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for the door and disappeared. Kayton, much
amused, picked up the telephone.


The next instant the manager entered the office.
Quickly the chief gave him orders. Giving him Mrs.
Martin's card, he said:

"Tell Nash to start his men on this house in East
Green Street right away. Get a room next door so
as to take in wires from a detectaphone. Have them
shadow and report to me everybody that connects
with the place. Tell them to go slow and keep
under cover. Get me Miss Masuret."

"Yes, sir."

Going to the door, he called out:



"Oh, Miss Masuret!"

Mary appeared on the threshold and slowly ad-
vanced into the office. Immediately Leishman went
out, closing the door. Kayton, seated at his desk,
beckoned to the young girl to approach. Gravely,
yet with a note of triumph in his voice that he could
not entirely conceal, he said:

"Miss Masuret, I have found the woman who was
in the room when Mr. Argyle was killed."

The girl started and turned pale.

"A woman!" she exclaimed.

He nodded.

"I have absolute proof of it here in her finger-

She turned quickly, as if about to leave the office.

"Oh, we must tell Bruce!"

Kayton shook his head.

"Not yet. I have no reason for thinking that this
woman committed the murder. She may be inno-
cent. But she knows who did it, and we can find
it out through her."

"How?" she asked, breathlessly.

He looked at her in silence for a moment. Then,
slowly and earnestly, he said:

"I'm going to ask you to do something that will
take all your courage."

"Yes yes!"

"And I know I can rely on you."

"What can I do?" she demanded, eagerly.

"The people who are responsible for the murder
of Mr. Argyle are all, as we say, under cover
they're keeping away from each other. And even
if we had them all separately under surveillance,



no amount of shadowing would connect them with
each other or with this crime. We must take them
off guard. Do you understand ?"

She listened, greatly interested.

"Yes yes!"

He continued:

"We must do something at once to confirm all
the suspicions against you. We must make it
seem that you have practically admitted your

The girl opened wide her eyes.

"How?" she asked.

"By flight. I want you to disappear."

"Disappear?" she echoed, breathlessly, as she sank
into a seat.

He nodded.

"Yes. This woman's name is Martin. She keeps
a furnished lodging-house. There are reasons why
she has consented to take you as a lodger secretly.
We must gain access to this house without arousing
suspicion, and we can do it through you. I can
visit you there myself my men can come. You'll
have nothing to fear. You'll be protected every
moment. I will send you one of these little detecta-

"A detectaphone!"

"Yes, it's like a telephone, only much more sen-
sitive. It's a wonderful little instrument. Conceal
it in your room. Drop the wire out of your window,
and my men will connect with it. You must go
away without letting Bruce or Mrs. Wyatt or your
maid in fact, any one know where you are.
Will you trust me enough to let me involve you



this way publicly and then clear you when we find
the real criminal?"


He saw that she hesitated, and he hastened to re-
assure her.

" I would never let you do this unless I were abso-
lutely sure that you will be safe and that I can clear
you later."

"Don't think about that," she said, quickly.
"I'll do anything you say."

He rose from his seat. Earnestly he said:

"Thank you. Mrs. Martin is here. Will you
go now?"

The girl trembled, but bravely she said :

"Yes, I will go."

As he pressed an electric button, he said :

"You understand that if you do the slightest thing
to betray yourself, everything fails."

"I won't fail you," she replied, firmly.

As she spoke, the assistant entered. Kayton
looked up.

"Joe, bring in Mrs. Martin."

The young man went out, and the detective turned
to Mary.

"Have you money enough with you?"

"Yes." Then all at once she burst out: "Oh
I dread to meet her!"

She looked at him as if expecting some expression
of sympathy, but there was no sentiment in him
now. His head was filled only with business.
Coldly he answered:

"I must ask you to show no feeling of repulsion
for this woman."



"I won't, I won't," she gasped in a whisper.

Steps were heard approaching. The dreaded
meeting was at hand. Mary gripped hold of the
chair near her and stood rigidly waiting. The door
opened, and Mrs. Martin entered.

Instantly the woman's eyes sought the young girl,
and as she staggered rather than walked forward
there was in her line-marked face an expression of
dread, curiosity, and yearning maternal affection in
spite of her effort at self-command. She halted and
stood still, her eyes fixed on Mary.

Kayton, busy at his desk, pretended to notice
nothing. In a businesslike manner, he said:

"Mrs. Martin, this is Miss Masuret."

Again the woman advanced, this time her hands
outstretched. Her lips trembling, her voice betray-
ing the supreme effort she was making to remain
calm, she said, very gently:

"My dear, will you come with me?"

At the word, Mary relaxed slowly and turned and
looked at her. Then, as if unconsciously drawn to
her, she crossed over to the stranger, and put a
hand in the one outstretched to receive it, and so
they stood for a moment looking earnestly into each
other's eyes, while Kayton sat as if still preoccupied
at his desk.


EAST GREEN STREET, Manhattan, had an
unsavory reputation. It boasted of being the
wickedest street of its size in the world. The
favorite resort of gunmen and desperadoes of all
kinds, it was known to the police as one of the
plague spots in the city, and although from time to
time public clamor had been raised to clean the thor-
oughfare out, nothing had been done. Thanks to
political pull enjoyed by the local dive-keepers, there
was open defiance of law and decency, and all
kinds of dangerous joints had been permitted to run
wide open in the neighborhood. In the very center
of the big town's most congested and vicious dis-
trict, just off the Bowery, it was the preferred haunt
of every known variety of crook. Burglars, pick-
pockets, confidence men, prostitutes, cadets all met
here in obscure, sinister saloons to plot and scheme
new jobs in this sordid clearing-house of crime.

Not only was it one of the foulest, but it was also
one of the narrowest and tortuous thoroughfares in
the metropolis. Unlike most New York streets, it
did not run in a straight line, but followed a curved,
zigzag course through the foulest of the city's slums.
The ill-paved roadway, never cleaned or flushed, was
full of cesspools and refuse which, having been
allowed to rot in the rain and sun, sent up a stench



that shrieked to heaven. On either side towered
grim, hideous tenements with broken windows
patched with paper, rusty fire-escapes littered with
rubbish, and dark, sinister halls, the plaster of which
had long since fallen in great chunks, exposing the
wooden lathing. In the daytime, when the sun-
light invaded every nook and corner, exposing the
filth and squalor in its most hideous aspect, there
was little vestige of life. Occasionally a half-starved
cat limped across the road in hope of scratching a
meal out of a heap of decaying garbage, and from
time to time sounds of drunken revelry issued from
behind tightly closed shutters. Otherwise, the street
appeared deserted by God and man.

One house alone showed indications of being occu-
pied. A trifle less dilapidated than its neighbors, it
was a four-story building with a high stoop and a
heavy door always kept locked. Its occupants were
seldom if ever seen out. At times a face would ap-
pear at a window and was as instantly withdrawn if
any chance passer happened to glance that way.
At night lights glimmered behind the closely shut
shutters of the attic floor, apparently the only part
of the house inhabited. If one stood outside under
cover of a hallway and watched the house long
enough, the inmates might be seen slinking forth
under cover of the darkness of night, passing fur-
tively in and out, ever careful to glance behind to see
if they were followed.

To-day again there was a face at the attic window,
the face of a woman once beautiful, but now worn
and haggard, seamed with indelible lines of time and
sorrow. Cautiously opening the wooden shutter, she

12 169


leaned out and looked up and down the street as if
expecting some one. In a few minutes, tired of the
vigil, she withdrew into the room, and sank wearily
onto a sofa.

The room, such as it was, was shabbily and scantily
furnished a small cheap table in the center, a few
rickety chairs, and a broken-down couch. A window
looked onto the street, and in the ceiling was a trap-
door leading to the roof, with ladder ready for use.
A door at the far end of the room led to the dark
staircase outside.

Mrs. Martin glanced anxiously at the battered
timepiece which ticked noiselessly on the mantel.
Seven o'clock. It was time Friederick returned.
Could anything have happened? Was it possible
that the police had discovered their hiding-place and
arrested him before he had finished the new ten-
dollar counterfeit which was to make them rich
enough to give up this dangerous game for good
and go away to some distant country where they
might both enjoy the few years still left to them ?

When Helen Masuret had realized one day that
she had ceased to care for her crippled husband and
that the handsome, fascinating Friederick Kreisler
had completely won her heart, she did not hesitate
to make the last sacrifice a woman can. No scruples
of honor or conscience deterred her or were allowed
to stand in the way of her mad infatuation. A few
brief words hastily penned, and she left her home and
baby daughter forever to follow the fortunes of the
man she loved. She had paid no heed to what was
openly said about Kreisler. What cared she that
he was a gentlemanly crook who sooner or later would



get his deserts? She only knew that she loved this
tall, picturesque, masterful man, whose keen intelli-
gence, undaunted courage, unquestioned ability had
defied the police of two hemispheres. She ran away
with him, and for a long time the romance was all
that she had dreamed. That was twenty years ago.
To-day they were still together. Passion's fires had
cooled somewhat, yet she loved Kreisler as much as
ever. The years, however, had left their mark.
In her heart she knew she had been an unfaithful
wife, an unworthy mother. Even her love for
Kreisler, unselfish as it had been, could not atone for
that, and the knowledge of her base degradation
had eaten into her soul and left her at the age of
forty an embittered, broken-hearted woman. To-
day what was there left to her? Only traces of her
one-time beauty and the regrets of a life that she
herself had shattered. Her husband was long since
dead, and her little daughter, now full grown to
womanhood and adopted by a millionaire, was living
in the same city, unconscious of her mother's exist-
ence. Oh, the agony of it! Many a time had she
stood for hours watching John Argyle's residence
merely in the hope of seeing Mary from the distance.
She knew she could never claim her. Even if the
law gave her the right, she would not exercise it.
The people she associated with were no fit com-
panions for a pure young girl. She would never let
her learn that her mother was the associate of

Again she glanced at the clock. Half past seven!
Now she was really alarmed. Something must have
happened. Suddenly a noise made her sit up with



a start. An electric buzzer, carefully concealed over
the transom of the door, was emitting a loud, crackling
sound, giving warning of some one's approach. Who
was it? Her heart in her mouth, she ran out on the
landing and, looking over the shaky bannisters, gave
an exclamation of joy. It was Friederick. A mo-
ment later the counterfeiter entered the room.

A man in the early fifties, tall, thin, and rather
gaunt, Friederick Kreisler would have attracted im-
mediate attention anywhere. A leonine head was
crowned by a mass of iron-gray hair, not long, but
picturesquely disheveled. His eyes were intense,
and flashed like living coals under heavy dark
brows. Distinguished in appearance, with a smooth,
intellectual-looking face, few could have guessed that
the greater part of this man's life had been spent in
prison, and that he was one of the most expert and
dangerous counterfeiters that ever gave trouble to
the United States government.

He smiled wearily as he came in and saw who was
there to greet him. His face was pale, his features
drawn. He stooped slightly, and had a harassing

"I was so anxious, dear," she faltered. "I was
afraid they'd got you."

Again he smiled the tired smile of a man who
realizes that the end is not far off, that the battle is
nearly ended, and that in a little while nothing will
matter very much. He kissed her in silence and
stroked her hair tenderly.

"My dear heart, you are very tired," he mur-

She looked beseechingly up into his face.



" Friederick, I want you to give it all up. Let's
go away!"

Drawing slightly away, he looked down at her
with surprise. Almost reproachfully he said:

"Where is your courage, my dear? Where is
your courage?"

She averted her face so he should not see her
tears, and sank down in a chair near the table.

"I don't know, Friederick. I'm terribly afraid.
I'm panic-stricken. There's been too much too
much Argyle's death "

He held up his hand warningly.
' "'Ssh!"

Tearfully she went on:

"And yesterday with that detective! Oh, I
shouldn't have gone there!"

Hanging up his coat and changing it for a lighter
one, Kreisler made an exclamation of impatience.

"That was Hurley's advice! Always greedy for

She shook her head.

"No. I risked it myself for the money honest
money. I wanted to be able to say to you: 'Here,
now we have enough. Let us cut loose from this
life from all these people.' Friederick, I want to
be safe!"

He laughed carelessly as he unlocked a secret
drawer in the table and lifted out a tin box which he
also leisurely unlocked.

"Foolish little fears," he said. "We are safe
enough here. Think of all the years that I've spent to
make us safe." Raising the lid of the box and taking
out a new ten-dollar bill, he held it up exultingly:



"Look at it isn't it perfect! I could pass that
even to the experts of the Treasury. It will be the
first time in the history of the world, and it is I
who shall do it! In a few weeks the whole country
will be flooded with them Chicago, Denver, San
Francisco, New Orleans, Boston, and New York
all on the same day! Then we can go out with the
whole world for our playground."

She shook her head as she replied bitterly:

"Yes! Yes! But we shall always be hunted
hunted wherever we go. We can never get away
from it. It's too big, Friederick it's too big.
They'd never let a man who could make a bill like
that escape. You know that if one of these men were
caught he'd betray you to save himself. The gov-
ernment would pardon him would pardon them
all to get you. Safe! Every prison in the world
would be yawning for you."

He listened in silence while he put the counterfeit
note away again and carefully relocked the box.
When she mentioned the word "prison" the lines
about his mouth tightened. Calmly yet deter-
minedly he said:

"I shall never go to prison again! If I'm caught
I'll kill myself."

With a sound that was like a sob she cried:

"Then I hope to God you'll kill me, too, Friederick.
I'd never have the courage to kill myself, and it
would be the end of everything for me."

Leaning forward on the table, she let her head
fall on her outstretched arms, and remained there
motionless, a pathetic figure of an unhappy, broken



His eyes moistened as he watched her. His heart
bled for this woman who had sacrificed everything
for him. Caressing her, he said, gently:

"Ah, you are the great soul! You gave up every-
thing for me. You left everybody. You gave up
even your little daughter. You shared prison with
me, and I I am the selfish one! And now, when I
say I would take my life, you would share death
with me! Ah, you are the great soul!"

Raising her head, she looked up and smiled at him
through her tears.

"Oh, if I could only make you feel as I do! I'm
so depressed! Friederick, this is a great thing that
you've invented this process of color photography.
Think what can be done with it. It would bring
fame to you and an honest fortune."

He nodded.

"Yes, my love, in an honest world. But they
would cheat me. They would steal it; and, see, I
must have money to finance it to protect it.
Then when all this blows over in Germany, per-
haps who knows?"

She shook her head. Sadly she said:

"I'm growing too old to play the game any

He smiled kindly at her, and his hand caressed
her hair as he answered:

"That will never be. It is not we who grow old.
It is the little fat life that gathers gray mold like
a cheese. You and I, mein herz, we keep young
with living loving! Fear, trouble, disgrace, prison,
separation, poverty, love, happiness, hope, wealth
that is to live."



"Oh, I know, Friederick! You love the gamble
the danger you love it better than safety and happi-
ness. Now when we could have each other, a little
money this legacy to live on, you'll go ahead
this way and risk your life and my life. If we're
caught it's nothing but the snap of a trigger to you,
but to me it would be years and years of hateful,
empty life alone."

She rose and, going over to the window, stood
looking out into the street.

"How shall a man change himself? It's the ad-
venture in me you love," he went on.

"No, no, it isn't that. I would go through any-
thing with you or for you, but this means that I'm
risking you! I know you would kill yourself with-
out a thought that you would be leaving me."

He rose and approached her. Earnestly he said:

"I tell you I can never go to prison again with
those brutes to be flogged and degraded. I came
out after those ten years of torture, all the color
gone out of my skin, all the life gone out of my legs !
I came out after those ten years to get even with
the world, and they shall never put their dirty
hands on me again while I am alive!"

She made an exclamation of terror and staggered
a step toward him, unable to speak, holding out her
hand in silent protest. Already regretting the self-
ish brutality of his speech, he made a quick step
forward and seized her in his arms. Soothingly he
exclaimed :

" Mein Liebschen, what difference would it make?
If they catch me now they would never let me free
to be with you again. I would die then by inches."



She threw her arms around his neck.

"Oh, if you'd only listen to me if you'd only
come away if you'd only come away!"

As she spoke the electric buzzer again gave out
its warning. Some one had entered the house and
was coming up the stairs. Quickly Kreisler put the
box inside the table and slipped a revolver in his
pocket. Some one was coming. Was it friend or


ASCHE KAYTON chuckled. At last he had hit
** the right trail. Friederick Kreisler and his
fellow-counterfeiters were as good as behind the
bars. So much for that part of the Argyle case.
There still remained the murder, the most im-
portant phase of the problem. The question as to
who actually killed John Argyle was still as deep a
mystery as on the morning the body was discovered,
but the scent was getting hotter every hour, and the
detective was convinced that the capture of the
counterfeiters would lead right to the murderer. He
was confident that the dead banker was in some
way mixed up with the gang, and that they knew
more about his death than they cared to admit.

It was part of Kayton's method to do nothing
hastily. To insure complete success for the raid
there must be no mistakes. Careful preparations
were necessary. Nothing must be left to chance.
Miss Masuret was already installed as a boarder at
No. 20 East Green Street, and through her enough
had already been gleaned to know that the house
was the headquarters of as desperate a gang of crooks
as ever wore convict stripes. Under pretense of
calling on the young girl, and not sorry for the oppor-
tunity thus afforded of seeing her again, Kay ton him-
self had been able to see and get the lay of the



premises, and during these visits he contrived, with
Joe's agile assistance, to make elaborate preparations
preliminary to a spectacular raid. The greatest
secrecy had to be observed. Constantly on the
watch, guarded by their lookouts and electric buzz-
ers, Kreisler and his associates considered them-
selves immune. If they had known Kayton better,
they would have been less confident and doubled
their vigilance. As it was, they suspected nothing
and continued working with a sense of full security.
The preparations took time, but they were im-
perative. It would have been simple enough to
surround the house and make arrests wholesale, but
Kayton would not then have learned what he wanted
to know. He had conceived the idea, and it was one
that grew stronger each minute, that if he could only
listen and overhear the members of the gang talking
he would have something that would lead right to the
man who killed Mr. Argyle. Feeling quite secure and
secluded in their attic, so far from prying ears, the
counterfeiters talked freely. This conversation they
must listen to, and there was only one way to do it.
They must install the detectaphone, and have
several of his own men concealed at the other end
of the wire taking down every word verbatim. Once
the idea conceived, he quickly carried it out, and,
aided by his operatives, he profited one day by the
house being deserted to install this astonishing little
instrument, the most sensitive transmitter of sound
known to modern science. It was Kayton who had
first used the apparatus in his work and attracted
attention to its possibilities as a detector of crime.
Most of his convictions, especially in the graft cases,



had been secured by its use, and he himself was
enthusiastic in its praise. For all detective purposes
or use wherever secret observation and reporting of
conversation is necessary he had proved it invalu-
able. By its use his operator at the receiving end
was enabled to hear every audible sound made in the
room where the transmitter was concealed. Con-
versation carried on in undertones and even whis-
pers was distinctly heard a long distance away. Two
pairs of receivers could be used, thus securing cor-
roborative evidence. The transmitter was so con-
structed that it caught and transmitted sounds that
were scarcely distinguishable to the human ear;
whispers and undertones that could not be heard
under normal conditions a few feet away were readily
picked up and transmitted by this instrument to
listeners stationed a considerable distance off. The re-
ceivers reproduced the natural tones used by the per-
sons at the transmitting end of the line, and they could
be so tuned that the voice was magnified many times.
After considerable difficulty Kayton had succeeded
in concealing the transmitter in the Kreisler attic
when there was no possible danger of its being dis-
covered, and the wire he had carried into the adjoin-
ing house, the entire top floor of which he had rented
for the purpose. There his operatives, seated night
and day at the receivers, heard every word the
counterfeiters said, and secured the evidence on which
Kayton obtained the warrant for his raid. Keeping
themselves well hidden, he and his men had for days
watched the coming and going of the gang. With
the faces of several of them Kayton was already
familiar. Post-graduates in crime, the pictures of

1 80




most of them were in the rogues' gallery. There was
Simeon Gage, alias One-Lunged Simmie, morphine
fiend and pickpocket, a lanky, cadaverous, flashily
dressed individual so nicknamed because he was in
-the last stages of consumption. He also recognized
Bill Skidd, known as Ugly Bill, a burly, pugnacious

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Online LibraryArthur HornblowThe Argyle case → online text (page 10 of 14)