A double play, or, Two mysteries in one net

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A double play, or, Two mysteries in one net

Material Information

Title:
A double play, or, Two mysteries in one net
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.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
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:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
024875482 ( ALEPH )
64174892 ( OCLC )
S75-00008 ( USF DOI )
s75.8 ( USF Handle )

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serial

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No. 9. Price, Five Cents. PUBLISHED WEEKLY BY STREET & SMITH, 238 Willi a m Street New Y ork City Copyright, 1901, by S tretl & Smith. A ll ri!f h/s r
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u # TRUE DETECTIVE STORIES STRAnGER TH_Aft FICTIOn lsn1ed By St1bsc rijJti on la.SO /Jtr year. Entered as SteoKdClass Matter at tltt N. Y Post OjJiee, !Jy STRBBT & SMITH, 238 William St., N. y. EnttYtd A ccordinr t o .Act / Cimrr ess, in th.; year 1901, in the Office of the Li/Jrarlan of Congress, Wa.shi,,rton, D. C. N o 9 NEW YORK, February 2, 1901. Price Five Cents. A DOUf>LE PLAY; OR, TWO MYSTERIES IN ONE NET. By ALDEN F. BRADSHAW CHAPTER I. A DEE D I N THE NIGHT. "We'll t ake a c a rriage, Detective Keene; the ca s e .is n ot an ordinary one." The speak e r was Chief Inspector Watts. He was as c e11ding the stairway which gives e g r e ss from the office of the inspectors of po l ice a n d r ises t o t h e plan e of th e sidewalk an d road bed o f P e mb erto n The p o rtl y figure of th e chief inspector was n ea rl y e nv e l ope d in a h e av y fri eze overcoat, whi c h h e w a s butt oning closer around him a n d d r a\\ing th e collar w ell up about his ne ck. H i s flo rid f e atures wore an expres sion of unusu a l gravity, and the penetrating c o mpl ace nc y habitual to his s earching blue e ye s had g iven place to a look of severity and determination Chief Watts never wore this expression unless a case was, indeed, an extraordinary one. His companion was Detective Sheridan Keene, whose fresh, forceful countenance, a veritable picture of keen intelligence and virile manhood, carried a mute inquiry which at once indicated that he was not yet informed of the matter which had suddenly claimed the serious attention of the chief that morning. It was a morning in January, and close upon nine o'clock. The air was crisp and cold, the sky cloudless, well becoming a typi cal winter day. An inch or two of snow had fallen during the night, th e surface of which was frozen hard, and glistenerl' with dazzling brilliancy in the morning sunlight. It had clothed the streets and squares and buildings, even, with a mantle of white, like a chaste garm. ent. Nor was the effect lost upon human nature, even, for more people than usual were bright and smiling on that bright winter morning. "What is the case, chief?" asked Sheridan Keene, as the for _mer signed the dr. iver of a carriage that stood near the curbing to re move the blankets from his horses. "A bad break, I infer," replied Cbief

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. SHIELD WEEKLY. Watts, o p e n i n g the carriage door "Take either seat." "Hous e or store? "Store. "Whe re to, c hief ? the driver ran to ask. Kennedy & Hicks', Tremont "The j ewe lers! exclaimed K ee n e and the b ang of the clo se d door was min g l e d with his words "Yes, Chie f Watts repli e d a s th e w h eels rolled crun ching through th e crust of the s now. "Hicks just telephoned down to me. I did not wait for an y d e tails yet I heard e nough to l e ad me to look into the matter iIJ. person." "Any idea of the loss?" "Not yet "Safe opened?" "I understood Hicks to say it was blown open replied Chief Watts, "but I think he was so excited that he could not have told whether it had been blown or drilled. The burglary was discovered b y the boy who opens the stor e in the morning. He was so alarmed and excited when h e entered the s hop and saw what had occurr e d, that he im mediately closed and locked the door and ran to Hicks' residence, on St. Bartolph street, with the pews." "Why didn't he call an officer?" "Probably he-was rattled He'll grow wiser as he grows older. It will be quite as well for us however, that he did not call an officer "Why SO, chief?" "Because we shall find things undisturb e d ." Chief Watts explained. "Hicks c_gme right down, and on seeing the state of things he imm e diatel y t e l e phon e d to me. I told him to let thin g s a l o n e till I arrived." "A go o d i dea." "Do you know what time it began snowing; last night ? "Not until after midnight chief replied Keene. "I cannot say how long after." "I thought we perhaps, might find some evidence-ah, here we are!" The carriage had drawn nearer the curbing, and stopped in front of an attractive jewelry store on Tremont street, not far from the magnificent Hotel Touraine. A group of men and boys was on the sidewalk, and Chief Watts, immediately upon alighting, said sharply t o an approaching patrolm a n : "Disperse the se people, officer! S end th e m about their business, if they have any, and keep this w ay cle ar. The patrolman touched his helmet. Keene threw a quick glance o ver the front of the store and building. Messrs Kenne dy and Hic ks were evidently m e n of old-tim e c u s toms for the single broad window of their st o re was shielded from ac cident and felonious designs b y black w ooden shutters, which had not yet been removed that morning. The door was at one side, the glass of which was likewise protect e d Yet none of these shutters was so high that a man of medium height could not have looked over it and into the shop. A neat brass sign was attached to either side of the receding entrance, bearing in black letters the name of the firm. The door at once was opened, showing the interior of the shop, which was rather narrow, but of con siderable depth. Immediately adjoining the entrance, yet entirely separate from it, was a door giving egress to a stairway which belonged to a single flat, or tenement; which was both above the jewelry store and the next store up the street, which was a store. The door and stairway of the tenement was the two shops, and these several divisions, the two stores and the tenement overhead, occupied the entire building. From the door of the tenement the door plate of some occupant had evidently been removed quite recently, for some of the dust which collects back of these plates still cleaved to the face of the door. That the tenement had not again been let, or at least was not occupied, was also apparent, for the blinds of all the front windows were securely clo sed. The practiced and comprehensiv e eye of a detective observes at a glance such superficial features as these and Sheridan Keene, without further need to examine the exterior, im mediately followed Chief Watts into the store. There was a single long counter, with at tractive show cases reaching nearly the length of the store on the left side. Back of this were glass cupboards filled with various

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 3 pi e c es o f silver and underneath the se a c ab inet of drawers reaching to the floor. The bare wall at the right of the shop was that adjacent to th. e entry of the tenement. At the rear of the store was a square safe nearly six feet high, and so situated that it could be seen from the street, except only one small section, which was obscured by the end of the counter. Half of the safe door had been ruptured by an explosion, and the other h a f now stood open. There were but three persons in the store when the detective entered. One was a lad of fifteen years, who was talking in excited whispers to a ma11 of thirty or thereabouts, both of whom were employed in the store. The thii:d person was a man of sixty, with a slender stooping figure, as if bowed by many years' work over a jeweler's bench. His hair was sparse and gray, his features thin and shaven, and he wore gold-bowed spectaclei. Upon hearing the detectives enter, he turned quickly from the safe at which he was rnefully gazing, and hurriedly approached them. This gentleman was Mr. l\fatthew Hicks, the junior member of the firm of Kennedy & Hicks. CHAPTER JI. CURIOUS EVJDENCE. "Good morning, good morning, Chief Watts!" exclaimed Mr. Hicks, as he ap proached and shook the inspector's hand. "Here's a pretty mess!" Chief Watts glanced down the deep store. A pretty mess, irfdeed," he observed, in a serious and quite sympathetic way. "Close the street door, Detective Keene, please." "I will lock it if you wish." "Perhaps it will be well Mr. Hicks, until I have finished my investigation," nodded j:he chief inspector. "Are things about as you found them here this morning?" "Almost precisely, chief, the proprietor waited to reply before going to the door. "I have merely examined some of the safe-draw ers, which I find have been robbed of their contents." "Is your loss much?" "Several thousand dollars, at least. It is the first experience of the kind that we have ever suffered, although we have been in busi ness here for nearly thirty years." "I will make an investigation," said Chief Watts, gravely. Accompanied by Sheridan Keene, he walked to the rear of the store. He bestowed only a glance upon the two employees who were back of the counter, and at once approached the safe. A brief examination of the work done in drilling the ruptured door seemed to satisfy him, for he almost imme diately arose frorn his study of it, saying softly to Sheridan Keene: "It is the work of a professional and re markably well clone." "Here is a part of a broken bit." "Ah, yes Notice the quality of the tool. I at once suspected something of this kind when Hicks telephoned to me and said the safe had been blown open. The locality of the store is not one that would have attracted a novice in burglary." "What do you think of it, Chief Watts?" inquired Mr. Hicks, now returning "I am not yet prepared to say," was the evasive reply. "The work was done by an old hand at the business, however. I pre sume you keep a light burning here during the night, do you not?" "Invariably, sir." a w as last night any exception?" "No, sir;" and Mr. Hicks shook his head ''This arm on the chandelier in front of the safe was found lighted as usual this morning "Is there a private watchman who makes rounds of the stores in this district regularly during the night?" "Yes, sir." 'What is his name?" "Bradbury, sir. I ._think it is Thomas Brad bury." "How long has he been in the employ of the several firms?" "Fully a dozen years." "He's off duty now, I suppose?'' "He goes off at six in the morning, chief." "Then you have not seen him since this robbery was discovered ?" observed Chief Watts. "Send one of your clerks to his hous .e, ..

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4 SHIELD WEEKLY. with instructions for him to come here at once Mr. Hicks turned to give the necessary directions and the chief glanced at a large, s uare piece of black cloth which Sheridan Keene had found upon the floor and was then examining. "What do you make of that, Chief \i\Tatts ?" asked Hicks, reverting to the inspector. Chief Watts smiled faintly. "I presume your watchman, as well as the regular policeman who patrols this neighbor hood, is expected to look into this store each time he walks by it, is he not?" he asked, quietly. "Surely, sir!" exclaimed Mr. Hicks. "That is a part of his duty." "Well, Mr. Hicks," replied the chief, "the burglar who opened this safe was in some way warned of the approach of either of these guardians of your prop erty each time that he came round on his beat This cloth was used for the purpose of masking your safe until the watchman had passed. You will observe, sir, that the safe is quite a dis tance from the street door. A mere glance into the store would hardly have revealed the artifice Both policemen and watchmen be come gradually careless and indifferent in looking after stores and districts which have been noticeably free from affairs of this kind." "I have no doubt qf that, sir." "Furthermore, Mr. Hicks, a watchman un fortunately forms the habit of carelessness after years of service, and is very liable to slight his duty. He gets into a way of thinking that nothing is wrong, because nothing has been wrong. Give me, for reliability, a new watchman in preference to an old one. Your burglar knew this as well as I do, Mr. Hicks. On being warned of the approach of the watchman or the policeman, or of any other person, in all probability he immediately masked his work at your safe and crouched below the end of your counter until the danger had passed Have yo u discoyered how his entrance was effected?" "By the way of the basement," replied Hicks. "If you wish, I will show you." "Do so, please." The basement were at one side, and these the three men now descended. They Jed to a small, square basement, or cellar ; with a cemented floor. It was lighted by one narrow, grated window, opening directly upon the Tremont street sidewalk. A furnace occupied the middle of the cellar, and a bin for c oal was under the sidewalk. In the brick \rall to the left was a heavy iron door, standing open, through which could be seen an adjacent cellar. "The burglar came through that door, Chief \iVatts,'' explained Mr. Hicks. Chief Watts examined the door. It was very solid, with an iron casing set into the stonework of the wall. But the lock of the door had be e n entirely removed, a bit having been used to cut around it. On the floor of the adjoining cellar were the metal shav ings which had fallen, and stains of the oil which had dropped from the bit during the work. Chief Watts shrugged his shoulders dis approvingly . "\iVhat cellar is this, Mr. Hicks?" he de manded, 11uite sharply. "It belongs to the tenement over my store and the adjoining shoe store." "How does it happen that such a CQm munication exists between the two cellars? You should have had sufficient head to have foreseen some such break as '.'I admit that I have thought of it," re plied Hicks coloring slightly under the chiefs censure; "and I frequently nave thought o f having the doorway walled up, despite that it has n ot yet been done. I pre sume the same carelessness inheres in me a s in a watchman. As nothing had happened I -. imagined that nothing would happen." "Well, you have paid the price for your imagination," observed Chief Watts, dryly. "Why was the door made here, to begin with?" "I will tell you why," explained Hicks. "When the building was remodeled, and the two stores built to make the tenement above. my partner and myself leased the store we now occupy ." "How long ago was that?" "That was nearly thirty years ago, sir." "Well?" "At that time," continued Hicks, "I also

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 5 leased and lived in the tenement. There was no coal bin in the tenement cellar at that time, and I used the one out yonder. Hence the door was necessary. I had it built at that time, and as I was occasionally away nights it was constructed with what we th.ought was sufficient security against burglars, who might attempt to break into the tenement and thence into our store during my temporary abs e nce. I gave up the tene ment about five years ago, and the door has since remained .locked. We have always kept ourselves well informed of the character of .the people overhead, and have in a way felt it was safe en o ugh. I a dmit, however, that the door should have been removed and a wall btiilt; but it has never been done, and there you are. "Is the tenement now vacant?" "Yes, sir." "\i\ ho was the previous occupant?" "A man by the name of Reed, with a wife and three children He vacated about a month ago." "Do you know ciything about Reed?" "He is in the provision business on Market street, and has an excellent reputation. I am not inclined to think that he knows anything about this affair." "How long did he occupy the tenement?" "About three years." "Who before him?" "A man named Nutt," was the reply. "The man is a druggist, and now lives over his own store." "Any other?" ''No, sir. They are the only occupants since I gave up the tenement five years ago." "Who has the letting of it?" "Mr. Kelcey, the real estate agent in Boyls ton street. I believe he is also part owner of the building." Send your clerk to Mr. Kelcey's office, please," comm.anded Chief Watts, "and ask him to come around here at once." "I will do so. He will probably be in his office at this hour." Mr. Hicks hastened up-stairs leaving Chief \i'i/atts and Detective Keene in the basement. "These p eo ple have got just what they have i nvited." s a i r l the chief, with dry austerity. "The idea of allowing that door to rem a in, despite that it is an iron one." "A serious negligence, indeed," nodded Keene. "Shall we enter the tenement?" "By all means! Lead the way." The cellar was similar to that from which they turned, and the two detectives ascended the stairway. -They found the door at the top unlocked, and entered a narrow hall, cold, dim and dismal. The street door was at one end, and directly opposite this was a stairway making to the rooms above. "V./e will go up," remarked Chief Watts At the street door he abruptly halted. His searching eyes had detected upon the un carpeted floor near the door several damp spots and a few particles of frozen snow and bits of ice. "Here you have it, Keene!" exclaimed the chief, softly. "You said it did not begin to snow until after midnight. If no person has entered this tenement upon legitimate busi ness this morning, here are very reliable signs that the burglars entered by this front door, presumably with a key." "No doubt of it, Chief Watts," said Sheri dan Keene. "There was no snow or damp ness in the street yesterday. This must have been brought in here since midnight. There is no question about that." "We will take a look up-stairs." They ascended the flight together, both ob serving that the dust on the banister rail had been disturbed by the hand of some person who had recently preceded them. "Did you no. tice that?" asked Sheridan Keene. Oiief Watts nodded. "Some one has been up here before us. A person looking at the tenement yesterday, however, may have run his hand over this rail. We will question Mr. Kelcey, the land lord, a little later." "Here is the front room, the one directly over the jewelry store," said Keene, opening a door in the second hall near the head of the stairs. "So I observe--Well, well, here's a curious circumstance!" Chief Watts broke off to exclaim. The light in the room was dim, for the green blin.ds outside the two windows were

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6 SHIELD WEEKLY. closed and fastened. The room was entirely empty and without a carpet. That which had attracted the attention of Chief Watts and the detective consisted of a dozen or more smaH squares of tinfoil, which were scattered upon the floor near the window directiy over the door of the jewelry store. These of foil evidently had been the wrappers of as many oblong tablets of sweet chocolate, such as most all confectioners have on sale, with a square piece of thin paper in each, advertising the manufacturer. The floor was strewn with these papers also. "Evidently one of these burglars had a sweet tooth in his head," laughed Sheridan Keene, picking np one of the pieces of foil. Chief Watts knelt down and studied the floor for several minutes. "I am not much inclined to believe it was a he!'' he presently replied "Notice that the floor here by the window is damp, also, where the person stood for a considerable time, as if the snow on the shoes or rubbers had been melted by the warmth of the feet Keene," he added, quickly, "the person who stood here, and who watched out from this window while that safe was being cracked, was-a woman!" "Do you really think so, Chief Watts?" de manded Keene with some excitement. "It seems improbable that a woman could have been engaged in such a break as this." "It is a fact, nevertheless,"' cried Chief Watts. "Here in the dust on the floor is the mark of a rubber, evidently nearly new. Notice the fine crisscross lines with which rubbers are marked? Here is a place where they are quite plainly discernible "By Jove, you're right, Chief Watts!" "The shape o f the rubber leaves no room for doubt as t o the \\rearer's sex," continued the chief. ''It is too narrow for a man, and too long for a boy. The wearer was a woman." "Look here, Chief Watts," cried Keene, pointing to the sill of the window. "There are the marks of her fingers in the dust. She rested her hands on the sill. evidently, while she peered out through the blinds. There Is no doubt about these marks, surely. They were left here by the hand and fingers of a woman." "It is as plain as the nose on your face, &aid Chief Watts, rising erect "The woman stood here Cl:nd watched for the coming and going of the w:iiiceman and watchman; and, probably by knocking with something on this bar e floor, she warned her confederates to cease their operation until the officer had moved along on his beat. Meantime, she indulged in a lunch of chocolates. Upon my word, Keene, this is a curious case." "May it not be possible, chief, that the woman was here previous to the burgfary ?" suggested Keene, with some misgivings. "That a woman was indeed identified with such a J:mrglary seems more than strange." Chief watts immediately shook his head. "No, no!" he replied, decisively "The dampness here is from snow or ice, thawed from the woman's feet. It could not have been here yesterday, Detective Keene. Furthermore, the woman cannot have been here on any ordinary business this morning, for she certainly wouid not have stood here rn the cold to have eaten a dozen squares of choco late, and cast the wrappers about upon the floor You may take,my word. for it, Keene, she watched here for two hours or more last night while the safe in the store below was being cracked." "Wen, chief,' laughed Keene, "we have at least one clew to work from." "Two," replied Chief Watts; "the W{>man and the chocolate. Let's look further." A visit to the adjoining room which was over the shoe store, and in the several vacant chambers on the floor above, revealed nothing in a way of further probable evidence, except a few burned matches on the floor of each. "These fellmvs \vent about their work like 0ld-timers," observed Chief Watts, with a glance at his companion. "They first came to these rooms to make sure they were va cant. These are the matches they ligI1ted in -order to look around. There is no doubt about it, nor that they were thoroughly fa miliar with the lay of the land. Come, we "ill return down-stairs." They stepped into the bath-room on their way down. The water had not been turned off, the street connection serving both the tenement and the two stores below. In the

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.. \ SHIELD WEEKLY. 7 bath-room, also, they saw one of the square pieces of tinfoil; and the bowl of the lavatory was damp, and much stained with greasy black "Clever fellows, and very deliberate and self-possessed, dryly remarked Chief Watts, when he observed. "The y even came back up here to cleanse their hands after the job wa s done." "And the woman came in he.re to get a drink," laughed Keene, pointing to the tin foil on the floor. "No doubt of it assented Chief Watts. "Chocolate makes one thirsty. I trust I shall bave the pleasure of meeting this lad y-burglar, wbo devoted the solitary h ours o f her weary vigil to eating chocolates She must have quite as much sand as her male confed erates. Keene!" added Chief Watts, with a quick glance at his compani on's face, ''here's a case that will test your clevern e ss !" "f alway s welcome a m ystery that brings all of one's reserve forces into play. There then some credit in solving it." Weli said!" nodded Chi e f Watts, approvingly "There is nothing more to be learned about here, however, and the air is decidedly chilly. Let us return to the jewelry sture. The landlord should hav e arrived by tfos time. We will see what information he can impart.'' As Chief Watts had predicted, they found in the store, on their return, not only Mr. Kel cey the landlord and part owner of the build ing, but also the pr, ivat e watchman of that particular district, and the senior partner of the firm Mr. Kennedy. In turn, Chief Watts immediately subjected the two form e r to a long and searching in quiry, which however added but little to the evidence already gathered. The watchman state d that he had made his usual nuntber of rounds during the previous night. He had tried the door of tbe jewelry store each time, and glanced in over the shutters, and he was sure the light near the safe had not been lowered. Yet he could not ex plain why he had failed to see that something was wrong. The theory already advanced by Chief Inspector Watts was undoubtedly correct ; and as the watchman bore a good reputation, he was not arrested, his home addres s m e rely being taken. ; Neither_ could Mr. Kelcey, the landlord shed any light on the affair. During the pre vious month there had been a dozen or more callers at hi s office to inquir e a0out the vacant ten e ment, the identity of most of whom he could by no means disclose. Of most of them he had not ev e n asked their names. "If they appeared to be re s pectable peopl e," h e explain e d to Chief Watts, "I r e adily allowed them to take the key and enter and ex amine the tenement, with the understanding that the k e y sh o uld be soon returned. Any of them I now admit, might have made a du plicate k e y or an impression for one, during the time I allowed them to have it." "Has any person visited the tenement this m orning?" the chief inquired. "No, sir," Mr. Kelcey .replied. "There has been no one in there since day before yester day." "When were you last through the rooms ?" "On that day, Chief Watts. I came around from my office with a lady and gentleman who wished to look at the rooms. "Was the front room QVer this store in good order?" As you saw it probably since you say y o u have been there "'1 am not so sure of that," Chief Watts dryly rejoin e d "\Vas there any papers or rubbish on the floor when you were in the room day before yesterday?" "No, sir ; there was not. The room had been properly swept." "And, so far as you can state as a fact there has been no person in there since day before :Yesterday, Mr. Kelcey?" "Not to my knowledge?" "And you have only key to the tene ment that you know of?" "Yes, sir; I have the only one." "Well, then, the room now needs th e broom again," observed Chief Watts; this with a glance at Sheridan Keene. "It is very evident our deductions are pretty nearly cor rect." "I think so Chief Watts," nodded K ee nC', in his quiet way. -"Can you give me a description, Mr. Ke!-

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8 SHIELD WEEKLY. cey, of the lady and gentleman who last vis ited the tenement with you?" "I know them well, sir; they are now occu pying a house of mine on Bulfinch street, and have been thinking of making a change." "Who was the applicant before them, do you remember?" "A young man-a stranger to me, whose name I did not ask." "How long ago did he call?" "I think it was about five days ago." "Did he visit the tenement?" "He did. He went over it alone." "Can you describe him?" "Only in a general way, sir. I should say he was about thirty-five, of dark complexion, and appeared like a gentleman. I had no ob jection to allowing him to take the key." "How long did he keep it?" "For about an hour. When he returned i t he said he thought there might be more rooms than he should want, but that he, perhaps, would have his wife look the place over. He did not do so, however, and I have not seen him since. A day or two before he callea, two elderly ladies visited the rooms, but de cided adversely; and back of their application I cannot definitely remember." This was all of consequence that could be learned of Mr. Kelcey, and he was allowed to depart. He first went over the tenement in person, however, and returned to assure Chief Watts that the burned matches and chocolate wrappers had certainly been dropped since his previous visit, two days before. Of that, however, both detectives were alreaay sat isfied. Subsequent inquiries among night officers on the patrol in that locality were likewise fu tile. No suspicious person had been ob served about there after midnight, and no of ficer could recall having seen a woman with one or more men upon the street after the storm fairly began. It had snowed lightly from about one o'clock until dawn, which fact, together with the evidence in the hall and front room of the tenement, established the interval during which the ourglary must have been committed . But at the end of two weeks, devoted to en ergetic investigation and active search, Chief Watts and the several detectives det:i.iled upon the case were forced to the conclusion that it did not much signify at what time the crime had been committed; for, of the much more important factOrs, the crimina_Js them selves and the property stolen, not a trace could be found. An inventory of the stolen property showed a large number of valuable watches, several packages of unset diamonds, many rings and jeweled ornaments, a number of solid gold chains, with divers other items. The thieves had selected their booty with an eye to value, portability a.nd subsequent disposal, and the entire loss suffered by Messrs. Kennedy and Hicks ran close upon twenty thousand dol lars. CHAPTER III. THE SHADOW OF A CLEW. The official reports of his lating to the robbery of Kennedy & Hicks, be came less and less encouraging, as the days went by; and, one by one, the officers were withdrawn from tbe investigation, as it be came necessary to detail them t1pon other important matters, until Detective Keene alone remained on the case. And even his reports had begun to show signs, if not of dis couragement, at least of the utter futility of his efforts. "I am blessed if I can find a clew that re sults in anything definite or reliable, Chief Watts," he said to the latter, one morning more than two weeks after the robbery had been committed. "I have kept constantly at work on the lines we laid out, and I am as much in the dark as on the morning we stood counting those pieces of tinfoil in Kelcey's tenement. The case is a very obscure one, chief; there is no doubt about that." Chief Watts pushed back from his desk a few inches, and signed the detective to a chair. "Have you visited all the confectioners, De tective Keene, and tried to locate a woman who frequently purchases chocolate in the form observed?" he asked, gravely. "As to that, chief, I have left no stone un turned," Keene replied, taking the chair in dicated.

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 9 'And vvith no result?" "Absolutely none. I cannot get a trace of such a customer in any of the stores." "Have you visited Baker's factory, where that particular brand is manufactured?" "I have been there twice "How about the couple who visited tfie tenement two days previou s to the robbery?" "I can find nothing to warrant suspicion. Their visit appears to have been with genu intentions, for they since have moved from Bulfinch street and taken a fl.at on Berkley street." "Furthermore," added Keene, "I have learned that they were at the Columbia Theatre on the night of the robbery, and were lunching at nearly twelve o'clock. All that I can learn abou't them is in their favor." "And the previous occupants of the tene ment?" "Both families are out of the case, in so far as having had a personal part in the job. I know where one and all of them were that night." "The private watchman?" "He still retains his position,'' said Keene, with a shake of his head. "All the men by whom he has been long employed vouch for his customary care and undoubted integrity." "How about the pawnshops?" "I cannot find one in which the stolen prop erty has been offered as collateral. If any of it has been placed with a 'fence,' it has not been clone in this city. By the way, chief, do you know if there is any professional cracks man at present in this locality?" "I have not been notified of any," Chief VJatts replied. "Have you made any effort to locate the young man who had the tene ment key about a week before the burglary, al1d who went over the place alone?" "I have worked every string imaginable," Keene rejoined. "I even have advertised for the person, requesting a communication from him, hoping to end uncertainties in that di rection." "Have you received any reply to such an advertisement?" "Not as yet." "When was it inserted in the papers." "I have carded it in all the papers for a week. In display type, at that." ... "It should have met the man's eye, then, if his location is still in this city," said Chief Watts, with more animation. "If he is ail right, and his visit to the tenement was w.th out evil designs, he certainly should ha v e come forward in response to such an appeal.., "So it seems to me, chief." "Keene, I think that fellow is the man w e want!" exclaimed Chief Watts, drawing h i m self up in his chair. "You go to Kelcey, and get as precis,a description of the stranger as the landlord can give you. If we cannot lo cate him from Kelcey's description, nor bring him out of obscurity with the help of the press, we'll try--What is it, Garratt?" The interruption was occasioned by the sudden appearance of the latter at the door of the chief's private office, and the expression on the clerk's face indicated that he had some message to impart. In response to the chief's look of inquiry, he explained, quickly: "There is a woman out here, C hief Watts, who says she is very anxious to see you per sonally." "What's her business?" "She says she will state it only to you." "What sort of a woman?" "Evidently a lady." "Let lier come in," said Chief Watts, shortly. Mr. Garratt went to bring the caller to the chief's private office, and the added, as Sheridan Keene rose to withdraw: "Remain here, Keene ; I am not yet through with you. This_ woman's business probably amounts to nothing important. I am determined that the Kennedy & Hicks burglars shall not evade discovery and arrest, if by any means we can--" What he would have added was cut off by the entrance of the woman, and her appear ance was rather calculated to negative the chief's disparaging comment upon her prob able business. Such a woman as that who entered, was not likely to have invaded the police department without a mission which she, at least, considered important. She was a very attractiye woman, despite a certain look and air of embarrassment, nat ural undet the circumstances, yet which was very soon dispelled; and her entrance into

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1 0 SHIELD WEEKLY. the chief's private office was rathe r like that o f a ray of sunshine. She was about thirty, of medium hei ght and good figure, the latter set off b y a p e r fectly-fitting sealskin jacket, of fine fur and the late s t style Her face was oval, as pretty as a picture, and her rich, dark complexion Lad been given a rosier tint b y the sharp air out of doors Her ey es were vivaciously ex pressive, and as brilliant and s parkling as the dear white diamonds which adorned her pretty ears; wJ1ile the s mile with which s he approached the chief s desk revealed through her red lips the edges o f two rows of pearly white te e th. "Are you l\fr. Watts, the detectiv e ?" s he asked, with conventional grace and fluency, ::s she pushed up her dainty black veil from her eyes and halted near the chief's desk. "I hope I don t find you engaged. " I am Mr. Watts, and chief of the Boston inspectors," was the gravel y courte o us reply. "\i\T'ha t can I do for you ?" "May I see you alone sir?" she asked, at the sam e time with a quick, appreciative glance at Sh e ridan K ee ne who had ris e n to give her his chair. I hope you will not re fuse me, Mr. Watts!" The eager smile with which the last was s aid, and the indescribably fascinating personality of the young lady, brought a respon sive smile to the grave face of the genial and urbane chief. "If this gentleman who is one of my in spectors, remains here it \Yill be about the same as seeing me alone, Miss--" "Pay son sir. I am Mrs Philip Payson." Mrs. Payso n, b o wed the chief conclud ing his previ o us sentence. "If your bus iness with me is o f a nature requirin g det e ctive ser v ice the w o rk will dev o lv e upon one of my office rs, rather than upon myself. H e nce, I prefer that you shall make any statement in the presence of Inspector Kee ne also, which, possibly, may save m e the trouble of repeat ir.g it for his b e nefit afte r you have gone." "Oh, yes, I see!" exclaimed Mrs. Payson, with a ripple of laughter, an,d a shrug of her pretty sh o ulders "You merely tell your of ficers what to do, and th e y do it; is that it? Well. Mr. \i\Tatts in that case I will submit to the third party." Despite her fascinating manner, there was Pothing flippant about this lady. That sl-ie was well-bred, cultured and intelligent, and a woman fitt e d by natural beauty, grace and ac complishments to move in refined society, was at once apparent in her easy vivacious ness and indescribable charm. De s pite himself, even Sheridan Keene felt the spell o f the young woman's magnetism, and 01ie f Inspector Watts was inclined to laugh at the artless freedom of her rema1'rn. "\i\Te ll, Mrs. Payson, he r e pli e d, smiling, since you're willing to submit to a third party, I at least, will hear of what your busi ness consists. What is the trouble with you, that y ou are led to appeal to th e police for aid?" Mrs. Payson bad taken the chair Keene had vacate d, and now was removing a pair of seal mittens, an action which quickly dis played a pair of shapel y white hands, adorned with numerous valuable rings. At the chief's questi o n, a deeper color suddenly imbued her cheeks, yet she gave her head a semi-defiant t o ss, and exclaimed, while her bright eyes flashed sharply at those of her questioner: "Trouble enough, Mr. Watts! But the trouble is not with me, sir; it is with my hus band." "f\11d what is the trouble with your hus band Mrs. Payson ?" "That is the very questi o n I wi s h y ou to answer for me, Mr. \ Vatts," she cried with her vivacit y now imbued with genuine earn e s tn ess. "I mystified-thoroughly ani completely mystifi e d. I cann o t account for his conduct, and I must have s o m e one to help me discov e r th e truth. Really Mr. \Vatts, I cann o t sleep ni ghts!" "'Veil,. that's a shame," dry ly o b se rv e d t he chi e f with a smile; and he now b egan to sus pect the nature of his caller s business. "But m y good woman, he added, gravely, "I think yqu will have to appeal to a private detective. we do not undertake looking after the recreant husbands of jealous arnl fascinating young wives, if that is the serv ice you desir e ?" "Oh, but I am not jealous, Mr. Watts," said Mrs. Payson, b lushing and laughing. "Far from it! I am distressed only because I cannot account for my husband's conduct.

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. SHIELD WEEKLY. 11 Jealous! indeed not! Phil is a perf e ct jew el of a husband, in all ways but one. He won't tell me where he goes nights. He just laughs at my questions, and calls me hi.3 perfect lit tle darling, and tells me it's none of my busi ness and not to, bother my dear little head about it, and so keeps me in constant dark ness." "But, Mrs. Payson--" "Oh, please, Mr. Watts! Now don't drive me away! You know, as well as I do, that a man in the advertising business should have no occasion to be away from home three or four nights in a week. And, too, Phil comes home at such utterly inconsistent hours, and tells such absurd stories about where he has been. The idea of a man's coming home at three or four in the morning, and telling one he has just come from Lynn, or Haverhill, or some other old place, from which no train arrives at any such hour! Really, Mr. Watts, I cannot st
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1.2 SHIELD WEEKLY. sadness, she quickly added : "B.ut my dear little head has a great trouble in it, and my dear little heart has a ceaseless ache; and, oh, Mr. Watts.that's why I have come here to ask your assistance!" "How old is your husband, Mrs. Payson?" "He is nearly thirty-eight." "About medium height and build?" '"Just about, sir." "Light or dark?" "He is dark, like myself, sir; and much better looking!" added Mrs. Payson, with a pretty blush. "He is awfully good, in his way; and awfully-ah, no! I will not believe he is awfully bad!" "But why do you fear he is bad at all, Mrs. Pav son ?" Her eyes took on an expression which neither officer yet had seen. "Why should a husband deceive his wife?" she re]oined, in a low, distressed whisper. "Should it be for good? Ah, Mr. Watts, I am a woman of character. My connections are honorable people, who stand high in so ciety. I have not been accustomed to such misgivings as... these by which I now am burdened. I cannot longer endure the shadow of evil which has forced its way into my life, and I must have it dispelled by a revela tion of the wh<;Jle truth, let the worst be what it may. Can you understand these senti ments, Mr. Watts? If so, you now know why I have come here." There was something very touching in the way all this was said. Unconsciously, this woman had shed a new light over herself and her mission. She was not, all, that common type of a fealous wife, who seeks to detect her husband in some culpable esca pade. She rather was a woman so strong in her own lofty character that, with possibly an equally lofty purpose in view, she sought to know even the truth she had grown to fear, and which a husband who, evidently, was most dear to her, was artfully, yet strenu ously, withholding. Chief Watts looked up, and now observed in the grave eyes of Sheridan Keene a reflec tion of the same suspicion that had risen in his own mind. He arose, with a word of apology to th e woman, .and drew the detectiYe aside. "There is the shadow of a clew here, Keene/' he said, softly. "The same idea has occurred to me, chief was the whispered reply. :It is barely pos sible that her husband is the man for whom we <;tre looking "Yet do not needlessly alarm her," sug gested Chief Watts, with manly considera tion. "I hardly needed to caution you, how ever, in that respect. It seems a shame to break the heart of such a woman as this ; but duty is duty, and justice must be served at whatever cost. I have an engagement to meet Lawson at the Merchants' National Bank at ten o'clock, and must go at once. I will leave the woman to you, and the investi gation." "Very well, chief." "Follow up the thread in your own way, and report to me a little later." CHAPTER IV. FOLLOWING THE THREAD. hief Watts briefly explained to Mrs. Pay son the occasion for his departure, and in formed her that Detective Keene would further consider her case, and perhaps investigate it. The latter detained her only briefly in the chief's private office in order to learn if other habits of her husband sustained the suspicion formed. That the description she had given Keene of Philip Payson corresponded with that of the applicant described by Kelcey, and that Payson was certainly carrying sail in an un common way, had led to interest displayed by Chief Watts, and to the deductiorts made by both detectives. In the utter absence of a more promising-clew, Ke" ene felt this one, at least, to be worth investigating, little dreaming to what startling incidents and disclos_ ures it was speedily to lead. "Are there any regular nights, Mrs. Pay son, when your husband remains away from home?" asked Keene, sitting on the arm of the chief's chair while he made his few in quiries. "There is nothing at all regular about him. Mr. Keene," was the reply. "I never kno1Y

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 13 '"'.hen he is going to b e away. He is seldom absent two consecutive nights, however ; and a night off is invariably followed by a day passed almost entirely in bed. He claims that traveling tires him; but, ah sir, I know there is something more than that, and that n o man in a legitimate busine s s can neglect it da y after day. "Has Mr. Pays on be e n abs ent an y night this week? "Monday, only, sir. "And to-da y is Thursday How about last week?" "He was away two entire nights, and one until nearly four in the m orning. " Can y ou remember if h e was awa y two wee ks ago last Tuesday night?" "He was away till n e arl y morning, sir," r e plied Mrs. Pay son, after brief thought. I rememb e r it distinctl y now bec a use it snow ed that night, and I s colded him not o nl y for remaining away, also for tracking the sno w through the hall. We had just laid a new car.pet " Did he say wh y he had b e en absent?" "Only in his evasive wiay, sir ; and he se emed so unusually tired and cross when I q uestioned him that I letthe subject drop. >l' ext day he gave me this diamond ring, and p ermission. to buy the sack I am wearing." I assume, then," K e ene ob se rved quietly, : 'that at present your husband is flush with m oney ?" "He appears to be sir." Mrs. Payson," and Keene's voice fell a trifle, "why are you so determined to know the truth about your husband?" Because, sir," and she looked up at him with a quick of her dark eyes "if Philip Payson is doing wrong in any way, it i s m y duty as a wife to know it and to en deavor to reform him, both for his own sake and mine. That alone is why " Keene rose from the chair and signed for the woman to accompany him. "! will look into the case he sajd, while they stood in the floor; "but I shall require tliat you take no further action in this direc tion until you have heard from me." "I will readily accede to that condition, sir, Mrs. Payson said, quickly. "And you must say nothing to your hus-\ band that will lead him to suspect that his movements are being watched "Indeed, I will not." "Give me the number of your house on Hereford street, then, and I will report to you as soon as I mak l any discoveries warranting it. This is your card ; very well. No, there are no charges. Ch ecking the e xpre ssions of with which Mrs Payso n would have responded Sheridan K ee ne accompanied her to the outer door, and there bade her good-morning. He did not return to the chief's office, but, after carefully consid ering the situation, and de ciding upon the best course to ipur s ue, he left the h eadquarters building and started for th e office of Mr. Kelcey the landlord of the tenement. He could easily have Kelcey visit Pay son's office he decided and report if the latter wa s the young man who had the key to the tenement a week b e for e the burglary was com mitted, and wh o s e identit y it was so d iffi cult to establish. On arriving at the broker s office, ho w ever, Keene found this proje ct nipped in th e bud. Kelcey had left town a day before t o look after business in Chicago and was n o t expected home for two weeks or m o re. The tenement had not been let, the det e ctive wa s informed by a young lady in charge of t h e office, nor had any young man called with his wife concerning it Keene now changed his plans. To sh a d o w Payson would be an easy matter, but mi ght result in nothing for a Jong interval, and th e vague possibility that he was concern e d in the robbery did not seem to warrant this d e lay and caution. Keene determin e d to vis it the man in person He stopped for lunch downtown and shortly after one o'clock entered the Arcade building, one of the older massive ston e structures on Washington street Tabulat e d on the wall of one side the entrance was a list of the tenants, with Philip Payson as the occupant of No. 47. The room was on the fourth floor and the detective took the ele vator, he being the only passenger. "Do you know whether Mr. Payson is now in his office?" he askea of the boy in charge.

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.. 14 SHIELD WEEKLY. "Yes, sir; he is, was the r e ply. H e went up with me about five minutes ago. 11Alone ?" Yes sir." ''I suppose he is quite busy, isn't he? Keene car ele ssly remarked. "Well, I don t know about that sir," re plied th e lad "He's here only about half the time-roo m 47, sir left ." Keene nodded as he left the car, and ap proached the last of the sev e ral offices in the direction mentioned. It was n ear a corner of the building and on the pan e of ground glass in th e door was the number of the office and th e sign Philip Payson Agent." "Looks like a legitimate business thought Keene, as he laid his hand on the knob. Contrary t o his expectations, the door was l o cked He knocked twic e but received no answer ; th e n he gave the lower panel several sharp blows with his foot. It brought no response except from the adjoining office, from which an elderly man now emerged, without hat or coat. "Looking for Mr. Payson?" he asked, surveying Keene with rather a: curious stare. "Yes," replied the detective. "I was told he was in his office. "If he is, your noise certainly would have aroused him, ' dryly observed the other. "He came u,p with me in the elevator a few min utes ago, and I saw him enter his office. He probably has gone out again. "Like enough nodded K ee ne "I will call a!!ain." The incident seemed casual enough yet he did not quite fancy it He w a lked back to the elevator and rang it up, wh e n he again accosted the boy. "Are you quite sure that Payson has not gone down with you during the past five minutes?" asked Keene. "Yes, sir; I am sure," was the lad's reply. "Isn't he in his offioe ?" I can't raise him. I w:ant to see him about some advertising." Well, he has not gone down with me since I told you he came in," said the boy. "He may have gone down the stairs. Are you going down sir?" "Not yet." The elevat o r call had sounded from be low and the lad slammed the grated door, much as if he resented being summoned up four flights to reply to such trivial questions. Keene walked down one of the flights of stairs which wound about the elevator well, and in the corridor bel o w he found a woman sweeping. "How long have y ou been at work here, m y good woman?" he asked. "Sure, sir, a quarter-hour good and strong," she r e plied resting on her broom. "Have y o u noticed a dark-complexioned young man come down these stairs? '' D e vil a man or woman has come down them stairs, sir, dark or light," declared the woman, with true Celtic emphasis "I am just after swaping em. "You are quit e sure, then?" "Bedad, I am! So you 4re after losing a man?" Yes, in a way, replied Ke'ene, evasively. "Faith, sir, he might have gone down the back stairs though, them' s not used much," suggesteci the woman, as if struck with an idea. "Where are the back stairs?" "Come along with me now, and I'll show you." Ordinarily the incidental disappearance of a man in this way would have occasion e d Keene no serious misgivings. With his present distrust of Payson, however, the cir cumstance appealed to him with irrepressi ble significance The back stairs to which he was led were in a narrow passage adjoining several of the rear offices of each floor, and was a way evidently used chiefly for tohe removal of rubbish from the building. They led down to a narrow paved court, which entered from one of the side streets. The several offices mentioned had access to this way of exit by rear doors, but the way was one no tenant would have used under ordinary circumstances, an
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SHIELD WEEKLY. 1 5 as he started through the passage and dowri the stairs. In the court below h e found three men at work with a dump-cart, removing ashes. A glance told him that they had been at work there a full half-hour. Of one of them Keene immediately inquired : "Did yo u see the gentleman who came out this way a few minutes ago?" "Yes, sir" I did," replied the workman, taking the opportunity to rest on his shovel. "He went to the street not more than two minutes ago." "Ah, then I missed him," ndded Keene, and he returned to the narrow entry. Climbing four of the dusty flights of stairs, he made a tour of inv es tigation, and finally succeeded in locating the rear .t:loor of Payson's office. An examination of the knobs of the two adjoining doors re vealed that they were thick with dust, the doors seldom being opened. The knob 0 f Payson's door, however, was e ntirely free from dust. It was plain that thi s way o f exit was used frequently. Satisfied that Payson was not in his office, the detective dropped to his knee and peered through the keyhole. The key had been re moved, and by looking straight across the room he could see that the key of the opposite door was also gone. I must get in here, he decided. "And there's no time like th e present." Fishing out a ring of keys from his pocket, the detective tried several and finall y found one that would shoot the bolt. Then he entered the office and set the door ajar, that he might hear the step of any person approaching. The office was cheaply furnish ed. An oak desk occupied a position near the window, There were tw o wooden chairs and a table which looked down to the court below. in one corner, and a set of shelves filled with newspapers. The re was a mirror on the wall, with a brush and comb in the tray beneath it Keene first opened the door' of a small closet in one corner, to make sure no person was concealed there, the circumstances seeming to warrant even this suspicion. Instead of a person, he found hanging to pegs on the wall a wardrobe that rather surprised him. It consi s ted of a heavy brow.n kersey overcoat, nearly new; two suits of clothes. one of fine texture and a dainty dark plaid; the other a coarse woolen, considerably worn, and 'impregnated with the odor of to bacco smoke. On a nail at one side hung a figured linen shirt, nicely laundered and a standing white collar, with a rich silk tie. "He has be e n here and changed his clothes ," Keene quickly decided. "He is using this office as a blind. There is no doubt in my mind now, Mr. Payson, bu t that you need looking after." Closing the closet door, Keene now ex amined the desk. On tcip were several open letters, relating to advertising, which indi cated a legitimate business. The drawers of the desk were unlocked, with the exception of the lower o ne The former contained only bill-heads, envelopes and paper, and s u ch articles as o ne might have expected t o find. Finding he had no key with which he could open the lower drawer, Keene drew out the drawer above it. As he had thought. there was no fixed partition between the two and he now could thrust his arm into the l owe r one. It occasioned him l ess surprise than if h e was not in a measure prepared for some such discovery. The drawer contained a loaded revolver, and wig of dark reddish hue, much worn; a false mustache of the best French make, and several sticks of grease-paint. "A disguise, eh?" muttered Keene, su r veying the several articles in turn. "Mr. Payson has ev id en tly been playing a double game. I wonder if he has a lad y friend who is fond of chocolate. Yet not his wife. surely!" Tossed carelessly into this drawer was a letter, which Detective Keene next fish e d out and proceeded to examine_. It had been posted at the Back Bay sub station the previous evening, and it was ad dressed to Mr. Lipton Page, for general de livery at the main office. Written in a

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.. l6 SHIELD WEEKLY. coarse flowing hand on the sheet inclosed was the following: "MR. L. P AGE: "Jan. 12th, 1900. "What do you take me for-a jay? If I am not l e t into the game, I'll blow the whole business to the police And this goes, too! Do you think I am to be froz e n out be cause a cat has sque aled? Not if I know it! I 'll see you at two to-mo rrow. Don't give me any frozen hand, or the game will be up for you as well as for me. Don't think this is a bluff, for it all goes, or my name is not -" D ARBY McGEE. Sheridan Keene smil e d faintly as he r ead this significant missiv e Then he made on one of Payson' s billhe a ds a copy of it. This having been done, he replac e d these evi dences of Phi lip Payson' s double game where he had found them and departed from the office by the wa y h e h a d come. CHAPTER V A DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE. In the light of the evidence discovered, Keene drew the quite nat ral conclusion that he had run upon a well-organized gang of thi e ves and burglars, the h e ad and front of w hich was probably the man who was pla ying a d o uble game, as a l e gitimate adverti sing s olicitor and the director of a gang of d esigning burglars. The lett e r found in Pay son s desk indi c ated that one of these b y the name of Mc Gee e vidently had incurre d g e neral displeas ure, and was threatened with being ex clud e d from this 0 rganiz..ation of malefactors. Its date, the hour it must have been received by Page, which appeare d to b e an alias concealing Payson' s true identit y from his confederates and its threatening c ontents, anJ the appointment made for two o'clock, easily explained Pay son's hurrie d d eparture from his o ffice at just before that hour: Kee n e d e cid e d that Payson. had been alarmed on r e ceipt of the letter, and had hurried to his office, there changing hL> clothes and effecting a disguise and thence had hastened to an habitual rendezvous, t0 which McGee had intimated he should come at two o'clock. A s th e threatened expos ure was not made to the police that day it could only be assumed that the discord had been adjusted, and McGee pacified. When Chi e f Watts received Keene's report that evening, he at once laid out a line of work to be followed. Since we now have him under our eye, it will not be well to arrest Payson on un certainties," he said, decidedly. "If the facts are what the evidence indicates, there is more to be accomplished than the arrest of this man alone. His confederates also must be taken, and the property stolen from K e n nedy & Hicks recovered, if possible. Tomorrow you had bette r visit Payson, and take his measure. You say the dir ectory doesn't contain his name?" "Neither his, nor Keene r e joined. "The y probably are strangers here then, and are making this a point to work fr o m contipued the chi e f "In that cas e yo u r featur e s are not lik e l y to be known, a n d a visit will not give Payson any alarm Invent some casu a l ground for your call, a nd see what the man is like. "That may b e e asil y done." "I'll leave the d e tails to you. Watch out that h e doesn't foo l you. Keene smiled significantly, but mad e no reply to this cautiori. He call e d twice at Payson's offi ce next day but n o t until a third atte mpt, n ea rl y at noon, did he find the man he was se e kin g. On opening th e d oor, he discov e r e d Payson at his d es k, en g aged in writing and the detective did not behold quite the t y pe of man he had expe cted. For Payson wa s as clean-cut and attra c tive a man as one often me e ts. He was ab out medium heig11t with a figure at once compact and graceful. His face was smoothl v shaven, his features r egular, with dark eye s a pleasing mouth, and a rounded c hin. His hair was cut noticeably short, but his h eaJ was shapely and well poised, and there was absolutely nothing in the face of the man to suggest the criminal. Yet the instant Keene came over the threshold, the color in f'.ayson's cheeks gave place to momentary pallor. He rose quickly from his chair smiled faintly and said with a voice as mellow as that of a woman: ..

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.. / SHIELD WEEKLY. 17 "Good-morning, Detective Keene." Keene's immobile face had not changed by so much as a shadow, yet the change in that of Payson had instantly told him he was recognized. "Good-morning," he nodded, pleasantly. "Are you Mr. Payson?" "Yes, sir, I am," was the ready reply. "Take a chair." "For a few moments only, Keene re plied. "I shall not detain you long." Payson laughed'"in a soft, genial way. "You'll not detain me," he replied, squarely meeting the detective's eyes. "I am not a very busy man. What can I do for you, Detective Keene?" "How do you happen to know me by sight and name, Mr. Payson?" asked the detective, smiling. "You were pointed out to me once in the street, and I never forget a face," Payson glibly explained. "Particularly when it is a striking and forceful one." Keene's smile became a laugh. The attitude Payson was taking was that of a man already prepared to meet any ordinary move by the detective service, and Keene accordingly made no such move. He, in turn, at once resorted to strategy and cunning. "You are complimentary," he rejoined, in his pleasant way. "I hav e called on a matter of business only. I have a young cousin out Avon way who is engaged in soap mal: ing, with a formula of his own. I have re ceived a letter from him asking m e to a<> certain in what way he can advertise the cheapest, with the best results. He hasn' t much money, undeystand; but he wants to waste what he has in advertislttg." Payson respond e d with a low, ringing laugh, which somehow had a genuine reso nance "Waste it in advertising, eh?" he cried looking Keene squarely in the face "If all men thought as you speak, Detective Keene, what would become of poor devils like Philip Payson? I guess we d have to hoe in another row. Ah, well, perhaps your bark is worse than your bite! I will at least give vou the benefit of the doubt, and do what r can to serve you. Here, by the way, is a / letter I just received from a party who can speak more highly of my method of advertising." And Philip Payson, with the abandon of one without fear or suspicion, tossed over a genuine for the detective to read. "And now, Inspector Keene," he added, genially; "I'll do whatever you say. I'll an swer your cousin's letter myself, and gi ve him the benefit of my experience; or I'll give you a few points about advertising, and you can answer it Which shall it be?" "As I expect him in town to dine with me next Sunday, perhaps you had better talk them over with me," said Keene. He had no idea of giving up the letter he had prepared solely for a blind, yet which was now acting rather like a boomerang. He had no resource but to maintain his duplic ity to the finish and for a half-hour he sat and listened to the suggestions and advice of Payson, not a little perplexed by his evident knowledg e of the business, and by th;: significance of the testimonials he took pains to produce. Nor could he do less than thank him when he made his departure, remarking that he would return with hi? cousin s decision the first of the week The door se-arce had closed, before Payson underwent a startling change. "Cousin be --! He was dealing seconds!'' he fiercely muttered under his breath. "He has tumbled to something! Has he run down the game? Has McGee peached? Does he suspect that I am back of the game, and that I-by heaven! the stuff must be removed at once! at once! As if time was too valuable for such thoughts as these, even, he suddenly sprang to the door and turned the key. Then he darted to the closet and began stripping off his clothes. He was very pale. His eyes burned with abnormal brilliancy. He was tremulous witry haste and excitement. Yet despite all this his every movement was made with extraordinary precision and lightning-like rapidity, which displayed at once the natural dexterity of the man, and his wonderful concentrative faculty. It took him less than five minutes to effect his

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18 SHIELD WEEKLY. changes of attire and aspect. Then he darted to the rear d oor of the room, listening in tently for a moment for the sound of any s tep outside and again repeating in his low, quick, forc e ful way. "The stuff must be removed at once! \ V ho in thunder has set Sheridan Kee ne after me? Can McG e e have blowed the whole game-or his she-devil o f a wife? It pours w hen it rains the y say. Let it pour! If I am not all in the wrong,' I'll y e t fool Mr. Sh e ridan Keen e With a tre ad as quick and light as that o f a cat, h e dart e d across the r o om and re m o ved the k ey fro m the front door then let himself out b y the back locking the latter behind him Then he hastened down the se veral stairwa y s of the dim and dusty back w ay, and em erge d into the rear court. Dut this m a n who was thus seeking the cit y stree t s did not resembl e the e rect sty lish cle ancut man in th e brown kerse y w h o had ente r e d Pay s o n 's office an hour e arlier. This f e llow was a man in a rough tweed coat a wool y sack suit baggy at the knees, and a flannel shirt in place of fancy figured linen. He was a fellow with a stoop of the should e rs a droop in the pois e of his head a s hock of r e ddish-brown hair a low e r e d brow and less honest and open e ye s and a 1nouth veiled b y a moustache which com plet e l y hid its pleasing regularity. This was the man wh v emerged from the r ear of the Arcade building earl y that after noon, with bi s furtive glanc es, searching every doorway, corne r, and po ssi\>le concealment, for a sp y upon his movements He could not guess what had occurred in his office the previous day as he imagined that his cleverne s s w as as great as the detective art of the man h e now aimed to evade. Yet when h e emerged from the court, and presently started off at a swinging, half shmnbling gait up Devonshire stree t. Sheridan Keene, in a dark beard and steel-bowed glasses, was s carcely thirty feet behind him. When alleviating the apprehension Mr. Philip Pay son had inadvertently betrayed, on beholding Detective Keene enter his office, the latter had been thoroughly satis fied that, after his departure, Mr. Lipton Page wot1ld speedily emerge from the rear door. This was the art and cunning of Sheridan Keene. CHAPTER VI. SHERIDAN KEENE MAKES A DISCOVERY. The criminal and the detective the pursued and the pursuer, might have be e n attached by s o m e invisible thread, so perfectly adjusted wer e the m ovements of the latter to those of th e former For skill in shadowing a man, and evading not only his observation, but that of the third party, even, Sheridan Keene was without a peer in his profession. Yet not once did Payson look back. Had he not felt sure of himself at the. start, h e never would have started. He did not dream that Detective Keene had previously disco v ere d his d
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, SHIELD WEEKLY. 19 overhear onl y parts of what pass<:_d between the two men. McGee was a flashily-dr e ssed man of forty, with a good figure and dark features. His eyes had a coldly-determined expression )1is nostrils a mettlesome curl his jaw was square and rigid his lips thin and firm. He looked like a man of ind o mitable will and desperate courage when the o c casion sho1;1ld require. He wheeled sharply on hearing his name, and quickly responded, with a smile of greetmg. Hello, Lippie Page! What d ye know?'' Page quickly joined him crying under his breath with some display of subdued anger: "It's what I don't know that crosses me! Look here, Darby, have you tipp e d off the game?" "Tipped off nothing!" exclaimed McGee with a quick start and a frown "Of course I haven't." "You're sure of that?" demande d Payson, with vehemence. "If you imply again that I am not, you'll invite me to wring your neck," McGee now 4 answered, resentfully. "Why should I blow the game? Didn't you fix things yesterday? Since I am not to be frozen out, it is not like me to give the thing away." "Then your wife must have growled Pay son "Not by a long chalk! If she has it will be her neck instead of yours. "But you told me of her threats." "And I told you she'd not execute them, protested McGee. "She knows well enough I'd cut her tongue out, if she did. Don't imagine she holds ribbons over me! No, no, she'll not make a break, my word for it What's gone wrong with yon :though ?" I suspect that the police are on to our game." "Come off!" good reason to fear it," rejoined Payson, with an ominous shake of his head. "I cannot wait to tell you why." "Where are you going?" "Up to the joint. The stuff must be got away and put under cover. I'll take no chances of a search -warrant." "Who has tipped you off?" "I have had no tip, but I know Detective Ke e ne is after me on some kind of a la y "The devil you say!" "Oh, I know what I am about, Darby," proceeded Payson, with a succession of em. phatic nods. "I'll give him no c hance to split me on a case. If he com es, h e s h .ill fin d n o thing. I must head off any m e etin g o f the gang to-night ." "Then there'll surely be nothing doing to night?" "I should say not! I tell you I will take no chances with him in the ring. If Keene were to nail the gang in the attempt, the jig would be up in this locality from that mo ment. "'fhat's true enough, McGee admitted If I see Skillings, I will warn him to keep away and lay low." "Do so! He's the best known to the police." "I will make it a point t o see him. Are you off?" "I dare not delay here too long," nodded Payson. "The stuff must be got under cover. This K e ene is a wicked man to have at our heels. He' s likely to set his teeth when you least expect it. I'll be ready for him before night, and then he may do what he likes. I fooled them from soda to hock thus far, and I'll beat him along with the rest.'' "Hold o n ," cried McGee, as Pay son turned to go. "When shall we me e t again in case you are off on this?" "I will know in a day or two," Payson lingered to reply. "I must be dead sure our game is not suspected "If there are no changes mind I am not to be frozen out!" growled McGe e with a threatenin g light in hi s coldly-det e rmined eyes. "If 1 am, I will make good what I said, and blow the whole business I am as good, a man in this as an y of the party, and you'd ought to know it." For a moment Payson looked the speaker in the face his own grimly doubtful. "You are all right in some ways Darby." he finally rejoin e d "I am not inclined to throw you down but there are things you don't want to forget. While you are not well known about Boston, your fac e is pictured in quarters not pleasant to think about.

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20 SHIELD WEEKLY. I No, I will not freeze you out; yet I don't quite fancy what you've been playing in of late." He was speaking with a significance that brought an angry look to McGee's stern face. "What' s that to you or any other, so be it l know my business?" he demanded, resent fully. "You know as well as I do," returned Pay s on. "But enough of that for now. I will Jet you knqw when we are to meet again." "See that you
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SHIELD WEEKLY. 2 1 CHAPTER \'Il. A CHANGE OF PLAN. Having informed and stationed an officer at the Washington street corner, thereby pre veming the escape of any person from the suspected house, Sheridan Keene hailed a cab and was driven rapidly to headquarters, where he made to Chief Inspector \ i Vatts a report of his discoveries covering all the de tails Meanwhile two inspectors were sent to re lieve the patrolman ; and immediately upon hearing Keene's report, Chief watts determined to make an aggressive move. "Vve wilI raid the place at once, Keene," he said, decisively "That's my idea Chief \i\Tatts exclaimed Keene, eagerly. '"It can be done before dark," continued the chief, "after which Payson might possi bly succeed in slipping out, and removing some of the stuff h e is so anxious to get under cover. If theproperty resulting from the operations of this gang is still in the house, as Payson's words and conduct indicates we will succeed in locating it." ":gasily, chi'ef; and it certai_nly is now in the house. I know tl1at from what I heard Payson say to McGe. e." "You did not recognize McGee as an old offen der, did you?" "No, sir; he was a stranger to me. But I did not fancy his looks." ''We probably can reach him later, even if we quietly arrest all hands discovered in the house." "No doubt of that, chief! Furthermore, there we-re others coming there to-night, whom Payson seemed anxious to warn to keep away. If we take all hands in custody, these others should put in an appearance as expected." "In which case we will be ready to receive them," nodded Chief Watts, rising and "taking his hat. "I want just a few words with Superintendent Eldridge, and then I will go with you in p.erson. Four of us will be suffi cient." Following Chief :Watts through the corri dor, Sheridan Keene mounted the steps ing into Pemberton square, intending to wait on the sidewalk until the chief r ejoined him. The winter afternoon was drawing to a close; it wanted less than half an hour to the fall of dusk. The last beams of the declining sun were tingeing with golden light the tops of the loitier buildings, thie shadows of which lay darker in contrast across the streets and squares. It was the hour of day when people were beginning to hasten homeward. The morning loiterers about the court-house had gone their way Jong before; the civil sessions had adjourned, and judges, lawyers and clients retired until the morrow. Pemberton square seemed comparatively deserted. A minute or more passed and the chief did not return. Th en an incident occurred which, by its very simplicity, shows of what stuff true de tectives are made; and how strangely a man of Keene's cleverness, even, may be misled by conflicting combinations of circum stances, as well as how quickly the error can be dropped, and the true and startling ad justment" of relations be instinctiveiy grasped and turned to effective use. While Keene .stood waiting, a woman abruptly started from the opposite side of the square and quickly approached him, He W?S so intent in thought, that he did not ob serve her until she drew near, and evidently was about to address him. Then he saw that she was a woman of thirty, rather showily dressed, with diamonds in her ears, and an emerald brooch at her throat, her cloak being partly open. She was not pretty, and in no way resembled Mrs. Philip Payson, although the incideqt suggested the latter. Hei;_features were sharp, her narrow, her nose retrousse, her eyes yellowish gray, with a subtle gleam of malice or selfishness in their unpleasant depths Her lips, too, were noticeably thin and severe, and were soiled just the least bit at each corner of her mouth, as if she had been eating carame!S or chocolate! She at once addressed Keene, asking in a quick. decisive way which was suggestive of subcluecl asperity : ''Can you telJ me which of these doors I

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22 SHIELD WEEKLY. must enter, m order to find the chief of police?" Sheridart Keene bowed slightly, then threw back his coat and displayed his badge. I am an inspector of police, madam," he replied, pleasantly yet with some decision. "The chief is busy this afternoon, and cannot receive you. What is your business? Perhaps f can help you." The woman impatiently tapped the side walk with her foot, then made up her mind to answer. "I want to take steps," she said, with more manifest bitterness, "to have my husband prevented from gambling!" "Gambling!" echoed Keene, without a change of countenance, though his blood started quickly. "How do you know he gambles?" "Oh, I know it well enough!" the woman cried, with resentful acerbity. "He never does much else, when he has the price of a stack of checks. I'Il stand for it no longer, husband or no husband! And I've told him so, <1nd that I'd squeal if he didn't stop it. Now, I want the place closed, in he spends night after night!" To a man of Keene's experience, the woman's lang-:.:age was a betrayal of her character and her associ ates. With no ap parent interest in her, more than what her appeal might have aroused, Keene asked, quietly: you know where the place is located?" "N o, I don't!" she replied, with unabated feeling. "If I did, I'd have hauled the proprietor over the coals Jong before this. I've followed my husband over Harrison avenue way, but he always seems to suspect it, and he manages to give me the slip by 'going through some saloon. He has been losing money, and I'll not stand for it any longer. Money's too hard to get." "I should say so," assented Keene. "We don't know of ariy secret gambling resort in th e city." "Oh, there's lots you people don't know!" cried the woman, with a low laugh, more than half a sneer. "As a matter of fact that is too true for a joke," s miled Keene. "I'II tell yo. u what you can do." vVhat's that?" "lf you'll fix it so I can become acquainted with your husband, I will let him think that I'm a sport in the same direction, and in that way I doubtless can locate if not get into, the place. After that, madam, you shall have no trouble from that resort, I promise you." "vVill you also promise not to give me away, and not to run my husband in if the place is raided?" "I cannot promise not to run your husband in, for not to do so woultl itself be a give away,'' Keene explained, laughing lightly. "But I will see that his fine is remitted to you." "That's good enough, sir!" "It can be done quietly, you know, and the place closed for good and all. You will not need to appear in the matter at any time." "So much the befter exclaimed thie woman, with eagerness. "When will you do it?" "I first must get acquainted your husband, that through him I may locate the resort. Where can I run -across him ?" The woman hesitated for the fraction of a second, as if something more thian this alone was involved; then answered, with a sharp glance into Keene's artfully eyes: "We have a flat in the Fairview, on Dart mouth street. My husband's name is David But they call him Darby McGee. You'll often find him playing billiards in the hall under our flat." "Iwill look him up a day or two, Mrs. McGee," bowed Keene, with a gl'ave complacency welf calculated to dispel possi ble misgivings. "I am glad you have given us this information, and I will see that your husband does not suffer seriously, if arrests are made. There is one thing, by the way, that you must avoid. "vVhat's that?" she demanded. curtly. "Your husband must not know of this plan." "If he knows, you will be the one to tell not I."

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_, SHIELD WEEKLY. 23 "Then you may leave the matter to me. n1 get at it by to-morrow or next day." ''The sooner the better!" Mrs. McGee ex claimed, with asperity, as she turned to move away. "Don't compel me to come a second time, will you?" "That is no\ our way of doing business," smiled Sheridan Keene, raising his hat. With feelings that words could not easily describe, he watched Mrs. McGee from out the corner of his eye until she had turned in the direction of Scollay's square. Twice she looked back at him, but each time observed only that he was standing as motionless as s0he had found him, with his hands thrust into his coat pockets, and gaze appar-ently fixed upon the pavement at his feet. Then she vanished around the corner, and felt satisfied that her complaint against her wayward husband be productive of only desirable results. "All ready, Keene?" The voice of Chief Inspector Watts brought Sher\dan l(eene out of his absorp tion. Ile wheeled sharply about, and star tled the other with the words : "All readv to advise a radical change of 'plan, Chief \Vatts, if you'll hear my reasons." "What do you mean?" "That I've been struck between wind and water, doubled up and tied in a knot, and left without pins to stand on," cried Keene, all in a single breath. "You amaze me !" exclaime
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24 SHIELD WEEKLY. Though the office was in darkness, the de tective quietly slipped into the closet, and helq the door ajar. Then a key grat cl in the lock of the rear door, which was quickly opened, closed, and relocked. The two men, detective and malefactor, were alone in the room, and a critical time had arrived. CHAPTER VIII. ONE MYSTERY IN THE NET. Though the office was in darkness, Payson threw his package down upon his desk with that unerring precision which characterized his every movement. It fell with a bang and rattle, as that of a wooden box filled with loose articles. Then he felt on the wall and switched on the electric light, in the full flood of which h e suddenly stood revealed. His face was pale, his eyes aglow, his every motion indicative of excitement and haste. Yet his expression was that of relief and triumph; that of a man who now believed that he had removed the evidence which might have convicted him; that of a man, who now believed he had outwitted Sheridan Keene. With a quic-k movement he to re off the dis guise he wore, casting wig and mustache on the table. "Thank God the clanger is averted!" he joyously muttered, with the action. "Now for home and darling wife." With the last word, his face became trans figured. He drew off his top-coat, sprang eagerly to the closet door, and drew it open. Then Sheridan Keene stepped forth, with one hand of his hip-pocket. "Hello, Payson!" he cried, quickly. With a half-smothered cry, Payson re coiled as if dealt a sudden terrible blow. Not a vestige of color was left in his ghastly face For an instant he hesitated, mute and shaken like an aspen leaf; then with a single bound, he reached the lower drawer of his desk. "Stop where you are! Stand up!" cried Keene, with terrible sternness. Payson glanced wildly over his shoulder, and his staring eyes met the ominous gleam of a revolver in the detective's steady hand. "Stand up!" the latter repeated, sternly. c1None of 'that, Philip Payson! If a gun is to be used in settling this matter, it will be mine, not yours !" Payson rose to his feet, leaned heavily on his desk, then answered brokenly, like a man suodued and crushed by the resistless reali zation of ruin and exposure : "It was to be used on myself-not you' My God, Keene, if you have any mercy, end this matter by shooting me dead where I stand!" 'The worst use one can put a man to is to kill him,'" quoted Keene, with grave severity. ,"Sit down there, Payson, and tell me. what this means!" "It means that I am hopelessly ruined," groaned Payson, dropping into a chair, and burying his hueless face in his hands. "No man is hopelessly ruined, who has the virtue to repent and the energyto atone," Keene answered, sternly. "What is in this package?" "Open it and see." Keene thrust his revolver into his pocket, and quickly stripped the package of its cov ering. A wooden box was disclosed, the sliding cover of which he immediately opened. The contents consisted of several packs of cards, two metal deal-boxes, and fully five hundred circular chips of various colors, such as are required in gambling resorts. !" Keene ejaculated, thrusting the box aside and seating himself on the corner of the desk. "That's precisely what I ex pected to find. Now, Philip Payson, look up here and tell me what this means, and what is back of all this masquerading?" Like a man who felt that h e had n o al te r native Payson groaned, h e lplessly : "It is too shameful, even to tell .. "It must be told Keene answered, sternly. I want the whole story, without misrepr e s e ntation or evasion. It must be told to me, or told in court! You may make your choice." Payson had in part recoveredhis compo sure, and now raised his white face and dis tressed eyes to the detective's stern ga ze. Governing his voice with an effort, he re plied, with painful humiliation :

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SHIELD WEEKJ,y. 25 "I will answer any question you care to ask." "A wise conclusion!" "What use to hope longer to hide my con duct?" "None at all, Payson, and a clean breast of it will serve you best," said Keene, with less austerity. "Waht have you been doing? -running a gambling place?" "Yes, I have. "\Vhere is it located?" "Just off Harrison avenue." "How long have you been there?" "About a month. I came up hlere from Provide nce, where I had been located for a tim e." "The n you have somewhat of a following in this business?" "Somewhat, though under another name." "That of Lipton ?" Yes." "What is this advertising business you have here?" "That is perfectly legitimate," said Payson, humbly. I give it part of my time. Most aftern oons and are devoted to the other business." "You have been pla )'ing a double game, then A sort of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, have y ou ? "In a way, yes.' "What is the occasion for that?" demande d Keene. "What' s your object in thus masquerading?" "Must I tell you that, also? groaned Payson wiping the perspiration from his pale face. "Will y ou not let the case drop, if I'll quit the illicit business for good and all?" I first want the whole story, Pay son," sald Keene, decisively. "After that, I will determine what action to take. Why have you b ee n pla ying two parts in this affair?" "I'll t ell y ou why!" Payson now exclai m e d w ith sudden feeling. "I've d o ne so in order to hide the truth fr o m a wife I love dearly despite my trans gression . It was chiefly m y love for her, a desi r e to contribute liberally to her pleasures, that l e d me into gambling again. "Again?., e choed K e ene with surprise "The n you previously had given it up, had you?" Y es, y e s, on my word!" cried Pay son feelingl y I'll tell you the whole story, Kee ne ; and for God's sake don t disclose it, if it can h e avoided. ''Go on ," said Keene. "Some y ears ago I ran a faro bank in New York, and won moriey-quite a little fortune. Abo.ut that tim e I became acquainted with a girl from Albany, to whom my career was unknown. I fell in lov e with her-my God, you couldn t know how truly and deepl y I 1oved her and lov e her now!" "Give me the whole story, Payson." "I'll do so on my word," was the sad re ply. "I proposed to her, Keene and was accepted. From that moment, I swore within m y self, that I never again w o uld be guilty of evil in any form I closed up my place in New York, and started into adver tising, and last spring I was married My wife comes from honorable people in high social standing, and you can imagine how carefully I aimed to prevent any exposure of my past." "Natural, of course." "I spent a lot of money in trying to estab lish a business in New York. It did not de velop and I went to Providence to give it a try in that city. Again I found myself running behind, all unbeknown to m y wife whom I scrupulously avoided giving cau s e for worry and anxiety. We had lived well on what money I had, but that was beginning to run low. It was at that time K e ene as a desperate resort, that I resumed the old method. I figured out thi s masquerading scheme, and opened a faro bank in Providence, intending to run the same only until I could retri e ve loss e s in business and get the latter on a firm b a sis ." Yes ; and then--" "I w o n m o n e y in Providence," continued Payson, "until the pla y began to fall off and then I decided to come to Boston for a time and chance being discovered b y the police. Much of my :Providence play came from Boston, and I thought I could do well here for a time at least. So I have, and I've al s o got my adv e rti sing business on a b ette r b a sis. That is the whole truth, Keene, as true as God hears me! I am a few thousand to the good again and-and, if you'll drop the c:ise ..

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2 6 SHIELD WEEKLY. K eene he added in acc ents o f pi t eou s appeal, I 'll ta k e a sol e mn oath n eve r to deal a card again and to s tic k t o m y improving busin ess My God Kee n e th e truth w o uld break m y wife s h ea rt. Kee n e gazed gravely at th e w h it e face of t his man, d ow n w hi c h t ears o f genuine grief were rolling ; a nd h e o f the woman who had b e en at h e ad q u a r te rs and the true l o v e an d loy alt y that h ad p ro mp t e d h e r actio n. "Have Y9;U had any o c c a s i o n Payson," he ask e d, t o rai s e mone y on any o f your w i fe's property ? "Two or three times w h e n the game went against me,"' Pay s o n bo wed; but I always gave her so me fictitiou s r easo n ." "Then sh e has no id e a o f the t ru e state of things, you think?" "Oh, I am sure s h e ha s no t God for bid!" Kee ne did not the n undec e ive him Instead, he said, quite heartily: P erhaps I shall be inclin e d to take you o n your Payson. O h, don' t build hopes on it yet. 'fell me, jirst, what you know of a party name d Darby McGee._ Payson subdued the gratitude h e h a d been "None whatever," Payson declared. "Has he much money?" "No, he does not appear to be well su p plied with it ; but he claims to expect some a little later. In return for chips with which to play in my game, he has been giving me collateral which has made me feel somewhat shaky about him." "What form of collateral?" "Diamonds, chi efly, Payson frankly explained. "Also one or two valuable rings." "Did you ask him where he got them?" "I did not. I never ask such questions o ver a layout. Keene smiled faintly. "Then you do not know where he obtajned the m?" he asked. No, I do not. "Are you still holding the collateral he gave you?'' "Certainly, sir, smce McGee has the right to redeem it. One piece, only, I have al lowed my wife to wear, a valuable diamond ring." see, nodded the detective, with a feeling of much satisfaction. As regards that ring, and the balance of McGee s collateral, s o eager to express and c ri e d sud denly: I don't want you to let go of any of it." "Darby M cGee! I know him on l y a s one I give you my word I will not, Detective o f the pla yers who cautiousl y v isit s my re 1 Keene. It shall be subject to your sort, and a man with whom gambling is a ve ritable mania f have he ard it said that is a crook from out We; t and that hi s picture is in the rogues' gallery; but I cannot vouch for th e truth of it I have mi struste d him h o wever, and frequ e ntly tried to prevent his visits; but he has had me rather at a disadvantage since he could expose the place to the police if I refuse! him entrance." "I see ' nodded Keene, quickly adopting a design he had formed in mind and now sat isfied that Payson was telling the truth. "Have you had any other relations with him ?" he added order. "Very good," bowed Keene, approvingly; then he added in a friendly way: "Now, Paysondo you honestly mean that you will hereafter stick to your legitimate business do what is right, and make yourself a man your wife may be proud of if I will help you out of this affair apd suppress the facts in volvin_g you ?" Payson sprang up with an irrepressible cry. As God hears me, Keene, I pledge my word to do so!" he cried, with tears again starting to his eyes. Sheridan Keene held out his hand. which

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 27 Payson seized with an eage rness quite inde scribable. "Oh, Mr. Keene!" he cried I will not forget this, I promise you." "I truly believe you will not," said Keene, who really knew he had no very serious case against this man. "And in return, Pay son, I want you to do me a S(:!rvice." "I wish it were a hundred instead of one cried Payson, fervently You have only to name it." "When can you again start up your game, m case my discoveries are not made known?" demanded the detective. "To-morrow night, easily!" exclaimed Payson, with a start of surprise. "Will McGee be likely to vis it you?" "There is no doubt about that." "Will he play?" "Indeed, yes! I should have a difficult task to prevent him. He is crazed, as it were, by his passion for gambling.''. "Has he sufficient money to begin with?" "Probably, since he won a little last night.'' "If he were to lose that, what would he do?" "He would be compelled to quit or get more." "Would he again offer you collateral?" "Most lik e ly. I think there is no doubt of it." "Payson, can you so deal the cards that he would be compelled to '{ Payson colored slightly, then answered, with some hesitation: I can do so b y dealing from a false box, but I never yet have done that in a game of mine. The game dealt 011 the square has al ways been good enough for me." "I have no reason to doubt it," nodded Keene; "but have you one of the boxes de signed for cheating players?" "No, I have not." "Can you possibly get one before to-morrow night?" "Yes, I can borrow one if it i s necessary "It is necessary in this way, Payson, Keene grav e ly explained : "I wish to arrest McGee in the very act of off ering some of this collat e ral. If you c a n forc e him to lose what mon e y he has, you can bring this about for me. Will you do it?" Payso n stood in silent thought for a mo ment, with his pale face grown n o ticeably grave. "Yes, I will do it for you, Detective Keene," he said finally. "But I ask in return only that the men I knowingly suffer to be present there at such a time may not be arrested for gambling.'' "Your objection is that of a man who should himself hav e been in better business said Keene, warmly. "I like you the better for having made it. No, Payson, there shall be no arrests save that of McGee, whom I \Vant for a more serious matter. I shall re quire only that your players disperse at once, and that the place be permanently closed. After that, you shall have a chance to redeem yourself and become more worthy the woman you say you love. Now, what do you say?'' _Again Payson impialsively took Keene's hand with both of his \ "I say this at least, that you are one man in ten thousand, Detective Keene," he cried, with
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' 28 SHIELD WEEKLY. the assumed name of Perry Have onl y a moderate number of players there, if you can so arrange it, and, if possible make sure that none of them are acquainted with me. If there are any of your regular playersby whom I am known by sight, y ou can easily learn the fact and e xclude them. Do you understand ? "Perfectly, Detective Kee ne. It will be a very easy matter to accomplish that much." "Then, as r egards Darby McGee he must be made to lose until--" "Until he produces collateral, of course!" Payson interrupte d with a laugh. "You may safely leave that part of the undertaking to me, Detective Keene: "Very good!" exclaimed the latt e r. "Then you will make all the necessary arrangem e nts for re-opening the game to-morrow night, will you ? "Without fail And for the last time, good fri end that you have been as surely as God hears me!" I honestl y believe you mean it Payson," s aid Keene, with a nod of approval. "Indeed, sir my future conduct shall prove that I mean it! To-morrow night, then! The house by the way, is on--" "I know the house!" interposed with a short, dry laugh. CHAPTER IX. THE OTHER GAM E I N THE NET. Befor e leaving P ayson's office that ev e n ing, Sheridan Keene had b e en in structe d how t o pl a y the g a me h e was about to wit ness ; and at eight o'cloc k the foll o \ying night the r esort n ear Harrison avenue was again in op e rati o n I The s cene w as a fami1iar on e t o th e eyes of all exc ept She ridan Keene, who had b ee n in trodl)ced into the pl a ce b y Payso n himself, as a friend who had recently arri v e d from New York. The ro o m \Yas a large square chamber at the r ear o f th e house, and o n the sec ond floor The oute r blinds w ere closed and s e curely fasteh e d, whil e heavy tapestry drape r ies befor e each of the two windo w s effe c preve n ted ob se r v ati o n of the fain tes t ray s of light b y any p e rson o utside. o f the house wa s v o id o f furnishin g s ; the floor in this roo m wa s ric hly carpete d. The various pi e ces of furniture were n e w and attractive A co uch stood near the wall at one side, while o pposite thi s was a tall side board, lad e n with glasses and decanters. In the middl e of the floor was a long tabl e with a raised layout i n th e c entre w hich c onsists of a st.tit of card ? paint e d on enamele d cloth. Abo ve th:i s anti p en dan t from the ceil ing, was a row o f s e v e ral lights the rays o f which were div erted b y a h ood o f tin w hich served to throw a brilliant light up o n the service of the tabl e a n d la yo u t, and l e a ve th e other portions of the ro o m i n c omparati v e obscurity. ,. Payson, who was to deal his ow n game a t just this time, was seated b ack of thi s table, with a deal-box b e for e h i m and a s t ac k o f chips near by. At one s id e and in an ele vated chair, sat a man name d Skillin g, w h o was to act as a l oo k out for th e game, a n d whose duty it i s t o w a tc h again st e r ro r s 111 the taking and pa ying o f b e t s In a rhair a t one e ncl o f the table \\'as a short man w h o k ept th e c u es o n a c u e-rack, which l a id b e f o r e hiim on t he ta b l e and in pl a in view of all th e pl ilye r s Th.e latter by consulting thi s c u erack. c an e asil y t ell wha t c ards h a v e b ee n d e alt from the pack and wh a t r e main in the dea l-b ox. Six pl a y e r s only we r e i n th e ro o m These were s eate d alon g th e s id e of the tabl e d i rectly opposite Payso n each with a supply of chips before him or placed in bets upon the cards of the layout. Their several faces de picted various emotions as fortun e smiled or

PAGE 30

SHIELD WEEKLY. 29 frowned, and the most of them were grave and earnest, with a paleness accentuated by the strong light from above. Sheridan Keene occupied a chair near the middle of the table and appeared at all times interested o nly in the plays he himself was making. The chair to his left was occupied by Darby McGee. In the face of this man was betrayed the passion which had become his master over all other aspirations. His lips were drawn. his cheeks pale, his eyes abnormally bright and fixed with constant watchfulness either upon the box from which Pay son's deft fingers pushed card after card, or upon the checks representing his bets on the layout. That the man was in ill-humor and that the game was going against were apparent both in his bitter, frowning countenance and his words at the end of one of these deals. "Shuffl e those cards, Page!" he cried, sharply, looking up with a scowl. "The in fernal pasteboards are crazy or else we all are up against a brace! I won only a single bet in that whole deal." "You always. think you are up against a brace game. Darby, when you are losing," r ejoined Payson, with quiet sarcasm. "Not by a long shot!" "You want to learn to take your medi cine, Darby, my boy," put in one of the play ers, in a dryly-malicious way. "Do you expect always to ,svin ?" "l haven't won in this infernal joint since it has open ed," retoi_;.ted McGee, sharply. "There is no rope on.. you with which we drag you in here," said Payson, indifferently, as he ran the cards into the box for another deal. "The ten is the top, John," he added to the cue-keeper, who marked off the button with a pencil. "No ?bpe !" exclaimed McGee, with a resentful flash of his feverish eyes "I know that as well as you do, Lippie Page; but I shall continue to come here while you run, and I'd not advise yoti to try freezing me at the peek lf you do, you know what will happen.'' "Oh, your money is as good to me as any other man's, Darby," was the smiling rejoin der. "I take if I win, and I pay if I lose You can get no better service than that wherever you go. Are you all ready, gen tlemen?" .''Turn avvay !" growled one, impatiently. "What do you say, Perry?" "Make the turn," nodded Keene, care lessly. "I never set a bet at the top of the box. I play doubles and cases only." McGee glanced at him aside, frowning darkly, for Keene had been winning by reversing McGee's play. "I know my money is as good as any man's," the latter answered, bitterly. "I know that as well as you, Lippie ; but you've already won about all the cash I have with 1ne." Keene reached over and placed a bet, and Payson m .ade another tl!rn from the box "Pay on the <{Ueen," said the lookout, quietly. "You know what men do after they have gone broke, don't you, Darby?" asked Pay son, taking up McGee's remark after an in terval of several seconds. "Aye, 1 know what they do," was the reply; "but I suppose I still can borrow on collat., can't I?" I am holding a good deal of your stuff just now," returned Payson. "It is all worth what you have loaned on it, isn't it?" -,,n not, I wouldn't have taken it at all." "\Vhat are you growling about, then? I will redeem it sooner or later. Hold on, there, cues! how many jacks in?"

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30 SHIELD WEEKLY "The ,jack is a case, sir," replied the cue keeper, courteously. "\V ait a bit, Page_ !" And Darby McGee made a hurried shift of his bets and plunged on the case jack. He would have won the bet, moreover, had it not been for the adroit work of Philip Payson, and the hopeless game against which he was playing. When the card showed a loser, and it could not possibly show otherwise, McGee's features turned darker than ever and an oath broke hoarsely from his dry lips. Without a change of his counteri._ance or in his quiet and deliberate manner, Payson took in the bet and stood the stack of checks in the check-rack. "You are guessing in poor form to-night, Darby, for a fact," he said, quietly; but the other players gave scarce a moment's attention to the remark or the incident. McGee made no response. His checks were running low for the third time, and now be went again to his pocket for money. That he drew out a solitary ten-dollar bill led Sheridan Keene to believe that the end for which he had come there was rapidly ap proaching. He arose and went to the side board, ostensibly for a drink. When he re turned, at the end of two or three minutes, he had secured one manacle of a pair of handcuffs to his own left wrist, holding 'the other in his left hand, which he kept out of observation. Then he resumed hi!?. seat at the table. For ten minutes or more the game con tinued with varying results for most of the players; but the fate of Darby McGee was constantly to lose. Reaching across the layout with his right" hand, Sheridan Keene placed half a dozen checks on the high card. "Hold on!" exclaimed one of the / players, as Payson was about to make the next turn. "What did the last king do?" Payson's white hand, which had been hovering over the deal box, descended to the cards already played, which he ran rapidly over with his finger. "Give me a marker for the stack of checks on the seven, to play the kinga winner." Payson tossed the marker across the lay out. Something seemed to 1mpress Darby Mc Gee that the man was placing his money right. He impulsively dove down to the fob pocket of his pants, at the same time crying, hurriedly: "Wait a bit, Page; hang it! I want a bet on that king. Here, I'll give you security for two more stacks of checks The diamond alone is worth twice that." "All right, Darby, but this will be the last time." "Last time goes! Let's have the checks." Payson deliberately passed the checks over the layout, at the same time taking up a ring which McGee had laid down. "Wait just a minute," cried the latter, hurriedly, with his white face drawn and pinched by excitement. "Give me a copper! Don't make a lurn till I have placed this bet! Give me a copper, I say! I wa nt to heel the checks from the jack to the king!" As he spoke he reached out over the layout to set his bet. At the same moment Sheridan Keene also thrust his left arm out across the layout, and instantly clasped the loose manacle on the wrist of the suspected man, securing his arm to his own. "Cash your chips, Darby, instead of heeling them!'' he cried, sternly. "You are my prisoner !" His ringing voi<7 and the startling incident brought every player i11 the room to his feet. "Your prisoner!" gasped McGee, trying in vain to shrink from the cold that . (

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 31 felt like ice against his hot fle sh "What do m y lady, and this is one of the results of it. you mean? Who are you? Why am I ar rested? Keene jerked the dis mayed and ghastly fellow closer to him, then flashed a com manding glance over all observers. "I am Detective Keene, of th e secret serv ice sinc e you wish to know who I am, he answered, sternly. "I want none of y 'ou gen-tlemen, and you had best get out of here as speedily as possible. As for you McGee, I want you robbing the store of Kennedy & Hicks two weeks ago Tuesday night. The rest of you depart at once or arrests will be the consequence. Close up this place im mediately, Mr. Page. This game is closed down-for good and all CHAPTER X. CONCLU SION. Within anothe r half-hour the gambling place off Harrison avenue was deserted and in darkness, and Darby McGee occupied a cell in the Tombs. It then was nine o'clock. At ten just one hour later Sheridan Keene brought Mrs. McGe!! into the private office of Chief Inspector \i\f atts and gave her into custody. "It is precisely as we finall y suspected, Chief Watts!" he exclaimed, as the pale yet wrathful woman took the seat to which he led her. "Here is our lover of chocolate, and I found in her flat ample evidence to sustain our case against her and her husband. .. "What have you to say for yourself, Mrs. McGee?'' demanded Chief Watts, sternly. "I've nothing to say for myself," Mrs. "Mc Gee answered with a vindictiveness surpassing description. "But I have something to say to that man there, if ev e r I catch him alone!'.' Sheridan Keene laughed lightly and gave his head a toss. "You once had a quiet little talk with me, It is no fault of mine that you took pains to put your h e ad in th e lion's mouth. You fol low your trade, you know, and we follow ours. If you don't want us to run you down, you should keep to the path of virtue and out of the highway of vice." "Never mind the woman Keene,'' inter posed Chief \Vatts. "What did you find in her flat at the Fairview?" "We have located much of the stolen prop e rty, chief ,'' Keene hastened to reply, "which the other inspectors have already re moved and have in charge I think, with that which Philip Payson has in posses sion, the recovery will be nearly complete "That is e xcellent," cried Chief Watts, heartily. "And the whole case despite our first miscalculations, has been a very clever little piece of work." "So I think, chief for a fact!" "Call an officer now, if you please, and have .this woman removed. We will get the whole truth from her later." And the whole truth, as they get it and verified it, may be briefly added. There was absolutely no connection between the two mysteries which Chief Watts and Detective Keene had so curiously taken in one net, although a relation b e tween them had at first occasioned some miscalculations. From the moment of Mrs. McGee's complaint against her husband, however, Sheridan Keene of course, suspect ed the game to which McGee's letter had re ferred, and thereafter had the case well in hand. McGee was found, indeed, to be a crook from the W est1 who chanced to be in Boston and to observe the vacant tenement over the store of Kennedy & Hicks. It was he who called upon Kelcey for the key, and looked the place over alone. The manner of the break had been that so shrewdly suspected

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32 SHIELD WEEKLY. by Chief Watts, and McGee's only accom plice was his own wife. Both are now doing time for the crime. The story told by Philip Payson was true to the letter, and partly in return for the service rendered Keene, and partly because of his genuine remorse and repentance, the facts were never disclosed to Payson's wife. Indeed, the detective now places Philip Payson and his l ovely and lovable wife among his most enjoyable friends. THE END. And it here may be added that he now has established a prosperous business and gives promise of becoming all that he had pledged himself to Sheridan Keene. Next week's SHIELD WEEKLY (No. 10) will contain the story of the celebrated Cold Storage case, one of the most mysterious cases ever undertaken by Chid Watts and his force. The story will be "A Frozen Clue; or, The Cold Storage SHIELD No. 1.-Sheridan Keene, Detective; or, The Chlers Best Man. Issued Wednesday, December 5tk. No. 2.-Silhouette or Shadow? or, A Question of Evidence. Issued Wednesday, Deceniber I2tk. No. 3.-lnspector Watts' Oreat Capture; or, The Case of Alvord, the Embezzler Issued Wednesday, December I9tk. No. 4.-Cornered by Inches; or, A Curio_us Robbery In lligh Life. Issued Wednesday, D ecember 26tk. No. 5 -The Man and the /four; or, Sheridan Keene's Clever Artifice Issued Wednesday, January 2d. No. 6-Who Was the Model? or, Missing: A Beautiful Heiress. Issued Wednesday, January 9tk. No. 7.-Under Seal; or, The lfand of the Ouilty. Issued Wednesday, January I6tk. No. 8.-A Lion Among Wolves; or, Keene's Issued Wednesday, January No. 9.-A Double Play; or, Two Mysteries Jn One Net. Issued Wednesday, January 30th. 1'. 10.-A Frozen Clue; or, The Cold Storage Mytsery. Issued Wednesday, February 6th. Back numbers always on hand. If you cannot get our publications from your newsdealer, five cents a copy will bring them to you, by mail, postpaid. STREET & SMITH, Publishers, 238 William St., New York.

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I STREET & SMITH, Publishers, I


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