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The Argyle case online

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The telephone-bell rang. Kayton picked up the
receiver. After listening he said: "Oh, tell him to
come right in." Turning to Mary, he smiled and
said: "It's Bruce."

The office door was pushed open, and Bruce Argyle
entered hurriedly, his face radiant. The news of the
morning's papers had at last given him a clue to
Mary's whereabouts. Her sudden disappearance and
the air of mystery surrounding it had worried him
to distraction and given rise to all kinds of rumors,
but his own confidence had never failed. He and
Nan were sure that it was for the best, whatever
she had done. Coming forward, arms extended, he
cried :

"Oh, Mary!"

Falling in his embrace just as a sister would, all
she could say was:




The youth dashed back to the door to tell the glad
news to others who were with him.

"Nan Nan Mrs. Wyatt she's here!"

The next instant in rushed Nan, followed by Mrs.
Wyatt. All fell round the young girl's neck and
talked excitedly. Nan, overjoyed, was almost in
tears. Hysterically she cried:

"Mary! Where have you been? How could you
do it? What did you do it for?"

"Please don't mind. I had to to help Mr.

Bruce stared. In an injured tone he exclaimed:

"Has Kayton known all the time? Well, I think
I've been pretty badly treated."

The detective, after several attempts to break in,
stepped forward:

"I'm sorry to interrupt this little family party,
but I'll have to use this office for business. There's
a waiting-room out there." Urging them toward
the door, he added: "Bruce, I want to see you again
before you're finally discharged."

Turning round, the youth said, reproachfully:

"Why didn't you tell me where she was? Did
you think I couldn't keep my mouth shut?"

Kayton laughed. Going back to the desk, he

"I didn't want you to keep it shut. I wanted you
to holler."

"Well, I hollered, all right."

"You did. I heard you."

Mary still stood there watching him. Timidly
she asked:

"Do you mind if I go and talk to Mrs, Martin?"


He smiled.

"I'd like you to do anything you can for Mrs.

He opened the door for her, and she passed out.
He watched her go, and then returned to his desk
with a sigh. What a girl! Every day he liked her
better. If he was only sure she cared for him he
would hesitate no longer. His thoughts were more
full of her than of his work when suddenly Leishman

"Hurley's here!" he said, hastily.

Kayton started. The critical moment had ar-

"Have you got that confession rigged up?" he

The manager held out a paper.

"Here it is, sir."

Kayton glanced it over and smiled.

"That looks convincing. This is where we pull
a woman out of the water when she's determined
to drown; but I think it's the man who will go
under this time. Send him in, and the instant I
touch this button send in Mrs. Martin."

The manager went to the door and spoke to some
one waiting in the hall outside.

"Come in, Mr. Hurley."


HTHE lawyer entered hurriedly, his furtive, uneasy
A glance quickly scanning the detective's face, as
if trying to guess what was in his mind.

"Good morning, Mr. Kayton," he smiled, with
cheerfulness that was obviously forced.

Kayton lit a cigar.

"Good morning, Mr. Hurley."

In spite of the fact that the recent turn which
events had taken were calculated to cause him con-
siderable anxiety, the attorney's manner was out-
wardly calm and as full of self-assurance as ever;
but it did not escape the detective's close scrutiny
that his mouth twitched nervously. Appearing to
notice nothing, he said, lightly:

"How are you?"

Reluctantly the attorney advanced toward the

"Well, I'm very busy this morning, Mr. Kayton,
but I want to oblige you. What is the clue?"

Pretending to be busy with his papers, Kayton
did not answer the question at once. The longer
he could keep his caller in suspense, the more nervous
he would get, the better he could keep him under
observation. All at once, when he judged the mo-
ment right, the detective looked up and said,



"It's a little better than a clue. I think we've
got the man who killed Argyle."

Involuntarily the lawyer fell back a few steps.
All the color receded from his usually ruddy face,
leaving him ghastly pale.

"Well well " he stammered.

Coolly Kayton extended to him the box of cigars.

"Have a cigar?" he said, amiably.

With trembling fingers the lawyer took one.

"Thanks!" he mumbled.

Kayton waved him to a seat.

"Sit down," he said.

But his visitor was too much perturbed to heed
the invitation. Nervously he said:

"Who is it? Who is it?"

Again the detective waved him to a seat. Imitat-
ing the lawyer's mannerism of speech, he said:

"I'll tell you about that. Sit down."

Paler and more uneasy every minute, the attorney
took a chair. There was a slight pause, and then
Kayton, in the most matter-of-fact way, went on:

"Mr. Hurley, when did it first occur to you that
Mr. Argyle's mind was affected?"

For a moment the lawyer made no reply, but
stared at his interlocutor, the pallor of his face in-
creasing every moment. With a painfully forced
smile he faltered:

"I don't get you."

"You will," said the detective, calmly. "You
don't think that you could interest a man in his
position a millionaire in a scheme for counter-
feiting if he were in his right mind ?"

The lawyer started violently.


"What do you mean?" he demanded, hoarsely.

Kayton shrugged his shoulders. Flecking the ash
off his cigar, he asked, carelessly:

"Mr. Hurley, did you ever try a case?"

His visitor smiled awkwardly.

"You forget that I'm a lawyer."

"I don't forget it; I don't believe it."

"What are you driving at?"

Suddenly changing the subject, Kayton asked:

"Mr. Hurley, did you ever see a detectaphone ?"

The visitor opened his eyes.

"A what?"

Kayton opened a drawer, and, taking out the deli-
cate little instrument, he held it up for inspection.

"A detectaphone. Don't be afraid. It won't
bite you. It doesn't do anything but listen; and
it's got the longest ears it makes a sucker look like
a jackass. As you saw in the morning papers be-
fore you packed your bag, we arrested a gang of
counterfeiters last night, after we had been listening
to them for some time with our little detectaphone.
Interesting conversations, too, Hurley. They say
listeners never hear any good of themselves. Let
me read you what you said about me: ' Never-Sleep
Kayton! Isn't he wonderful, this great detective? Oh,
it's all advertising! Eh, Kreisler? He's a pinhead.'
"Sh!' Hurley, not so loud!'"

With a muttered exclamation, the lawyer sprang
to his feet. Angrily, he exclaimed:

" Do you think you can bluff me with a framed-up
thing like that?"

Kayton was trying hard to keep his temper, but
the man's arrogance irritated him.



"Let me finish!" he went on. "We pinched the
whole bunch, and I advised Mrs. Martin to do what
she could for herself by making a complete state-
ment of the facts as she knew them, and in her con-
fession here she not only implicates you with these
counterfeiters, but she also charges you with the
murder of John Argyle!"

His face livid, the lawyer turned to leave the room.

Kayton peremptorily called him back. Holding
out a document, the detective asked:

"Do you know that signature?"

Hurley glanced at it hastily and shook his head.

"I tell you it's a fake to protect herself."

The detective touched a button. Quietly he
went on:

"Then you mean to say that Mrs. Martin is re-
sponsible for the death of John Argyle?"

As he spoke the door opened and Mrs. Martin
entered. Kayton turned to her:

"Mrs. Martin, Mr. Hurley has just stated that
it was you who killed John Argyle."

The woman's pale face flushed with indignation.
Advancing on the lawyer, brandishing her fists, she
exclaimed, hotly:

"What! You! you! you!" Turning to Kay-
ton, she almost screamed: "It's a lie! He killed

Deathly white, his features haggard, his eyes
starting with ill-concealed terror, the lawyer faltered :

"I've been trying to protect her. That's the way
I've got involved in this. She killed him! I'll sign
a statement."

Turning away with a contemptuous shrug of her


shoulders, Mrs. Martin made no further attempt to
protect herself. Sure that the detective was con-
vinced of her innocence and knew who the assassin
was, she dropped into a chair and sat motionless,
her head bowed.

Kayton, his arms folded, stood gazing sternly at
the wretched man, who was trying desperately to
save himself by fixing guilt on a woman. Con-
temptuously, he exclaimed :

"Hurley, you can go to hell your own way. If
you haven't sense enough to see that it's better to
make a clean breast of it and stand for a charge of
manslaughter, you can go to the chair as a counter-
feiting crook that tried to blackmail an old man
and murdered him when he rounded on you. You
gave stuff to the papers to throw suspicion on the
girl and the boy. You came nosing around here
trying to tip off my hand, and the minute you saw
yourself caught you turned on a woman and tried
to sell her out. You're under arrest, and the charge
is murder in the first degree!"

Bounding forward, his pallid face distorted with
terror, his hands clutching convulsively the top of
the desk, the lawyer cried:

"Just a minute, Mr. Kayton!"

Quick as a flash the detective produced a pair of
handcuffs and snapped them on his wrists.

"You're just a minute too late!"

He pushed a button three times, and Joe hurried
in, followed closely by Nash and Cortwright.

Realizing that the end had come, and that noth-
ing further was to be gained by lying, the lawyer
cried :




"Before God, Kay ton, I tell you it was an acci-
dent! He'd gone into this counterfeiting. Then
suddenly he shifted and threatened to show me up.
I took her there to try and use her influence to fix
it. As soon as he saw her he pulled a gun and
tried to shoot her. I knocked it out of his hands.
He sprang on me and tried to strangle me. I didn't
want to hurt him; I just beat him off, trying to de-
fend myself, and the first thing we knew he was
dead on our hands."

The detective shrugged his shoulders. Coldly he

"I don't want to hear your troubles. Tell them
to the district attorney. Boys, take this man

Nash and Cortwright seized hold of the lawyer
and dragged him toward the door leading to the
outer office. Resisting with all his strength, the
lawyer cried:

"Wait a minute, boys! Wait a minute!"

Joe gave him a poke in the ribs. Scornfully he
exclaimed :

"Come on, you big stiff. Take your medicine."

Still struggling, raving, and cursing, Mr. Hurley
was gradually forced to the door. As they dragged
him along he shrieked:

"Take your hands off me, damn you! You can't
do it! Where are your papers? I want a lawyer!
Kayton, give me a chance. I can square it with
you. How much do you want?"

"Shut up!" said the detective, sharply.

The unhappy man cast an appealing glance round.
Wildly he cried :



"My God, it's my life! It's the end of it!"

That was the last they heard. The next instant
they had pulled him through the door, which closed
behind him.

Joe threw up his hands in comic horror.

"Gee, but he's got a yellow streak in him!"

Kayton laughed. Facetiously he said:

"After they've had him in the electric chair
they'll have to fumigate it!"

The assistant went out, and the detective pressed
a button which brought Leishman in. Kayton
pointed to the visitor. Significantly, he said:

"Wait outside, Leishman. Get your hat."

"Yes, gov'nor."

The detective rose and approached Mrs. Martin.
Kindly he said:

"Mrs. Martin, would you like to go and take care
of Dr. Kreisler?"

The woman lifted her pale, tear-stained face
and gazed at the detective in open-eyed astonish-

"Oh yes, yes if I only could!" she cried, clasp-
ing her hands.

He waved his hand in the direction of the door.

"You may go."

"I may?" she cried, the tears springing to her
eyes from joy.

He nodded.

"Yes; I'll send rm> manager with you. I'll come
over as soon as I can and arrange so that you'll
be detained only as a witness. You think I've
treated you brutally. I have, but it was the only
way to save you."



Mrs. Martin staggered to her feet. Weakly she
stammered :

"If I could feel anything at all I'd thank you,
but I'm dead here dead dead."

Helplessly she beat her bosom, as if trying to ex-
press all she felt, and her lips moved as if she wished
to tell him something; but before she could speak
the office door opened, and Mary entered. Kayton
went quickly to the young girl. Quietly he said:

"Miss Masuret, I thought you would like to say
good-by to Mrs. Martin."

Mary looked sympathetically at the sad, bowed
figure standing at the other side of the room. Ad-
vancing quickly and taking the visitor's hand, she

"Oh, sha'n't I see you again?"

Mrs. Martin shook her head sadly. Moving
slightly away from the girl's embrace and averting
her face, she murmured :


"Good-by," said Mary, holding out her hand.

Turning quickly round, Mrs. Martin eagerly
grasped it. Her body shaken by sobs, the tears
rolling down her cheeks, she said, with much emotion:

"Good-by!" Drawing the young girl closer, she
went on, her voice broken by weeping: "You're
where I was twenty years ago. You have just the
same possibilities for love and self-sacrifice." Point-
ing to Kayton, she went on: "This man loves you.
He's waiting to take your life and make it what he
wants it to be. Like me, you'll give everything."

She said no more, but clasped her daughter's hand
tightly in both of hers. Pressing it to her breast and



raising it to her lips, she gazed at her long and ear-
nestly. It was their last farewell. Shaking her
head sadly, she murmured:

"Well, what matter? It must be."

Reluctantly releasing the young girl, she turned
away and slowly left the office. Mary, the tears
rolling down her cheeks, turned to Kayton, who
sprang forward eagerly. Before he could reach her
the telephone rang. Impatiently taking up the re-
ceiver, he said:

"Well, what is it? No; I'm not going to Chicago.
I've got an urgent case here."

Mary looked up anxiously.

"An urgent case?" she asked.

"Yes ours," he smiled. Taking her gently in
his arms, he whispered: "Mary, our joint detective
work is ended. We are entitled to some rest and
happiness now. Will you be my wife?"

"Yes," she murmured, through her tears.


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