Francis A. Adams.

The Transgressors Story of a Great Sin online

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part of his routine.

"Calais, Oct. 12th," are the words that now appear on the slip of paper
he is scanning. "James Golding, accompanied by M. Tabort, French banking
magnate, entered rear car Paris Express from London to cross the
Channel. Car uncoupled in tunnel; explosion; both men instantly killed;
submarine tunnel wrecked."

Here _is_ news. The instinct of the broker is awakened in the operator.
He leaves his desk and walks rapidly to the pit. He places his hand on
the shoulder of a prominent broker. In a few words he tells this man the
news, and asks that the broker make him a "little something" for the
tip.

With the news of Golding's death this broker enters the pit as a seller.
There are now but twenty minutes left before the closing of 'Change, yet
by cautious work he will be able to sell out his holdings at the
inflated prices that prevail. He alone of all the members of the
Exchange knows that the greatest American financier is dead. On the
morrow every stock on the list will depreciate. Now is the time for him
to unload.

A hundred bidders are eager to buy the stock he offers. He reaps a
fortune in the quarter of an hour before the 'Change closes; the rest of
the brokers heap up trouble for the morrow. Five minutes before three
the news of Golding's death is brought to the brokers. It is too late.
In their frenzy the men fear either to buy or sell. The floor is a
veritable bear pit. Men swear and rage in impotent grief as they realize
that they have brought ruin upon themselves by their rash speculation.

While this scene is in progress the world is being told of the death of
the great Financier.

It will be recalled that to William Nevins was assigned the task of
ending the career of James Golding. He has worked secretly, as have all
the other members of the Committee of Forty. Now his role as shadow of
the financier leads him to New York, while some banking scheme is being
consummated; now he is rushing across the continent to be near the
Magnate in San Francisco; the last trip takes him to Europe.

At the time he began to study the movements of Golding, the Magnate was
in London and thither Nevins went; he was detained there, on that
occasion, but three days. On the voyage back to the United States he was
afforded an excellent opportunity to observe Golding. Nevins became
acquainted with the man whose life he was to take, through a business
proposition in regard to an investment. He professed to represent a
syndicate of French investors which was negotiating to purchase and work
a gold mine in Lower California. According to his story, he had secured
the necessary privileges from the Mexican government. Golding was
invited to be a participant in the enterprise, which was destined to
prove a bonanza.

Plausible, suave, intelligent, Nevins has impressed the Magnate most
favorably. So when Nevins proposes that he accompany Golding to Europe
to introduce him to the French capitalists, the financier readily
agrees.

As traveling companions on the millionaire's yacht, the two men leave
New York on September twentieth. Golding is bent on the successful
launching of the big bond issue, with the gold mining scheme as a
secondary consideration; Nevins has only the awful work before him to
consider. London becomes the permanent abode of the two, their trips to
France being short and frequent.

The newly constructed Channel tunnel connecting England with the
continent is a transportation improvement which makes it possible for
one to leave London, at ten o'clock in the morning and be in Paris at
one in the afternoon. The Air line to Paris enters the sub-marine tunnel
at a point twelve miles north of Dover and emerges on the plains eight
miles south of Calais. As an engineering feat the construction of the
tunnel has been heralded as unparalleled.

It is by this speedy route that Golding and Nevins make three trips to
Paris. The Committeeman contrives to interest several French bankers in
his supposititious mine, and by artful manipulation he brings these
bankers and the American Money King together in preliminary
negotiations.

On October twelfth the two are to effect a final understanding with the
members of the French syndicate. The newspapers have given an inkling of
the transactions, and have run stories to the effect that Golding is
negotiating with a French banker for rich gold lands in Mexico.

Independently of Nevins, the bond issue plan has been developed by
Golding and the time for announcing the fact is this same twelfth day of
October.

Knowing the result that will be produced on American securities, he
delays the announcement until the London Exchange closes for the day. He
knows that immediately after making the news public, he is to leave
London, for Paris to be gone until the twentieth. Thus he will avoid
being interviewed.

Golding has calculated that the difference in time of five hours between
London, and New York will result in the announcement being cabled for
the opening of the New York Exchange. This would be the result did not a
number of large London speculators, who hold American securities,
determine to hold back the messages until they apprise their New York
representatives of the matter and advise them how to act.

The monopoly of the cable is obtainable by an easy means. All four of
the lines which communicated with the United States are leased. Messages
rumoring important developments in the China alliance question are
transmitted and suffice to explain the cessation of other news - the
Government is supposed to be using the cables.

Despite the efforts of the speculators, an enterprising correspondent of
a New York News Association succeeds in sending the news of the bond
issue announcement, so that it is received on 'Change at two o'clock.
From another source the message of death is cabled fifteen minutes
before the closing of the market.

Golding and Nevins lunch together before starting for Paris.

"I have closed a deal to-day that will net me twenty-five million
dollars within six weeks," Golding confides to Nevins with an air of
satisfaction. He might be a retail merchant discussing trade with a
neighbor and relating the result of a barter which will net him a profit
of a hundred dollars, for there is no stronger emotion in his speech or
manner than would be evoked by such a commonplace transaction. Yet this
man has just arranged a financial deal which is to maintain the
stability of the currency of a Nation of a hundred millions of people.

"Then it is true that you are to shoulder the responsibility of
disposing of the United States bond issue?" Nevins inquires with a
semblance of interest. "What would that Republic do if it were not for
its public spirited men of wealth? Republics are all right when they are
curbed by the conservative elements, but when the riff-raff gets the
reins in hand, then there is always trouble."

"The days of mob rule in America are over," Golding declares. "It was no
easy matter to wean the people of the fallacious idea that a proletariat
could manage the finances of the country."

"When our mine is in operation you will not have to seek the aid of
England in taking bonds off the hands of the Treasurer of the United
States, will we?" Nevins asks.

"That's just the point," exclaims Golding. They talk on in this strain
until the meal is finished.

"We have ten minutes to get to the terminal," says Nevins, consulting
his watch.

"O, that will be ample time. It only takes five minutes to ride there."

When the train is reached, Golding looks at his watch. "There, I told
you we could make it in five minutes. I am always just on time. Never a
minute too soon or a minute too late. Time is money. Perhaps I am the
wealthiest man in America, if not in the world, because I know the value
of time."

"That certainly is the secret of your success," Nevins declares blandly.

The Special Paris Express is composed of six coaches and the motor; this
train runs at an average speed of sixty-two miles an hour. It is the
fastest train on the continent. So that they may not be disturbed, the
mine promoters have arranged to occupy a private car attached to the
rear of the train. This car they enter. Nevins carries a small
hand-satchel which he declines to give over to the willing porter.

The superintendent of the road is on hand to see that the influential
patrons are properly cared for; he has received his instructions from
the president, who is an intimate friend of James Golding.

The signal is given and the express starts.

In an incredibly short time the tunnel is reached. As the train rushes
into the darkness, Golding notices that the electric lights have not
been turned on.

"Ring for the porter, will you, Mr. Tabort," he asks of Nevins, whom he
knows only as M. Emile Tabort.

"But where is the button? Ah, I have an idea," replies Nevins. "I shall
go into the forward car and find the porter; it will not take a minute."

The car is engulfed in pitchy darkness, save for a glimmer of diffused
light that comes from the cars ahead.

"Hurry, won't you; I hate to be in darkness," says Golding, uneasily.

"I won't keep you waiting long," calls back Nevins, who is half way to
the door.

He turns to look at the Magnate. A vague shadowy form is all that he can
discern in the gloom.

"So here is where you are to end a life of mammon-worship," Nevins
mutters as he steps upon the platform of the forward car.

He bends down, and with a strong, quick jerk uncouples the rear car.

For a few seconds the detached car keeps up with the train, then as its
momentum is exhausted, a rapidly widening gap is made.

"In five minutes you will have light," Nevins calls grimly, as he looks
at the fading car.

The train rushes ahead with speed that is imperceptibly increased.
Nevins climbs to the top of the car and crawls toward the front of the
train. He works his way to the coach immediately behind the motor.
Standing on the platform he removes his coat and trousers and reappears
arrayed in the common suit of a train hand. A soft cap completes the
disguise.

A faint rumble reaches his ears.

"_The first Magnate has fallen_" he whispers, as if confiding a secret.

"Yes; I have carried out my plan. James Golding is buried at the bottom
of the Channel. The time-fuse worked."

When the train emerges from the tunnel it is stopped by the signals of
the Block station. The operator inquires if anything has gone wrong. He
has been unable to communicate with the English station for more than
fifteen minutes, and supposes that the wires have been deranged. Then it
is that the loss of the rear car is discovered.

While the trainmen and passengers discuss the matter, a sound from the
tunnel reaches their ears; a roar resembling a series of dynamite
explosions.

"The tunnel has caved in!" exclaimed the conductor. "Get aboard, for
your lives!"

A rush is made for the train, and in half a minute it pulls away from
the mouth of the tunnel at top speed.

From the rear car the tunnel is visible. The train is five hundred yards
away when the waters burst from the mouth of the tunnel.

Loosed from the confining walls, the gigantic column subsides in height,
spreading on either side of the tracks. It inundates a vast area of the
low country surrounding the station.

Through the employment of the block system, but one train in each
direction is permitted to enter the tunnel at the same time.

A partition wall bisects the tunnel into 'parallel sections, each
containing a single track. The left-hand section, on which are
east-bound tracks, is the one in which the telegraph wires run. The
explosion wrecks the walls of the tunnel and breaks the wires.

The only explanation that can be offered is that the compressed air
cylinder on the car exploded. On each of the tunnel cars a compressed
air apparatus is attached, to insure against the trains being stalled in
the tunnel in the event of the electric motor giving out.

Nevins experiences no difficulty in losing himself in the crowd when the
train reaches Calais. He goes at once to a cheap furnished room which he
has previously engaged. He still wears the attire of a train hand. Once
in his room he sinks upon the bed, his mind and body thoroughly fatigued
by the strain that has been placed upon them.

For more than an hour he is motionless; then his reserve gradually
returns.

"I have fulfilled my pledge," he says to himself. "It had to be done
to-day, for otherwise I should have been compelled to die with Golding.
I have started the execution of the edict of proscription a day in
advance of the schedule.

"This will be the signal for the thirty-nine to do their duty. They must
hear of Golding's death to-day. I shall cable the news to New York; once
there it will be heralded through the country.

"And they will suppose that Golding and a French financier met death
accidentally. Yes, the people will accept this view; but the Committee!
ah! it will know the truth. To the Thirty-nine it will mean that one of
their brothers has gone to his fate with one of the Transgressors. It
will dispel any symptom of hesitancy on their part.

"Two men are supposed to have died in the explosion. The tunnel is
destroyed. Who can say that one of the occupants of the car escaped?"

He sits on the edge of the bed bending forward, and rests his head in
his hands. In this attitude he remains for several minutes.

"Good God, forgive me!" he cries, fervently. "I cannot die in ignorance
of to-morrow! I must hear that my plan is faithfully carried out; that
the Transgressors are annihilated, and the committee have kept their
pledge. Is it false in me to wait? No; for I do not fear death; I would
have faced it forty times could I have done so. The Transgressors would
all have fallen by my hand had such a thing been possible. I shall keep
my pledge, to-morrow."

A few minutes later Nevins leaves the house dressed in a plain suit. He
enters the cable office and writes the following message:

"James Golding, accompanied by M. Tabort, French Banking Magnate,
entered rear car, Paris express for London, to cross the channel. Car
uncoupled in tunnel. Explosion. Both men instantly killed. Sub-marine
tunnel wrecked."

"Send this message to the New York Javelin," are his instructions to the
operator. "Rush it, and I will give you a hundred francs."

"Cable is engaged," is the reply. "Orders from London."

"What news is London sending over this cable?"

"None. It seems strange to keep the cable tied up, when there is such
important news to be sent. But the instructions are, 'Send no messages
to the United States.' I'm sending an unimportant House of Commons
speech."

"Your wire is free, then? I'll give you a thousand francs if you will
send this one message through," Nevins urges persuasively. "I want to
get the news to my paper. They will pay royally for it."

The operator hesitates. A thousand francs is a tempting offer.

"When will you pay?" he asks.

"I will pay you now, on the very spot."

As he speaks Nevins counts out the bills.

It is twenty minutes of eight by the local clock in the cable office.
The clock indicating New York time registers two-forty P.M.

A glance at the Bank of France notes decides the question in the
operator's mind. He takes the money and transmits the message.

Nevins returns to his room to await the developments of the thirteenth
of October.




BOOK IV.

In Freedom's Name.




CHAPTER XXIV.

THE SYNDICATE IN LIQUIDATION.


The crisis has arrived. On the bulletins in front of the leading
newspaper offices in New York crowds congregate. Men discuss the
startling tidings that come from all points of the compass and ask
themselves what the next report will be. Golding's death is the
forerunner of a long list of fatalities.

JAVELIN BULLETIN.

United States Senator Warwick,
of California, was assassinated at
his villa in San Diego.

The murderer, after shooting
the Senator, turned the smoking
pistol upon himself and died with
his victim.

This bulletin is posted on the board in front of the Javelin office.

"What's happening?" asks one of the crowd of the man at his side. "Is
this a wholesale butchery planned by Anarchists, or is it a plot of the
Mafia?"

"God only knows," is the reply.

And to the thousands who stand waiting with breathless excitement for
the next announcement the inability to locate the source of the outburst
of violence is quite as complete as this man's. They realize that a
series of appalling crimes has been committed; yet none can ascribe the
least pretext for them.

The name of one after another of the leading magnates of the land is
posted as the victim of a simultaneous homicide, and the notion that it
is the work of anarchists begins to prevail.

JAVELIN BULLETIN.

Robert Drew, the Sugar King,
while riding in Central Park, was
stabbed to death by an assassin.

The man jumped into his carriage
as it was descending the hill
leading to the One Hundred and
Tenth Street entrance at Seventh
Avenue.

No sooner had the dagger been
buried in the heart of Mr. Drew
than the fanatic withdrew it and
plunged it into his own heart.

The murderer fell forward and
died even before his victim.

When this notice is displayed it causes a shudder to run through the
crowd. This is the first of the deaths to be inflicted in New York.

With the apprehension of men who feel that danger is imminent, the crowd
in front of the bulletin shifts uneasily. There is the thought in all
minds that some awful calamity may come upon them as they stand there.
Then, too, there is the thought that they may not be safe elsewhere. In
such a state of mind men become susceptible to emotion. A word can then
sway a multitude.

From five o'clock, when the first bulletin appeared, until the
announcement of the killing of Mr. Drew, a period of two hours and a
half, the list has grown to frightful proportions.

From Chicago comes the report that Tingwell Fang, the Beef King, has
been killed in his private office by the explosion of a dynamite bomb or
some other infernal machine brought there by a man who for weeks had
been transacting important business with Mr. Fang. The explosion
entirely demolished the office, and when the police succeeded in getting
at the bodies it was found that the bomb-thrower had paid for his deed
with his life.

In a bundle of papers which the man left in the outer office a note is
found which gives his address as the Palmer House. At his room in the
hotel a card is found addressed to the public: It read as follows:

I have fulfilled my oath; my self-destruction
is proof that I am sincere in the
belief that I have acted for the good of mankind.

BENTON S. MARVIN.

Almost as soon as the papers are on the street announcing the tragedy,
another message comes from Chicago telling of the strange death of
Senator Gold. His body and that of a man who had been with him at the
Auditorium are found in the Senator's room. Death has been caused by an
unknown agency. There are no signs of violence on either. The money and
jewelry of both are undisturbed. Neither man appears to have been the
victim of the other's hand, for the apparel of each is unruffled. One is
found lying on the floor near the window; the other is found stretched
across the table in the room.

Following these early bulletins come others from Philadelphia, St. Louis
and Boston, successively announcing the mysterious deaths of President
Vosbeck of the National Transportation Trust, Captain Blood of the St.
Louis Steamship Association, and of ex-U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elias
M. Turner of Massachusetts.

"President Vosbeck met his death while on a tour of inspection in the
new power house of his company in the western part of the city. With him
were his private secretary and a stranger from New York whom he was
taking on a tour of inspection. The secretary was sent to find the
superintendent of the power house. He returned to find both President
Vosbeck and the stranger in the throes of death on the floor near the
great dynamo. In the stranger's hand a cane was clutched. This cane was
one of those that are commonly made at penitentiaries. It was of leather
rings strung on a steel rod."

The above dispatch is spread on the bulletin board, followed by these
details:

"As soon as the hospital surgeons and the electrical experts arrived
they decided that the cane must have come in contact with the deadly
current; and that at that instant Steel and the stranger were standing
upon the metal flooring which made a perfect conductor." The death of
Captain Blood was even more astounding than that of President Vosbeck.

"In company with the newly appointed Superintendent of the grain
elevators, of which the Captain had a monopoly, he descended into the
hold of the steamboat that was taking on a cargo of wheat at the Big
Three Elevator. The two men were hardly below deck when, by some
inexplicable error the engineer received the signal to open the shoot.
An avalanche of golden grain rushed upon the two captives. There was a
cry of dismay from the hold, and then only the sound of the rushing
stream of grain.

"The engine was reversed and the bucket chain began to take up the
grain; but it was too late. When the bodies of the men were reached they
were contorted in the agony of death. Suffocation had come as a tardy
relief to them."

This bulletin adds to the excitement of the crowd. While the people are
reading the extras that tell of the series of strange deaths of men of
such national importance as Vosbeck and Captain Blood, the news comes
from Boston that a double murder has been committed in Brookline, a
suburb of that city.

Ex-Chief Justice Turner of the United States Supreme Court and a friend
who was visiting him at his country house, were set upon by highwaymen
as they were strolling through a strip of woodland, and had been hanged
to trees. It was not known how much money the road agents got. The
Justice had never been in the habit of carrying any large sums. As to
what money Mr. Burton, his friend, might have had on his person, there
was no way of ascertaining.

"The Supreme Court, the Senate, and three of the leading-men in the
country, this is pretty big game," remarks one of the crowd.

"It will be well if it ends there," says another.

"This will cause 'Industrials' to take a slump," observes a stout,
sleek, well dressed man.

"Yes," replies a voice at his elbow, "and it may be that a slump of the
market is at the bottom of most of this. I wouldn't trust these brokers.
They'd kill a regiment to get a flurry on the market if they were
short."

The stout man, who happens to be a stock broker, says no more.

"Get yer extra, all about six millionaires killed; get yer extra!" cry
the newsboys.

"Make it seven," shouts a coarse voice from the very heart of the mass
of humanity.

And seven it is to be.

The bulletin is being cleared for a fresh notice.

"Bet you it's a Banker this time," a book-keeper, who had deserted his
desk to get the latest news, says jestingly.

"Ah, it'll be a dead shoemaker next," laughingly exclaims a messenger
boy who has heard the book-keeper's remark.

By a strange coincidence the name that appears the following instant is
that of Henry Hide, the head of the leather Trust. The ribald jest of
the boy proves to be all too true.




CHAPTER XXV.

BIG NEWS IN THE JAVELIN OFFICE.


Inside the newspaper offices there is even greater excitement than on
the streets. The editors are non-plussed at the appalling news that
comes pouring in from every section of the laud.

How is the news to be conveyed to the people? is the question that the
oldest journalist is unable to answer.

In selecting the leading feature of the day's terrible news, what is to
be considered? The fact that an astounding number of murders or
accidents have simultaneously stricken with death a score of the leading
men of the country, is in itself a matter of unprecedented importance.
But the end is not in sight. Every half hour brings tidings of still
other deaths and murders.

The peculiar feature of the news is, however, that in every instance
where a banker, mine owner or financier is murdered, the evil-doer has
committed suicide. What does this indicate? Is it a concerted move on
the part of some society; or is it the result of an inexplicable
fatalistic phenomenon?

Just as a decision on these points is arrived at, and the editors have


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Online LibraryFrancis A. AdamsThe Transgressors Story of a Great Sin → online text (page 13 of 17)