A frozen clew, or, The cold storage mystery

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A frozen clew, or, The cold storage mystery

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A frozen clew, or, The cold storage mystery
Series Title:
Shield Weekly
Bradshaw, Alden F.
Place of Publication:
New York
Street & Smith
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
32 p. : port. ; 25 cm.


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

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
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The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
Resource Identifier:
024875513 ( ALEPH )
64175060 ( OCLC )
S75-00009 ( USF DOI )
s75.9 ( USF Handle )

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No. 10. Price, Five Cents. PUBLISHED WEEKLY BY STREET & SMITH, 238 Willi am Street, New York City. Copyri'ght, 190I, by Stred & Smith. All rig hts re served. Enturd al New Yor/6 Post-Offiet: as Second-Clas s Mattu.


TRUE DETECTIVE TH.Aft f I CTI Ort /1nud By Su/J.tN'ijJtion $2.SO jJtl" year. EHttf"td as StcD"d-Class Mattey at tlu N. Y. Post 0.f/itl, 6y STREET & SMITH, 238 William SI., N. y. E11t1rtd Auorr'1'11r to Act of ConErts.t, 1.,1 the year UJOI, in /Ju 0.1/ict of tht Librarian "f Cong-Ytss, Washinrton, D. C. No. 10. NEW YORK, February 9, 1901. Price, Five Cents. A Frozen Clew; OR, THE COLD STORAGE MYSTERY. By ALDEN F. BR/\DSH/\We CHAPTER I. AN ICY TOMB. "Did you send for me, Chief Watts?" asked Sheridan Keene, hurriedly entering the former's private office nine o'clock one morning last December. "Garratt said you wanted me." Chief Watts glanced up from the tele phone, at which he still was engaged. "So I do, Inspector Keene I" he exclaimed, gravely. "There is a shocking affair at the 1\tlas Cold Storage. You had better go right there and look it over. A man has been found dead in one of the cold storage rooms.'' "Found dead!" "Dead and frozen stiff! How he came to be locked in the room is a mystery. As I get it from Raymond, the general manager there, the circumstances are extraordinary. It is case of accident-or something worse!" "Are you still in communication with Ray mond?" "Yes." "Tell him I will hurry right down there." "Go ahead, then, and report to me later. Drop the Mekleburg matter, if this proves to be more important." "I will," Keene called over his shoulder, as he hastened fr;m the office and through the corridor out into Pemberton Square. It was a walk of ten minutes, only, fr.om there to the great cold-storage building owned and operated by the Atlas company; a nd the general manager, who had been in


SHIELD WEEKLY. communication with the chief of the Boston inspectors, met Sheridan Keene at the of fice door. "Detectiv e Keene?" he sai1:l, inquiringly. "Yes,'' bowed the latter. "You are Mr. _Raymond, I take it?" "The same, sir. Come in." "I understand you have had an accident here; a fatality," said Keene, as he followed the manager into the large square office on the ground floor. Mr. Raymond led Detective Keene to his private office b$!fore responding. He was a portly man of about fifty year s, with a pleasing face, grave just at that time, and expressive dark Combined with ster ling integrity and superior business qualifi cations, he possessed, also, those genial so cial characteristics which made him one oi the most popular men on the street. Indeed, there had been a fatality; for, in one of the rooms above, in wf1ich the tem perature was perennially at least thirty de grees below zero, lay the stiff, frozen body of a man, walled up, as it were, within this icy tomb. What visions could be conjured up if it were true that the man had been impris oned in that fateful room, alive I With what frantic efforts must he have tried to break down that thick door that was holding him a prisoner; and, finally, when hope at last forsook him, how hopelessly must he have sunk down to that cold sleep, which was slo\\.'.ly congealing his very blood, The Atlas company's cold-storage building is a structure of six stories, and is as curious a building as one is often privileged to enter. Looking at the lofty brick walls, which are almost void of windows, one ignorant of the purpose for which it had been constructed would wonder for what it was used, and what curious equipment might be fourtd within. The building occupies nearly half a block, with four massive walls of stone and brick. On the street floor in front are the office, a shipper's room, and an entrance to one of the side elevators. In the middle of the building is the main elevator well, which contains two large square elevators for the carrying of mer chandise to the floors above. Occupying nearly the entire surface of the floors above, are the large rooms in which perishable merchandise is place for cold storage. Most of these rooms are entirely without windows, which would be to a dis advantage in that the rooms must be con stantly kept at a very low temperature. They are lighted by electricity, and the only fea tures that relieve their bare, uninviting in teriors are the rows of iron' pipes overhead, the conduits of the vast quantities of am monia by the evaporation of which is pro duced the low temperature desired. These rooms are accessible from adjoining long corridors, which entirely surround and also adjoin elevator wells. These also are lighted by electricity. One's first impression when walking through them is not agreeable. They are frequently deserted for long intervals, the character the busi ness requiring comparativley few employees, the most of whom have no duty taking them either to the store-rooms or corridors. For hours at a time, both are freqi:ently de serted. The building is vast; the walls mas sive; the doors are thick and heavy. Ones impression is that of some gloomy castle, or vast prison; the corridors of which are dungeons, and the great sto...re-rooms icy cells. One instinctively thinks that he can lose nothing by keeping out of such a place. It was the very place and surroundings, however, for such a mystery as had been discovered on that December morning, and which now was confronting the general man... j


) SHIELD WEEKLY. 3 ager of the Atlas Cold, Storage Company, and Sheridan Keene, the detective. CHAPTER II. THE SECR E T OF THE C OL D STOR A GE Mr. Raymond turne d t o Sheridan Keene and replied to his last r emark: "Fatality is the b etter word Detec tive Keene, "he said, grav e ly. "We are sure there has been a fatalit y I wish we were e qually sure that it was the result of an ac c..: dent "You imply that you fear something more serious," said Keene, looking him in the e y e I can only say this," replied Mr. Raymond. "I cannot understand how such an accident could possibly have occm-red." Keene instinctiv e ly felt that the Mekleburg matter was to be dropped. "Let me know some of the circumstances, Mr. Raymond, if you please," he said, grave ly "When was the fatality discovered?" About half an hour ago." "By whom?" "By Mr. W e aver one of our employees, who s e duty is chiefly that of. keeping each of the s e veral store-rooms at a uniform ternwho was about here on business yesterday afternoon, and who visited that room in company with one of my clerks, Mr. Burton." "Where is the body now, Mr. Raymon'd?" "It has not been moved, sir. When W e av e r hastened down to and reported his discovery I at once telephoned to Chief Watts, and he ad v ised me not to disturb the body b e fore an investigation had been made. The door of the fish-room already had been closed, and I immediately station e d t w o of my men outside to pre v ent any person from entering. Things in th e room are precisely as Weaver found them. Shall 'Ye go up there?" "Are you quite positive t ha t th e man is dead, Mr. Raymond?" "Oh, indeed, yes!" was the exclamat i on. "Good heavens! he presumably has been locked in that room since y e sterday after noon, and its uniform temperature is n e arly thirty degrees below zero, and sixt y b e low freezing. It is necessary to keep tha t room the coldest of any in the building. I d oubt if the man cquld have lived an hour in there." "Then, as nothing can be done for the man," s aid Ke e ne, g ravely ; I will a s k you one or two qu e sti o n s befor e w e vis it the sc e ne ." p erature This necessitates a visit to each of the rooms evei;.y hour or two where he consults a thermometer hung just inside the door. If any change of temperature is re quir e d effects it b y varying the supply of ammonia through the pipes by means of valve-wheels, which also are near the corridor door." "What was Mr. Weaver's discovery, please?" inquired Keene, courteou s ly, bringing the gentleman more tp the point. "Weaver came on duty at eight o'clock, and, as usual, began his round of the rooms. On opening the door of the room in which fish is stored, and which i s on the upper floor, he discovered the dead bod y of a man, "Certainly certainl y," bowed Mr. Ray mond. "Take a chair Pardo n my not having invited you to do so b e fore I am so exerci s ed by this tragedy that I can s carce contain mys elf. I w ill if a b le, ans wer a ny questions you may a s k ." "To begin with then said Kee n e takin g a s e at onl y on the arm o f the chai r ; "i s th e identity of the d e ad man k n o w n t o you?'' "Oh yes. The man is Captain Pel e g Cav endish." "A seafaring man?" "A fisherman He was own e r and cap tain of a small fishing schooner, named Mo llie. He s pent most of his time afloat, run-


4 ning into port every few days to market his fish. He had quite a good head for business, Mr: Raymond. "Ordinarily I have made it a point to handle Captain Cavendish perhowever; and frequently, when the market sonally, as I could do so to better advanwas glutted and prices low, he has stored his fish_ with us until the trade conditions enabled him to realize a profit. It was in this way that we became acquainted with him." "How old a man?" "I should say about sixty." "A man of means?" "Moderate only, I imagine." "Married." "He was a widower, and has one daugh ter, a girl of nineteen "What sort of a man was Captain Caven dish, as you have observed him?" "As rough and disagreeable an old curmudgeon as one often meets," said Ray mond, with a dismal smile. "He was in variably coarse and grouty, always finding fault about something, either suspecting his fish were short or growling over delays in receipt or delivery; and, in fact, was as un pleasant in all ways as if the very elements of sea and storms had imbued him with their own violent qualities "An outspoken man, then?" "I should say so! One of the open-your door-or-I'll-kick-it-off-its-hinges style of men, and as boisterous as a summer sou' easter That was Captain P e leg Cavendish, sir; and I've not overdr a wn the picture, I assure you "How long ha v e y o u known him?" "We have stored fish for him off and on for two or three years." "Has he fish in store here now?" "Yes, a ton or more." "Did the business upon which he called here yesterday relate to them?" "Yes." "At what time was he here?" "Between four and five o'clock," replied tage than any of my subordinates. As it happened, I was away yesterday afternoon, and the duty fell upon one of my chief as sistants, Mr. Burton." "Is Burton here this morning?" "He was about here a few min14tes ago. I will call him if you wish "Not at present," replied Keene, with a shake of his head. "Tell me, instead, what Burton says of the affair?" "He reports tfiat Cavendish called to look over the fish he has in storage, some of which he thought of removing this morning. Accorqingly Burton went with him to the store-room, where some of the fish belonging to Cavendish had been transferred from the bin in which they originally had been tossed, and placed on the opposite side of the room. This had been done in order to make room for those of another customer, and to prevent confusion." "I understand, Keene gravely nodded "On observing the change, Cavendish im mediately cut loose like a tornado, and swore that his fish had been bruised and injured in the handling. As Burton is a met .. tlesome young man, and not afraid to say his soul is his own quite a serious clash was the result, and for half an hour or more a stormy altercation ensued, both tn the fish room and in the adjoining corridor. "Did the men come to blows? "Oh, no!" and Raymond shook his head. "But words are sometimes worse than blows, Detective Keene, as you are well aware. An other unfortunate feature of the affair lies in the fact that Cavendish and Burton have been at cross-grain for some little time." "About what?" "It seems that Cavendish has a very pretty daughter, for whom Burton has a pro-


I 1 .SHIELD WEEKLY. 5 nounced liking, and to whom he has per-CHAPTER I'II. sisted in paying attention when Cavendish was away fishing. The old man has opposed this, characteristic severity and bluster, and as a result he and Burton were at loggerheads. This matter also came up in the dissension of yesterday aft on, and I guess that some pretty rough language passed_ between the two. Burton now states that he finally left Cavendish in the corri dor, and returned to the office. He says he don't know where Cavendish went, but that he took it for granted that he departed, either by the stairs or elevator, and went about his business. The next we knew of Cavendish he was found as stated, dead as a doornail, and frozen as stiff as one of his own fish. That is the whole story, Detective Keene, as far as I am able to disclose it." "How old a man is Burton?" demanded Sheridan Keene, now absolutely certain that the M ekleburg matter must be dropped." "Burton is about thirty." "How long has he been in your employ?"' "About six years." "What can you say about -him?" "Only words o f emphatic commendation,'' replied Raymond, with genuine fervor. "He is a splendid type of young American manhood, as square as a bric.k, as firm as a rock, and oe of the most popular men in my employ. I know of no man, now that Cavendish is toes-up, who would say one word against Frank Burton." "That is all at present," said Kee ne, gravely. I now wil\ go up to the fishroom." "Come this way, and I will go with you." "Indicate Burton to me as we pass out of the office, if he is there, said Keene, softly, as Raymond opened the door of his private office. But Frank Burton was not m the main office. THE FROZEN CLEW. Detective Keene followed Raymond through the office, and thence to an interior corridor leading to the main elevators. These were noticeably large, being intended for merchandise only. The shaft in which they operated was fully twenty feet square, and was lighted by a large window in the roof. As they ascended, Keene observed that the corridor doors opened .t0 the shaft from all four sides. "Tl-ie store-rooms occupy most of the build ing, I take it?" he observed, inquiringly. "Yes, about all of these upper floors," ex plained Mr. Raymond. "We store fruit, vegetables and dairy products on the second and third. The rooms on the fourth contain poultry and dressed meats. Just at present there is only one room in use on the fifth floor, that in which fish are stored. Here we are." He drew the check line, while speaking, and opened the door giving egress to the adjoining corridor. The latter was about six feet wide, with only the bare wooden walls on either side. An incandescent light at in tervals threw a yellow glow over the place, and rather accentuated its depressing aspect of solidity. r At a door some twenty feet from the ele vator, four men were standing in subdued, yet earnest Keene, however, as he left the elevator, caught the words which fell in louder tones from one of the four. I think we should go in there," he was saying, as if in argument against opposition to so doing. "There's a bare possibility that old Cavendish may still be alive. D--it, \i\Teaver --" "Here is Mr. Raymond, now!" exclaimed Weaver_._interruptii;ig the other. "I've obeyed his orders only, and if you wish to go in so


6 SHIELD WEEKL1'. badly, Mr. Wagner, you now can get his permission." "Oh, I'm not over anxious!" Wagner quickly retorted. "Only I feared the man might not be dead." "There is no doubt about the death of Cavendish, Mr. Wagner," said Raymond, as he and Keene approached the group. "I have examined the remains." Sheridan Keene merely glanced at the sev eral men. Two of them were stout Irishmen, evidently workers about the place. Weaver a young man of twenty-two, with a frank, youthful face. The last, and the one whose words Keene had noticed, was a short, heavy man, in the blouse and overalls of an engineer. He appeared to be about forty, and by his florid face and reddish hair, was a man of German extraction, as his name also indicated. His countenance was not prepos sessing, and his pale blue eyes had an in quisitive light, which augmented this dis agreeable impression. "I didn!t k now you'd seen him, Mr. Ray mond," he hurriedly explained, evidently having observed the curt tone of the latter. "I had no other reason for wishing to enter the store-room." "Nobody says you had." Yet, when Weaver threw the bar-lock of the and swung op.en the heavy wooden portal, Wagner pressed forward to enter with the others. Then Sheridan Keene took a hand. Thrusting the man rudely aside, he said, sharply: "You stay where you are, my man, and all the rest of you, except Mr. Raymond! When your services are required in here, I will tell you. Who are thesetwo workmen, Mr. Ray mond?" "They are men who work at loading and unloading the elevators, sir,' replied Ray mond, quite startled by the detective's com manding tone. "Send then, about their business, please. I don't want them here. Is this the Mr. Weaver who discovered the body?" "Yes, sir." -"And who is this man?" "My assistant engineer, Mr. Wagner. He by cha verheard part of the altercation yesterday afternoon." "Request him and Mr. Weaver to remain here in the corridor, then," said Keene, firm ly. "Send one of the others for district medical examiner, so that the body may be legally removed as soon as I am through here. Here is his address." "I will have it taken down to the office, and a message sent by telephone." "Very well, sir. Now, Mr. Weaver, kindly open that door again. I think I first will look into this room alone." A slight frown had risen to the face of Raymond, even, and a scowl of open resent ment furrowed Wagner's low brow; but Sheridan Keene, who rarely assumed any at titude without a well-defined object, seemed to have no eyes for any of this. Stepping by Weaver, he quickly entered the store-room and signed for the. young man to close the door. "If I close it entirely, sir, the lights will gio out and you will be left in darkness," Weaver hurriedly explained, in low tones. "Does th? closing of this door switch off the lights in the room?" "Y sir, all of them; but I can close it all but a few inches." "Do so, then." Since arriving there, even, Sheridan Keene had found good reason for wishing to preelude any observation of his immediate movements by those in the corridor. He glanced back after entering, and was satis fied that he could not be seen. The room in which he stood was about fifty feet deep, and rather more than half / .


SHIELD WEEKLY. 7 as wide. Where they were not obstructed by the great bins of loose fish, which were frozen stiff and hard as stone the dull walls looked cold and bare The door by which he had entered was a foot thick. The odor of fish was strong in the dry air and the place was relieved of its general repulsiveness by only one feature. This feature was overhead, and had been added lby nature, not by man. It was an adornment surpassing in brilliancy and b e auty the -,most vivid production of stage craft. Round the ammonia pipes which ran the length of the room, and a little below the ceiling, was congealed to the thickness o f several inches, every free atom of moisture in the air of this great chamber. The pipes themselves were entirely hidden in the dazzling whit e crystal of snow and ice, which g leamed and glistened like millions of diamonds in the glow of the incandescent lights. Keene instantly the penetrating chill of the room, and quickly buttoned his coat. It was a more treacherous cold than that of the bitterest winter day; it was that dry, in tense cold which freezes one before one knows it The detective glanced at a thermometer hung on the wall near the door; it registered thirty degrees below zero. "Goodness!" muttered Keene, quickly. "This is a place to get out of in a hurry." He at once began his investigation, and turned first to a figure lying on the floor a few yards from the door. It was the body of Captain Peleg Cavendish, of the fishing schooner Mollie. He was lying flat on his back, with arms extended and face upturned; a robust, corpulent figure, with full round facial features, now white and cold in death. The body was clad in a fisherman's garb, as if Captain Cavendish had just come up from his craft. A tarpaulin hat had fallen from his head. His capacious dogskin jacket was entirely unbuttoned, and a thick woolen shirt, in which he was clad, was open / at the throat, disclosing his hairy neck almost as low as his broad chest. His feet and legs were incased in long rubber !boots, reaching nearly to his hips; and altogether he presented very much the type of man de scribed by Mr. Raymond, a ma!} of iras'cibl e temperament and plethoric constitution To the eyes of a n ordinary observer, thes e wquld have been very natural conditions in which to have found this man; viewed by the eyes of Sheridan Keene, they gave rise to a series of most astute and startling deduc tions. "There is something very extraordinary in this affair," he involuntarily muttered, per plexed for the "I don't quite un derstand why-aha! what is this?" His gaze, which had been direct ed at several small wooden cases near by, and at three or four frozen fish which were lying near the wall a few yards beyond the door, now fell upon a tiny object the glisten of which caught his eye. He quickly stepped across the body of Cavendish, and picked up the object from the floor close against th e wall. .. It proved to be a round glass vial, about the size of a man's little finger. Pasted around it was a narrow on which was written a iate and the number of a prescription. The diminutive size of the bottle, h"'Owever, had necessitated clipping the label, and the name of the druggist by whom the prescription had been filled had been cut off, either by the druggist himself, or had subsequently been scraped off by the purchaser Evidently it was a vial of medicine, a dark liquid that then was frozen solid, and which in congealing had forced the cork from the bottle and cracked the glass Keene found the cork near by and replaced it, then glanced at the date on the label. It was that of the previous day, on which evi dently the medicine had been purchased


8 SHIELD WEEKLY. "A frozen cle w!" dryly exclaimed Keene, under his breath "Though it thaws, I still shall have the prescription. He wrapped the vial in the folds of his handkerchief to insure the abs o rption of the liquid should it leak fr o m the bottle and placed it in his coat pocket. Then he again stepped over the body, and called sharply: "Open that door please, Mr. Weaver! YQu now come in here, gentlemen." The door was immediately opened and Mr. Raymond entered, followed not only by Weaver and the engineer, but also by several other employees who, meantime, had gath ered outside. Sheridan Keene immediately assumed that artful air of indifferent interest with which he frequently blinded persons with whom he was in contact at such a time, aQd observed, with courteous gravity: "I always like to look' over evidence alone, in a case of this kind, Mr. Raymond, when it comes right. I don't find anything of spe cial significance, however Please do not ap proach the body, gentlemen. It must not be disturbed until viewed by the medical exam iner. I would like to make a few inquiries while here, if you please." "Stand where you are, boys added Ray mond, quickly. Ask any questions you wish, Detective Keene." The several men halted near the door. The eyes of all were turned curiously upon the detective, with whose name and reputation for cleverness all were familiar yet few of whom had hitherto seen him personally. Keene immediately turned to Weaver, and said: "You are the young man who discovered this fatality, I am told. Were you alone at the time?" "Yes, sir, I was," Weaver quiclYly replied, stepping out from the g_roup. "Now answer my questions concisely, please, for we don't wish to remain m this cold room longer than necessar y At what time did you go on duty this morning? "At eight o' clock s ir. " And at what time did y ou discover th e body?" "About half-past eight." J Did you enter the room upon making the discovery? "I already was in the room, sir. I had come here to see if the temperature was suffi ciently low." "What did you do when you saw the body of Captain Cavendish .lying there?" "I hurried away to tell Mr. Raymond, sir. "Did you make any examination of the body?" "No, sir; I did not. I saw at a glance that the man was dead and I immediatel y hastened down to the office and told Mr. Ray mond "Do I understand Mr. Ray mond that this room is visited each hour or two during both day and night?" "Yes, Detective Keene,'' bowed the manager. "Our employees whose duty is that of regulating the temperature of these rooms work eight consecutive hours. They then are relieved by another." "Who was on duty before y ou, Mr. Weaver?" demanded Keene again reverting to the latter. "A man named Jones, sir. He came on duty at twelve o'clock last night, and worked until eight o'clock this morning." "And who before him?'' "A man named Morton, sir, who worked from four yesterday afternoon until mid night "Can you offer any explanation Mr. \Veaver. of the fact that neither of those men discovered the body of Captain Cavendish, which is believed to have been here since yes terday?" {


SHIELD WEEKLY. 9 "Very easily, sir," Weaver quickly ex plained. "Probably neither of them entered the room. It's not to sir, in order to consult the thermometer, which you see hangs close to the door. Lying where it does, sir, the body is obscured by the door, unless the person who opens it steps well into the room. Ordinarily we merely step over the threshold to glance at the thermometer, and if the temperature is rtght we imme diately withdraw and close the door. That is probably what Jones and Morton both did." "What led you to enter the room this morn ing?" "The temperature had risen a few degrees, sir, and I stepped in to regulate the supply of ammonia. When I had done so, I noticed on the floor a fish which should have been in one of the bins. In going to place it where it be longed, I walked beyond the open door, which still hid the body from observation; and then I discovered that Cavendish was lying there." "I see," nodded Keene. Then, in all proba bility, Jones and Morton found no occasion to enter the room Is that your idea?" :'Precisely, sir. It was more by .chance than otherwise that I made the discovery." "After you made it, did any person enter the room?" "Only Mr. Raymond, sir We came right up from the office, and Mr. RC\)'mond looked at the body. Then he stationed me outside to prevent any one from entering, and went down to telephone to the police." "Did you remain at the door from that time until I arrive here?" "Yes, sir." "Did any pee.son enter the room?" "No, sir." "What did you do here when you came up from the office, Mr. Raymond?" "I simply glanced at the body, Detective Keene," replied the manager wondering what these precise inquiries might imply. "I at once saw that Cavendish was dead, and I im mediately hastened to take the action neces sary in such a peculiar case." "Did you touch the body ?' "Indeed, no!" Raymond exclaimed, with 11 shudder, either from cold or a feeling of re pulsion. "How long did you remain in the room ?" "Less than a minute, ,sir, at the most." "Thank you," nodded Keene. "You said, Mr. Weaver, that you do not usually see these frozen fish lying al;>out the floor. There are two or three over there near the wall. Do you know if they were there yesterday?" "I cannot say definitely, sir; but I don't think that they were." "Can you in any way account for their being there?" "I don't think I can, sir," and Mr. Weaver smiled doubtfully and shook his head. "Oh, ho, Weaver! you're a blockhead!" sou!lded a voice from amid the group of in terested men. "A boy of ten ought to be able to answer that question! It's as plain as the nose on an elephant's face why the fish are there!" CHAPTER IV. MR. WAGNER'S STARTLING TESTIMONY. The startling interruption was imbued with a caustic mingling of and contempt, and had issued in resonant chest tones from .... the lips of the beetle-browed engineer of the Atlas Cold Storage, the man named John Wagner. He thrust himself forward while speaking, and with an inviting stare that bor dered close upon insolence, he surveyed the calm face of the detective, as much as if he challenged being asked the same question. A curious light momex:itarily showed in the depths of Keene's grave eyes; but he respond ed with careless deliberation, and a faint smile playing around his clean-cut lips : "An elephant's nose, as you term it, is quite


10 SHIELp WEEKLY. a distinctive feature of the animal's face. What do you say, Mr. Wagner, in explana tion of the fact that the frozen fish lie yonder, rather than in the bin where they belong?" "What do I say?" cried Mr. Wagner, wise ly wagging his red head and starting out from the group of men. "What would any man say who stopped to think a bit? What would you do, or any man do, if he found himself shut in here with the lights out, and death from freezing staring him in the face ?" "I presume that he would try to get out," said Keene, dryly. "Sure he'd try to get out!" exclaimed Vv agner, with extraordinary interest and energy. "He'd bats in his "belfry if he didn't! Ay, ay, sir! he'd try to get out. And old Cavendish, sir, wasn't the kind o' man to lay down and give up the ghost without a scrap to prevent it-any o' these men'll tell you that, Mr. Detective! No, no, sir! Cav endish was a sandy old devil, from his toes up. I've seen enough o' him to know that." "But what about the fish?" innocently ques tioned Keene, who was giving this fellow all the line he wanted. "What about the fish ?" echoed Wagner, with derisive emphasis. "D'ye think, man, he went and tapped on the door with his knuckles, the like o' that? Thundering guns he'd not ha' been heard by a man outside with his ear to the 'Yall. These walls are as thick "And if you look on the wall where he beat against it," triumphantly added Wagner, "you'd ought to find signs of it, marks o' the blows, or some scales from the fish. This is only a theory, mind you, and they mayn't be there; but it--" "They are here !" cried Keene, interrupting him with an unusual display of exultant ap proval. "Wagner, you'd ought to be on the force! Here are plain indications of heavy blows, and here is one of the fish with his head half gone. Good heavens! this man's experience must have been something awful. Knowing that help was so near, and yet un able to make himself heard Would the sound of this blow reach the corridor, Mr. Wagner?" As he spoke, Keene took up one of the frozen fish, a bluefish of six or eight pounds, and with :t dealt the wall a forcible blow. There was no resonance in the sound that fol lowed the stroke, however. It was like striking a wall of stone with a stick of wood. Even sound itself seemed bereft of its normal qualities by the awful cold of the room. "Ay, sir, that sound would ha' been heard in the corridor; but only faintly, sir," decl;lred Wagner, .striding forward to stand by the de tective's side. "Besides, sir, in the case o' Cavendish, the corridor most likely was cant. A man would have had to be quite near to have heard that sound outside." as the door, man. No, no, sir! Old Gaven"That seems quite probable," admitted -dish just felt about here in the dark till he Keene. laid hold o' two or three o' these fish-stiff and hard as chunks o' wood, they are! And with these he banged on the wall, sir; and there they now lie where Caveridish dropped 'em just before he was overcome by the cold." "By Jove, Mr. Wagner, I believe that the ory is pretty nearly correct!" cried Keene, with a quick display of much appreciation and interest. "It's a hundred to one it is." "It appears very reasonable," put in Mr. Raymond. "Besides, sir, this room is in total darkness after the door is closed. Old Cavendish couldn't ha' seen his say nothing o' seeing to bang and beat this wall, even if 'twould ha done him any g(jbd. But his was the hand that brought these fish here, I'll lay long odds on that." "I am quite convinced that you are right," 1 eplied Sheridan Keene, with a nod of ap proval. "This door cannot be opened from within, can it?"


.. SHIELD WEEKLY. 11 "No, sir; not when it's fastened outside. It opens in, you see, and locks only with an ou_tside bar, which closes it very snug to the casing. A man might stand here and yell his lungs out, and he'.d not be heard by a man in the corri d or, unless he knew the other to be here, and so should listen." "It was a terrible situation for the old sea man," observed Keene, with a sad shake of his head "If he was locked in here through carelessness, there is a case of criminal negli1 gence against the person guilty of it. If it w as done with malice aforethought--" "The last is more like it, sir ; a d--sight more like quickly interrupted, with lowered voice. "If you had heard what I heard about here yesterday afternoon, you'd be o' my thinking, sir I'll wager!" Sheridan Keene did not quite fancy the manner with which this was said nor the low ered voice and the gleam of Wagner's small eyes; but the significance of it all, in a case pf such serious importance, was not wisely to be ignored. "Then you overheard the altercation be tween Cavendish and Mr. Burton did you?" he demanded, with a display of eagerness to which Wagner was by no means blind. "Aye, sir, I did," declared the latter, hitching his overalls higher on his hips. "Least wise, sir, I heard of it." "Where were you at the time?" "I was busy doing a job on the elevator drum, sir, out yonder." "At the top of the elevator well?" "That's just where." "Could you hear them from up there?" "At times I could,'' replied \i\Tagner, with -an emphatic nod. "Old Cavendish had a voice like a sir, which he wa'nt slow to use; and Burton's no slouch in a word fight. It grew so hot before they were done, sir, that I came down from the job I was doing, a.d thought I'd take a hand to part 'em." .. "Did you do so?" "As a matter o fact, sir, I 9idn 't. I rather made up my mind I'd better keep out o' the mess. But I stood a while in the corridor, and 'twas then I heard some o' what was said." "Where were the two men at that time, Mr. Wagner ?" demanded Keene. Though his searching gaze rarely left the lowering face of the man with whom he was talking his questions were asked with affected indifference only, yet with a rapidity which_ allowed of no interference on the part of Mr. Raymond or the group of grave-vis aged men standing a few yards away. It was a curious scene, that of that fateful December morning-the strange environ ment, the moti o nless figure lying there, pale in death, the group of men shivering with the cold indoors, the erect figure and gravely earn est face of the young detective with h i s collar turned up about h f s neck and his hand& thrust deep in his overcoat pockets, while he con fronted with steadfast gaze the round shouldered, repellent fellow who appeared to lmow more than any other of the dissension which evidently had led to the direful tragedy It was a scene long remembered b y those who observed it. "They were here in the room, sir," replied Wagner, ready enough to impart all he knew. "Could you see them from the corridor?" "Not when I first came down from my job, sir." "Did you see them at all, Mr. Wagner?" "Ay, sir, I did! The door yonder wa s partly open, and I came near enough to look in between it and the casing-right there be tween the hinges!" "Where were the two men standing at that time?" "Burton stood here, sit; nearly where I am." "Did you see Cavendish, also?"


1 2 SHIELD WEEKLY. Ay, sir, I did!" Keene carelessly reached out his hand and laid it on the speaker s shoulder. "Show me, Mr. Wagne r, he said, with augmented earnestness, "precisely where Cap tain Cavendish was standing when you last saw him!" Wagner involuntarily shrank a little from the unexpected touch of the detective, and a resentful gleam flashed quickly from his eyes; y et he instantly replied, shaking off Keene s hand from his shoulder : "He stood right here, sir! He stood so s I saw his face, and 'twas red as a lobster, for all the cold. I never saw a man look angrier in all my life, sir 'Twas the sight of his ugly face that led me to slip away and return to my job. I thought I'd best not shove an car ii:ito troubled waters, since Burton big enough and strong enough to look after himself." "Was Burton also angry, Mr. Wagner?" demanded Keene checking with a gesture an interruption from Raym o nd, who did not at all fancy the loquacity of his assistant en gineer. "Give me the whqle story, Mr. Wagr:er. It will have to be told here or elsewhere, so out with it. Did Burton appear to be angry?" "Not in the beginning, sir," replied Wagner, who had caught a glance frorp his employer. "Tell me the whole truth, sir!" cried Keene, sternly . "How do you know that not angry in the beginning?" "Because I heard him trying to pacify Cav endish," was the quick reply "The old man was mad because his fish had been moved, and Burton was trying to square it. That's how the trouble began, sir "Well, how did it end, so far as you know? At what stage did you come down from the jcb on which you were engaged?" 'Twas after five w}J.en I came down, sir, I'd say," cried Wagner, irritated by Keene's forcible manner. "I know that, sir, because I fQttnd it too dark to work when I returned. One word had led to another between the two rr,en, and when I saw 'em they were hard at it, hammer and tongs, about Mollie Caven dish, the seaman s yaller-headed daughter." "One moment, Mr. Raymond!" Keene sternly cried again preventing an interrup tion. "Please do not interrupt him, sir." Keene's manner was exciting Wagner, as he ( intended it should. "Go on, Mr. Wagner," Keene said, turning toward him again. "What was the nature of the dispute between the two men, and how did the girl figure in it?" "The girl is the seaman's only daughter," cried Wagner, with a malicious fire now glowing in his eyes "The o ld man Claimed, and I guess he's more'n half right, that Burton has been a bit too friendly with the girl. She's a rattle-b1:ained whisp of a thing, with more beauty than character and it's odds that Burton--" But he got no further. His words had reached the ears of one of several men who were then approaching through the corridor, a man who started forward as if suddenly lashed with a whip. He came over the threshold and into the store-room without an atom of color left in his face, and his every feature convulsed with swelling fury. With a single sweep of his arm he cleared his way at the door and with a bound had seized Wagner by the throat, catching up the latter's words wit;Q_ a passion close upon madness "What odds about Burton? It's odds that Burton will cut your lying tongue from your bead, John Wagner! Say what you like of me, you cursed reviler but decry again the girl whose father lies dead there, and I'll not leave a whole bone in your miscreant's skin I Let go of me, stranger, or I'll do you harm l I'll not--"


, SHIELD WEEKLY. 13 Sheridan Keene had seized him from be hind, and with strength superior to that of both combined, he broke the hold which Burton had upon Wagner's throat, and fairly hurled the impassioned man into the very 2.rms of the startled observers, whom amaze ment and consternation had till then held spellbound. "Secure him, gentlemen!" he quickly cried. "This is no scene to be enacted in the pres ence of the dead !" Yet even with the words, the detective himself sei zed w agner in his arms, crushing him bodily against the wall, and bending to whisper forcibly in his ear: "Hold your peace, you fool If you know aught of this man, tell me alone-and I will run him down !" For an instant the eyes of the two men met, and those of Wagner changed like a flash, and the light of fear that was in them became the light of evil satisfaction. "Let go!" he muttered, hoarsely, panting for breath. "I'll do what you say!" Sheridan Keene instantly released him and swung round to the men who now held Burton by the CHAPTER V FRANK BURTON DECLARES HIMSELF. The assault upon John Wagner had begun and ended in less than a minute, yet it had been as violent and vengeful as brief The assailant, whom Sheridan Keene now bel_-ield to better advantage, and whose anger yielded somewhat to the influence of his friends, was a man of about thirty years, with an attractive face and figure of an athlete. His face was then very pale, though his eyes still glowed angrily; while his clench,ed hands and the nervous twitching of the lips beneath his dark mustache indicated that only by an effort could he yet contain himself. "Who is this man, Mr. Raymond?" Keene quickly demanded, in authoritative tones, as he strode nearer. "Is this the Mr. Burton of whom we were speaking?" Raymond merely nodded an affirmative; but Burton insfantly cried, in a tone of re sentment and defiance which he made no ef fort to conceal : "What is it to you, whether or not I'm Mr. Burton? Who are you, that you should know?" "I am Detective Keene, of the Boston in spectors" 'BuJrton's manner instantly underwent a change. He started slightly, cast a quick glance at the face of Cavendish, and impul sively cried : "In that case, Detective Keene, you have a right to ask. I beg your pardon !" "Quite willingly granted," replied the de tective, still with some curtness. "You, Mr. Burton, are the last person as yet known to have seen Captain Cavendish alive; and it is only fair you should know that what you now say possibly may be used against you." Burton threw back his head with a scorn ful frown, and answered : "Thanks for the caution! Fear never yet has bridled my tongue, however, and it's least liable to do so in this case. It is long odds, sir, that I am not the last to have seen Captain Cavendish alive, whatever you or any other man may think about it." "Do you know of any person who saw him alive later fhan yourself?" "I do not. I know only that I left him alive." "At what time, Mr. Burton?" "A little after five o'clock yesterday aft e r noon." "Where did you leave him, sir?" "In the corridor, just outside that door." "Did you have an altercation here with Captain Cavendish yesterday afternoon?" "Yes, sir, I did."


14 SHIELD WEEKLY. "Do you c'are to state the occasion of it?" "Why no, indeed? It related to the fish which he had in store here, and which--" "One moment, please," interposed Keene, raising his hand to stay him. "Were these several fish lying here upon the floor at that ti.me?" "They were not, sir." "Do you know how they came there?" "No, sir, I do not." "Did you, Mr. Burton, leave Captain Cav endish in this room, or did he go with you to the corridor?" "He went with me, sir, about quarter-past five." "Clear the way here!" Keene no.,; cried, striding toward the open door. "Mr. Ray mand, won't you send down for the street pa trolman at once. I want these people dis persed Fall back, gentlemen Back as far as the elevators, and don't obstruct these pas sageways. Close that door, again, Mr. Weaver, and keep it closed till the medical examiner arrives ." During the brief time required for the foregoing in<:iden. ts in the store-room, the gathering in the corridor had been greatly augmented and only after some delay could Sheridan Keene force back the numbers eager to get a glimpse of the dead man. He cleared a space in the corridor, however, where the air was much warmer, and to which Mr. Ray mond and the others had quickly followed him, glad enough to leave the icy temperature of the store-room. John Wagner now drew back among the crowd, from which he stood grimly surveying t11e proceedings ; but, with a gesture, Sheridan Keene prevented Burton from departing, even if he had been so inclined. "Now about your altercation with Captain Cavendish," said the detective, the moment he saw that Weaver had complied with his com mands. "What was the occasion for that?" "Cavendish found fault because his fish had been removed, and I resented his abusive language, Burton immediately replied, in forceful tones, and again frowning darkly when he found himself the very center of general observation, if not, indeed, of sus picion also. "Was that all?" demanded Keene, sharply. "No, not all," retorted Burton, quickly. "That led up to another difference which has existed between Cavendish and myself, grow ing out the fact that I am a friend of his daughter, Mary Cavendi sh, who is precisely an opposite type of girl from what that scurri lo us blackguard yonder has implied. I am not done with you, Wagner, for that insult, and I'll yet thrash you within an inch of your life he broke off to add, violently shaking his fist at the engineer. "You're a cursed liar, you know, and I'll cram your words dmyn your own throat before I sleep, if I'm not run in for--" "Peace, Frank!" interposed Raymond, who had constantly kept his hand through the ycunger man's arm, as if he knew his excit able temperament and feared to what it might lead. "That kind of talk will do you no good, and may do much harm. Have no more of it!" \ "You're no doubt right, Mr. but I am not a man calmly to hear a virtuous girl defamed by a lying whelp like that one yonder," Burton answered, less violently. Then his frowning dark eyes reverted again to the detective's, and he added roundly: "Now what will you have, Detective Keene? I'll try to you alone my attention; and let me add, sir, I am ready to an swey: any question you may ask, so be it I am able." "I wish only to learn the facts in this case,'' curtly answered Keene, who, for reasons of his own, had suffered Burton to freely use


't SHIELD WEEKLY. 15 his tongue. "How long were you in dispute with Captain Cavendish?" "What did you infer about it?" "I inferred nothing. I did not care where "May be a half hour, sir." Cavendish went." "Did you come to blows?" "Did you go down by the elevator?" "No, sir." "No, sir; I took the stairs." Did most of the dissension occur in the "Did you meet anybody on your way store-room?" down?" "Nearly all of it, Detective Keene. I had very few words with Captain Cavendish after we came into the corridor." "Were you both angry when you left the store-room?" angry, sir," admitted Burton. ''Captain Cavendish was unusually excited, sir, and as he had a wicked tongue, which in most men I'd have answered with a blow, I decided, for the sake of another-oh, I don't mind telling you whom, sir! It was for the sake of his daughter! I decided I'd end the squabble by getting out of it. And I don't mind admitting that I wound up my part of it by telling Captain Cavendish to go straight blazes; and I turned with that and hurried down-stairs, without waiting to see whether he went or not. I hope heartily he did not, sir, though God knows it looks enough like it now. And that's all I know, Detective Keene, concerning the death of Captain Cavendish." Sheridan Keene paid no attention to the murmurs ot approval which quickly echoed Burton's words, and which had, despite occa sional license, the ring o( true and fearless manhood. He at once asked, with sustained. austerity: "Where did you leave Cavendish, Mr. Bur ton?" "Right here in this corri dor, sir, close by the store-room door." "Did you observe which way he went?" "I did not see him from the moment I turned away, sir. I hurried down to the office, and remained there until after six o'clock." ., "No, sir." "Did you while in the store-room, or in this corridor, see any person excepting Cap tain Cavendish?" "Not a soul, sir! But I have since heard that yonder abortive--" "Never mind whaf you have heard," Keene I' instantly interposed. "I wish to ascertain only what you absolutely know. Have you been attending-to your usual duties this morning, Mr. Burton?" "No, I have not." "Were you about the building when I arrived here, say, half an hour ago?" "No, sir, I was not." "Do you object to stating where you were?" "No, sir, I do not; so be it you care to know," cried Burton, flinging up his head with a sort of scornful indifference. "I had just heard of the death of Captain Cavendish, and my first thought, and my greatest solici tude turned toward the motherless girl he leaves. I went to break the sad news to Mary Ca'vendish, sir, that it should be done more gently than might \ do it; and I returned only in time to hear yonder cur speak ill of her whom I had left heartbroken and in tears. Don't blame me, sir, that I was cut deep by his lying words. You'd not l?lame me, had I sent him after Cavendish, even, did you know the innocence of the girl as I know it! Now, what more, sir? I've told all I can, though you were to question me till doomsday." "Where does Miss Cavendish live, Mr. Burton?" asked Keene, without heeding the young man's display of tender feeling.


' 16 SHIELD WEEKLY. "She boards at the North Hotel, sir, on At fantic avenue." .'Isn't that chiefly a seaman's }odging house ?" "Yes, sir; and where her father lived when ashore." "And where is your home, Mr. Burton?" "I recently have taken a room in the same house," said Burton, with a tinge of red showing quickly in his cheeks. "What do you know--" but a disturb ance at the end of the corridor suddenly clipped Keene's inquiry. He turned at once and saw that the medi cal examiner had arrived, accompanied by two policemen, and with a wave of his h,;md and a slight bow of acknowledgment, the detective signified to Burton thaJ his inquiry wasended. Ten minutes later, Keene slipped out among the crowd and winked for Wagner to follow him aside, with whom he conversed for a quarter-hour or more. At the end of that time he retraced his steps to the head quarters building in Pemberton Square, where he presently made his officiaJ report of the case to Chief Inspector Watts. CHAPTER VI. "THERE IS A WAY, CHIEF WATTS." "In the light of the bare facts as stated to me, Detective I):eene, what do you make of this case, from personal observation of the scene and of the several men ?" This was the question asked by Chief In spector Watts, at the conclusion of the repprt made by Sheridan Keene. It was nearly noon of the same day. The medical examiner had, long ere this, viewed the remains of the deceased ; the body of tain Cavendish had been removed to the room of an undertaker, there to lie pending further investigation by the detectives, and to await an autopsy should the case seem to require it: Keene and Chief Watts were alone in the latter's private office. On a newspaper lying on the chief's desk was the small vial found by the detective on the floor of the store room. It now was empty, the contents hav ing thawed and leaked through the cracked glass, and all that remairied of the dark fluid were the stains coloring the handkerc1'lef of the detective. It no longer was a frozen clew; yet the vial and label still were left to work from. Sheridan Keene drew himself up in his chair, and sat silent for a moment before re plying to the chief's question. "There are three theories which chiefly ap peal to me, sir," he at length said, earnestly; "and I am satisfied _that the case is one requir ing careful investigation." "What are your three theories, Detective Keene, and the basis for them?" gravely in guired the chief. "I will state them in the order of least prob ability, Chief Watts," Keene thoughtfully joined. "The first relates to Frank Burton. My observations of this man are favorable,. and I find it difficult to believe him guilty of having, even upon impulse, attempted the life of Captain Cavendish by locking him in the store-room. The man has a good reputation, and his bearing when I questioned him aJ> peared to be that of innocence." "Yet the evidence against him seems to be rather unfavorable." "That is true, Chief Watts," nodded Keene. "He may, indeed, have lied to me. He may, as a m atter of fact, never have left the store-room with Cavendish, as he stated; and he very possibly may have end ed their dispute by abruptly withdrawing from the room alone, and securing the door after him." "That could very easily have been done. I think." "The subseqttent conduct of Burton hard-


SHIELD WEEKLY. 17 ly sustains such a belief, ho w ever ," con tinued Keene. I have learned that he at once returned to the office which is on th e street floor of the building, and did not leave there until he went home an hour later. Under the circumstances, that would have been ver y remarkable. Knowing Cavendish to have been locked in the room and that by his release he would be seriously incriminated Burton naturally would have remained near the room, or at least have returned to the corridor once or twice, to make sure no one was sufficientl y near to be attracted b y any disturbance which Cavendish might hav e been able to mak e "That is a point well" take n ," admitte d Chief Watts, gravely I should think les s o f it chief wer e th e re an y marks of pers onal violence on th e b o d y of Cavendish, indicating that h e was uncon scious w hen left in the room, and hence not likely to hav e tried to attract attention from outsid e If unconscious, the man would h a v e froz e n in a very sh ort time. I l e arn e d further, that Burton is in l o v e with th e daughte r of Cavendish, and m eans to marry h e r It seems, e ven less lik e ly, then that he would have taken the life of her father e v e n though the latt e r had vigorousl y oppos e d his suit." "That, also, is very reasonable." "In order to be near the girl," continued Keene I learn thatBurton has recently given up pleasant rooms up town, and taken a room in the North Hotel, which is rather an inferior lodging-house with a noisy sa loon occupying the ground floor. This ap pears to have b e en the act of a man whose protestations of affection were genuine ; and, as I have said I find it difficult to think that Burton is guilty of this crime despite the incriminating circumstances by which he appears to be involved." "What other tl:eory have you formed?" "That Cavendish may possibly have bee n locked in the room by Chi e f Watts, Keene gravely replied. "He n-;'ay have returned to the room after Burton d e; parted, and it is bare ly possible that s o me employee of the Atlas company, seeing the door of the room open closed <'!-nd secured it. I am unable to find that any man did so however; yet there may be such a man and he now may fear to face the truth lest he incur punishment for criminal n e gli gence." "Have you seen the man who had ch a rge of the store-room yesterda y afternoon? "I have had a talk with him, chief. I w ent to his home at the West End before coming here. His name is Morton. He states that he did not find the door of the fishroom open when he went there, after the altercation between the two men, and of which he claims to have known nothing, being in another part of the building at the time. ( "At what time did he go on duty ? "At four o'clock in the afternoon, and worked until midnight, Keene r eplit>

18 SHIELD WEEKLY. could have left the corridor. It is true that Cavendish have returned' to the room to look over his fish ; but I think that any employee who found the door open would. before closing it, have made sure that there was no person within ." "I am rather inclined to think that, Chief Watts." "What is your other theory?" "It relates to the man named Wagner, .and I think it is the most probable of th,e. three,'' said Keene, with greater earnestness. "State it, please. "I quietly learnedthat Wagner has been living for a year or more at the North Hotel, and _that he also has had aspirations to the love of Mary Cavendish. "Likewise opposed. by her father?" "Very decidedly chi1ef! Cavendish, who was away fishing much of the time was ex ceedingly strict with the girl, and would al low no man to p ay more than cursory attep tion to her. Very likel y he is not much to be blamed, for the girl is only about nine teen years old, and is said t o be very pretty. Be that as it may, chief there are the facts. "I Keene, that you suspect some jealousy to exist bet w een W agne r and Bur ton," observed Chief Watts, in his gravely attentive way. "On the part of Wagner at least," KeeE e quickly replied "What were your sp ec ial observations of that man?" "They were decidedl y unfavorable!" exclaimed the detective. "I think it is quite probable that his may have been the hand that locked Cavendish in the store-room. "If the seaman returned to the room after Burton's departure, Wagner, who was near by, would have had an opportunity to secure the door unobserved, and which he may have done in the hope of incriminating Frank Burton." "Ah, this seems much more likely!" exclaimed Chief Watts. "What more of Wagner?" "He states that he was fixing the elevator drum at the time of the altercation and was led to come down to the corridor with the intention of interposing beitween the two men. He says he did not do so, however, 'but returned to his work. Now, chief assuming that Burton had, indeed locked Cavendish in the room, it seems t b me that this engin eer should also have heard the sounds made by Cavendish when he beat upon the wall. At least a sufficient noise shoul d have been made to have attracted his attention. I've yet to investigate that matte r more thoroughly, Chief Watts." D o s o by all means Keene." "I learn how ever," continued Keene, "that Wagner returned to the engine-room about half-past five which also was but a few min utes subsequent to the altercation. The con clusions drawn in the case of Burton, there fore are equally applicable to the case of Wagner. He, to o, it would seem should have beef1'.led to hang ab out the corridor_ long en ough t o insur e that Cavendish was not dis, cove r e d T o that extent, the circumstances are sure l y in Wagner's favor if they may be conside red fav o rabl e t o Burt on. "That i s true enough," nodded Chief Watts. Go on, h o wever. "But balance is still less in Wagner's fav o r," c ontinued Sheridan Kee ne. "In talk ing w ith this man, I observed that he was UP.conscio usly betraying considerable eager ness to influ e nce me to a c e rtain way of think ing, as if sec r e tl y anxious that I should ad opt a theory tending to involve Burton in the crime. I gave Wagner all the line he wanted in this dire cti o n and I am quite certain that I am right i n my inference." A very good idea Detective Keene," bowed Chief Watts, approvingly. "What more d o y ou make o f this?" 4


. SHIELD WEEKLY. 19 "I took occasion at one time to see if I could further the belief I had formed," Keene continued. I carelessl y laid my hand on the man's shoulder, and I discovered that he was trembling vi o lently, as if with suppressed ex c i tement or eagerness. "Capital!" "Yet that may have been occasioned partly by the cold, Chief Watts; but n o t entirecy, I am sure," Keene went on to e x plain I then took the c o urse w hi c h app e al e strongest to me, that of giving Wagner the assur ance which he evid e ntl y wished to acquire; namely, that I was forming a prono unced suspicion of Burton. He now believes that I am quite convinced of the latter's guilt, and am resolved to drive him t o the wall This artifice will enable me, I think, to make Wagner, if h e is the g uilt y pa,rty, a tool for his own conviction ." "You are working up the inv estigation admirably, Keene!" exclaim e d Chi e f Watts, approvingly. "Go on w ith your analysis and we will presently d e cide what mov e may best be made to discov e r the truth in the case Keene colored slightly at these expressions of commendation, but mere l y b o w e d his appreciation. "I find," he cont ipu e d, "that Burton encountered no person on the stairs, when he was returning to the office. It was a time of day w hen most of the employees were / lieve that the engineer knows much more than he has told." "You judge also from your d bs e rvation s of the man, I take it?" inquire d Chief Watts who had abiding faith in Kee ne s ability t o read men' s characte r "Decide dly so! exclaim e d the detective. "He strik e s me a s an evil and tre achero u s fellow Now, chief, c o nc erning the vial I found on the floor It app e ars to b e a bottle of medicine, and the date on the label shows that it was purchased yesterday." "So I obs e rv e "Evidently the v ial droppe d from the pocke t of some p e r son who w as in the store room lat e r t h an ye st erday morning, and wh o did n o t mi ss it at the time," Keene continue d "I find that onl y the young man who r egulates the t em p e r ature visited tha t room pri o r t o the v isit o f Burton and t he seam a n. The v ial m ay have fall e n from the p o ck e t o f Caven dis h himself, while he w as beating up o n th e w all w ith froz e n fish, for I found it q uit e near the m on the floor. "Very possibl y that was the case, the n ." "If it did not b elong to Cave ndish how ever, it is a v e ry promising clu e to the iden tity of some p e rson who visit e d the store. room after the crime was committed ." "But not necessarily so, observed Chi ef Watts. it not have belonge d t o Burton?" "It is possible, Chief Watts, but not prob-preparing to go hoine, and wh e n that upper able," replied Kee ne. "For, b y Burton' s floor and corridor were very likely to be d e serte d until morning, except by the one man w h ose duty takes him to the fish-room occa s ionally. Wagner would have known this, and possi bl y took advantage of it, believing the crime would not be discovered in time to r ele a s e the seaman. On the whole Chief W a tts, w hil e the crime was in that case v e ry artfu ll y committed, anti offers very little ab solute ev id ence against Wagner, I fully be own testimony, and that of Wagner, who states that he sa.w him when in t ht; room with Cav e ndish, Burton was not v e ry near the spot where I found the "That is quite important, then. As a matte' r of fact, w e should be aible to learn who purchased the medicine, if we can lo cate the druggi? t who sold it. " I have that in mind also, chief." "I infer that you have already thought of


20 SHIELD WEEKLY. a way by which this crime can be placed where it belongs," said Chief Watts, smiling at th e profound earnestness of his subordinat e "Am I right?" "Yes, chief you are right!" Keene quickly exclaimed. "There is a way which I think it may be done. And your question leads me to a side th eory, so to s p eak, of which there is some littl e evidence, and to w hich I've given some little consid e ration." Well, Detective Keene what is your side theory?" laughed Chi e f Watts. "If it is as clever as you third, that regarding Wagner, we shall be rathe r set upon a fence "Fortunate ly, chief, smil e d the detective; "my side th eo ry also includes and involves Mr. John Wagner, who I think, seriously requires our attention in some very cunning and skillful way. I will tell you of what the evid e nce consists Oiief Watts, and with your p e rmi ss ion will submit a plan w hich I think m a y be worked to advantage "Let' s have i t, Keene, b y all m eans!" And Sherid a n Keene dr e w his chair n earer, and proceeded to elucidate what he had been pleased to term-his side theory. CHAPTER VII. SHE RID A N KEEN E BOA RDS THE MOLLlE. The beginning of a startling sequence of eve nts, resulting from theconference be tween Inspector Watts and Sheridan Keene, occurred immediat e ly after noon that day Taking from his desk in the inspector's r oo m a few for preparing an effective dis g uise, the detective left the headquarters building and went at once to the water front. There after a few in q uiries among the longshoremen thronging Atlantic avenue, he s u c c e e ded in locating the fishing schooner M ollie, hauled well into the dock adjoining L o n g W harf. S h e was about the cut of craft that he had expec t e d t o find ; a faded black schooner of small t onnage, strong with the odor of fish, and a s dirty a s w e ll can be imagined. Evi dentl y the fate b e fallen her owner was known aboard for sh e had been hauled up next to the wharf and lay with her sails furled her hatch down and a ragged flag drooping mournfully at halfmast. Her forecastle was deserted; but Keene observed seated aft on the wheel-gear, the man evidently then in charge of the vessel. He was a middle-aged man, roughly clad in a seaman's garb, and with a countenance and general aspect well in keeping with the craft herself He looked up indiff erently when Keene sprang down to the rail and came aboard, and vouchsafed onl y a nod when the de walked aft and bade him goodday. "Are you the man in care of this vessel, sir, sine he death of Captain Cavendish?., the detective then asked courteously "I guess so, matie, sence the cap'n' s gone by the board, replied the seaman with a voice as hoarse as if the gales of a decade had blown his vocal organs into a state )f utter laxity. ' I am the mate o' the vessel. 'Be you a reporter? There ain't been no less n seven of ye aboard sence the cap'n croaked. Y e re wuss n a crew o' pirates.'' Keene laughe d lightly and discovered that the man was less repellent than he looked "No, I am not a reporter, he r e plied, in his genial way. "I am a detective detailed by Chief Inspector Watts to investigate the circumstances involving the death of Cap tain Cavendish We are not quite sure that he was n o t the victim of foul play and I've come aboard to ask you to do me a little fav o r." Though he gave but a glance at the badge the detect i ve displa y ed the seaman's eyes brighte ned noticeably Jie quickly arose sayin g heartily: 'Fore h e aven matie I've thought the same thing m y s elf. Ole Cap n C avendish wasn t a man to be caught in tlie hold with hatches down unless suthin' was wrong ab o ve board. Do y e a turn, eh? A y, a y, I w ill in that cas e so be it I can. What might it be, macie? "First tell me your name, if you please?" "My name is J e nkins "And mine is Keene, rejoined the detec tive, affably. "No w Mr. Jenkins, he continued, "how w e ll are you kno\Yn at the North Hotel, wher e Captain Cavendish was in the habit of lodging when ashore?"


SHIELD WEEKLY. 21 "Ain't known at all," cried Jenkins, tersely. allus bunk alboard ship, sir, and as I've no habit of crookin' my elbow, I've had little use for the, North Hotel." "W. as Captain Cavendish addicted to liquor?" "Summut, sir." "Does his daughter know you by sight, or any of the people whQ frequent the hotel?" "I I h guess not, matie. never was m t ere; and as for the Cap'n's lass, he'd never have her aboard this dirty craft, for all she was named for her." "This suits me admirably, Mr. Jenkins," Keene now explained. "The object I've in view is this. I suspect a man who lodges at the North Hotel of being guilty of a rather ugly piece of work. I am out to get the truth, if possible, and take the _fellow into camp. I wish to visit the hotel for a day or two, and give the impression that I am bne of this vessel's crew-the mate, for ... example." "D'ye think you look like me?" demanded Jenkins, with an amused grin. "No, you're better looking," laughed '! Keene. "You say you are not known at the North Hotel, however, and I easily can pass myself off for a fisherman, if not for the mate of the Mollie, providing you will loan me suitable garments, in security for which I will leave you these I am wearing. I've clothes that would serve for a common seaman, but a fisherman must needs smell of fish, you know. I want to borro"". a few things that will serve that end, and if you will accommodate me, and keep mum over the whole business, I'll make it worth your while." "Ay, ay, sir, I will!" exclaimed Jenkins, not slow to grasp the idea. "And I will keep as dumb as an oyster, nor will I take any thing for the sarvice. Come below, sir; ancl I will fit ye out from keel to truck to ye own fancy. I'd do that much for the ole plan, matie, who'd a better heart'n he had tongue, which ain't much to his credit, nuther. Come below, sir." Keene followed the fisherman down the companion way and into a dingy, foul smelling cabin, where he was given an as-sortment of equally odorous garments from wnich to choose. He made a selection, then he set about making certain facial changes, a process which Jenkins watched with wide and astonished eyes. -"What was the matter with Captain Cav endish?" Keene casually asked, while thus engaged. "Matter with him, matie ?" _"Was he in the habit of taking medicine?" asked Keene, without turning from a wavy mirror which he had found available on the cabin wall. "Medicine, eh ? 'Fore heaven, matie, I never knew him to take but one kind of medicine. He took enough of that to float the Mollie, so be it 'twas in one basin." "What was that?" asked Keene. "Rum and molasses, sir." "He enjoyed pretty good health, then, I take it?" "Pretty good, eh!" exclaimed Mr. Jenkins, with a laugh as dry as a smoked her ring. "Why, matie, I'd a swore a oath the ole man 'ud lived to be a hun'ard. He was tougher'n a oak cap'sn-bar, and as good on his feed as a hog i' the autumn. I often wondered where he stowed the cargo o' grub I've watched him get outside of." "A heavy eater, eh?" "Ay, ay, sir, he was." "How will that do?" asked Keene, now swinging around from the mirror and looking the fisherman in the face. Jenkins burst. into a laugh of intense en joyment. 'Fore heaven, matie, your own muther'd not know you," he cried, staring with ludi crous gaze at the changed face of the clever detective. "I'd swear you'd been a: fisherman all the days o' ye life. Along with these ere togs, and the smell o' cod and haddock, the ole man himself would a signed you. Blowed if ye don't look more like me'n ye did, matie, which ain't much in ye favor." Keene joined in the seaman's laughter, and now hastened to change his own garments for those he had selected, meantime giving Mr. Jenkins such cursory directions against disclosing this strategy as the case seemed to require. The man who issued from the cabin of the Mollie a little later,


22 SHIELD WEEKLY. and presently threaded his way among the stevedores and longshoremen on the wharf, in no respect resembled the clean-cut officer who had boarded the fisherman's craft a half-hour before. His face n'Ow wore the rough traces of service in wind and weather. His unkempt hair had grown an inch or more, ahd was covered with a slouchy tarpaulin, drawn low over his keen dark eyes. He wore a coarse gray shirt, a heavy reefer of faded blue, and a pair of soiled trousers, stuck here and there with dry fish scales, and which were tucked into a pair of long rubber boots strapped midway about his thighs. There was, moreover, a slouch to his shoulders, and roll to his gait, and a habit of hitching up his baggy trousers higher_,on his hips, alf eminently in keeping with the character Sheridan Keene had assumed. He did not shape a course for the North Hotel, however, as he had intimated to Mr. Jenkins. Bearing off through Commercial and Market streets, he lay a course as direct as possible for the building occupied by the Atlas Cold Storage. CHAPTER VIII. THE FIRST MATE OF THE MOLLIE. Instead of entering the office of the cold storage company, Sheridan Keene hugged the building in passing the windows, and dodged suddenly into a narrow passage making to the side elevator and stairs. He did not fear recognition by any person he might encounter, but was anxious only that a man of his appearance might not be observed just then by the one against whom his op erations were chiefly directed. 'Mounting the stairs till he reached the third floor, he loitered about one of the side corridors until, from some quarter below, he ..,.heard the voice of the party he then was seeking. This was the young man named Weaver, whose duty of that day did not end until four o'clock. After considerable dodging about, the detective finally located him on the second floor, going his round of rooms for the last time. Keene cornered him in one of the corridors, as he was about taking the elevator, and at once detained him. "Belay a bit, my hearty!" he exclaimed. "I've lost my bearings in these ere crooks and turns about here. Can you pilot me out?" Weaver had with some surprise upon beholding him, and the sight of another seaman, after the dismal tragedy of that morning"was not wholly agreeable. "What are you doing here, anyway?" he demanded, curtly. "Strangers are not al lowed in here without a permit from the of fice." "Steer me down there, then, and I'll get one," growled Keene. "I'm not with out business, messmate. I'm the mate of the schooner Mollie, whose cap'n was found dead here this morning." "Oh, all right then!" exclaimed Weaver. "I didn't know that. Take the elevator with me, and I'll show you the way to the office." "Heave ahead, me laddie." "Too bad about Cavendish, wasn't it?" "Ay, ay, it was," nodded Keene, as he boarded the elevator. Then, as Weaver seized the line to start the car, the detective laid a hand on his arm, and added softly: ,... "Let her go up, my lad, instead of down!" "What do you mean?" gasped Weaver, startled by the expression in Keene's dark eyes. "Run her up, lad, and I'll tell you. I want to go to the room where Cavendish died. I say, messmate," he added, when Weaver demurred; "you've an honest face and a good block on your shoulders. Ca you keep a secret?" "I can if need be," said Weaver, rather shortly. "At what are you driving?" "This-let me whisper it in your ear!" Keene be t nearer, and Weaver suddenly drew back, staring the detective in the face. "Goodness!" he muttered, smiling, "I'd never have known you!" "Take me up to the fish-room, and I'll tell ybu why I am here," said Keene, softly. Weaver no longer hesitated, and presently the two men gained the corridor and the room desired. Both were deserted, and (


SHIELD WEEKLY. 23 Keene at once explained the object of his visit. "I am going to trust to your discretion, Weaver, and inform you of my suspicions," he said, closing the door of the room into which, despite the cold, the detective had signed for his companion to enter. "I want you to say nothing about the matter, how ever, until after I've ended my investiga tions." "I certainly will not, sir, said Weaver, readily. Y.our face assures me of that," nodded Keene. "The fact is, Weaver, I suspect this man Wagner of not being all above board. I don't think he has told the whole truth, and I mean fo force him to do so, Do you know where he is at present?" "He was down in the engine-room .a few minutes ago, sir." "How long before you go off duty?" "In about an hour." "Before then, there are two things I wish to accomplish, and in one at least I shall require your help. Above all things, how ever, do not betray in the presence of Wagner, or any third party, that you are in formed of my identity. The least sign might give it away, you know." "Don' t fear that I will give it away, Detective Keene," Weaver quickly answered "I am far too anxious to see Burton well out of this scrape to betray you by word or sign. You tell me what you wish me to do, and I will do it." "Very good!" exclaimed Keene. "To be gin with, I want you to let me lock you in this room; and, after I've had time to reach the elevator and go up to the top of the shaft, I want you to beat on the wall here with one of these fish, say a half-dozen times, as forcibly as you are able. I wish to dis cover whether the sound can be heard from where Wagner claims to have been, when Cavendish was first locked in the room." "I understand, sir." "Let's be at it before we are interrupted." "There is not much danger of that, sir," replied Weaver; "but I'm ready if you are." ; "Get one of the fish, then, and get a heavy one. Give me half a minute in which to reach the elevator, and then bang hard. Not more than five or six strokes, mind you. I will secure the door, that the conditions may be the same." "All right, sir. Wait a bit till I get my position, for it will be darker'n the devil in here after you close the door. Now go ahead!" Keene closed and locked the heavy door w)len he passed out. Then he hastened to the elevator, and ran the car to the top of the shaft, which brought him within a few yards of the gear overhead. J-Ie waited in silence for a moment, and then there plainly sounded on his ears the dull thud of the heavy blows dealt by the man in the fish room. "About what I expected, muttered Keene, springing down to the car. "Wag ner lied like a pirate! Cavendish never stmck a blow, after that door was closed upon him for the last time." Quickly rejoining Weaver, the detective told him the result of the experiment, and again cautioned him against making/any disclosures. \ "There is one more thing in which I may require your help," he then explained "Has Wagner any right to enter this room, or do you have entire charge of it?" "Ordinarily, sir, the men are not allowed in the rooms, except when transferring stores," explained Weaver. "With .Wagner, sir, it is rather different. His duty requires him to see that the pipes are in proper con dition, and he frequently visits the rooms." "That is all right, then!" exclaimed Keene. "In that case I shall not need you, and you'd better keep out of sight. I can easily make Wagner volunteer to come up here with me. "How so, sir?" Keene laughed. "Don't you know that a guilty conscience will drive a man to almost anything?" he re joined "Now wait one moment while I pre pare for him." Weaver could not see what the detective did; merely saw him stoop to the floor at one of the great bins of loose fish, those belonging to Cavendish, and quite near the spot where the seaman's body had been found. Then Keene siuddenly rose erec t and said shortly:


24 SHIELD WEEKLY. "Now we're ready Mr. Weaver. Be off about your own business, and leave Mr. Wagner to me." Keene's next appearance in the case was in a corridor overlooking the engine-room, in the basement of the bui l ding, whe r e he stood about for severa l minutes, staring this way and that, like a man doubtful which way to turn. That which presently occurred was precisely what he expected. As if the presence there of another fish erman had Instantly q u ickened hi s s usp i cions, Wagner came bolti n g up from t he en gine-room the moment he beheld h im, and quickly reached the corridor in which Keene was standing. He came through a doo r somewhat removed from the detective, a n d the latter at once hastened to meet him, as if glad to have run upon some person fr o m whom he could obtain information. "Beggee pardon, messmate!" he cried, hitching up his belt with one hand, and giving his tarpaulin a jerk with the other. "Can't you se't a covey right who's dead at sea in this 'ere building? Which way'll I bear to find the office?" A mingling of distrust and apprehensio n was plainly manifest in Wagner's frowning eyes. Despite the searching scrutiny to which he was subjected however, the de tective felt sure of his disguise, and that the engineer's misgivings were rooted in some secret dread o f his own. For this reason, too, Keene was sure that Wagner would himself comply with the request he was about to make, rather than endure any uncertainty .as to the true nature of his mission there, by turning him over to the guidance of a third party. In response to the question asked by Keene, the engineer quickly demanded: "Who ar_ e you? And what are you do-ing here?" "I'm the mate o' the Moll i e late Cap'n Cavendish, who was found dead here this morning," Keene glibly rejoined with enough of a seaman's vernacular to sustain the character assumed. "The mate of the Moll ie. are you?" Ay, ay sir, I am nodded the detective. "But I'm not lookin arter Cavendish, far from it, messmate! I only want to find the room where the old man' s fish are sto r ed." "What do you want in tha t room?" de manded Wagner, whose suspicions were not. easily allayed. "Just to see how they run i n weight, sir, and what part o' them are blu es," Keen e readily explained. "But for what reason, my man?" "You see sir, the cap'n sold a half a ton, o r nigh that, only yesterday. Some on 'em must be d elivered afore Saturday, a nd I w ant to tarn what's got to be took from here, to make up what I've got aboar d the vessel." "Why didn't you call at the office?" "I meant to ha' done so messmate," replied Keene, who was by no means an easy man to corner; .but I missed the door, and shaped my course in here and now I'm at dead reckoning." Well, I guess you are all right, Wagner now observed, less censoriously. "If you'll show me the way to the office, I'll get the consent--" "What do you wish to do in the roommerely look over the fis h?" interrupted Wagner, thoroughly hoodwinked by Keene's plausible story, and the artful fluency with which it was told. "Ay, ay, matie that's all." "You don't wish to remove any?" "Not afore Saturday, sir." "You will need a p ermit to do that." "Ay, sir so the cap'n told me afore this Just now I only w ant to clap my peepers on the size o' the fis h and the different I'll heave no one to for long in doing that, sir." "I will show you the room, then," said Wagner, now drawn into the net. "Come out this wa y ." "Heave ahead, sir!" And with a roll and a swagger Keene fell in at the heels of the engineer, who now led the way t p the elevator, on which: the y started for the fifth floor. "This 'ere beats runnin' up ratlines in a gale o' wind and an ugly sea!" la ughed Keene, referring to their easy ascent 'Tain't much like climb ing aloft on ship board." "I suppose not," growled Wagner, with


. SHIELD WEEKLY. 25 a furtive glance at his companion's swarthy J ace. "Come this way.. -"So this 'ere was where they found him, e h?" ooserved Keene1 w hen the y entered th e icy store-room. "Yes, this is where they found him ." "'Fore heaven matie I d never ha dreamed he d come to an end like that." "The end of all of us is "Avast a bit matie!" "What now?" I say, sir! Where was he l y ing? "Never mind where he was lying! forci. bly rejoined Wagner, who found the remarks distasteful and whose face had grown quite pale. "Do you think I too, want to freeze here? Look over your. fish, if you like, and then get out!" "Ay, ay sir! Beggee pardon, sir!" Keene now exclaimed, h umbly twigging his tar paulin. "I meant no harm, matie; my word for it. I was only wondering where the old man--" "Get at your work_ !" "Ay, ay sir! This 'ere was the old man's bin I know by the fish. Steady, matie and lay to a bit. I'll not be long a!bout it." While Wagner watched him with steadfast l!aze the detective clambered into the bin of frozen fish, hauling over a few here and there, and apparently estimating with expe rienced eyes the quantity and quality of each variety. Then he clambered out again and fell to s orting those which had slid out from the -bin, like so many chunks of icy wood pitching one here and tossing one there and now and then accompanying his movements with a remark to which Wagner appeared to give no weight, if, indeed attention. Presently however Keene growled out, with g-rim disapproval: "What's this 'ere? Glass 'mongst the fish I A devil of a place for that to be knocking about!" And without a glance, and with no apparent interest in Wagner, he flirted across the floor the empty vial he had foupd that morning. The engineer pounced upon it like a ter-1 rier on a rat. That the cork was missing, seemed instantly to explain why the bottle was empty, and a gleam of inten s e satisfaction fired the man' s crafty and treach erous eyes. Yet his involuntar y eagerness had been so obvious that his companion, of whom Wagner really had n o con s id e rable suspicion, quickly started up and l o oked to see what the object might be. "It's nothing! exclaimed Wagner, recoil ing slightl y when Keene so abruptly approached him "What was it mati e ? "Only an empty bottle "Let's see it! L e t's see it matie!" per sisted Keene. "If it's o nly an empty bottle, what need to stow it away in your hand. Let's see it I say! "There tis! See for your s elf!" cried Wagner, frowning darkly. "Ay, ay, matie, that's right!" "It belongs to me, as far as that goes! And there's the mate to it, only it's full. It's some medicine I'm taking." And the poor wretch, artfully made the tool for his own undoing, in his eagerness to quell any misgivings on the part of this ostensible seaman, drew from his vest pocket a similar vial, which he had purchased since losing the other, and displayed them both in the palm of his tremulous hand. "Ay, ay that's all right, matie! Keene repeat ed, heartily, with a wave of his hand "I only thought it might ha' been suthin' the old man had dropped. Ktep 'em, matie! I've no use for 'em!" 'And Sheridan Keene turned back to his work at the bin yet view e d askance and with secret satisfaction the of both vials in the pocket of the engineer. "That beats hunting up a druggist for the purpose of fixing the dog's identity!" the de tective said to himself as he concluded his work at the edge of the bin. "Now then, matie, I'm ready to be off!" he said, rising at the end of five minutes, and rubbing the ice and fish scales from his hands. "Got all through?" "Ay, ay, matie and ma!ly thanks for the sarvice." "You needn't feel that way about it. We'll go down as we came."


26 SHIELD WEEKLY. Shall I heave ahead, sir?" "Yes, go on! It's too cold to stand about in Here "So 'tis, sir, for a fact," cried Keene; then he turned b.ack from the open door to add, with a rather grim smile: "The old man WOl.\ld ha' kept for many a day, matie, had they let him lie where they found him!" "That's enough of that! replied Wag" ner, y et he now showed no resentment. Go on w ith you! I've work to do below " All cight sir! B eggee pardon! beggee pardo n a thous and times! And Sheridan Keene hitched up his trous e r s highe r on his hips and with a roll and a s wagger that might have been those of :i genui ne old s alt, turned his steps in the direc t ion of t h e corridor, that morning the s c e n e of an i n quiry which led to these very m o v es. \Vagn e r close d and secure d the door afte1 they had p as s e d o ut, and signed for his com p a nio n to g o i n .the direction of the elevator, wit h w hich th e latter re a dily complied. T he secr e t satisfacti o n o f the engineer in t he r e c o v e r y o f the vial w as greater than he cou ld e asily hide, and it at once betrayed that h e had f eared some trouble from it. His relief showed in his face, which had no w lost its grim distrust of his companion. It sounde d in his voice and appeared in th e more g e nial and friendiy manner with whic h he responded to Sheridan Keene's r emarks as they descended to the street floor. It was, indeed, as if he felt that this fish erm a n had really done him a material favor wh e n he discovered it at the edge of the bin c ontaining the dead man's frozen fish, and brushed it out where he could lay hands 1;1po n i t S o p ro n o unce-a w ere these feelings in fa ct that, having escort e d Sheridan Keene to the street door, Wagner heartily shook han d s w i th him in parting, and said he hoped th ey soon might meet again. Keene did not tell him that he felt quite sure they would. CHAPTER IX. THE ARREST IN THE NORTH HOTEL. Sheridan Keene's investigation of the mystery of the cold storage, and the death of Captain Peleg Cavendish culminated sooner even that he had at first expected -ri'o later, in fact, than. that very evening. The North Hotel, day or evening, was not a place that the cultured and refined would consider inviting. A beer saloon occupied one-half of the ground floor. The hotel of fice join e d it, and was divided from it by a sheathed partition, with only a door be tween From the office a stairway led to the floors above, where there was a parlor, so called-, ov e r the saloon, and some thirty or forty chambers between there and the roof. It was a resort for seamen; the office was filled and noisy from morning until mid night; the saloon was a bedlam from the time its early morning patrons got fairly load e d up until th e hour of closing. Yet it was in this house that Captain Cav endish had boarded his daughter, chiefly because the place was a favorite resort of his own That the girl had grown to maturity as artless and innocent as a flower misplanted, reveals her inherent loftiness of character. She had taken it from her mother. It may be truthfully said that when her father died he did her the greatest service done since the day of her birth. Thereafter, in 1J:ie love and care of a man like Burton, the life of Mary Cavendish was to be passed on a different plane. At about seven o'clock that evening Sher idan Keene, still in the uncouth garb of a fisherman, approached the North Hotel and entered the saloon. One of the first persons whom he encountered was John Wagner. "Tip us your fin, matie, and shove your breast up here ag'in' the bar, he cried, heartily shaking Wagner by the hand. "What'll it be?" Though some surprise was pictured in his face, Wagner accepted the invitation of the detective and mentioned his drink; then hastened to ask, under the impulse of vague misgivings: "What has brought you here?"


, SHIELD WEEKLY. 27 Keene at once relieved him. aloft and see the lass, now and ll look you "The Cap'n's lass," he rejoined, tossing off up ag'in arter I have had my say with her." his drink and wiping his l\ps on his sleeve. And without waiting for the question that "I've not seen her since the old man went was fairly trembling on Wagner's lips, under, and I've come up to larn what she Keene turned quickly away and disappeared means to do about the Mollie. The craft through the door to the office. He now can't lay hauled at the wharf, and I felt sure that Wagner, having. be e n told that reckon I'll take her off the gal's hands, if the arrest of Burton was immin e nt, would she'll let her go at the right figger." not leave the hotel before the arrest was "Buy her?" queried Wagner, now reasmade. with half an eye, one might have sured. read that Wagner felt this arrest to be, a 1'Ay, sir, so be it the lass'll take 'Up my morsel too sweet to be lost. He left the offer. I'll see you ag'in arter I've had my say with her," replied Keene, turning to-ward the office. # "All right, then: I'll be about here." "By the way matie," the detective turned back to say, with a lowered voice, "I'm told the lu-bber who did the Cap'n brown is to be nailed here to-night. But don't blow off your wind about it, messmate, for that's 'twixt you and me." Again Wagner .grew pale and faltered doubtfully: "Whom do you mean?" "I reckon his name's Barton, or Morton, or Burton, or suthin' like that, explained Keene, apparently oblivious to the other's perturbation. "Frank Burton, said Wagner, with his expression changing instantly to that of a malicious triumph he could not easily hide. "Is the name Burton?" "Ay, that's what 'tis." "You're sure of it?" "Sartin." "But who informed you?" "Some detective chap who boarded the Mollie and pumped me dry about the Cap'n's habits. I reckon they ve got the covey dead in the wind, from what he said, and '11 hook him for sure." "What style of man was the detective?" demanded Wagner, with intense earnest. ness. "A youngish man, matie, and as clean and trim as a cup defender." "Dark eyes?" "Ay, ay, sir, and as sharp as needles." 'Twas Sheridan Keene, the detective." "Like as not, though he didn't say so, Keene rejoined. "But avast, now! I'll go saloon and _repaired to the office, where he loitered about with evil satisfaction, waiting and watching, and wishing that the inspectors would speedily appear. He was not, however, kept waiting long. Meantime, Keene mounted the stairs and found, in the room adjoining the parlor, the girl he was seeking; or, rather, the man he knew he should find with her. He found the girl to be a delicate miss, with a pale, pretty face, and an abundance of hair about the color of gold. H e r blue eyes were red from weeping and Keene would have been less clever than he was had he not known that, in this hour of bereavement, he w o uld find Burton in her conipany. They were alone in the room; and he, oi course, was not r e cognized b y either. "Beggee pardon, both!" he said, as he e _ntered. "I reckon you're Mi s s Cavendish, ain't ye? I'm the mate o', the Mollie, miss; and, arter what's happened you're the one to s<.ly what's to be done with the vessel. She can't lay hauled up at the wharf my lass ; or. I'd not come here about her right now." The girl looked appealingly at Burton, who was also uncertain how to adjust the matter, and Keene took occasion to add: "If ye say so, miss I can have her hauled round to one of the yards, where she can lay idle till wanted. Or if ye say for me to look arter her fot a time, till you're better settled, and get what I can out o' her fer ye, I'll do that, miss." .. "The latter will be the better plan Mary," Burton advised. "It may show a profit, while the other nec e ssarily incurs expense." "You decide for me, Frank," said the girl simply. "I think, Mr.--"


.r' 28 SHIELD WEEKLY. "Jenkins, sir." "How long have you been sailing with Captain cavendish?': "Nigh on ten years, sir," said Keene, who thought he might as well make it long enough while he was about it. "Then Captain Cavendish certainly has found you reliable," smiled Burton, approv ingly. "You may run the vessel upon your own judgment until otherwise instructed, Mr. Jenkins. When the estate of Captain Cavendish has been--" "Is there a man named Frank Burton here?" The interruption came in a deep tone frorr. a portly man who had appeared on the threshold of the door. Burton started to his feet, and instantly recognized the imposing figure and grave face of-Chief Inspector Watts. Peering in through a farther door of the parlor was the evil face and malicious eyes of Wagner, the engineer. "I am Frank Burton," said the latter, con trolling himself with an effort. "1 want to see you alone." Without a word, Burton followed Chief Watts from the room. "Give the other fifteen minutes," said Sheridan Keene, much as if he was talking aloud to himself; but his words reached the ears of the chief inspector. Keene next closed quickly the door of the side room, and turned to the startled girl. She had risen from the chair and stood with her hands pressed above her heart, and her gaze turned in the direction whence her lover had departed, much as if she had received some previous intimation of the danger threatening him. "Your friend has been arrested, Miss Cavendish," Keene said, quickly. "Hush, do not fear! No harm will befall him, but don't repeat that. Be sure you don't repeat that." "But I don't understand--" "Nor have I time to said the de tective, in low, forceful tones. "But yo11 must do what 1 bid you. It is for Burton's sake, and I am an officer in disguise." "For-his sake! Tell me-what shall I do?" "Follow me to the other room, and remain there till I tell you that you may leave. I shall not remain, but you must. Do you ?" "Yes," girl gasped, faintly. -"Do what I bid, then. Come!" He led her to the adjoining room, leaving her alone there, and hastened down to the hotel office. Chief Watts had just departed with his prisone ;:, and Sheridan Keene quickly located Wagner near the office door. "What did I tell you, matie ?" he demand ed, s6ftly, as he paused at the latter's elbow. Wagner turned quickly, and looked him in the face. His own was a picture of ma licious triumph. His eyes were bright; his smile that of a treacherous knave; he was trembling visibly. "You were right!" he exclaimed, under his breath. "I am glad of it. He'll, now get his deserts." "Ay, ay, he will," admitted Keene. "And they took him right 'fore the eyes of the lass, matie, who must ha' known why he--" "Where'd ye leave her?" interrupted Vvag, ner, with a start. "In the room overhead, matie," said Keene, indifferently; then he turned, as if' liis interest had suddenly been taken by something out of doors. Again that happened which he had antici pated. Wagner stole quickly away, and mounted the office stairs. Keene gave him time to reach the parlor, then held up five fingers to a man seated near the office desk, and immediately followed Wagner as far as the parlor door, near which he paused to listen. The latter had found the girl alone. "Oh, yes, I am sorry for him," Wagner was saying in accents of vicious equivoca tion. "Don't I look it? Don't I as if I was? I told you, when turned me down for him, that I'd get even with you both. Didn't I? Didn't I tell you so?" But for the instructions given her by the detective, the pale and distressed girl, whom this knave was thus addressing with abusive taunts, would have left the room. As it was, she stood silent, with 'her glistening eyes fixed on the scoundrel's malicious face, and mutely suffered his vicious insolence. "And he'll get all that's coming to him;'' he


. continued, confronting the girl in the floor. "He'll swing, like as not, for the crime of murder. D'ye know what that means? Would ye like him to hang by the neck till he's dead? What would ye do to save him?" "Don't come any nearer-d'?n't," Keene heard the girl murmur, piteously. "What would ye do for me, if you knew I could save him?" continued Wagner, ignoring her distress. "Would ye give yourself for him? Would ye turn him down, as you turned me, and take me up agin? Hark you, Mary Cavendish! But for me he'll swing! D'ye hear? Would ye give yourself to save him? If I c-an do it, would ye--" Then the miscreant heard a heavy step oh the. entry stairs and the of Sheridan Keene, saying loudly: "Ay, ay, r, I reckon he's up here. Leastwise, I saw him bearing away in this direc tion. Ay, here he)s, sir!" And the detective strode into the room, followed closely by the man to whom he had made a sign in the office five minutes before. This man was Inspector Care'Y. who had come down with Chief Watts from headquarters. "Is your name Wagner?" demanded the inspector, on entering. Wagner turned quickly, and again began to tremble. "Yes, that's my name, sir he faltered. I am Detective Carey," expfained the latter. "The chief wants you to come up to his office with me for a time, along with this seaman. We want to take your testimony against the man just arrested." Again Wagner's fear was dispelled, anJ again &is expression changed to that of evil satisfaction. That he was wanted for any thing more became again a suppressed misgiving only, which he could not and would not credit. "All right, sir," he said, readily; "I will go with yoo." Keene lingered behind but an instant. He turned to the girl and whispered quickly, with his hand gently patting her arm: "Expect Burton back here in an hour." Miss Cavendish started slightly, then gave him a look he long remembered. 29 CHAPTER X. CRUSHING EVIDENCE. The final scene was in the chief inspector's office at headquarters. The curta_ ins were closely drawn, the doo rs closed, the room brightly lighted. The several men gathered there that evening comprised three inspectors, including Sheridi!n Keene and Chief Inspector Watts, with whom were Frank Burton and Wagner. They were seated in chairs about Chief Watts' desk, and Wagner occupied that di rectly confronting that of the chief. He had looked curiously abput in search of Sheridan Keene, when he first entered, but very naturally he had not succeeded in finding him. Half an hour had already passed, an in terval taken by the chief inspector for hearing Burton's story of the affair, whi c h ha

30 SHIELD WEEKLY. "You have stated that you returne d to your work in the elevator shaft y esterday aft ernoon, immediately after observing the scene between Burton and Cavendish in the store-room. Am I not right?" Yes, sir, you are right . That is precisely what I did." Now, h o w l ong did you s a y you r emained at work there ? " I don' t know that I said, sir, Wagner evasively replied instinctively putting him self on the defensive, now that the inquiry became so personal. "You c e rtainly must have some idea about it,'' cri e d Chief Watts, ste rnl y Yes yes, sir, I have some idea! I might have remained there ten or fifteen minutes." "Then you knew when the dispute be tween the two men ended, did you not?" "Well, I'm not quite sure about that, sir." "Hadn't you ceased to hear the sound of their voices b e fore you quit work in the elevator shaft? dLmanded the chief. "Yon have stated, previously, that you heard Burton go d o wn-stairs about ten minutes be fore y ou did." "Yes, s ir ; I know that. That is all true enoug h ." "Then, accordin g to your own story, you continued at work there for about ten minute s after the dispute ended. What was the nature of the work that you was doing at the tim e?" I was setting some scr e ws in part of the gear at the top of the shaft sir." "Did you have any occasion to use a ham mer?" "No, sir; I did n o t have one with me." "How did it happen, the n, since the dispute had ende d and Burton had gone downstairs that y o u did not hear Cavendish knocking on the wall of the store-room?" Chief Watts n o w demanded, w.ith greater sternness. I have had one of m y officers very carefully test this matter, and he findss it still my man! You've no occasion to rise!" Wagner had started, in fact, like a man about to jump from his chair. "And m y officer finds Mr. Wagner, that su ch blows as Captain Cavendish presuma bly would have made, can very plainly be heard from where you claim to have been at work." "I don't know anything about that, Chief Watts," cried Wagner, who had turned very pale. "I know only that I did not hear them." "As a matter of fact. Mr. Wagner, do you really think that Cavendish dealt any such blows upon the wall as we have been led to suppose ? "How-how can I tell?" gasped Wagner, looking as if he already felt himse1f b eing driven to the wall. "You know as well as I do of what the evidence consists, Chief Watts. I know only what I heard, and what I did not hear." "Very evidentl y !" exclaimed Chief Watts, dryly. "Well, well, we will let that matter drop for a time. Now, Mr. Wagne r, what do you think about the condition in wh ich the body of Captain Cavendish was found? It was very cold in the room, was it not?" "Yes, sir; it was very cold," faltered Wagner, with the hesitation of a -man afraid to speak lest he should say something to his own disadvantage. "Did you noti ce anything ab ou t the clo thing of Captain Cayendish which struck you as being rather remarkable?" demanded Chief Watts,, with his stern gaze never leav ing Wagner's whit e face. "No, sir, I don't think I did," was the tremulous reply. "You did not?" exclaimed the chief. "What do you "'generall y do when you are cold? Do you button your coat about you, or do you wear it open with your neck and throat exposed?" "I-I wear it buttoned, Chief Watts." "How did you happen to fail to notice that the clothing of Captain Cavendish, when found dead in the store-room, indicated that he had not done what all men invariably do when suffering from cold? His coat was en tirely unbuttoned. Even his woolen shirt was open at !he throat. A m a n might very reasonably have inferred that Captain Caven dish had been exceedingly warm jus t before he died almost as if he had be e n stri cken dead in the heat of his altercation with Bur ton. Didn't you notice any of this, John Wagner?" . ..


SHIELD WEEKLY. 31 The face of the man thus sternly and sig nificantly addressed turned to the color of dead ashes, and he was shivering visibly from head to foot; yet he managed to an swer, hoarsely, with his shrinking gaze never leaving the countenanee of his questioner: "No, I-I didn't notice! I-I know noth ing about that." "We have only your word for it Mr. Wagner,'' returned Chief Watts, with augmented severity. "Now I want you to tell me, my man, why you were so anxious to enter that store-room before my officer arrived there yesterday morning?" "I wasn't anxious to do so!" "You wer e !" thundered Chief Watts. "Your own words and actions betrayed you What had you lost, that you feared might be found in the room where Captain Cavendish lay dead?" "I had not lost anything." "Are you sure of that?" "My God, sir! you don't think I had anything to do witn the killing of Captain Cav endish, do you?" Wagner now cried, forcibly, as men will do when driven to desperation. "I asked you what you had lost!" cried Chief Watts, with terrrbl e severity. "Nothing that I knew of at the time!" groaned Wagner, flashing one swift glance of bitter hatred in the direction of Sheridan Keene "Nothing that' I knew of at the time!" "Look in his upper vest pocket, chief, on the left side, and you will find what he lost!" Keene now observed sharply, speaking in his natural voice. "Inspector Carey, search this man!" cried the chief. But the ordeal to which John Wagner was being subjected was rapidly becoming more than he could endure. At the chief's command that he shouid be searched, following so quickly upop his observation of the altered tone and manner, the voice of the wretc;hed man rose shrilly, crying: "No, no, don't search me! There's no need of that! I'll tell you what it was I It was only a bottle-this that's empty! But I had not missed it then-I swear I had not! I must have lost it some days ago! It is medicine I'm taking for--" "Stop right there, John Wagner!" com manded the chief, severely. "Give me the vial!" With a hand .that shook like an aspen leaf, Wagner gave the empty1. bottle to the speaker. "When did you recover this?" demanded Chief Watts. "This afternoon!" cried Wagner, despe1 ately. "That fisherman found it near a bin oLfish in the store-room. I must have lost it last week, or--. "Stop again!" interrupted the chief. "That fisherman is Sheridan Keene, one of my officers, who has been noting your eve:-y movement." "Oh, my (;.od !" "You say he found this near a bin of fish John \Vagner! You are wrong! He found it near the corpse of Captain Peleg Caven dish, on the morning the crime was discov ered!" "Chief Watts! Chief Watts--" "Silence!" thune:l.ered the latter, now risin g to his feet. "You say, John Wagner, that you purcltased this a week ago! You lie! There is on the label a date which has es caped your eye, and which shows that it was purchas e d only yesterday! You dropped i!, in the store-room yourself, subs e quent to the altercation between Burton and Caven dish! Now, sir, you are the man we want for this murder! You are the man guilty of--" "No, no, Chief Watts!" and now John Wagner's shrill voice rose fairly to a shriek of despair and dismay. '.'Cavendish was not mur, dered! Hear me! I beg you to hear me! Cavendish was not murdered! He died in the corridor after Burton left him! I saw him fall dead! On my oath, on my oath, I state it!" "Did you place his body in the store room?" "Yes, yes, I confess to that! I now con fess to that!" "And paved the way to involving Burton in the crime of murder?" "Yes, yes! Oh, my God! I am caught in my own net!" "Sit down in your chair!" Chief \ V atts now commanded sternl y Sit down, I say!


32 SHIELD WEEKLY. Now tell me the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth! We know as well as you that Cavendish was not murdered! The examiner has reported a death from apo plexy." Panting for breath, with his face ghastly, with his lips twitching convulsively, John 'Wagner heard the words that quelled the fear that had made his cowardice abject, and now he cast one horrified glance in the di rection of Frank Burton. "Send him away!" he gasped, faintly, shuddering through and through. "Send him away, and I w ill confess the whole truth!" "You will confess it in that man's pres ence!" repli ed Chief Watts, with unabated severity. "It is fit that you should confess before the man you have aimed to ruin, if not to kill. Speak! Give us the wh ole truth!" CHAPTER XI. CONCLUSION. The evidence in this curious case, with its SBecial significance, has already been so fully presented that a rehearsal of it hardly is required. The confession made that evening b y Johll Wagner not only laid the miscreant liable to a severe punishment, which he duly received but likewise cleared the few points about which there remained any uncertainty in the minds of Chief Watts and Sheridan Keene. Wagner's part in the affair was one quite characteristic of the man. In the physical reqction following his heated controversy wit h Burton, and on emerging from the icy temperature of the store-room, Cavendis h had indeed dropped dead to the corridor floor. This fatality had been observed by Wagner only, who quickly took advantage of the strange circumstances to gratify his bitter antipathy for Burton. The method he hart adopted, and the ove r sights which l ed Keene speedily to suspect somewhere near the ac tual truth, are already obvious. Wagner's confession occupied l ess than a quarter-hour, and immediately ther ea fter he was sent to the Tombs to await arraignment the following morning. As he himself had said, he was indeed caught in his own net, \ and he had now to pay the p e nalty. At nine o'clock that evening, in strict ac cordance with the promise given the girl by Sheridan Keene, Frank Burton was released from custody, and returned at once to Mary Cavendish. So the case its e lf terminated then and there-but by no means the professional labors of the clever 'o fficers through whose efforts and skill the hidden truth had been unveiled. THE END. Next week's SHIELD WEEKLY (No. II) will contain a rattling good detective story entitled, "Under the Knife; or, The Cloak of Guilt." SHIELD WEEKLY. No. !.-Sheridan Keene, Detective; or, The Chief's Bdst Man. No. 2.-Sllhouette or ShadowP or, -A Question of Evidence. No. 3.-lnspector Watts' Oreat Capture; or, The Case ol Alvord, the Embezzler No. 4.-Cornered by Inches; or, A Curious Robbery In fllgh Life. No. 5 -The Man and the flour; or, Sheridan k.eene's C1P.ver Artifice No. 6-Who Was the Mode/P or, Missing: A Beautiful fleiress. No. 1.-Under Seal; or, The fland of the Ouilty. No. 8.-A Lion Among Wolves; or, Sheridan Keene's Identity. No. 9.-A Double Play; or, Two Mysteries Jn One Net. /'tio. 10.-A Frozen Clue; or, The Cold Storage Mytsery. No. 11.-Under the Knife; or, The Cloak of Oullt. Back numbers always on hand. If you cannot get our publications from your newsdealer, five cents a copy will bring them to you, by mail, postpaid. ..


ANOTHER NEW IDEA The Shield Weekly A"''""'' b"t it'' "something different." Street & Smith's long experience in the publishing business has taught I them that the average man and boy like nothing better than good d e tective s tories We have, in the past, publ ished many of the old sty l e, where the detect i ve passes through a series of marvelous and hairbreadt h escapes and finally secures his quarry. THE SHIELD WEEKLY will, however be a .11 absolutely new d epar ture Each and every number of the week l y will contain a history of a comple t e and i ntricate crime, the solution of w h ich is worked out by the skill and abi l i t y of t he detecti v es. THESE ARE TRUE STORIES absolute chapters of experience taken from the note books of the greatest and most noted Ch.iefs of Police in the largest cities of 4C Thei r fund of knowl edge upon this subject has been drawn upon by special arra11ge111ent. W e propose to demonstrate to the reading public of America through the SHIELD WEEKLY that the true histories of real crimes contain as much and more of romance thau do the imaginative tales which have been constructed in the past by th e writers of d e t ective stories. We feel that the time is ripe for the presentation of this absolutely new class of detective tales. The first numbers in this series will consist of manuscripts from reco1ds in the archives of the Boston police, as repre' sented by INSPECTOR WATTS who is well known throughout the New England States, in fact, throughout America as one of the shrewdest and most clever Se cret Service Officials in the world. The great in s pectors of other large cities of the country will figure in due course 41 ,__.CATALOGUE-.--. I-Sheridan Keene, Detective; or, T he Chief I nspector's Best Man 2-Silhouette or Shadow; or, a of Evide n ce 3-In spector Watts' Great Capture; or, T he Case of A l vord, the 9 4-Cornered by I nches; or, A Curious Robbery in H igh Life [Embezz l er 5_:__The Man and the Hour; or, Sheridan Keene s Clever Artifice 6-Who Was the Mode l ? or, Missing, a Beau t iful Heiress 7-Under Seal; or, The Hand of t he Guilty 8-A Lion Among Wol ves; or, Sheridan Keenes Identity 9-A Do u ble Play; or, Two Mysteries in One Net IO-A Frozen Clue; or, The Cold Storage Mystery I I-Under the Knife; or, The Cloak of Guilt or E E Sh K er Lidyn It is issued every week on Wednesday. you It can be found on sale at all Newsdealers. 4t...J PER COPY j w ill like it. + 9 f '


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