BOTH PROFESSOR BLINKWELL and the Thurlows chose to return to England by the Calais-Dover route, whichapp to buy dogecoin canada was the more convenient for night travelling, owing to the ferry service which had recently been instituted. They could go to bed on the train in France, and wake up to a sight of the English fields.
"What did they do to Mary Turner?""Oh, that!" the secretary exclaimed, with increased impatienceover the delay, for she was very busy, as always. how to buy uniswap in canada"You will allknow soon enough.""Tell me now." The voice of the girl was singularly compelling;there was something vividly impressive about her just now, thoughher pallid, prematurely mature face and the thin figure in theregulation black dress and white apron showed ordinarily onlyinsignificant. "Tell me now," she repeated, with a monotonousemphasis that somehow moved Sarah to obedience against her will,greatly to her own surprise."They sent her to prison for three years," she answered, sharply.
"Three years?" The salesgirl had repeated the words in a tonethat was indefinable, yet a tone vehement in its incredulousquestioning. "Three years?" she said again, as one refusing tobelieve."Yes," Sarah said, impressed by the girl's earnestness; "threeyears.""Good God!" There was no irreverence in the exclamation thatbroke from the girl's lips. Instead, only a tense horror thattouched to the roots of emotion.Sarah regarded this display of feeling on the part of the youngwoman before her with an increasing astonishment. It was not inher own nature to be demonstrative, and such strong expression ofemotion as this she deemed rather suspicious. She recalled, inaddition, the fact that his was not the first time that HelenMorris had shown a particular interest in the fate of MaryTurner. Sarah wondered why."Say," she demanded, with the directness habitual to her, "whyare you so anxious about it? This is the third time you haveasked me about Mary Turner. What's it to you, I'd like to know?"The salesgirl started violently, and a deep flush drove theaccustomed pallor from her cheeks. She was obviously muchdisturbed by the question."What is it to me?" she repeated in an effort to gain time.
"Why, nothing--nothing at all!" Her expression of distresslightened a little as she hit on an excuse that might serve tojustify her interest. "Nothing at all, only--she's a friend ofmine, a great friend of mine. Oh, yes!" Then, in an instant, thelook of relief vanished, as once again the terrible realityhammered on her consciousness, and an overwhelming dejectionshowed in the dull eyes and in the drooping curves of the whitelips. There was a monotone of desolation as she went on speakingin a whisper meant for the ears of no other. "It's awful--threeyears! Oh, I didn't understand! It's awful!--awful!" With thefinal word, she hurried off, her head bowed. She was stillmurmuring brokenly, incoherently. Her whole attitude was ofwondering grief.Sarah stared after the girl in complete mystification. She couldnot at first guess any possible cause for an emotion so poignant."And now, then, who did shoot Griggs? We've got every one of thegang. They're all crooks. See here," he went on, with a suddenchange to the respectful in his manner, "why don't you startfresh? I'll give you every chance in the world. I'm dead on thelevel with you this time."But he was too late. By now, Mary had herself well in handagain, vastly ashamed of the short period of self-betrayal causedby the official's artifice against her heart. As she listened tothe Inspector's assurances, the mocking expression of her facewas not encouraging to that astute individual, but he perseveredmanfully.
"Just you wait," he went on cheerfully, "and I'll prove to youthat I'm on the level about this, that I'm really your friend....There was a letter came for you to your apartment. My menbrought it down to me. I've read it. Here it is. I'll read itto you!"He picked up an envelope, which had been lying on the desk, anddrew out the single sheet of paper it contained. Mary watchedhim, wondering much more than her expression revealed over thisnew development. Then, as she listened, quick interest touchedher features to a new life. In her eyes leaped emotions to makeor mar a life.This was the letter:"I can't go without telling you how sorry I am. There won'tnever be a time that I won't remember it was me got you sent up,that you did time in my place. I ain't going to forgive myselfever, and I swear I'm going straight always.
"Your true friend, "HELENMORRIS."For once, Burke showed a certain delicacy. When he had finishedthe reading, he said nothing for a long minute--only, sat withhis cunning eyes on the face of the woman who was immobile therebefore him. And, as he looked on her in her slender elegance ofform and gentlewomanly loveliness of face, a lovelinessintelligent and refined beyond that of most women, he felt bornein on his consciousness the fact that here was one to berespected. He fought against the impression. It was to himpreposterous, for she was one of that underworld against which hewas ruthlessly at war. Yet, he could not altogether overcome hisinstinct toward a half-reverent admiration.... And, as the letterproved, she had been innocent at the outset. She had been thevictim of a mistaken justice, made outcast by the law she hadnever wronged.... His mood of respect was inevitable, since hehad some sensibilities, though they were coarsened, and theysensed vaguely the maelstrom of emotions that now swirled in thegirl's breast.To Mary Turner, this was the wonderful hour. In it, thevindication of her innocence was made complete. The story wasthere recorded in black and white on the page written by HelenMorris. It mattered little--or infinitely much!--that it cametoo late. She had gained her evil place in the world, was anotorious woman in fact, was even now a prisoner under suspicionof murder. Nevertheless, she felt a thrill of ecstasy over thiswritten document--which it had never occurred to her to wrestfrom the girl at the time of the oral confession. Now that it hadbeen proffered, the value of it loomed above almost all thingselse in the world. It proclaimed undeniably the wrong underwhich she had suffered. She was not the thief the court hadadjudged her. Now, there's nobody here but just you and me. Comeon, now--put me wise!"Mary was again the resourceful woman who was glad to pit herbrain against the contriving of those who fought her. So, atthis moment, she seemed pliant to the will of the man who urgedher thus cunningly. Her quick glance around the office was of asort to delude the Inspector into a belief that she was yieldingto his lure.
"Are you sure no one will ever know?" she asked, timorously."Nobody but you and me," Burke declared, all agog withanticipation of victory at last. "I give you my word!"Mary met the gaze of the Inspector fully. In the same instant,she flashed on him a smile that was dazzling, the smile of awoman triumphant in her mastery of the situation. Her face wasradiant, luminous with honest mirth. There was something simpleand genuine in her beauty that thrilled the man before her, theman trying so vindictively to trap her to her own undoing. Forall his grossness, Burke was of shrewd perceptions, andsomewhere, half-submerged under the sordid nature of his calling,was a love of things esthetic, a responsiveness to the appeals ofbeauty. Now, as his glance searched the face of the girl who wasbubbling with mirth, he experienced an odd warming of his heartunder the spell of her loveliness--a loveliness wholly feminine,pervasive, wholesome. But, too, his soul shook in a premonitionof catastrophe, for there was mischief in the beaming eyes ofsoftest violet. There was a demon of mockery playing in thecurves of the scarlet lips, as she smiled so winsomely.All his apprehensions were verified by her utterance. It came ina most casual voice, despite the dancing delight in her face.The tones were drawled in the matter-of-fact fashion of statementthat leads a listener to answer without heed to the exact importof the question, unless very alert, indeed.... This is what shesaid in that so-casual voice:
"I'm not speaking loud enough, am I, stenographer?"And that industrious writer of shorthand notes, absorbed in histask, answered instantly from his hidden place in the corridor."No, ma'am, not quite."Mary laughed aloud, while Burke sat dumfounded. She rose swiftly,and went to the nearest window, and with a pull at the cord sentthe shade flying upward. For seconds, there was revealed the busystenographer, bent over his pad. Then, the noise of theascending shade, which had been hammering on his consciousness,penetrated, and he looked up. Realization came, as he beheld thewoman laughing at him through the window. Consternation besethim. He knew that, somehow, he had bungled fatally. A groan ofdistress burst from him, and he fled the place in ignominiousrout.There was another whose spirit was equally desirous offlight--Burke! Yet once again, he was beaten at his own game, hiscunning made of no avail against the clever interpretation ofthis woman whom he assailed. He had no defense to offer. He didnot care to meet her gaze just then, since he was learning torespect her as one wronged, where he had regarded her hithertomerely as of the flotsam and jetsam of the criminal class. So, heavoided her eyes as she stood by the window regarding himquizzically. In a panic of confusion quite new to him in hisyears of experience, he pressed the button on his desk.The doorman appeared with that automatic precision which made himvaluable in his position, and the Inspector hailed the readypresence with a feeling of profound relief.
"Dan, take her back!" he said, feebly.Mary was smiling still as she went to the door. But she couldnot resist the impulse toward retort.
"Oh, yes," she said, suavely; "you were right on the level withme, weren't you, Burke? Nobody here but you and me!" The wordscame in a sing-song of mockery.The Inspector had nothing in the way of answer--only, satmotionless until the door closed after her. Then, left alone, hissole audible comment was a single word--one he had learned,perhaps, from Aggie Lynch:
"Hell!"Chapter 23 The ConfessionBurke was a persistent man, and he had set himself to getting themurderer of Griggs. Foiled in his efforts thus far by theopposition of Mary, he now gave himself over to careful thoughtas to a means of procedure that might offer the bestpossibilities of success. His beetling brows were drawn in afrown of perplexity for a full quarter of an hour, while herested motionless in his chair, an unlighted cigar between hislips. Then, at last, his face cleared; a grin of satisfactiontwisted his heavy mouth, and he smote the desk joyously."It's a cinch it'll get 'im!" he rumbled, in glee.He pressed the button-call, and ordered the doorman to send inCassidy. When the detective appeared a minute later, he wentdirectly to his subject with a straightforward energy usual tohim in his work."Does Garson know we've arrested the Turner girl and youngGilder?" And, when he had been answered in the negative: "Orthat we've got Chicago Red and Dacey here?""No," Cassidy replied. "He hasn't been spoken to since we madethe collar.... He seems worried," the detective volunteered.
Burke's broad jowls shook from the force with which he snappedhis jaws together."He'll be more worried before I get through with him!" hegrowled. He regarded Cassidy speculatively. "Do you remember theThird Degree Inspector Burns worked on McGloin? Well," he wenton, as the detective nodded assent, "that's what I'm going to doto Garson. He's got imagination, that crook! The things he don'tknow about are the things he's afraid of. After he gets in here,I want you to take his pals one after the other, and lock them upin the cells there in the corridor. The shades on the corridorwindows here will be up, and Garson will see them taken in. Thefact of their being there will set his imagination to workingovertime, all right."Burke reflected for a moment, and then issued the finaldirections for the execution of his latest plot.
"When you get the buzzer from me, you have young Gilder and theTurner woman sent in. Then, after a while, you'll get anotherbuzzer. When you hear that, come right in here, and tell me thatthe gang has squealed. I'll do the rest. Bring Garson here injust five minutes.... Tell Dan to come in."As the detective went out, the doorman promptly entered, andthereat Burke proceeded with the further instructions necessaryto the carrying out of his scheme."Take the chairs out of the office, Dan," he directed, "exceptmine and one other--that one!" He indicated a chair standing alittle way from one end of his desk. "Now, have all the shadesup." He chuckled as he added: "That Turner woman saved you thetrouble with one."As the doorman went out after having fulfilled these commands,the Inspector lighted the cigar which he had retained still inhis mouth, and then seated himself in the chair that was setpartly facing the windows opening on the corridor. He smiledwith anticipatory triumph as he made sure that the whole lengthof the corridor with the barred doors of the cells was plainlyvisible to one sitting thus. With a final glance about to makecertain that all was in readiness, he returned to his chair, and,when the door opened, he was, to all appearances, busily engagedin writing.
"Here's Garson, Chief," Cassidy announced."Hello, Joe!" Burke exclaimed, with a seeming of carelessfriendliness, as the detective went out, and Garson stoodmotionless just within the door.
"Sit down, a minute, won't you?" the Inspector continued,affably. He did not look up from his writing as he spoke.Garson's usually strong face was showing weak with fear. Hischin, which was commonly very firm, moved a little from uneasytwitchings of his lips. His clear eyes were slightly clouded toa look of apprehension, as they roved the room furtively. Hemade no answer to the Inspector's greeting for a few moments, butremained standing without movement, poised alertly as if sensingsome concealed peril. Finally, however, his anxiety foundexpression in words. His tone was pregnant with alarm, though hestrove to make it merely complaining."Say, what am I arrested for?" he protested. "I ain't doneanything."Even now, Burke did not look up, and his pen continued to hurryover the paper."Who told you you were arrested?" he remarked, cheerfully, inhis blandest voice.
Garson uttered an ejaculation of disgust."I don't have to be told," he retorted, huffily. "I'm no collegepresident, but, when a cop grabs me and brings me down here, I'vegot sense enough to know I'm pinched."The Inspector did not interrupt his work, but answered with theutmost good nature.
"Is that what they did to you, Joe? I'll have to speak toCassidy about that. Now, just you sit down, Joe, won't you? Iwant to have a little talk with you. I'll be through here in asecond." He went on with the writing.Garson moved forward slightly, to the single chair near the endof the desk, and there seated himself mechanically. His face thuswas turned toward the windows that gave on the corridor, and hiseyes grew yet more clouded as they rested on the grim doors ofthe cells. He writhed in his chair, and his gaze jumped from thecells to the impassive figure of the man at the desk. Now, theforger's nervousness increased momently it swept beyond hiscontrol. Of a sudden, he sprang up, and stepped close to theInspector.
"Say," he said, in a husky voice, "I'd like--I'd like to have alawyer.""What's the matter with you, Joe?" the Inspector returned,always with that imperturbable air, and without raising his headfrom the work that so engrossed his attention. "You know, you'renot arrested, Joe. Maybe, you never will be. Now, for the loveof Mike, keep still, and let me finish this letter."Slowly, very hesitatingly, Garson went back to the chair, andsank down on it in a limp attitude of dejection wholly unlike hiscustomary postures of strength. Again, his fear-fascinated eyeswent to the row of cells that stood silently menacing on theother side of the corridor beyond the windows. His face wastinged with gray. A physical sickness was creeping stealthily onhim, as his thoughts held insistently to the catastrophe thatthreatened. His intelligence was too keen to permit a beliefthat Burke's manner of almost fulsome kindliness hid nothingominous--ominous with a hint of death for him in return for thedeath he had wrought.Then, terror crystallized. His eyes were caught by a figure, thefigure of Cassidy, advancing there in the corridor. And with thedetective went a man whose gait was slinking, craven. Acell-door swung open, the prisoner stepped within, the doorclanged to, the bolts shot into their sockets noisily.
Garson sat huddled, stricken--for he had recognized the victimthrust into the cell before his eyes.... It was Dacey, one of hisown cronies in crime--Dacey, who, the night before, had seen himkill Eddie Griggs. There was something concretely sinister toGarson in this fact of Dacey's presence there in the cell.Of a sudden, the forger cried out raucously:"Say, Inspector, if you've got anything on me, I--I would----"The cry dropped into unintelligible mumblings.Burke retained his manner of serene indifference to the other'sagitation. Still, his pen hurried over the paper; and he did nottrouble to look up as he expostulated, half-banteringly.
"Now, now! What's the matter with you, Joe? I told you that Iwanted to ask you a few questions. That's all."Garson leaped to his feet again resolutely, then faltered, andultimately fell back into the chair with a groan, as theInspector went on speaking."Now, Joe, sit down, and keep still, I tell you, and let me getthrough with this job. It won't take me more than a minutemore."But, after a moment, Garson's emotion forced hint to anotherappeal.
"Say, Inspector----" he began.Then, abruptly, he was silent, his mouth still open to utter thewords that were now held back by horror. Again, he saw thedetective walking forward, out there in the corridor. And withhim, as before, was a second figure, which advanced slinkingly.
Garson leaned forward in his chair, his head thrust out, watchingin rigid suspense. Again, even as before, the door swung wide,the prisoner slipped within, the door clanged shut, the boltsclattered noisily into their sockets.And, in the watcher, terror grew--for he had seen the face ofChicago Red, another of his pals, another who had seen him killGriggs. For a time that seemed to him long ages of misery,Garson sat staring dazedly at the closed doors of the tier ofcells. The peril about him was growing--growing, and it was adeadly peril! At last, he licked his dry lips, and his voicebroke in a throaty whisper.