bogus minister seemed to be very fatherly. "Yes," he asserted, "I certainly did so." , , "Have you the record?" asked Elaine, fighting to the last . "Why, yes. I can show you the record." He moved over to the closet "Come over here," he asked. - He opened the door. Elaine screamed and drew back. There stood her arch enemy, the Clutching Hand himself. As he stepped forth, she turned wild ly, to run anywhere. But strong arms seUed her and forced her into a chair. She looked at the woman and the minister. It was a plot! , "A moment Clutching Hand looked Elaine over. "Put the others out" he ordered the other crook." "Now, my pretty dear," began the Clutching Hand as the lock, turned in the vestry door, "we shall be Joined shortly by your friend, Craig Kennedy, and," he added with a leer, "I think your rather Insistent search , for a certain person will cease." Elaine drew back in the chair, horri fied at the Implied threat ' Clutching Hand laughed diabolically. While these astounding events were transpiring in the little church, Ken nedy and I bad been tearing across the country In his big car, following the directions of our fair friend. . We stopped at last before a pros perous, attractive-looking house and entered a very prettily furnished, but small parlor. Heavy portieres hung over the doorway into the hall,. over another into a back room and over the bay windows. , "Won't you sit down a moment?" coaxed Gertie. "I'm quite blown to pieces after that ride. My, how yon drive!" - . Aa she pulled aside the hall por tieres, three men -with guns thrust their hands out I turned. Two oth ers had stepped from the, back room and two more from the bay window. We were surrounded.- Seven guns were aimed aa us with deadly precl slon. . "Gentlemen," he said quietly. "I suspected some such thing. . "I have here a small box of fulminate of mer cury. . If I drop it this building and the entire vicinity will be blown to atoms. Go ahead shoot!" he added. nonchalantly. The seven of them drew back rath er hurriedly. ''-. Kennedy was a dangerous prisoner. He calmly aat down la an am chair, leanla j hack as he carefully balanced the deadly little box of ful minate of mercury on his knee. ' . Gertie ran from the room. Tor a moment they looked at eeca other, undecided. Then, one by one. they stepped away from Kennedy to ward the dwr. , The Izzlzt was the last to t ; lis tad t":-i a ttt?. ' --r c - ; r :- toward hrji, he waited, coll sweat breaking out on his face. "Say," he whined, "you let me her It was ineffectual. Kennedy, smil ing confidently, came closer, still hold ing the deadly little box. balanced Be tween two fingers. He took the crook's gun and dropped it into his pocket ' ' "flit down!", ordered Craig. 1 , Outside, the other six parleyed in hoarse whispers. One raised a gun, but the woman and the others re strained him and fled. 1 "Take me , ,to your ' master!" de manded Kennedy. The crook remained silent "Where is he?" repeated Cralx. "Tell me!" Still the man remained ' silent Craig looked the fellow over again. Then, still with that confident smile, he reached into his inside pocket and drew forth the tube I had seen him I place there. "No matter how much you accuse me," added Craig casually, "no one will ever take the word) of a crook that a reputable scientist like me would do what I am about to do." He had taken out his penknife and opened it Then be beckoned to me. "Bare his arm and hold his wrist, Walter," he said. Craig bent down with the knife and the tube, then paused a moment and turned to tube so that we could see, Jt On the label were the ' ominous words: Germ Culture 6248A Bacillus Leprae (Leprosy) Calmly he took the knife and pro ceeded to make an incision in the man's arm. The crook's feelings un derwent a terrific struggle. "No no no don't" he Implored. '1 will take you to the Clutching Hand even if he kills me!" Kennedy stepped back, replacing the tube In his pocket. "Very well, go ahead!" he agreed. ' We followed the crook, Craig still holding- the deadly box of fulminate of mercury carefully balanced so that if anyone ahot him from a hiding place it would drop. No sooner had we gone than Gertie hurried to the nearest telephone to Inform the Cluchlng Hand of our escape. Elaine had sunk back into the chair aa the telephone rang. Clutching Hand answered.it, A moment later, "in ' uncontrollable fury he hurled the Instrument to the floor. ' "Here we've got to act quickly that devil has escaped again," he hissed. "We must get her away. You keep her here. Ill be back right away with a car." ' He dashed madly from the church, pulling off his mask as he gained the street Kennedy had forced the crook ahead of .us into the car which was. waiting, and I followed, taking the wheel this time. "Which way, now quick!" demand ed Craig. "And if you get me in wrong I've got that tube yet you re member." Our crook started off with a whole burst of directions that rivaled the motor guide "through the town, fol lowing trolley tracks, Jog right Jog left under the railroad bridge, leaving I trolley tracks; at the cemetery turn t left stopping at the old stone church." ' "Is this it?" asked Craig lncredu .) lously. Yes as I live," swore the crook in a cowed voice. He had gone to pieces. Kennedy Jumped from the machine. "Here, take this gun,' Walter," he said to me. "Don't take your eyes off the fellow keep him covered." Craig walked around the church, out of sight until he came to a small vestry window and looked In. There was Elaine, sitting In a chair, and near her stood an elderly-looking man In clerical garb,, which to Craig's trained eye was quite evidently a dis guise. Elaine happened Just then to glance at tne window and ner eyes grew wide with astonishment at the sight of Craig. He made a hasty motion to her to make a dash for the door. She nodded quietly. , . With a glance at her guardian she suddenly made a rush. He was at her in a moment pounc ing on her, catlike. . . Kennedy had seized an iron bar that lay . beside the window where some workmen had been repairing the stone pavement, and with a blow ahattered the glass and the sash. At the sound of the smashing glass the crook turned and with a mighty effort threw Elaine aside, drawing his revolver. As he raised It Elaine sprang at him and frantically seised his wrist . Utterly merciless the man brought the butt of the gun down with full force on Elaine's head. Only her hat and hair saved her, but she sank un conscious. Then be turned at Craig and fired twice. ' .. ' . ,-. - One shot grazed Craig's hat but the other struck him id the shoulder and Kennedy reeled. With a desperate effort he pulled himself toward her and leaped forward araln, closing; with the fellow . and wrenching the gun " from him before he ctuIJ fire arxlx , Just then the man broke away and made a dash for the door leading hack into it church ltrtlf, with Kennedy afUr Urn.' - , '- Up he went into the choir Isft and then Into the belfry itself. There they cane to cheer tiad-to-ttnd strcrrla. ITrraeiy tr.":! ca a tzzz tcxrd, and t. : U av t2: :a t Tri if t J txd for the ladder leading fcr&tr c? Into the steeple.' Kennedy followed. Elaine had recovered consciousness almost immediately, and, bearing the commotion, stirred and started to rise and look about From (the church she could hear sounds of the struggle. She paused Just long enough to seize the crook's revolver lying on the floor. . She hurried into the church and up into the belfry, thence up the ladder, whence the sounds came. The crook by this time had gained the outside of the steeple through an opening. Kennedy was in close pur suit On the top of the steeple was a great gilded cross, considerably larger than a man. As the-crook clambered outside, he scaled the ateeple, using a lightning rod and some projecting points to pull himself up, desperately. Kennedy followed unhesitatingly. There they were, struggling in dead ly combat, clinging to the gilded cross. The first I knew of It was a horrified gasp from my own crook. 1 looked up Just Then J Saw a Woman's Face Tense With Horror; It Wae Elaine. . carefully, fearing it was a stall to get me off my guard. There were Kennedy and the. other - crook, struggling, swaying back and forth, between life and death. There was nothing I could do. " Kennedy was clinging to a light-' nlng rod on the cross. . It broke. I gasped as Craig reeled back. But he managed to catch hold of the rod farther -down and cling to it . The crook began to- exult diaboli cally. Holding with both hands to the cross he let himself out to his full length and stamped on Kennedy's fin gers, trying every way to dislodge him. It was all Kennedy could do to keep his hold. , . I cried out In agony at the sight for he had dislodged one ot Craig's hands. The other could not hold much longer. He was about to falL Just then I saw a face at the little window opening out from the ladder' to the outside of the steeple a wom an's face, tense with horror. It waa Elaine! Quickly a hand followed, and in it' was a revolver. ; Just as the crook was about to die lodge Kennedy's other hand I saw a flash and puff of smoke, and a second later heard a report and another and another. Horrors! The crook who had taken refuge seemed to stagger back, wildly, taking a couple ot steps in the thin air. v Kennedy regained his hold. :. . With a sickening thud the body of the crook landed on the ground around the corner of the church from me. "Come you!" I ground out cover ing my own crook with the pistol, "and It you attempt a getaway I'll kill you. tool" He followed, trembling, unnerved. We beat over the man. It seemed that every bone in his body must be broken. He groaned, and before t could even attempt anything for him, was dead., " . As Kennedy let himself slowly and painfully' down the lightning rod, Elaine seised him and, with all 'her strength, pulled him through the win He was quite weak now from loss ot blood. ' ' ' - i "Are you all right?" she gasped, aa they reached, the foot of the Udder In the belfry. . Craig looked down at his torn and soiled clothes. Then, in spite ct the smarting pain 'ct 1 his wounds, ha smiled, "T- richt!" . "Thank Heaven!! ahe murmurei fer vently, trying to stanch the Cow of blood. : "Thla time It was you txnZ till he cried, "Eiiae!" - , . Iavclustxrlly tu trzzt trri t t aal t tt'.i ttr a r:;::i ! " 3 dzt ista ttr c:z :.l -:j. 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