any one do such a thing? I have no near rela-
tives, no one under obligation to me, and so I told
the bank treasurer, but he refused to disclose the
donor's name or by whose authority the bank had
acted. He did assure me that it was perfectly
proper for me to use the money, stating that it
was a gift without a string tied to it and that the
money is legally mine."
" But that is splendid ! " exclaimed Judith.
" Are you not elated ? "
" No, only puzzled," Richards admitted slowly.
" I have racked my brain, Judith, to find out
where that money could have come from, and "
he held her close to him, his eyes scanning her
face. " Did you give it to me? "
Slowly her eyes fell before his ardent look
and a telltale blush mantled her cheeks.
" Yes," she murmured, and for a second clung
to him, then pushed him gently from her.
Suddenly he raised her hands and kissed them
" Judith," he steadied his voice before con-
tinuing " I can never thank you, never. There-
fore it is all the harder to tell you that I cannot
take your money."
" But you must ! " she exclaimed in alarm.
" Dear, I am wealthy in my own right and this
money is some I had lying idle in a savings bank.
It is no sacrifice for me to give it to you."
" I would like to think that it is," he murmured
wistfully. " Tell me, dearest, what put it into
your head to make me so generous a present?"
"I eh " Judith's native honesty would
not permit an evasion. " I heard that you had
met with reverses in business, Joe."
Richards looked at her long and intently.
" You heard ? " he repeated. " Where ? "
Judith raised a protesting finger. " ' Ask me
no questions ' " she quoted, " you know the old
saw, Joe " ; and before he had time to frame an-
other question, she asked reproachfully. " Why
did you not come to me at once, Joe? I would
gladly have helped."
A dull red flush mounted almost to Richards'
The Unseen Ear
forehead and he averted his eyes from her steady
" I can't borrow from a woman, Judith even
the very best and dearest woman in the world,"
he confessed. " Keep your money, sweetheart.
My financial embarrassment was only temporary,
but " his voice deepened with emotion " I
prize your loyalty above all earthly things.
Judith, I shall strive to be worthy of you," and
dropping on one knee he kissed her hand with
Judith saw his shapely head and fine features
through a mist of tears. Her faith in him should
stand all tests. In spite of what she had learned
of the stolen bonds, he must be innocent he
was worthy of her trust, her love. Impulsively
she leaned nearer and he caught her in passionate
The clock had ticked away fully an hour when
Judith awoke to the time.
" It is almost midnight," she exclaimed re-
proachfully and rose in haste. As she walked
across the boudoir her attention was attracted by
a package of addressed and stamped envelopes.
" Oh, I forgot to give these to Maud to mail first
thing in the morning, and they are important."
" Let me have them." Richards snatched them
up. " There is a post box in front of the house;
I'll be right back." And he hastened down the
hall to the circular staircase.
Not waiting to lower any of the lights, Judith
went into her bedroom and started to undress.
It took but a moment to slip on her wrapper, and
she was about to comb her hair when the dis-
orderly appearance of her dressing table startled
her. Her toilet articles were tossed hither and
Judith's hand sought her jewelry box; the key
was already turned in the lock. Tossing back
the lid, she gazed inside the box was empty.
A half-strangled cry escaped from her white
lips and Richards heard it as he entered the
boudoir; a second more and he was by her side.
" See my jewels they are gone," she
gasped. " Your horseshoe, even, Joe."
" Hush, my darling, I'll find it or get you an-
other." Alarmed by her pallor, he picked up a
bottle of smelling salts which stood on the dress-
ing table and held it open before her. " I will
replace the jewelry."
" You can't replace the locket."
"The locket!" Richards changed color.
" Have you lost the locket? "
In her agitation she failed to catch his question.
The Unseen Ear
" My jewelry was here, every piece, and the
locket, when I went in to speak to you, Joe,"
she declared. " I added the horseshoe just before
you called me."
Richards gazed at her in dum founded silence.
"What is that?" he asked. "You left your
jewelry in that box when you came in to talk to
me in the boudoir a little while ago ? "
" Yes; I can swear to it."
Richards sped to the closet door and flung it
open. Only wearing apparel rewarded his search.
A glance at the windows showed that they were
closed and locked on the inside, the bathroom and
dressing room beyond were empty! Convinced
of that, he turned back to Judith who had sunk
into the chair before the dressing table.
"Was any one with you in this room?" he
" No, I was alone." Judith passed her hand
dazedly before her eyes, then again inspected the
empty box. " Every piece of jewelry is gone,"
she stated, " and the box was full two hours ago."
"Are you sure, Judith?"
" Absolutely certain the jewelry was stolen
within the last two hours."
Richards looked first at her and then at the
"How can that be?" he asked. "There is
no entrance to this bedroom except through the
boudoir and you and I, Judith, have been in the
boudoir for the past two hours."
" MIZPAH "
DETECTIVE FERGUSON completed
his tour of the suite of three rooms
and bath which Judith and her husband
occupied and took up his station in the boudoir.
At Richards' earnest solicitation she had notified
Police Headquarters of the robbery and Ferguson
had been detailed to investigate it. He was fol-
lowed into the room an instant later by Judith
who watched him inspect her empty jewelry box
with the aid of a magnifying glass. Quickly he
made his test for finger prints, but she judged
from the negative shake of his head and his
puzzled frown that the results were barren.
" About what hour did the robbery occur last
Judith started at the abrupt question, for Fergu-
son, recalling her deafness and forgetful of the
cleverly concealed earphone which she wore con-
tinually, raised his voice almost to a bellow.
" It must have been between half -past nine
and half-past eleven last night," she answered.
" You need not speak so loudly, Mr. Ferguson ; I
can hear quite well if you use your ordinary
" Beg pardon, I'm sure," and Ferguson sunk
his voice to its normal pitch. " When did you
last see your jewelry? "
"Just after taking off my wraps upon my re-
turn from dining at Rauscher's," Judith ex-
plained, " I opened the box to put away the
diamond horseshoe pin which I had been
" And your other jewelry was then in the
" Where were you between half -past nine and
" Here, in this boudoir."
" Any one with you? "
" My husband, Major Richards."
" Any one else? "
Ferguson blinked at her solemnly for a minute,
then rising, stepped to the bedroom door and
" This is the only entrance to your bedroom,"
he remarked, turning to the silent girl. " How
could a thief enter your room while you and your
The Unseen Ear
husband were here, and you remain unaware of
" I am sure I don't know." Judith shook her
head in bewilderment. " I lay awake nearly all
night puzzling over the enigma."
Ferguson surveyed the boudoir from every
angle before again addressing her.
"Where were you sitting?" he inquired.
Judith crossed the boudoir toward the fireplace
and wheeled the morris chair forward until it
stood in the exact spot of the night before.
" I sat here," she explained, " and my husband
was perched on the chair arm."
Ferguson walked over and sat down in the
" I presume you and Major Richards were ab-
sorbed in conversation," he grumbled, and not
giving her an opportunity to answer, continued,
" But you both had a good view of the boudoir
door leading into the hall, through which every
one has to enter. Any one entering last night
would have had to come directly in your line of
vision. Was the door open or closed ? "
" All the way open ? " he persisted.
" The door stood just as it is now," declared
Judith, after studying it a moment. A look out-
side convinced Ferguson that a person in the hall
would be unable to see what was transpiring in
the boudoir at the angle at which the door stood
" A person could enter without having to push
it farther open," he announced. " Does the door
squeak ? " Springing to his feet he answered his
own question by moving the door to and fro.
" Nary a squeak," he commented, and drawing
out his memorandum book sat down near Judith.
" Now, madam, was it your custom to keep the
jewelry box on your dressing table?"
" When I was in my bedroom or in here, yes,"
replied Judith. " At other times I kept it in the
drawer of my bureau."
" Was the key in the lock of the box? "
" Yes." Observing his smile, Judith frowned.
" I do not usually leave the key in the lock, but
my husband called to me and I joined him here,
leaving the box standing on my dressing table."
" I see." Ferguson stared reflectively at her
for a few seconds. " Ever had anything stolen
" Never any jewelry," Judith spoke with un-
usual rapidity. " Nor any money," she added.
Ferguson pursed his lips and tapped them with
The Unseen Ear
" Odd ! " he exclaimed. " Were the servants
aware that you had this jewelry box? "
" They may have been, for while I do not have
a personal maid, Anna, the waitress, and Maud
sometimes assist me in dressing for evening en-
tertainments." Judith wondered when Ferguson
would go. She desired most heartily to be alone
and thresh out her problems by herself. " It is
probable that both the girls have seen the jewelry
box on my dressing table," she added after a
"Where were the servants last night?" asked
" Anna was in her bedroom suffering from a
sprained ankle " Judith's foot was keeping np
an incessant tattoo. " Maud let me in ; after that
I did not see her again. They have both been
here for years and are excellent servants they
Ferguson made a slight grimace. " That Maud
is a nice she-devil," he exclaimed below his breath ;
Maud's scathing remarks about the inefficiency of
the detective force in general and Ferguson in
particular still rankled. " I'd like to " he
checked himself and again addressed Judith.
" How much approximately was your jewelry
worth, Mrs. Richards ? "
Judith took a paper from her mesh bag.
" Here is a list of the articles in the jewelry box,"
she explained. " Major Richards suggested that
I prepare it for you."
" That's fine." Ferguson reached eagerly for
the paper and scanned the items with increasing
interest. " I see you estimate the jewelry at four
thousand five hundred dollars," he remarked. " A
pretty haul for any thief. Fortunately your
initials are on every piece," running his eye down
the list in which Judith had inserted a minute
description of the jewelry. " Hold on, here's one
item, a locket with nothing checked against it
has the locket any distinguishing mark?"
Footsteps behind Judith caused her to whirl
around, and she saw Richards stop behind her
" I couldn't get away any sooner," he explained.
" Your mother detained me in the dining room.
Good-morning, Ferguson ; has my wife told you of
the disappearance of her jewelry?"
" Yes, Major, and I was just asking her for
details to aid in identifying it at the pawn shops,"
Ferguson again referred to the list he was hold-
ing. " What about that locket, Mrs. Richards? "
Judith closed her mesh bag with a snap and the
quick tilt upward of her chin indicated to
The Unseen Ear
Richards, who had grown to know each mood and
tense, that she had reached a sudden decision.
"The locket bore the word ' Mizpah/ in
raised lettering," she stated. " Otherwise it is
insignificant in appearance."
"Do you attach any particular value to it?"
" No money value," she responded quietly, and
the detective looked sharply at her.
" I see ; you mean it is a trinket of importance
from sentiment only," he commented.
It was Major Richards who answered and not
his wife. " You've hit it," he laughed. " I pre-
sume Mrs. Richards values the locket more highly
Judith looked at him oddly before turning to the
detective. " I have a request to make of you,
Mr. Ferguson," she began, without preface. " It
is that you make no mention of the loss of my
jewelry to any one. I am convinced that if we
conduct the search in secrecy, the thief will betray
Ferguson stroked his cheek thoughtfully. " I
don't like the idea," he objected. " I am a be-
liever in publicity myself."
" You have had plenty of publicity in the
Austin Hale case," Richards pointed out dryly.
" I cannot see that it has advanced you very
Ferguson reddened. " We haven't told the
public all we know," he admitted. " There are a
few cards up our sleeve."
" For instance ? " and Richards' smile was
" As to the nature of Hale's wound " the
detective paused abruptly " but that will come
out in the medical evidence at the inquest."
"And when will the inquest be held?" de-
" When we lay our hands on a material witness
necessary before we can present the case," Fergu-
son spoke with provoking slowness. " You will
learn all the facts in good time, Major; at present
certain clews cannot be divulged."
" I thought you were an advocate of publicity,'*
Richards remarked, and again Ferguson flushed.
" You've got me," he acknowledged with a
show of good nature. " All right, Mrs. Richards,
I'll conduct this investigation as quietly as possi-
ble. But how are you going to prevent your
family's knowing that you have lost your jew-
elry? Won't they comment when you don't wear
"If they do I shall say that I have put it in
The Unseen Ear
my safe deposit box," was Judith's ready re-
sponse. " My father has frequently urged me to
do so in the past and with Austin's death and the
theft of his watch, what's more likely than that
I should place my jewelry in a safe place?"
Ferguson nodded his approval. " That is a
wise argument," he said. " No one can dispute
it. Now, about Mr. Hale's watch," he turned
back the pages of his memorandum book until he
came to a certain entry " can you describe it ? "
" In a general way," Judith spoke with some
hesitation. " I have seen the watch often, but I
am not very observant."
Ferguson considered her for some seconds in
silence. He disagreed with her statement
Judith, in his opinion, was not the heedless type;
her detailed description of her jewelry, safely
tucked away in his pocket, proved that.
"What was the watch like, Mrs. Richards?"
he asked for the second time.
" It was an antique, made before the Revolu-
tion, so family tradition has it," she stated, " an
open-faced watch, wound with a key and the dial
has an American eagle beautifully etched upon
Ferguson took down her words, closed his note-
book and rose.
" I am greatly obliged," he said. " It should
not be difficult to trace young Male's watch and
also your jewelry if the thief tries to dispose of
it. But that," he stared at her, " presupposes it
was the work of an ordinary thief."
"And what leads you to think otherwise?"
asked Judith swiftly.
Ferguson took several steps toward the door
and hesitated in some uncertainty. " Your jew-
elry was stolen by some one familiar with your
habits and familiar with the arrangement of these
rooms," he stated gravely. " There is no possible
way of entering your bedroom save through this
boudoir, as all your windows were found locked
on the inside. How the thief stole by you and
your husband unobserved while you sat here, we
have yet to discover. But, take it from me, the
thief was a member of this household. Good-
morning." Not pausing for reply, the detective
" A member of this household," repeated
Richards thoughtfully. " Judith, have you no
suspicion no clew?" and his eyes searched her
Judith leaned back in her chair and gradually
her tense muscles relaxed.
"I have no clew," she replied. "But tell
The Unseen Ear
me, when you got that glass of water for me,
did you glance at all into our bedroom ? "
Richards pressed down the tobacco in his pipe
and hunted through his pockets for a match.
"Did I look into our bedroom?" he asked,
* I may have looked, but I can't swear to it."
A DOOR slammed and hasty footsteps
sounded down the corridor, then a
figure blocked the doorway to the sit-
ting room of Latimer's bachelor apartment.
Latimer dropped the Sunday newspaper he had
been reading and stared at John Hale. For a
moment he had not recognized his friend's voice
it was hoarse, discordant.
" She who ? " he exclaimed, springing to his
" Polly." John Hale swayed slightly, then
lunged for the nearest chair and dropped into it.
Latimer wasted no words, but poured out a liberal
pony of brandy and placed it in his hand.
"Feel better?" he asked, watching the color
steal back into John Hale's white cheeks as he
put the empty brandy glass on the mantel. Not
receiving an answer to his query, he busied him-
self about the room which served as library and
The Unseen Ear
office. A colored factotum who " went with the
apartment " served his breakfasts ; the other meals
Latimer took at his club or at Rauscher's. His
two rooms, bath, and kitchenette were unusually
large, owing to the building having been, before
the World War, a private residence. The archi-
tect, in remodeling it, had been generous in his
allotment of space.
At the end of ten minutes John Hale pulled
himself together and signed to Latimer to draw
up a chair.
" Sorry I made such a fool of myself," he be-
gan, " but I'm hard hit."
Latimer looked at him in distress. " What is
wrong? " he asked.
" Polly's gone."
" So you stated before. Where has she gone? 5>
" I can't find out." John Hale drummed his
fingers nervously up and down his walking stick
to which he still clung. " You know I called up
Mrs. Davis after our fruitless trip to Chevy Chase.
She said Polly had come in and gone to bed."
" Well, it was pretty late when we got back,"
Latimer pointed out.
" Yes, thanks to that traffic cop." John Hale
frowned angrily. " I'd have seen Polly if he
hadn't insisted on taking us to the police station."
" Your previous record for speeding was
against you, John," remarked Latimer mildly.
" But what about Polly ? "
" This morning I ran over to see her ; found
her mother in tears, and a trained nurse looking
after her and " John Hale stopped and pulled
out a crumpled note " here, read for yourself,"
and tossed it to him.
Latimer scanned the few lines:
Nurse Phelps will spend a few days with you in
my absence. Have run off for that promised change.
Don't worry, darling. POLLY.
" Well? " he asked as he returned the note.
" Mrs. Davis told me that she had wished
Polly to take a vacation for some time and visit
their cousin, Mrs. Paul Davis, at Markham, Vir-
ginia. She believed Polly had gone there."
John Hale paused. " I've just talked with Mrs.
Paul Davis on the long distance telephone.
Polly is not with her, and not expected."
Latimer regarded John Hale in bewilderment.
" Then where has she gone ? " he questioned.
" I have no idea." Again John Hale played
with his walking stick.
Latimer considered him gravely. " What am
The Unseen Ear
I to infer?" he asked. "That Polly has disap-
"But, my heavens, man! Why?"
John Hale shifted his walking stick from one
hand to the other. " Overwork," he said briefly;
" Good Lord ! " Again Latimer considered
him. " Polly did not look ill."
" But she was," fiercely. " Any fool could
have seen it."
" Possibly so," agreed Latimer quietly. " I
haven't seen Polly as frequently as you or
John Hale's strong white teeth snapped vi-
ciously at his under lip.
" Leave Austin's name out of it " his manner
was dictatorial in the extreme and Latimer
" I will, with pleasure, but " he hesitated,
then disregarding John Hale's glare, continued
steadily " are you quite sure that Austin's
tragic death has not had something to do with
Polly's as you claim mental condition ? "
John Hale compressed his lips ominously.
" No," he declared " Get such an idea out of
your head at once."
" I can't," Latimer confessed frankly. " Aus-
tin and Polly were engaged."
" Were ? Quite so." John Kale's laugh was
mirthless. " The engagement was broken by
Polly before his death."
"How soon before his death?"
"Damn! What business is it of yours?''
John Hale turned on him savagely.
Latimer rose. " None of my business
now," he said. " You were the first to bring up
the discussion. You are of course at liberty to
express your views; I reserve the right to hold
my own opinion. Good-morning."
" Here, wait " John Hale pushed Latimer
back in his chair. " I spoke hastily without
thought and I apologize. I'm a bit unhinged."
Latimer regarded him with concern.
" Have you had any breakfast? " he asked.
" No yes coffee -and rolls ; all I wanted,"
John Hale moved restlessly. " I must find
" Have you reported her disappearance to the
police ? "
" No, certainly not ; we must have no scandal,"
John Hale frowned. " You ad I must find
" Willingly but how are we to go about it ? "
The Unseen Ear
" For one thing, you can call on Mrs. Davis
under pretense of wishing to engage Polly as your
stenographer, -and she will probably give you her
present address. You may get more out of her
than I did. Frankly," John Hale gave an em-
barrassed laugh " Mrs. Davis' manner to me
has been very peculiar lately. To-day she ap-
peared almost to resent my questions regarding
Latimer whistled. " So ! " he exclaimed.
" She may be aiding Polly to avoid you."
" That hadn't occurred to me," John Hale ad-
mitted. " But why ? She knows I am Polly's
Latimer took out his cigarette case and offered
it to his companion. With his lef.t hand he indi-
cated the box of matches on the smoking stand at
" Have you and Polly quarreled ? " he asked.
It took a few seconds for John Hale to light
his cigarette. " No," he said between puffs.
Then, removing his cigarette, he looked straight
at Latimer. " Polly is everything to me," he
stated solemnly. " I will never give her up. She
shall be my wife," and his clenched fist struck
the arm of his chair a resounding blow. " Austin,
dead or alive, shall not come between us."
Latimer looked at him and then away. In the
glance he had detected a glimpse of the man he
had never seen before he had never suspected.
In that instant a naked soul had been bared in all
its human frailties.
" Austin has always been a disappointment to
me," John Hale continued he spoke almost as
if communing with himself and forgetful of
Latimer's presence. " For his mother's sake I
condoned his wild habits while at college, his
affairs with women," his voice rasped through
the room " then he dared to play fast and loose
" He did ? " Latimer looked up, startled.
""Good Lord, you don't suppose ?" he winced
under John Hale's iron grip and stopped speak-
" I suppose nothing," John Hale spoke with
fierce intentness. " Austin had enemies, but
Polly was not one of them she had taken his
measure and ceased to care."
Latimer broke the ensuing silence.
"Then why has Polly bolted?" he asked.
John Hale winced and tapped his cane against
" Polly is ill from overwork," he insisted
doggedly. " Come, we are wasting time. Sup-
The Unseen Ear
pose I run you down to Polly's house and you can
question Mrs. Davis. You are not busy, are
you ? " with a quick look about the room.
" No ; I'll be with you in a minute," and
Latimer, true to his word, kept him waiting only
long enough to get his overcoat and hat.