THE TRIGGER OF
EGBERT ORR CHIPPERFIELD
THE SECOND BULLET
THE MAN IN THE Jure
THE TBIGGEE OF COW-
THE TRIGGER OF
ROBERT ORR CHIPPERPIELD
Author of "The Second Bullet," "Unseen
ROBERT M. McBRIDE & COMPANY
Copyright, 1921, by
ROBEBT M. McBBIDE & CO.
Printed in the
United States of America
MR. GRANT INVITES CRITICISM .
THE HORNET'S NEST
UNDER THE DRAGON LANTERN .
THE GLISTENING STRAND
EENWICK CRANE ARRIVES
"MORE THAN ONE"
THE MAN IN THE BUSHES .
IN THE BOXWOOD BUSHES . .
THE CURIOSITY OF MRS. SOWERBY .
THE WOMAN UPSTAIRS ....
THE SHOT FROM THE AIR .
"I KILLED HIM"
THE DRIVER OF DEATH ....
MRS. DORRANCE ADVANCES A THEORY
A PIECE OF RIBBON
THE SHADOW ON THE DOOR .
THE ROSE-LEAF EAR
"THE TRIANGLE TURN" . .
THE TRIGGER OF CONSCIENCE
MB. GRANT -INVITES CRITICISM
THE golf course of the Broadlawns Country
Club lay basking in the mellow sunshine of a
late September afternoon. Vivid coats and sweat-
ers made bright splashes of color, and the striped
awning of the marquee upon the lawn challenged
the eye as defiantly as at the commencement of
the season. But the stout, white-haired old gen-
tleman on the veranda shivered and tugged at the
collar of his too youthful sport coat.
"Hello, Sowerby! Been around to-day?" A
cold, rather gibing voice sounded just behind
him, and President Sowerby of the Tradesmen's
Bank turned irascibly in his chair, and the gaitered
foot, which had rested carefully upon the veranda
rail, slipped to the floor.
Just behind him stood a handsome man of about
forty. The telltale lines about his shrewd eyes
and the curious patch, like a white postage stamp,
2 THE TRIGGER OF CONSCIENCE
in the dark hair above each ear, only added to an
"Confound you, Bowles!" Rutherford Sowerby
exclaimed as he recognized the newcomer. "Why
do you sneak up on those rubber soles of yours
like a stage detective?"
He paused with a snort, and the other, in the
freedom of old acquaintanceship, laughed and
perched himself on the veranda rail. "Sorry I
startled you. Little touch of the gout to-day?"
he asked with half-bantering sympathy.
"No, it isn't!" the old gentleman lied bravely.
"I'm waiting for my wife; never knew a woman
to be on time yet! How was the market? I
didn't run into town this morning."
"Pretty steady," the broker responded ab-
sently, his eyes upon two figures, which, unseen
by his older companion, had started around the
corner of the veranda. One was a young woman
not yet out of her twenties, pretty in a fluffy, col-
orless, rather insipid fashion, and the other was a
slightly older man with a dapper little blond mus-
tache and prominent light blue eyes.
The couple halted instantly, and the woman
flushed and made a slight, almost imperceptible
motion of dismissal. Her companion, accepting
his dismissal, disappeared around the corner of
MR. GRANT INVITES CRITICISM 3
the veranda, and she came forward biting her full
lips. Bowles, the broker, smiled inwardly at the
incident. The woman was Sowerby's young wife,
and Philip Dorrance, treasurer popularly known
as "husband" of the Farr Rubber Company,
had been her companion. Ogden Bowles raised
his voice slightly and added in his bantering tone :
"There wasn't much movement on the Exchange,
but rubber seems to be booming. Good afternoon,
Mrs. Sowerby!" He rose, and young Mrs. Sow-
erby flushed as he had meant that she should
and darted a venomous glance at him.
1 i Good afternoon, ' ' she replied sweetly. ' * Have
you met the new secretary of the club the one
whom the committee engaged to succeed poor Mr.
Martin? Mrs. Carter says he is rather a grouch,
but I believe he refused to advance her any money
this afternoon to pay her bridge debt. He told
her that her account on the books was already
quite heavy for this month, and, being a new man,
he couldn't take the responsibility without con-
sulting the secretary of the club, Mr. Estridge."
She smiled and turned to her husband. "Have I
kept you waiting, dear? I stopped for a minute
to speak to the Frasers and Mr. Dorrance. They
were watching Gerald Landon and Miss Dare
finish their round."
4 THE TRIGGER OF CONSCIENCE
Bowles* face had darkened for an instant at
her thrust at Mrs. Carter. Ignoring her remark
about the secretary, he repeated, as he prepared
to depart: "Gerald Landon? That young friend
of the Frasers? I hope he shows up well later in
the tournament, for he's made the only decent
scores here this season. By the way, I understand
he is the assistant cashier at your bank, Sowerby ?
What we need here is young blood to put some
pep into the game. I am sure a golf enthusiast
like yourself will agree with me. Please save me
a fox trot at the dance to-night, Mrs. Sowerby."
As the broker moved away Sowerby thundered
at his wife. "What we need is less of his cool
impudence around here," he said. "What busi-
ness is it of his how enthusiastic I am about
his infernal golf, and what business have you
to interest yourself in that Carter woman's
"Just because," Maud Sowerby responded.
"Gad, it's the sort of thing a man wouldn't have
mentioned ! Commend me to women for making a
country club a hotbed of knocking and backbiting
and general cattishness ! " Her husband stamped
his gouty foot and then swore vigorously, but her
equanimity was not disturbed.
ME. GRANT INVITES CRITICISM 5
"Go on, dear! You've called me the name of
about every other animal in the menagerie, so I
may as well be a cat, too, ' ' she observed.
His fat face flamed in mounting, apoplectic
rage. "Cats aren't in menageries! They're in
back alleys like the one you came from!" he ex-
claimed. ' ' Stop that infernal tapping on the rail
with your fingers. You're no longer at the type-
writer where I found you when I was fool enough
to marry you!"
Maud Sowerby's breath drew in with a little
venomous hiss, but the nervous tapping of her
fingers ceased obediently. She was as much
ashamed of those stubby, thickened fingers as of
the plebeian origin with which the irascible old
man always taunted her when his gout got the
better of him. The next moment she rose lightly
from the low wicker chair.
"I think I'll join the Frasers." In spite of
herself a little sharp note had crept into her
tones. "This constant washing of dirty linen
in public, my dear Rutherford, really ought to be
confined to back yards where alley cats con-
gregate ! ' '
As she left him the old man chuckled in vicious
glee. He was still chuckling when a tall, slender,
6 THE TRIGGER OF CONSCIENCE
distinguished-looking, gray-haired man of fifty,
after a word or two with the club steward in the
doorway, approached him.
"Hello, Rutherford! Have you met the new
secretary of the club 1 ?" His voice, though confi-
dentially modulated, was suave and resonant with
the notes of a trained orator, and the smile, with
which he met the eyes of the bank president, was
the diplomatic one which had overcome the preju-
dices of more than one difficult jury in a cele-
Rutherford Sowerby grunted. " 'Lo, Sam!
What's all this about your infernal secretary?
Haven't I always maintained that this club was
too small to need a salaried one? Aren't you the
official, duly elected officer in that capacity? I
never did see why the steward couldn't keep the
tuppenny monthly accounts and bring them to you
to be ratified without any intermediary."
"Yet you were one of the directors at the last
meeting who instructed the chairman of the house
committee to ask me to find a man for you."
Samuel Estridge's tone seemed not to have
changed, but it held a quality which made the
older man eye him more keenly. "I think you'd
better come along and have a look at him. ' '
Without another word Sowerby hauled himself
MR. GRANT INVITES CRITICISM 7
out of his chair, and the two strolled into the club-
house. They proceeded at once to the secretary's
office on the other side of the staircase from that
of the steward.
Here they found a stocky man of indeterminate
middle age, with a shock of sandy hair as heavy
as a wig and thick-rimmed glasses beneath his
eye-shade, poring nearsightedly over a ledger
behind the desk. In front of it stood a stout, ma-
jestic, elderly woman with a high, bony nose and
piercing dark eyes that glared across the counter
through a short-handled, diamond-studded lor-
"I am positive that there is some mistake!"
she was saying in frigid, dominant tones. Then,
as she caught sight of the newcomers, she turned
to the lawyer. "Mr. Estridge, I really think that
Mr. Martin, no matter how ill he was before he
went West, ought to have gone more thoroughly
over the books with your new Mr. Grant here. I
am certain that my personal account is incorrect,
and, although I do not wish to go so far as to lay
it before the board "
"My clear Mrs. de Forest, this is Mr. Grant's
first day in active charge, you know." The law-
yer's voice was as winning as his smile. "I prom-
ise you that I will give him my personal assistance
8 THE TEIGGER OF CONSCIENCE
and look into this matter at the earliest possible
opportunity. ' '
Cutting short the lady's effusive declaration
that she would not dream of troubling him and
had no doubt that the trifling affair would adjust
itself, he led her adroitly into a discussion of the
afternoon's bridge game. Presently the dapper,
blond, young Mr. Dorrance appeared in the door-
way and, with the conciliatory little cough he
usually reserved solely for addressing his own
wife, announced: "Mrs. de Forest, I have been
looking everywhere for you! Josephine and the
Frasers are waiting tea, and they wouldn't
The social arbiter of Broadlawns smiled gra-
ciously. "Of course ! I'll join them at once. How
stupid of me ! ' ' With an inclination of her elabo-
rately coiffured gray head to the others she de-
parted in his company much after the manner of
a huge liner with a fussy little tug. Sowerby
growled in an aside to the lawyer: "Wish she
would lay something before the board, as she's
always threatening to do, while I'm present at
the meeting! What I'd do to it But your
man here does seem to be er going a bit
farther than Martin. I hear he disputed Mrs.
MR. GRANT INVITES CRITICISM 9
The shock of sandy hair had not raised itself
an inch from above the ledger, and Estridge
stepped qniokly forward as though he, too, had
not heard his companion's remark.
"Getting on to the work all right, Grant? Mr.
Sowerby, this is Mr. James Grant, who will look
after the books for us in place of Mr. Martin.
Grant, this is Mr. Rutherford Sowerby, president
of the Tradesmen's Bank in New York and one
of the directors of the club."
The new secretary of the club acknowledged the
introduction with just the right shade of deference
and then replied to the lawyer's question: "Yes,
sir, I think I shall get on to the work in time quite
satisfactorily. Murdock has been assisting me
to-day in his spare time."
" ' Murdock ?' Yes, I'm sure you'll find the
steward very helpful, and there is no reason why
you shouldn't delegate a lot of the minor accounts
to him, Mr. Grant." Samuel Estridge turned
away. "You needn't stay cooped up in here all
the time, you know. Come on, Rutherford, I've
got something better than tea in my locker!"
Young Mrs. Sowerby appeared in the door of
the office. "Rutherford, the car's waiting, and
you know you ordered it for five o'clock." She
spoke hurriedly, and her eyes shifted as though,
10 THE TRIGGER OF CONSCIENCE
strangely enough, she were trying to avoid meet-
ing the gaze of the man behind the desk. "How
do yon do, Mr. Estridge? May we drop you at
your place on our way home?"
"Thanks, I'm staying on here a little longer.
Have you met our new house secretary, Mr.
Grant?" Estridge was watching her curiously,
and he noted the quick, uncontrollable flush which
mounted in her face.
"Yes, I I've met Mr. Grant." Her eyelids
fluttered and fell, and then she turned quickly to
her husband. "Rutherford, Whitcomb says that
the batteries "
With feline cleverness she had scratched upon
a spot already sore. ' ' Whitcomb 's a fool ! ' ' Sow-
erby charged for the door. "See you to-night,
Sam. This is your fool nonsense, Maud, in want-
ing a bullheaded British driver because he looked
swagger. Swagger, my eye! Now he wants
the earth! Don't I know the batteries of that
His voice died away upon the veranda, and
Estridge turned with a little shrug to the new
secretary, but that worthy had bent once more
over his ledger, and the lawyer strolled out.
In the rotundalike entrance hall, where, as upon
the veranda, cozy little groups were having tea,
MR. GRANT INVITES CRITICISM 11
he came upon Ogden Bowles deep in conversation
with a tall, willowy woman, whose rich red hair
was drawn down over her ears like a Madonna by
Raphael. He would have passed them with a
smiling nod, but the broker stopped him.
"I say, Estridge, do sit down for a minute and
amuse Mrs. Carter. iVe got to see the secretary,
and I am afraid she will run away from me! I
have been trying to persuade her to dine with the
Dorrances and me at the Mayblossom Inn I'd
ask you, too, but I know that you are booked
already, unfortunately and I'm not having any
11 Don't try to amuse me, Mr. Estridge all the
men do that but take this chair by me and satisfy
my feminine and trivial curiosity." Mrs. Carter
had large eyes of a peculiar golden brown, and
she knew how to use them. There was nothing
for the attorney to do but to acquiesce, and he
dropped into the chair indicated, as Bowles bowed
and turned toward the little office.
"Anything that interested you sufficiently to
arouse your curiosity could not be trivial, Mrs.
Carter, ' ' he murmured mechanically.
"That isn't worthy of you, Mr. Estridge," she
replied. "One might expect that sort of thing
from Phil Dorrance, perhaps, if his wife were
12 THE TRIGGER OF CONSCIENCE
not within hearing, but not from our most noted
" 'Criminal lawyer ' sounds ambiguous, doesn't
it?" he said. "But, seriously, you have aroused
my curiosity by declaring that you have any. I
have always looked upon you as one woman devoid
"It isn't very active." As she spoke Mrs. Car-
ter's glinting, topaz eyes shifted from him to the
tiny office at the right of the broad staircase.
"Tell me something about the club's new secre-
tary Mr. Grant, isn't it? He seems to be rather
an unusual individual, not quite like a mere
clerk. ' '
"He isn't." The attorney spoke easily enough,
and his tone had sunk to an even more conversa-
tional level, but he eyed Mrs. Carter's profile,
clean cut against her banded, straight red hair,
with a shrewd glimmer of speculation. * ' I believe
he held a more superior position of some sort, but
he has accepted this until Martin's return because
he is so keen on golf. He won't be tied down to
the office since Murdock can do a lot of his work.
You've met him? I hope he hasn't been officious
about the accounts or anything? These men who
feel superior to their positions so often are dic-
MR. GRANT INVITES CRITICISM 13
Mrs. Carter laughed lightly, and one of her
long, slim, very white hands gripped the chair
arm until the wicker creaked. "Oh, dear, no! I
never bother about my club accounts except to
write a check for the total at the first of the month
without even glancing over my slips. I'm such a
bad business woman ! But, when I went in to ask
this Mr. Grant some trivial question or other, a
little while ago, he seemed to mistake me for some
one else and was so politely incredulous about it
that it rather amused me. I'm sure I never laid
eyes on the man before, unless he has waited upon
me in some shop or bank. What did you say his
position was previous to his coming here, Mr.
Her tone was a bored, idle one, but, as she
moved again restlessly in her chair, the attorney
caught another glimpse of her eyes, and their
eager, almost defensive, light did not accord with
her manner. Was it fear that he read in them
the same fear which had covered the less well-
poised little Mrs. Sowerby with confusion?
"I didn't say, but I'm quite sure he has never
waited upon any one in his life," Estridge replied
deliberately. "I understand he was the confiden-
tial secretary for some very noted personage."
"For whom?" A crisp voice behind him made
14 THE TRIGGER OF CONSCIENCE
him glance over his shoulder to see that Ogden
Bowles had returned. In the usually debonair
broker, too, there appeared a slight, but signifi-
cant, change. The fine lines about his eyes seemed
to have deepened, and his lips were set. "Who
is this fellow, Grant, Estridge! You'll forgive me
for overhearing a part of your conversation, but
it was unavoidable. The man seems rather a dub
"Oh, give him time, Bowles; this is his first
day, you know." The attorney laughed good-
naturedly, but in his mind a curious question was
forming. "I don't know for whom the chap was
confidential secretary, but if you're interested I
don't doubt that I can find out from the house com-
"I'm not sufficiently interested for that,
thanks. ' ' Bowles laughed also, but rather shortly.
"Mrs. Carter, is it to be the Mayblossom Inn?"
She rose with a slow shake of her head. "So
sorry, but I find that I have a slight headache,
and, if I am to return for the dance to-night, I
must rest. I'll let you run me home to my little
cottage, though, if you like."
After a final word or two with Estridge the
couple moved off down the veranda steps, and the
MR. GRANT INVITES CRITICISM 15
attorney sank back in the chair from which he
had just arisen, but he turned it so as to face
the door of the little office in which the new secre-
tary had been installed. What was the matter
with Mrs. Sowerby and Mrs. Carter and Bowles?
Could it be his own imagination, could his nerves
have gone back on him after that last big, grueling
contest of wits in court, or was there really some-
thing strange and sinister underlying the tranquil
surface atmosphere of this little club of suburban
acquaintances greater even than he had conceived
in his knowledge of their petty affairs?
While he sat there lost in reverie Murdock, the
steward, approached. He was a man of forty-odd
with a slight touch of gray at his temples and the
expressionless face of the perfectly trained serv-
ant. Absently Estridge ordered a lemonade.
When the man brought it he remarked: "Mur-
dock, Mr. Grant says that you have been helping
him to-day with the accounts which Mr. Martin
Murdock coughed. "Well, yes, sir," he mur-
mured. ' * Having a little spare time and knowing
the books from going over them with Mr. Martin,
I thought it was what the house committee would
16 THE TRIGGER OF CONSCIENCE
His tone was apologetic, as though feeling that
he had overstepped the bounds of his appointed
duty, but Samuel Estridge nodded approvingly.
"Quite right, Murdock. Take as much off Mr.
Grant 's hands as you can, especially at first. You
know the books, and of course they've been kept
"Of course, sir." Murdock placed the empty
glass upon his tray and started to move off. The
attorney stopped him once more and spoke in a
"Murdock, you've been a trusted employee of
Broadlawns since it was built, and, if anything
goes on at any time that strikes you as being
er not quite regular, I shall appreciate your com-
ing to me, as secretary, instead of first reporting
the matter to the house committee, you under-
Murdock 's face remained expressionless, but he
responded with a shade more emphasis: "Per-
fectly, sir. I have heard of nothing irregular, and
I am quite sure that there will be no difficulty
about the books. Thank you, sir. ' '
This time he departed without further com-
ment or instruction, but when he had disappeared
Estridge glanced once more through the doorway
MB. GRANT INVITES CRITICISM 17
into the office of the new secretary. The shock of
sandy hair had been raised for an instant from
above the ledger, and from behind a pair of heavy-
rimmed glasses two shadowed, unexpectedly keen
eyes seemed staring into his own.
THE HOBNET'S NEST
OEPTEMBER had vanished in a burst of
^ springlike warmth. October ushered in a
period of premature, nipping frost which drove
all but the hardiest of the golf players from the
course and speedily turned the leaves of the trees
about the clubhouse to the evanescent scarlet and
gold of autumn.
The veranda was now practically deserted.
Those of the all-year colony, who still forgathered
at Broadlawns for tea and afternoon bridge, pre-
ferred the spacious entrance hall and dining room
the latter in reality a converted sun parlor. It
was here that two feminine members of the club
were lunching together one glowing day late in
"This salad is atrocious!" The larger, more
elderly of the two ladies shook her elaborately
dressed gray head indignantly. "I am really
tempted to lay the matter of the cuisine before
THE HORNET'S NEST 19
the board! As it is I would have invited you to
lunch at the house, Mrs. Dorrance, but I fancied
we might pick up two people here for bridge later.
Besides I am breaking in a new cook. You know
what that means!"
"Indeed I do, my dear Mrs. de Forest!" the
other replied. She was dark and beetle-browed,
and an undeniable shadow appeared upon her firm
upper lip. A tendency to embonpoint she curbed
with obviously Spartan courage. Her one known
act of self-indulgence had been her marriage to
good-looking, penniless, weak Phil Dorrance, twelve
years her junior. She had made him treasurer of
the great Farr Rubber Company, and, although
men looked with contempt upon him for the trans-
action, it was mingled with pity. For the "Em-
press Josephine," as all Broadlawns called her
behind her arrogant back, was no easy task-mis-
tress. "Our own cook left this morning, but
Philip is bringing another out from town with
him this afternoon."
"I thought he was playing off his match with
Ogden Bowles to-day," Mrs. de Forest observed.
"No. I sent him in to Harlier's with my emer-
alds; it occurred to me that I had better have
the settings looked over before the Hallowe'en
dance to-morrow night." Josephine Dorrance
20 THE TRIGGER OF CONSCIENCE
eyed her peach Melba and then pushed it reso-
lutely from her. "You will wear your diamond
necklace, of course?"
Mrs. de Forest shook her head, and her lips
tightened. "No. With so many nouveau riche
members coming into the club I decided that such
a display, at a mere informal Hallowe'en affair,
would be not only vulgar, but a bad example for
Alice. Girls especially those with no money of
their own do get such silly notions and expecta-
tions ! You 've no idea what it is to have a penni-
less, spoiled orphan niece on your hands!" Mrs.
de Forest sighed. "I had hoped that Alice would
be quite a help to me a sort of social secretary,
you know but my poor sister-in-law indulged her
so, and on positively nothing, my dear, that Alice
takes everything quite for granted ! ' '
The Farr rubber fortune was newer by two gen-
erations than the de Forest wealth, and Mrs. Dor-
ranee quite enjoyed the sensation her emeralds
always created at the club, especially among the
lately admitted members. Therefore she raised
her heavy brows slightly as she replied : "I don 't
believe you will be troubled with Miss Dare very
long. That nice Landon boy who is visiting the
"A mere bank employee of Rutherford Sower-
THE HORNET'S NEST 21
by's!" Mrs. de Forest exclaimed. "I have for-
bidden Alice to have anything more to do with him
than sheer courtesy demands. After all she is
my niece, and I do not approve of even a wealthy,
mature woman marrying an indigent upstart,
much less an impressionable girl like Alice with
her future before her. She will keep Gerald Lan-
don in his place." With this Parthian shot Mrs.