Under the knife, or, The cloak of guilt


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Under the knife, or, The cloak of guilt

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

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

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
Resource Identifier:
024875572 ( ALEPH )
43559962 ( OCLC )
S75-00010 ( USF DOI )
s75.10 ( USF Handle )

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serial

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No. 11. Price, Five Cents. PUBLISHED WEEKLY BY STREET & SMITH, 238 Will i am Street, New York City 1901, by Strut & Smith. A ll ri' e hls r,. s,.,..,, ,.d, Entrrrd al Nt>w Yo rk Post-Ojfiu as Suond-Class Matlf'r.

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TRUE DETECTIVE STORIES STRAnGER TH_Aft f I CTI On lsn1td Wukl,. By SN!.rcrijltion $a.JO /Jt1" yea,.. Entered a.r StcoHd-Clau Mattw at tlit N. Y. Port OJJkt, ljl STRBBT & SMITH, ZJ8 William St., N. Y. EHltrtd .Accordi"E to Act t>f C
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SHIELD WEEKLY. Nearly all of the-men were in full evening dress. The gorgeous silks and satins of the ladies augmented with glistening rainbow hues the Clazzlin_ g brilliancy of the animated picture. From a hundred snowy bosoms priceless jewels blazed, as if with living fire, and diamonds vied on all sides with eyes lent radiance by wine and excitement. A rare op_portunity for one of the light fingered gentry," dryly observed Peasley's c ompanion as they made their way toward the cafe "True," nodded Peasley; "that is probably why so many officers are about here." I haven't noticed many." "They are in citizen's dress," laughed Peas ley "They are like the commercial traveler's ove rcoat in his expense account; you don't see it, but it's there. Try lifting something that don't belong to you, my dear b oy; and b e fore you see him, you'll feel the hand of one of them on your shoulder, and most likely a nice pair of bracelets on your wrists. Come and have a Manhattan." It was the hour, too, when the theatres \\ere closing ; when carriages and cabs were rattling madly over the cold pavements; when cafe, lunch-room and salami were putting in their final strokes of the day. And, too, it was the time when cosy private dining-rooms in the best hotels were at a pre mmm. Ten minutes after the curtain had fallen on the grand opera at the Boston, a hack whirled up to the side door of the hotel, and a party entered. Sheridan Keene drew some what aside to allow them to pass, but they halt e d quite near him and waited for the elevator. The party consisted of two men and two women. One of the men was in middle life. H e was short and stout, with an oily, unctu o us countenance, and eyes as placidly bright as his expansive polished shirt-front. He as booked on the register as Dr. Cyrus Yardley, London, England . The other was a younger man. He was tall and narrow, with shoulders slightly b owed. His face was sallow; his nose was hooked; his eyes were grayish-yellow and v ery uninviting. He, too, was English,.and n the presence of a third party Dr. Yardley invariably addressed him as Lord Moreland. One of their companions was an elderly woman, quite richly dressed, and whose pale cheeks and hollow eyes indicated declining health. The other was her daughter, still in the twenties. She wore a Van Dyke hat with drooping plumes, and a handsome opera cloak hung loose over her lovely white shoulders, half hiding her fine figure. Her face was quite handsome, with regular fea tures, a pretty mouth, and brilliant dark eyes. The expression of the latter struck Sheri dan Keene, during his brief glance ilt her, as presenting a curious mingling of resolution, restlessness and apprehension. They were flashed about while the party stood waiting, until they fell upon one of the hotel waiters, a colored man in evening dress, who stood like a statue against the wall nearby, there either by accident or design. Between the handsome girl in the opera cloak, and the ect, motionless figure of this colored servant, Sheridan Keene saw one swift, intelligent glance, as of mutual under standing, pa.ii like a quick flash. It appealed to him with rather curious significance, yet he did not consider it a matter for his inves tigation, and courtesy demanded that he should not stare longer at the girl; for the de tective was in full evening dress, and, as looks indicated, he might have been one of the distinguished guests of the occasion. He turned and moved a few yards away. At the same moment the girl took advantage of the delay at the elevator. She nodded presently a lady across the corridor, then stepped over Ito reply to her question: "Have you been to the opera, Miss Rus sell?" "Yes," smiled the girl; "we have just returned. \Vhat a crowd!" "Decidedly," laughed the lady, moving on. "But it now is beginning to thin out a little." Miss Russell moved a few steps farther from her companions, and stood with her back toward them, apparently gazing at some thingdown the corridor. Scarce any per son there would have noticed that she had drawn nearer the motionless figure of the col-

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I I SHIELD WEEKLY. 3 ored waiter, who had not stirred from his pos1t1on. Yet to him she said, softly: "Is the room ready? Careful !" The man answered her wjthout a movement of his head, and scarce a movement of his lips, even. "Yes, miss "Has anyone come ?" "Not yet." "If he comes first, do not follow him in there. I shall lock the door after I've entered. Then see that am not interrupted." "Leave it .to me, miss. I'll stand outside." This episode had required but a moment. The elevator was approaching from above. Miss Russell rejoined her companions. "Are you going to the smoking-room be fore retiring, Dr. Yardley?'' she now asked, with a quick glance at the round face of the London physician. "I think so, my dear Stella," replied Dr. Yardley, with one of his oily smiles. "Lord Moreland cannot sleep without his smoke, you know. We shall come up presently, my dear, and I then will visit your mother. You do not fee I quite exhausted, Mrs. Russell?" The elderly woman shook her head, and forced a smile to her pale features. ''Not quite, doctor," she said, rather wearily; "but I think I'll retire "Oh, by all means t I will come in and give you a powder before you sleep, however, which will have a tendency to-" ''Goi"ng up!" The voice of the elevator boy cut short the physician's remark, and Stella Russell sud denly stepped nearer. "Please see my mother to her room, More land," she said, quickly. :'I will come up presently. I wish to speak to Mrs. Paget, who has just gone into the drawing-room." Before she had finished this brief explana tion, even, the girl's voice had become un steady, and the color was fading from her cheeks. A gentleman had entered by the side door, passing the group. He hurried through the corridor, and turned clown another. which adjoined several private dining-rooms overlooking the street. He had passed the group without a glance, nor had the girl appeared to observe him. He was a tall man, with a pointed, dark beard, and be wore an Inverness coat. "It is already late, Stella," Mrs. Russell ob jected, with some au sterity. "Do not remain too long." "Only a little while," replied the girl. "You are keeping the car waiting!" Only by an effort had she escaped them, and by taking advantage of the circumstances iry a way .that indicated previous designing. As the car ascended, containing her mother and Moreland, she turned again to Dr. Yard ley. "If you go up before I do, doctor, stay with her till I come, will you?" she asked, with her dark eyes squarely meeting those of the physician. Dr. Yardley's countenance did not change ; but in the searching scrutiny he bestowed upon her, there was a mingling of craftiness and suspicion which brought a flush to the girl's cheeks. "Certainly, my clear Ste!Ia," he bowed. "Where did you say you were going?" "Merely to the drawing-room, doctor. You'll find me there if you want me. I wish tu speak to Mrs. Paget." "I shall be in the smoking-room for a half hour. After that I will join you." The girl nodded and smiled. The physician turned in the direction of the office, and approached the cigar case; but his crafty eyes had a backward turn until Stella Russell had entered the drawing-room. The moment the latter was alone she moved more quickly and decisively. Casting a back ward glance, to sure that she was not followed, she quickly located the lady to which she had previously spoken. Approaching her from one side she slipped a hand around her arm and significantly pressed it, saying softly : "If any person '9m!d ask for me, Mrs. Paget. kindly say I've just left y o u. and that you didn't notice which way I went. I wish briefly to meet a friend on the sly." Mrs. Paget laughed and seemed to understand. "Leave inquisitive parties to me dear," she replied, with a nod. Stella Russell thanked her with an expres sive look, then hastened through the adjoin

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4 SHIELD WEEKLY. ing parlor and to the corridor door. A glance revealed Dr. Yardley still hanging over the cigar case, with his back toward her. Without a moment's hesitation she now entered the corridor, turning quickly into that adjoining it, and hastened after the man in the Inver ness coat. Less than five minutes had passed since these several persons had entered the house. Something like a quarter-hour later, Sheri dan Keene sauntered dow n to the smoking room and bar. The crowd had thinned out, and several tables were vacant. One of these was near that at which two men were seated, whom the detective recognized as the com panions of the girl in an opera cloak. With out knowing why, he did not fancy their faces; yet when he sat down near by, lighting a ci"gar and taking up an evening paper he n o ticed that they did not pay him the slightest attention, as they might have done if really worthy of suspicion. Five minutes passed. The detective stili puffed at his cigar, and appeared absorbed in the matter he was read ing. The men at the next table still gossiped o ver their drinks. And then, for the first time Dr. Yardley let
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SHIELD WEEKLY. 5 the rumble of carriages in the street outside was almost incessant Keene paused at the threshold of the draw ing-room and glanced over the people within. Neither of the men he the girl in the opera cloak, were among them. The ab sence of all three was like a spur in the s i de of his suspicion; he quickened his steps, flashing a quick glance into the adjoining parlor, and then struck to the corridor which branched off along one side of the great hotel. the door of a private dining-room some thirty feet away a colored servant was standing, with his gaze intently turned toward a side door making to the street, as if with djstrust o f some person or persons who had jttst passed out. F:rom one of the nearer rooms a party of five, three of them ladies, was approaching, putting on their wraps. Something in the attitude of the negro led Sheridan Keene to start the corri dor. At the same moment the door near which the servant was standing suddenly opened, and a man stepped forth, wearing an Inverness coat. At the same nioment Keene heard the voice of Dr. Yardley, from some quarter which he q:)Uld not then determine, shouting wildly: "Stop that man! Stop him! He has committed murder. Stop that man!" The voice came from outside the window of the dining-room from which the man in the Inverness coat had emerged. The latter halted for one instant and closed the door of the room, which immediately drowned the sound of Yardley's reiterated cries. Then his eyes. swept the corridor in both direc tions. The waiter stood between him and the st eet door. In the opposite direction were a half-dozen people, among them Sheri dan Keene. The delay on the part of this man was but the fraction of a second. Then he started like one bent on escape, and darted toward a nea:r stairway making to a rear basement. Keene whipped out his revolver, and started after him like a hound let l oose from leash. "Halt, or I'll fire!" he thundered, as he ran. "Fire, if you wish !" Bang! The bullet splintered the woodwork of the door through which the man in the Inverness coat was vanishing The screams of affrighted"women rose on every side. The colored waiter rushed to the door of the private dining-room and opened it. As he passed it, in pursuit of the fleeing rnan, Keene glanced into the room. Stretched dead upon the floor was the form of tl'le girl he had seen a half-hour previous; but now her snowy bosom and rich attire we re wet with crimson blood -CHAPTER II. A MAN OF NERVE. Sheridan Keene now knew that he had struck a dark and mysterious case. He was sure of some deep-laid, vicious scheme of some kind, and probably more than one. The remarks of the two men in the smoking-room had been significant of one at least. Yet there was certainly something more. This appeared in the fact that Yardley been the man to discover the appalling crime just committed. That the discovery was a surprise, and had occasioned him great horror and dismay, had sounded in his voice. As he passed the door of the private din ing-room, Keene's quick eyes caught sight of the o ily-faced doctor climbin g in through the window from the street. It was very evi dent that hi s attempt to prevent the escape of the murderer was genuine, and it indicated that no criminal collusion existed between him and the man in the Inverness coat. Yet Keene had read the doctor like a book and was satisfied that he was a villain. To the eyes of a det ec tive lik e Keene, the soul of a knave appeared in every ex pression of this smooth physician's un ctuous and crafty face. Here, then, was a mystery on top of a mys tery, and it Q.ecame vitally necessary to secure this last criminal red-handed. These were the pertinent decluctiops that flashed through the mind of Sheridan Keene the instant he saw the body of the g irl on the cl!ning-room floor, and Yardley climbing in thro1:1gh the window.

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6 SHIELD WEEKLY. With qreakneck recklessness, born of a de termination to overtake and arrest him, he flew down the stairs taken by the man in the Inverness coat. ,; They led to a long entry in the This was as dark as a man's pocket, but through two side doors could be dimly dis cerned a large laundry, with windows opening to a rear yard. For a moment the detective paused and listened. He had lost his man in the intense darkness and suspected that he was hiding. Presently he heard a key being cautiously turned in a door at the farther end of the long corridor. That settled it. Keene in stantly plunged on through the darkness, gi,1iding himself by the near wall, and shouted the stern command : -"Halt, or I'll shoot you !" "If you do you'll shoot an innocent man!" Obey me, then !" "I'd sooner shoot myself!" "If innocent": why need to fly?" "Honor demands it!" Though he was sure enou g h that the v o i c e was feigned, it had such a ring of true man hood that the detective held his fire. All this occurred in the fraction of a min ute, while the men still were twenty or thir t y feet apart, and enveloped in Egyptian dark ness. Then the door at which the fugitive had been working was suddenly opened. He had/ succeeded in unlocking it and withdrawing the key. Thrown irito outline against the starlight in the back yard, Keene again beheld the man, and, for a could see his own way. He darted forward to prevent the closing of the door, and missed it only by a hair. Then it was forcibly closed, nearly taking in th e tips of his fingers, and the key was turned from the outside. Despite the awful crime he feared had been com mitted, Keene could not but admire the nerve of this man who, under the very muz zle of a revolver could deliberately stand to insert the key and secure the door. With that way of cut off Keene darted back to the laundry. There the dark-ness was less intense, and he sprang to the nearest window. The fugitive was scaling the high wooden fence at the opposite side of the yard, and in a twinkling had disappeared o ver the top. Keene threw open the window, leaped out into the yard, and followed him, climbing over the high fence with the agility of a cat. 'You evidently mean to lead m e a warm chase my man, but I'll gamble I'll run you d o wn he s aid to hims e lf, not a particle dis pl e ased because his game was worth the hunt. The fence h e hact s caled bordered a double line of railway tracks with a high embank ment on either side Surmounting that op posite were several l ong blocks of fine brick dwellings with rear ya.rds ; also a c orre sponding high wooden fence, with an alley be tween. Sheridan Kee1141a darted down to the level trac ks and began a desperate sprint after his v1ct1m. The man in the Inverness coat was fif ty yards away, running at the top of his speed. Suddenly he diverged to the left; clamber in g up the high embankmeqt with both hands and f e et. On reaching the top he scaled w oo den fence, with the skill and celerity of an athlete. It brought him into a long alley back of the brick dwellings. There he spied an open gate of one of the back yards. A light was burning in the kitchen. l The fugitive secured the gate with the same deliberate nerve that he had locked the hotel door, when preventing Keene's imme diate egress. Now he smoothed his pointed beard, adjusted his Inverness and unceremoniously opened the back door of the house and strode into the entry. A buxom Irish servant girl who was seated on the knee of a burly, blue-coated policeman in the kitchen, started up with a scream The amazed officer, not a little confused at being unexpectedly caught off his beat, leaped up and drew his club. The man in the Inverness coat seemed eminently superior to an)' situation. /

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 7 "That's. all right, Casey!" he cried, quick ly, with a deep and authoritative voice. "Put up that club! "Be gob who are you?" gasped the aston ished officer. "I am Sheridan Keene, the detective!" cried the man in the Inverness, speaking with great rapidity and sternness. "There's been a murder committed in the hotel yon der, and I've tracked the assassin into these back yards. Have you heard anybody moving around out there?" "Divil a soul, so help me! "If yo u do, Casey, arrest him at on;e and hold him till I return Can I get thr"ough this house to the front -street?" Yis yis, sor !" cried the girl, catching up his question, and glad to be rid of him so easily. "That's good!" "Sure, it's meself that'll show you the way.'' "Don't you b o ther, my man You look after the man out back there, the two of you, and hold him fast if you find him! His last ste rn command sounded from the stairs he was already mounting. The entire episode had occupied but a quarter-min ute. The man in the Inverl1ess strode up the stairs and through th e main hall, which was in darkness, and let himself out by the frorit door, closing it / The midnight street was silen t and deserted. The nervy fugitive slipped off his coat, folded it under his arm, set his crush hat at a little sharper angle on his head, brushed the dust from the knees of his trousers, then \rhisked off a false beard, thrust it into his pocket, and coolly descended the steps and walked away. Thus the man in the Inverness coat van ished forever. At precisely the same moment Sheridan Keene came over the back alley fence. He easily had noted where his man left the railway tracks. On the right embank ment, directly opposite, there was a lofty red signal lantern. Keene barely had gained the alley when the gate of one of the near yards was quickly opened and a burly p o liceman rushed upon him with drawn club, and crowded him down. against the fence ;'Surrinder, ye spalpeen !" he roared, with genuine Celtic "Be gob! ye' r e took now and took for kapes Put down thim hands or I'll be after--" "L-et me up! What th e devil--" "Put thim down, I say, o r I'll crack ye on the nob wid me blackthorn Sure, it's no whisp av a Sheridan Keene that has ye no w in his grasp. Away wid ye, Biddy, and c all back the de tic ti ve. Be off, now, and tell him I've nailed his man for him. I'll wait a bit in the kitchen while ye bring him." Though hot with rage, Keene now grasped the whole situation, and saw the speediest way out of his brief dilemma. "I surrender, Casey," he cried, quickly. "Let me up!" l ,..,. "Divil a up,' growled Casey, whose t\Vo hundred pounds were still crushing Keene to the fence. "bivil a up till I've clapped these darbies on ye. It's a grased pig ye are if ye gave Keene the slip; but yer'lr not fool Mike Casey so aizy.'' "It's not necessary to fool a fool," said Keene, sternly. "Phat's that you say?" "Put up those bracelet s. Officer Casey a n d listen to me! I an inspector of police, Sheridan Keene himself, and in pu r suit oi the man who evidently gave you my name. He has made an ass of both of us!" Casey involuntarily felt of his ears. "There's my badge," cried Keene, angrily. "Feel of it, if you cannot see. Take m.:: into the house at once, or you'll find yourself without a commission! What a r e you doing out back here, any\\" ay ?" The voice of the detective now had an au thority which the patrolm an was not slow to recognize and Casey began to vaguely suspect his own blunder. Yet, without losing his grasp on the detective's arm, he led him through the yard and into the kitch en. "Now. Casey, what do you say?" stern l y demanded Keene, when the light fell on his face. The burly Irishman instantly dropped his arm, and fell back in great consternation. "Pha t the divil can I say, spr ? -he :e

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8 SHIE D WEEKLY. joined "Sure,. I couldn't tell 'twas you in the dark, not being a cat As for the other black guard, faith, you're as like to turn up looking loik e him as loike yerself. So, how did I kno w 'twas n t you that was him? And in the agerness to do me juty--" "That w ill do, Casey, Keene interposed, with les s aust".!rity. "We have both been egreg i o usl y fooled, and by some infernal sharp f e llo w." "Bedad, sor, little d{>ubt of that!" "By thus delaying me he has given me the slip for a tim e," said K ee ne ; "but I'll yet run him to earth Did h e enter this house?" "Sure h e did, sor." "What did he say ?" "He walked right in big as life, he did. 'I'm Sherida n Kee n e,' sez he 'and I am after a man ,' sez he, 'who has kilt some poor divil ,ir. the h ote l over yoncler.' , "He said his name as S heridan Keene, did he?'' "Thim were h i s O\n1 blessed words." "Then he must know me by sight, and that I was th e man in pursuit of him. "Be gob, sor, he knew my name, too! For h e called me Officer Casey, and told me to pu t up me club." '"Then he cari be 110 very great stranger about here, since he cculd speak both of our nam es. Which way did he go?;' "Str aight up through the h o u se, s o r. "Diel h e appear to know the way?" "Sure, he'd not aven l et Bi ddy s h ow him." "Ah, is that so!" exclaimed Keene. "vVhere are the stairs?' "Th<"y're out this way, sir," cri ed the s e r vant, who was now returning. Sure, Mr. Casey, I can't see anything of the o th e r man ." "Never mind, Biddy. \Van's eno ugh. "Di d the stranger appear to have any diffi culty in l ocating these stairs?" Kee ne now demanded, pausing at a turn in the narrow entry from which they ascended. "Not a bit, sir,'' declared the girl. "I saw him turn right up as if he knew all about them." "Show me the way to the front door,'' said Keene, s h arply. "Follow me Cas ey." Not to be long duped seriously, the shrewd detective was already picking up new threads and tur,ning his mishap to a n advantage. The nerve and cunning displayed by the party in an Inverness coat convinced him that he was in pursuit of a man of more than ordinary intelligence and sagacity. The. detective knew that he would not have remained in the house, ,and the fact that he had come from the basement with such ease and celerity indicated that he might be fa miliar with the construction of the several houses in that locality. "Come down here, Casey!" commanded '.Keene, already on the sidewalk. "And you, girl, secure the doors that we left open out bacl s ." Keene then waited till the girl had closed the door, when he turned to Casey and said, sharply: "Now, Officer Casey, listen to me "Yis, sor !" "If I forget that I have found you off your beat to-night, make sure that you forget it also!" "Bedad, sor, I will have no trouble doing that, thank you, sor," grinned the officer, eagerly saluting. See that you do, then." I will, sor." "It will require that i:othing sJiall be said of this house, nor of the man who passed through it. See that the mouth of th.at girl is properly closed." "Faith, sor, I will. the first time, either!' his lips. nd, sure, it'll not be cried Casey, sm
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SHIELD WEEKLY. 9 Although it now was nearly midnight, the hall of the house was brilliantly lighted. "Evidently he is up," said Keene to him self. "I'll take him along with me. There's the ghost of a chance that the girl is not dead." He sp-rang up the steps, then stopped as if struck a blow between the eyes. "By gracious!" he muttered; "here's a curious circumstance." By looking straight through the hall of the doctor s house, and the rear window of the dining-room into which the hall led, 'Keene found himself staring squarely at the red sig nal light on the railway embankment, at the very point where the man in the Inverness coat had left the tracks. It glared at him like a single blood red eye through the gloom of the doctor's dining room. The sudden appearance of the light, with what had already happerted, set Keene to thinking with amazing rapidity. "It. don't seem possible," he finally muttered. "Dr. Kendall stands ace high in his profession, and has money to burn. But I can ring him up, at all events, and need not betray my misgivings. If they are well founded, his nerve surely will weaken when he claps his eyes on me." Having thus concluded, Sheridan Keene pressed the electric bell. The summons were quickly answered, -and by the doctor himself. He came into the hall from the library, just back o f the front par lor. He was tall and straight, about thirty five years old, with mobile, clean -cut feat ures, smoothly shaven. He was neatly at tired in a quiet plaid suit with a plush smoking-jacket in lieu of a coat. Keene noted all this as he approached the doQr, then drew aside till the physician opened it Then he steppe d suddenly forvtard, saying: "I want you, Dr. Kendall." Surely that would floor him, if worthy of any suspicion, Keene had decided. But Dr. Kendall's composed white counte nance did not change by so much as a shadow. "That so?" he said, quietly. "Are you .sick?" "Feel my pulse," said Keene, thrusting ou t his hand. / He was a bit nonplussed, but still artful, and his aim was to touch the doctor's hand. "Feel your pulse, eh?" smiled Kendall, drawing back a little. "Step in, please. The night a:ir is cold Now I will do so." He took Keene's wrist, and the shrewd de tective instantly discovered not only that the doctor's fingers were slightly moist but also that the edge of his wristband was slightly damp, and that his cuffs had been removed. "He has been washing his hands," Keene instantly decided "Your pulse appears to be normal," Dr. Kendall now observed, looking him straight in the face. "A little rapid, perhaps; but that's n;thing. Why do you ask ibout it? Don' t you feel well?" "I've had awful shock, and I feared my heart might be off, by t e way it has been jumping," Keene now explained, laughing. "What kind of a shock?" "There's been a murder committed in the hotel back here." "Is that so?" "Yes; I am sent to bring you around there. Can you c ome at once ?" "I can come if necessary, of course!" ex ciaimed Dr. Kendall, now regarding him very sharply. "Why didn't you say so in the first place? Is the vietim dead?" "I am not sure." "Not sure?" "No; I came away in a hurry." "I will go round there with you, though if the person is dead I can be of no service. Step into the librar y while I slip on my coat and shoes." Keene followed him as far as the threshold of the room mentioned. It was an elaborate ly furnished room, and in a large easy chair at one side of the centre table an attractive woman; in an old-rose tea-gown, sat sound asleep. The aroma of a cigar 'ms in the air, and the cigar its e lf with bl ish curls of smoke still rising from it, lay on a brass tray on the table. Near by an open book was turned, pages down, to keep the reader's place. Vlere these the devices of a gu ilt y man tr.1

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10 SHIELD WEEKLY. avert susp1c1on, or had Dr. Kendall really been sitting with his wife, reading his book and enjoying his cigar? Sheridan Keene was suspicious. He was puzzled also. The doctor shook the woman by the shoulder. "Wake up, Louise," he cried. "Wake up! you ve slept long enough. It's time you re tired." Keene \\ atched the woman as a cat watches a mouse. "She's not feigning," he said to himself. The doctor found it difficult to arouse her. "\Vhat time is it?" she asked, drowsily. midnight. I've been called out to an accident. Come, come, stir yourself! C ome your chamber with me, while I put on my shoes." "Very-well." Tl! detain you but a moment longer," the physician added to Keene, as he helped his wife fr o m the room. "My shoes are up in my chamber. 'By graci o us! I believe that woman has teen drugged, thought Keene, as they passed him in the hall. "She looks and acts it. She d o esnt e ven see me." He "' atched the doctor urge her up the tairs, then he cast a swift glance about the hall A tall mahogany closet stood against the wall under the stairs. 'Tl! ha Ye a look at its contents!" He stole across the broad entry, making -sure that he was not watched from over head, and softly opened the double doors of the closet. Several coats and lady's garments hung within. He felt of them in succession. One, only, differed from all the rest. This was an Inverness top-coat. It was a dozen degrees colder than any of the others! "It has just been worn in from out of doors,'' muttered Keene, with an irrepressible thrill of joyous triumph. "The chill of the night air has not even had time to leave it. There's no question about it-I've nailed my man!" These were the excited thoughts that now flashed through the brain of this clever de tective. But Sheridan Keene was not ready to make an arrest. Not he! "There are too many side issues," he rea soned, as he softly closed the closet doors. "Besides, my nervy doctor will not now re sort to flight, for he doesn't think I suspect him "'1'\ o, no! no arrest at present! I'll give him a loose line till I get on to his whole game. "No doubt 1I1Y two bad eggs at the hotel are in it also. It I keep on, -I'll bave a whole Lasketful. "There's four of us in it, at. least, since I'm now in it, too!" With which dry conclusion to his mental review of the complicated situaticm Keene took the chance of discovery and slipped noiselessly through the doctor's dining-room to have a look out from the back windows. I The view discernible by the dim starlight further assured him t'1at he was right. There was the row of back yards, the line of rail way, the red signal lantern on the opposHe embankment, while a hundred yards away rose the lofty rear elevation of the great hotel. "It's plain enough now," said Keene to himself. "The man kri.ew which way he was going. 'Twas a shrewd move, slipping through his neighbor's house and dodging into his own. No wonder he easily found the basement stairs, and his way to the front door." The light from the kitchen \ V indows streamed across the back yard of the third house away. Two forms out near the gate caught the detective's eye. Casey was kissing the servant girl good night. "Is that the way he closes her mouth?" thought Keene. "Well, well, I guess I may trust him to silence her, also, since his com mission hangs on his obedience." A heavy tread sounded on the floor above, and Keene now quickly slipped back to his place in the hall. Dr. Kendall was just descendi n g the stairs. "Ali ready?" asked Keene, cheerfully.

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; SHIELD WEEKLY. 11 "As soon as I get my case," replied Ken dall with a nod, hastening into the library. "You'll soon have another kind of a case on your hands," said Keene to himself, fol lowing him into the room "By the way, doctor," he then abruptly demanded, "who lives in the third house above here ?" The doctor looked up without a change of countenance, and squarely met the detective s indifferent gaze. / "I don t know the name of the people .' answered, readily, without a tremor in his voice. "They 've recentl y moved in there.' "I just came th rough their house, in or der to reach the door of y o urs .. said K ee ne, with a laugh "How did that happ en?" "vVell the fact is, d o ctor, I am a detective, and happened to be in the hotel yonder when the crime was committed, and the assassin started to make his escape." "Well, well, that was fortunate!" "Yes, so 'twas! But I failed to get my man. He slipped out of the back door of the hotel, and led me a sharp chase down the tracks back here. Then he entered the yard of the third house above, and dodged thro:,1gh to the front street. He gave me the slip in that way." ':Well, that wasn't so fortunate," observed Dr. Kendall, with a curious smile. "Well, I should say not." "I don't happen to know who lives in the third house above. Didn't you have your gun with you? Why didn't you drop the man?" "I did try it once and missed him. After that, he was too far ahead, and evaded me too quickly. If I had been sure--" "Just let mt! get my overcoat, and we'll go along at once," interposed the physician, turning quickly to the hall. "May I ask your name, by the way?" "Certainly," replied the detecti'1t!, following him. "It is Sheridan Keene I am one of the Boston inspectors." "Ah, I've heard of you." "Nothing bad, I hope?" <(Quite the contrary, I assure you. -You have a rather enviable reputation as a de tective," smiled the doctor, slipping into a heavy frieze ov ercoat and putting on his hat. "Well, well he added leading the way toward the front door I really hope you'll succeed in running down the fellow, if a murder has indeed been c o mi;nitted. Now vve' r e off, sir." Keene slip p e d his hand through the physi cian s arm, as th e y st a rted down the street and found that the re was not so much as a tremo r in his ere ct and muscular figure. Tho u g h accu s tom e d to meeting men of c o ura ge, th e ne rv e and audacity of this man ut te rl y a mazed him Ke e ne expresse d his sentiments in the one tnse.._ thoug ht th,at quickly flashed through l i S mind: ''It's deuc e dly luck y that I already have him in my power!'' CHAPTER IV. THE !'LOT THICKENS. Sheridan Keene had several motives in not arresting Dr. Kendall at once. He wanted more conclusive evidence against him. What already had happened, told him that he was up against a remark ably clever man, who had thus far laid his plans with extraordinary acumen. Keene would take no chance of being fooled at the finish as he had been at the start. He had decided, moreover, that the two men at the hotel were suspicious chalrac ters, and that the game he had heard them mention might have involved even the life of the girl he had seen in their company, and afterward beheld dead on the floor of the private dining-room. Sheridan Keene wanted to make dead sure of the whole business, and the whole gang. This was the reason why he frankly had disclosed himself to Dr. Kendall, as stated. He did so in order that Kendall might feel that he was not suspected, and the ruse had worked like a charm. Just fifteen minutes from the time Keene bad started down the back stairs in pursuit of the man in the Inverness coat he and Dr. Roy Kendall again entered the hotel in com pany, like genuine good friends.

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.1.2 SHIELD WEEKLY lt. was an extraordinary situation to have developed so quickly. A gre at crowd was in the hotel office and parlors, but several policemen had cleared the corridors near the room in which the trag edy had occurred. Make way there, you people!" one of them cried, who now saw Keene approach ino-. "Let those gentlemen pass." "It's Sheridan Keene!" exclaimed an ob serv er. "Jt's the d e tective!" And then all necks were craned to get a glim pse of the noted officer, whose duties became so grave and important at such a time. K een,e qui ckly led the wa y toward the pri } rate dining-r o om. \ n officer was now on guard at the door. 'How long have you been here, Norton?" K ee ne sharply demanded, as he approached. ''I came a few minutes after the crime was d i sco v e red," replied the policeman. "What have you done?" Only telephoned to headquarters, sir." "Has the chief been up?" ''He said you were here, sir, and would take charge of the case. I've been waiting for y o u to show up." "Very good !" exclaimed Keene. "Is the woman dead ?" "Yes, sir." "Any investigation been made?" "None by an officer, sir," replied the po liceman. "But there's an English doctor in side, who has examined the body. He says she is dead." "Go send Ferguson for the medical exam iner, and then come back here," Keene said, sharply. "Come in, Dr. Kendall." And the two men entered the fatal room. It was a small but elaborate private din ing-room. A single window, directly opposite the door, opened upon the street, and was abo u t six feet above the sidewalk. In the middle of the room was a square table, laid for dinner. The remnants of the viands still were upon it, with a partly empty glass of wine. A dainty candelab r a adorned tl:e t able. O n a chair at one side was the woman's o pe r a cl oak and h a t and on t he floor s t ood a pail of ice, from which protruded a bottle of champagne. The body of the victim lay upon the near the table. Her neck and breast were stained with blood from a wound under her right ear. It was plain at a glance that the v. oman was dead. The only other occupants of the room were the colored waiter, Dr. Yardley, and the man called Moreland. Tl last two were seated ; the waiter was standing near the window. Keene took in all these features at a glance. They were the very persons he wanted un-der his eye at that moment. Yet he did not show the slightest sign of suspecting any one of them. Dr. Kendall bent above the body, then ut tued a sudden cry: "Good God this girl is Miss Russell he exclaimed. "Then you know her?" demanded Keene. "She and her mother are old friends of mine. Merciful heavens, this is dreadful!" "Is she dead?" "Yes, yes," cried Dr. Kendall, with a per fectly natural display of emotion and dis may. "One of the arteries of her neck has been severed with some sharp instrument.-' What an appalling crime! Poor girl, poor girl! The body is still warm." He knelt above her while speaking, and turned his back to the detective in a way that concealed his manipulation of the woman's body. Then he hurriedly examined the wound, nervously fingering her throat, and starting slightly when he did so; and, finally, he went so far as to thrust one of his fingers deep in her mouth. Evidently he discovered some thing extraoi;-dinary, for he suddenly turned as pa le, for a moment, as the snowy table cloth near which he was kneeling. Though Keene did not see this, it -caught the cra ft y eyes of Dr. Yardley, who sat across t h e room and had been watching him The smooth, oily face of the English physi cian, despite his usual self-command. under wen t a change that betrayed his intense., amazement. He checked this instant ly, how eve r an d pretended that he did not o b s e rve it.

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SHIELD WEEKLY. _,_,, But Keene's watchful eyes had not failed to notice both changes. 4'What do you find, Dr. Kendall ?" he asked quietly. "That I c:m be of oo service here, Detec tive Keene This woman is dead, sir, and only the district medical examiner can au thorize her removal." "I have sent for him." "Then I will return home," said Kendall, d rying his hands. "I really am deeply shocked, sir. This young woman was once a very dear friend of mine though I have r.ot seen her for several years until now. Better far had I never seen her thus !" Again Keene caught a curious change in the expression of Yardley's face But he knew how to bide his time. "Is she a Boston woman?" he asked of Dr. Kendall. "She and her once lived her. e, but have, for some years, been in Europe." "Wealthy?" "I believe so." "Any relatives here?" "'l think they are alone in the world." "Do you know when they returned from Europe?" "I saw by the Saturday paper that they had just arrived. That is all I know about them." "Then they have not called on you since their arrival?" Kendall haughtily drew up his fine figure and frowned. "I said I had not seen the woman for years till now, he replied, with some feeling. "Ah, I'd forgotten that," Keene observed, dryly. "Perhaps I can give you all the informa tion you require, Detective Keene,'' Yardley now remarked, coming forward. Keene eyed him sharply. who are you, sir?" "My r:ard, sir. Do me the honor." And Yardley bowed and grinned with ma J;cious complacency, and produced a bit of pasteboard. "Dr. Cyrus Yardley, eh?" "At your service, Detective Keene!" "And what do you know about this girl?" "I have been this poor girl's companion, and her mother's medical attendant, for sev eral months, sir. With my friend, Lord Moreland, yonder, who is of the English no bility, we have been traveling in Europe. We arrived here on the C ephalonia last Satur day. This crime is utterly inexplicable! "Why do you think so ? demanded Keene, observing the strange and steady stare Ken dall wa s bestowing on the English physician, and suspecting at once that some 3ecret com munication might be going on between them "Why, why, sir," protested Yardley, with servile politeness. "I know of no person who can have desired this girl's death. Nor do es .... her mother, who now is utterl y prostrated, and bereft ef re;ison, even "What brought her to. this country again ?" "A matter of property." "What do you know about this c rime, Dr. Yardley?" "Only what my eyes have told me "Well, what have your eyes told you?" "I had occasion to seek Miss Russell whom I supposed was in the hotel draw ing room. Not finding her, I came through thi s corridor to ask yonder waiter if he had se e n her." "Where was he .at that time?" "In the corridor." "Go on : "He said he did not know where she was. While questioning him, I heard the sound of blows and a struggle in this room, and attempted to enter. The waiter stopped me and ordered me to keep out." "The door was locked, sah,'' cried the negro. "It is true the door was locked Detec tive Keene, admitted Yardley. "I then out to the sidewalk and looked in the win dow." "What did you see?" "This girl bleeding and dying on the floor and a man making ready to effect his es cape." "What was he doing?" "Listening at the door. Then he caught sight of me, and at once opened it and ran. I immediately threw open the window and gave the alarm." Keene looked him sharply in the eye.

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, 14 SHIELD WEEKLY. "Could you identify the murderer, if you saw him?" he demanded. "Oh, easily!" exclaimed Yardley. "I'd know him by his beard." "Beards can be removed, sir," rejoined Keene. ''Did you find the girl dead when you came in through the window?" "Yes, sir; she had breathed her last." Keene swung around to the waiter. "What's your name, my man?" he demanded, eainestly. "Samuel Johnson, sah." "Why did you tell Dr. Yardley not to enter this room?" 'Cause, sah, Misi; Russell done tole me to see she wasn't distarbed, sah." "Did you know Miss Russell was in there?" "Yes, sah." "Did you tell Dr. Yardley that you not know where she was?" "Yes, sah." "Why did you lie about it?" "I done tole him that, sah, 'cause Miss Russell done tipped me to see that no pusson diskivered she was in here, sah. Dat's why I done it, sah." Did she plan that with yo u before coming here?" "Yes, sah; she done do dat berry t'ing, sah. She done get me to have dinner already and on de table, sah, so she could slip in here after de op'ra, sah, to meet a gen'lum friend, sah." "That was all prearranged was it?" "Yes, sah ." "And you were to aid her in .this decep. tion ?" "Yes, sah; dat's the berry way ob it." "Did you see the man arrive?" "I done see him slip into de room, sah. Miss Russell, she came next, sah, and locked de door." "Then she appeared anxious to meet this man, who terminated the interview by cutting her throat?" "She done seem so, sah." Keene knew the waiter was telling the truth. He had seen enough to convince him of that. He knew also that neither Yardley nor Moreland could have had any active part in the crime. "It's a mysterious case!" he observed, bluntly. "Extraordinary!" murmured Dr. Yardley. "Unaccountable!" said Kendall, who had waited to see how this inquiry turned. Keene looked them all over once more. He realized that there was a great mys tery here. He also knew that it could not be solved then and there. Much work must be done, and the clever est kind of detective work, to get the truth from such men as these. Dr. Yardley," he said, sharply. "Take me up to Mrs. Russell's chamber." For a moment Yardley turned pale. Sheridan Keene instantly detected the change. "Why do you hesitate?" he demanded. "Mrs. Russell is very ill, sir," protested the physician. "Likely to die?" "Very!" "All the more reason, then, why I should see her at once If you are her physi'=!an, take me to her room." "I am ready ." "Lead the way." "One moment!" cried Dr. Kendall. "Am r wanted here any longer?" Keene quickly shook his head, saying: "No, doctor; you were very kind to come at all. The medical examiner will presently be here, and I shall give the affair to him." "Good-night, then "Good-night, doctor." And Keene shook his hand, wondering how long before he should slip a manacle around that firm and muscular wrist. "Now, Dr. Yardley!" The smooth, crafty-eyed physician pre ceded the detective from the room. Sheridan Keene said only this to the officer at the door: "Norton, order those other two men out of the room, and wait here for the Tell him I've completed my. in vestigation here, and to give you his instruc tions Have the body removed to the rooms of an undertaker. I shall not return l:iere to-night."

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SHIELD WEEKLY. lC ''Very \Yell, sir," and the officer touched his helmet. The detective turned again to the Englis h physician. He now wasmore than ever con vinced that this man was a crafty and un scrupulous knave, despite his smooth ex terior. "Now, Dr. Yardley," he said, sharply, "lead the way." In a few moments the two men entered a sumptuous suite on the third floor."' In the parlor two ladies, guests of the house, were seated. One Mrs. Paget. She cu1ickly arose,
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, 16 SHIELD WEEKLY. "Great Scott! How do I know what she implied," cried Yardley. "The is out of her head. If you think I know what she ineant, Detective Keene, find it out in your own way, sir." "That's just what I mean to "Get to work, then, as soon as you like," retorted Yardley. "I am not able to tell you, and I will put up with no more of your infernal insolence. You can find me right here in this house any time that you want me. Good-night, sir." And Yardley boldly strode away, with his short, fat figure shaken with passion. Sheridan Kee1;1e let him go. He was not yet ready to take the aggres si,ve. Yardley strode down-stairs to the office, <1nd then back to the room which he occu pied in company with Moreland .. The latter was getting ready for bed. His grim face was flushed and sullen. He re ceived the physician with a growl. "So it's all off, is it?" he demanded, with a sneer, when Yardley entered. "Here's a pretty mess, with the game ended on a dead card." Yardley snapped his fingers and laughed loudly. "Not ended, Moreland, my .boy!" he ex/ claimed, cheerfully. "Only a new deal!" "What do you mean by that?" "Just what I say "Isn't the game ieered by the girl's death?" "Far from it," grinned the doctor, pouring a drink from a decanter on the sideboard "Tell me what you mean?" cried More land, with a frown. Yardley swung round from the sideboard and surveye'd him with malicious delight. "I mean that the game is not ended by the death of the girl, simply because I've dis oovered the party who killed her." "The deuce you have!" "It's a fact, Morley, my boy; and he's now in our power, and the one we must bleed. You see, it's only a change of sex." "But who is fhe man?" cried Morley, now 90 called, in rising excitement. "Who do you "I've no idtta. Tell me who?" "The chap who came in with Keene,'' .:ried Yardley, with a great display of "Oh, I know," he aclclecl, observing his companion's doubtful look. "You c2n leave it all to me, Jimmy Morley. He has fooled the detective, but I'm blessed if he ever saw the clay that he was able to fool me. We have him dead to rights, Jimmy, and the game has just begun.\' CHAPTER V. KEENE OPENS HIS TWO BAD EGGS. Sheridan Keene early to Chief Watts ne ,xt morning, and for an hour or more the mysterious case was thoroughly discussed. "The features of it are extraordinary!" the chief exclairned, when Keene had carefully presented them from beginning to encl. "I never struck a darker case," declared Keene; "despite that I am perfectly sure of the identity of the criminals. It is how they are related that puzzles me; and only the fact that Dr. Kendall has so carefully pre pared to beat the law, in case of arrest, has withheld me from taking him into custody." "You think you have not yet sufficient evidence to convict him?" "I know I have not." "Is it purely circumstantial?" "Entirely so." "And you think he has prepared himself to refute it by counter-evidence "Precisely." "Then there is but one thing to be done. The man must be left at large, and you must get the whole truth without his suspecting that you are so engaged." "That is my idea." "Can you accomplish it?" "I can try." "Superficially, it appears that Stella Russell was willing to meet him." "There's no doubt about that, chief. She ordered the dinner and tipped the waiter, so that she could have this secret meeting with Kendall." "You must discover what her object was .'' "Her lips are sealed." "But Dr. Kendall can disclose it."

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SHIELD WEEK.LY. 17 "That is true. And I will have it out of him before I am done with him," said Keene, C.e.cisively. about Dr. Yardley and this man Moreland. Can you l earn anything definite about them?" :'Only what the doctor has stated. They are registered at the hotel all right, and ap pear to be what they represent." "Have you been there this morning?" "I just came from there." "How is Mrs. Russell?" "Very low, indeed. "Who is attending her?" "Dr. Jones, who has rooms in the house." "What. does he say?" "That there is on! y a bare chance 'of her recovery." "Is she conscious?" Keene shook his head. "She knows nothing," he replied; "and has been failing steadily since last night. I left word for the nurse to question her con. ctrning Yardley, if she should at any time revive." Chief Watts approvingly. "It will be unfortunate if she dies without having made some statement relative to these two men. There seems to be absolutly no evidence against them except her delirious remarks, and what you overheard in the smoking-room. I don' t think we have any hold at an upon them." "None whatever, chief. "It is absolutely certain that they had no 2ctive part in the crime." "Quite so," sai d Sheridan Keene. l''There may be some collusion between them arfd Dr. Kendall. Now I have an idea." "What is it?" "Why not cable to Scotland YC!rd, and n,ake an inquiry about these fellows?" sug gested the detective. "That is a good id ea. We will send a message at once." "We should get an ans.wer back by noon." "Surely." The message was drawn up at once and forwarded, and the answer came in the early afternoon. Keene was in the chief's office when it ar rived. It read: "Yardley bad. Sentenced once, malprac tice. Don't know Moreland. Try Morley, No. 2,II7. Not now in London Morley itanted." Keene started up in some excitement when the chief read this concise response to their ir.quiries. It told these experienced servants of the low much more than an ordinary observer could have discovered between the l i nes. "So, so!"' exclaimed Chief Watts, with manifest satisfaction. "This Yardley is evi dently a physician of ill repute in London, and has once done time for criminal mal practice." "Precisely," cried Keene, triumphantly. "I was absolutely sure I was not mistaken 111 the man's character." "Th ey don't know of any Lord Moreland," continued Chief Watts. "There's probably no such title conferred." "Evidently not." "Look up No. 2 ,117 in the gallery." Keene hastened to the great cabin e t w hich occupies one side of the chief's private office and which bears across its face the s ignifi.cant words: "BERTILLON SYSTEM OF MEASURF.:\rENTS AX]) PHOTOGRAPHS." It is the modernized "Rog u es' Gallery ." It contains to-clay the photographs and h is tories of nearly all the notorious crimin!Js o f the present generation. At the end of five minutes Sheridan Keene drew forth a card from one of the numerous drawers. "Here it is, Chief Watts," he cri ed. "And here's the very man!" The card contained an excellent photograph, front and profile, <1 one James M o r ley at that time posing in Boston as Lord Moreland, "a worthy sprig of the Englis h I10bility." Chief Watts turned his grave eyes uno n the signaletic card, covered with abridged writing, and read c ertain portions of the felon's history thereupon printed. "James Morley, born Feb. r2th 1864. in London; Smiggle's court. Profession; swin-

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18 SHIELD WEEKLY. dle r and g en e ral t hief. C o nvicti o ns, 3. Last imprisoned in Newgate, for petty larcen y Dresses well and frequents respectable locali t i es to pl y his trade. Desperate when cornered Slight cockney accent w hen in an ger." Chief Watts returned the card with a sat i sfied smile. "The r e you a re, D e tective. Keene!" he exclai med. "With m y t wo bad eggs very nicely open ed," cried Keene, laughing. I s h ould say so!. The Russells have been trav eling about w ith two very refined and e s timable characters." ' T he y probably have been most outrageousl y i m p ose d upon." l g u ess there is no doubt about that,'' sa i d Chi ef Watts. "But what do you now thin k about Dr. Kendall's being in collusion with the scoundrels?" I confess that I am more than ever puz -;ied." "Xeverthel ess, t h e puzzle mus t be solved!" "Chief!" crie d Keene, starting to his feet, "you l eav e me to solve it!" CHAPTER VI. A ST ROK E OF LUCK. A b out five o'cl o ck that eventn!f' an. old gentleman, wi th g r a y hair and neatly t r immed mustache and beard, ascended the steps of Dr. Kendall's residence and rang the b e ll. B y his lo o k s a n d general air of r e finement h e might h a v e been a prosperous clergyman. The man was Sheridan Keene, however, disguised in p erhaps hi s mos t artistic fash io n. He \' :anted a t a l k with Dr. Kendall in an other c hara c t e r th a n that o f an office r ; and though aware thjt h e should n o t probably finu the phys ician at h o m e muc h b e fore six, h e had r.ot come early without a motive He wanted a word or two with the d octor's wife a lso By callin g e a r l y he could kill two birds w i th o ne s t o ne He did not d r e am h oweve r o f droppi n g four b y a s trok e of a lm o st unparalleled g oo d l u ck. [ \ s h e rang the bell a l a d in livery opened t h e d oo r. He had a in his hand, and e videntl y was about being started on an errand by a woman the n standing in the h21l, whom Keene at saw t o qe the physi cian' s wife. I s the d octo r o r l\I rs. Kendall, at home my son?" Kee ne inqu ire d o f t h e l a d addres s ing him with paternal kind ness, yet suffic ie n t ly loud that the woman should h ear. "The doctor is n o t. sir; but l\Irs.--" ''I am Mrs. Kendall, sir," said the lady, coming to the d oo r. "Will y o u \Valk in?" She looked at him with inquiring ey e s, and was favorabl y impress e d with the gentleman' s clerical appearance. She was a tall and dignified w oman, with a pretty face; y e t a certain thinne s s o f h e r lip s indicated her a perso n o f prono un ce d sentiments and ve r y strong will. "Thank you madam," s aid Kee ne, bow i n g hi mself into the h a ll and then c e t o t he d c c tor's receptio n-room wh e r e t h e la dy invited him to a s eat. "Do yo u wi s h t o s e e Dr. Kendall ?'' s h e added. I I w.i s h to s ee him, th ough not p rofess i on ally." "He will c om e in from h is round of call s about si x sir. Can I b(' o f any servi ce ? "Very p o s s ibl y, thank ;'OU," said Keene, bowing. I am the R e v C aleb Patterso n, assistant rec t o r o f St. El win s Ch u r ch I wish to inquire a b out t\ o p e r son s with w hom I understand Dr. Kendalt i s acquainted. W o uld I be lik e ly t o find him he r e 111 the ev:ening ?" "Oh, yes! My husband i s invariably at evenings. sir. Keene did not tell her she was mistaken, put remarked, blandly : I might have s p o k e n t o him last night, had I then been informed a s full y as n o w. J caught a glimpse of him at the Gage recepti o n last evening." "Beg pardon!" e x cl a im ed !vfrs Kendall, vi t h a lo o k ot surprise. w h a t did yo u o b se r ve?" "Excu se me J und e r s t oo d you to say that yo n sa w Dr. Ken d a ll a t th e Gage reception." Y es so I did," Keene nodded, affably. "But h e was not there, sir." "Ar e n t you mistaken?" I

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/ SHIELD WEEKLY. 19 "Indeed, I am not," she rejoined, with some slight show of asperity "My husband was here the entire evening. I sat with him in the library from dinner until midnight. He then went out in response call." Keene smiled to himself. but did not contradict her. He now was perfectly sati s fied that his impression of the previous night was correct. For some reason, Dr. Kendall had drugged his wife in order to make that hurried visit to the hotel. "I must have been mistaken, Mrs. Kendall in that case," he replied blandly. "No doubt I am. My eyes are getting old along with the rest of me." "About. whom have y o u called to inquire, sir? P erhaps I can inform you. "My mission is one connected with our church work," observed Keene, with dry suavity. "I wish to le.am something about one Miss Russell, the unfortunate girl who---'' "I beg your pardon, sir!" Mrs. Kendall hurriedly interposed, quickly rising. "I really can give you no infi;>rmation about that woman. You'll have to consult my hus band." Keene looked up at her with an assumption of grave surprise. "Are you not acquainted with the lady, then?" he asked, blandly. "Indeed I am not! I know of her onl y as an old flame of my husband. Perhaps he can enlighten you concerning her. I cer tainly cannot." And Mrs. Kendall, with an ugly look in her eyes, turned toward the door. "Jealous almost to madness, though she who once was a rival now lies cold m death!" This was the thought that went through Keene's mind, yet he said, merely: "I presume I may wait here till your hus comes in, Mrs. Kendall?" "Certainly, sir," she bowed, coldly, turning back for a moment. "I regret that my duties, however, necessitate my leaving you alone. ou can make yourself quite at ho'?e, sir." And the woman. irritated well-nigh to discourtesy by a mere reference to something of the past, haughtily left the room. Keene smiled as he heard her as ce nd th e stairs, and noisily close her chamber door. "The mix-up begins to clear a little," h e said to himself, in a congratulatory spirit "My nervy doetor evidiently is under his wife's thumb, and was compelled to give h e r knock-out drops in order to slip aw a y un suspected to his former love "I'd like to see his face '':hen sh e tells him \yhat I told her. Ah, well, he is quite capable of lying o u t of it. And since I have admitted I was mi s taken, he will easily--" The muffled sound of a b e ll clo s e behind him ended the d e tective s train of thought. He turned sharply to see whence it cam e "Ah. the telephone call!" he exclaimed The instrument was on the wall in one corner of the room, and was contained in a portable closet with a closed door. Evidently Mrs. Kendall was irritable, an d did not enjoy that the frequent ringing should be heard all over the house. It rang again. The boy employed there to answer it, alon g with his other duties, had just been sent out of the house. It rang again Then, as no person came to respond to the summons, Keene decided he w o uld answer the call himself. "I, at least, can say that the doctor is out, he thought, as he stepped into the closet an d closed the door. "Hello!" he called over the wire. "What's the matter with you?" demanded the girl operator at the central office. "Had you fallen asleep? All ready, 72i." Then Keene heard over the wire : "Hello, hello! Is this Dr. Kendall's of fice?" Keene started as if a needle had been thrust !nto him, yet felt a thrill of exultation from head to foot. There was no mistaking that smooth, oily voice, despite wire and distance. The man at th e other end was Dr. Yardle y Instantly closing the closet door more tightly the detective counterfeited Kendall' s voi
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-20 SHIELD WEEKLY. "Is the doctor there?" came the inquiry. Cool as a cucumber, yet with every nerve on the qui vive, Keene quietly answered: "Yes, I am Dr. Kendall. Who are you?" "I am a man who wants to see you alone this evening at eight o'clock." "What name, sir ?" "Never mind the name. You'll know me well enough ":'.hen you see me." "What do you mean, sir? I don't under stand such a summons." "You'll understand it all right, doctor, when the time comes. Don't leave that wire till I amthrough with you. If you do you'll "You'll stay until I say go, doctor." "Will I?" "If you don't you'll wish you had. I must see you to-night at eight o'clock. My busi ness relates9to a recent event in which you played a very important part. It's all for your sake that I am so careful about ap proaching you. Now, do you understand?" Keene lighted upon this at once. It was a key to part of the strange situation. It now was evident that Yardley had discovered Kendall to have been the murderer of Stella Russell, and that the English physician pe1ieved Kendall did not think himself suswish you never was born." pected Keene had no idea of leaving it, for this In that case, Keene instantly decided that was one of the richest things he ever had they were not confederates. "I believe this struck. It was so good he could hardly conscoundrel is about to attempt to blackmail." tain himself. Both ends of the game were playing fairly into his hands. He weighed his responses with hurried consideration, lest he should betray himself, and aimed to invite the other's disclosure. It was a delicate task, owing to his ignorance of Yardley's relations with Kendall; but Keene was not a man to lose his head. "I am at home evenings," he rejoined. I don'.t want to visit your house." "Why not?" "You can easily guess why, if you try." "I am no clairvoyant," returned Keene. "What are you driving at?'' "There is a certain party who may be watching me," replied Yardley. "If he was to see me entering your house, he might form suspicions which you would not find wholly agreeable." "I reckon I can guess who he means," chuckled Keene, within hims elf. "Are you there?" demanded Yardley, im patiently. "Oh, yes, I am here," replied Keene. "But I am ngt likely to. remain long, unlesfi you state your business." "What do you say?" cried Yardley, with greater "I am waiting for you to say," replied the detective "Tell me who you are?" "I will put like this, since you are de termined to have it: I am a man who saw you looking for something last night which you did not find. Now are you on?" It was a pt!zzler, but Keene dodged him by saying: "The short one?" "Precisely !" "What do you want of me?" "You ought to know ; but, if -you don't un derstand, and won't understand, I'll make it plain enough when we meet," cried Yardley, with an uglier voice. Keene hesitated for a moment, to give the impression that he was considering the situ ation, then demanded: "Where do you want me to meet you ?" "Name your own place, but let the hour be eight o'clocl<:." "Am I taking any chances by complying?" "None whatever I Your danger lies in re fusing to comply." '' '.

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SHIELD WEEKLY 21 "Is that so? In what way?" "Don't be fool enough to ask me questions over a wire,'' cried Yardley. s u ch "If you are wise, you will wait till you see me." "I will not consent to meet you except in disguise Keene now said, decisively. "I will not chance being seen with you." "Come as you like, so be it you come." "At eight o'clock?" "Precisely! Name the p lace!" "The doorway of No. 12 Ackron court.'' "Is that a house?" "It's a vac .antshop which I own, and I now have the key "That will suit me," said Yardley. "Do not fail to be there at the hour mentioned, for I'll not hang about to wait for you. If you're not there, mark this: I'll blow the ""hole business." "Do nothing before seeing me!" Keene quickly cried, assuming a tone of appeal. "I will go you to that extent.''. "Then expect me at eight. And the detective rang off the wire. Sheridan Keene now decided was no need of an immedi ate interview with Dr. Kendall. If he should personate the lat te r in an interview with Yardley, the entire mystery might aLonce be solved. With a deter m ination t o undertake this, Kee n e .softly opened the front door and \mmed i ate l y left the house. When D r. Kendall entered, nearly an l hour la t e r he found awaiti n g him, not a disgu i sed me11)ber of th e de t ec t ive for ce, but a professio n a l call received t e n m i n u tes ear lier by his office boy, and entered on h is s l ate. I t was m a r k ed urgent-and i t ca m e fr o m No. T8 Ackron cou rt! Yet D r Kendall did not r espond to this call until afte r h e had finis h ed hi s dinn er. CHAPTER VII. CAUGHT IN A BOX. At p r ecisely eight o'clock that evening De tective Keene stood leaning in the doorway of No. 12 Ackron court. The building was a \YOOden structure near several small dwellings. It was in a blind street not far from Dr. Kendall's resi dence, and on a portion of the made land of the Back Bay, as yet not much built upon It had lately been for a carpenter,.s shop, and in making it a rendezvous, Keene had known that he easily could obtain the key from the owner, who was a personal friend. The detective had a motive in naming this sequestered and gloomy locality. His facial features did not resemble closely those of Dr. Kendall and, though he had informed that he should wear a disguise, an imperfect light was vitally necessary to so daring an a ssumption as that contemplated. He wore a:n overcoat like that of Dr. Kendall, however, and a pointed beard simi, lar to that worn by the latter the previous I Hight. Under these combined conditions Keene be l ieved he could artfully work the dodge He would have succeeded, moreover, but for one utterly unexpected contingencythe doctor's urgent call that evening on a pa. -tient in Ackro n co u rt. Keene had waited only a few minutes, when he saw Yar dley approaching with his compan i on o f the previous night, Jimmy Morley. They at fi'rst acted as if somewhat suspicio u s, b u t at a low whistle the de tective, they quickly drew nearer. "You are on time!" Yardley who was close l y muffled in a heavy over co at. I said I would be here at eight," re pl ied Keene, i n dissatisfied ton es. "What d i d yo u wear t he l ilac s for?" de manded Mo rl ey, drop pi n g into a lo w s lan g habitual t o him under such

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SHIELD "Was you afeard some guy' d turn w ise to yer along with us ? " I told y ou how I s hould co m e." "It don t matter about th a t ," in t e r p os ed Yardley impatiently "Hav e yo u a key to you must make good the loss we have suffered." ,. 1'o what crime do you refer? I am g uilty of no crime. " D o n t play the innocent with me, for it this place ?" will not wash,'' cried Yardley. "You know, "Here is one. I will unlock t he door. I and I know, that you killed Stella Russell have only just arrived here! " Do you own the sh op?" "My wife does, replied Keene. I have the letting of it Come in, if you like. "What is the place?" demanded Morley, foll o wing the o thers into the gl oo my interior. His dry rasping voice and cautious man ner were not e ncoura g ing He appeared sus picious and r e stless glaring like a cat about the empty room o f which only the faint out lines of the s ev eral windows we re plainl y dis c erni ble K e ene hast e ned to reassure him. "It was let to a carpenter until last week, w hen he v acated," s aid he You can feel the shaving s under your feet I am sure I can find a lantern ." I can give y ou light e n o ugh for our busi n e ss growled Morley, quickly producing a pocket lantern and throwing the slide. "There' s less need for eyes here to -night than for tongues and e ars m y gall us doctor." "What is this bu s iness ? demanded Keene, adapting him se lf a s best h e could to the blind situation "It can be quickl y stated, said Yardley, sigp.ing for his confederate to close the street door. State it, then! The sooner the better ." "There is time enough, now that we have you here," returned Yardley. You don t know much of us Dr. Kendall and we don't know much of you; but you queered a pretty game o f ours by your crime of last las t evening. "Aye, sir, we all three know it!" put in M o rle y drawing nearer with a threatening s wagger. "Vile have proof en ough twas you that slit the pipes of the young loidy And now you ll come down 'andsome, and 01ake us good, or you'll take a dance i' the air! That's precisely ow the matter stands, my covey." "How do you know I killed her?" de manded Keene, who could not understand how they had made the discovery that Ken dall was the criminal. "Never mind how we know," cried Yardley. "You fooled Keene, the detective, but you cannot gammon me." "How did I fool Keene?" By turning up like an innocent man, after having made your escape. Oh, that was clever enough, Dr. Kendall, but I still have the call on you I knew fhe moment you touched the girl's throat that 'twas you who had been there. I : have the evidence that places you in my power, and you must settle, or face exposure." "What evidence--" "Never mind that! You know what it is, and so do I." Keene changed his tactics. It was evident that Yardley possessed information of which he was ignorant and saw no occasion for imparting it to a man he believed to be Kendall. The detective drew himself up and pretended to make a bluff. Well, since you think you have the bulge evening, and have taken a very snug fortune on me what do you mean to do about it?" he out of our pockets. In a nut-shell, Kendall, demanded, qtrtly.

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 23 "There, now you're talking sense!" cried leave her entire estate to charity, unless the Morley, warming his fingers over the lantern, girl consented." which he had placed on the bench. "Now. "This desire must have been very strong in- give him the whole story, Yardley, so's he Mrs. Russell." can see where we all stand, and 'ow square we are about it. Tell him 'ow he s queered our little game by killing the loidy." "To what game do you refer?" cried Keene, angrily addressing the physician. "I'll uot remain here to be talked to in enigmas." "Listen and I'll explain,'' said Yardly. "Mrs. Russell is very wealthy, worth nearly a million. She has been very anxious to see her daughter wedded to a foreigner w ith a title. I discovered this m London five months ago, when called upon to attend her professionally." "Well, what of all that?" "This of it," 9Y ardley. "I cul tivated the lady's acquaintance, gained her es teem, and won her greater favor by introducing my friend, Jimmy Morley, as one Lord Moreland. Do you begin to take in the little game?" "Assuming you both to be scoundrels, it would be very plain," said Keene, dryly. Yardley laughed with villainous satisfac tion. "By marrying Jimmy to the girl," he con tinued; "the old lady's money could have been cleverly brougtit our way." ."Along with the girl!" "The disposal of her was an after consid eration.'' "No doubt!" "I urged the old lady on," continued Yard-' ley; "and met with but one difficulty. The girl absolutely refused to think of marrying the lordship i had brought forward and laid in her lap." "How were you to get over that'?" "The o1d lady fixed that for us. She threatened to disinherit her daughter, and "Strong don't express it. It was like a mania. Her one idea was to make her daughter the wife of an English lord." "Which you doubtless encouraged." "Well, rather!" bowed Yardley. "I finally advised her to come to Boston, where most of her property is located, and to take the steps necessary to execute the threats she had made. I figured that the girl would sub mit, when she found that her mother really meant what she said. The fact that Mrs. Russell was in serious ill-health, and might possibly die within a week of executing such a will, made our pull on the girl all the stronger." "Did you see any signs of her submitting?" "I am sure our scheme would have worked but for the death of the girl," said Yardley, decisively. "We have been five months playing this liWe game, and I'm not one who chases a bubble. It has been played at a great expense. The death of the girl has ruined all, and for that you are responsible, Dr. Kendall. Fortunately, I have you in a hole, however, and now I mean to force you to pay the bills." "Do you think so?" "I know so!" said Yardley, with a threatening nod. "Exposure would piin you. One word from me will give Detective Keene the key to the whole mystery, and place you-Where are you going, Jimmy?" "I heard some one outside !" Morley had stolen softly to one of the front windows, and his rasping whisper came back through the semi-darkness. The step of a hurrying man was heard ap proaching,. and Morley peered out to make sure that he passed along. He saw the man come, go, and vanish up

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24 SHIELD WEEKLY. the street; and only the face of the watching scoundrel would have betrayed the discovery he had made. The person he had seen come and go was Dr. Roy Kendall, the man he believed to be talking with Cyrus Yardley. "It's all right, Yardley!" he whispered, hoarsely. "The guy has gone on his way!" CHAPTER VIII. THE RESULT OF MORLEY'S During the interval while Yardley stool si. kntly watching the movements of his con federate, Keene had time for a quick review of. the case, and some of the features that had mystified him. It was plain there was no col lusion between these men and Dr. Y en dall. The latter_ was an entire stranger to them. Up to the very hour of Stella Russell's death, their infamous game evidently had been that of coercing a helpless girl and swindling a shallow-minded old woman, al ready on the brink of the 'grave. It was of this game that Keene had heard them talking in the smoking-room. Now several new questions had risen in his mind. When and how had Yardley discovered the guilt of the Boston physician? Why had Kendall so cautiously planned his visit to the hotel, and ended an interview, for which Stella Russell been anxious, by taking her life? Was it ii case of suicide by a distressed and harassed girl? If so, why had Dr. Kendall fled like a criminal and a coward? These were the questions flashing through Keene's mind when he saw Jimmy Morley returning, and again heard Yardley addressing him. "Now, Dr. Kendall, we have look e d you up and find you a man of .high standing, c..nd a man of wealth." "Well, suppose I am Dr. Yardley. What then?" "Do you mean to accept our terms ? Or will you suffer us to expose you?" "In a word, sir, you wish me to buy your silence?" "That hits the nail on the head," said Yardley, decisively. "You have spoiled our game, doctor, but we don t propose to quit losers." Jimmy Morley moved his toe about among the shavings until it struck against a piece of joist. "What price do you expect me to pay?" demanded Keene. Considering all things, we will let you down easy." "\Vhat do you call easy?" "Say twenty dollars, paid down in cash." ''I'll not consider it Morley worked his toe under the stick of joist, and : raised it till he could grasp the end with his hand. "You'll do better," Yardley answere d, sternly. "You'll do better than consider it You'll pay it !" "This is a case of blackmail !" cried Keene, "-:th a feigned mingling of desperation and an g er. "Call it what you like." "How do I know you possess the evidence of my guilt?" persisted Keene. "Tell me i"ts nature? Tell of what it consists? If you can show me in just what way I ant in your power--" "In this way!" suddenly cried Morley, from behind him. The ruffian's words were accompanied with an oath, and with a blow that was dealt to kill. It would have effected the miscreant's object, and have laid the detective out forever, but for one slight circumstance. Yardley,

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SHTEJ,D WEEKLY. 25 who was standing directly in front of Keene, sa w the h eavy weapon descend, and involun .;. 4 tar i ly recoiled Kee n e' s quick eye observed this movement To fiim it was like a warning. The detective instantl y ducked, throwing up his arm t 6 'shi e ld his head ; but the blow glanced s i de wise fro m hi s head and shoulder and laid him senseless on the floor of the gloomy shop'. Yardley sprang forward with a cry of dis may "Good God! What have you done, Jimmy? You've killed the man!" "I hope so," returned Morley, throwing down the piece of joist. "What do you mean?" "Pull off his disguise and you ll see what I mean. The man is not Dr. Kendall." "What?" "It's Sheridan Keene! Yardley sprang to the side of the prostrate detective and tore away his disguise. The pale face of the stricken officer sta r e d up at him through the gloom, like the hue less face o f a c orps e " Y ou're right, Jimmy!" Yardley gasped, amazedly. "I knew I was ri g ht. The guy that went by outside was Kendall." "The devil you say! "Yo u see m y lamps are worth. something, after all ." "This b e ats me "It d o n t b eat me! cried Jimmy Morle y n ow kicking the shavings into a pile on the floo r "But how could he hav e learned that we were goin_g to meet Kendall ? " Yo u're a f oo l," cried Morley; w ith all your oily We have had no talk wi t h "What do you mean?" "There li e s the man who was on the end of your wire ." Then he must suspect--" "Kendall, of c ourse!" cried Morley. "He must have been in his office and answered your call." "It c e rtaml y app ears so now." "He has piped the w hole business." "What are y ou doing? "What do you think I am doing, making up my bed?" demanded Morley, with a vicious display of determination "This beak is in our way, and must be removed." Yardley hesitated. There could be no doubt as to what the movements of his more desperate confeder ate meant. Alread y Morley had gathered a great pile of shavings on the floor and under the wooden bench. "Do you think it's necessary, Jimmy?" ventured Yardley. The younger ruffian sw1;1ng round with an oath. "Haven' t you got any brains?" he demand ed. "D' ye think the beak has twigged Ken dall after the talk we have made?" "Undoubtedly!" -"Then what can we d o with Kendall, if this fellow lives1? "Not a thing." "But if we do him, the game 1s m our hand s." "That's true ." "We alone w ill be wise ab out K e ndall, and can force him to th e wall. D ye think--" I t p ink you're "right ," interrupte d Yardley "Make haste with the job.' "Get the door-key out of his pocket. "I have it. "Is he in s pace?" "For a long time yet Jimmy, after the blo}'V you gave him. "Five minutes will serve us and do him

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2 6 SHIEL D WEEKLY. Look lively, n ow, an d o p en t he side w indows. T he c rib will b u rn l ike tinde r ." Yard l ey thre\\ ope n both w indows on e ither s ide, ahd a draugh t of w intr y air swept through t h e g loomy bu i ldi n g. F o r a mome n t Mo rl e y bent ove r the m o t i o nl e ss figure o n t h e floor. t he n rai se d on e a rm a nd dro pped it. It fell lik e a n arm o f 1-ead. Then the k n ave starte d up po ur e d the oil from his lantern oveir the sha v in gs, tos sed the ,, i c k in t o the pil e and t ouch e d a t o it. O n the inst ant the inflammab le stuff he h ay a long chalk! I am worth a doaen dead men yet!" r Nevertheless the newspape r s o f t he foll o wing morning contained startling stories of the complete destructi o n of Carleton s shop by fire the previous night, and of. the discovery of a charred b o d y in the ruins. The calamit y "Fire! fire! fire!" was attributed to the car e l e s s n ess o f so m e A new figure had appeared on the scene va g ab o nd, wh o presumably had e ntered t he Place for shelter, and \ \hose pip e had se t It was that of a man climbihg in throug h O ne Of the ct d 1 th fire to the shavings o f whi c h he had ma d e s1 e wm o ws w 1ere e way w as a bed. y e t clear; and who saw at a glan c e that the building could not be saved with the m e an s at The issue of these rep orts, however, w as command. but another move on the part of Sheridan Yet this man was the owner of the build ing, one Mr. Carl e ton . Prompted by curios i ty, afte r having loaned Keene the key he had ventured approaching the s hop in the hop e o f discovering what was in the wind He had seen three men enter the building, and only two emerge running away at full speed. The occasion was very quickly apKeene. CHAPTER IX. THE B OOT ON THE OTHER LEG. The following morning dawned clear and cold. Sheridan Keene had figured to ..a nicety what would follow, w h en Yardley and his -

PAGE 28

) SHIELD WEEKLY. 27 -. ..:on federate believed that he was dead, and that they were not suspected of having fired Carleton's shop. "I am the city gas-fitter," he explained to the servant who responded to his knock on the door. 'I wish to examine your gas By Yardley's own words, it had been only meter." !:is fear of the detective that had restrained him from boldly Dr. Kendall at house; and now, with the belief that Keene was dead, the immediate conduct of the scoundrels could easily be anticipated. Keene knew, further, that they would feel that 'Boston was becoming uncomfortably warm for them ; and that they wouid lose no time in attempting to coerce the local phy and then effect their departure from the country. In, anticipation of this, Keene was alert that morning, and in a new disguise was engaged in shadowing the hotel. Tliat he had reasoned well, became ap parent about nine o'clock, when he saw both Yardley and Jimmy Morley leave the house, . and depart in the direction of Dr. Kend'all's residence. They were nicely dressed, and by their faces were well satisfied with the turn affairs had taken. "I will speedily change that look for them!" was Keene's mental exclamation :1hen he saw them depart. "Now to discover l1ow Kendall will receive them, and what he will say! I must head them off, and get into his house before them." They were walking leisurely, apparently discussing their design, and he felt absolutely sure of their destination. Hastening through one of the side sfreets, which materially reduced the distance, Keene entered the shop of a gas-fitter and borrowe,d a blouse and cap, displaying his badge and explaining his project. Two minutes later, with a foot of iron i.;ipe and a wrench in his hand, he hu;ried into the alley back of Kendall's residence, and ap': plied for admission at the basement door. "It's out front sir, 1n the coal cellar,' the girl replied, offering no objection. "I know where it is, thanks." The servant returned to the kitchen. The deteetive slipped through the entry and stole up to the front hall. Two women were talking in the doctor's reception-room. "He will not receive them in there," Keene instantly decided. The reception-room joined the front parlor,' with only a portiere between and the detec tive also excluded the latter room as improb able. Crouching under the front stairs, he observed that a servant was sweeping the dining-room. Only one other room remained on that floor, and the door of it was closed. Keene took the chance of being observed, and stole across the hall to peer through the keyhole. "The doctor's operating-room," he muttered. "It appears to be vacant." He took a second chance, and softly opened the door. It was a large, square room, with a single window. A long operating-table was in the middle of the floor. Fixed upon two of the side walls were cabinets, with shelves containing splints, trusses, and various surgical appliances. "It's a hundred to one he will bring them out here,'' Keene decided. He looked for a closet in which to conceal himself, but could find none. In one corner of the room, however, stood a tall, box, which he hastened to open. It contained a skeleton, hanging from a hook at the top of the box. "The very place," muttered Keene, triumphantly. "I'll have to ask you to vacate these

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2 8 SHIELD WEEKLY. lodgings, my emaciated friend The place for you is a dime museum." Hastily opening one of the several large c!rawers under the cabinet shelves, he un hooked the skeleton, ana with more reverence than ceremony, he dumped the rattling bones into the drawer and closed it. Then he stepped within the tall box,, which easily admitted his figure, and held the door ajar. "As snug as a bug in a rug!" he said to himself, with much satisfaction. "I couldn't have invented a better concealment had I laid awake nights to plan it. Now, if the 'doctor will only bring the two knaves out here for their little interview, I think-, -" But he there stopped thinking in that line, for he heard the sound of the door-bell and the tread of the physician himself on the floor above. He waited patiently. At the end of three minutes his genius was rewarded. Dr. Kendal! opened the door of the operat ing-room, and entered. Behind him came Dr. Yardley and Jimmy Morley, well primed for their intimidating design. Keene held the door of the box so that he could peer out through a mere crack, while every word that was spoken easily reached his ears. "Excuse my bringing you out here, gentle men," said Kendall. "My wife has callers and has occupied my office." "That's all ri ght, doctor," said Yardley, rathe r grimly "It's all the better if we are where we will not be overheard." Dr. Kendall was quite pale, but he gravely waved the two men to chairs. "What am I to infer from that observa tion?" he asked, curtly: "I recognize you as a man I saw upon the scene of that unfortu-nate tragedy night before last, but I have yet to learn ygpr business with me." "By gracious!" thought Keene; "this man > don't act much like a criminal, nor one to be easily intimidated. If he is really guilty of this crime, his nerve is unparalleled." "Oh, I will explain our business quickly enough!" exclaimed Yardley, with scurrilous significance. "DC? so at once, then," said Dr. Kendall, standing motionless in the floor. "It's time I started out on my round of visits." "You are a cool one, to say the least," grinned Yardley. "I realize no occasion for excitement," was the haughty reply. "State your business at once, or I must leave you." "Well, Dr. Kendall," and Yardley began to show temper; "we happen to know all about that little affair on Thursday night, in which you was involved." "Is that so?" "Yes, it's so!" "Well, what of it?'' ','Look here, Dr. Kendall, you had better come off your high horse with me," Yardley sternly cried. "We're not here for amuse m)nt, or to be given a bluff." "You rather have come to" give one, I should say," retorted Kendall, curtly. "But, sir, allow me to add, that you have not se lected a very easy mark." "We'll see about that," returned Yardle y, with a threatening nod. "We know, and can prove, that you were the party who dined with Stella Russell on Thursday night, and who is responsible for her death. Are you aware, Dr. Kendall, that the detecti ve s of Boston are now searching for her murderer?" "Oh, yes, I am well aware .of it "And that a word from me will utterly ex pose you, sir?" "I hear you say so." "Isn't it a fact?"

PAGE 30

' ''l SHIELD WEEKLY. 29 '"I am willing to take your word for it," said Dr. Kendall, drawing up his fine figure and giving his hand a deprecatory wave. "And in the face of this, and what has oc curred, do you mean that you defy me?" an grily demanded Yardley, quite nonplused by the physician's haughty indifference. "No, I do not defy you," was the answer. "I merely care nothing about you." "Don't you know that exposure will ruin you conviet you of the crime and send you t o prison, if not to the scaffold ? demanded Yardley, with vicious impatience. I h ear what you say, and now know at what you are driving," said Dr. Kendall, st e rnly You have come here to intimidate me, if p o s s ible, and to extort money from me. Am I right?" "That is the situation, p recisely !" Then here is my answer, said the physi cian, w i th a magnificet].t display of mingled d i gnity and contempt "There is the door. Go at once to the police headquarters and m ake your disclosure I w ill not stand in y our w ay After you have told your story, I w ill tell mine, and face the music." "Your story !" sneered Yardley. Yes, my story! cried the physician. "Not that Stella Russell was murdered a fact w hich, I think you know as w ell as I; but that her death was the result of a most la mentable accident." Yardley sprang angril y to hi s fe et. I his dark eyes frowning on the disappointed face of the angry scoundrel. "You, then, are the person who examined Miss Russell's body before I arrived there," he said, curtly. "It must have at that time that you discovered and secured the evi dence of which you speak." "That's it, precisely!" cried Yardley. "And the moment you laid your hands upon her, I knew you were the party that she had dined with. You at once felt of her throat in search for--" "One moment, sir," interrupted Kendall. "I now realize that I cannot easfly prove just how Stella Russell met her death, since you have been knave enough to remove the one bit of evidence by which I might have done so. You now ask me to buy this evidence at your price. Do you happen to have it with you this morning?" "Yes, sir, I have," Yardley impulsively an swered, thinking the doctor about to yield. "I brought it--" "That's enough!" Kendall forcibly inter rupted, striding to the door and placing his back against it "What do you mean?" "I mean that you'll give it to me before you leave this room !" cried the physician, wit h terrible sternness. "I mean that both of you are scoundrels and blacklegs, with whom I will have no dealings! You shall be arrested for blackmail within the hc;mr Now that I am threatened thus, I will tell the truth like Suppose it was l Admit that it w a s he a man. You shall produce" this evidence in cried, vi c iously. You can't prove that it was Your every act has been that of a man who k illed her. I happen to have the evi dence by which you possibly might sustain a claim that her death was accidental; but can secure that eviden c e Dr. Kendall only by paying me my price. I'll gamble you'll come to my terms before I am through with you!" Kendall still stood motionless in the floor, the presence of officers--" "Oh, no I'll not!" Yardley viciously inter rupted. "I'll do nothing of the kind. I'll keep my hold on you, for ali the bluff that you are making. The evidence--" "Produce that evidence, Yardley, and let me see wha t it's like!" The last came in a ringing voice from Sheridan Keene. He came out of his con-

PAGE 31

30 SHIELD cealment ''"ith his revolver in bis hand, and Kendall in th e physician's pri vate office with striding straight to the knavish English phythe door securely closed. sician, thundered sternly: Yardley and .Jimmy Morley had been "Produce it I say! And consider yourself lodged in the Tombs, and the end of their under arrest!" rope was plainly to be a prison cell. Good gasped Yardley white as "Now, Dr. Kendall," said the chief, to d eath itself. "You-alive?" whom Keene had reported all the evidence; Yes, alive, no thanks to you or yonder "I understand from my officer that your atti ruffian cried Keene. "Sit down, Morley, tude this morning, when you certainly cou l d o r I'll drop you in a surer way t,.han you not have been aware of his presence, indidro pped me. I want both of you scoundrels cates that yoi.t may be innocent of any willful for arson." Morley, who was attempting to sneak out b y the door, returned and dropped into t h e chair indicated. I reckon the game's up now Yardley," he s aid with a sullen leer. "The infernal beak die s as hard as a cat ' I am given life to lo o k after such as you, s t ernly rejoined Keene Now, Yardley, what is the evidence you and Dr. Kendall ere discussing? Ya0rdley, pai'e and utterly disconcert ed for a moment. "Produce it!" cried Keene sternly. The physician felt in his vest pocket drew forth a. small object and t o ssed it upon the operating-table. It was a threec orne r ed por tion of fish-bone n e arly half an inch across. Now Dr. Kendall impulsivel y came for ward. "Good heavens, Inspector Keener he ex claimed in tremulous tones ; what does your presence here mean ? "It means, Sflid Keene turning to face him ; "that these two men are under arrest, and that I will hear your story a little later. Go to your telephone, sir, and summon the police patrol." CHAPTER X UNDER THE KNIFE. Half an h our later chid Inspector Watts ;:; ; Shtridan K ee ne were seated with Dr. misdemeanor. I will frankly admit that we have suspected you of Stella Russell s murder. If we are wrong, we now wish to know it.)) "You most assuredly are wrong, Chief Watts, though I admit that circumstances have appeared very strong against me," re plied Dr. Kendall, with grave feeling. You were the man with whom she dined, were you not ?" Oh, yes; though not exactly dined," said the physician ; ''for our interview was fbr a different purpose ." Tell me the whole story, please." f'I will gladly do so, sir, now that a distor tion of it is so apparent. "Let me near it. .I Dr. Kendall bowed and drew himself up in his chair. "TheRussells mother and daughter, were friends o f mme years ago, he said gravel y "In fact I at on e time thought of marrying Stella Russell though it never came to pass We retained our ten _der friendship however up to the time she and her mother went to Europe several years ago. ''Go on sir." I heard nothing more of Stella Russell, continued the doctor, "until last Thursday afternoon, the day of her unfortunate death. I knew that the y had arrived in Boston, but I had not seen them. AQout six o'clock on >

PAGE 32

SHIELD. WEEKLY. 31 Thursday, I was called to my telephone by "No, I did not." Miss Russell." "But you went to the hotel and met her as "Where was she ?" pianned ?" "At the hotel." "What did she want?" "She stated to me that she was in very great trouble, and implored me to come to her I told her that I would call on her at once in her rooms, but she immediately begged me not to that. She stated that she was being watched by certain parties, who were constantly near her, and that our meeting must be a secret one." "Did she plan it?" "Yes, sir" ... "What did of you ?" "She wanted my help chiefly to foil the two scoundrels you have arrested here to-day, and who must have outrageously been imposing upon the girl's mother. It appeared that Mrs. Russell intended making a will disinheriting her daughter, unless Stella would marry--" "We know all about that part of it, doc tor," interposed Chief Watts. "What we "She had it planned already, sir. She said now wish to learn is, what was Miss Russell's she had secured a private dining-room, and told me where it was located. She said she would join me in the room at precisely eleven o'clock, after her return from the opera. She further stated that she kne\.v how exceedingly jealous my wife always had been of her, anq9 she that I had better wear a dis guise, lest any person should see me at the hotel in which she was located, and subse quently disclose the fact to my wife." "Is this jealousy of your wife a fact?" asked the chief. "A very lamentable one!" bowed Dr. Kendall, gravely. "I am rather unhappily married in that respect, sir; and hence I thought well enough of Miss Russell's advice to fol low it. I also went so far as to give my wife a.. light drug at dinner, that she might drop asleep in the evening while T was with her, and not awake until after my return from the hotel. I did not imagine I should be detained there longer than an hour. I took all of these steps, sir, with the sole object of harmlessly deceiving my wife; though I now imagine, from what you have told me, that it has operated to augment your suspicions." object in sending for you?" "I can state that very briefly," bowed the physician. "Mrs. Russell, being about to make a will, and having been long away from Boston, had remarked to Stella, that she .thought of appealiing to me to recommend my attorney. Stella seized upon this as an opportunity to deceive her mother, in which I think she was quite justified, and to circum vent Yardley." "In what way?" "By getting me to recommend a lawyer, and to arrange with him in advance, to make a will that should be void on some obscure technicality after the death of Mrs. Russell. It was her intentions to will her property to charity If Stella's plan could have been operated, and such a will executed, the property could easily be claimed and secured by the girl." "Do you kno:w how such a will can be made, doctor?" "There are many ways, sir. Stella's suggestion was that the lawyer draft' a will be queathing the property to the various churches and institutions Mrs. Russell had in "Up to that time, then, you did not know mind, instead of to the boards of trustees of \vhat Miss Russell wanted 0 you?" said those organizations. That would have made > Chief Watts, inquiringly. the will void, sir, in the sight of law; and

PAGE 33

32 SHIELD WEEKLY. the technicality is one which Mrs. Russell tion as a man and a physician unworthily dewould not have been likely to detect!' meaned. "I see, I see!" nodded Chief Watts. "Was "Whil e thus dismayed, I saw Yardley at Mrs. Russell in poor health?" the window, and I acted upon my first im-"She has bfen a sufferer from Bright's dispulse .and resorted to flight. It seemed to ease, and her death has long been imminent." me the only way by which I could save my All this is now sufficiently plain," said self from ruin and exposure. That is all I Chief Watts, gravely. "But what Jed to have to say, sir; and it is the whole truth." Stella Russell's death?" "Have you known that you were suspected, 1 -Dr. Kendall?" asked the chief. As if from some painful recollection ca led "No, sir; not until this morning. I had up by the inquiry, a little of the color faded from Dr. Kendall's cheeks. made up my mind, if charges were ever "I will tell you," said he. "While sitting at the table, explaining her situation to me in some little excitement, she was tasting, now and then, of a plate of fish near by her. Suddenly I observed 'that she was choking, and was in convulsions. A bone from the fish had lodged in her throat. I tried at once to remove it for her, and wanted to give an alarm. With looks and gestures, however, she implored me not to do so; and I saw that she feared Jest I should be recognized in her company, and the plan ruined on which she was basing her hopes. "Her condition quickly became so critical, that I resolved to perform an operation by which her life, at least could be saved." "What operation? ;' "That of opening the trachea until the ob struction could be removed. The girl was then nearly unconscious and in convulsions. "I had a small surgical case in my pocket. Taking out of it a scalpel, I bent above her to make the incisi on in the trachea, when she suddenly threw up one of her arms. It struck my hand a violent blow, that in which I held the knife, and it drove the sharp blade en tir ely through the jugular vein." "Ah!" exclaimed Chief Watts; "it was an accident, then !" "Precisely, sir, and a most dreadful one!" said Dr. Kendall. "But there then was no help for the girl, sir. I saw her die on the floor." "And then ?" "Then, sir, I realized my own situation, the circumstances under which I had come there, my disguise and the secr ecy with which I had kept this appointment. I realized that I might he ruined by exposure, and my reputamade against me, to con-fess the truth at once. Hence, I cared nothing about Yardley's threat. As for that miscreant, when he examined Stella Russell's body, he discov ered the bone lodged in her throat, and re moved it. I do not know wliat his design then was, though it soon developed when he saw me search for the same in examining the remains the girl, and betray myself when I failed to find it." "What about your silence on the subject up to the present time?" "I have been actuated solely by my desire to save my reputation as a man and a physi cian, sir. That alone has been my object." "Well, well," said Chief Watts, gravely; "we will see if it cannot be saved after all!" A look of relief swept to Dr. Kendall's fine countenance, and he impulsively held out his hand. Chief Watts was as good as his remark had implied. Though the actual circum stances were made public in a general way, and the mystery satisfactorily cleared, the name of the physician involved was withheld. Stella Russ ell was buried on the following Saturday, and nine clays later her mothr died, without having left her bed. A true bill was found against both Yardley and Jimm:f Morley by the Grand Jury, and they were tried for arson and easily con victed, each receiving a sentence of five years the State' s prison. THE END. Next week's SHIELD WEEKL Y (No. 12) will contain an absorbing story of mystery, entitled, "Arrested at the Tomb; or, Sheri dan Keene on a Curious Case."

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