Under seal, or, The hand of the guilty


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Under seal, or, The hand of the guilty

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Title:
Under seal, or, The hand of the guilty
Series Title:
Shield Weekly
Creator:
Bradshaw, Alden F.
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Street & Smith
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
32 p. : port. ; 25 cm.

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Dime novels. ( lcsh )
Detective and mystery stories, American ( lcsh )
Genre:
serial ( sobekcm )

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
Resource Identifier:
024870641 ( ALEPH )
64023171 ( OCLC )
S75-00006 ( USF DOI )
s75.6 ( USF Handle )

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serial

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No. 7. Price, Five Cents. UNDER SEAL or The Hand of the Guilty BY ALDEN F. BRADSHAW PUBLISHED WEEKLY BY STREET & SMITH, 238 William Street New York City. Copyr(t;hl. 1901. by Strut & Smitll. All ricllts restrvttl. Entered al New York Post-Offiu as Srcond-Class Matter.

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TRUE DETECTIVE STRAnGER TH_Aft f I CTI On ...... Issued WuR!,y. By Su!Jsc,,.ijJtion $2.SO/lt1"' yea,., Enttntl as Second-Cla.rs Maltttat tlu N. Y Post Office, by STRBBT & SMITH, 2J8 William St., N. y E11ttrt d AccoYdi ,,r to Act"/ Conrress, in the year 1901, in the Office of the Li'6rarian of Conrress, Wa.shinrton, D. C. No. 7 NEW YORK, January 1 9 1901. Price, Five Cents. Under Seal; OR, THE HAND Of THC GUILTY. By ALDEN f. BRADSHAW. CHAPTER I. A MYSTERIOUS ROBBERY. Chief Inspector watts turned from the telephone occupying a convenient position upon his desk and glancing toward the pas sage making through his stenographer' s room to the general clerks office, called sharply: "Let m e know if Sheridan Keene is about here." "He is ,' responded Garratt, from his desk outside. "Send him in here please." The young detective was not long m responding to the chief's summons. Presently a knock upon the door of the latter's private office prefaced his entrance, and the lithe, erect figure of one of the cleverest 0detectives under the efficient direction of the famous Boston inspector came over the thresh old. "Leave the door open, Keene !" said Chief \Vatts, looking up when the detective entered. "I expect a gentleman to call here presently." "Do you wish me to remain here?" "Yes, I think so," was the reply. "Sit down over here. I have just received a com munication from Mr. Markham, one of the local managers of the Adams Express Com pany, and he now is on his way up here." "What is wrong down there, chief?" asked Sheridan Keene, taking the seat to the left of the chief's high desk, and laying aside his hat. "A rather mysterious robbery, as nearly as

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2 SHIELD WEEKLY. I could get it over the wire," said Chief Watts, at same time busily glancing over his voluminous mail of that morning. "A mysterious robbery?" echoed Keene, in some surprise; for the precautions of this great express company against anything of lhe nature of a theft are so efficij'!nt that a loss is indeed a rare occurrence. "Did Mr. Markham give you any 'othe particulars, Chief Watts?" "Not oi consequence," was the reply. "I understood that part of the contents of an express package has been stolen. Markham now con;ing up here to state the case in de tail. I may decide to have you look into it, and you had better hear his statement. Ah, here he is now! Good-morning, Mr. Mark ham." The gentleman who had entered whiie Chief Watts was speaking was a portly man in middle life, with that type of countenance indicating both force and ability. He threw open his top-coat as he entered, bowing af fably, and at once took the chair to whieh the Chief Inspectok._courteously signed him with a wave of his hand. "Good-morning, Chief Watts," he rejoined; "do I find you very busy?" "I am always busy, Markham; but never too busy to accept an additional duty for the protection of life and property," laughed the chief, yet his observations were eminently true. -''I presume you are acquainted with Detective Sheridan Keene?" "I know him very well by name," replied Markham, bowing agreeably, and flashing a quick glance at the young detective. "Glad to meet you personally, Mr. Keene." Sheridan Keene merely bowed, in his gravely observant way. "Now, Mr. Markham, what's the trouble down at the Adams Express Company's office?" inquired the chief, pushing aside his mail and swinging around in his chair. Markham forcibly drew either side of his heavy coat higher on his broad chest, and gave his head an emphatic shake. "There may be no trouble at our office," he replied, with vigorous significance. "As a matter of personal opinion, I am not in clined to think there is. But an incident has occurred whi2J.i is utterly inexplicable. It completely baffles us. It is one of the most mysterious robb eries of which I have heard." "You interest me, to say the least," smiled Chief Watts. "When was this robbery dis covered?" "About a week ago." "Why did you not call upon me earlier?" "Because, Chief Watts, the case is so very peculiar that we could not bring ourselves to believe that it was one of robbery, and we have been personally investigating it, in the hope of clearing it up without official as sistance. But we are now knocked out com pletely, and throw up the sponge." "And are willing to be gracefully led to your corner," commented Chief Watts, laughing genially. "But, levity aside, Markham, what are the precise facts the case?" "I will state them briefly, chief, and as nearly as possible in the order of their oc currence." "Do so, please." The portly express manager drew a note book from an inner pocket of his coat, and, with frequent references thereto, made the following extraordinary statements. CHAPTER II. WHAT BECAME OF THE MONEY? "The parties first involved in this affair," began Markham, "are the firm of Horton & Hague, of this city." "The dry-goods merchants?" "Yes, sir. On the 5th of this month, a weei/ago yesterday, Mr. Hague, the junior member of the firn1, called at the Mutual

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 3 National Bank, where they carry a deposit, and drew a check for twelve thousand dol lars against their account. That part of the transaction was all right." "Go on, sir." "The bank cashier, Mr. Evans, gave Hague the money in notes of large denomination ; namely, nine one-thousand dollar bills,... and six notes of five hundred dollars each." -< "Which makes up the twelve thousand dolbowed Chief Watts; "I understand." "Hague received and counted this money," continued Markham; "then handed it to one of the bank clerks, who was with Cashier Evans in the enclosure, and asked him to put it under seal in an envelope and address the package to the senior member of the firm, who was in New York." "Note the address, Keene, if you please." Sheridan Keene drew a block of paper un der his hand, and t
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4 SHIELD WEEKLY. to the office of the Adams Express Company, which was also done. The way being in his direction, Hague accompanied the messenger, and together they presented the package at the proper counter in our office." "Yes; go on." "Our clerk carefully examined the seals a nd found them to be intact. He immediately gave Mr. Hague a receipt for the package at its face value, and received the express charges for the same amount. On the follow ing morning the package was delivered to R. J Horton, at the office of Steinf _ort Brothers, New York. He opened it in the presence of both members of the New York firm and counted the mone y / "Was the amount correct?" Quite the contrary," said Mr. Markham, wit h a v igorous shake of his head. "It was s h ort just seven thousand dollars " You don t tell me!" "That's the fact, Chief Watts!" cried Ma rkham "Seven of the thousan
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SHIELD WEEKLY. pouc h is secured w ith a meta l seal. The pou ch conta ining the package was subse quently turned over to one of o u r delivery clerks, who carried it in a wagon from the office to the car at the Southern Union Sta tion, where it was delivered to the express messeng e r who runs through to New York." "Let me have his name also, Mr. Mark ham." than a week of investigation and cudgelling of brains, the mystery involving the loss of the seven thousand dollars was as strange and inexplicable as it had been in the very J:.eginning. "in the light of all the circumstances, or rather in th e darkness of them, for they are dark enough, heaven knows he finally ob !'erved, "it appears to be one of the most "His name 1s Leary. He put the pouch mysterious robberies on record." in a safe in the car, which was locked during the journey. On reaching New York he turned the pouch over to one of our delivery clerks, who carried it in a wagon to the company's New York office. It there was received by one of the clerks The. seal upon he pouch was unbroken Upon breaking the seal and opening the pouch the clerk found the money-package in apparently good order, Y>ith the wax seals unbroken and th"e cover untampered with. He in turn gave it to one of the New York delivery clerks, who took the package to Steinfort Brothers' office, and obtained Mr. Horton's receipt for it. That's t he whole story, Chief Watts, as far as trac !ng the package goes. One questio:i still re mains to be answered, however." "And what is that, Mr. Markham?" the chief asked, carelessly. "Where and how did seven one-thousand dollar bills disappear from that envelope, in the several hands through which the money package passed?" replied Mr. Markham, de cisively. Chief Watts laughed, lightly. "On the face of it," he replied; "that don't seem to be a very easy question to answer." CHAPTER III. THE DEDUCTIONS OF CHIEF WATTS. Mr. Markham did not immediateiy respond to the observation made by Chief Inspector Watts. He sat back in his chair, his face in a brown as if even then, after more Chief Watts looked up from the brief notes taken down by Sheridan Keene, and bent his grave blue eyes on the manager's face "Who has been investigating this affair, Mr. Markham?" he asked, with that abrupt earnestness which, in such a man, indicates quickened mental acti o n "I have been looking into it in Boston, and Superintendent Zimmerman in New York, was the reply "Have the several persons through whose hands, in the usual course of events, this 111oney-package would have passed, been thoroughly examined?" "Indeed they have, Chief Watts." "By whom?" "All by Superintendent Zimmerman, and some by myself." "What do they state ?" "One and all tell the same story sir. Our desk man, Roberts, who examined and r e ceipted for the package, is absolutely sure that the seals were intact when it came into his hands. He is a thoroughly i:,.eliable man, one who is exceedingly careful in receiving 'aluable packages, and we have implicit con fidence in him:" "And his younger brother?" "He also testifies to the perfect condition of the package. He entered it on the way-bill in the usual manner, and is positive concerning it when it left his hands. It went from him to the clerk who makes u p the po u ches

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6 SHIELD WEEKLY. "Does he, too, inspect the seals on all pack ages passing through his hands?" "Invariably!" exclaimed Mr. Markham. "For he is held responsible for all money packages that he _puts into the pouches for fo warding." he recall this particular ?" "Perfectl.y He is absolutely certain that it was properly sealed, and in good order. It was put into the pouch / and the latter sealed with the wire and metal stamp. "Are these pouches made of l9ther ?" "Yes, sir. And any tampering with them would be easily detected. If ripped open or "He did not. Horton gave him a receipt for it, and he came away. The next we knew, was the report of the robbery. Horton wired home to Hague, and also reported his loss at the New York office." 01ief Watts stroked his chin, and asked quietly; ''Do you wish me to undertake to find this money, or at least to apprehend the person by whom it was stolen?" "That is precisely what I am here for, Chief Watts." "I will look into the case, then. -Are the documents, envelope and pouch where I can cut in any way, the fact would be immediately see them?" apparent. The pouch cannot be opened with"They are at Superintendent Zimmerman's out breaking the metal seal, and every agent office, in New York." of our company who receives one of these pouches, is required to examine the seal when and delivering it In this particular case, exery man through whose hands the pouch passed has appeared either before Superintendent Zimmerman' or myself, and one and all testify to its perfect condition. So far as we can establish Chief Watts, the pouch was sent through to New York in the ordinary way, and was so received at the New York office." "Are these men old and trusted employees of the company?" "One and all of them, sir." "What about the agent in New York who opened the p ouch?" "He found the wax seals untouched, and package--.apparently in perfect condition. Had this not been so he would have taken it in person to the con s ignee and have had it opened in his pres e nce. As it was, he turned it over to !he delivery clerk who at once carried it to the office of Steinfort Brothers, where he found Mr. Horton wait ing." "Did the agent see Mr. Horton open the package?" "Very good. I want now an orderly list of the several parties through whose hands the package passed, after leaving the bank messenger." "I will give you their names in full, if De tecti e Keene will note them," bowed Markham, referring to his book. A few were occupied in tabulating the several and then Chief Watts said, quietly: "I think that is all, Mr. Markham. When I have anything to communicate, I wiIC notify you." "Will you go to work upon the case 1mwediately, chief?" "I never delay in a case of i:;riminal in vestigation, was the rather dry rejoinder. "I will report upon the matter as soon as pos sible." The portly manager arose, bowing his approval, and departed. "Well, Sheridan Keene, here is something for you to take hold of," observed Chief Watts, laughing lightly. "Rather a mysterious case," rejoined Keene, looking up from his notes. "It is a matter of identity," said 01ief

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r / SHIELD WEEKLY. 7 Watts, with a quick flash of his blue eyes York, and investigate that end of the case "That money did not evaporate, my boy. in a quiet way. Have a talk with Steinfort Bank-notes usually stay where they are put, Brothers, and learn the precise circumstances unless some person's fingers get upo n the m, tinder which t?e package was and and these seven one-thousand-d o llar bills did o pened Find out if the N e w York firm saw not, of course escap e o f themselves from that the money taken fro m the envelope and s ealed envelop e assuming that they were put int o it. This money has been stolen, delib erately and adroitly. It becomes a case of es tablishing the identity of the thief, the lland of the gilty. I "Do you wish me to unde rtake the investigation?" asked Keene, quietly Yes, you had better do so, and plan to make a systematic study of the case." "Have you any suggestions to offer?" "There are certain pertinent features of .the case, which no doubt appeal to you as well as to me," Chief Watts said, drawing nearer and taking .up the detective s block of notes. "I will run them over." "I wish you would "They permit of a few deductions, merely. This. Mr. Hague evidently is not perfectly honest, as appears in his attempt to defraud the express company. It was a dirty little scheme for the sake of saving, as Mr, Markham expressed it, a few paltry dollars \Vhether there is some deeper scheme .-the part of Horton & Hague, r e mains to be dis covered." "Can they recover from the express comrany ?" "I do not think so. The express company has delivered a package valued at five thousand dollars which is all it agreed to do Horton & Hague could only by ex pensive litigation, and as the money was .drawn against their own deposit in the Mutual National Bank, I am inclined to think their design was merely one to reduce express charges." "That seems reasonable." "Yet I think you had better go to New counted, and just what H o rton's mo v ements and obiiervat io ns w e re b o th then and pre vious to the receipt of the package. " I will do so "Then visit Superintendent Zimmerman, and e x amine the evidence in his possession If you think it necessary, you may interv i ew each o f the parties through whose hands the 1: 1on e y-package passed. At present, h o wever I do n o t thi n k the money abstracted by any of the express company's employees. The evidence is that the package went through in good time, and was received in good order." "I think you are right, Chief Watts," nodded Keene. "I believe that all the money that was put under seal was safely delivered. Whether Horton adroitly abstracted any of it when opening the package, is a question. Also whether the entire amount was put in the env-'llope." "It is my present idea that the theft. was committed at either o ne end of the transac tion or the other. -Yet Hague is positive trhat the bank clerk enclosed and sealed the entire amount, and a colJusion between the two is hardly probable. You had better look them up, however." "Never doubt that I will do that," laughed Sheridan Keene. "Also the bank messenger who took the I package from the bank to the express office, and whom Hague made it a point to accom pany. There may be some knavery between those two, for I don't quite like the actions of Hague. It is barely possible that he is scheming to defraud Horton, his partner." "By Jove, that's so!" "I rather think the felony was in some way

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8 SHIELD WEEKLY. committed at this end of the transaction," added the chief, with grave earnestness. "You had better make a thorough investiga tion in New York, however, to obviate the need of a second journey; and then, if you discover no more than Markham has dis closed, take up the case at this end." "I will be governed by your suggestions, chief." "Be guided, _rather; and let your own judgment govern you," replied Chief Watts. "When will you go to New York." idan Keene felt out of sorts. There are cases at times that baffle the persistent efforts of the most astute detectives, and ultimately fade into the dim and shadowy vistas of the past, unsolved and finally forgotten. In. all the cases assigned him, Sheridan Keene never yet had suffered the chagrin and disappointment of failure; but the mystery of the Adams express package seemed to grow darker with every step he -had taken, and de spite his habitual confidence and determina tion, the shadow of failure irrepressibly stole "By the first train," said Sheridan Keene, vpon and depressed him. rising and taking his hat. "All ashore who're going ashore! All CHAPTER IV. KEENE MAKES A CHANCE ACQUAINTANCE. It was nearly fiv,e o'clock, almost the hour when the magnificent steamer Puritan, of the FalJ River line between New York and Boston, should clear from the pier in East River, and begin her night trip through the Sound. The dock was crowded with vehicles of nearly every description. Longshoremen were rushing the last packages of merchan dise into the steamer's hold. Porters, cabmen -and stewards were stirring in every direction, and a throng of people were surging to and from the palatial boat. On the main deck amidships, just forward of the paddle-box, Sheridan Keene stood gazing down upon the busy and tumultuous scene. Several days had passed since the scene in the office of Chief Watts, and Keene was now returning to Boston, his mission in New York having been accomplished. It had not been fruitful. His inquiries at t.he office of Steinfort Brothers, and his ex amination of the evidence in the hands of Su perintendent Zimmerman, with whom he had bad a long consideration of the mysterious robbery, had served only to sustain the stateashore who're going!" The warning cry of the colored porter came up to his ears, and the hurry of people over the gangway increased. The dull, long-sus tained bellow of the steamer's whistle augmented the general din. The Puritan was about to clear from the pier. Sheridan Keene approaclred one of the pas sages giving egress to the main saloon, and was about to enter, when the sound of loud "oices from the dock caused him to return. "Hold on with the gang"'.ay !" roared one. "Hete's another passenger!" "Belay, there!" ne again approached the rail and looked down. Threading its way among the many vehi cles on the dock, as if guided by a hand ac customed to such confusion, a hansom cab was rapidly approaching. It stopped nearly cpposite the gangway. The passenger was a young woman, and as the cabman sprang ftown to her assistance, half a dozen colored porters also ran to her aid. "Hurry up, there!" yelled the purser's as sistant, from the boat. "Ay, ay;sir! All aboard!" And before the delinquent young lady ments made by Mr. Markham. fairly realized it, she and her single piece of The result was not encouraging, and Sherluggage had been hustled over the gangway

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 9 and into the lower saloon, and the gangplank withdrawn. "A close shave," thought Sheridan Keene, laughing to himself. "Curious how women delay until the very last moment." He had noticed only the general appear ance of the woman, yet the incident rather pleased him ; she had been received and han dled with such unceremonious celerity. He did not imagine he should see her again amid the throng upon the boat, for the month was October, and the transportation large. Instead of entering the cabin, he now mounted to the upper deck, to view the animated pros ped as the huge steamer plowed her way up the East Rive r and under the Brooklyn Bridge. He descended a half hour later and went forward. He was intent only ur:ion pleasantly passing the time until dinner was served, and the while was revolving in mind the mys terious case engaging his attention. He had no eyes for the other passengers, save in a general way; yet, he passed through the forward saloof1 to seek the forward deck, and noticed some distance in advance of him thtl womari who had so tardily boarded the boat as she was about leaving. Closer inspection revealed her to be a young woman and he imagined her not more than twenty-fwo, with a pretty face and bright eyes of a kind termed roguish. While there was considerable of it, the color in her cheeks was natural, and she was stylish l y dressed. There was something about her neverthe less, which led Sheridan Keene who was an acute observer of persons atid.. character, to dryly remark within himself: "If she were a boat I should call her rak ish." She passed out to the forward deck in ad vance of him, and Keene presently ap proached the dObr by which she had disappeared. As he forced it open against the pressure of wind outside, the sound of the girl's voice came sharply to his ears. "YOU are no gentleman!" she erred. The words were not addressed to Sheri clan Keene, but they quickened instantly that manly and valiant part of his nature which responded to distress in a woman He stepped out upon the deck, and the door closed sharply behind him. A mere glance at the scene told him the \vhole situation. Because of the furious breeze forward there were but few people outside, and these were scattered. Down near the starboard rail, with her garments twined about her graceful figure by the rush of the wind, the girl whom he had noticed was shrinking from the bold and unwarrantable advances of a young fellow in a flashy, plaid suit, whose scurrilous smile and general air of insolent familiarity showed at once that he was attempting to force the girl s acquaint ance. "Now don t be foolishly offended," he at once replied, not observing Keene. "Of course you know me, and I can tell you just where we met last. I know I am not mis t
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\ 10 SHIELD WEEKLY. "Do you think so?" "I do I Tkis lady is an old {lcquaintance cnly she forgets--" "Stop right there cried Keene, sternly "Your o wn face declares you a liar! Now, you go about your own business and don t molest this girl o r I'll thrash yon within an inch o f yo u r life If that is not strong en o u g h l '11 do i t here and now!" Ther e were few men who, if in the wrong, , ou l d s tand up b efore Sheridan Kee nes an and i n dignation For a moment o nly the fellow in plaid hesitated and then he slunk away with a sneer on his lips, and crossed to the port rail. Keene turned to the girl as if nothing had happened I beg your pardon for interposing ," he said, raising his hat; "but the circumstances appeared to warrant it. He felt inclined to laugh at the picture s he now presented The wind had given her hat <1 cant to one side, adding a ludicrous effect to her general rakish appearance; while the insolence to which she had been subjected had increased glow in her cheeks ; and the fir e i n her brilliant eyes The latter were so s parkling indeed that Keene decided that she had dined with friends before embark ing and that wine had been served with the courses. A smile dispelled the stern severity of the detective's handsome face when he addres sed her, at which the girl burst out laughing, and replied with an abandon that rather startled him: "Oh, you are a jolly good fellow to have done it. Not tha.t I was afraid of the saucebox; far from it. But it served him right to be called down by a man who is a man, and I am your debtor that much." "Don't mention it," said Keene, amused de spite himself by her volubility, and never dreaming that she possibly could be concerne
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"" SHIELD WEEKLY. 11 "Take my hand, or I may be blown over-and did not rise for the early train from Fall board." "That would be disastrous," laughed Keene, assisting her to the saloon. "Shall you dine on the boat?" "No, I have h'ad all I want and am going to bed, when I fihd my state-room. Perhaps I will see you on the train in the morning, if you wish," she added. ... "Very pleased, I am sure," bowed Keene. "Do you have any occupation in Boston, may I ask?" "Well, I work at times,'' she said, slowly; then added: "This is only a little vacation." "I see," nodded Keene. "I had a little money, so thought I would take a week off and enjoy myself." Some money you had saved" said Keene, casually. To his surprise, the girl shot a glance at him, so sharp and suspicious that he could not but observe it. "Yes, of course, I saved it!'' she exclaimed. "Where do you suppose I got it?" "I meant no offense," said Keene, assua sively. "None taken, then, assut;e you," laughed the girl, yet her eyes were still suspiciously studying his. "Yes, I saved the money, of I have no one to give me any. No such good. luck as that." "May I inquire your name?" "Why not, indeed !" she exclaimed, with a shrug of her shoulders. "It is Annie Malcolm. Pretty name, isn't it?" "Very!" bowed Keene, laughing. "What's yours?" "My name is Sheridan," was the evasive reply. j "Mr. Sheridan, eh? Well, that's not bad! l am going to my Mr. Sheridan. l may see you in the morning." So the incident began and ended. Sheri dan Keene felt nQ special interest in the girl, River; and before he had set foot in Boston the following morning, both the giil and her name had passed out of his mind. CHAPTER V. KEENE MAKES A PROFESSIONAL BLUFF. On in Boston, after an absence of several days, Sheridan Keene immediately returned to headquarters and made his official report to Chief Inspector Watts. Though his task had been efficiently per formed, the report was not an encouraging _, one. The conduct of Horton when in New York had apparently been open and above board. He had received the express package in the ordinary way, and had opened it in the office and presence of both members of the New York firm, both of 1 whom were positive that the envelope had contained only five thousand dollars. "I cannot think that all of these men are concerned in this fraud," said Chief Watts, in commenting upon the report. amount stolen is not sufficient to have attracted them, even were they inclined to obtain money by fraudulent methods. I think you may safely drop the Steinforts out of the case." "I think so," said Sheridan Keene, gravely. ''The cut of both men, moveover, was all in their favor. I don't believe either would have sold himself for this mere baga tdle of money." "What did you learn from Zimmerman?" "He corroborated in every respect the statements made here by Mr. Markham," Keene replied. "He has rigidly examined every person through whose ha.,1ds the pack age passed, and states -that he is perfectly satisfied that the theft was not committed by any of the company.'s employees." "Did you examine the pouch and envelope in which the money was forwarded?" "Thoroughly, chief. I found everything

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i2 SHIELD WEEKLY. as represented. There was absolutely no evi dence that the money was abstracted during the transportation of the package." "It is a decidedly mysterious case," said Chief Watts, bluntly. "I cannot believe that Hague is in collusion with the bank messen ger, who took the package to the express office, nor with the clerk who sealed the money ie its cover. All that is toofar-fetched. Hague would have had too little to gain by it. "'That is very true," assented Keene .. Still I am inclined to think the crime was committed at the Boston enu of the transc.1ction. "Di
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'"' SHIELD WEEKLY. 13 to. heaven I did, for you surely know very little, since you came here with such a front as this." -"Do you mean to assert, Mr. Hague, that you did not abstract that money, for the sole purpose of defrauding your own partner?" demanded Keene, with unabated severity; yet he already felt sure he was on the wrong scent. Ha.gue threw back his head and laughed with bitter scorn. "That theory is absurd on the face of it," he cried, angrily. "Why, sir, Horton knew all about it from the beginning. I will admit it was a piece of infernal folly, however, mis representing the amount to be forwarded, and in that we lamentably culpable; but when you assert that I have designed to de fraud Horton, that is absolutely false and without foundation. Horton knew that the package was to be marked wrong. We agreed to that before he went to New York, tbe matter having been discussed while we >vere at lunch the day before he went. That petty fraud was adopted merely on impulse, and we are now heartily ashamed of it. It seemed as safe to mark the package as we did, and so save the extra charges. That is all I know of the affair, and you may think '"hat you please, and do what you please, Detective Keene!" The speaker's looks and manner now satis fied Sheridan Keene that he spoke the truth, and that he again must seek further for the criminal. "Furthermore," added Hague, decisively, "I could have gained but little by such a scheme as you evidently suspect. For half the money drawn against our account was JegaJJy mine, and I could have acquired only that belonging to Horton, even though I might have been able to effect the design. I tell you for good and all, I ne ve r to uched that twelve thousand dollars, or the package con taining it, after Mr. Dean put it under seal." Keene's features relaxed, and he laughed lightly. "W elJ, Mr. Hague, I will take your word for it," he replied, with a gracious wave of his hand. As a matter of fact, I have been making only a professional bluff, in order to draw you out, and see what I could make of you." "Ah, indeed !" "Now, pray don't be offended by it," said Keene. "It is a very mysterious case, and > v e are using every effort and means to locate the criminal and to recover your money. Since your foolish attempt to reduce express charges was not quite honorable, moreover, you cannot well blame me for wishing to take your measure." Hague colored deeply at this pointed remark and was pacified more by his own sense of shame than by Sheridan Keene's blunt explanation. "You are right, Detective Keene," he ad mitted. don't much wonder that you sus pected me of much more than I am guilty, but I can assure you to the contrary. Before going to New York, my partner knew pre cisely what I was going to do." "I understood you to say, I think, that this idea of reducing express charges was im pulsively brought up and adopted," said Keene, gravely. "Is that true?" "Precisely, sir. Horton and l were at lunch at the time, and he remarked that the package would carry as safely if marked five thousand dollars as it would if it were marked twelve thousand dollars, and that the expense would be less. I thought it rather a clever idea, without giving much thought to the fraudulent part of the act; and I told Horton that I would draw the twelve thousand dollars from the Mutual National Bank on the following Thursday morning,

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14 SHIELD WEEKLY. .and forward the same m a package marked as suggested." "Did he state at that time that y ou should addres s the package to H o rton, in care o f Steinfort B roth e r s ? " I think s o," nodd e d Hag u e "th o u g h I can t sa y positivel y as to that. Tha t really all th e re was said about it and on ma k ing the w ithdrawal I dicL as I had a g r e ed I am sorry for it, now, I assure you ." "No d o ubt of it, said She ridan Kane, dryly. Did you see Dean the bank clerk put the m o ney in the envelope?" / "I did and watched him carefully until it was under seal." "Why did you do that? Did you have any misgivings concerning him?" No, I did not," Hague immediately re plied. "But Dean is at pre sent taking the place .Qf the regular teller, who is away on a vacation, and naturally I do not know him as well as I know the regular man. Hence, I looked out to see that everything was all right. I am absolutely certain that Dean put the entire twelve thousand dollars in the en\elope, and sealed the flap securely I would take an oath to that, Detective Keene, for I saw him do it with my own eyes "As a matter of fact, then, Mr. Hague, you think that Dean cannot possibly be in volved in this theft?" "Well, sir, I can truthfully say that I felt about as sure of him as of myself, for I certainly know what I saw,'' replied Mr. Hague, with genuine assurance. "Was there any delay in calling a bank messenger, ang delivering the sealed package to him?" "None at all," said Mr. Hague, with emphasis. ''.The messenger was less than ten feet away, and he at once received the pack age which Dean had sealed. The entire transaction required less than five minutes." "I presume you were outside of the teller's enclosure ?" 'Yes, naturally." "Were you alone there?" "I think a young lady came into the bank just after I did, for I saw one waiting to apthe window at which I was standing. I did not notice any other person and hardly noticed her. My interest was in th, e twelve thousand dollars until the money was safely under seal." Sheridan Kee ne nodded gravel y and rose to make his d ep a rture. He felt that there was nothing m o re to be learned from Horton & H a g u e What he had acc o mpl ished served o nly t o di s pel t he mis g ivings with which he had entere d and he departed with a feeling that the myst e ry of the robbery was now darker and deep e r than ever CHAPTER VI. S H ERIDAN KEENE STRIKES A CLUE. It was nearly tvv o o 'clock when Detective Keene emerge d to the street. There was an unusual fire in his datk eyes, and the press ure of his lips indicated that he was not pleased, either with himself or the case. He felt that intense irritation which some times results from persistently working qver perplexing puzzle, which one has inwardly determined to solve, but finds it utterly im possible. In this rather diagreeable frame of mind, he hailed the first cab he and was driven down to the Mutual National Bank, into which he entered It presented the usual appearance of such an institution. He bestowed merely a glance at the several windows of the clerks and tel lers, and at once approached the door of the private room occupied by the bank cashier. "Is Mr. Evans inside?" he asked of one of the clerks in the enclosure. "Yes, sir; he is," was the reply. "You may step in if you wish to see him." Keene opened the door, and was received by an elderly man in glasses, to whom he ex plained his mission. Cashier Evans at once exhibited much in terest. "Take a chair, Mr ..... Keene," he said, quickly. "I understand that this case is mys tifying even you shrewd detectives. While the amount involved is not large, I really hope the thief and hi method may be dis covered, lest a second attempt is made. In what way can I help you to solve the mys tery?" "I wish to ask you a few questions if you wlll kindly permit me to do so," said Keene, with grave politeness.

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/ SHIELD WEEKLY. 15 "\Vith pleasure," bowed Cashier Evans, wiping his glasses. "I will answer them to thejltst of my ability." "Is it true, sir, that you saw Hague at the time he presented his firm's check for twelve thousand dollars?" "Yes, it is true, was the ready reply. "I was in the teller's cage with Mr. Dean at the time, and I not only saw Mr. Hague, but I went and spoke to him." "Did you observe any indications of ner vousness in his manner?" "None whatever." "Did he ask for notes of any specific de nomination?" "He merely requested that he might have large bills, as he wanfed to express the amount to New York. I asked him why he did not send a draft, and he explained why. I did not quite approve of his plan, yet it was his business, not mine. I saw the teller r:ve him cash for the check." "I understand that he then requested that the notes should be put under seal for send ing to New York." "Precisely," bowed Mr. Evans. "I then told Mr . Dean to do as requested, as I was busy at the time, and I returned to my pri vate office. I thought nothing more about : the matter, and was greatly surprised when word came to me that more than half of the contents of the package had been mysteri ously stolen." "I understand that Mr. Dean is taking the position of a teller who is on his vacation," said Keene, inquiringly. "That is true,"was the reply; "but Mr. Dean is thoroughly honest and c,ompetent." Sheridan Keene did not deny the statement, nevertheless he could reej instances in which trusted bank clerks had proved dis honest. "Do you object to my visiting the teller's cage, Mr. Evans?" he asked, quietly. "Not at all," replied the cashier, rising. "Come out this way." He led the detective through a side door of the office, and into the cferk's enclosure. The cage mentioned was a high lattice-work of brass, which prevents intrusion upon the teller, and protects the large sums of money he handles daily. Approaching the door, which also was of brass lattice-work, the cashier said to the man inside : "Allow this gentleman to enter the cage for a moment, Mr. Dean, if you please." "That wi.11 not be necessary," interposed Keene. "I can see from here all that I re quir e." Nevertheless, Mr. Dean opened the door and stood to one side, that thf' visitor might examme the enclosure. It was like hun dreds of others in the banks throughout the country, with which all are more or less familiar. "George, this is Inspector Keene," said the cashier, by way of introduction. "He is in vestigating the mysterious robbery suffered by Horton &_ Hague." Keene looked up and met for the first time the eyes of the man who had sealed the J!IOney-package. They were dark eyes, with a studied composure in their sombre depths. The brows nearly met at the bridge of the man's nose, and were like a heavy straight line at the base of his square forehead. Yet his face was fairly prepossessing, evincing a strong will and an aggressive temperament. He appeared to be about thirty-five and was solidly put together. to meet you, Inspector, Keene,. he said, in a low chest tone, while he bowed with grave complacency. "I hope you will succeed in running down the clever miscreant guilty of this robbery. I shall feel easier when that is done, Inspector Keene, for I am not blind to inferences that might arise, be cause of-tife fact that I was the person who put that money under seal." Sheridan Keene smiled pleasantly and shook his head yet there was a curious light steadily stealing into his eyes. "I should have no feeling about it, Mr. Dean, if I were you," he said, lightly. "In all I can learn of the case, I find nothing to warrant your misgivings. Never put a soiled coat voluntarily on your back." Dean colored deeply at this, and did not appear to like the obs<;_rvation; but he re sented it only with a slight frown. "I will admit it's a foolish thing to do."' he said, in a heavy. subdued tone that characteristic of him. "Yet one must feel

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16 SHIELD WEEKLY. more or less sens itive over such a circum stance." "That is true, in a measure," bowed Keene, noting again the various features of the cage, and the bundles of bank-notes like miniature woocf-piles on the counter at one side. "ls that the desk at which you stood when you sealed the package, Mr. Dean?" "Yes, sir. The wax and seal are always kept where you see them." "Were you alone in the cage at the time?" "I was alone, sir, after Mr. Evans left." "At the time you were sealing the package, I mean." "I was alone then, sir." "Did you happen to observe that Mr. Hague was closely watching your move ments?" "I cannot say that I did," Dean replied, with a quick glance at the detective's face. "I did the work in the usual way, sir, and it was nothing to me whether or not Mr. Hague watched me closely." "No, of course not," observed Sheridan Keene, with quiet suavity. "I am looking chiefly after testimony that may sustain a theory I have been led to form. I think, Mr. Evans, if this gentleman can be spared from Lis desk for a few moments only, I would like to talk with him in private." The cashier looked the least bit surprised, and Mr. Dean's heavy dark brows dropped a trifle; but the former immediately rejoined: "Certainly, Detective Keene, if you wish. T will fill teller's place while he is absent. George, go to the directors' room with De tective Keene, and if you can give him any information by which he can solve this mys terious robbery, pray d.o so." _"I will, with pleasure, Mr. Evans, if I am able," said Dean, now joining the detective outside, and leading the way across the en closure and into the directors' room. Keene closed the door by which they had entered, and carelessly took a seat on the arm of one of the large, leather-covered chairs near the long table; while George Dean re mained standing nearly opposite. The clerk's manner now was not entirely composed, and his cheeks had become very pale. Though a man is innocent of evil, if he is involved by suspicious circumstances, vhich I passed out to Hague as soon as I had it ready "Did Hague count the money?" "He did, sir; then passed it back to me, ci.nd requested that it might be put under seal and addressed to his partner, who was in New York. Mr. Evans told me to comply with the request, and I did so." "Did Evans then withdraw?" "Yes, sir ." "What did you then do?" "I addressed the envelope as requested ." "Did you then mark the amount on it?" ot at that time sir. Mr. Hague did not ask me to do that until later," Dean bastened to reply. "I passed the notes out to Mr. Hague, and asked him if he wished to verify the amount before it was sealed." "Why did you do that?" asked Sheridan Keene, with startling abruptness. "Why?" "Yes, why! eiterated Keene, with his gaze steadily searching the da _rk eyes of the man confronting him. "Had not Hague al ready counted the money? Why did you wish him to count it a second time?" De_an's heavy brows knit darkly. For an instant a fire like that of suppressed fury ap peared in the eyes steadily meeting those of the detective, and the cheeks of the clerk turned strangely pale. Whether these were tlie signs of suppressed anger and resent ment, or the irrepressibl e betrayal of con-

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 17 scious guilt, Sheridan Keene did not then determine. "It was a perfectly natural thing for me to do," Dean answered, with quick, semi-sub dued vehemence. "The money had been lying loose on the counter. There were other packages near by, and some error might pos sibly have resulted. It was perfectly natural, I repeat, that I should ask Mr. Hague to verify the amount, immediately before placing it in the envelope." "Well, well, I did not say that it wasn't," Keene quietly rejoined, a curious smile. "Why do you resent my question so impul sively?" "I resent your tone, more than your ques tion Dean retorted. "One would think you rnnsidered my conduct to have been sus picious." "Not at all, Mr. Dean," replied the de tective. "I have said onc e before, that a man is foolish who puts a soiled coat on his own back. Let it drop, please, and answer my questions. Did Hague comply with your suggestion, and again cou nt the money?" Yes, he did." "And did you then put it under seal?" "Immediately, sir," said Dean, now with a sullen, almost defiant manner. "vVas it after you had done so that Hague requested you to mark the package with a fictitious value?" "It was." "Did you make any objection to doing so?',. "I told him I thought it should be properly marked," Dean answered, curtly. "He assured me however, that there was nothing special invoked in it, and as he is an old de positor here, and Mr. Evans had instructed me to do as requested, I did what Hague asked me to do "Why did you not consult Mr. Evans upon such a peculiar matter?" "I didn't think it was necessary." "Didn't you think it was rather an extraordinary request?" "I did, sir; but I took Hague's assurance for what I considered it worth. I did it, Inspector Keene, and that's all there is to it." "Evidently!" Dean now openly resented the curt pletive of the detective. He came nearer, his face white with suppressed passion, and said, vehemently: "Look here, Detective Keene, you appear to think that I know more of this affair than I have told. It is not true. I arri as innocent of any deliberate wrong as you are. I know only what I have stated, which is the whole truth. Furthermore, there was another wit ness to the entire transaction, and you can look her up also, if you like." Sheridan Keene heard him without a change of countenance. "What witness is that?" he asked, quietly. "A girl who stood waiting near the win dow while Hague gave me his instructions," said Dean, umbrageously. "She saw the whole transaction, and heard all that was said." "How do you know that?" Keene de manded, curtly. "Because she has eyes and ears, sir, and must have seen and heard," cried Dean, 4 forci bly. "She stood almost at Hague's elbow, and must have been deaf and blind if she did not observe. I saw her smile, moreover, at the time." "Who is the girl?" asked Keene, with an air of indifference. "I am not certain about her name," Dean answered. "She called at my counter to get a bill changed. I know where she may be found, howeyer, if you wish to question her. And I wish you would, as a matter of fact, f'2!" my own sake. She will state it just as it occurred." "Where can I find her?" "She is employed at the Orient Cafe, as a ''"'1itress Don't you know her name?" "I have heard her called Annie at the cafe," replied Dean, with some display of uncer tainty. "I think her name is Annie Mal cc lm. ,. Sheridan Keene suppressed a betrayal of his immediate surprise. "Annie Malcolm, eh," he rejoined, lightly. "At the Orient Cafe, did you say?" "Yes, sir." "Do you generally lunch there, Mr. Dean?" "Only occasionally," rejoined the latter. "But I have seen the girl there, and I recalled

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18 SHIELD WEEKLY. her face when she came to my counter that morning." Sheridan Keene nodded, understandingly. "Possibly I may decide to look her up/' he said, indifferently. "As a matter of fact, Mr. Dean, I am rather inclined to believe that this robbery was a scheme of Hague's own de signing, in an attempt to defraud his part ner." "No!" exclaimed Dean, with an instan taneous change of countenance. ,. "For a fact; only don't disclose it," said Keene, with a series of significant little nods. "I am having hard work, however, to dis cover just how the money was abstracted; hence I came here to question you As for suspecting you in any way, I had not dreamed of it." "Well, I am glad to hear you say that." Keene laid his hand on the clerk's shoulder in a friendly sort of way. "You should be careful, moreover, how you go over the traces without occasion, Dean," he quietly advised. "One sometimes invites suspicion by resenting it too impul sively. But I am a man of more than or dinary discernment, Mr. Dean, though I say it who spouldn't, and I quite appreciate your sentiments. Now, return to your desk, and leave the matter to me." "I trust you now free me from suspicion," ventured Dean, delaying their departure for a moment. "Pshaw t I have not even had you in mind," exclaimed Keene, in accents of friendly assurance. "Go on, now, and let me alone to find the hand of the guilty." CHAPTER VII. A NETWORK OF EVIDENCE. Sheridan Keene now remained at the bank on ly long enough to thank Cashier Evans for his kindness, then nodded in a friendly way in the direction of Dean, who had returned to his duty at the teller's counter. The young detective returned to the street ]n a more amiable frame of mind, however, than that with which he had entered the bank. Quite contrary to his anticipations, for all the testimony he had previously gathered in dic ated that no officer of the bank was probably involved in the mysterious robbery, he now had run upon what he considered quite a promising clew. Though the method by which the theft had been so adroitly effected was still a mystery, Sheridan Keene now felt sure there must be some collusion between George Dean and the girl to whom the latter had referred him; and that one or both of them were concerned in the crime. Dean had not favorably impressed him, moreover. Despite his gentlemanly exterior, his strongly-marked features indicated a crafty nature, and a will that would not calmly suffer opposition Before he had talked long with him, Keene had decided that only some desperate and threatening emer gency would be reguired to turn George Dean from a gentleman to a ruffian. The striking of a pro111ising trail .was a new stimulus to the detective, and, despite the indifferent interest he had displayed in the presence of Dean, Keene at once !let out for the Oriental .Cafe. This was an elab orate lun\:h-room, not far removed from the business section of the city, and was chiefly 11oted for its excellent rnisine and the pretty girls invariably employed to wait at the tables. It was long after the busy hours of noon day when Keene entered the place and in quired for the proprietor. A girl cashier had a desk near the entrance, and directed him to one of the booths near the rear of the long rnom; and there Keene found a smooth-faced, elderly man in a long white apron, who evi dently had come out of the kitchen to enjoy a lunch at one of his own tables. Keene immediately introduced himself, awakening .some show of surprise in the face of his hearer, who received him quite cour teously and begged him to take a seat at the opposite side of the table. "What can I do for you, Detective Keene?" he asked, unctuously, laying down his knife and fork. "I am not very often favored with a call from an officer; I hope nothing has happened to threaten my license? "I know of nothing," laughed Keene, taking the man in at a glance. "I wish to ascer tain if you hav e a girl in your employ by the name of Annie Malcolm?" ..

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I SHIELD WEEKLY. 19 A change in the man's face at once showed that he was much more willing to discuss the girl than him s elf ; and he readily answered : N o she is no longer here sir. "The n you have had a girl here by that name ha v e you?" Yes for sev eral months. She left here a week or t e n day s ago." "Was sh e No, sir ; she left voluntarily. " Did she give any reason for making the chan ge?" "She said the work did not agree with her, I believe, was the reply. "The duties of a waitress are quite arduous, you know, and she thought she was injured by standing so many hours each day ." I see," nodded Keene. Do y b u happen to know anything about the girl?" "Do you refer to her character ?" "You may assume that I do." "So far as I know, then, Annie Malcolm is a girl of good character. She came to work here last winter, and has given general satis faction. I think she is rather inclined to fancy the young men, but that is rather gen eral with the / girls, and not particularly to Annie Malcolm's discredit, speaking from what I have seen. I really can say nothing against the girl." "Was she the kind who saves money?" The man of chops and coffee laughed lightly. "Well, judging from what I paid her, she could not save much and live at all." "What did you pay her, may I ask?" "Four dollars a week." "Do you know wl!ere she is at present?" I do not. I have not seen her since she left here." "Do you know where she lives?" "She lodges somewhere on Appleton street, f believe. I don't know the number." "Possibly one of your girls may," sug gested Keene. "I will inquire, if you will excuse me." Keene nodded his assent, and the proprietor of the Oriental Cafe hastened to make the inquiry, and presently returned with the in formation desired. "One of the girls knew the number, as y ou suggested," he added. "Wh a t has Annie Malcolm done that the law is now looking for her?" "I am not s ure that she has b e en d o ing anything," K e ene repl ied; but I wish to l o cate her. You observed that she had a l eaning t oward th e young men. Do yo u know any particular one?" No, I do n o t." "Possibly there may have been one who came here daily to lunch, and regularl y took a seat at Annie Malcolm s table," Keene a g ain suggested "If there was," he replied "I should not have observed it, for I am in the kitchen during the busy hours "That does not matter much, though," adde'd Keene. "I now would like to know the day of the month on which she decided to leave here "It was the twelfth, I am very sure," was the reply, after a moment. That was the day after the mysterious rob bery, and Sheridan Reene made a note of it in his mind. "I presume you occasionally send one of your girls out for the purpose of getting a bank-tte changed?" he pext asked. "Yes, occasionally, but not frequently. I usually keep a supply of small bills." "Do you recall whether or not, on the day previous to her leaving, Annie Malcolm was sent ourto get a bill changed ?" "No, I cannot say positively, but I think it isJ very doubtful. Ordinarily my cashier would have gone out for the purpose if any one." "Are your girls busy here at ten o'clock in the morning?" "Yes, sir; always." "Then, if Annie Malcolm had wishe d to go out upon the street at that time, would she not naturally have applied to you for per mission?" "She should have done so was the reply "I am in antl out during the morning, how ever, and she might have been absent for a brief time without the fact being noticed." Sheridan Keene took the Appleton street number, then bowed and arose to go, gravely acknowledging the information he had re ceived. He did not immediate!y report at head-

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20 SHIELD WEEKLY. quarters Though it then was nearly four o'clock, he again turned his steps in the di rection of the clothing house of Horton & Hague. The junior partner happened to be in the salesroom, and at once accosted him. "What now, Inspector Keene?" h e cried, with a rather derisive smile. "Have you dis covered anything new?" "Nothing to the purpose," Keene replied, with a shake of his head "This case is very mysterious, and I am constantly running against a wall." "Much after the fashion of this morning, I presume," said Hague, with a sarcasm that told how deeply he had been cut by the bluff put up in his own interests. "Oh, I admitted before I left here that I was wrong," rejoined Keene, with a curious look in his shrewd eyes "We detectives are not always dead right, you know." "I am quite aware of it," said Hague, tersely; then tauntingly added : "As a matter of fact, Inspector Keene, are you ever dead right?" "Now and then, I imagine, said Keene, dryly. "Do you ever lunch at the Oriental Cafe?" Hague started a; if suddenly stung by a bee. "Good gracious, Keene!" he cried, invol untarily. "Horton and I were at lunch there when we first discussed our miserable little project!", "Is that so? I suspected as much, and came in to make sure You see, Hague, we detectives are sometimes right!" With which parting shot, very pointedly given Sheridan Keene turned sharply on his heel and vanisheq out of the door. CHAPTER VIII. SPREADING THE NET. "It is one thing to weave a network of evi dence, Detective Keene, and another thing to secure the birds in it," said Chief Inspector Watts, along the latter part of that same afternoon, when he had received from Sheri dan Keene a concise report of the detective's discoveries since morning. "Suppose," he added; "that both George Dean and thi s Malcolm girl deny having had any part in this robbery ,, as no doubt they will, if. arrested. We should still have the network of evidence, but it would be cir cumstantial only, and both the birds and the money we wish to recover ma y slip through the meshes." admit that to be true, Chief Watts," said Keene, gravely; "yet I feel so sure that the evidence is reliable that it seems to me it should be turned to some account, even if the two are not immediately arrested." "Oh, we wifl take advantage of it, never doubt that!" exclaimed the chief, with a sig nificant smile. "I demur only to determine the best use to which it can be put. I have no doubt deductions are correct." "I am quite sure of it, chief. I suspected Dean from the moment he made sure to im press me with the fact that he twice had asked Hague to count the money; and I was doubly certain of his guilt when he rung a witness in on me without having been asked to do so These were the acts of a man who deliberately had planned to avert suspicion, and who overshot the mark by taking too many precautions "I think you are right, nodded Chief \i\Tatts, thoughtfully, pacing the space be tween the desk and the closed door of his private office. "Furthermore, he added ; "that Dean con sented at all to mark the package at less than its actual that he had some motive other than that of merely 9uliging Hague. An honest man, temporarily filling the position of another, would have been very careful to have consulted the cashier, to say the least No, no; Dean certainly had some motive of his own." "I think we shall discover what it was." "No doubt of that, Sheridan Keene," said the chief, deeply. "I now can imagine sev eral ways by which the missing money coula have been abstracted, and the crime committed; but the actual method adopted is what we now are after, as well as the money itself. It is goocf to secure the criminals; it is better to secure both the criminals and their illgotten booty." ,,-"True, chief ''Jfhere is doubtless some understanding and pre-arranged plans between Dean and

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:t SHIELD WEEKLY. 2 1 this Malcolmgirl," continued Chief Watts, resuming the chair at his desk. "Oh, no doubt of it!" "Possibly she overheard the project dis cussed by Horton and Hague in the cafe, and disclosed to Dean their intention to ship a package wrongly marked." "That, too, is very probable, chief!" ex claimed Keene. "And he no doubt took advantage of the opportunity, and in some way succeeded in hoodwinking Hague, when he sealed the package." "It was adroitly done, however it was ac complished." "Evidently, since Hague was constantly watching him." "Well, L have believed from the first that the money was abstracted at one end of the transaction or the other. The care with ,vhich the Adams Express Company transport their money-packages, and the perfect con dition in which this one was received and delivered, convinced me that the theft had not been committed by any of the company's employees. I think, Detective Keene, we now had better try to net the criminals and recover what money they may have, and in a way that shall surely convict before alarming them." "Have you formed any plan to that end?" inquired Keene, drawing his chair nearer to that of his clever. superior. "In part," bowed Chief Watts. "You say the Malcolm girl lives on Appleton street?" "She has a room there." "In a lodging-house, very likely." "I imagine so." ..,, "Doubtless she and Dean were acquainted before this crafty little job was pulled off." "Surely, chief, since she must-have known that Dean was employed in the Mutual National Bank, if our assumptions are cor rect." "Yes, of course! Tohen Dean doubtless has been in the habit of calling on her. Do you think he now has any misgivings that you suspect him of the crime ?" "I'm not sure about that, chief," .laughed Sheridan Keene. "I tried to stave them off; but he has a very curious eye, half crafty, and lialf sullen and defiant, and I found it difficult to read. He's not a safe man, or his face belies him. If he found himself. in a corner, and could escape by doing something des perate, I will wager he would take long chances. As a matter of fact, I did not fancy Mr. George Dean." "I'll tell you what to do, Keene," said Chief Watts, abruptly. "You go up to the lodging house on Appleton street, and see if you can engage and occupy a room there." "My idea exactly, chief!" exclaimed Keene, with his eyes eagerly lighting. "Keep your identity and mission con cealed," continued Chief Watts; "and if you encounter Annie Malcolm, before she has seen Dean, you may let her think you merely the friend she met on the Fall River boat, and use your own judgment in handling her." "I shall be discreet, chief," laughed Keene. "I have the money in view." Chief Watts nodded approvingly. "On the other hand," he added, earnestly; "if you do not encounter her at the outset, try by some artful inquiry to locate her room, and if possible secure one adjoining or near it." "I understand." "If you succeed in that, you had better lay in wait unobserved, and try to catch Dean and the girl in company, and secure some absolute evidence against them. If you want any help, wire down here and I will send you another man." shrugged his shoulders and smiled significantly. "I t.h_ink I can handle them alone, chief," he said, quietly. "Go up there at once, then," replied Chief Watts. "If Dean apprehends any suspicions, he may visit the Malcolm girl to-night. It is now five o'clock, and you have no time to spare." "Chief, I'll be in the house before half-past five laughed Sheridan Keene, springing to his feet and hurriedly departing. Emerging to Pemberton square, the tective hailed a cab, and within half the time he had mentioned, he alighted less than a block away from the dwelling he was seeking. It was one of a long brick block, of reputa ble appearance and in a tolerable neighbor-

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22 SHIELD WEEKLY. hood. A placard was in one of the lower windows-"RooMs TO LET," Without delay Sheridan Keene mounted the stone steps and rang the bell. The summons was answered by a sedate woman of forty, or as near that as a woman's age can ever be determined by her 1-ioks ; whose sombre face, and dress of unrelieved black, indicated that she had lost a good husband. "I am looking for a room for a week or two, and in approaching I saw the sign in your window," Keene politely explained, in response to the woman's l ook of inquiry. "Have you any rooms vacant just now?" "You are a stranger, sir," said the land lady, doubtfully regarding him. "I give you references, if you wish, madam; or I will pay each week in advance." "Either will answer. Come in, sir." "You have a ronm then?" said Keene, casting a quick glance over the hall and stairs. "Two, sir; but one is on the upper floor." "May I see both?" "Certainly." With never a smile breaking .the mournful solemnity pf her face, the woman led the to the seco,nd floor, and opened the door of a back chamber. It looked out upon a rear yard, and the roof of a brick L, the latter over a kitchen. "Are there any babies in the house, madam?" Keene asked, with a remarkable display of gravity. "None, sir." "Babies always disturb me, if they cry much,'' he explained. "There are rto. babies or children in the house, sir," the landlady repeated, with un broken melancholy. "Are the lodgers inclined to be lively and very noisy?" "Far from it, Mr. --" "Sheldon is my name, madam." "Far from it, Mr. Sheldon. There are only three lodgers on this floor, and two above. The front room is occupied by a young married couple, both of whom work in a newspaper office nights, and sleep during the day." "Ah, I see," bowed Keene, suppressing the smile in which he felt inclined to indulge. "And the room next to this," continued the sober lady; "is occupied by a young lady named Malcolm, who is out a large part of the time. This is a quiet room, sir, if quietude is what you desire." "Miss Malcolm does not play the piano and sing, does she?" "She has no piano, sir, and I never heard her sing very much." ''The reason I make these inquiries, madam, is this," Sheridan Keene explained, subduing with difficulty his inclination to laugh "I am a writer for one of the large New York publishing syndicates, and I spend most of my time at wOMc in my room. Hence, noise of any kind has a tendency to disturb me." "Which is very natural, Mr. Sheldon, I'.m sure," admitted the sombre landlady, relaxing a little when Kei;ne made, with his own aims in view, so plausible an explanation. "You may work in your room as much as you please, sir, and I'm quite sure you will not be seriously disturbed." "Thanks for the assurance." "The front lodgers are always asleep dur ing-the day, and Miss Malcolm is naturally a quiet girl and a good girl, though sometimes a little giddy. I am sure you will nnd the room sufficiently quiet." Keene was too clever a detective not to take advantage of tlie woman's references to Annie Malcolm, and also too shrewd to betray himself by a display of unwarrantable in terest. In a conventional way, merely, he quietly remarked : "Perhaps Miss Malcolm, too, is out a part of the day. Does she work for a living?" "Uusualty, sir, though she just now is out of a place," was the willing reply. "I work quite a good deal evenings," ob served Keene. "Does she have many visitors evenings ?" "Only occasionally, sir; but there is any great noise in the room. I would not permit that." "' "Thank you, Mrs. --" "Green, sir." "Thank you, Mrs. Green. I have no oc casion for asking, other than that her room would be next to mine. Your saying she

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 23 was giddy led me to think she might have a good many gentlemen callers." "Oh, I did not mean giddy in that way! Don't misunderstand me I be g exclaimed Mrs. Gre e n, now very favorably impressed by K ee n e 's charming p o litene ss. "Annie is really a very good girl and I take almost a mother' s intere s t in her, she q uick l y ad d ed. "Her own parents are dead, and she had lodged w i th me for quit e a l ong t ime. I did not m e an giddy in the sense of b eingfast, I assure you. But Annie is a girl w ho enj o ys a good time, and, of course I have n o ri ght t9 r e strain her, other than that of a friend and adviser. '-" Certainly not, b o wed Keene, producing a roll of bills. "I think I will engage the room Mrs. Green, and will pay a week or two in advance, if that wi!l be satisfactory "Quite so, Mr. Sheldon. One week will be sufficient." ' "Thank you. I may have a small trunk of bocks and manuscripts sent up here to-mor row or the next day; and if you have no ob jection I now will remain here. I am somewhat wearied by a j o urne:>; _from New York, and shall retire early." .. "The room is all ready, sir, and you are quite at liberty to remain here. Keene bowed, and gracefully smiled the woman of mournful mien fr o m th e room and dosed the door upon her sombr e figure. "That she was an estimable woman and calcurated to nm a reputable house, he had not the slightest doubt. The statements made about Annie Mal colm, however, rather surprised him. They presented the girl in a new light. Either Mrs. Green was egregiously deceived in her, or his own opinion of the girl and her conduct was seriously in error. "It is barely possible that she has in some way been victimized by Dean, thbugh I am blessed if I can quite fathom it he said to himself when considering the case in the solitude of his room a little later. "But I hope that I may find that to have been the fact." He had in mind for the moment the pretty face of the girl he had seen on the Fall River boat, and he hoped the words of the landlady were true. He did not like to think of Annie Malcolm behind prison bars; for Sheridan Keene had a tender spot in his strong, reso lute heart, and the thought of arr esting a young girl was always a painful one. But Keene was a man who, nevertheless, inflexi bly cleaved to the requirements of duty. It was nearly half-past six, and dusk was falling. In anticipation of subsequent ne eds, he opened the rear window and examined the facilities for gaining that of Annie Malcolm's room. He fonnd that, by clinging to the window casing, he could reach a heavy gutter at the break of the L and gain the roof of the latter by a vigorous effort. The window of the girl's room opened directly upon this lower roof. Yet there bad been no indications up to this time that Annie Malcolm was in the house. Twice Keene had listened at the hall door, and once at the wall dividing her room from his ; but only perfect silence had repaid his efforts, and he was forced to conclude that Annie Malcolm was still absent. Whether she would return during the evening, or whether Dean already had looked her up and, alarmed by the detective's interview, had sent her away Keene c o uld only conjecture. It might be, he decided, that Dean had felt his to lie in gettingAnnie Malm out of the way, a possibility which was favorable to the girl, and which Keene really hoped might be true. In tnat Annie Malcolm might not return, however, his deductions were erroneous. Just after seven o'clock he heard the street door of the house closed and immediately afterward the steps of some person ascending the stairs. He had taken the precaution qot to light the gas in his room, and the chamber was in total darkness. Stealing to the door, he opened it a crack and peered out into the hall, in which a lamp was burning. His expectations were realized. The person ascending the stairs was the girl he had seen and befriended on the Fall River boat-Annie Malcolm.

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24 SHIELD WEEKLY. CHAPTER IX. PLAYING THE SPY Sheridan Keene closed and locked the door of his room, leaving the chamber still in darkness. His feelings were those of a man appreaching some anxiously-awaited crisis, the outcome of which was to be of greater moment than the mere apprehending of a criminal, and the locating of a few thousands of dollars. If his face could have been seen, one would have noticed that his eyes were brighter and more intensely stern, and the lines of his fine features more set and hard. Before he could take any decisive action, however, he heard the house-bell sharply ringing, and then the sound of a second step on the hall stairs. It now was the heavy tread of a man, who came directly up to the door of Annie Malcolm's chamber, and entered with only a sharp, impatient knock, to which no answer was awaited. "Dean!" murmured the detective, under hrs breath. "He has been waiting outside for her return, yet she must have escaped his notice in time to prevent her entrance While he thus measured the probable situ ation Sheridan Keene had not been i1le. Moving with silence and caution, he had hurriedly raised the rear window, and now buttoned his coat closer around his muscular figure, and settled his hat firmly on his head. It was dark outside, and the venture he now was about to make was extremely haz ardous. The slightest or the trembling of a nerve or muscle, might result in a fall of twenty feet to the hard bricks of the area below. Throwing one leg over the sill, Keene grasped window casing and swung out side. Groping through the darkness, his ex tended foot presently located the gutter, and he set it in the concave interior. Then he braced himself, caught his breath, and with a quick movement forced himself out and up ward. For an instant he hung poised at a point of equilibrium, then dropped to his knees on the roof the L. "Not so bad !" he murmured, yet with a k e en sense of satisfaction and relief. Before him was an illumined window, with the curtain down nearly to the lower sash. Yet the space of an inch or so permitted the rays of the light from within to cast a bright line on the roof of the L, and gave to the detective the advantage of an insight to the chamber. He dropped on one knee and peered eagerly into the room. Annie Malcolm, with out-door garments discarded, was seated on the edge of her bed; while standing in the floor, confronting her with an ominous frownon his dark face, was the suspected bank clerk, George Dean. Keene whipped out his knife, ins erting the blade under the sash of the window, which he cautiously raised a trifle. It enabled him to hear what was said in the room, and the first words were those of a bitter controversy. "I was a fool to give you any mone y," Dean was saying, with semi-subdued disgust and resentment. "You have acted like a fool, lik e a colt turned loose. It you had stuck to your job for a time and acted like a sensibl e being there would have been no clanger. What, in heaven's name, was your idea in rushing over to New York?" "To have an innocent lark, of course. v V hat else, indeed?" curtly retorted Annie Malcolm with a toss of her head and a defiant wave of her hands "What was your old mone y good for, if not to enjoy?" "Do you realize where you stand?" de manded Dean, controlling only with an effort the conflicting fears and passion by which he was "Do you realize where y o u stand?" "I am not standing!" cried Annie, with pert resentment of his tone and manner. ' I am sitting!" "And you next will be sitting in a prison cell, unless you listen to me!" cried Dean, forcibly taking the girl by the wrist and checking her levity. "If you had done as I r.ommancled, there would have been no trouble; but now the officers of the law are after us.",. Annie Malcolm turned very white, and started to her feet. "Not after me?" she gasped, inquiringly, like one suddenly brought to her senses. "There are no officers after me !" Dean vented a bitter laugh. "You little fool !" he exclaimed, thrusting her to a chair. "Do you think you are not'-..

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smET.D WEEKLY. 25 in the same boat I am in, now that the deed is done?" By slow degrees the last vestige of color left the cheeks of the girl, and for a moment she stared mutely at the harsh face of the speaker, as if there gradually was dawning on her mind some frightful possibility, of w hich as yet she had not dreamed. "Not me-not after me! she muttered, in accents of increasing dismay. "After both of us," declared Dean, with cruel severity. "But I-I stole nothing!" "That makes no difference You knew all about it, and put the scheme in my way. But for you, I should not have thought of it, and couldn't have accomplished it. In the sight of the law, you are as guilty as I am, and as liable to punishment. If you had followed my instructions, and kept your place and held your tongue, oi; told only what I told you to tell, there would have been no danger of discovery. As the thing now stands, I know well enough I am suspected, and some plan must be laid to avert exposure and arrest." Tears were now rolling down Annie Mal colm's white face, and she was trembling with dismay and terror. Keene saw at a glance that whatever the girl had done, it had been done in partial ignorance and blindness, and under the influence of a designing and un principled man. "Stop crying!" commanded Dean, sternly. "Stop crying, and listen to me! Possibly the case is not yet as desperate as I have pic tured." "Oh, oh, it ts bad enough if you speak the truth !" "Stop crying, I say. When did you get home from New York?" "Onl y this morning, George." "Have yo u been at home all day?" "No, no, I only just came in." '"Has a man been up here to see you?" "What man?" "Any man!" cried Dean, vehemently. "No, no none! "That's lucky at least ,". said the scoundrel, with less austerity. "Now listen to me and I will tell what must be done." "But I am guilty of nothing wrong, George Dean !" the girl now answered, with feeling. "I only told you how the money was to be sent, and when. It wa-s your own design; that of taking part of the money I did nothing for which the officers should be seeking me." "You came to the bank that so as to see what occurred and to testify in my be half, should it become necessary. That alone is enough to corrvict you." "But you asked me to do that. Why did you not tell me at the time ?" "It don t matter what I did or didn't tell you," answered Dean, shortly "It makes you as liable to the law as myself. Now, don't begin crying again. There is yet a way out of it, if you will listen to me and do as I say If you don'tLthere will be but one end to it. We shall go to jail together." "What am I to do?" asked Annie, wringing her hands with a dismay too poignant to be pictured with words. "You must be calm, to begin with, and do what I told you," commanded Dean, who seemed to have a potent influence over the girl. "An officer may comehere at any moment to question you. You must not be
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SHIELD W EEKLY. ; betray me, or weak enough to be driven into a corner the officers cannot fix the crime upQn me,. if they go to tbe devil. It was too good a chance to lose I am not always handling the money there, and seven thou sand dollars are not to be gathered from every bush." "Did you take such a sum as that?" gasped .\.nnie Malcolm, staring up at him with awed and tearful eyes. "Of course I did," growled Dean. "I had the package all prepared and sealed, ready for Hague when he should call that morning. It contained only five thousand dollars,llie value vou said be would ask me to mark on it. I had notes in it of the same d e nomina tion I was prepared to give him in exchange for that check. It was child's play. I had tbe bogus package handy under my blotter, and when he asked me to m:rrk a fictitious value on the genuine package, I turned to my desk and" did so. Then I turned blotter, package, and all, and gave him the one under neath, and left the genuine in its place. Faugh that was a kid's sleight-of-hand." The girl had ceased sobbing, but was trembling from head to foot. For the first time, the full magnitude of her transgression had been brought home to her; and by a knave as cruel and designing as the. act itself was artful by which he acoomplished the theft even under the ve r y eyes of the man he had robbed. Sheridan Keene was right when he said that George Dean was not a safe man to be at large. "What am I to do?" moaned Annie Mal colm, for never did a friendless and unad vised girl find herself in a {uch more desperate strait. "Oh, oh, what am I to do?" "Follow my instructions," said Dean, with persuasive austerity. "A confession of the truth will not help you. If you do what I command, we yet may escape detection, and ultimately divide money." "I don't want it! I won't have it!" "Nevertheless, you will do what I bid you cried Dean, with terrible severity. "It's our only chance to escape a prison cell. I don't propose to be thrown down by you, now h ave the money. Not if I know i t I" More than the threatening manner of the man, which was the result of conscious des the picture he drew of the imminent danger of arrest influenced 1 the dismayed girl he had artfully victimized from the begin ning. She looked up at him, still with awe and terror in her glistening eyes, and asked helplessly: "What am I .to do, then? What am I to do?" ''You must go away, farther than New York this time," explained the scoundrel, with unabated sternness, and with a look more than ever evil in his frowning dark eyes. "\i\!here must I go ?" "Anywhere you like. To Den ver, New Orleans. or to any other city, so that you put distance, and plenty of it, be tween yourself and Sheridan Keene." Annie Malcolm started and caught her breath. . "I met a man on the New York boat named Sheridan," she exclaimed, involuntarily. "Sheridan what?" gasped Dean, turningas pale as the girl. "Only Sheridan. He said his last name was Sheridan." "Describe him!" "A tall, nice-looking young man, with smooth face and bright eyes. He be friended--" 'Twas a lie!" cried Dean, hoarsely. "The man was Sheridan Keene, the detective. "What did you say to him? Tell me what you said." The subdued vehemence with which Dean was speaking was like that of a frenzy. The glow in his eyes was that of utter des peration, and a desperation that would not shrink from anything that might serve to avert the downfal( and dishonor he felt was threatening him The emergency had arisen, which Sheridan Keen:e had said would only be to turn George Dean from a gen tleman to a ruffian. For a moment the girl was terrified by his appearance, and held her breath, eowerless to answer. "I didn't say anything-nothing about us," she finally r eplied. "On my word, George, I did not." "You a r e sure?"

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I SHIELD WEEKLY. !.' "Yes, yes, I am sure! He did not know me-; he only me, when a man on the boat tried to make my he ask you anything about me, or the missing money, or--" "Not a word; rift a word! He left me at once, and havC-.ot seen him since." "If I thought you were lying--" "I am not George, I am not!" Had he done as he felt, Sheridan Keene would have dashed through the window and throttled the scoundrel then and there. Dean drew himself up and glanced toward the door. "I am a fool. to be so disturbed," he muttered, bitterly. "The danger is less than I fear. They have no proof-and shall have none! Listen to me, Annie! y OU now must do what I command." "How can I?" cried the girl, herself driven to desperation by the man's display of pas sion and alarm. "I have no more m<'.mey. I--" "I will provide the money." "What am I to do?" "Leave Boston this very night," said Dean, forcibly. "I dare not let you remain here! I dare not trust to your courage and dis cretion, for you would be cornered and ques tioned by the police. You must evade that! You must give them the slip, and leave the city." "Oh, this is terrible!" moaned the girl, again giving way to her tears. "The chill of a prison cell is more so," cried Dean, with brutal severity. "You must do what I command. Go to Chicago, and hide yourself there. You can get a place to work, and remain there till this thing blows over. I will write you from here, and send you an address. And some day, when it is safe, I will join you." "I don't wanf you to join me!" cried An nie Malcolm, with sudden passionate violence. "I hate you! I never wish to see you again! I will go-yes, I will go to-night! But if you ever join me-so help me, God, I will tell the whole truth, if I die for it!" Had she known the world as the man kne.w it, that a confession might have saved her the very fate to which he had driven and still was driving he r she would not have spared him for an i nstant. As it was, D ean t urned livid to the lips, and shrank from the fire blazing her eyes. "Be that as it may," he said, with ari oath; "you must go, and shall go!" "I have said I would go!" "How soon can you get ready?" "In half an hour." "That will be in time for the west-bound train," said Dean, hoarsely. "Meet me at the old place, in half an hour, and we will walk to the station. Meantinre, I will go and get the money. I will give you all you will need, and ten times more." "Why not now?" "I haven't it with me. Do you think I am fool enough to carry seven thousand dollars in my pocket at a time like this? I will bring you one thousand dollars .when I meet you." Mere mention of the sum dazed the girl, if, indeed, she was not already dazed by the fears Dean had aroused. "Go, then!" she cried, with desperate im patience. "I will meet you in half an hour." "Sure?" "Without a word to any one here, mind you," the miscreant forcibly added. She could not read the look in his dreadful eyes, as Sheridan Keene read it at tnat moment. It was that of a man ready to do even greater crime to shield himself; and by the very precautions he now was taking, he aimed to rear a barrier against subseguent perils. "I will not say a word to any one," Annie Malcolm hastened to reply. "Be sure df that!" "I will be sure." "Have you.. told any one that you expected me here to-night?" "No, no one!" "In half an bour, then," cried Dean, turning to seize the knob of the door. Again the girl looked him in the face, and again she failed to read it. "I will meet you at the end of the half hour," she said, simply Dean turned without another word, and hastened from the and from the house.

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I 28 SHIELD WEEKLY. Sheridan Keene could not regain his own room in time to follow the knave. He did the next best thing, however He waited until Annie Malco l m had pre pared herself for her journey, and had stolen from her room. Then Keene threw open her window, and followed t he girl. CHAPTER X. DBSPERATION'S DIRE RESORT. They met on the Dartmouth street bridge a half-hour later. Annie Malcolm carried only a single piece of luggage, the same she had brought from New York that very morn ing. George Dean was now in a top-coat, with the collar turned high about his ears, while a soft felt hat was drawn low over his heavy dark brows. But little more than half of his villainous face was exposed. "It will be safer if we don't walk to the station in company, he said, the mo ment she approached him, for he had been the first to reach the rendezvous. "Why so?" Annie Malcolm asked; in surprise "Because we may be seen," Dean replied, with some asperity. "Don't you understand that we are in a deucedly desperate situation? Do you imagine I am sending you out to Chicago merely for the amusement of the thin g ?" "But I am not known to the police!" ex claimed the girl. "You are likely to be, if you are not ," re torted the scoundrel, with a bitter laugh. "You do what I tell you In that lies your only hope "Say it .. then!" "Give me your luggage. I will carry it for you, and go on ahead Follow me at a little distance, and don't lose sight of me if we get into a crowd. You must surely hit the midnight train." "It is not near midnight yet; but I will not miss you. Go on!" "vVait a bit," De an paused to add. "T shall not go straight to the station, because it is too earlv and we must not b e seen hanging ahout there. You follow me until you see me stop, then come and j oin me again. Do you understand?" "Yes. I tell you I will not miss you. Go on ahead!" Annie Malcolm was trembling violently, but she was yielding blind to the apprehen sions this man had arou d, an<;l that far greater fear of prison cell than of him. She gave him the small p ortmanteau she had packed for her flight, and waited till he was some twenty feet away, then obediently fol lowed him. Sheridan Keene still followed the girl. He could have arrested them then and there, but he was now actuat((d by another motive. He wished to discover if he had read George Dean aright. He wanted to know of just how vicious a crime this fellow was capable, l.mder such desperate circum stances. He had resolved to send him to pris on with a long and deserved sentence, should he secure sufficient evidence of his vicious nature to promote that desirable end. Still, with his face partly and his head bowed to avoid the possibility of rec ognition of passers-by, George Dean led the way in the direction of the Southern Union station. H e wa lked moderately, that Annie Malcolm.might have no difficulty in keeping him in view and following him ; and he took those streets in which the gloom was deepest, and a meeting with pedestrians least liable He did not go direct to the station. He turne d clown Atlantic avenue and crossed to that side adjoining the water front, maintain ing his moderate pace until he arrived at an opening between two gloomy buildings A glance through the obscure passageway re vealed the very locality for which he had been seeking. The passage gave egress to one of the short piers in that locality with the waters of the harbor lapping the piles beneath Dean halted at the corner of one of these buildings and drew i nto the shadow of the wall, out of the range of the rays of the elec tric lii::-hts on the avenue. In obedience to his earlier instructions, An nie Malcolm now approached and rejoined him. "Why have you come clown here so far, George Dean ?" she asked, i n rather timid .. \:on es c:

PAGE 30

SHIELD WEEKLY. 29 "To avoid observation," he replied, draw ing her also into the shadow of the building "But there are not many people along here," she protested. ''One pers0n is enough, so be it we are seen together and either of us is recognized," replied Dean, in tones which now were much more geritle and composed I suppose that is true," the girl admitted. "It is not yet time for the train, not for two hours," Dean further explained. "It won't do for us to be seen standing about, so I kept walking till I found a spot where we can talk unobserved." "Why did you start so early, then?" ) For fear an officer might have called at tlie Appleton street house, of course." "I had forgotten that," said Annie, con fused by the very nature of the experience she was undergoing. "You'd forget that you are on earth if I didn t tell you of it," Dean dryly rejoined, with a short laugh. "I will go to the station and get your ticket for you by and by. I will buy you a sleeper through to Chicago, and you can travel in style Nobody will ever suspect you "Go d forbid! I should wilt like a rag." Dean now had no doubt of that, despite that he at first had some faith in the girl's nerve and r!'!liability. But h e did not express his be: 0 nor betray any f ee ling He f e lt he now knew a surer meth o d of preventing Annie Malcolm from betraying him, and, with gentl e persuasion and less display of anxiety he now was paving the way to ac complish it. "I also wi s h to give you the'1Uoney-the one thousand dollars," he continued fing ering his pocket. "But we must get off the street. It will not d o to be seen. Lei's slip through the passage here and sit down on one of the boxes on the wharf." "Oh! but it's dark down there!" the girl apprehensively exclaimed. Darkness will not harm you, however, as much as discovery and arrest," returned Dean. "Come! come! No one will see us
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I 30 SHIELD WEE:KLY. and thrice he assured himself that they were indeed alone, and that the crime he contem plated could be committed unobserved. "When you get to Chicago," he repeated, "you must first look up lodgings in some quiet neighborhood and secure a room." "Of course, I must do that," returned the girl. '1!" must sleep somewhere." "But I should advise you to get a room in a quiet local-ity, where you will not be likely to be tnuch observed." "I will get it where I like!" I am telling you this for your own good," argued Dean, edging nearer the break of the pier. "I am looking out for you as well as for myself, Annie." "You ought t@ have done that earlier," re torted the girl. "Don't go so near the edge." "Pshaw! There is no danger. I--" "But I will go no farther !" Annie Mal colm exclaimed "If you have anything you want to say to me say it here and now!" "You know I have always meant well by you, Annie," replied Dean, "and I mean well now." While speaking he set down the portman teau just behind the girl and once more cast a swift glance in every direction ; but the pile of cases and boxes now hid the figure which had been crouching in the shadow of the building. Then Dean arose erect, close behind the girl, even while he spoke the lie last recorded. The break of the pier was less than ten feet away. With features deathly pale under his awful determination, with eyes pale and teeth set, Dean seized the girl from behind, and, with quick movement, clapped his hand over her mouth and wound one arm around her neck. Like a flash the awful truth then came home to her-that he meant td choke her, drown her, remove her from his path as he might have disposed of a snake or any other venomous reptile. Every ounce of strength suddenly left her, only to return as suddenly under the frenzy of her terror, and her fear led to a momentary struggle too terrible to picture. Except one man alone, no power on earth could have saved the girl that dreadful night. But a figure came out of the darkness with a bound like that of a leopard. Only a..gingle blow was struck, or, rather, two !-'t;he second when George Dean struck the floor of the pier. Then the figure bent above him fr:>r an in stant, and the sharp click of closing manacles sounded on fhe night air. It was a mute conflict from the beginning, but now Sheridan Keene jerked Dean to his feet, dazed and bewildered for a moment by the blow he received. "So, so, my fine fellow!" the detective cried. "You would have done murder, also, would you? Well, well we'll see what sort of an ending we can make of you !" "Good heavens !-it's Sheridan Keene!" gasped Dean, as white as death itself. Then he suddenly stared down like one confused at the handcuffs circling his-wrists. Annie }1alcolm ha(i stood mute and power less to move during the brief episode. Now she sprang nearer, with dilated eyes, and cried, with sudden sobs and tears: "Oh, oh, Mr. Sheridan!" "Sheridan Keene, instead," interrupted the detective. ."You have befriended me again. You have saved me from--" "From one who would have done you much greater harm than the other, my girl," Keene again interposed, curtly. "Come! come! You both must go with me. Bi1t I will yet save you, my girl once more-from the fate this miscreant merits and shall surely receive! Come, now, both of you!" Not once did he loose his hand from the shoulder of George Dean, who stood like a man crushed by the fate befallen him; and as Sheridan Keene led him back through the gloom of the pier, with the weeping girl fol lowincr behind, the shrill call of the detective's whistle for the patrol fell with startling ab ruptness on the soft night air. CHAPTER XI. CONCLUSION. Before another hour had passed George Dean and Annie Malcolm were lodged in the Tombs. From the momen t o f his a r rest D e an went to pieces, and but little questioning was re-

PAGE 32

SHIELD WEEKLY. 31 quired to evoke a full confession as to how the robbery had been effected and precisely what part Annie Malcolm had had in the crime, nearly all of which has already been so clearly as to need no repetition. Only a small portion of the stolen money had been spent, moreover, and tqe balance was quickly secured and restored to its own ers The loss they sustained, however, rather served them right, and, perhaps, taught them that it is wiser to pay nominal express charges than to lay themselves liable to artful thefts and the expenses which accrue for the service of professional detectives. As Sheridan Keene had inferred during his talk with Mrs. Green in his lodging house, the girl had in reality been more sinned against than sinning. Her relations with Dean hru:I been thoseo1 girlish friendship only, resulting from an ac quaintance formed at times when he lunched at the 8riental Cafe. She had told Dean what she had overheard between Horton and Hague, and the bank clerk, deceiving her as t o the magnitude of his contemplated theft, had taken advantage o f the curious circum stances, as described The robbery having been committed, Dean t hen had pu r chased the girl's silence with a generous sum of money, still concea ling just what he had done; and Annie Malcolm, with her head turned by the gift, had instantly thrown up her situation, and set out for New York to visit a cousin and to en j oy what she was pleased to term an innocent lark. George Dean received a sentence of four years for his part in the crime, and is still in the State prison. But Sheridan Keene was as good as his word, and did what he could to spare Annie M a!colm a similar punishment. Through his own efforts and the kind intercession of Chief Inspector Watts, to whom all the facts strong ly appealed, the district attorney was pre Yailed upon to nol. pros. the case against the girl, and the court released her upon proba tion. That the tearful gratitude with which she acknowledged the kindly interest of She r ida n Keene and the chief inspector was deep and genuine has since been proved by the exem plary conduct of the misguided girl, who now is daily seen agai n at her ta b le i n the Oriental Cafe. When Hague now sees Detective Kee n e 'approaching on the street he c r osses t o the opposite side. He doesn't l ike to b e "guyed." THE END. Next week's SHIELD WEEKLY (No. 8) will -...: contain the strange story of a celebra t ed pawnshop case, in whic h Detective Kee n e himself is accused of being implicated i n t h e crime. This absorbing story is entitled, "A Lion Among Wolves; o r S!'ieri dan Keene's Identity." No. /.-Sheridan K eene, De tectiv e ; or, The Chief's Best Man. Issued TVednesday, December 5th. No. 2.-Silhouette or Shadow? or, A Question of Evidence. Issued Wednesday, D ecember r 2th. No. 3. -lnspector Watts' Oreat C apture; or, Thf!. Case o f Alvord1 the Embezzler. Issued Wednesday, December r 9tlt No. 4.-Cornered by Inche s ; or, A C u rious Robbery in Higa Lif e. Issued Wednesday, D ecember 26th. No. 5 -The Man and the Hour; or, Sheridan R.eene s Clever Artifice. Issued Wednesday, January 2d. No. 6 -Who Was the Model? or, Mis sing; A Beautiful He iress. Issued lVcdnesdaJ1, January 9tlt. I. No. 1.Under Seal; or, The Han d of he Ouilty. Issued vVednesday, January r6tlt No. 8.-A Lion Among W o l ves ; or, Sheridan Keene' s ldenfity. Issued Wednesday, January 23d. Back numbe r s a lways o n hand. If you cannot get our publication s from your newsdealer, fiv e cent s a cop y will bring them to. y ou, b y mail p ostpaid.

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THE MEDAL LIBRARY. The Best Boy' s Books Ever Written. .:J. The Right Books at the Right Price, 10c. There is a line of classics for youth-the books your fathers read-the books you wanto read-the books the boys and girls will read and like as long as the English language ent dures. They have done more to shape the mind of American boys for the last fifty years than any others. We refer to the writings of Oliver Optic, Horatio Alger, Edward S. Ellis, Lieut. Lounsberry, James Otis, William Murray Graydon, etc. These names are familiar wherever the American flag floats. Unfortunately, they tave heretofore been procurable only in expensive binding at from $1. 00 to $1. nO each. The average boy bas not got $1. 50 to invest. Ten cents is nearer the prine. We have made the ten cent book the leader with the elder readers. Now we are going to do the same thing for the boys, and give them their favorites in a form in every r espect equal to our well-known Eagle and Magnet Libraries, at the uniform price of ten cents. Thousands of boys have asked us to issue this line. Thousands more are ready to buy it on sight. There is n o line like it in the world. We can justly call it the Medal series, as every book will be a prize winner. It will contain no story that the boys have not approved as a "standard." They have bought them by the thousands at $1.00 and upwards, and now they can get them for TEN CENTS A COPY 87-The Five Hundred Dollar Check ........... -Horatio Alger, Jr. 86-Catmur's Cave ........ ............. Richard Dowling !IS-Facing Death .................. ...... ... G. A. Henty 84-The Butcher of Cawnpore ..... ..... .... . Wllllam Murray Graydon Tiger Prince ... ................. Willia m Dalton 82-The Young Edltor .............. Matthew White, Jr. 81-Arthur H elmuth of the H. & N C. Railway, Edward S. Ellis 8(}....Afloat In the Forest .......... Captain Mayne Reid 79-The Rival Battallons .... ...... Brooks McCormick 78-Both Sides of the Continent ... Horatio Alger, Jr. 77-Perlls of the Jungle ................ Edward S. Ellis 76-The W a r Tiger; A Tale of the Conquest of China ........................... William Dalton 75-The Boys In the Forecastle .... George H. Coomer 74-The Dingo Boy s ............. George Manville Fenn 73-The Wolf Boy of China ........... . William Dalton 72-The Way to Success; or, Tom R andall ... Alfred Oldfellow 71-Mark Seaworth' s Voyage on the Indian Ocean .......... ......... William H. G. Kingston 7(}....The New and Amusing History of Sandford and Merton ........................ F C. Burnand 69-Pirate Island .................... Harry Collingwood 68-Smuggler' s Cave .......... ......... Annie Ashmore 67-Tom Brown' s S chool Days ........ Thomas Hughe s 66-A Young Vagabond ....... .... ...... Z R B ennett 65-That Treasure ................... Frank H Converse 64-The Tour of a Private Car ... M atthe w White, Jr. 63-In the Sunk L ands ................. W alte r F. Burns 62-How He Won ................... Brooks McCormic k 61-The Erle Train BOY, ............. Horatio Alger, Jr. 60-The M ountain Cave ............ G eorge H. Coome r 59-The Rajah' s Fortress ... William Murra y Graydon 58-Gilbert, the Trapper ............ C apt. C B. Ashley 57-The Gold of Fla t Top Mountain ........... .. F r ank H. Converse 56-Nature' s Young Nobleman ... B r ooks M cCormic k 55-A Voy age to the Gold Coast. .. F r ank H. Converse 54-Joe N i c hols; or, Difficultie s Overcom e .. ... Alfr e d Oldfellow 53-The adventures of a New York T e l egraph Boy, Arthur Lee Putnam 52-From Farm Boy to Senator .... Horatio Alge r, Jr. 51-Tom Tracy ...................... Arthur Lee Putnam 50-Dean Dunham .................... Horatio Alger, Jr. 49-The Mystery of a Diamond .... Frank H. Converse 48-Luke Bennett's Hide-Out .......... ......... Capt. C B. Ashley U .S. Scout 47-Erlc Dane ....................... Matthe w White, Jr. 46-Poor and Proud .......................... Oliver Optic 45-Jack Wheeler: A W estern Story .......... Captain David Southwick -The Golden Magnet ..... .... George Manville Fenn 43-In Southern Seas .............. Frank H. Converstl 42-The Young Acrobat ............. Horatio Alger, Jr. 41-Check 2134 ............................ Edward s. Ellls 4(}....Canoe and Campfire ......... St. George Rath borne 39-Wlth Boer and Britisher In the Transvaal, William Murray Graydo n 38-Gay Dashleigh's Academy Days .... Arthur S ewall 37-Commodore Junk ............. George Manvlle Fenn 36-In Barracks and Wigwam ... ...... . ........ Wlll_lam Murray Graydon 35-In the Reign of Terrhr ................. G. A. Henty 34-The Adventures of Mr; Verdant Green ..... Cuthbert Bede, B. A 33-Jud and Joe, Printers and Publishers ..... Gilbert Patten 32-The Curse of Carnes' Hc>ld ............ G A Henty 31-The Cruise of the Snow Bird ...... Gordon S table s 3(}....Peter Simple ....................... Captain Marrya t 29-True to the Old Flag ................... G A. Henty 28-The Boy Boomers .............. ...... Gllbert Patten 27-Centre-Board Jim ....... Lieut. Lionel Lounsberry 26-The Cryptc>gram ........ William Murray Graydo n 25-Through the Fray ....................... G. A. Henty 24-The Boy from the West ............. Gllbert Patte n 23-The Dragon and the Raven .......... G. A Henty 22-From Lake to Wilderness .......... . ...... William Murray Graydon 21-Won at West Polnt ..... Lleut. Lionel Louns b erry 20-Whee!lng for Fortune .................... James Otis 19-Jack Archer ............................. G. A. H enty 18-The Silve r Ship ........................... Leon Lewis 17-Enslgn Merrill .... ....... Lieut. Lionel Lounsbe r r y 16-The White King of Africa . ..... ......... .. William Murra y Graydon 15-Midshipman Merrill .... Lieut. Lionel Lou n sberry 14-The Young Colonists: A Story of Life and War in Africa ...................... . G. A H enty 13-Up the Ladder ...... ................. Lieut. Murray 12-Don Kirkr s Mine ..... ................ Gilbert Patten 11-From T ent to White Hous e (Boyhoo d and Life o f Presi dent M cKinle y ) ... Edward S. Ellls 1(}....Don Kirk, the B o y Cattle King .. .. G il b ert Patten 9-Try Again .................. ... .... . ; . Oliver O ptic 8-Kit Carey' s Protege .... Lieut. Lione l Lounsberry 7-Chase d Throug h N orway ................ J a m e s Otis 6-Captaln Care y of the Gallant Seventh ... . Lieut. Lionel Lounsberry 5-Now or Neve r ........................... Oliver Optic 4-Lieutenant Carey' s Luck .... .............. . Lieut. Lio n e l Lounsberry 3-All Aboard ... .............. ...... ........ Oliver Optic 2-Cadet Kit Care y ......... Lieut. Lione l Lounsberry 1-The Boat Club .......................... Oliver Optic Order them at once. If you cannot get them send to us. Remember these are J2mo books, printed from new plateS, with elegant covers, and are the "real tbjng" and only TEN C_ENTS A COPY.

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ANOTHER NEW IDEA The Shield Weekly \ RUE detective stories are stranger than fiction. The Shield Weekly is a new series of detective stories, but it is "some thing different." Street & Smith's long experience in the publishing business has taught them that the average man and boy like nothing better than good detecff .) Chiefs of Police in the largest cities of America. 1 Their fund of knowledge upon this subject has been drawn upon by special arrangement. We propose to deionstrate to the reading p ublic of America through the Shield Weekly that the true '1.isfories of real crimes , contain as much and more of romance than do the imaginati

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