Behind the asylum bars, or, Turned down as a hopeless case
- Permanent Link:
- Behind the asylum bars, or, Turned down as a hopeless case
- Series Title:
- Shield Weekly
- Bradshaw, Alden F.
- Place of Publication:
- New York
- Street & Smith
- Publication Date:
- Physical Description:
- 32 p. : port. ; 25 cm.
- Subjects / Keywords:
- Dime novels. ( lcsh )
Detective and mystery stories, American ( lcsh )
- serial ( sobekcm )
- 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:
- 024875751 ( ALEPH )
64175986 ( OCLC )
S75-00013 ( USF DOI )
s75.13 ( USF Handle )
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PUBLISHED WEEKLY BY STREET & SMITH, 238 William Street, New York City. Copyr i g#t, 1901, by Strttl &-Smit/I. All rig-#ls r
t TRUE DETECTIVE STRAftGER TH_Aft flCTIOft l1rutd Wui,. By S"bscrljtion $2,SO ,/ti" Jltal". Entered as Su"ttd-Clau Mattey at tltt N Y. Post Offi ce, !Jy STREET & SMITH, WiJ/lam SI., N. y. Entt,.ed .Accordinr l o .Act o / Conrress , ,. the )ltar r90 z in tlte Office of"'' LiQrarlan 11/ Conzre.r.r, Was hi1tJ!l o ti, D C. No. 15. NEW YORK, March 16, 1901. Price, Five'-Cents. BEJtlfID. TUE llSYhU]YI BllRS; OR DOW"' as a ffOPELESS C:JlSEm B y ALDEN F BRAD S HAW CHAPTER I. A MATTER OF A MILLION. "Why did Dr. Rigby write this letter in cipher?" "You recognize the cryptic characters, do you not?" "I recognize them, yes! They are the characters of a secret code known only to the L ondon and myself. But that does not answer my question. Why did Dr. Rig by adopt this secret code, in writing what ostensibly is merely a letter of introduction brought by you to me?" "Possibly the letter in that form was calcu lated to convey more than appears on the surface." "Am I to infer so?" "5hall I tell you what Dr. Rigby said to me when he placed the letter in my hand?" "If that will enlight e n m e y es. '.'He said replied the othe r, if Dr. Ken nedy r e c e ives the letter writt e n in our confi dential code instead of the ordinary script 1t will at once assure him that yo u Mr. M axwell, are not only a cli ent of mini, but a m9-n whom he also may" thoroughly trust, w hat ev e r your mission or desi g n .' Those, D r Kenne dy were Dr. Rig b y's pre c ise wo r d s uttered when h e handed me that lett e r o f in troduction. Dr. Felix Kennedy eyed his visitor more sharply The light in the doctor's private office, for the time was evening, was shed full upon the caller Though J:ie looked older, he was a man still under thirty. His figure was large and muscular, but without corpulence. His complexion was light, his features regular.
SHIELD WEEKLY. and he wore a brown b e ard, parted in the middle He w o uld have be e n an attracti v e man had it be e n for a coldness ot e xpression and the s ubtle intensity habitual to his searching gray ey e s. His look app e ared to b e that of a man who might be crafty and cruel, even should occasion require Dr. Feli x Kennedy was an o pposite typ e of man. He w as short, dark and c o mpact as po w erful as a bull, and his smoothly shaven face indicated a sup e ri o r int e llect and a will as inflexible as iron. His hair was cut close to his large, round head, an d w a s quite gray; yet Dr. K e nnedy was under fifty He looked like a man whom it would not be w i s e to oppose; his s quare jaw was like that of a bulldog. The two men sat confronting each other at the same side of a center-table. The office was well furnisheq, and a fire glowed in the grate. The office door was closed and latched The world outside was in darkness Only a few stars were discernible between the clouds coursing across the autumn heavens. A strong October wind was whirling the dy_ ing leaves from the branches of the boring trees, and whistling and moaning most dismally about the eaves and corners of Kennedy's great private sanitarium and asylum for the insane, the lofty st-0ne walls of which, with its three dark w ings and its hideous barred windows, w e re more dark an d dismal than the night itself. Here and there the face of some unfor tunate within was pressed against the win dow pane of his lonely room, to peer out ) through the bars confining him, and stare with vacant eyes at the gloom of the sky, or to make grotesque imagery of the gloomier trees, with swaying and sighing. More remote w e re the suburban fie lds and I meadows, with the lanterns of the long driveway to the asylum alone relieving the night darkness; while several miles distant, less elevated even that the inland hills on which Kennedy' s institution stood grim and isolated, were the lights of Boston, with its illumin e d dome of gold upon the State House rising over all. Dr. Kennedy's office was in the left wing ;Jf the e xtensive stone building. There was no dange r of an int'rusion. It would ha v e b e e n all an employee s life was worth to ha ve op e ned the closed door of that offiee without firs t ringing a bell from a c idor twenty fee t away. For Dr. Kennedy ruled with an iron rod every d epartment of his institution, a nd no powder magazine was ever governec!. b y a more rigid and exacting master His s earching scrutiny of Maxwell's cold gray eyes culminated with the question: Dr. Rigby, of London, long been a personal friend of yours?" "For many years replied Maxwell with a curious mingling of firmness and complacency. Had there be e n a third party present, a w itness to this intervi ew, it would have been very evident to him that these two men were sounding one another with the cau tion of total strangers; and that some evil de s ign, if not a crime of the most desperate character, was mutua1ly understood to be the obj e ct of this meeting "Then Dr. Rigby knows you very well Mr. Maxwell," rejoined the autocrat of the asylum. L "He certainly does sir." "And how do you regard him?" As a man whom one may safely trust with a hazardous secret." Did he recommend you for a iike qual. ity ?" "Had he not done so, Dr. Kennedy, I should have had no occasion to call upon you."
SHIELD WEEKLY. 3 "As a matter of fact, Mr. Maxwell, this letter so informs me," Dr. Kennedy now replied. "Dr. Rigby and myself were very in timately associated when I lived in England years ago. I presume I invite no danger in now admitting to you, that Dr. Rigby and I were at that time mutually interested in oc casional transactions which would have been very censoriously regarded had the truth ever become public, and which might have cost both of us our liberty, if not life." It was said with a smile, the very sinister character of which was sufficient to disclose the decidedly vicious nature of the speaker. Tracy Maxwell bowed, and the expression of evil satisfaction which rose. over his com posed features showed that he thoroughly appreciated all that the physician's words had implied. "So I have understood, Dr. Kennedy," he rejoined. "It was for that very reason that I knew I could wisely approach you at this time." '.'vVhen did you arrive in America, Mr. Maxwell?" "Rather a month ago." "And in Boston?" "Less than a week ago." "Upon business?" "Very important business, sir!" said Maxwell, deeply. "And upon what matter do you wish to consult me, sir?" "F_ather than to consult you, I have called to make a proposition which Dr. Rigby gave me to understand that you would seriously consider." "I shall be pleased at least to hear it," said Dr. Kennedy, smiling again. "I'll add that laugh; a laugh which would have grated with frightful repulsiyeness on the nerves of any honest and sensitive mari. "No, no danger of that, Mr. Maxwell," he returned, significantly. "I am the head and front of this institution, sir, and. my em ployees know me too well to take any liberty to which I would offer an objection." "Probably you're already aware that they are men and women who may be trusted?" observed Maxwell, half inquiringly. Dr. Kennedy' s sinister eyes took on an expression from which some men would have recoiled. "My employees obey my commands without question, never doubt that!" he replied, with grim austerity. "They are well paid, sir, and I invariably know my man before I employ him. Mr. Maxwell, if you were never to leave this institution; if, indeed, these walls were now to become the tomb in which, living or dead, you were eternally to repose, I would defy the outside world to discover where you were, or what had come of you." "I am glad to hear that!" said Maxwell, oqdly, with a smile. "Now, sir,. you surely C3:_n feel that you may speak plainly." Maxwell drew his chair a little closer to that of the physician. "I do feel so," he replied. "In fact, I 1have felt so from the first, Dr. Kennedy, yet the delicate nature of my proposition has led me to broach it with discretion.'' "Cast discretion to the wicds, sir!" ex claimed Dr. Kennedy, curtly. "Dr. Rigby, if you know him for what he is, is surely a sufficient voucher between us. Speak out, you may feel free to speak very plainiy." sir!" "Thank you," said Maiwell, dryly. "I Tracy Maxwell demurred no longer. presume there is no danger of an eaves dropper?" Dr. Kennedy's smile became a low, hard "Dr. Kennedy," he replied, with sinister earnestness; "I am the younger son of the late Richard Maxwell, of Staffordshire, Eng-
4 SHIELD W EEKLY. land. My father died three months ago, leaving to his heirs an estate worth 200,000 pounds sterling, from which accrues an annual income of ten thousand pounds." "A matter of a million in American money," observed Dr. Kennedy, smiling. "That is a handsome principal, sir." "Too handsome a property to lose, if it can be by any means secured." "I should think so! What are the par ticulars, Mr Maxwell?" "These," said Maxwell, earnestly. "M v father was twice married, and died a widower He had only two children, both boys, and parts unknown, and was not heard from afterward." "Oh, I see!" ' My father during his last ill ness," continued Maxwell, frowning slightly; ''and, instead of bequeathing to me his entir"e estate, he made a will in my half-brother's favor, with the provision that Horace Maxwell must be located within two years, and found to be a man whose character and voca tion should, in the judg m ent of my father's solicitor, render him w orthy of becoming his heir. In that case, Dr. K e nnedy, my halfbrother will receive tJ,e bulk of the estate, one by each wife. I am the issue of the secand I shall be cut off with a paltry twenty ond marriage, and hence the younger son." thousand p o unds." "And your brother?" "My half-brother, sir?" "I stand corrected; your half-brother?" "His name is Horace Maxwell. He is nearly ten years my senior, and is now about thirty-six years of age. Until a few days ago I had not seen him since he was twenty: and he did not recognize in me the boy of ten, whom he saw nearly eighteen years ago for the last time." "Am I to understand that Horace Maxwell is in this country?" "He is in Boston, sir." "Go on,.Mr. Maxwell," said the physician, "Shocking! said Dr. Kennedy, raising his hands in a deprecatory gesture: "That would be an injustice not calmly to be suf fered by any man with a spirit of his own. What have you done about this since your father's death?" Maxwell shrugged his broad shoulders and smiled faintly. "I've since been making strenuous efforts to head off what you so aptly termed an in justice," he replied. "By ostensibly sanc tioning the will of my father, I've blinded our solicitor to my true sentiments. At his suggestion I came to America to locate my with an expressive smile. me!" "You interest half-brother, if possible, and inform him of the situation." "Before he was twenty," continued Tracy Maxwell, "my half-brother committed a mis demeanor in Oxford, where he was receiving his education';and seriously incurred my father's displeasure "Go on, Mr. Maxwell." "The censure of my father was so severe, sir, that Horace, who was a high-strung and "And you have discovered Horace Maxwell?" "Precisely." "Does-he know that your father has died?" "He does not." "And he has not recot;nized you?" "I am absolutely certain that he has not "Then, if Horace Maxwell was to be----impulsive youth, took bitt e r exceptions to it. well," an Dr. Kennedy put it quite His resentment was so great, and the breach ly for him; "if Horace Maxwell was to be between him and his father so serious, that effectually removed from the world, or, at Horace Maxwell suddenly left England for least, to that extent which would prevent him
, SHIELD WEEKT.Y. from with the world, you would at the end of two years inherit the entire estate of your deceased parent? Am I right?" ".Perfectly so! s aid Maxwell, significantly. "I now can ima gine of what your propo sition will consist! said Dr. Kennedy, cheer fully rubbing hi s hands "It would not s ee m to require a very vivid imagination," rejoine d Maxwell, with a dry laugh. "No, nQ.t at all. "And what answer may I feel that I am likely to receive from you sir?" Dr'. Kennedy wh e eled his. chair about, and, resting his palms on his knees, looked his visitor steadfastly in the face. "Suppose, Mr. Maxwell, that I were to co 9perate with you in the removal of your half-brother," he slowly demanded; "what would there be in it for me?" Mr. Maxwell," observed the physician. "You have no doubt of his identity?" "Absolutely none! I recognized him in stantly." "Do you think you can by any means lure him to this asylum without making him sus picious of wrong?". "Easily, Dr. Kennedy. "And without his having imparted to any person the fact that he was to come here?" "He himself will not khow it until he ar rives here. I easily can accomplish that. :'You have been cultivating his acquaint ance, then?" "I have called on him in a business way only, or so at least he imagined," Maxwell gravely replied. "I shall give him to under stand that I wish to engage him to paint a scene in this locality, and I can easily get him to come out here with me, ostensibly for the purpose of viewing it." "A sum equal to my inheritance if he is re"That's not bad!" noddedJ)r. Kennedy, move .cl," was the immediate reply approvingly "You certainly have a good "Twenty thousand pounds?" head for designing. By name does he "Twenty thousand pounds, sir!" Dr. smiled agreeably "That is a sufficient incentive providing its payment can be insured, he said, point edly. "I will provide for that, sir "A few qu e stions then, if you please." -"Ask them. "Where is Horace Maxwell now locat ed?" "In Boston, under the _name of John Wildman." "The artist?" "None other, replied Maxwell, gravely "It was through, one of his pai n tin g s I .chanced to see in N e w York, and whi c h depicted a bit of rural scenery n ear the home of our boyhood,. that I unexpecte dly located him.'; "That was curious, and w o uld seem to in dicate that things working in your favor, know you?" By th e name of McKenzie." "He is not married, is he?" ''He is a bachelor, and his studio is in his suite of chambe rs "No wife or family to stir up a mess! No kindred in th .is country! It would seem that the authorities would speedily let the mys tery drop, should this man abruptly disap pear said Dr. Kennedy, g libly weighing the situ a tion. "What more have you to say to me Mr. Maxwell?" M e r e l y this, Dr. Kennedy," returned Ma xw ell, with a more crafty and cruel 1001 than h e had yet w o rn. ;His confinement al o n e w ill n o t s e rve my pu' rpose. I coulri not re s t in ease, knowing that he some day mi ght effect hi s esc a pe, and, p e rhaps, con front m e with my crime. With him abs r )7 lute l y removed from my path, I may enjoy
6 SHIELD W EEKLY. wealth, social position arid political dis tine Sheridan Keene regarded his landlady tion; only such incentives as these could lead with some surprise, when she appeared at his me even to consider such an appalling out-chamber door and made the above announcerage." '_'Faught" "I mean what I forcible austerity. say," cried Maxwell, with "If Horace Maxwell enters this place with me, confinement alone will not suffice! I shall require more of you than that!" "There is but one thing more," said Dr. Kennedy; "and that is-death!" "And t'hat is what I shall require!" de, dared Maxwell, with his cheeks grown quite pale. But Dr. Felix-Kennedy's inflexible coun tenance contjnued etween Dr. Kennedy and Tracy Maxwell, the gentlerpan from England. "Did the lady give you her name?" in quired Sheridan Keene, aside an enor mous scrap-book in which he had been pasting the data and details of the great Mycroft murder, mystery, which he had recently solvt>Ll, to the wonderment and admiration of a dazed and mystified public. "Or do you know the lady by sight?" he added. did not see her face, for she was veiled," was the reply; "and she gave me no card. She said, however, that I might mention the name of Lawyer Bromley." ( "Frarl.k Bromley!" exclaimed Keene, immediately rising. "Possibly she i!> a friend of his. Tell her I will presently join her in the parlor, if you please." "Certainly, sir." Keene waited only to replace his book in its shelf, and to change his smoking-jacket for a more conventional garment; and" a few minutes later he entered the parlor on the floor below, closing the door behind him. His visitor, who was seated in a chair near the piano, immediately arose and threw back her veil. Keene caught his breath for an instant so great was his surprise. For the face that met his gaze was like a vision of loveliness. It was that of a young lady, of not more than twenty years, with features as fair as a roseleaf, and an ex-
' SHIELD WEEKLY. 7 pression of indescribable beauty and pathetic earnestness. Her eyes were of the softest ,. blue, and the fleece of hair under her dark veil was like a halo to her lovely countenance. She was neatly dressed in black, with a dark, fashionably-made jacket, and the dig nity and grace with which she rose to meet him at once showed her to be a person of culture and refinement. "Are you Mr. Sheridan Keene, the detec tive sir?" she inquired, in a soft, musical voice. "Yes, madam," bowed Keene, smiling courteously. "Please resume your seat." "My name is Mary Randall, sir-Miss Rc:ndall," she replied, acknowledging his greeting. "I was advised to consult you by Lawyer Bromley, who is a personal friend." "I inferred the latter, Miss ,Randall, when my landlady stated that you had mentioned Mr. Bromley's name," replied Keene, taking ,,, a seat near her. "About what do you wish to consult me?" "I require the services of a sir," said Miss Randall, half timidly. "I do not often undertake any work aside from my duties as a member of the regular force," replied Keene, with grave kindliness. "Very possibly I can give you some advice, idea of my ability as a detective," sa id Keene, j smiling oddly. "I, at least, will hear your story, Miss Randall. What is the nature o f your trouble?" "The gentleman to whom I am engaged -to be married mysteriously missing." Under ordinary circumstances the detec tive would have felt inclined to laugh, for such an was only too frequent. But recalling the lawyer's interest in the case, and observing the rare beauty and gentleness of the girl opposite, which surely were suffi.:.' cient to have retained the affection of almost any man, Keene decided that the ance might be more than a:. mere lover's episode. "Who is the gentleman, Miss Randall?" he asked, gravely. "His nameis John Wildman." "What is his vocation?" "He is an artist, and has rooms and a studio near Copley Square." "How long has he missing?" "For five days, sir." "With whom does he live?" "He lives alone, sir, occupying a suite of apartments, one room of which he uses for a studio." Keene regarded her rather doub'tfully for however, if you care to state the nature of a moment. your case? And I, perhaps, can recommend some capable detective to whom you can ap ply." But Mary Randall shook her head, and Keene saw the rays of light from overhead reflected from a glistening moisture quickly risen in the girl's blue eyes. "That will not answer, sir;" she replied, with tremijlous earne stness. "Mr. Bromley told me to see you, and to state my trouble, and that you C!!rtainly would help me. He told me to say that to you from him, sir; and that I must have your assistance at any cost." "Evidently Mr. Bromley has an exalted "Are you quite sure, Mi ss Randall, that I you have reasonable grounds for your evi,. dent anxiety?" he asked, gravely "Indeed, sir, I have!" exclaimed Miss Ran dall, with tears in her eyes. "I hav e known Mr. Wildman for three years, sir, and he is a man of regular hali>its and scrupulous char acter." Still he may have been abruptly called away on business for a brief time," suggested the detective. "Impossible, sir! He certainly would have -...; informed me before leaving, or subsequ entl y have sent me word. We both are strangers
I 8 SHIELD WEEKLY. to you, Mr. Keene, hence you have no appreciation of our relations. Mr. Wildman and I have been engaged for more than a year. We were to have been quietly mar ried day before yesterday. Like him, I am alone in the world, and have to work for my living. Knowing Mr. Wildman as I do, I am convinced that only an accident or some kind of foul play can have occasioned his disappearance at a time we both have anticipated so longingly." "Possibly something has befallen him." Oh, Mr. Keene, I beg of you to in fluenced 1?Y my belief, rather than by the judgment born of your experierite; arid I im plore you not to tutn me away without in vestigating this affair, to me so terrible." Tears were rolling down the girl's fair cheeks, and her tremulous voice and sup pressed sobs appealed to Keene with an ir resistible eloquence. "Calm yourself, Miss Randall," he said, kindly. "When did you last see Mr. Wild man?" "Last Friday noon, sir. I am employed in the public library, which is but a short walk from Mr. Wildman's studio, and I called there during noon hour, as I frequently have done." "And to-day is Wednesday," observed Keene, thoughtfully. "Did you then have any understanding with Mr. Wildman as to when you would next see him? ; "Indeed, yes He was to call on me that evening." "And you have not seen him since? "No, sir; nor heard from him," was the tearful rejoinder. "I felt a lit tie anxious next morning, lest he might have been ill, and I went to his rooms. For nearly a year, sir, I have had a key to his apartments, that I might enter to await his return at times "Yes, sir, I did." "What did you find ?" "I found things precisely as I had ob- served them the previous noon. His brushes and palette lay where he had left them. His sleeping-room had not been occupied during the night, and his smoking-jacket lay upon the bed. The fire in the grate had expired, and the rooms were cold." "Did you search for any missive which he might have left for you?" "High and low, sir; but there was none." "Did you observe anything which might have suggested at what hour he left his rooms?" "No, sir,'' and Mary Randall tearfully shook her head. "A dim light had been left burning in his library--" "Ah," interposed Keene, quickly; "that in dicates that he expected to return after dark, or that it possibly was evening when he left." "I never thought of that,sir." "It is a part of our business, that of making tleductions from trifling things," replied Keene, kindly. "I will ask you a few more questions, if you please." Mary Randall's face brightened quickly. She evidently had been told that, if Sheridan Keene would undertake to solve the mystery of John Wildman's disappearance, the truth would very soon be unveiled; and the inter est now displayed by the detective seemed to encourage her. And Keene's wonderful detective art led him instinctively to a series of questions and natural deductions which could have ema nated only from an expert in his chosen pro fession. "You say you have been acquainted with Mr. Wildman for three years, Miss Ran dall?" "Yes, sir; rather more than that." when I found him away." "Is he a man of means?" "Did you enter his rooi;-is Saturday morn"He has only what he has derived from ing ? his pro f e ssi o n sir. He is not wealthy."
. SHIELD WEEKLY. 9 ,,. "I think I have heard him mentioned as a successful artist, have I not?" "Very likely, sir. He, for the past three years, has had a ready market for his paint ings." "Is he whaWs commonly termed a society man?" "Not at all, sir. He has very few intimate friends, and is naturally very reserved "Reserved people are frequently taciturn and rm>ody," said Keene, suggestiv ely. "How about Mr. Wildman?" "Quite the contrgry, sir," said Miss Randall, with a shake of her head. "He is in variably and cheerful, yet he has never cared for a large circle of friends." "Have you ever heard him speak of having any enemies?" "Never, sir." ."Who were his antecedents?" "I cannot tell you, Mr. Keene," Miss Randall said, sadly. "Do you mean that he was to be married to you, Miss Randall, without having told you of his family?" "I think he perhaps would have done so before he married me," she replied. "He said only a week ago that he had a little. secret to confide to me, relating to his early life. But the disclosure of it was then deferred, and I now cannot say what it would have been." "Did he use the word secret?" inquired Keene, more gravely. ) "That was the very word he used, sir." "You do not know, then, where he was born, or where he lived in early life?" "No, sir; I do not," repli'ed Miss Randall, regretfully. Then she abruptly added though with "Did you make any remark to him to that effect?" "Once, sir." "How did he receive it?" "He colored s lightl,Y, I thought; yet he I merely laughed at my observation, and made no reply." "As a matter of fact, Miss Randall you k'now very little about Mr. Wildman, save as a friend?'' said Keene, gently. is true, sir," she replied, with a sob. "But I know, as only / one can know whose heart has abiding faith in the love he had be stowed upQ";;, that some terrible misfor tune has befallen John Wildman. Any who know him, sir, will tell' you he not a man who voluntarily would have acted thus." There was in the case something which I now began to appeal to Sheridan Keene. He turned his chair a little nearer that of .. fair visitor, and said, kindly: "Do not distress yourself too Miss Randall. I think I'll investigate the case for you." "Oh, sir, how am I to thank you?" "Thank me after I have something," replied Keene, smiling. "Now carefully answer my questions. You say you last saw Mr. Wildman on Friday noon? Do. you know upop what work he was engaged at that time?" "I think upon one of his paintings, sir." / "Did he mention having any appointment for that evening?" "He did not." "Do you know if he lately has had business relations with any stranger?" "Yes, sir, he has," the girl said, quickly told me he expected to paint a picture some uncertainty: for a new customer." "''But I at times have thought I noticed in "Did he mention the person's name?" his speech certain features which led me to think that he was an Englishman, or that he had lived in England." "Oh, yes the name was McKenzie." "You do not know the full name?" "I do not," said Miss shaking her
1.0 SHIELD WNEKLY. head. "But since Mr. Wildman mysteriously disappeared, Mr. McKenzie has called once at the library to see me, to ask if I could in forqi him when Mt. Wildman would return." Kee11e's grave face changed slightly, and J his eyes lighted perceptibly. "How did Mr. McKenzie know of re .with Mr. Wildman?" he inquired, gravely. "I do not know, sir: "Had he ever seen you in the studio of the artist?" "Possibly, sir; or, perhai;>s, Mr. vVildman ..... told him about me." ma.n whose conducf in seeking information of Wildman 's beti;othed, was at least unusual, and that the latter's past was a mystery even to the girl he was about to wed-upon these facts Sherh!an Keene chiefly based an opin ion that the strange disappearance of Wildman was a mystery worth investigating. Half an hour before the time appointed for meeting Mary Randall next morning Keene approached the large apartment house in which the rooms of the artist were 18Cated. It was one of the best appointed houses in the desirable locality about Copley Square with a fine restaurant, cafe and billiard-room "It is not probable, Miss Randall, that a in a semi-basement, and well-furnished flats man of natural reserive would have told a stranger anything about you, or about his relations with you," said Keene, quickly. "Do you know where this McKenzie may be found?" "No, sir; I do not. "Will you describe the man, please?'.' Mary Randall at once complied, giving K<;:ene quite a precise description of the genoccupying the six floors above. That occupied by John Wildman was on the first floor, with windows on two sides, .the lofty building occupying a corner of two popular avenues. ... Passing through the brood vestibule giving ingres s to the office, the detective approached a clerk at the desk and asked, carelessly: "Have you seen anything of Mr. Wild-eral appearance of Mr. Tracy Maxwell; and man, the artist, this n;iorning ?" .. the detective when she had concluded, closed "Jack Wildman!" returned the clerk, }ook-the bodk in which he had casually noted a ing up. "I think he is out of town, sir." few of her disclosures. "Do you still retain the key of Mr. Wildrnan's rooms?" he then asked. "Yes, sir." "Can you conveniently meet me there at ten o'clock morning?" "Indeed, sir, yes!" exclaimed Miss Ran dall, "Do so, then," said Keene, with grave de cisiveness. "I will be there at precisely ten." .. CHAPTER III. IN THE NEGLECTED STUDIO. "Out of town?" "I so, since he has not been in his rooms for several days." "Do you know where I can reach him by mail?" "I do not. He left no word where he was going." ./ 1 "That's curious!"' observed Keene, aiming to render the clerk communicative. "Is it like him to disappoint a man on a matter of business?" "Quite the contrary, sir. As a general thing, Mr. Wildman is very punctilious in such matters. We think it rather curious Man is an animal of habits. That John where he can have gone ; still, he is a man Wildman had done something entirely out of quite able to look after himself. I imagine his ordinary course; that a stranger had he wilr return within a few days, at thetecently appeared with interest in him, a est." .. ..
SHIELD WEEKLY. 11 "Do you know by whom he was. last seen .. about here?" "The janitor saw him go out last Friday afternoon." "Thanks, very much," bowed Keene, turn-ing away. "Any word to. leave for him?" "I think not. I will call again." Returning to the vestibule, the detective next rang the janitor' s bell, a summons which speedily brought a young Irishman from some quarter below. "I am looking for John Wildman's rooms," explained Keene, in his agreeable way. "I hope you'll par. don my troubling you." "No trouble, sir. That's what I am here for," laughed the janitor. "M, r. Wildman's rooms are off the main corridor there, but he's not at home." "Has he gone away?" "Went away last Friday afternoon, sir." "That's odd," said Keene with. feigned perplexity. "Did you see. him leave here?" '.'I did, sir, I was standing right here in the doorway." "Was he alo6e ?" "He was, sir." "You didn t notice which way he weht, I suppose?" "Yes, sir, I did. He toG>k the cab that stands around the corner, s!r; and like as not Jerry-that's the cabman, sir-can tell you where he went." Without displaying further interest, for he did not wish to create an impression that any suspicion of foul play existed, Keene saun-. tered out' of the door and to the c9rner;" and presently accosted the cabman. "Where did JW.U drop Mr. Wildman, Jerry, \' 1hen you last Friday after-' noon ?" he asked, familiarly. The cabman gave him a sharp glance, and wondered how he had learned his name. "At the Vendome, sir," he replied. "The Hotel V endome ?" "Sure, I don't know of any other Ven dome." "Did Wildman enter the hotel?" "He did, sir." \ "He did not retain your carriage, did he?" "No, sir. He paid his fare and I turned away. I think he went there to meet a man, sir, for he was shaking hands with a man in the office when I turned my cab.'' "A short man, with gray hair, and--" "Pevil a bit of it, sir! He was a big man, with brown whiskers,'' interrupted the driver. "Ah, then I am mistaken," remarked Keene, nevertheless suspecting the man to have been the Mr. McKenzie described by Mary Randall. "I am trying to locate one of Wildman's friends, whom I heard was in town. About what time did you take Wild man to the V endome ?" "Sure, sir, it was close upQ11 t_!Jree o'clock." At that moment Keene saw Mary Randall approaching on the opposite side of the street, and with a brief word of thanks the detec tive turned back and arnf1nd the. corner, and then quickly sought t1lf adjoining 'the rooms of the missing artist. He had waited only a minutes, when Miss Randall also entered. Her pretty face lighted when she saw him, and, extending her hand, she said, gratefully : "I am so glad to find you here. I feared you might have changed your mind." "They say wise persons do so," smiled Keene, while she produced the key of the door near which they met. however, if changed at all, leans more to your own convictions." "You have discovered something?" she asked, eagerly. "Nothing of importance," Keene rejoined, evasively. "Ah, this is the studio, is it?" It was a large room facing the front street, and presented the usual characteristics of an
i2 SHIELD WEEKLY. artist's studio. Adjoining this was a library and sitting-room, with a sleeping-r oo m b e yond. The furnishings were quite elaborat e yet in exc e llent taste, and d e noted th a t th e occupant was a man of culture The rooms we re cold how ev e r A half burned log lay dead gray in th e fir e pl ace. The lace draperies hung clos ed a t the win do w s from their rods to the h e a vy W i lt o n carpet covering the floor. Ke e ne made a rapjd s urve y o f th e library and sle e ping-ro o m, but found n otp ing to suggest a soluti o n of the myst e ry "Is there a photogr a ph o f Mr. Wildman here ? he ask e d rejoinin g M i s s Randall in the studio. I Yes, sir, her e in his albu m." The picture w as that of a hand some man w ith frank expressive eyes and a broad brow. "ls he light or dark?" d emanded Keene quickly takin g in the general features. "His h a ir and eyes are brown sir "And hi s v oice? "Very dee, and mellow, said Miss Ran dall, with some emition. "And when he speaks very loud sir it is noticeably strong and resonant." 1 infer that he is a tol e rably large man." "Nearly six feet, sir. There is also a sketch of him here in his portfolio, one he made himself," said Miss Randall, hastening to place the large leather-covered case upon the table . i t contained a score or more of crayon and charcoal s.ketches, and had begun to study that of the profile she quickly select e d anq placed in his hand, when a low cry broke from the lips of the girl. "What have you found?" demanded the detective. "This room has been entered, sir!" cried Mary Randall, looking up, with cheeks grown suddenly pale; "and since Mr. Wildman s disapp e arance--!" a m sure o f i t sir! 0Some o f his s ke t
SHIELD WEEKT1Y. gravely ; "I am much more inclined to believe that Mr. Wildman, whom you have suspect ed to be an Engli-shman, drew the missing sketches from memory, depicting some of the scenes which, perhaps, dear to him in that early life of which you have been left uninformed." "And even then?" faltered the girl, trem ulously, a great fear showing in her lifted eyes. Keene regarded her in silence for a mo ment, then decided it was best that she should know all that this unexpected discovery sug gested to him. "Even then?" he echoed, taking her hand; "do you not see what such a theft, under such / circumstances, would imply?" "What, sir?" "That some person has deemed the removal of the to be essential to his own safety, or at least essential to preventing the establish ment of John Wildman's true iden tity. It is a hundred to one, Miss Randall, that your lover's name is not John Wildman." "Oh, sir!" "And that his disappearance, if not the re sult of foul play, is a mystery which requires at least earnest and immediate investigation. But do not be over-alarmed, Miss Randall," Keene hastened to add, when the girl sank! half-fainting, into a chair near the window. "I do not think it is a case of murder, for it has not that appearance; I rather think that Wildman is now in the power of some person or persons, whose interests may be identified with him, and who may be seeking in some way to coerce him." "Then his death--" "You must not apprehend that," Keene quickly interrupted. "Few men dare the scaffold for the sake of gain; !'lnd the hope of gain here appears to be the most likely motive, since Wildman has for years been a resident of this country It is more than pro bable that the person who entered and stole the missing sketches obtained the key from John Wildman himself, and that alone convinces me that--" But a sudden movement by Mary Randall there inte!rupted him. With a half-suppressed cry, she had quick ly risen and drawn back from window, to stare out with startled gaze through the lace draperies at some object in the street. CHAPTER IV. THE STRANGER FROM LONDON, Startled by the expression on Mary Ran dall's white face, Keene's impulse w as to draw aside the lace curtains to ascertain by . what she I:ia been moved and at what she was gazing. But she caught his extended arm and drew him back, crying quickly: "Don' t Don't let him see you-not here Not in here !" "Whom
14 SHIELD WEEKLY. purpose of destroying any evidence which might serve even to suggest' the true identity of Wildman. He had found only the sketches missed by Mary Randall, which were draw i_ngs from memory of the home in England, and these Maxwell \had decided should be immediately removed and de stroyed. parture," Keene hurriedly explained. I wish to observe him and hear his voice. Have no fear Miss but receive him precisely as if--" "He is coming, sir. Leav e him to me. The sound of Maxwell's footsteps could be heard on the floor of the adjoining corridor. Keene slipped noiseles:;ly into the library It had been easy to accomplish this unoband entered a closet in one corner, from served by any person in the house, and Max-which he cautiously could observe all that welt's call upon Mary Randall had been only transpired. to discover if any suspicions of the true state Mary Randall had already replaced the of affairs and if any action to lopor t folio, and whe 9 Maxw e ll's sharp knock cate Wildman was being taken. That suspisounded upon the studio door she ran to a don could possibly be directed against him desk at one side of the room and pretended had seemed utterly to be searching among the papers by which "He is coming this way! Keene suddenly cried, as Maxwell over the crossing. "It is a safe guess that he is coming here." "What shall we do?" Keene glanced at the girl's face. It was very pale, and she trembled from head to foot. Quickly taking her hands, the detec tive said, f}rmly: "You must compose yourself. If the man is coming here. I want you to receive him precisely; as if no suspicions existed. Can you do this? It is for the sake of the man you love." "Yes, I can do it!" exclaimed Miss Ran daU, with a quick disp1ay of resolution. "What explanation shall I offer him for being here?" "Say seeking for a letter Wildman possibly might have left, or for any evidence tending to explain his absence." "I understand." "Make no mention of me." "Surely not:" "Hasten, then. Replace the portforio pre cisely as you found it," cried Keene, darting to the studio door to make sure it was closed. "And you, Mr. Keene?" "l shall conceal myself until after h i s d e-it was partly covered Turning her head merely, she cried, firmly: Come in!" Maxwell was more than surprised to re ceive a response to his knock. He had not expected that it would be answered. He opened the door, however and on beholding Mary Randall, he immediately concluded her mission to be what Keene had suggested, and that his first apprehension was groundless 'But his florid face, with its swift expres sion of relief, betrayed him to the watching detective as effectively as if he had given ut t e rance to his secret sentiments Oh, I beg your pardon!" Maxwell quick ly exclaimed "When I received a response to my knock, I was in hopes to have found Mr. Wildman here Miss Randall immediately arnse and faced him. Though still quite pale: she comman'd ed herself admirably, and at once replied: "Mr. Wildman has not yet returned, sir. " Indeed t" "I am very mystified by his absence anc! brgin to feel quite anxious,'' the girl ex plained, in a conventional way "Having a key to his rooms I have been looking over his papers again, in the hope of discovering (
I SHIELD 15 something that might explain his unusual absence." "Can i be of any assistance to you?" asked Maxwell, bowing politely. "Oh, no, sir. I do not wish to disturb things too much. I presume he will return sooner or later, and that my approehensions are, as a matter of fact, quite groundless." "You do not fear that anything serious has befallen him, I hope?" "No, I do not precisely fear it, sir; y t I feel rather anxious. Mr. Wildman is not often absent for so long a time. Still, he is a man 'of good habits, and I cannot believe he has made any enemies." "Assuredly not!" exclaimed Maxwell, with feeling. ''"What little I have seen of him would certainly indicate the making of friends, rather than eiiemies. I really hope I may meet him again before leaving Boston." "Have you "business with him, sir?" "I intended to have had," was the grave reply. "I have thought some of giving him an order for a painting. Perhaps I shall find him here by the first of the week." "I 'hope so, sir. Indeed," added the girl, smiling faintly; "I really think so." "And you are quite welcome to the belief," , said Maxwell to himself, as he bowed with grave courtesy and made his departure. Kene waited till the sound of his steps had died away in the corridor; then he quick ly emerged froth his concealment and peered out through the curtain. Maxwell was crossing the street, and walking moderately in the direction of Copley Square. "Yott did well," said Keene, approvingly, turning quickly to Miss Randall "And that man?" "Leave the man to me. I mu&t follow him at once." "You suspect him ?" "Seriously," said Keene, hurriedly. "Here after you must remain away from these . rooms, and do nothing about this affair until you have heard from me." ''I'll not, sir. I'll go at once." "And if McKenzie should again visit you 2.t the library, say no more to him than you have said this morning. Do you unc/er stand ?" "Precisely!" exclaimed Miss Randall, in scm .. e excitement. "That is all, then!" cried Keene. "I communicate with you as soon as possible." Having hurriedly issued these instructions, the detective hastened out upon the street and started in .. pursuit of Maxwell, whom he presently overtook in Copley Square. minutes later the Englishman entered the Brunswick Hotel, with Sheridan Keene just behind him. It immediately became evident that Maxwell was a guest of the ho.use, and that his appointment with Wildman at the Yendome had oeen a blind, which Keene at once added tg his list of suspicious circumstances. Removing h!s coat, Maxwell left it in the coat-room, receiving a check for it, and Keene presently did likewise. As he took his check, and the youth in charge of the room turned to hang coat on the wall, the de tective pushed open the door and entered "I have a book in one of the pockets, young man," he explained. "I wish to re rr.ove it." "All right, sir," nodded the employe e steP"' ping aside. Keene felt in the pocket oi his own c o a t at the same time turning the collar of that which he recognized to be Maxweirs, and glanced at the tai1ot's trademark. He read, in yellow letters on the back : "Bailey & Co., Lon
' .. SHIELD WEEKLY. I I 16 hension that his movements wer e being ob served, was mani f est in his actions. With no apparent intere st in any o f the gentlemen about the office the Englis h ma n entered the .telephone closet a littl e lat e r, and for five held communi c atio n over the wire. When he emerged there was a smile on his fact!, and he strode straight away through the corrdior toward the main s.tairs. He had not disappeared Sheridan Keene slipped into the telephone closet and rang up the central office. "Hello he cried. "Hello!" "Have you still got-the wire I just had?" / he demanded of the girl at the central station. "No, sir; you rang off," was the reply. "Never mind, then. Do you recall the number I gave ?" "Yes, '.'Let me hav e it, please. It will my looking it up again. T wish to use it later." The girl inimediately back a subur ban number. "Thanks," cried Keene, dryly, r eplacing the instrument Having noted the number pape r he next consulted the hotel register. At the end of five minutes he had established the fact that Mr. Robert McKenzie of London, Eng l
SHIELD WEEKLY. 17 ored waiters were hurrying to and fro. The patrons were about equally divided, gentlemen and ladies; and both the restaurant and the square outside presented the usual lively scene of noot1day. Very little attention was at first paid to the man who presently entered and took a seat at a vacant table in the middle of the toom. Yet his were rather inferior, and he wore a dark flannel shirt. with a red tie, in place of the immaculate linen which ordi narily was a part of the dress of Detective Sheridan Keene. It had requi 'red solid hours 'and a con, ference with Chief' Inspector Watts before Keene had perfected his arrangemer\ts for hazardous strategy he was about to under take ;'and he had arrived in the square out side only five minutes before. On the opposite side a phy.sician's carriage was standing, with the doctor himself loitering near by, and twenty feet from the restau rant door one of the local policemen had halted on the curbing. Keene made a round of the square, and to each of these he gave a few hurried words of instruction, which would have suggested to any cl)ance hearer that their meeting had been prearranged, and that there was something in the wind. There was none who ob served them, however, and a morpent later the detective entered the restaurant. A few pairs of eyes were turned curiously upon him as he passed the room, for his own were taking on a strange and utterly abnormal glare. His manner was composed, however, and not until he had taken his seat at the table, which was one of the most' prominent in the room, did he attract unusual attention. Then he startled all observers by hanging his hat on the silver caster, and a waitel' hastened forward, amid the ripple of laughter which followed the extraordinary act, and quickly interfered. "That's no place for your hat, sir!" he cried, in a sharp undertone. "Here! I'll take it!' "Don't lose it!" protested Keene, with a quick upward glance. "It's the only one I have." "I'll not lose it, sir What's the matter with you? ,Are you drunk?" "No; I wish I was," retorted Keene, with a cheerful laugh. "Db I look it?" "You look all right, sir." "Oh, i am all right cried the de tective, adroitly slipping a bank-note into the waiter's ready hand. am hungry instead of drunk. Here, where is your programme?" "Bill of fare, sir !" "Same thing! Bring a tureen of ox-tail, a chicken saute, some French peas, and plenty of mashed potatoes. And, say! bring 'em all at once, for 1 lose my appetite by waiting. The tip had won the waiter, and he has tened away to serve the order; but Keene'$ voice had not been moderated, a'nd his ex tfaordinary remarks had eached the ears of those at he nearer tables. All eyes were now turned toward him, to which he appeared utterly oblivious, and whispered remarks were passed from one to another concerning him. "He's inloxicated, isn't he?" "He doesn't look as if he'd been drinking," "Some eccentric fellow, probably." "Notice how his eyes glitter." "I believe the man is crazy," a timid girl supplemented the above by anxiously observ ing. "What's he doing now?" For Keene, apparently without eyes or ears for those observing him, was now arranging the dishes in a way to suit his own fancy, making a long row of salt and pepper shak ers, a pickle jar, three cruets from the caster a glass of and the sugar bowl and creamer, until the line stretched across the table.
18 SHIELD WEEKLY. "Here, what are you up to?" remonstrated the waiter, now returning to serve his order. "Makinga telephQne circuit," cried Keene, laughing. "I want to call up Beaven." "I'll call up the proprietor if you don't let up," protested the waiter, hurrjedly replacing the disturbed articles. "We can't stand for this, you know," he remonstrated, softiy, as he arranged on the table the various dishes ordered by the de tective. "I do like to turn you out of here after your generous tip, sir, but d'ye see how everybody's staring at YOIJ ?" "I'll not bother them if they don't bother me." "Hello! hello! Give me 4-II-44 Frankfort! Who's this? Yes, he's in-wait a min ute, I'll call him. Hello! hello! I want Cen _tral-yes-waiting Yes they're going to caJI tts up from Heaven Hello--" "Here, here! you'll have to stop this!" cried a second waiter, now rushing up to the table. "Don't bother me!" exclaimed Keene, thrusting him away. "Don't you see I am busy? Hello! there, Central Give me Heaven, if you can get it I I want--" "I'll call an officer!" cried waiter, rush ing toward the door. "Hold/on, I'll call him for you!" yelled "But you'll have to be quiet, sir. Here's Keene, changing the salt shaker from the your spoon." "Bring a dish of pudding and an ice-cream. "fwon't take me Jong to get outside of what there is here. The waiter thought of the two dollars in his pocket, and taking a chance that the ex traordinary be diverted by his meal, he hastened away to bring the addi tional order. The minute his back was turned, however, Keene went to work again with renewed and ludicrous earnestness, to the intense amusement of ail observers. Within a half-minute he had a string of dishes clear across the table, his tureen of oxtail soup in the middle, garnished on either side by a plate of chicken saute and a dish of peas. Then, as if imagining this arrangement to be a telephone exchange, such as is used in the central o1T'ices, he caught up an empty tumbler and placed it over his ear, while with the other hand he proceeded rapidly to stick salt and pepper shakers and small butter dishes into the food before him. At the same time he began calling loudly, amid the uproar of laughter from those tearer observers who had caught onto his whim: .. mashed potatoes and jabbing it into a 4'ish of s4uash. A roar of laughter followed this move, but it was fairly silenced by the repeated cries of the detective himself. "Hello, Central, .have you got. that number? What's that-busy? Go to blazes! Tell them I can't wait. Ring off that other party and connect me--what? Hello! Central-never mind Here comes some one who'll do just as well!" 1:his diversion was a Salvation Army lass, who w:ts venturing to approach him to sell a War Cry. When he saw her his face lighted up, and his final calls over the imaginary wire rose above the general uproa!' in the room. "Hello! heJlo I've got the last edition. Tell them I'll see them later, and-what's that? Ring off? All right!" 'With which, and amid an utterly inde scribable tumult; he quickly transferred the pepper shaker from the plate of chicken into the tureen of oxtail soup, and, dropping the tumbler 'to the floorwith a crash, he thrust a silver dollar into the hand of the astonished Army girl. By this time the pro prietor of the restaurant, as well as half of
SHTE;LD WEEKLY. 19 the men in room, were gather. ed excitedly trance. From his office window Dr. Ken about the table; and the waiter now was r e nedy had seen the carriage approaching and turning with a policeman, the same to whom had recognized the driver. It \vas nothing Keene had spoken outside. unusual for the l o cal physician to bring a ''Hello!" cried the d e tective, starting up; patient who had suddenly become violently ... "here comes the devil in uniform! I t old you i nsane upon the street, or in the station-I'd call him up. What--" house, and the medical opinion of Dr. Cab o t "What's the matter with you, my man?" sternly interrupted the officer forcing his way through the crowd and s eizing Keene by the collar. The detective burst out laughing, a laugh that rose with wild and unnatural shrillness over all other sounds. "There's nothing the matter with me!" he cried, with a vacant glare in his dilated eyes. "The trouble's all with you. Why do you collar me when--" "You come along with me I" "The man is crazy,'' interrupted an ob server. "Handle him more gently." "Send for a doctor I" cried another. "Here's Dr. Cabot f" exclaimed a third. "Make way and let him pass." In the face of and protests, however, Keene was quickly hustled out upon the side walk, where, to blind the crowd which fol lowed, the physician hurriedly examined and questioned him, and speedily declared him to be affected with all the symptoms of insanity. "The station is not a proper place for him," he peremptorily added to the officer, who still held Keene in charge. "Take hini up to the asylum for the present, at least. Call a carriage. I'll go with you, officer. This man is not safe to be at large." And within another five minutes Detective Keene had been unceremoniously thrust into a carriage, and with the officer and physician o n the opposite seat, was being rapidly driven in the direction of Dr. Felix Kennedy's grim institution a mile away. It was nearly two o'clock when they ar rived in the port-e ct1ohere at the main en,i n cases was all-sufficient to Dr. Ken nedy For the latte r was always ready to receive a new patient. It meant money irt his pocket and that was by far his chief consideration He met the carriage at the door with an ex pression of grave solicitude on his crafty face, and Sheridan Keene, with hair dishev eled arid garments disordered, and with an utterly abnormal countenance, was removed from the hack and into the asylum reception room. Dr. Kennedy made only a brief examina tioD. of the detective, who ignored his com mand to be seated, and fell instantly to pacing the floor. "He was badly taken in Stone's restau rant, and I ordered him brought here," Dr." Cabot explained "I've questioned him, and made a partial examination. He is evidently affected with religious mania." "Do you know the man?" "He says his name is John Moran, and that he lives at the West End. Perhaps we can fina something in his pockets by which he may pe positively identified Dr. Kennedy touched a button on the wall, and the summons almost instantly brought a powerful, dark-visaged fellow into the room, evidently was one of the asylum attend ants. "Toby," said Dr. Kennedy shortly, "search this man." Both physicians stood indifferently near by during the opeTation, while Sheridan Keene maintained, with consummate tact, the d eli cate and difficult he was playing. All of
. f 20 SHIELD WEEKLY. his belongings were removed from his pockets, and he had included among them a letter containing the of on e Moran, and which apparently was a letter from his sister. "I'll communicate wjth her and explain the circumstances," said Dr. Cabot. "The man had better remain here until we hear from her learn more about him. "By all means," assented Dr. K en nedy, with an eye to his fees. "He certainl y has a ba
" SHIELD WEEKLY. 21 And th e burl y atte n dant, brutal alik e iri He could see no other elevation of the l ooks and b earing, sharply clos e d the door building however, and his study of the situ-and locked it from the ward-room adjoining. Keene heaved a sigh of relief and smiled grimly. W ell, here I am! he said to himself, tossing off his hat and taking a seat on the nar row b e d w hich the room afforded. "Now to think things, over a bit and see what can be done." He had i n mind the v ariou s c orridors throug h wh_ich he had pass e d a nd th e h e avy doors between Each section o f the g rim ation was speedily concluded. He remained alone until nearly dusk, when Toby again put in an appearance bringing him a tray of food and a pitch e r of water "Here's your grub, he said, bluntly as he dep o sit e d the tray on the wash-stand. "Eat it while I am looking after the other loons in this ward th e n g e t y ourself into bed. Keene resumed his normal manner and aspect, and decided to comply. He knew instituti o n w as d i vided from the others like that but little provocation would be required the quarters of a .large prison. S e cr e t comto meet with very brutal tre atment from this munication from one to ano th e r was next to impossible, and the locating of John Wild man, if he was indeed confined there, ap p earea like a hopeless task. But Keene was not a man to b e daunted b y danger or difijculties aft _er a brief rest he made a careful survey of his sur-roundings. The room assigned him contained onl y a bed, a wash-stand and one common wooden chair. There was a small closet in one corner, and escape from the single window was prevented by three iron bars set in the stonework outside. A brief examination from the window gave him his lofi1tion. He was in a northern wing of the building and on the upper floor. The window was fully fifty feet from the ground, and by peering down between the bars he could see that the windows below were likewise guarded: and he inferred thaf he was in that part of the building in which dangerous patients were c o nfin ed. "There is a chance then, that Wildman is somewhere near me," he r e asoned, "since they would place him in a room from which he could: not effect his escape. But it will be a tough job locating him, if he has not al ready been done away with." I attendant and he was n o t d es irous of being abused ''!'11 defer that part of the until l am in receipt of m y arsenal! This was the detective's thought, as he complied with Toby's latter commancf and prepared hiri1self for bed. The hours that fo11owed passed slowly and wearily enough. Evening came on and darkness settled round the grim and dismal institution, and scarce a sound broke th e general silence. At eight o'clock Toby again thrust his head into the room, and gave vent to an approving growl on observing that Keene was in bed. There was no light save that from the ward-room and the attendant again locked the door and left the detective in darkne$S Keene heard him making his round of other rooms, and it was evident the fear he inspire .cl served to the occupants in general subjection As a matter of fact, h e was not sorry that his OWJ;l room was locked when Toby's steps fina11y died away in the ward-room and a silence like that of a tomb fell upon the place. He had no hope accomplishing anything that night, yet at the end of a half-
22 SHIELD WEEKLY. hour the silence was broken by a sound which instantly claimed his attention. It was very faint, barely audible, in fact; yet the occasion of it could not be mistaken. It was only the dull vibrations which at such a time can be through thick walls, JYhen the vqices of men are used with more than ordinary volume. "By gracious, there's. a dispute going on in one of the rooms!" muttered Keene, rising upon his pillow tO listen "And the sound seems to come from below ." Rising quickly from the bed he laid his ear to the floor. "I am right! There are men in the room under this, and they are having a bitter word fight over something. Kennedy w ould not be disputing with a patient, yet I'd swear that was his voice." Only a practiced ear could have detected this, for the vibrations were so faint that any other sound would have completely drowned them. Even the rapid beating of Keene's heart at times seemed the louder. I For a minute or more he laid prone upon the floor with his ear pressed to the wood. Then he caught the deeper resonance of a voice abruptly raised in anger,. and the words of Mary Randall recurred to him with sud resistless force. "She said his voke was of that sort when he spoke very loud," .muttered Keene, with an irrepressible thrill. "If that was Kennedy whom I heard, it's a hundred to one that Wildman is in the i;oom below me. . . That would explain Kennedy's presence. That would explain the dispute. I'lj wager it is a safe conjecture that I have located the man:.'' Even the assurance of this would have been but little advantage had Keene no re source beyond his individual efforts; and while any doubt6existed regarding Wildman, the detective realized that only by I' could he surely prevent the knavery of which he firmly believed the physician and Englishman to be guilty. Early next morning a well-dressed woman presented herself at the asylum, and was re ceived oy Dr. Kennedy in the reception room. "I am Miss Moran, of Charles street," she gravely explained, with all the dignity and grace, of a lady used to society. "I am a sister of the young man who was brought here yesterday afternoon." "Oh, yes; I now recall the name!" ex claimed Dr. Kennedy, at once deciding her to be a woman of means. "Pray be seated, Miss Moran. We have taken the best of care of your-brother, did you say?" "Yes, my only poor fellow I" bowed Miss Moran, wiping her eyes. "I should have come out here yesterday, had I not been absent when D1'. Cabot's messag,e came informing me of my brother's illness I have had the same trouble with him before. doctor, and at times find him quite unman ageable." "He appeared to be in a rather poor state," Dr. Kennedy, with an expres sion of grave sympathy on his crafty face. "I have visited him several times in his room, and he is now more quiet." "J am so glad to hear that, The designing physician thought he saw a way of turning a few dollars, and continued his lie. "At first I thought his case hopeless," be said, gravely; "but si ce I have observed him more closely I believe his disorder would yield to proper medical treatment. He really should have that, Miss Moran, and the constant observation of his condition which a capable and experienced physician might give to it." With pathetic earnestness Miss Moran leaned nearer and asked:
.. SHIELD WEERLY. 23 "Would it be possible to effect an arrangement with you, J?r. Kennedy, by which he could be detained here for a time and given such treatment?" "Yes, I think so," bowed Dr. Kennedy, with impressive deliberation. "I really see no reason why not, if my terms should prove satisfactory. "Your terms, doctor, would be of secondary consideratio1:i., said Miss Moran, much as if the National Treasury was behind her. "Surely, then, there is no reason!" said Dr. Kennedy, with gracious warmth. "We will perfect such an arrangement later then." "At your own pleasure, Miss Moran. "Is my brother so that I could see him this morning, doctor?" "I think so bowed Kennedy, who really knew nothing at about it. "I left him quite compo ed a short time ago. I will call my attendant from that ward. Miss Moran waited for a few minutes, and then Mr. Toby appeared with the announcement that she could see young Mr. Moran in his room. "I would not excite him said Dr. Ken nedy, in a cautionary way, as she arose to.go. "And if you contemplate leaving him here for treatment, I would not encourage him in any desire to depart." "Oh, I surely will not, doctor! It will be a gr_eat relief to me if we can make the ar-rangement suggested." "I will s e e you in my office, then b e for e you go." Moran bowed and with drew. She had made a decidedly favorable impression upon the knavish doctor1 both with her stylish beauty and the ev1dent ease with which she might be separated from her money. But crafty Dr. Keqnedy would probably have suffered an apoplectic shock had he for an instant suspected the truth. ( For this woman s visit was a part of the designed by her.idan Keene and Chief Inspector Watts; and Miss Mor an was not Mis s Mo'ran by any means: For her name was Margaret Macey; and was by a wide margin the cleverest woma1n with the city secret service. With tears in her eyes, she followed Toby through the devious corridors and up the se v eral stairways and her meeting with Sheri dan Keene in his room was enacted with all the cleverness that can be imagined. So well was it done, that Toby, after listening briefly outside the open door decided that he was wasting his time, and forthwith strode awa)Z to subdue a refractory lunatic at the opposite end of the ward. The moment Keene heard him depart his manner abruptly changed. "Lively now, Maggie!" he exclaimed, in a low whisper. "Eave you brought my guns?" "Surely, Shed!". and the woman dove into her skirt pockets and quickly produced both of Keene's revolvers and placed them in his hands. "Good !" he exclaimed, thrusting one into either of his hip pockets. "These would make a new man of one in this place. Have you seen Kennedy?" "Yes. "Does he suspect anything?" "Not a thing. All is working as was planned." "Can you blind him still farther?" "I can turn him blind as a bat whispered \ the woman, with a laugh. "Then you must come here again to-day." "For what? "I want thirty feet of line strong enough to bear my weight also a steel saw that will cut yonder bars." "I'll bring them to you. Anything more?" "That's all." "Leave it to me, then. Have you located Wildman?"
24 SHIELD WEEK.LY. "I am not sure," replied Keene, speaking not leave them in the room alone on this or in low, rapid whispers. "If I was, I. would casion, and yet the woman did not fin
SHIELD WEEKLY. 25 was brought to his ears, like the distant cr y o f some night bird, then b o rne a wa y upon the wind and lost in the ensuing silence. Procuring the cake of soap from th e wash stand, now rapidly to work upon the middle bar of his window stilling the grating of the saw with frequent applications of soap, and throwing all his strength into his efforts. It required a quarter-hour to cut through the lower end of the bar, and then he tried his stren_gth at bending it. The result was better than he expected. Jn-. stead of bending, the bar broke away from the cement in the capstone of the window, and was loose in his hand. With a muttered ejaculation of satisfaction, he drew it into the room and laid it carefully under his bed. All of this work was being done in the darkness, but the eyes of men are not wholly unlike the eyes of cats, and gloom becomes I less intense the longer it is endured. The of the bar left a spac e wide enough for the passage of his body, and without delay Keene next secured the line to one of the remaining bars. It reached s e v eral feet below the window under his own, and that was all he requir ed. That h e could regain his o wn room, after having made the d es c ent, he had not a doubt. T h e se prepa rations having been made he r e m o v e d his shoes and hat, made su r e h i s w e apons were secure in his pockets; and w i t hout a thought of personal dan ge r of a fall of fifty fe e t to the ground he forc e d his muscular figure between the bars. Hold ing fast to each, he kneeled o n th e ston e w ork outside and gazed briefly at the window be low. The room evidently was in total darkness Only the gloomy pane, and the darke r lines of the iron bars met his searching gaze He waited only for a moment however then muttered under his breath: Well, here goes !" Working his toes down the stone face of the wall until he could rest his body on the sill, he firmly gripped the line and swung himself clear. It was an undertaking which only one man in a thousand, save he was a sail9r, would have dared; yet not for a mo ment had Keene faltered or felt the chill of fear. Hand under hand, foot by foot, he made the perilous descent, until he could place his knee upon the lower window and grasp one of the iron bars. '.fhen he swung the line out of his way, and paused for a moment to listen Looking up to his own room, he could see it still was in darkness and he felt assured that his own movements had not )'.et been overheard, and that his design could not pos sibly have 12een suspected The room into which he now could gaze was in darkness. For the first time since be began the work he was fearful of failure. Yet he knew he could replace the bar at his own window sufficiently well to es cape cursor y observation, and that failur e then and there need not necessarily prove fatal. But so much was then in the balance '\ that he dreaded inviting perhaps the worst. Not a s o und came fr o m within the room Only the sw e ep of the w ind along the fac e of the wall, and the more remote sighing of t!'ie tre es, bro k e th e night silence. Twining hi s l e ft arm around one of the bars and s ett ling himself securely on the st o nework of t he w ind ow, Keene nerved him s e lf for w h a t e v e r mig ht occur and tapped softly o n the pan e . He receiv e d no answ er. "By Heave n h e mutter ed. Can I ha v e come too late? Can they already hav e don e away with him? Now he clenched his hand, and with t h e knuckles of it knocked on th e window A deep g roan then reach e d h is ea r s followed b y a sud de n sharp cry.
26 SHIELD WEEKLY. He heard the bed in the room creak noisi ly, as if some person was hurriedly rising; and then, against the intense darkness within, and as vague in outline as the figure -of an appari tion, he beheld a form take sha pe and ap proach the window. It was the figure of a man. A single word issued from his lips when he became sure in the dim starlight out side, he saw what at first he believed to be only the hullucination of madness, or the vis ion of a dream. "Help!" Then his face was pressed against the pane, with his ghastly cheeks discernible through the darkness, and his eyes aglow as if with a light of their own. With a feeling of exultation which he .... could by no means suppress, Keene drew closer to the window and demanded, as loud ly as he dared : "What is your name?" T\le answer came back but through the glass: "Maxwell Wildman!" "Are you John Wildman?" "Yes, and Horace Maxwell." Keene now understood. "He has given me both names," he mut tered; triumphantly "I want help." "Open the window!" commanded the d e tective. "I can);! I am in a strait-jaeket." Then Keene discovered that the man's arms were powerless, being held securely to either side in a canvas jacket, which laced in the back. "Stand away from the window," Keene now commanded, with a gesture. "I'll take a chance to being overheard and break it It With his left arm still entwined about the iron bar, and his figure securely resting on the stonework, Keene now drew a revolver and with the butt dealt one of the panes a sharp blow. It shivered the glass, which fell clattering upon the stones and on the floor within. In a moment Wildman rejoined him, and their voices were lowered "Are you John Wildman, the artist?" de manded Keene. "Yes," was the eager response. "But you who are you? And why here in such a perilous position?" "My name is Keene. I am a Boston de tective. I am here to aid you." "Thank God !" ."You are in the power of knaves?" "Worse than knaves-monsters!" "Do you know with what object they have confined you ?" "I it only last night. I am an Englishman. My father recently died and has left me a large fortune, which a halfbrother now aims to secure through my mur qer." "About what I suspected!" exclaimed Keene. "I was told the facts only last riight." "How was that?" "My brother's confederate--" "His name is Kennedy," interposed Keene. "He came here last night and disclosed the w hole truth to me He offered to turn traitor to my half-brother, and release me, providing I would insure one2half of my. fortune ." "You refused ." "Positively! We had angry words, and he threatened to kill me within forty-eight hours unless I should come to his terms." "This explaitTs the voices I heard. Why is to9 dangerous to talk long so loudly." did you not consent, and then have him arWildman nodded and withdrew across the rested?" room. "That went against my grain. I am a man .
l SHIELD WEEKLY. 27 of my word, and preferred to take my chances." "Is your half-brother named McKenzie?" "He is so called, but his right name is Tracy Maxwell. I had not seen him since he was a boy, hence did not recognize him. I ran away from home eighteen years ago." "How were you brought here?" "I was deceived." "By McKenzie?" "Yes. He pretended he wished me to paint a scene out this way, and prevailed on me to come out and view it, that I might give him my ideas upon the subject. When passing along the road below here, he stated that the doctor who conducts this asylum was an old acquaintance and friend, and asked me to ac company him here while he made a brief call." "And you did so?" "Why not? I suspected nothing." "And after you had entered ?" "I was invited to inspect the building, -and felt an interest in so doing. An attendant came with us. On reaching this room 1 was suddenly seized and overcome. Sil'lce then I have been constantly in a strai!-jacket, and utterly helpless." "Are you suffering?" "Somewhat. My muscles are severely cramped and sore. I care nothing for the suffering, however, if my rescue can but be effected." I "Leave that to me," said Keene, grimly. "How. many patients are there in the ward upon which your room opens?" "Not one! I am alone here." A h, these scoundrels indeed mean blood" I fear there is no doubt of that." "Do you consider your life to be in im mediate danger?" "I can judge only from the heinous char acter of the outrage I already have suffered, and from what Kennedy said last night." "They may attempt it this very night." "Were they to visit me," rejoin ed Wild man, "I should expect nothing less "Beware, then, of accepting food or drink," said Keene, now preparing to leave him. "They may resort to poison." "I'll take absolutely nothing," rejoined Wildman. "Meantime I'll plan to get your room and secrete myself," said Keene "Can you accomplish it?" "I can give it a very strong argument," rejoined the detective, laughing softly. "Is the door of your room loeked ?" "Yes." "Do you know who has the key?" "A powerful ma!l whom I've heard called Toby." I "Ah, my custodian! Within a halt-hour I'll put the boot on the other leg. Hark you, Mr. Wildman." "Yes." "If Kennedy and your rascal of a brother should presently come here, you must--" "Hark!" exclaimed Wildman, suddenly internipting him. "I think the wardroom door is being opened at this moment." "The devil you say!" "I am right!" exclaimed Wildman, ex citedly. 1'1 just heard it close." Keene instantly rose to his knees on the stonew o rk, and caught the line by which he had descended. "Keep your nerve, Wildman," he cried, softly, speaking with more haste. "Should "We'll thwart. them, never fear! Do you these scoundrels enter your room, protest that know when they next will visit you?" this glass was broken by a sudden gust of "I've no means of knowing," replied Wildwind. Then stave them off by argument, or man. Kennedy was here last night." in some way, for a short quarter-hour. If
28 SHIELD WEEKLY. you find that to be impossible, yell for help, and I shall hear you through the broken win dow, will agaih come down the line. I, at least, can reach y ou in that way. Le a ve all the rest to me." "Go!" returned Wildman, hurriedly. "They are now outside my door." "Get back to bed, hissed Keene. Without waiting to see if his command was obeyed, for he too had caught sight of a streak of light under Wildman's door, De tective Keene sprang upon the stonework, and drew himself hand over hand up the line to the level of his own window. In a moment grasped the nearer of the two bars, and having quickly gained the sill, he instantly hauled up the dangling line out of possible observation. CHAPTER VIII. TORY MEETS WITH A SURPRISE. ' Now sure of Wildman's location, and fully informed of the crime which had been conJ rnitted, Sheridan Keene no longer deferred decisive action. 'He was aware that he could have remained upon the sill outside -of Wildman's window, and in all probability have intimidated Kennedy and forced him to throw up his hands; yet the position would have been exceedingly perilous, and'might have invited serious op p o sition from a man as desperate as Kennedy would surely become on learning that his own exposure and arrest were imminent. Keene believed he now could accomplish his object in a less hazardous way. Leaving the line upon the sill, ready for immediate use in case of a cry from Wild. man, the detective forced his way between the fors of his window and alighted safely on the floor. Having hurriedly put Q11 his shoes, he next emptied the chambers of one of his revolvers, and with t he butt of the weap o n began a vig orous attack upon the panel of his door. Though the latter could not easily have been dem o lished, the blows delivered by the de tective fell fast and furious and resounded through the wardroom with a noise which pre sently resulted in precisely what Keene had anticipate
SHIELD WEEKLY. 29 sternly "Advance two paces or I shall fire I" "For God s sake, don't shoot I" cried Toby, still unable to believe he was not confronted by a madman. "I'll do what you bid." "Proceed to do so, then. Now stand where you are " Look here, Mr. Moran-,-" "Oh, my name is not Moran," Keene curtly interrupted. "I am neither a fool nor a mad man." "What, then ?" I am one of the Boston inspectors of po# 1ice, sir, and am here to a very gly bit of work in which your rascally employer is engaged ?" "A detective?" gasped Toby, with eyes ii.ow starting from his head. "Nothing less, sir! And it will be well for you, Toby, since the infamous doings of Ken nedy are already known to the police, 'if I find that y o u only a secondary hand in it." Like all cowards and ruffians, Toby was ready to grasp at once at any straw by which to save his own neck. "On my word, sit," he cried, hrriedly, "I know nothing about it." 1'Don't you know that Kennedy has a sane man confined in the room beneath mine?" Speak out, sir, for I already know the truth." "I know that he has a man c;ontfoed there "Do you know who now is with him?" Say, sir, just lower that gun a little, will you?" "No, sir!" cried Keene, sternly. "I am not iP the habit of taking chances with such fel lows as you are. Answer my question at once, or you will presently find y o urself in jail along with two or three others here." The threat had a salutary effect, and Mr. Toby impulsiv e ly threw down his bludgeon and gave up the ghost. "I will answer you, sir!" he cried, hur r i edly, with a gesture of appeal. "I give you my word I've had no hand in the affair only under Kennedy's usual orders. I don't know who the man is or why he is here. "Well, I do, which is much better ." "Say only that you'll see me out of any scrape, sir, and I'll do anything you bid "I will make no promise I may be unable to fulfill," Keene sternly rejoined. "You will do what I bid you1 in either case. If I fin_ d that you have had no criminal part in the af fair, I, perhaps, 'will intercede for you." "That's good enough, sir," cried Toby, eagerly. "I'm already sick of Kennedy." "Is Kennedy in the room below?" "I think he is, sir," the miscreant now readily admitted. "Is he alone with the inmate of the room?" "No, sir; there's another man with him." "Do you know him by name?" "I've heard him called McKenzie." "The two scoundrels I wish to trap in the same nest," said K e ene, bluntly. "Do you know their object in going there?" "No, sir, I don't." "Where were you when I began hammering up o n the door? "I had just left the two men, and was com ing up to this ward." "What way shall I take to reach the ward below, and the room in which the man is confined." "Go through door at the end of this ward, sir, and then down the stairs to the left The door of the ward below is nearly at the foot of the stairs." "Will I encounter any attendants on the way?" 1 "No, sir, not likely." "Take out your keys, Toby, and give me those I shall require." With an expr e ssi o n of sullen h e lplessness on his dark face, the ruffian fished o ut his ring of ke y s from his p o ck e t and detached a brass one of considerable size "That unl o cks the d o or of both ward rooms," he said, grimly. "Toss it to tIJ.e," c o mm!inded K e ene. The man obey e d, and Keene deftly caught it without lowering his weapon. "Now give me the key to the room in which y ou are standi,ng." Toby had no alternative but that of com plying and Keene presently received the de sired key as before. "No w T o by, fall back as far as the win dow, s aid the det e ctive. "What's that for?" / "Because I think it only wise to lock you here in my place," said Keene, with dry aus terity. "Fall back, I sa:id"
r 30 SHIELD WEEKLY. With a resentful frown settling on his grim features Toby retreated until his 5houlder touched the wall behind him. Then he caught sight of the open window, the line lying on the sill, and obse rved that cne of the bars had been removed. As the truth broke upori him, an irrepressible ex clamation of amazement rose from his lips; and turning sharp about he cried : "I say, sir! I believe all you've told me. I'll do whatever you bid. Only I'd like. you tc see me out of it, sir." "If you do what I bid, said Keene, shortly "you will remain quiet here until I return to release you." "I'll do that, sir," cried Toby, eagerly "See, then, that you do." Keene already had thrust the key into the l ock, and, immediately closing the door, he effectually secured it. "Now, then, Kennedy, he said to himself, as he hastened through the long wardroom, "I will take a hand in your own little game I" _. CHAPTER IX. THE GELATINE CAPSULE. Just before nine o'clock that same evening, Dr. Felix Kennedy a nd Tracy Maxwell were seated in the former's private office, confront ing one another precisely as they had been seated in the same room one evening nearly a week previous. The expression on the physician's face was even more cold and hard and crafty than it then had been, and the countenance oLMax well was more pale, and the light in his frowning eyes less bold and more fearful. A slight--or at least, Dr. Kennedy t er med it-a slight disagreement had arisen between these two scheming desperados, and one which proved not easy to adjust. "I think," Kennedy argued, in a conclusive sort of way, that seemed to offer his hearer no alternative, "I think Mr. Maxwell, that if I now agree to safely dispose of the corpse, after your half-brother has become a corpse, that you, at least should apply the remedy necessary to our situation. It will be better for all of us, you see, if you were to do rt. your half-brother wm die by your hand rather than mine which I am sure would be prefe r able to him, I being a total stranger; -and, furthermore, I then shall have a m u ch more reliable hold upon you and your prnm' ised remuneration." '--"You are very frank about it, to say t he least," cried Maxwell, bitterly. "I beiieve in perfect frankness in s u ch transactions, Mr. Maxwell." "But I did not agree to kill the man !" "That is true, sir." "You were to look after that." "Pardon me, sir!" said Kennedy, coldly. "I said only that at the end of a month you should have no half-brot!ter. I did not state by whose hand he should be removed." "You equivocate!" cried Maxwell, hotly. "I would not have entered. into the affair under any such -conditiori as !hat_ which you now seek to impose "But having done so, sir, it certainly is now too late to withdraw," said Dr. Ken nedy, curtly. "As a matter of plainly stated, Mr. Maxwell, there is but one alterna tive. Either you will do this and end t h e thing, or I shall set the man at liberty. I most assuredly shall not continue to keep h im here, fot he is a very inconvenient piece of furniture, and not entirely safe to retain. I'll leave the matter entirely to you. If unable to do so with you, sir, I easily can adjust th i ngs in a satisfactory way with him; and you must terminate this affair to-night, or to-morrow he goes fre e." "You are an infamous scoundrel, Ken nedy!" Maxwell, who hacj become white even to his lips. "There is a pair of us, then," said Ken nedy, coldly. "How can the deed be done ?" "I will provide you with the means, Mr. Maxwell. Surely that should be appreciated, if' not an incentive, even." "What means?" demanded Maxwell, driven to the wall by the desperate situation in which he found himself. "What means will you provide?' Dr. Kennedy slowly arose, and with a sort of icy deliberation opened a cabinet on the wall. "Will you have some brandy?" he inci dentally asked, observing the bottle. "Yes !" cried Maxweir, starting to his f eet
., SHIELD WEEKLY. 31 He took the proffered b o t t le a nd, without waiting for a glass, swallow e d a deep draught of the fiery fluid. It was barely possible without the stimulant, some better part of the man would have turned him from the awful crime contemplated. As it w as, only the worst and most desperate part w as further spurred to action. When he set down th e b o ttl e Dr. Kennedy stood confronting him with a small vial in one hand, and a tiny object between the thumb and forefinger of the other "This, Mr. Maxwell, he said cofd y, "is a small gelatine capsule It con'_ains a tw enty per cent. solution of cyanide of po t a ssium. I t is sufficient to kill a man in s t a ntly If you were to pass this between th e lips of your half-brother and break the gelatine he would be dead almost before you COUid iift your hand from his face." Maxwell now was ghastly white and trembling from head to foot, but his eyes were burning like globes of fire . "Horrible! horrible!" he gasped, faintly. "But very eff ective!" smiled Dr. Ken nedy, tenderly caressing the capsule. "And could anything be easier ?" "And after it is done?" "You may leave all the rest to me! You may be very sure, Mr. Maxwell, that I shall cover the crime beyond the possibility of ex posure." Maxwell ground his teeth for a momertt, fiercely clenching his hands, and then cried vehemently: "Let it be done at once, then !" Dr. Kennedy deliberately replaced the brandy bottle and vial in the cabinet', and led the way out of his office and toward the reception-room He turned only once, and then said simply: "If you now turn chicken-hearted you will have lost your last opportunity ." "I shall not turn back, you knave! Kennedy touched the button on the wall of the recepti o n-ro9m. It was answered by a man in livery. "Go tell Toby I want him, said the phy sician, n e ver once speaking out of an or dinary tone. The two men waited in silence At the end of five minutes Toby appeared. "My friend wishes to visit the pati ent in ward B," said Dr. K e nn e dy "Conduct us there at once !" At the door of the wardroo m afte r it had beerf opened by the attendant and the lights switched on, the ph y si c ian aga i n ad d r e ssed him: "Give me the ke y t o his doo r Toby," h e said "This is the one ; sir." "That is all, T oby. You m a y re t urn to the ward above." Anroke n only short--" Then th e w o rds he would have spoken were cut short by a hand around his neck,
; 32 SHIELD and the powerful figure of one of his own flesh and blood was crushing him down. He wrenched himself free by a violent effort, instantly suspecting the fate intepded for him, and a single desperate cry rose from his lips: "Help!" It was echoed by the sound of a blow that sent Tracy Maxwell to the floor, and followed by a command which rang like thunder through the chamber and wardroom. "Stop in the name of the law! A move by either of you two men will invite instant death. In the name of the Commonwealth I arrest you both !" Kennedy wheeled sharp about, and like one of his own madmen sprang furiously toward the figure in the doorway. Keene fired on the instant, and the report of his weapon rang with fearful intensity from the inclosed walls. The pnysician threw both hands into the air, recoiled a little, then plunged face for ward to the floor, shot through the breast. The form of Tracy Maxwell had moved but once since Sheridan Keene dealt him the blow that stretched him upon the floor Then he had risen hurriedly to his elbow; had heard the words thundered forth by the detective; had seen him standing motionless with weapon drawn in the doorway; and then the man's hand had gone to his own lips. The light from the wardroom fell upon his face, and Keene impulsively bent abo ve him. 'Good heavens, vVildman he cried. "This. man is dead It was true. The capsule intended for another's death had been devoted to his own Two hours later Mary Randall, s1ttmg in the library of her home in Newburg street, was startled by the violent ringing of th_e door-bell. Her first thought was of Sheridan Keene. She started impulsively to the hall, and met instead-the man she loved. At about the same time Dr. Kennedy lay writhing on a bed in the Massachusetts Hospital, with a phvsician probing his wbund. Although this did not directly cause his death, it ultimately left him only a wreck of his former self; and he died in the State's prison at the end of.th e thin;! year of the sen tence receive d for his crime. Toby, against whom no specific charges could be found, was released from custody soon after his arrest by Sheridan Keene ; and it subsequently was said that he had departed for parts unknown. One month subsequent to the scenes de picted, Horace Maxwell embarked for England to claim his inheritance; and he ak of Guilt. 10-A Frozen Clue; or, The Cold Storage Mystery. 9-A Double Pla,y; or, Two Mysteries in One Net. S-A l'...i(ln Among Wolves; or, Sheridan Keene's Identity. 7-Unde r Seal ; or, The Hand of the Guilty. Was the Model? or, Missing: A Beautiful Heiress. o-The Man and the Hour; or, Sheridan Keene's Clever Artifice. 4-Cornered by Inches; or, A Curious R<>bbery In High Life. 3-Inspector Watts' Great Capture; or, The Case of Alvord, the Embezzler. 2-Silhouette or Shadow? or, A Question of Evi 1-Sheridan Keene, Detective; or, The Chief Inspector's Best Man. 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.
.,.,. I THRILLING STORIES Of t\DVENTURE I i Do and Dar Wtkly i A special series of rattling good stories is now appearing in this w ellknown weekl y, covering a wide variety of subjects and written by some of the best known stor y writers in the co u ntry. This series will incl ude tales o f Telegraph Messe n!l'er Adventures k:)( Boarding S chool Pranks and frolics Stirring Tales of Li f e in a Camp I\ Young Soldier's Daring Deeds in the Great Civil War Startling Adventures in the Yukon Rt'.gion I\ Reporter' s Divers ifi e d Experiences on a Bi g Daily 'wjj A Young Broker's Bold Ven tures on Wall Street The Pranks of a Youth Who H a d a S e n s e o f Humor 'wjj Adve n tures of a Young Troope r i n the H e a r t of Chi n a j a nd many o t hers which will be published l ater on Great p a ins have been taken to g e t hold of just the kind ofsrories th a t young men like th e most to read, and written in just their style. Therefor e, the stories will be 'wjj Brimful of Exciting Incidents and Plots Just to give an idea of t he tre a t in store for our r ea d e rs, read the following titles of some of the new storiesN o 4 8-Messenge r Frank; or A M a tt e r of Ten N o. 52-Phi l St i rling; or,The Secr e t o f the Mow1'wjj Tho u sand D olla r s B y C h : 1 r l es N o r ris t a in Cav e B y Cap t. H e nr v D a l e, U S. A. Iss u e d Tues d ay, J a nu ar y 8th. Issu ed Tuesdav, Februar y c;th. l\o. 4 9-Ted Sh ar p 's Big Case; o r The Kin g o f No 53-Kit C um mings, th e Y o un g Gold Hu n ter; 'wjj th e Co u n t er feit ers B.v J as Nugent o r Nuu;get N ell"s St o l e n T reas ur e B y I ss u e d Tuesday, J a nu ary 1 5 th Hu g h P R odman. 'wjj Iss u e d Tue sday, F ebrua r y 1 2th. N o ;o-Lad E l e c tric; or The M os t W o nderful N o. 54-S m ar t Aleck ; or The F a ult of a Crank 's !@ B oy i n t he W orld B v B a rr y T ally h o L eg a cy. Bv Dick Smi l ey I ss u ed Tuesday, J a nu a r y 22d lss u c l Tue sdav, Feb ru ary 1 9th. No. i; 1-The Boy E x p e r t ; o r L oca t i n g the Trou-No c;c;-Ned M : 1ynard's Scoo p ; or Beat ing th e bleat th e S t a m p Mill. B y Sam Spe n c er New Y u rk B v Edit o r C h arle s .,.... Iss u ed J a nu ar y 2 9th. B artlett. I ss u ed Tuesd a y, F e bru a ry 2 6th. B a ck numbers of Do AND DARE always on hand. If y o u cann o t get our publica tions trom your newsdealer, five cents a copy will bring them to you, post-pa id. STREET & SMIT H P UBLIS HERS, 2 38 Willia m Str e et, New Y or k ,,;
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