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tough who had often done time. Kreisler, the leader
of the gang, he had never seen before, but directly he
caught sight of that square, determined jaw, that
stern face and intense deep-set eyes, he realized that
he had to deal with as desperate a customer as he
had ever encountered.

But Kayton was not afraid. He had never known
what the word fear meant. On the contrary, it
stimulated him to feel that at last he was about to
meet a foe worthy of his steel. The stronger the
forces he was fighting, the more satisfaction there was
in worsting them. He had only one regret, which
was that he had been obliged to expose Miss Masuret
to the anger and vengeance of the gang. If they
suspected for a moment that she made daily reports
of what was going on, her life would not be worth a
moment's purchase. He had thrown about her
every protection possible. At all times she was
close to the detectaphone transmitter. A whisper
from her that matters were becoming critical, and
he and his men would at once break into the place
and rescue her. He realized, however, that it was
not as easy as it sounded. It would take time to
break in, and much could happen in a very few mo-
ments. He could only trust that everything would
go as he wanted it to, and that they would be able
to take the gang by complete surprise.



Yet it worried him to feel that the young girl was
exposed to danger, and what astonished and worried
him even more was to find that he cared. He had
been so long a bachelor that it never occurred to him
that he was capable of taking more than a passing
interest in any woman. A man in his business,
fighting desperate characters with his back to the wall,
had little time for the milder, sweeter interests of life.
The terms "love," "wife," "home" were to him only
empty phrases. A soldier, fighting society's battle
with the forces of evil, he had never stopped to think
there was a quieter, more peaceful kind of existence
that might appeal to him more. This girl, with her
quiet, refined manner, her patience and gentleness
under all kinds of provocation, had from the outset
gained his sympathy. Then, as each day he learned
to know her better, he recognized what an excep-
tional nature hers was. During the day he found
himself thinking of her when he should have been
thinking only of his work. Strange unusual thoughts
surged madly through his brain. Why should not
he too marry and be settled and happy like other
men? It was just such a girl as this that he would
like for his wife.

The trying task of keeping a constant vigil and
listening in silence to every word uttered next door
Kayton had intrusted to six of his best operatives,
and they were on duty night and day, three men
working in the daytime, the others at night. They
sat there in grim silence, the metal receivers glued
to their heads and connected with the house next
door by wires running out of the window.

It was a tedious task, watching and listening, and



the kind of work that got on the nerves. Joe urged
an immediate raid, but Kayton's prudence and longer
experience prompted him to wait. The moment had
not yet come.

One day their watching was rewarded beyond all
expectation. Kayton was at the receiver of the
detectaphone, listening to scraps of conversation,
when suddenly some one laughed. Instantly the
detective pricked up his ears. He knew only one
man who could laugh like that a boisterous, coarse
laugh which reminded one of a horse neighing.
There could be no mistake. It was Mr. Hurley, the
dead banker's legal adviser. What was he doing in
that den of thieves? The suspicion the detective
had from his first talk with the man returned all at
once with redoubled force. If Hurley knew these
crooks and had dealings with them, it was more than
probable that he knew more about the murder than
he had admitted. Kayton felt a thrill run down his
spine. The scent was getting hotter every minute.
He began to feel that the murderer of John Argyle
was within his reach.

He strained every nerve to listen, in the hope that
he would hear something that would confirm his
suspicions, but the conversation was general and
punctuated from time to time with the lawyer's
laugh. The only definite thing he could overhear
was that they were all to meet again the following
evening. That was enough for Kayton. The mo-
ment for the raid had come.

"It's for to-morrow night, Joe!" he whispered to
his assistant. "Get your men ready."


THE next twenty-four hours found the watchers
still at their posts. During the day not a sound
came from the counterfeiters' den. Everything was
as quiet as if the place had been abandoned. Either
the inmates were all asleep or had gone out. Not
an instant, however, did the operatives relax their
vigilance. They knew that Kayton and Joe, who
had crept in and concealed themselves next door to
make sure the wire connections were all right, would
be heard from directly the coast was clear. Mean-
time, their ears fastened to the detectaphone re-
ceivers, they listened eagerly for the slightest sound.

Final preparations had been made to raid the
place at nine o'clock that evening, when it was
reasonably certain that most of the gang, including
Mr. Hurley, would be present. Everything had been
carefully planned; not a detail overlooked. In addi-
tion to the three operatives taking down on the
detectaphone every word uttered and who at the
critical moment would take a hand in the final rush,
Kayton had twelve plain-clothes men down-stairs in
the street and back yard and half a dozen more on
the roof. In fact, the place was completely sur-
rounded by armed, determined officers. The crooks
had not the slightest chance of making a "get-away."

Kayton had decided to remain himself on the



counterfeiters' premises throughout. It involved
considerable personal risk to the final success of the
raid, but he had never stopped to consider peril.
His presence in the house was necessary for two
reasons. First, in order to direct his operatives, he
must be in a position to judge of the exact moment
to break in and give the final signal to his men.
Secondly, he must be there to protect Mary in case
of trouble. He could not possibly leave the girl
there alone to face the wrath of the gang when they
realized that they had been betrayed.

Every day he realized more that this girl, with her
quiet, gentle manner, was taking a firmer hold on his
affections. Was it a deeper feeling than sympathy
and friendship that he had for her? When a man
gets to the age of forty without having met the
woman he cares enough about to marry, he is apt
to be distrustful of his feelings when the right girl
does come along. He only knew that he could not
banish her from his thoughts, and that he felt sin-
gularly elated and happy when with her, and just
as depressed when she was away. Was it possible
that he, the cynical, blase man of the world, the
hardened old bachelor, was falling in love like a
timid school-boy? It seemed ridiculous, almost un-
believable, but there it was. There was no doubt
about it. He was absurdly, irrationally, hopelessly
in love. Did she care for him? He did not know,
although it had seemed to him that there was some-
thing in the tone of her voice, in the glance of her
eye when she spoke to him, quite different to when
she was addressing others. Well, he was not a man
to beat about the bush or to break his heart over a

13 I8 5


woman who did not care for him. The first oppor-
tunity he got he would find out just how he stood
in her estimation. Meantime, sterner work was
before him. There was little time now to be lost
on sentiment.

Next door the three operatives sat motionless,
waiting for some sign, listening patiently for a signal
that everything was all right. Nash was nodding
in his chair, while Cortwright puffed leisurely at a
cob pipe. Sinclair, his long legs up on the table,
sat at the end of the detectaphone receiver, also

"I wonder why the boss don't call us? He must
be next door all this time."

Nash looked up.

"Say, Bob, is your detectaphone working?'*

"Not yet. Is yours?"

"Not a sound. But don't worry; they'll be work-
ing overtime pretty soon."
. Sinclair made a quick gesture with his hand.

"Hush, boys! I hear voices. Some one's com-
ing in."


EVERYTHING was quiet as the grave in the
Lrf Kreisler attic. As usual at this time, the
place had been deserted all day. Only in the
evening, when darkness favored their movements
being unobserved, did the members of the gang
emerge from their rat-holes and come to see their
leader. Mrs. Martin was out getting food and beer
for the evening meal. Kreisler himself had not ar-
rived yet. But it would not be long before they
came. It was already growing dark. There was
no time to be lost.

The clock was already on the stroke of seven when
there was the sound of a key being cautiously in-
serted in the door. The next instant Joe poked
his head in. Seeing that the room was empty,
he made a gesture behind him, and Kayton ap-
peared, followed closely by Mary. Both men car-
ried small electric flashlights which enabled them
to see.

Kayton advanced boldly and flashed his light here
and there, curious to inspect further this nest of
criminals. Turning to Mary, he whispered:

"You're sure they are all out?"

She nodded.

"Yes. I saw them go."

He pointed to the landing and whispered:



"Just watch the stairs for us. They may return
any minute."

She went as directed and stood on guard at the
door through which they had entered. Quickly
Kayton turned to his assistant.

"Say, Joe, connect that detectaphone out of the
window. Be careful!" Grimly the detective went
on: "That was classy work of yours, my boy lift-
ing Mrs. Martin's handbag with all her keys."

Joe grinned. Moving about the room, flashing
his light over the table and cupboards, he replied:

"She certainly did keep her hooks on it. I had
so much trouble getting it, I hate to part with it."

Kayton smiled approvingly.

"Joe, you're getting to be a first-class dip."

Throwing up the window, the young man nimbly
climbed out onto the fire-escape. Laughingly he
retorted :

"Well, Fm a better pickpocket than Sam. He
chased her every time she put her nose out of this
house yesterday. It took me only two hours. I
didn't have to give up my cover to any department-
store sleuth, either."

Opening one of the cupboards, Kayton threw his
flashlight all round.

"I'd like to search this rat-hole thoroughly."

"Guess you've got time enough, gov'nor. They
won't miss the bag till they're through dinner. And
they may hang around there, trying to get one of
the waiters pinched."

"Not much. They won't want to have any more
attention paid to them by the police than they can



Suddenly Mary, at the door, made a slight ex-
clamation of warning:


"What is it?" asked Kay ton, in a tense whisper
and ready for any emergency.

"It's all right," she whispered. "I thought I
heard some one."

The detective turned again to his assistant.

"Joe, you're getting to be a great plumber."

The young man chuckled. As he tested the wires
out on the fire-escape, he said:

"Well, we're going to get great results with this
detectaphone; this one's going to be the live wire,
all right."

" Be careful, Joe. Break your neck if you want to,
but don't break that wire."

"I don't want to break either, thank you."

After making sure that the connections were
properly made outside, the young man attached the
wire from the detectaphone with the loose end from
next door. When the job was completed to his
satisfaction, he looked up and said:

"The wire's connected, gov'nor."

Kayton turned to the dead wall behind which,
in the next house, his operatives were waiting. In
a low, perfectly natural tone he said:

"Boys, if the wires are working, and you hear
me speaking, wave a handkerchief from your

Opening the window at the back, Joe thrust his
head out to look for the expected signal. After a
moment's wait he drew in his head and cried,



"All right, gov'nor; they get it."

Still on guard at the door, Mary began to grow

"Don't you think you ought to come now?" she
whispered, anxiously.

Kayton held his hand out to his assistant.

"Give me that other 'phone, Joe." Then, going
toward the young girl, he said: "Miss Masuret,
here is the detectaphone. Conceal it in your room
as I explained to you. Drop the wire out of the
window, and my men will connect with it."

She nodded.

"I understand."

At that instant a whistle was heard in the street
below. Quickly Joe turned to his chief.

"There's our signal, gov'nor. Kreisler and his
gang are coming."

Kayton made a quick gesture.

"You go back to the other house by the roof and
get on the detectaphone. Don't leave the receiver
you stick to it until you hear from me and then
obey it instantly."

"All right, gov'nor, I'll stick."

Mary turned to the detective in surprise.

"Aren't you going with him?"

"No," he answered, quickly; "I'm going to stay
here with you."

"Oh, don't! They'll kill you!"

"I've heard that before," he smiled, grimly.

On top of the transom over the door the electric
buzzer flashed and spit ominously. Not an instant
was to be lost. Another moment and they would
be discovered.



"What's that?" demanded Mary, alarmed at the
noise made by the buzzer.

"That's their warning. They've got the front
steps wired. There's some one at the street door
now," quickly explained the detective, as he ran
toward the door.

"What shall we do?" she asked, her large eyes
opening wide with terror.

"We'll go right back to your room," he said,

"But they'll see us!"

"No we've just time to get there."

Hurriedly they left the room, closing the door
noiselessly behind them.

Next door the waiting operatives listened, but
all was quiet again in the Kreisler flat. Nash
thought that Kayton must have left. Suddenly
there was a noise on the roof above their heads, as
if a heavy body had dropped.

"What's that?" exclaimed Sinclair, nervously.

"That's all right," said Nash. "It's Joe. Kayton
told him to go over the roof."

At that moment the assistant pulled up the hatch
and appeared at the top of the ladder.

"Greetings, men!"

The operatives burst into a hearty laugh.

"Greetings, greetings!"

Coming quickly down the ladder, the young man
laughed good-naturedly.

"You boys have got the soft end of it. I'm get-
ting too fat for this tin-roof work." Taking off his
hat and coat, he added: "What do you think of a



first-class detective doing second-story work in a
third-class tenement? Here, Nash, give me that

"The damn thing's glued to my ear," growled
Nash, trying to detach it.

He yanked the steel apparatus off and handed
it to the new-comer, who, by Kayton's order, was
in general charge.

Surrendering his place to Joe, the latter sat down
and adjusted the receiver to his head. In a tense
whisper he said:

"Now, boys, you want to sit tight. We may be
in for some rough work."

As he spoke there was the sound of a door shutting
next door. Joe held up a warning hand.

"Hush! They're here! Now they'll start to
chatter, and when they do we've got 'em."

There followed a dead silence, broken only by the
scratching pencils as the listening men started to
write rapidly on their pads.


"L^REISLER entered the attic, followed by a lanky,
Av. cadaverous-looking individual with an anemic,
crafty-looking face. Dressed in the height of fashion
affected by the flashy gentry of the underworld, he
had on a tight-fitting check suit, low shoes, red
socks and tie, and a rakish, flat-brimmed derby hat
jauntily on the back of his head. A gold fob dangled
from his waistcoat, and on his fingers were a couple
of showy rings. A crafty, furtive expression on his
face, Simeon Gage looked just what he was one
of the slickest pickpockets in the country. Addicted
to morphine, his complexion was yellow and un-
wholesome, and from his lips hung the inevitable
cigarette. Usually Simeon was in good humor, being
the pampered baby of the gang; but to-day some-
thing had occurred to upset him. While Kreisler
went forward to turn up the lamp, he grumbled:

"Say, Fred, we'll have to get all these locks
changed, now Mrs. Martin's lost her bag. We
might as well go to bed with the front door open."

The counterfeiter shrugged his shoulders. In-
differently he answered:

"There was nothing in the bag to show what
house the keys fit."

Going over to the corner, the pickpocket threw
himself on the sofa. Drolly he said:



"Yes, I know, Doctor, but I'm not for taking
any chances. The dip that got her keys might see
you coming out of here sometime, or he might see
her in the street and follow her home. This isn't
the sort of place we'd like to entertain a sneak-thief
in is it? He'd blackmail us for life!"

Kreisler laughed.

"You've got too much imagination for this busi-
ness, Simmie. You ought to go back to your old
confidence game."

Opening the closet, he took off his coat, hung it
up, and slipped on a loose house-coat.

The pickpocket, still unsatisfied, sat bolt upright.

"Well, to tell ye the truth, I've been uneasy lately
ever since that girl came, in fact. Do ye know, I
thought I was being shadowed yesterday-
He stopped and looked admiringly down at his

Kreisler smiled.

"You're always thinking you're being followed.
You must have a bad conscience."

Removing the cloth from the table, the counter-
feiter folded it carefully and placed it on a chair
close by.

The pickpocket nodded. Dolefully he replied:

"I think p'haps I am hittin' too many cigarettes.
I don't know what's wrong. Something certainly
must be the matter if people can come and pick our
pockets like that."

Rising from the sofa, he went over to the cupboard
and stood near Kreisler. Still grumbling, he went on :

"Anyhow, I don't think we ought to have that
girl here. Some cheap divorce-case detective will be



rounding us up next. Who is she, anyway ? I called
up Hurley and asked him about her. Why doesn't
he know about her?"

Returning to the closet, Kreisler took out a pan
and tools, which he carried to the table. Then going
to a cupboard, he unlocked it and, taking out a bottle,
poured some liquid into a measuring-glass. He
listened in silence to his companion. After a pause
he replied slowly:

"There was no time to tell him."

Gage pulled a grimace.

"You've had lots of chances to tell me"

Kreisler looked the youth full in the face. Calmly
he said:

"It's none of your damned business, Simmie."

The pickpocket took the snub as gracefully as he
could. Peevishly he said:

"Well, I feel nervous as a rabbit with that strange
woman around."

Sitting down at the table, Kreisler picked up
what looked like a brand-new ten-dollar bill and a
pair of rubber gloves. Watching curiously his com-
panion's preparations, Gage inquired:

"Are you going to work now?"


The crook made a step forward. Eagerly he

"Can I help you?"

"I think not," replied Kreisler, dryly. "I think
I have everything I need. I'm just going to do a
little bleaching."

Going again to the closet, the counterfeiter brought
out a measuring-glass, two small bottles, and a



package of bogus banknotes, all of which he carried
to the table.

The pickpocket stood watching him in silence for
a moment. Then sullenly he said :

"Bleaching you're always bleaching. Doctor, it
peeves me it near drives me dippy to see you wash-
ing the real money out of a perfectly good one-dollar

He picked up one of the bills and fingered it, after
which he replaced it on the table.

While Kreisler arranged a frame on the table for
drying the bills, he went on peevishly:

"Your photographic process may be all right,
but, damn it, wouldn't it be a whole lot cheaper if
you'd fake the paper?"

Kreisler shrugged his shoulders and made no reply.
Going again to the closet, he brought out a money-
box and, drawing up a chair near the table, placed
the box on it and unlocked it. After a pause he

"That is the way with you Americans. No
patience, no science, no artistry half baked
get rich quick! Perfection is an affair of little things,
but perfection is not a little thing."

Sitting at the table, he proceeded to draw on the
right-hand rubber glove, while the pickpocket, over-
awed by the leader's superior manners and way of
expressing himself, watched him admiringly. Finally,
unable to contain his admiration, he burst out:

"Doctor, you've got a wonderful bunch of stuff
in your nut. But I notice you're keepin' all you
know right under your own hat. You don't do
nothing but bleach when we're round. Some day



you'll go off to Scotland with your money, like Andy
Carnegie, and leave us all workin' in the mills."

Kreisler made no answer, but went on working in
silence. Presently he gave vent to an impatient

" Damn these rubber gloves ! I would like to be in
the rubber trust. They put out a cheaper counter-
feit than I would dare. Get me another pair from
my room."

He threw the torn glove on the floor and proceeded
to hang the wet bills on the frame.

Gage, stooping, picked up the glove. Soothingly
he said:

"Never mind, Doctor. You're all right with your
color photography, but I get tired sittin' round here
waitin' for you to pull off your masterpieces. When
are we goin' to start to shove 'em? I want to begin
buyin' bonds in Wall Street."

Kreisler laughed. Drawing the rubber glove on
his right hand, he replied:

"Be patient, Simmie, be patient. You shall, and
we shall be paying for counterfeit with counterfeit!
Counterfeit stock certificates for counterfeit gold
certificates ! There is nothing in the Treasury to back
their stock certificates, and the government protects
them and prosecutes us."

The pickpocket snickered.

"Doctor, that's the difference between promotin'
and coimterfeitin'." Rising from his seat, he added :
"Well, I must be getting on the job. It's theater-
hour in the street-cars. Bunch of swell guys all wear-
ing glad rags and sparklers. I ought to be able to get
some of 'em. Ta-ta! See you again, old sport."



Kreisler smiled grimly.

"Mind you don't get pinched."

Gage went toward the stairs. As he reached
the door it opened, and Mrs. Martin entered carry-
ing a number of paper bundles. Taking off his
hat with a flourish, the pickpocket made a mock

"Hello, mama! Been out getting us something
good to eat, eh? Well, I'll be back to help you
enjoy it. Count me in count me in!"

Before she could answer him, he closed the door
and ran down-stairs.

Mrs. Martin laughed and turned to Kreisler, who
looked up and smiled. Checking her merriment, she
laid down her bundles with a sigh, and, taking off her
hat, proceeded to get ready for the evening meal.
Beyond a brief greeting, the counterfeiter did not
interrupt his work. With his gloved right hand he
poured the contents of two small bottles into the pan
and carefully stirred with a glass rod. When the
mixture was to his satisfaction, he took up one of the
freshly printed ten-dollar banknotes and immersed
it in the bath.

Mrs. Martin watched him for a few moments in
silence. Then, approaching the table, she put her
arm round her husband's neck and lovingly rubbed
her cheek against his.

"Always working always working, aren't you,

Stopping for a moment, he tenderly patted her
cheek with his left hand as he answered :

"We must work, dear, if we are to continue to
live. What is life without work? A frightful, intol-



erable monotony. Besides, I am late with these bills.
We must make haste to finish the job and get away
before the police find us."

She drew back and looked at him anxiously.

"Oh, Friederick, do you think there is any danger
of our being discovered ?"

He shrugged his shoulders.

"There is always that danger, careful as we may
be. How do we know that the house is not watched ?
I noticed a stranger loitering about the street as I
came in."

Mrs. Martin clasped her hands in distress. Im-
ploringly she cried :

"Then come, Friederick! Don't let us wait till
it's too late. If you think we're watched, let us get

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Online LibraryArthur HornblowThe Argyle case → online text (page 11 of 14)