intense disgust, but in spite of his gruff reception
of her suggestions, Robert Hale had seen to it
that only the most eligible bachelors were invited
to their home. Judith had signally failed to en-
courage any one of her many attentive cavaliers,
and when taken to task by her mother, had re-
sponded that no man should be handicapped by a
deaf wife and that she did not intend to marry; a
statement which, in its quiet determination, had
staggered her mother.
Judith had thrown herself heart and soul into
war work, and though not accepted for service
overseas on account of her deafness, she had won,
through her efficiency and knowledge of lan-
guages, a position in the Department of State
carrying great responsibilities, and she had retired
from it, after the Armistice, with the commenda-
tion of the Department's highest officials.
The hard work, the long hours, and the close
confinement indoors to one accustomed, as Judith
had been, to a life in the open, had resulted in a
nervous collapse, and Doctor McLane, their fam-
ily physician, had advised a complete change of
environment. The medical dictum had come on
the heels of a letter from the United States
Consul at Tokio and his wife, asking Judith to
Lost: A Memorandum
make them a long promised visit, and within
forty-eight hours all details of her trip across the
continent with friends returning to their home in
San Francisco after two years' war work in
Washington, had been arranged, and a cable was
sent to Mr. and Mrs. Noyes in Tokio, notifying
them to expect Judith on the next steamer.
And in Tokio, two weeks after her arrival,
Judith had met Joseph Richards, major of the
th Regiment, invalided home from arduous
service in Siberia with the A. E. F., and bearing
on his broad breast ribbons denoting Russian,
Japanese, and British decorations awarded for
Richards had received a warm welcome in the
Noyes' home, and his hostess, a born matchmaker,
was quick to observe his infatuation for Judith,
and did everything within her power to aid his
Judith strove to steel her heart to his ardent
pleading, but all to no purpose youth called to
youth in a language familiar to every age, and in
the romantic background of the Land of the
Chrysanthemum they pledged their troth. A
week later they were married in the American
Consulate by a United States Navy chaplain, and
Mr. and Mrs. Noyes, looking backward over their
The Unseen Ear
own well-ordered wedded life, wished them God-
speed on their road to happiness.
Happy days had followed, happier than any
Judith had known, for in spite of her brave at-
tempt to ignore her deafness and to show only a
contented front to the world, that very deafness
had built a barrier of reserve which even Judith's
parents had never penetrated. But Richards,
whose deep love was a guide to a sympathetic
understanding of her shy and sensitive nature,
gained a devotion almost akin to worship as the
days sped on, and then came the summons home.
With a faint shiver Judith straightened herself
in her chair, put down her hair brush and took up
the slender wire (in shape like those worn by
telephone operators, but much lighter and nar-
rower) attached to the earpiece of the " globia-
phone," and slipped it over her head. It took
but a second to adjust the earpiece, and with deft
fingers she dressed her hair low on her neck and
covering her ears. The style was not only ex-
tremely becoming, but completely hid the little
instrument held so snugly against her ear. It
took but a moment to complete her dressing, and
slipping the small battery of the " globia-phone "
inside her belt, she adjusted the lace jabot so that
its soft folds concealed but did not obscure the
Lost: A Memorandum
sound-gathering part of the earphone, and with
one final look in the glass to make sure that her
becoming costume fitted perfectly, she turned
away just as a loud knock sounded on the boudoir
door. Judith laid her hand involuntarily on the
back of her chair, then, squaring her shoulders,
she walked across the room and unlocked the door
and faced her father's secretary.
"Polly!" The ejaculation was low-spoken
and Judith cast one searching look about the bou-
doir before pulling the girl inside her bedroom
and closing the door. " Have you just come ? "
" Yes, I came right up here." Polly Davis,
conscious that her knees were treacherously weak,
sank into the nearest chair, and Judith, in the un-
compromising glare of the morning sunlight, saw
in the girl's upturned face the haggard lines which
care had brought overnight. Judith dropped on
her knees beside Polly and threw her arm pro-
tectingly about her. They had been classmates
at a fashionable private school until the death of
Polly's father had brought retrenchment and,
later, painful economies in its wake, so that she
was obliged to forsake her lessons for a clerk-
The change from affluence to poverty had pro-
duced no alteration in the affection the two girls
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bore each other, an affection on Judith's part tem-
pered with responsibility, as Polly, her junior by
a few months, came frequently to her for advice
which she seldom if ever followed. Polly's
contact with the world had borne fruit in an em-
bittered outlook on life which in some degree
alienated her from her former friends, and she
had turned to Judith with the heart-hunger of a
nature thrown upon itself for woman's compan-
ionship. Polly's dainty blond beauty and bright
vivacity had gained her lasting popularity with
men, but with her own sex she was generally
classed as " catty."
' Judith was the first to speak. " Polly what
can I say?" she stammered. "How comfort
For answer the yellow head was dropped on
Judith's shoulder and dry, tearless sobs racked
her slender body.
"Hush! Hush!" exclaimed Judith, alarmed
by her agony. " Polly, Polly, remember "
"Remember!" Polly sat up as if stabbed.
" Oh, if I could only forget! " A violent shud-
der shook her. Regaining her composure by de-
grees, she finally straightened up. " There, the
storm is over," and she dashed her hand across
her eyes. " Never allude to this again prom-
Lost: A Memorandum
ise me." She spoke with vehemence, and Judith
laid a quieting hand on hers.
" I give you my word never to speak of the
subject," she pledged.
" Not even to your husband ? "
" No, not even to Joe." Her answer, although
prompt, held a note of reluctance.
Polly's smile was twisted. Opening her vanity
box, she inspected her face in its tiny mirror. A
faint shriek escaped her.
"I'm a fright!" she ejaculated, and rising,
went over to Judith's dressing table and proceeded
to powder her nose. Drawing out a box of
rouge, Polly applied some of it to her cheeks.
" There, that's better." She turned briskly and
looked at Judith. " Do you think your father
will discover it is not natural bloom ? " she asked
Judith's answer was a stare; Polly's transition
from grief to pert nonchalance was startling.
" Father is not very well," she replied slowly.
" Joe went to inquire for him just before break-
fast was announced, and Mother said he was
asleep and could not be disturbed."
Polly contemplated herself in the mirror. " I
am sorry," she remarked, but her tone was per-
functory and a brief silence followed. " Gra-
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cious, it is nearly eleven o'clock. Judith, I must
fly; for your father left a pile of correspondence
in the den "
" Wait, Polly." Judith, who had followed her
across the bedroom, laid her hand against the
door. " There is a question you must answer.
Were you did you," she stumbled in her
speech, " did you know that Austin was to return
here last night? "
The rouge on Polly's cheeks showed up plainly
against the dead whiteness of her skin.
" I fail to see what business it is of yours
if I knew or did not know of Austin's contem-
plated return," she replied, and before Judith
guessed her intention she had slipped under her
arm and bolted through the boudoir into the hall,
leaving Judith staring after her.
The thick carpet deadened Polly's flying foot-
steps as she hurried to the den, a room set aside
for Robert Hale's exclusive use. It adjoined his
bedroom, and there the scientist spent many hours
going carefully over his manuscripts and statisti-
cal research work. It was in one sense a labor
of love for, thanks to the timely death of a rela-
tive, he had inherited a large estate which brought
in its train a handsome income; he was, therefore,
not dependent upon a salaried position and could
Lost: A Memorandum
indulge his whims and vagaries. And these same
whims and vagaries had, mingled with an un-
bridled temper, made the post of secretary to the
eminent scientist no sinecure. Polly Davis had
secured the position through Judith's influence,
and she had remained longer than the majority
of her predecessors, a fact which had won sar-
castic comments from Robert Hale and noth-
Polly paused on reaching the middle of the den
and stared at the man seated with his back to
her, bending over Robert Hale's flat-topped desk.
With infinite care he went over paper after paper,
and as he lifted his hands Polly saw that he was
wearing rubber gloves. With the instinct which
seems to warn of another's presence, he partly
turned in his chair and gazed at the motionless
figure behind him. A constrained silence fol-
lowed, which John Hale was the first to break.
" Why did you not go to Baltimore ? " he
Her reply was slow in coming.
" I have altered my plans," she stated, and,
crossing to her own desk, she dropped into the
revolving chair standing before it.
John Hale watched her for an instant, and not
a detail of her appearance escaped him. There
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was an ominous tightening of his lips, and he
lowered his gaze that she might not read its tell-
tale message. Without further comment he re-
moved his gloves, rolled them into a ball and
stuffed them in his pocket. In the lengthening
silence Polly's eyes strayed to a pile of papers and
she swung the typewriter on its iron supporting-
frame, which was attached to her desk, toward
" Pardon me if I go on with my work." Her
voice was cold and formal. Slowly John Hale
rose to his feet, and the bigness of the man filled
the small room. Polly looked only at her type-
" I am sorry I detained you." His voice
matched hers in tone and quality.
Polly raised her eyes and contemplated him.
" Did you find what you were looking for in
your brother's desk, Mr. Hale? " she inquired.
Hale's answer was indirect. " Mr. Hale," he
repeated. " Why not John ? "
The finality of the monosyllable brought an
angry flush to John Hale's bronzed cheeks, and
without another word he swung on his heel, only
to pause at the door and again address her.
" Austin's funeral will take place to-morrow,"
Lost: A Memorandum
he announced, and the next second he was gone.
Many minutes passed before Polly moved, then
rising, she walked over to Robert Male's desk and
went feverishly through his drawers, one question
uppermost in her mind what had John Hale
been looking for? She had about completed her
self-imposed task when a voice over her shoulder
caused her to catch her breath.
" Why are you searching among my husband's
papers ? " asked Mrs. Hale.
Polly swung around in Robert Hale's comfort-
" How you startled me! " she confessed, with
a faint tinkling laugh, a laugh which had irritated
Mrs. Hale in the past. " Dear Mrs. Hale, how
noiselessly you move."
"Do I?" tartly.
" I never heard you enter the room." Polly
moved back to her own desk. " Your husband
must find you a perfect treasure when you are at-
tending him during his illness."
Mrs. Hale flushed and promptly forgot to utter
the sympathetic platitudes she had prepared when
on her way to find Polly. Austin Hale ever en-
gaged to such a chit of a girl? The idea was
unbelievable. And John, her staid, solemn
brother-in-law, in love with her! Mrs. Hale
The Unseen Etir
snorted. Joe Richards should be given a piece
of her mind for putting such ideas in her head;
she would even speak to Judith about it.
" Why were you going through my husband's
papers ? " she asked, and her manner in putting
the question was anything but agreeable. " I in-
sist upon an answer."
Polly's eyes opened innocently. " Surely, Mrs.
Hale, the matter is not secret. I was looking for
a memorandum which your husband left for me.
It was about so square," demonstrating with
her fingers, " on yellowish paper."
Polly, when moving her hands, dislodged a
package of papers and they fell to the floor. In
stooping to pick them up, she missed seeing Mrs.
Hale's quick start and sudden change of color.
When she raised her head, she found Mrs. Hale's
cold blue eyes were regarding her with disconcert-
" Was John in here a moment ago ? " she asked,
and Polly was conscious of flushing hotly; the
question was unexpected.
"Didn't you see him leave, Mrs. Hale?" she
asked sweetly, and this time it was Mrs. Hale who
flushed. There were occasions when she actively
disliked her husband's accomplished secretary.
" I met him in the hall," she explained coldly.
Lost: A Memorandum
" But I was not sure whether he had just left
here or my husband's bedroom. Please remem-
ber, Polly, that Mr. Hale is ill and that the sound
of your typewriter carries into the next room."
" In that case " Polly drew her chair closer
to her desk with a businesslike air and picked up
her pen " I will write answers in long hand to
these business communications, unless you wish
something further " and she waited in polite
" I want nothing " Mrs. Hale drew herself
up. " Kindly make as little noise as possible,
Polly. Above all, don't let that telephone ring,"
pointing to the instrument which stood almost at
the girl's elbow.
" I shall be as quiet as possible," Polly prom-
ised, and Mrs. Hale, satisfied that she had made
Polly understand that she was capable of issuing
orders in her husband's absence, walked toward
the hall door. Polly's voice halted her as she
was on the point of leaving the room.
" Is Mr. Hale very ill ? " she asked.
" No, oh, no," Mrs. Hale spoke with positive-
ness. " But Dr. McLane said that he was under
the effects of a sedative. I was in our bedroom
a moment ago and Robert was sound asleep.
Polly," she hesitated and fingered her hand bag
The Unseen Ear
" if you come across a memorandum bearing
my name, be sure to let me see it," and with a
whisk of her skirts she hastened away.
Polly stared at the highly glazed surface of
Robert Male's expensive stationery and then at
her penholder. Suddenly she pitched the latter
from her and, rising, methodically searched the
entire room, taking care that her movements made
In his comfortable four-post bed in the dark-
ened room adjoining his den, Robert Hale smiled
to himself as he dragged the eider-down quilt up
about his ears and lay still. His daughter Judith
had not inherited his acute hearing.
RAIN and snow followed by sleet had
reduced the traffic in the streets of the
Capital City to venturesome taxicabs
and occasional delivery cars. Few Washington-
ians, not required by necessity to venture out of
doors, were so unwise as to risk a fall on the
slippery pavements, and the generally gay thor-
oughfares of the fashionable Northwest were de-
serted. Weather-forecasters had announced in
the morning press that a decade had passed since
such a combination of ice and sleet had visited
the city so late in the winter.
The small procession of automobiles returning
from Oak Hill Cemetery coasted its way with
care down the steep hills of Georgetown and along
the ice-covered asphalt. John Hale, the occupant
of the foremost car, pulled out his handkerchief
and mopped his face, which, in spite of the biting-
north wind and the zero weather, was damp with
The Unseen Ear
" Thank God ! " he muttered rather than spoke.
" That is over." He turned and scowled at his
companion. " Well, Frank, haven't you any-
thing to say? "
Frank Latimer, who had been studying his
friend in silence, roused himself.
It was a trying ordeal," he remarked gravely,
" and like you, I am relieved that the funeral is
over. Poor Austin ! "
John Hale winced. " Don't ! " he exclaimed.
" Suppose we leave the the laments to my sis-
Latimer nodded sympathetically. " She made
an exhibition of herself in the chapel," he ac-
knowledged. " I had no idea that she was so
attached to Austin. In fact," Latimer lowered
his voice to confidential tones " I've always un-
derstood that she opposed a marriage between
Judith and Austin."
" And quite rightly," Hale's voice rang out
sharply. " Judith is a splendid type of young
womanhood, while " He checked his impet-
uous speech. " I opposed the match, also."
" So I recall." Latimer offered his cigarette
case to his friend. His chubby face wore a
troubled expression. " Agatha Hale is a bit of a
trial, old man; let's forget her."
" I wish I could," with gloomy fervor. " Why
Robert ever picked out such a piece of contrari-
ness I never could understand ; one moment your
friend, the next against you and emotional ! "
His tone spoke volumes. " While Robert "
He smiled wryly and Latimer finished the sen-
" Is the most unemotional of men," he agreed.
" Judith is more like you, John, than like either
of her parents."
Hale moved uneasily and changed the conver-
sation with some abruptness as the car drove up
to the curb and stopped before his brother's resi-
" I'm much obliged to you, Frank, for bringing
me home," he said, preparing to spring out as
the chauffeur opened the door. " I don't think I
could have stood driving back in the same car with
Agatha and Judith. Won't you come in with
" I can't, thanks ; I have an appointment," Lati-
mer responded. " I'll see you later perhaps at
the club. Eh, what the "
The ejaculation was wrung from him by John
Hale's sudden clutch on his arm and before he
quite realized what was happening he found him-
self propelled out of the car. Once on the side-
The Unseen Ear
walk the little stockbroker turned to his big com-
panion in wrathful bewilderment. The explana-
tion John Hale offered for his precipitous action
was given under his breath, and Jackson, the
chauffeur, failed to hear it as he climbed back in
his seat and, obedient to a signal from his em-
ployer, shut off his engine.
" That damn bounder from Police Headquar-
ters is waiting for an interview, Frank." John
Hale indicated one of the library windows over-
looking the street where Latimer saw a man peer-
ing out from behind the curtains. " I had en-
tirely forgotten that Detective Ferguson tele-
phoned and asked me to see him this afternoon.
I want you to be present."
The urgency of his tone silenced Latimer's
objections, and without a word he accompanied
him into the house, Anna, the waitress, holding
the front door hospitably open for them. Al-
most tossing his fur-lined overcoat and hat into
the servant's arms, John Hale strode at once into
the library, and Latimer, pausing only long
enough to put down his hat and cane on the hall
table, followed him, forgetting in his interest that
lie had not removed his overcoat.
At the sound of their footsteps Detective
Ferguson stepped away from the window-alcove
where he had been a witness of their arrival.
John Male's curt greeting and Latimer's short
nod caused him to redden ; he was not accustomed
to such outward display of contempt, for so he
interpreted their manner.
"What can I do for you, Ferguson?" asked
John Hale, signing to the detective to draw up
a chair as he threw himself down on a lounge.
" Sit down, Frank," and he turned again to the
detective, as the latter remained silent, with an
" You can answer a few questions, sir," replied
John Hale lifted his broad shoulders in a con-
" I have already shown great patience in that
line," he remarked dryly.
" Pardon me ; you have answered a few ques-
tions most impatiently," retorted Ferguson. His-
temper was rising and rapidly overcoming dis-
cretion. Instead of an angry rejoinder, John
Hale gave a short laugh.
" Well, go on, what are your questions ? " he
asked. " Remember that we have just come from
my stepson's funeral, and," he cleared his
throat before continuing " I have been under
a severe strain."
The Unseen Ear
" True, sir; I promise not to be long." Fergu-
son hitched his chair nearer the two men. " It is
in regard to the funeral that I desire to speak.
I was told by Coroner Penfield that you had re-
quested that Austin Hale's body be cremated."
"Well?" questioned John Hale as Ferguson
" Why did you make that request, Mr. Hale? "
" Because I believe in cremation," promptly.
" Were you not aware that Austin's body could
not be cremated until after the mystery of his
murder had been solved?"
" No, I am not a lawyer."
" One does not have to be a lawyer to know
that such a request would be refused," replied
Again John Hale shrugged his shoulders.
" The request was perfectly reasonable," he de-
" Under normal conditions, yes," dryly.
" Why did you make it ? "
John Hale's raised eyebrows indicated annoy-
ance at the detective's persistence. " I have al-
ready told you," he stated. " It is hardly neces-
sary to repeat that I believe in cremation."
" And the absolute destruction of the body, so
that no further medical examination could be
made if the need arose? " Ferguson smiled skep-
tically. " Now, honestly, did you really think
such a request would get by? "
John Hale controlled his temper with an effort.
" An autopsy had already been held and the cause
of Austin's death determined," he pointed out,
and then, addressing his silent companion,
" What was McLane's exact definition, Frank ? "
Latimer took out his notebook and turned its
pages until he came to an entry.
" Dr. McLane stated that Austin died as the
result of a chest wound, and that death was in-
stantaneous, as the weapon penetrated to the
heart, or words to that effect," he added and re-
placed the notebook in his pocket, as John Hale
again addressed the detective.
" You see, Ferguson, the autopsy told the cause
of death; therefore my request was not only
natural, believing, as I do, in cremation, but
reasonable." He leaned back and regarded the
detective with candid eyes. " That it was not
granted was the unreasonable feature of the
Ferguson was slow in replying. " That you
were advised to have the body placed in the re-
ceiving vault at the cemetery shows how your re-
quest was regarded by the authorities, Mr. Hale,"
The Unseen Ear
he Remarked, and Latimer broke into the dis^
" Come, come," he remonstrated. " You go
too far in your zeal, Ferguson. The ground is
hard frozen and no graves can be dug; therefore
all bodies are being placed in the receiving vaults
until the weather moderates."
" Maybe so," Ferguson's smile was non-
committal. " But your request came very pat,
Mr. Hale, and it didn't make a hit with Head-
John Hale straightened his powerful figure.
'" I don't care a damn how it hit Headquarters ! "
he declared, and his voice rose in angry accents.
'" If this is all you wish with me, we may as well
cut short our interview; my time is valuable."
" And so is mine, sir," retorted Ferguson with
equal heat. " How much longer am I going to
be prevented from seeing your brother, Mr. Rob-
"Depends on how long it takes you to turn
your head," remarked a voice back of the three
men, and with one accord they spun around.
Robert Hale was occupying his favorite chair and
he met their stares with one of mild surprise.
" How long have you been in the room ? " de-
jnanded John Hale.
His brother looked at the clock on the mantel.
" A bare thirty seconds," he answered. " You
were so absorbed in conversation that I hesitated
to interrupt you. When this gentleman " with
a motion of his hand toward Ferguson " asked
in such impassioned tones for a sight of me, I
could not refrain from announcing my presence."
" But " John Hale bent forward and stared