" The numbers are the same," he said, and
replaced his wallet.
"Well, Richards, have you anything to say?"
demanded John Hale, and edged nearer him.
" Nothing to you," and John Hale flushed at
his cutting tone.
" Perhaps you'll have something to say to me,
Major," broke in Detective Ferguson. " Will
you tell us how you got those bonds? "
Richards eyed the little group; his gaze rested
The Unseen Ear
longest on Robert Hale, then he turned to Fergu-
son, as the detective repeated his question.
" No," he responded. " I will not tell you."
Mrs. Hale leaned forward and placed a trem-
bling hand on his arm.
"Did Judith give you the bonds?" she asked
" No, Mrs. Hale, she did not," and Richards,
catching her pitying look, felt a sudden tightening
of his heartstrings. It was the first expression
of sympathy vouchsafed him. Where where
Ferguson broke the brief pause.
" Major Richards," he began, and Mrs. Hale
clutched her chair in her excitement. Her head
felt heavy, her breathing stifled Dr. McLane
had warned her about a weak heart. " You have
heard Mr. Latimer, a reputable witness, testify
that you sold bonds belonging to your wife, and
Mr. Hale, your father-in-law, has stated that those
bonds were stolen from his safe on Tuesday night.
You declare that you left the Metropolitan Club
on Tuesday at midnight, and that you lost your
way and spent an hour walking about the streets
before reaching this house at twenty minutes past
one o'clock on Wednesday morning. Can you
substantiate that statement with witnesses ? "
" I cannot." Richards' gaze was unwavering
and his voice firm, but his face was white and
strained. " I met no one while walking home.
That was the chief reason for my delay, because
I had no opportunity to ask the right direction to
take. I have no sense of locality."
" Humph, very pretty ! " commented John Hale,
and Detective Ferguson scowled at him.
" I'm handling this case, Mr. Hale." He spoke
harshly, and John Hale showed instant resent-
ment by returning the scowl as the detective again
addressed Richards. " You left the watch be-
longing to the murdered man, Austin Hale, with
Jennings to repair. That is conclusive evidence
that the watch had been in your possession."
" So you claim " and Richards smiled polite-
ly. " Don't let me interrupt your little romance,
Ferguson. Go on."
Ferguson swallowed his wrath. " I am stating
facts, Major, facts which have been proved.
Once more I'll give you a chance to state your
version of how Austin's watch came into your
possession, and the Valve bonds as well."
" Thanks." Richards' brows were knit in a
deep frown. " Do I understand that I am your
Ferguson drew out a legal document. " I
The Unseen Ear
have this warrant for your arrest," he admitted.
" Then I will reserve what I have to say until I
see a lawyer."
"But, Major "
" No, Ferguson," firmly. " A prisoner's right
to consult a lawyer is a constitutional right."
" Prisoner ! " Mrs. Hale started from her
Robert Hale stepped forward. " Sit down,
Agatha." He pushed her gently back in her
chair before turning to Ferguson. " Who swore
out that warrant ? "
" Your brother, Mr. John Hale."
"So" Hale faced his brother. "Have
you forgotten our conversation early this after-
" I have not." John Hale shouldered Latimer
to one side as he stepped nearer the center of the
room. " You tried to fasten Austin's murder
on an innocent girl to shield your daughter's
" An innocent girl ! " Hale's mocking smile
brought his brother's rage to fever heat. " So
innocent that when she quarreled with her lover at
their midnight meeting she killed him with her
shears shears which I had bought for her the
week before." Swiftly he turned to Ferguson.
" Release Major Richards and arrest the real
criminal, Polly Davis."
An oath broke from John Hale, and in blind
fury he twirled his walking stick. His brother,
by a dexterous twist only, avoided the thrust.
As the steel point of the sword cane came to
rest directly under the powerful light from a
standing reading lamp, a scream escaped Mrs.
" Look, look ! " she cried. " It's covered with
THE UNSEEN EAR
AS if hypnotized, John Hale stared at his
sword cane, raising it slowly, very
slowly, then as slowly dropped the point
and gazed at his brother.
" It is blood," he gasped. " But you are un-
" Yes." Robert Hale's voice was not quite
steady. " You did not reach me."
" Then where did this blood come from? " de-
manded John Hale. " It's it's not fresh/' and
there was a growing horror in the look he cast at
Ferguson, who had followed every act and
word with rapt attention, picked up the bamboo
cane casing which John Hale had tossed to the
floor when he drew the concealed weapon and
lunged at his brother. Stepping up to the dazed
man, the detective took the sword from his un-
resisting hand and examined it with interest.
" Austin Hale was killed by a rapier-like
thrust," he stated slowly. " The autopsy proved
The Unseen Ear
that the wound was greater in depth than in
length. Is this your cane, Mr. Hale?"
John Hale wet his dry lips. " It is," he
muttered, and looked dumbly at his silent, motion-
" You carry it always?" asked Ferguson with
" When I go out, yes."
" Who knows that this ordinary-appearing
bamboo cane conceals a rapier ? "
" My brother." John Hale avoided looking at
them, his eyes were still on the sword cane.
" Any one else? "
"Quite sure?" and Ferguson tried to meet
"No yes." With an effort John Hale re-
covered some semblance of his usual manner. " I
may have spoken of the cane but I don't recall
doing so. I bought it from an antique dealer
and it's been a fad of mine to carry it."
" I see." Ferguson considered him steadily
for a moment. " Where were you on Tuesday
" At the French Embassy reception."
" Mrs. Hale," the detective spoke her name
with such sharpness that she jumped involuntarily
The Unseen Ear
" was your brother-in-law with you at the Em-
bassy between midnight Tuesday and one o'clock
Wednesday morning ? "
Mrs. Hale looked at no one in particular and
wrung her hands.
"Must I answer?" she begged, turning im-
ploringly to her husband and, as she caught his
expression, exclaimed : " No, I refuse to."
" Don't put yourself out for me, Agatha."
There was a sudden utter weariness in John Male's
tone, and Richards started and looked at him in-
tently. What did it portend? "I will answer
your question, Ferguson. I was not at the
French Embassy during that time."
" Where were you? "
There was a tense silence. When John Hale
answered he spoke hardly above a whisper.
" I had returned to this house to meet my step-
Mrs. Hale collapsed. " Oh, dear ! oh, dear,
I've feared it all along," she wailed, and burst
into tears. " Oh, Polly, Polly, you have a lot
to answer for ! "
" Have I ? " asked a strained voice, and Polly
Davis, who had been a stunned witness of the
scene, advanced a few steps further into the room,
Anna, the waitress, peering over her shoulder with
The Unseen Ear
wide, curious eyes. " Well, I am here to face the
John Hale, who had not taken his eyes from
her ghastly face, sprang to her side.
"No!" he exclaimed vehemently. "No.
" Presently," she silenced him with an impera-
tive gesture, before turning to the detective.
" Whom do you accuse of the murder of Austin
Hale ? " she asked.
Ferguson scratched a bewildered head. " I
did believe Major Richards guilty," he admitted
slowly. " But seeing that Mr. Hale states he
came back here to meet his stepson, that Austin
was killed at that time with a rapier thrust, and
that Mr. Hale's sword cane has bloodstains on
it " He paused. " Well, taking all that into
consideration and with the knowledge that he and
Austin were not on good terms I guess it
looks as if Mr. Hale killed him."
Polly drew a long, painful breath. " Wait,"
she cautioned. " I was here on Tuesday night"
" Hush ! " commanded John, a look of agony
on his strong face.
" No, I must speak." Polly partly turned
from him and addressed the others. " I wrote
Austin on Saturday breaking our engagement,
The Unseen Ear
but as Monday was Washington's Birthday he
never received the letter until Tuesday morning.
In answer I had a wire from Austin stating that
he would get here Tuesday about midnight.
I " her voice quivered a bit, then steadied
" it was imperative that I see him without delay,
so I came, admitting myself with Mrs. Hale's
latchkey which I had borrowed one day last week.
I walked into the library " she caught her
"Stop, Polly," pleaded John Hale. "Stop.
You don't know what you are saying." Seeing
that she paid no attention to his words, he ap-
pealed to the detective. " For God's sake tell
her to stop it's not fair it's cruel she shall
not convict herself."
"What are you insinuating?" cried Polly.
" Convict myself ? Are you mad ? Austin was
stabbed before I entered this house."
The five men eyed each other in silence, then
concentrated their attention upon her, forgetful
of Mrs. Hale, of Anna waiting for her to con-
" I saw Austin lying on the floor," she went
on, her voice husky with emotion. ' The shock
made me cry out, then my whole impulse was to
run, to hide. I reached the central hall and paused
The Unseen Ear
to gather strength; a faint noise on the staircase
caused me to look in that direction and I made
out dimly a man peering at me over the bannis-
ters " She paused. " Mr. Robert Hale, why
are you using a dictograph in this house?"
Hale looked at her in dumb surprise twice
he opened his lips to speak and twice closed them
with the words unspoken. Richards, standing
somewhat in the background, bent forward in a
"What's that noise?" he demanded.
Through the silence came a faint drumming, it
grew louder, then died away, to break out again
a little louder, more insistently.
" By heavens, it comes from the alcove ! " ex-
claimed Richards, and racing across the room,
he dashed aside the heavy red satin curtains pulled
across it. A horrified exclamation escaped him,
and he recoiled at sight of Judith, bound and
gagged, lying on the window seat. Her body had
slipped down the piled up sofa cushions and her
right foot just touched the paneled wall and with
it she was beating the devil's tattoo.
" Good God ! " gasped Richards, then recover-
ing himself, tore at her fastenings. Ferguson,
more clear-headed than the other, slashed at the
The Unseen Ear
clothes' line which bound her with John Hale's
sword cane, and aided him in carrying her to a
chair by the table.
" Chafe her arms and ankles so that the blood
will circulate," he advised, while his nimble fingers
untied the cord holding the fan, which had been
thrust into her mouth as a gag.
Judith, who had watched their efforts in silent
agony, raised her cramped arms and massaged the
stiffened muscles of her mouth and jaw; then
she replaced the wires connecting her earphone
and its battery.
" In God's name who has treated you so,
Judith ? " demanded Richards, his eyes were blaz-
ing with rage. " Who has dared to " and he
" Fetch my smelling salts," Judith spoke with
some difficulty and paused eagerly to drink the
water offered her by Frank Latimer. " No, don't
go, Anna," placing her hand on the waitress'
shoulder as she knelt at her side chafing her
ankles. " Ring for Maud."
Her father complied with her request, then
returned to Judith. For the first time he looked
old and haggard.
"What's the meaning of all this?" he de-
manded, with a return of his domineering manner.
The Unseen Ear
Judith looked at her husband for a fleeting
second, then addressed Detective Ferguson whose
attention was focused on her.
" I have a confession to make to you," she
began. " You recall finding the bloodstained
shears near Austin's body?"
" Yes," he said, as she paused.
" I used them."
" Judith ! " Richards sprang forward with an
imploring gesture, but for once his wife ignored
" I used them," she reiterated, " to remove a
locket from Austin's watch chain when I found
him lying dead in this library. That locket,"
she paused to take the smelling salts which Maud
who had hurriedly entered a second before handed
to her, " that locket Polly Davis stole from my
bedroom last night with other jewelry."
No one spoke, and Judith, resting one hand on
Anna's shoulder and the other on Maud's arm,
rose stiffly to her feet.
" Late this afternoon," Judith continued, " I
was examining Father's safe," Hale started
violently " when some one stole behind me,
blindfolded me, disconnected my earphone, and
"Well, well, go on," urged Detective Ferguson,
The Unseen Ear
forgetting, in his interest, his usual respectful
" I was gagged," repeated Judith, " with my
fan. The thief did not know that this fan "
she raised it as she spoke " is an ear trumpet
which when pressed against my teeth enables me
to hear distinctly."
Her right hand moved upward with a sweep-
ing motion, and Maud, the parlor maid, was
shorn of her cap and wig.
Ferguson recovered from his stupefaction in
time to trip and catch the flying figure.
" Jim Turner," he gasped, as the handcuffs
slipped over the wrists of the erstwhile maid.
" I've been looking for you for five years."
" And you have found the murderer of Austin
Hale," ended Judith.
RUN TO COVER
IN stunned silence the little group eyed De-
tective Ferguson and his prisoner. Slowly
the latter rose from his hands and knees, the
handcuffs clinking musically as he knocked against
Ferguson's left wrist to which he was secured.
" Easy," cautioned Ferguson, and the revolver
in his right hand menaced the murderer. " You'll
get no chance to escape now, Jim," with emphasis,
then with reluctant admiration as he scanned
Turner's good-looking effeminate features and
his slight trim figure in its woman's costume.
" Say, but you are a pretty girl. I never once
suspected you, never."
" And I'd have kept you fooled," retorted
Turner, " except for you," addressing Judith.
" You were one too many for me with those cursed
unseen ears," and he cast a look of baffled fury
at her fan. " I thought you were practically dead
to the world when I disconnected that blamed
earphone and blindfolded you."
The Unseen Ear
" You put too much confidence in your own
cleverness," Judith responded. " It would have
been wiser if you and your confederate had ran-
sacked Father's safe in silence, instead of discuss-
ing your desperate need, on account of Austin's
murder, of getting away and thus giving me a
clew to your identity."
" Who is your confederate? " demanded Fergu-
son. A scowl was his only answer. " Oh, well,
you'll talk more later," with significant emphasis,
" in the Death House."
Turner's face was distorted with rage. " To
think I'll have to swing for that hound, Austin
Hale ! " he stormed. " He welshed on every one,
the yellow dog."
" What was your motive for killing him ? "
asked Robert Hale, recovering from his stupefied
surprise at the course of events.
Turner looked at him in silence for a minute,
then at the others in the library. Their concen-
trated regard fanned his inordinate vanity and
in spite of Ferguson's words, the Death House
" Why did I kill Austin Hale ? Because he pen-
etrated my disguise." He paused, then continued
more rapidly. " It must have been shortly before
midnight when I was going to bed every one
Ru n to Cover
else had retired and I could hear Anna and the
cook snoring in their rooms," Anna's face was
a study as she glared at the man she had known
as " Maud " " and I supposed I had locked my
bedroom door. I was shaving had to do it at
dead of night," he interpolated, " when in the
glass I saw the hall door open a little way and
Austin Hale peered into the room. I was too
paralyzed to turn round and he stared at my re-
flection in the glass, then, collecting himself, he
softly closed the door and silently stole away."
No one cared to break the silence as Turner
ceased speaking, a second more and he had re-
sumed his statement.
" I wiped the shaving lather off my face,
straightened my wig and crept down the hall. I
heard Austin moving about in his room and I
went back, but I could not stay there. I don't
know now what brought Austin to my door at
that hour, unless he wanted me to aid him in see-
ing Miss Polly Davis, but he had raised the devil
in me. It wouldn't take him long to establish my
identity and then would follow exposure, and that
meant, with my record, doing fully fifteen years
in the penitentiary."
" Better that than swinging for murder," com-
mented Ferguson dryly.
The Unseen Ear
" Not as I felt then," retorted Turner. " My
brain was on fire as I stole downstairs and trailed
him to the library. On the way I saw Mr. John
Hale's sword cane in the umbrella stand. I'd
seen him open it once or twice to show to Miss
Polly." Ferguson shot a look at Polly and John
Hale. They had drawn close to each other and
stood listening breathlessly to Turner's story.
" So some one beside your brother knew about
your sword cane, Mr. Hale," Ferguson remarked
with a quizzical smile, and John Hale nodded.
" Go ahead, Turner," he said, and the prisoner,
with a resentful glare at Detective Ferguson,
again addressed them, confining his remarks al-
most exclusively to Judith.
" I knew how to work the spring of the sword
cane, for I had played with it several times when
Mr. John left it behind, and so I picked up the
cane on Tuesday night and stole into the dining
room." In spite of himself, Turner's voice was
not quite steady. It quivered and deepened as he
lived over again the events of that fateful night.
" I intended to peek through the portieres into
the library, for not hearing a sound in there
puzzled me. The portieres were parted a wee bit
and I made out Miss Judith sitting at the far
-end before the fireplace with her back partly
Run to Cover
turned toward me. Then " his voice changed,
holding a note of horror " Austin Hale loomed
up before me, right under the sidelight. I could
have touched his shirt-bosom, instead My God!
I lunged and the sword cane struck home."
" I heard Austin fall," Turner resumed after
a tense pause, " and instinctively tiptoed to the
pantry and crouched there in the dark. I heard
you come in, Major, and Miss Judith call to you.
Then after what seemed an interminable time I
crept out into the central hall, found it deserted,
and replaced the cane in the umbrella stand."
" Didn't you go at all into the library ? " de-
manded Robert Hale harshly.
" Yes, after Miss Polly had been there." He
cast a vicious look in the girl's direction. " I
heard some one sobbing in the library as I started
to leave the pantry and peeked in again in time
to see you wringing your hands over Austin's
body you are a weak sister to sob over the man
who threatened you with exposure."
" You - John Hale started forward, but
Major Richards' tall figure blocked him. " Get
out of my way, I'll throttle that fellow."
" Not here, you won't," interposed Ferguson.
" Keep quiet, Mr. Hale, until Turner completes
The Unseen Ear
" Tell him to speak more respectfully of Miss
Davis or not mention her at all," thundered
" What happened next? " demanded his brother.
" Shut up, John," and he waved him back.
" What did Miss Davis do next, Turner? "
" Cleared out," succinctly, " first taking a look
at the sword cane standing so innocently in the
umbrella stand." Turner's chuckle was unpleas-
ant, " That left the coast clear for me and I
slipped into the library. There the open safe at-
tracted me," with a side-long glance at Hale. " I
had picked up my rubber gloves, used in my house
work, when in the pantry and I put 'em on. The
open safe was too good a chance to overlook, but
I only had time to grab a few bonds and a mem-
orandum which Austin had been looking at " a
gasp escaped Mrs. Hale " then I beat it up the
back stairs to my room, for I heard some one
coming down. I guess it was you, Major."
" It was," acknowledged Richards. He cast a
hesitating look at Judith before continuing. " I
did lose my way, as I have already stated, when
walking home, and I entered the front door just
in time to catch Judith as she fainted. I imme-
diately carried her upstairs and laid her on the
couch in our boudoir. I had some cognac there
Run to Cover
and quickly revived her." He paused for a
second. " The reading lamp was burning in the
boudoir and I concluded that Judith had come
downstairs feeling faint and in search of some
medicine which, I recalled, had been left in the
library. When she revived, she said nothing to
me about having gone downstairs, and when I
asked her if she needed her medicine, she replied
that she did."
" Please wait, Joe," Judith interrupted him
quickly. " I was dazed completely unnerved.
In fact I had at the time no recollection of "faint-
ing in the hall. I thought, until you questioned
me the other night, that you had found me uncon-
scious in the boudoir, so I never mentioned that
after Mother and Uncle John left for the French
Embassy I went down into the library to read and
wait for you, Joe."
" Your silence confused me, puzzled me,"
Richards confessed. " In fact well, you will
understand when I tell you that a gold locket fell
out of your belt when I unloosened it. As I
picked up the locket and placed it by your side
on the couch I saw that a gold link fastened to
its ring had been forced apart. A few minutes
later I went into the library and discovered Austin
lying dead on the floor." He turned to Mrs.
The Unseen Ear
Hale. " In stating that I did not know Austin,
I told the truth, but I had seen a photograph of
him that morning on Judith's dressing table and
the photograph bore his autograph. I was horri-
fied at rinding his dead body, and that horror was
intensified when, on bending closer, I discovered
that a link in his watch chain was bent and twisted
and the link attached to the locket tucked in
Judith's belt had come unmistakably from that
" Merciful heavens! " Judith gazed at him in
horror. " Then you thought "
" The obvious," responded Richards. " Your
mother had told me that there had been a boy and
girl affair between you, that they confidently ex-
pected an engagement on your return from
" Mother! " Mrs. Hale quailed under Judith's
" Upon my soul, Judith, you need not take
that tone with me," she objected. " The first
intimation we had of your marriage to Joe was a
cable announcing it. A nice way to treat parents
who had indulged every whim."
" Need we go into that again, Mother? " pro-
" No ; but I was hurt, deeply hurt, and I did
Run to Cover
not take kindly to having a son-in-law thrust on
" And so you took it out on him by repeating
a lot of nonsense," exclaimed her husband indig-
nantly. " Well, Richards, I suppose you con-
cluded that Judith and Austin quarreled and she
had stabbed him, and reached the hall in a faint-
ing condition just as you entered the house?"
" Exactly, sir; Judith's silence about Austin
for that she had seen him either dead or alive was
proved by her possession of the locket, led me to
fear a frightful tragedy," admitted Richards.
" In my agony of mind I did the only thing that
occurred to me, I took the watch and chain out of
Austin's vest pocket before sending for the
coroner, for I knew it was a clew the police would
trace to the bitter end."
" But why did you send the watch to Jen-
nings ? " asked Hale. " It was courting dis-
" As it turned out, yes ; but my idea was that if
the chain was repaired no one would suspect a
locket had been wrenched from it," explained
Richards. " Then it would not have mattered
where the watch w r as found."
Hale shook his head. " You laid yourself open
to grave suspicion," he said. " I now understand
The Unseen Ear
your actions and your constrained manner, but "
He stopped. " I missed a playing card out of my
.'solitaire pack several days ago, a Knave of Hearts.