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The Sisseton weekly standard. (Sisseton, Roberts County, S.D.) 1892-1929, April 30, 1915, Image 6

Image and text provided by South Dakota State Historical Society – State Archives

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn99062049/1915-04-30/ed-1/seq-6/

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The New York police are jnystifiod by a
leries of murders of prominent men. The
principal clue to the murderer is the warn
ing* letter which is sent the victims, signed
With a "clutching hand." The latest vic
tim of the mysterious assassin is Taylor
Dodge, the insurance president. His
paughter, Elaine, employs Craig Kennedy,
the famous scientific detective, to try to
Unravel the mystery. What Kennedy ac
complishes is told by his friend. Jameson,
fc newspaper man.
The Vanishing Jewels.
Banging away at my typewriter the
next day, in Kennedy's laboratory, I
Vas' startled by the sudden, insistent
ringing of the telephone near me.
"Hello," I answered, for Craig was
at work at his table, trying still to ex
tract some clue from the slender evi
dence thus far elicited in the Dodge
"Oh. Mr. Kennedy," I heard an ex
Cited voice over the wire reply, "my
friend, Susie Martin, is here. Her fa
ther has just received a message from
that Clutching Hand and—"
"Just a moment, Miss Dodge," I in
terrupted. "This is Mr. Jameson."
"Oh!" came back the voice, breath
less and disappointed. "Let me have
Mr. Kennedy—quick."
I had already passed the telephone
to Craig and was watching him keen
ly as he listened over it
He motioned to me for a pad and
pencil that lay near me.
"Please read the letter again, slow
er, Miss Dodge," he asked, adding,
"there isn't time for me to see it—
Just yet. But I want it exactly. You
Bay it is made up of separate words
and type cut from newspapers and
pasted on note paper?"
I handed him paper and pencil.
"All right, now, Miss Dodge, go
As he wrote he indicated to me by
his eyes that he wanted me to read.
I did so:
Sturtevant Martin. Jeweler,
No. 73914 Fifth Avenue, New York City,
sir—As you have failed to deliver the
•10,000, I shall rob your main diamond
case at exactly noon today.
"Thank you. Miss Dodge," continued
Kennedy, laying down the pencil.
"Yes, I understand perfectly—signed
by that same Clutching Hand. Let
me see," he pondered, looking at his
watch. "It is now half-past eleven.
Very well. I shall meet you and Miss
A Remarkable Scene Greeted Us.
Martin at Mr. Martin's store directly."
It lacked five minutes of noon when
Kennedy and I dashed up before Mar
tin's and dismissed our taxicab.
A remarkable scene greeted us as
We entered the famous jewelry shop.
Involuntarily I drew back. Squarely
In front of ue a man had suddenly
raised a revolver and leveled It at us.
"Don't!" cried a familiar voice.
"That la Mr. Kennedy!"
a^Juet then, firom a little knot of peo
jple, Elaine Dodge sprang forward
with a cry and,seized the gun.
Kennedy turned to her, apparently
not half so mtich concerned about the
automatic that yawned at him as
about the anxiety of the pretty girl
who had Intervened. The too eager
plain-clothes man. lowered the gun
Sturtevant Martin was a typical so
ciety' business man, quietly byt richly
In the excitement I glanced about
Directly in front of me was a sign
lacked up on a pillar, which read:
"This store will be closed at noon to
day. Martin A Co,"
ft All the customers were gone.
The Exploits of Elaine
A Detective Novel and a Motion Picture Drama
The Wtll'Known Novelist and the
Creator of the "Craig Kennedy*' Stories
Presented in Collaboration With the Pathe Players and the Eclectic Film Company
Copyright, 1914, by the Star Company. All Foreign Rights Reserved.
-If iT f-
Just back of us, and around the cor
ner, as we came in, we had noticed a
In spite of the excitement, Kennedy
quietly examined the showcase, which
was, indeed, a veritable treasure store
of brilliants.
nearer together at noon.
We all gathered about the showcase,
with its glittering hoard of wealth,
forming a circle at a respectable dis
In deep-lunged tones the clock
played the chords written, I believe,
by Handel. Then it began striking.
Nothing had happened.
We all breathed a sigh of relief.
"Well, it is still there!" exclaimed
Martin, pointing at the showcase with
a forced laugh.
Suddenly came a rending and crash
ing sound. It seemed as if the very
floor on which we stood was giving
The showcase, with all its priceless
contents, went smashing into the cel
lar below.
The flooring beneath the case had
been cut through!
All crowded forward, gazing at the
black, yawning cavern.
Down below, three men, covered
with smocks and their faces hidden
by masks, had knocked the props
away from the ceiling of the cellar.
which they had sawed almost through
at their leisure, and the showcase had
'„landed eight or ten feet below, shiv-
ered nt0 a
Kennedy had pushed his way past
us and picked up the deadly infernal
machine In his bare hands.
I watched him, fascinated. As near
as he dared, he approached the hole In
the floor, still holding the thing off at
arm's length. Would he never throw
He was coolly holding it, allowing
the fuse to burn down closer to the
explosion point.
It was now within less than an inch
of sure death.
Suddenly he raised it and hurled the
deadly thing down through the hole.
We could hear the imprecations ok
the crooks as it struck the cellar floor,
near them.
"Leave the store—quick!" rang out
Kennedy's voice.
Down below the crooks were beat
ing a hasty retreat through r. secret
entrance which they had effected.
"The bag! The bag!" we could
hear one of them bellow.
"The bomb—run!" cried another
voice gruffly.
Martin himself was evidently very been so much ordinary merchandise,
nervous and very much alarmed. In- and turning toward what was In his
mind the most important thing at
deed, no one could blame him for
that. Merely to have been singled out stake—the direction taken by
by this amazing master criminal was agents of the Clutching Hand.
enough to cause panic. Already he "Thank heaven!" ejaculated Martin,
had engaged detectives, prepared for fairly pouncing on the bag and tearing
whatever might happen, and they ha'l
advised him to leave the diamonds in
the counter, clear the store and let ining the contents
the crooks try anything, if they dared.
limousine which had driven up. Three nocently enough at the curb near the
faultlessly attired dandies had entered corner, with the taxicab close be
a doorway down the street, as we hind it.
learned afterward, apparently going to Less than ten minutes after they
a fashronable tailor's which occupied had entered, three well-dressed men
the second floor of the old-fashioned
building, the first floor having been
renovated and made ready for renting
Had we been there a moment sooner
we might have seen, I suppose, that
one of them nodded to a taxicab driv
er, who was standing at a public hack
stand a few feet up the block. The
driver nodded unostentatious!) back
at the man.
thousand bits. Craig shrugged his shoulders and
A volley of shots whizzed past us, gave a quick look about. "Evidently
and another. 'Uhile one crook was they came in from and went away by
hastily stuffing the untold wealth of the street," he observed, hurrying to
Jewels into a burlap bag the others the door, followed by Elaine.
had drawn revolvers and were firing On the sidewalk he gazed up the
up through the hole in the floor des
"Look out!" cried someone behind
us before we could recover from our
first surprise and return the fire.
One of the desperadoes had taken a automobile.
bomb from under his smock, lighted It! "Which way did they go?
and thrown it up through the hole in
the floor.
The explosion that followed lifted
us fairly oik our feet.
As the smoke from the explosion
cleared away, Kfennedy could b*- seen,
the first to run, forward.
Meanwhile Martin's detectives had
rushed dywn a flight of back stairs,
that led into a coal cellar. With coal
shovels and bars, anything they could
lay hatide on, they attacked the dooi
that opened forward from the coal cel
lar into the front basement where
the robbers had been
A moment Kt-nnedy and Bennett
Prom the other side Martin, fol
lowed by the police and the detec
tives, burst in.
"Fire:" cried one of the policemen,
leaping back to turn in an alarm from
the special apparatus upstairs.
All except Martin began beating out
the flames, using such weapons as
they already held in their hands to
batter down the door.
To Martin there was one thing para
mount—the jewels.
In the midst of the confusion, Elaine,
closely followed by her friend, Susie,
made her way fearlessly into the stifle
of smoke down the stairs.
"There are your jewels, Mr. Martin,"
cried Kennedy, kicking the precious
burlap bag with his foot as if it had
it open. "They didn't get awcy with
them—after all!" he exclaimed, exam
wit satisfaction.
Events were moving rapidly
The limousine had been standing in-
came out of the vacant shop, appar
ently from the tailor's above, and
climbed leisurely into their car.
As the last one entered, he half
turned to the taxicab driver, hiding
from passers-by the sign of the Clutch
ing Hand, which the taxicab driver re
turned in the same manner. Then the
big car whirled up the avenue.
All this we learned later from a
street sweeper who was at work near
Slowly the hands of the clock came detectives were putting out the fire,
Kennedy was examining the wall of
the cellar, looking for the spot where
the crooks had escaped.
"A secret door!" he exclaimed, as
he paused after tapping alon^ the wall
to determine its character. "You can
see how the force of the explosion has
loosened it."
Down below, while the police and
Sure enough, when he pointed it out
to us. it was plainly visible. One of
the detectives picked up a crowbar and
others, still with the hastily selected
I implements they had seized to fight
the fire, started in to pry it open.
As it yielded Kennedy rushed his
way through Elaine, always utterly
fearless, followed. Then the rest of
us went through.
There seemed to be nothing, how
ever, that would help us in the cellar
next door, and Kennedy mounted the
I steps of a stairway in the rear.
The stairway led to a sort of store
room, full of barrels and boxes, but
otherwise characterless. When I ar
rived Kennedy was gingerly holding
up the smocks which the crooks had
"We're on the right trail," comment-
ed Ela re as he lowed
them to her
"but where do you suppose the own-
ers are-i-
avenue, then catching sight of the
street cleaner, called to him.
"Yes, sor," replied the man, stolidly,
looking up from his work. "I see three
gintlemen come out and get into an
For answer
It sailed up over our heads and land- thumb over'his shoulder in the general
ed near our little group, on the floor,' direction uptown.
the fuse sputtering ominously. I With keen glance, Kennedv strained
I heard an exclamation of fear from his eyes. Far up the avenue he could
descry the car threading its way in
the man jerked his
and ou'. among the others, just about
A moment later Craig caught sight
of the vacant taxicab and ..looked his
finger at the driver, who answered
promptly by cranking his engine.
"You saw that limousine standing
here?" asked Craig.
"Yes," nodded the chauffeur, with a
show of alertness.
"Well, follow it," ordered Kennedy,
jumping into the cab.
"Yes, sir."
Craig was just about to close the
door when a slight figure flashed past
us and a dainty foot was placed on the
"Please, Mr. Kennedy," pleaded
Elaine, "let me go. They may lead to
my father's slayer."
She said it so earnestly that Craig
could scarcely have resisted if he had
wanted to do so.
Just as Elaine and Kennedy were
moving off I came out of. the vacant
store, with Bennett and the detectives.
"Craig!" I cried. "Where are yoii
Kennedy stuck his head out of the
window, and 1 am quite sure that he
was not altogether displeased that I
was not with him.
"Chasing that limousine," he shout
ed back. "Follow us in another car."
A moment later he and Elaine were
Bennett and I looked about.
"There are a couple of cabs—down
there." I pointed out at the other end
paused on the brink of the abyss other
which the bomb had made, waiting foi
the smoke to decrease. Then they
began to climb down cautioucly over
the piled up wreckage.
t®le bloJ k"
The explosion had set the basement fellow. Far ahead now we could see
afire, but the fire had not gained much,the limousine drive around a corner,
headway by the time they reached the making a dangerous swerve. Ken
basement. Quickly Kennedy ran to nedy's cab followed, skidding danger
the door into the coal cellar and °us'y near a pole.
opened it But the taxicab was no match for
take one
you take
Who, besides Bennett, went in the
other car I don't know, but it made no
difference, for we soon lost them. Our
driver, however, was a really clever
the powerful limousine. On uptown
they went, the only thing preventing
the limousine from escaping being the
fear of pursuit by traffic police if the
driver let out speed. They were con
tent to manage to keep just far enough
ahead to he out of danger of having
Kennedy overhaul them. As for us,
we followed as best we could, on up
town, past the city line, and out into
the country.
'1 here Kennedy lost sight alto
get her of the car he was trailing.
A\ orse than that, we lost sight of
Kennedy. Still we kept on blindly,
trusting to luck and common sense in
picking the road.
1 was peering ahead over the
driver's shoulder, the window down,
trying to direct him, when we ap
proached a fork in the road. Here
was a dilemma which must be decided
at once, rightly or wrongly.
As we neared the crossroad I gave
an involuntary exclamation. Beside
the toad, almost on it, lay the figure
of a man. Our driver pulled up with a
jerk and I was out of the car in an in
There lay Kennedy! Someone had
blackjacked him. He was groaning
and just beginning to show signs of
consciousness as I bent over.
X\ hat's the matter, old man?" I
asked, helping him to his feet.
He looked about dazed a moment,
then seeing me and comprehending, he
pointed excitedly, but vaguely.
"Elaine!" he cried. "They've kid
naped Elaine!"
What had really happened, as we
learned later from Elaine and others,
was that when the crossroads was
reached the three crooks in the limou
?!•:-. 3 had stopped long enough to speak
-I» accomplice stationed there, ac
cording to their plan for a getaway.
He was a tough-looking individual who
might have been hoboing it to the city.
When, a, few minutes later, Ken
nedy and Elaine had approached the
fork, their driver had slowed up, as if
Kennedy Quietly Examined the Showcase.
in doubt which way to go. Craig had
stuck his head out of the window, as
I had done, and, seeing the crossroads,
had told the chauffeur to stop. There
stood the hobo.
"Did a car pass here, just now—a
big car?" called Craig.
The man put his hand to his ear, as
if only half comprehending.
"Which way did the big car go?" re
peated Kennedy.
The hobo approached the taxicab
sullenly, as if he had a grudge against
cars in general.
One question after another elicited
little that could be construed as intel
ligence. If Craig had only been able
to see, he would have found out that,
with his back toward the taxicab
driver, the hobo held one hand behind
him and made the sign of the Clutch
ing Hand, glancing surreptitiously at
the driver to catch the answering sign,
while Craig gazed earnestly up the
two roads.
At last Craig gave him up as hope
less. "Well—go ahead—that way," he
indicated, picking the most likely road.
As the chauffeur was about to start
he stalled his engine.
"Hurry!" urged Craig, exasperated
at the delays.
The driver got out and tried to crank
the engine. Again and again he turned
it over, but somehow it refused to
start. Then he lifted the hood and be
gan to tinker.
"What's the matter?" asked Craig,
impatiently jumping out and bending
over the engine, too.
The driver shrugged his shoulders.
"Must be something wrong with the
ignition, I guess," he replied.
Kennedy looked the car over hastily.
"I can't see anything wrong," he
"Well, there is," growled the driver.
Precious minutes were speeding
away as they argued. Finally with his
characteristic energy, Kennedy put the
taxicab driver aside.
"Let me try it," he said. "Miss
Dodge, will you arrange that spark
and throttle?"
Elaine, equal to anything, did so, and
Craig bent down and cranked the en
gine. It started on the first spin.
"See he exclaimed. "There wasn'1
anything, after all."
He took a step toward the taxicab.
"Mr. Kennedy—look out!" criec
Craig turned. But it was too late
The rough-looking fellow had awak
cned to life. Suddenly be stepped u[
behind Kennedy wfth a blackjack. As
the heavy weight descended Craig
crumpled up on the ground uncon
With a scream, Elaine turned and
started to run. But the chauffeui
seized her arm.
"Say, bo," he asked of the rough fel
low, "what does Clutching Hand want
with her? Quick! There's anothei
cab likely to be along in a moment
with that fellow Jameson in it."
The rough fellow, with an oath
seized her and dragged her into the
taxicab. "Go ahead!" he growled, in
dieting the road.
And away they sped, leaving Ken
nedy unconscious on the side of the
road, where we found him.
"What are we to do?" I asked help
lessly of Kennedy, when we had al
last got him on his feet.
His head still ringing from the force
of the blow of the blackjack, Craig
stooped down, then knelt in the dust
of the road, then ran ahead a bit
where it was somewhat muddy.
"Which way—which way?" he mut
tered to himself.
I thought perhaps the blow had af
fected him and leaned over to see
what he was doing. Instead, he was
studying the marks made by the tire
of the Clutching Hand cab.
More slowly now and carefully, we
proceeded, for a mistake meant losing
the trail of Elaine.
We came to another crossroads and
the driver glanced at Craig. "Stop!"
he ordered.
In another instant he was down in
the dirt, examining the road for marks.
"That way!" he indicated, leaping
back to the running board.
We piled back into the car and pro
ceeded under Kennedy's direction, as
fast as he would permit. So it con
tinued, perhaps for a couple of hours.
At last Kennedy stopped the cab
and slowly directed the driver to veer
into an open space that looked partic
ularly lonesome. Near it stood a one
story brick factory building, closed,
but not abandoned.
As I looked about at the unattrac
tive scene, Kennedy already was down
on his knees in the dirt again, study
ing the tire tracks. They were all
confused, showing that the taxicab
we were following had evidently
backed in and turned several times
before going on.
"Crossed by another set of tire
tracks!" he exclaimed excitedly,
studying closer. "That must have
been the limousine, waiting."
Laboriously he was following the
course of the cars in the open space,
when one word escaped him, "Foot
He was up and off in a moment, be
fore we could imagine what he was
after. We had got out of the cab,
and followed him as, down to the
very shore of a sort of cove or bay,
he went. There lay a rusty, discard
ed boiler on the beach, half sub
merged in the rising tide. At this
tank the footprints seemed to
right down the sand and into the
waves, which were slowly obliterating
them. Kennedy gazed out as if to
make out a possible boat on the hori
zon where the cove widened out
"Look!" I cried.
Further down the shore, a few feet,
I had discovered the same prints, go
ing in the opposite direction, back to
ward the place from which he had
just come. I started to follow them
but soon found myself alone. Ken
nedy had paused beside the old boiler.
"What is it?" I asked, retracing my
He did not answer, but seemed to be
listening. We listened also. There
certainly was a most peculiar noise
inside that tank.
Was it a muMed scream
Kennedy reached down and picked
up a rock, hitting the tank with a re
sounding blow. As the echo died
down, he listened again.
Yes, there was a sound—a scream,
perhaps—a woman's voice, faint, but
I looked at his face inquiringly.
Without a word I read in it the con
firmation of the thought that had
flashed into my mind.
Elaine Dodge was inside!
First had come the limousine, with
its three bandits, to the spot fixed on
as a rendezvous. Later had come the
taxicab. As it hove into sight, the
three well-dressed crooks had drawn
revolvers, thinking perhaps the plan
for getting rid of Kennedy might pos
sibly have miscarried. But the taxi
cab driver and the rough-faced fellow
had reassured them with the sign of
the Clutching Hand, and the revolvers
were lowered.
As they parleyed hastily, the
roughneck and the fake chauffeur
lifted Elaine out of the taxi. She was
bound and gagged.
"Well, now we've got her, what shall
we do with her?" asked one.
"It's got to be quick. There's an
other cab," put in the driver.
"The deuce with that."
"The deuce with nothing," he re
turned. "That fellow Kennedy's
clever one. He may come to. If he
does, he won't miss us. Quick, now!"
"See," cried the third. "See that old
boiler down there at the edge of the
water? Why not put her in there?
No one'll ever think to look in such
a place."
With a hasty expression of approval,
the roughneck picked Elaine up bodily,
still struggling vainly, and together
they carried her, bound and gagged,
to the tank. The opening, which was
toward the water, was small, but they
managed, roughly, to thrust her in.
A moment later and they had rolled
up a huge bowlder against the small
entrance, bracing it so that it would
be impossible for her to get out from
the inside. Then they drove off hast
Frantically Elaine managed to
loosen the gag. She screamed. Her
voice seemed to be bound around by
the iron walls as she was herself. She
shuddered. The water was rising—
had reached her chest, and was still
rising, slowly, inexorably.
What was that? Silence? Or was
someone outside?
Coolly, in spite of the emergency,
Kennedy took in the perilous situa
The lower end of the boiler, which
was on a slant on the rapidly shelving
beach, was now completely under wa
ter and impossible to get at. Besides,
the opening was small, too small.
Kennedy gazed about frantically
and his eye caught the sign on the
"Come, Walter," he cried, running
up the shore.
A moment later, breathless, we
reached the doorway. It was, of
course, locked. Kennedy whipped out
his revolver and several well-directed
shots through the keyhole smashed
the lock. We put our shoulders to it
and swung the door open, entering
the factory.
Beside a work bench stood two long
cylinders, studded with bolts.
"That's what I'm looking for," ex
claimed Craig. "Here, Walter, take
one. I'll take the other—and the
We ran, for there was no time to
lose. As nearly as I could estimate it,
the water must now be slowly closing
over Elaine.
"What is it?" I asked, as he joined
up the tubes from the tanks to the
peculiar hooklike apparatus he car
"An oxyacetylene blowpipe," he mut
tered back feverishly. "Used for weld
ing and cutting, too," he added.
With a light he touched the nozzle,
instantly a hissing, blinding flame
needle made the steel under it incan
descent. The terrific heat from one
nozzle made the steel glow. The
stream of oxygen from the second
completely consumed the hot metal.
Kennedy was actually cutting out a
huge hole in the still exposed surface
of the tank—all around, except for a
few inches, to prevent the heavy
piece from falling inward.
As Kennedy carefully bent outward
the section of the tank which he had
cut, he quickly reached down and
lifted Elaine, unconscious, out of the
Gently he laid her on the sand. It
was the work of only a moment to cut
the cords that bound her hands.
There she lay, pale and still. Was
she dead?
Kennedy worked frantically to re
vive her.
At last, slowly, the color seemed to
return to her pale lips. Her eyelids
fluttered. Then her great, deep eyes
As she looked up and caught sight
of Craig bending abxlously over her,
she seemed to comprehend. For a mo
ment both were silent. Then Elaine
reached up and took his hand.
"Craig," she whispered, "you—
you've saved my life!"
Her tone was eloquent.
"Elain-)," he whispered, still gazing
down into her wonderful eyes, "the
Clutching Hand shall pay for this! It
Is a flght to a finish between us!"

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