,,,. t -No. 22. Price, Five Cents. KIT KEEN, THE CROOK CATCHER. orTh e of the Kidnappers & y ALDEN F. BRADSHAW PUBLISHED WEEKLY BY STREET & SMITH, 238 William Street New York City .,., Pnnr bt1 (\Jrut & Smith. All ri'r hls rtseMJtd. at Ntw York Post .. Offi u as Srcond-Class Mallu.
TRUE DETECTIVE STORIES THAft f I CTI On luwd BJ1 SN6scrl,Jliot1 b.JO /tr ytar. Ettttt-ed a.r Second-Class Afatftr at t.it N Y. Post OAfu, 6J1 STRBBT & SMITH, a3I William St . N. y Entrd Auordinr to Act of Courress, t n tht yea,. r901, in /ht 0.1/iu of /Ju Li!Jt"arian of Conzres.r, Washin_rton, D. C. No. 22. NEW YORK, May 4, 1<)01. Pric e C e nts. Kit Keen, the Crook Catcher; OR, THE KING OF THE KIDNAPPERS. By ALDEN F. BRADSHAW CHAPTER I. THE BOY RESCUER. "Help! help! help!" The cry rang through the still night air like the notes of a bugle. It came from the lips of a young girl, for the electric light fell full upon her face as she broke away from the grasp of two well dressed men who had just lifted her from a covered buggy which had drawn up along side of the curb before a block of brick houses all strangely alike. Save for the one electric light the street was dark, deserted, with no one near, ap parently, to hear that cry for help. After that appeal had come three times from frightened lips it was smothered by a ru
SHIELD WEEKLY. He had lost his hat; the satchel was heavy and fell hard on a defenseless head. Down fell the man, and he was out of the game But the second man released the girl to grapple with the plucky fighter. And the man had a pistol in his hand. The young man grasped the weapon, the two grappled, swung to and fro and fell. In the fall the youngster was on top, there was a smothered report of a pistol, a cry of pain and horror and the man lay motionless. The young man sprung to his feet and faced the girl. She had picked up his satchel, and now, as voices were heard, windows were thrown up and the call of a policeman was heard in the distance, she cried, piteously: "Oh, do not leave me here to be found out. Quitk Take me away, I beg of you!" There stood the horse and buggy, for the had not moved at the shot. Her rescuer hesitated only a second. Then he said : "Quick! get in, miss." She sprang into the buggy, he after her, and seizing the reins he sent the horse flying along, leaving all pursuit behind. By rapid driving, and turning from street to street, as though he knew the city perfect ly, they eluded any pursuers that might be on the track and continued on for a quarter of an hour. "Where do you wish to go, miss?" 'I live on Michigan avenue above Fortieth street, but do not drive near the house, please," and her companion noticed the girl was trembling from fright. "I shall desert this rig, miss, for I do not wish to be caught with it." "No, no, and not for the world would I wish to be found out, for I would have to appear in court and I believe it would kill me. You will not tell on me, will you?" "Not knowing who to tell on, I guess not, miss; but why were you with those men?" "They kidnapped me from my father's house, for my parents are away to-night, and I suppose they wished to get ransom money; but you saved me, and you seem to be but a boy." "Only about_ sixteen." "Yet you attacked those two horrible men. Did you kill them both?" "One was kiJled, the other only knocked silly, I guess." "And if you let them know who you are tJ1ey will hang you for murder, won't they?" "I guess not," was the decided reply, and the youngster drew up alongside of the pavement, helped the girl out, hitched the horse and, taking the satchel, said: "The police will find the horse and take care of him, so now I will see you home, miss." "Thank you; but must you know who I am ,?" "I will not tell, and I'd better know." "I'd rather not tell, though I believe I could trust you." "Just as you please, miss. I'll go with you as near your house as you care to have me." "Yes, and you'll tell me your name, and when I can---.can--" "What, miss?" "Write you a letter of thanks, as my father will also do." "It is not necessary, miss, for you have thanked me enough ; but I will leave you here." "At least tell me your name." "It is Kit Keen, miss." "I won't forget it, or you. My name is Florence," and she held out her hand and was gone. Her rescuer turned in the opposite direc tion, but only for a few paces, then crossed the street and shadowed her to her house.
SHIELD WEEKLY. 3 It was a handsome mansion, setting well back in the large yard surrounding it He looked -at the number of cross street, then went across and caught the elevated road down to the heart of the city and made his way to the s e cret service headquarters. The hour was late, but the chief of Chica go's detective corps was still in his office, and, sending his name in, he gained immediate admittance to the great head of the secret service. CHAPTER II. THE BOY SLEUTH. The handsome, stern-faced detective chief had been detained in his office until a late hour from important information brought in to him by his tireless sleuths, and had just started half-a-dozen i:1en out upon a "mys terious case when the orderly brought in the name of Kit Keen. "Good! the young man I wished most to sec. Show him in, Jenks," said the chief. As the door opened he called out : "Mighty glad to see you, my boy, for I was beginning to fear that you had given me the slip." "Oh, no, sir, for I told you I would come back as soon as I settled my sister com fortably." "Sit down and tell me how you found your sister and all you carr to tell me ab out your affairs." "I will have to tell you some o t her time, chief, for just now I'm in another scrape." "By Jove, but you do gd into trouble m this town, Kit." "It seems so. sir. for Chicago seems to hoodoo me every time." ""When did you get here?" "Not two hours ago, sir, on the Western "I got my foot into it deep, sir." "What is it this time?" "A killing." 'Ah is bad, indeed." "It was a case of couldn t help it, sir." "I doubtt:'d you once, Kit Keen, and you turned out square and honest in all you sa i d and did, so I have perfect faith in you n ow; in fact, I was wishing only to-day that you were here to run down a case that has thrown off all of my men, for, you know, you prom ised to come back aml b e my y o ungest de tective," and the chief gazed with admiration into the handsome face of the youth. It was a strong face, one wonderfully ex pressive, full of downright pluck and bulldog determination, and ready to do and dare, young as he was. He was built well, with a wiry form, broad shoulders and every indication of being very strong and quick as lis-htning. Well-dressed, wearing a slouch hat, he looked like a fellow who could turn his hand to anything. In response to the chief's remark, he said: "Well, sir, I did come back to go on with you; and I've begun way up by getting a case of my own." "How was it Kit? for I fear it is something serious." "It was for the other fellows for one has gone under and the other got it in the ne<:k to remind him he was in bad company." "How did it happen?" "I was on my way from Polk street depot, sir, hunting lodgings for the night, when I heard a woman's voice crying for help. "It was a bad neighborhood, especially for a woman to be in, as you know, sir; but I saw a horse and buggy alongside of the curb, and two men and a girl, as I found out later' express." she was, and they were dragging her toward "'\ ri
SIITELD WEEKLY. "I swung my satchel down upon the head of one man and he took to the ground for a nap, for my revolvers were in that little grip and they are no l ightweights. "Then the other fellow and I got mixed up, and I found he was too heavy for me, so I tripped him and down we went, and there the mischief was done, for he had a revolver in his hand which I had hold of and in the tumble it went off and he got the bullet sure, and it did the work. "Then the girl shouted to me to take her away only too quick, and you bet I did it, for there was the horse and buggy, and I didn't wish to be caught in another killing scrape in this town, so I turned every corner I came to for the next ten minutes." "Well?" "I took the girl near to her home and left her, hitched the horse and--" "Who is she ?" "She said her name was Florence." "Nothing else?" "She would not tell me her other name, sir, for she seemed terribly worked up over being called to court, and made me leave her some distance from her home." "And you shadowed her?" "Yes, sir of course but if she can be kept out of this scrape I hope you will do so, sir, for she is a lady, and she was kidnapped by those two men to be held for big money." "I guess so; but do you know that I have just sent half-a-dozen men on this case?" "You have, sir?" "Yes, for it was reported to me, and the man you killed--" "He shot himself, sir, in the struggle, while both of us had hold of the revolver." "All right; but all we could learn from the frightened people who heard the row, for few in that neighborhood care to appear, fearing to be recognized as bad ones them selves, was that there was trouble between two men and a woman, a third man-that was you, Kit-came to the rescue, a fight fol lowed, all \v,ent dawn, one was shot and the buggy drove off with the woman and one r.ian, while the other man staggered to his feet and ran off." "He escaped then. And who was the dead man?" "He was a tough of the worst kind, well known to the police "And he is saying nothing as to his pal?" "Being dead, he is not, and in killing him you did--" "I didn't kill him, chief." "Ah, yes, so you said before; but through you the city has lost one of its worst citi zens "But I have told you alone, sir, of what I know about the affair." "So much the better, for you have come back to be a member of my detective force." "Yes. sir." "And I want you to take this case." "Yes, sir." "Then, my young sleuth, the secret is be tween us and you can go to work on this case to-morrow." "Thank you, sir. I'll go back to my old quarters to-morrow and begin work." "And where is that 1:-ionster Dane dog of yours; Satan, you called him?" "l left him the night in the baggage room at the depot, sir, but if I'd had him along that other fellow would have been chewerl up." 'Tel gamble on that, after remembering what I saw in your little home, when he fur nished the corpse for a funeral when that burglar entered it to rob you. Your dog is well named, Kit, for he is a devil; but come to-morrow afternoon and I'll er).list you, and Satan, too, in my detective corps, for I have another case also for you to handle." And Kit Keen, a youth of mystery, a youth
SHIELD WEEKLY. with a history, left the detective headquarters happy at having been enrolled as a young sleuth. CHAPTER III. ON THE TRACK. Kit Keen went to a downtown hotel for the balance of the night, but was up early and at the depot to get his dog, Satan, which the detective chief seemed to be in awe of. Satan was quietly awaiting the coming of his master and was not being crowded by any of the baggage smashers. For once they were very gentle in moving trunks when near the dog, so as not to dis tm b him, as he lay just where Kit had told l1im to await his return when he arrived the night before. Satan was a Great Dane of huge size, with an intelligent face, but with a very decidedly "don't-monkey-with-me" look about him. "Say, young feller, what's the name of yer dog?" said a baggage smasher, as Kit came up. "Satan." "He looks it; but will you sell him?" "Yes." "Fer how much?" "Ten thousand dollars might buy him, then again it mightn't." "Does yer take me for Mister Rocky feller ?' "No, I guess you don't trot in the same class." "No, Rockyfellar's got more boodle than I has, but I has got less worry countin' my money." "I guess you have, and more peace of n.ind, !OO. Come, Satan." "How big is that dog, weight, height and length?" called out another baggage man who put on the air of a man who knows all about clogs. "He weighs one hundred and fifty-five pounds, is six feet, three inches from tip to top, and is just thirty-two inches high." "I'll bet he hain't." "Measure him then." "Not on yer life." "Get on the scales, Satan." The dog did so and his weight was a trifle over what Kit had said. "Now hold out his tail while I measure him." "Young feller, does yer take me fer a fool?" "I thought you were curious to know about my dog." "I am, but I isn't curious enough to take chances to find out." Kit laughed and measured the dog with a tape measure handed to him. The measurements were exact. "If I'd waited half an hour he would have weighed three pounds more," said Kit. "I can't see it." "I am going to give him his breakfast, and it will be three pounds of beef." "Don't get funny, young feller, 'cause I spanks sassy kids." "Did you hear what he said, Satan?" The dog's answer was a bark that sent the baggage smashers chasing themselves out of the room. Kit and went on his way, Satan close at his heels. Going to a restaurant, Kit ate a good breakfast and fed Satan so generously that had the railroad men seen what he disposed of they would have decided that three pounds was far from the limit. Buying a morning paper, Kit took the Illi nois Central out to Hyde Park, Satan winning combined awe and admiration from all who saw the noble brute. Leaving the train at Fiftieth street, the boy and dog set off at a brisk walk along the lake shore. Coming to a small, one-story cottage in a
6 SHIELD WEEKLY .. large yard, and with a tall flathouse a hundred yards away the nearest neighbor, Kit said, as he went in: "Here we are at our little home again, Satan, after having been gone over six weeks." The dog gave a low whine as though he was glad to get back, and opening the front door with a double pass-key, Kit passed in, Satan at his heels. There were but four rooms in the house, three on one side of the hall, a fourth back of it, and they were not uncomfortab!y fur nished, the one in front as a living-room, the next a bedchamber and the rear one a combination kitchen and: .dining-room, the fourth being closed up. Upon the walls of each room were un framed paintings and charcoal and pencil sketches. The dog halted rn the rear room and was looking fixedly at a large red stain on the floor. "You have r1ot forgotten what made that stain, Satan, have you? "Well, we must try and clean it away, though I have heard that human blood will never wash out of wood. "No one has been here since we left, Sa tan, and I guess if anybody had in the ghost of the burglar you killed here would have scared him away; but now I am going to leave you in charge again, for I've got work to do, being as I am a detective now, as you are also, for the detective chief said soyes, you are to be Satan, the Dog Detective. "I'll tell yon all about it when I come back, and I'll bring plenty to eat, too," and, patting the dog's head, Kit Keen locked the door and walked rapidly back to the railroad station. On his ride downtown he read what the papers had to say of the "murder" the night before, and the escape of those who were with the man who bad been left dead on the pavement. Getting out of the train at the station near est the scene of his midnight adventure, Kit walked to the spot, to find there a curious crowd gazing morbidly at the place of the rescue and tragedy and expressing their views of the very mysterious affair. The young sleuth picked up every word and opinion as he mingled with the crowd, learned that the house toward which he had seen the two men carrying the girl was the home of a poor widow and her son, the latter being the one \Yho had been, as was said, murdered almost at his own door. "I've learned something, at least, from them, though they know nothing about it." muttered the young ferret, as he wended his way to the detective headquarters. CHAPTER IV. KIT SHOWS HIS HAND. It was just noon when Kit Keen entered the private room of the detective chief, who geeted him with: "Hello, my young sleuth, the superintend ent of police has just been here to talk over that killing last night." "Did yon tell him anything, si.r ?" "No, for I let him do the talking, and kept what you know back, at least for the pres ent." "What does he think, sir?" "He does not know just how to place it, for he thinks the woman in the case got one man to kill the other and they drove off to ge}her in the buggy, which the police found where you left it." "Yes, sir." "It was hired by the fellow you kH!ed-i mean who shot himself in your strnggle with him, for the livery stable man came down and identified the body, who was the good-for-
SHIELD WEEKLY. nothing son of the poor woman before whose house the affair happened." "Anything else, sir?" "Yes, the coroner's jury reported it a kill ing by a party, or parties unknown, for no one seems to be just sure that a fourth per son-yourself-\ ad a hand in the scuffle, and the dead man is now in his mother's house, while she bewails his end and praises him in the highest terms." "Yes, sir, though others say he was a very bad man and abused his mother." "That he was, for my men have so reported to me." "And what else do they report, sir?" "Very little, for the whole thing is regarded as a most mysterious affair." "Where are Detectives Lampton and Pierson, sir?" "Both away on an out-of-town case." "And Detective William Danvers and Dave Keepe, sir?" "They are here, and splendid men." "Yes, sir, and may have to call on them for help in this case, for I've got an idea of my own that I wish to run down." ; "You can have them, Kit; but no one re-gards the girl in the case as the young lady who was kidnapped, but take the idea that Saul Bent, the dead man, was killed by the one who escaped." "Yes, sir, but I know different and I'm going to show you my hand and ask your . advice." "You'll get it, Kit, for all it is worth; but wait till I write you down on my books-you and your pard." "What pard, sir?" "Satan." "Oh, yes, and told him he was right in with me," and Kit enjoyed the chief's joke in placing his highly-prized dumb companion on the rolls of the secret corp 's. The names were duly written down, Kit signing for both himself and Satan-"in the absence of the latter"-he said, and the names were written in a well-fo rmed style. "Now, Kit," said the chief, when the two were once more alone together, ''I wish to say right now that though you are young in years, your eventful life has given you much experience, and I have every confidence in your courage, and nerve to make a splendid. ferret. "In your own case, a few months since, when you came to me and boldly told me your story of how a man dying with con sumption had committed suicide in such a way as to have you suspected of murdering him, because he had wronged you and yonrs, and said that you could prove your innocence, Y()U did so in spite of everything pointing to your guilt, while his servant, who aided him in the plot, is now in prison, and his, the servant's ally in crime, your dog Satan killed when he broke into your little home. "Under such trying circumstances you showed yourself a born sleuth, and, now that you come to me, I feel that I am making no mistake in putting you at once on duty as the youngest detective of the for ce. "And more my young friend, you come to me again with a case of your own, for, no sooner do you arrive in Chicago, than you have one cut and dried for you-rescue a young girl, get away with o_ne villian and hold the key to the situation which neither my ferrets or the police can unlock. "Now, young man, state your case, or, as you put it just now, show }"Ol:lr hand." Kit Keen had listened attentively to what the chief said to him, not a muscle of his hard-to-read countenance changing. But when told by the chief to "show his hand" he said, in his v ery matter-of-fact way: "First, sir, that girl is a lady, her father is rich and she says she was kidnapped, and I believe her."
8 SHIELD WEEKLY. "Yes." "The man, Saul Bent, who was killed in the struggle with me, was a crook of the worst kind, and his mother knows it, for the girl was being taken to her house to be kept in hiding." "You are doubtless right." "The other man, on whose head I dropped the weight of my grip, and who escaped, was not of the Saul Bent kind, wicked though he might be." "Granted." "The girl kept her full name from me, was afraid to go to court-her cry wa s that she did not want to be found out-and I believe, though I may be wrong, that she knows who her kidnapper was." "Ah! I believe you have struck it, Kit! Now, what more?" "I shall manage to see both Mrs. Bent and that girl, sir, for I wish to get upon the trail of the man who escaped, for then we will corral the outfit." "You are on the right track, so go in and win," said the chief, earnestly. CHAPTER V. KIT KEEN IN DISGUISE. Having laid his ropes to suit himself, Kit Keen set to work in his own energetic way. He was most anxious to have his plans come out right, as any discovery that other ferrets or the police might make to implicate him in the matter, he kn ow would cause him to be regarded as the slayer of the man, Saul Bent, and this he had no intention of allowing if he could prevent it. Kit did not" wish to bring the girl, Florence, into the mixup if he could avoid it; but he must not, to protect her, allow the ringleader of the kidnappers to escape. His duty was to find the man who escaped, and unearth the plot. So Kit returned first to his little home. Satan welcomed him at the door, and set his tail to wagging briskly as he saw that his young master carried a large basket well filled with bundles. The boy's first work was to clean house, and he worked hard to scour out the blood stain upon the kitchen fl(X)r,)rnt in vain. He soon had all in order, cooked supper for himself and Satan, and then the two went out for a walk, Kit to get all the papers and see just what they had to report on the Saul Bent killing case. Kit retired early, after reading the various accounts, and, to his surprise, though Satan had his rug in the kitchen and had always slept there, he insisted upon lying down close by his master's cot. "Hullo, Satan, what's the matter with you? I really believe you are afraid you'll see the ghost of that burglar you chewed up. You are a nice dog, you are, to get scared the first night you are a what ails you?" and Kit was surprised to hear Satan give voice to a long, loud, dismal howl. "Shut that death-music up or you'll scare me," cried Kit. But the dog moved about nervously and went into the kitchen. Kit at once arose and followed him, and Satan bounded toward the outer door with a fierce growl. Instantly moving feet were heard, and looking out of the window Kit saw two men run rapidly by a distant street lamp. "You know your business, Satan, for it was live men you knew were a:bout, not the burglar's ghost. "Somebody wanted to see us, so we must watch sharp in the future; but I guess they have gone for to-night." So saying, Kit returned to his cot and Sa tan took his place upon the rug in the kitchen. There was no more disturbance that night,
SHIELD WEEKLY. 9 and by eight o'clock the next morning the boy had had his breakfast and was gone. He had made a careful toilet, but not of his usual kind, for he was the very picture of a street urchin, ragged, soiled-face, with a wig of red hair and with a complete change from the Kit Keen the chief had seen the day be fore. He strolled along, a shoe-blacking outfit swung over his shoulders, but took the cable car clown Cottage Grove avenue until he reached Fortieth street, where he jumped off and made his way to the handsome home of the girl he had rescued from the kidnappers. It was Kit's purpose, since he suspected that the girl knew who her kidnapper was, to learn what he could about her. Strolling by the house he spied a gardener in the yard. Here was a chance, if he could strike up an acquaintance with the gardener. The gardener was working close to the fence now, and Kit, approaching him, ex claimed lightly: ''Dose are peachy flowers youse raisin' in dere, ain't dey?" The looked up and rested his arms on his rake. He didn't know whether to be amused or provoked at the young boot black's remark. Something about Kit's appearance mu st have struck him favorably, because his next remark was: "I suppose you're an expert in botany, ch?" "Naw, I don't monkey wid no greenhouse posies, but I knows a well-kept garden when I sees it." The man seemed pleased wjth the compli ment and amused at the boy, and approached the fence where Kit stood. He rather welcomed a little relief from the monotony of his work, and something about the boy led him to want to talk to him. Kit saw this and proceeded to flatter the old fellow and praise his garden up to the sky "Oh, these ain't nothing," the gardener was saying after one of Kit's outbursts, "ye ought to see the bed of chrysanthemums I'm a raisin' over yonder, by the summer-house!" "Let me see 'em, will yer? I'll bet de' re out o' sight." The next minute he was over the fence and the old gardener was leading him toward the summer-house. They had scarcely reached it when a young lady came out of the house with a large basket on her am1 and a pair of shears in her hand. She was coming down to the garden to clip some flowers. She started on seeing a young bootblack with the gardener. As yet the gardener did not see her, but Kit did, and he decided instantly that she \Yas the one he had rescued two nights be fore. Presently the gardener saw the young lady, only to notice her beckoning to him. Leaving the bootblack he went to her. what he said to her must have been about Kit, for he soon returned and remarked: "Miss Florence wants to talk to you, young feJler." "What's up?" exclaimed Kit. "Is she mashed on me? Hully gee! Mebbe I ain't in it!" "You go over to her and she'Jl tell you what she wants." "But tell me the name of the Jeddy so I kin interdooce myself." "Miss Florence." "What are her sassiety handle, fer I doesn't git familiar on a short acquaint." "Miss Florence Crandall." "I doesn't remember to hev met her m sassiety; but she kin tell me," and Kit made his way to where the young lady stood.
10 SHIELD WEEKLY. There was no mistaking her-she was the young girl he had rescued. She was young, scarcely nineteen, and had a very attractive face. Clearly she was a petted child of fortune. Her face was pale, there were dark rings under her eyes, and she "' ore an anxious ex pression, that Kit did not fail to see. He took off his old slouch hat, bowed awkwardly and said: "The flower guy yonder said as how yer wanted me, miss." "Yes, I wish to send an important note, and do not care to give it to the servants here. Will you take it if I pay you well, and let no one see you do so?" "Will a mouse eat cheese, miss? You bet yer sweet face I'll do it, an' mum's the word." "Very well, when you leave here wait on the corner two blocks above for me, and I will bring it to you." "I'll be rooted to the spot, miss, until you gits there," and Kit hastened back to the gardener, told him Miss Crandall had an er rand for him, and passed out of the garden. "I guess I've made a ten-strike," the boy sleuth muttered, as he walked away from the millionaire's home. CHAPTER VI. KIT GETS A "POINTER." It was some time before Florence Cran dall joined Kit, and she seemed nervous and her eyes showed tbat she had been crying. "There may be an answer, but I don't know, and I hope there is not, but if there should be I want you to bring it to me." "All right, miss "Here is a couple of dollars for you, and remember, you must not tell about this note, for it is a secret." "Yes, miss ; I was born tongue-tied, an' I thanks yer." "Drop in to see the gardener again in the 'morning about this hour, for I may have something else for you to do; and, as I be long to the King's Daughters, you may have a mother, or some one else I can be of assist ance to." "Ther King's Daughters is them as runs kids like me into Sunday-school and has ther gospil sharps pray with 'em, ain't they, miss?" Florence Crandall laughed in spite of her self at Kit's idea of the uses of her society, and said: "Well, yes, and they do much good, too, in helping the poor, and I believe you crnn help me in my work." "Oh, I'm a worker from way back, miss, when I sets in ter do it," and Kit walked "away as brisk as a messenger boy just starting out on an errand with a fee in hand. After he had turned the corner he glanced at the letter he carried. He was surprised to see that it was un sealed. In her nervousness Florence Crandall had left it open. Then Kit looked at the address. rhe name was : "MR. HARVEY WILBUR," and the address was a sparsely-settled street running from the lake across to Prairie ave nue. "Hully gee!" he exclaimed. "Here's a graft. Watch me get next to what's in this letter." Making his way into a lumber yard, Kit found a hiding place, and sat down to read the note. It was written in a bold, though feminine, hand, and the address and date had been left off purposely. What Kit read was this: You won me under false pretenses, for I lo-red a different man from the one I now know you to be.
SHIELD WEEKLY. 11 I thanked God you showed the cloven hoof be-. fore it was too late for me 'to save myself. 'When you saw that my eyes were being opened to your true character, you waited no longer to reveal yourself in your true color. Then I broke with you, glad of my escape, and believed all was ended between u s Then your dastardly plot followed, for. taking ad,antage of the ab s ence of my parents for a few days, you implored an interview, and, fool that I was, it was granted. I remember the box of drugge d candy you urged me to accept One of them O\'ercame my senses, and I returned to cons6ousness only to know that you had carried me from my home, that I was in your power, and that you were carrying out the threat you once made that I should one day become your wife by fair means or foul. I was saved by a youth who had the coura g e to count on odds in helping a wom a n and the tool you hired to aid you lo s t his life, while you e s caped. The papers are at fault, the police can find out nothing, and well for you it is thus or my father would quickly punish your crime toward me. Go your way and remember if you cross my path again, I will betray the secret of Saul Bent's death, which my rescuer has kept hidden, for my sake and his own. Be warned, for no explanation to me can ever atone for your crime of taking me from my home. With hatred deeper than the love I once held for you. F. C. "Jeewil1ikins !" exclaimed Kit, when he had read this letter. After this favorite expression of his he read it again. "Well, women are foiks, and no mistake. "I am not old enough to know much about ,love affairs, but if this letter don't tell two stories, I can't read, for she tells him to git, and then says he can't explain his condud, and that means: 'If you ca11, just hustle yourself to get back to see me.' "I guess I'm onto the deal now, and I've got Harvey Wilbur down fine, for he is the boss kidnapper, and may have to explain his midnight runaway with his girl to the police. "Now to have a look at th e gent." With this free-and-easy way of looking at love affairs and things in general, Kit Keen \ V e nt on his way until he turned into the street w h ere t h e one he sought d\>velt. Ther e was a l arge factory upon one block, a paper mill upon the other, and a few resi dences. Upon one side of the street were several shops, and in their rear a large, square storage warehouse, completely fenced in. In front of this warehouse was a threestory brick building the lower floor of which was used as a real estate office, the two above apparently as living rooms, for there was a hallway entrance to them. Over the door was the sign : "HARVEY WILBUR & Co., "Real Estate Agents." Through the open door Kit saw the face of Mr. Harvey Wilbur. It was the face of the kidnapper of Florence Crandall. CHAPTERiVII. PLAYING TO WIN. There were two clews by which Kit Keen knew his man. First he had gotten a fair view of the one upon whose head he had brought down his traveling-bag two nights before. He had seen a tail well-formed man, with eyeglasses and wearing a frock coat. Then, too, he had caught a glimpse of a mustache and side whiskers-altogether a very styli s h-looking man The one he now saw fi'tted that description. There was then the s e c ond reason for a recognition, and that was the fact that the man, now bare head e d, had s t rips of adhesive extending from his forehead up into his hair. 'That is my mark," said Kit, and he took in tl1e situation more closely It was a pleasant office, well-furnished, and a door opened to other rooms in the rear. There was no other occupant in the room. and he was bus}' reading th e papers. a num ber lying on the floor about his desk. ''Some docror has mended his cracked head
1.2 SHIELD WEEKLY. and he's at his office, scared to death for fear he may be found out. I'll give him a shock. "Mr. Wilbur!" Kit blurted out the name in a startling rr:anner and it brought the man to his feet. The boy noticed that the face of the man had paled suddenly. "Shine yer boots, Mr. Wilbur?" softly said Kit. "Hang it, no! I was asleep and you startled me." "I gits scared same way when I is thinking deep; but lemme shine yer shoes, sir?" "No, get out:" "I has a letter fer you, mister-one yer heart aches fer." He held up the letter. "If you have a letter for me, why didn't you say so?" he said. "Yer didn't give me time, an' I wanted to see first that nobody was lookin', for this is important, this is.'1 "Give it to me." "Is yer Mr. Wilbur?" "Yes.'' "Mr. Harvey Wilbttr ?" "Yes, I told you." "Excuse me, but I has ter be particular, I does." "Boy, if you have a letter for me give it to me and I'll reward you.'' "I ain't no fool ter give a letter to the wrong feller, when a pretty gal sends it, fer I know my business." "I rather think you do," and the man forced a laugh. "Sit down an' I'll shine 'em up while you reads yer letter from yer dovie-dove." The man muttered an oath, sat down and put out his foot in a resigned and Kit handed him the letter. He had sealed it, however. He put more blacking on Harvy Wilbur's fancy socks, however, than on his shoes, in his desire to watch the man as he read the letter. But Wilbur did not seem to know what \.vas going on about him and read the letter with white face and set teeth. He read it twice; then a third time The last time he seemed to get more consolation out of it than before, and muttered so that Kit heard the words: "She has dismissed me for good-not much. The game can be played again and to a finish; but not now." "Yes, boss, I has finished 'em, sir; but you has hurted yer head bad; been held up, I guess." "No, I stooped down in the dark last night and hit my head on the corner of a table." "My, but that was bad," and Kit looked the picture of sympathy. "Where did you get this letter?" "She gave it to me." "Who?" "Miss Florrie." "You know her, then?" "In course I does, and she knows me ; that's the cause why she trusts me." "I am sure you can be trusted, as you proved that before giving the letter to me. Can you take one to her?" "Kin I ? You see me, don't yer ?" "Yes, you are plainly in sight and hearing as well." "Then you sees ther kid as kin take a letter toyer sweetness." "Give it into her hands only and, when you bring me an answer, I will give you five dollars." 'Spose she fergits ter write?" "But she will write." 'Spose she sends it by mail?" "But she will not." "I'll take the letter." Wilbur at once turned to his desk and began to write, while Kit Keen began to take a very close scrutiny of the premises. At last, as he saw Wilbur take up an en velope, he approached him, and the moment the letter was given him he darted away with it: "I'll see yer later.'' CHAPTER VIII. "YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE." The haste of the boy sleuth in leaving the office of Harvey Wilbur was for one purpose-to get that letter open before the en velope dried perfectly. He had his knife open in his pocket. and
SHIELD WEEKLY. 13 the back of the blade was put to work as he walked rapidly along. He was successful in opening the envelope without tearing it, and he held it open until he came to the lumber pile where he had read the letter from Florence Crandall. He took his same seat in a good hiding place, and said : "Now to see what he says." He read the letter very carefully and it was as follows: A beggar at the gate of mercy asks you to forgive. It was madness, for my love for you is a madness, that drives me to crime, and it was crimi nal in me to attempt to force you into a secret marriage with me. I failed, and I thank God, now that reason has come back to me, that I did, for you are free and I am in despair, for I have lost your respect, if not your love I know all my guilt; that I am the cause of a life having been taken. and. even more to me, your unhappiness. The police have not discovered our secret-yours and mine-for the one who aided me is dead. Who was your rescuer I know not, and, doubtless, for reasons of his own, he is keeping hidden, for he certainly has not told his story to the police. If you know, please tell me, so I can guard, at least, my safety, as I feel, for the sake of the love you once he!<;! for me, you do not care to see me in prison. Perhaps, for your sake, he is keeping the secret and not for himself. He has certainly left his mark on me in the blow he gave me, for I'll bear the scar to my grave. I ask you to write me one line, to say to me that you will not tell your parents, or make this terrible thing public and that you will forgive me, even though you cast me off forever. What will you do? "Answer by the boy, for he is a bright fellow and faithful, I feel sure, or you would not have trusted him. Ever yours only, H. W. "Now, if I am any judge, that is a very neat letter for a villain to write. It's the let ter, too, that will ruin that girl again-if I don't open her eyes; and that is what I intend to do. Now I'll seal it and take it to her, and if I've done wrong in reading it, I'm pretty sure it will all come out right in the wash, as they say. "Now--!" The word ended in an exclamation, for a blow dealt at him with a heavy stick struck a plank above him, glanced and fell upon his shoeblack's box, hung on his shoulder, and smashed it to kindling wood. As it was, the force of the blow toppled Kit over on his back. "Give me that money yer hes stole an' is countin' here, or I'll knife yer, young feller!" This was not pleasant for Kit to hear. That the man who made the threat meant it, Kit saw at a glance. He never had seen a worse face that he remembered. But he did not take time to size the man up. He knew that he had been seen to enter the lumber pile, and, it was supposed, to count over money he had stolen. A man with such a face could not feel, if he had been counting his money, that he l:ad gotten it in any way save by theft. Kit saw in the man a tramp of the vilest kind, and supposed the lumber pile was his hiding place. There was no one within call of his voice. Kit had to take care of himself or suffer the consequence. He thought of the letter he had, with the address on. it, and the harm its possession by the man might assume. All his past life came to his mind on the instant, and he remembered a former occa sion, when he had been nearly killed while shadowing a man in a gambling joint. He .had gone into a gambling den, disguised as a young sport, and, with his coat thrown one side, appeared to be deeply engaged in the game. On that occasion he had been as saulted by one of the habitues with a deal box, with the intent of robbery, and his faithful dog, Satan, had nearly killed the man who assaulted him. The remembrance of this now flashed through Kit's mind, together with other thoughts. Only a second of time really had gone by, but the boy was nerved to action. His heart did not quail, and he was ready for what might come when he said: "You'll knife me-nit." "Give me yer money, then, or I'll knife yer," and the man drew a long, ugly-looking knife to add force to his threat. Kit did not need this to prove what the man's intention was, as had the blow he had dealt not been warded off, it would have crushed his skull like an egg. The man wanted money, and he would kill to get it. This Kit Keen realized. He had no money to be robbed of, and he had no life to give at the demand of an as sassin.
14 SHIELD WEEKLY. He lay back upon the lumber and watched his enemy. The tramp had made known his wish; also his intention if it was not yielded to. A life to him was nothing, so long as it was not his own. Money t o him was everything. So he determined to take what was not given up, for he was fully convinced that Kit had b ee n counting ill-gotten gains. He therefore sprung forward, his ugly lmife uplifted. It was descending in a hand that would drive it to the hilt, when the young detective acted, and with that cat-like quickness natural to him There was a sharp report and the knife dropped from a dead man's hand, while the body fell heavily forward upon the boy, the hideous face, with its still, staring eyes, rest m g upon Kit's shoulder. CHAPTER IX. 'i l E B Y SLEUTH SENDS A TELEPHONE MESSAGE. Kit Keen was fairly frightened. All had come upon him so suddenly. In a moment his own life had been in daa g e r, and to save it he had taken that of anoth er. He s hoo k off the body of the man, and it f ell with a dull thud in a heap between the piles of b oar ds Kit then rallied quickly. If the pi s tol s hot was heard and help came what excuse could he offer to clear himself? If searched, Harv e y Wilbur's letter would be found' upon him. He must not be caught there, and so he dropped down betvveen the piles of lumber, found that he could force himself through a narrow space to an opening beyond, and he did. He was not a moment too soon, for run ning feet and voices were heard. The shot had given the alarm, and men ran to tl}e spot whence the sound had come. Kit reaiched the opening at the other side of the lumber pile just as the cries told him that the dead body of the tramp had been found. No one saw him drop down into the street outside of the lumber yard, and, cool as an icicle now, he walked along to the drive way he had first turned into, and was soon with the crowd of workmen, hastening to the spot whe_re lay the dead tramp. As a detective, Kit felt it his duty to get what outside information he could of the kill ing, and keep still about what he could tell. "A poor devil has kilt hissef in the lumber pile," said one. "Guess he were starvin'," said another. "A mon, afther havin' a f ojo face on 'im loike th et, is no loss." "He's done blowed his brains out." "No, he got it in the neck, don't yez see?" "Don't tech him, for the cowroner has got to sit on him." "Divil a bit cares I to be afther toochin' the loikes o' that." So the comments ran until a police officer arrived, clubbed his way through the crowd 1 and dragged the body out into open spaice. Another police officer then searched the lumber and found the tramp's knife. Kit also saw the officers search the body and discover a couple of gold watches, a pocketbook and some bills. "It was not because he was hungry, but a regular crook, that made him jump me," murmured Kit, and he turned and walked away, no one present suspecting that a street arab, as the boy appeared to be, could tell the whole story of how the man died. "Its hard that I've got to be always mixed up in a killing," he muttered, as he walked along, for he felt it deeply. "'Another mysterious murder,' the papers will have it to-morrow, and the police will k roasted for not doing their duty, while, if an officer had been there, they'd have said he was taking a nap in the lumber pile. "Now, I've got to report this to the chief, that's certain; but, if I don't slow down on the killing pace I've struck the two days I've been in Chicago, I'll have to rent a graveyard to put my dead in. "I did not kill Saul Bent, though I suppose I was the caus.e of the pistol going off in the scuffle. "Well, I want no more of it, or I'll be hanged yet right here in Chicago."
SlilELD WEEKLY. 1 5 thus, Kit hurried on, for the sun was setting, and he was not long in reaching the vicinity of the Crandall home. Florence Crandall was on hand to meet him, for she had seen him coming, and met hirn'. .. You saw him?" she asked, anxiously. ''Yes, miss, I seen him." "And-how was he looking?" .. His face l ooked as tho' he'd been in a mill with Terry l\IcGovern, fer in course you kn ows he is ther champin--" "Was he hurt?'' "Well, he were banged up fer keeps, miss, about ther head ; but he were in his office, an' I give him a shine,' an' he give me this fer you." Florence Crandall grasped the letter, quick ly hid it, handed Kit a dollar, and \Vas turning away, when the boy said: "I'm on hand like a thumb, miss, when yer wants me." "Come to-morrow about this time," and she was off to read her letter, while Kit hastened to the nearest drug store to find a telephone. The clerk was surprised at the remark: "I wants ter use yer telly, ter call up my best girl." "You look it, don't you?" sneered the young clerk. "\Veil, that's what here fer, so don't git fresh, Sassafras." "Show me the price." "Just chop it off of that," and Kit handed him a five-dollar bill. "Where did you get this, young fellow?" "Just like you gets your extra tin-knocked it down from my boss, young Eggflip. Come, hand out the while I looks up th e number." The clerk watched him take the telephone book, run his eyes down the column, anxious to see him ring up. This he did, calling out in an affected tone: "Hello! hello! Is thet you, Miss Gertrood? What did you say ?-thet's not yer name? Excuse me, I thinkcd it was: but give me number five--:one-five-Randolph. Yes, the chief detective's office." Th e "hello girl" evidently had some com ment t o make at the other end of the wire, for Kit smiled, while the drug clerk stared and quickly changed the five-dollar bill, as though he thought the call might refer to him. "Is yer the detective chief?" asked Kit, after a moment's delay. The answer appeared to satisfy the young sleuth, for h e said: "This is me, and Mr. Keen told me ter tell yer he'd be at yer office at ten o'clock-yer un,derstand-Mr. Keen, and he says it's important." Kit got a satisfactory answer, and turned to the clerk with the remark: "Now I'll take my change and a cake of soap." "You don't look as though you ever used soap." "Yes, I does-I washes my puppy with itit's good fer pups-try some," and Kit winked one eye, picked out the soap he wished, and went out of the drug store singing: "Oh, mamma, buy me that." The drug clerk knew what it was he want ed bought for him, and a pretty girl in the store seemed to know als6, for she laughed. CHAPTER X. S A T A N 0 N G U A R D. Satan met l1is master at the door of his cottage, having recognized his footstep, and a blind man could have seen the deep affection that existed between the boy and his dog. "We'll have supper, Satan, and then I've got to go, but I won't stay long, I hope," said Kit, talking to the dog, as J1e always did, while the int elligent animal listened his head cocked on one side, as though he understood every word said to him. "There is more trouble, more killing, Sa tan, and I'm in it again, red-handed. "If you had been along it would not have happened, for Weary Willies are as afraid of a dog as they are of water, and if that hobo had seen you, he 'd been runing yet; but it is no joke, for I had to kill him." Satan growled to show his appreciation of Kit's act, and to express, as well as he could, that he had done the right thing. But there was a glare in his eyes that showed how much he would liked to have been there to sample the hobo Perhaps it was the remembranoe of t 11:1'
SHIELD WEE.KL Y. death scene there in the lumber pile that took away Kit's appetite, for he hardi ly tasted the supper he had cooked, and Satan got it all. Satan also did his share of housework by licking the dishes clean before they were washed, and standing near as though he ex pected Kit to wipe them by using his shaggy hide as a towel. Soon after the young ferret left his cot tage, peered about him cautiously, and saw from a distant electric light the shadow of a man standing close against a large tree, by which he would have to pass. He stepped back, quietly opening the door and whispered a call for Satan. "Don't hurt him, Satan, but catch himyonder, see!" The dog did see and bounded away just as the man started to run. Not a bark, or growl came from the dog as he drew close to the flying man, and, with a bound, was upon his shoulders. Down went the man hard, and Satan stood across him now, growling, as a warning not to move. The fellow was so badly frightened that he could not just then have gotten up. "I >vant you-get up and come with me," said Kit, quietly. "I hain't done nothin'," said the man, in a trembling voice. i'No, you didn't get the chance; but this is the second time you have been here, and I want to get better acquainted with you." "Let him get up, Satan." The man did get up, but with an effort, and Kit took a revolver from the man's pocket and led the way to the cottage. "Now I'll leave Satan to look after you until I get back; but if you attempt any mon key business with that dog, you will be a dead man sure." "You hain't goin' ter leave me here with that dog?" cried the man, in terrible fright. "Yes, for he won't hurt you if you sit in that chair; but don't try to leave it-that's all. Lie down there, Satan, and keep him from being lonesome." The dog laid down just in front of the man and fixed his eyes upon him. Kit took a good look at the man and seemed to make him out, for he said: "A crook from head to heels. I must know more about you." Again the man begged not to be left in the room with the dog, but Kit said, firmly: "That dog will not move !-lntil I get backunless you try to get away." With this the young ferret left the cottage, hastened to the Hyde Park station, and caught an express down to the city to keep his engagement with the chief. The chief was in his office when Kit entered, still in his disguise as a street gamin. "Well, sonny, what brings you here?" ''You don't know Kit then, sir?" "Holy smoke! it's my young sleuth! No, Kit, I did not know you at first, with that street arab's dress suit on, that red wig and your freckles-you are certainly a hard-looking citizen." "I'm getting to be, sir, for I've killed a man,'' and Kit sigihed. The chief sprang to his feet. "Has no report been made to you, sir, of a man found dead late this afternoon?" "Yes, a hobo in an uptown lumber yard. shot through the heart, by his own hand, it was supposed, for he was not robbed and had money and jewelry, no doubt stolen." "I shot him, sir." "You did?" "Yes, sir, for the police found no pistol there, so how could tit>e shoot himself?" "I give it up; but how was it, Kit? for the men reported him a tramp of the most vicious kind." "I will tell you the story from the start, sir, only this is my case, you said, so no one comes into it, or knows any secret, until I ask for aid." "All right, Kit; it's a dead secret between us." "I telephoned you it was important, and-" "I knew that it was you at the 'phone, not wishing to be known; but you have made a find?" "Yes, sir," and Kit told his story from his meeting Florence Crandall to the attack on him by the tramp, his return home and Sa tan's capture of a prisoner. "Kit, my boy, you are the boss of the force as a ferret, and you have done well; but this
SHIELD WEEKLY. 17 killing of the tramp must not be told as it was, and now you must hurry back home before that dog of yours eats up the man you have there and we have another secret to hide. By Jove! we will take a carriage, and I \\"ill go with you, for I am off for the night and I wish to have a look at Satan's prisoner -if he has not eaten him up. Had you fed him?" "Ah, yes, sir, Satan had his supper and mine, too," laughed Kit; and the two men were on their way to the home of the young sleuth, the chief extremely anxious about Sa tan and his prisoner. CHAPTER XI. THE KING OF CROOKS. The detective chief's home was well out to ward Hyde Park, and going in a carriage with Kit Keen, as he was known himself in the public eye, he did not care to be seen with the young detective, either in disguise or not. He wished to have Kit free from all sus picion that he was in any way connected with the secret service force, thus aiding him in his work. But, after the story Kit had told him of his deadly encounter with the tramp, the chief had decided to protect the young sleuth all in his power, and had gone to his desk and taken something from it before leaving his office. As they drove along, the chief said : "Kit, you are proving yourself so capable of doing a man's work. you have such good judgment and nerve when needed, I wish to protect you all in my power. "In the first place, I desire to have you know by sight many of my men. and yet not have them know you. "On Saturday there is to be. a meeting at headquarters, and many of the men will be there, and I want you also; but you are to be in another room, at a secret window, where you can see, study faces, and not be yourself seen. "The hour will be ten, and you come be fore, and I will place you. "To further protect you, and enable you to call upon any of the corps when necessary, and have them answer promptly, here are two badges I wish you to wear. "One is a silver badge of membership of our corps, and gives you admittance any where. "The other is a gold badge, bearing the em blem of the superintendent of police, the chief of detectives and the chief of the United States Secret Service, and in the center the word-Obey. "Pin them on, the first under your coat-collar and the other on the inside of your vest, and let me tell you that the latter is worn by but very few of my men-William Lampton, Perry 'Pierson, William Danvers and Dave Keefe being among the few." Kit felt as proud as a peacock at this great trust in him shown by the detective chief, and pinned the badges on with delight showing in every feature. He asked many questions as to duty, the exact power and uses of the badges and many more that the chief was glad to have him fully understand. At last the carriage drew up where Kit had told the driver to stop--before the large flathouse around the corner from his home, and where it would attract no attention. This precaution of Kit's the chief noted, especially as the young detective said: "The driver need not know where I live, sir." Telling the driver to go and get a cigar and drink with the quarter he gave him, and then return and wait, the chief and Kit waited until he drove off, and then went around to the cottage. "Kit." "Yes, sir " I have not forgotten the terrible sight I saw here the night your dog killed Dick Crouch, the counterfeiter crook. It haunts me yet." "You'll find my prisoner all right sir, un l ess he has tried to get away." "And if so?" "He'll be there yet-but dead," was the grim reply of the young sleuth. Kit opened the outer, then the inner door with his pass-keys, but Satan was not there to meet him.
18 SHIELD WEEKLY. "Where is the dog?'' asked the chief, anxiously. "On guard, sir, or he would have met me at the door." They passed into the hall, and th e re saw the prison e r, white as a ghost, still in the chair with Satan lying at his feet, just as Kit had left him. "My God, young fellow, is it you? It seems you have been gone for weeks, for never did I suffer such torture," and the pris oner no longer spoke in the dialect of the tough characters. He was utterly colorless and his face had a drawn expression that revealed how' he had suffered. The chief stood in the shadow of the hall and the man did not see him; but he saw the man' s face and knew him. Kit stepped o ver to the table and laid his revolver there. It was a large calibre, self-cocking, five shooter the same with which the boy -had killed the tramp that afternoon. The man glanced quickly at the weapon, and as Satan had been relieved from duty and had' gone out into the hall to interview the chief, the moment the young sleuth also turned to follow him the man grasped the weapon, leveled it full at Kit's back and pulled the trigger. But though he pulled the trigger, rapidly, once, twice and up to five times there was only the click of steel meeting steel-there was no report. Kit turned quickly and laughed, while the chi e f had drawn his weapon to frre. But Kit stood between him and his in tended human target and he dared not fire. The .voung sleuth s e emed to have known as much, for he called out: "Don't shoot, chi ef! My gun is not load e d." The prisoner uttered a groan and sank down in his chair, the weapon falling from his hand. He now saw the chief, and, worse still, Satan came back toward him, with teeth glistening like steel guns on the broadside of a battleship. "Stop, Satan!" The order came none too soon, for the dog's hot breath \.\'aS almost in the man's face. He had heard the clicking of the revolver, had seen the man standing up and felt that it was time for action. "It is all right, sir, for he just did what I expected, for I threw the cartridges out qf my gun and placed it there in reach, while 1 called Satan away. "He thought he held trumps and played a quick and desperate game to drop me with a shot in the back, then kill Satan and have things all his own way. V../e didn't know you \\ere hiding in the hall." "Well, Kit, he played his cards and lost the game, and more, I know him and his record," said the chief, and he added: "You have caught the King of Crooks." CHAPTER XII. THE BITER BITTEN. The young sleuth s face flushed with de light when he heard the words of the de tective chief. He had not make a mistake, then, in having Satan run down the man who had be e n shadowing his home, as he feared he might have done. Tbe man whom the chief had designated the King of the Crooks seemed to have lost his nerve, after his two hours' wait under Satan's eye, and his failure to kill Kit Keen and the dog, when escape and revenge seemed within his grasp, for he knew that he was a dead shot with the revolver, and could have dropped both with ease. The sight of the great detective chief, whom he well knew by sight, also aided in giving his nerves a shake. So he sat there livid-faced and quivering. "I am glad you know him, sir, and that I have not dorie wrong." "You stick to the right track wonderfully well, Kit. You could not go wrong in protecting yourself from one who has twice been shadowing you, and perhaps oftener when you were not aware of it. You have caught a prize in this man." said the chief, "and won a reward offererL both by the Government and the city of Chicago, for you have heard of Al King, the counterfeiter?"
SffiELD WEEKLY. 19 "Yes, sir, often." "This is your man." "Al King?" "Yes." "I was told that he had as many names as he has disguises, and when twice captured had escaped from prison." "Yes; he bought his way out with counter feit money. In some way he got hold of it in prison, through his brother, it was said, who visited him disguised as a preacher once, and as a lawyer another time, to take testimony regarding some case he knew about; but he escaped twice, and we have not been able to catch him, though you have done the trick very neatly and fith dispatch." "I am very glad of it, sir." "Not more sothan I am, my boy. But I can tell you more about your prisoner." "What's that, sir?" "It is a strange thing that he was captured just where his brother lost his life." "His brother?" "Yes, and by your dog, Satan." "I don't underst and, sir." "That fellow there, under the. name now of Doc Reynolds, for he was a doctor, but pre pare
20 SHIELD WkEKLY were full of the "recent lawless deeds" done in Chicago. The "Saul Bent murder," as it was called, was being still worked on, with "roasting," as usual, for the police and detective force for not finding the murderer, though all admitted that the killing of Bent was indeed, a service to the city. The "Murder of the Tramp in the Lumber Yard" was also written up, and the breezy writers of the press, the never-to-be-downed reporters, had asked the reading public a few hard questions. "How could a man be shot with a knife, for a bullet wound had killed him, and yet only a knife had been found by the body?" "If a suicide where was the pistol with which life had been taken?" "If killed for his money, why had it not been taken ?" "Who was he ?" These questions remained unanswered, greatly to Kit Keen s satisfaction. The young sleuth was glad, also, to see that the found on the dead man, and other things, had been claimed by the owners, who recognized the dead man as the one who had robbed them. In this case, also, Kit saw that the city had been a gainer by the mysterious death of the tramp. Kit noticed that nothing was said of the capture of Doc Reynolds. As the time had come for his visit, Kit wandered in the direction of Mrs. Bent's home. Her evil son had been buried in the morn ing, with, of course, a large crowd of "mourners, who attended from morbid curiosity, and the was alone, she having dis missed the old woman gossips who would have liked to talk over the sad affair with her. She was both tired and in a bad humor when Kit knocked at the door. "Who be there?" "A young feller." "What does yer want at this time o' night?" It was jusit eight o'clock, but Kit said, in nocently: "I knows it's late, missus, but I has a letter fer ye." "Who is it from?" "A pal o' Saul's," and Kit felt that he was getting along fast as a young liar; but he ex cused it on the plea of duty in that case. "What's his name?" "Sh--! I'll tell yer-lemme in, missus, fer its got ter be looked to." Mr's. Bent took a close look up and down the street and then opened the door, while Kit glided in as quickly as a house cat. The boy put his fingers on his lips and Jed the way to the back room, where there was a bright light. The woman followed, eyed him closely, seemed satisfied that he was a "bad one, and said: "Give me ther ftter." Kit handed her the one he had himself written. "Who is it writ it?" "Sh--, read it." "I haven't my glasses on; but yer say its a friend of Saul's?" "The gent who was in ther muss with him ther other night, missus." Mrs. Bent quickly found her glasses, put them on and tore open the letter in a wa y that showed she was not used to by mail or hand. Kit watched hei: as a cat would a mouse CHAPTER XIV. KIT SETS A TRAP. Mrs. Bent regarded the letter, when open, in a way that convinced Kit that she did not know any too much about r,eading. She then asked : "Who be you, young man?" "The fellers calJ me Sammy Shine-em-up, missus." '"\Nhere is yer livin' home?" "Ther street; but I know'd yer poor son Saul, missus," and Kit wiped his eyes on his sleeve. "They all liked Saul, but he were not a good son ter me, save when he wanted ter help himself." "I know it all, fer I was with 'em t'other night. hut lay low, yer bet." "Did yer see Saul kilt?" "Yes, missus
SHIELD WEEKLY. 21 "Who kilt him?" "There were a feller as run in when ther gal piped up, an' he an' Saul hed it rough an' tumble an' yer son's gun goes off an' thet ends it." "Why didn't ther gent help my son?" "Well, yer sees, ther same feller hit him a dig on ther brain-pan thet knocked him out, an' the gal skipped off in the hearse with her reskooer-see? an' ther gent dug dirt, too, fer ther cops was blowin' ther whistles an' things was gettin' hot, I tell yer, so I skooted, too, an' on'y Saul got it in ther neck." "Well, it were a pity." "Yes, missus, fer ther was good money in it fer you, I guess." "How does yer know?" "Oh, I hain't no born fool, if I is young, an' I knows that this gent put up ther job ter kidnap ther pretty gal, an' Saul got ther boodle ter help him in ther game, while you was ter be a mother to ther young Jeddy." It was a bold break for the young detect ive to make, for some of it was guesswork ; but Kit was a bold youth, and ventured. He saw that he had hit the nail on the head, for the woman said nothing, and Kit went on: "It were sure to win, on'y thet strange fel ler run in an' broke up ther game; but ther gent has got him fixed with boodle, an' he hain't sayin' nuthin', as yer sees by ther papers." "An' ther gent hes got ter pay me big money fer my poor, dead boy." The woman wiped her eyes and so did Kit, who then said: "Better read ther letter, missus, an' see what it tells yer." "You read it, sonny, fer my eyes is blinded by weepin', an' you seems ter be in ther game." "You bet I is, an' in it ter stay, an' I'll see justice done yer, missus," and Kit read the letter in a whisper and very slowly, as fol lows: I mourn the death of your dear son, and will repay you well for his loss. No suspicion falls upon me and none on you, and I have bought off the one who did the deed. I wish the lady to go to your house on a certain night, in the care of some one you can tell me is true, some friend of your son, and you are to have the minister there to marry us. I will let Y
22 SHIELD WEEKLY. looked his record up, and he is said to be a well-to-do business man, a little wild, but there can be nothing found out against him." "He don t look right to me, sir, but I will soon know, for I intend to pay him a call, and also the young lady and she must give him the slip." "Yes, and doubtless will; but go in, Kit, and play y our cards t o \Yin in your own way, for I will back you and Detectives Danvers and Keefe are held ready for your call." "Thank you, sir," and Kit left headquarters and returned to his little home. CHAPTER XV. SATAN C HANGE S MASTERS. Kit Keen's thoughts were v ery busy as he went homeward after the int e rview with Mrs. Bent. He had made a discovery of importance, and one that greatly interested him. Mrs. Bent was as deep in crooked deeds as had been her son, in spite of her attempt to assume an air of innocence, appear to be a hard-'Working woman and keep up a show of sha
SHIELD WEEKLY. 23 "\Vhen will she write?" "Soon 's she gits over considerin', an' I is ter bring ther letter ; but you is not ter write her until you hears, as trouble might come of IL. I tells yer that letter jist teched her heart an' funny bone, fer she smiled until she weeped, an' weeped until she smole, jist ther same as if she were readin' po'try an' funny jokes." "I am glad she was pleased," and the man's eyes were upon Satan as he stood in the door way. "Is that your dog?" "It's my bruther-ther only kin I has got." "\,\'hat's his name?'' "Satan." "The devil of a name for a dog." "That's what-but it goes." "\\'here did you get him?" "Stole him." "You young thief." "That's what." "What will you take for him?" "Does yer take me fer one of them Bible guys thet sold their bruther acause he wore a spotted coat an' they bed none? No sir, Sa tan is not fer sale." ''I'll make it a hundred." "It don't fetch; but I'll tell yer what I'll do, boss." "Well?" "I'll lend him ter yer fer a time, until I gits a roost of my own, fer ther cops is a thinkin' I stole him." "Good! Is he kind?" "No bull-terrier is more kinder; but yer hes dandy rooms here, and I knows Satan will be 0. K.; but maybe yer don't want no young feller 'bo.ut my size an' age ter keep yer from bein' lonesome." The man was silent a moment and then said: "Leave the dog_ now and he shall have good care, and I'll see later what I will do about taking you." Kit nodded his thanks, and said : "I'll jist whisper ter Satan not ter git homesick, seein' as I'll not be with him. D on't be cross with him, an' when yer feeds him, don't be stingy, fer he loves grub." I 'll remember your instructions, my boy," and a t Kit's suggestion, Harvey Wilbur went to the rear rooms and got something to eat for giving it to him himself. "Now, Satan, yer is ter live in this palaice fer a time, an' so behave yersef' like a dog gent, an' maybe I kin git here one day." Satan seemed to understand all that Kit said, and saw him depart, lying down on a rug as though to go to sleep. Chuckling to himself, Kit started h o me ward. CHAPTER XVI. THE MESSENGER BOY. Florence Crandall was again gathering flowers when she saw Kit come into the yard. She gave him the ba s k e t to carry for her and at once plied him with questions as to whether he had again seen Harvey Wilbur, and if he had a letter for her. "Not any letter, miss, but I ca.me ter say I seen him an he wants t e r know if your pa an' ma hes come h o me yi t ?" "Not yet, and they will be detained for sev eral days, for I had letters from them to-day; but how is Mr. Wilbur's head where he got hurt?" "Gettin' better, miss_; but he's got ter go out o' town fer a day or two on business, he said. When he comes back I 'll tell yer," and Kit left the young lady, his mind greatly at ease, as he said to himself: Jow my mind is easy, for there's no telling what a girl will do, and I have been afraid she v;ould write him, or see him, and spile my game. I'll skip home and fix to play my trump card on man that planned to marry her in such a mean way." Two hours after, a bright-looking messenger boy approached the real estate office of Harvey Wilbur & Co. His uniform was not a new one, his cap a trifle large for his head, but he looked like a yolioth who was no slouch and could take care of himself. Satan lay at the door of the office, taking life coolly, but rose quickly as the messenger boy approached ; but a low order to the dog caused him to lie down again. In the office, looking over his books, was Harvey Wilbur. As before, he was alone, and no one was
SHIELD WEEKLY. visible m the rear office, as far as the mes senger boy could see. "You're Mr. Wilbur, ain't you?" The man looked up and answered : "Yes; have you a message for me, or a letter?" "No, sir, for the party I came from don't write letters the police might get hold of." "What do you mean ?" "You knew Saul Bent, didn't you?" "Who was he?" and the man's face paled. "Oh, I'm on, and you can talk to me, for I was Saul Bent's young pard an' he got me my job, so I could be useful to him. His mother sent me to you." Harvey Wilbur looked straight into the face of the messenger. But his gaze was met with a half-impudent, half-knowing stare, and the man said: "Tell me you want." "You see, I know about the little racket that caused poor Saul to turn up his toes, and as he trusted me his mother does, too, and sent me to tell you that I can help you out in that girl affair, and her house is all ready and a preacher, too, whenever you care totry it on again." This was plain enough, and the man could no longer dodge the question. The young detective was posted, certainly, as to his affairs, as far as his hiring Saul Bent was concerned to aid in the kidnapping of Florence Crandal I. Harvey Wilbur frowned to feel that such a young fellow had been trusted with his secret; but he knew it, and there was no help for it. He feared to attempt to brazen the thing out by denying any knowledge of Saul Bent, for the messenger might know too much. Another look into Kit's face seemed to con vince him that he might do even better than had Saul Bent. So he said: "You are a messenger boy?" "Yes, sir." "How can you get time to come here?" "Say I've got a call from a gent I met on the street; fi'll up my ticket for time and amount, and the one I am serving pays the freight-see?" "I think I do; but who else knows of your coming here besides l\Irs. Bent?" "No one else is on, for Saul was close mouthed as a clam, and only took me in be cause I helped out by getting the rig for you and looking up the parson. Me an' Saul have been in dead sporty games before, and l\frs. Bent knows me and wanted me to see you, for she's out burying expenses on Saul, and says the old gag can be worked just as it was arranged, and I'm to do the underground work." "I believe it will be all right, and I'll pay you well; but I must communicate with the lady first, get her answer, and then arrange to post all interested." "I can take a note to the lady and bring you her answer, and I'll fix it all with l\1rs. Bent and have the preacher there." "I'll think it over and telephone down for you by number." "All right; but I was sent to l\1r. Cran dall's lawyer vvith a telegram which I put in the envelope and read. and that's what made me go to Mrs. Bent about it." "What was the telegram?" anxiously asked Harvey Wilbur. "It was from Mr. Crandall, who is in De troit with his wife, and told his lawyer to arrange matters for himself and family to start for New York within a week to sail for Europe, and say nothing about it." The man started at this and said: "Then I must act at once. I will write the letter now for you to take to Miss Crandall. If she is out, wait to see her." "Yes, sir; but can I play with your dog, or will he bite me?" "You had better not worry him, for he's a fierce dumb brute." Just then, as though to show how fierce he was, Satan barked. "Great Scott! do you caH that a dumb brute?" cried Kit. But Satan showed no anger toward him, and soon they were getting along famously, for the n:iessenger was feeding him with peanut brittle. After a long wait, Harvey Wilbur finished his letter to Florence Crandall, and Kit started off with it at a run.
SHJEJ.D WEEKJ.Y. 25 CHAPTER XVII. KIT II AS A STORY TO TELL. The young sleuth did not pause again in the lumber yard to rtad the letter that had been given him by Wilbur to carry to Miss Crandall. He cared not for the memories connected with the pile of lumber and passed on. But he soon found a retreat where he could Le unmolested, and he halted and took the letter from his pocket. It vYas not sealed. He was surprised to discover that there was no mucilage on the envelope. Luck certainly seemed to favor him in this, for he had seen "Wilbur moisten it and the man had supposed it had been sealed. ""'.\iow to see what he says." 1\ it took the letter out of the envelope and read as follows: The bearer is faithful and I trust him, as you can. I ha\e been broken-hearted over my act to ward you and I can tell you what I dare not write. I wish to see you, and I must see you. Your father has forbidden me to come to his house, as he has taken a strange dislike to me, and you have also told me I should not come; but I must see you or I will not answer for what I may do to my self. I cannot stand much longer all that I am suffering. I implore you to meet me, and, if you will do so, answer by the messenger. Then I will have him meet you in a carriage and drive you to a quiet house, the abode of a dear old widow, mother of one of my clerks. There we can be safe and you can hear all that I have to tell you Don't fail me, I implore you. Devotedly, HARVEY W--. "The villain! Well, now, isn't he one to put behind the bars! And Mrs. Bent is the dear old widow--one old she is. Well, I know just what I'll do, and if she does not take a tumble to what that fellow is, then I can do no more to help her out of a m ighty ugly scrape. They say women won't b e l ieve any bad of one they love ; but she looks sensible, and maybe she don't love him so hard after all. She's had one show of what he would do, and I guess she'd like to s kip another. The old man's onto him, that's sure, and I wish he was here; but no, I 'll work it all out my own way." T hus mused the young sleuth as he went alo ng, his face wearing something of a wor :d rie d look, for he was anxious as to just how "it Flo rence Crandall would receive all that he had made up his mind to say to her He was determined to save Florence Cran dall-with her aid, if he could, without it if he needed to. The elegant home was reached and, to his delight, Kit discerned Florence in an easy chair on the: piazza, in a quiet nook, all alone. She saw him ascend the steps and had no idea that the smart-looking messenger was the young man whom she had before seen in the disguise of a bootblack. She called to him to come to her and, touching his cap, Kit said: "I have a letter for Miss Florence Cran dall, miss." "I am Miss Crandall." "It is important, and I was to place it in Miss Crandall's hands, and where 110 one could see me, miss." "I am Miss Crandall, and none of the serv ants is within hearing." "Here it is, miss, and it was given to me unsealed; but," and he whispered, "I know just what the gent wants you to do." The sweet face of Florence Crandall flushed, then paled, and she read the letter with changing expressions, Kit watching her attentively the while. "It is strange that Mr. Wilbur should ask this of me, for you say that you know what his wish is." Kit looked about him quickly, and said, in a low, earnest tone : "Yes, miss, I do know. He says you can trust me, and you can, for I am your friend, not his, and I want you to know all I can tell you about him. Then, if you still trust him, and will not believe me, I have done my duty by you, and I shall see that he does you no harm. Will you trust me, miss?" Florence Crandall had risen as the young detective spoke, anq, at first was indignant; but there was such an honest appeal in his look and words that she was deeply im pressed. Resuming her seat, she said, coldly: "Mr. Wilbur said you were to be trusted -what have you to say?" "Trusted by you, miss, but not by hir11. for I am your friend and his foe." "What have you to say?" "'Vil ould you trust the feller. who saved you the othe r night when you were ki<;lnapped ?"
SHIELD WEEKLY. Miss Crandall became very white, her lips quivered, and she asked: "\i'Vhat do you know?" "I am that feller, miss." "You! yes, I know your voice now, and recognize you, though I had but an indistinct -view of you then." "Do you not know me also, miss, as the bootblack that took you note to Mr. Wilbur?" Slowly she said: Yes, I believe I do-yes, I know your eyes. Do tell me what all this means, for I am dizzy trying to understand." "It means, miss, that the man you have trusted has deceived you, and he is trying to get you into his power, to force your father to buy him off for big money. He is a vil lain, miss, and I will prove it to you, for I have a good deal at stake as well as you have, for you remember that a man was killed the other night in his struggle with me, and I have kept the secret for your sake and for my own. Will you listen now to all I have to say, miss-?" The lovely face had lost every atom of color, the lips were set, and with an effort she said: "Tell me everything-I must know all, and now." CHAPTER XVIII. KIT SETS HIS TRAP. Kit Keen could see how deeply moved Florence Crandall was ; that she seemed to dread some terrible blow to fall upon her, and which she was dependent upon the young man alone to save her from. His manly, honest and intelligent face gave her confidence in him, so much, in fact, that she did not count his y:ars, especially when she recalled bow he had saved her from her kidnappers and also had kept her name out of the papers. "Sit down, please," she said, pointing to a chair near. Kit did so, leaned forward, and in a low voice began his story in a way that gained her confidence by telling her about his sister, and how he had, after two years' search, found her and kept her life from being wholly wreck_ed. "That work got me on the secret service force here, miss; and the detective chief calls me his young sleuth-see, here is my badgeand I had just come back to Chicago the night I heard your cry for help." Then the young detective told of how he was determined to track her kidnappers, and the way in which he went about it, making the discovery through her letter to Harvey \Vilbur, and which, he frankly confessed, he had read. His visit to Mrs. Bent came next, and all that that woman crook had let him know, with the plot to force her, Florence, into a marriage with Wilbur, which would give him a hold upon her life her. father could not easily sever About the degenerate preacher who was to have performed the ceremony he also told her, and then of his visit to Wilbur the night before, leaving his dog there, and next his recent call, in which the man believed he had come direct from Mrs. Bent and at once en tered into another plot to get her, Miss Cran dall, in his power. "Now, miss, I have told you my and I want your help to prove it all to you. I can pinch Wilbur, as a kidnapper, and the, pal of Saul Bent; but it might force you to appear, and that I do not want, nor does the chief, so my plan is for you to send a mes sage, not a letter, by me to meet you at a certain place--" "No, no, no! I will not--"1 "You are not to go, miss, but I want to get him away from his place, for I am sure he has no clerk or s'ervant there, and, while he is gone, I'll go there and search his rooms, for I saw your photograph there last night, and know where he put your letter the other day." "Yes, yes, he has three photographs -of mine, and a of my letters-oh! can you, will you get them for me?" "That's just what I intend to do, and be fore the police go to his rooms, for then there's nothing to show and bring you into the game-I beg pardon, miss, I mean the trouble." "And you will do this for me?" asked the girl, in a voice full of emotion, while her eyes were filled with tears.
SHIELD WEEKLY. 27 "You bet I will, miss, for it's to be a clean break from that crook." "Let me tell you that Mr. Wilbur came to Chicago several years ago, and, as he seemed to have money, he made acquaintances, got into society and I met him. He was always most gentlemanly, had traveled much, was entertaining, handsome and-well, I suppose J was fascinated with him, for now ;I feel that it was not love, as it will not hurt me much to give him up, now that I know he is what you have shown him to be. Yes, you have saved me from making a false step that would have wrecked my life, and God bless you for it. The other night I went out with him for a short drive; he had a box of candy, and now I know that it was drugged, fo! I lost consciousness soon after getting into the buggy picked that man up somewhere and-I became conscious just as they lifted me out t0 carry me into the house. You knqw the rest." She hacl spoken rapidly and earnestly. In answer to Kit's request that she would appoint a place to meet Wilbur at the Con federate Monument in Oakwoods Cemetery, as it would take him some time to go there, and, after waiting there an hour, if she did not come, he was to an address where she would be, if prevented from going to the cemetery, Miss Crandall said: "My fate is in your hands, my very brave young detective and good friend, so tell him what you please to get him away from his home, and I depend upon you to get my let ters and photographs." "I'll not disappoint you, miss. I'll fix it all right, never fear, so you will not be known in it. and he will have troubles of his own in looking;. out for himself." Having gotten his plans arranged to his own satisfaction, Kit took his departure, l lorence Crandall warmly grasping him by the hand and saying, earnestly: "Now remember, Kit Keen, you have a man's work on your young shonlders, but I h;ive faith in you. Now that I know that man's plot against me, I hate him." CHAPTER XIX. THE PLOT. Back to the home of Harvey Wilbur went the supposed messenger, and he found the man anxiously pacing his office, while Satan lay upon the floor, evidently watching for the coming of his young master and evidently wondering why he was left for so long a time in' strange quarters. But if he could have said so, Satan would have had to say that he had J>een treated right royally. m. '"Well?" said Wilbur, eagerly, as Kit came "I saw her, sir, and gave her your letter." "And you have a letter for me in reply?" "No, sir, she was not able to write you, but she told me to say that her parents had not yet returned from Detroit, but she expected them day after to-morrow." "Then there is no time to lsJse." "No, sir." "Will she meet me?" "She wished you to go to the Confederate Monument in the Oakwoods Cemetery at four o'clock to-morrow and wait for her." "I'll be there." ''If she does not get there by five o'clock, you are to go to this number, a cottage in Hyde Park, where a friend of hers lives." "I see; but she may be unable to go to Oakwoods, then." "There are reasons that may prevent her going there, and, if she is prevented, then go to the address on the card I gave you." "I will, and I understand fully ; but I wish you to go to Mrs. Bent's and tell her to prepare for a lady guest, and to have her clergyman there for to-morrow night, be tween eight o'clock and midnight." "I'll. go, sir, but you had better write her a note, for she will want more than my word for it." "All right, I'll do so," and the note was written, sealed and handed to Kit, who" then said : "I will then have to go and report my time and pay up, saying I will be needed to-mor row, I suppose." "Yes, for I wish you to take another letter to Miss Crandall to-morrow morning. Now I .will give you the money to pay up your time." "Thank you, sir; but won't you please fig ure it out on one of your letterheads, so they will understand it?"
28 SHIELD WEEK.LY. Hervey Wilbur was in a very good humor and did as requested, handing Kit a liberal fee for himself. This done, with a pat on the head for Sa tan, Kit took his leave and he made his way direct to the home of Mrs. Bent. He found the woman busy cleaning up after the funeral, and he told her what she was to do, but did not give her Harvey Wilbur's letter. He needed that for another purpose. "He wants you to write him word if you will have all ready for the young lady's com ing, the preacher here waiting and just what your bill will be." "I'm a poor hand wid de pen since I was afther hevin' ru01atiz, an' you be ther one to write that same fer me an' I'll be a mither to yer." Kit thanked her for the honor she wished to bestow, but told her he had to report at the office and would call for the letter in an hour. So he left her sitting down to perform the task of writing a letter, while he went out to telephone the detective chief that he would call there soon, and it was most important to see him and please to have Officers Danvers and Keefe there also. Then the young sleuth enjoyed a hearty meal, for he seemed well satisfied with the work he had done thus far. Returning to Mrs. Bent, he found the woman folding up her letter, and she asked him to read it and "see if it was not afther bein' a gim." It was a curiosity in its way, and a very labored letter, but it at least suited Kit's purpose, and that was all that was necessary. Going to the secret service headquarters, he found the chief awaiting him, while De tectives Danvers and Keefe were in the adjoining room. The letter of Harvey Wilbur to Mrs. Bent, his figuring out of the supposed messenger's time, the money given him by the kidnapper, and Mrs. Bent's familiar letter to him were all placed before the chief, who read them carefully, and said: "Splendid! Kit, you have evidence here of their plot of deviltry, enough to send them to prison." He touched the "buzzer" for Officers Keefe and Danvers, and upon their entrance, called out: "See what this young sleuth has done? and he needs your aid in trapping several kidnap pers to-morrow. Now, Kit, tell them what you have done, and let your plans be known .. Kit spoke of Harvey Wilbur and his plot to kidnap a young lady, force her into a mar riage with him, and of his accomplices in Mrs. Bent and a man who had once been a preacher, but had gone to the bad. "' ow, a plan has been arranged that Har yey Wilbur," said the young sleuth, "should meet this young lady in Oakwoods Ceme tery, and, if she did not get there within an hour, to go to my little home in Hyde Park, for this will give the chief and myself to visit his rooms and learn more about him. "Of course the young lady is not to be at either place, but you two officers will be at my cottage, for I will wait for you and let you in. "Then, when Harvey Wilbur comes, you are to arrest him and hold him until night, when you are to take a carriage and drive him to the jail. "This done, the chief and myself will join you here at headquarters and go with you to Mrs. Bent's. "Is that the plan, sir?" asked Kit, turning to the chief. "Just as we arranged it, Kit, but to you belongs the credit of it all, and I am sure there will be no hitch in carrying it out," :was the answer, and the ferrets left for their homes, to meet the next day, the young sleuth spending a very lonesome night in his little cottage without Satan to keep him com pany. CHAPTER XX. KIT STRIKES IT RICH. Officers Danvers and Keefe had arrived on time at the cottage, and Kit let them in and showed them his little home. To Officer Dave Keefe he gave a disguise as an old woman, for he was to let Harvey Wilbur in and ask him to be comfortable, when Officer Danvers was to come in, and,
SHIELD WEEKLY. 29 covering him with his revolver, was to arrest him. Leaving the two officers in charge, Kit ,,ent to the home of Florence Crcuidall, again dressed as a messenger, but carrying with him a large dress-suit case, apparently well filled. Miss Crandall saw him coming and met him in the quiet retreat on the piazza. He handed her a letter that Harvey Wilbur had given to him for her that morning, and she read it with a sneer upon her hand some mouth. It was full of protestations of his love for her, and begged that after meeting her, as appointed, she would drive with him to the house of a poor woman who was ill, and who was the mother of his clerk, for she r:eeded sympathy from just such a sweet girl to cheer her up. "Keep that letter, miss, for the chief will not use it, as it would fetch you into the trouble," said Kit. Then he handed her, to read, \i\T ilbur's let ter to Mrs. Bent, her remarkable epistle in answer, and the report of his, Kit's, time to the supposed manager of the messenger boys. Kit \\ ishcd to let her have full proof of Wilbur's villainy and treachery to her. l\Iiss randall bit her lips and her eyes ftashecl, while she said aloud: "Scoundrel!" Then Kit departed for the office of Harvey Wilhur, for he had been told to come back and report, and having his trap set all ready to spring, he wanted to tell him he need not go to Oakwoods, but direct to the cottage in Hyde Park. Dressed in his best, and \Yith a slouch hat drawn well down over the plaster strips on his forehead, Harvey Wilbur was impatiently waiting Kit's return "There is nothing wrong?" he called out as Kit entered the office. silencing with a word Satan's greeting of him. "Ail is lovely and the goose hangs high," joyously answered Kit, and he added: "She's docked the cemetery meeting, and you are to go direct to the Hyde Park ad dress." "Good! But what have you in that case?" "Some goody-goodies, jelly and fruit and wine and a govvn and other things for the poor sick lady you wrote her you wished her to go to see with you." "The dear girl! she belongs to the Society of the King's Daughters, and is always doing good: but she will go with me, then, without trouble?" "You bet your sweet life she will; but can I stay here with the dog until you get back, Mr. Wilbur?" The man did not answer at first, then said: "I shall not be back until late, for, after Miss Crandall has become Mrs. Wilbur-and she must marry me, and I'll see i:o it that she does-I shall drive her back to her home, for, when she is my wife, I can bring the old man and woman to terms. "You did not give Mrs. Bent any hint as to who the young lady was?" "No, siree ; I knows when to keep-my hash trap shut; but .I told them at the office you would need me a couple of days, and I've got no place to go, so please let me stay here," and Kit added to himself: "I'm getting to be a boss liar, I am, and Satan knows it and looks ashamed of me." "I would like to, my boy, but I have dis missed my clerks and you cannot stay; but I'll give you some money to go to the theater and stay at a hotel, and you can come here to-morrow." "Yes, sir," and Kit stood with his hand on the door as Harvey Wilbur closed up his rear office, and, leaving Satan in the front one, was ready to go to keep his most important engagement. Kit wished to help him and closed the door after him, when the two walked to a livery stable and Harvey Wilbur took a carriage that was all ready awaiting him. Kit watched him out of sight and then returned to the real estate office He had quietly fastened back the spring and the door opened readily, and Satan seemed overjoyed at his return. Soon after a form was seen walking rapidly toward the office. It was the detective chief. "Well, Kit, as usual you have managed it well ; I saw him go from the stable." "Yes, sir; and no one is here, so we will get to work," and Kit took some skeleton
30 SHIELD WEEKLY. keys from his pocket, opened the rear door and went to one he had seen Harvey Wilbur enter when he went upstairs. Up to the floor above they went, and Kit's first act was to take possession of Florence Crandall's photographs, and, opening the desk in the handsomely furnished room, he found her letters. These, with the photographs, he put care fully away and looked about for any other article that might belong to the young lady. He found nothing more, but he did find a bunch of strange keys. Then the detective chief set about finding doors they would open. A dumbwaiter in the lower hall was found, and it appeared to be a closet, which a key on the bunch opened. This closet concealed back of the dumbwaiter a.narrow flight of stairs leading to the :ellar. A lantern hung there, and lighting it, the two ferrets found themselves in a tunnel-like basement, with a door in the rear. a key was found to unlock, and Kit called Satan and sent him ahead. It was a narrow corridor underground, and it led for over a hundred feet, where there was another door and a pair of narrow tairs. At their head was a heavy door, covered with zinc. It was ope ned and the chief and Kit en tered a large hall, with a large skylight over head and rooms opening upon it. To these rooms there were iron doors, and looking out o f the grating of three of them were human faces. "11y God! Chief, what does this mean?" "Kit. you have struck it rich," crie<;l the chief, and he was all excitement. CH APTER XXI. THE KIDNAPPER KING. They had found a orivate and it was certainly within the walls and in the top of the large storehouse spoken of as being in the rear of 'Vilbur's real estate office, and upon the grounds. But who were the three occupants of that strange prison? One was a man well along in years, with a pale, haggard face. A second was a young girl of nine, a frightened-faced child. The third was a boy of thirteen. One room door was open, and upon a bed, asleep, was a negro woman. But she was not a prisoner, as the others certainly were. The woman was aroused by Satah sniffing in her face. She th
SHIELD WEEKLY. 31 told me,'' she said, "and he say if he could make her marry him so he c'ud git her money, then he w'ud skip off wid his wife an' his fortin whar nobody ever c'ud fin' him; but I guesses he won't go now." "I guess not," dryly said the chief, while the young sleuth asked: "Who was the lady he wanted to marry, auntie?" "Dunno, chile, I dunno; for he don't tell much." The chief explained to the three victims of 'Wilbur's love for gold that he would leave them there until night, free, but not to at tempt to leave, while the negress was locked up, and he and Kit departed, returning the way they had come, Satan having been left on guard in the office. "Now to headquarters, Kit, and I'll have officers ready to take charge of Wilbur's office and hidden prison as soon as I have had a talk with the superintendent of police and told him what my young sleuth has done, and more-that you have found the very three victims whom we knew had been kid napped, but could find no trace of. It was these very people I wished to put you on to find what had become of them, and you have done it in one strike. Now about the raid on Mrs. Bent's?" "V/ ell, sir, in this dress-suit case I have a full girl's rig, and I will put it on and play the girl, going to Mrs. Bent's with Officer Keefe and Officer Danvers, as pretended friends of Wilbur's, and see just what the woman and her preacher friend will do." "The very thing, Kit, for you'll make a very pretty girl." Later the chief repeated the compliment with enthusiasm he saw the young sleuth all dressed up as a girl, for he made a very handsome one and showed himself an artist in disguising himself. Without a hitch Kit Keen's plot had worked to the end, for Harvey Wilbur had been captured by Officers Danvers and Kede when he \\ent to the cottage, and later the same two officers had gone with the young sleuth, disguised as 'a young girl, and Mrs. Bent and the preacher had shown the cloven hoof and been made prisoners, the woman's home being discovered to have been long a secret meeting-place for crooks. To jail the four went, for the negro woman kept them company, and to-day they are safe in the prison at Joliet, sentenced to the full limit, though they pleaded guilty and saved the city the cost of a trial. How they had been run down they never knew, for the detective chief kept his young sleuth unknown, to have him serve him in other remarkable cases against the crooks of Chicago, and Kit still kept his little home and Satan as his pard. The name of Florence Crandall had not been known in the affair, and VVilbur had wisely remained silent about her, thinking she was unknown as a11 intended victim, and thus saving further trouble for himself That she appreciated how she had been saved by the young ferret, her actions toward the brave young detective spoke louder than words could have done, for Kit received a deed one day, making him the owner of his cottage aqd two adjoining lots, and she had it put in good repair and most comfortably furnished, for she would allow no refusal to do as she wished. To-day the young sleuth, unknown save to the secret service force, is winning fame by his deeds, and the detective chief calls him hi_s "Right Bower." THE END. LAT.E:ST .lS!OJUES. 20-The Head Hunter; or, Steve Manley's Secret Mission. 19-A Skin Game; or, Steve Manley Among the Tanners. 18-Called Down; or, Steve Manley in a Desperate Strait. 17-Found Guilt'y; or, Steve Manley Against Court and Jury. 16-A Paper Gold Mine; or, Sheridan Keene After Money Order Book 2409. 15-Behind the Asylum Bars; or, Turned Down as a Hopeless Case. 14-The Mysterious Signal; or, Sheridan Keene on the Water Front. 13-In Bad Hands; or, Sheridan Keene's Help to Some Country Visitors. 12--Arrested at the Tomb; or, Sheridan Keene on & Curious Case. 11-Under the Knife; or, The Cl-Oak of Gutlt. 10-A Frozen Clue; or, The Cold Storage Mystery. 9-A Double Play; or, Two Mysteries In One Net. Lion Among Wolves; or, Sheridan Keene's Identity. 7-Under Seal; or, The Hand of the Guilty. 6-Who Was the Model? or, Missing: A Beautiful Heiress. 5-The Man and the Hour; or, Sheridan Keene's Clever Artifice. (-Cornered by Inches; or, A Curious Robbery In High Life. Back numbers always on hand. If you cannot get our publications from your newsdealer, five cents a copy will hring them to you, by mail, postpaid.
JESSE JAMES We were the first publishers 'in the world to print the famous stories of the James Boys, written by that remarkable man W. B. LAWSON, whose name is a watchword with our boys. We have had many imitators, and in order that no one .shall be deceived in accepting the spurious for the real we shall _issue the best stories of the James Boys, by llr. Law= son, beginning this week, in a New Library entitled "JESSE JAMES STORIES," one of our __ Big Ones and a Sure Winner with the boys THE FIRST FOUR ISSUES WILL BE: -JESSE JAMES, THE OUTLAW. A Narrative of the James Boys. JAMES' LEGACY; or, The Border Cyclone. JESSE JAMES' DARE-DEVIL DANCE; or, Betrayed by One of Them. JESSE JAMES' BLACK AGENTS ; or, The Wild Raid at Bullion STREET & S1":ITH, J;>ublishers.
.. .. Nick Carter is the best known Detective in the world. Stories by this noted Sleuth are issued regu..;. larly in NICK CARTER WEEKLY .. . and all his work is written for us. STREET & SMITH, Publishers, NEW YORK I