In bad hands, or, Sheridan Keene's help to some country visitors

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In bad hands, or, Sheridan Keene's help to some country visitors

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Title:
In bad hands, or, Sheridan Keene's help to some country visitors
Series Title:
Shield Weekly
Creator:
Bradshaw, Alden F.
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Street & Smith
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
32 p. : port. ; 25 cm.

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

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
024875684 ( ALEPH )
64175656 ( OCLC )
S75-00022 ( USF DOI )
s75.22 ( USF Handle )

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serial

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,IN BAD H -AN-DS or Sheridan Keene's Hef pto Some CountryVi5itod &Y ALDEN F. BRADSHAW PUBLISHED WEEKLY BY STREET & SMITH, 2 38 William Stre e t New Y o rk City Cop y r igh t t 1901, b y Strut & Smith All right s r eseMXd E nte r ed at New Yor k Posl OJfill a s Suo nd C lass Malhr.

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TRUE DETECTIVE STRAnGER TH_Aft FICTI Oft l1nud W1t.tl,y. By S"INrljtU>H 17,JO/Jtr yea,.. Enttf'td 'u Stcorul-Clat.r Mattw at flit N Y Po.rt 0.fllee, /Jy STRBBT &: SMITH, #.J8 WilUam St N. y. E,.t1rtd .Accordinr to Act of Conzrtss, in tAt year IfJOI, iu tht Offi&t of Jht Lt/Jrarian of Conr,.ess, Washinz t on, D C. No. 1;. NEW YORK, March 2, 1901. Price, Five Cents. IN BAD HANDS; OR, ,, SHERIDAN KEENE'S HELP TO SOME COUNTRY VI I ORS, CHAPTER I. THE PLO T OF THE CONFIDENCE MEN. "Can it be easily worked, think you?" !G.n it be easily worked?" The man addressed echoed the inquiry in ton es of derisive assurance, and w ith that part icularly significant smile which, among c e r tain types of the flash gentry and con fidence men, denotes the discovery and pro found appreciation of what, in the slang par lance of the same order, is commonly termed a "very soft mark." "I should say, Sam, it could be easily wo rked," he hastened to add. "It can be o n e like rol lmg out of bed. It will be like oney sent from home. It's a perfect cinch, a m or you can safely gamble I'd not have you to come down here from New 'or k .,,,.. "It woul
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SHIELD WEEK.LY. hoodwinking the police, and in escaping punishment for numerous crimes and confi dence games of which he had at various "Am I not always looking for sure things?" laughed Wes ton. "Yes, I will admit that." times been suspected. Both in New York "It happened in this way," Weston exand Chicago this same Sam Rogers, who plained. "Because of an uncomfortable in then was posing as a gracious and benignant tercst which Captain Devery formed for me city parson, was known to be one of the slickest confidence men in the country. His companion was the notorious Ned \\'es ton, who twice had done time for swindling rural innocents out of their money and whose picture has for ten years been one of the adornments of the "Rogues' Gallery." Yet Weston was still in the thirties, a gentlemanly and well-dressed man, who then looked far more like a prosperous young broker. if not a man of means and leisure, than like a social outcast and professional !>Windler These two men then were seated in Wes t o n 's room in the Hotel Nantucket. on the famous old island of that name. with its quaint town and quainter people. The sun of a fair June day was gilding with its last yellow rays the broad stretch of ocean s\\'eeping away to the south, and the white sands of the shelving shore and the brown hills of the upland. Wes ton had been registered at the Nantucket for nearly a month, under the name of Edward West. Rogers had arrived there only that even ing, however, by the boat from Vloods Holl, and in response to a letter received from \\'eston in New York the previous day. Only some felonious project could have brought them together at such a place and under such circumstances. and, in response to another inquiry by Rogers, it was pres ently disclosed while they sat smoking their cigars. "What is this sure thing, Ned. and how did yon happen to stumble upon it?" Rqgers asked. about a month ago, I decided it would be wise to drop out of sight for a time." 'Before you were put out of sight, eh?" 'Precisely,'' nodded Weston. ''So I jumped New York and came down here to Nantucket. It is sufficiently out of the way thus early in the. season, and the resident Reubens have a happy faculty for telling yoa all about their own business and asking very little about yours.'' "\Vhich rather suited you under the cir cumstances." "Very much so, since a disclosure of my history would not improve my social standing here," laughed Weston, knocking the ashes from his cigar. "In that respect. by the way. I have cut a figure." "With the wealthy hotel patrons, I pre sume?" ''Quite the contrary, Sam," rejoined Wes ton. "I rather have devoted myself to some of the native rustics, and particularly to one of that talkative contingent who relieve the traveling public of their money by them about this quaint old place at so much a head, filling their lungs with dust, and their ears with stories about themselves and the various points of interest.'' "A driver of one of the public carriages, I take it?" "Precisely." "Ah. I begin to tumble,'' smiled Rogers. significantly. "Some one of these rustics has told you something of interest." ''Decidedly of interest." nodded Wes ton. "You, too, have encountered him, although you arrived but an hour ago.'' "You don't mean the talkative chap who drove us up from the boat?''

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SHIELD WEEKI.Y. 3 "Four for one, Sam!" laugh. ed 'Veston. "You have called the turn." "What about him?" "I'll tell you presently. I have gathered the facts while riding about with him duridg my stay here. He is a typical island Jehu, and as green as a growing m e lon. His fund of information is confined s olely to things local, and to his own personal affairs; and I soon learned not only his pedigree and his tory, but discovered also most of his imme. mediate plans and prospects. Since then, Sam, I have made it a point to become quite friendly with him." "What is there in it?" smiled Rogers, through a wreath of smoke. "About five thousand dollars." "That's not very bad, providing it can be easily secured, and without too many risks," said Rogers, with a livelier interest. "What's the outlook?" "Simple as two and two." :'As easy as that?" was the laughing rejoinder. "What will he do; give it to you?" "The next thing to it," smiled Weston, elevating his heels to the window-sill. "Listen while I tell you." "I am all ears, Ned." "The youngster's name is Haskins. He is about twenty-three years old, -and by the death of his father last winter he inherited between five and six th o usand dol lars. It is now in his possession. "It' s a shame for any man living on Nantucket to have as much money as that all at one time," laughed Rogers. "Is it in cash?" "All in the long gre en nodded Weston, with evident satisfaction. "The most of it, "That was very good of him What is iL ?" "By the death of his father last winter he was left without relatives, and since bas been lodging here at the hotel and working for his board," explained weston. ''Next week however, he is going to be "Poor fellow Married here?" "Not here at th e hotel but to the daughter of a farmer who lives up above h e re The girl is still in her teens, and a green e r coupl e than sh e and Haskins never stoo d in "Go on." "Having come into this bit of a fortune ," continued Weston, "Haskins wants to i nve s t it in securities that will pay him b ette r th an a bank's four per cent., and partl y with th at object, and partly to celebrate hi s m a rriage he intends visiting Boston on a s h ort wed ding trip." "Ah, I see! Will he tak e this mo ne y \vi t h him?" "As to that, I have gi ve n him so me y e r y friendly advice." "I have no doubt of it." "Oh, I have made it a point to win his confidence, and he now esteems me ver y highly. I have advised him t o take only a certified check for the sum h e intends investing." "And that?" "He says it will be about fifty-five hundrd dollars." "Have you told him that y ou could put him in a way to secure some very profitabl e investments?" asked Rogers, dryly on the contrary, I have carefully avoid e d it," smiled Weston. "For what reasons ?" however, is n o w on deposit in the National HFirst, that he may not suspect that I have bank here." other than a very friendly and fraternal in"By what ga.me can we safely relieve him terest in him." of it?" "And second?" "Haskins himself gave me the key to the "Because he has in Boston a cousin, one situation." James Norton, quite a wealthy and success-

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SHIELD WEEKLY. ful stock broker, upon whose judgment and advice he will entirely rely in making his in vestments. He is, in fact, going to Boston to visit this cousin, and to invest this money." "Where, then, do we come in?" demanded Rogers, with a rather doubtful look rising in his cold, steel-blue eyes. "We shall come in winners at the finish.'' "How so? If Norton, the cousin, is to be his adviser--" "Ah, but wait one moment!" interrupted Vv eston, raising his finger. "Haskins has never laid eyes on his cousin, and doesn't know him personally from a side of sole leather." "Never seen him!" "Never!" reiterated Weston, with a sig nificant smile. "Haskins has never been off this island from the day of his birth, and :Norton has never visited it They are ac quainted through a very limited correspond ence, and the two men never have met per sonally.'' "Are Norton's parents dead?" "Yes, for several yeal'S. He is a bachelor, and has rooms at the Riverview and an office in State street." "They may have seen photographs of one another," suggested Rogers. "I have made sure of the contrary." "And the actual extent of their acquaint ance?" "Is next to nothing," declared Weston, with assurance. "They know of one anoth er's existence as cousins and that's abeut all." "And this correspondence?" "It has consisted of four or five letters only, relating chiefly to Haskins' desire to invest his money, and because of which Norton finally invited him to become his guest in town for a few days." "Have you anything more than Haskins' word for this?" "I have seen Norton's letters to hiin." nd they indicate ?" "That the two men are as good as total stiangers." "Then if I--" "Fini sh it, Sam!'' exclaimed Weston, with an approving laugh. "Then if you were to meet Haskins and his young wife on their arrival in Boston., and were to per sonate--" "One moment! Has Norton intimated in any of his letters that he will meet them?" "Yes; at the Terminal station on their ar rival." "He must be prevented!" suddenly ex claimed Rogers, with a quick appreciation of the possibilities of the situation. "He must be prevented and I will meet them instead!" "That's the very idea, Sam.'' "I easily can personate Norton, since neither Haskins nor his wife have ever seen him." "It will be child's play after I have given you all the points concerning Haskins." "I now see why you have been cultivating his friendship," laughed Rogers. "Have you a plan fully laid out?" "From beginning to end." "Let's hear it." Ned 'N eston tossed the remnant of his cigar from the open window, and produced a second. "Here it is in a nutshell, Sam," he ex plained. "Haskins is to be married one week from to-day, and intends leaving for Boston with his bride immediately after the cere mony. I cannot yet tell at just what hour they will arrive in Boston, but you must be there to meet them.'' "Go on; I follow you." "Haskins has written Norton, however, that he may be expected one week from to day." "Suppose there should be any change of plan?"

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SHIELD WEEKLY. "I have calculated to head that off. I shall remain here, keeping well in touch with Haskins, and if he changes his plan I will wire you." "And I will act accordingly," Rogers nodded, approvingly. "Really, Ned, it begins to look easy." "I have Norton's address," continued Weston, "and the day before Haskins is married I will drop the Boston broker a letter bearing Haskins' signature, stating that the wedding has been briefly postponed because of the bride's sudden illness, and that the visit will not be made until a week later." "Capital!" "My letter will, of course, prevent Norton from taking any further interest in the matter for a week at least, and he will not come to the station to meet them. That will make it perfectly easy for you to meet them in stead and to pretend to be Norton." "Leave that part of it to me, Ned," laughed Rogers. "I wrote you to come on here in this min isterial guise, in order that you may have a look at Haskins and take his measure, without his seeing you in your true colors. Also to give him the impression that I am a memgf your church, and a very desirable acquaintance,'' laughed Weston. "I also have told him that I shall be in Boston about the time he -is there, which will simplify expla nations when I happen to run across you, anJ enable us to work the con. game m cor>ipany. Are you on?" "Perfectly!" nodded Rogers, with an ap proving smile. "It is really too simple. As a matter of fact Ned, it seems a shame to take his money. We don't half earn it." "Yet Haskins is no fool," protested Weston, with a warning head-shake. "Your plans must be carefully laid, and--" "Faugh !'' interrupted Rogers, with a slight frown. "Do you think I am not slick enough to pluck these country people before arousing their suspicions? I will rent an of fice in Boston, and a suite of furnished apartments, and Haskins and his bride shall be entertained like nabobs-with his own money!" "That's the very caper, Sam." "And when the time is ripe, I will suggest some very elegant investments for him, and present him with some finely engraved stock certificates in return for his long green. You said he would have a certified check, I think." "He already has it." "Good! It will be an easy matter to get him to indorse it, and to cash it at one of the Boston banks, and we thus can secure the money without even putting our hand to paper." "Could anything be easier?" demanded Weston. "Not if one laid awake nights to invent it," cried Rogers, with a great display of en joyment. "As I remarked before, it seems a shame to take his money. Really, Ned, it's too easy!" Weston burst out laughing and arose to his feet. "Come, now, and we will take a short ride with HasRrns about the town," he cried; "and you can cultivate his acquaintance and learn more precisely what he is like.'' "Not a bad idea." "In your present make-up, which 1s remarkably clever, by the way, you will easily impress him as an estimable city preacher, :ind incidentally you can cap me along as a very desirable friend for him to have made." "Leave that to me," laughed Rogers, rising and throwing away his cigar. "I will give him to understand that you are one of the most promising lambs of rrw flock. Lead the way, Ned. This youngster's money is as good as ours already."

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6 SHIELD WEEKLY. And the two men left the hotel together. Such was the infamous scheme of a pair o f as clever confidence men as there is in the country by which to rob an innocent young rustic of his little fortune. On the following morning Slippery Sam Rogers departed for Boston to prepare things at that end, while Weston still main tained his friendly relations with Reuben Haskinis, that timely knowledge of his every plan might be had. CHAPTER II. HASKINS LQSES HIS BRIDJt. "Here, boy!" "Yes, sir! "Deliver this case for me. There's a card on it and here s your pay. "Right, sir! Have it there before long, s ir." "Be off, then! Come this way Gordon." The man from whom these crisp com mands had issued was She ridan Keene, the Boston detective. The scene wa s th e great Southern Union t e rminal stati o n, o n e day, a week subsequent to the knaver y di s cussed and planned by Sam Rogers and Wes ton, the two confidence men,_ in the Nantucket hotel. Sheridan Keene had just arrived from Al bany where he had been sent with requisi tion papers to bring back to Boston the absconding embezzler, Jack Gordon, and he had bee n absent five days. As he came through the gateway from the train with his pri soner, and entered the long public mall of th e immense station the detective hailed the first expressman he saw, and relieved himself of his traveling case as depicted. The great t h oroughfare of the station was thronge d with p eo ple hurrying to or from their trains. In either direction, through the gates of th e high fence dividing the mall from nearly thirty lines of track, a moving stream of people was constantly pouring. Under the regular schedule at that season. the Albany train arrived in the terminal sta tion precisely on time with the train fro : n Wood's Holl a n d Nantucket, five tracks be low. The party to whom Sheridan Keene had confided his suit case was a young man wearing a cap lettered: "Local Express. With an eye to business he next started for the gateway five tracks below, through which a crowd of arriving passengers was now emerging. Among the foremost of these was Ned Weston, th e c onfidence man. He also car ried a suit case, almost identical in appearance with that which Tony Marks, the expressman, had r e ceived from Sheridan Keene. Wishing to follow the of Reuben Haskins and his young wif e whom he knew to be on the train from which he had just alighted, and w ho should ently be met by his confederate in the confi dence game, Weston also hurrie dly call e d the approaching expressman to rid himself of his burden, not o b se rvin g that Marks a l ready carried a case so n ear l y like his own "Leave thi s at the R ey n o ld s for me, expressman !" he ha s til y c ommarnkd. anxio11-. to get out of sigh t befo r e Haskins coul d approach and ob s erv e him "Yes, sir ; within an h our!" "That will be soon enough." said \Veston, hurrying to pay him and slip awa y across the station. As he went he caught sight of Sam Rogers in the moving throng. and hastened in his direction pausing only to s ay : "They were on the third car back of me. Sam! Look out for them!" "Leave them to me." "See me Iater at the Reynolds." "Without fail. Then Weston darted away and hid himself in the crowd.

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 7 At the same moment Sheridan Keene passed by with his prisoner. He did not particularly observe the two men, with neither of whom he had ever come in contact; but he chanced to notice a well-dressed, middle-aged woman some little distance away, who was scrutinizing with eager the throng of arrivals by this train from the "Git onto the Rubes, Jimmy! Th em's the latest fashions in Podunk!'' But Slippery Sam Rogers greeted these country visitors with hand extended, and smoothly inquired, with a genial smile: "Isn't this my cousin. Reuben Ha5kin and his young bride?" "Wal, how did you know me from all thes e country districts. 'ere folk!" exclaimed Reuben, accept ing his 'Maud Placer, eh! And up to her old hand. 'f 'spose you're my cousin Mr. Nor-game!" thought the detective, with a quick fro\Yn showing about his observant eyes. "She will have to be run in for another fine, the she-devil!'' The woman who had occasioned these reprehensive sentiments in Sheridan Keene was a notorious suburban character, who ran a small hotel or road-house just out of the city limits; and wh0, under the outward appearance of respectability, had acquired a considerable fortune by leading unsophisticated strangers into the pathways of sin and vice. But Sheridan Keene already had a prisoner in charge, who must be hurried to headquarters, and he could not delay to question Maud Placer. to learn if her mis sion there was any less disreputable than usual. Neither did he see the meeting that a moment later, when Sam Rogers elbowed his way through the crowd to ac cost the young couple he saw approaching. The swindler now was attired in the height of fashion, and was a very attractive man. Any stranger would have taken him for a perfect gentleman, and his smile was as innocent and winsome as that of a girl. He presented a vivid contrast to Reuben Haskins and his youthful bride. Though both were neatly dressed, one easily could see that they came from the country, and now beheld the great city for the first time. A bootblack hurrying by winked to a n ewsboy, and cried with a grin a n d a toss of hi s head in foeir direction : ton, ain't you?" "Y <:s: and very glad to see you,'' said Rogers. "I aw our family resemblance in your face, Cousin Reuben, and knew you at once." "Wal, now, who'd have thooght it! Durned if I look much like you, for all your m a was my aunt," cried Reuben, with an tare at the swindler's hand ome face and fine clothes Rogers laughed and shook hands with Mr!>. Haskins, who was a buxom girl of nine teen1 with bright eyes and cheeks as red as apples. "And this is your pretty wife, I take it," said he, bowing. "I am glad to congratulate you both. and, as it's customary, I'll kiss the bride. Awfully pleased that you're now one of our family, Mrs. Haskins.'' "Oh, Mr. Norton! 13-ight before all th e se 'ere folks!" exclaimed the girl. blush ing harder than ever. "These people have business of their own to look after, and pay very little attentioo to us," the swindler laughed pleasantly, taking each by the arm. "Come out this way with me, and we'll take a carriage to m y apa ments. I want you to make your hom e with me while you are here." "That's very good of you, Mr. Norton." "Hang hold of Sally there, Cousin Jim," put in Haskins, with ludicrous misgivings "Gee whiz! how easy a feller could lose li<:>r in a place like this."

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8 SHIELD WEEKLY. "I'll look after her, Cousin Reuben." "I never see sich a big building in all my born days, only in picturs,_ I am slewed al ready. I reckon I'd git lost before I'd sot foot in the street if I was alone." "Purty well." "He's a nice fellow." "Durned if he ain't! He told me just how to fetch my money up here, so 'twould be safest and lots of things I must look out for "I'll take care you don't get lost. Have down here." you a check for your trunk?" "B'gosh, I come near forgittin' that," laughed Reuben, abruptly halting. "Sally's got it She was so tarnal skeered I'd lose it she took it along with my other valuables. It's only for a carpet-bag, Cousin Jim. 'vVe didn't bring a trunk." "'vVe haven t got very many clothes, you know," smiled Sally Ha:skins, undoing a but, ton of her waist and fishing out a small pocketbook to produce the desired check. Rogers took it, wondering if she had charge also of the certified check on which he was designing to realize a handsome profit for these polite attentions; but he saw nothing of it in the interior of her pocket book, and decided that Haskins had had sense enough to retain it. I will give this to an expressman outside, and have the baggage brought to my rooms for you," said he. "Now we'll go along." "You ain't seen nothing of Ned West down here, have you?" Reuben innocently dem a nded as they proceeded through the long station toward Dewey-Square. R o gers flash e d a sharp glan c e at the young man s sun-browned face, but saw at once that his question had not been prompted by su sp icion. "I know a man named N e d West," the s w indler artfully rejoined "but I've not seen him recently." "Vi/ al, you wouldn't be likely to, for he's b e en down our way for a month back,'' explained Haskins. "He said he was coming down to Boston yesterday, and I didn't know but you'd run acrost him." ''Then you're acquainted with him?" "Did he?" "Durned if he didn't! He said the town was full of sharks, and I'd bette r stick close to you all the time, Cousin Jim, or else they'd git me for sure." "Don't have any fears, Reuben," laughed Rogers. "I'll see that nobody gets your money but myself." "Oh, I reckon I've headed 'em off, if they're out looking for me "That's so?" "All I fetched was a sartified check, as they call it, and all I've got to do is lug it in one of the Boston banks to git it cashed. Sally's got it now, she was so tarnal skeered I'd lose it!" "Wal, it's only a little slip of paper, and Rube's so awful keerless 'bout sich things," put in Sally looking up to explain "So I made sure 'twould be safe, you see, by sewing it inside of my cors e t cover." "Shut up, Sally! Lord sakes alive be yo u going to tell the whole town where you put it?" "Wal, it's where no one will git it, that's sure!" I think all of us together will be able to look after it," interposed Rogers, laughing. "To-morrow or next day, Reuben, you shall visit my office with me, an'cl I'll advise you about inv esting the money." "It'll have to be to-morrow, Cousin Jim," said Reuben. "I reckon I ain't going to stay down here only till to-morrow." "But that's a very short visit!" exclaimed the swindler, nevertheless much pleased by the prospect of securing the money so quickly.

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 9 "Wal, I've got my cattle and hosses to look after, and I'll have to git back hum purty quick," Reuben innocently explained. "I reckon one day'll do down h e re for me. Jehosaphat look at them buildings, Sally! And what a tarnal noise! It makes a feller's head go round just lookin' at--" "This way! this way!" cried Rogers, hurriedly. Even this self-possessed swindler was somewhat excited by the unexpected event that occurred immediately after their leavi .ng the station. As they emerged into Dewey Square, the sound of the fire alarm fell on their ears and from a large building half a block away great clouds of black smoke were already pouring. The hundreds of people outside th; s ta tion were rushing helter-skelter in all direc tions. Cabs were flying this way and that, and the electric cars then congested in the square were making strenuous efforts to open a clear way for the approaching fire en gines. Amid all of this confusion of rushing peo ple and vehicles arose the noisy clang of the car bells, the cries of excited men, and the vociferous commands of half a score of po "Come this way!" cried Rogers, dragging his startled and dismayed companions after him. "We have time to get across the square! Stick close to me!" Reuben and Sally Haskins obeyed him blindly, too confused to do otherw!se, and they started over the long crossing to an opposite corner fifty yards away. "Hurry up!" shouted Rogers, rushing them directly in front of an approaching car. "We can get a carriage over yonder!'' He wished to avoid the delay which he knew would result from the roping off of the streets and, heedless of the girl s fright ened protests, he hurried them over the long crossing. They did not succeed in reaching the op posite sidewalk, however, before the folly of the swindler's attempt became manifest. From around the near corner one of the fire engines suddenly appeared rushing straight upon them. The plunging horses the warning. clang of the gong, the yells of startled observers, the sudden and frightful immi nence of their danger-all combined to turn the head of Sally Haskins and fill her with ungovernable terror. She obeyed the first impulse born of her fright. She tore her arm free from Rogers' grasp and darted back the way she had come. A policeman hastened her flight by a rude shove and a vociferous command for her to get off the street. She reached the opposite sidewalk, completely turned round by her excitement and alarm, and there she was seized in the surging crowd of people, and swept on and away as a feather is borne in a rushing current. When finally she fairly got her feet, and realized that she was out of immediate per sonal danger, she was far from the station and utterly lost as to its location. She stared about in helpless confusion. The tumultuous still was d e n s e around her, and only strange and excit e d faces met her frightened gaze. Policemen w e re now roping off the streets. The building half a block away was in flames Thick clo uds o f smoke shut out her vi e w in the dir e ction whence she had come, and the rumble and roar of the arriving engines the clang of gongs, and the wild cries and commands of hurrying firemen, sounded like the discord of Bedlam in her dismayed ears. "Fall back there!" cried a policeman, forci bly urging back the crowd. "Fall back to the next block !" Vhth the aid of half a d o zen m e n he was roping out the press of people from the im-

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10 SHTEID WEEKJ,y. mediate locality of the threatening confl a gra tion. And Sall y Haski ns helplessly obe yed, fall ing b ack and back w ith the crowd, until she wa s ne a rl y tw o blocks from the spot on which she had been separated from Rogers and her husband. Meantim e they had gaine d the corner de sired, and Haskins turned to look for his bride. "Gee w hiz! ' h e cried, in alarm. "Where's Sall y " She was frightened and ran back," cried Rogers, inwardly cursing this stroke of ill luck, and for eseeing the possible conse quenc e s. "I l o st my hold upon her." '-" B 'gosh, she's got to b e found!" ex claimed Reuben, staring aghast at the con fusing spectacle. She's got my check and there ll be the devil to pay if she's lost!'" "We'll find her! Come this way! Come t his way, and stick close to me. We'll find he r presently." And they went this way and that way, f o rcing a pas sage through the crowd in all d irections, and for two l ong hours kept up a c e aseless search for the missing girl. But despite their strenuous efforts to dis co ver her, Sally Haskins was nowhere to be found ; and the disconcerted swindler, cursing the fact that she should have had the check on which he was designing to realize, was forced to the disagreeable conclusion that his game had, for a time, at least, be come most seriously blocked CHAPTER III. SHERIDAN KEENE MAKES A DISCOVERY. Sheridan Keene delivered his prisoner at headquarters that day, and left him in the custody of Chief Inspector Watts. "Have you any other assignment for me to-da y, chief?" he inquired, after he had re lieved himself of his charge. "Nothing at present. Detective Keene," replied Chief Watts. "There is a serious fire down near the Southern Union station, but I've already sent several inspectors over there. Why did you ask?" "I thought I would run up home for a bath and a change of clothing, Keene explained. "I have been away five days, you know." "Go ahead, th e n ," nodded the chief. "You may remain off duty until to-morrow morn ing." "I will report then as usual,'' bo wed Keene, as he withdrew; and without delay he started for his lodgings in Dartmouth street. It was about four o'clock when he entered the house, and he encountered his landlady in the hall, with whom he sh ook hand in greeting. "I suppose my suit case has been brought up, hasn't jt ? he asked, as he started up the stairs. ' Yes, Mr. Kee ne,'" she replied. "The e x pressman left it here about half an hour ago. I took it up to your room." "Thank you," nodded the det e ctive. But on reaching his room She ridan Keene met with a rather startling surprise The first thing to catch his eye when he entered the chamber was the suit case which his landlady had placed in one of the chairs. "This is not mine!" he exclaimed to him self. "The expressman has made a mis take!" The occasion for the error was plainly apparent, however. The case was so nearly like his own that a careless expressman, having two to deliver, might easily have left the wrong one. "The careless fellow has left this and deliv ered mine elsewhere," muttered Keene, not much pleased by the circumstance. "I won der whose this may be." He examined it more closely, and found

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 11 that it had no card upon it by which he might possibly have discovered where his own prope rty had be e n left. "Perhaps I can learn by opening it." Placing it o n th e bed, he quickly l o osed the hasps and threw it open. The contents were about what he had expected-a carefully packed supply o f clothing, e vidently that o f a man, and a folded smoking-jacket in one side. Tossed care lessly into the case, however was a letter. Evidently it had been thrown in at a last moment, and when the owner very possibly did not happen to have on the coat in which he habitually carried his corre spondence. "Ah, this will tell me to whom the case be longs," said Keene to himself, taking up the letter. The envelope bore the superscription-". West, Esq., Nantucket, Mass "E. West," muttered the detectiv e thoughtfully. "I don't recall the name. Evidently he has just come up from Nantucket, since this envelope bears the postmark of yes terday With no other designs than that of rectifying the expressman's mistake as soon as pos sible, Sheridan Keene drew out the written .....__. sheet and read it. The page was without a printed heading and read as follows : "BOSTON, June 23d. "DEAR NED : Your wire received Am glad to know that the pigeons will fly this way at the time anticipated. I will be on hand to '{>luck them. Have piped off N. at his office, and leave you to wire him to-mor row morning as agreed. Don't neglect it Shall expect you up by the same train with hayseeds, or the one after, and will contrive to meet you as suggested. It should be easy money. Yours hastily, S." It did not take Sheridan Keene long to grasp the probable significance of such a missive. Before he had fairly finished his perusal of it, his face had undergone a change which neither the writer nor the re cipient of the letter would have found pleasant to contemplate "Well, well! this looks very much like a confidence game of some kind," he said to himself, still studying the letter. "Be on hand to pluck them, eh I'll see about that, Mr. S., whoever you may be! Very evidently I am not off duty until to-morrow!" Already he had resolved to investigate the affair; and, after a few minutes' considera tion of the matter, he decided upon the most promising method by which to discover the owner of the suit case. I can locate him by looking up the ex pressman," he reasoned; "but that seems hardly necessary. Knowing this letter to be in his case, Mr. West will be even more anxious to recover his own baggage than I was. The address being on my case, it is safe to assume that I shall have a visit from this man West, directly after he discovers the expressman's mistake. I will prepare to meet him. Luckily, however, my own name is not on my case, and he will not suspect me of being Sheridan Keene, even if he has ever heard of me." Having a fictitious name on his baggage was but one of this detective's precautions when traveling, in order that his identity might not be thus discovered. The 'name then on the tag attached to his suit case was S. Kennedy, though the street and number of his lodgings were, of course, correct. Keene now carefully replaced the letter precisely as he had found it, and, having re locked the case, he stood it in a corner of his chamber. Then he hastened down-stairs to his land lady, to whom he explained the circum stances and told his suspicions. "I am quite certain that I've accidentally

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.i2 SHIELD WEEKLY. stumbled upon a swindling scheme, Mrs. Dodge, which is already in operation," he in formed her. "Furthermore, I think the owner of the case up-stairs is likely to _ca!J here to get it, and to leave mine, as soon as he discovers the blunder. I want you to keep out of sight, should he do so, and allow to answer his ring at the door." "Very well, Mr. Keene." "And do not pay any attention to what I may do," added Keene; "and don t put in an appearance until after the stranger has gone. I wish to discover if my suspicion is justified, and it may take a little time." Keene. "He has been away for nearly a week, and I cannot say just when he will return to the house. But I know he is in town, sir, for his traveling case has been left here by an expressman." "But th.e expressman made a mistake," said Vv eston, displaying the case he had in his h and. "He left Mr. Kennedy's case at my address, and mine is probably the one he left here. I wish to exchange them and get my own ." "That was curious," murmured Keene, taking the occasion to carefully fix Weston's face in his mind "Can yo u tell your own "I will not interfere,'' said Mrs. Dodge, when you see it?" willingly giving him the assurance desired. "Certainly I can! And here is Mr. Ken-Keene then hastened up to his room again. Having removed the key from the door, he placed the suit case directly opposite across the room, so that he could see it from the door by peering through keyhole. Next he assumed the disguise of an old gentleman, quickly effecting the change by means of materials which he constantly kept on hand, both in his chamber and in his closet at headquarters. He scarce had completed the metamorphosis, however, when he hearq a carriage drive rapidly up the street and stop outside. The next moment the ring of the doorbell sounded noisily through the. house. "I was right,'' he said to himself, as he hastened down-stairs to answer the summons. Ned Weston stood on the front steps, with the detective's suit case in his hand. "Does Mr. Kennedy live here, sir?" he de manded. Keene gave his voice the tremulous hesi tancy of the old man he appeared to be, and politely answered: "Yes, sir, he does; but he is not at home this afternoon." "Do you know when he will come in, sir?" "Very likely not before evening,'' replied nedy's card on this one, by which I discov ered where he lives." "You can come up to Mr. Kennedy's room, sir, and see if yours is the case the expressman left," said Keene, leading the way to the chamber. "Yes, that is mine," cried Weston, the moment he saw the case in the room. "Are you quite sure of it?" faltered Keene. "Certainly I am! I will take it, if you please and leave Mr. Kennedy his own." "Well, well, I don't know," Keene doubtfully demurred. "I am not sure it will be all right, sir. I think you'd better wait tiU-M r: Kennedy comes in. "Nonsense, sir," protested Weston. "You can see for yourself that this is Mr. Kennedy's case. Here is his card on it. The mis take is only that of the expressman." "\Vell, well, sir, I'll speak to my wife," said the detective, still hesjtating. "If she says I'd better let you them, I'll come back in a moment and tell you." "Very well, sir," nodded Weston. "But kindly hurry, sir, for I am in haste." Keene shambled out of the room, closing the door after him. Then he dropped to his knee and looked through the keyhole.

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SHIELD WEEKJ,y, 13 The very thin_g occurred which he had an ticipated. The moment he found himself alone Ned \Veston, satisfied that his case had not been opened, and apprehensive lest he might be prevented from removing it, dropped quickly to his knee and h1stily opened it, taking out the letter and thrusting it into his pocket. Sheridan Keene needed no further assur ance that some kind of a swindle or confi dence game was really in operation, and a sense of duty which lle never disregarded re quired him to follow up the clew he so curi ously had struck. Quickly slipping down to the front door, h e softly opened it and beckoned the hackman to the ste ps "Where do you come from, driver?" he demanded, curtly. "From the Reynolds sir said the driver, lookihg at him in some surprise. "Is your passenger a guest there?" "\Veil sir, I--" "Answer me!" Keene sharply commanded, displaying his badge when the hackman fal tered. "I am one of the Boston inspectors, and if you evade me in any way it will cost you your license." "Beg pardon sir." -{ 'Again, is your passenger a guest at the Reynolds?" "I cannot say for sure, sir," the hackman now readily answered. "He engaged m.e on "All right. s ir "If you l e ave him anywhere else," con tinued K e ene; "note the place and observe where he goe s and then drive to the Rey nolds and tell me. Do y ou understand?" 'Yes, sir." "See, th e n that you do it! Now get back to your carriage." As the driv e r returne d Keene softl y closed the door and hastened up to his chamber. "Well, sir, what does your wife say?" demanded Wes ton the minute he entered. "She sa y s for you to take it, sir," replied Kee ne, bowing and waving his hand toward the Sl.lit case. "She says the expressman must have made the mistake, sir." "Of course he made it!" cried Weston, curtly. "Evidently your wife has more brains than you have." And without more ado the swindler took his own case and hastened from the room and down the stairs. "More brains, eh!" laughed Sheridan Keene hurriedly removing his disguise and slipping the materials for sundry other facial changes into his pocket. "We'll see who is best supplied with brains, Mr. West! Now for the Reynolds!" CHAPTER IV. QUICK WORK. Sheridan Keene broke all his previous records in his pursuit of Ned Wes ton, and in the series of remarkable strategies by which the street." he followed up the mystery, upon a mere "Did he have his traveling case with him pointer to which he so unexpectedly and when he engaged you?" "No, sir; he went into the hotel and got it." "Now, follow my instructions and without betraying me to him," said Keen .e, sharply. "I'll do sir." "When you take him from here, if he di rects you to the Reynolds, drive so slowly that I can reach there before him." curiously had stumbled. His movements were so rapid that, when he emerged to Dartmouth street, the hack containing Ned Wes ton had reached only the corner of Huntington avenue, into which thoroughfare it then was turning. Hastening to a cab-stand in Copley square, Keene luckily ran upon a driver with whom he was personally acquainted, and

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14 SHIELD WEEK.LY. with his o w n hands snatched the blanket from the horse and tossed it upon the box. T o the Reynolds Larry, at the top of your s p ee d! he cri ed, to the astonished J e hu D o you s ee that hack now nearing the Brunsw i c k? "Yes, Detec tiv e K eene!" Slip through one o f the side streets and p as s it. I w i s h to r e ach the hotel first, and without the inmate o f that carriage suspect anything.'' I a m o n s ir !'' "Be off, th e n, and drop me at the corner o f W a shingto n street." The cabman obeyed his instructions to the lette r and at th e end of five minutes the de te ctiv e sprang down at the point mentioned. He knew h e w as well in advance of the other carriage; and, having paid his fare, he quickly entered the hotel office and ran over th e nam es that day entered upon the regis ter. T he nam e o f E. West was not among them Although h e had an appointment there with Rogers, Ned Weston had calculated upon passing the night in the furnished apartme nts r ente d by the former, and hence had not r e gist e red having sent his case t here mer e l y for convenience. Though well known to the hotel clerk, Keene had signified with a glance he di d not w ish t o be recognized On failing t o find the name he had sought o n the register the detective took a seat in an obscure corne r of the office and buried himself behind a ne w spaper, to wait the ar riv al o f his man. He did not particularly notice a tall, well d ressed gentleman, wh() was moving nerv o usly about the office Neither Rogers nor \ 1Veston were familiar characters in Boston, a nd, d e spite that the latter's photograph wa.> in the Rogues' Gallery Keene never had this rspect he was somewhat at a disadvantage, not knowing either of these confidence men he had in return the advantage of not being known by them. With the letter he had read serving as his only clew to the nature of the game he felt sure was being played, and without the slightest idea as to the identity of the several parties involved, this clever officer patiently waited the arrival of the man with the suit case, known only to him as E. West, Nantucke t, Mass. He had not long to wait however. Presently a hack drew up at the curbing, and Wes ton sprang down and entered the hotel office. The first man he beheld was Sam Rogers, who had been nervously ;:twait ing him, and the two men met nearly op posite whe re Keetfe was seated. "That slick-looking fellow may have been the writer of the letter,'' Keene quickly de cided, while he furtively watched them and .strained his ears for an occasional word passed between the;n. "Where have you been? demanded Rogers, the moment they met. "You were to be here at four." "It's lucky I am here at all,'' said Weston, curtly. "I've had a deuced close call. "What you mean?" "It was owing to a mistake made by the expressman, who should have left my case here He left it at a house up-town, and your last letter was in it It's all right now, how ever." "That's not a marker to what's befallen me ," said Rogers, grimly. "The game isn t up!" gasped Weston, momentarily dismayed. "Oh, no; only badly blocked! Let's go into the cafe and have a drink or two We can take a table by ourselve s, and I then will t ell yo u just what has happened "Wait until I've checked this baggage had occasi o n to especially observe it. If in said \i\T es ton. "It's an infernal nuisance."

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 15 Enough of the last had reached the ear5 of Sheridan Keene to determine his action. He knew that he would have two or three minutes in which to acco m plish the d e s ign that had instantly arisen in his mind. Quickly leaving the hotel office, he hast ened through the corridor and into the cafe Several tables i n a remote corner of the room were vacant, and the waiter assigned t o them was standing near the wall. Keene quickly caught his eye and beckoned him to follow, then sl ipped into a booth near by and dropped the curtain. "Did you beckon to me, sir?" asked the w aiter presently thrusting in his head. "Yes, said Keene, softly. "'Come in here." "You're not daffy are you?" "Far from it,. curtly answered the detect ive quickly displaying his badge. "I am after two men who will, I think, presently take seats at one of your t ables. Come out of that apron and cap and loan them to me. I wish to serve the men in your place tha t I may discover their game, if possible. "This is on the level is it? d emanded the waiter rathe r doubtfully. "You'll find it is very much on the level, ;; yot.1 don' t do precisely what I bid you!" said Keene, sternly as he hurriedly removed his coat and hat. "I will take your word for it, sir." "That's a wise conclusion, my friend. My name is Sheridan Keene--" "Oh, the deuce you say!" the waiter i n terrupted, with a startled look. "Here' s the apron, sir, and the cap!" "Good for you!" nodded the detective, hurriedly tying the long white apron about him. "Now, sir, you put on my coat and hat, and presently go out to the coat-room and wait there until I come for them. Do just that and nothing else!" "All right. sir." "Follow th ese instructions to the letter, mind you or y o u 'll find yourself in warm water "I'll n o t fail yo u sir, sa i d the waiter, as suringly. The steps of two men passing the booth gave Sheridan Keene the cue he wanted. He stepped out through the c u rtain, and fell in almost at the hee ls of Rogers and Weston, as the y walke d to th e furthermost table in the room. Neither of them nor a perso n in the cafe, in fact, had observed this little and when the two swindlers took their chairs, Sheridan Keene, in cap and apron, carelessly tossed each a napkin from the tumblers on the table, and coolly waited their orders. "Two Manhattans," said Rogers, looking up. "Any lunch?" "Want anything to eat, Sam?" "No, not a mouthful. "That's all waiter ." "And this is the beginning!" thought Keene, as he took a tray and departed. "Evidently the S at the end of that letter stood for Sam.'' He did not expect to overhear. much that was said at the table, but of a word here and there he knew he now could make vol-um es Ignoring the curious glances of one of the waiters, who now observed him, Keene went out to the bar, whispered a few words to the bartender, and the latter at once hastened to mix the cocktails ordered. "Why did you put my letter in your suit case?" frowned Rogers, immediately upon Keene s departure. "My coat h<}ppened to be in the washroom of the hotel, and I tossed the letter into the case while packing it," explained Weston. "I now know it was a fool's trick, of course, but there's no harm don("

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16 SHIELD WEEK.LY. "Are you sure the case has not been opened? That letter would have been a dead give-away." "I am sure of it, Sam," returned Weston, petulantly. "The man whose case I found here had not returned home when I went to make the exchange. What's wrong with you, and where is Haskins?" "I've left him in my rooms, with orders not to venture out of doors before I return," growled Rogers, evidently in very bad humor. "He's in a devil s own stew, and we're in a worse one." Wes ton' face took on an expression of surprise and consternation. "What do you mean?" he demanded. "We've lost the girl." "Lost her!" "Like a needle in a haystack," said Rogers, grimly. "She was separated from us di rectly after we left the station, owing to the fire just then and there; and though we did our best, and searched high and low, we could not find her." "By the gods, that indeed makes a bad mess of it!" "And the worst of it is, Ned, she's got the certified check with her." "The devil you say!" "Devil or no devil, it's the truth," returned Rogers, with a dismal frown. "What have you done about it?" "What could I do? I finally prevailed upon the fool of a countryman--" "Your drinks, gents!" said Sheridan Keene, placing the glasses before them, and pausing only to write on a slip procured at the bar the price of their order. Then he withdrew as far as the next table, where he stood with his back toward them, staring about the long room, and apparentl y deaf to, and without interest in, what e ver they might say. Yet Sam Rogers instinctively lowered his voice. "I finally prevailed upon the infernal hay seed to give up the search for the girl," he continued; "and we left the station and went up to my rooms." ''And he is now there?" demanded Wes ton. "Yes, and in a peck of trouble over losing her." "How did you manage to leave him?" "I told him I would go out and start the whole police force in search of the wench," explained Rogers. "He wanted to come, also, I soon convinced him that he only would impede my movements; and, as the recovery of the girl is now of chief importance to him, he finally suffered me to go out alone." Will he remain there?" "I made him swear himself black and blue that he would, and I am satisfied he will. He's had his fill of city life already. Once he recovers his wife, and makes his invest ments, he will pack himself back to his hens and cattle flying." "He doesn t mistrust anything, does he? "Not he!" said Rogers, smiling faintly. "He has perfect confidence in me. But fot losing the girl, and the check along with her, we'd have had the thing done brown by this time, and have been well away." "It's 'beastly lucid" muttered Weston, shaking his head. "The girl must be found, and that's all there is to it." said Rogers, d e cisively. "But how? We cannot call in the help of the police." "I should say not." "And it's a risk to advertise. How long, think you, can we keep Haskins on a string?" "For several clays, surely," said Rogei:s. "You see, he depends entirely upon me, and it's dead easy to blind him. I'll take you along when I return to him, and we'll give

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 17 him to understand that we both are doing everything possible to locate his wife. I'd give a cold thousand if I could place her dan Keene, taking an opportune moment, turned and addressed them. Instantly both were instinctively suspithis very day. Here, waiter, repeat this or-cious; but the expression on the mobile face der !" Sheridan Keene started like a man sud: denly brought out of a dream, and returned to the table. "Same, gents?" "Yes." "Right, sir!" And once more Sheridan Keene started for the bar. '"So they have lost a girl," he said to hi:n self, reasoning shrewdly from the few wor
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18 SHIELD WEEKLY. "What party?" demanded the former with a steady scrutiny of Keene's crafty counte nance. "A woman I happen to know by sight, gents, and who s up to a game of her own most of the time explained Keene. "What kind of a game?" ''Laying in wait for country girls when they first land in the city." "What' s the woman's name?" "Placer, gents, and she's a bad ticket." "Did you see her speak to the girl?" "No, gents, I didn t. But I saw Maude Placer watching her and follow her down the street ; then I lost sight of them in the, c rowd. Tli e re may he nothing in it, g e ms, but I thought I'd give you the tip She looked like a girl Maude Placer would be looking to lead off if she saw the chance." And Sheridan Keene turned away again as if he really had no further interest in the matter. He was taking a l ong chance, y e t making at the same time an shrewd calcu lation, that Maude Placer, whom that morning had observed at the Union station, had indeed run upon this country girl as he had suggested. whether or not this should prove to be the fact, he knew that these swindlers would snap at the bare possibility, and speedily would investigate the matter; and he already had planned how he now could follow their movements. "By Jove! there may be something in this fellow s story," whispered Weston, leaning o ver the table to address his confederate. "Do you think so?" demanded Rogers. "I do Sam! Where else would the girl have gone? You certainly should have been able to find her. if she had not been led away." "That's true." ''Let's look into the matter. It won't take a great while." "Wait a bit said Rogers, softly. question this fellow further." "Go ahead." "Here, waiter "Yes, sir And Keene returned to the table. "I'll "\\That time wa it w hen y o u aw the I l a cer woman follow ing the girl?" "Not far from no o n sir." "You're sure of the woman?" "Oh, I know Maude Placer well enough!" "ls she l<><:ated here in town?" "No, sir, not in town. She keeps a road house several miles out. "What sort of a joint?" "Well,' said Keene smiling significantly, "you' d not want your wife there." "Can you take us to the place? "No, gents, I cannot; for I am obliged to stay here. replied Keene, shaking his head. "But I've a friend outside who can.'' "What friend ? "His name is Jim Kerrigan, and he drives a hack. He knows .the place well and the shortest way. If you say so, gent I'll slip out and see if he's about here .' "Do so, and let us know, nodded Rogers, approvingly. "And say! if things turn right, you 'll quit no loser for this information -Sa' nothing about it .' Keene winked understandingly and bowed. "You needn't fear I'll know more than you wish, gents," he said. with crafty significance. "I am on the make when it's safe, and so is Jim Kerrigan. You can trust him gents, as far as you can see him." "Good!" said Rogers. "See if he is outside, and come and tell us. Bring in tw o more drinks when you come. "Right, sir." Keene took his tray and again ha tened to the bar, leaving the order. Then he went quickly to the coat-room, where he found the waiter as instructed.

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 19 "Give me my coat and hat for a minute, and remain her e until I r eturn," he com manded A mom e nt later he appeared on the side walk near Washington street, and accosted the dri ve r o f a landau drawn up at the curb ing "I want your livery and your carriage for an h o ur o r two, Macklin," he said, familiarly. "\Vhat's up, Inspector Keene?" demanded the driver, who was well acquainted with the detective ''I suspect a rather clever con. game, and am running down two parties for the proof," Keene hurriedly explained. "I want to drive them out to Maude Placer's, and must have your livery and carriage. I will return them within an hour or two "All right, sir." "I'll explain later," added Keene. "Leave the team here, and go into the hotel coat room and wait until I come Have your coat and ready for me, so I can make a quick change." -"! will be there, sir A moment later Sheridan Keene returned in cap and apron with the drinks ordered by Rogers, and placed them on the table. Vi ell?" demanded the latter, inquiringly. Keene bent down and said, softly : "I've seen Kerrigan sir. He'll drive you out there whenever you are ready." "Good!". "You'll find him and his team down near the corner. It's an open landau, and he's a fellow about my size with a big black mus tache. You'll know him by thc;tt, and his long bottle-green coat with silver buttons." "I can find him." 'I told him you'd show up a little later. He's gone for a beer "We'll go out as soon as we have finished these drinks Rogers nodded, approvingly "Here is your pay, and a dollar for your kindness There'll be more coming if you prove to have been right " Thanks, gents! Sheridan Keene took the tip without the slightest eompunction It was rather a nove l experience, that of having a swindler pay him for his own undoing. Returning quickly to the bar, Keene next settled the bill accrued, and gave the barten der a cautionary wink Then he hastened to the coat-room Both the waiter and Macklin, the driver, were awaiting him. With skill born of natural cleverness and experience, Keene quickly donned a large black mustache, and with a stick of grease paint heavily blackened his eyebrows, turn ing his countenance into that of as tough looking a cabman as one often encounters. "Now your livery, Macklin, he said, hur riedly "Here, sir 'Look after my coat and hat until I return. And you, waiter, be off about your business, and keep your mouth closed.,,. Half a minute later Sheridan Keene was Ql1 the street so changed that his own mother would not have recognized him; and was busily engaged in removing the blank ets from the horses attached to th e open landau, which Macklin willingly had placed at his disposal. Before the covering had been removed from the nigh horse, Keene heard the voice of Sam Rogers behind him. ''Is yom: name Kerrigan, driver?" he d e manded. Keene wheeled sharp about and touch e d the rim of his tall hat. "Yes, sir," he said, in a gruff tone, utterly unlike that of the waiter who recently had served the two men. "Are you the gents Joe Gerry was telling me about?" "The waiter?"

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20 SHIELD WEEKLY. "Yes, sir." "The same Kerrigan," Rogers nodded, without misgivings "Did he tell you what we wanted? "He said you wanted to go out to Maude Placer's to look after some one. "How long a drive is it? "Half to three -quarters of an hour, sir." ''A nd th e far e :i" ''A five, s ir. "That's all ri g ht, said Rogers. "But I wish your carri a g e was clos e d ." "Can' t throw up the tops very well, sir," said Keene, decisively. "Never mind then I'll take the chance that we are not observed. Get us out there as quickly as possible, will you?" "You'll have no fault to find sir. Give you my word "Get in Ned. Sheridan Keene banged the door after them, mounted with the ease of a profes sional Jehu to the high box, fished out Mack lin's gloves from th e pocket of the long coat, gathered the ribbons up over the showy pair of bays, and adroitly made a sh a r p t urn into Boylston street and h ea d e d for Maude Placer's road-house six mile;; m r ay. It was then nearly five o'cl o ck. CHAPTER VI. of a friendly voice was more than welcome, indeed, in such an hour of utter helplessness and despair. She turned eagerly to look at the speaker, and beheld a stout, middle-aged woman, very nicely dressed, and with a most kind and mothedy expression on her fleshy face. But the expression was a mask, and woman was a fiend in the guise of a friend. The woman was she whom Sheridan Keene had noticed in the station a half-hour previous-Maud Placer. But innocent Sally Haskins knew nothing of the artifices and vices practiced in a great city. "Yes, ma'am, I am lost," she replied halfsobbing the words. Well, well dearie, don t feel badly," said Maud Placer, with an artful display of ma ternal solicitude. "I'll befriend you, my dear. Where do you live?" "My home is in Nantucket, ma' am." "Then you're a country g:irl?" "Yes, ma 'am; I never was in the city be fore." "Surely you are not alone here?" "No, ma'am; my husband came up with me this morning, but I have lost him. I was married only yesterday, and--" "Well, well, my dear!" interposed Maude Placer, taking the girl by the arm. "Don't A D ESIGNING FRIEND. rry. Come down this way with me, more "Wha. t' s th e trouble, my dear? You ap-out of the crowd, and I'll help you f.nd your pra r to h e lo s t. Thesr w e r e the words that fell on the ea r s o f S a lly Haskins, when, after having hee n jostl e d this way and that by the moving n owd at the fire she found herself far from t h e Union station and on the outskirts of i h e
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SHIELD WEEKLY. 21 we will try to locate youF husband in som e of the side streets," said she. "There is n o use in remaining so near the crowd, a s it would b e impo s s ibl e to di sc over him am ong so many p eo pl e What is he like? Althoi1gh Maude Placer asked thi s qu e stion, sh. e alread y kne w; for she had seen both Reuben Has kins and Sally com e fr o m th e train, and als o had witne s sed the e pis o de resulting in the ir separation. From t hat moment she h a d follow e d Sally, until she found this opportunity to address h e r. Now she w a s l eading the girl farth e r and farther from the scene of the fire, and tak ing the surest way of preventing her discov ery by her friends. "He's young, li k e me, ma'a m ," Sally an swered, in r e ply to h e r question. 1Have you no friends here in the city?" "Only one, ma' am. We have a cousin named Jam es Norton." "That m 'ust have been the man I saw meet them!" said Maude Placer to herself. came up here only this morning, ma'am, just for two or three days, Sally went on to explain little dreaming of the daiiger by which she was menaced. "Rube had some money to invest--" "Is,. your husband, dearie?" inter Maude Placer, with her ears pricked up at the. mention of money to be invested ''.. Yes, ma'am, and his full name is Reuben Haskins,'' said Sally, almost sobbing again, when she thought of the fuU extent of her ; ,J ,' distressful situation. "He came up to invest some money, ma'am, and I've got to find him lie can do so.'1 "VY,by sch dearie ?" "I}ecause I took his certified check, ma'am, fpr fear he would lose it, and I now have itJ sewed in my waist," Sally innocently explained, much to the secret enjoyment and de1ight 'o'f her designing companion. "Now Rube can't get the money to invest until he has found me/' "You are a dear, innocent Iambi" laughe d the woman, giving Sall y an affecti onate hug. ''\Ve shall find him sooner or lat e r, my dear, and meantime I will take care that no harm b e falls you.'' "This is very kind of y ou ma'am, I am s ure "My name is Placer, d e arie, and I'm a very honest and r e sp ecta bl e w om an ." "Oh, your kind fac e s h o ws that, ma'am!" e xclaim e d Sally. "Are y ou sure we are go. ing the right wa y, m a am ? -I'd like to find R euben this morning, if I c an .'' "We will look for hi m dear, but it may be impossible to find him so quickl y," s a i d Maude Placer, with a shrug of h e r broa d shoulders. "Boston is a large city, you know, and when stranger s get sepjlrated, it's not always easy t o bring the m quickly together. We will go d own this way, dear, and pos3 ibly we shall run across him .' For an hour or m o r e the designing woman keptSally walking through the city streets, till the girl became wear y and more than ever confused. "Can we not find Mr. Norton's house?" Sally finally inquired, struck by this idea for the first time. "I will look in my directory when we reach home, dear,'' said Maude Placer, stopping on a corner to wait for a car, and now satisfied that she had the girl well under her influ ence. "Home?" echoed Sally, looking at her with a helpless stare. "Yes, dear, home!" replied the woman. "There is nothing to be gained by traveling the streets ai:iy longer.'' "But what am I to do to find Reuben?" "I will find him for you, my dear, but it will take a little time," was the crafty re ply. "When we reach my home, dear, I will

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22 SHIELD WEEKLY. notify the police and set them all looking for him." "Will they find him, do you think?" "Yes, and inform him where you are." "Indeed, I hope so, ma'am!" "Meantime, dearie, you shall go home with me and remain over night. You can't stay in the streets, you know," she hastened to add, on observing Sally s startled look. ''Where is your home?" "I have a nice boarding-house out here a little distance You'll find everything to your fancy, my dear, and possibly your husband will have heard where you are, and come out there this very day." "You will be sure to inform the police?'' pleaded Sally innocently taking the woman at her word. "I will do so, dear, the first thing after arriving home." "I shall be willing to pay my board, ma'am." "Bless your dear heart, I would not take a cent from you!" exclaimed Maude Placer, drawing closer the helpless gil'li.. "You shall come to my home and welcome and shall remain there till your husband finds you. Come, dear, here is the car we must take." And Sally Haskins. as e asily blinded by such a woman as can w ell be imagined, read ily followed h e r into the s t reet and boarded a Brighton c ar. Cl-L.\P T E R VII. A N EXPOSURE. Nearly an h our l a t e r. It was a p proaching s ix o'clock. The sun o f th e June day was running low in th e western s ky. and the shadows of the elms bordering the suburban highway were lengthening over the dusty thoroughfare and in the meadows beyond. Yet it want e d full an hour to sunset, and the golden glory of the closing day was shed, despite the cloudy character of the woman and the place, over the road-house and numerous outbuildings belonging to notorious Maude Placer. The house itself was a three-story wooden structure, with a piazza and balcony in front and on the south side. Back of the house was a deep yard, the approach to a long stable, and adjoining the latter was a roofed inclosure for the temporary shelter of un hitched teams. The general appearance of the place was inferior, and its isolation from other habita tions, for it stood quite alone ; a long, open stretch of the suburban turnpike, was a de sirable feature in a r esort of its kind. Despite thes e rural surroundings and the quietude without, the sound of a piano wa:> wafted through one of the open windows, with the shrill notes of girls' voices singing a popular air: while a fashionable automobile left in the stable yard indi cated the presence of visit9rs in the house---: probably two young city sparks out on an afternoon lark. In a side room on the second floor. about the time Sheridan Keene with his passengers was nearing the house, Maude Placer was seated with the girl, who had believed 111 her kindly representations, only to be led into a far greater danger than that in which she had been found. Long ere then this designing woman had learned the girl's entire story, with the precise facts relative to the check in her possession and she now was racking her brains to hit upon some duplicity by which the money could be safely secured. But in Sally Haskins' mind vague suspi cions already had arisen, and she now wished herself well out of the house, a desire far more easily entertained than executed under the existing circumstances. "Some of my 'boarders are singing in the I

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 23 parlor, Sally," said Maude Placer, craftily watching the girl's timid and doubtful eyes. '"Will you go down and join them?" o, ma'am; I'd sooner stay here, if you please,'' said Sally, in tremulous tones. "Have you told the police about Reuben?" "Yes, indeed, my dear: and the search for him ha<; already begun." said the woman, encouragingly. ''I think you had better come down and get acquainted with my--" Then she suddenly stopped. She had caught sight of the approaching landau from the window and an instant later had recognized one of its occupants. The man she had seen meet Reuben and Sally Haskins at the Union station that morning. "He is after the girl! How can he have traced her?" These, with an imprecation, were the first thougltts that flashed through the woman's mind. Though her momentary feeling was that of sudden alarm, Maude Placer was a bold and desperate character; and the thought of releasing the girl, and losing the chance or swindling this country twain out of at least a portion of their money, aroused the worst part of the woman. Though she maintained a placid counte nance, lest she should alarm the girl, she :ibruptly rose and said to Sally, who was seated ba<:k from the window, and had ub served nothing: "At all events, my dear, you must come into another room, a! this belongs to one of my lodgers." "I am willing to do that, ma'am," said Sally, timidly. "Take your hat and shawl, then, and come along." "I have them, ma'am." "Come this way," said Maude Placer, quickly. Slie knew that tl).e landau would stop-in the driveway directly under the wi.ndow of the room that they were leaving, and hurrying Sally into a back chamber, that she by no means should observe the man naturally assumed to be her friend, Maude Placer bade her remain quietly there until she re turned. Then she closed the do o r and softly slipped a bolt on the outside, securing the girl in the room. This having been done she hastened down stairs, reaching the lower hall just as the landau drew up at the side door. The bell rang an d she opened the door quickly. "vV ell, gentlemen, she said, inquiringly, }>Utting her boldest face on the ituation; "what can I do for you?" Keene drove his team into the stable-yard, in order to turn around. Rogers approached her politely. ''We are seeking a young lady, Mrs. Placer, whom we think may have taken lodgings with you,'' he said smiling. "What is the lady s name, sir?" "Her name is Sally Haskins." Maude Placer boldly shook her head, and gave her broad shoulders a shrug. "I've never heard that name sir," she re joined. "There is no such girl here." "Possibly she may have come here without giving you her true name," said Rog ers, suggestively. "Well, sir, if you have a search-warrant, you mav go over the house," the wrnnan curtly returned, with a quick frown. Again the landau approached the sidt> door, and now it was turned toward the lughway. Sheridan Keene sprang down from the box. but he did not enter the hall. He remained standing on the steps just outside the open door, from which he could easily overhear what was said in the hall, and at the same time keep an eye on his horses.

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24 SHIELD WEEKLY. "We have no search-warrant, Mrs. Placer," Rogers replied, with professional suavity; "and have called here only to make inquiries. My name is Norton, and I am looking for a niece who arrived in Boston this morning." Something in the man's voice and eyes led Maude Placer instinctively to feel that he was crafty, if not deliberately lying. The various circumstances of the affair suddenly appealed to her in a new light. She glanced again in the direction of the carriage. Keene had been forced to disguise himself very hastily at the hotel. He now felt his false mustache slipping down. He put up his hand to fix it, and at that instant his eyes met those of the woman looking at him from the hallway. Ac.customed to seeing people disguised, she understood the action in an instant, and now felt convinced that something was wrong. Keene felt sure that h:_ had been recog nized, and was in a quandary as to how the affair would turn out. The woman continued to watch him as she talked to her callers, but the detective saw to it that no other opportunity was given her. to discover his identity. Then he set about some rapid figuring. "She sees my disguise he mused "Now, who does she think I am? Not a friend of these men, surely. If she's as smart as I think she is, she'll put the thing to the test. Now for some developments," and he felt to see if his revolvers were handy. And Mrs. Placer did put them to the test in a way that was surprising. This woman, bolder even than the men, rose to the situation and seized the bull by the horns. Did you say the girl was your niece?" she demanded curtly. Yes, madam." "And that she arrived m Boston this morning?" "Just before noon." "Well, sir, with one exception, all of my lodgers have been here for several weeks," said Maude Placer, curtly. "And the exception, Mrs. Placer?" "The exception is a girl who arrived here this afternoon. As you appear to have some doubts of me, sir, will you please step up stairs with me, and you may see the girl. If she is not the one, you'll have to look further." Both Rogers and Ned Wes ton assenteJ to this, and followed Maude Placer upstairs; and Sheridan Keene, without mov ing from his position, allowed them to de part. To him the recovery of the girl was then of chief importance, and this he knew could be effected by Rogers as well as by himself, assuming her to be there. But Maude Placer did not lead the way to the room in which Sally Haskins was confined. Instead, she took her companions to a vacant front room, and imipediately closed the door. "What's the meaning of this?" demanded Rogers, sharply. "Meaning of what?" "There is no girl here. "No, but I am here," said Maude Placer, with abrupt vehemence. "Now what game are you two fellows playing, that you have come here like this?" "Game!" gasped Rogers, turning suddenly pale. "No game at all." "Oh, don't attempt to jolly with me!" was the woman's angry response. "I am not to be fooled as easily as you have been. The girl you're seeking is here, and I know all about her, and what she has sewed in her waist. You're not a cousin to her, or you'd

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 25 not have Sheridan Keene in disguise at your heels--" The woman had lit on Keene's name more by accident than design. She suspected it was a detective outside, and she knew the effect that Sheridan Keene's name would have on the men before her. That a detective was driving these men out there in disguise now suggested the idea that he might be shadowing them, and that their interest in Sally Haskins was not what Rogers was representing. The woman's mind was made up in an instant. She determined to "bluff" these men about the detective, and thus force them to disclose to her their scheme, out of which she proposed to get some benefit, if possible. The answer which was now given her only confirmed her suspicions. "You'fe mad!" cried Rogers, in mingled anger and amazement. "If the girl is here--" "Oh, no, I'm not mad," Maude Placer forcibly interrupted, quickly taking a position between him and the door. "You don't go out of this room until I know the truth. You fool, do you know the man who drove you out here?" "Drove us out here!" exclaimed Rogers, aghast. "He is a public cabman." "Yes he is-not!" cried Maude Placer, with a bitter laugh. "He is Sheridan Keene, Boston's slickest detective, and it's a hundred to one that you two are working some game to which he has tumbled! Now will you tell me what's up?" The consternation with which both men heard her vehement words would alone have betrayed them. Weston sprang forward and caught the woman by the wrist, crying 111 accents of rising desperation: "Do you mean what you say?" "You'll find that I mean it." "Are you sure of the man?" "Sure of him!" Maude Placer bitterly re joined. "If you had been run in by him as many times as I have, you'd be sure." "By Heavens, Sam!" exclaimed Weston, turning sharply to his confederate, "I be lieve this woman may be right. That affair in the cafe has a very yellow color, now that I think of it. And Kennedy and Keene are names deucedly near alike." "You mean the man who received your suit case?" "Of course!" "Oh, I am on to all, now," cried Rogers, angrily. "We are caught between wind and water, and the game is hopelessly up! I see it all, now, and the sooner we make our es cape--" "Wait a bit!" interrupted the woman, still barring with her powerful figure their exit from the room. "What is this game? There yet may be a way to fool Sheridan Keene. He's only a man. He don't know that the girl is here, and I suppose he's not so sure of you. what is the game?" Impressed by her forceful words, and eager to hit upon any project that would serve their present needs, Rogers quickly disclosed the main facts to Maude Placer, to whom a bold and startling remedy for the desperate situation almost immediately appealed. "Keep your heads, you fools!" she cried, hurriedly. "There's yet a way out of the scrape." "Tell us the way!" exclaimed Rogers, ea gerly. "First of all, am I to be used on the square?" said the woman, with a shrewd eye to her own interests. "Surely you shall be! I give you my word for it!" cried Rogers, earnestly. "Tell me your true name, then?" "I am Sam Rogers, of New York." "The confidence man?"

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26 SHIELD WEEKLY. "The satne." "I've heard of you, and I'll take the chance. Make sure you use me on the level, however, or I'll set a man after you who will run you down like a pair of jack-rabbits." "You mean the man down-stairs?"' "None other," nodded Maude Placer, sig nificantly. "He's the shrewdest and most persistent detective in the whole country, this same Sheridan Keene. Understand me, now, you fellows! If you realize on the check belonging to these hayseeds, I am to have one-third of the money." "I again give you my wor"d," cried Rogers, impatiently. "Tell us your plan for evading Keene. We are losing time." CHAPTER VIII. KEENE RUNS A RACE AND GETS A TUMBLE. Maude Placer was as cunning as she was unscrupulous and bold. She now saw a way by which to shield herself, and yet possibly accomplish her project. She knew the de tective would have no case against her merely for having brought Sally Haskins out there, and she now artfully schemed to have it appear that she was innocent of any cooperation with the two men she then was confronting. "Listen," she cried, quickly. "Keene don't know this girl is here?" "Surely not." "And you have her husband in town?" "At our rooms." "Does the detective know where they are located?" "Impossible!" "And certainly he is not sure of your iden tity?" "He can't be sure of that." "Then the game is by no means up !'' cried Maude Placer, with forceful earnestness. "What's your idea?" "You must give Sheridan Keene the slip, and remove the girl at the same time." "Can it be done?" "It must be done! The girl thinks you're her cousin, don't she?" "Surely." "Then she'll readily obey you, and be glad enough to go away from here. If you can get her into town, and with her husband again, they will both have redoubled faith in you." "That's certainly true!" cried Rogers, eagerly. "And in that case," continued Maude Placer, evolving the infamous scheme '"'ith the celerity and skill of a diplomat; "it will be all the easier for you to get Ha kins to cash the check and turn the money OYer to you, in return for your worthless stock cer tificates." "Yes, go on." ''This can be done the moment the banks ope1' to-morrow morning, and before Sheridan Keene can possibly have located you. Then you can give these hayseeds the slip, and the money is ours." "That should be easy!" cried Rogers, now flushed and excited. "It's out of sight!" cried Weston. "The chief difficulty lies in getting away with the girl. and ill' giving Keene the slip "That can be done." the woman cried, con temptuously. "Listen to me .. '" "Go on." "You two remain her e, and be ready to get the girl down-stairs and into the landau ." "Yes." "She is now in the back room at the end of the hall, and t he door is bolted on the outside. You need o nly open it, and the girl will be glad enough to see you and to depart at once." "There's no doubt of that." ''Take her down the side sta irs and around by the piazza. You know where the landau stands, and one of you must drive into town." ''I \\'ill do that!" cried \Veston. "But what about Keene?" demanded Rogers. "He'll not stand by like a wooden cigar sign and see th is done.'' "By no mean .'' ,, "Faugh !" cried Maude Placer, disdain fully. "You leave Sheridan Keene to me. I'll get him out of your way, and don't you forget it. You're never to tell him that I recognized him, how ever; make sure of that." "We'll not betray you, come what may.

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 27 "Are you ready, then?" "When you say the word." "There's only one thing more," the woman hurriedly replied. "vVhen you hear me close a door down-stairs, you'll know the coast is clear." "\Ve'll listen for it." "Then get to work at once and be off with the girl at the top of your speed." "Leave that to us," cried Weston. "I 'II have Keene in a room with me, and you'll have no trouble from him if you move QUickly." "We'll not lose a moment." "Come then." "Lead the way." Maude Placer softly opened the chamber door and led them into a hall, then silently pointed to the room in which Sally Haskins was to be found. Rogers nodded understandingly, and the woman delayed only to whisper, softly: "When you hear me close the door below, get to work at once." Both men gave her a knowing look, and she at once left them and hastened down stairs. Sheridan Keene then was standing in hall, with an eye on his team, and patiently waiting the return of the two swindlers. "Look here; driver, what's the meaning of this?" Maude Placer resentfully cried, addressing him before she fairly had reached the foot of the stairs. "Meaning of what?" demanded Keene, gruffly. "Come here and I'll tell you; the woman angrily rejoined, stepping into a side room near the parlor and forcibly closing an open window. Sheridan Keene was briefly deceived by the angry tone she was feigning and he fol lowed her into the room. "What's the trouble?" he demanded, regarding her sharply. She closed the door with a bang, as if to prevent being overheard, and, facing him with flushed cheeks and passionate eyes, cried resentfully: "What are these two men out here for, sir? And what business have they to be searching through my house and entering every room?" "They told you their business,'' said Keene, curtly. "But they have no warrant, and I'll not stand for such conduct!" cried Maude Placer, angrily stamping her foot. "Do you know who the men are?" "They are strangers to me." "Where do they come from?" "From the Reynolds.'' ''Are they stopping there? I'll not stand for this insult, I tell you. I 'II appeal to the police for aid and see if I have not redress for--" Then she suddenly stopped. Keene's face had changed like a flash. Above the sound of the woman's voice, there had come to his ears the rapid clatter of hoofs, and the cry of a man urging the horses away. Instantly he realized the ruse of which he was beingmade the victim. With a half-smothered oath he hurled Maude Placer from his path, tore open the door, and darted out upon the side piazza. The landau, with Ned Weston on the box and Sam Rogers and Sally Haskins on the rear seat, was already fifty yards away upon the turnpike and moving at break-neck speed in the direction of the city. For a moment, even Sheridan Keene was nonplussed. "What's the matter, driver?" cried Maude Placer, now rushing out upon the piazza. "Have they stolen your team?" Keene swung round like a man struck from behind. "Yes, and you're the cause of it," he thun dered, angrily. "But it's all right, Maude, my girl, and you yet will pay the fiddler for this little dance. I'll yet run you all to cover." Before the last word was uttered, his angry voice had taken on a ring of rising resolution and triumph. He had caught sight of the automobile standing in the stable yard. At a bound he cleared the piazza rail, and ran at the top of his speed to the deserted vehicle. A glance told him make of the ma chine, and that its power was derived from a storage battery. With a single leap he gained the seat, and switched on the current.

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28 SHIELD WEEKLY. The vehicle responded with a jerk that nearly threw him into the air. Then he caught him self, and was away. A yell rose from Maude Placer on the piazza, and she rushed to the parlor to alarm the owners of the stolen vehicle. Her cry brought every occupant of the room to the front veranda. They arrived there just in time to see Sher idan Keene, riding at railway speed, turn from the driveway and into the dusty turnpike. The swaying automobile made the turn on two wheels only, and yells of wrathful dis may were borne to the detective's ears. Two hens in the road were caught under the wheels, and left squawking and fluttering in the highway. The vociferous yelping of a dog in pursuit augmented the suddenly arisen tumult, and for a moment the scene was one that would baffle description. Then the vehicle caught its bearings, and was away with the speed of an express train, leaving behind a mighty cloud of rising dust, turned roseate by the crimson rays of the setting sun. Although not thoroughly familiar the work of running an automobile, Keene soon discovered that he had applied the full limit of power, and that was all he then wanted. Settling himself at the lever by which the vehicle was guided, he threw his tall hat aside, and with gaze fixed on the road ahead began a chase tl1at was memorable for long weeks after. The landau was a quarter-mile in advance, with the horses on the dead run. "The scoundrels have discovered that I am after them," said Keene to himself. "And I will speedily overhaul them, too!" There was a mile stretch straight away in which to accomplish it, and the detective let the automobile go at her limit. The driver of an approaching dray saw him coming, and drew to one side of the road to give him way, staring with wide eyes and voice hushed when he tore by him. At the end of a half-minute Keene had gained a hundred yards At the end of a like interval the landau was but a hundred yards ahead. Weston was lashing his horses to the top of their speed, and Rogers was holding frightened Sally Haskins to the rear seat, an d staring backward through the rolling clouds of dust. An ugly light rose in his dilated eyes when the automobile suddenly came into closer view through the dust, and he caught sight of the frowning face of the detective. "Keep 'em going, Ned!" roared Rogers, above the noise of the wheels. "Keep on the run!" "They're doing their best, Sam, but we can escape him !" "Keep 'em on the run, I say. I am going to wing him." "Don't shoot him!" gasped Sally, as white as if dead in her coffin. For Rogers had drawn a revolver, and now was kneeling on the rear seat and awaiting Keene's approach. "I am not going to shoot him!" he growled, fiercely. "But I'll take the wind out of that deuced machine !" Sheridan Keene had seen his movement, and grasped the guiding bar with his left hand, while with his right he drew his re volver. In another moment the two vehicles were less than twenty feet apart, the automobile to the rear and at one side. "Slow down, there!" commanded Keene, raising his weapon. "Slow down or I'll fire!" "Fire and be d--1" shouted R..,gers, loosing his hold on Sally in order to steady his aim. Then a shriek of ungovernable terror rose from the girl's lips. Hearing the words of Keene, sl.!e had turned back and had seen the weapon in his hand. Despite the swaying of the landau, she started suddenly to her feet, threw herself in front of Rogers with her arms about him, and shrieked back to the de tective at the top of her lungs: "Don't shoot! Oh, please don't shoot Mr. Don't shoot my cousin Jim!'' "Jim Norton, eh?" was the thought that flashed to Keene's mind on hearing her words. Then the report of Rogers' revolver sounded twice on the air. The bullets craiahed into the body of the

PAGE 30

SHIELD WEEKLY. 2 9 automobile, and Keene heard something break beneath him. The next instant the vehicle swerved vio lently, plowed its way through a fence bordering the highway, tore diagonally up a bank in the adjoining meadow, and careened over upon its side like a ship in the trough of a mighty sea, pitching Sheridan Keene headlong a dozen feet away. When he rose to his feet, Sam Rogers was vigorously waving his hand to him from the rear scat of the landau, then more than a h.undred yards away. CHAPTER IX. A CLEVER ROUND-UP. At about eight o'clock that same evening, Mr. James Norton, the well-known stock broker of State street, was surprised at re ceiving a caller in the person of Sheridan Keene, with whom he had long b e en well acquainted. "Well, well, Shed he exclaimed, fami liarly addressing him on entering the fine library in his elaborate bachelor apartments. "What brings you up her e?" Business, Jimmy, and not of a very pleasant character," replied K e en e who had just arrived in town after squaring up with the owners of the dam a ged automobile. ""What's the nature of it?" d emanded Nor ton, "I hope you don t want me for anything off color." "No, not that, Jim," laughed Keene. "But I heard your name sp o ken to-day unde r rather exciting circumstances and the m e n tion of it gave me a clew to a game I am making an-effort to prevent. "My name?" said Norton, in surprise Yes," nodde d K eene acc e ptin g a chair. "Have you b ee n expectin g any relatives or friends on a visit to the city? "Why, certainly! I am expect ing a cousin of mine from N antucket. He i s coming up here next we ek." "That's the very party." "But I do not e x pect him here before next week," repeated Norton. I receiv e d a letter from him only this morning. "Let me have a look at it, Jimmy.'' Certainly said Norton, selecting it from seve r al which he drew from his pocket. Keene glanced rapidly over it, then returned it. "Thatletter is a forgery, Jim," he said, quickly "Be sure you hang on to it "A forgery." "Nothing less! Your cousin and his wife are already here in town." "You amaze me !" "It's--a fact, nevertheless, laughed Keene "A. nd they are in the hands of a pair of very clever confidenc e m e n who this afternoon have me a very nasty little trick, and very possibly may s e rve your innocent r e la tives a worse one." "Please explain," said Norton, earnes tly. "Re ally, I don't quite understand y o u ." In a few wo1'ds Sheridan Keene imparted the w'1ole story, much to James Norton' s wonderment, and a genuine regret for the experience which had befallen his friends "After receiving this letter I o f course, did not think it necessary to go to the stati o n th.is morning," said he. "I naturally sup posed it was genuine." "You were all right in that, Jim. "Do you know where Haskins is at pre s ent?" ''No, I do not," Keene replied I have called here to learn, if possible what busin ess brought him to the city. Can you tell me?" "Easily!" exclaimed Norton. "He wishe s to invest sev e ral thous and d olla rs and wa s coming up here to do his business through me.'' "Aha! I b e gin to smell the rat!"' excla i med K ee ne, with lightening counte n ance. "Do you know if he intended to bring the money with him?" "He wrote me that he would bring a certi fie d check." A h is th a t so?" "It w ill be dre adfui if these thi e v e s should scecur e it! It's about all the money R e ub e n Has kins h a s in the world." "They hav e not y e t secured i t sa id Keene, with assurance, "or they would hav e up stakes and cut away long ago. Leave th e matter to me, for I think I see a way b y which T can take them into camp. "How so?"

PAGE 31

. 30 SHIELD WEEKLY. "Evidently one of these scoundrels is palming himself off as James Norton, and very cleverly hoodwinking your innocent cousin," explained Keene. "The rascal now thinks he has given me the slip, and no doubt will be alert to-morrow morning to get Haskins to turn his check into cash and to let go of his money. I will wire to Nantucket tonight, and stop the payment of the check, for it probably is drawn on the bank down there; and in the morning I will be as alert as any of them, you may be sure." ''Do you require any help?" "Not more than you already have given me," laughed Keene, rising. "I'll bring your cousin around to your office before noon, and introduce him to you. Before the banks open here in town, they all shall be notified of the danger, and insucted what steps to take." 11 guess I am safe enough in leaving it all to you," Norton significantly smiled, extending his hand. "I think you may Keene, taking his hat. morrow, Jimmy." feel so," noddeJ "I'll see you to-At about that same hour there was a very joyful reunion in the rooms rented by Sam Rogers for the promulgation of this confi dence game. Reuben Haskins had recov ered his bride, and the bride her husband. That their joy was greater than pen could easily portray, and that their faith in Sam Rogers and Ned Wes ton was immeasurably increased, may be readily imagined. Rogers artfully explained the extraordinary episode of the afternoon, and expatiated upon the danger from which he had rescued Sally, incidentally representing Sheridan Keene as one of the prime movers in a plot against her; and during the evening he further prepared the way to relieving Reuben Haskins of his money, by producing a number of worthless stock certificates and making them over in Haskins' name. "That will expedite matters in the morning, Reuben," he explained; "and all that then will be necessary to winding up the business will be for you to get your check cashed and pay me for the documents. Then you may remain here as long as you wisl1; or, if you prefer, return to Nantucket. My motto, you know, is business first .and pleas ure afterward!" "I reckon I'll go back on the first train, Cousin Jim," said Haskins, with a dismal grin and head-shake. "I've had all I want of the city." "Well, I'll see you safely away," laughed Rogers. "And before the summer is out, as like as not I'll run down for a week and visit you." "That will be fine!" exclaimed Sally, laughing and blushing. "We shall be more than pleased. I assure you." "Oh, I'll come right enough," nodded Rogers, smiling in his sleeve. Next morning, just before nine o'clock, two officers were seated in a carriage drawn up at the curbing in front of the great, grim headquarters 'building in Pemberton square. A third stood at the telephone in the of fice of the superintendent of police, ready in stantly to receive a call. It came at precisely five minutes after nine. Then the officer inside threw open the window, and shouted to those in the car riage: "The Central National, chief!" "Corner of Milk and Devonshire!" shouted Chief Watts, from the carriage window. The driver caught up the reins, and be fore the chief's voice had ceased echoiug from the walls of the lofty building, the vehicle was tearing furiously through Pem berton square. "You will have to be identified Mr. Haskins, before we can cash this check said the teller at the Cenrtral National Bank, when Reuben Haskins presented himself at the window that morning. Sam Rogers stepped forward, smiling complacently. "I presume you do not know me. sir, but I think perhaps your cashier will recognize me," he said with polished manner. ''I can identify Mr. Haskins, for he is my cousin, and came up from Nantucket only yester day." "I will speak to our cashier, sir," replied the teller, signing for a messenger to go to the cashier's room and call him.

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SHIELD WEEKLY. 3 1 The messenger vanished and did not return. He had business in the telephone closet, in the cashier's private office. But the cashier himself presently ap peared, polite and smiling, and entered the teller's cage. Meantime Rogers and Ned Weston had kept up a natural flow of conversation with Reuben Haskins and his wife and the scene was eminently one t o hav e favorably impressed any easily susce ptible bank official. "Is this the check Mr. Haskins desires cashed?" inquired the cashier; then, turning to address the parties outside: "Which of you is Mr. Has kins?" "I am, sir said Reuben, innocently. "And I can vouch for the young man, sir," put in Rogers, stepping forward. "But you, too, are a stranger to me, sir," smiled the cashier, pleasantly. "Really, since the check is quite large, I feel that I should have Mr. Haskins fully identified." "I thought you perhaps would recognize me," said Rogers, putting up,one of his fin est bluffs. "My name is Norton, and I am 1 in the brokerage business in State street." "The name is familiar, yet--" "I assure you, sir, that the check is all right." "Oh, I d on't doubt the genuineness of t\1e check, Mr. Norton," smiled the cashier. "I am quite satisfied that the check is perfectlv -good, and I wish only to feel sure that -ram cashing it for the proper party." "Well, sir, one would almost think that the party spoke for himself," said Rogers, significantly referring to Reuben's countrified appearance. The cashier joined in the speaker's genial laugh. He had heard a carriage approach through the street and stop outside. "Well, well," he now said, pleasantly; "I rather am inclined to think it will be all right. Teller, you may cash the check. What denomination of notes would you prefer, Mr. Haskins?" "Oh, fifties and hundreds," said Rogers, speaking for the youth. "Give them the money," said the cashier, bowing to his clerk and withdrawing. With secret exultation, Rogers watched the clerk make up the packages of bills ; and, when Reuben Haskins had received it, the scoundrel smilingly drew him t o one side of the public office. "You had better let me take care of it for you, Reuben," he advised "We will take it over to my office, and you meantime may hold the stock certificates." All right, Cousin Jim, said Haskins, cheerfully letting go o f his entire fortune. "Come on, Ned!" All ready?" Yes, finally, old boy! Give Mrs. Haskins your arm." And they all started for th e door. Then a clean-cut, slight-built man, who had just entered, stepped briskly forward with a rather curious smile on his handsome face "What are you going after now. Sam?" h e demanded, cheerfully. "Two Manhat tans?" Sam Rogers recoiled as if struck in the face, and turned as white as his linen collar "The waiter!" he gasped, scar c e above his breath. "Run for it!'' cri e d Weston, sharply. "The game is up!" Both sprang toward the do o r and She ri dan Keene stepped aside to let th e m pass. Ere they could reach the thre shold, how ever, there sud'denly appeare d in the doorway the powerful and imposing figure of Chief Inspector Watts, with two o f th e cit y police close behind him. "Don't hurry, gentlemen!'' he e xclaim e d feeling in his side pocket. "It's too warm a day to hurry!" "We are done for!'' muttere d Rogers. shrinking back. "Ah, Sam Rogers, you are the fellow, are you?" cried the chief, now recognizing th e man. "Well, well I'm glad to see you! Hold up your hands, both of you! I have a nice pair of bracelets here for each!" The scene that followed, and the amaze .. ment of Reuben and Sally Haskins, may bet ter be imagined than described. Unde r the escort of Sheridan Keene, who presently told them the truth and relieved them of their mingled astonishment and dismay. the

PAGE 33

32 SHIELD WEEKLY. young country couple were taken over to State street and to Mr. Norton's office, and placed in far better hands than those from which they had, by Keene's splendid efforts, been s uccessfully rescued. For the crime they had atte mpted, and the forgery committed, both Rogers and Wes ton went to the State prison under a sentence of five years. Maud Placer was brought into court as an accessory, and, through the efforts of a clever lawyer, she was let down with twelve months in the reformatory. The twelve months were more-to her, however, than the five years to either of the others. Pen could not easily describe the grati tude which both Reuben and Sally Haskins vainly endeavored to express to the man who had so befriended them Words and tears alike proved utterly inadequate; and, simple and appreciative to the last they later paid him the only great recognition be in their power. Playing in the sandy streets of Nantu on pleasant summer there now ma occasionally seen a tot of a child with low hair and soft blu e eyes. Should you go that way and chance see him stoop down and take his tiny ha and ask him who he is. He will look up at you with eye deeply 'blue as the sky seen between great banks of snow-white clouds t sweep above the quaint old island and quainter people, and reply, still with a chl ish lisp: "Sheridan Keene Haskins!" THE END. Next week's SHIELD WEEI{LY (No. ...... will contain "The Mysterious Signal; Sheridan Keene on the Water Front." SHIELD WEEKLY LATEST ISSl:f.EIS: No. 14.-The Mysterious Signal; or, Sheridan Keene on the Water Front. No, 13.-ln Bad ffands; or, Sheridan Keene's ffelp to Some Country Visitors. _.,..... No. 12.-Arrested at the Tomb; or, Sheridan Keene on a Curious Case. No. 11.-Under the Knife; or, The Cloak of Ouilt. ftvo. 10.-A Frozen Clue; or, The Cold Storage Mytsery. No. 9.-A Double Play; or, Two Mysteries Jn One Net. No. 8.-A Lion Among Wolves; or, Sheridan Keene's Identity. No. 1.-Under Seal; or, The Hand of the Guilty. No. 6-Who Was the Model? or, Missing: A Beautiful Heiress. No. 5 -The Man and the flour; or, Sheridan k.eene's Clever Artifice No. 4.-Cornered by Inches; or, A Curious Robbery In High Life. No. 3.-lnspector Watts' Oreat Capture; or, The Case of Alvord, the Bmbezzle1 No. 2.-SJ/houette or Shadow? or, A Question of Evidence. No. /.-Sheridan Keene, Detective; or, The Chief's Best Man. Back numbers alway1:1 on hand. If you cannot get our publications from your newsdealer, 11: cents a copy will bring them to you, by mail, postpaid.

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A specia l serie s o f ra ttling good s t o r ies i s now a p pea r i n g i n th i s well known v : eek l y co ver in g a w ide variety o f subj ec t s a nd w ritte n b y som e of the b est known s t ory wri t ers in the country. This s eries w ill includ e t ales of Telegraph Messenger Adventures Boarding School Pranks and Frolics Stirring Tales of Life in a Mining Camp A Young Soldier's D aring Deeds in the Great Civil War Startling Adventures in the Yukon Rt.>gion A Reporter's Divers ified Experiences on a Big Daily A Young Broker's Bold Ventures on Wall Street The Pranks of a Youth Who Had a Sens e of Humor Adventures of a Young Trooper in the Heart of China a nd m a n y o thers, whic h w ill be pu blished l ater o n G reat pai n s h ave bee n t ake n t o get hol d of jus t the kin d of storie s t h a t you ng m e n l ike th e most to r e ad, and writte n in just their st yle. Therefore, the storie s will be Brimful of Exciting Incidents and Plots J us t to g i ve a n i dea of th e t rea t in s t ore for o u r r eaders, re a d th e followi n g tit l es o f some o f the new s tor i es -N o 4 8-Messe n g er Frank; o r A M a tter of Ten Thousand D olla r s B y C h arles Norri s Issu e d Tue sday J an u a ry 8 th No 4 9 -Ted Sh a rp 's Big C ase ; or, The K ing of t h e Counterfe i ters B v Ins p ec t o r J as Nugent. Issu e d Tue sd ay, J a nuar y 15th No 50--Lad Ele ctr i c; or The Most Wonder ful B oy in the World. B y B a rry T allyho. I s s ued Tue sd ay, J a nu a ry 22d N o 51-The R oy Expert; or, L oc ating t he T rou ble at the St a mp Mill. B y S a m Sp e n cer. Issu e d Tue sd ay, J a nu a r y 2 9 th No. 52-Phil Stirling; or,The Sec r e t o f th e M-0.t K tain C a v e. B y Ca pt. H e nr y D a l e, U S A I s s u ed Tue sda y Februa ry 5 th. N o 53-Kit C ummin gs the Y o un g Go ld H u n t er; or N etrs Stol e n Tre as ure. B y Hu g h P R od m a n Tuesda y Febru a ry 12th ... N o 54-Sma r t Ale ck ; or Th e F a u lt ofa C rank's L e gac y Bv Dic k Smi ley Issu e d Tue sdav, F e bru a r y 1 9th. N o <;:;-N ed M a yna r d s Sco op; o r Beatin g th e N e w Y ork R e p o rt e r s B y E dit o r Charl es B a rtle t t. Issu ed Tues d ay, F e b r u a ry 26th. B ack nu m b ers of D o AND D ARE a lways on h a nd If y o u can n o t get o u r publi ca tion s from y o ur newsdeal er, five ce nt s a cop y will bring them to you, pos t-pa id


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