sister-in-law to the center of the room. His
manner was rough and domineering. " What
the devil are you talking about? "
Without answering, Ferguson wheeled about
and, walking over to the motionless figure on the
floor, signed to Hale to approach.
" Here's the burglar and he's dead," he an-
nounced concisely, then held up the shears, " and
here's the weapon from a workbag," casting
a significant glance at the bag still suspended from
Judith's icy fingers. Richards' furious retort was
checked by a cry of horror from John Hale.
With staring eyes and ghastly face he gazed
down at the dead man.
" A burglar ! " he cried. " Austin my son ! "
and pitched headlong to the floor.
MRS. HALE rattled her coffee cups and
looked over the top of her silver urn
at Joe Richards; he had asked for a
third cup of coffee and he drank it clear. Mrs.
Hale was shocked. But the remonstrance on the
tip of her tongue died unspoken as she studied
his clear-cut profile and observed the dogged set
to his determined jaw. She took silent note of his
unusual pallor, the dark circles under his eyes,
and his continued silence. Mrs. Hale felt re-
sentful ; she was of a talkative disposition and
had welcomed an opportunity to discuss the mys-
tery surrounding Austin Hale's death with her
handsome son-in-law, but instead of following
her lead he had answered in monosyllables. A
kss persistent woman would have given up the
" Did you ask Judith if she saw a light in
Austin's bedroom? " she inquired, for at least the
sixth time. " Your suite of rooms is directly
The Unseen Ear
under his, poor boy," and she sought refuge be-
hind her damp handkerchief. She emerged a mo-
ment later to add, " Austin must have gone to
his room, for his overcoat and suit case were there
when I went upstairs after that distressing scene
in the library dear me, was it only this morn-
" It was." Richards' tone was grim and did
not invite further remarks. For a moment there
" You haven't answered my question, my dear
boy," prompted Mrs. Hale plaintively, " nor have
you touched your breakfast!" in shocked sur-
prise as Anna, the waitress, removed his plate.
"I I cannot eat." With an effort Richards
suppressed a grimace at sight of the untasted
eggs and bacon. " I have no appetite. Dear
Mrs. Hale, do not distress yourself on my ac-
Mrs. Hale regarded him in suspicious silence;
she was not quite certain what prompted his
sudden change of manner. Was he poking fun
at her ? But as she met his unwavering gaze she
dismissed the idea as unworthy, and returned
valiantly to the task of eliciting information.
" What questions did you ask Judith ? " she
" I have not questioned Judith." Richards
drew out his cigarette case. " May I smoke ? "
And hardly waiting for her permission, he added,
" Judith, as you know, does not feel well and is
breakfasting in her boudoir. I do not believe,"
Richards paused and his speech gained added
deliberation " I do not believe Judith can supply
any information as to the events of last night,
nor any clew to the unfortunate murder of her
cousin. Her deafness "
" I know," broke in Mrs. Hale hastily any
allusion to Judith's infirmity cut her mother love.
" I cannot think why, when Austin reached home,
he did not at once tell Judith that he was in the
house he knew she could not hear him enter.
It is most surprising!" and Mrs. Hale shook
a puzzled head.
Richards considered her thoughtfully. " Have
you found out how and when Austin returned
last night?" he asked.
" Of course." Mrs. Hale brightened ; Richards
was at last expanding to the extent of asking
questions what had made him so morose? " I
interviewed the servants immediately after leav-
ing the library." She did not add that she had
scurried upstairs in dire haste so as to be the
first person to go to their rooms and personally
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question each and every one thereby upsetting
Detective Ferguson's well-laid plans, and depriv-
ing the servants of any sleep during the remainder
of the night. " Not one of them," impressively,
" knew of his return."
" Then how did he get in? " persisted Richards.
" With his latchkey, of course," somewhat sur-
prised by Richards' manner. " Oh, I forgot, you
did not know Austin, and perhaps we have not
mentioned that he has always made his home
with us since his adoption."
" His what ? " Richards' voice rose in aston-
ishment; and Mrs. Hale's complacent smile re-
flected her gratification; she had at last aroused
Richards' interest. " Do you mean was he
not John Hale's son ? "
" No, only his stepson," she explained. " John
married a widow, Cora Price, much older than
himself, when he was but twenty-four in fact
just out of college. John is only forty-seven
now, ten years my husband's junior. Dear me,
where was I?" and Mrs. Hale pulled up short,
conscious that she had wandered from the point.
" You were speaking of Austin's adoption,"
Richards reminded her gently.
" Oh, yes. Cora had a boy by her first hus-
band, and when she died within the year of their
marriage, she left him, then about five years of
age, to John to bring up, and he legally adopted
him, giving him our name. John," she added,
" is very kind-hearted, if somewhat hasty in his
Reminded of his cigarette by his burned fin-
gers, Richards dropped the stub in his coffee cup
and started to light another just as Maud, the
parlor maid, appeared in the dining room.
" Detective Ferguson has called to see Mr.
John," she announced, addressing Mrs. Hale.
" Do you know when he will return, ma'am ? "
" I do not," Mrs. Hale pushed back her chair
and rose with alacrity. " Where is the detec-
" In the library, ma'am."
" Show him into the drawing-room," Mrs.
Hale directed, and not giving Richards an oppor-
tunity to pull back the portieres before the entrance
to the large room which adjoined the dining room
on the west, she swept majestically away.
"Maud!" The parlor maid halted as
Richards' low voice reached her. " Did my wife
eat her breakfast ? "
" Yes, sir, a little." Maud's sympathetic
smile blossomed forth as she caught Richards'
pleased expression. She lingered before speed-
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ing on her errand to the waiting detective. " Miss
Judith has brightened considerable since I gave
her Miss Polly's answer."
Richards' strong hand caressed his clean-shaven
chin. "And what was the answer?" he ques-
" Oh, yes, sir ; James brought back word that
Miss Polly would be right over, and so I told
" Thank you, Maud," and the parlor maid felt
rewarded by Richards' charming smile.
Richards had become a favorite with the serv-
ants, who idolized " Miss Judith," as they still
persisted in calling her. They had awaited with
interest the arrival of the bride and groom two
weeks before, an interest intensified by the storm
which had arisen on receipt of Judith's cablegram
to her father telling of her marriage in far-away
Japan to Joseph Richards.
Robert Hale had made no attempt to conceal
or modify his fury while Mrs. Hale, deeply hurt
by what she termed her " unfilial conduct," had
promptly made the best of the situation and en-
deavored to persuade her husband to accept the
inevitable and cable Judith their forgiveness.
Hale, anxious to return to his scientific experi-
ments, finally succumbed to her arguments, backed
up by those of his brother John, and, going a
step further than his wife had expected, added
an invitation to return to the paternal roof.
Richards had borne himself well under the in-
spection of his wife's family, and Hale had grudg-
ingly admitted to his wife that perhaps he wasn't
such a bad lot after all, to which Mrs. Hale,
who had been won by Richards' charm of manner
and handsome presence, had indignantly re-
sponded that Judith had been most fortunate in
her selection of a husband. Hale's only response
had been a sardonic grin.
As the parlor maid hurried down the hall,
Richards paused in thought; Mrs. Hale had not
invited him to go with her to the drawing-room,
but with bent head he meditatively paced up
and down, his steps involuntarily carrying him
nearer and nearer the portieres; as he paused
irresolutely before them, Mrs. Hale's voice came
to him clearly.
" Detective Ferguson, I must insist on an an-
swer to my question."
Richards jerked the portieres aside and without
ceremony entered the drawing-room. Ferguson
turned at sound of his footsteps and bowed to
him before answering Mrs. Hale who was re-
garding him with fixed attention.
The Unseen Ear
" I can't tell you anything, Mrs. Hale," he
protested. " I came here to get information."
"What information?" Mrs. Hale had
frowned at sight of Richards, then, her momen-
tary displeasure gone, addressed herself to the
detective. She enjoyed the role of inquisitor.
" I wanted to talk with Mr. John Hale."
" He is out."
" So your maid said." Ferguson fingered the
table ornaments with restless fingers ; he was get-
ting nowhere and time was slipping away.
"Where's he gone?"
Richards answered the question. " To the
cemetery, I understood him to say." He glanced
at his watch. " Mr. Hale should be back in a
very short time."
" Then I'll wait, Major," and Ferguson, who
had secretly resented Mrs. Hale's discourtesy in
not asking him to be seated, jerked forward a
chair and threw himself into it. " Can I see
your husband, madam ? "
" You cannot." Mrs. Hale rapped out the re-
ply, and Richards shot a quick look of inquiry in
her direction. " My husband is under Dr. Mc-
Lane's care, and until the doctor gives permission
he cannot be interviewed."
" Dr. McLane," repeated Ferguson, and his
face brightened. " The doctor came in just be-
fore I did. Will you please send him word that
I would like to see him before he leaves? "
Mrs. Hale considered for a brief second, then
turned to Richards who was standing near the
mantel. " Please touch the bell for Maud," and
as he did so, she again spoke to Ferguson.
"Why do you desire to see my husband?"
she asked, and her manner had regained its usual
" To question him regarding the occurrences of
last night," answered Ferguson. " Have you al-
ready done so? " and he eyed her keenly.
Mrs. Hale shook her head, but before she
could otherwise reply, Maud came into the room.
" Ask Dr. McLane to come here before he
leaves," she directed. " Tell him that Detective
Ferguson and I both wish to see him," and Maud
vanished. Mrs. Hale settled herself back in her
chair and regarded Ferguson attentively. There
was a bull-dog air about the detective that warned
her he was not to be trifled with. In spite of
her haphazard characteristics and total lack of
tact, she recognized determination in the opposite
sex, though never giving in to her own.
" What did you ask me, Mr. Ferguson? " she
The Unseen Ear
" Have you told your husband of the death of
Austin Hale? " Ferguson put the direct question
with quiet emphasis, and she answered it in kind.
" I have not," adding before he could speak,
" My husband was asleep when I went to our
rooms after my interview with you this morning,
and when he awoke two hours ago he complained
of feeling feverish, so I forbore breaking the
news to him until after Dr. McLane's visit."
Ferguson scrutinized her narrowly ; he was not
prepossessed in her favor and from the little he
had seen of her wondered that she should have
refrained from telling her husband of the tragedy
of the early morning, for he judged her to be
the type of woman who must talk at all costs.
That she had not told her husband implied
The detective's cogitations were interrupted by
the entrance of John Hale and a companion whom
Ferguson instantly recognized from the frequent
publication of his photograph in the local papers.
Francis Latimer, senior member of the firm of
Latimer and House, stockbrokers, was one of
the popular bachelors of Washington. Inclined
to embonpoint, of medium height, a little bald,
and wearing round, horn spectacles, he resembled
in his fastidiousness of dress and deportment a
Pickwick in modern attire. At the moment his
face, generally round and rosy with an ever pres-
ent smile, wore an unusual seriousness of expres-
sion as he greeted Mrs. Hale and Richards. He
glanced inquiringly at Ferguson and returned
that official's bow with a courteous inclination of
" Detective Ferguson has been waiting to see
you, John," explained Mrs. Hale, as the men
stood for a second in silence.
Ferguson stepped forward. " You told me to
call at ten o'clock, Mr. Hale," he reminded him,
and John nodded.
" So I did," he acknowledged. " Sorry to have
kept you waiting, but I had to see the superin-
tendent of the cemetery," he stopped and cleared
his voice. " Latimer and I have just returned
from making arrangements for the funeral serv-
ices. Have you," again a slight huskiness in his
usually clear voice slurred his words, " have you
heard, Ferguson, the result of the autopsy?"
" No, Mr. Hale, but it was held " Fergu-
son looked over his shoulder on hearing footsteps
behind him and saw Leonard McLane walk be-
tween the portieres of the folding doors, held back
by the attentive waitress, Anna.
" Dr. McLane," the detective gave no one an
opportunity to greet the busy surgeon " you
The Unseen Ear
were present with Coroner Penfield at the post-
mortem examination of young Hale, were you
"Yes." McLane took the hand Mrs. Hale
extended to him and gave it a reassuring squeeze ;
he judged from her unaccustomed pallor that she
was much upset. " Yes, well ? " and he looked
inquiringly at the detective.
" Tell us the result, doctor," urged Ferguson,
and added as McLane hesitated, " You will be
betraying no confidences, because the coroner tele-
phoned me to stop and see him about it when I
" Go ahead, McLane," broke in John Hale.
" I am entitled to know what caused Austin's
death don't keep me in suspense any longer,"
and McLane, looking at him closely, saw that tiny
beads of sweat had gathered on Hale's fore-
John Hale, who measured six feet two in his
stocking feet, presented a striking contrast to
Frank Latimer as they stood side by side, a con-
trast Washington society had laughed at and
grown accustomed to. Their Damon and Pythias
friendship had commenced when they were stu-
dents at Harvard University and, continued
through the years of their separation when John
Hale was in Mexico, was cemented again upon the
latter's return to make his home permanently in
the National Capital. Hale was the elder by two
years. His healthy out-of-door life showed in
the breadth of his shoulders and deep chest, and he
was seldom credited with being forty-seven years
of age. For the first time McLane became aware
of the crow's-feet discernible under his eyes as
John Hale moved nearer him.
" Coroner Penfield's examination," McLane
stated, " proved that Austin died as the result of
a wound in the chest. The weapon penetrated
the right ventricle of the heart, and death was
due to internal hemorrhage."
A heavy sob broke from Mrs. Hale. " Oh,
poor Austin ! " she lamented. " Oh, why did he
do so mad an act ? "
" Explain your meaning, madam," insisted
Ferguson quickly, and held up a cautioning hand
as John Hale was about to interrupt her.
"Why, kill himself," asserted Mrs. Hale.
" To commit suicide is a mad act," she added a
trifle defiantly and gazed at her silent companions.
" Was the wound self-inflicted, doctor? " ques-
tioned Ferguson, and Mrs. Hale grew conscious
of the strained attention of her companions as
they waited in silence for McLane's answer.
The Unseen Ear
The surgeon answered with a question.
" Was any weapon found by the body ? "
Ferguson took from his pocket a package
wrapped in oilskin. Removing the wrapping, he
exhibited a pair of long slender shears. One
blade was covered with bloodstains.
" These shears were lying near the body," he
" And under a rug," Richards broke his long
silence. " I distinctly recall seeing you pick them
up, Ferguson, and remember the position they
were in when you found them."
'* They were not under a rug," retorted Fergu-
son. " The edge of the rug was turned back and
covered them. Don't touch the steel, sir," as
Richards stepped to his side and studied the
shears " I've had impressions made for possible
finger marks. You haven't answered my ques-
tion, doctor ; was it suicide ? "
" But not probably ? " quickly.
" Have a care, Ferguson." Richards spoke
with sternness. " Don't impute a meaning to
Dr. McLane's words; let him put his own con-
struction on them." Abruptly he turned to the
surgeon. " Could the wound have been acci-
dentally inflicted ? "
McLane stared at him. " I don't quite catch
your meaning? "
" Could Austin have tripped or stumbled and
fallen on the shears? "
" He could have tripped or stumbled, certainly ;
but if he had fallen on the shears both blades
would have penetrated his chest " McLane
pointed to them. " Only one blade is blood-
" Quite sure they are bloodstains and not
rust?" As he put the question, Richards again
scrutinized the shears.
Ferguson smiled skeptically. " The stains have
already been subjected to chemical tests," he said.
" It is human blood. Another thing, Major, if
Austin Hale fell on these shears and, improbable
as it may seem, was stabbed by only one blade,
that blade would have remained in the wound,
would it not, doctor?"
" Then we can dismiss the theory of accidental
death," argued Ferguson, " and there remain
homicide or suicide. Come, doctor, could Austin
have pulled out the shears' blade after stabbing
McLane shook his head dubiously. " Death
resulted almost instantaneously," he answered.
The Unseen Ear
Richards, who had thrust his hands into his
trousers' pockets, clenched them until the nails
dug into the flesh, while Detective Ferguson, with
a covert smile, rolled up the shears once again in
the piece of oilskin and replaced them in his
" Suicide is then out of the question," he com-
mented gravely. " It leaves us face to face with
homicide. What motive inspired Austin Hale's
murder, gentlemen ? "
A low moan escaped Mrs. Hale. " There
could be no motive," she stammered. " Austin
had no enemies, and this was his home; he was
surrounded only with relatives "
" And he was murdered," Ferguson's lips parted
in a dangerous smile, as he swung on John Hale.
" Come, sir, have you no facts to disclose, no
aid to offer in tracking down your son's mur-
John Hale regarded him for a moment in grim
" I give you a free hand to follow every clew,"
he affirmed, " and offer a reward of five thousand
dollars for the apprehension and conviction of
Detective Ferguson buttoned his coat and
picked up his hat which he had brought with
him into the drawing-room; then he turned to
" Can I see your patient, Mr. Robert Hale?"
" Not now." McLane addressed Mrs. Hale.
" I have given your husband a sedative," he said.
" Keep all excitement from him when he awakens ;
I will call later."
" But see here, doctor," objected Ferguson, " I
must -interview Mr. Hale," and in his earnestness
he laid a persuasive hand on the surgeon's coat
" So you can, shortly," answered McLane.
" Come with me, Ferguson, I'll take you to the
coroner's," and there was that about McLane
which deterred the detective from pressing the
point. With a bow to the others McLane hurried
away, Ferguson in his wake. Mrs. Hale gazed
in dead silence at her three companions, then
found relief in tears.
" Hush, Agatha," exclaimed her brother-in-
law, as her sobs grew in volume, " Calm your-
John Hale's strong voice carried some comfort,
and she looked up a few minutes later as the gong
over the front door rang loudly. Through her
tear-dimmed eyes she had a fleeting glimpse of a
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familiar, slender figure hurrying past the portieres
aftid through the central hall to the circular stair-
case. Mrs. Male's tears burst out afresh.
"Oh!" she gasped. "I just can't break the
news of Austin's death to Polly Davis they
were engaged "
" You don't know what you are talkiifg
about ! " John Hale spoke with rough vehe-
mence. " Polly and Austin were not engaged,"
and turning on his heel he stamped his way out
of the drawing-room.
Mrs. Hale gazed in bewilderment at Richards
and Latimer; the former answered her unspoken
"Weren't you aware of the situation?" he
asked, and there was mockery in his tone. " John
Hale and Austin, his stepson, were both madly in
love with Polly your husband's secretary."
LOST: A MEMORANDUM
ANNA, the waitress, took one more com-
prehensive look around the prettily
furnished boudoir to make sure that she
had not overlooked the sugar bowl; it was cer-
tainly nowhere in sight. Anna paused on her
way to the door leading to Judith's bedroom,
turned back and, picking up the breakfast tray,
departed to her domain below stairs.
Judith, totally unaware that she had disturbed
her mother's excellent waitress by walking off
in a moment of absent-mindedness with the sugar
bowl, saw reflected in her long cheval glass the
closing of the boudoir door, and crossing her bed-
room, made certain, by a peep inside, that Anna
had gone. With a quick turn of her wrist she
shut the door and locked it The suite which she
and her husband occupied consisted of three
rooms, the boudoir, their bedroom, and beyond
that a large dressing room and bath. There was
but one entrance to the suite by way of the
The Unseen Ear
boudoir, which rendered their quarters absolutely
Judith perched herself on one of the twin beds,
and, feeling underneath her pillow, pulled out a
gold locket from which dangled the broken link
of a gold chain. There was nothing extraordi-
nary in the appearance of the locket, nothing to
distinguish it from many other such ornaments,
yet it held Judith's gaze with the power of a
snake-charmer. Twice she looked away from it,
twice dropped it under the folds of the tossed
back bedclothes, only to pick it up each time and
tip it this way and that in the pink palm of her
hand. Three times she crooked her fingers over
the spring, but the pressure needed to open the
locket was not forthcoming.
Suddenly Judith raised her eyes and scanned
the bedroom the glass-topped dressing table
with its tortoise-shell, gold-initialed toilet set ; the
tall chiffonnier on which lay her husband's mili-
tary hair brushes and a framed photograph of
Judith; the chaise longue with its numerous soft
pillows, the comfortable chairs Judith passed
them over with scant attention, and gazed at the
pictures on the walls, the draperies over the bow
window and its broad seat, which added much to
the attractiveness of her room, and lastly at a
Lost: A Memorandum
small leather box resembling a Kodak. The box
was perched precariously near the edge of the
mantel shelf. Judith walked over to it, jerked up
the clasps and lifted the lid. She pushed aside
the contents of the box and placed the locket un-
derneath several coils of wire, then closing the
box, set it behind the mantel clock. An inspec-
tion of the dial showed her that the hour hand was
about to register ten o'clock.
The next moment Judith was seated before her
dressing table and unbraiding her hair. It
fell in a shower about her shoulders, the winter
sunshine picking out the hidden strains of gold
in its rich chestnut. A deep, deep sigh escaped
Judith as she stared at her reflection in the mir-
ror. It was a very lovely face that confronted
her, not one to call forth a sigh from the ob-
server. The delicately arched eyebrows, the ten-
der, sensitive mouth, the brilliancy of the deep
blue eyes but enhanced by the shadows under-
neath them, the long lashes, and the small
shapely head all combined to win for Judith the
title of " belle " when introduced three years be-
fore to Washington society.
Judith's popularity had been a matter of un-
bounded gratification to her mother, whose ambi-
tion for a titled son-in-law was thereby encour-
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aged and dinned into her husband's ears, to his