The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Soul Scar, by Arthur Benjamin Reeve

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Title: The Soul Scar

Author: Arthur Benjamin Reeve

Release Date: April 4, 2018 [EBook #56902]

Language: English

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Inconsistencies in punctuation have been silently corrected. A list of other corrections can be found at the end of the document.





Books by



Honora Wilford






"The Treasure Train" "The Adventuress" "The Panama Plot" and other Craig Kennedy Stories





The Soul Scar

Copyright, 1919, by Harper & Brothers
Printed in the United States of America
Published May, 1919



I The Death-dream 1
II The Marble Heart 17
III The Freud Theory 33
IV The "Hesitation Complex" 48
V The Psychanalysis 63
VI The "Other Woman" 78
VII The Crook Detective 93
VIII The Poisoned Glass 108
IX The Association Test 123
X The Ordeal Bean 138
XI The Rascon Reports 153
XII The "New Morality" 169
XIII The Mechanical Ear 186
XIV The "Jung" Method 202
XV The Conflicting Clues 218
XVI The Finesse 234
XVII The Suppressed Desire 247
XVIII The Confession 261
XIX The Lie-detector 274
XX The Soul Scar 287





"It's the most perplexing case I've been up against, Kennedy, for a long time."

Doctor Leslie, now medical adviser to the district attorney, had dropped in at the laboratory, and, to tell the truth, I was glad of the interruption. For from a retort Kennedy was evolving an olfactory offense which was particularly annoying to me, especially as I was struggling with an article on art for The Star. The things were incongruous, and the article suffered.

"A case?" repeated Kennedy, mechanically. "Here—stick your foot up. That's fine," he added, as he scraped the sole and heel of Leslie's shoe, while Leslie fidgeted impatiently. "This is new."

Apparently Leslie's case was forgotten before it was begun.

"You know," Craig went on, eagerly, "the use of all these new leather substitutes is opening a new [2] field for detectives in the study of foot marks. I've just been analyzing the composition of some of the products. I'll soon be able to identify them all. A case, you say—eh?"

"Yes. You know the lawyer, Vail Wilford? Well, they found him in his office—this morning—dead—the lights on; a suicide—that is, it looked like a suicide at first. I don't know. The thing's a mystery to me."

"Oh—a suicide?" Craig frowned, as though such a thing was entirely too trivial to interrupt his analysis of rubber heels.

"He left this letter—to his wife," persisted Leslie.

We read the note.

Honora [it began]—Don't think I am a coward to do this, but things cannot go on as they have been going. It is no use. I cannot work it out. This is the only way. So I shall drop out. You will find my will in the safe. Good-by forever.


The peculiarly pungent smell of burning rubber had by this time completely filled the laboratory. It was stifling, sickening.

"There—you made me forget that test, with your confounded suicide," reproached Kennedy. "That sample's ruined."

"Glad of it," I snorted. "Now I won't need a gas-mask."

However, in curiosity I looked at the note again. It was, strangely enough, written on a typewriter.


"Hm!" exclaimed Kennedy, with mild interest. "Suicides don't usually write on typewriters. A hasty scrawl—that's what you usually find."

"But Wilford was an unusual man," I suggested. "You might look for almost anything from Wilford."

I read the note again. And as I did so I asked myself whether it was a suicide note, after all. To me, now, it seemed too calmly composed and written for that, as Kennedy had suggested.

I knew Wilford as a lawyer, still comparatively young and well known almost to the point of notoriety, for of late he had taken many society divorce cases. Altogether, his office had become a sort of fashionable court of domestic relations.

"Here's the strange thing," hastened Leslie, taking advantage of Kennedy's momentary interest before he could return to another retort laden with some new material. "We found in the office, on the desk, two glasses. In one there seemed to be traces of nothing at all—but in the other I have discovered decided traces of atropin."

"That looks promising," remarked Kennedy, his analysis now entirely forgotten.

"That's why I decided to call you in. Will you help me?"

"Craig," I interrupted, "I don't know much about Vail Wilford, but he has had such an unsavory reputation that—well, I'd hesitate. I've always considered him a sort of society rat."


"What difference does that make, Walter?" argued Craig, turning on me suddenly. "If a crime has been committed, I must get at it. It is my duty—even if the man is a 'rat,' as you call him. Besides, this promises to be a very interesting case. Where is the body?" he asked, abruptly, in as matter-of-fact a tone as if it had been a wrecked car towed to a garage.

"Removed to his apartment on the Drive," replied Doctor Leslie, now much encouraged and not concealing it. "I've just come from the place. That was where I saw Honora Wilford."

"How did Mrs. Wilford take it?" asked Craig. "Has she been told all this yet?"

"Not about the atropin, I think. That's just what I wanted to tell you about. She was grief-stricken, of course. But she did not faint or do anything like that."

"Then what was it?" hastened Kennedy, impatiently.

"When we told her," replied Leslie, "she exclaimed: 'I knew it! I knew it!' She stood at the side of the bed where the body had been placed. 'I felt it!' she cried. 'Only the other night I had such a horrible dream. I dreamed I saw him in a terrific struggle. I could not make out who or what it was with which he struggled. I tried to run to him. But something seemed to hold me back. I could not move. Then the scene shifted—like a motion picture. I saw a funeral procession and in the coffin I could see as though by a second [5] sight, a face—his face! Oh, it was a warning to me—to him!'

"I tried to calm her," went on Leslie. "But it was of no use. She kept crying out: 'It has come true—just as I saw in the dream. I feared it—even when I knew it was only a dream.' Strange, don't you think, Kennedy?"

"Why didn't you tell me this before?" asked Craig, impatiently.

"Didn't have a chance. You were studying my rubber heels."

"Well—what then? Is there anything else?"

"I questioned her," went on Leslie. "I asked her about her dreams. 'Yes,' she said, 'often I have had the dream of that funeral procession—and always I saw the same face—Vail's! Oh, it is horrible—horrible!'"

Kennedy was studying Leslie now keenly, though he said nothing.

"There's another thing, too," added Leslie, eagerly. "Although Mrs. Wilford seems to be perfectly normal, still I have learned that she was suffering from the usual society complaint—nervousness—nervous breakdown. She had been treated for some time by Doctor Lathrop—you know, the society physician they all run to?"

Kennedy nodded.

"Then, on a sort of docket, or, rather, calendar for private notes by dates, on the desk of Wilford, I discovered this entry, among others, 'Prepare papers in proposed case of Lathrop vs. Lathrop.' [6] I turned back the calendar. Several times, on previous days, covering quite a period of time, I found entries like this: 'Vina at four,' 'Vina at six,' and other dates."

I glanced over at Kennedy. Vina Lathrop! I knew also of Vina Lathrop, the beautiful wife of the society physician. It was certainly news that a divorce proceeding had even been contemplated. I could imagine how the newspapers would revel in it when they knew.

"Then you'll go?" queried Doctor Leslie, anxiously.

Kennedy completely ignored my earlier objection. "Certainly I'll go," he replied, pulling off his stained smock.

Ten minutes later, with Doctor Leslie, we came to the Wilford apartment, one of those ornate and expensive multiple dwellings that front the river and command a rental that fixes a social station in certain sets.

Following him, we rode up in the elevator, and had scarcely been admitted to the Wilford suite when we were greeted familiarly by a voice.

It was Doyle, of the detective bureau, a sleuth of the old school, but for all that a capital fellow and one with whom we got along very nicely, so long as we flattered him and allowed him a generous share of credit when the rounding out of a case came about.

"What do you really know about her?" he whispered, finally, after a few moments' chat, jerking [7] his thumb ominously as he pointed with it down the hall in the direction of a room where I supposed that Honora Wilford must be.

"Very little, it's true," cut in Leslie. "I think our report said that her maiden name was Honora Chappelle, that her father, Honore Chappelle, made quite a fortune as an optician, that she was an only child and inherited—"

"I don't mean her pedigree," scorned Doyle. "I mean modern history. Now, I've been making some inquiries, from the neighbors and others, and I've had a couple of men out picking up stray bits of information."

Doyle leaned over patronizingly to Kennedy, as much as to say that, with all Craig's science, he couldn't beat the organization of the regular force, a contention Kennedy was always quite willing to admit.

"I have just learned," informed Doyle, "that Wilford had been having her shadowed. They tell me, too, that she has been seen once or twice with an old friend of hers, Vance Shattuck, the broker. They tell me that before she married Wilford she was once engaged to Shattuck. Know him?" he asked, turning to me.

"I've heard of him," I replied. "I guess he's well known on Wall Street—seems to get his name into the papers often enough, anyhow, in one scandal or another."

"Well, I think that dream stuff is all camouflage, just between you and me," nodded Doyle, sagely, [8] drawing a piece of paper from his pocket. "I've been going over things pretty carefully since I've been here. In her desk I found this thing."

He held out the paper to Kennedy. It was a page torn out of a book of poetry, an anthology, I imagined, for on the page was printed the title of a sonnet, "Renouncement," and the name of the author, Alice Meynell. On the wide margin of the page was written in ink, in what Doyle assured us was Mrs. Wilford's own handwriting, the notation, "One of the greatest sonnets of pure emotion."

We all read it and I am forced to admit that, whatever our opinion might have been of Honora Wilford before, we were convinced that her literary judgment was not at fault. I add the sonnet:

I must not think of thee; and tired, yet strong,
I shun the love that lurks in all delight—
The love of thee—and in the blue heaven's height
And in the dearest passage of a song.
Oh, just beyond the sweetest thoughts that throng
This breast, the thought of thee waits hidden, yet bright;
But must it never, never come in sight;
I must stop short of thee the whole day long.
But when sleep comes to close each difficult day,
When night gives pause to the long watch I keep,
And all my bonds I needs must loose apart,
Must doff my will as raiment laid away—
With the first dream that comes, with the first sleep
I run, I run, I am gathered to thy heart.

Kennedy folded up the sonnet and its notation, and, without a word, turned from Doyle and [9] looked about the room in which we were, a little reception-room.

On the table before Doyle there were two glasses, as well as some other objects which Doyle had either collected or brought with him from the office.

"I suppose those are the glasses you found at the office," ventured Kennedy. "In one of them I understand that traces of atropin were found."

Doyle nodded.

"What's that?" asked Craig, pointing to a cut-glass-stoppered bottle which was standing by the glasses, empty.

"That? It was found with a vanity-case and some other things on her dressing-table. It once contained belladonna—atropin, you know. I've had her maid, Celeste, cross-examined. Mrs. Wilford used belladonna to brighten her eyes sometimes, as many society women do."

I shot a glance of inquiry at Doyle, who nodded. "So far, we haven't been able to connect Mrs. Wilford directly with the mystery, but we're keeping the evidence," he confirmed.

I must admit that both Doyle's information and his general attitude after what we had heard from Leslie came as a shock.

Yet, try as I might, I had to admit that even if that were the purpose for which Honora Wilford had the belladonna, it need not have been the only use to which she put it. Doyle was raising a very serious presumption, at least. A poison like belladonna [10] was a dangerous weapon, I reasoned, in the hands of a jealous woman. The mere possession of it and the traces of atropin in the glass did, I confessed, look badly.

A moment later, with the physician and the detective, we entered the room where the body lay.

Wilford had been a large and rather forceful figure in life. I knew him as a man of unusual ability, though I despised the direction in which his legal talents had been diverted. Perhaps, I thought, unusual talents had brought unusual temptations. For, whatever we may have thought of people in life, our judgments are necessarily softened by death.

As I looked at him now, I could not escape the feeling that his peculiar kind of success somehow would afford the basic reason which would prove to be the solution of the mystery before us.

At length Kennedy straightened up and turned to us, a peculiar look on his face.

"What is it?" I queried, impatiently. "Have you discovered something already?"

Without replying for the moment, Kennedy glanced down significantly at the eye of Wilford as he held the lid with his finger.

"Atropin, you know, would dilate the pupil," he remarked, simply.

We took a step closer and looked. The pupils of both eyes were contracted.

"I know," remarked Doyle, wisely, "but there may have been something else. You remember the Buchanan case?"


Before any one could answer, he went on: "Remember when the Carlyle Harris case was going on, the testimony showed that Helen Potts's eyes had been contracted to a pin-point? Well, at that time Doctor Buchanan, a dentist down on Staten Island, I think, was talking to a patient. He said that Harris was a fool—that all he needed to have done was to have put some atropin in the capsule with the morphine—and her pupils would have expanded—and thus covered up the morphine clue. Later, when he himself was accused of murder, the patient recollected what the doctor had said, and it was found that he had tried the very thing himself. It was proved against him. Perhaps there is something like that."

Kennedy nodded sententiously at Doyle's wisdom, but did not betray what his real opinion was, if indeed he had formed any so soon.

"You have examined the contents of the stomach?" asked Craig of Leslie.

Doctor Leslie shook his head. "Not yet. I have not had time. Remember, it is only a couple of hours since this case was handed over to me and it has been only a matter of minutes since I learned that there was anything suspicious."

"Then I suppose you have no objection to my sharing the examination with you?"

"None whatsoever. In fact, I should welcome it. Leave it to me. I will arrange for samples of everything to be sent to you at your laboratory at the very first opportunity."


"Very well, then," thanked Kennedy. "Now I should like to see Mrs. Wilford, if she is here."

"You bet she's here," ejaculated Doyle. "You don't suppose I'd let her get away, do you?"

He led the way down the hall to a sort of drawing-room.

Honora Wilford was a tall, perfectly formed woman, a beautiful woman, too. At first glance she gave one an impression of youth, though soon one saw that she was mature. I think that for that very reason she was fascinating. There was something baffling about her.

Remembering what Leslie had said about the dream, I was surprised to see she was of anything, apparently, but a hysterical nature. One would not have thought her to be the type subject to hallucinations of any nature.

Honora had large, lustrous, gray-blue eyes.

From her carefully dressed chestnut hair to her dainty, fashionable foot-gear she was "correct." Her face had what people call "character." Yet, as I studied it and the personality it expressed, I had an indefinable feeling that there was something wanting.

It was some time before I was able to catch it, much less express it. But as she talked I realized what it was. Her beauty was that of a splendid piece of sculpture—cold, almost marble.

There seemed to be something lacking. I could not at first define it, yet I felt that it was lacking, nevertheless. The very perfection I saw fell short [13] of some quality. It was that elusive thing we call "heart."

As we entered with Doyle, Honora seemed to ignore him. Once I saw her covertly eying Kennedy, after our introduction, as though estimating him. Doyle had glossed the introduction over by saying that we were a "couple of scientists." What idea it conveyed to Mrs. Wilford I do not know. It meant nothing to me, except that Doyle suffered from either secret jealously or contempt.

"I understand," questioned Doyle, in his best third-degree, hammer-and-tongs method, "that some time ago you had a disagreement with Mr. Wilford and even threatened to leave him."

"Yes?" parried Honora, without admitting a syllable. "I didn't leave him, though, did I?"

I watched her closely. She did not flinch from the questioning, nor did she betray anything. Her face wore an expression of enforced calmness. Had she steeled herself for this ordeal, as merely the first of many?

Try as he might, Doyle could not shake her calmness. Yet all the time he gave the impression that he was holding something in reserve against her.

"We shall have to require you to stay here, for the present," added Doyle, ominously, as his man summoned him outside for some message from headquarters.

I saw what his idea was. It was a refinement of torture for her—in the hope that, surrounded by [14] things that would keep the tragedy constantly in her mind, she might break down. Honora, on the other hand, did not seem to me to be entirely frank with the detective. Was it that Doyle, by his manner, antagonized her? Or was there some deeper reason?

For a moment we were alone with her. If I had expected any appeal to Kennedy, I was mistaken.

"I understand that you have been under the care of Doctor Lathrop," hazarded Craig.

"Yes," she replied; "I've been so run down and miserable this season in town that I needed some treatment."

"I see," considered Kennedy. "Doctor Leslie has told me. He also told me about your dreams."

She averted her eyes. "They have made me even more nervous," she murmured, and I now noticed that it was quite true that her apparent placid exterior was merely a matter of will-power.

"Do you dream more—or less, lately?" Craig asked. "That is, I mean since you have been consulting Doctor Lathrop. Has his treatment done you any good?"

I wondered whether, beneath her nervousness, she was on guard always.

"I think I have been getting more and more nervous, instead of less," she answered, in a low tone. "So many dreams of Vail—and always dreams of warning—of death. My dreams are so peculiar, too. Why, last night I dreamed even of [15] Doctor Lathrop. In the dream I seemed to be going along a path. It was narrow, and as I turned a corner there was a lion in the way. I was horribly frightened, of course—so frightened that I woke up. The strange part of it was that, as I recollected the dream, the face of the lion seemed to be that of Doctor Lathrop."

"Have you told him? What does he say?"

"I haven't had a chance to see him—though by the way I feel after this tragedy I shall need a physician—soon. He tells me that I am run down, that I need a complete change of surroundings."

It was evident that, whatever the reason, her nervous condition was quite as she described it. Kennedy evidently considered that nothing was to be gained by questioning her further just at that moment, and we left her.

Outside we were joined by Doctor Leslie.

"What do you think of it?" he asked.

"A most peculiar tangle, to say the least," remarked Kennedy. "Just consider it. Here are two couples—Wilford and Honora, Doctor Lathrop and his wife, Vina. We may suspect, from what you found at the office, something in the relations of Wilford and Vina. As to the doctor and Honora—we don't know. Then, into the case seems to have entered a fifth person, Vance Shattuck. Really, Leslie, I cannot say anything now. It seems as though it might be quite complicated. I shall have to visit them, talk with them, find out. You and Doyle will keep me informed?"


"Certainly. And I will let you have the materials for your tests as soon as possible."

As we left the apartment, Kennedy appeared preoccupied.

"Those dreams were peculiar," he remarked, slowly, almost to himself.

I glanced at him quickly.

"You don't mean to say that you attach any importance to dreams?" I remarked.

Kennedy merely shrugged.

But I knew from his actions that he did.



"I'm going to get acquainted with the people in this case," remarked Kennedy, as he left the Wilford apartment, "and first of all it will be with Vance Shattuck."

We found that Shattuck lived in a rather sumptuous bachelor apartment farther up the Drive, to which we were admitted by his Japanese valet, who led the way into a sort of den, then disappeared to summon his master.

As we waited in the den I glanced about. It was a most attractive and fascinating place. There were innumerable curios that seemed to have been gathered from all over the world. Nor were they merely thrown together in a jumble. It was artistic, too, with a masculine art.

From the manner of the valet, though he had said nothing, I somehow gathered that Shattuck had been waiting for something or somebody. It was no longer early in the morning and I knew that he must have been neglecting his business, that is, if he really had any to neglect. I wondered why he should be doing so.


A few minutes later Shattuck himself appeared, a slim, debonair, youngish-old man, with dark hair of the sort that turns iron-gray in spots even in youth. Somehow he gave the impression of being a man of few words, of being on guard even thus early in our meeting.

"You have evidently traveled considerably," commented Kennedy, as he entered and we introduced ourselves.

"Yes, a great deal, before the war," replied Shattuck, guardedly watching.

"In Africa, I see," added Kennedy, who had been examining some striking big-game photographs that hung on a side wall.

"Once I was in Africa—yes. But I contracted a fever there. It has left me unable to stand the fatigue I used to stand. However, I'm all right—otherwise—and good for a great many years in this climate—so my doctor tells me."

"Doctor Lathrop?" suggested Kennedy, quickly.

Shattuck evaded replying. "To what am I indebted for the honor?" he queried, coldly now, still standing and not offering us seats.

"I suppose you have heard of the death of Vail Wilford?" asked Kennedy, coming directly to the point.

"Yes. I have just learned that he was found dead in his office, the lights turned on, and with a note left by him to his wife. It's very sudden."

"You were acquainted with Honora Wilford, I believe?"


Shattuck flashed a quick glance sidewise.

"We went to school together."

"And were engaged once, were you not?"

Shattuck looked at Kennedy keenly.

"Yes," he replied, hastily. "But what business of yours—or anybody's, for that matter—is that?" A moment later he caught himself. "That is," he added, "I mean—how did you know that? It was a sort of secret, I thought, between us. She broke it off—not I."

"She broke off the engagement?"

"Yes—a story about an escapade of mine, and all that sort of thing, that kind mutual friends do so well for one in repeating—but! by Jove, I like your nerve, sir, to talk about it—to me. The fact of the matter is, I prefer not to talk about it. There are some incidents in a man's life, particularly where a woman is concerned, that are a closed book."

He said it with a mixture of defiance and finality.

"Quite true," hastened Kennedy, briskly, "but a murder has been committed. The police have been called in. Everything must be gone over carefully. We can't stand on any ceremony now, you know—"

At that moment the telephone rang and Shattuck turned quickly toward the hall as his valet padded in after having answered it softly.

"You will excuse me a moment?" he begged.

Was this call what he had been waiting for? I [20] looked about, but there was no chance to get into the hall or near enough in the den to overhear.

While Shattuck was at the telephone, Kennedy paced across the room to a bookcase. There he paused a moment and ran his eye over the titles of some of the books. They were of a most curious miscellaneous selection, showing that the reader had been interested in pretty nearly every serious subject and somewhat more than a mere dabbler. Kennedy bent down closer to be sure of one title, and from where I was standing behind him I could catch sight of it. It was a book on dreams translated from the works of Dr. Sigmund Freud.

Kennedy continued to pace up and down.

Out in the hall Shattuck was still at the telephone and we could just make out that he was talking in a very low tone, inaudible to us at a distance. I wondered with whom it might be. From his manner, which was about all we could observe, I gathered that it was a lady with whom he talked. Few of us ever get over the feeling that in some way we are in the presence of the person on the other end of the wire. Could it have been with Honora Wilford herself that he was talking?

A few moments later Shattuck returned from the telephone.

"Have you met Mrs. Wilford recently?" asked Kennedy, picking up the conversation where he had been interrupted by the call.

Shattuck eyed Kennedy with hostility and grunted a surly negative. I felt that it was a lie.


"I suppose you know that she has been suffering from nervous trouble for some time?" he continued, calmly ignoring Shattuck's answer, then adding, sarcastically, "I trust you won't consider it an impertinence, Mr. Shattuck, if I ask you whether you were aware that Doctor Lathrop was Mrs. Wilford's physician?"

"Yes, I am aware of it," returned Shattuck. "What of it?"

"He is yours, too, is he not?" asked Kennedy, pointedly.

Shattuck was plainly nettled by the question, especially as he could not seem to follow whither Kennedy was drifting.

"He was once," he answered, testily. "But I gave him up."

"You gave him up?"

It has always been a source of enjoyment to me to watch Kennedy badgering an unwilling and hostile witness. Shattuck was suddenly finding himself to be far from the man of few words he thought himself. It was not so much in what Kennedy asked as the manner in which he asked it. Shattuck was immediately placed on the defensive, much to his chagrin.

"Yes. I most strenuously object to being the subject of—what shall I call it—perhaps—this mental vivisection, I suppose," he snapped, vexed at himself for answering at all, yet finding himself under the necessity of finishing what he had unwillingly begun under the lash of Kennedy's quizzing.


Kennedy did not hesitate. "Why?" he asked. "Do you think that he sometimes oversteps his mark in trying to find out about the mental life of his patients?"

Shattuck managed to control a sharp reply that was trembling on his tongue.

"I would rather say nothing about it," he shrugged.

"I see you are a student of Freud yourself," switched Kennedy, quickly, with a nod toward the bookcase.

"And of many other things," retorted Shattuck. "You'll find about a ton of literature in that bookcase."

"But it was about her dreams," persisted Kennedy, "that she consulted Doctor Lathrop, I believe. Are you acquainted with the nature of the dreams?"

Shattuck eyed him in silence. It was evident that he realized that the only refuge from the quizzing lay in that direction.

"Really, sir," he said, at last, "I don't care to discuss a thing I know nothing about any further."

He turned, as though only by a studied insult could he find escape. I expected Kennedy to flare up, but he did not. Instead, he was ominously polite.

"Thank you," he said, with a mocking sarcasm that angered Shattuck the more. "I suppose I may reach you at your place of business, later, if I need?"


Shattuck nodded, but I knew there was a mental reservation back of it and that his switchboard operator would be given instructions to scrutinize every call carefully, and that, should we call up, Mr. Shattuck would have "just stepped out." As for Kennedy's tone, I was sure that it boded no good for Shattuck himself. Perhaps Kennedy reasoned that there would be plenty of other interviews later and that it was not worth while fighting on the first.

On his part Shattuck could do no less than assume an equal politeness as he bowed us out, though I know that inwardly he was ready to consign us to the infernal regions.

Kennedy was no sooner in the street than he hastened to a near-by telephone-booth. Evidently the same thought had been in his mind as had been in mine. He called up Doyle at the Wilford apartment immediately and inquired whether Honora Wilford had made any telephone calls recently. To my surprise, though I will not say to his own, he found out that she had not.

"Then who was it called Shattuck?" I queried. "I could have sworn from his manner that he was talking to a woman. Could it have been to the maid?"

He shook his head. "Celeste is watched, too, you know. No, it was not Celeste that called up. He would never have talked that long nor as deferentially to her. Never mind. We shall see."

Back on the Drive again, we walked hastily up-town [24] a few squares until we came to another apartment, where, in a first-floor window, I saw a little sign in black letters on white, "Dr. Irvin Lathrop."

Fortunately it was at a time when Lathrop was just finishing his office hours, and we had not long to wait until the last patient had left after a consultation.

As we waited I could see that even his waiting-room was handsomely furnished and I knew that it must be expensive, for our own small apartment, a little farther up-town and around the corner from the Drive, cost quite enough, though Kennedy insisted on keeping it because it was so close to the university where he had his laboratory and his class work.

As Lathrop flung the door to his inner office open I saw that he was a tall and commanding-looking man with a Vandyke beard. One would instinctively have picked him out anywhere as a physician.

Lathrop, I knew, was not only well known as a specialist in nervous diseases, but also as a man about town. In spite of his large and lucrative practice, he always seemed to have time enough to visit the many clubs to which he belonged and to hold a prominent place in the social life of the city.

Not only was he well known as a club-man, but he was very popular with the ladies. In fact, it was probably due to the very life that he led that his practice as a physician to the many ills of society had grown.


"I suppose you know of the suicide of Vail Wilford?" asked Kennedy, as he explained briefly, without telling too much, our connection with the case.

Doctor Lathrop signified that he did know, but, like Shattuck, I could see that he was inclined to be cautious about it.

"I've just been talking to Honora Wilford," went on Craig, when we were settled in the doctor's inner office. "I believe she was a patient of yours?"

"Yes," he admitted, with some reluctance.

"And that she had been greatly troubled by nervousness—insomnia—her dreams—and that sort of thing."

The doctor nodded, but did not volunteer any information. However, his was not the hostility of Shattuck. I set it down to professional reticence and, as such, perhaps hard to overcome.

"I understand, also," pursued Kennedy, affecting not to notice anything lacking in the readiness of the answer, "that Vance Shattuck was friendly with her."

The doctor looked at him a moment, as though studying him.

"What do you mean?" he asked, evasively. "What makes you say that?"

"But he was, wasn't he? At least, she was friendly with him?" Kennedy repeated, reversing the form of the question to see what effect it might have.


"I shouldn't say so," returned the doctor, slowly, though not frankly.

Kennedy reached into his pocket and drew forth the sonnet which he had taken from Doyle back at the Wilford apartment.

"You will recognize the handwriting in that notation on the margin," he remarked, quietly. "It is Mrs. Wilford's. Her sentiment, taken from the poem, is interesting."

Lathrop read it and then reread it to gain time, for it was some moments before he could look up, as though he had to make up his mind just what to say.

"Very pretty thought." He nodded, scarcely committing himself.

Lathrop seemed a trifle uneasy.

"I thought it a rather strange coincidence, taken with the bit I learned of her dreams," remarked Kennedy.

Lathrop's glance at Kennedy was one of estimation, but I saw that Kennedy was carefully concealing just how much, or rather at present how little, he actually knew.

"Ordinarily," remarked Lathrop, clearing his throat, "professional ethics would seal my lips, but in this instance, since you seem to think that you know so much, I will tell you—something. I don't like to talk about my patients, and I won't, but, in justice to Mrs. Wilford, I cannot let this pass."

He cleared his throat again and leaned back in [27] his chair, regarding Kennedy watchfully through his glasses as he spoke.

"Some time ago," he resumed, slowly, "Mrs. Wilford came to me to be treated. She said that she suffered from sleeplessness—and then when she slept that her rest was broken by such horrible fantasies."

Kennedy nodded, as though fully conversant already with what the doctor had said.

"There were dreams of her husband," he continued, "morbid fears. One very frequent dream was of him engaged in what seemed to be a terrific struggle, although she has never been able to tell me just with what or whom he seemed to struggle. She told me she always had a feeling of powerlessness when in that dream, as though unable to run to him and help him. Then there were other dreams that she had, especially the dreams of a funeral procession, and always in the coffin she saw his face."

Kennedy nodded again. "Yes, I know of those dreams," he remarked, casually. "And of some others."

For a moment Kennedy's manner seemed to take the doctor off his professional guard—or did he intend it to seem so?

"Only the other day," Lathrop went on, a moment later, "she told me of another dream. In it she seemed to be attacked by a bull. She fled from it, but as it pursued her it seemed to gain on her, and she said she could even feel its [28] hot breath—it was so close. Then, in her dream, in fright, as she ran over the field, hoping to gain a clump of woods, she stumbled and almost fell. She caught herself and ran on. She expected momentarily to be gored by the bull, but, strangely enough, the dream went no farther. It changed. She seemed, she said, to be in the midst of a crowd and in place of the bull pursuing her was now a serpent. It crept over the ground after her and hissed, seemed to fascinate her, and she trembled so that she could no longer run. Her terror, by this time, was so great that she awoke. She tells me that as often as she dreamed them she never finished either dream."

"Very peculiar," commented Kennedy. "You have records of what she has told you?"

"Yes. I may say that I have asked her to make a record of her dreams, as well as other data which I thought might be of use in the diagnosis and treatment of her nervous troubles."

"Might I see them?"

Lathrop shook his head emphatically.

"By no means. I consider that they are privileged, confidential communications between patient and physician—not only illegal, but absolutely unethical to divulge. There's one strange thing, though, that I may be at liberty to add, since you know something already. Always, she says, these animals in the dreams seemed to be endowed with a sort of human personality. Both the bull and the serpent seemed to have human faces."


Kennedy nodded at the surprising information. If I had expected him to refer to the dream of Doctor Lathrop which she herself had told, I was mistaken.

"What do you think is the trouble?" asked Kennedy, at length, quite as though he had no idea what to make of it.

"Trouble? Nervousness, of course. I readily surmised that not the dreams were the cause of her nervousness, but that her nervousness was the cause of her dreams. As for the dreams, they are perfectly simple, I think you will agree. Her nervousness brought back into her recollection something that had once worried her. By careful questioning I think I discovered what was back of her dreams, at least in part. It's nothing you won't discover soon, if you haven't already discovered it. It was an engagement broken before her marriage to Wilford."

"I see," nodded Kennedy.

"In the dreams, you remember, she saw a half-human face on the animals. It was the face of Vance Shattuck."

"I gathered as much," prompted Kennedy.

"It seems that she was once engaged to him—that she broke the engagement because of reports she heard about his escapades. I do not say this to disparage Mr. Shattuck. Far from that. He is a fine fellow—an intimate friend of mine, fellow-clubmate, and all that sort of thing. That was all before he made his trips abroad—hunting, [30] mostly, everywhere from the Arctic to Africa. The fact of the matter is, as I happen to know, that since he traveled abroad he has greatly settled down in his habits. And then, who of us has not sown his wild oats?"

The doctor smiled indulgently at the easy-going doctrine that is now so rapidly passing, especially among medical men.

"Well," he concluded, "that is the story. Make the most of it you can."

"Very strange—very," remarked Kennedy, then, changing the angle of the subject, asked, "You are acquainted with the recent work and the rather remarkable dream theories of Doctor Freud?"

Doctor Lathrop nodded. "Yes," he replied, slowly, "I am acquainted with them—and I dissent vigorously from most of Freud's conclusions."

Kennedy was about to reply to this rather sweeping categorical manner of settling the question, when, as we talked, it became evident that there was some one just outside the partly open doors of the inner office. I had seen a woman anxiously hovering about, but had said nothing.

"Is that you, Vina?" called Doctor Lathrop, also catching sight of her in the hall.

"Yes," she replied, parting the portières and nodding to us. "I beg pardon for interrupting. I was waiting for you to get through, Irvin, but I've an appointment down-town. I'm sure you won't mind?"

Vina Lathrop was indeed a striking woman; [31] dark of hair, perhaps a bit artificial, but of the sort which is the more fascinating to study just because of that artificiality; perhaps not the type of woman most men might think of marrying, but one whom few would fail to be interested in. She seemed to be more of a man's woman than a woman's woman.

"You will excuse me a moment?" begged the doctor, rising. "So, you see," he finished with us, "when you asked me whether she was friendly with Shattuck, it is quite the opposite, I should—"

"You're talking of Honora?" interrupted the doctor's wife.

Doctor Lathrop introduced us, as there seemed to be nothing else to do, but I do not think he was quite at ease.

"I don't think I would have said that," she hastened, almost ignoring, except by an inclination of the head, the introduction in the eagerness to express an idea his words had suggested. "I don't think Honora is capable of either deep love or even deep hate."

"A sort of marble woman?" suggested the doctor, at first biting his lips at having her in the conversation, then affecting to be amused, as though at one woman's spontaneous estimate of another.

Vina shrugged her prettily rounded shoulders, but said no more on the subject.

"I sha'n't be gone long," she nodded back. "Just a bit of business."

She was gone before the doctor could say a word. Had the remark in some way been a shot at the [32] doctor? All did not appear to be as serene between this couple as they might outwardly have us believe.

I saw that the interruption had not been lost on Kennedy. Had it been really an interest in our visit that had prompted it? Somehow, I wondered whether it might not have been this woman who had called up Shattuck while we were there. But why?

We left the doctor a few minutes later, more than ever convinced that the mystery in the strange death of Vail Wilford was not so simple as it seemed.



"Until I receive those materials from Doctor Leslie to make the poison tests," considered Kennedy, as we walked slowly the few blocks to the laboratory, "I can't see that there is much I can do but wait."

In his laboratory, he paused before his well-stocked shelves with their miscellaneous collection of books on almost every conceivable subject.

Absently he selected a volume. I could see that it was one of the latest translated treatises on this new psychology from the pen of the eminent scientist, Dr. Sigmund Freud, and that it bore the significant title, The Interpretation of Dreams.

Craig glanced through it mechanically, then laid it aside. For a few moments he sat at his desk, hunched forward, staring straight ahead and drumming his fingers thoughtfully. I leaned over and my eye happened to fall on the following paragraphs:

"To him who is tortured by physical and mental sufferings the dream accords what has been denied him by reality, to wit, physical well-being and happiness; so the insane, too, [34] see the bright pictures of happiness, greatness, sublimity, and riches. The supposed possession of estates and the imaginary fulfilment of wishes, the denial or destruction of which has just served as the psychic cause of the insanity, often form the main content of the delirium. The woman who has lost a dearly beloved child, in her delirium experiences maternal joys; the man who has suffered reverses of fortune sees himself immensely wealthy, and the jilted girl pictures herself in the bliss of tender love."

The above passage from Radestock reveals with the greatest clearness the wish-fulfilment as a characteristic of the imagination, common to the dream and the psychosis.

It is easy to show that the character of wish-fulfilment in dreams is often undisguised and recognizable, so that one may wonder why the language of dreams has not long since been understood.

I read this and more, but, as I merely skimmed it, I could not say that I understood it. I turned to Kennedy, still abstracted.

"Then you really regard the dreams as important?" I asked, all thought of finishing my own article on art abandoned for the present in the fascination of the mysterious possibilities opened up by the Wilford case.

"Important?" he repeated. "Immensely so—indispensable, as a matter of fact."

I could only stare at him. The mere thought that anything so freakish, so uncontrollable as a dream might have a serious importance in a murder case had never entered my mind.

"If I can get at the truth of the case," he explained, "it must be through these dreams."

"But how are you going to do that?" I asked, [35] voicing the thought that had been forming. "To me, dreams seem to be just disconnected phantasmagoria of ideas—arising nowhere and getting nowhere, as far as I can see—interesting, perhaps, but—still, well, just chaotic."

"Quite the contrary, Walter," he corrected. "If you had kept abreast with the best recent work in psychology, you wouldn't say that."

"Well, what is this wonderful Freud theory, anyhow?" I asked, a bit nettled at his positive tone. "What do we know now that we didn't know before?"

"Very much," he replied, thoughtfully. "There's just this to be said about dreams to-day. A few years ago they were all but inexplicable. The accepted explanations, then, were positively misleading and productive of all sorts of misapprehension and downright charlatanry."

"All right," I argued. "That's just my idea of dreams. Tell me what it is that the modern dream-books have to say about them, then."

"Don't be frivolous, Walter," Craig frowned. "Dreams used to be treated very seriously, it is true, by the ancients. But, as I just said, until recently modern scientists, rejecting the beliefs of the dark ages, as they thought, scouted dreams as senseless jumbles of ideas, uncontrolled, in sleep. That's your class, Walter," he replied, witheringly, "with the scientists who thought that they had the last word, just because it was, to them, the latest."

Though I resented his correction, I said nothing, [36] for I saw that he was serious. Mindful of many previous encounters with Craig in his own fields in which I had come off a bad second, I waited prudently.

"To-day, however," he continued, "we study dreams really scientifically. We believe that whatever is has a reason. Many students had had the idea that dreams meant something in mental life that was not just pure fake and nonsense. But until Freud came along with his theories little progress had been made in the scientific study of dreams."

"Granted," I replied, now rather interested. "Then what is his theory?"

"Not very difficult to explain, if you will listen carefully a moment," Craig went on. "Dreams, says Freud, are very important, instead of being mere nonsense. They give us the most reliable information concerning the individual. But that is possible only if the patient is in entire rapport with the investigator. Later, I may be able to give you a demonstration of what I mean by that. Now, however, I want you to understand just what it is that I am seeking to discover and the method it is my purpose to adopt to attain it."

The farther Kennedy proceeded, the more I found myself interested, in spite of my assumption of skepticism. In fact, I had assumed the part more because I wanted to learn from him than for any other reason.

"But how do you think dreams arise in the first [37] place?" I asked, more sympathetically. "Surely, if they have a meaning that can be discovered by a scientist like yourself, they must come in some logical way—and that is the thing I can't understand, first of all."

"Not so difficult. The dream is not an absurd and senseless jumble, as you seem to think. Really, when it is properly understood, it is a perfect mechanism and has definite meaning in penetrating the mind."

He was drawing thoughtfully on a piece of paper, as he often did when his mind was working actively.

"It is as though we had two streams of thought," he explained, "one of which we allow to flow freely, the other of which we are constantly repressing, pushing back into the subconscious or the unconscious, as you will. This matter of the evolution of our individual mental life is much too long a story for me to go into just at present.

"But the resistances, as they are called, the psychic censors of our ideas, so to speak, are always active, except in sleep. It is then that the repressed material comes to the surface. Yet these resistances never entirely lose their power. The dream, therefore, shows the material distorted.

"Seldom does one recognize his own repressed thoughts or unattained wishes. The dream is really the guardian of sleep, to satisfy the activity of the unconscious and repressed mental processes that would otherwise disturb sleep by keeping the censor busy. That's why we don't recognize the [38] distortions. In the case of a nightmare the watchman, or censor, is aroused, finds himself over-powered, as it were, and calls for help. Consciousness must often come to the rescue—and we wake up."

"Very neat," I admitted, now more than half convinced. "But what sort of dreams are there? I don't see how you can classify them, study them."

"Easily enough. I should say that there are three kinds of dreams—those which represent an unrepressed wish as fulfilled, those that represent the realization of a repressed wish in an entirely concealed form, and those that represent the realization of a repressed wish, but in a form insufficiently or only partially concealed."

"But what about these dream doctors who profess to be able to tell you what is going to happen—the clairvoyants?"

Kennedy shrugged. "Cruel fakers, almost invariably," he replied. "This is something entirely different, on an entirely different plane. Dreams are not really of the future, even though they may seem to be. They are of the past—that is, their roots are in the past. Of course, they are of the future in the sense that they show striving after unfulfilled wishes. Whatever may be denied in reality, we can nevertheless realize in another way—in our dreams. It's a rather pretty thought."

He paused a moment. "Perhaps the dream doctors were not so fundamentally wrong as we think, even about the future," he added, thoughtfully, [39] "though for a different reason than they thought and a natural one. Probably more of our daily life, conduct, moods, beliefs, than we think could be traced to preceding dreams."

I began vaguely now to see what he was driving at and to feel the fascination of the idea.

"Then you think that you will be able to find out from Mrs. Wilford's dreams more than she'll ever tell you or any one else about the case?"


"Well, that doesn't seem so unreasonable, after all," I admitted, going back in my mind over what we had learned so far. "Why did Doctor Lathrop say he dissented from the theory?"

Kennedy smiled. "Many doctors do that. There's a side of it all that is distasteful to them, I suppose. It grates on minds of a certain type."

"What's that?"

"The sex aspect. Sex life possesses, according to Freud, a far higher significance in our mental household than traditional psychology is willing to admit. And I don't know as I would say I'd go the whole distance with Freud, either." He paused contemplatively. "Yet there is much that is true about his sex theories. Take an example. There's much about married life that can be learned from dreams. Thus, why John Doe doesn't get along with his wife has always been a matter of absorbing interest to the neighborhood. Conversation is taken up by it; yellow journalism is founded on it. Now, psychology—and mainly [40] dream analysis—can solve the question—often right things for both John and Jane Doe and set the neighborhood tongues at rest. Sex and sex relations play a big rôle in life, whether we like to admit it or not."

"I see," I nodded. "Then you think that that's what Lathrop meant when he said he strongly disagreed with the theory?"

"Without a doubt. That is perhaps the part of the theory from which he reacted—or said he did. You see, Freud says that as soon as you enter the intimate life of a patient you begin to find sex in some form. In fact, he says, the best indication of abnormality would be its absence.

"Sex is one of the strongest of human impulses," Craig continued, as impersonally as if he were classifying butterflies, "yet the one impulse subjected to the greatest repression. For that reason it is the weakest point in our cultural development. However, if everything is natural there ought to be no trouble. In a normal life, says Freud, there are no neuroses."

"But how does that all apply in this case?" I asked. "You must mean that we have to deal with a life that is not normal, here in the Wilford case."

He nodded. "I was convinced of it, the moment Leslie called on me here. That was why I was interested. Before that I thought it was just an ordinary case that had stumped him and I was not going to pull his chestnuts out of the fire for him. [41] But what he said put it in a different light. So did what Doyle told me, especially that sonnet he found. They didn't know it—don't know it yet—won't know it until I tell them. That doesn't alter the fact that it promises to be a unique case."

He paced the floor a few moments, as though trying to piece together the fragments he possessed.

"Let me proceed now with a preliminary psychanalysis, as the Freudians call it," he resumed, still pacing thoughtfully, "the soul analysis of Honora Wilford, as it were. I do not claim that it is final. It is not. But on such information and belief, as the lawyers say, as we have already, we are warranted in drawing some preliminary conclusions. They will help us to go on. If any of them are wrong, all we need to do is throw them overboard. Later, I shall add to that stock of information, in one way or another, and it may very greatly modify those conclusions. But, until then, let's adopt them as a working hypothesis."

I could only wonder at him. It was startling in the extreme to consider the possibilities to which this new science of dreams might lead, as he proceeded to illustrate it by applying it directly to a concrete case which I had seen.

"You recall what Leslie told us, what Mrs. Wilford told us, and what Doctor Lathrop later confirmed—her dream of fear?" Craig went on. "At present, I should say that it was a dream of what we call the fulfilment of a repressed wish. Dreams of fear are always important. Just consider [42] fear for a moment. Fear in such a dream as this nearly always denotes a sexual idea underlying the dream. In fact, morbid anxiety means surely unsatisfied love. The old Greeks knew it. Their gods of fear were born of the goddess of love. Consequently, in her dream, she feared the death of her husband because, unconsciously, she wished it."

I was startled, to say the least. "But, Craig," I remonstrated, "the very idea is repulsive. I don't believe for a moment she is that kind of woman. It's impossible."

"Take this idea of dream-death of one who is living," ignored Kennedy. "If there is sorrow felt, then there is some other cause for the dream. But if there is no sorrow felt, then the dreamer really desires the death or absence of the person dreamed about. Perhaps I did put it a little too sweepingly," he modified; "but when all the circumstances are considered, as I have considered them in this case already, I feel sure that the rule will apply here."

"Better not tell that to Doyle," I remarked. "Judging by his attitude toward Honora Wilford, he'd arrest her on sight, if he knew what you just said."

"I shall not tell Doyle. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing to Doyle. I haven't indicted her—yet."

Turning the thing over in my mind, I found it even more and more distasteful, and I could not [43] resist expressing myself rather strongly to that effect.

"I expected to have you quarrel with that conclusion," smiled Kennedy, calmly. "People always do, until they understand. Let me explain more fully what I mean. Remember, first, that in childhood death is synonymous with being away. And many of our dreams are only survivals of childhood, like the falling dreams. Take the night-shirt dream. I suppose that, in common with some other millions of mortals, you have dreamed of traveling on the Subway, we'll say, lightly clad. No one noticed it."

"Yes," I laughed. "Only, finally I knew it—and how I have sneaked back home by deserted streets, afraid to be seen. Yet, when I met any one, as you say, the person didn't seem to be embarrassed—not a tenth as much as I."

"It speaks well for you," nodded Kennedy, with mock gravity. "If you had felt that others saw and knew your shame, it would mean something entirely different. As it is, it is simply one of those survivals of childhood in which there is no sense of shame over nakedness. Other people don't show it, either. But, later in life, you learned shame. That's where your psychic censor comes in and makes you sneak home by the byways and hedges. And, still, others don't feel as you do about it in the dream. If they did, I'm afraid it might show your moral sense a bit perverted. However, that's just an illustration of what I mean [44] when I say that the death-dream may often be a childhood survival."

I listened without comment, for Craig was interesting, now.

"To get back to the case we have," he resumed. "Take, for example, a girl who sees in her dream that her mother is dead. It may mean many things. But perhaps it means only that she wishes her mother away so that she may enjoy some pleasure that her strict parent by her presence denies. That's a more or less parallel case, you see."

Even though I was now more willing than before to admit the interpretation as applied to Honora Wilford, I was not prepared to admit the theory. Though I said nothing about it, I was afraid that such dream analysis was pointing too strongly to Honora herself as one who unconsciously wished her husband out of the way. The idea repelled me at the same time that it fascinated. I realized what wide possibilities it opened.

"Of all dreams," continued Kennedy, "anxiety-dreams are among the most interesting and important. Anxiety may originate in psychosexual excitement—the repressed libido, or desire, as the Freudians call it. Neurotic fear has its origin in sexual life and corresponds to a libido, or desire, which has been turned away from its object and has not succeeded in being applied."

"That may be true," I admitted, "but don't you think it's a bit raw to accuse Honora of desiring [45] the death of Vail Wilford just because she didn't love him? I'd hate to be a juryman in a case like that!"

"Raw? Is it?" repeated Kennedy. "That is, is it in a dream? Just dissociate dreams from facts, Walter. Take the case. You see, that fits splendidly so far with what we know of her—her secret regard for Shattuck surviving after the broken engagement; her apparent coldness; her very real lack of feeling for her husband; the superficiality of it all; love not really felt, but shown because the world must see and it was the proper thing for her to show—even if in her heart she did not feel it."

"I know all that," I insisted. "But, perhaps, after all, Lathrop may have some right on his side. Must one incriminate oneself by dreams?"

Kennedy shook his head. "Often dreams that are apparently most harmless turn out to be sinister, if we take the pains to interpret them. All have the mark of the beast. For instance, practically all so-called day dreams of women are erotic in their inception. Those of men may be so, but quite as often are likely to be dreams of ambition more than of love. One cannot say that this distinction will always be. It is hard to predict what may happen in the future. Perhaps modern social conditions may change the very nature of woman—perhaps her ambition for a 'career' may submerge her emotional life. But—well, I doubt it. A few years don't wipe out the evolution and instincts of countless ages. Besides, Nature can [46] be trusted to take care of herself. Sexless women won't have children—then after whom will the next generation after them take?"

"But is that all there is to the dream theory?" I asked, nodding agreement on Kennedy's prediction.

"Not a bit of it. Even those brief dreams that she has told will bear hours of study and analysis. Building up her true, inward character is like laying mosaic. You add here a bit, there a bit, here a stone of one color, there of another. It takes patience and study. When the pieces are all fitted together the picture will be very different from what even an intimate friend thinks; yes, different from what she herself in her own inmost heart thinks herself to be."

He paused a moment, as though turning the dreams over in his mind to see whither they led.

"There's another feature of her dream I want to call your attention to," he went on, "and that is the crowd as she fled from the bull. Crowds in dreams usually denote a secret. Whatever her true feelings toward Shattuck, she believes them to be locked in her own heart. Again, when she was pursued across the field she said she could feel the hot breath of the beast as he pursued her. From that I would assume at least that she knows that Shattuck loves her. Then she stumbled and almost fell. That can have but one meaning—her fear of becoming a fallen woman. But she caught herself and ran on, in the dream. She escaped."


"What of the dream about Lathrop?" I asked.

"We'll take that up later and try to interpret it. I am not sure of that one, myself. As for the others, I don't mean to say that I've put a final interpretation on them, either. Some things, such as I've told you, I know. But there are others still to be discovered. Just now the important thing is to get an understanding of Honora herself."

He took a turn up and down the floor of the laboratory.

"Honora Wilford," he said, slowly, at last, "is what the specialists would call a consciously frigid, unconsciously passionate woman."

He paused significantly, then went on: "I suppose there have been many cases where an intellectual woman has found herself attracted almost without reason toward a purely physical man. You find it in literature continually—in the caveman school of fiction, you know. As an intellectual woman, Honora may suppress her nature. But sometimes, we believe, Nature will and does assert herself."

Kennedy considered the laboratory impatiently.

"No package from Leslie yet. I hardly know what to do—unless—yes—that is the thing, now that I have had time to think this all out. I must see Mrs. Wilford again—and alone."



Honora Wilford was still in the apartment where we had left her under the watchful care of one of Doyle's men.

Undoubtedly she felt no disposition to stir out, for if she went out it was certain that she would have gone under the most galling espionage. It must have been maddening to a woman of her temperament and station in life to find herself so hedged about by restriction. Doubtless it was just that that Doyle had intended, in the hope that the strain to which he subjected her by it would shake her poise.

Nevertheless, she received us with at least outward graciousness. Perhaps it was that she recognized some difference in the treatment which Kennedy accorded her over that from those whom Doyle had seen fit to place in charge of the apartment where once she had been mistress.

At any rate, I thought she acted a bit weary and I felt genuinely sorry for her as she received us and questioned us with her eyes.

"I've been very much interested in those dreams [49] of yours," remarked Kennedy, endeavoring not to betray too much of the source of his information, for obvious reasons. "Doctor Leslie has told me of some of them—and I tried to get Doctor Lathrop to tell me of the others."

"Indeed?" she queried merely, her large eyes bent on Kennedy in doubt, although she did not betray any trepidation about the subject.

"I wonder whether you would mind writing them down for me?" Craig asked, quickly.

"I've already done so once for Doctor Lathrop," she answered, as though trying to avoid it.

"Yes," agreed Kennedy, quickly; "but I can hardly expect him to let me see them—professional ethics and all that sort of thing, you know, forbid."

"I suppose so," she replied, with a little nervous smile. "Oh, if you really want me to do so, I suppose I can write them out again, of course—write them the best I can recollect."

"It would be of great assistance indeed, I can assure you," encouraged Kennedy.

Honora, without another demur, walked over to a little writing-desk which seemed to be her own. Kennedy followed and placed a chair for her. Then he stepped back, though not so far but that he could watch her.

A moment she paused, toying with her fountain-pen, then began to write.

"My most frequent dream is a horrible one," she began, writing in a firm hand, although she knew that she was observed and was weighing every [50] word and action. "I have dreamed ever so many times that I saw Vail in a terrific struggle. I could not make out who or what it was with which he struggled."

At this point she seemed to hesitate and pause. I saw that Kennedy was carefully noting it and every mood and action she exhibited. Then, after a moment, gathering herself together again, she wrote on:

"I tried to run to him. But something seemed to hold me back. I could not move."

Again she paused, then very slowly began to write on another line.

"Then the scene shifted like a motion picture. I saw a funeral procession and in the coffin I could see a face. In all my dreams it has been the face of Vail."

As she finished, she seemed now to be struggling with her emotions. The more I saw of Honora Wilford, the more I was unable to resist the fascination of studying her. She was a woman well worth study—a woman of baffling temperament, high-strung, of keen perception, yet always in the face of even such circumstances as these keeping herself under seemingly perfect control.

Always I found myself going back again to my original impression of her. Somehow, indefinably, I felt that there was something lacking in this woman's life. Was it, as I had believed at first, "heart"? I wondered whether, after all, there had been lacking in this woman's life some big experience, [51] whether ever she had really loved. I knew well what would have been the answer one might have received if she had been questioned. She would have pointed immediately to her married life as proof that she had loved—at least once upon a time. And yet, was it proof? Had she loved Vail Wilford deeply?

The fact was that I did not, could not feel entirely unsympathetic toward her. Somehow, I felt, it could not have been entirely her fault, that she must have been the victim of circumstances or prejudices over which she had no control. At any rate, I determined that whatever lay at the bottom of it all was well worth our study and discovery. I hoped that the case would last. I wanted to see its development, and, if by any chance it was possible, the development of Honora herself, for I felt that once the gap, whatever it was and however it had arisen in her life, was closed she would be a most wonderful woman.

At times when I thought of the manner of Doyle and his men toward her, it made me boil over. As for Kennedy, it was different. I did not understand Craig in this matter. Yet I knew him better than perhaps any one else. Whatever lay back of Craig's actions, always I knew there was sympathy. Some may have thought him cold, but I knew better. Kennedy had always represented to me science with a heart. As for Doyle—he was neither.

Kennedy's voice recalled me to the matter of immediate importance before us.


"There was also that dream of Doctor Lathrop about which you told me, in which he appeared as a lion," suggested Kennedy, as she stopped writing and handed him what she had written. "This is very good—just what I want, as a matter of fact. Won't you write that other dream for me, also?"

With an air of resignation, as though she felt she was in our hands and had determined that her acts would be above criticism, she turned again to her desk, picked up the pen she had laid down, and wrote on a fresh sheet of paper:

"In the dream I seemed to be going along a rocky path. It was narrow, and as I turned a bend there was a bearded lion in the way. I was terribly frightened. I woke up."

She began a new line and added: "The lion seemed to have a human face. It seemed to resemble Doctor Lathrop."

I contrasted the writing of this dream with the other. At least there had been no hesitation in writing this, I observed, whatever that might mean. Already I was coming to have some respect for the dream theory which I would have ridiculed only a few hours before Kennedy began to convince me.

Honora laid down the pen and glanced up rather wearily as Kennedy ran his eye over what she had written. Much as it all aroused her curiosity, plainly the whole proceeding on the part of Craig was a sealed book to her.

"There's just another dream, or, rather, two dreams," he said, in a moment, "that interested me [53] almost as much when I heard of them. Doctor Lathrop happened to mention them without telling them and I'd like to get them from you."

She glanced at him covertly, as much as to say, "So, then, you have been talking about me to him?" but she controlled whatever remark was on her tongue and said nothing.

Instead, obediently again, she picked up the pen and wrote, while we waited and the minutes passed. Only now it seemed that she was writing more carefully, both taking more time over the actual legibility and the choice of words.

"I seemed to be attacked by a bull," she detailed. "It was in a great field and I fled from it over the field. But it pursued me. It seemed to gain on me."

It was evident that she was not writing this dream with the facility with which she had set down the others. She paused as she came to the chase by the bull and seemed to think about what next to say. Then she wrote:

"It was very close. Then, in my dream, in fright, I ran faster over the field. I remember I hoped to gain a clump of woods. As I ran I stumbled and would have fallen. But I managed to catch myself in time. I ran on. I expected momentarily to be gored by the bull. That seemed to be the end of the dream—with me running and the bull gaining on me."

She did not pause, however, except to skip a line, but began writing again:


"Then the dream changed. I seemed to be in the midst of a crowd. In the place of the bull pursuing me there was now a serpent. It reared its head angrily and crept over the ground after me and hissed. It seemed to fascinate me. I trembled and could not run. My terror was so great that I awoke."

She was about to lay the pen down again, as though glad of the opportunity, when Kennedy asked, with no intention of stopping so soon, "Were there not faces on these animals?"

"The faces seemed to be human," she murmured, evasively, still looking at what she had written for him, and making no effort to amend or correct it.

"Human?" repeated Kennedy. "Did they bear a resemblance to any one you know?"

She looked up from the writing and met his eyes directly in a perfectly innocent stare.

"The faces seemed to be human," she repeated, "but I did not recognize them."

What did it mean? I knew she was not telling the truth. Kennedy knew it. Did she know that he knew it? If she did, it had no outward effect on her.

"It is all very hazy to me," she insisted.

I wondered what had been the reason of her hesitation and her final decision not to tell us what she had evidently told Doctor Lathrop on the first telling of the dream. Surely, I reasoned, there must be some reason back of this concealment. [55] I was forced to be content to wait in order to question Kennedy to learn what his own impressions were. Any betrayal now, before her, might entirely upset his nicely laid plans, whatever they were.

She seemed to expect a further quizzing and to steel herself in preparation for it. Evidently Doyle's manner and methods had taught her that.

"Are those all the dreams you can remember?" Craig asked.

I fancied that there was an air of relief in her manner, though she would not, for the world, have betrayed it before us. For a moment she thought, as if glad to get away from something that had troubled her greatly. When she spoke her voice and manner were subdued.

"There is one other," she replied.

"Will you write it?" asked Kennedy, before she had time to change her mind.

"If you really care to have it."

"Very much," he urged.

Again she turned as though escaping something and wrote:

"I seemed to be walking through a forest with Vail. I don't know where we were going, but I seemed to have difficulty in getting there. Vail was helping me along. It was up-hill. Finally, when we got almost to the top of the hill, I stopped. I did not go any farther, though he did."

Here again she hesitated, then wrote slowly, "Then I seemed to meet—" and stopped.


Honora glanced up, saw Kennedy watching her, and turned hurriedly, adding, "—a woman."

She did not pause after that, but wrote: "Just then she cried that there was a fire. I turned around and looked. There was a big explosion and everybody ran out of the houses, shrieking."

"You say you saw a woman?" asked Craig, almost before she had finished writing. "Who was she?"

"I do not know who she was—a—just a woman."

By this time I, too, was narrowly watching Mrs. Wilford. She seemed to have a most remarkable composure, except for an almost imperceptible moment of hesitation now and then. In fact, the hesitation would have passed unnoticed had not one been on the lookout. I think it was now that she realized that there was something going on in Kennedy's mind and in his method of questioning her that she did not understand. It was as though in taking refuge from answering one question—about the faces on the bull and the serpent—she had run directly into another question which she was equally averse to answering frankly. I was now convinced that a large part of her frankness with us was mere pose, that she knew Kennedy had penetrated it, and that the discovery alarmed her. Kennedy also saw that she had understood. It was as though it had been a cue. Instantly he threw off the mask.

"Are you sure that it was not Vina Lathrop?" he shot out quickly.


For just a fraction of a second she was startled, almost disconcerted. But instantly she regained her control.

"Yes," she answered, positively. "I am sure it was not. It was no one I know."

Yet I was somehow more than ever convinced that she meant Vina Lathrop, after all—Vina, who was of quite a different type from herself. What it all meant was another question. I knew that we should have taken a long step toward the discovery if we could only have got her to admit it. But she was keenly on guard now. There was not a chance of a direct admission strong enough, though the indirect admission was.

"No one?" pressed Kennedy. "Think!"

"No, no one! Oh, why must I be badgered and hounded this way?" she burst forth. "What have I done? Am I not grief-stricken enough as it is?—I hate—you—all!"

It was the first time that she had let this undercurrent of her feelings leap to the surface, beyond control. She seemed to realize it, and instantly to repress it, as she stood there, her great, lustrous eyes fixed upon us—with defiance mixed with fear and doubt.

It was startling, dramatic, cruel, perhaps merciless—this dissecting of the soul of the handsome woman before us. But it had come to a point where it was absolutely necessary to get at the truth. At least Kennedy seemed convinced that locked in her heart was the key to the mystery.


Honora, hitherto almost pallid, was now flushed and indignant. For the first time we saw a flash of real feeling and I knew that underneath her conventional exterior a woman existed—very real, capable of the heights of feeling and passion when once aroused. It made me more than ever sympathetic toward her. I longed to help her, yet there seemed no way to do so. Only Honora might work out Honora's salvation.

It was then and later that I realized that the very manner of her indignation showed the truth of the new psychology of dreams, for, as I later learned, people often become indignant when the analyst strikes what is called by the new psychologists the "main complex" of ideas.

Kennedy evidently concluded that his examination had gone far enough, that to pursue it would be only to antagonize her unnecessarily. That would never do so early in the case.

Accordingly he apologized as gracefully as an inquisitor could, and we excused ourselves, though Honora's gaze followed him defiantly to the door.

"Well—we're in bad with her now," I whispered, as we gained the outside, in the private hallway.

"That's most unfortunate," he agreed, though it did not seem to worry him much. "But you know by this time, Walter, that man-hunting is not a popular occupation—and woman-hunting is even less so."

He stopped a moment, looked back, sighed, and added, "It is the penalty I must pay."


In the hall, Craig stopped a moment to speak to Doyle's man, McCabe, a thick-necked fellow, square-jawed and square-toed, of the "flatty" type.

"Mr. Doyle isn't here, I suppose?"

"No, sir. Gone down to Mr. Wilford's office. Telephone call that there's something new there."

"I see. Is the maid, Celeste, here?"

"Yes, sir. Queer girl—pretty—French—but I can't seem to 'make' her."

Kennedy passed over the impertinence of the slang. Evidently McCabe considered flirtations with maids his prerogative.

"I'd like to see her."

McCabe led us down the hall, and soon we found Celeste, a young and remarkably beautiful girl.

One could see traces of sorrow on her face, which was exceedingly, though not unpleasingly, pale. She was dressed in black, which heightened the pallor of her face and excited a feeling of mingled respect and interest. There was, however, a restless brilliancy of her eyes and a nervousness which was expressed by the constant motion of her slender fingers.

She shrank from McCabe, and her confidence was not restored even after Kennedy had ordered him to leave us alone with her so that we might question her.

"Oh, these horrible detectives!" she murmured. "It is terrible. They will drive me crazy. Pauvre, pauvre madame!"


Kennedy had sought this opportunity to question her about Vail Wilford alone. But, as he plied her with questions, she had little to say either about him or about her mistress. She was evidently well trained.

"Did you ever see Mr. Wilford or Mrs. Wilford with Mrs. Vina Lathrop?" asked Kennedy, suddenly.

Celeste shook her head with a naïve stare.


"But, madame—did she not know her?"

Celeste merely shrugged.

"Wasn't she jealous of Mr. Wilford—and some one?"

Celeste regarded him a moment. Her quick mind seemed to race ahead toward the implication of the remark.

"No—no—no!" cried Celeste, vehemently. "She was not jealous. She would never have done such a thing. She might have left monsieur—but—violence—nevair!"

Kennedy continued with a few inconsequential questions. Then from a table in the room he picked up a magazine. As he ran over the pages he stopped before a picture of a dinner in a fashionable restaurant, such as delights the heart of the modern magazine illustrator to portray.

He turned the picture around and held it before Celeste for just a few instants, perhaps ten seconds. Then he closed the magazine quickly.

It seemed to me to be a purposeless action, but [61] I was not surprised when Kennedy added, "Now tell me what you saw."

Celeste by this time was quite overwhelming in her desire to please on anything but the quizzing about her mistress. Quickly she enumerated the objects, gradually slowing down as the number became exhausted.

"Were there any flowers?" asked Kennedy.

"Oh yes—and favors, too, you call them?"

I could see no reason at all in the proceeding, yet I knew Kennedy too well to suppose that he had not some purpose.

The questioning thus strangely over, Kennedy withdrew, leaving Celeste more mystified than ever.

"Well," I exclaimed, "what was all that kindergarten stuff?"

"That?" he explained. "It is known to criminologists as the 'Aussage test.' Just try it sometime when you get a chance. If there are, say, fifty objects in a picture, normally a person may recall perhaps twenty of them."

"I see," I nodded. "A test of memory."

"More than that," he replied. "You remember that, at the end, I suggested that she might have overlooked something? I mentioned an object—the flowers—likely to have been on the table. They were not there, as you might have observed if you had had the picture before you. That was a test of the susceptibility to suggestion of Celeste."

By this time we were on the street and walking slowly back to the laboratory.


"She may not mean to lie deliberately," concluded Kennedy, "but I'm afraid we'll have to get along without her in getting to the bottom of this case. There were no flowers there, yet in her anxiety to please she said there were, and even went farther and added favors, which were not there. You see, before we go any farther, we know that Celeste is unreliable, to say the least."



Back at the laboratory again, we found that not even yet had the materials arrived from Doctor Leslie with which to make the examination that Craig desired.

It seemed to me that Leslie was very slow, but it didn't worry Craig. Evidently there were other and even more absorbing problems on his mind, problems that pressed for solution even above the discovery of the poison.

"What was your idea in having her write those dreams out again?" I asked.

"Well"—he smiled—"I wanted to see whether she would make any changes. Changes in the telling of dreams over again are often very significant. They indicate what the psychanalysts call the 'complexes,' the root ideas, often hidden away, out of which many actions and feelings spring."

"I see—and did you find anything?"

"A great deal. There are some important changes, some variations between what she told and what she wrote which are very significant. Don't you see? It is one thing to tell a dream in [64] conversation—quite another when you calmly sit down to write it on paper. The words take on an added weight. Now the next problem is to figure out in my psychanalysis just what it is that these changes may mean."

He drew forth the writing she had done and began studying over it carefully for several minutes. Finally, with an air of satisfaction, he looked over at me.

"First of all," he said, "I want to consider that dream of the death of her husband. Just recall for the moment how she told that dream to Leslie."

He took the paper in his hand and began reading.

"Just listen. 'My most frequent dream is a horrible one. I have dreamed ever so many times that I saw Vail in a terrific struggle. I could not make out who or what it was with which he struggled.' If you remember, it was at this point that she hesitated in writing. Why did she?

"'I tried to run to him. But something seemed to hold me back. I could not move.' Why was she unable to go to him? What held her back? There is something strange about it. Could it have been because she did not really want to go to him? Could it have been because she did not love him?"

I said nothing. It had been the thought in my own mind, yet I had not cared to express it.

"At that point," he went on, "she paused again. 'Then the scene shifted, like a motion picture. I [65] saw a funeral procession and in the coffin I could see a face. In all my dreams it has been the face of Vail.' There was no hesitation, practically no change in that. I noted that she exhibited considerable emotion—that is, considerable emotion for her. She did not hesitate, because she does not understand the dream. If she did, I think she would hesitate—even refuse to tell it. I think with that dream alone one might get a pretty good inkling of the state of affairs."

I was about to interrupt, but Craig hurried right on and gave me no chance.

"More important, perhaps, take that dream of the bull and the serpent. If you recall, she wrote that more slowly and carefully than the other dream, choosing her words. There's something significant about that fact in itself. Now, let's see.

"'I seemed to be attacked by a bull. It was in a great field and I fled from it over the field. But it pursued me. It seemed to gain on me.' That's where the first hesitation came, and right there we come to a very important 'complex,' I think. There was practically no change until we come to this part where the bull chases her. Did you get that?"

I was forced to confess that I had not understood. It made no difference to Kennedy. Very patiently he proceeded to enlighten me, as if I were one of his pupils.

"She omitted something that may be very important. Don't you remember when Lathrop told [66] us she had told him that the bull was so close to her that she could feel its hot breath?"

"I remember now. What of it?"

"Very much. For some reason—perhaps unknown to herself—she omits all mention of it in writing it for us. I think you'll understand better as we go on with the dream. 'It was very close,' he read, rapidly. 'Then in my dream, in fright I ran faster over the field. I remember I hoped to gain a clump of woods. As I ran, I stumbled and would have fallen. But I managed to catch myself in time. I ran on.'

"I think we discussed that ourselves, once, the fear of being a fallen woman. We need not go over it again, except to point out that her dream shows that, perhaps unconsciously, something restrained her. 'I expected momentarily to be gored by the bull. That seemed to be the end of the dream,' and so forth.

"Now, the next part. 'I seemed to be in the midst of a crowd.' We discussed that, too—about the crowd denoting a secret. Then comes the serpent. 'It reared its head angrily and crept over the ground after me and hissed.' That's a bit different, there, from the way she told it. 'It seemed to fascinate me. I trembled and could not run. My fear was so great that I awoke.' All right. Here's the point—when I questioned her about the faces, the human faces, on those animals. She told Lathrop that the face she saw was that of Shattuck. But to me she absolutely denied it. [67] She said she did not recognize the face. There's the point. Why did she cut out that about the hot breath of the bull? Why did she deny absolutely the face of Shattuck?"

He was pacing up and down as though he had either made or confirmed a discovery.

"Just consider what I told you about the Freud theory again," he went on. "Fear, as I told you, is equivalent to a wish in this sort of dream. We threshed that all out over my interpretation of the first dream of all—the death-dream. I hope you are beginning to understand, by this time.

"But morbid fear also, as I have said, denotes some sex feeling. Now take the last dreams. In dreams animals are usually symbols. In the two parts of this dream we find both the bull and the serpent. From time immemorial they have been the symbols of the continuing life-force. Such symbolism has been ingrained in literature and thinking, both mystical and otherwise. When she felt the hot breath of the bull, it meant the passion of love in Shattuck, who is pursuing her. Frankly, I do not think he has ever lost his love for her. And she knows it—at least, subconsciously. That's what that means. In her heart she knows it, although she may not openly admit it. Also, she fears it.

"More than that. Dreams are always based on experiences or thoughts of the day preceding the dreams. One doesn't always realize how easy that is. A thing dreamed of may have happened years [68] ago. But if one could recall all the thoughts immediately preceding sleep, one would be able to trace out some impelling thought, perhaps on the surface quite unrelated, which brought it up. The more unrelated, the more interesting and important the connecting link. There was every chance, in this case, of Shattuck having been suggested to her any day. Besides, she may be thinking a great deal of him—and not realize it—for her moral censorship is always pushing such thoughts back into the subconscious."

Kennedy regarded me attentively, then added: "She dreamed of a man's face on those beasts—then denied it to me. What's the explanation?"

I suppose Kennedy was handing the explanation to me, but I could not quite understand it, much less express it.

"Easy," he answered to his own question. "She thinks that she hates him. Consciously she rejects. Unconsciously, though, she accepts him. Any of the new psychologists who know the intimate connection between love and hate could understand how that is possible. Love does not extinguish hate, nor hate, love. They repress each other. The opposite sentiment may very easily grow. A proper understanding of that would explain many of the anomalies of human nature—especially in the relations of men and women which sometimes seem to be inexplicable."

Since our previous discussion on the subject, I had turned it over many times in my mind. It was [69] surely a new situation to me which this application of the new psychology was unfolding. Yet, under the exposition of Kennedy, I was not so bitterly hostile to it now as I had been before. Plainly enough, nothing that I had been able to offer to myself had fitted in with what I saw in the character of Honora Wilford. At least this seemed to fit.

"You would be surprised to learn how frequently such situations arise," defended Craig. "I suppose, to an analyst, they seem to be common, because it is only such cases that come to his attention. If one treated only red-haired men, one would, no doubt, soon get the idea that the community was composed mainly of the red-haired. That is just as foolish as to go to the other extreme and to deny that there are any red-haired people, just because one has never happened to see one."

The remark was obviously intended for me. I said nothing, but I was really alarmed. For I could see that the case was actually growing very much blacker for Honora as he proceeded. Was not Kennedy practically taxing her with loving another man than her husband? Was he not building up motives?

"The dreamer," he proceeded, "is always the principal actor in a dream, or the dream centers about the dreamer intimately. Dreams are personal. We never dream about matters that concern others primarily, but of matters that concern ourselves, either very directly or at least indirectly. [70] So it has been with these dreams of Honora. They concern her intimately.

"Years ago that woman suffered what the new psychologists call a psychic trauma—a soul wound. She was engaged to Shattuck. We know that. But her censored consciousness rejected the manner of life of her fiancé. In pique, perhaps, she married Wilford. It was a wound when she cast aside her first love, a deep wound.

"But Nature always does her best to repair a wound—either a physical wound or a psychic wound. That underlies the psychology of forgetting. Honora thought she had found love again, in the advances of Wilford. But she had not, truly. She never lost her real, now subconscious, love for another—Shattuck. Day by day she tells herself that he is nothing to her, never really was, never again can be. She believes it. She lives it. Yet, when that censorship is raised in sleep, it is different. Then he pursues her, in her dreams. In actuality, too, I don't doubt that he pursues her, and she knows it. I'll wager Shattuck does not dream of her except frankly. He frankly thinks of her. He is still in love with her. It is a tough problem for Honora Wilford."

"I begin to see it more and more clearly," I admitted. "Dreams are very wonderful experiences, when one understands them rightly."

"Her dreams, especially," agreed Craig, fingering the papers. "Now there's that dream of Lathrop. I suspect she thinks of him somewhat as of a social [71] lion. And I suppose he is—popular, a club-man, a lady-killer. Perhaps that is why she dreamed of him as a lion. But it wouldn't explain all. I recall he wore a beard. That may have suggested the tawny mane of a lion, too. The two ideas combined. There is the narrow path, too. A lion stands in the path. I don't quite fathom it yet. But, you see, Walter, of such stuff are dream lions made. This fantasy I must leave open for interpretation until we understand Lathrop himself better."

"About Shattuck," I reverted, not quite prepared to pass that point without clearing it as much as possible in my own mind. "Plainly he cares a great deal for her. I remember seeing one of Freud's books in his library. Suppose he knew her dreams. Would he not be able to discover that secretly she cared really very deeply for him and not for Vail?"

"He might," admitted Kennedy.

"But the problem would be to prove that he did," I supposed, for I was catching at any straw that would save Honora Wilford from the logical outcome of Kennedy's analysis as I saw it.

Craig had come to the last sheet of paper.

"This is my new prize," he exclaimed, waving it. "I had some inkling of what it betrays, but not the certainty this gives. This is an entirely new dream. We have no hastily spoken description with which to compare it. However, that will make little difference. We'll have to treat it as [72] new. Let's go over it very carefully. It may easily prove most important of all."

Slowly he read it. "'I seemed to be walking through a forest with Vail. I don't know where we were going, but I seemed to have difficulty in getting there. Vail was helping me along. It was up-hill. Finally, when we got almost to the top of the hill, I stopped. I did not go any farther, though he did.' That's where her first hesitation-break in writing it occurred. So far, you see, this is a most intimate dream of their relations, as you yourself can interpret readily.

"There were several hesitations grouped here. 'Then I seemed to meet'—there was one—'a woman'—there was another. 'Just then she cried there was a fire.' What does that mean, you ask? Ever hear love described as a fire? Well, next: 'I turned around and looked. There was a big explosion and everybody ran out of the houses, shrieking.'"

"I recall vividly what took place when we reached that point," I put in. "At the time I thought of Vina Lathrop, of what a quite different type of woman Vina is. Vina is none of your consciously frigid, unconsciously passionate women. Vina Lathrop is throbbing with passion, as one can see who has ever met her or heard of her."

"Quite so. In this dream there plainly appears the 'other woman' in the case, the woman who has the passion which Honora herself does not have. Or at least, so she thinks. She seems to recognize in this other woman a woman of a different nature [73] from herself. And yet," added Craig—"and yet, you know, 'The Colonel's lady and Judy O'Grady—'"

"Are not only the same under the skin, to you psychologists," I supplied, "but in the inner consciousness, too."

"I suppose so," he laughed.

I considered a moment. Was this all confirmation of the rumored relations between Vina Lathrop and Vail Wilford, as Doyle had dug the story up? I recalled the notations that Doctor Leslie had discovered on the desk calendar of Wilford about appointments with Vina and the contemplated divorce.

Had a new scandal been brewing and had the sensational press of the city been deprived of it by some untoward circumstance? At least they had no complaint. A greater piece of news had been created to take its place—a murder case which, now, bade fair to become the celebrated case of the season when it "broke," as they say.

"The reason I've spent so much time analyzing this new dream," Craig continued, "is that there's another very important thing in it—revealed in the hesitation and the changes, the gaps, and the additions. It helps us to reconstruct her inner life, as we could never have got it from herself, as she could never, even at this moment, construct it for herself.

"Into her life—into her dream life, too—there has come 'another woman.' I believe that it is really Vina Lathrop. She betrays it. I hate to admit [74] that either Doyle or Leslie may be right—about anything. But, really, once in a while Doyle does stumble on something—without knowing even remotely how important the thing may be."

"I suppose also that that would account for Mrs. Lathrop's interest in us—and the case," I ventured. "When we were in the doctor's office I thought she was keenly alive to what we were doing and saying."

Kennedy nodded. "It remains to be proved, however. I knew I was on the right track when we visited Lathrop, as you say, and his wife made that remark about Honora. You see, intuitively she knows Honora. She knows her cold nature. Before we get through we shall have some interesting passages at arms between these two, if I am not mistaken. Already their intuitions have given each an estimate of the other. They are opposing lines—between the two, it is No Man's Land."

"Opposites—positive and negative," I tried to express it metaphorically. "And the wires are crossed. Oh, I know this will be a good case—it always is when there is conflict, like this, between two women."

"Speaking of crossed wires reminds me of the telephone," exclaimed Kennedy, energetically. "We need not be inactive just because our good friends, Leslie and Doyle, don't feed grist to our mill. I'm going to see that woman again."

Kennedy hunted up Doctor Lathrop's number in the book and called it.


"The doctor is out just now," answered a woman's voice. "Is there anything I can do?"

"Is this Mrs. Lathrop?" Craig asked.

I saw that she replied in the affirmative.

Kennedy deftly explained who we were and recalled our brief meeting of the morning.

"I'm greatly interested in the Wilford case," he hurried on. "I would like to talk to you about it. May I?"

There was a bit more of conversation, then he hung up with satisfaction.

"She did not welcome it," he reported. "Yet she could scarcely refuse to see us under the circumstances. I have made an appointment to meet her."

There was a noise at the door and I opened it upon Doyle, who entered, his face showing great perplexity.

"What seems to be on your mind. Doyle?" greeted Craig.

"Enough. We've been questioning the night watchman down at the building where Wilford's office is," he informed. "You remember the two glasses on the desk when they found him?"

Kennedy nodded.

"From them," continued Doyle, "I went on the assumption that somebody else had been there at the time. There was a visitor.... We are convinced of it now. The fact is that the building is an old one, built before elevator days, not tall. One can walk up to the office of Wilford easily. [76] People do. And the confounded watchman, a man they call Pete, confesses that he was off the job, at least part of the time, last night. There was plenty of chance for a visitor to have got in and got away."

"Who?" I asked.

Doyle shrugged.

"We can't find out—at least, we haven't found out."

"Was it a man or a woman?" asked Craig.

"We don't even know that," confessed Doyle, in despair. "That fellow Pete is a dub."

"How about your suspects?" prompted Kennedy. "You must have traces of their movements last night."

"I have. I have been questioning Celeste, the maid, for instance. She swears that Mrs. Wilford was at home in the apartment all the evening of the murder. The worst of it is, I can't prove yet that she wasn't. But just give me time—give me time. I'll get something on that maid yet."

I glanced significantly at Kennedy. He nodded back. His "Aussage test" had effectually disposed of any reliance that might be placed on what Celeste might say. However, Kennedy said nothing of that to Doyle. To have done so would have been to invite a tirade of laughter. The only way with Doyle was to let him go along his sweet way of being wrong—then let him in when we were right. Yet, I must say that I liked Doyle in his way, even if he was only a plugger.


"Another thing," brightened Doyle. "I'm getting a line on that business of Wilford's having his wife watched. You know, he did that. He hired a private detective to watch her. If I can get that fellow I may learn something. But that Celeste is clever. She sticks to it that her mistress wasn't out. We'll see if the detective knows when we find him."

"Where were Shattuck and Lathrop last night?" asked Craig, quickly.

"Shattuck has given a detailed account of his doings last night. I'll tell you better about him when it's verified. Doctor Lathrop had two cases that night, which kept him out late. I believe they are bona fide. So far there's been no flaw in either story. That's what perplexes me. I thought I was on the trail of something."

"And when you find yourself up against it, you come to me?"

"Don't get peeved, Kennedy," mollified Doyle, though he himself had winced at the telling thrust of Kennedy.

"What about Lathrop's wife, Vina?" asked Craig. "Is she clear for that night?"

"I hadn't thought much about her," confessed Doyle. "Want me to find out?"

"Never mind. I am going to see her soon. I'll attend to that."



Vina Lathrop received us a few moments later with a question in her eyes. Yet she discreetly did not hint at it in anything she said.

I have said that she was a woman of quite opposite type from Honora. Like her, however, she was a woman of rare physical attraction. Yet it needed only a glance to see that men interested Vina, and in that respect she gave one a different impression from Honora. And I am quite sure, also, that few men could have withstood the spell of her interest if she chose to bestow it. There was, no doubt, much in her life that that accounted for.

"I've been thinking of what you said about Mrs. Wilford this morning," began Kennedy, after a few remarks that explained our interest in the case, without telling her anything that would put her too much on guard.

"My remark about Mrs. Wilford?" she repeated, naïvely.

"Yes. You remember when you were talking to Doctor Lathrop about the case, you said, 'I don't think that Honora is capable of either deep love [79] or even deep hate'? I've been wondering just what you meant by it."

Vina seemed to be careful lest an unwary word might escape.

"Why, really," she murmured, as though feeling that the question called for an answer she did not wish to give. "I don't think that Honora—well—understood Vail Wilford, if you get what I mean. He was not difficult to understand. He would have been devoted to her—if only—"

She paused and stopped.

"If only what?"

"You wouldn't understand," she answered, quickly, shaking her head.

To me it seemed as though the implication she wished to convey was the usual specious refuge of the "other woman," when cornered, that it was she, not the wife, who really understood the man in the case.

"You see, I don't know Honora Wilford well," encouraged Kennedy. "I can't say that I do understand. I guess that's just it. I thought perhaps you might enlighten me."

Vina gave a pretty little shrug to her attractive shoulders, then leaned forward, as if suddenly deciding to become confidential with Craig.

"It's a long story," she replied. "I don't know how to tell it. Honora was like her father—in fact, her family are all the same—always seeking the main chance. You remember old Honore Chappelle? No? Out of even the business of an oculist he managed to make a tidy fortune. She [80] was ambitious—ambitious in marriage, ambitious to get into 'society,' you know. Don't you see now what I mean? Besides, you know, daughters, they say, inherit from their fathers—and she seems to have been no exception. I think Mr. Wilford came to realize why it was she married him, only, of course, in such cases, it comes too late."

I set the remark down as that of a "catty" woman. Yet there was something to think about in it. For, at the time of Wilford's marriage, the young lawyer was already wealthy and in the smart set, while Vance Shattuck had not inherited the fortune of his uncle, who had often threatened to cut him off without a penny as a reward for his numerous escapades. There could be no doubt that, at the time, Wilford was the greater "catch" of the two.

As we talked with Vina about the death of Wilford, she spoke with ill-concealed emotion. I could not escape the impression that she seemed to be more deeply affected by it than even Honora herself had been. Was it due to her more emotional nature?

I would have thought it strange, even though Kennedy had not already surmised from his psychanalysis of Honora that Vina was the "other woman" in the case.

It was apparent that, whatever might be Vina's own story, she reacted sharply against the very type of woman that Honora was. There was plainly some rivalry between them, some point of contact at which [81] there had been friction. It was most assuredly Kennedy's job to find out what that was.

"I don't know whether you are aware," he suggested, taking a slightly different angle, "but in Mr. Wilford's office they found evidence that you yourself were preparing a divorce suit."

The transition from Honora to herself was sudden. Yet Vina did not seem confused by it. She did not deny it, or even attempt to deny it. Perhaps she realized that it was of no use, that her best defense was, as the lawyers would say, confession and avoidance.

"Oh," she replied, airily, "the suit was never started, you know—just talked about."

I could not but wonder at her callousness. Evidently this woman was of a type all too common in a certain stratum of society, to whom marriage is a career to be entered into either for the sake of bettering oneself or for the sake of variety.

"What, may I ask, were the grounds?" probed Kennedy, growing bolder as he saw how frankly she elected to discuss the subject when cornered.

She colored a bit, as she strove to decide whether to get angry or to answer, then chose the latter course.

"Incompatibility, I suppose you would call it—at least that's what I call it. I believe every woman should live her own life as she sees fit. I hadn't even decided what state I would acquire residence in, in order to bring the suit, if I decided to go on with it. Nothing was settled, you know."


"And now you are going to—?" inquired Kennedy, stopping to let her fill out the answer.

"Drop it, of course," she supplied. "I suppose the doctor and I shall continue to agree to disagree."

"Had Mrs. Wilford contemplated similar action on her part, do you think?"

Vina avoided answering, but Kennedy pressed for a reply, asserting that Vail Wilford must have given some hint of it, either by his words or actions.

"I don't know," she repeated, firmly.

"Did she know of your—er—acquaintance with Mr. Wilford?"

If looks had been poisonous, Kennedy must have been inoculated with venom right there. He paid no attention to her scornful glances as, again, there was no avoidance of an answer, no matter how much she tried.

"Why do you think you know so much?" Vina veiled her sarcastic reply.

"Mrs. Wilford had been having her husband watched, I learn," prodded Kennedy, with brutal directness.

I glanced covertly over at him. Doyle had told us Wilford was watching his wife. But no one, as I recalled, had given us an inkling of a reverse state of affairs. I realized that Kennedy had made it up out of whole cloth. He was trying it out to see its effect. At any rate, there was nothing unreasonable about it. It might have been true, whether it actually was or not.


For a moment Vina was sorely tried to hold back a quick reply. Then she shrugged again.

"Most women of the sort have to do that," she snapped.

It was a mean remark, besides being glaringly untrue, except in the limited ken of certain New-Yorkese women. Moreover, I saw that Kennedy had slipped past her guard. Each sentence she replied betrayed the keen feeling between the two.

Kennedy seemed to be observing Vina as he might a strange element in a chemical reaction. On her part she seemed intuitively to recognize that there was a challenge to her in Craig's very personality.

Arts which she might have tried with success on another seemed not to impress this man. He seemed to penetrate the defenses which she had against most men. And I could not help seeing that she was piqued by it.

While they were fencing in their verbal duel, Craig had casually drawn a pencil from his pocket. A moment later I saw that he had begun scribbling some figures, apparently aimlessly, on a piece of paper.

From where I was sitting beside him I could see that he had written something like this:


For some time he regarded the figures that he had written as the conversation went on.

"Here's a little puzzle," he remarked, offhand, breaking into the chat. "Did you ever try it?"

Vina looked at him in surprise at this unexpected turn of the conversation. I am sure that she was in doubt as to the man's sanity. However, there was a certain relief in the new turn of the conversation. At least he was not treading on the dangerous ground which he had trod upon.

"Er—no," she answered, doubtfully. "That is—I don't know what you mean. What are the numbers?"

"Oh, it's nothing much," he disarmed. "It's simply a matter of seeing whether a person can repeat numbers. I've found it rather interesting at times."

Without waiting for either comment or excuse from her he said, quickly: "For instance, take the first one—five, one, eight, three. See if you can repeat that."

"Of course—five, one, eight, three," she replied, mechanically.

"Fine—four, seven, three, nine, five," came in rapid succession.

To it she replied, perhaps a little slower than before, "Why, four, seven, three, nine, five."

"Good! Now, six, five, four, seven, two, six."

"Er—six, five, four, seven, two, six," she repeated, I thought, with some hesitation.

"Again—two, nine, six, four, three, seven, five," he shot out.


"Two, nine, six"—she hesitated—"four, three, seven, five."

"Try again—four, seven, two, nine, three, eight, two, five," he read.

"Four—two—seven," she returned, slowly, then stopped, "three—nine—what was the next one?—er—two—two—"

It was evident that she was hopelessly muddled. It was not because she had not tried, for the diversion had come as a welcome relief from the quizzing on delicate subjects and she had seized upon it. She had reached the limit.

Kennedy had smiled and was about to go on, although it was evident that it was useless, when there was a noise in the hall, as though some one had been admitted by the maid and had entered. It seemed to be a man's voice that I heard and I wondered whether it was Doctor Lathrop himself.

A moment later the door opened and disclosed, to my astonishment, not Lathrop, but Shattuck.

If he was embarrassed at finding us there he did not betray it in the least. Quite the contrary. He greeted Vina Lathrop cordially, then turned to us.

"Oh, by the way," he began, "you're just the man I wanted to see, Kennedy."

I thought that there was a note of indignant protest in his voice as he said it, then, before Kennedy could make reply, went on, rapidly: "About Mrs. Wilford—it's an outrage. Doyle and McCabe and the rest of that precious crew are thugs—thugs. [86] I called there to express my sympathy. Of course she couldn't say much—but I have eyes. I could see much, without being told. There she is, harassed and hounded and practically a prisoner in that place—no one to go to—her husband foully murdered—at least that's what they say. I don't know. She's spied on, listened to—I tell you, it's a shame. They're driving that poor woman insane—nothing short of it."

Shattuck was evidently genuinely angry and, indeed, I felt that he was making a good case of it. I looked toward Vina. She merely tossed her head. Evidently she was piqued that Shattuck should think so much of "that woman," as she doubtlessly would have liked to refer to her.

I wondered what might have been the connection between Vina and Shattuck, and determined to watch. More than that, I wondered what could be his purpose in bringing up the name of Honora before Vina. Had he a reason?

"Did you finally sell the stock?" inquired Vina of him, abruptly, as though wishing to change the subject.

"Of course," he returned. "Only to complete the thing you will have to indorse this paper," he added, drawing a document from his pocket for her to sign.

I wondered whether this reference to a business transaction was a blind to make us believe their relations were merely those of a broker and client.

Shattuck excused himself to us while Vina signed [87] with his fountain-pen and as they talked in a low tone I saw that she was appealing to him with all her feminine arts.

Was Shattuck proof? Or was he dissembling so as not to betray anything to us? I remembered the old gossip about Shattuck. Was he still woman-crazy? Had Vail Wilford stood in his way with both women? It was a queer tangle at best. Anything, I felt, might prove to be the case.

At any rate, I was sure that the transaction covered their embarrassment at meeting us. More than that, it convinced me that there was some connection between Shattuck and Vina all along. I had wondered whether it had been she who had telephoned to him while we were at his place that morning. I had not thought of the possibility at the time. But now I was sure of it.

Kennedy rose to go, and at the same moment Shattuck also excused himself. We departed, leaving Vina, I am positive, still all at sea as to the purpose of our visit.

We departed, and at the street corner stood talking for a moment with Shattuck. Again, as though taking the thing up just where he had left it off, he complained about the shame of the persecution of Honora.

Kennedy was non-committal, as indeed he was forced to be over Doyle's work, and after promising nothing, we parted.

In fact, Craig said very little even to me as we started around the corner for the laboratory.


"What was all that rigmarole of the numbers?" I inquired, finally, my curiosity getting the better of me, as we entered the Chemistry Building and Craig turned the key in the lock of his private laboratory, admitting us.

"Part of the Binet test," he answered. "It is seeing how many digits one can remember. You're not acquainted with the test? It's used commonly in schools and in many ways. Well, an adult ought to remember eight to ten digits, in any order. A child cannot, ordinarily. Between these, there are all grades. In this case, I do not think we have to deal with a mentality quite up to the intellectual standard."

"It's well Vina Lathrop isn't here to hear you say it," I commented.

Kennedy smiled. "True, nevertheless, whatever outward looks may show. To tell you the truth, Walter, here we have to deal with two quite opposite types of women. One, intellectual, as we know, does not yet know what love really is. In the other I fancy I see a wild, demi-mondaine instinct that slumbers at the back of her mind, all unknown to herself. She knows well what love is—too well. She has had many experiences and is always seeking others—perhaps the supreme experience."

He paused a moment, then added, estimating: "Vina is beautiful, yet without the brain that Honora has. She is all woman—physical woman. That was what probably attracted Wilford, what [89] she meant by saying that I wouldn't understand, although I did. In Wilford's case it may have been the reaction from the intellectual woman. She knows that power which her physical charms give her over men; Honora does not—yet."

"But, Craig," I remonstrated, "you do not mean to tell me that you believe that you could sit here in a laboratory and analyze love as if it were a chemical in a test-tube."

"Why not?" he replied. "Love is nothing but a scientific fact—after all."

"Then explain it."

He shrugged. "True, you ask me to explain love and I must tell you that I cannot. For the moment it looks as though you had me beaten. But think a moment. I cannot tell you why a stone falls or a Morse signal flashes over a wire. Still, they do. We know there is a law of gravitation, that electricity exists. We see the effects gravity and electricity produce. We study them. We name them—though we do not understand them. You would not say they were not scientific facts just because I cannot explain them."

I nodded, catching his idea.

"So with love," he went on. "We know that there is an attraction—that is a scientific fact, isn't it?—which two people feel for each other. Society may have set up certain external standards. But love knows nothing of them. Our education has taught us to respect them. But above this veneer every now and then crop out impulses, the repulsions [90] and attractions which nature, millions of years back, implanted in human hearts as humanity developed. They have been handed down. Yes, Walter, I know nothing more interesting than to put this thing we call love under the microscope, as it were, and dissect it."

I regarded Craig with amazement. Was he inhuman? Had he suddenly taken leave of his senses?

"You mean it?" I queried. "Really?"


"Why, Craig," I exclaimed, "some day you, too, will meet your fate—you, the cold, calm, calculating man of science who sits here so detached, analyzing other people's emotions!"

"Perhaps," he nodded, absently.

"Like as not she will be some fluffy little creature from the Midnight Frolic," I added, sarcastically. "It would be poetic justice if she were. And what a life she would lead you—with your confounded microscope and your test-tubes!"

Kennedy smiled indulgently. "If it should be the case," he replied, coolly, "it would only prove my theory. It's very simple. Two atoms are attracted like the electrically charged pith-balls—or repulsed. In love very often like repels like and attracts unlike—the old law, you know, as you saw it in the physics laboratory. We see it in this case, with these very people. All your fine-spun theories and traditions of society and law do not count for the weight of a spider thread [91] against nature. That is precisely what I mean by my theory. We are concerned with deep fundamental human forces."

"You talk as though you had been reading some of the continental writers," I remarked.

"Perhaps. It makes no difference. Often much of our own Puritanism in literature covers a multitude of facts, as Puritanism does in life. Here's a case in point. Facts may be ugly things, we may not like them. Just the same they have to be faced. It won't do just cavalierly to reject things as Doctor Lathrop does with the Freud theory, which he does not like, for instance. And who is he that he should set himself up to determine fact and fake? Maybe, if we studied him we'd find he was no different from anybody else. I'll warrant it."

"I don't care about him," I hastened. "But it does rather jar on me to have you speak so positively on affairs of the heart," I protested.

"You think I can't observe them without experiencing them? I don't have to commit a murder in order to study and understand the murderer, you know. The fact is I am perhaps a better judge of some subjects for the mere fact that I can observe them from the outside, as it were. I am not grinding my own ax."

I shook my head at Kennedy's, to me, novel theories of love. In fact, the whole thing, from his dream interpretation down through each step he took in the case, seemed almost revolutionary. [92] Convinced against my will, I was of half, at least, my own opinion still. Yet I did not feel in any position to combat him. The case would ultimately speak for itself, anyhow, I reflected.

"Now," he concluded, before I could think of a retort, "to get back to the case. Here are two women who no more understand the impulses that sway them than do the moon and sun in their courses. As I said, fundamental forces of sex are at play here. Perhaps even if you were able to get the truth from the various actors in this little drama they themselves could not tell you. Therefore, it is for me to unravel what is a closed book, even to them.

"And, strange as you may think it, Walter," he concluded, "the Freud theory will do it. Already I know more than even you suspect. There remains, however, the working out of the drama to its climax before I can be sure I have the truth, beyond mistake."



We were interrupted by the arrival of Doyle at the door. With him was a stranger whom he seemed to be virtually forcing along ahead of him.

As they entered, I regarded the man carefully. He seemed to have a sort of hangdog look.

Doyle led him over beside the laboratory table, near which Kennedy was standing, and Kennedy glanced at Doyle questioningly.

"This is Mr. Rascon, a private detective," growled Doyle, stressing the Mister insultingly, and continuing to push the man forward. "Meet Mr. Kennedy, Rascon."

Doyle had evidently the official contempt for the very breed of private detectives. The man bowed stiffly and nervously to Craig, who extended his hand, which the man took rather spiritlessly. Altogether I thought it a very peculiar circumstance.

"Meet Mr. Jameson, of The Star," added Doyle. "It might be well for you to have a few newspaper friends. They might come in handy some day. They tell me a press agent's job is to keep things out of the papers as well as to get them in."


Rascon smiled weakly as he shook my hand, and by the clammy touch of his hand I knew that he was either very nervous or very ill—perhaps both.

"Tell Mr. Kennedy what you've been doing, Rascon," commanded Doyle in his best gruff manner.

Rascon hesitated, but Doyle repeated his command, and in the repetition there was a thinly veiled threat that at once aroused the interest of both of us. What could be the purpose of bringing the stranger to us now?

Rascon cleared his throat.

"I've been employed by Mr. Wilford," he remarked a bit huskily, "to watch Mrs. Wilford."

"What—to trail her?" asked Kennedy with increased interest.

"Yes," admitted the man, reluctantly.

As I watched him I could see that he was of the type that is all too common. His shifty eye, never meeting yours for any considerable length of time, made a very unfavorable impression on me. It is not that all private detectives, or perhaps even a considerable number, in view of the many in the profession, are of this class. But there are altogether too many of his type and they are a decided menace to their branch of the profession and to society in general. I refer to the type that euphoniously "furnishes" evidence—but unscrupulously goes to the length, if necessary, of actually manufacturing it. They are to their profession what the [95] yellow journalist is to mine, the quack doctor to the medical profession—pariahs.

"Well," prodded Doyle, "tell us what you found."

Again there was no answer.

"Come—speak up. Tell us. You might as well tell now as to do it later."

Still he said nothing. Slowly Rascon drew from his breast pocket a tissue-paper flimsy sheet, a carbon copy of some typewriting, such as some agencies frequently use on which to make their reports to their clients.

"Read it!" demanded Doyle.

Slowly Rascon read:

"June 20. Wilford case. Operative No. 1.

"I picked up Mrs. Wilford at the door of the apartment at 11:15 A.M. She took a taxi to the Piccadilly Hotel.

"There she went in and I followed her to the telephone. I got into the next booth and tried to listen through the partition, but I was too late. She left immediately.

"From the Piccadilly I trailed her to the Plaza, just above Fifty-ninth Street, on Fifth Avenue. There was a touring-car waiting by the curb. In it she met Mr. Shattuck.

"I had time to hail a taxi as they were preparing to drive away and followed. They turned and went down-town. I followed through traffic across the Bridge and through Brooklyn. On the Parkway the touring-car pulled away from me, but not before I was convinced it was headed for the Beach. I had the number, 97531, and the description.

"At the Beach House I picked the car up again. Located the parties at luncheon. I waited about. They did not start back until four o'clock. I followed and he left her at the Subway at the Grand Central.

"She returned to the apartment, about quarter to six.

"I waited outside until relieved by operative No. 6."


"Was that all that happened?" I asked quickly. "They merely rode down to the beach and had lunch together?"

Rascon again did not reply. I could not even catch his eye as I asked the question.

"Just a moment, Jameson," interrupted Doyle. Then, leading the detective on, "Now, Rascon, what did your employer, Mr. Wilford, say when that report was presented to him?"

Rascon colored at the question, as Doyle had evidently intended that he should.

"He never saw it."

Doyle glowed with satisfaction, as though he were a lawyer bringing out the facts by cross-examination. He nodded to Kennedy and me as if we were a jury. Doyle was merely getting his facts into the record, as it were. Already he had quizzed Rascon into a state of anger and resentment out of which the truth might be expected to slip unaware.

"Never saw it?" thundered Doyle. "What do you mean?"

There was only silence from Rascon. Then, as Doyle threatened, he answered, surlily, "Mrs. Wilford paid me for the report—that is, for the copy of it."

A moment Doyle regarded him, then his virtuous ire rose into towering wrath, even as though he had just heard the thing now for the first time.

"She paid you for it! You dirty hound—that's blackmail!"


Kennedy interrupted. "Is it true?" he demanded, tapping the sheet of paper which he had taken and read hastily to make sure that nothing had been omitted in the first reading. "Did she meet Shattuck?"

The detective scowled to himself.

"Is it true—tell him," shouted Doyle, brandishing a menacing fist in Rascon's face.

The detective, himself a bulldozer when he had the chance, was bulldozed, even as a German might be frightened by a taste of his own frightfulness.

"N-no," he stammered.

"But had you made similar reports to Mr. Wilford?" persisted Kennedy, with some purpose.

"Oh yes—but not this one. She paid me for this. I played fair—I did," he almost whined.

"Hm! I see," measured Kennedy. "Mr. Wilford got similar reports—and believed them?"

Rascon nodded a deprecating acquiescence. "I suppose so. He never kicked or asked questions. I guess it was what he wanted to know—eh?"

It was not the flash of the detective's cynical lying that surprised me, but Craig's remark and what might be implied in it by the narrowing of Craig's eyes as he asked it and received the answer that he had apparently expected.

I glanced at Craig hastily. What did he mean by the inflection of his voice and by the look?

Hastily I tried to make it out. If the report of this Rascon had been true, did it not seem to explain and motivate Honora? But, I reasoned [98] immediately, even if it were untrue and if Wilford believed those reports he received and wanted to believe, was there not just as compelling a situation?

The thing was important and dangerous for her, either way one looked at it.

A few more questions and it was evident that Rascon, in spite of the baiting that Doyle had given him, was pretty well on guard and in control of himself and would admit nothing unless Doyle had documentary proof or something just as good. Doyle, not wishing to disclose the limit of his information, turned the interview short.

"That'll do," dismissed Doyle. "You may go, Rascon. I'll have more from you later."

Rascon backed out, sheepishly, eager to get away.

"I'll have his license revoked," muttered Doyle, calming down after the stormy quizzing.

Doyle's contempt for Rascon knew no bounds. As for Rascon, I knew the method he had adopted. Once Rascon, or any of that breed, had a case involving clients with money, he proceeded to nurse the case along, to play one party to the case against the other. But I had not often run across cases where the crooked detective, who is a pest despised by all honest detectives even more than by other people, had been so brazen about collecting all the traffic would bear from each side, indiscriminately.

"Why not ask Mrs. Wilford herself about it?" I suggested, as neither Kennedy nor Doyle said anything.


"Better not—yet," objected Doyle, hastily. "I want to watch her a little herself. I particularly bluffed Rascon into not telling her a word of this."

"Oh, that's all right," acquiesced Craig.

I understood. It was Doyle's clue. He had been honest about it. He had not held back the information from us. But it was his to pursue, he figured. As for Craig, I knew that he would gladly keep his hands off the thing. Besides, there was plenty for us to do in carrying out the line of action which Kennedy had adopted, leaving the less subtle things to Doyle.

"How did you find out about this fellow?" asked Craig, after a little while.

"You remember Celeste?" answered Doyle, as though he had not yet finished telling us what he had come to tell.

"The maid? Yes?"

"I saw Rascon hanging about the apartment—trying to see Celeste. I watched. The dirty dog was trying to sell some more of the stuff to Mrs. Wilford, the whole thing—make a final clean-up under threat of handing it over to me if she didn't come across. Well," he laughed, "I got it, anyhow. She ought to thank me. I saved her some money."

I did not like his tone toward Honora.

"Well," he went on, "as soon as I got the lead I investigated. Now I'm convinced that Celeste was the go-between in the transactions. I've made Celeste confess. She paid him the money for Mrs. Wilford. He handed her copies of the fake reports [100] which he agreed to 'kill' if enough was paid for them. Oh, it was a slick game, taking advantage of a situation."

I glanced at Kennedy. "Do you think Celeste can be relied on?" I asked.

He saw that I meant the test of her susceptibility to suggestion and her inaccuracy.

"Ah, very true, Walter," he remarked. "But the reports themselves are incontrovertible. True or false—they were made. Some of them Wilford must have seen. Others she must have paid for. But the fact remains, no matter what Celeste may be."

Doyle had been waiting impatiently for us to finish. Finally he nodded mysteriously, then stepped to the door. He opened it, and there in the hall I saw Celeste herself, with McCabe. The detective and the girl entered. Celeste stared about, not quite knowing what to make of the whole affair.

"Celeste," began Doyle, with an easy familiarity which I knew the French maid resented deeply, "you saw that man who was here and went away?"

"Yes, sir."

"Do you know him?"

"I have met the gentleman—two or three times."

"What happened on one of these occasions?"

Celeste paused. But Doyle was a forceful persuader to those who hesitated. Celeste evidently considered that she had best say something. That I knew was the danger—her readiness to say something, no matter what, to follow out some purpose [101] in her own mind. However, knowing her attachment to Honora, I felt sure, as she went on, that what she was telling us was wrung from her by compulsion and was not said merely as so many words.

"Madame she asked me to hand him an envelope."

"And what then?"

"In return I was to get one."

"Did you get one?"

"Yes, sir."

Celeste was saying no more than necessary.

"What was in it?"

The girl shrugged in her best Parisian. I may have been convinced that she did know what was in the return envelope. But there was clearly no way to prove it. We were forced to take her word on the matter. Doyle himself realized that handicap.

"Now, Celeste," began Doyle again, passing over that uncompleted phase, as though there was much he could have said, only refrained from doing so to go on to the next point, "what about the belladonna?"

"She used it to brighten her eyes," returned the maid, as glibly as if she had practised the reply.

"I mean—when did she use it last? Be careful. I know more than you think."

"Yesterday," she replied, in a low voice, somewhat startled at Doyle's assumption of omniscience.


"Her eyes were dull."


"She had been crying the night before—eh?"

There was no answer.

"Ah—then there had been a quarrel between Mrs. Wilford and her husband the day before?"

Doyle's assurance, like a clairvoyant having struck a profitable lead, overwhelmed Celeste. She said nothing, but it was evident that Doyle had hit upon something at least approximating the truth.

"Did she threaten again to leave him?" persisted Doyle, now taking further advantage.

"Oh—no—no—no! Madame would not quarrel. She would not leave monsieur—I know it."

I glanced again at Kennedy. I saw that he placed no great reliance on what Celeste said, unless it were substantiated in some outside manner.

It seemed to be about all we could get out of her, at least at this time. Moreover, following Doyle's wishes, we decided to let him handle both the Rascon affair and such watching and questioning of Celeste as may seem necessary. Kennedy was not unwilling. To tell the truth, the Rascon affair was indeed unsavory and a mess we could afford to let alone.

"That's all, my girl, for the present," concluded Doyle. "Oh—by the way—not one syllable of this to Mrs. Wilford. And if you breathe a word I shall know it. It will go hard with you, you understand?"

She bowed and McCabe took her away. It had been all right while she was with us. But the [103] moment McCabe loomed up on the scene, it was different. She tossed her head with offended dignity and marched off.

For some moments longer Doyle and we discussed the new phase of the case. It was greatly to Doyle's satisfaction that we allowed him to be unhampered in what he had unearthed. It had evidently worried him to think of having us two amateurs dragging across the trail he had uncovered.

Finally he left us, satisfied that he had done a great stroke of work. For some moments after he was gone Kennedy was silent and in deep study.

"What do you make of it all?" I asked, breaking in on his thoughts, for fear something might interrupt before I could obtain Craig's personal impression.

"Very important, perhaps—not for any evidence it may furnish in itself regarding what happened, for Rascon confessed that it was all faked, but important for its effect upon the minds of those concerned."

Somehow I was not pleased at Doyle's discovery. In my heart I was hoping for anything that would relieve the load of suspicion on Honora. This did not.

"You see," went on Kennedy, "it's not always what people know, the facts, that are important. Quite as important, oftentimes, are the things that they think they know, what they believe. People act on beliefs, you know."


Much as I hated to admit it in this instance, I was forced to grant that it was true.

"That may be," I confessed, "but why did she pay? Isn't it likely that it was a frame-up against her?"

Kennedy smiled as he realized I was defending her. "Quite the case," he argued. "I suppose you know that some of these private detectives are really scandalous in their operations?"

"Indeed I do."

"Then can't you understand how a woman who knows might be driven desperate by it? Honora was well informed in the ways of the world. She knew that people would say, 'Where there's so much smoke, there's fire.' I'll wager that you've said the same thing, yourself, about articles in your own paper."

I nodded reluctantly. It was a fact.

"Why, this private-detective evil is so bad," he went on, vehemently, "that judges ordinarily won't take the testimony of a private detective in this kind of case unless it is corroborated. And yet, in spite of that fact, you can always find some one to believe anything, especially in society, provided the tale is told circumstantially. She knew that, as I say. And it must have been exasperating. It must have preyed on her mind. No doubt, if you sift the matter down you'll find that it was just this move on the part of her husband that killed whatever spark of love there might have been glowing in her heart. Suspicion does that."


I decided not to pursue my own argument. I felt that the more I attempted to defend or excuse Honora, the more Kennedy bent and twisted the thing to some other purpose of his own. I could only trust that something would come to the surface that would set things in a different light.

Doyle had been gone some time and Kennedy was beginning to get a little nervous over what was delaying Doctor Leslie with the materials from the autopsy from which he expected to discover much that would straighten out the tangle of what it really was that had occurred in Wilford's office on that fatal night.

We had about decided to take a run over to the city laboratories to find out, when the door opened and a hearty voice greeted us.

It was no other than Doctor Leslie himself, with an assistant carrying the materials from the autopsy, as he had promised. The fact was that he had not been so very long. Events had crowded on one another so fast that we had not appreciated the passage of time.

As the attendant laid the jars down on Craig's laboratory table, Leslie seemed to have almost forgotten about them himself.

"I've made a discovery—I think," he announced, eagerly. "Perhaps it's gossip—but at any rate, it's interesting."

"Fire away," encouraged Kennedy, listening, but at the same time preparing impatiently to plunge into the deferred analysis might now be made.


"I stopped at the Medical Society," hastened Leslie. "Do you know, it seems to be the gossip of the profession, under cover, about Lathrop and his wife. News spreads fast—especially scandal, like the talk of her knowing Wilford, which, thanks to some of Mr. Jameson's enterprising fraternity, the papers have already printed. Well, from what I hear, I don't believe that she really cared for Vail Wilford at all. It seems that she was using him just because he was a clever lawyer. As nearly as I can make it out, she had set herself to secure the divorce and capture Shattuck—wealthy, fascinating, and all that, you know."

"Shattuck—she!" I exclaimed.

Kennedy, however, said nothing, but shot a quick glance at me, recalling by it our still fresh meeting with both Vina and Shattuck, as well as the visit from Rascon. I remembered also that it had been evident at our first meeting with Doctor Lathrop that he had shown a keen interest in what his wife was doing. Had it been really jealousy—or was it merely wounded pride?

Kennedy still did not venture to comment, but I saw that he was very thoughtful and that his eyes were resting on the book of Freud which we had been discussing some time before. What was passing in his mind I could not guess, but would have hazarded that it had something to do with Honora's dreams. At least the recollection of them flashed over me. Had Doctor Lathrop been the lion in her path, in some way? What [107] had that dream meant? So far it had not been explained.

Little more was said, but after a few moments' chat with Doctor Leslie, Craig set determinedly to work, making up for the time that had passed without any laboratory addition to his knowledge of the case.

Leslie waited awhile, then excused himself. He had hardly gone when Craig looked up from his work at me.

"Walter," he said, briskly, "I wish that you would try to find out more about that story of Leslie's."

Seeing that I was merely in the way, as he worked, now, I was delighted at the commission. I left him as he returned to the work of analyzing the materials Leslie had brought. For, I reasoned, here was a new angle of the case—Vina as the cause of all the trouble—and I was determined to find something bearing on it to add as my contribution to the ultimate solution.



I went out, at Craig's suggestion, eager to discover something more of the interesting bit of gossip which Leslie had hinted at about Vina and Doctor Lathrop. In fact, the relations of this pair interested me only slightly less than those of Honora and Vail Wilford.

Just where to go I was in some doubt, for I had not an extensive acquaintance in the medical profession of the city, in which both Doctor Lathrop and Doctor Leslie stood high in their respective fields. However, I reasoned that Lathrop's social position offered a more promising approach than even his professional connections. Thus, I determined to reassume the rôle of reporter for The Star which I had often used before with success in ferreting out odd bits of information of use to Kennedy.

Accordingly, I soon found that the best point of departure was The Star itself and to the office I went, hoping to find our society reporter, Belle Balcom, whom I knew to be a veritable Social Register and [109] Town Topics combined into one quick-witted personality.

"I suppose, Miss Balcom," I began, as I found her finishing a spicy bit of copy in the reporters' room, while I sat on the edge of her typewriter table—"I suppose you're following this Wilford case closely?"

She nodded vivaciously. "There hasn't been much to follow yet," she replied, eager to get whatever inside news she might for her society column. "Professor Kennedy is on the case, isn't he? You ought to know more about it than I do."

"Yes, he's on it," I replied, trying to head off any inquiry on her part that might be embarrassing. "And already we know that it will be quite involved."

"I know it," she asserted, and, as we chatted, I found, to my surprise, that she did know about the people concerned in the case. "You see," she explained, when I ventured to express my astonishment, "it's my business to be acquainted with what passes as 'news' to the readers of the society page. And then, too, you know that scandal and gossip constitute much of the small talk of the social set which figures in the society notes. By the way, I suppose you know about that little affair between Mrs. Wilford and Mrs. Lathrop out at the Brent Rock Country Club?"

I was at once interested. It was exactly the sort of thing I had sought.

"No," I confessed. "But I can quite appreciate [110] that an encounter between Honora and Vina would be likely to be spirited—and add to our knowledge of the case. What was it?"

Belle Balcom smiled breezily. For, whatever she might say about the smart set, she had been writing their gossip so long that she, too, quite appreciated a choice morsel of scandal. I have noticed that none of my profession ever gets so blasé that a new piece of "inside" news loses its charm—and I confess that in that respect I am quite like my fraternity.

"It seems," she retailed, "that the Wilfords and the Lathrops were at the club at a Saturday-night dance two or three weeks ago. Of course, you know, the attentions that Mr. Wilford had been paying to Mrs. Lathrop had been noticeable for some time, then, and had been the source of a good deal of discussion and comment among various members of their set."

"Of course," I encouraged.

"Well, it was just a bit more noticeable that night than at other times. Mr. Wilford was with her practically all the time. Of course, Honora Wilford had noticed it, not only that night, but many times before. This time, though, she overheard one of the other women who didn't know that she was so near, talking about it and laughing with her partner."

"That was the last straw," I anticipated.

"Exactly. She waited until she saw Vail Wilford for a moment alone. As luck would have it, he was [111] going for a sherbet for Mrs. Lathrop at the time. Mrs. Wilford was cutting. 'I suppose you realize that your wife is present to-night,' she said, icily. 'At least one dance is customary to let the world know that a husband and wife are on speaking terms.'"

"What did he say to that?"

"Oh, of course he mumbled that he had intended to dance with her next—but he went on and got the sherbet. The next dance he was too late."

"Then Hades popped loose," I ventured.

"You might say that. In the middle of the dance, Honora Wilford, who had declined more partners during the evening than most of the other women at the club had accepted, rose and deliberately walked across the dancing-floor, ostentatiously bowing good night to every one as she passed. You couldn't help noticing it. Even if any one had missed it, the summoning of her car would have been enough. It pulled up at the door of the club, with the cut-out open. It was scarcely eleven o'clock, too, and no one was thinking of going home at that time. Not a word was said. There was no scene. Yet that dance almost stopped."

It was interesting, perhaps important for the case, yet not precisely what I had started out to find. "What of Doctor Lathrop?" I asked. "What did he do?"

"He wasn't in the room at the time. He was down in the café. Wilford tried to brazen it out and Vina [112] acted properly surprised. She can be quite an actress, too, when she wants to be. No, Doctor Lathrop didn't pay any attention to it—that is, not so any one saw it. But Vance Shattuck did. I remember him particularly that evening. Of course I know many of the stories back in his life—and a good deal of what they say about him now. He had been one of the partners Honora had persistently refused, but they did sit out a dance together and I'm sure it was she that ended the tête-à-tête, not he. He seemed to have very little interest in any one else there, and I saw him taking in the whole affair. Once he started forward, as if to offer to escort her home, then checked himself. I think he seemed to be rather pleased than otherwise at the turn of events in that little affair."

"Playing a deep game?" I suggested.

Belle Balcom shrugged. "I don't know—perhaps. Really, I thought at the time that this was not a triangle, but the making of a fine quadrangle—that is," she laughed breezily, "if you include Vance Shattuck, I guess you would call it a pentangle."

"At any rate, all grist for the society-news mill," I smiled. "Doctor Lathrop really knew of the incident, didn't he?—at least, learned of it afterward?"

"I imagine so."

"You know the talk about the Lathrops?" I hinted.

"I think I do—and I knew it long before this case started people's tongues wagging, too."


"I understand it wasn't Wilford, after all, that Vina was interested in—but Shattuck himself."

"So they say. Society gets its geometry pretty mixed in some of these angles," she laughed.

"But do you think there is anything in the story about them?" I asked.

"You're a very persistent interviewer," she returned.

"Perhaps—but like the honest Japanese schoolboy, 'I ask to know.' It isn't interviewing for publication, you know. Really, I feel that if you do know anything, it is your duty to tell it. You can never know how valuable it may be to the case."

"Of course—if you put it on a high ethical ground, that's different," she temporized.

"I do. Listen. A crime has been committed. You have no more right to hold back one fact that may help to clear it up than you would to shield the person who committed it, in law, you know."

"You're right. Yes—I'm convinced that it was the case—that she was merely playing with Vail Wilford, using him to get her freedom from the doctor, and that she was convinced that all she needed to do was to set herself to capture Vance Shattuck and he was as good as hers. That might be true of some men—sometimes," she added, "but Mr. Shattuck is too—too sophisticated to fall an easy prey to any one. You know, no woman can pursue him. He is a born pursuer."

She paused a minute and nodded frankly at [114] me. "No woman should trust him—yet many have. Some day, I really believe, such men always meet a woman who is more than a game-fish to an angler. Between you and me, I think Vance Shattuck has met her—and that there is nothing he would stop at to get her. But Vina is not that woman—nor can she understand. Yes, you are absolutely right in what you hinted at regarding Vina. I think you'll do well to watch the Lathrops—but mostly watch Vance Shattuck. There—I've said more than I intended to say, already. And remember, this is not a woman's intuition. I've been watching little things, here and there, and putting what I know together. Now—I've some more items to add to my column—it's short to-day."

"Really, you ought to be a detective," I thanked her, as I turned from the desk. "You've helped me a great deal."

"Flatterer," she returned, picking up a galley proof. "Come back again. If I hear anything more I'll let you know. I like Professor Kennedy."

"Then it's to him you've been talking—not to me?" I asked, quizzically. "Or am I like John Alden—not speaking enough for myself, Priscilla?"

"Please—I must read this proof. No—you're not talking for Miles Standish. Still, I consider you quite harmless. If you don't go now, I'll make you write the notes to take the place of these turned slugs in the proof."


I departed in better humor, as I always was after a verbal encounter with Belle Balcom. More than that, she had given me enough to put some phases of the case in an entirely new light.

As I hastened back to the laboratory I realized that the scheming of Vina had given an entirely new twist to the case, one which was beyond my own subtlety to interpret.

On the way out of the city room I ran into Brooks, whose assignment was the Police Headquarters.

"Great case your friend Kennedy's on now," he paused to comment, and I knew that he was hinting for information.

"Yes. By the way," I replied, determined not to give it to him, but to sound him before he had a chance to do the same to me, "what do you fellows up at Headquarters know about the Rascon Detective Agency?"

"Rascon?" he answered, quickly, and I could see his mind was working fast and that if we needed any assistance in hounding that gentleman, Brooks would give it voluntarily, hoping to get his own story out of it. "Why, Rascon has a reputation. They say he has pulled some pretty raw deals. The city force doesn't think much of him, I can tell you. Is he mixed up in it?"

"Yes—indirectly," I admitted. "I thought perhaps you might keep an eye on him. There may be a story in him. Only, your word on one thing: Not a sentence is to go into The Star about him until you've got my O. K."


"I'll promise. What's he done? He does a good deal of shady business, I know."

I was not averse to telling Brooks a bit, for I knew I could trust him. Besides, if the truth is to be told, on a big case it is the newspaper men who do quite as much of the digging out the facts as the police do. The most efficient detectives in the world are the newspaper men—and the regular detectives get a great deal of credit for what the newspaper men do.

"He has been up to a fine piece of double crossing," I replied. "Now all I can tell you is that Wilford hired him to watch Mrs. Wilford. He faked a good deal—meetings with Vance Shattuck and that sort of thing. She gave up to him to suppress some of the fakes. But—well, I'd like to know more. Doyle, I think, has the fellow right. Now be careful. Don't let either of them know I tipped you off—and remember, your typewriter is broken until I tell you it's all right to go ahead."

"Thanks for the tip, Jameson," said Brooks, as I bustled away. "I'll look it up—and let you know."

"Have you found anything yet?" I inquired, half an hour later, as I entered the laboratory and found Kennedy still deeply engaged in the study of the materials which had been brought over by Doctor Leslie.

As I watched him I saw that he was at work over a quantitative analysis, rather than searching blindly for something as yet unknown.


"Yes," he replied, frankly, to my surprise, though, on second thought, I recalled that only when he was in doubt was Kennedy secretive. "I have. What about you?"

"The hint from Leslie was right," I replied, and as briefly as I could I repeated what Miss Balcom had told me.

Kennedy listened attentively, and when I had finished merely remarked, "That explains some things that I haven't cleared up yet."

"Now tell me what you have found," I urged. "I'm very eager to know."

"It was as I thought," he replied, slowly, "when I talked first with Leslie and Doyle. Wilford was not killed by atropin."

"Then what was it?" I asked, mystified.

"You remember, I found his pupils contracted almost to a pin-point?" he asked.

"Yes. Was it morphine, as in the cases Doyle cited?"

Craig shook his head. "No, it wasn't morphine, either. I had to go at it with practically no other hint. However, in this case the elimination of drugs was comparatively easy. I simply began testing for all I could recall that had the effect of contracting the pupils of the eyes. There was one thing that helped very much. The contraction was so marked in this case that I started off by looking for the drug which occurred to me next after morphine. I don't claim any uncanny intelligence for it, either. That part of it was all just pure luck."


"Luck be hanged!" I exclaimed. "It's knowledge, preparedness. Would I ever have hit on it by luck?"

"Still, I was as much surprised to find it so soon as you are to hear it."

"I'll concede anything," I hastened. "I'm burning with curiosity. What was it?"

"Wilford died of physostigmine poisoning," he answered.

I suppose my face wrinkled with disappointment, for Craig laughed outright. "And—physostigmine—is what?" I inquired, quite willing to admit my ignorance if by that I might get ahead in understanding the mystery. "What does it do?"

"It's a drug used by oculists, just as they use atropin, but for the precisely opposite effect. Atropin dilates the pupils; physostigmine contracts them. Both are pre-eminent in their respective properties."

"Used by oculists!" I exclaimed, remembering suddenly that Honora Wilford's father, Honore Chappelle, had been an oculist.

Kennedy apparently did not wish to encourage my quick deduction, for he paid no attention. "Yes," he repeated, thoughtfully, "it causes a contraction of the pupils more marked than that produced by any other drug I know. That was why I tried the test for it first—simply because it was at the top of the scale, so to speak."

Interested as I was in physostigmine, which, by [119] the way, now came tripping off my tongue like the name of an old friend, I could not forget our first acquaintance with the case.

"But what about the atropin in the glass—and in the bottle?" I asked, hesitatingly.

"I did not say that I had cleared up the case," cautioned Craig. "It is still a mystery. Atropin has not only the opposite effect on the eye from physostigmine, but there is a further most unusual fact about the relationship of these two drugs. This is one of the few cases where we find drugs mutually antagonistic. And they are antagonistic to a marked degree in this instance, too."

He paused a moment and I tried to follow him, but was too bewildered to make an inch of progress. Here was a man killed, we knew, by a drug which Craig had recognized. Yet in the glass on his desk had been found unmistakable traces of another drug. Was it an elaborate camouflage? If so, it seemed to be utterly purposeless, for, even if Kennedy had not discovered the poison, the veriest tyro at the game must have done so comparatively soon. I gave it up. I could see no chance that the atropin might have been put in the glass either to point or to obscure suspicion. It was too clumsy and a brain clever enough to have conceived the whole thing would not have fallen into such an egregious error. It was too easy. But, if the obvious were rejected, what remained? By the grave look on Kennedy's face I was convinced that there was a depth of meaning to this apparent contradiction [120] which even he himself had not fathomed yet.

"Atropin is an antidote to physostigmine," he continued. "Three and a half times the quantity almost infallibly counteracts the poisonous dose."

"But," I objected, "there was no trace of physostigmine in either glass, was there?"

"No," he replied, "the glasses are here. I got them from Doyle's office while you were away. Not a trace in either. In fact, one of the glasses is really free from belladonna traces. The physostigmine I discovered was all in the stomach contents of Wilford—and there is a great deal of it, too. When you come right down to the point, we've taken a step forward—that's all. There's a long way to go yet."

"But what of the physostigmine?" I queried. "How do you suppose it was given?"

He shook his head in doubt. "I made a close examination. There were no marks on the body such as if a needle had been used. Besides, my investigations showed that a needle need not have been used. There are peculiar starch grains in the stomach associated with the poison. I admit I still have no explanation of that."

For some minutes Kennedy worked along thoughtfully over his analysis, though I knew that he was merely endeavoring to determine in his own mind the next important move to make.

"I think I'll vary my custom, in this case," he decided, finally. "I'm going to announce what I [121] have discovered as I go along. If you tell it to one you may depend that it will spread to the others eventually. It will be interesting to see what happens. Often when you do that it's the quickest way to have the whole truth come out—especially if some one is trying to conceal it."

There was a tap on the laboratory door and I rose to open it, admitting Doyle himself, quite excited.

"What's the matter?" greeted Kennedy.

"There's the deuce to pay up at the Wilford apartment," replied Doyle. "Shattuck called there to see Mrs. Wilford this afternoon and offer her his sympathy."

I glanced over to Kennedy, who nodded to me. It was evidently the visit about which we already knew.

"I wasn't there," went on Doyle, "but McCabe was, of course. I don't know just what happened, but McCabe and Shattuck had some kind of run-in—Shattuck protested against the way we're holding Mrs. Wilford, and all that. Some mess!" He shook his head dubiously.

"Why?" prompted Kennedy. "What's the trouble?"

"Trouble enough. Mrs. Wilford's almost in a state of hysteria. When I tried to smooth things over she ordered me out of the apartment, said she'd receive whom she pleased and when and where she pleased."

Kennedy scowled. I could well imagine Doyle [122] "smoothing" anything over. A road-roller would have been tactful by comparison.

"I think she's breaking," he pursued. "I know I'm on the right track. I thought you might like to know it. If I don't get a confession—say, I'll eat my shield!"

With difficulty I restrained myself. It was not policy to offend Doyle, I reasoned.

"Say," pursued Doyle, with a knowing nod, "you remember I found out that some one had been at that office the night Wilford was murdered?"

"Yes," agreed Kennedy.

"Well—who was it?" demanded Doyle. "Who must it have been? Who wanted her husband out of the way? Isn't it clear?"

There was no mistake that he implied Honora.

"By the way," interposed Kennedy, "I think I've found the poison that killed him."


"No. Just the opposite—physostigmine."

Doyle stared. Yet he could not dispute.

"Maybe it was. But it's a poison just the same—ain't it?" he hastened. Then he added, aggressively, "I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to put a dictagraph in that place."

Kennedy smiled encouragingly. I knew what his thought was. This was the height to which Doyle's mind reached.

Yet, I reasoned, perhaps it was not without its value, after all.



"I think I ought to visit Mrs. Wilford, after that," decided Kennedy, the moment Doyle had left. "This case is really resolving itself into a study of that woman, or rather of her hidden personality."

Accordingly he doffed his acid-stained smock which he wore about the laboratory, and we set out for the Wilford apartment.

When we arrived we were not surprised to find Honora in a highly nervous state, really bordering on hysteria, as we had been told by Doyle. McCabe had taken up a less conspicuous place in which to watch her, from a neighboring apartment in which he had got himself placed.

As we met her, it actually seemed as if Honora had turned from Doyle and McCabe to Kennedy.

"Were the dreams I wrote for you all right?" she asked, with a rather concealed anxiety.

"Perfectly satisfactory," replied Kennedy, reassuringly. "I haven't finished with them yet. I'll tell you about them later. They were all right, [124] but I never have enough of them. I suppose Doctor Lathrop used to say that too?"

She nodded. Evidently Craig had won her confidence, in spite of what she must have known about us by this time.

"Are there any other dreams that you have thought of since?" he inquired, pressing his advantage.

She passed her hand over her forehead wearily and did not answer immediately.

"You look tired," Craig remarked, sympathetically. "Why not rest while we talk?"

"Thank you," she murmured.

As he spoke, Kennedy had been arranging the pillows on a chaise-longue. When he finished, she sank into them, resting her head, slightly elevated.

Having discussed the various phases of the psychanalysis before with Kennedy, I knew that he was placing her at her ease, so that nothing foreign might distract her from the free association of ideas.

Kennedy placed himself near her head and motioned to me to stand farther back where she could not see me.

"Avoid all muscular exertion and distraction," he continued. "I want you to concentrate your attention thoroughly. Tell me anything that comes into your mind. Tell all you know of your feelings. Concentrate. Repeat all you think about. Frankly express all the thoughts you have, even though they may be painful and perhaps embarrassing."


He said this soothingly and she seemed to understand that much depended upon her answers and the fact that she did not try to force her ideas.

"Tell me—of just what you are thinking," he pursued.

Dreamily she closed her eyes, as though allowing her thoughts to wander.

"I am thinking," she replied, slowly, still with her eyes closed, "of a time just after Vail and I were married."

She choked back the trace of a sob in her voice.

"It is a dream," she went on. "I seem to be alone, crossing the fields—it is at the country estate where we spent our honeymoon. I see a figure ahead of me. It is Vail. But each time that I get close to him—he has disappeared into the forest that skirts the field."

She stopped.

"Now—I see the figure—a figure—but—it is not Vail—no, it is another man—I do not know him—with another woman—not myself."

She had opened her eyes as though the day-dream was at an end, but before she finished the sentence she had deliberately closed them again.

From what I learned of the method of psychanalysis, I recalled that it was the gaps and hesitations which were considered most important in arriving at the truth regarding the cause of any nervous trouble.

More than that, as she had said the words, it was easy to read into her remarks the fact that she knew [126] there had been another woman in Wilford's life. It had wounded her deeply, in spite of the fact—as Kennedy had demonstrated by the Freud theory—that she really had not cared as greatly for Wilford as even she herself had thought.

Even to me it was plain in this day-dream recollection that the man throughout it was really Vail. She knew it was Vail and she knew that woman with him was Vina. But in her wish that it should not be so, she had unconsciously changed the face on the "figure" she saw. It was her endeavor to preserve what she desired. She had unconsciously striven not to have it her husband, as it was not herself she saw in the vision with him.

"Go on," urged Kennedy, gently. "Is there anything else that comes into your mind?"

"Yes" she murmured, dreamily. "I am thinking about some of Vail's clients."

"About any of them in particular?" hastened Kennedy, eager to catch the fleeting thought before she might either lose or conceal it. "About any one contemplating a suit for divorce?"

"Y-yes," she replied before she realized it, her eyes opening as she came out of the half-relaxed state again, recalled by the sound of Kennedy's voice.

"What were you thinking about that person?"

"That he was devoting entirely too much time to that sort of practice," she answered, quickly, avoiding a direct reply. "I can remember when [127] I first knew him that he was in a fair way to be a very successful corporation lawyer. But the money and the cases seemed to come to him—the divorce cases, I mean."

Kennedy ignored the last, explanatory part of the remark, as though he penetrated that it disguised something. He did not wish to put her on guard.

"Devoting too much time to the practice?" he queried, "or do you mean you think he was devoting too much time and attention to the particular client?"

Honora was thoroughly on guard now, in spite of him. Had she known, she probably would never have allowed herself to be led along until Kennedy struck on such an important "complex." But, quite evidently, she knew nothing of the Freud theory and trusted that her own control of herself was sufficient. And, indeed, it would have been had it not been that the dreams betrayed so much, that even she did not realize, to one who understood the theory. She did not answer.

"Who is it that you were thinking about?" persisted Craig, refusing to be turned aside.

"Oh, no one in particular," she replied, quickly, with a petulant little shrug.

Yet it was plain now that she had been thinking of some one, both in the last remarks and perhaps in the day-dreams she had repeated. She was now trying to hide the name from us.

By this time, also, Honora was sitting bolt-up-right [128] on the chaise-longue, staring straight at Kennedy, as though amazed at her own frankness and a bit afraid of what it had led her into.

"Was it Vina Lathrop?" he asked, suddenly.

"No—no!" she denied, emphatically.

Yet to me it was evident that it most certainly had been Vina whom she had in mind. The association test of the waking state quite accorded with the results of the dream study which Kennedy had made.

Moreover, it was now evident that Honora was holding back something, that she had taken refuge in silence. Vainly Kennedy now strove to restore the relaxed condition, in which she might let her thoughts wander at will. It was of no use. She simply would not let herself go.

Deftly he changed his tactics altogether and the conversation drifted off quickly to inconsequential topics, such as would restore any shaken confidence in him. Clearly it was too early to come to an open break with her. Besides, I understood, Kennedy would rather have allowed her to believe that she had come off victor than to have pressed any minor advantage.

"Please don't repeat this," he remarked, as we were leaving. "You can readily understand the reason. I quite appreciate the uncomfortable position in which the city detectives have placed you, Mrs. Wilford. Depend on me, I shall use every influence I have with them to mitigate the hardship of their presence. Besides, I know how [129] brutally annoying they can be. You understand—my position is quite different. And if I can be of any assistance to you, no matter in what way, don't fail to command me."

I had expected her to be a bit put out by our continued quizzing. On the contrary, however, she seemed to be actually grateful for Kennedy's sympathy, now that he had ceased treading upon dangerous ground.

"Thank you," she sighed, as we rose to leave her. "I feel that you are always trying to be fair to me."

Kennedy hastened to assure her that we were, and we left before the final good impression could be destroyed.

"I consider you an artist, Craig," I complimented, as we left the elevator a few minutes later, after a brief talk with McCabe in which Kennedy urged him to keep a close watch, but to seem not to be watching. "We go to cross-examine; we leave, friends. But I don't yet understand what the idea was of trying the association test on her."

"Couldn't you see that when we came there she was in a state verging on hysteria?" he replied. "No doubt, if McCabe had stayed she would have been quite over the verge, too. But it would not have done them any good. They always think that if any one 'blows up,' as they call it, they'll learn the truth. That's not the case with a woman as clever as Honora. If she gave way to hysteria, she would be infinitely more likely to mislead them [130] than to lead them. Besides, in the study of hysteria a good deal of what we used to think and practise is out of date now."

I nodded encouragingly, not so much that I cared about the subject of hysteria, either what was known of it now or long ago, as that I was deeply interested in anything whatever that might advance the case.

"Perhaps," he went on, "you are not aware of the fact that Freud's contribution to the study of hysteria and even to insanity is really of greater scientific value than his theories of dreams, taken by themselves. Study of Freud, as you can see, has led us already to a better understanding of this very case."

"But what sort of condition did you think her in before you reassured her at the start by the association test?"

Kennedy thought a moment. "Here is, I feel, what is known as one of the so-called 'borderline cases,'" he answered, slowly. "It is clearly a case of hysteria—not the hysteria one hears spoken of commonly as such, but the condition which scientists to-day know as such.

"By psychanalytical study of one sort or another we may trace the impulse from which hysterical conditions arise, penetrate the disguises which these repressed impulses or wishes must assume in order to appear in the consciousness. Such transformed impulses are found in normal people, too, sometimes. The hysteric suffers mostly from reminiscences [131] which, paradoxically, may be completely forgotten.

"Thus, obsessions and phobias have their origin, according to Freud, in sexual life. The obsession represents a compensation, a substitute for an unbearable sex idea, and takes its place in consciousness."

"That is," I supplied, "in this case you mean that her husband's lack of interest in her was such an unbearable idea to her that in her mind she tried to substitute something to take its place?"

"Precisely. In normal sex life, as you recall, the Freudists say that no neurosis is possible. Also recall what I said, that sex is one of the strongest of impulses, yet subject to the greatest repression—and hence is the weakest point in our cultural development. Often sex wishes may be consciously rejected, but unconsciously accepted. Well, now—hysteria arises through the conflict between libido—the uncontrollable desire—and sex repression. So, when they are understood, every hysterical utterance has a reason back of it. Do you catch the idea? There is really method in madness, after all.

"Take an example," he continued. "When hysteria in a wife gains her the attention of an otherwise inattentive husband, it fills, from the standpoint of her deeper longing, an important place. In a sense it might even be said to be desirable for her. You see, the great point about the psychanalytic method, as discovered by Freud, is that certain symptoms of hysteria disappear [132] when the hidden causes are brought to light and the repressed desires are gratified."

"But," I interrupted, "how does this analysis apply to the case of Honora Wilford?"

Kennedy considered a moment. "Very neatly," he answered. "Honora is suffering from what the psychanalysts call a psychic trauma—a soul wound, as it were. Recall, for instance, what our dream analysis has already shown us—the old love-affair with Shattuck. To her mind, that was precisely like a wound would have been to the body. It cut deeply. Seemingly it had healed. Yet the old scar remained—a repressed love. It could no more be taken away than could a scar be taken from the face."

"Yet was not open and visible like a physical scar," I agreed.

"Quite the case. Then," he pursued, "came a new wound—the neglect by her husband whom she thought she loved, and the discovery of Vina Lathrop as the trouble-maker."

"I begin to see," I returned. "Those two sets of facts, the old scar and the new wound, are sufficient, you think, to explain much in her life."

"At least they explain about the hysteria. In her dream, a wave of recollection swept over her and, so to speak, engulfed her mind. In other words, reason could no longer dominate the cravings for love so long repressed. The unconscious strain was too great. Hence the hysteria—not so much the hysteria and the isolated outburst which [133] Doyle saw, as the condition back of it which must have continued for days, perhaps weeks, previous to the actual murder of Wilford."

I frowned and objected inwardly. Was Craig, also, laying a foundation for the ultimate conviction of Honora?

Before I could question him there was an interruption at the door and I sprang to open it.

"Hello, Jameson!" greeted Doctor Leslie; then catching sight of Kennedy, he entered and asked, "Have you discovered anything yet, Professor?"

"Yes," replied Craig, "I should say I have."

Leslie was himself quite excited and did not wait for Craig to go on. "So have I," he exclaimed, searching Kennedy's face as he spoke. "Did you find physostigmine in the stomach contents I sent you? I did in what I retained."

Kennedy nodded quietly.

"What does it mean?" queried Leslie, puzzled.

Kennedy shook his head gravely. "I can't say—yet," he replied. "It may mean much before we are through, but for the present I think we had better go slow with our deductions."

Leslie evidently had hoped that Kennedy's active mind would have already figured out the explanation. But in cases such as this facts are more important than clever reasoning and Kennedy was not going to commit himself.

"Doyle tells me that he has put in a dictagraph in the Wilford apartment," ventured Leslie, changing the subject unwillingly.


"Has he learned anything yet?"

"No, not yet. It's too soon, I imagine."

Leslie paused and glanced about impatiently. Things were evidently not going fast enough to suit him. Yet, without Kennedy, he felt himself helpless. However, there was always one thing about Leslie which I was forced to like. He was no poser. Even when Doyle and the rest did not recognize Kennedy's genius, Leslie quite appreciated it. Although he was a remarkably good physician, he knew that the problems which many cases presented to him were such that only Kennedy could help him out.

"You've heard nothing more about the gossip regarding Mrs. Lathrop and Shattuck?" I asked.

"No, nothing about that. But there is something else that I have found out," he added, after a moment—"something that leads to Wilford's office."

Kennedy was interested in a moment. We had been so occupied with the case that we had not even a chance to go down there yet, although that would have been one of the first things to do, ordinarily, unless, as in this case, we were almost certain that the ransacking of Doyle and Leslie had destroyed those first clues that come only when one is called immediately on a case.

"I've been looking about the place," went on Leslie, encouraged by Kennedy's interest. "I knew you'd be busy with other things. Well, I've discovered one of the other tenants in the [135] building who did not leave his office on the same floor until just after seven o'clock last night."

"Yes?" inquired Craig. "Did he see or hear anything?"

Leslie nodded. "Early in the evening there must have been a woman who visited Wilford," he hastened.

"Who was she?"

"The tenant doesn't know."

"Did he see her?"

"No. He remembers hearing a voice on the other side of the door to the hall. He didn't see any one, he says, and it is quite likely. When I asked him if he overheard anything, he replied that he could catch only a word here and there. There was one sentence he caught as he closed his own door."

"And that was—?"

"Rather loudly, the woman said: 'Give her up, Vail. Can't you see she really doesn't love you—never did—never could?'"

Leslie paused to watch the effect of the sentence on us. I, too, studied Kennedy's face.

"Did she leave soon?" asked Craig.

Leslie shook his head. "I don't know. The tenant left and that was all I heard."

"Well, Wilford was not dead then, we know," considered Craig. "Could she have been there when he died? Of course you don't know."

"It's possible," replied Leslie.

To myself, I repeated the words: "Give her up, [136] Vail. Can't you see she really doesn't love you—never did—never could?"

A few hours ago I should have been forced to conclude that only Vina might have said it, knowing as she did the peculiar nature of Honora and the relations between Wilford and his wife. But now, with the hints discovered by Leslie and amplified by Miss Balcom, I could not be so sure. The remark might have come equally well from Honora herself and have applied to Vina—for Honora, too, might have known that it was not love for Wilford that prompted Vina's interest in her husband, but the desire to make sure of her divorce for the purpose of being free to capture Vance Shattuck.

Interesting and important as the discovery was, it did not help us, except that it added to the slender knowledge we had of what had taken place at the office. A woman had been there. Who it was, whether Honora or Vina, we did not know. Nor did we know how long she had stayed, whether she might merely have dropped in and have gone before the crime was committed.

"You've told Doyle?" asked Kennedy.

"Naturally. I had to tell him. Remember, it was much later that he found that some one else had been at the office, according to the janitor's story."

"I do remember. That's just what I have been thinking about. I suppose he'll tell it all around—he usually does use such things in his third-degree manner."


Leslie smiled, then sobered. "Quite likely. Does it make any difference?"

"Not a bit. I'm rather hoping he does tell it around. I've decided in this case to play the game with the cards on the table. Then some one is sure to make a false move and expose his hand, I feel sure."

Quickly I canvassed the situation. All might be involved, in one way or another—either Vina or Honora might have been the early visitor; later it might have been either Shattuck or even Lathrop, or perhaps neither, who had been there, as far as the janitor's vague observation was concerned.

"There was something strange that went on at that office the night of the murder," ruminated Kennedy. "Maybe there is some clue down there, after all, that has been overlooked. You've searched, you say. Doyle has searched. The place must have been pretty well gone over. However, I can see nothing left but to search again," he decided, quickly. "We must go down there."



Wilford's office was in an old building of the days when a structure of five or six stories, with a cast-iron, ornamented front, was considered a wonderful engineering achievement. It was down-town, in the heart of the financial district, and had been chosen by Wilford, without a doubt, to convey an impression of solidity and conservatism, a useful camouflage to cover the essential character of his law practice as scandal attorney.

We climbed the worn stairs with Leslie, and, as we mounted, I noticed that there was also, down the hall, a back stairway, evidently placed there in case of fire. Hence, it was possible, I reasoned, for a person to have slipped in or out practically unobserved from the front.

We knew now that at least one person, probably two, had been there, though who they were we did not know. Nor was there yet any clue, except that certainly a woman had visited Wilford, at least early in the evening.

Wilford's office was on the third floor, in the [139] front. We entered and looked about. Past the outer railing and outer office was his own sanctum.

It was furnished lavishly with divans and settees in mahogany and dark leather, with elaborate hangings over the windows and on the walls. There were law-books, but only, it seemed, for the purpose of giving a legal flavor to the place. Most of the legal library was outside. The office was rather like a den than a lawyer's office.

Reflecting, I could see the reason. Society must be made welcome here, and at ease. Besides, the conservative surroundings were quite valuable in covering up the profession—I had almost said, business—of divorce made easy and pleasant. I recalled Rascon and the crook detectives who made little concealment of their business—"Evidence for divorce furnished." Doubtless many of these gentry had found occupation from this source. What stories these walls might have told! They would have made even Belle Balcom's ears tingle.

At once Kennedy began his search of the office, going over everything minutely but quickly, while we waited, apart.

"Not even a finger-print has been left unobscured!" he exclaimed, finally, almost ready in disgust to give it up. "It is shameful—shameful," he muttered. "When will they learn to let things alone until some one comes who knows the scientific importance of little things! If only I could have been first on the job."


"There's the typewriter," suggested Leslie, trying to divert attention and smooth things over.

"Have you the letter?" asked Craig.

Leslie drew it eagerly from his pocket and unfolded it. Kennedy took it, spread it out and studied it a moment:


Don't think I am a coward to do this, but things cannot go on as they have been going. It is no use. I cannot work it out. This is the only way. So I shall drop out. You will find my will in the safe. Good-by forever.


Then Craig moved over and sat at the typewriter. Quickly he struck several keys, then made a hasty comparison of the note with what he had written.

"The 's' and the 'r' are out of alignment, the 'e' battered—in both," he concluded, hurriedly, as though merely confirming what he was already convinced of. "There are enough marks to identify the writing as having been done on this machine, all right. No, there's nothing in this note—except what is back of it, and we do not know that yet. Did Wilford write that letter, or was it written for him? It could hardly have been done voluntarily."

"It was in this desk chair that we found him sprawled—so," illustrated Doctor Leslie, dropping into the chair. Then, straightening up, he indicated the big flat-topped desk in the middle of [141] the room. "The two glasses were on this desk—one of them here, the other over there."

As he pointed the spots out, one of them near where he was, the other near the outer edge of the desk, Kennedy's eye fell on the desk calendar.

"I removed the pages I told you about," supplied Leslie, noticing the direction of Craig's glance. "It's a loose-leaf affair, as you see. Here they are."

Leslie drew from his pocket the leaves for the various days, and we looked at them again, with their notations—one reading, "Prepare papers in proposed case of Lathrop vs. Lathrop." Others read, "Vina at four," and other dates, with hours attached. There were several of them, more than would seem to have been necessary were the relation merely that of lawyer and client for so brief a time. There were none for the day of the murder however.

Kennedy continued the search, now rummaging the papers, now directing either Leslie or myself to bring him objects.

He had asked me for a letter-file, and I was turning from a cabinet to hand it to him when my foot kicked some small, soft object lying along the edge of the rug. The thing, whatever it was, flew over and hit the baseboard.

Mechanically I reached down and picked the object up, holding it in the palm of my hand.

It seemed to be a rough-coated, grayish-brown bean, of irregular, kidney shape, about an inch [142] long and half an inch thick, with two margins, one short and concave, the other long and convex. The surfaces were rounded slightly, but flattened. The coat of the bean was glossy.

Kennedy, with quick eye, had noted that I had picked up something and was over at my side in a moment.

"What's that?" he asked quickly, taking the thing from my hand as I turned to him.

He looked at it critically for a moment. Then he pressed the hard outer coat until it parted slightly, disclosing inside two creamy white cotyledons. He studied them for some time, then pressed the bean back into shape again as it had been before.

I was about to ask what he thought it was, and where it came from, when there was a noise in the direction of the door. We turned to see that it was a man in overalls shuffling in, his cap in his hand.

"Oh, beggin' your pardon, Doctor," he addressed Leslie, "I heard some one here. I didn't know it was you."

It was the night watchman who had been off the job on perhaps the only occasion in years when it would have meant much for him to have been on it, but was making up for his laxity now by excessive vigilance.

"Pete," demanded Leslie, sharply, "did you see a woman here that night?"

"N-no, sir—that is, sir—I don't know. There [143] was some one here—but Mr. Wilford, he kept such late hours and irregular that I thought nothing of it. I thought it was all right, sir. Later, when I didn't hear any voices, I thought they had gone home. I didn't see the lights burnin'—you wouldn't ha' noticed that, except from the other side of the street. I s'pose that's why they didn't discover the body till mornin'. But a woman here—no, sir, I can't say as I'd say that, sir."

Whatever else there might have been said about Pete, it was evident that he was perfectly honest. He even confessed his lack of observation and his inefficiency with utter frankness. There did not seem to be a hope of obtaining anything by questioning Pete. He had told all he really knew. Others might have embellished the story had they been in his place, and so have led us astray. At least he had the merit of not doing that.

"So—here you are," exclaimed a deep voice at the door.

It was Doyle, flushed and excited.

"You may go, Pete," nodded Leslie to the janitor, who backed out of the room, still pulling at his cap.

Alone, Doyle turned to us.

"Confound Shattuck!" he exclaimed. "That man is the limit. I'll get him, if he doesn't look out. He's a game bird—but he flies funny."

"Why, what has he done now?" asked Kennedy.

"Done?" fumed Doyle. "Done? Been threatening, I hear, to have me 'broke'—that's all. I don't care about that, not a whoop—even if he had the influence [144] with the administration. What I care about is that he is putting every obstacle in the way of my finding out anything from that woman. She's hard enough to manage, Heaven knows, without his butting in."

"What about that bean Jameson picked up here?" asked Leslie, impatiently, as Doyle paused. "Have you any idea what it may be?"

"A bean?" inquired Doyle, looking from one of us to the other and not understanding. "A bean? Picked up here? Why, what do you mean?"

I was inclined to be vexed at Leslie for having mentioned it, but I soon saw that Kennedy betrayed no traces of annoyance. On the contrary, he seemed rather eager to answer, as he drew the thing from his pocket, where he had placed it when Pete came in.

"Just something Jameson happened to find on the very edge of the rug, quite by accident, over by the letter-files," Craig explained, with a certain gusto at showing Doyle a thing that he had overlooked. "Ever see anything like it?"

Doyle took the bean, but it was evident that both it and its discovery meant nothing to him.

"No," he admitted, reluctantly. "What is it?"

"Without a doubt it is one of the famous so-called 'ordeal beans' of Calabar," replied Kennedy, offhand.

"Calabar?" I repeated, in surprise. "Why, that's a place on the west coast of Africa, isn't it? What would a Calabar bean be lying on the floor here for?"


"What do you mean—ordeal bean?" questioned Doyle, somewhat incredulously, while Leslie maintained a discreet silence.

"In the Calabar, where these things grow," explained Kennedy, not put out for an instant, "as you perhaps know, they have a strange form of dueling with these seeds. Two opponents divide a bean. Each eats a half. It is some religious ceremony—voodoo, or some such thing, I suppose—a superstition. Sometimes both die—for the bean contains physostigmine and is the chief source from which this drug is obtained."

"You mean they eat it—a poison?" I asked.

"Certainly. Over there, the natives believe that God will decide who is guilty and who is innocent, and that he will miraculously spare the innocent. I suppose that sometimes one gets a half a bean that doesn't contain so high a percentage of the poison—or else some people are not so susceptible to its toxin, or something like that. Anyhow, that's one way they use it."

"Why," I exclaimed, "that is primitive justice, you might say—the duel by poison!"

"Exactly," Craig nodded.

Doyle stared, amazed and puzzled.

"No worse than some of the things our ancestors did, not many centuries ago," reminded Craig. "They used to have all sorts of ordeals, by fire and water and what not. We haven't progressed so far over the savages, after all. Civilization is only a veneer, and pretty thin, sometimes. Underneath [146] we're quite like the savage—only we substitute mechanical war for brute strength and high finance for highway robbery. The caveman and the cavewoman are in all of us—only we manage either to control them or conceal them—except when something happens that means calling in either Doyle or myself."

"What's this—phy—physos—what you call it?" demanded Doyle, forgetting to conceal his ignorance in his curiosity.

"A drug," replied Kennedy. "One effect it has is to contract the pupil of the eye. Both Leslie and I have discovered considerable traces of it in Wilford's stomach. In such quantities, it would be very poisonous. By the way, this bean would account also for those starch grains I found, Walter," added Kennedy.

"Then you mean you think that Wilford ate one of these things?" queried Leslie.

"That there was a—duel by poison?" demanded Doyle, hesitating over the words I had used.

"I know he must have eaten one of those beans," asserted Kennedy. "What else could it have been? He certainly didn't eat this one, though. There must have been more. This one must have dropped on the floor in the excitement and have been overlooked. You didn't find any traces of others about, did you?" he added, looking from Doyle to Leslie.

Leslie shook his head negatively. Doyle's puzzled face was answer enough from him.


I considered a moment as an idea struck me, offering a refuge from an unpleasant implication of Kennedy's remarks which I foresaw and which I knew would occur to Doyle, if not directly, at least very soon.

"Shattuck has traveled widely," I remarked, reflectively. "He himself told us, you recall, that he had hunted big game in Africa. Perhaps he has been in the Calabar, too—at any rate somewhere on that continent where he might have learned of these beans and the use to which the natives put them."

Kennedy nodded again, cautiously.

"A good many such beans are imported for medical purposes to obtain the physostigmine from them," Craig remarked, carefully. "It's the source of the drug. Don't jump too hastily at your conclusions, Walter. Remember, physostigmine is a drug that is known and used by oculists, too, for its effect on the pupil of the eye, the opposite of belladonna."

I could have sworn at Kennedy for that. It was just the idea that I had wanted to keep away from Doyle. I had known that he would pounce on it like a hawk. Now I was sure that he would use it against Honora.

"Oh—oculists use it, do they?" repeated Doyle, running true to form. "Ah—I see."

He looked about, from one to the other of us, knowingly. No one said anything as he continued to gaze with superior slyness at us, regarding us as [148] poor simpletons who were unable to see through a millstone with a hole in it.

"I see—I see," he added. "Honora—Chappelle. That was her name before she was married. Her father was a Frenchman, Honore Chappelle—an oculist—well known in the city before he died. Oh, that's very important, then, that about this bean and the physostigmine, or whatever you call it. And, Leslie, you say you've discovered that some one—a woman—was here early in the evening. Can't we put two and two together? She's lying when she says she wasn't out of that house, she is. So is that Celeste, the hussy. Depend on it, she was here. I'm on the right track, all right," Doyle concluded with a cocksure shake of the head that was more irritating than any amount of ignorance on his part would have been.

I did not reply. I understood the purport of the broad insinuation that Doyle was making. Also, I saw the real reason of Kennedy's remark to me, cautioning me to make haste slowly in deducing anything from the, as yet, slender facts of the case.

I thought a moment. Far from eliminating anybody, the discovery of the Calabar bean left us scarcely a bit ahead of where we had been before. With a keen repulsion against the very idea and its implications as seen by the astute Doyle, I still was forced to admit that Honora Wilford's father had been an oculist and that it was perfectly true that she had every opportunity to have learned of the [149] ordeal bean and its drug. Yet I kept asking myself what, after all, that might mean.

Purposely Kennedy reverted to the Calabar bean and the remarks of Doyle that had started the conversation.

"If Shattuck gets too brash," hinted Kennedy, "spring this information on him. Perhaps it might interest him."

As he said it, I remembered what Craig had said in the laboratory only a short time before—that he was going to tell part of what he had found, as he went along, in the hope that the actions of each suspect who heard it might perhaps betray some thing. There was some crumb of comfort in that, I felt, as far as Honora herself was concerned. Yet I felt uncomfortable and misgiving.

We parted from Leslie and Doyle, and as we went up-town again I could not help remarking that somehow the apparent effort of Shattuck to hamper us was suspicious. Kennedy said very little, but when we got off at the station on the Subway just before our own, I saw that he was not yet through.

It did not take long to elicit from him the information that, while he felt he could trust Doyle to convey the information about the discovery and the drug to both Shattuck and Honora before long, the case was different as far as Vina and Doctor Lathrop were concerned.

As we entered Doctor Lathrop's office, we found that not only was he there, but that his wife was there also. However, it was quite evident that they [150] had been having words, and all was not as serene between them as they would have us wish, by the forced looks on their faces. In short, they had been quarreling.

I could have guessed what it was about, but Kennedy affected not to notice that anything was wrong and I fancied that Vina, at least, wore a look of relief as she saw that he was not paying any attention to it.

Briefly, Kennedy outlined what we had found—the physostigmine in the stomach, the poison, the bean itself, which he took particular pains to describe along with the circumstances under which it had been found.

"Did you ever have any of these ordeal beans?" asked Kennedy, displaying the one we had found.

"I have had them," admitted Lathrop.

I thought I caught a covert look at his wife, as if to see how she was taking the discovery. As for Vina, I knew that she was far too clever to betray anything, especially before us.

"They're comparatively easy to obtain in New York," went on Lathrop, with greater ease. "Drug importers get them in quantities to derive the drug from them. However, now I employ the drug itself, the few times I have any occasion to use it. I suppose I've got some in my medicine-chest."

As we talked, I saw that Vina was really listening, keen and silent. If actions for which we had no immediate explanation had bearing on the question of guilt, I felt that her very manner was incriminatory [151] in itself. Why should she try to conceal under a cloak of indifference her real interest in the thing? And yet, even with Vina, I was loath to jump at a conclusion. Somehow or other her preoccupied manner and the stress of her suppressed attention aroused my suspicions most strongly against her, after what other things I knew of her private affairs.

As we left them and hurried toward the laboratory, I found myself wondering whether she might not have been the visitor to Wilford whom the tenant had overheard talking in Wilford's office. As for the why of such a visit, I was forced to admit I had no explanation.

I reacted against the deduction that perhaps Honora had known of the properties of the Calabar bean and had been able to obtain some of them. Yet it was clearly that that was in Kennedy's mind as we approached his workshop.

We had scarcely entered the hall when I saw that there was some one waiting for us near the door. It was Brooks, of The Star.

Brooks wore a very important air of secrecy, as though he had been doing a bit of gumshoeing and was proud of it.

"Something about Rascon?" I asked, jumping to the conclusion, after I had introduced Brooks to Craig.

"Yes," he replied, eagerly, "I've got a clue."

"A clue? Why, we've got Rascon—at least Doyle can get him whenever we want him. What do you mean?" I asked.


"How about those reports?" answered Brooks, pointedly. "You know he did a good deal of work for Wilford and wrote a good many of them. The reports are gone—Doyle told me."

"Where are they?" asked Kennedy, quickly appreciating the possible importance of the matter. "Is that what you've found out?"

Brooks looked knowing. "Ah—that's just it. You see, I decided to trail the trailers, so to speak. There's one very trusted operative of Rascon's—he calls him Number Six—that's his denomination, I believe, in the Rascon records. Well, that fellow has double-crossed him. He has stolen the reports, I hear. Or perhaps it's part of Rascon's plan to cover himself. I don't know. At any rate, I've traced Number Six to a river-front saloon—you may know of the place, a tough joint called 'The Ship,' on Water Street. Without a doubt there's something there."

Brooks was speaking earnestly and I looked questioningly at Kennedy.

"I believe it's worth following up," decided Craig, not even stopping to unlock the laboratory door, as we turned away with Brooks. "If we had those records it might point up the case very closely."



We found The Ship Café, which Brooks had already investigated, on a river-front street in the outskirts of the Greenwich Village section of the city.

"The Ship" was a disreputable-looking frame building, a tavern of several generations ago, once historically famous, but now, like a decayed man about town, relegated to the company of those whom formerly he would have scorned.

Not many months ago it had been a saloon. Now a big sign declared that only soft drinks were sold in it. Even that change did not seem to have done much for the respectability of the place. The neighborhood was still quite as tough and squalid and "The Ship," itself, with a coat of paint, had not become even a whited sepulcher.

Kennedy, Brooks, and myself entered and passed into a typical, low-ceilinged back room of the old days. There at a number of greasy, dirty round tables sat a miscellaneous collection of river-rats, some talking and smoking ill-favored pipes, others [154] reading newspapers. I felt sure that they were drinking something other than soft drinks, and wondered whence the stuff had come. Had it been smuggled in on vessels from the near-by wharves?

We sat down and for some moments Brooks and I did most of the talking, being careful to cover ourselves and pose neither as detectives nor even as newspaper men, lest the slightest slip might excite suspicion among the evil-looking customers of the den.

We had been sitting thus for some time, Kennedy saying very little, when Brooks leaned over toward me and whispered, in reality to Kennedy: "The fellow I discovered—the one they call Number Six—has a room up-stairs. If we could only register here we might get a room—and a chance to search the other rooms."

Kennedy nodded non-committally, but made no effort to put the suggestion into execution, and I saw that he was merely waiting for something to turn up.

For almost an hour we remained talking at the table, endeavoring to ingratiate ourselves with the waiter of the place, a rather burly fellow, who seemed to regard us with suspicion as strangers. Yet, as long as we did nothing or asked nothing indiscreet our burly waiter seemed unable to do anything else than tolerate us.

I was becoming impatient, when a furtive-looking individual entered from what had formerly been the bar. Brooks winked sidewise at us and I [155] gathered that the new-comer was the redoubtable "Number 6," the operative of the Rascon Agency whom Brooks had located.

He cast his furtive eyes around and his glance caught Brooks, who nodded, beckoning him over to the table.

The former operative sidled over and sat down, eying us suspiciously, in spite of Brooks's effort to handle him with tact.

We fell into conversation, beginning on the weather and progressing to the usual topic of the evil times into which prohibition was throwing us.

Gradually Brooks led around to more intimate subjects and finally the name of Rascon was mentioned.

At once the former operative flew into a towering rage.

"Say," he ejaculated, "if I should tell you of all the crooked deals that fellow was in—"

He checked himself in spite of his anger, and at once a look of suspicion crossed his face as he glanced doubtfully at us. At least I felt there could be no question that the operative had really double-crossed Rascon. As to whether we might profit by it or not, that was another matter.

"Fair enough," interposed Kennedy, trying to reassure the fellow. "Now we're not friends of his exactly. To come right down to brass tacks," he added, lowering his voice, "this gentleman here tells me that you have something to sell. The question is—what do you want and how are you [156] going to deliver the goods—I mean in the way that's safest for you, of course."

Kennedy was leaning over frankly toward the fellow. The operative's eyes narrowed and a look of low cunning came over his face. He looked about at the other tables, as though not quite sure of even those about him.

"How do I know you come from her?" he shot out. "Maybe you're bulls."

Kennedy quickly reassured him. "You can arrange the matter any way that's safest to you," he repeated.

I had been so intent on our own little affair that I had not noticed that a couple of new-comers had entered from the side door and were at a table not far from us.

It had not escaped the shifty eyes of our customer. He gave a perceptible start and in an instant was as dumb as an oyster.

Kennedy's cold steel eye seemed to bore right into the gaze of our man now as he leaned forward and whispered to him something I did not hear until, as Craig drew back, I could catch the last of it—"And as sure as the Lord made little apples, I'll shoot if you don't take me up to where you've got the goods. If you do—you get the money."

I glanced about hastily and saw that Kennedy's hand was hidden in his pocket, which bulged as if something metallic were held there under cover.

The fellow glanced sullenly from us to the new arrivals, as though in a quandary.


"You got the money with you?" he asked, rather shakily.

"Yes," Kennedy cut short.

"'Cause I'll have to beat it the back way—and we got to work fast," he explained, his eyes roving from the burly bartender, who had just gone out to the couple at the other table, apparently oblivious to us.

"The faster the better. You can make your get-away with the coin as soon as those reports are in my hands."

"All right," he agreed, nervously, then added to me, "and if you fellows see any one try to follow us—you stop 'em. See?"

I nodded for both myself and Brooks.

"Come on," indicated the former crook detective to Kennedy. "Quick!"

Kennedy rose and followed the fellow to a door to a hallway that looked as if it led up-stairs.

No sooner had the two risen than our strangers at the other table were alert. I swung around in my chair suddenly toward them, and as I did so my hand went to my hip pocket, as though in search of a gun. For just an instant they paused in their attention to Kennedy.

Out of the tail of my eye I caught sight of Kennedy and the operative at the hall door. Framed in the doorway now stood our burly waiter, snarling some remark.

"What do youse want?" growled the waiter.

Before there was a change for a reply a shot rang [158] out from the other side of the room and the place was instantly in Cimmerian darkness as the bullet smashed the one light in the room.

There was a rush and a scuffle. I flung one fellow off, only to be tackled in the blackness by some one else. Swiftly thoughts crowded through my mind as the place was in an uproar.

Had we been followed here? Was it a trap? Was Rascon ready to risk anything rather than to have those reports pass into unfriendly hands?

The moment the light winked out, Kennedy had swung on the burly waiter and had sprung back toward us as we fought our way toward where we had last seen him. I did not know whether my second assailant was one of the two strangers at the other table or not. Over and over we rolled, knocking down tables and chairs, the air torrid with oaths from all sides.

What had become of Kennedy and Brooks I didn't know. I am sure that I would have mastered the situation in my own private little fight if, at that moment, there had not been the crash of glass from another door, followed by a shrill cry.

"The bulls!" I heard some harsh voice growl.

It seemed as if new men were coming from all directions. My man squirmed out from my grasp and before I knew it, in the darkness, I found myself in the anomalous position of being held firmly by the collar by a policeman, while all about I could hear the impact of billies on crass skulls, resounding in a manner that was awe-inspiring. My own captor [159] needed only a word to bring his own club down on my head, and, needless to say, I was not going to say that word.

An instant later some one found a wall light and turned it on. In the half-light, I could hear a laugh behind me. I turned.

It was Doyle!

"How did you come here?" I gasped, breathlessly, as Doyle released my collar and I stretched my neck to remove the kinks, in so doing catching sight of Kennedy standing over the unconscious form of the waiter in the doorway as he held the redoubtable No. 6 by the collar.

"Kennedy thought it was a trap—tipped me off," laughed Doyle, swinging his club as he shouted orders to his men to dive into command of each door or window exit.

"Did you locate Rascon?" panted Kennedy, twisting just a bit tighter the collar of the operative whom he was holding.

"Sure," returned Doyle, already beginning to line up his prisoners against a blank wall on one side. "He'll be here in a minute. But don't wait for him, if that's your man. Search the place—and, see here, you," he menaced the former operative, "no monkey-shines. You give Mr. Kennedy them papers—or—" Doyle trailed off in one of his picturesque oaths.

While Doyle's men completed the line-up against the wall, Kennedy led the now quaking No. 6 into the hall, followed by Doyle, Brooks, and myself.


We mounted the stairs, looking into every closet and cranny. Hundreds of cases of "wet" goods must have been concealed in the place, which later we discovered was more than a "speak-easy," for it proved to be a veritable moonshine still almost in the heart of the city.

Our search was not long. The stress of threat and circumstance broke down the former crook detective, who now was as keen to clear himself, gratis, and hang something on Rascon, as before he had been to collect his graft and get away with it.

Directed by him, in a hall bedroom, under the worn carpet, we loosened a board of the floor and took from the lath and plaster of the ceiling below a flat packet done up in oiled silk.

At last we had the purloined Rascon letters.

Doyle's eyes widened at the sight of what Craig had uncovered. Here was a whole set of reports such as that which we had already obtained, only of far greater value.

Kennedy was immersed in reading them already.

"What's in them?" asked Doyle, reaching eagerly for the sheaf of precious tissue-paper carbon copies.

Kennedy did not stop reading, but merely motioned to be let alone, as, quickly, he ran his eye over one after another.

"Honora had evidently been trailed all over the city," he commented, as he read.

It was a few moments later that Kennedy's eyes narrowed as he reached another of the reports.


"Here's one that is very interesting," he muttered, half to himself.

We crowded around and read the report that was rather lengthy, while Kennedy turned the pages slowly.

I shall not attempt to quote it, but rather give the gist of it.

"Starts out as though it were a report on Vina and Shattuck," commented Kennedy, "but as you read on, it seems more as though it were a report on Honora."

It seemed that the events had happened, or were alleged to have happened, in a resort in Greenwich Village, known as the Orange and Blue Tea-room. As we read the name, Brooks nodded wisely.

"I know the place," he remarked, "run by a young lady of very advanced ideas—Zona Dare."

However, none of us paid much attention to the interruption at the time, but kept on reading. For, it seemed that one night, scarcely a fortnight before, Vina Lathrop had arrived at the Orange and Blue, according to Rascon's operative, when shortly afterward Shattuck had dropped in, saw her, and wandered over to her table. Later Honora Wilford came in, observed them, but did not sit with them. Instead, she remained alone at another table watching the couple very jealously.

"There's a queer break in the report at this point," remarked Kennedy, turning the page. "Nothing further is said about this meeting, but see how it resumes."


Apparently, Honora, as she watched, had become more and more nervous, for Rascon went on to detail a stormy meeting between the two women, in which Honora faced Vina with biting sarcasm and at which Vina replied in a manner usually described as "catty."

Shattuck had tried to act as peacemaker and to smooth things over. But evidently explanations were useless and only made matters worse. It seemed that whatever it was he said pleased neither woman, and finally, after Honora, with a parting shot at Vina, had swept out of the tea-room, Shattuck very apologetically placed Vina in a cab, then took another himself, and all three had departed in separate ways.

"Who is this Zona Dare, did you say?" asked Kennedy of Brooks, when we had all finished reading.

"One of the well-known Villagers," returned Brooks. "I believe she has some reputation as an interpreter of Freud—you know, the dream doctor? They put on a one-act play down there last winter that she wrote."

"Indeed?" returned Kennedy, interested, but non-committal.

I could not help but think that we had struck pay dirt in this report, knowing, as I did, Washington Square and its fondness for whatever is "new," like Freud.

Had Vina and Shattuck, as well, been dabbling in the new dream philosophy? I felt sure that [163] Honora knew next to nothing about it. At least, so far, her actions had betrayed little knowledge and less suspicion. Or, it suddenly occurred to me, was Honora deeper than I suspected, and was her seeming ignorance only a pose? Did she know that Kennedy knew, know that to Doyle and the rest Freud was not even a name, and that she must play a clever game to match wits with Kennedy in this matter?

Above all, was the report true? If so, judged by Village standards, was it a hint, a strange example of the so-called "new morality"? On the one side was Shattuck, seeking to break up the relations between Honora and her husband. At the same time was he playing a game with Vina Lathrop? As for Vina, her own relations with her husband were strained. Had she known of Shattuck's regard for Honora and had that aroused in her a desire to break it up, for her own advantage?

To cap it all, what of Honora? Was this the jealous soul mate pursuing her affinity and finding him false?

What, indeed, was the viewpoint—according to the "new morality"? I could not but reflect on what a tangle things had been brought into—once the old morality was thrown overboard and the old immorality renamed.

Suddenly there flashed over my mind the recollection of some of the conversation that had been overheard in Wilford's office with the unknown woman visitor.


"Give her up, Vail. Can't you see she really doesn't love you—never did—never could?"

Had it been said by Vina of Honora—or by Honora of Vina? Either of them, according to her own philosophy of life, might have said it of the other. In the "new morality" there was surely scope for the play of mysterious excuses for passions.

"It's easy to see," I remarked, "that Wilford, through these Rascon reports and in other ways, had been laying a foundation not only for Vina's divorce, but his own."

Kennedy nodded sententiously. "But why did he have Vina shadowed here to the tea-room—that is, if that is the case? Had he some inkling that Vina was merely using him? And what's the reason for that break in the report? I believe there's something more in that three-cornered meeting than appears."

These reports, I reflected, as now we awaited the arrival of Rascon himself, were giving quite another side to the characters of the people concerned in the case from that which had been exhibited hitherto. Were we getting down at last under the surface of their private life and finding it of the same sort as that of the "smart set" and the fringe that apes the smart set?

There was a commotion in the hallway and a moment later Rascon himself entered, accompanied, in answer to the summons of Kennedy through Doyle, by one of Doyle's own men.


At once Doyle took the affair in hand, and Kennedy did not interfere, deeming it best, apparently, to let Rascon gain the impression that the whole matter had originated with Doyle.

Question after question Doyle flung at Rascon without getting an answer that was truly enlightening. Finally, exasperated, as Doyle always became when his rasping third degree did not produce results, Doyle picked up the tissue-paper, typewritten reports and shook them in Rascon's face.

"Then you swear that these reports are true?" Doyle demanded. "Don't stop. The devil with how this fellow Number Six got away with them and we learned they were here. Are they true?"

Rascon was sullenly silent.

"Are they true? Come now, you'll have to answer that sometime, Rascon."

"Yes," replied the crook detective, defiantly.

Doyle turned to us with an air of triumph, as though he had gained a great admission, though I could not see, for the life of me, why he should be so elated at having merely begun.

"I've just read this one," remarked Kennedy, quietly, picking up the report we had all glanced through. "It's true—you say—but it isn't the whole truth, Rascon."

Rascon maintained his sullen silence, but there was a furtive cast in his glance that had not been present in the defiance of Doyle. Evidently in his mind was running the thought, "Just what is it that this man, Kennedy, may know, and how am I going [166] to keep from being too clever and tripping myself up?" I knew it to be a situation in which Kennedy frankly reveled, this interplay of wits.

"There's a break here," prompted Kennedy, with a positiveness that was palpably disconcerting to Rascon.

Kennedy fixed his gaze on Rascon, who fidgeted and finally weakened.

"Well, you see," he admitted, "Mr. Wilford came in at that point—said to watch them—and left. I didn't think that it was necessary to put that in the report—to him."

"Did Mrs. Wilford see him there?" demanded Kennedy, quickly.

"No—I don't think so."

"Well—which were you following?" cut in Doyle, to the vexation of Kennedy, who, until then, had had things going pretty much his own way. "Was it Mrs. Lathrop or Shattuck—or—was it Mrs. Wilford herself?"

Doyle modulated his voice in his craftiest manner, the manner which I hated, for it was so evident that he tended toward hanging the crime ultimately on Honora.

"Why, it was Mr. Shattuck I was following," snapped Rascon, "Mr. Shattuck and Mr. Wilford's wife."

The answer was indeed an answer. I felt that Doyle had furnished Rascon with what was, to the crook detective, a neat way to let himself out of a tight position, and I could see that it had given [167] Rascon a relief from Kennedy's more subtle grilling.

"We'll take that matter up later," was all Kennedy ventured, hiding his chagrin at the interruption of Doyle.

On his part, Doyle seemed to insist on making it evident that he had scored.

"Rascon," he added, extending his fist menacingly at the detective, who by this time seemed to have recovered some of his lost equilibrium as he realized the extent of our "find," due to the unexpected treachery of his operative—"Rascon, did you offer to sell these reports to Mrs. Wilford? I know about that Beach House report. Is that why you left Mr. Wilford's name out? Come—you might as well admit it."

"No—I didn't try to sell them to Mrs. Wilford," defied Rascon, with assurance. "Why should I? Mr. Wilford paid me a bonus for that particular report—not to me, of course, but to the operative I had assigned to the case."

Kennedy, by this time, had given up the further quizzing of Rascon at this time as hopeless, and was preparing to leave.

As for myself, I cannot say that I was entirely uninfluenced by Doyle's apparent estimate of Honora Wilford, in the light of Rascon's report and his ready explanation. Though I would not have admitted it to any one else, I began to wonder whether, if the reports were true and Rascon's explanation held, I had been correct in my estimate [168] of Honora. A word from Kennedy would have set me right. Why had he not spoken it? Moreover, had my own interpretation of his Freudian analysis of her been correct? Was she the marble woman he had made me think her? The more I thought of it, the more I felt that the "new morality" down-town was pretty much the same as the old immorality up-town. I began to wonder whether Honora, in her doubt of the lack of feeling for Wilford, had succeeded in keeping herself from being smirched by either standard. I was frankly at sea.

We left alone, leaving Doyle to handle the product of his raid, including the now intractable Rascon. Craig thanked Brooks for his help and Brooks had scarcely left us. I was about to ask Kennedy his frank opinion of the case for Honora, when he himself forestalled me briskly.

"Walter, I've an angle of this thing I want to go into immediately. Besides, I have some work I must get through at the laboratory. Suppose that, in the mean time, you trace down what truth there may be in that tea-room incident. I think you and your friend, Belle Balcom, could do that."



I was rather glad of the commission Kennedy had given me. Belle Balcom had a keen and sprightly mind. She was the typical newspaper woman, it is true, who often would sacrifice accuracy to cleverness. Yet there was not much to condemn her in that, for she was so undeniably clever. Contact with her was stimulating. Besides, it was just on such a quest as this that a girl of her type was invaluable.

Accordingly, I set out immediately down-town for The Star. Fortunately, I found Belle finishing her stint of society gossip for the day.

I made a quick explanation of what Kennedy wanted and was pleased to see that she was interested.

"I think it's a good idea to visit the tea-room," I explained, then added, doubtfully, "but how are you going to find out whether our people are remembered there—if they don't happen to be remembered by name?"

"Nothing simpler," Belle replied. "Some one [170] there will surely remember faces. We'll settle that in the art department."

Thus, armed with photographs of Shattuck, Vina, Honora, and Wilford which The Star already possessed in its files, Belle and I set out on our quest.

The Orange and Blue Tea-room was not easy to find by one unfamiliar with the Village and its queer twists of streets. But Belle knew it well and I had some slight recollection of it.

It was originally a low-ceilinged basement in an old house not far from Washington Square. The upper floors were now "studios." In the former basement, almost a cellar, were three rows of tables extending the length of the place and overrunning out into the little back yard where one dined in summer al fresco.

At the far end, on one side, was a little raised platform, and on it was a piano strummed by a blind player. Opposite was the entrance to the kitchen, which was subterranean.

Belle and I entered, and immediately the highbrow hold-up began, just as up-town, with a coat-and-hat check-boy. We made our way to one of the tables along the wall and seated ourselves. Everywhere orange and blue decorations, true to the name, smote the eye, on walls, on ceiling, on chintzes, on the floor, on everything, it seemed, but the table-cloths and the silverware.

"You know, orange stands for temperament," chatted Belle, as she saw me marveling at the color riot. "New art, I guess."


"Insanity art," I replied, with a smile. "Don't mistake me, I enjoy it, though. It's atmosphere—especially when that kitchen door is open."

Belle looked about, as a woman will, at once attentive to our conversation, taking in whatever was happening within the range of two ordinary men's vision, now and then nodding to some acquaintance, sweeping a glance at the menu and tucking in a stray wisp of black hair, all at once and each without in the least interfering with the other.

"I suppose the 'Villagers' are here in force," I suggested, noting as best I could all her simultaneous actions and probably missing the other half which I have not recorded.

Belle smiled. "Villagers don't come here much. The place is too well known. Besides, there are not so many 'Villagers' as you would think. No doubt most of them are up-town. No, most of these people are skirmishers from the highbrow and curious up-town and out-of-town. You see, there's a sort of reciprocity about it."

However that might have been, there was enough that was picturesque and one felt sure that one was really in an environment of the bobbed hair and maiden names for wives—that is, assuming that the words maiden and wives were still in the vocabulary.

"All parlor socialists?" I inquired, looking about.

"Have your little joke," frowned Belle. "We all have to, I suppose. But really, down here, after all, there are people who think, who do things."


I had been waiting for that expression, "do things." They all "do things" down in Greenwich Village, even if it is only to compose music for the zither or publish one's own amateur magazine on butcher paper from hand-set type. Evidently Belle took the Village more or less seriously, after all.

"Besides," she faltered, "there are no parlor socialists, any more, anyhow. That belongs to the old muck-raking magazine days."

"I see—limousine liberals now—or boudoir Bolsheviki."

"Maybe you'd better eat," suggested Belle, sarcastically.

"It's a tea-room," I parried, glancing down at the menu. "I suppose it's orange pekoe—although they don't seem to be drinking it. Perhaps they're all smoking it. Now that we're all supposed to be so good, I hear that tobacco will be replaced by dried powdered tea leaves and coffee grounds. They say a caffein jag or a thein jag has merits. Passing by the paraldehyde cocktail, what's good?"

Belle's good humor was restored, and with her help I managed to order everything from soup to nuts—and I am sure that there were a good many fugitives from the squirrels in the room, whether from up or down town.

I was really enjoying myself, so much so that for the moment I almost forgot the purpose of our visit, when it was recalled to me by Belle, who [173] spoke in French to the waiter, rather gross and greasy but answering to the compensating name of Hyacinthe.

"Où est Ma'm'selle Zona?" she asked.

The waiter actually understood, and, though it would have been so much easier in English, Belle conveyed the idea that she would like to talk to Miss Dare and the waiter agreed to get her, though I felt he restrained himself with difficulty from replying in good Manhattanite, "Sure, miss, I'll dig her up"—meaning from the olfactory Hades beneath us.

Zona Dare proved to be a slender youngish lady, with the conventional shock of dark bobbed hair—with a dilettante exterior but a very practical secret self, I am sure. Even a mere introduction to her told me she was a member of that curious "third sex" that evolution is giving us. I can't exactly describe it. It is not "she" or "he" exactly, neither he-woman nor she-man. Certainly it is not neuter. Maybe when nature, or whatever it is that is operating, gets through we may be able to classify it.

Belle knew her, of course. Belle knew everybody. In fact she knew her so well that Zona, on urging, consented to sit down with us awhile and actually ordered tea—in a pot, too, though whether Russian, English or Scotch or Rye I am not sure. At any rate, it seemed to promote conversation and confidence and I covered my raillery with protective coloring.


What I enjoyed was the utter freedom of the conversation. We had soon progressed to bolshevism and the government ownership and operation of women. Finally the conversation put into the ultimate port of the "new morality."

"One must live one's life," seemed to be the burden of the philosophy, and I did not quarrel with the 1919 model of hedonism, for by this time I began to see a ray of hope that finally I might learn something about those whom Kennedy and I had been studying. I recalled Vina's remark to us over her contemplated divorce, "I believe every woman should live her own life as she sees fit." Doubtless she had absorbed it here.

It was evident, however, that there could only be so many triangles a week—and besides, "the eternal triangle" was in itself condemned by its mere ancient origin. What next? I guessed right—bolshevism, of course.

I found I had dropped right into the intelligenzia—the very sovietment of society, where The Nation and The New Republic were considered hide-bound conservatives. I did not quarrel even at the addition of red to the orange-and-blue color scheme, though I adopted the attitude of one mildly seeking the truth.

"Perhaps Freud can explain," I suggested, after one passage at arms with Zona, ably seconded by Belle, "why it is that a prosperous aristocratic feminist should enjoy contemplating casting her rope of pearls before the proletariat. What do these [175] comfortable nibblers at anarchy expect to get out of it?"

There was an answer. I have forgotten it, but it was clever and convincing. It always is, just as glib sophistry and specious phrases are. The gist was that all psychology, science, the history of the human race, had been superseded by some quite indefinite idea originated in a land with problems about as much related to us as the dredging of Martian canals would relate to Suez and Panama.

However, the purpose was accomplished, and Belle, with her human point of view, which one gets from seeing this corrupt old world from a newspaper office, saw it. Gradually, the conversation had drifted about to Freud.

I was glad that I had learned so much about him from Kennedy, for I was surprised at the knowledge that Zona really had of him. Was it superficial—as so much of that little world into which Kennedy had plunged me? I am not sure. At least, Zona posed as a Freudian interpreter. I was sorry Kennedy was not present, for I was inclined to accept her as such. The fact was that it set me thinking that perhaps she had educated in the theory many to whom a little knowledge is dynamite.

Belle's keen mind seemed to read my thoughts, even to leap ahead of me. She reached into her bag and drew forth some photographs.

"Oh, Zona, by the way," she rattled on, "that [176] reminds me. Did you ever see this man here—or this woman?"

Zona took the photographs of Shattuck and Vina, and with just a glance answered, "Indeed I have!"

"Do you recall a night when there was a scene here—another woman?" went on Belle, producing the photograph of Honora.

"Yes—I remember her. I know them all. They're in this case that's in the papers now. The lawyer who was killed was that woman's husband," she added, pointing to Honora. "Why? Are you writing them into your column?"

"Yes," confessed Belle. "That is, if I can get a good enough story out of the incident here."

At once Zona's keen, practical mind leaped to the bait of publicity held out by Belle. What could be better advertising than for the celebrated case in the news to be connected with the tea-room? It would crowd the place.

"What is it you want to know?"

"Just what happened."

"I didn't see it all. As nearly as I can recall that man—Mr. Shattuck, his name is—was at a table with Mrs. Lathrop when Mrs. Wilford approached. You see, I knew them all slightly. I know so many people who come here from up-town. It flatters them—and I have a good memory for names. I had seen Mrs. Wilford here several times before with Mr. Shattuck—and once I think with Mr. Wilford—I'm not sure. Anyhow, I knew her—I think I sold her a box for our Freud play last year—I'm [177] not sure. I'd have to look that up. Well, there was quite a scene when Mrs. Wilford stopped and faced Mrs. Lathrop at her table. But here's the strange part of it. I don't know whether you know it or not. But just before that, while Mrs. Wilford was sitting at the table just back of us—the two were down there near the piano—Mr. Wilford himself came in. He was about to give his hat and stick to the check-boy when he caught sight of the back of his wife's head. She was alone—right there—then. He spoke a few words to a man near the street door. I don't know him. He never came here before and I haven't seen him since. But, at any rate, Mr. Wilford spoke to him, then turned and left in a great hurry. I wasn't here through it all. Just a moment, Pedro!" she called to a waiter who was passing at the moment.

Pedro completed his service at another table, then came over to Zona.

"Did you ever see these people here?" asked Zona, turning over the photographs of Vina and Shattuck.

Pedro was at first suspicious, and, in fact, I do not believe that he would have told us a thing had it not been Zona herself who questioned him.

"Yes," he admitted, finally, "I remember one night they were here."

"Did you serve them?" asked Zona.

"Yes," he replied, apparently reluctant to be drawn into anything.

"Do you remember anything that happened?"


"I was very busy," he evaded. "The woman came in first alone, I remember, and said she was waiting for a friend. Then the man came in. I thought she was surprised to see him—but I thought it was all right. She had said she was going to meet a friend."

I shot a quick glance at Belle, who nodded. It was evident that Vina had not expected to meet this friend.

"Do you remember anything that was said?" I ventured.

Pedro looked at me suspiciously. "I was too busy serving," he replied. "It was the busy time."

"What seems to be the trouble?" I asked, not cross-questioningly, but more as if merely for information. "You don't seem to want to answer. Are you afraid of something?"

Pedro regarded me a moment, then looked at Zona.

"It's all right," she reassured.

"Well—you see—once I was in a divorce suit—in court—I lose t'ree, four days' pay—the boss he fire me. Are you detective?"

I smiled and evaded the question, under cover of Zona's presence, and again reassured him.

"There was another woman came in, wasn't there?" I asked, as Belle produced the photograph of Honora.

"Yes—that's her."

"She didn't sit with them," I prompted.

"No," he replied, "over there," pointing to the table Zona had already indicated.


"Did you wait on her?"


"But you saw her?"

"But yes—every one did—one could not help. She came in as though she was looking for some one."

"And then what?"

"I was serving the fish. This woman, she get up quickly and come down to the table. Oh—but she was angry—at the man—at the woman."

"Did she make a scene—I mean did every one see it?"

"I should say! I had just left the table—but every one see it—yes—and hear, too, I think."

"What did you hear?"

"I? Nothing. I was by that time at the door to the kitchen. But she was angry—the color in her cheeks—the voice. I think she must be the wife of the man—she seem so angry at him, also."

Discreet Pedro, I reflected. He was making everything as indefinite as possible to render himself less liable to be called to court in case of trouble. However, he was telling me just what I wanted to know. It was already sufficiently evident that Vina had actually had the appointment first with Wilford himself, that she had got there early, that he had been late, perhaps purposely, due to some suspicion, or perhaps to make sure of covering himself, for he must have provided for Rascon's operative in case of trouble.

Piecing the thing together, I was convinced that, [180] in some way, Honora had learned of the appointment and that Shattuck had learned of it, too—though it must have been independent, else why their encounter?

Shattuck had come—perhaps to face Wilford. At any rate, he had been sitting with Honora when Wilford's wife, of all persons, came in and saw him with Vina.

There my deductions broke down. What were her emotions? Was she jealous of Shattuck paying attentions to the woman who had so fascinated her own husband? How far was she piqued at the thought of not having hold enough over Shattuck, also, to keep him from Vina? As for Shattuck, was he really fascinated by Vina, after all? I did not try to pursue that line of analysis farther, yet.

At any rate, Honora had seen them and in turn had herself been seen by her own husband, who had stopped only just long enough to give his detective instructions, then had departed unobserved by the other three as he entered. Whatever Shattuck's attempt at explanation, when faced by Honora, it had not been convincing, at least to her. They had left together, parted at the door. But I knew that the misunderstanding must have been patched up later, for they had been together since that time.

A few more questions showed that Pedro had nothing to add, and I let him go. Zona told me what little she had observed. From the other waiter, Louis, I learned one thing, however, about [181] Honora and her actions before she rose and made the little scene at the other table. She had come in rather pale and agitated. As she sat there, having ordered, but with her food untouched, she had seemed to get much calmer, though her face became more and more flushed and her eyes animated as she missed no movement of the other couple. It was that very absorption that probably had been the cause of her missing the very man she sought, her husband. But it meant more than that. It told me something of her nature, that this woman was of the sort that, when a crisis approached, instead of going to pieces, like many others, was able to keep such a grip on herself that she swept ahead through the crisis coolly and clearly, in spite of the suppressed excitement. That spoke volumes. No doubt when the relaxation came she was on the verge of collapse. But as long as the need lasted she had complete control. Did that mean that at the present moment, as she faced Kennedy, she was repeating the same performance?

Louis had gone, and Zona turned to Belle and myself as if to ask whether there was anything else she might do for us, at the same time looking at her watch and fingering her cup as a hint that she was a busy woman and must get away.

"Why did Shattuck meet her here?" I thought aloud, wondering if, perhaps, Zona herself might not know them and betray something.

She shrugged, and I was morally certain that she did know them both, and well. But evidently, as to [182] bringing herself personally or her theories directly into the case, there was a barrier.

"Mr. Shattuck seemed to be interested—but—you can never tell. He is one of those men who have the faculty of making every woman think she is the only woman."

"Did he ever discuss things with you—I mean Freud—current topics of conversation?" I ventured, covering my interest as best I could.

"Oh yes, in a general way. Almost everybody who comes here does. They all know my hobbies. That's why they come here, I guess. Isn't it, Belle?"

"To see you, dear—yes. I know I do. Without Zona—there are a dozen places one might go. They lack something."

"He seemed interested in Freud?" I pursued.

"Y-yes—but so are we all down here, just now."

Evidently Zona was hedging. I gathered that Shattuck's interest had been rather more than ordinary.

"And Vina Lathrop—was she interested, too? You must have known her."

"Yes, I knew her. Vina was interested—of course. But, then, who is not, just now? A few years ago only a few had read Freud. Even after he was translated, still there were only a few. But now—since my play—we have other plays, books, stories, articles—even Freud doctors, who before were unknown to the public, have come outside of the medical press with their names and work. Of course Vina Lathrop was interested. All women [183] are interested in Freud. Don't you think it concerns us—just a bit more intimately than it does men?"

For the moment Zona had forgotten her haste to get away and was leaning forward earnestly over the empty tea-caddy.

"Most assuredly," I agreed, realizing suddenly one reason why Freud is taken up so readily in a circle such as that which I was now tangent to. He offers an easy, scientific highroad to the discussion of intimate sex—and that is, after all, under the veneer, the middle name of Greenwich Village, as it is of all "highbrows" when one comes to get under their skins and truly understand what secretly is back of their "uplifts" and "reforms" in social evils and hygiene.

"But what of Honora?" I asked, loath to lose the piquant assistance of Zona, once I had it. "Why was she here? Had she come to watch Shattuck? Or was it to watch Vina? Or was it really to watch her husband? Her husband or Shattuck—I wonder which?"

"Suppose it was either?" shrugged Zona, nonchalantly. "What of it?"

Evidently the spell of her interest in the Freud discussion had broken when she finished her last sentence.

"In the former case she is merely old-fashioned," added Zona, "in the latter merely foolish."

With this typical meaningless cleverness that in reality hides the shallowness of our advanced [184] "thinkers" Zona bade us adieu. Belle and I chatted a few moments, when she suddenly discovered she was half an hour late for an engagement. I settled the check, and we tipped our way out and into a cab that whirled us up-town, while Belle poked fun at my benighted conservatism, which I did not mind in the least. I left her at her hotel, with hearty thanks for the great help she had been in the case, and sincerely happy, in addition to that, for a pleasant couple of hours at dinner with a girl with whom one might disagree yet still regard highly.

A few minutes later I was at the laboratory, full of a new-born theory that Shattuck, down in the Village, had studied Freud more than we had suspected merely from finding Freud's books in his library—that he must have known Honora's dreams, interpreted them, and found out secretly she still loved him, as her open jealousy had, perhaps, showed in the incident I had unearthed.

Craig was already there, and at work. He listened attentively and without comment to what I had to report.

"What have you found?" I asked, finally, when I had finished with my own facts and theories.

"Oh, I've been down to Shattuck's office in Wall Street," he answered, rather absently.

"And you saw him? How did he take it?"

"He was very angry. Asked me if I was going to try my case in the newspapers—was very sarcastic. I was just about leaving when I met Doctor Lathrop coming in."


"Doctor Lathrop—coming in!" I exclaimed. "How was that? How was Lathrop—and why there?"

"I saw him alone first. He was very much upstage with me. I thought there was something brewing, so I stayed—that is, went back with him. I'm glad I did. I think I narrowly averted a fight. Lathrop threatened Shattuck—that is, I mean, all in a very polite way—but it practically amounted to telling him to stop seeing his wife, to have no more business relations with her, and all that. It was in the nature of serving notice. Shattuck is very high-spirited. I think if I had not been there there would have been trouble. But Lathrop was very suave and diplomatic."

"I'm wondering about this man Shattuck," I put in. "Is he woman-crazy?"

The laboratory door was suddenly flung open and Doyle burst in.

"Some news!" he exclaimed, excitedly. "The dictagraph works."

"I should expect it to do so," calmed Kennedy. "It has never failed me yet, when properly used, like all science and invention, at the right time and place."

"Say—you're a cold shower. Listen—I'm getting closer to her!"



"Then it was Honora you overheard over the dictagraph?" I asked, quickly.

"Not at first," replied Doyle. "I'll come to that later. Let me give it all to you first."

He pulled from his pocket a set of typewritten notes and excitedly began to condense what McCabe had just heard over the dictagraph in the Wilford apartment, sometimes giving it to us from memory, then refreshing his mind from what McCabe had transcribed.

"It seems that the maid, Celeste, had a visitor," began Doyle.

"Who was it?" hastened Kennedy, impatiently.

"A man named Chase."

"Who's he?"

"Another detective."

"Like Rascon?"

Doyle nodded doubtfully. "I don't seem to know him," he remarked, sententiously, though in a tone that was prejudiced.

To Doyle all private detective agencies were as [187] the scum of the earth. I know Kennedy made mental note to look the man up, unprejudiced.

"What do you know about him?" asked Craig.

"Very little—except that from what Celeste said Mrs. Wilford herself must have employed him at one time or another—perhaps even now. I guess that woman knew more about what was going on than we think."

I glanced from Doyle to Kennedy. Could it be possible that we ourselves, in turn, were being watched by her? And was Honora not the simple, unsophisticated woman I had thought?

"Evidently," went on Doyle, "Celeste was trying to fasten the crime on Vina Lathrop."

"How's that?" queried Kennedy, sharply.

"Well," returned Doyle, running his eye over the transcribed conversation to pick out that part which substantiated the statement, "it seems as though Celeste was trying to tell Chase something that Chase didn't accept. Here it is. Chase's remark was lost—but it must have been about Mrs. Wilford's actions that night of the murder.

"'No, no, no—she was not out of this apartment that night.' That was what Celeste said in answer to him.

"'Come, come, now,' Chase said, 'what's the use of that? You might tell that to Doyle—but why tell me? Where was she?'

"You see, they're all trying to put it over on me," interjected Doyle, apoplectically.


"She might have been out—and still not have been near Mr. Wilford or his office," I returned.

Doyle gave me a withering glance and did not even deign to reply to a mere reporter.

"Here's the other thing, Kennedy," ignored Doyle. "I mean about trying to put it on Vina Lathrop—to save Mrs. Wilford.

"'Wasn't she at Mr. Wilford's office?' That's a return question from Celeste to Chase to divert attention, I tell you."

"What was Chase's answer?"

Doyle ran his eye down the page. "'I've traced pretty nearly everything Mrs. Lathrop did that night—except for a couple of hours after she left the Gorham Hotel, where she had dinner. If I could locate the driver of the cab that took her away, I'd get a clue. But it was a passing taxi the doorman hailed, and there doesn't seem to be any trace of him—yet.' There—don't you see? They're trying to get something on Mrs. Lathrop. It's plain. I ask you—why?"

Doyle leaned back and regarded us with an air of conscious triumph.

"Cost what it will," he added, "it's apparent that Celeste is devoted and loyal to Honora Wilford, too. I tell you they're covering up something," he emphasized, waving the notes, "and I intend to uncover it."

However, Kennedy did not seem to attach much importance to what either Celeste or Chase had [189] said. Evidently he had a pretty clear idea already of what had happened.

I recalled Celeste and the "Aussage test." Was Celeste to be trusted—even over a dictagraph?

Doyle seemed to read in Kennedy's face what I had already seen, and hastened on to new points in his arguments from the notes.

"That's all very well about Celeste," he continued, excitedly, "but here's the real news, after all. The most important thing was what happened an hour or so later, after Chase had gone. McCabe picked up the voice of a woman. It was Mrs. Lathrop herself calling on Mrs. Wilford. How about that?"

"What!" I exclaimed, involuntarily, I suppose, because of Kennedy's continued silence. "Vina called on Honora Wilford? Why, man, I should have thought the wires would have fused!"

"Well, that's what she did," asserted Doyle, "and you'll be more surprised when I tell you what happened."

Doyle was enjoying the suspense he himself had created. Still Kennedy said nothing, not so much, I think, because he would not give Doyle the satisfaction of observing his interest as because his mind was at work piecing into his own theories the new facts that were being brought out. For that has always been Kennedy's method—the gathering of facts, fitting them together, like a mosaic, with fragments missing, and then with endless patience fitting the new fragments as they are discovered [190] into the whole picture of a crime until the case was completed and he was ready to act with relentless and unerring precision.

As for myself, I listened to what Doyle had to reveal with amazement. Here was a meeting, separated only by hours, if not merely by minutes, from another in which Vina's own husband had called on Shattuck.

"As nearly as I can make out from McCabe's notes," began Doyle, "Mrs. Lathrop must have been seeking this meeting and Mrs. Wilford avoiding it for some time. You see, the interview was so passionate that often the voices were indistinct and his notes are fragmentary in spots. However, there's enough to show what it was all about."

Doyle turned a page. "It started with Mrs. Lathrop accusing Mrs. Wilford of avoiding seeing her. When Mrs. Wilford pleaded the tragedy and the surveillance she is under, Mrs. Lathrop hinted that she was using these things to shield herself.

"Here's where Mrs. Lathrop began to let something out. 'Your maid, Celeste, I hear, has been talking about me. And I know, also, Honora, that you've had a private detective, a man named Chase. You've had him following me!'

"McCabe tells me that the tone of this was very accusing, and that Mrs. Wilford did not make any attempt to answer. I only wish we had something like a dictagraph—detectavue, I'd call it—that would let us look at the faces of some of these people as we hear them over this mechanical ear—a mechanical [191] eye, understand? I'll wager Mrs. Wilford's face was a study. She's a match for any man. But I'd like to see her matched against a woman like Mrs. Lathrop. She's clever, Kennedy, clever."

Kennedy nodded, but without enthusiasm over the proposition. Rather it was an invitation to Doyle to go on.

"There's a lot more," continued Doyle, hurriedly. "Here's what I want. Listen to this. If it's true, we've got something. Mrs. Wilford hadn't said much and it seemed to arouse Mrs. Lathrop to go farther. Listen. 'I hadn't intended to say this, Honora,' she burst out, 'but you were at his office—that night. Come—own up, dear.' Get that 'dear' at the end? I don't know where Mrs. Lathrop got her information. I wish I did. But at least she seems to me to know something."

"Or else she's very clever at fishing for information," I interrupted, for I was not able to restrain it.

Doyle was so cocksure of his deductions that it antagonized me. On his part, I am sure, while he may not have had much respect for my profession, he had a wholesome fear of it, as many detectives have. For, after all, we newspaper men have the key that unlocks the door to everything.

On the other hand, I must admit that I was not at all positive in my own mind. Was Vina fishing—or did she really know something? Was that why Honora was silent? Or was Honora contemptuous of a woman of Vina's type and was silence without [192] any admission her sweetest revenge? What was the purpose that lay back of this visit?

For one thing, the silence of Honora, whether it spelled guilt or mere contempt, had its effect on Vina and made her more daring.

"'Then this Professor Kennedy,' continued Doyle, reading from the notes. 'With that Mr. Jameson he has been finding out things at the Orange and Blue Tea-room and other places. They've got a woman working for them, too, I imagine. I tell you, Honora, they know.'

"'Know what?' Honora answered, and McCabe thought she wasn't quite as cold and calm as usual.

"Then Mrs. Lathrop went a little bit farther—oh, I'll say that these women are clever—both of them. On the whole, now I'm not so sure which of them carried off the honors. Come to think of it, Mrs. Wilford was clever, too. She has to be. Anyhow, Mrs. Lathrop went a step farther. 'They know about the Greenwich Village stuff, now.' What's that, Kennedy? You never told me that."

There was something reproachful in Doyle's voice, assumed, no doubt, but still there, as much as to say that he was taking Kennedy into his confidence and expected a return.

Kennedy stole a glance at me and I understood.

It was just this that had impelled Doyle to come to us. He had not understood it himself and, in order to keep up with us, was obliged to take us into his own confidence. Briefly Kennedy related, [193] with an occasional word from me, what had happened since the river-front-saloon raid.

"Oh, I see," remarked Doyle, though any one could tell that he really did not see. "That's what she meant when she went on and said, 'About Freud and all that, Honora. Zona Dare told me, over the 'phone. That's why I came over.'

"'Indeed, Vina, you needn't have troubled yourself,' was Mrs. Wilford's reply. 'It's a matter of perfect indifference to me how much or how little Professor Kennedy and Mr. Jameson know or find out.'

"McCabe says she was very cutting in her remarks there. But he also says he thought she was weakening. Anyhow, it had its effect on Mrs. Lathrop. She flared right up.

"'Don't care?' she cried. 'You don't care if Kennedy finds out about your interest in the play, about your life, about Freud, the "soul scar" theory, and all that? I may not know much about science and especially this new psychology, but I'm blessed, Honora, if I'd want any one raking up the past.'

"'I should say not—Vina.' Pretty pointed, wasn't it? These two love each other like a German and a Frenchman."

Doyle paused, then went on reading and summarizing. It was as I had been suspecting for several moments. In an instant the two women were on the dangerous ground of Honora's early engagement to Shattuck. What they said did not [194] seem so very important and I omit this part of it. However, I knew it would lead to something.

"'You broke off the engagement, Honora, because of his escapades,' finally hinted Mrs. Lathrop, with claws behind the velvety tone of the remark. 'And yet—'

"Mrs. Wilford interrupted here. 'It is a far more important thing, Vina, that a woman should keep herself clean than for a man—far more important for the race. Not that I would excuse things in any man.' McCabe says that remark went right home to Mrs. Lathrop. She flared up.

"'Oh, tush, Honora—more of your highbrow philosophy. You talking about the race! Where are your children? I've been studying you, Honora. You may think you're a highbrow. I guess you are. They all—you—are like the rest of us, with the same passions—no better, no worse. Remember—it's you have the soul scar—you!'"

"The cat," I could not help but mutter.

Again, recalling Kennedy's instructions, I wondered whether consciously Honora had rejected Shattuck while at the same time she unconsciously accepted him as a lover?

Evidently now each was accusing the other—and over Shattuck. I recalled Honora's dreams which she had told willingly. There was the dream of the bull and the serpent. That was sex. Again I recalled the dream of the forest and the hill she had been struggling to get up. In this dream I recalled the fire, the climbing, the explosion, and [195] her dream of the other woman, with her unwillingness to admit to us that the other woman might be no other than Vina. Then there was the unexplained dream she had about Doctor Lathrop, the lion in the path. Evidently Honora had been betrayed into some dangerous admissions in her dreams, I thought.

"What's next?" came Kennedy's voice. "I get the drift of what was really back of it all. Let's go on."

Doyle eyed Kennedy quizzically for a moment. Kennedy's explanation of the psychology of the thing had been much over Doyle's head and had left him in doubt. He turned back to McCabe's notes.

"It's Mrs. Lathrop speaking next, and she was very angry. 'If you don't leave him alone, Honora—I'll tell Kennedy all that I know.'"

Doyle shot a glance of inquiry.

"She hasn't told it yet," answered Kennedy. "What next?"

"I guess it got under Mrs. Wilford's skin. 'I don't understand men,' she cried. 'But I understand you. It is revenge—revenge on me that you want, Vina.'"

"She got back a thrust at Mrs. Lathrop, anyhow," I commented.

Yet I wondered what Vina's motive might be. Was it merely due to her insane infatuation for Shattuck? As for Honora, was she, I kept wondering, after all, the consciously frigid, unconsciously [196] passionate woman? At least, she was a most perplexing "complex."

Doyle had closed his note-book with the remark that his little mechanical eavesdropper had made an excellent start, and now was looking inquiringly at Kennedy.

"Where is Chase?" asked Kennedy. "Have you any idea?"

"McCabe looked up the name and finds that there is a Chase agency on Forty-second Street. You might try it."

Accordingly, we set out for the address of the detective which McCabe had located and found that it was a small office in a building near Fifth Avenue. Chase himself proved to be a rather frank-faced, energetic young fellow, not at all typical of the private detective. In fact, he had had some experience as an operative for one of the big agencies, and, having some money, had achieved the dream of every such operative—an agency of his own, small, but at least his own.

It did not take much questioning to get the main facts out of Chase, who kept repeating that neither he nor Mrs. Wilford had anything to conceal. Anyhow, the mystery of Chase was solved. Chase was a detective whom Mrs. Wilford had retained for her own protection against the unprincipled operatives of her husband.

He proved to be apparently honest and straightforward. Though he could shed very little light on the deeper problems that confronted us, there [197] were many things we had already unearthed which his reports corroborated.

It was apparent that Honora was perfectly aware of what had been going on between her husband and Vina Lathrop. Chase had kept her informed of that.

Yet, no matter how accurate his reports, I reflected, it did not absolve Honora. In fact, the more she knew, the more likely Doyle was to say that the information constituted a motive that would have caused her to act.

"What do you know about Mrs. Wilford's whereabouts on the night Mr. Wilford was killed?" questioned Kennedy, coming finally to the most important point that had been revealed by McCabe's dictagraph records.

Chase looked him straight in the eye and considered a moment before answering.

"It's true, I don't know much. That is one thing I'd rather not talk about until I do."

"But she's your client. Hasn't she told you?"

"There are some communications that are privileged," was Chase's enigmatical answer.

"But can't you see that it's placing her in a wrong light—supposing everything she did that night was innocent? She ought to tell for her own sake—don't you think?"

Chase shrugged. "Perhaps," he added, non-committally.

Kennedy, I thought, had some respect for the young man who was not to be betrayed into dangerous admissions.


"Then this other woman, Mrs. Lathrop," pursued Kennedy, shifting the subject. "There's a hiatus in the accounts of her doings that night, also."

Chase was more disposed to talk. "Yes," he answered. "I've been trying to trace that out. Haven't succeeded—but have hopes. I tell you what I'll do. If I can reconstruct what both—see? both—of these women did, well, I was going to say I'd give it to you. But I'd have to ask Mrs. Wilford's permission. She's my client, after all."

I tried to reason out what Chase was doing. Did he know something about his client that he must shield her from, or was he just a bit vexed at her himself for a certain lack of frankness? As far as Vina was concerned, I knew he would have no scruples in telling us everything he discovered.

Evidently, Chase saw that he was losing his first good impression with Kennedy. To re-establish himself, he opened a locked steel compartment in his desk and pulled out a small box.

"Here's something that might interest you," he remarked, handing the box to Kennedy. "Ever see one of those?"

Kennedy opened the box. Inside reposed a single Calabar bean!

Craig looked up quickly. "Yes. Where did you get it?"

"If you'll promise to ask me no more—just yet—I'll tell you."

Kennedy nodded and Chase took it as a gentleman.


"I found it, with some other African souvenirs, in a little cabinet-museum in Mr. Shattuck's apartment. Now don't ask me why I was there or what else I found."

Kennedy smiled, thanked him and handed back the box. It was a perplexing piece of information. If Shattuck was known to have had in his possession some of the fatal Calabar beans, what interpretation could be placed on it? Or was it that Chase was working to protect his client and save her—at any cost and in spite of her own wishes?

We left Chase, and Kennedy hastened back to the laboratory, where at once he set to work with a paper and pencil, writing words that seemed utterly disconnected, while I stood about self-consciously, watching him.

"Please, Walter," he exclaimed at length, a little bit nervously, "you are distracting me. You see," he added, briskly, "that interview with Chase has reminded me of something. Why was he in Shattuck's apartment? For what? When? I don't need his help, of course. But he has made me think that I can't afford to let Mrs. Wilford get out of my sight too long. If I ever get at the bottom of this thing, it must be through study of her, first. I think I shall be ready soon to visit her again. And this time, I'm sure, I shall find out what I want. I've a new plan. Don't disturb me for a few minutes."

I turned my back and pretended to be busy over some work of my own, though out of the corner of my eye I watched him. Craig was at work over [200] a sheet of paper and I saw him writing down one word after another, changing them, adding to them, taking away words and substituting others.

Altogether, it was a strange performance and I had not the faintest idea what it was all about until he was willing to reveal it to me. Meanwhile a thousand ideas whirled through my head. Chase's revelation had put a new face on matters. One by one, we were finding out that each of our suspects knew first of all more about the Freud theory of dreams than we anticipated. Now it would appear that each was more or less familiar with the Calabar bean, or at least with its derivative, physostigmine. Even Vina, being a doctor's wife, might have known. Though we were getting more facts, they were not, so far as I could interpret them, pointing more definitely in any one direction.

When Craig had finished, he copied the words off on my typewriter, in a long column, one word on each line, and, after the long vertical list, he left two columns blank:


"Now," he remarked, as he finished and saw my questioning look, "let me get my delicate split-second watch from this cabinet, and I'm ready for a new and final test of Honora Wilford. Let's go."



On the way to the Wilford apartment, which was not very far away, Craig explained briefly what it was that he wanted me to do for him.

"You saw that list of words?" he asked.

"Yes, and the columns opposite."

"Precisely. I want you to write in them the answers that I get. You will understand as we go on. I'll hold this watch and note the time—and then we can put the two together, the answers and the reaction time."

It seemed simple enough and we chatted about other things connected with the case as we walked along to the apartment.

Honora Wilford showed some surprise at seeing us again, yet I fancied she was in a better mood than previously, since the obnoxious McCabe was no longer so much in evidence.

"What is it that I can do for you now?" she asked, rather abruptly, though her manner showed that her surprise was, after all, very mild.

Evidently Doyle had accustomed her to being quizzed and watched. It was not a pleasant situation, [203] even to be watched and quizzed by Kennedy, yet she seemed to realize that he was making it as easy as possible.

"Just another little psychological experiment," Craig explained, trying to gloss it over. "I thought you wouldn't mind."

Honora looked at him a moment doubtfully.

"Just why are you so interested in studying me, Professor Kennedy?" she asked, pointedly, yet without hostility in her tone.

It was a rather difficult question to answer, and I must admit that I could scarcely have met it adequately myself. However, it took more than that to give Kennedy a poser.

"Oh," he replied, quickly, with an engaging airiness, "as a psychologist I'm interested in all sorts of queer things—things that must often seem strange to other people. Perhaps it's highbrow stuff. But for a long time—and not in connection with you at all, Mrs. Wilford—I've been interested in dreams."

He paused a moment, moving a chair for her, and I could see that he was observing the effect of the statement on her. She did not seem to show any emotion at all over it, and Kennedy went on.

"Often I've studied my own dreams. I find that if, when I wake in the morning, I immediately try to recollect whether I have dreamed anything the night before or not, I invariably find that I have. But if I do something else—even as simple a thing as take a bath or shave—unless the dreams were [204] especially vivid, they are all gone when I try to recollect them. I'm almost convinced that we dream continuously in sleep, that more often we don't recollect the dreams than we do. Your dreams interested me at the very start. I guess that was why Doctor Leslie repeated them to me. He knew that I was a crank, if you may call it that, on dreams. As for detective work of the old kind—that sort of thing Doyle does and—well—I leave that to Doyle." He shrugged.

As Kennedy rattled on, I could see or fancy that Honora was becoming more reassured.

"What is it you want me to do now?" she asked, her reluctance disappearing.

"Nothing very difficult—for you," he flattered. "You see, I have here a list of words, selected at random. I don't suppose it will mean anything. Yet there are lots of things these strange people, the modern experimental psychologists, do that seem perfectly foolish until you understand them. If we can once get at the bottom of your dreams, find out what causes them, I mean, I feel sure that we can make that nervousness of yours vanish as a prestidigitator will cause a card to vanish into thin air."

She nodded. At least on the surface, she seemed satisfied, though I could not be sure but that beneath the surface it was really that she was shrewdly convinced that it was necessary to make the best of a bad situation.

"You see," Craig pursued, seizing whatever advantage he might have, "as I read off from the list [205] of words, I wish that you would repeat the first word, anything," he emphasized, "that comes into your mind, no matter how trivial it may seem to you. Perhaps it is not so trivial, after all, as you think. It may be just the thing that will lead to helping you."

She nodded dutifully, but her attitude did not seem to please Kennedy thoroughly.

"Don't force yourself to think," he hastened. "Let your ideas flow naturally. It depends altogether on your paying attention to the words, undivided attention, and answering as quickly as you can. Remember—the first word that comes into your mind. Don't change it—no matter what it is, even if it seems trivial and of no consequence. It's very easy to do and it won't take long. Call it a game if you will. But take it seriously."

"Suppose I refuse to do it?" she suggested.

Kennedy merely shrugged. "I hardly think you will do that," he smiled quietly. "Besides, it will be over soon."

She leaned back in the easy-chair in which she had been sitting, and Kennedy took it as a tacit consent to the test.

From the paper, as I placed myself at a table, with the list of words and the blank columns before me, he read the first word, quickly and incisively, "Foot."

"Shoe," countered Honora quickly, then gazed at him to see whether she had caught the idea of what it was he wanted her to do.


"Very good," nodded Kennedy, reassuringly. "That's the thing."

I wrote down the word and when I had finished I could see from the corner of my eye that Kennedy also had noted the time, marking down "2-5," which I took to mean two-fifths of a second.

"Gray," he repeated next.


Again I noted the answering word in the second column, while again I saw him put down another "2-5."

I began to see dimly what his method was. Evidently Kennedy had chosen colorless words at the start to reassure her. And the fact was that they did reassure. She saw immediately that there was nothing very terrifying about what he wanted her to do.

"Dream," Craig added, from the list.

Flashed through my mind, as I prepared to write, the thought that he was now coming to the words more significant.

"Lathrop," she answered.

I saw that Kennedy had noted a longer reaction time by some fifths of a second than before. Was it because she had checked a first thought suggested by the word and had taken extra time to substitute something for it? And why had she made the substitution that she did? It was a natural thing to mention the doctor's name in that connection. Had she rejected one word to cast about for another equally natural?


I scarcely think it necessary to follow the whole thing through, question and answer, word by word. Instead I have appended a list of the words and the answering words as we got them first, and suggest that they will bear careful study:


Kennedy finished and glanced hastily over the list of words that I had written, as well as the fractions of seconds which he had jotted down on his [208] own sheet of paper. Honora, unable to make out quite what was the reason back of all these enigmatical proceedings, watched his face narrowly.

"Did I do all right?" she asked, with just a trace of anxiety in her tone.

"Very fine, thank you," assured Kennedy. "It wasn't such a terrible thing, after all, was it?"

"N-no," she admitted, reluctantly.

Craig continued to look over the list, talking about all sorts of perfectly unrelated subjects with her, as though to remove from her mind as much is possible the memory of what had been said and done.

"There is just one other thing I want," he added, as he picked up the list again and handed it to me, his finger significantly on the third column that he had laid out. "It won't take long, Mrs. Wilford, now that you understand the game. Walter, take that other column. I am merely going through the list rapidly again. Don't try to recollect the answers you gave—but then, on the other hand, don't try to make them different. Do you get what I mean? Don't force your ideas. Just remain relaxed, easy, natural. Let me have just what comes into your mind, the moment it occurs to you—please don't try to change it."

"I see," she murmured, but I thought in a manner that showed she was just a little bit on her guard, and determined, if she made any slips before, not to repeat them.

In quick staccato Kennedy repeated the words [209] from the list, beginning with "foot," to which again, almost mechanically, she responded with "shoe." I noted the answering words, as before, while he recorded the time.

It did not take me long to see that what Kennedy was after was to discover whether, on the second trial, she would make any very significant changes in the words.

Nor was he giving her a chance to cover up. The words came so fast that even I had no time to dwell on them. I shall not pause to do so here, for later Kennedy analyzed them carefully. Here is our third list, complete:


Even as I was going along under Kennedy's high pressure, I mentally noted that there were some remarkable similarities in the answers that Honora gave, but, more particularly, that there were also some significant changes, although neither so far conveyed much information to me. I knew that even to Kennedy the process would most likely require analysis in the quiet of the laboratory and I refrained absolutely from comment, though I could see that Honora would have liked to appeal to me, had it not been for the restraining presence of Kennedy.

"Thank you very much, Mrs. Wilford," said Kennedy, when he had finished with both his words and reaction times and was putting away the papers in his pocket.

"Is that all?" she asked.

"I think so."

A look of relief passed over her face. Quite naturally, she was growing tired of always being forced to play a part, whether before Doyle and McCabe or before us.

I had rather expected that Kennedy would take the occasion to make some reference to the recent discoveries we had made both in Greenwich Village and over the dictagraph, more especially as they [211] concerned Shattuck and herself. But he did not. Nor did she show any anxiety or make any inquiry herself. It seemed to me that, perhaps, Honora and Kennedy were themselves playing a game, a war of wills, as it were. At any rate, the test over, there was a truce.

Some time later we returned to the laboratory and there Kennedy set to work carefully comparing the lists of words and his own records of time.

"What was that test?" I asked, at length, seeing that a question would not disturb him. "What do you call it and what was it really for?"

"That," he explained, "was the Jung association word test. Doctor Jung, who developed it, was, I think, a Swiss. You'll notice that on the words of little or no significance there was no hesitation, and the second time practically no change, either. But when the significant words came out she took just a fraction of a second longer before she answered. I find that her average reaction time for the innocuous words was somewhere about two-fifths of a second. She answered very quickly.

"But, take her reply when I said the word 'bean.' It was nearly a second—to be exact, four-fifths, or twice her average on the words of no consequence. Don't you think that significant?"

I nodded reluctantly. "Y-yes. I suppose she knows—something."

"The same thing was the case," he continued, "on such words as 'bull,' 'serpent,' and 'face,' all of which, you recollect from her dreams, were [212] significant words. Even on the words which she did not change the second time there was frequently a marked hesitation. Thus, on the word 'dream' the first time she hesitated a fraction of a second before answering 'Lathrop,' whose name evidently was suggested to her by his treatment of her nervous troubles and asking her about her dreams. But the second time there was no hesitation when she answered 'Lathrop' to the word 'dream.' The same thing was true of other words which she did not change. She hesitated the first time, but not the second. They were such groups as 'money-poor-poor,' 'friend-none-none,' 'bottle-stopper-stopper,' and 'glass-empty-empty.'"

"What do you think it indicates?" I asked.

"From some you can draw your own conclusions," he replied. "They are perfectly evident. She feels alone, friendless, and almost penniless. As to the bean sequence, I am inclined to think she knows much about the Calabar bean—both before and after the use in this case. Perhaps even she knows of the drug from it. But whether that knowledge is such that it has given her a first-hand direct acquaintance with the use of it—well, that is another question.

"So, also, she was guarded in her reply to the words 'bottle' and 'glass.' She remembered the belladonna bottle and eagerly seized on the innocuous word, 'stopper,' referring to the ground-glass stopper, no doubt. As to the glass, or glasses, found on Wilford's desk, which must have been in [213] her mind, because by the words I was planting and leading up to that, she was equally guarded. To reply 'empty,' could certainly not be construed as anything but innocuous, she probably thought."

"How about the changes?" I questioned. "Do they show anything that is evidential?"

Craig considered a moment. "They are, of course, the most important of all, those changes," he replied, taking the list and checking off the words at the third column. "She actually changed her answers seven times, and there was hesitation each time, both on the original answer and the change in this third column."

Kennedy studied the list before him for some minutes.

"Let's run down this list," he said, finally. "Take the first—'foot-shoe-shoe.' Nothing there, of course. Wasn't intended to be. Here—'dream-Lathrop-Lathrop.' We have already discussed that. Consciously, she refuses to tell me anything in 'struggle-escape-escape' with reference to that dream of hers of her husband. 'Ship-ocean-ocean'—I put that word in for camouflage and she seizes it eagerly, falling over herself to answer in her best reaction time, thus helping me to locate her hesitations.

"Now we come to the crucial word, 'bean.' She hesitated, and in that moment of hesitation she probably reasoned something like this: 'I must just get as far from the Calabar bean which they tell me he has discovered as I can.' So she answered 'baked.' Yet that did not satisfy her. It [214] wasn't definite enough. Any bean could be baked. So to make it absolutely explicit she corrected that to 'white bean.' She knows, all right."

I said nothing, and Kennedy resumed. "'Book' was also to disarm her and she quickly replied in both cases, 'newspaper.' But 'lion' was different. I'll wager she thought first of Doctor Lathrop, for she went right back to the dream and answered 'path'—then, the second time, perhaps before she knew it, she answered 'beard'—which Lathrop has—when in fact I'll bet that if we tried it over again the answer she would give to cover it up would be 'mane.'

"'False-true-true' and 'voyage-Europe-Europe' need not be discussed. 'Money-poor-poor' we've already touched on and 'sad-myself-myself' falls into the same class—showing her despondency. With 'quarrel-Vail-words' her mind shows all is still fresh in her recollection. We know pretty well now what her inner feelings were toward him. However, quite naturally and stereotyped comes the next—'marry-Vail-Vail.' Of course. Consciously she would never think of herself marrying any one else—until there is a new deal, so to speak.

"But now we come to the most significant parts of all—the 'bull' sequence. The moment she heard that she hesitated, realized that she must not hesitate, and in a sort of mental panic answered the thing that came crowding into her mind, the pursuit by the bull and its hot 'breath,' which, you remember, we have already discussed. She must [215] have regretted allowing herself to say it. That was one reason why I wanted to try the test over. Sure enough, the second time she corrected it to something quite innocent connected with the dream—'field.' Whether she realized it or not, it confirms what the Freud analysis showed us.

"Then," he went on, quite enthusiastic over the progress of his association test, "I reassured her by the next words and did not expect to obtain anything—'sleep-dream-dream' and 'foolish-wise-wise.' The next brings us squarely back to the subject that interests me most in my study of her, her real feelings toward Shattuck. I said 'despise.' At once, instead of associating, she sought the opposite—'love.' Yet that seemed, perhaps unconsciously, a bit strong. So she softened it next to 'like.' She did that for her own benefit. She herself would never betray to the world her own emotions. Therefore 'like' was a better word to use than 'love.' She has been trying to make them synonymous—with poor success."

I nodded. Somehow I felt that in her heart of hearts Honora had found love, whether she admitted it to herself or not. But I realized that even if she had, she would be the last to betray it to the outside world if she could help it.

"'Finger-hand-hand'—another of the off-guard words," continued Kennedy, quickly. "'Friend-none-none'—we have touched on this idea already. But now we come again to something very important—'serpent.' At once she answered 'hiss.' [216] Then she changed it and the thought uppermost was the recollection of the 'crowd' in her dream. Remember Freud?—a crowd, something secret?

"The most important change of all, though, is the next—'face.' She knew that already I had questioned her on that point in the dream—the attributing of human faces to the animals that appeared to her in her dreams. Perhaps she recollected that she had told Doctor Lathrop once that the face in the dream resembled that of Shattuck. But she never would admit that to me. I fenced about with her on that point, both in the spoken and written dream, without getting a bit of satisfaction from her. She simply would not admit a thing. Yet I'm convinced that she told the truth first, that the face was that of Shattuck. However, with that still in her mind, she hesitates in recalling the dream. I'm sure her first thought was 'Shattuck.' But she put that out of her mind in the fifths of a second that elapsed. Instead, she answered just as quickly as she could, in the hope she had betrayed nothing, the colorless, 'man.'"

I said nothing. I was always fearful of whither Kennedy's psychanalysis was tending.

"Even the general 'man' was not explicit enough for her," he proceeded. "She meant that there should be no mistake as far as I was concerned. 'Man' might include Shattuck. So, on the second questioning she became more particular in her identification of the 'face.' This time it was 'stranger.' Doubtless she felt that it would eliminate [217] both herself and Shattuck from consideration. But she was mistaken," he concluded, triumphantly. "Instead, it really points to Shattuck—and to herself, too. Unconsciously now, she is really trying to eliminate both herself and her lover—and she knows that he is that."

Kennedy flipped the list, as he added: "'Bottle-stopper-stopper' and 'glass-empty-empty.' An effort to get away from anything incriminating. Clever, too."

I said nothing. What did it mean? Was she, after all, guilty—or at least a party to the crime? The very idea was repugnant to me. I knew it was of no use to quiz Craig. He was still non-committal and impartial. At least I hoped he was still impartial to her.



It was early the following morning that Doyle burst in on us, very excited and waving a morning paper.

"Have you read the news?" he demanded, slapping the paper down in front of Kennedy.

We read at the point where Doyle's forefinger indicated. It was a personal inserted among the advertisements by Doctor Lathrop himself. No longer, it announced, would he be responsible for the debts of Vina Lathrop, his wife. Lathrop had at last definitely broken with her.

Kennedy and I exchanged glances. I recalled the quarrel we had interrupted on our last visit to them. Evidently that had been the climax. Nor was I surprised. It had seemed inconceivable to me, since my conversation with Belle Balcom, that ever Lathrop could be the kind of man to sit complacently under the growing gossip about Vina. How he had even waited so long was a mystery, unless to assure himself that what he heard was the truth. For men of Lathrop's stamp are the last to condone [219] anything in a wife, no matter what may be their own standards for themselves.

"Well, at any rate," conjectured Doyle, rather heartlessly, I thought, "I don't think people will waste a great deal of sympathy on her. It leaves Vina Lathrop no more than she deserves. The man she tried to use is dead. The man she sought to capture has turned her down cold. Now the husband she had no use for, except as a meal ticket, has left her. I can't see but what that dame had it all coming to her."

Kennedy refrained from comment. "Where has she gone?" he asked merely. "Do you know?"

Doyle shook his head. "This is the first that I knew that they were separated," he responded. "No, I haven't any idea where she is."

"What of Doctor Lathrop?"

"He seemed to have taken it very calmly. From what I hear, he hasn't even interrupted his practice. He stays there at the Drive address where he has his office. I suppose she has gone to a hotel, or perhaps out of town. I'll find out for you and have her watched, if you want."

Kennedy nodded, but did not say anything, and I know Doyle's attitude had not raised that gentleman any higher in Craig's estimation. It all seemed very strange, and, I felt sure, however, well worth following up.

"Of course, you know we haven't neglected the Wilford telephone wire," put in Doyle, sensing that [220] all was not just as it should be, yet not knowing just why.

"What did you do?"

"Put in a tap. Then I had McCabe and others listening in in relays in another room."


"Here's a report of what they got this morning."

Doyle pulled out a sheet of thin paper on which had been typed some notes.

"There was a call early this morning for her," he said, as he ran his eye down the sheet. "It was from Shattuck—without a doubt. He's suspicious. The first part of the conversation shows that, you see."

"Let me read it, if you don't mind?" asked Kennedy.

"Not at all," agreed, Doyle, handing the copy to Craig.

Together we read it.

"Good morning," it began. "Is this you, Honora?"

"Oh, good morning," she replied.

(It was apparent that Mrs. Wilford recognized the voice, but she was cautious about repeating the name.)

"I've something very important to tell you—but—well, not over the telephone. Is anybody listening?"

"I don't know. I suppose there is. Everything I do is spied on and watched. I can't write a letter. I can't go out—"

"I suppose that's right. If you went out you'd be followed. There's no place that's safe. Probably somebody's getting an earful of this," came back the other voice. "Still, I've something very important to say to you. Hang it! I'm going to drop in and see you, Honora. This isn't an autocracy—yet. [221] They can't prevent me talking to you in your own home. Though, I suppose, even that is an offense. However, I'll call. Keep a stiff upper lip. Don't let them put anything over on you."

Mrs. Wilford must have tried to laugh it off, for the operative had drawn a line indicating a laugh and had added merely the repetition of the words, "Good-by."

Doyle looked at our faces as we read. "I have a scheme," he announced, craftily. "See what you think of it. There's that dictagraph I put in, you know."

Kennedy nodded. Although our opinion of Doyle was not of the highest, it was not impossible that here was a situation that called for no great amount of cleverness to surmount.

"Want to use it?" he asked.

Kennedy considered.

"I put the thing in right. There's a receiver in every room, and I've got a sort of central office there. You can listen in on any room you please by just throwing a switch."

Kennedy assumed a flattering manner. "Just the thing, Doyle," he acquiesced. "Now look here. This is the way to work it. You go there first—not to the room, but to the apartment. Stay around there a bit as though you were looking for something, then leave and take care to make it certain that they know you are going away some distance and will be gone some time."

"I get you," agreed Doyle. "Then McCabe—"


"Confound McCabe!" interrupted Kennedy. "He must clear out, too. He's buzzing around that maid, Celeste. Well, for once it may lead to something. Give McCabe something to do that will take him away, too. Then tell him to let Celeste know. Get it? Make it as plain as day to her that for once you are all off the job. Then she'll think it's safe—unless she's clever," added Kennedy. "Meanwhile Jameson and I will slip into that little listening post of yours. Maybe we'll get something. You can't tell."

"It sounds all right," commented Doyle, loosening a key from a ring. "There's the key—it's Apartment K where the dictagraph is."

"All right," remarked Kennedy, taking it. "Now go along and get your end of the plant working. Do everything you can to let her believe that you've relaxed. I'll get there in half an hour. We can't put this off too long."

Doyle left with alacrity. For once he could understand Kennedy's method and approve it.

Half an hour later we entered the Wilford apartment-house, taking care to do so at a time when the elevator was not down at the ground floor. As far as we knew, no one interested had seen us come in. That was the one chance we were forced to take. Its only disadvantage was that it made it necessary for us to walk up eight flights of stairs, and even then to go carefully, lest we meet some one in the hall.

However, we found Apartment K at last without [223] any difficulty, opened the door, and admitted ourselves quietly. Doyle had located the dictagraph in this room, two floors below the apartment of the Wilfords', in this vacant suite.

As we entered, I saw that in the room were merely a deal table and a couple of chairs. On the table lay the box containing the receiving end of the dictagraph, to which already were fitted the head and ear pieces for listening. The switch on the table was marked, showing the various rooms in which the transmitters had been placed and arranged so that one might follow from one room to another, if necessary. There was paper for notes on the table, too, but otherwise the room was bare.

Kennedy adjusted the ear-pieces over his head, much as a wireless operator might have done, and, noting how he did it, I followed suit.

Then we waited. I could hear the clicks as he moved the switch past one connection after another, trying out the various rooms to see whether there was any one in them or not.

There was no one in the living-room, but as we listened we could hear the striking of a small clock on the mantel. From room to room we went, in imagination, almost as if we had been there, but able to go about unobserved. Had Honora been clever enough to penetrate our ruse? Or had Doyle and McCabe executed their end of the scheme clumsily?

We waited impatiently, wondering whether, after all, it was a fools' errand for us.


Suddenly I could hear a dull, rhythmical noise above the mild buzzing of the dictagraph.

"What's that?" I asked, almost in a whisper, which was involuntary.

"Footsteps of some one coming down the hall into the library," replied Kennedy. "I fancied from slight noises which I heard that Honora was in there, alone, reading perhaps. I thought I caught the rustle of paper."

I could now make out the vibrations more clearly, then the low, almost inaudible buzz of a voice.

"Now it's plainer," I whispered.

Kennedy frowned. "They can't hear you," he reminded. "Still—don't forget I can."

I took the broad hint and was silent. Kennedy adjusted the machine for loudness and gradually I could hear the lowered voices being caught and played up.

It was Honora speaking to her maid, Celeste, who had just entered.

"You've been down in Mrs. Smith's apartment?" we heard Honora ask.

"Yes, madame."

Kennedy shot a glance at me. Two, then, could play at the same game of watching. Evidently the maid had evolved the scheme of visiting some friendly maid in the building, and from that vantage-point watching the watchers. I trusted that she had seen nothing of us. It could hardly be that she had—or at least that they suspected the presence of the dictagraph, or they would not have [225] talked even in whispers, when they might have written and thus have been safe from being overheard. I was beginning to be relieved.

"Why did that McCabe tell you he had a day off?" asked Honora, thoughtfully. "Did he really go?"

"Yes, madame. And the other man hasn't come in. Mr. Doyle was here, but he didn't stay long. I heard him telephone for a taxicab to take him to the Grand Central. He seemed to be catching a train and looked as if prepared to stay away overnight."

"A train?" caught up Honora, eagerly. "Very well, Celeste. When Mr. Shattuck comes, let him in. Watch. Let me know if you see any one watching. It—it seems—I can't understand it."

The maid murmured something soothing in French to Honora and departed.

For some time—it seemed an hour—we waited in silence. Finally Kennedy reached over and touched my elbow. Again I could hear that low vibration, as of some one walking.

"It's Shattuck—I'll bet," Craig cried, excitedly.

Sure enough, it was, as we soon found out both by his voice and the conversation.

"You've heard about Vina and the doctor?" he asked, almost as soon as he entered.

"No," replied Honora. "What about them?"

"They've separated. Lathrop has put a notice in the papers that he will no longer be responsible for his wife's debts."


Honora uttered a quick exclamation of surprise.

"Rather a nasty thing for the doctor to do, though," commented Shattuck, then added, hastily, "I mean the way he did it—publicly, in the papers, and all that sort of thing."

"I suppose so," came reluctantly from Honora's lips.

Kennedy smiled. It was very human, after all. Nor could one blame Honora for having scant sympathy with the woman who had caused her so much pain and anguish.

There was silence for several moments, in which I trusted that Shattuck was duly chastened for having expressed any sympathy for Vina, even in a casual way.

"Tell me, Vance," she asked, finally, with just a trace of eagerness showing in her voice in spite of herself. "You never really cared for her—did you?"

Shattuck answered quickly. "Why, you poor foolish little girl—don't you understand yet? It was she—set out to capture me—not I who sought her. Ask anybody. They'll tell you. I begin to believe everybody knows it—knew it long before even I saw it. How Lathrop could have missed it so long is beyond me. Don't you see? It placed me in rather an awkward position. I wanted to warn him—yet how could I? Of course I never cared for her. The fact is that I have had to avoid her, even when she tried to make some business deals through me. Why, only yesterday Lathrop [227] came to see me. It must have been just before he put that advertisement in the papers. I had the very deuce of a time to make him see the case. As luck would have it, though, Kennedy was there. I hope he got an eyeful. Once before he saw me with her. It was when she was trying to sell some stock."

Honora said nothing, though apparently the explanation was just what she wanted to hear and it satisfied her.

I looked over at Craig. If it was true, I felt that it was greatly to the credit of Shattuck, knowing his reputation. But was it true? Was it not what he would have said to Honora, anyway? Might it not be that he was laying the foundations for an alibi in case Kennedy or some one else retailed stories to her?

"Are they still just as insolent up here to you?" he asked, solicitously, after another silence, changing the subject to one more intimate.

"Oh, Vance, it's awful!" she confessed.

"The deuce!" he exclaimed, hotly. "Sometimes I feel as though I could fight the whole crowd of them, Kennedy included. It's an outrage, this constant suspicion of you."

"But, Vance," she murmured, "you know you must be careful for yourself, too."

"And you, Honora?" he replied. "Have you no need of help, no need of a friend?"

It was evident that each feared for the other, recognizing the suspicion under which both labored. [228] More than that, there was genuine regard between them, it was evident, tempered with restraint.

"I suppose you've heard that they've found a Calabar bean down in Vail's office, on the floor?" asked Shattuck, hesitating, but finally coming to a remark which evidently had been on his mind and cost him something to make.

I was all ears, in hope that he would betray something about having some of the beans in his own possession, or that Honora would betray something about having Chase search Shattuck's apartment, if, indeed, she had ordered the young detective to do it. But neither of them said a word. Was it because they knew nothing, or was there a tacit understanding between them never to mention some mutual secret?

"So I've been told," was the simple reply Honora made to Shattuck's inquiry.

"Who told you?"

"Mr. Doyle, himself," she replied.

"Has Kennedy done anything?" he asked, quickly.

"I had another visit from him yesterday."

"What did he want this time?"

"He had a list of words—more of his science. I can't refuse to do what he asks—and yet—I'm afraid. You know these scientists know so many things that aren't so about women."

Kennedy nodded over at me. I knew what was passing in his mind. It was surely strange to hear oneself discussed and I recalled the old adage about [229] eavesdroppers hearing nothing good of themselves. Besides, I knew that his Freud theory had struck home. Honora's very anger at the theory was proof enough that it struck home in one of her own "complexes."

"Confound him!" muttered Shattuck. "I suppose you are right, though. You know this ordeal bean from the Calabar? Of course you remember the derivative from your father's place—the physostigmine. Well, the beans are used in a queer, primitive sort of dueling by the natives. They cut the beans in half. Each eats a half. It is a sort of a duel by ordeal."

"Yes," she answered, quickly. "So I've been told."

Kennedy nodded to me.

Neither of them said more about it. Was it because they recognized it as a dangerous subject? Or had Honora really discovered the dictagraph in her own home? In that case, this very conversation was being held for our benefit, out of sheer bravado.

Nothing more of importance was said and we figuratively followed them out into the hall and over a good-by that was considerably lengthened by Shattuck and threatened to become sentimental. Only Honora restrained it.

"What next?" I asked, as we could hear the slam of the door in the Wilford apartment.

"I don't think I shall stay and listen here," concluded Kennedy. "I can't see that we've found out [230] a great deal, as it is. There are several things that must be done immediately. First of all, I want to see Lathrop. It may be that we'll find out something from him."

We made our way out of the apartment, as we had entered, trusting that with our care we would not be observed.

A few minutes later we were at the door of the waiting-room of Lathrop's office.

"Evidently he doesn't take the affair any too deeply," commented Craig.

I looked about. The office was as full of patients as ever, and he was going about his professional work much as though nothing at all had occurred to disturb his peace of mind.

We waited until the last patient had gone and finally were able to see him alone.

"I can guess what you are here for," he greeted, without a trace of embarrassment. "I suppose the afternoon papers will be full of it. Already I've had a string of reporters—one from your own paper, Mr. Jameson," he added, significantly—"a Miss Balcom. Do you know her?"

"Yes," I answered, as offhand as possible, "she is a very clever writer. Did you—er—tell her any—"

"Not a word to say," he interrupted, bruskly, "not a word to say. I refused to make any statement. What's the use? The fact stands for itself."

In spite of what he said, it was evident that he would talk, at least a bit.


"Then you knew all about—what was going on, all along?" inquired Kennedy.

"I had my suspicions," the doctor replied, airily. "I cannot afford to be held up to ridicule. It was a matter of saving my very career. As for the Wilford story—pouf! I don't care a rap about it—that is, I didn't until the gossips added the Shattuck scandal to it."

Whatever he might say, it was evident that his lips belied his real feelings. He was really bitter both toward the memory of Wilford and toward Shattuck as well, conceal it as much as he might try.

"Then you credit the Shattuck rumors?" demanded Kennedy.

"I won't say," snapped the doctor, testily.

"Where has Mrs. Lathrop gone?" asked Kennedy, point-blank.

"How do I know?" bridled Lathrop. "I've heard her talk about friends at the Sainte-Germaine—perhaps you might find her there. You're a detective," he added, coolly, then suddenly: "That's right. Get her side of the story. Play it up, if you like. You might as well. Yes, by all means. Then perhaps I can set you right on some points. Don't mind me. Good morning, gentlemen," he bustled, taking up his black doctor's bag. "I have a very serious case waiting for me."

Kennedy did not comment as we left, but beckoned quickly to a vacant taxicab and we were whisked to the Sainte-Germaine.


I knew it was of no use to try to see Mrs. Lathrop in the ordinary manner, and, therefore, adopted one of my many newspaper ruses to find out where her room was and then to get to it.

As she opened the door to what seemed to be an innocent knock from a chambermaid or bell-hop, she exclaimed in surprise at seeing Kennedy and myself.

Almost, I exclaimed also. Vina Lathrop seemed to be a changed woman.

"Why have you followed me here?" she demanded. "Did he send you—or was it that woman?"

"Neither," returned Kennedy. "It's not so easy to hide away in New York."

She did not move from the door, nor did she invite us in. Still, I could see that she was there alone, that the "friends" whom Lathrop had hinted at were either mythical or that she had not gone to them.

"I thought that perhaps you might like to tell us what the real reason for the break was," hinted Kennedy. "Of course, Mrs. Lathrop, there's no use for me to beat about the bush. You know and we know just what the world is saying. If I might be of any assistance to you—putting things straight, you know—"

He paused, endeavoring to see whether she showed any disposition to talk.

For a moment she was silent, biting her lips.

"I never want to speak to him again," she burst out, passionately, at length. "You will have to see [233] Doctor Lathrop about that—at present," she added, sullenly.

"Does Mr. Shattuck know where you are?"

"I suppose every one will know—now," she cried, a look almost of alarm crossing her now pale face. "Really—I have nothing to say. You must see my—my lawyer."

"And he is—?"

"I shall let that be known—when I get ready," she blazed, turning. "Now, might I ask you to leave me? I don't see how you got past the floor clerk, anyhow. Good-by. I—I don't want to have a scene."

She closed the door and we heard the bolt shoot.

Somehow I could not help having my suspicions aroused by her very manner, as we turned away. Did she know something—and was she really afraid of us?



"What's the next move?" I inquired of Kennedy as we entered the elevator.

He did not answer, and I thought it was because he did not care to do so.

"Didn't like to talk, even though we were alone with the elevator boy," he explained, with his usual caution, when we had arrived at the ground floor. "You never can tell who is listening in public places."

"No," I answered, dryly. "That was how I found out where she was in the first place."

Kennedy smiled. "Very good, Walter. Still, it just goes to prove what I said. Mrs. Lathrop might do the same thing to find out about us."

We sauntered along a few steps through the lobby in silence.

"I don't suppose Shattuck will be in his own apartment after that talk with Honora," Kennedy considered, glancing at his watch. "Guess we'd better try to see him at his office, if we want to see him anywhere."

I saw what he was thinking about—the relations [235] of Vina and Shattuck and the construction that Doctor Lathrop had put on them.

"The finding of that Calabar bean in Shattuck's apartment has puzzled me," I confessed. "I've often wondered whether he ever missed it, whether he knows."

"Just what I was thinking about," admitted Kennedy. "On the way down-town I'm going to drop in and see Mrs. Wilford's detective, Chase."

"Why, Mr. Jameson, you've beaten me to it—and have you got the story?"

I turned in surprise at hearing my name spoken by a woman whom I hadn't noticed. It was Belle Balcom, always enterprising and on the alert for a good story for her column of society gossip.

"I thought I had a scoop," she pouted. "And I get here only to see you coming out."

"Where did you find out?" I asked, in surprise, careful, however, not to admit that I knew what she meant, although I was certain that it must be to see Mrs. Lathrop that she had come.

"Never mind," Belle tantalized. "Where did you find out?"

"That would be telling," I begged the question, turning and introducing Craig.

"Oh, I'm so glad to meet you," she smiled. "Of course I've heard a great deal about you from Mr. Jameson and I've always admired your wonderful work."

"Indeed you've helped us a great deal in this [236] case, yourself," returned Craig, ignoring the flattery, as he always did.

"I'm so glad," thanked Belle, sincerely. "If there's anything I can do, ever, I hope you'll ask me. It isn't often that I feel that the stuff I do has any real importance. More often people think I'm a prying pest, I imagine. But then without that eternal curiosity, who could write? Isn't that so?" she appealed to me.

"Quite," I agreed.

"Especially in a woman," thrust Belle.

"I'm sure that can't be so," remarked Craig. "Reporters and detectives have much in common. Women make good in both fields—very good."

Belle smiled. Sophisticated she might be. Yet no woman can be said exactly to hate flattery of the right sort.

"How does Mrs. Lathrop take the affair—with bravado?" inquired Belle. "You see, that expedition down to Greenwich Village with Mr. Jameson has made me look on this case with a sort of proprietary interest."

Kennedy smiled seriously. "There, now," he nodded, "you're interviewing me."

Belle smiled back in turn, taking the hint. "I'm sure you'd be hard to interview, if you didn't want to be interviewed, Professor Kennedy," she said.

"How did you find out where she had gone—really?" I asked. "Tell us. It might help—and you remember what you said just a moment ago."

Belle considered an instant.


"Well," she thought, "I don't know as it would be violating any confidence, after all."

Kennedy, always thoughtful, had gradually edged our way into a sort of alcove.

"You see," she began, "first I tried to get at Doctor Lathrop himself. But I guess you must have been there first. He was barricaded, so to speak. I posed as a patient, tried to think up all kinds of ailments I could, just to get in. But he had an assistant who interviewed every patient. I think that fellow would make a medical detective. I thought I was clever, but he found me out and I was politely requested to step outside."

I glanced at Kennedy. Evidently Lathrop did not intend to talk. Was it wholly natural reticence?

"Then," resumed Belle to me, "I thought of our friend, Zona Dare. I remembered that she had been intimate with Vina Lathrop. Zona wouldn't say anything. But I didn't need that. From her I got the cue. I knew she was keeping something from me, just knew it—woman's intuition, I guess. I knew that Zona lived here at the Sainte-Germaine."

"But Mrs. Lathrop is alone," I hastened.

"Surely. You wouldn't see them together. Trust Zona. She's too clever for that."

Again I glanced at Kennedy without getting anything from the expression of his face. Was it a clue? Did it mean anything, this immediate appeal by Vina for help from the Freudian interpreter of the Village?


We chatted a few minutes longer, as Kennedy turned away further inquisitorial shafts of the clever reporter. However, somehow I felt that Belle still had something on her mind.

"Then you aren't going to write it, after all?" she asked, eagerly, of me, as Kennedy showed signs of leaving.

"Of course not," I assured. "It wouldn't look right—at this stage of the case—for me to write, do you think? However, that's no reason why The Star shouldn't have the story."

She beamed.

"Very well, then. I'll try to get it," she replied, rather relieved at the thought that whatever clever work she had done to get the tip that had located Vina would not go for naught and would be credited to her.

We bowed ourselves away, leaving Belle the difficult and unenviable job of getting at Mrs. Lathrop again, something I should not have wanted to do, judging by the fiery glance that had been shot at us from behind the slammed door.

"That will be a last straw to Vina Lathrop—when she knows the newspapers have found her out here," I remarked, as we turned toward the street entrance.

Kennedy drew me back and we sidled into the protection of the fronds of a thick clump of palms.

I looked out cautiously. There was Doyle just coming up the steps of the hotel.

Doyle bustled in, and we let him pass, unaccosted.


"Where did he get his information?" I wondered.

"Not so difficult. If the police drag-net is out, a hotel like the Sainte-Germaine isn't at all safe," replied Craig. "I imagine we can leave Vina to their tender mercies—the police and the press."

We left the hotel hurriedly lest we might encounter any one else, and a few minutes later found ourselves again at Chase's detective agency. Chase was in and regarded us inquiringly as we entered.

"About this Lathrop case," introduced Kennedy. "You know that she was very intimate with Mr. Shattuck."

Chase nodded.

"It occurred to me," went on Kennedy, "that since you were working for Mrs. Wilford you might be able to help me. There were several things you told me the other day that I've been thinking about."

Chase narrowed his eyes as if trying to fathom what Kennedy was thinking. "I admit breaking into Shattuck's apartment," he said. "Do you mean that?"

"Partly. Why did you do it?"

"It was to get some letters Mrs. Lathrop had written to him," returned Chase, without quizzing.

"Did you get them?"

"I did."

"Where are they?"

Chase balked.

"Did you read them?"


"Yes," he answered, reluctantly.

"What was in them? Shattuck had been pursuing Mrs. Lathrop, hadn't he?" fenced Kennedy, keenly.

"No—he had not. She had been pursuing him," snapped Chase, though why he was so evidently put out about it I could not make out at first.

"How about that Calabar bean?"

"I found it in a cabinet, while I was searching for the letters," he answered, his face betraying no expression.

"Why did you tell me that in the first place?" demanded Kennedy, suddenly switching the subject. "Did you have any motive?"

"Motive? I thought you ought to know—that's all. He's not my client, you know."

"But he's a friend of your client and—"

"Say, Kennedy, I know how Doyle has been hounding that poor little woman. If you want the truth, I didn't tell Doyle because it wouldn't do any good. I thought you could be fair."

"Well, what's your opinion?"

"I haven't any opinion. I know what I found. It's for you to have an opinion. Besides, I won't sacrifice a client for a friend of the client. Get me?" he asked, pointedly.

"She has won you, hasn't she?" asked Kennedy, somewhat, I thought, in Doyle's style.

Chase looked at him a minute. "Say, Kennedy," he returned, "I've always regarded you as something more than the rest of us."


He stopped as though he would have said more, but considered he had said enough.

What he meant by his cryptic remarks I could not make out. Was he determined to save his client, even at the cost of her lover? Kennedy's face was inscrutable. If he knew what Chase meant, I am sure Chase read no answer.

We left immediately afterward and soon were back again in the Subway. As we waited for the train, Kennedy paced the platform.

"I think I'm right, Walter," he remarked. "The thing is to prove it. I'm going to use a little more of Freud—to apply him to some detective work—in other words, I'm going to play upon suppressed desires. Just watch how it works."

Somewhat less than half an hour later we found ourselves in the hurly-burly of the Wall Street district. Shattuck, I knew, had an office around the corner not very far from that which Vail Wilford had occupied.

Kennedy, who had been there before, easily located it and called the floor from memory.

"It's not a large office," I remarked, as I followed Craig down the hall and stopped before a single glass door that bore Shattuck's name, adding, "Banker & Broker."

"But probably it's large enough for all the brokerage business that Shattuck really does," he returned. "I have an idea that it is just about enough to keep him from being classed as an idler. Besides, it gives him standing."


Kennedy handed his card to the boy who presided over a sort of swinging gate in the outer office.

The door to Shattuck's inner office happened to be open and we could see him. Consequently it was not possible for him to send out word that he was not in.

It was a rather nettled office-boy who returned to us.

"For what, may I ask, am I indebted to you for this visit?" inquired Shattuck with almost insulting bruskness as the boy stood at the door, admitting us, then carefully closed the door to the outer office.

I felt angry at the tone, but Kennedy kept his temper admirably.

"I suppose," began Craig, clearing his throat and speaking as deliberately as ever Shattuck did, "that you know the story about Mrs. Lathrop?"

"Some one on the street called my attention to it," Shattuck prevaricated, rather than admit interest.

"I thought you might be in a position to explain it—at least to throw some light on it," pursued Kennedy, directly. "I'm quite interested, naturally."

"Explain it?" flared Shattuck, eagerly seizing on something that would divert the main issue. "Explain it? Why, you and Doyle and the newspapers"—nodding insultingly at me—"ought to be able to do that best, don't you think? It's you all that have caused a great deal of trouble. Judging [243] by what I read and hear, you know more about our affairs in this case than we do ourselves. I'd suggest that perhaps our positions should be reversed. I might appeal to you for information, rather than have you coming around here appealing to me."

Not only was it what he said, but it was even more the tone and manner in which he said it that seemed to rub Kennedy the wrong way. As for myself, I must confess that I was boiling over at the bravado of the man.

I would have come back with a quick remark—and probably have exposed my hand and done exactly what Shattuck expected, for there was no denying that he was clever with a gambler's cleverness and nerve.

It was not so with Kennedy. For a moment he paused, as though checking a first remark; then he spoke in the same measured and considered tones as at the start.

"I can tell you, Shattuck, that I don't like the attitude either you or Mrs. Wilford assume."

Shattuck merely shrugged superciliously, and would have turned to some papers on his desk, had not Kennedy possessed one of those compelling personalities that demand that you hear them out, whether you like it or not.

"Mrs. Wilford seems to have assumed a sort of passive attitude toward me," Kennedy resumed.

"You don't expect her to help you?" inquired Shattuck.

"As for yourself," continued Craig, unperturbed, [244] "I am frankly of the opinion, Shattuck, that your attitude is quite one of open hostility. I would not presume to dictate to either of you how you should order your conduct—but—it seems to me that, under the circumstances, it might not be unwise to take care not to prejudice your cases, you know."

Shattuck involuntarily shot a quick glance from under his heavy eyebrows at Kennedy. But not even Shattuck's cleverness could read anything in Craig's face.

What is it that this man knows? Quite apparently that was the sudden thought working back of Shattuck's beetling brows.

"For instance," continued Kennedy, as though determined to have his way in the matter and ram the words down Shattuck's throat, "I am sure you know of that Calabar bean which I—or rather Mr. Jameson—discovered in Mr. Wilford's office—not very far away from here, I see."

Shattuck's face was a study. Not once did the man lose his poise. It was not that.

"Well, it raises some interesting problems. I won't say that I haven't settled them. But, for the sake of argument, let us take the circumstance—just in itself."

Shattuck calmly lighted a cigarette and deliberately inhaled it, bored.

"Of course," Craig went on, after a pause, "we all know that Doctor Lathrop is a doctor and hence likely to dabble in almost anything relating to his profession. Perhaps he knew of the existence and [245] the properties of the Calabar bean. Quite certainly, I should say. No doubt he has used the drug—physostigmine. In fact, he tells me he has. Very well, then. So much for that.

"Take yourself, for example. I think I recall seeing many African trophies in that very cozy den of yours. Now, the Calabar bean is well known in Africa, not only in the Calabar, on the west coast, but in many other parts of the continent that travelers and tourists visit. So, you see, although at first sight such a bean might seem to have very little to do with a prosperous broker on Broad Street, it is not impossible that a judge or jury—or a detective—might see a connection."

Kennedy paused to watch the effect of the home thrust. I cannot say that Shattuck even winced. He was a man with too much control over himself for that. I longed for some of the psychological laboratory instruments that will reveal, often, what a nerve-strong exterior hides.

"But, quite more important still," continued Kennedy, "is the fact that the bean, or rather its derivative, physostigmine—which we know was the poison that killed Wilford—is known and used by oculists for its curious effect on the pupils. Now, from what I have learned on unimpeachable authority about Mrs. Wilford as a girl, her father, Honore Chappelle, a Frenchman, was a well-known oculist. He had no sons and often used to wish that his only child had not been a girl. For a time he had some vague idea, I believe, that his daughter [246] might take up his place in the business. However, that was merely fanciful. As Honora grew to womanhood and tasted the advantages of the not small fortune her father had piled up, the social life appealed to her. And yet, in the girlhood days, who shall say she did not learn something of the Calabar bean, of the drug, and of its properties? It would be most unlikely if she did not."

Kennedy paused for a moment, leaving Shattuck almost speechless and hiding a secret fear.

"You can draw your own conclusions from what I have just said," finished Craig. "Sometimes, you know, actions speak louder than words."

Shattuck had risen, almost angrily as two red spots of passion appeared on his face over the cheek-bones.

"Don't you think you have done enough, hounding Mrs. Wilford with your confounded science?" he demanded.

"I cannot say," replied Kennedy, coolly, reaching for his hat and deliberately turning away. "I am telling you this only for your own benefit. Good morning, sir."

Just what Kennedy was attempting I began to understand as we closed the door to the hall and turned again to the elevator. The seeking out of Shattuck was quite in keeping with the plan of campaign Craig had mapped out at the start.

I saw that he was counting on planting something that would make Shattuck fear for Honora, if not for himself. And, it was evident that behind his bravado Shattuck did have a fear for Honora.



Even before Kennedy announced where he was going, I outguessed the next step in his scheme.

He would end by planting something that would make Honora fearful for Shattuck, as well as for herself. The effect would be to bring to light her suppressed desires, to make the Freudian theory play detective for us. And then? Almost anything might happen.

Looked at in this light, I could see that Craig would have done a very profitable day's work. It was, in short, merely playing one against the other—first Lathrop against Vina; now Honora against Shattuck.

We rode back again up-town and prepared to make our daily excuse for visiting Mrs. Wilford. In spite of the distastefulness of our duty, I felt sure that still our position with her was superior to that of the other inquisitors who were always on her trail.

"Before we go in," cautioned Kennedy, as we entered the main entrance to the apartment, "I want to see McCabe. He must be back on the job by this time."


Careful to cover ourselves, we sought out the ostensibly empty apartment which Doyle had hired as a dictagraph room. McCabe was there and seemed to be glad to see us. Evidently he had some news to report.

"What's on your mind, McCabe?" greeted Kennedy.

"Why, sir, he's been calling her up again."


"Mr. Shattuck, I mean."

Kennedy merely glanced at me. The virus had begun to work.

"What did he say?" asked Kennedy, quickly.

"I couldn't just make out what it was about. He wasn't very definite. Said he wanted to see her alone."

"And Mrs. Wilford?"

"Said she couldn't—that she was afraid—afraid for him, she said. I guess she knows pretty well how we're watching her."

"What did Shattuck say to that?"

"Well, I should say he was trying to warn her," replied McCabe, "without coming out too definitely. You see, they were both pretty careful in the words they used. There's something strange between that pair, you can be sure of that."

"What were the exact words?" asked Kennedy. "Did you get them down?"

McCabe nodded and referred to his notes.

"When Mr. Shattuck called up, he asked her first, 'I suppose they're watching you yet, Honora?'


"'Oh, Vance,' she answered, 'it gets worse every day.'

"There's some more—and then he suddenly said, 'Honora, Kennedy has just been here to see me again.'

"She seemed to be rather alarmed at that news. 'To see you again, Vance? What about?'

"'I don't know what he's up to,' Shattuck replied. 'I wish I did. It's something about that poisoned bean—you know, the thing they've been talking about.'"

"Pretending ignorance!" I exclaimed. "He knows. Go on."

"They talked about that a little while, without saying anything important. The next was Honora: 'He keeps asking me all sorts of questions about dreams and trying psychological experiments. I don't dare refuse to answer. But what do you suppose it is all about, Vance?'"

"What did Shattuck tell her?" asked Kennedy, interested.

"Here, I'll read it, exactly. 'More of that Freud stuff, I guess, Honora, from what you've already told me. That may go all very well in a book—or in Greenwich Village. But it's a fake, I tell you. Don't believe it—too much.'"

"That's a remarkably reassuring statement," commented Kennedy. "Don't believe it—and then he takes it all back by adding, 'too much.'"

"Yes, sir," agreed McCabe, to whom this angle of the case was a mystery. "I don't know as he believed [250] what he said himself. You see, he next asked her: 'Can't you see me? I must try to help you.' And he meant it, too."

"Did she say she would?" hastened Kennedy.

"Not directly. 'Vance, I'm so afraid—afraid to drag you into this thing. You know they're watching me so closely. I don't see them around—yet they seem to know so much.'"

"You don't suppose she suspects anything of this?" I interrupted, indicating the dictagraph and the tapped telephone.

"Hardly," answered McCabe. "She wouldn't talk at all over the wire, if she did, would she? Here's how it ended. Shattuck said, finally, 'Well, I'm going to see you very soon, anyhow, to have a heart-to-heart talk, Honora.' He seemed to be quite worried. And so did she over him."

"Have you told Doyle anything about it?" asked Craig.

"Haven't had a chance yet. It just happened."

Kennedy turned to go.

"Oh, just before that that detective called her up, too."

"Which one—Rascon or Chase?"


Kennedy smiled quietly. Everything was working.

"What of him?"

"He said you had been to see him. There was something about that poisonous bean he told her."


"Did he mention Shattuck's name?" asked Kennedy.

"Yes, he questioned her about Shattuck—about his travels—I thought it was pretty broadly hinting after he mentioned that Calabar bean."

"But did he say anything definite about it? I mean, anything connecting it with Shattuck?"

"No—nothing definite."

Evidently Chase had never told Honora of his discovery in Shattuck's apartments. Why? Was it because he was sure that she would not believe it? Was he waiting for more conclusive evidence? What was the reason? It had not been revealed even yet.

We thanked McCabe, made our exit, and arrived on Honora's floor in such a way that it would not be suspected that we had been anywhere else in the building.

As we met Mrs. Wilford, I cannot say that we were quite as welcome as on some previous encounters with her. It seemed that she was repressing her excitement not quite as easily as on previous occasions.

Yet she seemed not to dare to refuse to see us. Perhaps, too, there was an element of curiosity to know whether anything had been discovered beyond what Doyle had already told her.

If that were the case, she had not long to wait. Kennedy did not plan this time to keep her in suspense long.

In fact, it seemed as if it were part of his plan [252] to fire the information he wished to impart as a broadside and watch the effect, both immediate and ultimate.

"I suppose you have read in the newspapers about the troubles of the Lathrops and what has happened?" he opened fire.

"Nothing about that woman interests me," Honora returned, coldly.

"That's not exactly what I came to tell you, though," remarked Kennedy, briskly.

Honora was on the alert in an instant, although she tried to hide it.

"I've discovered just what it was that caused the death of your husband," hastened Craig.

I watched her closely. She was trying to show just enough and not too much interest.

"Indeed?" she replied, veiling her eyes as a matter of self-defense. "Was it belladonna?"

"No, it was not atropin," returned Craig, giving the drug its more scientific name. "It was physostigmine."

I was watching her narrowly. Evidently she had been expecting some repetition of the psychological tests and Kennedy's more direct attack almost swept away a defense as she tried to adjust herself to the unexpected.

Before she could recover from the shock that the bald statement seemed to give her, Craig shot out, "Has Doyle told you?"

"Yes," she replied, endeavoring to remain calm and at the same time appear frank, "something [253] about a bean which either you or Mr. Jameson discovered down in the office."

"Then why did you mention belladonna?" asked Craig.

She avoided his gaze as she answered, quickly, "Because it was the first thing that the police mentioned—the first thing that came into my head—like some of your psychological tests, I suppose."

The last sentence was uttered with a sort of sarcastic defiance which I did not relish in Honora.

"So," she continued in the same defiant tone, "it's another poison, this time—this physostigmine?"

"Yes," reiterated Kennedy, quietly. "The Calabar bean. I suppose Doyle described it to you—its devilish uses in the Calabar—the way the natives use it in ordeals—and all that sort of thing?"

"Yes—briefly," she replied, evidently steeling herself into a nonchalance she did not feel.

"Of course, the drug has a certain medical importance, too," continued Craig, as though eager to hammer home the information about it which he wished to have stick in her mind. "It is physostigmine."

Honora was evidently about to ask some question about the drug, perhaps such a question as would have portrayed ignorance, but Kennedy caught her eye and she closed her parted lips. There was no use camouflaging before this man. She knew it—knew the drug, I decided, and knew he knew she knew of it.


"But it wasn't the drug, physostigmine, in this case," went on Kennedy. "It was the Calabar bean itself. I found traces of it in Mr. Wilford's stomach—starch grains from the beans themselves. You know you can recognize various starch grains under the microscope by their size, formation, and so forth. I've clearly demonstrated that."

"You did? Why—I—I—er—thought that was Doctor Leslie's work."

Evidently she did not realize that Kennedy was anything more than a dilettante scientist, dabbling with his psychological tests.

Kennedy was now coming into the open more and more with her and she could not place him. On her part she saw that she must be more and more on guard, yet with fewer weapons on which to rely.

"Oh no," returned Kennedy, easily. "I mix up in all sorts of queer investigations. Toxicology is a hobby with me. Doctor Leslie did indeed confirm my results, working independently."

He paused to let her get the full significance.

"But about these beans. They come from Africa, you know. Travelers, people who have hunted over Africa, often bring them back as curios."

Honora shot a covert glance at Craig. Did she know that Shattuck had possessed some, after all?

I saw at once the trend of Kennedy's remarks. There was quite enough in what he had said to arouse in her the fear that Shattuck was suspected by him.

And, as I studied Honora even more closely, I [255] could see now that she was making a great effort to conceal her anxiety.

If the anxiety concerned solely herself, I could have understood it better, perhaps.

But was it about herself? Would she have acted in just this manner if it had been that she believed Kennedy to be making a direct accusation against her?

I could not decide. But, as I thought of it, I saw how cleverly Kennedy was leading his trumps.

If she were consumed with anxiety for Shattuck, the traveler in Africa, she must be heroically suppressing her own real feelings toward him, as she had done for so long.

I felt sure that the added pressure, day by day, was having its effect on her.

"I suppose you know," pursued Kennedy, deliberately, without letting up on the pressure, "that traces of belladonna were found in one glass on Mr. Wilford's desk at the office and that an almost empty bottle of belladonna was found by the police here in your apartment?"

"It was mine," she asserted, calmly, as though prepared. "It had been nearly used up. Celeste knows all about how I used it for my eyes. Many women do. She can tell you that."

She said it boldly, and yet, since Kennedy had mentioned the Calabar bean, I had an indefinable feeling that Honora was concealing something—perhaps not only a fact—but also a great fear.

No longer, now, did Kennedy seem to care [256] whether he antagonized her or not. More and more, it seemed, it was his purpose to drop the mask with her, to fight her with other weapons than those psychological.

"Both physostigmine and belladonna are used by oculists, you know," hinted Kennedy, broadly.

The face of Honora was a study as she listened to this direct insinuation. She bit her lips at the thought that she had betrayed her knowledge of the use of belladonna.

For an instant Honora gazed at Kennedy, startled at the penetrating power of his eyes, as she realized that the finding of the bean had, in his mind, perhaps, some connection with herself.

What must have been the conflicting emotions in her mind as, now, for the first time, she realized that Kennedy had gone deeper into the case than Doyle or Leslie, that, while she might be a match for them, she could not possibly hope to be a match against the new weapons of science that Kennedy had brought to bear? Even though she might not fully appreciate them, Honora was too clever a woman not to know, merely by intuition, that she was faced with a battle in which the old weapons were unavailing.

I know the thoughts that were surging, by Kennedy's suggestion, through her mind—the past of her life, her father, Honore Chappelle; the old love-affair with Shattuck; the attainment of social ambitions with Wilford—and back again to the life of her girlhood and the profession of her father.


I thought for the moment that Craig had broken through her reserve. I knew that Kennedy was in reality fishing—at least I thought so. But it was evident by her actions that Honora did not know it.

"Why do you make these—these accusations?" she demanded. "You knew that my father was an optician—one of the best known in the city," she cried, searching Craig's face.

Kennedy nodded implacably.

"I haven't made any accusations," he returned, then added, directly, "But I assumed that you knew something of his business while he was alive."

"I do not know by what right you assume that I knew anything of the sort," she fenced. "Girls were not supposed to learn trades or professions in those days."

Honora, in spite of her assumption of a quiet tone, was almost hysterical. The mounting flush on her face showed that she was keen with emotion, that it was only by an almost superhuman effort that she controlled the volcano of her feelings.

Kennedy could see that it was only by such an effort that she managed to maintain her composure. He must have known that to press the case would have resulted in a situation such as might have advanced us fairly far toward the truth. Yet he did not follow farther any advantage he might have.

Evidently, Kennedy was content to let the seed which he had planted during this visit germinate. [258] Or was he reluctant to allow McCabe over the dictagraph hear more that might be reported to Doyle on which Doyle might continue to base wrong conclusions? Desperately I clung to this last explanation.

As far as Honora was concerned, now, there was no use in our staying longer. Kennedy had deliberately thrown away a chance to drive her into further admissions. The interval had given her the time she needed. Now she was keenly on guard and mistress again of herself.

Secretly I was rather glad. It was better to let the information and suspicion that had been aroused work of itself.

"You are not yourself, Mrs. Wilford," suddenly apologized Kennedy. "It is not fair to you. Think over some of the things I have been forced to say to you. Perhaps you will see matters in another light. Good-by."

I do not know whether his keen questioning or this sudden quiet change of tone and the idea of leaving her at such a time had a greater effect. She shot him one startled look, then bowed in silence as we, in turn, bowed ourselves out. She even denied herself the final glance of curiosity, lest she might betray sudden relief changed to deep-seated fear at the sudden departure of Kennedy, with his cool assumption of power.

Outside, we encountered Celeste, who had been hovering in the hall, apparently listening. Quietly Kennedy beckoned her down the hall, away from [259] the door we had just left, while he paused a moment to question her.

"I wish you would refresh your memory, mademoiselle," he began, suddenly. "Are you sure—absolutely sure that on the night Mr. Wilford was murdered madame was here—that she was not out—at all?"

His tone was such as to imply, not suspicion, but certainty that Celeste had been lying, that Mrs. Wilford had been out.

"Oh, but yes, monsieur," Celeste replied, glibly. "I was with madame all the evening. No—no—she was not out. She was here—all the evening—waiting for him. I can swear it. How many times must I swear it—to you—to those—those beasts!"

Celeste nodded outside. Kennedy smiled.

"Who should know better than I what madame was doing?" continued Celeste, vehemently.

Kennedy did not pursue the subject.

"You love madame, don't you, Celeste?" he asked, simply.

"Why—yes!" replied the girl, startled by the unexpectedness of the question.

"Good day," nodded Kennedy, simply, as a lawyer might dismiss a witness.

"Methinks she doth protest too much," I quoted, as I remembered the "Aussage test" again and its proof of the unreliability of Celeste.

Kennedy did not attempt further to shake the girl's story, and I was forced to conclude that he had another purpose in view. Perhaps it was that [260] he knew that she would report to Honora what he had asked.

Kennedy turned to go out. But he did not close the door tightly as we went out. Sure enough, no sooner had he seemed to shut the door than he could see that she had darted into the room we had just left.

Kennedy smiled and closed the door softly.



Little happened during the rest of the day, which I spent in the laboratory, while Craig checked up the results of his previous observations on the case.

Toward the end of the afternoon I strolled out, uncertain just what to do. On the street I saw a boy selling papers and I called to him.

As my eye fell on a black head-line I fairly jumped with surprise. I read it again, hardly able to believe it. It was a startling bit of news that stared me in the face.

Vina Lathrop had committed suicide at the Sainte-Germaine!

Practically the whole story was told in the head-lines—that is, all except what little we knew. I turned the pages quickly. Belle Balcom had got in her brief interview with Vina, but it contained nothing new, either.

As I hastened back to the laboratory there ran through my mind the swift succession of events of the morning—our learning of the separation, the visit to the hotel, the meeting, the coming of Belle [262] Balcom, and finally the appearance of Doyle. Without a doubt it was this succession of events that had convinced Vina that there was no escape from the social disgrace that awaited her after the action of Doctor Lathrop.

"What do you think?" I almost shouted, as I burst into the laboratory and threw the paper before Craig, who was still at work in his acid-stained smock. "And, do you know, often I had almost come to regard Vina as a possible suspect in the case, too! Could I have been right? Is it a confession?"

Kennedy read the news item, then tore off his smock and reached for his hat and coat.

"I'll admit that suicide might be taken as a confession, as a general rule," he exclaimed. "But it's not so in this case. Come—we must get over to the hotel. I doubt whether half the story can be known, even by this time. I wish I had been informed of this earlier. However, maybe it won't make any difference."

It did not take us many minutes to get down to the fashionable hotel, nor long to get up to the room from which, in spite of the demands of the hotel people, the body had not been removed.

Leslie, already notified in the course of the city routine, had arrived perhaps five minutes before us.

"I was out on a case," he explained. "When I got back to the office I saw the police notification. But you had already left when I tried to call you up."


I looked about. There was great excitement among the guests and employees on the floor on which Vina had taken her rather cheap and unpretentious room. But in all the group I could not see one familiar face, except that of Doyle, who had arrived just a few moments before Leslie.

"Has Doctor Lathrop been told?" asked Kennedy.

"Yes, but he didn't show any emotion. He has given orders that everything necessary must be done. But he absolutely refuses to allow the funeral to take place from his apartment. He insists that it must be from a private establishment. Even in death he will not forgive her. Said he would be over—but he hasn't come yet. I doubt whether he will. Her relatives live in the Middle West. He did give orders that they were to be notified."

"What was the cause of death?" asked Craig.

Leslie looked at him significantly. "I wanted your advice on that," he remarked. "Look."

He had led Kennedy over to the white bed on which the body of Vina lay.

"The eyes show the characteristic contraction of the pupils that I have come to recognize as from physostigmine. In fact, I don't think there can be much doubt about it in this case. What do you think?"

Kennedy bent over and examined the body.

"I quite agree with you," he added, as he rose. "It is a case of the same poisoning—only I think not by the bean this time, but by the pure drug."


"Where do you suppose she got it?" asked Doyle. "I'll try to trace it in some of the drugstores to make sure."

"Craig," I exclaimed, "do you recall that Doctor Lathrop said he had no use for the bean itself, but that naturally in his medicine-chest he had the drug? She heard us talking the thing over that time when we visited them. Without a doubt it was where she got it—that is," I corrected, "where she might have got it."

Kennedy nodded.

"No doubt you are right. It's a case of suicide by suggestion. She heard of the drug—and tried it. It's the way they all do. Suicide is a sort of insanity. If one person uses bichloride tablets, you find that a dozen, learning of it, do the same. It's a curious bit of psychology."

"I agree with you," chimed in Leslie. "This was a case of the use of the pure alkaloid. Nothing else could have acted so swiftly—and everything indicates swift action. The chambermaid had been in the room only a few minutes before. Then when she knocked on the door again she got no answer. She thought there was something strange about it, for she was sure that Mrs. Lathrop had not gone out. So she tried the door. It was locked. But through the keyhole she could see that Vina had fallen across the foot of the bed. She screamed and then they got the pass key and opened the door."

Kennedy had gone over to the window and was [265] looking out. On a little roof below he pointed out something gleaming. Even from where we were we could see that it was a plain little vial.

"More than likely she took some of the drug from her husband's office," he commented. "By every indication the act was premeditated—or at least she contemplated doing it."

We glanced at each other, then at the former lovely form on the lonely bed, as the undertaker, sent by her husband, prepared to carry out the last offices, now that Doctor Leslie had given his permission.

"What about this new development?" asked Leslie at length of Kennedy. "Does it affect your plans at all?"

"Very much," asserted Kennedy, energetically. "It forces my hand. Now I must act immediately."

For a moment he stood, planning hastily just what to do.

"I'm going to try a little piece of psychology," he decided, finally, turning to us. "There are many things I need to know yet. For one thing, I'm not exactly sure just how much Mrs. Wilford actually knew about her husband and Vina Lathrop—not what she suspected or guessed. Oh, there are innumerable points that must be cleared up. I know no better or quicker way than to get them all together at once at my laboratory. Then I am sure that we can straighten this thing out quickly."

He paused and looked about us.

"Now," he added, assuming direction of affairs, [266] with the tacit consent of both Doyle and Leslie, "I want each of you to help me. You, Walter, perhaps will be the best one to go after Mrs. Wilford. But don't, for Heaven's sake, tell her anything—except that it has been discovered that Vina Lathrop is a suicide.

"Doyle, you have worked some parts of the case up to a final point—in your own mind. I delegate you to go after Mr. Shattuck and bring him to the laboratory."

"Very well," agreed Doyle, with alacrity. "I don't mind that duty." He almost grinned.

Nor did I imagine that he did. Shattuck had made himself particularly obnoxious to Doyle and I fancied that Doyle would take a particular pleasure in this errand, especially as it might lead to the humiliation, or worse, of Shattuck.

"You, Leslie, as a doctor, I think would be the best to go after Doctor Lathrop," ordered Kennedy. "And all of you are to remember you are not to talk of the case, but merely to compel the attendance of the persons you are sent after. If they refuse or resist, you know where to get the authority to coerce them. But I don't think any of them will. It would look badly."

As we parted, I jumped into a taxicab. I felt sure now that something must break. In spite of all the discouragements, I saw that Kennedy had been biding his time. He had seemed to be quite willing to wait, much more so than either Doyle or Leslie. I had realized some time before what [267] his game was. Anything might have happened to unmask some one. The death of Vina was that thing. Now was the time to follow up his surprise attack.

While we were gone, Craig hurried to the laboratory and there completed some simple preparations for our reception. From his cabinet he took and adjusted several little instruments, with an attachment that could be placed about the wrist, like a cuff or strap. These cuffs were hollow and from each ran a tube attached to an indicator. Both the hollow cuffs and the tubes were filled with a colored liquid which registered on a scale on the indicator part. But I anticipate my story.

I found my end of the duty far from pleasant, although under other circumstances, suspicion or not of Honora, I should have enjoyed an opportunity to meet her.

In spite of her feeling against Vina, the first news as I broke it to her came as a shock which she could not conceal. Yet, I felt, it would have taken more than even the practised eye of Kennedy to determine just what underlay her feelings in the matter.

When, however, I informed her that my orders were to take her to the laboratory, she demurred vigorously. It was more by threat than anything else that I managed to get her to go. She finally assented, nervously. Her whole attitude was one of not knowing what to expect this time.

In silence I escorted her in the taxicab to the laboratory, arriving there last of all, due to the [268] cajolery I had been compelled to use to avoid forcing the issue.

Leslie and Lathrop were waiting already. As we entered, Honora bowed to Doctor Lathrop, who returned the bow courteously. Clearly, I thought, this is merely the relation of physician and patient. Doyle had returned, but McCabe was not with him. Shattuck had almost fought against coming, but only a direct threat of arrest on the part of Doyle had succeeded with him. Doyle was correspondingly watchful of his prey. Shattuck bowed to Honora, and I saw that she returned the bow, a slight flush spread over her face. What was it—fear for him or of him?

Perhaps Shattuck misinterpreted the action. At any rate, he seemed not content with a mere bow. He stepped forward.

"I hope, Honora," he remarked, in a low voice, but not so low that I could not catch it, "that you will not think this unpleasantness is in any way due to anything I've done."

For a moment Honora stared at Shattuck, then at Doyle, and finally at Kennedy.

"Not at all," she murmured. "It seems that I no longer have anything whatever to say about my own actions."

She said it with a sarcasm that was cutting, and at the same time with a keen observation of the rest of us. It was as though she were trying to read our minds. Kennedy, at least, gave her no chance.

As she entered, he greeted her blandly, and one [269] would never have known from the look on his face or from his manner that it was he who had ordered them all assembled in his laboratory. He was the coolest of us all.

"I am going to try a little affair here that may or may not yield some results," he remarked, picking up one of the cuff attachments that lay before him on the table. "It is a simple enough thing. You merely slip this cuff over the wrist—so," he illustrated.

He drew the thing off again and turned to me. "I'm going to put the first one on you, Walter," he remarked. "You will be my 'control' in the experiment, as we call it."

Carefully he adjusted the thing on my wrist, and as he did so I realized that his purpose had been rather to get them familiar with what he was going to do than for any reason directed at me as a control. I watched the liquid in the indicator pulsing minutely as he finished.

Next he had turned and adjusted one after another of the instruments on the others, first Honora, then Shattuck, and finally Lathrop. When he came to Leslie and Doyle he paused and finally decided that as a "control" I was sufficient.

It was interesting to see how each of them took it. Honora accepted it with her previous passivity. Naturally Shattuck rebelled and it was only after a lengthy argument in which Doyle moved over ominously that he accepted. Lathrop viewed it, naturally, with the interest of a man of science.


"Of course, as you all realize," remarked Craig, as he finished adjusting the instruments, whatever they were, "there have been many very strange ramifications to this case. It began in tragedy and it seems to continue in tragedy. Crime is like the train of powder. When the match is touched to it the fire runs along rapidly until it reaches the magazine—which it will explode unless the fire is stamped out at some point along the line."

As he said it he glanced about at the faces before him, as though to see what each indicated. Even Doctor Lathrop, in spite of the suicide of his wife, showed no emotion.

"There is no use for me to rehearse the strange circumstances that root back into the past," Craig continued. "They are well known in general to all of you—the society gossip, the scandals that have been repeated widely. Motives enough for everybody have appeared in this case as I have delved into it. What we want now is facts."

He paused and leaned forward earnestly.

"It has always been a theorem with me that one might reason out by all sorts of logical means that a certain person could not have done a certain act at a certain time and place. And yet, when it has been reasoned out perfectly to the satisfaction of the reasoner—you may find that the person actually did it. Therefore, I am a sort of modern Gradgrind. What I want is facts—facts—facts."

As he finished he turned toward the table. Nor did he seem disposed to add anything immediately. [271] Still, we could see what he was doing and such was the attention riveted on him that I am sure none of us missed a movement of his.

Casually he reached into the pocket of his waistcoat and drew forth the peculiar bean which I had picked up on the floor of Wilford's office. He stood there for a moment, as though absent-mindedly toying with it, his back toward us.

I glanced about. The action was not lost on any of them, but I watched the face of Honora more especially. She started forward, then caught herself. For the moment I thought she might have fainted. But she did not.

"What's the idea, Kennedy?" burst out Shattuck, impatiently, observing. "Is it just some little theatricals—or is it a little Spanish Inquisition stuff?"

"Just a moment, Shattuck," interrupted Doyle, who needed not very much provocation to boil over. "Mrs. Wilford," he shot out, suddenly, before she had recovered her composure, "you have not been frank, either with the police or with Mr. Kennedy. Some one besides you and your husband was in that office that night."

"I—in the office?" she repeated, blankly.

"Yes—in the office. We know there was a woman there."

"I was not there," she asserted, positively.

"Some one besides you and your husband—a man—was there," reiterated Doyle, ignoring her denial.

Kennedy was still half turned away. Nor did he [272] show any disposition to interrupt Doyle. I looked at Doyle, wondering why Kennedy did not interrupt the detective's third degree.

Remorselessly Doyle pressed home his questioning.

"We know much more than you think, Mrs. Wilford," exclaimed Doyle, menacingly. "We have not been idle. There are more sources of information open to the police than maids that earn their pay from their mistresses," he hinted, darkly.

"Celeste told the truth," returned Honora, quietly. "Surely you have had chance enough to have found out about me from her, if there had been anything to find out."

Doyle was not to be placated by a soft answer.

"There were other people about that office that night," he added, confidently. "Mr. Wilford was not the only tenant in that building. Much can be overheard in the stillness after business hours. Don't forget that. Why did you tell him to give her up—that she never had loved him, did not, and never could love him?"

Honora flushed slightly at the reference implied by Doyle to Vina. She seemed about to reply hotly, then checked herself. She looked about the room as though seeking help from some one, but not finding it.

"If you were really there," interrupted Kennedy, quietly, for the first time, "tell."

I saw Shattuck scowl blackly at Kennedy for lending the weight of his support even thus mildly [273] to Doyle's bulldozing. Almost I hated Craig for doing it, myself. Honora's friendlessness appealed to me as it had often before. However, I reasoned, sentiment is a dangerous thing in a murder case.

"It is your duty to tell," urged Kennedy. "It is ours to find out. As Doyle says, we have found out much. Some one—two people—were in that office, besides your husband!"

There was silence.

"A man was there—came later—at the time when the murder must have been committed!"

An instant she faltered and gazed wildly from one to the other of us beside her.

The strain was too great. It was as though something snapped under it.

"No!" she cried, half sobbing, half defiant. "There was no one in that office! I—"

It was too much for Shattuck.

Out of the corner of my eye I had seen his glance riveted on Kennedy's hands as Craig twirled the Calabar bean nonchalantly.

He turned suddenly and looked at Honora—then strode a step forward.

"Professor Kennedy," he exclaimed, in a husky voice, "she was not there. It was I who was in the office. I will tell all!"



I do not know whether Kennedy was as startled as I at the unexpected confession of Shattuck. At any rate, his face did not betray it.

It was Honora, however, whom I watched most closely. Her color came and went. One moment she seemed as pale as death; the next her face was flushed and burning. Yet she said nothing, though I knew she could have shrieked.

What did it mean? Had she told the truth? Or had she confessed to something, in the hope of saving him?

For the moment Shattuck was the calmest in the room, as generally happens in a crisis of this nature with the principal actor in the scene.

"Let me tell you exactly what happened," he began, deliberately, avoiding as much as possible the mocking gaze of Doyle, who seemed delighted at the course of events.

Shattuck paused and cleared his throat, as though to gain time to think out the correct order of events.

"I came to the office," he continued, slowly. "It was quite late, but I found Vail Wilford there and [275] alone," he emphasized the word. "As I entered, he was sitting at his desk. He turned and spoke to me. I don't recall just what it was that he said, but that doesn't make any difference now.

"I had thought the whole thing out before. I knew perfectly what I was there for. The situation—the wide scandal between himself and Vina Lathrop—had become intolerable. As for me, I may as well confess that the growing unhappiness of Mrs. Wilford preyed on my mind—until I was almost mad."

I heard Honora take a sharp breath, as though to control her feelings. She was leaning forward now, her cheeks burning, her eyes fixed on the face of the man who was speaking. With every word, I could see her emotions rising higher. Never had I dreamed that it was in this woman to show such depth of feeling. It was as though she were passing through some transformation which she herself did not understand, but which was changing her own soul and making a new creature of her.

"I cannot recall just what passed between us," went on Shattuck, as though eager to hasten on and have it over with. "It was about his wife and what I thought his duties were. Every moment I could see that he was growing more and more angry—which was what I intended. Finally he rose, threatening. Wilford was a powerful man and no mean antagonist—but I had come prepared. I had my gun at his breast before he knew it. I forced him back into his chair.


"'Honora is being driven mad by the way things are going,' I remember I shouted at him. 'One or the other of us must get out of her life.'

"I could have shot him as he sat there, facing me before his desk—but I did not."

Shattuck was talking calmly now, and earnestly, though underneath there was a depth of passion.

"Then what?" demanded Doyle, as though fearful that something might even yet arise to stop the story.

"I took one of those things, those beans that Kennedy has been talking about," he answered, pointing at the bean Kennedy was still holding in his hand.

"Where did you get it?"

"In Africa, of course," he hastened. "Where else?"

"Have you any more?" demanded Doyle.

"Yes—I think so," came back quickly. "I may have used the last one, though—or rather two, that is. You see, I must have dropped one and lost it. Then I must have forgotten about it in the excitement—that one Kennedy has."

"I see," nodded Doyle. "Always there is some loophole you people leave open, some place where the cleverest of you fall down and get caught."

Shattuck suppressed a quick retort that was on his lips.

"As I faced him," he went on, "I told him that I would not kill him outright. I would give him an equal chance. I am a sportsman. I told him [277] what the thing was, of the duels I had seen in Africa, of the chance that each took. At the very point of the gun I forced him to take the bean that was lying on the desk and cut it in half with my knife. Then I took back the knife and pointed to the two parts that lay on the desk before him.

"'Choose!' I ordered."

"But the glasses," interrupted Doyle, before he could check himself. "You forgot about the two glasses on the desk."

"Oh yes—the glasses—on the desk. There were two glasses—I got two glasses. I filled them with water. I placed one before him, the other before myself. 'Choose!' I ordered him, pointing to the halves of the bean before him.

"One thing I can say. Vail Wilford was not yellow. He saw that I had him—that there was no escape. He looked from the gun to me, then at the halves of the bean. Outside there was silence. No place, you know, is more deserted than down-town late at night after business hours. If he shouted, he knew that I would fire—also if he moved. I gave him sixty seconds to choose which half he would take. At the point of the gun he chose.

"'Now,' I said to him, taking the remaining half myself, 'put it in your mouth, chew it, swallow it. If you spit out so much as a fragment I will fire instantly.'

"And I give him credit. He was a sportsman and a gentleman through it all. I watched him chew it, and when he started I reached over and [278] took my half. I began to chew that, myself. Then, together, we drank the water from the glasses, so that we would have to swallow the parts of the bean. Though I had him in my power, I did not take advantage of him."

Honora gasped at the picture Shattuck was drawing. The recital was deeply affecting to her. I saw her leaning forward, and her rapidly rising and falling breast told the suppressed emotion under which she labored.

"All right," hurried Doyle, to whom the dramatic quality of the tale had little appeal. "But what about the note? You forget to tell us about the suicide note."

"Oh yes," exclaimed Shattuck, "so I did—about the note. I made him write it before we ate the bean—while I had him covered. I made him sit down at his own typewriter and I dictated it to him—one for myself, the other for him—to be used in case either survived."

"You made him write one for you?"


"What did you do with it?"

"I destroyed it afterward—of course."

Doyle was forced to accept the answer.

"And you were alone?"

"Absolutely alone with him. Let me tell it—listen to me—will you? We ate the halves of the bean. I still kept the gun on him. I was taking no chances. The minutes passed as I stood over him—five—ten.


"On which of us would the thing take effect first? It was a terrible wait. I will admit it. But it was the ordeal. We were just primitive men. Besides," he added, still keeping his glance from the face of Honora, who was leaning forward, her lustrous eyes trying to catch his, "I was playing for a big stake—it was death or what is really more than life to me."

He paused just a fraction of a second, but only a fraction, as though he himself were afraid of an interruption.

"At last I saw that his heart and lungs were beginning to be affected. His eyes were narrowed, the pupils to a pin-point—am I right about that, Professor? Never mind. In myself I waited for the same symptoms to appear. And I began to feel them, too. I was dizzy—with a burning thirst—but—alive! Still, I kept the gun leveled at him—the best I could, for my hand shook.

"He did not know that, could not see it. Consciousness was fast going from him. But I was determined. I would live. I saw that I might have the—the woman—I would give my life for. Perhaps it was will-power that saved me. But—they cannot say I did not give him a fair chance for the woman and the life that he did not deserve!"

Breathlessly now we were all listening. Honora was trembling. Doctor Lathrop bent forward, nervously pulling his beard, his eyes riveted on the speaker. Only Doyle seemed to take the thing as a matter of course.


"And Honora Wilford?" Doyle interjected. "What was she doing at—"

"No—no—no, she was not there, I tell you. No one but Wilford and I was there!"

Shattuck had burst forth with the first words in quick staccato, slowing up the assertion until at the end he was speaking slowly and warily. I had an impression that he was not so certain of himself that he could trust himself to get excited.

Once I caught sight of Kennedy. He was saying nothing at all. But he was not idle. Taking advantage of the rapt attention of the little audience, he had stolen softly behind them. I saw him looking carefully at the various indicators of the arrangements on the wrists and noting them carefully.

Was Shattuck telling the truth about what happened—or was he coloring it to save himself?

"But about the atropin—in one glass and nothing in the other?" shot out Kennedy, suddenly.

It was as though a bombshell had exploded.

"Oh yes—yes," he faltered, "the atropin—of course, of course. In his glass, also, I—I—"

Shattuck stopped. What was the matter? Did he realize that he was getting hopelessly tangled?

"It is a pretty story, this, about your duel, as you call it," interrupted Doyle. "But it was not atropin that killed him. It was physostigmine. Atropin is the antidote. Didn't you know that, when you planned this ordeal you speak about? Besides, the traces of atropin were not in the glass [281] that was found nearest the body. They were in the other."

For a moment Shattuck stared helplessly. Was he, after all, just a murderer? Had he framed this duel by poison, preparing safety for himself, death for Wilford?

"Come now, Shattuck," exclaimed Doyle, adopting that confidential manner that worked so well often with underworld characters, but seemed so out of place here, "did you—honestly—fight such a duel? Didn't you really force Mr. Wilford to eat that bean? And weren't you protecting yourself? Aren't there motives enough that we know for you to have wanted him out of the way?"

Before Shattuck could reply, there was a sudden exclamation from some one beside me. A figure in a filmy dress darted between Doyle and Shattuck.


We were all on our feet in an instant at this sudden interruption at such a tense moment.

It was Honora, no longer the stately creature of dignity we had seen, no longer the passive person submitting to the tests of Kennedy's psychology, suppressing the emotions that lay in her heart. Her whole being seemed to be transformed. It was as though a new spirit had been instilled suddenly into her. She faced us, and as I looked into her burning eyes I saw that what had been the mere statue of a woman, as we had first known her, had become a throbbing soul of life and passion.

Shattuck saw the change. In spite of the terrible [282] situation, his face kindled. It was worth it, if only for the brief moments, to feel that he had aroused in her that which he saw.

"Wait," she repeated, "let me tell."

Doyle was about to interrupt, but Kennedy, who had not for a moment, even at this crisis, forgotten to glance quickly at one of the instrument dials after another, pulled him back and silenced him without a spoken word.

"You say there was a woman there?" she swept on, taking up the story, as though seizing it from Shattuck. "There was a woman there. It was I. I was with him."

The thing came as another thunderbolt, as it were, before the reverberation of the first had ceased echoing.

Not one of us but realized what it meant. Honora had cast reputation, all, to the winds, to save him!

She looked about at us, and never have I seen a woman more appealing, not even in any of the great moments of great cases in court which it has been my fortune to have witnessed and to have written. Cynic though I am, and knowing, as I thought at the moment, the purpose of it all, to save the man she loved, I could not resist the appeal. Nor was it directed at me. So marvelous was she that she took in the whole group, at once appealing to each, as if a sudden power had become hers.

Quickly she poured forth her story, as though she, too, feared interruption.

"It is all true—all that he has told," she cried. [283] "I saw it all—heard it. But there is more—more that he will not tell. He has not told the whole story. Listen."

It seemed as if she realized for the first time the power of an emotional woman. And her very instinct told her how to play upon us.

"I knew the Calabar bean," she explained. "I need not tell Professor Kennedy that. Of course, as he knows, I had seen them in my father's laboratory, at his shop. And so, when I knew what it was that was taking place—what was I to do?"

She paused, as though her intuition told her that the playing up of a dramatic moment would cover a multitude of questions that might otherwise come awkwardly flocking and demanding an answer as to much that she had not explained.

"Should I scream out for help? He might have fired the gun. Besides—"

She stopped again and dropped her gaze. "There was my reputation," she added.

Doyle smiled cynically. She saw it. There was nothing, no slightest facial change that she missed.

"What do I care—for anything—now?" she defied, directing the remark full at Doyle, who winced.

Shattuck's face was a study as she poured forth her story. There was admiration in every line of it—and surprise. I was convinced that she had swept him off his feet as she had all of us. What did it mean?

"What was I to do?" she repeated, gazing about [284] wildly. "It came to me in a flash, an inspiration," she raced on, "the atropin—belladonna. I remembered it from the old days when I was little more than a school-girl, in the store."

Involuntarily she reached for her chatelaine, but did not open it, as she illustrated.

"I had my belladonna bottle with me."

Rapt, now, we watched and listened.

"There were only a few drops left in the bottle, I knew. I never carried much—nor used it often."

She paused and clasped her hands as though in an agony of recollection. Was she telling the truth—or was she really a great actress who had just found herself?

"I tried to run between them—I pleaded—my name—my honor—everything. They would not listen."

She stopped just long enough to allow our own now supersensitive minds to reconstruct the scene already described by Shattuck between the two men.

"But I managed to get between them and the glasses on the desk. I held the bottle, in one hand behind me—so."

She acted it out, placing herself between us and a table, her face toward us, but her hand holding an imaginary bottle behind her. It was real to her, at least.

"Which would I save?"

She paused in desperation as she reconstructed the scene. Almost she had me convinced already, as [285] she played out the part, under the stress of her feelings.

"Which? My husband—or the other man whom I—I—"

She let her voice die away over the implied word "loved" and there was another tense moment of silence.

"There was not enough for both," she added, quickly; then, as though sweeping us on to the finale: "I poured the few drops of belladonna into the glass nearest me. Vance—Mr. Shattuck, drank it!"

She swayed as the words were wrung from her very soul.

Shattuck sprang to her and caught her.

"You're wonderful," he whispered. "Honora—why—why have you said this?"

For answer she merely allowed herself to rest more closely in his arms.

Doyle moved forward with a triumphant smile. It made no difference to him. It was a confession, either way. And confessions meant convictions and success to him. What was human emotion, compared to a good record and report in the files at Headquarters?

Honora looked from Doyle to Kennedy fearfully. She shrank farther into Shattuck's arms, nor did Shattuck relax his embrace.

"It's true," she cried. "It's true. I tell you—it was a duel—just as he said—really—and I saved him!"

Not one of us moved as we realized the situation. [286] She would sacrifice her reputation, everything. But she would save her lover.

"It was not murder—it—"

Doyle raged, as he realized that, after all, a clever lawyer, with this woman as a witness, the heart-throbbing hypothetical question, and the impressionable jury might quickly overturn all that Doyle might swear to.

"I beg your pardon," interrupted Kennedy, looking up from his rounds of examination of the dials. "You know this little thing—the blood-pressure measurer that is used by the doctors? Many insurance companies use similar things in investigating risks."

At once Kennedy had wrested from Shattuck and Honora the center of the stage. Nor did he intend to relinquish it.

"I beg your pardon," he repeated, "but my sphygmograph—this little instrument—my lie-detector, if you please—tells me you are both lying!"



"Let me go back a bit," began Kennedy, as in perplexity we turned to him. "Let me repeat how I first entered this case. You will remember it was because of my interest in the dreams of Honora Wilford. I have studied them ever since. My first clue came from them. From them I have worked out my leads."

At the mention of the dreams Honora had drawn away from Shattuck. She was gazing at Kennedy, wide-eyed. Shattuck, too, was following tensely. No less were Doyle and Leslie. Doctor Lathrop leaned forward, his brow wrinkled, as he tugged at his beard, impatiently listening.

"Let us take those dreams, without wasting any more time," continued Kennedy. "I do not know how many of you are acquainted with the Freud theory. Mr. Jameson is, by this time. Also Mr. Shattuck. We've seen some of Freud's books in his library. Doctor Leslie knows it, I am sure, and Doctor Lathrop has told me he reacts against many of Freud's theories seriously.

"I shall not attempt to explain the theory, but [288] shall touch on certain phases of my psychanalysis," he remarked, addressing the remark apparently to Honora. "Recall that Freud tells us that all dreams are primarily about self in some way or interests close to self. Your first dream and each succeeding dream which I learned, Mrs. Wilford, were, I take it then, about your own relations with your husband."

Honora looked startled, not only at having been singled out, but at the mention of the dreams and the vague thought of what might, after all, have been derived from them by this man whom she did not understand.

"The dream of death, the struggle dream, the bull-and-serpent dream, the dream of fire and explosion, all pointed to one thing among others, but one thing that was paramount. Really you did not love your husband—with that deep, passionate love which every woman yearns to possess. It was not your fault. You were the creature of forces, of circumstances, of feelings which were out of your control. I could have told you more about yourself than you would have admitted—half an hour ago," he qualified.

It was a delicate and intimate subject, yet Kennedy handled it without a touch of morbidness.

"From the study of your dreams," he resumed, "as I have already hinted, many other things might have been discovered. One of the next importance to your unconscious feeling toward your husband was shown clearly. It was that you knew that another woman had entered his life."


Kennedy glanced from her to Doctor Lathrop, and back to Honora.

"Of course, you did not know the whole story—that that woman was merely using your husband as a means to an end. But it would have made no difference if you had. In that she was equally in your way, whether you would have admitted it or not. We can speak frankly on this subject now. Vina Lathrop's death has put a different aspect on that phase of the case."

"Oh, I see," interrupted Shattuck, who had been following carefully up to this point, when it suddenly dawned on him that Kennedy's remarks were converging on himself and the gossip that had flown far and wide regarding Vina and himself. "I see. You have been reading the French detective tales—eh?—Cherchez la femme?"

Kennedy ignored the interruption. He did not intend to let any such aside destroy the thread of either his thought or his argument.

"Let me delve a little deeper in the analysis," he proceeded, calmly. "There was something back of that lack of love, something even deeper than the hurt given by the discovery of his relations with the other woman."

If Shattuck had been minded to pursue the guerrilla conversation in the hope of harassing Kennedy, this remark was like an explosion of shrapnel. He sought cover.

Kennedy was talking rapidly and earnestly now.

"In short," he concluded, "there is something [290] which we call a soul scar here—a psychic wound—a mental trauma. It bears the same relation to the soul that a wound does to the body. And, as in the case of some wounds, muscles and limbs do not function and must be re-educated, so in these mental and moral cases feelings and emotions must be made to function again, must be re-educated. I need not refer to what caused that wound. I think we understand the reaction that almost any girl would experience against one whom she loved but considered unworthy. I saw it the moment I began to analyze the dreams."

In spite of its intimate nature, Kennedy kept his analysis on almost an impersonal level. It was as though he were telling us the results of his study of some new substance that had been submitted to him for his opinion.

"Mrs. Wilford," he went on, speaking rather to us generally now than to her, "married not for love—whatever she may say or even think about it. Yet love—romantic love—was open to her, if she would only let herself go."

I saw that as he proceeded, Shattuck had colored deeply. He knew the origin of this soul wound in her disapproval of the life he had led at the time. He shifted restlessly.

"All my psychanalysis, by whatever means I went at it, whether merely by study of the dreams or by having them written out a second time in order to compare the omissions and hesitations, whether by the association test, the day-dreaming [291] when relaxed, or the Jung association word test, all the psychological expedients I resorted to, now paying out, as it were, a piece of information, now withholding another, and always watching what effect it had upon the various parties to this case, all, I say, tended toward one end—the discovery of the truth that was hidden from us.

"Finally," he exclaimed, "came the time when I allowed Doyle to place a dictagraph in the apartment, where we might overhear the interplay of the forces let loose by the information which I was allowing to leak out in one way or another."

Involuntarily, Honora turned and caught the eye of Shattuck leveled at her. Each looked startled. What had Craig overheard through that dictagraph? The thought was quite evident in both minds.

Honora gripped her chair. Shattuck turned and stared sullenly at the man before him.

"To return to the dreams," resumed Kennedy, apparently not noticing this interchange of looks and byplay. "From the hesitations in telling and retelling the dreams, from the changes that were made, from a somewhat similar process in tracing out the more controlled thoughts of the waking state, I found that everything confirmed and amplified my original conclusion. True, I did not know all. I may not know all yet. But each time I added to my knowledge until there were so many things that joined up and corroborated one another that there was no human possibility left that I was on the wrong track."


One might have heard a pin drop in the laboratory as Craig held his auditors and carried them along, even after the intensity of feeling that we had witnessed scarcely a few minutes before.

"I wish I had time to go into the many phases of the dream theories of the modern scientists," he hastened. "For hours, with Mr. Jameson, I have patiently tried to interpret and fit together the strange and fantastic conceptions of the mind when the censorship of consciousness is raised in sleep, veiling things which are as little thought of in your philosophies as you could well imagine.

"For example, nothing in modern psychological science is more amazing, more likely to cause violent dissent, than the intimate connection that exists between the fundamental passions of love and hate. There is no need of the injunction to love our enemies—in this sense. Very often it happens that those we love may arouse the most intense hate, and that those we hate may exercise a fascination over us that we ourselves hasten to repress and refuse to admit. It is curious, but more and more it is coming to be recognized.

"And before I go a step farther," he added, "let me forestall what is going to happen in this case as certainly as if I were adding chlorin to sodium and were going to derive salt. When I touch the deep, true 'complex,' as we psychanalysts call it, I shall expect the very idea to be rejected with scorn and indignation. Thereby will the very theory itself be proved. Shattuck, your old rule [293] may work well with the case of a man. But the new rule, the complementary rule, for woman is Cherchez l'homme."

It was not said to Shattuck, however. With clever psychology Kennedy aimed the remark full at Honora. She flushed and her eyes blazed defiance. Scornfully and angrily she cast a withering glance at Craig as she drew herself up with dignity.

"Then—you think, your science teaches—that a woman must be a fool—that she does not know with whom she really is in love—that she can really be in love with one whom she—hates?"

There was a flash of satisfaction in Craig's eyes. "Complex," I read it. As for Shattuck, where a moment ago he had scoffed, he remained to pray, or rather to smile faintly.

"I did not say exactly that," returned Kennedy, "although it may seem that way, if you choose to interpret the intimate relationship of love and hate so. Follow me just a moment. Consciously, she may hate. Education, society, morality, religion—this thing we call civilization—may exert restraints. Unconsciously, though, she may love. The veneer of modern society is very thin. I think the experiences the world is going through to-day demonstrate that. Underneath there are the deep, basic passions of millions of years. They must be reckoned with. It is better to reckon with them than to be wrecked by them. The wonder is, not that they are so strong—but that the veneer covers them so well!"


Powerfully though as Kennedy was making the presentation of the case, Honora tenaciously refused to admit it. Like her sex, when a general proposition was made she immediately made a personal application, found it distasteful, and rejected the proposition.

Still, Kennedy was not dismayed. Nor did he admit defeat, or even checkmating.

For several seconds he paused, then added in a low tone that was almost inaudible, yet in a way that did not call for an answer.

"Could you—be honest, now, with yourself, for you need not say a word aloud—could you always be sure of yourself, after this, in the face of any situation?"

She looked startled at his sudden shift of the argument to the personal ground.

Her ordinarily composed face betrayed everything, though it was averted from the rest of us and could be seen only fully by Kennedy.

In the welter of passion, as one fact after another had been torn forth during the moments since she had come to the laboratory, much had happened to Honora which never before had entered her well-ordered, conservative life.

She knew the truth that she strove to repress. She was afraid of herself. And she knew that he knew.

The defiance in her eyes died slowly.

"It is dangerous," she murmured, "to be with a person who pays attention to such little things. If [295] every one were like you, I would no longer breathe a syllable of my dreams!"

She was sobbing now.

What was back of it all? I had heard of the so-called resolution dreams. I had heard of dreams that kill, of unconscious murder, of terrible acts of the somnambulist, of temporary insanity, of many deeds of which the doer had no recollection in the waking state, until put under hypnotism.

Could it be such a thing which Kennedy was driving at disclosing?

I cast a hasty glance about at our little audience. Doyle was hushed, now. This was far beyond him. Leslie was deeply interested. Doctor Lathrop had moved closer to Honora on the other side of Shattuck, as if to reassure her.

Kennedy, too, was studying attentively the effect of his revelation both on Honora and the others.

Honora, her shoulders bent with the outpouring of the long-suppressed emotion of the examination, called for sympathy.

Shattuck saw it, saw the distress she so plainly showed.

"Kennedy," he exclaimed, unable to restrain himself longer, pushing aside Doctor Lathrop, as he placed himself between her and the man whom he regarded now as her tormentor, "Kennedy—you are a faker—nothing but a damned dream doctor—in scientific disguise."

"Perhaps," smiled Kennedy, unaffected by the [296] threat. "But let me finish. Then you may think differently."

He turned deliberately from Shattuck to the rest of us.

"What happened at that office the fatal night was this," he shot out. "There was a woman there. But from what I deduce, it was not Honora Wilford. It must have been Vina Lathrop!"

I felt a shock of surprise. Yet, after all, I had to admit that there was nothing improbable about it.

"Later," he resumed, "someone else did enter that office. In all probability that person did hold up Vail Wilford, with a gun perhaps, just about as we have heard described. The Calabar bean was cut in half, undoubtedly. You will see from the facts in the case that it must have been so. Probably, too, each wrote a suicide note—on the typewriter—either to save the survivor, or at the dictation of the person who survived. Each must have eaten half of the bean.

"But," added Kennedy, impressively, "it was no duel by poison—really. That other person knew the antidote—knew that the antidote was atropin—came prepared. That other person deliberately put atropin in his own glass of water, knowing that it was the antidote. No, it was no duel. It was murder—plain murder!"

As he finished, Kennedy's voice rang out sharply and decisively in a direct accusation.

"As for you, Doyle," he added, catching the eye of the detective, "you put your money on the wrong [297] horse, as you would say. You thought that in my constant examination of Mrs. Wilford I coincided with your superficial observation. But I had another purpose, a very different purpose."

Kennedy stopped a moment to turn from Doyle to the woman Doyle had persecuted. Honora and Shattuck were again close together, watching Kennedy intently, oblivious of all but themselves and him.

It gave me a start to see them as they were now. Honora and the man she really loved were united at last. In his face I could see a far different kind of Shattuck, as though the fire of the ordeal had purified him.

I caught a look of satisfaction that crossed Craig's face. He had succeeded. Back of all, I now saw that Kennedy had had all along a very human intention.

Quickly I sought to explain what had already taken place only a few moments before. Had Shattuck lied to save her, when he saw that Doyle was framing a case against her? If that were so, then had she, with her quick wit, come to the rescue, with a marvelously constructed story that fitted perfectly with that which he had told and had broken down in telling? Had Shattuck and Honora, cornered, as they thought by Doyle, leaped at any suggestion?

But the truth—what was it?

Kennedy was speaking again, and now all hung on each word.

"The stuff that dreams are made of is very real, [298] after all," he remarked. "Just take this case itself. Suppose some one, who understood better than Honora Wilford, learned of her dreams—interpreted them—found out the truth about her relations with another—found out, as I have done, what she herself did not know—and then acted on the information.

"Suppose that person knew of the soul scar, the old wound, knew from the dreams the conflict between the various persons—and encouraged the dream actors—in real life. Suppose, too, that that person, learning of what Vail Wilford was doing, had a personal grievance—a spite—a desire for bitter revenge."

As Kennedy built up his hypothetical case I became more and more enthralled by it. It was more than hypothesis now.

"The sphygmograph," he resumed, "has told me just what I still needed to know, even while you all have been here, perhaps forgetful of the little telltale that has been attached to your wrists. It is a faithful recorder of emotions, if you know how to study it. What is hidden from the eye the heart reveals. This heart machine will record it, betray the inmost secrets."

Kennedy drew himself up slowly, as though to impress forcefully what he was about to add.

"Psychanalysis," he exclaimed, "has led through Honora's soul scar to the discovery of the truth by the aid of this little lie-detector. It was your revenge on Vail Wilford—Lathrop!"


Harshly Lathrop laughed, as though he had sensed the coming of the accusation all along.

I took a step toward him, and as I did so something about his eyes almost halted me. The pupils were strangely contracted. I did not recall having noticed it before, certainly not when he came in.

Again he laughed harshly. With a shaking hand he reached into his pocket and drew forth something. I saw instantly that it was a Calabar bean.

He was about to place it in his mouth when Craig leaped and struck it from his hand. Honora screamed as Lathrop reeled back into his chair.

Instantly Shattuck's arm stole about her solicitously as she shrank from the shaking figure in the chair near by. Her hand stole into his.

"No cheating justice, Lathrop!" exclaimed Kennedy, seizing his wrist, which was already clammy.

He smiled faintly, and his lips moved with an effort.

"I did—what I did. It's too late for atropin now!"






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